Sunday, September 15, 2019

David Bowie tribute bands entertain Cleveland, Lorain crowds (concert review)

LORAIN, Ohio – For diehard David Bowie fans, there is nothing like seeing two talented tribute bands. It's even better since I attended those concerts with wonderful friends.

David Brighton, dressed as the late David Bowie from 1983, points to fans
late in the third set of the Space Oddity tribute band concert
Saturday at the Lorain Palace Theater in Lorian, Ohio.
Two Bowie tribute bands performed in Northern Ohio recently. Diamond Dogs, led by Avon resident Richard Kline, played at the House of Blues in Cleveland during a Sept. 6 concert opened by a Pretenders tribute band, Talk of the Town.

On Saturday, David Brighton’s Space Oddity entertained the crowd at the Lorain Palace Theater. Virtuoso guitarist Michael Weber and his band, The Michael Weber Show, opened the concert with a high-energy performance that thrilled fans.

Brian Paul Sr. and his wife, Shannon Martin-Paul, and Norwalk residents Jeff Bertram and his girlfriend Dana Neel attended the Diamond Dogs show with me. The Martins play in a couple bands with drummer Dave Clark and Martin-Paul recruited the lead guitarist, Dave Maxson, as a last-minute fill-in for a Nomad Soul gig in Brook Park.

Bertram said he “thoroughly enjoyed the show,” which featured such Bowie hits as “Space Oddity,” “Ziggy Stardust,” “Young Americans,” “Ashes to Ashes,” “Let’s Dance,” China Girl” and “I’m Afraid of Americans.”
Richard Kline and his Diamond Dogs tribute band entertain the House of Blues crowd Sept. 6, 2019.
Kline dressed as Ziggy Stardust during the first half of the show.
“The House of Blues was the perfect venue for Diamond Dogs, which delivered a strong performance with an amazing stage presence that produced a powerful blend of hard blues/rock or psychedelic folk/rock renditions of so many David Bowie classics,” he said.

David Brighton sings with his Space Oddity tribute band Saturday
at the Lorain Palace Theater in Lorain, Ohio. Brighton was dressed
as the Thin White Duke for the first set.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Vietnam-era veteran recalls time with movie legend John Wayne (feature/interview)

NEW LONDON, Ohio — Not many people can say they have had a few drinks with a movie legend.

New London native John Martin has those bragging rights. When he was with the U.S. Navy in 1977, he and some of his co-workers spent several hours with the Duke himself, John Wayne.

“We would go out to various ships; we would be sent out. I was on four or five different ships and also a Norwegian frigate … up in Norway. We had to do ops,” said Martin, who graduated from New London High School in 1969.
New London, Ohio native John Martin (back left) puts his arm on the shoulder of legendary movie actor John Wayne
in 1977 in the Virgin Islands when Martin and other U.S. Navy personnel visited with "The Duke"
at the home of actress Maureen O'Hara and her husband, Charles "Buddy" Blair Jr.
 At one point the crew was off the coast of Puerto Rico.

“We ended up going down to the Virgin Islands and we had a three-day R-and-R,” Martin said, referring to rest and relaxation. “I spent a couple days (on) shore patrol. The one day I was able to get out and about, nine of us and a taxi driver … we had heard John Wayne was in town.”

A chatty “doorman” at a hotel in Saint Croix in the Virgin Islands tipped them off about where Wayne was.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Ranking the MCU movies (Nos. 7-5) in Phases One through Three

If you’ve been paying attention to the Cary’s Comics Craze countdown/ranking of all 23 MCU movies, you probably have a fair idea of what seven films are left.

With any list involving a hierarchy, I have every confidence there are plenty of disagreements with where I have placed particular movies. If not, you either 1) haven’t been paying attention as much as I thought you have or 2) something’s wrong. Any ranking – of anything! – should cause discussion, if not arguments or at the very least, heated disagreements.

In that case, why haven’t you CCC’ers been posting any comments below each of these posts?! Just sayin’…

Enough of the preamble. But just one more tease: Two of my choices in this installment are what’s known on social media as unpopular opinions. These two movies – both of which are sequels – usually aren’t anywhere this high on anybody’s list. But then again, I enjoy having, exploring and sharing opinions that not many other fans share.

Have you figured out what those two flicks are? Ready or not, here we go …!

