Best Of 2015

Earlier this year, singer-guitarist Brandon Zano, a veteran of the local music scene, launched a crowd-funding campaign to fund recording for his solo debut, which he's working on with veteran local producer Ben Schigel, a guy who's produced a number of big-name rock acts and currently plays in the up-and-coming alt-rock act SomeKindaWonderful. He's posted a couple of songs online, and tracks such as "Something in the Air" and "I'll Do Anything" feature a balanced mix of electronic and organic instrumentation. Each song has a catchy chorus and sounds like something that could be heard on commercial radio — think the Killers if the music had more of an edge to it.

brandonzano.com

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Arts & Entertainment

Arts & Entertainment

For three years now, Secret SOUL Club — DJs Antoine Henderson, Tom Dechristofaro and David Petrovich — have thrown wild monthly parties that show off their good taste in music. The guys hunt down records that "really sizzle" and "make the dancefloor go bananas," and they feature "original vinyl pressings" of both new and old 45 rpm singles. The monthly events also include "crazy dance contests" during which celebrity judges distribute prizes donated by local businesses. The group circulates between a number of venues, touching down at the 5 O'Clock in Lakewood, the Beachland Ballroom, and Yorktown Lanes in Parma Heights.

facebook.com/secretsoulclub.

Since opening the Beachland Ballroom & Tavern in Collinwood some 15 years ago, co-owners Mark Leddy and Cindy Barber have brought a number of terrific national acts to town. Bands like the White Stripes played the Tavern before graduating to bigger venues. The garage-blues duo the Black Keys played their first-ever show in the club's tavern. Sleater-Kinney once said it was their favorite venue in the country. The place gets props from national and local acts alike.

15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124, beachlandballroom.com.

Earlier this year, singer-guitarist Brandon Zano, a veteran of the local music scene, launched a crowd-funding campaign to fund recording for his solo debut, which he's working on with veteran local producer Ben Schigel, a guy who's produced a number of big-name rock acts and currently plays in the up-and-coming alt-rock act SomeKindaWonderful. He's posted a couple of songs online, and tracks such as "Something in the Air" and "I'll Do Anything" feature a balanced mix of electronic and organic instrumentation. Each song has a catchy chorus and sounds like something that could be heard on commercial radio — think the Killers if the music had more of an edge to it.

brandonzano.com

The fact that local acts such as Hillbilly Idol and Oldboy are willing to schlep out to Mentor to play the Local Tavern speaks volumes about the place's reputation. It features live music almost every night of the week. Monday nights are known as Monday Mashup Jam Night and spots for local musicians fill up fast. It's a good opportunity to see the city's local music talent all in one fell swoop.

9470 Mentor Ave., Mentor, 440-392-6022, local-tavern.com.

Miss Alexandra Huntingdon began performing in opera and musical theater before settling on the stage name Miss Alexandra Huntingdon and hitting the Cleveland clubs. A self-described "rust-belt glamour queen," Huntingdon describes her music as original songs with a retro-pop/cabaret sensibility. She's recorded her new live album at Survival Kit Gallery in the 78th Street Studios; it shows off her vocal prowess.

missalexandrahuntingdon.com.

Cleveland Cinemas has successfully commodified the "so bad it's good" entertainment genre, with weekend cult screenings of films like The Room and Rocky Horror. But they've also recognized another key aspect of entertainment: People dig staying up really late and hanging out to watch movies together, marathon-style. We all secretly or not-so secretly binge on Netflix, and Cleveland Cinemas lets us do it with friends, at low cost. Whether it's the annual 12 Hours of Terror festival or, for the first time this year, a 12 Hours of Terrible festival commemorating some of the worst films in history, these all-night movie events are a blast and a half.

clevelandcinemas.com.

A veteran of the local club scene, EV teamed up with locals Lorine Chia and Machine Gun Kelly on the catchy dancefloor-ready single "GoodTime." With the song, EV successfully blurs the lines between hip-hop and EDM. The song's premiere last year was a big enough deal that Rolling Stone magazine even covered it. You can usually find EV spinning at all the typical Warehouse District bars.

facebook.com/djevochris.

For awhile there, it looked like Dave Lucas, who founded and runs the Brews & Prose reading series in Ohio City, would be the only game in town. That's why we're so thrilled to see a new series emerge, this one devoted to poetry and housed each month at the Galleries at CSU on Euclid Avenue, an acoustically (and stylishly) apt location for a literary event. Caryl Pagel, the new director of the CSU Poetry Center, is the creative force behind this series, and it's a treat to hear new voices, many of them published by CSU's Poetry Center press, in a new, exciting location. Hats off!

csupoetrycenter.com.