Archive for August, 2006
David Maffei recently found an old photo of himself. He was in a rock band, sporting long hair, ripped jeans and a T-shirt proclaiming anything but love for disco.
“Twenty years later I have really short hair and play disco music,” the guitarist said. “I’m a white guy who wears an Afro wig — I kind of look like Neal Schon from Journey.”
Of course, Maffei dons flashier clothing to become Sonny “D” Lite in Disco Inferno. And he appreciates the music more.
“The first time around, disco was a threat to people because it was associated with an alternative lifestyle,” he said last week from his Cleveland home. “The second time around,
people know it’s just great dance music.
“And if you listen, you realize it’s very good musicianship — it’s not super-easy music to play. It’s songs you can dance to that appeal to young and old. People of all ages know the words to ‘YMCA’ and ‘Dancing Queen.’ ”
You’ll be able to dance and jive, see Disco Inferno, and dig the free scene at RiverFest at 5 p.m. Sept. 3 in Promenade Park. The band is one of many disco groups that features rotating members from Perfect World Entertainment.
“There was such a demand, one band couldn’t keep up with it,” Maffei said. “There also are Disco Infernos in California and Florida.”
Maffei has been in the mood for dance since 1996. And having the time of his life.
“What makes it fun for us is it’s kind of poking fun at the ’70s,” he said.
And after every set, Sonny changes his clothes.
“When we first started in 1996, retro clothing was coming out. I’m not a tall guy — I wear about a size nine in women’s clothing — and I went to Rave and Gadzooks and picked up some nice-looking bell-bottoms and stuff,” Maffei recalled. “Then a girl in Pittsburgh came on stage and was wearing the exact same outfit.
“I couldn’t have that — I’m the most flamboyant in the band,” he said. “I buy my own material and have outfits custom-made by a seamstress in Cleveland.”
Throwdown takes music personally. “Vendetta” is the latest release by the hardcore metal quartet from Orange County, Calif.
“Long road, we’ve treaded on since day one/ Hard times, we swore we would overcome/ Without this, where the hell would we be? Dead inside,” screams lead singer Dave Peters on the title track.
“I think that album really came from the band almost about to break up in early 2004,” said bass player Matt Mentley from a tour stop in Atlanta. “We regrouped, got things together a bit, started touring, then got OzzFest.
“OzzFest literally gave us a whole new life. It took us to an audience we never played for before,” Mentley continued. “That tour really established us as a band that’s relevant in music today.”
Throwdown will bring its Pure Hostility Tour to Headliners, 4500 N. Detroit Ave., Sept. 7. Doors open at 7 p.m. Sharing the bill are Zao and Evergreen Terrace. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 the night of the show.
Mentley, Peters, guitarist Mark Choiniere and drummer Ben Dussault are known for their mosh pit-inducing shows.
“I think hardcore metal is one of the most real forms of music out there. It’s not pop music you hear on the radio. We don’t have people writing songs and playing for us. We write to express ourselves,” Mentley said.
While its music is heavy, the band doesn’t live the image 24-7.
“We’re really just a bunch of nerds. I’m probably the biggest goofball,” Mentley said.
On Sept. 2, 3, and 4 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., artist and Oregon native Michael Gibbons and co-founders Douglas Haga and Ivan Kelly will again bring their Art Walk to Toledo-area art lovers.
Art Walk grew from Gibbons’ involvement with the “Vistas and Vineyards” mentor program in Corvallis circa 1993. Dorothy Matthews, artist and then owner of Pegasus Gallery in Corvallis, developed the program. The idea was to put aspiring painters together with a rotating list of half a dozen professionals as mentors, who accompanied the group in a rotation around the vineyards.
Three years of success led Gibbons to form Art Walk with Douglas Haga and Ivan Kelly, Toledo artists, and to move the date to Labor Day Weekend where it is permanently set, completely managed by the artists living and working in Toledo. Artists are encouraged to invite “guest artists” to show with them and to participate in the three days. The idea continues to focus attention on the dedicated serious artists.
“Who knows where the Art Walk will go from here? Toledo, unlike many cities its size, has a real opportunity to build a community with a strong arts base,” Gibbons said.
Art Walk 13 marks 20 years of art business in Toledo for Michael Gibbons. In celebration, the founders have invited Nicolas Wilson, a wildlife painter and bronze sculptor from Arizona to show with as part of this year’s event.
Wilson is best known for his unusual painting method of using opaque watercolors (gouache) and scratchboard techniques on specially prepared panels. More recent is his huge cast bronze monument depicting a family of wildcats that now graces the mall on the University of Arizona campus. Wilson and Gibbons will speak at the daily 1 p.m. talk/discussion in the area gardens. Music will be provided this year by Brian Newman, a Portland classical guitarist, who occasionally plays with the Oregon Symphony and is a well known teacher of guitar, as well as sound engineer for the symphony.
Other participating artists will include Scott and Sandy Blackman, Sam Briseno, Larry Sommer, and Carol Grant Loomis.
The event begins at Gallery Michael Gibbons, 140 N.E. Alder St.
ON THE WEB: www.toledoarts.info
It’s time for some NFL preseason news that doesn’t involve Terrell Owens.
Scary, I know, but it does exist.
P.J. Pope, BGSU’s tailback for the last four years, has a modest chance to land a spot on the Chicago Bears roster. Two of the team’s running backs are hurt (physically, not emotionally —- if they are hurt emotionally, they don’t mention it in the injury report). This put His Popeness second on the depth chart for training camp. He’s gotten the bulk of carries for the Bears during the first two preseason games, rushing for 74 yards on 22 attempts.
The bad news for Pope is that the aforementioned hurt backs, Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson, should be healthy by the time the season starts. Their triumphant returns may hurt Pope emotionally.
But I wonder how many BGSU football fans know Pope was signed by the Chicago Bears and has a chance to make the roster. Probably not many. You never heard much about Pope when he was playing for BGSU, either. Most of the attention in Wood County either surrounded quarterbacks Josh Harris and Omar Jacobs, both of whom were draft picks. (Pope went undrafted.)
Then again, all Pope did at BGSU was rush for 3,116 yards, receive 1,148 yards and score 41 touchdowns in four seasons. He was the only BGSU football player ever to run for 3,000 and catch for 1,000. So, he really didn’t do much.
Meanwhile, a few miles south of Chicago, former UT quarterback Bruce Gradkowski is exciting the city of Tampa. In two games, he’s completed 80 percent of his passes (22 for 27) with three touchdowns and one interception. That’s a QB rating of 134.1. Sure, he accomplished those numbers against second- and third-string lackeys, but he’s getting just enough attention for Tampa Bay fans to believe he could be something special down the road.
Coach Jon Gruden actually compared one of his touchdown passes to one Joe Montana could have thrown. If that’s not enough pressure to withstand, here’s some more: Tom Brady, like Gradkowski, was drafted in the sixth round.
But in his third game, he played like a Ball State quarterback: 10 of 17 for 124 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Because of that last game , I hope the Buccaneers cut Gradkowski — not because he played for BGSU’s mortal enemy, but because that’s the kind of adversity he’s so good at overcoming. Then he’ll sign with another team, win the starting job, and regularly hand off the ball to Pope, thereby causing painfully conflicting emotions for UT and BGSU fans everywhere.
Led by Stevie Hicks, one of the top 20 running backs in Division I heading into the 2006 season, Iowa State is a strong contender for a Big 12 North Division title and is already on the fringe of breaking into the various Top 25 rankings, with votes already in each.
For UT defensively, the Rockets return linebackers Mike Alston and Michael Chamberlain, defensive backs Tyrrell Herbert and Nigel Morris and have considerable overall experience ready to form the new successful UT defense. They will face a monumental first test Aug. 31 against a Cyclone offense that finished in the top 50 in just about every positive offensive category last year.
“What comes to mind is their performance in the bowl that they had at the end of the year,” Coach Tom Amstutz said. “They are a very dominant team; they have some really outstanding players. They have a couple NFL prospect wide receivers that are really big-play players along with an outstanding tailback. So offensively, they’re a very explosive team. They were in the battle down to the last game of the year to be the winner of their division in the Big 12, where they fell short on the last game of the year. So they’re a really outstanding, elite football team.”
The Rockets will have to find ways to contain the Big 12’s top returning quarterback in Bret Meyer and one of the most talented tailbacks anywhere in Hicks. If Iowa State’s offense gets to the new defensive contingent early on, it could have a lasting effect beyond the end of the fourth quarter. Defensive coordinator Tim Rose and company have a lot of business and player emotion to take care of Thursday night at Ames.
On the other side of the ball, the Cyclones led the Big 12 in takeaways last year, and the greenness of quarterback Clint Cochran and the overall total inexperience of the RB trio in Jalen Parmele, Richard Davis and DaJuane Collins against a bigger, more athletic defense could come into play if the Rockets’ season-opening jitters before a raucous Big 12 crowd give the Cyclones turnover opportunities.
Coach Tom Amstutz and staff seem to have a cleverly simple offensive philosophy: break down opposing defenses by sending in one attacking regiment variable after another, particularly out of the backfield.
That approach will be realized this season with another crop of strong and versatile running backs. This time around, the advantage looks to be substantially augmented by an unprecedented trio of tight ends with interchangeable strengths.
“It gives us an advantage because we’re able to change faces, change philosophies within a drive, within a quarter, and within a game. We can go from hard-nose run the football to a play action trick type of game to a drop-back passing game. With so much competition at all the primary offensive positions it allows us to go to fresh bodies late in the game,” Offensive Coordinator John Shannon said.
The carousel will revolve around junior first-string back Jalen Parmele, last year’s vice running back to the graduated Trinity Dawson. Although he has only amassed 477 yards and six touchdowns in his first two seasons, Parmele clocks in as the fastest man on the team with a 4.43 second 40 and the team’s highest vertical jump at 41-4.
“I expect Parmele to have the light click on and realize that he’s the star running back in the spotlight now. I need him to carry the show for us and be that star out of the backfield. We have other running backs that are very capable behind him and they’ll get that chance, as well,” Amstutz said.
Parmele is a self-described “power back with finesse capability.”
“I consider myself a bruiser-type of back who gets right at the defense. If I have to juke I’ll juke, but I mainly just try to weave through the blocks of my offensive lineman. I’d say my style resembles Shaun Alexander,” Parmele said.
Second in line will be sophomore Richard Davis. Last year, Davis offered glimpses of his quickness when he came off the bench in his first collegiate game versus Western Illinois and proceeded to dazzle the Glass Bowl crowd with an impressive 111-yard performance on 13 carries and a TD. In UT’s very next game, Davis again traversed the field in large quantities per attempt with 69 yards in nine carries. With Parmele providing more of the bruising-power style of rushing, Davis is expected to counter-jolt defenses with his speed and juking ability so the duo can administer in four quarters what one cross-skilled back could over three before growing tired.
“I consider myself a speed back and I’d describe myself as a Clinton Portis,” Davis said.
The piling on doesn’t stop there for opponents. Redshirt freshman DaJuane Collins has taken the opportunity to grab the wide-open third slot in Toledo’s RB cycle and harnessed it well. A strong showing during the spring practices and this month has the youngster ready to step into that surprise late-game role of challenging tired defenses with a fresh pair of capable legs. Collins is a perfect crossbreed of the distinct styles Parmele’s finesse speed and Davis’ power bring to the turf.
“DaJuane has it all and can do it all — the power, the jukes, the speed. He’s a perfect compliment to me and Richard,” Parmele said.
“DaJuane’s shifty. I’d have to say he reminds me of DeShaun Foster,” Davis said.
A blend of power and speed from Collins will augment the Rockets’ ability to dizzy opposing defenses.
“When a defense is stopping our power game, we can go to a speed game or vice versa to a power game. Right now the way we see it is we’re just going to rotate, because the fresh legs are better than the tired ones late in the game. We have an advantage because if we’re getting tired on the field we can just come to the sideline and the coaches will plug another of us in there,” Collins said.
A fairy tale has turned into a “nightmare” for native Toledoan Robin Goings as she struggles through a divorce from comedian Earthquake.
Before a sold-out audience at the Stranahan Theater in 2001, Earthquake beckoned actress/model Goings to the stage to ask for her hand in marriage. He invited Toledoans to celebrate with them, calling Toledo his “adopted home town.”
Now, Goings said she faces foreclosure on her Los Angeles home and is struggling as a single mother of two.
Fairy tale beginning
Earthquake, filming his second year of appearances on Chris Rock’s hit TV show, “Everybody Hates Chris,” has recorded an HBO special and provided a voice for the film “Barnyard.”
In an Aug. 23 phone interview, Earthquake, whose real name is Nathaniel Stroman, described the woman he proposed to that night.
“She was Toledo’s finest,” he said. “Robin was everything to me. She was all I wanted. She swept me off of my feet. [She was] the whole nine.”
Goings, a graduate of Rogers High School, was a Chére Amies debutante who left Toledo for Clark Atlanta University to study marketing and advertising, a path she said she hoped would lead to her eventual goal of Hollywood stardom.
While working as a waitress at a gentleman’s club in Atlanta in 1993, Goings met and briefly dated Earthquake, then an aspiring comedian. She said he was “the unassuming type, an easygoing guy who back then drove a Jetta.”
“He just had a kind heart,” she said during an Aug. 17 phone interview. “He was just so kind. His heart was golden.”
Eight years later, at a surprise 40th birthday party for Eddie Murphy, Goings and Earthquake picked up where they left off in Atlanta.
Earthquake’s career as a stand-up comedian was going well. Goings, having studied at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta, and with Mike Pointer and Aaron Speiser in Los Angeles, had made her own strides in Hollywood. She had made appearances in Donell Jones’ music video “Shorty,” Tag Team’s “Whoomp! (There It Is)” music video and a “Maha Yoga” infomercial for Guthy-Renker. Additionally, she had modeled as a centerfold for Ebony Man Magazine, gone on tour as a ring girl for boxing champion Tommy “Hitman” Hearns, and appeared in a promotional commercial for BET’s “Comic View.”
Nikki Finke, the “Deadline Hollywood” columnist for LA Weekly who writes about the infotainment industry, said their show business careers may have doomed their relationship from the start.
Though Finke said she doesn’t know anything about Goings’ marriage, she said in an Aug. 21 phone interview that acting is “the most selfish profession.” She said a union between two actors in Hollywood is doomed from the beginning.
“It’s a marriage made in hell,” she said.
Months after their engagement, the couple discovered they were expecting their first child (both have children from previous relationships) and eloped to Las Vegas.
While Goings adjusted to marriage in Hollywood with a new baby, postpartum depression and a thyroid problem triggered from childbirth, Earthquake was enjoying continued career success.
Goings said Earthquake’s rise left her feeling isolated.
“It was like I was trying to be a part of his world, but I was never going to fit in,” she said. “I didn’t even recognize him. I didn’t even know who I was anymore.”
Goings said her and Earthquake’s lives had been taken over by personal assistants, managers, publicists, both a touring and a stay-at-home nanny, a cook and hired security. She said this left her feeling “useless” to her husband and herself.
Finke said she was not surprised.
“What did she expect?” she said. “It’s really no different from being involved in a skiing accident and being paralysed from the waist down. Of course you’re going to be different, but over time things level out and you adjust to change.”
‘It was over’
In 2005, after an invitation from HBO to film his own special, Earthquake filed for divorce.
“I didn’t get married to get divorced,” Goings said, noting she was caught off guard when Earthquake banned her from attending the taping of his HBO special.
“The next thing I know, I’m at the gas station trying to get gas and couldn’t. I called American Express and they said that my husband had cancelled my account. It was over.”
Earthquake said he views Goings’ goals as the problem in their marriage.
“Robin just has this fascination with being a star,” he said, “and that’s great. I wish her the best, but I was looking for a wife.”
White House Properties confirmed Goings’ and Earthquake’s home in Tarzana, near Los Angeles, is on the market for $1.2 million. Earthquake said — in retrospect — he could not afford the house.
“We live down the street from Jamie Foxx,” he said. “I’m doing OK, but I can’t afford that. But I was willing to give Robin whatever. I have no problem with anyone who wants great things, but if you’re with me only because I’m able to provide that, then it becomes a problem.”
Earthquake said Goings, in divorce court papers, is requesting $20,000 a month support.
Despite the despair of a failed marriage and the reality of facing foreclosure on a house she cannot afford, Goings said she has returned to acting classes and is trying to step back onto the path she abandoned years ago, a feat now a great deal more difficult as a single mother of two.
Recently enrolled in real estate classes, Goings warns other women to hold fast to their ambitions when getting married, especially in Hollywood, because such goals “can easily be lost.”
Though he recently joked on “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” about his newly adapted extreme views on marriage, Earthquake said he would marry again.
“But not without a prenup,” he said. “I’m not saying I’m perfect. Robin is cool. I wish her no bad. She’s a perfect mother. I guess we just had different definitions of what love is. It’s a fairy tale gone bad for me as well.”
The Ohio Department of Transportation’s largest project ever is on schedule and on budget, an ODOT representative said this week.
Andrea Voogd, public information officer for ODOT’s District 2 office, said barring any unforeseen circumstances, the Veterans’ Glass City Skyway bridge should open to traffic in spring.
Construction crews are working on
the bridge’s main span across the Maumee River. Once that is completed, Voogd said, ODOT will be able to open the bridge to traffic.
“We’re in the final stretch,” she said. “This is the exciting part right now.”
Once completed, the bridge will consist of six lanes of traffic extending from Manhattan Boulevard on the north end of I-280 to Navarre Avenue on the south end. It will have a minimum clearance of 120 feet above the Maumee River channel, Voogd said, which will allow ships to pass under the interstate without stopping traffic. The new structure will replace the Craig Memorial Bridge, which uses a lift system to open for ship traffic.
“That’s really the main point of the [new] bridge,” she said. “Ships have the right of way; they don’t have to wait.”
Gov. Bob Taft broke ground on the $220 million project in May 2001. The bridge was originally expected to be completed by summer 2005, but was set back in February 2004 when four construction workers died after a 2-million-pound crane collapsed at the southern end of the structure. That incident delayed work eight months. A second truss crane fell in October 2004, but no one was injured in the incident.
Voogd said the bridge should be ready for traffic shortly after its north and south sections are connected. The project’s contractor has to pay liquidated damages, she said, if deadlines are not met.
According to ODOT’s Web site, northbound and southbound I-280 will remain closed to traffic between Summit Street and Greenbelt Parkway through Nov. 22. The ramp from Front Street to southbound I-280 will open sometime in mid-September. Westbound Front Street at the I-280 interchange was expected to reopen Aug. 21.