Monday, April 28, 2014

Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan Fest Giveaway!



ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!?!?!

I'm not going to lie. I am so ready for some football. 

The first-ever Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan Fest, featuring the largest gathering EVER of Pro Football Hall of Famers is coming!  This once-in-a-lifetime event will be May 3-4 at the I-X Center. There will be 100 Hall of Famers including Jim Brown (WOOF), Joe Namath, Barry Sanders, Lynn Swann, Terry Bradshaw, Marshall Faulk, Warren Sapp, Franco Harris and MORE. 

WHOA

On Saturday, May 3rd from 10 am - 3 pm and Sunday May 4th (may it be with you) from 4 pm - 9 pm, there is something for every football fan in your life. 

Here is the listing of events:
  • A 30,000 square foot reverential walkthrough experience upon entry, dedicated to the participating Hall of Famers. 
  • The Gridiron. A full size 100 yard indoor field with special clinics conducted by Hall of Famers, featuring local College and High School teams. Fans and families will also have free time to play on the field, with Hall of Famers stopping by for visits. 
  • Draft Chalk Talk Theater. A 1,000 seat presentation theater, where fans will interact with Hall of Famers to discuss the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. Fans are encouraged to participate in Q & A. 
  • Legends Theater. A 1,000 seat presentation theater, where fans will witness Hall of Famers discuss memorable football moments on their Road to Canton. CNN legend, Larry King will host the Saturday ‘Road to Canton’ sessions. Pro Football Hall of Fame President, David Baker will host the Sunday sessions. Fans are encouraged to participate in Q & A. 
  • FREE memorabilia appraisals by Heritage Auctions (ha.com) “The World’s Largest Collectibles Auctioneer”. Fans can bring in as many football memorabilia items as they wish for appraisal, as well as, enjoy daily presentations in the Memorabilia Appraisal Theater
  • Interactive games of skill, suitable for all ages, including Quarterback ChallengeTouchdown Run,Lineman PushBackyard KickButtonhookShotgun ChallengeMini-Camp & Combine and more. 
  • A gallery of iconic bronze busts on display, rarely removed from their home in Canton.
  • PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES: Fans will have a chance to take photos with Hall of Famers in the bust gallery, and throughout the expansive show floor.
  • A Pro Football Hall of Fame exhibit titled, “Pro Football and the American Spirit”, featuring footage and rare artifacts honoring NFL players as members of the U.S. Armed Forces. 
  • Radio Disney Cleveland family friendly shows. Saturday 5-7pm and Sunday 1-3pm. 
  • ESPN Cleveland (WKNR 850AM) will broadcast live onsite Saturday and Sunday from 9am-3pm 
  • A 6,000 square foot official Pro Football Hall of Fame merchandise store.
  • FREE PARKING at the I-X Center.

Whew. If you are looking for more of a VIP experience you can upgrade your general admission tickets for one of the following experiences:
  • Four-Time Super Bowl Champion Terry Bradshaw will perform his Las Vegas style one-man show, “America’s Favorite Dumb Blonde” on Sunday, May 4th. Show times are at 2pm and 7pm
  • Autograph Sessions. 16 total. Four sessions during each show, featuring never before presented groupings of Hall of Famers. An exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

If that was all TL;DR for you, here is a short video about the event:
Pro Football Hall Of Fame Fan Fest - Spot 2 - 30 from StoneKap on Vimeo.

You can get more information about the event or get tickets by clicking here
Tickets for each show starts at $39.99 (if you get them in advance) and go up from there.  Remember, autograph tickets are *separate* so get those NOW. I'm going to start raking leaves in my neighborhood to get an autograph ticket for the Jim Brown session. Each session has over 20 Hall of Famers, with no turkeys in the bunch. Woof. 
If you are going this weekend, make sure your phone is charged and tweet away using the hashtags #FanFestHOF and #ThisisCLE. Make your friends jealous. I will be there and I know that is my goal.
Now my friends, is the part that you have been waiting for.    
The awesome people at the I-X Center and the Pro Football Hall of Fame have given me a pair of general admission tickets to give away! 
There are a couple of ways to enter to win, so make sure you leave a separate comment for each method of entry. I let a computer pick the winner, so if you don't comment, you lose an entry. 

Boo for you if you don't follow directions. I'm serious. Don't lose out because this is awesome. 

1. Leave a comment telling me who your favorite Hall of Fame player is. 
2. Tweet the following: " I'm ready for the @profootballhof #FanFestHOF, May 3-4 @ixcenter! @clevelandchick is giving away tix http://bit.ly/1kmgRaf"
3. Follow @ixcenter on the Twitter. 
4. Follow @profootballHOF on the Twitter.
5. Follow @clevelandchick on the Twitter. 

You have until Thursday, May 1 at 7 pm to enter.  Start tweeting!

Disclosure: The awesome peeps at the I-X Center asked me if I wanted to share with you information about this event and I almost passed out with excitement. They offered a pair of general admission tickets for me and a pair for me to giveaway to one of you woof-tastic readers. I will be there with my pop, so feel free to say hi. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Dazzle The District Giveaway



Cleveland has some pretty exciting things happening this year. One of the most energetic is the Dazzle the District celebration on May 2. Playhouse Square is making history and changing the face of downtown with significant neighborhood renovations. There will be dramatic new lights and video signage around PlayhouseSquare, elegant gateways, a "retro" sign inspired by PlayhouseSquare's 1920 roots and the world's largest outdoor chandelier - the GE Chandelier. 

This is going to be an unveiling that will go down in history. It will be one of those events that you will kick yourself if you miss. 

The best part?

It is FREE! 

Check out this video about the GE Chandelier. It is pretty cool. 



Here are the details for the event:

EVENT:          Dazzle the District, presented by PlayhouseSquare

WHEN:            Friday, May 2, 2014

WHERE:         PlayhouseSquare
                       1501 Euclid Ave.
                       Cleveland, Ohio 44115

TIMES:          5:00 p.m. :: “Taste of PlayhouseSquare,” Happy hours & live music on Star Plaza
                      8:30 p.m. :: Hot Chelle Rae Concert on The University Hospitals Main Stage
                      9:30 p.m. :: Spectacle! Dazzle! Surprises? Lighting Ceremony

Keep in mind if you are going, bags and backpacks are not permitted. Small purses and diaper bags are allowed, but they will be subject to search. Plan ahead.  

If you are going to the event, make sure your phone is charged and tweet away using the hashtags #DazzleCLE and #ThisisCLE. Make your friends jealous.

Now for the fun part! Want to win a bag of Dazzle swag from PlayhouseSquare?

There are a couple of ways to enter to win, so make sure you leave a separate comment for each method of entry. I let a computer pick the winner, so if you don't comment, you lose an entry. 

Big ol bummer for you if you don't follow directions. 

1. Leave a comment telling me your favorite thing/memory about PlayhouseSquare. 
2. Tweet the following: " I can't wait for May 2 to #DazzleCLE with @playhousesquare and @clevelandchick http://bit.ly/1hE0MMP!
3. Follow @playhousesquare and @clevelandchick on the Twitter. 

You have until Thursday, May 1 at 4 pm to enter.  Start tweeting!

Disclosure: The good folks at PlayhouseSquare asked me to share with you information about this dazzletastic event. They offered a swag bag for me and one for me to giveaway to one of you spectacular readers. 


Friday, April 25, 2014

Bernie Kosar

Bernie Kosar. 
Bernie, Bernie, Bernie.

Bernie Kosar was the last winning quarterback that most Browns fans remember. I say most because he hasn't played for the Browns since 1993. If you aren't old enough to drink a beer, you weren't even *born* when he played.  Let that one rattle around your brain for a second. 

Ouch. 

To Browns fans, Bernie has been, and will always be, one of the most beloved players that Cleveland has ever seen. There are some of you reading this thinking, maybe even shouting, what about Josh Cribbs!? Joe Haden!? Greg Little!?  Yes, yes, those are fine Browns players. Maybe one day, fans will talk about them the way fans talk about Bernie. 

Maybe. 

Bernie has set himself apart from any other Cleveland sports figure, with maybe the exception of Jim Brown, being synonymous with the sport he played.  First, he is a hometown guy that fought and clawed to play for the Browns. Actually, he was from Youngstown and could have been a Steelers fan, but he wasn't, so bonus points there. The Browns were 5-11 and he wanted to come to Cleveland. There was never any question, and there still is no question, what the Browns mean to Bernie. In his recent press release (I'll get to that in a minute), he said, "I want everyone to know that I still bleed Brown and Orange."  

Athletes, star athletes, come and go in this city and how many still speak fondly of Cleveland? How many still stay connected to the fans? Last home town kid that made a splash and left was Lefoolio. He is the opposite of Bernie.  Lefoolio was more interested to bolt and play for South Beach and did not and *does not* give a fuzzy rat butt about Cleveland or the fans of this city. 

