Jack Hanna on Letterman for last time tonight

hannaGrowing up in Dublin, Ohio, I went to school with a girl named Suzanne who would always outshine everyone else when it came to Show and Tell. While most kids would bring in pet rocks, special selections from their baseball card collections, or perhaps a newly acquired Rubik’s Cube, Suzanne would bring in snow leopard cubs or a baby chimpanzee. Sure, I’m exaggerating to some extent, but going to school with the daughter of Jack Hanna ensured that at least a few times each year our classroom would feature some exotic animals.

Hanna made his reputation professionally as the Director of the Columbus Zoo, but it was his appearances on Late Night with David Letterman throughout the ’80s that garnered him fame and led to his own television shows. Hanna now lives in Montana, but he is still employed by the Columbus Zoo as the Director Emeritus. He’s in town today to make his last appearance on the Late Show, as Letterman is retiring next month.

Columbus’ Connections at Cake Shop tonight

connectionsThough Cleveland and Columbus may have lengthier histories when it comes to their rock scenes, for a period in the mid-90s, Dayton was every bit the hotspot as those bigger metropolises. With bands like Guided By Voices, The Breeders, Brainiac, and more calling the city home, the burg was perhaps producing more great bands per capita than anywhere else in the state. It was this self-made scene that inspired Kevin Elliott and Andy Hampel to first start making music as teenagers in Dayton’s suburbs. The first result of that initial inspiration was 84 Nash, a band that eventually moved to Columbus and released three superb records—including one on GBV frontman Robert Pollard’s short-lived Rockathon label—before calling it a day.

No doubt some of this influence also rubbed off on Kevin’s younger brother Adam, who until a few years ago drummed and sang with Times New Viking. The two siblings and guitarist Hampel have teamed up in Connections, a band rounded out by guitarist Dave Capaldi, formerly of El Jesus de Magico, and bass player Philip Kim. The five-piece has released three albums in quick succession, not to mention a slew of 7-inches. That the band has been able to convey a spastic zeal and deliver consistently great pop hooks over so much material says something about their upbringing. They’ll be in town tonight playing with their Anyway Records labelmate St. Lenox, as well as Brooklyn band EZTV, at Cake Shop. Check out their video for “Scanners” below. Continue Reading →

Cavaliers in Brooklyn tonight

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The Cleveland Cavaliers are at the Barclays Center for the first time this season to take on the Brooklyn Nets tonight. It will be the third time the teams have met this season and will very likely be the third time the Cavs put the Nets down. Just nine days ago, the Wine and Gold soundly beat Brooklyn by 25 points. With such high salary “stars” as Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez (all of whom make more than $16 million a year), one would hope that the Nets could provide a little competition and make a game of it. But there is no stopping the Cavs. They have gone 27-7 since January, when LeBron James returned after his break and the team traded for JR Smith, Iman Shumpert, and Timofey Mozgov. They’ve already clinched a playoff spot and recently schooled the Memphis Grizzlies, the number two team in the West, beating them by 22 points Wednesday night. Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned Kyrie Irving scoring 57 points against the defending champions, the San Antonio Spurs, two weeks ago. Enough said.

If you can’t make it to the Barclays Center, you can watch the game at home on the YES network or listen to it on WFAN 101.9 FM/66 AM. Start time is 7:30pm.

Mark Mothersbaugh at The Strand tonight

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Though most people are probably familiar with Mark Mothersbaugh for being a member of  musical provocateurs Devo or perhaps for his soundtrack work, which has ranged from The Royal Tenenbaums to The LEGO Movie, this Renaissance man and Akron native has also worked in various visual mediums throughout his career in those other fields. A selection of that work has recently been collected under the title “Myopia” and is currently on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. Concurrently, Princeton Architectural Press has published a book of the same title that also places the art in the context of Mothersbaugh’s work with Devo.

Tonight at The Strand, Mothersbaugh will be discussing the book with its editor and MCA Denver’s director, Adam Lerner, as well as signing copies for those in attendance afterwards. One must purchase a copy of the book to attend, and other memorabilia will not be signed, so leave those energy domes at home spud boys!

Cavs vs Nets tonight

netscavsWhen the Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Brooklyn Nets for the first time this season tonight at the Barclays Center, there is no telling what might happen. The Nets are coming off a 23-point loss to the Hawks after previously defeating the defending champions, the San Antonio Spurs. The Cavaliers, on the other hand, are on a tear, having won their last six games, including, most recently, a 14-point win over the fearsome Toronto Raptors. The question isn’t whether or not the Cavs will win (they will), but whether or not the Nets will make a game of it. If you’re looking to get tickets, as of press time, they start at about $55 on Ticketmaster and $64 on StubHub. You can watch the game at home on the YES network or listen to it on WFAN 101.9 FM/66 AM. Tipoff is at 7:30pm.

Cavs vs. Knicks rematch tonight

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Starting with a season opener loss to the New York Knicks at home, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2014 season got off to a rocky start. With expectations high for this team to finally bring a championship to Cleveland, the LeBron James–led  squad went 5–7 in their first 12 games. However, the team has seemingly begun to gel, looking particularly impressive during their recent four-game winning streak. The Knicks, on the other hand, seem like they’ll never get it together. At 4–15, they have one of the worst records in the league and have quickly made it apparent that it’s going to take more than Phil Jackson in the front office to make this team a winner. More than likely, they just got lucky in their first meeting with the Cavs and tonight LeBron will have his revenge.

Of course, the one disadvantage to having James back on the Cavs is that tickets are harder to come by. If you aren’t lucky enough to be going to Madison Square Garden, you can join the NYC Cavs group, watch the game at home on TNT or the MSG Network, listen to it on ESPN FM 98.7, or view the game at any number of bars who will no doubt have it on.

X__X returns to New York City

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Given their Big Apple-centric view of the world, New Yorkers like to believe that punk rock began on the Bowery with the Ramones, et. al. History is never so clearly defined, however, and one could easily make the argument that such noise was being made in Cleveland years earlier, even if few heard such rumblings. One of those of primordial punks was John Morton, whose electric eels (all lower case after e e cummings) were in operation as early as 1972. He subsequently formed the short-lived X__X with guitarist Andew Klimeyk and drummer Anton Fier, better known for his work with The Feelies and The Golden Palominos. Though the band existed for barely six months before Morton moved to New York, their live performances and two singles were remarkable enough to be remembered all these years later. Finnish label Ektro Records recently released a compilation, and to mark the occasion, Morton has assembled an altered line-up of Klimeyk, bassist Craig Bell (of Rocket from the Tombs), and drummer Matthew Harris to play a handful of shows, including one tonight at Cake Shop and another on Sunday at WFMU’s Monty Hall. I got in touch with Morton, who is also a visual artist, via email to ask him some questions and he was kind enough to answer them.

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