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Thursday, September 24, 2020

Cleveland Cinemas Announces Virtual 12 Hours of Terror Program

Posted By on Thu, Sep 24, 2020 at 4:19 PM

  • Kino Lorber
Cleveland Cinemas has announced that its flagship autumn program at the Capitol Theatre, 12 Hours of Terror, will be 100 percent virtual this year. For a single ticket price, viewers will gain digital access to four horror films for seven days, though Cleveland Cinemas encourages viewers to watch them all consecutively to simulate the Capitol Experience.

Included in this year's line-up are three 1970s European exploitation classics — 1970's The Nude Vampire, directed by Jean Rollin; 1973's A Virgin Among the Living Dead, directed by Jesus Franco; and 1976's The House of Exorcism, directed by Mario Bava —  and a 1970's American exploitation classic, Pete Walker’s The House of Whipcord.

“The 12 Hours of Terror has become a tradition for many people,” says Dave Huffman, Cleveland Cinemas Director of Marketing and programmer for the 12 Hours of Terror, in a statement provided to the media. “It saddens us that we won’t be able to provide the annual marathon that fans have grown to love. I hope that people will take this opportunity to gather in small, responsible groups with their housemates and enjoy these exploitation classics at home.”

In addition to the pandemic, the Capitol is closed for a significant renovations as well. When it opens, its two upstairs auditoriums will be equipped with luxury recliner seats. 

Tickets for this year’s "Virtual Horror Marathon" are a steal at only $20, 50% of which goes right back to the Capitol. Tickets can be purchased anytime during the week of Oct. 9-15. Before home screening, viewers will first have to create an account on Kino Marquee. Huffman said that the usual line-up of seven films was slimmed to only four to keep tickets prices reasonable.

To approximate the movie theater experience in yet another way, Cleveland Cinemas will offer Curbside Concessions the weekend of October 9th and 10th for horror marathoners craving movie theater snacks. Packages include a Large Popcorn and three movie theater candies for $13 and a Large Popcorn, three candies and two beers for $20, (for the 21+ set). Curbside Concessions will have to be ordered during the week before pickup at

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Derf's New Graphic Novel 'Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio' Has Much to Offer in Our Current Climate

Posted By on Thu, Sep 24, 2020 at 11:37 AM

Local writer and artist Derf Backderf (aka John Backderf) was only 10 years old when the National Guard descended on Kent State in May of 1970 and killed four students after firing into a crowd of protestors.

But like many Northeast Ohioans, the tragic events left a lasting impression on him, and, he says, a lasting impression on the college and area.

In "Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio," whose name is borrowed from a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song, Derf combines personal experience — while Derf wasn't on campus, he did witness those same National Guardsmen violently shutting down a tucker strike just a few days before they were sent to KSU —with extensive research and interviews to tell the story of those four students and those four days.

The result is a work of journalism and art that shows the reader what happened 50 years ago, and why it's all-too-sadly relevant today.

During a time where widespread Black Lives Matter protests have been sweeping the nation in the wake of the heinous killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others at the hands of law enforcement, the parallels are clear.

“It’s almost a mirror image, isn’t it,” he said in a recent phone interview. “It circles back to 1970, which was one of the worst years we’ve ever had. Apparently we’ve learned nothing on the journey. So, yeah. Here we are.”

Backderf thinks that the thing people may not recall from that era is the menacing feeling lingering over society.

“All of these great forces were just tearing the nation apart just kind of came crashing together, inexplicable. And it happened to reach a climax at Kent State. It could have happened anywhere, it just happened happen there,” said Backderf.

What is the biggest thing that the general public didn’t understand about the era?

“The general belief for people who don’t know the history that well, (they think) it was some kind of horrible accident that happened at Kent. And it really wasn’t. I mean, it was likely a malevolent act. There was a lot going on behind the scenes and that’s what this story is about. And the four people that got swept up in it.”

