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by Nick Grever 03.24.2016 39 days ago
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music at 10:08 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Cincinnati Music, Mashed-Up and Live

Friday's "Cincinnati Soundclash" concert blends a variety of sounds and styles from the local music scene

If there’s one benefit to being a part of Cincinnati’s small but mighty music scene, it’s the ability to meet and mingle with artists far outside of your own particular genre. This accessibility to other musicians and creators is what led to the Cincinnati Soundclash show, featuring Jess Lamb and the Factory, The Cliftones and Buggs Tha Rocka, at Over-the-Rhine’s Woodward Theater this Friday. The three 2016 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards winners will be joined by Dayton’s Moira and Cincinnati altrockers See You in the Funnies.


Lamb and The Cliftones met at the 2016 CEA awards show and immediately saw opportunities that couldn’t be passed up. Neither act had any major, local shows planned in the upcoming months, had the same date available and wanted to bring fans together for a night of vastly differing musical styles. (Read CityBeat’s recent interview with The Cliftones about their newly-released debut album here.) 


While Lamb and The Cliftones have been planning this shindig for months, Buggs Tha Rocka entered the picture on a more casual basis, by simply hanging out with Lamb and her group at their base of operations. Talking about music led to rough vocal melodies, which led to rough pre-recordings, which led to tons of polishing and mixing to produce “Take Two” and “Just Breathe” (listen below). The two tracks will be available to show-goers as a free download from Soundcloud, with physical copies becoming available in the future.


While each act will be bringing their own unique styles to the Woodward stage, they will also be intermixing their performances to give show attendees a truly unique experience. Lamb will perform with the The Cliftones and Buggs Tha Rocka will be showcasing the two tracks that he has recorded with Lamb and the Factory at their home studio. And that’s just the beginning.


In addition to Lamb’s “Industrial Gospel,” The Cliftones’ Reggae and Buggs Tha Rocka’s Hip Hop on display, Moira’s ethereal Pop sensibilities and See You in the Funnies AltRock drive will round out what is assuredly one of the more eclectic lineups seen in town outside of a major festival.


The show is 18 and up, tickets are $7 in advance here, or $10 at the door. Show starts at 8 p.m.

 
 
by Natalie Krebs 03.24.2016 39 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:06 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
to do_smale riverfront park-courtesy cincinnati parks

Morning News and Stuff

Parks director could face trouble following Smale Park construction probes; preschool set to become big issue for this year's local election; Obamacare turns six

It took two and a half hours of debate at the transportation committee Tuesday, followed by another half hour of bickering at yesterday's City Council meeting, but they did it. In a vote of 6-2, Council finally approved the sunset ordinance that would allow the organizers of seven events to halt streetcar service. The ordinance would be active through 2018, the first two years of the streetcar's operation, and would allow organizers of the Flying Pig Marathon, Taste of Cincinnati, the Opening Day Parade, Oktoberfest, the Thanksgiving Day 10k, the Heart Mini Marathon and the Health Expo to give the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority a 90 day heads up to stop the streetcar during their event. Mayor John Cranley said at the meeting yesterday that these longstanding events need time to adjust to the streetcar. 

• Cincinnati Parks Director Willie Carden could be in big trouble following the recently uncovered drama surrounding the Smale Park construction. On Tuesday The Enquirer published an article claiming Carden hadn't been entirely honest about the bidding process for the park's construction contracts. Then, on Tuesday afternoon, City Manager Harry Black released a memo saying the park's contracting process was a risky move for the city. So what will happen to Carden? It's up to the Cincinnati Board of Park Commissioners to determine whether he will be punished — or even fired from his position — for the deals.

• Last year, the big election issue for Cincinnati (and the rest of Ohio) was marijuana, oligarchies and a weird mascot named Buddy. This year it looks like it will be education — preschool, to be specific. Preschool Promise, the group working on a ballot initiative to fund two years of preschool for Cincinnati children, could be battling alongside Cincinnati Public Schools' own levy for a preschool expansion on the ballot. Preschool Promise has yet to specifically say what kind of tax levy it's planning on asking Cincinnatians to approve to fund its ambitious plan. The current options are a hike in the city's property tax or earnings tax, or a countywide sales tax. CPS will ask for a property tax levy. Preschool Promise director Greg Landman says the group is still in negotiations with CPS to figure out how to make sure kids will get their preschool, politics aside. But as the election draws closer, many details have yet to come out. 

• The number of Hamilton County babies who died because of unsafe sleeping conditions doubled in 2015, according to the annual report by nonprofit Cradle Cincinnati. According to its 2015 report, 14 babies died from sleep-related deaths, while just seven did in 2014. Hamilton County struggles with a higher than average infant mortality rate. The county's 2015 infant mortality rate was nine for every 1,000 babies born, while Ohio's was 6.8 and the national average was 5.8, according to the report.  

• Obamacare turned 6 on Wednesday. So, naturally, politicians and health care advocates took to social media megaphone platform known as Twitter to share their still very intense feelings on the issue. Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown praised parts of the law for axing "pre-existing condition" clauses and allowing kids to hold on longer to their parents' plans. Sen. Republican Rob Portman, who is running for re-election against for Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, tweeted that it's not working and should be repealed. According to Enroll America, 1.3 million Ohioans were uninsured before the federal insurance marketplace started in 2013. Today, that number is 402,000.
 
 
by Natalie Krebs 03.23.2016 40 days ago
Posted In: News at 03:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Council Approves Halting Streetcar for Downtown Festivities

Ordinance allows organizers of seven major events to stop service

City Council passed an ordinance today that could halt the streetcar's operation during seven downtown heritage events during its first two years of operation. 

