Ohio Pops

It has been a good year for the Buckeye State in pop culture. While Ohio is far from what most would call rich in pop culture, we have our moments – Katie Holmes, Tony Packo’s, Sarah Jessica Parker, and other Ohio-related celebrities and trends give us glimpses of pop pride. But, this year, Ohio seemed to shine brighter than ever before.
Here are just a few of the ways Ohio “popped” this year:

Matt Hires/Jason Castro/Caitlin Crosby at The Ark

A lot of people call American Idol a "guilty pleasure." But, for me, that shit is good TV, and I feel no guilt for loving every minute of it. I've watched since season 1, and even though I still think Kelly Clarkson is the biggest and best artist to come from the show, I still have my favorites each season.

In season 7, one of my favorites was Jason Castro. Those dreads, that ukulele...I was impressed.

I was really happy to hear that Jason was coming to Ann Arbor's The Ark as a support act for Matt Hires. The Ark - less than an hour from Toledo - is a venue I've wanted to see for a long time. After buying tickets to a couple of canceled shows there, I finally got to see the inside when Jason, Matt, and Caitlin Crosby played the venue. The Ark is now definitely one of my favorites. It has the intimate feel of a club and general admission without the hours of standing (the venue has seats). The acoustics are great, and you can tell the artists love playing there as well.

Gaga for Detroit

As part of her 2010 Monster Ball Tour, Lady Gaga came to Detroit for a two-night run at Joe Louis Arena. While I wouldn't call myself a "Little Monster," I think Gaga is a pretty cool chick. Underneath all those crazy costumes, there's a bright, hardworking individual who will stop at nothing to make her vision a reality.

So, when a last minute venue change opened up a limited amount of tickets to the sold-out shows, I jumped at the chance to see her live.

The show was as high energy and freakishly fantastic as I'd hoped. Fans were dancing in the aisles even before Gaga made her entrance when Michael Jackson's greatest hits played while her stage was being set up. Gaga was supposed to open for MJ's 2009 tour.
After the show I got to meet Gaga for a quick second and take a picture with her. She may look like a floating head in the picture, but I swear she's real.