Picture yourself hopping on a streetcar in Price Hill or Westwood and cruising downtown for lunch.
It probably won’t happen anytime soon. But a group of West Side residents was determined to put just that image in the heads of city council’s transportation committee as it met yesterday to consider what will be done with the city’s aging Western Hills Viaduct.
About 25 people showed up to the meeting to advocate for expanded transit options as planning for the bridge goes forward.
"It's about the future of our city and connecting one another,” said
John Eby, a resident of Westwood, during Wednesday’s meeting. “Think of
this as the economic development tool that will help connect Price Hill
and Westwood to downtown."
Even without the added transit considerations, the project is daunting. The half-mile long bridge is 82 years old and was last rehabbed in 1977. So it’s getting a little crumbly.
Though it’s structurally sound for now, engineers say it will need to be completely rehabbed or replaced in the next 10 years. A study released last week found the bridge’s condition to be among of the worst in the state.
The viaduct is owned by Hamilton County, which pays Cincinnati to do upkeep.
City engineers are leaning toward replacement, though that’s going to be expensive. Estimated costs come in around $240 million for a new bridge, which would have two decks and be placed just south of the current one. So far, the city’s dedicated less than $6 million for the project.
But this moment, as the city mulls what to do about the bridge, is the perfect time to look at new transit options, advocates say.
Adding dedicated lanes for light rail would cost $24 million a lane, engineers estimate. But designing the bridge with extra structural integrity for streetcar rails, which don’t require extra lanes, could be a cheaper option, said city engineer Richard Szekeresh.
It wouldn’t be the first time a streetcar has made the trip over the Mill Creek and train yards spanned by the viaduct. In the 1950s, streetcars ran along the bridge’s lower deck.
But don’t start making plans to get out of downtown and hit up your favorite Westside chili parlor for lunch just yet. City officials say they’re in the opening stages of the project. Engineers hope to have designs drawn up by the end of the year, but it will be six to eight years before construction starts, according to city transportation manager Michael Moore. Before that is the long road to secure state funding and make sure the necessary local funds are in place.
Advocates say the project may be the last chance to leave the door open for future transit options like light rail or the streetcar. A new Eighth Street viaduct was just completed, and crews are wrapping up work on the Sixth Street bridge as well. Neither will carry rail into the West Side, which is home to about 20 percent of the city.
With Jenny Slate’s new, ahem, “abortion comedy” Obvious Child coming to theaters (no word on a Cincy screening yet), I could highlight many examples of the comedian’s genius: Marcel the Shell with Shoes On; Mona Lisa from Parks and Rec; “PubLIZity” on Kroll Show; even the f-bomb heard ‘round the world on her SNL debut. But I truly cannot get enough of Catherine, one of the strangest and most hilarious little web series I’ve ever watched! Take about 30 minutes and watch this gem from beginning to end. Then lather, rinse, repeat.
Nearly 20 years after Tupac Shakur’s death, a police officer present at the scene that night has come forward to reveal the rapper’s last words: “Fuck you.” OK then.
Conan O’Brien is a true talent, and I love the guy but I’ve hardly tuned in to his show since his move to TBS (kind of like how I “support” local restaurants but still just eat Taco Bell anyway sometimes). But I did tune in recently to catch what is apparently a recurring bit: Clueless Gamer. Conan, not a big video gamer, tests out a new or classic game, mocking various aspects to comedic results. Last week Conan test-drove Watch Dogs, which was released across platforms Tuesday.
Conan and I are about the
same speed when it comes to video games. He can’t help but focus on the
futuristic fashion choices and unrealistic aspects or run over a sidewalk of
people with a stolen UPS truck or, in turn, inevitably perturb avid gamers.
Bill Murray. Dude seems to be living the life of a retired playboy, despite the fact that he’s still very active in Hollywood. Besides being a pretty much universally loved actor and comedian, in his off time he’s campaigning to be inducted in the Cool Guy Hall of Fame. In his latest move, Murray addressed a bachelor party at a Charleston steakhouse on finding “the one,” and then led the group in lifting the groom-to-be into the air. Watch the magic here. Next up: Bill Murray delivers baby in out-of-service elevator, fashions a diaper out of own T-shirt.
Ever noticed how Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith bears a striking resemblance to Will Ferrell? According to Ferrell, the two are confused so often it’s beginning to become and issue. The doppelgangers met last week to decide once and for all who was who, and which was the better drummer on The Tonight Show (aka Where Celebrities Go to Act a Fool). The results were predictably outstanding:
Fans of True Detective are chomping at the bit for any clues about next season’s stars and settings. Recent rumors stated Jessica Chastain was offered a lead, but the Zero Dark Thirty actress claims that isn’t the case. Thankfully series creator Nic Pizzolatto revealed a few details about Season Two: This round — a completely new case, setting and cast — will feature three leads instead of two (Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson starred in Season One), it will focus on “hard women, bad men and the secret occult history of the United States transportation system,” and the action will take place in a California city — somewhere more off-the-beaten path than L.A. Considering the bit of pushback regarding the lack of substantial female characters last season, we can likely expect more focus on at least one woman.
The AMC network bid farewell to two beloved characters recently (spoilers coming). Porkchop — Chihuahua, star of Small Town Security and HBIC of JJK Security — was put to sleep in last week's episode of the reality show. And in "not so real but also pretty sad" news, Mad Men character Bert Cooper passed away in Sunday's mid-season finale. The SC&P co-founder died right after watching the historic Apollo 11 moon landing of 1969 — but don't worry, actor Robert Morse is still going strong. Coop bid farewell to Don Draper — and viewers — in a sweet, surreal and theatrical final scene.
Hugely popular Canadian Electro Funk duo Chromeo is bringing its groovy sound and stage show to this year’s MidPoint Music Festival. Chromeo’s tour in support of its recently-released fourth album, White Women, will include a headlining turn at MPMF.14 as the twosome heads up the bill on the Washington Park stage on Thursday, Sept. 25.
Chromeo performed the single “Jealous (I Ain’t With It)” on The Late Show with David Letterman a few weeks ago (to the apparent delight of the soon-to-be-retired host):
And the duo worked the crowd into a lather from the main stage at this year’s Coachella festival, drawing acclaim from outlets like The Hollywood Reporter, who declared Chromeo’s appearance one of the Top 10 sets of the entire Californian fest.
Chromeo’s White Women single “Come Alive” features MPMF alum Toro Y Moi:
Three-day passes for MPMF.14 (running Sept. 25-27 in various venues across Over-the-Rhine and Downtown) are on sale now for just $69 at mpmf.cincyticket.com (there are also a few early-bird-priced VIP tickets available). Single-show tickets for Chromeo’s Washington Park appearance go on sale this Friday. (Single-show tickets to Washington Park’s Friday night performances on Sept. 26 — which include headliners The Afghan Whigs — are on sale now at the CincyTicket link.)
Click here to check out some of the other previously announced performers.
The 36th annual Taste of Cincinnati takes over six blocks downtown this weekend. The annual food festival includes more than 100 dishes from 40-plus restaurants and 70 live music performances Saturday through Monday. Features this year include four music stages; tappings, tastings and a meet-the-brewers with Christian Moerlein Brewing Co., official beer of the Taste; and the Taste Experience. If large crowds and funnel cakes aren’t quite your thing, the Taste Experience features more upscale fare in the intimate setting of the Procter & Gamble gardens. The Reds take on the Cardinals Saturday and Sunday, so it’s sure to be a bustling weekend downtown. For more information about the Taste, check out our feature on the fest.
Memorial Day marks the symbolic start to summer as
well as the opening date for many pools and summer attractions. Both The Beach Waterpark and Coney Island open their gates this Saturday. The Beach, under new
management since its temporary closing in 2012, is back with all the crazy
water rides and slides, the wave pool, real sand and endless entertainment for
the whole family. New this year are cabanas for rent and a high-flying zip-line.
Find admission details and hours here.
Coney Island is another Cincy summertime institution. Enjoy classic rides,
water slides and the iconic Sunlite Pool all weekend long. Go here for tickets
and more info.
Cincinnati Saints, the city’s semi-professional soccer team, kicks off its first season in the National Premier Soccer League Friday with a game against Pennsylvania’s Erie Admirals. The Saints play home games at Stargel Stadium on the West End. Follow the team as they look to make soccer yet another successful pro sport in Cincinnati — the team will host World Cup watch parties on Fountain Square next month. Read more about the team in this week’s feature.
Ever been curious about the nudist lifestyle? Many
locals don’t know a nudist resort is located right outside the city on Cincinnati’s
West Side. Paradise Gardens Nudist Resort lies on 35 acres of lush, wooded land
and has been around for more than 40 years. Those interested in nudism or just
wanting to check it off their bucket list are invited to explore the grounds
for an open house noon-6 p.m. Saturday. New nudists and veterans alike can
enjoy swimming, hiking, volleyball, sunning and even a
pirate-themed dance at night. Relax, be respectful and bring a towel to sit on
(that hot summer sun can really warm up seat surfaces!). Future open house
dates are June 7, July 5 and Aug. 19. Learn more here.
This year we did pretty OK again, receiving six first-place and 13 runner-up awards from the Cincinnati chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for work produced in 2013. Six pieces are also finalists in the Cleveland Press Club’s statewide awards, which will be announced June 6.
CityBeat photographer Jesse Fox won the Cincinnati SPJ’s “Best Feature Photography” award for a collection of work that is also a finalist in the Cleveland contest. Arts & Culture Editor Jac Kern’s “I Just Can’t Get Enough” column won the local “Lifestyle Reporting” visual communication category, and Contributing Arts Editor Steven Rosen won the Cincy SPJ’s “Arts/Entertainment Critique” award for a collection of his "The Big Picture" columns. Editor Danny Cross won first in the “Editorial” category for an angry essay titled “Cincinnati’s 1 Percent,” and CityBeat’s “The Answers Issue” took first for “Lifestyle Feature.” CityBeat also won “Best Weekly Newspaper” in Cincinnati and is a finalist for “Best Non-Daily Newspaper in Ohio: Alternatives."
Other finalists for the Cleveland Press Club’s statewide awards were “The Linguistics of Legislation,” by Hannah McCartney, Maija Zummo and Julie Hill in the “Features: General” category, and German Lopez’s collection of streetcar coverage in “Community/Local Coverage.” Lopez’s investigation into Ohio’s dysfunctional private prison, “From the Inside,” is a finalist for the “Public Service” award, as is Cross’ look into the controversial firing of Loveland High School’s drama instructor, “Legally Banned,” for “Arts and Entertainment” reporting. CityBeat Music Editor Mike Breen was again recognized for music writing, as he is a finalist for the Press Club’s “Reviews/Criticism” award.
The following is a complete list of work recognized by the Cincinnati Society of Professional Journalists and Cleveland Press Club:
Cincinnati SPJ: First Place Awards
EDITORIAL: “Cincinnati’s 1 Percent” by Danny Cross
LIFESTYLE FEATURE: “The Answers Issue” by CityBeat Staff
ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT CRITIQUE: “The Big Picture” by Steven Rosen
BEST WEEKLY NEWSPAPER: CityBeat
LIEFESTYLE REPORTING: “I Just Can’t Get Enough” by Jac Kern
FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHY: Jesse Fox
Cincinnati SPJ: Finalists
GENERAL ASSIGNMENT NEWS STORY: “Restricted Responsibility: Lawsuit argues Miami University should have dismissed alleged rapist for previous violations” by Hannah McCartney; “Testing Faith: Catholic Church fires Purcell Marian assistant principal over support of gay marriage" by Danny Cross
INVESTIGATIVE/ENTERPRISE/DATABASE REPORTING: “Legally Banned: The secret complaints and controversial characters behind the firing of Loveland High School's drama instructor" by Danny Cross
CONTINUING COVERAGE OR SERIES: “Streetcar Coverage” by German Lopez
BUSINESS NEWS: “Cleaning House: Janitors strike against New York City-based company contracted by local Fortune 500 companies to clean their buildings” by Hannah McCartney
SPORTS NEWS: “All Part of the Game: Ruling against former Bengals players illustrates the next step in NFL concussion saga” by Bill Sloat and C. Trent Rosecrans
SPORTS FEATURE/ANALYSIS: “A League of Their Own: The Delhi Skirt Game's uniquely flamboyant, 36-year tradition of helping community members in need” by Hannah McCartney
COMMUNITY ISSUES: “Home Invasion?: Planned supportive housing facility has some Avondale residents concerned about its effects on an already plagued neighborhood” by Hannah McCartney
ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT: “Legally Banned: The secret complaints and controversial characters behind the firing of Loveland High School's drama instructor” by Danny Cross
Cleveland Press Club Best in Ohio Finalists:
FEATURES: GENERAL: “The Linguistics of Legislation” by Hannah McCartney, Maija Zummo and Julie Hill
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT: “Legally Banned: The secret complaints and controversial characters behind the firing of Loveland High School's drama instructor” by Danny Cross
COMMUNITY/LOCAL COVERAGE: “Streetcar Coverage” by German Lopez
BEST NON-DAILY NEWSPAPER IN OHIO: ALTERNATIVES: CityBeat
BEST IN OHIO: PHOTOGRAPHER: Jesse Fox
REVIEWS/CRITICISM: “Spill It” by Mike Breen
The really big show this weekend happens tonight when the The Cappies of Greater Cincinnati present their eighth annual awards for high school theater productions and performers. Our local program is one of the most established, right up there with programs in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and beyond. Our local awards are presented at the Aronoff Center's Procter & Gamble Hall. In addition to the recognition of high school student performers, the evening offers excerpts from a dozen or so schools plus ensemble numbers featuring kids from all over the region — more than 20 schools participate in the program. An especially exciting aspect (at least from my point of view as a critic) is the fact that an element of the Cappies involves students attending one another's performances and writing about them. Tonight will open with a recognition of the outstanding boy and girl critics, and wrap up by citing the top team of high school critics. I'll be onstage at the Aronoff to present that award, as well as something new: An award for the "top critique" by a student writer. I had the privilege of choosing the winner, which will be posted on CityBeat's arts blog after the award ceremony. And to show how profoundly CityBeat is committed to cultivating arts coverage, we're inviting that winner to cover a high school Fringe Next production in the Cincinnati Fringe Festival, which kicks off next week. No award for me, but I'm honored to be asked to hand out this recognition to the next generation of theater writers!
When Catfish The TV Show premiered in 2012, I was less than impressed. While I enjoyed the original documentary film about a man’s (the filmmaker’s brother, Nev Schulman) online relationship-gone-wrong, Nev’s MTV version lacked the same authenticity and felt rather exploitative. But when Schulman tweeted about being in the Cincinnati area (Findlay Market, specifically) this past February, my interest was certainly piqued. Who doesn’t love seeing Cincy on TV (even if it inevitably would be a negative representation of the city and its people)?
The Cincinnati episode of Catfish aired last week and local ties aside, it was one of the most controversial episodes thus far. Nev and his docu-series partner-in-crime Max embarked on a unique catfishing adventure when Carmen contacted the duo to help her host a “catfish intervention” with her cousin Antwane whom, despite never meeting the man in person, had been in a relationship with a guy named Tony for three years. Antwane explained that he “met” Tony on a late-night chat line but he’d never so much as seen a photo of him. Carmen and ‘Twane are both big personalities, sure to get a reaction from viewers, but they both seemed genuine.
After a crazy turn of events, Antwane’s cousin Carmen nonchalantly revealed that she was “Tony” all along, and she had kept up the sick charade as revenge for…wait for it…the one time Antwane called her “a fat ass Kelly Price” in front of her family three years ago. Oy.
When Max and Nev learned that Carmen was behind the whole thing and that she planned the Catfish cameras to catch her so she could get a brush with fame, they were furious. And rightfully so, that’s a straight Disney villain move (also your cousin?!). In a very edited scene, Nev heatedly called out Carmen, mocking the way she talked, when producers immediately stepped in to call for a break. While I in no way condone any of her sociopathic actions, I did find it bitterly just that these MTV hotshots got a taste of their own exploitative medicine. They embarrass countless people on the show (though some might argue the subjects ask for it) and while they say they do it to help people, like any television producers, it's all about ratings and "good" TV. In the end, this episode was sure to rack up plenty of viewers.
After the show aired, Nev posted the following message on his Facebook page, which reeks of his signature smug judginess:
“Shooting this weeks episode of Catfish was one of the most intense and emotional experiences of my life. Relating to and understanding Antwane was a struggle for me in many ways, but I really grew to appreciate and respect him. He has many fears and flaws, but showed so much courage and resolve in the face of adversity. He is a man who proves that you don't need anybody else's approval to be happy. My lesson learned is to be confident and proud of who you are no matter what anybody else says or thinks. Life isn't always easy, but we can all chose to be positive in the way we treat ourselves and others. Cheers.”
Watch the full episode here. The show features shots of Short Vine (it looks like Antwane lives across the street from Bogart’s); Coffee Emporium in Over-the-Rhine (Nev and Max famously do all their research in a coffee shop in each episode, and were very impressed by the local spot); and various locations across Downtown and Over-the-Rhine.
The term “catfish” has
caught on as a definition for people who assume false identities on the Internet
(or the act of doing so) — so much so, that the word’s new meaning has been
added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Go here to read about how the term originated in
the doc by the same name.
Every year, the Guardians
of the English Language at M-W begrudgingly add new words and definitions to the
dictionary. This year’s list was just released and, in addition to catfish’s
new meaning, there’s hashtag, selfie and steampunk . Peep the full list here.
Brad Pitt and Matthew McConaughey are neighbors now, and apparently just a couple of bros.
Magic Mike was a hit. Channing Tatum is apparently working on a sequel, Magic Mike XXL. So it’s no surprise that “The Real” Magic Mike is also in the works. Directed by Joe Manganiello (“Big Dick” Richie in Mike, Alcide in True Blood), La Bare gives a raw, inside look at the talented male dancers at La Bare Dallas.
We now live in a world where Charlie from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia gets invited to give commencement speeches and receives honorary doctorates. Which is to say, an awesome world. Check out his words of wisdom here.
Jimmy Fallon has been doing a Suggestion Box bit on The Tonight Show, where he takes completely random questions or ideas from fans and brings them to life in epic Tonight fashion. Fallon has dubbed Game of Thrones with children’s voices, gotten Audra McDonald to sing real Yahoo Answers and tested out Digi-Staches on Higgins. But this might be one of my favorites: