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Friday, November 15, 2019

A 20-foot Inflatable Leg Lamp is Coming Soon to the Christmas Story House Lawn

Posted By on Fri, Nov 15, 2019 at 4:02 PM

  • Photo via A Christmas Story House/Facebook
The Christmas Story House Foundation is hosting its annual 5K and 10K runs Dec. 7, but this time with a special bonus: an inflatable, light-up leg lamp that stands more than 20 feet tall.

In another partnership with Inflatable Images, the foundation decided to continue the joy of last year’s “Pink Nightmare” inflatable with a to-scale model of the infamous lamp. Both blow-up creations can be seen at the Christmas Story House this holiday season, with the leg lamp making its debut on race day at the starting line.

As in years past, the 5K course ends at the Christmas Story House and Museum, while the 10K course runs to the house and back to the starting line at Public Square. Movie-themed costumes are encouraged, as are spectators.

Race participants receive an A Christmas Story long-sleeve T-shirt, a special runner’s bib, and a collectible “Oh Fudge!” medal. Plus, as the Christmas Story House Foundation is partnering with Toys for Tots this year, the first 200 participants to bring a donation receive a HooRag that can be used as a hat, scarf, balaclava, or headband.

The race, which starts at 9 a.m., costs $55 per person to register. All proceeds go to the Neighborhood Restoration Foundation, which was established in 2013 to restore and maintain the neighborhood around the house and museum. The top three runners in each category receive awards along with all the other swag. 

After the holidays, from about mid-January to the end of next November, the Foundation is allowing Cleveland businesses to rent the inflatable leg lamp inflatable for events, with all proceeds, you guessed it, going to the Neighborhood Restoration project.

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The Panza Foundation Celebrates Its Five-Year Anniversary on Nov. 23 With a Benefit Concert at the Happy Dog

Posted By on Fri, Nov 15, 2019 at 3:17 PM

Punch Drunk Tagalongs - JARROD BERGER
  • Jarrod Berger
  • Punch Drunk Tagalongs
Back in January of 2012, local musician John Panza, a full-time English professor at Tri-C who’s played in a handful of bands over the past 20 years, received some particularly bleak news.

After a show at the Happy Dog with his indie rock act Blaka Watra, he felt sick and threw up. He woke up the next morning with a flu, went to the doctor and got a chest X-ray. They found fluid surrounding his lung and drained the fluids. The fluid kept coming back.

It turned out that he had cancer.

After three rounds of chemo, major surgery that involved the removal of his right lung, half his diaphragm and a rib and then radiation, he finally healed.
In the wake of his recovery, he formed the Panza Foundation five years ago with his wife Jane and local musicians Lauren Voss, Ed Sotelo and Fred Gunn.

The foundation gives money to local acts for recording and touring purposes.

“Before I got sick, Lauren [Voss] and I had talked about starting a musical arts collective,” says Panza. “It got complicated because we realized we just needed to give people money. We saw too many bands struggling to pay bills.”

Recently, Panza and Co. expanded and added Christa “Uno Lady” Ebert to its board. The talented local musician who bills herself as a “one-woman choir” received a grant from the foundation in 2018 and is the first grant recipient to become a board member.

“I was brought on to have someone that understands the process from the artist’s point of view and to be someone who can talk to and relate to the artists,” says Ebert. “I also have a lot of non-profit experience.”

Ebert says she likes the fact that grants have no strings attached to them, and that artists can use the money for whatever they want.

“I paid to get my record mastered through the Candyland Recording Studio in Kentucky,” she says when asked about what she did with the money she received from her Panza Foundation grant. “I also bought a camera, so I could start to make images that will project behind me while I perform.”

Unlike other organizations that provide grants to artists, the Panza Foundation doesn’t use an application process to determine its recipients. Much like scouts for major league baseball teams, board members attend local shows to see which acts leave lasting impressions.

“We just grant money to whomever deserves the money, and every board member thinks about it and thinks outside of our social circle,” says Ebert. “We consider a diverse group of bands. One of the criteria is simply if you feel like it’ll help the band to do whatever is next.”

To date, the foundation has awarded grants to 19 local acts. Bands such as Goldmines, Obnox and Ex-Astronauts have received grants, and by next year, the foundation will have given out a total of about $32,000.

“My favorite is always merch,” says Panza when asked about the various ways bands have used the money. “Bands make up T-shirts and can then profit from that. Fixing a van is another one of my favorites. We’ve done that twice. We fixed a broken window on a tour van and a steering column on another van.  You name it — the money has gone toward recording and mastering and buying people gear. [Obnox’s] Bim [Thomas] and I went to a pawn shop to buy gear. Every band has a different need, and those needs sometimes change.”

The foundation has also given money to the Lottery League, the event that randomly pairs Cleveland musicians with one another and has them play a Big Show.

To mark the foundation’s fifth anniversary, this year’s recipients will perform at an upcoming benefit concert that takes place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23, at the Happy Dog. The show will acknowledge the milestone, and it’ll feature performances by Harvey Pekar, Punch Drunk Tagalongs, Cotton Ponys and Joey Sprinkles.

At the event, the foundation will also announce 2020 grant recipients, and there will be a raffle for musical equipment. Some 32 items will be raffled off, valuing about $5000. Local studios and a local pilates studio have made donations too.

“As per IRS guidelines, each band has to do one charitable thing for the year,” says Panza. “This year’s bands are great. We’ll announce the bands for next year, and we have a special announcement about another project for 2020 will be in video form.”

Ebert sees the Panza Foundation as a way of filling in gaps for local arts funding.

“There is art support for local artists, which is great, but it doesn’t reach the DIY music scene,” says Ebert. “If you’re a band, you can’t apply to those single artist grants. We just want to fill in the blanks. The benefit is really fun. I had a good time playing it and performing at it, and I know that this year have a good time just hanging out at it.”

Panza Foundation Benefit with Cotton Ponys, Harvey Pekar, Joey Sprinkles and Punch Drunk Tagalongs, 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, Happy Dog, 5801 Detroit Ave., 216-651-9474. Tickets: $5,

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19 Cleveland Restaurants Serving Up Thanksgiving Dinner

Posted By on Fri, Nov 15, 2019 at 1:57 PM

The Myles Garrett Incident — The A to Z Podcast With Andre Knott and Zac Jackson

Posted By on Fri, Nov 15, 2019 at 1:36 PM


Andre and Zac discuss an ugly night in Cleveland. News of Myles Garrett's indefinite suspension came down while the podcast was being recorded.

Subscribe to A to Z on iTunes here or stream below.

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Oberlin Conservatory's TIMARA Program Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary With a Party Saturday Night

Posted By on Fri, Nov 15, 2019 at 1:02 PM


There’s going to be a party at Finney Chapel on Saturday, November 16 beginning at 7:30 pm. The grand occasion marks the fiftieth anniversary of Oberlin Conservatory’s TIMARA (Technology in Music and Related Arts) program, the nation’s first conservatory program in electronic music.

“Olly Wilson taught the first electronic music course in 1969 and John Clough taught the first computer music class in the spring of 1970,” associate professor of computer music and digital arts Tom Lopez said during an interview. “We thought that 50 years was cause to celebrate.”

Organized by Lopez, the free Kaleidosonic Music Festival will feature nearly 500 musicians performing a variety of styles — gospel, classical, rock and roll, jazz, early music, marching band, serious, funny, and avant-garde.

“Kaleidosonic will be an epic celebration of music at Oberlin. It includes musicians and ensembles from the Conservatory, the College, and the community,” Lopez said. “We’re calling it a festival because it is more than a concert. It will be many hours long and the music will be non-stop — one big, long, sonic collage of ensembles, groups, and individual musicians. People can come and go as they wish and there will be food trucks available from 7:00 until 10:00.”

When visioning the event, Lopez wanted to demonstrate how TIMARA functions as the glue between College and Conservatory departments and the community. “I wanted to put together an event where most of the musical content was drawn from collaborators. There will be about twenty speakers around the audience, who will experience a surround-sound, immersive sonic environment. It is a TIMARA event, but I imagine that a lot of people won’t think of it as an electronic music concert because they’re going to hear a children’s choir, a high school marching band, taiko, and a steel drum ensemble.”

