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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

ABC News Interviews With Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus Air Next Week

Posted By on Wed, Apr 22, 2015 at 2:47 PM

ABC news has begun posting teasers from Robin Roberts' interviews with Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, the first such sitdown with two of the survivors from Ariel Castro's house of horrors. The full hourlong feature will air on ABC at 10 p.m. on April 28, the day after their book is released.


Originally posted 2/27/15: Cleveland kidnapping victims Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus have solidified plans to give their first TV interview in tandem with the release of their book, "Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland," which hits shelves at the end of April.

ABC news anchor Robin Roberts will conduct the interview, which is slated to air as a one-hour prime time special on April 28 at 10 p.m.

Smaller segments will be released earlier that day on "Good Morning America," and the following week on several other news outlets. 

It's been almost two years since the women were freed after being held for nearly a decade in Ariel Castro's House of Horrors here in Cleveland.

The third kidnapping victim, Michelle Knight, released a memoir of her own last year.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Cleveland Heights, Cleveland's New Club for Tall People, Announces First Meetup

Posted By on Mon, Mar 23, 2015 at 8:31 AM

Update: Cleveland Heights, the Forest City's new club for tall people, has announced that its first meeting will take place at Around the Corner this week.

On Friday, March 27 from 8 - 10 p.m., folks of all statures are invited to the Lakewood watering hole for food, drinks, an Indians home opener ticket raffle, and conversation with tall people and even taller people.

Club founder Tim Gruscinski also told Scene that a big announcement will be made at the meeting (sorry, we won't release any spoilers ahead of time).

More details can be found on the meetup Facebook page or upon request from the

Originally posted on Feb. 9, 2015 at 3:18 p.m.

Clevelander Tim Gruscinski is really stinkin' tall. 6'8," to be exact. 

"It's not every day that I come across someone who I literally see eye to eye with," he told Scene recently via e-mail. "But when I do, I feel it's a very immediate bonding because we're used to hearing the same comments and dealing with the same daily struggles."

There was one night last year, Gruscinski said, when he was at a bar on W. 25th and noticed a handful of tall men and women standing by the bar. "[I] immediately thought 'hey, wouldn't it be cool if this whole bar was filled with people my height?'"

Enter, Cleveland Heights a social club just for tall people, founded by Gruscinski, his brother Kevin, and a mutual friend, Shawn Sedlak.

The general gist of the group is this: A bunch of tall people get together every month at an area bar to discuss topics relevant to a tall person's lifestyle; where to buy clothes that fit, for example, or how to deal with frequently hitting your head on a low-hanging light fixture.  

"After discussing with friends and family, we have decided it would also make sense to use our social functions as fundraisers for local charities and families in need, because why not!" Gruscinski said.

Right now, Gruscinski said, the club's in a fairly early stage of development and just trying to gauge general interest.

"We made a quick website temporarily until we finish developing the full site, and so far almost 40 people have signed up in the few days the website has been live," he said.

Cleveland Heights isn't the first or only tall people's club in Cleveland, believe it or not. The Skyscraper Club of Cleveland, which is part of Tall Clubs International, has been active in Cleveland since the 1940s, though it has list of requirements as well as monetary dues for enrollment. 

"Cleveland Heights is entirely a non-profit social club. We will never ask for money from someone to receive or retain membership, nor will we turn anyone away from joining," Gruscinski said. "There is also no height requirement, because we don't look down on anyone."

Interested? Visit for more information.

The first gathering is slated to take place this spring.

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Here's the Name of the New Bar Going in at Progressive Field

Posted By on Thu, Mar 12, 2015 at 9:48 AM

Update: After several weeks of online voting, the Cleveland Indians announced today the name of the new two-story bar going in at Progressive Field's Right Field District.

The chosen name? The Corner.

According to TribeVibe, the name is a hat tip to current Indians radio broadcaster Tom Hamilton who's introductory line “We’re under way from the corner of Carnegie and Ontario,” has become famous during his 25+ year run with the Tribe.

Other features of the bar? It was partially built with salvaged parts from the old Columbus Road Bridge in Cleveland’s Flats, and there's also a rooftop fire pit.

Stop in and see it all for yourself, beginning opening day.


