Wednesday, February 24, 2010

CB Q/A #33: Brian Kelly of So Cow

The February CB show of the month is officially here and to celebrate, I have a fun interview to share with Brian Kelly, frontman of headlining act So Cow. A world traveler not yet weary, Kelly writes songs that are equal parts silly and sardonic and then drenches them in a dual coating of open mic melody and noise pop fuzz. His perspective is delightful and engaging, which you'll see in the Q&A below as we talk about his home bases in Ireland and South Korea, his dream openers and covers to play, and his plans for the new year.

1) Do your find your music influenced in key ways by either of the nations you are most intimately attached, Ireland and South Korea?

I don't think the music is specifically attached to those places, though there'd probably be a difference if I recorded in, I don't know, Finland in the middle of December. A few more minor chords, maybe. I lived in the middle of Seoul and on Saturday nights it looked all space age and stuff, so I'd walk around with my mp3 player listening to other bands, thinking I was getting inspired. Probably not though as I'd be too busy privately rocking out. Ireland doesn't really inspire anything, except for maybe seeing girls I used to like on the bus.

2) What are your plans for 2010?

Touring, pretty much. US, then EU, then UK, then US/Canada, then Ireland, then US, then EU. I'm hoping to release some 7" singles too, fairly regularly. But yeah, sweating too much on stage is the plan.

3) Say it was your birthday and you could headline your dream bill. Who would open for you?

If I could have two bands, I'd have Nobunny and...lemme think. Right now, Christmas Island. Of course, if this was a "living or dead" scenario, it'd be The Beatles, just to see if I could bother my arse raising my game.

4) I like that you embrace the idea of covering songs by other artists. Any songs out their you haven't tried your hand at yet that you are itching to do?

I really want to do this song by The Chills called Learn To Try was on a compilation of unreleased songs, all live versions. It sounds amazing though I have no idea what the lyrics are as it seems to have been recorded in a mic in someone's pocket. I'd like to cover the entire Kim Jung Mi album 'Now' at some point. I've done one of the songs already so need to get around to the other 9.

5) What was the experience like distributing your music in the US?

Fairly painless. Before I hooked up with TTT, I would just mail CDs out to anyone who wanted them for about $7. It's a bit easier now, thank christ.

6) Any memorable previous Cleveland experiences?

I played Tower 2012 two years ago...met Uno Lady and folks, got bladdered, someone called me Micky McMickMick and I ended up in a weird altercation with someone brandishing a Budweiser bottle. Last year I played Now That's Class, during a Cleveland Browns play off game...the Browns are the basketball team, right? Anyway, LeBron James was doing amazing work on the court and most people watched that instead.

To meet Brian and the rest of So Cow, be sure to hit the Beachland Tavern TONIGHT. Tickets are only $7, doors open at 8:30, and opening acts Shiny Penny and do their thing starting at about 9. If you go and dig the show so much you find yourself wishing you had some sort of concert memento, let me know. I still have a small number of posters left and would be happy to give you one. In the meantime, feast your eyes on the digital recreation of John G's handiwork below. Finally, if you skipped over that video posted above, go back and watch it. The music is good but the developments are quite bizarre and brilliant.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Video Reminder

Just a reminder that the February Cleveland Bachelor Show of the Month is coming up THIS WEDNESDAY at the Beachland Ballroom.

So Cow, the effort by Irish native and South Korean resident Brian Kelly, has been getting a hugely warm embrace by both crowds and critics here stateside, and Wednesday's show promises to be something special. Check out the video below of one of Kelly's performances, and then feast your eyes on John G's artwork for the show poster.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Winter Survival Milestone

Across America, a little a snap just went back into the spirit of millions of baseball enthusiasts and winter doldrums sufferers alike.


Because today marks the first day that pitchers and catchers can voluntarily report to spring training!

Sure, volunteers at the rest of the position won't get there for another week or so and the mandatory reporting deadline isn't till early March, but the fact is that we are at the start of the slippery slope and from here on out, the warmth of Goodyear AZ, where our Indians make camp, will wind its way to Cleveland.

The trip northward for the eventual summery climes may be long and seemingly endless, but between now and that first day we realized we've overdressed for now nonexistent cold there are other milestones, like the first Spring Training game (March 5th at Cincinatti), St Patrick's Day, and the plethora of ever-stale journalistic observations of the lion/lamb nature of March's alpha and omega.

In short, we'll get there. We already almost have.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Celluloid Bachelor #57: Small Black "Despicable Dogs"

There is a lot happening under the surface of this video. That much I'm certain of. What it is that is happening, well, I don't know. The only person who probably does is Small Black frontman Josh Kolenik, whose uncle is the aging surfer featured in the video.

The film itself is brilliant and carries in its nearly four minute runtime as much emotional energy as any feature length film. Director Yoonha Park certainly deserves credit for much of that. It leaves me wanting to know more, especially how Josh's uncle, Matt, feels about his life, and how Josh and his friends feel about Matt's life. I could watch this again and again and probably will.

I'll also be paying attention to Kolenik and Ryan Heyner, the other founding member of Small Black, who earned a little bit of buzz last summer when this track was released as part of the duo's eponymous 2009 EP debut. Since then, they've been signed by indie heavy hitters Jagjaguwar and, as such, are poised for great things, including the late April release of a remastered and expanded version of the aforementioned EP. Currently, the band is prepping for a month-long tour which will take them through Detroit, but sadly not Cleveland as they make their way around the country before settling back in Brooklyn to make more music with new members Juan Pieczanski and Jeff Curtin.

Small Black: Despicable Dogs from Yoonha Park on Vimeo.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Headline Says It All

From the AP Wire/

Monks want to turn Ohio hooker motel into retreat

A group of monks wants to turn an Ohio motel once used by a prostitution ring into a religious retreat.

Monks from the Syro-Russian Orthodox Catholic Church have opened the Monastery Inn, offering low-cost housing and outreach services in what had been the Canfield Colonial Motel. The monks' leader, Bishop Timothy, says the group eventually hopes to turn the inn and surrounding acreage into a religious retreat.

Police say the motel and a sister property were used for a prostitution ring. The former owner pleaded guilty last month to promoting prostitution and will be sentenced early next month.

The monks gathered with business leaders Thursday for an official ribbon cutting in Canfield, 60 miles southeast of Cleveland.

Last Chance!!!

I'll make it simple: today is the last day you can get in on this opportunity to help out some fellow Clevelanders in serious need while scoring for yourself a John G limited edition.

See this post for more info.

Celluloid Bachelor #56: Nicole Simone "Melt"

OK, this is gonna be a analogistic stretch, but the beginning of the video makes me think of Cormac McCarthy's The Road, with its rural western wanderings and occasional romantic flashbacks, but trading in the cannibals for some Jessica Rabbit-style va-va-va-voom. Later, during the final 2/3 of the video, I'm struck with memories of watching on-demand "True Blood" episodes from my cold and bare old apartment in Cleveland Heights with the slinky meets southern charm. And, yes, the Jessica Rabbit name drop continues to resonate.

