Sunday, March 18, 2018

Burning River Record Riot Swap Meet Takes Place Today at the Winchester

Posted By on Sun, Mar 18, 2018 at 8:00 AM

  • Courtesy of Jason Burchaski
While sales of compact discs continue to decline, sales of vinyl, the format once considered obsolete, are on the rise.

Today at noon at the Winchester in Lakewood, vinyl aficionados can potentially add to their collections as the Northeast Ohio Vinyl Club descends upon the place for a "social, swap, sell and spin" dubbed the Burning River Record Riot.

"This isn't a tavern show like we have at the Happy Dog. This is the real deal," says organizer Jason Burchaski in a press release about the event. "Have you seen the actual hall at the Winchester? It's gorgeous. It's huge. It's Cleveland rock and roll history."

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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Local Burlesque Troupe Celebrates Its 14th Anniversary Tonight at the Beachland

Posted By on Sat, Mar 17, 2018 at 8:00 AM

  • Courtesy of Bella Sin
Le Femme Mystique Burlesque, the longest running burlesque troupe in Ohio, celebrates its 14th anniversary tonight at 8 at the Beachland with a special show.

Dubbed Burlesque Jubilee, the event will feature giveaways, flying drag queens, "lip sync for your life," a special guest and cake. Who could want more?

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Friday, March 16, 2018

Local Rapper Kent Archie Talks About Starting From 'Ground Zero'

Posted By on Fri, Mar 16, 2018 at 5:21 PM

  • Mike Young
On a sunny but brisk day, rapper Kent Archie sits in Dewey's, a Shaker Square coffee shop where he once worked, and recalls his time abroad as he reflects on the journey that has prepared him to release his new album, The Thoughts in My Head.

He sports a black jacket with patches depicting the countries he's been to in his lifetime. There's the United States, Canada, Austria and Holland among others — then there's Romania. Romania?

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Akron Fugitive Discovered in Willoughby Hills With Pet Gator

Posted By on Fri, Mar 16, 2018 at 12:51 PM

This is not a photo of the actual caiman found in Willoughby Hills. - PHOTO VIA WIKIPEDIA
  • Photo via Wikipedia
  • This is not a photo of the actual caiman found in Willoughby Hills.
An Akron man on the run from the law, was found last night at a home in Willoughby Hills. When the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force not arrested the man, they also reportedly discovered his pet caiman, a reptile closely related to an alligator, living in a large, glass tank.

It's not known how the man, Robert Watson, wanted in Akron for a probation violation, procured the three-foot reptile, a species commonly found in South and Central America (and not Ohio).

Animal control was called to the scene, the Akron Beacon Journal reported. It's not yet known what's next for the caiman.
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First Look: Landmark, Set to Open in Renovated Clifton Diner Spot in April, Will Bring 100% Scratch Made, All-Day Menu to Corner of West 117th

Posted By on Fri, Mar 16, 2018 at 11:24 AM


“It’s taken us a minute to get here, but we’ve done a lot as you can see,” says Constantine Katsaros, in what might be the understatement of the year.

We’re seated in the dining room of Landmark, which for many years was home to the Diner on Clifton. That eatery closed its doors two years ago in advance of a comprehensive building renovation project that saw the entire space gutted and rebuilt. Katsaros and partner Jack Messer also operate the adjacent Twist Social Club and the team gained some valuable lessons during recent improvements at that space.

“After experiencing with Twist what it’s like working with an older building, we decided that we were going to do this only once and at an excellent level,” Messer says.

Few signs remain in this sun-soaked corner property of the prior tenant. In addition to all new plumbing, electric and HVAC, not to mention bathrooms up and down, the space grew by nearly 100 percent. The owners appropriated some space from Twist to greatly enlarge the restaurant’s footprint – and then set about outfitting it with custom-built tables, banquettes and counter seating to produce an attractive and flexible 55-seat eatery. While unearthing the original terrazzo floors, the owners discovered a logotype for Tastyburger Systems, a local chain of burger joints that thrived during the '40s, '50s and '60s.

When it opens in mid-April, Landmark will blur the lines between fast-casual and what is often called fine-casual dining. Fine-casual spots typically combine high quality food and environment with quick-serve ordering and service. It’s a formula that Katsaros and Messer, two business school grads who argue that running a restaurant is more science than art, have spent years devising.

