Discuss black photography at the CAM with a screening of THROUGH A LENS DARKLY
The Cincinnati Art Museum is partnering with the Cincinnati Film Society to present a free screening of Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People. Director Thomas Allen Harris and producer Deborah Willis will be present for a discussion. The film looks at how African-American communities have historically used the camera as a tool for social change, and it has a Cincinnati connection in its inclusion of photographer James Presley Ball, who worked here for 25 years before and after the Civil War. FotoFocus is a sponsor of the event. 7 p.m. Friday. Free. Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams, cincinnatiartmuseum.org.
Laugh and learn some calorie control with MANDY LEVY at KAZE OTR
“Buy a thing of arugula from the store. Dump it in a bowl.” This is the beginning of Mandy Levy’s Buffauxlo Chicken Salad recipe from her new book Calorie Accounting: The Foolproof Diet-by-Numbers Plan for a Skinnier New You, a humorous and self-deprecating weight-loss book that feels more like your best friend telling you about her new meal plan than your typical holier-than-thou diet tome. Levy consciously nudges the concept toward something more lighthearted. “It takes itself so seriously, the dieting world,” she says. “And I just wanted everybody to lighten up.” CityBeat recently caught up with Levy via phone as she was driving from Austin to Phoenix on her current Calorie Accountingbook tour, which makes two stops in the Queen City this week. Read the interview here. Mandy Levy’s Calorie Accounting tour makes a stop 5:30 p.m. Friday at Kaze in Over-the-Rhine and 2 p.m. Sunday at Barnes & Noble West Chester. More info: calorieaccounting.com.
Head to Fountain Square for MidPoint Indie Summer and BRONCHO
Over the past five years, Broncho has ridden its love of ’70s Punk and ’80s Indie Rock to a press kit full of praise and the kind of fairly high-profile song placements that couldn’t help but broaden its loyal fan base. Broncho’s fortunes have continued to rise, with the first album’s “Try Me Out Sometime” being used in a commercial for HBO’s Now streaming service and “Class Historian” from the new album finding its way into an ad for Kate Hudson’s Fabletic lifestyle brand. The largely enthusiastic reviews for Just Enough Hip to Be Woman have paid dividends in the form of high-visibility bookings, including slots at Austin, Texas’ Fun Fun Fun Fest and the ever-popular Bonnaroo Festival, which the band plays the day before its stop at Fountain Square for the free MidPoint Indie Summer series. So the Broncho members may not be completely well-rested when they blow into town, but they’ll be well-primed. Read more here. Broncho performs Friday with Kopecky, Coconut Milk and Near Earth Objects. Concert begins 7 p.m.; Broncho takes the stage at 9 p.m. Fountain Square, 520 Vine Street, Downtown, myfountainsquare.com.
THE HAPPY MALADIES celebrate a record release at Woodward Theater
Even a cursory listen to The Happy Maladies’ slim but impressive Chamber Folk-meets-Indie-in-Jazztown catalog reveals a certain thoughtful deliberation. But the question of sonic intent regarding the imminent new self-titled album by the Cincinnati band sparks an answer nearly as contemplative as the group’s sound. From their 2008 start, The Happy Maladies have exhibited a casual intensity, giving the sense that the quartet creates from a combination of diligence and offhandedness. While their Indie Rock approach to structured music is largely intact, the new album’s process was slightly different. Read an interview with the band here. The Happy Maladies play Woodward Theater on Friday. Tickets/more info: woodwardtheater.com.
SATURDAYSee SPOON and the Antlers at Madison Theater Spoon is the most reliable band on the planet, each album a slight variation on frontman Britt Daniel’s long-running love of terse, sharp-edged Rock & Roll. The Austin, Texas outfit’s eighth album, 2014’s They Want My Soul, is more of the same, each song a deceptively simple mix of interlocking parts: insistent beats from essential drummer Jim Eno, angular guitar riffs, driving bass lines, a sprinkling of keyboards and other subtle additives and Daniel’s vocals, which are as up-front as ever. Spoon with The Antlers perform Saturday at Madison Theater. Tickets/more info: madisontheateronline.com.
