Lifestyle

The Sum(mer) of its Parts

photo by Chad W. Lutz (2013)
Matt MacDonald
Downtown Cleveland

Summer time is upon us! We have finally been granted a reprieve from the days when we are hermetically sealed in our homes in an effort to not freeze our asses off. The thirst to be outside and to be inhaling fresh air by the bucketful is thick in our throats.
As a father of three children, this is a feeling that I know all too well. This summer, like all summers in Cleveland, promises not to disappoint. But there’s something that I have noticed especially since I have gotten older; certain parts of the city (and the surrounding area) get compartmentalized. One area is favored over the other for whatever reasons. What makes this worse is that the older a person gets, the harder it is to appreciate the city as a whole.
Over the next couple of months, I will be highlighting some of the more interesting happenings going on throughout the Cleveland-area as well as including a few polite reminders of why this part of Ohio should be appreciated as a whole.
Marc’s Great American Rib Cook-Off
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It would not be May in Cleveland if there were no Great American Rib Cook-off. Spread out over the course of Memorial Day Weekend, the Rib Cook-off is that one event in Cleveland that officially heralds the arrival of summer. There are ribs and there is live music (specifically from the likes of Buddy Guy, Rick Springfield and Brett Michaels). It doesn’t get any more “summer” than that!
Starting Friday May 24 at 12pm and ending Monday (Memorial Day) May 27, Marc’s Great American Rib Cook-Off promises to be an event that is suitable for the whole family.
Something to ponder while you sate yourself on the fatted calf? “The flats are actually where Cleveland began. They served as the landing site for Moses Cleaveland and his survey party when they traveled from Connecticut in 1796 (Grabski, 2005).
For more information visit nauticaflats.com
Cleveland’s Theatre District
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No one ever said that you had to spend your entire summer outside. There’s going to be one of those nights (or possibly, days) when the thespian urge strikes. Why not make a trip down Euclid Avenue to see what all of the fuss is about?
Starting May 1 at Playhouse Square is the fan-favorite Guys & Dolls. Based on a story by Damon Runyon with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, Guys & Dolls is a “musical fable” of Broadway that is set in mid-20th century New York and is about “gambling men and the strong-willed women who love them”. Hailed as an American classic, Guys & Dolls is a musical comedy that is sure to entertain.
As an historical aside, it should be noted that given Cleveland's layout, Euclid Avenue was the only logical choice to serve as the location of the city’s theatre district. Back in the day, there were 5 theaters that started this new theater district: the Allen Theater, the Ohio Theater, The State Theater, the Palace Theater and 2 Loews Theaters (Becker, 2004).
For further information (or if Guys and Dolls isn’t your thing) visit playhousesquare.org
Around the same time that the theater district had begun to assemble, the first indoor shopping mall in the United States had opened. The Arcade officially opened its doors to Cleveland's residents in 1890 (Becker, 2004).
Also on Euclid Avenue this summer is the One Nation Under a Groove Gala. This funk and soul music revue will be performed by Cleveland School of the Arts (CSA) students. The school itself is a specialty arts school that focuses on music, theater, dance, creative writing & visual arts. The gala will honor David LaRue, CEO of Forest City Enterprises Inc. Mr. LaRue is the former President of the FCSA Board of Trustees and has been instrumental in achieving the goal of a new school building for CSA.
The gala will be held on Friday, May 3, 2013 from 6:30 - 10:30 pm at the House of Blues, 308 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44114. Tickets can be purchased online at www.clevelandschoolofthearts.org or by calling 216.421.7690.
Cleveland Metropark Zoo

When in doubt, my default source of amusement and merriment has always been the zoo.
It's a very little known fact that Cleveland Zoo actually began on the East Side. Originally, Jeptha Wade (one of the founding members of Western Union Telegraph) donated land to the city for the establishment of Wade Park. Because of residential development and the addition of other animals, the zoo was gradually moved to (the then) Brookside Park, where it currently resides (Van Tassel, Grabowski, 1987).
From now until Halloween, Discount Drug Mart is sponsoring Photo Safari. This is the zoo's annual photo contest that is open to all amateur photographers. All photos must be taken between April 1 and Halloween of this year.
Also happening is the Wild Ride at the Zoo. This is an after-hours event that will give visitors the opportunity to skip the tried and true Tram ride to the top of the hill and elsewhere in favor of riding their bikes!
Don't have a bike or the means to get your bike there? No problem! The Bike Rack has you covered! Call (216) 771-7120 to reserve your bike seat! The number of bikes available for rent will be limited.
Tickets for Wild Ride are available online or at the zoo box office.
For further information visit clemetzoo.com

References

Becker, Thea Gallo. (2004). Images of America: Cleveland 1796-1929. Great Britain Arcadia Publishing.

Grabski, Matthew Lee. (2005). Images of America: Cleveland's Flats. Arcadia Publishing: Great Britain.
Van Tassel, David D (Ed.). Grabowski, John J. (Ed.). (1987). The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.