Thursday, January 31, 2013

Danny Lyon Exhibit at Akron Art Museum

"Memorial Day Run, Milwaukee" My favorite photo in the new exhibit--I like seeing what the1960s biker girls look like!

Danny Lyon: The Bikeriders Exhibit at Akron Art Museum
by Joanna Wilson

There's a new exhibit at the Akron Art Museum that just went up last weekend.  It's a collection of photographs by Danny Lyon from the 1960s documenting the counterculture of bikers.

"Crossing the Ohio, Louisville," (1966) Many of these photos were actually taken by Lyon from the back of his own bike, a 1953 Triumph TR6.

Lyon is considered one of the New Journalists, a group of people that subjectively document subjects--as opposed to traditional journalism and non-fiction writing that attempts to objectively cover subject matters.  Think Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, George Plimpton's Paper Lion, and Tom Wolfe's Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.  Likewise, Danny Lyon immersed himself in the culture of bikers and joined the Chicago Outlaw Motorcycle Club.  He rode with its members, taking photos of the riders and their girlfriends, motorcycle races, club meetings, and even funerals.

"Benny, Grand and Division, Chicago," (1966)

The photos now on exhibit at the Akron Art Museum are just a fraction of the total collection, many of which were first published in the 1968 book The Bikeriders.   To see the museum's entire collection of Danny Lyon's photographs, visit their website at http://AkronArtMuseum/Collections.

You don't want to miss seeing this collection of 1960s photos which document the free-spirited, outsiders in a more authentic way than fictional accounts in B-movies or TV shows.  If you're like me, you'll find yourself scrutinizing each print to examine the details of the bikes, the 1960s fashions and hairstyles--even the tattoos--of these bikers and their girlfriends.  Feel the romance of the open road as depicted in these prints--a rare experience to be had during these cold winter months in Ohio.

The Akron Art Museum is located at One South High, Akron OH 44308
Link for Hours and Admission
Link for info on Danny Lyon Exhibit
the exhibit runs January 26th until June 21st.

Monday, January 28, 2013

ZeroLandfill Akron

ZeroLandfill Akron Harvest and Pollination
by Brit Charek

ZeroLandfill is a volunteer-run upcycling program held seasonally that supports the supply needs of local artists and arts educators while reducing pressure on local landfill capacity. ZeroLanfill (referred to as ZLF for short) will be returning to Akron February 2nd and will continue every Saturday throughout the month. They will be using a new location at 21 West North Street in Akron.

The program is divided into two parts: Pollination and Harvest. 

Pollination is where architects, interior designers, construction managers and other professionals drop off expired specification samples to be harvested. 

"We donate material often to ZLF. Throughout the year we save materials that can be donated," says Karen Starr of Hazel Tree Interiors. "I also volunteer some time when it is in Akron and Cleveland and no one can resist harvesting things too when you are there working. There are just so many beautiful things that can be turned into something. Last year my big thing was finding large carpet samples for our daughter's new doll house Jon built her for Christmas."

The Harvest is where artists, educators, crafters, homeschoolers, arts organizations and community programs pick up the materials samples that are donated.

Examples of materials include carpet, wallcovering, fabric, laminate, tile, brick, stone, metal and glass samples, stock photo books, paper books, paper samples and binders.

"It was a lot of work, but I enjoyed it," says Audra Costello of her experiences volunteering with ZLF in Cleveland over the summer, "I found some great materials to craft with throughout the winter, and ZLF provided hundreds of others with materials and inspiration as well." You can read more about Audra's amazing finds and what she did with them on her blog, Little Tiger and the Milk Belly Princess.

Pollination dates are February 2nd and 9th from 9am-Noon. If you are interested in volunteering by pre-sorting materials, please contact

Harvest dates are February 9th, 16th and 23rd from 9am-Noon. Anyone is welcome to come and pick up free discarded materials at 21 West North Street in Akron. Don't forget to bring boxes and bags to take your materials home!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Jazz Guitarist Dan Wilson: Jan 25th at the Akron Civic Theatre

Akron Empire would like to welcome guest blogger Dina from Dina's Days to share an exciting event.  Dina blogged for us before about her favorite thrift store in the Akron area--click HERE to see that post again.  Looking for something to do this weekend?  Check out this local musician.

Jazz Guitarist, Dan Wilson at the Akron Civic Theatre on Jan. 25th
by Dina

Music has been an integral part of Akron native and  jazz guitarist Dan Wilson's life since his beginnings in gospel music. Upon hearing a Wes Montgomery record in a relative's basement, Dan decided to pursue a a career as a musician. Since then, he has spent more than a decade honing his craft. 
Starting off with the drums at age 11, Dan learned the bass shortly thereafter. By 13, he taught himself how to play the guitar by picking it up by ear and learning from his favorite musical influences and mentors from church. 
Dan received his Bachelor's Degree in Music & Liberal Studies from Hiram College in 2006. His passion for Brazilian music led him to the city of Rio De Janeiro in 2007 to conduct research for his Masters Thesis which he defended successfully at Youngstown State University in 2009.

His debut album released in 2012, To Whom It May Concern contains both original work by Dan and two covers, including a brilliant remake of the State Fair musical,  It Might as Well Be Spring. The contemporary, electric-jazz album also features a group of talented musicians from the Northeast Ohio and Pittsburgh areas.

Dan has toured Russia with Eric Marienthal and Germany with the Golden Gospel Singers in the winter of 2011. He currently teaches  jazz guitar and improvisation at Cuyahoga Community College and leads a group of local musicians.

You can hear Dan and his group back at the Akron Civic Theater on Friday, January 25, 2012. This cabaret style concert will also feature Bryan Connell on sax, Kip Reed on bass, Jerome Jennings on drums, Theron Brown on piano, and Stephen Fowler on vocals. 
To preview tracks from his album, watch videos, and to view a list of local performances, visit his website at  

Are you interested in guest blogging for Akron Empire?  Contact us with your idea for a post at AkronEmpire [at] gmail dot com.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

New Navigational Tools for the Akron Empire blog

Introduction to Akron Empire's New Navigational Tools
by Joanna Wilson

Thanks for being patient for this latest Akron Empire post.  I've spent the last several days updating the blog and adding buttons to help make it more user friendly.  You may recognize some changes to the right-hand side -------------> of the blog.

Our previous posts are divided into 7 categories.  DESTINATIONS includes local museums, landmarks, places to go, and locations to do something.

I've added seven buttons that connect to our archives (old blog posts) divided into seven categories.  Looking to see what local bands we've written about in the past?  Click on the MUSIC button to see an alphabetized list with links.  Looking to see what restaurants Akron Empire has already visited?  Click on the FOOD button for an alphabetized list with links.  You get the idea.

Our archives can also be searched by their location.

I've also created five buttons that connect to the same archives organized by location.  This attempts to make the blog's archives easy to search by region within the Akron Empire.  Do you live in Cuyahoga Falls and want to discover somewhere new close to home?  Click on the NORTH button to see an alphabetized list of past posts with links.  Want to take out-of-town guests somewhere interesting downtown?  Click on the DOWNTOWN button to see an alphabetized list of places there. We'll continue to add to these alphabetized lists as we create new blog posts to help you search through the blog. 

Are you interested in joining the Akron Empire team by guest blogging--sharing your favorite place, event, band, group or organization?  Now it is easier to see where and who we've already covered.  If you have an idea about guest blogging, email us at AkronEmpire [at] gmail dot com.  We are looking forward to a very exciting 2013. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Q & A with Bethesda

A Conversation with Bethesda
by Brit Charek

Back in May, Bethesda was featured by guest blogger Ash Adams as one of the first in our ongoing series of local band profiles, This Band Could Be Your Life. (Check out that post here!) Now they are about to release a new album, which seemed like a perfectly reasonable excuse to sit down with singer Shanna Delaney and guitarist Eric Ling and talk about what's in store for fans with the release of their new album, The Reunion

All photos taken from the band's Instagram Feed. You too can follow their adventure's by following them @bethesdamoments

What are some of your goals as musicians for the New Year?

Eric: The big goal is always the same:  do music for a living.  Not for a ton of money, but enough to get by and to do what we love.  We have put together a really great team for this album (radio with Team Clermont, management/promotion with Unleashed Music, and booking with Prater Day Booking) in hopes of making this dream a reality.  What does this look like?  Hopefully playing some really great festivals, weekend and full week tours in support of the album, music videos (two are in the works), radio play, national/local press, and much much more!  Outside of all of this, we always make it a point to meet and build relationships with our fans and other artists and to invest in our own local music community.  It is all kicked off on March 2nd, 2013 with the Album Release Party at Musica in Akron.  It is going to be a great year! 