Get really excited to taste all the wine at the URBAN WINE FESTIVAL
Wine isn’t for snobs. At least that’s the concept behind Over-the-Rhine’s first Urban Wine Festival, which is presented by 1215 Wine Bar & Coffee Lab and takes place in their adjacent parking lot. Whether your palate prefers red or rosé, all styles of vino will be represented via 24 selections from local distributors. In addition to a public tasting, the fest includes live music, food and a seminar featuring regional winemaking professionals. Noon-10 p.m. Saturday; tastings start at 2 p.m. $6 glass pours; $48 to taste all 24. 1215 Wine Bar & Coffee Lab, 1215 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 1215vine.com/urban-wine-festival.
Celebrate sustainability, local music and good food and beer at SAYLER PARK SUSTAINS
In an effort to foster neighborhood engagement and educate residents in sustainable earth-first practices, Sayler Park Sustains features plenty of food trucks, local beer, vendors and raffles, along with music by The Tillers, Mamadrones and The Part-Time Gentlemen. Anticipate music demos with the Rabbit Hash String Band, as well as info on soil composting, how to green your home and DIY personal care products. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday. Free. Nelson Sayler Memorial Park, 6600 Gracely Drive, Sayler Park, saylerparksustains.org.
Get sweaty at FLOGGING MOLLY and GOGOL BORDELLO
If you want to work up a sweat to some high-energy music this summer concert season, your best bet is coming up this weekend as the Flogging Molly/Gogol Bordello tour steamrolls into town. Flogging Molly is known for its adrenalized twist on traditional Irish music, which is delivered with Mack truck-force, while Gogol Bordello calls its genre stew “Gypsy Punk” and pumps it out with equal aplomb and blood, sweat and tears. Adding even more red-hot spice to the concert mix is opening act Mariachi El Bronx, the popular, jet-fueled side project of Hardcore crew The Bronx, which uses (as the name suggests) Mariachi music as a jumping off point. 7 p.m. Saturday. $36-$48.50. PNC Pavilion, 6295 Kellogg Ave., California, riverbend.org.
Relish in the history of America's pastime with a VINTAGE BASEBALL TOURNAMENT at Heritage Village
Take a time machine into America’s favorite pastime with the Vintage Base Ball Tournament, in which players face off in the diamond as if it were 1869, the year baseball’s first professional team — the Cincinnati Reds — formed. Whether you’re rooting for the Cincinnati Red Stockings or the Cincinnati Buckeyes, you can watch the ballists hit the horsehide in historically accurate uniforms as they follow older customs and speak in vintage discourse — strikers, hurlers, judges, scouts and all. Spectators are encouraged to dress up. Starts 10 a.m. Saturday. Free. Heritage Village Museum, 11450 Lebanon Road, heritagevillagecincinnati.org.
Laugh your ass off at Cincy Shakes' ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS
Ready to laugh your ass off? Cincinnati Shakespeare Company has everyone doing just that with this contemporary version of Carlo Goldoni’s 1743 comic masterpiece, The Servant of Two Masters. Richard Bean’s update is a riot of mistaken identities, love triangles and live music. The story of an ambitious guy who over-promises and gets stuck between rival bosses was a 2011 hit in London and a Tony Award winner in New York. James Corden played the fast-talking schemer in both towns — before he was named host of The Late Late Show on CBS. This will be perfectly silly summer fare. Through July 5. $14-$36. 719 Race St., Downtown, 513-381-2273, cincyshakes.com.
SUNDAYCelebrate summer with a bowlful of tasty crustaceans at Washington Park's CLAMBAKE IN THE PARK Get your grub on, Louisiana style. This beach-themed party in the park will not only be serving up steamy bowlfuls of seafood goodness from Washington Platform but also features games and live music from Cajun rockers Robin Lacy & DeZydeco. For only $12, you can dig into a dish full of clams, shrimp, mussels and potatoes, along with corn on the cob and a dinner roll on the side. Other options are available, like steamed Maine lobster and chicken with waffle fries. Laissez les bon temps rouler! Noon-6 p.m. Free. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, washingtonpark.org.
