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by Ashley Thomas 06.22.2009
Posted In: Fashion with Ashley at 03:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Fashion Inspiration: The DAAP “Reject” All-Stars

Last week's blogs (here and here) were all about UC’s DAAP Fashion Design students. Today, however, I’d like to cross the river (not the Ohio) to the other side of DAAP-unrelated and fashion-based talent in Cincinnati. If you don’t already know them, chances are you soon will. Meet photographer Floyd Johnson, stylists Kelsey Wing and Shannon Yoho and make-up artist Kayla Smith, who are all twentysomething Cincinnati natives.

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by Martin Brennan 02.07.2012
Posted In: Animals, Culture at 10:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Pit Bulls in Cincinnati

Not all dogs are treated the same

Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I’m an avid dog-lover. I’ve owned dogs from the time I was a young teen, and I’ve loved every moment of it. There’s something about our canine companions that just warms my heart. Their wagging tails, their wet noses, the way they’re always happy to see you when you come home ... I just love them.

Unfortunately, it seems like not all people in this world share the same passion for dogs that I do. Hundreds upon thousands of dogs are abandoned each year and end up either dead or in shelters, and many more suffer at the hands of neglectful or abusive owners. Fortunately, we have organizations such as the SPCA around to speak out and help these animals. However, it’s recently come to my attention that not all shelters treat certain breeds of dogs the same.

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by Hannah McCartney 04.18.2013
Posted In: Ethics at 11:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

David "Bones" Hebert Wrongful Death Lawsuit Expanded

Two-year anniversary prompts inclusion of city of Cincinnati, three more CPD officers

Today marks the two-year anniversary of the death of David “Bones” Hebert, the gangly, inked vagabond, crafty burrito-maker, Punk rocker and rascal whose life ended abruptly one night in Northside, when Cincinnati Police Sergeant Andrew Mitchell fired two rounds into Bones’ thin frame.

Bones, who was described by his army of acquaintances as peaceful and thoughtful, left behind a legacy that sparked his friends to form Friends of Bones, a collective formed in response to his fatal police shooting, whose goal is “to support those directly involved in the case, to raise awareness about police violence in our community, and to bring about policy change in police procedures, training, and equipment, while encouraging responsible city leadership.”

That spurred the estate of David Paul Hebert to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Sergeant Mitchell on April 18, 2012, a year after the shooting. According to a press release from Paul Carmack, executor of the Hebert estate, the lawsuit today has been expanded to include the city of Cincinnati alleging Monell Claims (referring to municipal officials unconstitutionally or incorrectly dealing with a police misconduct claim) as well as Cincinnati Police officers Lawrence Johnson, Brian Kneller and Nicolino Stavale, for contributing to an atmosphere of danger. (See the expanded lawsuit in its entirety here.)

Bones was walking his dog, Shady, with a female friend around 3 a.m. the night of his death. Minutes before, a new acquaintance of Bones, Jason Weller, called 911 to report a man described as Bones to have recently stolen a pirate sword from his apartment, leaving Weller bloodied and alone. Although several of his friends admit he was inclined toward rowdy and wreckless behavior when he was intoxicated, but not violent.

Shortly after police stopped Bones and took his official statement, the police report alleges, “Mr. Hebert pulled a 13-inch switchblade knife with a six-inch blade from his pocket, raised his arm, and made a swiping motion with the knife at one of the officers. Sergeant Andrew Mitchell, who was serving as cover officer, drew his firearm as Mr. Hebert turned and stepped toward another officer. Sergeant Mitchell discharged two rounds from his Department-issued firearm, striking Mr. Hebert in left shoulder and left upper chest with both rounds.”

Bones was pronounced dead at the scene, and a toxicology report showed he had a blood alcohol level of .33 and traces of psychedelic mushrooms and marijuana. The investigations following his death — all of which exonerated Mitchell and the Police Department from any fault — brought to light a slew of inconsistencies, including conflicting statements from the officers involved, details about where Bones' knife was ultimately found and discrepancies in Weller's story, all of which form a basis for the current lawsuit. Videos retrieved from a Officer Dawson's cruiser cam also show that officers stood by idly, failing to offer any sort of assistance of resuscitation to Bones, seen here (at the 0:04 second mark, it appears Officer Mitchell kicks Bones' arm to check for consciousness).

