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by Nick Grever 05.13.2015 110 days ago
at 09:51 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
jess lamb_by_ annette navarro

Beyond Idol Chatter: On to the Next Chapter

Cincinnati singer Jess Lamb prepares for the release of her new reworked single, “Memories”

Since Jess Lamb’s time on American Idol, she has been busy getting her name and brand out in the public eye. She has played constantly at venues old and new, teamed up with other local musicians for projects and made many TV and radio appearances around Cincinnati. Up until this point, her output has been largely live performances and outreach. But now that her contract with American Idol is in its final month, she is taking the next step to continue growing in her career, starting with the release of her first single to radio on March 30.

The single, “Memories,” should be familiar to most of Lamb’s fans already. 

“This is a song that I’ve released through iTunes and performed as an indie artist, with just a simple, master mix in 2010,” Lamb says. However, the song has been updated and revitalized by superstar producer David Sisko.

Sisko has worked with artists like Justin Timberlake, Destiny’s Child and Kelly Clarkson, just to name a few. What sets his version of the track apart from the original is twofold. First, Sisko has an obvious ear for what makes a Pop song successful. The new version is fuller, with layered vocals (all recorded by Lamb) and thicker instrumentation. Sisko also worked in hooks that loop into the listener’s ear and don’t let go. When the guitar and bass drop out for a chorus, leaving only a tribal drum beat and Lamb’s vocals, it becomes obvious that the song could easily find a home on any Pop radio station across the country.

The second change that Sisko brought to the table was his eagerness and ability to produce Lamb’s vocals, which she has never experienced before. 

“I’ve never had someone say, ‘I want to produce your vocals.’ I’ve been putting music out since 2010 and no one has ever said, ‘Why don’t you try this Jess,’ ” Lamb says. 

What results is a track wherein Lamb’s already powerful vocals are tuned to a fine edge. Sisko put great care into keeping the heart of the track intact to craft a song that maintains the original’s sultry ambience, but dials up the energy to more Pop-friendly levels.

While Lamb is excited at the proposition of turning her originals into more Pop-friendly versions, she is taking great care to insure that the end results stay in her control.

“I own that master and I plan to own each master. It’s kind of hard with the money to keep up,” Lamb says.

This isn’t a normal practice for most musicians, especially for acts like Lamb who aren’t rolling around in platinum record-levels of money. But she is adamant on maintaining a handle on what is released under her name. 

“I’m really starting to buy into the really independent artist. I’m going to own my master, which is a big deal. I could have done this with Sisko and signed a production deal, which is what most everyone does. They don’t have the money so they sign a production deal and he owns that master,” she says.

Lamb plans on releasing remixed versions of her songs throughout the summer, with “Dig Deep” following shortly after the release of “Memories.” She is set on putting out each track the same way, utilizing the contacts she has made over the past months to release each track without any sort of major label or other interference. She is ascribing to the indie artist mentality from beginning to end and insuring that the music that is put out under her name is something she truly believes in and cares about.

Ultimately, this is just the beginning of what Lamb hopes to do once she is released from American Idol’s contract (which limits certain industry/career moves). The groundwork that she has laid in the preceding months will finally have more building blocks laid upon them at the end of May and “Memories” is just the first stone of many. Ultimately, she wants to stay stationed in Cincinnati and grow her career from the city she calls home. Whether she performs her works herself or passes them to other artists is up in the air at this point, but one outcome could easily feed into the other. 

“I have songs that I’m sitting on that could be reproduced for other artists, because I really do want to make a living writing and performing. That’s where my heart is. That’s where I feel that I shine the most and I feel like I’m being backed in those ways,” Lamb says.

In many ways, “Memories” is simultaneously a finish line and a starting point for Lamb. It shows just how far she has come since the Kansas City tryouts on American Idol, but it is also her springboard into a much larger and more demanding pool. But with a world-class producer working with her, a city full of supporters behind her and her own raw talent, she’s determined to make a big splash.

Nick Grever’s Beyond Idol Chatter blogs follow the post-American Idol activities, career moves and achievements of Cincinnati vocalist Jess Lamb. 

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 05.12.2015 111 days ago
Posted In: News at 09:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
joe deters

Morning News and Stuff

Smitherman pushes executive mayor proposal; prepare for some Bill Murray sightings in Cincy; prosecutor Joe Deters slams weed laws

Hey hey. Let’s do this news thing real quick.

 

After the whole hubbub around Mayor John Cranley’s veto of the OTR parking permit plan last week, it seems like a strange question to ask, but here we go: Does the mayor need more power? According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Councilman Christopher Smitherman is working to get an initiative on the ballot that would do just that. Sort of. Smitherman’s months-long advocacy for moving Cincinnati to a so-called “executive mayor” system is about accountability, he says, not about giving away more power. Under Smitherman’s proposed changes, the city would eliminate the city manager position and the mayor would assume the responsibilities of that office — hiring and firing department heads, etc. The mayor would also retain veto power and still attend council meetings, but council would select its own president (currently the mayor’s job), who would select committee heads and make council’s agenda, effectively eliminating the mayor’s power to “pocket veto” legislation.  


Other members of council, including Councilman Kevin Flynn, who is helping oversee a review of the city’s charter, are opposed to the executive mayor idea. Flynn’s Charter Review Committee has been meeting for months, kicking around ideas for ways to reorganize Cincinnati’s unusual power structure. The city’s current system creates the strongest mayor of any major city in the country, the committee has said. The committee has its own recommendations for ways to change city government, including requiring the mayor to pass along all legislation to city council committees within 14 days, ending the so-called "pocket veto." The committee would also like to see council given the power to fire the city manager. The Charter Review Committee has been holding public input sessions around the city. The next two are at the Westwood Town Hall May 14 and the Oakley Senior Center May 18. Both sessions start at 6 pm.


• Is Joe Deters cool with legalizing weed? Another sign marijuana legalization in Ohio is moving toward the mainstream: The Hamilton County Prosecutor is leading a taskforce looking into the law enforcement ramifications of legalizing the drug. Marijuana legalization group ResponsibleOhio approached Deters about the study, though Deters says he’s not doing it to simply endorse the group’s legalization proposal. ResponsibleOhio wants to legalize the sale of marijuana to anyone age 21 or over, but the group's ballot initiative would limit growth of the crop to 10 sites around the state.


Deters has expressed frustration with the current legal setup for dealing with marijuana and ambivalence about the drug being illegal.

 

I've seen firsthand how ineffective and inefficient marijuana laws are,” Deters said in a statement about the task force. “I strongly believe we must have an honest and in-depth assessment of the positive and negative impacts that legalization can have, so that Ohioans can make an informed decision."

 

The taskforce includes elected officials, experts on drug policy and academics. The group will develop a white paper outlining policy recommendations on ways to improve laws governing marijuana in the state.

 

• Don’t do lame stuff with your garbage or you may get fined, according to changes in the city of Cincinnati's garbage pickup policy. In the days leading up to June 1, city sanitation workers will be hanging orange tags on garbage that is improperly prepared. Before May 17, they’ll still haul the trash away but leave the tag as a reminder. After that date, you’ll have to correct whatever problem you have with your trash and call 591-6000 to get it picked up, but you won’t have to pay a fine. After June starts, however, residents who don’t have their trash in order can be fined anywhere from $50 to $2,000. The low end of that range is for folks who just used the wrong can or other minor violations. The high end is for improperly disposed construction debris and other heavy stuff. You can read the criteria for improper trash here. The sanitation department says the fines are necessary to keep trash pick up efficient and effective.

 

• Cincinnati Public School District’s Walnut Hills High School is the number one school in Ohio, according to a new ranking from U.S. News and World Report. Overall, Walnut is the 65th best high school in the nation according to the ranking. Four other area schools also landed in the top 10 of the statewide rankings, including Indian Hill High School, which came in at number two.

 

• So Bill Murray might be spending a little less time partying in Austin and more time in Cincinnati. That’s because his son, Luke Murray, has landed a job as an assistant coach for Xavier University’s men’s basketball program. The younger Murray has held several coaching jobs in college basketball and was last at the University of Rhode Island as an assistant coach. Xavier head basketball coach Chris Mack has called Murray “one of the top young assistant coaches in the America.” Sounds good. Word is, his dad comes to a lot of the games the younger Murray coaches. Let’s hope the Coffee and Cigarettes and Groundhog Day star hangs out here on occasion, and maybe brings a Wu-Tang Clan member with him.

 
 
by Staff 05.11.2015 112 days ago
 
 
goodfellas pizza

Leftovers: What We Ate This Weekend

Goodfellas pizza, Indian (always), Jimmy G's, Bronte Bistro and BrewRiver GastroPub

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: On Friday night I was “ordered” by the boy and his friend to pick up pizza from Goodfellas on my way home. Ham and pineapple for the boy, sausage for his friend, and a Taste of Naples for me — tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella. Simple yet satisfying. On Sunday night — Mother’s Day — the boy artfully arranged a giant platter of supermarket sushi and presented me with a hand-decorated box in which to store my treasures. The night was divine.

Jac Kern: I took my fiance to the Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally show at the Taft on Saturday as a late birthday present, and we went out to dinner before at Jimmy G's. We split a crab cake to start. I don't think I've ever had a crab cake I didn't like, but this one was particularly good — full of fresh crab meat without breadcrumb fillers. I stuck with seafood for dinner and ordered a rare yellowfin tuna steak. It was so flavorful, I think it was even better than the steak they're known for (which my date ordered). We shared a couple side dishes — 4 fat fries and mac and cheese — but could barely put a dent in the oversized portions. I also pretended to be fancy by ordering lemon basil martinis, which were insanely good.

On Sunday we took our moms and grandma to Bronte Bistro inside Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Rookwood Pavilion. Half of us ordered quiche (Mother's Day brunch staple!) and the others ordered a big breakfast platter, a ham and brie sandwich and tilapia. I worked at Bronte in college, so you'd think by now I'd be sick of the food I'd relied on for shift meals so many times, but nope! I'm a sucker for good ladies-who-lunch fare and a coffee shop with a full bar. We're now thinking of making it a Mother's Day tradition.

