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by Staff 07.17.2015 131 days ago

Your Weekend To Do List (7/17-7/19)

Street parties, cats, plays, Ant-Man, Star Trek + Pops and more



“Perma-kitten” Lil Bub — the Internet, TV, movie and book sensation — uses her looks to help others. The Bloomington, Ind., feline with the perpetually visible tongue and bulging eyes has raised more than $300,000 for animals in need. Now she’s headed to Leapin’ Lizard Gallery in Covington for an art show to benefit Ohio Alleycat Resource. The Madisonville spay/neuter clinic and no-kill shelter has an especially soft spot for cats like Bub, a former feral with dwarfism and other physical oddities. Help support homeless kitties not as lucky to have their own “dude” and 2 million Facebook likes. The 7-9 p.m. meet-and-greet with Bub is sold-out with a wait list, but you can still attend the silent auction, shop for works by local artists and soak up the bubbly Bub spirit. Music by Dublin Defense, hors d’oeuvres, cash bar. 7 p.m.-midnight Friday. $20. Leapin’ Lizard, 726 Main St., Covington, Ky., ohioalleycat.org.

Comedian, best-selling author, screenwriter and actress Jen Kirkman is the voice for what the world is actually thinking, and her stand-up act is an honest and humorous way of saying exactly what’s on her own mind. Not only is Kirkman well-known for her frequent appearances on Comedy Central’s Drunk History and @midnight, her Netflix Original debut I’m Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine) began streaming this summer. Join Kirkman alongside comic, actress, writer and television host Brooke Van Poppelen as they take over the stage at the Taft Theatre. 8:30 p.m. Friday. $15. Taft Theatre, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown, tafttheatre.org

Back in February 2005 I was in New York City to see some shows, and at the last moment (on a Saturday afternoon) I was offered the chance to see a new off-Broadway show I hadn’t heard of, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. I was totally charmed by the tale of adolescents (played by young adult actors) competing in a spelling contest, and I told acquaintances afterwards that it would surely become a staple of universities and community theaters. The production currently offered by the Commonwealth Theatre Company at Northern Kentucky University’s Stauss Theatre, where Spelling Bee is being presented as the second of two summer dinner theater shows. Directed by Roderick Justice, Spelling Bee works because Rachel Sheinkin’s script has created a half-dozen youngsters who are quirky and intense, some nervous and others cocky. Presented by Commonwealth Theatre Company at Northern Kentucky University. Continues through July 26. artscience.nku.edu.

Rodger Pille as John Adams in '1776' at Incline Theatre
Photo: Mikki Schaffner
The musical 1776 requires a cast of about two dozen strong male singers and actors to portray our founding fathers. They were a querulous bunch with opinions from all points on the political spectrum, not too different from today’s politicians, in fact. This production at the new Incline Theater has rounded up fine cast of performers, led by Rodger Pille as feisty Boston attorney John Adams, the flash point in the back-and-forth argument about whether the colonies should declare their independence from England. The show’s opening number, “Sit Down, John” announces immediately that we will meet a crowd of very human characters. Through July 26. $26 adults; $23 students. Warsaw Federal Incline Public Theater, 801 Matson Place, Price Hill, cincinnatilandmarkproductions.com.

Paul Rudd in 'Ant-Man'
Photo: Disney/Marvel
Writer-director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) and his creative partner Joe Cornish (director of Attack the Block) had a dream — long before such things were practical — to bring one of their favorite comic book superheroes to life. They wanted to bring Ant-Man to the big screen, so they set about the task of penning a screenplay for Wright to helm. The pair imagined Paul Rudd as their heroic little Ant-Man, a burglar named Scott Lang seeking a shot at redemption and to provide for his young daughter. What Ant-Man proves to be is a capable independent heist movie — think Mission: Impossible meets Fast Five with weird and wacky dollops of The Usual Suspects and To Catch a Thief thrown in for good measure — that also happens to be a wonderful Scott Pilgrim twist on what a Marvel superhero should look like. Every detail, both big (Michael Douglas) and small (Peña), works to alter our perceptions of we mean when we talk about this genre and those crazy expectations. 

Pendleton transforms into a sort of Fast & Furious franchise with the inaugural Danger Wheel, a downhill big-wheel race fundraiser where adults get to climb onto over-sized big-wheels and race down 12th Street to win the title of Danger Champion. This outdoor event features not only an epic crash-course, but also booths by local breweries including Madtree, Rhinegeist, Christian Moerlein and more, as well as food from food trucks, streetpops and Nation Kitchen+Bar. Guest and fans, BYOS (bring your own seat) and get a great view. Big-wheels will be provided for racers. 4-11 p.m. Saturday. Free. 378 E. 12th St., Pendleton, dangerwheel.com.

'Star Trek'
Photo: Paramount Pictures

Live long and prosper with an in-sync live performance of the score to the 2009 blockbuster Star Trek (PG-13). Held at the Taft Theatre, the Hollywood extravaganza will be thrillingly soundtracked by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra with Constantine Kitsopoulos as conductor. Watch the film, the first in the latest Star Trek franchise reboot, and listen to Oscar-winning composer Michael Giacchino’s score whether you’re reuniting with Captain Kirk and Spock or a newbie aboard the starship Enterprise. You should probably wear a costume to this galactic journey through time, space and music. “Beam me up, Scotty.” 7:30 p.m., Saturday. $10-$60. Taft Theatre, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown, tafttheatre.org.

Cincy Summer Streets
Photo: Provided
Cincy Summer Streets — a program that converts streets from dangerously busy thoroughfares for motorized traffic to idyllic urban playgrounds for pedestrians and cyclists, at least for a few hours — kicks off its 2015 season on Saturday in Walnut Hills. East McMillan Street will be reserved for such activities as cycling (rental bikes are available), jump-roping, lawn bowling, mini-golf, hula-hooping, yoga, crosswalk-painting and more. Two more Summer Streets events, sponsored by Interact for Health and the Haile Foundation, are planned in Northside on Aug. 23 and Over-the-Rhine on Sept. 26. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. East McMillan Street, between Victory Parkway and Chatham Street, Walnut Hills, cincysummerstreets.org.

Blessid Union of Souls
Photo: Provided
Bastille Day is fun because it’s a holiday based entirely on the fact that a bunch of French peasants went and guillotined a bunch of French aristocrats — a bit like our Fourth of July Independence Day celebration, but bloodier. To fête the beginning of the French Revolution, the city of Montgomery will be holding a Bastille Day celebration, with Cincinnati favorite Blessid Union of Souls (they of “Hey Leonardo (She Likes Me for Me)” fame) headlining an evening of entertainment. There will also be street café vendors, a kids’ area, an animal show and 60-minute historic walking tours of old Montgomery. Noon-11 p.m. Saturday. Free. Downtown Montgomery, between Cooper and Remington roads, montgomeryohio.com.

Thing-stead installation
Photo: Aaron Walker
Two veterans of Cincinnati’s co-op gallery scene, now students at the University of Illinois at Chicago, will present their strange and fascinating new project, Thing-stead artist-books, Saturday night at Camp Washington’s Wave Pool gallery. And given that Chris Reeves’ and Aaron Walker’s work is deeply inspired by Fluxus, the mixed-media (or “intermedia”) movement of the 1950s and 1960s in which avant-garde art was made with a spirit of fun, the 7-10 p.m. Wave Pool event will be a happening. It will include readings and performances. Read the full story here. 7-10 p.m. Saturday. Wave Pool, 2940 Colerain Ave., wavepoolgallery.org.

Lux Alptraum
Photo: Provided
“It’s just taking a loving and humorous look at how terribly we tackle such an important topic,” says sex educator and comedian Lux Alptraum of her show The Wonderful World of Boning: Sex Ed with a Sense of Humor, a new outcropping of the popular Found Footage Festival series. “I had these movies in my house and I thought I should really show them to the world,” she says. “I decided to do a sort of Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment.” So she enlisted some comedian friends to say funny things about the vintage sex-ed films. Joining Alptraum to poke fun at the films, as it were, will be Joe Gordon, a former writer for The Onion. 8 p.m. Sunday. $10. Thompson House, 24 E. Third St., Newport, Ky., thompsonhousenewport.com.

'Clybourne Park'
Photo: Provided

Community theaters often produce tried-and-true shows that keep people laughing and happy. But Sunset Players isn’t afraid to make its audiences think, and that’s what will be happening over the next two weeks with a production of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning script, set in a Chicago neighborhood in 1959 and 2009. In the first act, white community leaders try to prevent the sale of a home to a black family. In Act II, the same house is the focus as the African-American neighborhood struggles to hold its own against redevelopment. It’s an ambitious show that’s important in today’s world. Through July 25. $12-$14. The Arts at Dunham Center, 1945 Dunham Way, Western Hills, 513-588-4988, sunsetplayers.org.

Vent Haven Museum
Photo: Cameron Knight

Little-known fact: Northern Kentucky is home to the Vent Haven Museum, the world’s only museum dedicated to the art of ventriloquism. And Sunday marks their annual fundraiser show, Double Talk, a fun and raucous afternoon of comedy, audience participation and ventriloquist dolls (don’t call them puppets). Featuring performances from around the country, including the No. 1 female ventriloquist in the U.S., Lynn Trefzger; young up-and-comer Peter Dzubay from Connecticut; and Tristate favorite Denny Baker. 3 p.m. Sunday. $20 advance; $25 door. Notre Dame Academy Performing Arts Center, 1699 Hilton Drive, Park Hills, Ky. ventshow.com.

An image of the Nez Perce's Chief Joseph on display in 'Enduring Spirit'
Photo: Edward Curtis
Edward Curtis was an early 20th-century American ethnologist and photographer who captured the disappearing world of the American Indian. In the Taft Museum’s Enduring Spirit exhibit, Curtis chronicles the living culture of Native Americans from 1900-1930 through gelatin silver photographs, cyanotypes and platinum prints, among others. Profoundly moving, the images depict everything from powerful portraits of men, women and children to Navajo riders, painted lodges and teepees, and a famous and striking image of the Nez Perce’s Chief Joseph, a crusader who led his people against the U.S. government when they were forcibly removed from their ancestral lands in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to the exhibit, check out Saturday Sounds (noon-2 p.m.) on the terrace, with live music from Full Moon Ranch. Through Sept. 20. $10 adults; $8 seniors/students; $4 youth. Taft Museum of Art, 316 Pike St., Downtown, taftmuseum.org.

by Nick Swartsell 07.17.2015 131 days ago
Posted In: News at 09:34 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Morning News and Stuff

Toby Keith didn't love this bar that much; jilted Trump still hating on Macy's; DeWine to investigate Planned Parenthood

Good morning all. Here’s your news today.

Well, Toby Keith says his favorite bar has winners and losers, but it seems like Mr. Keith himself is on the losing end lately. The country star’s Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill location at The Banks was shuttered suddenly yesterday, reportedly due to being a year behind on its rent. That’s the fifth Toby Keith’s location to close recently; the chain’s Minneapolis, Houston, Mesa, Ariz. and Folsom, CA locations have also shut down. The bar is the fourth closure at Cincinnati’s highly-touted riverfront development, which has taken more than a decade to materialize. Last year, soul food restaurant Mahogany’s closed there with much controversy and original tenant Johnny Rockets has also pulled out of the development. Representatives with Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate Inc., which handles leasing for the development, say they’re confident another tenant will fill the space in short order. Mahogany’s location is now filled with Santo Graal, while the Johnny Rocket’s location has yet to be filled.

• If you’re holding your breath that some how, some way, a new morgue and crime lab could still come to the former Mercy Mt. Airy hospital, well, you can breathe now because it ain't gonna happen. Crews began tearing down the building yesterday. The hospital group had made efforts to donate the building to Hamilton County after closing the location in 2013. But after paying more than $1 million in upkeep costs for the building, Republican Hamilton County commissioners balked at the cost of retrofitting the facility to house the county’s critically-overcrowded crime lab, morgue and other county offices. Political considerations also played a part — Democrats, including commissioner Todd Portune, were opposed to a proposal that would have put the county’s board of elections at the location, saying it was too far removed from the neighborhoods were many low-income, non-driving voters lived. Mercy will hold onto the vacant land the hospital has occupied for now until it finds a suitable buyer.

• Breaking news: Donald Trump still doesn’t like Macy’s. After the GOP presidential nomination contender last month made some pretty racist comments about Mexicans, equating immigrants to rapists and murderers, Macy’s ceased carrying his line of paisley-infected menswear. Trump at the time said Macy’s didn’t account for much of his sales anyway, and that he wanted to pull out from the store. But that wasn’t enough, apparently. Trump has continued to dump on the Cincinnati-based retailer, saying they “suck and are bad for America.” Trump also revealed he was friends with Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren and felt personally betrayed by the department store’s decision. But wait, didn’t Trump say he decided to leave? Welcome to the wacky world of the Donald, who is currently one of the top-polling picks for the GOP presidential nomination. Pop up some popcorn because I could sit back and watch this feud between the megalomaniacal real estate tycoon and big old corporate entity all day. It’s like Godzilla vs. Mothra, only Godzilla had better hair than Trump does.

• I told you yesterday about the recent controversy over some low-scoring online charter schools left out of a report on the effectiveness of Ohio’s charter school authorization groups, a move that seems to have broken Ohio law. Republican State Auditor Dave Yost has since said he’s “concerned” about that omission and is examining the situation, but is not yet launching an official investigation. The groups measured in the study oversee charter schools across the state. The Ohio Department of Education’s Director of Quality School Choice and Funding David J. Hansen is responsible for the oversight, which left a number of online charter schools with “F” grades on state performance rankings out of a consideration of charter school performance. Hansen, incidentally, used to helm a pro-charter conservative education think tank called Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions. He’s also the husband of Kasich’s presidential campaign manager, Beth Hansen. It’s unclear when or if an official state investigation into the omission will begin.

• A new law signed yesterday by Gov. John Kasich takes some restrictions off the drug naloxone, allowing the medicine to be more quickly and easily administered to heroin overdose victims. The new rules allow doctors to give the drug to individuals who can administer it to friends or family having an overdose. It also relaxes rules on pharmacies, who can now distribute it without a prescription in certain cases.

• Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has announced he will investigate Ohio Planned Parenthood clinics after a video came to light earlier this week allegedly showing a high-level member of that organization talking about organs from aborted fetuses. A California-based conservative group says it posed as organ buyers and that the official, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, is shown discussing the sale of organs from fetuses. That’s illegal, though not-for-profit donation of organs with a woman’s permission is allowed in many states.. Planned Parenthood says that’s exactly what is going on in the video. Dr. Nucatola is heard at one point in the video saying, “nobody should be selling tissue. That’s just not the goal here.” Republican lawmakers in D.C. and a number of states have jumped on the video, calling it disgusting and demanding all public funding be stripped from Planned Parenthood. Despite denials of wrongdoing, Planned Parenthood did apologize for Nucatola’s tone and statements in the video, saying they didn’t reflect the organization’s goal of providing compassionate care. The group says Nucatola has been ‘reprimanded” for her statements. Though the video wasn’t filmed in Ohio, DeWine has vowed to investigate Planned Parenthood in the state to make sure they’re following all laws related to handling of fetal tissue.

That’s it for me today. Tweet at me or e-mail with suggestions for the best summer swimming spots. It’s getting hot out there.

by Rick Pender 07.17.2015 131 days ago
Posted In: Theater at 08:25 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
complete tom - queen city flash - photo provided

Stage Door

A weekend for summer theater, indoors and outside

Every year, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati brings together a group of young professionals who spend a season at the Over-the-Rhine theater understudying roles, working backstage, helping build sets and run lights and sound — learning the ins and outs of professional theater. Many of them stick around town continuing their lives in the theater. Several of them will come together at Washington Park on Sunday evening at 6 p.m. for a free performance of Still Life with Iris, a play by Steven Dietz. The 1996 script is an adventure about a little girl’s search for the simplest of things: home. She lives with her mom on a magical island where by night workers make things seen in the world by day. The rulers are determined to have the best of everything on their island, so they kidnap Iris and bring her to be their daughter, leaving her with no memory of her home or family. She joins with friends she meets on her journey as she embarks on a quest to return home. The family-friendly play, written in 1998, was the first to receive the Kennedy Center’s Fund for New American Plays Award. The cast is comprised entirely of former ETC interns, including: Jared D. Doren (1996), Sara Mackie and Burgess Byrd (2000), Daniel Winters (2005), Lisa DeRoberts (2011), Ben Raanan and Jared Earland (2014), and Molly Israel and Patrick Phillips (2015).

The summer theater company, Stone on a Rock, is back for the second production of its second season with a new version of Aristophanes’ ancient comedy Lysistrata. The company focuses on productions that are “short, sweet and cheap.” This one is a time-tested farce about the women of Greece giving their husbands an ultimatum: Stop waging war or no more sex. Maybe they can next bring their strategy to bear on Greece’s current financial crisis? Performances are at Simple Space, 16 E. 13th St., Over-the-Rhine. Tickets ($10) can be purchased at the door.

Another summer company is presenting the 1998 Tony Award-winning musical Ragtime at Highlands High School’s Performing Arts Center (2400 Memorial Parkway in Ft. Thomas). The Commonwealth Artists Summer Theatre (C.A.S.T.) is led by theatre instructor Jason Burgess; his cast includes students from Anderson, Walnut Hills, Newport Central Catholic, Cincinnati Country Day, Seven Hills, Highlands, Scott High Schools and more. Ragtime is a remarkable show with great music (composed by Stephen Flaherty, a graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music). Set at the dawn of the 20th century, it’s a time of change and possibility in the volatile melting pot New York City. The show tells three interwoven stories — a stifled upper-class wife, a determined Jewish immigrant and a daring young Harlem musician — united by courage, compassion and belief in the promise of the future. It’s being presented for two weekends, opening tonight and continuing through a matinee on July 26. Tickets ($10) can be reserved at http://www.showtix4u.com. (Remaining unreserved seats may be purchased at the door one hour prior to each performance.)

Queen City Flash, Cincinnati’s flash-mob theater company, is up to the third installment of its four-part play cycle of Mark Twain’s tales of Tom Sawyer. This part, The Complete Tom: 3. Abroad, is performed by three actors and an array of puppets. For this episode, the characters of Tom, Huck Finn and Jim the runaway slave are on a trans-Atlantic voyage in a Jules Verne-like airship. Free performances begin at 8 p.m. but the outdoor locations remain secret until 4 p.m. when an email is sent to ticket holders with a map and parking instructions. (The fourth installment is set to happen in August.) Tickets — no charge — can be reserved at http://www.QueenCityFlash.com

You can stay at home on Saturday evening, if you prefer, and enjoy a radio theater production of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac by LA Theatre Works, broadcast on WVXU-FM 91.7 at 8 p.m. The story of the brash 17th-century soldier-poet with an oversized nose is also a tale of love and longing. The audio production features Hamish Linklater, Jason Ritter, Devon Sovari and Gregory Itzin. This is your chance to get prepared for Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s season opening production (Sept. 11-Oct. 13).

Continuing productions of 1776 at the Incline Theater (513-241-6550) and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (859-572-5464) are both worth seeing.

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

by Nick Swartsell 07.16.2015 132 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:14 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
news pendleton

Morning News and Stuff

City to scrutinize minority contracts in wake of Evans investigation; grownups ride big wheels through Pendleton; Kasich campaign group hires pro-gay GOP group leader

Good morning Cincy. Here’s what’s up in the news today.

The city of Cincinnati is instituting new measures to vet minority-owned businesses in the wake of a federal investigation of Evans Landscaping, which is suspected of minority hiring fraud. Evans subcontracted to minority-owned Ergon Site Construction LLC for $1.9 million in demolition contracts with the city and more than $8 million in state contracts meant for minority-owned businesses. Lawsuits between the two companies have drawn scrutiny as to whether Evans was using Ergon as a “front” company to funnel contracts meant for minority-owned businesses to Evans. Ergon was formed in 2010 by an Evans IT consultant. Now, the city says it will better scrutinize the minority contracts it awards to make sure the minority-owned businesses it is awarding contracts to aren’t just fronts for larger companies.

• Kokosing Construction Company has been fined for its role in the fatal overpass collapse near I-75 that took the life of worker Brandon Carl in January. The out-of-service overpass was being demolished when it collapsed, killing Carl. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration investigated that accident and found that Kokosing didn’t do enough to inspect the overpass before placing heavy machinery on it that it could not support. OSHA has suggested $14,000 in fines against the company, which Kokosing has agreed to pay. The company will also utilize third-party firms to perform inspections over the next five years as part of the deal with OSHA.

• We’ve officially moved beyond adult kickball leagues as the vanguard of urban young professional weirdness. Adults on bigwheels are coming to Pendleton, the neighborhood just north of the Horseshoe Casino and just east of Over-the-Rhine. An event called Danger Wheel will take place this Saturday and involves 45 big wheel teams racing down the neighborhood’s streets. Each team paid $100 to be in the race, money that will be used to put up historical markers and planters around the neighborhood. Local brews, food trucks and music will also be on site for spectators. Question: Are the bigwheels standardized, or like, can someone come in with a souped-up super big wheel that runs on nitrous oxide and just take the whole thing?

• City Hall has a new assistant city manager, and unlike other recent big hires, he’s been promoted from within. John Juech is currently a senior policy advisor for City Manager Harry Black. Before that, he managed Vice Mayor David Mann’s office. The city’s other assistant city manager, Sheila Hill-Christian, is also new. She started in May. The duo replace outgoing Assistant City Manager Scott Stiles, who is departing to become city manager of Garden Grove, California, and Bill Moller, who departed his role for a job with the Uptown Consortium.

• Lawmakers filed a bipartisan bill in the Ohio House today that would abolish Ohio’s death penalty and replace it with a life without parole sentence. Lakewood Democrat Rep. Nickle Antonio and Miamisburg Republican Niraj Antani sponsored the bill. They argue high cost, moral problems and difficulty obtaining execution drugs are reasons why Ohio should stop executing inmates. This is the third time Antonio has filed the bill, and it’s unclear if it has better prospects among other lawmakers this time around. Antani says it’s an issue of limiting big government. “To me there can be no bigger government with no bigger power than the right to execute its own citizens," he said. "Even the chance that an innocent individual can be put to death is reason enough to repeal that."  

• Marijuana legalization group ResponsibleOhio received a final clearance to circulate petitions for a proposed law that would expunge certain drug convictions. The proposal, which needs about 92,000 signatures from Ohioans to come before the state legislature, would be a companion piece to the group’s marijuana legalization constitutional amendment, for which the group has collected more than 700,000 signatures across the state. Should at least 300,000 of those signatures prove valid, ResponsibleOhio’s proposal will go onto the November ballot. The group is proposing legalizing marijuana for anyone 21 and over but limiting commercial growth of the crop to 10 grow sites around the state controlled by the group’s investors. Should ResponsibleOhio get enough signatures for its companion expungement law, it will go before lawmakers next year.

• A group closely allied with Gov. John Kasich’s campaign has hired Matt David, a leader of a prominent pro-gay GOP group. David will work for New Day for America, a nonprofit supporting Kasich’s bid for president. In the past, David occupied a leadership role with Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, a pro-marriage equality group. Kasich has opposed gay marriage rights, but David’s hire could mean Kasich will attempt to make inroads into the LGBT community. Not that New Day for America’s new hire is a liberal: David worked on George W. Bush’s reelection campaign in 2004 and John McCain’s presidential run in 2008. The staffing decision comes as Kasich gears up for his official campaign launch next week.

by Jac Kern 07.15.2015 133 days ago
at 03:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

The All-Star Game brought thousands of people to Cincinnati this past week — most importantly, celebz! Snoop Dogg, Josh Hutcherson, Ciara and tons more famous types stopped by the city, so it only made sense that hometown Indie Pop crew Walk the Moon joined in on the fun. Watch them love on Cincy:

Walk the Moon has far surpassed local band status, so much so that their tunes are being co-opted for something more sinister than an MLB All-Star Game — pregnancy announcements. This is the year 2015 and people are horrible about shoving every life event down the collective throat of everyone on the Internet, but this really might be the worst one yet. #birthcontrol 

True Detective’s second season has reached its midpoint (yes, already) and that shit can still be hard to follow. At a certain point, all the disheveled men and highway shots and rail project talks just start to blur together. We Get the World We Deserve (a reference to Season One) is a handy little blog with graphic depictions of TD characters and plot points. If that doesn’t help, at least there’s a lot less people to keep track of after last week’s episode…

Big ups to A.V. Club for pointing out that Velcoro’s partner/sloppy detective Teague Dixon is also Warren from There’s Something About Mary. Show off that range, W. Earl Brown!

Amy Schumer’s first major film opens this week, in case you haven’t noticed the comedian's takeover of all media over the past few months. Let’s be clear: Amy Schumer is bae. She’s smart, funny and talented. I love her Comedy Central show and just her in general as a human (in my mind). But if we don’ back off on some of the Amymania, girl is gonna get thrown out to the curb like Lena Dunham. Attention, world: it’s OK to like more than one funny, outspoken non-stick figure at one time!

Anyway, here’s an interview with Schumer with Jon Hamm stepping in as her Trainwreck co-star Bill Hader.

The Comic-Con to end all comic-cons returned to San Diego for the 45th year last weekend, and with it came a treasure trove of celebrity panels, exclusive trailers and epic costumes. What used to be a fest devoted to comic books and sci-fi/fantasy movies has expanded into an overall celebration of all pop culture (Last Man on Earth, Food Network and Gumby all had a presence at this year’s event.)

Peep some of the best cosplay here and here, and find trailers for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, The Walking Dead and new companion series Fear the Walking Dead and more here.

Fans of zombie media and those of boy bands have to be some of the most enthusiastic in all of fandom. So, naturally, a zombie movie starring former boy banders would be a huge success, right? That’s what Syfy is banking on with its upcoming flick, Dead 7. The Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter wrote, directed and will star (!!!) in the movie alongside bandmate A.J. McLean and *NSYNC’s Joey Fatone. What more could you ever possibly want?

Japp’s, Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar, Wiseguy Lounge and Newberry Bros Coffee all made The Bourbon Review’s list of the country’s top 75 bourbon bars. Cheers!

Lachey’s Bar, the A&E reality series about…Lachey’s Bar in Over-the-Rhine, premieres tonight. Tune in at 10:30 p.m. after Wahlburgers and Donnie Loves Jenny, as part of what is apparently A&E’s Last Grasp at Fame time block. Read more about what's on TV this week here.

As if Comic-Con trailers weren’t enough, two more just dropped that look great. And by great, I mean Amy Poehler + Tina Fey; Jennifer Lawrence — 'nough said.

by Colleen McCroskey 07.15.2015 133 days ago
Posted In: local restaurant, Openings at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
calle sangria

Calle Cantina Now Open in Mount Adams

Sprout and Mazunte combine forces to create a Mexican cantina on the hill

Mount Adams welcomed another new eatery last week with the opening of Calle (kai-yay), a Mexican street-food cantina in the Pavilion Street spot that formerly housed Tap and Go. 

Whit Hesser of Sprout and Mazunte owner Joe Wamsley teamed up to inject some culinary diversity into the top of the hill, focusing their concise menu on huaraches, a snack that’s as ubiquitous on the streets of Mexico City as hot dogs are in New York. They’re kind of like if tacos and pizza had a delicious street-food baby: an oblong masa (corn dough) flatbread, smothered in Mexican staples like chorizo, salsa, cilantro, queso fresco, onions, potato and anything else you could want to pile on. 

Calle will be offering three different types of huaraches: pollo verde, barbacoa and rajas (pepper), in addition to house-made chips, guacamole and roasted-chipotle salsa. They’ll also have eight draft beer taps, a limited wine selection and both their margaritas and red and white sangrias are made in-house — a smart decision, given that Mazunte’s sangria is arguably the best in the city. 

“It’s simple, efficient and delicious," says Wamsley. Salud.

Calle is located at 950 Pavilion St., Mount Adams. Current hours are 5-midnight Wednesday-Thursday (chips only late-night); 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday-Sunday (full menu). More info at callemtadams.com or facebook.com/callemtadams.
by Nick Swartsell 07.15.2015 133 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:14 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
joe deters

Morning News and Stuff

Deters: no hate crime charges for July 4 incident; Ohio Department of Education omitted failing charter school data; Obama announces initiative to provide broadband to low-income communities

Hey hey all. Our big, extended weekend basking in the MLB All-Star Game spotlight is over, and it seems like the city represented well. Our guy won the home run derby, we’ve got columnists expounding on the virtues of Cincinnati chili (and giving shoutouts to CityBeat) and even though the American League won the game, it was still a pretty fun time. Well done. But now it’s done.

The national media, hungover and chili-bloated, are packing up their gear. Snoop Dogg and the other A-listers have all gone home, or, more likely, to the super-exclusive ASG after party on a small island in the Caribbean. Meanwhile, a group of confused tourists is waking up after an all-night bender on a raft in the Ohio River composed entirely of a flotilla of thousands of discarded Red Bull cans and foam fingers. Someone get them out of there. All that means it’s back to the real world in Cincy. Here’s the news.

• Law enforcement and city officials say they’re pleased with how the ASG went down, with no violent incidents reported during the festivities. There was concern in the city after a July 4 incident on Fountain Square resulted in several arrests and an altercation left a man hospitalized, but city officials say the ASG, which drew an estimated 200,000 people to the city, went off without a hitch. The Cincinnati Police Department credits coordination among more than 25 organizations, including the Coast Guard, which helped patrol the Ohio River.

• Speaking of that July 4 incident, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters announced yesterday that his office would not be seeking hate crime charges against a group of men who allegedly beat 27-year-old Indiana man Christopher McKnight. McKnight is white, and his assailants were black. But Deters points out that there is no other evidence suggesting the crime was racially motivated. Deters has said he’ll be seeking felony charges against the four men suspected in the beating, calling them “a bunch of lawless thugs.” A video showing the altercation presents an ambiguous and incomplete record of the attack: It starts with one man fighting McKnight, followed by a few others jumping in as well while punching and kicking McKnight. At various times, McKnight is on the ground on the defensive, other times seemingly throwing punches, and at one point up moving around and raising his arms in a confrontational manner. Eventually, the action moves off-camera, where McKnight apparently sustained a broken nose, a concussion and wounds requiring stitches.

• The 19-year-old who turfed internationally recognized historic site and sacred Native American earthwork Serpent Mound will face a fine of about $4,000, community service, and a possible essay assignment about the site’s significance. Daniel Coleman Dargavelli hopped a curb and took a joyride over the site, leaving tire tracks along the ancient mound. Park officials say the damage is repairable but that the act showed serious disrespect for the sacred location.

• Did the Ohio Department of Education break the law by leaving out failing scores from online charter schools in an assessment of Ohio charter school performance? It seems so. The department’s charter school oversight director David Hansen admitted he omitted “F” grades for online charters from a report on charter school oversight. That report then showed charter schools and the organizations charged with overseeing them in a much more positive light. Hansen has said he did so because the failures of those schools “masked successes elsewhere” at more successful charters. But the omission is clearly against Ohio law, says State Sen. Peggy Lehner, who grilled Hansen yesterday on the missing data.

• Finally, President Barack Obama is set today to announce a test program designed to bring broadband Internet to more low-income households throughout the country. Obama will announce the initiative in the Choctaw Nation, a Native American community in Oklahoma, which will be one beneficiary of the pilot program. The initiative will also extend broadband access to about 275,000 households in 27 cities around the U.S. The eventual goal, according to the administration, is to extend high-speed internet access to every part of the country. Currently, a large gap exists in internet access for low-income communities. About 95 percent of households with adults with college degrees have access to internet, while only about 43 percent of households without high school diplomas have that access.

by Nick Swartsell 07.14.2015 134 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
rob portman

Morning News and Stuff

Lincoln Heights' struggles in national spotlight; Deters to address Fountain Square unrest; awkward times for Ohio GOPers

Good morning all. It’s news time, and the biggest news is something you probably already know: The Reds’ Todd Frazier won the MLB Home Run Derby last night in an amazing comeback, sending 14 over the fence in the final round of the tournament against Joc Pederson from the L.A. Dodgers. There were tons of fireworks, followed shortly afterward by a thunderstorm. It was that epic. This is only the second time someone has won the Derby on their home field — the Chicago Cubs’ Ryne Sandberg took the trophy at Wrigley Field in 1990. Frazier's victory is a great run-up to the big All-Star Game today.

Anyway, on to other news. The Atlantic yesterday published a big article on Lincoln Heights, the community just north of Cincinnati that was at one time one of the first primarily black self-governing cities in the country. And for a while, things were good there. Factory jobs assured good middle-class incomes and well-kept neighborhoods and schools. Famed poet Nikki Giovanni, musicians the Isley Brothers and other notable folks hailed from the burb. But systemic forces, including the way the city was incorporated by Hamilton County, conspired to hobble the community, and today it’s a struggling suburb with high poverty, no police force and crumbling schools. I’ve pitched this article to mags before and I’m a little bummed someone beat me to it, but I’m glad it’s being covered.

• Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters will hold a news conference at 11:30 a.m. today on the July 4 unrest at Fountain Square. Specifically, Deters is expected to address possible hate crime charges against three men accused of beating up Indiana native Christopher McKnight. Three men accused of the crime, who police arrested this week, are black. McKnight is white.

There has been some confusion about whether police believe the incident was racially motivated. An initial report by a responding officer called the altercation “anti-white” though police backpedaled on that assertion the next day. However, they reversed course again late last week when Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell asked the prosecutor’s office to pursue the hate crime charges. Video of part of the fight taken from a Metro bus doesn’t clear up the situation: It shows McKnight struggling with one individual, then shows a few others joining in the fight against him. McKnight is shown on both the defensive and pursuing and throwing punches during the altercation. Later, video shows him getting up and walking back and forth among the crowd with his hands up in an aggressive manner. He then wanders out of frame, where apparently a further fight took place that left him with a concussion and broken nose. It is unclear if police have more evidence that the altercation was racially motivated, or whether Deters will seek the hate crime charges in the case.  

• Major hotel company Winegardner and Hammons, Inc, and Eagle Realty, the real estate arm of Cincinnati-based insurance giant Western & Southern, yesterday received permission from the city’s Historic Conservation Board to go ahead with plans to turn the former Anna Louise Inn near Lytle Park downtown into a luxury hotel and restaurant. That approval comes after a number of aesthetic changes to the plans suggested at a conservation board meeting last month. Eagle purchased  the Anna Louise Inn after a protracted battle with Cincinnati Union Bethel, which had run a women’s shelter out of the building for more than a century. CUB had applied for state tax credits to help fund a renovation of the building. Western & Southern challenged the shelter’s receipt of those credits in court, arguing that the area wasn’t zoned for the building’s usage as a shelter. After lengthy court battles, CUB agreed to sell the building. The Anna Louise Inn recently relocated to Mount Auburn.

• Do you remember all those storms yesterday? Crazy stuff. All that wind and rain left more than 70,000 people in the region without power temporarily, according to Duke Energy. As of this morning, some 12,00 are still waiting for the lights to come back on. Some residents in North Avondale, Mount Healthy, North College Hill, Madisonville, Winton Woods, Fairfield and many other neighborhoods and suburbs in Ohio and Northern Kentucky remain without electricity. Some might have to wait days to have their power restored.

• GOP presidential politics in Ohio makes for some awkward situations, right? U.S. Sen. Rob Portman knows this all too well right now. Ohio’s Republican senator is currently polling behind his likely Democratic challenger, former governor Ted Strickland, in his battle for re-election in 2016. He needs a bit of help from his party, and, luckily, there’s a bright spot. Ohio will be a total political circus next year as both parties focus in on our state for the presidential election. That could play well for Portman, especially if Ohio Gov. John Kasich becomes the nominee.

Kasich’s presidential run would rally Republican voters around the state, an excitement that is almost sure to travel down-ballot and give Portman much-needed conservative votes. The only snag? Portman can’t really very wisely endorse Kasich. Portman has big ties to another GOP presidential hopeful, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has a much better chance of winning his party’s nomination at this point in the game. Portman needs Kasich, but he also doesn’t want to gamble on a long-shot candidate or burn his bridges with Bush. What’s a guy to do? Well, just stay quiet on the whole matter, it seems. Portman’s not endorsing anyone in the race. That’s tough luck for Kasich, who is having a bit of a hard time grabbing endorsements from some GOP bigwigs in Ohio, including Portman, Speaker of the House John Boehner and outspoken tea party U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan. U.S. Rep Steve Chabot, who represents Westwood, is also staying out of the primary endorsement game but puts Kasich’s chances among “the top five or six” GOP presidential nod hopefuls. Ouch.

That's it for me. Tweet at me. Email me. You know what's up.

by Nick Swartsell 07.13.2015 135 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:18 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Morning News and Stuff

Mother still searching for answers in police-involved shooting; three arrested for Fountain Square violence; can bike lanes ease economic and racial disparities?

Hey all! Was your All Star Game weekend rad? I spent the better part of mine far from the mass of ASG-related concerts and VIP invite-only parties, which are weird and a little like hosting a slightly unhip out-of-town guest who throws a party at your house for crusty old celebs on the other side of cultural relevancy (seriously, when was the last time you listened to a new Snoop Dogg track?) only you’re not invited. I’ll take Brighton or the Comet basement any day, though I hope if you hit up downtown you had a great time and got some autographs and free swag for your trouble.

Speaking of the ASG: If you’re trying to get into the actual game tomorrow and didn’t get your tickets a long time ago, it’ll cost ya now. Third-party tickets are running north of $800. That’s 100 $8 beers (is that the cost of a beer at the park? I'm sure it's something like that, right?) or a whole bunch of ballpark cheese coneys, just in case you’re keeping track.

• On to real news. About 30 protesters gathered with Erica Hicks-Woods and Rodriquis Woods, the parents of QuanDavier Hicks, outside Cincinnati Police Department District 1 headquarters in the West End Friday afternoon. Hicks’ parents drove from Atlanta for the rally and to ask questions of Cincinnati police about their son’s death. CPD officer Doris Scott shot the younger Hicks on a second-story stairwell near his Northside apartment after Hicks pointed a rifle at Scott and her partner, according to police. But Hicks-Woods says that version of events doesn’t add up to her, and she’s seeking more information. Hicks-Woods says police have barely spoken to her since the incident and that she’s been brushed off by the case’s lead investigator, who had promised her a meeting that day that was later cancelled. After rallying at the CPD station, Hicks-Woods spoke with Chief Jeffrey Blackwell, who promised a longer meeting over the weekend. She says she was also able to claim some of her son’s belongs which had previously been held, including a cellphone and a ring. An investigation into Hicks’ death is ongoing. CityBeat has requested all available public documents on the incident and will update the story as it unfolds.

• Authorities have arrested three men in connection with a beating that took place on Fountain Square July 4. Indiana resident Christopher McKnight was kicked and punched by a group of men during a period of unrest on the square. A video of the earlier portion of the incident shows McKnight wrestling against one man, then getting into a larger tussle with a few others before getting up, putting one of his shoes back on and walking back and forth in a crowd and raising his arms in an aggressive manner. Later, the altercation apparently continued, and McKnight sustained a concussion and other injuries requiring stitches. McKnight is white, and his assailants are black, which has led to suspicion that the attack was racially motivated. The responding officer on the scene initially described the attack as “anti-white” in police reports. CPD officials first disputed that assertion, but then said the incident may indeed have been a hate-crime. So far, police haven’t presented evidence or witness accounts supporting or disproving the hate crime accusation. Arrest documents for Raeshaun Hand, Antonio Tremble and Steven Montgomery, who were apprehended in connection with the attack, don’t show any indication they are charged with hate crimes at this point. The three face felonious assault charges. Police are looking for a fourth man suspected of participating in the incident as well.

• Here’s police item number three: Documents show the city administration offered CPD Chief Jeffrey Blackwell a year’s salary, or $136,000, a year extension of his health benefits, a $5,000 lump-sum payment and other concessions if he chose to leave the department. In return, Blackwell would have agreed not to sue the city, and both Blackwell and the city would have agreed not to make disparaging comments about each other to the media. Blackwell’s hypothetical departure made news earlier this summer when it was revealed the city had drawn up his walking papers. Blackwell said he wasn’t interested in leaving. City Manager Harry Black, who had the agreement drawn up, as well as Mayor John Cranley, both said they also wanted Blackwell to stay. The documents detailing the terms of the severance were released by the city at 5 p.m. last Friday, just before the city’s All-Star Game festivities kicked off in earnest. A Cincinnati Business Courier story questioned the timing of that release, saying it follows “a longstanding political and government strategy of pushing inconvenient news out at a time when few are paying attention.” Dang.

• The trial for the man accused of making threats to poison Speaker of the House John Boehner begins today. That charge carries a potential penalty of 10 years in prison. Michael Hoyt, 44, was a bartender at Boehner’s West Chester country club when he made threats to shoot Boehner or put something in his drink because he believed Boehner was the devil. Hoyt has a history of mental illness, and his attorneys have filed documents indicating they’ll be entering an insanity plea in the case.

• As Gov. John Kasich continues his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination, questions are being raised about his administration’s transparency. Several groups concerned with government accountability have dinged Kasich’s record on the issue, saying Ohio’s government is much less transparent than it was when he took office. Among big red flags critics point to: the governor’s JobsOhio program, a private entity that runs on state liquor receipts in order to provide incentives to private companies looking to create jobs in Ohio. Fellow Republican Ohio State Auditor Dave Yost fought an unsuccessful battle with Kasich to be able to audit that organization last year. The administration, of course, has pushed back on charges that Kasich’s tenure has seen a more opaque state government. You can read more about Kasich’s record with government transparency in this Columbus Dispatch article.

• Two quick things nationally before I go: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a Republican, officially announced his candidacy for president today. Walker is among the frontrunners in the throng of guys running for the GOP nod. He’s a conservative darling who has won a bunch of props from far-righters for busting up bargaining rights for Wisconsin’s public employees, among other staunchly conservative policy moves.

• Finally, real fast: Here’s a fascinating article about how bike lanes might be able to increase racial and economic equity in communities. True? A bunch of bike-boosting b.s.? Check out the article and decide for yourself. I think it’s a pretty interesting concept and a good way to expand the conversation about alternate means of transportation and the wider economic implications thereof.

I’m out! Tweet. Email. Etc.

by Sarah Urmston 07.10.2015 138 days ago
Posted In: Playlist at 12:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your Weekend Playlist: Road Trippin'

Anyone with an adventurous bone in their body naturally loves road trips. It’s the quickest way to embrace your passion for exploration by simply hopping into your vehicle and hitting the road filled with destinations and opportunities. And what’s the ultimate source of entertainment during your long trip? Music.

I took a different approach while selecting these particular artists/songs. Playlists don’t always have a major theme to them. It’s not always necessary, and road trips are the best time for these types (or non-types) of soundtracks. As quickly as the double yellow line flickers along the street below, sometimes, so does your mood. There’s the beginning and the end of the drive when you’re nothing less than sitting out of the edge of your seat, the mid-drive mood when you need a bit of a change-up, and the nighttime (my absolute favorite part) when you’re chugging your gas station coffee, munching on beef jerky and letting the jams take you away — father than your car ever will.

This playlist meets all these moments in a road trip. Just by looking at it, it’s like I reached my hand into a pot full of weirdness and grabbed whatever I could. In reality, I selected these babies for a reason.

There were a ton of artists I considered putting on here. Candidates included Mumford & Sons, Hozier, John Mayer, and those other mainstream, super-duper talented artists we already love. Instead of giving you something you already know, I wanted to introduce you guys to some folks that may be potentially new to your music library. There’s no better time to indulge yourself in new music than driving in a car for hours, watching your view from the window change in the blink of an eye.

It’s totally OK to have it all. Ya dig? Now grab your keys and get going.