Why Historic South Park should be in your future: reasons #2438, 2439

Poster for Historic South Park in Dayton Ohio's Shakespeare production of "The Comedy of Errors"

Historic South Park has it’s own neighborhood theater.

Do your neighbors get together and throw together a play? And not just any play- Shakespeare?

Didn’t think so. Not only that- do they invite the world to see it for FREE?

Yep- you can do that tonight, tomorrow and Sunday nights-

Show: The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
Director: Susan Robert
Producers: Galen Wilson, Phyllis Tonne

How To Go:
Dates: Friday-Sunday, September 5, 6, 7, 2014
Time: 8:00 P.M.
Location: South Park Green, 601 Hickory Street, Dayton
Admission: Free (donations gratefully received)
Bring a lawn chair or blanket

via The Comedy of Errors | Shakespeare in South Park | Sixth Season | Sept. 5-7 – Historic South Park.

You can park in Emerson School lot, or Hope Lutheran lot- or on the street.

And if the stodgy speaking of the Bard just ain’t your thing-

Poster for the Food Truck Shindig in Dayton Ohio's fabulous Historic South Park Neighborhood

First the Bard, then the lard- gourmet chefs on the go come to South Park

Yep, we have our own food truck Shindig & Street party on Friday Sept 20th from 4-8pm. The party will be down at Burns and Nathan one block South of Coco’s. We’ll have trucks, tunes, t-shirts and more- and the event is free, even though the food isn’t.

These community initiatives are one of the reasons why South Park’s property taxes go up. Come see what the neighborhood you wished you lived in does to keep things interesting.

Check out www.historicsouthpark.org for info on events, rentals, homes for sale and what makes South Park the best neighborhood in the State of Ohio, and a National Neighborhood of the year winner. The site, btw, is hosted pro-bono by The Next Wave, Dayton’s greatest and finest ad agency, which has its global HQ in South Park.

Note, both these fabulous posters were done by other fabulously talented South Park residents.

What to do this Friday night for basketball fans in Dayton

There are basketball fans who like to watch a great team play a great game. There are other fans, who go to  a game to be seen and socialize.
If you are the former- the best hoops to be seen in Dayton is the Lady Flyers. Coached by my friend Jim Jabir, the Lady Flyers only lost 3 seniors from last year’s squad that was virtually unstoppable.

The best part is, unlike the UD men’s team- you don’t need to sell a kidney for a good seat. $5 for adults, $3 for students and kids, general admission seating- and the parking is FREE.

The women were ranked 14th before the season began, and dropped a bit after a sloppy loss to Iowa on Sunday in overtime.
Come out and support the hottest team in town.

Game starts at 7 p.m. at UD Arena vs. Akron.

See you there!


Zoot Theatre Company, the Holocaust and my family history collided yesterday

Sometimes life has a strange way of colliding. I’ve wanted to see a Zoot Theatre Company production for a long time. A local troupe, run by a looming Englishman with a poetic kindness in his voice, they use puppets to tell the story, with the actors swathed in black from head to toe- including covering their faces (not welcome at the Dayton City Commission meetings). With moving tabletop stages, projected images, and eight puppets and a cast of twelve (many of the times it’s two to a puppet), there is a flurry of bodies moving on stage making the story come to life.

The story yesterday was “And a child shall lead” written by Michael Slade, an emotionally taxing look at the Holocaust through the eyes of children- and the coping mechanisms they created to make sense of a world that made no sense. From the Zoot site:

This is the true story of children coming of age in Terezin, the “Jewish city” established by the Nazis as a way station before the death camps. In the face of unspeakable horror, these children use their determination and creativity — playing, studying, making art, and writing an underground newspaper — all at the peril of being executed. Their actual poems and stories are woven into this fast-paced drama.
On Sunday, April 14, noted Holocaust historian and expert, Renate Frydman, Ph.D. will discuss Terezin and very personal stories passed down through her family and the horrors directly experienced by her late husband, Charles Frydman.

via And A Child Shall Lead.

