Friday, November 30, 2018

Uptown Friday Night

A weekend of events right up CLE on the Cheap’s alley is about to begin. You’ve already read about Holiday Circlefest. Some of University Circle’s neighbors are welcoming visitors with free and discounted events of their own.

Little Italy’s Holiday Art Walk is tonight through Sunday. You can check out the shops and galleries for free, but maybe you’ll find something to buy as well. The restaurants also will be open. If you can walk through that neighborhood without stopping for Italian food, you are a stronger person than I.

As locals know, parking is a challenge in Little Italy. Don’t forget there’s an RTA stop on Mayfield Road. Take the Red Line from west or east, and put the “walk” in Holiday Art Walk if you’re up to it. Turn left on Mayfield from the station, and let the enticing aroma lead the way. The Circle Link is another option for getting around University Circle, Little Italy, Uptown and Coventry.

There is a visitors center at 12010 Mayfield, where you can get directions and pick up maps and brochures. There also is one at 11330 Euclid Ave., not far from the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland and the Cleveland Institute of Art in the Uptown neighborhood. MOCA and CIA are part of the weekend celebration, too. MOCA will have free admission Saturday, as it does the first Saturday of every month. It also offers a discounted admission of $5 after 5 p.m. every Friday, and free admission every day for kids younger than 18. And this weekend there will be free admission on Sunday, too. Just a couple of blocks away, CIA is having its Student Holiday Sale Friday night and Saturday.

Now, don’t try to tell me there’s nothing to do around here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Holiday Circlefest

One day isn’t enough to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Holiday Circlefest. This year’s event will last a whole weekend.

You can shop inside and outside, ice skate, get a photo with Santa, take a horse-drawn carriage ride and enjoy live music during the celebration, which begins at 5 p.m. Friday and continues Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

From 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, you also can visit the museums and other University Circle institutions for free. The photo you see here is from the Cleveland History Center’s “Cleveland Starts Here” exhibit. Holiday Circlefest concludes at 5:30 p.m. with the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Winter Lights Lantern Procession.

This is a fantastic event. It’s well organized and offers so many activities. I’m glad the celebration will be extended this year. If I have one complaint about Holiday Circlefest, it’s that you can’t see and do everything it offers in just one afternoon.

You can walk your way through much of the event, but free shuttles also will be available. The CircleLink Shuttle can take you to the nearby Little Italy Art Walk as well. Come back to the blog Friday for more on that.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Black Friday and Beyond

Shopping is like a recreational sport for some of my friends. Black Friday is their Super Bowl.

Shopping is something I force myself to do when I need something. Despite my love of bargains, I don’t want to be anywhere near a mall or big-box store on Black Friday.

The holiday shopping season is upon us, though. It’s practically unavoidable. Yes, online shopping is an option, but I find a little holiday ambiance helps me get in the spirit. After Thanksgiving, that is.

I’ve found a solution that works for me, particularly for buying Christmas gifts. I shop small and local. There are a number of art and craft shows in Greater Cleveland between Thanksgiving and Christmas. There also are some pop-up shops that open just for the season. I have found unique gifts and some deals at these venues. And even though I don’t like shopping, I have found the experience really pleasant, especially when I talk with the people who made the items they’re selling.

This is not a comprehensive list; it’s a sampling, based on places and events where I have shopped.

Black Friday is happening from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at 78th Street Studios. You can walk off the calories you consumed yesterday as you shop.

Small Business Saturday is tomorrow at numerous Northeast Ohio sites, including the West Side Flea in North Olmsted and Screw Factory Artists Lofts in Lakewood and as part of the Winterfest Tree Lighting & Holiday Festival in downtown Cleveland. Each event will feature multiple small businesses.

