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Post Info TOPIC: PorchFest!


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Every year, on a Saturday in June, you can hear thirty bands (rock, jazz, classical, blues, folk, bluegrass) on thirty different porches, over a six-hour stretch, in several blocks of a funky, mixed-race, mixed-income, artsy-craftsy Cleveland neighborhood known as Larchmere.

You get a map and walk or bike from block to block, and pick your poison.There weren't a lot of people at the original PorchFest. But since the first one (in 2009), the crowds have doubled in size every year.

Today there were hundreds of people in front of some of the porches, and hundreds more on the commercial strip, Larchmere Blvd. The weather was perfect...sunny and breezy.

We rode bikes and carried chairs on our backs, and heard opera, bluegrass, klezmer (Jewish folk), Latin jazz guitar, and urban funk. Some of the bands have cool names like Bafflegab, The Elderly Brothers, and Church of the Lazy Bastards.

The image below is from a couple of years ago. The woman on the right...with the star on her back...is... Yes! Lucinda!

SSC_0212.JPG

Larchmere PorchFest: Grazin' in the Grass is a Gas...

Charlie



-- Edited by KidCharlieMane on Saturday 23rd of June 2012 08:13:08 PM

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Sounds like a fun time.

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What a fabulous idea....sounds like a wonderful way to spend the day!



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KidCharlieMane wrote:

Every year, on a Saturday in June, you can hear thirty bands (rock, jazz, classical, blues, folk, bluegrass) on thirty different porches, over a six-hour stretch, in several blocks of a funky, mixed-race, mixed-income, artsy-craftsy Cleveland neighborhood known as Larchmere.

You get a map and walk or bike from block to block, and pick your poison.There weren't a lot of people at the original PorchFest. But since the first one (in 2009), the crowds have doubled in size every year.

Today there were hundreds of people in front of some of the porches, and hundreds more on the commercial strip, Larchmere Blvd. The weather was perfect...sunny and breezy.

We rode bikes and carried chairs on our backs, and heard opera, bluegrass, klezmer (Jewish folk), Latin jazz guitar, and urban funk. Some of the bands have cool names like Bafflegab, The Elderly Brothers, and Church of the Lazy Bastards.

The image below is from a couple of years ago. The woman on the right...with the star on her back...is... Yes! Lucinda!

SSC_0212.JPG

Larchmere PorchFest: Grazin' in the Grass is a Gas...

Charlie



-- Edited by KidCharlieMane on Saturday 23rd of June 2012 08:13:08 PM


 What a great tradition. You made me smile just reading your post.Funny how something so simple starts out of the blue and becomes such a big hit with everyone.In this case the cummunity of Larchmere .You sure have a wide vatiety of music to choose from. Sounds like a great way to spend Saturday.Charlie.

All the best to you and Lucinda,

Uni



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Cleveland's Larchmere neighborhood is not the only one to have a PorchFest, from what I can see online. The idea began about five years ago in Ithaca, NY...home of Cornell University. And not wanting to be outdone, the Harvard community followed suit, in nearby Somerville, Mass. Ours began in June of 2009.

Now there's one every fall in Belleville, Ontario...east of Toronto. Their next PorchFest is on September 22nd. And Napa, California, had one last summer. They have another one scheduled for July 29th.

So maybe Ithy and Uni can join in the fun...like Lucinda and I have been doing...we've been porchniks for four years in a row!

Let's go porchin' now
Charlie's gonna show you how
Come on to the PorchFest with meeeee...

Early in the P.M. we'll be haulin' ass
To where the bands are doin' their shtick
I'll change my first name to Nicholas
And then you can call me Porchnik

Come on, baby, wait and see 
Yes, I'm gonna take you porchin' with me
Come along, baby, be my guest
Yes, I'm gonna take you to the PorchFest

Let's go porchin' now
Charlie's gonna show you how
Come on to the PorchFest with meeeee...

At Somerville they're wearin' all their Harvard gear
At Napa they're tramplin' the lawn
The Larchmere crowds are doublin' every year
So if you're comin' better leave home by dawn

Come on, baby, wait and see 
Yes, I'm gonna take you porchin' with me
Come along, baby, be my guest
Yes, I'm gonna take you to the PorchFest

Let's go porchin' now
Charlie's gonna show you how
Come on to the PorchFest with meeeee...

