Scene & Heard

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

'Space Jam 2' Will Begin Production in 2019, Black Panther's Ryan Coogler to Produce

Posted By on Wed, Sep 19, 2018 at 3:32 PM

  • YouTube.com
LeBron James and his Springhill Entertainment have successfully enlisted Black Panther director Ryan Coogler to produce a sequel to the 1996 Michael Jordan smash hit, Space Jam. Production on the Warner Brothers film will likely begin, The Hollywood Reporter reported, in 2019.

Terence Nance, of HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness, will direct. James is now conveniently located in Los Angeles and will naturally star. He appeared in the 2015 Amy Schumer-Bill Hader rom-com Trainwreck and recently provided the voice talent for a supporting character in Smallfoot, the animated musical which opens on Sept. 28.

After LeBron saw Black Panther, he said it was one of the greatest movies he'd ever seen. But Director Ryan Coogler would have been a hot Hollywood commodity anyway — both Creed and Fruitvale Station are fantastic films. Black Panther solidified and rapidly accelerated his critical and commercial acclaim. 

Space Jam rumors have been circulating for years. But LeBron appears to be getting much more active in the entertainment arm of his empire. Just last week, THR reported, NBC and The CW announced separate shows in development with SpringHill Entertainment, which is located on the Warner Brothers lot.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported that LeBron and Maverick Carter have been "waiting for the right situation" to go ahead with production. 

“The Space Jam collaboration is so much more than just me and the Looney Tunes getting together and doing this movie,” James told THR, “It's so much bigger. I'd just love for kids to understand how empowered they can feel and how empowered they can be if they don't just give up on their dreams. And I think Ryan [Coogler] did that for a lot of people.”

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Lakewood City Council Proposes Ordinance Banning Conversion Therapy on LGBTQ+ Youth

Posted By on Wed, Sep 19, 2018 at 2:01 PM

  • Scene Archives
File this one under "How was this not already a thing?"

Lakewood Ward 4 City Councilman, Daniel J. O'Malley, introduced an ordinance banning conversion therapy in minors. For those unaware, conversion therapy is a pseudoscientific practice of trying to change an individual's sexual orientation from LGBTQ+ to heterosexual or cisgender using psychological or spiritual interventions.

"We've seen some really tragic examples of how conversion therapy has impacted LGBT youth," O'Malley told Cleveland.com. "There was a very sad story out of Cincinnati a few years ago where a transgender girl committed suicide. One of her last things she was able to convey was that she was in conversion therapy."

O'Malley was referencing to the death of Leelah Alcorn, whose suicide in 2014 sparked national outrage as Alcorn arranged for her suicide note to be posted on her blog several hours after her death. Petitions were formed calling for the establishment of "Leelah's Law", a ban on conversion therapy in the U.S., which received a supportive response from U.S. President Barack Obama. Cincinnati has since criminalized conversion therapy.

Despite the overwhelming amount of factual evidence showing that conversion therapy is ineffective as well as its condemnation from the American Psychological Association, it's a practice still supported by people like Trump's Vice President, Mike Pence.

O'Malley noted that the response to the conversion therapy ban has been positive, with many Lakewood residents unaware that Ohio therapists were even practicing the psychological torture moonlighting as "therapy."

"I'm not aware of any who are practicing in Lakewood; however, we want to send a very clear message that this activity would not be welcome here," O'Malley told Cleveland.com. "In fact, it would be illegal if this ordinance passes."

For those who still don't understand, science recognizes that being LGBTQ+ is a part of the natural spectrum of human identity and is not classified as a disease, disorder or illness.

Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Maryland and Washington all have statewide bans against conversion therapy. Ohio does not have a statewide ban, but some municipalities are passing legislation to protect their communities. Lakewood is hoping to be the next one.

O'Malley expects a hearing in the next month or so, and expects the ordinance to pass as he believes it to be in line with the city's 2016 comprehensive non-discrimination LGBTQ+ ordinance.

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George Forbes, Champion of a Free and Independent Press?, To be Celebrated by Western Reserve Historical Society

Posted By on Wed, Sep 19, 2018 at 1:05 PM

George Forbes chilling before his official remarks, (9/19/18). - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
  • George Forbes chilling before his official remarks, (9/19/18).
"Without a free and strong media, the country would deteriorate overnight," said former Cleveland City Council President George Forbes Wednesday morning. "I recognize that now, and I recognized that when I was in public office. If we don't have a strong press, democracy couldn't exist."

The statement was a surprise coming from Forbes, whose famously hostile relationship with the press was plastered on Cleveland front pages through the 1980s, a decade through which he reigned over City Council with an iron fist. His relationship with the media was so strained, he said, because reporters and editors were always trying to tell him what to do.

