Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cleveland Rocks. A little bit, anyway.

Or, rather, Cleveland rocked. But it's over now. Mike, Jeff, George and I took the 7-hour trip down to Cleveland on Saturday for the Browns-Packers game (which ended up being a rather boring rout). We left early in the morning Saturday, and got to Cleveland about 4:00. We were staying at a hotel about three blocks from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and we figured we would hit that before dinner. Which was fine, but when we arrived they told us they were about to close - they close at 5:30! Every day, even Saturdays! They told us that if we wanted to come that late in the day, we ought to come there on a Wednesday. Wednesdays they are open until 9:00. Wednesday being a gigantic tourist day, and all.

So we had to sprint through our tour in an hour and a half. Most of that was OK. I wouldn't spend a huge amount of time inspecting a U2 head cover or David Bowie's sequined outfit or John Lennon's glasses. I am comfortable passing quickly over photos of cops protesting Ice-T and some contract signed by Jay-Z and a bunch of Madonna stuff. I did stop to read Ian Curtis' handwritten lyrics to Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart", and some handwritten Lennon lyrics. But after reading all of these songs in their handwritten form, I realized that I already knew the words to those songs, and that I could read the lyrics online were I really curious. So I had stopped reading handwritten lyrics by the time I got to the two-floor Bruce Springsteen exhibit, the top floor of which consisted almost entirely of handwritten lyrics.

I must say, I did find the Hall of Fame to be disappointing. There were some cool things in there - cars owned by Elvis and Springsteen and stuff like that, and little things like a letter some kid wrote to the Rolling Stones in the late 60s about how much he (or she) and their classmates and every kid I know hates, hates, HATES the Stones and hope they stop making music. That was neat. I read that whole thing. And there were some really cool displays about Janis Joplin and the Who and so forth. But the most disappointing thing for me (other than the very rushed nature of our tour) was that there was no actual "Hall of Fame". Unless it was in that one section that was closed off because the museum was closing.

That's what I wanted to see. Maybe not plaques and stats like in Springfield or Cooperstown or Toronto. But at least a list, of some kind, of everyone who has been inducted into the hall of fame. I know, certainly, that KISS is not an inducted member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Because they are up for induction this year. But there was a bunch of KISS crap in there anyway. And I am certain that Metallica IS in the Hall of Fame, because they were inducted last year. Or the year before. But I don't remember seeing any Metallica-related items. Now, I was rushed. And I got a pretty poor tour of the whole place. And this actual Hall Of Fame might have been behind that one closed door. But that's what I was expecting, and I sure didn't see it.

Of course, the souvenir shop does not close at 5:30. That stays open, presumably forever. So I bought some souvenirs for the kids, and we went to dinner. The cabbie driving us seemed to be a little lost, and went around the same block about three times. Then he got a call on his phone, fiddled with his GPS, and said "oh, Cleveland OHIO" as though he had just discovered where he was. We got out and walked. The area with the restaurants in Cleveland reminded me a lot of Old Montreal, where you can walk down the street and check out a number of restaurants (although they are all pubs in Cleveland). We went into a place that brewed their own beers, and most other places offered the Cleveland beers as well. I recommend the Olde Leghumper to anyone who goes.

Then we went to the football game. And did other stuff. More on that later.


  1. I did a similar trip to Cleveland with a couple of buddies a few years ago. We toured Jann Wenner's Inferiority Complex as well (it was interesting, though not spectacular) The most fun was had achieving the blood alcohol level of a St. Patrick's Day parade at Alice Cooperstown (which I hear has since closed down) and then going to see Ulrich Roth play at a bar on the outskirts of the city. Excellent show. We would have stayed another day to catch an Indians game but the hangover factor put us back on the road home.

    Cleveland does rock. As does a weekend away from the usual routine.

  2. My wife and I did the Cleveland trip last weekend as well. I too am a big Pacckers fan and enjoyed the game tremendously. Unlike you however, we spent about 5 hours at the Rock n Roll HOF on Saturday and really enjoyed it. I know I have never spent 5 hours in any museum here in the nation's capital. I guess you missed the very well done movie that chronicled the list of inductees very year since its inception? On the back wall of the theatre were the signatures of every inductee.
    Can't wait for the game this Sunday.

  3. Yeah, I did miss that one - the last show had already run by the time we got there. I thought there was a chance that in that section I might have seen more stuff. Too bad! Can't wait for this Sunday. Go Pack!