“It’s Only Rock and Roll, But I Like It”

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards may have written those words, but that statement has been a truth for me my entire life. I love mostly 70s rock as it helped carry me through my difficult teenage years. The music was always there for me and I hold a great fondness for it.

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That is why when a dear friend, Chris, invited Mike and I to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, I jumped at the chance. The museum opened in September 1995 and I have never been there. I have to admit I have heard good things and bad things about it, but I needed to see it for myself. So here it is almost 20 years after opening, I am finally going to see this place that I hope is full of Rock and Roll awe and amazement.

I have driven past the site many times and have admired the unique building design, but when you are standing just in front of it you realize the entire scope and size of the building. I felt so small standing there. It looks totally different up close and personal than when you are just driving by it.

Once we got inside, I never stopped smiling. Everyone there was incredibly friendly from the staff to my fellow visitors. You could tell that everyone there wanted to be there. That gave the place an incredible vibe.

They house an amazing amount of memorabilia, everything from sheet music, clothing, instruments, posters and many personal items from the people who made Rock and Roll. There were a lot of interactive stations, videos and news clips that were playing in various places. It would be hard to get bored because of all the different types of displays. They have really kept everything interesting.

We were lucky enough to be able to visit the Herb Ritts display. Absolutely stunning!! It seems Rock and Roll and photography are perfectly matched. His eye and his ability to create an atmosphere of comfort for his subjects combined to create some of the most appealing portraits. He has photographed Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Bono, Melissa Etheridge, Tina Turner, Janet Jackson…well, the list goes on and on. All as beautiful art as I have ever seen. Herb Ritt is to Rock and Roll as Ansel Adams is to nature, in my humble opinion.

The visit was great. I did not see a lot of my favorite bands, but it really did not matter as much as I thought it was going to. I still enjoyed all the displays and feel it was well worth the time.

We then walked down the street and found a hidden gem. The Blazing Bistro, a “shipping container turned culinary hot spot” located behind the Rock Hall on the E. 9th Pier. The day was beautiful, albeit a bit brisk, but sunny so we decided to eat outside. We stopped here, Mike had the Caprese Grilled Cheese and I had the Interbelt Burger. We explained my upcoming trip as our lunch cooked and we learned a little bit about this bistro.

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I cannot explain the mission of this project any better than what is detailed on the website. So here is their blurb…I am COMPLETELY behind this initiative and am so thankful that we stumbled into it!!

“Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry (LMM) has launched (my words) Blazing Bistro, a brand new social enterprise to operate a high-end concession unit similar to a food truck in downtown Cleveland’s North Coast Harbor. It provides an opportunity for LMM to not only be at the center of the city’s economic revival, but also provide additional training options for graduates of its existing culinary arts training program, many of whom have experienced homelessness or incarceration during their lives. The Culinary Arts Training Program provides quality education, work experience and valuable skills training, helping students overcome troubled pasts, break down the barriers to employment and ultimately become successful in the foodservice industry. Blazing Bistro will also assist in continuing to build the reputation of LMM’s culinary program among the public, but more importantly, among restaurant owners and managers. This will have a significant and lasting effect on the successful employment rate of all of the graduates of the program.”

The food was great, the people were great and the concept is a blessing to all. You can check them out at facebook.com/blazingbistro.

We continued down the pier, run into a friend we have not seen in years and thoroughly enjoyed the day. It is a reminder to me that you can travel far or to someplace in your own backyard and you will be continually amazed. The planning of my epic trip has also opened my eyes to the wonders that are within driving distance from my home. It feels good to get out of my bubble and see what is around me.

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