Monday, September 28, 2015

Akron Marathon 2015

Akron Marathon 2015 Photo Essay
by Joanna Wilson

I showed up at 6am before the race began and chalked some funny--and hopefully inspirational-- messages on the streets before the marathon last Saturday.  I also hung out and took some photos of the participants while cheering them on.  I was a Blue Line Party of one--but that means I was able to be mobile and cheered from several locations.  Congrats to all the runners--you are all winners.  Check out my photos and video.

High Street--a quarter mile from the start.

I also chalked on Broadway--just beyond the relay transition area (heading south).

Hey runners--anyone see these during the race?

I drove by these on Monday morning--they are already gone thanks to the rain.

Yes, it was still dark out at 6:30am. Waiting for the race to begin. I'm standing a quarter mile from the start.

That's the Akron Art Museum behind the runners--on High Street.

Action shot!

One block north and one block east--(Perkins and Broadway) watching the runners cross the Y-Bridge (All American Bridge) returning from North Hill.

Looking up Broadway--Quaker Square building in background. 

I returned to High Street--now on corner of High and Market. Waiting for runners to pass Art Museum a third time.

At High and Market looking east--runners on Broadway crossing Market.

Runners coming up High and turning down Market--heading west.

I can't wait for next year! 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Diary of a Teenage Girl at the Nightlight Cinema

Film Review: Diary of a Teenage Girl 
by Brit Charek

A good friend of mine and I were planning a girl's day out and looking for a chick flick to indulge in when we came across Diary of a Teenage Girl. Girly coming of age tale? Sounds perfect! Plus it featured Kristen Wiig, so it must be funny, right?

Not exactly.

Well, parts of it were funny.

The film takes place in San Francisco in the late 60's as the hippies are fading out and the punk are taking over, providing a retro setting and wardrobe worthy of envy along with an epic soundtrack featuring the likes of the Stooges, Television and T-Rex.

The story centers around Minnie (Bel Powley), a 15-year-old budding artist who announces triumphantly that she has lost her virginity in the opening scene.

The film takes an uncomfortable and morally ambiguous turn when it's revealed that her partner was her mother Charlotte (Kristen Wiig)'s 35 year old boyfriend, Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård). Minnie deals with the emotional turmoil caused by the affair by doing the standard things all teenagers do: distracting herself with unsavory activities, ignoring school and her family, keeping a diary (We all know the danger implied by that...),  and most importantly delving into her art.

Minnie imagines asking comic legend Aline Kominsky-Crumb (yes, that Crumb) for advice,  not just on her art but on life and questions that come along with womanhood. Kominsky becomes a character in the film, leading Minnie on her journey to find the balance between who she truly is and what society expects of her. The lines blur between Minnie's imagination and reality as her drawings animate the the screen and dazzle the audience.

Based on Phoebe Gloeckner’s semi-autobiographical graphic novel of the same name, Diary of a Teenage Girl reminds us (especially us women) how hard it was to be comfortable in our own skin and how it takes a combination of looking inward and remembering those who have been there for us all along to get there.

Diary of a Teenage Girl is showing at the Nightlight Cinema until October 1st.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Knight Arts Challenge in Akron

Knight Arts Challenge
by Brit Charek

The deadline for the Knight Arts Challenge is quickly approaching! Do YOU have a big idea for the arts in Akron?

This challenge is a $3 million, three-year initiative to draw the best and most innovative ideas out of local organizations and individuals seeking to engage and enrich the community through the arts.

The Knight Arts website offers this invitation:

"Whether you’re an independent artist, business, established arts institution, organization or individual – we want to hear from you. No idea is too large or too small, as long as it follows three basic rules:

1. Your idea is about arts.
2. Your project takes place in or benefits Akron.
3. You find other funding to match Knight Foundation's grant. "

All submissions must be the in by 11:59 p.m. ET on Sept. 14 at

We reached out to the Knight Foundation for some tips, and here’s what those interested in submitting need to know:

  • This phase is purely the generation of ideas. Knight doesn’t need a budget or a full plan at this point. They want people to dream big.
  • Three C’s – Be clear, concise and compelling. Be brief but be inspiring.
  • Don’t use “grantspeak.” Do come up with a catchy title. We like those.
  • Here’s the $1 million question: What kind of ideas is Knight Foundation looking for? Answer: We are looking for ideas that authentically represent Akron - as a place, as a cultural inspiration.
  • What’s on the no-no list for the challenge? Don’t ask for general operating support. This is an ideas contest. It’s for something that is bold, unique and exciting, and that’s what we encourage and what we support.
The Knight Foundation’s Arts Program Director Bahia Ramos will also be holding virtual office hours online at noon ET Sept. 10 to answer any remaining questions. Join the conversation via phone or video.

If you want to browse previous winners in other cities, visit the Knight Arts website. Bahia Ramos can be reached at anytime at

Good luck! We here at Akron Empire can't wait to see what big ideas are generated because of this challenge!