Arts District

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Free Arts in August Series at Lincoln Park is Back, and Here's What You Need to Know

Posted By on Tue, Jul 25, 2017 at 3:25 PM

Each year, Tremont West partners with Ward 3 Councilman, Kerry McCormack, LAND Studio and Cleveland Public Theatre to present free professional dance, theatre and music in Lincoln Park during the month of August.

Raymond Bobgan, the Executive Artistic Director of Cleveland Public Theatre, curates the performances. This year, the Arts in August series opens with a performance by Cleveland Public Theatre’s Student Theatre Enrichment Program. The opening weekend also includes a performance of Macbeth by the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival.

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TubaSummer, the Orchestra at Blossom and Four More Classical Music Events You Should Check Out This Week

Posted By on Tue, Jul 25, 2017 at 2:03 PM

This last week of July, you have a choice between indoor and al fresco events (may the weather gods smile on concerts in the great outdoors).

On Wednesday, July 27, the Kent/Blossom Music Festival wraps up its faculty concert series in Ludwig Recital Hall on the Kent State campus with chamber music featuring Cleveland Orchestra musicians Barrick Stees, bassoon, Frank Rosenwein, oboe, and Richard Weiss, cello, with KSU professor Jerry Wong, piano. Some unusual repertoire — Villa-Lobos’s Duo for Oboe and Bassoon, Willard Elliot’s Suite of Six French Songs of the 15th Century for oboe, bassoon, and piano, and George Rochberg’s Four Short Sonatas for piano — join Brahms’s e-minor Cello Sonata on the program. Click here for ticket information.

Finnish conductor Susanna Mälkki and French pianist Bertrand Chamayou will be the guest artists for The Cleveland Orchestra’s Summers @ Severance concert on Friday, July 18. The indoor portion of the evening includes Scriabin’s Piano Concerto and Schumann’s ode to the Rhine River, his Symphony No. 3. Before and after the 7:00 pm concert, you can enjoy eats and drinks on the Severance Hall Terrace. Tickets available online.

After local performances and tours to Tanglewood and Ravinia, Apollo’s Fire takes the last two performances of its “Vivaldi’s Four Seasons Rediscovered” program to Cain Park in Cleveland Heights on Saturday, July 29 at 8:00 pm, and to the Conway Pavillion at Laurel School’s Butler Campus in Russell Township on Sunday, July 30 at 6:00 pm. Jeannette Sorrell conducts, and the evening features Vivaldi’s famous seasonal violin concertos with Olivier Brault, Susanna Perry Gilmore, and Alan Choo sharing the solos. Also on the agenda: Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Cellos with René Schiffer and Mimé Brinkmann, and the Venetian master’s “Goldfinch” Concerto with flutist Kathie Stewart. The Sunday event can include a picnic dinner (see details and reserve tickets here.)

The Cleveland Orchestra moves to Blossom on Saturday, July 29 at 8:00 pm for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 with French soloist David Fray, and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2, led by guest conductor Vasily Petrenko. Tickets available online.

The company formerly known as Opera Circle Cleveland, but now as The Cleveland Opera will present its annual Opera in the Italian Garden on Sunday, July 30 at 6:00 pm on the Upper Level of the Italian Cultural Garden, 990 East Blvd. in University Circle. Solos, duets, and ensemble numbers will be featured along with wood-fired pizza, gelato and other accompaniments. Admission to the event is free.

The University of Akron’s answer to Christmas in July events is its TubaSummer concert (the counterpart of its popular TubaChristmas). This year’s edition takes place on Sunday, July 30 at 7:00 pm on Buchtel Common on the UA campus (Guzzetta Hall in case of rain). Tucker Jolly will conduct an ensemble of tubas, sousaphones, baritone horn, and euphonium players from all over Northeast Ohio. Blankets, lawn chairs, and picnics are welcome for this free event.

