Category Archives: Cleveland

Once a Hawk

Hawken School Class of 1972 Reunion

library, Upper School, Hawken School

This past weekend I went to my forty-fifth high school reunion, for the Class of ’72. I have been to every single five year Class of ’72 Hawken School (Gates Mills, Ohio,) reunion. The first one was in 1977. I was living in Middlebury Vermont at the time.

This year the hallowed men’s circle that uniquely characterizes the class’s fraternal ritual was at an Upper School (grades 9-12) transformed by a luxurious new 21st century series of connected school buildings. As you can see, some of us took the tour. Almost nothing of our own experience ‘back in the day’ naturally translates to the new surroundings; and, I note as much while also regarding the addition of women to the upper school classes starting in 1974. The buck buck tree is still there. Several of the old building’s wings, with their fifties utilitarian cinder blocks, have remained connected to the new campus.

Each reunion presents a mini seminar in men, masculinity, adult development, families, and, the second law of thermodynamics. It’s a lovely group.

You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land, there is no other life but this. (Henry David Thoreau)

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in adult learning, Cleveland, friends, personal, self-knowledge | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Straight ‘Poiethics’ But With a Beat

librarian Kenneth warren

Ken Warren | photo purloined from Lakewood Observer

NOWHERE TO RUN

There’s nowhere
to run in marriage

Working and paying everyday
for wanting her,

But if you’d leap,
like Screamin’ Jay Hawkins,

Past the shadow curved around her,
into whatever’s left in your coffin,

You could rip free
from her wine sack

Your Noah, your Pip,
your keel, your breaker,

And sail with them
into the raging wave to come.

Ken Warren (1953-2015)

h/t Joe Napora, who posted this on
honoringkenwarren

Stephen Calhoun artist

Life is for

the living,

death is for

us all.

(Abdullah Ibrahim)

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in Cleveland, Kenneth Warren, poetry, sufism | Leave a comment

Fronting Front

Rock stars seems to be an odd metaphor for art, given the state of the world of rock music, and, even more so, given the difference between the scarcity model of high art that underlines art world status, and, the popularization model–based in hits and reach–of pop music. There isn’t a good way to bridge Justin Bieber with Al Wu Wei, or Adele with Damien Hirst. Anyway, I wonder about this–while Mr. Bidwell’s sense does, once again, moves me to consider the similarities and disparities betwixt the art and music markets.

Jens Hoffman asserts “real creativity doesn’t necessarily happen anymore in LA or NY.” Is not the objective truth that real creativity has always happened most everywhere? The validation of artistry supplied by the entanglement of capitalism with the sociology of normative artistic practice provides a rather thin warrant for speaking of necessity, as Hoffman does so.

I’m being charitable. NY and LA are art centers because of the scale of capitalism and culture, and laws of institutional attraction that unfolded in the two largest American cities. From my idiosyncratic perspective, real creativity and the sites of its happening is not a question resolved by affirming the obvious, that L.A. and NYC are America’s principle art centers. First order creativity does happen where it does happen, and this would tend to disrupt the facile tautology that reduces to: city A is an art center because it is a center for art.

It will be fascinating to observe both ideas become joined by the outcome of the curatorial process which will unfold for the sake of shaping a Triennial roster of international art stars and their local counterparts.

In music, the democratization inherent in the self-organizing operations of the internet have led the mainstream music business to counter this an solidify a global cartel; and then affirm by its reach a mostly reactionary (as against an avant-garde,) “pop music.”

bonus:

FB-Sixteen-Faeiries-(2017)46x21-Stephen-Calhoun

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in art, artists, Cleveland, cultural contradictions | Tagged | Leave a comment

peak: FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art

In 2018 Cleveland will be the site of its first art triennial, FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art. This video captures the initial public meeting at Transformer Station. Fred Bidwell is the executive director. He has put together a stellar team. This video is full of interesting hints and some very fast paced exposition and contextualization.

The theme of the triennial is: Cleveland. An American City. Something like 30+ international artists and 50+ artists from our region, NEO, will be presenting art in whatever mediums the curators choose to represent the theme; or, better to say, front the theme.

