On the eve of Barack Obama's inauguration, a splinter faction of the Summit County Republican Party met in a small conference room in Akron's Four Points Sheraton to discuss plans for the future. These were members of the self-titled "New Republicans" of Summit County, the upper-class junta that tried to unseat Alex Arshinkoff in an unsuccessful coup last year.
It was a somber event, though they tried to spin their increasing irrelevance as best they could. One man stood up to explain how Obama's victory was actually a failure, since he outspent McCain, yet only won by a "small margin." The only real issue discussed was how they needed to utilize e-mail and Facebook in upcoming elections, a point somewhat lost on the mostly geriatric crowd.
The meeting was much like the Festivus tradition of "the airing of grievances," as Arshinkoff's supporters called for unity while the "New Republicans" demanded inclusion. Don Varian, a loyalist to state senator and gubernatorial candidate Kevin Coughlin, got himself in a tizzy at one point, claiming Summit County's GOP was ruled by a "clique" which he had never been asked to join, so he wouldn't let them join his club either! So there.
Finally, Coughlin stepped up. With Coughlin, a "family-values" Ÿber-conservative, you never know what you're going to get. Sometimes he'll demand green license plates for sex offenders. Sometimes he'll talk about death certificates for aborted fetuses. Sometimes, as he did with Scene, he will tell you how Arshinkoff once made a pass at him at a Republican event. But on Monday, Coughlin blamed the media. Apparently, journalists never gave local Republicans a chance because we were too busy fawning over Obama and praising Ted Strickland.
You're right, Senator. Maybe it is time for us to pay a little more attention to you. - James Renner
IT'S ONLY ROCK AND ROLL
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum announced its 24th induction class last week: Jeff Beck, Little Anthony & the Imperials, Metallica, Run-D.M.C. and Cleveland-born Bobby Womack.
Metallica's induction may be controversial in some quarters. Founded in 1981, Metallica didn't invent thrash metal - an intricate, speedy, often epic combination of punk aggression and technical chops - but they grabbed the ball and ran with it further than genre brothers like Slayer and Anthrax.
Plenty of credible hard-rock aficionados will argue that 1988's uneven …And Justice for All is better than good. But with 1991's Metallica (a.k.a. "The Black Album"), the band cut back its whiplash tempos, chopped its song lengths in half and started writing radio-friendly hard rock. For fans who loved the face-melting, full-speed-ahead thrash of early classics like 1984's Ride The Lightning, it was like Dylan going electric or the Browns moving to Baltimore.
The band returned to its roots on last year's well-received but wobbly Death Magnetic. But if they're serious about resuming their one-time agenda of blasting "metal up your ass," here's the perfect way they could demonstrate their sincerity: At the Saturday, April 4 Rock Hall induction ceremony, they could play a three-song set of their early classics "Fight Fire With Fire," "Creeping Death" and "Seek & Destroy," then leave the stage in flames. It'll never friggin' happen, but it's nice to imagine. And the old Metallica sure as shit woulda done it.
"Artists like Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, Kiss, the Stooges all certainly should be inducted before Metallica," says Bill Peters, host of WJCU 88.7's Metal on Metal for over 25 years. "But still, the fact is that Metallica should be inducted. And finally, some metal is in the Rock Hall. And how fitting that it's happening in Cleveland, which was one of the first towns that Metallica broke out of, through the help of [WCSB 89.3 assistant DJ] Ken Kitt. He had their demo before it was released, before anybody had it, on a cassette. At a show at Biggie's in the Flats, he took me out to his car and played it. When it was over, he said, 'They're going to be the next big thing.' I said, 'It's good, but…' - because the sound was so different. It was so fast, but it still had melody to it.'"
Tickets for the induction go on sale Thursday, January 22. Check out This Just In concert announcements for more details. - D.X. Ferris
YEAH, THIS'LL HAPPEN
From 3-8 p.m. Sunday, January 25, Sidetracks Café (13429 Lakewood Hts. Blvd.) will host a fundraiser for the Cleveland "Cures Not Wars" Million Marijuana March. The event will feature performances by self-described "acoustic hippy band" Willy Mac and jam band Danny Longhair. Admission is $10, which includes a vegetarian buffet and raffle. Raffle prizes include Cheech and Chong posters, which will look awesome in your dorm room or your parents' basement. The march is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, May 2, at "high" noon on Public Square, downtown Cleveland.
The event's website is ClevelandOhioMarijuanaMarch.com, but don't go there if you're looking for more information: The site is as vague as the event's promo material. Maybe next year, save the spliff until after the press release is done, fellas. Here's our projection for the event: Expect 1) a lot of people to tell you, "The war is bad, man"; 2) vague information about medical marijuana; and C) pamphlets about how weed should be legal because you can make jeans from hemp. - D.X. Ferris
HELP IS HERE
Think of it as one-stop shopping for those with little to spend. From 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, January 24, Pilgrim Church (2592 W. 14th St.) will host the Cleveland One Step Fair, bringing together agencies offering job, legal, education and health resources. Among those participating: Legal Aid Society, Cleveland Marshall College of Law Employment Clinic, Tri-C, Cleveland State, Planned Parenthood and UMADAOP (Urban Minority Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Outreach Program).
Where else can you get a hot breakfast, details for reinstating a suspended driver's license, HIV testing, applications and admissions information for Cleveland-area colleges and universities, leads on a jobs/job training, and a haircut - all free of charge? All in one place? On the same day? Free shuttles will run from three pick-up locations: McDonald's (E. 55th and Superior Ave.), Michael Zone Rec Center (6301 Lorain Ave.), and West Side Ecumenical Ministry (5209 Detroit Ave.)
Maya Simek, One Step coordinator with the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland and a Cleveland Marshall Law student, hopes "individuals are able to walk away with as many of their needs met as possible. In the event that the needs cannot be satisfied at the fair, the hope is that each person will walk away with an appointment with, connection to or knowledge of additional resources and/or means to satisfy their needs." - Jordan Cuddy firstname.lastname@example.org