Head to Horseshoe Casino for HOZIER with DAWES
Every now and then a musician with immense talent reaches the upper echelon of the Billboard charts. They don’t get there because they’re so hot or because they’re dating Diplo. They didn’t win a talent competition. They’re just truly gifted, have worked hard and made it. That is the story of Hozier. The Irish singer/songwriter came out of nowhere last year when his song, “Take Me To Church,” bombarded airwaves and started collecting awards. And, yes, by now we’re all pretty sick of it. But it’s hard to deny there’s talent there. You can hear it in the lyricism and imagery, the simple piano, that backing choir and, holy fuck, that voice. Yes, you’re tired of “Amen.” But bite your tongue. Hozier is changing the Pop world, and he’s bringing that sound to Cincinnati. Show up, clap and bask in the sound of the Delta. Hozier with Dawes plays Sunday at The Shoe at the Horseshoe Casino. Tickets/more info: caesars.com/horseshoe-cincinnati.
Bring your furry friend to SECOND SUNDAY ON MAIN
Everyone’s favorite Over-the-Rhine block party returns. Every second Sunday, Main Street turns into a themed fiesta with a beer garden, kids area, tons of vendors, food trucks, live music, specials at OTR shops and restaurants and, this month, doggie-friendly activities. It’s the “Dog Days” of summer Sunday, with a contest, dog parade and more, including live chef demos at Mr. Pitiful’s, an appearance by Clifford the Big Red Dog, adoptable dogs from Save the Animals, Cincinnati Pit Crew and VITAS Paw-Pals, and a grand opening celebration for GOODS, a thematic retail store celebrating “adventure.” Noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Free. Main Street between 12th and Liberty, Over-the-Rhine, secondsundayonmain.org.
Remember Leelah Alcorn with a COSPLAY FOR LEELAH ALCORN
The Diverse City Youth Chorus, Cincinnati Pride and the Cincinnati Comic Expo are bringing a one-day-only cosplay celebration (where you dress up as your favorite anime, video game, cartoon, comic book, etc. character) to Over-the-Rhine. Leelah Alcorn created her own avatar, Lazer Princess, and this safe setting will let everyone express their authentic selves. The day includes cosplay skits, karaoke, a costume contest and parade down Main Street, plus a handful of vendors. Noon-5 p.m. Sunday. $8; $10 day-of. Woodward Theater, 1404 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/diversecityyouthchorus.
Gorge on falafel at the MAHRAJAN LEBANESE FESTIVAL
The bounty of the Mediterranean comes to St. Anthony of Padua Church in Walnut Hills. Mahrajan features all sorts of Mediterranean eats, from fresh kibbee and hummus to grape leaves, falafel and baklava. Gorge yourself while belly dancers and Arabic bands take the stage, or watch a Middle Eastern Abaye fashion shows and modern Dabke folk dancing. Noon-8 p.m. Sunday. Free. St. Anthony of Padua Church, 2530 Victory Parkway, Walnut Hills, stanthonyofpaduachurch.com.
Close out the weekend with stand-up from JOHNNY BEEHNER
“I’ve been told that after two or three years of marriage, a lot of couples decide to have babies,” comedian Johnny Beehner told an audience on The Late Show with David Letterman. “My wife and I discussed this and we decided we are not ready for a baby, not even close. Incidentally, we do have a baby. We’re not ready for it, but we do have one. It’s one of those little girl ones.” In addition to appearing on the now-retired Letterman’s program, Beehner is a frequent guest on the Bob & Tom radio program. Thursday-Sunday. $8-$14. Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, gobananascomedy.com.
Several productions onstage at the moment have been so successful that tickets are scarce, if available at all: The opening show at Cincinnati Landmark Productions’ Warsaw Federal Incline Theater, The Producers — and in fact, the Inclines three-show summer season — is heavily subscribed, so the chance of finding seats at the last minute is slim. The same goes for the Commonwealth Theatre Company’s dinner-theater production of Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys at Northern Kentucky University. So let’s consider some other options.