“There does seem to be a need for another category,” Katsaros asserts. “We are this other category because there is no way when someone comes down here and experiences what we’re putting out that they’ll think, ‘This was a fast-casual experience.’”
  • From left Constantine Katsaros, Jim Messer, Thomas Parker, Jack Messer

Guests will walk in, peruse a paper menu, place their order and pay at the counter. Beverages like craft draft beer, wine and even cocktails after 4 p.m. will be handed over along with an order number that fits neatly into a tabletop caddy. Staffers will deliver food and bus tables after diners depart.

“Our food runners are going to take a little more time to make sure you have everything you need and they’ll be checking on you,” Katsaros explains. “It’s limited service, but we’re also going to make sure that nobody leaves here dissatisfied.”

Executive chef Thomas Parker, most recently at Adega, will run a 100-precent scratch kitchen that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. The menu offers a broad but deliberate selection of foods that were chosen after two-plus years of debate and analysis.

“We felt, looking around this neighborhood, there was a need for diverse, high-quality food that you could get at a reasonable price,” states Katsaros. “For us, it was having a diversity of foods so that people could come on a regular basis and get a range of items that fit their lifestyles.”

Initially, Katsaros and Messer intended to make Landmark a barbecue restaurant. Over the years, the pair graduated from a backyard Weber Smokey Mountain on up to a championship-level Jambo offset pit. In fact, the very first barbecue they sold was on the sidewalk in front of this building during an arts festival. While the owners deviated from their original plans, they still decided to install one of the best commercial smokers in the business. The Model 700 from J&R weighs two tons, burns only wood and can cook 1,000 pounds of product per load.

“This is probably the most authentic all-wood smoker in Cleveland,” Katsaros says. “We were dead set on getting this smoker and we went above and beyond with the city to get it approved. Smoking’s our passion; it’s where we came from and how we got into all this.”

Exiting from that pit will be items like house cured and smoked bacon, smoked turkey breast, whole pork shoulders, beef shanks and real Texas-style beef brisket. Those items will appear in dishes like a breakfast burrito with eggs and brisket, a Club sandwich with turkey and bacon, pulled pork tacos, and osso bucco made from smoked and braised shanks.

But the item that will have everybody drooling is the Montreal-style smoked meat, a pastrami-like product that is made by curing and smoking beef brisket.

“Montreal barbecue is a product that we got really excited about,” says Messer. “I went to Schwartz’s and had a ‘holy shit’ moment. We became obsessed with getting it right and we did. If you want to get this product, the only other place is Montreal because we are truly doing it to form.”

The balance of the menu includes items such as avocado toast, breakfast sandwiches on bagels, chicken and rice bowls, Cobb salads, smoked vegan burgers and Reubens made with Montreal beef and Cleveland Kraut. For dinner there are fried chicken platters, smoked meat samplers, and pan-seared Norwegian salmon.

Very soon, a commanding three-sided blade sign emblazoned with the word Landmark will welcome drivers at the corner of W. 117th and Clifton.

“This whole neighborhood is changing and we’re excited to be a part of it,” says Katsaros. “Over time, we do want to become a landmark; it’s almost something to aspire to.”
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Dayton Dumbass (R-Miamisburg) Really Does Think Students Should Have Rifles in Schools

Posted By on Fri, Mar 16, 2018 at 11:24 AM

  • Twitter: @NirajAntani
After the Parkland shooting, the policy solution advanced by the most hogtied australopithecines within the Gun-God-Business Party's Gun wing was — go figure — more guns.

Arming teachers, in fact.

The "whole point" of that garbage proposal, according to one analyst, was merely to "deflect and delay." It was an unserious, offensive idea (that nevertheless gained the support of an unserious, offensive Commander-in-Chief) whose purpose was the equivalent of "thoughts and prayers."

"If they can make the conversation about arming teachers last a week or two," wrote Dave Karpf, (in a Tweet thread reprinted by Vox), "then they can duck the conversation about their indefensible positions [defending the gun show loophole, opposing an assault weapons ban]. And then some other tragedy will probably happen. (Deporting the DREAMers, global war, etc.)"

But like good whoopee cushions, a legion of right-wing lawmaker goons answered the call of their overlords and began fiendishly embracing-slash-promoting the "Arm Teachers" nonsense. Teachers and students gazed with bafflement at these assholes as the tears were still drying on their cheeks.

But the idea, like other bad ideas pushed by moneyed interests, managed to pick up steam. And as it was doing so, a teacher with a gun was taken into custody in Georgia, instantly validating the concerns of those opposed to the idiotic proposal. (No students were injured in that incident.) Many horrified Americans with a sardonic edge had some version of the following reaction:

That's right. Arming the students was the only possible solution left. The parents had been armed. The "resource officers" had been armed. The teachers were being armed, and were predictably beginning to misfire. Only the students remained.

