The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority today released the dollar amounts for the two lowest bids for the first ten years of streetcar operations. The names of the bidding companies were not released, per SORTA's assertion that it would compromise the competitive bidding process. You can read the bids here.
One bid, called the management scenario, would involve a management company using SORTA employees in the Amalgamated Transit Union to run the streetcar, while another, called the turnkey scenario, would let the management company hire its own employees.
The bids look to be politically tricky for Democratic streetcar supporters, who have pushed hard for a union-friendly contract. The turnkey scenario comes in just under the $47,088,828 the city has said it wants to spend over the first ten years of the streetcar at $46,972,813. The management scenario, however, comes in over that amount at $54,933,160. In the first year, the management contract exceeds the streetcar's $4.2 million budget by $500,000, while the turnkey proposal comes in about $160,000 under budget. The bids give numbers for a five-year contract plus an optional five-year extension.
Mayor John Cranley, who campaigned on opposition to the streetcar, has said he supports cutting frequency of service for the streetcar should it go over budget. However, he and other Democrats on Cincinnati City Council support the management bid because it would utilize unionized employees.
Some of the cost overruns in the management bid are attributable to benefits packages offered to union employees. However, employees under the management scenario wouldn't be eligible for state pensions. The ATU could unionize the turnkey bidder's selected employees after they are hired, however, though they still wouldn't get the state pensions.
Cincinnati City Council looks poised to vote on the two options next week.
This weekly series discusses the cultural and artistic implications of a selected foreign film.
If you watch Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris, you will have, if nothing else, an experience. Yours might be revelatory or painful or, like mine, a bit of both. Based off of Polish author Stanislaw Lem’s 1961 novel of the same name, Solaris has, perhaps too often, been thought of as the Soviets’ response to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odessey. Although both films use the sci-fi genre to explore outer space frontiers as well as existential ones, Tarkovsky’s themes are much more personal and spiritual, and gravitate toward the loneliness and fragility found in humanity.
The entire plot is tensioned over the emptiness of the unknown. Set in the unspecified future, psychologist Kris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis) is sent to a space station orbiting the planet Solaris to check up on the two crew members there. He discovers that the planet’s oceans cause the station’s inhabitants to hallucinate, and he ends up seeing visions of his dead wife, Hari (Irma Raush). These visions haunt him until he must make the decision whether to return to Earth or descend into the desire realm of Solaris.
With glacial tracking shots and a running time of 165 minutes, watching Solaris challenges your attention span for sure, and the film’s understated acting and dialogue takes some getting used to. Honestly, I literally lost consciousness and fell asleep while watching this movie at least two times. But strangely, the cinematic aftertaste of Solaris is rich and rewarding. To me, the entire work felt more like music than cinema, eschewing narrative for aesthetic and feeling. After a while it’s easy to succumb to its languid, hypnotic rhythm.
Despite the movie’s pessimism, it evokes some breathtaking images of nature with a palette of earthy hues and filters. Tarkovsky takes advantage of the 2:35:1 aspect ratio, whether he fills it with surreal underwater plant life, foggy atmospheres or a sprawling metropolis.
Solaris is now considered a sort of masterpiece and one of the director’s more accessible films. Tarkovsky’s influence can be seen now in auteurs like Lars von Trier and Terrence Malick, whose Tree of Life shares the backdrop of the cosmos to explore human interiors and relationships. Also, in 2002, Steven Soderbergh made an American remake (don’t bother).
Perhaps most surprising is Tarkovsky’s ability to cull such an intimacy from the sterile reaches of outer space, and the way it leaves its final question unanswered — is it possible to fall in love with the concept of a person or life instead of the actuality, and is this enough?
Good morning all. Here’s the news for Cincy today.
Today is the grand opening of the Esther Marie Hatton Center for Women on Reading Road in Mount Auburn. The shelter will house up to 60 women seeking to escape homelessness, as well offer classrooms and other on-site facilities. The shelter is one of two replacing the current Drop Inn Shelter in Over-the-Rhine. The men's shelter will move to Queensgate this fall. Correction: an earlier version of this post said the new Anna Louise Inn opened today. That shelter, also on Reading Road in Mount Auburn, will open Tuesday.