Even if you don't grant me the pop culture nods mentioned above, you'll surely acknowledge that Nicole Simone drips sexiness in a classic way as much as anyone in the indie scene today and that filmmaker Abazar Khayami integrates influences like Wim Wenders and Jean-Luc Godard in a way that provides a gulp-inducing counterpoint to Simone's aura.

For those bitten by the Simone bug, her debut EP drops March 9th via Crystal Ship Music. Expect equal parts Billie Holiday, David Lynch, Frederic Chopin, and Howlin' Wolf, as well as a helping hand on one track from screen star and musician Jason Schwartzman on banjo and drums.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Celluloid Bachelor #55: Post Harbor "Shirakashi"

Today's video comes to us courtesy of Seattle-based Post Harbor. Representing a track off the just released They Can't Hurt You If You Don't Believe In Them, this Keith Telfeyan-directed video is as brilliant as it is apt for the foreboding beauty of the music. For those wondering, best I can tell, Shirakashi is the Japanese word for white oak, a wood frequently used to make martial arts weapons, because it is "hard, heavy, and tough." That may not be the reference the band is making, but in the interim it adds a nice narrative dimension.

I'm gonna guess that frontman Anthony Carlucci's dad has some Genesis and Jethro Tull records in his collection, and that childhood spins left the influence in Carlucci's subconscoius, later mixing with more contemporary inspirational sources like Sigur Ros, Mogwai, and Abe Vigoda. The result is a spectral and patient lilt imbued with tension between the pastoral vibe and the occasionally harsh technological realities of the sound. This is music from the future, but one fraught and melancholy.

CB Premieres new Doug Keith video for "The Lowest Low"

Consider it another milestone, folks - CB has been invited to present the exclusive premiere of New York singer-songwriter Doug Keith's video for "The Lowest Low." The track comes from Keith's new record, The Lucky Ones, which drops via The Village Label on March 30th.

Musically, Keith trades on vintage singer-songwriter stock, with hints of The Boss and Tom Waits in his vocals, but with an expansive arrangement that brings in strings and a backing chorus. It is the visual element of "The Lowest Low" that I'm really drawn to, though. It makes me think of regular footage that any old vacationer could take on a trip out to the shore, then produced in a simple yet engaging manner. The non-narrative visual element allows the focus to remain on the tale Keith croons, which works well with pictures equally permanent and impermanent.

For those taken with the music, Keith is actually playing TONIGHT in Columbus at The Treehouse. Tickets are only $5. If you go, could you bring me back some ice cream from Jeni's? Anything with roasted cherries is fine.

John Mayer, Racist Douchebag

As if you needed another reason not to listen to this lame, this fool decides to use a David Duke (!!!) reference to explain why he hates sex with black women. Are you kidding me?

Should be interesting to see what his label has to say.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

CB Giveaway: 2 tickets to George Clinton at the House of Blues!

The powers that be have awarded me the opportunity to give away two tickets to the upcoming George Clinton show at House of Blues on Tuesday, February 16th. A longtime funkateer, I couldn't be more pleased about doing so. I still remember buying P. Funk; Uncut Funk ... The Bomb as one of my very first CDs at the mall one day when I was probably 15, and have loved them ever since, as evidenced by the glee with which I snatched up a copy of Tear The Roof Off: 1974-80 last month at Used Kids in Columbus.

I love this band for lots of reasons, from the unique sound to the narrative of their evolution to the stellar marathon shows they put on. I saw them once at the Cleveland House of Blues (Mayor Frank Jackson was there, too) and my feet hurt from dancing by the time I got home. (Those of you who know me well know any amount of dancing, much less feet-hurting dancing, is rare for me.) Another time, in Houston, I saw them play what had to be a four hour set, with the cops onstage at the end literally dragging people off. Each and every show they put forward is a time and a half, and if you haven't seen them before, I encourage you to bone up on your Funkapedia and enter the contest below.

Because .... the winner of these two tickets will be the person who makes the most persuasive case for which member of George Clinton's onstage entourage they are most excited to see. That is, other than Sir Nose - that one's too obvious. And don't go saying Bootsy 'cause we both know that ain't happenin'. Submissions can be made via the comment box (but be sure to leave me your email address) or via email at clevelandbachelorATgmailDOTcom.

Tonight in Cleveland (2/10): Art for Haiti Benefit at Arts Collinwood

Join us Wednesday February 10 from 6pm – 10pm at Arts Collinwood for the Art for Haiti Benefit, including a live art auction from top local and national artists, food, cocktails and live jazz music. Proceeds will go directly to the Haiti Emergency Village Project. Arts Collinwood is honored to be hosting this event.

6 – 7pm: Mingle/cocktails/food/browse silent auction items and live auction items in the Arts Collinwood Gallery and Cafe
7- 8:30pm: Live art auction
8:30 – Live Jazz by the Will Mason Trio in the Cafe
Arts Collinwood Cleveland + The Haiti Emergency Village Project
In conjunction w/ NEONAC+ Cleveland Tapes$10 suggested donation

THE HAITI EMERGENCY VILLAGE PROJECT (HEVP) is a consortium of organizations working towards the building of emerging villages in Haiti that will provide housing, infrastructure and other aspects of what constitutes a community. This group brings to Haiti transferrable lessons learned from Katrina. HEVP has been conceived, organized and put into action by New Orleans residents, supporters and rebuilders, and Haitians on the ground, most with longstanding ties to New Orleans, to create a model for recovery.

Attendees will have a chance to bid on art from amazing artists including Keith Marlowe, Amy Casey, Dan Tranberg, Julius Lyle, Dana Depew, Bridget Caswell, Sunia Boneham, Paul Sydorenko, Jacob Wesley Lang, David Wilder, Tary Yu, Petroucha Moise to name a few!

The Auctioneer for the evening will be Voice Legend and Art Provocateur Lawrence Daniel Caswell">Lawrence Daniel Caswell.

PLUS a SILENT AUCTION of AN AMAZING ARRAY OF Donated items from local Merchants +venues including Macback’s Bookstore, Beachland Ballroom, Visible Voice Books, House of Blues, Playhouse Square, and the Grog Shop!

The Cafe at Arts Collinwood will be open for a wonderful list of fresh hot/cold Tapas and a Cash Bar!


Only 51 Days Until This Fucking Winter Dies

This winter has been a remarkably gentle one so far. I say this knowing full well that March can change my position on that entirely (much like it did in 2008) and hoping that the forces of jinx have better things to do than determine the region's weather by the heedless climate optimism of one silly blogger.

As remarkably gentle as it has been - as evidenced by the that this is only the second of these posts this winter so far (here is the first) - today was the first time I had that sinking winter hopelessness set in. I'm not sure at what point between waking up and arriving at my office the tide turned, whether it was my dog refusing to go to the bathroom or when I discovered too late that she'd gnawed half the buttons of my coat or when I realized I'd forgotten my scarf (a double whammy with the missing button problem) while waiting for a ridiculously long time to cross the street from parking lot to office building. Whatever it was, by the time the elevator doors closed and I was carried upwards by the engines of science and progress, I knew today would be a day I needed to calculate how many more of these fuckers I'd need to survive.