While Backderf was still a child at the time and part of a younger generation, he says that growing up in Ohio around that time tattooed the incident into his psyche.

As far as Kent State University goes, Backderf believes there’s still a palpable sadness that is experienced in the town and at the university dating back to the tragic shootings. “They embrace that past now, but it wasn’t always the case. They were openly antagonistic to it for many, many years. It only started to change when they opened the May 4th Center in 2012.”

Buy the book here or at your favorite local bookstore.

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Now is Not the Time for Giant Fuckups, Cuyahoga County Board of Elections

Posted By on Thu, Sep 24, 2020 at 11:29 AM

  • element5/unsplash

The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, in a massive fuckup, mistakenly sent out an email to an unknown number of people who'd signed up to be poll workers on Nov. 3, saying that their services were not required.

"If you are receiving this email," the message read, "it’s because we have received your application but do not currently have a poll worker position available for you in the election. This may change at any time, however. Workers who are currently planning to work the election may choose not to, at which point we will turn to our new applicants. Over the next two weeks, we will be looking to fill spots that become available with new applicants, such as yourself."

BOE Director Anthony Perlatti had no answers for reporter Courtney Astolfi when she sought clarification. He didn't know how many people received the erroneous message — Maybe 1,000? Maybe those who were interested in serving as Precinct Election Officials? — or how it was sent.
The BOE had prepared two messages for poll workers and the wrong one seems to have been sent to an unknown number of recipients. He has encouraged those who received it to disregard it. 

But damage is already done. As notes, Cuyahoga County still has a significant expected shortage of poll workers on election day. And the BOE actually does have positions available. A follow-up email, which was to be sent yesterday, may have reassured some recipients, but the confusion and mixed messaging likely squandered the services of many of the county's most eager election-day workers.

The back and forth is reminiscent of the chaos in March when Gov. Mike DeWine postponed Ohio's primary election on very short notice, due to the Coronavirus, and election workers in Cuyahoga County received a flurry of contradictory information in the span of several hours. 

There literally could not be a worse time for woopsies like these. 

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The Grog Shop Celebrates Its 28th Anniversary Friday With In-Person and Streaming Concert Featuring the Chargers Street Gang

Posted By on Thu, Sep 24, 2020 at 10:54 AM


These are rough times for all of us, but particularly for local live music venues.

Despite a summer-long campaign to #SaveOurStages, little relief has come for those beloved stages, which have remained virtually empty since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Getting by with fundraisers, merch sales and the occasional outdoor or virtual show, these local gems have kept the lights on so far, but just barely.

So when opportunities arise to support them, Cleveland would do well to show up.

Tomorrow's a good chance.

The Grog Shop will celebrate its 28th anniversary Friday night, albeit it in an unorthodox fashion necessitated by the virus.

Legendary local rockers the Chargers Street Gang will get back together for a concert, along with Black Spirit Crown.

Thirty fans will be admitted — with masks, and social distancing measures in place. Tickets are $20.

The Grog Shop is also livestreaming the show and accepting donations.

In case you missed it, here's Grog Shop owner Kathy Blackman's #SaveOurStages plea from earlier this year.

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New Event Space Opens in Gordon Square Arts District

Posted By on Thu, Sep 24, 2020 at 9:30 AM

  • Courtesy of Gordon Green
Gordon Square's Gordon Green, a new 10,000 square foot event space originally developed as an early 20th century furniture showroom before evolving into a cultural and banquet center for the neighborhood's Vietnamese community, officially opens tomorrow. The new space will honor what a press release calls "these long standing traditions of creativity and connection."

“Gordon Green was always envisioned as a historically re-imagined space, one where people felt special things happen,” says partner Jacob Holland in a press release about the grand opening. “This year has certainly shown we can never predict what lies ahead, but we feel good knowing this building was brought back in a way that both respected its past and was hopeful for its future.“

With safety in mind, the venue hopes to host events that conform to the state's public gathering mandates.

