Sunday, October 14, 2007

Saturday on the West Side, Sunday on the East Side

The other night, while quaffing an evening brew at the Duck Island Club, I had the good fortune to meet Mike, an interesting dude and one of the founders of a local glass-blowing coop, the Glass Bubble Project (GBP). A couple mornings later, I was taking Ellie on her morning constitutional, and I encountered Mike and his friend taking a walk of their own. I received another invitation to drop by his studio and, as I haven't made any real friends in Cleveland yet, decided to take him up on it.

Yesterday, I finally had a free day, so after grabbing a cup of coffee and sharing appendectomy stories for a few minutes at Talkies and visiting the crumpled paper edifice that is West 25th Books, I walked down the block to the GBP. I was greeted their by as much cheer and material kindness as I have experienced since my first day as a stock clerk at University Liquors (read into that what you will).

Simply put, I had a blast hanging out with the various artists and other talented folks hanging about. The vibe is relaxed and the set-up there is about as home-grown rigged as could be, but they have a full-fledged furnace roaring and innumerable beautiful pieces filling every nook and cranny. Eventually, I looked at my watch and realized it was nearly 6 PM, and that I'd spent more than 3 hours drinking beers and chatting about anything from birds to dating to whether it would be appropriate for a resident of Indiana to be involved in setting higher ed policy in Ohio to why federal government employees used to be called g-men and why they aren't anymore to whether the Elliot Ness story was true or just a myth to much more I don't remember. I do remember putting down a $2 deposit on a painting, though I don't remember what the painting looked like -- there was some blue in it, I think.

Some time during the rambling afternoon, one of the ladies at Lelolai Bakery came by and dropped of some awesome Cuban sandwiches .... for free. It took quite a while for it to sink in to the assembled folks that these sandwiches were indeed for us and that we did not need to spend money on them.

After I gathered my wits and returned home, I took a brief nap, and then woke up to find the Indians-Red Sox game notched at 6 in the top of the 7th. I trudged to the fridge, poured my V.I. Lenin coffee mug full with cherry coke (no ice) and settled down to watch the end of Game 2 of the ALCS. About a billion and a half hours later, the Indian offense exploded, scoring more runs in the top of the 11th than they had in all the previous innings combined. The Red Sox couldn't match the output in their half and the Indians emerged from the marathon contest tied with Boston, heading back to the Jake for three home games.

Shortly after two am, I headed back for bed, doing a celebratory happy dance with Ellie and turning on Coast to Coast AM so I could fall asleep to the husky tones of George Noory and all the crazed truck-drivers calling in to share their thoughts on aliens, cloning, the Tri-lateral commission and all sorts of good stuff. Unfortunately, it was the voice of Ian Punnett, not George, I was greeted with, and the program was about survival in a post-apocalyptic world. I think I managed to hold on for 15 or 20 minutes before drifting of to a slumber filled with dreams that seemed to merge scenes from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, Close Encounters, and Major League...

... around 9 AM my alarm went off, reminding me to take the train to the east side and meet up with another Mike, this one the editor of the newly-resurgent Cleveland Reader, an independent rag and poetry zine I'm interested in helping out with on the side. We met up at Algebra Tea House, this funky little cafe on Murray Hill in Little Italy. I'd not been there before, though I walked past Murray Hill once on my way to the Cleveland Museum of Art. Little Italy is really cool, it reminds me a lot of Tremont, and I figure the more time I spend over there, the more I'll like it.

It was cool hanging out with Mike and another local musician-type named John. Another few hours of rousing conversation, featuring mostly the impossibility of solving the homeless problem without making any difficult policy choices, the whorishness of the Clintons, the utter lack of sympathy OR empathy of the Reaganites, the relationship between art and the cyclical nature of urban neighborhood surges and declines, and how pretty the girls in Little Italy are. Eventually, it was time for this young man to once again go west, and after a quick stop at Dave's Supermarket, I came home to feed my dog-der and rescue her from her loneliness.

I'd thought of going to the LanguageFoundry and catching the Sunday Film Series showing this evening, but their selections were a bit too out-there to convince me to make the 20-minute hike and, besides, there's another baseball game to sweat. It just wouldn't be right not to sit and watch, in real time, the D-backs lose for me.

No comments: