Besides being rid of this depressing winter weather, there's another great reason for local music fans to be excited about the coming spring. One of the more celebrated and acclaimed bands in and outside of Cincinnati, Wussy, will release its new album, Attica, on May 6. The recording will be the band’s fifth full-length of all new material and is once again being issued on the local label Shake It Records.
Below is a “rough mix” of the Attica track “To the Lightning.”
Shake It has also announced that Wussy — which scored both Artist of the Year and Album of the Year (for Strawberry) honors at the 2013 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards — will have its excellent 2007 album Left for Dead re-issued on “baby blue” vinyl in honor of 2014’s international Record Store Day (April 19).
Click here for Wussy’s comprehensive website for more info and to sample music from throughout the band’s entire career.
Know Theatre formally introduced its incoming artistic director, Andrew Hungerford, before a full house on Wednesday evening. He might not approach the boundless energy of his predecessor Eric Vosmeier (more on his half-dozen years at the helm here), but Hungerford has a kind of boyish enthusiasm for the job he's taking on that feels fresh and infectious. The crowd of supporters seemed enthusiastic about his engagement and were especially pleased as he filled in details about coming productions for the months ahead in 2014.
With Cincinnati’s child poverty and economic mobility rates among the worst in the country, it’s clear the city’s poor can get stuck in a vicious cycle of poverty. Although the impoverished trend afflicts more than half of the city’s children, every level of government has in some way cut services to the poor. The end result: Many Cincinnati neighborhoods show little signs of progress as poor health and economic indicators pile up. Read CityBeat’s in-depth story here.
Following the adoption of community learning centers, Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) continue receiving praise for establishing a workable model for educating low-income populations. Locally, independent data shows the model has pushed CPS further than the traditional approach to education, even though the school district continues struggling with impoverished demographics. A few hundred miles away, newly elected New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says he will implement the Cincinnati model in the biggest city in the nation.
Hamilton County and Cincinnati are heading to court to decide who can set policy for Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) projects. The conflict came to a head after Hamilton County commissioners deliberately halted federally mandated MSD projects to protest the city’s job training rules for contractors. The Republican-controlled county argues the rules favor unions, burden businesses and breach state law, but the city says the rules are perfectly legal and provide work opportunities for city workers.
Commentary: “Legalizing Marijuana Is Serious Business.”
With HealthCare.gov mostly fixed, CityBeat interviewed Trey Daly, who is leading the Ohio branch of an organization reaching out to the uninsured to get them enrolled in Obamacare.
University of Kentucky researchers found tolls would, at worst, reduce traffic on a new Brent Spence Bridge by 2 percent.
After raising concerns over teacher pay and missed classroom time, Republicans in the Ohio House delayed a vote on a bill that would add school calamity days. Gov. John Kasich called for the bill to help schools that have already exhausted their snow days during this winter’s harsh weather.
Ohio regulators fined Cincinnati’s Horseshoe Casino $75,000 for providing credit to early patrons without running the proper background checks.
Cincinnati-based Kroger faces a lawsuit claiming stores deceived customers by labeling chickens as humanely raised when the animals were brought up under standard commercial environments.
Cincinnati-based crowdfunding startup SoMoLend settled with Ohio over allegations that it sold unregistered securities and its founder misled investors. Candace Klein, the founder, resigned as CEO of the company in August.
Comcast intends to acquire Time Warner Cable, one of two major Internet providers in Cincinnati, through a $45 billion deal.
U.S. physicists pushed fusion energy closer to reality with a breakthrough formally announced yesterday.
Mayor John Cranley on Feb. 12 officially unveiled his plan for Cincinnati’s parking meters, lots and garages, providing the first clear option for the city’s parking system since the Greater Cincinnati Port Authority agreed to halt the previous plan.
The proposal seeks to effectively replace the previous administration’s parking privatization plan, which outsourced the city’s parking assets to the Port Authority and several private companies, and maintain local control of the city’s parking assets.
Here’s a breakdown of the plan and all its finer details.
What is Cranley’s parking plan?
It’s a plan for Cincinnati’s parking meters, lots and garages. More specifically, Cranley calls his proposal a “framework” that focuses on upgrading the city’s parking meters and keeps City Council’s control of parking rates and hours.
Cranley’s plan, based on a Feb. 7 memo from Walker Parking Consultants, achieves his goals in a few ways:
• The city would issue bonds, backed by future parking revenues, to upgrade all parking meters to accept credit card payments.
• The amount of enforcement officers under the city’s payroll would increase to 15, up from five, to provide greater coverage of the city’s parking meters. (Currently, a few areas, including major hubs like the University of Cincinnati and Over-the-Rhine, are effectively unenforced for two to five hours a day, according to Walker.)
• Neighborhood meter rates would go up by 25 cents to 75 cents an hour. Downtown rates would remain at $2 an hour.
• Sundays and holidays remain free.
Cranley says the underlying idea is to maintain a few key principles, particularly local control over rates and hours. He cautions Walker’s proposal, including expanded enforcement hours, could change with public input and as City Council puts together the final plan.
Does the plan let people use smartphones to pay for parking meters?
No. Cranley says the upgraded meters will support the technology, but it will be up to council to decide whether it’s enabled in the future.
Smartphone capability is a double-edged sword: It introduces its own set of costs, including shorter battery life for meters. It also allows customers to avoid under- and overpaying at parking meters, which decreases citation and meter revenues. But smartphone access also increases ease of use, which could lead to higher revenues by making it easier to pay.
The parking privatization plan promised to provide smartphone access at all parking meters. The previous administration and Port Authority championed the feature as key to increasing convenience and revenue.
OK, that explains the parking meters. What about the parking garages?
Cranley’s plan makes two changes to garages:
• The Port Authority would take over Fountain Square South Garage. The Port would be required to cover expenses for the garage, but any net revenue could be used on projects within the city.
• The city would issue bonds, backed by future parking revenues, to build a garage at 7th and Broadway streets.
Otherwise, things remain the same as today.
In other words, the city would be on the hook for parking garage repairs and upgrades, which Walker estimates would cost roughly $8 million in capital expenses over the next five years.
But the city would also continue directly receiving around $2 million per year in net revenue from parking garages, according to Walker.
Still, the city isn’t allowed under state law to use the revenue from parking garages for anything outside the parking system.
The parking privatization plan tried to do away with the restriction by putting the Port Authority in charge of garages. State law allows agencies like the Port to tap into garage revenues for other uses, such as development projects.
But without the previous administration’s plan, Cranley claims the Port Authority declined to take over more facilities beyond Fountain Square South
Garage. Given the rejection, Cranley says it’s up to council to figure out another way to leverage garage
revenues beyond putting them back in the parking system.
What does Cranley’s plan do about the thousands of parking tickets already owed to the city?
Nothing. By Cranley’s own admission, the city needs to do a better job collecting what it’s owed. But he says that’s something City Council will have to deal with in the future.
So why did Cranley oppose the parking privatization plan?
Cranley vehemently opposed giving up local control of the city’s parking assets. He warned that outsourcing meters to the Port Authority and private companies would create a for-profit incentive to ratchet up parking rates and enforcement.
The previous administration disputed Cranley’s warnings. They pointed out an advisory board, chaired by four Port Authority appointees and one city appointee, would need to unanimously agree on rate and hour changes, and the changes could be vetoed by the city manager.
Without any changes from the advisory board, the 30-year privatization plan hiked downtown parking meter rates by 25 cents every three years and neighborhood rates by 25 cents every six years. The plan also expanded enforcement hours to 8 a.m.-9 p.m. in Over-the-Rhine and parts of downtown.
Still, City Council would lose its control of rates and hours under the privatization plan. Cranley and other opponents argued the outsourcing scheme could insulate the parking system from public — and voter — input.
Cranley also opposed the privatization plan’s financial
Under the old deal, the city would receive a lump sum of $85 million and annual installments of $3 million, as long as required expenses, such as costly garage upgrades or repairs, were met.
In comparison, the city currently gets roughly $3 million in net revenue from parking meters and another $2 million in net revenue from parking garages. (As noted earlier, the parking garage revenue can only be used for parking expenses.)
Cranley characterizes the lump sum as “borrowing from the future” because it uses upfront money that could instead be taken in by the city as annual revenue.
Why does Cranley think his proposal is necessary?
It solidifies the death of the parking privatization plan. That’s important to begin the process of legally dismantling the previous plan.