Artwork for the Upcoming Show at Musica March 2nd

What should fans expect from the new album? 

Eric: This new album is our most mature album to date, but I guess that goes without saying.  We really feel like we have come into our own as songwriters and music composers.  We really focused on making this album have the energy of our live shows, and for the emotion of the songs to be palpable.  Without getting too nerdy on the sound side of things, fans will notice a pretty big change in our recording.  It definitely has more grit and life than anything we have done before.  With a new guitarist (Jesse Scaggs) and violinist (Christopher Black), the record has taken on new dynamics that perhaps were quite as present before. With that being said, we are still Bethesda, and our brand of indie-folk with lyrics that have depth and meaning to them, and thoughtfully composed musical soundscapes with soaring/melodic vocals is certainly all over this album.  We really just can’t wait to share this with everyone – we are so excited about these songs and this album! 

Tell us about the process of making the new album. How was it different than albums you've made in the past?

Eric: Many things were different about this album.  First of all, the album was fully funded through fans via Kickstarter.  It was a really humbling experience seeing the generosity of our friends and fans in supporting our dream.  With that newfound confidence and resolve, we went out to Denver, CO to follow our favorite sound engineer, Tim Gerak of Mammoth Cave Records.  On prior recordings, because they were local, we would break up the recording over a series of months.   But this time, we practically locked ourselves in a studio for 14+ hour days for 7 straight days.  As a result, this records has a lot of continuity and life to it that may have been a bit absent when the experience was a secondary and spread out process.  Our two new members also brought completely new elements to the recording table with a more melodic lead guitar and strings, strings and more strings.  We tried to take full advantage of that.  Finally, we asked Tim Gerak to be our producer.  It was our 3rd record and no one knew us better than Tim. Involving him in the creative process for the project really helped us capture the sound we were looking for.  And we just brought a confidence and vision to the studio with these songs that was a bit lacking on prior recordings. We are really really happy with the results.

Shanna: “The Reunion” was the first song we wrote for this album. After that, I believe it was “Fit to Leave,” then “Go,” and so on. We started to notice that we unintentionally had written songs that followed the same theme of reuniting/uniting in some way with loved ones. For example, “Fit to Leave” was written for my brother, Stevie, who had passed away in a motorcycle accident several years ago. I had always wanted to write a song for him, but every time I tried, it never really came out how I wanted it to. Finally, on this album, we were able to come up with a song for and about him that captures my feelings on his passing. This album is made up of stories that we hope people will connect with that will bring them hope, peace, and joy. If more struggles come out of listening, that’s okay too. We just want people, including ourselves, to hear the album and let it impact them in some way.

Tell us about some of your favorite memories as Bethesda.

Shanna: This is such a hard question. There are so many moments this  year!
One of my favorite memories was from this year at SXSW. A few of us decided to go play in the streets and just have some fun. A guy from NPR Austin (WKUT) spotted us and invited us into an alley (I know…sounds creepy) to play a few songs for a live video feature. Justin made drums out of boxes he found in the dumpster conveniently located next to us, and the rest of us (me, Eric, and Chris) situated ourselves in front of the camera and performed. I had to sort of yell/sing over the traffic, but it was worth it. Then a random guy came running down the alley and offered to hold the microphone for the videographer while he filmed. Then a lady came running down the alley all at the same time to shoot some photos for a fashion column. It all happened so fast and was surreal, but it was super fun. I want to do it again!

Eric: My favorite memory has to be performing at Bonnaroo Music Festival this past summer.  We got to meet so many terrific artists (including sitting by the Beach Boys at dinner).  It was surreal!  When we were loading on to the stage from our golf cart, The Shins were finishing up their set.  I was pinching myself at that point.  When we hit the stage, we had the show of our lives.  I’ve never felt quite the same buzz after a show as I did that night.  I got to do all of that with 4 of my best friends and my wife!  You kidding?  

Shanna: During our show, the crowd was dancing and going crazy. A few people were sitting on other people’s shoulders or were in the crowd holding signs that said, “Go Shanna.” I didn’t know these people at all. They just knew my name. This made me a little giddy. 

Bethesda performing at Cellar Door Cleveland
Where can we see and hear more?

Our website,, is our home base.  If you want to RSVP to our Album Release Party on March 2nd at Musica in Akron, you can follow this link:

Thursday, January 10, 2013

John Brown House

Akron Empire welcomes guest blogger Juniper Sage who is sharing with us a tour she took of a local historical site: the abolitionist John Brown's home, located here in Akron.  Sage is a good friend of Akron Empire--she's not only the Den Mother of Dance Dance Party Party-Akron (the ladies-only dance group: but she also joined us last September for Akron Empire's Blue Line party to cheer on the runners for the Akron Marathon.  Thanks Juniper!  What an interesting connection to history Akron offers.

View of the John Brown house from South Portage Path.

John Brown House
by Juniper Sage

Because I did not spend my elementary school years in Akron – and hence was not ‘forced’ on field trips - there are many places locals take for granted that I have never seen. As an adopted daughter of the Rubber City, I am setting out to fix this, visiting our city's historical sites and encouraging others to do the same.

My first trek was to the John Brown House at the corner of Copley Rd and South Portage Path in Akron. This was the one time home of the aforementioned famous abolitionist.

An early photo of John Brown.

John Brown was fervently anti-slavery but he was also one of few that talked about violent means to the ends of abolishing slavery. He was involved in several murders and his attack on Harper's Ferry in Virginia led to a sentence of death by hanging. No matter his intentions his time spent in Ohio shows how involved our state was in the anti-slavery movement.

The name of the house is honorific as John Brown neither owned the house nor lived here for a very long time. He, his wife and somewhere between 9 and 11 children occupied the house while Brown was in a partnership with Simon Perkins, whose mansion is directly across the street.

The house you see here would have only been 2 rooms and a loft during the Browns’ occupancy; several rooms were added on after they lived here.

Items in the home are displayed by the Summit County Historical Society.

The Summit County Historical Society runs the house and uses the site to explain Northeast Ohio’s history with the Underground Railroad, Abolitionism and Brown’s own controversial life. No matter how you feel about Brown’s tactics in his fight to end slavery the house gives an interesting glimpse into the life of a man who was continually looking for a way to both feed his family and fight for his cause.

The volunteers at the house are very knowledgeable about John Brown and the history of the place but there is not a guided tour in the traditional sense. Due to the small size of the house one would only need to set aside an hour to see the home and take some time to read the collected information at the site. The house is open the fourth Thursday of the month from 4-6p.
For more information, please check out the Summit County Historical Society website:
For more info on John Brown House, click HERE for the link.

Want to share your favorite place, band, organization, or event in Northeast Ohio?  Are you interested in guest blogging for Akron Empire?  email us at AkronEmpire [at] gmail dot com.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Countryside Conservancy Hosts Food Swap at Uncorked Wine Bar in Akron

Upcoming Food Swap at Uncorked Wine Bar
by Brit Charek

Countryside Conservancy, a non-profit organization located in the Cuyahoga Valley that partners with individuals and communities to develop comprehensive solutions to protect farmland, support farmers, and grow healthy local food economies throughout Northeast Ohio, is excited to host monthly food swaps in the Akron area. A food swap is a gathering of DIY-ers; they bring homemade and homegrown items to share via silent auction style bidding. They bring homemade or homegrown items to trade with other participants. Swappers arrive and display their goods (with samples, if possible) along with a swap-sheet. The following hour is used for browsing and socializing, and for bidding silent auction style for trades. 

The first swap will be Tuesday, January 15th at 6 pm at Uncorked Wine Bar, 22 N High St., in Akron. (If you were at The Fourth Annual Crafty Mart back in November, this was the upstairs space with the entrance on High Street.) 

Uncorked Wine Bar is located at 22 N. High Street downtown Akron.
These events provide an opportunity to share your favorite creations with an appreciative audience and receive delicious goodies in return. It is also a chance to meet with a group of people who share your passion for getting in the ground or the kitchen and making something delicious out of the experience.

Countryside Food Swaps will be held on the third Tuesday of each month, starting at 6 pm. The location will vary.

Swaps last around two hours. The first half hour is time for participants to arrive and display their swap items, along with a recipe or list of ingredients, and a swap sheet. The following hour or so is for browsing, chatting, sampling and bidding. Bids, or suggested trades, are written on swap sheets. (Click here for to see a sample swap sheet, courtesy of Food Swap Network.) The last half hour is when the negotiating and swapping takes place.

Hope to see you there! I'm planning to bring chocolate zucchini cake. To register for the event, click here.

For more info and a list of FAQ, click here. You can also check out Countryside Conservatory's blog: where you can learn about Akron Area Farmer/Foodie Meetups and more. You can also follow them on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.