This event is literally a game-changer in a region. Cleveland, itself an art-filled city, and the region, have upwards–I guess–of 500+ working artists. Fortunately, others are already working to organize artists not admitted (through its curation process) into the triennial to exhibit in a kind of shadow triennial, FRINGE. The total amount of ‘art action’ to be unfolded in 2018 is unknowable today, yet, I have a glorious feeling Front International is going to turn out to be one of 2018’s signal art events in the world.

It’s going to be a lot of fun and a learning experience to take it all in.

Soteria Vir (Stephen Calhoun, 2016)

Soteria Vir (Stephen Calhoun, 2016)

As for my own aspirations, I don’t have any. Cleveland has lots of great artists! And my own art is rigorously out-of-step. (What formally trained artist–I’m self-trained–in their right mind would intentionally aim to cause visual epiphanies for all ages?) I hope I get to help peddle t-shirts, or do something useful.

(However, now that I reflect on these matters, my art does literally recycle bits of Cleveland that I pick up off the ground or buy from local garage sales, so, in fact, much of my art is full of, made up of, this American city. So, there’s that!)

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in art, artists, Cleveland, speculations | Tagged | Leave a comment

Thunderdogs in Believeland

I raised a beer mug to toast to Cleveland “being this unusual town where music and sports are held in the highest regard.” I was a guest of Warren’s at a dinner populated with members of the Long Live Rock donor group, at the Rock Hall. People were checking their phones while the game that would decide the ALDS was being played in Toronto. The main course had been served, but the tenderloins just sat there until a guy at the end of the table turned out to have the phone with the least delay. As he turned to the group we instantly understood the last out had been recorded. Uproar of positivity!

Tonight the Cleveland Cavaliers inaugurate their defense of their NBA world championship, the first for the city since 1964. At the same time, the Cleveland Indians, initiate a world Series against a loaded Chicago Cubs team and hope to reel in a baseball crown, and bring home a title that has eluded our baseball team since 1948.

Two confluences have never happened until this year: two Cleveland teams have never played for a major world championship in the same year, and, following from this, nor has a Cleveland team played to earn the city a second major sports championship in the same year. The first has happened, and the second may well happen.

Cleveland put together a safe RNC Convention, the Cavs won a historic come-from-behind victory over the Warriors, and now the Tribe sets its sights on vanquishing a Cubs team that won 103 games in the regular season.

My mantra as a sports fan is: you have to actually play the games. In believeland, the goal is turn anything is possible into four wins in a seven game matchup.

Underdogs, thunderdogs! Play ball!

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in Cleveland, play | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Biggest Goal Is to Be Yourself

IndiansPrediction

It would be somewhat illogical to make the Tribe the underdogs, but if it must be so!

After years of pain, Cleveland is four wins from being America’s sports town
We’ve seen teams go from worst-to-first in a single year before, but never an entire sports town. It’s unprecedented. And win or lose the World Series, there’s no reason Cleveland’s stay at the top – or at least near the top – of the sports world won’t continue. LeBron and 24-year old Kyrie Irving aren’t going anywhere and the Indians have their own franchise cornerstones in Kluber, the 22-year old Lindor and manager Terry Francona, who has proven he can win with any team, any payroll, anywhere.

My mom would have got a super kick out of this.

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in Cleveland, play | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Observers

FB-Stephen-Calhoun-African Alchemy Totem #3-48x72

All of us are watchers–of television, of time clocks, of traffic on the freeway–but few are observers. Everybody is looking, not many are seeing. P.M. Leschak)

The Gallery At Gray’s is located on the west side about 30 minutes from where I live in Cleveland Heights. Over the past five months my one man show, The Grasp of Order, has been installed, I haven’t spent very much time hanging out at the gallery. Yet, I did so on Saturday.

I knew some friends were going to stop in, and, I hoped some complete strangers would also drop in too. Several of this latter type did indeed stop in and the encounters were both gratifying and edifying.

Certainly, I like to talk about my work and creative processes, but I much more enjoy hearing people tell me about their experience with my experiential art work.

My art works, by intention and by design, provide open ended opportunities for experiencing their effect, rather than for deciphering their import. My work doesn’t enjoin any authoritative import at all.

Laura and Gary Dumm are longtime, well known, Cleveland artists; and their collaboration includes being married. I didn’t know them. However, in a rather audacious act of social media hunting and gathering I started to request connections to artists and others–for which Facebook reported to me numerous mutual friends.

As a consequence, the Dumms showed up at the gallery. This affirmed my social media move was worthwhile. What great people, what a pair!

Gary Dumm wrote this later on FB:

Today Laura and I stopped by Grey’s Auction House to view the large digitally enhanced photographic works of Stephen Calhoun. They are, in general, mind-blowing: a symphonic collection of the debris and detritus of nature and civilization restructured by the artist in such a way that these supposedly dead things dance energetically. Simpler designs are mandala-like. Some (like the attached image) appear as Bosch and Bruegel inspired dreams while others vibrate, figures destroying and reforming themselves as in the “Matrix” movies. To me they are pictures of the dancing Wu Li masters, where physics meets mysticism: all is energy, and nothing is ever lost.

Dummart

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in art, artists, Cleveland, visual experiments, my art | Leave a comment

This Too Will Not Pass Soon

gold

In December 1964, I was ten years old. We lived at 2705 East Overlook Road in Cleveland Heights. It was a big Georgian house with a library room with built-in oak shelves. In the corner sat our big black and white TV. Because of what happened next, we would soon get a short-lived first color TV–destroyed when our siamese cat Cleo pissed into it–that would be replaced immediately.

What happened next was that the underdog Cleveland Browns won the NFL championship, their first since 1955, against the Johnny Unitas-led Baltimore Colts 27-0. Frank Ryan hit Gary Collins with three second half TD passes, and Lou the Toe Groza added two field goals. Good times.

Early the next year, my parents decided that our family would watch heartbreak in color.

The cataloging of close, but no dice, big games had come to plague Cleveland. Such moments are in the context of much more broadly deleterious losses due to Reaganomics, the inevitability of the economic process of catching up, and, the somewhat sclerotic “anti-visions” of civic leaders over decades.

But, there was always hope that a Cleveland major league sports team might someday succeed.

Hieronymus_Bosch_Ascent of the Blessed

Yesterday was just such a day. join the party: Cavstheblog.

Ulysses:
Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back,
Wherein he puts alms for oblivion,
A great-sized monster of ingratitudes:
Those scraps are good deeds past; which are devour’d
As fast as they are made, forgot as soon
As done: perseverance, dear my lord,
Keeps honour bright: to have done is to hang
Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail
In monumental mockery. Take the instant way;
For honour travels in a strait so narrow,
Where one but goes abreast: keep then the path;
For emulation hath a thousand sons
That one by one pursue: if you give way,
Or hedge aside from the direct forthright,
Like to an enter’d tide, they all rush by
And leave you hindmost;
Or like a gallant horse fall’n in first rank,
Lie there for pavement to the abject rear,
O’er-run and trampled on: then what they do in present,
Though less than yours in past, must o’ertop yours;
For time is like a fashionable host
That slightly shakes his parting guest by the hand,
And with his arms outstretch’d, as he would fly,
Grasps in the comer: welcome ever smiles,
And farewell goes out sighing. O, let not
virtue seek
Remuneration for the thing it was;
For beauty, wit,
High birth, vigour of bone, desert in service,
Love, friendship, charity, are subjects all
To envious and calumniating time.
One touch of nature makes the whole world kin,
That all with one consent praise new-born gawds,
Though they are made and moulded of things past,
And give to dust that is a little gilt
More laud than gilt o’er-dusted.
The present eye praises the present object.
Then marvel not, thou great and complete man,
That all the NBA begin to worship Curry;
Since things in motion sooner catch the eye
Than what not stirs. The cry went once on thee,
And still it might, and yet it may again,
If thou wouldst not entomb thyself alive
And case thy reputation in thy tent;
Whose glorious deeds, but in these fields of late,
Made emulous missions ‘mongst the gods themselves
And drave great Mars to faction.

Troilus and Cressida Act 3, Scene 3
William Shakespeare

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in Cleveland, play | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How This Artist Thinks II.

Stephen Calhoun, fine artist
Congratulations, You’re the New Head of Customer Service (2015, Stephen Calhoun)

Dream, actually a solid anima dream, from January 2014:

People are walking through a gallery of art.

I’m off to the side watching the people stop and look at the art pieces.

To myself I muse, ‘I’m the only one here who knows who is the artist.’

(The pieces are my own.)

Soon enough a very old lady is helped along by a young woman in a maid’s outfit.

They stop at the picture I’m standing to the side of. The young girl lets go of the old lady and steps close to the picture.

After a while, the girl says out loud, “Oh, I like this one very much.”

The old lady responds in a grumpy, raspy voice, “Then, he should sell it.”

art-crone-say

I asked the probe with Ken as the witness, “What should I investigate to acclimate myself to the public for art,” and, presumably to the segment possibly interested in my art. As always, the Probe tells no lies. Its suggests looking deeper into the mercurial shadow quadrant where the indication is that (my) listening and receiving feedback will be crucial. Crones Says is synchronistic verification and it also echoes my late mother’s aperçu from ten years ago, “I have figured out you have the soul of an artist!”

The last two months have been, for me, completely different from my “norm.” I’ve had to steward two pieces through printing and media finishing processes, and, in the latter stage, I encountered several dramatic bumps in the road. I learned a lot, and I’ve learned to trust my somewhat innocent judgments about technical matters, even as I negotiate the first stretch of a big learning curve.

The biggest difference in my daily program has been how much time I have devoted, and devoured, in going back into the archives of unfinished pieces and old experiments, and reanimating a string of pieces that I set aside because I didn’t want to proof them at their optimal display dimensions. See the earlier post on this.

My normal, light, scattered days, usually spent pursuing my feeling for experiences–be it studying various subjects, or contemplating or investigating or making music or doing visual experiments, or talking up friends, colleagues, projects, or designing experiential tools–has been set to the side as I’ve thrown myself into what I can call the maiden dream.

Crone Say, indeed!

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in art, artists, Cleveland, visual experiments, my art | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

How This Artist Thinks I.

Stephen Calhoun  fine artist

Mythic Figure (2013) || Come to the Mardi Gras (2014)

(The above picture is my own assembly; and it is not a picture of an actual installation. It aims to show the scale of the two pieces.)

Two of my procedural pieces were invited to, and now are placed, in the May 6 Auction of Modern and Contemporary Art, presented by Gray’s Auctioneers, Cleveland’s principal international auction house. The auction preview and virtual bidding phase began April 6.

Come to the Mardi Gras (40w x 58h”) -2014- Lot 103

Mythic Figure (32w x 48h”) -2013- Lot 104

Among several distinctive modal differences of the digital realm, this difference between the scale of the original computer file and workspace and the final formatted production piece presents challenges. My current pieces are, with respect to this, built to be large, with a minimum of 36-44 inches on the shorter side. The original printable proof in its initial digital stage, prior to dimensional enlargement, is sized to the longer side at 11 to 19 inches.

Although my display and proofing environment is calibrated to unity, the display size is maxed out at roughly one foot on the longest possible side on the dispaly (screen.) This means I’ve had to develop the ability to translate the feel of this screen into a vision of the final physical piece. In working to finalize large pieces, this means I am working on images that are not ever greater than 20% of the size of the finished, large piece.

My recent work is all about the grabbing the viewer and bringing the viewer into the image. I have lots of ways of describing this objective, but the simplest appeal my work makes is concerned with the truth of the viewer’s imaginative experience of the piece rather concerned with the transmission of an aesthetic or programmatic value.

