Why? Weekends!

It was a very theatrical weekend for me, as I got to take part in some of the great artistic culture CLE has to offer. On Saturday, CLEguy and I attended the Near West Theatre benefit. The event was held in Trinity Commons, but I had no idea we’d spend the evening in a beautiful old cathedral which was transformed for the evening.

Actors from Near West Theatre, in Old English costume and accent, wandered through the crowd, entertaining us even before the official performance started. We were immediately drawn to the large buffet, with food prepared by Spice of Life Catering.

There was a “royal menu” and a “peasant menu” and we had ample amounts from both. The royal menu included lobster pappardelle, beef, and apple and chicken sausage. The peasant menu offered cabbage and noodles, root vegetable stew with wild rice, and roasted chicken. Everything was tasty and delicious! There were also fabulous mini desserts provided by Gypsy Beans and Baking.

We were treated to a brief performance from the Near West Theatre group, who impressed me with their talent and passion, particularly the children involved in the production.

Afterwards, the floor was open for dancing, checking out the silent auction, and mingling with friends. We got to see fellow bloggers (and their significant others) Clue Into Cleveland, Bite Buff, and Finding the Time. Special thanks to Sara from Finding the Time, since I won tickets for the event from her blog contest.

Near West Theatre is in the midst of a capital campaign to build a new passive energy theater at West 67th and Detroit in the Gordon Square Arts District. The benefit was a fabulous production and hopefully went a long way to making this new theater a reality.

After the benefit, Spice Kitchen and Bar hosted an after-party. Having been to Spice Kitchen for the #HollaDays party, I was anxious to return and sample some of their menu. I tried the mushroom beignets, which I can only describe as fried puffs of mushroom deliciousness.

I also couldn’t pass up the chai pot de creme and CLEguy selected the chocolate sampler.

The chai pot de creme was cinnamon-y and creamy and the perfect winter treat, particularly when you dipped the shortbread cookies in it. CLEguy loved the chocolate sampler, with everything from chocolate-covered hazelnuts to spicy chocolate bark to chocolate molten cookies. From the looks of it, I think the chocolate pieces came from Lilly Chocolates, but I forgot to ask our server.

All in all, a fantastic evening celebrating local theater, as well as some of the best and tastiest that Gordon Square has to offer!

But I wasn’t done being theatrical for the weekend! For Christmas, CLEguy and I told his dad to pick a show at Playhouse Sqaure. His dad chose the performance of a piece called “Oyster” by the Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak Dance Company.

The performance was sponsored by DANCECleveland, one of only eight stand-alone dance-only presenters in the country. DANCECleveland seeks to bring unique dance companies to Cleveland. The Pinto and Pollak company is based in Israel and DANCECleveland spent over two years working out the details to bring the company here.

The show was incredibly interesting and unique – a bit like Cirque de Soleil, but with less acrobatics and more dance. And I’m always taken away to another place by the beauty of the Playhouse Square theaters. The cast also a did a question-and-answer session with the audience, which helped shed light on the theme and message of the show.

CLEguy’s dad loved the show, which is what you hope someone will feel about their Christmas gift! After the performance, we had dinner at Bricco. Tasty pasta and retail-priced wine night combined to make a great dinner. Bricco is a convenient option after shows at Playhouse Square. Personally, I can’t wait until Zack Bruell’s Cowell and Hubbard opens and provides another tasty post-show option.

So, that was my weekend, experiencing some of more unique theater that Cleveland has to offer. I’m reminded again how fortunate we are to have such a strong cultural arts community in CLE. What’s your favorite place to see a show in CLE?

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