Induction week is a good time to visit Cleveland
When it comes to sports, there's no doubt that Pittsburgh and Cleveland aren't, and probably never will be, on the same page. Rock music, however, is a decidedly different matter, not one likely to elicit trash talk.
It's an artistic meeting ground on which residents in this tale of two cities can agree. Pittsburghers who respect the city's tuneful roots know that Cleveland does indeed rock.
Springtime, with the spotlight focusing on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions and festivities in April, is an excellent time for a refresher course.
The rock vibe and experience is found throughout Cleveland.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
The hall got its 10-millionth visitor March 12 and is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. This year's inductees include Bill Withers, Green Day, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Lou Reed, Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Ringo Starr (award for musical excellence) and the “5” Royales (early influence award).
Beyond that, the museum is showing a few noteworthy exhibits. The newest, “Herb Ritts: The Rock Portraits,” showcases the work of the revolutionary photographer, including 30 never-before-seen photos, original video footage and new interviews.
“Paul Simon: Words & Music” chronicles the life, career and creative inspiration of the two-time Hall of Fame inductee that explores the personal story of Simon's life and his creative process.
Details: rockhall.com or 216-515-1503
Cleveland Rock week
The induction ceremony comes to Cleveland every three years, preceded by a week, this year starting April 11, of concerts and other musical activities.
“Visitors will get to truly experience the excitement of our city, while immersing themselves into our rock and roll legacy,” says David Gilbert, president and CEO of Destination Cleveland.
A sampling of the week:
April 11: Celebration Day and opening of the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum inductee exhibit with free admission to the Rock Hall, live music, food vendors and special programming. Rock'n Blast fireworks at 7 p.m. is synchronized to inductee-inspired music and video.
April 12: Rock My Soul Gospel concert honoring seven-time Grammy winner Andrae Couch at 7:30 p.m. in Playhouse Square. It's free with tickets reserved in advance and pays tribute to rock's gospel roots. Tribute performers include Marvin Winans, CeCe Winans and Donnie McClurkin.
April 14: Sonic Session with Foxygen and Alex Cameron at 8 p.m. at the Rock Hall for $5.50. Concert of up-and-coming rock musicians has dueling guitars, percussion, keyboards, bass and a trio of backup singers.
April 18: 30th annual Induction Ceremony and simulcast at 8 p.m. at the hall. The $22 tickets to the ceremony at the Public Hall are sold out, but fans have a chance to watch the ceremony live on a giant screen inside the hall.
Details: thisiscleveland.com or 800-321-1001
The Cleveland Agora
The legendary venue introduced new artists in the 1960s and still rocks with a busy slate of performers. The concert hall, 5000 Euclid Ave., is between Cleveland State University and the Cleveland Clinic on the newly constructed Euclid Corridor. Details: agoracleveland.com or 216-881-2221
The Beachland Ballroom and Tavern
Built in 1950 as the Croatian Liberty Home, it was active on many social and political fronts and considered a true Cleveland landmark before becoming one of the city's most eclectic music clubs in 2000. In addition, Beachland, 15711 Waterloo Road, has an award-winning kitchen. It's a half mile south of Euclid Beach State Park, a public swimming area. Details: beachlandballroom.com or 216-383-1124
It's said that visitors seeking the ultimate definition of Cleveland will find it at one of the two Happy Dog locations at Detroit Avenue or Euclid Avenue.
These are retro, old-fashioned “working man” bars with live music and events nightly. The hot-dog menu with its 60-plus toppings was created by James Beard nominee chef Eric Williams. Details: happydogcleveland.com or 216-231-5400 (Euclid) or 216-651-9474 (Detroit)
Prosperity Social Club
This old-fashioned bar-turned-hipster-hangout in Tremont is set in an original 1938 barroom. Here, on Starkweather Avenue, patrons can engage in retro bowling, challenge friends to old-school board games, listen to live music, tip back some craft brews and dine on menu offerings like ricotta pierogie and Hungarian stuffed cabbage. Details: prosperitysocialclub.com or 216-937-1938
Full-time upscale chef and part-time rocker Dante Bocuzzi brings his artistry to the table with eateries throughout Northeast Ohio, including his popular Restaurant Dante, set in a restored bank in the Tremont neighborhood. The spot at 2247 Professor Ave. features modern American cuisine via a five-course tasting menu or a la carte. Details: dante.danteboccuzzi.com or 216-274-1200
Gotta Groove Records
Travel to Tyler Village on the city's east side, 3615 Superior Ave., where a renovated elevator factory has become a pressing plant that produces 10,000 to 15,000 vinyl records weekly. The plant welcomes bands, customers or anyone curious about vinyl to come by for a free tour, but the folks at Gotta Groove ask that you to contact them in advance. Details: gottagrooverecords.com or 800-295-0171
The Grog Shop
This intimate venue, in Cleveland Heights at Coventry Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard, opened in 1992 and has built a reputation for showcasing some of the best underground bands in the nation. A variety of genres can be sampled here, along with an array of micro-brews, imports and domestic beers. Details: grogshop.gs or 216-321-5588
Rex Rutkoski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4664 or firstname.lastname@example.org.