"And I figured I knew more about what I was doing than you did," he said.

Forbes, who seldom appears in public these days, offered brief remarks Wednesday at the Western Reserve Historical Society as part of a media presentation to promote a weekend of events in October that will celebrate Forbes' life and legacy. WRHS President & CEO Kelly Falcone-Hall observed in an introduction that those who "truly understand Cleveland history" know that Forbes was "by far the most powerful" individual who ever presided over City Council. 

"He's a political giant," she said, "a Cleveland icon."

The weekend of Oct. 13-14 will include a big-ticket ($150) dinner and salute to Forbes, with proceeds benefiting the history center's African American archives. Sunday, Oct. 14, WRHS will open its doors to the community for a daylong celebration, (12-5 p.m.).

Forbes has also donated his personal papers to the museum. Forbes' daughter, Helen Forbes-Fields, who's chairing the celebration committee alongside her sisters and a Who's Who of public and private dignitaries, quoted her father in a statement.

"It is my hope that the legacy of my works and dreams for the city of Cleveland, and the upliftment of black people in particular, can be used as a catalyst for positive growth, in my community and beyond," she read. 

In follow-up questions, WRHS told Scene that Forbes' papers are currently being processed and inventoried, so it's still unknown what all is included among them. Once the processing is complete, the material will be accessible in the research library and organized in an online catalog.

Forbes spoke only briefly. He expressed his gratitude to WRHS and said he'd save his reminiscing for the event on Oct. 13. He admitted that he's lost a step, and part of the reason he so rarely makes public appearances anymore is because he knows he's not as sharp as he once was and doesn't want to embarrass himself. It was during a Q&A that he was asked about his relationship with the media.

"We had a combative relationship," he said, and went on to describe a meeting with former Plain Dealer publisher and editor Tom Vail regarding reporters covering local politics. "I said, sometimes they get it right, sometimes they get it wrong, and sometimes I fool them. It wasn't something that was deep-seated, it just happened. You win today, tomorrow I win. And we call it square. I think you all enjoyed it, and so did I. Let me say this: The Plain Dealer went out of business the moment I left City Hall."

Forbes' longtime friend and Chief of Staff (from 1983-1989), Jon Ferrell, spoke as well. In a moving tribute, he said that out of the public spotlight, Forbes was one of the most open and approachable leaders he'd ever known.

"Most of you know him a little differently," Ferrell said. "There was always a flame raging just beneath the surface within him. But it's constantly misinterpreted. It's an impatient and often frustrated demand for justice, dignity and equality.... He said what needed to be said long before people were ready to hear it."

Ferrell recalled that through Forbes' advocacy and stubbornness, 20 percent of construction jobs during the downtown construction boom spawned by generous tax abatements were promised for black people. Even though the city had no leverage to negotiate with BP, in Ferrell's account of the BP Tower meetings, Forbes remained adamant about the diversity requirement.

"Doing the difficult, ugly, thankless work," said Ferrell, "is the vastly underappreciated hallmark of his legacy. If you question my use of the word legacy, would any major firm today dare to invest in Cleveland without including community economic benefits in its proforma? The answer is no."

(Ferrell would certainly do well to ask the Greater Cleveland Congregations about community economic benefits.) 

Former Councilman Benny Bonnano also spoke. He marveled at Forbes' ability to deal so firmly with an unruly city legislature during an era of boisterous personalities.

"Think about it," Bonnano said. "He had to deal with me, Jeff Johnson, Dennis Kucinich, Mike Polensek. It was like herding cats. It was just impossible to get [anything] done. But George did."

Benny Bonnano, reminiscing, (9/19/18). - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
  • Benny Bonnano, reminiscing, (9/19/18).

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Another Adorable Baby Rhino Makes Debut at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Posted By on Wed, Sep 19, 2018 at 11:36 AM

  • Photo via Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
For the first time baby zoo animal fans were able to see the newest addition to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo strolling with her mom in her habitat this morning.

Born last month to Eastern black rhino Inge, who was pregnant about 16 months, the new calf joined the park's other rhino born this year, Lulu.

"We're very excited to welcome our second eastern black rhino calf born here at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo this year," Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Executive Director Christopher Kuhar said at the time. "We hope these significant births inspire guests to learn more about this critically endangered species and how they can help protect eastern black rhinos in the wild."

After about a month's time getting situated with her mother, the new calf is now being shown to the public. Watch this morning's release below:  Like many of the other animals born at the zoo, there is a contest to name the new calf. Those who donate money to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's Future For Wildlife Fund can choose between the following names: Dalia (meaning flower), Nia (meaning purpose) or Zina (meaning free spirit). All voting ends Sept. 30 at midnight. Donate and vote right here.