The sunset ordinance would give the organizers of the Flying Pig Marathon, Taste of Cincinnati, Oktoberfest, Opening Day Parade, Thanksgiving 10K, Health Expo and the Heart Mini Marathon 90 days before their event to alert Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) to stop service. The ordinance is effective through 2018 when City Council will re-evaluate it. 

After a two-and-a-half-hour debate in Council's Transportation Committee on Tuesday, the ordinance passed on Wednesday after about a half hour of debate in a vote of 6-2. Council members Wendell Young and Yvette Simpson voted against it; Councilman Chris Seelbach was absent from the meeting.

Mayor John Cranley, who introduced the ordinance, said event organizers had expressed interest in adapting their events to the streetcar but that there needs to be an adjustment period so they are not forced to do something drastic like move the event. 

"Some people are out there spinning this as if it's an attempt to hurt the streetcar," Cranley said. "I think it would be very bad for the streetcar if somehow these issues weren't resolved." 

Cranley also said the police and fire departments have expressed safety concerns about the streetcar's operation during events, which sometimes serve alcohol and often attract tens of thousands of attendees. 

Simpson said she believed Council needed more time to make the decision and to consider all possible options. 

"I just requested that we have more time," she said. "This is a very important endeavor for the organizations involved and the streetcar."

Councilman Kevin Flynn responded to Simpson, saying he believed the closures would amount to just 12 hours total, often during off-peak hours like Sundays.

"I think that we had the information we needed," he said.

Councilwoman Amy Murray, who is also the chair of the transportation committee, said it would be closed the minimum amount of time as required by any particular event. 

Neither Mayor Cranley nor any council members directly addressed concern over the potential loss of revenue the streetcar could face by closing during heavily attended events. It is currently facing possible budget deficits for its first two years of operation. 

The streetcar is scheduled to start running in a 3.6-mile loop through downtown and Over-the-Rhine in September. The first major event after its opening will be Oktoberfest.
 
 
by Katherine Newman 03.23.2016 40 days ago
Posted In: Arts community, Culture at 11:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Nonprofit Spotlight: Visionaries + Voices

Visionaries + Voices is a nonprofit organization operating in Northside. The purpose of V+V is to provide space and opportunity for artists with disabilities to thrive, giving exhibition opportunities, studio space, supplies and support to more than 125 artists with disabilities.

“Our mission is to provide artists with professional, creative, and cultural opportunities,” says Hannah Leow, volunteer coordinator at V+V. The artists were creating before they come to V+V so they just keep doing their own thing. “They keep their vision and their style, we just support them,” Leow says.

Visionaries + Voices achieves its mission in three ways, the first being the studio program where artists can come and spend time working on their art. The exhibition program gives opportunities for them to show their work with five exhibits a year in the Northside gallery. The final piece is the Teaching Artist Program, which allows artists to go into the community and teach their style of creativity.

Volunteer:

Volunteers are needed Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and occasionally on evenings and weekends. The biggest need is for people in the creative field who are interested in making art and want to work collaboratively with artists. “The biggest need I’ve seen is creative folks, or folks who aren't creative and are interested in learning about creativity, being in the studio working with the artists,” Leow says.

Service learning days at V+V are great for high school groups. They can come in and do organizational tasks for a little while, which is very helpful to the organization. Then they have the chance to work with the artists and combine their creative ideas.

Opportunities outside of creative work include organizational projects, cleaning and providing technical support.

There are volunteers at V+V who come frequently and have been there for a long time, but there are also volunteers who don't come so often. There really isn’t a requirement for the type of commitment you need to make.

Anyone interested in volunteering can reach out online. Before starting as a volunteer, expect a short introductory session with a tour of the studio and general information about the organization and its goals, a questionnaire and background check. “It’s a pretty quick process,” Leow says.

Some of the resources available to volunteers include articles about working with adults with disabilities. This isn’t really focused on during the brief training because Leow believes it’s something you learn as you go. “The biggest thing for me is that it’s an experience based training,” Leow says.

There is no real precursor to being a good fit at V+V. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis “We feel it out with each person,” Leow says. It is about connecting and accepting the artist. They have a wide variety of volunteers from many different creative backgrounds.

Donations: 

Art supplies are in high demand at V+V. You can find a list online detailing what is needed. Some of the items include permanent markers, ink pads, buttons, sewing needles and glitter.

One unique program promotes giving the gift of stocks. Consider donating stocks that have already been acquired and increased in value. Financial advisors are able to transfer stocks from private parties to Visionaries + Voices. In return, the organization will issue an acknowledgement of the gift.


For more information on VISIONARIES + VOICES visit visionariesandvoices.com.

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 03.23.2016 40 days ago
Posted In: News at 09:48 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
to do_smale riverfront park-courtesy cincinnati parks

Morning News and Stuff

Questions emerge over Park Board contracts for Smale Park; Council fights yet again over streetcar; Kasich treading water after brutal primary losses

Good morning all. Here’s the news today.

