Friday, March 21, 2008

"Accent On Youngstown" Week 2 3-21-8

11:30 at night and my work is never done. Still working on some technical problems for website. Video will be up; there on is our second installment of "Accent On Youngstown"....Will post more later.......Scott

Rosetta Stone Cafe Revisited, Dog See's God, Dinner and a Show

It's Friday blogger friends, and that means a new "Accent On Youngstown" will be up by 5pm this evening. This weeks guests are; Randall Craig Fleischer, conductor of the Youngstown Symphony, George Mager, of Cafe Cimmento here in Youngstown, and our very own Danny Mizicko, and some footage from his own Extreme Sports production company, "Stuck In Ohio". Tell your friends and be sure to call me if you want to be a future segment on our webcast.

Last night I was able to see our friend Brooke Slanina and her Oakland Theatre Gang perform their latest play, "Dog Sees God". More on that in a sec, but I started the evening with dinner at Rosetta Stone Cafe, and had a nice chat with the owners and found out that they are a little disappointed that my mixed review of their restaurant is still showing up close to their website when you google them. That's definitely understandable, and even though I thought my two-part review was very fair and acurate, as I said in them both, I am always rooting for Downtown Youngstown businesses, and have always been rooting for the Rosetta Stone. In fact, I am actually a regular enough that one of the waiters knows my favorites already, and the manager recognizes me and is very cordial each time I come in. Let's hope that this follow-up piece goes above my last review in google, because the owners really have made some great strides in the short time they have been open, and are learning more and more each day.

I am very pleased they have expanded the dinner menu, and although it is not updated on their website yet, I am sure it soon will be. The nightly specials are a treat as well. I also don't see the hostess that I thought was not a good hire around, and the rest of the staff is as courteous as always and have really been getting into a groove themselves. I have tried more options on the menu and I am still a great believer in their food as I always was. I still disagree with some of their presentations, but at least presentation doesn't take away from food quality.

The stage in the back of the restaurant has been put to good use the last few times I have been in as well. I have enjoyed a couple great trio's bringing jazz and blues and some soft fusion, and they have a Friday night regular that has a great rapport and sound. They are adding more musicians nightly it seems by the board out front, and I think that should be a big draw as word gets out. Their still does not seem to be enough diners coming in yet to make me feel entirely comfortable as an owner, but they have had to turn people away for some of the more popular shows at the DeYor Centre, and I find that very encouraging. As the first few weeks of my initial reviews turn in the first few months of the restaurant being open, I do think they have what it takes to make it work, and are improving daily. I still think their dinner menu without sandwiches and lighter fare make it a bit steeper climb than it needs to be, but I am much more confident that they will see it through.

It was good to talk with the owners last night. They showed they are open to criticism, but really believe in themselves and have a vision for the future. I found they are not just leasing the storefront, but have the entire building available to them and have plans for the basement up to the rooftop, four floor above. As I said, my first two reviews I don't feel were overly negative, nor do I want this one to be totally positive as if I am sucking up to the owners. They have made some great strides since opening, but they still have some challenges on the table and ahead. However, after seeing the improvement first hand over the last 5 or so weeks and getting a better feel of the direction from the owners themselves, I continue to wish them well and make the Rosetta Stone Cafe a major force in the revitalization of Downtown Youngstown.

"Dog See's God, Cofessions of a Teenage Blockhead", is the latest production of the Oakland Theatre in Downtown Youngstown. A parody based on the Peanuts comic strip, the names have been changed to protect the animated, and they are about 10 years later, all facing their teenage years with the angst, turmoil, and new use of the english language, (the F-bomb drops like the rain in April), that haunts all of our lives around that time. I have lot's of experience in restaurants, so I don't mind reviewing them, but I will leave theater reviews to the experts, lets just say I really enjoyed this production. I was expecting a lot of humor, and there was definitely a liberal amount thrown in, but it definitely had it's somber moments, and the ending, though extremely gratifying, did NOT leave you laughing.

The casting was excellent with each cast member with maybe the exception of "matt" (ie: pigpen), having some shining moments. The actor who played Matt was fine, just no great scene written for him. My two personal favorite scenes were the dramatic interpretation by "CB's Sister", and the scene with CB and "Vans Sister" (ie: lucy). The writing wove familiar memories of the peanuts gang throughout the show, exhorting chuckles and full our guffaws from my audience with each glimpse of recognition. Stand out actor has to be "CB" (ie: Charlie Brown) portrayed by Gary Shackleford, but fine performances was given by the entire cast with special recognition to Greg Mocker as "Beethoven" (ie: Shroeder) and Amato D'Apolito as "Van" (ie: Linus turned hilarious stoner). Brooke Slanina shows she is capable on either side of the fence, performer and soon to be President of the Executive Board of the Oakland. Brooks portrays "Tricia" (ie: Peppermint Patty) as definitely a Tomboy no more. As I said my two favorite scenes were by Alecia Sarkis as "CB's Sister" and Suzzane Shorrab as "Van's Sister) As I said although Ric Panning as "Matt" has a critical plot set-up, he and Denise Glinatsis as "Marcie" (ie Peppermint Patties friend Marcy) give fine performances, but really have no stand-out scenes, (well okay, Marcies soliloqui? on the spork was hilarious,) which if you think about it, fits the play well because their characters were not stand-outs in the comic strip especially either.

So I recommend seeing "Dog See's God" in this last weekend of performances very highly. Performances will be Friday and Saturday, March 21/22 at 8pm, and a Sunday matinee at 2pm. The Oakland theatre is located at 220 W. Boardman Street in Downtown Youngstown. Tickets for the show are only $15 dollars and it is worth your money so head on down there this weekend. You will enjoy it....I did.........Scott

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New Webcast Up Friday Eve, Chevy Centre, "Stacking The Odds"

So I really have things I want to blog about almost every day, and how often do I post?? Seems like weekly if I am lucky! So episode 2 of "Accent On Youngstown" will be posted this Friday evening by 5pm, so be sure to check back or subscribe to our YouTube Channel. Three more guests this week and a lot of great guests lined up for the future. We are even in talks to make it expand and be more often and more content soon. Be sure to check this blog, our MySpace, our Website, here, and Youtube to check out Accent on Youngstown,episode 2, Friday evening.

Next, I want to take a little issue with Bertram De Souza's commentary in the Vindicator this past Sunday about the Chevrolet Centre. Most of the time, I find I actually agree with what "Bertie" (okay, I dont know him, but Bertie just seems to fit him,) has to say, at least in bits and pieces of his commentary. However, as was noted in a Vindy piece earlier, if the city did NOT ask for the money to satisfy the loan from the 3 front-runners, wouldn't it have been foolish if the companies had no problems with that in exchange for certain concessions. I do agree that the city should have had some carrots on the stick for the company who would be willing to meet the debt demand, but it's not the worst idea in the world to ask for what you want, and let the companies make counter offers of what they would need in order for them to make that commitment.

Agree or Disagree that the Chevy Centre was needed or a smart use of money, the fact is, it's done and built and we have to rally around and support it and make it succeed. To that extent, I whole-heartedly agree with the proviso the city put out to retain Eric Ryan as Executive Manager of the Centre. This is a hometown event center and needs someone from the hometown to run it. If Cleveland felt it was a deal breaker and had to back out, oh well, 2 others did not, and they says great things about them and our city for trying to keep their interests protected this time around. I hope we find a company that can be a strong marketing arm and procurement arm for future events, but I love the fact that it will be a hometown boy running the show. I wish Eric, Brandon, Bridget, and Jennifer the best, and look forward to attending many more events at my local arena.

Last, but probably most important, we had our first meeting last night for this years "Stacking The Odds", a fund raiser that was started last year that we participated in and have decided to become a major sponsor for this year. The event is to raise money for the Susan G. Komen For The Cure, Breast Cancer Foundation. There are offices in Cleveland and Pittsburgh and the organization is widely known around the country and even the world. "Stacking The Odds", is a contest to see who can stack the most Oreo Cookies in timed heats against other competitors who have friends and family pledge money for how high they can get their Oreo's stacked. Of course Nabisco, maker of Oreo's was a big corporate sponsor last year, and will be on board again this year. Last year they donated 10,000 Oreos for the event and have pledged even more this year. The event took place outside of Pittsburgh last year, and with Accent Media as a major sponsor, we have asked them to hold the event in Downtown Youngstown this year. We are in negotiations on where to hold the event, but are hoping for maybe here in the first floor of the PharMor building if it's big enough. Besides the stacking event, there is a huge silent auction, vendors selling food and products, and a place for kids to build Oreo castles and pictures. I will be asking all of our Youngstown and Mahoning Valley neighbors and friends for help as things get closer. We will need donations and volunteers and stacker participants. Below is a video we made of last years event. Enjoy and talk to you soon blogger friends........Scott

Monday, March 10, 2008

Good Response to Webcast and The Blizzard of '08

Thanx for all of the kind calls and emails on our webcast. It was a lot of fun to do, and we are looking forward to the next one already. Since we are slamming a bit at work, we will be doing them every OTHER week for now. So did you all survive the blizzard of '08?? I hope everyone was able to get home safely Friday and spend the weekend indoors. Sunday was a fantastic shovel snow...UGH!

One of our lead camaramen and rough-cut editors, Frank, was scheduled for a shoot Saturday night at Leo's Banquet Hall in Howland and the show will/did go on. Bel Duetto, a fantastic singing team consisting of former Miss Ohio Amanda Beagle and her husband Craig Raymaley, who are a fantastic client asked Accent Media a while back to create a new demo for them. They are awesome to work with and the demo came out real well. Saturday, they were booked at Leo's to put on their show and asked us to shoot and edit the event and add clips to their demo. What started out as a simple one camera shoot, later turned into the care being stuck in the snow in the middle of the road until 5 good samaratins pushed him out, an unexpected overnight stay at the Fairfield Inn, and a good show with a good crowd of over 200 that braved the weather to hear Amanda and Craig. Frank wont be forgetting this shoot anytime soon.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Accent Media Presents.........."Accent On Youngstown"

So here it is blogger friends, the very first edition of "Accent On Youngstown." It's very fulfilling for us to get this pet project off the ground. We are still on a big learning curve as to what the final product may look like down the line, but we think we have a good start. We still have a bit of technical issues to work out on our website, so for now it is just a link on the site and it will be playing here and on the MySpace page. It will also be kept unlocked on YouTube so anyone may share it if they wish. Special thanx to Phil Kidd, Brooke Slanina, and Charlie Staples for being our first guests. To balance this project with our ongoing projects we have for our clients, we will be putting up a new video every 2 weeks. Eventually we hope to make it weekly and perhaps turn it into a weekly television series we produce for one of the local networks. Thanx for sharing in our work, and enjoy this first webcast of "Accent On Youngstown", we would appreciate you giving us feedback and sharing it with your friends......... Scott

Thursday, March 6, 2008

First Webcast Launches Tomorrow Afternoon!!

Well, tomorrow is it!! The launch of our very first self-produced webcast. This is a chance to use our new studio and shooting space, to meet people we really want to meet and respect and are curious about, and give a little sumthin, sumthin, back to the community who has welcomed us to Downtown Youngstown. The Webcast should be up tomorrow afternoon. The earlier the better, but there is still work to be done. I promise to have it up by closing time tomorrow latest.

We are definitely still in the development stage, and will be ironing out the concept over the next few weeks. We are starting with no host and just letting our guests talk, but that may change. We are not sure of timing yet, too long, too short, not sure, please give us some feedback. The eventual goal is a possible half hour weekly tv series dedicated to people and events around Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley. A HUGE Thank You to our inaugural guests; Phil Kidd, Director of Downtown Events and Community Outreach and founder of Defend Youngstown, Brooke Slanina, Board Member and Performing Artist at the Oakland Theater in Downtown Youngstown, and Charlie Staples, Owner and Operator of Charlie Staples BBQ Restaurant.

The webcast is titled, "Accent On Youngstown", but will soon feature other people and places all over the Mahoning Valley. If you have a segment idea, or would like to be featured yourself, drop me a note at Sfullerton(at)Accentmediaonline(dot)com. The webcast will also be put up on YouTube, so feel free to share it with your family and friends. Thanx for the support.........Scott

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Webcast Is A'Coming, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood,

So putting together a webcast is not as easy as we thought, but it's coming together nicely. It should be posted by this Friday afternoon, not Thursday as we originally intended. I think Friday afternoon's will work better for us with our workload flows on Thursdays. Our graphics guy Justin has made an awesome opening for the show and we are lining up guests for future show segments as we speak. Do YOU have an idea of a segment you would like to see about people or events in the Youngstown and Mahoning Valley area? Drop me an email and we will sure consider all requests. Be sure to check back Friday afternoon or this weekend for the first, "Accent On Youngstown".

One of the first projects that got Accent Media noticed in the national market, was our work we did creating the companion DVD to the Mr. Fred Rogers tribute CD, "Songs From The Neighborhood". The CD went on to win a grammy and we received some national exposure for our candid shots of the different recording artists as they recorded songs from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood in New York, and Nashville. I am adding a video compilation of some of the interviews and footage we took for the DVD. The reason I am bringing this up you might ask? Well Pittsburgh, PA is having it's annual, "Won't You Be My Neighbor Days," this upcoming March 15 - March 20th.The concept was developed by Family Communications, Inc. (FCI), the non-profit company founded by Fred Rogers, to honor his deep appreciation of what it means to be a caring neighbor.More than 30 southwestern PA organizations are planning to show just how neighborly they can be. By offering free or reduced admissions, they will enable children and families to enjoy activities like puppet making, interactive events at local libraries, musical presentations, and exhibits at our museums — enjoying experiences that inform and enrich their lives in unexpected, remarkable ways.

For what would have been Mr. Rogers 80th birthday, on Friday, March 20th, the Mr. Rogers Family is asking everyone all over the country to wear a sweater that day in honor of Fred Rogers. It looks like with the extended cold we have been having here in Ohio, wearing a sweater in a couple weeks should be no problem. We at Accent Media are all wearing a sweater that day. I want to get the word out to everyone in the Mahoning Valley to wear a sweater in honor of Mr. Rogers. C''lll be fun......wont you be our neighbor??

I hope you all took the time to vote today. We have a split team here, with my bleeding heart of a liberal beating next to some conservative Democrats and Socially progressive Republicans, next to the Neocons. It's an interesting mix, definitely dont want to talk politics or religion in here without pulling up a chair for a We do ALL agree however on the importance of Voting and I hope you made it out today or voted early. ..........Scott