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Thursday, October 17, 2019

6 Concerts to Catch in Cleveland This Weekend

Posted By on Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 2:53 PM

  • Courtesy of Atlantic Records

Kevin Gates/YK Osiris/Rod Wave/SDot Fresh

Kevin Gates raps about being a “prisoner in his own mind” on the heavily produced “Walls Talking,” an autobiographic tune that represents another hit for rapper, who recently dethroned Post Malone as the No. 1 artist on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Album charts. Hugely popular, Gates has more than five billion streams under his belt. In 2016 – the year he released his debut album ISLAH – he was the second highest-selling hip-hop artist, right behind Drake. Expect a big crowd to be on hand for tonight's performance. (Jeff Niesel) 8 p.m. Agora Theatre.

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New Music Series Launches Tomorrow at La Dolce Vita

Posted By on Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 1:22 PM

  • Anthony Romaniello
Over the past year, Anthony Romaniello, a third-year student at CWRU,  teamed up with Cleveland Institute of Music students Francesco Bochicchio and Shane O'Brien to organize live music events for students. Romaniello is studying engineering physics, Bochicchio is an operatic tenor studying voice and O'Brien is studying trumpet performance.

Xavier Lynn & the Rukus on 118th, Collin Miller and the Oregon Space Trail of Doom have played the shows, and the series has outgrown Romaniello’s friend's living room.

As a result, Romaniello is taking his talents to La Dolce Vita in Little Itlay. While La Dolce Vita has hosted opera for many years, the place has never acted as a full-blown music venue.

“We're starting a new series of events, which we're calling La Dolce Vita After Hours Music Series," says Romaniello. Local artists will perform after the restaurants dining hours have ended. The bar will remain open, and the restaurant will transform into a music venue with performances from "some of the best up-and-coming Cleveland artists.”

The first event takes place tomorrow. Xavier Lynn & the Rukus on 118th will perform.

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You Officially Have to Be At Least 21 to Purchase Tobacco Products in Ohio as of Today

Posted By on Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 1:17 PM

  • Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Starting today, Ohio state law prohibits anyone under 21 from buying tobacco and nicotine products. While Gov. Mike DeWine signed the bill into law earlier this summer, it didn't go into full effect until now.

Ohio retailers will now be required to post a sign explaining the new law and face fines for not doing so. The first offense is a fourth-degree misdemeanor and could result in the store clerk spending up to 30 days in jail and paying $250. The retail establishment could be subject to up to $2,500 in additional fines.

Policy and legislative affairs manager at Summit County Health, Cory Kendrick, told the Akron Beacon Journal that the law can help county efforts to reduce youth smoking and vaping, which has grown in popularity over the past couple of years.

Cities like Cleveland and Akron have already enacted similar legislation, but now the law is statewide.

This law comes after the CDC linked vaping to a serious lung disease that has claimed the lives of young people across the country. Targeted ads were found to have increased vaping in the under-21 crowd by 78 percent in one year. However, much of the vaping-related illnesses have been linked to marijuana cartridges, and not nicotine.

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A Bone Thugs-n-Harmony Superfan Sold Everything He Owned and Left Japan for Cleveland to Meet His Idols

They're Not Here, But Four Months Later, He Still Is

Posted By on Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 1:10 PM

  • Ryo Muranaka Facebook

This tale, one of the more bizarre stories you're bound to come across this year, begins in June.

That's when the local police scanner Twitter account @NEO_Scan tweeted: "Other - E99/St Clair - #thingswehear A very agitated fellow from Japan flew here on promise that he'd meet Bone Thugs 'n Harmony, CPD used translate app to arrange with someone on Facetime who will arrange for him to meet the band members."

The police report for the call, which happened at about 11:20 a.m. on June 25, showed that the cops were summoned not so much because the gentleman in question was agitated but because the caller said the gentleman "didn't fit the area" and had large amounts of cash on him and she was worried he was going to be robbed.

Anyway, a nifty little bizarre police scanner tweet that, by its telling, appeared to end in a happy resolution: Whoever this guy was, someone was gonna help him meet Bone Thugs.