By my count, we have 51 days left in the winter. At that point, attention will turn to the Indians opening their home season. Until then, though, brrrrrrrr.

Monday, February 8, 2010

John G. Saves Cleveland

This just in from The Monastery (aka John G's artistic HQ):

I know everybody's got the bleeding heart for Haiti right now. It's horrific what's been happening there. I have nothing but the deepest sympathy for the insurmountable amount of strife and hardships that the people of Haiti are facing. If you haven't seen it yet, you owe it to yourself and the sake of humanity to look at Keith Marlowe's photography for LIFE Magazine. It's staggering.

Focusing slightly closer to home for my Heart's Blood, I'm offering a limited print for sale to benefit the Clevelanders displaced by that explosion on West 83rd Street last Monday (Jan 25, 2010). Turns out that house was possibly blown up by one of the neighbors, but knowing that doesn't really solve the problem that now there's a bunch of families that lost their homes.

The print - which John has titled "CLEVELYN PREVAILS" - will be produced as an 18 x 24 art style print in a limited quantity (only as many as John received pre-orders for) for a mere $20. Don't sleep on this offer, which will only be good through Februry 12th. John notes:

Feel free to use the paypal button at the bottom of this page. If you don't want to use paypal, please feel free to email me to arrange the order.

Clevelanders, I will arrange a way to drop off the print to you personally, or you can stop by The Monastery downtown and pick it up. If you're not in Cleveland, I will pay shipping costs within the U.S.

I'm going to limit the edition to only as many prints as are ordered. So if 6 people order this, you will get 1 of 6. If 85 people order this, you will get 1 of 85. If enough people order it, I'll get them screen printed. If it's few enough that I can handle it, I'll print them myself.

Proper Noun of the Week #30: R.A. Washington

R.A. 'Rafeeq' Washington. Now where have I heard that name before ...

Man, if you are anything like me, you have heard that name everywhere, because that's where Mr. Washington seems to be. From visual art to spoken word to hip hop to dance clubs, Rafeeq's deft cultural touch is all over this city and residents of the CLE are all the better for it.

Most recently, folks at the PD took notice of one of Washington's biggest ventures, his experimental hip hop label Cleveland Tapes.

By the time you read this, though, you'll likely be hearing his name for yet another reason, this time as the event architect behind Wednesday's upcoming Art for Haiti benefit auction at Arts Collinwood. The event is being held to help raise funds for the Haiti Emergency Village Project, and event planners will use combined revenues from an art live auction - presided over by Washington's fellow CB Proper Noun Lawrence Daniel Caswell and featuring the work of artists including Keith Marlowe, Dan Tranberg, Dana Depew, Bridget Caswell, Sunia Boneham, and Jacob Wesley Lang (among many more) - and a silent auction for goods donated by local businesses like Mac's Backs, the Beachland, Visible Voice, House of Blues, and many others.

A few days ago, Washington found a few moments in his unimaginable schedule to participate in my Proper Noun question time exercise. Check out what he has to say below.

1) How long have you been in Cleveland? And if you didn't grow up in Cleveland, where'd you relocate here from?

I've been in Cleveland for about 20 years, but I'm originally from El Paso, TX.

2) What is your favorite Cleveland memory?

My favorite Cleveland memory, too many to pick just one - but if i had to it would be the first time I saw Lives of the Saints.

3) How does (if at all) Cleveland influence your work and/or art?

It does not really influence the actual work per se, but it tempers how I distribute it.

4) If it was your birthday and you decided to have a Cleveland-centric blow-out bash, how would you celebrate? That is, what would you do, where would you do it, etc.?

Thats funny, cuz tomorrow is my actual birthday! And Saturday at Touch Supper Club This Moment In Black History is djing my birthday party. The Cleveland Bachelor should come, maybe meet someone.

5) Say you had a friend coming in for 24 hours and had never been to Cleveland before. What would you make sure they saw and did?

Go to a show at Now That's Class, go record hunting.

6) What is something from another city you wish you could import to Cleveland?


7) If you had the undivided attention of the mayor, city council, and county commissioners, what would be the one thing you'd ask for or tell them?

Hey guys, we are a port city! Let's act like it, and while you are at it - annex these stupid suburb cities!

To meet Rafeeq, stop by Arts Collinwood on WEDNESDAY for the Art for Haiti Benefit Auction. For more information on the event, click here. Arts Collinwood is located at 15601 Waterloo Road in Cleveland.

And if you found this post interesting, check out previous Proper Noun of the Week conversations about Cleveland and culture with the following interesting folks: Frank Revy, Bill Rupnik, Mina Hoyle, Brendan Walton, Leia Alligator, Arabella Proffer, Becca Riker, Greg Ruffing, Mallorie Freeman, Dave Desimone, J.R. Bennett, Jeff & Mike from CLE Clothing Co, Paulius Nasvytis, Lawrence Daniel Caswell, Curtis Thompson, John Ewing, Shannon Okey, John G, Sean Bilovecky, Dana Depew, Fred Wright, Amanda Montague, Ryan Weitzel, Garrett Komyati, Vince Slusarz, Jonah Jacobs, Jacob Wesley Lang, and Kevin Neudecker & Melanie Hershberger.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Celluloid Bachelor #54: The Kissaway Trail "SDP"

If you asked me before viewing this video whether it would be possible to take a 6+ minute track that doesn't seem to have all that much fat on it and edit it into a 3-odd minute video that doesn't seem to miss a beat, I'd say something along the lines of "unlikely."

The recent video for The Kissaway Trail's "SDP" proves me wrong.

Or, rather, it proves hypothetical retrospective me wrong. But you get the point.

Cleveland: Scene One, Take One

Let's hear it for the Cleveland film community! Over the last few months, I've interviewed several filmmakers from across the country and when I get their response to my closing question (What can Cleveland do to make itself more film industry friendly?), I'm always left a little dismayed and hopeless.

After reading this article, which led me to this press release, however, I was pleased to see that even if the tax breaks Ohio offers aren't as generous as other states and even though our industrial infrastructure isn't as developed as competitor cities, we are still moving forward.

Between that and the building recognition of institutions like the Cleveland International Film Festival and the CIA Cinematheque, as well as growing festival success for films like The Taqwacores (Sundance) and El Voyage Maximo (Bangkok International) that have a deep Cleveland connection, it makes the outlook for 2010 and beyond a lot brighter.

The week ahead: 2/7-2/13 (CB's Bundling Up edition)

Baby, it is cold outside. As much as seeing those mid-Atlantic punks get buried in snow warms my heart, it does little to warm my toes. Instead, I've been in multi-blanket nap mode, cuddling with my pups and dreaming strange dreams, for a couple days now. That can't last forever, though, and by tomorrow it'll be time to get off the mat and start being a human again. Below is my list of things to consider when you plan your own week.

Sunday, 2/7 - With the blustery cold, there is only one thing to do: chill and watch a movie. Fortunately, today brings you three good selections: Holy Land Hardball at the Mandel Jewish Community Center and Wild River and The Wedding Song at the CIA Cinematheque. Check out my month in film guide here for more information.

Monday, 2/8 - tba

Tuesday, 2/9 - tba

Wednesday, 2/10
- There's only one place you should be this Wednesday night, and that's at Arts Collinwood. The Waterloo Road non-profit is playing host to the Art for Haiti Benefit, which includes a live art auction from top local and national artists, food, cocktails and live jazz music. Proceeds will go directly to the Haiti Emergency Village Project. The auctioneer for the night is none other than Mr. Lawrence Daniel Caswell. Check out this link for more information about the evening.

Thursday, 2/11 - The CSU Vikings play host to conference rival Valpo tonight in what should be a heckuva game. The Vikes got beat by 7 when they visited Valparaiso in January, but between the home court advantage and the growing team confidence as they ride a now four-game winning streak (and a 7-2 record since starting conference play in earnest), things should be a little more friendly for the home team this time around. After the CSU fans storm the court following this hopeful W, head to the CIA Cinematheque for a different kind of Storm, as the finest reperatory theater in the land screens the critically adored political thriller/international court procedural about Bosnian war crimes.

Friday, 2/12 - Assuming the mid-week snow dump I've been hearing about takes place as feared, it is unlikely we'll see much mass migration across the river this weekend. Which is ok, kind of, because there are a pair of good events on either side of the East-West divide. For you westerners, check out the "Sonic Landscapes" exhibit opening at Asterisk Gallery. Featuring work by a half-dozen artists, including CB faves Scott Pickering and Jason Byers, this'll be well worth putting on the winter boots. Eastward, you can have fun while helping out a good cause at the Beachland-hosted Free Clinic Benefit. Headed by Carlos Jones & the PLUS Band (with opening assists by Austin Walkin' Cane, oldboy, and Nights), the $10 event will help fund the non-profit that has provided medical care to so many who wouldn't otherwise be able to get it. There isn't a better place to donate your hard earned dollars these days, folks.

Saturday, 2/13 - With the exception of today's CSU game against Butler (the second this week against a conference rival hailing from that awful state to the west of us), today's another one of those days where you can spend the entire time on Waterloo Road and have a better time than anyone you'll swap stories with on Monday morning. During the day, do some good and check out the UpStage Artisan Alley sale at the Slovenian Workman's Home. Kind of like a smaller scale Bazaar Bizarre, this event will serve as a fundraiser for the UpStage Players, a non-profit children's theatre group run by an all volunteer staff in Northeast Ohio. Later, stick around for Round two of the Mystery of Two residency at Arts Collinwood and then head down the block for one of the best (and beer-soaked) live shows in town when the Whiskey Daredevils take the stage at the Beachland.

Other stuff to keep your eye on the following week:
- 2/14 - Lawrence Daniel Caswell DJs the Beachland Brunch
- 2/14 - Mine screens @ CMA
- 2/14 - Girlyman @ Beachland Tavern
- 2/16 - George Clinton @ House of Blues
- 2/17 - Pretty & Nice in-store @ Blue Arrow Records
- 2/17 - Uncertainty screens @ CIA
- 2/18 - Snoop Dogg @ House of Blues
- 2/18 - Unmade Beds screens @ CIA
- 2/19 - Paradise screens @ CMA
- 2/20 - Mystery of Two residency @ Arts Collinwood (w/ Freedom)
- 2/20 - Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise @ Beachland
- 2/20 - How to Breathe Underwater/Whisper Signal @ bela dubby
- 2/20 - Big Trouble in Little China screens @ Capitol Theater
- 2/20 - CSU vs Toledo ESPNU Bracket-Busters game
- 2/20 - Poet's Haven event @ Blue Arrow Records
- 2/20 - Until the Light Takes Us screens @ CIA
- 2/21 - Found Footage Festival @ Beachland Ballroom
- 2/22 - Supersuckers @ Grog Shop
- 2/23 - Ha Ha Tonka @ Beachland
- 2/23 - Cold Cave/Emeralds/Hair Police @ Grog Shop
- 2/24 - Harmony @ Me screens @ CMA
- 2/24 - Cleveland Bachelor Show of the Month: So Cow/Shiny Penny/The Modern Electric @ Beachland

Tonight in Cleveland (2/6): Mystery of Two Residency @ Arts Collinwood

Local art-punk extraordinaires Mystery of Two kick off a month-long residency at Arts Collinwood tonight. The band plays sets each Saturday in February, hosting a different opening group each time. Tonight's guest opener is Filmstrip, a band getting some buzz lately from its connection with recent Sundance darling, The Taqwacores. Future openers include Buried Wires, Freedom, and Founding Fathers.

As a special treat, attendees tonight will be able to catch the closing night of Terry Durst's recent exhibit, The Carter Excavations, in the gallery.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Tonight in Cleveland (2/5): Melanie's 33 1/3 party @ Music Saves

Celluloid Bachelor #53: What if _________ Directed the Super Bowl, my favorite culture and news site, recently posted this video of vignettes proposing what the Super Bowl would be like if directed by famous film directors such as Wes Anderson, Werner Herzog, David Lynch, Jean-Luc Godard, and Quentin Tarantino. Amusing stuff, particularly if you are fans of the more esoteric of the crew.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Celluloid Bachelor #52: Junk Culture "West Coast"

Sorry for the lull in video posting - sometimes life gets in the way. However, I'm happy to be back, and even happier to be able to post a clip that, for those of you who dig it, comes from a band who will be in Cleveland tonight.

Today's video comes from mash-up artist Junk Culture (aka Deepak Mantena). His work immediately calls to mind that of another artist with Cleveland connections, Girl Talk (aka Greg Gillis), which is unsurprising considering Junk Culture's debut EP, West Coast, was released by the same label that handles Girl Talk. This video is for the EP's title track, and features Mantena drumming along to the samples in what looks to be an empty lot with a video screen set up behind showing various experimental and found images. Later, the video evolves into a psychadelic skater shoot that loses some of the visual narrative consistency, but still looks cool and works well with the sound.

Junk Culture is performing TONIGHT at Now That's Class, for those interested.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Are you ready for the CB February show of the month?

Last month's CB show of the month was an unmitigated success, with The Rural Alberta Advantage and The Octagon selling out the Tavern side of the Beachland. (Read my review of the show here.) Going in to that month, I'd appreciated but not yet totally fallen for the Canadian headliners and had never heard of NYC based The Octagon. After a few weeks of listening to each band in preparation for the show, and then seeing both on stage, I can probably say that the like I felt for The RAA has risen to a near-love and The Octagon is one of my new favorite bands and an early contender for this year's best of list.

I have similar high hopes for this month's show, which is ...

So Cow, with openers The Modern Electric and Shiny Penny!

Coming all the way to us from Ireland on a North American jaunt that will take them through New England (the poor band's first taste of the US will be Jersey), into Eastern Canada, down through the American rust belt, across the northern Midwest, all the way down the west coast, and eastward through the Southwest to Austin, where they'll play for four days before continuing eastward through the old Confedaracy and back up the Eastern seaboard before ending the 50-day swing in ... Jersey (again!!! - who is their booking agent? Little Steven?).

I'll admit that I'm a relative newcomer to the sonic brilliance of So Cow, and that I have Kevin Neudecker of Music Saves to thank for shining a light in the Irish indie corner for me. I've already been getting into the sound, though, and the fact that they will be joined on stage by Cleveland's hottest indie operation, The Modern Electric, and the big buzz consortium Shiny Penny bodes even better for those of us who make our way to Waterloon that last Wednesday of the month to hear some rock.

As usual, there will be more info about the show and the participating bands coming in the next couple weeks. For now, though, mark your calendars:

Wednesday, February 24th, Beachland Tavern, 9 PM (Doors at 8:30), $7

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Month in Film

Another month closer to spring, friends. Still, there are plenty of cold and dreary days ahead of us, perfect for sitting inside in a movie theater, watching something wonderful. The folks at the CIA, CMA, Cedar-Lee and others have a month's worth of programming for us this February. Check out my personal picks to click this month below.

As usual, before getting to the meat of the post, a quick word about format. In this one, I'll list films (or film events) by title, but following chronological order. Make sense? If not, you'll pick it up pretty quickly. I'm a simpleton.

Food Beware: The French Organic Revolution - 2008, France (Cleveland Museum of Art, Wednesday 2/3 at 6:45 PM)

This "cheerfully one-sided film" (New York Times) shows what happens when the mayor of a French village decrees that all lunches in the school cafeteria will be organic and locally grown.

Takedowns & Falls - 2010, USA (Tower City, Thursday 2/4 at 7 PM)

Takedowns and Falls is a documentary film that tells the story of a group of Pennsylvania teens and their relationships within a high school wrestling team on a journey to attain a state championship. It chronicles a season of the Central Dauphin Rams in Harrisburg, PA and highlights the sacrifice of its athletes, the commitment of their families and the dedication of its coaches. Inspired by their love of the sport and their coaches, this group of teens grows up before our eyes, in an attempt to over achieve and do the impossible.

Takedowns and Falls explores themes of humility, family, friendship and teamwork via individual and team efforts to win a state title. The film transcends the sport and becomes a story about people over coming odds, and will appeal to a wide audience.

Takedowns and Falls is Spellbound meets Friday Night Lights for high school wrestling, taking place in the U.S. Mecca for the sport.

takedowns and falls - trailer A - 1min30sec from takedowns and falls on Vimeo.

Cool As Ice - 1991, USA (Cedar-Lee, Saturday 2/6 at 9:30 & 11:59 PM)

A rap oriented re-make of "Rebel Without a Cause," with heavy emphasis on the fact that rap star Vanilla Ice has assumed the James Dean role. Not available on DVD, this flop stars Vanilla Ice & the dad from Family Ties! You may urinate yourself because you'll laugh so much during this fantastic feature. Everyone gets a free scoop of Mitchell's Homemade vanilla ice cream! Clean up in eisle seven.

Along An Eastern Shore - 2010, USA (Cleveland Museum of Art, Friday 2/5 at 7 PM)

Filmed in 2006 by Noel Maitland as a part of Ingenuity Festival, ALONG AN EASTERN SHORE is a Choreopoem set to an original score composed of written music sketches, and words by RA Washington, and featuring an ensemble of 9 Artists, and musicians. In 2009, Language Foundry Founder, J.S. Makkos commissioned artist/musician Stephe DK to provide artwork for a Limited Edition DVD Release and this will be the first time the actual film has been screened. The Cast includes some of Cleveland's finest jazz musicians, including Master Percussionist Neil Chastain, and multi reed instrumentalist, Dan Wenninger - combined with the entire Cleveland punk band THIS MOMENT IN BLACK HISTORY, and writer/musician/educator DANIEL GRAY KONTAR.

Wild River - 1960, USA (CIA Cinematheque, Saturday 2/6 at 5:15 PM; Sunday 2/7 at 4 PM)

Here’s a new print of a rarely-shown Elia Kazan classic that’s not on DVD! Montgomery Clift plays a Tennessee Valley Authority official who tries to persuade a stubborn old woman (Jo Van Fleet) to leave her property before it is flooded. He also falls for her widowed granddaughter (Lee Remick). Shot on location in rural Tennessee, the movie spotlights a conflict (big government vs. little people, rugged individualism vs. the greater good) that is strikingly contemporary. And its viewpoint is unexpectedly ambivalent.

The Wedding Song - 2008, France/Tunisia (Cleveland Institute of Art, Saturday 2/6 at 9:25 PM; Sunday 2/7 at 6:45 PM)

In this sensuous and haunting new film set in Tunis in the early 1940s, two teenage girlfriends—one Jewish, one Muslim—compare their lives and prepare for their respective marriages. Then invading Nazis upset all their plans. From the director of La Petite Jérusalem. Adults only!

Automorphosis - 2008, USA (Cleveland Museum of Art, Wednesday 2/10 at 7 PM)

The new movie by the son of legendary ethnographic filmmaker Les Blank is a delightful look at some eccentrics, visionaries, and free-thinkers who have transformed their automobiles into drivable works of art (e.g., the "Peace Car" covered with eating utensils owned by spoon-bender Uri Geller).

Storm - 2009, Germany/Denmark/Netherlands (CIA Cinematheque, Thursday 2/11 at 9:15 PM; Friday 2/12 at 7:30)

Kerry Fox and Anamaria Marinca (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) star in the new drama from the director of Requiem. It’s a political thriller about a Hague lawyer who’s prosecuting a Bosnian Serb Army commander for war crimes. But when her key witness perjures and kills himself, she must travel to Sarajevo and quickly find another person to testify against the military leader.

Mine - 2009, USA (Cleveland Museum of Art, Friday 2/12 at 7 PM; Sunday 2/14 at 1:30 PM)

New Orleans residents try to reunite with pets they abandoned during Hurricane Katrina in this compelling documentary. Since many of these animals were sent to shelters or adopted by others, there are numerous custody battles. Preceded at showtime by John Harden’s 13-min. short film La vie d’un chien (The Life of a Dog, USA, 2005), a take-off on Chris Marker’s La Jetée.

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans - 2010, USA (Cedar-Lee, Opens Friday 2/12 with numerous screenings to follow)

Terence McDonagh (Nicolas Cage), a homicide detective with the New Orleans Police Department, is promoted to Lieutenant after he saves a prisoner from drowning in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. However, during his heroic act, he severely injures his back and is put on prescription pain medication.

A year later, Terence—struggling with his addictions to sex, Vicodin and cocaine—finds himself in the battle to bring down drug dealer Big Fate, who is suspected of massacring an entire family of African immigrants.

Uncertainty - 2009, USA (Capitol Theater, Wednesday 2/17 at 7:30 PM)

Uncertainty stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Lynn Collins as two young lovers who find themselves at a crossroads in their relationship while standing on the Brooklyn Bridge one July 4th. The flip of a coin propels them into two distinct (but alternating) narratives unfolding on both sides of the East River: a domestic drama set in Brooklyn, and a Manhattan-set thriller in which they’re chased through Chinatown by an assassin.

