•, By Stephanie Holland, Posted March 9th 2023 The actor/comedian’s new stand up special, God Loves Me, is now available on HBO Max. With The Oscars approaching on Sunday, March 12, the world has been revisiting Will Smith’s infamous slap of Chris Rock at last year’s show. As the Emancipation star slowly works his way back into the spotlight, and Rock’s new Netflix special set to premiere, it seems everyone still has opinions about what went down. Actor/comedian Marlon Wayans is approaching the situation from a different viewpoint, making it the subject of his new HBO Max comedy special. In God Loves Me, he tackles the slap as a friend of Chris, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Wayans explained how he put the show together and whether he felt a need to get input from any of the parties involved. In the immediate aftermath of the 2022 Oscars, the White Chicks star began adding content about “the Slap” to his stand up set. Then, as he worked on his material, tweaking it a little more for each show, he realized he had an hour worth of stuff on this one subject. “I kept exploring the truth and it became like a Rubik’s cube to me. I got one side. That’s the Chris Rock side. I got what’s my experience with Jada, and then what’s my experience with Will,” he said. “What’s my experience in the industry? What’s my experience as a Black person? What do white people feel? Before I knew it, I had an hour of material.” Though he contacted both men immediately after the Oscars, Marlon didn’t feel a need to get their opinions on the special. And honestly, he has a pretty good reason why. “In their art, they don’t ask me, ‘What do you think of this?’ I think as artists, we all do what we do,” Wayans said. “Especially because it’s such a sensitive subject, I didn’t want their opinions. I just hope they gauge and trust that I love them. That I’m being objective. I’m being honest. I’m being real. And that the purpose of this is more healing than it is deconstruction.” As someone who’s been on the receiving end of Rock’s cutthroat brand of comedy, Wayans still sees value in the SNL alum’s performance style. He noted how his family is famous for an edgy comedic style, so he doesn’t take it personally. That being said, there is one topic he considered off-limits for the special: Pinkett Smith’s alopecia. “That’s a condition and that’s something that I won’t say I’m making fun of. Nobody knew that she had it. Jada is a very stylistic person. She’s fashion-forward. I don’t think Chris saw the episode of Red Table Talk where she talked about that. So I think Chris is just kind of commenting off the top, and I think they were dealing with the condition of it, and Will was being protective,” Wayans said. “I just felt that would weigh down the special. That needs its own 10 minutes. And I think that’s a separate piece. And that takes investigation. It’s not what I knew, and I don’t want to be insensitive to anybody that’s going through that. I think that that would have convoluted the message, so I left it out and I just explored what was funny from a place that we can digest. I felt like some things are too hard to digest, so let me not spend that time dealing with that because it becomes something else. That’s a special unto itself.” Marlon still feels like the two men can reconcile, though publicly assaulting someone at a star-studded awards show seems like a lot to come back from. Marlon Wayans: God Loves Me is available to stream on HBO Max.

Movie Weekly Countdown

  • Posted March 20TH 2023 ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ swoops into the #1 position taking down $30.5 million this weekend! The gang and ‘Scream VI’ takes the #2 spot with total sales of $76 million as Michael B. Jordan’s ‘Creed III’ slips to the #3 position grossing $127.7 million at the box office this past weekend! SHAZAM! FURY OF THE GODS SCREAM VI CREED III 65 ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA VIDEOS ON DEMAND WHITNEY HOUSTON: I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY THE FABELMANS WOMAN TALKING MAGIC MIKE’S LAST DANCE PLANE THE OLD WAYS TOP GUN MAVERICK TRANSFUSION ELVIS KNOCK AT THE CABIN

MXO Lifestyle

  • GRACE GALLUCCI EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR NOACA, By Jeff Reidel, Posted March 20th 2023 The electric future on the road is coming as car manufacturers are creating more EV options. While the federal government is laying out plans to build a network of charging stations, how prepared Northeast Ohio is to go electric? The big buzzword at the Cleveland Auto Chow is “Electrification”. New all-electric crossovers, transit vans and more. Electric vehicles are turning heads, but are drivers buying? A major hurdle is range anxiety, the fear of running out of charge before you can find a place to plug in. “There are not enough chargers that are out there in the wild,” said Steve Sumner the Vice President of Global Equipment of Lincoln Electric. “And so, building that infrastructure is a huge, important first step in getting more electric vehicles owned by people in the U.S.” That’s why welding giant Lincoln Electric jumped into the EV charger manufacturing space. The company developed a 150-kilowatt fast charger in a matter of months, following rules set by the Biden administration.   “So, our goal is to manufacture a significant portion of the DC fast chargers for the United States, made right here in Cleveland, Ohio, by Cleveland workers,” said Sumner. Now it’s a race to market. One Lincoln Electric believes they will win by rolling out chargers by the year’s end. “All of the other manufacturers need to build manufacturing plants or expand manufacturing plants,” stated Sumner. “Lincoln Electric doesn’t need to do that because we already have that in place.” Waiting for that to happen is NOACA, the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency. It has identified 47 locations, to put multiple chargers, across five counties. “We did quite a bit of planning to decide how best to position these stations for the most use,” said the Grace Gallucci the Executive Director of NOACA. Right now, most charging happens at home, slowly, over a number of hours. Fast chargers that take only minutes are what NOACA wants in more public places. “We looked at libraries, we looked at parks, we looked at civic centers, community centers, high schools,” said Gallucci. The holdup? Federal funding requires American-made fast chargers to be purchased, like those on the fast track at Lincoln Electric. Akron’s EV task force is also at work, focusing on multi-family homes. It is proposing a public network of charging stations. “That will eventually fill out a ten-minute walk scenario throughout the city from any residents or for DC Fast Chargers, a ten-minute drive,” said Emily Collins, a Strategic Advisor for the Mayor of Akron. The city is now looking for a public-private partnership to start building out its EV charger network. “We know that once EVs become affordable, our considerations for travel, how we interact with the built environment right now, it’s going to change,” said Collins. Another recommendation from Akron’s EV Task Force was to develop an electric vehicle car share in the city. They hope to start with 12 cars, no word yet on when they would hit the road. Will these projects completely relieve “range anxiety?”, or help boost EV sales? That remains to be seen. But, NOACA and Akron see their role as showing EV is for everyone and ensuring no one is left behind.

The Arts Unplugged

  •, By Carrie Wise, Posted March 24th 2023 The Cleveland International Film Festival announced its lineup Friday ahead of the second hybrid festival. In-person programing kicked off March 22 in Playhouse Square and continues through April 1, with an additional week of online streaming April 2-9. Ukrainian films are a focus at CIFF this year as part of a partnership with Ukraine’s Odessa International Film Festival. “They have partnered with other festivals to showcase their national competition films, and we will be their first collaboration in the United States,” said Marcie Goodman, executive director of CIFF. No Russian films were scheduled, a continuation of the programming decision the festival made last year as part of a global boycott of Russian cinema due to the war in Ukraine. The theme of the 47th annual festival is “Look Closer,” with films ranging from coming-of-age stories to thrillers to documentaries on civic participation and immigration. The programming includes about 120 feature films and nearly 200 shorts as well as competitions and the opportunity to meet a variety of filmmakers. “We really hope that people will join us in person to meet and support our filmmakers,” Goodman said. Some of the films shown in person will not be available for the online portion of the festival, CIFF47 Streams, and those details are noted in the program guide. CIFF tickets are available to members beginning at 11 a.m. on Monday, March 6, and the general public Friday, March 10. DESTINY FREIDIN STARS IN THRILLER CATCHING SPIRITS AT CIFF 47 Changes this year Films will screen in four theaters instead of six at Playhouse Square in an effort to make the festival feel more intimate. “(Last year) we really wanted to give everyone the option to spread out and to feel as safe as possible,” Goodman said. “But we kind of lost that sense of community, that buzz that we got so used to at the festival by virtue of being so spread out.” After 29 years at the now-closed Tower City Cinemas followed by two years of online streaming due to COVID-19, CIFF relocated to Playhouse Square officially in 2022. Printed program guides are also back this year, but they won’t be the large, glossy editions that were scattered around the city for festivals before the pandemic. The new guides are newspaper print and available for purchase in advance or at the festival. Members receive a free copy. Ohio films to note Among the feature-length offerings by or about Ohioans is “Citizen Sleuth,” a film that explores the ethics of a true crime podcast about the death of a Marietta woman, and “Food and Country,” a documentary about the U.S. food industry including the perspectives of a couple from Huron. There are several short films with Northeast Ohio ties too, from Wayne Smith III’s “Where We Overlap” following Black artists preparing for an art exhibit to Angelo Merendino’s documentary “From Mopping the Floors to Making the Cakes: The Story of Archie’s Hough Bakeries.” Amber D. Kempthorn’s animation “Ordinary Magic: A Sunday Afternoon in the Cuyahoga Valley” is also showing. A special program highlights a short documentary on the oak trees Jesse Owens planted in Ohio as part of his Olympic gold honors. One of those trees was recently grafted to ensure his legacy continues. A panel discussion follows the film by Josh Lawhorn on March 23. FILMS SCHEDULED AT CIFF47 ARE HERE.

  •, By Allison Jack, Posted March 17th 2023 If your kids (or let’s be real — you) are a sucker for Disney, jump right into all the classic animated movies while experiencing rooms of projected clips, music and wonderment. The new Disney Animation Immersive Experience, presented by Lighthouse Immersive Studios, comes to Cleveland Jan. 19 through May 29, 2023. Surround Yourself in the Music & Stories of Disney Animation You can finally step into the Casita with Mirabel from “Encanto,” witness Rafiki present Simba at Pride Rock surrounded by the animal kingdom as the sun rises, “hop on a train” with Judy Hopps to Zootopia or even (a 90s kid’s fave) take a magic carpet ride with Aladdin and Jasmine. This magical, innovative collaboration between Walt Disney Animation Studios and Lighthouse Immersive Studios is a one-of-a-kind experience. Families and friends of all ages can walk around the studio to surround themselves in 500,000 cubic feet of projections that make you feel like you’re in the animated films, from the earliest faves to groundbreaking new hits. If this experience sounds a bit like it’s channeling the recent popular Immersive Van Gogh exhibit, that’s because it’s created by the same production team. It’s even housed at the same venue. Other Disney immersions are opening at Lighthouse ArtSpace venues across North America. The location: Lighthouse Artspace, 850 E. 72nd St., Cleveland Tickets: Start at $39.99. For more info available here.