Tim Easton at Rockwood Music Hall tonight

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Tim Easton may live in Nashville now, but he’s still an Ohio boy at heart. The Akron-raised singer-songwriter first made a name for himself as the frontman for Columbus’ Haynes Boys, who recently reissued their lone full-length, but has been going it alone since that band broke-up around the turn of the century. He’s just released a new record, American Fork, and as he’s long been wont to do, has hit the road in support of it. He will be in New York tonight, playing an early show at the Rockwood Music Hall. Check out the first video from the album, “Right Before Your Own Eyes,” below.

Where to watch Ohio football in New York City

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As summer turns to autumn, many an Ohioan’s mind turns to the sport of football. (There’s a reason the Pro Football Hall of Fame is in Canton.) This weekend marks the start of the NFL season, and like many other Ohio ex-pat football fans, you may be wondering where you can support Browns and Bengals instead of Jets and Giants. While there is probably no way to truly escape New York fans cheering on the hometown teams, there are several enclaves around the city for orange contingencies, be it orange and brown or orange and black. Continue Reading →

Where to Watch the Cavs Win the NBA Championship

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If you’re a Cleveland sports fan, you will be forever cautious lest your heart be broken once more. But it’s next to impossible not to believe that it is our time. With everyone healthy and some great new additions to the roster, the Cleveland Cavaliers are poised to enact their revenge on the Golden State Warriors and win the NBA Championship. With the NBA Finals kicking off tonight in California, chances are you won’t be attending Game 1 in person and thus are looking to get All In with some like-minded fans. We’ve got a couple options for you, one uptown and one downtown.

Run by a Cleveland native, Harlem bar At the Wallace will continue hosting the Cavs-watching parties that began with the Eastern Conference Finals. They’ve imported kielbasa from Cleveland for Polish boys and are offering other specials like the Delly Trey and suitable cocktails such as the Leblon James.

Downtown, the Union Square Browns Backers are hosting Finals parties at their homebase of Brother Jimmy’s. The notorious Shot Penguin is supposed to make an appearance, and there will most likely be food and drink specials. They recommend that you call 212-673-6465 and make a reservation. Be sure to tell them you’re with the U.S. Browns Backers.

Although they won’t be doing anything for Game 1, the Brooklyn Browns Backers will be hosting a viewing party for Game 2 at their new homebase, the Park Slope Ale House. They promise beer specials and plenty of Finals fervor.

Below is the complete schedule, with asterisked games only if needed. (I’m predicting Cavs in six.) All games will be broadcast by ABC. If you know of any other good spots to watch the game (and I don’t mean Warrior spots like Pacific Standard), please let us know in the comments.

Game 1: June 2, 9pm
Game 2: June 5, 8pm
Game 3: June 8, 9pm
Game 4: June 10, 9pm
Game 5: June 13, 9pm*
Game 6: June 16, 9pm*
Game 7: June 19, 9pm*

Craw at Saint Vitus tonight

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Although Cleveland has a long lineage of groundbreaking music, the city experienced something of a lull in the ’90s. It was on this barren landscape that Craw was born. After first forming at Case Western Reserve University in 1988 and recording a series of demo tapes at the start of the next decade, the band released its self-titled debut on the Chicago-based Choke label in 1994. The record revealed a sharply honed mix of noisy aggression, atmospheric dirge, and heady lyrical content. The viscerally charged racket Craw was making was not unlike that being released by Amphetamine Reptile and Touch and Go, and Craw would host those labels’ touring acts at the Euclid Tavern when not on the road themselves with the likes of the Jesus Lizard and Melvins. Several line-up changes and three more full-length releases would transpire before the band called it quits in 2002, leaving a lasting impression on all that heard its music.

In conjunction with an elaborate boxset released by Northern Spy Records, the seven members who played in Craw at various times have reformed for a handful of shows, including one at Saint Vitus tonight. This is very unlikely to ever happen again, so don’t miss it!

Columbus vs. New York in Eastern Conference Championship tonight

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As an eight year-old playing on a youth league team named after the Minnesota Strikers of the long defunct Major Indoor Soccer League, soccer was a sport played but seldom watched in the United States. Oh, how the times have changed! These days not only do kids play football, er, soccer, but they are well versed in the sport’s many international stars and leagues. That interest extends to Major League Soccer, the professional organization in the United States that has not only survived for two decades but has thrived.

The MLS playoffs have almost reached their pinnacle, and right in the thick of the race for MLS Cup is the Columbus Crew SC. The team is currently battling it out for the Eastern Conference Championship with the New York Red Bulls and is in town (well, New Jersey) for the second and deciding game this evening. They won the first game in Columbus 2–0, and so long as Red Bulls don’t win by more than two goals today, the Crew will be playing for the Cup against the winner of the Western Conference Championship being played by FC Dallas and the Portland Timbers. The last time the Crew won the Cup was in 2008. (Coincidentally, the Red Bulls were the losing squad that year.)

Tonight’s game starts at 7:30, so as of this writing, you still have time to score tickets (there are plenty on StubHub) and get out to the Red Bull Arena. If not, Fox Sports will be showing the match.

Ashland native Ernest Cline at B&N Union Square this evening

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Ashland, Ohio is best known as “The World Headquarters of Nice People,” as well as home to Grandpa’s Cheesebarn and a notorious speed trap on I-71, but it’s also the birthplace of Ernest Cline. The writer now lives in Austin, Texas, but he was born in my favorite pit stop between Columbus and Cleveland in 1972. Though he also wrote the screenplay for Fanboys, Cline is best known for the novel Ready Player One, part of which takes place in Columbus and which is being made into a movie with Steven Spielberg (another Ohio native) directing. This past week his second novel, Armada, was released, and to promote the book, Cline will be appearing for a Q&A and signing at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square today at 7pm.

Where to watch the Cavs win the NBA Finals

Just a quick note to let you know of a change of plans. Though we had a nice crowd at Croxley’s for Game 1 of the NBA Finals, turnout was extremely low for Game 2, and as such, we’re not going to be doing the watching parties mentioned below. Don’t let that discourage you from going to Croxley’s, though, as it’s a great spot to watch the games. Additionally, there are few other get-togethers for viewing the games around the city. The Union Square Browns Backers are hosting watching parties at their homebase of Brother Jimmy’s, and NYC Cavs are watching at American Whiskey on W. 30th Street. Meanwhile further uptown in Harlem, At the Wallace is showing the games and has imported kielbasa from Cleveland for Polish Boys and is making cocktails using LeBron’s Mix.

If you are interested in getting together at Croxley’s on Sunday, let me know in the comments or via Facebook, and if enough interest is shown, I will set something up.