I’ve been working diligently and tenaciously on pieces with this experiential goal in mind, and, to support it, I’m making the pieces really large, large enough to take over a wall, and, to take people on a trip of their own devising.

stephen calhoun, fine artist

Sun Ra In Heaven (2015) 44 x 66″

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in Cleveland, visual experiments, my art | 1 Comment

Each Arrives With A Gift (World Poetry Day 2015)

World Poetry Day 2015

Barbara O'Connelly (1967) from THERE WERE DREAMS

Barbara O’Connelly (1967) from THERE WERE DREAMS

Timothy Calhoun, poet

by Timothy Calhoun

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in Cleveland, poetry | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Sixty

Tim Calhoun Cleveland poet

Timothy Carl Calhoun – Cleveland Poet, philosopher, father – September 2, 1954 – February 24, 1993

Sixty_edit

Stephen Crespi Calhoun – still unpeeling the layers

Stephen&Timothy-1958

As I sd to my
friend, because I am
always talking,–John, I

sd, which was not his
name, the darkness sur-
rounds us, what

can we do against
it, or else, shall we &
why not, buy a goddamn big car,

drive, he sd, for
christ’s sake, look
out where yr going.

(Robert Creeley)

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in Cleveland, personal, poetry | Tagged | Leave a comment

Rites of Spring

Roses 2013 Ohio

Rose burst-Spring 2013

Last spring, our first in our new house–built in 1915–provided a parade of flowers in our small and narrow back yard. I didn’t do anything but observe the upwelling pulchritude inherited from the previous owner. Yes, I knew we might get some roses blooming on the spindly, reedy unkempt five rose bushes. As it happened, it was a spectacular bloom.

Then came the major cuts this spring

roses cut back

Roses cut back, and mulched

Fortunately, although there are all sorts of bad things you can do to harm your roses, drastically cutting them back isn’t one of them.

closeup rose

Looking good!

staging pots

I learned a great deal last year. Our small lot faces north/south with a giant buckeye tree on the south end and a really large tulip and buckeye tree in the front. The neighbors have a stand of spruce, including a magnificent 100+ foot granddaddy. This results in partial-shade being the predominant condition. I love hanging pots, so Impatiens and fuschia are my go-to flowers.

But, I love petunias too, so these have to be staged in the only ‘full light’ patch of property I can deploy for their sake. My great experiment this years involves growing the super and wave petunias in the staging area, and then moving them to the front of the house into less-than-optimal conditions.

ilovespring

Sonny lovin’ spring’s sproing.

five spot

It’s a rare occurrence to get all the kids in the same frame, and the best bet to do so is when the window goes up for the first time after a long winter. (Sonny-Kippie-Sassy-Kizzy-Glori)

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in Cleveland, Places | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Each a Posit, Each a Tale Unto Itself

Vegies

Each posit being a plant.

Begonia

Tending my very own garden for the very first time was a learning experience. My prior learning and experience helped, but next year will demonstrate a great deal of learning from mistakes.

There were three focal points: first is the gardening set-up left to us by the previous owner; second was a small plot of vegetables and berries I planted; third was a lot of potted flowers we bought or I planted. The first garden–what was already here on the lot of our new house–came in surprising and delightful waves, starting with the five rose plants and right now building to a culmination out of black eyed susans and plants I do not know the names of.

The big successes in a vegetable garden, that turned out in June and July to be a grocery store for squirrels and rabbits, were cherry tomatoes, blackberries, green peppers and salad greens. The potted flowers for the most part did well, although a great deal of newly gained experience will come into play next year as I better tune the potted flowers to the changing rhythm of sunlight.

Front of House

June

Bee Balm

Bee Balm

Snow Frond

I took a lot of photos with secondary goals in mind. Photos of flowers lend themselves to being used to create color maps, masks, and I’ll use photos as source material for visual experiments.

Impatiens

Hydrangea; photo repurposed using CIF/FX in OSX.

Summer Blues

Model ship set in garden in April and photographed and then photo-manipulated.

Ship wrecked

Garden Ship Wreck

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in Cleveland, personal, visual experiments, my art | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Conference of Neighborhoods (III.)

