Monday, October 27, 2014

Akron Empire Favorites: Favorite Band or Musician

Shivering Timbers getting ready to perform at Rowdy Indie Craft Fair in August of 2011. Photo courtesy of Kalie Boshara.

Akron Empire Favorites 2014: Favorite Band or Musician
by Joanna Wilson

You voted, we listened!  We asked our readers to tell us their favorite things to do in the Empire, and you responded with amazing ideas-- some of our own old favorites, and some things new to us that we're excited to check out!

We've been rolling out the winners one category a week-- Click HERE to see the categories we've already covered.

This week, we're announcing your Favorite Band or Musician.  Drum roll, please!

The 2014 Akron Empire Favorites:
1. Shivering Timbers
2. a tie between: Get on Up and Fast Molasses 

Fast Molasses

Honorable Mentions: ShiSho, Trouble Books, Wesley Bright and the Hi-Lites, and Dan Wilson

Please click on each band's name for the link to see the review we've already written.  If you're a fan of one of the bands above we haven't yet reviewed--or any other Akron band--why not guest blog about them?  Contact us by email--and we'll help you get the ball rolling.  We love Akron bands--help us cover our vibrant music scene.

Wesley Bright and the Hi-Lites

Congratulations to all our winners--and don't forget, we encourage you to use the Akron Empire 2014 Favorites badge, if you like.

ShiSho poster for their show in Austin TX in 2 weeks!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Akron Empire Favorites: Favorite Neighborhood Bar

Akron Empire Favorites: Favorite Neighborhood Bar
by Brit Charek

We asked our readers to tell us their favorite things to do in the Empire, and you responded with amazing ideas-- some of our own old favorites, and some things new to us that we're excited to check out! We've be rolling out the winners one category a week-- Click HERE to see the categories we've already covered. 

This week, we're looking at your Favorite Neighborhood Bars!

1. The Lockview

Located in the spot that was formerly  the Lime Spider and Bilbo's Pub before that, the Lockview is a downtown restaurant that specializes in gourmet grilled cheese and one of the best craft beer selections in the area.

I wrote about the Lockview back when they hosted a Vegetarian Night. (Click HERE to see that post again.) Whether you're a carnivore or not, you're certain to find something there that will satisfy.All sandwiches are served with homemade coleslaw and goldfish crackers, but for a minimal upcharge you can enjoy fries or tots. I'd recommend going for the sweet potato fries.

2. Highland Tavern

courtesy of Highland Tavern's website
The Highland Tavern is a one of the newer establishments in the Highland Square neighborhood. They don't normally have food there, but every Thursday Sushi on a Roll offers great deals on sushi at the bar. They boast Happy Hour everyday, and Super Happy Hour on Friday-- it lasts until 9pm!

Check out their website or follow them on Facebook for more info!

3. The Cashmere Cricket

The Cashmere Cricket claims to have the biggest selection of craft beers in the Akron Empire. With 130 different bottles and 20 rotating drafts, I'd say they hold that title or are at least close!

courtesy of the Cashmere Cricket's Facebook page

In May of this year they opened their "Whiskey Bar", where connoisseurs of fine spirits can enjoy a drink in a vintage prohibition-era inspired atmosphere.

The Cashmere Cricket is located in Cuyahoga Falls. Check out their website or follow them on Facebook for more info!

Honorable Mentions: Frank's PlaceOld 97750ml

Thanks again to everyone who voted! Check back next week as we reveal more of your favorites!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

New Store Opening: Birchwood and Pine

Birchwood and Pine
by Erica Scheutzow

Akron Empire is happy to welcome back guest blogger Erica Scheutzow who wrote about The White Rabbit and the Pop Up Akron Dinner event last year. When she is not sharing her favorite things about Akron with us, she runs a small business called As I Breathe I Hope, where she handmakes quirky original plush characters made from new and recycled fabrics. Check out AIBIH on Etsy and on Facebook.

You recognize Rachel--she's one of the organizers of Zephyr Mart.
Akron native, Rachel Jernigan, has just launched her new venture, Birchwood and Pine. The store is a wonderfully eclectic vision of mod and shabby chic, tucked away on 6th Street in Canton. The launch party took place on Friday, October 3rd from 7pm-11pm. Guests were treated to drinks and hors d'oeuvres while they explored the new space. My first impression upon entering the shop was that it was so lively. Rachel put so much time and care into creating a unique environment, unlike anything I’ve seen. It’s a mix of vintage and salvaged pieces that create the foundation of the entire store. Refurbished ironing boards as shelves? Yes! Wooden ladders as a clothing rack? Yes! She even had an old school record player spinning sweet vinyl tunes. The tone and energy of the space overall, made me feel inspired and full of wonderment.

