Why? Playhouse Square Partners!

Last night, Playhouse Square Partners kicked off our programming for 2019-2020 with an Oktoberfest-themed membership open house at Hofbrauhaus Cleveland.

From cheap liters of beer to yummy pretzels to the chance to get to be among the first to know the theme for the upcoming Jump Back Ball, there was a lot of fun to be had!

Speaking of Jump Back Ball, this year’s theme is From Jukebox to Boombox. The party of the year takes place on Saturday, February 29 and tickets go on sale on October 29. You won’t want to miss it!

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But Partners is so much more than just Jump Back Ball. We plan monthly events that range from networking to socializing to volunteering and fundraising. Our fundraising efforts support Playhouse Square’s Community Engagement and Education initiatives, such as Disney Musicals in Schools and the Dazzle Awards.

I’ve been involved with Partners for eight years now and am completing my sixth and final year on the Board. I’ve seen firsthand how much fun we have, how much good we do, and how amazing it is to be connected to Playhouse Square, which is truly an icon in the Cleveland community.

If you’re interested in joining Partners, you can learn more about our membership levels and benefits here. You can also join me at one of our upcoming events:

  • September Monthly Members Meeting on Monday, September 16. Join us for a Happy Half Hour, followed by committee break-out sessions where you can learn more about the various Partners committees and help us plan upcoming events.
  • Partners Dine Around on Monday, September 23. Choose one of four restaurants in the Playhouse Square District and dine with Partners members. Afterward, all the groups will meet up for a nightcap at Parnell’s Pub.

I hope to see you at one of these events and that you’ll save the date for Jump Back Ball!

***Disclosure: I am the communications co-chair for Playhouse Square Partners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Matthew’s Birthday!

Last week, Matthew turned 40, which called for several celebrations…

Marble Room Steaks and Raw Bar

Marble Room Steaks and Raw Bar was one of the spots we kept wanting to go to, but hadn’t yet. A big birthday celebration seemed like the perfect reason to go!

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We went a bit before our reservation time, so we could enjoy a cocktail at the bar and take in the ambiance first (thanks for the pro tip, Adam and Rebecca!)

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I had the Love Potion, with Belvedere Vodka, Pama Liqueur, grilled pineapple purée, pomegranate glaze, baked coconut flakes, and cranberry juice. This was light, fruity, and seasonally perfect!

Matthew had the High on Life, with Tanquerey Gin, St. Germain Elderflower, Dolin Blanc, cucumber, mint, lemon juice, and shiso leaf.

For dinner, we shared two appetizers: Hamachi Jalapeño Crudo and Duck Confit Duo (a Korean BBQ bao bun and confit-mushroom spring rolls).

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The Hamachi was perfection and the duck was smoky and delicious. I could drink the ginger-plum sauce that came with the duck!

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For our entrees, we made our own surf and turf. Matthew chose the dry-aged Delmonico and I had the King Crab. Both were simple, but prepared very well.

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The side dishes are shareable and we split the Crispy Potato Cake, with roasted poblano and guajillo chiles, garlic, scallion, and cotija cheese. It’s like a hash brown in heaven!

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For dessert, Matthew was presented with Marble Room’s homemade special-occasion cotton candy.

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He also got the Liz’s Gilded Chocolate Cake and I got the classic Vanilla Bean Crème Brulée, served with a snickerdoodle cookie (my favorite cookie).

The food, service, and atmosphere all truly made it a very special meal!

The Lion King

From there, we walked down to Playhouse Square to see The Lion King.

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The show is playing at the KeyBank State Theatre through Sunday, September 1 and is truly something to see. You know the story, of course, but there are new songs and the costumes are incredible. Disney never skimps on production value!

Dinner at Home

On Thursday (Matthew’s actual birthday), we enjoyed a family dinner at home with tacos and birthday cake, which is a meal that can keep everyone from a 5-year old to a 40-year old happy!

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Jeffrey helped make the cake, which made it even more special!

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Masthead Brewing Co.

Then on Saturday, we gathered with friends at Masthead Brewing Co. for one last birthday celebration of this big year.

Masthead was the perfect spot to meet up: great beer, delicious food, a nice patio, convenient parking, family-friendly for those who wanted to bring their kids…

We ordered lots of pizza and pretzels to share and of course enjoyed lots of craft beer, too!

It was a fun few days celebrating! Where are your go-to birthday celebration spots?

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Why? Tours of Cleveland!

Even when you think you know a place, there are always stories you haven’t heard before. This week, I had a chance to hear some new Cleveland stories as I went on a walking tour with Tours of Cleveland.

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I took the Cleveland From the Inside Walking Tour, which takes you around to several Cleveland landmarks to explore the interiors of those buildings.

Scott, our tour guide, was both personable and knowledgeable, with a ton of great facts and anecdotes at his fingertips. As a former college tour guide, I was also impressed with his ability to walk backward while talking to the group without falling over!

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While I don’t want to give away what you’d see and hear on the tour, I will highlight the places we went…

We started at the Old Stone Church, which I had never been inside before.

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Next was the Society for Savings building, which has some fascinating murals with a message.

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Then we explored the impressive lobby of the Federal Reserve Bank. It was neat to hear stories of the security measures installed with the original building in 1923.

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Our next stop was the Cleveland Public Library, which is celebrating its 150th year.

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If you haven’t been up to the third floor of the library, there is an amazing collection of chess sets, miniature books, and more that is worth a look.

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Then we meandered through the Arcade, the country’s first indoor shopping mall.

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We stopped in the Cleveland Trust building, which now houses the downtown Heinen’s.

And the tour ended at Playhouse Square, with stops in the Ohio Theatre and Connor Palace Theatre lobbies, as well as the house of the KeyBank State Theatre.

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It was fun to step inside buildings that sometimes I just walk past and also to hear more of the history of the art and architecture of the buildings. Cleveland has a rich and storied past and Scott did a wonderful job bringing that to life.

Tours of Cleveland offers two different public walking tours: Downtown Highlights and Cleveland From the Inside. Both tours are approximately two hours long and cost $22 per person. You can also book Tours of Cleveland for corporate or private groups. Click here to book a public or private tour and learn more about our amazing city!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Tours of Cleveland to help promote their walking tours. In exchange, I received a complimentary tour admission. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

Other than stuffing ourselves at B Spot Burgers, there was more fun to be had this weekend. Here’s what we were up to…

Cleveland Public Library Street Fair

On Friday, Jeffrey and I attended a Media Preview for the Cleveland Public Library‘s Street Fair, celebrating the library’s 150th anniversary.

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The Reading Garden was filled with artwork, puppeteers, and Glen Infante creating a mural.

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We also got to meet Eric Litwin, author of “Pete the Cat.” Jeffrey loves that book, so it was fun for him to get to chat with the author!

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The Cleveland Public Library’s Street Fair really brought the community together to celebrate such a vital part of our history and culture. Here’s to another 150 years!

Date Night

On Saturday night, Matthew and I had a date night. We started with dinner at Burntwood Tavern. I enjoyed the lobster ravioli and Matthew had the mahi mahi special.

Both were delicious!

Then we were off to see “Come From Away” at Playhouse Square. The last show of this season’s KeyBank Broadway Series was funny, heartwarming, sad, and thought-provoking.

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It not only took the audience back to their own memories of September 11 and the days following, but also made us examine how we welcome each other as members of the human family.

When we arrived at the theater for the show, the man ahead of us in the Will Call line had two extra floor seats that he generously gave us. It was so unexpected and the perfect way to start a show about the kindness of strangers!

***Disclosure: I have a partnership with Burntwood Tavern and received a Burntwood Tavern gift card. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Cedar Point Shores

On Sunday, we went to Cedar Point Shores for a day of splashing and swimming.

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It was the perfect summer day to be at a water park!

On the way home, we stopped at Krieg’s Farm Market and Custard for some frozen custard.

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Krieg’s offers weekly seasonal frozen custard specials. I had the red raspberry and chocolate swirl and it was delicious! It’s a bit off the beaten path, but worth a visit!

So, that was our weekend? How was yours?

jenclesig_pur

Why? DANCECleveland BalletX Giveaway!

DANCECleveland is going all out for the 2019 National Dance Day on Saturday, July 27, with an ADF in CLE Summer Dance Festival that includes free community dance classes, a Take a Hike Tour, and Community Dance Day around the Playhouse Square district. Classes are for all ages and abilities and free, although registration is encouraged.

DANCECleveland’s celebration of National Dance Day will conclude with the dance company that is the darling of the Vail International Dance Festival and their own hometown of Philadelphia: BalletX.

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BalletX will make their Cleveland debut in an evening of works by some of the most exciting choreographers creating work today. Founded in 2005, the company has been applauded for their athleticism, emotion, and grace while challenging the boundaries of classical ballet. Having toured to prestigious venues around the world, it is so exciting to welcome them to Cleveland.

