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Old Posted Jun 30, 2013, 5:13 PM
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MayDay MayDay is offline
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Smile CLEVELAND - Three Points of Pride

Ahh, summer in Cleveland - gotta love it, especially three of my favorite activities - visiting the Towpath Trail in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, attending the annual 'Solstice' party at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Cleveland Pride Parade and Festival, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. Lots of photos - sit back and let them load.

Part 1 - Towpath Trail/Cuyahoga Valley National Park

First up, the Towpath Trail which largely follows the original canals that lead to Cleveland's growth. I know there's debate about whether the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is 'worthy' of the designation. I don't care, I just love that it's so easily accessible and offers a variety of backdrops from busy bike trails to isolated waterfalls and of course, the flora and fauna.

My partner and I like to start in Peninsula, a charming small town located along the Cuyahoga River. It has a 'New England' feel, which isn't surprising considering the area was once part of Connecticut. http://ech.case.edu/cgi/article.pl?id=WR2

I love the Leg Lamp from 'A Christmas Story':

We always grab lunch and fuel at the Winking Lizard, located in this historic former dance hall.

Bridge over the Cuyahoga, and Century Cycles - they're always busy in spring and summer with the bike rentals:

Today's fuel, a Black and Gold - Great Lakes Brewing Dortmunder Gold + Guiness:

Another fun part of the park is the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad - in addition to regular rides, you can take your bike on board:

Anyway, over to the Towpath Trail we go:

There are quite a few galleries in the area and artists:

First stretch of the trail is paved:

Interesting flora right off the bat:

The waters of the Cuyahoga, cleaner and healthier than ever:

Pretty sure this is a grackel:

Industrial ruins from the canal:

Let's have some fun, guys...


I'm always hopeful to see a great blue heron - well, not a close up but a decent shot I suppose:

More flora:

Railroad bridge - still active but not frequently used. The tunnel underneath doubles as a kick-arse echo chamber:


Wasn't sure what kind of bird this is:

The next stretch is boardwalked over a marsh:

Alien flora?

Again, ALVIN!!!

Grackel with a snackel

I don't care if they poo every five seconds, I think Canadian Geese are beautiful:

Photo doesn't show it, but this was one *big* turtle:

Remember how I said I hoped to see a great blue heron? We've managed to see a few over the years but there was usually trees and whatnot in the way. My jaw dropped - this was a huge heron and just RIGHT THERE:

Canadian Geese again - they mate for life

No, this is not the dreaded emerald ash borer - if it were, I'd have squished it:

More of this stuff - not sure what it is:

As much as the river has been cleaned up, there's still progress to be made - this is an overflow area which collects debris and litter from a much larger area:

The towpath is around 100 miles long from Cleveland to Tuscarawas County - most of it is complete but there are a few gaps. It's interesting how they've tied it all together, including bridges, boardwalks, etc.:

Get out of here - another heron!

Speaking of getting out of here, time to go home via the Ohio Turnpike - downtown Cleveland's visible from the bridge over the Cuyahoga:

Part 2 - Solstice party at the Cleveland Museum of Art

Every year, this party sells out - staggered admission/pricing makes the crowd more interesting as the night goes on. At 7pm, the people who have $ection$ of the museum named after them, they get open bar and free food. At 8pm it's the regular museum members and non-members willing to shell out a little extra. At 10pm it's time for 'steerage' - JUST KIDDING - that's essentially the general admission but skews younger and more diverse. By night's end all these people are hobnobbing together, with diverse musical acts all with the backdrop of the museum. Speaking of - the expansion of the museum is ongoing but they recently opened the Asian galleries - a strongpoint of the museum's collection. I'd say 'worth the price of admission' but general admission to the museum is FREE

Starting out like so many trips - the view at the end of my street:

En route to one world-class Cleveland institution, we pass another:

The plan was to 'pre-game' at a nearby Asian spot in the Uptown development - here's phase two under construction:

That's directly across the street from the newly opened Museum of Contemporary Art. Here's a close-up of the mirror-finished steel facade:

Ah here we are - Accent; notice the empty patio? Yeah, it was in the upper 80s and tropical dewpoints (aka ick!!!) so we opted to sit inside:

Did I mention they have a Saturday happy hour? Five dollar half-pitchers of Sapporo served in frosted mugs? If you happen to go - get the pork belly, edamame chips and hummus, and of course the Sapporo!

I love the funky sci-fi decor (the pattern is made of the restaurant's name)

Alright, over to the party - we pass by Case Western Reserve University's 'Old Main' building:

And here we are - a major part of the expansion was this atrium, larger than a football field. I have to applaud Raphael Viñoly - I was apprehensive about how this would turn out and it's flat out amazing:

The atrium frames the original 1916 building - I love how airy it looks:

First stop, the newly opened Asian art galleries - there were people getting misty-eyed. This collection used to be housed in a cubby hole on the museum's lower level. It's absolutely exquisite and does the collection justice:

Immediately adjacent are the also newly-opened Art of the Americas galleries:

Kids with the 'gauges' crack me up - try wearing THESE in your nose!

