Hello all. What’s up? Let’s dive right into the news today.
If you live uptown and frequently need to hop on I-75 north, I have some bad news for you. It’s going to be another, oh, five years before the already years-old ODOT project to revamp I-75 makes it easier to access the highway from uptown. Let’s ruminate on that length of time for a minute. It’s an entire high school career plus a year of college. Or the amount of time it takes the average person to put 65,000 miles on a car. Or for some folks, multiple long-term relationships. The hang-up comes from a proposed connector bridge that will allow for easier access from I-74 to the area around Cincinnati State College. That construction is in the same area as the planned new northbound ramp, meaning the latter will have to be put off until 2020. That leaves uptown residents wanting to head north with the option of two complicated workarounds that probably add at least a few minutes to commute times. Happy driving y’all.
• In more positive news, it sounds like the city’s July 14 parade for the MLB All-Star Game is going to be something else. Usually, these kinds of things are limited to a few pickup trucks full of ball players on the way to field from their hotels, but Cincinnati Reds COO Phil Castellini says this year will be different. Floats, music and other festivities inspired by our annual opening day parade will fill the mile-long parade route, which goes from the Westin Hotel downtown past Fountain Square to Great American Ballpark. The All-Star Game is a big deal for any city to land — estimated economic impact for the city is somewhere in the $60 million range.
• Over-the-Rhine business course MORTAR will graduate its first class of entrepreneurs today. Locals William Thomas, Derrick Braziel and Allen Woods founded the group last year with a focus on increasing socio-economic diversity in the city’s startup culture. When you picture a startup entrepreneur, you might immediately think of a young white middle class male, which would be understandable since that demographic makes up a large percentage of entrepreneurs, especially in hot new markets like tech. MORTAR’s mission is to go beyond that, founders say, and to extend the opportunity to start a business to anyone in the city with a good idea. Tonight at Elementz, on the corner of Race and Central Parkway, the first class will take their ideas public during a series of presentations lasting from 6-9 pm. First year participants include Black Owned Outerwear founder Cam Means and soap maker Evie Cotton.
• I knew y'all were smart. Cincinnati is among the most literate cities in the country according to a study by Central Connecticut State University President Dr. Jack Miller. Miller measured literacy in America’s 77 biggest cities by studying bookstores, libraries, newspaper circulation, education level and Internet usage to come up with his ranking. Cincinnati ranked 12th, just above Raleigh, N.C. and just below Portland, Ore. We are far and away the best Ohio city on the list — runner up Columbus ranked just 21st. Minneapolis took the top spot this year after a four-year run in the top spot for Washington, D.C., which finished second this time around.
• The Ohio Board of Education voted yesterday to end the state’s stipulation that school districts have at least five of eight specialty positions in each of their schools. Those positions included librarians, music teachers and physical education teachers. The rule change has been hotly debated among educators and officials. Opponents say it will mean that students in many low-income schools will no longer be guaranteed arts, music and other important humanities education. Boosters of the rule change say it allows local school districts more autonomy with how they spend their budgets.
• Is Gov. John Kasich’s budget proposal dead? Looks like its prospects are grim, especially when it comes to the tax boosts the governor suggested to make up for his proposed $5.7 billion in income tax cuts. The GOPers in the Ohio General Assembly love the cuts, but hate the offsets, which include a sales tax hike. State lawmakers are expected to tweak Kasich’s budget to cut about $1 billion in income taxes while forgoing the sales tax hikes and some other big measures in the budget. Kasich’s plan has taken fire from both the left and the right. Progressives point out that shifting the tax burden from income toward sales taxes puts a higher proportional burden on the state’s low-income workers and that cuts to taxes on businesses and the tax bills of the state’s top earners is a regressive move that favors the wealthy. Conservatives, on the other hand, say the sales tax hike would encumber businesses and slow the economy. Both the state House and Senate will have to vote to approve a final budget agreement.
• Big news here: While Hillary Clinton was driving around in her Scooby Doo campaign van yesterday, she passed through Ohio and stopped for some Chipotle. Surprisingly, this news story says, no one in the Maumee, Ohio, Chipotle recognized her, probably because they were too focused on their double barbacoa double cheese double sour cream burritos. Dude, when I’m eating a burrito, the wailing ghost of James Brown could come in spitting fire and singing "Poppa’s Got a Brand New Bag" and I probably wouldn’t take much note, but then the wailing ghost of James Brown isn’t running for president in 2016 (unfortunately).
• Finally, new revelations have surfaced in the shooting death of Walter Scott, North Charleston, South Carolina man, by police officer Michael Slager April 5. North Charleston police have released audio recordings taken immediately after the incident in which Slager tells his wife he shot Scott while the man was running from him and then later laughs about the adrenaline rush to a supervisor. Scott was black, Slager white. The incident is the latest racially charged police shooting to capture the nation’s attention in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., last summer.
Hello all. I hope you got out and enjoyed the weather this weekend, which was spectacular. I took a nice six-mile hike organized by Imago, a Price Hill-based nature preserve and environmental education organization and Park and Vine, the planet friendly general store on Main Street in Over-the-Rhine. It was pretty great to spend the day hiking through the OTR, the West End and the Price Hills.
On to the news! The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has announced it’s bringing incredibly popular OTR light show LumenoCity back Aug. 5-9, but it’s going to be a lot different this year, at least when it comes to admission. The two-year-old event has up to this point been a free offering to the public. The first year, the light show was open to anyone who wanted to drop by. Last year, however, organizers sectioned off the park and required show goers to claim free tickets online, citing massive demand. More than 30,000 people showed up for the four nights of the show. Those tickets sold out in a flash, and some ended up on eBay for pretty crazy prices. This year, organizers have set up a lottery for tickets. Those who are randomly selected from the lottery will pay up $20 for tickets, which will be limited to four per household and 6,000 per night.
• So this is kinda hilarious. It looks like Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters is down one really killer Halloween costume after a recent magistrate’s decision. As you probably know, a year ago, a group of Greenpeace activists staged a protest at Procter and Gamble headquarters over the company’s use of palm oil, the harvesting of which they say has lead to the destruction of rainforests. As part of this protest, one of the activists repelled down the side of P&G in a tiger costume. For whatever reason, Deters wanted that costume. He wanted it bad. He asked a Hamilton County Court magistrate if he could keep it (it had been held as evidence), but the magistrate recently told Deters to give the dang tiger suit back to the dude.
• Normally, the flow in Washington when it comes to making the big money is that you serve in the government side of things, as a legislator or on a legislator’s staff, then move on to the lucrative lobbying positions that big interests groups hire to gain influence in D.C. But it works both ways, apparently. Here’s an interesting piece about how some national politicians with local ties are hiring former lobbyists to join their Washington staffs. Which seems weird and a little shady, right? Well, it’s not illegal, and the former recipients of big corporate cash swear they’re only working for their bosses (read: us) when they make the move to a legislator’s office. Hm.
• Heroin is a big issue in both north and south of the Ohio River. But the legislative ways Ohio and Kentucky deal with the crisis are very different. Kentucky has recently passed a raft of new laws that look to alleviate the drug’s hold on the region, including making things like needle-exchange programs easier. It’s also ramped up penalties for traffickers bringing the drug into the state. But police officers in Ohio are more likely to carry overdose recovery drugs like Narcan, while many Kentucky police departments are still weighing the drug’s benefits against its costs and possible dangers. What’s more, Ohio is poised to pass more measures ensuring addicts leaving prison get the anti-addiction medication they need. Will the two states ever get on the same page? Unclear.
• The Ohio Democratic Party on Saturday officially endorsed former Gov. Ted Strickland in his campaign for U.S. Senate, tilting the party’s primary further away from Cincinnati City Councilman and Strickland primary opponent P.G. Sittenfeld. That wasn’t entirely unexpected — Strickland has statewide name recognition, polling that shows him trouncing incumbent Republican Senator Rob Portman by nine points at this early point in the campaign, and the endorsement of former president Bill Clinton — but it stings all the same. Especially brutal is what Strickland said at a meeting of the state party’s executive committee of delegates Saturday.
“This isn’t a Little League Baseball Game,” Strickland said, probably muttering a condescending “son,” under his breath. “This is a U.S. Senate race.” Dang. It’s getting heated in this thing.
• Is cursive making a comeback in Ohio? No, no, not Cursive, the band I spent many of my angst-ridden teen years rocking out to. I’m talking about the squiggly script students used to be required to master in grade school. These days, districts decide whether or not they teach the handwriting method, but that could change with a new proposed law that would make it a mandatory part of public education. I’m against it. Art is hard and so are those loopy letters. Full disclosure, however, my handwriting is absolutely awful.
• Quick, but important and kind of scary: Remember last summer when we had that gross toxic algae thing in the Great Lakes, in part due to industrial fertilizer runoff? It shutdown Toledo's water supply for a minute, and it could be a big problem again this year.
• Finally, Hillary Clinton is officially running for president again after her Sunday campaign rollout. The former secretary of state and Democratic frontrunner is already on the campaign trail, hitting up Iowa as we speak, reportedly road-tripping in a black van she’s dubbed “the Scooby Doo Van.”
LumenoCity, the popular outdoor 3D light and music show, will return to Washington Park with five performances Aug. 5-9.
The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra will again provide the live music to accompany 3D projection lighting by Brave Berlin that makes the facade of Music Hall appear to come to life.
Performances include a dress rehearsal on Aug. 5 followed by four shows Aug. 6-9. All performances will begin at 8:30 p.m. with the Cincinnati Pops and the audio/visual show with the CSO will begin at 9:40 p.m. each night.
In addition to more performances, changes this year include an admission fee. Tickets cost $15-$20 and attendees must register in advance for a chance to reserve them. Ticket registration is open now through May 16 at 10 p.m. at lumenocity2015.com (limit one entry per person). A select number of registrants will be chosen at random on May 29, and those people will have the opportunity to buy up to four tickets (limit one selected registrant per household). Once selected individuals receive their ticket codes, they can then select particular performance dates on a first-come, first served basis. Codes should be redeemed as early as possible, starting June 1. Overall capacity has been reduced to 6,000 per night (a total of 30,000 across the four performances and dress rehearsal) to limit overcrowding.
See Classical music through a new lens at THE CONSTELLA FESTIVAL
An ambitious initiative, Constella was conceived as an arts showcase featuring the best in international and local performers. This year’s festival is no less ambitious, but it’s considerably scaled back from the sprawling array of choices that in the past have potentially overwhelmed potential audiences. Originally scheduled throughout October and November, performances are now within a 12-day period in April. It’s still a packed schedule with five events each week, featuring violinist Hilary Hahn, pianist Simon Trpceski, other established European performers making Cincinnati debuts, Cincinnati performers and artists, and a film premiere. Performances are at downtown locations accessible by public transportation and tickets can be purchased from one source. Get more information and buy tickets here.
Get sloppy at ZINES, SCREENS & SCREAMS DIY music fest
The Zines, Screens & Screams Fest, a celebration of DIY music and culture, comes to Main Street in Over-the-Rhine this weekend for the first edition of what organizers hope to make an annual event. The festival starts Friday at 5 p.m. and Saturday at noon and will be centered around two main locations: Maudie’s (maudieslive.com) and Cincy By the Slice (cincybytheslice.com), which are both located at 1207 Main St. in OTR; and The Drinkery (1150 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, drinkeryotr.com). The Drinkery (which will only be participating in the music portion of the fest Friday night) is open to those 21-and-up only; all other events are open to all ages. The festival features a slew of local bands as well as some national touring acts that play Rock, Punk, Post Punk, Experimental, Metal and other Indie-oriented genres. It’s a great chance to catch some local musicians that don’t often get a ton of attention outside the DIY scene. Read more here.
Hang out at the Southgate House Revival with CHUCK PROPHET & THE MISSION EXPRESS
San Francisco singer/songwriter Chuck Prophet’s illustrious career began in earnest when he joined the influential and critically acclaimed Roots Rock band Green on Red right after high school. Since then, similar acclaim for his solo work has never slowed; he has released more than a dozen albums since 1990 that have carried the torch of Green on Red’s slanted Alt Roots Rock, taking it even further. Also a prolific collaborator, Prophet has worked with everyone from Warren Zevon and Solomon Burke to Alejandro Escovedo and Cake. Prophet is currently touring with his band The Mission Express behind his most recent full-length, Night Surfer, which came out last year on Yep Roc and features contributions from R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and others. (Visit the music page at citybeat.com to read our feature story on Prophet.) 8:30 p.m. Friday. $15; $18 day of show. Southgate House Revival, 111 E. Sixth St., Newport, Ky., southgatehouse.com.
Brings your leftover yarn to the BRAZEE STREET STUDIOS ART SUPPLY SWAP
If one artist’s junk is another artist’s treasure, then Friday’s art supply swap at Brazee Street Studios might be a gold mine of fodder for artistic creation. An informal exchange of materials, guests are asked to bring any two items to donate — paint, markers, pencils, rhinestones, charcoal, paper, canvas, yarn, sequins, etc. — and they can take as much as they like home. Drop-off begins at 9:30 a.m. and leftover items will be donated to Crayons2Computers, a local organization that gives school and art supplies to children in need. 9:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Free. Brazee Street Studios’ parking lot, 4426 Brazee St., Oakley, brazeestreetstudios.com. If you can actually knit and want to keep the yarn (or take someone else's home), Hospice of Southwest Ohio is currently accepting slipper donations for patients.
Take your time at SLOW ART DAY
Slow Art Day is one of the best ideas to reach art museums ever — a break from the rush-rush hubbub of trying to see everything. Visitors concentrate on just looking, really looking, at a few pieces and then discuss them with others. Saturday, the Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati Art Museum and Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum are participating in the international event. At the Taft starting at 11:15 a.m., docents will help visitors look slowly at five pieces of art. Participants then have a separately-sold lunch at the Taft cafe. (RSVP to 513-684-4515.) At the art museum at noon, an hour-long guided tour starts; participants will visit works by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Bernardino Mei, John Francis and Donald Judd. Afterward, there will be a discussion. (Reserve space at cincinnatiartmuseum.org.) Also at the Cincinnati Art Museum is the new Andy Warhol exhibit, Up at Bat: Warhol and Baseball, featuring the CAM's classic Pop Art Pete Rose and more from America's favorite pastime. And at Hamilton’s Pyramid Hill, visitors meet to begin looking at five pieces of art at 10 a.m., followed by discussion. They can bring a brown-bag lunch. Admission to Pyramid hill is $8 for adults; $3 for 12 and younger. (RSVP to 513-868-8336.)
As the birthplace of the first professional baseball team, as well as the creation of the World Series and the location of the National League and American League merger, Cincinnati has a long history of incredible on- and off-field moments. American Legacy Tours digs deeper into the city’s baseball past with The 1919 Tour. In conjunction with the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum, the tour focuses on events and activities surrounding the controversial 1919 World Series, which pitted the Reds against the Chicago White Sox and is associated with the “Black Sox” gambling scandal. The walking tour visits locations where the scandal unfolded and examines the cast of characters involved in the infamous event. 10:30 a.m. Saturdays. Through October. $20. Leaves from Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown, americanlegacytours.com.
Eat a whole bunch of haggis at TARTAN DAY SPRING CEILIDH
The Cincinnati Caledonian Pipes & Drums, a local nonprofit that aims to preserve and promote Scottish heritage, hosts their annual spring party. The Celtic bash will feature music from the likes of the Blue Rock Boys, Ceol Mhor and Riley Gaelic Singers, and performances from the McGing Irish Dancers and Cincinnati Highland Dancers. Themed food will be provided by Brazenhead Pub, with a scotch tasting, Scottish beer sampling, haggis-eating contest, tea room and more. 6-10 p.m. Saturday. $15; food and drink sold separately. The Center, 115 E. Fifth St., Mercantile Building, Downtown, cincypipesanddrums.org.
Dance all night at BALLET A GO GO
Inspired by the world famous Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles and New York’s Peppermint Lounge discotheque, Ballet A Go Go is one hot dance party. Celebrating the fifth anniversary of the ballet’s Club B, each room of the Cincinnati Ballet Center will transform into a trendy ’60s nightclub for an evening of Mod fashion, music and, of course, go-go dancing. Cocktails and dinner precede era-inspired music and dessert; tickets include an open bar. The dress code is funky Mod attire. 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets start at $150. 1555 Central Parkway, Downtown, cballet.org/events.
Get metaphysical at the VICTORY OF LIGHT EXPO
Established in 1992, the Victory of Light Expo showcases the world of the intuitive arts and psychic sciences. The festival provides a venue for spiritual teachers, readers, healers and vendors from around the country to share their philosophies and teach free seminars on topics including the shamanic anatomy of the soul, manifesting your desires and how to communicate with your guides, angels and loved ones who have passed over. After the seminars, enjoy shopping, featured artists and music from award winning Native American flute player Douglas Blue Feather, Lighthawk and crystal and Tibetan singing bowl artist Ron Esposito. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $15 single day; $25 weekend. Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Road, Sharonville, victoryoflight.com.
Celebrate the semi-return of Magnolia Mountain with MARK UTLEY's solo release show
Prolific singer/songwriter Mark Utley has released a single album’s worth of songs. And that’s all. Bulletville, Utley’s excellent sophomore solo album, is not a double-set on a single CD or accompanied by a new release from his band Magnolia Mountain or another musical vessel for the songs that pour endlessly from his head, heart and hands. Is this Utley’s version of writer’s block? Last year, Magnolia Mountain, Utley’s Blues/Roots Rock vehicle, was collapsing while Bulletville, Utley’s traditional Country side project with Magnolia Mountain’s Renee Frye and Jeff Vanover, was thriving. With Magnolia Mountain sidelined, Utley’s creative vacuum was quickly filled by Bulletville. His Country project’s profile rose exponentially with each new gig, naturally leading to more songs and ultimately the recording of Bulletville, produced, like every Magnolia Mountain album to date, by Afghan Whigs bassist John Curley. The difference this time is that Bulletville was largely recorded live in the studio. Mark Utley and Bulletville celebrate their new album release Saturday at MOTR Pub. More info: motrpub.com. Click here for details on Bulletville and all of Utley's projects.
See baby lion cubs at ZOO BLOOMS
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s annual floral exhibit, Zoo Blooms, features daffodils, hyacinths, flowering trees and one of the largest displays of tulips in the Midwest. Also on view, the zoo's three new lion cubs. Follow them on twitter @cincyzoolion. $18 adults; $12 children; $9 parking. 3400 Vine St., Avondale, cincinnatizoo.org.
Enjoy a matinee of THE TAMING OF THE SHREW
If you’ve ever seen The Taming of the Shrew, you might remember it as the tale of an ill-tempered woman brought into line by an abusive, gold-digging suitor. In that simple summary, Shakespeare’s early comedy understandably doesn’t sit well with most modern audiences. But contemporary presenters of the show have a variety options to make it more palatable. In its current staging at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, guest director Kevin Hammond has utilized more than one of them. Read a full review here. 2 p.m. Sunday. $22-$32.Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 719 Race St., Downtown, cincyshakes.com.
Feel a little hazy and lo-fi with COLLEEN GREEN and Leggy at the Woodward
Colleen Green’s third full-length (and first album recorded in an actual recording studio) is titled I Want to Grow Up, which is no coincidence. Well, that is if you equate a glossier sound and trying to kick coffee and weed as growing up. For I Want to Grow Up, Green hooked up with friends Jake Orrall (JEFF The Brotherhood) and Casey Weissbuch (Diarrhea Planet) in a Nashville, Tenn., studio to crank out 10 songs with titles like “TV” and “Pay Attention,” deceptively simple tunes that recall a cross between early Donnas and the bummed-out laments of Juliana Hatfield. Colleen Green plays Woodward Theater on Sunday. Tickets/more info here.
Grab a drink and an underground tour at TOAST TO THE TUNNELS
Back by popular demand, Toast to the Tunnels takes you on a tour to explore the Christian Moerlein Malt House’s underground barrel vault tunnels, once home to the pre-Prohibition Kauffman Brewing malt house. A quick taste of history will be accompanied by a $10 flight of Moerlein beers in the taproom. Proceeds benefit the Betts House, currently exhibiting Bricks, Barrel Vaults & Beer: The Architectural History of Cincinnati Breweries. 2-5 p.m. Sunday. Christian Moerlein Malt House, 1621 Moore St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/thebettshouse.
Watch GAME OF THRONES
As many know, Game of Thrones (Season Premiere, 9 p.m. Sunday, HBO) is based on author George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series. But what happens when the show’s progression surpasses that of the source material? Debuting this week, Season Five will cover the series’ fourth and fifth novels; by the time the finale airs, the show will be “off the books.” This means those who watch will have a leg up on those who read (nerds!). If you ever had a friend threaten to spoil the show with their literary knowledge, the tables have finally turned. Martin met with the show’s creators to guide them through the future of Game of Thrones — both versions will end with the same basic pieces in place — but fans can expect future seasons to diverge from the forthcoming novels. In Sunday’s premiere, Cersei and Jaime mourn their father’s death and adapt to life without his direction. At least they have each oth… Ew, nevermind. Tyrion is in hiding in Pentos with Varys, Jon’s loyalty is pulled between Night’s Watch and Stannis, and, after locking up two of her babies and banishing Jorah, Daenerys faces more setbacks in Meereen. Two of the most anticipated storylines come with new territory — Dorne and Braavos. Following Oberyn’s crushing defeat, we head to his home turf of Dorne to meet his daughters, the Sand Snakes. Also exciting is the prospect of Arya traveling to Braavos to find Jaqen H’ghar. Valar Morghulis, y’all!
Hello Cincy, let’s talk about the news today.
The big story, of course, is the death of Lauren Hill, the 19-year-old Mount Saint Joseph freshman who very publicly and courageously battled inoperable brain cancer. Hill inspired many across the country, continuing to play basketball with Mount Saint Joe even as her illness weakened her. Through her advocacy, she raised $1.4 million for cancer research with nonprofit cancer research agency The Cure Starts Now. Hill passed early this morning.
• Cincinnati’s next big brewery has set its opening date. Northside’s Urban Artifact brewery, located in the historic St. Pius X church on Blue Rock Street, will have its grand opening two weeks from today on April 24. The space will also be a concert venue, and has a unique business model: live music every night of the week that will be recorded, if the artists wish, and streamed on the space’s website. Eventually, Urban Artifact will offer a restaurant at the location as well.
• Local high school students in Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren Counties will be able to take a free college class and get a textbook free of charge this summer at Cincinnati State Technical Community College, the school announced yesterday. The offer is open to 2015 graduates and those who will be freshmen in the fall at Cincinnati State as well. Cincinnati State President O’dell Owens says it’s a way for the school to give back to the community while hopefully enticing area students to enroll at the school in the future.
• Cincinnati schools are making strides in terms of educational achievement by students, but those gains aren't universal and highlight glaring racial and economic gaps, a new study from Cincinnati's Strive Partnership has found. You can read the full study here. Look for more coverage on educational inequality in Cincinnati from us in the near future.
• There’s a pretty interesting wrinkle in the race for the Senate seat currently held by Sen. Rob Portman in Ohio. Democratic challenger Ted Strickland has polled nine points ahead of Portman and many points ahead of his primary foe Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld. But Strickland has actually raised less money for his campaign than either of them. Portman has raised over $2 million for the race, Sittenfeld has raised $750,000 and recent campaign filings show Strickland has pulled in about $670,000. That’s not far off from Sittenfeld, and Strickland has much more name recognition from his stint as governor of Ohio from 2007 to 2011. Strickland announced his campaign later than Sittenfeld, a fact his campaign manager says explains why he’s trailing right now.
• Here’s a really informative rundown on the upcoming Supreme Court battle over marriage equality that centers around Ohio’s 2004 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and gay marriage bans in several other states. The case will almost certainly be precedent-setting, and momentum is on the side of marriage equality; many federal circuit courts have struck down other states’ bans, but the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati has upheld bans in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Tennessee. That’s created a conflict in federal court rulings, something the Supreme Court will have to sort out with its decision. The nation’s highest court already struck down a federal ban on gay marriage two years ago, and now advocates on both sides are holding their breath for this decisive battle. Arguments before the court kick off April 28.
• Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to announce her candidacy for president Sunday in New York City, according to a number of national news outlets. Clinton is the decided front runner for the Democratic nomination; so much so that some have accused her of a rather blasé approach to the campaign thus far. Clinton has a strong fundraising network and big support from high-level Democrats, though. But she has already had to tussle with a potential scandal: the revelation she used her personal e-mail account for State Department business while she served in that position. That wasn’t illegal at the time, and Clinton has turned over thousands of those e-mails, but critics say there’s no way to know whether she has turned over all of them. Despite these early stumbles, there are few other Democrats who seem feasible challengers. Those on the left in the party have been pushing Sen. Elizabeth Warren to run, but she so far has declined to entertain the idea. More recently, independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who caucuses with Democrats, has made noises that he might be interested in the race. It’s unclear, however, how Sander’s very progressive politics (he’s an avowed socialist) would play with the mainstream Democratic base.
• Finally, a measure designed to prevent businesses who contract with the federal government from discriminating against LGBT individuals kicked in Wednesday. The law, which stems from an executive order signed by President Barack Obama in July, means that those companies can’t consider sexual orientation when they hire. Outside this measure, which only applies to companies who do business with the federal government, there are not laws against employment discrimination against LGBT individuals federally or in Ohio.
There's a ton of theater opening up this weekend, something for just about every taste. But if you're looking for something free, I have a special recommendation: It's 110 in the Shade at UC's College-Conservatory of Music. This is a production in the Cohen Family Studio Theater (an intimate black box venue that seats about 150). The production is in the "Musical Redux" series, bringing back a show that's not often produced. 110 dates back to 1963. It's the story of Lizzie Curry, on her way to being an "old maid," who lives with her dad and her brothers. A charming con man shows up posing as a rainmaker and promises relief to drought-stricken farmers. Is he for real? Lizzie has her doubts, but he works hard to win her over. CCM Studio productions are free, but reservations are required (513-556-4183), and performances are often filled up. This one is likely to be a lot of fun; it's this weekend only, final performance at .
Each week CityBeat staffers share their weekend plans: from dinner and drinks or special events to out-of-town concerts and stories we're working on. And some of us just watch TV.
Maija Zummo: My only plan so far this weekend is to go to Zoo Blooms at the Cincinnati Zoo. The zoo is probably my favorite place in Cincinnati — I'm a member and I go as often as I can, especially in April for the flower show and then in May for Zoo Babies(!!!). I'm not sure how many tulips will be out yet, but apparently the new lion cubs have started to explore their outdoor enclosure in the Africa exhibit, which seems really exciting. Tiny lions. Also people frequently don't realize the zoo sells beer, but it does, including its own exclusive Moerlein Red River Hog Ale. I like to get a beer, walk around and ride the tiny train. And if you go like mid-afternoon, it's feeding time, so all the animals are out and snacking.
Danny Cross: I might pop by Zines, Screens & Screams on Saturday. I like pizza and being downtown on Saturday nights, plus Jesse Fox’s band is playing and it’s always fun to watch her flail about and yell shit. My girlfriend is a St. Louis Cardinals fan (boo!) but she bought tickets to Sunday’s game (yay!), so we’re going back to GABP for the second time in a week. Raisel Iglesias is making his major league debut against one of the Cardinal bubs not named Adam Wainwright. It’s going to be retribution for the time last year I watched “Waino” beat the Reds in person.
Jac Kern: I will be hanging out with photographer Harvey Drouillard as he continues his local stint photographing nudes in public places around town. (I will be staying behind the camera — you’re welcome, world.) Stay tuned for a story on Drouillard and his provocative project. On Friday I hope to swing by Visionaries + Voices’ annual benefit Double Vision. V+V is an excellent local resource for artists with disabilities, and this fundraising art auction is a great way to learn more about the organization, support the artists and load up on stellar local art. Sunday is the Sabbath in my house, which for us means gathering with loved ones…around the TV. Game of Thrones is back! New seasons of Veep and Silicon Valley also premiere on HBO that night, along with a new episode of the final season of Mad Men. I do lots of DVR catch-up on the weekends, too.
Jon Stewart is stepping
down as host of The Daily Show sometime
later this year, and now we know who will be taking his spot: 31-year-old South
African comedian Trevor Noah. He joined The
Daily Show as a correspondent last December. As to be expected, people
scoured his Twitter feed to
find something to be offended about see a
sampling of his work, but despite some “controversial tweets,”
overall Noah seems to be a great fit for the show. Watch some of his stuff
The Walking Dead fans got their first peek at the series’ spinoff show, recently titled Fear the Walking Dead (yawn), during last week’s super-packed, super-long, intense season finale. While details like these are just now being confirmed, it was revealed that the show will premiere this summer, meaning basically 365 Walking Dead. If the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it trailer is any indication, the series will explore the early days of the zombie outbreak, which is very exciting for fans of the original or just the genre (It’s almost an unwritten rule that zombie media focus on the fallout instead of the cause.) Gone Girl’s Kim Dickens (who also had recent stints on Sons of Anarchy and House of Cards) will star.
Who doesn’t love a good pop culture map? Thrillist compiled all the real locations from Broad City’s second season into one convenient map so you can make like Abbi and Ilana the next time you’re in NYC.
LEGO may soon be making a Golden Girls-inspired toy set complete with Blanche, Dorothy, Rose, Sophia and their iconic kitchen.
On the heels of HBO’s Scientology documentary Going Clear, SNL offered hilarious commentary in the form of a fake 1990s music video for fake religion Neutrology.
This actual Scientology video appears to be the inspiration.
Which is real, which is a parody?
Game of Thrones is coming! Season Five premieres Sunday and by the final episode this
year, the show will be completely “off books,” meaning this is the time to get
your revenge on any Song of Ice and Fire-reading
friends who’ve spoiled anything for you. No one is safe! Check out this week’s television column
for a look at the season plus TV picks for the week (Veep, Silicon Valley and Louie are back, too!). Further reading
to get in the Thrones mood: Jon Snow
as a terrible dinner party guest;
The Gang of Thrones?: Mac and Charlie may be coming to Westeros;
Gay of Thrones — the Funny or Die GOT recap
show I can’t believe I missed out on until today (Thanks, Kenneth!).
If people left parties the same way they quit Facebook:
Looking for a Netflix
offering to binge on/obsess over? Watch Black
Mirror stat. The British mini-series (as in only three episodes per season
— so binge wisely) is like a modern approach to The Twilight Zone, with each episode taking on a different cast and
story loosely based around technology and a not-so-distance dystopian future. Serious mind-blowing stuff.
Speaking of Netflix, 17 new episodes of cult favorite Arrested Development are supposedly on their way to the streaming platform. Start saving those vacation days now!
Also, the Orange Is the New Black Season Three trailer is here:
File this under: Tricks to Make Me Pay Attention to Politics: Rand Paul’s Drag Race.
Good morning y’all. How are you? I’m feeling great today because I just polished off a 6,000-word draft for an upcoming cover story that you’re definitely going to want to read. That’s always a great feeling, and a short-lived one — soon comes the editing process. But let’s stay focused on the here and now, shall we, and talk about the news today.
Could $40 million in new development, including a sought-after grocery store, be coming to Avondale? It’s becoming more and more of a possibility. Developer The Community Builders is looking at expanding development plans associated with the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Choice Neighborhoods program, which seeks to improve individual and neighborhood-level outcomes in low-income communities. Developers and the Avondale Community Council and Community Development Corporation have received $30 million from that program, and by using that money to attract other investment have turned it into $100 million for development in the neighborhood. So far, that money has gone to rehabilitating existing structures, but it could soon be used to build new developments, including the so-called Avondale Town Center, a key mixed-use development including a grocery store Mayor John Cranley mentioned in his State of the City speech last year. The development is still in the planning phases, and no grocer has been selected yet, but so far 118 units of affordable and market-rate housing and 80,000 square feet of retail space are on the table as goals.
• More legal troubles could be in the works for the former officials from a local charter school in the West End. Former Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy Superintendent Lisa Hamm and Treasurer Stephanie Millard were implicated in the misspending of more than $500,000 in a 2013 special audit by the state. On Tuesday, State Auditor David Yost released another report saying the two misspent money even as that audit took place, opening up the possibility more charges could be filed.
I want to make a special note about this story. The Cincinnati Enquirer has called the Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy a “magnet school” in at least two articles I’ve seen about it, including the one linked above. That doesn’t appear to be the case at all. Magnet schools are themed public schools run by local districts like Cincinnati Public Schools. (See also: the Department of Education's description of magnet schools.) Charter schools aren’t accountable to local school districts, even if they’re publicly funded. Part of the scandal around CCPA is that its controlling board, which is not the city’s Board of Education, didn’t approve the spending in question. The existence of that stand-alone board shows that CCPA is a charter, not a magnet. The school doesn't appear in CPS' magnet school listings, for instance, because it isn't a magnet under CPS.
Am I missing something? Correct me if you have more insight. In the meantime — why does the distinction matter? Because charter schools have had serious accountability problems in Ohio in the past few years, and we should call CCPA what it is — another charter school with lax oversight and a problematic power structure. To call it a magnet school is to saddle Cincinnati Public Schools with at least one more big problem it doesn’t actually have anything to do with. OK, sorry. Onward.
• Greater Cincinnati developer Jeffery Decker is facing a federal court filing over an insurance claim on a multi-million dollar mansion that burned down in Indian Hill in January last year. Decker filed a lawsuit asking Hamilton County Common Pleas Court to award his family millions for an insurance policy from Chubb National Insurance Co. The Decker family received an advance $700,000 payment on the insurance policy before the insurance company filed a counter claim asking for the money back after Decker’s phone records revealed he was at the house much later in the day on the day the fire happened than he initially claimed — up until about 15 minutes before smoke was reported on the property. Chubb is alleging that Decker misrepresented his whereabouts the day of the fire in his initial claim and therefore invalidated the insurance policy.
• The Ohio Democratic Party could endorse former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland in the state’s 2016 Senate race over primary foe Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, The Cincinnati Enquirer reports. So far, the party has stayed neutral on the race, at least officially, though some high-level Democrats have asked Sittenfeld to bow out of the race. Strickland is the favorite, having garnered an endorsement from former President Bill Clinton and having the advantage of massive name recognition in the state that propelled him to take a nine-point lead over incumbent Republican Senator Rob Portman.
• President Barack Obama yesterday called for an end to so-called "gay conversion" therapy in the wake of the December death of transgender teen Leelah Alcorn. Alcorn, whose given name was Joshua, committed suicide late last year after her parents barred her from getting gender transition treatments and instead took her to Christian-based counseling to try and convince her to give up her transgender status. The Obama administration's call to end the therapy method came in response to a Whitehouse.gov petition that received more than 120,000 signatures.
"We share your concern about its potentially devastating effects on the lives of transgender as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer youth," the response reads. "As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this Administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors."
• Finally — ah, the nostalgia. By the time I got around to hitting up Forest Fair Mall as a youngin, it was already a creepily empty shell that housed a Guitar Center, a food court with flickering florescent lights and not much else. Now there are discussions about revitalizing the hulking indoor mall in Forest Park, perhaps with a mixture of uses beyond mall retail. Sounds interesting, though honestly, I’m a bit more entertained by the creepy, zombie apocalypse vibe of the place as it stands. Hm. Do I smell a Walking Dead theme park opportunity? I think so.