For details of these and other events, visit the Concert Listings page.
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Monday, July 24, 2017

As It Faces an Uncertain Future, the Coventry PEACE Campus Hosts a Community Weekend of Events

Posted By on Mon, Jul 24, 2017 at 2:33 PM


Stating the building needs $1 million in repairs (including $750,000 for a new roof), city officials in Cleveland Heights announced plans in May to sell and redevelop the former Coventry School site, six acres in total, including the building, playground, field and sledding hill. The unexpected announcement came as quite a surprise to the building’s 11 tenants: all nonprofit organizations, such as its oldest tenant, Ensemble Theatre, and newest tenant, Artful Cleveland, which has invested $25,000 into renovating most of the building’s second floor into 18 artist studios within the past year. Ensemble Theatre estimates it has invested $40,000 to $60,000 into converting the former gymnasium into a 99-seat theatre and a kindergarten classroom into a smaller performance space. Anyone who has ever been involved with fundraising tens of thousands of dollars can attest to the “sweat equity” required to do so.

A strange time to announce plans to redevelop the property, it is the first time the site has been filled to or near capacity since the building’s conversion. The issue is complex, with valid arguments on both sides. On one hand, the city and school district find themselves in a difficult position. The 41-year-old building is not included in the CH-UH Permanent Improvement Budget, so the money for repairs would have to come from money dedicated to the district’s current school buildings. Not easy for any district, but especially one currently in the middle of extensive renovations to multiple school buildings, including its high school.

However, the abruptness of the initial announcement was troubling to both residents and the leadership of the building’s resident organizations. At first, the organizations were given month-to-month leases, but after a joint meeting between City Council and the school board, tenants successfully argued for year-long leases and requested a six-month notice to vacate after the building sells. For many of the building’s tenants, the uncertainty of month-to-month leases would most certainly hinder the organizations from scheduling a whole school year, or even a theater production beyond 30 days at any given point.
Even with their year-long leases, and even as they continue to fight to prove their value to the city while continuing their day-to-day operations, the building’s tenants must still begin to plan for the (seemingly) inevitable.

Banding together, the organizations of the Coventry School site and Coventry PEACE (People Enhancing A Community’s Environment) have rebranded themselves as the Coventry PEACE Campus. In addition to Ensemble Theatre and Artful, the site’s tenants include: Cleveland Heights High School Alumni Foundation, Connections, Coventry Village Children's Center, Family Connections, Lake Erie Ink, FutureHeights, Sherri Skedel, Urban Oak School and Wingspan.

“While we are hopeful that the future of the site could include our organizations, we are currently in a position where we are being told that we have to vacate the building no later than June 30th, 2018,” says Artful board president Brady Dindia. “This means that we all must begin searching for new locations to house our businesses. ARTFUL and Ensemble Theater have the unique issues of needing to find large, open spaces and do new build-outs in new spaces which, depending on timing, means down time for our organizations and capital campaigns. While we all expect to continue our services during this process, it is a challenge and is demanding of time and resource”

A truly grassroots effort, organizers have enlisted the help of longtime residents such as board member of Ensemble Theatre Jack Valancy, attorney and former vice mayor of Cleveland Heights Lee A. Chilcote, architect Paul Volpe and city planner Robert Brown. Both Volpe and Brown are also on FutureHeights’ board of directors. Together, the organizations are gathering information and feedback from the community and preparing a proposal of potential resolutions in advance of the city’s Request for Qualifications and Preliminary Development Proposals for redeveloping the site into a “residential/mixed-use” space with “income-producing assets.”

“With combined budgets of more than $3 million per year, Coventry School Tenants withhold payroll taxes for 82 employees. Ensemble Theatre and FutureHeights alone pay another 124 independent contractors,” Valancy told Cleveland Heights City Council at a meeting on June 5. “Coventry School Tenants engage more than 2,000 volunteers, provide direct services to more than 5,000 people, and affect close to 90,000. And then there’s the synergy with the Coventry PEACE playground and park, the Coventry branch of Heights Libraries, and the Coventry SID.”

At a July 17 City Council Meeting, Valancy shared the results of a recent survey conducted with 242 residents. According to Valancy, the survey found that 75 percent of families have used the playground equipment and participated in activities offered by the Coventry PEACE Campus tenants. Two-thirds of those surveyed said they were aware of the city’s plans to sell the site, and 96 percent felt the city should “enable a meaningful engagement of the Coventry School site redevelopment.” Also during the July 17 City Council meeting, three young ladies, Jana, Chloe and Sophia, presented 529 signatures for a petition “in support of the Coventry Playground and PEACE Park remaining an active community space for kids and adults to enjoy.” The girls helped lead a kids-organized effort to gather signatures and (hopefully) save their park.

