The wine festival was founded in 1991 to promote the wine industry and raise funds for local charities. Each year, it’s gotten bigger and better, and so has its charitable giving. Over the course of more than two decades, the annual celebration has donated more than $3.9 million to local charities across the region. Today, the wine festival is recognized as one of the largest wine events in the entire country.
The Cincinnati International Wine Festival increases in winery participation, events and attendance each year; like a fine wine, it seems to get better with age. Each year, as participation grows, so does the nonprofit’s ability to distribute grants to Greater Cincinnati area programs that support the arts, education, health and human services.
The festival itself is made up of four prominent events: Winery Dinners, Grand Tastings, a Charity Auction and Luncheon, and the annual Russ Wiles Memorial Golf Tournament. These events don’t just celebrate wine. They also foster community and charity in the process.
This year’s line-up of Winery Dinners is filling up fast, but tickets to many of the special events are still up for grabs. The dinners celebrate cooking and winemaking as art, and aim to combine the two to create perfect pairings that are sure to please any palate. The popular dinners showcase the skills of visiting winemakers from around the world alongside the area’s finest chefs. Together, the chefs and winemakers work together to create what the Wine Festival describes as a harmonious experience filled with fine wine and masterful cuisine.
Reserve your seat at the table of a very special Winery Dinner celebrating a special evening with 2014 honorary chair Leonardo LoCasio, the founder of Winebow, Inc. at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherlands Plaza’s Orchids at the Palm Court on Wednesday, March 5 at 6:30 p.m. ($175)
Wineries and some of the Cincinnati area’s most beloved restaurants team up all across the city on Thursday, March 6 at 6:30 p.m. Reserve your seat at the table for some serious wining and dining at the following restaurants:
The festivities continue with The Wine Festival’s main event: the 2014 Grand Tastings, which take place March 7 and 8 at the Duke Energy Convention Center. More than 700 wines from more than 100 wineries are available to sample as you enjoy live music, delicious food and a silent auction.
The Grand Tastings are the centerpiece of the Cincinnati International Wine Festival as they showcase new, rare and exciting wines from around the world. Whether you're a seasoned expert or an intrigued beginner, winemakers and winery representatives welcome you as they mix useful knowledge with exquisite samples of their art.
This year, access to the special tasting room will give you VIP access to seven tastes of high-end wines an hour prior to each night’s Grand Tasting at the Grand Ballrooms of the Duke Energy Center. ($40 prior to the event, $45 at the door. Tickets the special tasting room are only available with the purchase of a Grand Tasting ticket.)
After the special tastings room closes its doors, the celebratory Grand Tastings take center stage at the Duke Energy Center’s Grand Ballrooms on Friday evening, Saturday afternoon and Saturday evening:
Charity Auction and Luncheon
Continue your celebration with Silent and Live Auctions at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza’s Hall of Mirrors on Saturday, March 8. The auctions boast a phenomenal catalog of limited-release bottles, winemaker-signed grand format bottles, rare wines coaxed from the cellars of notable Cincinnatians, chef's table dining opportunities at exclusive Cincinnati homes, fantastic trips, wine cellar tours, and more.
Afterward, experience a luncheon filled with savory cuisine from the Hilton Netherland’s Chef Todd Kelly paired with incredible wines presented by winemakers and winery principals from across the country.
The charity auction and luncheon will begin at 9:30 a.m. with a reception, silent auction, and live auction lot preview. At 11 a.m. the live auction will begin, followed by the winery luncheon. Tickets to the reception, auctions and luncheon are $125.
The Russ Wiles Memorial Golf Tournament
The festival might only last a few short days this March, but the celebration and charitable giving continues in June as the Wine Festival promises a tournament unlike any other. This summer, Russ Wiles Memorial 2013 Honorary Chair Dan Temming hosts a golf outing at TPC River's Bend. Enjoy wines from around the world at 5 holes during play along with food provided by some of Cincinnati's finest restaurants.
The day kicks off with a Dom Perignon toast and a shotgun start. 36 foursomes will compete in a scramble format tournament where the 3 winning teams will take home large-format bottles of wine. Golfers will also be eligible to win amazing prizes when they compete in the Closest to Pin Shootout, Hole-in-One Contest, Putting Contest and the Skins game. An After Party will then be held at the end of play where live music, food and drinks will be served under beautiful tents overlooking the 18th green. As a special thank you for supporting our Cincinnati charities, tee gifts will also be presented.
Organizations Benefiting from the Cincinnati International Wine Festival’s Proceeds
Kentucky Symphony Orchestra
And just like that, “Awards Season” comes to a close. Does anyone else think it went out with more of a bore than a bang?
were preceded by the Film Independent Spirit Awards Saturday. I was introduced
to this indie movie celebration last year and was pleasantly surprised by the
fun, fast-and-loose nature of the show in addition to its highlighting of
lesser-known, smaller-budget films compared to the Academy Awards. Maybe it was
due to Jameson no longer sponsoring the event/getting everyone wasted; perhaps
it was the fact that many of the winners went on to receive Oscars in similar
categories the very next day. Either way, I found this year’s show, hosted by
Patton Oswalt, to be just a little blah.
See for yourself here.
Sunday night was not much of a departure from that feeling. I do love me some Ellen — she can always deliver consistently funny material everyone can relate to. She picked on stars without being too mean and rocked some fab suits, but it takes more than that to keep me awake through a 15-hour production like the Oscars.
But there were plenty of both touching and funny moments throughout the night. Supporting actor and actress winners, Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong’o, delivered thoughtful, emotional acceptance speeches (while looking freaking gorge). Leto — who I still can’t believe was the oldest nominee in that category — spoke about his mother’s inspiring perseverance, the conflicts in Venezuela and Ukraine and the victims of AIDS as well as discrimination (both central themes of Dallas Buyers Club). He also looked sharp in a cream tux with burgundy tie and the most coveted ombré locks of any human man.
And, clearly, the 42-year-old gets his looks from his hot ass mother. But seriously, maybe we should consider the fact that Jordan Catalano is a vampire. Any thoughts, Pharrell?
Speaking of, Pharrell performed his Oscar-nominated hit, "Happy," in what appeared to be a legit GAP ad circa 2003.
who won for her role in 12 Years a Slave,
also gave a heartfelt acceptance speech.
Everyone is crushing on Lupita right
now, myself included, but let’s talk about her equally attractive brother,
They’re basically the Kenyan Tegan & Sara in that they are super hot siblings with super cool androgynous hairdos.
Fans of Her (which nabbed Best Adapted
Screenplay) no doubt cried, rewound, and cried again as Karen O of the Yeah
Yeah Yeahs and Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend performed “The Moon Song” from the film, which totally got shut
out by that stupid Frozen song everyone (including local weather guys) won’t shut up about.
Broadway darling Idina Menzel went on to perform the Frozen's “Let It Go,” but not before John Travolta’s Thetin levels temporarily crashed, causing him to forget how to speak.
Early in the evening, Ellen was kind enough to order a few pizzas for all the starving celebs in the audience, which led to what will be known forever as The Selfie* That Broke Twitter. The star-studded pic has more than 3 million retweets, the most of anything ever #sorryobama.
*I just can’t with the term “selfie” anymore. I’m tired of the way newspeople say, “selfie” like they’ve coined some new generation-defining trend. Haven’t people been taking pictures of themselves via an extended arm since forever? Much like “hipster,” this term lives on thanks to the diligence of out-of-touch white people trying to be current.
America’s bestie Jennifer Lawrence was nominated, so naturally she fell on the red carpet. Warning to JLAW: We love you. You’re a “real woman” according to people, which means you’re not a robot I think, but you don’t constantly have to flaunt that fact by tripping and talking about eating fries all the time. You’re bordering on the Zooey Deschanel “adorkable” territory that has forced me to despise the banged, blue-eyed beaut. I still love you, JLAW — you cited Caroline Manzo as your American Hustle character inspiration for Chrissake — you just don’t have to push the clumsy slob persona all the time.