Peter Sis Conference of the Birds

illustration by Peter Sis, for Conference of the Birds (Attar)

III. The Future of Heights; Conference of Neighborhoods (part three of three parts)

The Lakewood Observer model has been going strong in Lakewood for almost a decade and has proliferated to encompass numerous Observer projects. The Cleveland Heights iteration is seemingly very healthy.  <em>The Cleveland Heights Observer</em> is excellent. I’m delighted the civic journalism and civic self-knowledge project has taken root here.

The following video rambles but does so in intriguing ways.

2013 annual meeting, with speaker Peter Pula of Axiom News from future heights on Vimeo.

Susan and I go out to dinner every Saturday night. Even when we lived in Shaker Heights we were drawn seventy-five percent of the time to the many warm and tasty restaurants of Cleveland Heights, eateries lined up conveniently in the districts of Lee and Coventry and Cedar-at-Fairmount roads. I remarked to my wife that Cleveland Heights seemed to me to have realized the baby boomer boho heaven. By this I mean how it has happened that the equation of liberalism and livability and professional careerism has been answered by the large cohort of fifty and sixty-something empty nesters who have staked their hearts and claim to many neighborhoods in Cleveland Heights.

Of course, I know this characterization is not even half true. I understand at least from my years of summer garage sale questing, traveling through the variety of Cleveland Heights neighborhoods, that my home town is a percolating, teeming, diverse concoction.

I haven’t decided to begin to really train my attention on a compelling civic project, but I am paying attention. The neighborhoods of Cleveland Heights radiate distinctive, positive vibes. Generally, my home town’s people express lots of devotion and commitment. This shines through, and does so even as Cleveland Heights  continues to grapple with all sorts of challenges.

I have an inchoate fantasy about what might happen if there was some forum or mechanism for Cleveland Heights neighborhoods to dialog and confer with each other.

But if we understand the nature of the personality, and the way that it is operative in history–steadily in small increments, intermittently in potent quantities–we shall be ready to take advantage of a singular point when it occurs. There is even a special touch of encouragement in Maxwell’s dictum that the higher the rank of existence the more frequent the occurrence of singular points. (Lewis Mumford, p232, The Conduct of Life)

Nowadays I sense the potential for singular points emerges from long chains of fortuity, something like civic affection, and, daring to know now, and know now for the sake of tomorrow.

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in adult learning, Cleveland, Kenneth Warren | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Leave-taking is as necessary as the homecoming (I.)

Coventry Homes

I. Home Coming (part one of three parts)

I dig Cleveland Heights; I’m from Cleveland Heights. My wife digs Cleveland Heights too, and we count ourselves blessed that after the challenging circumstances of my mother’s illness and passing, we moved from the apartment in her home in Shaker Heights we rented from her for almost five years  to our new home in Cleveland Heights.

This new home is almost exactly one mile from my first family home on Ormond Road, and a tad more than a mile from the succeeding family home on East Overlook Road. It is the first home Susan and I have owned together and comes after twenty years of our being renters, most of the time in various neighborhoods of, yup, Cleveland Heights.

Personally, as an independent researcher recently concerned with the role of constructive fortuity, or serendipity, in adult development, it is worth noting three of many fortuitous events that staked me to my home town. The first was a family emergency that brought me back from Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1992, and the second was the teamwork of two realtors, and the intuition of one of them, to show us our current beloved house on the great Cleveland Heights street of Coleridge Road. Our house here is five blocks from where I went to elementary school between 1959-1961. The third lucky event is bookended by the aforementioned two: meeting my future wife and partner Susan as the result of a fix-me-up sponsored by a mutual friend. This first meeting unfolded at a September party on Grandview Road in 1993, in, sure, Cleveland Heights.

