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by Nick Swartsell 08.24.2015 40 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Morning News and Stuff

Historic King Records site endangered; 'Nati air quality is nasty; Deez Nuts endorses Gov. Kasich

Good morning y’all. Hope your weekend was as fantastic as mine was. Yesterday I finally made it down to the Taft Museum to check out their exhibition of Edward Curtis photographs. Curtis spent 30 years in the early part of the 1900s photographing Native American tribes across the West. His work is technically stunning and in some ways, pretty problematic, contributing to some stereotypes and perceptions of Native peoples as a “vanishing race” living bygone lifestyles. The exhibit is interesting— the photographs are beautiful and the underlying questions they bring up are worth wrestling with.

Anyway, this isn’t morning art blabbering, it’s morning news. So let’s talk news, eh? The thing that caught my eye around town today is this story about the former King Records site in Evanston. I’ve been hearing buzz that part of it might be in danger, and turns out that may be true. The owner of one of the buildings at the historic site, which hosted early recording sessions by James Brown and a number of other significant musicians, has applied for a permit to demolish the structure. That’s led to an outcry from historic preservationists, music historians and general boosters for Cincinnati. The city’s planning commission Friday declared the site a local historic landmark, echoing a similar declaration by the city’s Historic Conservation Board. City Council has to give final approval to the designation, which it could do next month. In the meantime, the owner’s demolition permit application is on hold. Will the city be able to save this historic landmark, which could cost up to half a million dollars to stabilize? We’ll see.

• Stressed about pollution? Take a deep breath. Or maybe, uh, don’t. A new report says Cincinnati is among the worst cities in the country when it comes to air quality. Website 24/7 Wall St. analyzed air quality data from the American Lung Association and determined that the Greater Cincinnati metropolitan area is the eighth worst in the country for air pollution. The report compares the area to California’s central valley region, which landed seven cities in the bottom 10 of the air quality list. Like that region, Cincinnati is in a valley and has fairly high traffic volumes. But that’s not the only culprit here: coal plants play a big role in air pollution around Cincinnati, the ALA suggests. Take heart, though. We’re not the only Ohio city on the list. Cleveland came in at number 10 in the most polluted air ranking.

• So there’s a new interchange going in on I-71 into Walnut Hills and Avondale, and the State of Ohio has purchased millions in property near the future on and off ramps. Specifically, the state has spent nearly $4 million on 83 parcels of land around the project. When all is said and done, the state will have purchased 140 pieces of property, officials say. That’s part of a bigger land-buying frenzy in the historically low-income neighborhoods. The $106 million interchange looks likely to change the face of the area around Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Reading Road, with new development featuring a proposed tech corridor and other big developments. We first reported on the interchange last year. Stay tuned for more updates on how the development will affect Avondale, Corryville and Walnut Hills.

• Here’s your daily dose of Kasich news: does the Ohio governor and GOP presidential hopeful talk straight on the campaign trail when it comes to Ohio’s economy? Not quite, according to some fact checkers.  A recent Washington Post article dug into some of Kasich’s favorite claims about his role in Ohio’s economic recovery and issued one and two-pinocchio ratings (some shading of the facts and significant omissions/exaggerations, respectively) about his claims. Kasich’s claim that Ohio was “$8 billion in the hole” when he took office, for instance, doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, according to the Post article. The state’s actual budget for the year Kasich took office saw significant revenue increases from an economic recovery that began before Kasich’s term, leading to significantly less shortfall than Kasich’s claim.

• Speaking of Kasich, we live in a world where I can say the following and it’s not just some vulgar joke I would text to my friends but actual (debatable) news: Deez Nuts has endorsed Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the GOP presidential primary. Deez Nuts is the name assumed by a 15-year-old Iowa farm boy who somehow raked in 9 percent of the vote in a recent poll of that primary state. Mr. Nuts has also endorsed U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary. He is of course endorsing himself for the general election.

• Finally, in other GOP primary news, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was in Ohio recently courting the tea party and the Koch Brothers at the billionaire industrialists' Americans for Prosperity Summit. Bush promised to uphold the staunch conservative values of slashing government spending and you know, making it easier for rich folks to get richer at the summit. The event in Columbus drew a big group of conservative activists as well as a large number of protesters.

That’s it for me today. E-mail me your news tips or tweet at me with, well, whatever you want.

by Sarah Urmston 08.21.2015 43 days ago
Posted In: Playlist at 02:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your Weekend Playlist: August Vibes

Old, new, weird or blue – I can’t get enough. 

“Thunder Clatter” – Wild Cub

This hand-clapping, shoe-tapping goodness is by far one of the best new jams I’ve came across, making it impossible to skip when it comes up in my track library. It’s upbeat, it’s joyful, and you’ll find yourself singing the final phrase, “I feel it all in the center of it all, you’re the love of my life — the love of my life” over and over again because it’s so damn catchy. (Not to mention, sweet as a peach.) Wild Club is an American Indie group that defines itself by the brand of '80s-inspired Electro-Pop, with “Thunder Clatter” becoming their most successful track. Listen for yourself and see why.

“My Wrecking Ball” – Ryan Adams

Hands down one of my favorite artists of this lifetime. I first discovered Mr. Adams when I got stranded in Arizona after Cincinnati got hit with the blizzard of the century, and I couldn’t find a flight home. (Not complaining.) I gratefully sat outside in the desert air reading Brain On Fire, in which the author talks about how her best-kept memory was hearing Ryan Adams play. And I soon learned for myself about this man — not only known as a beyond talented musician, but his approach on stage is ridiculously comedic, with a touch of thought and wisdom. “My Wrecking Ball” live at Carnegie Hall is one of my favorite tracks to play. It’s a stunning song filled with so much life, and at the very end he draws a laugh from the audience after dropping his hands onto the keyboard and saying, “I really can’t fucking play this thing at all.”