Unmade Beds - 2009, Britain (CIA Cinematheque, Thursday 2/18 at 6:45 PM; Friday 2/19 at 9:45 PM)

The youthful, anything-goes spirit of the French New Wave permeates this lovely, lyrical movie about two foreigners (he’s Spanish, she’s French) living the Boho life in the same London warehouse. While trying to find themselves, they find each other.

The Sun - 2005, Russia/France/Italy/Switzerland (CIA Cinematheque, Thursday 2/18 at 8:40 PM; Friday 2/19 at 7:30 PM)

One of last year’s most acclaimed movies was first shown at the Cinematheque in January 2007 as a “Cinematheque Elite” presentation. (The print then came from outside the country.) Now this major film from the director of Russian Ark has finally landed U.S. distribution. The Sun is a portrait of Japan’s Emperor Hirohito (Issey Ogata) as he surrenders his country—and his presumed divinity—to his American captor and protector, General Douglas MacArthur, at the end of WWII. Set within the confines of Hirohito’s isolated, servant-heavy compound, the film says a lot about the remoteness of world leaders who wage war.

Paradise - 2009, USA (Cleveland Museum of Art, Friday 2/19 at 7 PM)

The ordinary becomes extraordinary in this diaristic film that, according to the New York Times, "is essentially a series of home movies, but home movies of a very high order." Shot over a decade in nine different countries, Michael (Hamlet, Nadja) Almereyda’s new movie contains 44 distinct scenes captured on digital video—from images of children at play to candid moments at a Sonic Youth concert and on the set of Terrence Malick’s The New World. Almereyda will introduce the film and answer questions after the screening. Cleveland premiere.

Odd Man Out - 1947, Britain (CIA Cinematheque, Saturday 2/20 at 5 PM; Sunday 2/21 at 4 PM)

This film noir masterpiece was made by Carol Reed two years before his better-known The Third Man. James Mason plays a wounded IRA gunman who stumbles through the streets of Belfast looking for help while trying to avoid the police. A suspense classic with metaphysical overtones, it’s one of the great British films.

The Man From London - 2007, France/Germany/Hungary (CIA Cinematheque, Saturday 2/20 at 7:15 PM; Sunday 2/21 at 8:25 PM)

The most recent feature from the great Hungarian director of Sátántangó and The Werckmeister Harmonies is a moody drama of crime, guilt, and complicity based on a novel by Georges Simenon. A railroad worker witnesses a waterfront murder at a boat-train junction one foggy night and ends up with a suitcase full of cash, which he hides from his wife (Tilda Swinton). Then a man from London comes looking for it.

Until the Light Takes Us - 2008, USA (CIA Cinematheque, Saturday 2/20 at 9:50 PM; Sunday 2/21 at 6:30 PM)

Norwegian black metal was a 1990s Nordic offshoot of heavy metal that branched out from music, makeup, and pagan imagery to vandalism, church-burning, and killing. This new documentary explores the black metal scene through interviews with some of the movement’s key players, including Gylve “Fenriz” Nagell of Darkthrone and Varg “Count Grishnackh” Vikernes of Burzum, currently serving a 21-year prison sentence for arson and murder.

Found Footage Festival - 2009, USA (Beachland Ballroom, Sunday 2/21 at 7 PM)

The Found Footage Festival is a one-of-a-kind event showcasing videos found at garage sales and thrift stores and in warehouses and dumpsters throughout the country. Curators Pickett and Prueher host each screening in-person and provide their unique observations and commentary on these found video obscurities. From the curiously-produced industrial training video to the forsaken home movie donated to Goodwill, the Found Footage Festival resurrects these forgotten treasures and serves them up in a lively celebration of all things found.

Those Lips, Those Eyes - 1980, USA (Cedar-Lee, Sunday 2/21 at 2 PM)

Those Lips, Those Eyes is a coming-of-age story about a young man who works behind the scenes at a summer theater exactly like Cain Park, in a city exactly like Cleveland Heights in the 1950s. The screenplay was written by the late David Shaber who worked at Cain Park with founder Dina Rees Evans. And the reason the place in the movie looks so much like Cain Park is that it was actually filmed there in the late 70s—before the amphitheater had a roof and when the seating was stone and concrete benches. The film is not only a look at life in Cleveland Heights (and the rest of our country) in the 50s, it's also a historical documentation of the original Cain Park.

This event is a fundraiser on behalf of the Friends of Cain Park. Tickets are $30 and include the movie, snacks, wine, and other beverages. Those interested should make their check payable to "Friends of Cain Park" and mail to 2195 Delaware Drive, Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44106. Any questions? Call 216-791-5149 or email

Harmony and Me - 2009, USA (Cleveland Museum of Art, Wednesday 2/24 at 7 PM)

In this very funny indie comedy, a pathetic sad sack recently dumped by his girlfriend seeks consolation from his friends and family, who are little help.

Night And Day - 2008, South Korea (CIA Cinematheque, Friday 2/25 at 8:10 PM; Saturday 2/26 at 9 PM)

A self-absorbed 40-year-old Korean painter who has impulsively flown to France to avoid a possible drug rap in Seoul finds himself a fish out of water in contemporary Paris. Though he happens to cross paths with an old girlfriend, and eventually falls for a two young art students, he spends much of his time wandering through the city, worrying about the wife he left behind, and generally behaving badly in a midlife-crisis kind of way. This wry and delightful comedy by internationally acclaimed Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo (Woman on the Beach) is perhaps his most enjoyable movie yet.

The White Ribbon - 2010, USA (Opens 2/26 at Cedar-Lee with numerous screenings to follow)

The film's title refers to the loss of innocence. Crisply shot in black and white, the film is set in a rural German village just prior to World War I. Voiced by an old man (Ernst Jacobi) who used to be the village schoolteacher, the story reveals mysterious goings-on.

A doctor falls off his horse, apparently tripped by a rigged wire. The son of the local baron is found beaten. A barn is burned down. So who is to blame?

As the war approaches, suspicion begins to escalate, perhaps presaging Germany's next 30 years. In German with English subtitles.

Brighton Rock - 1947, Britain (CIA Cinematheque, Saturday 2/27 at 5:15 PM; Sunday 2/27 at 4 PM)

Proper Noun(s) of the Week #29: Kevin Neudecker and Melanie Hershberger of Music Saves

True story: Yesterday I'm sitting in my office at work and a guy stops by to pitch me on some products he's repping. We chat for a bit and I agree to at least take a look at what he has to offer. As he looks around my office, he seems to think it appears a bit different than my colleagues, and it probably does, as it is filled with things like show posters that incorporate images of American politicians, my ever growing collection of multi-hued army men in dramatically evolving battles for shelf territory, and my collection of Obama toys. (Note: If you ever see an Obama toy, please feel free to buy it and give it to me.)

He notes that he's a travelling salesman and asks if there are any good record stores in Cleveland he should check out while he's cooling his heels at hotels over the next few days. He asks in a polite way, but one that seems to anticipate a negative response. Instead, my eyes light up, because I'd just returned from a few days in Brooklyn, aka indie rock's alleged mecca, and came home thinking that not a single record store I went in there could compete with the selection and vibe of Cleveland's own Music Saves.

I tell him about the place, all the events it holds, from Zaireeka listening parties to Indie Orthodox New Years to Alley Cat Fridays to Record Store Day, print him off an address and a flyer for the store's upcoming party this Friday, and tell him to make haste, but not too much haste, as the store isn't open on Mondays.

Along with the Beachland, Melt, the CIA Cinematheque, and the Cleveland International Film Festival, Music Saves is one of my most treasured institutions in this adopted city of mine. The married duo that own and operate it, Kevin Neudecker and Melanie Hershberger, are not only valuable for the role they play in bringing indie rock to the city, but also in being such small business role models. I've watched several new businesses owned by people with good ideas and strong hearts rise and fall because, simply, they didn't put in the time and energy to their project that these two put in to theirs. If the secret to small business success is hustling, these guys deserve an Olympic medal. Hardly a week goes by when they aren't throwing some kind of event, whether at the store or elsewhere, bringing the good word about the music and the shop to people who need to know about it.

As a result, it is not only a product but also a brand I can get behind. Which is why I'm more than pleased to have them as the latest proper nouns on Cleveland Bachelor. Check out what they have to say about life in Cleveland and definitely be sure to scope the flyer toward the end of the post for more information on their Friday event.

1) How long have you been in Cleveland? And if you didn't grow up in Cleveland, where'd you relocate here from?

I’ve pretty much lived in Cleveland all my life. I did spend my college years at Bowling Green and then 2 1/2 years in Syracuse when Melanie was going to grad school. Melanie moved around a lot as a kid, because her Dad was in radio; San Diego, St. Louis. They moved to the Cleveland area when Melanie started High School. I think it's safe to say that we will be in Cleveland for a very long time, and maybe some day retire to an area of the country that will be less brutal on Melanie's allergies. It's going to be tough for Melanie to drag me out of Cleveland.

2) What is your favorite Cleveland memory?

Too many to mention, but probably being at the Browns 2OT playoff win against the Jets in the 86 playoffs. My parents got me Browns season tickets when I was 6 years old, it’s still the best gift I’ve ever received. Of course, the week after that I witnessed "The Drive"; that sucked. The other event that comes to mind is seeing Radiohead at the Lakewood Civic Auditorium in 1997. The show was about a month after OK Computer came out and it sold-out before the record got huge. It’s the most memorable concert experience I’ve ever had. Plus my friend got Thom to crack-up when he called out for “Stonehenge”!

3) How does (if at all) Cleveland influence your work and/or art?

This is tough to answer as what we do is not creative work. I think there is a certain mid-west work ethic at play that allows us to somehow keep the store running. Melanie puts in 60-80 a week on the store, plus she is involved in the neighborhood, especially the Waterloo Arts Fest. I work full time besides my time in the store. It's not always easy, or fun and it's definitely stressful, but we manage. Everyone thinks that owning a record store is easy and fun, but it's a lot of work. There are great rewards that come from that hard work and that's what keeps us going, but then there are all the things you have to do to not only maintain your business but keep it moving forward. You have to be 100% dedicated to make something like this work or it will fail. If we gave any less effort than we do, we wouldn't last for very long. I'll often say to people that owning a record store is a lot of fun, owning a business isn't.

4) If it was your birthday and you decided to have a Cleveland-centric blow-out bash, how would you celebrate? That is, what would you do, where would you do it, etc.?

A lot of it would involve food. Lunch at Melt, after lunch drinks in Lakewood at Grafton St. Pub (awesome jukebox), maybe dinner at the Happy Dog on a Polka Happy Hour, a show at the Beachland, after show drinks at Grovewood and Thermadore, and maybe somehow get a ride to an all-night diner (probably Diana’s in Lakewood) for some more food.

Melanie would obviously have a party in the store with drinks, friends, Afternoon Naps playing her favorite Cars song and a giant donut.

5) Say you had a friend coming in for 24 hours and had never been to Cleveland before. What would you make sure they saw and did?

It would probably depend on their tastes. Obviously some time on Waterloo , take in a show and brunch at the Beachland and probably a trip to Melt. Other than that I'd cater the trip to their personality. There is enough to do in Cleveland, that you should be able to curate a trip in such a way that the person comes away impressed.

6) What is something from another city you wish you could import to Cleveland?

Besides an NFL championship? A sense of pride in what makes our city unique, rather than an inferiority complex that has us strive for what other cities have. The city gets excited (and rolls out the tax breaks) when we get a Hard Rock Cafe or House of Blues because it is viewed as some sort of vindication that Cleveland is a city on par with other cities that have those attractions. The city embraces the House of Blues rather than thinking, "we already have great venues for music in this city OWNED by people in this city, what do we need these carpet-baggers for?"

Also, it seems like other cities are able to have huge free music/art fests that attract some marquee and cool acts. I know Pittsburgh has the Three Rivers Art Festival and other cities pull off similar events. Why can't Cleveland?

7) If you had the undivided attention of the mayor, city council, and county commissioners, what would be the one thing you'd ask for or tell them?

Invest in projects that will make Cleveland unique and stand apart from other cities. The city bent over backwards to develop Steelyard Commons, but doesn't show the same type of determination for other projects that might set Cleveland apart from other midsize cities. I think everyone would like to see the Lakefront developed, but I'm afraid it's going to look like every other newly developed area in every other city in the country. Cleveland has a lot to offer other than a new shopping center with expensive condos and trendy retail outlets.

I'd also like to suggest that the city find other ways to generate revenue beside pejorative taxes like the garbage collection fee. Those types of fees just give people reasons not to want to live in Cleveland.

I'd also like to see the city promote Cleveland as a tourist attraction for people that live in the greater Cleveland area. It's great to get people from out of town on vacation, but how about targeting advertisement and promotions at people that only live 20-30 miles away. Give them reasons to come to the city for the day besides a sporting event.

To meet Kevin & Melanie, make a point to stop by Music Saves any day of the week (except Monday) in the afternoon or evening. Better yet, check out the party they are throwing this Friday in honor of Melanie's 33 1/3 birthday. Get it, 33 1/3? If not, that's another reason for you to visit the store! Music Saves is located at 15801 Waterloo Road in Cleveland.

And if you found this post interesting, check out previous Proper Noun of the Week conversations about Cleveland and culture with the following interesting folks: Frank Revy, Bill Rupnik, Mina Hoyle, Brendan Walton, Leia Alligator, Arabella Proffer, Becca Riker, Greg Ruffing, Mallorie Freeman, Dave Desimone, J.R. Bennett, Jeff & Mike from CLE Clothing Co, Paulius Nasvytis, Lawrence Daniel Caswell, Curtis Thompson, John Ewing, Shannon Okey, John G, Sean Bilovecky, Dana Depew, Fred Wright, Amanda Montague, Ryan Weitzel, Garrett Komyati, Vince Slusarz, Jonah Jacobs, and Jacob Wesley Lang.

God damn it, Phil

Punxsutawney Phil predicts ...
... 6 more weeks of winter

By Associated Press

The groundhog has spoken. And it's bad news.

Punxsutawney (puhnk-suh-TAW'-nee) Phil has emerged to see his shadow before chilly revelers in Pennsylvania, meaning winter will last another six weeks.

German tradition holds that if a hibernating animal sees its shadow on Feb. 2 -- the Christian holiday of Candlemas -- winter will last another six weeks. If no shadow is seen, legend says spring will come early.

The Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club annually announces Phil's forecast at dawn on Gobbler's Knob, about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

Phil's announcement came before hundreds of onlookers who huddled as temperatures hovered in the teens.

The Groundhog Club says since 1887 Phil has predicted more winter weather by seeing his shadow nearly 100 times, but there are no records for nine years.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Month in Melt

Driving back from Brooklyn to Cleveland Saturday night (more on that later), large chunks of time passed by where I could think of little else than getting back to NEO in time to have last month's divine Hungry Hungarian Melt sandwich at that bastion of Cleveland culinary goodness, Melt Bar and Grilled.

Yesterday, managing to barely rouse myself from a hard night's sleep, I drove over to the Apple Store at Legacy Village, where I proceeded to drop $200 to replace the iphone that committed suicide a day prior because it couldn't take being in New York any longer either. After that, and a few other errands, though, it was time for that last visit to Melt before the calendar page turns. It was, as expected, delicious, and while each of the four of us at the table took turns describing the various degrees of deliciousness of our sandwiches, much of the conversation centered around what we'd heard about the next month's specialty sandwich, The Big Sandwich in Little China Melt. Check out John G's art on the matter below:
In a partnership with the new cult film series at the Capitol Theater on Detroit and W. 65th, Head Melter Matt Fish created an edible homage to the Kurt Russell classic. Interesting idea, but each of us (and, I'm guessing every other person who hears about this sandwich) thought out loud something along the lines of "Chinese food ... with cheese?" That question was usually followed by another bite of our current sandwiches which, if nothing else, reminded us of Fish's genius with the platform and made us more eager to give the risky combination of flavors a try.

According to Fish, the sandwich is Melt's take on sweet and sour chicken, that time-honored staple at Chinese restaurants around America. On the traditional thick cut bread, you'll find crispy breaded chicken (or a veggie patty if you are one of those), stir-fried peppers, onions, and carrots, a bed of steamed jasmine rice, some special sweet & sour sauce, and pepper-jack Burton cheese, with a side of hot mustard sauce to dip in. Sounds far out and quite possibly high-reward. Whatever the case, I'll be there soon to give Mr. Fish's latest creation a shot.

February Live Music Radness

The first month of the new year/decade is in the books and already the year looks a little brighter. There was a good amount of rock in the Land of Cleve this past month, and from my quick look over the next 30, 60, and 90 days, we should continue to ride the crest of awesome for quite some time.

This month, the biggies for me include a number of blasts from the past (including George Clinton, Yes, Commander Cody, and Anti-Flag), some new favorites like The Avett Brothers and The Low Anthem, and the inimitable Snoop Doggy Dogg, not to mention the month-long Mystery of Two residency at Arts Collinwood, where Cleveland's finest art punk band will take the stage each Saturday with a different opening band. And those who don't mind getting on the road for a few minutes can be treated to an acoustic set by Cracker's David Lowery & Johnny Hickman in Columbus or Fucked Up in Oberlin.

1 - Movits @ Grog Shop
4 - Junk Culture @ Now That's Class
6 - Mystery of Two Arts Collinwood Residency (w/ Filmstrip)
12 - Cracker acoustic @ The Basement (Columbus) OR Fucked Up @ Oberlin's 'Sco OR Commander Cody @ the Winchester
13 - Whiskey Daredevils/Scoliosis Jones @ Beachland OR Mystery of Two Arts Collinwood Residency (w/ Buried Wires)
14 - Girlyman @ Beachland
16 - George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic @ House of Blues
17 - Yes @ House of Blues
18 - Snoop Dogg @ House of Blues
20 - How to Breath Underwater/Whisper Signal @ bela dubby OR Mystery of Two Arts Collinwood Residency (w/ Freedom) OR Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise @ Beachland
22 - Supersuckers @ Grog Shop
23 - Ha Ha Tonka @ Beachland OR Cold Cave (w/ Emeralds & Hair Police) @ Grog Shop
24 - So Cow (w/ Shiny Penny) @ Beachland
26 - Wussy (w/ The Fervor) @ Beachland
27 - The Avett Brothers (w/ The Low Anthem) @ House of Blues OR Pierced Arrows @ Beachland OR Craig Ramsey & the Nice People/Prisoners (w/ Clover aka Other Girls) @ Grog Shop OR Mystery of Two Arts Collinwood Residency (w/ Founding Fathers)
30 - Anti-Flag @ Beachland

2 - Via Audio/Pattern is Movement @ Beachland
4 - Cursive (w/ Alkaline Trio) @ House of Blues OR Margot & the Nuclear So-and-So's (w/ The Lighthouse & the Whaler and The Speedbumps) @ Akron Musica
5 - This Moment in Black History (w/ Sun God) @ Beachland
6 - Roky Erickson @ Beachland
8 - Foreign Born (w/ Free Energy) @ Beachland
10 - Bill Staines @ the Winchester
11 - Bowerbirds @ Oberlin's 'Sco OR Ted Leo & the Pharmacists @ Grog Shop
12 - We Were Promised Jetpacks/Bear Hands @ Grog
13 - Summer Cats/Afternoon Naps/City Center @ Beachland
17 - Psychadelic Horseshit & Casual Encounters @ Now That's Class
18 - RJD2 @ Grog Shop
23 - The Big Pink & A Place to Bury Strangers @ Grog Shop
24 - Real Estate/Woods @ CWRU's The Spot OR Magik Markers @ Now That's Class
26 - Country Joe McDonald @ the Winchester OR The Gunslingers/Terminal Lovers/Puffy Areolas @ Now That's Class
28 - Bob Schneider @ Beachland
29 - Past Lives (w/ Air Waves & City Center) @ Now That's Class
30 - Passion Pit @ House of Blues
31 - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club @ House of Blues OR Strange Boys & Prisoners @ Now That's Class

1 - Henry Rollins @ Kent Stage
3 - Shearwater @ Beachland OR Electric 6 @ Grog Shop
6 - Japandroids @ Grog Shop
7 - John the Savage @ Now That's Class
11 - Drive-by Truckers @ Beachland
15 - Pissed Jeans (w/ This Moment in Black History) @ Grog Shop
30 - Yeasayer (w/ Sleigh Bells) @ Grog Shop

1 - Backyard Tire Fire @ Beachland
4 - An Horse @ Beachland
31 - Brian Jonestown Massacre @ Beachland

2 - Morningbell @ Now That's Class