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by Nick Swartsell 01.14.2015 44 days ago
 
 
tony parrott

Council Changes Residency Rules; Sewer District Head Keeps Job

Tony Parrott to stay on while living in Butler County

Cincinnati City Council today changed a rule that stipulates which public employees must live within city limits. The move effectively exempts embattled Director of Water and Sewers Tony Parrott from having to move to the city after he was punished in June for misleading officials about his residency.

Under the new rules, only the city manager, assistant city manager, city solicitor and police chief will need to live in the city. The 6-2 decision came with some argument, however. Councilmen Kevin Flynn and Wendell Young voted against the rule change. Flynn said he felt it wasn’t fair to make concessions for someone who deliberately misled the city. Young had broader qualms with the change, saying he thinks all high-level city administration employees should have to live in the city from which they get their taxpayer-funded salaries.

“I have great difficulty with people who are in the higher part of the administration who help to create the rules and in many cases enforce the rules, and then are not subject to them,” Young said. “I don’t understand how the city of Cincinnati is good enough to work in, good enough to provide your income, but isn’t good enough to live in.”  

Councilman Charlie Winburn, however, said the situation was actually the city’s fault. In 2012, the city-run sewer district merged with the water works department, which serves both the city as well as most of Hamilton County and parts of Butler and Warren Counties. Winburn says the residency requirements for Parrott’s job should have been updated at that time, since it is now effectively an agency that serves the greater region.

“Are we going to split Mr. Parrott in two now?” Winburn asked. “Do we have to get Solomon in on this thing?”

Other council members, including Councilwoman Yvette Simspon, voted for the change on legal grounds. Ohio law forbids residency requirements for some city employees, and there are questions about whether the city’s former rules complied with those laws. City solicitor Paula Boggs Muething said she believes council’s change today falls within the state’s laws.

Parrot, who has served as head of the Metropolitan Sewer District and Water Works, had listed his residence as a property on Westwood Avenue that turned out to be an empty lot he owned. Meanwhile, he was actually living in Butler County. City officials found out about the discrepancy in June and disciplined Parrott by docking him 40 hours of pay and requiring him to move into the city within 180 days. That time had elapsed and Parrott still hadn’t moved back. Parrott was granted a 45-day extension at the end of the six-month period as the city decided whether to fire him or change its rules.

Wound up in the questions about Parrott’s residency is the city’s court-ordered, $3.2 billion sewer project, a huge undertaking that will stretch into the next decade. The city was ordered to update its sewer system after a lawsuit by homeowners and environmental groups. Some council members say Parrott is integral to that ongoing process. Others, however, say that doesn’t excuse his actions.

“I understand the desire to keep this person in place,” Flynn said, acknowledging Parrott’s big role. “But I cannot support keeping someone who has been dishonest with the city and has continued to be dishonest with the city. I think that does a disservice to the rest of our city employees and to our citizens.”

Parrott has told City Manager Harry Black that he doesn’t want to live in the city for personal reasons but does want to remain at his job.

 
 
by Jac Kern 01.14.2015 44 days ago
Posted In: Movies, Music, TV/Celebrity, Humor at 12:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

American Idol’s 14th season premiered last week and if you think you shouldn’t care because Ryan Seacrest makes you uncomfortable, you are wrong. Well, not about the Ryan Seacrest part — he is very distracting. Like, why is he still around? How much does he get paid to be a weirdo to young singers? Is he actually a robot? What really happened to Brian Dunkleman? But you should be excited because Cincinnati’s own Jess Lamb is on it, and there’s a very good chance she’ll go far in the competition.

I typically don’t watch the music competition shows like Idol and The Voice, because witnessing genuine humans be embarrassed on television really upsets me. But when I heard Jess Lamb had auditioned and got the golden Hollywood ticket, I had to give the show a shot. Jess is a great local artist and I camped next to her at Bonnaroo one year, so I'm pretty much famous by proxy.

Anyway, at 28 years old, Jess is painted as the mature one of the auditioning bunch, which is probably going to make you feel like a shriveled French fry at the bottom of a car. But with her age (seriously, I can’t) comes a breadth of talent and experience. She writes and performs her own songs but — judging by her audition — has no trouble with the traditional covers Idol necessitates.

Jess auditioned in Kansas City, Mo., and got a great reaction from the judges, particularly crooner Harry Connick, Jr. Check it out:

Auditions will continue every Wednesday and Thursday for the next couple weeks, so we won’t be seeing much of Jess again until the final 48 contestants are narrowed down to 24 after a performance in front of a live audience (this has already been filmed). So, will Jess make the cut? Idol teased us with a “look” — or rather, listen — at the top 24. You can hear them sing but can’t really make out anyone’s face. Judge for yourself. All I can make out is a Captain Hook-looking dude with dreads. GO JESS.

Remember the uber-sleazy Gaston from Beauty and the Beast? You know the song, “No one's slick as Gaston/No one's quick as Gaston/No one does push-ups in the middle of an amusement park like Gaston…” What? Yes.

Sia’s “Chandelier” girl is back, and she’s dance-battling in a dirty cage with Shia LaBeouf, which some people are NOT OK with.

Also, why did I just learn that the little girl, Maddie Ziegler, is from Lifetime gem Dance Moms?!

Speaking of times when we all get sucked into Wikipedia holes… Rapper T.I. is basically a suicide prevention specialist. This isn’t news, but it’s new to me (please don’t ask why I’m Internet-searching random rappers at night). Seriously, “Rescue of suicidal men” is a sub-section on his Wikipedia page. In 2010, he stopped a young man from taking his life by convincing him to not jump off a 22-foot Atlanta building. T.I. heard about the situation on the radio, drove to the scene and asked police if there was anything he could do to help. Pretty incredible. But before that, in 2006, T.I. discovered a struggling Scott Stapp after the Creed frontman had jumped over his hotel balcony (whether this was a suicide attempt or the result of insomniac hallucinations varies in reports). Can we have T.I. intervene on Scott Stapp again please? Side note: Awesome reality show idea. For real, though, dude seems like he needs it.

On a lighter note, here’s a Larry David Lynch blog!

Parks and Recreation’s final season premiered last night. Jurassic World will be unleashed into theaters this summer. Chris Pratt stars in both. Relevant:

American Crime Story casting news! If you recall, Ryan Murphy is spinning off on his American Horror Story miniseries franchise with a true crime series. The idea is to explore a different criminal case in American history each season, like how each AHS season explores fear and freaky folklore in a different arena. The series’ debut will focus on the O.J. Simpson trial. Cuba Gooding, Jr.will play O.J., David "Forever Ross" Schwimmer will play Robert Kardashian and John Travolta will play Robert Shapiro. So much wut.

This dog takes a bus to the dog park and knows to get off at the appropriate stop — alone — which is more than I can say about myself.

The Golden Globes, a.k.a Amy ‘n’ Tina’s Sleepover Party, were Sunday. The duo kicked ass in their final hosting gig, don’t get me wrong, but overall the show left me wanting something more exciting. Maybe it was the fact that the awards were so spread out. There were big winners, for sure (Transparent, Boyhood), but there were a lot of new winners (which yields heartfelt but otherwise boring speeches) and no one show or film truly swept.

If anything, it gave me a bunch of new movies and shows to add to my watch-list. Peep the nominees and winners here, if you care, but the best part of the production was the monologue.

TinAmy were perfection. They even killed it with a Cosby rape joke that certainly shook up the audience. Nothing like seeing rich, famous celebrities panic over whether it’s OK to laugh.

Other notes:

Leelah Alcorn — the local transgender teen who took her own life earlier this month — got a shout out from Transparent creator Jill Soloway.

The stars of Fifty Shades of Grey couldn’t muster enough chemistry to present an award, so that’s probably not a good sign…

George Clooney got a lifetime achievement award and said nice things about his new wife.

Chrissy Teigen ugly-cried when husband John Legend accepted an award with Common.

And that’s about it! Of course, the Oscars are the pinnacle of awards season, and those nominees will be announced Thursday.

 
 
by Mike Breen 01.14.2015 44 days ago
Posted In: Local Music, CEAs, Music News at 12:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Cincinnati Entertainment Awards Voting Ends Soon

The deadline to vote for this year’s CEAs is Thursday night at midnight

The 18th annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards ceremony/party, presented by CityBeat to honor Greater Cincinnati’s amazing music scene, is just around the corner. The show — featuring performances by nominees like Young Heirlooms, Buggs tha Rocka, Mad Anthony, Injecting Strangers, The Cliftones and more — is set for Sunday, Jan. 25 at Covington’s Madison Theater. Click here to get your tickets now. VIP tickets are also available. VIPs get membership to the Cincinnati Music Heritage Foundation, a James Brown or Hank Williams T-shirt (or limited edition poster made with Eli's BBQ sauce!), beer, appetizers, soft drinks and private seating. 

There is still time to vote for your favorite nominated artists — but not much. The ballot closes Thursday night at midnight. Click here to add your two cents before it’s too late.


For a CEA warm-up, be sure to come to Bogart’s this Saturday for our annual Best New Bands showcase, featuring performances by New Artist of the Year CEA nominees Dream Tiger, Honeyspiders, Prim, Elk Creek, Leggy and Noah Smith, as well as fellow relative newcomers Kate Wakefield, JetLab, Harbour and Near Earth Objects. 


For more information on all of the performing artists, pick up this week’s CityBeat, our annual Best New Bands issue. You can also read the stories here and here


Tickets for Saturday’s 7 p.m. showcase are just $5 (or 50 cents per performer!) and can be purchased at the Bogart’s box office. 



 
 
by Nick Swartsell 01.14.2015 44 days ago
Posted In: News at 09:11 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
boehner copy

Morning News and Stuff

Boehner's old bartender threatens to kill him, Cincinnati makes some pretty auspicious lists, a 30-year plan for America's transportation networks

Morning Cincy. Let’s talk about the news.

