I talked to Chris Perez about a wide range of issues for a short profile I wrote last month on the Tribe's outspoken closer.
One of the subjects we discussed but that didn't make the final piece was gays in professional sports. Whether one would come out publicly soon — we now have the first one, thanks to the NBA's Jason Collins — and whether baseball would be accepting. Here are some of Perez's thoughts:
"Your sexual orientation doesn't matter as long as the guy's going to help you win and take care of business on the field. I don't see any reason not to support him. It's a team thing. If a friend came out, you're not going to turn your back on him. A 25-man team is a small family."
"I just think it's like anything else — it's brand new and people don't like change. The first one that comes out is going to get backlash, and then five years later, it won't be a big deal. People would say they would support an openly gay player, but I don't know if they really would until they're confronted with the situation. I don't think that was the case five years or eight years ago."
On if baseball would be more tolerant than other sports:
"I think so. A sport like football, in football there's 53 guys, twice as many people and personalities, compared to baseball. Football and baseball are different. Football has a little more locker-room personality, it's more physical, not more manly, just more competitive, more macho. That's just the way it is. Baseball's more cerebral and you have more downtime. Baseball would be the ultimate test because of how often you're interacting with someone."
The distribution company Gathr Films brings its year-round sneak preview screening program to Cleveland this week. The program is being rolled out in just 20 cities nation-wide and it kicks off here on Wednesday at the Cedar-Lee Theatre with a 7:30 p.m screening of The Iceman, a true crime flick starring Michael Shannon and Winona Ryder. The program will feature four or more films a month to subscribers who pay an annual fee. "With Gathr Previews, audiences in select cities across the country will have the exciting opportunity to become the trendsetters, previewing films first at premier screenings, even before the New York or Los Angeles openings," says founder/CEO of Gathr Films Scott Glosserman in a press release. “The Previews Program expands Gathr's mission to kick-start a renaissance of movie-going and allows audiences in these cities to participate in the ‘life story’ of the film at a much earlier stage. And thanks to social media, their voices and opinions can be heard immediately." A one month subscription will set you back $19 and three months costs $49. For details about membership and upcoming film schedules please go to: https://gathr.us/series/clevelandheights-previews. Keep reading for a schedule of films slated to show in May and June.
Tomorrow from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at Shooters on the Water, casting directors from Bunim/Murray Productions, the creators of the Oxygen hit show Bad Girls Club, will be in town looking for — you guessed it — more bad girls for the latest installment of the reality show. The program's premise: take a large group of troublemakers and force them to live together in a mansion. As the press release for the casting call puts it, "Will living together help them move forward and turn their lives around — or will the claws come out and chaos rule?" We're guessing it's most often the latter. Applicants need to bring a picture of themselves and a photo ID (you must be 21).
We learned today about some design elements and an updated ETA on one of the most ambitious restaurant projects of the year. Red, the Steakhouse, which is currently undergoing construction on Prospect by E. Fourth Street, is now slated to open sometime in August, according to the restaurant's spokesperson.
Instead of traditional sidewalk seating or a patio, the restaurant will boast garage-style glass doors that open onto Prospect.
As for the interior, owner Brad Friedlander is sticking with his tried-and-true color scheme of sleek Mondrian black, red and white elements. "If it’s not broken why fix it,” he says.
The main dining area and bar will be located on street level, while a pair of private dining spaces overlooking Quicken Loans Arena will be on the second floor.
Red has been named one of the Top Ten Steakhouses in the country, and the same level of service and food quality likely will be on display at this, the second location in Cleveland.
Take a look at his answers below.
1) Have you ever fallen asleep at a City Club talk?
2) Were you drunk at the time?
3) What's your favorite book by Dave Eggers?
What is the What. Though I've just started Hologram for a King and it's promising.
4) Will this new position occasion any significant upgrades in your suit/shoe rotation?
It already has.
5) As City Club CEO, will you institute a "No Girls Allowed" rule, just for fun?
Hadn't considered it, really. Pretty sure the women on the board would murder me.
6) But what about on April Fools' Day?
Oh. Only if the board let my 4-year-old make the sign. Which is probably "no," too.
7) As City Club CEO, will you institute a club password?
8) And for the record, what's your opinion on tree houses?
Never had one but always wanted one. They are a vital contribution to the history of place-making. And for the record, girls would be allowed.
9) Who is the most important person in Cleveland? (Why?)
Everyone under 30. We ignore too many of these seriously talented, energetic and capable people. We have to embrace the contributions they're making to our city.
