Friday, April 20, 2018

Cleveland Trip Part 2: Rock Hall Watcher Meetup

Friday was...intense.  It was all in a good way, but it was definitely an action packed day.  First of all, it was our original planned day to go to the museum, but since we spontaneously covered a lot of it Thursday, we needed less time there, plus we were going to decide whether to pull the trigger on going for ceremony tickets, and we were meeting for the first time in person a group of people we affectionately refer to as the "Rock Hall Watchers".

The first part of our day was the museum, so after hitting up the hotel breakfast (shout out to Hampton Inn and the free breakfasts!), we headed out to the museum to cover the remaining two floors we missed the night before.  I could post a million pictures obviously, but just selected a handful.  One of the things we had the most fun playing around with were these voting booths where you could name an artist you wanted nominated, then they show a leader board with a vote tally.

I was pretty pleased about Def Leppard, and I was also happy for Janet Jackson (I am friendly with the person running her campaign, so I was tweeting him updates!)  I gotta say though, 80 people voted for Blink-182??  Just to put this in perspective, we're talking about bands who shaped and molded music/culture, and 80 people think Blink-182 is in that conversation.  I don't mean to be mean, but yeah.  Also, they're not even eligible yet so we can all slow our roll on that.

One of the newest and the most impressive things they've done was the new theater they built called the Connor Theater.  It currently shows a film about the Rock Hall inductions that was directed by the late, great Jonathan Demme, and it was by far the highlight of the museum.  I don't want to give too much away, but it was so incredible.  It's hard to describe, but it was this immersive experience with a lot of lights, the seats kind of vibrated to give you the feeling of being at a rock concert, and of course they picked the most emotionally charged and joyful induction moments to display.

You remember that Prince/Tom Petty moment I was telling you about?  Well, they play a big chunk of that moment during this film, and true to form I started crying in the middle of the damn movie.  Thankfully I was not the only one, Eric told me later that it made him very emotional and upset, and our friends who saw it later said that it was a total gut punch.  Basically, I'm trying to justify being a big old softie baby!

When you exited the theater, they had a lot of cool memorabilia and murals along the walls, including this very dramatic one of Tupac, who I really love.  I like that they had these great photos with part of the induction speeches on them. 

The other big exhibit on the very top floor was about the 50 year anniversary of Rolling Stone magazine.  I had mixed feelings about it.  I do love the magazine, but Jann Wenner who runs it (and was up until recently involved with the Rock Hall) is a gross jerk to say the least.  But I guess you can't punish the magazine for it, and it really has been a cultural touchstone for many years.  Anyway, the coolest part was this room with these amazing lit up Rolling Stone covers.

After the museum we headed out to lunch at this neat little brewery called Noble Beast Brewing.  We each got a very small 10 ounce beer, I chose a Smoked Kellerbier, and really enjoyed it!  In the name of restraint I chose a grilled chicken, apple and arugula salad for lunch and REALLY enjoyed it too.  It was very fresh and flavorful.  Once again, Cleveland was nailing it with food and beer.

After that we went back to the hotel to determine what we were going to do about ceremony tickets, and whether we were going to pull the trigger to get them, or simply enjoy being in Cleveland.  Long story short, playing chicken paid off, and ticket prices had dropped literally about $800 since that morning and were almost at face value, so we just took the plunge and got them.  We scored some "restricted view" tickets that were close to the stage, but we were at peace with just being in the room.

So, this brings us to the Rock Hall Watchers.

Both Eric and I have hobby projects related to the Rock Hall, mine being a campaign to get a certain artist inducted.  I have mentioned my project vaguely before, and will likely continue to keep the specifics vague.  It's not to try to be mysterious or coy, I promise.  Besides the fact that I want to keep people's focus on the artist and not me, there are just several reasons why I don't want to be "out", mainly because there are some crazies out there.  Thankfully in my two years of doing this my positive interactions have far outweighed the bad, but there were definitely a few situations in the beginning that scared the shit out of me enough to want to stay anonymous.  But overall, it's been a blast, I've met some cool people associated with the artist and my campaign has gotten popularish as time has gone on.  It's definitely been crazy.

I have to brag on Eric over his Rock Hall project, which he graciously gave me the green light to share and is far more interesting than mine!  He writes a blog with Rock Hall analysis and a lot of great think pieces called  Again if you love music, I highly encourage you to check out his blog, he is an amazing writer (he used to be an music editor!) and really writes the best in depth pieces.  I'm so proud of him, because he's really become one of the main blogger voices out in the Rock Hall world, which leads me to talk about the Rock Hall Watchers!  Believe it or not, we are not the only fiercely nerdy people who care far too much about the Rock Hall, in fact there is a whole group of us that fall into 3 categories:  bloggers (like Eric), people with an induction campaign (like me), and just general commenters.  I'm touched at how much the induction campaigns all support each other, mainly because we each know just how much work goes into advocating for someone, and we all kind of prop each other up.  The bloggers are also very supportive of us too, and we've really bonded with this crazy little community out there on Twitter over the last 5 years or so.  When discussions around 2018 started coming up, we decided to see if anyone wanted to meet up for dinner on Friday night.  The main "one ring to rule them all" blogger guy who everyone looks up to, and who we've talked to the most, agreed immediately.  (I will henceforth refer to him as N, because he wants to keep his privacy.)  Long story short, we assembled a handful of people who wanted to all go to dinner and meet in person for the first time. 

In the midst of us getting Rock Hall tickets, N started texting us to ask if we would like to check out the Cleveland Museum of Art.  We were surprised and didn't expect to see him until the dinner that night, also keep in mind we had not met him in person yet, but we decided what the hell.  So before we knew it, we jumped into a car with a guy we had been talking to for roughly 5 years, but had never met.  To be honest, we didn't even know what he looked like until about a week beforehand.  Like I said, this trip was crazy and we are crazy.  It was very weird on some levels, but on other levels, when you meet someone you talk to that much and is such a part of your life, there is a comfort level with them that's hard to explain.  He ended up being a really lovely, smart guy, and I think the 3 of us pretty instantly bonded from the moment we actually met.

Going into this trip we didn't expect to squeeze in something like the art museum, but I am SO glad we did.  It is an absolutely beautiful museum, and HUGE!  We had a great time walking around and looking at all the beautiful art pieces, they had a much more impressive curation than Portland's.  I'd like to go back, because I feel like we barely even covered a quarter of what they offered!  After walking around the museum the three of us all grabbed coffees and walked around the campus, just to kind of get to know each other and talk about our various projects.  The weather was beautiful that day too, so I really enjoyed just walking around.  We finally all parted ways so that we could get cleaned up and get ready for the official Rock Hall Watcher dinner.

For dinner we went to the Tremont neighborhood and hit up the Tremont Tap House.  (Spoiler alert, yes we seemed to exclusively eat at breweries, lol.  We didn't plan it that way, it just kind of happened!)  We showed up and then N wasn't far behind, so the three of us had a great opportunity to chat a lot more regarding our projects, what music is important to us and just basically Rock Hall related stuff.  N and Eric bonded forever over their love of Queensryche, which was equally adorable and amusing, so I'm glad that poor Eric has someone to share that with!  The rest of our party showed up, another blogger named M and several of her friends.  I think we ended up having 8 or 9 people there?  A couple of people were no shows, which was a bummer, but is just kind of how these things go.  M was just as cool, and we ended up almost closing down the place we all stayed so long and talked.  I am usually very nervous in large groups like that, but I was pretty instantly comfortable with everyone, plus we all have this common love of music and the Rock Hall.  There was never a lag in the conversation, and we were all laughing a ton.  I really enjoyed everyone's company!

This was the one misstep foodwise we had all weekend.  The food was just okay (although I tried perogies for the first time, and they were delicious).  Tremont's food wasn't mindblowing sadly, Eric and I split a very mediocre mushroom pizza, although their beers were really good.  It was fine though, we had such a good time that the food hardly mattered.  It wasn't bad, just kind of underwhelming.  I should have tried something like their tacos, which did look amazing.

Anyway that was basically the end of our very long, very tiring but awesome Friday!  Stay tuned for part 3, which will be about the actual induction ceremony!


  1. Love! So glad y'all scored tickets and had a great time with your fellow music lovers!

  2. Aw man, what an awesome dinner!

    Look at you, meeting strangers from the internet. ;)