The plan also increases net parking meter revenues from roughly $3 million to $6 million in the next budget year and more than $7 million per year within five years, according to Walker’s original estimates. (The estimates are likely too high because they assumed evening hours would expand around the University of Cincinnati, Short Vine in Corryville, Over-the-Rhine and downtown. But Cranley shelved the expansion of hours, with no estimates for how the changes will affect revenues.)
Since parking meter revenue, unlike garage revenue, can be used for non-parking expenses, the extra revenue could help plug the $20 million gap in the $370 million operating budget.
Why do some people oppose Cranley’s plan?
Some people supported the parking privatization plan. They saw the lump sum as a great opportunity to invest in development projects around the city. Without the lump sum, critics claim Cranley’s plan accepts all the pain of the previous plan — increased enforcement, rates and hours — for very little gain, even though the city would get more annual revenue and upgraded parking meters and garages.
Politics are also involved. After the contentious streetcar debate, there’s not much Cranley can do without some critics speaking out.
When will Cranley’s plan go into effect?
City Council first has to approve Cranley’s plan for it to
become law. Council will likely take up and debate the plan at the
Neighborhood Committee on Feb. 24 and set a more concrete timeline
This blog post will be regularly updated as more information becomes available. Latest update: Feb. 19.
They say you move to Cincinnati and put on a pair of goggles — the longer you stay, the harder it is to take them off. And why would you want to? I’ve lived here for five years and still manage to fall deeper in love with this city every day. For all you newcomers, here are some necessary guidelines for your initiation into the greatest city in the Midwest.
1. Pick a chili, not a side. The East side/West side rivalry is deeply rooted in competitive turf wars and stubborn rationalizations. When brought up in conversation, it’s usually best to remain indifferent and let your eyes glaze over until the fighting stops.
2. Become a regular at (at least) one bar in Over-the-Rhine. Find your favorite bartender at Neon’s and dance to the ‘8os music at Japp’s on a Saturday night. Discover new music at MOTR or wind down with some jazz at 1215 Wine Bar.
3. Understand that high schools — and the culture surrounding them — are really important here. “Are you from around here?” is almost always followed by, “So what high school did you go to?” Cincinnatians stick to their alma maters like glitter on glue, and everyone has a reputation.
4. See The Cincy Brass play at Mr. Pitiful’s before you die (or move). Request the song “Let Me Clear My Throat” by DJ Kool. Gyrate on everyone.
5. Get to know Kentucky. Bounce around the Levee and Mainstrasse. End your night with a cheesy goetta omelet at the Anchor Grill. Trust me on this one.
6. Cincinnati has the second largest Oktoberfest in the world (The WORLD!) second only to Munich. Dress like a German, drink like a German, eat like a German.
7. Develop a severe case of road rage while driving on I-75. Perfect the ability to stare someone down after cutting you off.
8. Vote. Get involved with this city’s politics. Picket City Hall or write a letter to an editor. Cincinnati had a record-breaking low voter turnout in the 2013 mayoral election — make your voice heard.
9. Give back to your neighborhood. Volunteer at the Freestore Foodbank or tutor kids at Wordplay Cincy. Teach an art class or buy someone an umbrella on a rainy day. Start a collaborative effort to make this city the best it can be.
10. Master the Metro and make friends with the drivers. Sit up front and strike up a conversation with a stranger. Try not to fall when the metro slides down one of Cincinnati’s many 90-degree angles.
11. Appreciate Cincinnati sports. Tailgate at a Bengal’s game, cheer on the Cyclones and pledge your allegiance to Brandon Phillips’ smile.
12. EAT ALL THE GOETTA. And LaRosa’s. And Graeter’s. Now start training for the Flying Pig.
13. Find your favorite city park with your favorite view of the skyline against Kentucky. Feel safe tucked away in the hills. Ponder about the meaning of life.
14. Roll your windows down and go 10 miles over the speed limit on the Roebling Bridge. Listen to the whirring sound. Just do it.
15. Develop a deep love for all things Cincinnati and defend your city when people talk shit. Recognize that you are a part of something larger than yourself — that Cincinnati isn’t just the Queen City — it’s a community and a network and a lineage of diverse Midwesterners who all contribute to making this place a force to be reckoned with.
Oh, and read CityBeat.
Bistro Grace — Offers a three-course surf and turf dinner for $29.95. Includes hangar steak and scallops with brown butter hollandaise. 4034 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-541-9600, bistrograce.com.