Kosar *wanted* to be in Cleveland, not this razzle dazzle song and dance that draft potentials spout off now. Let's be honest, do you really believe Johnny Football wants to come to Cleveland? He may want to be here for a lucrative contract, but that's it. He isn't a fan of the team. He doesn't care about the city. Argue if you want, we all know I'm right.  JFF or any of the other draft prospects could care less about the fans and city. I'm not saying it is wrong or it isn't their right, I'm pointing out a clear difference. Bernie fought to come here. 

During his time as an NFL player, Bernie played without a mouth guard, something that is unheard of today. Mouth guards help protect against concussions. Interestingly enough, in an interview with WKYC, Bernie talked about having at least 10. In addition to countless operations and pain, he has lingering effects from his concussions on the field. He has involuntary twitches, memory loss and slurred speech. 

Yesterday, Cleveland station WKYC removed Bernie from his color commentary role during the Browns preseason. A mistake, that in my opinion, is a doozey. 

Bernie has a unique perspective in to the game and and his analysis is appreciated. He has great football acumen, even if his delivery may be at times, slurred.  Bernie believes that part of the reason he lost his job is due to his injuries, and slurred delivery. Let me be the first to tell WKYC, that if that is indeed even a portion of the reason he was let go - that is garbage and you should be ashamed. 

Some fans suggested that Bernie was sacked in part because of his critical commentary of the Rams during a preseason game. Poor Coach Jeff Fisher called the wahmbulance to complain about Bernie when he said, "he can't stand to watch" their quarterback play.  I'm not sure why we care what an opposing team's coach says about our preseason commentators, but they did. 

It is all ridiculous. I don't know if it was a miscalculation on the part of WKYC or the Browns, but removing Bernie Kosar from the preseason team was not the best move. People aren't watching preseason football games for the stellar play. They are watching to hear the banter and analysis between Jim Donovan and Bernie. 

If Bernie's slurring was a problem, or something else, fix it. Clearly he still wants to be a part of the team. This whole "we have a bigger role" for Bernie in the works is a weaselly thing to say.  Tell us all about the big plans...tell Bernie about the big plans. I'm interested and listening.

I hope that WKYC and the Browns reconsider and include Bernie somehow in preseason. 

Bernie greeting fans. Larry Hamel-Lambert/The Plain Dealer

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Johnny Manziel - QB for the Browns?


Johnny Manziel. Photo by Robert Seale/SI 
Oh, Johnny Football. 

What to do about you...what...to...do...

The NFL Draft is quickly approaching and the Browns have the #4 pick. Are they going to take a quarterback? Are they going to trade up? Are they going to trade down? I feel like my mind was run through an old timey washing machine wringer thinking about it.

Most talk is about the guy named Johnny Manziel or his registered trademark name - Johnny Football - to you. Manziel is full of flash and dazzle. He has the cocky attitude the likes of which Cleveland football hasn't seen in I can't remember when. He was the first freshman to win the Heisman. The kid has skills, there is no question about that.


Manziel is a risk taker.  He is exciting to watch.  Watching Manziel reminds me a lot of Brett Favre...both on an off the field. Both at ease on the field...and in front of the camera. That smile and ah shucks charm makes both of them winners with the fans. High risk equals high reward.

Yayy.

But...and you knew this was coming...Manziel, like Favre, enjoys the spotlight a little *too* much. And as with Favre, if he isn't careful, his off field antics are going to tear his little playhouse down.

He is young and immature. In his short college career, he has been arrested, punked out on Peyton Manning's Quarterback Clinic and benched for accepting money for autographs. His W. 6th girls are going to make Grady's Ladies look like a knitting circle.

Maziel is all about the dollar bills y'all and the ladies and the court side tickets.

Yes, before you tweet or comment to me, I understand that he has said he has matured and he gets it now. Yup. I heard it. I just don't believe it. You don't *grow up* in a matter of days. It doesn't work that way. I don't know what he has done that could make me believe that.

If Manziel does have his act together...on and off the field...he can the Browns relevant again. The letter networks just might call us Cleveland and not Lefoolio's old city.

Only time will tell...and if you Browns fans are getting your Johnny Football or The House That Johnny Built tshirt ready to sell in the munilot...remember to give him his cut.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Awesome People


Do you ever have a random memory pop in to your head about someone that did or said something awesome? You are chopping veggies for dinner and you are thinking *green peppers...don't cut your finger...If it wasn't for Mrs. Klingel  I would never have known how much I love Edward Hopper...what kind of lettuce is this again...*

Without knowing it, people you interact with on a regular or random basis, play a role in your life. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Sometimes big, sometimes small. Maybe you are inspired by a song or a tv show. Maybe the lady that sells you your morning cup of coffee brightens your day by remembering your order. Maybe your grandma turned you on to crochet and you love it. 