Officer Mitchell in 2008 was involved in another police misconduct allegation after the "Bauer Tasing," when he tased an oblivious teenager from his moving police car without any warning or communication. Christopher Bauer, the teen walking home with his hands in his pockets and listening to his iPod, fell forward onto his face, suffering substantial injury.

In the past, Friends of Bones have held fundraisers and community events (often music-oriented, for Bones) to raise awareness about the case and garner support.

A city spokesperson directed CityBeat's inquiry about the expanded lawsuit to the city's law department, which as of Thursday afternoon had not returned a voicemail. This story will be updated if the city provides a response.According to court documents, the case will go before a jury Nov. 11.
by Rick Pender 05.11.2010
Posted In: Theater, Arts community at 04:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)

Local Theater Awards: How Much Is Enough?

Greater Cincinnati has two awards programs that recognize our excellent theater scene. Perhaps that’s good news, but you might wonder if this kind of competition between competitions is the best way to go.

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by Hannah McCartney 02.22.2012
at 12:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
pit bull

Ohio Pit Bulls No Longer Branded 'Vicious'

Gov. John Kasich signs substitute bill removing breed-discriminatory clause

Dog lover or not, one must admit that pit bulls suffer from a pretty abysmal reputation. Thanks to their depictions in pop culture and history as fighting dogs, pit bulls have arguably garnered the most discrimination of any dog breed; many have visions of them constantly gnashing their teeth, chomping down on everything in sight, from little children to helpless dogs. That means they're often the target of unnecessary euthanasia, abuse or neglect. 

Meet a socialized pit bull and you'll likely attest members of the breed can be, in a word, wimpy. Finally, however, legislation is seeming to catch up with that knowledge — the breed has come upon a much-deserved stroke of good fortune. On Tuesday, Gov. John Kasich signed a bill that no longer declares pit bulls vicious or dangerous prior to an incident or inspection.

For 25 years, Ohio has been the only state in the country to automatically declare a dog vicious based solely on breed, without regard to demeanor or behavior. Pit bulls have always fallen under that category, meaning they typically have a difficult time getting adopted or following their owners to apartment complexes or other multi-family housing (Read Martin Brennan's blog about pit bull treatment in Cincinnati here). In fact, thanks to an old grandfather clause, owning a pit bull is technically illegal in Hamilton County, although that hasn't really stopping dog owners from adopting the breed.

In 2011, a bill was introduced to remove pit bulls from Ohio's definition of vicious dogs. Although the bill passed in the House of Representatives, it was never voted on in the Senate. Recently, Rep. Barbara Sears (R-Lucas County) reintroduced legislation to protect pit bulls.
A petition at Change.org earned nearly 19,000 signatures of those in favor of the bill's passing.

The bill, Substitute House Bill 14, not only removes the breed-discriminatory clause, but tightens the reins on dangerous dog laws, meaning law enforcement can better target their time on punishing reckless owners and truly violent dogs rather than otherwise innocent family pets. The bill outlines a clear system for determining a dog "dangerous," defined by killing another dog or injuring a person without provocation. Before the amendment of HB 14, an owner with a dog declared "vicious" would be required to obtain liability insurance. 

According to John Dunham and Associates, an economic research firm, it cost Ohioans $17 million each year to enforce the old law. The bill is expected to go into effect in 90 days.

Told you they're wimpy:

by Mike Breen 01.23.2013
Posted In: Local Music, Music News, Music Video at 01:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Midnight Star Featured on TV One's 'Unsung'

Cincinnati R&B/ElectroFunk group profiled on cable series Jan. 30

The sixth season of TV One's entertaining and informative Unsung series, showcasing artists who did well but didn't quite reach the heights many expected, kicks off tonight at 10 p.m. with an episode about the late, great Soul star Isaac Hayes. Next week, on Jan. 30, the series focuses on a group that was formed at Kentucky State University and ended up calling Cincinnati its home base — Midnight Star.

The R&B/ElectroFunk nine-piece band was a major success in the ’80s, giving the music world massive hits like "Slow Jam," "No Parking on the Dance Floor" and "Freak-a-Zoid." But the band eventually splintered — due to "arguments over money and management," according to the Unsung synopsis — with Reggie Calloway and brother Vincent leaving and eventually forming Calloway (which had success with the smash "I Wanna Be Rich" in 1989).

