Wednesday, January 24, 2018

10+ Artsy & Cool Reasons To Visit Cleveland, Ohio

By Jacquelin Carnegie
Terminal Tower (photo: Lisa Chamberlain)

Often thought of as an old, industrial city, Cleveland is getting its' groove on. Cool new hotels have opened, the restaurant scene is booming, dormant neighborhoods have come back to life, and a bunch of airlines are adding new, affordable routes to town. The city is right on Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River.
All this makes for an incredibly, enjoyable stay. Plus, the locals are some of the friendliest people you'll ever meet!

Hear everything from great rock and jazz in music clubs around town to the world-renowned symphony orchestra; in addition, there's marvelous theater.
(photo: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame) 

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (1100 East 9th St.; - Why is this museum here? Cleveland's famed radio disc jockey, Alan Freed, is credited with inventing the term, "Rock and Roll." Music fans prepare to have your mind blown by the extraordinary collection of rock music memorabilia. There are also concerts and special events. Plan to spend several hours here, if not the whole day (there's a cafe, so you can stop and recharge)!
Nighttown Jazz Club (12387 Cedar Rd; - Between the delicious food and the top-notch musicians, Nighttown is a not-to-be-missed entertainment experience. Hear greats such as the Count Basie Orchestra, John Legend, Wynton Marsalis, Stevie Wonder or fab local musicians on the rise.
(photo: Nighttown)

Cleveland Orchestra ( - Delight in their classical repertoire, plus collaborations with pop and jazz singers, and other creative programming.
Playhouse Square ( - Enjoy some great entertainment in the second-largest theater district in the country (10 stages within beautifully-renovated historic buildings). See touring Broadway shows, concerts, comedy, opera, dance, and children’s fare.

Cleveland's University Circle neighborhood is a treasure trove of more than 20 cultural venues including: the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland Botanical Garden, Cleveland Institute of Music, and Severance Hall (where the Cleveland Orchestra plays).
All are worth a visit, but be sure to go to the Cleveland Museum of Art ( - a lovely art collection in a stunning building. Have lunch is the atrium cafe. Admission is free!
(photo: Cleveland Museum of Art)

78th Street Studios (1300 W. 78th St.; - Located in a sprawling, funky, former warehouse in the Gordon Square Arts District, 78th Street Studios has a cool collection of galleries and artists' studios. On THIRD FRIDAYS, there's a lively Open House. Check out: HEDGE Gallery, Sandy Miller Pottery, Tregoning & Co. And, local artist Gloria Plevin.
FRONT ( - In 2018, art impresario Fred Bidwell will put Cleveland--and the state of Ohio--on the "art map" with the launch of FRONT International, an exciting, contemporary art triennial.

Gloria Plevin, Inky Contemplating Green Asparagus  
A handful of top-notch, local chefs started the current, hot restaurant scene. Locals love Lola Bistro ( by Iron Chef and James Beard Award-winner Michael Symon. Clevelanders flock to The Greenhouse Tavern ( one of James Beard Award-winner Jonathon Sawyer's eateries. And, one of the latest dining spots by chef/restaurateur Zack Bruell is in the Flats East Bank entertainment district, Alley Cat Oyster Bar ( - the cuisine is surf & turf with great views of the Cuyahoga River and super-friendly waiters.

Heinen's Salad Bar
But, you can have a great meal at almost any spot in town such as Zaytoon (1150 Huron Rd; serving the most delicious Lebanese specialties or even at the salad bar in Heinen's Downtown Grocery Store (900 Euclid Ave; The building, the former 1908 Cleveland Trust bank, is amazing as is the Garfield Building, former National City Bank, that now houses the swanky, new Marble Room Steak & Raw Bar (623 Euclid Ave; To discover even more groovy places to dine, request a handy-dandy Cleveland Dining Guide or view it online.

