CityBeat - Blogs http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/blogs.engine.php <![CDATA[Valley of the Sun Tour Diary: The Wonders of Gaff Tape]]>

Today, I wanted to write about something that all five of us share on this trip. Something we all cherish, hold close and respect more than anything. I want to talk about something that holds us all together on a daily basis. The love of Rock & Roll.

Ha ha! Just kidding, I’m talking about gaffer’s tape.

Some of you may be asking what gaffer’s tape (aka gaff tape) is. Others of you may be saying that gaff tape is just like duct tape. To the first group, I will say that gaff tape is a wondrous roll of tape with properties that make it perfect for a touring band’s needs. To the second group, I will say, “Shut up, no it isn’t.”

Gaff tape comes in a large roll similar to duct tape, is generally black (shiny or matte) and adheres to just about anything. The non-stick surface and a Sharpie is a match made in heaven. And when you go sticky side to sticky side, nothing short of The Hulk (or a knife) will get that stuff separated.

But there is one attribute that makes it invaluable: it rips off the roll super easily. Anyone who has used duct tape knows what a struggle it is to get that stuff to part with the rest of the roll. OK, it’s not super hard to do, but when you’re half asleep, in some random European city, with 15 minutes till doors open and an entire merch area to set up, convenience is crucial.

To give you an idea of just how versatile gaff tape is, I want to share with you some of the myriad ways we’ve put gaff tape to work.

The first is makeshift signs. When you have to advertise what sizes we have left in stock on a shirt, gaff tape comes to the rescue.

We also use the black gold to hang our merch when no hooks or other devices are present.

 Sometimes we use it to keep our expensive tour banners from falling over.

Other times, we use it to patch together our expensive tour banners when a certain inexperienced merch guy breaks them.
Or even to just hold a water bottle and weigh down a set list on stage.
These are just a few of the many uses that gaff tape can accomplish. It truly is a tool that can be applied to almost any problem. I’m pretty sure that we could use it to close a grievous wound and I’d have confidence that it’d hold till we reached a hospital. And that’s accounting for the fact that none of us can say “hospital” in German, Italian, French or Swiss.

So here’s to you gaff tape, the one thing on this tour that’s always there for us (at least until we run out).

CityBeat contributor Nick Grever is currently traveling Europe on tour with Cincinnati Rock band Valley of the Sun. He will be blogging for citybeat.com regularly about the experience.

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<![CDATA[CityBeat Staffers' Favorite 'This American Life' Episodes]]>

This American Life, the true storytelling public radio show hosted by Ira Glass, is one of the most popular radio programs and podcasts today. Each week since 1995, Glass presents a theme — cars, summer camp, break-ups — and a variety of writers, comedians, journalists and everyday people share stories of their experiences with that subject. For the few unfamiliar with TAL, it’s one of those shows that will keep you in your car with the radio on long after you’ve pulled in the driveway.

Ira Glass will present his live show, Reinventing Radio, this Saturday at the Aronoff Center. CityBeat spoke to Glass about his history with public radio — check out our interview here.

To celebrate the program and its adorable bespectacled host, CityBeat staffers have compiled a few of our favorite episodes (in no particular order).

Why not start at the beginning? This American Life’s very first episode — back when the program was called Your Radio Playhouse — aired on Nov. 17, 1995. The theme: New Beginnings. One of the guests is Ira’s mom.

Fear of Sleep (Aug. 8, 2008) features tales on various things that go bump in the night. Comedian Mike Birbiglia shares his astonishing stories of sleepwalking, which later inspired his movie, Sleepwalk with Me.

This American Life has done a few live productions over the years. On May 10, 2012, Glass and friends took the stage at New York University’s Skirball Center for Invisible Made Visible, a performance that was streamed live in movie theaters across the country. It was an incredible interactive experience that included music, dance, comedy and a short film. Check out photos here.

From mistaken identity to evil twins, Dopplegangers (Jan. 11, 2013) has it all. Including Fred Armisen’s impeccable Ira Glass impression.

A lot of This American Life segments are anecdotal, but sometimes the show has taken on newsier issues — and one time, they got it all wrong. On Jan. 6, 2012, Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory aired. Mike Daisey spoke about the conditions of an iPhone factory in China, including vivid details and interviews with workers. Soon after, it was revealed that Daisey had fabricated his story and lied during the fact-checking process. Retraction is not only an interesting correction to the original Daisey program, but a commentary on journalistic integrity, the importance of fact-checking and the lengths people will go for a moment in the spotlight.

Reinventing Radio: An Evening with Ira Glass takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Aronoff Center. Tickets: 513-621-ARTS or cincinnatiarts.org.

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<![CDATA[Lectures Highlight CAM's 'Eyes on the Street' Show]]>

Last night, British photographer Paul Graham presented his FotoFocus-sponsored lecture at Cincinnati Art Museum. Graham’s work is in two of FotoFocus’ featured exhibitions — the museum’s Eyes on the Street and the Stills show at Downtown’s Michael Lowe Gallery. Eyes on the Street is up until Jan. 4; Stills closes Nov. 1.

Graham’s work is related to but updates classic street photography in that, based on what he said last night, he seeks out subtle shots rather than what he calls “clichéd” or obviously dramatic images. He tries to build haiku-like, enigmatic visual sequences that in their small details cumulatively provide insight. (That said, he did show slides from a recent series that features rainbows.)

It’s a difficult task not always easily evident to the viewer, but he expressed his purpose eloquently last night and repeatedly mentioned those whose work inspired him — Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, Garry Winogrand. For those moved by his work, there’s a Where’s Waldo quality to “reading” the smallest details — the color of a tie or T-shirt, the positioning of a pedestrian on a street, the relationship of the camera angle to a storefront sign, the choices in focus.

This is particularly noticeable in his recent The Present series of New York street life, from which the Cincinnati-displayed photos come. “It’s the theater of the street, the theater of life coming at you,” he said. He also prefers that his framed prints be mounted on a gallery wall close to the floor, to approximate sidewalk level. But he acknowledged last night that the Stills show did not do that, and he enjoyed being able to see his photos at more normal eye level.

His The Present photos in Eyes on the Street capture the results of bold action or drama, a rarity for him, in that a woman has fallen on the sidewalk while others move toward her.

Meanwhile last night, the museum’s associate curator of photography, Brian Sholis, distributed announcements of two additional events connected to the current Eyes on the Street show: a Nov. 5 panel discussion at 7 p.m. about Eyes on the Street at Niehoff Urban Studio, University of Cincinnati, 2728 (Short) Vine St.; and a Nov. 19 conversation at 6 p.m. on “Art and Privacy” featuring Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell and civil-rights lawyer Alphonse Gerhardstein. It’s at the museum’s Fath Auditorium.

Go here for more information.

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<![CDATA[JRo to Open Le Bar a Boeuf in Edgecliff Building]]> Everyone's favorite French chef Jean-Robert de Cavel, owner of Table and French Crust Cafe, is opening a new destination restaurant in The Edgecliff condominium building in Walnut Hills (2200 Victory Parkway). 

The whimsically titled Le Bar a Boeuf — literally translated to "beef bar" — will be a French neo-bistro, de Cavel says, with new takes on classic French and American dishes; more casual than the Table with the intent that everybody will be able to share (at least the appetizers).

"It's not a classic bistro, like when I did Jean Ro," de Cavel says. "This neo-bistro is something from the past you are familiar with but in a modern way." 

The menu (which is currently being finalized) will feature six or seven appetizers, from homemade pate and crab cakes ("Of course crab cakes," de Cavel says) to beef and salmon tartare, deviled eggs and lobster macaroni and cheese, along with entrees that focus on ground meat. 

"So like a burger without the bread," he says. 

The chef has always wanted to do a burger bar-type restaurant, but Le Bar a Boeuf will be something more, elevating the street food with a French twist; a burger you eat with a fork and knife. The ground meat — which includes choices like Wagyu beef, seafood and lamb — keeps entree prices down (they're currently slated to be in the $16-$28 range), while still providing quality. It also allows patrons to top their "burgers" with a variety of add-ons. 

"You can have a burger with sautéed chicken liver on it, or you can have pork belly or foie gras, confit tomatoes or roasted portobello mushrooms," de Cavel says.

Le Bar a Boeuf's Chef de Cuisine will be Mirko Ravlic with sous chef Travis Reidel, both from Table. Table's wine director Evan Abrams will be developing the moderately priced and global wine list. The bar will also serve classic cocktails, and local, import and domestic beers. And Lindsay Furia, most recently of New York's 11 Madison Park, will come aboard as general manager.