Midnight Star carried on and produced a couple more albums that featured R&B chart hits before taking a break. The "hiatus" ended in 2000 and Midnight Star continues to this day, performing most recently at the Macy's Music Festival last summer. Click here to read up on the band circa 2013.

The Unsung series has a loose definition of "unsung" (as the Isaac Hayes episode suggests), but its profiles of various R&B/Soul, Hip Hop, Funk and Gospel artists are always fairly illuminating. The show has dedicated episodes to a wide range of successful artists, from The Ohio Players and Zapp to Kool Mo Dee and Big Daddy Kane to George Clinton, The Spinners and another Cincinnati-affiliated star, Bootsy Collins.

Unsung (Documentary) - Bootsy Collins... by GENERATIONDISCOFUNK

The rest of Unsung's season six includes episodes on EPMD, Lou Rawls, Eddie Kendricks, The Whispers, Mint Condition, Johnny Gill and a special two-hour look at the Disco phenomenon.

TV One is channel 217 for local Time Warner Cable subscribers (1217 for the HD channel).

by 06.22.2011
Posted In: News, Media, Financial Crisis, Business at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Enquirer Layoffs: 2011 Edition

Although it doesn't compare to the wholesale hacking and slashing of staff that occurred in 2009, the latest round of layoffs at The Enquirer includes several positions in the newsroom, which already had seen significant reductions.

At least 16 people on the newspaper's editorial staff were laid off, and another chose to retire, according to reliable sources at the paper.

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by Maija Zummo 12.30.2013
Posted In: Events at 11:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
know speakeasy_photo justin ivey

Party Like It's 2014

Ring in the New Year with these local parties

500 Miles to Memphis at the Southgate House Revival: Say goodbye to 2013 with the band, one of the best live groups in the area. 9 p.m. $8 pre-sale; $10 day-of. Southgate House Revival, 111 E. Sixth St., Newport, Ky., 859-431-2201, southgatehouse.com.

Big Easy New Year’s Eve: Ring in the New Year New Orleans-style with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and conductor John Morris Russell. The evening will feature jazzy Big Band favorites with trumpeter Byron Stripling delivering Dixieland favorites and a tribute to Louis Armstrong. Following the concert, there will bea ball hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, carnival-style dancing, dinner, live music and a champagne toast at midnight. Concert: 7:30 p.m.; ball: 10 p.m. Concert: $12-$90; ball: $175-$250. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cincinnatisymphony.org.

SOLD OUT CityBeat and Know Theatre’s Speakeasy Party: A 1920s-themed speakeasy in the basement bar of the Know Theatre with casino games, dance lessons, food, martinis and a champagne toast at midnight. Benefits the Know Theatre. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. $25. Know Theatre of Cincinnati, 1120 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine, RSVP to 513-300-5669 or knowtheatre.com

Hamilton County Parks’ Family New Year’s Eve: A ton of family-friendly fun to fit in before the ball drops at 9 p.m. See live animals, balloon sculptors and magicians and play games, make crafts and more. 6-9 p.m. $4; free for 2 and younger. Woodland Mound, Seasongood Nature Center, 8250 Old Kellogg Road, Beechmont, RSVP to greatparks.org.

First Midnight: Performances by DJ ETrayn, DJ B Sarge and Peter Dressman plus hors d’oeuvres and a champagne toast. Benefits Give Back Cincinnati. 8 p.m.-2 a.m. $40; $30 advance; $50 per couple advance. Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati, 1000 Broadway St., Downtown, RSVP to ffecincinnati.com.

Happy Zoo Year: Ring in the New Year early at the Zoo with the Festival of Lights, a New Year’s Eve Madcap Puppet Theatre black-light show, party favors, costumed characters and appearances by Baby Zoo Year and Father Time. An early New Year countdown begins at 8:55 p.m. at the Wings of Wonder Theater with fireworks at 9 p.m. 5-9 p.m. Included with zoo admission: $15 adults; $10 seniors and children. Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale, cincinnatizoo.org.

International New Year’s Celebration: Celebrate New Year’s traditions from around the world each hour in the Cincinnati Museum Center’s rotunda. Learn about the different countries and their culture, music, games and crafts. Stop by “customs” for special country stamps and write a letter to troops stationed abroad. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Free. Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate, cincymuseum.org.