They're anglin' to have a Fest in Belleville soon
They're kickin' ass in Ithaca, too
I tell you porchin's mighty wild
It's gettin' bigger every day
So next summer there might be one by you

Come on, baby, wait and see 
Yes, I'm gonna take you porchin' with me
Come along, baby, be my guest
Yes, I'm gonna take you to the PorchFest

Let's go porchin' now
Charlie's gonna show you how
Come on to the PorchFest with meeeee...

With me (PorchFest)

Yeah me (PorchFest)

With me (PorchFest)

Just me (PorchFest)

With me (PorchFest)

Yeah me (PorchFest)

161915_206748766023836_826786068_n.jpg

Charlie



-- Edited by KidCharlieMane on Saturday 23rd of June 2012 11:56:49 PM

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I'm about 6 hours away from Napa, so it wouldn't be a bike ride for sure.

jaimesan is closer to Napa than me, I hope he checks out this thread...

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You know, despite all its troubles and travails, Cleveland does seem to have a LOT to offer, especially spring through fall.  Almost makes up for the winters.

Thanks for showing us another of the city's events.  aww



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KittyBiggerstaff wrote:

You know, despite all its troubles and travails, Cleveland does seem to have a LOT to offer, especially spring through fall.  Almost makes up for the winters.

Thanks for showing us another of the city's events.  aww


 Yes, it does...from May through October, there's a helluva lot of stuff going on, especially outdoor stuff. Most of my bitching about Cleveland takes place between Thanksgiving and Easter, the time when the prison door slams shut, the snow machine is cranked up, and the sun is turned off for the winter.

In summer we also have the beaches, and Lake Erie. The water gets into the mid-seventies by August. It's never going to be the same as swimming in the ocean in Florida, but it's more than a lot of landlocked people have.

In the late fall and winter, it brings clouds and snow. In spring, the annoyingly chilly lake breezes. But in the summer and early fall...it's paradise. You can go swimming until mid-September.

Cleveland has a long shit-list of troubles and woes...but it also has a fairly long list of good things to offer, most of them in the summertime. In the winter, not so much.

The ideal situation would be summers up here and winters in Florida. Many people here do that. But we'll never be that well-off.

Charlie



-- Edited by KidCharlieMane on Saturday 23rd of June 2012 11:02:49 PM

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mjd


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Belleville's a possibility for us.  We'd probably have to stay overnight somewhere nearby.  We went to the Bluesfest in Ottawa one year - but that's because we were already staying there and it happened to be on.

So - does this actually take place on someone's porch?  Or is it on someone's front lawn ?  We could get maybe 3 or 4 musicians on our porch - without a drum set. 



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Well - Geez Louise  -----

Apparently, my city had a Summer City Street Party on Friday night and I only just read about it in our city news online this morning.  Apparently they had closed off the main street, and had music and dancing in the main square.  We have a lovely central main square in our downtown, complete with a fountain and open spaces just made for events like this.  Usually, there is "live" entertainment in the square on Friday afternoons throughout the summer, but this is the first street party.

See.....that's what comes of being too cheap to buy the local paper, listen to the local radio stations, or go "downtown" and read the notices.  We are so out of it down here in the South End !  We will have to go "uptown" more often and get with it !!!



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KidCharlieMane wrote:
KittyBiggerstaff wrote:

You know, despite all its troubles and travails, Cleveland does seem to have a LOT to offer, especially spring through fall.  Almost makes up for the winters.

Thanks for showing us another of the city's events.  aww


 Yes, it does...from May through October, there's a helluva lot of stuff going on, especially outdoor stuff. Most of my bitching about Cleveland takes place between Thanksgiving and Easter, the time when the prison door slams shut, the snow machine is cranked up, and the sun is turned off for the winter.

In summer we also have the beaches, and Lake Erie. The water gets into the mid-seventies by August. It's never going to be the same as swimming in the ocean in Florida, but it's more than a lot of landlocked people have.

In the late fall and winter, it brings clouds and snow. In spring, the annoyingly chilly lake breezes. But in the summer and early fall...it's paradise. You can go swimming until mid-September.

Cleveland has a long shit-list of troubles and woes...but it also has a fairly long list of good things to offer, most of them in the summertime. In the winter, not so much.

The ideal situation would be summers up here and winters in Florida. Many people here do that. But we'll never be that well-off.

Charlie



-- Edited by KidCharlieMane on Saturday 23rd of June 2012 11:02:49 PM


 

Well it sure is nice to hear you talk about the positives once in a while. I knew you had to have some nice times there occasionally! smile



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mjd wrote:

Well - Geez Louise  -----

Apparently, my city had a Summer City Street Party on Friday night and I only just read about it in our city news online this morning.  Apparently they had closed off the main street, and had music and dancing in the main square.  We have a lovely central main square in our downtown, complete with a fountain and open spaces just made for events like this.  Usually, there is "live" entertainment in the square on Friday afternoons throughout the summer, but this is the first street party.

See.....that's what comes of being too cheap to buy the local paper, listen to the local radio stations, or go "downtown" and read the notices.  We are so out of it down here in the South End !  We will have to go "uptown" more often and get with it !!!


 Your downtown square sounds lovely!  Our downtown is a hell hole of wanton lust and desire. 



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Ithildriel wrote:
mjd wrote:

Well - Geez Louise  -----

Apparently, my city had a Summer City Street Party on Friday night and I only just read about it in our city news online this morning.  Apparently they had closed off the main street, and had music and dancing in the main square.  We have a lovely central main square in our downtown, complete with a fountain and open spaces just made for events like this.  Usually, there is "live" entertainment in the square on Friday afternoons throughout the summer, but this is the first street party.

See.....that's what comes of being too cheap to buy the local paper, listen to the local radio stations, or go "downtown" and read the notices.  We are so out of it down here in the South End !  We will have to go "uptown" more often and get with it !!!


 Your downtown square sounds lovely!  Our downtown is a hell hole of wanton lust and desire. 


 It is a lovely "town square".  It has its share of street people hanging around - like any city does, but for the most part its still a viable concern - unlike some cities where the "downtown" just died.  We have some great funky restaurants and cafes, great shopping, an avant garde book store with a cinema in it.  I try to spend some money down there because I would hate to see it go the way of the Dodo.

However, we live in a University city and invariably the fountain gets stuff dumped in it every year by some students and it turns into a bubblebath.  Seems to be a tradition.  Another tradition is to dress up a statue of an iron bear that stands in front of the Art Gallery.  Its been some wacky things - a wrapped parcel with stamps, a hockey player, a ballerina, a baby, a birthday present, a valentine, etc.  Now that's a fun thing to look for every year.  Some "wrappings" are really clever.  Unfortunately a couple of years ago some drunken revelers managed to knock the bear over off his stand and did something like $10,000 damage.  When the bear was fixed and put back on it's base, there was a grand unveiling and the Mayor was there and a great deal of hoopla ensued.  The drunken revelers - not much punishment, slap on the wrists really - University property you see and was taken care of by the University police.  The city folk were really pissed about that. 



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mjd wrote:

So - does this actually take place on someone's porch?  Or is it on someone's front lawn ?  We could get maybe 3 or 4 musicians on our porch - without a drum set. 


It depends--on the number of musicians in the band, the type of music they play, and the size of the porch. Some houses there have really big, wide, roomy front porches. Some porches even wrap around the whole front of the house. There are many different types and styles of houses in the neighborhood, so the actual use of the porch varies...from house to house...group to group...and year to year.

Last year, a complete jazz orchestra played big-band swing music. They were up on the porch, on the steps, and on the sidewalk in the front yard. We leaned our chairs against a big tree, and we were so close that they almost blew our faces off. So many people came to that performance that the cars on the street couldn't get through. It was really cool!

Some homeowners volunteer their spaces, but they don't want folks up on the porch, for whatever the reason...too many musicians, too much furniture, too big a mess, no outlets for sound systems...who the hell knows? So the musicians stand or sit--on the steps. Or even on the front lawn.

Sometimes it's one guy pickin' on a banjo or a guitar. Other times, it's a trio or a quartet or maybe five folks playing in the front yard. You never know until you show up.

Now they have lists...organized by various music types...so if you want to hear all the "world" music, or all the rock, or classical, or jazz , or folk, or bluegrass, they tell you which porches to visit, and at what times. The rest are listed under "good" music...or "weird"...or "mix"...and some of the porchniks' performances are lumped into more than one category.

You take your pick and you take your chances...if they suck...you move on. This is why it's good to be riding a bicycle, with a chair on your back.

It's amazing how big this thing has become, just since '09. This year was the best one yet. Lucinda liked it because of the crowds and the ambiance. I enjoyed the music and the people-watching and biking around a cool old neighborhood, just off Shaker Square (the neighborhood borders the suburb of Shaker Heights, which some of you may have even heard of).

What the hell...I DO say a lot of positive and upbeat things about my town...mostly in the summertime. Not so much in the late fall, winter, and early spring...when it's cold, wet, raw, nasty, rainy, snowy, icy, and gray--sometimes, all those things on the same day. 

Like it here half the year...hate it the other half...just the way I felt when I lived in my native Chicago.

But that's life in the Midwest, unless you enjoy the winters, which I most definitely do not. They really bum me out. Most people here feel pretty much the way I do. Many folks in Florida feel the exact opposite. Which is no surprise.

I envy those who like the place where they live, all year round. Is there even such a paradise of a place? If it does exist, it's probably overrun with a zillion people by now.

On the other hoof, life is too short (especially as you get older) to spend half the time hating where you are.

But the older you get, not only do the summers whiz by more quickly, so do the winters. The merry-go-round accelerates, much too quickly--as you get closer and closer to the point where the Great Ticket Taker finally pulls you off your horse.

Charlie



-- Edited by KidCharlieMane on Monday 25th of June 2012 10:54:04 PM

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I love where I live!  Spring comes early, fall lingers long, winter's pretty short.  I couldn't stand the summer without air conditioning, but then who can stand living up north without heating?

I've never wanted to live in a city, don't fancy Dogpatch, either--I'm a Suburban Material Girl.  Wouldn't want to live in south FLorida on either coast, too crowded.  Best part about my area is that, as I've said more than once, the coast curves in at Jacksonville, so hurricanes spawned in the Atlantic usually zip right on by.  And it takes a really determined Gulf storm (like Debby) to affect us much at all.

 



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Well, Mizz Kitty, never say never...or even "usually"...New York and Tampa have not been hit for a long, long time...but they HAVE been clocked in the past, and they are overdue.

New England got hammered not long after the Pilgrims arrived, but hardly anyone was living there yet...and since they only had one repeat, in 1815, people thought that hurricanes turned out to sea before coming that far north, and didn't give them much thought. Until, of course, they got clocked, big-time. I'm sure you've heard about 1938. And then there was Carol, in 1954.

You never know about hurricanes and tropical storms...they are pretty unpredictable beasts. They take all sorts of odd turns or slow down to a crawl. Lucinda and her first husband decided to go visit her in-laws, in Binghamton, one June. That tropical storm coming up out of Florida? Don't mean nothin'...hey, it's the first one of the summer...no big deal.

A was for Agnew that year...and also for Agnes. Worst floods New York State and eastern PA have ever had. They had to be rescued by the National Guard. Many other people were not so lucky.

You never know. Mother Nature always bats last. Jacksonville may one day get a big surprise it doesn't like...or want, when a storm turns one way instead of the other. If the Jews had done that, they'd have had all the oil, instead of all that sand.

Charlie



-- Edited by KidCharlieMane on Monday 25th of June 2012 11:19:46 PM

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"Will Debby Harry..."  Oh, you're in unusually fine form tonight!  Speaking of whom, I just learned last night via a YouTube video a cousin-in-law sent me that Debby was born in NJ (along with a lot of other singers and musicians).

I learned long ago to never say never, but I'm fairly safe with saying "usually."  Every part of our country and our world has its advantages and disadvantages, weather-wise.

By the way, the rain's let up again, for now.  Debby is very much like Beryl about a month ago--she's giving us breaks.

 



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6/22/13: Our 5th PorchFest!
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93376aa042509f185c68ef9409481da4--clevel

6/22/13: Charlie & Lucinda (far right) in crowd on E. 128th Street

(Unfortunately, the photo's edges were cropped...you can't see us, but you can still see our bikes!) 

Porchfest puts world in harmony

30 bands perform at annual Larchmere neighborhood event 

By James Ewinger (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

  CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Saturday's fifth annual Larchmere Porchfest was a celebration of the way urban life is supposed to be lived.

Every facet of the neighborhood was engaged and a cross section of humanity roamed from shop to restaurant to musical interlude on an absolutely perfect June day.  

The star attractions were 30 bands on 30 porches. Many of the venues were the lower porches of classic up-and-down duplexes spread out over a square mile or so, northwest of Shaker Square. Most of the performances were staggered over time and space between 2 and 6 p.m., so that ensembles did not drown each other out.  Style ran from opera and classical to variations on rock, folk, gypsy music, jazz, blues, hip hop and country. 

 Music was not the only form of harmony. In spite of an estimated 2,000 to 2,500 visitors, people, cars, parking and private property all appeared to co-exist without incident. A stroll down East 130th to hear the Nomads (self-described instrumental post rock) unveiled both the dynamics and the history of the festival here.

