Monday, August 13, 2018

Death of Samantha and the Floyd Band to Play the Final Show at the Phantasy

Posted By on Mon, Aug 13, 2018 at 4:23 PM

  • Courtesy of Death of Samantha
The Phantasy Nightclub, a Cleveland institution that once hosted concerts by the likes of Nine Inch Nails, the Ramones, Iggy Pop, the Pogues, the Damned, the Psychedelic Furs, the Cramps, Motorhead and the B-52s, will close after 45 years with one final concert.

The veteran Cleveland post-punk band Death of Samantha [pictured] will perform, and the local punk act the Floyd Band will reunite for the show as well.

A Facebook post about the gig says there will be a special “mystery guest” too, and the club’s owners will give away Phantasy memorabilia too, including four of the theater's chairs that date back to 1915.

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Cleveland Scene is Looking for Editorial Interns

Posted By on Mon, Aug 13, 2018 at 4:04 PM

  • Photo via Wikipedia
Scene is looking for several passionate interns to join our online editorial team this fall. We're interested in candidates brimming with ideas, who want to hit the internet with amazing Cleveland stories. Writing is a huge part of this internship, so we're looking for students with backgrounds in journalism and English.

Yes, that means you're not just getting us coffee.

Candidates must be able to receive academic credit, and have reliable transportation. Interested parties should send a resume, cover letter and three article clips to Web Editor Laura Morrison at The internship is set to start in late September. 

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What the New York Times Missed about FRONT Triennial's Tamir Rice Exhibit 'A Color Removed'

Posted By on Mon, Aug 13, 2018 at 4:00 PM

The mural at Cudell Recreation Center - COURTESY OF JEREMY BENDIK-KEYMER
  • Courtesy of Jeremy Bendik-Keymer
  • The mural at Cudell Recreation Center
The New York Times recently reported on "A Color Removed," the exhibit at SPACES Gallery as part of the FRONT Triennial, in an article by Jillian Steinhauer.

The article gets much of the history wrong, and although the Times and Steinhauer were contacted for corrections, no change to the record occurred. The inaccurate—and in a certain light, fabricated—recounting of the project weakens its aim to show how community can confront injustice in Cleveland across color lines.

"A Color Removed" is a participatory art project. It asks Clevelanders to remove select orange objects from our lives while thinking about who has and who does not have protection and safety. Removing orange comes from the absurd claim that Tamir Rice was shot because the orange safety tip of his toy gun had been removed. The objects are donated through bins around the city and recollected, along with notes explaining them, in the exhibit at SPACES. Over time, the room builds up with thoughts about safety, social justice, and the meaning of color. As you enter SPACES, the first stop is the works of four African-American art makers, (one a collective), from Cleveland.

"A Color Removed" developed from an invitation to artist Michael Rakowitz to give the 2015 Beamer-Schneider Lecture in Ethics & Civics at Case Western Reserve University. In trips to Chicago as early as 2013, Rakowitz was asked to turn a lecture into a proposal for the community to do something through an art project. He responded by asking for everything he could be sent about what is going on in Cleveland with respect to social justice. Eventually, he settled into listening to reports of the Ethics Table’s 2014-2015 discussions of police brutality.

The Ethics Table is a lunchtime community discussion group in University Circle open to anyone. At one meeting, a relative of the family of Tamir Rice broke down in grief. Rakowitz heard of this, was moved, and responded with "A Color Removed." 

The Beamer-Schneider Professorship, which funds the Ethics Table to provide a forum for thought and learning outside Ivory Tower norms, then introduced Rakowitz to SPACES, Zygote Press, Guide to Kulchur, and the Social Justice Institute. In 2016, the Professorship organized a call with SPACES, multimedia artist Elaine Hullihen and Rakowitz, which is when the project began to move onto SPACES and to FRONT, where it might be funded further. This is a story of inter-institutional collaboration happening in Cleveland, following community discussion.

Here, though, is where the inaccuracies begin. The Times reported that the project was “dormant” until SPACES and FRONT “revived” it. But it was not sleeping or dead. To imply it was is to draw hard work up from a community to a star-studded and exclusive art world, just as corporate managers do. On the contrary, the project was deliberately withheld because the Rice family had not been reached further and because the possibility of a trial of Timothy Loehmann was not resolved.

