Thursday, August 22, 2013

Modern Vintage in Hartville

Modern Vintage: Revitalized Home Decor
by Brit Charek

Photo courtesy of Modern Vintage's Facebook Page
I wasn't actually sure what I was getting into when I agreed to take an assignment to visit a couple local businesses in Hartville, Ohio. I knew I had heard about their famous flea market and wanted to check  that out, but besides that I couldn't even tell you where it was on a map.

As it turns out, it's not that far away. As a matter of fact it took me less than a half hour to get there from Akron U. My first stop was Modern Vintage, a boutique in the center of town that sells handcrafted goods which are mostly upcycled. (Right up my alley!)

Modern Vintage describes themselves as "a small group of local artists that share ideas, rent, working duties, and an appreciation for making something wanted out of the unwanted." I couldn't tell that anything at the store was previously unwanted because I wanted to buy everything. (If you don't believe me, check out some of their Facebook photos of items for sale!)

The store is basically a co-op boutique. There is work on sale from a half a dozen or so artists who all have unique styles to give the shop an eclectic variety of goods: restored and upcycled furniture, quirky decor and even handmade jewelry and other small gifts. 

In addition to having awesome goods, the decor of the store itself is worth the trip!

"The strength of our community will pave the way for the success of our individual shops," says Tara, the owner of Modern Vintage. She even started a campaign to encourage locals and visitors to visit other local businesses.f you happen to stop in, ask for the "Shop Small, Y'all" flyer to receive discounts at other Hartville area stores. 

Artist Jackie Wolven has been encouraging all the states to "Shop Small, Y'all!" Check it out by clicking here!

Modern Vintage is excited to announce that a new artist will be joining their space-- Jessica Kinsinger of Sassyfrass, "Create what you ADORE about your life to ADORN you-- Old and tired made new, beautiful, and useful!" Check out all her cool work on Sassyfrass's Facebook page!

Modern Vintage is excited to welcome Sassyfrass as a new vendor, just in time for Christmas shopping!
Modern Vintage is located at 110 S. Prospect Street in Hartville, Ohio. Check out Modern Vintage on Etsy and on Facebook and stayed tuned to Akron Empire to find out how you can win a Fall Hartville Getaway Package!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Concert Photographer Joe Kleon's Exhibit Comes to Akron

In concert: Steven Tyler (photo by Joe Kleon).

Concert Photographer Joe Kleon's Exhibit Comes to Akron
by Joanna Wilson

Artist/Photographer Joe Kleon has been capturing rock and roll acts performing in Northeast Ohio for more than a decade.  His collection of photographs A Decade of Decibels was exhibited in Cleveland during June and July to rave reviews.  Lucky for us, Kleon brings his exhibit--with many new photos added--to Akron to be exhibited at Art Latte in the Valley starting this month.  A Decade of Decibels V2.0 will be available for viewing through the end of October.

Kid Rock (photo by Joe Kleon)

Kleon’s work grew out of his involvement in music. He was a radio announcer for 25 years, with top-rated stints on WNCX and WRQK, and worked as sound-effects tech for area Pink Floyd tribute band Wish You Were Here. He started shooting for photos for Wish You Were Here and quickly recognized his true passion and gift.  In the last ten years, Kleon has photographed nearly 100 shows and events a year. Slide shows of his concert shoots appear regularly at Scene’s website, featuring such artists as Rush, Bruce Springsteen, Alice Cooper, Fleetwood Mac, Britney Spears, the Dave Matthews Band, Madonna, Barry Manilow, Toby Keith, Rod Stewart, Stevie Nicks, Kiss, Aerosmith and Taylor Swift. They are among the approximate one hundred photos that will be part of A Decade of Decibels V2.0.
Justin Bieber (photo by Joe Kleon)

Joe was kind enough to answer a few questions for me.  I asked him about his concert photography and his favorite performers to photograph. "I love photographing iconic bands. Some of my favorites that I have shot are Paul Simon, Rush, Madonna, Chuck Berry, Aerosmith, and Yes.  My two favorite bands to photograph are Michael Stanley & The Resonators and Wish You Were Here. I have been working with both bands for more than 10 years. The inner circle of both bands is like the best family ever. Both bands helped me get established over 10 years ago and I am proud to still be working with them today. My all time favorite show that I have photographed is Rush. They have been my favorite band since I was about 8 years old. To be able to shoot them last year was a dream come true."  I also asked Joe if there a band/performer he hasn't photographed yet that he looks forward to photographing.  "I would love to shoot The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Robert Plant, and Black Sabbath." 

Geddy Lee of Rush (photo by Joe Kleon)

How do you get access to take these photos?  Kleon responded, "Access can come from a number of areas. I obtain access either through Scene Magazine, the band's publicist, record label, or management, or sometimes even the bands themselves. It all depends on who I can con out of photo credentials!!"

John Mayer (photo by Joe Kleon)

After 2 months in Cleveland, what brings your photo exhibit to the Akron area?  Kleon remarked, "After a successful 2-month run in Cleveland, I decided to take the exhibit on the road, as there was much interest outside of Cleveland. I was asked to bring the exhibit to Art Latte in Akron and was very impressed by the place and want to support new business in the Akron area. Growing up in Cuyahoga Falls and living in Akron until my mid-20s, I am excited to display my work in my childhood stomping grounds!"
Alice Cooper (photo by Joe Kleon)

Come, meet the photographer, and check out the concert photos exhibit.  The opening reception for A Decade of Decibels V2.0 is Friday August 23, starting at 6pm at Art Latte.  This reception will also feature entertainment by Jim & Eroc, the Classic Rock Duo performing two acoustic sets between 6-9pm.  Jim & Eroc are founding members of Wish You Were Here and Eroc has been bass player for Michael Stanley & The Resonators for 20 years. Both artists are prominently featured in the exhibit.
For more details about the opening reception, check out the facebook event.

Art Latte is located at 1662 Merriman Rd. Akron, OH 44313
A Decade of Decibels V2.0 opens Friday Aug. 23rd and runs until the end of October
Opening Reception, Friday Aug. 23rd facebook event
Check out the video promo for the opening reception:

To view thousands of more photos, check out:

Friday, August 16, 2013

The West Point Market 2013 Amateur Hamburger Grilling Invitational

The West Point Market 2013 Amateur Hamburger Grilling Invitational
by Brit Charek

This Saturday is West Point Market's First Amateur Hamburger Grilling Invitational. Don't be thrown off by the word "amateur"-- the competition is fierce and the food will be delicious.

Three competitors will be grilling on a charcoal grill in the parking lot. Then the burgers will be moved inside, assembled, cut in fourths and served to shoppers who will vote for their favorite to decide the winner. Burgers will be served at 1pm to shoppers free of charge until supplies are exhausted!

This is the first burger competition West Point Market has hosted, but a few of the same competitors competed in the Final Cut Steak-Off at the Taste of Akron, which was also hosted by West Point.

Among the competitors is Allan Charek (my dad!) who placed 1st place in the last Steak-Off in 2011. He has also placed 3rd and 2nd place in years past, respectively and won 1st place in the store's annual Chowder Contest twice.

Allan and his friend/assistant Glen practicing their burger recipe for the contest

Allan will be serving up an Asian style burger with caramelized onion and shiitake mushroom sauce and the other competitors will certainly provide something equally delicious. Come out to West Point Market tomorrow, Saturday August 17th at 1pm to try them all and cast your vote!

West Point Market is located at 1711 West Market Street in West Akron.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Snap! Warhol at the Massillon Museum

Snap! Warhol: In the Photobooth with Andy Warhol & Friends at the Massillon Museum
A review by Joanna Wilson

If you haven't already heard, there is a small yet provocative exhibit at the Massillon Museum right now.  In the farthest reaches of the sprawling Empire, the Massillon Museum is currently hosting an exhibit of images of and by pop artist Andy Warhol.

The photobooth photos at the Massillon Museum exhibit contain images of Warhol, his friends such as glamor girl Edie Sedgwick, and many more of Warhol's inner circle.

The exhibit consists of a collection of photobooth images, Polaroids, and then by extension screenprinted paintings made from photographs.  Today's obsession with images (how many selfies have you have posted on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram?) is a natural time to reflect on Warhol's own fascination with portraiture, celebrity, and photo manipulation.  And, this incredible exhibit is in our own backyard--to the south located in downtown Massillon!

Warhol also made colorful screenprints taken from photographs.  The Massillon Museum has one of the spectacular Elizabeth Taylor prints as well as a print of Mick Jagger on display.

Warhol was interested in photobooth images and Polaroids because the technology was inexpensive--and accessible to everyone.  A photobooth (and a Polaroid camera) would dispense its photos immediately--you didn't have to take exposed film to a camera shop or a drug store to have it developed.  And, a photobooth was a private place--as long as you closed the curtain--and you easily and comfortably step outside expectation of traditional portraiture by making funny faces, sporting sunglasses, or even donning a disguise!  Nearly everyone today takes for granted the ease of use of digital photography, its ready access, and the speed and convenience of image manipulation.  However, Warhol engaged in this conversation fifty years ago--and his words still speak loudly.