Of course, being an art museum party there's bound to be some wacky costumes. These reminded me of the creepy monsters in the subway in the movie 'The Wiz'.

Yeah, yeah - Impressionists gallery - sorry, didn't have time (that's how crazy and cool this party gets!)

Contemporary art installation:

Outside to the south terrace, people are still filing in:

Back inside, I've always loved this guy - and no, the glasses aren't "ironic"

Another gem in this gem, the Armor Court:

A 'performance art' installation - each speaker had a different monk chanting:

Yep, this guy enjoyed the party too!

South terrace, one of the busier spots:

Some of the music groups are people you've never heard of, but they always pick a great variety and the crowds appreciate it:

See the bottom of 'The Thinker'? Apparently in the 1970s, anarchists planted a pipe bomb on the statue - the museum decided to leave the statue as is, to reflect history:

As the temps went down, more people came outside:

And *another* cool part of the expansion is Gallery One - a fully interactive gallery with a gigantic 'touch' wall which is the largest of its kind in the world. I love that they designed it to encourage people to go find the original piece, not just see it on a screen. Check it out http://www.clevelandart.org/gallery-one/about They use the facade of the museum to show off different aspects - this year was about Gallery One:

Back inside for a second:

My partner loves the collection of Fabergé pieces, and I'm more than happy to indulge him:

Imperial Red Cross egg - one of two in the world:

The central rotunda - a great spot to sit for a minute and people watch:

No rest for the MayDay, back out to the south terrace

The Crystal Ark had a great show:

And back inside, where we danced our arses off to DJ Afrika Bambaattaa and closed the joint!

Part 3 - 25th Annual Cleveland Pride Parade and Festival

This year we couldn't make it to the parade, so it's just festival photos. They managed to get Deborah Cox as the headliner and she did a great job. Along with the 25th anniversary, the Supreme Court decisions this week added to the revelry

You know the routine, the view from the end of my street

Lots of construction cranes - they're building the new Innerbelt bridge, largest transportation project in the history of the State of Ohio:

Passing through Playhouse Square en route to the festival:

Almost there!

A lot of people go to the parade and stay all day for the festival, so I can't blame them for being a little tired!

C'mon now, like I'm *not* going to get a shot of Key Tower?

Yep, I think we're in the right spot!

My partner remarked that "you can't say that our Pride festival isn't diverse!" and I agree - but to be honest, for every drag queen or scantily-clad whatever, there are plenty more plain ol' regular-looking people who happen to be gay.

The festival is held at Voinovich Park, with a great view of the Rock Hall and the skyline:

The lawn near the performance stage:

This performer goes by "Bitch" - last time we saw her, she was doing some weird folk 'chant', this time around she was really good!

Like I said - diverse!

Plenty of people selling rainbow accoutrements:

Diverse footwear - though not the best for walking on grass, I would think?

And then the DJ started to spin some old school 'line dance' tunes and Clevelanders love their line dancing and... WHOA!!!

To her credit, she was wearing pasties but I, I... I got nothin'

That reminds me, I need to get to the gym:

A little more line dancing:

The lyrics at this moment were indeed "how low can you go?"

Like I said (I'm not a fan) but Clevelanders go batsh!t over line dancing:

This gentleman had writing on his back saying "I'm Single". I'm hoping he finds someone who can cook - my inner ethnic grandmother was saying "Look at you - you so skiiiinny, you need to EAT!"

It's not just a black and white issue

Or male/female:

More of the crowd:

Deborah Cox - fabulous!!!

Terminal Tower - also fabulous!!!

Not sure what they were going for but it's distinctive!

Remember what I said about the footwear?

I had a similar pair back in the day

Ah well, time to wrap it up - speaking of, the Federal Building is undergoing a glass 'encasement' - oughta be interesting:

On the way home:

Hope you enjoyed!
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Old Posted Jun 30, 2013, 5:45 PM
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geomorph geomorph is online now
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Thank you so much for sharing, I enjoy your Cleveland threads and especially your concise informative commentary. I only visited Cleveland once and the only downtown area I even got to walk around was between the Rock and Roll Hall and the Browns Stadium!
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Old Posted Jun 30, 2013, 7:46 PM
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ColDayMan ColDayMan is offline
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Very cool. You know I've never actually explored the Cuyahoga Valley NP? I've driven through it east-west and have been to Peninsula but never actually walked around it. I should next time.
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Old Posted Jun 30, 2013, 8:24 PM
mrnyc mrnyc is offline
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lovely photos. love the valley. and those gay festivities are a lot more civilized than the ones going on in front of our apt today that is for sure.
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Old Posted Jun 30, 2013, 8:59 PM
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Ex-Ithacan Ex-Ithacan is online now
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Well that does it, I'm worn out.

