Be Grateful

18 07 2007

I haven’t left the site again for no reason again; this time I took a vacation to New York, and I experienced some things that make me glad to live here. You can drive to pretty much anywhere in a reasonable amount of time, compared to the New York/New Jersey subways to get around the city or surrounding areas in the same amount, for one. There’s also that really interesting smell permeating the air wherever you go. The city has plenty of other faults, but they help define NYC and don’t exactly detract from the many awesome things to do should you ever visit.

But aspects of the two biggest highlights of my trip got me thinking about, of all things, the Chevrolet Centre. It happened over the course of two days: one day, I was at Shea Stadium for a Mets game, the next at a Yankees game in the House That Ruth Built. They are true throwback stadiums, ballparks that will be demolished soon and have housed some of the most colorful, storied teams in baseball, and judging by media reports the people of Youngstown would have a heart attack were they ever to visit one of them.

The Vindicator, along with Jay Williams, have been voices for people here who complain about how high the concession prices are at the arena. The people who say these things must not get out too much, because after going to these ballparks I would demand these people start rejoicing at how good they have it as far as the price of food is concerned.

The Chevrolet Centre is a minor league venue, housing minor league sports teams, and shoud therefore have minor leagues prices, right? Already accomplished, compared to what some people say. True, The Vindicator comparison showed Eastwood Field and Canal Park may have been lower in some areas, but even their highest prices were well below venues in Cleveland and Pittsburgh. And then New York makes us look like a soup kitchen.

Consider this: at Shea Stadium, water is 4 dollars a bottle, and a hot dog is 4.50 or $5, depending on which kind you like. Sodas are in two sizes, costing $3.50 or $6. Yankee Stadium’s prices are comparable, but what really got me was the price of beer: $7.50 for a Bud at Shea, and a full $8 for a bottle at Yankee Stadium. And people still buy this stuff.

So what do you think of those prices? Feel like complaining to Boston Culinary some more? 

I guess all I can say is be grateful. Be grateful you can watch hockey and not take out a loan for beer and a dog.





Youngstown Film

5 07 2007

Hi everyone. Hope you had a good 4th of July, and tomorrow, Youngstown Film will kick off its Summer Classic Movie Festival with a showing of “To Kill a Mockingbird” in the McKay Auditorium at YSU’s Beeghly College of Education. It may not be a vintage movie palace, but the chance to watch a bona fide classic film and the price of admission (FREE) certainly makes up for that.

Before their innaugural screening, I talked with YF’s Michele McBride to find out a little more about their organization and what they plan to do.

New YTOWN: How do you like the current accommodations at DeBartolo Hall? Do you think about a change of venue at all?
McBride: I think DeBartolo Hall is, in itself, a nice layout for screening films because of (1) the number of seats, (2) the auditorium seating and (3) sound and screen size. The downside is that a lot of people are hesitant to come to the YSU Campus but it is important to us that the films remain in Youngstown proper and our venues are limited–although we have had several offers to screen films in various locations downtown but none seem to be a good “fit”.

New YTOWN: Are you looking to expand your operations beyond the summer months?                                                                                                                               McBride: We are beginning a monthly indie in September after the conclusion of the Summer Classic FF. I wanted to remind people how great old films are in the cinema setting and then get some new stuff into the area. We already have a number of fantastic first-run indie films lined up. The first is a series of films shot by American National Guardsman while in Iraq.

New YTOWN: Are you at all discouraged about establishing an organization to show independent films? Personally, I’ve found some indies to be great, but do you think the failure of Austintown Movies indicates the Youngstown area isn’t interested in those sort of films?                                                                                                                              McBride: Sherry Weinblatt and I started Keep It Reel to keep the Austintown Theatre open. In that instance it was not the lack of interest in indie films but, rather, the confluence of third party operators, theatre owners looking for big profits and other issues that were far afield from indie cinema. I have had so many people tell me that they want to see movies that they have seen either in other cities if they are new to the area or that they went to in college out of the area, etc. The interest is there. We need the right combination without too much interference.

New YTOWN: The “Summer Film Fest” consists of classic films and runs on Thursday night. Depending on the success of these screenings, would you consider the prospect of an “actual” festival like Sundance/Cannes/Toronto?                                                   McBride: I’ve spoken with folks at YSU and others in the local arts community who are extremely interested in having a juried film festival which could be possible with the right support from the community.

New YTOWN: On your website, it says you’ll screen films from the AFI list of 100 great movies. Was this list your first choice for the selection basis, or did you look at lists like the National Film Registry? I ask because the AFI seems to include films labeled as “classics”, and while NFI-listed films like “Network”, “Boyz n tha Hood”, and “Sex, Lies, and Videotape” wouldn’t be considered classics, they’ve had considerable impacts on filmgoers and still spark widespread discussion.                                                            McBride: Although I agree that other films have been deemed American classics which are more on the fringes, etc. but the AFI remains the definitive source for classic cinema and, as a member, I vote for the 100 films each year (BTW Network is on that list). Also, the goal for the summer film fest was not obscure but the familiar in an atypical setting (not on TCM on your TV but larger than life in a true theatre setting).

New YTOWN: What do you think is the significance of independent film, and why should they be shown in Youngstown ?
McBride: Indie film is a loose term these days. I believe that true indie films are the vehicle to getting people out into the community to see films together rather than sitting at home removed to watch film. A lot of these movies can only be seen in larger cities but Ytown needs to recognize that it can make a home for culture and stimulating film and need not be apologetic or riding on the coattails of Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Being a native, I recognize the tendency of other natives who have, as I have, returned to the area to be apologetic or resigned to the fact that Ytown contains no cutting edge artistic expression.

New YTOWN: This organization is something I’ve only heard about through the Youngstown blogs. Do you go anywhere else to promote this?                                   McBride: We are just getting started! We wanted to take advantage of this time of year to get people out to films and we plan on being a fixture in this area. One independent movie house in downtown Ytown could do wonders for connecting current business and encouraging others. As an attorney I have done limited work with real estate in Youngstown and I know that it can be a possibility with the right people being in the right place.

New YTOWN: Do you see this organization expanding further if successful?
McBride: Like all attempts to revitalize Ytown, this effort has to remain relaxed and patient and, in the meantime, bring people something interesting and cutting edge. I recently attended the Tribeca Film Festival and some of these theatres looked like something that could be found in Ytown. It IS possible—besides, how many truck shows and bars can you go to before your mind demands more!

Thanks Michele, and we look forward to Youngstown Film’s events and what they’ll be doing in the future. Once again, YF will present “To Kill a Mockingbird” this Friday at 7:00 in the McKay Auditorium at YSU’s Beeghly College of Education building. And for more information, visit youngstownfilm.com .





My favorite place

2 07 2007

This past Wednesday, valley24.com published a story on what might be my favorite place to go in Youngstown: The Royal Oaks. It’s a great article, and it truly unearths the aspects of the place that I so love.

Yeah, the MVR and Golden Dawn- two places equally laden with tradition- are nice, but the Oaks is free from the unofficial Catholic school affiliation, and has the most kick-ass ribs anywhere.

I just had to point this out. I love The Royal Oaks, and I love this story.  CLICK IT!p1010326.jpg





At a standstill

10 06 2007

As you can see, the New YTOWN blog, like we did at the end of last year, went on an unanounced hiatus again, having not posted since April.

There’s a good reason.

Since our article favoring the Steelhounds move to the ECHL, there aren’t many updates on downtown news, although yesterday’s Vindicator did report on an ECHL move, but with very little insight into what the ‘Hounds might actually do.

ThunderWatch will be removed. My bad, guys.

As to the rest of the city, everything ebbs and flows, and development downtown has reached a low point. Downtownyoungstown.com has virtually no activity. Friday Night Fights and a handful of concerts will play the Chevy Centre, and the Brier Hill Festival and YSU summer festival of the arts will come in the near future, but these are regular occurances.

I’m gonna try to come back regularly now, feeling I’m way overdue with getting back to writing. I’ll at least try to be Youngstown-related.





Global continues to come up short.. It’s time to look elsewhere!

6 02 2007

 SIGN THE PETITION TO REMOVE GLOBAL FROM THE CHEVROLET CENTRE!

For the “ump”teenth time in a row it seems, since the Chevrolet Centre opened back in October 2005, the predictions for a $356,000 profit for the months October-December came up $212,000 SHORT! During this same period in 2005, the Chevy Centre made a $545,000 profit!

I find it appalling that Global would continue to be this far off on financial predictions. Either their accountants are coming right out college, or they have no idea how to run an operation. I personally think its both!

The Convocation Center from the beginning has been plagued by problems with operations; managers Jeff Kossow and Matt Hufnagel each resigned, and the financial predictions have been million dollars off.

It’s time for Mayor Jay Williams and Co. to clean up shop over there and start from the beginning. Global Entertainment has done a attrocious job running THE CITIES ARENA! I beleive the city should contact Comcast’s Global Spectrum Arena Management Co. They have a proven record of being successful in the arenas they are in, and also run a similar arena once run by Global: The Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, CO.

Another arena once managed by Global; the Dodge Arena; has since fired the company after problems have come through the vines down there. It’s only a matter of time before we do it too! Spectrum is high quality, run some of the largest arenas in the USA, and run the beautiful Value City Arena in Columbus!