This week we welcome Amber Cullen, organizer of “Until Name Becomes Prayer,” which takes place Monday, Feb. 26, 7 p.m. at Summit Artspace and will feature award-winning Samoan poet and educator William Alfred Nu’utupu Giles, who will stop through Akron as part of his national poetry tour. We also speak with Pumpkin, a Native-American artist, writer and speaker, whose pottery demonstrations will join a number of other local artists at the "Until Name Becomes Prayer" event, including Himalayan Music Academy (music/dance), Gum-Dip Theatre (theatre), Hula Fusion (dance), Akron BMe Community (poetry) and Poetry is Life Publishing (poetry). Pumpkin, who moved to the Akron area from the Southwest, shares an indigenous perspective to being an American and talks about how Giles’ visit will help raise native voices through creativity, meaningful discussion, arts and other avenues. Giles’ visit also will include writing workshops and open mics, like an "open mic response" Tuesday, Feb. 27, 7 p.m. at The Exchange House (760 Elma St., on North Hill). Visit the “Until Name Becomes Prayer” event page for info.
Yeah, we know. This is a tagline from another podcast (My Favorite Murder), but it seems like a useful piece of advice, one of many we share as the “Core Four” catches up and talks about the myriad cool developments in town, like eBay choosing Akron for a first-of-its-kind retail initiative, the new Akron Art Library, along with self-help tips like using car karaoke as therapy. We also discuss our new podcast direction, which will center around interesting local people in more experience-based interviews. If you have any ideas for future episodes, please send them our way at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the Akron Makerspace, the only limits are your own imagination. From 3-D printing to woodworking, sewing, laser-engraving, metalwork and crafts, you can pretty much make anything at this volunteer-staffed membership organization. This week, Chris and Shane sit down with Devin Wolfe and Beck Radonich, from Akron Makerspace, about the growing national “maker movement” and the organization’s many offerings, including free classes, game nights and mentorships, along with the Makerspace’s future plans to move into Bounce - Akron's Innovation Hub, a new collaborative that will offer a one-stop shop for startups, innovators, universities and others. Bounce also will help makers scale up their business models and ideas. For info about this incredible organization, visit www.akronmakerspace.org.
This week, we visit Melodie Laird, a stylist at Dino Palmieri Salon, in Fairlawn's Summit Mall, who takes great care in her work. She’s able to read people and their hair to determine the best style for her customers. She also discusses how her job is part psychologist, and she’s even inadvertently helped save a customer from a health scare, as she points out when recounting a memorable experience. And Shane, Ryan and Cody get their hair styled, which you can see by checking out our accompanying video on the Spoils of Akron Facebook page.
While virtual reality is typically known within gaming and entertainment, there are a number of practical applications for this technology, says Eric Vaughan and Tony Samangy, who join Shane and Cody to talk about their Knight Arts Challenge winning grant. The project, a collaboration between Red Point Digital and VR Skunkworks, will not only teach virtual reality production to local children, but it will also specialize in stop-motion animation, making this a rare opportunity for learning. They discuss narrative virtual reality, along with the challenges of applying stop-motion animation in a 360-degree space, which is wholly unique. This is the final installment in a series about recent Knight Arts Challenge winners. To see a full list of grantees, visit https://knightfoundation.org/articles/meet-akron-s-2017-knight-arts-challenge-winners.
William Shakespeare’s plays were challenging gender and identity long before today’s discussion of gender fluidity, and his prolific body of work was ahead of its time in many ways. A new project by Rubber City Theatre, called Shakesqueer, taps into this universality of Shakespeare’s works and will adapt a few classics with LGBT themes and characters that are also reflective of Akron. The idea was a recent winner in the Knight Arts Challenge and Dane Leasure, founder and artistic director of Rubber City Theatre, joins Shane, Cody and Chris to talk about Shakesqueer, the theatre company’s new home on Romig Road (part of a unique partnership with the Salvation Army of Akron and Summit County) and the troupe’s current production of Charles Dickens’ "A Christmas Carol." For more info and to find upcoming Rubber City Theatre productions this season, visit www.rubbercitytheatre.com. This is the third podcast in a series featuring Knight Arts Challenge winners.
When Jane Berkner founded Urban Troubadour, she wanted to offer Akronites a taste of musical culture and engagement within unique spaces, like art galleries, hotels and other attractions, featuring a collective of area musicians. Urban Troubadour also is a recent winner of the Knight Arts Challenge, which Berkner says will help raise the organization’s profile and help continue these performancess. One of the goals, she says, is to get residents downtown and into urban spaces to explore and enjoy the character and architecture of these buildings. Chris and Cody speak with Jane about her goals and aspirations for this collective and some of the challenges with being an artist in Akron. For info about upcoming performances, visit https://www.urbantroubadour.org/.
This week, we welcome Brit Charek, a recent winner of the Knight Arts Challenge, whose project will take a unique spin on film festivals. The Bechdel Fest will highlight movies that pass the “Bechdel Test,” coined by Alison Bechdel, which requires that there are two women who talk to each other about something besides a man. You’d be surprised at the number of mainstream films that lack this criteria, she says, hoping this project will help move the needle on the way we look at equality. Brit, who also runs the wildly successful Crafty Mart, visits Shane and Chris, along with her two boys, one of whom is likely the youngest podcast guest in Spoils of Akron history. This is the first interview in a series featuring recent Knight Arts Challenge winners. For a full list of grantees, visit https://knightfoundation.org/articles/meet-akron-s-2017-knight-arts-challenge-winners.
The Spoils of Akron team visits the recent Akron Comicon, which has become more successful with each year. We speak with Ted Sikora and Milo Miller, who created a Cleveland-based comic that’s taken the comics world by storm. "Apama: The Undiscovered Animal" centers around IIlyia Jarsky, an ice cream truck driver who awakens a savage creature within. We also speak with Marc Sumerak, a local writer who has worked on a number of notable titles, from "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "X-Men" to "Avengers" and the "Walking Dead." Shane and Chris interview Ryan and Cody about their group Rubber City Cosplay, and we also speak with Mike Savene, co-founder of Akron Comicon, who shares some news about upcoming events. For info, visit http://www.akroncomicon.com/.
When Sage Lewis ran for mayor two years ago, he saw the problem of homelessness firsthand while canvassing the city. Since then, he’s put his money where his mouth is by launching a number of efforts, including the Second Chance Store and Village, which carries a sense of community, responsibility and dignity for those facing homelessness. Run by Paul Hays, who himself was in a rough situation before joining this group, the Second Chance Village is a mini tent city with its own council, set of rules and conduct and job-training within the on-site second-hand store on the property. Sage says the village also teaches people a sense of pride and responsibility. Cody, Shane and Chris speak with Sage and Paul about this unique program. To contribute to the effort, visit www.thehomelesscharity.org.