Kent celebrates International Clash Day

Today you can raise a glass of Revolution Roast coffee or Combat Bock beer as the city of Kent celebrates International Clash Day.

Kent is one of 13 cities in four countries that recognizes the holiday created by Seattle radio station KEXP-FM to celebrate the musical legacy and social activism of The Clash, and this year it expands to three days of festivities.

Today’s events include a free screening of “Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten,” the 2007 documentary directed by Julien Temple about The Clash’s lead singer and political conscience. The Summit radio-sponsored event starts at 6:30 p.m. at The Kent Stage.

Standing Rock Cultural Arts will host a poetry reading at 7 p.m., featuring past participants of the ID13 Prison Literacy Project, which provides a voice for incarcerated writers at Lake Erie Correctional Institution.

XT Louis, Swell Tides and special guests will provide a Clash-inspired soundtrack of live music at Zephyr Pub at 10 p.m. today. Combat Bock, made by MadCap Brew Co., will be available at the pub as well as Taco Tontos. Taco Tontos and Bent Tree Coffee (which will be serving Revolution Roast) will stream KEXP’s Clash Day programming on Thursday.

Friday will feature The Boys from County Hell, normally a Pogues tribute band, playing a Clash tribute show from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday at Water Street Tavern, as well as the launch party for “Small Town, Big Music,” Jason Prufer’s new book on Kent’s influence on the history of rock ‘n’ roll.

The Clash’s 1982 appearance at Kent State University is among the tales told in the book. The event at the Kent State University Library is sold out.

On Saturday, MadCap Brew Co. will host a Clash Day Punk Rock Flea from noon to 4 p.m., and Euro Gyro will host “Kiss Your Clash Goodbye,” a night of music starting at 7:30 p.m. and featuring the bands Wormmother, Young Steve, J*A*K*E, Liquid W’s, Shi Sho and The Trades.

In keeping with the social justice element in The Clash’s music, Kent’s Clash Day will raise money for the Kent chapter of Planned Parenthood, United Students Against Sweatshops Local 27, Akron Food Not Bombs and Kent Books to Prisoners.

l The weather was brutal, the parking lots were treacherous and the heating system at Stambaugh Auditorium struggled to offset the below-zero chill outside (at least where I was sitting).

Despite those obstacles, Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox delivered a show that made it worth braving the elements last week.

Arranger Bradlee puts his own twist on popular songs, reimagining contemporary hits in retro styles, and each tour features a rotating pool of talent (kind of like Trans-Siberian Orchestra) and a setlist tailored to their skill sets.

Michael Cunio did double duty as a singer and emcee, and if the less-than-half-full venue dampened the performers’ spirits, he didn’t let it show. Unlike Oscar nominee Rami Malek, he didn’t have to lip sync to mimic Freddie Mercury as he wowed the crowd with a rendition of the Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star” as if it were recorded by Mercury and Queen.

Robyn Adele Anderson, who has been singing with Bradlee since the beginning of PMJ and sings lead vocals on several of its most-viewed YouTube videos, impressed on “Careless Whisper” and “Hey Ya,” Dani Armstrong nailed “Chandelier” and PMJ 2018 talent search winner David Simmons Jr. seemed to channel singers like Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson on his lead vocal turns.

Hopefully PMJ will make a return visit when the weather is a little more welcoming.

l A couple of weeks ago in this space, I ran down some of the guests scheduled to appear at Wizard World Cleveland on March 8 to 10 at the Huntington Convention Center.

This week they added their “biggest” guest yet with “Aquaman” star Jason Momoa joining the lineup.

I can’t fathom paying $150 to get a photo with anyone, but do an Internet search for “Jason Momoa photo ops” to see the fun the actor has at these events, especially with male comic fans who show up with their wives and girlfriends for photos with the actor.

Andy Gray is the entertainment writer for the Tribune Chronicle. Write to him at agray@tribto day.com

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