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by Nick Swartsell 04.01.2016 35 days ago
Posted In: News at 09:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

Public meeting on Music Hall changes coming; Deters refuses to release body cam footage in I-75 shooting; standing up for Kasich's pizza technique

Hey, hey all. It’s Friday. The weather’s rad. One of my favorite musicians is playing in Cincy tonight. So let’s get this news thing out of the way real quick and head toward the weekend ASAP, shall we?

You’ll be seeing a lot more of the space bus… err, Cincinnati streetcar soon. Four of the five cars are in town already, and the city plans to start running them two at a time along the transit project’s 3.6-mile route in order to rack up the required mileage necessary to meet Federal Transportation Administration testing requirements. The fifth car is due at the end of April, and officials believe they’ll be able run simulated service — all five cars running their daily routes without passengers — by August, with actual service beginning in September.

 • Renovations to Music Hall have been a long time coming, but now that they’re happening, are they unfolding in the best way? Some folks have reservations about the plans for the Cincinnati landmark, including a planned removal of 1,000 seats and acoustical adjustments in the hall’s Springer Auditorium. The city owns the hall, and much of the funding for the renovations has come from public sources. But there have been questions about the transparency and public input into the planning process for the rehab work. Officials with 3CDC, which is overseeing that work, say public input has been taken into account throughout the process. The kerfuffle comes ahead of the first major public hearing on the renovation plans before the city’s Historic Conservation Board, which was slated to take place April 4. However, that’s opening day, something of a major holiday in the city, and the city has announced it will move the meeting to a less busy date.

• Perhaps you heard about the bizarre incident on I-75 the other day in which a suspect for a murder in Maryland was shot and injured by police along a stretch of the highway going through Evendale. That incident has sparked a fight over public records between local media and Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters. Javier Pablo Aleman was walking along the median of the highway when he was approached by Glendale police officer Joshua Hilling, who searched Aleman’s belongings and found a large knife. A scuffle ensued between the two, during which Aleman was shot. Deters is refusing to release video footage of the incident taken by the officer’s body camera, saying an investigation is ongoing into the incident. However, an attorney for the Cincinnati Enquirer argues that the footage is public record and must be released immediately. We’ll keep you posted on this one.

• Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has ordered across-the-board cuts for the state’s eight public universities and its community college system. Bevin has ordered an immediate 4.5-percent cut for the schools as part of his plan to cut the state’s budget. Those cuts will come out of quarterly transfers from the state to the schools scheduled to take place today. The budget reductions will then double to 9 percent in the upcoming 2016-2018 budget. The Kentucky House of Representatives has resisted those cuts, while the state’s Senate has backed Bevin in the education funding reductions. The budget fight comes as the state looks for ways to shore up flagging funding for pension obligations.

• Finally, regular CityBeat readers know we’ve been pretty skeptical of Ohio Gov. John Kasich and his GOP presidential primary campaign. But come on. There’s absolutely no wrong way to eat pizza.

The Big Queso is catching some heat for eating his 'za with a fork on the campaign trail in New York. Now, the Empire State, home of the pizza slice as big as your head that you have to fold like a beach blanket to eat, is the last place in the world you want to do that. But the man is eating pizza, perhaps the most relatable act he’s ever committed. I would hope that we, as Americans, could put aside our ideological differences and recognize this. Even New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, not exactly Kasich’s ideological brother, has come to our hapless governor’s aid, tweeting a photo of himself also eating pizza with a fork. Did Kasich just start an anti-fork-shaming movement? Primary results will tell.

 
 
by Staff 04.01.2016 35 days ago
Posted In: baseball at 09:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Opening Day Parties and Pre-Games

Get yo' pre-party on before the Reds take on the Phillies at 4:10 p.m. April 4

Opening Day might not be an official local holiday, but we take our season opener pretty damn seriously in Cincinnati, so be prepared to wrap up work early on Monday and head downtown ASAP. The celebration begins promptly at noon on Monday with the 97th Findlay Market Opening Day Parade.

Findlay Market Opening Day Parade — The 97th Opening Day Parade celebrates the first day of the Cincinnati Reds season. Grand Marshal Lou Piniella, manager of the Reds’ 1990 World Championship team, leads the festivities. Participants from more than 200 businesses and groups will make their way from the market down Race Street and east onto Fifth, walking, marching, biking, driving and operating floats all the way to Taft Theatre. Noon. Leaves from Findlay Market, 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, findlaymarketparade.com.

Opening Day Autograph Extravaganza at Arnold's —
Arnold's celebrates Opening Day with breakfast starting at 9 a.m., followed by a visit from Circus Mojo and Jeremy Dubin of the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, who will be performing Casey at the Bat, and give away autographed Reds memorabilia. Music by Todd Hepburn. Bar opens at 9 a.m. Arnold's Bar & Grill, 210 E. Eighth St., Downtown, arnoldsbarandgrill.com.

Opening Day at Igby's — Features a full day of swag and giveaways — including a pair of Opening Day tickets — plus Tito's samplings, a ballpark menu (brats, burgers and more) and DJs from noon-4 p.m. Bar opens at noon. Igby's, 122 E. Sixth St., Downtown, facebook.com/Igbys.


Opening Day Kegs 'n' Eggs at Rhinegeist — Cold beers and hot breakfast starting at 10 a.m. Come play corn hole or ping pong, before catching the game on their big screen projector (they'll also be selling six-packs of Hustle for carry-out for those watching the game elsewhere). Craft Connection Brewery Tours will be providing a shuttle from the tap room to Great American Ball Park every 30 minutes from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Brewery opens at 10 a.m. Rhinegeist, 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/rhinegeist.