Midnight in Munich: Celebrate the New Year in Germany with a German dinner buffet, German festivities and a champagne toast at 6 p.m. — midnight Munich time. 5 p.m. $30. Mecklenburg Gardens, 302 E. University Ave., Corryville, RSVP to mecklenburgs.net.

Mike Davis New Year’s Eve Show: Las Vegas-style entertainment by Elvis tribute act Mike Davis. Includes a buffet dinner, coffee, soft drinks, beer and wine. 9 p.m.-1 a.m. $50. Mariner’s Inn, 7391 Forbes Park, Sayler Park, RSVP to 513-465-9037 or todayselvis.com.

New Year’s Eve Ball: Two DJs on two levels plus an hors d’oeuvres buffet and champagne toast. 9 p.m. $30; discounts for 10 or more. Mount Adams Pavilion, 949 Pavilion St., Mount Adams, RSVP to 513-744-9200 or mountadamspavilion.com.

New Year’s Eve Bash at Blinkers Tavern: Regular menu available plus a three-course dinner, party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. Music by DJ Lunaman. 8 p.m. $65. Blinkers Tavern, 318 Greenup St., Covington, Ky., RSVP to 859-360-0840. 

New Year’s Eve Black and White Ball: Includes a two-room suite at the Embassy Suites Blue Ash plus an open bar, dancing, DJ, buffet dinner, midnight continental breakfast and late check-out. Check-in at 3 p.m. $349. Embassy Suites Blue Ash, 4554 Lake Forest Drive, Blue Ash, RSVP to 513-981-3752.

New Year’s Eve Blast on Fountain Square: Food vendors, beverage stations, souvenirs, dance contest, music by DJ Tweet and Rozzi’s famous fireworks at midnight. 8 p.m.-midnight. Free; VIP packages available. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown, 513-763-8036, myfountainsquare.com

New Year’s Eve at Bobby Mackey’s Music World: The 35th annual bash at Bobby’s with line dancing, live music, bull rides and hourly ghost tours. Music by Bobby Mackey and the Big Mac Band plus karaoke. 9 p.m. $10. Bobby Mackey’s Music World, 44 Licking Pike, Wilder, Ky., RSVP to 859-431-5588 or bobbymackey.com.

New Year’s Eve Dinner Cruise: An Ohio River cruise with BB Riverboats including the sparkling Cincinnati skyline, a buffet, entertainment, champagne split at midnight and a late-night snack buffet and party favors. 9 p.m.-1 a.m. $102 adults; $62 children. BB Riverboats, 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., RSVP to 859-261-8500 or bbriverboats.com.

New Year’s Eve Dinner Dance: Hot buffet, snacks, a wine fountain, hats, noisemakers, music and attendees can BYOB. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. $40. Lakeridge Hall, 7210 Pippin Road, Colerain Township, RSVP to 513-521-1112.

New Year’s Eve at the Funny Bone: A special engagement with comedian Basile. 7 p.m. $45. Levee Funny Bone, Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., funnybone.com.

New Year’s Eve Gala at Vito’s Cafe: A five-course prix-fixe menu with music, balloons and champagne. Seatings at 6 and 9 p.m. $60;  $15 for ages 9 and younger. Vito’s Café, 654 Highland Ave., Fort Thomas, Ky., RSVP to 859-442-9444.

New Year’s Eve at Go Bananas: Comedian Cy Amundson plus party favors, snack plates and a champagne toast. 7:30 and 10 p.m. $20 early show; $40 late show. Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, gobananascomedy.com.

New Year’s Eve at Igby’s: Dress in cocktail attire for music by DJ Ice Cold Tony. Advance-order bottle specials available: two bottles of Grey Goose and a bottle of Perrier Jouet Grand Brut champagne for $420; one bottle of Perrier Jouet Grand Brut for $65. 9 p.m.-2:30 a.m. $20. Igby’s, 122 E. Sixth St., Downtown, 513-246-4396, igbysbar.com.