Casey Arnold: At the Aronoff on Saturday I saw the Cincinnati Ballet for the first time ever. It proved to be impressive and something I should have done a long time ago. Before the ballet, my friends Corrie, Julie, Katie and I went to Igby's for cocktails and small plates. We nibbled on seafood guacamole and bread and butter while sampling from the cocktail menu. My favorite was the Tito's Austin Blossom, a vodka and citrus cocktail with rosemary. After the ballet we attempted to go to the 21c rooftop but were thwarted by a private party. We ended up at Taqueria Mercado where we sipped Palomas and talked about our favorite parts of the ballet — all between scoops of queso and guacamole on fresh chips. 

Maija Zummo: Sunday, my husband and I had brunch at the bar at BrewRiver GastroPub for our anniversary (note to self: don't go to brunch on Mother's Day without a reservation and expect a table). We got engaged in New Orleans so a New Orleans-style brunch seemed apt. He loved his shrimp and grits and I enjoyed the texture of my eggs-and-biscuit breakfast. I've been super sick and couldn't taste any of it, but I liked how dense and square the biscuit was. I forgot how fun the atmosphere is at BrewRiver — usually I hate live music, but they had a pretty good singer there doing Tom Waits covers, and then we found out they do Louisiana crawfish boils weekly, where they fly in the little things and cook em up with like mushroom or potatoes or corn or whatever you're supposed to do. And if you get there between 5 and 6 p.m., they have super cheap beers (with like 23ish on draft). I won't eat crustaceans but I'm not opposed to beer.
 
 
by Mike Breen 05.11.2015 112 days ago
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music Video at 10:18 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Walk the Moon to Play ‘The Voice’ Tuesday

As Cincinnati band’s “Shut Up and Dance” continues to climb the charts, the group gets set for primetime TV appearance

If you have access to a radio or television set, then you’re likely well aware that “Shut Up and Dance” by Cincinnati Dance Pop crew Walk the Moon has become a bona fide Pop hit. The single has been certified platinum, meaning it has sold more than one millions copies. The catchy, danceable track is currently at No. 5 on Billboard’s singles chart and has also performed very well on various other charts. “Shut Up” reached No. 2 on iTunes Top Songs chart and Billboard’s digital charts. On Spotify, the song has been streamed more than 78 million times, while “Shut Up”’s video has held a steady presence in the Top 10 of VH1’s Top 20 video countdown. Talking is Hard, Walk the Moon’s second album for RCA Records, continues to benefit from the single’s success, moving as high as No. 14 on Billboard’s overall album chart.

The Cincinnati band has worked hard to push “Shut Up and Dance” to the upper reaches of the Pop charts. Along with the usual late-night talk show circuit, Walk the Moon has also appeared on network morning shows like The Today Show (which used various WtM tunes as bumper music throughout the day the band appeared) and The Ellen DeGeneres Show


When DeGeneres introduced the group on her show, she called “Shut Up” the band’s “No. 1 hit,” which it wasn’t at the time but could end up there as Walk the Moon keeps up its relentless promotional push. WtM’s is also becoming a bigger and bigger concert draw, selling out many of its shows across the country (the band just recently completely another successful U.S. jaunt).


And WtM has also been making it onto prime time TV lately. Last month, Riker Lynch and Allison Holker danced to “Shut Up” for a routine on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. Tuesday night (May 12), the band will play “Shut Up” as special guests on NBC’s popular singing competition, The Voice. Tune in to catch the performance at 8 p.m. 


Though several Cincinnati-based acts have done well on a national level, crossing over to the top of the Pop charts is pretty rare, particularly for artists who choose to remain in their hometown while pursuing their career. Walk the Moon comes home to play Cincinnati’s Bunbury Music Festival on June 5 along the Ohio’s riverfront. Click here for tickets/details


 
 
by Nick Swartsell 05.11.2015 112 days ago
Posted In: News at 09:57 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
news1_banks_condos_ck

Morning News and Stuff

OTR to finally get housing study; Banks hotel announced; thousands of arrestees in Baltimore were too injured to go to jail

Morning y’all! It’s bike to work week, so I hope you saddled up on your commute today. Here’s what’s up in the news.

It’s kind of unbelievable that solid statistics on housing on one of the city’s most actively developed neighborhood don’t exist. I’ve been working to find solid numbers on affordable housing in Over-the-Rhine forever, so this is great news: Xavier’s Community Building Institute and the Over-the-Rhine Community Council are teaming up to conduct a much-needed housing survey in OTR. As land values and housing costs in the neighborhood skyrocket (some condos there have reached the $600,000 mark, and proposed new single-family homes could go for as much), many worry about dwindling supplies of low-income housing there. Though a neighborhood comprehensive plan was completed in 2002, there have been no other comprehensive studies of housing in the neighborhood since. Much of the data on housing in OTR is scattered and incomplete. CBI’s efforts will change that — starting in June the organization will do a complete survey of the buildings in OTR to record how many units each has and how much it costs to live in them.

• A seven-story hotel by Marriott is coming to riverfront development The Banks, the lead development group for the project announced today. That’s a relief for city and county officials and area business leaders who have been waiting for that major piece of the Banks puzzle for a long time. Stakeholders had originally hoped to have the hotel open in time for the 2015 MLB All-Star Game in July, but it looks as though the hotel will now open in spring 2017.

• The city of Cincinnati will pay Cincinnati Public Schools $2.1 million in back property taxes from the downtown Duke Energy Center. The CPS Board of Education and the Ohio tax commissioner have been fighting the city since 2011 over taxes on the property, which is managed by a private company. The city has argued that it is exempt from such taxes since the building is owned by a public entity and obtained a tax exemption from state legislators in 2012. But CPS and the state tax assessor have fought that claim in court. The city has now settled with the district and will pay the $2.1 million to the schools. Had the city lost its case with CPS, it would have had to pay up to $25 million in back taxes and other costs.

• Here’s cool news: Former MVP and 2012 Hall of Famer Barry Larkin is working for the Reds again. No, you won’t see the shortstop running the bases, but he’ll be an infield instructor for the Reds’ minor league teams. Larkin played for the Reds for nearly two decades from 1986 to 2004.

• The city of Covington’s City Hall is currently located in a former J.C. Penny department store building, and before that it was located in another former department store. But that could change soon, and the seat of city government there could get a new, more permanent home in a proposed riverfront development called Duveneck Place, named after the famous Covington-born artist Frank Duveneck. That building would be the first major riverfront development in Covington since the 2008 Ascent luxury condos and could host both the city’s administrative offices and Kenton County offices. The city’s main administrative building has moved around several times since Covington’s ornate official City Hall building was demolished in 1970.

• As state lawmakers mull a bill that would eliminate a question about felonies from public organizations’ job applications, private companies wrangle with whether or not they should do the same. Some big, generally conservative companies like Koch Industries have announced they no longer ask about felony convictions on job applications, but many others, especially those in the area, still do. That puts a barrier between former convicts and employment, a key factor in reducing recidivism. Such barriers also disproportionately affect minorities, who are more often subject to arrest and conviction in the first place. Here’s an Enquirer story about the push to do away with a box on employment applications asking about felonies. I’ve been speaking with former convicts and academics who study this issue for a long story on the topic. Stay tuned for that.

• Finally, a report by the Baltimore Sun shows that thousands apprehended by Baltimore Police have been so severely injured they cannot be taken directly to jail. Between June 2012 and April 2015, the Baltimore City Detention Center refused to admit 2,600 arrestees because injuries they sustained from police were too severe and required immediate medical attention. These included broken bones, head injuries and other traumas. The report comes in the wake of civil unrest around the April death of Freddie Gray in police custody and a looming U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the city’s police force.

 
 
by Staff 05.08.2015 115 days ago
Posted In: Culture, Concerts, Food, Fun, Events, Eats, Life, Music at 10:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List (5/8-5/10)

Wine. Live theater. Live music. Mad Men. Zoo babies.

FRIDAY
Get wild with TYLER, THE CREATOR at Bogart's
About halfway through “Deathcamp,” the lead track on Tyler, the Creator’s new album Cherry Bomb, the dense, hard-charging music takes a breather so the controversial California-bred rapper can declare, “I don’t like to follow the rules/And that’s just who I am/I hope you understand.” No doubt many don’t understand, which seems to suit Tyler just fine. There’s no denying the guy isn’t afraid to stir shit up, which in this age of feigned outrage and politically correct sensitivity is saying something. Cherry Bomb is another wild ride, a meld of slanted Hip Hop in the vein of Dr. Octagon and N.E.R.D., spruced up with a host of famous guests, including Lil Wayne, ScHoolboy Q, Kanye West and Pharrell Williams. But this is Tyler’s show, his wild-eyed delivery sparing pretty much no one — from fellow rappers to college debt carriers to Kendall Jenner. 8 p.m. Friday. $27.50. Bogart's, 2621 Vine St., Corryville, bogarts.com.

Wine Makers Live
Photo: 3CDC
Drink downtown with WINE MAKERS LIVE
Head to Fountain Square for two evenings of vino. Enjoy a variety of red, white and blended wines from across the region, accompanied by knowledgeable staff to help you navigate tasting selections. A wine list online, with wineries including Cupcake, Acronym, Mirassou and Moet, details what each will be serving. Includes live music from the likes of Tracy Walker, Ricky Nye, the Almighty Get Down and more. 5-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $1 tastings. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown, myfountainsquare.com.

Chasing Squirrel
Photo: Christopher Duggan
Catch inspired dance with the CINCINNATI BALLET'S DIRECTOR'S CHOICE
The Cincinnati Ballet’s Director’s Choice program is a unique mixed-repertoire presentation with selections chosen specifically by ballet Artistic Director and CEO Victoria Morgan, including Yuri Possokhov's Classical Symphony, Edwaard Liang's Feast of the Gods and Trey McIntyre's Chasing Squirrel. "These three pieces are choreographic powerhouses,” says Morgan via the ballet’s website. “They exemplify the direction dance is headed and changing the way people think about dance.” 8 p.m. Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets start at $32. Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, cincinnatiarts.org.

Enjoy some Bluegrass, handmade crafts, food and more at the APPALACHIAN FESTIVAL
The Appalachian Festival has come a long way from its first event decades ago in the basement of Music Hall. Back then the festival was a crafts exhibition developed by the Junior League of Cincinnati. Today, the 46th annual Appalachian Festival — presented by the Appalachian Community Development Association, a nonprofit promoting awareness and appreciation for Appalachian culture — is held at Coney Island and attracts about 50,000 people. Enjoy Bluegrass music, handmade crafts, food and more entertainment over the three-day Mother’s Day weekend. 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. $10 adult; $5 seniors; $2 children; $6 parking. Coney Island, 6201 Kellogg Ave., California, appalachianfestival.org.

Outside Mullingar at Playhouse in the Park
Photo: Mikki Schaffner
See an Irish tale of identity, heritage and love with OUTSIDE MULLINGAR
Count on John Patrick Shanley for compelling storytelling: His Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Doubt explored the power of innuendo; his Academy Award-winning movie Moonstruck was a romantic comedy. His play Outside Mullingar lands squarely between those extremes, connecting with his family’s roots in rural Ireland for a tale of identity, heritage and love. It’s sure to be a winning production with a cast featuring Dale Hodges, Joneal and Jen Joplin (yes, they’re father and daughter) and Brian Isaac Phillips, directed by former Playhouse artistic director Ed Stern. This show is likely to be a hot ticket: It’s already been extended by a week. Through May 30. $40-$44 adult; $25 student; $18 senior/children. Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, 1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-421-3555, ensemblecincinnati.org.

SATURDAY
Heirloom
Photo: Joe Hedges
Attend a one-night-only art party with Near*By collective's HEIRLOOM at Wave Pool gallery
The Near*By curatorial collective, which has been making an impact on Cincinnati's visual arts scene with events that are conceptually imaginative and substantive in terms of ideas about art-making, presents Heirloom: an exhibition of objects from the childhood homes of artists at Wave Pool gallery. Four curators have each asked three different artists to choose an object from their childhood homes that in some way has influenced their cultural experiences and artistic output. Near*By will present the objects at the one-night event and will also have a catalogue. The participating artists are Chelsea Baker, Amanda Checco, Lizzy DuQuette, Izy Hardy, Sarah Jones, Brent Lashley, Caleb Marhoover, Jamie Muenzer, Matthew Shackelford, Nic Scrimenti, CM Turner and Christy Whittmer. 7-10 p.m. Saturday. Free. Wave Pool, 2940 Colerain Ave., Camp Washington, nearby.gallery.

Rose Hill House Tour
Photo: Provided
Check out other people's houses during the ROSE HILL HOUSE TOUR
The Cincinnati Preservation Association’s Spring House Tour explores six historic homes and a condo in the Belvedere building on Rose Hill Avenue in North Avondale. In the mid-1800s, wealthy merchants like Andrew Erkenbrecher, Samuel Pogue, Frank Herschede and Barney Kroger built beautiful homes on spacious lots. Today you can view historic homes ranging in date from the 1890s to the 1930s and in style from Italian Renaissance and English Medieval to Greek Revival. 1-5 p.m. Saturday. $35; advanced purchase is highly recommended; will-call in the lobby of the Belvedere (3900 Rose Hill Ave.). 513-721-4506, cincinnatipreservation.org.

Arrange some flowers for mom at FERN STUDIO
What’s better than buying mom a floral arrangement for Mother’s Day? Making mom a floral arrangement for Mother’s Day. North College Hill’s curated home, design and plant shop Fern Studio hosts a fundamentals of floral arranging class, led by Patricia Duque Campos of Una Floral. Learn how to compose lush and loose arrangements with seasonal blooms and other unique flora. Class fee includes materials (flowers, tools, vase, etc.), plus light snacks and refreshments. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday. $105. Fern Studio, 6040 Hamilton Ave., North College Hill, fern-shop.com.

The Donkeys
Photo: Provided
Remember Lost with THE DONKEYS
If you’re a Donkeys fan, you know the San Diego quartet from its decade-plus history. And if you don’t know The Donkeys at all but were, like most of the world’s television viewers at the time, obsessed with every scrap of informational minutiae related to Lost, you still know The Donkeys, in a tangential sense. The band’s song “Excelsior Lady,” from the 2008 sophomore album Living on the Other Side, was featured in the series, re-recorded as “Dharma Lady” and credited to the faux group Geronimo Jackson. It’s easy to trace The Donkeys’ sound to their California roots, just not along the obvious Beach Boys-to-Laurel Canyon path (although those signposts dot the landscape). The Donkeys combine a Byrdsian jangle, a twangy soulfulness, a gently rollicking Pop undercurrent and a melancholic lo-fi vibe that suggests a team-building trust exercise between Pavement, The Grateful Dead and Crosby Stills Nash & Young, with a healthy dose of contemporary ennui, a kind of hopeful disillusionment. 8 p.m. Free. MOTR Pub, 1345 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, motrpub.com.

Paul Mecurio
Photo: Provided
Laugh with PAUL MECURIO
Paul Mecurio, comedian and Emmy-winning former writer from The Daily Show, chose the name of his latest comedy CD, It’s Not Me, It’s the World, wisely. “I don’t relax, that’s what my wife says to me,” he says. “I get into a lot of confrontations in customer service situations. I almost got arrested on Amtrak because I got into a fight with the conductor.” The normally affable Mecurio can be seen on a variety of cable talk shows where he uses his quick wit to comment on social and political issues. He also has a podcast called The Paul Mecurio Show, on which he’s spoken to Sir Paul McCartney, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno and more. Thursday-Sunday. $15-$17. Funny Bone on the Levee, Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., 859-957-2000, funnyboneonthelevee.com.