Previously home to restaurants including The Edgecliff Room, View, Four and Coach, de Cavel has made a few changes to the 70-person dining room, lounge and patio, with help from HighStreet and the designer who helped with Table, to make the atmosphere "funky" and "different."

Slated to open by mid-November, one of the former selling points of the restaurant location was the panoramic river-view (hence the former eatery "View"). 

"I never want to promote the view; the view, for me, it's an extra," de Cavel says. "It's an extra thing. I want it to be a fun restaurant; a destination restaurant. Fun for the younger generation to the older generation."

Le Bar a Boeuf will open for dinner Tuesdays-Saturdays initially, and then for lunch and brunch Wednesday-Sunday shortly after. Follow progress on Twitter and Instagram @baraboeufcincy
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<![CDATA[Tyler Shields Returns to Cincinnati for Miller Gallery Show]]>

American photographer and firebrand Tyler Shields makes his return to Cincinnati for a Miller Gallery exhibition as part of the ongoing FotoFocus Biennial.

This is Shields’ second appearance at the Miller Gallery in conjunction with FotoFocus, first appearing in 2012 with Controlled Chaos. This year's exhibit – Provocateur — opens tonight and he’s been shooting in various locations locally throughout the week.

Of all the superlatives to describe Shields and his work, “provocateur” might be most suitable of all. He’s gained a level of notoriety for his past exhibits and photo shoots, including a 2011 exhibit that substituted paint for the fresh blood of 25 rich and famous celebrities.

Shields has successfully merged the world of art with celebrity, similar to fellow rebel-rouser Andy Warhol. He’s taken racy and playful photos of Lindsay Lohan, Kathy Griffin, Abigail Breslin and the entire cast of Revenge.

His work can also be seen as a companion to Jay Z and Kanye Wests’s Watch the Throne, using the medium of photography to exhibit grandeur, fame and the excesses of materialism. His works have seen the destruction of a $100,000 Hermès Birkin bag and the detonation of a vintage Rolls Royce — all in the name of art, of course.


His latest Cincinnati exhibit yet again pushes his subjects and the limits of what photography can be. His exhibit takes risks, but also presents the germination for pensive and reflective thought.

But of all the superlatives and excessive descriptors for his work, nothing beats seeing the real thing. Make sure Provocateur is a part of your 2014 FotoFocus experience.

The opening party takes place from 7 to 10 p.m. at Miller Gallery (2715 Erie Ave., Hyde Park) and continues through Nov. 8. Go here for more information.

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<![CDATA[Weekend Music: Carolina Chocolate Drops, Busdriver and More]]>

Losing a key singer/songwriter in any band is a difficult proposition (see: Van Halen, multiple times), but popular Roots act Carolina Chocolate Drops haven’t missed a beat since their amicable split with Dom Flemons (now a solo artist). Singer/multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens, the sole original member of the group, continues to drive the Drops, who began as a throwback/tribute to, as Derek Halsey writes in his preview for CityBeat this week, “the African American string-band tradition that flourished in the 1700s and 1800s.” Giddens has also been in the spotlight for her vital contributions to Lost River: The New Basement Tapes, a T Bone Burnett-helmed album featuring songs written around newly discovered “lost” Bob Dylan lyrics. The album, due for release on Nov. 11, also includes some heady company: Elvis Costello, Jim James, Marcus Mumford and Taylor Goldsmith.


Carolina Chocolate Drops perform tonight (Friday) at Parrish Auditorium on the Hamilton campus of Miami University. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $25. Click here for details.


Here’s a clip of the Drops performing “Don’t Get Trouble in Your Mind” recorded this summer … on a gondola!


• Art Rap giant Busdriver comes to Newport’s Thompson House Saturday night for a 7 p.m. show. Tickets are $15 and Clipping, Milo, Kenny Segal, Counterfeit Money Machine, Eugenius and Evolve are also on the bill. 


From Brian Baker’s CityBeat preview of the show:

After the stellar cultural and musical eccentricity of 2012's Beaus$Eros, Busdriver's latest album, Perfect Hair, may be his most ambitious and satisfying record to date. On the new album's "Bliss Point," Busdriver asks the tongue-in-cheek musical questions, "Where exactly is Hip Hop going? Did Hip Hop have breakfast this morning? Does Hip Hop really have the body type to pull off that outfit?" In reverse order, the answers have to be, "Hell yes," "Hell no, it was this afternoon" and "Wherever the Busdriver is taking it." 


• Dynamic Jam band The Werks, who work a crafty Electronic vibe into their improvisational mix, play Covington’s Madison Theater Saturday night at 9 p.m. Zoogma and Peridoni also perform. Tickets are $15 in advance; $18 at the door. 


From Charlie Harmon’s preview for this week’s CityBeat:

Blending genres ranging from fat Funk and Blues to psychedelic Rock and Electronica, their guitar shreds, their keys and organs wail and their bass and drums form a pocket to create what they call “Psychedelic Dance Rock.” 


• Cincinnati singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Ingrid Woode and her group The Woode Tribe Orchestra celebrate the release of a new CD/DVD package with a concert Saturday at the Fairfield Community Arts Center Theatre. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show are $12, which includes a copy of the new release, titled Going LiVe In FiVe. Tickets for the show and more details are available here.


Woode is an accomplished musician, having written for artists like Queen Latifah and Lalah Hathaway. She also performed her original composition “When This Life Is Over” with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 2011. The 11-piece Woode Tribe Orchestra (which includes five backup vocalists) gives the five tracks on Going LiVe In FiVe a full-bodied richness and depth. The music is best categorized as smooth and funky R&B/Soul, but there is an impressive diversity in the arrangements that takes it to another more intriguing level. 


Click here to read more about the release in this week’s Spill It.


• The Burger Records Caravan of Stars pulls into Southgate House Revival in Newport Saturday with a lineup of Burger acts that includes The Coathangers, together PANGEA, Cherry Glazerr, AJ Tavera & Terror Amor and Mozes & the Firstborn. Burger is a cultishly beloved DIY label known for its many cassette release. More recently the notoriously artist-friendly label has been growing and garnering wider attention; the label put out over 300 releases last year, outlets like The New York Times have been doing large feature stories on the label and a new Burger publishing branch was just announced.


In this week’s CityBeat, contributor Reyan Ali chatted with Meredith Franco from Caravan headliners The Coathangers about their evolution from an off-handed joke (something along the lines of, “We should start a band called The Coathangers!”) to international indie success story.

“We didn’t even know what type of music we were going to play. We’re not like, ‘Oh, we’re going to play Punk. We’re going to play Rock & Roll,’ ” Franco says. “Now it’s still the same thing. We just write whatever and that’s what it is. [When people ask] ‘What kind of band are you in?’ I’m like, ‘I don’t know. I guess it’s Rock & Roll.’ ”

Here’s a music video for the band’s “Follow Me,” featuring the members of fellow Atlanta rockers Mastodon filling in for the ’Hangers.


Saturday’s show kicks off at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance; $15 at the door.


• Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m., Cincinnati singer/songwriter Maurice Mattei and his band The Tempers (currently featuring scene vet Jimmy Davidson on guitar, bassist Neil Sharrow, drummer Mike Grimm and Rick Howell on harmonica) will perform at Everybody’s Records in Pleasant Ridge in honor of Maurice’s 21st release, the full-length Celebrity Issue. The event is free. 


CityBeat’s Brian Baker spoke with Mattei about the new release for last week’s CityBeat. Though Mattei generally shies away from “concept albums,” he admits a thread developed in the writing for Celebrity Issue, which features guests like pianist Ricky Nye, pedal steel player Cameron Cochran, multi-instrumentalist/Blessid Union of Souls bassist Dave Ramos, cellist Claire Timmerman, harmonica player Rick Howell and Mattei’s wife Korin on vocals.

“It’s inevitable when you write a group of songs in a finite period that you’re kind of documenting whatever experiences you’re going through at the time,” Mattei says. “A lot of the material talks about loss; loss of someone you knew or a relationship or an era, a time, a place. That’s what I get from it. It’s about how things change and how loss occurs.”


• Progressive Hip Hop/Jazz crew IsWhat?! presents a special multi-media showcase Sunday at The Greenwich in Walnut Hills. Dubbed “A Million Ways to Tell a Story,” the show will spotlight international artists from various disciplines and show how they tell stories within their own mediums. The night includes a screening of the short film Doradus by Italian director Fernando J. Scarpa, who IsWhat?! frontman Napoleon Maddox met while in Hollywood supporting the film Billie’s Blues, which was scored by Maddox. Experimental Japanese percussionist (or, as Maddox calls him, “sonic poet”) Tatsuya Nakatani will also perform, as will IsWhat?! and poet Matt Hart, co-founder/editor of Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking & Light Industrial Safety and also a musician (you may remember him from such local acts Clifford Nevernew and Travel).  


“A Million Ways to Tell a Story” begins at 8 p.m. and admission is $7. Find more info on the show at iswhatonline.blogspot.com


Play It Forward, the local non-profit organization set up to assist (typically uninsured) musicians in their times of medical and/or financial need, presents a benefit concert this Sunday in the name of esteemed veteran local guitarist Larry Goshorn (Sacred Mushroom, Pure Prairie League, Goshorn Brothers). Goshorn has had a series of health issues over the past couple of years, including open-heart surgery. Sunday’s all-ages “Play It for Larry Goshorn” benefit concert runs 4-11 p.m. at Covington's Madison Theater


The show is being hosted by Cincy radio superstars Gary Burbank (Play It Forward’s founder) and Eddie Fingers and will feature performances by Pure Prairie League, The Goshorn Brothers, The Menus, The Bluebirds, Balderdash, Rob Fetters, George Powell and Dave Widow. Advance tickets are $20 (through cincyticket.com) or $25 at the door. All proceeds benefit Play It Forward. 


• Earlier this year, Cincinnati Pop Rock band Mixtapes announced they’d be going on indefinite hiatus after their current run of show dates, which wraps up on Halloween at the big Punk Rock festival Fest in Gainesville, Fla. Local fans won’t have to travel to Florida to see Mixtapes before their break (which seems like it could possibly be permanent). On Sunday at 7:30 p.m., the band plays its final hometown show for at least quite some time at a unique venue — Lucy Blue Pizza (1126 Main St., Over-the-Rhine). The show also includes Mixtapes’ current tourmates Direct Hit!, Elway and Lipstick Homicide, plus Cincy’s Boys and Kinder Words


Sunday’s show is open to fans of all ages and admission is $8 (advance tickets are available through cincyticket.com). 


Know of more good live music options going down this weekend in Greater Cincinnati? Let us know about it in the comments.


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<![CDATA[Stage Door: Safe House and Spooky Performances]]> Last night I was at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park for the opening of Keith Josef Adkins' new play, Safe House, the 71st world premiere staged by our Tony Award-winning regional theater. (CityBeat feature story here.)

It's a fascinating piece that's about the little-known circumstances of "free people of color" in 19th-century America — not slaves but not exactly free. They're put into complex and stressful situations, personified here by a pair of very different brothers: Addison is a hardworking, aspiring entrepreneur, dreaming of become a cobbler with his own store, while younger brother Frank is impetuous and chafing at the restrictions imposed on them. The heat gets turned up when runaway slaves through their Northern Kentucky county need shelter and perhaps passage to Liberia, something their Aunt Dorcas has quietly supported. The story is based on Adkins' family history in this region, and it comes to life in this provocative drama. Through Nov. 15. Tickets ($30-$75): 513-421-3888.

UC's College-Conservatory of Music only rarely gives more than one weekend to musical theater productions. This fall's privileged show is the very commercial Legally Blonde (a hit movie with Reese Witherspoon from 2001 that became a Broadway property in 2007). It's a genuinely entertaining show that actually has a meaningful message about living up to potential and not judging people by their exteriors. It also has a ton of dancing, so it's great news that this production is both being staged by veteran CCM choreographer Diane, who I profiled in my Curtain Call column this week. The production is happening at UC's Patricia Corbett Theater through Nov. 2. Tickets ($31-$35): 513-556-4183.

It's fairytale time at the Covedale Center with a production of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods. But proceed with caution: The first act takes more or less traditional stories of Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk and more, and mixes them into one happy stew. But in Act II, well, things aren't so "happily every after" when reality sets in. Big cast, great tunes, lots of humor — but some thoughtfulness, too. Through Nov. 16. Tickets ($21-$24): 513-241-6550.

The chance to see Bruce Cromer's one-man performance in An Iliad at Ensemble Theatre is an absolute must for anyone who's serious about theater. (CityBeat review here.) It's quite astonishing that one man can do so much and hold an audience's attention for 100 minutes in this retelling of the savagery of the Trojan War. It's all the more powerful because it's a condemnation of war across the ages. Don't miss this one. Through Nov. 2, and no chance that it will be extended, so call now for your tickets. Here's a tip, thanks to friendly relations with Know Theatre, just around the corner from ETC: Use the coupon code MOBY20 to get 20 percent off the price of two tickets for any remaining performances. Tickets ($28-$44): 513-421-3555.

With Halloween just a week away, several theaters are offering shows that will make your heart pound. There's creepy ghost in Falcon Theatre's production of The Woman in Black ($17-$19, 513-479-6783), and the characters in Conor McPherson's The Birds are under attack in ways that don't bode to well for human interaction ($22-$36, 513-381-2273). (CityBeat review here.) And while it's not exactly a Halloween story, Moby Dick at Know Theatre has some scary oddballs and a gargantuan villain out to murder everyone, so that qualifies, too. (CityBeat review here.) It's onstage through Nov. 8 ($18; 513-300-5669).

This weekend is last call for I loved, I lost, I Made Spaghetti at the Cincinnati Playhouse. (CityBeat review here.) Actress Antoinette LaVecchia spins some great stories about writer Giulia Melucci's bad taste in men, all the while making an aromatic Italian dinner — antipasti, wine, spaghetti Bolognese (homemade pasta and fresh sauce) — for a few lucky audience members. This is a totally charming show, great for weekend entertainment. Final performance is Sunday. Tickets ($30-$75): 513-2418-3888.

Rick Pender's STAGE DOOR blog appears here every Friday. Find more theater reviews and feature stories here.
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<![CDATA[WATCH: Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance” Music Video]]>

In early September, Cincinnati major-label act Walk the Moon had its new single, “Shut Up and Dance,” released by RCA Records. The song — which the band performed on Late Night with Seth Myers on Sept. 15 — is slated for inclusion on the band’s next full-length for RCA, the group’s second for the label. The new album is due for release later this year.

Today, the “Shut Up and Dance” video was made public. In the press materials for the new clip, frontman Nicholas Petricca says, “Influenced by the plot-driven music videos of the 80s and nerdy visuals of 90s television, our new video for Shut Up and Dance is a trippy story of dork victory.  We are the proud mothers and co-directors of this weird throwbacky fantasy, alongside the brilliantly funny Josh Forbes.” There’s also an awesomely awkward dance break from Petricca in the clip.



Walk the Moon is currently doing a national tour (with fellow Cincinntians Public opening several dates) that has largely sold out; an announcement of a more extensive spring tour in support of the new album is due in the coming weeks.

Check out Mashable’s piece on the new video, in which Petricca picks his favorite ’80s music videos here.

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<![CDATA[From the Copy Desk]]>

Good late morning, readers. Roughly 13 more work hours until the weekend... we got this. I think.

This week's issue was filled with Words Nobody Uses or Knows, most of which were found in our cover story, Lost in Wilberforce, a piece about how the country's oldest historically black college is dying a slow, sad and dysfunctional death. Nobody is sure if it can be saved. Not what I would call a light read, but wonderfully written and important nonetheless.

Best word of the issue, found in that cover story, is promulgated.

promulgated: to publish or make known officially (a decree, church dogma, etc.); to make widespread, i.e. to promulgate learning and culture (v.)

In this issue: "Dr. Algaenia Warren Freeman, a veteran HBCU administrator, has taken the reins from interim president Wilma Mishoe and is painted by the board — and the university’s PR firm Trevelino-Keller — as emblematic of the 'force of change' promulgated in the university slogan."

Next best word is fealty (also found in the cover story).

fealty: the duty and loyalty owed by a vassal or tenant to his feudal lord; an oath of such loyalty (n.)

In this issue: "Jarred, a Pittsburgh native, pledges fealty only to the University of North Carolina." I enjoy the comparison of the university to a feudal lord here.