Ithaca, N.Y.--home of Cornell University--is credited with having the first porchfest. Julia Rose, a professor emeritus at Case Medical School, is recognized as the one who carried the idea here.  She got her PhD in human development from Cornell, she said, and maintains homes here and there. 

 "I kind of floated the idea of a porchfest with these wonderful neighbors," she said, gesturing to houses on either side of her duplex. As she spoke, the Nomads were wrapping up their 45-minute set. "I just recruited them to do my porch in Ithaca," Rose said. They were the fifth band in five years to play Chez Rose. 

"You volunteer your porch, they send you a band," said Roland Moore, one of Rose's neighbors.   

Elijah Bisbee, a guitarist with the Nomads, said they submitted their name to the Porchfest Planning Committee and thats how they got the gig. "We're good friends with the band Oldboy (roots rock and alt folk, also playing Saturday) and they had nothing but good things to say about the fest," said Bisbee.

Heide Rivchun, a Larchmere merchant and member of the Porchfest Planning Committee, said the bands are paid between $50 and $200. The 30 ensembles playing this year were chosen from more than 130 applicants, she said. Porch owners are not paid. "They're thrilled," Rivchun said. "Maybe they get a discount on a T-shirt."

   Jesse Honsky, a member of the planning committee, said a lot of businesses get increased traffic both during the festival and after, with people who came to the neighborhood for their first fest returning to shop and dine. Melissa Edsall, a music therapist, hosted her second band on the porch of her East 128th Street home and called it a great way to bring the community together and have a sense of connectivity.

The traffic is not altogether local. Laurel and Douglas Lindh came all the way from Livonia, Mich., to visit friends Josh and Mary Bourdrez of Shaker Heights, with both families attending.  Mike Russo of Lakewood said this was his first fest, and he came "because I love outdoor festivals." 

 Bob and Linda Yanega left Solon last year to live in the Larchmere neighborhood because of the festival, and "because everyone was so welcoming," he said.  This year they had a band on their porch. " It's great fun and its a great way to promote the neighborhood", he said.

Charlie



-- Edited by KidCharlieMane on Sunday 17th of June 2018 10:20:38 PM

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I'm truly delighted to learn that PorchFest is keeping on!  May it always, if for no other reason than to show off the good things about living either in a city or in its close outskirts.

When I was much younger, I'd have enjoyed such an event if I'd lived within a city Cleveland's size, but I never did, and as I've grown up, I've become more and more a hermit.  Kudos to Lucinda and you for staying as young as you do.

Best always,

Mother Aweful

 



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Thanks for the kudos from The Kitty...
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Well. actually, you DO live near a growing city that is MUCH bigger than shrinking Cleveland...as Jacksonville now has over 800,000 residents--more than twice as many as we have. We're losing them at the rate of a couple dozen every day--either to the suburbs, nearby counties, or other states. Jacksonville is the eleventh-biggest U.S. city, while Cleveland has dwindled down to # 45. In 1950 and earlier, Cleveland was sixth-largest.

Greater Cleveland still has a population of over two million, compared to metropolitan Jacksonville's 1.4 million. But Jacksonville is over ten times the size of Cleveland in area, because your city and county have become one and the same. Jacksonville is one of the largest cities (in size) on the planet, and the largest (874 square miles) in the US.

I guess the key is the word "hermit"...we must look like busy little bees, having seemingly endless adventures, but we're getting less active and more hermit-like, too...because we're not the young whippersnappers we were even a few years ago.

Oh, yeah...we're constantly on the go in the good-weather months...April or May through October...and reach our peak activity level in the summertime, when we do stuff for days in a row...sometimes several things on a given day. Our calendar is--literally-- a scribbled mess in the summer. You have to cram it all into a few months.

Summer's too short...same as life is...and winter is too long. Whole different ballgame for us during the cold months. Hermit doesn't even begin to describe me then. Recluse is a better word. Hunker down and hide--from the snow, the cold, the endless short gray days and long dark moonless nights. Winter does go by faster as you age, but it's more miserable and hateful. I crave the sun like a thirsty man craves water...and I wouldn't care if I never saw another snowflake again.

But in the good old summertime...Ohio's a lush green paradise...and we run around outdoors like headless chickens...although it's harder to do that now when it's hot. You can try to stay forever young, as we do...but time catches up with everybody eventually. Even us.

Charlie



-- Edited by KidCharlieMane on Monday 24th of June 2013 12:56:51 PM

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