Go here to read part one.
Somehow Saturday morning Jeff and I woke up bright and early. Flavor Flav must have sprinkled some magic dust on us the night before, because we weren't our usual hungover pieces of shit, writhing under covers 'til noon. For this special occasion, we headed to the famous Loveless Motel & Cafe (8400, Tennessee 100, Bellevue), a comfort food mecca and Nashville landmark. Hundreds of country musicians and otherwise famous humans hung their hats here when it was a hotel and have stopped in for grub since it's been a restaurant (seriously, there are countless autographed head shots covering every square inch of the walls).
I opted out of typing music listings and attending sociology class Friday in favor of checking out the conference taking place on the University of Cincinnati’s campus: Pop Praxis: Social Justice & the Media. With discussion topics like, “Disco Stick: Lady Gaga and the Phallus” and a keynote speech from Bitch Magazine’s own Andi Zeisler, I was stoked for an enlightening day of stimulating pop culture discussion.
The conference was the result of a collection of papers, presentations and workshops submitted by speakers ranging from undergrads to professors to alumni from a number of universities. Submissions were required to regard "pop culture as it relates to feminism, race, disability or queer theory, class, consumption, and all forms of political activism or cultural production."
It was an honor for the university to welcome Andi Zeisler, co-founder and editorial/creative director of Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture. She wasted no time launching into a pointed discussion about the importance of feminism today, despite the general public’s tendency to assume that the movement is past and irrelevant.
“Any media needs to make money,” Zeisler pointed out, “and the quickest and surest way to do that is to sell out women.”
In short, while addressing the frustrating roadblocks today’s feminist advocates face, Zeisler commended technology and blogging as new ways to comment on the media and bring important issues to public attention, keeping intelligent discussion going that might not have been able to take place before.
Zeisler said Bitch’s goal is to help people think about pop culture in a more critical way, so it makes sense that the speakers in the sessions that followed did exactly that.
While the main event was arguably Zeisler's speech, the presentations and workshops were fun and eye opening.
During the first session, Sarah Mitchell called out Winnie of The Wonder Years for her textbooks that attempt to make math “sexy” for middle school girls in “Postfeminist Math Barbie: Danica McKellar’s Provocative Education Advocacy.” Lee Serbin also pointed out the shaky, back-and-forth stance Tina Fey’s character holds between feminism and postfeminism in 30 Rock during her discussion, “30 Rock and Feminism in Flux.”
Some women in the media, however, aren’t so bad to look up to. One presenter discussed how Lady Gaga rocked the phallus on the cover of Q Magazine as a response to the public’s accusation that she’s packing a package. While still technically enforcing the belief that a penis equates power, her gender-bending humor puts sexists in their place.
A strong argument was also made for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Admittedly, she was skinny and blonde, but more importantly, she overcame that image to kick vampire ass. The slayer was decidedly deemed a pretty solid female role model for something popularized by mainstream television.
Feminism wasn’t the only topic of the day, however. One student discussed Batman as an extreme representation of hypermasculinity who tends to equate violence with being a man. That, and maybe steroid use after all the bulk the superhero’s acquired over the years.
During the same session, another speaker addressed the somewhat androgynous image of the emo kid. This speaker deserves props for researching something so fickle in the world of teenage cliques. She concluded that, while the emo subculture allows for somewhat of a break from that Batman-inspired masculinity, only the white boys of suburbia seem to make up this social group.
While it was impossible for me to make it to each presentation, at the end of the day, the message was clear: People need to be careful about what they consume.
There are no clear answers. Watching a Lady Gaga video over 30 Rock isn’t necessarily going to be more empowering, and children who prefer Batman to Chris Carrabba aren’t doomed to a life of violence. The important thing Pop Praxis stressed is that the discussion remains open and that we, as responsible consumers of popular culture, keep a critical eye on it.
Cincinnati's Guerrilla Queer Bar is about to turn one! That means they're celebrating one whole year of transforming popular straight bars (e.g, Cadillac Ranch, the Pavilion) into a flashmob of "queer dance-love-heaven" for one night, the first Friday of the month.
