Monday, March 30, 2015

For the Love of Fashion Event at blue

blue is located at 118 E. Main St. in downtown Kent, OH.

For the Love of Fashion event at blue
by Joanna Wilson

Have you been waiting for an excuse to check out the new Goodwill Boutique named blue in downtown Kent? When it opened a few months ago, I dropped by at the first opportunity. I get my hair cut around the corner at Skullz Salon so I'm in downtown Kent regularly.  Just what is a Goodwill Boutique--you may ask?  It's a specially curated boutique with upscale clothing, jewelry, shoes, and accessories selected from Goodwill donations. This store takes thrifting to the next level!

This is not a typical Goodwill--it feels like a boutique just as the name implies.

The upscale boutique is located in the former Ohio Music Shop--and the walls are still decorated with rock murals!

I first learned about blue from reading Dina's Days, the blog written by Dina, Akron's own thrifting expert. You may remember that Akron Empire asked Dina to share with us the best local thrift shop.  That was three years ago--I wonder if she'd change her answer if asked that same question today?  She may because Dina now has her own pop-up space inside blue filled with items for sale that she has specially selected.  This pop-up space is called Spice--a must-see when you're at blue.

Against the wall inside blue, you'll always find Spice.

Spice is Dina's pop-up space featuring her own collection.

Back to the excuse you've been waiting for to visit blue.  Saturday April 11, from 2pm-4pm blue is celebrating their grand opening with For the Love of Fashion event.  There will be a live model fashion show, a style challenge contest, a style demo on creating your own unique style, and refreshments.

According to the Dina's Days announcement of the For the Love of Fashion event, the fashion show will feature local bloggers and Goodwill frequent shoppers including:
Lauren Ward:
Lisa Davala & Collyn Floyd :
Rachel Breece:
Abby Rode Drennen:
Danie Minor:

And, Dina will have Spice stocked with her Spring collection for the more discriminating shoppers.  This event looks to be the fashion happening not to be missed!

blue in downtown Kent

Once more: Goodwill Boutique blue is located at 118 E. Main St., Kent OH 44240
For the Love of Fashion event is Sat. April 11, 2-4pm

Dina's pop-up space Spice is inside blue--their hours are:
Mon-Thur: 10am-8pm
Fri-Sat: 10am-9pm
and Sundays: 12pm-5pm

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Tru Barre Studio in Merriman Valley

Tru Barre Studio in Merriman Valley
by Brit Charek

I hate working out. There, I said it. I hate everything about it. I hate dreading going to the gym. I hate being at the gym. I hate putting on my gym clothes and comparing the way I look in my gym clothes to other people at the gym. I hate all the stupid inspirational sayings that come along with fitness culture. I even hate my bad attitude.

But I love having more energy. And sleeping better. And having better posture. And feeling stronger. And looking good in my skinny jeans. And even sweating-- sometimes it just feels great to sweat.

Basically, I love all the benefits of working out, but I don't want to put the work in, which makes the idea of a quick, painful, effective workout surprisingly appealing to me. Enter Tru Barre Studio.

Tru Barre Studio is located in Parkwood Plaza in Merriman Valley

I've been going to the gym out by my work twice a week since the beginning of the school year (Shoutout to my carpool buddy Jillian and Levels Gym in Plymouth, Ohio!) but after a significant relapse over Christmas break, I started looking for something additional to kickstart my progress. After some searching around, I purchased a series of 10 Barre classes at Tru Barre Studio in Merriman Valley.

I have a bit of a sorted history with Barre. It started when I took a ballet class as my Phys Ed credit in college thinking it would be "easy" and came close to significantly compromising my GPA. Later on, I found myself working the check-in desk and folding towls at the Bar Method Studio in San Francisco in exchange for free classes, which I wouldn't have been able to afford in addition to Bay Area rent on my waitressing salary.

What got me so addicted to Barre? The combination of intense strength training and immediate stretching actually changed the way my body looked. Over time, I sculpted long, lean muscles like a dancer.

A decade later, I want that body back and Sue Costigan is going to help me get it.

Sue Costigan (center) and her staff of instructors

"I fell in love with the technique and the effectiveness of the exercises," says Costigan, founder of Tru Barre Studio, who discovered barre while recovering from shoulder surgery. "I felt my body changing from the first few classes. I knew this was an amazing workout and I wanted to share it with my clients."

After earning a certification in Barre from Barre Company, adding to her long list of accolades and accomplishments in the fitness field, Costigan eventually opened Tru Barre in June of last year.

"I was ready for a change," she explains. "I had always toyed with the idea of going out on my own, but never felt I had the right product. Barre differentiates me from all the other fitness facilities in the area."

Tru Barre also houses a boutique, with stylish and functional fitness and casual attire-- which will hopefully help me with some of my gripes about not feeling confident in my own gym gear. "All our clothing lines come from Los Angeles," says Costigan, who hopes to expand Tru Boutique in the near future. "You wont find our clothing anywhere else in the area."

Almost a year later, Costigan is nothing but enthusiastic about taking the leap from employee to entrepreneur. "My favorite part about what I do is that I am helping people. Assisting them to create a change for the better in their lives. Watching clients become healthier, happier and stronger everyday."

Three weeks into my own Barre classes, I'm still struggling and shaking through the intense workouts, but I do find myself feeling healthier, happier, and stronger, which is a tall order considering my bad attitude. Now I just need to keep it up!

Tru Barre Studio is located at 1474 N. Portage Path in Merriman Valley. You can learn more and sign up for classes at

Monday, March 23, 2015

North Hill Market Tour

Please welcome guest blogger Roza Maille as she shares about her experiences while taking a tour of North Hill.  Roza has written for us several times before, most notably about the Artist of Rubber City and the Box Gallery.  Do you have an Akron-specific experience you'd like to share with us on Akron Empire?  Contact us--we'd love to hear about it.

North Hill Market Tour
by Roza Maille

Have you ever explored a neighborhood in Akron that’s not your own?  Well, I’ve been doing plenty of that lately and I must say, it’s pretty awesome!  I’ve lived in Akron for over nine years and have basically stayed in my little Highland Square bubble, which I realize that many people also do. My recent job change has allowed  me step outside this bubble and it’s been rather eye opening.  

In October, I started working at the Akron Art Museum as project coordinator for Inside|Out, a community activated art project.  We are installing 30 reproductions of artwork from the museum’s collection all over Akron at outdoor locations starting this April.  I won’t go into too many details, because this blog post is about something else, but I will say we have been working with a variety of organizations and community members for this project.  This has given me the chance to get to know Akron better than I ever have before. 

One of the first communities that I have had the pleasure of working with is North Hill, which is as it turns out chock full of really committed, active community members.  This year, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (who is also sponsoring Inside|Out) is funding a program called Akron Better Block.  The idea of Better Block is to take a single block in a neighborhood and transform it into pop-up businesses, bike lanes, cafes, art galleries, or anything else the community would like to see be permanent fixtures for one weekend.  This will hopefully encourage permanent changes in the neighborhood.

North Hill’s Better Block will take place from May 15-17, 2015 but until then, the North Hill Community Leaders are organizing monthly market tours of their neighborhood to educate community members about its uniqueness.We visited four locations for the February 28th tour, including Stonehedge Entertainment, Patterson Park Community Center, Dhimal’s Mini Mart, and San Miguel’s Latin Market.

We started at Stonehedge Entertainment which houses bowling alleys, arcade games, a sports bar, and Stray Dog Grille.  Stray Dog has recently partnered with Three Sisters Momo. (Momo is a type of dumpling from Nepal.) We learned that Stray Dog Cart and Three Sisters Momo are teaming up for Better Block, so look out for some menu specials that weekend. We also got to see a momo making demonstration, which included samples and Nepali spiced milk tea!  

Next we hopped on the trolley and headed over to Patterson Park Community Center.  We heard about their programming and their commitment to community engagement.  I was impressed by how much they accomplish at their community center.  They serve between 400-500 kids with their sports camps, meal plans, and after school programming.  They even have classes where they learn basketball and math simultaneously.

From there, we then headed over to Dhimal’s Mini Mart which is a small Bhutanese market on Cuyahoga Falls Avenue.  Dhimal’s is owned by a family of refugees here from Nepal who settled in Akron about five years ago.  This type of  story is not unusual in North Hill.  The International Institute helps many new immigrants and refugees settle into their new homes in Akron, resulting in a very diverse community.

Dhimal’s carries a variety of grocery items including produce, spices, grains, flours, and so many different types of lentils.  In addition, they also sell ceremonial wedding attire, religious items, and gifts.  I bought some coconut ginger candies which were amazing.  The owners also brought us some complimentary mango drinks.

After we sampled our purchases, we visited San Miguel’s Latin Market which is located in front of Stonehedge. As expected, they offered a variety of hot sauces, spices, and everything you need to have the best taco night imaginable. They also carry intriguing flavors of candy, many with chilies or tamarind, which I didn’t have the courage to try at the time. Of course, many people from our tour crew were seen walking away with Mexican Cokes.  

An orange taco stand called Mr. Trompo’s sits on the side of the San Miguel’s building.  We were offered samples of some tacos but I was slow to the draw and couldn’t make it over before they vanished.  That’s no surprise but I’ll need to return to do some sampling of my own.

On Saturdays and Sundays, San Miguel’s offers a variety of Mexican sweet breads that are handmade by a gentleman named Damien and his family.  We also got to taste his delicious desserts including cake (which I believe was tres leches) and flan.  Damien takes orders for custom cakes for celebrations or you know, just because you feel like eating a delicious cake.

We finished off our tour back at Stonehedge at the Stray Dog Grille.  The owner, Charley, explained his evolving small business that now includes twelve employees and five hot dog carts in addition to the Stray Dog Grille.  As a former pastor, his need to help people is always an important factor. As a result, he hires many people with disabilities.

We also got samples (you get well fed on these tours) of all the unique hot dogs he offers as well as pizza. The toppings range from pulled pork to fried fish to the filling from the momos. There’s even a hot dog that has cheese balls as a topping.  

I’ve learned so much about North Hill on this tour and appreciate the rich diversity it has to offer.  Also, if you like food, this is the place for you.Going on these tours really gives people the opportunity to get to know their neighbors.  I have definitely enjoyed getting to know mine.

If you are interested in learning more about Akron’s North Hill neighborhood, follow Akron Better Block’s Facebook to keep updated on tours* and events. Happy exploring everyone!

(*Walking tours are scheduled for March 28 and April 25.  The April tour will include a tour of some of the Inside|Out reproductions.)

Friday, March 20, 2015


NEXTOhio: A Free Internet Startup Conference 
by Brit Charek

One of the most daunting things about starting your own business is navigating the law, particularly when you begin selling online. Fortunately, as I have learned over the past few years, entrepreneurs in Northeast Ohio have a lot of resources at their disposal, and the NEXTOhio Conference plans to collect many of those resources and put them all in the same place.

The conference, which will take place the evening of April 9th at Quaker Station and is completely free of charge, will start with a series of seven TED-like talks from area professionals, and end with a Pitch contest where local startups will compete for a cash prize. After that, there will be free food, a cash bar, and the opportunity to network with other local entrepreneurs.

"The event organized itself," says Annal Vyas, the event organizer, a professor at the SEED Legal Clinic at the University of Akron School of Law. "The heartbeat of Northeast Ohio's entrepreneurial spirit is incredibly strong."

I've been working with Professor Vyas and the SEED Legal Clinic for the past year. They've helped me take my inherited passion project, Crafty Mart, from being a simple bi-annual event to a full-fledged nonprofit arts organization.

The conference will be held at Quaker Station near the University of Akron

"We are a population of creators," Vyas continues, speaking of Northeast Ohioans. "I've had so many conversations with so many internet entrepreneurs who want to learn, grow, and network. This Conference emanated from those conversations."

Some of the that will be covered include:

  • How to Start Your Internet Company is You Don't Know Code
  • How to Learn Code and/or Find a Technical Cofounder
  • The Lean LaunchPad Methodology Gaining Traction in Silicon Valley
  • What Angel Investors are Looking for and How to Attract Funding in the Midwest
  • Killer Mistakes that Startups Make
  • Local Resources for Startups

The event is geared towards tech startups, but according to Vyas it will be "worthwhile to countless other demographics investors, designers, programmers, artists, and techies all will benefit!"And most importantly"If you're a fan of free pizza and a cash bar, we have that as well."

NEXTOhio will take place at Quaker Station on April 9th from 5:30-7:30, and the networking will continue until 10:30pm. The event, which is exclusively sponsored by Thompson Hine, is free to the public but advanced registration is required. You can RSVP here.

For more information, visit their beautiful website at

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Stella Walsh Documentary Film at CIFF

Stella Walsh (2014) movie poster

Stella Walsh Documentary Film at CIFF 2015
by Joanna Wilson

I've been following the progress of Akronite Rob Lucas' latest documentary film Stella Walsh for the past several years. The short film is now completed and has been making the rounds of the film festival circuit for the past year. I'm so excited to see it screening at the Cleveland International Film Festival. I first met the film's director Rob Lucas in 2007 who was then working as the director of the Akron Film Festival. Lucas has been active in the Akron film scene for a long time and I'm proud to see his latest project at the prestigious CIFF.

Before she ran in the 1932 Olympics, Stella dominated the high school circuit. (Courtesy of Cleveland State University, Special Collections) 

Lucas' 15 minute documentary shares the story of Cleveland runner, Stella Walsh.  From the press kit:
"Stella Walsh was one of the most celebrated female athletes on the planet. She had thousands of medals, ribbons, honors and fans from around the world. Her popularity continued for decades after winning a gold medal in the 1932 Olympics, until she was killed in a robbery and it was discovered that she had ambiguous gender.

Even during her autopsy it was difficult to classify Walsh as either male or female. A 1980 genetic test determined that she had XY chromosomes is some cells and other cells with X, but not a complimentary X or Y. The news of her death and sexual development disorder became a hot topic in the sports world, casting doubt on her many achievements. While Stella had many supporters, she also had past competitors who felt that her medals were earned by a man posing as a woman.

Despite her detractors, the fact remains that Walsh was an extraordinary athlete who proved that no matter who or what you are, all people should excel in their daily lives and deserve respect. 

This documentary explores the life of Stella, her death and her gender controversy through interviews with friends, trainees, members of the media, and a geneticist as well as photos and archival footage from years of in-depth research."

I asked Rob about his project, more specifically about how he first learned about Walsh.  Rob replied, "I am the managing editor of a book company [Gray & Company] that exclusively publishes nonfiction books about Cleveland and Ohio. In 2009 two of my authors mentioned Stella Walsh in their books. At that time I had not heard her story before and thought it was fascinating. I started to conduct a little research about her and decided to make a documentary right after that."  When asked why he chose to make his film a documentary, Lucas responded, "I have made movies for several years, but hasn't made a documentary since I was in college. I thought this was a good way to combine my research skills from publishing with my love of filmmaking."

Stella Walsh's writer/director/producer, Rob Lucas (right) with the film's co-producer/editor Steve Felix (left)

Later, I asked Rob why he thinks his film is important.  He said, "Stories about sports and gender, more specially, the Olympic Games and gender have become hot topics since South African runner Caster Semenya was accused of being something other than a woman. When I started working on the movie I thought gender could be easily defined as male or female, but I know know that it is infinitely more complicated than that. It's important to me because  it helped me discover that gender is a spectrum and it can be told by this fascinating story of an incredibly accomplished athlete.

Beyond the gender material I just mentioned, I think it's fascinating that Stella, knowing that she was somehow different from other women, didn't let her genetic condition hold her back. She was fiercely competitive and took every chance she could get to improve herself. She competed on the world stage in the public eye during a time in European history where being different could cost you your life, but it didn't stop her from achieving greatness. I hope audiences have a better understanding how complicated gender can be and also that it doesn't matter if you are male or female, you need to do everything to the best of your ability." 

For more information about the short film, check out the website: Stella Walsh: A Documentary
You can also follow the film's events and progress through the festival circuit on the Facebook page:

Rob's film is screening at CIFF on Wed. March 25th, 9:20pm during the Ohio Shorts Program 2. (That's pg. 180 in the printed CIFF guide.) You can buy tickets HERE using the film code: OHSH25

Or, you can join the Facebook event for the CIFF screening of Stella Walsh HERE.

Monday, March 9, 2015

D.X. Ferris: Akron Writer/Author/Publisher

#57 in the 33 1/3 series of books about music history and criticism.

People in Your Neighborhood: D.X. Ferris: Akron Writer/Author/Publisher
by Joanna Wilson

How many books from the 33 1/3 series do you have on your bookshelf?  I have at least a half dozen but I'm a pop culture junkie so I want more (my wallet is the only thing that holds me back!) Did you know that the author of Slayer's Reign in Blood from the 33 1/3 series, D.X. Ferris, lives here in Akron?  In addition, Ferris' writing is included in the newest release from Bloomsbury Press, How to Write About Music: Excerpts from the 33 1/3 Series, Magazines, Books and Blogs with Advice from Industry-leading Writers (2015). Holy crap! Akron is home to a ridiculous amount of talent.

Released February 2015.

You may also recognize Ferris' name from his time writing for Cleveland's Scene magazine, from 2002-2010.  I first met Ferris about four or five years ago after my first book The Christmas TV Companion (2009) was published and we discovered our mutual interest in unusual Christmas entertainment.  He also possesses a wicked sense of humor.  Since then, I've struggled to keep up with his many accomplishments.  Check out Ferris' bio:

D.X. Ferris is an Ohio Society of Professional Journalists Reporter of the Year (2011). He is also the author of "Slayer's Reign in Blood," which is part of Bloomsbury Academic's prestigious 33 1/3 series. His work has appeared in A.V. Club,, Alternative Press, the Village Voice, Decibel, Metal Sucks, and other outlets. His Heavy Metal Game of Thrones Reviews most recently ran on hosts his ongoing webcomic, Suburban Metal Dad. He has appeared on various podcasts as a pop-culture pundit. His collects thoughts on grammar, usage, ethics, writing, and the business thereof. He was thrown out of Slayer’s South of Heaven tour when a misdirected crowd surf landed him onstage.

Ferris' most recent book on Slayer from 6623 Press.

Yet this impressive background bio leaves out what he's up to these days.  After writing the book for the 33 1/3 series, Ferris went on to start up his own book publishing company 6623 Press to launch a longer, follow-up biography entitled Slayer 66 2/3: The Jeff & Dave Years (2013).  When asked about his interest in Slayer and metal, Ferris responded, "I’ve been a metalhead since middle school. I’ve always been a Slayer fan, but I spent a lot of the 90s and early 00’s not listening to much metal. It strikes me as ironic that people listen to angry, fast, cathartic music when they’re young, and then they put it away when they get old. But no matter how frustrated and angry you are when you’re 15, it’s NOTHING compared to what you have to deal with when you’re 35 and you have a job and you have to deal with moron middle managers. When you’re a grown-ass adult, metal makes a lot more sense. So the longer I was out of school, the more I drifted back to metal. Metal is one of the few things that have held my interest my entire life."
Later, Ferris' 6623 Press also published For Whom the Cowbell Tolls: 25 Years of Paul's Boutique (2014) written by Dan LeRoy and Peter Relic.   (Dan LeRoy is a fellow 33 1/3 series writer having penned the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique (2006) book.)  6623 Press continues to publish "reasonably priced, unconventional books about pop culture and other cool stuff."

Ferris' 6623 Press published this book about the Beastie Boys' album Paul's Boutique.

Ferris also co-wrote a parenting and performance manual about martial arts in 2014.  Ferris told me, "I’ve been studying martial arts since the 1990s, and that led to my most recent book, which I co-wrote with Hudson’s Grandmaster Ryan Andrachik, who owns the Asian Sun schools. It’s called The Martial Arts Parents' Frequently Asked Questions: Unlocking Your Child's Potential Through Martial Arts. It’s his expertise as a father of four and as the head of Ohio’s largest martial arts school, filtered through my curiosity as a fellow parent, and my experience as a writer-publisher."

Suburban Metal Dad #125

As if that wasn't enough, Ferris also creates a twice-weekly comic strip, Suburban Metal Dad.  Ferris explained to me, "Comic strips and comic books are a second thing that have always held my attention. Peanuts is a cornerstone of my cultural mythology. I never considered myself creative. I can write, but I spent all of high school and college trying to coax some original creative work out of myself. And in eight years, my total output was a couple short stories. I could just never make anything happen...I mean, as anyone who has seen my strip can testify: Even after four years of biweekly strips, I cannot draw. But 30 years of listening to punk rock has taught me this: You don’t need to be Jimmy Page if you want to play guitar. Sit down, just do it. Do your thing your way, to the best of your ability. And eventually, if you work hard and get lucky, maybe some other people will appreciate it for what it is."  You can easily follow Ferris' comic at and through Twitter HERE.

Suburban Metal Dad #258

And, he works as an Adjunct Professor teaching at the University of Akron.  I'm exhausted just describing it all!  When I asked him about profiling him for Akron Empire, he told me, "I’m from Pittsburgh, but I love & respect Akron. I’ve been a Devo guy since way back: Everybody else heard “Whip It,” and they were amused for a minute, and they moved on quickly. Me, I wanted more. I kept going down the Devo path. So, 30-plus years later, I live in Akron, my kids were born here, and I have huge civic pride. I understand that Akron is not a suburb of Cleveland. Akron has its own culture and tradition."  Ferris' plans for future projects stretch longer than Market Street.  Isn't it inspiring to know how much activity, creativity, and talent exists in Akron right now?

Stay tuned to Ferris' projects at,
and Ferris' books--at times--can be purchased at Square Records in Highland Square. Look for them when you're in there.  They tend to sell out!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Modest Box: A Subscription Box Handmade in Ohio

Akron Empire is excited to welcome back guest blogger Erica Scheutzow, who has written for us quite regularly over the past few years-- most recently about local indie rockers By Light We Loom. 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.

Modest Box: a New Subscription Sensation
By: Erica Scheutzow

Subscription boxes are on the rise! While it’s not a new concept, they’ve grown ever popular in the past couple of years and it’s easy to see why. You can find just about any subject matter to suit you, at any price range and have the thrill of being completely surprised every month. I’m personally a big fan of various subscriptions such as LootCrate, a paradise of geeky goodness and Ipsy, a beauty mavens dream. These boxes are great and while they feature up and coming artists or off brand items, what about the artists in our own back yard?

Out of Columbus, Ohio, Andrea and Nate Archibald of Simply Vague started a new venture alongside their brick and mortar shop to bring you, Modest Box – a flexible, monthly subscription box that features various handmade goods from artisans around Ohio. They wanted to offer customers a chance to experience new products or give a taste of home to those who are no longer living in state all the while, promoting these artists and giving them the opportunity to expand their audience. They offer three different types of boxes – a small and large assortment, as well as a t-shirt box.

When the large assortment is selected you have the option to enter your gender (or the gender of the person you are purchasing for) so that the contents will be gender specific. You can expect to find a good mix of Ohio made food products, accessories, body products and/or art in each box. A large assortment box for a man might include things like Ohio-made barbeque sauce, Whiskey Stix, (pretzels with a whiskey glaze), Cliff Original body care products for men, a bottle opener from The Columbus Barrel Company – things like that, while a box for a woman might include an Ohio necklace from Red Giraffe Designs, or nail polish from the Columbus-based company James Robert John.