And then there's salvos, a great sounding word that has two completely different meanings and is Italian.

salvos: the release of a load of bombs or the launching of several rockets at the same time; a burst of cheers or applause (n.)  I find it amusing that this word can mean something deadly and delightful simultaneously.

In this issue: "'Your cerebral cortex cannot comprehend the complexity of my complex bars,' says Jarred, with the kind of theatrical cadence and gesturing that makes me think these might be introductory salvos in an impromptu face-off right here. 'You can’t fuck with me.' "   OK. Does anybody understand the use of that word in the above sentence? Because I've read it three times and I'm still not getting it.

Another terrific sounding word in this issue is coquettish, which for whatever reason reminded me of Cosette in Les Miserables. Or croquet? Coquettish Cosette played croquet. I don't know. It's in Rick Pender's review of An Iliad at Ensemble Theater, which, by the way, is an astounding production. Really. I see a lot of theater, sometimes multiple shows a week, because my husband works in theater, and let me tell you, this was by far one of the best productions I've seen in the city since I've moved here, like, two months ago. But I digress.

Coquettish: As a young, flirting girl. (adj.)

In this issue: "He is called upon to recreate a dozen or so characters from Homer’s sweeping epic — the professional warrior (and demigod) Achilles; the brave Trojan Prince Hector; Achilles’ protégé Patroclus; pretty boy Paris who lit the fuse on the war by stealing another man’s wife; the arrogant Greek King Agamemnon and his aged, disconsolate counterpart from Troy, King Priam; even several women, from the coquettish Helen and Hector’s steadfast wife Andromache; and a god or two, especially and humorously the fleet-footed Hermes, 'a young man with fabulous sandals.' "

Last word in today's vocab lesson is prescience, found in this week's Big Picture column, which is about the late George S. Rosenthal, a Cincinnati photographer who took photos of the city's West End neighborhood before it was destroyed by the construction of I-75 in the 1950s. 

prescience: apparent knowledge of things before they happen or come into being; foreknowledge (n.)

In this issue: "I mean them no disrespect to focus this story on Rosenthal, but his work fascinates me for his prescience.


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<![CDATA[West Coasters Taste Ohio Delicacies in Real Estate Blog Video]]>

Movoto Real Estate made a video introducing 12 West Coasters to five of Ohio’s favorite dishes. Predictably, the Cincinnati-centric grub gets mass hate by people with extremely sensitive gag reflexes. Here are the best reactions.

Glier’s Goetta: On its appearance: “Quinoa sausage?” On its taste: “[I want] an Egg McMuffin with that.” On its mouth feel: “You can’t choke on it, it just slides right down.”

Grippo’s Bar-B-Q chips: “It almost looks like human skin.” “They probably serve this at, like, games and shit. Like, ‘I’m at the Reds game in Cincinnati. Cincy!” “Have you ever walked into an old warehouse and it has, like, that musty smell? That’s what it tastes like.”

Skyline three-way: “Looks like some jail spaghetti.” “I can see this being like comfort food, but for some reason it’s not comforting me.”

Sauerkraut Balls: “It legitimately looks like a poop.” “Like a white person pot sticker”

Buckeyes: Everyone enjoy this with little verbal reactions except for a couple assholes that collectively hate chocolate and peanut butter (as well as puppies and sunshine, I’m guessing). A buckeye made them gag.

In the end, how did our high-brow neighbors to the west feel about Ohioans?

“Turns out they’re just regular humans like you and me.” There you have it, folks!

It’s unclear whether this video was created to spark interest in Ohio real estate or remind Midwesterners that they’ll die fat and unsophisticated if they don’t move to California. Decide for yourself:

Ohio: Home of regular humans since 1803.

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<![CDATA[FAILE Mural Unveiled in Covington Tonight]]>

Covington’s collection of high-end street art expands today with the unveiling of a vibrant mural created by Brooklyn-based artists FAILE. The mural will cover the rear walls of the adjacent Republic Bank and Donna Salyer’s Fabulous Bridal buildings on the corners of Sixth Street and Madison Avenue.

Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller, collectively known as FAILE, create multimedia installations and collage, incorporating an experimental style and popular cultural references. Although FAILE has exhibited art in traditional gallery spaces, their work on city walls across the globe has put them on the innovative edge of the street art community. Amsterdam, New York, London, Bethlehem, Palestine and Vienna are just a few of the cities where FAILE’s work can be found.

The Covington collage-style mural was inspired by the artists’ “rip style painting.” It features classic FAILE motifs along with suggestions of Kentucky culture. The placement of the mural on two adjacent buildings allows the split images to visually converse with each other through space. The mural’s high contrast and dramatic aesthetic references FAILE’s inspiration from screen printing along with urban contemporary art. The humorous overtone of the mural’s imagery makes a strong visual connection to pop art and comic book illustrations.

Covington’s BLDG, a cooperative arts organization working to “foster inspiration, the visionary and the uncommon” will host the unveiling of the mural. BLDG nurtures creativity by providing branding, gallery space, publicity and refuge for artists and innovative thinkers. Their unique team brings internationally celebrated artists to the Covington area, placing the city on the list of artistically progressive areas. BLDGs projects have included collaborations with the London Police and Prefab77.

The unveiling will take place from 5-7 p.m. tonight at the mural site. Drinks and food will be provided by Rhinegeist, Arnolds, Tito’s Vodka and The Gruff (a pizza shop/deli coming soon to Covington). Go here for more info.

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<![CDATA[Morning News and Stuff]]>

All right. Let’s talk about this news stuff, shall we?

In just 12 days, voters will decide whether or not to back a plan put forward by Republican Hamilton County Commissioners Greg Hartmann and Chris Monzel for fixing Union Terminal. But the details still haven’t been worked out completely, as this Business Courier article discusses. The tax increase proposal, an alternative to another scheme drawn up over a number of months by a cadre of the city’s business leaders that also included Music Hall, has been a kind of plan-as-you-go effort by the commissioners. The 5-year, .25-percent sales tax increase won’t provide all the money needed for the project, and it’s still a bit up in the air where the rest will come from. The structure of the deal will hold Cincinnati Museum Center, which occupies the building, accountable for cost overruns or revenue shortfalls, which they’ll need to make up with private financing or donations. A new nonprofit entity might also need to be created to officially lease the building from the city in order to qualify for state and federal tax credits, a possible stumbling block that will require city-county coordination. All of which is to say there’s a long way to go before the landmark is on its way to renovation.

• The NAACP is ready to tap Cincinnati for its 2016 national convention pending a site visit in November. That’s a bit of a surprise, as many assumed Baltimore, where the organization is headquartered, would get the nod for its presidential election year convention. Cincinnati also hosted the NAACP convention in 2008. Big political players, including presidential candidates, often speak at the convention during election years. The 2016 election is shaping up to be huge for Ohio, with Cleveland hosting the GOP national convention and Columbus in the running for the Democrat’s big national event.

• A talk by award-winning conservative Washington Post columnist George Will at Miami University last night drew a number of protesters unhappy that the school invited him to speak. Will has caused controversy over remarks he made in a column in June criticizing new sexual assault rules on many college campuses. Will has blasted the “progressivism” of the rules, saying they place men accused of assault in a “guilty until proven innocent” situation. Specifically, Will criticized measures that stipulate a person who is considerably inebriated is unable to give sexual consent. Students and faculty who opposed Will’s talk say they collected more than 1,000 signatures from members of the Miami University community asking the school to cancel the event.  

Will has gained a reputation for his controversial, sometimes outlandish remarks. He has dismissed climate change science, for instance. Most recently, he claimed on Fox News that Ebola could be spread through the air via coughs and sneezes, an assertion contradicted by nearly all scientists who study the disease.

• Former Juvenile Court Judge Tracie Hunter’s attorney Clyde Bennett has filed a motion for a retrial, saying that two of the 12 jurors on the case did not vote to find Hunter guilty on a felony charge earlier this month. Hunter was on trial for nine felony counts. The jury hung on the other eight but allegedly agreed that she was guilty of improperly intervening in a case involving her brother, a court employee who allegedly punched a juvenile inmate. Hunter’s sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 8, though a Nov. 13 hearing on Bennett’s retrial motion could change that.

