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by Mike Breen 01.16.2015 72 days ago
Posted In: Live Music, CEAs, Local Music at 10:53 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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LISTEN: 2015 'Best New Bands’ Showcase Performers

A preview of the artists performing Saturday at Bogart’s for this year’s new local music showcase

Saturday night, be sure to head to Bogart’s for this year's "Best New Bands" showcase, presented by CityBeat and featuring performances by some of the local musical acts you should keep your eye on this year. 


The 2015 showcase features all of this year’s Cincinnati Entertainment Award nominees for New Artist of the Year, each of whom are profiled in the new issue of CityBeat. The nominees will be joined by four other superb new area acts for the event.


The concert begins at promptly at 7:30 p.m. and will feature performances on Bogart’s main stage as well as on a side stage, keeping the music running non-stop all night. Admission is just $5. 


Here are some audio samples of each of the BNB performers. Click on the artists’ names (listed in order of appearance) to read more on each act.


Prim


Kate Wakefield 


Elk Creek


JetLab


Honeyspiders


Leggy 


Noah Smith 


Harbour 


Dream Tiger 


Near Earth Objects 


You can find out who scores the New Artist of the Year trophy (and who wins in all of the other categories) on Sunday, Jan. 25 at the 18th annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards ceremony/party, which takes place at Covington’s Madison Theater (Blues nominees The Whiskey Shambles were recently added to the lineup of performers, joining The Cliftones, Mad Anthony, Injecting Strangers, Young Heirlooms and Buggs tha Rocka). Tickets are available in advance through cincyticket.com. Showtime is 7 p.m. and we give you full permission to call in sick to work Jan. 26. 

 
 
by Rick Pender 01.16.2015 72 days ago
Posted In: Theater at 09:36 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Stage Door: A Weekend of Classic Musicals and Plays, Plus a Party and Some Lies

Things are off to a good start for 2015: The touring production of Cinderella at the Aronoff is a very entertaining retooling of music by Rodgers and Hammerstein into a more contemporary version of the classic fairy tale. It's the same story, but the attitudes are of the 21st century, with a "power to the people" thread running through it and Cinderella conveying a populist message, convincing her prince that democracy is the way to go. The music is charming and there's some magical things done with quick changes in and out of ball gowns that will keep audiences guessing as to how it's done. I gave this one a Critic's Pick with my CityBeat review. Tickets: 513-621-2787.

Another classic musical is onstage at Covington's Carnegie: West Side Story. The show requires a lot of dancing and strong orchestral support, and this production offers both.The leads have excellent voices, although I felt (CityBeat review here) they were a tad too operatic for "kids" affected by gang warfare. Nevertheless, this show has some of the finest music ever written for the stage — the score is by Leonard Bernstein and the lyrics by Stephen Sondheim — so it's definitely worth seeing. Tickets: 859-957-1940.

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company opens its production of one of the 20th century's great stage works, Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot this weekend. I haven't seen it yet, but with a cast feature stage veteran Bruce Cromer and longtime Cincy Shakes actor Nick Rose, it's sure to be watchable. Here's a fun fact: Cromer has played Scrooge in A Christmas Carol at the Cincinnati Playhouse for eight years; this year Rose understudied the role and actually had to cover several performances when Cromer was out of commission with a twisted ankle. I expect their onstage chemistry to fuel a production that audiences will enjoy. 513-381-2273.

CCM voice professor Pat Linhart presents her annual faculty recital on Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. It's a free event at Patricia Corbett Theater on the UC Campus. Every year Linhart assembles a program of zany humor and heartfelt singing, accompanied by the inestimable Julie Spangler. There are always a few surprises, and this year should be no exception. The theme is "It's My Party" celebrating Pat's 65th birthday, and I'm envisioning party hats and noisemakers for everyone in the audience.

Rick Pender's STAGE DOOR blog appears here every Friday. Find more theater reviews and feature stories here.
 
 
by John Hamilton 01.15.2015 73 days ago
at 01:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
ed

Forgotten Classics: Ed Wood

Reviewing lesser-known films that stand the test of time

Last year, director Tim Burton released a film that many are considering his strongest film in a while — Big Eyes. It follows the story of the artist Margaret Keane (Amy Adams) her husband Walter (Christoph Waltz) and the scandal of Walter taking credit for Margaret’s famous ‘big eyes’ portraits. While the film itself is by no means perfect, I will say it is pretty good and it is awesome to see Burton do this type of film again.

I remember hearing about this film early in 2014 and getting excited about it. For starters, it was a Burton movie that didn’t star Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, and it wasn’t a reimagining of anything (like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Sweeney Todd). But the defining factor that made me excited was the screenwriters, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski. These two were responsible for writing what I think is Tim Burton’s best movie, Ed Wood. Sadly, it seems a lot of people aren’t aware of this film’s existence, which amazes me considering how big Tim Burton’s fan base is.

Shot gloriously in black-and-white, Ed Wood tells the tale of Edward D. Wood, Jr. (Johnny Depp), who has been called by many the worst movie director of all time. And given how his resume consists of movies like Glen or Glenda, Bride of the Monster and the movie that has been labeled as one of the worst movies of all time — Plan 9 from Outer Space — it’s easy to see why he was given that honor. While this film does take jabs at the guy and his movies, it doesn’t beat him up or make him look pathetic; by the end of the film, you’ll be rooting for him and feel slightly motivated.

Like a lot of biopics, this movie does take some liberties with real-life events. The script just focuses on the production of the three aforementioned films and nothing else. It portrays some of the people involved in a unpleasant light, the worst being Woods’ girlfriend and future songwriter Dolores Fuller (Sarah Jessica Parker). But I’m more than willing to ignore that, mainly due to what the story wants to do. This story is of a guy who keeps being told he shouldn’t make movies. People are constantly telling him his movie are terrible — at one point someone literally tells him that Bride of the Monsters is the worst film he’s ever scene. But Eddie keeps going. That’s what makes the film so strong: You cheer for Ed because, at one point or another, we have all felt like him before — especially those in the creative community.

A recurring subject in Tim Burton movies is the social outcast, and Ed Wood features that in more than one front. We of course have Ed who is an outcast not only his bizarre filmmaking but also due to a lifestyle he has. What is it? To quote Ed himself, “I like to dress in women's clothing.” The film doesn’t exploit it to make you laugh at him (granted, seeing Johnny Depp wearing an angora sweater is funny), but the comedy comes more from people’s reaction. The only time Ed is used as the butt of a joke is when his almost infinite optimism shines in on an inappropriate time. The film saying, “Yeah, he’s an odd duck, but there’s nothing wrong with it.”

A highlight of the film is the friendship Ed forms with the aging horror icon Bela Lugosi, portrayed by Martin Landau, who won an Oscar for his brilliant performance. He hopes that his newfound friendship with Ed (or Eddie as he calls him) will revive not only his stardom but the same love and passion he had for the craft back in the old days. Eddie ends up helping him in another way, but I won’t ruin it for you.

One of the best scenes in the movie after the botched premiere of Bride of the Monster is when Lugosi thanks Ed and tells him how great it has been. Ed replies with, “I just wish you could’ve seen the movie.” Lugosi goes on say that he knows it by heart, then the camera tilts up, making the background resemble a theater, and he recites a speech from the movie gaining an applause from some bystanders at the end.

The reason why this is one of my favorites is that it shows that even when go through dark times, we should still pursue our dreams. A quote from Orson Welles (portrayed by Vincent D’Onofrio, voiced by Maurice LaMarche in the movie) sums it up best: “Visions are worth fighting for.”

Ed Wood is an amazing film that more people need to see.

 
 
by 01.15.2015 73 days ago
Posted In: Commentary at 10:38 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
from the copy editor

From the Copy Desk

Good late morning readers! Let's jump right into Words Nobody Uses or Knows in this week's issue. (But first, you know I have to say it: Pick up a copy! We feature Cincinnati's Best New Bands of 2015. It's a great way to discover new groups and pretend that you're hip.)

Alright, best word of the issue is zeitgeist, found in Reyan Ali's piece on Motion City Soundtrack. It's a word that reminds me of Rhinegeist brewery, in Over-the-Rhine.

zeitgeist: the spirit of the time; the taste and outlook characteristic of a period or generation (n.)

OH MAN, connection.  Rhinegeist: probably derived from the word zeitgeist. According to the Rhinegeist webpage, the name translates to "ghost of the Rhine". (So THAT'S why their logo is a skull.)  I've never understood the meaning of their funky name or logo until now.

I'm really not with it, am I.

In this issue: "It’s a short but telling story that isn’t so much a criticism of Motion City as it is a reflection on contemporary culture — lives have been lived, fans have moved on from onetime passions (or at least not kept up their sites) and certain scenes don’t stimulate the zeitgeist as they once did."

Moving on. Next best word is shoehorning, found in Sound Advice. (It's always the music writers, isn't it?) OK, this may be an obvious word, but honestly, I've never heard of it.

shoehorn: to force or squeeze into a narrow space (v.); an implement of metal, horn, plastic, etc. with a troughlike blade, inserted at the back of a shoe to aid in slipping the heel in (n.)

In this issue, used as a verb: "Adam Schatz and his merry band of Rock provocateurs kick up a sonic maelstrom that operates under the broad umbrella of Art Rock, with subtle hints of Afrobeat, Funk, Jazz, Reggae, Doo Wop, New Wave and anything else the musicians feel like shoehorning into the proceedings as long as it effectively serves the song at hand."

I've never used a shorhorn to put on shoes in my life. If you've gotten to that point, put the shoes down. They're too uncomfortable.

Last word is amalgam, found in Brian Baker's piece on Punk/Pop trio Leggy. It's a word I probably learned many moons ago, in a high school chemistry class, but have since forgotten.

amlgam: a combination or mixture; blend; any alloy of mercury with another metal or other metals: silver amalgam is used as a dental filling (n.)

In this issue: "Leggy’s sound — as evidenced in its live presentation, on Cavity Castle, its digital/physical cassette release, and on its latest digital track, “Grrls Like Us” — is an amalgam of Allaer’s seminal love of the Vines’/Strokes’ simple power chord/garage reverb equation, Bladh and Allaer’s early affection for Joanna Newsom’s Avant Psych Folk and their mutual love of Lana Del Rey and St. Vincent." 

Whew. If you're like me and know nothing about local music (or, just, music in general), that sentence makes little to no sense.

Enjoy the weekend, readers!












 
 
by Nick Swartsell 01.15.2015 73 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:25 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
capitol hill

Morning News and Stuff

Cincinnati man arrested for planning to bomb U.S. capitol; Requiem Project sues UC over Emery Theater; Possum: the victory meat

Heya! I’m gearing up to spend a couple days in Chicago, so no morning news tomorrow. However, I’m leaving ya with a bunch of crazy stuff today, so check it out.

First, something’s in the air here in Cincinnati lately. Yesterday I told you about Michael Hoyt, the West Chester bartender who threatened to kill House Speaker John Boehner, possibly during a bout of mental illness. Today, we learn about Chris Cornell. No, not the long haired, goateed grunge singer. Different guy. Christopher Lee Cornell was arrested yesterday morning after buying two semi-automatic weapons from a gun shop in Colerain Township. Cornell had been on the Internet for months talking about a violent Jihad, it seems, and had even met up with a person who turned out to be a government informant a couple times here in Cincinnati. The plan Cornell reportedly hatched involved pipe bombs and a shooting spree at the U.S. Capitol building. When he and the informant made concrete travel plans for D.C., the FBI swooped in. Here’s the criminal complaint filed against Cornell in federal district court.

• The tangled, confusing fight over renovations to Over-the-Rhine’s Emery Theater continues as nonprofit group the Requiem Project sues the University of Cincinnati over the historic venue. Let’s recap, in the simplest way possible. Since 1969, the University of Cincinnati has owned a historic, 1911 building on Central Parkway that was once home to the Ohio Mechanics’ Institute but now houses downtown’s Coffee Emporium location as well as some luxury apartments. Know the building? Of course you do. I see everyone and their mom at Coffee Emporium. Anyway, in 1999, UC signed a 40-year, $40 lease with a for-profit group called the Emery Center Apartments Limited Partnership that allowed ECALP to renovate the building for use as 59 market-rate apartments. Still with me? Good. That group then spun the theater portion of the building over to the Emery Center Corporation, a non-profit charged specifically with renovating the theater. THAT group, ECC, in Sept. 2010 entered into a partnership with the Requiem Project, which was started by Tara Lindsey Gordon and Tina Manchise, who moved from New York to undertake the project. Flash forward a few years, and after some 35 fundraisers and some renovation, the Requiem Project was locked out of the building in August 2013. They were told UC would have to sign off on their contract with ECC, something that was not originally revealed to the nonprofit. A move by UC to sell the building to ECALP never materialized, and now Requiem is suing all parties involved for the rights to continue renovating, as well as $25,000 in damages. Phew.

• Former Juvenile Court Judge Tracie Hunter will be in court again over the eight felony counts an earlier jury couldn’t agree upon last year. Hunter was convicted on a ninth count, having an unlawful interest in a public contract, but she has appealed that conviction and her six-month sentence has been suspended until that appeal goes through. The other eight counts that prosecutors will again try Hunter on involve misusing a court-issued credit card, tampering with court documents and other alleged misdeeds. Hunter and her attorney say she is a victim of politics and did not do anything wrong in her courtroom. The case has been incredibly controversial in Cincinnati. Hunter was the juvenile court’s first black and first female judge, and she came into office promising to reform the county’s juvenile justice system, which she says is racially biased. As Hunter's trial goes on, others have made similar accusations about the county. Recently, the Northern Kentucky-based Children’s Law Center sued the county over its treatment of juveniles. The Center alleges racial bias in the county’s juvenile justice system, including incidents where young people of color have been held without charge for weeks at a time.

• Good news for cigar aficionados, and an interesting moment in history for everyone: The United States has formally announced it is easing travel restrictions for folks wanting to go to Cuba. Many U.S. visitors will no longer need to apply for a special license from the Treasury to visit the island nation, will be allowed to use credit and debit cards, will not have restrictions on how much money they spend on the island, and will be allowed to bring back up to $400 in stuff, including $100 in alcohol and tobacco products. There are a number of other rules that have been loosened or done away with as well. The move is the government’s first practical step since President Barack Obama announced he was seeking to repair relations with the communist country, which the U.S. has embargoed since the 1950s. The important question is, will those cigars taste as good now that they’re not forbidden?

• Finally, say you’ve just been elected president. You’re about to be sworn in and start serving your four years at the most stressful but also most prestigious job in the world, and you just want to take some time, kick back and savor the moment. What’s an appropriate victory meal? If it’s this day in 1909 and you’re then President-elect William Howard Taft (the notorious WHT) visiting Atlanta, you sit down to a huge possum feast. Taft’s a giant in this town and his historic home is right down the road from my historic home (one of the two is a museum; you can probably guess which). I had no idea about this. Possum: for the good times. 

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 01.14.2015 74 days ago
 
 
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Council Changes Residency Rules; Sewer District Head Keeps Job

Tony Parrott to stay on while living in Butler County

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
 
by Jac Kern 01.14.2015 74 days ago
Posted In: Movies, Music, TV/Celebrity, Humor at 12:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other notes:

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

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

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

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

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

 
 
by Mike Breen 01.14.2015 74 days ago
Posted In: Local Music, CEAs, Music News at 12:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
cea15_sml-logo-fullcolor

Cincinnati Entertainment Awards Voting Ends Soon

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

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

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


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


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


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



 
 
by Nick Swartsell 01.14.2015 74 days ago
Posted In: News at 09:11 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
boehner copy

Morning News and Stuff

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

Morning Cincy. Let’s talk about the news.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 01.13.2015 75 days ago
Posted In: News at 11:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
 

 

 

 
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