Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Week ahead, 11/15-11/21 (Surviving Hurricane Olivia edition)

Last time, I wrote about how I'd finally wrapped my mind around the weather turning cold and staying cold. Naturally, we were rewarded with a weekend of pretty great temps, considering we are well into November. I'm not gonna complain about that - I'll NEVER complain about nice weather in November (or December, January, February, March, and certainly not April). But I can tell I'm psychologically prepared for the winter. I've found myself desiring the slower pace of Cleveland winter. I've also found myself stocking up on winter goods, from pierogies to crock pot-friendly recipes. And, most of all, I've found myself making excuses to take mini-road trips to places like Columbus, Kent, and Oberlin - places that are nothing to get to in the nice weather, but seemingly impossible once the winter garbage tumbles down our way.

In the hopes of getting yet another nice week (my handy-dandy iphone weather app shows that to be pretty likely, actually), I'm gonna be taking in a few more cool events. I'm also gonna be home with my new puppy and her big sister, beloved Smelly Ellie. Things have been going well on that front ... to an extent. Olivia seems reasonably well house-broken, she's a snuggly cuddler that sleeps through the night, and Ellie is somewhere between tolerant and affectionate towards her. Unfortunately, she has the behavioral skills of what you'd expect from Paris Hilton's toddler and the attention span of a mentally deficient gnat. We are working on that, but progress has been heretofore nonexistent. Keep your fingers crossed for us. Please.

Sunday, 11/15 - Today's decision is easy. If you've been around Cleveland any length of time, you've heard word of the semi-famous Cleveland shit surfers. That's what I call them anyway. I first heard of them when a sarcastic former colleague emailed me this NYT article a couple months before I moved up here. (This was the same colleague who emailed me news of how the Indians first several home games in 2007 had been moved to Milwaukee because Progressive Field, then Jacobs Field, was buried in snow). Later, the surfers took a star turn on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations program (check out this video, about 6 1/2 minutes in), and plans to make a film about the intrepid souls took shape.

Fast-forward to today, and that film, Out of Place, has been completed. (Check out this Scene article for more on the background of the film.) More than just completed, it has experienced a festival premiere recently and already reached award winning status, taking home the Audience Award for Best Feature at the 2009 New York Surf Film Festival.

Following that triumphant introduction to the cinema world, the filmmakers are back in Cleveland and looking to the future. TODAY they host a benefit event at the Beachland Ballroom. There will be select outtakes from the film and live music by The Barn Owls and The All Golden, both bands are featured on the film soundtrack. The event will include a raffle with items donated by local artists and businesses. The grand prize is a new surfboard by shaper and Ohio native Vince Labbe. Proceeds from the raffle go toward costs for post production and marketing. The filmmakers are seeking distribution and hope to follow in the footsteps of releases like Dogtown and Z Boys, Riding Giants, and Step Into Liquid; popular genre films with crossover appeal that became top selling documentaries. Admission is free, and doors open at 5pm.

Monday, 11/16 - Debut novelist, Austin Ratner, visits Cleveland to talk about his recent book, The Jump Artist. I've been reading this book in bits and pieces over the last week or so, and while I'm not finished, I can tell you it is an amazing and artfully told story, all the more fascinating (and harrowing) because it is based on a true pre-WWII event. The tale of a wrongfully persecuted, prosecuted, and imprisoned son falsely accused of murdering his father, The Jump Artist presents the fictionalized account of Philippe Halsman, a renowned photographer who took shots of individuals from Salvador Dali to JFK, and, as a young man in interwar Austria, had his life forever changed by an anti-Semitic kangaroo court. Ratner's talk takes place at 7:30 PM at Temple-Tifereth Israel in Beachwood as part of the Mandel Center's Festival of Jewish Books and Authors.

Tuesday, 11/17 - tba

Wednesday, 11/18 - Couple cool things on my radar for tonight, and both deal with rock. At 5:30 PM, eminent historian Dr. Scott Reynolds Nelson will give a lecture titled "The Death of John Henry & the Birth of Rock & Roll." The event takes place on CSU's campus in Parker-Hannifin Hall and is brought to you by CSU's Center for Public History & Digital Humanities.

Later, once your synapses are firing on full power thanks to the intellectual caliber of Nelson's discussion, head over to the Grog Shop for some real deal rock & roll, courtesy the Meat Puppets and Kent's Beaten Awake, whose latest Fat Possum-released album, Thunder$troke has been garnering critical favorability nationwide.

Thursday, 11/19 - While you could do worse than catching Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers at the HOB Cambridge Room or tremendous writer Neal Bascomb read at Anshe Chesed Fairmont Temple in Beachwood (part of the same Jewish Books & Authors series as the aforementioned Ratner lecture) or hear Helena Mesa, Allison Titus, and Mathias Svalina read their work at a CSU Poetry Center event, I don't think you can do better tonight than by visiting the newly remodeled and reopened in the surging Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood. The evening is being programmed by the CIA Cinematheque's amazing John Ewing who, in back-to-back films first goes old, with a much-lauded 1927 Buster Keaton comedy (The General) and then follows it up with hyper-modern Nights & Weekends, a film starring and directed by one of CB's favorite film directors, Joe Swanberg.

Friday, 11/20 - Today is a day for famous people, or at least as famous as I ever care to spend money on. Depending on your preferred medium, you can go with the rock and catch J Mascis and Dinosaur JR (one of CB's top 5 all time favorite bands) at the Grog Shop OR you can go with the flicks and catch Crispin Hellion Glover (star of one of my all time favorite films, The River's Edge) live and in person at the Cinematheque as he screens two of his challenging art films. Either way, you can't lose.

Saturday, 11/21 - So many cool things going down today, I don't know where to start. I guess I'll go chronological:

8 AM - 11 AM - Tremont Taphouse hosts a breakfast fundraiser for Secondhand Mutts. Twelve bucks gets you all you can eat pancakes, scrambled eggs, coffee, and OJ, and the bar will be open if you want to peruse the joint's fine beer list. All that, plus you'll get to assuage your Catholic/Jewish/Protestant/Agnostic/whatever guilt by supporting the recovery of a darling little dog with a very sad story named Scramble. (Click here and scroll down to find a photo of Scramble, along with her backstory.) Secondhand Mutts and Gateway Animal Clinic have been working to ensure Scramble's recovery, but she still has a way to go, even though the vet bills are quickly approaching the thousand-dollar range. So what do you say? Do a good deed AND get as many pancakes as you can handle? I'm in.

4 PM - The Grog Shop hosts the first annual Cleveland Grindhouse Film Festival. Check out my recent Month in Film post for more info on this and other cinematic events around the CLE this November.

7 PM - Your's Truly, CB, takes his turn at hosting the Rank & File Film Series at Low Life Gallery. The film to be screened is tba, though if you feel tempted to join us (fyi - you should), shoot me an email ( and I'll give you a heads up on what I'm leaning towards bringing.

9 PM - Keep it going Cleveland Bachelor style and hit the Beachland (just mere steps down Waterloo Road) for the CLEVELAND BACHELOR SHOW OF THE MONTH. Norman, Oklahoma's Evangelicals are headlining the night, and after their last two albums (and the teaser for the next one), the evening promises to be a super-fine one. See you there!

Other stuff to keep your eye on the following week:
- 11/25 - Grace Potter & the Nocturnals w/ Brett Dennen @ HOB
- 11/25 - This Way Out 4th Anniversary Party (feat. Founding Fathers) @ Beachland
- 11/27 - Black Keys headline Alfred McMoore memorial event @ Akron Musica
- 11/28 - Genghis Con 2009 @ Beachland
- 11/28 - True Value Vintage Show opening @ The Pop Shop (Lakewood)
- 11/28 - Beeswax screens at CIA Cinematheque
- 11/29 - Beachland Brunch feat. DJ Lawrence Daniel Caswell

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