The performance will take place at 7:30pm on Saturday, July 27 in the Ohio Theatre. There is a pre-performance chat in the theatre that begins 45 minutes before the show.

BalletX Tickets range from $20-$45 and can be purchased online. Or you can enter to win two tickets to BalletX right here!

Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment here for each):

1.Leave a comment here telling me your favorite style of dance.

2. Visit DanceCleveland and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

3. Follow @dancecleveland and @whycle on Instagram and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

4. Follow @DANCECleveland and @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

5. Tweet the following phrase and leave a comment here letting me know you tweeted:

I want to celebrate National Dance Day with @DANCECleveland thanks to @WhyCLE #giveaway https://whycle.com/2019/07/05/why-dancecleveland-balletx-giveaway 

You can tweet once per day for additional entries, just leave a separate comment here each time you tweet.

The giveaway will close on Wednesday, July 10 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by DANCECleveland to help promote the BalletX performance. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary tickets for myself and two tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Playhouse Square Partners at Bin 216!

Last night, Playhouse Square Partners celebrated the end of our (fiscal) year with our fifth annual wine tasting night at Bin 216.

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This event has become both a staple and a favorite for the organization. This year’s theme was South American wines and we enjoyed five courses of small bites and wines that were perfectly paired.

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Our first course paired Leyda Sauvignon Blanc with Asparagus & Egg Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette.

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You really can’t go wrong in my book with either asparagus or Sauvignon Blanc!

Our second course paired Tilia Chardonnay with a Seared Scallop over Sweet Corn Purée and Herb Oil.

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This particularly chardonnay was very oaky and on its own was not my favorite, but when paired with the food, it was quite good.

Our third course paired Root 1 Carmenere with Devils on Horseback.

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This peppery, delicious red wine was perfect by itself, but became even more delicious when paired with the chorizo-stuffed dates of happiness. (This was my favorite course, can you tell?)

Our fourth course paired Catena Malbec with Grilled Chicken Kabobs with Chimichurri.

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Much like the first course, this course paired two can’t miss items for me: Malbec and chimichurri.

Our fifth course paired El Enemigo Bonarda with Marinated, Smoked, and Grilled Portobello Mushroom Risotto.

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The risotto had a delicious, smoky taste to it which matched the wine nicely and added a depth of flavor you don’t always get with this kind of dish.

All in all, it was a delicious evening trying some new-to-me wines. Bin 216 is a great pre- or post-theater stop, with ambiance (check out that view of the beautiful Ohio Theatre lobby), delicious food, and great wines.

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And if you’re interested in getting involved with Playhouse Square Partners, we’re starting our Jump Back Ball 29 planning on Thursday, July 11 at Market Garden Brewery. You don’t have to be a member to attend. Click here to learn more and RSVP.

***Disclosure: I am the Communications Co-Chair for Playhouse Square Partners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

Oh my gosh, you guys. It’s JULY! When did that happen?! Here’s how we closed out the last weekend in June…

John Carroll Alumni Volunteer Summit

I spent a good part of my weekend up at John Carroll University attending the inaugural Alumni Volunteer Summit, which was truly energizing and inspiring.

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Image Source: @jcualumni 

The Summit brought together alumni volunteers from various university departments and areas of the country to share ideas, learn about the university’s vision for the future, and eat ice cream overlooking our beautiful alma mater’s campus.

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We kicked off the Summit with a cookout outside of Murphy Hall, spent Saturday hearing from various departments within the university, and ended with a party on the Quad with a band and food trucks.

Matthew and I stuffed ourselves with pizza, mozzarella sticks, and truffle fries from Sauced Wood Fired Pizza (the firecracker chicken pizza is so good).

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As one of the incoming members of the Alumni Association Board, the Summit was a great chance for me to connect with other Board members and get ready to once again give back to a place that has given me so much.

Dear Evan Hansen

On Saturday night, Matthew and I attended one of the final Cleveland performances of “Dear Evan Hansen.”

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This deeply moving, funny, true, heavy, beautiful story made me laugh, cry, and think about loneliness, human connection, parenting, and so much more. I was so glad we had a chance to see it!

Cedar Point

On Sunday, we met up with our dear friends (and some of Jeffrey’s godparents) Amanda and Scott for a toasty, fun summer day at Cedar Point.

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Jeffrey is enjoying his new height and was able to ride Thunder Canyon for the first (and second and third) time this season.

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From rides to lunch at Famous Dave’s to ice cream at Toft’s to fun with some of our favorite people, it was a perfect summer Sunday!

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How was your weekend? Do you have big plans for the holiday week?

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Why? Tri-C Jazz Fest!

Last night, the 40th anniversary year of Tri-C Jazz Fest kicked off at Playhouse Square in swinging, soulful style.

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Tower of Power opened the festival with a funky, raucous performance that brought the audience to their feet several times.

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With a fantastic horn section and an easy-on-the-eyes lead singer who also is insanely talented, this concert certainly set the stage for a weekend of “le jazz hot.”

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After the concert, we popped over to the VIP after party, with sips and nibbles and more live music.

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That’s the theme of the weekend for Jazz Fest: anywhere you go in the Playhouse Square District, you’ll hear live music. From free outdoor performances on Friday and Saturday to ticketed concerts in the theaters to kids activities to cooking demos to local food and craft vendors, you can spend two full days enjoying a fully immersive cultural experience.

For me, Tri-C Jazz Fest is one of those annual events that really illustrates the breadth and depth of Cleveland’s cultural might. The festival commands performances from jazz legends and brings all walks of life together to celebrate what is called “the original American art form.”

For a swinging good time, head to Tri-C Jazz Fest this weekend!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Tri-C Jazz Fest. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to the concert of my choice, as well as access to the VIP After Party. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Dancing Wheels!

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend a rehearsal as the Dancing Wheels company prepares for “Reverse*Reboot*Reveal” on Friday, June 14 at the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square.

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Dancing Wheels is the nation’s first and foremost physically integrated dance company that pairs disabled dancers with non-disabled dancers.

“Reverse*Reboot*Reveal” will feature four world premiere pieces by internationally-acclaimed disabled choreographers. I got a glimpse at these pieces at the rehearsal and was amazed by the beauty, grace, and haunting emotion of the company’s performances.

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Dancing Wheels also provides in-studio classes, K-12 in-classroom education, and a summer Youth Arts Camp, so the organization is truly in the community creating greater understanding and acceptance of those with disabilities and fostering integrated partnerships with the non-disabled.

Dancing Wheels’s founder, Mary Verdi-Fletcher, is world-renowned as a wheelchair dancer and has a passion not only for the art form, but for the organization she founded in 1980.

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Attending “Reverse*Reboot*Reveal” will not only provide an evening of entertainment, but will support the Dancing Wheels mission and programming.

Tickets are $40 for general admission, which includes the performance and after party. VIP tickets are $125 and include a Gala Celebration with pre-performance hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, silent auction, prime seating for the concert, and meet & greet dessert and champagne after party.

Join Dancing Wheels for an inspirational night of dance on Friday, June 14!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Dancing Wheels to help promote Reverse*Reboot*Reveal. In exchange, I will receive compensation for this post. I declined two tickets to the show due to scheduling conflicts. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Tri-C Jazz Fest Giveaway!

Cleveland has such a wealth of cultural offerings and one of the coolest happens when the weather heats up. This summer marks the milestone 40th annual Tri-C JazzFest, presented by KeyBank, happening June 27-29 at Playhouse Square.

Tri-C JazzFest packs a great lineup of concerts, celebrating Cleveland’s contributions to jazz with both iconic and emerging artists.

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On June 28 and 29, you can enjoy free concerts from seventeen different local bands on the outdoor Strassman Insurance Stage at Playhouse Square. Check out the full schedule here.

The weekend’s outdoor activities also include shopping tents and trucks, cooking demonstrations, food trucks, balloon art, giant puppets, dancing, games, photo opps, artist interviews, and much more.

The indoor line-up of ticketed concerts includes such diverse performers as Christian McBride, Clayton-Hamilton, Regina Carter and Xavier Davis, Dominick Farinacci’s Rhapsody in Blue, and more.

Tri-C JazzFest individual tickets and festival passes are on sale now. Or you can enter to win two tickets to the indoor concert of your choice right here!

Here’s how to enter to win (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment here for each):

1. Leave a comment telling me which concert you would like to attend.

2. Visit Tri-C JazzFest and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

3. Hop over to @whycle on Instagram and follow the instructions with the Tri-C Jazz Fest image.

4. Follow @TriCJazzFest and @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

5. Tweet the following phrase and leave a comment here letting me know you tweeted:

I want to win tickets to @TriCJazzFest from @WhyCLE #giveaway #tricjazzfest https://whycle.com/2019/05/21/why-tri-c-jazz-fest-giveaway-5 

You can tweet once per day for additional entries, just leave a separate comment each time you tweet.

The giveaway will close on Sunday, May 26 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Tri-C JazzFest. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary tickets to the show and special event of my choice, as well as two tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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