While you're at the Massillon Museum, be sure to step inside their photobooth and get your photo taken.  This photobooth still uses the old chemical processing method to produce its photos--and the results are quite different than digital photobooth images.  Check it out!

Snap! Warhol: In the Photobooth with Andy Warhol & Friends exhibit continues now through October 13, 2013.  Don't forget to make your own photos in the photobooth located in the lobby area.  And, as always the Massillon Museum is free and open to the public.

If you are looking for a special event, consider attending Friday August 23rd at 6:30pm.  The Massillon Museum will host a gallery talk with curator Nicholas Chambers from The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.  That event is also free.

The Massillon Museum is located at 121 Lincoln Way E., Massillon OH 44646
They are open Tues-Sat: 9:30a-5p, Sundays 2p-5p.
Massillon Museum website
Massillon Museum on Facebook

Friday, August 9, 2013

Pav's Creamery Hosts an Ice Cream Eating Contest to Support March of Dimes

Pav's Creamery Hosts an Ice Cream Eating Contest to Support March of Dimes
by Brit Charek

Pav’s Creamery, a Portage Lakes institution that has been serving up homemade custard and ice cream for over 43 years, is hosting its first Ice Cream Eating Competition to help benefit the March of Dimes on August 10th at Nicoletti's Park Place between 1:00pm and 4:00pm.

This event will challenge contestants in three separate age groups; 8 to 12 years of age, 12 to 18 years of age and 18 and above as they strive to eat as many 4oz containers of Pav’s Ice Cream within a 5-
minute time frame.

The winner of each contest will win Free Ice Cream for a year at Pav’s Creamery!

“We’ve been talking about hosting an event such as this for a while and are excited to see it finally take shape.” says Michelle Micochero, owner of Pav’s Creamery. “This is our third consecutive year working with the March of Dimes and support their great charitable work as well as this exciting new and exciting dining venue within the Portage Lakes (Nicoletti’s Park Place).” she added.

Tickets for the event ($5.00 per ticket) can be purchased at Pav’s Creamery. Ticket holders will receive entry into the event as well as access to appetizers provided by Nicoletti’s Park Place and a Sundae Bar provided by Pav’s Creamery.

Pave's Creamery is located at 3769 Manchester Rd. in Akron

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Artists of Rubber City - The BOX Gallery

Akron Empire would like to welcome guest blogger Roza Haidet.  She's no stranger to the blog--last fall, I wrote about Roza's tumbler Akron Cats Unite! and she is also a a member of DDPP-Akron, the all-women's dance event that has been the subject of several Empire posts.

Artists of Rubber City - The BOX Gallery
by Roza Haidet

Here in Akron, Ohio, we are lucky to be a part of a community that likes to support local; whether it be local food, local businesses, or local arts, Akronites can’t seem to get enough.  Though artists receive great support through events like Crafty Mart, Art in the Square, and the Highland Square Porch Rokr Festival, fine artists need places to exhibit their work year round, as well as community support and peer interactions.  In Akron, part of this need is fulfilled by the nonprofit organization and artist group called the Artists of Rubber City (AoRC).

Next Art Walk is Saturday, Sept. 7th

Founded in 1978 by a group of University of Akron art students, Artists of Rubber City filled a void for these students.  They were looking for a place to display their work and a way to stay connected, thus AoRC was formed.  The mission of this nonprofit organization is to advocate for local artists and local art.  Members of AoRC consist of student and professional artists some of which have gone on to become university professors and museum professionals among other art-related professions.

Click on image to enlarge

AoRC members consist of painters, photographers, printmakers, fiber artists, potters, media artists, graphic artists, sculptors, and jewelers.  You can even become a member if you’re not an artist!  This is a way for non-artists to show their support for local visual arts.  Annual membership fees start at just $30 ($20 for students) and include a variety of benefits.

Windows 1 by Thomas Reiderman

Since 2009, AoRC has been based on the third floor of Summit Artspace at 140 E. Market Street in Akron, Ohio.  This space includes artist studios and the BOX gallery which hosts ongoing exhibitions of work from local artists, including group, juried, and solo exhibitions.  The BOX gallery is open to the public Friday and Saturdays from noon to 5pm and have extended hours during special events, such as art openings.  The artists often have open studios during the monthly Akron Art Walks that take place on the first Saturday of each month.  During these open studio times, the public gets the chance to talk to artists about their work and get a behind-the-scenes look at what they do. 