West Side Market (1979 West 25th St.; - Built in 1912, you usually only see great, indoor markets like this in European cities, with 100+ booths selling fresh produce, meats, baked goods, and ethnic delicacies, it's a mouth-watering adventure. And, lots of cute little eateries have opened up in the neighborhood, so do some culinary exploring.

(photo: Marble Room)
Have a Brewski - There are more than 30 breweries in the greater Cleveland area. Head out on your own craft-beer experience or hop on the Cleveland Brew Bus.

Terminal Tower - Observation Deck (Open: April-Nov; Sat & Sun, 12-4pm. Tks: $5; - Start your visit to Cleveland with a panoramic view of the city, lakefront, etc. from the Tower's 42nd floor. Then, head out to explore below!
East 4th St (photo: Lola Bistro)
There's a lively scene on East 4th Street ( with a plethora of shops, bars and restaurants. The Flats East Bank ( district on the Cuyahoga River has become a dining and entertainment mecca. Beyond the Downtown area, there's lots of artsy and cool things going on in various neighborhoods. Check out Shaker Square (, Collinwood (, and Little Italy ( with all its' Italian eateries.
There's so much to discover in Cleveland that these suggestions just scratch the surface!

Fun Fact: Lots of cool people came from Cleveland such as:
Paul Newman
actors/comedians - Paul Newman, Halle Berry, Terrance Howard, Bob Hope, Drew Carey; athletes - too many Hall of Famers to name; musicians - Joe Walsh, Tracy Chapman, Henry Mancini, Kid Cudi & may other rappers; writers - Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison; and millionaire John D. Rockefeller.

Making Your Trip EasierCLE App - Download this essential visitor's tool for iPhones & Android.

Where To Stay:
Hyatt, The Arcade
A number of new hotels have opened up Downtown in cool, historic buildings, to name a few: 
Drury Plaza Hotel Cleveland Downtown in the former Beaux Arts-style Board of Education building.
Kimpton Schofield Hotel in the former Euclid Ninth Tower designed by architect Levi Schofield in 1902.
Hyatt Regency Cleveland at The Arcade, the first indoor shopping center in America opened in 1890.
For something thoroughly modern, try the Hilton Cleveland Downtown (100 Lakeside Ave. East; - it's a convention hotel but with lots of charm: stunning local artwork, a very helpful staff, a nice pool, great views, and lots of dining options.
The Beatles, Chance Foreman, Hilton
Or, go local through Airbnb, rent a place to stay from a local poet in Shaker Square or from famed chef Michael Symon in the Tremont neighborhood.

Getting There:
Major carriers such as American, Delta, and United all have non-stop flights to Cleveland. Starting May 2018, Icelandair and WOW Air will fly to Cleveland from 20 European cities, connecting through Reykjavik, Iceland. So, you'll have no excuse to stay home; head to CLE today!

Monday, January 15, 2018

New York: Off-Broadway Buzz, Spring 2018

By Jacquelin Carnegie - (New York, NY) 
You may want to stay snuggled up on the couch during this crummy weather, but these shows are a great incentive to bundle up and head out. Friendly Reminder: Off- and Off-Off Broadway shows have limited runs, so get tickets right away.
April 2018

For Adults
Park Avenue Armory (643 Park Ave); until April 21, 2018
Directed by Simon Stone; Adapted by Simon Stone, from
Federico García Lorca’s Yerma; Starring: Billie Piper, Brendan Cowell, Maureen Beattie, Charlotte Randle, John MacMillan, Thalissa Teixeira
Billie Piper & Brendan Cowell
(photo: Stephanie Berger)

You may have gone to the theater before, many times in fact, but you've never experienced anything with the force and beauty of this production. If you truly love the power and glory of the stage, you can't miss this show from London’s Young Vic, now at the Park Avenue Armory. The acting is divine; the staging is flawless, and the set design by Lizzie Clachan is a star in its own right. Plot-wise, all you need to know is a woman's desperate desire to have a child and her inability to conceive upend her lovely life. If you are familiar with Lorca's work, you know the chances of it ending well are slim. The lead performance by Billie Piper as "Her" is luminous, but props also to Brendan Cowell's deliciously-masterful turn as "John," her companion and foil. Then, there's that magnificent glass-box set which magnifies the action and helps bring it all to a boil. YERMA is an extraordinary piece of work; the downright definition of mind-blowing.

