A & E News

The most-watched film in the Cedar Lee's history

It’s the most watched film in the history of the Cedar Lee Theatre. It’s not an award-winner, and it’s not “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Created by a director who’s a native of Cleveland Heights, it premiered in July 2014 and has been running daily ever since. By my back-of-the-envelope calculations, it’s played more than 40,000 times.

It’s the policy trailer that plays before every feature film. You know, the 55-second short that tells you to keep your feet off the seats, find the nearest exit, and turn off that cell phone! Locally produced for Cleveland Cinemas, it features local people, unlike most of its generic counterparts you see in national theater chains.

If you’re the rare Heights resident who hasn’t seen a film at the Cedar Lee in the past five years, here’s a recap (or, view it here: https://tinyurl.com/cedarleetrailer): The trailer starts with a couple buying tickets which shoot out animated confetti in joyful anticipation of the fun to come. The couple head to their seats, blocked by two rude dudes with their feet up. A subtitle tells you not to do that, and the dudes drop their feet.

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Volume 12, Issue 9, Posted 1:41 PM, 09.02.2019

Heights Arts exhibition explores 'digital paradox'

Heights Arts kicks off the fall exhibition season with Untouched: The Digital Paradox, opening Friday, Aug. 30, 6–9 p.m. Matthew Hollern, professor and chair of jewelry and metals at the Cleveland Institute of Art, is the guest curator for the show, which explores the evolving role of technology in the creation of art.

“Sometimes the digital history of an object is apparent,” said Hollern. “At other times the role of technology is there but it’s invisible. Sometimes a work seems like digital trickery but it is actually not. Digital work can really challenge assumptions.”

Artists in the show are George Kozmon, Barry Underwood, // Benitez_Vogl (Margarita Benitez and Markus Vogl), Janice Lessman-Moss, Marcus Brathwaite, Tony Ingrisano, Yasniel Valdes, and Matthew Hollern. The exhibit is on view through Oct. 13.

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Volume 12, Issue 9, Posted 7:58 AM, 08.27.2019

White Gallery fall show opens Sept. 6

The Nicholson B. White Gallery at St. Paul’s Church invites the public to an artists’ reception on Friday, Sept. 6, 5–7, p.m., to view work by photographer Thomas Abel, painters Patricia Ingram and Jerome T. White, and textile artist Martha Young.  

Abel took the photographs in the 1950s and '70s in France, mostly in Paris, using the distinctively rich Kodachrome color film. He studied and worked in France for part of his life, and became fascinated with the architecture. His images capture a time gone by in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Abel worked for more than 30 years in Cleveland as an architectural photographer and photographic artist. While in France, he met his wife, who shared his love of art and architecture. With the encouragement and assistance of his family, the White Gallery is thrilled to show Abel's work. 

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Volume 12, Issue 9, Posted 7:53 AM, 08.27.2019

Burning River Baroque opens eighth season

Thoughtfully crafted programs inspired by the current social climate are once again at the heart of Burning River Baroque’s upcoming season, which will shed light on unconventional 17th-century women and issues surrounding mental health. The group, known for both  socially motivated programming and dynamic interpretations, will open its eighth season with a performance of A Mad, Burning Desire on Aug. 22 in Cleveland Heights.

The program highlights the extraordinary accomplishments of the first English actresses who gained the legal right to take the public stage in the early 1660s. Many of them capitalized on early modern society’s fascination with mental illness and catapulted themselves to fame by portraying characters who descended violently into lovesick madness on the Restoration stage. English philosophers and medical experts alike began to think of psychological maladies as medical conditions requiring treatment by doctors rather than as spiritual deficiencies to be handled by religious authorities over the course of the 17th century.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 1:46 PM, 08.01.2019

Heights Music Hop 2019 bands to be announced Aug. 16

The public is invited to attend a band lineup announcement event for the seventh annual Heights Music Hop 7–9 p.m. on Aug. 16 at the BottleHouse Brewery and Meadery, 2050 Lee Road. At the event, organizers will announce the acts for this year’s free live-music festival.

The three-day weekend of more than 60 musical performances will take place Sept. 12-14 in more than 28 venues across three business districts in Cleveland Heights. The event offers a variety of musical genres, such as classical, rock, rap, country, reggae, bluegrass and American roots.

Heights Music Hop began in 2013. Jeff Coryell, a former FutureHeights board member, believed that Cleveland Heights had the artists, musicians, resources, and public interest to warrant organizing a large-scale music festival. Other individuals, business owners, and partner organizations quickly joined the mix–including fellow board member Greg Bonanno. Although he has been stationed more than 7,000 miles away for the last several years, Bonanno is still an ardent supporter.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 1:41 PM, 08.01.2019

CH mayor and Ensemble director attend national placemaking workshop

Cleveland Heights Mayor Carol Roe and Ensemble Theatre Executive Artistic Director Celeste Cosentino traveled to Washington, D.C., in mid-July to attend the inaugural Local Leaders’ Institute on Creative Placemaking. They were among six teams, each comprising a local arts leader and a government official, representing small, medium and rural communities that were selected to participate from among 148 applicants.

Cosentino spearheaded an effort last year to apply for a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town grant for the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus project. Though she did not receive a grant, she was invited to apply for the workshop.

“I learned so much about how integral arts and culture are to community cohesion and how there are courageous ways to think outside of the box to solve civic issues,” said Cosentino about her experience at the institute.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 11:03 AM, 07.23.2019

Weil captures rare moonlit images of Lake View

Cleveland Heights photographer Michael Weil first began to think about making nighttime photographs in Lake View Cemetery almost 10 years ago.

“Lake View was part of my growing up,” said Weil. “As a child I would go with my father to visit the gravesite of his parents. Even as a child it struck me as not the typical cemetery where you’d hold your breath as you drove past.”

That early connection has developed into a two-part photographic presentation, Moonlight in the Gates: 150 Years of Lake View Cemetery in a New Reflective Light which will be on view in a special installation throughout the cemetery from July 22, 2019, through October 2020. Meanwhile, prints from the series also will be on view at Weil’s Foothill Galleries in Cleveland Heights, July 23 through Aug. 31.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 12:40 PM, 06.27.2019

Cleveland Heights vocalist presents concerts

Caleb A. Wright and his band, Alexander Wright & The Collective, will perform a free concert at Forest Hill Church in Cleveland Heights on Sunday, July 7, at 6:30 p.m.

Wright, a vocalist and entertainer, is a member of the Cleveland Heights-based Wright Family Singers, who have been performing in the Cleveland area for more than 40 years.

Wright has been performing on his own, locally and nationally, for the past five years. He is a member of multiple groups and choirs, including the Wright Family Singers, Elégie, the Voices of Koinonia, the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, and the Cleveland Opera Circle.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 10:33 AM, 06.28.2019

Dobama names Wise managing director

After a national search, Dobama Theatre’s Board of Directors unanimously selected Trevor Wise to be the theater’s new managing director.

“As we approach our 60th year, the Dobama board is very excited to welcome Trevor to Cleveland as our new managing director,” said Board President Marcel Duhamel. “Trevor brings skills and experiences that will help lead Dobama into a new decade of growth.”

“I am thrilled that Trevor will be joining Dobama to help lead the theatre at this exciting moment in the theatre’s history,” said Artistic Director Nathan Motta.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 10:29 AM, 06.28.2019

Dobama presents world premiere musical

June 27 through July 14, Dobama Theatre presents the world premiere of “33⅓,” a new musical about coming of age and coming out.

Matthew Wright is the director of Dobama’s production, which will feature choreography by Holly Handman-Lopez and music direction by Matthew Dolan.

The book, music and lyrics are by Jay Turvey and Paul Sportelli, co-writers of eight musicals. 

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 10:14 AM, 06.03.2019

Heights Music Hop returns in September

The seventh annual Heights Music Hop festival will take place Sept. 12-14, in three Cleveland Heights districts: Sept.12 in Coventry Village, Sept. 13 in Cedar Fairmount, and Sept. 14 in Cedar Lee.

Heights Music Hop showcases local live musical talent, performing in local businesses and unique locations to promote the Heights as home to the arts, while also helping to support the local economy and celebrate the community’s diversity, walkability and great quality of life.

The 2019 festival will showcase new musical talent from all genres, including jazz, rock, R&B, classical, rap, indie, Americana and folk.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 10:12 AM, 06.03.2019

One-woman play will benefit memory-care programs

Net proceeds of the June 14–16 performances of “Living on the Moon,” a one-woman play written and performed by Molly McFadden, will benefit memory care programs managed by Benjamin Rose Institute and its affiliates. The performances take will take place at Ensemble Theatre, 2843 Washington Blvd., in Cleveland Heights.

The one-act play explores the bittersweet journey McFadden shared with her mother, after her mother’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease in the 1980s. Drawing on a lifetime of producing, acting and singing professionally, McFadden’s play brings meaning and light to her late mother’s story.

Locally renowned pianist Vince Robinson will accompany McFadden during performances of the show, directed by Christina Courtenay.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 10:07 AM, 06.03.2019

Cain Park ticket office residents day is June 1

The Cain Park ticket office opens to Cleveland Heights residents on Saturday, June 1, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., for the sale of tickets to the 2019 season from a specially held block of seats. The ticket office will open to the general public on Tuesday, June 4, noon to 9 p.m.

Residents need to bring a photo ID and two proofs of current residency (e.g., mail, utility bill, current CH Rec ID) to register with staff outside the main ticket office. After registering, each resident will get a number that represents his or her place in the ticket-buying queue. Or, residents can fill out a ticket-order form and leave it with staff to be filled at the end of the day, if seats are still available.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 11:46 AM, 05.28.2019

WRC concert will be Poderis' last

Western Reserve Chorale (WRC) will present the final concert of its season at 3:30 p.m., Sunday, June 2, at Church of the Gesu (2470 Miramar Blvd, University Heights).

The concert, "Sonic Sunrise," will be the final one with accompanist Joanne Poderis at the keyboard. Poderis, a founding member and longtime executive director of WRC, is stepping down from her roles with the Chorale. WRC invites all to celebrate Poderis' artistry and the conclusion of its 27th season.

The concert will feature Ola Gjielo’s Sunrise Mass as well as a celebration of the 125th anniversary of the birth of E.E. Cummings.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 11:55 AM, 05.28.2019

Dobama Theatre wins Actors Equity award

Dobama Theatre was honored with a regional award by the Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) for making non-traditional casting a priority all season long, and providing ongoing opportunities for underrepresented artists.

The theatre received the Kathryn V. Lamkey Award at the annual “Spirit, a Celebration of Diversity” event in Chicago’s Shakespeare Theater on March 11. Named after a former AEA Central Regional Director, the “Kathy” recognizes Dobama’s current 2018/2019 season, which features only women playwrights, including Dominique Morisseau, Annie Baker, Karen Zacarías, Alice Birch, Jennifer Haley and Melissa James Gibson.

