WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
Home - Blogs - Staff Blogs - Latest Blogs
Latest Blogs
 
by Jac Kern 06.18.2014 63 days ago
Posted In: Arts community, Visual Art at 11:32 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
caccover_jf2

CAC Offers Extended Thursday Hours for Summer

Night Museum runs 5-9 p.m. Thursdays through Aug. 7

Fresh off its 2014-2015 season announcement, Downtown’s Contemporary Arts Center adds a new promotion to its calendar of exhibits, performances and special events.

Night Museum gives visitors a chance to check out the CAC during evening hours every Thursday. From 5-9 p.m., guests can view the latest exhibit, shop the CAC Store, enjoy a cash bar and mingle with other art appreciators. Admission is $7.50; $5.50 for seniors, students and educators; and free for children under 5 and all members. Paid visitors can park for free Thursdays in July at the Central Parking Garage (36 E. Seventh Street).

This week's Night Museum coincides with a special event from One Night One Craft, the CAC's DIY workshop series. Chef Trinidad Mac-Auliffe of Raw Intervention will demonstrate cool recipes — literally — highlighting dishes prepared without heat. Munch on raw creations, then try making some of your own fro 6-8 p.m. One Night One Craft continues Mondays through July.

The CAC is typically open until 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. The museum is closed on Tuesdays and offers free admission from 5-9 p.m. Mondays. Find more info here.

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 06.18.2014 63 days ago
Posted In: News at 09:06 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
jon_husted_518045c

Morning News and Stuff

Lytle Park changes, early voting hours and mummies

All right. It's time for the good stuff, the bad stuff and the ugly stuff in today's news. Fair warning — the ugly stuff involves a mummy.

Big changes are coming to the Lytle Park area. Alterations to the area’s historic district designation are set to pass City Council today. Western and Southern Financial Group, which owns the whole dang area many of the buildings around the district, wants to expand its office space and will need the ability to tear down a parking garage and some other buildings in the historic district to do so. So it's asked the city's planning commission to change the district, which expires this year. The changes were folded into the renewal of the area's historic designation and have gone through the commission and City Council's Neighborhoods Committee and now just need final approval.

The area became the city’s first historic district when it was designated such in 1964. The district as it is currently drawn prevents the changes Western and Southern would like to make, but the proposed redrawn boundaries would leave the buildings in question out of the district. There are a few historic buildings in the district whose designation would change due to the plan, including the University Club and the Sheakley Building. The owners of those buildings said they have big investments in the historic structures, however and would not be significantly changing or selling them.

Meanwhile, Western and Southern is gearing up to convert the Anna Louise Inn into a luxury hotel. The Inn, which was run by nonprofit Cincinnati Union Bethel, served as a women’s shelter for over 100 years before being purchased by the company after a long legal battle. Because low-income women escaping abuse and exploitation just don’t look good in a neighborhood you’re trying to turn into a shimmering and artificial oasis of ludicrous wealth.

Funding disparities between two affordable housing projects in the city are raising questions about the ways the city allocates money for such projects. A 100-unit supportive living site in Avondale requested $500,000 in funds last year from the city, and its application has still not been processed despite council approving the project. Meanwhile, a vote later this month could send $1.8 million toward 40 units of affordable housing in Pendleton. Difficulties have popped up with the site chosen for the Avondale project, but some on council, including Yvette Simpson, are questioning why money is going to the more recent Pendleton proposal over the Avondale site. Advocates for housing in the city say the two projects aren't competing and that funding should be found for both.

• The city of Cincinnati was awarded $1 million in federal transportation grants Tuesday. The city announced it will use the money for bike trails. Half will go to an expansion of a trail in Westwood, and the other half will go to fixing up part of the trail near Lunken Airport. The city will pitch in another $125,000 for both projects.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has set early voting hours for the state but only after some arm-twisting by the Supreme Court. Originally, Husted had moved to eliminate early voting the Sunday and Monday before election day. He claimed the move was for more uniformity in voting hours across the state. Voting rights advocates, however, claimed the changes curtailed voting opportunities, especially for minority voters.

The Supreme Court agreed that, you know, generally giving people the chance to vote is good and ordered Ohio to reinstate the days. Now the time frame is set. Voters will be able to cast ballots from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in the month before the election and will be able to vote from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Monday before election day. This schedule starts in August.

• In the category of “surreal, awful things that could only happen in an Ohio rustbelt city,” a boy exploring an abandoned house in Dayton found… a mummy. Apparently the man who once lived in the house hung himself in a closet, which preserved his body. He wasn’t discovered for five years, until the curiosity of youth led the boy to the house. Multiple levels of disturbing right there.

• Finally, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today canceled the trademarks for the name of a certain Washington, D.C. based football team on the grounds that the name is “disparaging to Native Americans.” The office went on to say that the name is definitely an ethnic slur and should never have been able to be patented in the first place. In case you're wondering why it took until 2014 to figure that out (I sure was), the trademark was overturned once before, in 1992, but was reinstated by federal courts due to a technicality. The Trademark Office says that no such error exists in this case and that the ruling will likely stand. Finally.
 
 
by Mike Breen 06.17.2014 64 days ago
Posted In: Live Music, New Releases, Music Video, Reviews at 03:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
photo

REVIEW: Heavy Hinges’ ‘Mean Old City’

Energetic, soulful local Rock group set to release first album Saturday

Heavy Hinges is a new-ish band featuring some faces likely familiar to dedicated local music fans. Guitarist Jeremy Singer and drummer Brian Williamson have played in numerous groups over the past two decades, while singer/guitarist Dylan Speeg and bassist Andrew Laudeman were members of long-running, super-diverse Cincinnati crew Buckra. Maya Banatwala is the relative newcomer in the band, but her soul-drenched co-lead vocals in the Hinges serve as the group’s secret weapon. 


Heavy Hinges debut album, Mean Old City, shows signs of some of Buckra’s trademark sonic diversity, but it’s channeled in a more focused manner. Ultimately, Heavy Hinges is a great Rock & Roll band, but its sound is touched by influences from Blues, Pop, Funk and Soul to various other forms of American Roots music. Like Alabama Shakes, Heavy Hinges manages to sound remarkably vital and “of the now” — despite the obvious vintage inspirations — thanks to the sincerity and vigor poured into each note. Mean Old City bristles with a timelessness that has less to do with the classic genres flirted with throughout and more to do with the from-the-heart songwriting and playing. 


Here’s a music video for Mean Old City track “Booze May Be Your Lover, Not Your Friend”: 


Speeg and Banatwala make for great co-frontpeople, crisscrossing their melodies and harmonies sometimes like X’s Exene Cervenka and John Doe and other times like June and Johnny Cash, with each singer possessing a voice quite distinct from each other, yet still sounding like they were made for each other when they come together. Meanwhile, the rest of the band are flawless and perform with a similar soulfulness; Williamson and Laudeman are a jaw-droppingly great rhythm section, while Singer’s guitar leads and solos are as attention-grabbing as the singers’ powerful vocal one-two punch. 


Heavy Hinges host a free release party for the new album Saturday at 10 p.m. at Northside Tavern with DAAP Girls. Read CityBeat's profile of Heavy Hinges from early this year when the band was nominated in the "Best New Artist" category at the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards.

 
 
by Jac Kern 06.17.2014 64 days ago
Posted In: Music, TV/Celebrity, Humor at 03:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
web-blog-ijustcantgetenough-1

I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

The Onion spoofs your news. Now, the folks behind the satire site (and frequent IJCGE reference A.V. Club) are spoofing most people’s actual go-to source for world happenings — BuzzFeed. ClickHole has the whole BuzzFeed game down, from its font and design to its content: Click-bait headlines? Check. Obscurely themed lists and photos?  Check. Quizzes to annoy the last shred of living hell out of your Facebook friends? Yup! Will ClickHole keep up the gig and continue to satirize the Internet for the foreseeable future or is this just a limited launch sponsored by Jack Link's? One thing is for sure: Get ready for plenty of confused old people and dumb teens posting the site without any knowledge of the joke. Just check the cringe-worthy oblivious comments on its Facebook page!

That being said, BuzzFeed probably isn’t going anywhere any time soon, either. Who else is going to point out to me this hilarious goof from the music video for my teen romance anthem, “Dilemma” by Nelly and Kelly (Rowland)?

OK Go is known for their creative music videos. They also must hold Gob Bluth close to their hearts, because their latest offering is all about illusions!

Who wouldn’t love receiving a phone call from their favorite musician, movie star or public figure? Celebcalls.com charges a mere four bucks to have a star like Justin Bieber or NASCAR’s Tony Stewart record either a call or voicemail greeting for a loved one. Just pick your celebrity speaker, plug in a few details about your friend and a celebot spits out a greeting that I’m pretty sure is just real sound bites cut and pasted back together like a ransom letter for your cousin’s birthday. So thoughtful!