There are a slew of small retail businesses throughout Greater Cleveland. Areas that come to mind quickly are Larchmere Boulevard in Cleveland, home of Loganberry Books and some great shops and restaurants; Coventry Village in Cleveland Heights, which has Mac’s Backs, Tommy’s and one of the two In The 216 shops (the other is on Clifton Boulevard on the Cleveland-Lakewood border) among many others; Detroit and Madison avenues in Lakewood, where you’ll find the Home for the Holidays pop-up shop and plenty of stores, coffee shops, bars and restaurants that operate year round; and the Shops of Old River in Rocky River, site of one of my favorites, Pure Enchantment.

Other venues for holiday shopping in the weeks ahead:

Coventry Village Holiday Festival, Saturday, Dec. 8. Last year it included free parking, a rare find in Cleveland Heights. I don’t know whether that’s being offered this year.

Cleveland Bazaar Holiday, Dec. 8 and 9 at 78th Street Studios.

Third Friday at 78th Street Studios, Dec. 21. Most of the studios on the building’s four floors will be open. Potential gifts, plus food and drinks, will be available. I bought quite a few gifts here last year.

What have I missed? Where do you like to shop small and local for the holidays?

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Play On

You probably know about the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra. You might even know about The Ohio State University’s Best Damn Band in the Land. But do you know about City Music Cleveland? I didn’t until recently.

City Music Cleveland is a chamber orchestra founded in 2004 to bring free concerts to neighborhoods where audience members might not otherwise be exposed to classical music. The chamber orchestra performs on both sides of town, although it appears that its only West Side venue is in Lakewood.

Season 15 began in October and includes concerts next month as well as in March and May 2019. The December series, “Magic Winds,” will feature Cleveland Orchestra oboist Frank Rosenwein.

I’m not knowledgeable about classical music. My sixth-grade class took a field trip to Severance Hall to see the Cleveland Orchestra. All we learned, or at least what stuck with me, was don’t applaud until you see other audience members applauding. Sometimes it sounds as if the musical number has concluded, but just like in baseball, it ain’t overtil it’s over.

Some 30 years later, a friend with a season subscription took me to see the orchestra again, and I still had to take my applause cues from the audience. For someone like me, a City Music performance would be an affordable, convenient way to become more familiar with classical music. I don’t live in one of the targeted neighborhoods, but I still could benefit from the program. Maybe some of you could, too

Friday, November 16, 2018

Paging Through History

I recently saw an interview with a teacher who said she doesn’t use a textbook for a class that requires her students to employ critical thinking. “The newspaper is my textbook,” she said. I don’t know this woman, but I love her for that.

This is a tough time for newspapers. Their journalists are doing excellent work despite the obstacles presented by economics and a hostile president and administration.

I don’t know what the future holds for newspapers. But I do know you still have a couple of weeks to look back at their history in Cleveland. “When the News was New” is at Cleveland Public Library’s main branch until Nov. 30. The free exhibit celebrates 200 years of newspapers in the city.

The Plain Dealer, which first published in 1842, has been Cleveland’s only daily newspaper since The Press folded in 1982. Others came and went before that, including The Cleveland News, which was sold to The Press the year before I was born. I grew up reading The Plain Dealer and The Press because my parents subscribed to both. And I worked for The Plain Dealer as a copy editor when the climate for daily newspapers and journalism in general was much different.

Nothing documents historic events quite like a newspaper. Think about recent history here in Northeast Ohio. When the Cavs won the NBA championship in June 2016, cars were lined up outside the PD’s printing plant to get copies of the paper that documented that milestone. I'm sure that scene would have been repeated a few months later if the Indians had won the World Series. A printout or screen shot of a web page just doesn’t have the same impact as a newspaper.

Kudos to friends and former PD colleagues Dave Davis and Joan Mazzolini for their work in getting the exhibit into the library. And if you like this, you also would like “Plain Dealing: Cleveland Journalists Tell TheirStories,” the book Dave and Joan put together to celebrate the bicentennial of newspapering in Cleveland. The book, which you can download for free or buy as a paperback for $10, includes essays from former Plain Dealer reporters and other local journalists whose bylines PD readers will recognize. If you’re curious about what goes on (or went on) behind the scenes at a daily newspaper, you’ll want to read this.