Originally posted: Feb. 11, 2015 at 2:07 p.m.:

The 2015 Tribe season promises game-goers plenty of new dining options which we happily outlined for you on our blog last month, but new drinking options are in the works too, namely a brand new bar, located in the Right Field District at Progressive Field.

The digs look pretty cool, based on the artist rendering above, but even cooler is the fact that Progressive Field honchos are asking you— yes, you!— to help name the new watering hole.

Four potential names have been thrown in the ring: Blues Brewhouse, Carnegie Corner, District Brewhouse, and Tribe Taphouse, and you can vote for your favorite right now on the Cleveland Indians website.

While you're in the voting mode, go ahead and cast your vote for Scene's Best of Cleveland poll, which is also live, right here.

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Renga Ensemble Debuts at the Bop Stop on March 1

Posted By on Sat, Feb 28, 2015 at 10:14 AM

By Mike Telin

It’s a banner week for Chicago-based clarinetist and composer James Falzone. Today marks the release of his Renga Ensemble’s debut recording The Room Is on the Allos Documents label. Tomorrow the group will embark on a nine-city tour promoting the album. Then, on Sunday, March 1 at 7:00 in the Bop Stop, Falzone and his Renga Ensemble colleagues Ken Vandermark, Keefe Jackson, Jason Stein, Ben Goldberg, and Ned Rothenberg, playing an assortment of clarinets and saxophones, will present a concert featuring music from the new recording along with improvised works.

Trying to define James Falzone is an impossible task — he’s capable, and willing, to tackle just about any type of music. So preparing for our Skype conversation was a challenge: what should the first question be? I opted to begin at the beginning: How did it all start?

“That’s the million dollar question, and there really is no direct answer,” Falzone said with a big laugh. “I was always interested in a lot of different kinds of music. I think this came from my early training with my uncle, who is a film composer. He’s also a great saxophonist and flutist who has played with the Chicago Symphony and studied composition with David Diamond. So he had an eclectic look at music.”

Falzone remembered that every time his uncle would visit from Los Angeles, he always brought records. “One day he gave me Stravinsky’s Firebird and a record by Charlie Parker. He didn’t tell me that one was jazz and one was classical. He simply told me it was great music, and when he returned he asked me how I liked them. Again, he never discussed them in terms of genres, so I never thought about the genres either.”

Eventually Falzone began to study privately with a Chicago teacher who was well-versed in both classical and jazz. “Every week the scope of the lessons would change. One week it was all about jazz and improvising — learning how to play Charlie Parker. The next week we’d work on Weber or the Mozart concerto. So by the time I got to high school and then into college, I was already involved in this wide breadth of music. I truly treated all music ecumenically.”

(Click here for the rest of ClevelandClassical's preview.) 

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Review: Donizetti’s Don Pasquale at Westlake Performing Arts Center

Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 3:15 PM

By Daniel Hathaway

Gaetano Donizetti’s Don Pasquale centers around the title character’s cynical marriage scheme, designed to disinherit his nephew, Ernesto, who wants to tie the knot with a widow the Don doesn’t like. It doesn’t go well for Don Pasquale, who ends up playing the fool. Although Opera Circle Cleveland’s production on Sunday at the Westlake Schools Performing Arts Center took a while to get funny, strong singing and acting added up to an engaging afternoon of comic opera.

For Don Pasquale, Opera Circle enjoyed the benefit of a fully-equipped theater at the Westlake Schools Performing Arts Center, and a pit large enough to hold the 55-member Cleveland Women’s Orchestra, conducted by Robert Cronquist. Though the company has found imaginative ways to use the limited resources of area churches for its productions, real sets and ample stage space do a lot to ramp up the quality of its performances.

Since opera is ultimately all about the singing, being able to field fine soloists can make or break a show. Polish-born bass Pawel Izdebski (above), accustomed at this point in his career to singing roles in Wagner and Strauss, temporarily retooled his resonant voice to take on the buffa role of Don Pasquale. Vocally splendid yet flexible, he found understated ways to make the Don amusing without eroding his inner dignity.

Baritone James Binion is a pleasure to hear. He brought a sonorous yet supple voice and an engaging stage presence to the role of Dr. Malatesta (“Dr. Headache”). Busy soprano Dorota Sobieska, Opera Circle’s executive director, who doubled as stage director and Norina, gradually warmed up to Donizetti’s challenging vocal lines, producing several impressive series of high notes. Though lighter of voice than his colleagues, tenor Matthew Miles carried well into the house and fit perfectly into the skin of Ernesto.