Remember back in November when all those accusations were flying about the way the Cincinnati Park Board operates? There are more questions now. As it turns out, the construction of Smale Riverfront Park downtown was carried out without contracts
ever going out for bid on the $97 million construction project. Instead, construction work was tucked into pre-existing contracts for maintenance, according to a Cincinnati Enquirer investigation. That likely violated city ordinances around proper bonding and insurance, and may have also violated other city and state laws. The funds for that work included $40 million in public dollars. Park officials say they played by the book, however, and didn’t break any rules in building the park on a short timeframe.

• There are new developments in the most tiresome and irritating local politics story in the country! Are you hyped? We all paid Cincinnati City Council to fight for two and a half hours yesterday about the streetcar again. This time, the wheel-spinning debate was over which downtown events the streetcar should close for. Council’s Major Transportation and Regional Cooperation committee eventually voted to pass an ordinance closing the transit project for seven events, including the Opening Day Parade, the Thanksgiving Day Race, the Flying Pig Marathon, Oktoberfest and others. Those first two will be able to close down the streetcar into the foreseeable future, while the ordinance allowing other events to do so will expire in 2018. Puzzlingly, some of the events able to shut down operations up to that time, including the Health Expo in Washington Park, don’t coincide with the streetcar route. Leaders from the events in question have indicated they’re willing to work with the city and aren’t trying to impede the streetcar. Previously, the city manager had the power to close the streetcar for up to four events a year.

• Across the river, the city of Covington has approved a syringe exchange program. Though the program hasn’t been created yet, city commissioners voted unanimously to allow a program that would allow drug users to turn in used needles for clean ones, reducing both the spread of blood-borne diseases and needles littering public spaces. Cases of Hepatitis C, for example, have soared in Northern Kentucky, rising to rates 20 times higher than the national average. The approval comes as the Northern Kentucky Health Department works to establish four exchanges in Covington, Florence, Newport and Williamstown. The Williamstown location opened last week, though none of the other sites have exchanges just yet.

• Staying south of the state line, U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, who represents Northern Kentucky, is calling for Ohio Gov. John Kasich to drop out of the GOP presidential primary. Massie, a Tea Party conservative, says Kasich has no chance to win at this point and should clear the way for leaders Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. Massie didn’t go so far as to endorse either of those candidates, however. He originally supported U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a fellow Kentuckian, before Paul dropped out early in the race.

• So let’s talk about the primary a little more. Yesterday, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders took primary contests in Utah and Idaho by large margins while his Democratic primary opponent Hillary Clinton won Arizona. Those states were proportional, and Sanders took more delegates than Clinton, narrowing Clinton’s imposing delegate lead slightly. Meanwhile, Republican front runner Donald Trump took Arizona easily, gaining 58 delegates, while second-place contender Cruz took all 40 of Utah’s delegates. You’ll notice that Kasich’s name doesn’t appear anywhere in those results. He got crushed in the most recent round of primary voting — humiliatingly, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who has already dropped out, got more of the vote in Arizona. And despite being the traditionally establishment GOP candidate in the field, Kasich hasn’t really curried continued support from the party’s bigwigs. Former primary contender Jeb Bush, for example, has backed Cruz, not Kasich.

 
 
by Cassie Lipp 03.22.2016 41 days ago
at 02:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Slice of Cincinnati: OCD Cakes

As the night sky blankets Cincinnati at 3 a.m., a faint glow emanates from the kitchen window of a small apartment. While most University of Cincinnati students who are awake at this hour are up to their eyeballs in tedious lab reports and last-minute reading, James Avant is caught in a frenzy of mixing bowls, whisks and measuring cups. The apartment fills with succulent scents as he blends together lemon zest and raspberry puree. His everyday stress and anxiety pours into the batter, fills the cupcake tin and rises into lemon raspberry cupcakes.

Avant’s cupcakes are more than delicious — they’re the edible gratification of mental health. The 22-year-old began baking to relieve stress after he was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) about four years ago. “I spent a lot of my days just kind of cleaning and counting and repeating, and my mind was kind of clouded with worry all the time, and so one of the ways I was able to overcome that in addition to therapy was through baking,” he says.

After one year of baking to relieve stress, watching YouTube tutorials and a getting little inspiration from an episode of Two Broke Girls, Avant decided that if we going to bake so often, he might as well profit from it, too. So he started a business, OCD Cakes, out of his home.

Obsessive Cake Disorder (OCD) Cakes helps raise mental health awareness through tasty baked goods. “OCD Cakes exists to take a bite out of the stigma surrounding mental health,” Avant says. “Cake is something that is commonplace in our culture and linked with so many different emotions, so why not take something you already use and consume and change the way you look at it in order to start positive conversations about mental health?” he explains. Five percent of the profits are donated to mental health agencies.

Going through high school and college, Avant personally experienced some of the negative stigma surrounding mental health. He recalls feeling the eyes of everyone in his classrooms burning into the back of his neck as he scrubbed desk with Lysol wipes before sitting down or got up out of his seat to clean up stray marks left by the teacher when erasing the board.

“You can’t make people understand what goes on in your head,” Avant says. “You have to do the best you can to find things they can easily identify with to make that conversation more comfortable. That’s why I use cake, because everybody likes cake!”