An art project should be helpful to a family in grief and useful to a city, not a vain spectacle. Much thought was given, public reflections written, phone calls placed, and organizations explored from 2013-2018 until the art project could be realized with the support of the Rice family. The whole thing was a sustained intention over five years by many different people and institutions, beginning with the wish to do philosophy aesthetically and in the community for the sake of social justice, responding to where our community actually is.

It is good that the article focuses on prominent and emerging African-American art-makers in Cleveland, and on Ms. Rice's relentless pursuit of justice, restoration, and empowerment. African-American artists and Ms. Rice deserve to be seen and heard in this city. But the article left out the many other people and institutions that helped shape the project and try to be there for this injustice that struck the Rice family and Cleveland. It minimized community across color lines.

I was especially disappointed that the intellectual and emotional labor of everyday people participating in The Ethics Table and The Moral Inquiries were not noted alongside the work of the African-American artists in the exhibition. Ironically, in the exhibit, there is a table just like the one from the Cleveland Room in CWRU’s Thwing Hall where The Ethics Table met in 2015. Making an accurate account would have been more aesthetically precise and, more importantly, a truer and richer story of this city in its struggle for justice across color lines.

The Tamir Rice Foundation will open as a nonprofit center to support the arts and education for underserved afro-centric youth in Cleveland. Please consider supporting it or the causes and reform that it supports.

Jeremy Bendik-Keymer is the Beamer-Schneider Professor in Ethics at Case Western Reserve University.

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Yo-Yo Ma Plays Bach Unaccompanied, Lays Bare His Soul at Blossom

Posted By on Mon, Aug 13, 2018 at 12:40 PM

  • Photo by Roger Mastroianni, Courtesy of The Cleveland Orchestra
Played sitting, the cello is perhaps the most intimate of instruments. A musician wraps arms and knees around its body pulling a warm sound not unlike a human voice from its core. Perhaps then, nothing was more intimate than the most famous cellist in the world, Yo-Yo Ma, playing all Six Suites for Solo Cello by J.S. Bach at Blossom Music Center last night.

There are few (if any other) musicians who can convince a sold-out crowd to listen to them play one instrument for two hours and 45 minutes without any semblance of an intermission. But that’s what Ma tricked an audience into experiencing last night. The whole event was just him and a cello on a mostly naked stage. There was no Cleveland Orchestra behind him, not a piano in sight and not even a screen with helpful visual aids to tell us how to feel.

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USA Triathlon's Swim Portion Was Canceled Sunday, But it Had Nothing to Do with Lake Erie Poop Water or Death

Posted By on Mon, Aug 13, 2018 at 12:30 PM

When it was announced that the swim portion of USA Triathlon's Sunday sprint event had been canceled, our first thought was that Lake Erie's water had been once again contaminated with sewage.

How grim, we lamented! Not only had a 75-year-old tragically died Saturday during the swim portion of the Olympic-Distance event, now poop had returned to the Lake. Our poop. 

But our fears were unfounded. As it turns out, USA Triathlon made the call to cancel, with input from the U.S. Coast Guard, due to strong currents. The decision was related neither to the death of Jim Hix nor to water quality. Though a swimming advisory had been in place through the week due to sewage overflow after heavy rains last weekend, the advisory had been lifted in time for the Triathlon.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD), communicating with Scene via social media, said that an overflow like the one that triggered last week's alerts hadn't occurred since 2015. This is a dramatic improvement from previous years, when it was not uncommon, NEORSD said, for overflow sewage to contaminate Lake Erie 50 times per year.

NEORSD is currently in the midst of a massive infrastructure project, building large underground tunnels, making treatment plant improvements and expanding green infrastructure to drastically reduce the volume of combined sewer overflow discharging into Lake Erie.

By 2036, NEORSD said, through the improvements of Project Clean Lake, 98 percent of all the flow reaching the region's combined sewer system will be captured for treatment instead of overflowing.

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Dennis DeYoung's 'The Grand Illusion' Anniversary Tour Coming to Hard Rock Live in December

Posted By on Mon, Aug 13, 2018 at 11:57 AM

  • Courtesy of Live Nation
Though he can't legally tour and record as Styx, singer Dennis DeYoung, who wrote and sang lead vocals on seven of Styx's eight Top 10 hits including "Babe,” "Mr. Roboto,” "The Best of Times,” "Show Me the Way,” "Lady,” "Don't Let It End,” "Come Sail Away" and "Too Much Time On My Hands,” continues to play songs from the prog rock’s catalog during live performances.

