For decades, many of the great names in the entertainment business got their start in Cleveland. The strong, active community of independent thinkers in mediums such as art, film and music demands creative, out of the box, original works of art on the main stage and center stage.
On the Main Stage
Cleveland Public Theater
Cleveland Public Theater has been producing adventurous, versatile, intelligent and socially conscious work in the Cleveland area since their founding in 1981. Committed to the community through educational programs for urban youth and homeless men and women, and as the anchor of the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood redevelopment, Cleveland Public Theatre is much more than a production warehouse; it is an artistic movement both on stage and off.
Cleveland Play House
Founded in 1915, the Cleveland Play House is America’s first professional regional theater known for its artful presentation of new works, as well as classics, comedies, dramas and musicals. Recently, the Cleveland Play House moved to its new, state-of-the art venue inside the Allen Theatre at PlayhouseSquare in Downtown Cleveland.
On the Center Stage
The Beachland Ballroom
Cleveland’s greatest venue for catching some of the best up-and-coming indie rockers is the Beachland Ballroom. Located in the artsy Waterloo Arts district, the space was once a Croatian Liberty Home, a social center for the large Slavic community in the area. While the space has remained largely the same with original design elements, signage and images from the 1950s, the venue has become one of Cleveland’s most diverse live music venues with numerous shows throughout the week.
What originally started as just another corner bar quickly gave way to a booming music scene showcasing some of the best underground rock bands in the nation. Today, the Grog Shop remains true to its bar roots with an extensive beer list featuring microbrews and adventurous imports.
Peabody’s, located on East 21st street downtown, has been a Cleveland music institution since the 1960s. With two floors and more than 13,000 square feet of space, this club draws massive crowds looking to discover new musicians and national acts. In tribute to the city’s musical and industrial roots, Peabody’s not only features a diverse musical line-up but exposed piping and metal accents create a unique vibe throughout the venue. Best of all, most shows cost less than $20 to enjoy.
– April Ingle
Hi everyone. We’re getting excited for the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremony being held in Cleveland on Saturday, April 14. To celebrate we’re giving away tickets, talking about all things Cleveland music and tweeting with the hashtag #ClevelandRocks to share event details, celeb sightings and more.
We’re kicking things off this week by highlighting famous CLE musicians who made it the main stage and some of this year’s major headliners headed to Cleveland.
LOCAL MUSIC SCENE ON THE RISE
It’s not just headlining national acts making all the noise these days. The local Cleveland music scene has always been known to belt out iconic bands onto the mainstream radio waves. Take a look at some of Cleveland Plus’ favorite musicians that made it to the main stage:
Bone Thugs N Harmony
Nine Inch Nails
Robert Lockwood, Jr.
HEADLINING IN 2012
Cleveland, Ohio, the birthplace of rock and roll is often a “not-to-miss” stop on concert schedules. And with a variety of concert venues, and travel costs 30-40 percent less than competitive first tier cities, visitors can rock out to their favorite headliners on a starving artist budget. The following bands and festivals have already announced their tour dates in Cleveland, providing the perfect opportunity to start planning that once-in-a-lifetime concert getaway.
Eric Church – Blood, Sweat and Beers Tour
House of Blues
Boyz II Men
House of Blues
The 5th Cleveland Blues Festival
The Black Keys
Quicken Loans Arena
The Saw Doctors
House of Blues
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Quicken Loans Arena
Hot Chelle Ray: Beautiful Freaks Tour 2012
House of Blues
4.19.12 – 4.29.12
Quicken Loans Arena
Blossom Music Center
The Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Quicken Loans Arena
Quicken Loans Arena
Vans Warped Tour
Brothers of the Sun Tour featuring Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw
Cleveland Browns Stadium
Madonna World Tour 2012
Quicken Loans Arena
– Submitted by April Ingle, Communications Assistant
Summer is officially here and what better way to celebrate than with a night in the circle. University Circle that is, where on Wade Oval Wednesdays dancing with your shoes off while basking in the setting sun is a must.
This small evening concert series turned “party in the park” attracts more than 10,000 visitors each summer and accommodates a wide variety of musical tastes. Head down for your favorites, or get inspired with something new. From R&B, motown, disco and funk to afro-beats, country, rock, latin and swing, there’s something for everyone.
Food and beverage vendors line the circle for hungry folks coming straight from work and picnicking is encouraged. This year, University Circle Inc. will also host a weekly Farmers Market.
Wade Oval Wednesdays take place Wednesday evenings now through August 31 from 6-9pm in University Circle’s Wade Oval.
2011 WOW! Wade Oval Wednesdays Concert Schedule
Heart & Soul (R & B, Rock, Motown, Disco, Funk, 80’s Pop)
One World Tribe (Afro-Beat, Funk, Latin & World Beat Orchestra)
Lost State of Franklin (Americana/Country/Rock)
*Movie Night: How To Train Your Dragon
Mojo Big Band (Swing/Duke Ellington, Count Basie)
Speedbumps (Indie Rock)
Please note schedule change: New Barleycorn (Irish Celtic)
*Movie Night: The Karate Kid
Carlos Jones & The P.L.U.S. Band (Reggae)
Mo’ Mojo (Zydeco Jam Band)
August 17: GREEN WOW
Cats on Holiday (Rockabilly/ Swamp Rock)
*Movie Night: Wall-E
Son Gitano (Latin/Salsa/Rumba/Flamenco/Merengue)
Sultans of Bing (Rock and Roll)
Year-round, the Cleveland Plus tapestry of art, culture, music and food puts on its most vibrant and immersive display at the region’s many festivals and gallery hops, but with the onset of strolling weather, now’s the time to fully dive in and explore the offerings at two of the city’s most famous art walks.
On the East Side, the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday weekend each June find the historic Murray Hill neighborhood transformed by the ever-growing Little Italy Art Walk into an all-senses-enriching experience of dance, song, dining, wine tasting and more than 100 art exhibits.
You’ll find dozens of galleries, studios and specialty shops offering limitless exploration, from the Verne Gallery and its renowned Japanese art collection to Galeria Quetzal’s Hispanic folk crafts to the locally-championed Brian Jones Gallery.
And when it’s time to eat, more than 20 neighborhood restaurants mean a great meal, whether you’re in the mood for the rich Italian tradition of La Dolce Vita, the pastries of century-old Presti’s Bakery, or the new Asian cuisine of Tea House Noodles.
Across town, the near west-side Tremont ArtWalk has been a second-Friday-of-the-month institution since 1993, with an eclectic flavor and a close-knit feel all its own. What started as a seven-business combination of energy and resources has since involved more than 20 neighborhood businesses every month – a rotation of participants keeps things constantly fresh – and showcased the works of more than 1000 different artists.
From the recently-opened Aperture Photography and Variety Store to the studios of fourth-generation artist Rob Hartshorn to the mouthwatering creations at Lilly Handmade Chocolates, creativity and craftsmanship are around every corner.
That goes for the Tremont kitchens, too, whether you’re in the mood for the spicy southwest menu of Grumpy’s Cafe or something more out-there, like The South Side’s grilled German bologna on a pretzel roll.
And it’s all just a few steps away.
– Submitted by John Booth, guest blogger
I attended a concert a couple of weeks ago and had the best time I have had in a long time. I tried to figure out what made this so different and so special. There have been several really good concerts I have attended recently, and enjoyed them as well, but this was something to tell my friends about.
I saw Brazilian artist Filo Machado and jazz pianist Deanna Witkowski from New York. We were sitting at a front row table, and could have reached out and touched the artists we were so close. The sight line was great. Sometimes you don’t want to be too close, but because the setting is so intimate it was great. The staff was warm and welcoming and the food and wine were excellent.