Opening Day at The Lackman — The parade passes one block away from The Lackman. Celebrate with beer-themed brew: Rhinegeist's Hustle Rye Pale Ale and MadTree's Rounding Third American IPA. Happy hour after the game from 4-8 p.m. Bar opens at noon. The Lackman, 1237 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, lackmanbar.com.

Opening Day at Lachey's — 
Sports! Cheer on the Reds with a live DJ from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., $10 Marge Schott Boilermakers, $4 Rhinegeist Hustle cans, $4 MadTree Rounding Third on Draft and live game play on all of the bar's HDTVs. Bar opens at 11 a.m. Lachey's Bar, 56 E. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine, lacheys.com.

Opening Day at Knockback Nat's — Doors open early to celebrate the Reds. Party features $1 hot dogs, $1 Jell-o shots and door prizes. Bar opens at 10 a.m. Knockback Nat's, 10 W. Seventh St., Downtown, 513-621-1000.

Opening Day at Moerlein Lager House The Moerlein Lager House hosts a live broadcast of the Bob & Tom Show from 6-10 a.m.; a breakfast buffet for $15.99 will be offered during the broadcast in the Beer Garden. From 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Greg Vaughn, outfielder for the Reds' 1999 team, will meet fans in a tent on the Event Lawn, where there will also be a live DJ and drinks. Opens at 6 a.m. Free admission. Moerlein Lager House, 115 Joe Nuxhall Way, Downtown, facebook.com/moerleinlagerhouse.

Opening Day at O'Malley's in the Alley —
Opens early for Opening Day. Check Facebook for specials. Doors open 10 a.m. O'Malley's in the Alley, 25 Ogden Place, Downtown, 
facebook.com/OMalleysInTheAlley1.

Opening Day at Neons — Jim Beam co-hosts Opening Day festivities at Neons, where they'll be giving away two tickets to the game to the biggest Reds fan; come dressed in all your Reds swag and gear and the crowd will vote on the best outfit at 3 p.m. The bar will also roll out a 12-foot projector to screen old World Series games until the first pitch at 4:10 p.m., when they'll start screening the game live. Melt Eclectic Cafe will be behind the grill, serving hot dogs, snacks and other ballpark-style grub. Bar opens at noon. The Famous Neons Unplugged, 208 E. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/neonsunplugged.

Opening Day at Washington Park — A free fun-filled day in the park with family-friendly festivities including games, live music, good food and cold brews, including drafts from Moerlein, MadTree and Rhinegeist. The Opening Day parade passes right by the park. City Flea will also be hosting a little pop-up Mini Market during the festivities! 11 a.m. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, washingtonpark.org.

Rally on the Square — Fountain Square is one of the best spots to watch, offering both a great view and a beer-centric (and philanthropic) after party. The 14th-annual Rally on the Square is community service group Give Back Cincinnati’s biggest fundraiser of the year; members will pour concoctions from MadTree Brewing all afternoon, so drink up for a good cause. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown, myfountainsquare.com.

Reds Community Fund Block Party — The fifth-annual Reds Community Fund giant block party takes over Joe Nuxhall and Freedom ways at the Banks prior to the Opening Day game. Includes live music, beer trucks, pizza, Queen City sausage and more. Benefits the P&G Cincinnati MLB Urban Youth Academy. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The Banks, Downtown, facebook.com/redscommunityfund.


Season Opener '16 at Taft's Ale House — Celebrate Opening Day and Taft's Ale House's first birthday! The first 100 guests receive a free T-shirt, plus old-time photos and baseball cards. The brewpub is also releasing two limited-edition beers: Old Wooden Tooth bourbon-barrel aged Russian imperial stout and Second Base American-style lager. Bar opens at 8:30 a.m. Taft's Ale House, 1429 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/taftsalehouse.


 
 
by Rick Pender 04.01.2016 35 days ago
Posted In: Theater at 08:26 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
onstage online 3-27 annapurna @ etc - dennis parlato (as ulysses) and regina pugh (as emma) - photo ryan kurtz

Stage Door

Onstage Recommendations: Mormons, Poets, Parents and Children

There’s are some excellent dramatic productions on local stages this weekend, as well as one of Broadway’s biggest, most raucous musical hits.

Let’s start with the hilariously crude Tony winner, The Book of Mormon, in town for a brief one-week run. Even if you don’t have tickets yet (or didn’t think you could afford them), you might try your luck for the lottery with each performance. Leave your name at the Aronoff Center box office beginning two-and-a-half hours before a specific performance; you can request one or two seats. Two hours before the curtain, names are drawn at random for a limited number of $25 tickets. You have to be present for the drawing and show a valid ID. (Be forewarned: There have been as many as 800 entries at some performances.) The final performance is at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.

There is some truly fine acting in Sharr White’s Annapurna at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati. It’s the story of a once-married couple who couldn’t keep it together: Ulysses (Dennis Parlato), a recovering alcoholic who was once an esteemed poet (and a father) is now holed up in a trailer park in the wilds of Colorado. He’s not in a good way, but he’s surprised and none to hospitable when Emma (Regina Pugh), his wife from two decades earlier, shows up. Their encounter and subsequent soul-searching are sardonically comic and tragically poignant, and Parlato and Pugh make these vivid characters all the more human. Through April 10. Tickets: 513-241-3555.

