Mike Breen just posted a schedule of events on the music blog, so I won't do that here, but the schedule goes something like this: Mark Mallory, The Breeders, speeches, Natalie Portman, The National. I know people are really excited about seeing The National and The Breeders, for free, on a lovely autumn evening. And I know people are really excited about Barack Obama.
But I'm really excited about Natalie Portman.Yes, Natalie Portman. At first I had to ask myself, why is she here? Is she just such an avid Obama supporter that she'll fly to random rallies? Did she have some sort of layover at CVG and had to get out of the airport Max & Erma's? Is she really bored? No. Maybe not. I did some Google research to get to the bottom of this conundrum and I learned that her mother, Shelley, is from Cincinnati. That makes more sense ... especially if Nat Port really likes The National, like most girls do. And we are a swing state.
Another thing that most girls like, besides croony sort of bands, is finding out what beautiful celebrities look like in real life. Sure, with the right lighting and hours of hair and makeup, anyone can look good. I mean you've seen those horrid photos of "celebrities without makeup" in gossip magazines. A majority of them look sub-par, to put it gently. And the paparazzi generally gets shots of these unmade women when they're about to take a bite of their salad or right after they ran like four miles, so that's to be taken into consideration, but still. Women like to compare themselves to other women. That's why that stupid "Celebrities are Just Like Us" thing is so popular in People or Us or whatever it's in. Madonna grocery shops? So do I!
But putting all that nonsense aside, Natalie Portman seems amazing, talented, smart and beautiful. She's a great actress who makes intelligent fashion choices and doesn't make a spectacle of herself. She has sassy hair and great skin. All in all, I take her very seriously as a normal person, which is a feeling I don't have about most celebrities. In general, I think celebrities are gawdy drunk drivers who spend too much money on sunglasses.
I'm looking forward to hearing what Natalie has to say. I feel like Queen Padme Amidala must have come this far to deliver a serious message to our people. And I'm looking forward to seeing what she's wearing. I also want to see how tall she is. I bet she's pretty adorable.
View photos of the event on Fountain Square here.
The hard work local experimental Rock/Soul/Pop/Prog/Glam oddballs Foxy Shazam have put in on the road the past couple of years is starting to pay off big time. Recent Foxy news includes everything from the impending release of the band’s major-label debut for Sire Records to gigging with Courtney Love in the U.K. to collaborations with Rock legend Meat Loaf.
Here's the dish on hogs: they rank among the smartest in the animal kingdom and despite the phrase "pigging out," they actually savor their food. On March 1, National Pig Day, Americans across the Midwest don snouts, dress in pink and "eat like pigs" to celebrate their intelligence and contributions to mankind.
Rumors have been circulating for most of this year, but the official press release came out today. Here's is what it said:
Kaldi’s Coffeehouse & Bookstore, “the living room of Over-the-Rhine,” has announced that it will permanently close the doors at its current location at the end of December 2008. Although owner Jeremy Thompson has been searching for a new location for some time, it has not yet been decided where the concept might reopen.
The coffeehouse, bookstore, restaurant and live music nightclub has been a consistent part of the Over-the-Rhine community since its opening in the early 1990s. As CityBeat reported last summer, “OTR without Kaldi’s is unthinkable.”
Building renovations have led to a discontinuation of the bar/restaurant’s lease. Earlier this year, those same changes claimed Kaldi’s kitchen and half of its available seating.
Kaldi’s catering services will continue to be offered, and its operations at the Art Academy of Cincinnati will not cease. Although much of Kaldi’s appeal was its atmosphere, setting and physical space, Thompson still hopes to set up shop elsewhere.
For the time being, Kaldi’s is generally open at noon daily. It closes at midnight on weeknights, and 2 a.m. on weekends.
Drop those pickles and ice cream, ladies! Becoming Mom Spa in Mason is looking for the hottest pregnant gut in the Tristate for its Beautiful Belly Contest.
Knocked up chicks are encouraged to send in a photo of their lovely lady lumps, which will be displayed on the spa's Facebook page for public voting. Because that doesn't sound like it could go horrifyingly wrong.
For every vote on the photos, Becoming Mom will donate $1 to the March of Dimes. Prizes for top-voted bellies include gift certificates to The Polo Grille, Buy Buy Baby, Radiant Hair Removal (which you should probably think about before you submit a photo...) and other businesses. Becoming Mom will also crown Most Creative Belly Shot, Belly Shot that Best Represents the Journey to Motherhood and Most Beautiful Belly with $100 a pop.
Before MomsLikeMe.com hijacks this shit, I want to be clear. Being pregnant is totally cool (as long as you aren't a white trash idiot who learned the hard way that a pregnancy pact doesn't come with an MTV contract). I mean, you and a dude made a person! Holy shit, that's like one of the coolest things humans can do. And it's particularly special for women, because they get to let the thing simmer in 'em, pop it out and then feed it with milk their own bodies produce. That's hella eco-friendly. Pregnant women even look cool most of the time.
Terrifying other times.