My husband and I weren’t in the mood for any heavy food and ordered a very nice appetizer, Halloumi Kabobs, skewered Cyprian sheep and goat’s milk cheese with grilled vegetables and olive oil over asparagus. Truly amazing! Along with a nice Spanish wine, life doesn’t get much better.
This place that I am rediscovering is our own Nighttown. This is a music venue that is heralded in national music magazines and cited as one of the best jazz venues in the world. Sometimes we take for granted the wonderful things we have right in our own backyard. Owner Brendon Ring and Jim Wadsworth are a wonderful combination, bringing some great music to our city for very reasonable prices. This is world class music.
How many places do you get the opportunity to speak to an international recording artist between sets? I got the chance to tell Fila how much I liked his music and also to have him engage me in conversation and ask me questions. If you listen to him, you can hear how many American artists were influenced by his music.
I plan to visit Nighttown much more often to experience music that is new to me, and to revel in the music I love. – Submitted by Stephanie Stiggers-Smith, guest blogger
This week’s Ohio Homecoming events in Cleveland give everyone quite a few reasons to do so. The days of July 22nd through the 25th are jammed packed with music, competition, athletics and community, all as a part of “a celebration of and for those who still believe and love the state of Ohio and its great cities.”
Clevelander and event organizer Alonzo Mitchell has had high expectations for this event for a long time. “This has been a dream and vision of mine for six years of my life. But now is the time. We need to come together and celebrate, not tomorrow, but today.”
And what better reason to celebrate than the 214th birthday of Cleveland? Kicking off the party Thursday is a variety show concert featuring Cleveland native headliner, Kid Cudi. Also, enjoy Hispanic musical stylings by a local band and KISS FM’s DJ EV. The show itself is free with the purchase of $10 tickets to other events in the weekend (STOMP For Ohio or the Lee Evans Celebrity Flag Football Game) or purchase an “I am Ohio” T-shirt from local t-shirt manufacturer, Fresh Brewed Tees (Tees are available in the Cleveland Plus Visitors Center at the Higbee Building, 100 Public Square.) The concert will take place on Mall C in Downtown Cleveland, so bring your own blanket or lawn chair. Food and refreshments will be available for purchase.
Friday evening’s highlight is “Step Up to Step Out,” a college and alumni Greek step show. Teams from Kentucky, Baltimore, Chicago and more face off with local teams for the $5,000 top prize. Downtown Cleveland’s Mall C is the spot for some enchanting group coordination movements from 5 -9pm.
Cleveland is a football town, and the celebration continues in appropriate gridiron fashion as teams take the field in the Lee Evans Celebrity Flag Football Game in the Bedford Bearcat Stadium. Celebrity coaches include Lee Evens and Donte Whitner from the Buffalo Bills, Lindsey Witten from the Pittsburgh Steelers, Syndric Steptoe and Steve Sanders from the Cleveland Browns.
During halftime of the game is when the real battle begins as Shaw High School marching band faces off against Chicago, Illinois school King College Prep. After a heated history of back and forth championships, the two schools take the field for a chance at the $5,000 prize as determined by a panel of judges. Check out a video of the bands’ preparation for this battle here.
Sunday wraps up the weekend with a March on Ohio Wellness and Unity Walk beginning at 9am at the Westside Market. Walkers enjoy a Sunday stroll through Cleveland and conclude their 3.5 mile walk at Progressive Field, just in time for Slider’s Birthday. This kid-friendly celebration includes face painting, games, Slider appearances and more. Stick around to watch the Cleveland Indians take on the Tampa Bay Rays at 1pm for a discounted, $5 admission price.
“These seven events, all packed into four days, are all about reconnecting with each other,” explains Mitchell. “Ohio Homecoming is a celebration for everyone. This is bigger than race, gender, culture, age, it’s about coming together and looking forward to the future.”
For more information about Ohio Homecoming events or to purchase tickets, check out www.ohiohomecoming.com. – Submitted by A.I.
