When the cast of Second City Cleveland learned its last performance would be Jan. 4, the seven-member comedy troupeüwasted no time looking for other work. By mid-February, the former Second City cast was performing a Monday night musical improvisation show at Pickwick & Frolic's Hilarities 4th Street Theatre under the name Oliver Twisted. "Everyone has made a commitment to stay here in Cleveland," says troupe member Kiff VandenHeuvel. Oliver Twisted improvises games and a 45-minute Broadway-style musical based entirely on audience suggestions. Think "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" only longer and with one continuous plot. But when the performers ask you to call out a topic, keep the raunchy ones to yourself. "No one wants to watch a 45-minute show about that," VandenHeuvel cautions. "They think they do, but they really don't."
It's part radio station, part scrapbook and part record store. Hal Pollack keeps even the more forgettable Cleveland rock memories alive with his www.esquirerecords.com Web site. He launched the Esquire Records label to rerelease favorite local titles that had been long out of print. Along the way, he created this site, which pays tribute to Cleveland bands of years past such as Beau Coup, Rainbow Canyon and The Pilgrims, while spinning local tunes 24 hours a day. We particularly enjoyed checking out George Shuba's photographs from the set of the local music show "Upbeat" and browsing the Cleveland band directory, where we discovered acts with names such as The Baloney Heads and The Fabulous Brylcremes once roamed these parts.