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by David Watkins 06.24.2015 101 days ago
Posted In: LGBT at 09:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
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Queer City Spotlight: Safe and Supported

Local LGBTQ+ news and views

Almost a year and a half ago, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) invited Cincinnati’s Hamilton County and Houston, Texas’ Harris County to participate in a pilot initiative to end LGBTQ youth homelessness. Lighthouse Youth Services and Strategies to End Homelessness accepted the invitation here in Cincy and created Safe and Supported, a program that has partnered with local and national organizations like GLSEN and the Human Rights Campaign to facilitate greater local collaboration, to improve the quality of inventions and to provide new resources to homeless youth. Currently spearheading the initiative is Lighthouse Youth Services Director Meredith Hicks. CityBeat caught up with Hicks to learn more about the organization, queer homelessness in Cincinnati and how far they have come since 2014.

CityBeat: What has Safe and Supported accomplished so far?

Meredith Hicks: A couple things I am really proud of. So, first, this is a pilot initiative. We didn’t know how the community was going to respond. One of the events we held with Cincinnati Public Schools had over 100 people attend to learn more, to contribute, to sign up for our subcommittees to participate. We had young people there, we had providers, we had educators. It really was this incredible group of community members coming together. That, to me — seeing the standing room only, seeing the parents, seeing the young people — really showed me we could do this as a community and there was the interest, there was the passion, there was the drive, and people recognized the incredible need of our LGBT youth — to be able to support them an have them not experience homelessness.

CB: I bet that was a great feeling. What other accomplishments are you proud of?

MH: After the planning phase, there’s really two that stick out to me. The first one is that one of our strategies was supporting foster youth. We were able to bring in the All Children - All Families training

to our communities. Lighthouse Foster Care and Adoption completed these 10 benchmarks of improving our practices with LGBT foster youth and LGBT foster families. We also went through three days of intensive staff training and invited community partners to attend. We even had allies across the river in Kentucky that came over because they were interested in improving their work with LGBT youth as well. And actually, Lighthouse just earned the seal of recognition from the Human Rights Campaign for completing the All Children - All Families program within our foster care.

This invitation from HUD was completely unfunded, so it didn’t come with any money to do this work or actually to implement our strategies, so we really are relying on the generosity of our community, individual donors and foundations to help us with the capacity and funds to do our strategies. We held a funders briefing and we are excited that we have committed funds to support and hire a full-time director to really take this collaboration to the next level. That is what it’s going to take because we are working across multiple systems. We’re looking at education, child welfare, homelessness, juvenile justice. All of these systems have things that they can do to support LGBT youth. The director is going to be really invested in all these areas.

CB: You mentioned staff training. What kind of curriculum is involved to properly train staff members?

MH: We have six different subcommittees that also involve different community members that are also participating with their organizations or volunteering. One of those subcommittees is the cultural competency committee. They are identifying different curriculum, different resources, a structure for how organizations can improve their cultural competency. We’re looking to be able to offer that to the community in the fall, but coming up with a standardized way of doing that and then being able to offer support to organizations, or systems, or churches or whatever that want to develop a higher level of competency service LGBT youth and families.

CB: How would you describe cultural competency and why is it important in this process?

MH: Cultural competency is developing the knowledge and the skills to be able to understand somebody’s lived experience and identities and be able to respond in a supportive way. Cultural competency is a learning process you never reach or say, “OK, I’m completely competent.” It’s about developing a way of listening, understanding, learning and then an appropriate way of responding, and that’s a skill.

CB: A homelessness initiative that caught a lot of national attention was Miley Cyrus’ Happy Hippie Foundation, which is for homeless youth with an emphasis on queer youth. Can you weigh in on the foundation and celebrity-driven organizations?

MH: Yeah! So I think that any national attention, positive celebrity attention is a good thing. With Miley Cyrus, I think part of her mission is purchasing food and supplies for homeless shelters in California. I think that her actions demonstrate the need we have on a local level. Every year, Lighthouse serves over 500 youth in our street outreach team and in our homeless shelter, [ages] 18-24, that are facing homelessness. We know that up to 40 percent of them self-identify as LGBT. We have the same needs from folks that contribute food, that contribute hygiene products or socks and underwear, clothing. I hope that people look at [Cyrus’ Happy Hippie Foundation] and say, “What can I contribute in my community?” I want people to know that it’s just not just happening in New York or L.A. This is a problem in our community. It’s happening in Cincinnati, and we have committed community members that are dedicated to solving them.

CB: What are your plans for the future? What do you hope to accomplish or where do you hope to be in maybe five, 10 years with Safe and Supported?

MH: Our goal is to end youth homelessness in Cincinnati by the year 2020. I hope in five years we’ve been successful in ending youth homelessness. My vision is that this is a community collaboration between all these agencies. I hope it flourishes, we gain new partners and the structure develops and communication develops across sectors. We also have some great things coming down the pipe related to developing resource guides to help LGBT youth and providers. We’re still looking at what that format will look like — it could be a mobile application, a paper guide, a website — but one of our short-term goals is having the resources available for young people in a guide format.

For more information on queer youth homelessness and Safe and Supported, visit the following resources: True Color Fund, Strategies to End Homelessness.

by Nick Swartsell 06.23.2015 102 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Morning News and Stuff

Council poised to approve big development bucks; shooting interrupts anti-violence march; Ohio mulls eliminating "pink tax"

Good morning all. Here’s a brief rundown of what’s going on today.