For those who can't get enough, view the zoo's live rhino camera right here

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We Made a New Twitter Account So You Can Actually Follow What Cleveland.com Publishes Every Day

Posted By on Wed, Sep 19, 2018 at 11:02 AM

If you, like us here at Scene, follow Cleveland.com's social media feeds in search of local news and reporting and have, like us, found yourself flummoxed this year as their Twitter account largely stopped posting Cleveland.com articles and instead devolved into a useless dumping ground of stories from The Dodo, twice-daily pictures of the Cleveland skyline with insightful text like, "Isn't this photo amazing!! [rainbow emoji] [sun emoji] [heart eyes emoji]," and ghoulishly offensive and ignorant questions, all posted in a voice more at home in a chain-email than in a major media outlet, and all posted in the hopes of meeting some arbitrary and dumb quotient for AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT, then we might have something you'll be interested in.

Give a follow to @ClevelandBotCom, a Twitter account we created that will only tweet links to what Cleveland.com and the Plain Dealer publish every day, based on the site's RSS feed.

In a perfect world, we'd be smarter and we'd build a script that would only tweet stories from certain authors, but such is life. So yes, you'll still see all the hottest Walking Dead garbage and Best Cheddar Mashed Potato Contest summaries, but at least you'll also get the freshest local news on crime, courts, education, culture, politics, the statehouse and City Hall instead of a call out to say nasty shit to a professional athlete who happened to not have a very good Sunday kicking a football.

As a bonus, you'll forever get to bypass their recently redesigned homepage, which is pure digital diarrhea. 

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Data Reveals Cleveland is One of the Least Welcoming Cities For Immigrants

Posted By on Wed, Sep 19, 2018 at 10:29 AM

  • ICE

In news that will surprise exactly no one, Cleveland is one of the least welcoming cities in America for immigrants, according to a new study released by advocacy organization the New American Economy.

Cleveland ranked at No. 64 (compared to say, Detroit's No. 10) on NAE's Cities Index, which measures local policies and socioeconomic outcomes across the 100 largest cities in the United States. Cleveland earned a 2.78 out of 5 overall.

Our below-the-bottom-half score is due in large part to Cleveland's lack of inclusivity and job opportunities, both categories scoring the lowest possible 1. We were commended for an affordable cost of living as well as economic empowerment for immigrants when we actually do give them jobs, but Ohio's cities were some of the worst of the bunch.

For reference, Columbus ranked No. 70 and Toledo is all the way down at No. 80. Cincinnati, however, is extremely immigrant friendly, earning the No. 18 spot.

The data also reveals how immigrant born individuals fare against U.S. born citizens across a variety of classifications. For example, 79.6 percent of all eligible U.S. born citizens have a high-school diploma, compared to 70.4 percent of immigrants living in the U.S. There are actually more immigrants that own homes in Cleveland than there are U.S. born homeowners (42.3 percent compared to 41.9 percent).

Also surprising probably no one, their are more foreign-born people living in the United States with higher education degrees and less immigrants utilizing social services like welfare, social security, medicaid or food stamps. Meanwhile, high-skilled, foreign-born individuals are experiencing disproportionately higher rates of poverty, at 34.1 percent, compared to the U.S. born rate of 11.6 percent.

For those that don't like math, the data shows immigrants have a higher level of education than most U.S. born citizens and are not living off of tax dollars that go toward public assistance. For those unaware, immigrants also pay billions of dollars in taxes every single year, even those that are undocumented. If anything, there are more immigrants paying for U.S. born citizens to receive public aide than the other way around.

You can see the full study, including methodology, here.

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Giant Eagle Decides Not to Press Charges Against Employee Who Ate $9,200 of Deli Meat Over 8 Years

Posted By on Wed, Sep 19, 2018 at 10:19 AM

  • Wikimedia Commons
Last week we told you about the Giant Eagle worker accused of consuming $9,200 worth of sliced ham and salami over the course of eight years while working the deli counter.

Whether or not the employee has been terminated has not been revealed, but according to Tuscarawas County Prosecutor Ryan Styer, Giant Eagle’s management had told his office on Tuesday that the business was not interested in seeing the employee prosecuted. "Even if a theft charge had been pursued, accusing the employee of a felony would have been overkill," Styer told the Canton Repository.

The employee was reported to snacked their way through almost a decade at the store at 11031 state Route 212 NE in Lawrence Township. She admitted the pilferage on Sept. 7 after the Giant Eagle loss prevention manager received a tip about the employee nibbling on the goods.

According to Glassdoor, when factoring in bonuses and additional compensation, a meat cutter at Giant Eagle can expect to make an average yearly salary of $28,365.

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