From the Grand Opening of Birchwood and Pine, Oct. 3rd

The outpour of love and support from friends, family and fellow artists was prevalent. I left with a happy heart that night knowing that my friend and fellow artist accomplished a long standing goal. I later interviewed Rachel to further my curiosity about the back story of Birchwood and Pine and what’s to come.

What’s the meaning behind “Birchwood and Pine” and how did that name come about?
Rachel: The name Birchwood and Pine comes from the fact that all my art is done on Birch and Pine. I just really like the way it sounds, like it's an intersection.

What motivated you to open your own shop and how did you settle on this location?
Rachel: My main motivation to open a store was initially to have a space where I can sell my work and, when I'm not busy, continue working on projects, without the all the distractions I find at home. The location pretty much fell in my lap after a few months of no one returning my phone calls in surrounding areas. My friend, Mary Elliot owns the salon next door, and she mentioned that the space next to hers was available. I called her that night, met the landlord the next day, and signed a lease the day after that.

LOVE these t-shirts!

A lot of the items in your shop are yours, but you also carry other vendor’s items. What’s the range in product and pricing for your customers?
Rachel: I currently have a lot of my own stuff-tee-shirts, paintings, jewelry, refurbished furnishings.
I also have amazing Jewelry by Stephanie Cole of Sassy Bat Boutique, imported Kimonos and spotless vintage clothing supplied by Mindi Burton of the Sweetest Chill, wooden toy robots by Pat Gerber of the Robot Consortium, and funky chunky knit goods by Tori Todesco of Little Birdie Design Studio. I also have pillows made by Sara Edwards and my men's vintage is supplied by Zach Hudson. Pricing ranges between $2 and $200. People looking to buy a piece of art or shop for smaller gift items should both be happy in my store.

Grand Opening party

Are you looking for more vendors? If so, do you offer wholesale, consignment or both?
Rachel: I will always be looking for vendors. My main concern is that I would prefer to be inclusive, rather than exclusive, meaning the idea of rejecting someone is not something I look forward to. I meet a lot of artists at shows and craft fairs, and for now I would prefer to invite people to sell in my space, rather than have an application process. At this moment, I have already purchased quite a few products wholesale, but I do have a few consignors

What's your vision for the future of Birchwood and Pine?
Rachel: My ultimate goal for the store is to provide other artists and makers of the unique, a venue to sell their work outright to me as the owner, instead of having to do consignment. Consignment is a great, risk free way to fill a space with inventory, but I feel like it often leaves artists feeling undervalued. If I feel confident in someone's work or product, I want them to be able to make a living producing quality work. I will eventually offer online sales as well, but for now I'm concentrating on the physical shop. I think people may be itching to go back toward going into a place and getting an overall sense of a style or mode.

To find out more about Birchwood and Pine please contact Rachel with the information provided (below.) Rachel would also like to extend an invitation to her Halloween Party at the Birchwood and Pine location on Thursday October 30th from 6pm-9pm!

Rachel Lynn Jernigan
Birchwood & Pine:
602 6th St NW, Canton, Ohio
Store Hours: Tues-Fri 11am-8pm, Sat. Noon-8pm, Sun. Noon to 5. Open until 9 on First Fridays.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Transitions at Summit Artspace Gallery

A New Exhibit: Transitions at Summit Artspace Gallery
from the press release by Rob Lehr, Gallery Director at Summit Artspace

TRANSITIONS, an exciting new exhibit at Summit Artspace Gallery, examines transformation and change from two captivating points of view. This exhibit features artwork by young contemporary artists, Allison Elia and Eli Donahue.  TRANSITIONS will have an opening reception on October 17, 2014 from 5pm-8pm.

Allison Elia describes her large figurative ceramic installations as “sculptural snapshots” that capture a single climactic moment before it naturally transitions and fades into memory.  She sculpts her figures large-scale in clay, building them solid on armatures, then cutting and hollowing them for firing. Allison received her MFA in ceramics from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth in 2013 and her BFA in painting and ceramics from the Myers School of Art at the University of Akron in 2008.

Taking an abstract approach to transformation, Eli Donahue creates delicate backlit paintings, which examine the shifts between light/dark, structural/ethereal and flatness/dimension. His inspiration began with the concept of baptism and its influence on an individual’s changing of identity. Eli looks at light as a subject, which can illuminate or manipulate how we see structure in the world around us. Eli earned a BFA in painting and drawing from the Myers School of Art at the University of Akron in 2013.

