In this week’s issue:
* Cool Cleveland Night Out in January with drinks, snacks, tours and dance: get discount tix here
* Cool Cleveland People with Kent State University professor and performer Mwatabu Okantah
* Cool Cleveland Commentary New Improved Christmas by Bob Rhubart
* Cool Cleveland Sounds review of The Story of Gasoline CD by Cleveland band Rosavelt
* Skirting the Issue We’re All Misfits: Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer in the Age of Cultural Transformation

Cool Cleveland People
Educator, artist, activist and performer Mwatabu Okantah

As assistant professor of Pan-African Studies at Kent State University, he has served as the Department’s Poet in Residence, and as Director of the Center of Pan-African Culture. During his involvement with Cleveland State University’s Cultural Center, he bought to Cleveland some of the best African-American speakers and artists: Amiri Baraka, Maya Angelou, and Louis Farrakhan. Cool Cleveland spoke with Mwatabu about his activism in custom-creating educational programs and his performance group The Muntu Kuntu Energy Ensemble.

Cool Cleveland: What’s your vision of how Cleveland should look and feel?

Mwatabu Okantah: Interesting question. Because I am not a native Clevelander, I have never thought of the area in those terms. Rather, my destiny brought me to this area. First, as a college student at Kent State University in the early 1970s — I was a freshman in September, 1970 when the campus reopened for the first time after students were shot earlier that May. I returned to the area in 1981 to coordinate the African-American Cultural Center and teach in the Black Studies Program at Cleveland State University. I returned to KSU in 1991 to teach in the same program I was a student in during the heyday of the Black Studies movement. I am now an assistant professor in the Department of Pan-African Studies. I serve as the Department’s Poet-in-Residence, and as Director of the Center of Pan-African Culture. I have been blessed to be able to say to my students that I was a student in the program when we dreamed of their presence and the program’s very existence before they were born…
Read the Cool Cleveland People interview with Mwatabu Okantah here

Innovation Lab mentors After funding eight projects and providing more than $200,000 in grants, the Civic Innovation Lab, an organization that provides mentorship and funds for Cleveland’s creative ideas, has selected four new mentors. They’re engaged leaders committed to offering their expertise and networks to new social entrepreneurs and working one-on-one to guide them toward achieving their goals. CIL welcomes Kathleen H. Coakley, Vice President of Exhibition Development and Design at The Malrite Company, the successor to Malrite Communications Group Inc., and founder of Cleveland Public Art; Rhonda S. Ferguson is assistant general counsel at Ferro Corporation; and Tim Mueller, CEO of Olutions Group, an investment and business consulting firm. Peter Robertson is on leave for the 2004-2005 school year from his position as the chief information officer for the Cleveland Municipal School District. http://www.CivicLab.org

Cool Cleveland Night Out in January Did you have fun at Cool Cleveland’s wild Art/Tech/Dance party last Friday? Check out the photos here. Now make plans for a Cool Cleveland Night Out on Fri 1/14 with an unbeatable package. Start off with a Cool Cleveland Warm-Up Party from 5 to 7:30PM with open wine bar, hot hors d’oeuvres, tours of cool area economic development projects, and self-guided tours of the art and murals at Playhouse Square. Then, get an unbeatable deal on tickets to the dream-like dance performance by MOMIX, presented by DanceCleveland, for an unforgettable evening on the town. Bring a guest or meet someone interesting at this Cool Cleveland Night Out in Cleveland’s theatre district. Register and pay online by midnight Thu 1/6 for 44% savings. This price will go up, so order online now: Newsletter/Party

Performing arts down in Cleveland The Northeast Ohio arts economy has been challenged lately with the slow-to-rebound regional economy, changing entertainment habits and eroding audiences. With virtually all performing arts groups reporting sharp drops in single tix and subscription sales, this trend could compromise the quality of one of Cleveland’s greatest assets: our arts. Cleveland art leaders are fretting over the news, but some of us are getting busy: educating the public on our cultural resources and properly marketing them are issues that need to be addressed by everyone in the region. The effort to provide stable public arts funding came close to passing earlier this year; now those efforts should be redoubled. We suggest that Clevelanders can respond by joining together at the upcoming Cool Cleveland Night Out here. And mounting a significant arts fest could kick-start new sources of arts funding (see InGenuity below). See www.Cleveland.com