I suspect your best bet for hilarity this weekend will be Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s production of One Man, Two Guvnors, which opens tonight. Playwright Richard Bean struck Gold with his adaptation of a 17th-century comedy, The Servant of Two Masters: He shifted it to the 1960s in Brighton, England, and put a fast-talking chap seeking a quick buck and a bite to eat. His greed puts him in a sticky predicament when he ends up working for two rival masters. It’s full of physical humor, improvisation, audience interaction — and a skiffle band with live musicians. The show was a smash hit in London in 2011 (one reviewer called it “the funniest show in the Western World”). When it moved to Broadway in 2012 it was nominated for seven Tony Awards. Need an evening of laughter? This is the show for you. It’s onstage through July 5. Tickets: 513-381-2273
If you want something a tad more serious, you might want to check out The Tramp’s New World, presented by Diogenes Theatre Company at the Aronoff’s Fifth Third Bank Theater. It turns Charlie Chaplin’s “Tramp” character into the sole survivor of an atomic blast. It’s a multidisciplinary piece that uses projections, physical comedy, music and silent-film technique to tell the story of the Little Tramp trying to create a new world from the ruins of the old. The show is performed by its creator, actor Rob Jansen, a Cincinnati native who spent six years in Cincy Shakes’ acting company; he performed with several companies and turned in memorable performances in Know Theatre’s productions of Corpus Christi and Angels in America. The Tramp’s New World had a well-received run in Washington, D.C., at Cultural DC’s Mead Theatre Lab, and it’s onstage here through Saturday evening. Tickets: 513-621-2787
At Falcon Theater in Newport, you can see Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins, an unusual work imagining interactions between the real historical individuals who succeeded in shooting American presidents. It features fascinating music and a story line about the American Dream and what happens when people see it slipping beyond their grasp. It’s at Newport’s Monmouth Theatre, which Falcon now owns and is renovating. Assassins is onstage through Saturday evening. Tickets: 513-479-6783
We follow a Scottish cop named Howie as he visits an island in search of a missing girl, only to find his investigation upended by the villagers’ stoic failure to cooperate. Edward Woodward is Howie, a pious Christian who is disturbed when he discovers that the islanders practice an occult Pagan faith that embraces Celtic rituals to help harvest their crops. Howie is horrified as he observes villagers copulating outside, putting frogs in their mouths to cure sore throats and donning bizarre animal masks.
The film, directed by Richard Hardy, has been christened “the Citizen Kane of horror movies,” but, if we’re sticking exclusively to Orson Welles metaphors, I would say it’s more like horror’s Touch of Evil; rather than reinventing the cinematic wheel, both films instead subvert their genres' expectations (Welles with noir, Hardy with horror) in ways that ultimately establish them as the apex of what that genre can offer. The Wicker Man, like Touch of Evil, exploits low angle shots and handheld cameras to elicit its menacing undertones that make it the creepy success it is. For sure, both filmmakers are able to use budgetary confines to their benefit; The Wicker Man’s camerawork, with its slow pans, cheap set pieces and lack of contrast, can seem almost amateurish in its levity, but it justly lets the actors carry the themes.
Interestingly, the film’s action is shot mainly during the day, an effective approach that instills a sense of the macabre in the bucolic. This can later be in seen in descendants like David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, another film that smudges horror and mystery in broad daylight. Diagetic folk music jangles throughout, and the carnal pressures between Howie, a virgin, and an innkeeper’s siren-daughter, Willow, are a dramatic thread that stretches taut across the parable, threatening to snap like the discordant strings heard in the film’s harrowing lyre motif.
It’s the dissonance of faith between Howie and the movie’s antagonist, Lord Summerisle, that affords the film a deserved cult status. Although he doesn't get as much screen time as he deserves, Christopher Lee’s convincing performance as the island messiah is a superb foil to Woodward’s oscillating states of prudishness and bewilderment. Unlike his Hammer Horror productions, Lee lends his thunderous baritone in an understated way, making his delusional puritanical incantations all the more perturbing and bolstering the film’s atmosphere.