SUNDAY
Brunch at Django Western Taco
Photo: facebook.com/djangonorthside 
Take mom to MOTHER'S DAY BRUNCH
Check out a variety of local restaurant's offering special Mother's Day meals here.

Look at more people's houses during the CLIFTON HOUSE TOUR
Take your mom to peep in other people’s houses during the Clifton House Tour. Explore homes with special architectural features and historical stories as the gracious owners Clifton homes — from Italianate and Victorian to Midcentury Modern and English Tudor — invite strangers in to explore. 1-5 p.m. Sunday. $18; $22 day of at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center or Clifton Plaza. Detailed tour guide with house locations available day of tour. cliftoncommunity.org/clifton-house-tour

Meet zoo moms at ZOO BABIES
Celebrate the newest arrivals at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden during the entire month of May, where you'll find the cutest baby faces from all over the globe. Follow the six-foot-tall pink and blue stork statues displayed throughout the zoo to lead you to baby African lions, penguin chicks, bonobo monkeys, a whole litter of African painted dogs and more, as their big eyes, miniature sizes and playful personalities melt your heart. Through May. Park admission $18 adults; $12 children and seniors. 3400 Vine St., Avondale, 513-281-4700, cincinnatizoo.org.

Frank Ockenfels 3/AM
Take in a TV double feature with GAME OF THRONES and MAD MEN
Game of Thrones (9 p.m., HBO) – Daenerys is faced with a tough decision in Meereen; Jon finds assistance from an unexpected source; Brienne tracks down Sansa; Theon is still … Reek. How will Sansa react if and when she discovers the guy who was essentially her brother is now a shell of his former self? Mad Men (10 p.m., AMC) – Only two episodes left! Don can’t sleep; Pete gets blindsided; Henry hosts a family reunion.



 
 
by Nick Swartsell 05.08.2015 115 days ago
Posted In: News at 09:52 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
news1_weedunicorn700x615

Morning News and Stuff

More OTR parking permit drama; Winburn: withhold SORTA's money until streetcar documents released; new weed legalizatioin effort challenges ResponsibleOhio

Morning y’all. Here’s what’s going on today.

The battle over Over-the-Rhine’s parking plan continues. Yesterday, Mayor John Cranley told the Cincinnati Enquirer that he would be open to eliminating permit parking in the city — currently, one part of Clifton near Cincinnati state and the tiny Pendleton neighborhood both have permits available for residents. He said he’d also be interested in auctioning off spots in OTR to the highest bidder.

That doesn't sit well with permit advocates in the neighborhood, including City Councilman Chris Seelbach and OTR Community Council President Ryan Messer.

At the bottom of the debate is a philosophical difference: Cranley wants any parking plan to be first and foremost a revenue generator to pay for the streetcar and pay back taxpayers for investment in OTR. On Wednesday, he vetoed a parking plan for the neighborhood that would have created up to 450 permitted spots for residents at $108 a year. Previously, Cranley had proposed a plan that would have charged $300 a year and then later another that would have charged an unspecified market rate for the spaces.

Cranley says it’s unfair to taxpayers that certain spots can be bought by residents of a neighborhood that has seen millions in taxpayer money spent on redevelopment. Taxpayers pay for the roads, Cranley says, and should be able to park on them. What’s more, he says, creating a permit plan for OTR will only encourage other neighborhoods to seek them. Downtown has already made movement toward that end.

Permit supporters, meanwhile, see the measure mainly as a way to make life easier for residents who have to park in one of the most popular places in town. Supporters of the parking permits, including Democrats on council, say they will help keep low-income people who can’t afford garages or extended time at meters in the neighborhood.

There is nothing unusual about parking permits in neighborhoods. Cities like Columbus, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco (the nation’s most expensive at $110 a year) and many other major urban areas have them. Even smaller cities like Newport, Covington and Bloomington, Indiana have them. Hell, in Washington, D.C., you have to have D.C. plates to park on most streets and need to apply for a visitor’s permit if you don’t (I know this by experience and it is awful). But if it wasn’t for that permit system, residents in popular neighborhoods would spend an hour after work circling the block looking for a place to put their cars while tourists or folks from the other side of the city dropped by and took their time eating at that new $40-a-plate neo soul food place. (Err, sorry. Did I mention D.C. was awful?)

On the other hand, the affordability card is a funny one to play here. In terms of affordability, all the parking plans, including Cranley’s, presented a clause for lower-cost permits for low-income residents. But there are bigger issues as rents in OTR continue to increase and the neighborhood shifts ever-more toward the high-end in terms of the businesses and homes there. Perhaps a discussion about how much affordable housing is in the neighborhood, instead of spinning wheels on a parking plan, would better serve low-income folks?

• Here’s another transportation mess: Cincinnati City Council Budget and Finance Chair Charlie Winburn is threatening to withhold city funds from the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority for its Metro bus program until it releases information about the bids it has received to operate the streetcar. Those bids were due March 30, but SORTA says it will not release them until it has made a selection, claiming that making the information public will compromise the competitive bid process. Winburn says the public has a right to know how much the streetcar will cost them. The Cincinnati Enquirer has sued SORTA for the records, which it says fall under open records laws. SORTA’s attorney disagrees. The question now is whether a judge will agree and if the ruling will come before SORTA makes its pick and releases the documents anyway.

• Democratic County Commissioner Todd Portune might get an unexpected Republican challenger in the 2016 election. Hamilton County Appeals Court Judge Sylvia Hendon might run against Portune, she says. Hendon, 71, is about to hit the age limit for judges in Ohio but isn’t ready to give up public service. Democrats say they aren’t worried; though Hendon has served in a number of capacities in the county’s judicial system, Hamilton County Democratic Party Chair Tim Cooke says she doesn’t have the name recognition to mount a serious challenge to the popular Portune. But Republicans say her time as a top judge gave her strong managerial skills and unique qualifications for the commissioner’s spot. They say she’ll be a strong contender should she choose to run. Commissioners oversee the county budget and the county’s various departments. Hendon is also looking at running for county recorder, a position held by Democrat Wayne Coates. Another Republican, former Hamilton County Judge Norbert Nadel, is also contemplating a run for that seat.

• Are online charter schools getting taxpayer money for students who are no longer enrolled in their courses? Some recent evidence seems to suggest that, and a state investigation might result. Data from one online school, Ohio Virtual Academy, shows that hundreds of students were on that school’s rolls but hadn’t logged in to classes in months. Only 14 had been withdrawn. OVA has 13,000 students. It’s not the first time charters have seen scrutiny for their attendance records. The schools get paid millions in state funds based on the number of students they have attending classes. In January, a state investigation found significant discrepancies between reported attendance and actual attendance at many of charters across the state.

• Finally, there’s another marijuana legalization scheme in Ohio, and it just cleared its first hurdle. Better for Ohio is challenging ResponsibleOhio’s plan for weed legalization by… doing almost exactly the same plan. The difference is that instead of ResponsibleOhio’s 10 grow sites, Better for Ohio would create 40, each tied (not kidding here) to a serial number on a specific $100 bill stipulated in the group’s plan. The holder of that bill would be allowed to grow marijuana at one of the grow sites. Private, non-commercial growth would also be allowed, and wouldn’t require registration with the state the way ResponsibleOhio’s plan does. The state just gave the OK for the group’s initial ballot language, and now it just has to get the necessary 300,000-plus signatures. Of course, there’s been some sniping between Better for Ohio and ResponsibleOhio, with both groups criticizing the other’s plan. Things are getting heated in the weed legalization game.

That’s it for me. Tweet or email me with news tips or just to say hey.

 
 
by Ilene Ross 05.08.2015 115 days ago
at 09:33 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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James Beard Foundation-Style Progressive Dinner

Last year's Cincy in NYC chefs reprise their Beard dinner dishes this weekend

This time last year, chef Jean-Robert de Cavel wrangled six of our finest local chefs for the best road trip ever to New York City's James Beard Foundation as part of Cincy in NYC, a weeklong excursion where a variety of local performing arts and cultural groups — the Cincinnati Ballet, May Festival Chorus and more — left the Queen City for the Big Apple for a seven-day showcase. 

The Beard dinner truly was a gastronomical feast, but if you didn't get the chance to partake then, no worries, because guess what?!? Every single one of the Cincy in NYC food phenoms will be recreating their Beard dinner dishes this weekend. Each chef will be making one course at their respective restaurants, so you can create your own progressive dinner.

Chef Jean Philippe Solnom of French Crust Café is creating a composition of chocolate and strawberries (prices vary) at lunch (and for carryout) on Friday and Saturday — strawberry shortcakes, pistachio, raspberry and chocolate macarons, and dark chocolate ganache truffles.

Chef Stephen Williams of Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar in MainStrasse is offering halibut encrusted with pistachio relish, rhubarb, fennel, edamame, pickled shiitakes and soy ginger reduction ($32) through Saturday for dinner.

Chef David Cook of Daveed's at 934 in Mount Adams will be preparing his hickory-smoked duck breast with crisp goose goetta and wild juniper ($22) as part of the tapas menu on Friday.

Chef Julie Francis of Nectar in Mount Lookout will have roast leg of lamb with fūl, local morel mushrooms and asparagus, preserved lemon and harissa ($26) through Saturday.

Boca will offer chef David Falk's robiola cappelletti with house-cured guanciale ($12) during dinner on Saturday night. 

Chef Jose Salazar of Salazar will feature his fluke crudo, green strawberries, spring vegetables, verjus and yuzu gelee ($14) during dinner on Friday and Saturday. 

And chef de Cavel will be serving his Maine Lobster with “Big Fish Farm” local caviar, beet barigoule, avocado, arugula, seaweed and lemon crème fraîche ($21) through Saturday at Jean-Robert's Table. 


 
 
by Rick Pender 05.07.2015 116 days ago
Posted In: Theater at 02:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
sonia and masha mourning their lives - vanya & sonia & masha & spike - cincinnati playhouse - photo sandy unerwoodjpg

Stage Door: Trips Down Memory Lane

If you're feeling nostalgic, Cincinnati stages have several offerings for you to enjoy. Let's start with Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at the Cincinnati Playhouse. It's set in the present, but Vanya, one of three angsty siblings, thinks that contemporary life is missing the point, and he yearns for things he loved during his childhood in the 1950s. He love them to the point that he's spurred to a 10-minute rant (by a feckless actor who pays more attention to texting than the people in the room with him) about all that life is lacking today. It's a very funny moment in Christopher Durang's award winning play. I gave it a Critic's Pick in my CityBeat review. Tickets: 513-421-3888

The production of Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike wraps up with the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun." If you'd like a whole evening of Beatles tunes, you need to be at the Aronoff Center in Downtown Cincinnati on Monday evening for RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles. It's more than two hours of music, covering the progression from "I Want to Hold Your Hand" to "I Am the Walrus," with more than 30 numbers being authentically performed. The live, multi-media spectacle covers the entire career of the band and its four famous musicians. These guys pay attention to details in recreating the music and the mood. Tickets: 513-621-2787

Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati just opened a production of John Patrick Shanley's Outside Mullingar that will make anyone who's Irish long to head to the Emerald Isle. It's about generational differences and the possibility of love between two unlikely souls. What will make this one good is the cast: Joneal Joplin (Scrooge for many years at the Playhouse) plays a crusty old man, and Dale Hodges, one of Cincinnati's best professional actresses, is his outspoken neighbor. Jen Joplin (Joneal's daughter in real life) plays Hodges' daughter in the show; and the old man's son is brought to life by Brian Isaac Phillips from Cincinnati Shakespeare. It's being staged by Ed Stern, former artistic director at the Cincinnati Playhouse. With that many theater veterans working on it, the show is sure to be worth watching. Lots of people must think so, since ETC has already announced an extension of the show to May 30. Tickets: 513-421-3555

Cincinnati Music Theater can always be depended on to do a good job with a big musical. Our city's most ambitious community theater takes on the lighthearted Gershwin tuner, Crazy for You, which will be staged at the Aronoff's Jarson-Kaplan Theater. It's onstage for two weekends, through May 16.

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

 
 
by Jac Kern 05.07.2015 116 days ago
at 12:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

I actually liked “Uptown Funk” when I first heard Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson perform it on SNL last November. But because we can’t have anything nice, the song has been sorely overplayed in TV promos, movie trailers, parody videos, poorly choreographed wedding dances (I’m guessing) and elsewhere to the point that it is no longer enjoyable.

So, naturally, now is the very appropriate time for a Westside-themed parody to surface. Ladies and gentlemen, WKRC’s “Bridgetown Funk”:

Girls’ fifth season is currently in production (follow Lena Dunham — or the other Girls girls — on Instagram for sneak peeks) and while the HBO comedy hasn’t been renewed past that point, Dunham says if six is a go, it’ll probably be the final season.

Cincinnati on the TV alert! Locally based eyewear company Frameri appeared on Shark Tank last week, but walked away without a deal. Frameri is an online frame and lens shop that specializes in interchangeable lenses that can pop in and out of various Italian frames. The local angle wasn’t too prominent and the sharks ripped them apart due to their steep valuation ($150,000 for 3.5 percent), but everyone knows even just the exposure on the show can bring success to Shark Tank businesses.

Here’s Justin Timberlake playing a washed up lime in a Sauza tequila commercial:


Did you have a good Derby Day? Did you get all dressed up, sport a fancy hat and bet on the ponies? You still did not do Derby Day as well as Johnny Weir.

 The mint julep fascinator speaks for itself.

Annie Leibovitz photographed the cast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the shots are out of this world (sorry).

Remember those funny “Ryan Gosling won’t eat his cereal” Vines? Well — sad, serious segue here — the creator of those passed away after a battle with cancer. In a sweet move that paid tribute to creator Ryan McHenry and proves that Ryan Gosling really is just the best, Mr. Hey Girl posted a Vine of himself finally eating that cereal. McHenry would have loved it.

Everyone knows the annual Met Gala is less of a fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute and more of a Halloween for rich beautiful people. And any time rich beautiful dress up in crazy clothes, the Internet will meme the shit out of them. Here’s a few.

Ever wondered what your fave celebs would look like as redheads? See gingified stars on Put a Rang On It. (For those who don’t watch Chris Lilley shows/aren’t down with Aussie slang, “ranga” — as in orangutan — is their version of “ginger.”)

“…back when MTV actually played music” is a thing a lot of old people like to say, but honestly I grew up watching a lot of non-music programming on the channel. Sure, I got down with TRL and early-morning videos, but I also loved shows like Daria, The Real World, Road Rules, Pimp My Ride, Rich Girls (seriously, is there anyone out there who remembers this mess of a reality show that was on TV for like three weeks?) and, of course, MTV Cribs.

Perhaps the most memorable episode took viewers to Redman’s Staten Island house, which did not quite fit in with the sprawling mansions and gold bidets of other celebs. Right off the bat, you had to rub two wires together outside to get the doorbell to ring. Inside, was a tiny (comparatively), messy bachelor pad a group of past-their-prime frat bros would live in. The episode was shot just like all the rest, except Redman showed off his George Foreman grill, small collection of DVDs and a box of cash he stored above his fridge. Many argued the episode was faked, but Thrillist recently talked to the rapper and Cribs creators top uncover the truth — it was all real. Read all about it and relive the ep here.

An answer to millions of prayers: A tool that will wipe away all references to the Kardashians out of your Internet life. (They’re working on a Beiber blocker too)

 
 

 

 

 
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