The big story today is that House Speaker John Boehner’s country club bartender has been indicted for threatening to kill the powerful West Chester Republican. Michael Robert Hoyt was fired from his job at the Wetherington Country Club in West Chester last year, after which he sent a rambling email to Boehner’s wife saying that if he had wanted to kill Boehner, he could have slipped something into his wine many times. Hoyt, who has a history of mental illness, later told authorities investigating his email that he was Jesus Christ and that he needed to kill Boehner.  Hoyt indicated he had a pistol, which was later seized by authorities. Killing a dude doesn’t sound very Jesus-y, but I digress. Hoyt is currently being held in a federal mental health facility for evaluation.

An audit commissioned by Hamilton County slams former Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis Jr.’s handling of the department. The audit compared the sheriff’s office to something from the 1950s, and one of its authors, attorney Scott Greenwood, said the department was “held together with smoke, mirrors and absolute secrecy.”

Among the problems the audit found were unguarded evidence rooms, single deputies overseeing up to 100 inmates and a lack of computerized recording keeping at the county’s traffic and other departments. Former sheriff Leis has said the audit is politically motivated and that he stands by his record. Republican County Commissioner Greg Hartmann has also come to Leis’ defense, saying the sheriff did the best he could with the resources available to him. Hartmann says the report seems to be a push for funding increases for the sheriff’s office, something he and fellow Republican commissioner Chris Monzel say isn’t possible.

The audit was highly critical of several resource shortcomings within the department, an issue that is still at play in the political fight between current Sheriff Jim Neil and county commissioners.

Cincinnati is one of 15 destinations across the world highlighted in Jetsetter Magazine’s list of places to go in 2015. Jetsetter highlighted downtown’s arts district, including the Aronoff Center for the Arts, the Contemporary Arts Center and 21C as well as the city’s upscale dining scene and forthcoming bike path expansions. If they think that stuff is neat, wait till they get a look at our really rad warehouse punk shows and our awesome chili. Or maybe they’re not as into that kind of stuff. Cuba, Taipei in Taiwan, Kauai in Hawaii and Bordeaux, France, also made the list.

• Speaking of lists, Cincinnati is the tenth-best city in the country for jobs in science, technology, engineering and math. A study by personal finance site Wallethub.com found Cincinnati among the top cities in the country for STEM jobs. The site measured job openings in STEM industries, wages for STEM workers, expected growth of related industries in coming years and other factors. Houston and Austin, Texas and Raleigh, North Carolina rounded out the top three. Columbus bested us by one spot, landing at number nine on the list.

• The Ohio Board of Education voted on a new president Monday, selecting Gov. John Kasich ally Tom Gunlock. Gunlock is one of eight at-large members on the 19-member board. While the other 11 members are elected to represent a district, Kasich appoints at-large members. The board looks to be the site of some serious fights this year over charter schools, common core, the 5 of 8 rule and other contentious issues. Though Democrats got battered in nearly every other state election, they came out with three more seats on the board in November. They’re still in the minority, however. Nearly all the Dems on the board backed Cincinnati’s Pat Bruns, a newly-elected board member, to head the board. Bruns and her fellow Democrats have promised push-back on charters, calling for more accountability for the private, state-funded schools. They’ve also signaled opposition to elimination of a rule that requires all schools to hire at least five out of eight kinds of specialists, including librarians and art teachers.

• The Obama administration is beginning to outline ambitious plans for the nation’s transportation infrastructure. Last week Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx previewed a thirty-year plan for his agency ahead of a comprehensive report on the nation’s transportation infrastructure needs due later this year. Foxx said the report will focus on the inter-reliance of America’s many interwoven transit systems. He highlighted big population growth in the South and West as drivers of a need to update the nation’s systems, as well as the increasing number of people moving back to urban centers. Foxx said seemingly small factors such as increased reliance on bikes and walking shouldn’t be overlooked in the planning process, suggesting the department may pay close attention to urban areas where those changes are slowly coming about.

“What people are viewing as this cute, cuddly bike and pedestrian movement could be a real game-changer,” Foxx said in a Friday talk in Washington, D.C. about the upcoming report.


Hit me up with news tips, marriage or business (or marriage business) proposals, or inquiries for booking my one-man singing hackey sack musical at nswartsell@citybeat.com or on the twitters: @nswartsell.

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 01.13.2015 45 days ago
Posted In: News at 11:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
wwe_kasich_fonz

Morning News and Stuff

Questions over new OTR parking plan; Kasich gets a little teary-eyed; the Internet is faster than the earth's rotation, and that's a problem

Morning y’all. I know, I know. I skipped our news rundown yesterday, but I had a good excuse: I spent some time at City Hall finding out about poverty-related challenges facing Cincinnati in the new year and efforts to address those issues, which I’ll be reporting on in-depth soon. In the meantime, let’s play catch up.

There’s a new parking plan for Over-the-Rhine floating around, and while it will cost less than Mayor John Cranley’s initial proposal to enact the highest residential parking fees in the country, some folks still aren’t happy about the impact it could have on low-income residents in the neighborhood.

The earlier plan, which floated a yearly $300 fee to park in OTR, was aimed at funding streetcar operating costs. Now those costs have been accounted for, but parking in the neighborhood is still kind of a mess. So the city’s transportation department has a new plan: a $108 yearly permit for residents, who will be limited to one car per person and two permits per household. Residents living in low-cost subsidized housing would pay $16 a year for their permits. Four-hundred-two spaces would be made available to permit holders in the neighborhood. Another 646 would have parking meters and the remaining 199 would be up for grabs by anyone at any time, completely unregulated. Those spots are aimed at OTR workers who commute in every morning. Vice Mayor David Mann questioned whether those spaces would really go to workers in the neighborhood. Others, including OTR Community Council President Ryan Messer, raised concerns about low-income residents in the neighborhood. Messer pointed out that not all of the neighborhood’s residents who are low-income live in subsidized housing. The city is hoping to get the permitting program running by spring.

• Staying in Over-the-Rhine for a moment, let's talk about an international game design competition coming to the neighborhood later this month. Local startup ChoreMonster will host the Global Game Jam Jan. 23-25 at The Brandery headquarters in OTR. Past events have attracted game designers from 485 cities and 73 countries. Competitors are given 48 hours to design a game around a prompt given the opening day of the event. That game can run on any platform — mobile app, Mac, PC, or even the oldest-fashioned game platform of all — a kitchen table or dorm room floor. Yes, board and card games are allowed.  

• Well, it happened, you already know about it, it was huge, etc., but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention The Ohio State University’s college football national title win last night. They upset Oregon, everyone in the state is wearing red and gray and so forth. And oh yeah, predictably, a bunch of people in Columbus set fire to a bunch of couches and stuff, knocked down goal posts at the OSU stadium, got arrested, etc. Here’s a handy AP style/word-usage note I’ve picked up from journalists covering the unrest: Apparently these kinds of things aren’t riots if they’re over football games. Instead, they’re “revelry.” Noted. Meanwhile, a furniture store that ran a promotion promising free furniture for customers if OSU won by more than seven points will pay more than $1.5 million in rebates after yesterday’s win, which maybe explains why people were burning all those old couches.

• So, will Ohio’s conservative Gov. John Kasich back a plan put forward by President Barack Obama to provide two years of free community college education for Americans? It’s too soon to say for sure, but the governor’s office released some cautiously almost-supportive language in response to the idea and said the gov is interested in the details. States will be footing a quarter of the bill for the plan and must opt-in for residents to be eligible for the proposed program. If conservative governors like Kasich were to support the plan, it would be a major bipartisan moment, since anything Obama does usually causes howls of socialism from the Republican party.

• Speaking of Kasich, he was sworn in yesterday for his second term as governor of Ohio. His 45-minute speech had few surprises, though he did kind of tear up a couple times (Ohio Republicans are an emotional lot, if Kasich and Rep. John Boehner are any indications) and took what seemed to be a passive-aggressive jab at the state’s legislature. He thanked the body, which is dominated by his fellow Republicans, for helping him expand Medicaid back in 2013. The joke is that the state legislature fought Kasich all the way to the end on the expansion. Perhaps it’s a sharp elbow from the governor as Ohio considers this year whether it will renew its acceptance of federal funds for the expansion.

• Finally, I’ve noted on this blog before that 90s throwback steez (my use of the word “steez” is proof of my late 90s slang savvy) is at an all-time high. We’re even going to have a repeat of that whole Y2K panic. It seems we’re all too fast for the planet and we’ve gotten ahead of the earth’s inconsistent rotation by about a second. That means we’ll need a so-called “leap second” this year. OK, no big deal, just count down to zero on New Year’s Eve 2015, right? Well, it’s a bit more complicated. Turns out computer software hates it when you just go tacking extra seconds onto reality. The last leap second in 2012 crashed Yelp, Reddit, Gawker and other big websites. That actually sounds like a wonderful way to start a new year. Software engineers have worked out a fix to the problem, but the question is whether that fix will be implemented across all the various programs that like, run the Internet. I just hope Tumblr is OK and Buzzfeed is not.

Hit me up with news tips, frostbite prevention tips or just tips (paypal accepted): nswartsell@citybeat.com or via Twitter before it crashes: @nswartsell.

 
 
by Amanda Gratsch 01.12.2015 46 days ago
Posted In: Alcohol, Food news, Openings at 02:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Horse & Barrel Bourbon House Opens Downtown

More bourbon for everyone!

After a long history with bourbon, the Tavern Restaurant Group (The Pub, Nicholson's, deSha's) recently opened their latest bar concept in the former Bootsy's/Walnut Street Grill space across from the Aronoff downtown: The Horse & Barrel Bourbon House.

