Philosopher-farmers Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson and Gene Logsdon discuss the future of agriculture, the environment and changing our ideas about growth and progress. Recorded live at Xavier University on April 11. Special thanks to Xavier University's Ethics/Religion and Society Department.
Read CityBeat's related Green Issue here.
Dean Family Farms is seeking financing to keep growing their business. If you've been to locavore events like the Farm Fair in Covington, you've met Beth and Bill Dean. If not, there's a great story here.
The Deans' heritage Red Wattle Pigs, beloved by chefs like Todd Kelly of the Palm Court and Julie Francis at Nectar, are an endangered breed, and at this point, their farm is also endangered by lack of finances. Bill has a Kickstarter project going to help them raise money to match a federal Environmental Quality Incentives Program grant to improve their barns.
David Hebert was the man shot and killed last night in Northside by police. But most who knew him wouldn’t recognize the name. Hebert, a beloved, longtime local musician and local music supporter, is far better known by his nickname, Bones. An expressive drummer, in the ’90s he was the rhythmic foundation for local bands like AMF and Shoot the Gift, as well as other Rock and Punk bands.
Mesh, spikes, studs and leather have all been appearing in the past two years or so of runway, namely with designer Alexander Wang. I can't help but think of that amazing movie from the early '80s, Blade Runner, or Gotham City even. Also, the FIT Museum had an exhibit entitled Gothic: Dark Glamour earlier this Spring that I was fortunate enough to see. Is it a sign of the dark times? Or just another go around for '80s punk revival? Maybe it's both. Either way, I'd like to feature this fashion statement for inspiration today in all of its dark, glamorous and quirky ways.
In advance of The National’s highly anticipated free performance this Thursday at Fountain Square, I had the opportunity to talk with the lead singer of the band, Matt Berninger. The concert is part of a rally in support of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, donning the title “Vote Early, Rock Late.” It will feature political speakers and buses to take people to early voting locations, as well as two bands — Dayton natives The Breeders followed by Cincinnati’s own (though they live in Brooklyn now) The National. And, of course, there will be “plenty of Rock & Roll and beer,” as Berninger succinctly puts it. (UPDATE: The National's management says they are unsure of what times the bands will play, as of now. The only sure thing — both will play between 5 and 9 p.m.).
Berninger explains that the concert came together rather innocently; they simply wanted to show support for their candidate of choice. Initially the thought was to play a benefit concert, but as it all evolved, a rally seemed more appropriate, both in terms of what the band really wanted to accomplish and the nature of Obama’s campaign.
“It was our idea, but there have been so many people pitching in and helping along the way,” Berninger says. “No one is getting paid here, so it was really exciting to see so many people take the time to make this happen.”
The National’s fundraiser for the Obama campaign developed in a similarly organic manner. Shirts depicting Obama’s face accompanied by the song title of what has become a familiar show-closer for the band, “Mr. November.”
“About nine months ago, that song came (up during a show) and I dedicated it to (Obama),” Berninger remembers. “And it wasn’t until about halfway through the song that I realized just how perfectly it fit, in terms of both mood and timing. That night, Scott (Devendorf, bassist from The National) and I decided to make a T-shirt and a week later we had a box to sell. I think it all happened in the midst of four hours, and since then we’ve been able to raise about $10,000, with all proceeds going directly to the campaign.”
The band — whose song "Fake Empire" was used in a film about Obama showed at the Democratic National Convention — returns to their hometown of Cincinnati in the midst of one of the most significant presidential elections in history. Southwest Ohio – with its conservative reputation and rising liberal and progressive presence -- stands as arguably the most hotly contested location in the election.
“The thing I’ve always loved about the political landscape of Cincinnati is that you have it all,” he says. “You have extremely conservative Cincinnatians and you also have very progressive lefties and often you have that all in the same family. I don’t quite have the same conversations now, being in New York, that I used to in high school or around my dinner table in Cincinnati. And that’s the healthy thing about being there, is that those conversations are happening, truthful, and among people that, at the end of day, you truly respect and love.”
There is no hint of pessimism in Berninger’s voice. Rather, he sounds truly enthused about the opportunity America has to elect a candidate like Barack Obama, a man whom he believes embodies the most admirable qualities.
“There is an intellect, compassion and empathy to (Obama) that doesn’t seem fake,” Berninger says. “I want the best of us to be in the White House. I want the cream of the crop of American thinkers to be making decisions for me, and (decisions) that are going to affect me, my family and our future. I want the smartest guy in the room and the groundswell of support Obama has gathered shows that people see that in him.”
The National have recently wrapped up their tour in support of the critically-acclaimed album Boxer. They have written approximately 10 songs and returned to the studio to begin recording their follow-up. No word yet on a release date.
— Dave Tobias
(All photos by Keith Klenowski)
Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill this week became The Banks’ newest tenant, opening its red, white and blue doors and offering “family friendly” lunch and dinner, ongoing live performances and a guitar-shaped bar where patrons can drink beer out of Mason jars.
The official website says its family friendliness makes it “the perfect spot for everyone,” though it is assumed to have instituted some kind of protocol for children who accidentally view one of the “Whiskey Girls” the restaurant prides itself on offering (“Don’t close your eyes, Billy! It’s just the American way!”).
currently aren’t many online reviews of the restaurant, but at least one proud American has braved the giant, Country music-themed
complex and come away with an experience worth mentioning on
Metromix’s online listing.
User “couintrymusiccincy” (sic) was
disappointed by his experience, describing a waitress that had a bad
attitude and thought she was so cute she should be Miss Universe.
“Couintrymusiccincy” advised the restaurant to fire her, and
noted that he would return if managers hire “pretty and legitimate
waitresses” like the Las Vegas and Tulsa, Ok., locations do.
In addition to the Whiskey Girls, who apparently are allegedly “more worried about their reflection than about getting an order right” (classic Couintrymusiccincy complaint), the bar/grill/stage/conference plaza offers American and Southern cuisine such as friend bologna sandwiches and pan-fried ribs. Burger names include the “American Soldier” (Toby’s classic burger with cheese), “She’s a Hottie Burger” (melted pepperjack cheese, Hatch Valley Chiles and crispy onion straws) and “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” (Bacon, cheddar and Toby’s BBQ sauce topped with crispy onion rings). Dessert offerings include deep-fried Twinkies, “All American Apple Pie” and "Saddam's Head Pudding" (just kidding).
The décor relies heavily on a “Country cliché” aesthetic to ensure that guests don’t forget they’re in a bar owned by the guy whose artistic response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2011 was to write a song titled “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American),” which called upon the wrath of Uncle Sam, a personified Statue of Liberty and an eagle (flying, of course) to serve justice to goddam terrorists across the globe. The chorus is enough to make even the most cowardly among us raise a Mason jar in defiance.
“Ohhh Justice will be served, and the battle will rage/This big dog will fight, when you rattle his cage/And you'll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A./'Cause we'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American Way.”
It’s enough to bring a tear to one’s eye and cause a man to mistake his fellow American brother with one of the Whiskey Girls and tie on a big, patriotic hug (“Sorry man, I ain’t gay I just love this song and my country and when Middle Eastern people get killed." *Sniffs*).
For those interested in more information or to see the many other creative names TKILB&G has come up with for typical bar food, the official website is www.countrybaroh.com. For scary homemade videos set to “Angry American” just search YouTube.
But the staff at Maribelle’s eat + drink has nothing to hide; in fact, they want you to see their kitchen.
Maribelle’s, which used to be located on Riverside Drive, is set to reopen Thursday at a new location on Madison Road in Oakley. Owners Leigh Enderle and Mike Florea wanted to create a restaurant that felt comfortable and open, so they redesigned the space that used to house Hugo to look like a kitchen at home.
The walls are now painted pastel yellow and green, and wooden chairs stand against high tables (designed by local architect Terry Boling) that look like kitchen islands. The kitchen line is completely exposed, as is the bar — so diners won’t be left wondering how the staff operates or how clean the kitchen environment is.
“Transparency is the concept we’re going for,” says Enderle. “We want people to know where their food comes from and how it’s made. We want them to understand the sourcing and we want them to understand how much work goes into the restaurant, too.”
Chefs at Maribelle’s will use hormone-free meat and seasonal
local ingredients for their American-fare menu items priced $8-15. Their
chicken and turkey products will come from Gerber Farms of central Ohio, and
their beer list will include domestic lagers, porters and IPAs. The restaurant will be open Tuesday-Sunday.
Maribelle’s staff thinks that everyone has the right to know where their food came from, and they invite diners to ask questions about their meals.
“I care about what I eat. Not all the time, but I do care,” says Enderle. “I care about where things come from, and I care that the animals are treated well. At Maribelle’s, we want to make sure we know the story behind the ingredients that we’re getting, and we want to make sure it fits into our concept of transparency.”
Jesse James Dupree is the lead singer of Jackyl, a metal band from Kennesaw, Ga., that's performing Friday at Bogart's. Jackyl was formed back in 1990 and have given their audience eight studio albums along with two live offerings. Their biggest success came with their self-titled first studio album which went platinum in 1992.