New Year’s Eve Kids’ Countdown at Newport Aquarium: Q102’s Katie Walters takes over the Shark Ray Bay Theater for a kids’ celebration with music, dancing and giveaways plus a special appearance countdown by Scuba Santa at 5 p.m. Kids also get noisemakers and party hats to ring in the New Year. 3-5:30 p.m. Free with admission: $23 adults; $15 children; free two and younger. Newport Aquarium, 1 Levee Way, Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., newportaquarium.com

New Year’s Eve at The Lackman: Drink specials including $5 Bulleit cocktails and $3 select bottle beers. Complimentary champagne toast at midnight. 8 p.m. Free. The Lackman, 1237 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, lackmanbar.com.

New Year’s Eve at Mayday: Great Gatsby-style party with live ’20s-era Jazz and a three-course dinner. Champagne pairings available. Dinner followed by the Koi Pound Annual Carnivolution with DJs, LED spinners and other carnival antics. 6 p.m. dinner; 9:30 p.m. Koi Pound party. $30 champagne dinner; $45 sparkling wine dinner. Mayday, 4227 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, RSVP to maydaynorthside.com.

New Year’s Eve at Mynt Martini: A balloon drop, complimentary hors d’oeuvres from 8-9 p.m., music by Davey C. and a champagne toast at midnight. 8 p.m. $25 advance; VIP packages $400-$2,500. Mynt Martini, 28 Fountain Square, Downtown, RSVP to 513-621-6968.

New Year’s Eve at the Newport Syndicate: Multiple party rooms with music by the Rusty Griswolds, multiple pianists and Q102’s DJ Mark McFadden. Champagne toast at midnight with dinner buffet and open bar. 8 p.m.-2 a.m. $75 piano package; $100 premium; $125 VIP; $150 Best Seat in the House. Newport Syndicate, 18 E. Fifth St., Newport, Ky., 859-491-8000, cincyticket.com.

New Year’s Eve at Obscura: Includes a four-course prix-fixe menu. Seating begins at 6 p.m.; 8 and 10 p.m. seating includes a cocktail or wine pairing for $99; 10 p.m. reservation includes a champagne toast. $75-$99. Obscura, 645 Walnut St., Downtown, RSVP to obscuracincinnati.com.

New Year’s Eve at Perfect North Slopes: Skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing open until 1 a.m. with party favors and a DJ in the lodge. Fireworks at midnight plus a torchlight parade down the slopes by ski instructors and ski patrol. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. Free (except for lift tickets). Perfect North Slopes, 19074 Perfect Lane, Lawrenceburg, Ind., perfectnorth.com

New Year’s Eve at The Stand: VIP tables available. 8 p.m. Free. The Stand, 3195 Linwood Ave., Mount Lookout, 513-871-5006, thestandcincy.com.

New Year’s Eve at the Rail House: Enjoy a New Orleans-style masquerade ball with live music by the Robin Lacy & DeZydeco plus a three-course prix-fixe dinner package. Show off your best Mardi Gras mask and win a bottle of Perrier Jouet Grand Brut to use to toast the New Year. Reservation times for the NYE dinner package are every half hour between 7 and 9:30 p.m.; early-bird seating 4-6 p.m. $39.95 dinner. The Rail House, 40 Village Square, Glendale, RSVP to railhouse1854.com

No Hassle New Year’s Eve with Cincinnati Sports League: Party favors, two free Budweisers, one American Honey cocktail, a champagne toast, macaroni and cheese buffet and a chance to win a cruise to the Bahamas. 9 p.m.-2:30 a.m. $25. Keystone Bar & Grill Hyde Park, 3384 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, RSVP to 513-321-2150. 

NYE 2K14 Hosted by Grandmaster Flash: Includes a complimentary buffet and party favors plus packages for skip-the-line entrance, open bar, a meet-and-greet with Grandmaster Flash and more. Opening set by DJ Mike B of Animal Crackers. 8 p.m.-2:30 a.m. $75; $50 advance. PLAY, 35 E. Seventh St., Downtown, RSVP to 513-500-6923 or playcincy.com.

Pauly Shore at Boogie Nights: Ring in 2014 with comedian Pauly Shore at Hollywood Casino’s Boogie Nights nightclub. Shore will be mixing, mingling and emceeing the evening. 9 p.m.-3 a.m. $20; $35 per couple. Hollywood Casino, 777 Hollywood Blvd., Lawrenceburg, Ind., hollywoodindiana.com

Red Wanting Blue: Celebrate New Year’s at the 20th Century Theater with music by Red Wanting Blue and Young Heirlooms. 9 p.m. $25 advance; $30 day-of; $40 VIP with access to a pre-show acoustic set, limited edition signed poster and meet-and-greet. 20th Century Theater, 3021 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-731-8000, the20thcenturytheatre.com.