Today at 2 p.m. is the last chance you will have to see this amazingly thought-provoking play. If you don’t have plans at 2 p.m., I highly recommend it. They are performing in one of Dayton’s gems- the Dayton Art Institute’s incredible auditorium, which was beautifully restored about a dozen years ago. Tickets are still available.

Clara Hirsch, Great Grandmother of David Esrati, Death Certificate, Murdered 04. 03. 1943 Terezín

Clara Hirsch, Great Grandmother of David Esrati, Death Certificate, Murdered 04. 03. 1943 Terezín

But a few hours before the show started, a piece of my ancestry rose up out of the Internet to make the viewing of this show even more personal. My father, 86, who was born in Berlin and left at age 6 in 1933 to escape Hitler, found his grandmother’s death certificate. She died in 1943 in Terezin. The Germans are meticulous in their record keeping, my father had previously found the complete inventory of several relatives’ apartments/homes being emptied, where everything was listed and valued, but he had always assumed that the final indignity of death at the hands of the Nazis wouldn’t be found. With the help of a researcher in Israel, they found the documents in the Czech Republic archives.

Sara Clara Hirsch
Born 06. 05. 1871
Murdered 1943 Terezín

It says she died of “food poisoning” which is like saying a gunshot victim died of blood loss and ignoring the bullet.

This is how humans justify doing the wrong thing and make it palatable. Words are important. Semantics matter.

Of course, some of you are figuring out for the first time, “What? Esrati is a Jew.” The last name sounds Italian, and it’s something I don’t often waste time explaining. I don’t think religion is something that needs to be discussed any more than sexual preferences, but that’s me. The spelling of my last name is unique, there are only three of us on the planet that spell it that way- my parents, and me. It was translated from Hebrew, into the English alphabet by way of German pronunciations by my grandfather. All others have spelled it “Ezratty” or “Isardi” or some sort of variation on the two. But, the name is only three generations old- My father was born “Hirsch”- and it was only once they escaped Germany and arrived in Palestine that they decided to change it to a non-German name. My father liked the name of the washer woman, and they adopted it- leaving the German behind.

And, on the death certificate, you will find another oddity of the Nazis- my great grandmother had no middle name. The Germans added the Sara as a first name for all the Jewish women and “Israel” as the men’s. Just to make sure they knew you were a Jew.

My father sent an email out to his surviving friends yesterday:

My father’s mother visited us twice in Tel Aviv when I was a kid. She insisted on going back to Germany, saying, “Who would hurt an old lady?”

She was murdered in the Theresienstadt ghetto in 1943. At first, I was told she had been purposely starved to death. Today I got the official German death certificate.

(I did not know there were such things.)

It gave the cause of death as enteritis (food poisoning).

She was born in a Dutch-speaking area of Germany, near the Rhine, and loved chocolate. I remember going on walks with her and she always bought Flake, a British chocolate that you could crumble on your bread to make a chocolate sandwich.

Seeing that death certificate, complete with signatures of several doctors, brought the Holocaust home as nothing had ever done before — and I had been in Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, and the South Camp at the Ljubelj Tunnel.

Note, Theresienstadt and Terezin are the same place- “Stadt” is German for city- and the translation spelling is a matter of preference.

I remember him telling me about how she spoke a combination of Dutch and German- very guttural, and that he was always surprised at how he could understand some Dutch- even 40 years later when we were visiting Europe when I was 16. It was on that trip my parents visited the South Camp, I had no desire to walk on the grounds where evil was done and sat in the car and read. To this day, I still am deeply adverse to visiting places where man sank to the unimaginable depths of hell. Even the traveling Vietnam memorial scaled wall causes me to feel distraught. Futility is something that I’ve never accepted well- which may be why I continue to run for office.

Yesterday, I wrote about the teacher in Albany who may be fired for asking his/her students to write an essay explaining to their teacher that Jews were evil. I believe this teacher had succeeded in a teachable moment. The Zoot Theatre company gives you an opportunity to see the horrors of the Holocaust this afternoon, through a lens that makes it more real than any text or film. I urge you to go if you possibly can. I’ve read Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s search for meaning” which was recommended to me by Martin Sheen over dinner at his brother John’s house. This play made more of an impression. Go this afternoon.

Tell them Clara Hirsch sent you.

Better basketball- better price. UD Women tonight at 9pm

For the record- I play hockey, where goals are few and far between, and teamwork is everything. But, when it comes to hoops, I much prefer to watch women’s ball than mens, where they actually pass, run plays and move the ball.

Tonight you can sit in the same seats that others pay thousands to watch the mens team play- and see a better game- for $1.

The nationally-ranked University of Dayton women’s basketball team hosts Duquesne Monday, Feb. 18 at UD Arena in a Red Out. Two of the top teams in the Atlantic 10 conference will square off in this CBS Sports Network nationally-televised game with John Sadak (play-by-play) and Julianne Viani (analyst) on the call. Tip is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET. Game audio is also available on DaytonFlyers.com with Shane White and Angie Russell. The Flyers are first in the A-10 standings at 9-0, while Duquesne is 8-2 in the conference.


– The game is Heart Health Awareness Game and fans are asked to wear red to Go Red for women’s heart health and for a Red Out effect. Fans who wear red get in for $1.

via daytonflyers.com: News.

Parking is free too. Seating is General Admission- so court side is possible if you get there early.

Normally tickets are only $5 and $3 for students with ID. If you’re looking for something fun tonight- Go Flyers!


The Dayton Revival: go before it’s gone

Matt Luongo at the Dayton Revival

Matt Luongo, visionary, hero, concert promoter, at his brainchild, the Downtown Revival in Dayton OH Sep 8, 2012

If you stay home today, and don’t come out to see:18 bands on three stages downtown for $44 (new one day pass rate) you:

  • Don’t love music
  • Don’t know a great deal when you see one
  • Can’t ever complain that there’s nothing to do in Dayton ever again.

The Dayton Revival is here.

I spent most of yesterday checking out bands I’d never seen before and having an awesome time. And the band I loved the most- “Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk” – which rocked my world. I think their drummer, Nikki Glaspie, may be one of the best rock and roll drummers I’ve ever seen- like a metronome with a kick like Chuck Norris and the moves of James Brown. I could have listened to them all day- and before this festival- I’d never heard of them.

Today you can hear:

I’ve wanted to see the Ohio Players since they were topping the charts when I was in High School- but, I also remember using Shazam to find out I really liked Karl Denson- and I’ve also heard that Heartless Bastards are amazing (but I’ve got my kids football game to see- so I’m missing it).

All of this wonderfullness didn’t come from the Downtown Dayton Partnership who is doing Urban Nights next Friday night – for my 50th birthday, or from the Dayton Development Coalition or Cityfolk (which has spoiled us for years with their festival which runs three days and was free or with a suggested $5 donation). It’s all because one crazy guy, Matt Luongo had the crazy idea that just because Austin has SXSW- Dayton can’t have something like it. He’s done an amazing job- and, unless a lot of you jump on that recently announced one-day $44 pass, he’s probably going to lose money. If you want to see this return- time to whip out the cash. As to the people who say that the $75 2-day pass was too expensive- it works out to about $2 a band- and some of them, like last nights headliner- John Legend, would easily cost you more than $45 just to see him- so quit yer bitchen. The weather is perfect- and the parking is easy and free in multiple garages downtown as well as at any parking meter.

There are also a ton of food vendors waiting to serve you- including some from local restaurants like my faves Taqueria Mixteca and South Park’s number 1 coffee shop Ghostlight Coffee.

Please support Matt and our city- come on down for a good time. Advice: bring sunscreen, a folding chair, water bottles. Wear comfortable shoes, bring a jacket for later because it will get cool, wear a hat, be prepared for a great time.

How to Engage (or enrage) Your Online Community to Build Your Business!

New Media Dayton logo

Free events, every month in Dayton

After this week, my credibility on building community online may be a little tarnished, (however unique daily visitors have gone up considerably) but, this event was scheduled long before:

Are you interested in new ideas that you can use to engage your online community to grow your business? The August 2012 New Media Dayton 2nd Friday meetup will feature a panel of social media and business leaders that will share strategies and tips to help you become more engaging in your social media efforts. These ideas can be applied immediately .. so don’t miss out!

The panel includes Alma Sove, Attorney from Sove & Sove LLC; Sue Reynolds, Social Media Analyst at R+L Carriers, and David Esrati from The Next Wave. This is going to be a great experience that you don’t want to miss. Sign up TODAY.

Register for your free admission: Engage Your Online Community to Build Your Business! – Eventbrite.

New Media Dayton is a great local group that hosts totally FREE events where you can learn about Social Media.

Next Friday, August 10, 2012, at 9:30 A.M. at Far Hills Community Church, 5800 Clyo Road, Centerville OH 45459 you can come heckle me in person- and maybe even learn something.

[update] location moved: Kettering Recreation Complex – Conference Rm 1 2900 Glengarry Dr Dayton, OH 45420


We’ve been teaching our www.websitetology.com seminar since 2005 and I’ve given presentations across the country about WordPress, Open Source Content Management Systems, Customer Relationship Management, Comment Moderation and Organic Search Engine Optimization.

Again, the event is free. I’ll be talking about why I blog for business and for the community on this site and what you can expect to accomplish as well as tips and tricks to get more visits to your site and calls to your business.

PechaKucha Night tonight! Rosewood Arts Center

Pecha Kucha Dayton logoPecha Kucha is the art of presenting- 20 slides, 20 seconds each. I’m a huge fan of the local group- one of over 400 worldwide. I spoke at PK-8 about coin-flip politics, but, I’ve tried to keep my readers informed of every PK night.

Tonight, one of my team at The Next Wave will present. Max Spang, my star videographer and editor will be sharing “What the hell is beer” and, despite being just 23, he knows beer- just read his blog: www.snobbybeer.com

February 23, 7:30PM at Rosewood Arts Centre, 2655 Olson Drive, Kettering. We’ll be taking our break in the gallery, so you can soak up some great art along with some provocative thinking.

We’re still lining up our 8 speakers, so we’ll keep you posted. Beer, wine and snacks provided. The event is free, thanks to our wonderful sponsor Dragonfly Editorial.

via PKNight Dayton goes to Rosewood! – PechaKucha Night.

I’ll be there – running a video camera so we can immortalize Max for his blog.

Dayton Pecha Kucha vol 7- Thursday June 30th 2011: FREE!

Pecha Kucha Dayton logoThis Thursday night- if you don’t have anything else to do- come down to Pecha Kucha and hear me speak for exactly 6 minutes and 40 seconds while displaying 20 slides in a PowerPoint deck.
You can also hear 8, infinitely more interesting people the same night. And for the first time- this is FREE.
PK night is run by two very talented South Parkians: Matt Sauer and Jill Davis- both of the “creative class.”
Matt is an architect with Rogero Buckman Architects- the people who do the cool LiteHouses on Patterson, the Cooper Lofts, the Firefly Building, the Cannery, inside of Therapy Cafe and Boulevard Haus as well as the sculptures and buildings along Riverscape. Jill is a talented writer, who used to work at Design Forum before recently hanging her own shingle- a link to her site to come.
Here are the details from their press release:
Volume 7 at Yellow Cab, June 30, 7:30PM

PK Night is back!  Join us for Volume 7 at 7:30PM Thursday, June 30 at 700 East 4th Street. Sponsored by Dragonfly Editorial, this time we’re at the Yellow Cab Building, home of Dayton Creative Circus. Come and hear 9 presenters who’ve distilled their ideas into 400 seconds of fast-paced inspiration. Beverages and snacks provided..

Presenters include: Kevin Harris, artist, presenting “Tread,” drawings and prints combining traditional and digital art media, mind and body, eye and hand, camera and computer, printer and press. Kevin teaches Drawing and Printmaking at Sinclair Community College. J.T. Ryder, freelance writer, presents “Variety Is A Dirty Little Secret” or how he brought together diverse performers, musicians and artists to create the Dirty Little Secret Variety Show. Variety Is A Dirty Little Secret.” Wanting to bring together diverse performers, musicians and artists, J.T. finally had to give up hope on conning someone else into doing it and created the Dirty Little Secret Variety Show. David Esrati, community activist, blogger, ad agency owner and persistent candidate (for either city commission or Congress) will present “The end of coin flip politics” and let you vote on how we could give you the ability to elect the people you really want to run our country in the future.

Actress Megan Cooper will tell of life without a car, restaurateur Kimberly Collett will share the ongoing saga of Olive, Kidtee Hello will treat us to her strikingly beautiful photography, Patrice Hall of RealArt will share her experience of SXSW, and Jeff Opt, Creative Circus, will explain how we all ended up at the Yellow Cab building listening to him and drinking beer.

It should make for a fascinating evening. Hope to see you there.

Paul Mecurio: did you hear the one about the lawyer…

Paul Mecurio headshot

Paul Mecurio, Comedien- former Wall Street type

I don’t normally interview entertainers on this site. The closest I come to comedy is when I quote the editorial board of the Dayton Daily News- and they really aren’t funny. So when a publicist asks if I’d like to interview comedian Paul Mecurio- I first have to look him up- because I’m usually too busy writing stuff for you to have time to watch Comedy Central- or TV at all.

But one thing in his bio interested me. Here’s a guy who left Wall Street to do stand-up:

A native of Providence, Rhode Island, Paul Mecurio graduated with high honors from Georgetown Law School and began his career on Wall Street as a mergers and acquisitions lawyer at the law firm of Willkie, Farr and Gallagher and later as an investment banker at CS First Boston. All the while, Paul was honing a secret, second career writing and performing comedy in New York City. After several years on Wall Street, Paul moved center stage, leaving Wall Street and starting his career as a stand-up comedian.

via Biography | Paul Mecurio.

I got in touch with him as he was driving back from Indy where he’d been on the Bob & Tom show. He’s in Dayton at the Funny Bone until Sunday- so if you want to hear the guy who writes jokes for everyone from Leno to Jon Stewart- get your tickets now.

One has to wonder about a guy who goes to Georgetown Law and leaves a high-paying, relatively safe job on Wall Street to become a comic.

I’m not a shrink, but I’m pretty sure his parents needed one when they heard the news. Obviously, after the mess the boys on Wall Street made of the country- we know who is laughing now. Paul had some interesting views on politics- including the one I share- that we’d do better to pay for the campaigns, give them 3 debates and 2 town halls and get done with it. When I asked about his favorite political fodder- his first response was our own John Boehner- followed by the easily mocked Sarah Palin- and he lamented the loss of George W. Bush with his remarkable ability to smirk at all the wrong times- which Mecurio blamed on…. well, either listen to the recording when I get it up- or go see him.

He thinks Al Franken has as much of a right to be in Congress as the rest of us- and reminded me that you have to be pretty bright to do satire well. He credits the Socratic method from law school for great prep to be a comic. Asked if he would ever consider running for office, he said the bodies in his trunk would probably come back to haunt him- which is unfortunate, because the clowns we elect now don’t have the witty  comebacks. The fact that so many of these goofballs- the latest being the former Congressman from New York, Christopher “Craigslist” Lee- can’t seem to do their jobs is laughable, but hardly funny.

At one point Paul, after learning I was in advertising for my full-time job- tried to blame my industry for the current crop of weirdness that we elect- to which I had to correct him- it’s not the ad industry making money off campaigns, most reputable ad agencies don’t touch political work, it’s the media companies- the newspapers, radio, television networks that love the boost that comes to their bottom line every two years.

I don’t get out much these days- but, if I was going to catch a comedy show this weekend- I’d head over to see Paul Mecurio at the Funny Bone. Face it- he gave up billions in bonuses to become a stand-up, and for that- we should try to help boost his bottom line.

20 slides, 20 seconds each- makes for a fun evening: Dayton Pecha-kucha Thursday night

Direct from the press release:

A great line-up of inspiring presentations await you this Thursday, February 3, 7:15PM at The Neon. $5 for the program which includes the documentary DIVE! Not only do we have a great venue (The Neon has a nice variety of beer on sale at the break),  we’ve got speakers who will share Where Creativity Leads You.
Please forward this invitation to your friends, if you haven’t already shared the experience with them.
As you know at PK, the atmosphere is very casual, and the ideas presented typically range from fun to profound, and everything in between. As a global grassroots movement, Pecha Kucha continues to capture the creative passions of a huge diversity of people. The number of cities around the world holding PK Nights have doubled since we started ours in Dayton, from 200 to almost 400. Our event will have the same feel, the same night and the same temperature as PK Orebro, Sweden!
PK Vol. 6 Presenters
Sam Enslen of Dragonfly Editorial uncovers a treasure trove of staged photos she and her sister took of their Barbie dolls 30 years ago. For the first time, the secret lives of these three Barbies, their modeling agency, their families, their pets, and their globe-trotting adventures are revealed to the public.

Sharon Howard, Director of Marketing for the Dayton Development Coalition, relates the story of how her celebration of the photo-journal: Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats, took on a life of its own to become a calendar benefit for the Kettering Medical Foundation’s Women’s Wellness Fund.

Sherif Hedayat, owner of Erratic Media, is a stand-up comic and director who will share his expertise on erratic creativity.

Brandy King, a.k.a. Vizz, is a food reviewer through her blog Food vs. Face. This ravishing redhead is known to extol the merits of meat and beer and eats like a well-mannered wild animal.

Chris Wire is an artist who is turned on by welding and grinding. He does not like celery.
As head of Real Art Design Group he surely has something intelligent, imaginative and inspiring to share with us.

Jay King talks! If you are fascinated by comic book style illustrators, you will love Jay’s presentation. Normally a man of few words, it will be a rare treat to have him take the mic.

Reade Faulkner is a funny thinker and he is friends with Jason Sheets. But that’s not the only thing that makes him amusing. You’ll have to come listen to find out anything else.

Rounding out the speakers is urban activist Theresa Gasper, Full Circle Development, a woman of vision and action. Hear the story of how she came back to the neighborhood where she grew up, determined to renew it.

At 9:00PM, watch the 50-minute documentary DIVE! Filmmaker Jeremy Seifert dumpster dived in the receptacles of L.A.’s supermarkets to expose the truth about waste.

Come PK with us!

Matt Sauer, Jill Davis, Jason Sheets, Jeff Goeke
Pecha Kucha Dayton Team

Here is the trailer for the movie- looks really interesting.
I’ve only missed one PK nights (since they dropped the price to $5)- it’s a good time- with some interesting ideas thrown out for you to think about. Memorable presentations from past PK nights- Terry Welker talking about our love of “Planes on a Stick” as public art- with a twisted look at the demise of Touchdown Jesus- an introduction to the Zoot Theater Company – come and see.
Don’t worry about how to pronounce it- but here is a Sesame Street lesson for you that might help: