10,000 people. 135 bands. Dozens of food and craft vendors and artisans. Highland Square PorchRokr, which takes place Saturday, Aug. 19, is one of Akron’s premier events and a veritable buffet of cool local music. This week, we welcome Katie Carver Reed, a PorchRokr organizer and community champion, along with Jeri Sapronetti, the lead singer and guitarist of Akron band Time Cat, which will headline this year’s event. Katie shares some of the behind the scenes work that goes into PorchRokr (which involves about a month of recovery time for volunteers), and Jeri says PorchRokr is her favorite event, which she also affectionately refers to as “Rock and Roll Christmas.” Jeri and Shane feel inspired to bust out some Madonna tunes, with the possible plan of a Madonna karaoke in the future. Check out http://www.highlandsquareakron.org/porchrokr.aspx for more info about the event.
Akron is a symphony, and together each of us is contributing to this beautiful music, says Anoo Vyas, one of the founders of the PechaKucha Akron speaking series, which he describes as a Ted Talk with a more festive atmosphere. Anoo is a tireless supporter of all things Akron, which is apparent in his enthusiasm when talking with Shane and Chris about his recent name change (more like a name reboot), Akron’s “idiosyncratic charisma” and even Shane’s early fast food career. Another fun fact: Anoo and Shane share the same birthday. In fact, for their recent birthdays, they threw an epic Akron party and plan to do so again this year (and everyone’s invited, by the way). Anoo also talks about serving as co-director of the University of Akron’s EXL Center, which helps connect students with the community, along with his career as an attorney working in the area of social justice. PechaKucha Akron takes place Friday, Aug. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Well CDC.
Chris Horne, publisher of The Devil Strip magazine, wants to celebrate all things Akron. That’s why this Saturday’s Signal Tree Festival will pack downtown Akron’s Lock 3 with the best in local bands, local food, family-friendly activities and more, like a Freeplay! event with the Akron Children’s Museum, OddMart, a jo-jo eating contest, parade of pizza, Soap Box Derby cars and human foosball table. Chris admits that he’s come a long way since his proposed bacon and kazoo festival in his native city of Macon, Ga., and he also does a mean Bane impression (a voice he says he uses to read stories to his daughter). Shane, Ryan and Chris speak with the Rubber City convert about his changing Southern accent, local publishing, the “Macon Migration” of some other cool folks from Chris’ hometown and the upcoming “Blimp City Guide.”
Without our history of canals and locks, Akron would not be the city it is today, says Don Gordon, executive director of the Cascade Locks Park Association and the Mustill Store Museum, who takes Ryan and Chris on a tour of the park and site of the former Schumacher Mill, which housed Akron’s “Oat King.” Don also talks about the Waterways Renewed project, which will help clean up our water system in Akron and eliminate sewer overflows. Free tours are available to check out the progress of this massive city effort, which includes a giant machine named "Rosie" that will tunnel underground. The Cascade Locks Park site also connects downtown Akron to the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath trail and has helped make the Northside District a destination.
For tours and other info, visit http://akronwaterwaysrenewed.com and http://cascadelocks.org.
Joey Arrietta considers her job a labor of love. The owner and general manager of the Akron Racers professional softball team talks with Cody and Chris about Akron's stake in this league that has now gained an international reach (one of the current National Pro Fastpitch teams is from China). The league will also most likely provide athletes for the 2020 Olympic Games. Attendees of Akron Racers games are treated to a family-friendly experience and an up-close look at the players, who Arrietta says play for the love of the game. She also discusses a recently completed documentary, "Burn the Ships," which profiles the highs and lows of the team and has helped bring more positive attention to the sport and to women athletes. Visit http://www.akronracers.org to order tickets or find out more about the team.
The Akron Art Museum is a cultural gem in our community. From groundbreaking exhibits, like the current “Serial Intent” show that features complete series collections from artists, to the Inside|Out program, which displays artwork throughout area neighborhoods, the Museum has just about anything for all types of people. Dominic Caruso and Jennifer Shipman talk to Shane and Ryan about the Museum’s many offerings, from the Downtown At Dusk free Thursday concert series to yoga and meditation in the Bud and Susie Rogers Garden for Wellness Wednesdays. Shane also shares a story about the sheer resiliency of the Museum’s Inside|Out pieces. Be sure to check out the Art Museum at www.akronartmuseum.org.
The Winery at Wolf Creek offers a scenic overlook, locally grown wine and a 10-acre vineyard in nearby Norton. Shane and Cody speak with owner Andy Troutman about the winery's history and what makes its wine unique, and Andy introduces them to the resident goats, along with some of his favorite wines. Wolf Creek also hosts a number of special events, like Yappy Hour for dogs and their owners (which was happening during the interview). They also discuss the recent explosion and fire, during which, thankfully, no one was injured.
JT Buck is a force to be reckoned with in the arts community. He just wrapped up a successful run of “Goosetown,” a musical he wrote and composed about the South Side neighborhood’s ties to the city’s rubber history (as part of New World Performance Lab’s “Devil’s Milk Trilogy”). And more recently, he was named artistic director of Coach House Theatre, which is celebrating 90 years of performances in the community. JT talks with Shane, Cody and Chris about “a million little shifts,” a 20-year career in theatre, spending a year in Vermont with a meditative job and his favorite Akron haunts, among other topics.
For this "in between" episode, Chris ventures a few minutes south to join hundreds of families for the Canton Museum of Art’s “Night at the Museum” event, in tandem with the “Avatars: Relics from the Future” exhibit. Joined by Danielle, he speaks with a number of kids about what items they treasure, along with their hopes for the future, and their favorite jokes and stories.
Like a stream-of-consciousness verse, Akron’s poetry scene is steadily growing and taking shape, and Shane and Chris speak with three of the scene’s promising poets: Noor Hindi, Yoly and Mike Krutel. Yoly and Noor talk about the Poetry in Akron series, which enables local writers to perform their poems and spoken word, and Mike is one of the founders of the Big Big Mess Reading Series, which takes place monthly at Annabell’s. All three of the poets do a live reading, and Shane also busts out her poetry skills with an Akron-centric lyric (with promises of a Spoils of Akron rap in the near future).