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by Natalie Krebs 10.28.2015 28 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:55 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Morning News and Stuff

ResponsibleOhio airs more TV ads; grand jury for Tamir Rice shooting underway; Cincinnati drivers are more accident-prone

Good morning, Cincy! I hope your struggle to get out of bed and commute wasn't too bad this morning. Here are your morning headlines. 

With less than a week left until election day, ResponsibleOhio is working hard to drum up all the support it can get for Issue 3. The most recent pro-Issue 3 TV ads feature Hamilton Prosecutor Joe Deters and Cincinnati basketball star Oscar Robertson urging voters to support legalizing marijuana. Deters, who is not identified as the county prosecutor in the ad, says he supports Issue 3 because he's tired of seeing drug dealers make money while local governments cut back on safety spending. Issue 3 would legalize marijuana but limit its growth to just 10 commercial farms run by ResponsibleOhio investors. Deters is not one of the 10 investors, but did lead a task force for the super PAC that produced a report that pointed to favorable results for the Ohio economy if the initiative passed. Robertson, on the other hand, is an investor in one of the commercial farms in Anderson Township. In his spot, he says he supports legalizing marijuana for its medical benefits. The ads will air in all 11 of Ohio's major media markets. 

• A poll released by Issue 22 supporters points to favorable results for Mayor John Cranley's initiative to create a permanent hike in property tax to support the city's parks. The poll of conducted by a firm in Washington D.C. found that 56 percent of voters said they will vote for Issue 22 as opposed to 35 percent, who said they are against it. Opponents say the poll was released to discourage the opponents of the measure, and Issue 22's campaign manager admits that those polled tended to be older and more conservative than the average Cincinnatian.

• As the one-year anniversary of the police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice approaches, the grand jury in Cuyahoga County is underway. Cleveland police officers and Cuyahoga County sheriff's deputies have spent the last few weeks testifying and, most recently, prosecutors have started presenting evidence in the shooting. Rice's family said it learned the jury started from the media and has called for a special prosecutor to replace Timothy McGinty after he released two reports from separate sources that concluded that the Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann acted reasonably in shooting the boy, who was holding a pellet gun outside a recreation center. Attorneys from Rice's family called into question the reports stating that they come from sources with a pro-police bias and are disappointed that Loehmann hasn't stepped aside yet. 

• Ready to watch the Republican presidential hopefuls try to debate tonight? Governor John Kasich is and, according to the Columbus Dispatch, he might be showing his true colors. Kasich, who is known for being blunt, has reeled it in on the campaign trail, but last Tuesday in his hometown of Westerville, he said he's "done with being polite and listening to this nonsense." The situation's starting to turn a little desperate for Kasich, who's polling at the bottom of the national candidates and is far from frontrunners like former surgeon Ben Carson and business tycoon Donald Trump. The debate airs at 8 p.m. on CNBC and should hopefully make for some good T.V. at the very least.         

• Did the rain slow you down this morning? Or was it really bad Cincinnati drivers? According to Thrillist.com, Cincinnati ranks 17th for the city where you're mostly likely to be in an accident. It's nestled nicely between the three car-loving Texas cities of Dallas, Houston and Austin, and has the added bonus of being a headache for insurance companies as its metro area the extends into another state. Be careful out there!

Email me story tips at nkrebs@citybeat.com and drive safe!
by Staff 10.28.2015 28 days ago
at 09:36 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

This Week's Dining Events (10/28-11/4)

Beer and cider festivals, Halloween parties, cooking classes and World Vegan Day!


Clean Eating: Eat Well, Live Whole — Learn the basics of creating a healthier kitchen: how to read labels, find hidden ingredients and deal with allergies. 6-9 p.m. $65. Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State, 3520 Central Parkway, Clifton, culinary.cincinnatistate.edu.

Crab Carnival — Washington Platform’s 16th-annual Crab Carnival features a variety of crab and crabbatizers, crab soups, crab salads and other assorted crab creations. Through Nov. 14. Prices vary. Washington Platform, 1000 Elm St., Downtown, washingtonplatform.com

A Taste of India — Chef Catrina Mills leads this class about the spices used in traditional Indian dishes, including how to make Indian spiced chicken, spiced vegetable biryani, naan and more. 6-9 p.m. $65. Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State, 3520 Central Parkway, Clifton, culinary.cincinnatistate.edu.

Witches Brew — This benefit at Fifty West features two specialty dinner options and two limited-edition beers made with Pink Ribbon Girls and Team Fight Club. A portion of proceeds goes to both charities. 4 p.m. Free admission. Fifty West, 7668 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, fiftywestbrew.com.

Post-Apocalyptic Dinner Series — An eerily themed five-course dinner party paired with red wine and freaky post-apocalyptic Halloween treats. 7 p.m. $100. 20 Brix, 101 Main St., Milford, facebook.com/20brix.

HallowEve Brew Bash at Ault Park — Taste the best selections from more than a dozen of Cincinnati’s breweries, including Bad Tom, Blank Slate, Braxton, Cellar Dweller, Christian Moerlein and more. Tickets include 10 four-ounce tastings. Don’t forget your costume. 6-10 p.m. $25. Ault Park Pavilion, 3600 Observatory Ave., Hyde Park, aultparkac.org.

Halloween Weird Beer Weekend — Head to Arnold’s for a weekend of weird beers. The bar hunted to find the strangest and most peculiar brews they could get their hands on, including Rivertown’s Death, brewed with ghost chili peppers; Jackie O’s Pawpaw Wheat; Rhinegeist’s Vanilla Maple Squirrel; and more. All of the beers will be tapping on Friday, with live music all weekend. Friday and Saturday. Free admission. Arnold’s Bar & Grill, 210 E. Eighth St., Downtown, facebook.com/arnoldsbar.

The Night of the Living Ales — Brass Tap hosts a costume party in conjunction with Fifty West, featuring six Fifty brews on tap. Costume contest with awards for first, second and third places. 6 p.m. Free admission. Brass Tap, 251 Calhoun Ave., Clifton Heights, facebook.com/fiftywestbrewingcompany.

Shrimp Three Ways — Learn to make shrimp three different ways. 6-8 p.m. $75. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester, thelearningkitchen.com.

Hopgeist — Rhinegeist rings in Halloween with the second-annual Hopgeist Double IPA festival. If you’re really into IBUs, this is the fest for you. Guaranteed to deliver “hair-raising hop flavors,” the fest features beers from breweries across the country — Dogfish Head, Jackie O’s, 21st Amendment — including super-rares from locals Listermann, Blank Slate, MadTree and more. Rhinegeist will also be debuting the winner of their homebrew collaboration, Homie, a double IPA with mosaic hops. VIP tickets include early access at noon and free food from Dutch’s and Maribelle’s. 1-6 p.m. Saturday. $35; $50 VIP. Rhinegeist, 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, rhinegeist.com/hopgeist. 

Rock the Core Cider and Beer Fest — Drink the District held this cider and beer festival in Washington, D.C. in May, and they’re bringing the event to Sawyer Point on Halloween. Sample more than 30 different ciders and 20 beers, both local and regional. There will be food from Alabama Fish Bar mobile and Cuban Pete’s. 2-6 p.m. $35-$50; $10 designated driver. Sawyer Point, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Downtown, drinkthedistrict.com/cincinnati/rock-the-core.

World Vegan Day — Celebrate World Vegan Day at Park + Vine with free N’ Eggs Benedict (Shadeau ciabatta roll, topped with tofu, vegan goetta, spinach and vegan hollandaise) and La Teraza Coffee. This marks the 71st anniversary of the term “vegan” and the establishment of The Vegan Society. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Free. Park + Vine, 1202 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, parkandvine.com.

Empty Bowls — This fundraiser benefits the Kids Café at the Freestore Foodbank. Potters from the Clay Alliance create and donate 1,200 handmade ceramic bowls. Attendees select a bowl to take home and walk through a simulated soup kitchen line to enjoy a tasty dinner provided by the Cincinnati Chef’s Association and are restaurants. Kids Cafés provide children with meals, homework help, hygiene assistance and activities. Seatings at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. $23. Bell Event Centre, 444 Reading Road, Pendleton, 513-871-2529, clayalliance.org.

Delights of Malaysian Cuisine — Angie Pang talks about and demonstrates how the spices, flavors and sauces of Malaysia complement fruit, veggies, meats and each other. Learn to make lettuce wraps, pineapple salad, pancake with Malaysian chicken curry and a Pandan crepe filled with gula melaka and shredded coconut. 6:30-9 p.m. $47. Cooks’Wares, 11344 Mongtomery Road, Harper’s Point, cookswaresonline.com.

Barbers vs. Brewers — MadTree Brewing — renowned for its thickly bearded brewers — is snipping away at prostate cancer by shaving its crew’s prized possessions. In conjunction with Movember Cincinnati, MadTree is raising funds to fight prostate and testicular cancers, as well as awareness about men’s physical and mental health issues. If enough money is raised, attendants will bear witness as brewers bid farewell to their whiskers; the more money is raised, the more beards will be shorn. In addition to the shave-off, the event features split-the-pot drawings, raffles and food from Catch-A-Fire Pizza. MadTree will also tap Experimental Pale Ale 007 specifically for the occasion, infused with cedar, juniper berries and grapefruit. Contribute to the cause at youcaring.com/madtree. 4 p.m. Monday. Free admission. 5164 Kennedy Ave., Oakley, 513-836-8733, madtreebrewing.com. 

Stuff It — Learn to stuff anything: peppers, chicken breast and more. 6-8 p.m. $70. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester, thelearningkitchen.com.

Classic Spanish Tapas — Hands-on cooking to make classic Spanish tapas that are easy and full of flavor, like chorizo and potato stew and garlic shrimp. 6-9 p.m. $75. Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State, 3520 Central Parkway, Clifton, culinary.cincinnatistate.edu.

by Nick Swartsell 10.27.2015 29 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Morning News and Stuff

Council mulls panhandling ban near schools; meat found to be unhealthy, Cincinnati in crisis; Kasich, Trump fight over who kept union jobs in Ohio

Hey all! Here’s the news today. It’s a nasty, rainy pre-Halloween mess out there, so gather ‘round the warm, cozy glow of your computer screen and I’ll tell you some scary stories. Mostly about politics.

• Cincinnati City Council’s Law and Public Safety Committee yesterday discussed a possible ban on panhandling near schools. You can read more about the proposed law in tomorrow’s issue, but here’s the long and short of it: Law and Public Safety Chairman Christopher Smitherman would like to make it illegal to panhandle within 50 feet of a school building, and his reasons for that are pretty interesting. Smitherman cited recent school shootings, many of which have actually happened on university campuses, as reasons to be extra-vigilant and to allow extra policing powers around schools.

”When I’m picking my children up 50 feet from the school, I don’t want anyone asking me anything about anything other than what I’m focused on,” Smitherman said. “Having someone on grounds that you don’t know around children makes everyone a little nervous. I wanted it much farther. I wanted it thousands of feet away, or miles away, but I had to compromise.”

He also reflected that such a law is necessary because he’s not allowed to exercise his right to concealed carry in or around a school.

“I want to know that the staff can sort it out,” he said. “For my children. Because I have already taken the position, because of the law, that I can’t have a firearm to protect myself or my children.”

The proposal drew some pushback from homelessness advocates, who point out that there is little statistical evidence linking panhandling and violence, and that school shooters are usually a different group entirely. Councilwoman Yvette Simpson also expressed concern about the proposed ordinance, suggesting it won’t add any more protection than current laws already provide. Representatives from Cincinnati Public Schools expressed conditional support for the ordinance, which makes exceptions for some kinds of passive panhandling including musical performances commonly known as busking.

The committee did not vote on the proposed ordinance yesterday, but will hear further testimony about it and potentially vote to move the ordinance to full Council at the committee’s next meeting.

• So here’s a big news flash: red meat and processed meats are bad for you. The World Health Organization recently released a study suggesting links between processed pork and beef products and cancer, and it’s been a huge boon for media outlets looking for something to fill up a slow news week. The media hand-wringing has been especially intense here in Cincinnati, because we used to be the world’s meat-packing hub for a couple brief years in the 1840s or something and continue to have the nickname Porkopolis as a hangover from that one time our city was literally living high on the hog. Now we find out that the same substance that gives us Cincinnatians life and identity also brings death. Clearly, we’re a city in crisis, but luckily, there’s some great journalism going on about Cincinnati’s meaty existential dilemma.

• U.S. Senate hopeful and Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld is getting a bit more national press for his run in the Democratic primary. In a recent interview in the National Journal, Sittenfeld lays out his case for his Senate aspirations, explaining why he sees himself as a better choice than former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland. Those reasons include an orientation toward innovation and collaboration the 31-year-old Sittenfeld touts as second nature and says that his opponent doesn’t have. In the interview, he also explained why he thinks it’s important for Democrats to continue to acknowledge the Black Lives Matter movement and revealed that he’s never smoked marijuana, which he says may be a liability for future politicians instead of an asset. The continued national ink can only be good news for Sittenfeld, but the upstart candidate still has a long slog ahead if he’s going to convince Democratic primary voters that he’s a better choice than his rival, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland. For one, Strickland leads incumbent Republican Senator Rob Portman in polling, and some Democrats have asked why the party should switch horses mid-stream when the one its on is winning the race. Err, that may be a mixed metaphor but you know what I mean.