Despite the fact that three businesses have called it quits in Northside in the past month or so (Ali’s Boutique, Shoe-topia and the Northside Art Gallery), two ladies are trying their hand at opening something. Aileen McGrath and Chris Salley are celebrating the opening of their new gallery/boutique/supply store, Fabricate, tonight with an exhibition of Salley’s small, self-portrait paintings and music by PROJECTMILL (along with hors d’oeuvres and beverages).
Danny Cross wrote a To Do pick about the party here. And I e-mailed some questions to McGrath and Salley to learn more about their vision for the gallery/shop. See their answers below:
CityBeat: What is the name of your gallery?
CB: What does the name mean?
F: It means “to make by art or skill and labor; construct.” We’d kinda been butting heads on a name that we both liked and we’d both had that same word on our lists to describe the kinds of things we are going to be doing in there. We liked that it describes working with hard things, like metal or wood, and soft things, like textiles. It also means: “to devise or invent something.”
CB: Do you have a mission statement?
F: A store and gallery hybrid where artists, crafters and designers can be inspired, supplied and showcased.
CB: Who is responsible for the gallery? What did you two do before this?
F: We both are equally responsible for everything. We will both pick what art will show each month and work to constantly be filling the store with consigner’s merchandise. We will also both be working in the store. We will still continue to work our other jobs as well. (Chris as a Program Manager for Girl Scouts of Western Ohio and Aileen as a bartender at Northside Tavern.)
CB: There aren’t generally many galleries in Northside, save for Feralmade, which is now Raymond Thunder-Sky, inc. and Prairie. How do you think the neighborhood will respond to your presence?
F: We’ve already gotten a really positive response. We both know a lot of people in Northside and Cincinnati and it seems like everyone is coming out for the opening. We are kinda intimated actually with how many people have said they are coming. … We think the community will embrace it. There isn’t anything like what we are doing in Northside already. Everyone we talk to is really fired up to have an art show in there and create other things to sell as well.
CB: With the recent closing of businesses like shoe-topia and Ali’s Boutique, how are you two planning to ensure your vitality?
F: Bribery via pie! But seriously, this is our passion project and we both have other incomes, so we are not sweating every dollar even though it is going to be tight. We are able to experiment because we have stability elsewhere. There will be new art exhibits once a month and a lot of our friends are creative people who make amazing things, but don’t have a place to display/sell them except for online, so we are providing them that space. We will have unique items, locally made, that you can’t find anywhere else.
CB: What else will be there besides artworks?
F: Ultimately, all sorts of handmade goods from local indie crafters: art prints, scarves, jewelry, cards, stationary, accessories, pillows, curtains, unique artist T-shirt lines and eventually bigger creations like furniture and lighting. Anything that we think is interesting and would be cool to sell. We will also have art and craft supply as well. All of this we will be building up as we go. It’s gonna start-up small and then grow from there as we acquire more merchandise and, therefore, the funds to stock more art supply.
CB: What are your plans for the future? How do you envision the gallery six months from now?
F: Haha! Hopefully we’ll not still be paying rent out o’ pocket. It’s gonna be a slow build, but we are comfortable with that. We hope the creative community sees us as a resource and an outlet, as well as a great place to see new art once a month along with the other new things that their peers create. And hopefully in turn that inspires them to keep creating more things to display and sell there.
CB: What can gallery-goers expect to see in your inaugural exhibit?
F: Chris’ paintings. The space in general. Us jumping up and down when we make out first dollar…aaaannnnnd probably making sure it’s being documented via various photographic devices. Potable beverages. Their friends! The beginnings of the boutique and us communicating with future consigners about their work. Suggestion box for art supplies to stock. High fives! My mom. Snackage generously supplied to us via Hideaway, Take the Cake and cookies from the now imfamous Mikey B!
CB: You say you enter through Red Polly. HOW? Where is the gallery?
F: We are 4012 Hamiliton Ave. in Northside, but you will enter through 4016 Hamilton Ave. You will come through Red Polly’s front door, we share the same entrance. Walk to the room on the right. Two of the walls in our space will always be dedicated to artwork that will stay up all month.
