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by Natalie Krebs 10.28.2015 32 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 32 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 33 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 34 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 34 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 37 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 37 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 37 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 38 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 39 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?