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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Citizens for a Safer Cleveland Submit Signatures for Police Accountability Ballot Initiative

Posted By on Wed, Jun 16, 2021 at 12:06 PM

Brenda Bickerstaff speaks on the steps of Cleveland City Hall. - COURTESY CITIZENS FOR A SAFER CLEVELAND
  • Courtesy Citizens for a Safer Cleveland
  • Brenda Bickerstaff speaks on the steps of Cleveland City Hall.

The grassroots coalition Citizens for a Safer Cleveland submitted signatures at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Wednesday morning for a ballot initiative that would amend the city of Cleveland's charter to create stronger civilian oversight of the division of police.

The group says it gathered nearly 15,400 signatures, (more than double the total required). If verified, the measure would go before voters in the November election.

The amendment's provisions include strengthening the powers and resources of the civilian review board and eliminating the situation where the chief of police or public safety director disregard that body's disciplinary recommendations. It would also automatically make termination the presumed disciplinary response for racist, sexist or other bigoted conduct or language by officers on the job.

The Safer CLE initiative wants "every single Clevelander [to] play an important role in holding the Cleveland Police Department accountable" after decades of police violence and misconduct in Cleveland. The ballot initiative is also a response to year of lax or improper discipline meted out by public safety leadership.

“The impact of today’s signature turn-in is undeniable," said Black Lives Matter president LaTonya Goldsby, in a press release. "Although many of our families are still grieving the loss of a loved one, we are joining together in numbers from all over the city because for the first time, disciplining the Cleveland Police Department will be up to us, not certain politicians or city officials. By voting for powerful civilian oversight in November, we can protect all of our communities."

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Savage Love: We're Poly, and We Got Herpes. What Do We Say or Don't Say to Future Partners

Posted By on Wed, Jun 16, 2021 at 11:40 AM

This week's edition of Savage Love - JOE NEWTON
  • Joe Newton
  • This week's edition of Savage Love

We're a happily married couple from Europe, longtime readers, both in our 30s, and both interested in having sex sometimes with other people. Before the pandemic we were invited to a private sex party in a major European capital. It was an age- and face-controlled swingers night with background checks on every participant. It was our first experience and it was eye-opening, wonderful, and very sexy, even though we were too shy to fool around with anyone else. But we promised ourselves we would return and explore further. Then COVID-19 happened and we couldn't travel. We decided to hook up with other people locally. We had amazing threesomes and foursomes, and it all went ridiculously well, up until the part when we got herpes from another couple. This other couple didn't know they had it or didn't bother to disclose. Herpes isn't as common here as in the U.S., as far as my research went, and it was a huge bummer, but after educating and medicating ourselves, we decided to continue having hookups with others. We tell everyone in advance because we believe it's the right thing to do. Some cut us off, some don't care, some admit they also have it, which always leaves us wondering if they would have admitted it without us "coming clean" first.

We are still part of the online community that organized that wonderful party and, with things opening up here, they are beginning to plan the next event. We would love to go back. My question is: Can we? Should we? Should we tell everybody about the herpes? Or is that a risk you take at an orgy involving 50 or more people? We've read a lot about transmission and know that sometimes skin-to-skin contact is enough. We also know that it's possible to have herpes and not be aware of it, which means other participants may already have it and not know. So what's the right thing to do? Should we just pass up this orgy for the rest of our lives? Take the viral suppressants that weekend and fuck as many people as we can without worrying about it?

—Sincerely Wondering About Post-Pandemic Explicit Disclosures

P.S. I found a piece of advice online about this issue from Betty Dodson, written in 2009, but I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Hmm. I would think an invite-only swingers party with "age- and face-controlled" background checks (meaning: no olds*, no uglies**) would also put a few questions to prospective attendees about sexual health. If the organizers of this party don't require you to disclose that you have herpes or other sexually-transmitted infections — because they enforce safer-sex protocols that minimize the risk of transmission and/or they quite rightly assume that anyone down to sex with 50 strangers in a single evening either already has herpes or is at least willing to chance it — then I don't think you have to disclose.