The end.

Until this week, when, thanks to an interview with Fox 8, we learned that the Bone Thugs superfan was still in Cleveland, that his visa had expired, that he didn't want to go home, and that he'd been, essentially, adopted and cared for by a guy named James Norton and others.

Norton, when asked by Scene to begin his story of how this all came to be, laughed before recapping the last four months of his life with Ryo Muranaka.

"Well, he sold his possessions, bought a ticket, and came to America," Norton said. "You're in a different country, you believe what you hear, and for him, he came to Cleveland and went to E. 99 and St. Clair wanting to meet his idols, like they would just be standing there all the time."

And those fears about him being robbed? Well, they were right on. Because he just stood on the corner, where he appears to return often, for two or three days, waiting for the band to show up.

"He had this parka on and he had his Louis Vuitton luggage, and that stuff might be cheaper to buy in Japan or whatever, but it's expensive here, so he got robbed for his luggage," Norton said.

At this point, Norton told Scene, "one of the homeboys that stays in the area took him in, and he ran into another homeboy, Kwas Bibbs, who's affiliated with Bone Thugs, and we knew each other and I grew up with Layzie Bone so he kind of got hooked up with me. I took him in — it was only supposed to be for one night — and he's still with me after three months."

Why, anyone would ask and we did, would someone randomly take in a complete stranger in an open-ended arrangement? Ryo didn't want to go back to Japan. He had nowhere to go here. He wasn't on a work visa, and had no money left.

"I did it because he got robbed, because he's on the streets, and because it's easy to die out here," Norton said of Ryo, who is a rapper himself who hoped to pass along his music to Bone.

Initially, they communicated entirely by using Google translate. Then Norton began writing down American phrases on flash cards and helping Ryo learn to pronounce them. It hasn't been much, but "he's developed a way to speak," Norton said.

What he hasn't done is meet members of Bone, who not only don't stand on the corner of E. 99 and St Clair but don't even live in Cleveland.

And what he doesn't have anymore, besides his Louis Vuitton luggage, is a valid visa — his expired in late September. Norton said attempts to reach the United Way and elected officials haven't brought any resolution.

"You're from a different country, but you're still a human being," Norton said. "The goal now is, because he is talented, because he can rap, because he has numbers on YouTube, to try and generate a way to get a work visa set up that would allow him to stay and work and use his music. He said he doesn't want to go back. He said he was born in Japan and will die in America."

Attention to the story brought by Fox 8's interview could be good, and could be bad. ICE could come and pick him up any day. Or, someone could help get his paperwork figured out.

They really had no options left though, Norton said.

"I still like America," Ryo told Fox 8.

And yes, he still loves Bone Thugs.

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Ohio Lawmakers Once Again Introduce Legislation Barring Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination

Posted By on Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 12:12 PM

  • Photo by Nick Swartsell
Ohio's anti-discrimination laws — designed to protect people from unfair labor, housing and other discrimination based on membership in protected groups — do not include gender identity or sexual orientation.

Two members of the Ohio House of Representatives, however, want to change that. State Rep. Michael Skindell, a Democrat representing the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood, and Rep. Brett Hillyer, a Republican from the east-central Ohio city of Uhrichsville, say they are introducing House Bill 369, which would make LGBTQ status a protected class under the state's laws.

That bill follows another introduced in the state Senate in May looking to make the same change. Both are called the Ohio Fairness Act. The bipartisan duo in the House says it's time for the state legislature to act.

“Businesses and workers alike say non-discrimination policies often determine investment and relocation,” Skindell said in a statement earlier this month. “That’s why we’re bringing business leaders and advocates to the table to make our state more inclusive and attractive to young workers, their families and the businesses who will drive Ohio’s economic future.”

About 800 Ohio businesses and business organizations, including the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, back the Ohio Fairness Act.

Ohio is one of 28 states that currently doesn't include LGBTQ status in its anti-discrimination laws, even though a 2017 poll by the Public Religion Research Institute found almost 70 percent of Ohioans support anti-discrimination protections based on sexual preference and gender identity.