Headlands Beach State Park by Stephen Paternite
The next exhibition at the BOX gallery will feature two local photographers; Digital Infrared Photography by Stephen Paternite and Digital Composites by Thomas Reiderman.  Both artists will be highlighting their unique photography skills and methods and will have work for sale at a special price.

Conch Circle by Thomas Reiderman

For more information on these honed skills, you can speak to the artists themselves at the show opening or at next month’s Art Walk!  The show opening is this Friday, August 9th from 5-8pm.  Refreshments and good company will be provided.  Next month’s Art Walk will take place on September 7th from 5-9:30 pm.  

Catawba Island, Ottawa County, Ohio by Stephen Paternite

To keep up with current exhibitions and news, follow Artists of Rubber City on Facebook
or visit the Artists of Rubber City website

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Recap of Akron Life Magazine's Best of City 2013 Showcase

Joanna & Brit from Akron Empire

Recap of Akron Life Magazine's Best of City 2013 Showcase at Summit Mall (August 3, 2013)
by Joanna Wilson

Last Saturday was a whirwind of attention and encouragement as we accepted our awards in the Best of City 2013 Showcase hosted by Akron Life Magazine.  Remember our original announcement about this event?  Not only did we get to step up on a stage in the center of Akron's Summit Mall to accept our awards but we manned a booth filled with fliers sharing some of the best groups, organizations, businesses, and restaurants that Akron Empire has written about in the past year. 

Another winner on Saturday was our friends from Givits Thrift and Recycle in Hudson.

Many, many thanks to all the people who not only voted for us but all the wonderful people who help to make Akron Empire worth reading.  We owe our thanks to the many guest bloggers as well as the awesome Akron community who continue to inspire us to share what we love about living here.

Lauren Ward of NOTO Boutique was another big winner on Saturday.

We were also honored to be at Summit Mall surrounded by so many other winners of the Best of City 2013, many of whom we've included on our blog in our first year.  Being among friends made the day a very pleasurable one.  Brit and I are inspired and encouraged to continue sharing what we love in the Empire in the coming year.  And, if you'd like to guest blog, we'd love to include you.  Please read and follow the instructions

Another winner at the showcase was the Saffron Patch restaurant.  They had free delicious food at their booth!

Directly behind our booth were the good people from the Akron Aeros.  Remember when Brit shared her experiences about attending a baseball game last summer?

Martell School of Dance was another winner at Saturday's showcase.  This studio is the location of DDPP-Akron, a favorite group we've shared about several times.

Brit also had booth space promoting Crafty Mart--another winner in Saturday's showcase.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Peninsula Local Food Fest

Local Food Fest- A Homegrown Gathering in Peninsula, Ohio
by Brit Charek

I've always been fond of Peninsula. My grandparents lived their growing up, so I'm lucky enough to have spent countless hours of my childhood biking the towpath, hiking to Brandywine falls, finding my way through Szalay's corn maze, and skiing and snowboarding at Boston Mills/Brandywine. I think it's a gem that some Akronites tragically overlook. Between their quaint downtown and all that the Cuyahoga Valley National Park has to offer, it's worth making a stop.

Add in locally grown food, making this Sunday is the perfect opportunity to check it out! The Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, Countryside Conservancy and The Peninsula Foundation  are devoting an entire day to the celebration of local food and farming in Cuyahoga Valley.

Shop local food and market vendors on the green at Bronson Church from 11am-4pm, and be sure to stroll the streets of Peninsula and all the fabulous artisan and merchant shops along the way.

Learn and explore the history and heritage of farming at Heritage Farm's History Day from 9am-5pm.
Tour five of the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Initiative Farms at 11am, 12pm and 1pm and discover where your food comes from.

At the end of the day, you'll have the opportunity to taste the best our local farms have to offer at our Home Grown Evening at the GAR Hall. Festivities begin at 4PM with a local wine and Craft beer tasting paired with cheeses from local creameries. CVNP Ranger Rebbecca Jones Macko will unfold the stories of farming in the valley centuries ago. And finally, chef Ben Bebenroth of Spice Kitchen & Bar prepares a delectable local dish and discusses the importance of local food. A delicious evening too good to pass up. For tickets to the GAR event please call 330-657-2528 or visit

To learn more about all these events and the 2013 Local Food Fest please go to