Archive for November, 2006
The Town Center at Levis Commons’ newest stores and restaurants offer a unique product and food selection that gives Northwest Ohio an opportunity to escape the ordinary.
The toy store Love and Learn opened its second location Nov. 17 at The Town Center with an unique variety of merchandise.
Co-owner Sharla Holsapple, said she wanted to create a “relaxing, nice toy shopping experience” while offering toys unavailable elsewhere in the area.
Holsapple said she started her business with a small toy cart before opening her first Love and Learn store in Lima more than two years ago.
One of Holsapple’s favorite toy lines carried at Love and Learn is Haba, a German line that has solid wood items, moveable parts, a dowel and block set, and baby swings, she said.
Another collection the store carries, Breyer, has specialized in collectible horses since the 1950s.
“I’d rather have my grandchildren playing with toy horses than on the computer,” Holsapple said.
Love and Learn features toys that stimulate mental development such as word and sentence games, a Math Mat Challenge Game, which allows children to bounce on a pad to solve math problems, science items, career-related toys and dress-up clothes.
Levis Commons recently brought in the corporate retailer Stride Rite, a children’s shoe store that offers a wide selection of styles for newborns and children through size 6.
Stride Rite specializes in foot studies when designing shoes, store manager Heidi Stevens said.
Children under 2 do not have a developed foot arch, Stevens explained. To allow a child’s foot arch to develop on its own, Stride Rite’s shoes for children 2 and younger do not have an arch built into the shoes’ soles, she said.
Stride Rite’s SuperBall shoes, which have SuperBalls built into their soles for added bounce and seamless socks, Stevens said, have become popular because children find them more comfortable.
Poco Piatti, Levis Commons’ newest restaurant, offers appetizer-sized selections featuring flavors from Greece, Italy, Spain and the Middle East.
Part of the Beirut family of restaurants, Poco Piatti opened its second location Nov. 17.
When compared to its other location at 5333 Monroe St., owner Elias Hajjar said the Levis Commons location offers a “little more Lebanese food and larger portions with a few dishes that work well here.”
Hajjar, who previously was under his father’s wing in the family’s restaurant business, wanted to open his own restaurant in Perrysburg to “bring Lebanese food south of the [Maumee] River.”
Hajjar said signature dishes at his restaurant are lamb chops in a balsamic and garlic sauce and sautéed shrimp with garlic and Asti Spumante.
“We prepare shrimp really well,” Hajjar said. “That’s what defines us.”
For an Asian flare, Levis Commons brought in Bistro Wasabi, an Asian bistro and sushi bar that serves Asian and French cuisine. Bistro Wasabi offers a complete sushi bar and, according to a news release, Ohio’s first sake lounge.
To ensure freshness and quality, operator Michael Song said he will not serve anything that has been frozen.
Bistro Wasabi’s menu items are “fresh, made by hand and not packaged so food preparation time takes a little longer” than at other restaurants, Song said.
Song said he attempts to develop trust with first-time sushi eaters. He starts them off with seared tuna before serving selections, he said.
One of Levis Commons’ more recent restaurant additions, the Bluepoint Fish Club, infuses the “Chicago big-city flare” with fresh fish, seafood, steaks and handcrafted drinks including Cuban-style “Mojitos,” general manager Ted Siravo said.
With 72 wines to choose from and a large bar that can seat up to 40 people, customers can “feel like they’re having a party here,” Siravo said.
Although Bluepoint Fish Club is a chain restaurant, executive chef Matt Sofo has the flexibility on weekends to come up with his own specials, Siravo said.
“It gives guests the opportunity to get something that’s not offered on the menu,” he said.
Sofo said their signature dish is balsamic-glazed halibut with sautéed artichokes and capers.
Customers can also expect an “island flare” with their food, he said.
The Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral will host an opening reception Dec. 3 for an exhibition of new works by local artist Frank Murphy.
The exhibit, titled “Christ of Today: Part II,” is Murphy’s second at Rosary Cathedral. The first ran during Holy Week in April this year. Each exhibit has contained six new original works.
Murphy put the exhibit together with assistance from the Rev. Charles E. Singler, who has been the pastoral rector of the parish since 2003.
“We’re really hoping that this exhibit is a great success,” Murphy said. “Reverend Singler would really like to open the cathedral up as a place for other artists to show their work in the future.”
Pieces in the exhibit include “Madonna of Time,” “Flight in Egypt,” “Baptism by Fire,” “The Least of These” and “Metropark Nativity.” Originals are priced between $250 and $400, with prints priced between $65 and $75.
“I’ve attempted to create works that both deal with history and relate to issues going on in our own very modern times. I want people to know that they are not alone,” Murphy said.
These issues include addiction, homelessness and our complicated political landscape. Murphy has struggled with many of these issues in his own life, he said, and it’s that experience, that makes his work speak with more authority. He first started working on the series about three years ago.
Murphy said he hopes to continue the series in the future, perhaps rotating it throughout area churches. His work, which was also in the recent Community HeArtbeats exhibit, will be seen starting in January on the walls of Downtown Latte. The exhibit will contain 20 pieces of new work, including one, that deals with Murphy’s take on Hurricane Katrina.
A reception will begin after the 3 p.m. service. The Rosary Cathedral will host a pancake and sausage breakfast that day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The exhibit will also be available for viewing on Dec. 6, 13, and 20, between 6:30 and 8 p.m. The Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral is located at 2535 Collingwood Blvd. Visit www.rosarycathedral.org for more information.
“The Devil Wears Prada.” It’s a 2003 novel by Lauren Weisberger that was turned into a movie released this year, and it’s the name of a new band from Dayton.
“We were looking for a name and Chris [Rubey] said, ‘Dude, I saw this book at my mom’s house.’ And he told us and we were like, ‘Dude, that’s so sweet!’ So we decided on that and put our own meaning to it,” said Daniel Williams, drummer.
“We’re a Christian band, so we have a religious spin on it. We think that nowadays if the devil was on earth walking around like a normal person, he’d dress up in super nice clothes, bragging about what he’s wearing. Basically, the devil would wear Prada because it’s the most expensive, ridiculous thing you can get.”
The five-member group’s debut disc, “Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord,” was released in August and boasts interesting song titles: “Dogs Can Grow Beards All Over,” “And the Sentence Trails Off …,” “Swords, Dragons & Diet Coke,” “Texas Is South.”
“We just try to make all of the song names funny to try to strike some curiosity to get people to listen to them,” Williams said.
The message embedded in the hardcore metal and screams is serious business for the band.
“A lot of the lyrics have a pretty big religious undertone about Christianity, like our beliefs,” Williams said. “Like in ‘Rosemary Had an Accident’ it says that Christ is still perfect in my mind, Christ is still perfect in my heart. It’s just different ideas that we believe in.”
The lyrics are by vocalist Mike Hranica, and the music is written with input from the band — guitarist Rubey, guitarist and vocalist Jeremy DePoyster, bassist Andy Trick, keyboardist James Baney and Williams.
The Devil Wears Prada will play at Headliners, 4500 N. Detroit Ave., on Dec. 18. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the show. Doors open at 6 p.m. Slated to open are Before Their Eyes, lovehatehero, Chasing Victory and The Human Abstract.
“We take time out of our set to talk about faith,” Williams said. “We didn’t start the band to sell CDs or get big, we made it because we want to spread the of word God.”
ON THE WEB: www.myspace.com/tdwp
Northwest Ohio will once again have reason to celebrate its creative class when the annual reception for Art in TARTA kicks into high gear Dec. 3.
Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority and the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo have partnered with representatives of BGSU and UT to provide this opportunity for local artists. The intention is to encourage exposure and appreciation for the arts in the community by artistically enhancing buses, bus shelters and stops throughout the TARTA service area.
The program objective is to invite the public, schools, businesses and local agencies to participate in expanding the visual, literary and musical arts throughout the region.
The Glass Poetry Competition was a collaboration of TARTA and the Young Artists at Work program. For the past 14 years, the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo has offered a six-week summer youth employment opportunity, which enables diverse and at-risk youth to benefit from an intense exposure to the arts. The YAAW program encourages expression, refinement, cross-cultural sharing and the exchange of ideas. The opportunity provides exposure to the concept of art as a business, as well as the creation of public art for the greater-Toledo community.
For the introductory phase of this collaboration, author Larry Levy developed a creative writing curriculum focused on poetry with the theme of glass. A panel of professional writers, professors and TARTA representatives judged the students’ poems. The selection panel chose three poems for first-place awards, eight for runners-up and 11 honorable mentions.
Arts Commission of Greater Toledo Executive Director Marc D. Folk said the organization received more submissions because it opened up the process to a larger part of the community.
Graphic design students at BGSU were chosen to create artistic visual interpretations of the first-place poems to wrap four TARTA buses. They worked under the creative direction of Mary Dawson, Matthew Davis and Amy Fidler. The final designs were chosen by a panel of judges from TARTA and the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo.
The reception will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Parkwood Gallery. The awards ceremony will begin at 2 p.m.
ON THE WEB: www.acgt.org
Can’t you just imagine the jealousy and feelings of inadequacy among sports that have those boring, season-ending playoff formulas instead or the exhilarating Bowl Championship Series?
What could create more controversy, discussion, deliberation, new math, old values and barroom bedlam than college football’s answer to a playoff system?
We’re trying to find two teams to play for one trophy and we’ve had one team locked in since the start of the season. Imagine if OSU had not been so dominant. Talk about a pick-two lottery. We’ve spent the entire season looking for someone to play the Bucks in the national championship game Jan. 8. It’s unresolved and it won’t be over until UCLA says it’s over.
The Bruins play Southern Cal, which leaped over Michigan into second place in the BCS standings last Saturday after disposing of BCS imposter Notre Dame, 44-24. The Wolverines have to be wondering. They were second in the BCS standings, lost to Ohio State, but remained in second place. UM didn’t play last weekend but dropped to third. Sitting idle can have dire consequences. Maybe it was a bad posture issue.
Those who didn’t want to see a rematch between the Buckeyes and Michigan for the national championship can slowly exhale. If the Trojans beat cross-town rival UCLA Saturday, Southern Cal will be a part of the BCS championship game for the third consecutive year.
But if UCLA ambushes USC, U could C utter chaos, something you don’t experience in those lackluster playoff arrangements.
The Wolverines would sit up straight and stride back into the picture. The winner of the SEC championship between Florida and Arkansas Saturday would demand a second look, even though LSU is the best team in the SEC and rests in fifth place.
Florida coach Urban Meyer said last week that if the national championship comes down to another game between Ohio State and Michigan, “All the (university) presidents need to get together immediately and put together a playoff system.”
Can’t you just see legions of college and university presidents jumping at Meyer’s command?
It’s interesting that when suburban Urban coached at BGSU, he was reportedly not in favor of a college football playoff system. Now that he’s in a situation where the current BCS arrangement could adversely affect his team, he’s taking the opposite approach.
Let’s say the Gators beat Arkansas while UCLA upsets USC, a good possibility considering how much the Trojans put into their game against Notre Dame. Does Michigan, its regular season ending with the loss to OSU, get up, stretch, and amble back into second place and a rematch with the Bucks?
Yes, if for no other reason than to hear another Urban outburst.
After Florida slipped past a very average Florida State team 21-14 last Saturday, Meyer was asked about the importance of style points this late in the season. In other words, shouldn’t Florida have beaten FSU much more convincingly to attract the attention of those involved in the BCS poll selection process?
“Here’s our style,” Meyer shot back. “You’ve got Tennessee. You’ve got Kentucky. You’ve got Alabama, LSU, Georgia, and Auburn, and then Tallahassee (Florida State). So much for style. You want to put that one against anybody in the country, let’s go ahead and go. Style points, if that’s what’s making decision, I’m going to stand by my comment from a week ago. Implode it.”
Presidents, are you listening?
One of the underlying reasons there isn’t a playoff system in college football is that underpaid presidents don’t like to be told what to do by overpaid football coaches. And besides, the BCS system has provided more publicity for college football than any old, bracketed playoff system could ever generate.
We don’t need Urban renewal.
Coming off a win over Eastern Michigan, the BGSU Falcons were 4-3 and still in good position to finish with seven, perhaps eight wins. And then came Temple. Little more needs to be said about that disaster.
BGSU finished the season with a five-game losing streak, its longest such skid since 1997.
Other lows hit this season: BGSU’s first losing season since 2000, its first loss to a one-win team since 1980 and the first time I ever pretended to be a Central Michigan alum.
However, there is a quirky silver lining. It was the first year since 1997 where they didn’t allow an opponent to score more than 40 points in a single game. No, it doesn’t make me feel better either.
As tough as the season was, it shouldn’t be an indicator of Gregg Brandon’s job security. I’ve heard disgruntled murmurs from the BGSU faithful, but they seem to be more out of frustration from a losing season rather than an expectation to win every year. Because where on earth would BGSU get an arrogance such that the football team has to win at least nine games a year, or else?
Wait, it was that damn Urban Meyer, wasn’t it? He spoiled us with immediate success during his two years in Wood County. Even after he left and Brandon took over, the Falcons had a reverberating “We rule!” couple of years, including bowl victories.
So Brandon may eventually succumb to the Ron Zook Effect, which is having to follow a great coach and resultantly disappointing everyone by not being the second coming of Woody.
But hold on, you might say. We’re just talking about one losing season. The team is young, and Omar Jacobs left school early. Why blame the coach? Good question. Brandon has made a few questionable moves, such as rotating the quarterbacks like a DJ mixing tracks.
I heard a rumor that Brandon chose who would start a given game by closing his eyes and throwing a dart at the depth chart hung on the wall. (In all fairness, this rumor was started by me and I didn’t tell anyone about this theory until just now, so odds are it isn’t true.)
Brandon used Anthony Turner, Tyler Sheehan and Freddie Barnes at quarterback this year. Perhaps he knew what most of us optimistic fellows hated to admit — 2006 would be a rough year for BGSU. Maybe that’s the kind of cunning coach strategy needed for Bowling Green to win at least eight games next year. Or else.
Matt Sussman runs the sports blog The Futon Report at www.futonreport.net.