The Blue Wisp Restaurant & Jazz Club — A Valentine’s dinner with music by Samantha Carlson. Entrées include prime rib, Cornish hen or salmon; dessert; and half-off bottles of wine. $99. 700 Race St., Downtown, 513-241-9477, thebluewisp.com.
Brown Dog Café — Offering a four-course dinner with appetizer, soup, salad and entrée for $56.95. If you’re seated by 5:30 p.m., it’s only $48.95. 5893 Pfieffer Road, Blue Ash, 513-794-1610, browndogcafe.com.
Buca di Beppo — A family feast for four, with salad, entrée, pasta and desert, for $59.80. Through Feb. 16. 2635 Edmondson Road, Rookwood Commons, 513-396-7673, bucadibeppo.com.
Cincinnati Dinner Train — Take a romantic four-course train ride while relaxing to the music of the 1940s. Every woman receives a commemorative rose.7 p.m. Feb. 14 and 6 p.m. Feb. 15. Tickets begin at $79.95 per person. Private car upgrades available. 11013 Kenwood Road, Madisonville, 513-791-7245, cincinnatidinnertrain.com.
CRAVE Restaurant — A special Valentine’s Day prix fixe four-course menu for two. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday and Friday. $89 per couple. 175 Joe Nuxhall Way, The Banks, Downtown, 513-241-8600, cravcincinnati.com.
Grandview Tavern & Grille — A Valentine's Day menu with twin lobster tails, surf & turf, seabass and complimentary chocolate-dipped strawberries. Live music by Triage. 2220 Grandview Drive, Fort Mitchell, Ky., 859-341-8439, grandviewtaverngrille.com.
Mecklenburg Gardens — Valentine’s Day specials in the main dining room, including entrees choices between sword fish and surf and turf. Pig roast in the garden. 302 E. University Ave., Clifton, mecklenburgs.net.
Morton's The Steakhouse — “Dine your heart out” at Morton’s with steak and lobster tail for $55. Feb. 13-16. 441 Vine St., Carew Tower, Downtown, 513-621-3111, mortons.com/cincinnati.
Nectar — Offering a three-course dinner with wine and champagne. Reservations available between 5:30 and 10 p.m. $65 per person. 1000 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout, dineatnectar.com.
Nicholson's Tavern & Pub — Regular menu available plus a prix fixe Valentine’s three-course meal for $24.95. Mike & Jeff playing in the bar, 9 p.m.-12:30 a.m. 625 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-564-9111, nicholsonspub.com.
The Phoenix — “Eat, Drink and Be Mine.” Give Back Cincinnati hosts this Valentine’s Day event to benefit their cause. Guests will enjoy a glass of champagne, two additional drink tickets for the fully stocked bar, heavy hors d'oeuvres, sweet treats and a chance to win some great prizes. 6-10 p.m. $50 per couple. 812 Race St., Downtown, givebackcincinnati.org.
Rail House — Valentine’s Day four-course prix fixe dinner for two (fillets and lobster tails with two sides) for $79.95. 40 Village Square, Glendale, 513-772-3333, railhouse1854.com.
Red Roost Tavern — Three-course prix fixe V-Day dinner including grilled beef tenderloin, asparagus, lobster soup, decadent chocolate cake and more. $70 per person. 151 W. Fifth St., Hyatt Regency Hotel, Downtown, 513-579-1234, cincinnati.hyatt.com.
Relish Modern Tapas — A four-course dinner from chef Robert with optional wine pairing. $40 per person; $20 wine. Feb. 14-16. 5947 Deerfield Blvd., Mason, 513-204-6925, relishmoderntapas.com.
The Summit — Three-course menu with choices for each course, a full bar, wine pairings and an award-winning Manhattan. $45. 3520 Central Parkway, the Midwest Culinary Institute, Cincinnati State campus, Clifton, midwestculinary.com.
Washington Platform Saloon & Restaurant — One dozen fresh-shucked oysters, two entrée choiecs, soup or salad, chocolate-covered strawberries for dessert and a bottle of wine to share. Plus a half-hour carriage ride. Feb. 13-16. $115 per couple. 1000 Elm St., Downtown, 513-421-0110, washingtonplatform.com.
Dumb Starbucks, we hardly knew you!