After graduating from UC with a bachelor’s in neurobiology in the spring of 2015, Avant now teaches part-time as the culinary lead and pastry chef at Sur la Table. Avant still runs OCD Cakes out of his home, conducting business online and through word of mouth. In addition to baking up fun and innovative cake designs, Avant bakes to raise awareness for number of causes in addition to mental health. He has donated cupcakes to benefits for SOTENI International, a Cincinnati-based nonprofit that works to prevent HIV/AIDS in Africa and reduce it effects for those affected by the disease. OCD Cakes has also partnered with UC Counseling and Psychological Services for a Stress Less Fest, where students could try OCD Cupcakes and show their support for mental health by writing on a giant poster board what mental health means to them.

Avant says he also volunteers for local organizations, such as Su Casa and the psychiatry department of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. “I really want people to see that I’m more than just giving away my product,” he says. “I really want people to see that I’m engaged in the wellness of others as well.”

One of the goals of OCD Cakes is to change the way people think about mental health. Avant says one of the reasons for this is that mental illnesses are more common than people think; it is important not to push mental health issues under the table or discourage people from getting help, because our minds should receive the same attention as our bodies. Like he bakes to de-stress, everyone needs to find constructive ways to get their feelings out. That’s why Avant says he wants to be as loud and proactive as possible about mental health issues. “We’re only going to make progress is everyone’s involved,” he says.


For more information about OCD CAKES, visit ocdcak.es.

 
 
by Natalie Krebs 03.22.2016 41 days ago
Posted In: News at 09:49 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

Historic Preservation Board approves demolition of historical downtown building; Biden to visit Cincy; Obama asks Congress to normalize relations in Cuba

Good morning, Cincinnati. With sad news coming out of Belgium and historic news coming out of Cuba, it's a big day for international news. But first, here are your local headlines. 

• Cincinnati's Historic Preservation Board has approved a real estate developer's request to tear down two buildings located downtown at the corner of Eighth and Main streets. The request passed Monday in a vote of 5-1 pushing forward Hyde Park-based Greiwe Development Group's $50 million plan to build two new 14-story buildings to house 60 luxury condos. One of the buildings set for demolition is a six-story Italianate building, built as a warehouse in 1875. The other is a not-so-historical two-story building from the last century. The developers told the board that they had determined renovating the structures would result in a loss in their investment. 

• Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to be in Cincinnati this morning. Given how President Barack Obama is currently soaking up the Cuban sunshine in Havana, I would say Biden drew the executive short straw for travel this week. Biden will speak to a private fundraising event for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Ted Strickland and has no public appearances scheduled. So if you want to catch a glimpse of the VP, you'll probably have to cough up the $500 entry fee for Strickland's event. 

• The Northern Kentucky Heroin Impact Response team wants to make sure Easter eggs are the only things kids are finding in their yards this upcoming holiday weekend. The group issued a warning Monday for parents to check for syringes before sending their kids out on Easter egg hunts. Health experts say the heroin epidemic sweeping region has led to an increase in discarded, used syringes popping up in public places. If you do happen to find one this weekend (or ever), you can learn about proper disposal here

• TourismOhio is launching a new campaign to boost tourism in the state. The campaign called "Ohio. Find It Here." will debut today and is targeted at the state's residents between the ages of 25 to 54. Mary Cusick, the director of TourismOhio said Governor John Kasich and the Development Services Agency asked her to "make Ohio look cool," which it is not, according to the tourism group's survey of residents of Ohio and its neighboring states. The new campaign is being released in time for Ohio's longer, sunnier months and will highlight the many fun and diverse activities the state has to offer. The state received more than $40 billion from tourism in 2014, the majority coming from in-state travelers. 

• Today voters in both parties in Arizona and Utah go to the polls, while Idaho Democrats hold their caucuses. Some Republicans are sweating the results as many in the party remain uncomfortable with frontrunner Donald Trump's lead. On the other side, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders aims for Utah and Idaho, where he is leading in polls, as tries to catch up to opponent Hillary Clinton's solid lead. 

• President Obama made his keynote speech in Havana today. In a major speech that was televised to 11 million Cubans on national television, Obama stood by Cuban leader Raul Castro and called on Congress to lift the trade embargo that has been in place since 1961 and normalize relations with the island nation. The president arrived in Cuba on Sunday with his family and is the first president to visit the country since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. You can read a recap here.

• By now, you've surely heard about the terrorist attacks that hit Brussels airport and a subway station near the headquarters of the European Union. The death toll is up to 34, with 14 at the airport and 20 in the metro station. European security officials had feared another attack following the Nov. 13 attack by Islamic radicals in Paris that killed 130. Obama condemned the attacks and pledged solidarity with Belgium as he took the stage in Havana. GOP presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich also released a statement this morning condemning the attacks.
 
 
by Nick Swartsell 03.21.2016 42 days ago
Posted In: News at 09:41 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

Sierra Club blasts city, county MSD fight; Historic Conservation Board to hear downtown building demolition cases; Kasich rules out VP run

Hey all. Hope your weekend was rad. MusicNOW was incredible and I kinda wish I’d learned how to play like, concert piano or violin as a kid instead of boring guitar. Anyway, here’s what’s going on today in news.

