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by Nick Grever 03.02.2016 64 days ago
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, New Releases, Reviews at 02:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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REVIEW: Jims – ‘Mandarin’ EP

Sweet Ray Laurel and Smoke Signals… member releases dynamic debut solo effort

An EP can be a risky endeavor for any musician. The shorter run time leaves little room for a filler track; the artist has to make their impression and showcase their style in the span of time it takes for some full-lengths to start stretching their legs. Of course, crafting a journey for the listener is a bit easier when their leader is a scene veteran with a wide array of releases to his name. And that’s exactly what makes Northern Kentucky resident Jimmy Snowden’s new EP, Mandarin, so enjoyable. (In his solo guise, Snowden is billed as simply “Jims.”)

Snowden is a member of Cincinnati-area acts like Smoke Signals… and Sweet Ray Laurel, and each of his projects places a spotlight on his myriad influences, from unpredictable Post Punk to acoustic-guitar-driven Indie Pop. Mandarin’s five tracks are undeniably Snowden’s design, each showing a fragment of his musical sensibilities. As a whole, they coalesce to provide a complete picture of the artist and his broad skill set. Snowden wrote, performed, and recorded the EP entirely on his own, and Mandarin bleeds Snowden’s individual playstyles as a result.

The first track, “Systems,” has an initially startling introduction. The track features vocal loops layered over downplayed percussion and acoustic guitar, which lead to a track that mixes unease and catchy melody in equal measure. It highlights Snowden’s more experimental qualities before allowing the rest of the EP to showcase his more traditional, Indie roots. It may not initially line up with the rest of the EP’s auditory aesthetic, but it’s an important track due to its insight into Snowden’s more forceful proclivities.

What follows are four tracks that thematically fall in line more evenly than what “Systems” initially hints at. “She’s Down” and “Hey Nola” feature driving guitar riffs and unconventional percussion set just under Snowden’s emotive singing voice. Snowden’s layering techniques are in full effect on each track. At times, it sounds like Snowden was running between instruments during recording to give each their own standout moment in the mix. The guitar is the star of the show, with Snowden crafting licks that enter your eardrum, weave into the folds of your brain and take up residence long after the disc has stopped spinning.

On the final tracks, “LOVE” and “ALONE,” Snowden takes his formula and makes subtle shifts to alter the mood and take the listener to a more introspective and thoughtful place. “LOVE” introduces keys at critical points of the song to create an almost mournful tone to the balance of guitar and upbeat percussion. Snowden carries the same feeling into “ALONE” by stripping away almost every layer that he had so carefully constructed on the previous tracks and focusing mainly on his vocals and guitar. What comes out on the other side is an artist laid bare. It’s a song that easily climbs beyond its self-imposed limitations and works as a suitably antithetical bookend with EP opener, “Systems.”

While Mandarin’s run time is a scant 14 minutes, Snowden is able to expose his listeners to the many elements of his musical style that enables him to be a part of so many disparate bands and be successful with all of them. Mandarin is a release that gives new listeners a fantastic introduction to Snowden’s skills. But for those of us who are already aware, it’s a solid reminder of his eclectic talents.

Snowden hosts a free EP release party for Mandarin this Saturday at 10 p.m. at The Crazy Fox Saloon (901 Washington Ave., Newport). Click here and here for updates, show dates and more. 


 
 
by Cassie Lipp 03.02.2016 64 days ago
at 01:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Slice of Cincinnati: My Dad's Place

Located in the heart of St. Bernard, My Dad’s Place has everything customers expect from a small town diner — crinkle cut fries, thick and juicy burgers, double decker sandwiches, homemade soups, fluffy pancakes and breakfast all day — on the cheap.

My Dad’s Place started because, well, owner Dave Roll’s father owns the building the restaurant is housed in. The space originally housed Dave’s Pub, but the business was sold after Roll’s son Tyler Rapien was born. After the space fell into disrepair as Boomerang’s Bar and Grill, Roll decided to buy it back and start a family-run restaurant.

“St. Bernard has been needing this for so many years,” Rapien says.

Roll and his son stepped up to fill the void of local restaurants, despite the fact that neither of them have prior restaurant experience. The menu was brought to life by Pam Bishop, the former owner of Pam’s Diner in Colerain (now Frank’s Diner).

Rapien, a senior at Roger Bacon High School, says managing the restaurant comes easy to him because he is a people person. Next year he will continue to manage the restaurant while he attends Northern Kentucky University to study marketing.

If you grew up in St. Bernard like me, or a small neighborhood just like it, you probably have a thing for small diners. While many people from around the neighborhood absolutely love Chili Time (including my grandfather, who ate there almost every day), I am one of the Naridans who is willing to face the look of shock on others’ faces when I say I am not a big fan of that spot.

Thankfully, My Dad’s Place offers traditional comfort food with the same low prices. For only $4.75 you can get a cheeseburger with slices of thick, premium bacon. The burgers are surprisingly thick and filling for how inexpensive they are, and very tasty.

For those who like breakfast, the pancakes are as big as your face, sweet and fluffy. A stack of three with your choice of breakfast meat is $6. My Dad’s Place’s most popular dish is the goetta, egg and cheese hoagy for $4.25. Glier’s goetta, a fried egg and American cheese pack the hoagy bun for a treat that’s appropriate any time of the day. It’s no wonder the sandwich is even popular during dinner hours.

My Dad’s Place also serves Philly cheese steak sandwiches, chicken Phillys and reubens, as well as a variety of salads. In short, there’s something for everyone.

What makes the restaurant unique is the friendly feel customers are greeted with immediately after walking inside. All staff are pleasant and helpful — this is thanks to the fact that the restaurant is family-owned and operated.

“When you walk in here it doesn’t feel like a restaurant to be honest,” Rapien says. “It doesn’t matter where you are from; you are family to us.”

You do not have to be from St. Bernard or missing Pam’s Diner in order to enjoy My Dad’s Place. It is a nice stop for anyone craving comfort food at a great price in a friendly atmosphere.

While My Dad’s Place has only been open for a little more than a month, it has already enticed a string of regulars and a packed house on its first day. This was largely thanks to Rapien’s marketing on Facebook.

“The whole friggin’ town was here,” Roll says. “We had people still waiting for food at 10 even though we closed at 9.”

No worries — I waited less than 20 minutes for the food I ordered. This is quite impressive considering the grill is quite small. Rapien says there are plans to expand the building to make the small kitchen larger in the future.


MY DAD’S PLACE is located at 4501 Vine St., St. Bernard. More info: 513- 448-0030 or facebook.com/Mydadsplacestbernard.

 
 
by Rick Pender 03.02.2016 64 days ago
Posted In: Theater at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
billy chace as richard iii @ cincy shakes - mikki schaffner photography

Only the Beginning: Cincy Shakes 2016-2017 Season

Perhaps by now you’ve heard that Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is building itself a new home at 12th and Elm streets in Over-the-Rhine. (Construction is already under way.) But before the move, there’s one last season of theater to be produced at 719 Race St., Downtown, the space where the group has performed since the late 1990s but has outgrown. 

Brian Phillips, Cincy Shakes’ producing artistic director, says, “Before we go, we have one last season here on Race Street. We will present a slate of titles that are as nostalgic as they are timeless and represent the next phase of Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. This is the perfect chance to join us as we bid a fond farewell to Race Street, because this goodbye is only the beginning.” 

The season announced today offers nine productions, commencing with a powerful stage adaption of The Diary of Anne Frank (Sept. 9-Oct. 1) featuring Courtney Lucien — currently playing the title role in the current adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma — as the young Jewish girl who records her harrowing story in her diary. Her family’s experience, hiding from Nazi persecutors in an Amsterdam attic, endures as a condemnation of man’s capacity for cruelty and a celebration of the resilience of the human spirit. It will be followed by Bernard Pomerance’s award-winning American classic, The Elephant Man (Oct. 14-Nov. 5). Longtime favorite actor Giles Davies will play the deformed central character, Joseph Merrick, and Brent Vimtrup portrays the young doctor who finds an intelligent, sensitive man behind his horrifying disfigurement. 

The season’s first Shakespearean production at the classic theater is the romantic comedy Much Ado About Nothing (Nov. 18-Dec. 10). It’s about Beatrice and Benedick, a perfectly matched couple who can’t stand each other — a formula for great comedy. More Shakespeare comes in January as Cincy Shakes wraps up the History Cycle, a feat undertaken by just one other theater in the U.S. The presentation in chronological order of Shakespeare’s history plays about the reigns of five British kings and a century of turmoil began in 2013. The concluding elements of this series will be the 2017 productions of Henry VI: The Wars of the Roses, Part 2 (Jan. 20-Feb. 11) followed by the cycle’s thrilling conclusion with the story of England’s most murderous monarch, Richard III (Feb. 17-March 11), played by Billy Chace. 

Lorraine Hansberry’s masterpiece of the American stage, A Raisin in the Sun (March 24-April 15) comes next, about a working class African-American family in 1950s Chicago. A financial windfall opens a door to opportunity, but social pressures undermine their dream. The 1959 play is a classic in every sense of the word.

Cincy Shakes’ final production on the Race Street stage, fittingly, will be Shakespeare’s final play, The Tempest (May 5-June 3). Longtime company member Nicholas Rose will play the magician Prospero in a sweet story of revenge, love, magic and redemption. 

To add several sparks of hilarity to its final season, Cincy Shakes will present two other shows outside the subscription season. They are All the Great Books (abridged) (July 22-Aug. 13, 2016), another script from the deliriously fevered brains that created The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), The Complete History of America and more. They’re calling it a refresher of literature’s greatest hits for “everyone from the illiterate to the literati.” And it wouldn’t be a Cincinnati holiday season without another round of Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!) (Dec. 14-31). The 90-minute send up of “Beloved Holiday Classics” returns for the 11th year.

It’s a great send-off for the company, the little literary engine that could, which will open the following season in the new facility in Over-the-Rhine in September 2017.

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 03.02.2016 64 days ago
Posted In: News at 11:26 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
tedstrickland

Morning News and Stuff

Officers accused of covering up CPD sergeant crash appear in court; Strickland scores pres, VP endorsements in Senate run; Trump, Clinton win big on Super Tuesday

Two Cincinnati police officers accused of covering up a fellow officer’s auto accident while he was allegedly under the influence appeared in Hamilton County court yesterday. You can see the original CityBeat story here, but the main points: In March 2015, Sgt. Andrew Mitchell crashed his car along West McMicken Street while he was off-duty. Instead of investigating that accident, prosecutors allege responding officer Jason Cotterman drove Mitchell to CPD District 5 headquarters, ignoring a witness who said Mitchell appeared to be under the influence. Prosecutors also allege another officer, Sgt. Richard Sulfsted, oversaw Mitchell’s removal from the scene in an attempt to protect the fellow officer. The trial, overseen by Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge Josh Berkowitz, involves charges of dereliction of duty and obstructing justice for Cotterman and Sulfsted. Berkowitz is expected to spend about a week on the trial and will issue a verdict. We’ll continue to update as the case goes on.

• A crowd of more than 100 showed up to Peaslee Neighborhood Center in Over-the-Rhine last night for a wide-ranging discussion from academics, neighborhood residents, housing advocates and others who have lived in, worked in or studied the quickly changing neighborhood. Presenters provided wider historical and political context for recent heated debates about housing prices, displacement of some residents and cultural change in the neighborhood. Some presenters held an activity around a recent housing study that shows that while the neighborhood’s housing has become more economically diverse between 2000 and 2015, 73 percent of the neighborhood’s most affordable rental units became unavailable to low-income renters during that time. You can hear recordings of all the presenters here.

• Just down the street in OTR, the city of Cincinnati held an event at the Woodward Theater discussing possible changes to Liberty Street, which bisects the neighborhood. The road is wide — some crosswalks across it span 70 feet, double the norm in the neighborhood — and has a high traffic volume. That, some say, is impacting the neighborhood’s walkability and keeping its northern section from experiencing development that has taken off in the southern half. The city last night released results of a survey of neighborhood residents, who seem to prefer either two options that would narrow Liberty significantly as well as adding bike lanes and other changes.

• This is cool. A sustainability group and cooperative in Price Hill has plans to open up a new community center, homesteading store and bar to serve as a spot for community-building in the neighborhood. Enright Eco Village has purchased the former Paradise Lounge at West Eighth Street and Enright Avenue in West Price Hill and is currently rehabbing it for its yet-to-be-named store. Organizers of the store hope to host public events there and foresee opening it this summer.

• Well, this is a big one. Or two. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have thrown their endorsements to former Ohio Governor and U.S. Senate hopeful Ted Strickland in his Democratic primary bid to take on incumbent Republican Sen. Rob Portman. The big endorsement comes as Strickland tangles with Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld for the party’s nomination. Strickland is definitely the favorite in the race — he polls well above Sittenfeld and fellow contender Kelli Prather, also of Cincinnati — but that hasn’t stopped Sittenfeld from hitting him hard on gun issues and other concerns. Obama and Biden’s endorsement is a sign that Democrats are doubling down on efforts to re-win control of the Senate in 2016 and see known entities like Strickland as the way to do that.

• OK. Super Tuesday. I’m going to be quick. On the GOP side of the presidential primary election fest that went down yesterday across 11 states, Trump won seven states, walloping rivals U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, who won three, and U.S. Sen Marco Rubio, who won one. Ohio Gov. John Kasich and surgeon Ben Carson won… zero. That’s sent election-watchers on both sides of the aisle into all sorts of fits as Trump’s path to the nomination becomes more and more likely. On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton safely coasted past Bernie Sanders, taking seven primary states to his four. You can see the commanding leads the front runners are taking in the delegate counts here.

• Speaking of The Donald, he was in Ohio briefly yesterday for a rally ahead of the state’s March 15 primary. He talked a lot about immigrants and making America great again, both topics he seems to be fixated upon. He didn’t, however,say much at all about Kasich, a sure sign Trump doesn’t see the Ohio guv as much of a threat. Kasich has polled behind Trump among GOP voters in the state and has just 28 delegates so far to Trump’s 285.

 
 
by Katherine Newman 03.01.2016 65 days ago
at 05:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Nonprofit Spotlight: Urban Blooms

Tyler Wolf and Lily Turner, co-founders of Urban Blooms, recently built the largest living wall in Ohio. The two Walnut Hills High School graduates started the nonprofit two years ago and have been amazed with the outpouring of support and interest they have seen from Cincinnati communities thus far. Urban Blooms specializes the design, installation and maintenance of indoor and outdoor living walls  — functional vertical gardens — as a source of income for other community sustainability projects. One of the organization’s goals for the year is to build at least six more. The living walls are not only aesthetically beautiful, but also good for the environment — with air-cleaning abilities, they can filter out particulate matter and volatile organic compounds from the air we breathe. Urban Blooms is responsible for the 18-by-8-foot installation at Hyde Park’s E+O Kitchen, and will be exhibiting a living wall at the Cincinnati Flower Show in April.

What makes this nonprofit really special? It’s still in the startup phase. Wolf and Turner have no paid staff and haven’t pulled a salary for themselves yet.

“We are professional volunteers,” Turner says. “When you remove the money factor, you see what you can do, and that’s when the passion really kicks in — and the ambition. It’s fantastic to see, and that’s part of the energy of the startup community.”

The two are committed to their cause and to the city of Cincinnati. “We are not trying to get rich with this,” Wolf says.  “We really want to make our city into a more sustainable and community-oriented place that appreciates art, like these living walls. I believe we can turn Cincinnati into the most sustainable city in the country.”

Volunteer

There is an upcoming opportunity to volunteer with Urban Blooms. During the next few weeks, the team will be working to clean out a space in North Avondale to build a community butterfly garden. Any one wanting to help can contact Urban Blooms for details on time and place.

At the beginning of last year, Wolf got involved with the East End Veterans Memorial Garden, located behind Eli’s BBQ. The vets that tend to the garden are part of the drug and alcohol program at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center. “The whole program is based around providing healthy living and learning environments and to teach them sober activities to occupy their time with,” Wolf says. Volunteers are welcome to visit the garden from 9 a.m.-noon Thursday or 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday starting around the first week of April. There is a 52-week curriculum that teaches different gardening techniques that are relevant to the seasons. “In the spring we teach how to get soil ready, starting seeds and transplanting,” Wolf says. “In the summer it’s more about taking care of plants and knowing when its time to pick. In the fall it’s about picking produce, cooking with it and getting the garden ready for the next year.” Urban Blooms is not looking for gardening gurus to get involved with this community project, just volunteers who want to spend some time getting their hands dirty to make a difference in the life of a veteran.

There is another garden near the Cincinnati Zoo where volunteers are welcome to come and help the team prepare the beds to be planted. This community garden has about 12 raised beds and is a traditional community garden where people in the neighborhood take responsibility for their own beds and work through trading with other people utilizing the gardening space. Anyone living in Avondale or Clifton who wants space in the garden can contact Urban Blooms.

Because this organization is so new, they could still use a little help with the business side of things. Anyone willing to contribute time to grant writing, website building or nonprofit administration would be more than appreciated.

Donate

Urban Blooms is a young nonprofit, so donations help greatly. Money is always appreciated but there are many other ways to help this growing organization. The team has asked for gardening supplies like soil, seeds and rocks. Donated wood and 55-gallon barrels can be used to make garden beds and planters. One unique donation they are looking for is old jeans — Turner has the interesting idea of turning jeans into cool planters.


For more information on URBAN BLOOMS volunteering and garden projects: urbanblooms.org.

 
 
by Natalie Krebs 03.01.2016 65 days ago
Posted In: News at 11:11 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
metro plus bus

Morning News and Stuff

Shooting at Butler County school injures 2 students; Cincinnati VA center replaces outed chief of staff; presidential candidates gear up for Super Tuesday

Happy Super Tuesday, Cincinnati. Here are your morning headlines.

A shooting at Madison Junior/Senior High School in Butler County yesterday left two teenagers with non-life threatening injuries. According to witnesses, yesterday morning around 11 a.m., freshman James Austin Hancock started firing a gun in the lunchroom. Hancock luckily did not fatally injure anyone and reportedly threw the gun away before deputies arrived and arrested him. He is facing several felony accounts, including attempted murder. The two students who were shot are expected to make a full recovery. The event rocked Madison, a town of 9,000 people where the elementary, middle and high schools are all located next to one another. School officials have cancelled classes for Tuesday.

• As if the chaos in Madison wasn't enough yesterday, another student at nearby Middletown High School was also arrested for bringing a handgun to school. This event was much less dire than the one at Madison. There were no shootings, threats, injuries or big disruptions to the school day, and the student was arrested on unspecified charges. This incident at the high school follows another one earlier this month when a 15-year-old was arrested after officials linked him with a note containing death threats and racial slurs.

• The Cincinnati Veterans Affairs Medical Center has named Dr. Ralph Panos as the new acting chief of staff. Panos, who is the center's chief of medicine, replaces Dr. Barbara Temeck, who was outed from the position from by the feds last Thursday following a Feb. 2016 federal investigation that found her guilty of prescribing medication to another VA employee's family member. Her license does not allow her to prescribe medication privately outside the VA. Temeck remains at the clinic until the Department of Veterans Affairs announces what further action it will take, but she has been taken off of patient care duty and has had a her hospital privileges suspended in the meantime. VA network director Jack Hetrick also submitted his notice of retirement on Feb. 25 after the federal government also recommended he be removed from his position. Temeck was reportedly prescribing Hetrick's wife medication.

• Details about the apartments at the former School of Creative and Performing Arts building are finally out. The Alumni Lofts will hold 142 apartments ranging from 550 to 2,200 square feet in size. Rent will cost between $800 and $1,200 a month. The complex will host an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. on March 16 for anyone curious to see what a school-turned-apartment complex looks like. The event's Facebook page already has one commenter wondering what it would be like to live in her old school building. Leasing will start this month, and new residents will be able to move in this September.

• A new study found Cincinnati's residents receiving rental assistance from HUD to help make their cost of living a little more affordable are still facing economic hurdles in terms of access to transit. The study by the University of Texas and the University of Utah that evaluated more than 18,000 households nationwide on HUD rent subsidies found nearly half these recipients are spending more than 15 percent of their household budgets on transit. Among cities with the highest rate of rental properties receiving federal assistance, Cincinnati ranks 11th highest for transit costs--sandwiched between Cleveland at number 10 and Columbus at number 12. Wonder if that has anything to do with the state of Ohio's incredibly low spending on transit? The study found that residents of more sprawling areas like San Antonio, Houston and Pittsburgh tend to be hit harder with transit costs. HUD generally ranks housing as affordable if rent is less than 30 percent of a household's budget. However, it fails to calculate in transportation costs.

• There's still two weeks to go until Ohio's primary, but local political junkies can get their biggest hit yet as they watch the results of Super Tuesday roll in. Voters in 12 states go to the polls today, and soon we'll see just how concrete Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump's leads are for their parties' nominations. Political analysts are predicting that Trump is expected to win nearly all of the states, possibly only really having to worry about losing Sen. Ted Cruz's home state of Texas. The race between the Democratic contenders Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders should be a little more interesting. Clinton is expected to fare well in the southern states like Georgia, Tennessee and Arkansas with high African-American populations, a group that favors Clinton based on her success in the South Carolina Democratic primary. Sanders will likely have more success in the whiter states of Minnesota, Massachusetts and Vermont, his home state. Either way, as this race gets more intense, so do our candidates and some of the things flying out of their mouths. So pay attention, Ohio!

Any story tips go to nkrebs@citybeat.com.

 
 
by Rick Pender 02.29.2016 66 days ago
Posted In: Theater at 08:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
onstage

Playhouse in the Park Announces 2016-2017 Season

Artistic Director Blake Robison to bring a variety of programming by a diverse array of playwrights

On Monday evening, Blake Robison, artistic director at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, announced the shows he has selected for the theater’s 2016-2017 season. In an earlier conversation about the 10 works to be presented, Robison told me why he’s excited about the coming year. “This hits all the programming areas that we talk about a lot,” he says, referencing family-friendly productions, new works and a diverse array of playwrights.

For his fifth season in Cincinnati, six of the 10 productions are by women or artists of color. Robison has included a Pulitzer Prize winner, a work by America’s greatest African-American playwright, a couple of classics, two world premieres and some shows that touch on important contemporary issues.

He’s particularly pleased that the shows he’s programmed for the Robert S. Marx Stage “have some degree of name recognition. But the season is not watered down — we haven’t resorted to ‘cotton-candy’ programming. We’re leaning forward and doing some very challenging work, but it has a popular flair. From the beginning I said that I wanted to be sure that our programming was both artistically challenging and hugely popular. That seems like it should be an easy thing, but it’s actually one of the hardest. I think this season has come the closest to that goal.”

The Marx season opens with an adaptation of John Irving’s popular 1989 novel, A Prayer for Owen Meany (Sept. 3-Oct. 1). A work that explores friendship, destiny and faith, it’s a show that Robison staged with memorable success a decade ago at Round House Theatre in Bethesda, Md., where he was artistic director before Cincinnati. “It’s a beautiful, imaginative, resonant story,” he says. “The search for meaning, personal faith and true things, above and beyond organized religion, is interesting to people these days.”

Next will be August Wilson’s Jitney (Oct. 15-Nov. 12), one of the 10 plays in Wilson’s “Century Cycle,” chronicling African-American life during the 20th century. The story of men operating an unlicensed car service in Pittsburgh has never been staged in Cincinnati. Playhouse Associate Artist Timothy Douglas, one of the foremost interpreters of Wilson’s work in America today, will direct it.

Following the 26th annual production of A Christmas Carol, the Playhouse will present Little Shop of Horrors (Jan. 21-Feb. 19), a campy off-Broadway show about a man-eating plant that became a Broadway hit (and a movie) in the 1980s. (The Playhouse produced it in 1987.) “I just love this show.” Robison says. It’s no longer touring, and he promises “a high-level treatment” by guest director Bill Fennelly, who helped make Jersey Boys a hit. “When we did Ring of Fire in 2015,” says Robison, “we discovered that something fun and peppy and innately populist fits in January.”

From populism to the classics is the path he’s taking for the season’s final productions on the mainstage — an adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s romantic novel Jane Eyre (March 11-April 8) and Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery (April 22-May 20). The latter is an amusing adaptation in the same vein as the hilarious production of The 39 Steps, using five actors to play numerous roles and hurtle through a familiar tale.

The Playhouse’s Shelterhouse stage is where more adventurous works are offered. The season kicks off with Ayad Akhtar’s 2013 Pulitzer Prize winning play, Disgraced (Sept. 24-Oct. 23), a dinner party on New York City’s Upper East Side hosted by a Muslim-American attorney with friends and colleagues that melts down around identity, religion and politics. “It’s the Playhouse’s responsibility to ensure that our audiences can enjoy these huge award-winning plays,” Robison explains. “ You don’t have to go to New York or Chicago to see them. It’s going to be fantastic in the Shelterhouse. We’ve intentionally chosen to put this pressure cooker in the Shelterhouse and turn up the heat.”

Every holiday season the Playhouse seeks an alternative to its lovely traditional production of A Christmas Carol. This year’s show should be especially attractive: The Second City’s Holidazed & Confused Revue (Nov. 5-Dec. 31). It promises to be a hilarious evening of its skits that send up Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and everything in between, performed by talent from the legendary Chicago comedy club.

In the New Year, Robison has lined up two more world premieres, again featuring up-and-coming female playwrights. Arlitia Jones’s Summerland (Feb. 4-March 5) is about a “spirit photographer,” inspired by a man who took haunting images of the dead in the era just after the Civil War. That will be followed by Jen Silverman’s All the Roads Home (March 25-April 23), the story of three generations of women and the legacies they inherit across the latter half of the 20th century.

The Shelterhouse season wraps up with a one-woman show, Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End (May 6-June 4), a portrait of the Dayton, Ohio, housewife whose newspaper columns gave voice to ordinary women everywhere. “This show is just an absolute stitch,” says Robison. “It had a very successful run at Arena Stage in Washington last spring, and we got it immediately because of the Ohio connection. It’s the perfect vehicle to send people into summer with a smile.”

As Robison said, it sounds easy to assemble an artistically challenging and popular season, but it’s truly a tough task. It would appear that he’s done it for 2016-2017. “I think this season has come the closest to that goal,” he says.

The box office is the true gauge, but the season certainly looks promising.

 
 
by Steve Beynon 02.29.2016 66 days ago
Posted In: 2016 election at 11:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Primary Cheat Sheet: Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz (Republican)

Fun Fact:

Whether you agree with Ted Cruz’s policy or not, this Texas senator is highly educated — graduating from two Ivy league schools. Cruz graduated cum laude from Princeton University with a B.A. in Public Policy, we went on to graduate magna cum laude from Harvard Law School with a Juris Doctor degree.

Before setting foot in the political arena, Cruz was an adjunct law professor at the University of Texas from 2004 to 2009, teaching U.S. Supreme Court litigation.

What’s up with the campaign?

Cruz has held his head above water, consistently placed as a top-tier candidate in the GOP field. The Texas senator won his first election in 2012, being in Washington just long enough to have some knowledge in policy, but not long enough to be considered an “establishment” candidate by any reasonable margins.

However, in a political field that’s hungry for someone that isn’t politics as usual, Cruz has struggled to make himself stand out compared to Trump — who is about as outside the beltway as you get. In a Trump-less election, Cruz would have likely been seen as the fringe candidate doing a hostile takeover of the GOP.

His ultra-conservative ideology and political resume put him somewhere between Rubio and Trump. With more than $19 million on-hand and a super PAC, Cruz is running a powerful campaign — but it has been hard for him to stand out or propose any attractive proposals other than he isn’t Trump.

Cruz may have won Iowa, but he looks weak moving forward. The path to the White House is narrow for the Texas senator.

Voters might like:

      Cruz is the most conservative candidate. Period. He has earned a 100 percent score from the Heritage Action Scorecard and the American Conservative Union. Glenn Beck also said Cruz is “more conservative than Reagan.”

      There’s no fear from Cruz in fighting the establishment and standing up for his principles. He consistently advocates abolishing the IRS and the Department of Education. We also cannot forget his 21-hour filibuster against Obamacare. During that same filibuster he gave a phenomenal reading of Green Eggs and Ham.

       He speaks to the evangelical crowd — which is a huge voter base in the GOP primary. Cruz has captured the heart of a lot of religious Americans, speaking as a man that lives Christian values.

...but watch out for

      Many view Cruz as more “dangerous” than Trump. This anti-Washington crusader has made a career out of dismantling the government, thus hasn’t made a lot of friends in Congress. He led the government into a shutdown in 2013. Trump has proven he can get independents and Democrats to vote for him, Cruz seemingly only has support from the far-right.

      Cruz is a loud and proud climate change denier, once saying it’s “not science, it’s a religion.”  It is difficult to measure whether that is pandering or the Texas senator is being a honest skeptic of science. But when virtually all scientists and governments take climate change seriously and the pentagon considers it a “security threat,” it’s difficult to take skepticism seriously when some of Cruz’s largest donations come from oil companies.

      Cruz really hates government — of course that is a staple for conservatism these days, but he takes the Ronald Reagan rhetoric of “government is the problem” to the max. Cruz is not talking about the Islamic State when he says, “we are facing what I consider to be the epic battle of our generation” — he is talking about Obamacare. Cruz has a true hatred of the federal government, which makes it hard to understand why he wants the highest position in the federal government.

Biggest policy proposal:

Like a lot of conservatives running for the Oval Office, Cruz has proposed a flat tax — yet his is probably the most dramatic of all.

Cruz would replace the income tax with a 10-percent flat tax, abolish corporate tax and all payroll, estate and gift taxes. Some analytics such as the Tax Policy Center find that plan would cost the U.S. about $1 trillion per year for the next decade and lower the GDP 3.6 percent.

War

Cruz hasn’t been entirely clear on whether or not he would use conventional ground troops in Iraq or Syria to fight the Islamic State. However, it sounds like boots on ground is an option.

"The mission should be defeating ISIS before they succeed in carrying out more horrific acts of terror, before they succeed in murdering Americans. If need be, we should go that step," Cruz said in an interview on This Week with anchor George Stephanopoulos

Cruz has made it clear that the priority should be arming those already fighting ISIS on the ground such as the Kurdish fighters in Iraq.


The primaries are elections in which the parties pick their strongest candidate to run for president. In Ohio, Election Day is Tuesday, March 15, 2016. Go here for more information on primaries. CityBeat will be profiling each of the candidates every week until the primaries in March.


 
 
by Nick Swartsell 02.29.2016 66 days ago
Posted In: News at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
annman_otr_washingtonparkmusichall_jf01

Morning News and Stuff

City, Keep Cincinnati Beautiful at odds over blight data; activists march against Murray, Gaston deaths; Sittenfeld picks up newspaper endorsement

Hey all! Hope your weekend was a good one. Here’s your news today.

Recent funding shifts by Cincinnati city administration away from a prominent anti-blight organization have caused a rift between the city and the group’s supporters. Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black earlier this month informed City Council and Mayor John Cranley that he would be redirecting $100,000 from nonprofit Keep Cincinnati Beautiful to private contracting group Four Evergreen because the latter completes blight mitigation work cheaper and more quickly. But supporters of Keep Cincinnati Beautiful contest that claim, saying that the city’s data is inaccurate and that the group has actually reached its targets at a lower cost per lot.

Keep Cincinnati Beautiful chairman Brad Lindner, CEO of United Dairy Farmers, fired off a strongly worded letter to the city condemning the move and a Cincinnati Enquirer story that reported the city’s data without confirming it with Keep Cincinnati Beautiful. Lindner said the purportedly erroneous data was “negligently presented to the public” and called the Enquirer’s reporting “sensationalized and mean spirited.” The paper says the data was presented in a Cincinnati City Council meeting, where representatives from Keep Cincinnati Beautiful were present but did not contest it. Enquirer leaders say the paper will continue to look into the issue.

• At least 40 racial justice advocates gathered yesterday in West Price Hill and Westwood to protest the deaths of Melvin Murray, Jr. and Paul Gaston after encounters with Cincinnati police. Gaston died Feb. 17 after he was shot multiple times by three CPD officers. CPD officials say he was reaching for a realistic-looking pellet gun in his waistband at the time. Murray died in a car accident following a pursuit by police. Murray’s family said officers in that pursuit failed to render aid following the accident and might have rear-ended Murray’s car, which was demolished after the incident.

Protesters at yesterday’s event gathered in West Price Hill, near the site of Murray’s accident, and then marched to Western Hills, near where Gaston died. There, they observed three minutes of silence symbolizing the three hours they say Gaston lay in the street after his shooting. Organizers are pushing for the dismissal and indictment of officers involved in both incidents. City officials say the officers acted appropriately in both situations, though they did condemn dash cam audio of the officers in Murray’s chase calling him a “dumbass” and other insults.

• The Queen City has landed on a dubious list, ranking 10th most distressed city in the country on a new list by The New York Times. The ranking was devised from seven factors, including percentage of adults who are employed, the percentage of adults who have a high school diploma, the city’s poverty rate, housing vacancy rate and other factors. Cleveland was the nation’s most distressed city, and Toledo also made the list at number four.

• With Music Hall’s major renovations just a few months away, the project’s leaders are showing the public just what kind of transformation they’re envisioning for the Cincinnati landmark. Those changes include a new lounge area behind the auditorium, fewer but wider and more comfortable seats, a more luminous lobby area and restoration of windows on the building’s façade that are currently bricked up. Those changes, along with many others, are projected to cost $135 million. State tax credits, the city and private donors have stepped up to cover most of that cost, but $5 million remains to be raised to fully fund the project.

• Finally, U.S. Senate hopeful and Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld has picked up a powerful endorsement in his underdog Democratic primary race against former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland. The Cleveland Plain Dealer, one of the state’s biggest newspapers, has endorsed Sittenfeld over Strickland, saying the former is more specific about policy proposals and has shown a willingness to engage with important issues that Strickland hasn’t. You can check out the paper’s weird slideshow endorsement here. Earlier this month, Sittenfeld also picked up an endorsement from former Ohio Gov. Richard Celeste, a prominent Democrat.

Strickland still leads Sittenfeld by a wide margin in almost all polls and is currently neck and neck with incumbent U.S. Sen. Rob Portman in polling around the general election. But Sittenfeld’s campaign points to the endorsements as signs his campaign is picking up steam ahead of the state’s March 15 primary.

 
 
by Staff 02.26.2016 69 days ago
Posted In: Fun at 12:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
todo_emma-at-cincy-shakes_photo-mikki-schaffner-photography

Your Weekend To Do List (2/26-2/28)

Oscar parties, art openings, rude puppets and Emma at Cincy Shakes

FRIDAY

ONSTAGE: EMMA

Pretty much all you need to do to sell theater tickets these days is attach Jane Austen’s name to a show. No zombies in Emma à la the current film adaptation Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but Cincinnati Shakespeare is on the bandwagon with another stage adaptation by Jon Jory, the longtime leader of Actors Theatre of Louisville; his renditions of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility have been bestsellers for the classic theater company. This production is all about girls — directed by 12-year ensemble member Kelly Mengelkoch and featuring second-year ensemble member Courtney Lucien as Emma Wodehouse, the amateur matchmaker whose efforts don’t unfold quite as planned. Through March 26. $14-$36. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 719 Race St., Downtown, 513-381-2273, cincyshakes.com. 

'King Me'
Photo: Nina M Dot
ART: KING ME AT THE GLOBE GALLERY
Nina Wells, who goes by the artistic name Nina M Dot, opens her photographic exhibition at the Globe Gallery on Friday evening featuring lenticular portraits of local men of color contrasted with images of themselves dressed as kings. Wells aims to restore the perception of these men’s self-value by applying a what-you-see-is-what-you-become mindset. “It is a platform for men of color to better understand their value in this world,” she says in a press release. A recipient of People’s Liberty’s $15,000 Globe grant, the artist’s message of black male empowerment will be accessible to small group audiences on opening night in 20-minute increments to allow for a more intimate viewing experience. Opening reception 6-10 p.m. Friday. On view through May 7. Free. 1805 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, peoplesliberty.org, reserve viewing space at tinyurl.com/jc85f4m

Over the Rhine
EVENT: 30 ROCKS! AT ENSEMBLE THEATRE
Over-the-Rhine theatrical and community mainstay, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, turns 30 this year, and to celebrate they’re hosting a birthday bash to remember. 30 Rocks! will feature theater, live music, cocktails and tasty bites from a ton of local eateries like The Delish Dish, Funky’s Catering, Gomez Salsa, Macaron Bar and more. The party kicks off with dinner by the bite, followed by a performance from the cast of The Marvelous Wonderettes and a live concert from local and nationally acclaimed duo Over the Rhine. Fun cocktail attire suggested. 7-10 p.m. Friday. $125; $175 host/hostess (includes two drink tickets). Music Hall Ballroom, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, ensemblecincinnati.org.

EVENT: QUEERCON
If you search “social justice warrior” or “SJW” online, chances are you’ll see a lot of hate surrounding the term. It’s used pejoratively, a label for those who supposedly promote their socially progressive ideologies in aggressive and gratuitous ways. But that’s not what Kyle Shupe has in mind when it comes to the theme of the inaugural QueerCon 2016 — taking place this Friday at the University of Cincinnati’s Tangeman University Center — which is just that: Social Justice Warriors. Shupe is the co-chair for the conference along with Jo Teut, who came up with the theme. They’re both Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) second-year graduate students at UC who want to reclaim SJW and present it in a positive light. Read more about the event here. QueerCon takes place 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday at UC’s Tangeman University Center. Search “QueerCon 2016” on Facebook for more information.

'Avenue Q'
Photo: Mikki Schaffner Photography
ONSTAGE: AVENUE Q
Watching Sesame Street as a kid, you learned you could do anything. Well, Avenue Q, up next at Price Hill’s Incline Theatre, is the R-rated answer to that mantra, a musical coming-of-age tale that revels in the anxieties of growing up — using puppets who say and sing stuff you never heard on PBS, operated by visible puppeteers. Watching Sesame Street as a kid, you learned you could do anything. Well, Avenue Q, up next at Price Hill’s Incline Theatre, is the R-rated answer to that mantra, a musical coming-of-age tale that revels in the anxieties of growing up — using puppets who say and sing stuff you never heard on PBS, operated by visible puppeteers. Through March 6. $23-$26. Warsaw Federal Incline Theatre, 801 Matson Place, E. Price Hill, 513-241-6550, cincinnatilandmarkproductions.com

The Revolutionists
Provided
ONSTAGE: THE REVOLUTIONISTS
A world premiere at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (simultaneously with another, Native Gardens). In The Revolutionists, up-and-coming playwright Lauren Gunderson assembles a crowd of badass historical women, including Marie Antoinette and assassin Charlotte Corday, imprisoned during the French Revolution. She imagines how they might encourage, inspire and support one another during the horrific “Reign of Terror” as they await the guillotine. Their short-term future certainly distills their conversations about what’s important, but Gunderson leavens her irreverent fantasia with a lot of sassy humor. “The beating heart of the play,” she says, “is that stories matter, that art matters.” Through March 6. $30-$85. Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mount Adams Circle, Mount Adams, 513-421-3888, cincyplay.com

Rayland Baxter
Photo: ATO Records
MUSIC: RAYLAND BAXTER
DNA is no guarantee of talent — sometimes it skips a generation; sometimes the progeny of the musically gifted rebel against any expectations heaped upon them. But when the children of greatness embrace their roots and use them as a starting point to chart their own unique path, the results can be breathtaking. That could easily describe the situation of Rayland Baxter, whose father, multi-instrumentalist Bucky Baxter, has sessioned and toured with Bob Dylan, Steve Forbert, Ryan Adams, R.E.M., Steve Earle, Joe Henry and many others. Like many musical offspring, Baxter came to his creative epiphany after a long and conscious avoidance of what could be perceived as his legacy. As a child, he was exposed to his father’s work and his mother’s church singing, and a good deal of popular music. Read more about Baxter in this week's Sound Advice. Rayland Baxter plays Friday at Madison Live. More info/tickets: madisontheateronline.com.

COMEDY: BENGT WASHBURN
Since his last visit to Cincinnati, Bengt Washburn has discovered a few things about himself. “I’ll just keep talking with more confidence,” he says. “That’s also what you do when you get older. You don’t get wiser, you get cocky and stupid.” Last year, Washburn did a string of military shows in Europe, including Kosovo, a place he found fascinating. “They’re pretty happy that we are there,” he says. “They have a high school called Bill Clinton High School in Kosovo. There’s a big banner with his face on it. That whole country is pretty happy with him.” Showtimes Thursday-Sunday. $8-$14. Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, gobananascomedy.com

SATURDAY
Photo: Shen Yun Performing Arts 
ONSTAGE: SHEN YUN 
China was once known as “The Middle Kingdom” and “The Land of the Divine,” said to be inhabited by heroes, sages, dragons, phoenixes and immortals. It was an era characterized by magic and splendor — an age that will be resurrected this weekend on the Aronoff stage. Shen Yun, the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company, channels this lost civilization through intoxicating movement and melodies; in fact, the group’s name literally translates to “the beauty of divine beings dancing.” It’s a striking visual and spiritual performance in town for one day only. 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday. $63.25-$123.25. Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-621-ARTS, cincinnatiarts.org.

2016 A'cat'emy Awards Extravaganza
Photo: Provided
EVENT: A'CAT'EMY AWARDS EXTRAVAGANZA

Falling just before the 88th Academy Awards is a similarly minded ceremony with a big, cat-centric cause. The Ohio Alleycat Resource & Spay/Neuter Clinic is rolling out the red carpet for its fifth-annual A‘cat’emy Awards Extravaganza, a glamorous night of cinematic feline frenzy. Guests will enjoy dinner and drinks in addition to movie trivia, Oscar predictions, games, raffles and a silent and live auction. Then, witness movie magic — hopefuls have been submitting homemade, 30-second videos of their pets all month long; winning pieces will be announced and screened. Categories include Best Cat Action Film, Best Cat Comedy Film and Best Cat Drama Film. Proceeds benefit the clinic and their no-kill adoption center. 6:30 p.m. Saturday; 5:30 p.m. VIP preview party. $65 general admission; $100 VIP. The Phoenix, 812 Race St., Downtown, ohioalleycat.org

Cincinnati Home and Garden Show
Photo: Hart Productions
EVENT: CINCINNATI HOME & GARDEN SHOW
Those looking to remodel or build their own home (or simply pretend they’re at home in model kitchens and bathrooms) can head to the Duke Energy Convention Center this weekend for the Cincinnati Home and Garden show, which has helped Cincinnatians with their home, garden and building needs since 1969. The event features landscape and interior designers, remodeling specialists, retail stores, contractors and exhibits featuring the latest trends in home and garden. Through March 6. $13 adults; free for children 12 and younger. Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Downtown, cincinnatihomeandgardenshow.com

EVENT: MACY'S ARTS SAMPLER
Dive into the vibrant world of local art and culture with the Macy’s Arts Sampler, a weekend festival featuring free performances and activities. Now in its 30th year, the annual ArtsWave-sponsored fest features a wide range of activities in art, music and more. Try a creative writing workshop at the downtown public library, a craft workshop at Taft Museum of Art or art-making classes for the whole family at the Art Academy. Stop by a Madcap Puppet performance at the Cincinnati Art Museum or catch a performance by the Queen City Chamber Orchestra and others at the MYCincinnati firehouse on Saturday. Sunday, say goodbye to Music Hall before it close for renovations with an open house featuring dance, craft and drama workshops, plus a collaborative concert by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Opera, May Festival Chorus and the Cincinnati Ballet. Saturday and Sunday. Free. Various locations. Full schedule at theartswave.org.

EVENT: SYRIAN SHRINE CIRCUS
The Syrian Shrine Circus returns this weekend for its 95th-annual family-friendly extravaganza. This three-ring circus will dazzle with death-defying aerial acts, animal attractions and the notoriously funny Shriner Circus clowns. Kids will also have the chance to ride and pet many different animals, including elephants, donkeys and camels, during intermission and after the performance. The circus benefits Shriners Hospital for Children, a network of 22 hospitals committed to pediatric care. 7 p.m. Friday; 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. Sunday. $10-$30; $5 parking. BB&T Arena, 500 Nunn Drive, Highland Heights, Ky., 513-751-4717, syrianshrine.org

SUNDAY
EVENT: HOMETOWN HOLLYWOOD GALA
People Working Cooperatively’s final Oscar celebration/fundraiser, the Hometown Hollywood gala, is themed “Back to Black and White,” and guests will be transported to old-world Hollywood. Formal black and white dress is a must for the red-carpet welcome. There will be themed entertainment, a three-course meal, silent and live auctions and a live telecast of the Oscars. Experience a night of Hollywood glamour for a good cause. Proceeds benefit PWC’s Modifications for Mobility Program, which provides home renovations and repairs to make sure elderly, low-income people with disabilities can continue to live safely in their homes. 5:30 p.m.-midnight Sunday. $150. Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, 35 W. Fifth St., pwchomerepairs.org.

Chris Rock hosts the Oscars Sunday.
Photo: ABC/Andrew Eccles
FILM: THE OSCARS AT THE ESQUIRE
Watch The Oscars in a theater setting at the Esquire as winners are announced live with host Michael Baldwin from FOX 19. Will Cate Blanchett win Best Actress in a Leading Role for the locally filmed Carol (also nominated for cinematography and costume design)? Will Leonardo DiCaprio finally take home a Best Actor Oscar? Along with the screening, the evening also includes food by La Poste (now Harvest) and the BonBonerie, trivia and prizes. Seating is limited. 7 p.m. Sunday. $12. The Esquire, 320 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, esquiretheatre.com

Christian Sands
Photo: Provided 
MUSIC: CHRISTIAN SANDS
This season of the Xavier University Jazz Series has featured some truly remarkable and accomplished artists — like Chris Potter and Brian Newman — with even more great music on the horizon (Grammy favorite and Cincinnati native Fred Hersch plays April 3). This week, the series welcomes Christian Sands, a young piano virtuoso who has previously played Cincinnati with the Christian McBride Trio. For his first local solo visit, Sands — who is known for his mastery of a wide range of Jazz stylings — will perform “Southern Song,” which he wrote for Black History Month and which features a recording of a reading by the late poet Margaret Walker. 3 p.m. Sunday. $3-$28. Gallagher Student Center Theater, 3800 Victory Parkway, Evanston, xavier.edu/musicseries.

ART: DAUBIGNY, MONET, VAN GOGH: IMPRESSIONS OF LANDSCAPE
The Taft Museum of Art’s chief curator, Lynne Ambrosini, has spent 14 years organizing the Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh: Impressions of Landscape show that opens Saturday and believes it will be one of the museum’s most important presentations. Inspired by the fact that the Taft owns three Charles-François Daubigny oil paintings, Ambrosini’s exhibition aims to prove that this 19th-century French landscape painter served as a major, unheralded harbinger of Impressionism. The exhibition, for which you must buy a timed ticket, has 40 Daubigny paintings and also 15 Impressionist and Post-Impressionist ones by Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh and Camille Pissarro. Through May 29. $15 adult; $10 child. 316 Pike St., Downtown, taftmuseum.org
 
 

 

 

Latest Blogs
 
by Natalie Krebs 05.05.2016 14 hours ago
Posted In: News at 09:48 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
cover_johnkasich

Morning News and Stuff

City to replace beheaded parking meters; study finds Central Parkway bike lane not causing more accidents; Kasich gives up on presidential bid

The city of Cincinnati has opted to replace the city's sad, beat-up, beheaded parking meters with multi-space meters requiring motorists to print out a ticket to put in their windshields, according to a memo from City Manager Harry Black. The new meters will soon be installed in 40 locations across the city, including Findlay Market, Court Street, Freedom Way and Washington Park. 

• There's been a lot of controversy around the Central Parkway Bikeway, with some in the city, including City Council members, asking whether it has caused more accidents along the busy street. But a study undertaken by the city and re-released yesterday seems to show that's not the case. A report by the city of Cincinnati Department of Transportation and Engineering released yesterday by the office of City Manager Harry Black shows that the stretch of Central Parkway with the controversial bike lane has not had more accidents than comparable roads without the lanes. 

• Campbell County, Kentucky's government has approved a needle exchange program to help prevent the spread of diseases like Hepatitis C and HIV among heroin users. The Campbell County Court voted Wednesday to help fund a program that will create mobile van run by health professionals where users will be able to exchange used needles for clean ones. Covington hospital St. Elizabeth Healthcare agreed to provide space for the van on its grounds.

• Former City Council candidate Kevin Johnson was arrested Tuesday and charged with two counts of drug trafficking and two counts drug possession after police found more than 550 grams of cocaine in his car during a routine traffic stop. Johnson, who came in 20th out of the 21 candidates for Council in the 2013 election, is being held at the Hamilton County Justice Center on a bond of $300,000. He is scheduled to appear in court on May 13. 

• After months of clawing his way through the GOP presidential primary as the ultimate underdog, Ohio Gov. John Kasich announced the suspension of his campaign at a Columbus press conference yesterday. Kasich's announcement appears to have been a sudden call. Following another his defeat in Indiana's primary on Tuesday, Kasich's campaign said he would carry on. Yesterday, the Kasich campaign released a Star Wars-themed ad claiming he was "our only hope" just hours before his announcement that he is finally giving up his dreams of the White House.

The Ohio Governor's departure from the race means Trump, as the last GOP man standing, has pretty much secured the party's nomination. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who was second behind Trump, suspended his campaign Tuesday after losing Indiana's primary.

News tips go here.
 
 
by Nick Swartsell 05.05.2016 16 hours ago
Posted In: News at 08:11 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
bike and dine

Report: Central Parkway Crashes in Line with Other Streets Without Bike Lanes

Finding are similar to those released and then pulled by the city in March

There's been a lot of controversy around the Central Parkway Bikeway, with some in the city, including City Council members, asking whether it has caused more accidents along the busy street. But a study undertaken by the city and re-released yesterday seems to show that's not the case.

A report by the city of Cincinnati Department of Transportation and Engineering released yesterday by the office of City Manager Harry Black shows that the stretch of Central Parkway with the controversial bike lane has no more accidents than comparable roads without the lanes.

Critics, including Councilman Christopher Smitherman, say that the lanes cause confusion because they require drivers to park in the right lane of the street instead of on the curb, where the bike lane now runs. Smitherman introduced a motion in February asking that the lanes be removed.

In 2015, according to Wednesday's report, Central Parkway between Liberty and Linn streets had 62 total car accidents, including seven involving parked cars.

In that same time frame, Glenway Avenue from Rapid Run Road to Gilsey Avenue, a similar stretch, had 91 accidents, including 13 parked car accidents. Another like stretch of road, Hamilton Avenue from Spring Grove Avenue to Bruce Avenue, had 51 wrecks including seven with parked cars.

"The number of crashes on Central Parkway is comparable to the number of crashes on similar streets," the report concludes. "Research published in the American Journal of Public Health showed that streets with protected bicycle lanes saw 90 percent fewer cyclist injuries per mile than those with no bicycle infrastructure."

The report also breaks down the crashes on Central Parkway by cause, as shown below.

The report is similar to one released and then rescinded by the city in March. Among the differences: The earlier report explicitly recommended that the lanes be retained. That language does not appear in the recently released study.

“Given the reduced risk of injury to bicyclists, the administration does not recommend removal of the bike lanes,” the March memo from City Manager Black reads. “However, DOTE will continue to monitor conditions, and improvements may be made in the future as best practices evolve.”

The new report says that the Cincinnati Police Department's Traffic Unit "did feel that the area is more congested and confusing," but also that CPD feels that should lessen over time as motorists and cyclists become accustomed to the new lane arrangement. "Both Police and DOTE both believe that as drivers, cyclists and pedestrians become more familiar with the area and with the rules for the bike lane operations, there should be fewer conflicts," the new report notes.

There are measures that the city can take to reduce the confusion around the lane, the report says, including additional signs and better traffic stripping. Those measures would cost about $30,000, money DOTE says it has available. By contrast, removing the lanes from the stretch between Liberty and Ravine streets as requested by Smitherman would cost the city $234,000. Removing the entire lane from Marshall Avenue to Elm Street, meanwhile, would cost $587,000, according to the report.

The Central Parkway Bikeway was completed in 2014 after multiple bouts of political wrangling. The protected bike lane uses plastic partitions to separate cyclists from drivers along the four-lane stretch of the Central Parkway running from Clifton, through the West End and University Heights and into Over-the-Rhine and downtown. The lane was initially proposed in a bike plan Cincinnati City Council passed in 2010, and Council in 2013 voted unanimously to build it using $500,000 in mostly federal money. 

While some neighboring business owners and the Fraternal Order of Police, whose headquarters are on the bike lane's path, have complained about accidents and parking woes since the lane has been introduced, nearby community councils have rallied around the lane. Clifton Town Meeting and the Over-the-Rhine Community Council have both passed motions this year supporting the lanes and asking for their expansion, citing the increase in economic activity and cyclist safety that studies suggest come with bike lanes in urban neighborhoods.

 
 
by Rick Pender 05.04.2016 32 hours ago
Posted In: Theater at 03:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
cincy shakes

Cincy Shakes Pours First Cement — and Cements a Big-Deal Conference for 2018

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company today made its “first pours” of cement on Wednesday afternoon, May 4, getting started on the foundation for the new Otto M. Budig Theater at 12th and Elm streets in Over-the-Rhine. This is the beginning of construction for a brand-new 244-seat theater, Cincinnati Shakespeare’s home starting in the fall of 2017. Project cost is estimated at $17 million.

Afternoon rain stopped just in time for a group of civic leaders and donors stroll down into the pit for the theater’s foundation and pull the handle to drop the first large bucket of cement into a footer mold. Participating in the event were Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, donor Otto M. Budig and other Cincy Shakes supporters including Jim Bridgeland, Calvin and Patricia Linnemann, Don Tecklenburg and Richard Westheimer.

In a social gathering at the nearby OTR Transept after the ceremonial event, Patrick Flick, executive director of The Shakespeare Theatre Association, announced that the theater company and the city of Cincinnati have been selected to host the January 2018 Shakespeare Theatre Association Conference.

Mr. Flick said, “From a roster of over 120 companies with annual budgets ranging from $50,000 to $50MM, the committee reviewed proposals from Boston, Milwaukee, Santa Cruz, Newfoundland and Prague, as well as Cincinnati. We are very excited by your city’s ongoing urban renaissance, thriving arts and culture scene, downtown walkability, streetcar development, centralized location, and, of course, the 2017 opening of Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s brand new world-class facility in Over-the-Rhine.”

Producing Artistic Director Brian Isaac Phillips said, “Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is thrilled and proud to do their part in contributing to the cultural tourism on our city and to continue to put Cincinnati on the map! … Our organization is thrilled to be able to host this conference and believe it will have a ripple effect that will benefit our city’s restaurants, hotels, and other fantastic attractions.”

The Shakespeare Theatre Association provides a forum for the artistic, managerial, educational leadership for theaters primarily involved with the production of Shakespeare’s works to discuss issues and methods of work, resources and information, and to act as an advocate for Shakespearean productions and training.

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company has sent leaders to the conference for several years. Flick added, “The annual conference is a vital opportunity for the leadership of the STA member theatres to network, share best practices, cross-pollinate talent and raise international awareness of the ongoing relevancy of Shakespeare’s plays in the 21st century.”

 
 
by Staff 05.04.2016 35 hours ago
at 12:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
todo_derby-day_photo-provided

Kentucky Derby Parties in Cincinnati

Mint juleps, big hats, fast horses

Dark Horse Derby Party — Grab your fascinator and head to The Transept for the Junior League of Cincinnati’s Derby party. Party features cocktails and dancing to benefit GrinUp! and RefugeeConnect, music by DJ Self Diploma, light bites and emcee Sheila Gray. Cocktail attire and fascinators encouraged. 7-11 p.m. May 6. $55 general admission; $96 includes open bar; $150 host/hostess. The Transept, 1205 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, jlcincinnati.org.

Braxton Brewing Company Derby Party — Braxton brewed some mint julep-style beer, which they will be serving in a keepsake Derby glass. Watch the race on TV and enjoy Derby-themed food. Noon. Free admission. Braxton Brewing Company, 27 W. Seventh St., Covington, Ky., facebook.com/braxtonbrewingcompany.

Cincinnati Sports League Derby Day Party — Derby day contests for best male and female Derby outfit, a bouncy-horse race and happy hour deals with mint juleps for $4. 3-6 p.m. $10 for 10 happy hour. Next Chapter, 940 Pavilion, Mount Adams, gocsl.com.

Derby Day Party at Historic Laurel Court — The College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation hosts its sixth-annual Derby party and fundraiser. The party takes place at Historic Laurel Courtwith live entrainment, mint juleps, a silent auction, a Derby hat contest and a cash bar. Attire is dressy casual. Proceeds benefit CHCURC’s efforts to revitalize College Hill’s business district. 5 p.m. May 7. $75 advance; $85 at the door. Laurel Court, 5870 Belmont, College Hill, dd2016.eventbrite.com

Derby Day Soireé at Neons — Neons' third-annual Derby Day Soireé features top-shelf Woodford Reserve juleps, Old Forester juleps and Julep-Ritas (aka julep margaritas), all served in the official 142 Kentucky Derby commemorative glass. Includes a Derby hat contest and a Dapper Dude contest. Dress your best, decorate your hat; winners get a prize package from Woodford Reserve. Derby will be streaming live on the big screen. Also features Kentucky-themed food from Melt on the patio. 3-7 p.m. May 7. Free admission. Neons, 208 E. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/neonsunplugged.

Japp’s Derby Day Party — Japp’s will be broadcasting the Derby live. The bar’s julep menu features classic and craft mint juleps with Maker’s Mark. Also serving light bites inspired by the traditional cuisine of Kentucky. 4-7 p.m. Free admission. Japp’s Since 1879, 1136 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, wellmannsbrands.com/japps1879.

Kentucky Derby Party — Classic Kentucky Derby dishes paired with mint juleps, served in a commemorative Derby glass. Includes prizes, raffles and drawings to benefit Winton Woods’ Riding Center Special Olympics training program. 3:30-7 p.m. $10. Parkers Blue Ash Tavern, 4200 Cooper Road, Blue Ash, parkersblueash.com.

Kentucky Derby at Igby’s — Sip on $5 barrel-aged Manhattan’s made with Woodford Reserve an hour before and an hour after the race. Other cocktail specials include mint juleps, black-eyed Susans and Belmont jewels. The Derby will be streaming live on Igby’s TVs. Pick your winning horse and win prizes. Awards for best hat and best seersucker suit. Also hosting parties for The Preakness Stakes on May 21 and The Belmont Parks on June 11. 4 p.m. May 7. Free admission. Igby’s, 122 E. Sixth St., Downtown, igbys.com.

Kentucky Derby Party at Turfway Park — Kentucky Derby simulcast with a Party in the Paddock, featuring a free concert from the Naked Karate Girls, mint juleps and a buffet. Noon-8 p.m. May 7. Free admission. Turfway Park, 7500 Turfway Road, Florence, Ky., turfway.com.  


 
 
by Nick Swartsell 05.04.2016 37 hours ago
Posted In: News at 10:55 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Reports: Kasich Will Drop Out Today

Campaign cancels planned stops, schedules 5 p.m. news conference in Columbus

With U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz departing the GOP presidential primary following last night's big win for Donald Trump in Indiana, Ohio Gov. John Kasich was, for a moment, Trump's sole challenger in one of the strangest primaries in memory.

Now, however, there are multiple reports citing a senior campaign advisor saying Kasich is dropping out of the race. The Kasich campaign has cancelled previously-planned campaign stops and scheduled a 5 p.m. news conference in Columbus, where iKasich is expected to make an official announcement.

Kasich was a long-shot candidate at best: Trump has 1,048 delegates and needs only 1,237 to end the race outright. Kasich, meanwhile, has only 153 delegates, still less than now-departed Cruz and long-gone U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

Despite this, the Kasich campaign this morning confidently released a  Star Wars-themed video (it is May 4, after all) laying out a nightmare scenario for conservatives: It's 2017, and Hillary Clinton has trounced Trump in the general election, going on to nominate a Supreme Court justice and institute a raft of liberal policies. But there's hope, and that hope's name is... you guessed it: John Kasich.

Kasich faced a nearly-impossible path, however. To win the GOP nomination, he would have had to somehow prevent Trump from gaining the last few delegates he needs to clinch the nomination. Kasich would then have had to best Trump at a contested convention, convincing delegates that it would be better to vote for him than the candidate primary voters sent them to vote for.

Kasich continuing his campaign at this point would have flown in the face of even GOP Chairman Reince Priebus, who has called Trump the party's presumptive nominee. But Kasich did have a couple points to argue for his nomination in the very unlikely contested convention scenario: In what started as a huge primary field, more primary voters voted for some other candidate besides Trump. Kasich's campaign has also pointed to polls showing him winning against Clinton in a general election in November, something Trump has not been able to claim. (Most recent polls show Clinton widening her margins against Trump, though one has Trump neck and neck with Clinton. So far, it's an outlier.)

Kasich's political opponents in Ohio cheered the news.

“Since last March, Governor John Kasich has spent more than 200 days out of state, pursuing his presidential ambitions and ignoring the needs of the people of Ohio," the Ohio Democratic Party said in a statement, accusing Kasich of "gallivanting across the country" instead of working on issues in Ohio.


 
 
by Nick Swartsell 05.04.2016 39 hours ago
Posted In: News at 09:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
cover_berniesanders

Morning News and Stuff

Trump nomination nearly certain after Indiana win; Cincinnatian tapped to head Clinton Ohio campaign; D.C. developer holds onto blighted OTR properties

Good morning all. It’s news time.

I think you know what’s first on the agenda: last night’s historic Indiana primary results and the ensuing realization that, barring some unimaginable turn of events, Donald Trump will be the GOP’s presidential nominee.

Trump dominated the Hoosier State yesterday, taking at least 51 of the state’s 57 delegates and bringing his total delegate count to 1,048. He needs only 1,237 to clinch the game outright, and some big states — including California and New Jersey — loom ahead. Racking up delegates is going to get a lot easier for Trump because his nearest opponent, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, uh, cruised right out of the race after results came in last night. That leaves only Ohio Gov. John Kasich left running against Trump, but good luck if you’re a Kasich fan. Dude is still trailing the dispirited ghosts of Marco Rubio and Cruz’s campaigns with just 157 delegates and isn’t anywhere near Trump’s total. What’s more, GOP Chairman Reince Priebus last night said Trump will be the party’s presumptive nominee. Will Kasich drop out? Stay tuned.

• Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders had a big night in Indiana, winning 53 percent of the vote and taking 43 of the state’s 80 delegates. He still trails Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton 1,410 delegates to her 1,700. There are more states friendly to Sanders coming up, but unless he gets huge, huge wins in them or somehow convinces the Democratic party’s super delegates to side with him instead of the frontrunner, he’ll face an uphill battle.

• What does this new near-certainty around Trump’s nomination mean for Senate races? Bad news for the GOP, some Republican strategists fear. Some veterans of past Republican Senate campaigns put the odds that the party will lose control of the Senate at 75 to 80 percent as general election voters who might have sided with a more traditional and moderate Republican candidate stay away from the polls or vote Democratic. Some, however, see hope if candidates like Ohio’s U.S. Sen. Rob Portman can distance themselves from Trump’s unconventional campaign. Portman is running a very tough race against former Ohio governor Ted Strickland.

• Here’s some local presidential race news: Cincinnatian Chris Wyant will run Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in Ohio. Wyant worked for President Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns and also as a managing director for Enroll Ohio, which encouraged state residents to sign up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act. Wyant has connections: His parents, Jack Wyant and Peg Wyant, both worked for Procter & Gamble before starting their own venture capital firm. In addition, Jack is a Cincinnati Reds co-owner and Peg is the CEO of Grandin Properties, a real estate company owned by the family that is very active in Over-the-Rhine. Wyant’s wife, Lauren Kidwell, also has ties to Obama’s past campaigns and his administration.

• You know that feeling when you order something online and can’t wait for it to show up? That’s kind of what city transit officials must feel like right now. Cincinnati’s fifth and final streetcar is on the way and should arrive sometime today. Expect Race Street, where the streetcar maintenance facility is located, to be closed around Findlay Market for a couple hours starting at 2 p.m. Unloading is expected to take about 90 minutes. The first streetcar arrived in October. All the cars must undergo rigorous testing, including empty runs around the city, before passengers can ride them. The city last week passed the 3.6-mile transit loop’s budget last week, and it is expected to start taking passengers in September.

• A Washington, D.C.-based developer will hold onto 10 properties it owns in Over-the-Rhine by addressing multiple municipal code violations on those buildings. The city of Cincinnati threatened to take action against 2414 Morgan Development, LLC, after seven of the company’s buildings were declared public nuisances for their advanced states of disrepair. That action would have included seizure of the buildings, but the developer has side-stepped having the properties placed in receivership for now by making some of the necessary repairs. 2414 Morgan says it is dedicated to renovating the buildings. The city says it doesn’t foresee putting the properties into receivership right now, but will look into further action if more issues arise.

• Finally, the organization that represents many of Ohio's businesses says it doesn't want marijuana legalization, but that if it has to happen, it would prefer a series of bills going through the state's legislature over constitutional amendments. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce has weighed in on two different proposed constitutional amendments around legalizing medicinal marijuana, saying it would prefer lawmakers tackle that subject through the usual legislative process. Last year, a proposed constitutional amendment legalizing limited marijuana growth and sale by ResponsibleOhio was roundly rejected by the state's voters.

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 05.03.2016 63 hours ago
Posted In: News at 09:06 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
news1_trump2_0316_ns

Morning News and Stuff

Indiana primary today; Cincy tops for working moms; new developments in East Walnut Hills

Hey all. Today is Indiana’s primary. Go vote if you live in Indiana. If you don’t live in Indiana, continue to gnash your teeth and pray that somehow this election season is simply some very long-term practical joke or a very committed performance art piece.

About the primary: On the GOP side, Donald Trump is leading in the polls. He’s enlisted the help of former Indiana University basketball coach and fellow freaky hair grower Bobby Knight to stump for him and occasionally throw chairs at the crowd/hecklers/his opponents. Formidable duo, to say the least. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, meanwhile, desperately needs a win tonight to keep his campaign afloat. He trails in the delegate count 565 to Trump’s 996 and so far has only managed to get in awkward arguments with folks in the Hoosier State. And then there’s Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who has been content to beg Indiana’s 57 delegates to consider switching their vote to him at a contested convention should Trump not reach the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the nomination outright. Solid strategy there.

• Meanwhile, on the Democrat side, Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders are running neck and neck in the state. That doesn’t matter much, because Clinton’s lead over Sanders all but guarantees her the Democratic nomination. Sanders is fighting on, however, and has vowed to take his battle all the way to the Democratic National Convention in July. A Sanders victory wouldn't get him much closer to clinching the nomination (an impossible goal at this point) but would continue to keep his agenda — banking reform, universal health care and fully funded college education, among other goals — on the radar as the election moves forward.

• While we’re talking elections, here’s an interesting piece exploring the challenges facing the GOP come November. Turns out, Republicans could win Ohio and still easily lose the general election, at least according to the scenarios mapped out here. That scenario involves the Democratic nominee scooping up the 19 states and D.C. that Dems have won in the last six elections and taking Florida. If America’s goatee goes blue, it’s pretty much over for the GOP’s presidential hopes.

• Let’s get back down to some local stuff, shall we? This one is just in time for Mother’s Day. It turns out Cincinnati is one of the best cities in the country for working mothers, at least according to a study by Realtor.com. Cincinnati placed sixth in the country according to the ranking, which considered female employment rate, salaries and other career opportunity factors, childcare available and cities’ affordability. As the product of a working mom, I say that’s really cool if true.

• Things are happening in East Walnut Hills. Specifically, development things. A new project featuring nine single-family homes starting at $500,000 has been announced by developer Traditions Building Group. Those homes will stand on the site of the former Seventh Presbyterian Church on Madison Road near DeSales Corner. Some elements of the church will be preserved, it appears. Elsewhere in East Walnut Hills, plans are developing to turn the former YMCA on East McMillan Street into market rate apartments. City Center Properties, which owns the building, has applied for local historic landmark status that could help redevelopment efforts of the 52,000-square-foot building. The specifics of the redevelopment plans aren’t available yet, however, and Cincinnati City Council would have to approve the request for historic status. The YMCA building was constructed in 1930.

• Statewide news time: U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman are pushing for millions in funding to test Ohio’s various water supplies for lead following the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Brown’s legislation advanced in the Senate yesterday and would provide $20 million for lead testing in schools and day care centers. It would provide funding for public health measures around lead poisoning and make available low-interest loans to states that need to upgrade drinking water infrastructure. The legislation is part of a larger $9.3 billion water reform bill currently before the Senate.

I’m out. Tweet at me. Email me. You know the drill.

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 05.02.2016 3 days ago
Posted In: News at 09:25 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
cover-kasich-2

Morning News and Stuff

Poll: Ohioans want Kasich to drop prez bid; lawmakers mull eliminating most mandatory minimums for drug sentences; Bevin vetoes money for NKY river trail

Good morning all. Did you run the pig this weekend? I thought about it. For a few seconds. That should count for something, right? No? OK. Let’s talk news then. There’s a bunch of politics transpiring. Here it is:

A new poll says that only 38 percent of Ohioans want Ohio Gov. John Kasich to stay in the GOP presidential primary, in contrast to the 49 percent who want him out. But there’s an even more striking number in the Public Policy Polling survey: Fifty-eight percent of GOP voters want Kasich to bail on the race, compared to just 33 percent who think he should stay in.

• Is this one reason why taxpayers are tired of Kasich’s run? The Columbus Dispatch reports that his presidential campaign is costing taxpayers plenty when it comes to his security detail. The nine state troopers assigned to protect Kasich at all times racked up 1,800 hours in overtime as of April 16, earning an extra $82,400 in public money.

• One more Kasich tidbit: Our Big Queso is working hard in Indiana to woo voters… but not the voters you’re thinking of. Kasich is mostly ignoring the state’s primary voters and taking his case directly to the state’s GOP delegates, who will decide the presidential nominee in case of a contested convention. After the first round of voting at such a convention, those delegates will become “unbound,” meaning they no longer have to vote for the candidate voters in their state selected.

• Cincinnati restaurant mogul Jeff Ruby has rescinded a $25,000 reward offer in relation to the recent massacre of eight people in Pike County. The execution-style killings of the Rhodan family have drawn national attention and led to speculation that a Mexican drug cartel might be responsible for the carnage after marijuana growing operations were found on the Rhodan’s properties. Ruby has nodded to that speculation as a reason he’s pulling his reward.

• A task force put together by Ohio lawmakers has recommended eliminating mandatory minimum drug sentencing laws in the state. A working group that is part of the Criminal Recodification Committee, which is charged with reforming the state’s drug laws, says that the minimums should go away and that new sentencing standards should be put in place. That could reduce Ohio’s prison population, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction says.

• Controversy in Kentucky, part 1: Comments Kenton County District Judge Ann Ruttle’s made while finding former Xavier women’s basketball coach Bryce McKey not guilty of sexual abuse have caused some consternation and concern. Ruttles said that the plaintiff in the case, who alleges McKey gave her alcohol when she was underage and touched her inappropriately, did not do enough to stop him and that her behavior was “almost... an invitation.” Advocates for sexual assault survivors have said that amounts to victim-blaming.  

• Controversy in Kentucky, part 2: Governor Matt Bevin late last week vetoed more than $300,000 in the Kentucky budget meant to help develop an 11-mile trail along the Northern Kentucky riverfront called Riverfront Commons. That will slow, but not stop, the project, which already has funds to establish portions of the trail in Dayton, Ludlow and Covington. Bevin cited “significant fiscal constraints” in the state for his decision. Trail boosters call the cut “disappointing.”

• Finally, this really is more the music section’s purview, but I’m going to mention it. Radiohead has erased nearly its entire web presence — tweets, Facebook, website, everything. Fans of the band and some music critics have speculated this is a sign of a new album on the way — the band is known for its innovative business and marketing (well, really, anti-marketing) approaches. But I have a more precise theory: Yorke and Co. are looking to capitalize on the increasingly prevalent nostalgia for the 1990s, a time blissfully before Twitter, Facebook, immersive website experiences, etc.

Prediction: The next Radiohead album will be announced on a new site that looks like something you’d make on Geocities circa OK Computer.

 
 
by Rick Pender 04.29.2016 6 days ago
Posted In: Theater at 09:02 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
stage door 4-29 - satchel paige @ playhouse - robert karma robinson) - mikki schaffner photography

Stage Door

Baseball, mysterious Scotland, Romans (and countrymen) and an astronomer

Need suggestions for a good theater production to attend this weekend? Here are some good choices on Cincinnati stages.

Last night I attended the opening of Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing at the Cincinnati Playhouse. It’s an inventive recreation of the legendary African-American pitcher who found his fame eclipsed by Jackie Robinson. The changes wrought by events in 1947 affected both black and white Americans, and this play by Ricardo Khan and Trey Ellis explores them. They know their way around storytelling: Their play Fly, about the Tuskegee Airmen, was well received at the Playhouse in 2013. In this one, players from two teams of baseball all-stars, one black and one white, share a boarding house on a rainy night in Kansas City. We get to eavesdrop on what they might have talked about, their dreams, their grudges and their fates. Robert Karma Robinson wholly inhabits the role of Paige as an angular, grumpy philosopher of sports, race and life. It’s onstage through May 21. Tickets: 513-421-3888.

Before they wrote My Fair Lady and Camelot, the lyricist-composer team of Lerner and Loewe had a 1949 hit with the musical Brigadoon. It’s about a pair of American tourists who happen upon a mysterious town in Scotland that appears just once every century. Of course, one of the guys falls in love with a resident of the town — and that gets complicated. When I was six years old, I went to see this show with my very British grandfather, my first experience of musical theater. I still love the show, and I’ll be seeing it this weekend at the Covedale Center, where it will be onstage through May 22. Tickets: 513-241-6550.

Don’t shy away from Cincinnati Shakespeare’s production of Julius Caesar because you read it in high school. Set in ancient Rome, there’s as much political intrigue — and perhaps more danger — that you’d find in your average episode of House of Cards. Several fine acting performances make this production especially watchable: Brent Vimtrup gives a textured performance of the principled but conflicted Brutus; Josh Katawick is the “lean and hungry” Cassius who recruits the assassins who bring down Caesar; and Nick Rose is the wily Mark Antony who finds a way to turn Caesar’s death to his own advantage. Once you’ve seen this production, you should make plans to return for a kind of sequel as Cincy Shakes stages Antony and Cleopatra with several of the actors from Julius Caesar reprising their roles. Through May 7. Tickets: 513-381-2273.

Playwright Lauren Gunderson presented a quartet of badass women from 18th-century France in The Revolutionists at the Cincinnati Playhouse back in February. Some more strong females — Americans from the early 20th century — are the characters of Silent Sky, the current production at Know Theatre. The central character is Henrietta Leavitt, an aspiring astronomer who had to work doubly hard to earn recognition for her scientific insights. She’s bracketed by a devoted, conservative sister and a pair of “lunatic women” who are her scientific colleagues. Director Tamara Winters has an excellent cast of actors to tell this story — especially Maggie Lou Rader in a luminous portrait of the feisty, persistent Henrietta. Through May 14. Tickets: 513-300-5669.

Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati seldom brings back a show it’s presented in the past, but when it staged Jeanine Tesori’s musical Violet back in 1998, that was long before Over-the-Rhine was a go-to neighborhood for entertainment. So there’s a good rationale for reviving this lovely, heartfelt story. Check out this video preview. 


Rick Pender’s STAGE DOOR blog appears here every Friday. Find more theater reviews and feature stories here.
 
 
by Natalie Krebs 04.28.2016 7 days ago
Posted In: News at 09:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
new1_boehner

Morning News and Stuff

Council finally approves streetcar operating budget; Rep. Driehaus upset with Hamilton County's poop problem; former Speaker Boehner says what he really thinks of the GOP presidential candidates

Big things happened at Wednesday's City Council meeting. Council finally voted to approve the streetcar's operating budget for the first year after spending the last month squabbling and kicking it back and forth between council and committee. The budget just barely passed in a vote of 5-3, with council members Kevin Flynn, Christopher Smitherman and Charlie Winburn voting against it. Councilwoman Amy Murray was absent from the meeting. Mayor John Cranley, who previously said he would veto any operating budget that didn't get at least six votes, appears to have had enough of this streetcar drama. The mayor decided recently not to veto the budget even if it passed with a mere five votes.

Council also voted to approve a wage hike for city government workers, passing a bill that would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for full-time workers and to $10.10 an hour for part-time and seasonal workers. The increase will affect about one out of every five city workers, or about 1,166 workers. Cranley, who introduced the ordinance last month, called council's decision "morally right" and hopes the state will follow suit.

• Students at Northern Kentucky University will see a slight increase in their tuition next year. The NKU Board of Regents voted to pass a 3 percent increase in undergraduate tuition on Wednesday to keep up with rising costs at the university and a decrease in funding from the state. Next year, Kentucky residents can expect to pay an average of $130 more per semester while Cincinnati residents will shell out an extra $200 per semester and nonresidents will pay an extra $260. 

• State Rep. Denise Driehaus is upset with the closure of the Little Miami Incinerator. The incinerator was closed temporarily earlier this month after it was determined that it does not meet federal pollution standards. It served as one of two ways that Hamilton County disposes of human waste, and it's unclear when, or if, it will reopen. Driehaus, who is currently running for Hamilton County commissioner in the upcoming November election, released a statement Thursday morning condemning county for allowing the closure that she saw as avoidable and called for new leadership to better address the issue. 

"This could have and should have been resolved." Driehaus says in the statement. "We need leadership on the County Commission that will roll up their sleeves and work to resolve challenging issues instead of being content to play the blame game when something goes wrong."  

• Since former Speaker of the House John Boehner resigned from his post last October, it seems he feels more free to express his true feelings about the GOP presidential candidates. At an event at Stanford University on Wednesday, Boehner called Texas Sen. Ted Cruz a "miserable son of a bitch." Boehner also disclosed that he and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump are "texting buddies" and that he is also friends with Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is currently running way behind Trump and Cruz in the election. However, it seems he and Kasich aren't quite BFFs as he also said that their friendship "requires more effort."

• In other election news, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz announced yesterday that former Hewitt-Packard CEO and GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina will be his running mate. Fiorina was one of the first GOP candidates to drop out of the race and endorsed Cruz in early March. Cruz is the first of any presidential candidate to announce a running mate and his announcement comes a day after as frontrunner Trump just declared victory in five states' Tuesday primaries, bringing the real estate tycoon even closer to securing the GOP nomination.

Stay dry, Cincy! And send any news tips here.
 
 
 
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