Two excellent productions are onstage at Cincinnati Playhouse. Mothers and Sons by Terrence McNally (in the Shelterhouse) is a very contemporary story about gay marriage, parents and children. Even with the Supreme Court’s approval of marriage equality, there are still a lot of challenges to be faced, and this production, staged by the reliably insightful Timothy Douglas, presents them in some deeply personal ways. Read my review … In a more classic vein, although another story about parents and children, the Playhouse’s moving mainstage production of a theatrical adaptation of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird continues. In fact, it’s been extended a week beyond its initially announced closing, to April 10. That means tickets should be easily available next week. Box Office: 513-421-3888.

SHORT TAKES: A few more choices to consider this weekend: Know Theatre is presenting a Fringe Encore double-bill in Clifton. One production is a solo act, Cody Clark: A Different Way of Thinking, a young man from Louisville who has coped with autism by delving in the performance of magic. The other work is Kevin Crowley’s Hitchhikers May Be Inmates, in a performance featuring the actor-playwright with another respected local performer, Michael Bath. It’s a sarcastic cautionary tale about struggling to maintain sobriety. Both shows will be onstage at Clifton Performance Theatre (404 Ludlow Ave.) tonight and Saturday. Tickets available at the door … George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion is the play Lerner & Loewe musicalized when they created My Fair Lady. Shaw’s script is a more thorny work, but the story is familiar. It’s at Northern Kentucky University’s black box theater through Sunday. Tickets: 859-572-5464 … Stay home and listen to WVXU (FM 91.7) on Saturday evening (8-10 p.m.) for an L.A. Theatre Works radio production of Moisés Kaufman’s excellent drama, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde … On Monday evening at 7 p.m., the Cincinnati Playhouse wraps up its series of script readings of works by writers whose shows are being produced there this season. This time it’s Theresa Rebeck’s Omnium Gatherum, the story of a surreal dinner party that echoes 9/11 and more. The reading is free, but a reservation is necessary. Box Office: 513-421-3888.


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

 
 
by Staff 03.31.2016 35 days ago
at 01:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List

The Book of Mormon, Zoo Blooms, Northside Record Fair, the Opening Day Parade & more

FRIDAY

ONSTAGE: THE BOOK OF MORMON

Back by popular demand, the record-breaking The Book of Mormon endeavors to replicate the hit show from Broadway, where it won nine Tony Awards. This tour takes no shortcuts, with an energetic cast of 30 performing the book, music and lyrics created by South Park’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Robert Lopez, co-creator of Avenue Q. Scott Pask’s vibrant scenic design (piously framed by the outline of the Mormon temple in Salt Lake City) shifts cinematically from a wasted village in Uganda to reverent Biblical scenes to a “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream,” replete with tap-dancing devils. Don’t doubt — just go see The Book of Mormon. You’ll be converted. Through April 3. Tickets start at $44. Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-621-2787, cincinnatiarts.org


Photo: Cassandre Crawford
ATTRACTION: ZOO BLOOMS
While the Cincinnati Zoo is known for its diverse collection of animals, it’s also home to one of Ohio’s two accredited botanical gardens. Now is the time to catch the garden at its finest with Zoo Blooms, a display of more than one million tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, flowering trees and shrubs blooming throughout the park. Although these flowers don’t sing like those in Alice in Wonderland, the accompanying Tunes & Blooms series allows guests to check out the fantastic florals after hours with live music from some of Cincinnati’s favorite bands on Thursday evenings; concerts start April 7 with Honey & Houston and Buffalo Wabs & the Price Hill Hustle. Zoo Blooms on display through April. Free with admission; $13-$27. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale, cincinnatizoo.org

Circuit des Yeux
Photo: Julia Dratel
MUSIC: CIRCUIT DES YEUX
Circuit des Yeux is the brainchild of singer/songwriter/sound-sculptor Haley Fohr, who began mixing experimental soundscapes and evocative Indie/Psych Folk songs during college in Bloomington, Ind. before moving to Chicago in 2012. Recording and performing exclusively as a solo artist for years, Fohr’s touring isolation and immersion in Chicago’s avant-garde music scene helped open her up to more collaboration, resulting in last year’s striking In Plain Speech, Circuit des Yeux’s first album for Thrill Jockey Records. While still full of mystique and experimentation, the album is Fohr’s most resonant work yet, with her riveting baritone vocals surrounded by Chamber strings and oscillating atmospherics. Circuit des Yeux’s Cincy stop also features Seattle’s Mammifer, local cellist/singer/songwriter Kate Wakefield and a solo set from Tweens’ driving force, Bridget Battle. 10 p.m. Friday. $5. Northside Yacht Club, 4227 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, northsideyachtclub.com

Guillermo Galindo
Photo: Wave Pool
ART: A PURPOSELESS PLAY AT WAVE POOL
A purposeless play is a term the great experimentalist John Cage coined to describe the joy of music, and it’s being used as the title of a Wave Pool exhibit in which Cincinnati artist Mark Harris and San Franciscan Guillermo Galindo display work inspired by Cage’s embrace of the avant-garde in music. The show opens Friday with two performances. At 7 p.m., Harris’ “Messthetics” presentation will involve playing Post-Punk DIY vinyl records. At 8 p.m., Galindo — also a composer — will give a mock medical trial/experiment called “The Primal Acoustics Healing Method” involving sonic therapy. Opening reception 6:30-9:30 p.m. Friday. On view through May 7. Free. 2940 Colerain Ave., Camp Washington, wavepoolgallery.org

Piston Society Grand Opening
Photo: Facebook
EVENT: PISTON SOCIETY GRAND OPENING
Cruise by the grand opening of the new Piston Society motorcycle shop in Over-the-Rhine this April Fools Day. No joke, there will be a 10 percent-off sale Friday and Saturday along with free beer, soda, wine and snacks, plus a Biltwell Gringo helmet up for grabs as a door prize. The urban boutique sells unique riding gear along with local goods and offers a variety of motorcycles and urban scooters for rent — they’ll even design the perfect route for you to explore. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Free. 1428 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, pistonsociety.com.