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Meet the Meme Queen Behind the Cleveland Takedowns All Your Friends Shared on Facebook This Weekend

Posted By on Mon, Aug 13, 2018 at 11:44 AM

  • Meme Courtesy of Jeanne Li

A slew of memes offering savage takedowns of the City of Cleveland began circulating on Facebook this weekend, having been stolen and reposted multiple times, making a count of just how many people have seen these memes impossible. Neighborhood community Facebook groups have been sharing these memes like wildfire, and they've even made the jump to Twitter and Instagram.

Offering biting commentary on the Cleveland Police Department, city council, Cleveland boosters, local elections and the housing crisis, these CLE-centric memes have been shared as "relatable content," discussing the difficult topics that it seems not enough people are talking about.

The queen of these Cleveland meme takedowns? 29-year-old activist, Jeanne Li.

"I see so many issues in Cleveland but it seems like so few people are working to fight for the city, and memes are honestly one of the ways I really got into the political ideologies I have today," she tells Scene.

Li isn't alone. According to the Anti-Defamation League, memes have become one of the most popular ways for young people to learn more about the political problems in their communities, and spark the flame of their passions to do and be better.

"It's a way to bring light and humor to serious issues," she says. "And to be perfectly honest, I was really bored on the bus and downloaded a meme app."

There are those that believe there is a therapeutic and healing power in memes. As Cher Tan writes for GOOD, "In recent years, memes have taken on a new face online. As the gap between online and offline diminishes, the distinctions between consumer and producer become less and less clear-cut. People, especially those from marginalized communities, are increasingly taking to the internet for self-expression in lieu of an overbearing world, an augmentation of offline selves."

Despite the polarizing content of her memes, Li says her experiences with the public have been predominately positive. "I was the Building Bridges Summit this Saturday, (a sort of fair for activist organizations) and everyone I bumped into, people I hadn't seen in awhile, the first thing they said to me was like, 'Hey, your memes man, killing it.'"

By making something eye-catching, quick to read and easily sharable, Li's memes have inspired bigger picture conversations about the City of Cleveland's handling of many social issues.

"They were reposted in several neighborhood community pages, especially that first one I made (featured here), so I think it's definitely sparking conversations surrounding gentrification in the city," Li says. "I also think it's reorienting people to more aware of local issues. Given the political climate, it's easy to focus on national crises, but we're a city that definitely needs a lot of reform."

People could be quick to dismiss Li as just another "slacktivist" by creating these online memes, but Li is also an extremely dedicated activist in the Cleveland community.

She and a group of friends co-founded AMP NEO (Amplifying Black, Indigenous and POC Voices) an anti-racism organization focused on educating and helping white accomplices initiate projects under the guidance of people of color. The group recently hosted a fundraiser focused on POC musicians that raised $2,000 for black youth arts and ICE immigration detention support.

AMP NEO is even hosting an event next Friday serving as the kickoff fundraiser and variety show for the DSA's upcoming free brake light clinics. Broken brake lights are routinely used by police as a reason to pull over drivers, particularly Black and Brown people. This not only allows police to search cars without cause, but endangers lives, and contributes directly to the prison pipeline. You can support AMP NEO by clicking here.

Li is also on the steering committee and acts as the chair of the racial justice committee for Cleveland's chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. Outside of her official roles, Li also tries to attend as many events as possible to support Black and Brown people and indigenous rights. More than just meme-making, Li is actively working towards trying to better our communities.

It may seem silly, but Li's creations during her rides on public transit are absolutely making an impact. "I hope [the memes] can spark discussion among those who don't normally talk about political issues. Maybe it'll give people that little push they need to look into what they can do," she says. "But really, mostly, I want to give people a good laugh, especially those of us who are working our asses off. Sometimes we take our work so seriously, and humor can make us feel better, even it's just for a little bit."

  • Meme Courtesy of Jeanne Li
  • Meme Courtesy of Jeanne Li
  • Meme Courtesy of Jeanne Li
  • Meme Courtesy of Jeanne Li
  • Meme Courtesy of Jeanne Li
  • Meme Courtesy of Jeanne Li
  • Meme Courtesy of Jeanne Li

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