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The Town Fryer is back. Again. The coziest nightspot for comfort food and roots/alt-country music has reopened in the Agora restaurant space (5000 Euclid Ave., formerly the Backstage Café), bigger and better than ever. "I went through a period for a minute [where closing seemed like an option]," says owner, chef and head barkeep Susie Porter. "But I've come to terms with it - this is what I'm going to do."

The restaurant-club opened on Superior Avenue in 2003. Porter created an atmosphere of contagious southern hospitality, and the spot became the Cleveland equivalent of Cheers. The club closed (for the second time) in September 2008, following a dispute with the state over taxes, which Porter says has since been resolved. The Fryer reopened in the Agora space in November.

Porter has kept the menu of comfort food like deep-fried Oreos and peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. She now plans to expand her musical operations. She will run regular happy-hour concerts, including a Monday residency with roots-blues troubadour Austin "Walkin' Cane" Charanghat. Porter also plans to use the Agora's concert facilities to host shows like the March 11 Wayne "the Train" Hancock concert.

"This is giving me the opportunity to grow," says Porter. "We can have things going on here in the restaurant and use the ballroom for big events like our [Tuesday, February 24] Mardi Gras party, at a minimal cost." ¥ Mick Boogie and protégé Terry Urban are hosting a new hip-hop showcase on Eminem's Shade 45 Sirius XM channel. The Press Play Show will air from 8-10 Saturday nights. The DJs will play underground and mainstream hip-hop, mashups and anything else that sounds good. Boogie wrote in his newsletter, "The hip-hop generation is going through a creative renaissance and we are excited to bring a show to Shade 45 catering to that tastemaking crowd." For a free sample of Urban's mixology, download the new How My Brain Works 2 mixtape at

¥ Akron sludge-metal band Fistula has recorded a cover of D.R.I.'s "Dead in a Ditch" for Clone, a D.R.I. tribute album on Germany's Blind Date Records, capping the tune with the intro riff from D.R.I.'s "Suit and Tie Guy." Area metal artist/guitarist and Fistula buddy Scott Stearns is contributing a gnarled adaptation of D.R.I.'s running-man logo to the comp. The CD won't be out until later this year, but the song and picture are totally worth waiting for.


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