Like many of the new businesses along Over-the-Rhine’s Main Street, it’s basically a neighborhood thing with a stellar lineage. Something that's new and old at the same time.
It’s Another Part of the Forest, the used record store/Siamese twin of Iris BookCafe, with which it shares a leafy rear courtyard. The name comes from Shakespeare’s As You Like It, and the walls are covered with Alan Sauer’s fanciful murals inspired by the play.
The store takes its place alongside Everybody’s Records, Mole’s Record Exchange and Shake It Records as a local purveyor specializing in used vinyl, featuring some 8,000 LPs on display (with some 15,000 more titles in stock), including a strong catalogue in Jazz, modern European music and spoken word. But there’s more: comic books, pulp fiction and a collection of DVDs for rent and for sale, plus VHS titles and even a tabletop of CDs.
The brainchild of proprietor Mark Markiewicz (pictured above) — who thinks of himself more as a stage manager for the ongoing urban theater that takes places inside his store’s walls — the bright space has high ceilings, a shabby/elegant demeanor and the funky, pervasive smell of records and record jackets, bliss to those who crave it. Like Iris, the establishment reflects the ongoing evolution of Main Street’s 1990s-era nightclub-and-bar scene bonanza into a mixed-neighborhood setting.
A stroll through the ground floor store displays an eclectic, if not mind-boggling selection of goods packed into about 1,000 square feet. According to Markiewicz (who was co-founder of the now-defunct and greatly missed coffeehouse/bar/bookshop/live music venue Kaldi’s, formerly located at 1204 Main), he has designed the setting to “attract misfits like me to the neighborhood.” He emphasizes that “nothing new whatsoever was used to decorate — I used leftover paint and wood from Kaldi’s old bookshelves, for instance.”
On a table near the front of the store is a basic Hitachi turntable and a Sansui receiver.
Two Kenwood speakers in one window play an ongoing selection of sounds. Markiewicz and Jeff Wilson, a local record collector and volunteer at the store, are always happy to let a customers play a disk they wish to hear before buying it.
To your left, under erotic jewel-bright fired acrylic paintings by Jim Wainscott, are bins of 12-inch vinyl Rap, Disco/Dance and Pop singles at $3 each. In front of you are two tables, one of oddball and international titles, and another of mixed soundtracks and singers like Marian Anderson, Marlene Dietrich, Lena Horne and Nina Simone.
Behind the table is another fat row of Rock, Soul and Pop 45 RPMs. A long wall of bins on the right-hand wall begins with Jazz (Blue Note, Impulse, Pablo) and Country and Blues titles and segues into a large alphabetized-by-composer Classical selection. Here you'll find mainstream and more esoteric labels like RCA, London, Mercury, Nonesuch, Philips, Supraphon, “real” Decca, Unicorn, EMI, Odeon, BIS (Scandinavian), Panton (Czech) and the Eastern European Hungaraton, Fugatron and Supertron, all music to the discerning collector’s ear.
Above the bins are over 300 boxed operas, including all of those by Leos Janácek and hard-to-find Slavic and Serbian compositions. In fact, it might be the largest Serbian light opera selection anywhere (there are six), Markiewicz says with a twinkle in his eye.
Up above the operas, a random selection of LPs leans against the wall. On a recent day they included Earthquake Sounds from Around the World, the Malcolm X movie soundtrack, Bird Symbols by Charlie Parker, John Denver and the Muppets, David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and The Ramones.
After three more tables of Soul and Rock, you’ll be in DVD-land, stressing foreign, cult and other unusual titles. You can also rent rare operas and ballets on VHS and find O’Neill, Shaw, Beckett and all of Shakespeare, if that’s what you're looking for.
Out the back windows, through the door, the courtyard beckons, with greenery and shade and patrons from Iris seated with their coffee, sheltered by a wonderfully fanciful sculpture of Ohio River driftwood by Thin Air Studios.
Wilson, who helped Markiewicz organize the store, relishes the opportunity to be there.
“It’s such a cool thing,” he says. “I love records and record stores. Another Part of the Forest is incredible in that it was done so much on the cheap. It’s ongoing, very much DIY. And it doesn’t look like other record stores. There’s no photos of rock stars on the walls. It’s got murals.”
Another Part of the Forest also boasts a significant local artifact: The beastly sculpture of a goat’s head by Jeff Grimes that used to hang in Kaldi’s now has a place of honor on the wall. As local artist John Wire, who also helped assemble the bones of the store gleefully says, “The Goat has landed!”
ANOTHER PART OF THE FOREST is open Wednesday-Sunday at 1333 Main St., Over-the-Rhine. Check out the shop's Facebook page for details.