Motherhood should totally be celebrated. I don't think a pregnant woman needs to hide her belly under a tent dress by any means, but do you really have to go to Sears, strip down and get a portrait of yourself covering up your boobs and vag like you're some kind of bloated Venus? No amount of retouching in Photoshop is going to make you feel like you look like Demi.
Not pictured: a normal pregnant person
But I know what you're thinking. You're going the tasteful route: planning on the denim/white oxford ensemble?
What a unique idea!
And let's think about who's truly affected by a contest like this: the little tadpole inside. How's Junior gonna feel when he finds out mom whored him out on Facebook before he was even born? All this for a couple bones and some Greater's gift cards. It's bad enough you picked the kid's name off a Web site, then tweaked it to end with "-ayden."
But if you disagree, send your belly shot to email@example.com by April 22. Winners will be announced on - wait for it - Mothers Day. Aw!
This is the caliber of photo Becoming Mom is looking for, so, preggy ladies, take note:
Mariah Carey continues to set the bar high:
Il Volo — the popular Italian Opera trio from Sicily — features three teens with tenor voices so strong, they got America’s attention after one of the best guest performances in the history of American Idol, singing "O Sole Mio" last year. They formed in 2009 and were received very well in their native country, performing with some of the biggest international superstars in their short history. The group consists of Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto and Gianluca Ginoble. They are now set for their second U.S. tour which comes through Cincinnati tomorrow (Friday) night.
Il Volo is produced by long time industry veteran Tony Renis, who discovered the boys two years ago along with Grammy-winning producer Humberto Gatica (Michael Bublé, Josh Groban and Celine Dion).
CityBeat caught up with Gianluca Ginoble this week by phone to discuss his love of touring and how much he enjoys getting to do what he loves every day. He is just learning English but was able to provide a little insight into to the band’s grueling tour schedule. Check out Il Volo at Riverbend's PNC Pavilion on Friday.
CityBeat: I know you were introduced to opera from family members growing up in Italy. How important is family tradition to you?
Gianluca Ginoble: My family is the most important thing because my Grandpa is my inspiration. It was him that introduced me to this kind of music. But I love others as well, like Michael Buble and Frank Sinatra. I love Opera, but I also I love other kinds of music too. To me family is the most important thing.
CB: You guys are going to start a long tour being away from home. Is it hard being on the road being away from friends and family or what is the hardest part for you?
GG: When I am home, I can’t wait to do another tour because this is now my life. For me, it is like funny work because this is my passion. I am doing what I love to do, but when I am on tour I can’t wait to come back to my house and my home because I miss the family, my Grandpa. My Grandma died six months ago and for me it was an amazing pain. He was very important for me.
CB: I am sorry to hear that. Are there any places on the tour in the United States that you are specifically looking forward to playing, the location or the venue?
GG: Yes, yes, yes. My favorite city is Los Angeles. New York as well, but Los Angeles is the city of the dreams and the star, the Walk of Fame, the Oscars. For me it is the best city.
CB: What has been your rehearsal process for the tour? What has that been like for you?
GG: We have prepared with eight or nine hour rehearsals daily.
CB: Every day?
GG: Yes, because this is our first concert and we are preparing. When we have the soundcheck before the concert it is just 20 minutes or 30 minute,s so we have major rehearsals to get ready.
CB: How do you take care of your voices?
GG: Yes always, our voices are the most important thing.
CB: Do you ever see the band crossing over to pop music or do you think you will stay with Opera?
GG: I don’t know. We are open to many things. We did an American tour and it was wonderful, amazing because there were teenagers everywhere and in the U.S., in Miami, Los Angeles, New York and this is beautiful because it was our goal and this is a dream come true.
CB: Where do you see yourself or the band in 10 more years?
GG: I don’t know. I hope all this can continue in this way but life is unpredictable.
CB: What is your favorite song to sing and perform?
GG: "Smile," a Charlie Chaplin song.
CB: What can the fans look forward to in Cincinnati at the show?
GG: It is going to be a very beautiful show with more surprises. We have changed some things and I think it is going to be amazing. We have three new songs, which are a surprise.
CB: How do stay connected to your fans with Facebook or Twitter?
GG: Always, always. I update my fans, our fans. I am always doing “Greetings from …" I upload the pictures.
CB: What are you looking forward to the most on the tour?
GG: The most beautiful thing is to meet the fans. When I look at the people and they are happy and when they listen to our singing and we can make them happy, it is just beautiful.
They have been talking about it since they were 15 years old. Now, about 15 years later, all it took was an evening stroll through some back alleys on the way to The Famous Neons Unplugged in Over-the-Rhine to stumble across the perfect spot for their new start-up, Collective Espresso.
Owners Dave Hart and Dustin Miller had always dreamed of opening a coffee shop together. Lifelong friends and Ohio natives, the two spent a few years on separate journeys living in and being inspired by different states along the West Coast and working in multiple restaurants and cafes along the way.
