Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cleveland’s Capitol Theatre Grand Re-Opening

On Friday October 2, Cleveland’s Capitol Theatre, located in the new Gordon Square Arts District, will be re-opening. The Capitol is the city’s oldest movie theatre, constructed in 1921. The restored and updated theatre is now an all-digital movie house with three screens, and will feature major Hollywood films, plus art and independent productions.

The Capitol Theatre is located at 1390 W. 65th St., and showtime information can be found at clevelandcinemas.com

Here is a video prepared by Positively Cleveland that outlines the renovation and its location in the Gordon Square Arts District.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Cleveland information,
All Things Cleveland Ohio, here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Cleveland Browns Stink: An Editorial

As I watch, painfully, the Cleveland Browns vs. the Baltimore Ravens today, I realized how hard it is to be a Cleveland Browns Fan. We’ve had many years of some great football, our fair share of making the playoffs, and some years of getting close to the playoffs.

But the mismanagement of the team over the last few seasons is taking a toll. There was limited optimism when Eric Mangini took over the helm as coach this season. Excitement waned further when Mangini played a guessing game with the media and fans by delaying naming the starting quarterback until right before the first game of the season. He may have been trying to delay tipping his hand so opposing teams wouldn’t be able to adequately plan their defensive strategies when playing the Browns. But the media and fans alike knew this tactic would mean the Browns players lost the valuable time they needed to form a cohesive team in support of their quarterback.

Even before this season started, I knew this was going to be a tough year to start, and likely a tough year to the end for the Cleveland Browns. I was resigned to that fact. Still, it is disheartening to see the team performing so badly this season, their record 0-3 as of this writing. Adding insult to injury was Eric Mangini taking out Brady Quinn from today’s game, and putting Derek Anderson in his place, and then Anderson throwing three interceptions. It was almost as if one could hear the collective screams of fans in the Cleveland Metro area today with each interception.

It will be a long season for Cleveland fans, but fans will continue to be fans. They will support their team, but that support will likely take the form of angry words directed towards team management. The team and management should expect, and deserves, every bit of media and fan verbal backlash that will be lobbed their way. I can envision a whole cadre of apoplectic sports writers and sportscasters writing their scathing copy right now, foaming at the mouth.

So, to help calm everyone’s nerves and soothe the anger, let’s think back to happier days when many of us were a lot younger and the team was a lot better. Here’s a short video that contains the Cleveland Browns Fight Song from the early 1960s. When I hear it, I think of my dad glued to his black and white TV with a radio to his ear, trying to catch every bit of the game. It also reminds me of the years that Clevelanders were not ashamed to be Browns fans. The only constant over all those years – Clevelanders still hate the Steelers, and they always will.

Thinking back to better days: The Old Cleveland Brown’s Fight Song

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All Things Cleveland Ohio, here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The New York Times Spends “36 Hours in Cleveland”

The NYT said the slag piles by the river are "oddly beautiful." Here is a photo I took
in that area a few years ago - they really are rather interesting looking.

The New York Times ran a nice feature in their travel section on a 36-hour visit that they made to Cleveland. They cover some of the city’s sights, attractions, its great food and drink, art, and much more.

An excerpt:
“YOU Gotta Be Tough” was a popular T-shirt slogan worn by Clevelanders during the 1970s, a grim period marked by industrial decline, large-scale population flight and an urban environment so toxic the Cuyahoga River actually caught on fire. These days it still helps to be at least a little tough; a fiercely blue-collar ethos endures. But instead of abandoning the city, local entrepreneurs and bohemian dreamers alike are sinking roots; opening a wave of funky boutiques, offbeat art galleries and sophisticated restaurants; and injecting fresh life into previously rusted-out spaces. It’s a vibrant spirit best exemplified by Cleveland’s new all-female roller derby league, whose wry name, the Burning River Roller Girls, and home, a former GM auto factory retooled into a 60,000-square-foot sports facility, say it all.