Minetta Lane Theatre (18 Minetta Lane); until May 13, 2018
Directed by Leigh Silverman; Written by David Cale; Starring: Billy Crudup

Billy Crudup
(photo: Carol Rosegg)
If you missed Billy Crudup's phenomenal performance in David Cale's kick-ass play at the Vineyard Theater last fall, you've got another chance to see this "master class" in acting, revived at the Minetta Lane Theater -- lucky you!
After a miserable, Mid-Western childhood, Philip Brugglestein escapes his hometown and himself with a re-branding as "Harry Clarke" -- a sassy, cockney Brit, just arrived in New York. Now, armed with a disarming British accent, this artful dodger uses his guile-ish moves to charm his way into the lives, pants, and hearts of several members of the wealthy Schmidt family — each and every one a glorious Cale-Crudup creation. Enjoy!

March 2018
The Public Theater (425 Lafayette St.); until April 8, 2018
Directed by Michael Greif; Written by Bruce Norris; Starring: Daniel Davis; Harriet Harris; Chris Perfetti; Chukwudi Iwuji; Crystal A. Dickinson; Kevin Chamberlin & Richard Poe

THE LOW ROAD is an amazing, really important evening in the theater that examines how we (Americans) got to this point -- with a narcissistic nitwit as the leader of the free world. While political pundits blame faulty 2016 polling, Bruce Norris, a Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, goes all the way back to the 1700s to look for answers. What he digs up is glorious, giddy gold.
Chukwudi Iwuji & Chris Perfetti
(photo: Joan Marcus)

A self-involved foundling (the splendid Chris Perfetti) with a talent for math takes Adam Smith's (the fabulous Daniel Davis) laissez-faire capitalism lessons to heart and plots his own self-advancement. Along the way, he is encouraged by his adoptive mother (the always-effervescent Harriet Harris), mocked by her all-knowing servant (the wonderful Crystal A. Dickinson), confronted by an educated, erudite slave (the magnificent Chukwudi Iwuji) and, finally, undone by his own, vainglorious self-interest. Michael Greif's divine staging is beautifully served by David Korins' scenic design and Ben Stanton's lighting. THE LOW ROAD is a totally brilliant, really fun romp into how the past informs the present.
For Kids & Adults
New Victory Theater (209 West 42nd St) Until March 25, 2018; For ages 6 & up
Black Beauty (photo: Mihaela Bodlovic)
This disarmingly-charming production, from Scotland's Red Bridge Arts and Traverse Theatre Company, is a unique re-telling of the childhood classic that will please little kids as well as the adults that accompany them. This version features the McCuddy brothers (the absolutely marvelous Andy Cannon and Andy Manley) who struggle to earn a living at a dying art--bringing a costume, "pantomime" horse to life. (For American audiences who might not know, "Pantomime" is a humorous type of British theatrical entertainment.) While the brothers wait for a gig, to keep their spirits up, they creatively re-enact their favorite childhood story, Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. In the time-honored tradition of great physical comedians--such as Chaplin, Keaton, and Laurel & Hardy--Cannon and Manley evoke laughter amongst the tears as downtrodden victims of circumstance who nonetheless keep hope alive that happy days are almost here again.