Past winners of the award include Damron Russel Armstrong, founder the Black Repertory Theatre of Kansas City; Ellen Alberding, president of the Joyce Foundation; Ron Himes, the founder and producing director of the St. Louis Black Repertory Theater; Barbara Gaines, founder and artistic director of Chicago Shakespeare Theater; and the Court Theatre.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 11:00 AM, 04.30.2019

Artists contemplate local experiences

Karen Sandstrom is the next featured artist in the Heights Arts Spotlight Gallery, in a show opening May 10. Sandstrom’s recent body of work, “Such Agreeable Friends,” pays homage to George Eliot’s quote, which observes the personified virtues of the kinship animals offer. Sandstrom’s work in this show combines handwritten text and illustrated imagery in an article-style composition. Mentions of local weather, animals, seasonal fruits and trees, etc., construct a life that is familiar to any number of suburban Cleveland residents. The mellow exterior and visually flowing scrawl of the lettering sits in contrast to the sharper, snarkier voice of the text. Focusing a humorous and honest lens on a calmer, softer approach to dissecting the everyday, Sandstrom’s pieces do not aim to critique or to settle for paying homage. They heighten an awareness of the existence of these pleasantly simple and small moments that would otherwise be overlooked. Come to the opening reception on May 10, 6 to 9 p.m., to see how the narrator works in conjunction with an intertwining collage of tenderly rendered watercolor pieces, and converse with the artist herself.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 1:11 PM, 05.01.2019

Cedar Lee to screen crowd-sourced film on yoga master

A new documentary film, "Iyengar: The Man, Yoga, and the Student’s Journey," will be screened at the Cedar Lee Theatre on Wednesday, June 5, at 7:30 p.m.

Directed by award-winning filmmaker Jake Clennell, the film looks at the life and teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar, considered instrumental in popularizing yoga around the world. An Official Selection of the Vancouver International Film Festival, the film was made with the support and cooperation of B.K.S. Iyengar and the Iyengar family, the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States, and students and supporters worldwide.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 1:00 PM, 05.01.2019

Ensemble to celebrate 40 years with April 13 gala benefit

On Saturday, April 13, Ensemble Theatre in Cleveland Heights will host a benefit gala to celebrate 40 years of providing Northeast Ohio with professional theater.

The gala fundraiser will include live music, select preview performances from the upcoming season, silent auction items, and food from local sponsors, including The Fairmont, Nighttown, Luna Bakery and Café, The Stone Oven, and Poison Berry Bakery.

Founded in 1979 by Lucia Colombi, Ensemble Theatre was started in the spirit of producing American classic plays, including those of Eugene O’Neill, of whom Colombi was particularly fond. Among its many award-winning productions over the years was the “Panorama of African-American Theatre” series, which was filmed by PBS, syndicated nationally and chosen for the network’s “First View Award” as one of the top 25 educational programs in the country.

Celeste Cosentino, Colombi’s daughter, took over as executive artistic director after Lucia’s passing in 2009. The theater has been a huge part of her life for the past 40 years. “I was born in October of ’78 and Ensemble was created in the summer of ’79, so we are both 40 this year,” Cosentino said.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 12:50 PM, 04.01.2019

University Heights Symphonic Band in concert April 14

On Sunday, April 14, at 3 p.m., the University Heights Symphonic Band will perform a concert in the Dolan Science Center Atrium at John Carroll University (1 John Carroll Blvd., University Heights).

The event is open to the public, with a $5 suggested donation at the door, and ample free parking is available next to the venue.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 12:54 PM, 04.01.2019

Un-romantic comedy 'This' opens April 26 at Dobama

Dobama Theatre will wrap up its 2018–19 mainstage season with the regional premiere of “This” by Melissa James Gibson, running April 26 through May 26.

Directed by Nathan Motta, Dobama’s artistic director, “This” is a smart, witty, un-romantic comedy that captures the uncertain steps of a circle of friends who are backing their way into middle age. Jane is a promising poet without a muse and a single mother without lessons to pass along. With her dating life in shambles, she goes to a friend’s dinner party where she’s set up with a handsome French doctor. But after the meal and a few glasses of wine, a party game goes wrong and everything in her life becomes more complicated.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 12:59 PM, 04.01.2019

April at Heights Arts features third iteration of Emergent

Opening Friday, April 26, at Heights Arts gallery, 2175 Lee Road, is the third iteration of the well-received exhibition Emergent, which shines a light on artists who have recently graduated from area colleges and universities.

First presented in 2015, Emergent celebrates the strength of the Northeast Ohio region as a training ground for the great artists of tomorrow. Numerous artists who appeared in previous Emergent exhibitions at Heights Arts are now well into established careers as working artists in the Cleveland area and elsewhere, including Jerry Birchfield, Abbey Blake, Robert Coby, Amber Ford, Matthew Gallagher, David Masters, Nathan Prebonic, and Rachel Shelton.

For Emergent 2019, the Heights Arts exhibition community team selected 11 artists who create in a variety of media, from institutions that include the Cleveland Institute of Art, Kent State University, the University of Akron, and Oberlin College. The artists are Emily Brannan, Davon Brantly, Kimberly Chapman, Kylie Demkowicz, Sydney Givens, Alyson Hollobaugh, Danielle Muzina, Alex Overbeck, Noelle Richard, Jeni Stovicek, and Yskandar.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 12:56 PM, 04.01.2019

Burning River Baroque will perform at St. Alban on March 21

Burning River Baroque continues its seventh season with a series of thought-provoking performances, beginning Tuesday, March 19. The Other Side of the Story: Untold Perspectives on Familiar Tales has been crafted to connect baroque music to contemporary social issues.

The March performances engage audiences around the timeless issues of toxic masculinity and consent. Historic passages and tales have been interwoven with a broad range of musical compositions and related commentary. “We frequently get to experience history through the victor’s eyes,” said co-director Malina Rauschenfels. “We’re interested in hearing the other side of the story—from those populations that are often marginalized.”

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 10:33 AM, 03.19.2019

Foothill Galleries presents photomontages by CH artist Greg Donley

A montage of images and words, Greg Donley’s works—uniquely sized at 6 inches tall by 6 to 10 feet wide—seem to wrap the viewer within. Explaining the intentionality of the size, Donley said, “You can’t really take in the detail all at once. You have to move yourself past it, much as you have to move yourself through a landscape.”

“What I have tried to do with these photographs,” said Donley, “is explore the ways in which people experience places, and how they remember those experiences later.

An exhibition of Donley’s latest series of works, Annotated Grandeur: New photomontages by G.M. Donley, will open at Foothill Galleries (2450 Fairmount Blvd., Suite M291) on Wednesday, March 13, with a reception 6–8 p.m. The show will run through the end of April.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 10:04 AM, 03.08.2019

Free tour and program celebrate iconic synagogue

During its 150th anniversary year, Park Synagogue is celebrating the art and architecture of Park Synagogue Main in Cleveland Heights, designed by the world-renowned architect, Eric Mendelsohn.

On Sunday, March 10, the community is invited to a free program at, and about, this iconic space, located at 3300 Mayfield Road, in Cleveland Heights.

In “Park 150: Celebrating the Art & Architecture of Park Synagogue,” Samantha Baskind, professor of art history at Cleveland State University, will highlight many of the significant works of art in the exceptional collection that hangs in the building.

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Volume 12, Issue 3, Posted 9:57 AM, 03.04.2019

Heights Arts show celebrates 'Sideways Thinking'

Guest curator Julianne Edberg invited her friends to have some serious fun with the group exhibition Sideways Thinking, on view at Heights Arts March 8 through April 21. Artists Leslye Discont Arian, Catherine Butler, Julianne Edberg, Laurie Garrett, Jenny Mendes and Melissa O’Grady focus on playing—the less serious side of art.  

“It may look like fun, but it's all the artist can do!” Edberg explained. “When we play, we let loose the inspired part of our mind to think sideways instead of logically. Ideas flow more freely. Questions may be raised. Is this an alternate, more fantastic world we are looking at? It is definitely a more fun, more magical place. Perhaps less polished, less formal. A childlike viewpoint sparks a connection between hitherto unconnected frames of reference. Playing calms the nerves and provides a new way of looking at things.”

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Volume 12, Issue 3, Posted 1:15 PM, 03.03.2019

Cleveland premiere of 'The Nether' opens at Dobama

Both a twisting criminal drama and a haunting sci-fi thriller, “The Nether,” by Jennifer Haley, explores the consequences of living out our most shocking urges in the age of virtual reality. Dobama Theatre’s production of the play, directed by Shannon Sindelar, will run March 8–31.

In her play, Haley creates a possible future in which The Nether is a virtual wonderland that provides total sensory immersion. Participants log in, choose an identity, and indulge their every desire. But when a young detective uncovers a disturbing brand of entertainment, she triggers an interrogation into the darkest corners of the imagination.

The New York Times called the play “a parable for where we’re headed.”

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Volume 12, Issue 3, Posted 1:09 PM, 03.03.2019

Ensemble stages classic O'Neill work

March 8–31, Cleveland Heights’ Ensemble Theatre will stage another timeless Eugene O’Neill play, “A Moon for the Misbegotten,” directed by Ian Wolfgang Hinz.

A sequel to “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” the play continues O'Neill's exploration into themes of deceit—both of others and within oneself—and the ever presence of death.

After Ensemble’s recent productions of O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey . . .” and “The Iceman Cometh,” Hinz felt it was time to bring “A Moon for the Misbegotten” to Ensemble’s stage.

“It’s one of O’Neill’s last three plays,” Hinz said, “and those are his more famous works. He’s America’s greatest playwright, and the time was right to bring this one to light.”

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Volume 12, Issue 3, Posted 1:06 PM, 03.03.2019

WRC to sing Haydn and Beethoven

There may be other examples of a teacher and student sharing a concert stage, but rarely are both held in such high regard. In this instance, the Western Reserve Chorale (WRC) will share the work of Franz Joseph Haydn (the teacher) and Ludwig van Beethoven (the student) as part of the Silver Hall Concert Series at the Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center on March 24.

The chorale will present Haydn’s St. Nicholas Mass with Beethoven’s Mass in C Major. Both works represent the legacy of music commissioned by Prince Nicolaus Esterhazy II for performance in Eisenstadt, Austria. The St. Nicholas Mass is not on the same scale as Haydn’s late masses (it is about half the length of the Nelson Mass) but it is nevertheless quintessential Haydn in its energy, its tunefulness and, above all, its infectious joy.

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Volume 12, Issue 3, Posted 1:12 PM, 03.03.2019

Cleveland Heights' Apollo's Fire wins Grammy

On Feb. 10, the baroque ensemble Apollo's Fire won the Grammy Award for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album for "Songs of Orpheus." The ensemble, under the artistic direction of Jeanette Sorrell, shares the award with tenor Karim Sulayman, the album's solo vocalist.

"Songs of Orpheus" uses the work of 17th-century Italian composers Monteverdi, Caccini, Landi and d'India to retell the story of Orpheus' journey to the underworld to recue his wife, Eurydice. Along with providing the instrumentation for these vocal pieces, the ensemble also performed sonatas by Castello and Cima on the recording.

Apollo's Fire has produced over 20 albums in its 27-year history thus far. This is its first Grammy

Sorrell expressed surprise about winning the award, noting, "The other nominees in our category had quite a bit of PR-power behind them, in addition to being compelling recordings. We were the new kid on the block in that world." 

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Volume 12, Issue 3, Posted 12:18 PM, 02.12.2019

Forest Hill Church celebrates 'An Evening of Wonder'

This year’s celebration of Black History Month at Forest Hill Church—An Evening of Wonder—will honor the music of Motown legend Stevie Wonder on Sunday, Feb. 10. Preceded by a community soul food dinner at 5:30 p.m., the musical performances will begin at 7 p.m.

The community meal and concert are free and open to the public.

The church’s Black History Month committee chose to celebrate Wonder in recognition of his phenomenal musical career and the significant contributions his music has made in elevating the position of black musicians throughout society, as well as the lasting impact of his songbook on modern American history. The evening will highlight many of Wonder’s most memorable and socially impactful songs over the past 50 years.

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Volume 12, Issue 2, Posted 4:52 PM, 02.01.2019

Have an 'Ekphrastic' Valentine’s Day at Heights Arts

Art, poetry and music warm Heights Arts this February. Valentine’s Day weekend starts with a free artist talk and poetry event followed the next day by a music performance, both in the nonprofit's gallery on Lee Road. 

On Thursday, Feb. 14., at 7 p.m., Heights Arts offers a free artist talk and poetry event focusing on the work of the artists participating in the current exhibition, VIEW-points. The series of gallery talks, Ekphrastacy: Artists Talk + Poets Respond, offers an opportunity for exhibition artists to share insights on their work.

"Ekphrasis" means that one form of art is used to describe a completely different form of art in order to illuminate an idea or help an audience understand the spirit of the work. The Poetry Foundation defines ekphrastic poem as “a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art. Through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the 'action' of a painting or sculpture, the poet may amplify and expand its meaning.”

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Volume 12, Issue 2, Posted 5:09 PM, 02.01.2019

Bridging mediums to further the arts

The new-music ensemble No Exit will perform at Heights Arts, 2175 Lee Road, on Friday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. In recent years, No Exit has appeared frequently at the gallery, so it can be easy to forget that two decades ago, neither organization existed at all.

In 1999, participants in a Cleveland Heights civic visioning process identified the potential of the arts to positively impact the community. Soon after, the nonprofit Heights Arts was formed by a group of residents intent on tapping that resource. Two decades later, strategic collaborations, such as the one between Heights Arts and the No Exit, have enhanced the regional arts scene and invigorated the community.

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Volume 12, Issue 2, Posted 4:59 PM, 02.01.2019

Ensemble looks ahead to a busy spring

Ensemble Theatre, in its 39th season, is poised to deliver an array of theater options in the coming months. The American classic "A Raisin in the Sun" runs through Feb. 17, and Ensemble will next bring Eugene O'Neill's "A Moon for the Misbegotten" to its Cleveland Heights theater in March. Directed by Ian Wolfgang Hinz, "Moon" follows the events of O'Neill's seminal "A Long Day's Journey into Night."

In addition to its stated mission of bringing "contemporary American classics" to the stage, Ensemble has also been at the forefront of Cleveland's new play development scene with the 2009 establishment of StageWrights, a weekly open-door workshop at which playwrights of all levels of experience meet and read new work.

Over the course of the past decade, StageWrights has provided Ensemble with new plays from Cleveland playwrights, including Cynthia Dettlebach, Rannigan Walsh, Barbara Harkness, Ed Walsh and Tom Frattare.

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Volume 12, Issue 2, Posted 5:12 PM, 02.01.2019

Cain Park festival artist applications due March 1

The 2019 Cain Park Arts Festival, July 12–14, is accepting online artist applications through www.zapplication.org. The application deadline is March 1.

Now in it’s 42nd year, this juried fine arts and crafts event features the work of artists from across the country, working in painting, photography, prints, jewelry, ceramics, glass, leather, sculpture, wood, and other materials.

This all-ages and family-friendly festival will be open Friday, July 12, 3–8 p.m.; Saturday, July 13, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, July 14, noon to 5 p.m.).

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Volume 12, Issue 2, Posted 10:33 AM, 01.22.2019

#MeToo manifesto comes to the Dobama stage

Dobama Theatre continues its season with the Cleveland premiere of "Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again."—a theatrical manifesto for the #MeToo era. Written by Alice Birch, and directed by Sarah Elizabeth Wansley, the play runs through Feb. 17.

A wildly experimental and inventive grouping of vignettes, “Revolt” asks how to revolutionize language, relationships, work and life while bursting at the seams of conformity. An ensemble of four powerful women and one token male bring this unapologetically provocative, in-your-face text to life—with humor, strength, and a punk-rock attitude that refuses to behave.

“Revolt” was commissioned in 2014 as part of a series for the Royal Shakespeare Company. The series, Midsummer Mischief, highlighted the creativity of four female playwrights, Timberlake Wertenbaker, E.V. Crowe, Alice Birch and Abi Zakarian, who all worked from the same prompt: “Well-behaved women seldom make history.”

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Volume 12, Issue 2, Posted 10:26 AM, 01.22.2019

Heights Youth Theatre presents 'Little Shop of Horrors'

Heights Youth Theatre (HYT) continues its "Celebration of Tolerance, Transformation, and Acceptance" with its production of "Little Shop of Horrors," at Heights Middle School (the former Wiley Middle School) auditorium in University Heights.

The show, directed by Cleveland Heights resident Eugene Sumlin, with music direction by Stacy Bolton, includes 60 actors in grades 1–12 from Cleveland Heights, University Heights, Shaker Heights and surrounding communities. Join them as they make their way through downtown Skid Row with Seymour, Audrey, and one very strange plant!

“HYT'S production of 'Little Shop of Horrors' is sure to be a highlight of the season," Bolton said. "With this strong a cast, it's hard to believe these are school-aged students on stage.”

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Volume 12, Issue 1, Posted 12:48 PM, 01.03.2019

'A Raisin in the Sun' continues Ensemble's season

After directing both parts of “Angels in America” last season, Ensemble Executive Artistic Director Celeste Cosentino again takes on an American classic, bringing Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun” to the Cleveland Heights theater (2843 Washington Blvd.), Jan. 25 through Feb. 17.

“A Raisin in the Sun” was the first play by an African-American woman to appear on Broadway (1959). The award-winning play is about an African-American family facing racism while trying to find a better life.

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Volume 12, Issue 1, Posted 12:51 PM, 01.03.2019

Heights Arts explores mapping and cubism in new exhibitions

Heights Arts is exploring the concept of mapping in the group exhibition VIEW-points, curated by Helen Liggett and Sharon Grossman. "This exhibition is based on questions of what mapping is and how maps mediate between viewers and the world," Liggett said. The exhibition, which runs Jan. 18 through March 3, will show viewers different perspectives of locations both close to home and distant from everyday life.

The show features artists G.M. Donley, Michael Loderstedt, Wendy Partridge, Sai Sinbondit and Rebeckah Wilhelm. They use a variety of media, from photography and prints to locally sourced pigments made from plants, coffee and dirt.

"Mapping is a way to make sense of things by directing attention,” Liggett explained. "This terrain blurs the distinctions between art and science, diagrams and cartoons, play and politics. The artists and viewers participating in VIEW-points explore, provoke and reflect on mapping as orientation rather than destination."

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Volume 12, Issue 1, Posted 12:55 PM, 01.03.2019

Winter art show opens Nov. 30

The Nicholson B. White Gallery invites the public to the Friday, Nov. 30 (5–7 p.m.) opening of its Winter Show, featuring four local artists. The show will be on view through Feb. 24.

On exhibit will be creations of cut-paper collage by Maggy Brown; art glass objects by Jerry Keller; landscape paintings by Jamie Morse; and prints, including a variety of landscapes, by Jane Petschek.

The mood of this group exhibition is upbeat, as the artists share their passions and provide a sense of time and place in their work. Show visitors will see a variety of subjects depicted in the work, including horses, dogs, coastal landscapes, beach scenes, guitars and other musical instruments.

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Volume 11, Issue 12, Posted 11:37 AM, 11.27.2018

Shahrazad premieres 'Around the World in 80 Days' at Ensemble

As part of its 39th season, Ensemble Theatre is co-producing Shahrazad Theatre’s adaptation of Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days. Directed by Shahrazad co-founder August Scarpelli, the play will be a world-premiere production, running Nov. 30 through Dec. 16 in Ensemble’s PlayGround Theater (2843 Washington Blvd.).

The story follows the adventures of Phileas Fogg and his newly employed French valet, Passepartout, as they attempt to travel around the globe in 80 days.

“I consider Jules Verne to have been a very lucky man,” Scarpelli said, “because the natural curiosity and sense of adventure that we are all born with was something that he held close to his heart for his entire life, and there is little that is more important than that, especially today.”

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Volume 11, Issue 12, Posted 11:37 AM, 11.27.2018

Heights Arts holiday store open through Dec. 30

What began in 2002 as a tiny pop-up shop with a few local artists has blossomed into the 17th annual Heights Arts Holiday Store, featuring creations by 100 Northeast Ohio visual artists and artisans, writers and musicians.

“In addition to Cleveland darlings—including William Brouillard, APEmade, and Benita Cullinan—we welcome more than 20 artists who are new to the Holiday Store this year. Heights Arts is excited about adding more artists working in the graphic arts, jewelry and painting,” noted Genevieve Schwartz, program manager for the nonprofit arts organization. Visitors will also find handmade cards and ornaments, photography, handknits and printed tees, artisan items for the home and littlest family members, plus local music CDs and chapbooks by Cleveland poets.

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Volume 11, Issue 12, Posted 10:53 AM, 12.03.2018

JCU art gala to benefit refugee foundation

On Nov. 10, 7­­–10 p.m., John Carroll University's (JCU) Student Union will host its first-ever art gala and silent auction in a collaborative effort to raise money for US Together, a refugee foundation with an office in Cleveland Heights.

The gala, which has as its theme “Art has no language barrier,” will showcase student and faculty talent while bringing together communities throughout JCU and University Heights. The art will be auctioned off and all proceeds will go to US Together.

There will also be raffle baskets, free food and drinks, and music. In addition, clients of US Together will be selling their handmade jewelry at the gala, to support their own business. 

While admission is free, donations at the door will be appreciated. Starting bids for the art pieces will range from $25 to $50.

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Volume 11, Issue 11, Posted 7:20 PM, 10.31.2018

Two Heights artists are part of OAC exhibit

The work of two Cleveland Heights residents, Sarah Curry and David King, will be part of the Ohio Arts Council's (OAC) Art Educators as Artists exhibition.

The show will be on view at the Riffe Gallery in Columbus, Nov. 1 through Jan. 5.

As a state agency, OAC is dedicated to supporting and expanding Ohio’s artistic community. The organization has provided funding for Heights organizations and events, including FutureHeights' 2018 Heights Music Hop.

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Volume 11, Issue 11, Posted 7:30 PM, 10.31.2018

Ensemble presents Ohio premiere of 'East of Eden'

John Steinbeck's masterpiece "East of Eden" is making its Ohio stage premiere at Ensemble Theatre in Cleveland Heights. Shows continue through Nov. 11.

Adapted by Chicago theater legend Frank Galati and directed by Ensemble artist and board member Ian Wolfgang Hinz, the epic play tells the story of the attempts of the Trask family to set roots in Salinas Valley, Calif.

“’East of Eden’ is widely accepted as John Steinbeck's greatest work, and American classics have always been a part of Ensemble's core mission. With past productions like ‘The Great Gatsby’ and now ‘East of Eden,’ we have been able to build a bridge to classic literature through theatrical adaptations,” Hinz said.

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Volume 11, Issue 11, Posted 7:25 PM, 10.31.2018

Cinderella story turned on its head in 'Ella Enchanted'

Dobama Theatre celebrates the holiday season with a regional premiere of "Ella Enchanted." This family-friendly musical, adapted from the best-selling novel by Gail Carson Levine, is directed by Nathan Motta and will run from Nov. 30 through Dec. 30.