Artwork: Sophie Neslund
ART: UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI DAAP MASTERS OF ART THESIS EXHIBIT AT THE CAC
As the only local art school that offers an advanced degree in Fine Art, the University of Cincinnati’s School of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning’s MFA program has long been part and parcel of the area’s arts scene. Several years ago, the CAC began exhibiting the thesis work of DAAP MFA grads — a demonstration of commitment by an art institution that in the past had struggled with engaging the city’s artistic community, but now models collaboration over competition, a refreshing and needed change of pace. On Friday, 15 soon-to-be graduate artists will exhibit their thesis artwork inside the only museum in town that was built expressly for showing and fostering the work of living artists. Opening reception 6-10 p.m. Friday. On view through April 17. Free. Contemporary Arts Center, 44 E. Sixth St., Downtown, contemporaryartscenter.org.


SATURDAY

Northside Record Fair
EVENT: NORTHSIDE RECORD FAIR

The Northside Record Fair brings vinyl nerds together to buy, sell, trade and geek out. Hundreds of collectors and vendors from across the Midwest will gather to hawk thousands of records, CDs, cassettes, 8-tracks, reel-to-reels, posters, concert DVDs, zines and other music memorabilia. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. $5; $10 early-bird 10 a.m. entry. Northside Presbyterian Church, 4222 Hamilton Ave., Northside, northsiderecordfair.com

Over the Moon Vintage Market
EVENT: OVER THE MOON VINTAGE MARKET SPRING SHOW
Whether your decorating style is Parisian, shabby chic, industrial, bohemian, prairie or rusty, Over the Moon Vintage Market has something for you. The market’s 35-plus vendors sell vintage, new and upcycled items, including furniture, décor and artisan jewelry for designers, vintage fashionistas, DIY experts and repurposers alike. 4-9 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Free admission. Lawrenceburg Fairgrounds, U.S. 50 and Hollywood Blvd., Lawrenceburg, Ind., facebook.com/overthemoonvintagemarket

State Roadway Cleanup
Photo: Provided
GET INVOLVED: STATE ROADWAY CLEANUP
Join forces with Keep Cincinnati Beautiful to give some of the city’s dirtiest roadways a much-needed makeover. The nonprofit’s annual State Roadway Cleanup brings hundreds of volunteers together to pick up litter along Interstates 71 and 75. Keep Cincinnati Beautiful hopes that keeping these heavily traveled highways clean will make a positive impression on visitors and encourage them to “live, work and play” in Cincinnati. Volunteers will be divided into groups and assigned to specific portions of the highways, including entrance and exit ramps. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday. Free; online registration required. Meet at the Ohio Department of Transportation, 1400 Seymour Ave., Downtown, keepcincinnatibeautiful.org

Black Tusk
Photo: Geoff Johnson
MUSIC: BLACK TUSK
Savannah, Ga. is well-known for its rich Southern traditions, its gorgeous architecture and public squares, and its amazing array of historical homes, churches and cemeteries. One of Savannah’s lesser-known points of interest is its healthy crop of Stoner Metal bands, including Kylesa, Baroness, Circle Takes the Square and Black Tusk. Black Tusk formed 11 years ago when guitarist/vocalist Andrew Fidler, bassist/vocalist Jonathan Athon and drummer/vocalist James May simultaneously found themselves without bands after the implosion of their Punk outfits. Since they all lived on the same street, Fidler and Athon simply walked down the block and asked May if he wanted to jam with them. Read more about the band in this week's Sound Advice. Black Tusk plays the Southgate House Revival Saturday with The Well and Cephalocoitus. More info/tickets: southgatehouse.com.

SUNDAY
Fred Hersch
Photo: John Abbott
MUSIC: FRED HERSCH 
Cincinnati native Fred Hersch is one of the most respected and celebrated artists in Jazz today. The imaginative and versatile pianist, bandleader and composer, who has lived in New York City since the mid-’70s, boasts a remarkable discography that includes releases for labels like Nonesuch, Concord, Chesky and Angel/EMI. Those releases have notched Hersch eight Grammy nominations and a stack of glowing reviews that could reach the moon. Fred Hersch plays a solo concert Sunday as part of Xavier University's Jazz/Swing Series. More info: xavier.edu/musicseries/.

