To say Karen Starr’s a busy person is a vast understatement. Co-owner of Hazel Tree Interiors, Karen is a successful interior designer, sings in the band RoxxyMoron, helps lead sustainability group GAINS and is launching into a new project with photographer Shane Wynn to tell the stories of historical Akron wallpaper, among other activities. Regardless of what she's doing, one thing’s for sure: she loves Akron. Karen stops in to speak with Liz and Chris about these and other cool projects she’s involved with.
Michael Altomare has been a staple of Highland Square. As the owner of Highland Barber Shop, he’s seen a lot of changes. And he cut Jeffrey Dahmer’s hair one time, too. Chris and Liz also interview a bonus guest: Joanna Wallfisch, who is performing at BLU Jazz+ on Wednesday. A British singer-songwriter who lives in New York, Joanna shares her thoughts on Akron and plays a beautiful song on her ukulele.
Tess Burgler tells us that Shakespeare should be seen, not read, which is why the Ohio Shakespeare Festival’s summer outdoor performances at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens are a hit among Akronites. Burgler, the group’s managing director, talks to Cody and Chris about their new home at Greystone Hall in downtown Akron and how they’re now able to offer productions year-round, along with producing classic and modern plays in addition to Shakespeare’s works. She also explains the meaning behind “original practice” when performing Shakespeare and why she refers to the Bard as “Will.”
Kaley Foster is an amazingly driven and talented Akronite. Along with running a beeswax candle company, she’s the creator of the Akron Sustainer, a refurbished shipping container that educates residents about more sustainable living. Kaley speaks with Chris and Liz about the spirit of collaboration inherent in Akron, the health benefits of beeswax candles and the cultural resurgence occurring in the Northside District of downtown Akron. Also, Liz shares her affinity for tiny things along with some honey sticks.
Now that we have your attention, this week we welcome back Shane Wynn, who has risen to prominence for her artful photography skills and the fact that she's basically at every Akron event with camera in hand. Shane's also a great storyteller, and she shares some humorous tales with us: about the wonder that is Glendale Cemetery, favorite burgers (and what exactly a “ham dog” is) and thrifting, along with chatting with Liz, Cody and Chris about Square Fest, the Akron Zoo, Akron Farm & Flea and the aforementioned “cleavage incident," which took place at the now-closed Bucket Shop.
At only 16, Kofi Boakye has accomplished more than some do their whole lives. The pianist performed earlier this year on the EJ Thomas stage with the Akron Symphony, and he'll be headlining a concert at the Akron Civic Theatre Sept. 30. Kofi attends Akron Early College and is a dynamic public speaker with a keen sense of self. Ryan and Chris sit down with him to find out what motivates this talented young man and what his future may hold.
At today’s Akron Farm & Flea event at Musica, Ryan and Chris spoke with noted Akron authors David Giffels and Jane Ann Turzillo about publishing books in a digital world, the state of journalism and why they choose to live in Akron. The author of “The Hard Way on Purpose” and “All the Way Home,” David also wrote the forward for the upcoming “Akron Anthology” book of Rust Belt essays, whose release party is Oct. 18, 6 p.m. at the Akron-Summit County Public Library. He also gives us some information about his new book. Jane’s latest release is “Unsolved Murders & Disappearances in Northeast Ohio,” and she specializes in historical crime. Visit davidgiffels.com and www.janeturzillo.com to buy their books and learn more about the authors.
We apologize for the cliche title, but it does fit this week’s podcast, in which we speak with local (and internationally known) jazz musician Theron Brown, who stopped in to promote the Rubber City Jazz & Blues Festival, this weekend (Aug. 26 and 27) throughout Downtown Akron’s Historic District. The festival features a lineup of exceptionally talented local and regional performers, along with food trucks and children's activities. Find "Rubber City Jazz & Blues Festival" on Facebook for details.
Highland Square’s PorchRokr Festival, which takes place this Saturday, Aug. 20, has become one of the premier Akron arts and culture events, with 130 bands prepared to take the stage (or the porches), along with a beer garden, local vendors, kid zone and a silent disco among the many activities planned for the all-day event. Liz and Chris speak with Katie Carver Reed and Anita Marron, two of the organizers behind PorchRokr. But they're quick to point out that it takes a big team to pull off this effort; close to 100 people, in fact. For a list of bands, vendors and other attractions, visit www.porchrokr.org for a downloadable map and schedule.