Part of the Fridays@7 series, these concerts commence at 7 p.m. and are preceded by libations and creative cuisine beginning at 5 p.m. Each presentation features the inspired compositions of virtuosos, such as Beethoven, Mahler, Wagner, and Richard Dreyfuss. After the show, stay for the after-party, featuring more food and drink plus a world music performance, led by percussionist Jamey Haddad, that expands musical horizons to the far reaches of Latin America, Africa, and a civilization that lives 500 yards beneath Des Moines, Iowa.
The cooks at Nova Bar and Grill purvey a menu brimming with Argentina’s characteristic blend of Mediterranean influences, from Spanish to Italian, using ingredients derived from South America's agricultural- and livestock-focused traditions. A trio of empanadas snuggles a blend of cheese, cumin-tinged veggies, and either spinach, beef, or chicken in its crispy pastry shells ($6). Churrasco, or grilled skirt steak ($16), showcases Argentina’s famously beef-centric cuisine, and a full cast of meats takes center stage in the parrillada's blend of skirt steak, short ribs, chicken, and argentine sausage ($29). Bites into the Angus burger's manchego cheese, bacon, and avocado ($12) energize palates more effectively than garnishes of pickles infused with pop-rocks, and slices of la argentina pizza serenade taste buds with an orchestration of red peppers, hard-boiled eggs, and tomato. As they dine, guests at Nova Bar and Grill can take in the eatery’s modern, geometric décor, with ceiling-high, cylindrical-shaped columns, as well as back-lit, rectangle-shaped cutaways and chrome, chair-shaped chairs.
The first Improv comedy club had virtually nothing to do with comedy. Broadway producer Budd Friedman founded the now legendary franchise in 1963 as an intimate spot where performers could eat, drink coffee, and sing along to piano ditties after their shows. Soon after, the club's first comedian, Dave Astor, tried out some new material on a whim. The stand-up set was a hit and led to the venue's eventual transformation into a full-blown comedy club. New York's hottest comedians would do nearly anything to be featured on the Improv stage; for instance, it's rumored that Lily Tomlin hijacked a parked limousine in order to make a stunning entrance when first meeting Budd.
Since 1989, Cleveland Improv has lived up to the lofty reputation of its parent club by showcasing comedic heavyweights such as Drew Carey, Jim Breuer, and Dave Chappelle. A diverse calendar draws instantly recognizable comics from the airwaves of Showtime, the E! channel, and Comedy Central—including Tommy Davidson, Godfrey, and Christina Pazsitzky—but it also opens the stage to promising up-and-comers such as "Uncle" Larry Reeb, Craig Doyle, and Cleveland's own Mike Polk Jr. Like a well-catered intervention, the menu surprises audiences with gourmet flavors. Blueberry-habañero sauce douses the wings, while bleu cheese and applewood bacon crown the burgers. Gut-busted patrons can replenish oxygen-deprived lungs over a cocktail on Cleveland Improv’s patio, which offers nice views of the Cuyahoga River.
Glass Bubble Project's owners Mike Kaplan and Chris McGillicutty are business partners, friends, and working artists. Beginning in 1998, they repurposed their garage space into a working studio where professional artists and students create side by side, firing delicate one-of-a-kind masterpieces—and, according to Cleveland Magazine, the occasional grilled cheese sandwich—in the shop's 2,000-degree furnace. Their glass-blowing and welding classes teach adults and children to create one-of-a-kind artwork as nearby artists at work bolster creativity. Besides classes, the studio invites guests to watch their free public demonstrations and grants private studio time to artists in need and broken bottles looking for a fresh start.
The shop's resident artists craft and sell sconces, chandeliers, and vases from recycled glass and repurposed metal. Nicknamed “Clevetion Glass” to simultaneously lampoon delicate Venetian glass and celebrate Cleveland's heartiness, their blend of industrial parts and elegant glasswork toughens up the décor of private residences and commercial buildings, such as the Ritz Carlton, all across the country.