Jurich: Toledo’s Culture of TodayWritten by Stacy Jurich | | firstname.lastname@example.org
I am continually impressed with how many diverse events, programs and activities are offered in the Toledo area. When something new crosses my radar, I get excited. I have been excited a lot lately. Slightly overwhelmed, too, but in a good way. We Toledoans are very fortunate; we do not have to go very far at all to have a beautiful cultural, intellectual or spiritual experience.
It wasn’t too long ago that I met Rev. Jay Weik, Zen priest and senior Dharma teacher at the Toledo Zen Center. I met him at Shobu Aikido of Ohio, a martial arts training center he founded in 2001. Weik is also a lecturer at the UT College of Music, and his perspective on the culture in Toledo is right on.
“The University of Toledo recognizes that the hoped-for economic recovery of the area has to do with not only renewable and green sources for business, but also in helping to create a culturally creative city — one where young, educated people will want to live,” Weik said.
UT offers a thriving jazz studies major, so, naturally, there are many young, enthusiastic and fresh jazz musicians playing in the area. Weik believes, “it’s kinda like the canaries in the cage down in the mines — if the canaries are OK, the air is good to breathe and if there is a young jazz scene in the town, it’s a good place to live.”
We know jazz has a long fabulous history in Toledo, and we can find legends Clifford & Claude playing at Murphy’s Place almost any night of the week. Don’t take this for granted. The tradition continues, as young jazz all-stars from the University perform at Crystal’s Lounge at the Ramada on Secor Road on Mondays. Their next performance is Nov. 29 at 7:30 p.m.
On the zen note, Toledo is home to many spiritual centers and places of worship. After all, Toledo is Holy. These places offer classes, family days, workshops, concerts and other community events to soothe your soul. For example, the Toledo Zen Center offers family-friendly services every Sunday. The Multifaith Council of Northwest Ohio, one of the strongest of its kind in the country, offers events that “draw together diverse faiths, in mutual respect, friendship, cooperation and service.” Its most recent event was “Islamophobia, Ground Zero, Burning Books, and America’s Future” and the next event is a New Year’s Eve Dance for Universal Peace. If you’d like to take up yoga, meditation, dance, or hear a kirtan concert, check out one of Toledo’s amazing yoga (and more) centers, including Integration Yoga Studio, SunMoon Healing Arts Center or Zen in the District.
One calendar I check regularly is that of Suite Vibrations and the Suite Lightworkers Co-Op. Suite Vibrations is located Downtown in the Davis Building and offers Sound Wave Healing, in addition to drums, spiritual home décor, CDs and DVDs, clothing, gift items and much more. If you’re ever looking for enlightenment and inspiration on a Monday evening (who isn’t?), check to see if Suite Vibrations has a “Sacred Cinema Monday” film showing. There’s also a Women’s Drumming Circle each month; the next one is this week on November 18. For more inspiration through film, check out Media Decompression Collective of Toledo. MDC provokes Toledo minds with socially conscious films from independent filmmakers around the world. Get a taste of MDC on its website or check it out on Facebook, where upcoming provocative screenings are posted.
Jay Weik of Toledo Zen Center said, “Without these kinds of cultural markers around, the Toledo area will lose prospective scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and other more obviously economically important young people to towns that have them and the University of Toledo knows this and is doing something great about it.” Each unique event and organization throughout the city does make Toledo a more attractive place to live. However, it is the people within the organizations, the people at the events, and the collectiveness of the events that create a dynamic culture. The Latin origin of culture means “to cultivate”; I believe that culture cultivates a strong and rich community. I encourage everybody to flow into new waters, and experience a new wave of Toledo.