"We kind of just moved to Cincinnati with the plan that we would figure it out," Hart explained nonchalantly as he reached for a cup and saucer behind the bar. Cold November rain fell outside during our interview, but the coffee and conversation warmed the already cozy shop as I sat comfortably on a stool that Hart and Miller hand-made, at the rustic bar that they crafted out of an old barn door. Just like the simplicity of the shop's design, Miller explained that it's their goal to very simply, "make great coffee taste great."
"There are a lot of great natural things happening in this coffee," Miller explained, joining Hart behind the bar. "It's our job as baristas to make it look and taste awesome. We want the coffee to speak for itself."
The shop, on the brink of opening, will mainly serve Deeper Roots Coffee — which is local — and Quills Coffee from Louisville, Ky. However, since they have a multiple roaster format, they are excited that they have the freedom to serve anything that piques their interest.
I watched in awe as the duo made the perfect cup of coffee through a process known as the drip method. This procedure takes about two and a half minutes and is performed through several steps in a homemade set-up resembling a science lab experiment.
"Each cup of coffee is made-to-order," Hart explained as he smelled the complex aroma from the coffee. "We don't want to be so slow that it's frustrating to get a cup of coffee here, but we like the idea of people being able to chill out for a few minutes and have a real coffee experience."
There are many ways to get your caffeine fix at Collective Espresso including espresso, macchiatos, cortado, cappuccino, lattes and mochas. The average price for a drink is $2.50-$3.50.
Although they recognized some great coffee shops that Cincinnati already has to offer, Hart explained that they thought the Cincinnati coffeehouse scene was missing something — Collective Espresso. With seating arranged in a bar-like fashion, the shop provides a welcoming atmosphere to stop in, have a cup of coffee over the daily news (CityBeat, of course) and meet or catch up with neighbors.
"If people are as dorky about coffee as we are, we also want to be a place where people can explore different brew methods and learn about different coffees," Miller added.
Just as the perfect cup of coffee takes time, the finishing touches are being put on Collective Espresso. The shop, located at 207 Woodward St., (off Main Street) is expected to open very soon.
University of Cincinnati President Greg
Williams stepped down yesterday. According to reports, Williams
walked into a UC Board of Trustees meeting, announced he was resigning effective
immediately and left.
Greg Hand, spokesperson for UC, said Williams resigned for “personal reasons.” No further explanation was provided by Williams.
Santa Ono, UC provost, is taking over temporarily as interim president. In a tweet, he promised to give the university 150 percent.
Williams was at UC since 2009. A year after arriving, he introduced his UC2019 plan. The plan seeks to make the university into a top school by 2019. The plan also implied Williams had long-term plans for UC, making his abrupt resignation even stranger.
The Board of Trustees seemed happy with Williams — at least happy enough to give him a raise. On Sept. 20, 2011, the Board gave Williams a $41,000 raise, bringing his salary up to $451,000. He also got a $102,500 bonus.
The news took UC students by surprise. Lane Hart, student body president at UC, told the school's independent student newspaper, The News Record, he was “shocked” when he heard the news.
To give credit where credit is due, when The Cincinnati Enquirer first reported the story, the newspaper mentioned that Margaret Buchanan, president and publisher at The Enquirer, is on the UC Board of Trustees. However, The Enquirer did not mention asking Buchanan about the resignation — an omission that raised questions for Jim Romenesko, a popular journalism blogger. Since then, The Enquirer emailed Romenesko saying Buchanan did not know any extra information.
Buchanan's ties to local groups the newspaper frequently covers have failed to be disclosed in the past. Previously, CityBeat found in stories related to 3CDC, which Buchanan is also involved in as a member of the executive committee, The Enquirer overwhelmingly failed to report the possible conflict of interest. The newspaper only reported the connection one out of 32 times, although the number could be inflated due to The Enquirer’s system of posting duplicate articles. In one particular story, The Enquirer praised 3CDC but failed to bring up Buchanan’s role overseeing publicity and marketing there.
Passing gas is sometimes considered a reaction to a good meal from a satisfied consumer, but actually farts are made during the release of gas that your body produces during digestion. My farts however are starting to push my friends away. I have always farted throughout my life, like most people, but recently things have been getting out of control.
Some critics of Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said video footage of a speech at a campaign event shows him starting to utter a racial slur while referring to President Obama, then cutting himself off mid-word.
While speaking to a group of supporters in Wisconsin on Tuesday, Santorum said, “We know what the candidate, Barack Obama, was like. The anti-war, government nig--, uh…” before stopping abruptly, then adding, “America was, uh, a source for division around the world. And that what we were doing was wrong. We needed to pull out and we needed to pull back.”
Although the uncompleted word sure sounds like it began with “nig” and what Santorum said next in the sentence didn’t flow naturally with the other words, a campaign spokesman today denied that the uncompleted word was “nigger.”
In January Santorum told a crowd of supporters in Iowa that he didn’t “want to make black people’s lives better by giving them other people’s money.”
Here is the clip of Tuesday’s speech. The remark causing controversy is spoken around the 34:30 mark. You can decide for yourself.