InGenuity Festival studies report As readers of Cool Cleveland are aware, James Levin, founder of Cleveland Public Theatre, and Cool Cleveland’s Thomas Mulready are experiencing great success in bringing together Cleveland’s creative communities for an annual arts, culture and technology festival starting in Summer of 2005, tentatively titled InGenuity. Now the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture has released a competitive analysis of festivals in Ann Arbor, Chicago, New Orleans, Toronto and 20 other cities, identifying budget, theme, target audiences and marketing strategies, a report which will serve useful as the InGenuity Festival continues to evolve. www.Cleveland.com

East vs. West: why can’t the media get over it? An entire special section of Cleveland Magazine this month fixates on Cleveland’s divide. The more useful and critical observations surfaced in Catalyst Cleveland writer Daniel Gray-Kontar’s article delineating outmoded thinking and parochialism, pointing out that the East/West divide represents as an unspoken euphemism for the white/black sides of town – a good point, and well taken. Let’s do a better job of spreading ourselves ’round this deliciously diverse city. Check out the Cool Cleveland Events below and check out a new part of town this weekend. http://www.ClevelandMagazine.com

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You Can Afford Your Dream Home in the City That’s right, you heard it here first! Marvin Homes, located minutes from Ohio City, Tremont and downtown, are creatively designed new homes with exceptional amenities at an affordable price. $149,000 gets you out of your rental and into your own home! Featuring three bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a sunken great room with 9′ ceilings and hardwood floors, and spacious kitchens with a granite island & countertops. There’s also an airy, vaulted ceiling in the master bedroom, plus maple kitchen cabinets, central air and a high-efficiency furnace. Options include an office and a wood-burning fireplace! Fire your landlord and get hep to city living, know what we mean? Located in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood, off W. 25th St., just north of the I-71 exit; you’re close to the city’s excitement. For a complete list of properties and open houses this weekend, please visit www.ProgressiveUrban.com
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Business Ethics Corporate Responsibility Report Cleveland needs this: a mag that praises and pushes out companies doing what’s right, or at least, attempting to. Business Ethics recognizes what matters in corporate America within their articles Five Myths That Fuel Anti-Corporate Hate Campaigns, Purchasing ‘Green Tags’: The Newest (And Easiest) Innovation in Green Power, and Are Employees Skills a Cost or an Asset? Kudos to them for noticing the issues and tackling them. http://www.Business-Ethics.com

Case purchases key property to create “college town” This desireable patch of land attached to the Case campus is a four-acre site locally known as the Triangle, at the southeast corner of Mayfield Road and Euclid Avenue, including two apartment buildings, two commercial buildings and a parking lot. The property is scheduled to be redeveloped with retail, commercial and housing. But is University Circle really a college town? http://www.Case.edu

Bye, Bye, Bad Epitaph In the past five years, the core company members of Bad Epitaph have emerged from the periphery of the Cleveland theater scene and moved to its mainstream, as award-winning playwrights, Equity actors, acclaimed costume designers, staff members of universities, sought-after composers, educators in schools, husbands, wives, and the parents of very small children. This group of friends will no longer carry on as Bad Epitaph, but their legacy remains with their repertory include the successful solo performance of I Hate This went to New York City, where it was lauded by the New York Times and took an award for excellence. The Bad Epitaph Theater Company archive remains at http://www.BadEpitaph.org

Get Fit, Cleveland For the past three years, Cleveland has consistently been ranked among the fattest cities in America by Men’s Fitness Magazine. In light of these stats, the YMCA challenges Clevelanders to be fit, not fat, and erase this statistic by offering motivatation for families and individuals to improve their wellness. They’re hosting a kick-off event on Sun 1/2 from 1-4PM, and Tower City Center will help jump-start the commitment to health for the new year. Check out youth from the YMCA’s PACE Tumbling and Hip-Hop Dance program, who will perform skills they have mastered, and then introduce your family to activities designed to keep your self and kids healthy. Watch 15-minute demonstrations featuring non-traditional classes: RAPS(tm), a class designed to improve posture and flexibility through rhythmic movements; Rebound, an aerobics class that uses mini trampolines to strengthen and tone muscles, plus other programs. http://www.YMCAcleveland.org or call 736-4430 or email aesser@clevelandymca.org