Friday, September 6, 2019

Jay Crawford, preseason Clevelend Browns announcer: Work ethic is 'best tool' for students (exclusive interview)

MILAN TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Former ESPN host Jay Crawford sees a bit of himself in area high school students.
Former ESPN host Jay Crawford and NORWALK REFLECTOR reporter Cary Ashby take a selfie before doing an interview Sept. 6, 2019 at EHOVE Career Center in Milan Township, Ohio.
“They are where I was 35 years ago, so I see a little bit of me in every one of these kids — whether it’s Perkins or St. Mary’s or Norwalk or EHOVE. I never turn down an opportunity to speak to any school in the area, just because I feel such a strong connection to this part of the world and I think I kinda understand what it’s like to grow up here — some of the struggles, some of the luxuries we’re afforded,” the Perkins High School graduate said.

“Home is home and there’s something special about it. I think I connect on a lot of levels with these kids and to the schools around here. I think I get them.”

Crawford, of Chagrin Falls, and Lavin Schwan, of Clyde, were the keynote speakers this morning for the kickoff event for Drug Free Leaders. It is an optional leadership program at EHOVE Career Center that includes drug screening and is offered to all students.

“The struggles here are pretty similar to the struggles in most communities. There are a lot of influences that are pulling you in both directions — good or bad,” Crawford said before the event started.

“(Teenagers) may not be even aware that these forces are working against each other,” he added.

“You have alcohol, you have drugs; you have different things that can lead you down the wrong (path). But I believe that the crossroads in life for most people happen when you’re an early teenager.”

Sunday, September 1, 2019

'LEGO DC: Batman – Family Matters' animated movie review

Hey fellow nerds, do you have go-to “comfort food” when it comes to certain pop culture touchstones? Say you’ve had a busy week at work or your life has been just kinda chaotic lately; these are what you turn to in order to brighten your day, make you feel good and generally bring a smile to your face.

When it comes to music, David Bowie is my go-to. As I put in a meme I created years ago, “When I’m happy, I listen to David Bowie. When I’m sad, I listen to David Bowie. And when I’m Bowie, I David to David Bowie.”

Movies are a personal comfort food – from the original “Star Wars” trilogy to most of the MCU flicks and “Lethal Weapon” series to strangely enough, “Deadpool” and its equally hysterical sequel.

DC Comics’ recent series of LEGO movies also is cinematic comfort food, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that “Batman – Family Matters” was an impulse buy a few days ago.

Also, I adore adventures with the Batman family, so when I saw the trailer showing the LEGO debuts of Batwoman and Jason Todd/Red Hood, my impulse control was worn down. So it was like: Here, Walmart: Just take my money.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Ranking the MCU movies (Nos. 10-8) in Phases One through Three

After some time off, Cary’s Comics Craze has cracked the top 10 in the countdown ranking of the first 23 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (aka Phases One through Three, collectively known as “the Infinity Saga”).
The Warriors Three and Sif pay respect to the king of Asgard in "Thor."

Just to remind the CCCers and those of you just joining this list, it’s in the classic style of David Letterman’s Top 10 lists. I started at Movie No. 23, my least favorite film in the MCU, and am working my way up to Numero Uno. Up until the last installment, the order has been pretty clear cut; choosing where to have Nos. 13 through 11 was tough – as were the following three choices. Each installment, aside from Nos. 17 through 14, has included mini-reviews of three movies.

What are the choices for films No. 10 through 8? Let’s find out.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Rumours band 'excited' to return to Milan Melon Festival (exclusive interview)

NORWALK, Ohio — Imagine performing the songs of your childhood idol.

That’s what Shannon Martin-Paul does on a regular basis with the area Fleetwood Mac tribute band Rumours. The full-time singer performs as Stevie Nicks — complete with costumes, hats and shawls similar to those worn by the legendary rock star.
Rumours entertains the crowd at the patio of Harbor House Bar & Grill in Huron, Ohio
during the first of three sets Aug. 18.
Martin-Paul continues to study video footage of Nicks. She said she appreciates hearing fans compliment her performances.

“It means a ton because I’ve followed her since I was 9 years old. It makes my job easier to portray my idol,” said Martin-Paul, who has a large tattoo of Nicks on her upper arm.

“I try to portray her moves in the 70s,” added the singer, who considers Rumours “my family.” 

Rumours will perform at 9 p.m. Sunday at the Milan Melon Festival. This will be the second time in about five years the band has performed at the festival.