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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Cleveland – September 2017 – Chess Collection

A visit to Cleveland with some extra time lead us to go into the Cleveland Public Library’s Main Building on Superior Avenue in downtown Cleveland. The sign in front advertised a Superman exhibit (detailed in another post), but on the 4th floor in the Special Collections area was an amazing collection of books and periodicals on chess, as well as a great chess board/pieces collection. This collection is the largest in the world!

John G White was born in 1845, living until 1928. As an attorney and an avid reader he donated 60,000 books to the Cleveland library upon his death. Included in those were thousands on chess. To compliment these the library has a great collection of chess boards and pieces on display.

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Cleveland – September 2017 – Rugby

The Cleveland Crusaders are an amateur rugby team that plays Division 2 Rugby with other teams in the Great Lakes area. On this Saturday afternoon they played a team from Pittsburgh at a makeshift field in Edgewater Park.

I have played, coached and seen many sports but my rugby knowledge is very limited. Thanks to google, we could follow along with the game’s rules. Additionally by watching it for a bit it was easy to follow the strategies, and the identify the skills that were necessary.

The action was intense, coupled with the quick pace it makes for an enjoyable sport.

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The tackling is fierce.

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When a ball went out of play, it is thrown back in. Unlike soccer teammates will literally lift one of the players up in the air to get the ball.

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The most basic rule that was noticed is the ball is always thrown to the side and beyond where the player who previously had the ball is stopped.

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A ruck starts with the interlocking of most of the players, while another rolls the ball in.

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Eventually popping out, and play ensues.

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Rugby is something I will have to check out more often, in my opinion far more interesting that football, but not as good as hockey!