Axios Cleveland

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Welcome to Wednesday, and Happy International Workers Day!

  • On this day in 1919, marching socialists clashed with Cleveland police in what became known as the "May Day Riots."

☀️ Today's weather: Sunny, with a high of 78.

🕶️ Sounds like: "Sunglasses at Night," by Corey Hart

🎂 Happy birthday to our Axios Cleveland member Julianne Kurdila!

🏀 Situational awareness: The Cavs defeated the Magic 104-103 in a nail-biter last night.

  • They are now up 3-2 in the best-of-seven first round series. They'll have an opportunity to clinch Friday in Orlando.

Today's newsletter is 931 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: CIFF over Sundance

Photo: Mat Hayward/Getty Images

Cleveland believes in its film festival, so much so the city won't be vying for one of the movie industry's biggest annual events.

Why it matters: Today marks the deadline for cities to submit a request for information to host the Sundance Film Festival beginning in 2027.

  • In April, Sundance announced it would consider other U.S. cities as hosts for the iconic festival, which has called Utah its home since 1978.

The intrigue: Thanks to Playhouse Square's 11 performance spaces, Cleveland would seem uniquely positioned to host a festival that uses as many as 13 film venues.

Yes, but: David Gilbert, president and CEO of Destination Cleveland, tells Axios the tourism group is not submitting information to Sundance and will continue to focus on the Cleveland International Film Festival, which wrapped up its 48th year last month.

What they're saying: "As with all large-scale events, we take many factors into consideration when deciding whether to participate in a search process," Gilbert says.

  • "In this case, one of those factors is that Cleveland is home to one of the nation's leading and long-running film festivals."

Zoom in: CIFF draws 25,000 to 35,000 people over 11 days to Playhouse Square each year.

  • The festival hosted more than 350 feature and short films from 60 countries in 2024. It generates a local economic impact of more than $5 million annually.

Zoom out: Sundance is considered one of the "Big Five" prestige film festivals, along with festivals in Toronto, Venice, Cannes and Berlin.

  • Sundance has premiered several past Oscar nominees, including "Winter's Bone," "Get Out," "Boyhood," "Whiplash," "Nomadland" and "CODA."

Keep reading

2. 📢 Quote du jour: CWRU pro-Palestinian protests

Hand-painted signs adorned the barricades around the Kelvin Smith Library Oval at Case. Photo: Sam Allard/Axios

"Kaler, Kaler you can't hide. We charge you with genocide."
— Student demonstrators at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU)

Catch up quick: A pro-Palestinian protest began Monday morning at the Kelvin Smith Library Oval, and university police immediately tore down tents and detained more than 20 students, who were later released.

  • University president Eric Kaler said the protest would be permitted only from 8am-8pm and that tents would not be allowed.
  • By 7:30pm Monday, administrators had changed their position.

State of play: Students continued the demonstration yesterday after CWRU administrators agreed to allow students, faculty and staff to camp there Monday night.

  • Chants and signs called for the university to divest from companies that profit from Israel's military, including calling out Kaler by name.

Between the lines: This is the week before finals at Case, so ample "study breaks" have been built into the daily protest schedule.

Go deeper: Axios explains the campus protests of 2024

3. The Terminal: Put these headlines in your pipe

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axiosmi

🎭 The Cuyahoga Arts & Culture board of trustees approved a resolution Monday asking County Council to put a replacement cigarette tax on the ballot this fall. (Crain's Cleveland Business)

🏗️ Cuyahoga County has provided a $2 million loan to the Ohio City Bridgeworks residential development as it eyes a fall groundbreaking. (Cleveland Scene)

🎬 Cleveland Cinematheque director John Ewing is planning a farewell series of 25 films that have never been screened at the repertory theater in its 38-year history. (

🎤 Missy Elliot has added a Cleveland stop on her 2024 summer tour. She'll play Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Aug. 14. (Fox 8)

4. 🔮 LeBron's future

Could he come back?! Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

LeBron James' season is over, but, perhaps, the most intriguing part of his 2024 is just beginning.

Driving the news: James and the Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated from the postseason by the Denver Nuggets on Monday.

Why it matters: James, 39, has one year left on his contract with the Lakers but could opt out and become a free agent this summer.

  • When asked during a postgame press conference on Monday if he just played his last game with the Lakers, James responded, "I'm not going to answer that."

The intrigue: The Sporting News lists Cleveland among the possible landing spots for James next season.

What they're saying: When asked in 2022 about a possible return to Cleveland, James told The Athletic that "the door's not closed."

Between the lines: The ex-factor in all of this could be James' son Bronny, who is deciding between continuing his college basketball career or going to the NBA.

The bottom line: LeBron dreams of playing with his eldest son, meaning the team that drafts him would have an edge.

Go deeper...

5. 🏌️ Best golf courses (Nos. 6-5)

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

👋 Sam here. The countdown of the top public golf courses within an hour of Cleveland continues!

6. Valley of the Eagles

Location: Elyria, ~30 minutes west of Cleveland via I-90.

Rates: $55 Monday-Thursday / $70 Friday-Sunday

Type: Public

Scorecard: Par 72, 6,941 yards

State of play: The 2017 gut job of the former Spring Valley Country Club has resulted in one of Northeast Ohio's premium shot-making courses.

  • Meandering fairways, streams, gorges and sloping terrain present new challenges on every hole.

Pros: Signage, clubhouse and amenities lend an aura of destination golf; intellectually stimulating hole design punishes lazy drives and a careless short game.

Cons: Pricey; modern routing with occasional long drives between holes; one of the most maddening courses to play when you're not striking the ball well.

5. Pine Hills

Location: Hinckley, ~30 minutes south of Cleveland, via I-71

Rates: $55 weekday / $70 weekend

Type: Public

Scorecard: Par 72, 6,572 yards

State of play: Lush and secluded, this local favorite, with some of the speediest greens around, is an ideal blend of old school and new.

Pros: State of the art maintenance and natural surroundings; memorable, dramatic holes with one of the best collections of Par 5s available; perhaps the hardest finishing hole in the region.

Cons: Pricey; after signature Par 3 No. 4, the rest are nothing to write home about.

Thanks to our editor Lindsey Erdody and copy editors Rob Reinalda and Yasmeen Altaji.

Our picks:

🏀 Sam hopes LeBron James returns to Cleveland for one final run. Then again, LeBron could be 67 years old and Sam would still be praying for a comeback.

😱 Troy binged the Amazon series "Them: The Scare" and had nightmares all night.