Entertaining thread MayDay, and so much to see.

That huge space at the Museum is amazing.

btw, Afrika Bambaataa is a the visiting hip-hop scholar at Cornell for three years.

Thanks for the fun pics.
Get off my lawn you whippersnappers!!!!!
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Old Posted Jun 30, 2013, 11:18 PM
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atlantaguy atlantaguy is offline
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How very cool, Shawn - thanks so much for sharing.

You are making me very homesick for my roots!
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Old Posted Jul 1, 2013, 2:09 AM
TransitEngr TransitEngr is offline
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Loved the National Park pics, skyline pics, the art museum (excellent expansion), and the pride pics.

Aaaaall great stuff.

I wouldn't kick him oudda bed for eatin' crackers.
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Old Posted Jul 1, 2013, 5:07 AM
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KevinFromTexas KevinFromTexas is offline
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Great pics. That trail and the national park look so relaxing.
i'm on my weekly world news garth brooks juice diet
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Old Posted Jul 2, 2013, 1:54 AM
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volguus zildrohar volguus zildrohar is offline
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It just seems to me that one needs an incredible amount of faith/confidence to wear boots like these. Every step could be the last one before a rolled ankle, you know what I mean? Running for a bus or cab really can't be practical in those things.

je suis phillytrax sur FLICKR, y'all
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Old Posted Jul 2, 2013, 3:28 AM
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Evergrey Evergrey is offline
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Connecticut's influence lives on.
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Old Posted Jul 7, 2013, 9:52 PM
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MayDay MayDay is offline
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Thanks everyone, I appreciate the comments!

geomorph, I love so much of the photography on SSP but sometimes I'm wondering what I'm seeing, so I try to give some context. ColDayMan - stop in Peninsula for a day, grab lunch at the Winking Lizard and go north on the Towpath. mrnyc, having been to Toronto Pride, I can appreciate the mega-festivals and they're fun but I don't know that I need to see everyones' bits flapping and flopping in the wind to be proud of who I am Ex-Ith, who'da thunk there would be such a thing as a 'visiting hip-hop scholar'? volguus, back in my clubbing days, I wore a set of 8" stack platforms similar to the photo I pointed out. When you slap those on your feet, there's no running for anything and you plan accordingly.

With that, a good friend offered choice seats at the Cleveland Orchestra's annual performance on Public Square this year. So, I figure we're talking the Cleveland Orchestra and the Terminal Tower, I might as well just add them to this thread:

Let me tell ya, when you have the opportunity to listen to one of the world's best orchestras with the Terminal Tower as the backdrop, you take it

One of my favorite parts is when the Orchestra performs the songs of all four divisions of the Armed Forces and those in attendance are asked to stand and represent. To those reading this, thank you for your service.

The show is wrapped up with a brief fireworks display:

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Old Posted Jul 7, 2013, 11:21 PM
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dc_denizen dc_denizen is offline
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The 'big city' when I was a kid.

Thanks for the Cleveland orchestra concert pics!
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Old Posted Jul 8, 2013, 12:31 AM
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whatsthepoint13 whatsthepoint13 is offline
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Lovely, all of it!

As a homosexual, it's always nice to see how other cities celebrate pride.

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Old Posted Jul 15, 2013, 2:05 AM
mrnyc mrnyc is offline
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Originally Posted by MayDay View Post
Thanks everyone, I appreciate the comments!

mrnyc, having been to Toronto Pride, I can appreciate the mega-festivals and they're fun but I don't know that I need to see everyones' bits flapping and flopping in the wind to be proud of who I am
just for the record, you do not see everyones' bits flapping and flopping in the wind at the nyc gay parade. if you want that you go to the mermaid parade
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Old Posted Jul 22, 2013, 1:14 AM
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Wheelingman04 Wheelingman04 is offline
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Thanks for posting those wonderful photos. I really like the photos of the Cuyahoga National Park. I have driven through part of it, but I have never actually walked on the trails. It is such blessing for Cleveland and Akron to have such an amazing park along with the "Emerald Necklace" of all the Cleveland Metroparks. The photos of the skyline are awe inspiring and the Terminal Tower is one of the top historic skyscrapers in the country. I need to get up to the observation deck again. I love the photos of all the people and the various ways they dress. I tend to like people watching. The photos with people and the skyline in the background provide a great contrast. Of course every city should have a big pride day, but a lot don't and Cleveland does theirs well and sets an example for others. Cleveland Rocks and it is nice to live only 2hrs away.
1 hour from Pittsburgh and 1 hour from Cleveland
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Old Posted Jul 24, 2013, 2:23 AM
Buckeye Native 001 Buckeye Native 001 is online now
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That's a helluva way to advertise UrbanOhio
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