Mike Miller has a long history with Cleveland. His grandfather was mayor of the city in the early 30s and is a self-proclaimed story teller.
So it’s only fitting that when coming up with new programming ideas at Music Box Supper Club
, the venue’s vice president decided to do a history series on Wednesday nights.
But Music Box’s new Cleveland Stories Dinner Parties
series, in partnership with Cleveland History Center
, isn’t your run-of-the-mill lecture series on general history. It’s designed to be fun and light, at an affordable price.
Admission is free and a rotating weekly prix fixe, three course dinner is only $20. “This is an opportunity to have a fun dinner,” Miller says. We wanted to make this outrageously affordable and fun.”
The topics are designed to provide behind-the-scenes insight from speakers who know all the gritty details about Cleveland’s landmarks, celebrities and even the city’s pioneers.
The first event on Wednesday, Feb. 17 features Greg Harris, CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
, who will talk about how Cleveland landed the Rock Hall and what goes on when the cameras aren’t rolling in “Backstage Shenanigans at the Induction Ceremony – yes, it is all sex, drugs, and Rock & Roll.”
The menu that night will have a psychedelic theme that includes ‘shroom soup, pot roast and a cosmic brownie sundae. “It isn’t going to be real
mushroom soup,” Miller jokes in regard to the drug references. The other talks have equally witty titles for the food prepared by chef Dennis Devies. “He knocks people’s socks off,” says Miller.
On February 24 Cleveland historian Dan Ruminski will speak on “The Vixens of Millionaires Row,” during which he’ll share stories about Cleveland’s wealthiest founders of the 20s and 30s and the parties their antics. “They used to throw some wild parties,” says Miller. “”There were wild shenanigans.”
Three months of lectures have been booked, including journalist Mike Olszewski, who will discuss the final interview with Cleveland celebrity Ghoulardi
(Ernie Anderson) and other untold tales of Cleveland television, and John Gorman will share stories from his time at WMMS radio in the 1970s.
“He’s going to tell some crazy stories,” says Miller of Gorman. “Some speakers will be fun, some educational. They will run the gamut.”
Another upcoming talk will feature a Metroparks ranger, who will share how Whiskey Island got its name.
Miller, who grew up in Cleveland, moved away for college and a career in Chicago, returned to Cleveland in 2010 after 33 years. He says he wanted to share some of Cleveland’s lighter moments in history and encourage Cleveland pride.
“Clevelanders are fiercely proud of being from Cleveland,” he says. “We always have that burning rive thing and losing football teams hanging over us, but there’s a real renaissance going on. The pride is coming back.”