Friday, March 27, 2009

6 Movies Down. . .5 More To Go!

We cannot say enough about this year's Cleveland International Film Festival -- what a wonderful experience and an inspiring environment to be a part of. You can just feel a buzz of positive energy around you upon walking into the otherwise stark Tower City, surrounded by others just as excited to see another eye-opening film as you are.

All six films we have viewed has been great -- as mentioned earlier, Kisses and Gomorrah are highly recommended. Toyko! was quite interesting, a film that showcased three vignettes directed by three different directors, each expressing their opinions about the city. Both of us enjoyed Prom Night in Mississippi, a documentary about a High School that has always had a Black Prom and a White Prom, that is until Morgan Freeman offers (a second time, the first time he was denied) to pay for a Prom under the condition that it's integrated. Next was I'm Gonna Explode, a Bonnie and Clyde meets Harold and Maude-esque film that was just as disturbing as it was endearing. Last night we checked out Chaser, a South Korean psychological thriller that was quite intense reminding us (yet again) that non-American films are not afraid to have unhappy endings. It is rumored that Chaser will be remade by the guys who brought us The Departed. . .

That brings us to this evening where we'll be seeing Alexander The Last, a quirky love story directed by Joe Swanberg (Hannah Takes The Stairs) and produced by Noah Baumbach (The Squid & the Whale, Margot at the Wedding, et al).

In the meantime, better get down to Visible Books for an Argentinian Wine Tasting! For now, we hope you guys are seeing some great movies and enjoying the CIFF as much as we are*

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tonight: Ra Ra Riot / Cut Off Your Hands

Who: Ra Ra Riot headlines while Cut Off Your Hands opens

What: Superb pop sensibilities paired with energetic live performances

Where: Akron's Musica (will be our first visit to the venue but we've heard nothing but positive things)

When: TONIGHT -- Doors open around 8pm (tix $11)

Why: We do not want to miss out on two great indie bands playing the same bill and neither should you!

Listen for yourself*

[Mp3] Ra Ra Riot - Oh, La
[Mp3] Cut Off Your Hands - Happy As Can Be

ps - We are also looking forward to enjoying some good grub prior to the show at The Lockview!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Our Trip to Indigo Imp!

Yesterday afternoon, we had the pleasure of touring the Indigo Imp Brewery, hanging out, and sampling some of their latest beer, Jester. After meeting Matt and Kathy (aka the brewmaster and the brewmaster's master) at a Wine/Beer Tasting @ Heinen's a few months ago, we thought they were so nice and cool. At that point we casually discussed coming down to their brewery to check out the digs -- and, as luck would have it, yesterday was that day and we (along with Kelly's sister, Erin, and brother-in-law, Todd, who are also fans) had such a wonderful time. Thanks again, guys!
Matt answering our questions in the cooling room
Jester, Indigo Imp's latest tasty brew, coming soon (in April) to a Heinen's near you.
Note: The red wax (as opposed to the blue wax on their other beers)
A display of stylin' Imp t-shirts that you can buy at the brewery
Matt and Todd talking shop :)
It was great being able to sample Jester, a Belgian style pale ale, perfect for these upcoming Spring months
Leaving Indigo Imp - when stopping by, look for the blue door*

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Top 5 Songs Of The Week (Cleveland International Film Festival Opening Weekend Edition)

Last night we had the opportunity to hit up the 33rd CIFF (Cleveland International Film Festival) which had just started Thursday evening and runs through next Sunday. We are hoping to see at least ten films, having had the pleasure of viewing two last night. And, let us just say that these two films could not have been more different.

Kisses is an endearing film about two kids in Ireland who run away to Dublin during Christmas to escape their problems. A film that possesses both a whimsical yet real quality, showing life through the eyes of innocent and honest children. Memorably, we found ourselves smiling at the crazy foul mouths these kids had!

Gomorrah is the much talked about Italian film that won the Jury prize at last year's Cannes and is based on the best selling novel of the same name. This quietly intense movie focuses on the fearless and fearful people involved in Camorra, the local mafia, based in Naples, Italy. An incredibly stirring film that we can't stop talking and thinking about after having seen it. We can easily say we have never seen anything quite like this film.