Lakewood considers smoking ban Speaking of getting fit, Lakewood is studying how they might enact a city-wide smoking ban. Most other such clean-air measures have not hurt business, but many would rather see a regional smoking ban to avoid smokers fleeing across city lines to light up. See PD here

United Religions Initiative is a global interfaith organization that works to end religiously motivated violence and create cultures of peace. “Cooperative Circles” around the world provide discussions and training to raise global standards of peacemaking. The website offers news, events, and resources to direct you to activism and involvement. http://www.uri.org

Ohio universities ponder sales tax As public aid dissipates, college tuition rises beyond affordability for many Ohioans. Governor Bob Taft cautioned about the difficulty of sustaining even the currently low levels of financial support from the State, and has threatened to limit tuition increases. As public universities are expected to step up and provide higher quality programs with diminishing state resources, the University of Toledo’s president, Dan Johnson, suggests the possibility of asking the Ohio legislature to allow a regional levy or sales tax to aid in raising revenue. www.Cleveland.com

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Party post-partum? Would $100 help? We’re sure you enjoyed the tours of the WT Grant building and the award winning 1900 Euclid Avenue lofts at Cool Cleveland’s Holiday Romp last Friday. Partygoers were impressed by each property’s unique and individual charm. Were you unable to be there? These two properties represent the very best that Downtown has to offer. The award-winning 1900 Euclid Avenue Lofts are situated near Playhouse Square and provide easy access to Cleveland’s world-class entertainment district. The WT Grant building overlooks Public Square and provides an abundance of dining, entertainment & shopping options. If you missed the fun last Friday you can still schedule a private showing of each building by calling Towne Properties today at 623-1201 (WT Grant) & 241-9800 (Euclid Avenue) for a private showing. Mention CoolCleveland.com within the next six weeks to receive a rent discount of $100 on a thirteen-month lease. http://www.towneprop.com/wtgrantlofts and http://www.towneprop.com/euclid
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Airport scanner ‘undresses’ you Don’t be shy about being naked, ‘cos there’s a new X-ray machine at Heathrow that sees anatomically exact images through clothes; imagine the airport being too hot for TV! http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6443356

Cleveland’s affordable housing When the Ohio City Near West Development Corp changed it’s charter recently to de-emphasize affordable housing, it was because private investment has flooded the neighborhood. But the differences of opinion are worth a second look. Now the story is being linked by national zine Planetizen, The Planning & Development Network. http://www.planetizen.com/news/item.php?id=15246

Forbidden Library This site features books some people consider dangerous; take a look at what people find offensive. You might marvel over it. http://www.ForbiddenLibrary.com

Online audio books at CPL Cleveland Public Library and the CLEVNET Library Consortium announce another innovative library service: online audio books. Over 150 popular audio titles have been added to the eBook collection, and library patrons can now check out and download the MP3s supported by Windows Media Player. Cleveland Public Library has partnered with Cleveland’s Overdrive, Inc., to provide online audio books. The new online audio book service joins other pioneering services like KnowltNow 24×7 live online reference, over 150 subscription-only online research resources, and an online collection of over 5,000 eBooks. To access audio books, visit the Digital Library Connection web site at http://dlc.clevnet.org and see http://www.cpl.org.

Glass gallery hits Lakewood Gerrodette Art Glass is opening due to the efforts of Anna Gerrodette, a stained glass artist with more than 20 years of professional experience. Find architectural panels, furniture and functional art, as well as gifts for all occasions. Gerrodette is offering classes, repairs and supplies, so come in for original stained glass art in colorful, abstract, modern designs, as well as traditional glasswork. Call 440-668-5533. Located at 16510 Detroit Ave. http://www.Accendi-glacie.com