State Rep. Niraj Antani, a Gun-God-Business nut from Miamisburg, down near Dayton, actually believes this to be the case. He thinks that all God-fearing responsible gun owners who are at least 18 years of age (SENIOR YEAR BABAAAAY!) ought to be able to bring their "long guns" to school.

(It pains the mind — but the soul most of all — to envision scenarios by which this policy preference would lead to catastrophe. "Are you here to kill your classmates?" Teachers would presumably have to inquire in this idealized learning environment dreamed up by Ohio Buckeye Firearms Association-homeslice Niraj Antani. "Or are you a responsible gun owner toting your AR-15, just cuz?")

Antani's making headlines for a Twitter exchange on the subject he had this week with his opponent, and for subsequent comments.

Antani followed up that gem with: "The more people who carry, the safer we all will be." But when a Twitter user asked, "based on what evidence?" Antani had no reply. 

(The HB233 mentioned above, by the way, would allow a concealed handgun licensee or military member to carry a deadly weapon into a gun-free zone, and avoid punishment, so long as the person leaves upon request and doesn’t return with the weapon within 30 days. In other words, it would make 'gun free zones' — schools and churches chief among them — no longer gun free. Antani's a co-sponsor.)

In follow-up comments, Antani has called the headlines and stories written about this stuff "clickbait." Karen Kasler, from the Ohio Public Radio Statehouse News Bureau, even mentioned on WCPN's Reporters Roundtable that she'd spoken with Antani, and he told her it's not like he intended to propose new legislation re: 18-year-olds bringing their rifles to school. (He's got HB233 to lobby for, after all.) This is just how he feels.

On social and in traditional media, he has argued that his comments were being misinterpreted because of "cultural differences."

“You go out to Valley View, in my district, you go shooting against a rock in your backyard … it’s part of the culture there, it’s not a big deal,” Antani told the Dayton Daily News. “Of course, in inner-city Dayton Public it would be a big deal, but there is a cultural difference … In rural America, there is a culture of carrying firearms safely. In any urban area, such as Dayton Public, there is not. In Dayton, unfortunately, there is a lot of gang violence, and firearms are used improperly.”

Well, this all sucks!
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Lakewood Might Remove Domestic Violence From List of Nuisance Activities Under City Law

Posted By on Fri, Mar 16, 2018 at 9:25 AM

  • Flickr CC

Lakewood city councilman Dan O'Malley is set to introduce an ordinance at Monday's city council meeting that would eliminate domestic violence from the list of qualified nuisance activities in the city. If passed, it would strip a particularly troubling aspect of a generally troubling law.

Twenty-one Northeast Ohio cities have Criminal Activity Nuisance Ordinances on their books. They are, by definition and practice, pretty broad, which means that for every intention of, say, shutting down a drug house, they also became a magnet for thinly veiled racism, as well as a tool cities can use to force out renters and those with subsidized housing vouchers. Lakewood is currently one of five cities that include domestic violence in their CANOs.

Domestic violence is already an underreported crime, and the possibility of losing housing or being fined creates an additional reason for victims to not call 911. For those that do call 911 to report domestic violence in Lakewood, it counts as a nuisance activity, logged by the city's law department, which can lead to fines and evictions.  

As for the timing of the proposed ordinance, O'Malley says conversations stemming from a recent report from Cleveland State University, a vital and troubling study that found nuisance laws unduly punish victims of domestic violence, minorities, renters, and those struggling with mental illness and drug addiction, were a driving force.

"A few months ago there was a string of publicity around our law and its inclusion of domestic violence as a nuisance activity," he says. "While those cases are complicated, I still felt a potential victim could come away believing they might have to choose between seeking protection and avoiding eviction. I would never want to put someone in that position. It makes sense to do away with this part of the law. I am also proposing we eliminate menacing and stalking from the list of nuisance activities as well."

Marissa Pappas, one of the study's authors, notes Lakewood would be the 8th city in Cuyahoga County to remove domestic violence from its CANO since 2016.

O'Malley says Lakewood Mayor Mike Summers has voiced his support. Once introduced, the ordinance will be referred to council's Public Safety Committee for further consideration.

As for the rest of the city's current nuisance ordinance, O'Malley says that it may be time to explore how else it could be changed to protect innocent victims.

"I wouldn't support doing away with the nuisance law altogether," he says. "It has proven worthwhile in many areas. But this may be a good time to take up a review of the law to see where else we may be able to improve."
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