Inspired — and named after — the former award-winning bourbon bar (named one of the world's three best bourbon bars in 2008 by Whisky Magazine) attached to deSha’s now-shuttered Lexington, Ky., location, the Kentucky-style Horse & Barrel Bourbon House is the latest in the area's ever-growing collection of bourbon-focused drinkeries, joining MainStrasse's/Molly Wellmann's Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar and Northside's The Littlefield

The bar, which is on the ground floor and seats about 40 (the upstairs will function as an events space, with space for 100-150 people and various complete event packages) offers 80 different bourbons, several flights and bourbon cocktails, plus a small menu of shareable plates with a Southern theme. The savory snacks and desserts run $6.50-$12, and include items like chicken tenderloin flash-fried and tossed in Maker's Mark barbecue sauce; gouda mac and cheese smothered in pulled pork with a Maker's Mark barbecue sauce; and a Queen City Pie, with bourbon, pecan, chocolate and banana served with salted caramel ice cream. 

Their $9 bourbon cocktails range from a fruity Old Fashioned Woodford Reserve Personal Selection — orange, cherry, simple syrup, Angostura Bitters — to the refreshing Mint Julep Maker’s Mark. The premium bourbon selection also includes Old Forester Birthday 2014 Edition, Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel, George T. Stagg and Woodford Reserve Personal Selection (this bourbon is only available at Tavern Restaurant Group locations, which has personally curated bourbons from both Woodford and Buffalo Trace).

Horse & Barrel also does happy hour, available from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. The “Old” One & A Cold One special includes your choice of any draft beer and one shot of the “Olds” for $5. The “Olds” include: Old Crow, Old Forester Classic, Old Grand-Dad 80 and Old Overholt Rye. 

The Horse & Barrel Bourbon House
Go:
631 Walnut St., Downtown;
Hours: 4-11 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday-Saturday.


 


 
 
by Maija Zummo 01.09.2015 49 days ago
Posted In: Eats, Events, Comedy, Culture, Concerts, Music, Life, Fun at 01:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
doge

Your Weekend To Do List (1/9-1/11)

Stuff to help with the boreds

Wow. Such stuff. Much do. So fun. …


BEER: The Tap Room Trolley

In advance of February’s Cincinnati Beer Week, the Tap Room Trolley takes happy imbibers to six different Cincinnati breweries. The guided bus tour lasts approximately seven hours with three different routes — A, B or C — to take you to different alcoholic parts of town. All busses leave from the Moerlein Lager House. Tour A departs at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday; tour B leaves at noon Saturday and Sunday; tour C leaves at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $30. Moerlein Lager House, 115 Joe Nuxhall Way, The Banks, Downtown, cincinnatibeerweek.com.



MUSIC: G-Eazy
G-Eazy
Photo: The Chamber Group
If Gerald Earl Gillum was an actor, he could probably score a role playing little brother to Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal or Edward Norton, since there’s a little bit of all of those guys floating around in his intense visage. But Gillum’s gig isn’t in front of the camera, it’s behind the mic and, as Young Gerald or G-Eazy, he’s been one of the most successful Hip Hop artists/producers to emerge from the Oakland, Calif., scene in the past decade. G-EAZY plays at Bogart's Friday, Jan. 9. Find tickets/more info here. 


This favorite exhibit of Cincinnati’s 19th-century brewing industry returns to the Betts House. It features photos, charts and narratives of the tunnels, breweries, buildings and people of our beer past. Bricks, Barrel Vaults, & Beer also highlights the social and cultural influences that made Cincinnati a brewery destination, like immigration. Opening reception: 2-5 p.m. Saturday. On view through May 7. Free. The Betts House, 416 Clark St., West End, thebettshouse.org


COMEDY: Geoff Tate

Geoff Tate
Photo: Provided

Comedian Geoff Tate is adept at telling hilarious personal stories from his life, as well as making sharp observations about the seemingly mundane. Tate, a Cincinnati native, now lives in Los Angeles. He also hosts a podcast called Afternoon, Everybody! during which he talks about the sitcom Cheers with his friends. Showtimes Thursday-Sunday. $8-$14. Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, gobananascomedy.com.



Girls
Photo: HBO
With Lena Dunham’s omnipresence in the media between the build-up for and release of her book Not That Kind of Girl and her controversial Tweet/hair color/relationship du jour, it’s easy to forget we’re due for a new season of Girls. But Hannah and friends are back for another round of comical misadventures. One major change in this fourth season is the setting — while Jessa, Marnie, Shoshanna and the dudes are still living the dream in New York, Hannah is doing her thing at the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Season Premiere, 9 p.m. Sunday, HBO.


ONSTAGE: Broadway Across Cincinnati's Cinderella
Cinderella
Photo: Carol Rosegg

Rodgers and Hammerstein created a musical about Cinderella for TV in 1957, watched by an audience of 107 million. It finally made its Broadway debut in 2013, with a contemporary story using their songs. In Douglas Carter Beane’s new script, the bedraggled chambermaid is Ella — taunted as “Cinderella” by her nasty stepsisters because she’s always dirty from cleaning the fireplace — and her story has had some political intrigue injected, making the heroine a bit of a social reformer.  Through Jan. 18. $49-$101. Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-621-2718, cincinnati.broadway.com



MODERN DANCE: MamLuft&Co. Dance at the Aronoff

MamLuft&Co.'s Maps
Photo: Jeanne Mam-Luft
Coming off a successful fall touring season with performances in Chicago and Roanoke, Va., the eight modern dancers of MamLuft&Co. Dance take the Aronoff stage this weekend for the company’s first mixed repertory concert. On the bill are short-form adaptations of imaginative full-length favorites from the last three seasons. MamLuft&Co. Dance at the Aronoff takes place Friday and Saturday. Tickets and more information: mamluftcodance.org.


CARS: The Cavalcade of Customs

Cavalcade of Customs
Photo: Provided

The Duke Energy Convention Center hosts the Cavalcade of Customs, with tons of custom cars, hot rods, trucks and motorcycles, plus the cars of The Fast and the Furious, a live-demo chop shop, a Miss Cavalcade pin-up challenge and more. 3-10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. $16; $6 kids ages 6-12. 525 Elm St., Downtown, koiautoparts.com/cavalcade.


MOTORCYCLES: AMSOIL Arenacross

AMSOIL Arenacross
Photo: Shiftone Photography

U.S. Bank Arena hosts AMSOIL Arenacross Saturday — an enclosed, dirt-track off-road motorcycle race filled with jumps, turns and other obstacles. 7 p.m. Saturday. $10-$40. 100 Broadway, Downtown, usbankarena.com.



THE CIRCUS: Syrian Shrine Circus

The 94th annual Syrian Shrine Circus comes to the Bank of Kentucky Center. The Shriners’ three-ring circus features death-defying aerial acts, clowns and animal attractions like tigers and elephants. 7:30 p.m. Friday; 1 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. Sunday. $10-$30; $5 parking. 500 Louie B. Nunn Drive, Highland Heights, Ky., bankofkentuckycenter.com.


CLEANSE: The Weekly Juicery

The Weekly Juicery's rainbow assortment of cold-pressed juices.
Photo: Jesse Fox

The Weekly Juicery, while enthusiastically committed to the juicing concept, is about much more than juice. The Kentucky-based company just opened its first Cincinnati location in December, strategically placing the cozy, colorful shop in the very center of Hyde Park Square. With successful juiceries in Louisville and Lexington, their well-established concept places The Weekly Juicery a few steps ahead of its OTR counterpart, Off the Vine. The juicery boasts an almost entirely gluten-free and vegan menu, and the staff is sensitive to just about every allergy imaginable. Their weekly juicing programs offer three, four and five-day juicing regimens in the $27 to $54 price range. 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily. 2727 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-321-0680, theweeklyjuicery.com.



 
 
by Nick Swartsell 01.09.2015 49 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:53 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
brent spence bridge

Morning News and Stuff

Cincy company puts green spin on rideshare; Sen. Brown proposes payday loan alternative; Boehner says 'nah, brah' on gas tax hike

Hey all. It’s Friday! But you already knew that. Here are some things you may not already be aware of.

Today is full of statewide and national news, but there’s at least one interesting local story happening right now. A Cincinnati company is following in the er, tire tracks of rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft, offering rides via an online reservation system. The difference is, Drivr Green Transportation Company is using all-electric Tesla luxury cars to squire you about town. Founders and Cincinnati natives Brandon Beard and Nick Seitz figured out they could run the service with lower overhead if they didn’t have to pay for gasoline. They tested the concept with three Tesla Model S cars on Uber’s network in August. Now, they’re running those three cars 20 to 22 hours a day while looking to lease 10 more cars and find 30 more drivers.  The two say they’re not trying to compete with Uber and Lyft, but rather to fill an as-yet unmet demand for green luxury transportation.

• A bill giving more than $7 million to substance abuse programs and jails in Kentucky to help deal with the region’s heroin crisis passed the Kentucky Senate yesterday, the Associated Press reports. The bill also exempts heroin users from minor drug charges when calling 911 for a heroin overdose in an attempt to encourage people to reach out to emergency personnel during overdose situations.  A sharp spike in heroin use and overdoses that has swept the region has hit Northern Kentucky especially hard.

• The state of Ohio has temporarily halted executions while it figures out its lethal injection method, as we reported yesterday. The state is abandoning the two-drug method it has used since 2011 after an execution last year took 26 minutes, resulting in audible struggles for breath from inmate Dennis McGuire while he was being executed. That incident sparked a lawsuit from McGuire’s family. The state has been using the sedative and painkiller mixture since 2011, when production of a third drug called thiopental sodium ceased in the United States. Ohio has announced it will go back to using that drug in its lethal injection procedure, though it has not announced how it intends to source it. The execution of Ronald Phillips, which was scheduled for Feb. 11, has been suspended until the state can source the third drug. Officials say other pending executions may also be pushed back.