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White Gloves Mandatory The complete list of subjects covered in the Cleveland Public Library’s Special Collections Exhibition (experienced only when wearing special white gloves provided by the library) include Architecture, Baseball, Chess & Checkers, Children’s Literature, Cleveland Theater History, Cookbooks, Corporate Annual Reports, Dogs, Foreign Literature & Language, Industrial Standards Collection, John G. White Folklore, Local History & Genealogy, Maps, Patents & Trademarks Collection, Photographs, Rare Books, and Sheet Music. As a proud steward of Cleveland’s literary heritage, and host of last week’s Cool Cleveland Art/Tech/Dance tour in their Special Collections, the CPL is able to share rare treasures that include valuable books developed centuries ago. With something for everyone, their collections have grown from a love of knowledge and appreciation of the book as artifact. Contact 623-2878 or http://www.cpl.org%%
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Cool Cleveland This Week


Send your cool events to: Events@CoolCleveland.com

An Evening of Reggae music with Selector and MarcusIyah from Chicago’s Moa Anbessa Sound System serve it up Roots-style, along with Modern Conscious & Dancehall sensibilities. And the best part? No cover to get in on Wed 12/22 at 10PM. Wander in for audial education, vibe, and uncommon spinning energy. B-Side Liquor Lounge, 2785 Euclid Hts Blvd. in Cleveland Hts. http://www.BSideLiquorLounge.com

Low Dough Holiday Show is BUZZ’s way of offering Clevelanders easy opportunities to purchase and collect artwork for your holiday gift giving needs. Prices are way flexible, and you’ll be supporting the artists in our region. Rustle up last minute, super suave gifts of art – most of the artwork priced under $100. They’re open up to the very end of X-mas, so get your goods this Wed 12/22; holiday gallery hours are noon to 10PM. Call 522-1836. Buzz Gallery, 1836 West 25th, Suite 1B. http://www.BuzzGallery.com

Ballroom with flash and flair Come for the energy and learn the art of the Argentine Tango and the ever-saucy Salsa. Swing to the Big Band sounds and feel the excitement of the other rhythm dances on Wed 12/22 starting 7PM; both gay and straight are encouraged to participate. Located at All About Dancin’ Ballroom Studio, 2115 Freeman Ave. Located one block south of the West Side Market. Register for the event at http://www.lgcsc.org/awi/fall04events.html#lgbt

Courageous Minority Comprised of Ohio members from various local bands and training in different music genres, this force of sound touts strong but melodic lyrics. The Courageous mixes funk, rock, jazz and R&B along with friendship to provide listeners with a sound unlike anything else; the band has wrapped up their third CD and is running a stint of live performances throughout Ohio. See them at the Grog on Wed 12/22 at 9PM. Call 321-5588. Grogshop, 2785 Euclid Hts Blvd. in Cleveland Hts. http://www.GrogShop.gs/main.html

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WCLVnotes On this week’s Adventures in Good Music at 10AM, Karl Haas is presenting a string of special holiday shows, concluding on Friday with his traditional Christmas Eve program The Story of the Bells. From Noon on Fri 12/24 through Midnight on Sat 12/25, WCLV’s presents a gift package of commercial free special programming. Highlights include A Festival of Lessons and Carols, recorded at the Church of the Savior, on Christmas Eve at Noon; on Christmas Day at 9AM, Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker, sponsored by Discount Drug Mart; at 1:30PM, The Cleveland Orchestra’s concert performance of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, sponsored by the Plain Dealer; and at 9PM, the 2003 Apollo’s Fire performance of the first three cantatas (the Christmas sections) from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. a Cool Cleveland partner www.wclv.com
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Rosavelt and The Boys From County Hell BFCH gained some notoriety when they toured with Pogues founding member Spider Stacy, but they’re not all about the hype; just a collection of fine hunks who recreate the super sick Irish punk sound. If you haven’t heard Rosavelt, these guys do music right, and you can preview their new CD that’s reviewed this week in Cool Cleveland Sounds below. Get into their jamming riffs on Thu 12/23 at 9PM. Call 321-5588. Grog Shop, 2785 Euclid Hts Blvd. in Cleveland Hts. http://www.GrogShop.gs

Winter, White Chapel, & Decadent including an alternative clothing fashion show by Zombie Apparel with Lip Service & Sourpuss. Enter into a massively decadent and dark maze to wind down the post-holiday push on Sun 12/26; doors open 8PM, music starts 9PM. Call 228-6300. Phantasy Nite Club, 11802 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood. http://www.PhantasyConcertClub.com

4-Cast-05 show is promoting artists rooted in coolness: Aleksandra Vandenhove is an artist coming in from Paris; she’s an expert in paper technology and exhibits internationally, but not yet in the U.S. Her work is one of a kind and will be in Cleveland for this one night event. Other artists will exhibit photography in larger format to interplay with texture, color, and large imagery. Wrap your senses around art, food and wine provided by La Dolce Vita, paired with music provided by DJs Impure and Go – spinning cool Acid Jazz and French flavor. Hang out in an art community, dig the media, music, and warm yourself up this Mon 12/27 from 7-10:30PM. Call 990-2359. 1900 Superior Ave. at the Artefino-Tower Press building.

