As a former contributor to Scene
, we consider Nikki Delamotte an authority on Cleveland and local culture. Therefore, we’re very excited for the release of her first book, 100 Things To Do In Cleveland Before You Die
. Described as a bucket list for any Clevelander, the book is the latest addition to the city series by Reedy Press.
“My editor at the time, Douglas Trattner, was originally in talks to pen the book,” says Delamotte, who now works for Cleveland.com, with work regularly appearing in the Plain Dealer. “When he wasn’t able to work on it at the time, he told me, ‘Someone has to do it, so it might as well be you!’ Doug has been a big influence on me as a writer because he’s always been about giving people a shot – even if they’re only getting started – just like he did for me. I’ve tried to apply that to all of my reporting, but especially when I sat down to put this book together. Paying homage to Cleveland’s history was important to me, but I also wanted to include the up-and-coming projects that deserve the limelight. Things like the roaming plays of Theater Ninjas or the pop-up vaudeville of WizBang! More than anything, I like to be surprised; I tend to love things that are a little offbeat.”
Although the book series includes many major cities throughout the U.S., 100 Things To Do In Cleveland Before You Die
features the city’s uniquely diverse arts and cultural scene – including art, music, food and sports, of course. In each of her entries, Delamotte’s years of expertise and personal experiences help guide readers through both the “famous” landmarks and hidden treasures. Whether you’re visiting from out of town or a lifelong Clevelander, this book is sure to offer some people, places and things you’ve never even heard of.
“The arts play a big role in Cleveland, and I tried to include things that were unique to us, like taking a tour of the city by tracking down Cleveland SGS street art or the annual Rooms to Let event in Slavic Village, where houses are turned into installations,” says Delamotte. “I also wanted to make sure the book shined a light on the fact that Cleveland is such a comic book town. Of course, the Superman house is in there, but also events like the small press festival Genghis Con, shopping for zines at Guide to Kulchur, visiting the Harvey Pekar statue in Cleveland Heights and Free Comic Book Day at Carol and John’s.”
As Delamotte describes, these events and places are gateways to the city’s true essence: its people. Even those who have lived here their entire lives are sure to discover something new in a city in the midst of constant change. By visiting these places and attending these events, readers have the opportunity to experience a timeless local perspective of the city. Indeed, Delamotte introduces readers to Cleveland in the same say it was introduced to her.
“One of my favorite entries is ‘Become a regular at the concert club’ by attending events like the Beachland Ballroom’s brunch, the 10x3 songwriter showcase at Brother’s Lounge and noise lunch at Now That’s Class,” she says. “That’s how you get to know the people in the city, I think. You can do everything in the book, but what really makes the city is the people. Being in Cleveland, I think my publishers let me get away with a lot more music entries. Taking a behind the scenes tour of Gotta Groove Records and EarthQuaker Devices in Akron is something every music lover should do. There’s also a primer on local record stores and the rock and roll circus known as Lottery League. Someone who’s looking for something more experimental can go to one show at the AllGoSigns warehouse and learn about ten more avant-garde acts in Cleveland, who can then introduce them to twenty more. That’s the way I’ve learned about Cleveland the most. I started writing by calling people up randomly and asking if I could write about them. People here are excited when you’re curious about their work, and they want to help you learn more about what other people are doing, too.”
Celebrate the book’s launch from 6 to 8 p.m. this Friday, Nov. 4 at Superelectric Pinball Parlor in Gordon Square. The first 20 people to purchase the book on Friday will receive $5 in free pinball tokens.
“I grew up playing pinball, so I fit right in with a city fanatic about pinball, too,” says Delamotte. “Gordon Square also appears pretty regularly in my book. Playhouse Square is great, but Gordon Square has a theater district of its own, with Cleveland Public Theatre, Blank Canvas Theatre, Near West Theatre, and Talespinner Children’s Theatre. You can load up your hot dog with Froot Loops at Happy Dog or hit 78th Street Studios for art shows early in the evening and music performances at Survival Kit into the night.”
Of course, food and sports are well represented in the book as well. Elaborating, she says:
“Cleveland is quickly becoming recognized for its food, so I made sure to include plenty of the old and new. You can have macarons and champagne at Coquette Patisserie, and you can wait in line at Slyman’s. You can get a scoop of Mason’s Creamery ice cream, and you can get the famous Hough bakery recipes at Archie’s. There’s a section on sports and recreation as well, like doing a lap at the Cleveland Velodrome, visiting League Park, exploring Rockefeller Park Greenhouse and taking advantage of the waterfront with SUPCLE stand-up paddling.”
Can’t make the book launch? 100 Things To Do In Cleveland Before You Die
is also for sale at Mac’s Backs, Loganberry Books, Learned Owl, Carol & John’s Comic Book Shop, In The 216 and soon at Canopy (and Amazon). Nikki Delamotte will be at Loganberry Books for Indies First on Saturday, Nov. 26 from noon to 1 p.m.
(Superelectric) 6500 Detroit Ave., facebook.com/100ThingsToDoInCleveland