Friday, December 8, 2017

Cleveland Whiskey to Host a Special Holiday Open House Tomorrow

Posted By on Fri, Dec 8, 2017 at 4:24 PM

Hansa Brewery will be on site tomorrow from noon to 4 p.m. at Cleveland Whiskey to offer tastings of its newly brewed Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal bourbon-barrel aged stout as well as its Oktoberfest bier.

The occasion? It's Cleveland Whiskey's special holiday open house.

The limited barrel release will only be available at the distillery while supplies last.

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Local Rapper Archie Green Seeks to Put His Own Spin on Outreach and Engagement at MoCA Cleveland

Posted By on Fri, Dec 8, 2017 at 3:44 PM

  • McKinley Wiley
Mostly known for his work as a rapper and mental health advocate, Archie Green has quietly been making waves as the newly minted Community Outreach & Programs Manager at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA Cleveland) and is dedicated to giving a voice to those who often go unheard.

And he's doing it his way.

"I am in charge of curating adult programs as well as public programs that tie into ongoing exhibitions in the museum and MoCA's commitment to community engagement and community outreach efforts," Green says via interview.

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Local Rocker Michael Stanley to Have Coronary Bypass Surgery

Posted By on Fri, Dec 8, 2017 at 2:55 PM

Last year, local singer-songwriter and WNCX DJ Michael Stanley underwent radiation treatment after being diagnosed with prostrate cancer. Fortunately, he now appears to be cancer free, but his health woes continue. He’s posted on the WNCX website that he’ll need to have coronary surgery.

He writes, “Hey 'NCX listeners. You may have heard that there have been a few things go wrong in my life here–that would be right. [Fellow WNCX DJ] Bill [Lewis] and I have tried to do our part in filling you in on our battles with prostate cancer. As you know, I am done with that, I’ve moved on."

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Ohio Attorney General Threatens to Sue Columbus Crew Owner Using 'Art Modell Law'

Posted By on Fri, Dec 8, 2017 at 2:09 PM

  • Wikipedia

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today sent a letter to Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt notifying him that the state may take legal action should he follow through with his threats to move the Major League Soccer club to Austin, Texas, if the team doesn't get a new stadium.

The legal basis here dates back to Art Modell, Patron Saint of Shitty Professional Sports Owners. After Modell absconded to Baltimore with the Browns, Ohio passed a law meant to protect cities who funnel tax money to and otherwise financially support stadiums or arenas used by professional sports teams. The nitty gritty of Ohio Revised Code 9.67, passed in 1996: An owner must have permission from the locality to move or give six months' notice and a chance for the city or local investors to buy the team.

“Ohioans are very loyal fans who passionately support our teams and take great civic pride in their accomplishments," DeWine's letter reads. "Our teams are a part of our communities. That is why when ownership moved the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore in 1995, the Ohio General Assembly took action and passed a law to protect Ohio and its communities when they provide tax-funded support for professional teams’ stadiums. As a United States Senator, I, along with Senator John Glenn and Congressman Louis Stokes, introduced similar legislation in Congress.

“The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has reviewed the law passed after the Browns’ move. We believe the evidence will show that this law would apply to the Columbus Crew and Mapfre Stadium. As Attorney General, should ownership of the Columbus Crew initiate a move of the team without complying with Ohio law, I am prepared to take the necessary legal action under this law to protect the interests of the State of Ohio and the central Ohio communities which have all invested to make the Columbus Crew a proud part of our Ohio sports tradition and help Mapfre Stadium earn its reputation as ‘Fortress Columbus.’”

Rep. Mike Duffey of Worthington had asked the Ohio AG to review the law, which has never been used/tested before, and its possible application with regard to the Crew. There's certainly debate about its language and what qualifies as "financial assistance." In this case, Duffey and Dewine believe the dots connect — Mapfre's acreage is tax-exempt, and PSV leases the land for parking lots, which recently enjoyed a multimillion dollar renovation at taxpayer expense, at below-market rates.

Precourt and Precourt Sports Venture have been mum on the development other than acknowledging its existence. Meanwhile, they've debuted new renderings for a proposed $200 million stadium in Austin and talks between Columbus, the MLS, and Precourt have essentially come to a halt.
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Thrilling Brahms Brings Audience — and Maestro — to Their Feet at Severance Hall

Posted By on Fri, Dec 8, 2017 at 1:19 PM

  • Photo by Steve Riskind

The only thing more predictable than a Mozart scherzo is a standing ovation at Severance Hall.