• Ohio’s Senator Sherrod Brown is proposing an alternative for low-income folks who  might otherwise avail themselves of high-interest payday loans. Brown’s plan would let Americans get short-term cash advances on their future tax returns based on tax credits for which they are eligible. Brown has been vocal in his opposition to payday lending companies, which charge huge sums to borrow small amounts of money and which often throw low-income people into a long-running cycle of debt.

"Ohioans shouldn't be trapped with a lifetime of debt from predatory loans – particularly if they have tax refunds waiting for them," Brown said in an emailed press release yesterday. "Three-quarters of Americans who turn to costly, high-interest payday loans may have money that they can claim each tax season in the form of the Earned Income Tax Credit.”

• Gas prices are crazy low. Like, lower than they have been in years. If my car worked, I’d be hyped. But when the prices are lower and sales don’t spike to make up for that, the government’s receipts from the tax on gasoline also go way down. That’s not bad by itself, necessarily, but that money pays for some pretty important things infrastructure-wise. The tax hasn’t been raised in 20 years, and Americans are still paying 18 cents per gallon toward maintaining the nation’s roads, highways and bridges. Meanwhile, a staggering number of those roads and bridges are in need of repair or replacement. See: the Brent Spence Bridge, the Western Hills Viaduct, and thousands of other structures across the country. So, with Americans paying less for gas, it does sort of seem like an opportune time to think about raising the gas tax, no? So, you know, we still have roads to drive on and so we don’t have to wait for the river to freeze to get to Kentucky, right? Nah, Rep. John Boehner, R-West Chester, says. Not going to happen. Boehner proudly pointed out yesterday that he’s never voted to increase the tax and wouldn’t vote for an increase this time around if it were to come up in Congress. It’s not all the House Speaker’s fault, of course. As the orange one points out, there probably aren’t enough people in Congress (read: Republicans) willing to vote for this seemingly sane, rational decision about the nation’s infrastructure. Awesome.

• President Barack Obama will propose offering two-year college educations to American workers funded by the federal and state governments in a speech later today in Tennessee.

"Put simply, what I'd like to do is to see the first two years of community college free for anybody who's willing to work for it," Obama said in a video preview of his speech filmed ahead of his Jan. 20 State of the Union Address. "It's something we can accomplish, and it's something that will train our workforce so that we can compete with anyone in the world."

The plan is going to have to make it through Congress, of course, and it’s unclear how willing the Republican-led bodies will be to help the plan off the ground. Republicans including Speaker Boehner have sounded a skeptical note about the idea. A spokesman for Boehner’s office said the proposal sounded "more like a talking point than a plan” without specifics on cost.  The president has promised more details and a cost estimate will be delivered during the State of the Union and in his budget proposal, which is due in early February. 

 
 
by Rick Pender 01.09.2015 49 days ago
Posted In: Theater at 09:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
rebecca kling - photo provided

Stage Door: Alternative Theater & More

The tragic suicide of Leelah Alcorn a week ago has drawn attention to the challenges faced by transgendered individuals. All the more reason that you ought to head to Know Theatre (1120 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine) on Friday or Saturday evening at 8 p.m. for Rebecca Kling's Fringe Encore performance of Something Something New Vagina. Kling's solo show in the 2014 Fringe fascinated and informed audiences (she was also in town for the 2012 Fringe with a piece about being transgendered, Storms Beneath Her Skin), and we're lucky she's returned coincidentally close to the Kings High School student's death. Kling's show is about loving one's self and one's body; it's a shame Leelah couldn't have seen it. But you have the chance. Be forewarned that Kling, who is a transgender artist and educator is frank and funny; she ends each evening with a "Strip Q&A" answering any questions audience members wish to pose. If you attend one of her performances, I guarantee you'll come away with new insights into the transgender experience. Tickets ($15) can be purchased at the door or online.

Since I'm on the subject of alternative theater, let me point you to the Queen City Queer Theatre Collective which presents a reading at Below Zero Lounge (1122 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine) of Paula Vogel's And Baby Makes Seven on Monday evening at 7:30 p.m. It's the story of two lesbians who enlist the help of a friend to have a child while they negotiate the imaginary family they have already created. Performing will be Maggie Lou Rader and Justin McCombs from Cincy Shakes and local actress Erin McCamley. QCQTC uses theater to celebrate and encourage dialogue around queer experiences; the group offers these readings on the second Monday of each month. Admission is free, but they'd appreciate a $5 donation at the door. More info: facebook.com/qcqtccincinnati.

If you're looking for more traditional fare you have two choices this weekend: The touring production of Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella retells the traditional fairytale with a few modern twists. It's an entertaining production with lavish costumes (Tony Award-winning, by the way), imaginative sets, lovely choreography and a cast of fresh-faced performers. I gave it a Critic's Pick with my CityBeat review here. Tickets: 513-621-2787.

If Broadway musicals are your thing, you need to catch West Side Story at the Carnegie between now and Jan. 18. The show was a big hit back in 1957, and its iconic score by Leonard Bernstein with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim is one of the best collections of stage music ever. Abigail Paschke, who played Maria in the Carnegie's staging of The Sound of Music a year ago, is a very different Maria this time, one of the star-crossed lovers in this contemporary version of Romeo and Juliet. Tickets: 859-957-1940.

This is the last weekend for Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical, which started back in November at the Cincinnati Playhouse and has been extended twice because of audience demand. It's the story of the girl singer from Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati who became an international star in the 1950s, then had to reinvent herself when pop music moved in a new direction and drugs nearly ended her high-flying career. Many of Clooney's best tunes are authentically recreated by actress Susan Haefner. Final performance is 7 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets: 513-421-3888.

Rick Pender's STAGE DOOR blog appears here every Friday. Find more theater reviews and feature stories here.

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 01.08.2015 50 days ago
Posted In: Death Penalty at 03:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
death penalty

Ohio Ceases Two-Drug Execution Method

Announcement delays pending execution

In the sudden realization that like, hey, maybe we shouldn’t put people to death if we don’t really know what we’re doing, Ohio has dropped its two-drug execution method and will delay an imminent execution.

The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction today announced that it will stop using the method utilizing a combination of the sedative midazolam and the painkiller hydromorphone, which came under fire last year when it took 26 minutes to put convicted killer Dennis McGuire to death. Witnesses said McGuire was gasping for breath during his execution. His family is suing the state, claiming the execution caused needless pain and suffering.

Another execution in Arizona last year using the same method took more than two hours.

The state has said it will again use thiopental sodium, a sedative used until 2011, for executions. Ohio stopped using that drug because it is no longer produced in the United States. It is unclear how Ohio plans to obtain the drug, though compounding pharmacies, or labs that produce such drugs, could supply the state.

The announcement delays the execution of Ronald Phillips, who was convicted in the 1993 rape and murder of a 3-year-old girl. Officials say other executions may be delayed as well as the state sources the third drug or an alternative.

 
 

 

 

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by Staff 02.27.2015 17 hours ago
Posted In: Culture, Concerts, Comedy, Arts, Drinking, Eats, Events, Fun, Life, TV/Celebrity at 02:04 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
ac_tv_houseofcards-700x615

Your Weekend To Do List (2/27-3/1)

Let's be real: House of Cards premieres tonight; most of us probably won't leave the house this weekend

After fans were teased by its brief availability online two weeks ago — a “bug,” they say — the next chapter of House of Cards is finally here. Since some of us are guilty of binge-watching both previous seasons, it’s been more than a year since many viewers have spent some quality time with the Underwoods. Let’s recap. 

On the brink of his impeachment, President Walker resigned at the end of Season Two. Walker’s wealthy confidant Raymond Tusk was arrested, knocking out two of Vice President Frank Underwood’s political roadblocks. After two seasons of watching Frank go to any length to secure his power, it seems he’s reached the pinnacle. Which means … 

Frank Underwood is the President of the United States of America. Terrifying. But that doesn’t solidify his reelection in the upcoming race. Wife and sometimes literal partner in crime Claire Underwood made some low and dirty moves last season. Despite Claire helping them both rise in the ranks, expect to see her question the couple’s actions and use her title as FLOTUS as she sees fit. 

And Doug Stamper was last seen lying in the woods. While trying to protect Rachel he sufficiently spooked her, leading to a chase and brick to the head. Fingers crossed for his (unlikely) miraculous return. 

If you do want to leave the house (or you finish the entire season before tomorrow night), here are some other things to do this weekend: 

FRIDAY 
Elton John
Photo: eltonjohn.com
Music: Elton John 
The legendary Sir Elton John will be at U.S. Bank Arena on Friday with his piano and backing band, performing hits from his prolific five-decade career. His 2013 release, The Diving Board, was his 31st album, and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road — the album with “Bennie and the Jets,” “Candle in the Wind” and “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” — just celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2014. Warning: This show will probably sell out; he’s kind of a big deal. 8 p.m. Friday. $39-$149. U.S. Bank Arena, 100 Broadway, Downtown, usbankarena.com

The Total Look
Photo: William Claxton
Event: Art After Dark 
The Cincinnati Art Museum’s Art After Dark events are a great way to visit the museum after hours for socializing, art viewing and wine drinking. Friday’s Art After Dark event celebrates the opening of the museum’s new exhibit, The Total Look, an exploration of the creative collaboration between fashion designer Rudi Gernreich, model Peggy Moffitt and photographer William Claxton, featuring Mod garments Gernreich created in the 1960s and ’70s. Dress in your best ’60s-era ensemble for an evening of docent-led tours, dance performances by Pones Inc., appetizers and drinks. 5-9 p.m. Friday. Free. 953 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams, cincinnatiartmuseum.org. 