January 2018
For Tweens, Teens & Adults
The Duke (229 West 42nd St) Until Jan 21, 2018; For ages 12 & up;  

Conceived by Ping Chong; Written & directed by Sara Zatz & Kirya Traber in collaboration with the cast. Cast: Edwin Aguila, Monica Victoria Tatacoya Castañeda, Andrea "Syl" Egerton, Mohammad Murtaza, De-Andra Pryce, Porscha Polkahantis Rippy & Rafael Rosario

This extraordinary presentation will make you laugh, it will make you cry, it will make you care. For UNDESIRABLE ELEMENTS is a celebration of humanity's diversity and how we are all more similar than different. 
GENERATION NYZ is the story of seven amazing young adults who could have easily fallen through the cracks of life. Born into poverty, hopelessness, neglect, and confusion, each one of them--through a combination of personal perseverance, the kindness of strangers (teachers and mentors), and a splash of luck--saw a vision of what could be for themselves and forged ahead to actualize that dream.
The cast represents the “gorgeous mosaic" of New York celebrating their heritage--Black, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Caribbean, South Asian, European--and the neighborhoods they grew up in: the South Bronx, West Harlem, Far Rockaway, Queens, and East New York, Brooklyn. This show is so dope, woke and cool, it should be extended. And, hopefully, filmed to be shown in every school and college across the country to give all kids who are dazed-and-confused an infusion of hope. The New Victory Theater and Ping Chong + Company are two organizations that are always doing way-cool stuff.

For Adults & Sophisticated Teens
Theater for the New City (155 First Ave) Until Jan 28, 2018;  

Isaac Miller (anchorman Evan Fury) & David O. Friedman (Trump)
photo: Glenna Freedman PR

Book & lyrics by Tom Attea; Music by Arthur Abrams; Directed by Mark Marcante. Starring: Isaac Miller, Alexandra Schwartz, Matt Gorsky, Juan Villegas, David O. Friedman, David F. Slone, Esq., Gabrielle Sarrubbo, Robert Homeyer, Justin Rodriguez & Kate McMorran
The premise of this new musical comedy is that a top newscaster is so affected by having to cover the current erratic President on a daily basis that his life starts to unravel. While it's a fun, upbeat romp, the pretentious dialog is a drawback, making it sound more like a 1940s' British, drawing-room farce than a contemporary comedy. But, if you too are having nightmares that this man--who shouldn't even be on the White House lawn--is in the Oval, you'll get a kick out of the show. And, the anchorman, Evan Fury, is played by newcomer Isaac Miller who is so terrific, I see Tonys® in his future! Catch him now before he hits the big time.
It's also a good excuse to discover the Theater for the New City. TNC produces a plethora of new American plays, including several by emerging playwrights and minority writers from around the world. With affordable ticket prices, the goal is to develop theater audiences and inspire minority creatives by engaging the community in the theater and at its many free Festivals. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Germany: 10+ Artsy & Cool Reasons To Visit Muenster & Kassel

By Jacquelin Carnegie
Prinzipalmarkt, Münster
Münster (aka Muenster) and Kassel, in Germany's Westphalia region, offer culture lovers ample reasons to visit.
Two Top Art Celebrations

The contemporary art fair documenta takes place every 5 years in Kassel (next one in 2022) and the Muenster Sculpture Project is organized every 10 years (next one in 2027, when both events will be on).
Muenster Sculpture Project ( is not held in a museum. Instead, fantastic sculptures are strategically-placed throughout the town. Learn about the sculptures with a knowledgeable guide on a tour--bike or walking. After each Project, Muenster selects a piece to add to their public art collection. 
documenta ( is a prestigious, contemporary art exhibition—like the Venice Biennale--held in Kassel. See them both in 2027! Trains linking Muenster and Kassel take about two hours.
Münster is a lovely, university town with cobblestone streets and charming, historic buildings and churches. Even when the Sculpture Project is not taking place, it’s worth a visit. As a university town, Muenster’s full of pubs, restaurants and year-round cultural events, not to mention some fascinating history as well as a lovely lakeside area, Lake Aasee

Nicole Eisenman, Sketch for a Fountain, 
Münster (photo: Henning Rogge)