Don't confuse "don't think you have to" with "don't think you shouldn't." I think you should disclose — I think you should keep disclosing — and if disclosing gets you scratched off the guest list, SWAPPED, you will have other opportunities to fuck other people in other major European capitals. I mean, you've been disclosing to couples locally and haven't exactly wanted for opportunities ... even during a pandemic. (People who weren't worried about catching COVID-19 during the pandemic — which isn't over yet — probably weren't too worried about catching herpes.) Yes, some couples ghosted after you disclosed, but it sounds like just as many or more weren't scared off. And the couples who ghosted? Some already have herpes and don't know it — and HPV, as well, SWAPPED, as both of these very common STIs are easily transmitted through skin-to-skin contact.

Anyone who wants to avoid contracting them shouldn't have multiple sex partners — or. arguably. any sex partners at all, considering how common these infections are and, again, how easily transmitted they are. And anyone who attends orgies — anyone who's sexually active at all — should get regular STI screenings, get treated for treatable STIs, and refrain from having sex (or attending sex parties) when they're symptomatic or still infectious. (And everyone can and should get the HPV vaccine, and people with herpes can take meds that make outbreaks less frequent and less intense and make them less likely to pass herpes on to others.)

And while it's my official position that you should disclose — because, like you, I think disclosing is the right thing to do — my unofficial position is that anyone who has sex with 50 strangers in a European capital, be it major or minor, has volunteered for herpes.

P.S. The late, great Betty Dodson was never one for mincing words. Not only did Dodson tell a couple with herpes that they didn't need to disclose unless asked in the column SWAPPED found, Dodson also shared that she didn't tell her own partner she had herpes until she had an outbreak 10 years into the relationship. ("Orgy Guilt Because We Didn't Share We Have Herpes," July 7, 2009). "I abhor how our society has turned Herpes into an STD," Dodson wrote. "My first genital herpes outbreak was in the seventies. If you didn't have Herpes back then, it meant you weren't having sex. It was more like a badge of sexual abundance."

I'm a 24-year-old heterosexual French man. (Sorry for my English.) I really love my girlfriend. Our relationship is deep, we listen and understand [each] other, and we take care of [each] other. The sex is great, truly great. We try many different things, and we try to fulfill our common desires and the desires of the other. Long story short: Everything with her and our relationship is perfect. The only thing is that she wants our relationship to be monogamous, and I would like to have sex with 75% of the girls I bump into. Normally this is not a big deal because ... I'm not particularly attractive, so there are not many girls that want to have sex with me. But during the four years we have been together, I had some opportunities to which I had to say no. Once I kissed another girl, and the day after I confessed this to my girlfriend. Now every time I find myself attracted to someone else, I immediately tell my girlfriend. She doesn't blame me for finding other women attractive or even when I confess to flirting with another woman, but I know she doesn't feel good about it. If I have to choose, I will always choose her — but I love to flirt. I would also love to see how is sex with someone else, as I have never had sex with anyone else. But at the same time, I don't want to hurt her, and I feel childish for not being able to control my instincts. How do people get out of these sorts of situations?

—Diligently Escaping Sexual Intercourses, Relentlessly Excited

First ... your English is way better than my (non-existent) French. No need to feel bad about that.

Second ... if you wanna feel bad about something, DESIRE, feel bad about being a jerk to your girlfriend. In other words, OH MY GOD, DUDE, SHUT THE FUCK UP. Stop running to your girlfriend to "confess" every time you have an impure thought about another woman. Constantly and needlessly reminding your girlfriend you would like to fuck other women is just cruel. She knows that, DESIRE, so you don't need to tell her. You're not being honest, you're not being transparent, you're being an asshole. This is a relationship, DESIRE, not a meeting of Reluctant Monogamists Anonymous. ("Hi, my name is ASSHOLE BOYFRIEND and I've been monogamous for four years and each day is a struggle.")