“Nocturne” – Wild Nothing

I’m starting to notice this bouncy, '80s theme in a lot of contemporary music lately, and this song is perfect example of that exact vibe. It’s a track that’s meant to fade in and out of style, with pops of a deep, deep echoing voice flowing after each verse. Not to mention, the guitar is incredible. Lead singer Jack Tatum’s unique voice and song structure creates a sound that can almost be heard in any setting. I choose Wild Nothing for drives to work, writing at my desk or even when I eat dinner on my couch. No matter what the setting, this song easily fits.

“Drag” – Day Wave

If the artist Day Wave had to go by one phrase, it would read: “I fucked up but I don’t really care.” It’s a quick beat with softly voiced lyrics, giving off the vibe where you want to dance along but also emotionally feed into what they’re saying. Day Wave’s latest track “Drag” is easily heavy on the sounds, and although the lyrics are quick, they’re so simple to catch on to. It’s repetitive without driving you crazy. And sure, it ends before you know it. But that’s all the more reason to play it over again and again and again.

“You Really Got A Hold On Me” – She & Him 

Zooey Deschanel (She) and M Ward (Him) have seen individual success within their own careers, but together they turn out to be a surprisingly perfect duo. “You Really Got A Hold On Me” is one of the best examples of how these two artists compliment one another best as Ward’s voice echoes behind Deschanel’s elegant, classic sound so delicately. This song makes it easy to get swept away into a sway with someone you care for, and them swaying you right back. It’s meant to be her unhealthy yearning for him, and the lyrics go, “You treat me badly…I love you madly.” We’ve all been there…right?

by Staff 08.21.2015 43 days ago
at 11:48 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your Weekend To Do List (8/21-8/23)

Cincy Brew Ha-Ha, beer and buds with the SPCA, lots of live music and more

If 50 comedians performing over the span of three days doesn’t get you laughing, the annual Cincy Brew Ha-Ha beer and comedy festival has just what you need to give your silly streak a pulse: beer. Lots of it. With two 100-seat beer gardens and plenty of beer booths serving up everything from locals to craft favorites, Brew Ha-Ha plans to satisfy more than 20,000 thirsty and laugh-seeking Tristaters with plenty to drink and an impressive lineup of comics: Headlining Thursday night is Adam Ferrara (Rescue Me, Paul Blart: Mall Cop), Friday night is David Koechner (Anchorman, Anchorman 2) and Saturday night is Brandon T. Jackson (Roll Bounce, Wild ‘N Out with Nick Cannon). You’ll either be laughing your way to a full belly of beer or drinking your way to a day full of laughter. Or both. 5 p.m.-midnight Thursday-Friday; 4 p.m.-midnight Saturday. Free admission; $5 for wristband; $1 beer samples; $5 full servings. Sawyer Point, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Downtown, cincybrewhaha.com.

San Fermin
Photo: Denny Renshaw
San Fermin’s second album, the recently released Jackrabbit, picks up where its debut left off, delivering lush soundscapes and boy/girl vocal tradeoffs. The Brooklyn-based band’s founder and creative driving force, Ellis Ludwig-Leone, has a thing for conceptual grandeur, and with Jackrabbit he again examines lives, whether human or animal, immersed in high-stakes situations. The jaunty, ebb-and-flow title track finds its central character encouraged to, as delivered by new singer Charlene Kaye, “run for the hills and don’t look back.” The very next song, the lilting “Astronaut,” features vocalist Allen Tate as a stark counterpoint to Kaye’s clean midrange, his deep baritone altering the mood immediately. See San Fermin with Lemon Sky, The Ridges, Sweet & The Sweet Sweets and Orchards Friday on Fountain Square as part of the MidPoint Indie Summer Series. myfountainsquare.com.

Love shopping local? Love handmade goodies? Head to Fountain Square Friday night for the Indie Craft Market, featuring handmade crafts, work from independent artists and more, plus live music from local Indie bands. Love shopping local? Love handmade goodies? Head to Fountain Square Friday night for the Indie Craft Market, featuring handmade crafts, work from independent artists and more, plus live music from local Indie bands. 5-11 p.m. Friday. Free. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown, myfountainsquare.com.

The Magic Lightnin' Boys
Photo: Provided
Ohmstead (founded by and named after late Cincy band The Four Ohms) has been providing an eclectic mix of music in the great outdoors for the past 14 years. This Friday and Saturday, Ohmstead returns at the VFW campground in Franklin, Ohio (9728 Claude-Thomas Road), about 40 miles north of Cincy. Popular local Reggae/Roots/Jam/Rock crew Elementree Livity Project plays both nights. Friday, music kicks off at 3 p.m. with Reggae/Rock band Rockstead, while Hip Hop collective YNO/Treehouse also performs. Touring acts on Friday include Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad and Jahman Brahman. On Saturday, music at Ohmstead begins at 11 a.m. Local acts include Freekbass (who doesn’t play a lot locally), Junya Be, The Magic Lightnin’ Boys, Don’t Fear the Satellites, The Ohms, Souse, Eyeris Wide and The Almighty Get Down. Glostik Willy and Tropidelic are some of the national/regional artists performing Saturday. Presale tickets are no longer available. There will be general admission tickets available at the gates starting Friday. Visit ohmstead.net for the full schedule, ticket and camping info and more. 

Chase Public’s Mike Fleisch and Scott Holzman promote “empathy through creative practice.”
Photo: Jesse Fox
For Response Projects, creatives prepare and share a 10-minute response to a work of art. The popular event’s third installment takes place Aug. 21 and will spotlight Cathy Wagner, Matt McAllister, Mark Mendoza, Megan Hague, Loraine Wible and Holzman, who will reflect on the poetry of Sappho.“In general, I’m an advocate for all things Chase Public and creative endeavors grounded in empathy and community,” Daniel says. “It’s been a great opportunity to share my work and my perspective, but to also hear the work of others, to be inspired by others, to meet new people and collectively share ideas and ambitions.”She says she loves these events for their “connectiveness” — they break down any sort of separation between performer and audience. They create a collective effort and exchange between everyone. Chase Public’s third Response Project takes place Friday at its space in Northside (1569 Chase Ave., Suite 4). More info: chasepublic.org

'A Hundred Minus One Day'
Photo: Provided
For two summers, John Leo Muething has presented Stone on a Walk, his low-budget theater company offering “short, sweet and cheap” shows. His goal is for you to walk away after an hour’s performance saying, “That was sweet.” 2015’s final production is the U.S. premiere of a touching comedy by Idgie Beau, an Edinburgh Fringe hit in 2013 about youthful innocence and living in the moment. The title — A Hundred Minus One Day — is from A.A. Milne: “If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.”  Through Aug. 29. $10. Simple Space, 16 E. 13th St., Over-the-Rhine, stoneonarock.com.

Jungle Jim’s is a wonderland of exotic food and booze, and their new Shake It Up Cocktail Festival celebrates the end of summer with just that. Say goodbye to tan lines, pool parties and flip-flops with expertly crafted cocktails and mixed drinks, and imbibe an atmosphere full of flair bartenders, expert mixologists and more. 6:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday. $40; $15 non-drinker. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, junglejims.com.

A night filled with everyone’s two favorite things: furry friends and beer. This tasting event supports the SPCA of Cincinnati, featuring food from local restaurants, music by the Comet Bluegrass All-Stars and a raffle. Last year’s event sold out, so get your tickets quick. 7-11 p.m. Saturday. $25-$125. SPCA Cincinnati Sharonville Shelter, 11900 Conrey Road, scpacincinnati.org/events.  

Bonsai Show and Competition
Photo: via Facebook
The Bonsai Society of Greater Cincinnati descends on Krohn Conservatory for its annual weekend-long fall bonsai show and competition, Nature in Miniature. The group, one of the oldest bonsai societies in America, aims to foster the study and appreciation of bonsai (the Japanese artform of growing miniature trees in containers) and related arts, and this juried exhibit gives viewers a chance to see hundreds of bonsai in various stages of development. In addition to the plants themselves, guests will also learn about techniques for creating and caring for bonsai. Food trucks, a beer tent and live music round out the weekend. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $4; $2 children. Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park, cincinnatibonsai.com, cincinnatiparks.com/krohn

BootYard Bash
Photo: Will Hoge
OTR goes Country for Washington Park’s inaugural BootYard Bash. The park transforms into a real-live honky tonk with free Country music, Western-themed games, craft beer and a variety of other family-friendly events to get your boots stomping. Bands include Jeremy Pinnell, The Black Lillies, Carter Winter and headliner Will Hoge at 8:30 p.m. 3-10 p.m. Saturday. Free. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, washingtonpark.org.

Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum has been the final resting place of many a famous Cincinnatian, from lawyers and politicians to our beloved beer barons. And Spring Grove celebrates our malty past with an afternoon dedicated to exploring the graves and stories of famous brewers through docent-led motor-coach cemetery tours and a party in the Rose Garden. Enjoy history with a side of beer and food as beer-brewing establishments manned by non-dead people, like representatives from Christian Moerlein, MadTree, Rhinegeist, Rivertown, Blank Slate and more, provide attendees with samples of their most popular and most unique beers. Food will be provided by Funky’s and Queen City Sisters, and Buffalo Ridge Jazz Band will put on musical entertainment. 4-7 p.m. Saturday. $40.  Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum, 4521 Spring Grove Ave., springgrove.org.  

Publicist UK
Photo: Scott Colby
The anticipated new bar/music venue Northside Yacht Club (in the space formerly occupied by Mayday) is officially open. This weekend would be the perfect time to check it out, as heavy, compelling Post Punk newcomers Publicist UK (featuring members of Revocation, Municipal Waste and many other notable bands) brings the tour for its debut album Forgive Yourself (released this Friday) to town to help break in the club. 8 p.m. Saturday. $5. Northside Yacht Club, 4227 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, facebook.com/northsideyachtclub

Comedian Tyrone Hawkins
Photo: Provided
Comedian Tyrone Hawkins has been bouncing back and forth between Seattle and his hometown of Cincinnati for a few years. He placed third in the 2012 Seattle International Comedy Competition, which led to a string of headlining dates throughout the West, and he’s currently working on a new hour. “I’m incorporating music now with a keyboard I have on stage,” he says. “I hit a couple of piano bars to try some of the new stuff out.” He’s also done some TV work for his old friends, the Herbert Brothers. They were the duo that created the million dollar-winning Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” ad in 2007. Showtimes Thursday-Sunday. $8-$14. Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, gobananascomedy.com.  

Cincy Summer Streets
Photo: via Facebook
Now in its second year, Cincy Summer Streets blocks off a neighborhood’s main drag to cars and traffic for a day of biking, skateboarding, yoga, cornhole, Frisbee, chalk art, giant Jenga and much, much more. This weekend, Cincy Summer Streets is taking over Northside, blocking off Hamilton Avenue between Pullan and Spring Grove avenues, so kids and adults alike can mix, mingle and play in the street, while enjoying the last few weeks of summer. Expect surprises from local vendors. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. Free. Hamilton Avenue, Northside, cincysummerstreets.org.

Bookworks XVI
Photo: Provided
In an age dominated by digital media, the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, in conjunction with the Cincinnati Book Arts Society (CBAS), hosts an annual Bookworks exhibition in the atrium of the downtown public library featuring the work of local area book artists to remind readers of the tangible and artistic qualities of books. On Sunday, participating artists will be on hand to discuss their handmade books with visitors to the library exhibitions, the 16th-annual Bookworks and the Keith Kuhn Memorial Exhibit. Twenty-eight artists participated, including Judy Dominic, April Foster, Lou Kroner, Sally Murray and Carole Winters. The exhibition runs until Sept. 7. 2 p.m. Sunday. Free. Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Main Branch, Main Atrium, 800 Vine St., Downtown, cincinnatibookarts.org.

Photo: Mikki Schaffner
The Carnegie is staging Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s musical that broke the mold back in 1970, opening a new direction with a concept about friends advising a 35-year-old bachelor about the virtues and challenges of marriage. The show offers a series of vignettes rather than a continuous story that starts and finishes. It was a surprise hit in the day, and it continues to be a show that connects with audiences after more than four decades. Memorable tunes include “Being Alive,” “Sorry-Grateful” and “Getting Married Today.” Through Aug. 30. $18-$25. The Carnegie, 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington, Ky., 859-957-1940, thecarnegie.com.

by Nick Swartsell 08.21.2015 43 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:41 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Morning News and Stuff

Has CPD's crime reduction plan worked?; opposition forms to Cranley's park plan; build your own donuts

Good morning all. Here’s the news today as we gear up for what I’m sure will be a rad weekend.

How's that crime plan going so far? At the beginning of the summer, Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell was asked by City Manager Harry Black to draft a 90-day plan to reduce the number of shootings in the city, which has seen a major uptick in gun crime (though not murders or other violent crime) since this time last year. The plan to deploy more officers in busy places and spots where kids play and to create curfew centers for young people, was delayed at first by the June 19 shooting of officer Sonny Kim, but parts of it were implemented July 1. So… has it been working?

Blackwell touts CPD’s efforts at keeping crime rates from rising during a complicated summer full of major events like the MLB All-Star Game, outside incidents like the UC police shooting death of Samuel DuBose and the increasing challenges associated with the region’s heroin epidemic.

Shootings this summer have been up 30 percent over last year, and other violent crimes are roughly the same as past years. But that’s not necessarily the whole story. Taking a longer look at crime data, it’s apparent that the city’s recent uptick falls in line with past crime trends. The 291 shootings that have occurred so far this year are identical to the number for this time in 2013. Looking at data over a three-year period, violent crime is down nine percent.

What’s more, many cities across the country have experience much greater upticks in crime this year, including big surges in Baltimore, New York, Chicago and Philadelphia. Mayor John Cranley has said that’s not good enough, however, and has vowed to continue reviewing data and strategies to bring crime down. Blackwell has also offered further steps, including keeping the city’s recreation centers open later so teens have places to go after they’re out of school. A $50,000 grant from private donors will help pay rec center staff during those extended hours.

Opposition is coalescing against Mayor Cranley’s recent proposal to raise property taxes to pay for a $100 million parks revamp. That measure, which will be on the November ballot, would include big changes to Mount Airy Forest on the city’s West Side and Burnet Woods in Clifton. Those changes don’t sit well with opponents, who say proposals they’ve seen so far remove far too many trees and change the character of the urban woods entirely. Mayor Cranley has said that early plans for the parks were preliminary and not final designs. One showed a restaurant in Burnet Woods, for instance, a detail that has been removed since.

Opponents of the plan, including local attorney Tim Mara, also object to the way in which the plan would go forward. Mara says he’s part of a “diverse” coalition opposed to the park plan, which will be launching a formal campaign in the coming weeks. Mara’s complaint: Should the ballot initiative pass, it would vest power over changes to the park with the mayor and the park board, giving Cincinnati City Council no say in what would be done to the parks. Cranley has vowed that any changes to the parks will go through a long public review and comment process. A number of major businesses have backed the plan, including United Dairy Farmers and Kroger.

The property tax boost would raise about $5 million a year, money that would then be used to issue bonds for the rest of the cost of the proposed projects. About a quarter of the money raised would also be banked for future park maintenance and upkeep.

• There is now a build-your-own donut bar in Cincinnati. Top This Donut Bar at University Station near Xavier allows you to just stroll in like you own the place and start dumping bacon and Andes bars and raspberry goo all over your donuts. That sounds amazing and I’m so glad it’s not on my walk to work.

• Let's head uptown, where the new Kroger they’re going to (finally, finally) build there. The Kroger on Short Vine in Coryville will be twice the size of the current store, which looks like a place your grandmother would have shopped in the 1970s when the fancy store across town wasn’t convenient. The new location will have more prepared food options, beer taps, and a number of other amenities. A replacement store at the location, near University of Cincinnati, has been in the works for a long time. Demolition on the current store will begin soon, after which the new store should be open in 12-14 months.

• We’ve all been there before, right? You’re in a shady corner of your local coffee shop or whatever and someone approaches you, looks around, and is all like, “Hey man, what do you think about some weed?” Well maybe that’s just me and I hang out in weird coffee shops. Anyway, the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce will be holding listening sessions around the region so representatives of some of its 4,500-member businesses can give their two cents and help the organization determine how to come down on November’s marijuana legalization ballot initiative, a state constitutional amendment proposed by ResponsibleOhio. That proposal would make marijuana legal for anyone 21 and up, but would limit commercial growth to 10 sites owned by the group’s investors. The first listening session is taking place this morning at Coffee Emporium downtown. The next three will take place on Aug. 26 from 9-11 a.m. at Panera Bread locations in Newport, Union Township and Springdale.

That’s it for me. Hit me up with any news tips here.

by Rick Pender 08.21.2015 43 days ago
Posted In: Theater at 10:32 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
stage door 8-14 hundred days @ know theatre - id from left - lindsey mercer - abigail bengson -brian koch - shaun bengson -colette alexander - photo by daniel r. winters

Stage Door

A few end-of-summer theater choices

Theater slows down this time of year as most local companies are readying to launch their 2015-2016 seasons in September. You’ll find two newish productions on local stages — Company at The Carnegie in Covington and 9 to 5 at the Incline in East Price Hill. Stephen Sondheim’s Company is a solid production with a nice turn by Zachary Huffman in the central role of Robert. There are lots of well-performed tunes by a young cast and some able musicians. Here’s my review. I’m not so enthusiastic about the third show of the Incline’s inaugural season: 9 to 5 is a weak offering after the successes of The Producers and 1776. That’s largely due to a script that’s pretty stale and silly, as I mentioned in my review. It’s based on a 1980 movie about a chauvinistic boss and three women who give him his comeuppance. Dolly Parton played a feisty secretary in the movie and had a hit with its title song. When the movie became a 2009 stage musical, she wrote the songs. They don’t add much. Cincinnati Landmark must have pulled out all the stops for the first two shows this summer; this one looks like they cut some corners. These two productions continue through Aug. 30.

This is the final weekend for Hundred Days at Know Theatre. This Rock opera has been an unqualified hit for the 18-year-old Over-the-Rhine venue. I gave it a Critic’s Pick and I’ve talked with several friends who have gone back to see it a second time. Abigail and Shaun Bengson sing their way through a tragic love affair — a marriage cut short by a terminal disease — that ends up feeling pretty joyous since they choose to celebrate their “100 days” as if it was the 60-year marriage they had hoped for. Great concept, great execution. Get a ticket if you can: 513-300-5669

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

by Nick Swartsell 08.20.2015 44 days ago
Posted In: News at 09:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
death penalty

Morning News and Stuff

Former Mason mayor going to prison; FDA says Ohio's plan to get execution drugs is illegal; Kasich suggests eliminating teachers' lounges, is only kind of joking

Good morning y’all. Here’s what’s happening around the city and beyond today.

Former Mason mayor and state representative Peter Beck was sentenced today to four years in prison on 13 felony convictions related to his role in defrauding investors by luring them into giving money to a failing technology company. Earlier this year, Beck was convicted of fraud, theft and perjury charges, though he was also found not guilty on 25 other charges. He faced up to 50 years in prison for his role in Christopher Technologies, which was already insolvent when Beck and other company leaders convinced investors to put money into it. Beck and his partners then spent that money elsewhere, leaving investors with nothing.

• The big story today is a big scum fest. Basically, some scummy hackers hacked a scummy website for gross married people to hook up with other people they aren’t married to and released a bunch of information about the site’s clients. Some of those clients used city of Cincinnati or other public email addresses to register for the site. Now some scummy news organizations are rolling around in the scum shower and we’re all just super gross and implicated by all this.

Recently, hackers broke into dating site Ashley Madison, which helps folks have illicit affairs. The hackers released reams of information about who uses the site, and lo and behold, accounts were created with email addresses corresponding to a city police officer, fire fighter and sewer worker. Other accounts with local public ties include one with an email address from someone in the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, Cincinnati Public Schools and one from Kenton County Schools.

This smells fishy to me, though. Who is dumb enough to use their work email for this kind of thing? Further, is it really in the public interest to know who is trying to sleep with whom? Just use your private email address so we don’t have to hear about it, right? This whole gross thing is why I don’t want to get married, use the Internet, or really deal with people in any other way whatsoever. Thanks guys.

• The Ohio Chamber of Commerce, which as its name suggests, is a giant business association here in the state, yesterday voted to oppose ResponsibleOhio’s marijuana legalization constitutional amendment. The OCC is citing workplace safety concerns as the reason for its opposition. The organization is another big opponent of the constitutional amendment, which voters are set to approve or deny in November. ResponsibleOhio’s proposal would legalize weed in Ohio and create 10 marijuana farms throughout the state owned by the group’s investors. No other commercial growers would be permitted, though a small amount of marijuana could be grown for personal use with a special license. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the Ohio Manufacturer’s Association and a number of other large organizations have come out in opposition of the effort. Meanwhile, many statewide unions and other organizations and public figures have come out in support of the proposal. It’s shaping up to be a big battle right up until the ballot. You can read our whole rundown here.

• If I told you that someone you know was trying to illegally buy drugs overseas in order to kill people, would you be alarmed? I guess that depends on who you roll with. If you roll with the State of Ohio, for instance, it might not be news to you at all. The federal Food and Drug Administration has said not so fast to the state’s plan to import drugs from other countries so it can resume executing people. The FDA says Ohio’s plan to obtain sodium thiopental, which it can’t get in the U.S., is illegal.

The state’s plan has been necessitated by U.S. companies’ refusal to supply the necessary drugs for executions and by a highly-problematic 2014 execution here that used a replacement two-drug cocktail. That combination caused convicted killer Dennis McGuire to snort and gasp during his execution. It took him more than 26 minutes to die using the replacement drug cocktail, and similar combinations have caused other, sometimes gruesome, irregularities in executions in other states. After McGuire’s execution, the state placed a moratorium on carrying out the death penalty until it can secure more humane ways to execute inmates. There are currently no executions planned this year, but the state has 21 slated starting next year and stretching into 2019.

• It’s a good thing Ohio Gov. John Kasich isn’t running for king of America. If he was, teachers could kiss their lounges goodbye. Kasich made that strangely aggressive statement yesterday during an education forum in New Hampshire, a vital early primary state as Kasich battles with the hordes of GOP presidential hopefuls for a national look at the nomination. Kasich told an audience on the panel that if he were in charge, teachers wouldn’t have lounges where “they sit together and worry about ‘woe is us.’ ” Kasich went on to praise the work teachers do, but said teacher’s unions create an environment of fear and scare educators into thinking their wages and benefits will be taken away. Huh. Maybe it’s the low wages, high work hours, constant testing and uncertainty about funding that is playing into that mindset, but yeah, you’re probably right. Having a lounge to sit in definitely plays into the fear factor somehow. Next up: All teachers must eat in their cars at lunch time and not talk to anyone else at all.

by Tony Johnson 08.19.2015 45 days ago
at 12:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Spoonful of Cinema: Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (Review)

I went and saw Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation twice in the last week and a half. It was an absolute blast the first time around and the second opportunity was too hard to turn down when I found myself at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Calif., last Wednesday afternoon. It is a doozy of a cinema house, and if you find yourself in the land of make-believe (that is, Hollywood), I do recommend an escape to the famous theater for a tour and a showing in their IMAX auditorium.

But back to Mission: Impossible 5. The high-octane action flick is a blast to the very past of its origins. The first Mission: Impossible arrived nearly 20 years ago. Ethan Hunt, the uncannily able, righteously insubordinate agent of the IMF (that’s the Impossible Missions Force) is as heroic as ever in huge thanks to none other than Tom Cruise. Cruise is his usual self — sharp as they come, quipping one-liners and putting his ass on the line for the old-fashioned Hollywood thrill of watching someone do drastically dangerous things as we watch from the comfort of a cushioned theater seat, throw popcorn at our faces and slurp on our sodas.

But Hunt is not without his team, and his team is a well-rounded crew both in what they contribute to Hunt and what the respective actors contribute to the chemistry. Simon Pegg gives us the silly, sarcastic surveillance wiz Benji Dunn. Jeremy Renner gives us the seriously stressed IMF Field Operations Director William Brandt. Rebecca Ferguson is the mysterious secret ally to Hunt, who holds the key between the IMF and their most dangerous enemies, known only as the Syndicate.

Together the team works from Washington, London, Paris, Vienna and Casablanca in their desperate attempts to thwart what seems like an unstoppable force of cruel international intentions. Along the way, we get Ethan Hunt and Co. in their finest form. They race through tunnels and alleys and mountainsides by foot and by car and by motorcycle. They infiltrate high-security premises with masks and soft steps and deep-water diving. They keep us laughing, on the edge of our seats and constantly wondering, “How can they get out of this mess?”

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation lies in its star, the Undeniable One, Mr. Cruise. But perhaps the most important piece of M:I–RO’s meticulously crafted Hollywood formula is its story, script and direction, all of which were crafted and brought to life by Christopher McQuarrie, with story assistance from Drew Pearce (set to write the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot).

McQuarrie’s expertise at the typewriter is as evident now as it was when he penned the Bryan Singer-directed, Academy Award-winning screenplay for 1995’s The Usual Suspects. No line is wasted. When viewers aren’t chuckling, we’re learning about the Syndicate — who they are, what they want, how Hunt might be able to stop them. Above all, McQuarrie knows how to paint Cruise as a charming lead. McQuarrie has written three other scripts (Valkyrie, Jack Reacher, Edge of Tomorrow) that have featured Cruise as the lead man.

And the charm is what drives the film at the end of the day. Because we’ve all seen Mission: Impossible before. We’ve all seen Tom Cruise save the day (practically every time we see him, actually). We’ve all seen explosions and motorcycle races and we’ve all heard big resounding chords played on horn sections as high-flying stunts are performed on-screen. So what makes this time around so special, perhaps the best Mission Hunt has seen in his five-installment, 20-year span?  It’s something difficult to describe.

What sets M:I 5 apart from so many other stupid Hollywood blockbusters is its ability to keep us constantly on our toes, unsure of whether we might be laughing at a surprise punch-line or gawking at a dangerous stunt or discovering some top-secret information. Rogue Nation accomplishes that rare, perhaps unprecedented feat of taking a Hollywood franchise beyond its own limits without uprooting its foundation in its fifth installment. Like the Fast & Furious franchise, the Mission: Impossible universe seems to only get more and more fun as each installment finds its way from studio back-lots and extravagant shooting locations to the cinema houses. It is a brilliantly young-at-heart balancing act that buoys the end result upwards toward Hollywood awesomeness in a silver-screen summer that has been sorely lacking in good old-fashioned fun.

Grade: B+

by Staff 08.19.2015 45 days ago
at 08:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

This Week's Dining (and Drinking) Events

Cincy Brew Ha-Ha, Shake It Up Cocktail Festival, brews to benefit the SPCA and more

Canning Classes — Learn how to preserve your garden’s harvest with this canning class. Workshop features the latest recommendations based on USDA guidelines on safely canning vegetables and other low-acid foods. Geared toward beginners. 6-7:30 p.m. $15. OSU Extension Office, 5093 Colerain Ave., Mount Airy, hamilton.osu.edu.

All About Avocado — Romaine salad with avocado, citrus vinaigrette, bacon and summer tomatoes; Moroccan-flavored crispy shrimp with orange and avocado salsa; tomato, avocado and black-bean salsa with tortilla chips. 6-8 p.m. $70. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester, thelearningkitchen.com.

Cincy Brew Ha-Ha — If 50 comedians performing over the span of three days doesn’t get you laughing, the ninth-annual Cincy Brew Ha-Ha beer and comedy festival has just what you need to give your silly streak a pulse: beer. Lots of it. With two 100-seat beer gardens and plenty of beer booths serving up everything from locals like Braxton, Rivertown, MadTree, Ei8ht Ball and more to craft favorites like Dogfish Head, 21st Amendment, West Sixth and Fat Tire, Brew Ha-Ha plans to satisfy more than 20,000 thirsty and laugh-seeking Tristaters with plenty to drink and an impressive lineup of comics. Headlined Thursday night by Adam Ferrara (Rescue Me, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Definitely Maybe), Friday night by David Koechner (Anchorman, Anchorman 2, The Office) and Saturday night by Brandon T. Jackson (Roll Bounce, Wild ‘N Out with Nick Cannon, Tropic Thunder), you’ll either be laughing your way to a full belly of beer or drinking your way to a day full of laughter. Or both. 5 p.m.-midnight Thursday-Friday; 4 p.m.-midnight Saturday. Free admission; $5 for drinking wristband; $1 beer samples; $5 full servings. Sawyer Point, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Downtown, cincybrewhaha.com.

A Showcase of Summer Fruits — This menu highlights summer produce. Learn to make chilled melon gazpacho, Caribbean jerk chicken tacos with mango salsa, pork tenderloin with berry-rosemary sauce, quinoa pilaf with goat cheese and kale, and strawberry shortcake. 6-8:30 p.m. $50. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, junglejims.com.

Fish: Season, Sear, Sauce — Oven-fried cod with homemade tartar sauce over rice pilaf, white-wine poached salmon with caper sauce and paprika tilapia with garlic chipotle butter. 6-8 p.m. $80. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester, thelearningkitchen.com.

Date Night: Delicious Scallops — Green salad with toasted pine nits, oranges and balsamic vinaigrette, then sea scallops with spiced corn and pickled red onion topping over celery-root mash and sugar snap peas. 6-8 p.m. $165 per couple. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester, thelearningkitchen.com.

Shake It Up Cocktail Festival — Jungle Jim’s is a wonderland of exotic food and booze, and their new Shake It Up Cocktail festival celebrates the end of summer with just that. Say goodbye to tan lines, pool parties and flip-flops with expertly crafted cocktails and mixed drinks, and imbibe an atmosphere full of flair bartenders, expert mixologists and more. 6:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday. $40; $15 non-drinker. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, junglejims.com.

A French Bistro — A French bistro meal accompanied by Bordeaux wines. Includes country pate, steak fries, French cheese and pot de crème. 6-8:30 p.m. $50. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, junglejims.com.

Row x Row Dinner — Cocktails, dinner prepared with produce and meat from Gorman Heritage Farm and other local organizations, music by Sound Body Jazz, dancing, silent auction and raffle. Benefits Gorman Heritage Farm’s Educational Programs. 6 p.m. $35. Gorman Heritage Farm, 10052 Reading Road, Evendale, gormanfarm.org. 

Summer Celebration Presented by Red Shoe Crew — Pizza, drink specials, and a cornhole tournament, all benefitting Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati. Noon- 3p.m. $10 wristband; tournament fee $40 in advance; $50 at the door. Goodfella’s Pizzeria, 1211 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-3625. 

Gourmet Grub for Good — Amateur chef competition and silent auction. Benefits Community Shares of Greater Cincinnati. 7-10 p.m. $45. Mayerson JCC, 8485 Ridge Road, Amberley Village, 513-475-0475. 

Best Friends and Brews — A night filled with everyone’s two favorite things: furry friends and beer. This tasting supports the SPCA of Cincinnati, featuring food from local restaurants, music by the Comet Bluegrass All-Stars and a raffle. Last year’s event sold out, so get your tickets quick. 7-11 p.m. $25-$125. Sharonville Shelter, 11900 Conrey Road, scpacincinnati.org/events.

An Afternoon with the Beer Barons — Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum has been the final resting place of many a famous Cincinnatian, from lawyers and politicians to our beloved beer barons. And Spring Grove celebrates our malty past with an afternoon dedicated to exploring the graves and stories of famous brewers through docent-led motor-coach cemetery tours and a party in the Rose Garden. Enjoy history with a side of beer and food as beer-brewing establishments manned by non-dead people, like representatives from Christian Moerlein, MadTree, Rhinegeist, Rivertown, Blank Slate and more, provide attendees with samples of their most popular and most unique beers. Food will be provided by Funky’s and Queen City Sisters, and Buffalo Ridge Jazz Band will put on musical entertainment. 4-7 p.m. Saturday. $40. Spring Grove Cemetery, 4521 Spring Grove Ave., springgrove.org.

Grilling with Ellen: The Flavors of India — Indian spiced shrimp, Tandoori-style kebabs, spiced lemon rice with cashews, green beans with fresh tomato relish, cucumber mint raita and mango tart. 6-8:30 p.m. $65. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, junglejims.com.

Pan Sauce Workshop — Learn to create quick, flavorful pan sauces and use those techniques to dress up three favorite proteins. Make pan-roasted chicken thigh and orange brandy sauce, pork tenderloin with grape and thyme red-wine sauce, and salmon with rosemary-lemon sauce. 6-8 p.m. $75. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester, thelearningkitchen.com.

Risotto Workshop — Learn to make basic risotto, then make a rich, wild mushroom and bacon risotto, and a roasted butternut-squash risotto with romaine salad. Chef will also demonstrate dessert risotto made with vanilla and orange. 6-8 p.m. $70. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester, thelearningkitchen.com.

Taste to Remember — Talented area chefs come together to benefit the Children’s Hunger Alliance and the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the American Culinary Federation. 6:30-9 p.m. $60; $40 YP. 20th Century Theater, 3021 Madison Road, Oakley, childrenshungeralliance.org.

Weeknight Jerk Chicken — Prepare rub and jerk chicken to pair with cooling cucumber yogurt sauce and creamy polenta with roasted red peppers. 6-8 p.m. $70. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester, thelearningkitchen.com.

by Natalie Krebs 08.18.2015 46 days ago
at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Morning News and Stuff

ResponsibleOhio opponents speak up; discrepancies between life expectancy in Cincinnati's rich and poor neighborhoods; Kasich regrets the Iraq war

Now that ResponsibleOhio's initiative to legalize marijuana is officially on the Nov. 3 ballot, opposition has formalized against constitutional amendment that could legalize a weed monopoly. Yesterday, a coalition called Ohioans Against Marijuana Monopolies launched its coalition against the constitutional amendment that would only allow 10 Ohio farms to grow and sell the plant. The coalition includes the Avondale-based Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. In a press conference at the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus yesterday, the group raised concerns that legalizing marijuana could increase its access to children and teens as well as give the false perception that the drug is safe. Cincinnati Children's Hospital told the Business Courier that it is particularly concerned with kids getting their hands on candy and baked goods that contained marijuana. The group was also concerned that the measure would allow an individual to possess a up to a half-pound of pot, or enough to roll about 500 joints. 

• ResponsibleOhio isn't the only constitutional amendment voters will face in November. State lawmakers have put a second initiative on the ballot to block the monopoly-centered business model ResponsibleOhio has proposed for marijuana farms. So what happens if the two conflicting amendments pass? According to Secretary of State Jon Husted, the amendment to block marijuana would prevail because it goes into effect first. 

• Hamilton County's public health department found Indian Hill residents can expect on average to live 17 years longer than Lincoln Heights residents. A study by the department's epidemiologists looked at 13 measures of health found a 17-year difference in life expectancy across the county most heavily coordinated with your zip code. The rates of heart disease, cancer and stroke were significantly higher in lower-income areas than in higher-income areas. Norwood, Lincoln Heights, Lockland, Cleves, Addyston and Elmwood Place have life expectancies between 69.9 and 73.3 years, while Indian Hill, Montgomery, Evendale, Wyoming, Terrace Park and Amberley Village have life expectancies from 81.8 to 87 years.

• Gov. John Kasich told CNN he regrets supporting the Iraq invasion in 2003, but does support sending American troops back to the Middle East to fight the Islamic State. The GOP presidential nominee said that he made his decision a decade ago based just on erroneous reports of weapons of mass destruction, and had it not been for that small detail, he never would have supported it.

by Staff 08.17.2015 47 days ago
Posted In: Leftovers at 10:26 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
grill cheese from metropole

Leftovers: What We Ate This Weekend

Mobile hibachi, Metropole, J Bar, The Northside Yacht Club and possibly the city's best chicken salad

Each week CityBeat staffers, dining writers and the occasional intern tell you what they ate this weekend. We're not always proud — or trendy — but we definitely spend at least some money on food. 

Ilene Ross: On Friday, the BF and I met some friends at Metropole for a long, leisurely lunch. I had broccoli beignets, a smoked blackberry grilled cheese sandwich and chilled corn soup. We all split a cookie plate, the chocolate mousse and the bourbon custard for dessert with pots of really wonderful French-press coffee. That grilled cheese sandwich was magnificent, and the whole experience was the perfect start to the weekend. Good food and great friends. I taught a cooking class on Friday night, so I got scraps of what my class made. It was perfect because after my huge lunch I wasn’t really hungry.
On Saturday, the BF and I took my son to 1940’s day at the Museum Center. We passed on the Spam rations they were offering and ate a late lunch of burgers and sandwiches. Guess what?!? They serve tots as a side dish at the Museum Center instead of fries. We were overjoyed, as we are all tot addicts. Since we gorged on hot tots, we were stuffed and needed no dinner. 
On Sunday, the BF and I decided to try having brunch at Sundry and Vice. Brunch at S & V consists of ordering food from the nearby Revolution Rotisserie & Bar by phone — which is soon delivered by a charming young man — while enjoying adult milkshakes. The boozy milkshakes are quite delightful. We spent the afternoon making cucumber pickles and then we grilled steak, corn, squash and eggplant for dinner.

Jac Kern: This weekend, some incredible friends threw a couple's shower for my fiancé and me. They surprised us by hiring a Benihana chef and borrowing a mobile hibachi grill (they exist!) for a delicious feast. We started with sushi, then everyone dug into steak, shrimp, chicken and veggies from the grill, complete with a giant heart-shaped mound of fried rice. The night ended with personalized fortune cookies and ALL THE DRINKS. Way too much fun. 

Katie Holocher: I tried J Bar Pizzeria in Hyde Park this weekend and it was killer. Not only do they have a pretty perfect patio with huge trees strung up with lights, but they also had live music on Saturday night, $4 housemade sangria and about 10 pies that I wanted to try. My husband and I went with the J Bar (red sauce, pepperoni, house cheese blend, truffled gremolata, parmesan, add banana peppers). It was awesome. And again, I would literally be down for any of their other specialty pizzas. We may go back once a week to try them all. 

Colleen McCroskey: I am on a constant search for the perfect chicken salad. Grapes and almonds: acceptable, sometimes preferable. Celery: Not so much. Panera’s will do in a pinch, and the chicken salad at Mt. Adams Bar and Grill, like everything else they do, is comforting, standard and delicious, but this past Saturday I tried a chicken salad so good I don’t know if I can ever go back to anything else. It was from Revolution Rotisserie, the Findlay pop-up that just opened their brick-and-mortar location a few months ago, and I kid you not when I tell you I did not know that chicken salad could taste this good. It’s creamy but not too rich, and seasoned so well it inspired me to take a trip to Colonel De’s the next day to try and incorporate that type of killer flavor into my own cooking. It’s so good that there are none of the fruit-or-nut add-ons that you usually find in a chicken salad, because Revolution’s chicken —moist, super-flavorful — can stand on its own. And, best of all, no celery. 

Casey Arnold: Saturday my boyfriend Brian and I wandered around the city like we do on the weekends. We started at The City Flea where we pet strangers' dogs and sauntered from shady place to shady place to find some relief from the heat. I stopped at the Dojo Gelato truck for a scoop of lemon sorbetto so I could feel light and healthy and a scoop of their creation called Junk in the Trunk (Grateful Grahams, smashed Oreos, peanut butter cups and toffee with sweet cream gelato) for obvious reasons. We wandered over to Vine to check out the new retail space called Elm & Iron to gawk at all of the pretty things in the shop. Eventually we made our way down to Bakersfield. We were lucky enough to approach the hostess as she was on the phone with a party of two who was canceling and were seated immediately. We snacked on chips and guacamole and sucked down a tart and tasty margarita while we waited for my dinner to arrive. I ordered a papas tostada, which was smeared with a spicy black bean paste and tasted so amazing that I kept poking my fork toward Brian with every other bite to try to make him try it. He eventually did and was equally impressed. 
We both really wanted to check out Northside Yacht Club, too, so we went there next (after spending an hour combing through the racks of Casablanca). We're friends with one of the owners and were regulars at its former incarnation, Mayday, so we were excited to see what they did with the place. It looks gorgeous now. The decor has a nautical theme that won't slap you across the face, but rather reads as modern and chic. We sat at the bar and ordered drinks. Brian tried one of their Tiki cocktails, something with ginger beer that had a lot of robust flavor and was served in a copper cup. We were too full for food but vowed to return so Brian can try a gluten-free pulled pork grilled cheese, which we have already heard good things about. 

Northside Yacht Club interior
Brian Cross


NYSC drink
Brian Cross

After, we headed to MOTR for a surprise birthday party. (HBD Tori!) MOTR whipped up a taco bar for the party room (what? they do that?) which was fun, and our friend made her a whimsically smashed and lopsided cake that the party devoured.   

Sarah Urmston: On Friday, I hosted a girl's night in my new place, so naturally journeyed to the famous Whole Foods to pick up a collection of goodies to create the perfect cheese plate. (Sometimes I think I love cheese more than any human should.) Scattered along my wooden Ohio-shaped cutting board were three different types of cheese — a soft gouda, a mild cheddar and a brie I put out a little early to give it a more spreadable texture. I chose round garlic-and-herb crackers that went well with the brie, as well as whole-wheat crackers for the cheddar, gouda and authentic Italian salami I placed in the center of the board. Since no good cheese plate goes without fruit, I placed bunches of red seedless grapes in the vacant spaces of the board and a bowl full of cherry vanilla almonds beside it all, which were completely gone within minutes. All went ridiculously well with the variety of wine everyone brought