In conjunction with the TRANSITIONS exhibit, Summit Artspace is honored to host two Art Talks by professionals who facilitate change in the Akron community:

The Evolution of the Akron Art Museum
Carol Murphy, Chief of External Affairs of the Akron Art Museum, will present the history and evolution of Akron's contemporary museum. Learn about the origins of the institution and the planning required to build the John S. and James L. Knight Building in 2007. The lecture is Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 7pm and free to the public.

Coping with Change: Art as Therapy
Join Zara Geiger, a registered art therapist, to explore the world of art as therapy. Zara works with clients everyday who are coping with recovery in their lives. Learn about this fascinating profession as she explains the history of art therapy and its importance in recovery today. The lecture is Thursday, November 6, 2014 at 7pm and free to the public.

The TRANSITIONS exhibit is on display October 17 – November 15, 2014.  The show has been curated by Summit Artspace Gallery Director, Rob Lehr. Summit Artspace is located in the historic Akron Beacon building at 140 E. Market St., one block east of the Akron Art Museum.  

For more information about art happenings around Akron, visit Rob's website:

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Akron Empire Favorites: Favorite Group or Organization

Akron Empire Favorites 2014: Favorite Group or Organization
by Brit Charek

We asked our readers to tell us their favorite things to do in the Empire, and you responded with amazing ideas-- some of our own old favorites, and some things new to us that we're excited to check out!

We've been rolling out the winners one category a week-- Click HERE to see the categories we've already covered.

This week, we're announcing your Favorite Group or Organization!

Sorry, guys. DDPP (short for Dance Dance Party Party) is a girls only club. I love DDPP so much that it was one of my very first blog posts when we launched Akron Empire back in 2012! Click HERE to see that post again.

DDPP is still going strong! They meet on the first, third and fifth Fridays of each month at the Martel School of Dance in Highland Square. It's an awesome way to get a fun workout, as long as you follow the three simple rules: No booze, no boys, and no judgement.

For more information, check out their website or find them on Facebook!

2. Countryside Conservancy
The mission of Countryside Convervancy is to "to connect people, food, and land by increasing public awareness of how food and farming impact personal, community, and environmental health, and by inspiring personal commitment to building a resilient, sustainable food culture."

A few summers ago I wrote about CC's monthly Food Swap (click HERE to see that post again!), which is still going strong!

Outside of food swapping, CC does a variety of other things. They run the Farmers' Markets at Howe Meadow and Highland Square, and even a winter market indoors at Old Trail School.

They also host a serious of classes, adorably dubbed Countryside U, where you can learn about anything from how to raise backyard chickens to how to make homemade cheese and bread!

For more information, check out their website.

3. Torchbearers
Torchbearers is a collaboration of Leadership Akron, focused on strengthening the connection between area non-profit organizations and young professionals in the city. One of their many goals is to attract and retain young people in Greater Akron.

They have a variety of different programs that young people can apply for, from Big Brothers and Big Sisters to Intern placements. It's an amazing opportunity for area young professionals-- not just for the volunteer experience, but for the friendships forged along the way!

To learn more about Torchbearers, visit their website.

Honorable Mention: Akron Film & Pixel
We couldn't be more proud of our friends over at Akron Film & Pixel. This has been a big year for them!

Back in July, they opened The Nightlight, Akron's first and only indie movie theater, with help from a grant from the Knight Foundation and a successful crowd sourcing campaign on Kickstarter. Joanna wrote about the theater back when they were about to open. Click HERE to see that post again!

AF&P still holds events and screens films at the Akron Art Museum, but their new space offers an experience every Akronite should seek out! You'd probably pass up The Nightlight if you weren't intentionally looking for it-- it's a 50-seat theater tucked neatly away among the city's storefronts on North High Street, just north of Market.

Inside, you have the opportunity not just to see exclusive indie films, but also to eat locally sourced snacks (and thankfully they consider Jeni's ice cream local enough!), choose from a fine selection of beers brewed within the city limits, or indulge on a film-themed cocktail from the bar. (If you happen to be going this weekend, you absolutely must try the Tigermilk, a delicious dessert-like cocktail which is a reference to an album made by the director of God Help The Girl's band, Belle & Sebastian.)

To see what's playing, check out their website.

Stay tuned next week to see more of your #AEfaves2014!