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CLEVELAND ROCKS!
Written By: Tish Michel
*Click images below to view larger versions.
CLEVELAND ROCKS!
Greater Baltimore CHADD board members at Leadership Luncheon - can you find me?
CLEVELAND ROCKS!
First electric light in U.S. located next to beautiful red sandstone Society for Savings bank.
CLEVELAND ROCKS!
First electric light in U.S. located next to beautiful red sandstone Society for Savings bank.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame awesomely shows
ROCK & ROLL IS HERE TO STAY BABY!

    Last week I attended the annual CHADD (Children & Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder) International Conference held this year in Cleveland, Ohio.  CHADD has been my greatest source of help in raising a good kid with AD/HD and I’ve probably attended 15 annual conferences since my son was diagnosed with this disorder at the age of five.  I ran the Greater Baltimore chapter of CHADD for many years and still sit on its board. I also served on the national board of CHADD from ‘99 - ‘02 and remain on its conference committee. I’m thrilled to report that during the Leadership luncheon held prior to the start of the official conference, my chapter was honored with the first “Affiliate of the Year” award - it was a wonderful moment for the leaders in my chapter who attended with me. For more info on AD/HD see www.CHADD.org.
    Now, the first thing I like to do when I visit a city for the first time is get a walking tour map and look at older architecture as I snap away with my camera and walk my feet off. I try to get to the conference a day early just for this purpose. I loved Cleveland! They have kept most of their old buildings instead of tearing everything down to put up tall modern structures. I saw the beautiful Art Nouveau style Arc Lamp in the public square which replaced the gas lamp in 1879 prior to Edison lighting up New York City. This lamp stands by the spectacular red sandstone Society for Savings Bank which is so gorgeous inside and out that security guards asked me to not take photos (now do I look like a terrorist?). An attorney working on the top floor of the 57-story Key Tower (tallest building in Cleveland) nextdoor invited me to see the all-glass enclosed board room at the top and gave me a tour from the tower and a number of tips on photography. Turns out his son also has AD/HD - it truly is a small world and most all of the people I met from Cleveland were so friendly and kind.
    Wednesday was the day I had free to tour the city and it just happened to be the windiest day Cleveland ever had according to the local news. My earrings hurt from blowing so hard and I discovered I’d lost a backing when I removed them. My tote bag blew at a 90-degree angle to the ground. I attempted to cross the mile-long Hope Memorial Bridge (named after Bob Hope). This spectacular bridge has eight 43-foot tall Art Deco style “Guardians of Traffic” statue sculptures by Henry Hering. At the opposite end of the bridge is the historic West Side Market, which is the largest indoor/outdoor market in the country, easily identified by the 137-foot clock tower. 
    By this time I’d about had it with the wind and spent most of the rest of the day touring interiors. The Tower City Center built in the ‘20s was beautiful inside and out and had many lovely fountains, shops, and restaurants in the mall area above the city’s rapid transit hub.  There were guitar and other music related statues throughout this mall and throughout the city. The Arcade a few blocks away was perhaps my most favorite site architecturally speaking. This 1890 constructed building is Romanesque style with the exception of one Art Deco entrance. It is the first enclosed shopping mall in the U.S. The glass roof was built by a bridge company with huge trusses.  The mall is five stories featuring tons of marble, glass, iron, oak and gold leaf. It’s spectacular but unfortunately many shops were empty here and in all areas of the city because of the economy. It was so sad to see all these empty retail spaces in such an incredibly beautiful environment.
    Ok, I’ve saved the best for last. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is in a glass-enclosed pyramid hosting seven floors of exhibition space spanning 150,000 square feet.  It is located at the foot of 9th Street and Lake Erie - what a view! Alan Freed had a radio show in Cleveland in the early fifties and was the first person to use the term Rock & Roll, so it’s fitting that this museum is located in Cleveland.  Now, I had 45 minutes to spend in the museum when it opened Thursday morning and about three hours to spend at the end of the day. Yes, my friends and I stayed the second time until after the official closing hour but as I said above, folks are so friendly in Cleveland that no one asked us to leave. There was a woman with a small dog (I assume a service dog) on the bottom floor in the morning who was still on the bottom floor at the end of the day. Perhaps she left for part of the day, but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if she stayed on that floor all day; there is just so much to see and hear.  I can tell you, I only saw a small portion of the exhibits and want to plan another trip to spend days in this Rock & Roll home!  Growing up in the fifties, I truly am the R & R generation and remember it all. On the bottom floor are all kinds of interesting memorabilia including Michael Jackson’s silver glove, Lead Belly’s 1935 Stella 12-string acoustic guitar, Buddy Holly’s High School diploma from ‘55, Elvis’s custom boots with EP on the side along with some costumes and a purple Cadillac, tons of Beatles memorabilia including Lennon’s Sgt. Pepper’s jacket,  Jimi Hendrix’s hand-written lyrics for “Purple Haze, Jesus Saves” (original title), Mick Jagger’s Union Jack Flag Cape, to mention only a few items. 
    Also on this floor are many listening stations where you can hear numerous tunes from your favorite hall of Fame inductees, hear interviews with them and hear music from those musicians that influenced them. If you know me, you know I love harmony. It was such fun ducking in listening cubbies and playing tunes (and singing and dancing along) from The Everly Brothers then playing tunes from the earlier musicians who influenced their style. Later I listened to Simon & Garfunkel and they had Everly Brothers listed as early influences. There are also six interactive listening stations that include 500 songs that shaped Rock & Roll. Wow - everything from Ma Rainy to Metallica. Yes, my friends, I sang and danced my way throughout the museum and so did my friends - how ADD of us, but being impulsive is such fun!
    The displays were fitting with the times.  There was a wonderful tribute section to Les Paul who passed away last summer.  They had an early 50’s TV playing the Les Paul/Mary Ford show. I’m a big Ricky Nelson fan and would like to remind you that he was second only to Elvis in record sales during the height of his music career. They had a film interviewing him about his infamous “BOO” gig at The Garden which influenced his writing “Garden Party” and they played old “The Nelsons” shows on an early 60’s TV. 
    I was warned by CHADD friends to make sure I allowed enough time to see the hour-long film about the Hall Of Fame inductees; it was three connected screens of film footage, music, interviews, stills and animation presented by year covering all inductees. It was awesome!!!!!  There were a number of other films which I did not have time to see. There are 18 permanent exhibits in the museum and several temporary exhibits. Bruce Springsteen had a temp exhibit entitled “From Asbury Park to the Promise Land.” Although there was a fair amount of Janice Joplin memorabilia already, there will be a special exhibit honoring her opening in December. I missed by one day the World Festival held at the museum this past Sunday with performances by 12 international groups. Darn - so much to see; too little time.  I’m awaiting delivery of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: The First 25 Years by Holly George-Warren which was published in ‘09; this wonderful book was way too big to take home so I’m having it shipped so I’ll have a wonderful remembrance of this great museum.
    Yes, my friends, Cleveland rocks!
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