• Here’s a funny story. Two Republican candidates for president are arguing about which one gets credit for keeping auto worker jobs in Ohio. Real estate guy and combover icon Donald Trump says his incessant badgering and shit-talking convinced Ford to move production of certain mid-sized trucks to Ohio from Mexico to avoid shutting down a plant near Cleveland. Meanwhile, Ohio Gov. and fellow GOP prez contender John Kasich says it was his tax incentives. The hilarious part? The agreements that kept those jobs in Ohio were brokered by the United Autoworkers Union, which is, uhhh, a union. One thing both Trump and Kasich agree on: they don’t like unions. Though Kasich gets some credit from Ford for tax incentives he threw their way, the company continually cites the negotiations with the UAW as a big reason Ohio’s jobs stayed in the state. So, yeah, that’s awkward.

• Speaking of Kasich, his administration is getting national attention for a new plan to fight opiate addiction. Kasich introduced plans recently to spend $15 million linking doctors and pharmacies and their records with a computer database that keeps track of prescription opiates around the state. Ohio is the first state to attempt a fully-integrated computer tracking system for the drugs, which could help find and eliminate fraudulent uses of prescriptions.

• Finally, maybe you’ve heard people talk about the school-to-prison pipeline, which some activists say contributes to higher levels of incarceration for young people of color. And maybe you’ve shrugged that off and said, you know, “I’m sure police presence in schools is a good and necessary thing” or something similar. I’m not going to argue with you about it, but you should probably watch this video of an officer forcibly arresting a student sitting at her desk. It involves him tipping over her desk and chucking her across the room. The officer in South Carolina is currently suspended as an investigation continues into the incident. Just food for thought about that whole police presence in schools thing.

That’s it for me. Hit me up via e-mail or Twitter with Halloween costume or party ideas. I’ve already got some rad stuff on my radar for my favorite holiday, but I’m always up for more options.

by Emily Begley 10.26.2015 30 days ago
Posted In: Holidays at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Halloween Haunts

Scare season is coming to an end, so make a plan to freak yourself out one last time

It's almost the end of haunted house season here in the Tristate, which means you only have a week or so left to scare the crap out of yourself at freaky local attractions. Whether you’re looking for thrills, chills or something a little more family-friendly, this list has you covered, including an intensity guide to help you find just the type of scare you’re looking for. Choose your haunt, grab some friends and enter at your own risk — you might just discover a real-life ghost or two along the way. Intensity guide out of three skulls. Visit our ScaryBeat section for more Halloween haunts, including family-friendly farms, spooky shows and autumn-themed events. 

Bobby Mackey’s Music World
This bar, owned and operated by Country singer Bobby Mackey, invites you to “come for the ghosts and stay for the music.” Featured on Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures in both 2008 and 2010, the building was built in 1850 and originally served as a slaughterhouse and meatpacking operation. After the slaughterhouse closed in 1890, the building took on new life as a casino and eventually became the site of the Latin Quarter, a nightclub popular with mobsters. The site became renowned for murder, mob activity and satanic rituals before becoming Bobby Mackey’s in 1978; the building remains rich with history, and many patrons say the bar is still inhabited by former frequenters. Its most notorious ghost is that of Johanna Jewel, a club dancer and the daughter of the Latin Quarter’s owner, who fell in love with a young Country singer named Robert Randall. When Johanna became pregnant, her father had Randall killed — supposedly through mob connections — and Johanna poisoned herself in her dressing room. Learn more about the building’s history Friday and Saturday nights during the bar’s haunted basement tours. You’ll stand inside Johanna’s dressing room, where many people claim to smell roses — her favorite flower — and make your way to the “portal to hell,” a dust-filled hole once used to drain animal remains in the building’s slaughterhouse days. (A young girl’s head was purportedly disposed of in the drain after she was murdered; the head was never recovered.) After the tour, head back upstairs to catch a show by Mackey himself — chances are, he’ll perform one of his favorite songs, “Johanna.” Admission fee. Thirty-minute tours Fridays and Saturdays. First tour 9:15 p.m.; final tour leaves 1:15 a.m. 44 Licking Pike, Wilder, Ky., 859-431-5588, bobbymackey.com. 


The Dent Schoolhouse
Legend says that a group of students mysteriously vanished from the Dent Schoolhouse in 1942, followed by several more disappearances in the years to follow. It wasn’t until 1955 that a foul odor led angry community members to the schools’ janitorial basement, where the students’ bodies were discovered in barrels wedged between the walls. The murders were attributed to the school’s janitor, but the man — Charlie — was never found. That is, until now — Charlie is said to roam the halls of the school today, cleaning alongside the 50 to 65 actors who bring Dent to life every Halloween; the spirits of his victims are also said to roam the halls. Impressive acting and convincing animatronics are waiting to terrorize you in this abandoned schoolhouse. Even more horrifying, however, is the basement — in addition to the room’s grisly history, rusty pipes provide perfect coverage for actors to hide before they grab you. New sets, animatronics and technology are implemented every year, providing a fresh experience even for those who frequently haunt the attraction. With an average walk-through time between 25 and 35 minutes, this is one of the longest haunts in the city. Have an even more intense experience Nov. 6 and 7 during Dent’s lights-off tour ($15) or bring the kids along 5-7 p.m. Oct. 25 for the lights-on tour ($10; $5 kids 12 and under), which allows you to get a good look at the school’s decorations and animatronics, jump-scare free. Through Nov. 7. $20; $30 fast pass; $40 front-of-the-line. 5963 Harrison Ave., Harrison, 513-445-9767, frightsite.com.


Highway 50 Fright Field
Since opening its doors in 2013, Highway 50 Fright Field has dedicated itself to bringing the crew’s “demented dreams” to life. The attraction, located on a real 1830s farm near a Native American archaeological site, takes guests through a cornfield and haunted trail ride into a “cemetery gone bad.” This year, the trail is longer than ever, so prepare for additional screams. 8 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays in October (closed Halloween). $10 adults; $8 kids 12 and under. 11294 State Route 50, North Bend, 513-353-0284, highway50frightfield.com.


Kings Island
Halloween Haunt at Kings Island
Photo: Provided
Kings Island transforms when the sun goes down, scaring up haunted mazes and scare zones as part of its annual Halloween Haunt. More than 600 live actors suit up for the event, becoming clowns, werewolves, ghouls and so much more. This year features 11 haunted mazes, four outdoor scare zones and three live musical performances: percussive music show Blood Drums, after-life revue Hot Blooded and new show Monster Rock featuring songs from Aerosmith, Journey, Foreigner and more. Make sure to venture through the all-new Blackout Maze, an indoor maze where whispers chase you through the dark. You’ll also have access to 20 rides throughout the night, including Banshee, the world’s longest inverted coaster (4,124 feet of track!). The chills die down when the sun comes up on Saturdays and Sundays during the family-friendly Snoopy’s Halloween Party. 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 31. Tickets start at $29.99. 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason, 513-754-5700, visitkingsisland.com.


Horror Hike Haunted Trail 
This nothing-held-back attraction takes guests through a half-mile hike through a wooded area complete with uneven and rough terrain. This year, the trail has transformed into a freak show American Horror Story-style and is more elaborate than ever. Expect blood, guts and gore galore as costumed actors touch, grab and block you as you make your way through the trail. This haunt isn’t for the faint of heart — actors “cater to an audience that expects to be scared and intimidated,” using aggressive demeanors, tones and language (this one’s definitely not for the kids). 8 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 7. $13; $5 reentry. 1415 E. Eads Parkway, Lawrenceburg, Ind., horrorhike.com. 


Land of Illusion
Land of Illusion
Photo: Land of Illusion
Featuring four haunted houses and a mile-long trail of terrors, the park draws inspiration from classic horror blockbusters. Explore the Voodoo Bayou Shanty, inspired by a spectral Louisiana swampland, where Bloody Bill is waiting to usher you inside. Ol’ black magic awaits. Or be chased through a circus from hell in Killer Klowns, in which “screams of joy soon turn to screams of horror.” (Afraid of clowns? This is not for you.) Land of Illusion offers two addition attractions not included with general admission — Zombie Sniper Patrol and Demon Drop. Don’t fear the walking dead — ward off the apocalypse in the Zombie Sniper Patrol ($23 per ride; $12.99 with general admission). You’ll climb aboard a retrofitted U.S. Army cargo truck and fire a paintball gun at live-actor zombies; catch them in the woods before they make it into the village. Demon Drop ($20 for two jumps) is a 40-foot free-fall experience that requires safety gear (and perhaps an extra pair of pants). Through Nov. 1. 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 8 p.m.-11:30 p.m. Sundays. $34.99 Friday-Saturday; $24.99 Sunday. 8762 Thomas Road, Middletown, 513-423-9960, landofillusion.com. 


Lewisburg Haunted Cave
Located 80 feet below ground, the Lewisburg Haunted Cave — a real limestone cave — features 500 feet of haunted bridges and 30,000 live bats. For a haunt with a side of history, the Lewisburg Historical Society offers wagon tours of the limestone mine — home to the largest brown bat habitat in Ohio — during the Haunted Cave’s hours of operation ($7). Ride in a tractor-drawn wagon into the 44-acre underground mine and get a glimpse into the cave’s former limestone mine operation. 7 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 31. $16; $8 children 10 and under. Cash only; ATM on site. 4392 Swishers Mill Road, Lewisburg, hauntedcaveatlewisburg.com.


The Mayhem Mansion
Mayhem Mansion
Photo: Kevin Doyle
The Mayhem Mansion is allegedly the site of a mass murder perpetrated in the fall of 1933. Bootlegger Robert Haverford  unexpectedly lost his daughter to an illness just as Prohibition was coming to an end; sticking to the old-fashioned traditions of his family, Haverford held her funeral in his home and promised to serve guests liquor from one of his finest casks. After attendees were served, however, they soon became ill themselves — Haverford poisoned their drinks and took his own life after they fell. The mansion was boarded up, and the bodies of Haverford and his victims were left inside to rot. Only one second-floor window remains open — and it’s through that window that you’ll enter the Mayhem Mansion. Actors, props and jump-scares abound in addition to invisible walls, tilting hallways and more. The attraction also features Haverford’s Hollow Trail, where — for an additional fee — you’ll explore a trail inhabited by homicidal characters. 7 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 7. $14 adults; $8 children 10 and under; $10 Haverford’s Hollow Trail. 13966 DeCoursey Pike, Morning View, Ky., 859-356-DEAD, themayhemmansion.com.


Mount Healthy Haunted Hall
This year is the 26th anniversary of the hall, and the old-school attraction is celebrating with the theme The Best of the First 25 Years. The haunt will feature more than 20 scenes new and old, including exclusive one-year-only scenes from different points throughout its history. Returning favorites include the International House of Pain, Spookers Bar, Bates Motel and Tired Bones Retirement Castle. The hall also remains home to original props including the Reverend Emmett Rotts and Bug Boy. Gory props and dedicated actors make this a realistically hellish haunt, but on Oct. 25, the attraction turns family-friendly during its Lights Up Night event. From 6-6:45 p.m., kids can go trick-or treating through the hall and explore its giant vortex tunnel ($5 children, free adults). 8-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 7-9 pm. Sundays through Oct. 31. $10; $8 with canned good donation. 7700 Seward Ave., Mount Healthy, 513-729-1974,mthealthyhauntedhall.com.


Sandyland Acres Haunted Hayride
Sandyland Acres
Photo: Sandyland Acres Facebook
Freddy Krueger, demonic clowns and more await at this hayride straight outta hell. The undead are waiting to catch a ride, concealed within tall stalks of corn, and flaming semi-trucks compete to run your wagon off the road. The attraction pays homage to terrors old and new, from Friday the 13th and Jeepers Creepers to The Exorcist and The Purge. Sandyland Acres is also home to the Farmers Revenge attraction, a (rather short) barn maze featuring a fearsome farmer. 8 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 31. Hayride $12; Farmers Revenge $10. 4172 Belleview Road, Petersburg, Ky., 859-322-0516, sandylandacres.com.


Springboro Haunted Hayride
Violent creatures lie in wait as this tractor-drawn wagon twists and turns its way through the backwoods. Motorized chases, igniting vehicles and convincing actors are just some of the aspects composing this 26-year-old attraction featuring a far-from-average hayride. Also on site is The Black Bog, a haunted trail through a towering corn maze. Sundown-11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturdays through Oct. 31. $12 hayride; $12 bog; $22 both attractions. 6070 Springboro Road, Lebanon, 937-748-2272, springborohauntedhayride.com.


The USS Nightmare
USS Nightmare
Photo: USS Nightmare
Cincinnati’s infamous “death dredge” used to be a working steamboat in the early- to mid-1900s. Named the William S. Mitchell after its captain, the 290-foot-long steamboat was plagued with strange events, including bizarre accidents and mysterious deaths. Most famously, however, is the day the ship broke loose from its moorings and slammed into four different bridges on a frantic journey down the river. The damaged dredge was purchased by BB Riverboats and has been serving as a popular haunted attraction for 20 years. Actors bring the boat to life — you’ll run into characters like the rat girl and William S. Mitchell himself, who died aboard the ship. A special lights-on matinee is “perfect for younger kids or the faint of heart.” The Captain’s Extreme Tour is on the other end of the spectrum, promising an even more intense experience than regular boat tours with enhanced special effects and a more aggressive crew. 7-11 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, Sunday; 7-1 a.m. Friday and Saturday through Oct. 31. $17 Wednesday; $20 Thursday-Sunday. 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., 859-740-2293, ussnightmare.com. 


