A Tourist's View of Cleveland

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Wholesome Midwestern glamour -- with hookers just two blocks away!
We always love showing off the city to out-of-towners. So when a Columbus pal visited last weekend, we started out with a Friday-night trip to the House of Blues, where we had drinks and caught a comedy show featuring former SNL writer Leo Allen and sometime-Daily Show correspondent Demetri Martin. Our friend had never been inside a HOB, and not only did she dig Allen and Martin's smart, funny sets; she was impressed by the intimate-but-bustling venue -- and the increasingly urbane vibe along tiny East Fourth. Saturday night it was back downtown for dinner and drinks at Jac's in the Warehouse District, and a performance of Monty Python's Spamalot at the State Theatre. While our guest had seen several Playhouse Square performances in the past, she was mightily struck by the turnout for this sold-out show -- and the way the entire theater district sparkled with wholesome Midwestern glamour. (Look for a full review of Jac's in the November 1 Cafe). We wrapped up the weekend with a Sunday trip to Geauga County for an outing at Patterson Fruit Farm, where we picked out pumpkins, munched on doughnuts and cider, and came home with sacks of Macouns and Melroses, slated for sauces, pies, and apple crisps. Our pal headed back to Columbus convinced that Clevelanders have plenty to be proud of. There was just one exception -- and that came Friday, when Leo Allen asked audience members if they thought he should visit the Rock Hall while he was in town. No! came the shouted reply from a handful of audience members. It sucks! "Wow," our friend asked afterward. "What's with that?" As someone who has been to the Hall of Fame on prior visits, she went on to answer her own question. "I think people hear the words 'rock and roll' and they think it's going to be all laser lights and wailing guitars -- like a Pink Floyd concert, circa 1970. What they forget is that it is a museum, and if you don't like museums, you aren't going to like the Rock Hall. "If that's the case, don't go. Just don't trash it for other people, who might have a longer attention span than you do. It makes you look like an idiot and doesn't reflect well on your city either." To that, sister, we can only say, "Rock on!" -- Elaine Cicora

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