CB: Tell me bout the party.
F: Fabricate’s grand opening will be on Friday, with the inaugural art show 4 x 6 x 100: an exhibition of Chris’ paintings. What started out as sketches for larger works turned into a series of one hundred 4 x 6 paintings that are self-portrait snapshots of everyday emotions, split-second ideas and random documentation of the images that reside in her brain. There will potable beverages, hors d’oeuvres and entertainment provided by the DJ’s of PROJECTMILL, creators of award winning DANCE_MF. This is your first chance to get a glimpse of the location that will house once-a-month art exhibits and shows, preview the beginnings of the boutique and meet/talk with the owners about consigning your own handiwork in the future. It’s gonna be a lot fun and will hopefully get everyone ramped up for future exhibitions we plan on having each month accompanied by different DJ’s and bands.
Get your glue guns ready, ya'll, because the Crafty Supermarket's about to take over the Northside Tavern. That's right. Your local watering hole (generally full of tight-pantsed drunks at night) will be hosting an indie craft show on Saturday afternoon (noon-6 p.m.) with handmade fine art, recycled goods, home decor, jewelry, children's items, stationery and more.
The masterminds behind this DIY dream are local writer/editor/crafter Grace Dobush and recent DAAP grad/sustainable shoemaker Alisha Budkie. The duo will be bringing together over 20 craft vendors from Cincinnati and the Midwest for a fair inspired by the likes of Renegade Chicago. Along with shopping opportunities there will be "swag bags" for the first 50 shoppers, music from PROJECTMILL, food from Dojo Gelato and others, and a Make It! table where attendees can get crafty with the BYOProjectors (read about them here).
CityBeat recently had a little e-mail exchange with Dobush, whose book, Crafty Superstar: Make Crafts on the Side, Earn Extra Cash and Basically Have It All, is about to be released, about the Crafty Supermarket.
CityBeat: What is the Crafty Supermarket?
Grace Dobush: Crafty Supermarket is an indie craft show, or a Rock & Roll craft show, which is more appropriate since it's in Northside. This is not your standard high-school auditorium, church-basement craft show: We're having music by PROJECTMILL, rad food from local vendors and 20 hip crafters who will be selling the stuff they make. No packaged stuff, no commercial stuff, no lame stuff—just arts and crafts!
CB: Why are you having a craft show? What's the goal?
GD: My goal is to solidify the craft scene in Cincinnati a bit. There are a ton of really talented crafters and artists here, but none of us seem to know each other! My co-organizer, Alisha, and I had never met until we were in Washington D.C. at the Summit of Awesome (a craft summit organized by the ladies who put on Crafty Bastards, a humongous indie craft show). We really wished there was an indie craft event in Cincinnati, and eventually we realized that we should step up and do it ourselves! It's either the DIY mentality kicking in or a pretty solid sense of masochism, I'm not sure which.
CB: You seem to be an indie craft guru. What is your crafting experience? What inspires you to craft? What crafts do you make/specialize in?
GD: That's the first time I've heard that one! I've just been crafting a long-ass time. I've been printmaking since I was a teenager and then took a course on bookbinding my freshman year of college. It just kind of snowballed after that, and I sought out like-minds on the internet. Right around 2000 was a turning point for indie craft... it got a name, the indie craft shows started coming out, and all the movers and shakers were on these craft message boards and got to know each other. Some of the folks I know from those boards back in the day I ended up interviewing for my book, Crafty Superstar.
I'm not a full-time crafter (I'm a magazine editor and writer by trade) but I love connecting with people and talking to people. There are plenty of crafters who are much more successful than me at being a business, but I saw a lot of word-of-mouth information that hadn't been collected anywhere else. And my book was born!
CB: What role does crafting play in our modern world, so to speak? Why is it important?
