Cleveland Sucks

Styrenes Tour – Day 10
Cleveland, Ohio

A kid approached us in a rest stop on the Eastbound side of I-90 somewhere in Indiana to inquire if we might be heading east. I heard him clearly, but the deceptively obvious question made me say “Excuse me?” His dog pissed on its own foot while he repeated the question. I thought of making up a Masonic sounding counter-answer about traveling men or levels and squares. His ragged Burning Man get-up and chin tattoo suggested he’d probably take that game a lot further that I would, so I held off and lied instead. Felt a little unsporting to leave him there, but I just couldn’t see it working out well for anybody.

Otherwise an unremarkable but tiring drive- earliest call time of the trip, with 343 miles and a lost hour to the time change. It rained hard enough that I thought my headphones had some static noise problem.

Got a brief tour of Cleveland’s devastation in the van before sound check. I think there are more empty storefronts and boarded-up houses and buildings than Detroit, Baltimore, Newark, Trenton and Philly combined. Downtown business district is a ghost town at noon on Monday. When we got to Cleveland Sucks in the set, people mostly shrugged and nodded before gleefully joining in for the choruses. Bittersweet homecoming for the locals- small but rabid audience, including people from Detroit and Buffalo. Played the Beachland Ballroom, which looks like the bar in Trees Lounge. OH is the land of left-handed guitarists, Al noted, Cincatti and Cleveland openers both having lefties.

Alcazar Hotel, a great old 1920’s Spanish-themed place with a courtyard garden, ballroom, and a lobby with a tiled fountain, fireplace, and cool old kitsch. Mostly permanent residents, elderly Christian Scientists in retirement or treatment at the medical centers.

Sound bites of the day – driving around old neighborhoods:

It looks all different when you’re not on acid, doesn’t it?

Stop the van, stop! Let me out for a minute so I can go up there to Daniels’ Funeral Home, ring the night bell and run away.

Hey Paul, you getting off yet? I think we got burned.

O. Henry Goes Swimming
The Alcazar has no pool but a lovely tiled fountain in the lobby. This subplot seems to be off the rails.

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