• Cincinnati City Council held its final Budget town hall meeting last night in Price Hill. The fifth meeting unfolded much the same way the last four have: The city administration's change-up on human services funding was the main issue, though a proposed city loan to Clifton Market that didn't make it into the budget also came up often. Last November, council voted to double human services funding, but that decision isn't reflected in City Manager Harry Black's budget. You can read our deep-dive into the human services issue next week, when we tell you how that part of the budget has changed, what council is doing to try to get more money back to social service organizations and what the split between the city manager and council means.
• It’s official: The portion of the Eastern Corridor project that would have relocated State Route 32 between State Route 50 and Newtown Road through Newtown and Mariemont is dead, according to Ohio Department of Transportation officials. The road relocation proposal was contentious: Both municipalities, as well as some residents, staunchly opposed it. The new route would have run through archeologically significant sites near Mariemont, some opponents said, and ODOT cited other environmental and logistical concerns as reasons it was nixing consideration of that part of the project. Other elements, including proposed light rail through the Oasis Corridor, a little-used rail shipping line, remain on the table, ODOT says.
• Hamilton County Job and Family Services will see big changes in the wake of the recent tragic deaths of local children in abusive situations, county officials announced today. The changes are designed to decrease clients’ wait for mental health treatment, provide more in-home services for families and give better guidance to young parents and other youth.
• Cincinnati Assistant Police Chief Paul Humphries, CPD’s second-highest ranking official, stepped down yesterday to take a job as head of security for Coca Cola in Florida. Humphries, who has been with CPD for three decades, has twice been in the running for the department’s top job, though both times a chief from outside the department was chosen. Humphries says that if he’d been promoted to the top spot, he would be staying but says there’s “no bitterness” in his decision to move on. The assistant chief’s announcement comes as Cincinnati’s police department has received nationwide attention for reforms it has made since the city’s civil unrest in 2001. Humphries has played a role in those reforms.
The announcement also comes as questions swirl around the police department following the revelation that City Manager Harry Black recently drew up resignation papers for Chief Jeffrey Blackwell, though the chief did not sign them and insists he’s staying on as the top cop. Blackwell has since been the center of scrutiny, with some detractors criticizing the department’s low morale and poor upper-level communication. Others, however, including several city council members, have expressed support for Blackwell. The Sentinels, Cincinnati’s black police fraternity, held a rally in support of Blackwell earlier this week.
• City Manager Black says the city will use Humphries’ departure as an opportunity to expand diversity in the force’s upper ranks, part of a larger push by the Sentinels and the city to foster a more diverse department reflective of Cincinnati’s demographic makeup. None of the city’s three assistant chiefs are black, and only one of the city’s 12 police captains is. The city yesterday announced it would change the way it undertakes promotions — tasking those outside the department with grading and evaluating promotional tests, instead of doing it in-house.
• Meanwhile, Chief Blackwell and the CPD are undertaking community listening sessions to get residents’ input on ways to curb the recent uptick in violent crime in the city. Last night, the department held a listening session in Roselawn, where a large group of residents weighed in. Better economic opportunities, recreation facilities and tighter gun control were all ways suggested to curb the violence. Another listening session will take place tonight in Avondale at the Urban League on Reading Road.
• A local video claiming to detail the emotional and physical aftermath of a break-in in Evanston has gained traction on YouTube, garnering well more than half a million views in just two days. Ron Moon, who says he made the video after he was assaulted by burglars June 3 at the community center he is working to establish in the neighborhood, has parlayed that recognition into a fundraising campaign for the center. That crowdfunding drive for 1853 Kinney Street, the nascent community center, has raised more than $38,440 in the last 16 hours. The emotional video features Moon, bloody and bruised, talking about the ways economic and other disadvantages encourage crimes like the break-in he says he experienced. Moon says three men and two women forced entry into the building, which Moon’s father purchased decades ago, and when he confronted them, they beat him and left.
• Let’s jump straight to national news, where Democratic senators are pushing hard for stringent regulations on the payday loan industry. That’s a big issue for U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who earlier this year proposed a law that would allow those targeted most often by payday loan companies to borrow from their federal income tax returns instead. Other Democrats in the Senate, meanwhile, are working to get what they call “debt trap protection rules” passed, which would limit the industry’s ability to make high-interest-rate loans. Opponents of the payday loan business model say it sets incredibly high interest rates that trap low-income borrowers in a cycle of debt. Under the new rules, lenders would either have to verify income and ability to repay debt or limit the amount loaned to low-income customers.
It’s music festival time, folks. That barefoot-in-the-grass, sun-on-your-skin, and live-music-filling-your-bones kind of season has arrived, and this weekend our very own city is welcoming music lovers everywhere to Bunbury Music Festival.
Here are a handful of my personal favorite jams from selected artists who will be performing this weekend:
The Black Keys – Weight of Love
It’s safe to say the Black Keys are easily loved at music festivals, considering I felt that very energy on the Gulf Shores, Ala., just last summer at Hangout Fest. Plus, being up on your 6-foot-4 friend’s shoulders to see it is about as “high” as you can get. The Black Key’s latest single release, “Weight of Love,” includes the same sound, slowed down, heavy on the instrumentals. Lead singer Dan Auerbach kills it (as always) and the spacey opener/closer matches the genius lyrics inside the body of it all.
Tame Impala – Let It Happen
I first heard this fairly recent song in a cramped, poorly lit airport in Havana, Cuba, and I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction. Tame Impala is that weird band you can’t help but love, with their psychedelic hypno-groove melodic Rock genre (can you say a mouthful?) and their modern-day resemblance to the Beatles. “Let It Happen” came out as a single in March, and its trippy and playful vibes truly make you want to get on your feet and dance around. Nothing more, nothing less.
Matt and Kim – Get It
This Indie dance duo can brighten any music lover's day with their upbeat, bouncy rhythms with lyrics sung by not only Matt and Kim themselves, but a crowd of party-animals to push for a bumpin’ weekend, and you can bet your ass they’ll be counting on the Bunbury crowd to join in on the movement. Now go “get it’” and dance no-hands-on-the-wheel style until it’s time to jam out with them live at Bunbury.
Father John Misty – Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings
Father John Misty a.k.a J. Tillman’s sad but hauntingly beautiful outlook on love and life is confidently expressed through his unique blend of Indie, Folk, and Psychedelic Rock, with lyrics open to various interpretations, depending on who’s listening. “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” and the rest of his previously debuted album stands out a bit from the rest of Tillman’s previous work. Seriously, just watch the video starring our girl April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza) from Parks and Recreation, whose already dark character fits the scene beyond perfectly. It’s a confusing, marvelous piece of work, and Tillman will likely perform it just as beautifully (maybe slightly frightening) live.
Catfish & The Bottlemen – Pacifier
This “no fucks given” Welsh rock band from Wales might just be enough to get everyone in the Bunbury crowd to kick off their shoes and dance in the grass like crazy people. But that’s how music festivals should be, right? “Pacifier” is the perfect example of this kind of jam — the stuck-in-your-head, can’t-help-but-move-around song. And if you have any experience on the air drums, they might just become your new favorite.
Jamestown Revival – California (Cast Iron Soul)
Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance aren’t just a well-harmonized duo, but childhood friends, making for an even better band. The Country-Folk stylings of Jamestown Revival is easy on the ears, with their honest debut album recorded straight out of a cabin deep in the woods of Utah. It’s safe to say that what you hear is what you get, and “California (Cast Iron Soul)” is the epitome of not only the genre, but the lyrics that have the ability to bring listeners back to the authenticity of their roots.
Bunbury Music Festival takes place Friday-Sunday at Sawyer Point/Yeatman’s Cove, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Downtown. More info: bunburyfestival.com.
If you prefer your theater a tad more mainstream than Fringe fare, you have several options. I particularly recommend Circle Mirror Transformation at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. It’s the final weekend for this show about five people engaged in an acting class in a small-town community center. What they learn is as much about themselves as it is about theater, and it’s sweet, profound and moving. The final performance is Saturday evening on the Shelterhouse stage. It’s the final production of the 2014-2015 season. Tickets: 513-241-3888
There are a couple of musicals you might want to catch, too. Showbiz Players is offering The Addams Family, based on the oddball cartoons of Charles Addams featured in The New Yorker (as well as an iconic TV show from the 1960s). It’s in its final weekend at the Carnegie in Covington. Tickets: 859-957-1940 … Also in Northern Kentucky, you can drop by the Monmouth Theatre in Newport to see Falcon Theater’s staging of Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins, an unusual work about the actual historical individuals who succeeded in shooting a president. It features fascinating music and a story line about the American Dream and what happens when people can’t grab ahold of it. It’s being presented through June 13. Tickets: 513-479-6783 … I’d like to recommend The Producers currently in production at the new Incline Theater in East Price Hill. It’s a delightfully silly show about showbiz. But the folks at Cincinnati Landmark Productions have so successfully marketed this opening production of its summer season that most performances are sold out. However, if you’re persistent, you might get your name on a waiting list by calling the box office: 513-241-6550.
Each week CityBeat staffers share their weekend plans: from dinner and drinks or special events to out-of-town concerts and stories we're working on. And some of us just watch TV.
Mike Breen: I’m planning on Bunbury-ing as much as possible this weekend at the Bunbury Music Festival. There are some great acts throughout the entire weekend that I hope to see, but my “all-in” day is Friday. If Danny The Editor lets me leave early, I’m going to arrive at Sawyer Point/Yeatman’s Cove in time for the first band, the great, great Wussy, at 2 p.m. and I’m excited to see most of the acts performing throughout Friday. Tame Impala is one of my favorite artists of the past few years, so I’m especially psyched to see them, but also Catfish and the Bottlemen, Father John Misty, Multimagic, Royal Blood and Mini Mansions. My daughter has finally graduated from Disney Pop to actual Pop in the past year, so I’m taking her to see Cincinnati hitmakers Walk the Moon. I’ve been forcing them down her throat since their last album (which she indeed enjoys) and since “Shut Up and Dance” has become omnipresent on Top 40 radio, she’s become a full-on fan. I’m excited to see them as well; like Wussy, I’m really proud of their amazing success and look forward to rooting them on. I’m a little concerned about the child lasting the full day, but there are swing sets and other cool not-watching-band things to do along the riverfront all weekend (she is, after all, still a kid). OH — and I’m planning on plugging any holes in my festgoing schedule with some recommendations from those brilliant bastards at CityBeat. If any of them suck, I'm canceling my subscription and leaving a nasty comment on their website.
Rebecca Sylvester: Going to see Ja Rule on Fountain Square with a bunch of friends from high school. I'll respond to Becky if Ja asks.
Zack Hatfield: I'm going to relive my lost youth and check out 16-Bit Bar+Arcade, which opens this Friday. That same day I'll probably head over to the Main Library for the Book Sale on its last day and buy a shelf's-worth of books with their buy-a-bag-for-$10 deal. On Saturday I plan to head over to Visionaries + Voices in Northside and check out their new MAPS + LEGENDS exhibit, which promises unique landscapes of Cincinnati.
Jac Kern: Friday night my guy and I are seeing the Entourage movie (OH YEAH)
even though there’s no way it’s going to be very good. But with the combination
of luxury loungers and a flask, we’re sure to have an entertaining evening.
Like some of my colleagues, I, too will be checking out the free Ja Rule concert on
Fountain Square Saturday followed by a stop at 16-Bit. Unlike Mike, I am only interested in seeing concerts from musicians I listened to on my discman on the back of the bus in seventh grade (the last concert I saw was Beyoncé and Jay Z last summer, so I'm not exaggerating). I still know all Ja’s
songs from 2000-2003 (well, at least the girl parts) and am tempted to buy a
JLo-esque denim bodysuit to truly live out my fantasy. Also, I’ve been to the
16-Bit in Columbus, and it was one of the most fun bars I’ve been to. If the vibe is anything like the
original location, it’ll be a great spot. Then on Sunday I might round out the
weekend with a
torture session little shopping at Kenwood Towne Centre.
Jesse Fox: This weekend I will be photographing and attending Bunbury. I haven't photographed it the past two years, so I'm looking forward to getting back to documenting it. I have a few friends who are playing that I haven't seen in a while, so it will be a good time reuniting with them as well.
Sarah Urmston: After a long week of summer classes, work and internships, my boyfriend and I are super excited to have a much needed night in on Friday where he'll most likely cook something weird I can't pronounce while we watch 30 Rock re-runs together. Saturday will start with a birthday brunch at Taste of Belgium with the girls to celebrate my dear friend Kayla, followed by hanging at the Great American Ballpark for a Reds game. She's totally worth the overpriced draft beers, but I'll definitely try to hunt down the $1 hotdogs. I'm especially anxious to end the weekend at the Tri-State Antique Market in Indiana, picking out more vintage items I don't need to fill up my home. Not to mention they have the best homemade donut stand I've ever been to in my life!
It should come as no surprise that I do not have very high TV standards (check my DVR full of every Shark Tank episode + all Bravo originals), but there is a small pool of programming I just won’t watch — basically anything that involves wedding dress shopping and all things Bachelor/ette related. So I missed the moment when self-proclaimed super-fan Amy Schumer appeared on a recent episode (which is a shame, because A., she’s a goddess, and B., a comedy-themed date in a manufactured setting like this is horrible and hilarious). She did not disappoint.
Also filed under horrible and hilarious: a documentary about the late, great comic Chris Farley is coming out this summer. Let me clarify: This will undoubtedly be hilarious because nearly everything Farley did was (he’s one of my comedic heroes), but also inevitably horribly sad (Farley died of a drug overdose in 1997 at 33 years old). I Am Chris Farley will feature interviews with Farley’s family, fellow comedians and Saturday Night Live stars — Tom Arnold, Adam Sandler, David Spade, Mike Myers and more. Check it out on Spike Aug. 10.
Reason No. 9280 why I love the Internet: One Tiny Hand. It’s photos of celebs Photoshopped to have one tiny hand.
Major Kardashian-Jenner news this week, she writes as her last remaining follower stops reading. Kim teased a second pregnancy in a preview for the second half of this season of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. She and Kanye are reportedly expecting their second Balmain-sporting bébé in December. Just hours later, Vanity Fair released the cover of its July issue featuring Caitlyn Jenner (formerly Bruce), giving the public a name and an image to go along with Jenner’s transition.
She looks fantastic — happy, comfortable in her skin, and just plain traditionally attractive. But Laverne Cox made an excellent statement about how a beautiful heart and soul is much more important, and reached out to all the trans men and women who don’t have the genes, money, access and other resources to get surgeries, “pass” as a man or woman and be considered traditionally beautiful. Check out this thoughtful read here.
Jenner’s E! docuseries, I Am Cait, premieres July 26.
Mashup du jour: Welcome to the Grand Overlook Hotel.
You know that one friend
who always thinks an Onion article is
for real? Former
FIFA Vice President Jack Warner is that guy.
San Andreas is a crazy disaster flick where The Rock rescues all attractive women when the planet cracks in half and the ocean swallows us all up (I think), and it’s bringing in tons of cash at the box office. But is it scientifically accurate? No! Obviously! A seismologist (a.k.a. earthquake scientist) confirmed that and fact-checked a few other depictions in the flick, just in case the idea of every city crumbling to the ground scares you.
NBC’s Hannibal premieres Thursday with a third season. Read more about this killer drama and more picks in this week’s TV column.
Finally, here are some baby goats in pajamas.
Anyone who knows me is quick to call me out as a Kardashian fanatic. I grew up with them through religiously watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians. My specific fascination and adoration for Kim Kardashian West is ridiculous to most people, but I cannot help it! She is everything to me. Naturally, I jumped for joy Sunday night after she announced her second pregnancy. I could not wait to see what the rest of the world would say the next day – jokes about naming the baby South West, people on social media asking why anyone cares about Kim — you know, the usual. But I did not see much about baby No. 2 because not many cared — *heart breaks* — after another family member basically broke the Internet.
On the first day of Pride Month and a little over a year after Laverne Cox’s iconic Time cover, Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce, graced the cover of Vanity Fair Monday. The headline read “#CallMeCaitlyn” — pretty simple, right? Well, you would think so. Either people still do not understand hashtags, or they were too busy obsessing over her beauty and similarity to Jessica Lange — which is a whole other conversation. Nevertheless, with the headline/hashtag combination, she is asking people — on and off social media — to call her Caitlyn. Nothing else, only Caitlyn. It’s she — not he, not “she” — she. It’s not “his new name” or “his new identity” — it’s her. Caitlyn is her truth. It is who she has always been.
But what would an announcement from one of the most controversial public figures on 2015 be without exactly that — controversy. This week has already brought a multitude of headlines and opinions as people continue to react to Caitlyn’s photoshoot. By the end of the week, I am sure I could write a dissertation or short novel on everything. For your sake, I will just dissect the reoccurring reactions and controversies I have encountered on social media, and I will relate them to how you should treat Jenner. When speaking about Caitlyn:
Do NOT call her anything other than Caitlyn.
If you are speaking to an individual who is not up to par on Caitlyn’s public journey and you are trying to explain, say “Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner…” Remember that by the end of the conversation, the individual should understand that her name is Caitlyn.
Do NOT use the pronouns he, him and his when speaking about Caitlyn. She identifies as a transgender woman and prefers the pronouns she, her and hers.
If you mess up in the beginning, it is OK. While they yearn for people to use their preferred pronouns, most trans* individuals understand that it might take time to break an old habit. If you realize you accidentally used incorrect pronouns, either correct it immediately or make a point to use the correct pronouns next time. Trans* folks will see you are trying. The effort makes a difference.
Do NOT compare her beauty to the beauty of other women.
I have seen
countless memes and posts about her being prettier
than Kris Jenner and that Kris must be mad Caitlyn did not start her name with
the letter “K.” I understand how things like this might seem funny — especially
with how the media paints Kris’ reputation, lifestyle and alleged opinions —
but it’s not funny. In The
Jenner Interview with Diane Sawyer and Keeping
Up With the Kardashians: All About Bruce, Caitlyn has expressed her
continued love and respect for Kris during this time, acknowledging that
families of transgender individuals sometimes need time to process. Despite your
opinions about Kris, Caitlyn, the whole family or transgender people in
general, let the Vanity Fair cover be
a catalyst for us to stop pitting women against each other.
I will speak more about this later, but let’s remember that Caitlyn’s photoshoot displays more than just physical beauty. She is beautiful, but that cannot be the only thing we get out of this Vanity Fair issue. In a reaction post on her official Tumblr, actress and activist Laverne Cox said, “What I think is most beautiful about her is her heart and soul, the ways she has allowed the world into her vulnerabilities. The love and devotion she has for her family and that they have for her. Her courage to move past denial into her truth so publicly. These things are beyond beautiful to me.”
Do NOT be disrespectful or transphobic.
Myriad negative headlines are about public figures and people on Twitter who refuse to acknowledge Caitlyn’s womanhood, journey and personal requests.
· Fox News and other media outlets mocked and misgendered her.
· Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee refuses to support not only Caitlyn, but the whole trans* community. The former Arkansas Governor said trans* folks and the idea of trans*-related legislation was a threat to society, especially for children in a bathroom setting. Oddly enough, he came out in support of Josh Duggar — who admitted to molesting four of his sisters and a babysitter — but he won’t support Caitlyn or trans* folks in the name of protecting children and family values.
· I am not going to pretend to know a multitude about sports. The only time I pay attention to the EPSY Awards is to see how athletes dress for a red carpet. Athletes and their communities are incredibly talented, but it is just not my thing. I do not know enough about the other qualified sports stars to have a legitimate opinion on whether or not Caitlyn should win the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, but I do know the backlash Jenner is receiving is disgusting. Tweet! Voice your opinion! Root for your favorite athlete! But do not try to delegitimize an individual’s hero status or level of courage if it is well earned. In regard to Jenner and the trans* community, it is transphobic and disrespectful. Comparing an inspirational transgender person to an inspirational soldier and an inspirational young girl who passed away too soon is like comparing apples, oranges and bananas. But all three are courageous and serve as inspirational figures to a handful of people — the athletes, not fruit. You can disagree without wishing ill will and voice your opinions without disregarding someone’s experience. Bravery and courage exist in all forms.
Now that we cleared that up, I am returning to society’s concept of beauty in relation to transgender folks. Wendy Williams is not a stranger to backlash and criticism, especially for her opinions about Caitlyn Jenner over the past year. On Tuesday, she spoke about the Vanity Fair cover and Caitlyn’s transition. She occasionally misgendered Caitlyn in the beginning, but corrected herself, which was progress. What stood out to me were Williams’ expectations and demands for Caitlyn’s life now that she is out to the public. Not only did she give Kris Jenner permission to eternally resent Caitlyn, but Wendy refused to accept Caitlyn’s womanhood and name if Caitlyn did not physically live up to cisnormative standards of beauty and society’s traditional female stereotypes. “A lot of men try to transition, and a lot of you [transgender women] … No bueno, no bueno, OK?” she said. Williams acknowledged Caitlyn’s beauty, but said, “I don’t want to see no man,” in the future and later said, “I just want the weave to stay in.”
Whether Williams was joking or not, the studio audience laughed because they understood and believed what she was talking about. Her show is successful because she is relatable and her loyal fan base can identify with her. Her opinions often reflect a generation or handful of people’s views. Her expectations for Caitlyn to always “pass” or undetectably embody a stereotypical woman all the time is problematic because it positions cisgender people as the standard for beauty. It should not be she’s beautiful for a transgender person. There should not be a different standard of beauty for trans folks. It’s look at her, she’s beautiful, but incorporating Laverne Cox’s point that her bravery, heart and spirit are even more beautiful.
And while Caitlyn Jenner has stunning features, she comes from so much privilege. Not all transgender individuals can afford cosmetic surgery, designer clothes and time away from work. Even less trans folks get paid to come out and share their story — like probably less than two percent, if that. This does not mean Caitlyn deserves less sympathy or respect because she has more privilege than others; she identified her privilege briefly in the Diane Sawyer interview — it just means she is a rare example of what being transgender looks like — again, an extremely rare example. LGBTQ+ people can still get fired for being queer in 32 states, trans* individuals do not always receive the same healthcare benefits and some financially and emotionally struggle for their necessities.
Caitlyn Jenner will save numerous lives from suicide and will encourage people of all ages to come out as transgender — she already has. Let us support her as she uses this new-found platform to make a difference, but remember every transgender experience is different. We must also realize that not all trans people live up to cisnormative standards and not all folks want to. As I reflect on everything I have read this week alongside my idea of beauty and longtime adoration for Kim Kardashian West that I mentioned before, I realize that beauty is subjective. Kim K. might be one of the most beautiful women in the world in my eyes, but she and others do not represent what it means to be beautiful. Like courage and bravery, beauty exists in countless forms. I also realize that every person’s experience is their own journey and story to tell. We need to start listening.
Caitlyn Jenner’s issue of Vanity Fair is available in stores now. Her new documentary series I Am Cait premieres Sunday, July 26 at 9 p.m. on E!
Are you confused about all of this queer terminology? That’s OK! Take some time to learn more at http://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender.
Good morning y’all. Here’s a brief rundown of what’s happening in Cincy today.
The Southern Ohio Regional Transit Authority and the Amalgamated Transit Union finally signed an agreement yesterday over the potential for ATU employees to work jobs operating the streetcar. The union doesn’t have the gig yet, however; council will be deciding among yet-to-be-released bids for managing the streetcar that could include or exclude ATU employees. Meanwhile, SORTA will release details about the price tags on those bids by the end of this week, the transit authority says. The names of the companies making those bids will stay under wraps until July, however.
• Community activists, faith leaders and elected officials yesterday called for the creation of a new community development corporation that will push for economic advancement in the city’s low-income minority neighborhoods. The group, which includes State Rep. Alicia Reece, Cincinnati City Councilman Wendell Young, Rev. Damon Lynch III and others, also called for $50 million from city and state funds to support businesses, provide job training and foster economic development in neighborhoods like Avondale, Bond Hill and others. The group says the way to address some of the city’s big issues with crime and poverty is by getting to their root and providing more economic opportunity.
• Seven new single-family townhomes are coming to Over-the-Rhine. The homes will feature three bedrooms, about 2,800 square feet each, with basements and detached garages. They’re expected to start at about $650,000 each. Mount Adams-based Towne Properties is undertaking the development near the corner of 15th and Elm streets. Towne recently hired Chad Munitz, formerly of 3CDC, and he’s been key in putting together the OTR development, Towne’s first in the neighborhood. The homes will be modeled after another Towne development called Beacon Hill in Deerfield Township.
• Mustaches are so hip right now. Or rather, I guess, they were so hip about three years ago. But it takes that long for huge buildings to catch up to trends, you know, because they’re like, huge buildings and don’t really get around town much. Anyway, the Scripps Center downtown is currently getting a bit of a hipster makeover with vinyl panels that will make the building look like it’s wearing a retro Cincinnati Reds cap and a big ole handlebar mustache. It’s not that the building is feeling its age and is trying to keep up with current fashions — it’s for the MLB All Star Game next month. Cool man. Just don't try to ride a fixed gear, Scripps Center. That ship has sailed.
• Cincinnati has a way to go when it comes to startups, a new ranking by the entrepreneurship-focused Kaufman Foundation says. The city ranked 32nd among the nation’s 40 largest cities, coming in behind Columbus (12th) and Indianapolis (28th) when it comes to the number of startups created in the city per capita and the number of new entrepreneurs in the city. But there’s good news, too — the city gained two spots on the list since last year, when it was 34th.
• Finally, law enforcement officials investigating the police shooting death of Tamir Rice in Cleveland last year have finished their investigation and turned over their findings to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutors office. Now, the prosecutor says, the case will go before a grand jury to decide whether to indict Cleveland Police officer Timothy Loehmann, who jumped from a police cruiser and shot Rice on playground while the 12-year-old played with a toy pistol. A separate civil suit by Rice’s parents against the city is also pending.