Cleveland Plus is home to some pretty artsy community festivals. SparxCity Hop, Cleveland International Film Festival, Cain Park Arts Festival, Ingenuity and Parade the Circle are among them. But an edgy new addition is entering the scene this year . . . the Weapons of Mass Creation arts, film and music fest is slated to debut May 22 + 23 at Parish Hall in the Gordon Square Arts District. The brainchild of Jeff Finley, co-owner of Go Media, the two-day event features a pretty impressive array of designers, illustrators, entrepreneurs, musicians and filmmakers showcasing their talents and participating in roundtable discussions and workshops. Excited to see a new event on the artistic horizon, we gave Finley a call to explore his vision for Weapons of Mass Creation. Here’s a little of what he had to say:
SF: What got you started on this idea?
JF: I’d been going to events like Gainesville’s The Fest and Berea Fest and thinking they were inspiring. I even did a poster for the DIT Fest in Kent. I liked the bands at these festivals, but even more I liked initiative people were taking to organize these events. It was really positive. I decided I wanted to have a little artistic control and curate my own event. I just felt compelled . . . like someone needs to do this so it’s gonna be me. And I was pretty passionate about having arts and film incorporated in to whatever I was creating.
SF: How would you sum up this festival?
A few weeks ago I attended a jazz concert presented by the Cleveland State Jazz Ensemble. It was extremely well done and, even better, it was free. Several times during the course of a semester, music students of all sorts are required to perform. Of these, most performances are open to the public and some, like student recitals, are free. Click here for Cleveland State’s calendar of events.
After the concert I got to thinking about the jazz scene in Cleveland Plus. While Cleveland is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, it is also home to several well-known live jazz venues:
• Located in Cleveland Heights and open since 1965, Nighttown is known for quality jazz as well as good late-night food and a relaxed environment. Voted #1 best live music venue in Cleveland by AOL and named one of the top 100 jazz clubs in the world by Downbeat magazine, Nighttown offers shows nightly—sometimes without a cover.
• The Bop Stop, located just west of downtown, offers live jazz from some of the most prominent jazz musicians from Cleveland and around the world. The Cleveland Bop Stop moved just west of the Detroit-Superior Bridge in 2003 and is now open only for special events. Check their calendar for dates.
• Brother’s Lounge, on the border of Cleveland and Lakewood, offers live music most nights of the week, although its mostly rock. The restored neighborhood pub’s wine bar has Martini Mondays with Mojo Big Band, a 17 piece group.
If you are in to collecting vintage records this is the place for you. At Blue Arrow Records & Books (16001 Waterloo Road, Cleveland) you’ll rediscover quality used LPs, 45s and 78s from the 1950s to the present day with selections ranging from jazz and country to blues and classic rock. The new store is a great addition to the eclectic Waterloo strip in Cleveland’s North Collinwood neighborhood near the Beachland Ballroom. And with the vinyl format making a comeback, there’s not a better time than now to see the opening of this record store.
Not into vinyl, no matter, a visit to Blue Arrow Records & Books is worth checking out for the store’s floor alone. It is literally a piece of art. The floor is covered with approximately 1,300 vintage record covers. You’ll find a bit of everything from Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of The Moon and The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour to Guns n’ Roses’ Appetite For Destruction and The Psychedelic Furs’ Mirror Moves. But you won’t be walking on Clash or Bob Dylan covers because owner Pete Gulyas couldn’t find a “crap copy” to part with.
This admittedly biased guide’s is entitled “CLE Bands to Watch.” In the humble opinion of many Cleveland music lovers, this city’s always been home to artists and performers worth championing. Punk rockers, metalheads, folksters and even good ol’ meat-and-potatoes classic rock lovers love their locals. We’re good like that.
A quick scan of pop media might bring up superstar rock duo The Black Keys, and their emerging cohort, Jessica Lea Mayfield. Now, the Keys are from Cleveland’s southern sister, Akron, and Ms. Mayfield is from a little bit even further out, but that doesn’t mean Clevelanders won’t let them into the musical family that’s been scattered here for 30 plus years.