What can you expect to pay for these Ohio-centric subscription boxes? You have the ability to choose a one, three, six or twelve month subscription up front to receive discounts on the cost per box. The small assortment box costs $39.00 per month, the large assortment costs $89.00 per month, and the t-shirt box that ships two Ohio made t-shirts costs $56.00 ($8.00 flat rate shipping fee on each). The boxes ship on the second Monday of each month. I’d also like to mention that when you make a subscription purchase, you can enter a coupon code and have $5.00 donated to a non-profit charity!

The Archibalds are truly reaching new heights through this subscription box. They’re exceeding expectations by offering items that otherwise would go unseen and unexperienced by us consumers while promoting local artisans and giving back to their community. All more the reason to get involved in supporting this awesome venture.

If you’d like to know more about or make a purchase through Modest Box, please visit their website at:

If you’re an artist looking to have your items featured in the Modest Box, please email Andrea and Nate at:

MAKE YOUR PURCHASE MATTER: When you use any of the following coupon codes at checkout, the associated nonprofit organization will receive a $5.00 donation.

MIRACLE - Miracle for Madison & Friends
PELOTONIA - Pelotonia
FLIP - FLIP Cancer
PEACEFORPAWS - Peace for Paws Ohio
TBGG - Wexner Medical Center’s Movement Disorder Fund
CBUSDIAPERCO - The Columbus Diaper Coalition

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Devil Strip and its Kickstarter Campaign

The Devil Strip and its Kickstarter Campaign
by Joanna Wilson

For me, the most exciting thing developing in Akron these days is the new, twice monthly, arts & culture print magazine The Devil Strip.  The magazine hasn't gone to print yet--its first copy is scheduled for release later this month--on Tues March 17th.  However, The Devil Strip website has been up for several months already.  The guy behind The Devil Strip, Chris Horne, guest blogged for us last November with an Outsider's Guide to Akron.  Remember that?

The Devil Strip's intentions are to bring readers information about interesting things to do in Akron.  From the website, "We’re interested in what makes Akron unique. Its local creatives. The artists and musicians, the nonprofits and civic organizations, the entrepreneurs and tech community, the individuals. We like the people, places and things that are moving Akron forward. Pushing the envelop, coming up with new ideas and having fun."  We here at Akron Empire share the same goals and yet we know it's a challenge to keep up with it all.  So, additional efforts in Akron to connect its residents with the best in the arts and cultural community is a welcome movement!  I get inspired just thinking about it.  Aren't we all fortunate to live in a community like Akron that is so vibrant?

Chris' mock-up of the first print cover of the magazine--coming March 17th.

While we all hover over The Devil Strip website and test our individual patience for the arrival of March 17th, there is a way for everyone to get involved.  Chris is already hard at work planning for the distribution of the magazine.  The plan is to acquire old newspaper boxes and have local artists "Akron-ify" each one with their unique vision.  Then the boxes will be placed at various hot spots as well as the neighborhoods throughout Akron to reach as many readers as possible. Chris launched a Kickstarter fundraiser to buy used boxes as The Devil Strip's Campaign for Newspaper Box Awesomeness last week.  I wasn't surprised when he reached his goal within 24 hours!  It's a worthy and enticing civic art project.  However, the fundraiser campaign continues for another three weeks as Chris expands his goals to increase the number of boxes--from 15 to 41.  He's also increasing the number of local artists to be paid for their contributions to the boxes as public art installations.

How would you Akron-ify a newspaper box?  A call for artist submissions is coming soon.

Let's get the word out about The Devil Strip and the Akron-ified newspaper boxes soon to stand in our neighborhoods.  Check out The Kickstarter campaign details HERE--and share it with your civic-minded friends.  You've gotta watch Chris' video at Kickstarter at the least! 

You can also catch up with The Devil Strip website
follow The Devil Strip Facebook page
and/or follow on Twitter at @AkronDevilStrip.