The Kaleidosonic performances are more than a continuous parade of musicians on and off the Finney stage — Lopez has truly curated the event. “One of my favorite pieces is Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, so at the beginning I have a brass ensemble and the taiko drums. The ensemble will play the brass part and the taiko will play one of their pieces at the same time, not the drum part from the Copland. This will be an intense, interesting juxtaposition of music.”

Another unlikely pairing will be bagpipes and a marching band. “When the pipes are inside, the band will start playing outside so you’ll hear them from a distance. The band will march into Finney and down the aisles. It’s kind of like Ives.” The bagpipes will also be featured in a new work by TIMARA student Piper Hill.

When thinking about what this anniversary event would look like, Lopez drew on an experience he had as a student, when avant-garde Russian composer and experimental artist Sergey Kuryokhin came to campus. “I was in the Oberlin synthesizer ensemble and we were part of that concert. What really stuck with me was how he used multiple styles of music. Ever since, I thought it would be fun to do something similar.”

In his book Red and Hot: The Fate of Jazz in the Soviet Union 1917-1991, S. Frederick Starr writes: “For a 1989 performance at Oberlin College in Ohio [Kuryokhin] assembled jack hammers, four harpists, Javanese gamelan, a gospel choir, and six synthesizers.” Starr served as the president of Oberlin College from 1983 until 1994. (Click here to watch a video of Kuryokhin and his band Pop-Mekhanika curating an event in Liverpool, England.)

On Saturday, the intersection between the acoustic and the electronic will be managed by visiting TIMARA professor Eli Stine. Lopez explained that large mixing boards will handle the inputs and the outputs. In between, Stine will have his computer managing the flow of sound. From the center of the space, students armed with laptops will process the sound from the microphones and send it back into the space via the twenty speakers located throughout Finney Chapel. “Eli is command central in terms of the flow of sound to the people doing the live processing.”

Winding down our conversation, Lopez reflected on how much has changed in the world of electronic music in the past 50 years. “It used to be that the only options were reel-to-reel mixed media pieces, or if you were doing something live you were using a MIDI keyboard, and that was fairly limited in its timbre world.”

As a sound artist, Lopez said it has been exciting to be able to play with sound composition and collage on an epic scale. “I have not written a single note — everything that the musicians will play is music that they have brought with them. But I’ve had the luxury of picking the order, and deciding who is overlapping where and with what piece, so I have had a meta level of creative input on this experience.”

Published on November 12, 2019.

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Downtown Cleveland's Bigass Christmas Tree Gets Lit Nov. 30 for Winterfest

Posted By on Fri, Nov 15, 2019 at 11:28 AM

  • Photo by Emanuel Wallace
Downtown Cleveland's Winterfest celebration is set to twinkle once again this year. Scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 30 — yes, two days after Thanksgiving, as it should be — the public is invited to Public Square for a tree lighting ceremony and other family merriment.

The event, which kicks off at 9 a.m., includes free ice skating, free horse-drawn carriage rides, food trucks, live music, craft stations, fireworks and a Santa sighting.

Those wanting to take advantage of the fist day of ice skating in public square should arrive starting at 9 a.m. to secure a time slot. Tickets are $10 and come with skate rentals. Those with their own skates only have to pay $7. The rink stays open until Feb. 28.

Note that the all-important tree lighting ceremony is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Learn more about all the upcoming Winterfest activities right here. 

Check out photos of last year's event right here.

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In Advance of His Nov. 23 Show at the State Theatre, Actor and Writer Nick Offerman Talks About Overcoming Our Current Malaise

Posted By on Fri, Nov 15, 2019 at 9:16 AM

Earlier this year, award-winning actor, writer, woodworker and comedian Nick Offerman announced that he would hit the road for the first time since 2017 with his brand-new live show All Rise. The tour will visit 37 cities across the country, and it includes a Nov. 23 stop at the State Theatre.

“My aim in this undertaking is to encourage my fellow Homo Sapiens to aim higher in life than the channels of consumerism would have us imagine,” says Offerman in a press release announcing the dates.

Offerman promises to deliver "an evening of “deliberative talking and light dance that will compel you to chuckle whilst enjoining you to brandish a better side of humanity than the one to which we have grown accustomed.”

In this recent phone interview with us, he talks about the tour.

Continue reading »

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