I'm starting a new feature here at the Pierogi to find people that I think are awesome and ask them five questions. Maybe they are famous. Maybe not. Maybe they are from Cleveland. Maybe not.  The criteria is that I think they are awesome.

In my example of Mrs. Klingel, she was my art teacher in high school.  The one thing about Brunswick High School, there were tons of really, amazingly talented kids. I was ok. I tried really hard and I loved it. One day, Mrs. Klingel was working on a fundraiser for the program. Selling buttons of artwork for a buck or something. I found one with Edward Hopper's "NightHawks" and asked her a million questions about him.  It may have only been through the class period, but I went on and searched out his other works. I saw his work in the Boston Museum of Art and a great show in Indianapolis. 

That conversation changed the way that I looked at art, and I'm proud to report, I never had a Monet print in my dorm room because of it. 

Check back over the next few weeks as I follow up with awesome people.  I hope that by acknowledging how one small act of kindness can grow and transform, maybe, just maybe, someone will be encouraged. Maybe more people will, in the immortal words of Mr. Patrick Swayze, be nice

Share in the comments who is awesome to you. 

Room by the sea, Edward Hopper.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Cleveland Movie Review Mega Post




I have been on a bender of seeing movies in an *actual movie theater*. The crazy par is that all three of the movies I have seen all had some sort of Clevelandish connection. 

Enjoy browsing my opinions on Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Draft Day and Bad Words.


Captain America: The Winter Soldier picks up two years after the battle for New York and Captain America is trying to get back to civilian life while deciphering the modern world. The story revolves around Steve Rogers (Captain America) and his SHIELD interactions with Black Widow and Nick Fury, which would be Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson to you.

If you are from Cleveland, you will enjoy picking out locations from the city as well as painful flashbacks of an hour being added to your commute every day. Ok, that last part may just be me.  For all movie goers, it is a well conceived, action packed story, giving back ground on what Captain America has lost.  And.more importantly, what all of us will lose if he doesn't succeed in his mission.

I don't want to reveal too much, but I will say this is one of my favorite Superhero flicks. Marvel has done an amazing job interweaving the franchise movies and Agents of SHIELD TV show into a giant story.  Each movie and show gives a longer glimpse of the "big picture."

Who do you trust? Is the theme for the movie. 

If you love action, a little intrigue and blowing stuff up, this is the movie for you. 

As with most flicks these days, stay through the credits. There are TWO additional scenes. Yes, TWO.

Kevin Costner as the Browns General Manager.
First reviews out about Draft Day announced that it is the next Bull Durham. The next great sports movie for generations to come. 

No. 

For the public at large, Draft Day is not the next Blind Side or Rocky. Maybe more Angels in the Outfield. 

Draft Day follows Costner as Sonny Weaver, the Browns General Manager as he tries to save football in Cleveland when he trades for the number one pick. In 24 style, the day is a dizzy blur of personal issues and Browns greatness. 

As a Cleveland fan you will cheer and laugh and wonder why Costner was driving around in circles to the facility. If you are a general football fan, I wonder if you will go to the movie more than once. I wonder if outsiders will know and understand that those really are Cleveland fans in the movie. 

Part of my problem with the movie was trying to keep clear in my mind what was fact or fiction. As a Browns fan, I want to believe that my General Manager is out there making the amazing trades and pulling off something fantastical. At the end of the movie you are ready for the Browns to go to the SuperBowl. 

This really is Costner's movie with everyone sprinkled in like tasty cheese on a salad. Not necessary, but appreciated.  

Will I watch it again? Sure. Draft Day will end up on a rotation on WTBS or WGN and I will watch it like I watch Angels in the Outfield. Every. Time. 

Is it going to change your life or win an Oscar? Nope.

Was it fun to watch? Yup. 
Bad words, kitty, bad words.
Oh my.

I don't think I really knew what I was in for in Jason Bateman's Bad Words. Bateman starts as a 40 year old man that has found a loophole in the National Spelling Bee and causes mayhem by entering the competition. 

Angry parents, contest officials and 8th graders are no match for Bateman as he stomps up and down on their ambitions of spelling fame. 

If you read Spelling Bee and think that this is a great movie to take your kids to, you deserve every new word they will learn from the movie. This is *not* for kids. There are kids in the movie, but this isn't for them. 

Bad Words is hilariously inappropriate and is unapologetic about it. 

