Wind down with Maluso and Blackson

The new Doubletree Hotel will add something new to the downtown Youngstown scene when it launches Wind Down Wednesdays next week.

The weekly event will be a cocktail hour (actually two hours) that will begin at 4 p.m. in the second-floor lobby with the piano-vocal cabaret duo of Rick Blackson and Mary Jo Maluso.

It promises to be a classy but informal way to “wind down” after work. Admission is free. Hors d’oeuvres and a cocktail menu will be available.

Wind Down Wednesdays will take place every week through Dec. 12.

Maluso and Blackson will provide supper-club-style music to the affair. A piano was brought into the room last week for Blackson to play. Maluso will join him by singing a tune every 15 minutes or so.

It won’t be a formal show, but it will be a little more than just background music. The goal is to provide a place where guests and visitors can relax and have a conversation in the middle of the week.


The Clarks have released a song as a way to raise money for the Tree of Life Synagogue, where a gunman shot and killed 11 people in a hate-crime attack that horrified the nation.

Fittingly, it’s “(What’s So Funny ’Bout) Peace Love and Understanding,” the upbeat tune written by Nick Lowe and popularized by Elvis Costello.

The song was released in 1979, yet “seems even more timely today,” said the Pittsburgh-based band in a news release, adding “It’s been part of our live set the past few months, and it felt like the right thing to do.”

The song is now available to purchase or stream at most outlets, and will be available everywhere in the next week.

For those who would like to donate directly to Tree of Life, a gofundme account has been set up.

The Pittsburgh-based Clarks have a large following in the Youngstown area, and local fans should expect an announcement soon on an upcoming appearance here.


Papa Roach and John Mellencamp will both be returning to Youngstown in the near future, shortly after each act releases a new album.

Papa Roach is coming to Covelli Centre on March 5, as opener for Shinedown. The California hard rockers will first release their 10th studio album at some point early next year. The band is currently in the midst of a comeback nearly two decades into its career. Its 2017 release, “Crooked Teeth,” debuted in the Top 20 on the U.S. and UK charts.

Mellencamp – whose art is still on display at the Butler Institute of American Art – will return Feb. 19 for a concert at Stambaugh Auditorium.

The Indiana Rock Hall of Famer will release his next album, “Other People’s Stuff,” on Dec. 7. The album cover features one of Mellencamp’s heavy expressionist paintings on the cover. The first single from the album, the politically charged “Eyes on the Prize,” was released this week.


Los Angeles-based comedian, actor and screenwriter Bob Golub, a Sharon, Pa., native, has finished a movie script based on the life of the late Eddie McCluskey, the legendary Farrell High School basketball coach.

He calls it the best thing he’s ever written, and an uplifting sports story that will bring people together.

Golub is currently seeking a deal to make the movie a reality, and he wants to shoot it in Farrell, or somewhere in the Pittsburgh area.

Guy D’Astolfo covers entertainment for The Vindicator. Follow him on Twitter at @VindyVibe.