Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Documentary about Youngstown - Filmed Now on Location

I am so excited about the news! The Vindicator has announced that shooting will begin this week on a documentary about Youngstown. Ray "Boom" "Boom" Mancini and Jim Napoli are producing it. Their plan is to show the city as a fighter. The film crew will make forays into the community this week to find Youngstowners in their element - so look out folks! Mancini calls it "guerrilla film making."

For anyone who has ever dreamt of being in the movies you may have the chance to be caught on film if you make your way to the city. While here, make sure you check out the new Taft Technology Center,. For a glimpse check it out at Youngstown Pride.

Make sure you walk by the revived Davis Building, and have something to eat or drink at one of our fine eateries, awesome bars, or clubs. In the event you just want to be out on the streets,in hopes that the camera will find you there, just stop by and get an ice cream cone at Touch the Moon Candy Saloon, then wander around, chillout,and enjoy the spring.

As of late I have been reading a book called "Destination Branding for Small Cities". It is written by Bill Baker. He defines destination branding as the totality of perceptions, thoughts and feelings that people have about a a place. He states that, "Destination branding is an organizing principle that involves orchestrating the messages and experiences associated with the place to ensure that they are as distinctive, compelling, memorable, and rewarding as possible."

His theory is that many small cities need to develop a brand strategy in order to overcome dated, confusing, or inaccurate images. Youngstown has clearly suffered from an inaccurate image and it is time to fix that problem and change the perceptions of our fine city in the minds of people near and far. The way to do that is to attract more visitors to our downtown and also revitalize the interest of area residents in the entertainment and recreational values of Youngstown. (You really have no idea what you've been missing if you haven't been downtown in a while. I suggest you hang out after work on a Friday night instead of making a dash back to the suburbs.)

The new urban pioneers living in Youngstown are well aware of the exciting things happening in the city, Mancini's documentary will now get the word spread far and wide. Mancini gets it -and Pavlik gets it, and Defend Youngstown gets it - Youngstown folks don't give up - they get up...and what's more they have a helluva lot of fun while doing it. I don't exactly know how to convert this fact into a "brand" per se, but I'm working on it. I'm going to continue reading about the branding of cities and think about it some more. If you have any ideas or thoughts about this please share them with me by commenting on the blog.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

How to Save a City - The Greening of Youngstown

Thanks to Jaci Clark for taking most of these fabulous photos.

The Common Ground at Kensington and Broadway on Youngstown's North Side

It's spring and Defend Youngstown found a great post at Celsias about the Greening of Youngstown. I'm thrilled that the "Grey to Green" message of the 2010 plan is spreading far and wide. Meanwhile, this past Saturday, Treez Please planted several hundred trees at the Common Ground. Throughout the day about thirty men, women, and a lot of kids showed up to help. Treezers hope to foster the trees until we find happy homes for them. In the fall we will convert the space into a wild flower meadow.

Also, June 7, 2008 Youngstown CityScape will be having it's 11th annual Streetscape from 8:00 am until 12 noon. Everyone will be meeting at 20 Federal Plaza W. Youngstown,OH 44503. Priority areas for this year's event are: The Wick Park Area;Flower pots along West and East Federal Streets; the oval historic monument in the middle of Market Street and Wick Avenue; The Garden Bunker on the corners of East Federal, Boardman and Champion Street. The stairway that connects Wood Street to Commerce; Gateways into downtown; Smoky Hollow Memorial maintenance and plantings; Hillside between Wood and Commerce Street; and enhancement of the landscape on Walnut Street, Wood Street, and City Hall. For more information contact (330) 742-4040.
[where:20 Federal Plaza West Youngstown OH 44503]

Monday, May 5, 2008

Christopher Barzak Nominated for a NewNowNext Award

Photo by Jaci Clark

Youngstown writer, Christopher Barzak, has been nominated for a NewNowNext Award. This award is sponsored by the MTV networks LOGO channel, which focuses on bringing GLBT friendly programing to television. Chris has been nominated for "Brink of Fame: Author". Chris is the author of "One for Sorrow". His most recent book, The Love We Share Without Knowing, will be available soon.

You can vote for Chris online on the NewNowNext awards show web page. The awards show will be broadcast on LOGO on Saturday, June 7th, at 9:00 pm. If you miss it, you can also check out a full stream of the show on, on Monday June 9th, 2008.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Youngstown Buzz on Cool Cleveland

Youngstown's Shout Youngstown and Defend Youngstown were in Cleveland this past weekend with Cool Cleveland's Thomas Mulready. They discussed Thinkers and Drinkers, or as Mulready describes it, "Economic development with a cocktail." The concept is a good idea that is spreading fast. Check out the video on Cool Cleveland and learn how the idea originated and how the sessions work. I've enjoyed a few Thinkers and Drinkers sessions myself and have enjoyed them tremendously. They are always interesting and informative and are a terrific means of social networking. My thanks to the guys for taking the idea on the road and getting the word out about the great things happening here in Youngstown.