Dobama is thrilled to be partnering with Robin VanLear, community arts director at the Cleveland Museum of Art, to create puppets for the production.

With music, puppets, adventure, and plenty of girl power, "Ella Enchanted" is a modern Cinderella story. Ella is given the "gift" of obedience as an infant by a misguided fairy and cannot disobey any order. The strong-willed Ella goes on a quest to rid herself of this so-called gift.

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Volume 11, Issue 11, Posted 7:18 PM, 10.31.2018

Ohio's poet laureate is a neighbor

What does it take to become the state’s poet laureate? In Ohio, one might say, “It takes one to know one.”

When Dave Lucas, who lives in Cleveland Heights, met Ohio’s first poet laureate, Amit Masmudar of Columbus, they discovered that they shared many similarities. With Masmudar’s encouragement, Lucas expressed his interest in the position to the Ohio Arts Council, and was granted an interview.

He was asked to submit samples of his work and to write a proposal for furthering the mission of the poet laureate position, which is to encourage literacy and learning. Now, almost halfway into his two-year term, Lucas’s proposal will carry him across the state to cities, suburbs, rural towns and college campuses—wherever people gather to share the love of words in the form of poetry.

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Volume 11, Issue 11, Posted 10:26 AM, 10.23.2018

Concert series links past and present social issues

With the Cleveland Orchestra and Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) down the hill, Cleveland Heights is blessed with a strong musical tradition. Living room concerts and chamber settings abound with a frequency unparalleled in most American cities.

Among these settings has emerged an ironically trend-setting ensemble that uses baroque music to underscore present-day social issues—juxtaposing past and present—with powerful performances, salient commentary, and links to relevant nonprofits that address injustice. Heights-based Burning River Baroque was founded in 2012 with the goal of “bringing the drama, passion and vitality of Baroque music to life for contemporary audiences." The ensemble’s work has been well-received in our musically rich community. St. Alban's Episcopal Church has become its unofficial home, hosting several concerts a year since the ensemble's launch.

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Volume 11, Issue 10, Posted 11:57 AM, 10.01.2018

McFadden's one-woman show will benefit Ensemble

Molly McFadden will perform “Living on the Moon,” an original one-woman show, at a one-night benefit for Ensemble Theatre. The performance will take place Saturday, Oct. 27, 6 p.m., at Ensemble Theatre, 2843 Washington Blvd. A $20 donation is suggested; proceeds will help enable the theatre to continue to provide productions, classes and workshops.

In “Living on the Moon,” McFadden explores her own journey and her relationship with her mother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The show is a unique mixture of storytelling, original music, known standards and puppetry. It examines many facets of human life, helping the audience discover its rich complexities and its rituals and sorrows.

McFadden, a Heights resident for two years, participates in the Stagewrites group at Ensemble.

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Volume 11, Issue 10, Posted 12:16 PM, 10.01.2018

Dobama presents Midwest premiere of 'John'

Dobama Theatre continues its 2018–19 Mainstage Season with "John," an intimate and elusive ghost story, running Oct. 19 through Nov. 11.

Written by Annie Baker, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of "The Flick," the play centers on Elias and Jenny, a young couple struggling to stay together, who stop at a bed-and-breakfast in Gettysburg, Pa. During their visit they encounter a cheerful innkeeper, her blind friend, and an eerie world crammed with toys, figurines and one very odd American Girl doll. This mystic puzzle of a play is full of surprises, both human and supernatural.

Dobama’s production features legendary Cleveland actor Dorothy Silver, in her first collaboration with Dobama Artistic Director Nathan Motta in the director’s chair.

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Volume 11, Issue 10, Posted 12:14 PM, 10.01.2018

Octavofest 10 is coming to town

Octavofest, an annual celebration of book and paper arts, is 10 years old this month, and it's bigger and better than ever. This year’s theme is “Books and Paper in Global Context,” and will feature lectures, workshops, demonstrations, exhibitions, museum tours, and hands-on experiences. Many of these events will take place in or near the Heights. 

The festival’s keynote presenter is James Canary, conservator at Indiana University’s Lilly Library and an internationally respected specialist in Asian book forms. He has worked with the International Tibetan Archive Preservation Project in Lhasa, which provided equipment and training in document conservation for an archive containing around 3 million documents.

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Volume 11, Issue 10, Posted 12:22 PM, 09.27.2018

Backyard music gives boost to dog rescue group

On Sunday, Aug. 25, Cleveland Heights residents Jeeyoun and Youngjin Yoo hosted an outdoor concert at their Stillman Road home, to benefit SecondhandMutts.

The Tremont-based organization helps homeless dogs receive medical care and find new homes, treating and assisting more than 150 dogs each year through the efforts of volunteers.

About 65 people attended the concert, donating approximately $1,600.

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Volume 11, Issue 10, Posted 10:23 AM, 10.01.2018

Heights Arts announces season 13 of chamber music series

Heights Arts is proud to announce the 13th season of its Close Encounters chamber music concerts. These popular salon-style performances take place in private homes or unusual venues in or near Cleveland Heights. All musicians this season are members of the Cleveland Orchestra or on the faculty of Oberlin Conservatory of Music. This is chamber music as it is meant to be: up close and personal. A wine and pastry reception is provided to audience members and musicians during the intermission of each concert.

The season begins Nov. 11 at an art-filled carriage house in Herrick Mews, with the string ensemble We Too presenting a program of chamber music written by women between five and 1,000 years ago. The oldest work is from a vast collection of religious chants written by Hildegard von Bingen, a German nun born in 1098.

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Volume 11, Issue 10, Posted 12:11 PM, 10.01.2018

HYT alum directs season-opening 'Guys and Dolls'

Heights Youth Theatre’s (HYT) production of "Guys and Dolls" opens Oct. 19 at Heights Middle School in University Heights, and runs through Sunday, Oct. 28. 

The production features 65 actors in grades 1–12, from Cleveland Heights, University Heights, Shaker Heights, and surrounding communities.

Melissa Bertolone, an HYT alum, is the show’s choreographer, and Kelly Monaghan, another HYT alum, directs the production.

“I am so thrilled to be back directing one of the best classic musical theater shows in my all-time favorite theater,” said Monaghan.

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Volume 11, Issue 10, Posted 11:59 AM, 10.01.2018

Unique acts, free parking at Heights Music Hop

To welcome visitors to the 6th annual Heights Music Hop, Cleveland Heights is offering free parking, 3–10 p.m., in each business district on the day the event is held in it: Thursday, Sept. 13, in Coventry Village; Friday, Sept. 14, in Cedar-Fairmount; and Saturday, Sept. 15, in Cedar Lee.

Last year’s event attracted about 7,500 people and delivered economic impact estimated at $200,000, according to organizers. This year’s event features roughly 65 musical acts plus a few non-music entertainments, and organizers hope it will be bigger and better than ever before.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 1:56 PM, 09.03.2018

Art at St. Paul's contemplates light and color

September arrives and so does a new show at the Nicholson B. White Gallery, in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Four talented artists from Cleveland’s East Side—Marilyn Farinacci, Ben Hauser, Ruthe Stone and Catherine Davies Paetz—are featured in Contemplating Light and Color. The public is invited to attend the artists’ reception, which opens the show, on Friday, Sept. 7, 5–7 p.m.

Farinacci's vibrant paintings are stunning and complex. She creates visual concepts on canvas using layering, color and form in a unique way. Her contemporary paintings give the illusion of a three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface.

Hauser refers to himself a photographic artist.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 1:57 PM, 09.01.2018

'Alabama Story' opens Ensemble's new season

Cleveland Heights’ Ensemble Theatre is set to begin its 39th consecutive season, offering it’s signature mix of classic American plays and definitive contemporary works.

"This coming season's theme, ‘The Future is Bright,’ is filled with meaning," said Ensemble’s Executive Artistic Director Celeste Cosentino. "With the culmination of continuity of our space and location, to collaborating and creating a vision for the future of this corner, each one of our upcoming shows speaks to that sense of community and outlook to the days ahead."

The season opens with Kenneth Jones’ historical play “Alabama Story,” which will make its Ohio premiere on Ensemble’s Main Stage on Sept. 7.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 1:54 PM, 09.01.2018

Dobama presents Ohio premiere of 'Sunset Baby'

Dobama Theatre opens its 2018–19 Mainstage Season with the Ohio premiere of “Sunset Baby,” by Dominique Morisseau. The play, directed by Justin Emeka, will run Sept. 7–30.

In “Sunset Baby,” Morisseau, a writer on the Showtime series “Shameless,” calls into question the ways in which we love one another and what we choose to forgive.

Nina, a tough, independent woman, is visited by her estranged father, a former revolutionary in the Black Liberation movement, who seeks to mend their broken relationship. As father and daughter circle one another, deep-rooted wounds are discovered, generational differences are exposed, and burning truths are laid bare. The play is a smart, entertaining, and moving story about family, survival, and the nature of liberation.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 1:44 PM, 09.01.2018

'At Table' again brings art and food to Heights Arts

This September, 24 artists are partnering with some of Cleveland’s most creative culinary experts to transform the Heights Arts main gallery into four unique, themed installations that speak to the art of food and community through the materials we use to eat and drink. The exhibition, At Table: Cleveland Culinaria, opens on Aug. 31 and will run through Oct. 14.

In addition, on Sept. 14, 6–9 p.m., Heights Arts invites the community to the opening of a new exhibition in its Spotlight gallery, featuring the work of Cleveland Heights printmaker Paula Zinsmeister. 

At Table showcases the vision of chefs Douglas Katz of fire food & drink, Provenance, and the Katz Club Diner; Gerry Grim of Edwin’s Leadership & Restaurant Institute; Zeleke Belete of Zoma; and Karen Small of the Flying Fig. 

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 10:38 AM, 08.28.2018

Join the Western Reserve Chorale in its 26th season

Western Reserve Chorale's (WRC) 26th season begins rehearsals on Sept. 4. It welcomes new members to join in a community of singers who enjoy the process of working together as an ensemble to create a musical experience for the Greater Cleveland area. The Chorale has a roster of nearly 100 members, so no singer needs to fear having to carry a part on his or her own.

At Table showcases the vision of chefs Douglas Katz of fire food & drink, Provenance, and the Katz Club Diner; Gerry Grim of Edwin’s Leadership & Restaurant Institute; Zeleke Belete of Zoma; and Karen Small of the Flying Fig. 

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 10:50 AM, 08.28.2018

Mac’s Backs’ DeGaetano is 2018 Cleveland Arts Prize honoree

“Total shock” was the reaction of Mac’s Backs’ co-owner and manager Suzanne DeGaetano upon learning that she had been awarded a 2018 Cleveland Arts Prize. “I don’t deserve it,” was her next thought.

The Arts Prize trustees apparently disagreed, explaining in a statement their decision to award the 2018 Martha Joseph Prize to DeGaetano: “Within the Cleveland arts community, she has established herself as a patron saint among emerging and seasoned poets, writers and artists. She knows most by name. Her generosity and commitment to Northeast Ohio's literary community knows no bounds.”

“I think of the award as one that honors the local writers whose books we sell at Mac’s Backs,” said DeGaetano.

The Cleveland Arts Prize, established in 1960 by the Women’s City Club, is now the nation’s oldest municipal arts award. It recognizes local artists as well as those “community leaders who help regional arts flourish.”

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 12:20 PM, 08.21.2018