How refreshing. Politically correct words have no place in this film. 

Watching Bateman psych out 8th graders is cringingly awesome. Well worth my *$#*ing time.

Oh, if you are wondering the Cleveland connection...you will know it when you see it. And it is glorious.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tribe Opener Events


Take me out to the ball game...
FINALLY!

The Tribe home opener is right around the corner and here are some specials around town for what is an unofficial holiday in the city of Cleveland. 

Before I continue, let me just say, don't be an idiot. We are grown ups and if you can't handle your adult beverage, please switch to diet coke. I would prefer you don't arf all over my shoe on the home run porch. 

Downtown is going to be, how the kids put it, cray cray. Consider car pooling, having your mom drop you off, or take the RTA. It is $5 all day, and in my opinion, the best way to get around. Click here for more information.  The RTA is also hosting the Rally Alley for Opening Day, starting at 1 pm. If you have never been, it is fun and there is usually a chance to snag a free tshirt. Woo. Hoo. 

Here are the specials around downtown:

Gateway Plaza (that space between the Jake and the Q)
Noon - 3pm

There will be the Bud Build-a-Bar on Gateway Plaza from noon - 3, last call at 2:45.  This was pretty fun last year. 

Barley House - 1261 W. 6th Street
Opens at 11. 

Before the game, CAARRLLOOSSS BAEEEERRRGGAAAA will be signing autographs from 11-1. 1st one is free. There will be 8x10 pics for sale and 50% of proceeds of the 8x10s will go to the Leukemia & Lymphona Society.

FREE RTA trolley goes from there to E4th. 

See more at: http://www.barleyhousecleveland.com/#sthash.FS0sMx9r.dpuf

City Tap - 748 Prospect Ave E
For the early birds... ahem... City Tap opens at 9. 

Special drinks include $5 24 oz Miller Lite, Bud Light and Yuengling cans. $3 Bud draft. 

I have to admit, City Tap is one of my downtown favs. They have wifi and if you are nice, the bartenders will plug your charger in without being jerky about it. Big plus in my book, so don't blow it. 

More info here: http://www.citytapcleveland.com

Harry Buffalo - 2120 E 4th

$6 pitchers anytime and Happy Hour starts at 3. 

More info here: http://www.harrybuffalo.com

Also, if you forgot your cool Tribe gear, the Fresh Brewed Tees truck will be there! They also will have only at the truck some amazing custom Chuck Taylors with a Wahoo feather on them. They are fantastical and if anyone out there would like to buy them for me, I will accept them.

More info here: http://www.freshbrewedtees.com

Tilted Kilt - 21 Prospect Ave
Opens at 10 am. 

There will be $4 16 oz Throwback cans of Miller Lite and they are having a season-long contest for a chance to throw out the first pitch. 

If you have never been to the Tilted Kilt, yes, the server are in school girl outfits...and the male bartenders and bar backs are in kilts. Ahem...something for everyone kids.

More info here: http://www.tiltedkilt.com/events/


Other fun downtown locations that will likely have specials as well. 
Call them for details. 

Clevelander Bar and Grill - http://www.clevelanderbar.com
Flannery's - http://www.flannerys.com/operationHours.php
Panini's Bar and Grill - http://www.paninisgrill.com/locations/cleveland-gateway/
Thirsty Parrot - http://www.thirstyparrot.com/Events/Default.aspx
Wilberts - Open at 9 am  http://www.wilbertsmusic.com
Winking Lizard - http://winkinglizard.com/our-specials.aspx

Ohio City Fun 

Great Lakes Brewing Company - 2516 Market Ave (Ohio City)
Open at 11 am. 

For the Ohio City kids, GLBC will have the Rally Drum Red Ale named for the awesomeness known as John Adams. If you get there early enough, you can get nachos in a helmet you can keep! Baseball themed menu. 

The Fatty Wagon Shuttle will start running at 1 and will run for 2 hours after the game. If you are taking the RTA downtown, you can get off an Ohio City and it drops you in the middle of fun, near the West Side Market. 

More info here: http://www.greatlakesbrewing.com/events/3600

TownHall Ohio City - 1909 W. 25th Street
Open at 11 am. 

This sounds fun, they have Italian or Vegan Sausage Ball Park Box with fries or chips, Bell's Oberon Draft or Milkshake (!) and cracker Jacks for $12. 

If you or any in your posse are vegan, this is the joint to go to. They also have a great selection for the carnivores in the group. 

More info here: http://www.townhallohiocity.com

If I have missed something, please let me know and I will update the post accordingly. 

GO TRIBE!