At this uncertain time for all parties involved, the organizations host a Coventry PEACE Campus Community Weekend from Thursday, July 27, to Sunday, July 30. The most important event kicks things off on Thursday evening. At 7 p.m. on Thursday, the Cleveland Heights Community Center (1 Monticello Blvd., Cleveland Heights) hosts a City Council open forum for residents to share opinions and comments about the development of the Coventry School site with city officials. This important meeting is scheduled in anticipation of the release of a Request for Qualifications draft to be released by the city regarding the proposed development.

“We’re excited to give people from the greater Heights area a weekend filled with art, music and a chance to discuss the future of the Arts in Cleveland Heights,” says Dindia. “It’s a great opportunity for people to come out and see what all our great organizations have to offer, and what we ultimately bring to our diverse community. With the support of the wonderful merchants up and down Coventry Road, the Coventry SID, and the Coventry Branch of the Cleveland Heights Library, there will be something for everyone to enjoy and take part in. Community Weekend is a magnificent example of how local business, nonprofits, and residents can come together to add entertainment value, cultural value, and improve the overall environment of their community.
It’s a true example of PEACE - People Enhancing A Community’s Environment. And I believe all who participate will leave feeling even more proud of the part they play (and the parts these organizations play) in their community.”

Following the meeting, return to PEACE Park for a family-friendly screening of Power Rangers at 9 p.m. On Friday, all the tenants of the Coventry School Building host an open house at 7 p.m. The evening includes a free concert and happy hour in Pekar Park, as well as a performance by Swing State at the Coventry School Building. The fun continues bright-and-early at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning with playground clean-up and community picnic in PEACE Park. Bring a dish to share and enjoy activities and live music from Eve ‘N’ Stephen.

The weekend concludes with a performance by Triage and a Common Ground Community Discussion at Ensemble Theatre. In partnership with the Cleveland Foundation, this community-wide event takes place at venues throughout Cuyahoga County. Ensemble Theatre’s event discusses the future of the Coventry School site.

Organizations from throughout Cuyahoga County are partnering with the Cleveland Foundation for an unprecedented community-wide conversation at venues throughout the city. On a single day, Sunday, July 30, residents will come together to meet, share a meal, connect and discuss issues and solutions to create a better future for our shared home, or “common ground.” The biggest of these events will take place in Public Square, but additional venues include the Cleveland Metroparks Edgewater Beach House, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, the Parma-Snow Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library and many more. Local organizations and residents are encouraged to host their own meetings as well. For more information on how to join a table or host a meeting, visit All events are free, but registration for Common Ground is required.

For information on this weekend’s events, the future of the Coventry School Building and how you can get involved, visit
(Artful Cleveland) 2843 Washington Blvd.,
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Video: Here's a Teaser Trailer for "My Friend Dahmer"

Posted By on Mon, Jul 24, 2017 at 9:59 AM

"My Friend Dahmer," the feature-length film based on Derf's graphic novel of the same name, was a buzzy hit at the Tribeca film festival earlier this year and picked up a nationwide distribution deal. That won't happen til the fall but a teaser trailer for the film, which follows serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer's childhood, was released this past weekend at the San Diego Comic Con. Enjoy.

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Bring It! Live Comes to the State Theatre

Posted By on Fri, Jul 21, 2017 at 12:45 PM

The stars of Lifetime's Bring It!, Miss D and her Dancing Dolls return to the stage with the Bring It! Live 2017 summer tour.

Last year, the hip-hop majorette competition that toured theaters across the country featured "fierce, original, high-octane performances that brought motivation, inspiration and formation."

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tremont Businesses Launch the Sign Guy Instagram Scavenger Hunt Challenge

Posted By on Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 2:27 PM

Better known as the Sign Guy, Dave Witzke creates fire-breathing cats, deranged rabbits and other bright, cartoony characters that can be found around almost every corner of the west-side Cleveland neighborhood.

Originally a graffiti artist, the Sign Guy sells his work online, at local businesses and at festivals. He created the murals on Prosperity Social Club’s patio.

“What Clevelander doesn’t look forward to the weather when they can escape outside with friends on a patio?” asks Prosperity Social Club owner Bonnie Flinner in a press release. “[Witzke's] bold, playful designs make our little outdoor urban retreat that much more fun and colorful.”

