Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Real/Surreal at the Akron Art Museum

Real/Surreal Exhibit at the Akron Art Museum
by Joanna Wilson

Jared French's State Park (1946) is a traditional composition of those at the beach.  However, the stiff and confrontational figures create a feeling of awkwardness and isolation.  Not exactly a fun vacation day at the beach!

There is a brand new exhibit at the Akron Art Museum entitled Real/Surreal that opened last week.  This provocative show includes more than 60 paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs that question our expectations, assumptions and understanding of Realism and Surrealism.  This show asks viewers to consider: is it possible to merge what many consider two distinctly separate approaches to art?  and what would that look like?

Astor Place (1932) by Francis Criss.  I love this one!  A somewhat realistic city street--with a distorted perspective, and long shadows that cover the lonely, empty streets--except for two nuns. 

This thoughtful exhibit was organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art to consider a collection of art from several twentieth century artists who were influenced by the political movements, tumultuous events, and new philosophies during World War I to the 1950s.  These artists began expressing themselves about the new ideas of Sigmund Freud, the rise of Fascism, the Depression and life in the Dust Bowl, the horrors of Nazi Germany, and the atomic bombings of Japan, by adding surrealistic elements to influence traditional realist art--with surprising effect.

Anatomical Painting (1946) by Pavel Tchelitchew.  Wrap you head around this one--a portrait of one's literal interior life.

Many of these art pieces in the new exhibit remind viewers of the blurry lines between reality and the fantastic, between the rational and non-rational.  I just loved this show.  You don't have to over-intellectualize the show.  There's a lot here for the whole family to enjoyThe exhibit is interesting on many different levels and is appealing to the curious, the casual, and the educated viewer.

The Subway (1950) by George Tooker.  Is this painting more realist or surrealist?  Where would you place it along a continuum between the two approaches to art?

There are also two fun interactive opportunities in the gallery.  There's a magnetized board with some of the outstanding art pieces from this show on cards--where you are asked to place each art piece somewhere along a continuum between Realism and Surrealism.  Not an easy task!  You can also participate in an interactive doodling activity called Mind Games. It features a technique made popular by the Surrealists, wherein one draws on top of geometric figures to reveal aspects of your personality! It's a fun eye-opener.

No Passing (1954) by Kay Sage. 

Real/Surreal runs now through November 3rd, 2013.  I encourage you to not only check out the exhibit but to partake in the many supplementary activities organized by the Museum to enhance the exhibit.  Thursday nights at the Museum offer the Downtown@Dusk Summer Concert series--still running now through Aug. 15th starting at 6:30pm.  Those same Thursday nights also offer the ArtTalks@Dusk now through Aug. 15th, at 7:30pm inside the Museum in the auditorium.  And there's more.  Check the Museum website for a full schedule of exhibition-related events.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Late Night Happy Hour at Dante Boccuzzi Akron

Dante Boccuzzi Akron
by Brit Charek

DBA is located on the north side right by Luigi's

Dante Boccuzzi's newest restaurant has settled in nicely in Akron's Northside. Filling the void left when Vegeteranian closed down, Dante Boccuzzi Akron (DBA) maintains a sophisticated atmosphere while keeping their menu fun and unique. The restaurant defines their fairer as "Modern American Cuisine in a Modern Setting." 

Salmon toban yaki came out sizzling
Spicy crunchy tuna roll

My favorite part about modern American cuisine is the wonderful institution known as Happy Hour. In addition to DBA's standard Happy Hour from 4:30-6:30 during the week where you can grab $2 beers and a variety of upscale appetizers like sushi and toban yaki for under $5, they also offer a "Late Night Noodle Menu" from 9:30-11 during the week and 10:30-1:00 am on the weekends. You pick your noodle, broth and meat which they cook up with traditional Japanese veggies, tofu and a poached egg. 

Both outdoor and indoor bar have great seating for summer happy hour

Chef Dante also owns and operates Dante in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood, which splits its space with Ginko, a modern Japanese sushi bar, as well as The DC Noodle Company in Strongsville, a collaboration with Carmela del Busso, which serves casual Italian. The Akron Empire is happy to welcome DBA and hope it stays a long time.

