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by Staff 04.03.2015 121 days ago
 
 
the lion king

Your Weekend To Do List (4/3-4/5)

Butterflies! Flowers! Mutualism! Beer! Spring!


FRIDAY
ONSTAGE: THE LION KING
The Lion King began as a popular Disney animated feature film in 1994, but back then no one imagined that it would become a worldwide blockbuster stage production. In fact, when it was being assembled for Broadway’s refurbished New Amsterdam Theatre, a lot of skeptics wondered what would become of a story about heroic and often cute anthropomorphic characters in the hands of Julie Taymor, a respected but avant-garde director. More than 15 million people have seen touring productions of the show in more than 70 North American cities. It has returned to Cincinnati’s Aronoff Center for a four-week stop (through April 26) presented by Disney Theatrical Productions and Broadway in Cincinnati. For 2015, The Lion King will have “only” 32 performances (four weeks is double the length of time that most tours are presented at the Aronoff), likely meaning total attendance for these three stops could top 350,000 people — more than the population of the city of Cincinnati! These are staggering numbers for a show about wild animals in Africa.
In truth, it’s a more universal parable told by people brilliantly outfitted as lions, elephants, giraffes, antelopes, hyenas and birds, as well as a comic meerkat and warthog. Taymor’s imaginative costumes and puppet designs invite audiences to see the performers within them in a way that adds drama to the story. The Lion King, presented by Broadway in Cincinnati, continues at the Aronoff Center through April 26. More info: cincinnati.broadway.com. Read more here.


ART: BLDG’S 199C OPENING DAY ART EVENT AND BLOCK PARTY
Drawing its name from the Pantone color for the Cincinnati Reds, 199C is a celebration of Major League Baseball just in time to get you ready for the official Opening Day parade. Friday evening, Covington’s art gallery/graphic design firm BLDG will host an exhibition of the work of nearly 60 artists from around the country who were asked to celebrate their home team and love of the game. BLDG has also teamed up with Covington area businesses to provide visitors with activities (a whiffle ball tournament, late night derby, photo booth and live music) to welcome the coming of baseball season. 4-11 p.m. Free. 30 W. Pike St., Covington, Ky., bldgrefuge.com.


Buzzer at the Playhouse in the Park
Photo: Sandy Underwood
ONSTAGE: BUZZER

What happens when a guy who grew up in an inner-city neighborhood returns as a successful attorney, back because it’s now the trendy place to live? That’s Jackson’s story: He’s upwardly mobile and black, moving in with Suzy, his white schoolteacher girlfriend. But she’s not so comfortable with their arrangement. Add to the mix Don, Jackson’s privileged boyhood white friend who’s had drug issues and now needs a place to crash. The apartment’s buzzer is a reminder that their world isn’t so simple. Tracey Scott Wilson’s new play isn’t set in Over-the-Rhine, but it could be. Through April 19. $30-$85. Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mt. Adams Circle, Mount Adams, 513-421-3888, cincyplay.com.



MUSIC: SOMEBODY'S DARLING WITH THE WHISKEY SHAMBLES

It’s hard to stand out in the crowded Blues/Roots Rock field but Dallas-based Somebody’s Darling is a stacked deck of secret weapons. The visceral ’70s-to-today guitar pyrotechnics of David Ponder, the massive keyboard groove of Michael Talley, the velvet jackhammer rhythm section of bassist Wade Cofer and drummer Nate Wedan, and the smoke-and-whiskey-cured vocals of Amber Farris combine to create a blistering Blues sound that is reassuringly familiar and yet fascinatingly singular. Although Farris, who also plays electric and acoustic guitars, generates plenty of fair comparisons to Bonnie Raitt, Susan Tedeschi and Heartless Bastards’ Erika Wennerstrom (and maybe even a little Natalie Merchant in a rare quiet moment), she and Somebody’s Darling may align closest to Grace Potter and the Nocturnals by virtue of the slinky dynamism and mesmerizing power they both effortlessly exhibit. Somebody’s Darling plays Southgate House Revival's Revival Room on Friday. Tickets/more info here.


Braxton Brewing Company
EVENT: DRINK A BEER AT COVINGTON'S BRAXTON BREWING COMPANY
It has been decades since Covingtonians have whiffed fresh malt percolating from a neighborhood brewery, but from now on when they’re near the corner of Seventh and Pike streets, this will be the norm. The family-owned and -operated Braxton Brewing Company held its grand opening on March 27, and invited the community into the 11,000-square-foot space, which features a brewhouse and taproom. The founders behind the endeavor are brothers Jake and Evan Rouse, their dad, Greg, and brewmaster Richard Dubé (formerly of Christian Moerlein). In October, Braxton secured the title of the highest-funded brewery project ever on Kickstarter (654 backers pledged a total of $71,885), which enabled the team to finish construction, purchase a 20-barrel four-vessel brewhouse, a 40-barrel fermenter and hundreds of kegs. The taproom, the epicenter of the brewery, houses two leather couches, tables with charging stations for laptops, TVs displaying social media interactions, Golden Tee and Power Putt consoles, and Cincinnati Bell-partnered gigabit Internet. (Braxton is the first craft brewery in the nation to have gigabit Internet.) The 20-seat bar area features 20 tap handles of Braxton beers like Sparky, a hoppy wheat ale; Crank Shaft, an IPA; and Storm, a golden cream ale. 4-10 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday; noon-1 a.m. Friday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. 27 W. Seventh St., Covington, Ky., braxtonbrewing.comRead more here.


Earl Sweatshirt
Photo: Brick Stowell
MUSIC: EARL SWEATSHIRT
Hip Hop artist Earl Sweatshirt’s name first came to the public’s attention when the group he was associated with, Odd Future (a collective that’s grown a bratty reputation thanks to live shows and its ridiculous Adult Swim program, Loiter Squad), became much-buzzed about, not only for its shenanigans but also its progressive musical prowess. His debut came out in 2010 as a free download through Odd Future’s website when Earl was in his mid-teens, but he disappeared from the fold, reportedly sent off to a school for “at-risk” kids by his mother. By 2012, Earl was back making music and performing, leading up to his excellent new full-length released just last month, I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, a dark but smart and powerful album, showing the kind of introspection and honesty that made Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city one of the more compelling albums of this generation of Hip Hop. 7 p.m. Friday. $23. Bogart’s, 2621 Vine St., Corryville, bogarts.com.


SATURDAY
Rubblebucket
Photo: Shervin Lainez
MUSIC: RUBBLEBUCKET WITH VACATIONER
Born in Burlington, Vt., and headquartered in New York City, Rubblebucket is a perfect storm of Pop precision, Soul passion, Art Rock quirk and Ska bob-and-weave choreography. Even a cursory spin through the band’s third and best album, last summer’s brilliantly loopy Survival Sounds, reveals a talented group of musical changelings who can bounce off the satellites with the screwball quiver of The B-52s, howl with the focused lunacy of Fishbone and jerk with the rhythmic intensity of Talking Heads, while making it all seem like a peyote-fueled marionette carnival conceived and soundtracked by Dirty Projectors. Last year was really a breakout one for Rubblebucket; Survival Sounds was praised by The New York Times, Spin and Noisey, while NPR hailed the track “Carousel Ride” one of the year’s 50 best songs. Rubblebucket plays Woodward Theater this Saturday. Tickets/more info here.

ATTRACTIONS: INTERNATIONAL BUTTERFLY SHOW: BUTTERFLIES OF THE PHILIPPINES
As Cincinnati welcomes spring, the Krohn Conservatory welcomes the colorful and exotic butterflies of the Philippines. For 12 weeks, Krohn will transform into a majestic tribute to the Southeast Asian island country, capturing its stunning natural beauty and Filipino culture. The showroom will be a tropical paradise of free-flying butterflies soaring among waterfalls and bold volcanic murals. A rainforest under glass, the conservatory will be filled with more than 3,500 beautiful plant species, such as ornate orchids, brilliant bromeliads, delicate anthuriums and dramatic dracaenas, providing a backdrop close to home for the native butterflies to flutter. Through June 21. $7 adult; $4 children; free ages 4 and younger. 1501 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams, cincinnatiparks.com.


Art by Doug Korfhagen 
ART: OBO: THE LABOR SHOW
On Saturday, the NEAR*BY curatorial collective hosts OBO: The Labor Show, a social-practice and art experiment in which selected artists and tradespersons contract with each other to exchange labor for mutually beneficial purposes. It is inspired by anarchist Josiah Warren, who practiced something similar at his Cincinnati Time Store, an experimental storefront open from 1827 to 1830, considered the first experiment in mutalism. Among those participating are Doug Korfhagen (printing/woodburning), Donna Rubin (yoga), Libby Singhoffer (kombucha brewing) and Loraine Wible (pataphysics). 6-8 p.m. Saturday. Free. 2159 Central Ave., Brighton, nearby.gallery.


International Pillow Fight Day
EVENT: INTERNATIONAL PILLOW FIGHT DAY
In honor of International Pillow Fight Day, people all over the world will be bursting the seams of their pillows in feather explosions. Locally, bring your friends and kids to Northside’s Jacob Hoffner Park for a friendly pillow fight, where pajamas and costumes are totally encouraged. Make sure to bring soft pillows, wait for the signal to begin, and prepare for lots of laughter during the friendliest epic pillow fight battle of your life. 3 p.m. Saturday. Free. 4104 Hamilton Ave., Northside, pillowfightday.com.

Easter Egg Hunt at Washington Park
Photo: 3CDC
EVENT: EASTER EGG HUNT AT WASHINGTON PARK
Following the success of last year’s fun-filled event, the quest for Easter eggs continues at Washington Park. This year, Graeter’s has upped the game by adding 2,500 more eggs into the mix for a whopping total of 7,500 hidden, candy-filled eggs. There will also be face painting, a petting zoo and photos with the Easter Bunny. For those after something a little more gourmet, Taste of Belgium will also be on site serving their signature waffles. BYOB (bring your own basket). 10 a.m.-noon Saturday. Free. 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, washingtonpark.org.

EVENT: EASTER EGG HUNT AT DEVOU PARK
Here comes Peter Cottontail, hoping down to Volpenhein Pavilion at Devou Park. With spring finally deciding to show its face, what better way to celebrate Easter with your youngsters than with an Easter egg hunt? Come down to Devou Park’s annual hunt and have the young ones explore for pieces of brightly colored, egg-shaped treasure. 1 p.m. Saturday. Free for ages 3 to 12. Devou Park, Covington, Ky., 859-292-2151.


Rod Paulette
Photo: Provided
COMEDY: ROD PAULETTE
Rod Paulette set out to be an actor and majored in theater at Columbia College in Chicago but found comedy more to his liking. After a stint in advertising, he chucked the corporate world for the stand-up stage. “I like California — I just don’t like Californians,” he tells an audience. “I find them to be a little arrogant. I was talking to this lady there, a white lady, and I told her I was from Ohio and she asks, ‘Did you grow up on a farm?’ Really? When’s the last time you saw a black guy on a farm? I mean without the chain on his foot keeping his ass there? If you ever see black guy on a farm, walk up to him, tap him on the shoulder and tell him he’s free to go.” Thursday-Saturday. $10-$15. Funny Bone on the Levee, Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., funnyboneonthelevee.com.

SUNDAY
Photo: Krae Photography 
ATTRACTIONS: ZOO BLOOMS
We’ll soon be getting an eyeful of brightly colored flowers instead of gloomy winter greys at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s annual floral exhibit, Zoo Blooms. Daffodils, hyacinths, flowering trees and one of the largest displays of tulips in the Midwest will take over the zoo grounds, with free after hours concerts every Thursday in April — Tunes & Blooms — featuring local musicians in the urban oasis. Through April. $18 adults; $12 children; $9 parking. 3400 Vine St., Avondale, cincinnatizoo.org.


ART: ECOSCULPT
In celebration of Earth Day, recyclables meet innovation during this three-week installation. Produced by 3CDC, EcoSculpt gives artists a chance to design and display large-scale, eco-friendly sculptures using recycled and recyclable materials in Washington Park. Judges will choose first-, second- and third-prize winners based on concept, execution and construction. All art is displayed during park hours. Awards ceremony 5 p.m. April 22 (Earth Day). Free. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, washingtonpark.org.

MONDAY 
EVENT: FINDLAY MARKET OPENING DAY PARADE
Findlay Market remains a Cincinnati institution as the state’s oldest continuously operated public market. Another old thing? Monday marks the market’s 96th annual Cincinnati Reds Opening Day Parade. The parade will include local businesses and organizations like Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks, the Cincinnati Fire Department and, of course, the Cincinnati Reds. This year also marks the 25th fifth anniversary of the World Series championship that featured one of the most dominant back-end bullpen groups of all time. “The Nasty Boys” — Norm Charlton, Rob Dibble and Randy Myers — are this year’s Grand Marshals. Noon Monday. Free. Departs from 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, findlaymarketparade.com
 
 
by Rick Pender 04.03.2015 121 days ago
at 10:34 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
king

Stage Door: The Circle of Life

I've seen The Lion King five times, on Broadway and on tour. I wrote about it in a feature this week, describing how a successful but not terribly profound animated Disney feature became a stage musical that's a worldwide phenomenon. A touring production is at the Aronoff through April 26; it's the third time the show has landed in Cincinnati.

Rather than evaluate the performers — who are highly talented and extremely polished in their presentation of the show — I decided to pay attention to the visuals this time around. It was worth it. The Lion King has the most inspiring opening of any show I've seen: A call and response between Rafiki, a nervous mandrill and two others brings together a clutch of African animals to Pride Rock where a regal pair of lions, King Mufasa and Queen Sarabi are presenting their new cub. The animals enter the theater from all directions — from the stage wings and down the Aronoff's aisles, enabling the audience to see the actors in their puppet gear up close as they sing "The Circle of Life." It's a great way to begin the show's magic.

But it's only the start: There is color and pageantry to burn in this story — from a colony of loony hyenas to a fatal stampede of antelopes. The second act opens with the chorus dressed in colorful clothes with ornate puppet birds and kites sing "One on One." I was reminded of the wonderful South African choral groups that inspired Cincinnati audiences during the World Choir games in 2012 — passionate harmonizing and heart-thumping rhythms. From start to finish, The Lion King is a remarkable experience. If you've seen it once, it's worth going again to appreciate new dimensions of this gorgeous production. Tickets: 513-621-2781.


Two good shows onstage at the Cincinnati Playhouse this weekend, and they couldn't be more different from one another. It's the final weekend for Peter and the Starcatcher (CityBeat review here) a prequel to Peter Pan that elaborates in a fanciful way about the origins of the boy who refuses to grow up, Captain Hook, the Lost Boys, Tinker Bell and more. It's driven by imaginative theater-making — instead of special effects, audiences are called upon to envision things like storms brewing and characters flying. A great show for families. … On the Shelterhouse stage it's serious drama with Tracey Scott Wilson's Buzzer (CityBeat review here), the story of three people moving into a redeveloping urban neighborhood. It feels like Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine. Tensions spurred by changing populations provide context for this story, but it's really about the toxic dynamic between an up-and-coming black attorney, his white schoolteacher girlfriend and his white boyhood pal who's led a troubled life. A strong cast and Wilson's naturalistic dialogue make this a very watchable (but very adult) show. This one is onstage through April 19. Box office: 513-421-3888.

Know Theatre opened it's production of the comic-book inspired Hearts Like Fists last weekend. It's a two-dimensional tale of girl crime fighters battling a dastardly villain, Doctor X, who's murdering lovers — since his own love life is in shambles. There's humor but not a lot of depth to this one, but if you like slam-bang action stories, you'll love the fight choreography and the silly posing of the characters. It's around until April 25. Tickets: 513-300-5669 … A block away from Know in Over-the-Rhine, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati is winding down its production of Detroit ’67 (CityBeat review here), set in a tumultuous era in the Motor City as a brother and sister struggle to make a living while the world around them is burning. Although it's rooted in events from nearly a half-century ago, this one has some very prescient messages that seem like they're about more recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, and elsewhere. Final performance is 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: 513-421-3555.

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

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 04.03.2015 121 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:06 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
Harry Black

Morning News and Stuff

Cincy City Manager courts businesses upset with Indiana's RFRA law; more streetcar headaches; public nude photog coming to Cincy, looking for "the crown jewels"

Good morning y’all. I cannot wait for this weekend so let’s get to it.

Are you a businessperson in Indiana steamed about the state’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act? A lot of people are. In the wake of controversy around Indiana's law, which as written allows businesses to discriminate against LGBT individuals on the basis of religious beliefs, Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black is making a pitch to Indiana businesses: Come to Cincy. We’re more accepting, and that’s good for business, Black says. Black has already written to companies like Yelp who had planned to expand in Indiana but are now pulling back thanks to the new law signed by Gov. Mike Pence last week. Many businesses have balked at such RFRA laws, both in Indiana and elsewhere, saying they’re morally objectionable and bad for business. Pence and Indiana lawmakers announced a fix to the law earlier this week that they say would prohibit discrimination. But many of the law’s critics, including big business, say the fix isn’t enough. Now Cincinnati is looking poach some of that business expansion for its own.

• Another day, another embarrassing streetcar argument. At yesterday’s City Council meeting, Mayor John Cranley lashed out at the city’s streetcar team, saying it had “secretly” spent $200,000 on studies for the transit project’s potential second leg into uptown. It turns out that last February, the team, led by project executive John Deatrick, spent about $70,000 out of a fund set aside for streetcar studies in 2008. The team authorized the full $200,000 in contracts to two firms to do budget and cost benefit analyses but paused the work when it became clear focus on the current phase of the streetcar was the priority. Cranley says the 2008 City Council resolution creating the original $800,000 pot of money for studies didn’t specifically authorize the streetcar team to use the money and that the studies are an example of a “culture of secrecy” around the project. The team says it was unaware it had to ask for special permission to undertake the analyses for phase 1b. Phew. City Manager Harry Black, who has the power to discipline city personnel, says there appears to be no grounds to punish members of the streetcar team. Can we just stop the fussin’ and the feudin’, please?

• Parking rates are changing in Over-the-Rhine and downtown Tuesday. The shifts, which are tied to usage in the areas, have been planned for a year and were given final approval by Cincinnati City Council yesterday. Rates will go up or down by a quarter in various parts of the downtown/OTR area. In general, rates will go down or stay the same west of Vine Street, ranging from $2.00 an hour south of Sixth Street to $.75 an hour north of Central Parkway. East of Vine Street, rates will go up; it will now cost $2.25 an hour to park south of Central Parkway and $1.25 an hour north of it. The city has watched usage rates in various parts of downtown/OTR since January to come up with the new rates, a kind of makeshift “dynamic parking” effort. In other cities, sophisticated data crunching can change parking rates on meters according to demand on an hourly basis. That won’t happen here, but by shifting rates according to the parking market, city leaders hope to incentivize parking turnover in busy areas and encourage drivers to park in less-used locations. Some of the funds from the parking boost will go to the streetcar, and some to the general fund, City Manager Harry Black says.

• I grew up in Hamilton, where the grisly legacy of James Rupert is hard to escape. On Easter Sunday 40 years ago, Ruppert murdered 11 members of his family in a house on the corner of Minor Avenue in Hamilton’s Lindenwald neighborhood. At the time, it was the largest mass-murder in U.S. history. Yesterday, Rupert had a parole hearing. The parole board’s decision hasn’t been announced yet, but the Butler County Prosecutor’s Office is strongly objecting to his release.

• Hey, here’s a weird one. Need some new nude photos in front of Music Hall? There’s a guy who may be able to hook you up on Opening Day, when he comes to Cincinnati to shoot nude photos of folks in front of local landmarks. He’s done it in a number of big U.S. cities, sometimes with getaway drivers nearby due to the illegal nature of being naked in public. I can’t avoid comment on this quote in the Enquirer, so here it comes:

“I am looking for Americana, the history of the United States,” Harvey Drouillard says. “I am looking for the crown jewels." Crown jewels indeed.

• A few days ago, I told you about how the Ohio General Assembly floated a proposal that required college students and other somewhat transitory voters to register their car in Ohio if they wanted to vote here. Many Democrats have likened that measure to a poll tax; it would cost most students $75 to re-register their cars and if they don’t and try to vote, their current registration would become invalid. Gov. John Kasich apparently agreed with the detractors, vetoing the measure Wednesday. The provision was tucked into Ohio’s transportation budget legislation, which moves forward without the voter registration law.

• Finally, U.S. negotiations with Iran over that country’s nuclear program have made big headlines lately, with a lot of politicking going on around the fact that we’re negotiating with the country at all. But according to some sources, those negotiations have taken a fruitful and promising turn lately. Here’s the latest on where things stand with U.S. efforts to keep Iran from developing nukes. The whole process is fascinating and terrifying stuff.

 
 
by Maija Zummo 04.02.2015 122 days ago
Posted In: Cincinnati, Events, local restaurant, Food news at 10:51 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
carriage house farm dinner

Pop-Up Dinners Return to Carriage House Farm

The popular intimate outdoor dinner series kicks off in May

North Bend's Carriage House Farm is fully embracing the farm-to-table movement with this year's pop-up dinner series. From May through November the farm will play host to a variety of local chefs, who will be preparing more than two dozen seasonal dinners, utilizing ingredients available on the farm, like garlic, ginger, beans, heirloom tomatoes and comb honey. The intimate dinners seat 13 patrons in an open-air dining terrace, where the chefs will prepare their multi-course meals over a wood-fired oven — right in front of the guests.

Some dinners will also include special appearances by guest chefs, like Todd Kelly and Megan Ketover of the five-star Orchids, Jose Salazar of Salazar, Dan Wright of Abigail Street/Pontiac/Senate, Nino Loreto of food truck panino and others. To complement the bounty of Carriage House, chefs will also be working with additional artisan producers to complete the dinners, like Mudfoot Farm, Sheltowee mushroom farm, Weber Family Farm, Sixteen Bricks Bakery and more.

Here's a list of current dinners (some may be added later in the year):
  • May 17 - Chef Dana Adkins of the Eagle OTR and chef Jason Louda of Meatball Kitchen
  • May 31 - Chef Ryan Santos of Please
  • June 7 - Chef Mark Bodenstein of NuVo at Greenup
  • June 21 - Chef Mike Florea of Maribelle's eat + drink
  • June 28 - Chef Ryan Santos of Please's Kickstart Thank You dinner (sold out)
  • Aug. 16 - Chef Renee Schuler of eat well celebrations and feasts
  • Aug. 30 - Chef Stephen Williams of Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar (sold out)
  • Sept. 20Chef Mark Bodenstein of NuVo at Greenup
  • Sept. 27 - Chef Jared Bennett of Metropole
  • Oct. 4Chef Dana Adkins of the Eagle OTR
  • Oct. 11Chef Ryan Santos of Please
  • Nov. 1 Chef Mike Florea of Maribelle's eat + drink
Dinners start at 4, 5 or 6 p.m. (Carriage House is about a half-hour drive from downtown Cincinnati) and cost between $80 and $85. Reserve seats here

Carriage House Farm, 10252 Miamiview Road, North Bend, carriagehousefarmllc.com. 
 
 
by Nick Swartsell 04.02.2015 122 days ago
Posted In: News at 08:57 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
news1_04-01_areaoverall

Morning News and Stuff

Uncertainty for King Towers residents; Cincinnati developer proposes 21 single-family homes in OTR; Portman stocks up on cash for Senate race

Hey all. I’m hyped for the season’s first thunderstorm, which is officially rolling in as I type this. As far as I’m concerned, it’s finally spring. On to the news.

Residents displaced by the King Towers fire in Madisonville last Thursday will be able to stay in their extended stay hotel in Blue Ash for another two weeks, but after that their fate is uncertain. The 20-plus residents can’t move back into the building until it is investigated and cleaned, a process that could take months. Many have lived in the building for a long time and don’t have access to cars to get around. The fire injured several and killed firefighter Daryl Gordon, whose funeral drew thousands from across the country yesterday to downtown Cincinnati.

• A proposal by Cincinnati developer North Pointe Group in Over-the-Rhine would build 21 single-family homes on some city-owned vacant lots on Main Street north of Liberty Street. It would also redevelop a vacant building there into eight so-called “workforce apartments.” North Pointe says the houses will sell for around $400,000 to $600,000 each. The apartments will all be approximately 630 square feet and cost about $800-$950. The plan has drawn some controversy, which we explore in our news feature this week. North Pointe says it will need to tear down popular basketball courts on the land. After some residents complained, the developer agreed to keep two of the six hoops standing. But some are still skeptical of the proposal, saying it could change the character of the neighborhood.

• Cincinnati-based news giant E.W. Scripps Co. is officially out of the newspaper business for the first time in its 135 year history as of Wednesday. In a merger with Journal Communications, based in Milwaukee, Scripps has traded off its remaining newspapers for 12 TV stations and 34 radio stations across the country. The company has said it’s looking to expand its presence in TV and to own radio stations in the markets where it also broadcasts TV news. That could mean Scripps could eventually acquire radio stations here in Cincinnati.

• Suspended Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Tracie Hunter would like the Ohio Supreme Court to remove her ongoing felony trial from the county’s court system. Hunter is being retried on a felony count of misusing a court credit card after a technicality kept a jury from considering evidence for that charge when Hunter was tried late last year. A jury hung on eight of nine felony counts in that trial, convicting her of one count related to information she allegedly gave her brother, a county court employee, about an inmate.

Hunter and her attorney, Clyde Bennett II, say Hunter can’t get a fair trial in the county thanks to acrimony between her and many of the judges here. Bennett says prior decisions by Hamilton County Judge Patrick Dinkelacker, who is currently presiding over the case, were used as evidence in Hunter’s earlier trial, causing a conflict of interest. Judge Norbert Nadel presided over Hunter’s original trial, but he retired earlier this year and Dinkelacker was elected to replace him. Dinkelacker previously presided over an appeals court where he made the rulings in question about Hunter’s case.

• Another local connection to the weed-legalization efforts led by ResponsibleOhio: Cincinnati-based developer David Bastos is an investor in the ballot initiative, which aims to legalize the sale of marijuana and restrict commercial growth to 10 marijuana farms around the state. Bastos is a partner in Bridge Property LLC, which would establish one of those farms in Lucas County. ResponsibleOhio needs to collect 300,000 signatures by this summer in order to get their amendment to Ohio’s constitution on the November ballot. Should it pass, Ohioans over the age of 21 would be allowed to buy marijuana, apply for a marijuana vendor’s license (similar to a liquor license) and grow small amounts of the drug for personal use, a late concession to opponents of the measure’s limit on commercial growth.

• The Cincinnati Reds are on track to break their season ticket sales records, thanks in part to the MLB All-Star Game coming to the city July 14. The Reds’ previous record at Great American Ballpark is 15,648. Last year they sold about 14,500 and they’re on pace to reach more than 16,000 sales this year. There’s a clear incentive for baseball nuts to make the big commitment: Season ticket holders are automatically offered the opportunity to purchase All-Star Game tickets, which are a hot item. Both half-season (40 games) and full-season (80 games) ticket holders get a crack at the All-Star Game tickets.

• The 2016 Senate race in Ohio is heating up. Republican Senator Rob Portman, nearing the end of his first term in the Senate, will have to fight off either Gov. Ted Strickland or Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, both Democrats, in that contest. But he’ll have a lot of ammunition. Portman reported he’s raised $2.75 million in the last 90 days for his campaign. Portman has steeled himself for a primary challenge from the right — he angered some conservatives with his pro-marriage equality stance after his son came out as gay — but so far, no challenger has materialized and Portman has netted big cash and big endorsements. Portman could face a big challenge from Strickland, who is Ohio’s former governor and who has been endorsed by former President Bill Clinton. All this alignment of cash and big-name endorsements shows how crucial Ohio will be to the 2016 election, when the presidency and control of the Senate will both be on the line.

That’s it for me. Tweet at me, comment or email me with your news tips.

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 04.01.2015 123 days ago
Posted In: News at 09:56 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
streetcar

Morning News and Stuff

Funeral held downtown for firefighter Daryl Gordon; City Council asks MLB to reinstate Rose; religious freedom laws are hot right now

Hello Cincy. Let’s get straight to the news.

The weather is beautiful and perfect for honoring a hero, even if the occasion is incredibly sad. Today is the funeral for firefighter Daryl Gordon, who died last week after falling down an elevator shaft while fighting a fire at an apartment building in Madisonville. Large crowds of fire officials and civilians gathered downtown this morning to pay their respects to Gordon, whose funeral service began at 10 a.m. at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral on West Eighth Street. Support has come from across the state and, really, from across the world. Firefighters from Columbus (which is sending nearly 200), Anderson Township, Covington, Deerfield Township, Delhi Township, Springfield Township and Sycamore Township will be manning Cincinnati’s fire stations so firefighters here can attend the ceremony. Firefighters from as far away as London and Montreal have traveled here to attend the service. Flags are flying at half-mast across the state in Gordon’s honor on the order of Gov. John Kasich. Gordon was a 26-year veteran of Cincinnati’s Fire Department.

• So I’m getting a serious aversion to the word “streetcar.” Not because I’m opposed to the controversial transit project, necessarily (though my personal feelings about it are admittedly complicated) but because it’s becoming Exhibit A when it comes to how our city struggles ludicrously with big decisions. Yesterday’s Cincinnati City Council Transportation Committee meeting is a good, or really, bad, example of this.

The two-and-a-half-hour meeting was the stuff of migraine sufferers’ nightmares, with back and forth arguments about whether or not to ask SORTA to use union employees to staff the streetcar (more on this in our print edition), a motion demanding that SORTA hand over bids it has received from companies interested in operating the streetcar, whether or not to study possible ways to pay for the project’s next phase, whether or not cost estimates for moving utilities for the project’s next potential phase were hidden from council for a year and more.

Having a number of tough decisions to make in a meeting is one thing. Not making any of them is another all together. The committee made no progress on any of those questions and has tabled a number of the motions it discussed until later this month. Awesome. When I was out of town, I watched the initial drama unfold over the streetcar project with a mix of jealousy that I didn’t get to cover it and gratefulness that I didn’t have to. Now I’m just tired of hearing about it. Like it or hate it, the tracks are in the ground. Stop politicking, both sides, and just get it done already.

• Elsewhere, part of council did decide one thing yesterday: The Economic Growth and Infrastructure Committee would like to see Pete Rose reinstated into Major League Baseball so he can be inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame. The league’s new commissioner Rob Manfred has signaled that he’s willing to talk with Rose about reinstatement, though he’s not making any promises. Council made a similar resolution nearly two decades ago, but members now see a new opportunity for Rose in Manfred’s statements. While it was passing a resolution about baseball, the committee also asked  MLB to recognize black baseball players from the Negro League in the days before baseball was integrated, allowing them to be eligible for the Hall of Fame as well.

• Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed by Gov. Mike Pence March 26, has been making scorching national headlines because it seems to allow businesses to discriminate against the LGBT community. Could a similar bill come to Ohio? It doesn’t seem likely. Interestingly, Ohio lawmakers tried briefly to pass a similar law last year. The bill was killed early over concerns that it would allow discrimination, and lawmakers say they won’t be trying to pass similar legislation anytime soon.

But Gov. John Kasich has indicated in recent statements that he’s interested in something of a compromise bill — one that offers language both guaranteeing protection of religious freedom and prohibiting discrimination against gays. Ohio does not currently have a law prohibiting hiring or housing discrimination against LGBT people. Meanwhile, following the intense criticism Indiana has received, Gov. Pence has walked back a bit on the law and is now calling on the Indiana State House to clarify it with language making it clear businesses are not allowed to discriminate against gays in the name of religious freedom.

• Meanwhile, Arkansas has also jumped into the “discrimination in the name of religious freedom game,” passing its own RFRA law yesterday. That’s drawn a sharp rebuke from an unexpected source — corporations in the state. Walmart has asked Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto the bill, and Hutchinson has in turn asked lawmakers to make changes to it. Congress passed a federal RFRA law in 1993, and now 21 states now have some form of RFRA law. Importantly, these vary in whether they stipulate that businesses are included in the protection of religious freedoms and whether they can use the law as a defense in lawsuit proceedings. Texas, Indiana and Arkansas are among the few states with this language in their laws. Many legal experts believe these bills are popping up lately in response to the continued march of pro-marriage equality rulings in federal courts as well as the legalization of gay marriage in many states. Thirty-seven states now allow gay marriage. Ohio is arguing before the Supreme Court next month in defense of its 2004 gay marriage ban.

• Finally, here’s a crazy-alarming but really well-executed infographic showing the rise of incarceration rates, by state, throughout the United States from 1978 to 2012. Prepare to be highly depressed. Ohio is well up there in terms of prison population percentage, with 440 inmates per 100,000 people in the state. That’s not as high as some states — Louisiana has almost 900 per 100,000. Still. Yikes. The rise comes from a number of factors, including America’s war on drugs, the advent of the private for-profit prison and other factors. Great.

 
 
by Coltin Hanson 03.31.2015 123 days ago
Posted In: Live Music, Reviews at 02:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Getting a Taste of Burgerama

SoCal fest expands but remains true to its roots

I spent months conjuring a path towards a holiday in the sun. The clutching grasp of the highly irregular Midwest winter had me experiencing the full manifestation of the seasonal doldrums. A cross-country road trip turned out to be my conduit towards metaphorical enlightenment. I found solace in a distant two-day music festival nested in Santa Ana, Calif. But in fear of sounding like a silver-tongued bastard, lets talk turkey. 


This past weekend’s Burgerama was a compact, genre-bending two-day music festival with three separate stages (indoor and outdoor). Burger Records presented a lineup of 80-plus bands that included SoCal favorites Bleached, Ty Segall and FIDLAR but also offered Psych Rock pioneer Roky Erikson, Alternative legends Weezer and the Hip Hop collective Bone Thugs N Harmony. 


While in its fourth year of existence, Burgerama has a well-defined identity. Festival-goers all looked extremely similar as a parallel style and angst ran rampant at The Observatory venue in Santa Ana. Trendy weekend bohemians with eccentric personalities donning ripped denim were not in short supply. The only true individual was the lonesome dad with a disapproving glare and earplugs. 


Burgerama definitely has a common, overwhelming and obvious demographic. A sea of teenagers flooded the venue at the all-ages, weekend festival. My only safe haven from the painful, reminiscent sights of my adolescence was the beer garden, or beer prison (as I affectionately coined it), since you couldn’t freely roam the venue with your $6 beer. But it was the least populated area offering plenty of shade and a great view of the stage. Who would’ve thunk?


Festivals have a stigma of being over-priced and overrated but Burgerama did music fans a solid because for $90 you got two days of music and a better way to spend the weekend than binge watching Netflix and adding on to your to-do list. 


Most of the bands I was looking forward to seeing were scheduled later in the evening, so I had time to check out the handful of bands I was unfamiliar with before Burgerama. I was definitely impressed with my results of aimlessly wandering from stage to stage finding new artists to add to my music collection.  It was hard to pick a favorite performance, but here are a few that stood out that I highly recommend checking out if you haven’t already:


La Luz

This all-female quartet is based out of Seattle. La Luz has an intrinsically noticeable spacey 1950s Surf Rock, Doo Wop influence packed with a healthy amount of reverb, slight pressure on the tremolo bar and a well-mannered slice of four-part vocal harmony. The addition of extremely cohesive instrumentation makes this group captivating. Four extremely talented, women playing beautiful music. 


Broncho

When you put a jangly guitar above a fat drum beat with a driving fuzz bass tone, you get the perfect recipe for a wholehearted dance party. Broncho is quirky, fun and its songs are extremely catchy. The Oklahoma based trio was definitely my favorite band of day one. With underlying traces of Punk and timely use of non-lexical melodies, the pop-minded Broncho put on a great set at Burgerama. Definitely looking forward to catching them at Louisvill’es Forecastle Festival in July. (Check out a Q&A with the band’s Ryan Lindsey below.)


FIDLAR

FIDLAR, which stands for “Fuck it Dog, Life’s a Risk,” is an L.A. Punk band that was passionately received by a slightly aggressive crowd eager to heed the advice of the above acronym. Before the show started, I saw additional security march towards the front of the stage in preparation for the fallout. Even the side stage, which tends to be a refuge from the pit area, was filled with mini-mosh pits. Seeing the band at Burgerama made me excited to see them perform at a smaller venue. FIDLAR will be at Thompson House in Newport on May 16. I love Rhinegeist as much as the next guy, but I’ll be sticking to cheap beer that night. 


Jacco Gardner

Jacco Gardner, a Dutch multi-instrumentalist, was a breath of fresh air from the thematic distortion that could be quickly located throughout the venue. His band was extremely cohesive, offering evident attention to 1960s psychedelia. The intricate and diverse melodies offered comfort to weary eardrums. Gardner is genuinely a great songwriter. 


Mr. Elevator & The Brain Hotel

Mr. Elevator & The Brain Hotel was one of the only groups I looked up prior to Burgerama. The band name alone had me interested. This L.A. rooted psychedelic, keyboard-based four piece put on a phenomenal show despite having to play a shorter set due to a bass amp that blew out. Strictly because of instrumentation, this band will be likened to The Doors but this band has a definite sound of their own. The group members mentioned they are working on a new album currently, and I am definitely looking forward to hearing more from them.


Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks is a Chicago based band that I was really looking forward to seeing after hearing their new album, Wild Onion. The energy these guys exerted left me both inspired and exhausted. Their energy transferred to the fans and the photographers in the pit were asked to leave before the agreed time because the crowd was getting too rowdy. Twin Peaks performed a wildly entertaining set; definitely glad I got to watch them. 


Read More

 
 
by mbreen 03.31.2015 124 days ago
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music Video at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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WATCH: Jeremy Pinnell Debuts Song/Video “Feel This Right”

Singer/songwriter collaborates with noted local photographer Michael Wilson for new clip

Stellar local singer/songwriter Jeremy Pinnell has revealed one of his first new songs since the release of last year’s magnificent album OH/KY in the form of a new music video shot by famed local photographer Michael Wilson. Wilson — who has done promo shots and album covers for artists ranging from Over the Rhine and Joshua Redman to Lyle Lovett and The Replacements — filmed the clip in a Boone County, Ky., horse barn in mid-March, using his “one-shot” (meaning no edits) technique, previously seen in clips from The Emery Sessions a few years back and more recently seen in a pair of clips for local Country band Bulletville's new album

Pinnell, whose sound has shifted towards a more traditional Country vibe since his days with local bands like The Light Wires and The Great Depression, performs in the clip for the new “Feel This Right” backed by his pals, the Honky Tonk crew The 55s, whose Cameron Cochran produced, recorded, mixed and mastered the video. 



"When I walked into the barn and shouted, and listened to the way the sound resonated off the dirt floor and the old wooden siding, I had a feeling something amazing was going to be captured,” Cochran says. “The light was perfect, the day was perfect, the band was in good spirits, the song was great, we had someone with an amazing eye looking through a camera — all we had to do was get out of the way of what was about to happen, and that was exactly what we did."


Pinnell plays April 11 at Over-the-Rhine’s Woodward Theater, before heading out on the road for dates in Tennessee and Texas. Click here for more on Pinnell.


 
 
by Nick Swartsell 03.30.2015 125 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

Streetcar expansion would be costly, Duke says; sales tax increase goes into effect Wednesday; officials make no arrests in one third of U.S. murder cases

Good morning Cincy! It’s finally getting to be bike commuting weather again, and I couldn’t be happier about it. I’ve missed showing up to work all sweaty and out of breath with terrible helmet hair, and I’m sure my coworkers have missed it as well. Anyway, enough about my transportation habits, which I seem to talk about a lot in the morning news blog. Let’s get on to the news.

Sweet. More streetcar politics ahead. Moving utility lines to make way for a streetcar extension will be twice as costly as it was for the track currently being laid between Over-the-Rhine and downtown, according to an estimate performed last year by Duke Energy. Duke says the task, which is necessary before tracks are put down, could cost up to $38 million. Boosters want to get started on the next step for the streetcar, which would extend it near the University of Cincinnati and several of the city’s hospitals uptown. Councilman Chris Seelbach last week introduced an ordinance asking the city to begin looking at plans for the extension. But Mayor John Cranley, an ardent opponent of the project, has dismissed calls for the next step of streetcar as “silly.” Those pushing the city to begin planning for the uptown leg of the streetcar say if plans aren’t in place, the city could lose out on millions in federal funds that could help pay for next steps.

• More than 20 residents at the King Towers apartments in Madisonville are wondering where they’ll be staying following the tragic fire that swept through the building last week. That fire claimed the life of Cincinnati Firefighter Daryl Gordon. Representatives for The Community Builders, the building’s owners, on Sunday told residents they needed to be out of their temporary hotel rooms by 11 a.m. Monday morning. That caused an outcry from the residents and others, including members of Madisonville Community Council. Boston-based The Community Builders has since extended residents’ hotel stays until Wednesday and has promised to help find a solution for temporary housing for the residents while the building undergoes clean up and investigation, a process that could take months.

• Ready to start paying for Union Terminal? The county’s sales tax boost kicks in Wednesday after voters approved it in November. You’ll pay an extra .25 cents on the dollar so the county can pay for much-needed renovations to one of Cincinnati’s most iconic landmarks. The rate is going from 6.75 percent to 7 percent.

• A Greater Cincinnati area school district is boosting anti-drug messages to its students in anticipation of a potential marijuana farm nearby. Monroe Schools says a marijuana farm that would be established should legalization group ResponsibleOhio get its way is unwelcome in the city and that it sends messages to students that cancel out years of anti-drug efforts. One of the group’s 10 proposed grow sites would be in Middletown, less than two miles from Monroe’s K-12 public school. In response, the school district, some community leaders and law enforcement officials have teamed up to redouble anti-drug messages to teens, because telling a teenager not to do something is obviously the best way to make it seem uncool and unappealing. Meanwhile, ResponsibleOhio has responded by pointing out their legalization effort is only for those 21 and over. They also claim that the drug is already readily available to many on the black market and that their proposal would limit or eliminate that market.

• Ohio prison officials want to get inmates job interviews. Ohio Prison Director Gary Mohr has discussed efforts to recruit businesses who are willing to employ former inmates and has proposed setting up some inmates with job interviews upon their release. The program aims to cut recidivism among inmates and keep the number of repeat offenders in Ohio’s prisons to a minimum. Studies suggest those who find jobs after being released from prison have a much lower rate of additional criminal activity.

• In national news, here’s an alarming number: Law enforcement agencies make no arrests in one-third of all murders in the United States. That’s up from just 10 percent of homicides in 1965. Though violent crime has gone down across the U.S. in recent years, so have the percentage of cases in which police even find a suspect. The number of murders solved by law enforcement is even lower, since the FBI’s “clearance rate” only measures arrests, not convictions. The bureau estimates some 200,000 murders have gone unsolved since the 1960s. Law enforcement officials often blame a so-called “no snitch” attitude found in many low-income communities, where they say a number of community members refuse to cooperate with the police and help them find suspects. But some experts point out that murders of law enforcement officers, which often take place in those same neighborhoods, have a very high clearance rate, suggesting a difference in priority for different kinds of murder cases.

That’s it for me. Tweet me. Email me. Comment. Have you gotten your bike out yet? What’s the best spring bike ride location in Cincy? Let me know.

 
 
by Staff 03.30.2015 125 days ago
 
 
dean mediterranean imports

Leftovers: What We Ate This Weekend

Sung Korean Bistro. Salazar. Dean's Mediterranean. Goetta.

Each week CityBeat staffers and dining writers tell you what they ate this weekend. We're not always proud — or trendy — but we definitely spend at least some money on food. Surprisingly, no one ate Indian food. 

Nick Swartsell: Continuing what's become an ongoing addiction, I had a falafel wrap at Dean's Mediterranean in Findlay Market on Sunday. It's easily the best falafel in town — super crisp on the outside and warm and fluffy inside. Plus, the wrap comes packed with all kinds of optional pickled vegetables you don't normally see, hummus and hot sauce. And they give you a side of their curried couscous, which has dried fruit, cilantro and what I think are chickpeas. All that for five bucks. The best part is, it's still pretty under the radar — most people don't know Dean's makes food (they also have pretty killer samosas, FYI). You just walk up to the counter at the front and say the secret code words (which are, conveniently, "I'd like a falafel sandwich, please") and they hook you up.

Rebecca Sylvester: I went to Sung Korean Bistro Saturday night. The food was outstanding. Korean doesn't seem to have an overpowering element like other Asian cuisines (salt in Chinese or sweetness in Thai); the flavor of the ingredients really came through. I ordered the dolsot bibimbap, which is rice, vegetables and a protein served in a 450-degree clay pot. They top it with a sunny-side-up egg and mix it at your table with a chili paste. The pot continues to cook your food the whole time you're eating it, so the rice gets crunchier as you go. So good.

I also appreciate any restaurant that gives me chopsticks first and makes me ask for a fork, not because I am at all good with chopsticks, but because it paces me from eating like Garfield.

Pama Mitchell: I had a super fun time at Salazar on Friday. We sat at the bar, which has a cool design wherein each end has a rounded seating for five — which happened to be our group's number. I was impressed by the craft cocktails, very meticulously made by two bartenders. My "Spy versus Rye" (made with rye whiskey, obviously) was delicious. Also loved the fried Brussels sprouts appetizer (yes!) and an entree of "everything"-crusted salmon. Also notable was the first sign of fiddlehead ferns in the scallops dish. Splendid!

Danny Cross: My girlfriend and I dropped my sister off at Horseshoe Casino Sunday morning — she had made it through Day 1 of a big poker tournament there and was among the final 80 or so players out of 600-something going after a six-figure first place prize. Unfortunately, she was knocked out in 67th place, just five spots away from the lower-level prize monies. She should have just skipped it and went to the Metropole at 21c with us for brunch, because that place is pretty great. I ordered the Breakfast Sandwich (pimento spread, egg, bacon) but without the pimento spread because I'm a child with a terrible palate. This led to a brief discussion about a recent Deadspin article I read detailing tips for eating at a fancy restaurant. Sounds simple, but these are things I sometimes don't know how to do. (I hate tasting wine in front of servers as if I know anything about it or would even consider sending it back.) Katie had the Quinoa Hash (sweet potatoes, avocado, sunny side eggs and cilantro creme fraiche) and thought it was terrific. We split a side of goetta because this is Cincinnati. 

Casey Arnold: My boyfriend's sister* was in town for a poker tournament, so we had a little get together for her, which involved making our own tacos and margaritas. Since she went to the next round, she didn't get to the party until after midnight when all of the taco makings were turned into late night nachos. We stayed up late catching up, which is why we didn't roll out of bed until noon on Saturday. That's when my boyfriend and I crawled our way to Hangover Easy in Clifton. It was packed as usual!

*Editor's note: Casey Arnold is in a relationship with Danny Cross' brother and they are indeed talking about the same sister and the same poker tournament.
 
 

 

 

 
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