Art: Final Friday/Reconstructed at 1305 Gallery 
Via the continued efforts of artist friends Michael Stillion and Melanie Derrick, 1305 Gallery continues to promote the work of quality artists more than a year after founder Lily Mulberry’s death. Final Friday, 1305 hosts Reconstructed: New Work by Michael Willett, a solo show of work by Willett, who graduated from DAAP’s MFA program and currently serves as an assistant professor of art at the University of Montevallo in Birmingham, Ala. His large-scale paintings and collages will be featured in an upcoming issue of New American Paintings, so check out his work while you can still see it for free. Through March 21. Free. 1305 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/1305gallery

Photo: Shen Yun Performing Arts
Onstage: Shen Yun 
Prepare to be uplifted and inspired by tremendous onstage energy as legends and classic heroes spring to life through historic Chinese dance. Sensational global performing group Shen Yun will take you on a profound journey through 5,000 years of Chinese culture, featuring the world’s most classically trained dancers accompanied by a live orchestra combining the best of Chinese and Western composition. Anticipate leaps and flips of Shen Yun’s aerial masters, thundering battle drums and singers’ soaring voices with dazzling animated backdrops that transport you to another world. 7:30 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday. $53-$123. Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, cincinnatiarts.org. 

Event: Cold Night & Warm Spirits 
If you’re tired of the winter dredge, seek refuge at Ault Park’s Cold Night & Warm Spirits whiskey tasting. Enjoy some of the finest American, Irish, Canadian and Scottish whiskies at this social and spirited event, with live music and light bites. Bring your own cigar to enjoy around a roaring fire on the cigar patio. Benefits Ault Park. 6:30-10 p.m. Friday. $40. 3600 Observatory Ave., Hyde Park, aultparkac.org.  

SATURDAY 
Marlee Matlin
Film: ReelAbilities Film Festival 
The ReelAbilities Film Festival, dedicated to movies that highlight the abilities of those considered “disabled,” isn’t new. It was here in 2013. But it’s vastly different this year — in fact, it’s now the city’s highest-profile film festival because the local group Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled has contracted to operate the national series of ReelAbilities festivals and wants to make the Cincinnati fest, which runs from Friday to March 7, a showcase. There will be more than 15 features from around the world. Highlights include guests like Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin at Friday afternoon’s awards luncheon; a touching film on Tuesday, The Commute, about a wheelchair-using man’s journey through the New York subway system; the Independent Spirit Award-nominated Stand Clear of the Closing Doors on March 7; and a documentary about the polio-afflicted great Rock & Roll songwriter Doc Pomus (“This Magic Moment”), which is being coupled with a tribute concert to him following the screening on March 6. Premiere Night Gala 6 p.m. Saturday. $150. More info at cincyra.org. 

Music: Chris Brown 
Yeah. He'll be at US Bank Arena with Trey Songz. So if you like Chris Brown, this is great for you. His tickets also cost more than going to see Elton John? 7:30 p.m. Saturday. $29.75-$199.50. U.S. Bank Arena, 100 Broadway, Downtown, usbankarena.com

Maple Sugar Days
Photo: Great Parks
Event: Maple Sugar Days 
Come celebrate the spring awakening of maple trees as you learn the craft of maple syrup making. Sweet tooths of all ages will discover how the clear, sticky sap is collected, boiled over a fire and transformed into syrup. Additionally, families can enjoy crafts, demonstrations and naturalist-led hikes. Maple treats, including waffles, ice cream and cotton candy, will be available for a small fee. Noon-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free. Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve, 3455 Poole Road, Colerain, greatparks.org

Cincinnati Home & Garden Show
Event: Cincinnati Home & Garden Show 
According to the current weather forecast, most of our yards will still be covered in snow during the entirety of the 2015 Cincinnati Home & Garden Show. As depressing as that may seem right now, spring is (hopefully) just around the corner and it has already sprung at the Duke Energy Convention Center. Wander through fairy gardens, let your significant other try to coerce you into buying a hot tub or swoon over kitchens the size of your entire OTR apartment. Seriously. Your only other plans this week are working and shoveling the walk … again. Opens 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Through March 8. $13; free for kids. 525 Elm St., Downtown, cincinnatihomeandgardenshow.com

Xoe Wise
Photo: Provided
Music: Xoe Wise 
Singer/songwriter Xoe Wise moved from North Carolina to Chicago to follow her musical dreams and quickly became a local favorite. Wise has gradually moved from a Folk Pop style to a highly melodic and soulful Electro Pop/Chillwave approach since debuting with her 2010 album, Echo. Wise’s excellent 2013 EP Breakfast was well received, reaching the Top 20 on iTunes’ Singer/Songwriter charts and beautifully showcasing Wise’s sultry vocals and songwriting. This spring, Wise — who performed at the 2014 MidPoint Music Festival — will release Foreplay, an EP precursor to her anticipated full-length, Racecar Orgasm. 10 p.m. Saturday. Free. MOTR Pub, 1345 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, motrpub.com

SUNDAY 
Attractions: Mummies of the World 
The Cincinnati Museum Center’s once-in-a-lifetime exhibit features real mummies and artifacts, some dating back as far as 4,500 years. Discover how mummies are created, where they come from and who they are in an immersive, multi-media display. Through April 26. Non-member exhibition-only tickets: $19.50, $17.50 senior, $12.50 child. Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate, mummies.cincymuseum.org

Bravo
Attractions: Bravo the Galapagos Tortoise's Last Day at Newport Aquarium 
The Newport Aquarium’s 650-pound Galapagos tortoise Bravo — the largest turtle in the Midwest — is set to leave his Turtle Canyon home on March 1 and return to the Columbia, S.C., zoo. Upon Bravo’s departure from the aquarium, Turtle Canyon, also home to Thunder, an more than 100-year-old snapping turtle, will temporarily close for renovations. The greenhouse-like facility will re-open as a new exhibit in mid-March. During Winter Family Days, two kids get in free with each paying adult. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Through March 1. $23 adult; $15 kids. Newport Aquarium, Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., newportaquarium.com

Event: Ohio Winter Food Festival 
Formerly known at the Taste of Northern Cincinnati, the Ohio Winter Food Festival celebrates the restaurants of Cincinnati’s northern suburbs. This friendly competition pits vendors like West Chester’s Troy’s Café, Parkers Blue Ash Tavern, Sharonville’s Brick House Bar & Grill and more against each other to win best in show. Taste each of the restaurants’ signature dishes and vote for your favorite. Noon-4 p.m. Sunday. $18; $20 at the door. Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Road, Sharonville, sharonvillechamber.com

August: Osage County at Clifton Performance Theatre
Photo: Jennifer Mahuet
Onstage: August: Osage County 
Tracy Letts’ 2008 play was a throwback to another era, a three-act, three-hour drama about a dysfunctional family colliding in the arid flatlands of the Oklahoma plains when their father goes missing. Not the usual fodder of contemporary drama (or perhaps because of it), the show won that year’s Pulitzer Prize for drama and Broadway’s Tony Award for best play. It features 13 vivid and vicious characters and a houseful of contentious, sometimes startling interactions. It’s going to be all the more interesting when this sprawling script is staged in the close confines of Clifton Performance Theatre, which has about 40 seats for this production. Through March 14. $20. Clifton Players, 404 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, cliftonperformancetheatre.com

Attractions: Falling Waters at Krohn Conservatory 
The Krohn Conservatory’s early spring floral show takes design inspiration from architect Frank Lloyd Wright (his 1935 modernist Pennsylvania home built for the Kaufmann family is called “Fallingwater”). The show features a Mission-style flowerbed that looks like a stained glass window made of hundreds of pansies, tulips and hydrangeas, as well as real stained glass windows created by local artist David Duff of Classical Glass. Through March 22. $4 adult; $2 child; $1-off coupon online. Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams, cincinnatiparks.com

TUESDAY
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Photo: Andrew Eccles
Dance: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 
Alvin Ailey once said, “Dance is for everybody. I believe that the dance came from the people and that it should always be delivered back to the people.” More than two decades after his passing, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is coming to the Aronoff for two days to deliver said gift of dance to Cincinnati. Among the six dances the troupe will perform over these two shows is Ailey’s most renowned and moving work, Revelations. Set to a series of African-American spirituals, Revelations explores both painful and splendid moments during the African-American journey. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. $30-$75. Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, cincinnatiarts.org.
 
 
by Mike Breen 02.27.2015 19 hours ago
Posted In: Local Music at 12:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
freekbass_3

Freekbass Signs with Ropeadope

Cincinnati Funk artist inks deal with diverse and esteemed independent label

Veteran Cincinnati Funk bassist/singer/songwriter Freekbass announced this week that he has signed a deal with the esteemed Ropeadope Records. Freekbass’ next album — the follow-up to last year’s self-released Everybody’s Feelin’ Real (which you can stream/purchase here) — is currently slated for release on the label early this fall.

“I grew up listening to artists and music on Ropeadope and it's such an honor to actually be a part of the label now,” Freekbass said in a press release. 


Ropeadope began in 1999, originally created by founders Andy Hurwitz and John Medeski to release the Project Logic album by Soul/Jazz/Hip Hop turntablist extraordinaire DJ Logic. (At the start of this decade, Freekbass was a part of a side-project band called Headtronics that featured Logic, as well as Particle keyboardist Steve Molitz.) Ropeadope has since put out an impressively diverse array of unique music, including releases by Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Charlie Hunter, Phish’s Mike Gordon, Antibalas, Christian McBride and Fusion ensemble Snarky Puppy, which won a Grammy for Best R&B Performance last year for its collaboration with Lalah Hathaway on the song “Something.” (You can read more about the label’s history here.)