Dante Boccuzzi Akron
21 Furnace Street, Akron, Ohio

Monday, July 22, 2013

Color Me Rad 5k on Aug. 17th

Color Me Rad 5k in Akron, on Sat. August 17th, 2013
by Joanna Wilson

This summer is going by quickly, isn't it?  Have you been able to get outdoors and enjoy it?  Before the summer ends, those of us in the Empire have an exciting opportunity to get outside and enjoy themselves--at the Color Me Rad 5k being held at Derby Downs on the east side.

Not a seasoned runner?  Don't sweat it.  This family-friendly event isn't a race, as much as a fun opportunity to exercise and frolic while getting covered head to toe in brilliant color!  The 5k course (that's 3.1 miles to those that don't do metric lengths) isn't even timed--there are no clocks!  So walk, run, or  run/walk the course to your heart's delight.  Of course, runners are welcome too--but you'll need your own stopwatch if you need to know your finish time ;)

You have four full weeks to prepare for the rainbow-inducing event of the season!  If you aren't yet familiar, Color Me Rad sends crowds of people through a 5k course where you are doused with non-toxic color (it's corn starch--and completely safe) through several sections of the intense journey.  At the finish line, you'll be met by more crowds where you'll throw your own color packets (you get one in your race packet when you register) at the other finishers in an explosion of multicolored clouds.

Did you know:
~~ Wear a white t-shirt--you'll want to see all the color you're covered in!  That's the whole point.

~~ Children 7 and under participate for FREE with a paid adult--make sure to sign a waiver for their participation.  However, they won't receive their own race packet.

~~ Wear sunglasses.  It's August, people!  However, sunglasses or even goggles will help to keep your eyes powder-free.

~~BRING A CAMERA!  If you run or walk with it (or your phone), put it in a ziploc baggie to keep it clean.

~~ This is an awesome experience for newbies--as well as runners looking to put some FUN back into their 5ks.  Boost your self-esteem by completing a 3 mile+ journey that's more fun than you ever imagined.

~~ You can register either as an individual or as a TEAM.  So grab your friends and your family and join the fun.

~~ You'll have even more fun if you wear a costume!  Trust me--there will be MANY people in costumes.

~~ The event will be held rain or shine.

~~ I suggest bringing a towel to wipe yourself off before getting in your car after the event.  Some of these lessons I've learned the hard way!

Akron Empire's Brit and Joanna are both participating in Akron's Color Me Rad 5k--we hope you'll join us to experience the most colorful summer of your life!

We've even been given a discount for participants who haven't yet registered:  the first FIVE people to use the discount code "empire" will receive 20% off.   REGISTER NOW on their website!  and begin preparing for August 17th.  Look for us at Derby Downs.

Color Me Rad 5k website
Color Me Rad 5k on facebook
Color Me Rad 5k AKRON facebook event wall

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Stray Dog Cart

Stray Dog Cart
by Brit Charek

According to Stray Dog Cart's Facebook page, they "roll around Akron, making people happy, and making Akron more Akrony." I'd have to say they do a great job at it. You can spot the brightly colored carts and experience the happiness yourself all over downtown Akron, at different area events and every Thursday night at Thirsty Dog Brewing Company.

They always have a wide range of interesting options available on the cart: from fried pear sandwiches to pizzas, and of course a good old basic hot dog with the option to garnish with homemade mustard and/or hot sauce. You can purchase the sauces online or even a Stray Dog T-Shirt at their online store. I'd recommend the mustard-- it's tangy with a hint of sweetness. They also carry vegetarian dogs so as not to leave anyone out!

Stray Dog Cart was at our One Year Anniversary Party back in April!

"Stray Dog Carts started as a hobby, sort of an advertising arm of a former business that I ran," says owner Charly Murphy. "It became popular quickly, and I decided to keep it going as it's own thing. This is summer number 5, and I just brought back from Columbus cart #5 this past Monday!" 

Hopefully Stray Dog Cart will be around for many more summers! You can find out where the carts are at each day by following them on Facebook. This weekend they will be the Peninsula Python Fest serving up python-shaped hot dogs, naturally.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Shop Vintage event, Friday July 19th at NOTO

Akron Empire would like to welcome guest blogger Dina from Dina's Days to share an exciting event.  Dina has previously shared with Akron Empire her favorite thrift store in the Akron area and about local musician, guitarist Dan Wilson. Now she would like to invite you to a vintage clothing sale at NOTO in downtown Akron.  Thanks Dina!