The enthusiastic ovation following Richard Goode’s performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 18 in B-flat major, K. 456 was far from trivial, though. The orchestra got off to a bumpy start on Thursday night as strings and woodwinds couldn’t quite agree on a tempo, but then Goode came in with the right tempo and it was perfection from then on.

Right away there was plenty of on-stage “critic bait,” from Goode’s decision to use a score to conductor Mikko Franck leading the orchestra while sitting down. (Franck replaced Christoph von Dohnányi, who the orchestra inexplicably keeps engaging in spite of his persistent cancellations due to failing health.) None of that has anything to do with the music, but it did fuel some inane parlor analysis overheard at intermission.

Goode, who’s best known as a supreme interpreter of Beethoven, projected the Mozart with total clarity in spite of an oddly large string section. Typically a conductor would consider paring down the strings to emulate the more modest proportions of an 18th-century orchestra. While the orchestra was more present than one might hear on a perfectly balanced recording, the musicians came together as perfect accompanists.

Franck led the orchestra with quiet dignity, affection and assurance. The second movement’s ominous repeated-note “knocking” motif was expressively shaped and blossomed with each appearance. The way Goode tapered off his half cadences rather than leaning into them added subtle but effective drama. The second movement’s character shift from minor to major was somewhat incomplete all around; the latter section sounded overly laden. Principal flutist Joshua Smith’s solos in the second movement were incredibly lovely aside from some anticlimactic breaths when sustained notes begged to be carried through.

Goode’s exciting inflections and effortlessly tossed-off arpeggios turned Mozart’s boilerplate scherzo into a rousing finish.

A work by former Daniel R. Lewis Fellow Julian Anderson opened the concert. The British composer’s “Incantesimi,” which premiered on this side of the pond almost a year ago, was a dramatic aesthetic shift since Anderson’s work was last heard in Cleveland. Known for taking textural and tonal saturation to almost unimaginable excess, Anderson instead delivers an accessible, delicate and moving piece that’s more thematically cohesive, at least on the surface, than anything else of his I’ve heard. It didn’t quite work as a concert opener, though. Too bad the geriatric management treats new music like a fiber pill to be gotten over with before the meal.

Anderson stands out among living composers as a thoughtful and truly skilled orchestrator. The stage looked atypically bare; there was no cartoonish battery of percussion. Robert Walters’ beautifully elegiac English horn solos bound the piece together like a black silk ribbon. Unfortunately, Walters’ final declaration as the piece came to an abrupt end was partially covered by offstage brass. I’m not sure whether to blame the musicians or the composer, because every chance to hear the English horn is precious.

The evening’s post-intermission masterwork was Brahms’ Symphony No. 1, a piece perfectly suited to the orchestra’s embracing and warm sound. The brass playing was some of the most tasteful I’ve ever heard in a Brahms symphony. (Listen to the Chicago Symphony’s recording of the complete symphonies with Daniel Barenboim to hear the opposite extreme.)

The basses and contrabassoon took full advantage of their moments in the spotlight, and so did the timpani acting as the orchestra’s rich heartbeat. The smart imitative passages among the oboe, clarinet and horn in the first movement showed the musicians’ remarkable ability to individually play off each other while matching style and articulation. The whole orchestra was perfectly synced and made simple work of Brahms’ signature offbeats and playful rhythms.

Principal oboist Frank Rosenwein’s solos were the highlights of the hymn-like second movement. Rosenwein consistently captures the elusive beauty of the oboe’s upper register, and this performance was no exception. Concertmaster William Preucil was disappointingly under pitch during his and Rosenwein’s unison duet, and his darker color was poorly matched to the oboe’s pure tone.

Daniel McKelway played the third movement’s meandering clarinet solo with simplicity and innocent grace.

The final movement’s unremarkable melody, when combined with Brahms’ genius for development and the Cleveland musicians’ amazing skill, became absolutely transporting. The horn solos were emotionally flat but technically competent. Brahms’ capricious shifts between flurries of scales and lush effusion were intoxicating as they built to a fugue-like fever pitch.