10) What's the best City Club event you've ever attended?
It's usually the person I've never heard before. I really got my mind blown by the former County Executive of King County Washington, Ron Sims. He was talking about the importance of place and how where you live is a determinant of health outcomes. If you've got a playground within a quarter mile, childhood obesity rates are miniscule. As that distance grows, obesity rates jump. It was kind of a jaw-dropper for me. So simple, and, in theory, easy to fix.
11) In descending order, who are the five best singers in Cleveland politics?
According to my sources, Subodh Chandra, KJ Montgomery, Matt Zone (rap and breakdancing), Nina Turner and Bob Triozzi.
12) In ascending order, who are the five best dancers in Cleveland journalism?
I know I'm good. I once danced with Renee Montagne. Beyond that, I couldn't say. I'm usually too busy shaking it.
13) What's one important issue in Cleveland people aren't paying enough attention to?
Immigration. You guys have read me grinding my axe about this, but I really think we ought to stop looking at it as either good or bad and more as the product of global economic forces that we're either going to harness for the betterment of the community or ignore to our detriment.
14) What's the future of the Civic Commons?
It's bright. If this opportunity hadn't come along, I would have been very happy to continue to evolve with the whole project of helping the community get better at connecting with itself. And we'll be teaming up with them very soon.
15) Have you ever worn women's underwear?
This is a trick question, right?
16) If you could invite one deceased person to give a speech at the City Club, who would it be?
Martin Luther King, Jr. Hands down. Or Lincoln. Wait. I'm not sure.
17) What's your favorite sentence in the annals of speech literature?
Wait. There are annals? Awesome.
18) Which Cleveland Indian will hit the most home runs this year?
Cabrera. You heard it here first.
19) What's your favorite restaurant in Cleveland?
I really wish Sarava was still open and Sergio Abramoff was still with us. But if I had to say right now, it would be either Ginko, Spice or Fire. Or Tastebud's.
20) What's your go-to cocktail?
a couple of decades ago, I lived on Eastern Parkway in Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, and summers were steamy. We survived drinking Woodrow Wilsons. It's a gin and tonic with a splash of grapefruit and a lime. Served in a pint glass. We made it up. The building we lived in was called the Woodrow Wilson.
21) What's (one of) the most exciting development project(s) in downtown?
The County moving in to Prospect and 9th and the redevelopment of the old Breuer building (Ameritrust Tower) could be a tremendous catalyst for development around East 9th and Euclid, a location I've long loved and one which has recently become much more significant to me.
22) If you had 10 minutes with Mayor Frank Jackson, what would your conversation be about?
Last time it was about the schools. I think this time it would be about immigration. Humanity is on the move and I'm not convinced City Hall is asking the right questions.
23) Dogs or cats?
Neither. They're fine for other people but I'm allergic to one and too lazy to care for the other.
24) What are two achievable goals for your first year as CEO of the City Club?
Coverage in Scene Magazine. And funnier tweets. Seriously, though, we're striving to make both the people on stage and the people in the seats better represent the diversity in our communities.
25) What is your favorite YouTube video of all time?
Eric Whitacre's YouTube choir. I think I cried the first time I saw it.
BONUS QUESTION: What is the most ridiculous pickup line you've ever personally used, and did it work? I'm taking the 5th. But thanks for asking.
Follow Sam Allard on Twitter @SceneSallard
Given that many of today’s biggest country’s stars are more concerned with wardrobe and make-up than music, it’s refreshing to see a guy like singer-guitarist Jamey Johnson. As he strolled onto the stage last night at House of Blues to begin a two-hour set, he looked more like a roadie than a rock star. His beard and long hair made him look a bit like Grizzly Adams and his deep, gravelly voice only confirmed the comparison.
Early in the set, which featured close to 30 songs, Johnson acknowledged his influences as he played “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes,” George Jones’s song about all the great country singers (i.e. Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson) and whether anyone will have the “heart and soul” to live up to their standards. Johnson paused to reflect on Jones’s passing and then played “Four Walls Around Me” and “He Stopped Loving Her Today” as a sort of tribute to the icon. That made for a rather somber start to the show, but Johnson and his stellar seven-piece band slowly gained traction throughout the concert and showed just why Johnson’s music has achieved such critical acclaim since launching his career eight years ago.
Tim Tebow was cut by the Jets today. Brandon Weeden is the Browns' quarterback. Anyone else see what happens next?
From dynamite Clevo graphic designer, wrestling and pizza aficionado, and average softball player Aaron Sechrist:
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