The Cleveland Foodbank was formed in 1979 by a diverse group of individuals who were concerned about the complex issue of hunger, including food-industry professionals who were troubled by its waste and those who worked with nonprofit organizations that directly benefitted the hungry. Today, the organization distributes both nonperishable and fresh or frozen foods to a network of 618 member hunger programs across Northeast Ohio. Last year, the food bank distributed 34.5 million pounds of food—the equivalent of 27 million meals—to individuals and families in need.
Sending kids outside to play can result in costly hospital visits and feelings of alienation from a once beloved magnolia tree. Unlike their cold, hard cousins, inflatable playgrounds offer the joy of climbing without the worries of falling or landing in a swarm of fire ants. For children under the age of 11, Funtime has multiple play areas in which to slide, roll, and moonwalk bounce away. Attractions include crayon-cornered bouncers, rainbowtastic obstacle courses, ball pits, and a variety of plastic tubing perfect for aspiring spelunkers. And as the signage indicates, the play area is one of the few places outside of Japanese teahouses and nail salons where customers with no shoes won’t be refused service.
The fleet of 14 school horses at Summer Wind Stables allows riders of all skill levels to study and appreciate horsemanship, a subject that encompasses both riding and horse care. Each lesson program is structured so that riders can learn at their own pace as they cover horse-related topics such as grooming, tacking, bathing, and proper riding technique. The stable’s steadfast commitment to safety, which prohibits riding without an approved helmet, enables riders to develop their confidence and assertiveness while practicing in the styles of hunter/jumper, dressage, or eventing. Meanwhile, a staff of active horseback riders mans the shop at Summer Wind Stables, lending advice to those searching for gifts, tack, apparel, or riding accessories.
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.
Cleveland Rock of Ages, a night of live classic rock mastery held at the stadium of the class A affiliate for the Cleveland Indians, opens with the lead singers of Rare Earth, Sugarloaf, Blues Image, and Iron Butterfly all joining forces as the Classic Rock All-Stars and performing songs in the style of rock’s golden era. After a preliminary injection of sonic heaviness, prepare for shock rock’s one-man governing body, Alice Cooper. The heavily mascaraed maestro, well-known for mega-hits like “School’s Out,” “Poison,” and “All I Want Is a Jar of Nickels (For Christmas! For Christmas!),” will take to the stage bearing gifts of rock.
Chefs at Cedar Lee Pub and Grill sizzle burgers and chop salads to satiate enthusiastic appetites while projection and flat-screen televisions quell desires for sports action. Infuse mouths with a menu of more than 30 burgers, including the South of the Border ($7.99), which rouses lazy taste buds with a kick of pepper-jack cheese and salsa before dressing them in grilled onions and green peppers. The Hawaiian burger ($7.99) mixes mellow teriyaki sauce with sweet slices of grilled pineapple and ham and a crunch of bacon. Like a rollicking game of Mad Libs, building your own burger or salad results in a hilarious medley of chopped vegetables and words such as "tzatziki" and "crouton." Meanwhile, 15 wing sauces wait to sprint out at a bugling cue, leap onto a springboard, and reverse somersault into a basket of wings ($4.50 for six).