Baritone Joel Rhoads did triple duty, playing the Notary and the Majordomo of the Don’s household, as well as joining Tim Hoehler to accompany the garden scene chorus on the guitar. The chorus of a dozen servants added vivacity to several scenes, especially in Act II, when the flood of goods purchased by the Don’s new bride begins arriving and piling up.

Conductor Robert Cronquist (also credited with the handsome set designs) kept the musical proceedings in good order, though some orchestral sluggishness crept into parts of the first act and bogged down Donizetti’s signature parlando passages (“patter singing”) late in the show. A lovely cello solo in the overture and long stretches of lively, well-balanced playing redeemed other moments when winds went out of tune. 

(Click here to read the rest of the review at

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7 Concerts to Catch This Weekend

Music News

Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 3:10 PM

FRI 02/27

Doug Gillard

A native of Sandusky, Gillard got his start playing in punk bands in the Cleveland area before joining Death of Samantha and then Cobra Verde. After leaving Cobra Verde, he had a good run with indie heroes Guided by Voices. He recorded half of last year’s solo effort Parade On in Austin and half in New York. "Some songs were brand new and others were written right before recording," he says. "That's usually the case for me. I'm a fan of mixed-bag albums. I like it when albums sound like they're from different sessions. I grew up in rural Northern Ohio between Huron and Sandusky and the station we got in was AM radio from Detroit. There was bubble gum and glam rock. I absorbed all that. My sister's Paul Revere and the Raiders and Monkees records had an influence too." 10 p.m., $7. Grog Shop.

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Jackson Gets Aggressive, Wants Media to Acknowledge Administration's Efforts Toward Reform

Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 3:04 PM

Snagging some Jackson pics. - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
  • Snagging some Jackson pics.
In a two-hour press conference at City Hall Friday morning, Mayor Frank Jackson reiterated talking points that most of us have already heard in the ongoing use of force discussions related to the Cleveland Division of Police and the DOJ report.

But Jackson also urged the gathered media to change, or at least broaden, their published perspectives on his administration. He insisted that police reform has been on his mind "constantly" since long before he took office. 

He didn't address current consent decree negotiations in any detail, other than to say that they were ongoing and that there was no deadline in place — "I feel a sense of urgency to do it right," Jackson said, when asked if he's feeling any urgency about finalizing a settlement. "I'm not going to sacrifice doing it right just to meet a timetable."

But distressingly, it didn't sound like much progress had been made. It sounded like they're still sort of in the interminable "let's figure out what's accurate and what's not accurate" phase. Jackson said he thought discussions were moving "in the right direction," but that a lot more dialoguing would be necessary.

The upshot is, we shouldn't be expecting anything anytime soon, not when Jackson is intent on producing "substantive, institutionalized" reform that'll outlive his tenure as mayor. 

"This is our greatest opportunity to make reform in an accelerated way," he said, referencing the consent decree. Except it's unclear whether or not the police-specific settlement agreement is even a suitable venue to address the bigger-picture criminal-justice issues which Jackson keeps saying are the underlying problems.  
Reform, though — and this was the thrust of the presser — is nothing new to Jackson. He presented an exhaustive timeline of the city's (and his own) efforts to curtail excessive force within the CDP, beginning in 1993 when he and councilwoman Fannie Lewis introduced legislation to ban the choke hold as a police submission tactic. 

He reviewed highlights since the DOJ's investigation in 2002 — revised manuals, crisis intervention training, equipment upgrades — and emphasized the dramatic reduction in use of force statistics across the board between 2006 and 2014. In 2006, for instance, Cleveland Police used "less lethal force" on 885 occasion. In 2014, there were only 405 instances of less lethal force. Uses of deadly force dropped from 31 in '06 to 16 in '14.  

"The point I'm making is that we weren't wasting our time," Jackson said. "We weren't sitting on our hands. We did not have our head in the ground. We work on this constantly. We took aggressive action and it was based on what was analyzed and what we knew we needed."

That said, Jackson made clear, there is still much to be done. He stressed getting the body camera program online in each of the City's five police districts (they're already in use in the 4th), transparency and community policing, via a pilot program to be developed by City Council.

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