“Opening our doors and creating a 'space' for all in today's world, even in the smallest and safest of ways, feels like progress,” says Holland.

The original hardwood flooring and ornate tin ceiling have been refreshed and revitalized to "fit the style of modern day." The renovation has also uncovered original skylights and panoramic windows, and the space’s on-site full service kitchen will allow for "endless menu and package possibilities." A private courtyard will create the possibility of an "indoor-outdoor hybrid event experience."

The Gordon Green team also owns and operates GreenRoom, a coworking and private event space located down the street at 5900 Detroit Ave.

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Groups Teaming Up to Tackle Child Hunger in Ohio

Posted By on Thu, Sep 24, 2020 at 9:20 AM

  • AdobeStock
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Children's advocacy groups say childhood hunger is a dire problem in Ohio, but it isn't impossible to solve.

Up to 17 million children in the U.S. aren't getting the food they need, including roughly one in five Ohio kids.

Eleni Towns, associate director for the No Kid Hungry Campaign, contends gains made over the last 10 years to alleviate childhood hunger have been erased in just the past six months.

The campaign has partnered with media company Discovery, Inc., on "Turn up! Fight Hunger," to ensure kids have access to school meals. Towns noted it's especially crucial in a pandemic.

"School districts are having to completely adjust their programs, providing meals to virtual learners, deliver meals to community sites, to provide multiple meals per day," Towns said. "And so, helping with that technical assistance side and also raising awareness, so that families know what's available to them."

Towns said solving childhood hunger takes a three-pronged approach: raising awareness, educating the public, and encouraging policymakers to take action.

Alexa Verveer, executive vice president of Public Policy, Corporate and Government Affairs at Discovery, explained they're galvanizing the power of the TV network's reach to show people how they can help.

"Am I in a position to donate dollars?" Verveer said. "Do I actually want to do some volunteerism around trying to ensure that food is disseminated to kids? Do I want to be involved in a petition or a letter-writing campaign to relevant legislators?"

Towns added hunger is more than a missed meal, and said kids shouldn't have to live with not knowing where their next meal will come from.

"We see time and time again that a hungry student can't learn to the capabilities that we know are important," Towns said. "But we also see long-term impacts to moments of food insecurity, in terms of the health and growth of children."

The "Turn Up! Fight Hunger" campaign has helped No Kid Hungry connect children with more than 500 million meals, which is more than halfway to the campaign's goal of one billion meals.

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Cleveland Internet Radio Station oWOW is Over

Posted By on Thu, Sep 24, 2020 at 9:16 AM


, the internet radio station founded five years ago by former WMMS program director John Gorman and industry vet Jim Marchyshyn, is calling it a day.

Citing a downturn in advertising thanks to the pandemic, Gorman announced this week broadcasts will end come October.

"After much consideration and weighing several factors in our industry, we recognized that continued operation of oWOW radio is no longer viable in this negative business environment," the station said in a press release, "Since we are not in a situation to influence the uncertainty of the future, we are unable to ride out the storm."

"Though this past summer’s online streaming ratings on oWOW were 20 percent above last summer’s numbers, the numerous business closures prevented us from converting those numbers in a stagnant advertising market. In previous years, the summer months accounted for over 50 percent of oWOW’s annual revenue."

When oWOW launched in February 2015, Gorman had high hopes that the medium would attract listeners thanks to an expanded playlist and local personalities.

“The idea [for an Internet radio station] has been there for ages,” Gorman told Scene at the time. “It goes back to when streaming first became viable online. That was in the mid-’90s. You could see it in the future because there was a need for it. The other side of it is that it’s expensive and why do it unless there’s an audience for it. The idea has been in our minds but the timing wasn’t right. We saw that Pandora had a critical mass of audience of people using the Internet for entertainment and that was when we realized something was going on. Spotify solidified it. But the other side of both of them is that there is no element of surprise. You’re going there for a specific reason. In the old days, you had people on the air into the music and they would say things like, ‘Here’s something we think you’ll really like.’”

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