Biebz tweeted about the service, suggesting it as a Father’s Day gift. I don’t hate my dad, but if you do, other celebs include Dr. Phil McGraw, Mike Tyson, Snoop Dog and 16-year-old YA author and least interesting of the Kardashian Klan, Kylie Jenner, who’s next gig is an in-store appearance at a Pac Sun.

There’s an NWA biopic in the works, and the roles of Dr. Dre, Eazy E and Ice Cube have been cast. Straight Outta Compton will star theater actor Marcus Callender as Dre, newcomer Jason Mitchell as E, and O’Shea Jackson Jr. — Ice Cube’s son — playing his dad Cube.

R.I.P. IkeaHackers. The creator of the how-to blog that features alternate uses for Ikea furniture has received a cease and desist letter from the Swedish furnishing giants. By June 23, the site must devoid of all advertising space (which creator “Jules Yap” started selling when the popular site became a full-time job) or the site must relocate sans Ikea branding. It’s a pretty shitty move on Ikea’s part, considering the site is essentially a love letter to the mega-store and its hackable, mashable DIY products that probably inspired many to voyage to their local Ikea warehouse, drop some bucks and create some hacks of their own. Notable IkeaHacks include the EXPEDIT bar and the KNUFF transformable coffee table.

I’ll admit I’m a sucker for poppy music video recreations starring unlikely dudes, filmed in their basements. But the following vid is great in its own right because this scantily clad heavy-set gentleman werks better in his natural habitat than Britney does in an professional music video with an actual budget.

Brit is an icon, but I’d much rather pay to see this guy perform at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas.

The English language continues its decent into a hodgepodge of text message shorthand and cartoon images as Emoji releases 250 new symbols to the Emojipedia this July. Peep the whole list here (unfortunately you will have to settle for reading descriptions as the actual Emoji images aren’t available yet); highlights include a middle finger, a chipmunk, the Vulcan salute, a weightlifter and so so many office supplies.

The Game of Thrones finale simultaneously gave me life and sucked my soul away, so I’m feeling pretty fragile and won’t recap it. There are enough spoilers lurking across the Internet (including a major bomb about a particular character yet to be introduced…seriously, nothing is safe) — beware!

 
 
by Mike Breen 06.17.2014 64 days ago
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Reviews at 02:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
10258917_767831806590850_5046328407491526408_o

REVIEW: Lift the Medium’s ‘Mastermind'

Year-old Cincinnati Rock crew release remarkably accomplished debut album

Riff-tastic Cincinnati Hard Rock foursome Lift the Medium has only been a band for a year, but you wouldn’t know it listening to its accomplished debut full-length, Mastermind. The band celebrates the release of its rock-solid album with a show Saturday at MVP Bar & Grill in Silverton. The 9 p.m. show also features performances by Livid and Life After This. Admission is $10; the first 50 fans through the door score a free copy of Mastermind. 

Though a relatively new band, Lift the Medium’s members have extensive experience; singer/guitarist Joey Vasselet spent time in Rootbound, a melodic band that craftily incorporated influences from several different eras of Hard Rock, while bassist Justin Kennedy, singer/drummer Jake Bartone and singer/guitarist Joe Bartone were a part of Atlantis Becoming, a group known for its exploratory, progressive approach. 


The band members’ backgrounds give a good sense of Lift the Medium’s style. The songs on Mastermind are craftily structured — the winding riffs and rhythms are constantly in motion, subtly recalling the more exploratory sounds of Atlantis Becoming. But there’s no meandering — every movement is in service to the song, resulting in a more passionate and pointed melodic impact. There is also a lot of diversity throughout Mastermind, but it’s molded into a cohesive and contemporary sound the group can call its own. 


Lift the Medium can at times remind you of Grunge-era superstars like Alice in Chains or Soundgarden, but flashes of the classic ’70s/’80s Hard Rock/Metal perfected by the likes Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne or Iron Maiden also bubble to the surface. The delicately ingrained Prog touches lightly recall groups like Tool, but Mastermind also sounds like it would be perfectly at home on Rock radio next to contemporary acts like Shinedown and Seether. The production on Mastermind is remarkably crisp and muscular, making it even more radio-ready. 