If you don't wanna be in a monogamous relationship with this woman, DESIRE, if monogamy isn't the price of admission you're willing to pay, end this relationship. But if it is a price you're willing to pay, DESIRE, then pay it and SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT IT. If you can't shut the fuck up about it — if you can't keep these thoughts to yourself and/or find someone else to confide in about them (a friend? a bartender? a pompier?) — your girlfriend is going to realize she's paying way too steep a price and dump your ass.

*Age is just a number, of course, but people, alone or in groups, are allowed to seek sex partners in their own and/or their preferred age range — and I say that as someone who would most likely be excluded from this particular sex party based on my age.

**A person doesn't have to be conventionally attractive to attract sex partners — and a person can be conventionally attractive in every sense and repel more people than they attract.

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Bar Oni, Ushabu’s Second Act, is True Izakaya – All About the Vibes

Posted By on Wed, Jun 16, 2021 at 11:21 AM

  • Photo by Doug Trattner
My wife and I popped into Bar Oni more out of curiosity than hunger. It had been a couple years since we were inside the snug Tremont space. Since 2016, when its predecessor Ushabu opened, we’ve enjoyed interactive shabu-shabu meals and elaborate 13-course kaiseki feasts that eclipsed Michelin meals enjoyed elsewhere. But we had not crossed the threshold since chef Matthew Spinner reinvented the property as Bar Oni, which he did during and because of the pandemic.

Bar Oni draws you in. Through an open front door you can hear upbeat music, see staffers readying the bar and spy chef Spinner organizing his station in the partially open kitchen. The next thing you know, you’re knocking back kegged hi-balls, biting juicy morsels of grilled chicken off a stick and catching up with old friends. In the blink of an eye, two hours have passed, the skewer sticks have piled up and you’re already planning a return visit.

Second acts often don't work for restaurants. But Spinner wisely traded in his fussy destination place for a lively, convivial and approachable neighborhood izakaya – one that beckons night after night as opposed to just on special occasions. To make way for the transformation, management ripped out all the built-in burners, swapped in new tables, replaced and extended the bartop, hung some TVs and cranked the hi-fi. The new configuration allows for nearly double the guests but does so solely on a walk-in basis.

For a clue about Bar Oni’s intentions, take a gander at the cocktail list. Where else can a guest secure a pitcher of gin-and-juice cocktails ($25) that clock in at tipsy 9-percent ABV? Other draft hi-balls include house hard seltzers ($7) that go down like sweet tea on a sultry summer day. Fancy a cold beer? There’s Sapporo and Straub on tap, served in a frosty mug. Spinner still offers exceptional sakes, but does so through a rotating but abbreviated list.

In contrast to the rigid framework of Ushabu’s multi-course kaiseki, Bar Oni is all about freestyle grazing. We started with a few fried appetizers to pair with our cocktails. The vegetable tempura ($9) arrives in the form of crispy half-moon fritters comprised of chopped mixed veggies. The wedges pop after a dip in ponzu sauce. Octopus fans should not skip the takoyaki ($9), savory street food-style octopus balls garnished with mayo, pickled ginger and bonito flakes.

Another round of beverages – this time a Daiginjo sake from the Ishikawa Prefecture ($15) and a Junmai from Tochigi ($13) – demanded another volley of snacks. We polished off a plate of succulent shrimp shumei ($9) served atop a pool of sweet and spicy mayo and another of deep-fried vegetable gyoza ($9) with sesame-wasabi dipping sauce. Like all the appetizers, these are not tiny, precious servings, but rather eight- or nine-piece orders. It’s hard to describe how simple but compelling the grilled avocado ($4) is. Halved, pitted, grilled to nearly black and filled with citrusy ponzu sauce, the creamy, pudding-soft flesh is a revelation.

For the main event, we decided to split the omakase ($50), a chef-picked selection of 10 grilled items. The mix of vegetable and meat kebabs arrive in rapid-fire fashion, still smoldering from the charcoal fire. There is a trio of colorful baby sweet peppers, blistered and slicked with fish sauce. A half dozen okra are threaded onto a pair of skewers like a wooden raft, grilled and gilded with chili crisp. An ear of summer-sweet corn on the cob is glossy with melted butter. A twist of braised, glazed and grilled pork belly is ringed with fat and drippy with a sticky-sweet sauce. Grilled unagi (eel) is rich, buttery and lush. But yakitori is all about the bird. Spinner dispatches skewers laced with juicy pieces of breast, thigh, leg and tender, each basted with its own sauce. The stripped, bare skewers get plopped into a nearby glass where they begin to multiply.

For less than the price of one shabu-shabu meal at Ushabu, two of us ate and drank to our heart’s content, vowing to return sooner rather than later. It’s impossible not to get swept up into communal spirit of the place, where the chef’s booming voice careens off the walls, the bartender is always an arm’s length away and another skewer or three can be summoned with ease. True izakayas are all about the vibe and Bar Oni nails it on every level. If there is a more appropriate place to celebrate the post-pandemic future, I have yet to stumble out of it.

Bar Oni
2173 Professor Ave., Cleveland

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Paul Anka's Sinatra Tribute Coming to MGM Northfield Park — Center Stage in October

Posted By on Wed, Jun 16, 2021 at 10:51 AM

  • Courtesy of Live Nation
  • Paul Anka.
Crooner and current Tik Tok sensation Paul Anka just announced the details of a 22-city North American concert tour dubbed Paul Anka — Anka Sings Sinatra: His Songs, My Songs, My Way.

"I've been sitting around all year, like everybody else, and realizing all the memories that I've had of springs and summers of the past few years — and those memories have gotten me through the last year,” says Anka in a press release about the jaunt, which includes an Oct. 29 date at MGM Northfield Park — Center Stage. “It's been a time of reflection and reminiscing — with someone or without — about the foundation of the great life you've been blessed with. Plus, how heightened it's been while being with a loved one during this time of being so confined and isolated."

A ticket presale to Paul Anka — Anka Sings Sinatra: His Songs, My Songs, My Way is currently underway.

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Trippie Redd's Tripp at Knight Tour Coming to Blossom in September

Posted By on Wed, Jun 16, 2021 at 9:51 AM

  • Courtesy of the Purple Agency
  • Rapper Trippie Redd.
An Ohio native, rapper Trippie Redd just announced the dates of his upcoming headlining North American tour, Tripp At Knight. The trek will feature not only Redd but also 10K Projects artist iann dior and SoFayGo.

The 25-stop tour arrives on Sept. 1 at Blossom.

A ticket presale for the Blossom stop of the Trippie Redd: Tripp At Knight Tour
 is currently underway.

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Queensryche Headed to MGM Northfield Park — Center Stage in September

Posted By on Wed, Jun 16, 2021 at 9:41 AM

  • Courtesy of Live Nation
  • Queensryche.
A few years ago, the veteran hard rock act Queensryche came through town and opened for the Scorpions at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica. The group impressed during a 45-minute opening set that enabled it to show off the     incredible pipes of singer Todd La Torre, who joined the group in 2012 and has given the band a good second wind.

On songs such as the heavy-hitting “Blood of the Levant” and the moody "Portrait," La Torre sang with the kind of power that would’ve made the late, great Dio proud. Expect similar results when the band returns to MGM Northfield Park — Center Stage on Sept. 16.

A ticket presale starts at 10 a.m. tomorrow and tickets to the Queensryche show at MGM Northfield Park — Center Stage go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. on Friday.

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Second Annual Alien Arts Hip Hop Boot Camp To Take Place in Akron In July

Posted By on Wed, Jun 16, 2021 at 9:33 AM

Alien Arts, Inc. an Ohio-based non-profit organization with a mission to "inspire, nurture and teach youth grades K-12 through the performing arts channels of music and dance," has just announced it'll host the second annual Hip Hop Boot Camp from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 3, at Hardesty Park in Akron.

At the free event, attendees will learn about the history of Alien Arts and positive hip-hop culture. There will be guest speakers and live entertainment by local dance and performing artists and DJs.

"We're excited to put on this as we know it has been challenging not having these kinds of opportunities over the last year," reads a press release about the event. "We believe it takes the whole community to support the next generation to be their greatest selves."

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