You might need a little soundtrack for this first bit, and this weird song by hometown heroes Why? fits perfectly. Does the Cincinnati Metropolitan Sewer District need outside supervision? That’s what environmental advocacy group the Sierra Club says. The group, which filed a lawsuit that sparked a 2004 federal consent decree requiring a $3.4 billion update of the sewer system, is pushing for an outside overseer to make sure that work is being done efficiently and in a timely manner. Sierra Club asked for the outside oversight in the initial decree 12 years ago, but a federal judge ruled at the time that the city and county should be given time to work on the problems themselves. Now, with both governmental bodies feuding and the entire situation turning somewhat chaotic, Sierra Club is again asking for independent oversight.

• Another big mural is coming to Over-the-Rhine, and this time the public will get to help choose whom it will honor. Arts nonprofit Artworks will open voting March 28 to decide which famous Cincinnati woman will be depicted in its next project on the 1600 block of Pleasant Street near Findlay Market. So far, the possibilities include groundbreaking blues singer Mamie Smith, actress and civil rights activist Louise Beavers, Grammy-award winning singer and actress Rosemary Clooney, female professional baseball player Dorothy Kamenshek and abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe.

• Here’s just a short blurb about how college basketball is dead to me. University of Cincinnati lost due to a last-second dunk that refs said was TOO last second. Xavier lost in an unbelievable game. March madness is already over for me, and apparently for Bill Murray as well. At least I’m in good company.

• Today, Cincinnati’s Historic Conservation Board will meet to begin deciding the fate of two Civil War-era downtown buildings that might face demolition. One of those buildings is the Dennison Hotel building on Main Street, and the other, which will likely be considered today, is another significantly sized building across the street. Owners of both buildings are asking for demolition permits to make way for new mixed-use construction project along the upcoming streetcar route. Historic preservation activists, who say the buildings can be redeveloped without demolition, are planning on attending the meetings about the buildings in order to advocate for their preservation. The conservation board’s meetings take place on the fifth floor at the Centennial Plaza II building at 805 Central Ave.

• Well, we’ve told you about the forthcoming Northern Kentucky theme park called the Ark Encounter, which will feature a full-sized Noah’s Ark replica. Well, some folks in the area are apparently pretty skeptical of the $90 million project. The Tri-State Freethinkers, a local group of advocates for the separation of church and state, are raising money to put up billboards criticizing the theme park, which is set after a court battle to receive $18 million in tax incentives from the state of Kentucky. The group was originally turned down for those credits because of its religious nature and the religious questions it asks on some job applications, but a judge ruled the group couldn’t be denied the credits for those reasons. The Freethinkers’ billboards, which could go up as soon as this week, will feature the phrase “Genocide and Incest Park,” a jab at the story of the great flood found in the bible’s Old Testament.

• Finally, it’s all or nothing for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is still a long-shot contender for the GOP presidential nomination. Kasich is banking on a brokered convention at this point and crossing his fingers that frontrunner Donald Trump doesn’t scoop up the 1,237 delegates needed to take the party’s primary outright. Not only is he sticking in the race, he’s saying he’s not in it for a consolation prize. Over the last week, he has ruled out running as vice president behind either Trump or second-place contestant U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. Go hard or go home, I guess, but it’s probably going to be “go home” for Kasich. Actually, the convention is in Cleveland this summer, so I guess it’ll be going home for Kasich no matter what. But I digress.

News tips via Twitter or email. Later.

 
 
by Rick Pender 03.18.2016 45 days ago
Posted In: Theater at 03:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati Announces 2016-2017 Season

Regional premieres of comedies, dramas and musicals at ETC

Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati is really getting its act together. Not that they haven’t always been on top of things, but it’s often been deep into springtime before the coming season has been announced. Having recently shared the news about the expansion of its physical plant beginning in 2017, ETC has now shared what will be onstage for its 2016-2017 season — and much earlier than usual. Perhaps that’s because there were some evident artistic choices, as the information below will reveal.

ETC Producing Artistic Director D. Lynn Meyers has her finger on her subscribers’ pulses. Even before this announcement was released, approximately 80 percent of ETC’s 2,300 regulars had already renewed their seats for the coming season. That’s a demonstration of the confidence ETC subscribers have in Meyers’ judgment. Many of the season’s productions aren’t well known titles, but they have been chosen with specific and sharp insight into the preferences of ETC’s audience.

Here’s what’s in store:

The Legend of Georgia McBride by Matthew Lopez (Sept. 6-25, 2016): The season kicks off with show by Matthew Lopez, but it bears little resemblance to his powerful Civil War drama, The Whipping Man, which ETC staged back in 2012. This time it’s a heartwarming, music-filled comedy about Casey, a young optimist who’s broke, close to being evicted and discovering that he and his wife are pregnant. Oh, and he’s been fired from his gig as an Elvis impersonator in a run-down Florida Panhandle bar. His act is replaced by a B-level drag show, and he decides to go with the flow. It’s a new arena for him as a performer and a man. One review of the New York production called it “an irresistible and deceptively deep crowd pleaser.”

brownsville song (b-side for tray) by Kimber Lee (Oct. 11-30, 2016): I write annually about plays that get started at the Humana Festival in Louisville. (I’ll be headed there for the 38th annual event in April.) Two years ago this play received its world premiere there. Set in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, it moves between past and present to tell a tale about resilience in the face of tragedy. Tray, 18, is committed to making something of himself. He’s working on his college essay, boxing at the gym and holding down a part-time job. But he ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time, and in the blink of an eye his life is tragically over. His family is left to ponder what might have been. This poetic and powerful story jumps between a hopeful future and an uncertain present to show a unique perspective on urban violence. Myers picked this show knowing its run would overlap with August Wilson’s Jitney at the Playhouse, offering theatergoers two moving perspectives on the African-American experience.