Rumpke Mountain Boys’ New Year’s Eve Ball: Bluegrass band the Rumpke Mountain Boys host a New Year’s bash with New Old Cavalry and Flatland Harmony Experiment. 7 p.m. $25. The Thompson House, 24 E. Third St., Newport, Ky., 859-261-7469, thompsonhousenewport.com.

Silvestertanz: A German New Year’s Eve celebration with music by Alpen Echos, hors d’oeuvres, a sandwich buffet and dessert. Cash bar. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. $22. Donauschwaben Haus, 4290 Dry Ridge Road, Colerain Township, RSVP to 513-385-2098 or cincydonau.com.

Star Lanes NYE: New Year’s Eve packages for day and night, including complimentary food, drinks and bowling. Nighttime 21 packages include three hours of bowling, shoe rental, passed hors d’oeuvres, a champagne toast and four well-drink tickets. Daytime family-friendly packages available. 21 event starts at 9 p.m. $50. Star Lanes, 1 Levee Way, Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., RSVP 859-652-7252, starlaneslevee.com

Stress Free New Year’s Eve: Music by DJ Simo. VIP tables available. 9 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Free. The Righteous Room, 641 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-381-4408, therighteousroom.com

Track Bash New Year’s Eve Party: Turfway Park presents live horse racing, music by Doghouse and various packages including everything from buffet and party favors to a champagne toast. 5:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Packages $75-$150; free general admission. Turfway Park, 7500 Turfway Road, Florence, Ky., turfway.com.

Why? at The Comet: Locally based, internationally beloved Indie crew Why? will play its final show of 2013 at the intimate Comet in Northside. 10 p.m. Free. The Comet, 4579 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-541-8900, cometbar.com.

Wussy at the Northside Tavern: Wussy and Frontier Folk Nebraska close out 2013.  9 p.m. Free. Northside Tavern, 4163 Hamilton Ave., Northside, northsidetav.com.

by Jason Gargano 12.07.2011
at 11:47 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Know Theatre Screens Sundance Documentary Tonight

'Miss Representation' looks at how woman are protrayed in mainstream media

There's been a lot chatter in the vast, ever-opinionated movie blogosphere about the 2012 Sundance Film Festival's recently unveiled slate of films. Locally, the inclusion of Cincinnati native Todd Louiso's third directorial feature, Hello I Must Be Going, in the U.S. Dramatic competition is the most intriguing development.

But there's also another noteworthy local Sundance connection this week: Know Theatre is giving a 2011 Sundance film its Cincinnati premiere with a one-time screening 7 p.m. tonight (Dec. 7) in its space at 1120 Jackson St. in Over-the-Rhine. (Tickets are $10.)

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by tt stern-enzi 08.20.2012
Posted In: Tennis at 09:24 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
1450 copy

W&S Open: Championship Weekend

Saturday semifinals and on the men’s side, the only real intrigue comes from looking ahead to the finals, although any player will tell you that they can never overlook the opponent immediately across the net.

Novak Djokovic, the number two seed, goes toe-to-toe with the sixth seed from Argentina Juan Martin Del Potro, the first man other than Rafael Nadal to steal a Grand Slam from Federer during his amazing run from a few years ago. Del Potro has dealt with injuries, which slowed him down following his US Open win, but he’s back and clearly has what it takes to reach the finals here.

Djokovic has definitely brought that return game of his, which will be key against the taller Del Potro who takes advantage of his height. The first set stays on-serve until Del Potro litters a serve game with two double faults and Djokovic breaks for a 4-2 lead. From that point, it’s a routine set of holds with Djokovic winning the set 6-3. 

Djokovic breaks Del Potro during his second service game in the second set. A pair of holds before Djokovic breaks again (Del Potro fails to win a point during this service game) for a 5-2 lead. Watching the latter portion of this set, its curious to see Djokovic pushing Del Potro further and further off the baseline with punishingly deep shots. And he pushes and shoves him right out of the match with a final ace [6-3, 6-2].