The “parody” coffee shop, which mimicked the real Starbucks' name, logo, menu (Dumb Frappuccino, Dumb Espresso, served in Dumb Tall, Dumb Grande or Dumb Venti), everything — even font — opened in L.A. Friday only to be shut down by the Los Angeles Health Department Monday. Forbes posted Dumb Starbucks’ “frequently asked questions,” which explains that by adding the word “dumb,” it’s protected by parody law. Therefore the “coffee shop” was actually recognized as an art gallery and the coffee, art. Guests, who lined up out the door and around the strip mall where Dumb Starbucks set up shop, were treated to friendly service and free coffee and pastries (there were even CDs for sale at checkout, including a “Dumb” Norah Jones album). The real Starbucks acknowledged the parody shop, explaining the two had no connection and they were pursuing legal action.
Word about the stunt (which it obviously was, dummies) spread across the Internet via various comedians’ Twitters, so some it was no surprise that a comic was at the helm. Nathan Fielder, deadpan genius with the Comedy Central show in which he “helps” struggling business by offering ridiculous ideas (among other meta satirical “pranks”), revealed himself as the owner with this video:
Now I really can’t wait for the next season of Nathan For You.
Some big changes are happening to NBC’s long-running late-night shows, and you can read all about them in this week’s TV column. After some sad goodbyes (Jay Leno’s final episode of Tonight, Jimmy Fallon’s last time hosting Late Night and Seth Meyer’s final Weekend Update segment), there’s a lot to look forward to. Fallon brings house band The Roots and announcer/sidekick Steve Higgins with him — hopefully the same goes for all the celebrity drinking games and generally bizarre bits and skits. Like this gem:
As for Late Night, Seth Meyers starts his run Monday, Feb. 17 and in a total surprise announcement, Meyer’s old SNL buddy and modern comedic god Fred Armisen will be the show’s band leader.
The Olympics have taken over NBC (miss you, Parks and Rec) and oh, what a hot mess they’ve been! Plumbing problems and strange bathroom setups in the Sochi hotels, the Olympic rings mega-fail during the opening ceremony, the fact that it’s actually too warm for any of these damn outdoor winter sports — the list goes on. C’mon, Russia, you can’t even get winter right? At least we’ll always have this:
I'm not ashamed to admit VH1's Couples Therapy is one of my favorite shows on right now. With The Real L Word disappearing without a trace, I am finally able to get my Whitney-Sada fix (the couple is featured on Therapy), plus Jon Gosselin is apparently dating another mega-bitch and "Teen Mom" Farrah Abraham is equally intriguing and frustrating and alienesque. But the true star of the show is Ghostface Killah's girl, Kelsey Nykole...'s hair.
Remember Celebrity Death Match? The MTV claymation classic pitted musicians, actors and other famous people in pop culture or the news against each other in an over-the-top gruesome fight to the death. Showdowns included Marilyn Manson v. Charles Manson, Mariah Carey v. Jim Carrey (featuring Drew Carey) and Lil’ Kim v. Little Richard. Well, a few years after its 1998 debut, Fox presented a toned-down real-life version with Celebrity Boxing, which went down as one of TV Guide’s worst shows of all time. Has-beens like Danny Bonaduce and Barry Williams (of The Partridge Family and The Brady Bunch, respectively) took to the ring in what usually just a really sad battle. Only two episodes aired. So how do you take a bad idea like Celebrity Boxing to another level of shame? Add in the man at the center of one of the most controversial murder trials in recent years!
George Zimmerman was set to box rapper DMX in a televised match, but
both DMX and boxing promoter Damon Feldman have backed out, presumably after
thinking about it for three seconds. The fight is still on for now and will be
broadcast from a secret location this March, Zimmerman just needs an opponent.
In completely unrelated news, Brooklyn Nine-Nine co-stars Andy Samberg and Chelsea Peretti used to be childhood friends.
Cincinnati Hip Hop MC Santino Corleon’s latest music video, “Night Still Young,” is one of the five music videos by emerging artists currently featured in MTVu.com’s “The Freshmen” competition. If the 2013 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards nominee beats out the other nominees in the weekly contest, the clip will be put into “on-air rotation” on MTV’s television networks.
Click here to check out the clip on MTVu.com and to vote now (and repeatedly — there appears to be no voting limits). Voting ends this Friday at 2 p.m.
The track “Night Still Young” is featured on Corleon’s most recent mixtape, Keep the Change, which is available for free download here. Below is the audio for “Night Still Young.”