EVENT: DUTTENHOFER'S BOOKS 40TH ANNIVERSARY
Clifton landmark Duttenhofer’s Books — an independent purveyor of rare, old and used books on topics ranging from literature and architecture to poetry, philosophy, history and more — is celebrating its 40th anniversary this weekend with a sale and party. Take 20 percent off your purchase, and celebrate with cake and refreshments on Sunday. The shop features more than 40,000 volumes, so you can literally spend two days searching for a perfect tome. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Free. 214 W. McMillan St., Clifton Heights, duttenhofersbook.com

'Butterflies of the Carribean'
Photo: Cincinnati Park Board
ATTRACTION: BUTTERFLIES OF THE CARIBBEAN
Krohn Conservatory’s annual extremely popular and extremely beautiful International Butterfly Show returns with Butterflies of the Caribbean. The Caribbean is a collection of cultures and colorful islands connected by a bright blue sea, and the flora, fauna and free-flying butterflies of this exhibit reflect that whimsical seaside attitude. Find white sand, a coral reef, palm trees and an island-inspired floral display in the pinks and yellows of a Caribbean sunset. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Through June 19. $7 adults; $4 children. 1501 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park, 513-421-5707, cincinnatiparks.com


MONDAY 

Opening Day Parade
Photo: Jennifer Hoffman
EVENT: FINDLAY MARKET OPENING DAY PARADE

Opening Day might not be an official local holiday, but we take our season opener pretty damn seriously, so be prepared to wrap up work early on Monday and head downtown ASAP. The celebration begins promptly at noon with the 97th Findlay Market Opening Day Parade, led by grand marshal Lou Piniella, manager of the Reds’ 1990 World Championship team. Participants from more than 200 businesses and groups will make their way from the market down Race Street and east onto Fifth, walking, marching, biking, driving and operating floats all the way to the Taft Theatre. Fountain Square is one of the best spots to watch, offering both a great view and a beer-centric (and philanthropic) after party. The 14th-annual Rally on the Square (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) is community service group Give Back Cincinnati’s biggest fundraiser of the year; members will pour concoctions from MadTree Brewing all afternoon, so drink up for a good cause. Just make sure to arrive at Great American Ball Park no later than 4:10 p.m., when the Reds take the field and face off against the Phillies. Play ball! Parade begins noon Monday. Free. Route begins at Findlay Market, 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-500-7554, findlaymarketparade.org. See more opening day events here.












 
 
by Nick Swartsell 03.31.2016 35 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
news1_banks_condos_ck

Morning News and Stuff

County, feds settle on JFS; CAC architect Hadid dies; Kasich says repealing Obamacare "a stupid promise"

Good morning all. It’s almost Friday! Which means it’s almost Monday, also known as Reds opening day, also known as the most important day in Cincinnati. I’m hyped. Anyway. Here’s your news today.

University of Cincinnati’s top legal counsel is leaving her post, citing personal reasons. As the school’s top lawyer, UC’s Vice President for Legal Affairs Kenya Faulkner has overseen a tough legal year for the university, during which UC settled with the family of Samuel DuBose, who was shot and killed by UC police officer Ray Tensing, and settled a long-running and high-profile dispute with nonprofit Requiem Project around plans to renovate Over-the-Rhine’s Emery Theater.  UC President Santa Ono praised Faulkner, who has been at the job for three years. The school’s now-outgoing top lawyer will continue to work with UC on efforts to diversify the university’s law school. UC’s deputy general counsel Karen Kovach will fill Faulkner’s role on an interim basis.

• Speaking of settling lawsuits, Hamilton County and the federal government have come to terms on a 10-year fight over accounting problems at the county’s Job and Family Services agency. The agreement will cost county taxpayers $22.5 million, but there’s actually some good news in that. An audit in 2006 by Ohio Job and Family Services officials estimated the county could be on the hook for $224 million due to a number of accounting problems. That was whittled down to $60 million during the proceeding court battle, and the final settlement knocks another two-thirds off that number. Meanwhile, the county has been stashing funds away to pay the expected settlement and now has $100 million to do so. That leaves more than $70 million in extra money, some of which could go to expanded services for children in Hamilton County.

• Hey, remember last year when the state passed that legislation allowing cities to designate open-container entertainment districts, and everyone here got all excited because they were going to make one for The Banks? What happened with that? The city’s still… thinking... about... it. While open container allowances are made on a temporary basis in the area for big events, you’re still not allowed to take your can of beer outside the bar you’re in at The Banks. The city has said it is continuing to work on the idea, but business owners and residents in the area say they feel like they’re not part of the process. Under the state law, Cincinnati can establish two permanent open container districts. Middletown and Toledo have already taken advantage of the law.

• President Barack Obama has commuted the sentences of three Cincinnati men he says have served their time for “low level” federal drug offenses. Alvin Cordell, Isadore Gennings and Tommy Howard will see their sentences expire between this summer and next spring. Overall, Obama commuted the sentences of 61 drug offenders who he said would be free today under current, less-harsh drug laws. Cordell received a life sentence under a now-eliminated “three strikes” law after he was convicted in 1996 of a third felony for his part in a marijuana and cocaine trafficking operation. Gennings was sentenced to 20 years in 2002 for his part in a plot to distribute cocaine and Howard was sentenced to 24 years for a drug trafficking crime.

• The boundary-breaking architect who designed the iconic home of Cincinnati's Contemporary Art Center has died. Zaha Hadid passed away yesterday after a heart attack at age 65. Hadid's design for the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Arts here has added a distinctive, complex edge to the city's downtown arts district. Hadid, born in Iraq, was a pioneering female architect whose success opened doors for women in the largely-male-dominated field. She completed major works around the world, including buildings in London and Hong Kong, and was the first woman to win architecture's prestigious Pritzker Prize.

• The Food and Drug Administration has adjusted rules around the prescription of abortion pill Mifeprex. Adjustments to FDA rules on dosage size and how late into a pregnancy the pills can be prescribed will make them more accessible and affordable, women’s health advocates say. Ohio is one of a handful of states that requires medical providers to follow the FDA guidelines. Pro-life groups here are unhappy about the rule change, but acknowledge that any efforts to challenge the standards in the Ohio General Assembly are unlikely to pass.

• Finally, Ohio Gov. John Kasich continues his GOP presidential primary afterlife, campaigning and biding his time for the party’s convention in July. In the meantime, Kasich, who has little support in polls and has won only one state in primary contests, is free to pretty much say and do as he wishes. Yesterday, for instance, he dropped a bomb that sounds like common sense to many sane people but which is absolute heresy to Republican primary voters.

The Big Queso said GOP pledges to repeal Obama’s signature healthcare law are a “stupid promise.” Kasich said the idea, which has been a centerpiece of so many tea party campaigns for Congress, is completely unfeasible while Obama is still president, and basically called statements made by many tea party-backed Republicans over the past few years “a big joke.” It’s unclear what Kasich’s strategy is in saying that, unless the strategy is to try and make primary opponent U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s head explode.

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 03.30.2016 37 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:11 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
streetcar

Morning News and Stuff

OTR mosque leaving neighborhood; will MLK Drive get wider?; streetcar gets first sponsor

Morning all. Today’s the day: Our enormous, 188-page, biggest-ever Best of Cincinnati issue just dropped with a resounding thud in newsstands throughout the region, and tonight we’re going to party like crazy to forget how hard we all worked on it and because our city is awesome. You’re invited, by the way. In the meantime, here’s the news today.

Local and statewide Democrat politicians gathered yesterday to announce a raft of city ordinances designed to shore up the middle class in Cincinnati, including a plan to raise the minimum wage for city employees to $15 an hour. That could give up to 20 percent of the city’s workforce a raise. Among those touting the new efforts were U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, State Sen. Cecil Thomas, State Reps. Denise Driehaus and Alicia Reece, Mayor John Cranley and Democrats on Cincinnati City Council. You can read all about the ordinances in our story here.

• Do you ever cruise down the enormous expanse that is Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and think to yourself that seven lanes of traffic just isn’t enough? The thoroughfare could get wider in Avondale and Corryville as a new I-71 interchange goes in, but some members of Cincinnati City Council are skeptical about the idea. Council’s transportation committee yesterday delayed voting on an ordinance that would have green-lighted a city Department of Transportation grant application for federal funds to add at least one extra lane to MLK. Democrat council members Yvette Simspon, Chris Seelbach and Wendell Young say they oppose the widening, and fellow Democrat David Mann is still undecided. Those opposed cite damage done by large thoroughfares and highways in many Cincinnati neighborhoods, saying they want to keep uptown’s current neighborhood feel intact.

• An long-running Over-the-Rhine mosque will move to the West End due to rent increases, its leaders say. Masjid AsSahaab has been on the 1200 block of Vine Street for more than a decade, but can’t keep pace with the rising price and changing character of the neighborhood, according to caretaker Abdul Amir Fealzadeh. Rent for the space went from $150 a month 10 years ago to $550 a month recently, he says. The mosque is currently working on fundraising efforts to fund a new building on Bank Street.

• Cincinnati’s streetcar got its first sponsorship yesterday as local company 4EG Entertainment Group signed a marketing deal with the transit project. 4EG signed a two-year deal with Advertising Vehicles, the firm contracted to sell marketing rights to the streetcar. Officials with 4EG said advertising on the streetcar was "an easy decisions" and that the ads show the company's support for the project while providing an opportunity to introduce the group's bars and restaurants to downtown residents and visitors. 4EG owns six bars on the streetcar route, including Igby's, Lachey's Bar, the Lackman, Low Spark, Righteous Room and Vestry. The company will run interior ads on all five cars when they come online this fall. 

Meanwhile, the city will sit out the next chance to snag a federal TIGER grant to expand the streetcar into uptown. Instead, the city will ask for money for the proposed Wasson Way bike trail, which would wind through the East Side before ending in Avondale, and for a new highway connector bridge between South Cumminsville and Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.

The city applied for funding for both of those projects last year, though both failed to receive the grants. Council Democrats aren’t happy with the decision to forgo an ask for streetcar expansion planning. The five Democrat members of Council support beginning the planning process for the streetcar extension, but Mayor John Cranley, a streetcar opponent, would likely veto an ordinance asking the city to begin that process without a sixth vote. With grant application deadlines coming up April 29, the city has no plans to file an application around moving the expansion forward.

• Plans to redevelop the historic Baldwin buildings on Gilbert Avenue in Walnut Hills are taking shape, and they’re bigger than initially expected. The $100 million effort could include a pocket park on the property, two restaurants, extensive renovations to the building’s central tower, loft apartments and a number of other improvements. The project received $7 million in historic preservation tax credits from Ohio last year. The main building, called Grand Baldwin, once housed Baldwin Piano Company and will be the site of new apartments. Another building, called Baldwin 200, will remain office space but will also be renovated.

• Finally, we’ve been light on blurbs about the presidential primary race lately because, really, what can you say? It’s still a mess. But here’s an amusing bit of news for you. Former GOP presidential primary hopeful and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio recently misspelled “United States” in a letter to the Alaska GOP asking that the state party not release delegates he’s won before this summer’s GOP convention. Rubio’s typo reads “Untied States.” Untied indeed.

 
 
by Mike Breen 03.29.2016 37 days ago
Posted In: Local Music, Music Video, New Releases at 01:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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WATCH: Bummers Eve’s “I Want Your Drugs” Video

Cincinnati band Bummers Eve reveals new video for self-titled debut album’s lead-off track

Earlier today, music website Northern Transmissions premiered the music video for “I Want Your Drugs,” the endearingly noisy and melodic first song on Cincinnati fuzzy, lo-fi Rock trio Bummers Eve’s recently released self-titled full-length. The trippy sheen that coats the song (a highlight on the overall great LP) is reflected in the video’s psychedelic swirl of flickering, morphing and over-exposed imagery. I was going to suggest that the video also clearly shows the band has plenty of drugs, but it looks and sounds like the musicians are having a blast. So, by all means, give Bummers Eve your drugs. You might need less after watching the video anyway.



Bummers Eve’s debut was released in late February (on vinyl, cassette and CD) through Brooklyn label Almost Ready Records, which has put out music from a variety of cultishly beloved bands. Read CityBeat’s review of the album here. And listen to/download the album at Bummers Eve’s Bandcamp page here; you can also order the physical formats through the site. 


Bummers Eve recently put a lot of mileage on its van with a tour supporting the new release that included several shows in Austin, Texas during South By Southwest and dates on the West Coast. The tour wrapped up last week in Memphis. Keep an eye on the band's social media (here, for example) for the latest on the Bummers Eve, including future local show dates. 

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 03.29.2016 37 days ago
Posted In: News at 01:04 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Local Democrats Propose $15 Minimum Wage for City Workers

Ordinances designed to boost wages, increase worker safety head to City Council

City of Cincinnati employees like health worker Sheila Nash of Price Hill could get a bump in pay if Cincinnati City Council approves a series of ordinances designed to boost wages, increase worker safety and incentivize city contractors to pay employees more.

“I make $27,000 a year,” says Nash, who has worked for the health department since 1986. “That’s what I survive on. A raise would mean a lot.”

A cadre of local and statewide Democrats, including U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, State Reps. Alicia Reece and Denise Driehaus, State Sen. Cecil Thomas, Mayor John Cranley, Vice Mayor David Mann, council members Yvette Simpson, P.G. Sittenfeld and Wendell Young and Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune appeared this morning at the Local 392 Plumbers and Pipefitters Hall on Central Parkway to help launch the initiative.

For Nash and many other city workers, the most notable part of the initiative is the pay increase. Should the ordinance pass, full-time city works will make a minimum of $15 an hour, up from $12.58. Part-time and seasonal workers would make $10.10, up from $8.25. For Nash, the raise would mean an extra $4,000 a year, putting her closer to the city’s median household income of $33,681.

More than 1,000 city employees, or about 20 percent of the city's workforce, makes under those minimums now. The wage boost would cost the city about $1 million in its first year, according to city officials.

Mayor Cranley framed the initiatives in broad terms, citing a decades-long trend of stagnant wage growth for many in the middle class. He blamed off-shoring of jobs, deregulation of Wall Street and an over-reliance on trickle-down economics for wage disparities.

“Cincinnati by itself is not going to solve this problem on its own,” he said. “But we can be a moral voice for the direction we want to go. And we can affect the people we can affect. For those individuals, we can make an enormous difference.”

Sen. Brown, a long-time proponent of a federal $15 minimum wage, applauded the initiative.

“Once again, Cincinnati takes an important step, one that has never happened in the state," he said. "It’s high time that Washington followed the lead of Cincinnati and raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour.”

Critics of minimum wage increases say they raise payroll expenses to unsustainable levels and make it harder for businesses to turn a profit.

Cranley acknowledged that the wage increase will cost the city more money in the short-term, but touted the long-term boost in spending power it will unlock for Cincinnati residents. Brown echoed Cranley and other Democrats in saying the wage boost will improve the economy for all over time and said he hoped it would influence private employers to do the same.

“Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour means money in the pockets of hardworking families,” he said. “I assume Ms. Nash and others who get the $15 minimum wage aren’t going to put it in a Swiss bank account, or use it to shut down production in Cincinnati or somewhere else and move it to Bangladesh."

Overall, Council will consider three ordinances tied to the initiative: one tightening requirements on insurance, licensing and safety procedures, specifically relating to crane operations after an accident at a construction site on The Banks recently. Another would require companies receiving city tax incentives and other development aid to pay contractors and employees prevailing wages; and a third that will boost wages for city workers.

 
 
by Natalie Krebs 03.29.2016 38 days ago
Posted In: News at 09:57 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
winburn

Morning News and Stuff

Several council members defend park director Carden amid Smale Park drama; Uber and Cincinnati Metro announce new partnership; Ohio Supreme Court limits shackling of juveniles in court

Cincinnati Park Board director Willie Carden and Cincinnati Board of Park Commissioners Chairman Otto Budlig stood in front of City Council's Budget and Finance Committee yesterday to defend the construction contracts the Parks Department awarded to independent companies to build Smale Riverfront Park. Nearly all of the $15 million park was built using pre-existing contracts known as "master service agreements." 

Carden and the Park Board have been under scrutiny for the project since a memo from City Manager Harry Black and Chief Procurement Officer Patrick Duhaney's on Mar. 22 alleged that some of the Parks Department's contracting practices were risky for the city. According to the memo, the master service agreements used by the department for Smale's construction were supposed to be used only for covering routine maintenance. The contracts didn't have enough performance bonds, meaning they weren't able to hold the companies accountable enough for their work on a project as large as the Smale Riverfront Park during or after construction. A recent Enquirer report also alleged the contracts weren't publicly bid as required by state law

Carden and other department officials defended the Parks Department's decision on Monday, saying the use of master service agreements has been a longstanding city policy and the contracts were approved by the city's finance department. They also said they were under pressure to finish the park in time for the All-Star Game, which took place last July. 

Several council members strongly defended Carden, blaming poor city policy and Mayor John Cranley's failed parks levy from last year's election for unfairly putting Carden under the microscope. Councilwoman Yvette Simpson called the whole scandal "a witchhunt," praised Carden for his work on the city's parks and said she was "ashamed of the way the (city) responded." 

Councilman Charlie Winburn, the chair of the Budget and Finance Committee, also blamed the city for the scrutiny the Park's Department is now facing from Black and the Enquirer

"It has put these fine people in a bad position," Winburn said. 

• Mayor John Cranley and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown will announce a new city labor and workplace initiative this morning. Cranley and Brown will also be joined by council members Yvette Simpson, P. G. Sittenfeld and Wendell Young to announce new workplace safety and city labor reforms for the middle class, according to a release from the mayor's office.

• Cincinnati Metro and Uber announced a new partnership this morning so people can Uber to the bus — well, once, at least. Uber Cincinnati will be giving away one free ride with the idea that it will show people just how easy it is to Uber to the bus or from a bus stop to a nearby destination. Casey Verkamp, the general manager of Uber Cincinnati, claims many people use Uber to get to the bus. Previous studies have shown that Cincinnati's bus service is coming up short when it comes to getting people to work. Metro riders can redeem this offer by texting "cincymetro" to 827222.

No more free parking at Covington's MainStrasse Village. Pay stations along Main and West Sixth streets were installed last Saturday and will go live tomorrow. The city's decision is intended to make it easier for visitors and residents to find parking amid an increase in business activity in the area.

• The Ohio Supreme Court announced a new rule Monday that will severely limit the shackling of juveniles in courts. The decision came after concerned parties like the American Civil Liberties Union approached Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor's court personnel about the way juveniles were being treated in courts. They claimed shackling is a much bigger problem in Ohio than other places. The Supreme Court issued a "presumption against shackling" effective July 1, meaning courts can only shackle kids if their behavior is deemed a big enough threat or they're considered a flight risk. 

• The U.S. Justice Department announced Monday it has found a way to unlock the iPhone of Syed Farook, one of the gunmen in the Dec. 14 San Bernardino, Calif., shooting that killed 14, without Apple's help. The U.S. government dropped its lawsuit against Apple this week where it was trying to force the company into building software that was basically a backdoor key into the phone. The company had refused, saying the creation of such software would pose too much of a security threat for all of its customers.
 
 
by Steve Beynon 03.28.2016 38 days ago
Posted In: 2016 election at 11:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Why Is Kasich Still Running?

Ohio Governor John Kasich was crushed in the last round of primary contests, even losing to the ghost of Sen. Marco Rubio in Utah from early ballots casted before the Florida senator terminated his campaign. Between the recent contests in Utah and Arizona, Kasich failed to pick up any delegates.

This battle for the Republican nomination has not been kind to governors. Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee have all been casualties in a rambunctious political climate that seeks mischief and is giving the finger to the establishment by hopping on the Trump train or embracing the rebellious Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

Right now, Kasich sits with a mere 143 delegates. Trump is far in the lead with 739, followed by Cruz’s 465. It is a long shot for the Texas senator to halt Trump’s warpath to the nomination — it is mathematically impossible for Kasich. It takes 1,237 delegates to secure the GOP nomination. Even if the Ohio governor won every contest moving forward, there are not enough delegates for him to be the nominee.

Kasich’s only victory was Ohio — a contest he won by 11 points. However, Trump defeated the governor in virtually all of Ohio’s southern counties and every county that borders Pennsylvania and West Virginia. While Kasich’s victory in his home state was a moral victory, it highlighted that even with a home field advantage, he still could not get a sweeping victory like we saw with Cruz and Sen. Bernie Sanders in their states.

Other than that, he probably holds the record for most fourth-place victories. Outside of the Buckeye State, Kasich has struggled with name recognition or gathering any meaningful traction — a weakness that is entirely understandable when you have to make noise while in the same room as a man that flies around on a private jet with his name on it.

Kasich’s strategy is digging in northeastern states like Pennsylvania, where Cruz is not expected to perform well. His campaign is not about defeating his opponents with delegates — it is about denying Trump every vote possible.

This points to both Kasich as a weak candidate and the power of Trump’s message. Kasich has never had a real message in his bid for the presidency — other than not being a jerk on stage. Instead of building his vision for the Oval Office, he hides in the corner biding his time for Trump’s self-destruction. However, that destruction never happened and is unlikely to ever occur.

Everyone is either tapping out, accepting Trump will be the nominee — and possibly our next president — or they’re holding their noses and siding with Cruz, a candidate that in any other presidential run would be seen as the fringe candidate that needs to be stopped at all costs.

It is hard to tell if Kasich actually thinks he can show up to the GOP convention with a few hundred delegates and deny Trump the nomination, or if this is a last-ditch effort to put the Ohio governor out there to take humiliating defeats while trying to soak up handfuls of delegates in hopes of putting some dents in Trump’s almost inevitable nomination.

To deny Trump’s nomination would be the GOP spitting in the faces of their voters. The democratic process picked Donald Trump, and it is hard to not take Trump seriously when he suggests there will be riots if the party robbed him of his fair victory.

Imagine if Bernie Sanders won the delegate game only to be toppled by Hillary Clinton’s superdelegates. There would certainly be some liberal-on-liberal violence in the aisles of Whole Foods.

If this is Kasich’s strategy, it should raise concerns of how much respect for the democratic process he has. If he is just crossing his fingers that Trump’s plane crashes, he should admit it instead of suggesting he is going to upset Republican voters of their candidate to lead the free world.

 
 

 

 

 
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