There was one unexpected person standing at the end of the symphony: the maestro himself. After being confined to a chair for the duration of the program, Franck suddenly rose to his feet and cheered the orchestra on to deliver the exultant final chords
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Cleveland Couple Behind 'Ice or Rice' Makes the How, and Why, of Asian Cooking Easier

Posted By on Fri, Dec 8, 2017 at 11:43 AM

  • Photo via iceorrice/Instagram
During this summer's Night Market Cleveland events, the line for the Ice or Rice booth was often the longest. The stand, manned by husband and wife Andy and Jessie Ng, served treats like Japanese cabbage pancakes, Malaysian peanut coconut chicken, rice balls, bubble tea and soufflé cheesecake. For those dishes, attendees didn't mind a 15 or 20 minute wait, partly because Night Market was the only place to score Ice or Rice's food.

It isn't a traditional restaurant, or even food truck. While Andy and Jessie are a fixture at the summertime festivals, their foodie foray is mainly based online — at the couple's YouTube channel and website — where they dish up how-tos on Asian dishes like ramen and Japanese bread, breaking recipes down into simple steps showing viewers not only how but why.

On a recent Sunday morning, in their eastside Cleveland home kitchen, Andy is whipping up a Hawaiian poke rice bowl with fresh, high-quality tuna and whole bean soy sauce. This is where they film the videos and concoct their own recipes.

"We try to make food that a typical Asian household would eat," Andy says of the Ice or Rice concept. "Whenever we travel, we like to try what is local, find those small hole-in-the-wall shops. We try to find the most authentic dishes. A lot of the things around Cleveland are very much geared toward the audience. For a long time you couldn't find ramen."

Jessie, who makes most of the Chinese and Japanese dishes, says she likes to make videos for recipes that are harder to find in America. So not General Tso's chicken.

"Most of the time, it's stuff I love to eat first," she says. "I try to find a sweet spot between what people would like to make at home, but that I'm interested in too."

Andy, who grew up helping his parents in various Cleveland restaurants, started cooking for his co-workers a few years ago making Asian cuisine for lunches, things that people may not have tried before. When the Night Market in AsiaTown started up, he decided to apply.

Jessie and Andy Ng addressing their YouTube viewers.
  • Jessie and Andy Ng addressing their YouTube viewers.
"I told him, 'But we're not professional cooks,'" Jessie recalls.

The first event was tough, trying to keep up with demand. But, Jessie says, she had fun.

Jessie, who immigrated from China back in 2004 to marry Andy, admits she didn't like cooking before starting Ice or Rice; it was just something she did to feed her family. But through making the videos, her interest grew.

"I looked at a lot of videos and a lot of times they just show you how they did it, but they don't explain why, and I always wondered why," she says. "I didn't know why my mom did things or why the recipe said that. And when I did the research, I was surprised there wasn't a lot of why."

Once she started researching why certain techniques were used in Asian cooking — to tenderize a meat, or to up a certain flavor — the love of cooking clicked. Now every video the pair makes explains why certain steps are used.

Besides the Night Market, which they've participated in the past three summers, the Ng's also host pop-up food events and Asian grocery store tours. Andy, a civil engineer, and Jessie, a freelance graphic designer (those adorable animated graphics in the videos are all her) say they like the freedom that not owning a full-time restaurant allows. They can experiment with new dishes and not be confined to meeting a bottom line. The plan is to continue with their website, perhaps sell Asian pastries, but nothing that would tie them down.

The Ng's say most of their YouTube channel viewers, which number in the tens of thousands, come from places with higher Asain populations, like New York and California. They have a lot of viewers in Singapore and Malaysia too. But they want to entice Clevelanders as well. That's why they started hosting Asian grocery store tours, so people can try new flavors and not be as intimidated by certain ingredients. The more questions people ask, the better.

When it's just them at home, stir-fry vegetables and quick foods like ramen feed their family. They use a rice cooker daily.

"I want a good meal, I want to cook for family," Jessie says. "I'm a home cook, if I can do it, you can do it."

The next Ice or Rice Asian grocery tour and tasting event is Jan. 8 at Asia Food Co. Purchase $25 tickets here.

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Cleveland Metal Holiday Food Drive Sets New Record for Donations

Posted By on Fri, Dec 8, 2017 at 11:24 AM

  • Courtesy of Bill Peters
Last year’s Cleveland Metal Holiday Food Drive, an annual event organized by WJCU DJ/Auburn Records owner Bill Peters, set records in terms of how much food and money it generated for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and Friends of the Cleveland Kennel.

This year’s event, which took place this past weekend at the Beachland Ballroom, drew an even bigger crowd and produced even more food and revenue.

Four vans and trucks hauled away some 8,833 pounds of food, and cash donations came to $10,124.80.

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