GD: I think the popularity of craft is a direct backlash to the super-industrialized big-box shopping culture. People are starting to see the value in knowing exactly where the things they buy come from, and there's nothing better than finding an object you absolutely love and getting to talk to the person who made it. Of course, big-box stores recognize that this aesthetic is totally hot, so you see crafty-ish knockoffs for sale that are probably handmade... but by child laborers who may or may not be working against their will.
There are also a pretty big number of crafters who focus on using sustainable, local and/or recycled materials. And of course, when you support an indie artist, you are directly supporting your local economy. I can almost guarantee the $10 you spend at Crafty Supermarket will turn around and get spent on bus fare for the Metro, dinner at Melt or drinks at the Tavern later.
CB: What vendors will be on hand at the market?
GD: We've got a really wide range of crafters—selected from almost 70 applications, which just blew us away. The crafters make jewelry, paper goods, housewares, kid's stuff, clothing, art, knit things—all sorts of stuff. We also tried to get a balance of crafters in terms of wanting this to represent Cincinnati crafters—about three-quarters of the vendors are from the Cincinnati region. And although we have a lot of vendors who are old hands at the indie craft sale thing, we also wanted to make sure to bring in some folks who are doing a show for the first time, because once upon a time, we were the newbies.
CB: What sort of crafts will attendees be able to make at the Make It! Table?
GD: We've got a really random assortment of supplies and guest curation by the crafty people from BYOProject, which is a crafty collective that meets at Happen Inc. in Northside once a month. It's an anything-goes kind of craft situation, but specifically we've got paper to make your own album cover (12-inch, of course), and little paperboard albums that you can decorate to make your own storybook or draw a demented family album. Whatev!
CB: Will this become an annual event? Do you have any other events planned for the future?
GD: From the very beginning Alisha and I have kept saying stuff like "Next year, we are so doing X and Y," or "Next year, we are never doing Z again." It's just felt kind of natural that this would roll into being an annual event. Plus, since the response has been so huge (our Facebook event has 130 guests at this point) that it would be a shame to never do it again!
We don't have any more events planned immediately—we need some recovery time!—but at this point we're totally planning to do something even bigger for next fall. The late fall is primo craft sale time because people are much more willing to spend money to buy gifts for other people. It's pretty safe to say you'll see Crafty Supermarket again next fall.
Most of us can agree that this Issue 9 business has become a total mess. If passed, this charter amendment won’t necessarily stop the streetcar line from being constructed, but it will force a vote before city leaders can spend money on it. It will also force votes on all other rail spending — including regional high-speed trains that Barack Obama wants built. Issue 9 is anti-Obama!
As their press release so eloquently puts it, “2008’s ‘Best New Bar in Cincinnati’ slowly died three weeks ago, and no one seemed to notice. From being consistently full of thirsty bohemian patrons and hosting national up-and-coming bands (Vampire Weekend played a week before their debut on SNL) to a potted-plant-ridden empty mess—The Gypsy Hut’s rise and fall was about as meteoric as MC Hammer’s. … Luckily, two devoted Northsiders have been working feverishly to reopen and restore the bar to its former glory and more.”
If Mark Twain was right about Cincinnati being 10 years behind the times nearly a century ago, it would be safe to expect the Industrial Revolution and Internet age by now to have dropped our fair city even further behind society’s advancements.
If the Oct. 8 Cincinnati Bike Plan open house at the McKie Recreation Center in Northside is an indication that Cincinnati is finally sincere about promoting bicycles as a legitimate transportation option, that would put us approximately 40 years behind the most progressive American cities in this regard. But it’s better late than never, according to the nearly 100 people who showed up to participate in the information-gathering session with city engineers and design groups currently working on the city’s first comprehensive bike plan since 1976.
I’ve been working at Kroger for about six years now. The union, however, will tell you it’s about four because of the frequent absences I take in the name of higher education. (And believe me, this makes a drastic difference in my pay scale.)
In the six (four) years I’ve been at Kroger, I thought that the worst thing that could ever happen to me was having to clean shit off of the walls, floor and seats of the women’s bathroom. Imagine my surprise: Up until this point, I was convinced that girls didn’t poop. But, no, apparently it can get worse.