Wilmington Haunted Hollow Ride
Although the bus ride is the haunt to beat, 
Wilmington has a total of four attractions: the ride, Nightmare Penitentiary, Slaughter Hotel and Terror in the Corn. Climb aboard a bus destined for hell and embark into the forests of Clinton County. The open-top vehicle begins its journey in a fog-filled tunnel and continues past Rattlesnake Mine — all while chainsaw-wielding actors jump on the bus from their hiding spots in the woods. Worst of all, however, is the mysterious Farmer Dave, who is always looking for “new things to reap and to sow.” Every year has something new to offer, and 2015 brings an all-new attraction: Terror in the Corn, which takes you through a field of tall corn stalks. The particularly adventurous can get additional scares during the Hollow’s Lights Off event on Sunday, Oct. 18 ($20), when you can make your way through the corn in complete darkness. Two other attractions — Nightmare Penitentiary and Slaughter Hotel — are also on site. Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 31. $15 Haunted Hollow Ride; $12 Terror in the Corn; $25 all four attractions. Cash only; ATM on site. 1261 W. Dalton Road, Wilmington, 937-382-6147, wilmingtonhauntedhollowride.com.


by Natalie Krebs 10.26.2015 30 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Morning News and Stuff

Park Board gives endowment perks to top executives; Local media looks at Denver for what could be in Cincy; Five beers coming in celebration of streetcar

Good morning, everyone! Here are your morning headlines. 

• The Cincinnati Park Board is using private endowments donated to the board nine years ago by a private individual to give its top executives some pretty sweet perks. Records obtained by The Enquirer show that executive director Willie Carden is given a car allowance of $12,000 a year from the funds, with second top-ranking official Marijane Klug raking in $4,800 a year for her set of wheels. The endowment, which was previously used to pay the board's top executive more than $100,000 in annual bonuses, also paid $48,500 of Carden's credit card expenses for the last three years, covered his membership to a private, exclusive club and covered thousands in food there and paid $21,000 in legal expenses of nonprofit the Cincinnati Parks Foundation after an ethics investigation into Carden and Klug. Mayor John Cranley, who is in the middle of pushing for a permanent income tax levy for city parks, has approved a temporary moratorium on any discretionary spending and called for a third-party audit of the park board early last week. City Manager Harry Black released a memo Friday saying the audit is underway at the expense of the park board. 

• One of Cranley's proposed multimillion park projects is a set of trails that would go through the city's east and west sides. WCPO has turned to Colorado — Denver specifically — to ask if these trails could transform Cincinnati. Real estate experts in the Mile High City say residents' ability to ditch their cars and hike and bike everywhere has attracted considerable interest. But the report finds that while many, including myself, would like to bike to work without the daily threat of being knocked off the road by a passing vehicle, some believe there is a way to build these Denver-style trails without Cranley's permanent tax levy. 

Denver is apparently becoming the model city for what Cincinnati could be. The Enquirer recently sent two reporters to check out just what a city that has legalized marijuana looks like. Unlike WCPO, which saw sprawling urban bike trails, The Enquirer wrote about what they didn't see, which included: "staggering stoners on city streets," that skunky weed smell and impaired drivers. So Denver doesn't look like my freshman dorm hall, and Cincinnati probably won't either if voters pass Issue 3. But the bigger issue behind Ohio's ballot initiative still lies in that pesky rule that would limit the growth of marijuana to 10 commercial farms — a rule which is also something Colorado does not have. 

• Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Bond Hill) and Rep. Jonathan Dever (R-Madeira) have introduced a bill that would require outsider law enforcement to investigate police-involved shootings. The bill would require a panel of three officers — one from the police agency and two from a pool of investigators across the state — to look into the death and produce a report. This bill comes in response to the July shooting of Mount Auburn resident Sam DuBose by University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing as the department failed to investigate its own officer, according to Reece. 

• One of the most confusing things for people new to Cincinnati, like myself, is the question "Where did you go to school?" I quickly found out that Cincinnatians mean high school, not college, and it is a question that I'm pretty sure no one has asked me in 10 years and is irrelevant to locals because I went to high school really far from here. Well, Mary Stagaman, executive director of the Agenda 360 plan at the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, would like to put an end to the common inquiry. She thinks the question is unwelcoming to outsiders, even though it shows most people here are incredibly tied to the community. The agency is developing a leadership program in cultural competency as part of Diverse by Design, a movement to bring more diversity to the area, to be launched in 2016 to make the region more friendly to outsiders. 

• Does the arrival of the streetcar make you want to drink? Well, five Cincinnati brewers are making beers especially for you. Taft's Ale House, Christian Moerlein Lager House, Christian Moerlein Malt House Taproom, Rhinegeist and Rock Bottom Brewery will all be cranking out new brews set to debut on the projected arrival dates of the streetcars with the first one, a Rye India Pale Ale called Ryed the Rails, debuting at Taft's this Friday. 

• Finally, you might want to watch the number of sausages you wash down with those streetcar beers. A report by the World Health Organization has linked some types of cancer to eating red or processed meat. The report found that eating beef, pork or lamb could cause colon, pancreatic and prostate cancer after a review of more than 800 studies.

Email story tips or questions about my high school to nkrebs@citybeat.com.

by Natalie Krebs 10.23.2015 33 days ago
Posted In: News at 11:13 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Noon News and Stuff

Cranley's parks tax levy hits more bumps; Kasich hopes to strip Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood; Fracking tax will stay the same in Ohio, for now

Happy Friday, Cincinnati! Here are your headlines. 

• Mayor Cranley has hit a few more speed bumps on his proposed city park tax levy. The Charter Committee of Greater Cincinnati has come out against his proposed levy after initially taking a neutral position. The group changed its mind after a letter by nine board members suggested that Cranley had access to how the board members were voting a month ago, and then made calls to some member to vote neutral on the measure. Cranley responded that he did indeed call come board members, but, hey, it's a free country. "Do I talk to people? Yes, I believe in free speech," he told the Enquirer. He also denied having any knowledge of the board's original vote. 

• One of Cranley's parks projects is in jeopardy. Rev. Damon Lynch III of the New Prospect Baptist Church, the site of one several proposed projects, decided not to sell the church's land to the city after a town hall meeting last night. The proposed $8 million Roselawn Neighborhood Center — including a swimming pool, tennis courts and an urban campground — was to use most of the church's land and will now have to be privately funded. Lynch and members of the church said yesterday they refused make a move as drastic as selling the land to support a vision that they claim was initially their own. They'd rather hold on to the land and do it themselves. 

• A Republican lawmaker from Mount Lookout has introduced a plan to make Ohio a "right-to-work" state. Under Rep. Tom Brinkman's plan, Ohioans would have the option of opting out of unions and their dues. The measure would make Ohio the 26th state to pass "right-to-work," putting it in the same family as Wisconsin, Michigan and Texas. Brinkman's measure has opposition from Democrats, of course, who say these kind of plans lead to lower wages, reduced benefits and an overall less safe work environment. But the measure also might have a hard time getting past his fellow Republicans, including Gov. John Kasich, who has stopped going after unions after a state referendum overturned his attempt to limit the collective bargaining rights of public employees. 


• The Ohio Senate just voted to defund Planned Parenthood, but that’s not enough for Gov. Kasich, who'd also like to see the clinic stripped of its Medicaid funding. Ohio Right to Life has been pushing Kasich to cancel contracts with Medicaid, but that might not sail through like the Senate's bill did two days ago. Federal law prohibits Medicaid programs from excluding qualified healthcare providers, which Planned Parenthood is. 

• State lawmakers finally released a report on the state's fracking tax that confirms what many environmental groups, and even Kasich himself, have asserted: The severance tax in Ohio is really, really low, but they also recommended not increasing it right now. Republican Sen. Bob Peterson of Salina said that with the oil and gas industry dealing with deflated prices, now would not be the time to increase the tax, which Kasich has called "a total and complete rip off to the state." The report was released by a task forced created to study the tax in the last state budget. Kasich, who has been pushing for the increase in order to fund income tax cuts, called the findings "disappointing." 

• No one needs the upcoming weekend more than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who spent more than eight hours yesterday testifying before a Republican House committee investigating the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya that left four Americans dead. Lawmakers grilled Clinton on why requests for additional security were denied. The hearing brought little new information on the attack, which has been a sore subject for Clinton, and Democrats say the committee was called as a way to knock back support for the leading Democratic presidential candidate during an pivotal time on the campaign trail.  

That's all for now! Emai: nkrebs@citybeat.com; Twitter: @natalie_krebs.


by Rick Pender 10.23.2015 33 days ago
at 09:48 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stage Door: Buying and Selling — Lots of Theater Options

You’ll find a lot of good theater choices this weekend — Death of a Salesman at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is fine, moving production of a classic drama, while Ensemble Theatre has a hit with its one-man comedy, Buyer and Cellar, about a guy managing a shopping mall in Barbra Streisand’s basement. Here’s a review that provides my comments on both. If you enjoy Nick Cearley’s performance at ETC, you might want to come back for a late-night performance (Friday and Saturday at 11 p.m.) by The Skivvies, his musical duet in underwear with another New Yorker, Lauren Molina. They’ll feature special guests — Drew Lachey tonight and Beth Harris of The Hiders on Saturday. (No info on what they’ll wear … or not wear.) He’s doing B&C through Nov. 1, but the Skivvies happen only this weekend.

This weekend is your last chance to see the romantic comedy Sex with Strangers at the Cincinnati Playhouse (it closes Sunday). It’s a very entertaining and contemporary piece about two very different writers who are strongly attracted to one another. Last evening I attended the opening of the Playhouse’s production of Mad River Rising. Set in an abandoned barn that’s seen better days, it’s the story of Angus Stewart, a man who’s seen better — and worse — days. As a 7-year-old in 1937, he witnessed a tragic flood that washed away most his family’s farm. He was part of rebuilding it, but in 2015 Angus, now 85, is seeing a flood of modernity threatening his world. Stubborn, cantankerous and sharper than he appears at first glance, he escapes from a nursing home and hides out in the barn, where family members — past and present — swirl around him. And in the hands of actor Robert Hogan, the portrait of Angus is memorable. It’s onstage through Nov. 14.

New Edgecliff Theatre offers an imaginative fundraiser every year around Halloween. They call it “Sweet Suspense,” and it’s a production in the form of a radio drama, often of a familiar noir thriller. It happens on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at The Hoffner Lodge (4120 Hamilton Ave. in Northside). Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, a psychological crime thriller from 1951, is the material this year, a classic mystery about two people who meet on a train and conjure a twisted plot for a perfect murder. The evening’s “sweetness” is a complimentary dessert buffet at intermission with desserts from local restaurants and bakeries. Tickets are $35 (888-428-7311).

I dropped by Clifton Performance Theatre last week to see The Norwegians. C. Denby Swanson’s bitter comedy is about women scorned in Minnesota and a pair of nice hit men they hire to whack their former boyfriends. The production has a cast of excellent local actors — Miranda McGee, Carol Brammer, Michael Bath and Sean Dillon — but it’s an odd piece of writing. Director Cathy Springfield has done her best to make this distant cousin of Fargo both entertaining and coherent; but she’s only partially succeeded. There are moments of sardonic humor, but I never really got the point.

Opening this week: Ken Ludwig’s tribute to the comic farces of the 1930s and 1940s, The Fox on the Fairway is up and running at the Covedale Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets: 513-241-6550. … Two university productions to check out this weekend: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Xavier (7:30 p.m., plus a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m.) Tickets: 513-745-3939. … Shakespeare’s seldom-produced The Winter’s Tale opened this week at Northern Kentucky University; it’s onstage through Sunday. Tickets: 859-572-5464.

Closing: WIT – Women in Theatre is offering the second and final weekend of David Ives’ sexy and provocative Venus in Fur, which was well received at the Playhouse when it was staged there in April 2014. WIT presents its shows as the St. John United Church of Christ in Bellevue, Ky. Tickets can be purchased at the door for performances at 8 p.m. tonight or Saturday. … The Hunchback of Seville, an irreverent comedy co-produced by CCM drama at Know Theatre has its final performance on Saturday. You should be able to buy tickets at the door.

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

by Staff 10.23.2015 33 days ago

Your Weekend To Do List (10/23-10/25)

It's almost Halloween!!



Millions of LEGO bricks are taking over the Cincinnati Museum Center. Anticipated exhibit The Art of the Brick features more than 100 artworks created by contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya using nothing other than LEGOs. Explore life-size human figures, a 20-foot-long T-Rex skeleton and replicated famous paintings, including “Starry Night” and “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” plus familiar sculptures like “The Thinker” and the Sphinx. Sawaya has also created a Cincinnati-themed piece that will be revealed when the exhibit debuts. Create your own LEGO masterpieces in the interactive Brickopolis, and don’t miss special themed days revolving around Star Wars, dinosaurs, superheroes and more. Through May 1. $19.50 adults; $12.50 children 12 and under. Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate, 513-287-7000, cincymuseum.org.

This casual “flower power” party is held in conjunction with the Cincinnati Art Museum’s four-day biennial event Art in Bloom. On display Thursday through Sunday, the exhibit features the work of more than 60 florists, who have each created floral arrangements inspired by artwork from the museum’s collection; flowers interpret the color scheme, mood and other aspects of individual paintings or sculptures. Bloom Under the Moon combines the artful arrangements with light bites, cocktails, wine and a DJ. 7-10 p.m. Friday. $45. 953 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park, cincinnatiartmuseum.org.

