A lot has changed since the last time I was in downtown Cleveland! What I remember most vividly was a January morning over 20 years ago, when I was loading freight at the train depot at 4:30AM. The depot was just a block from the lakefront. It was well below freezing and the wind was blowing unabated across Lake Erie. We could only work for about 15 minutes at a time, then we had to go inside and thaw for an hour.
Fortunately, this visit was on a sunny spring day. My dad had not been to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame since it opened last year and it seemed like the perfect way to start my vacation.
Cleveland has changed more than it's skyline in recent decades. Once the butt of jokes, like "the mistake by the lake", the downtown area has several interesting new buildings. Lake Erie has been cleaned up and the river hasn't caught fire for some time. In addition to the RED HOT CLEVELAND INDIANS, the city is celebrating the return of Pro Football with THE NEW CLEVELAND BROWNS. The new Dawg Pound is once again a tough place.
|The first stop was Jacobs Field, home of the Indians. Although they haven't won a world series since the early fifties, they have some of the most loyal fans in America. In the last few years that loyalty has been well rewarded.||
| ||The new "Dog Pound" for the NFL expansion team opened in August 1999. I would not want to be the Baltimore Ravens playing in this stadium!|
|Walking from the parking lot behind the stadium to the R&R Hall of Fame you pass the Great Lakes Science Center.||
| ||From the front it is an impressive structure of stone and glass in geometric primitives.|
|My dad suggested we take the tour after we finished the R & R Hall of Fame. As it turned out it took us over 5 hours to finish so we missed what was probably a very good exhibition.||
| ||The mushroom shaped wing on the east end of the building apparently houses an IMAX theater.|
|What a surprise to find the lakefront side of the building was so large. The blending of architecture between the museum and hall of fame is impressive.|| |
| ||I was anxious to see what a "Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum" would actually look like and how you could convey the energy of the music.|
|The approach from the downtown side begins with a wide set of steps leading to a wide open space.|| |
| ||At the center of the plaza is main entrance at the base of a glass pyramid four stories tall. My dad is sitting on his "portable chair" half way across the plaza.|
The sign over the entrance read
ELVIS IS IN THE BUILDING
Inside is a truly impressive, high energy series of films, displays, interactive kiosks, and multimedia rooms that take you from the roots of rock through all it's evolutionary paths.
Although some purists might think it just another capitalist encroachment on the youth culture, it is also something of a "Mecca" for generations that listened to the music that impacted every aspect of American life. Art, fashion, race relations, family relations, international relations, politics and just about anything you could name was changed in some way by this music.
My dad enjoyed it every bit as much as I did. Every time I turned around he was sitting on the floor watching one of the many multimedia shows. From Alan Freed to Fleetwood Mac he was reminded of places he had been when he heard the songs.
There was actually more to see than we could take in. We were there for about 5 hours by the time we reached the pinnacle of the pyramid housing a tribute to Elvis. Each year brings new members to the Hall of Fame and more memorabilia. And as the song goes, "I don't care what people say rock and roll is here to stay."
|Unfortunately, they don't allow photos or video inside, so we close with the view from the jetty behind the building designed by I.M. Pei. The "tonearm" places the "stylus" into Lake Erie.|| |
Now, if they could just do something about those frigid winters.
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