It’s no easy feat to incorporate such a variety of styles without sounding like Rock tourists/time travelers, but Lift the Medium’s sharp songwriting skills and impeccable chops help bring everything together without sacrificing its own distinct personality, allowing the variance to keep things sonically interesting from start to finish, but never allowing it to overshadow the strength of the songwriting. Cincinnati’s Rock radio stations (and likeminded ones across the country) should be all over Mastermind. It’s a crowd-pleaser that works on numerous levels. 


Find more info about Lift the Medium (and hear some more song samples) here

 
 
by Maija Zummo 06.17.2014 64 days ago
Posted In: Food news at 11:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
public library summer lunch

Cincinnati Public Library Offers Free Children's Lunches

Kids 18 and younger can get free, nutritious lunches all summer

The Cincinnati Public Library is partnering with Cincinnati Public Schools and Window Arts Enrichment to fill the summertime nutritional gap left when children aren't receiving reduced-cost/free lunches during the school year through programs like the National School Lunch Program by offering kids under the age of 18 free lunches all summer.

In 2012, the library and Cincinnati Public Schools provided more than 8,800 free summer lunches to children and teens at select library locations. In 2013, Window Arts Enrichment joined the cause and expanded lunch service to 15 summer feeding sites to serve more than 13,000 lunches. (See all Window Arts Enrichment feeding sites here.)

Lunches will be available Monday-Friday through Aug. 8 (except for on Friday, July 4) at these locations:
  • Main Library, Teenspot & Children’s Learning Center: 12:15-12:45 p.m. 
  • Avondale: 12:15-12:45 p.m. 
  • Bond Hill: 12:30-1 p.m. 
  • College Hill: 1-2 p.m. 
  • Madisonville: 12:30-1 p.m. 
  • West End: 12:30-1 p.m.
  • Covedale 12:15-12:45 p.m. 
  • Deer Park: 1-1:30 p.m. 
  • Elmwood Place: 12:30-1 p.m. 
  • Forest Park: 12:30-1 p.m.
  • Groesbeck: 12:30-1 p.m. 
  • North Centrall: 12:30-1 p.m. 
  • Reading : 2-2:45 p.m. 
  • Sharonville: 12-12:45 p.m.
Find the addresses and contact information of participating library locations here.

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 06.17.2014 64 days ago
Posted In: News at 09:04 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
news_policecameras_jonmedina2

Morning News and Stuff

Barricades, free speech, and museums up, McDonalds down

It's morning. I've got news. Check it out.

Barricades along McMicken Avenue in Over-the-Rhine and Fairview are working to deter prostitution, Cincinnati Police said yesterday in a presentation to City Council’s Human Services Committee. The barriers sit in three locations along the street and were put up April 30 as part of a program to fight sex work and human trafficking in the area. Other efforts include new laws making penalties tougher for pimps and johns and releasing the names of those convicted of soliciting prostitutes.

The stretch of McMicken is known for high levels of prostitution and other crime. In January, a 24-year-old woman was shot in the head and killed on the street. Authorities suspect she was involved in the sex trade. Police say the volume of prostitution in the area has gone down with the barricades, though they also acknowledge that they’ve seen an uptick in activity in places like the West End. Residents in West Price Hill have also reported an increase in prostitution since the barriers went up. Some residents in the area aren’t convinced the barricades help and say they make their daily commutes more difficult, though others say they’ve noticed a difference in the level of crime. The barricades will come down by the end of the summer.

• Everyone’s favorite proto-tea party group and an anti-abortion organization got a win yesterday when the Supreme Court ruled that they can challenge an Ohio law prohibiting false statements in political advertising.

The court ruled both the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes, or COAST, and the Susan B. Anthony List were harmed by the Ohio law and could sue the state. In 2010, Democrat Steve Driehaus, then running for governor, threatened legal action over SBA plans to buy billboards saying he voted for “tax-payer funded abortions.” SBA cited Driehaus’ support of the Affordable Care Act as proof of the claim. Though Driehaus dropped the matter after losing the election, SBA sued, saying their First Amendment rights were violated. COAST jumped on the suit as well, claiming they did not carry out plans for similar advertisements due to fear of legal action.

SBA’s assertion against Driehaus was incredibly questionable — using taxpayer money for abortions is still illegal under the ACA, and abortion providers must still go to great pains to show they’re not using public money to administer the procedure — but the larger issue of free speech convinced both liberal and conservative justices at the Supreme Court. Lower courts originally dismissed the groups’ suits, but the case will now go back to them to be settled.

Former Reds slugger and skipper Pete Rose got to manage a baseball team again yesterday, doing a one-day stint with the Bridgeport Bluefish, a Connecticut team in the independent Atlantic League. The 73-year-old hasn’t managed a game since his suspension from major league baseball 25 years ago for gambling.

• In other sports news, Team USA won over Ghana to kick off its bid for the World Cup, but you probably already know that from all the yelling your neighbors did about it last night. At least that’s how I know about it. We're number one!

• …Except when it comes to health care. In fact, a new study by the Commonwealth Fund shows the United States is number 11 when it comes to our health care system when compared with 10 other developed countries. The U.S. ranked behind the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia, Germany, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, France and Canada in terms of quality of healthcare available. We’re number 11! That’s like being number one twice! The U.S. was legitimately number one in a single category, though: We have the most expensive health care of all the countries in the study.

• Before you get too sad, consider this: Another study found there are more museums in the United States than Starbucks and McDonalds combined. We have about 25,000 of the two chains combined, and more than 35,000 museums. Now if they would just combine the two so I can see some postmodern art and grab a Big Mac at the same time, or maybe enjoy a smoothie as I check out the Kansas Underground Salt Museum.
 
 
by Jake Grieco 06.16.2014 65 days ago
at 02:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
the outhouse

Local Punk Outfit Sleeves Talks DIY Music Scene

It smells like drying piss and old beer on the back deck of Northside’s The Comet. The air is filled with the dull thud of a concert beating up against the walls.

There are shows at The Comet every night and people piss and drink there every night, and John Hoffman and Dylan McCartney are there just about every night. Tonight they’re just here to get drunk, but usually they’re the center of attention.

Hoffman and McCartney are in emerging Cincinnati Punk band Sleeves. Hoffman calls the band’s sound American Apparel Punk. Their debut EP Sex is Stupid can be downloaded for free here. They’re a three-piece made up of Hoffman on lead guitar, McCartney on drums and Alex Collins on bass. Hoffman and McCartney both sing, and they both end up on the ground and sometimes injured by the end of their shows.

Cincinnati has an active Do-It-Yourself music scene and Hoffman and McCartney are major players in it. They organize and play shows and Hoffman even records, masters and puts together records for other bands.

Sleeves has played at The Comet, but most of the band’s shows aren’t held in traditional music venues but houses.

Residents all over the city are opening their basements, living rooms, decks and kitchens to musicians that want to do what they love wherever they can do it.

“I still remember the super visceral feeling I got from walking into my first house show,” Hoffman says. “It was just like ‘Where the hell am I? I’ve never seen anything cooler than this.’ I finally felt comfortable in a public space.”

From the outside, a house show looks uncomfortable. There are usually four or five terrifyingly big and tattooed guys stoically staring and bobbing their head to the music. Mosh pits break out constantly, and beer gets all over everyone no matter what, but it’s the closest thing to a bohemian utopia in Cincinnati — anything can happen.

“At one show, there was a point where everyone was crowd surfing just so they could tag the ceiling with spray paint,” Hoffman says. “It became a group effort where everyone was holding people up so they could tag the ceiling. That house was a wreck.”

“Suffice to say they probably didn’t get their deposit back,” McCartney added.

There’s no malice in these ways of destruction and these different looking people. They worked together to tag the ceiling — vandalism — but with teamwork, so it’s OK. The terrifying gentlemen are the first to help anyone up who gets knocked over. For every beer that’s dumped, 10 more are handed out. All the dirt, grunge and basement gunk are exactly what Cincinnati’s DIY bands need. The bands are good enough for big venues, but something is lost when people have to pay to get in, pay to drink and pay to eat and they can’t go outside for a cigarette and walk back in without getting hassled.

“My other band [Mardou] played at Bogart’s once and it was the worst show of my whole life,” McCartney says. “I’ve had shows which were one-twentieth the amount of people, at a house or something, and it was so much more fun to me. You connect to people at a show like that and they connect to you.”

House shows are intimate. There’s usually only an inch between you and the mic stand, but the intimacy comes from more than just close proximity. Certain houses become “venues” all on their own by regularly hosting shows — like The Outhouse in Clifton Heights and The Last House on the Left on Kirby Avenue in Northside. Communities form around these bands and houses, and people that feel like they didn’t fit in anywhere can find a home in someone else’s house. It’s an Island of Misfit Toys that serves Skyline chili.

“At the end of the day, I think it’s just an arts community — or a weirdos community,” Hoffman says.

Sleeves’ next show is Tuesday, June 24, in the basement of Lucy Blue Main Street location in Over-the-Rhine. Find details here.

 
 
by Rachel Podnar 06.16.2014 65 days ago
Posted In: News at 12:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
barack obama 2

Obama Signs Ban on LGBTQ Discrimination by Federal Contractors

Private-sector non-discrimination legislation still stalled in House

President Barack Obama today announced plans to sign an executive order that will protect LGBTQ employees of federal contractors from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, a move that covers 20 percent of the American workforce.

Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Rea Carey said the executive order will be a major step forward.

“Now millions of people will have the economic security they need to provide for their families,” Carey said in a press release. “This decision is good for LGBTQ people, good for our economy and good for America.”

The initiative was a campaign promise in 2008, and LGBTQ groups have pressured the president to issue the order for years.

Obama announced this decision before appearing at a Democratic gay-rights fundraiser on Tuesday and as greater protection stalls in Congress.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would protect all American workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity passed the Senate in November but has since been halted in the House.

According to the Washington Post, 24 of the top 25 federal contractors have nondiscrimination policies towards sexual orientation, and 13 of those policies include gender identity. So while the executive order will cover 20 percent of the workforce, most are already protected.

Although many private employers offer protection, discrimination is still on the books in many states.

In 29 states, it is still legal for employers to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation; and in 32 states, gender identity is grounds for discrimination.

Carey stressed the work that remains.  

“Unfortunately, many of us who don't work for federal contractors will still lack workplace protections,” she said. “Now we must redouble our efforts for the urgent passage of state employment protections and strong federal legislation.”

 
 
by Mike Breen 06.16.2014 65 days ago
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music News at 10:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
mi0000404190

Blue Wisp Big Band Lives On!

Despite losing their namesake venue, beloved local jazzers to continue every-Wednesday shows at Japp’s

Much has changed for the legendary Cincinnati live music venue the Blue Wisp Jazz Club over its 40-plus-year existence. Though it has consistently been the club for Jazz in Cincinnati over most of that period, the Blue Wisp has moved four different times over four decades. In its most recent locale at the corner of Race and Seventh streets downtown, the club owners also tried to attract more business by serving food and varying the types of music performed. But it wasn’t enough and the Blue Wisp has once again closed its doors (though various reports suggest it could find yet another new location in the future). 

One thing that hadn’t changed at the Blue Wisp, at least since it began in 1980, is the Blue Wisp Big Band. The group of all-star local musicians has maintained one of the longest residency in the region, performing its skilled take on vintage Big Band Jazz like clockwork every Wednesday. The band is a Cincinnati institution. 


When the Wisp shut down, the members of the Big Band were determined to not let their remarkable run end with a whimper. Instead, the Blue Wisp Big Band sought to continue its every-Wednesday residency at another venue. (In case you’re wondering, the group owns its moniker, so they can legally continue to use the “Blue Wisp” name.)


Veteran local Jazz pianist and Blue Wisp Big Band founding member Steve Schmidt says they’ve landed their new spot, Japp’s Annex on Main St. in Over-the-Rhine, and will pick up its Wednesday night shows beginning this week. Schmidt says the group will perform every Wednesday at Japp’s, at least through the end of July, when they’ll reassess the situation just to make sure it’s a good fit. The Big Band will again be playing two hour-long sets each Wednesday, the first starting at 8:30 p.m. The cover charge will be less than it was at the Wisp — just $5. (Parking is available in the lot on the corner of Main and Central Parkway, as well as in the garage behind the club on Sycamore.) 


“We are excited about trying out this (Over-the-Rhine) spot and happy that the ownership and staff at Japp's is excited, too,” Schmidt says. “We are all thinking of ways to make it better for the customer and the band as we go along. The band wanted to start quickly, not to be dormant for too long.”


Several of the principal members of the Blue Wisp Big Band did a walkthrough several days ago to get a feel for the new space and were happy with what they saw (and felt).


“I got a very good feeling about the room,” Schmidt says, “both in terms of space — spacious yet intimate — and acoustics. I think the other guys felt the same way. (Founding BWBB anchor/drummer) John Von Ohlen rightly pointed out that there is a lot of wood — the floors and the large bar. As John said, in the fullest and most complimentary sense of the word, ‘It's a joint!’ It's what he had in mind when he formed the band and put it in the original Blue Wisp in O'Bryonville. He said he wanted a world-class big band in a beer tavern.”


“In a word,” Schmidt adds, “(the new space) has soul.”



 
 

 

 

 
Close
Close
Close