Cleveland’s own Eddie & Gerald Levert For the first time, they’re combining musical forces to entertain with a “Father & Son Tour.” Eddie Levert has spent over 40 years with the O’Jays, recording famed international hits; over 60 albums later, with 24 Top Ten smashes and 59 total charted songs, this man is the stuff legends are made of. Gerald Levert is the Grammy-nominated soulster and also the foreman with his soulful trio, Levert. Hear these two jump back to old school soul on Mon 12/27 at 7:30PM. Call for tickets at 241-6000. Palace Theatre at Playhouse Square, 1615 Euclid Ave. http://www.PlayhouseSquare.com

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Kick up Your Heels on New Year’s Eve with Friends, Lovers and Strangers. Toast in the New Year in style at Fat Fish Blue’s Masquerade Ball. Come as you are, or how you wish to be, by dressing to the nines in festive attire or costume. Feast on an endless SIX COURSE Louisiana-Cajun Creole Buffet with dessert at midnight. Enjoy open bar – all night – including specialty hurricane drinks and martinis and dance the night away to live music from our featured band. Only $99 per person. Take advantage of our exclusive Cool Cleveland offer and receive a $25 FFB certificate for every two New Year’s Eve tickets purchased by 12/23. Space is limited so call 216-875-6000 or buy your tickets directly online at http://www.fatfishblue.com.%%
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J-Scott returns to Cleveland Bend your ears and body to a blend of jazz and folk at this beat-poet show of original words mixed with live guitar and trumpet. J has just toured throughout the Midwest and the West Coast, from Arizona, New Mexico, Nashville, then to D.C., and over to Florida while receiving good press throughout the trip. Along the way, J wrote volumes of new words on beaches, mountains, train tracks, in cities and deserts, journaling his experience. Catch up with him at his return show on Tue 12/28 at 9PM. Call 321-5588. Grog Shop, 2785 Euclid Hts Blvd. in Cleveland Hts. http://www.GrogShop.gs

End of the Year Madchester Bash Get a visual overdose of 24-Hour Party People on the TV as DJ Ben Vendetta takes you through the best of Joy Division, New Order, Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, The Smiths and other Manchester luminaries on Tue 12/28 at 10PM, priming you for the upcoming new year with the mad cool Euro music. Call 227-7853. Capsule, 13376 Madison Ave. in Lakewood. http://www.CapsuleBar.com

Send your cool events to: mailto:Events@CoolCleveland.com

Support Local Artists, Decorate Your Space and save gobs of money. Vivid Art Gallery is reducing prices on artwork for its End-of-Year Clearance Sale. Making room for new pieces coming to the gallery in 2005, Vivid’s once-a-year sale event runs Wed 12/29 and Thu 12/30 at 11AM-7PM. We’ve asked our artists to clear out their studios and bring their one-of-a-kind artwork to our 10 – 50% off sale. Make 2005 the year you freshen up your space and invest in local artists. Vivid is located in the Colonial Marketplace or the ARTcade in downtown Cleveland. Call 216-241-7624 for more information. http://www.VividArtGallery.com%%

Skirting the Issue
We’re All Misfits: Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer in the Age of Cultural Transformation
By Lyz Bly

As a cultural artifact of 1964, Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer is indicative of a point in time when the nation was recovering from McCarthy era repression, but on the verge of a cultural revolution. The United States was at the dawn of its involvement in the Vietnam War, and at home the civil rights movement was gaining ground, as President Johnson signed the comprehensive Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, and nationality, and gave the federal government the power to implement desegregation. This threshold of societal transformation produced an overarching anxiety among middle class whites, for since the 1950s they had settled into an alcove of comfortable homogeneity in suburbia…
Read Skirting the Issue: We’re All Misfits by Lyz Bly here

Cool Cleveland Commentary
It’s New, It’s Improved, It’s Christmas
By Bob Rhubart

The holidays are a time of rituals. Some of these, like the shopping, the music, the decorations, and the food are comforting in their predictability. Other rituals, like the shopping, the music, the decorations, and the food can leave you curled into the fetal position in some dark corner, whimpering. How you react to these various rituals depends a lot on your general disposition and credit card balance.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire? Sorry, no fireplace. We’ve got a furnace for heat, and stuffing nuts in there voids the warranty. Any of the roasting we do these days is in the microwave, though I’m pretty sure that if you put chestnuts in the microwave they would become little yuletide hand grenades. Although, if you’ve got a snootful of Yule grog, watching chestnuts explode in your microwave might be a real hoot…
Read the Cool Cleveland Commentary It’s New, It’s Improved, It’s Christmas By Bob Rhubart here

Cool Cleveland Sounds
The Story of Gasoline CD by Rosavelt

The Story of Gasoline, Cleveland band Rosavelt’s first nationally released album since 1997, is led by frontman Chris Allen and produced by Don Dixon, who also produced REM’s song “Talk About the Passion.” Rosavelt transitions well on their new release, from their traditionally more alt-country sound to a more distinctively edgy rock sound. One gets the feeling when listening to Allen’s lyrics that these songs provided the vehicle Allen needed to survive the heartache of love lost as well as the intensity of true love found. On “Pointed Pistol” Allen laments, “…dreaming ’bout our golden days/now I get drunk and wonder why/how quickly they were replaced”. And in “Last Heartache” you can almost feel the wounds left behind a failed relationship; “A new man/a new breed/ I took my heart off of my sleeve….Nothing left here, no one to blame.” Conversely, on “Perfect Girl” Allen has created a whole new legion of female fans with this sentimental yet raucous ode to someone close to his heart. Despite some of the cathartic overtones of the album, Rosavelt manages to evoke a few, dare I say, “radio-friendly” tunes. The spirited and catchy riffs heard in “Already Been to Hell,” “Broken Little Heart” and “Bright Blue Hell” make them likely candidates for play on alternative radio stations in cities all across the nation as well as along the college wavelengths. For those hoping for some of Rosavelt’s trademark garage rock sound, there will be no disappointed after hearing the tracks “A Little Bit of Trouble” and “Desperate for Cool.” It is easy to see, after listening to The Story of Gasoline, why Rosavelt has earned comparisons to The Replacements and Wilco. With Rosavelt’s genre-crossing abilities combined with Allen’s sometimes-prophetic lyrical talent, this band is paving a new road in rock music, and one that has no end in sight. See these guys in a perfect rock setting at the Grog Shop on Thu 12/23 at 9PM. http://www.Rosavelt.com
from Cool Cleveland reader Liz Karnatz Elizabeth_Karnatz@KeyBank.com

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Instant Karma
Quick reviews of recent events
Going out this weekend? Take along your PDA and your digital camera. Scratch out a few notes to send us with a picture of it for our Instant Karma real-world reviews of what’s really happening. We’d love to hear from you. Send your stuff to Events@CoolCleveland.com

Music Saves/Square Records showcase @ Beachland Tavern 12/17 and The Lime Spider 12/18
Two of Northeast Ohio’s coolest record stores faced-off last weekend for a pair of shows that represented some of the best bands on each shop’s home turf. In Cleveland’s corner was Music Saves, a relatively new player on the local independent record store scene with an enviable location, mere steps from the Beachland. Representing Cleveland for the shop were psychedelic folk avatars the Dreadful Yawns and heavy instrumentalists, Wisconsin. In Akron’s corner was Square Records, the Rubber City’s finest stop for real music fans. The store’s chosen bands were Tight Whips and Houseguest. While the Akron bands turned in good sets of aggressive, crunchy, percussive rock (Tight Whips) and melodic pop (Houseguest), and Wisconsin’s droning, dynamic instrumentals drew applause, the real highlight of Friday’s Beachland show was the Dreadful Yawns….
Read the review by Leslie Basalla here

Little Nutcracker @ Solon High School Auditorium 12/18
The first act is a tease as far as actual dancing goes, but the ideas developed in the first act provide an introduction to the rest of the ballet. The magic performed at the party and the magic (or dream) that causes the tree – and everything else – to become larger (and larger and larger and larger!) signals transformation from one reality to another. This prepares us for the change from the choreographed but inherently pedestrian movement of act one to the otherworldly aspirations inherent in classical ballet. Courtly behavior between the sexes, depicted in the party scene, sets the scene for the second act where courtly conventions of ballet partnering are the norm. Little Nutcracker acknowledges that it is inspired by the version of Nutcracker that Dennis Nahat choreographed for Cleveland Ballet. From the first notes of the Tchaikovsky score, Nahat’s version of Nutcracker follows a different path from the traditional version…
Read the review by Victor Lucas & Elsa Johnson here

Triple Play! @ Severance Hall 12/7
What a great idea! Broadway chanteuse Linda Eder, the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra and the North Coast Men’s Chorus appeared in performance together, and the best part – it was a performance benefit for Transitional Housing of Cleveland. The Cleveland Jazz Orchestra under its founding director, Jack Schantz, got things going with a swinging version of “Sleigh Ride,” followed by a rendition of “Oh, Christmas Tree” unlike any you’ve ever heard before, unless of course, you’ve heard this one! Schantz then picked up his trumpet for a pure and sweet arrangement (by band trombonist Paul Ferguson) of “I’ll be Home for Christmas.” Most folks know the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies” from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker ballet. But what about “Peanut Brittle Brigade?” Same tune, upgraded by Duke Ellington’s cohort Billy Strayhorn as part of the Duke’s swinging Nutcracker Suite. Sweet, indeed! (The CJO played the entire suite as part of Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theatre’s “Night before Christmas” family program.) Strayhorn took Tchaikovsky’s notes and willfully bent them into a jazzy, moody restatement that really stays with the listener…
Read the review by Kelly Ferjutz here

Yr Turn
Cool Cleveland readers write
We encourage our readers to speak out by sending us letters and commentary. Send your letters to Letters@CoolCleveland.com. You must include your full name (required) and you may include your e-mail address (optional). You may also create a new Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail e-mail address and submit it with your letter. Letters submitted to Cool Cleveland, or edited portions, may be published in an upcoming issue of Cool Cleveland at our discretion.

Send your letters to: Letters@CoolCleveland.com

On Casino Chasing [here] Why did you leave out the comments of Al Cutler, Chris Connor and Fred Nance on “Getting involved in making area economy more competitive or risk a grim future of decline?” With over 45 years of studying our regions economic development I can say that what these three have to say sure is food for thought. Are the politicians willing to digest it? Ask those who read it to comment on it in your Cool Cleveland. We had a stimulating discussion about it at the Phoenix Coffee Shop on Lee Road. Or send their comments to: http://www.gcpartnership.com. Wishing you and your readers a “Mele Kalikimaka ame Houoli Makahiki Hou!”
from Cool Cleveland reader Albert K. Oberst KnuteOicp@webtv.net

On the plight of horses Since you were cool enough to do a snip on KFC cruelty [here], I’m wondering if you felt the need to spread a different word. Horse slaughter… hundreds of Ohio (and many other states) horses that are sent to Sugarcreek Auction wind up in the hands of Killer buyers that send these pets, previous race horses, police horses, and schooling horses to a slaughterhouse in Texas or Cabel in Illinois. Somewhere around 75 percent of the horses that I’ve seen go through Sugarcreek Auction are going to slaughter. It isn’t the same as for beef, as commonly believed. For horses it’s far different and can take up to 10 hits from a captive bolt to catch that swaying head on a long neck. They see the horses go before them and feel terror. Horses are packed into cattle cars for up to two days with no food or water. Why is this really bad? Not just the pain and terror this causes horses (another difference from beef is the fear levels of a horse which has a tendency to flee everything). These horses are not going to American destinations, they’re going to France and Japan’s dinner plates since Americans typically do not eat horse. Just like dogs, cats, and other domesticated animals that we don’t eat. But we’ll sure do it for France’s money. Horse theft is on the rise for this reason. Every week, I’m seeing someone on the horse groups who has gotten their horse stolen right out of their safe barn or pasture, and found out it went to slaughter. These are not unwanted horses, or old… just stolen. There is more info at http://www.hr857.com and http://www.arthuranimations.com/BloodCountry, which has a video with facts and political reasons why this continues. These plants are making money from 15 dollar a pound (and up) for horsemeat in other countries. It is Belgian owned, not American. Also, ask any horse owner what kind of “memory” horse meat would have. What kinds of drugs like pain killers, antibiotics, dewormers, etc are put into the average horse? Then think about a few days later, absorbing that into your own body. I invite you to have a look at the two links and see how you feel about it. The current slaughter stats are up to 60,948 horses in the year 2004.
from Cool Cleveland reader Lora Burgess stop_horse_slaughter_2005@yahoo.com

Send your letters to: Letters@CoolCleveland.com

Top 5
Cool Cleveland uses Opticast tools to track which articles were clicked the most. Here are the Top 5 from last week’s issue, with one more chance for you to click.

1) Cool Cleveland Holiday Romp launches Fri 12/17 Where will you be when the Cool Cleveland crew (and a few hundred of their friends) kick it into high gear? Newsletter/Party

2) Cool Cleveland Commentary Little House in the City: Downtown Life. Move over Desperate Housewives! Cleveland has the makings of television’s next great prime time drama, as suburbanites swarm to the city for high-end design, exciting nightlife, and a 15-year tax abatement. Cool Cleveland Commentary Little House In The City

3) Art lofts open in Slavic Village Artists of all kinds will be introduced to an exciting new stage upon which both life and art may be practiced at the grand opening of Hyacinth Lofts at 2998 East 63rd St. The ceremony and open house will recognize the successful efforts of David Perkowski and Slavic Village Development to unite art-space and living-space under one roof in Cleveland’s dynamic St. Hyacinth neighborhood. http://www.TheHyacinthLofts.com

4) Flannery focuses on funding The Ohio Supreme Court has determined four times that the way we fund education in our state is illegal and unconstitutional. While these rulings have had no visible effect on most members of the Ohio legislature, Bryan Flannery, who used to be a Lakewood councilman and ran against Ken Blackwell for Secretary of State, has been relentlessly pushing a radical new approach: discontinue most of the inequitable property tax. http://www.FlanneryForOhio.com

5) County buys Whiskey Island, infuriating Mayor Jane Campbell, who used to be a County Commissioner herself; Commissioners Jimmy Dimora and outgoing Tim McCormack have overruled third Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones and purchased a piece of Whiskey Island from Dan T. Moore III who owes $1 million in taxes on the property. www.Cleveland.com

Find out more about Cleveland Ignite your reading habits and fuel your brain. If you’re reading Cool Cleveland, you’re getting informed while helping the city turn its head toward our region’s greatest arts, cultural and business assets. We appreciate our readers who live for the CC Inbox experience; you’re helping CC become the media of choice that’s turning the city toward a purposeful direction. You can also find us on our website, giving you the latest on life in Cleveland. Send along friends and co-workers to register for the no-charge e-zine at http://www.CoolCleveland.com or have ’em send an e-mail to Signup@CoolCleveland.com

Hard Corps rock our world Props to the content crew, kicking @ss at CC; this year we delivered 52 weeks’ worth of interviews, (over 60 of ’em), countless reviews, news and cool events that spiced up the life Cool Clevelanders. Thanks to everyone making it happen at CC: Tisha Nemeth, Lyz Bly, Deb Remington, Bob Rhubart, Liz Karnatz, Victor Lucas, Steve Maistros, TL Champion, Bill Nagode, George Nemeth, Ivan Jackson, Kelly Ferjutz and everyone who partners with us. Want to volunteer and contribute your writing to Cool Cleveland? Send your reviews, articles, or story ideas to: Events@CoolCleveland.com

See the Cool Cleveland column each month in Cleveland Magazine. Listen to Cool Cleveland on WCLV-FM 104.9 twice each Friday during drive time. Send your cool events to: Events@coolcleveland.com. For your copy of the free weekly Cool Cleveland e-zine, go to http://www.CoolCleveland.com

Don’t be predictable
this holiday season

–Thomas Mulready
Letters@CoolCleveland.com (:divend:)

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