City Council’s budget and finance committee yesterday approved pushing more than $6 million in TIF funds into building a parking garage in Oakley. The 383-space garage would serve Oakley Station, which just landed its first big office tenant. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield will be bringing 400 office jobs to the development. Developers Al Neyer and USS Realty will put up the land for the garage. The city will pay the developer for the construction of the garage and lease the facility to them for 35 years. Neyer and USS will have the option to buy the building during that time, or purchase it from the city for $1 after the lease expires. TIF money takes property taxes from nearby new developments and reinvests those funds in other projects there instead of flowing them into the city’s general funds. The city must own a property to use TIF funds on it; thus the lease structure. A final council vote on the deal is expected today.

• Speaking of city money for development, the city will give more than $7 million in financial assistance to a downtown project at Eighth and Sycamore streets. That deal involves the development of a $35 million, 130-unit apartment building by North American Properties. The city will kick in a $3.5 million grant for the developer as well as $1.8 million in tax abatements for the project. In addition, the city will loan the Cincinnati Central City Development Corporation $2 million to build a parking garage and retail space as part of the deal. 3CDC will pay back that loan over the course of its 35-year lease. So how much money is all that, you ask? To give some perspective, the $7 million involved in the deal is about twice the amount of money the city has committed to human services funding for next fiscal year. But the development will create four full time and 24 part-time jobs worth about $2.2 million in income taxes, so there’s that.

• Mayor John Cranley has said he'll OK $2 million from the city's general fund for streetcar operations in an effort to ensure that SORTA approves a streetcar operations bid that uses union employees. But some city council members worry that the money won't be enough for the long-term operation of the streetcar, and are calling for more funds. Officials believe the project will cost about $4 million in its first year.

• The city’s dramatic struggle with gun violence continues. Last night during a march through Over-the-Rhine led by Bishop Bobby Hilton to protest gun violence, two men were shot in the neighborhood. One collapsed just half a block away from where the march took place. One, 18-year-old Justin Crutchfield, later died. Among those tending to Crutchfield was State Sen. Cecil Thomas, who was attending the rally. Thomas, a former police officer, has been active in OTR for years. Thomas said the majority of OTR residents don’t want any part in the violence and that it’s a small minority responsible for the crime. Many of the shootings have taken place during a pronounced spike in violence in the city, including last week’s shooting death of officer Sonny Kim, the first Cincinnati Police officer killed in the line of duty since 2000. CPD Chief Jeffrey Blackwell has drawn up a 90-day violence reduction plan at the request of City Manager Harry Black, but has delayed implementing that plan in the wake of Kim’s death.

• Very quick hit here: Cincinnati Red Bike is launching its first stations across the river in Northern Kentucky today, opening six new stations in Covington. Red Bike opened last fall and has since gained nearly 1,000 members, who have taken more than 46,000 rides.

• Are Pete Rose’s chances at reinstatement into Major League Baseball shot? Some say so. New evidence emerged Monday that Rose bet on baseball not just as a manager — the revelation that led to his suspension from the game in the first place — but also as a player. A notebook held by the federal government as it was investigating Rose has finally been released, and it details Rose’s wagers on the game as a player. Rose bet on the Reds, according to the evidence, though he never bet against his own team. The new revelations have many, including top sports commentators, predicting that Rose has lost any chance to gain reinstatement into the MLB, and thus a shot at the Hall of Fame.

• Finally, efforts are afoot at the state capital to abolish the so-called “pink tax” on feminine hygiene products. State Rep. Greta Johnson, D-Akron, is pushing the bill. She says women in Ohio spend $6-$10 a month on state taxes for hygiene products and that it’s time for Ohio to end the practice of putting state sales taxes on the items. Five other states have nixed their taxes on feminine hygiene products, including Maryland, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

by Maija Zummo 06.22.2015 103 days ago
at 12:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
jimmy gs

Leftovers: What We Ate This Weekend

We cooked a lot.

Each week CityBeat staffers, dining writers and the occasional intern tell you what they ate this weekend. We're not always proud — or trendy — but we definitely spend at least some money on food. 

Ilene Ross: For the most part, the BF and I hung out pretty close to home over the weekend due to the fact that we we’ve been binging on OiTNB. On Friday night, the BF whipped up a delicious paella (thanks, Whole Foods, for the fresh and tasty seafood) and we got in a couple of episodes. On Saturday, we were glued to the couch, ate omelets and got in five more. By Saturday night, cabin fever set in and we hit up the bar at Jimmy G’s for some tasty treats before a concert at The Carnegie in Covington. We split beef carpaccio and the Gribble, chef Gibson’s daily choice of grilled meat or seafood skewers. Saturday night, it was a ridiculously tender pork tenderloin. Sunday afternoon we hung poolside for Father’s Day, while my dad grilled up steak and chicken. Why is it that dads always man the grill on what is supposed to be “their” day and on Mother’s Day moms don’t have to do any cooking at all?

Katie Holocher: Brunch at Red Feather for the umpteenth time. Their entire spread is amazing, but I cannot get out of there without the pancakes. Those, plus the homemade biscuits and jams (my favorite being the bourbon cherry) are just utterly the best.  

Colleen McCroskey: I wasn’t able to attend my friend Caroline’s baby shower, so on Friday I had her and her fiancé over for a home-cooked meal. We started off with a tried-and-true Barefoot Contessa recipe of whipped ricotta with herbs on grilled bread, topped with a basic tomato bruschetta topping — so easy to make, and the flavors were unreal. For an entrée, I made angel hair pasta with a white wine, butter and garlic sauce, with breadcrumbs and fresh clams (shout-out to the fish counter at the Madeira Kroger). The pièce de résistance though, was dessert (another Ina recipe; I love me some Ina): We grilled fresh peaches with brown sugar and topped them off with an amaretto mascarpone. I still haven’t managed to get the grill clean of all that brown sugar, but it was so worth it. 

Sarah Urmston: The boyfriend has finally returned from his long trip this weekend and we dedicated an entire Sunday together to lounge by the pool and cook up some homemade guac, tossed salad and a pizza. A white pizza. After dilly-dallying around the nearest Kroger, we returned to the kitchen with a handful of items we saw fit for this absolutely delicious meal. We chose a gluten-free dough mix (just because), adding oil, water and eggs to the powdery substance, and, of course, there was flour. Flour everywhere. After mixing and spreading it out to an acceptable pizza shape and ignoring the cracked edges, we spread a mix of olive oil and diced garlic across the base of the crust. Next came sliced mozzarella and feta (goat cheese works, too), and on top of that came the ricotta and grated parmesan. Around 18 minutes later, the entire house smelled like an Italian kitchen forcing us to pull the pizza out of the oven. Immediately, we tossed on the final ingredients: handfuls of basil and sliced cherry tomatoes. 

Taking the first bite at the same time, we were both beyond pleasantly surprised with the outcome. The crust kicked ass, and every cheese + the garlic were perfect together. This overall should take about 45 minutes, TOPS. However, having plenty of time to waste, it took us a good four hours to finish this badass pizza. PS: Totally worth it. 

Jac Kern: I had dinner at Barrio Tequileria on Friday night. It was the first time I'd been back since the Northside taco joint closed and then reopened late last year (though I thought it was much more recent). We started off with a house margarita (which was good, and apparently was voted the people's choice pick at last Wednesday's Margarita Madness), a fancier flavored margarita, craft beer and queso with chorizo. The chips and cheese came out meatless but were enjoyed anyway. My dining companions ordered a bunch of tacos — shrimp, chicken, chorizo, carne asada — while I ordered Barrio's take on a Caesar salad with shrimp. After my initial depression about ordering a salad at a taco place, I was really happy with it. It came with cornbread croutons and a house dressing that wasn't very Caeser-y but was absolutely delicious. It had the consistency of the ginger dressing they serve on simple salads at hibachi restaurants. Afterward, we went to Tillie's down the street, which I can't believe used to be The Serpent. The interior is amazing, they've got a great cocktail selection and they finished their patio just in time for summer.

Mad Mike's burger with grilled cheese buns
Photo: Facebook.com
For Father's Day, my dad wanted to try a new (to him) burger place. I suggested Gordo's, but we ended up going to Mad Mike's in White Oak. With absolutely no frills and absolutely nothing resembling a salad on the menu, it was a perfect place for my dad. We split an order of tasty fried pickle chips and then I had the Codfather (big-ass fish sandwich), my mom ordered the American Outlaw (basic cheeseburger with special sauce) and my dad yet again showed me what it means to be a man by getting the Goliath: a bacon barbecue cheeseburger with two grilled cheese sandwiches instead of a bun. His review: "Awesome." I'd have to agree.

Jesse Fox: Saturday, I finally bought groceries and made myself a meal as opposed to wandering into Fusian or the nearest Taco Bell. I made myself a vegan alfredo pasta with Brussels sprouts, tofu and some Daiya Strawberry Cheesecake because I've completely given up on my quest to eat less sugar and put off my inevitable diabetes for a little longer. That night I played a show with my Chicago friends, Twin Peaks, and their tour manager surprised them with a bunch of Old Style beers, which is essentially like a Chicago PBR. I had a handful of those and I think I might even prefer them over all the other cheap beer I normally consume.

Bloody mary at Ladder 19
Photo: Facebook.com
Sunday I went out for brunch with a couple friends and we found ourselves at Ladder 19. They have a pretty sweet deal with either bottomless mimosas or bloody mary's and one of their various skillets (potatoes, veggies, meat and eggs) for $20. We took advantage of that option and spent the next couple hours talking, enjoying the amazing smell of maple syrup that made me wish they had waffles as a brunch option and trying to get their house dalmatian to spend more time sitting with us at our table. 
by Staff 06.22.2015 103 days ago
Posted In: Winning at 10:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

CityBeat Wins Mad Awards 2015

Reporters, editors and designers recognized for work published in 2014

CityBeat writers and designers were recognized last week with seven first-place awards and eight runners up by the Cincinnati chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. The awards ceremony recognized work completed during the 2014 calendar year, and it followed announcements of two other journalism contests — the Cleveland Press Club statewide contest and the Association of Alternative Newsmedia national awards.

The Cleveland Press Club recognized nine pieces of work, including two first-place winners, while three CityBeat staffers are finalists in the AAN contest (including Art Director Rebecca Sylvester, for her cover art for "Pileup at the Morgue," "Stranger than Fiction" and "The Love List"). AAN winners will be announced July 18.

This year’s most recognized piece of writing and reporting was “Stranger Than Fiction,” by Arts & Culture Editor Jac Kern and Staff Writer Nick Swartsell. The story won two first place awards in the Cincinnati SPJ contest — Arts/Entertainment Reporting and Investigative/Enterprise/Database Reporting — placed second in the Cleveland Press Club contest and is a finalist for the AAN’s national Arts Writing award. The Cincinnati SPJ describes it as such: “Extraordinarily thorough examination of the real impact of a staged reality TV show on an impoverished Cincinnati neighborhood. Homes were trashed to make for better TV. Story also presents a global look at how neighborhood revitalization really works.”

Other Cincinnati SPJ first-place winners were CityBeat columnist Kathy Y. Wilson for a collection of her columns; Nick Swartsell for Business Reporting (“Whose Gonna Drive You Home?”); John Lasker for Government Reporting (“Legal Limit?”); Rebecca Sylvester for Newspaper/Magazine Design/Graphic (“RAW Numbers”); and the CityBeat staff for Special Section (“Best of Cincinnati 2014”).

CityBeat photographer Jesse Fox won first place in Cleveland Press Club’s “Spot News Photography” category for her image titled, “Hands Up for Justice.” Danny Cross and Maria Seda-Reeder won first place in Arts & Entertainment Reporting for “Your Name Here.”  