As far as winners go, 12 Years a Slave and Dallas Buyers Club cleaned up pretty well with three wins each and Gravity dominated the technical and directing categories, garnering a whopping seven awards. The Academy essentially said, "And none for you, American Hustle," and people are still crying over Leonardo DiCaprio's continued Oscar losing streak.
OK, that’s all the important stuff. Peep all the winners below.
Best Motion Picture of the Year
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years A Slave
The Wolf Of Wall Street
Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender,12 Years A Slave
Jonah Hill, The Wolf Of Wall Street
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years A Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska
Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo Dicaprio, The Wolf Of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years A Slave
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Best Animated Feature
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine
The Wind Rises
The Grandmaster (Philippe Le Sourd)
Gravity (Emmanuel Lubezki)
Inside Llewyn Davis (Bruno Delbonnel)
Nebraska (Phedon Papamichael)
Prisoners (Roger A. Deakins)
Best Costume Design
American Hustle (Michael Wilkinson)
The Grandmaster (William Chang Suk Ping)
The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin) Totally blocked this one out of my memory.
The Invisible Woman (Michael O'Connor)
12 Years a Slave (Patricia Norris)
American Hustle (David O. Russell)
Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)
Nebraska (Alexander Payne)
12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)
The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)
Best Documentary Feature
The Act of Killing (Joshua
Oppenheimer, Signe Byrge Sørensen)
Cutie and the Boxer (Zachary Heinzerling, Lydia Dean Pilcher)
Dirty Wars (Richard Rowley, Jeremy Scahill)
The Square (Jehane Noujaim, Karim Amer)
20 Feet from Stardom (Nominees to be determined)
Best Documentary Short
CaveDigger (Jeffrey Karoff)
Facing Fear (Jason Cohen)
Karama Has No Walls (Sara Ishaq)
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life (Malcolm Clarke, Nicholas Reed)
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall (Edgar Barens)
Best Film Editing
American Hustle (Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers, Alan
Captain Phillips (Christopher Rouse)
Dallas Buyers Club (John Mac McMurphy, Martin Pensa)
Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger)
12 Years a Slave (Joe Walker)
Best Foreign Language Film
The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
The Great Beauty (Italy)
The Hunt (Denmark) I tried to watch this on Netflix but the subtitles were faster that the actual audio and video, which made it impossible to watch. Had to turn it off, but ILY MADS.
The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Dallas Buyers Club (Adruitha Lee, Robin Mathews)
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (Stephen Prouty) Jesus H, a Jackass movie is nominated for an Oscar.
The Lone Ranger (Joel Harlow, Gloria Pasqua-Casny) I guess turning Johnny Depp into a fauxtive American deserves recognition?
Best Original Score
The Book Thief (John Williams)
Gravity (Steven Price)
Her (William Butler, Owen Pallett)
Philomena (Alexandre Desplat)
Saving Mr. Banks (Thomas Newman)
Best Original Song
(Despicable Me 2)
“Let It Go” (Frozen)
“The Moon Song” (Her) ROBBED
“Ordinary Love” (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)
Best Production Design
American Hustle (Judy Becker, Heather Loeffler)
Gravity (Andy Nicholson, Rosie Goodwin, Joanne Woollard)
The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn)
Her (K.K. Barrett, Gene Serdena)
12 Years a Slave (Adam Stockhausen, Alice Baker)
Best Animated Short Film
Feral (Daniel Sousa, Dan Golden)
Get a Horse! (Lauren MacMullan, Dorothy McKim)
Mr. Hublot (Laurent Witz, Alexandre Espigares)
Possessions (Shuhei Morita)
Room on the Broom (Max Lang, Jan Lachauer)
Best Live Action Short Film
Aquel No Era Yo (That
Wasn't Me) (Esteban Crespo)
Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything) (Xavier Legrand, Alexandre Gavras)
Helium (Anders Walter, Kim Magnusson)
Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?) (Selma Vilhunen, Kirsikka Saari)
The Voorman Problem (Mark Gill, Baldwin Li)
Best Sound Editing
All Is Lost (Steve Boeddeker, Richard Hymns)
Captain Phillips (Oliver Tarney)
Gravity (Glenn Freemantle)
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Brent Burge, Chris Ward)
Lone Survivor (Wylie Stateman)
Best Sound Mixing
Captain Phillips (Chris Burdon, Mark
Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith, Chris Munro)
Gravity (Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead, Chris Munro)
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick, Tony Johnson)
Inside Llewyn Davis (Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff, Peter F. Kurland)
Lone Survivor (Andy Koyama, Beau Borders, David Brownlow)
Best Visual Effects
Gravity (Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk, Neil
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, Eric Reynolds)
Iron Man 3 (Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash, Dan Sudick)
The Lone Ranger (Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams, John Frazier)
Star Trek Into Darkness (Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann, Burt Dalton)
Best Adapted Screenplay
Before Midnight (Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke)
Captain Phillips (Billy Ray)
Philomena (Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope)
12 Years a Slave (John Ridley)
The Wolf of Wall Street (Terence Winter)
Best Original Screenplay
American Hustle (Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell)
Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen)
Dallas Buyers Club (Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack)
Her (Spike Jonze)
Nebraska (Bob Nelson)
Mayor John Cranley could dismantle a deal that would produce a grocery store, 300 luxury apartments and a new parking garage downtown. Cranley says he doesn’t want millions put toward the deal, even though the developer involved plans to invest another $60 million. Councilman Chris Seelbach says the deal isn’t dead just because of the mayor’s opposition, and City Council could act to bypass the mayor, just like the legislative body did with the streetcar project and responsible bidder. To Seelbach, the deal is necessary to bring much-needed residential space and an accessible grocery store downtown.
Cincinnati officials and startup executives will try to bring Google Fiber, which provides Internet speeds 100 times faster than normal broadband, to Cincinnati. Google plans to hold a national competition to see which cities are most deserving of its fiber services. “Over the last several years, Cincinnati’s innovation ecosystem has made tremendous strides,” Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld said in a statement. “We’re increasingly becoming a magnet for talented entrepreneurs across the country who want to come here to bring their big ideas to life. We need to ensure that we have the modern technological infrastructure to make Cincinnati nationally competitive.”
Cincinnati’s operating budget gap for fiscal 2015 now stands at $22 million, up from an earlier forecast of $18.5 million, largely because of extra spending on police pushed by Cranley and a majority of City Council. The city must balance its operating budget each year, which means the large gap will likely lead to layoffs and service cuts.
Commentary: “Budget Promises Spur Fears of Cuts.”
Cranley won’t re-appoint the chair of Cincinnati’s Board of Health. When asked why, Chairwoman Joyce Kinley told City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee that Cranley told her “he had to fulfill a campaign promise.” Some city officials say they worry Cranley is putting politics over the city’s needs.
Troubled restaurant Mahogany’s needs to pay back rent or move out, The Banks’ landlord declared Monday. The deciding moment for Mahogany’s comes after months of struggles, which restaurant owner Liz Rogers blames on the slow development of the riverfront.
Kathy Wilson: “Mahogany’s: Turn Out the Lights.”
Cincinnati’s Horseshoe Casino supports 1,700 workers, making it the largest of Ohio's four voter-approved casinos.
At least one airline, Allegiant Air, plans to add flights from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.
Headline: “Man wakes up in body bag at funeral home.”
“A 30,000-year-old giant virus has been revived from the frozen Siberian tundra,” the Los Angeles Times email@example.com.
In a recent conversation, Artistic Director Blake Robison described his program priorities and told me the Playhouse takes them seriously. “Variety is one of our hallmarks. We’re always going to make sure there are new works and culturally diverse works and that there are family-friendly or multigenerational things. We will find ways to continue to support and entertain the traditional audience while reaching out in various directions to new audiences. It’s our responsibility to bring the best theatrical material both old and new to our community.”
I’d say Robison’s third season sticks to his priorities.
Last Friday night, hundreds crammed into The Carnegie to witness local artist Pam Kravetz and a band of merry revelers open the show with a fanciful recreation of “The Mad Hatter's Tea Party.” While the artists entertained on a center stage/table surrounded by diners supping on handcrafted china, the rest of us enjoyed creatively crafted bites fashioned by local chefs. Especially tasty were the diminutive Belgian waffles topped with caramelized apples, shallots, goat cheese mousse and Sirop de Liège by chef David Kelsey of Taste of Belgium; a salad of spinach, pistachio relish, fig purée and goat cheese, topped with a tart cherry vinaigrette and wrapped in a cone of sopressata by chef Andrew Mersmann of La Poste Eatery; and The Rookwood’s chef Jackson Rouse’s offering of head cheese with frisée, pickled mustard seeds, crispy pig ear and blood orange.
And then there is of course the art. Art made of food. Art made to look like food. Look, but most definitely do not eat. And, without giving away any spoiler alerts, I will tell you two things: One, think twice before standing under the work of local artist Eric Brass — it could quite possibly put fear into the hearts of even the bravest of souls. And two, I was exceedingly tempted to lick the installation by Eye Candy Creative. It brought back one of my fondest childhood memories.
The Art of Food exhibition runs through March 15. More at thecarnegie.com.
About 1 in 20 Cincinnatians, many of them in the wealthiest neighborhoods, pay less in taxes because their home renovations and constructions are subsidized by a local tax program. While the program benefits the wealthy, it also hits Cincinnati Public Schools and other local services through lost revenue. The tax abatement program aims to keep and attract residents and businesses by lowering the costs of moving and living in Cincinnati. Anastasia Mileham, spokeswoman for 3CDC, says the tax abatements helped revitalize Over-the-Rhine, for example. Others say the government is picking winners and losers and the abatement qualifications should be narrowed.
With hotel room bookings back to pre-recession levels, Source Cincinnati aims to sell Cincinnati’s offerings in arts, health care, entrepreneurism and anything else to attract new businesses and residents. The Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau established the organization to reach out to national journalists and continue the local economic momentum built up in the past few years. “Successful cities are those that have good reputations,” Julie Calvert, interim executive director at Source Cincinnati, told The Cincinnati Enquirer. “Without reputation it’s difficult to get businesses to expand or relocate or get more conventions or draw young diverse talent to work for companies based here.”
The harsh winter weather this year pushed Cincinnati’s budget $5 million over, with nearly $3 million spent on salt, sand and chemicals alone. . The rest of the costs come through increased snow plowing shifts and other expenses to try to keep the roads clean. The extra costs just compound the city’s structurally imbalanced budget problems. The need for more road salt also comes despite Councilman Charlie Winburn’s attempts to undermine the city’s plans to stockpile and buy salt when it’s cheap.
Mayor John Cranley says the success of The Incline Public House in East Price Hill, which he helped develop, speaks to the pent-up demand for similar local businesses in neglected Cincinnati neighborhoods.
Less than a month remains to sign up for health insurance plans on HealthCare.gov.
The estimated 24,000 students who drop out of Ohio schools each year might cost themselves and the public hundreds of millions a year, according to the Alliance for Excellent Education.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says meth abuse has reached “epidemic” levels in the state.
Ohio gas prices continued to rise this week.
Developers say they have funding for the first phase of a Noah’s Ark replica coming to Williamstown, Ky.
There’s a Netflix hack that pauses a movie or TV show when the viewer falls firstname.lastname@example.org.
In March of 1999, after running the Cincinnati-based Shake It Records label for several years, brothers Jim and Darren Blase opened a new record store in the Northside neighborhood. The store, also called Shake It Records, was an instant hit with local record-buyers, offering a huge chunk of vinyl alongside their CD stock, as well as books, magazines and various musical merchandise (among many other items).
Since then, word of Shake It’s awesomeness has spread far and wide — the well-stocked and unique shop has often earned nods in the national press as one of the best record stores in the country, and music heads from across the region always make trips to Shake It when in Cincinnati (or they make trips just to go Shake It). Indie Rock star/hardcore record lover Bob Pollard, for example, comes down from Dayton often and frequently leaves with a big stack of LPs for his (surely gargantuan) collection.
The beloved shop has also regularly featured in-store performances from both local artists and national touring acts (a Tegan and Sara in-store a few years ago drew the attention of local TV news stations because of the huge turnout to meet the Pop duo). To celebrate its 15th anniversary — a remarkable milestone considering Shake It’s rise coincided with the rise of digital music and the alleged death march of brick-and-mortar record stores — Shake it will be presenting a string of performances throughout March.
The free, intimate shows kick off tomorrow (Saturday, March 1) with a 7 p.m. performance from Cincinnati Pop/Rock guitar/songwriting legend Rob Fetters. Fetters, who kicked off the 2014 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards in January with a surprise performance, will be supporting his latest solo release, Saint Ain’t, and you’re bound to hear a few songs from his expansive songwriting legacy with the bands The Raisins, psychodots and The Bears.
Shake It recently released the schedule of in-store performances for the rest of the month, with more to be added. Not that an excuse is needed for a Shake It visit, but the following events are great chances to stop in and wish the store a happy birthday.
March 15: Cincy Honky Tonk ensemble Jeremy Pinnell & The 55's (7 p.m.)
March 19: Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars, supporting his third solo release, Rock ’n’ Roll Blues, which comes out March 18. (time TBA)
March 21: Northern Kentucky singer/songwriter Daniel Martin Moore, who’s released acclaimed material through the Sub Pop label, and “Friends.” (8 p.m.)
March 22: The Shake It label’s biggest success story, Cincy rockers Wussy, who will preview their new album, Attica, which releases nationally on May 6. (7 p.m.)
March 29: Covington Indie Rock crew Frontier Folk Nebraska, whose releases are distributed through the Shake It label. (7 p.m.)
Each week our intern Amber will be exploring what Cincinnatians are interested in by scouring the local Twitter trends and reporting on what she’s found. From serious tweets to goofy hashtags, she’ll highlight what Cincy’s been buzzing about. So get to tweeting, folks.
Kilpatrick became the second player to score 2,000 career points at UC during the
Bearcats’ game against Louisville on Feb. 22. The only other Bearcat who tops
his record is Oscar Robertson, "The Big O," whose career points
totaled 2,973 by 1960. Fans from Cincinnati and beyond were showing their love
for Kilpatrick all over Twitter on Sunday.
As in Dale Earnhardt Jr., the superstar of NASCAR. Earnhardt won the Daytona 500 for the second year in a row and as part of his celebration, he finally decided to create a Twitter. In 10 hours, the racecar driver accumulated over 450,000 followers — 515,000 by Wednesday and 526,000 by Friday. I’ve had my Twitter for years and I’m barely pushing 200 followers. Anyway, who says NASCAR is only for the Southern folk?
A judge in Texas voided the ban on gay marriage in the state this week. An outpour of support for the judge’s decision was evident throughout the nation. Following suit in equality, an Arizona judge vetoed a bill that would allow businesses to refuse service to the LGBT community due to their “religious rights” being violated. Of course, Cincinnati also made moves toward a more equal community when announcements of a domestic partner registry for same-sex couples were made.
Thursday was the start of spring training for the Reds. The boys took the win, 8-3 over the Indians, in the Cactus League Opener. It doesn't matter if you think Homer Bailey's extension is a total waste or that Joey Votto should have won the Face of MLB competition, one thing we can all enjoy is the sweet sound of Marty Brennaman’s voice and the memories of warm weather it has brought with it for the past 50 years.
You know I had to do at least one funny trend. People just made up categories that should be in the Oscars:
Tyler Perry presents the Tyler Perry Oscar for best performance by Tyler Perry.
@startpuking: Movies so bad you yell, Sharkeisha! No!
@MnightShelton: Best Seth Rogan film in a non-Apatow production
Also trending: Stiles, #WatchingTop13, Taco Bell, #Scandal, Penn State, Son of God and #BBN.
An EP can serve several purposes — a stopgap release between full-length releases; fresh merch to offer at shows; a teaser for more material down the road; or an exploratory release to test the waters for a response to a new band or an existing band's new direction (among others).
In any event, whatever a band's reason might be for offering up a small dose of their material for reduced consumption, the inviolable rule of the EP is simple — always leave the listener wanting more. If you elicit even a modicum of boredom or disinterest in a spare handful of tracks, you're not likely to entice listeners to take a chance on a full-length or get them out to a show, which is, as stated, sort of the point.
Luckily, no such lapse is even remotely evident on Real Far East, Saturn Batteries' second EP in just over a year. Since the Cincinnati bands formation in 2010, guitarist/vocalist/lyricist Brad Gibson — who's put in bass time with the likes of Charlie Hustle, Young Heirlooms and Walk the Moon — has presented his brainchild as a trio, quartet and quintet along the way, all in the service of Beatlesque Pop filtered through the New Wave aesthetic of the Police and XTC and adrenalized with a heart needle full of the Pixies' jittery satellite Rock.
On last year's Ever Been in Love? Gibson and the Batteries du jour hewed a little closer to the John Lennon/Frank Black strands of their DNA, but Real Far East finds the freshly minted foursome (Gibson, guitarist Brad Rutledge, drummer Justin Sheldon, bassist Archie Niebuhr) drifting more toward the Paul McCartney/Andy Partridge end of their gene pool. And while the Batteries soften the edges ever so subtly and polish their surface to a slightly more reflective shine on Real Far East, these refinements don't diminish the band's energetic charm in the least.
One of the reasons for that is the Batteries have never forsaken one direction for another, preferring to incorporate differing elements into their foundational sound in an effective display of their diversity. The soulful "It's Not About the Money" and propulsive "Overtime" are both Pop gems that swing and swagger in a groove that isn't far removed from the benchmarks established by Walk the Moon in their march toward global domination. "You Really Live Twice" features previous members Rob Barnes and Rich Shivener, naturally hearkening back to the moody energy of Ever Been in Love? "Every Last Time" updates '60s/'70s AM Pop to the 21st century, while "Cherry Times" is a solid hybrid of the sweet and dissonant Pop that has characterized everything that Saturn Batteries has done well to this point in their history.
Real Far East shows that Saturn Batteries can have fun within their core Pop/Rock sound and clearly points the way toward a bright future for the quartet going forward.
Saturn Batteries celebrates the release of Real Far East tonight (Friday) at The Drinkery in Over-the-Rhine (click here for details). Below is the EP track “Every Last Time”; click the player or here to sample/download the entire release.
There's a magnificent production of the legendary musical Les Misérables at the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music. I attended the opening performance at Patricia Corbett on Thursday
evening, and a show that I've seen umpteen times has been given new
life with fresh direction, impassioned staging and innovative design —
even if you've seen the legendary original with its turntable and
massive barricades, you'll find CCM's rendition, directed by Aubrey
Berg, an eye-opener. It's simpler and more dramatic (that's quite a
claim for a show designed to pluck your heart-strings), and it's
especially noteworthy for the leads' strong vocal performances — Jean
Valjean and Inspector Javert are double-cast, a demonstration of the
depth of talent in this nationally renowned program — as well as each
and every every performer in an ensemble of more than 40.
The 16-musician orchestra, conducted energetically by Steve Goers, sounds larger whole lot more, since several players handle three to five instruments. Berg's staging gives the show a clarity and power that makes it feel fresh and new. It has vivid feature characters and storytelling with momentum and emotional impact. This one is a must-see, so it's great that the production runs longer than many at CCM, where it's usually one-weekend and done: There are nine more performances through Sunday, March 9, which means that more tickets ($31-$35; $18-$24 for students) are available. Nonetheless, they'll be snatched up quickly, so you should call right away to get yours. 513-556-4183.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic musical Evita is at the Aronoff Center through Sunday. It looks great with some epic scenery and excellent choreography. Josh Young as Che is charismatic and strong-voiced in his role as the show’s commentator. But Caroline Bowman’s Eva Perón is shrill, and Sean MacLaughlin's Juan Perón lacks the sinister gravitas that the role requires. So there's not nearly enough of the complex passion and manipulation that bonded them as a political machine. The tale of the ambitious woman who rose to the highest levels of power in Argentina then crashed and burned at age 32 is a memorable modern tragedy, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock-opera tunes by will stick in your head. Tickets: 513-621-2787.