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Justin Nelson Scratches Cleveland's Punk Underbelly at SPACE: ROCK

Posted By on Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 2:16 PM

  • Justin Nelson

These days social media has become the new staple-ridden telephone pole on which bands and artists can promote themselves. And with the advances in cell phone technology, Instagram has become the new gateway meat into concert photography, which is why we found newcomer Justin Nelson’s exhibition at SPACE: ROCK interesting.

Among the myriad of Instagram accounts that hold us hostage with cats, selfies, and food (don‘t you judge me), Nelson’s account @capturedcounterculture hosts his photographic journey capturing and chronicling natural elements and urban exploration with his cell phone. A couple of years ago he graduated to a digital camera after much encouragement from family, friends, and other artists.

“(Now) I always have my camera on me at shows and when I go out. Plus I can make prints with a DSLR. You can’t really do that with a phone. So I ended up getting a Nikon D3300 at the end of 2015 and immediately started taking photos of my friend’s band in their bedroom. Up until very recently I only really used my D3300 and a kit lens. I just recently purchased a D750 and a Tamron 2-70mm f/2.8 lens, which I almost broke at the most recent Fuck You Pay Me/Face Value show at Now That’s Class.”

In regard to his musical tastes he continues, “I’ve been listening to punk for a little over two years now, I went to shows every now and then, mainly SoCal indie bands. Around seven months ago I started going to punk shows at least once a week, sometimes even three if there were bands I really liked. It was both the music and chaos that kept me coming back for more and the fact that most shows are only $5, so I wasn’t breaking the bank. As for my favorite bands to shoot, well there’s a lot but FYPM always puts on a great show and the crowd always goes nuts. Another really fun band to shoot is Weed Wacker, you gotta check them out. My favorite band to shoot and see in general is The Suicide Machines. Been into them for years. Jay is all about making the crowd riled up, which are the best shows in my opinion.”

Acquiring a solo exhibition is one part talent, three parts hustle, and the rest is luck. “I had bumped into Shawn Mishak, who coordinates the gallery exhibitions for Space Rock during the Rubber Mate show at Now That’s Class a couple of months ago.” Nelson recalls. “We talked about a show and then two weeks prior to the Walk All Over Waterloo festival, he messaged me about hanging my work and that’s how this solo exhibition happened.”

The title of the exhibition is “A Deeper Look into the Underbelly of Cle’s Punk Rock Community”, and the presentation of the “underbelly” of any genre or scene is subjective. My expectation when walking into the gallery was to witness more of a photo-documentary on our punk scene in general, but Nelson chooses to hone in on the live band experience and the natural reaction of its willing participants.

For being such a young photographer with no formal training whatsoever, Nelson demonstrates a natural eye for images and composition, exposing beauty in the seemingly ugly world of punk rock. Nelson muscles right up front and into the crowd, successfully farming some extremely gritty shots that make us feel like we are in the pit; grinding and moshing with everyone else. The photo of FYPM at the Grog Shop plops us directly behind the whirling cyclone of Cleveland’s best resource: the legendary Tony Erba. Then we swing around to find ourselves crowd surfing near the stage lip at The Foundry with Wavves fans, nearly getting chucked in the dome by some dude’s Vans. Next we are sweating right alongside the bassist from Wet Brains and freaking out with the ever bizarre, beekeeper-suited Bulsch at Now That’s Class.

In some respects, Nelson reveals where he is still green. It’s unfortunate that the show is very dude-heavy and whether that is a conscious choice or not may fall under artistic license. We would liked to have seen more inclusion of all female or female led punk bands. Certainly the estrogen must represent somewhere in this town. Perhaps next go-around. Also, these pieces really scream for an expanded format. It would be refreshing to see them poster sized or even life sized. Those items aside, it is always exciting to witness a young artist (Nelson is twenty-two) at the beginning of his/her career trajectory. Justin Nelson’s work definitely shows a lot of promise and we look forward to watching his photography develop and mature.

You can slam into Cleveland’s punk rock underbelly through Sunday July 30th at Space: ROCK during their new hours: Saturdays & Sundays from 12-3pm or by appointment. The gallery is located at 15721 Waterloo Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44110. (216) 702-8358.
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