Cinderella: After Ever After by Joe McDonough, David Kisor and Fitz Patton (Nov. 30-Dec 30): ETC’s production of Cinderella for the 2015 holiday season was one of the theater’s most attend shows ever. So for the 2016 holidays we get a world-premiere sequel, again created by playwright McDonough, lyricist Kisor and composer Patton. With the same actors who charmed audiences last December, this will be the story about what happens next. What happens when Cinderella and Prince Freddy move into the palace with her diva stepmother and her self-absorbed stepsisters in tow? What becomes of her beloved animal friends? And what’s Gwendolyn, “The Well Wisher,” up to now? All will be revealed in another family-friendly show.

First Date by Austin Winsberg, Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner (Jan. 17-Feb 5, 2017): This musical comedy had a Broadway run in 2013; ETC is presenting its regional premiere. It explores one of those treacherous human endeavors: the blind date. When Aaron, a first-time blind-date guy, is set up with serial-dater Casey, their casual drink turns into a high-stakes dinner as other restaurant patrons transform into supportive best friends, manipulative exes and protective parents — who sing and dance them through the dangerous waters of getting acquainted.

When We Were Young and Unafraid by Sarah Treem (Feb. 21-March 12, 2017): It’s 1972, before Roe v. Wade, before the Violence Against Women Act. Agnes has turned her quiet bed and breakfast into a refuge for young victims of domestic violence. But her latest runaway, Mary Anne, is beginning to influence Agnes’s college-bound daughter Penny. Playwright Treem (who’s been a writer for House of Cards and In Treatment) digs into the early days of feminism from various perspectives. The show debuted in New York in 2014; this is its regional premiere.

Bloomsday by Steven Dietz (April 4-23, 2017): Playwright Dietz’s newest play, a 2016 finalist for the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award. His work has pleased ETC audiences four times in the past — Private Eyes (2000), Fiction (2007), More Fun than Bowling (2008) and Becky’s New Car (2010). This one is set against the backdrop of James Joyce’s iconic novel Ulysses. It’s about an American searches for the Irish woman who captured his heart 30 years earlier while he led “Bloomsday” walking tour in Dublin. The play bends time and space to explore a love affair that might have been. Meyers recently fell in love with this script; the show just premiered at ACT in Seattle last September; she moved quickly to obtain the rights to present its regional premiere here.


ETC subscriptions for 2016-2017 are on sale now; single tickets will be available for purchase on Aug. 1. For more information: ensemblecincinnati.org.

 
 
by Staff 03.18.2016 45 days ago
Posted In: Arts, Comedy, Concerts, Culture, Life, Fun, Events, Drinking, Music at 10:18 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List

MusicNOW, Wild Sweet Love, Rihanna, Day of Happiness and more

FRIDAY
MUSIC: MUSICNOW
Though the Cincinnati natives of The National didn’t form their internationally successful Indie Rock band until they’d all moved to Brooklyn, N.Y., the band’s guitarist, Bryce Dessner, keeps strong musical ties to the Queen City in the shape of his annual MusicNOW festival, a unique, collaborative and creatively curated new music event that is now in its 11th year.  Blending Indie musicians with players and composers from the modern Classical and Chamber music worlds (a reflection of Dessner’s own musical experience), MusicNOW’s premieres and rare collaborations make it the definition of a “one-of-a-kind” event. You are guaranteed to see and hear many things at MusicNOW that you will never see or hear again. It’s a unique experience for the musicians, as well, with many going on to work together after their MusicNOW interactions. Read more about the festival in this week's Sound AdviceMusicNOW takes place Friday through Sunday at Music Hall and Cincinnati Masonic Center Auditorium. More info: musicnowfestival.org.

George Balanchine’s 'Who Cares?'
Photo: © Luke Isley
DANCE: WILD SWEET LOVE
This triple-bill collaboration between Cincinnati Ballet and BalletMet Columbus is presented in three distinct pieces: Wild Sweet Love, Who Cares? and Age of Innocence. The night begins with the namesake Wild Sweet Love, an exploration of love’s ups and downs with contemporary music from artists as varied as Roberta Flack and Queen. George Balanchine’s Who Cares? follows — a full corps de ballet encompassing the spirit of Broadway with familiar songs like “The Man I Love” and “I Got Rhythm.” BalletMet Columbus rounds out the night with Age of Innocence, a modern piece inspired by Jane Austen and named for an Edith Wharton novel. Read more about the performance here. This weekend also offers Ballet Toybox at the Aronoff, an interactive storybook ballet aimed at children ages 3-12 (2 p.m. Sunday; $20). 8 p.m. Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday. $32-$105. Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-621-5282, cballet.org

'Carnal Worship'
Photo: Provided
ART: CARNAL WORSHIP AT GLACIER GALLERY
Glacier Gallery, a new contemporary art space in the front half of the former semantics gallery in Brighton, will showcase the work of illustrators Gabby Gash and Robert Inman in an exhibition entitled Carnal Worship. According to the gallery’s press release, the show focuses on an excessive fascination with the erotic. Prints of Gash’s and Inman’s individual works will be on view and the opening coincides with the release of Realicide Youth Record’s newest art zine, which will be available for sale onsite. Opening reception 6-10 p.m. Friday. On view through April 1. Free. Glacier Gallery, 1107 Harrison Ave., Brighton, facebook.com/glaciergallery