The full article can be accessed on the New York Times web site at following link: "36 Hours in Cleveland"

If you live in the Cleveland area, the NYT feature will make you feel good about Cleveland, and if you don’t live in the area, maybe you’ll come to visit the city and enjoy all it has to offer.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Cleveland information, All Things Cleveland Ohio, here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo African Elephant Crossing Construction Update

Construction continues on the The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's new 5-acre, $25 million dollar elephant habitat and education center, called the “African Elephant Crossing,” scheduled to open in the spring of 2011. Clevelanders will recall that the last big expansion at the Zoo was the RainForest habitat building that was opened 1992.

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s web site says about the area under construction:

Spread over five acres of lightly wooded grasslands, African Elephant Crossing will feature two large yards for roaming, ponds for swimming, expanded sleeping quarters and a heated outdoor range. The naturalistic habitat will be capable of housing up to 10 elephants at a time, including at least one bull and eventually calves. African Elephant Crossing also will house meerkats, naked mole rats, African rock pythons and a spectacular collection of colorful birds.

A short video from Positively Cleveland is below which shows the progress on this project so far. More information on this project can also be found at http://www.clemetzoo.com./elephants/.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Cleveland information, All Things Cleveland Ohio, here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

200 Public Square: Cleveland's Third Tallest Skyscraper

On the east side of Cleveland’s Public Square is 200 Public Square, overlooking the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, The Terminal Tower, and Old Stone Church, to name a few landmarks.

It was originally known as the Standard Oil or Sohio Building, then as the BP Tower, after British Petroleum acquired Standard Oil. The building was completed in 1985 and is 45 stories tall. In a move which shows that forward thinking is not always the strength of Cleveland’s city leaders, City Council refused to allow the building to pass The Terminal Tower (52 stories) in height. ( A few years later the city allowed the 57 story Key Tower to be constructed.)

An undated postcard showing the Public Square area long before
200 Public Square was built. The building with the flag on it and the one next to it were demolished to make way.

The tower, designed by Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum, was designed to maximize rentable space and still stay within the height restriction.

It was originally to be home to the sculpture ”Free Stamp” a giant rubber stamp designed by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen. But new owners of the building at the time, British Petroleum, didn’t want such a modern work of art, much less one that said the word “Free,” right outside their door, and they eventually donated it to the city. Free Stamp has a home at Willard Park, but Free Stamp was placed so the word “Free” faces it’s original home of 200 Public Square. (Petroleum, of course, is far from free, and BP is no longer a tenant in the building.)

200 Public Square, in the center, is flanked by the Key Tower on the left and The Terminal Tower on the right

Despite the fact that few people seem to recognize the current name of the building as 200 Public Square, the building has become a well-known landmark. Having been inside the building in one of the upper floors, I can confirm that it has a great view of the city and of Public Square. (You can take a virtual tour of 200 Public Square here.)

Check out my blog home page for the latest Cleveland information, All Things Cleveland Ohio, here.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cleveland: A Stressful City? Or Just Cloudy?

Forbes Magazine has listed Cleveland Ohio as one of the top 5 stressful cities in the United States. The list shows Cleveland as #4, tied with Providence, RI. Most specifically, the list groups the Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor Ohio area as a whole, which is a five county area defined by the Metropolitan Statistical Area as Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), Geauga County, Lake County (Mentor), Lorain County (Elyria), and Medina County. Elyria and Mentor are about 50-60 miles apart, with the city of Cleveland in between.

According to Forbes Magazine , the criteria used to rank these cities was as follows:

To find the most stressful cities, we examined quality of life factors in the country's 40 largest metropolitan statistical areas, or metros--geographic entities defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget for use by federal agencies in collecting, tabulating and publishing federal statistics. We looked at June 2009 unemployment figures provided by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics and cost of living figures from the Council for Community and Economic Research. We examined median home-price drops from Q1 2008 to Q1 2009 that were provided by the National Association of Realtors. Population density based on 2008 data from the U.S. Census Bureau and ESRI also factored. Last, we examined the number of sunny and partly sunny days per year, based on 2007 data from the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service, as well as air quality figures, based on 2007 data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Sunny and party sunny days? This is a serious measurement? I can tell you that the weather problem in the Cleveland area, especially east of the city in the “snow belt” is not sunny or partly sunny days, it’s the lake effect snow in the winter. And we really can’t help that now, can we? By the way, even though Mentor and Elyria are just a short distance apart, Elyria is west of the city, and it's east of the city (Lake and Geauga counties) that are in the heart of the snow belt. I admit it is no fun getting “snow-belted” every year, but we have learned to live with it.

I also object to the inclusion of Elyria and Mentor (the latter being my home town by the way) in this list since these places are nothing like Cleveland proper. Speaking for my own community of Mentor here in Lake County, it is a great city with the largest beach in the state, Mentor Headlands, it’s the home of our 20th president, James A. Garfield(now a National Historic site), and it’s one of the top retail centers in the state of Ohio and home to many businesses. It’s clean, it’s got beautiful homes and great schools. As the Forbes list includes Lake County as a whole, the area also is proud of its many wineries, the shores of Lake Erie being a perfect place to grow wine grapes.

Cleveland also has many great things going for it, such as world renowned medical care, the world class Cleveland Orchestra, Playhouse Square, and many museums. Many large corporations make Cleveland their home and the downtown area is a vibrant place to work, live, be entertained, and have great food.

There is no doubt that the Cleveland inner city has been hit hard with the banking home mortgage collapse and the resulting vacant or abandoned homes. There are areas, like in many big cities, that are considered “bad” neighborhoods. In that aspect, I will agree that those people living there are faced with stress. But Forbes does the area a complete disservice by lumping such a large area with such diverse living conditions, and then making sunny days, or the lack thereof, part of the measurement.

My opinion is that Forbes list does more to add to the stress of residents than whether the sun is completely shining. Last year, Forbes reported that Cleveland was a dying city. Well, their report of the death of Cleveland was greatly exaggerated. We’re still here, now we are just stressed.

You can find the full Forbes Magazine Stressful Cities list here.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Cleveland information,
All Things Cleveland Ohio, here.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cleveland Beer Week

Cleveland Beer Week Logo, a Play on Cleveland’s “Free Stamp”

True Clevelanders need no special reason to drink beer. But, because Clevelanders can never have enough excuses, the first annual Cleveland Beer Week has been established, and will run from October 16 through October 24, 2009.

The Clevelandbeerweek.org website describes the event as a “not-for-profit, collaborative celebration to raise awareness of and education for the strong American and imported craft brew industry, while promoting patronage at local establishments.” Cleveland Beer Week will have several events at local bars, taverns, grocery stores, and other locations throughout the Cleveland area, and will include musical entertainment, tastings, and “brewmaster meet-and-greets”.

The week will open with a ceremonial keg tapping at the The Winking Lizard on Rockside Road in Independence on October 15 at 6:00 PM.

Clevelandbeerweek.org goes on to explain that the week “will culminate in a BREWzilla, a grand reception to be held on Saturday, October 24. A large-scale ale tasting and social gathering, BREWzilla will be held [at] The Arcade in downtown Cleveland and will feature more than 80 tasting stations, appetizers and other culinary delights that pair well with craft brews, entertainment, and guest appearances by renowned brewers. All proceeds from the Grand Reception will be donated to the Malone Scholarship Fund which is managed by the Cleveland Scholarship Program, Northeast Ohio’s only nonprofit resource that promotes educational awareness and community enrichment by preparing the workforce of tomorrow.”

All the details on the week and all the events can be found at clevelandbeerweek.org,

Check out my blog home page for the latest Cleveland information, All Things Cleveland Ohio, here.