In other exciting news, this afternoon we are going to hit up the Indigo Imp Brewery for a private tour where we are hoping to sample their new beer, Jester. Our next stop will be at the Tremont Tap House to watch some of the tournament, drink some beers and eat some delicious grub.

But before all that, we're sharing our Top Five Songs of the Week :) Enjoy!

5. (mp3) Sarah Winchester - Raft This chanteuse brings to mind the essence of Cat Power combined with the dreamscapes of Azure Ray. A song originally recorded on her personal laptop computer, leaves you feeling warm and safe just like you are home.

4. (mp3) The French Semester - The East Man Another breezy jangle-pop tune that we've become hopelessly smitten with. Don't be fooled by the unassuming melody you initially hear, be forewarned that it slowly creeps up on you and keeps you coming back for repeated listens.

3. (mp3) Little Big Adventure - The Hateful Eye A one man band showcasing his house beats and doom-pop vocals much in the vein of Her Space Holiday. A chill yet dancy song that kind of reminds of Stone Roses meets Culture Club. Weird right? :)

2. (mp3) White Lies - To Lose My Love Some might refer to these guys as a darker Killers, clearly influenced by both New Order and Depeche Mode. Between the hype they'll undoubtedly create at SXSW followed by spreading their gospel via the NME North American Tour (sadly not coming our way), we have confidence that they will become something big.

1. (mp3) Tori Amos - I'm On Fire (Springsteen Cover) Random, we know. . .but, Kelly is super excited for the new Tori album, Abnormally Attracted to Sin, coming out in May. Everything that we've heard thus far sounds quite lovely -- can't wait*

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Random Retro Wednesday Song: Fisherman's Blues

Yesterday, while we were at the parade there was one of the floats in the parade where a band was playing "Fisherman's Blues" by The Waterboys. The Waterboys are a celtic rock band with members from Ireland, England & Scotland. They have been an influence to the likes of Bono and Colin Meloy. When they broke up in the 80's their members went on to form World Party they are now back together.

I love this song and every time I hear it I think about drinking to this song in college with my friend Matt. Neither of us had ever heard The Waterboys until one of our friends, Dave, had rented this indie film Dream With The Fishes where their song "Fishermans Blues" is used. That movie features a lot of other great tunes on its totally kick ass soundtrack with songs from Nick Drake, The Tindersticks, Grandaddy, Wilco (although not on the soundtrack one of their songs appears in the movie), The Squirrel Nut Zippers and Jeremy Engik. If you are wondering about the movie, it is the only movie I have ever liked where David Arquette is the main character as you know he has been in some really awful flicks (Ready To Rumble, Scream 3 and Airheads, among others). The acting in Dream With The Fishes may not be the best but the overall story is one worth telling and it is one of my favorite movies.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Today is the first St. Patrick's day Kelly and I have ever spent together (omit last year because we did not participate in the festivities). Kelly has managed to be in Florida, Poland or Chicago over the last 5 St. Patrick's days. I am much looking fwd to taking her down to the parade and showing her how we do here in Cleveland. We are getting ready to head over to my aunts house for a traditional Irish breakfast before heading downtown. In addition to the parade we want to try some of those awesome eats that are going to be served at The Greenhouse Tavern today. We both love this Guinness commercial that we have posted below. It is especially cute how when they are playing "When Irish Eyes are Smiling" like it is a "Jingle Bells". We hope you all have a great day! Sláinte

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Saturday 2 Saturday Pictorial

A lot of the following pictures are out of focus, which pretty much personifies this past week: it's been a blur*
Proudly displaying our two bottles of wine we won at Bar Cento/Bier Markt
Chowing down on Nigella's Tuna & Beans and Giada's Mushroom & Pecorino Salad in between chugs of Tröegs Nugget Nectar
Melt's record cover menus are a fun touch -- Jose appropriately getting The Monkees
The thirst quenching beer, perfectly salted french fries, and masterfully made grilled cheese sandwiches were all pretty much amazing
Jay Nash wisely welcomed Anya Marina on stage during his set at The Winchester
We are obsessed with Nigella's Mozzarella with Crazy Gremolata, making it twice this week
Cotton Jones performed a tranquil three song set at Music Saves
Note: Random dude dressed up as Tigger in the far right
We caught Cotton Jones later that evening in The Beachland's Tavern
Soaking in the warm glow of La Dolce Vita, our favorite Little Italy haunt
Ladies: try their limoncello martinis -- they're TO DIE ;)
::Random Flash::
A glimpse of Bier Markt's "fragile" one legged lamp

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Top 5 Songs Of The Week (Weekdays are the new Weekend Edition)

While Jose takes an afternoon nap, I thought I would quickly write a post while things are especially quiet and peaceful. Life has been incredibly busy throughout the past week but in the best way possible. We have been fortunate enough to attend some excellent shows as well as wine (or, um, beer?) and dine at some fantastic establishments -- although, unfortunately I'm going to have to post later about all that. For now I have to get ready for another visit to Crop Bistro (they let me pick the spot!) to celebrate Jose's dad's belated Birthday.

For now I hope you all have a lovely Saturday and enjoy the following music:

5. [Mp3] Great Lake Swimmers - The Chorus in the Underground All of GLS's songs seem to have a gentle simplistic beauty that we continue to grow increasingly fond of with every album's release; their latest, Lost Channels, is no exception.

4. [Mp3] Chairlift - Don't Give A Damn Last evening this fantastic electro-pop band was in Cleveland -- please share your thoughts if you were there :) Their album, Does You Inspire You, is quite eclectic and undeniably catchy, with every listen I find myself playing this particular track over and over. . .

3. [Mp3] Feist and Ben Gibbard - Train Song A favorite off the beloved and buzzed about compilation, Dark Was The Night, and how could it not be? Feist and Ben's vocals blend immaculately in this haunting and soulful song -- let's hope these two work together again very soon!

Bonus: Actually, that just reminded me of when Postal Service remixed Feist's ever so wonderful song, Mushaboom, so here you go:

[Mp3] Feist - Mushaboom (Postal Service Remix)

2. [Mp3] Metric - Help I'm Alive I think of Metric's lead singer, Emily Haines, as an edgier and darker Jenny Lewis. Her vocals and lyrics have this bitter yet freeing energy that builds throughout her music. And, I simply cannot get enough of this song, feeling as though it will become an anthem of sorts to many.

1. [Mp3] Plushgun - Just Impolite Pop song perfection! I love everything about this gem, especially when they sing "I walk the line like Johnny Cash" during the chorus. I'm afraid to play this song while driving in my car b/c it most definitely will cause me to speed, sing-a-long, and not pay attention to the road, eek.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Playing Hooky On A Monday

After weeks of trying to do so, I finally convinced Jose to take a day off with me. One of the very few "brightsides" of this economy's gloomy state is that I have been taking a mandatory day off every week. Ordinarily, I would never be able to take off any time to do absolutely nothing -- that is, unless I was skipping town for a vacay or something.

Between this chilling, rainy weather and losing an hour of sleep -- it makes a good case to stay in from work anyhow, right?

An otherwise typical day for Jose:
Since we're not going to work today, we'll have lots of time to rest up (and save our appetites) for our first visit to Melt this evening -- yeah, instead of recommending this increasingly infamous establishment to others, we are actually going ourselves! After skimming the menu, I'm left salivating and overwhelmed (suggestions, anyone?) while Jose already knows that he is going to order the Mushroom Melt.

Today also marks our first time hitting up The Winchester Tavern, a venue that we've been looking forward to checking a show out at for quite some time. We'll be seeing the 1st of 3 shows that we'll be attending in five days, which is tastefully old school for us.

