Skip the artwork at the Mandel Jewish Community Center gallery and admire the wallpaper, which the Center's board has decreed so precious that it must never be violated by hook or nail. Instead, the way to hang pieces is to bore holes in them, attach hooks, and string them up from the ceiling. Such was the recent experience of Cleveland sculptor Terry Durst, who went before the hanging judge while mounting work for JCC's Personal Accumulations exhibit. Durst designed his wall pieces to be hung by a single nail, but curator Shawn Godwin quickly nixed that idea and reached for a drill. "This might be OK for a painting, but it's definitely not good for wall sculpture," says a disappointed Durst, describing the end result as "shackled." Get used to the chains, advises Godwin. "Every artist has to make compromises. You're schlepping around the state, your work ends up being hung where people can't see it, or next to the bathroom. These things happen." Don't forget to flush on your way out.
Nothing quite rattles the nerves and exposes insecurities like being on the selling block. Take last week's edition of the Coventry Road Shopper, up for sale as part of the Stern chain of newsweeklies and in real danger of being bought and closed. Its tribute to the "Best of Northeast Ohio" reads instead like a troubled Rorschach, peppered with unprovoked hostility, cooler-than-thou self-stroking, and shameless suck-ups. Newscaster Wilma Smith is derided as the "scariest-looking woman in Cleveland," and "odious junior executive assholes" are advised to commit suicide. One contributor even insults himself ("most obnoxious radio personality") and confesses that, for a bowl of Asian soup, "I'm your bitch." The best writers in town are all current or former members of the Shopper staff, or in one case, "my girlfriend." The best massage in town comes from "my boyfriend Dan." The publisher reveals how to "scare the crap" out of his managing editor, and an art department habitué confesses to wanting to spank Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman. The lowest moment comes in a pathetic paean to America Online, touting the company as the best Internet provider and possible benevolent new owner. None of which even begins to address the flagrantly unethical practice of selling ads based on the awards. One final question: What, in the name of the English language, is a "wee-wee pad?"
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