In an era noted for short-attention spans, Titus Andronicus made a 93-minute Rock opera.
Photo: Matthew Greeley
MUSIC: TITUS ANDRONICUS
Grandiose ambitions are nothing new to Titus Andronicus frontman Patrick Stickles. The name of his band is lifted from Shakespeare. The group’s second album, The Monitor, was a sprawling concept album based on the American Civil War. And, among many other pressing themes and preoccupations, the dangers of contemporary capitalism remain a constant topic of conversation. But Stickles and his merry band of pranksters might have topped themselves with their fourth long-player, The Most Lamentable Tragedy, a five-act, 29-song, 93-minute “Rock opera” that the lanky, copiously bearded frontman has described as a “complicated metaphor about manic depression, melding elements of philosophy, psychology and science fiction through the plight of one troubled protagonist’s inner demons.” Read an interview with Stickles here. Titus Andronicus plays Friday in Taft Theatre’s Ballroom. Tickets/more info: tafttheatre.org.

They Might Be Giants
Photo: Shervin Lainez
MUSIC: THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS
Back in the golden year of 1987, I discovered the aural and visual joys of They Might Be Giants almost simultaneously. John James, my boss/friend at Cincinnati’s Wizard Records, had recommended They Might Be Giants’ 1986 debut album, and within weeks of that initial headsmack, I experienced their nonsensically surreal homemade video for “(Put Your Hand Inside) The Puppet Head,” shown when the band was a guest on the nonsensically surreal late-night gabfest, The Joe Franklin Show. Franklin was a charming but gauzily clueless vaudevillian who hosted his cable program seemingly in his basement; throughout the segment he never got the band’s name right, vacillating between They May Be Giants to They Must Be Giants. John Flansburgh and John Linnell were beyond giddy for the entire segment. Read more about the group in this week's Sound Advice. They Might Be Giants plays Madison Theater Friday. More info/tickets: madisontheateronline.com.

EVENT: MILLENNICON
Chewie, set the hyperdrive for the Clarion Hotel: Millennicon, the literary-based sci-fi convention, returns for its 30th year. Explore the future of the unknown with a weekend full of programming. Events include panels on topics ranging from Doctor Who to authentic Victorian underpinnings, readings from sci-fi authors, group gaming sessions, anime screenings, talent shows, a masquerade ball, dealer rooms, door prizes and much more. Fandoms, food, fantasy, filking and more will be covered. This event is the primary fundraiser for the Miami Valley Fandom for Literacy. 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday; 9 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. $45. Clarion Hotel, 3855 Hauck Road, Sharonville, millennicon.org

'The Beauty Queen of Leenane'
Photo: Mikki Schaffner
ONSTAGE: THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE
You think you have problems with your mother? You should compare notes with Maureen Folan about her maternal relations. In Irish writer Martin McDonagh’s 1996 play, it’s more like outright warfare between Maureen and Mag. It’s been said that mutual loathing might be more durable than love, but this is one painful household in rural Ireland, as they argue and torture one another. Dark Irish humor permeates McDonagh’s writing, and it requires a certain temerity to appreciate it. In the close confines of Falcon Theatre’s Newport space, this will be a powerful experience. Staged by veteran local director Ed Cohen. Through April 2. $15-$20. Falcon Theatre, 636 Monmouth St., Newport, Ky., 513-479-6783, falcontheatre.net

SATURDAY
Rihanna
Photo: rihannanow.com
MUSIC: RIHANNA
Admit it: You sing along to Rihanna’s “Work” in the car and are only slightly annoyed when it’s stuck in your head. Stop pretending and let loose this Saturday when her Anti World Tour stops by U.S. Bank Arena. Anti, Rihanna’s eighth studio album, is the first to be released since 2012’s Unapologetic; it rocketed to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 chart just a week after its release. Now is your chance to work (work work work work work) it with Rihanna herself (sans Drake). Hip Hop/Rap artist Travis Scott opens. 7:30 p.m. show; 6 p.m. doors Saturday. $30.50-$126. U.S. Bank Arena, 100 Broadway St., Downtown, 513-421-4111, usbankarena.com

Day of Happiness
Photo: Provided
EVENT: DAY OF HAPPINESS
Mayor John Cranley has officially declared March 19 Cincinnati’s Day of Happiness, falling just a day before the international campaign, which has been recognized since 2013. Celebrate on Fountain Square with a slew of activities dedicated to inspiring people and raising awareness on how to make the world a happier place. Watch the square come alive with laughter yoga, kids art stations and a crowd-wide “happy dance.” Post your #HappyActs on the social media Happiness Wall. 11a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown, myfountainsquare.com.