Getting Around: Bike - Muenster is considered the "Bike Capital of Germany" with a truly-impressive network of bicycle paths throughout the town and beyond with lots of places to rent/park bikes. Münster AudioGuide: Wander around on your own and/or download this new, helpful App.
Try the Ale and Fare
In addition to lots of bicycles and plenty of history, Muenster's got great beer and grub: Brauerei Pinkus (Kreuzstrasse 4-10; - Be sure to sample some local beer at the bar/restaurant of Muenster’s oldest brewery (1816).
Altes Gasthaus Leve (Alter Steinweg 37; - Enjoy regional specialties at Muenster’s oldest restaurant (1607).
Prinzipalmarkt, Münster 
See the Historic Sights
Rathaus - Town Hall (Prinzipalmarkt 10; - Now designated a European Heritage site, in 1648, the Peace of Westphalia treaty was signed here, ending the Thirty Years War. It's open to the public to view the Friedenssaal (Hall of Peace). Prinzipalmarkt: The Rathaus is located on the Prinzipalmarkt, a nice pedestrian area where you can stroll, shop, or just relax at a cafe.
Churches: Muenster has so many beautiful churches in the Gothic, Romanesque, Classicism, and Baroque-style that their towers define the skyline. It was also here in Muenster that Cardinal Clemens von Galen preached against the Nazi regime, during that era. Be sure to visit: St. Paulus-Dom - St. Paul’s Cathedral (Domplatz 28; - This Gothic and Romanesque-style cathedral was originally built in the 8th century and restored in the 13th. St. Lamberti Kirche (Lambertikirchplaz 1; - Famous for the Anabaptist Rebellion of 1533-34 and as the church where von Galen gave his anti-Nazi sermons.

Thomas Schütte, Cherry Tree,
Münster (photo: Henning Rogge)
Art Stop: Kunstmuseum Pablo Picasso (Königsstrasse 1; - Germany's only Picasso museum features prints and more than 800 of his lithographs; it also mounts special exhibitions.
Day Trip: In the surrounding countryside of Münsterland, there are 100 magnificent castles to view. See them biking (on your own or on a bike tour) or driving.
Where To Stay: There's a wide selection of hotels in Muenster from the Stadthotel to the Hotel Feldmann. Many offer special Sculpture Project packages. In the countryside: Hotel Hof zur Linde; Hotel Schloss Wilkinghege
While the hoopla surrounding documenta only happens every five years, Kassel's lovely parks, palaces, and museums can be visited at any time. Another draw is the connection to the Grimm brothers and the famous Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Kassel is the "capital city" of the German Fairy Tale Route (which you can drive; see the map on the website).
Places To Discover
Grimmwelt - Grimm World (Weinbergstrasse 21; - Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Snow White, etc. These fairy tales, that have fascinated and frightened children for generations, were not written by the Grimm brothers. They were tradition folktales passed down through the ages, usually by word of mouth. The brothers Jacob and Wilhelm collected them to preserve them for future generations. The museum documents their life and work.

Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe ( - This impressive hillside park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the city’s main attractions. Some of the outstanding features include: Baroque grounds and English landscape gardens; a cascading, ornamental water display; a Hercules monument; the Wilhelmshöhe Palace and the Löwenburg Castle.
Where To Stay: There are several good hotel choices in Kassel, in addition to special, hotel-package deals during documenta. Or, you can just do a day trip from Muenster, about two hours by train.

Biking, Münsterland

Getting There: The easiest way to get to Muenster (then on to Kassel) is through Düsseldorf, a transit hub and another interesting German city to visit. Several airlines have direct flights to Düsseldorf from various US gateways: United, Lufthansa, etc., then catch a train right from the airport to Münster. Germany has an excellent train network between cities; you can even get your tickets before you leave through RailEurope or GoEuro, a great site that cost compares flight, train & bus options.