Started off last night by meeting pals and fellow Elderly Brothers Jeff Zanders and George Hanrahan at the Cool Cleveland party at Cafe Sausalito (a name I can never hear without thinking about the syrupy lounge band in Lost in Translation: "Thank you! We're Sausalito..."). Spent most of the time chattering with Cleveland bloggers George Nemeth, Lori Kozey, and Jack Ricchiuto, in a the kind of rambling, booze-lubricated conversation that makes your cheeks cramp up from the constant grinning.
After the CC party we escorted Lori to a rendezvous in the Warehouse District, then headed over to the Ingenuity Main Stage near Public Square. The Warehouse District was humming, as one would expect on such a perfect late-summer night. I did not expect the energy radiating from Euclid Ave.
On the Main Stage some guy was busting Michael Jackson moves to a blaring, bumping dance track, and the crowd was into it. A few steps down Euclid found us in the sonic confluence of the dance music from the main stage and the sounds emanating from East 4th, which turned out to have at least three distinct sources: the Numbers Band on the 4th St. Stage, a some kind of hip-hop mix from a building next to -- or possibly in -- Pickwick and Frolic (booze lubrication is good for conversation, bad for geographic details), and the some apparently unauthorized street musician strangling TV theme songs out of an uncooperative saxophone.
All around people were busy having a very good time, soaking up the tangible vibe familiar to people who remember the heyday of the Flats, or who have spent a summer evening on Chicago's Navy Pier, or on Columbus Ave. in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I would liked to have seen more people, and maybe the Saturday crowds will be bigger. But so far the Ingenuity festival has been like a set of defibrillator paddles for downtown Cleveland. There's a pulse. I'm the optimistic sort, but I can't help but think that as word spreads about how Ingenuity has demonstrated what downtown Cleveland can be, that pulse will grow stronger.