Thursday, December 14, 2017

SZA Gives Powerful Performance at House of Blues

Posted By on Thu, Dec 14, 2017 at 2:00 PM

It was around the time when a concert-goer near me last night practically fell to her knees, palms outstretched and grasping, belting along to SZA’s “Drew Barrymore” — “I’m sorry I’m not more attractive/I’m sorry I’m not more ladylike/I’m sorry I don’t shave my legs at night” — that the power of the 28-year-old New Jersey singer began sinking in.

SZA (pronounced Sih-zuh, for the record) makes music that feels unpretentiously real and that she really, honestly likes. This is not a given, and it made her performance endearing and deeply relatable. I nodded when she spoke about jealous glances at a supposed boo who arrives at a party with someone else; my neighbor felt it in her crooned confessional insecurities and resignations.

SZA loses herself dancing to her music like we have alone in our bedroom mirrors. She fans out to the Travis Scott verse on "Love Galore" like we do, and raps with a mischievous grin along to Kendrick’s tongue-in-cheek bars on “Doves in the Wind” like we did. She sheepishly tucks a blunt behind her ear like we might, and riffs over her refrains like we try to but mostly wish we could.

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NBA Awards 2021 All-Star Game to ... Indianapolis, Local Officials "Hopeful" for Future

Posted By on Thu, Dec 14, 2017 at 1:40 PM

Ever since the lavish renovations to the Quicken Loans Arena were first sold to the public at a press unveiling in December, 2016, the promise of a future NBA All-Star game was part of the package.

In fact, other than a modest lease extension, which will keep the Cavaliers' in Cleveland until 2034, the All-Star game was the only perk for taxpayers. Later, a few provisions were tossed in, to persuade wishy-washy city councilpeople before a pivotal vote.

But Wednesday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced that the 2021 NBA All-Star Game would be held at Bankers Like Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, home of the Pacers. The announcement came one month after Chicago was selected as the host city for the 2020 event.

This news is being met with a shrug from city and team officials.

The initial promise, few may recall, was that Cleveland would host an All-Star game "within seven years," (by 2o23, presumably). But as opposition to the Q Deal grew more vocal through the early months of 2017 — and don't forget that the opposition won, and then voluntarily betrayed hundreds of activists who'd worked so tirelessly to topple the deal, for reasons that have yet to be publicized — the All-Star Games in either 2020 or 2021 were said to be securable if the arena renovations began right away. This came up explicitly at the Cuyahoga County Council hearings.

"[Councilman Jack] Schron noted, as he did last week, that it seems ludicrous to rush to authorize this project when we won’t know the effects of the state of Ohio’s budget until June," Scene reported on March 1. "To that concern, [Cavs CEO Len] Komoroski articulated the need for haste if Cleveland is to secure the all-important All-Star game in 2020."  (Italics added.)

Not only the deal, but its immediate ratification was required, pro-deal county and city councilpeople repeatedly argued throughout the proceedings. This was specifically for the purpose of hosting the earliest possible All-Star Game. The real reason for haste, of course, and for passing a very controversial piece of legislation as an "emergency ordinance," was to avoid, or at least to complicate, a voter referendum and to quash the opposition's momentum. But city leaders could never say that publicly. So their line — earnestly repeated by and the Plain Dealer — was that urgent passage was necessary to secure an All-Star game. 

And indeed, to add fuel to that narrative, the NBA imposed a strict deadline for renovation construction. In a letter from the league's deputy commissioner, the Cavaliers were told that if renovations did not begin by Sep. 15, Cleveland would no longer be considered for the All-Star Games in 2020 or 2021.

As Scene noted at the time, the letter made no promise that beginning construction by the appointed date would guarantee Cleveland's selection. And sure enough, Cleveland hasn't been selected. LA is hosting the event in 2018. Charlotte will host in 2019. Chicago has 2020 and Indianapolis has 2021. The earliest possible date for Cleveland, now, is 2022.

The Cavs' Len Komoroski is nevertheless "hopeful" that Cleveland will secure an All-Star game "in the near future." He issued a statement to that effect, saying that the Cavs were working closely with the league. Komoroski has every reason to be hopeful. The NBA issued a statement robotically acknowledging the strength of the local fan base and repeating what it has said since the beginning: that if the Q is renovated, Cleveland will get an All-Star game at some point down the road.   

In's account of the Indianapolis announcement, Joe Vardon reported that his "sources said Cleveland officials were neither disappointed or really even surprised that the city would have to wait another year."

But is anyone surprised? They got their deal. Why should they care?
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Folk Singer Sixto Rodriguez to Perform at the Akron Civic Theatre in March

Posted By on Thu, Dec 14, 2017 at 12:06 PM

  • Courtesy of the Akron Civic Theatre
A few years ago, the folk singer Sixto Rodriguez experienced a resurgence thanks to the release of the art house hit movie Searching for Sugar Man, a documentary about his life that centers on the rumors of his death that circulated in the '90s.

In the wake of its release, Rodriguez has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman and embarked on a short tour. He was also the subject of a 60 Minutes feature that highlighted the film and his burgeoning career.

Now, the singer has announced a 2018 tour. He’ll perform on Friday, March 16, at the Akron Civic Theatre.

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Singer-Songwriters Lyle Lovett and Shawn Colvin to Perform at the Goodyear Theater in March

Posted By on Thu, Dec 14, 2017 at 11:18 AM

Four-time Grammy Award winner Lyle Lovett and three-time Grammy Award winner Shawn Colvin have just announced they'll embark on a co-headlining acoustic tour in 2018.

The two veteran singer-songwriters plan to “share songs and stories” as they perform together.

The tour will include a March 22 stop at the Goodyear Theater in Akron.

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7 Concerts to Catch in Cleveland This Weekend

Posted By on Thu, Dec 14, 2017 at 10:16 AM

  • Alyssa Gafkjen

Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives

With his latest tour, country singer-songwriter Marty Stuart will finally play his way out of the woods. He’ll land at House of Blues tonight for an intimate show in support of Way Out West, his newest record. The tour represents the culmination of a vision that Stewart had when he first assembled the Fabulous Superlatives, his backing band. By playing small, off the circuit cities, Stewart has found cultures and causes to represent as he and his bandmates were out playing shows, and all the while, Stuart knew that eventually he’d bring the band back to the mainstream in good time. Way Out West finds Stuart, long a student and advocate of country music history, continuing to dig through the layers of the genre, his way of helping to keep a form of music alive that he views as an endangered species. It’s part of what has been an ongoing process for the veteran artist, who has spent the past decade working in earnest on a series of themed projects. (Matt Wardlaw), 8 p.m., $25 ADV, $25 DOS. House of Blues.

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Ohio Statehouse Approves Down Syndrome Abortion Ban

Posted By on Thu, Dec 14, 2017 at 9:41 AM

State lawmakers have passed a ban on abortions based on a Down syndrome diagnosis. Gov. John Kasich is expected to sign the bill into law.

Ohio would follow legislative luminaries like Indiana and North Dakota in advancing this cause. (A federal judge blocked Indiana's law, and an appeal remains pending.)

The Ohio bill would make it a fourth-degree felony to perform an abortion in cases of Down syndrome. A physician's medical board licensure would be revoked. Mothers would not be charged with any crime in these cases.

“Every Ohioan deserves the right to life, no matter how many chromosomes they have,” said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, in praise of this bill.

The Cincinnati Enquirer provided a vital glimpse into the Down syndrome abortion ban debate:

Winton Hills' Anne Chasser told lawmakers she can't imagine life without her younger brother, Christopher, who has Down syndrome. Their family recently celebrated Christopher's 50th birthday with a big reunion near Lake Erie.

But Chasser, who previously worked as the University of Cincinnati's intellectual property leader and commissioner of trademarks in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C., doesn't think state legislators should prohibit abortions based on the diagnosis.

"I believe that a pregnant woman must have the right to choose what is best for her and her family," Chasser told lawmakers at a hearing last month. "This decision should not be made by the government."

With a 20-12 vote, though, the Ohio state government has insisted that it wants to be part of that decision.

It's nothing new from a Republican-led Statehouse that has approved more than a dozen abortion restrictions with Kasich's signature. Nonetheless, here's State Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) offering an argument that can't seem to find any traction in Columbus these days.

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Sister Hazel Blends 90s Jangle Rock with Introspective Country Twang at Music Box Supper Club

Posted By on Thu, Dec 14, 2017 at 9:10 AM


Bringing the sounds of 1997 and then some into Music Box Supper Club last night, Sister Hazel dazzled an attentive audience and touched on all corners of a deep catalog.

I'll admit: I didn't know much beyond Sister Hazel's wildly popular single "All For You," which I'd recently performed as part of a very classy duet at Tina's Nite Club. It's a great tune. I knew that the band was still touring and releasing records, and so I had to do some digging prior to last night's show.

What I found was confirmed onstage: These guys have kept a remarkably consistent career since the early 90s. Their later stuff is more tinged with country than the earlier jangle rock, and they're self-aware enough to know that pop music has moved on from their generation. They wear their Florida roots proudly and, as guitarist Andrew Copeland pointed out last night, they're John Mayer's mom's favorite band. They may be your mom's favorite band, too.

Two of the best acoustic moments came when guitarist Ryan Newell and bassist Jett Beres took lead vocals on their songs, "Thoroughbred Heart" and "Ten Candle Days," respectively. The former may have been the most tender and emotional part of the evening.

From there, guitarist Ken Block stood atop the stage on his own and played "Champagne High." This tune was used as a nice bridge from acoustic to electric, as each band member returned to the stage with another guitar in hand. They cranked the volume and lit into some older classics, like "Happy." Newell shredded like a madman.

At our table, we met some folks from Florida who knew the band personally. They extolled each guy's character and their longevity. And that much became clear as the band members shared stories from their time on the road, from their earlier years, from behind the scenes. Block, Copeland and Beres were super talkative and often very humorous. They took questions from the crowd (about their band name, which is based off beloved Florida missionary Sister Hazel Williams, and about their "go-to karaoke song," which is a reference to a song off their last album). Copeland mentioned that they'll be releasing a new record in February.

Then, of course, they laid down "All For You." The entire room rose to its feet and stomped in rhythm with the American classic.

"One more, Sister!" cried out man in the back. "One more, Sister!"

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