Though the setting can resemble the Stone Ages (at one point there is a literal Stonehenge replica), The Wicker Man is an undeniable product of the ’70s in its aesthetics, and its wild, peculiar sexuality feels like a grotesque wink to the Summer of Love that had dissolved a few years prior. A note — the vertiginous twist that arrives in the third act of the film is much more of an experience if you avoid any of the movie’s posters, but no matter what, Lee’s most resounding line will haunt you: “Come,” he says almost without expression. “It is time to keep your appointment with the Wicker Man.”
Emily Begley: Since it’s supposed to stay in the high 80s all weekend (!!!), my boyfriend Mark and I are heading up to Soak City at Kings Island. Other than a potential trip down the lazy river, we’re planning on bringing towels and setting up camp beside the wave pool to read. (I just started Game of Thrones and am completely addicted.) On Saturday, I’m thinking about checking out a new park with the dogs, preferably one with a creek so they can swim.
Jesse Fox: BONNAROOOOOOOOOO!
David Watkins: This weekend I'm going to see RuPaul's Drag Race Season 7 contestant Miss Fame at Play Louisville! She'll be performing songs from her new album, Beauty Marked, available now on iTunes and Amazon.
Jac Kern: Lately my weekends have been resembling childhood summers in that I'm constantly checking out a new movie or two every week. Friday will definitely be another blast from the past as I see the new Jurassic World movie (in "Real D 3D"). One of my favorite area restaurants and West Side gem Vitor's Bistro has a five-course dinner for two special Saturday, so I might need to gorge myself there. Vitor's chef's choice dinners are always a win for my fiancé and me — especially as a couple of reformed picky eaters. Not knowing what dish you're about to receive (other than the fact that it's definitely going to be delish) is half the fun! If it's not too hot or rainy I'd love to take my dog Wonton to Mt. Airy Dog Park. If it is too hot or rainy, we'll stay home, maybe binge on some Orange Is the New Black, which goes live on Netflix at midnight (PST; 3 a.m. here), and await the Game of Thrones finale Sunday.
Wedding season has officially arrived, and that means parties, dinners, showers and more parties. Yikes! It’s the perfect blend between terrifying and awesome.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to host a dear friend’s rehearsal dinner at a creative space called The Living Room. The bride and groom are in their early 20s, so the theme we chose was more of a modern, rustic feel, decorated with a collection of various plants, aged white windowpanes, flowers in vintage beer bottles and a handmade chalk drawing of the Cincinnati skyline across the blackboard wall in the café.
I created a playlist for the occasion that would fit both their personalities and the central theme of the dinner, avoiding the expected Whitney Houston or Michael Bolton tracks. This soundtrack consists of Indie, Folk and Alternative music old and new that almost everyone in the wedding party would recognize as they poured through the speakers. Hearing them sing along as they picked at the hors d'oeuvres was just the icing on the cake. (Well, the cake didn’t come until after dinner).
Check it out and see if these (not overly-cheesy) love songs will fit well in your upcoming rehearsal dinner playlist!
“Sweet Disposition” – Temper Trap
This song is strong and delicate altogether. “…A dream, a laugh, a kiss, a cry,” are all pieces of love and what we feel when we’re in it. The rapid, spacey beat is not only gorgeous, but the lyrics are no less than short and powerful.
“Mess Is Mine” – Vance Joy
What’s mine is yours — for better and for worse. It’s the concept that when you’re with someone, they are a part of you. Their problems become your problems, and this upbeat, warm song with an honest message truly says it best.
“Grow Old With Me” – Tom Odell
This song is so stinkin’ sweet. It’s heartwarming, dreaming about a future with the one you love the most. Starting slow and fading into a quick tempo, Odell’s voice gradually expresses how intense it is to feel this way toward someone for the rest of your life. Oh, and how wonderful it is.
“Ends of the Earth” – Lord Huron
When you’re in a car, driving off into the unknown with your favorite human by your side holding your hand so lightly, this is the song you want to have playing. “To the ends of the earth, would you follow me?” If marriage is an adventure, would you?
“Ho Hey” – The Lumineers
This lovely little song (already known by most) is the simplest way of saying you and your “sweetheart” belong together. It’s catchy, it’s happy and it’s even a sweet song to dance along to. The clapping alongside the rustic instruments will be enough to you get you on your feet with your partner, spinning around and loving how much you love them.