Freekbass, who crafts a contemporary brand of Funk that mixes in shades of Electronica and Hip Hop, has been one the leading figures in the Cincinnati music scene for decades, starting with the popular ’80s Alt Rock band Sleep Theatre before holding down the bottom end for successful Funk crew SHAG in the ’90s. He started his solo career in the late ’90s and has released six full-lengths and toured relentlessly. His albums have featured some impressive guests; artists from Bootsy Collins and Bernie Worrell to Buckethead and DJ Spooky have appeared on Freekbass recordings. His stunning bass-playing skills have also lead to the release of several instructional videos and he was featured at the 2014 London Bass Guitar Show, heading up a master class/clinic and performing.


Here is Freekbass (with his band The Bump Assembly) in their most recent video release, for the song “Never Enough” off of Everybody’s Feelin’ Real



Read more about Freekbass in CityBeat's 2014 feature story here


 
 
by Nick Swartsell 02.27.2015 20 hours ago
Posted In: News at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
sheriff

Morning News and Stuff

Hamilton County Justice Center featured on reality TV; rally on Fountain Square tomorrow will memorialize trans murder victims; FCC says yes to net neutrality

Hey all! It’s Friday. I have work to do. Let’s keep this brief, shall we, while avoiding a stupid debate about the color of any pictures of women’s wear that might be floating around the Internet. (I see both blue and black and white and gold depending on when I look. Yes, I am special).

Paging Michel Foucault: Is it a good idea to put your county’s jail on a reality TV show? We’ll find out, I suppose. Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil agreed several months ago to let MSNBC film an episode of its reality show Lockup in the Hamilton County Justice Center. It hasn’t aired yet, but a trailer for the episode shows inmates cussing at people, thousands of dollars in smuggled bootleg cigarettes and loose tobacco, some guy bragging about stabbing someone else with pencils and another dude describing his situation as “some ho-ass shit.” All of which sounds like a party I went to a couple Saturdays ago.

The bloody post-fight scenes look less like a party, however, and it’s pretty clear a big part of the show is the voyeuristic thrill of watching human suffering. Gross. But I digress. County officials told Sheriff Neil that having the reality show feature the county’s jail was probably not a good idea, but Neil went ahead with the program after producers approached him about it. I’m torn on this. On the one hand, it’s important to show people what really goes on in our justice system. On the other, this kind of reality TV-style sensationalism seems pretty exploitative of the folks behind bars, does it not?

Neil’s office says the show is a fair representation of life at the justice center, so there’s that. Lockup: Cincinnati airs Saturday at 10 p.m. in case you want to watch it or, you know, maybe do something more positive with your time than watch people in cages get blood dabbed off their faces.

• Oh, good. According a newly released report by the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, the Ohio River received more than 23 million pounds of toxic material in 2013, the latest year for which data has been analyzed. That’s the most of any river in the country for the seventh year in a row, the commission says. The report cautions that despite the alarmingly large number, the river’s volume is also very large and the dilutive properties of all that water must be taken into account. But for comparison, the river receiving the next highest level of pollutants is the Mississippi, which saw more than 10 million pounds of toxins released into it last year. Much of the pollution in the Ohio River comes from nitrates, which are highly toxic to humans. Seventy-one percent of the pollution, according to the report, doesn’t enter the river until well downstream from Cincinnati at an AK Steel facility in Rockport, Indiana. So, uh, at least there’s that.

• A rally is planned tomorrow at 2 p.m. on Fountain Square for transgender murder victims killed in the last year. Among those victims was Tiffany Edwards, murdered last year in Walnut Hills. We first told you about Edwards during a long story we did on sex workers in Cincinnati and revisited her story last month in a piece on the challenges facing transgender individuals. Her alleged killer is currently on trial for her death. Tomorrow’s die-in will also memorialize seven other transgender individuals who have been murdered recently as a result of their transgender status.

• Ohio’s Senate race got a shout out in one of the nation’s premier news outlets. The Christian Science Monitor started off its preview of the 2016 Senate race with a long exploration of the brewing fight between former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, and Republican Sen. Rob Portman. Also featuring prominently in the coverage was Cincinnati’s own Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, who has raised more than $500,000 for his own bid for the Democratic nomination. The Monitor posits that the high-profile Senate race will make Ohio even more important in the 2016 election, a presidential race in which the state already has a vital role. The Republican National Convention will be in Cleveland and the NAACP National Convention will take place in Cincinnati next year, guaranteeing Ohio a place in the center of national politics.

• As I noted yesterday in a morning news blog update (yes, I sometimes update the post throughout the day, so you know, keep your eyes on the blog), the Federal Communications Commission yesterday passed new rules keeping Internet companies from developing dedicated fast lanes for certain content providers while throttling others with slower speeds. The rules basically treat the Internet as a utility, which means service providers must treat all legal content equally. That way, Buzzfeed isn’t able to kick Internet providers a milli to put some insipid post about whether a dress is one color or another on a faster track than a long-form video doc about problems with the death penalty. The FCC also struck down some laws in certain states prohibiting municipalities from establishing their own Internet service providers to supplement the slim pickings found in many areas. That’s also good news.

That’s it for me. Tweet (@nswartsell) or e-mail me (nswartsell@citybeat.com) with any news tips, observations about Hamilton County's own reality TV panopticon, or what kind of guitar amp I should buy. I’m daydreaming about new music gear.

 
 
by Rick Pender 02.27.2015 22 hours ago
Posted In: Theater at 09:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
little-women_-cincinnati-shakes-photo-mikki-schaffner

Stage Door: Cincinnati Theaters Generating Heat, Despite Cold Weather

Last weekend's snowstorm canceled performances at several local theaters (including the Cincinnati Playhouse), so you might have had several days without theater. Is it time to make up? I finally caught up with Cincinnati Shakespeare Company's adaptation of Little Women​ last night, and I'm glad of it. While the weather is still cold and sidewalks still treacherously icy, the warmth generated by Jo March and her saucy sisters is a welcome tonic. Of course Louisa May Alcott's story of a temporarily fatherless family during the American Civil War is sentimental and, at times, rather maudlin, but the actresses at Cincy Shakes bring such vivacity to their roles that there's plenty to enjoy. Maggie Lou Rader is especially vivacious as Jo, the fiercely independent aspiring writer who insists on finding her own way in a world controlled by men; Kelly Mengelkoch is emotional, conscientious elder sister Meg; Caitlin McWethy is shy and loving Beth; and Courtney Lucien is Amy, the impetuous baby who matures in the second act. Annie Fitzpatrick is Marmee, their steadfast mother, and Justin McCombs is the spirited boy next door who captures the hearts of several of the sisters. The production is simply but effectively staged, enhanced by some subtle video projections and lovely choral singing of period hymns by the ensemble. It's a gentle story that beautifully conveys the virtues of family, sisterhood and feminine intellect in a period when such matters were not always top of mind. It's onstage through March 21. Box office: 513-381-2273, x1.

Last Sunday, while many of you might have been watching the Academy Awards, I was one of 15 or so people in the audience watching Clifton Players' staging of August: Osage County. That's not quite as pitiful as it might sound, since the tiny Clifton Performance Theatre has only about 40 seats for this production. You're right in the midst of the bitter wars being conducted by the combative Weston family, brought together by the disappearance of their father and their mother's relapse into drug dependence and impossibly difficult behavior. But each of Beverly and Vi's three daughters have problems, issues and complicated family situations of their own, so Tracy Letts' three-act, three-plus hour show offers plenty of juicy roles for some of Cincinnati's best actors. The show has typically been played on a big set, but the closeness of CPT makes August: Osage County a powerful evening of dysfunction that's right in your face. Need some heat despite the cold snap? This is your show. It's a Critic's Pick (CityBeat review here). Onstage through March 13. Tickets: 513-861-7469.

Performances tonight and Saturday evening will wrap up the run of In the Heat of the Night at Falcon Players in Newport (tickets: 513-479-6783), and Northern Kentucky University's Les Misérables continues through a Sunday matinee. The latter has been sold our for most performances, but if you show up an hour before curtain time, you can get your name on a wait-list for a seat.

For a glimpse of the future, check out my blog postings here and here from earlier this week with 2015-2016 season announcements for the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cincinnati Landmark Productions (at the Covedale Center and the new Incline Theatre) and Cincinnati Shakespeare.

Rick Pender's STAGE DOOR blog appears here every Friday. Find more theater reviews and feature stories here.
 
 
by Mike Breen 02.26.2015 44 hours ago
Posted In: Local Music at 11:39 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
brad-square

Locally Based Project Seeks Musician Input

Artist-focused digital music platform MusicLi launches survey

Late last year it was announced that Brad Schnittger (member of the great local band The Sundresses) was selected as one of two "Haile Fellows" for 2015 by People’s Liberty, which provides $100,000 grants to local projects in an effort to “uncover opportunities to accelerate the positive transformation of Greater Cincinnati.”


The grant will allow Schnittger the opportunity to fully focus on his MusicLi (pronounced "musically") project, which is described as “an online music-business management dashboard for artists.” Artists who create MusicLi accounts will be able to use the service to digitally distribute and protect their music, and also enter it into the company’s licensing catalog, providing musicians with a nice alternative (or, if things go well, primary) revenue stream. MusicLi's “core principle” is described thusly: “There are wonderfully talented musicians in the Greater Cincinnati area, and if their music is digitally cataloged, published and made accessible for the purpose of licensing, this music can generate income for those musicians and make Cincinnati a better place to live.”


MusicLi recently launched a brief, 10-question survey to get some feedback from musicians to help guide the project’s direction. If you’d like to participate, click here. For more on People’s Liberty, this year’s grant’s recipients and complete details on their efforts and initiatives, click here


 
 
by John Hamilton 02.26.2015 44 hours ago
at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
sony pictures home entertainment

Forgotten Classics: Hook

Reviewing lesser-known films that stand the test of time

On Aug. 11, 2014, the world lost one of its greatest entertainers of the last century — Robin Williams. I can remember where I was when I heard about his passing. I just got home from my day job as a security guard at King’s Island, logged onto Facebook and the first thing I saw was the headline reading “Robin Williams dies at 63.” To say that I was upset would be putting it lightly.

I think I can say with confidence that the whole world loved Williams because he touched us with his movies, television shows and stand-up specials. Of course anyone who grew up in the ‘80s and ‘90s will list off countless movies that left an impression on them, be it his game-changing performance in the Disney classic Aladdin (1992, directed by Ron Clements and John Musker) or his heartfelt and inspiring role in Dead Poets Society (1989, directed by Peter Weir). But the movie I’ve singled out this time was a go-to rental for me when I was a kid, when video stores were still a thing. That film is Steven Spielberg’s Hook (1991).

I’m sure many people are calling shenanigans on this being a “forgotten” film mainly due to Robin Williams in the lead role and Steven Spielberg being the director. I would be amongst those crying outrage as well, but when I began to think about it I realized most fans know of it only because of the nostalgia factor.

When it comes to listing the best of Spielberg or Williams, there are other films that would’ve been listed before this one. Even Spielberg himself had stated that the final product isn’t what he wanted and that he basically wants someone to remake it. But I can say that the product we have is a more than suitable film: the story of the workaholic lawyer Peter Banning (Williams) who ventures off to Neverland to rescue his children who have been captured by villainous Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman). In that quest he discovers why his children were kidnapped — Hook did it to draw Peter Pan back to Neverland and fight him, and it turns out that Bannings is Pan. The catch is that Peter has forgotten who he is. Throughout the film Peter goes on a spiritual journey to rediscover who he is and rescue his children with the help of his ever faithful Tinkerbell (Julia Roberts) and the Lost Boys.

Williams is absolutely flawless in this role. He perfectly conveys both the uptight and work-centered lawyer and the childlike energy of the boy who refused to grow up. The lesson he learns in the end is something that is very logical and is something that should speak to anyone — while we all must grow up, we mustn’t lose our sense of adventure and wonder.

Peter’s journey to that conclusion is drawn in comparison to his archenemy Captain Hook. Ironically enough, it’s the adult who stays at a more immature stand point. In the original J.M. Barrie story, one could says that Peter is the hero not only because he rescues his friends from the villain but also because he lives in the moment and doesn’t oppose over anything, while Hook is all about revenge and will not rest until he has it.

At the beginning of the film Peter has his mind set on only one thing and that’s being a lawyer. That singular mindset leads Wendy (Maggie Smith) to say, “Peter, you’ve become a pirate.”

Peter’s son Jack (Charlie Korsmo) almost becomes like Hook as well when all he seems focused on is bitterness and hatred towards his father. Hook focuses on Jack’s anger and uses that as a weapon against the now aged Peter. But this ties in with another reason why Hook can be a considered a villain — he lets his anger control his life. Peter and Jack soon realize how petty and how unfulfilling holding a grudge is.

While I do see a couple problems in the film, mainly in the script department, I can’t deny the fact that I still find this film enjoyable and well made to this day. This was also a film that truly displayed why Williams was so beloved: He made us laugh, cry, and gave us that warm feeling that we all pine for. I guarantee that in years to come, this performance — among many others — will be fondly remembered.

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 02.26.2015 44 hours ago
Posted In: News at 11:19 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
news1_weedunicorn700x615

Morning News and Stuff

Former attorney Deters: "lawyers are not a choral of angels;" Hamilton bans weed sales; GOP mocks Strickland Senate announcement

Hey all! Here’s the news today.

A well-known former attorney has filed a federal lawsuit against the Kentucky Bar Association to get his license back after it was suspended. Eric Deters has served three suspensions over his career for making false statements in court, failing to return a fee to a client and other infractions. The latest suspension was handed down by the Kentucky Supreme Court in April. The court has an agreement with the high court in Ohio, keeping Deters from practicing here as well. Now Deters says he’s served his suspensions and wants to go back to practicing law, and says the Kentucky Supreme Court should reinstate him. Deters retired rather than seek reinstatement in Kentucky and Ohio, and indicated at the time he had no interest in practicing law again in either state. He’s acting as his own attorney, which has led to this pretty amazing complaint:

"Deters is no saint," he writes of himself in his complaint. "He is a sinner. But Deters is fit to practice law. Lawyers are not a choral of angels." Choir? Corral? Whatever. Deters is too tough for the haters. “What Deters incurred, lesser men would have have crumbled long ago," he says of the emotional and physical toll his suspension has caused. He blames an infection that nearly took his arm on the stress and strife his suspension has inflicted on him.

• You can never ban the devil’s weed too early or too often. At least, that’s the prevailing wisdom on Hamilton’s City Council, which banned sale of the drug in the city limits yesterday in a 5-1 vote. Though marijuana is already illegal in Ohio, council members wanted to have a municipal ordinance in place just in case a potential ballot initiative legalizing the measure passes in November and all hell breaks loose. ResponsibleOhio, the group filing the initiative, still needs to collect 300,000 signatures by July to even get the measure on the ballot, but better safe than sorry, Hamilton officials say.

“It's just being prepared for what happens if anything happens whether it be legislature or amendment, it's just being prepared for the next step," Hamilton Mayor Pat Moeller said.

• The Kentucky House passed a bill yesterday allowing the state to participate in public-private partnerships, clearing another hurdle for a toll-based Brent Spence Bridge replacement. However, several key changes were made to the bill to make it more friendly to Kentucky residents and lawmakers who may oppose tolls. These include requiring any tolls levied as part of a public-private partnership to expire once debt on the project is paid off, requiring analysis of any public-private partnership to make sure it’s the best way to do a project and requiring a majority of lawmakers on project oversight commissions be from the county where the project is happening. Next, the bill goes to the Kentucky Senate, where it will face opposition from GOP senators who are staunchly opposed to tolls on the Brent Spence project.

• Here’s another tidbit from Gov. John Kasich’s State of the State address earlier this week. Kasich devoted part of his speech to education in Ohio, defending his public school funding scheme and also his support of the state’s embattled charter school system. Kasich defended putting more money into that system despite low performance by many charter schools and questions about some schools’ integrity. He agreed that the system should have more oversight in the wake of allegations of wrongdoing at some schools across the state, but also defended schools that have simply been low-performing. Here, he made a pretty stunning statement:

“Let’s not judge someone as not doing their job because they’ve inherited a group of students who are just struggling,” he said.

Here’s the thing: This is the same (I’d say very fair and correct) logic many have used to defend struggling public schools the charter system was meant to compete with and do better than. That is more or less the whole reason charter schools exist, according to their creators and supporters. Sooo… blame public schools for their inability to educate students who struggle under the weight of very real massive systemic problems that make it difficult for them to learn, but don’t blame charter schools that take money from those schools and make their jobs even more difficult for the same thing. Got it.

• Speaking of Kasich, he’s finally getting some national attention as he steps up his efforts to run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016. Maybe it’s not always the attention he wants — this story calls him out on his efforts to create a Rondald Reagan-inspired balanced budget amendment to the U.S. constitution — but on the other hand, if you’re a Republican governor looking to run for president, perhaps a piece in liberal Mother Jones magazine about how lame your policy ideas are means you’ve finally arrived. So, uh, congrats on the milestone, governor!

• Let’s talk about a former governor for a minute, specifically Democrat Ted Strickland, who just jumped into the 2016 U.S. Senate race. As we’ve already discussed, Strickland’s announcement earlier this week caused a big stir, and now he’s already getting hit by GOPers and concerned editorial writers across the state. Ohio GOP Chairman Matt Borges mocked Strickland’s entrance into the race on Twitter today, saying, “same old @ohdems. Can’t get their act together” in response to an article about Strickland possibly having to face Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld in a primary. There are worries that a very contentious primary could sabotage Democrat’s chances at picking up incumbent Sen. Rob Portman’s seat, which is dearly needed if Democrats want to take back control of the Senate in 2016. On the other hand, having two strong candidates could be seen as an encouraging sign for the party, and the early level of mockery from Republicans shows they’re taking the threat from Strickland seriously. It’s already clear this isn’t last year’s governor’s race, where Kasich straight-up didn’t acknowledge Dem opponent Ed Fitzgerald during a debate because he didn’t have to.

• Finally, the Federal Communications Commission is voting on net neutrality today. This is a huge day for the Internet. If you don't know what's up, uh, start reading.

Update: the FCC voted 3-2 to require internet providers to operate as neutral gateways through which internet service flows. That ruling prohibits providers from making so-called "fastlanes" that would provide higher-speed connections for some companies and content. Also today, the FCC struck down state laws prohibiting cities from establishing their own internet services, allowing municipalities to create their own internet services in places that may only have one (or no) reliable internet service provider.

That’s it for me. You know the drill. Tweet at me. Email me (nswartsell@citybeat.com). Messenger pigeon me. Whatever you gotta do to get those news tips and whatever else you want to talk about. 

 
 
by Mike Breen 02.26.2015 46 hours ago
Posted In: Festivals, Local Music at 09:47 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Bunbury Music Festival Announces 2015 Lineup

The Black Keys, Snoop Dogg and Avett Brothers headline fourth annual riverfront fest

The Bunbury Music Festival will present its fourth annual three-day event on Cincinnati’s riverfront (Sawyer Point and Yeatman’s Cove) June 5-7 this year (moved up from the usual July dates due to Reds/All Star Game activities). This morning, organizers of the festival — which was purchased by Columbus-based PromoWest Productions late last year — officially announced the lineup this morning. 


Bunbury 2015 will feature headliners The Black Keys, Snoop Dogg and The Avett Brothers. The rest of the lineup includes Brand New, Tame Impala, The Decemberists, Old Crow Medicine Show, twenty one pilots, Walk the Moon, Matt and Kim, Bleachers, Royal Blood, Manchester Orchestra, Father John Misty, Atmosphere, Temples, Shakey Graves, Kacey Musgraves, The Devil Makes Three, Reverend Horton Heat, Lindsey Stirling, Catfish & The Bottlemen, Jamestown Revival, Mikky Ekko, The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Mini Mansion, The Front Bottoms, Jessica Hernandez, Secret Sisters, Lil Dicky, machineheart, Go Analog, Bummers and Indigo Wild. 


So far, Cincinnati acts on the bill include Multimagic, Buggs Tha Rocka and RCA recording artists Walk the Moon, who have been touring relentlessly behind their sophomore major label release, Talking Is Hard (the band recently appeared on The Tonight Show; see video below). More artists are expected to be announced leading up to the festival.



One-day and three-day tickets for the 2015 Bunbury fest are available now. Click here for pricing and links.  

 
 
by Samantha Gellin 02.26.2015 46 hours ago
Posted In: Commentary at 09:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
from the copy editor

From the Copy Desk

In case you need a dictionary with the Feb. 25 issue of CityBeat

Good morning readers. I hope you're all surviving the bleak, cold, dark days of February better than I am. I can't stop myself from browsing the "Getaways" section of Groupon — five night, all-inclusive stay in Punta Cana? Sign me up! I'll go anywhere the sun is shining and the heat is brimming.

Someday, right? For now, though, I've got my coffee and a list of Words Nobody Uses or Knows from this week's issue. Let's get started.

My favorite word of the issue (or phrase, really) is in toto. It's found in Kathy Y. Wilson's editorial on the Oscars, a night, as Neil Patrick Harris so accurately said, where "we celebrate Hollywood’s best and whitest, sorry… brightest."

In toto: a Latin phrase meaning in the whole; as a whole (adv.)

In the issue: "Secondly, the voter finessed the fact that most members are white men — which is, in fact, the larger problem plaguing Hollywood in toto and it is the direct genealogical link to the white-out of this year’s Oscars and what’s fraught past racist Oscar races."

Though whenever I say in toto, I can't help but think of Toto, Dorthory's dog in Wizard of Oz.

Anyway, next up is the French word outré, pronounced OO-TREY.  (French words are the best, aren't they?)

outré: highly unconventional; eccentric or bizarre (adj.)

In this issue: "Later, during an interview for this story, Katkin explained his affinity for that band, which released several outré albums in the late 1980s and early 1990s."

Environs, another word of French origin, caught my eye too.

environs: a surrounding area, especially of a city; surroundings; environment (plural n.)

My mind is a little blown by this one. It's essentially just another word for environment and yet I've never heard of it.

In this issue: "It’s bitter wisdom that easily translates to certain local music environs where bands are neither nurtured nor respected."


The last word I have jotted down is rubes, but I can't seem to find it anywhere in the issue. It may have been edited out (or else I'm reading things that aren't there). I'm going to include it anyway. The more you know, the more you grow, right?

I love this word because Rubes is one of the many, MANY nicknames I have for my cat Ruby. She is also sometimes called Ruben, Princess Pastry Puff, Doot, Street Rat ... OK I'll stop there.

rubes: an unsophisticated country person; nickname of Reuben (n.)


 
 
by Rick Pender 02.25.2015 63 hours ago
at 04:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
cromer

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company Announces 22nd Season

Four works by the Bard, plus timeless works by Arthur Miller, Jane Austen and Edmond Rostand — plus a few extras — make for a busy season

As I wrote on Monday, season announcements from Cincinnati theaters are a sure sign that warmer days are ahead. The temperature cranked up a few more notches tonight when Cincinnati Shakespeare Company announced its 2015-2016 season. It’s no secret that CSC’s history and stock-in-trade are plays by William Shakespeare, of which they’ll offer four in the coming months. But their broadened scope includes definitive works of drama and stage adaptations of literary classics by great writers. Here’s what will be onstage at 719 Race St. from August 2015 through June 2016:

THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF AMERICA (ABRIDGED) by Adam Long, Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor. Cincy Shakes has had tons of fun with The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). But Long, Martin and Tichenor have been generating laughs with numerous other subjects, and this is one of their best works. (It was staged at the Cincinnati Playhouse 10 years ago.) This one is a wild ride through our nation’s past featuring three actors, who probably did not pass high school history, who set off on a whirlwind historical tour that’s finds laughs in many of our nation’s greatest hits and misses. This production is a “season extra,” not included in subscription packages. July 24-Aug. 15, 2015.

CYRANO DE BERGERAC (based on Anthony Burgess’s translation of Edmond Rostand’s 1897 French play). Cincy Shakes will kick off the fall theater season with this classic romantic tale of the valiant and clever Cyrano de Bergerac, with long-time ensemble member Jeremy Dubin in the title role. Cyrano epitomized panache: In fact, that French word a feather or a plume was the hallmark of this dazzling swordsman and brilliant 16th-century poet. But he has a flaw, a gargantuan nose. He loves the beautiful and brilliant Roxane but is convinced his clownish appearance means he has no chance with her. Unaware of his feelings, Roxane tells him she loves Christian, a handsome but dull solider; Cyrano intercedes by writing letters and verses to her as if they were from Christian. The play has wit, swashbuckling adventure and profound romance. Sept. 1-Oct. 3, 2015.

 Jeremy Dubin as Cyrano in Cyrano de Bergerac. Photo: Mikki Schaffner.

DEATH OF A SALESMAN by Arthur Miller, written in 1949, won multiple Tony Awards as well as the Pulitzer Prize for drama. The story of the waning days of an aging salesman who still yearns to make it big is one of the great plays of the 20th century. Cincinnati stage veteran Bruce Cromer will play Willy Loman, the show’s memorable loser. This poignant tale of an average man trying to achieve the American Dream, surrounded by his strident sons and his loving wife is an exploration of failure and success that still resonates today. Oct. 16-Nov. 7, 2015.

AS YOU LIKE IT by William Shakespeare is the first of Shakespeare’s plays for the season and one of the Bard’s most popular, a predictable bestseller for Cincy Shakes. This time it will be the company’s offering around the holidays, featuring ensemble member Sara Clark playing the spirited Rosalind, banished to the Forest of Arden with only her cousin and a fool for company. She dresses as a man for protection and comedy ensues in the woods where love poems to her are posted on the trees. The lovelorn poet is handsome Orlando, whom she tests while hiding behind her boyish disguise. This show is great fun because it features numerous comic characters, delightful music and warm-hearted romance. Nov. 20-Dec. 12, 2015.

 Sara Clark as Rosalind in As You Like It. Photo: Mikki Schaffner.

EVERY CHRISTMAS STORY EVER TOLD (AND THEN SOME!) by Michael Carlton, James Fitzgerald and John K Alvarez. Cincy Shakes finishes up As You Like It just in time to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its annual holiday hit, an irreverent look at umpteen BHCs — the show’s acronym for “Beloved Holiday Classics.” The evening starts out innocently enough as one character endeavors to perform a solemn reading of A Christmas Carol. But before long audiences are entangled in the stories of Frosty, Rudolph, Charlie Brown and George Bailey. Four of Cincy Shakes’ veteran actors (one as a highly inebriated Santa) send up everything from Dickens to Dr. Seuss. It’s another “season extra” (outside regular subscriptions) and definitely not for anyone who still believes in Santa. Dec. 16-27, 2015.

HENRY VI , PART I by William Shakespeare. The company has committed parts of several seasons to work its way through Shakespeare’s cycle of history plays. This year it’s the first of three parts that tell the story of Henry VI. Actors continue to reprise roles they’ve played for several seasons in two parts of Henry IV and Henry V. In this installment, the untimely death of Henry V puts his infant son on the throne, and the War of the Roses, pitting the houses of York and Lancaster against one another, is off and running. Jan. 22-Feb. 13, 2016.

JANE AUSTEN’S EMMA (adapted by Jon Jory). Cincy Shakes has struck gold with stage productions of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen’s novels of early 19th-century manners as adapted by Jon Jory, the longtime artistic director of Actors Theatre of Louisville. These shows appealed to audiences in part because the company has a corps of talented female actors (presently showcased in Little Women) who will find great opportunities in Austen’s tale about amateur matchmaker Emma Wodehouse who lives to meddle in others’ love lives. When she tries to set up her less than promising friend Harriet, the plan goes awry, and Emma must try to undo the damage. It’s another classic story of wit, whimsy and anxious romance. Feb. 26-March 26, 2016.

JULIUS CAESAR by William Shakespeare. Part one of a season-ending epic pairing of two of the Bard’s great plays begins with this tragedy about the brilliant general, a cunning politician and beloved leader of ancient Rome. Jealous Roman patriots decide his ambition is a threat to the Republic and assassinate him on the senate floor. The result is a civil war that tests friendships and loyalties; it also determines the fate of the Roman Empire. April 8-May 7, 2016.

ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA by William Shakespeare. The second part of the company’s special event offers this rarely staged epic sequel to Julius Caesar. The civil war has ended and the empire has been divided. Marc Antony heads to Egypt to rule his corner of the globe, but his plans are sidetracked by Egypt’s Cleopatra. Their love affair pits Rome and Egypt against each other and changes the ancient world forever. May 13- June 4, 2016.

Subscriptions ($143-$233) are sold in flexible sets of seven that can be used one per production or in other combinations. Subscriptions and single tickets are now for sale via cincyshakes.com or by calling 513-381-2273, x1.

 
 
 
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