The breakdown of those shows is:

Tonight: Greg Laswell w/ Jay Nash & Anya Marina @ The Winchester

Just Because: (mp3) Anya Marina - All The Same To Me

Wednesday: The Cotton Jones w/ Good Morning Valentine & The Modern Electric @ The Beachland Ballroom in the Tavern

Just Because: (mp3) Cotton Jones - Gone The Bells [Daytrotter Session]

Friday: Chairlift w/ YACHT & DJ Peter Pleasurecruise @ The Grog Shop

Just Because: (mp3) Chairlift - Don't Give A Damn

Sunday, March 08, 2009

A Great Sunday Brunch

Happy 1 year Anniversary to the Sunday Brunch @ The Beachland where Kevin and Melanie from Music Saves will be helping to celebrate with some choice jams to help you survive that hour of sleep you lost from daylight savings last night. We have gone a few times and it is beyond delicious as you can see from a picture we took above. If you have not had a chance to go we highly recommend you do so. The food (especially the huevos rancheros), tunes, and atmosphere are exactly what you need to help get you thru a lazy Sunday!

Speaking of Music Saves it has been brought to our attention by our friend Justin as well as the guys at the awesome Cleveland+Chicago blog, Citizen Dick that on Wednesday before the Cotton Jones show, they will be doing an in-store performance @ Music Saves @ 8pm you get $1 off your admission to the show for attending.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Can We Get a Hell Yeah!!

Okay, so just a moment ago we got an email from Bar Cento explaining that we won two free bottles of wine from submitting a survey last week -- yeah, we totally thought it was spam. Last week's visit marked our first time at the bar since Chef Sawyer's departure -- we were pleased to see that Bar Cento continues to maintain the same great atmosphere and food (oh how we love those pomme frites), although we cannot deny that we missed the widow and her chef :)

Once it becomes apparent that winter will hopefully (keep your fingers crossed) be departing, people's spirits seem to rise. This spring we are definitely looking fwd to The Tribe's 2009 Season, playoff games for The Cavs, the newest edition to the Cleveland Museum of Art opening, as well as the much anticipated opening of The Greenhouse Tavern. Not to mention, with the arrival of spring, we will *finally* be able to eat and drink outdoors on the many awesome patios our region has to offer.

And, it seems that without fail, once the weather improves, the better shows come to town. With that, we give you a few shows that are coming to town that make us say "Can We get a hell yeah?"
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart: April 30th at The Beachland's Tavern

This show is conveniently within a couple days of Jose's Birthday, so we are thinking of getting some friends together and celebrate. We had placed this infectious twee band's music in our top five a couple weeks ago [here].

{Mp3} Teenagers In Love

Maria Taylor: April 18th at The Grog Shop

[This] is why we are always excited to see Miss Taylor coming and [this] is our coverage of the last time she came through Cleveland with the awesome duo also known as Mates of State. Her new album, LadyLuck drops March 31st.

{Mp3} A Good Start (KCRW acoustic)

Thao Nguyen & The Get Down Staydown: May 12th at The Beachland's Tavern

We are crazy excited that Thao (& her gang) are stopping in Cleveland! We have been fans basically as long as we have been blogging [per this post from feb. '06] and have been hoping for this lovely lady to grace us with her presence. Especially since Kelly just missed Thao upon her trip this past fall to SF, visit our buddy, Sarah, by one mere day *sigh*

{Mp3} Bag Of Hammers

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The It List

Some stuff worth sharing*


-Brooklyn Local 2 is everything we hoped it would be (and more), pairing exceptionally well with the Spicy Szechuan Stir-fry and edamame we happen to be devouring at the moment.

Note: Photo above found on Flickr and Blogger, compliments of beercritic, who has several other beer photo montages worth perusing here.

-Yeah Yeah Yeahs' much anticipated album, It's Blitz!
{mp3} Soft Shock
-Neko Case's album, Middle Cyclone, is living up to high expectations
{mp3} Don't Forget Me

-Recipes with eggs on top, [this one] is next one our list
-Wasabi Peas! The more heat the better ;)

-Lovely blogs like The Bliss List and A Girl About Cleveland
-Old school classic, Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald and new school classic, Netherland by Joseph O'Neill

-Dora the Explorer band-aids when you cut yourself cooking :(

Note: We did not pay nearly $23 for the band-aids (more like $3.50), as the link above suggests!

-Is it wrong for us to enjoy the following clip from The Real World Brooklyn so much??