“She (For Liz)” – Parachute
I had to throw this song on here simply because the name of the bride is — you guessed it — Elizabeth. It’s that “she, she, she, story-of-a-girl” song that describes the uniqueness of one woman that makes a man love her over anyone else. Although Parachute doesn’t exactly say the name “Liz”, it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
“Budapest” – George Ezra
This semi-recent song by George Ezra (whose baby face does NOT match his soothingly-deep voice) describes the passion one human has for another, so strong they would leave even the greatest things in their life. Those materialistic things have no place over that person.
“XO” – John Mayer
Almost any John Mayer on your rehearsal dinner playlist is pretty much a necessity, considering the guy’s voice practically has love embedded in it. Recreating an acoustic cover of Beyoncé’s single ‘XO’, Mayer easily gives an already beautifully written song a slower, more soothing twist for listeners looking to feed their love-struck minds.
“Like Real People Do” – Hozier
This one is a bit different. My interpretation is that the past is in the past — and however scary the future is, they should let it be. When you’re in love with someone so deeply, sometimes it’s easier to put the pain of the past away and focus on the beauty of what’s to come. Hozier did a heavenly job of putting it, pairing it with its light and angelic melody.
“Home” – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
“Home is wherever I’m with you.” YES. We love this one because that Southern-Folk sound and those sweeter-than-apple-pie lyrics can make a person feel so freaking giddy inside. It’s meant to make you feel like you really are home anywhere you go, but the reality is, it’s because of whose by your side.
Good morning, all. Here's the news today.
Cincinnati Police, including Chief Jeffrey Blackwell, yesterday held a press conference about the shooting death of 22-year-old QuanDavier Hicks by CPD officer Doris Scott. Hicks died on the scene of the shooting in Northside. Police officials say that Scott and fellow officer Justin Moore, who was on his third day with the Cincinnati Police Department, were on a second-floor landing of Hicks’ apartment building at Chase Avenue knocking on a door looking for him when Hicks opened up an adjacent door and immediately pointed a rifle at the officers. Moore then grabbed the rifle barrel and Scott shot Hicks in the chest.
The official police version of events says that a 911 call from an address on Colerain Avenue caused officers to be dispatched to Hicks’ address.
“Hicks is known to both the 911 caller and the caller’s boyfriend,” Blackwell said during the news conference. The caller said Hicks had a key to her house and had entered without her permission.
“He’s talking about coming to kill me and all this other stuff,” the woman said in the call, which police played for the press. A dispatcher asked if Hicks carried weapon, and the caller responded, “he probably do,” saying others have told her he had a weapon, though she admitted she had never seen him with one. Officers then went to Hicks’ address at 1751 Chase Avenue to try and find him, leading to the shooting.
Hicks has a few minor drug possession violations in Hamilton County, according to clerk of courts records. Police officials say he has a criminal charge in his former home of Atlanta, but did not provide details about that history, saying they were still waiting for more information.
Meanwhile, another side of Hicks’ life has come out from neighbors and family members, who describe him as a kind man who they have a hard time imagining brandishing a rifle, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Family members are demanding to know more details about the incident, as are community members and police accountability activists.
Dozens lingered at the scene of the shooting afterward, where rumors circulated that the police kicked down Hicks' door. Two men were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after police say they tore down caution tape around the scene. We'll update with their names when we have them. Some, including members of activist group Cincinnati Black Lives Matter, question that and other police assertions, however.
The group released a statement yesterday demanding a full, transparent investigation, the release of any audio or video evidence and the release of the two people arrested for disorderly conduct after the incident. The group is holding a rally at Hoffner Park in Northside at 6 p.m. today.