About two-dozen local municipalities, including Cincinnati, have passed their own ordinances banning discrimination based on sexual preference or gender identity.

But those local laws only protect about a quarter of Ohioans, advocacy groups say.

“You shouldn’t have to move to the city to feel protected from discrimination at work, in accessing housing and when purchasing goods or services," Equality Ohio Executive Director Alana Jochum said this month. "It’s time for Ohio’s legislators to make a commitment to LGBTQ Ohioans — urban, suburban and rural — that they have the same right to work hard and provide for their families as everybody else."

Some groups, however, argue the law would infringe on religious liberties.

"Ohio is a diverse and tolerant state," Citizens for Community Values President Aaron Baer said in a statement. "If passed, this legislation would punish and silence anyone that simply wants to honor their faith."

Efforts to pass through the State House anti-discrimination laws on the basis of sexual orientation and gender date back to at least 2008, but have not yet come to fruition. Skindell and Hillyer say they believe their bill will receive committee hearings soon.

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Yours Truly Will Open its Solon Restaurant on Monday, Oct. 28

Posted By on Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 12:04 PM

Back on January 19, the 38th birthday of Yours Truly Restaurants, founder Larry Shibley announced plans for his company’s 10th location. That location, a former Donatos Pizza at 6141 Kruse Dr. in Solon, is scheduled to open on Monday, October 28th.

The first Yours Truly opened in Beachwood in 1981. Since then, Yours Truly has expanded its reach across the suburban Northeast Ohio landscape, with outposts in Chagrin Falls, Hudson, Mayfield, Medina, Mentor, Shaker Square and Valley View. Two and a half years ago, the company opened its first downtown location in the historic Halle Building (1228 Euclid Ave.).

“This is lucky number 10,” Shibley stated at the time of the announcement. “We’ve been interested in Solon for a long time, maybe since as early as the `80s. I’ve looked at this plaza multiple times.”

The 5,000-square-foot building has undergone significant renovations to create the same look and feel as new shops like downtown and renovated ones such as Chagrin Falls.

“These new locations, like downtown and Chagrin Falls, are what we have dubbed 'the YTR Kitchen & Bar' concepts,” Shibley added. “This one will be along those lines, but with many enhancements and tweaks.”

The larger footprint can accommodate approximately 150 guests. There is also a spacious indoor-outdoor bar attached to an all-seasons patio.

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The Rescheduled Pokémon-Themed Pop-Up is Officially Canceled in Cleveland, to the Shock of No One

Posted By on Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 10:24 AM

  • Photo courtesy of the PokeBar
The event company that was supposed to bring a Pokémon-themed pop-up bar to Cleveland has officially decided not to move forward with the party.

As we reported a few weeks ago, the event company (originally Australia's Viral Ventures, which switched hands to Wonderland Global Events) got into trouble after using the trademarked Pokémon materials in its promotions and events without receiving the proper permissions.

At that point, the company put a pause on all of its so-called PokeBar events across the United States, including the one in Cleveland that had originally been scheduled for the first weekend of October, and decided to rename the pop-up the Monster Bar. 

As of just two week's ago, that burger and beer party was re-scheduled to come to Cleveland in January. However, according to spokesperson with the company, the entire concept is being tabled, and the event's website has been deleted. 

Spokesperson Terry Adams explained that the company "felt that the rebranded event did not deliver the same quality of experience as the original event," and would not move forward.

The company has also reportedly refunded all customers who bought tickets for the event.

Meanwhile, Scene just received a press release from Viral Ventures that its pop-up Brick Bar concept — which got into trouble earlier this year after using LEGO materials without permission (we're seeing a pattern here) — is allegedly going forward in Cleveland.

If it does indeed happen, it would be the first Viral Ventures event to ever come to fruition in Cleveland. So far the planned pop-up ball pit, Pokémon and LEGO-themed bars have all either been canceled outright or postponed. That's not exactly the best track record.

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