Teschner’s opens its door to avant-garde filming

by Charles Cassady

“Best Local Dive Bar (Ohio)” was an honor bestowed last year by Nexstar Media news service on Teschner’s Tavern, in Richfield. Nextstar is a partner in The Food Network and the Cooking Channel. Now, that title and bragging rights may be amended to Best Local Dive Bar Serving as Location Shoot for Avant-Garde Video Short by Logan Fry (Ohio).”

Fry, a one-man-band digital filmmaking operation, is using Teschner’s for a key scene in a digital short, “Is This All a Dream?”

“I read an article [in the New York Times] by a psychologist at Harvard. I wrote to her and she wrote back. And I started keeping a dream diary. And I wanted to make a movie with my dream diary, but finding locations for all my dreams turned out to be a little difficult.”

So, he chose to pare down the short-subject run time to just a few dream-imagery vignettes, which could be done either as computer-animation or in an attainable set, such as Teschner’s dining area, in which actors will appear with fish masks or bags over their heads, a reference to the French surrealist painter Rene Magritte.

Then, add a vintage-clip cameo from network TV cyber-celebrity Max Headroom, from the short-lived science-fiction show of the same name.

“[Wife] Joanne and I were watching ‘Max Headroom’ and I was struck by the episode ‘Dream Thieves,’” said Fry.

“’Max Headroom’ was reported to be in the public domain, allowing me to adapt it to my film,” he added.

When Max Headroom aired on ABC-TV in 1987, Teschner’s, at 4252 Broadview Rd., was already closing in on its first decade. The restaurant occupies the 1929 building that, for most of the 20th century, was site of the Beacon Light Tavern. Anastasia Teschner opened Teschner’s in 1979. Now operated by Michelle Garrett Teschner with head chef, Vincent Delgross, another member of the dynasty.

Besides serving dreamy food, and dreams being the food of “Was It All a Dream?” there are these astounding connections between Best-Local-Dive Teschner’s and local filmmaker Logan Fry.

Variety: When the Teschner’s address was the Beacon Light Tavern it did double-duty as a gas station.

Fry had earlier careers as a lawyer and artistic weaver.

Home Sweet Home: The building in which Teschner’s serves savory concoctions has also been the live-in residence for members of the Teschner family.

Fry has often utilized his Richfield farm-homestead (where he has also raised sheep) as a setting for his “microcinema” productions concocted under the name Lone Buzzard Filmworks.

Quality Time: Teschner’s has commenced a series of monthly Sunday brunches. These highly anticipated events feature Chef Vincent’s specially concocted cornbread pancakes, braised short rib, “brunchy salad” plus hashbrowns and sausage.

Fry often shoots his movies on Sundays. In a particular coup, he lensed his “Last Man on Earth” when COVID lockdown made Cleveland and Akron streets almost entirely empty – perfect for the required visuals of a deserted, zombie-haunted world. “The quarantine order was in force, and you had to have a special reason to be out of doors. But I got the special permission,” Fry said.

Working Blue: Among the Teschner’s favorites is the Blue Moon over Richfield, a grilled mushroom burger of ground beef accented by onions and Danish blue cheese.

Fry has done deliberately cheesy, grindhouse features that would fall under the showbiz rubric of “blue,” with dirty jokes and other rude routines. They include “Gimme Head: The Tale of the Cuyahoga County Bigfoot” (made at a cost of $500, he said) and “Ro-Boob: The Farting Robot Monster.” A number of silly Fry films have been aired on the streaming compilations by Troma, New York-based distributor specializing in wildly satirical drive-in/horror fare.

Web-Served: Both Teschner’s Tavern and Fry have a presence online. Find Teschner’s at jens2sweet4u75.wixsite.com/teschnerstavern/food. Fry maintains a page at patreon.com/lonebuzzardfilmworks. His films, weaving and other arts links are up at DMOMA.org, the Digital Museum of Modern Art.

In typical small-town kindness Michelle Teschner accommodated all of Fry’s needs during the filming, and even served the crew popular menu items while they worked.

Editor’s Note: “Is This All a Dream” was selected to be shown at the BaiDeFest in Spain in November.

Logan Fry sits at a table in Teschner’s Tavern. Photos provided by L. Fry.

One scene in the film showed skeletons dancing.

Peter Gamin (l) works with Chef Vincent Delgross at Teschner’s. Photo from Scriptype archives.

Sandy Wolfarth and Tom Herpka are two of the friendly faces serving at Teschner’s. Photo from Scriptype archives.

The dungeon scene was filmed in Fry’s home. He created the walls using Photoshop on a photo of a prison in Italy. Photos provided by L. Fry.

Richfield resident, Michael Sosnick, portrayed a man frightened by skeletons Fry’s film.

Photo (main): Rance Martin of Cleveland portrayed Willem Shakespeare in the film. Photo provided by L. Fry.