As we all know, it is particularly important these days to spend our few disposable meager dollars wisely and, whenever possible, locally. This weekend I did my best to hold true to that. I think I did a pretty decent job.
I've been looking forward to this past weekend for quite some time, both for the opportunity it provided to support some of the cultural/commercial institutions I'm fond of and to get my holiday shopping finished.
Friday I hit up Day 1 of the Asterisk auction, buying some great lamps and tables outright and placing introductory bids on a half-dozen or so pieces. I had been grumping about during the afternoon and had all but made up my mind to make it a quick trip in and out of Tremont, but I ended up sticking around the gallery for longer than expected and when I finally left, before I got to my car I got a call from a friend in the neighborhood that wanted to meet up for dinner. I decided to go for it and hit up the new cupcake place and Visible Voice while I was waiting. The ladies at the cupcake place were super sweet (which bodes well for the baked goods) and the dudes at Visible Voice not only tipped me off on the new Cleveland brewery I mentioned yesterday, but also called and found out what the new special sandwich of the month for December is at Melt when it came up in conversation.
When I met up with my friend and his wife, we drove around the neighborhood for a while before deciding to grab dinner at Fat Cats. By the time we settled on that choice, we were in the wrong corner of Tremont, and when I went to pull a u-turn, we caught sight of the new gourmet chocolate and beer store, where we made a quick stop, snagging 6-packs and chocolates before getting back on the road to dinner.
Dinner was nice, especially in terms of the company. It was a relaxed, pleasurable meal, with lots of laughs and good conversation. We stuck around a while after settling the check, probably to our server's chagrin, but I think we made it up to him on the tip.
Saturday I ventured over to Waterloo, where I enjoyed a cup of coffee and some nice chit-chattery with the fine folks at Music Saves and Shoparooni as I bought a couple christmas gifts. I also came to the realization that my sister is the only "cool" person I'm buying presents for, and as much as I might like to, I don't think the rest of my family will appreciate the idea of me just spending all my money on cool things for her since all they want are gift cards to places where I refuse to buy them. After Waterloo Road I hit some other east side stops and finally made it back to the home hood. I didn't feel like going home, for whatever reason, so I grabbed my latest road book and went into Pub on Lee for a Christmas Ale.
(Note of explanation: By "road book" I am referring to the book I always have stashed in my car, in case I find myself waiting for something and pining for the written word. They are usually short, of topical interest, and of the nature where you can go a few weeks between cracking covers without losing to much of the point. Currently, the road book du jour is Robert Conquest's classic Stalin and the Kirov Murder, which is quite amazing.)
Although my firm intent was to have one beer and then go home, when I was at the end of the first beer I realized I still had a half-chapter to go and figured I'd drink another. When that one was down to the dregs I was in the middle of an interesting conversation with the manager and another patron about Civil War prisons, by the end of Christmas Ale #3 the conversation was still riveting, though the topic had changed to assassination attempts against Hitler. I was in a stupor after #4 and managed to disengage from the bar stool. I then went home, watched sappy movies about teen pregnancy, and blogged nonsense before having a cute long phone call with an ex from college that never seems to disappear from my life (which is a nice thing).
Today I woke up, did some work at home, and then went to meet a friend for brunch at the Beachland Ballroom. The Beachland brunch is a wonderful thing, though everyone I try to convince of this thinks I'm crazy. I truly believe its menu competes with any other in town, with the added bonus that there is never a wait YET there is always a cool person or three spinning excellent tunes. Today I had a lovely coconut risotto with grilled apples and pears, a billion cups of coffee, and a crazy agua fresca concoction. After eating, my friend and I (and her friend) popped into Shoparooni (again), where I dropped $80 on the print I'd almost purchased the day before and six bucks on some killer old man soap.
Next, we crossed the city and hit up Bazaar Bizarre. It was my first time in the former American Greetings complex, and that place is such a cool use of post-industrial space. The bazaar event was cool, and I was able to snag most of my remaining gifts, including a cool neck-tie clutch purse for my hipster sister, a t-shirt for my hard-rock lovin' brother, a pendant thing for my mom that was purple enough that she'll wear it and funky enough that I didn't mind buying it for her, and a repurposed old work shirt for my trendster other brother.
After the bazaar I hit up Tremont again to see which items I had successfully bid upon at the Asterisk fundraiser. Turns out I was almost entirely shut out, but the one piece I did win was a cool mid-sized painting by Dana Depew that is already proudly hanging in my hall corridor. I also got a great price on a piece held over from the previous show, now gracing the wall above my sofa (or, rather, Smelly's sofa, as she's the one that sits on it). After leaving the gallery (but not before doing my best to help Dana lighten the keg of Labatt Blue in the entryway), I decided to pick up a sandwich for home at the delicious place across the street from Visible Voice. Natch, it was closed, as it has been every time I've tried to go in the last few months. Perhaps it is out of business? If it isn't, it will be soon with its hard-to-predict service hours, though I digress. I stuck out with the sandwich shop, but since I'd already parked I figured I'd stop into the new record store that has opened in Tremont. This didn't make a lot of sense, as I am not exactly an owner of a record player, but fuck it, right? I went in, very quickly perused the limited CD section, and then snagged a couple art-zines and indie comic books, including the best titled thing I've seen since Jonathan Lethem's You Don't Love Me Yet: "Every Girl Is the End of the World For Me" by Jeffrey Brown. While I was checking out and talking to the owner dude about cool Houston neighborhoods, I got a text from a friend saying she thought she just passed me in Tremont. Twas I, I responded, and we scheduled a quick impromptu brew session at a nearby watering hole. It was a nice, unexpected event, and I enjoyed the hour.
Eventually I made my way home, poorer by quite a bit but in possession of some nice gifts and some great work by talented local artists. As the weekend closes out, I feel like I accomplished my goals, both in terms of crossing things of my shit-to-get list and also putting a small amount of cash back in the hands of some of the folks that make Cleveland as good of a place to live as it is.
4 weeks ago