Talk Back

Join the discussion

Sometimes it seems Cleveland has a hard time discussing the important issues of the day. Or maybe it’s just a listening problem. Racial politics infuse every word with a subtext. Politicians talk out of both sides of their mouths to appease voters. And with a business community that politely hosts meeting after meeting rather than make a decision, it may seem like Cleveland needs a good talking-to.

Recently, the urban-suburban split has taken over as the new defining paradigm for our region. East Side vs. West Side divisions pale in comparison to the continued urban flight, even with a record-breaking 8,500 residents now calling downtown home. Statewide legislative actions against urban centers — driven by a rural and suburban majority — have never been more aggressive. Our cities and suburbs really need to talk.

There will be plenty to talk about this month, with the Cleveland mayoral race heating up and continued discussions about a new convention center, economic development and regionalism. Maybe the way to build our chops for the weighty civic debates is to engage in some of the many ongoing discussions hosted by nonprofits and arts organizations this month. Take a few moments to discuss the larger issues of life: religion, race and art. Your town is talking. Join the conversation.

“Catholicism and Philanthropy” Sam Miller, philanthropist, co-chair and treasurer of Forest City Enterprises and a leader in the local Jewish community, will headline the Oct. 17 installment of Theology on Tap, a unique lecture series focusing on religion. The event begins with a cash bar at 6:30 p.m. The lecture follows at 7:30 p.m. Call (216) 696-6525 ext. 1049 or e-mail to reserve your spot. For more information, visit Improv at the Powerhouse, 2000 Sycamore St., West Bank of The Flats

Harambee Book Club This month’s Cleveland Public Library book discussion will cover “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance” by Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. Obama’s compelling biography tells the story of America’s racial battleground and his search for a place in black America. The event will take place at noon Oct. 18. Visit or call (216) 623-2800 for information. Main Library, Louis Stokes Wing, 325 Superior Ave., Cleveland

Contextualizing the Contemporary Brooke Anderson, director and curator of the contemporary center at the American Museum of Folk Art in New York, will present this lecture in connection with the exhibit Visual Tales: Paintings by Michelangelo Lovelace, Gail Newman and Paul W. Patton, on display at the Cleveland Artists Foundation gallery at Lakewood’s Beck Center for the Arts through Jan. 2. The Oct. 28 lecture will demonstrate how contemporary American Folk Art fits into the larger field of American Art. 7 p.m. Call (216) 227-9507 for more information. Cleveland Artists Foundation, Beck Center for the Arts, 17801 Detroit Ave., Lakewood.

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