Out with the new and in with the old at the Dina's Days and NOTO vintage event on Friday, July 19th from 10-5:30!

Shop affordable, hand-picked vintage clothing and accessories from the 1940s-1990s. Not sure how to introduce vintage and retro clothing into your wardrobe? We're available to help you style your 'new' vintage look while you enjoy refreshments and sweets.

Vintage 1960s dresses will be among the many fashions for sale.

Shop this entire look at the event.

We hope you will join us as we update our closets with the styles of past.  Visit the NOTO Facebook page for a small preview of what will be available for sale!

This lime green and yellow dress with an attached scarf screams summer! 

For more details: Shop Vintage! facebook event link
NOTO boutique in downtown Akron on facebook
Dina's Days website
Dina's Days on facebook

 NOTO is at 76 S. Main Street, in downtown Akron.
Shop Vintage! 10am-5:30pm on Friday July 19th.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Local Photographer Aimee Lambes Hits the Road For Mobile Portrait Sessions

Akron Empire would like to welcome guest blogger Aimee Lambes. Aimee is a good friend and has been a great supporter of Akron Empire. She owns a photography business and loves roadtrips, so naturally she's spending this summer driving cross country and has scheduled portrait sessions along the way, while taking the opportunity to capture a variety of landscapes as well. Check out her website to view a sample her work, or you can follow her on Facebook. Thanks, Aimee, for sharing your adventure!

Indian Springs, GA

8251 Miles
by Aimee Lambes

One of my earliest memories is sitting under the piano bench: coloring on blank music paper while my mother played. I was lucky enough to grow up in a creative family; in addition to music, my mother also creates assemblages with ephemera and inks. I have a sister who is a very talented painter as well as jewelry maker and collage artist. My four brothers are a writer, a musician, a photographer and a furniture maker.

I have had the good fortune to travel all over the US in pursuit of my work. From an early age I had a hard time staying still, and traditional education chafed. I left school at 16 and moved 1000 miles from where I grew up. I wanted to teach myself by doing, and though it has been in a roundabout way, I believe I have found my path. I think it is easy to see beauty in a sunset or canyon. My mission is to find beauty in the human footprint.

Aimee is travelling over 8,000 miles this summer taking photos!

I have a friend in Georgia that lives 4 miles from where he was born and raised. His apartment is 6 miles from the office, and his travels are limited to to the adjacent states. Those trips have all been for work.

He thinks I'm crazy.

I am at the beginning of 8,521 miles and as I travel further from home everything changes. The landscape, the people, weather, driving habits. Atlanta drivers are aggressive, Charlotte's are fast, New Orleans' like to change lanes a lot. I have often wondered if the terrain dictates the driver, but there is not really anything to indicate that. Nor do I have the time and patience to find out.

The landscape changes so gradually that I don't notice much until several days have gone by. The people change quickly, though. Regional colloquialisms are fascinating. If I had more patience I could see myself studying the differences in speech and their origins, but I cannot sit in a classroom very long. Unless it is a classroom with a steering wheel...

The thing that changes the most is me, though. I can breathe. Not that I couldn't before, but suddenly I am not caretaker, wife, business owner, mom. I am an adventurer. It is just me and the car and the camera. For five weeks, anything is possible.

I am not crazy.

Abandoned Belks - Great Falls, SC

Crumbling Church - Lake Washington, MS

Monday, July 8, 2013

Flip Side Burgers in Hudson

Akron Empire would like to welcome guest blogger Stacey Lim. Stacey is a friend from a local needlecraft group, Stitch & Bitch (SnB). Stacey grew up in a small business in the Akron/Kent area--Vale Edge Hallmark.  She also wrote a restaurant review for The Rail for us.  Many thanks to Stacey for sharing this post about one of her favorite Akron Empire places.

Flip Side: Burgers and Beer in Hudson
by Stacey Lim
Eat or we both starve.

These are the words that greet you when you enter the FlipSide in downtown Hudson.  On a weekend it’s good to take a break from shopping, and this burger joint is a good place as any to prevent starvation. Be forewarned—if you come when everyone decides to eat lunch, you may have to wait a bit, but it’s worth the wait.

The décor of this place is certainly eclectic—the best way I can describe the look is distressed—the wood on the walls have an aged look. This look adds to the casual environment of the restaurant.  Seating options include tables and bar seating. I usually take whichever one is available, and this time, we were seated at a table. With our seats, we were able to get a good look at the décor, which you can see in this blog post. Take note of the motorcycle on the wall, the books, and don’t forget to look above the door on your way out.

Our server handed us some menus (the covers were made of distressed wood) listing a variety of burger options. The burgers here are grass-fed, Ohio-grown beef.  I chose the Green Eggs and Ham burger and my lunch companion ordered the Smokey Burger and a strawberry milkshake. We also ordered the triple cooked fries, because you can’t have burgers without fries. (Not to mention that french fries are a serious weakness of mine.)

After a while, our burgers arrived. My burger first: Green Eggs and Ham—this is the grown-up version of what Sam-I-Am would eat or try to convince someone else to eat. The grass-fed beef sits on a brioche roll, and is topped with some of my favorite things: spinach (of course), a sunny-side up egg, prosciutto and a parmesan crisp. On the side, there was a little tin cup of basil mayonnaise, which I slathered on the bun. With the fried egg on top, I knew it was going to be a messy affair, so this was a knife-and-fork burger. All the ingredients work together perfectly, and I especially like the crunch and saltiness of the parmesan crisp with the burger.

I also took a bite of the Smokey Burger, which is covered with smoked beef brisket, pickled jalapeno peppers, smoked gouda, and a sweet bacon barbecue sauce. It was delicious, but Adam, after trying the Green Eggs and Ham burger, said “My burger is good, but I’m ordering yours next time.” 

Like I said before, french fries are also one of my favorite things to eat.  The fries at Flip Side are seasoned with salt as well as other spices, including garlic (which I love). If you let me, I would eat the whole plate of French fries, but I played nice and shared my fries with Adam. He played nice and let me try some of his strawberry milkshake. The strawberry milkshake is made with fresh strawberries and is topped with crumbled shortbread.

If you’re not the strawberry milkshake sort of person, there are also other milkshakes available, like one made with brownies or an apple pie shake. For more grown-up beverages, you can also peruse the craft beers or mixed drinks that are available. If you have room after eating a burger, fries, and a milkshake (which I never do), there are a few dessert options, like a deep fried apple pie or a powder sugar covered Belgian Waffle.

Check out the Flip Side. Bring your friends and enjoy your meal. I know Adam and I will go back and enjoy some more Green Eggs and Ham burgers.

Flip Side is located at 49 Village way, Hudson OH 44236
Flip Side website

Monday, July 1, 2013

WINNER! in Best of City 2013 in Akron Life Magazine

Brit Charek and Joanna Wilson are proud to announce that Akron Empire was voted the winner in Akron Life Magazine's Best of the City 2013 contest for Best Blog/Podcast.  Please check out the July issue of Akron Life to see the little feature on us (page 52) and to discover the other Best of City winners in the other categories.  Many thanks to all who voted in the contest!

July issue--NOW on sale!

Adding icing on top of this cake, Akron Empire also tied for 3rd place in another category-- Best Tweeter.  Do you follow us on Twitter? @AkronEmpire

Next Crafty Mart is Saturday Nov. 30th, 2013 at Musica.

Brit is happy to see her event Crafty Mart won 3rd place in the category of Best Place to Buy Akron-centric Products.  Feel free to check out the Crafty Mart website.  Congratulations Brit!

Wilson is the author of the 800 page encyclopedia about Christmas entertainment.

And, Joanna won 3rd place in the category Best Author.  Check out book author Joanna Wilson's professional profile.  Congrats to Joanna!

Yes, Brit and Joanna have their hands in quite a few projects.  An exciting benefit to winning this honor is that Brit and Joanna will be at the Akron Life Magazine Best of City 2013 Expo at Summit Mall on Saturday, August 3, 2013.  Not only can you meet Brit and Joanna--but you can check out their booth to learn more about Akron Empire, Crafty Mart, and the books of Joanna Wilson.

Not only are we honored to be voted as one of Akron's favorites but we know that Akron Empire has won merely because we write about the best people.  If you, your business, band, restaurant, organization, event, or attraction have been the subject of an Akron Empire post in the past year, you are welcome to contact us because we'd love to include your business cards or promotional items at our booth at the expo.  Email us at AkronEmpire [at] gmail [dot] com.  Thanks for voting for us!