Monday, March 02, 2015

Cleveland Playhouse Square District and the Cleveland Hofbräuhaus

I'm back! And I'm going to try to stay. This post puts together a bunch of things revolving around Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland. I hadn't been there for years, until the BTEG family watched a performance of Newsies back in November. One of the things that is fairly new is a giant chandelier hanging over an intersection in the Playhouse Square district. You can see the intersection in this article talking about how several places have picked Cleveland as a must-visit site in 2015, partially because of Playhouse Square and said chandelier. I will be glad if Cleveland has success (tired of hearing Cleveland jokes,) but it's strange to me to think that the equivalent of a sparkly coat of paint is enough to make an area that has been, and is still a place to put on shows, more desirable to visit. Of course, people have to visit the Bean when they go to Chicago, and this isn't much different; it's a pretty bauble that's fun to look at.



Another new addition to the Cleveland scene is what is probably one of the hottest restaurants in Cleveland at the moment, the Hofbräuhaus. Unsophisticated me did not know that the restaurant that had devolved into a tourist trap in Munich, has evolved into a restaurant chain here in the US. (I'm not sure who owns what on either side of the Atlantic.) Considering there are only six of these restaurants in the US (plus a restaurant and beer garden in FL,) it is kind of neat that Cleveland got one. Of course, Cleveland had quite a bit of immigration from Germanic settlers. (I believe the greater Cleveland area has one of the largest Transylvanian Saxon populations in the US.) And Cleveland is a town that Loves.Its.Beer. It may hardly be surprising that when we saw Newsies in November, there was a line a good way out the door of people waiting for a table. So when Mr. BTEG told me that his company was hosting its holiday party (yeah, it was in January, because reasons) at the Hofbräuhaus, I was glad to get a chance to visit without standing in a huge line. In the picture above, you can get an idea of what the line looked like that night, except that it was hard to get an accurate picture because the tent enclosure snaked around a corner. Apparently people were standing in that line for well over an hour. Some people were smoking and/or drinking beer, but since I don't do either, I wouldn't have had much fun standing out there in January.

Of course, since we dined in a banquet area upstairs, we did miss seeing the shows that happen in the main restaurant, where apparently performers get up and dance on the tables to oom-pa-pa music, and things of that nature. What we did get was a Germanic decorated atmosphere, fairly good German food, and beer. The men in lederhosen and the women in dirndls were very busy all night bringing very, very large mugs of beer, in mugs that are the same as the ones the Hofbräuhaus in Munich used when Mr. BTEG and I were there. Yep, I know I've mentioned here several times about our study trip in Germany as college students. Mr. BTEG had a friend in Germany who lived in Munich, so one weekend Mr. BTEG and I hopped a train there to visit him, and one of the places we went to was the Hofbräuhaus. Said friend mentioned a few times how much of a tourist trap it was, but it seemed like one of those places-you-have-to-say-you-visited-if-you-go-to-Munich, and we had a good time. Although between Mr. BTEG and I, I don't think we finished the beer in the giant mug.

Neither of us is a big beer drinker
So husband and I have been venturing out of the house this winter and doing a few different things! It's not directly related to having only one daughter at home, but maybe there will be more of these excursions in the future, since our lives are becoming freer.

Monday, January 05, 2015

2015

This may seem obvious, but I had a revelation over the Christmas break as to why so many of my plans for a new year seem to fall so flat, so quickly. That two weeks around Christmas and New Year's Day are ones in which not only does the Dancer not have school, but she also does not have dance, or other activities. I can stay home all day, if I wish, and I have plenty of time to accomplish things. Once we get back to regular life, I find myself not only with less time, but with less energy to do things when I am at home. I need to temper my expectations realistically.

On the other hand, getting the Dancer her driver's license sounds like a very good goal for 2015.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Can Cleveland Make a Comeback?

I love this article by Joel Kotkin and Richey Piiparinen. It puts into words some of the things I would like to say about this area, and about "the Rustbelt" in general, and it adds some things that I wasn't aware of. I've heard some things here and there from local news agencies about how Cleveland is trying to position itself as a leader in the health-care service and technology industry. The new Medical Mart is supposed to be a big key in this endeavor. However, as an almost life-long resident of the Cleveland area, I've heard lots of ideas that were supposed to help Cleveland that turned out to not really be all that exciting. One of the latest ones I remember was the new Horseshoe Casino in the Tower City building. Sure, it's providing jobs, but anything you could put in that spot would provide jobs. Is it bringing outside money into the city? I don't know, but I do know that the Avenue shopping center, also located in Tower City, seemed, to me, to be a shadow of its former self when I visited this year. If people are coming to the casino, I think the hope is that they will spend money elsewhere too. I'm not sure that is happening judging by outside appearances. I may be wrong; Mr. BTEG might be a better source, since he works downtown every day.

However many close tries and possibilities Cleveland has had, reading that the CEO of Siemens, USA described the city as a hub for the healthcare industry means that perhaps the city has done something right. I absolutely agree with the authors that trying to appeal to artsy hipsters is not enough to revitalize a large metropolitan area like Cleveland. I also like that they see manufacturing and engineering as keys to a city's growth, instead of concentrating solely on service-type jobs, as seems to have been a prevailing idea among some economists as our manufacturing base has disappeared. Rebuilding it in a twentieth-first century format would be a great way to provide income for people who would then have money to spend on retail and services.

I would like to point out that one thing the article cites as encouraging international investment, is cheap and abundant domestic energy, such as natural gas. Encouraging people to move more with things like unemployment benefits, as suggested by Berkeley-based economist Enrico Moretti, makes as much sense as Nancy Pelosi's assertion that unemployment cash makes the economy grow. Growth only comes about if people are *working.* And affordable energy makes starting or growing a business more affordable and more appealing. If the Rustbelt can come back by providing blue-collar jobs, it will help the very people government claims to care about the most.

Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Surprise Night at the Theater

Mr. BTEG got a phone call from the owner of the Dancer's dance studio on Saturday. Seems an adult who takes a private lesson on Saturdays came in with four tickets to that evening's showing of the play Newsies, at Cleveland's Playhouse Square. The studio owner wanted to double check that we could use the tickets. We were happy to accept, especially since the Dancer's tap recital dance back in June was to "King of New York," from Newsies.


After some calling around, it ended up being Mr. BTEG and I, the Dancer, and one of the Dancer's best friends, who is interested in theater, who attended. Said friend was actually at the high school theater painting scenery for the next high school theater production when we got hold of her, and she had to rush home and take a shower.

It was definitely the kind of evening we won't be reproducing anytime soon. In addition to the four tickets, we also got a pass to park free in the Playhouse Square parking garage, with a covered walkway to Playhouse Square's group of theaters. And when we picked up the tickets at the Dancer's studio, we discovered that they were loge tickets. We sat in our own little row of four seats, with some small tables, and waitresses came and took food and drink orders and brought the items directly to our seats. That was a new experience for this family.



I suppose it sounds silly to say that it made me feel ridiculously rich to have the tickets and the parking and everything, but it did. The Evil Genius family is very blessed, but there isn't room in the budget for these kind of events, especially in the luxury seats we had. It was a very pleasant and welcome surprise.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Picture of the Day

I thought this picture would be an appropriate one for the day, although it was taken in December of 1989.


Friday, November 07, 2014

Moving On, Moving Out

Another life change has happened here at Casa de Evil Genius: the Musician has moved out. It's been an adjustment, having only one daughter at home. I miss having the Musician around, but it's also freeing. Most of our homes have been on the crowded side, and it's nice just having the space. And the Musician was very happy and eager to be more on her own (she's rooming with a friend.) Honestly, it's nice having more time to focus on myself! I've enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom, and I look back very fondly on that time. But it's also nice to be able to work more on my own dreams and ambitions.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Back to the Beginning

After an honest try, I'm back to my original medicine. The other ones we tried just weren't working for me. I'll just have to see my GP and see what she thinks about drugs to help lower my cholesterol. I would appreciate prayers still, as I am still a little wobbly mentally.

A couple of things emerge out of all of this. One is how blessed I am to have a psychiatrist who understands what I am going through. She's very good at reading body cues, and she's also been my psychiatrist long enough that she can read me personally, and gauge where I'm at in relation to previous visits.

Secondly, I'm thankful that we have good medications for stabilizing mood out there. It's amazing how much the medication helps my brain to function properly.