The other semifinal match is all Swiss, all the time. The number one-seed and world’s number one player Roger Federer against Stanislas Wawrinka. The two teamed up to capture the gold in doubles in the Olympics and having served as practice partners over the years, there’s a real familiarity that could make this match intriguing.

Federer comes out and it is apparent that as the man is king of all he surveys. The crowds are overwhelmingly behind him, granting him home court advantage, although its not like he needs it.

The first set features flashes of brilliance from each man as they hold serve with Wawrinka confirming that he has a powerful weapon in his serve. He logs more aces than Federer, yet Federer's net play and shot selection more than keeps him in the match. By the inevitable tiebreak, the all-around game of Federer leads to a 7-4 win.

The second set is more of the same as they trade holds up through 3-games all, and then Federer sneaks in a break and a strong hold for a 5-3 lead. The expectation is for a Wawrinka hold and then Federer to serve it out, but an untimely double fault for Wawrinka gives the game and match to Federer [7-6 (7-4), 6-3].


Roger Federer versus Novak Djokovic. The number one seed versus the number two seed – the first time the two top seeds have met in the finals at the W&S Open. This is the match everyone was waiting for and the crowds are raucous.  

On court, the action takes an unexpected turn. Federer breaks immediately, holds and then breaks again for a 3-0 lead. He holds again at love and unbelievably breaks once more for 5-0. Is Djokovic hurt? He makes no calls for his coach or a trainer and simply lets Federer serve out the first set [6-0]. Has he ever been blanked in a set, in an event final?

When Djokovic holds to start the second set, the crowd whoops it up, hoping to provide him with a charge. And now both players look like the top seeds we came to see. The service games add up and there’s the sense that a tiebreak is in store.

When it arrives, the temperature seems to rise. Heat and excitement generate a palpable jolt. Federer grabs a mini-break on Djokovic’s first serve and holds his two points. Before the air deflates out of the stands, Djokovic holds and breaks back. Back and forth they go. At 6-6, with the crowd firmly in his corner, Djokovic holds to take a 7-6 lead, but Federer scores a huge smash before taking the next two points and the match.

He raises his arms and grants Mirka a knowing nod as he walks over to towel off before the trophy presentation. This match sets the field on notice that Federer is ready to extend his Grand Slam singles title count even further and everybody, including the defending champion, better watch out.


The women’s finalists, ninth seed Na Li (CHN) and the fifth seed Angelique Kerber (GER), have the distinction of being the players who took out the Williams sisters on the way towards this meeting and each of them has proven capable of slugging it out or exerting their will through carefully constructed points.

Much like the men’s final though, this one starts off rather one-sided. Kerber follows up an all-business hold with a quick break of Li and another hold.  Li finally hangs on during a service game, but what has undone her thus far is an inability to rein in her shots. Serves and groundstrokes sail far and wide in an-ever increasing avalanche. She seems confounded by her lack of control, but by the time Kerber has earned the first set at 6-1, Li has no answers and yet, it is Kerber who calls for an on-court conference with her coach.

The second set offers more of the same, as Li continues to push shots, except for her swinging half-volleys, which she nails with surprising accuracy. Somehow, she settles into a groove and evens things up at 3-all. Kerber lapses into a funk and before you know it, Li has secured the second set 6-3.

Li breaks to open the third set and suddenly, the two have completely switched games. Kerber can’t keep the ball on the court or as the games mount, it looks like she’s frustrated by Li’s ability to power shots all over the court. Kerber begins to stop chasing down shots that she consistently reached in the first set. She calls for a second pow-wow with her coach after falling down 3-0. Li aces her to take the fourth game, but Kerber digs deep enough to win her next service game and the crowd perks up for a minute, checking Kerber’s resolve.  Unfortunately, Kerber had nothing left in the tank and she allowed Li to sweep her off the court without much resistance.

The final score [1-6, 6-3, 6-1] doesn’t quite reflect the curious lack of sharp precise play. It will be interesting to see if either player can use today’s effort as a springboard into the US Open. The women’s side of the upcoming Slam appears wide open, ready and waiting for someone, anyone to step up to the big stage, like Stosur last year. At this rate though, it will take far more from either of these finalists to own that epic moment.