For Susan and I Cleveland Heights is congenial ‘to-the-max.’ Yet, a final fortuitous event was primarily instrumental in both my leaving Cleveland Heights, and, eighteen years later, returning. On a Thursday afternoon in June 1974, a guy walks into the record store I was assistant manager of, Music Madness. It was located next to the old CH Post Office on lee Road. He found me alone and more than willing, at gun point, to give him the contents of the cash register, and walk with him to the back room office, and give him the rest of the day’s cash. Then, after a frustrating for-us-both few minutes during which I tried to–by myself–tie up my hands, he beckoned me to lay down on the floor and once prostrated, he next shot me in the back at point blank range.

(Good ol’ Cleveland Heights; Lee Road could be a bit like the wild west in the mid seventies.)

I got the hell out of my home town, and took the bus to Vermont by the end of July.

Nevertheless, the way the very long chains of contingency, necessity, and fortuity operate to constitute the foundation of future events, the leave-taking is as necessary as the homecoming–is, in actuality, its required precedent.


Cleveland Heights news and Resources (these links will remain in the sidebar)

Cleveland Heights vCity Data
Cleveland Heights (City Hall)
Cleveland Heights Historical Society
Heights Observer
Future Heights
Sun Press
Cleveland Heights (Plain Dealer)
Cleveland Heights Patch
Coventry Village
Cedar-Lee

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in adult learning, Cleveland, Kenneth Warren, my research, serendipity | Tagged | 1 Comment

Coming From Cleveland and Nobler Endeavors

Dreams With Sharp Teeth – documentary on Harlan Ellison

Harlan Ellison

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in Cleveland | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

New Red States

Temperature

…following from Whatever Happened to Winter.

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in Cleveland | Tagged | Leave a comment

What Happened to Winter?

view of Larchmere

…the question many north coasters are asking. (Photo taken December 27, 2011.)

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in Cleveland | Tagged , | Leave a comment

On the Borders

I always marveled at the bricks and mortar book business, and could do so from inside a great American independent book store, The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury, Vermont, (at which I steered its music department for almost ten years, a stint that ended in early 1987.) The business model for books was a kin of the business model for recordings, except that the pyramid of hot sellers paying for the carrying cost of slow selling inventory was steeper on the music side.

Of course, way back when, in a thriving college town literally protected from its brick competitors by 25 miles, my tenure happened during, in retrospect, what was a golden era for book selling. (It was much less so on the music side.) If the initial rise of the commerce-driven internet is marked to the year 1995, it still is the case that no thoughtful bookseller, at that time, would have anticipated digital books, e-readers, and, digital book piracy.

Amazon arrived in 1994. Their promise was to make available every book; ordered online and delivered by mail order. At the time unbelievers thought there was no way the tactile browsing experience would ever become uncompetitive. This kind of elitism was proved wrong well before the digital edition realized the unthinkable synergy of online purveyor and downloadable media. After all, the browsing experience was over-rated, and this was a fact I observed to be true while working and observing consumers during bookselling’s final golden age.

In Cleveland, Borders and Barnes and Noble discounted the best sellers, ran independent booksellers out of business, degraded their inventories (selection,) and seemed to me to work a hopeless business model by the time Amazon got rolling–by bursting out of the dot.com bust to ride a streak of losing billions of dollars–up until 2009. This debt-fueled strategy, presumably, plugs into their business model, but there’s no way to compete against it. Of course, Amazon is both a general retailer too and provider of infrastructure for a wide variety of partners, affiliates and associates.

As a book store customer, I saw Borders run the race to the bottom and win, thus lose. This struck me as death by thousands of relentless cuts. I’m not tempted to praise highly our local Barnes & Noble or Books-A-Million. I appreciate the acumen (or more likely:piles of cash,) behind their survival, but the local Barnes & Noble stores aren’t very good book stores, and, the Books-A-Million I walked into and wandered around was worse. It was staffed by, apparently, ‘non-readers.’

Locally, this leaves the several independent book stores and Half Priced Books and Music. There isn’t anything close to the reader’s paradise of the olden days extant among these outlets. (Just as there isn’t a great record store left.) This leaves me using Amazon, and exemplifying the problem bricks and mortar cannot solve.

 

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in Cleveland | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment