Posts filed under ‘Arts’

No Exit -“A touch of class” Lorain


On the mirrors ( at least the last time I looked) in the outer lobby of the Palace Theatre Lorain is a list of donors. Among those that donated significantly is the mention of Palace Players

The Palace Players, an intrepid band of actors and actresses from the local community. At the core were Jean Schaeffer, Dave Cotton, Casey Wolnowski, Karen Kelley and yours truly. The “company” got together to specifically raise funds for the Palace.

The kick off , as described in the history of the Palace on their website mentions what happened, in 1974 and my introduction to Lorain and a great bunch of people. Yes! I served the lunches along with Barb MacGregor, Ruth Calta, Mary Lou Connone
This immigrant to Lorain- made the soups and generally helped those great bunch of people – thanks to my introduction to Lorain via Jean Schaeffer and was involved in the “speakeasy” segment of the gala night.

The Palace was and is still a major “player” in determining Lorain’s downtown -

In 1974, “Civic Center Madness”, a major fund raising project, took place in the urban renewal area of north Broadway. Forty civic groups participated in this week long street fair, Stores soon to be torn down were converted as if by magic into an old fashioned ice cream parlor, a “Second-Hand Rose” shop, a casino, a book and plant store, an open air barbecue, international shops, etc. The Saturday night “Great Gatsby Party” at the Palace climaxed the week’s activities.

Theatre was all important to the culture of the area. Most of us didn’t have a lot of money , those band of thespians, but what they did have was a love of theatre and the Palace – so the Palace Players formed.

One production – loosely based on a Dinner with Henry the VIII– took place on the Palace stage

Cover Arcade  MJ

Cover Arcade MJ

We had to be creative , in order to raise money for the building, we couldn’t interfere with the daily running of the Palace. Creative , especially as to performance space we were given. One criteria was that no “set” set – everything had to be put up an hour before the show ( each performance night) and the set had to be struck each night.
ipalace seats

Educating Rita– we did that in a mini proscenium set up in the area behind the seats, using one of the archways with the drinking fountain as the dressing rooms and off stage. I was Rita and it was an education !

palce bar

Two shows were performed in the inner lobby in front of the bar – The Fantasticks - A young Mike Skimmin, Melissa Driscoll and Billy the Clown were part of that “company”. Imagine a musical in the lobby- however did we manage the music????- but we did.

The other show No Exit– a depiction of the afterlife in which three deceased characters are punished by being locked into a room together for eternity ( done as theatre in the round). Memorable to me about those performances was we had to share the theatre for a few performances with an action movie playing on the” big screen” – the louder sounds such as crashes, screams and gunfire bled through into our performance area . Our audience was told to ignore as that was just another room in hell.

Hell is other people”,a reference to Sartre’s ideas about the look and the perpetual ontological struggle of being caused to see oneself as an object in the world of another consciousness.”

We were involved , that group participated and performed with such productions as the Follies and – Lorain Community Music Theatre
when it was “truly Lorain” and performed their musicals every year on the Palace stage. Organizations benefitted greatly from the talent. Just a few come to mind-

Oliver 1978,
Mame -1979 ( Jean playing the lead), and in Camelot 1986 where Jean was MERLIN

South Pacific 1985 ( Dave directing)

Casey and I directing and producing King and I -1991 and Brigadoon 1990 – we sold out the Palace with those performances.


Yes! and the same people gave of their time and talent freely to put together an extravaganza to promote the newly formed Lorain Arts Council under the auspices of MainstreetLorain throughout the whole Palace venue even utilizing the “boxes”. The audience was lined up to come and view the talent who call Lorain County home.

We would call on our fellow thespians for help and they always showed up and came through, whether to stage manage, produce , perform, organize, publicize , play an instrument – whatever was needed if they were available they were there. Those were good days.

No Exit – and the statement “hell is other people” – well I have had my share of living that particular line in the “play that is Lorain”.

I am saddened by what has transpired in recent years the demise of Broadway to the extent it has . We need more of those ladies who lunched- they brought a “touch of class” – in my opinion decidedly lacking of late- but that era has too passed us by –
– I have become old , jaded and cynical- Lorain and life has done that and I know I am not alone in wondering what was the point in all those efforts and hard work but then there is the Palace

and am thankful to say still is the house of “light on Broadway” .

Please visit the Palace website for all the latest information

January 15, 2015 at 2:09 pm 7 comments

Settlers’ Watch Carvings Update -May


As regular readers are aware, the volunteers of Charleston Village, with the help of the City of Lorain have started to take down the carvings off the tree lawn at Settlers’ Watch.


These carvings have to be refurbished and refinished before they can be replaced in and around Settlers’ Watch and Eric Barnes Heroes Walk.

The first carving- The Anchor- was taken down on a very cold day in February-
taken to a warehouse

warehouse collage

and we waited for spring and enough warmth to use the chemicals needed and also for the volunteers ( spearheaded by Frank Sipkovsky) to be able to work.





There is more to this than one might think, stabilizing rods, filler and sanding galore needs to be done.

frankanchor collage

If anyone would like to donate some time and talent helping to get these 4 carvings refurbished and finished- we could use the help. email if you can help or call 440-246-6046

We have to move The Heron – donated by Oster Homes, The Portside Lorain sign ( grant)- The Anchor in progress ( also a grant) and the Lorain Lighthouse – donated by Port of Lorain Foundation- Lakeland Healthcare Corp.

May 31, 2014 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment

The Captain and the Hat ! CVSI Lorain

WoM Logo  by  Scott Baklar

WoM Logo by Scott Baklar

Part One

Photo  Mark Teleha

Photo Mark Teleha

Part Two

photo Mark Teleha

photo Mark Teleha

A now the tale of The Captain
He took his place at Settlers’ Watch along with the carvings of the Lorain Lighthouse, The Anchor, The Lorain Portside Sign , The Heron and Eric Barnes’ Eagle
long shotres

It was rough, very rough we had a lot to deal with in those first months but the carving and the work continued: The full pictorial can be found here from start to the dedication.

( photos Mark Teleha)

The volunteers and those that donated so much time, effort, plants and hardscape got the area ready for the dedication August 1st 2009.
The summers and winters passed and The Captain suffered:
Captain age col
Capatian suffereing
October 2013 found us up a ladder again

The Captain was being eaten alive from the inside out and losing the battle of the seagull guano.

Catain rot

Unfortunately, just last week I noticed the stanchion on the ground -the wood had rotted, in fact his whole ship’s wheel, was hanging on by a thread he was sounding decidedly hollow. We checked the other carvings they seem to be fine except the root bases of the ones on the tree lawns which is to be expected.

After searching on the internet we found Paul of Conservepoxy spent a great deal of time with me on how the process works and what we need to do. Also Andy from Sherwin Williams came to the site and is also looking for ways to help us for which I am eternally grateful


The “crew” filled him with chemicals and had to plug the holes with corks until spring arrives. The chemicals have definitely changed his complexion –

Captains hatcoll

we added a hat to try to keep the sea birds and their bathroom habits away- but the hat decided it liked travelling a little better than being a guano inhibitor- felt it might have a worthier purpose…..


The Then and Now

a Captain waits….. and the hat travels where?????
Photo Lisa Miller
to be continued

February 24, 2014 at 5:05 pm 4 comments

Lorain-The Real Postcards of Willis Leiter

Dan Brady ‘s Blog

As part of the celebration surrounding this book, my blog this week will focus entirely on Willis Leiter – his life, his work and even his former home on East Erie in Lorain. Plus, more about the book!

Click on images to enlarge:

Postcard  History  Series

Postcard History Series

The cover and back cover of the book depicting Lorain in its heyday

A new book about Lorain will be going on sale Monday January 27th 2014, published by Arcadia Publishing

Lorain: The Real Photo Postcards of Wilis Leiter, $21.99 will be available at local retailers, online bookstores, or through Arcadia Publishing at www. or (888) 313-2665. I believe locally you will be able to purchase the book through what was Black River Historical Society – now Lorain Historical Society-(440)245-2563 – they will also be holding a book signing in March


This is a collaborative effort by authors Albert Doane, Bill Jackson Paula Shorf, Bruce Waterhouse Jr., and Mathew Weisman-

“Bill Jackson and Paula Shorf are longtime collectors of Leiter real photos postcards. They joined forces with Lorain historians Albert Doane, Mathew Weisman, and Bruce Leiter Waterhouse Jr. – a great-grandson of the photographer” …..

“Between the years of 1908-1915, Willis Leiter carefully composed and skillfully developed images of life in early Lorain. The authors explain ” This is Lorain in its heyday- business booming, citizens marching in parades, streetcars traveling up and down Broadway and Willis Leiter was there capturing it all through his photographs.


ED NOTE:For those who “remember” and care for Lorain and her history or wish to get to know this old town, her people and places this is a terrific publication – 128 pages of a time gone by and yet still captured in the pages and in the hearts of the authors and hopefully the readers .

Ed: Note all information is derived from the publishers Arcadia Publishing and Mary Margaret Schley- Publishing Editor

January 21, 2014 at 1:50 pm 5 comments

October 3rd- Signs and Times – Chris Ritchey

chrisdisplayTuesday the 1st of October, found your sister , nephews and I at Black River Landing for the “falling of the electrical towers”. Gavin loves construction and de construction I am sure he dreams of “diggers, excavators, dump trucks and all things “hard hat”.

Since the officials were having a press conference and a 4 year old and a 20 month olds patience can wear thin, we excused ourselves started to walk down to the site of the falling tower to be –

Coverage can be found here
Chronicle Telegram

Morning Journal

Gavin and his dad are looking to build a shed ,for all the boys ( vehicles) their Chris- Miss presents

therefore, Gavin is very interested in sheds and made a bee line for the one at Black River Landing.

Once again you were there and the flash back to the day you painted the signage on that little shed for what was then Mainstreet Lorain- ( Lorain Growth Corporation). I could see you as if you were standing there once again.

The shed and the welcome sign has graced many a festival, stored many an object, had any number of photos taken as found on searching for “Lorain”

ChrsBRL sign

As Nikki explained to Gavin and Braedyn this too, was one of Uncle Chris’s signs just like the street signs in Nog’s neighborhood of Charleston Village .
Another month – so many memories – and as the tower came down – a hat tip to the future a bridge between the past and future was captured once again in the lens of the camera …..
Braedyn Gavin Chris sign

Please note I couldn’t find the source for the photos taken from the internet – but one ( Art Light- the winter photo) Mark Teleha

October 3, 2013 at 8:47 am 2 comments

Sad???? – Run’d away – Hide – NOG – Chris Ritchey – CIA Scholarship


Gavin’s advice – as we “sit floor- Nog”– (Gavin’s new shortened version of my “monika”) watching the Car’s movie ( over and over and over again) and there is a sad part we must run’d away– is Gavin’s order of the moment- until the happy part comes on. Should a scary part happen, Gavin will change the disc or turn it off.I have yet to find out ( after watching the movie at least 10 times) what happens to Tinkerbell at the Troll bridge, but mostly we have to “hide” under the cushions until the nice happy part returns to the screen.

The other day as I was holding Braedyn in one arm and Gavin was cuddled up under the other watching “Cars” yet again, I felt the softness of a baby’s cheek and the silkiness of Gavin’s tousled hair. I was taken back and reminded once more of another little boy’s cheek and hair as soft as silk .

Try as I might , despite shaking my head to get the picture from my mind, swallowing hard and holding my breath. fat tears splashed from my eyes onto Gavin’s little hand ,so like his Uncle Chris’s . I bit my lip and forced a smile as Gavin turned his concerned little face to mine .

Sad???? – run’d away- hide – Nog

There are so many times I would like to run’d away and hide but there isn’t a sanctuary where one can escape- the sad part is always with me .

Friday, May 4th, we were invited to Cleveland Institute of Art’s Honors Awards and Scholarship Announcements.

Since Chris died we have remembered him with two scholarships Cleveland Institute of Art and Lorain County Community College

The recipient of Chris’ scholarship for this year would be announced. I knew it was going to be hard- I put on my “armour” and my sunglasses. Nikki went with me , we took Braedyn – Gavin spent the day with Poo Bah.

I had been to the Aiken auditorium twice during Chris’s time at CIA- the day of his orientation and then the day he graduated. The day of his graduation the large screen – a backdrop on the stage, as his name was announced to the audience, showed two slides the example of a project of which he was most proud

I sat, during the awards announcement on Friday, not daring to move incase what ever thin thread that was holding me together broke. I could see Chris once more on his graduation day happy, smiling, full of excitement , giving the thumbs up as he crossed the stage with his work behind him, ready to take on the “design world” with an air of confidence. We were so proud and happy at that moment- looking forward to accomplishment.

Then the reality of Christopher’s name being read once more and on the large screen another slide.

I daren’t look at Nikki, I knew her eyes were filling with tears, I could see peripherally her fingers stroking Braedyn’s warm soft cheek, drawing comfort from his presence. I so wanted to “run’d away- hide”- I didn’t want to face the trolls of the bridge of death and the price they claimed. But there is nowhere to run.

As the announcement of the recipient was read I scanned the audience filled with youth , talent, excitement, their eagerness, joy adding to the ambience of life in that auditorium and just being young written on those faces and I drew a margin of comfort that once more my son’s name was included in a “happy part” . And hopefully a gift in his name would, in a small way, help another to make a difference through their talent.

Thank you so much to those of you that help make this gift in Christopher’s name possible.

This year’s $1,500 scholarship recipient follows
Year One – Jessica Obando
Year Two – Andrew Frank
Year Three- Emily Good.

If you would like to contribute to the Christopher Ritchey Memorial Scholarship at CIA please do so by sending the check to :

Attn M. Kinsella
Cleveland Institute of Art,
11141 East Boulevard,
Cleveland, OH 44106
mark Chris Ritchey Memorial Scholarship

May 8, 2012 at 12:12 pm 5 comments

Reservation for “None”- Lorain 365- Spitzer Hotel

Photo- Lisa Miller 365 Blog

The two lassies of Lorain who have started their own –Lorain 365 2chix 2pix every day

published the above photo a couple of days ago- and one of the comments made

“This is really sad to think all the people who participated in events at the hotel and now it just sits there with the silenced piano”

All the people who participated……. took me back to a happier time and Burlington Bertie and “High Tea” – the picture from the front page of the “Tempo/ Arcade” entertainment Morning Journal magazine is somewhat wrinkled but then again so am I now……..

Yes that was a time when the piano accompanied “high tea” and a shabby Burlington Bertie surrounded by china, and silver and twinkling crystals in the lobby… and now Burlington Bertie – well both the actress and the hotel are worn, frayed, and forlorn and what is left is the diminishing echoes of laughter , good times, songs on a now silent piano

The Spitzer Hotel as it is now:


but other actresses will play Burlington Bertie- “HE” will be resurrected – as for the Hotel………. who can say ?


“Burlington Bertie” is a music hall song composed by Harry B. Norris in 1900 and sung by Vesta Tilley. It concerns an aristocratic young idler who pursues a life of leisure in the West End of London.

This song was parodied in the now-much-better-known “Burlington Bertie from Bow” (1915) credited to William Hargreaves and sung by his wife, Ella Shields, who performed the song whilst dressed in male attire. Unlike the original song, Bertie’s pretensions to gentility are belied by his residence in Bow, in the poverty-stricken East End of London, though his status as an idler ironically links him to the leisured aristocratic class, who reside in the West End.

Betty Grable in the part of vaudevillian Myrtle McKinley Burt performed the song in the musical film Mother Wore Tights (1947).[1]

Julie Andrews, also dressed in male attire, gave another rendition of the song in the film Star! (1968).

It was sung on episode 201 of The Muppet Show by a custom Bertie Muppet performed by Jerry Nelson.

At the Royal Variety Performance in 1981, it was performed in the customary male evening dress by Anita Harris, who brought the house down with the line “I’ve just had a banana with Lady Diana” from the Buckingham Palace verse of the song. Although the Diana was originally Lady Diana Cooper, Prince Charles had married Lady Diana Spencer earlier in the year.

The two songs about Burlington Bertie are both predecessors of Irving Berlin’s song “A Couple of Swells”. In all three songs, a woman dressed in a ragged form of male finery brags about how well connected in society “he” is, while clearly demonstrating an actual state of poverty.

I’m Bert
( shortened version as I performed the the piece for the afternoon teas at the hotel)

P’raps you’ve heard of me Bert You’ve had word of me, Plodding along Hearty and strong Living on plates of fresh air I dress up in fashion And when I am feeling depressed I shave from my cuff all the whiskers and fluff Stick my hat on and toddle up West

I’m Burlington Bertie I rise at ten thirty and saunter along like a toff I walk down the Strand with my gloves on my hand Then I walk down again with them off I’m all airs and graces, correct easy paces Without food so long, I’ve forgot where my face is I’m Bert, Bert, I haven’t a shirt But my people are well off you know. Nearly everyone knows me from Smith to Lord Rosebr’y, I’m Burlington Bertie from Bow.

I’m Burlington Bertie I rise at ten thirty – My pose, Tho’ ironical Shows That my monocle Holds up my face, keeps it in place, Stops it from slipping away. Cigars, cigars, I smoke thousands, I usually deal in The Strand But you’ve got to take care when you’re getting them there Or some idiot might step on your hand.

I’m Burlington Bertie I rise at ten thirty And Buckingham Palace I view. I stand in the yard while they’re changing the guard And the queen shouts across “Toodle oo”! The Prince of Wales’ brother along with some other Slaps me on the back and says “Come and see Mother” I’m Bert, Bert, and royalty’s hurt, When they ask me to dine I say no. I’ve just had a banana with Lady Diana I’m Burlington Bertie from Bow.

March 29, 2012 at 12:29 pm 2 comments

Eden Valley Enterprises – Emma “Grandma” Gatewood

Photo Source

Betty Lou Higgins of Eden Valley Enterprises a living theatrical experience-

Eden Valley Enterprises is dedicated to providing unique educational experiences. Our philosophy is that learning and doing are fun and our basic tool is theatre. While we specialize in living history programs, storytelling, and musical trips back in time, we are equally adept at other kinds of programs.

is looking for support for a documentary:

Ohioan Emma “Grandma” Gatewood who was the first woman to solo thru-hike the Appalachian Trail when she was 67 years old in 1955! The storytelling program about Emma premiered to a sold-out house on November 1 and I already have a booking for another one in July. Now we are moving ahead to raise money to create a documentary about Emma to tell her story in more complete detail.

Though many serious hikers know that Emma “Grandma” Gatewood became the first woman to solo thru-hike the Appalachian Trail in 1955 at the age of 67, they really don’t know the Rest Of The Story.

Most people don’t know that after she hiked the AT the first time she went back and did it TWO more times. Most people don’t know that she also hiked the Oregon Trail during its Bicentennial Celebration. Most people don’t know that she was instrumental in starting Ohio’s Buckeye Trail. Most people don’t know that she was truly a visionary of the ultralight hiking movement. Most people don’t know that she raised 11 children. Most people don’t know that she survived an abusive relationship. Most people don’t know that by the time she retired Emma had hiked more than 10,000 miles! Most people don’t know Emma Gatewood at all! We hope to correct this problem by telling Grandma’s whole story!

There is a special campaign on Kickstarter to help with this. We have until January 19 to raise $3500 in seed money for the project. No money will be collected unless we meet the $3,500 goal.

You can find complete information about this project at:

Donations can also be made directly to Eden Valley (regardless of whether or not we meet the Kickstarter goal) by visiting our project page at and downloading the form to mail a check or use the “donate button” to make a payment through PayPal.

As a not-for-profit corporation under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code, all donations to Eden Valley are tax deductible.

Bette Lou Higgins
Artistic Director
Eden Valley Enterprises

January 13, 2012 at 12:03 am Leave a comment

Scotland- Airth Games- A Champion- An open culture

Robin Rose with the Clan Chieftain Airth Highland Games

Back in what seems a life time ago and before I “retired” from writing, I wrote a column Highland Highlights for Dancer Magazine. There was a lot “politics” involved even in this world of an ancient culture., the bottom line were the children involved in the learning of the “Dances” of Scotland.

Airth highland Games,

to the best of my knowledge is one of the games where they welcome all of the dancers – no matter their “political dance affiliation”
When I wrote for Dancer, I donated a trophy for the “Baby” class at those games, a loving cup and I am proud the cup is still being awarded. This summer in Scotland ( and yes the skies were blue and the sun was shining) the winner of the trophy from the Jenkins Highland Dance School
is one Robin Rose Gargan

Congratulations! Robin, and her teacher Laura Jenkins…….

October 6, 2011 at 2:51 pm Leave a comment

Kelly Boyer Sagert – Ohio Writer’s Conference -Saturday

I am a huge believer in writer’s conferences, as a way for writers to network, share knowledge and encouragement, recharge their creative batteries and learn more about their craft. Oh, and to have some fun, too! So, I’m really getting excited about the Ohio Writer’s Conference at TrueNorth to be held at French Creek Reservation on Saturday, October 8th from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a bonus program from 7 to 9 p.m. This conference is for aspiring writers as well as active writers and will be a welcoming haven for all.

Conferences can provide a significant boost to a writer’s development and success, whether you’re just beginning or whether you’re simply in a rut. Here’s how I know. In the early 1990s, when I was very lightly published, I really needed to kick-start my writing. So, I decided to attend the Midwest Writer’s Conference .

The editor of a magazine called Ohio Writer would be at this conference and I desperately wanted to write author interviews for the publication. So, I put together my measly writing resume and practiced what I would say to her. I thought my presentation was pretty polished and I was hoping to dazzle her with my professionalism. Maybe the presentation was okay . . . and maybe it wasn’t . . . but when I actually got to speak to her, I just started blubbering that

I really, really, REALLY wanted to write for her and so, please, please, PLEASE, couldn’t I? Couldn’t I?? Couldn’t I??? PLEASE?????

At this point, she put a hand on my shoulder and told me to stop talking. So, I did. She then told me to take a couple of deep breaths. So, I did. She then informed me that, a minute or two ago, she’d already told me “yes” but, unfortunately, I was babbling too much to listen. (How embarrassing.) She then told me to say the following,

“What do you want me to write, when do you need it and how much will you pay me?”

So, I did – and that led to my first regular writing gig. It also allowed me to meet many other writers in Ohio, some quite successful, who helped me along to the next step in my own publishing path.

At the Ohio Writer’s Conference at TrueNorth, you’ll meet plenty of helpful, encouraging professionals who are ready and willing to support you.

Presenters include:

Ray McNiece: as a two-time captain of National Poetry Slam Championship teams, Ray will share techniques for bringing your poetry to life.

Sarah Willis: the winner of a New York Times Notable Book of the Year award and a Pushcart Prize nominee, Sarah will offer up fiction writing tips that really work.

Kelly Boyer Sagert: I’ve been published thousands of times by now, including 11 books and two full-length commissioned plays (all kick-started at a writing conference, remember!) and I’ll share dozens of ways to publish your nonfiction – and talk about how published nonfiction credits can help you to accomplish other writing dreams.

Gary Gerrone: discover how to incorporate nature into your poetry, fiction and nonfiction, thanks to Gary’s presentation; he is an author, playwright and nature writer himself.

Kim Ceja: from playwriting to songwriting, and from acting to singing, you’ll learn plenty from Kim!

Call 440-949-5200 (TrueNorth) or 440-670-6624 (KBS)

October 4, 2011 at 11:35 am 2 comments

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