"Black Lives Matter Cincinnati (BLMC), offers condolences to the family and friends of 22 year old Quandavier Hicks," the group said in the statement. "Conflicting information has circulated regarding whether Hicks was armed, yet we stand with Quandavier Hicks’ family in this challenging moment and call for an immediate release of all details of police conduct in this shooting. This incident has fueled righteous suspicion of the police and heightened existing tensions resulting in the arrest of two individuals at the crime scene. Aaron Roco, BLMC organizer witnessed the two arrests at the crime scene stated, 'At no point did either of the arrestees cross the police lines, they were vocally criticizing the police killing of their neighbor and the cops just grabbed them out of the crowd.' "
About the officers: Moore previously served with the University of Cincinnati Medical Center Police, and before that, was a long-time officer in Clermont County. Scott is an eight-year veteran of the Cincinnati Police Department. Her record with the Citizen’s Complaint Authority shows four minor complaints about discourtesy and lack of service. She was exonerated on two of those. Both officers are on a seven-day leave from the department. Meanwhile, investigations continue into the shooting. Blackwell says at this early point that officers seem to be justified in the incident, but cautioned that the investigation is far from over.
Here is audio of Blackwell’s press conference, including the 911 recording (I don't have my audio editing software here, so the chief's remarks begin at 1:58, the 911 call at 2:40) and the police incident report CityBeat has obtained through an open records request.
• Are you a cyclist who could use some pointers on riding around the city's coming streetcar? Queen City Bike and Cincinnati Red Bike are offering free workshops on cycling safety around the streetcar every second Saturday of the month. Those workshops will offer tips on how to ride safely alongside the streetcar, how to cross tracks without taking a spill and other things you need to know. The classes will run until October.
• I gave you a lot of local news yesterday, so I'm going to finish this thing off today with a bunch of state news you should know about. The first is about the Republican-led state Senate's budget proposal, which could cut funding for county child protective services agencies by $17 million next year through the phasing out of tax reimbursements. The budget would give $600,000 less than even the House's bare-bones budget to child protective agencies at a time when Ohio already ranks last in spending on such services and Hamilton County's Job and Family Services faces large-scale changes after tragic deaths of children who needed protective services.
* Also in the Senate's budget: a measure that could cost affordable housing efforts and aid to the homeless millions. The measure would take half of the money currently received by the state's Housing Trust Fund, which is compiled from county recorder fees and used for affordable housing projects and homelessness prevention efforts, and distribute it back to Ohio's 88 individual counties to spend how they see fit. Given that county governments generally tack conservative in Ohio, it's not hard to see how that could lessen the pot of money available for affordable housing here and in many Ohio counties. Advocates are trying to convince lawmakers to strip that measure from the budget before the General Assembly passes it on to Gov. John Kasich for his signature. Also on the potential chopping block: state historic tax credits, which could seriously slow redevelopment efforts in neighborhoods like OTR.
• Have you been wondering what's new with Kasich's campaign for president? Let's spend a few minutes finding out what's up with John these days. The big news is that his super PAC has hired Fred Davis, creator of some of the most... um... creative political ads of the last few years. Davis' ads, like the so-called "Demon Sheep" ad (just click the link and watch) are, by my subjective aesthetic and narrative standards, totally awful. A few samples of dialogue from these videos: "He's not in it for the balloons." Also: "I'm not a witch." Can you picture Kasich saying either of those things? Hilarious. But they do stick out from the crowd of boring political TV spots, which I guess is kind of the point.
• Finally, I just wanna say I'm bummed that Ornette Coleman died. One of my all time favorite jazz musicians.
Hello all, there are a couple big stories happening this morning so let’s get right to them.
• First, a Cincinnati Police officer shot a man last night in Northside. Police say the man, 22-year-old Quan Davier-Hicks, pulled a rifle on officers after they entered a home on the 1700 block of Chase Ave. around 11 p.m. last night. A struggle ensued and an officer, whose name has not been released, fired one shot and killed the man. Officers were looking for a suspect in a nearby report of aggravated menacing at the time, according to police officials. Some community members gathered near the scene after the shooting, and two men at the scene were arrested. They have been charged with disorderly conduct after police say they tore down police tape around the scene. This isn’t the first time an officer-involved shooting has happened in the area. In April 2011, police officer Andrew Mitchell shot David “Bones” Herbert on the same street. In 1999, another man, Michael Carpenter, was shot by police nearby. That shooting led to federal lawsuits against CPD. CityBeat has filed public records requests to find out more about the incident and subsequent arrests and will update as information becomes available.
• If you thought anything around the streetcar was going to get any easier or simpler any time soon, welcome to Cincinnati. You’ve obviously only lived here a few days. Sit down, because you’ve got a lot to learn. Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority officials yesterday presented to Cincinnati City Council’s transportation committee, and the proceedings very much resembled the streetcar itself: a slow-moving circular trip it seemed would run well into the evening. Some very interesting information did come out of the meeting, however, including details on the cost differences between the management bid, which would use SORTA’s union employees and cost about $4.7 million in the first year, and the turnkey option, which would allow a management company to hire its own workers. That option costs about $4 million, or about $200,000 under the city’s maximum budget for the transit project’s first year. If you do the math, you’ll see that the union bid is about $500,000 over that budget. But Council’s five Democrats say they’ll vote for the management scenario, saying they would like public employees to operate the streetcar and using SORTA employees will make it easier to them to hold operators accountable for performance.
Mayor John Cranley also supports the management option, but here’s the snag, and it’s a big one: Cranley is opposed to using city money to shore up streetcar spending. He wants to respond to the union-related operating bid’s cost overruns by cutting the streetcar’s operation frequency. SORTA President Dwight Ferrell said the streetcar would have to reduce operations by 30 percent to meet the spending limit under the management scenario. That, he said, would lead to a “death spiral” for the project, since most rail operations costs are fixed, no matter how many or few riders use a system. Democrats on council say they won’t let that happen, but Cranley has vowed to veto any attempt to spend more city money on the project. That looks likely to produce a stalemate, which could lead SORTA to pick the turnkey option by default. They’ve given an end of June deadline for a decision on the bids, and will have to pick the less-expensive option if no directive is handed down. SORTA by law can’t choose a bid for which money is not allocated, its officials say. Phew.
• City Manager Harry Black, Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell and Mayor John Cranley announced the city’s 90-day anti-violence initiative at a news conference today. That plan includes tweaks to off-duty time to make more officers available, two crews of walking officers in every district, added protection in parks and areas where kids play, and a curfew program — two churches will be curfew drop off centers for juveniles caught out after 10:00 pm (or midnight for 16 and 17 year olds) curfew.
“We will not sit on our hands waiting to take action,” City Manager Harry Black said of the plan. “When the weather turns warm, there’s usually a spike in crime. Unfortunately for us, this year’s spike was bigger than usual.” Black said that spike seems to be stabilizing now, however.
In delivering the plan, Blackwell cited the five goals of the city’s post-2001 collaborative agreement: police community partnership, trust between community and police, oversight of police department, equitable treatment for all, and engagement and transparency with the community.
“This was a collaborative effort with our clergy and our communities. We’re not going to be overly aggressive in our policing this summer. We’re not going to diminish other units,” Blackwell said. He stressed especially that the curfew element was not meant to be punitive. “It’s not our intent to criminalize curfew aggressively, but rather to take children and take them to a safe spot.”
According to Blackwell, much of the violence of late has revolved around “beefs,” or turf wars between a small group of people. It also has to do with illegal guns streaming into the city, he said.
“Criminal street guns are out of control. Not just in this city, but in every city.” CPD is partnering with feds to investigate gun crimes, find out where guns are coming from and eliminate them, according to Blackwell.
Mayor John Cranley said he’s pleased with the plan, but noted that if it doesn’t work, the administration will “try something else.”
“We’re here to support the chief and the police department. Shootings are unacceptably high, and while it’s true that’s a national trend, that’s no comfort to the families of the victims. Something’s in the air and we have to do something about it. They key is to keep trying to do new things until we get a result.”
Reverend Ennis Tait of the Church of the Living God in Avondale touched on the police-involved shooting in Northside before expressing support for CPD.
“It’s unfortunate we have to come on the heels of a tragedy last night, but it’s still good we’re here,” he said. “Today we stand with our city manager, our mayor and our police chief.”
Ok. So that’s a lot of big local news. I’ll leave my state and national updates for tomorrow. Tweet at me or e-mail me with news tips or anything else, really.