Elephant Stone
Photo: Bowen Stead & Daniel Barkley
MUSIC: ELEPHANT STONE
Many of today’s Psych Rock bands have a sound that can be traced back to a certain period in music history. For Canada’s Elephant Stone, that moment is when George Harrison first put a sitar on a Beatles track. While the group continues to experiment with elements of Indian music (beyond the sitar, the band has used tabla and the esraj on its releases) within its engaging Pop Rock style, recent song previews from Elephant Stone’s forthcoming album show the band expanding its approach; superb singles like “The Devil’s Shelter,” “Where I’m Going” and “Andromeda” are reminiscent of British Shoegaze and Psychedelia artists of the ’80s and ’90s like Primal Scream and another “Stone” band — Stone Roses. The band’s Cincinnati show — coming just after a visit to Texas’ South By Southwest festival — also features Columbus, Ohio’s Indigo Wild. 10 p.m. Saturday. Free. MOTR Pub, 1345 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, motrpub.com

COMEDY: JOHN HEFFRON
On stage, comedian John Heffron likes to talk about what’s going on in his life, particularly his marriage. He’s conscious of his audience, though, and realizes some of the 20-somethings might not be able to relate to marriage jokes — but he’s certainly not shy about offering advice when it comes to relationships. “I joke about marriage because it’d be really boring on stage if I went on and said ‘I love marriage. My marriage is awesome,’ ” he says. His wife, meanwhile, takes it all in stride. “She really can’t complain. She has a house and car.” Her only occasional criticisms are of his actual performances. “She’ll bust me if she thinks I’m phoning it in.” Showtimes Thursday-Sunday. $15-$48. Funny Bone Liberty, 7518 Bales St., A-120, Liberty Township, 513-779-5233. liberty.funnybone.com

'King Me'
Photo: Nina M Dot
ART: KING ME AT THE GLOBE GALLERY
Nina Wells, who goes by the artistic name Nina M Dot, opens her photographic exhibition at the Globe Gallery on Friday evening featuring lenticular portraits of local men of color contrasted with images of themselves dressed as kings. Wells aims to restore the perception of these men’s self-value by applying a what-you-see-is-what-you-become mindset. “It is a platform for men of color to better understand their value in this world,” she says in a press release. A recipient of People’s Liberty’s $15,000 Globe grant, the artist’s message of black male empowerment will be accessible to small group audiences on opening night in 20-minute increments to allow for a more intimate viewing experience. On view through May 7. Free. 1805 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, peoplesliberty.org, reserve viewing space at tinyurl.com/jc85f4m.

SUNDAY
Art on Vine
Photo: Photography for the People
EVENT: ART ON VINE
Get your monthly shopping fix by browsing works by local artists and craftspeople at Art on Vine. This boutique art fair showcases fine art, handmade goods and photography from more than 60 local makers. If you’d like to keep it local after shopping, bring proof of your Art on Vine purchase to A Tavola and receive 10 percent off your total bill. 1-7 p.m. Sunday. Free. Rhinegeist Brewery, 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, artonvinecincy.com

'Emma'
Photo: Mikki Schaffner
ONSTAGE: EMMA
Pretty much all you need to do to sell theater tickets these days is attach Jane Austen’s name to a show. No zombies in Emma à la the current film adaptation Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but Cincinnati Shakespeare is on the bandwagon with another stage adaptation by Jon Jory, the longtime leader of Actors Theatre of Louisville; his renditions of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility have been bestsellers for the classic theater company. This production is all about girls — directed by 12-year ensemble member Kelly Mengelkoch and featuring second-year ensemble member Courtney Lucien as Emma Wodehouse, the amateur matchmaker whose efforts don’t unfold quite as planned. Through March 26. $14-$36. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 719 Race St., Downtown, 513-381-2273, cincyshakes.com. 

ONSTAGE: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
Harper Lee passed away last month, but her Pulitzer Prize-winning story of justice and racial inequality lives on, not only as a novel and its memorable cinematic rendition, but also in Christopher Sergel’s theatrical adaptation. Eric Ting, a new associate artist at the Cincinnati Playhouse, has given a more timeless rendition to the story of a valiant attorney with moral integrity defending a wrongly accused black man, bringing it to life in a bare theater. His approach sounds fascinating. Stage veteran Dale Hodges narrates the story in the role of the adult Scout, and the cast features numerous other local performers. Through April 10. $35-$85. Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mount Adams Circle, Mount Adams, 513-421-3888, cincyplay.com

Daubigny's 'Sunset Near Villerville'
Photo: The Mesdag Collection, The Hague
ART: DAUBIGNY, MONET, VAN GOGH: IMPRESSIONS OF LANDSCAPE
The Taft Museum of Art’s chief curator, Lynne Ambrosini, has spent 14 years organizing the Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh: Impressions of Landscape show that opens Saturday and believes it will be one of the museum’s most important presentations. Inspired by the fact that the Taft owns three Charles-François Daubigny oil paintings, Ambrosini’s exhibition aims to prove that this 19th-century French landscape painter served as a major, unheralded harbinger of Impressionism. The exhibition, for which you must buy a timed ticket, has 40 Daubigny paintings and also 15 Impressionist and Post-Impressionist ones by Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh and Camille Pissarro. Through May 29. $15 adult; $10 child. 316 Pike St., Downtown, taftmuseum.org

TV: THE PASSION
A live musical depiction of Jesus’ final moments, featuring Tyler Perry, Chris Daughtry, Trisha Yearwood and Seal. Sure! 8 p.m. FOX.

TV: THE WALKING DEAD
Daryl reunites with his bike while Eugene parts ways with his signature mullet. 9 p.m. AMC.

TV: GIRLS
Hannah and her mom attend a “Spring Queening” women’s retreat; Shosh gets a surprise in Japan; Adam (and the audience!) meets Jessa’s sister. 10 p.m. HBO.

 
 

 

 

 
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