• If you live in Kentucky and are hoping Yuengling comes to your neck of the woods soon, you may be disappointed. There’s a battle brewing (haha) over beer distribution in the state as giant Anheuser-Busch seeks to buy a distributor in the Kentucky that could give the company a quarter of the beer market there. That has mid-sized independent companies like Yuengling and some wholesalers saying there may not be room for them. Generally, beer brewers aren’t allowed to own distributors or stores under anti-trust laws, but Anheuser-Busch won the right to own one in Louisville after suing the state in 1978.

• In international news, four former employees of Blackwater, the private security firm that the U.S. contracted during the Iraq war, have been convicted for the 2007 shooting deaths of 17 Iraqis. The incident, which happened at a public square in Baghdad, became notorious as an example of U.S. contractors’ misconduct during the Iraq war. A judge in the case ruled that the killings were not an act of war, but a crime. One defendant, sniper Nicholas Slatten, faces life in prison for murder. Three others face 30 year minimum sentences for charges including committing a using a machine gun to carry out a violent crime and voluntary manslaughter.

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<![CDATA[REVIEW: concert:nova's 'Gothic Halloween']]>

Before Anne Rice and Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe set the standard for gothic creepiness. He's the inspiration for Gothic Halloween, a terrific program of music and Poe's classic stories guaranteed to chill the blood temperatures to appropriate Halloween levels, performed with wicked glee by the adventurous ensemble concert:nova. It's an evening of music from the dark side seamlessly interwoven with equally scary stories and songs.

Performed on the stage of Cincinnati Shakespeare Company's production of The Birds, it's the perfect setting for an evening of macabre and mayhem. Many of the musicians sported black capes but harpist Gillian Sella takes the prize —more on her later.

Bach's "Toccata" from the "Toccata and Fugue in D minor" is a horror standard and that's what starts the evening, performed with gusto by local treasure, keyboardist Julie Spangler. It's so familiar that the opening three-note sequence evoked laughter, which was quickly silenced by Spangler's artistry. She makes the small electric keyboard resonate with the power of a cathedral instrument.

The "Psycho Suite" features three pieces from the classic film score by Bernard Herrmann, performed by a string sextet — Eric Bates (no relation to Norman), Gerald Itzkoff, Mari Thomas, Rebe Barnes, Margaret Dyer and Theodore Nelson. There were also a few chuckles which quickly subsided. Those screeching string swipes don't need film to convey the murder in the shower scene or the ominous mood at the Bates Motel.

Baritone Edward Nelson gave a powerful performance of Schubert's setting of German poet Heinrich Heine's "Die Doppelganger," a song about a frightening encounter with one's alter-ego. Spangler accompanied and segued into Part II of Gyorgy Ligeti's "Musica ricercata," ("Researched music"). Entitled "Mesto, rigido e cerimoniale," (Sad, rigid and ceremonial), the music is a series of repeated notes, restless and menacing.

Sections of Ligeti's String Quartet No. 1 accompany a reading of Poe's "The Cask of the Amontillado," performed by Jason Podplesky and Edward Nelson. Podplesky seemed uneasy at first, stumbling over mispronunciations, but he recovered to bring the story to its macabre finale. Nelson did a fine job as the hapless victim. He remained onstage, joined by a string quartet for a performance of Samuel Barber's setting of Matthew Arnold's poem "Dover Beach." Nelson conveyed the longing, passion and terror with elegant tone and flawless diction. The string quartet delivered an appropriately moody reading.

The second half opened with violists Barnes and Dyer slinking out on stage to perform "Viola Zombie," Michael Daugherty's duet that's a mashup of horror themes and plucked strings. You gotta love a piece with movements entitled "Jerks of Rigor Mortis" and "Zombie revivus." Barnes and Dyer clearly do.

The evening closed with Poe's ultimate horror classic, "The Masque of the Red Death," read by Podplesky, accompanied by French composer Andre Caplet's  "Conte Fantastique: Masque of the Red Death" for string quartet and harp. In spite of a few mispronunciations here and there, Podplesky rendered the story with ghoulish delight. Caplet's score meshes fantasy and foreboding, and the harp glissandos add to the eerie atmosphere. Willowy harpist Gillian Sella nearly stole the show when she entered, garbed in a white satin cape and pointed hat.

c:n Artistic Director and clarinetist Ixi Chen doesn't perform in this concert but her creative mark is all over this terrific program.

You have one more opportunity to up your scare quotient on Monday evening, Oct. 27, at 7:30 p.m. A party follows the performance. You go, ghouls. Tickets and more info here.

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<![CDATA[Music Tonight: We Were Promised Jetpacks and More]]>

It’s a double bill of Scottish Indie Rock at Bogart’s tonight as We Were Promised Jetpacks and The Twilight Sad pull into town for a free, all-ages 8 p.m. show. The concert was originally scheduled for Over-the-Rhine’s Woodward Theater, but was moved due to the new venue not quite being ready yet to host events yet (the legendary Ian McLagan’s Oct. 29 show slated for the Woodward has been moved to Southgate House Revival in Newport for the same reasons). The Woodward’s selling tickets to shows beginning Nov. 10, so hopefully it will be all set by then.

CityBeat’s Brian Baker spoke with WWPJP’s guitarist/singer Adam Thompson for a feature in this week’s paper. Thompson spoke of mixing things up on the band’s most recent album release, Unravelling

“It’s still got the same emotional pull as the last two albums, it’s just that the whole sound is a lot more varied,” Thompson notes. “It’s got a bit more groove or something and I think that’s what we were trying to achieve, but it’s still very much a We Were Promised Jetpacks album. If you don’t like the first two, you’re not going to like this one, but I do think it offers something different.”


Click here to read Jason Gargano’s preview of openers The Twilight Sad.


• While it’s true that “Ska Punk” had its mainstream flash-in-the-pan moment in the’90s, it’s a shame that Ska often gets dismissed today as a sort of punchline. (“Ha, remember when Ska and Swing music were popular?”) From its origins in late-’50s Jamaica through today, Ska has endured thanks to new, young bands rediscovering the music and a loyal cult following. 


America’s Ska kings are unquestionably The Toasters, who were formed in 1981 (just as the U.K.’s 2 Tone Ska craze was beginning to lose steam) by British ex-pat Robert “Bucket” Hingley. When The Toasters (who eschewed the distorted “Ska Punk” concept for a style more reminiscent of the pioneers and 2 Tone bands) were looking for a label to release their debut EP, Hingley formed Moon Ska Records, which became the top independent Ska label on the planet and was home to practically every America Ska band worth a listen.


The Toasters play a free show tonight at 10 p.m. at Over-the-Rhine’s MOTR Pub.



Irish music trio Socks in the Frying Pan, from County Clare in Ireland, is in the midst of its first tour of the U.S. and tonight the group plays Molly Malone’s in Covington. The young band is becoming known for its creative spin on traditional Irish music, which has earned it numerous accolades in its homeland (the Live Ireland Awards and Tradition in Review Awards both have named them New Group of the Year and Irish American News calls them “simply stupendous”).  


Tonight’s Covington show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12. 


• A pair of great, rootsy singer/songwriters perform at Newport’s Southgate Revival tonight — in separate rooms and as part of separate shows.


Tommy Womack, once dubbed “Nashville’s best loved musical eccentric,” headlines the Revival Room at 8:30 p.m. with special guests Wild Ponies. Tickets are $12. 


• Meanwhile, the stellar Robbie Fulks plays the club’s Sanctuary room with guests Woody Pines. Showtime is 9 p.m. and tickets are $15. 


Fulks has long recorded for the esteemed label Bloodshot Records and his song “I’ll Trade You Money for Wine” is featured on the label’s awesome, recently-released 20th anniversary compilation, While No One Was Looking, which features a variety of artists performing songs from Bloodshot’s back catalog. Fulks’ tune is covered by Andrew Bird and Nora O’Connor.


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<![CDATA[Something Wicked This Way Comes]]>

October is synonymous with Halloween, haunted houses, harvest festivals and more-sexy-than-scary costume balls. Whether you plan on being a slutty nurse, a moody John Snow, your basic zombie or Dracula, the Tristate offers more than enough events for you to get your freaky on all haunting season.

BAR EVENTS 
Arnold's Halloween Blackout — Arnold's hosts a Halloween Blackout party, tapping eight hard-to-find seasonal black stouts including Rivertown's Deateh, Southern Tier's Warlock, MadTree's Are You Ready for the Darkness, Bell's Java Stout, Bad Tom Smith's, 50 West, Listermann's Lateral Nitro Oatmeal Sweet Stout and Great Lakes Brewing aged black stout. Live music from the Hot Magnolias. Beers tapped at 4 p.m.; music at 9 p.m. Oct. 31. Free. Arnold's Bar and Grill, 210 E. Eighth St., Downtown, arnoldsbarandgrill.com.

Fear of the Dark — The bar’s fourth annual celebration of dark beers featuring Southern Tier’s Warlock, Great Divide’s Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti and more (while supplies last). 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Oct. 23-31. Free entry; beers cost money. The Lackman, 1237 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, lackmanbar.com

Halloween Concert at the Littlefield — Party for a good cause! Hiders and the Perfect Children will be performing, while the Littlefield serves you up food, beer and drink specials all night! There will be a costume contest as well, so dress to impress! Proceeds will benefit the Cincinnati Northside Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation. All night. Oct. 31. Free. The Littlefield, 3934 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, littlefieldns.com

Japp's Halloween Eve Dance Party — Ring in Halloween with a costume contest, dance party, "scary-delicious" cocktails and prizes. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Oct. 30. Free. Japp's, 1136 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, japps1879.com.

Neon's David Bowie's Labyrinth-Themed Halloween Party and Silent Disco — The Labyrinth will be on the TV all night, David Bowie and Halloween tunes with be on the juke and at the silent disco, you can grab a pair of headphones and dance around all night. 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Oct. 31. Free. 208 E. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/neonsunplugged.

Pick Your  Poison — People in costumes get $3 Dogfish Head Pumpkin, $4 call cocktails or $5 bombs. Oct. 31. The Righteous Room, 641 Walnut St., Downtown, therighteousroom.com.

Pavilion's 13th Annual Halloween Masquerade — Costume contest, cash prizes, and DJ Big Once. Nov. 1. Free. Mount Adams Pavilion, 949 Pavilion St., Mount Adams, 513-744-9200.

‘Stache Bash at The Stand — In partnership with Movember Cincinnati, The Stand invites you to boogie down on Halloween night! Anyone wearing a mustache (real or fake) gets $3 Yuengling Brewery’s Black & Tan all night! There will also be a costume contest starting at midnight. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Oct. 31. Free. The Stand, 3195 Linwood Ave., Mount Lookout, thestandcincy.com

Wicked Wine Tasting — A costume contest, snacks, door prizes, wine tastings and live music. 4 p.m. Oct. 25. $10. Meier’s Wine Cellars, 6955 Plainfield Road, Silverton, meierswinecellars.com

Zombie Pub Crawl — A spooky slow Covington pub crawl starting at the Cock & Bull Public House then to Pachinko, Zola and finally the Strasse Haus at 11:30 p.m. Awards for best scary and sexy zombie costumes. 10 p.m. Oct. 25. Free. Cock & Bull English Pub, 601 Main St., Covington, Ky., candbpublichouse.com

MASQUERADE AND COSTUME BALLS 
A Wicked Affair — Drinks, dancing and a costume contest in support of organ donation, benefiting the National Kidney Foundation of Greater Cincinnati. 7 p.m. Oct 25. $40. Receptions Banquet and Conference Center, 4450 Eastgate South Drive, Eastgate, 937-763-0474, 513-265-8530, facebook.com/ awickedaffair

Children’s Dyslexia Centers of Cincinnati Halloween Gala — Support the Children’s Dyslexia Centers of Cincinnati by attending a Halloween Gala where guests will be treated to a performance by the Naked Karate Girls while enjoying an evening of dancing, food and drinks. Guests are also invited to help sponsor the event with Gold, Platinum and Diamond packages. 7 p.m. Oct. 25. $30 in advance; $40 at the door; $500 VIP tables. Cincinnati Masonic Center, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown, cdcoc.org/halloween

Fashion Angels: The Masquerade — Dress to impress in your best masquerade disguise, all for a great cause. This charitable fashion event benefits the American Cancer Society, Freestore Foodbank, Aubrey Rose Foundation and more while showcasing local designers, singers, dancers and hair and makeup stylists. Attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishables for the Freestore Foodbank. 6-11 p.m. Oct. 31. $25. Kings Island Resort & Conference Center, 5691 Kings Island Drive, Mason, fashionangels.org

Pop Art Costume Party — Grab your most vibrant, colorful costume and head to this Art After Dark event. Join the Cincinnati Art Museum in celebration of all things Pop with the opening of Beyond Pop Art: A Tom Wesselmann Retrospective. Tours of the special exhibition will meet in the Great Hall at 5:30 p.m. (members only), 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. (public tours). Drinks and appetizers available for purchase. 5-9 p.m. Oct. 31. Free admission; $4 parking; free for Art Museum members. Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park, cincinnatiartmuseum.org

Scream Acres Haunted House Dance Party — It’s not every day (or even every Halloween) you get to listen to live zombified music in one of the area’s largest and most terrifying haunted houses. But Scream Acres is pulling out all the stops to make this a fright night to remember: it’s opening its doors to a ghoulishly impressive lineup of bands to create a night of costumes, dancing, monsters, and screams. All ages are welcome … if they dare. 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Oct. 31. $14. Scream Acres Ct., 4399 Boron Drive, Covington, Ky., cincyscreams.com

The Malice Ball — Dance the night away in a spectacular masquerade ball while being served by bartender’s from Bakersfield OTR, the Eagle and other OTR favorites. The Malice Ball will also feature light snacks from OTR restaurants, makeup and styling by Rebel Face Makeup, a photo booth and more! DJ Matt Joy will be providing the tunes for the night. All proceeds benefit the Over-the-Rhine Chamber’s Business First Grant Program. Must be 21 years of age or older. 8-12:30 p.m. Oct. 31. $25 advance; $35 at the door. Christian Moerlein Brewing Company, 1621 Moore St., Over-the-Rhine, otrchamber.com

Boogie to Death — Dance Halloween away in Hollywood Casino's Boogie Nights, with 600 feet of lighted dance floor, a haunted maze of horror and costume contest. $1,000 for best overall costume. 9 p.m. Oct. 31. $10. 777 Hollywood Blvd., Lawrenceburg, Ind., hollywoodindiana.com.

For more events, like family-friendly frights, scary movie screenings and haunted tours, click here.

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<![CDATA[FotoFocus Talk Spotlights Lexington's Photographic Heritage]]>

If the assault of Mitch McConnell ads has you thinking Kentucky must be the most hopelessly unprogressive state ever, a FotoFocus Biennial-related lecture last Sunday provided another take on the Bluegrass State.

The speaker, who also presented slides, was the veteran Lexington photographer Guy Mendes, who with Carey Gough has the exhibition Blue Roots and Uncommon Wealth: The Kentucky Photographs at Over-the-Rhine’s Iris BookCafe, 1331 Main St., through Jan. 25. His presentation, organized by Iris’ photography curator William Messer, was at Mr. Pitiful’s bar, close to Iris.

Mendes, active in Kentucky arts, public television production and higher education since the late 1960s, has been collected by Ashley Judd, Willie Nelson, Maker’s Mark (he’s very proud of that) and the New Orleans and Cincinnati art museums, among others. At Mr. Pitiful’s, he made a compelling case for Lexington as a center for progressive creative thought — in photography, especially — that has had a broad influence on our times.

As a college town (University of Kentucky), Lexington maybe has been better known for its basketball than its radicalism, but Mendes made it seem like it could hold its own with Berkeley, Calif., Ann Arbor, Mich., or Madison, Wis., in any history of counter-cultural hotspots.

His presentation focused on a group he became part of in the late 1960s, the Lexington Camera Club, active from the 1950s to the early 1970s (and recently revived). While, like other camera clubs it attracted its share of hobbyists, it also had stalwart support from open-minded professionals with an experimentalist bent.

Mendes mentioned and showed slides of work from the Camera Club’s first golden era. The accomplishments of these now-deceased members was impressive — Van Deren Coke (who went on to become director of the George Eastman House); Robert May, who specialized in multiple exposures; James Baker Hall, a poet (and former state Poet Laureate) and photographer whose haunting series of images featuring collaged family photos may have been a way to deal with his mother’s suicide when he was a child.

One Camera Club photographer, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, has become recognized since his 1972 death as one of America’s most memorable — and spookiest. His black-and-white shots of children and adults wearing masks in strange settings are still unsettling.

Lexington was restive in the anti-Vietnam War days, and Mendes published an underground newspaper called Blue-Tail Fly and was involved in protests. And as he became friends with local writers Wendell Berry and Ed McClanahan, his literary and photographic worlds began to merge. (Both still are active today.)

In Mendes’ show at Iris, those two figures are in probably the two most striking photographs. One is a 2012 portrait of Berry, on a farm in Henry County, with his horses Nip and Jed grazing behind him. It’s sheer happenstance, but the horses’ placement is such as to create the illusion is that their heads extend from his shoulders. Messer refers to them as “horse angel wings,” and it’s a great tribute to Berry, an environmentalist as well as a writer. The photo gives the elderly man a heavenly glow.

McClanahan is involved in the weirdest photograph in the show — 1972’s “The Fabulous Little Enis & Go Go Girls of Boots Bar.” This photo (in a tarted-up version) accompanied McClanahan’s article about this colorful musician in Playboy. It depicts the left-handed, backwards-holding guitarist Little Enis and a chorus line of scantily clad women outside the bar.

The late Carlos Toadvine’s stage name “Enis,” Mendes told his audience, was a play on the nickname given to Elvis Presley as “Elvis the Pelvis” — you get the point. Mendes said Enis was a fabulous guitarist but the working-class Boots Bar was a tough place for scruffy, hippy-looking artists like McClanahan and himself in 1972. On their first visit there, McClanahan and Mendes, were greeted by a flying beer bottle. (On the Internet, there is a photo of long-haired college-age young men admiring Little Enis’ act, so maybe the bar got a little safer with time.)

The Iris show also features color photographs of Kentucky music-related sites by Gough, who considers Mendes a mentor.

Lexington’s impact on the arts is fascinating in other ways, too. The writer Bobbie Ann Mason attended UK, as did the great character actor Harry Dean Stanton. (There is now a film festival there in his honor.) Walter Tevis based his novel The Hustler on a pool hall there. Punk icon Richard Hell was born and raised there, as was Cincinnati artist/composer Jay Bolotin.

There must be something in the bluegrass. It’s captured in Mendes’ photographs.

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<![CDATA[Deke Dickerson Sings "Instrumentals" with Los Straitjackets]]>

The world’s greatest wrestling-masked instrumental musical ensemble Los Straitjackets return to the Cincinnati area tonight for a show at Southgate House Revival. The band is joined by Roots music fave Deke Dickerson, who collaborated with Los Straitjackets on the recently released LP, Los Straitjackets: Deke Dickerson Sings The Instrumental Hits

As the cheeky title suggests, the album features some famous instrumental tunes which Dickerson fleshes out with “lost or rewritten” lyrics. The track “You Can Count on Me,” for example, is The Ventures’ Hawaii Five-O theme with lyrics from Sammy Davis Jr.’s version.


Other instrumental-turned-vocalized songs on the album include classics like “Pipeline,” “Walk Don’t Run,” “Misirlou” and “Popcorn.” 



“If you're a record collector and music geek who’s been around long enough," Dickerson said in an interview with Billboard, "you start to realize that most famous instrumental hits either started out as vocal songs, or — even better — were written as instrumentals." 


Sadly, the Star Wars theme didn’t make the cut.



Showtime tonight is 8 p.m. Admission is $20 at the door. The B-Sides open.

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<![CDATA[Morning News and Stuff]]>

Good morning y’all! Here’s a quicker than usual rundown of the day’s news before I jet for an interview.

There is yet another version of the Union Terminal restoration deal being passed around. The deal, which Hamilton County Commissioners are expected to vote on soon, doesn’t make many changes to the sales tax hike on the November ballot, but would hold the Cincinnati Museum Center responsible for any cost overruns the project might incur while allowing its leaders to seek financing for the project. Voters will still have to approve the .25 percent sales tax increase before that deal would go into effect.

• VLT Academy might be gone, but there’s at least one more bit of turbulence related to the troubled former charter school. VLT closed in August after losing its sponsoring organization, required by Ohio law, and falling behind on its rent. It seems computers sold at an auction to pay off the school’s debts may not have been scrubbed of private personal information. The Ohio Department of Education says it has launched an investigation to make sure that information was erased properly and didn’t fall into the wrong hands.

• The push for a high-speed rail route between Chicago and Cincinnati has gained more supporters. The mayor and city manager of Hamilton recently sent a letter to OKI, the region’s planning office asking for the office to fund a feasibility study for the potential project. They join Hamilton County Commissioners, who voted in September to request that study. The rail line could have big economic benefits, but would also be a huge, long-term undertaking.

• Speaking of transit, you can tell the Ohio Department of Transportation what you’d like to see in the future at a public discussion from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Oct. 31. Yes, that’s in the middle of a workday. It’s also in Lebanon for some reason, which you can’t really get to by public transit. That has some people kind of miffed. The meeting is for the entire Southwestern Ohio region, ODOT says, and that’s why it has to be held in a central location. Come on, guys, you couldn’t have two meetings in Dayton and Cincinnati on a couple Saturdays? I’ll bring the donuts and coffee. Anyway, the event is part of a statewide outreach effort by ODOT to get input about transit options in the state. Meetings have also been conducted in Columbus, Cleveland, Athens and Findlay.

• An Ohio man arrested in North Korea in May finally returned home today. Officials in the isolated country detained Jeffery Fowle after leaving a bible in a nightclub there. He was held until recently on charges of Christian evangelism, a crime in North Korea. His release might have been hastened by repeated appeals by President Obama to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

• We’ve reported a bit about Common Core in the past. Controversy continues over the new federal academic standards, and the fight is coming to the state board of education elections. Seven candidates are running for election to the 19 member board, and several of them have made repealing the standards a key point in their campaigns. Mary Prichard, who is running to represent Butler, Preble, Montgomery and Miami Counties on the board, has made the issue the centerpiece of her candidacy. She calls the standards “a government takeover.” Zac Haines, running to represent Hamilton and Warren Counties, has promised to work to repeal them in the state. His opponent, Pat Bruns of Price Hill, supports the standards.  Ohio is one of 40 states to implement Common Core.

• Wait. Did Gov. John Kasich really say that? He did, and he didn’t. The Associated Press reports that in a speech Monday, Kasich said a repeal of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act is “not gonna happen.” Then Kasich, either backtracking or clarifying, ran them down and asked the AP to make a correction. He was only referring to the Medicaid expansion of the ACA, he said. That’s been a controversial issue all its own, with many conservative governors refusing to take the federal dollars to increase eligibility for residents of their states. Kasich did take the money, though, which has helped hundreds of thousands of Ohioans get medical coverage.

Kasich’s correction is a bit of a small distinction, since most conservatives roll the ACA up in one big, evil ball. Rejecting the Medicaid expansion has been something of a litmus test for conservative governors. But Kasich has not only taken it, he’s praised the program. Opposition to expanding Medicaid, which governors like Texas’ Rick Perry have worn like a badge of honor, “was really either political or ideological," Kasich said in the same speech. "I don't think that holds water against real flesh and blood and real improvements in people's lives.”

That alone is a noteworthy thing for a conservative governor to say. But have no fear, Kasich still hates the program, saying in his clarification that it “can and should be repealed.” Wait, even the part you said helps people?

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<![CDATA[Valley of the Sun Tour Diary: A Day in the Life of a Merch Guy]]>

Before I left, I had a lot of people ask me just what I’d be doing while on tour. The best answer I could give them was, “I don’t know, sell shirts I guess.” 

So, in an effort to give you a better picture of what a day in the life of Valley of the Sun’s illustrious merch guy/tour bitch, I give you a minute-by-minute breakdown of what will most likely be our busiest day on the tour. What transpires is a day with two shows and 10 combined hours on the road and yes, it’s as tiring as it sounds.

6:30 a.m.: Wake up before dawn in Frankfurt and get ready for a five hour drive to Munich. Take a shower in a hotel shower that has no door or curtain while using a shower head has no holder on the wall. Listen to Black Dahlia Murder to wake up.

7:30 a.m.: Make a to-go sandwich at the hotel’s breakfast bar.

7:35 a.m.: Help navigate the van out of a hotel parking garage that it shouldn’t have logically fit in.

7:47 a.m.: Begin a five-hour drive to Munich. Naps are taken by most. Breaking the speed limit is performed by others. Who knew a van could go triple digits?

8:50 a.m.: Pit stop number one: water, coffee and baked good acquired. Knifes and soccer hooligans are ogled.

10:43 a.m.: Pit stop number two: water and coffee are released, drivers are switched.

12:00 p.m.: Arrive at venue, take tour of stage and see backstage area. Find WiFi password and begin to use and abuse venue’s internet connection.

12:45 p.m.: Dig merch out of van for festival’s merchandise display. Freak out when an entire box of shirts cannot be found.

12:47 p.m.: Rejoice when the box of shirts are unearthed.

1:20 p.m.: Begin gear load in.

1:30 p.m.: Realize you’ve learned more gear terminology on this tour than in a decade of attending concerts and hanging out with bands.

1:40 p.m.: Rip an expensive tour banner.

1:52 p.m.: Sit around and surf through Facebook and Instagram while band sound checks.

2:45 p.m.: Check to see if ears are bleeding from sound check volume.

3:00 p.m.: Walk around the venue and people-watch to waste time before show starts.

3:25 p.m.: Set up Nick’s Go Pro cameras around the venue to capture the forthcoming insanity.

3:30 p.m.: Showtime. Festival attendees begin to filter into Valley’s show (Valley is the first band of the day).

4:00 p.m.: A circle pit breaks out for the first time in the band’s history. Horns are thrown liberally.

4:10 p.m.: Remember why Valley of the Sun is my favorite Cincinnati band.

4:15 p.m.: Raid the catering table for a sandwich, pretzel, banana and water. Plan to eat pretzel on the road as a snack.

4:30 p.m.: Settle merch sales with organizers, collect money, pile up CDs, LPs and shirts to load into the van.

4:35 p.m.: Eat pretzel before ever reaching the van.

4:40 p.m.: Call dibs on a festival attendee.

4:50 p.m.: Wait for Ryan to settle up event pay with festival organizers.

5:00 p.m.: On the road again for another five-hour ride to Seigen.

5:05 p.m.: Begin typing hourly breakdown in van to save some time on off day tomorrow and to give my phone a chance to regain some charge.

5:50 p.m.: Pit stop one. Beer from festival is released.

8:25 p.m.: Pit stop two. Water is released and drivers are switched.

10:30 p.m.: Arrive at second venue where bands have already started playing.

10:37 p.m.: Order a pizza at stand outside of venue while we wait for support bands to finish.

11:15 p.m.: Continue eating; this time it is chicken curry in the band apartment.

11:30 p.m.: Final support act has finished. Start mad dash to load gear in from the van to the venue.

11:40 p.m.: Set up last minute merch area in a now desolate bar.

11:43 p.m.: Wait for the band to take the stage.

11:55 p.m.: Sell first bits of merch to those still at the venue. Try to explain that pins are one Euro a piece, not one Euro per handful.

12:30 a.m.: Show starts.

12:50 a.m.: Play Tetris while band is performing and, therefore, no one is looking at merch.

12:55 a.m.: Earn new high score in Tetris.

1:10 a.m.: Band finishes after three encores. A fourth is requested but the band has literally no other songs left to play.

1:15 a.m.: Sell 132 Euro worth of merch in 10 minutes.

1:45 a.m.: Pack up merch once sales dry up.

1:55 a.m.: Pack up van and grab overnight bags.

2:20 a.m.: Prepare for bed after a 20-hour day.

2:25 a.m.: Sleep for 10 hours straight.

If there’s anything that I’ve learned about touring it’s that it’s defined by tons of dead time, punctuated by moments of massive amounts of activity. “Hurry up and wait” is the perfect way to describe it. We rush in the morning to squeeze everyone’s morning routine into a short period of time. Then we spend hours in the van to reach a venue, only to rush to get the van unloaded, merch set out and sound check completed, along with other pre-show rituals. Then we wait for the show to start, followed by the post-show rush to sell merch, load up the van and get to our lodging for the night.

It makes for long days and long nights, with little to no rest. It’s tiring, hectic and stressful and I’m having the time of my life. I could really use an actual shower though, that’s for sure.


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<![CDATA[Morning News and Stuff]]>

So it’s not Monday anymore, which is a plus, but still. This week is the first week in my mission to give up caffeine and donuts. It’s going to be a long, long haul. Anyway, on with the news.

The city administration yesterday described in more detail a parking plan for Over-the-Rhine that’s been floating around for a bit now. The plan would charge $300 a year, or $25 a month, for residents to park in the neighborhood as a way to raise funds for the streetcar. Increased rates and hours for parking meters are also part of the plan. Currently, you have to feed the meters from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day but Sunday. The new hours would stretch from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday thru Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Mayor John Cranley has championed the plan. Council would need to vote on the residential permit part of the plan, which would be the highest parking fee in the country if enacted. City officials stressed at the Monday Neighborhood Committee meeting that they were still in the planning phases of the proposal, that a final proposal was contingent on continued feedback from residents, and that they weren’t asking for any decisions to be made yet.

• It’s not very often labor unions and conservative anti-tax groups get together on an issue. But it seems like proposed tolls to fund the replacement of the Brent Spence Bridge may just be the one issue that… uh oh… bridges the usually wide ideological divide (see what I did there?) Advocacy group Northern Kentucky United, which has campaigned against tolls for the Brent Spence with its “No BS Tolls” initiative, announced that both Teamsters Local 100 and the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes have hopped on board the effort.  You may remember COAST as the folks who stamped their feet and threw a temper tantrum over Cincinnati’s streetcar project. The two groups are the first Ohio organizations to support the anti-toll group, which claims to have 2,000 members. The group is totally against those BS tolls, that much we know. Less certain is what alternate proposals the group does back for the crumbling 51-year-old bridge’s replacement. It will cost something like $2.5 billion to replace, and federal and state officials have said government dollars are not in the cards for the project.

• Embattled Juvenile Court Judge Tracie Hunter today was suspended from practicing law by the Ohio Supreme Court, meaning she cannot practice law anywhere or represent anyone in a courtroom. Hunter was convicted on one felony count in a high-profile trial last week. Hunter was accused of forging documents, misusing a court credit card, improperly intervening for her brother, a court employee accused of punching a juvenile inmate and other charges. She was convicted on the charge she illegally gained documents for her brother, though the jury was hung on the other eight felony counts she faced. Hunter faces up to a year and a half in prison. Sentencing in the case will begin Dec. 2.

• Oh man, this is terrifying. What would you do if a county prosecutor’s office mistakenly put your picture in a newsletter as someone who had a recent heroin conviction? That happened to Dana J. Davis of Covington. Davis was temporarily put out of work, mistrusted by neighbors, and even shunned by family after an electronic newsletter contained his picture and a blurb that he’d pleaded guilty to a heroin charge and had been sentenced to prison time. But it was a different Dana Davis, and the Kenton County Prosecutor’s office grabbed the wrong photo. Oops. Now Davis is suing over the mistake, looking to be compensated for lost wages and damage to his reputation. The prosecutor’s office is arguing they shouldn’t have to pay because the newsletter does a public good, and because the prosecutor’s office is immune from that kind of lawsuit.  The case is headed to court.

• Here’s something I can get behind. Cincinnati is the second best city in the country for Halloween, according to a new ranking released by lifestyle site mylife.com. The rankings took into account number of costume shops per capita (we ranked second), vacant houses (we also ranked second), local Twitter mentions of Halloween, as well as interviews with local ghosts camped out in abandoned costume shops tweeting about Halloween (not really).  The rankings do give a shout out to the city’s rich history, though, as well as Pete Rose for some reason. If you’re curious, number one was Las Vegas. Florida and Arizona were represented heavily in the top 10, which makes sense. Both are terrifying places.

• A minimum wage job in Ohio won’t pay for a college education, a new story from data reporters at Cleveland.com finds. I guess the shocking news in this is that it ever did. Apparently, in 1983, you could work a minimum wage job full-time during the summers and school breaks, work ten hours a week during school, and make ends meet. That seems so quaint now! It would take a wage of $18 an hour to make that possible today, and working minimum wage will leave you more than $11,000 shy of the average tuition, room and board at a university in the state. In my day, I worked two jobs, crashed at my mom’s house and commuted an hour each way my senior year, sometimes sleeping in my car, and sold blood and the rights for my first-born child to pay for my degree from Miami University. Ok, maybe not all of that, but it was kinda rough. Alls I’m saying is, kids these days should have to do the same.

• A new study finds Ohio has benefited greatly from its expansion of Medicaid. More than 367,000 Ohioans are now enrolled as of August 2014, according to the report by Policy Matters Ohio. The report claims that the expansion has lowered health care costs and improved health outcomes for low-income people. You can read all the details here.

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