In addition to Kern’s and Swartsell’s “Stranger Than Fiction,” the Association of Alternative Newsmedia named Rebecca Sylvester a finalist for Cover Design and Jesse Fox’s “Faces of Pride” project a finalist for Innovation/Format Buster.

A complete list of winners and finalists for all three contests is below:

Cincinnati Society of Professional Journalists


WINNER: Jac Kern & Nick Swartsell, "Stranger Than Fiction"

JUDGE'S COMMENTS: Extraordinarily thorough examination of the real impact of a staged reality TV show on an impoverished Cincinnati neighborhood. Homes were trashed to make for better TV. Story also presents a global look at how neighborhood revitalization really works.


WINNER: Kathy Wilson

JUDGE'S COMMENTS: Most of the entries were strong and focused. Wilson's were straight and to the point. She exercised the kind of passion in her opinions that left no doubt about her feelings, regardless of what you thought of them. Some entries in this category were so polite it was hard to remember it was a column for analysis and opinion. Wilson hit both on the head.


WINNER: Nick Swarstell, "Who's Gonna Drive You Home"

JUDGE'S COMMENTS: An engagingly written piece that ably considers the local reverberations from new, disruptive business models.


WINNER: John Lasker, "Legal Limit"

JUDGE'S COMMENTS: This detailed and lengthy expose about the use of flawed breathalyzers in Ohio suggests possible story ideas for other states. Well-reported and well-balanced.


WINNER: Jac Kern & Nick Swartzell, "Stranger than Fiction"

JUDGE'S COMMENTS: This story skillfully combines good reporting about two issues – the questionable integrity of a “reality” TV show and its impact on property in an at-risk neighborhood. A long read, but worth it.


WINNER: Staff, CityBeat, “Best of Cincinnati 2014"

JUDGE'S COMMENTS: Fun, funky look at the best of what the city has to offer, as well as some well-written features of general interest to city and suburban dwellers. Visually exciting and fun, and let's face it, who doesn't like to know all there is about beer?


WINNER: Rebecca Sylvester, "RAW Numbers"

JUDGE'S COMMENTS: I think Rebecca did a great job presenting this idea. The stylized graphic treatment showing the money flow from events around the world to the "wheelbarrow-of-revenue" was a nice touch. There’s a good balance between all the elements on page. I also thought the red money backdrop in the pointer box was a nice graphic touch that emphasized the information being presented. Nice work!



Finalist: Nick Swartsell, "Dreaming Big"


Finalist: Danny Cross & Maria Seda-Reeder, "Your Name Here"


Finalist: Jason Gargano, "The Rebuilder"

Finalist: Josh Katzowitz, "Homegrown Heroes"


Finalist: Nick Swartsell, "Change of Heart


Finalist: Nick Swartsell, "Last Clinic Standing"


Finalist; Nick Swartsell, "Historic Crossroads"


Finalist: Mike Breen, "Spill It"

Cleveland Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards

Complete list here.


FIRST PLACE: Danny Cross, Maria Seda-Reeder, “Your Name Here

JUDGE'S COMMENTS: Investigative journalism in an arts & entertainment piece — an unusual and refreshing combination. This was a longer piece, but it was well-written and compelling to read.


FIRST PLACE: Jesse Fox, “Hands Up for Justice”


SECOND PLACE: Jac Kern & Nick Swartsell, “Stranger Than Fiction


THIRD PLACE: Jason Gargano, “The Rebuilder

JUDGE'S COMMENTS: Really liked how this story started out, what he was saying and what he really felt. The commitment to team, fans and the community. No sportizms. Clearly a man who knows himself. If there’s a sports features category, this should be in it too. Packed paragraphs with great descriptions. Nice!


SECOND PLACE: Nick Swartsell, “Pileup at the Morgue


SECOND PLACE: Josh Katzowitz, “Homegrown Heroes

JUDGE'S COMMENTS: Interesting local-interest piece with a national reach.


SECOND PLACE: Nick Swartsell, "Battling Barriers

JUDGE'S COMMENTS: In-depth, comprehensive look at issue of sex-trafficking. Good use of description.


SECOND PLACE: Jesse Fox, “Zip Dip”

Association of Alternative Newsmedia

Complete list here.



Jac Kern & Nick Swartsell, “Stranger Than Fiction


Rebecca Sylvester


Jesse Fox, “Faces of Pride

by Nick Swartsell 06.22.2015 103 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:12 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Morning News and Stuff

Community supports fallen officer; Uptown Rental Properties buys entire Corryvillle block; Strickland leads in Senate race

Good morning y’all. Here’s what’s going on in Cincy as we all try to wake up and do work.

It’s been a somber few days in Cincinnati since Friday, when Cincinnati police officer Sonny Kim was shot and killed by a gunman in Madisonville. Though I can’t imagine how devastating that loss must be for his family, the community has come together to try and help them in their time of need. A GoFundMe account started by Mason Police Association President Derek Bauman has raised about $95,000 for the Kim family. University of Cincinnati President Santa Ono has announced his three sons will receive free undergraduate tuition at UC should they choose to go there.

Kim was responding to a 911 call about a man with a gun when he encountered 21-year-old Trepierre Hummons. Police say Hummons texted friends about his plan to commit “suicide by cop” and placed the 911 call himself to lure police to him. Hummons shot Kim before Hummons himself was killed by police. Kim was the first officer killed in the line of duty in Cincinnati in 15 years. Hummons was the 29th person killed by police in that time. Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell called Kim “one of our best,” citing the numerous commendations he’s received. In his off time, Kim, a resident of Evendale, ran a karate dojo in Symmes Township. Mayor John Cranley has asked Cincinnatians to wear blue Friday, June 26 in memory of Kim. In the wake of Kim’s shooting, Blackwell has announced a two-week delay in implementation of CPD’s recently announced 90-day violence reduction plan.

• Uptown Rental Properties, a major developer in Corryville and the surrounding areas, now owns an entire city block of properties in the neighborhood. The developer has purchased 11 properties from the New Nazarene Baptist Church as well as another single family home on the block, which it has been interested in for two decades. Uptown has yet to announce plans for the spaces, and the church itself is leasing the building it formerly owned from Uptown until it finds a new location. But the purchase could well be a sign that more major development is afoot in Corryville. Uptown Rental Properties has been very active in the area, currently building more than 250 apartments in two nearby developments collectively worth $55 million. The developer also has big plans for neighboring Mount Auburn, where it has planned another $55 million in apartments and office space.

• Speaking of development, the Cincinnati Planning Commission has given the green light to a Towne Properties development that would feature seven newly constructed 2,800-square-foot townhomes on Elm Street in Over-the-Rhine. However, the city’s Historic Conservation Board wants changes before the project goes forward, saying the buildings are “too short and squat” and should have more individuality overall, among other criticisms. As someone who has been criticized for these same shortcomings, I feel for these prospective buildings just a little. No one has ever told me that I “need more detailing around the corners” or that I need to be three stories tall to emphasize the verticality of my district, though, so that’s where my empathy ends. Towne will have to tweak the designs to meet the board’s suggestions and come back before it for final approval. The townhomes will be the Mount Adams-based developer’s first foray into Over-the-Rhine, and the development effort will led by former 3CDC VP Chad Munitz. Each townhome will have a garage and a private backyard. Expected starting price for each is $650,000.

• Marijuana legalization effort ResponsibleOhio faces a potential legislative roadblock even if its state constitutional amendment gets on the ballot and is approved by voters. State lawmakers are working to pass a ban on monopolies in the state constitution, a law that looks tailor-made to short circuit ResponsibleOhio’s efforts. If passed, that law would make the weed legalization effort’s proposal, which limits marijuana growth to 10 sites owned by the group’s investors, illegal before it even goes into effect. The anti-monopoly law must be passed by the state House and Senate and signed by Gov. Kasich before going into effect. ResponsibleOhio needs to collect more than 300,000 signatures this summer to get its initiative on the ballot. Its plan would legalize weed for anyone over 21, create the 10 grow sites and also allow for small amounts of non-commercial home growth.

• Ohio Gov. John Kasich has said he would support removing the confederate flag from South Carolina state buildings if he lived there. In the wake of the tragedy in Charleston, S.C. last week where a white gunman killed nine black parishoners at a historically black church, a debate has raged about that state’s display of the flag above the state capitol building. Shooter Dylann Roof has expressed white supremacist ideals and sympathies and prominently displayed the flag on his car. The shooting has led to calls for removal of the flag from the capitol, and a number of liberal and conservative politicians have backed the idea.

• Democratic challenger and former Ohio governor Ted Strickland is leading over incumbent Republican Sen. Rob Portman in the 2016 race for Portman's Senate seat, a new poll shows. Strickland leads Portman by six points, according to a recently released Quinnipiac University poll. Meanwhile, Strickland’s Democratic primary challenger, Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, continues to search for state-wide recognition. Eighty-five percent of voters across the state said they didn’t know enough about Sittenfeld to make a decision about him.

• Finally, as you might already know if you’ve been glued to SCOTUSblog like I have, the U.S. Supreme Court today did not release its decision in Obergefell vs. Hodges, the landmark case that could decide the national fate of same-sex marriage. The court has just a few more days on which it will release decisions before its term is up at the end of the month. Meanwhile, OTR resident Jim Obergefell, for whom the case is named, continues to wait.

Story tips? Ideas on where I could get a used touring bike? Tweet at your boy or do the email thing.

by Colleen McCroskey 06.19.2015 106 days ago
Posted In: Events, Holiday at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Father's Day Dining Specials

Local dad-tastic restaurant deals, in case you aren't having a cook-out

Fathers don't necessarily get the same brunch love that mom's do when it comes to their special day, but there are certainly local restaurants celebrating dads with dining specials.

BB River Boats: Mix it up a bit and bring dad on a brunch or dinner cruise with spectacular views of the skyline. Brunch features French toast and biscuits with sausage gravy while dinner offers up baked white fish and three-cheese mac and cheese. Brunch 1-3 p.m.; dinner 5:30-7:30 p.m. $43 adults; $22 kids. BB Riverboats, 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., bbriverboats.com.

Crave: Father's Day Feast for the King — an all-you-can-eat prime rib feast. 4 p.m. Sunday. $19.95. Reservations required. Crave, 175 Joe Nuxhall Way, The Banks, Downtown, craveamerica.com.

Fatherhood Community Celebration: The Talbert House's annual party that advocates for promoting fatherhoods. Dads (and families) can enjoy free food, games, arts, activities, live music and more. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Free. Sawyer Point, Pete Rose Way, Downtown, talberthouse.org.

Findlay Market: Whilst you can always take pops down to Taste of Belgium’s original location for a low-key Father’s Day treat, we recommend spending the morning at the market with the fam and scooping up fresh, local ingredients to make dad his favorite dinner that night. Trust us, he’ll love it. 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, 45202. 

Kings Island: Perfect for those with little ones who might not want to sit still at a nice dinner, Kings Island is putting on a Father’s Day Cookout where dad eats free. The all-you-can-eat buffet includes: brisket sandwich, all beef hot dogs, fried chicken, mac and cheese, baked beans, corn on the cobb, coleslaw, sliced watermelon, potato chips, ice cream treats and assorted Coca-Cola beverages. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. $16.99; $12.99 for season pass holders. Kings Island, 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason, visitkingsisland.com.

Metropole at 21c: A Sunday supper for dad featuring a special "manly man’s feast," prepared by chef Jared Bennett and the Metropole culinary team. Mains include hanger steak or jerk barbecue chicken, with chocolate cake for dessert. 5:30-10 p.m. Sunday. Metropole at 21c, 609 Walnut St., Downtown, metropoleonwalnut.com.

The Palace: Brunch options include chicken and cornbread waffles, crepes, sweet potato hash and bloody mary's by the glass or pitcher. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Prices a la carte. Walk-ins welcome. The Palace at the Cincinnatian Hotel, 601 Vine St., Downtown, cincinnatianhotel.com.

Summit Restaurant at the Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State: Celebrate dad with a steak and ale dinner Sunday, with a selection of steak and beer pairings. Call for pricing and reservations. The Summit, 3520 Central Parkway, Clifton, facebook.com/thesummit.MCI.

by Sarah Urmston 06.19.2015 106 days ago
Posted In: Playlist at 10:23 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your Weekend Playlist: The War On Drugs, Lost in the Dream

On Wednesday, June 10, The War On Drugs performed live at the Madison Theatre in Covington, Ky. They slowly becoming one of my favorite artists in just a few short months, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to catch these guys while they were in town, just minutes from my city.

This American Indie Rock band from Philly began back in 2003 after Kurt Vile and Adam Granduciel met at a party. (Alcohol really does bring people together for more than just a one-night stand). Finally calling themselves The War On Drugs in 2005, the rest became history.

The disparate crowd in the Madison Theatre grew silent as Vile stepped onto the stage of smoke with his back turned away from us. The intro music patiently slipped through the fingers of the players, giving the crowd enough time to psych themselves up before Vile slowly circled, sending his voice through the microphone. I’d like to think goosebumps were contagious in that moment.  

The show kicked off with “Burning” from their album Lost in the Dream, an album that needed and deserved an entire concert time. They dove into each song random and out of order, just the way concerts should be. They even chose to throw their most popular track “Red Eyes” into the middle of the show — something we as music-lovers are unfamiliar with, subconsciously expecting the ordinary concept of “saving the best for last” (or in some cases, the most popular). Instead, it kept the crowd on their toes. It kept us wondering … what’s next?

My personal favorite didn’t come on until sixth to last. Waiting for “In Reverse” kept my anticipation high throughout the entire show, leaving me thoughtless and speechless and I swayed and felt more than what can be felt from listening through ear-buds.

The overall energy of the room was exactly what you’d expect it to be. The drifting rhythms and synthesized sounds of the acoustics was enough to send anyone into a parallel universe — a place I found myself throughout the show as I clung tightly to my beer with one hand and my friend’s arm with the other. "Lost in the Dream" truly says it all.

Vire’s communication with the audience was scarce, but with such strong lyrics that symbolize love, isolation and depression, it became more about speaking through the music. Instead of having to explain why a particular song was written or what is was about, it is left up to the listener to decide. It was all about interpretation.

A handful of songs from various other albums were chosen and thrown in the very beginning, as well as the encore before closing out with “Suffering,” also from Lost in the Dream. It was a slow closer (also uncommon) as if it was meant to easily transition people back down from concert to reality.

As a surprise during the encore of the show, we were treated to The National drummer Bryan Devendorf stepping in and taking over. It’s safe to say the crowd went a little nuts in the best way possible.

Every inch of the album Lost in the Dream was just as beautiful live as it is right from your Spotify playlist. Whether you’re taking a drive far out in the distance or spending an hour on your bedroom floor with your feet up on the wall, this is the background sound you’re looking for. You’ll be back for seconds — I promise. 

by Zack Hatfield 06.19.2015 106 days ago
Posted In: Film at 09:58 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Foreign Film Friday: Chunhyang (2000)

Two cinemas weave — though not seamlessly — together in Chunhyang, South Korean filmmaker Im Kwon-taek’s adaptation of Chunhyangaa, a legendary Korean folktale that follows the journeys of two lovers, one poor and one aristocratic, as they face problems within Korea’s ancient class system. The two cinemas in question are traditional film cinema and pansori, a Korean storytelling custom where a vocalist tells a story accompanied by a percussionist playing a buk, a traditional Korean drum. Its roots come from the Korean for “sound” and “a place where many people gather.” In a way, this makes it a type of cinema that predates film by hundreds of years.

For me, pansori was harsh at first. It felt out of place, the grating transitions back and forth between the live pansori performance in modern day South Korea and the dramatic portrayals in 18th century Korea too cobbled-together to resemble a harmonious story. But then I surrendered to its slow, sometimes arrhythmic tempo, and its strange, lithe magic was an experience I haven’t felt in a movie since. By intertwining traditional storytelling techniques with a (somewhat) contemporary one, we as an audience are able to experience firsthand the tensions that exist in a culture between old and new.

Chunhyang is an ideal gateway film into the cinema of Korea, territory that can often seem daunting to Western moviegoers due to the century-spanning political baggage that stretches from the Joseon Dynasty to the Korean War to current events. But the sweep of the region’s moral tides encompasses a generally universal understanding, and this film is full of simultaneously heart-wrenching and understated pathos as we watch forbidden trysts and suspenseful compromises unfold. It’s a folktale, but the ache of its themes will always be, perhaps unfortunately, timeless. 

by Staff 06.19.2015 106 days ago

Your Weekend To Do List (6/19-6/21)

A ton of stuff is canceled, thanks to Tropical Depression Bill

Tropical Depression Bill is slated to make his way through the Tristate on Saturday (WCPO weather report here) with heavy rains and the possibility of flooding. Many of this weekend's events have been postponed due to weather, including Paddlefest — with the exception of Friday night's River Music & Outdoor Festival at Coney Island — and CityBeat's Porkopolis Pig & Whiskey festival, which has now moved to Saturday, Aug. 1. The rest of the outdoor events listed below have not yet been postponed, but please call or check social media before you head out — we'd hate for you to be left out in the rain.

Gorge on goetta at MainStrasse's GOETTAFEST

Cincinnati has a lot of regional culinary specialties that non-Cincinnatians find weird (like, you know, Skyline), but goetta might take the cake. Made of ground pork, pinhead oats and spices, Cincinnati’s signature breakfast food has been ingrained into our city’s cultural DNA since it was first invented by German immigrants in the late 19th-century as a way to stretch a serving of meat into several meals. Cincinnati has a lot of regional culinary specialties that non-Cincinnatians find weird (like, you know, Skyline), but goetta might take the cake. Made of ground pork, pinhead oats and spices, Cincinnati’s signature breakfast food has been ingrained into our city’s cultural DNA since it was first invented by German immigrants in the late 19th-century as a way to stretch a serving of meat into several meals. 5-11:30 p.m. Friday; noon-11:30 p.m. Saturday; noon-9 p.m. Sunday. Free. Mainstrasse Village, Sixth Street, Covington, Ky., mainstrasse.org.

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Photo: Micha Warren

Rock with THE JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION at Woodward Theater

Musical provocateur Jon Spencer chose the perfect handle for his new project when it was formed back in 1991 — Blues Explosion — and it continues to accurately reflect the visceral sound and fury emanating from his incendiary trio almost a quarter century later. The Blues Explosion’s numerous releases have been among the most scorchingly inventive and influential releases of the modern Rock age. Next year will be The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s 25th anniversary. And its recently released new studio album, Freedom Tower - No Wave Dance Party 2015, may well be the proof that the threesome is just getting warmed up. Read more here. The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion performs Friday at Woodward Theater. More info/tickets: woodwardtheater.com.

Jungle Jim's International Beer Festival
Photo: Provided

Cure what ales you at Jungle Jim's INTERNATIONAL BEER FESTIVAL

Cure what ales you this weekend as Jungle Jim’s brings more than 400 beers to the table for its 10th-annual International Beer Festival. You can taste (and buy) brewskis from more than 100 breweries around the world while enjoying picnic-style food.  Beer buffs and experts will be in attendance to talk shop about the sudsy art form, and you can taste special brews and rarities. The fest kicks off with a firkin tapping, “a keg of beer that’s been fermented inside of the barrel it’s fermented in,” according to Jungle Jim. 7:30-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $50 daily; $20 non-drinker. Oscar Event Center, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, junglejims.com.

By This River at the Weston Art Gallery
Stop by the opening of BY THIS RIVER at the Weston Art Gallery

The Weston Art Gallery hosts an opening reception for a group exhibition curated by Michael Solway, director of the Carl Solway Gallery, featuring six American artists “exploring the sensorial, geographical, historical and ephemeral dispersal of water from rivers to oceans.” The show began as part of an ongoing conversation between Solway and Fluxus pioneer Ben Patterson regarding their long-held mutual instinct to live near major bodies of water, and will bring together recent works by artists working in photography, painting, sculpture, paper, video and sound, as well as a series of interactive constructions. Opening reception: 6-9 p.m. Friday. Through Aug. 30. Free. 650 Walnut St., Downtown, westonartgallery.com.

Vince Morris
Photo: provided 
Laugh with VINCE MORRIS at Funny Bone on the Levee
Columbus native Vince Morris has never felt more comfortable on stage. “I have enough material that I let the crowd take me where they want to go,” he says. “I’ll talk about fatherhood or social issues, but I don’t have a strict set list. I don’t like to be too organized.” Raised by a single dad, his material about fatherhood also comes from his own experiences helping to raise his 6-year-old daughter. Wednesday-Sunday. $12-$15. Funny Bone on the Levee, Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., funnyboneonthelevee.com.

Kevin Hart
Photo: Provided
See the hardest working man in show business, KEVIN HART

Kevin Hart, everyone’s favorite little comedian and most likely literally the hardest working man in show business (in the past two years he’s been in seven movies, including Ride Along, The Wedding Ringer, Get Hard and on and on), brings his “What Now?” stand-up tour to U.S. Bank Arena. According to Billboard, “What Now?” is on its way to becoming the highest-grossing comedy tour of all time. 7 p.m. Saturday. $49.50-$150. U.S. Bank Arena, 100 Broadway, Downtown, usbankarena.com.

Summer Solstice Lavendar Festival
Photo: Provided
From medicine to aromatherapy or as a fragrant ingredient in everything from cookies to tea, the Summer Solstice Lavender Festival allows attendees to stroll through blooming fields of lavender to pick a bundle and learn about its uses, as well as purchase lavender-infused body and food products. Going hand-in-hand with the herb’s calming properties, three-minute gong meditation sessions will be held all day, along with several workshops like lavender painting and wreath making. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free. Peaceful Acres Lavender Farm, 2387 Martinsville Road, Martinsville, peacefulacreslavenderfarm.com.

Juneteenth Festival
Photo: Provided
Celebrate the end of legal slavery in America at the JUNETEENTH FESTIVAL
Juneteenth, a national celebration of Emancipation Day and the legal end of slavery in America, will hold its 28th-annual festival at Daniel Drake Park. The nonprofit festival will include historical reenactments (including visits from Abe Lincoln and Harriet Tubman), exhibits, craft demonstrations, live music and a wide variety of food. An amalgamation of June and “nineteenth,” the name reflects the date in 1865 when General Gordon Granger reissued the Emancipation Proclamation. The event, whose popularity has skyrocketed, aims to bring Cincinnati’s diverse community together to celebrate freedom. A special Father’s Day concert caps the weekend on Sunday. Noon-9 p.m. Saturday; 2:30-6 p.m. Sunday. Free. Daniel Drake Park, 5800 Red Bank Road, Kennedy Heights, juneteenthcincinnati.org.

'Il Trovatore'
Photo: Provided
See Cincinnati Opera's first summer production, IL TROVATORE
Leading off the Cincinnati Opera's 95th season is Il Trovatore, Giuseppe Verdi’s melodrama based on that old staple of Italian opera known as “la vendetta,” or vengeance. Don’t focus on the plot, which was considered overblown even in Verdi’s day, though it does propel some of Verdi’s most familiar music, including the “Anvil Chorus.” And what a cast: bass Morris Robinson, tenor Russell Thomas and the highly anticipated debut of mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton in the role of the vengeful gypsy Azucena. Read more here. 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Saturday. More info/tickets: cincinnatiopera.org.

Colin Farrell in 'True Detective'
Photo: Lacy Terrell
Watch the season premiere of TRUE DETECTIVE
After a wildly successful debut season, the second iteration of crime-drama anthology True Detective is under a microscope. How can — or perhaps just can — the first season be topped? While a cop drama featuring Surfer, Dude stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson seemed forgettable on paper, True Detective rose to become one of the best programs of 2014. Season Two brings us a new setting, crime and cast: the disappearance of a California city manager leads to an investigation involving a dirty cop (Colin Farrell), a career criminal trying to go legit (Vince Vaughn), an uncompromising sheriff (Rachel McAdams), a damaged war-veteran officer (Taylor Kitsch) and the U.S. transportation system. Expect a more linear narrative set in the present day around various California locales, with more complicated characters to delve into. Writer/creator Nic Pizzolatto returns with rotating directors. While it’s counter-productive to harp on comparisons to Season One, it’s hard not to speculate if this season will be as strong or if it could be the Midas touch for the diverse cast — particularly Vaughn and FarrellSeason Premiere, 9 p.m. Sunday, HBO.

Bar Rescue (9 p.m., Spike) – Jon visits a bar that’s been a backdrop for a porn video.

Halt and Catch Fire (10 p.m., AMC) – Stress at Mutiny mounts as Cameron and Donna deal with the fallout from Sonaris in addition to money troubles. Elsewhere, Joe calls in Gordon’s help to get West Group’s computer systems running during off-hours.

Ballers (Series Premiere, 10 p.m., HBO) – Entourage: Sportz (alternate title) stars Dwayne Johnson as a retired football-star-turned-athlete-manager in Miami.

The Brink (Series Premiere, 10:30 p.m., HBO) – Three disconnected, unlikely men in U.S. government/military (Jack Black, Tim Robbins and Pablo Schreiber) are tasked with preventing World War III when a geopolitical crisis arises.

Photo: via IMDb 
See DOPE from director Rick Famuyiwa
Director Rick Famuyiwa (The Wood) has been rather quiet since Brown Sugar back in 2002, with only one other feature as a writer-director (2010’s Our Family Wedding) and a screenplay credit for Talk to Me in 2007. But he’s riding a strong wave of attention following the reception of his latest coming-of-age dramedy Dope at the Sundance Film Festival, which is not necessarily known as a hotbed for embracing stories about geeks in Inglewood, Calif. While there will certainly be gangsters, drug dealers and tough choices facing the film’s young college hopeful (Shameik Moore), Famuyiwa won’t forget to highlight the pop culture referencing teen dreams that will not be deferred nor deterred.

by Rick Pender 06.19.2015 106 days ago
Posted In: Theater at 09:24 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stage Door: A Good Chance for Laughs, and the Opportunity to Dance the Night Away

There’s not too much theater going on as summer moves in with full heat. But there are enough laughs at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company for several shows with the production of the great 2011 British farce, One Man Two Guvnors. It’s based on a play from the 18th century called The Servant of Two Masters, but don’t think that because it’s a classic it will be over your head. This show has slapstick, fart jokes, silly antics, sly innuendo and just about anything else that might induce laughter. Matthew Lewis Johnson is a comedy machine as the irrepressibly hungry (and hopelessly confused) Francis Henshaw, and he’s not the only one. At least a half-dozen of Cincy Shakes regulars dive into the hilarity headfirst. There’s also a great band playing tunes that sound like Pop numbers from the early 1960s; the story had been updated to the British seaside town of Brighton, where scandalous behavior was apparently the norm. Signing on to work for two bosses who have cross-purposes and connections that Francis doesn’t know about, he’s in for a raucous 24 hours as he tries to keep a lot of plates spinning — almost literally. Demand for tickets was strong from the opening last week (this show won awards in London’s West End as well as on Broadway in 2012, where James Corden played the manic Henshaw), so you’ll find two added performances to the announced schedule — this Saturday and next at 2 p.m. Tickets: 513-381-2273.

Tickets are even scarcer, apparently for The Producers at Cincinnati Landmark Productions new Incline Theater. That zany musical about trying to make money on a Broadway flop has been a big success, heavily subscribed from start to finish. You might try for the waiting list (513-241-6550), but don’t get your hopes up. Same goes for Commonwealth Theater Company’s production of Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys at Northern Kentucky University, (859-572-5464) also in its final weekend. It’s a dinner theater production, and it looks like most of the seats at that table are taken, too.

Since you can’t get into either of those, how about a free interpretation of the movie Footloose on Saturday evening? The dance troupe Pones Inc. and Gorilla Cinema have joined up to present the film in a parking lot in Covington (at West Seventh and Washington streets) starting at 8 p.m. All the inspired dance scenes from the 1984 film about teens in a town where dancing is discouraged will be performed live, and you’re welcome to join in! No charge for admission; snacks and suds available for purchase. Check out the trailer:

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