Cleveland – July 2018 – A Day in Town

Having come to Cleveland for the Fuel Cleveland event, we had enough time to check out a few other sights.

I had recently read they had a velodrome in the Slavic Village neighborhood, so on the way into town we went to check it out – only to find that the freeway was closed due to construction.

Never fear – we eventually made it there.

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Amazingly there are only 28 velodromes in all of America.

When we arrived late morning there were a few people practicing.

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The track had a steel structural frame with what appeared to be layers of plywood for the track.

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I was surprised at how steep the banking is.

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We watched them run a few laps and headed out.

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After the motorcycle event, we headed over to Edgewater Park and Wendy Park, where the restoration of a classic old coast guard house continues.

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With a warm July day watercraft of all sizes were out.

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Many seemed content just to park and hang out.

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The railroad lift bridge was down for an extended time, causing a backup of boats – but the trains over-rule pleasure boats every time.

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A sailboat with the high rise apartments in Lakewood in the background.

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An interesting mix of old an new – the newer apartments and Lakefront Rapid (light rail) framed by the old Shoreway Bridge and some of the older buildings that have been restored.

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A mix of skyscrapers downtown.

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Look familiar? It is the light house on this blog’s home page – just not covered in frozen mist.

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I am always amazed that the kayaks will get in the same water as the massive ore boats. Note a view of a portion of the Cleveland Browns Stadium on the right.

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The top of a Cleveland landmark – the Terminal Tower.

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A lift bridge and a skyscraper.

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From upper Edgewater the view across the harbor shows just how busy it was on the water.

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While on land some artwork makes for an interesting setting for hanging out.

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While we were there 4 different wedding parties came along for their photo opportunity. Running of the Brides Cleveland version.

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Cleveland – July 2018 – “Fuel Cleveland”

Fuel Cleveland is an effort to bring together motorcycle art, culture and design. In existences for just 3 years, the annual event has become huge.

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Cleveland has always been a center of transportation manufacturing, with the famed ‘Cleveland’ motorcycles being produced between 1902 and 1929.

Today the name has been revived by the Cleveland Cycle Werks.

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The show has a limited number of motorcycles inside, but is attended by thousands who arrive on their own bikes.

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The collection on the street where we parked was better than most shows, and that was just the beginning.

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As previously noted, art is a critical part of this show. This photographer specializes in using the old school camera, developing his own film. He came to the event from New York City.

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Inside were some of the best bikes. The restorations are amazing.

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While many are customized choppers.

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Held in an old factory on the east side, the setting was perfect for this event.

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Many of the custom jobs had death as a subject matter.

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The art was mixed in throughout.

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There were plenty of colorful people as well.

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Your usual retro living room based on motorcycle parts.

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Even the vendors had character.

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While most of the bikes were Harley Davidson’s, I did come across a few others including this great old BMW.

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Next up was the Skidmore Garage. A working garage specializing in old bikes, most were up on the stands for easier access.

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This bike, called Junk and Disorderly used random, non traditional motorcycle parts. Note the seat is made out of an old tire.

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The mix of the custom bikes and eclectic art of old gas tanks provides a good idea of the atmosphere in the Skidmore Garage.

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The Detroit Brothers have an interesting approach to gas tank accessories.

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Hells Angels softer side – a pink chopper.

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There were numerous helmet design artists on hand.

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Even the air cleaners looked cool.

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This area of the east side of Cleveland was always an industrial neighborhood. While most of the industry has left, there are still a number of buildings remaining. The neighborhood definitely added to the gritty feel with the bikes.

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The parking lot was packed with bikes and riders.

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The classic winged Harley logo.

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Old bikes and old factories – a perfect combination.

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Even more – bikes everywhere.

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Lining the tree lawns along the street.

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A sweet cherry red chopper by itself in front of the building across the street.

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Welcome to Cleveland.

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By now we were dog tired and headed home, just not in a dog chariot – we took the car.

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Cleveland – March 2018 – A Revisit to the Piston Powered Show

Since we have ran out of things to do in Ohio, we are now revisiting some of the better events, including the Piston Powered Show in Cleveland.

Held at the million square foot IX Center, this event features ‘anything with a piston’ including cars, boats, planes, motorcycles, snowmobiles and others.

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A custom bike

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Surf’s up on Lake Erie!

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A chopped Beetle.

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As noted, the place is huge – with the airplane being dwarfed by the indoor ferris wheel.

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Some artists were customizing on the spot.

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Lanterns on an antique fire truck.

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The Cleveland Corvette Club.

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Customized 1950s Ford pickup truck.

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Clearly a winner.

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Hey Scoobie…

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Cleveland – March 2018 – Playhouse Square Theaters

The Playhouse Square Theater District on Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland is known as the 2nd largest by number of seats in the United States, behind Lincoln Center in Manhattan. The 4 major theaters once could seat nearly 10,000 people, although that number has diminished a bit with remodeling.

On the first Saturday of each month a small army of volunteers offer free behind the scenes tours. Lead by our amazing tour guide Lil, we were fortunate in that we chose a day that they were between shows in the theaters, so we were able to go on the stages and in the dressing rooms for all the theaters.

First up is the largest, the State Theater.  Opened, along with all the other theaters, in a 19 month period between 1921-1922, the State originally seated 3,400.

Built in an Italian Renaissance style for vaudeville shows and movies, it has what was the worlds longest lobby at 320′ as it was built at the back of the lot so the theater next door, the Ohio Theater, could also have frontage on Euclid Avenue.

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As the tour took us backstage you got a feel for how massive the stage and the rigging are to support the theater. This theater’s rigging have been modernized, we would later get a sense for how much compared to the non-updated ones.

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Next door is the Palace Theater (recently renamed Connor Palace to honor a major donor). This theater was built in the French Renaissance style, and features beautiful entry doors.

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The main lobby is known as the Great Hall. Amazingly in the early 1970s all the theaters we close to being torn down to make parking lots, but fortunately the local arts community was persistent and saved all of them. It  has taken the community many years and millions of dollars but all have been restored, and in some cases reconfigured for smaller theaters.

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Front the balcony of the Palace we were treated to a performance from one of the resident organists.

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Later we were able to visit up close for a demonstration of the amazing capabilities of the organ, as well as some behind the scenes history of the recovery and restoration of the organ.

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The entryway to the Ohio Theater features an amazing ceiling. (all of the ceilings are stunning, this is the best).

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From the stage the lighting, seating and ceiling make an impressive photo.

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Backstage gets a view of the un-restored rigging (the massive collection of ropes on the right), as well as all of the lighting riggings.

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Another amazing ceiling and light, the entrance to the Allen Theater.

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The columns of the Allen Theater entrance have intricate carvings.

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The Allen has been downsized and modernized, although the original balconies and boxes are hidden behind the fabrics on the sides in case they want to return it to it’s original state. The second half of this theater has been transformed into a ‘Theater in the Round’ format.

Playhouse Square is one of the best features of Cleveland, and the Saturday morning tours are amazing (and free).

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Cleveland – March 2018 – Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

It has been over 10 years since the last visit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, but having recently read that they now allow photography in most places it seemed like a good time to make a return visit.

I had forgotten how many artifacts they have from many genres, not just Rock. Since blues had such an influence, there was an extensive exhibit honoring those who contributed, such as Bo Diddley.

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In my opinion Ruth Brown is the best blues singer of all time…

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And Muddy Waters was one of the best as well. Note the partial view of the album in the upper right corner. It is ‘Hard Again’, featuring Muddy, Bob Margolin on Guitar, Pinetop Perkins on piano, James Cotton on harmonica, Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith on drums, Charles Calmese on bass and produced, as well as playing guitar, Johnny Winter.  The Best Blues Album Ever!

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The sign from Elvis’ famed 1968 comeback TV special

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Another cool Bo Diddley guitar.

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Mixing blues and rock makes another of my favorites, the Allman Brothers Band.

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Beyond the instruments and outfits there is an excellent collection of paraphernalia, including the original lyrics – such as Riders on the Storm by the Doors.

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The upper floors had a tribute to 50 years of Rolling Stone magazine.

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David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust outfit

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Long Live Rock!

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Cleveland – September 2017 – A Super Library

Two teenagers growing up in the Glenville neighborhood on the east side of Cleveland came up with the idea of Superman in the mid 1930s. From this humble beginning they launched the most famous superhero of all time, which the Main Cleveland Library is now celebrating.

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were friends from the neighborhood when they partnered to come up with Superman. As children of Jewish immigrants the idea of Superman coming from another land was close to their experiences, as well as their influence from the pulp fiction of the day. And the rest as they say is history….

 

Small steel statue

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Original sketches.

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Cleveland – proud true home of Superman – take that Metropolis!

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Phone booth – complete with a cape left behind.

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The 1950s Superman costume, apparently these colors filmed better in black and white than the more well known red and blue.

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Large statue – eventually headed for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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A Superman telephone.

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Cleveland – September 2017 – Lego Convention

The new downtown Cleveland Convention Center was the site of a Lego fan convention called BrickUniverse. This show featured a number of Lego artists, as well as vendors with a large collection of specialty pieces.

As we entered the hall we were greeted by Jonathan Lopes, who had a number of very large pieces. Jonathan, a San Diego resident who used to live in Brooklyn, which was featured extensively in his grouping.

 

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Nearby was Lia Chan who specialized in Air & Space.

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There were a number of ‘paintings’ made of Lego throughout the exhibit. The detail was amazing.

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A 12′ long model of the USS Missouri had thousands of small sailors, as well as the table and dignitaries that signed the surrender terms ending World War II.

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Displayed nearby was a large collection of famed military leaders.

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Eventually I pulled out the zoom to get close ups.

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The tallest building in Cleveland is the nearly 1000′ high Key Tower. For this show King Kong was on top.

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The Eiffel Tower.

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Another of Lia’s pieces up close showing the details.

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The Moulin Rouge complete with Can Can Dancers.

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Finally a close up of Jonathan’s Woolworth Building, showing the amazing detail on the cornices.

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