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by 11.16.2009
Posted In: Life at 02:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Leonid Meteor Shower

According to NASA's Web site "This year's Leonid meteor shower peaks on Tuesday, Nov. 17th. If forecasters are correct, the shower should produce a mild but pretty sprinkling of meteors over North America followed by a more intense outburst over Asia. The phase of the Moon will be new, setting the stage for what could be one of the best Leonid showers in years."

Leonids, who grab their name from their location in the Leo constellation, are bits of debris from the Tempel-Tuttle comet.

And while the area around Asia might be the best place to view the shower (two of the streams will be crossing over Indonesia and China), you'll still be able to see the action in North America.

According to CNN, "The first stream will cross over Earth about 4 a.m. ET. That stream should produce about two or three dozen meteors per hour over North America."

So in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, experts recommend getting as far away from city lights as possible to view the shower. The less artificial light, the brighter the meteors will be. Also, the view is better the higher up you get. Altitude will reduce the glare of the moon.

Ohio's Stonelick Lake State Park is hosting a special viewing event with the Cincinnati Observatory Center. Get details about that even here. And read CNN's full article about the shower here.

by Jac Kern 04.20.2012
Posted In: Culture, TV/Celebrity, Life at 08:38 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

A&E Looking For Locals For Documentary-Style Show

Producers in town this weekend looking for families to relocate to Amish communities

British production company KEO Films is looking for area families interested in participating in a television show which would involve temporarily relocating to an Amish community.

Living with the Amish is a documentary-style show originally aired on UK's Channel 4 in 2011. In that first season, six British teenagers (three boys, three girls) flew across the pond to live with Amish families in Ohio and Pennsylvania. This time, producers have teamed up with A&E for an all-American version.

KEO Development Researcher Lauren Rowles says that while the show is still in very early stages of development, a producer is in Cincinnati this weekend in the search of potential participants. Instead of teens, this program will take whole families and move them into various Amish communities. Rowles went onto describe the types of people they're looking for:

"Having spent the last three years working with the Amish we have found them to have great wisdom and compassion in the difficult task of raising a family and this is something we will focus on in the new American series. We are therefore looking for families that feel they could learn something from the Amish lifestyle and way of parenting. For example, a single mother struggling to maintain discipline and authority in her household, or parents worried that their teenage son might be at risk of making poor life choices, or a daughter rebelling against her parents' authority. We hope that the time with the Amish will open their eyes to a different way of thinking and will be a positive and enriching experience for all those involved."

Interested? The producer is only in town until Sunday, so email Rowles (lauren@keofilms.com) as soon as possible to set up a meeting.

by Maija Zummo 12.04.2008
Posted In: Life at 01:07 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Learn How to Make a Drink


Bartender: Taryn

BarFries Cafe (3247 Jefferson Ave., Clifton, 513-281-9002). I think this place is really comfortable but it generally smells like barf even though no one is barfing. Here's our review from the Swizzle Guide: There's almost something inherently wholesome about your neighborhood dive, and Fries is no exception other than it seems to embrace its dive-iness. It has the feeling of the childhood excursion to Grandma's, but only if she had a habit of chain-smoking two packs of unfiltered Pall Malls everyday for 40 years and hoarding Depression-era spearmint leaves in her bureau. But just like Grandma, Fries is sturdy and reliable.

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by Maija Zummo 02.16.2009
Posted In: Dating, Life at 05:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

I Bang the Worst Dudes


Ever had a bad one-night stand? Sure, we all have. But I mean like really, really bad? Like the kind of bad where the guy called out his own name or tried to pee on you or wanted you to dress up like Hannah Montana?

Out the dude and warn other women here.

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by Maija Zummo 10.21.2013
Posted In: Life at 02:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Spring Grove Removes Murder Victim's SpongBob Headstone

Slain soldier's cartoon character grave marker stirs up controversy

Twenty-eight-year-old army sergeant and Ohio native Kimberly Walker was found dead in a Colorado hotel room earlier this year, allegedly murdered by her boyfriend, a soldier, on Valentine's Day. Walker loved SpongeBob SquarePants, so her family had Walker's headstone carved to resemble the bepantsed sponge. She was buried at Spring Grove cemetery with plans to have her grave marked by an almost 7-foot headstone. Spring Grove initially let the family place the stone sponge, but then changed their mind and removed it citing that the piece didn't fit with cemetery guidelines.

Here's a WLWT video on the situation presented without comment because the story is weird, sad, sort of funny in a dark way and both sides have pretty valid points:

by Brian Baker 06.14.2013
Posted In: LGBT, Life, Commentary, BABIES at 12:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy Me Day

The basic, rewarding, maddening and beautiful simplicity in being — and having — a father

I¹ve been celebrating Father's Day for well over 50 years now. In its earliest incarnations, I'm sure gifts and cards were bought on my behalf, but eventually it was time to take the reins and handle the responsibility myself.

For a long stretch, my go-to present for my father was the lastest Bill Cosby record, partly because he truly enjoyed Cosby's work, but mostly because I wanted to hear it, too. Some might look at that as a selfish act, but I prefer to look at it this way; it was something that we were able to bond over, and at least it wasn't an ugly tie he¹d pretend to like and never wear.

My relationship with my father has always been complicated. I'm sure he loved me, although it was many years before he actually voiced the sentiment. The problem was that my mother, who likely would have been the perfect bridge between us, died when I was not quite 4 years old. My father's grief and depression were all-consuming and because he was afraid his emotional state would degrade my own, he left me with my grandparents (my recently deceased mother's parents, which, considering their own overwhelming grief, was an interesting paradigm of its own) and moved 30 miles north, removing himself from everything that would remind him of her.

Thus began our 12-year routine. He would arrive on Saturday afternoon, pick me up, take me back up to his apartment for the night, then we'd hang out until Sunday evening, when he would return me to my grandparents. It never really mattered what we did, I just enjoyed being in his company. He had a sense of humor that ranged from cuttingly dry to wildly inappropriate, largely dependent on the amount of scotch in his system, but he was always good for a laugh. Until he wasn't, of course, but that's another story.

The defining characteristic of our relationship was its short term nature. He was my actual, hands-on father less than two days a week; sometimes our weekend consisted of going to his friends' parties and me hanging out with his friends' kids all night, then watching TV for a good part of Sunday while he nursed the next in a series of monolithic hangovers. But there were lots of movies and restaurants and plays and a couple of girlfriends and a couple of stepmothers and extended families.

Sundays in summer were mostly spent on golf courses as he tried to teach me the game. Sundays in winter were for watching football, sometimes skiing or ice skating. Fun is where you find it and we found it everywhere. My grandparents were of sturdy Methodist stock and involved me in church as much as possible, while my father was a card-carrying hedonist.

When I was 5 or 6, after we'd been doing the weekend trip for some time, my grandmother was concerned that I wasn't attending church on Sundays and asked Dad if he could find a church and start taking me. My father took a long drag on his unfiltered Camel, exhaled slowly and said, "Molly, if he can't find Jesus in five days with you, he's not going to find him in two days with me." That unassailable logic ended the church discussion.

I was maybe 12 or 13 before my father really talked about my mother to me. To this day, he finds it generally impossible. I've asked if I could tape him telling stories about her so that I'll have some concrete memories to draw on, as I don't remember a single thing about her, but it is beyond his capacity to bring it all out. Occasionally, he'll get expansive and let things go, but at this point I only see him twice a year so the information comes in fits and starts.

As long distance relationships go, my father and I had a pretty good one. And as it turned out, it was something of a blueprint for my relationship with my own son. Just before his second birthday, my troubled marriage finally crumbled and my wife informed me one night when she got home from work that she was moving and I was not. She moved into her new apartment with our son, and I moved back in with my grandparents for three weeks before I made the decision to move to Cincinnati to look for work. The relative stupidity of moving from Michigan, the state with the highest unemployment rate, to Ohio, which had the second highest unemployment rate, was not lost on me, but I didn't want to be impossibly far from my son. I wanted to be a presence in his life.

I found work within a couple of months and went home for my son's second birthday in April. I hadn't seen him since January, but I talked to him constantly, at least as much as you can communicate with a toddler on the phone. He was asleep at my grandparents' house when I rolled into town, and I wound up going out with friends that night, coming home at maybe 3 a.m.

When Josh woke up the next morning, my grandmother went to get him while I waited in the living room. She brought him downstairs and sat across the room with him on her lap. He rubbed his eyes and clung to her, looking at me like I was a stranger. She kept saying, "That's your daddy, that's your daddy," and he kept hiding his face in her neck.

I've never been shot in the chest, but I'm fairly certain I know how it feels.

After the longest four minutes of my life, his face slowly lit with recognition, his eyes brightened, he shouted, "Daddy!" and then climbed off my grandmother's lap and launched himself at me. I can still feel that endless, exuberant hug to this day.

The distance between us was 10 times greater than the 30 miles that separated my me and my father, so my trips were once a month, rather than once a week, but they were regular, and we both came to depend on them. I was determined to remain a father figure, not the once a month sugar daddy who shows up for an anything-goes weekend, and that was clearly the right strategy, given our excellent relationship both then and now.

We had a few bumpy patches along the way, including a stretch when he was 8 where he got a bit bored with the weekend trips; although my feelings were slightly bruised, I cut back to every other month for a couple of months until he realized how much he missed our regular time together. We maintained the monthly schedule until he was a teenager, when he started having an actual life with parties and school events and things he needed to work around. By then, I had my own issues; a full time design job, part time writing gigs and my first shot at being an honest-to-God full-time father with the arrival of my daughter, Isabelle.

Josh was absolutely ecstatic about his new sister (he actually snapped at his mother when she correctly but thoughtlessly used the term "half-sister"), and although their time together was fleeting, he was a doting big brother.

In 1998, Josh left to attend Reed College in Portland, Ore.; given his tenuous relationship with his mother, my favorite joke at the time was that he had gotten as far from her as he could without swimming. We talked by phone quite a lot those first few weeks and kept up a regular email exchange as well. It was one of those messages that forced me to question the state of our own relationship.

It was about two months into his first semester. Josh had emailed me with a rather non-descript account of his days — classes, roommates, school environment — but as I scrolled to the bottom of his message, there was this brief sign-off: "Oh, and there's this guy in one of my classes that I¹m interested in, and I think I might be bi."

It wasn't a complete surprise; Josh had two girlfriends in high school, but both were damaged in fairly significant ways (OK, one was batshit crazy), and I had wondered if maybe he was having trouble with his relationship radar. Turns out he was picking from the wrong gender pool, so it made sense.

The timing of his announcement was odd, though; a good friend had just died unexpectedly at the horrifyingly young age of 36, my boss had informed me that I was in danger of losing my position and my wife had mentioned casually that she wasn't sure if she wanted to be married anymore.

Josh's coming out was the best news I'd had all week.

My problem was with the way he chose to tell me. Not in a phone call where we could talk about what he was going through, and not in an email with an appropriately portentious subject line like, "I have something serious to discuss with you." His rather life-altering news was tacked onto a laundry list of activities like a pork barrel project attached to an unrelated bill.

I was a bit skinned that he had resorted to this kind of subterfuge to enlighten me about his sexuality. And then there was the issue of tentatively identifying himself as "bi." I was sure he had used that terminology in an effort to cushion any potential shock with a switch hitter gambit, giving him a fallback position in case I reacted badly. It reminded me of the episode of Friends when Phoebe lost her singing gig at the coffeeshop and wound up playing to kids at a local library. She started off trying to sing children's songs but she ran out of material quickly and started making up songs about life in general, and in typical Phoebe fashion, the songs were brutally honest, relatively inappropriate and, of course, exactly what kids should probably hear.

The one song that I remembered from that episode had some relevance in this situation: "Sometimes men love women. Sometimes men love men, And then there are bisexuals. Though some just say they're kidding themselves."

I didn't respond to Josh's email, partly because I was slightly hurt and partly because I was busy. The weekend after his message, he called and we talked about fairly innocuous subjects for an inordinate amount of time. I waited for him to broach the subject, because I felt as though he should, but he never brought it up.

He finally noted with a sigh that it was getting late and I knew he was ready to wrap up the call without addressing his news, so I decided it was up to me. Being my father's son, I chose the inappropriately direct method (my particular genetic curse is that I rarely require alcohol to be inappropriately direct and lack a distinct filter to avoid it).

"Oh, by the way," I said casually, "I understand you're sucking cock."

There was an extremely long pause and finally Josh said, "So you did get the message."

I gave him a loving earful about our close relationship and the trust and love and responsibility that came with that bond, and gently upbraided him for the rather cloaked method he had chosen to come out to me.

He stammered in complete agreement, saying, "I was afraid of how you would take it."

"Joshua, there are plenty of things in the world to be afraid of and I am not one of them," I said. "I may not agree with the things you do, but I will always love the boy doing them. In this case, this is who you are. It's not a choice you've made, it's a discovery. It's bloody hard to find love in this world, and you've taken a first step toward finding it for yourself. That's fantastic. My only advice to you is the same, straight or gay; be careful. Sex these days can kill you. Wherever you poke it, wrap it up.

"I just had to bury a friend," I continued. "If you make me bury a son, I swear to God I'll dig you up and kill you again."

He laughed a most relieved laugh and that was that. He was out. He pursued a couple of different relationships with guys at Reed which didn't pan out. After two and a half years, he returned to Michigan to enroll in the forensic psychology program at Michigan State, where he met Sean. They've been together for over 10 years now. We love him like a son-in-law because, even though they can't make it official, that is what he is to us.

These memories and God knows how many more come around each Father's Day, a good many including my grandfather, who was as much, if not more, of a father than my own father. I'll get a wonderfully skewed card from my sons and dinner and a card and something sweet from my wife and daughter. I'll send a funny card and a golf-related book to my dad and call him on Sunday, just before I get a call myself.

Life may be complicated sometimes, and God knows the complexities of family relationships can be like putting together a jigsaw puzzle of the White Album cover, and yet there's a fairly basic — and rewarding and maddening and beautiful — simplicity in being a father and having a father.

by Staff 12.30.2014
Posted In: Culture, Drinking, Events, Fun, Holidays, Music, Life at 01:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Party Like It's 2015

Places to drink, dance and debauch your way into the New Year

An Elegant Affair New Year’s Eve at Igby’s 
Dress in cocktail attire and dance to music by DJ Ice Cold Tony. Advance-order bottle specials available: two bottles of Tito’s Vodka and two bottles of Perrier Jouet Brut champagne for $515. 9 p.m.-2:30 a.m. $20. Igby’s, 122 E. Sixth St., Downtown, 513-246-4396, igbysbar.com

New Year’s Eve Ball at the Pavilion 
Two DJs on two levels plus an hors d’oeuvres buffet, party favors and champagne toast. 8 p.m. $30; discounts for 10 or more. Mount Adams Pavilion, 949 Pavilion St., Mount Adams, RSVP to 513-744-9200 or mountadamspavilion.com

New Year’s Eve at The Blind Pig 
Free buffet from 8-10 p.m., with a champagne toast at midnight. 8 p.m. $25; $20 advance; $75 table; $20 champagne bottle. The Blind Pig, 24 W. Third St., Downtown, 513-381-3114.

New Year’s Eve at The Lackman
Drink specials include $5 Bulleit cocktails. 8 p.m. Free. The Lackman, 1237 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, lackmanbar.com.

New Year’s Eve at Lachey’s Bar 
Only limited VIP packages available; includes eight tickets, full access to open bar, two bottles of champagne, personal cocktail waitresses and special VIP seating. Enjoy a special guest DJ, photo booth and party favors. Dress is formal. 10 p.m. -2 a.m. $1,200. Lachey’s Bar, 101 W. Seventh St., Downtown, facebook.com/events/355435507970572.

New Year's Eve at MOTR
A dance party with music from Founding Fathers, Fluffer and a DJ set by Sabastooge. Ball drop at midnight. 10 p.m. Free. 1345 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, motrpub.com.

New Year’s Eve at Mynt Martini
Radio station KISS FM hosts a party with a balloon drop, music by Davey C. and a champagne toast at midnight. 8 p.m. $25 advance; table packages $1,000-$2,000. Mynt Martini, 28 Fountain Square, Downtown, RSVP to 513-621-6968.

New Year’s Eve at Obscura 
Includes unlimited signature and classic cocktails, select liquors, domestic beers, select wine, light bites and a champagne toast at midnight. 9:30 p.m. $100; $500 table for four. Obscura, 645 Walnut St., Downtown, obscuracincinnati.com.

New Year's Eve at Pulse
Includes complimentary appetizers (9-11 p.m.) and a champagne toast at midnight. For ages 18 and older. $15 pre-sale older than 21; $25 pre-sale 18-21. $20-$30 at the door. 700 W. Second St., Downtown, pulsecincy.com.

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

New Year’s Eve at Unwind Wine Bar 
Music by DJ Kim with wine and drinks. 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Free. Unwind Wine Bar, 3435 Michigan Ave., Hyde Park, unwindhydepark.com

No Hassle New Year’s Eve 
Drinks specials and a mac-and-cheese bar at midnight. $4 fireballs, Stoli drinks and cherry bombs. Complimentary champagne toast at midnight. 9 p.m. Free. Keystone Clifton, 249 Calhoun St., Clifton Heights, keystonebar.com. 

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

A Bright New Year Beer Dinner 
Fifty West throws a New Year’s party with four courses paired with beer and featuring foods that symbolize good fortune in the coming year. 6-9 p.m. $55. Fifty West, 7664 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, fiftywestbrew.com

New Year’s Eve at Andy’s 
A special menu with a full bar, champagne toast at midnight, belly dancers and a DJ. 6 p.m. Free. Andy’s Mediterranean, 906 Nassau St., Walnut Hills, andyskabob.com

New Year’s Eve at BrewRiver GastroPub
Chef Michael Shields crafts a three-course meal. Drop an additional $20 and get a bottle of Casteller sparkling cava. 5 p.m.-1 a.m. $45. BrewRiver GastroPub, 2062 Riverside Drive, East End, brewrivergastropub.com.

New Year’s Eve Dinner at Daveed’s NEXT 
Seatings at 5:30 and 8 p.m. $50 early seating; $75 late seating (includes a sparkling wine reception). Daveed’s NEXT, 8944 Columbia Road, Landen, daveedsnext.com

New Year’s Eve at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse 
Enjoy upscale dining and a live performance by the Kelsey Mira Band. Happy hour begins at 4:30 p.m. 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Free. Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse, 700 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-784-1200, jeffruby.com

New Year’s Eve at La Petite France 
A four-course dinner with entrees choices including filet mignon Oscar and roasted rack of lamb. 5 p.m. $49.95. La Petite France, 3177 Glendale-Milford Road, Evendale, lapetitefrance.biz

New Year’s Eve at The Mercer OTR 
A four-course NYE dinner with a champagne toast. 7 p.m. The Mercer OTR, 1324 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/themercerotr

New Year’s Eve at the Metropole 
Head to the 21c Museum Hotel for chef Jared Bennett’s farm-to-fireplace menu. Dinner served until 7 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., dinner jumps to a $95, four-course prix-fixe menu, which includes a champagne toast. 5:30-11 p.m. $95 prix-fixe menu. Metropole, 609 Walnut St., Downtown, metropoleonwalnut.com

New Year’s Eve at Nectar 
A three-course meal with several choices for entrees, dessert and starters. 5:30-10:30 p.m. $65. Nectar, 1000 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout, dineatnectar.com

New Year’s Eve at Parkers 
Parkers Blue Ash Tavern throws a NYE dinner party, featuring music by Jeff Henry. 9 p.m-1 a.m. Prices vary. Parkers Blue Ash Tavern, 4200 Cooper Road, Blue Ash, parkersblueash.com

New Year’s Eve at Via Vite 
Two separate seatings with chef Cristian Pietoso’s signature Italian buffet. Late seating includes a prosecco toast and cocktail or glass of wine. 6-8 p.m.; 9 p.m.-1 a.m. $50; $99. Via Vite, 520 Vine St., Fountain Square, Downtown, viaviterestaurant.com

Axis Alley New Year’s Eve 
A DJ, noisemaker, balloon drop, champagne toast, bowling and shoe rental, appetizers and prize packages. 9 p.m. $50. Axis Alley, Newport on the Levee, 1 Levee Way, Newport, Ky., axisalleylevee.com

Cheers to the New Year at Rhinegeist 
Normal tap offerings, plus cocktails and champagne. 8 p.m. $10. Rhinegeist, 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, eventbrite.com/e/new-years-celebration-at-rhinegeist-tickets-14780652329. 

CityBeat and Know Theatre’s Speakeasy Party 
A 1920s-themed speakeasy in the basement bar of the Know Theatre with casino games, dance lessons, food, martinis and a champagne toast at midnight. Benefits the Know Theatre. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. $35 advance; $50 day-of. Know Theatre of Cincinnati, 1120 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine, RSVP to 513-300-5669 or knowtheatre.com

First Midnight Party 
Music by DJ Taryn Manning in The Pavilion and complimentary champagne. VIP options include table and bottle service. Benefits Give Back Cincinnati. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. $30-$550. Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati, 1000 Broadway St., Pendleton, ffecincinnati.com

Fountain Square New Year’s Eve Blast 
Music by DJ Tweet, games and prizes, dance contests and more. Rozzi’s famous fireworks at midnight. Full bar service and drink specials available. Complimentary skating admission. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. Free; $4 skate rental. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown, myfountainsquare.com

Lawrenceburg Event Center New Year’s Eve 
Live music from After Midnight and Gen X. Includes a buffet dinner, beer and wine, champagne toast at midnight and party favors. 8 p.m. $75. Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg Event Center, 91 Walnut St., Lawrenceburg, Ind., hollywoodindiana.com

New Year’s Eve Ball with Taken by Storm at Music Hall 
Celebrate the New Year in concert with Pops conductor John Morris Russell and a special guest appearance by Storm Large. After the concert, festivities continue in Music Hall’s Ballroom with a catered dinner, dancing and live music and a champagne toast at midnight. 7:30 p.m. concert; $22-$90. 9:30 p.m. ball; $175-$275. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cincinnatisymphony.org

New Year’s Eve at Bobby Mackey’s Music World 
The 36th annual NYE bash at Bobby’s. Music by Bobby Mackey and the Big Mac Band. 9 p.m. Free. Bobby Mackey’s Music World, 44 Licking Pike, Wilder, Ky., bobbymackey.com

New Year’s Eve Dance at Receptions Bridgetown 
A catered dinner with beer, wine and a champagne toast. Live music by Saffire Express. 8 p.m. $50. Receptions Banquet and Conference Center Bridgetown, 3302 Westbourne Drive, Bridgetown, 513-922-6777

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

New Year’s Eve Dinner Dance at Lakeridge Hall 
A hot buffet with drinks, a wine fountain, hats, noisemakers, music by DJ Larry Robers and an option to BYOB. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. $40. Lakeridge Hall, 7210 Pippin Road, Colerain, 513-521-1112. 
New Year’s Eve at Embassy Suites Blue Ash 
An all-inclusive package includes a deluxe two-room suite plus an open bar, dancing, DJ, chef’s premiere buffet dinner, cooked-to-order breakfast and late check out. $349 per couple. Embassy Suites Blue Ash, 4554 Lake Forest Drive, Blue Ash, RSVP to 513-981-3752. 

New Year’s Eve at Funny Bone on the Levee 
A special engagement with comedian Dave Landau. 8 and 10:30 p.m. $20 early show; $25 late show. Levee Funny Bone, Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., funnybone.com/venues/levee. 

New Year’s Eve at Go Bananas 
Two sets by comedian Robert Hawkins. The later show features a cheese and veggie plate and champagne toast. 7:30 and 10 p.m. $20 early show; $40 late show. Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, gobananascomedy.com

New Year’s Eve at Perfect North Slopes 
Skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing open until 1 a.m., with party favors and a DJ in the lodge. Fireworks at midnight plus a torchlight parade down the slopes by ski instructors and ski patrol. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. $35-$47 lift tickets. Perfect North Slopes, 19074 Perfect Lane, Lawrenceburg, Ind., perfectnorth.com
New Year’s Eve at Receptions Fairfield 
Second Wind Band performs live. Reservations include open bar, appetizers and the executive chef’s buffet with sinful desserts. Enjoy a champagne toast at midnight and a late-night chili bar. $149 per couple, tax and tip included. Receptions Conference Centers, 5975 Boymel Drive, Fairfield, RSVP to 513-860-4100. 

New Year’s Eve at Springdale 18 
A screening of Unbroken in the Director’s Hall plus a champagne toast, dessert reception and a live feed of the ball drop on the big screen. Screening at 9:40 p.m. $20.50. Springdale 18: Cinema de Lux, 12064 Springfield Pike, Springfield, showcasecinemas.com

New Year’s Eve at the Syndicate 
Three parties in one. Features an open bar, dinner, champagne toast, party favors, late-night appetizers and entertainment by The Rusty Griswolds, DJ Mark McFadden and the world famous Gangsters Dueling Piano players. 7:30 p.m.-1 a.m. $75-$150. Newport Syndicate, 18 E. Fifth St., Newport, Ky., newportsyndicate.com
Party with the Ponies 
Turfway Park presents live horse racing, music by the Danny Frazier Band, party favors, a champagne toast, balloon drop, DJ and light appetizers. 5:30 p.m.-1 a.m. $85. Turfway Park, 7500 Turfway Road, Florence, Ky., turfway.com. 

A German New Year’s Eve celebration, with an hors d’oeuvres buffet (9-11 p.m.) and live music from Alpen Echos. 8 p.m.-1:30 a.m. $25. Donaschwaben Haus, 4290 Dry Ridge Road, Colerain, cincydonau.com

Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical 
The Cincinnati Playhouse’s extended run of Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical has two performances on New Year’s Eve. 1 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $30. 962 Mt. Adams Circle, Mount Adams, cincyplay.com. 

Great Parks Family New Year’s Eve Celebration 
A ton of family-friendly fun to fit in before the ball drops at 7 p.m. See live animals, balloon sculptors, magicians and play games, make crafts and more. 4-7 p.m. $5; free for two and younger. Woodland Mound, 8250 Old Kellogg Road, Beechmont, greatparks.org or 513-521-7275. 

Happy Zoo Year 
Ring in the New Year early with the Festival of Lights, a New Year’s Eve Madcap Puppet Theatre show, party favors, costumed characters and appearances by Baby Zoo Year and Father Time. An early New Year countdown begins at 8:55 p.m. with Rozzi’s Famouse Fireworks. 5-9 p.m. Included with zoo admission ($15 adults; $11 seniors and children). Cincinnati Zoo, 3400 Vine St., Avondale, cincinnatizoo.org

International New Year’s Celebration 
Celebrate New Year’s traditions from around the world each hour in the Cincinnati Museum Center’s rotunda. Learn about the different countries and their culture with music, games and crafts. Stop by “customs” for special participation stamps and write a letter to troops stationed abroad. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate, cincymuseum.org

Kid’s Night New Year’s Eve at YMCA 
Camp Kern Get the kids out of the house on New Year’s Eve and drop them off at camp for s’mores, bonfires, rock climbing and more. Meals and snacks provided. Check-in begins 3 p.m. Dec. 31. Check-out 11 a.m. Jan. 1. $100 per child. Camp Kern, 5291 State Route 350, Oregonia, register at campkern.org or 513-932-3756. 

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

New Year’s Kids Cruise 
Countdown 2015 at noon. The cruise features party favors, a DJ, lunch buffet and characters from BB Riverboats’ pirate, princess and super hero cruises. 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. $32 adults; $20 children. BB Riverboats, 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., bbriverboats.com

500 Miles to Memphis 
Say goodbye to 2014 with 500 Miles to Memphis. 9 p.m. $12 day-of; $10 advance. Southgate House Revival, 111 E. Sixth St., Newport, Ky., 859-431-2201, southgatehouse.com

RL Big Band and Nancy James 
Dinner, dancing, a champagne toast and live music from RL Big Band. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. $65. Legends, 3801 Harrison Ave., Cheviot, legendscincinnati.com

New Year’s Eve with The Almighty Get Down 
Appetizers, a champagne toast and live music from The Almighty Get Down, Buffalo Wabs & the Price Hill Hustle and Jamwave. 7:15 p.m. $25; $20 advance. 20th Century Theater, 3021 Madison Road, Oakley, the20thcenturytheater.com.  

New Year’s Eve Show Featuring Ott. 
With Bluetech, Aytiko and Yheti. 9 p.m. $30; $25 advance. Madison Theater, 730 Madison Ave., Covington, Ky., madisontheateronline.com

Rumpke Mountain Boys’ Grateful New Year’s Eve Ball 
Bluegrass band the Rumpke Mountain Boys host a New Year’s bash with David Gans, Born Cross-Eyed and Restless Leg String Band. 7 p.m. $25. The Thompson House, 24 E. Third St., Newport, Ky., 859-261-7469, thompsonhousenewport.com. 

Woodward New Year’s Eve with Wussy and Bobby Bare Jr. 
8 p.m. $10; $15 day of. The Woodward Theater, 1404 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/thewoodwardtheater

Tweens at The Comet 
Trash Punk trio Tweens and The Harlequins. 9 p.m. Free. The Comet, 4579 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-541-8900, cometbar.com.
by Brandon Barb 03.27.2012
Posted In: Commentary, Culture, Life, Travel at 02:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tales From the Airport: What Travelers Don't See

A former baggage handler's account of the job

The Cincinnati airport is located in another state — I’ll let you decide on how backwards that makes the city. The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky airport, CVG, was a major hub for Delta Airlines but in the last few years the number of daily flights and employees has dropped. In 2009 the airport laid off close to 900 employees, and I was one of them. I was a baggage handler for two years, and boy do I have some stories which will be gotten to a little later. But first, there is some good news for CVG.

On March 15, DHL announced that $47 million would be invested in a new facility at its CVG hub. This new sorting facility will help meet international customer demands and add close to 300 jobs over the next 12 months. The date given for the facility to be operational is Nov. 2012.

DHL has been thriving compared to the downward spiral that is Delta. DHL has gone from 1,600 jobs to 2,000 in the span of three years and has invested around $105 million in the Cincinnati location since it was established in 2009. Not everything that happens at CVG is bad.

During my two years as a baggage handler I experienced a little bit of everything. From holding on to the wing of a plane to keep in from tipping during a wind storm, to seeing a drunk little person getting taken off a plane in handcuffs, to destroying a few bags. There is more to an airport than what passengers see in the concourses. Have you ever wondered where that guy in the orange vest was going when he disappeared behind a door? Ever thought about how your bag was being handled? Well, hopefully with a few of these stories those questions and more can be answered.

The Weird

During my time as a baggage handler, I saw some incredible things. At the same time, there were weird events that took place. These would occur like lightning; they happened quickly and would never strike the same place twice.

One of those events is about a worker stealing. He wasn’t stealing from the company, but stealing from passengers’ bags, more specifically, female passengers’ bags. As baggage handlers, we would load the bags up into the cargo bins of aircraft. These bins were only big enough for one person, and at times that one person would be in the bin for extended periods of time. Normal workers would write random sayings on the bin walls, or play a game on their phone, but this guy did something different.

When he was up in the cargo bin, he would go through the bags until he found women’s panties — clean or dirty. To show the high caliber of intelligence some of the people at the airport had, he kept all the underwear in his locker at work. There was no attempt to hide anything in his car or house; the underwear was in a bag in the break room. I’m not one to call someone stupid, but he deserves it for this one.

Did he get caught? Hell yes, he got caught. When our supervisors went through his locker, sure enough, there was the underwear. His explanation of it is comical on its own. “It’s for my girlfriend.” His girlfriend, if he had one, fluctuated in weight a lot because the underwear was different sizes. This doesn’t reflect on every baggage handler but it shows there are some strange people touching your bags.

The Disgusting

The job of a baggage handler is a dirty one. I came in contact with bags full of unwashed clothes, shook hands with people who don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom and cleaned out the restrooms. Ever wondered who cleans out the lavatory on an aircraft? Well, at CVG, that job falls to the baggage handlers. This task is worthy enough for Mike Rowe and then some.

When an aircraft needed to have its bathroom dumped, a handler would drive up next to the plane in the "lav cart." Imagine a blue electric cart that has never been washed, excrement has been spilled on it, it has a tank full of shit and the sun has been cooking its contents all day. I felt like I should have been wearing a Hazmat suit whenever I was around the damn thing. It made me throw up a little every time I was in the driver’s seat.

When a baggage handler dumps a lav, he or she drives the cart up to the aircraft, hooks up the foulest smelling hose to the aircraft and pulls a lever. What comes out, I’ll leave for the imagination. Once all the lovely contents are inside the cart, the “blue juice” is added, which is the liquid solution that you see when flushing an aircraft toilet.

Some handlers would dump a lav, not wash their hands and then go straight to loading bags. A person fresh from coming in close contact with human goodness would go right on touching, quite possibly, your possessions.

The Embarrassing

In the movie Fight Club the narrator tells of a policy about holding a passenger’s bag if it is vibrating. At CVG I never once saw a bag being taken because it was vibrating. What we did do was either slam the bag on the ground in hopes of shutting off the razor or toothbrush — not the smartest idea if it really was an explosive. Another way we handled a vibrating bag was to call the passenger down to the ramp where we would proceed to open it to find the cause of the vibration. If you have seen Fight Club you know what is coming next. Sometimes the bag would belong to a female passenger. When her bag would be opened a certain product would be rattling around on the inside. That happened to me once and while the passenger was red-faced, I had to walk away before I began to laugh in her face. Movies can teach you something every now and then.

There is a side to an airport that most people don’t know about. Sure, there are those zoo-like windows in the concourses that allow passengers to see outside, but that is just a glimpse. Does everyone want to know about what goes on behind those doors? Probably not. I’m not trying to scare people away from flying. In a way, an airport is similar to a restaurant. Taken at face value everything is great and everyone has a smile on their face, but behind closed doors disgusting, depraved and weird things are going on.

by Maija Zummo 12.22.2008
Posted In: Concerts, Life, Reviews at 05:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Common Listening Party at Mixx Ultra Lounge


So we gave Mixx Ultra Lounge a kind of shitty review when they first opened but this bar/sushi joint/plush-carpeted elevator ultra lounge offers a night life experience like no other place in this city. I went on Friday (12/19) for the Common listening party and was really surprised at how comfortably crowded and friendly it was in there. There are currently three floors although they plan on opening a fourth and fifth (that's where the "ultra" part comes in). There's a sushi bar, drinks and standing room on the first floor, a wooden bar and DJ area on the second and the third floor is for private VIP use (from what I gathered). The coolest part of the whole place is an old elevator they turned into a lounge area. Check out some photos from the Common listening party below and click here or on the image above to enter a full gallery.
















by Mike Breen 08.07.2013
Posted In: Comedy, Is this for real?, Fun, Life, Cinfolk at 03:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Epitomizing Cincinnati?

BuzzFeed and Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber's recent attempts to encapsulate Cincinnati get clever responses

Cincinnatians don't like their city to be pigeonholed. At least not in a manner they perceive to be off target.That's so Cincinnati.

BuzzFeed's "BuzzFeed Community" site helps the list-empire target specific cities and regions, resulting in one of the more shared links of the week, at least locally — "31 Ways to Tell You're From Cincinnati."

At first, many seemed to celebrate more attention for our fair city. Then they read the list. It has proven to be far more controversial than BuzzFeed's "11 Cincinnati Foods That Are Better Than Yours" from earlier this year, likely because that list actually reflected contemporary Cincinnati. As far as I know, all those "Cincinnati foods" still exist.

It was clear to many that the "community contributor" who wrote the piece either hadn't been to Cincinnati for a while or was simply parroting one of the Enquirer's old "Cincinnati is so crazy and distinct — we say 'Pop' and 'Please' " articles from the past.

As commenters immediately pointed out, BuzzFeed's list was great … for anyone taking a time machine back to Cincinnati circa 2001 or earlier. While the list was mildly accurate, it reinforced some old stereotypes, like "You will die if you step foot in Over-the-Rhine" and how we can't shut up about George Clooney's Cincinnati roots (he's not from Cincinnati, he's from Kentucky). Elsewhere, items like "You hung in there with Reds’ pitcher 'Cool Hand Leake' even after he was booked for shoplifting" suggest the writer found an old sports page from 2011. That was hardly a big deal when it happened; I would wager most but the die-hardest of Reds fans have forgotten it even occurred. And things like Cincinnatians saying "Please" instead of "What did you say?" or calling Coke and Pepsi "pop" are local quirks that seem to be dying a little more with each more-widely-connected-to-the-world generation.

But what does it matter what Cincinnatians think? BuzzFeed got their big hits surge from Cincy residents and ex-pats. All for something that appeared to take about 10 minutes to put together. "List bait" works.

Yesterday, the folks at the site Cincy Whimsy responded with an "answer list" (oh, if only rap feuds were solved this way). Their "31 Ways to Tell You're From Cincinnati List: An Improved Version" list rang a lot more true to a lot people. The first item set the tone, calling out BuzzFeed for not correctly spelling Servatii and Procter & Gamble. Check it out here.

Last week, the local web buzz was all about the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber's "hip" ad for "Cincinnati USA," featuring a dude in capri pants and sandals talking about how Cincinnatians "do what we love." Unlike people from Pittsburgh, who strictly do things that they hate?

The video was also widely shared and, though well-intentioned, widely mocked.

Enter local comedienne Kristen Lundberg (aka Mammyspanx), whose equally-giddy response video is pretty pitch perfect.