Fall Fest Weekend
Photo: 3CDC
Between music festivals and celebrations dedicated to beer, it may seem like Washington Park is more adult-playground than actual playground. But this weekend the park transforms into a family fun zone for Fall Fest. Enjoy family-friendly movies on Friday night (Scooby Doo: Decoy for a Dog Napper at 7:30 p.m. and The Addams Family at 8:15 p.m.) and activities all day Saturday and Sunday, including a performance by the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, magic shows, live music and even an apple pie-eating contest. 7:30-10 p.m. Friday; noon-7:30 p.m. Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Free. 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, washingtonpark.org

Cincinnati Art & Antiques Festival
Photo: Provided
This three-day extravaganza features 18th- to 20th-century English, American and Continental furniture, as well as fine art, posters and prints from a distinguished group of dealers, all set up in elaborate room displays in Music Hall. Proceeds benefit the Convalescent Hospital for Children and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Noon-5 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. $10 three-day admission. 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cincinnatiantiquesfestival.com.

Lyfe Jennings
Photo: Provided
Toledo, Ohio native Lyfe Jennings’ life could have been quite different, but it was actually a stint in jail (and inspiration from an Erykah Badu album) that turned things around. As soon as he was released (he was serving a 10-year sentence for arson), Jennings set about pursuing his dreams of a career in music, recording a demo and winning multiple “amateur nights” at the Apollo Theater in New York. He landed a major-label deal, releasing a string of critically and commercially successful albums that showcase a mix of vintage-to-modern R&B, Soul and Hip Hop, as well as his abilities as a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. Jennings’ sixth album, Tree of Lyfe, came out this summer.  7 p.m. Friday. $38-$48. Bogart’s, 2621 Vine St., Corryville, bogarts.com

Photo: Ryan Kurtz

Did you know that Barbra Streisand has a personal shopping mall filled with memorabilia in the basement of her lavish Malibu estate? It’s true — she’s even published a coffee-table book about it. That’s what inspired this very funny one-man show. An out-of-work actor is hired to be the shopkeeper, and he gets to hang out and play store with the legendary musical star. It’s a fantasy, of course, but with enough reality to make the show hilarious, especially in the hands of Nick Cearley, a veteran comic New York actor who has appeared several times at Ensemble Theatre. Through Nov. 1. $28-$44. Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, 1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, ensemblecincinnati.org

The third-annual Beer Baron Ball at Horseshoe Casino features dining, dancing, a silent auction and craft beer. The part acts as a fundraiser for the Cincinnati Brewing Heritage Trail, which celebrates Cincinnati's rich brewing heritage and is the next step in the Brewery District's historical redevelopment. The event will also honor the legacy of former Cincinnati beer barons Conrad Windisch and Gottlieb and Heinrich Muhlhauser of the 19th-century Windisch-Muhlhauser brewery. 6:30 p.m. Friday. $40. Horseshoe Casino, Pendleton, beerbaronball.org. 

Nearly anything goes at this philanthropic run — as long as you don’t come as yourself. Run the 3.1-mile course in your most creative costume; after you cross the finish line, the event becomes a costume party with food, drinks and live music. Benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. 7:30 p.m. Friday. $35 pre-registration; $45 day-of. Begins and ends at 3614 Woodburn Ave, Walnut Hills, cincyrunlikehell.com.

Is Music Hall really haunted? Find out for yourself during this guided tour that includes stops at the ballroom, freight elevator, Corbett Tower, backstage and more. Guests encouraged to bring their own ghost-hunting equipment. 7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday. $25. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-621-2787, cincinnatiarts.org.



Covers a wide range of grisly topics from murder and suicide to decapitation. Follow your guide by lantern light as he or she regales you with tales of haunts including Bobby Mackey’s Music World. 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday. $20. Tours begin at 18 E. Fifth St., Newport, Ky., americanlegacytours.com.

Dress up in costume and head to the Aronoff Center for Exhale Dance Tribe’s popular Halloween show. Choreography incorporates elements of Contemporary and Jazz dance. 3 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Aronoff Center, Jarson-Kaplan Theater, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-505-6340, cincinnatiarts.org.

Eton Place Alley Festival
Photo: Provided
In a rapidly transforming neighborhood like Over-the-Rhine, advocacy for historically overlooked public spaces is often left out of strategic development efforts. In an effort to combat this oversight, Cincinnati-based nonprofit Spring in Our Steps will host a pop-up art installation by artist Mary Baxter, commenting on the construct of alleyways as catalysts for fear. Baxter’s large-scale installation, Miedo, is a series of nine-foot tapestries composed entirely of clothing collected from local thrift stores, which activate window wells within the alley directly adjacent to Rhinegeist Brewery. The festival is free and will feature food and beverages, and Spring in Our Steps will offer a walking tour of the neighborhood alleys and stairways a few hours before the festivities begin. 3-7 p.m. Saturday. Free. 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/springinoursteps

Celebrate the 150th anniversary of Jules Verne’s sci-fi classic, From the Earth to the Moon, with a costume party at the Cincinnati Observatory. The tale, which follows three men as they attempt to launch themselves onto the moon via a space gun, is perfect for some steampunk flair, so break out your best corsets, goggles and waistcoats for an evening of sci-fi discussion and moon viewing. 7-9 p.m. Saturday. $15; $10 in costume. 3849 Observatory Place, Mount Lookout, cincinnatiobservatory.org. 

Not entirely sure what to do with yourself for Halloween? Have a costume but nowhere to go? Support a local charity and have yourself a blast at this year’s Halloween Gala, hosted by Children’s Dyslexia Centers of Cincinnati, a nonprofit dedicated to literacy. Enjoy music by the Naked Karate Girls, food from the Midwest Culinary Institute, a costume contest and more. 7 p.m. Saturday. Tickets start at $50. Cincinnati Masonic Center, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown, halloweengala.org

James Gilmer and Abigail Morwood in 'Lady of the Camellias'
Photo: Tulsa Ballet
Imagine it’s 1998. Cincinnati Ballet is performing Val Caniparoli’s choreography for a full-length story ballet — the exquisite 1995 Lady of the Camellias. It’s the first time artistic director (now CEO) Victoria Morgan has chosen a ballet for her company from the up-and-coming choreographer. The story is from Alexandre Dumas’ Camille, the famous 1848 novel about a tragically doomed courtesan of the Paris demimonde, where high and not-so-high society mix in a heady whirl of champagne, fancy balls and fashionable romantic liaisons. Cut to 2015. This weekend, the Ballet again presents Lady of the Camellias. It’s the 20th anniversary of the production’s premiere. Choreographer Caniparoli is now very highly regarded; perhaps the busiest choreographer in the United States, with more than 100 works to his credit. Among them: Cincinnati Ballet’s popular Frisch’s Presents The Nutcracker, which ran from 2001-2011, as well as the brilliant shorter works “Caprice” and “Vivace.” And, it turns out that Lady of the Camellias, Caniparoli’s first full-length story ballet 20 years ago, has become nothing less than a modern masterpiece. “It’s one of the great dramatic ballets, like Romeo and Juliet,” Boston Ballet artistic director Mikko Nissinen has said. Read more about Lady of the Camellias here. Cincinnati Ballet will perform Lady of the Camellias 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 8 p.m. Sunday. More info: cincinnatiballet.org. 

'Mad River Rising'
Photo: Mikki Schaffner
The Cincinnati Playhouse opens Mad River Rising, a play by Dana Yeaton that artistic director Blake Robison produced two decades ago in New Hampshire. It’s about an elderly man, escaped from a retirement home and hiding out in an old barn hayloft, defending the family farm where he grew up and grew old. The script has been updated and relocated to Ohio, so it’s a new work in many ways. It drifts back and forth in time, especially to a catastrophic 1937 flood. An insight into aging, it’s also a poetic tribute to hanging onto places with meaning. Through Nov. 14. $30-$85. Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mt. Adams Circle, Mount Adams, 513-421-3888, cincyplay.com.

Alex Scott
Photo: Provided
Alex Scott is a comedic chameleon of sorts. Virginia locals know him as Comedy Dad, a blogger and TV personality who works for the local NBC and FOX affiliates. On his dad blog, he waxes about everything from baby wipes to the environment. On stage, though, he’s more freewheeling, recounting past experiences in the Air Force, working in a hospital and being a teacher. “I had one kid say ‘I’m gonna build a bomb and blow up this place,’ ” he tells an audience about a former student. “You can’t even make a Valentine’s Day card, sit your ass down.” Thursday-Sunday. $15-$17. Funny Bone on the Levee, Newport, Ky., funnyboneonthelevee.com.

Annie Fitzpatrick and Bruce Cromer in 'Death of a Salesman'
Photo: Mikki Schaffner
The production of Arthur Miller’s 1949 Pulitzer Prize-winning Death of a Salesman is coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the playwright’s birth. It’s unarguably one of the great plays of the 20th century, and Cincy Shakes’ artistic director Brian Isaac Phillips has put together a masterful staging featuring two of our region’s finest professional actors.Bruce Cromer pours himself into the weary nowhere man, Willy Loman, a traveling salesman at the end of his sadly frayed rope. He admits to being “a little tired,” but he’s way beyond that. He lives in a world of self-aggrandizing fantasy, haunted by his past, roads not taken and wrong-headed decisions. He vacillates between blaming others for his plight — especially his weak-willed son Biff (Justin McCombs) — and reverting to glories that never actually happened in a life that was truly humdrum. He yearns to be remembered, but of course, he’s not done much worthy of recollection. Cromer runs the gamut from delusion to regret in an anxious, wrenching performance. Read the full review here. Death of a Salesman , presented by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, continues through Nov. 7. More info/tickets: cincyshakes.com. 


'Antique Halloween'
Photo: Taft Museum of Art

Travel back in time while viewing the Taft’s Antique Halloween exhibit, a one-room display of objects from 1900 to the 1950s. Items range from party invitations and games to candy and cups. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday through Nov. 1. $10 adults; $5 kids 6-17; free kids 5 and under; free Sundays. Taft Museum of Art, 316 Pike St., 513-241-0343, taftmuseum.org

Pop Up Drag Brunch
Photo: Provided


Metropole’s inaugural HallowQueen Pop Up will feature specialty cocktails, a family-style brunch and performances by local drag queens. 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. $35. Metropole in the 21c Museum, 609 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-578-6660, metropoleonwalnut.com.

Photo: Kathy Newton
Kids and animals alike are in for a special treat during the Cincinnati Zoo’s HallZOOween festival. This family-friendly Halloween celebration features trick-or-treat stations for the kids, costumed characters, a Hogwarts Express train ride and special pumpkin playtime for elephants, otters, meerkats and more. Bring your own treat bag to stuff with goodies and hunt for the Golden Frisch’s Big Boy. Two golden Big Boy statues will be hidden around the zoo each weekend; whoever finds them wins a special zoo/Frisch’s prize package (with tartar sauce). Follow clues on the zoo’s Twitter page: #BigBoyClue. Noon-5 p.m. Select Saturdays and Sundays in October. Free with zoo admission ($18 adult; $12 child/senior). Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale, cincinnatizoo.org.

Photo: coneyislandpark.com
Coney Island is getting creepy for its family-friendly Fall-O-Ween Festival. In addition to the park’s 24 classic rides, the fest features pumpkin painting, magic shows, barnyard animals and a light show choreographed to Halloween music. Use a giant slingshot to smash a pumpkin against a target or opt to take the kids to make their very own apple pie. New this year is a trick-or-treat trail through Coney’s Creep County Fair, a town populated by kid-sized buildings and candy-wielding characters. Also make sure to catch the Monster Bash live show for a little eerie entertainment every hour between 2 and 6 p.m. 1-7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 25. $11; $5 parking. Coney Island, 6201 Kellogg Ave., California, 513-232-8230, coneyislandpark.com. 

Meat Wave
Photo: Katie Hovland
Chicago threesome Meat Wave’s name apparently causes giggles and results in a lot of questions (fair enough, as it was reportedly taken from the headline of a 12-year-old story from The Onion: “Dozens Dead In Chicago-Area Meatwave”). But the group’s name isn’t (or at least shouldn’t be) as head-turning as its vibrant take on modern Post Punk, displayed magnificently on Meat Wave’s recent full-length (and debut for the esteemed SideOneDummy Records), Delusion Moon. The trio — singer/guitarist Chris Sutter, bassist Joe Gac and drummer Ryan Wizniak — came together in 2011 in an effort to start a project that was a bit more of an aggressive outlet than the members’ other bands at the time. As evidenced by the following year’s great self-titled/self-released nine-track album, the chemistry between the three musicians was instant. Read more about Meat Wave in this week's Sound Advice. See Meat Wave with The Dirty Nil Sunday at MOTR Pub. More info/tickets: motrpub.com.

'Ramps for Leonardo'
Photo: Donald Kelley
Land art — or earth art — is a term for when artists go outside the gallery and, often using indigenous materials like soil, water and stone, create large works that seem integrated into the surrounding natural landscape. I recently wrote about a new film called Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art, directed by James Crump, former chief curator at Cincinnati Art Museum (see “Land Art,” issue of Sept. 30).When it works, it is a sublime merging of art and nature — awe-inspiring. But that merging of art-making and “outdoors” materials can also happen inside a gallery, although it’s a difficult undertaking. Donald Kelley, a professor emeritus at the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP, is taking on that task currently at downtown’s Weston Art Gallery. Transformed Worlds is on view through Nov. 8, and the work stands out for its sensitivity, thoughtfulness and ability to thoroughly transport. Read the full feature on the exhibit hereTransformed Worlds is on view at the Weston Art Gallery through Nov. 8. More info: cincinnatiarts.org/weston-art-gallery.

by Nick Swartsell 10.22.2015 34 days ago
Posted In: News at 08:27 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Morning News and Stuff

Park Board bonuses raise eyebrows; Duke settles lawsuit for $80 million; Ohio Senate votes to defund Planned Parenthood

Good morning Cincy. Here’s a rundown of the news today.

More details are coming to light surrounding Issue 22, the proposed charter amendment to fund new projects in the city’s parks.

First, The Cincinnati Enquirer has information on the donors funding the campaign promoting the proposed amendment. Among the names that contributed the $670,000 raised by the campaign are some you’ll find familiar: Western & Southern, Kroger, Duke Energy and American Financial Group all contributed $50,000. More than half the donations to the campaign came from corporate sources. Western & Southern will participate in a plan to renovate Lytle Park, which is next to its corporate headquarters, if the amendment passes. W&S says it gave the money solely to support the city’s parks, which it says help attract people to Cincinnati.

Uptown Consortium, a non-profit development group composed of representatives from the University of Cincinnati, the uptown hospitals and other big employers focused on the neighborhoods around UC, gave $100,000. Uptown Consortium has a big interest in Burnet Woods, which sits at the heart of the uptown neighborhoods.

Individuals gave money, too. Folks living in Hyde Park, which stands to benefit from the proposed Wasson Way bike path, have been especially supportive of the effort. Donations from that zip code totaled more than $70,000. Various park board members and their spouses, as well as local philanthropists, also donated to the campaign.

• Meanwhile, revelations about big bonuses taken by Cincinnati Park Board leaders between 2004 and 2010 are causing controversy. In 2013, park leaders overseeing both the public Cincinnati Parks Board and the private nonprofit Cincinnati Parks Foundation reached a confidential settlement with the Ohio Ethics Commission regarding those bonuses, but questions linger about the way more than $100,000 was routed from public accounts to private ones with the foundation again in 2011. There are also concerns about a never-completed or published city audit of the way money was transferred between the two organizations. Cincinnati Parks Executive Director Willie Carden ran the public board and the private foundation at the time the bonuses were paid. Marijane Klug, who worked just under Carden in the public organization, also received large bonuses for her work from the private funds. Mayor John Cranley has said he has faith in the Park Board, but also said Cincinnati City Council should commission an independent audit in the name of full transparency.

• Duke Energy has entered an $80 million settlement to end a lawsuit alleging that it gave its biggest customers improper discounts on their electricity at the expense of other users. According to allegations in the suit, in 2004, Duke, then called Cinergy, brokered a secret deal with 22 of its largest industrial clients while it was seeking a rate hike from the state. From 2005 to 2008, the suit alleges, those customers paid a lower rate on their electricity — a rate that was subsidized by everyone else using Duke’s services. As a result of the settlement, residential customers could see rebates up to $400, while commercial users affected by the secret deal could get up to $6,000 back.

• The Ohio Senate yesterday passed a bill to strip federal funds from Planned Parenthood in the state. The legislation would divert about $1.3 million dollars from the women’s health organization because it provides abortions and direct that money to other clinics across the state that do not. The federal money is used for things like health screenings, not abortions, but conservative lawmakers say they want to end any association between the state and Planned Parenthood. The bill also forbids public entities like schools from partnering with the organization on things like sex education.

"This bill is not about women's health care," said Senate President Keith Faber, who sponsored the bill. "It's about whether we're going to fund an organization that has its senior leadership nationally, who by the way get money from Ohio, who believe it's good public policy to chop up babies in a way it makes their parts more valuable so they can buy a Lamborghini."

The push to defund the organization comes after heavily edited videos were released this summer purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials negotiating the sale of fetal tissue to undercover activists. Those videos have largely been debunked, but the organization’s donation of fetal tissue for scientific research has raised outcry among conservatives. An effort in the U.S. House of Representatives to strip all federal funds from the organization nearly led to a government shutdown earlier this month. Ohio clinics do not participate in fetal tissue donation, which is illegal in the state. Planned Parenthood runs 28 clinics in Ohio, three of which provide abortions. The Ohio House is considering a similar bill, which it expects to pass in the coming weeks. A reconciled bill will then go to Gov. John Kasich's desk for his final approval.

That’s it for me. I’m off tomorrow, so have a great weekend, y'all. 

by Nick Swartsell 10.21.2015 35 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:25 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
to do_smale riverfront park-courtesy cincinnati parks

Morning News and Stuff

Cranley defends park tax in debate; tiny apartments coming to downtown; Paul Ryan to run to replace Boehner as House speaker

Hey all. Thanks for wading through the sea of Back to the Future Day-themed blog garbage to hang out and talk about news!

Last night, there was another debate Uptown about Issue 22, the proposed amendment to Cincinnati’s charter that would fund big changes to the city’s parks as well as much-needed maintenance for them. The big difference between this debate and the last one, which was held downtown last week, was that Mayor John Cranley himself argued for his proposal. Cincinnati attorney Don Mooney once again represented the opposition to the parks plan.

Most of the debate was a retread of points the two sides have already made, and little new was revealed, with one major exception. Cranley revealed for the first time that a joint city-county tax proposal was considered at the beginning of this year when Issue 22 was first being drawn up. That potential levy would have been a 2-mill property tax increase that would have funded upkeep to Great Parks of Hamilton County as well as at least some of the 16 projects Cranley has proposed for Issue 22. But Cranley says the deal “just didn’t make sense” because all of the proposed new park projects he wanted funded are within the city proper. Both the county and the Cranley administration agreed that a joint city-county levy didn’t make sense, according to the mayor.

• Do you want to live in a really swanky downtown apartment, but can’t afford penthouse prices? Do you love the feeling of sleeping standing up nestled cozily next to the soothing hum of your refrigerator? Then I’ve got good news for you. Really tiny luxury apartments, or, if you prefer the glass is half full outlook, really big luxury closets, will soon be part of the downtown rental landscape here in Cincinnati.

Michigan-based developer Village Green has announced that it will add sub-400-square-feet micro apartments to the plans for the 294 luxury units slated for the 1920s-vintage Beaux Arts building at 309 Vine St. The ultra-small apartment concept has been a hit in bigger cities like New York and San Francisco, where they basically give young professionals a place to hang their snazzy grown-up shirts and pass out for a few hours when they’re not freelance coding at a co-working space or drinking microbrews at a post-happy hour semi-business-casual networking dinner. Now, Cincinnatians, this lifestyle can be yours as well.

• A retrial date has been set for suspended Hamilton County Juvenile Court judge Tracie Hunter. A jury could not agree on eight of nine felony counts Hunter was tried for last year. Those charges include misuse of a court credit card, forgery and tampering with evidence. Hunter was convicted on a ninth count involving charges she gave her brother, a juvenile court employee, confidential records to use at his own disciplinary hearing. She was sentenced to six months in prison for that conviction, but is free as her case works its way through the appeals process.

Hunter’s supporters say the accusations against her are political in nature and point to the fact she’s the first female African American judge in the juvenile court system. Many, including State Senator Cecil Thomas, also point to what they say are defamatory statements made by Hamilton County prosecutors about Hunter. Hunter ran on a promise to greatly reform Hamilton County’s juvenile justice system, which some say treats juveniles of color inequitably. Those charges of inequitable treatment are the subject of a pending lawsuit filed last year against the county. Hunter was elected in 2012 after a hotly contested recount showed she narrowly defeated her Republican opponent.

Where’s Gov. John Kasich? There’s nothing novel about accusations of absenteeism for governors who are running for president, so it’s no surprise that people are asking if Ohio’s very own 2016 GOP presidential primary contender is putting in enough time at his day job as the state’s top exec. But it’s a worthwhile question to ask as the Big Queso racks up the frequent flyer miles between New Hampshire, home and other big primary states.

Kasich's spokesman says his “cell phone works just as well in Cincinnati, Iowa as it does in Cincinnati, Ohio,” but if I tried that line on my boss I don’t think it would go so well. The questions come as other candidates in the race — including U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and governors like Bobby Jindal and Chris Christie — take heat for being away from the home base stirring up support for their presidential ambitions. Kasich’s camp says technology allows the guv to stay on top of things here while he’s out schmoozing with donors elsewhere, and so far his packed travel itinerary hasn’t put a dent in his 62-percent job approval rating among Ohioans. But others who would know cast doubt on the efficacy of splitting your time between the big gig on the state level and auditioning for the top spot in the country. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who dropped out of the GOP primary earlier this month, said it’s been really hard running a state and running a campaign at the same time. Keeping that in mind, Kasich’s answer that “cell phones are a thing” doesn’t seem quite as compelling.

• Finally, the GOP in the House of Representatives may have finally sorted out their big dilemma when it comes to finding a House speaker. Maybe. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) last night announced he would run for the speakership, which is being vacated by Ohio’s own Rep. John Boehner. But there’s a big catch: The entire House GOP has to unite behind him, and all must agree to a set of conditions Ryan has stipulated. That’s a tall order, considering a group of a few dozen hardline conservative representatives drove Boehner out of the top spot last month and show few signs of being willing to bend on their demands for ideological purity from a new leader. A few have already signaled they may not support Ryan as he runs for speaker. That could scuttle chances for a Ryan speakership and put Boehner, who has promised to stay on until a new speaker is elected, in an indefinite state of purgatory as not-quite-outgoing speaker. Sounds like a fun job, right?




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by Natalie Krebs 11.25.2015 2 hours ago
at 11:09 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
sherrod brown

Morning News and Stuff

UC President says shut down White Student Union page; Million dollar homes coming to OTR; Chicago police release dash cam footage of shooting death of 17-year-old

Good morning Cincy! With Thanksgiving nearly upon us, people are ducking out of office early today (if they even show up at all), including journalists. Here are some headlines to hold you over this holiday weekend. 

• University of Cincinnati President Santa Ono requested that the Facebook page of the supposed UC White Student Union be shut down. The page has been linked to a white supremacy group, and nearly identical Facebook pages have been popping up in universities across the country. Ono said in an email sent out to students and staff that while he supports the freedom of speech, that the group was polarizing and distracting attention away from important racial issues that need to be discussed. 

• What's crazier than buying a $500,000 condo in Over-The-Rhine? Well, many, many things, but one of those things may be buying a $1 million townhouse in Over-The-Rhine. Cincinnati's Historic Conservation Board approved plans Monday for the construction of nine single-family townhomes near 15th and Elm, which will include two bedrooms, a two-car garage and a covered second floor deck. The $10 million project by Daniel Homes also includes renovating an old fire station on 15th street for residential and possibly commercial use.  

The greater Cincinnati area's jobless rate continues to fall. In the 15 counties in the region, which includes Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana, the percent of unemployed workers fell nearly 17 percent. Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren counties all have jobless rates at 4.2 percent than the national average hangs a bit higher at 4.8 percent. The drop might not be as drastic as all those prices during those terrible Black Friday sales, but it is the area's lowest jobless rate since March 2001. 

• U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat representing Ohio, said last Thursday that not all terrorists are abroad--or even foreigners. While Republicans have ganged up on Syrian refugees in the past week and a half, Sherrod said that "generally white males" are responsible for terrorist attacks. He's calling the mass shootings in public areas like schools and movie theaters that the U.S. has experienced in the last decad, terror attacks as well--just by another kind of terrorist. He pointed out that a major terrorist attack hasn't happen on U.S. soil since September 11, but plenty of shooting have happened by people that "look more like me than they look like Middle Easterners"--a viewpoint that appears unlikely to be adopted by any Republicans pushing for the halt of Syrian refugees any time soon. 

• Chicago police released the dash camera footage of the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times by police officers while running down a street in October 2014. Officer Jason Van Dyke, who opened fire on the teen, is being held without bond for first degree murder. Hundred of protesters marched peacefully in the streets of Chicago last night after the release of the video, and with many were angry about the long delay in the release of the video to the public. 

Send me story tips. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

by Kerry Skiff 11.24.2015 24 hours ago
Posted In: Literary, Music at 01:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Beyond the Books

Live Jazz at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County’s Main Branch

There’s nothing like being greeted by the bright echoes of music as you step inside from the pouring rain. On this particular day I was visiting the main branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County for the monthly Jazz of the Month Club performance, featuring the Jamey Aebersold Quartet. It wasn’t hard to find the musicians, since their tunes bounced all around the library atrium, and as I slipped into my seat I settled down and let the warm jazz beats warm my cold body.

The Jamey Aebersold Quartet, the third performer in the Jazz of the Month Club, featured an extremely talented group of musicians, led by an award-winning Jazz master and educator. Jamey Aebersold, who led the group on the alto sax, received the 2014 National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Award, the highest jazz honor in America. A native of New Albany, Ind., Aebersold has been playing Jazz for more than 50 years, and has gained international recognition as a Jazz musician and educator. It was perhaps the educator in him that couldn’t resist adding tidbits of the pieces and artists they performed.

The quartet played several Jazz tunes, including “Lament” by J.J. Johnson, “Hi-Fly” by Randy Weston and “In a Sentimental Mood” by Duke Ellington, one of the most famous Jazz compositions. As I listened to the lively beats I couldn’t help but look around at the rest of the audience. While a couple people slept in the back row, most were intently focused on the performers, nodding their heads, tapping their toes or even dancing in their seats. Peeking out at passersby, I noticed a few that were even dancing as they walked, and I saw more than one librarian sneak a peek between tasks.

At one point, Aebersold pulled a Jamaican pianist into the performance and gave him a rehearsal for their next song in “be-dos,” singing the melody in gibberish. As strange as that seemed, Aebersold’s next instruction confused me further: “There’s a two-bar break on bar…something. You’ll hear it.” While we all laughed, I couldn’t help but wonder how the pianist could follow those instructions, but to my amazement he jumped right in without missing a beat, improvising as if he’d known the tune all along.

As a Jazz enthusiast, it was wonderful to hear the different styles of Jazz played in a way that drew crowds from all sections of the library. Older adults sat patiently through the program while younger audiences slipped in and out. But no matter how long they stayed, all seemed to leave with an expression of peace and pleasure at the simple but beautiful tunes wafting through the building. It was evidence of what Aebersold described by saying, “The world’s a mess. But we can make it better by playing some music.”

Did this event sound interesting? Check out similar programs at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County’s Main Branch:
History of Cincinnati Music Reprise: Explore the musical history of Cincinnati with Musicologist Uncle Dave Lewis.
Jazz Jam Session: Enjoy an evening of jazz with the Blue Night Jazz Band.
Ring in the Holidays: Listen to a holiday performance by the Pyropus Hand Bell Choir.


by Nick Swartsell 11.24.2015 27 hours ago
Posted In: News at 10:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Morning News and Stuff

Thanksgiving family argument fodder galore!

Hey Cincy. Hope you’re winding down your work week. It’s T-minus two days 'til turkey time, which also happens to be my birthday this year. I’m hyped for both. Oh, and if you want to get your favorite reporter a b-day gift, I’ll take a pair of these in size 8.5 thx. Huh. Now you know my shoe size, which is kind of creepy.

But here’s something awesome: There will be tons of political fodder for you to argue awkwardly about around the dinner table with your family this Thanksgiving. Consider this news update your guide to all the best terrible conversations you’ll be having soon.

• You can start with something mild, like debating whether or not Mayor John Cranley should have gotten off the hook for his election-day outburst at a polling location in Avondale. OK, “outburst” is a little harsh. The Cran-man just got a bit over-enthusiastic about Issue 22, the parks tax proposal, and shouted out that people should vote yes on it a couple times. Who doesn’t like to see enthusiasm for the democratic process? But uh, campaigning and telling people how to vote in a polling place is pretty firmly against the rules, especially when you’re a political figure. Despite that, the Hamilton County Board of Elections yesterday announced that it will not be seeking any penalties against the mayor for his breach of the rules. Pollworker Mary Siegel argued that the BOE should start cracking down on such electioneering infractions in the future, because the rules are rarely enforced now.

• If the ensuing argument about that doesn’t heat things up while you’re waiting for the turkey to finish cooking, try talking with your conservative Uncle Jeff about the University of Cincinnati white student union that was set up on Facebook a few days ago. The group’s posts feature prognosticating on how “European Americans” face special challenges on campus and in society in general and other nonsensical claptrap designed to draw people into useless race-related Internet debates. Anyway, the page is almost certainly fake, set up in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, according to a plan hatched on a national white supremacist message board. The UC-themed page uses language almost identical to similar sites across the country, many of the likes on the page’s posts come from out of town Facebook accounts and the whole thing comes across as a reminder not to feed the trolls. So, uh, don’t feed the trolls. Meanwhile, there are more serious and terrifying anti-Black Lives Matter incidents happening of late.

• Just a couple days after Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartmann, a Republican, dropped a bombshell by revealing he’s decided not to run for reelection, three Cincinnati City Council members are saying they’re considering running for his seat. Republicans Amy Murray and Charlie Winburn have both expressed some interest, with Winburn saying he could switch from a planned run for county recorder to the commission race if the party wants him to. Murray has said she’ll take the Thanksgiving holiday to think it over before deciding, but is intrigued. Meanwhile, independent Christopher Smitherman has said he might run as a Republican for the seat. Whoever the Hamilton County GOP taps will face Democrat State Rep. Denise Driehaus of Clifton, who is leaving the state House due to term limits.

• The second Cincinnati streetcar arrives today and will soon be making test trips around the 3.6-mile loop through Over-the-Rhine and downtown. This argument pretty much scripts itself, so just say "streetcar" to your public transit-hating dad and watch the holiday magic unfold.

• Black leaders from across the state met yesterday at The Urban League of Greater Cincinnati headquarters in Avondale to discuss the state of black Ohio. The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, which includes local politicians State Sen. Cecil Thomas and State Rep. Alicia Reece, held the public meeting in part to discuss the wide disparities facing the black community here and across the state. Ohio ranks second-to-last in the nation in infant mortality rates, according to the caucus. Closer to home, the group singled out continued issues at the University of Cincinnati, which has been the site of serious racial dialogue around disparities in higher education. The group also discussed efforts toward police reform, which have been slow in coming even after several high-profile police shootings of unarmed black citizens here and a task force convened by Gov. John Kasich. You can read more about how activists are continuing to fight for those reforms in this week’s news feature.

• GOP presidential primary contender Donald Trump came to Ohio yesterday. He didn’t talk as much shit about Ohio Gov. John Kasich as he has in the past. Per usual, his speech was light on policy proposals and heavy on bombast. What else really needs to be said? His remarks to a crowd of 10,000 mostly focused on how the U.S. has become “soft and weak” (despite spending more on its military than all other countries combined) and about how he’s leading in all major polls (sadly, this claim is actually true). He also gave a shout out to waterboarding, the controversial torture technique once used by the U.S. to extract intelligence from terrorism suspects. Trump’s all for bringing it back. Another thing Trump likes, according to his hour-long remarks: lists. As in, lists of people who are Muslim, which Trump thinks should be compiled by the federal government. Thanksgiving family debate difficulty level: black diamond.

• Finally, Indiana Governor Mike Pence faces a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union over his refusal to take in Syrian refugees. The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of Exodus Refugee Immigration, the Indianapolis nonprofit that handles refugee resettlement for the state. Pence pressured that organization to turn away Syrian refugees earlier this month. The ACLU says in doing so, he violated both the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act. This would be a great topic to discuss with your cousin Tami, who has that Gadsen flag bumper sticker on her Hummer.

That’s it for me. Later!

by Brian Baker 11.23.2015 44 hours ago
Posted In: Local Music, Live Music, Reviews at 04:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

All Jazz Hands on Deck

The Dave McDonnell Group gives its compositional/improv chops another workout on sophomore album, 'the time inside a year'

That old trope about doers doing and non-doers teaching holds no currency with saxophonist Dave McDonnell. The Chicago native relocated to Cincinnati six years ago to complete his doctorate Jazz studies at the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music, which ultimately led to positions at UC and the University of Dayton, teaching both music and music technology.

At the same time, McDonnell never abandoned his love for performance, composition and recording. Early in his Jazz career, McDonnell divided his time between waiting tables, teaching private music lessons and playing in an impossible number of bands; he even worked with Elephant 6 icons Neutral Milk Hotel and Olivia Tremor Control (studio sessions with the former, touring with the latter).

Family life and academic rigors forced McDonnell to dial down his band participation — he currently works with Michael Columbia, Diving Bell and Herculaneum — but his reduced roles also provided him the impetus to resume exploring his own work, leading him to assemble a coterie of friends and bandmates from his Chicago experience (guitarist Chris Welcome, bassist Joshua Abrams, drummer Frank Rosaly, vibraphonist Jason Adaiewicz and cellist Tomeka Reid) and form the Dave McDonnell Group.

Utilizing a blend of crafted and precise composition and free-form improvisation, McDonnell created a masterful and acclaimed debut album, last year's the dragon and the griffin. The album was by turns contemplative and explosive, but always guided by the spirit of Ornette Coleman's similarly constructed pieces, where the tunes' purposefully written passages set the tone and established a foundation and framework for the band's circuitously invigorating spontaneity.

Just a little over a year and a half later, McDonnell and his Group (a version of which features Cincinnati players for area live shows) have returned, once again eschewing upper-case titling and stodgy tradition on the appropriately christened the time inside a year, his debut for esteemed Chicago Jazz label Delmark. While McDonnell adheres to his winning compositional-vs.-improvisational strategy on the time inside a year, he also adds a new wrinkle with a slightly older piece from his canon, namely his three-movement suite "AEpse," which grew out of his doctorate studies at CCM and which he debuted in Chicago two years ago.

"AEpse" stands in contrast to the grooves, shifting rhythms and dazzlingly intricate harmonics of the rest of the time inside a year. "AEpse," as a three-part, 11-minute piece of music, explores a chilly soundscape of electronic expanse, appointed by Reid's mesmerizing cello incantations, which drift through McDonnell's constructed atmosphere like smoke in a virtual opium den. But rather than present this sonorously beautiful piece as a whole, McDonnell chose to intersperse the three "AEpse" movements within his gyrational Bop tracklist, allowing them to serve as way stations along the album's journey.

And what an impressive journey it proves to be. Opening with the quietly propulsive "Bullitt," moving into the slinkily engaging and sensual "Vox Orion" and on to the jaunty "The Contract with Bees," McDonnell displays his considerable skills as both a powerful frontman and a generous bandleader, jumping to the fore with appropriately frenetic flurries of notes or delicately woven passages, or yielding the floor to Adasiewicz's fluid and enchanting vibraphone runs or Welcome's always brilliant guitar contributions, all of it made possible by the gymnastics of Abrams and Rosaly's limber and diverse rhythm section.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the swinging, shattering "Baker's Man," which begins and ends with the band in unison on the song's loping theme and fills its center with a dissonant Sun Ra/Zappa/Beefheart explosion of sounds and ideas. As atypical as it is sonically to the rest of the time inside a year, it perfectly points up McDonnell's incredible compositional skills and DMG's extraordinary ability to go completely off the map and then return to the radar in a fraction of a heartbeat.

Cincinnati has enjoyed a long and storied Jazz tradition, spawning some of the most profoundly talented and inventive players in the country, but even its most revered alumni must be sitting up and taking notice of the jaw-dropping accomplishments of Dave McDonnell and his innovative and musically curious Jazz collective. Clearly McDonnell's depth and breadth of experience informs every second of the Dave McDonnell Group's incredible output, but it is the application of that experience to his own work that is so consistently impressive. Two years and two albums in, and the anticipation of where DMG might head next is palpable and exciting.

THE DAVE MCDONNELL GROUP, with guitarist Brad Myers, bassist Peter Gemus and drummer Dan Dorff, plays Urban Artifact on Tuesday at 8 p.m.

by Kerry Skiff 11.23.2015 48 hours ago
Posted In: Holiday at 12:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thanksgiving Dinners

For those of you who want turkey, but don't want to cook it

Whether you can't make it home for Thanksgiving, you're avoiding your family or you just don't actually feel like waking up at 6 a.m. to start cooking, plenty of area eateries are making it easy to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings minus the time spent in the kitchen sticking your hand up a turkey's butt (and time spent getting drunk enough to ignore your Republican uncle's ramblings about how Donald Trump would make America great again).

Arnold’s Misfit Thanksgiving — This Thanksgiving meal is open to everyone. Bring a dish to share. 5 p.m. Free admission. Arnold’s Bar & Grill, 210 E. Eighth St., Downtown, facebook.com/arnoldsbar.

BB Riverboats — BB Riverboats hosts two Thanksgiving Day cruises — one lunch and one dinner — featuring a holiday feast with all the trimmings. Menu features roasted turkey, dressing, ham, green bean casserole, potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and more. 1-3 p.m. or 5:30-7:30 p.m. $43 adults; $22 children. 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., bbriverboats.com.

Behle Street by Sheli — Featuring a traditional Thanksgiving meal, either in house or to go. Menu includes ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn pudding, sweet potato, cranberries, green beans and more. 1-8 p.m. $23.99 adults; $8 children. 2220 Grandview Drive, Ft. Mitchell, Ky., behlestreetbysheli.com

Embers — Serving the restaurant’s full menu, along with a traditional holiday three-course meal including choices of turkey, stuffing and pecan pie. 4-10 p.m. $35 adult; $17 children. 8170 Montgomery Road, Kenwood, embersrestaurant.com.

Fall Feast — The 10th-annual Fall Feast from Give Back Cincinnati is all about community, love and abundant free food. Join 4,000 of your neighbors to give thanks, eat heartily and laugh cheerfully. The event also features free coats, haircuts, a health clinic, flu shots, vision screenings and pediatric dental check-ups, plus live music, a kids zone and big-screen TVs to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade and football. Doors open 9 a.m.; dinner 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Free. Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Downtown, fallfeast.org.

Four Seasons Restaurant — Buffet includes turkey, ham, shrimp, mashed potatoes, oyster dressing, fresh fruit and desserts. 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. $24.95 adults; $13.95 children. 4609 Kellogg Ave., Anderson, fourseasonscincy.com.

La Petite France — A traditional buffet feast plus assorted French delights. Includes turkey, escargots bourguignon, quiche Loraine, smoked salmon, pumpkin soup and cocktails. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. $34.95 adults; $15 children. La Petit France, 3177 Glendale-Milford Road, Evendale, lapetitefrance.biz.

Laszlo’s Iron Skillet — Menu features entrées including maple-leaf crispy roasted duck, wiener schnitzel and oven-roaster turkey. Guests will be seated every two hours, and reservations are encouraged. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Pricing à la carte. 1020 Ohio Pike, Withamsville, laszlosironskillet.com.

Metropole — This traditional meal can be served à la carte or as a four-course prix-fixe dinner. Turkey, soups and salads, stuffing and sweet potatoes are all on the menu. 2-8 p.m. $49 adults. 609 Walnut St., Downtown, metropoleonwalnut.com.

Parker’s Blue Ash Tavern — Parker’s buffet features all the trimmings of a traditional turkey dinner. Noon-7 p.m. $34.95 adults; $11.95 children. 4200 Cooper Road, Blue Ash, parkersblueash.com.

Riley’s Restaurant — This all-you-can-eat buffet offers everything from mashed potatoes and gravy to oven-roasted turkey and pecan and pumpkin pies. 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. $19.50 adults; $8.95 children. 11568 Springfield Pike, Springdale, rileysgreatmeals.com.

Walt’s Barbecue — All-you-can-eat buffet at Walt’s. 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. $19.95. 6040 Colerain Ave., Colerain, waltsbarbeque.com.

Wunderland Banquet Hall — Includes turkey, ham, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, steamed vegetables, rolls and pumpkin pie. 1-4 p.m. $18.50 adults; $7 children. 7881 Colerain Ave., Colerain, wunderlandhall.com.


by Natalie Krebs 11.23.2015 50 hours ago
at 11:07 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
to do_kitten knittin_gertie adoptable kitten_photo oar and spayneuter clinic

Morning News and Stuff

Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartmann won't run for re-election; unlikely winner P.G. Sittenfeld holds in Senate race; Belgium responds to citywide police sweep with Internet cats

Good morning, Cincinnati! Hope y'all are ready for a short work week followed by some binge eating! 

Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartmann is officially not running for re-election next year. Hartmann, who has served as commissioner for the last seven years, announced his decision in an email Saturday. He stated his main motivation was to allow new leadership in the position in what he calls "a self-imposed term limit." Hartmann's decision came as a surprise, as the conservative Republican was already raising money to run against State Rep. Denise Driehaus (D-Clifton), who chose to run for commissioner upon hitting a real term limit after serving in the state House for eight years. Hartmann told the Enquirer he had been thinking about not running for the past year. Republicans have yet to present another candidate for the position.  

• Another federal housing project might be coming to Cincinnati that would give government housing agencies flexibility to test local projects using federal dollars. The arrival of the 19-year-old federal program Moving to Work is pending the U.S. Senate's approval of appropriations bill that would extend the program to 39 different agencies. The program targets programs that reduce the costs of other programs and incentivize families to prepare for work. Some local activists and experts aren't so thrilled with program's possible arrival. Critics of the program say that the local agencies' programs that receive the flexible federal dollars aren't subjected to enough evaluations to prove their effectiveness, therefore letting ineffective, and even damaging programs, slide by. 

• A new program looking to get guns off the streets of Cincinnati will launch its second round today. The program, run by the nonprofit Street Rescue, will set up in Brown Chapel AME Church on Alms Place from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. allowing community members to trade their unwanted guns for $50 and $100 grocery gift cards, no questions asked. The program was developed by local residents who aim to get illegal guns off the street following the city's recent spike in violent crime. They collected seven guns during their first drive in October. 

• Cincinnati City Councilman and Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful P.G. Sittenfeld is still in the race, much to the dismay of political experts. Sittenfeld's campaign against Republican Rob Portman has been largely overshadowed since former Democratic Ohio governor Ted Strickland jumped in the race. The Ohio Democratic Party gave Strickland its endorsement last April. But Sittenfeld held on and has launched recent attacks against both candidates for issues like gun control. Strickland is much better known around the state than Sittenfeld, who isn't recognized much outside of Cincinnati.

• Finally, Brussels is lockdown as authorities sweep the city for terrorism suspects. Authorities have even requested residents refrain from posting messages that expose the whereabouts of police on social media. So rather than give up social media for the extent of the operations, Belgians have banded together by posting pictures of cats, the Internet's favorite animal. Cat memes have popped up all over Belgian's social media accounts poking fun of the tense operation.  

by Jac Kern 11.23.2015 50 hours ago
Posted In: Culture, Literary at 10:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
tipi na

Beyond the Books

Native American Day at the Boone County Public Library's Main Branch

There was little reading happening at the Boone County Public Library on Native American Day on Nov. 14. A life-size tipi sat on the lawn of the main branch, and inside the sound of drums carried from the second floor. In a corner of the children’s area sat craft tables where kids could make pinch pots out of clay, and Sioux dancers wandered around in traditional dress and face paint.

November, which is Native American Heritage Month, was the perfect time to host this event, although it took library staff several months of planning to get it ready. Adult Programmer Kathy Utz says this was the first-ever Native American Day at the library. “This is totally an experiment for us,” she says. “It’s really turned out to be a good program, and people are interested in it.” Utz added that one of the library’s goals is to expose the community to different cultures. “We always like to broaden the horizon of Boone County and to see something they haven’t seen before,” she said. They certainly achieved the desired effect, for as I wandered through the various stations, I can honestly say I’d never before experienced so much Native American culture in one place.

Chaske Hotain, a group of Sioux drummers, performed with brothers and sisters from around the country, beating the rhythms of their ancestors. Wearing their traditional dress, the dancers presented various Native American styles, at times inviting the audience to join them as they circled gracefully inside the wide perimeter of chairs. “It’s great … I’ve never been to a powwow or anything like that before, so I didn’t know what to expect,” says Kaitlin Barber, public service associate with the library’s local history department and the one who arranged the demonstration. “It’s really surpassed my expectations.” Outside the crowd was just as enthralled, and children could scarcely contain their excitement to enter the life-size tipi. It was surprising how many could fit into what looked like a small space — as I stood there I watched at least 30 people file in and settle comfortably on the floor. As I listened in I heard the owner, Tim Deane of Morristown, Tenn., describe the hand-made, authentic Sioux articles inside.

No matter which corner of the library you found yourself, there was something exciting to greet you. Patrons and performers alike took advantage of the vibrant atmosphere, and all around I could see the results of exposure to a different culture. This is what Jordan Padgett, youth services programmer, says the library strives to provide: “That is part of what we do here at the library, is really engage the community and reach them where they’re at. [And] providing stuff that amplifies what they’re already learning is a big key.”

by Staff 11.20.2015 5 days ago
Posted In: Arts, Animals, Comedy, Concerts, Eats, Events, Fun, Food, Humor, Holidays, Life, Music, Movies at 12:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your Weekend To Do List (11/20-11/24)

Lasagna pop-ups, Bill Nye, Festival of Lights, Black Dance is Beautiful and more



You’ve seen the Emmy-nominated show; now you can live it. The hosts of MythBusters will be wishing co-host and frequently bereted Jamie Hyneman farewell on a nationwide tour, and they need your help to conduct some of their final experiments when they make their stop in Cincinnati. Attendees will be brought on stage to assist Jamie and Adam as they use science to bust popular myths and misconceptions. 8 p.m. Friday. $45-$110. Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, cincinnatiarts.org

“Untitled (Antelope)” by Jochen Lempert
Photo: courtesy of the artist and ProjecteSD Barcelona
Jochen Lempert, the German photographer whose first major U.S. museum show, Field Guide, is now at the Cincinnati Art Museum, combines the metaphysical with the biological so well that the effect is often magical. Or, I should say, the effect is downright scientific. He’d appreciate that latter term — he’s a trained biologist who turned to art photography in the 1990s. Yet much of his work achieves magic by making something ephemeral concrete and vice versa. This is a show to spend some time with, because the way individual images affect the viewer often depends on the size and placement of the black-and-white prints. And the impact upon our cognitive process of seeing, in close proximity to each other, close-ups of sand (“Etruscan Sand,” a 2009 photogram), “Rain” (a 2003 photograph) and “Crushed Shells” (a 2013 photogram) teaches us as much about ourselves as photography. Read more about the exhibit here. Jochen Lempert’s Field Guide is on display at the CAM until March 6. More info: cincinnatiartmuseum.org.

'Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie'
Photo: Joe Wardwell
The Weston Art Gallery hosts an opening reception for Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie, an exhibition organized by artist and sometimes-curator Todd Pavlisko. Gimmie will examine “the varied experience of amassing objects and the practice of collecting” by featuring installation work by artists Antonio Adams and Alfred Steiner, as well as iconic works by world-renowned artists including Vito Acconci, Chris Burden, Ana Mendieta and Adrian Piper. Opening reception: 6-8 p.m. Friday. Through Jan. 17. Free. 650 Walnut St., Downtown, cincinnatiarts.org/weston-art-gallery

Photo: Provided
Peruse one-of-a-kind gifts for the holidays (or just because) at C-LINK Gallery’s annual SHOP: Cincinnati exhibition. Beginning Friday, the gallery inside Brazee Street Studios will showcase a treasure trove of handmade items crafted by local artists, including everything from jewelry, ceramics and ornaments to greeting cards, paintings and more. Get started 6-9 p.m. Friday at the first of two free receptions. Through Dec. 26. Prices vary. C-LINK Gallery, 4426 Brazee St., Oakley, brazeestreetstudios.com

'As You Like It'
Photo: Mikki Schaffner
Who knew cross-dressing could be such fun? Apparently Shakespeare did. All the actors on the Elizabethan stage were men, so having Rosalind dress as a man while hiding in the Forest of Arden was a kind of double-down trick. While disguised, she finds the forest’s trees covered with love poems about her “real” self. What’s a girl to do? That’s what As You Like It is about. One of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies, it’s a good-natured choice for the holidays. Audience favorite Sara Clark will play Rosalind; she excels with verbal comedy, so be prepared to laugh. Through Dec. 12. $22-$39. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 719 Race St., Downtown, 513-381-2273, cincyshakes.com.

A fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund. This benefit coincides with National Diabetes Awareness Month, and activities include food pairings, bourbon tastings, a photobooth, silent auction and a live bow-tie experience auction. 7-11 p.m. $35 with bourbon tasting. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-793-3223.

A dance party where German costumes are encouraged. 8 p.m. Christian Moerlein Brewing Co., 1621 Moore St., Downtown, christianmoerlein.com.

Festival of Lights
Photo: Cincinnati Zoo
It’s that time of year again — more than 2 million sparkling lights illuminate the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, transforming its exhibits and landscape into an exuberant “Wild Wonderland.” New in 2015 are a Wild Lights Show on Swan Lake and a Frozen-themed area where guests can meet Anna and Elsa. Other festival features include visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, the Toyland Express Train Ride and a black-light show by Madcap Puppets. Remember to stop by the Holiday Post Office and the newly themed Gingerbread Village, where you can peek through the windows of each house to find the mouse that lives inside. Through Jan. 2. $27 adults; $21 seniors/children. 3400 Vine St., Avondale, 513-281-4700, cincinnatizoo.org

Victory of Light Expo
Photo: Provided
This psychic festival has been Cincinnati’s premier body, mind and spirit event for more than 20 years. With 79 seminars and more than 250 exhibitors, it’s the best opportunity for exploring alternative spirituality in the Midwest. Seminars feature dozens of experts as they speak about dreams, past lives, meditation, tarot, astrology and more. Other activities include holistic healing sessions, live music, book signings, psychic artists, aura photography and shopping. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $15 daily; $25 weekend. Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Road, Sharonville, victoryoflight.com

Black Dance is Beautiful
Photo: Provided
Help arts advocate and People’s Liberty Project Grant recipient Quiera Levy-Smith celebrate the Black Dance is Beautiful festival during a free performance featuring African-American choreographers and dancers from four companies. Included are two groups from Cincinnati: Bi-Okoto Drum & Dance Theatre, directed by Adebola T. Olowe, Sr., and Studio Kre8v, the Hip Hop dance team of urban arts center Elementz. From Columbus comes dynamic all-male company Berry & Nance (pictured). Rounding out the bill is Terence Greene’s Cleveland-based Greene Works Project. Cincinnati Ballet soloist James Gilmer also performs. 7 p.m. Saturday. Free with registration on the website or at the door beginning at 6:15 p.m. Walnut Hills High School, 3250 Victory Parkway, Walnut Hills, blackdanceisbeautiful.com.

Embark on bar and restaurant group 4EG’s Mustache Ball Crawl on Saturday to benefit the Testicular Cancer Society and Midwest Rugby Development Foundation. The bar crawl kicks off with free appetizers at event presenter The Sandbar; then, head to Mt. Adams Pavilion, The Righteous Room, Igby’s and O’Malleys. Ticket price includes round-trip transportation and drink specials, including $2.50 domestic beers and $2 off drafts, at all participating locations. 8 p.m. Saturday. $30. Begins at The Sandbar, 4609 Kellogg Ave., California, thesandbarcincinnati.com.  

'A Little Bird Told Me'
Photo: Sara Pearce
Twelve well-regarded Cincinnati artists and artisans have banded together for a Studio Collection Holiday Sale Saturday. Judy Dominic, Jennifer Gleason, Renee Harris, Lisa Inglert, Terri Kern, Pam Korte, Mary Mark, Sara Pearce, Margaret Rhein, Melinda Ramos, Ursula Roma and Pat Statzer will be offering everything from ceramics, painting and prints to handmade condiments, hand-dyed clothing and handmade jewelry. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Free. Harmony Lodge, 646 E. Epworth Ave., Spring Grove Village, harmonylodge.com/studiocollection

Will Kimbrough
If there’s one phrase that Will Kimbrough’s family and friends don’t use in conversation with the renowned Roots/Rock singer/songwriter, it would have to be, “When you have some spare time..." The concept of unused hours in a day has to be fairly foreign to Kimbrough, who generally maintains a schedule that would exhaust three burly roadies. Kimbrough’s docket is routinely packed with studio session work, touring gigs and production projects (for the likes of Jimmy Buffett, Todd Snider, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Guy Clark and a host of other luminaries), as well as his various band/solo activities, the latter of which now includes Daddy, his group with fellow singer/songwriter Tommy Womack, and the minor supergroup Willie Sugarcapps, which also features singer/songwriter Grayson Capps and the members of the Folk duo Sugarcane Jane. Read more about Kimbrough in this week's Sound Advice. Will Kimbrough performs Saturday at Southgate House Revival. More info/tickets: southgatehouse.com.

'The Art of the Brick'
Photo: Cincinnati Museum Center
Millions of LEGO bricks are taking over the Cincinnati Museum Center. Anticipated exhibit The Art of the Brick features more than 100 artworks created by contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya using nothing other than LEGOs. Explore life-size human figures, a 20-foot-long T-Rex skeleton and replicated famous paintings, including “Starry Night” and “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” plus familiar sculptures like “The Thinker” and the Sphinx. Sawaya has also created a Cincinnati-themed piece that will be revealed when the exhibit debuts. Create your own LEGO masterpieces in the interactive Brickopolis, and don’t miss special themed days revolving around Star Wars, dinosaurs, superheroes and more. Through May 1. $19.50 adults; $12.50 children 12 and under. Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate, 513-287-7000, cincymuseum.org.

Fountain Square Ice Rink
Photo: Provided
Fountain Square’s Ice Rink is officially open, offering daily skating and special events (like frozen-turkey bowling Nov. 24) all the way through February. Rent a pair of skates on-site and spend the day in the heart of downtown. Open daily. $6 admission; $4 skate rental. Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown, myfountainsquare.com

Poinsettia Express at Krohn Conservatory
Photo: Gary Kessler
Take a walk through a winter wonderland at Krohn Conservatory. The conservatory’s holiday floral show, Poinsettia Express, takes visitors through a charming array of floral arrangements whose colors resemble candy canes as toy trains carry peppermints through a village of gingerbread houses. In the Schmalz Family Holiday Village, see motionettes from the 1940s and ’50s Shillito’s and Pogues display windows, Santa music boxes, a 12-foot Christmas tree and even a model of a town inspired by A Christmas Carol. Through Jan. 3; special evening hours 5-7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 and Dec. 16-23. $7 adults; $4 children. Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park, cincinnatiparks.com/krohn-conservatory

Bill Nye
Photo: Provided
Bill Nye, the quintessential science guy and public defender of evolution, discusses his latest book, Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World, at the main branch of the public library. Unstoppable combines optimism and scientific curiosity to examine today’s environmental issues, positing that global warming isn’t an insurmountable problem but a chance for our society to rise to the challenge to create a cleaner, healthier and smarter world. Nye also debunks some of the most persistent myths about our current environmental issues. 7 p.m. Sunday. Free; tickets to signing line sold out. Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Main Branch, 800 Vine St., Downtown, cincinnatilibrary.org

A rare public screening of Homebodies, a “lost” movie filmed in Cincinnati’s West End and released in 1974, will take place Sunday at the main library. The film by Larry Yust is a very dark comedy about some desperate pensioners who, when their apartment building is targeted for demolition as part of urban renewal, resist by trying to kill all those who want to move them out. After the screening, there will be a panel discussion with former Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, librarian Christopher Smith (who has researched the film’s locations) and two police officers assigned to the Homebodies detail, Howard Nichols and Tom McAlpin. 2 p.m. Sunday. Free. Huenefeld Tower Room, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Main Branch, 800 Vine St., Downtown, cincinnatilibrary.org.

Photo: Martine Carlson
What do Caribou, of Montreal, Born Ruffians, Eleanor Friedberger and Yeasayer have in common? Besides a propensity for edgy Electro Pop, they’ve all collaborated with Ahmed Gallab —better known as Sinkane — to add a unique spice to their musical recipes. In his solo career, Sinkane combines several connected yet disparate genre elements — Funk, Afropop, Soul, Jazz, Psychedelia, Krautrock — creating a silky, sensual sonic experience that seeps into your pores like a healing balm while simultaneously inspiring you to dance with dervish-like intensity. Read more about Sinkane in this week's Sound Advice. See Sinkane with Steven A. Clark Sunday at MOTR Pub. More info/tickets: motrpub.com.

Drew Hastings
Photo: Provided 
Drew Hastings is a stand-up comic, entrepreneur and the newly re-elected mayor of Hillsboro, Ohio. He was impressed with how voters responded to Issue 3. “I’m glad people who support legalization weren’t like ‘pot at any cost,’ ” he says, referring to the proposed monopoly system the law would have created. “I was saying a lot of the pot lobbyists are having meetings behind closed doors with rolled-up towels at the bottom of them. It’s ironic it was called a marijuana initiative, because I’ve found that initiative is the one thing marijuana knocks out of you.” As for his shows at Go Bananas this week, Hastings says, “You can expect a lot of political incorrectness.” Thursday-Sunday. $12-$18. Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, gobananascomedy.com

St. Anthony of Padua hosts a festival featuring the food and culture of Lebanon. Enjoy falafel, kibbee, stuffed grape leaves while listening to live Middle Eastern music and watching traditional dances. Noon-6 p.m. Free admission. St. Anthony of Padua Church, 2530 Victory Parkway, East Walnut Hills, staparish.org.

If you hate Mondays but love lasagna, you may be a human (or a fat orange cat?). Please/chef Ryan Santos and The Pharmacy Co have teamed up to present I Hate Mondays, a lasagna night pop-up dinner. This monthly Monday night event will feature a vegetarian and traditional meat lasagna with a guest lasagna from a chef — this month it’s Wright. BYOB. First come, first served. 7 p.m. $8-$12. The Pharmacy Co., 18 W. Seventh St., Third Floor, Pendleton, facebook.com/pleasecincinnati


Taft's Ale House
Photo: Jesse Fox

Taft’s Ale House and Maverick Chocolate Co. join forces for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner. Seating is very limited for this four-course meal, paired with Taft beer and Maverick chocolate. 6:30 p.m. $50. Taft’s Ale House, 1429 Race St., Downtown, 513-334-1393.

by Rick Pender 11.20.2015 5 days ago
Posted In: Theater at 10:38 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
stage door 11-20 - low down dirty blues @ cincinnati playhouse - felicia p. fields connects with an audience member - photo mikki schaffner .jpg

Stage Door: Non-Holiday Holiday Shows

Several of our local theaters produce shows this time of year that are a kind of antidote to the usual fare of A Christmas Carol and other happy, merry tales. Three get under way this weekend:

I went to a rockin’ party earlier this week, and you can, too — if you turn up for the Cincinnati Playhouse’s production of Low Down Dirty Blues, through Dec. 20. That’s right, a whole month of good times and sad in the intimate Shelterhouse Theater, doubling as Big Mama’s after-hours Blues bar. Every year around this time the Playhouse puts on a show as an alternate holiday choice to A Christmas Carol (which gets underway next week). This year it’s a warm-hearted good time featuring three excellent singers and a couple of very accomplished Jazz musicians (especially local Jazz pianist Steve Schmidt) performing off-color tunes, full of double-entendres and scandalous joking. The first half of the two-hour performance is mostly about lusty interaction via tunes like “Rough and Ready Man,” “I Got My Mojo Workin’ ” and “You Bring Out the Boogie in Me.” After intermission the party continues briefly (including some cute audience interaction to the tune of “I’m Not That Kind of Girl” — but then the tone darkens with passionate songs of grief (“Death Letter”), mourning (“Good Morning Heartache”) and then hope (“Change is ’Gonna Come”). Felicia P. Fields, a Broadway veteran who played a major role in the original staging of The Color Purple, anchors (and I use that word quite literally) the banter and the singing, but she is ably matched by Caron “Sugaray” Rayford, a massive force of energy, perspiration and rhythm. Chic Street Man sings and plays several guitars (especially a steel number with a gorgeous ring), and his sly, sinuous presence is a perfect complement to Fields’ and Rayford’s more ebullient performances. Don’t go if you’re offended by sexual innuendo, but if you’re looking for a “low down dirty” time, call now for a ticket: 513-421-3888

One of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies, As You Like It, is the first step of holiday happiness at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. The story of tomfoolery and romance in the Forest of Arden kicks off tonight; it’s around until Dec. 12, when it’s followed by the tenth annual staging of Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some). In case you missed it, Cincy Shakes announced this week that by mid-2017 it moves to its own spectacular new space in Washington Park, the Otto M. Budig Theatre, with nearly 100 more seats than its Race Street facility. (Read my story in this week's issue for more.) Until then, you need to line up for tickets, since many of the company’s performances sell out quickly. Tickets: 513-381-2273

Another “kind of” holiday show getting started is Know Theatre’s production of All Childish Things, opening tonight and onstage through Dec. 19. In a story set right here in Cincinnati (Norwood, in fact), it’s 2006 and two guys are still yearning for the galactic adventures promised by Star Wars when they were kids. One guy lives in his mom’s basement; the other has a girlfriend who could care less about The Force. They think their big break might be residing in a warehouse full of collectible Star Wars memorabilia. Zany shows rooted in childhood have become a holiday staple at Know Theatre, and this is right up that weird, happy alley. Tickets: 513-300-5669

And if you’re really longing to get the holidays under way, you have the perfect opportunity with a tour stop by a production of White Christmas at the Aronoff (next Tuesday through Dec. 6). It’s a stage version of the popular film; the tour features stage Cincinnati and Broadway veteran Pamela Myers in a cute, outspoken role. She performs a number titled “Let Me Sing and I’m Happy,” a perfect summary of her illustrious career. Tickets: 513-621-2787

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

by Nick Swartsell 11.20.2015 5 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:37 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Morning News and Stuff

National Transgender Remembrance Day; why Owens left Cincy State; Kasich and Trump trolling hard on Twitter

Good morning all. Hope you’re hyped for the weekend. I’m going to see Jens Lekman at the Woodward tonight, so I totally am. Music isn’t my beat and you should probably just read our article on the show after we talk about news. But for now, let’s get to it.

The Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBT rights organization, has established today as the Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day designed to draw attention to the often-forgotten violence faced by transgender people in America. At least 98 hate crimes against people based on their gender identity were reported in 2014, according to FBI hate crimes statistics. This year, trans people have been victims of nearly two dozen murders. Trans people in Cincinnati are no exception and face harsh violence, even murder.

• Why did former Cincinnati State President O’dell Owens leave so suddenly back in September? Turns out the answer is partly about money and partly about interpersonal politics, as so many answers are. Owens, who was once Hamilton County coroner and now serves as the director of the Cincinnati Health Department, was being asked to undertake 10 in-person fundraising meetings a week on behalf of the college. That fundraising schedule is unusual, education experts say. Other duties generally given to a college president were in the process of being assigned to a newly hired chief operating officer.

Despite exceeding his fundraising goals — Owens says he raised $1.73 million last  year, hundreds of thousands of dollars more than he was expected to raise — and gaining praise from U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Owens says he continued to receive pushback from some of the college’s board members. The tension culminated in an angry phone call from board chair Cathy Crain. Owens says Crain raised her voice to him in a call about a statement he made to the Cincinnati Enquirer on a possible tax levy for the school. After that incident, he began to consider leaving Cincinnati State. More money, more problems, or something.

• So, Cincinnati is definitely living in the age of re-urbanization, with more folks flocking back to the city. But while the general stereotype is that young professionals drive the demand for urban living spaces, it looks like baby boomers hitting retirement age are pushing a condo boom in Cincinnati as well. Older folks are interested in living in the city after their kids (finally) move out and they don’t need quite so much space, some developers say. Increased demand from empty nesters has informed new condo projects in places like Hyde Park. Side note: When I first saw the headline of that WCPO article, I read it as “condor demand picks up” and thought owning a bird of prey was some new hipster, Royal Tenenbaums-throwback thing I missed.

• As a journalist I’m supposed to be cold and dead inside without preference or favoritism for anything. I generally do OK with that, but if I have two weak spots, they are bicycles and beer. So I might not be qualified to report on this next thing objectively, but here goes: Cincinnati’s Fifty West Brewing Co. is expanding and, in the process, folding in the Oakley Cycles shop, a high-end bicycle retailer that will move from Observatory Avenue to Fifty West’s campus in Columbia Township. Fifty West and Oakley Cycles representatives both say they’re looking to provide a new, community-oriented experience for visitors while taking advantage of the Fifty West facility’s proximity to local bike trails. Fifty West will also be expanding capacity to brew four times as much beer as it does now. This is all pretty great.

• What else is happening? GOP presidential primary contender and perennially red-faced and slightly sweaty verbal combatant Donald Trump has set his sights on equally red-faced and sweaty fellow Republican candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich. The two have been having a war of words via Twitter, which… well, that’s where we’re at as a country these days and I’m really just too depressed to continue typing about this. Check it out if you want.

Kasich has also drawn some attention for his suggestion that the United States create a federal government agency charged with spreading Judeo-Christian values across the globe. That sounds like a great plan that has absolutely zero constitutional or moral problems, right? Once again, I’m just going to let you read the story.

• Finally, a small group of Syrian refugees resettled in Kentucky this week despite political furor over such resettlements after the attacks on Paris last week by ISIS. Most of the eight attackers were French or Belgian, but at least one Syrian passport was found at the scene of one of the attacks, fueling apprehensions that some of the four million refugees fleeing Syria are allied with ISIS, the militant Islamic group that has claimed control of large parts of Iraq and Syria.

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill that would add extra levels of scrutiny to Iraqi and Syrian refugees before they can resettle in the United States on top of the U.S. State Department’s already months- or years-long vetting process. Those new requirements would effectively halt refugee resettlement of those groups in the U.S. The bill faces stiff opposition in the Senate, and President Barack Obama has vowed to veto it should it pass there. The House’s version of the bill passed with a veto-proof two-thirds majority. The Senate would need to pass it with a similar margin to override Obama’s veto ability.

If you’re interested in learning more about the refugee resettlement process from the perspective of an Iraqi family that settled in Cincinnati, check out our cover story earlier this year on refugees here.

I’m out. Enjoy your weekend!