by Nick Swartsell
22 days ago
Posted In: News
at 10:29 AM | Permalink
Election looking dark for Dems; Davis building gets reprieve; Cincinnati vies for international museum convention
Today is the day we Americans go to the polls, check some boxes and get a cool sticker. Some say we also get to choose who governs us, but the jury is still out on that one. Nah, just kidding. These are big decisions! Make sure you’re fully awake and well-nourished by drinking several cups of coffee and bringing three or four donuts, breakfast burritos or slices of last night’s pizza with you into the voting booth. And if you want some friendly advice and fresh perspective on the candidates before you go in and make those fateful decisions, check out our endorsements and election coverage. You’ll find everything you need on the major races and issues on the ballot in the Greater Cincinnati area. Polls are open until 7:30 p.m. in Ohio and until 6 p.m. in Kentucky. Go forth, and please don’t screw this up for everyone.• Before I bombard you with election news, let’s hit the local stuff. The Davis Furniture building will be spared for now. Last night the Cincinnati Historic Conservation Board met for seven hours debating the merits of saving the building versus granting an application for demolition from owners the Stough Group. Stough owns the Hanke Exchange right across the street, and bought the Davis building last year at county auction for $150,000. But the cost of rehabbing it seemed monumental, so they decided to apply to tear it down. But other groups, including 3CDC and nonprofit Tender Mercies would like to pay more than that to acquire and rehab the iconic, if foreboding, former furniture store on Main Street in OTR. Things got plenty heated last night, but in the end, preservation advocates prevailed. Stough will have thirty days to appeal the decision, however, so that 20-foot-tall bowling ball mattress guy adorning the building’s south side isn’t out of the woods yet.• So this is pretty cool. Cincinnati is competing to bring an international museum convention to the city in 2019. Representatives from the International Council of Museums visited the city last week to check out the city’s cultural amenities and hotels to determine if Cincinnati has what it takes to host a large, discerning group of museum directors from around the globe. The ICM represents 32,000 members from 137 countries, and if it chooses Cincinnati, they will meet in the United States for just the second time ever. The first time was in New York City in 1965. The convention happens every three years; 2013’s convention was in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, and the 2016 meeting will be in Milan. The group toured all the sweet spots in Cincinnati, including Music Hall, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the Contemporary Art Center and just about anywhere else in town that has a museum.The convention could bring more than $4 million to the city, which I don’t know, says something about the value of our cultural assets. Maybe go weigh in on Issue 8 or something? Yeah.• As I mentioned yesterday, early voting turnout has been very low this midterm election — even lower than most midterms, which are not usually very busy to begin with. A lot of that has to do with the lack of competitiveness in the races, which started with the complete drubbing of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald by Gov. John Kasich after the wheels came off Fitz’s campaign months ago. FitzGerald is down 28 points to Kasich. If this was a one on one basketball game, that would be a hard deficit to overcome with the time remaining on the clock, requiring multiple three-pointers, a number of personal fouls from Kasich, and Fitz subbing in LeBron James at some point. Unfortunately, this is an election, and that deficit is nearly impossible to surmount. I would still like to see LeBron dunk on Kasich at some point, but it’s a lost cause otherwise. That race kept things frosty for Dems down-ticket as well, with many worthy challengers such as AG candidate David Pepper and secretary of state hopeful Nina Turner running double-digit deficits against their Republican opponents. All that is to say it’s looking like a rout, folks, unless a huge ton of people come down out of the stands and vote. Wow, this extended metaphor got really painful. Yeesh. Just go vote already. • At least one statewide race is pretty exciting, though —State Rep. Connie Pillich is neck and neck with Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel in the race for his seat. Pillich, a moderate Democrat, has focused on her experience as a U.S. Air Force captain and her time at the state house. Mandel, on the other hand, has been playing defense a bit, beating back criticism about some campaign finance questions around a businessman named Ben Suarez and the suggestion that he’s just using the treasurer’s office as a stepping stone to bigger, better things. This one could go either way.• Things aren’t going well for Democrats across the river, as Sen. Mitch McConnell pulls away from challenger Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. McConnell is predicting victory not just for himself, but for Republicans looking to take control of the Senate from Democrats. Meanwhile, Grimes is forecasting an upset, but polling over the past few days has shown a growing lead for the incumbent.
by Charlie Harmon
22 days ago
at 12:03 PM | Permalink
Q&A with Steam Whistle Letterpress' Brian Stuparyk
Brian Stuparyk is the owner
of Steam Whistle Letterpress, a shop located in historic Over-The-Rhine that’s
been pumping out hand-pressed cards, posters, flyers and more since opening in
2011. The shop uses vintage letterpress machines, a medium widely used to print
for hundreds of years up until around the mid-20th century.
Steam Whistle is now selling their
main card line nationally after receiving great reception at New York’s
National Stationery Show, and Stuparyk also was a runner-up in ArtWorks’ Big
CityBeat: How did
you originally become interested in letterpress?
Brian Stuparyk: I was originally a photographer, and as I saw
everything becoming digital I became less interested in that and wanted to do
something more authentic. I studied print media in graduate school, and I was
interested in things like letterpress because it’s actually a print, rather
than a print-out. I bought my first letterpress about 15 years ago.
CB: Do you
remember the first print you made?
BS: I remember being at the supermarket right around the time I had
bought that letterpress and I overheard these two older ladies talking about
dissecting bull’s eyeballs in high school. One of them was sort of obsessed
with the shiny blue stuff on the inside of the eyeball and said she had always
just wanted a bathing suit like that. It was in my head when I got back home
and so I made a print about it.
CB: So you
can only print one card at once?
BS: Not only that, but I can
only print one color on one card at once, and most of my cards have at least
three colors. It’s a pretty labor-intensive process. That’s why it costs more
than a Hallmark card printed in China.
repetitive — how does it feel to go through the process? Is it meditative at
BS: Yeah, it can be meditative in a lot of ways. It’s run by foot, so
standing on one leg like a flamingo all day is a little hard on the hips. But
I’m only printing a couple hundred cards at a time right now, so it goes pretty
quick. At maximum speed I can print about 600 in an hour, but that’s
told ArtWorks that you love letterpress for the imperfections. Why is that and
how does that relate to artistic value?
BS: Oh, I don’t know that it adds any artistic merit, but the flaws
give it character that doesn’t come out of a machine. Being handmade, each card
is unique. It definitely adds a certain authenticity to it because, you know,
the color can even shift a little between prints.
medium is simply paper, ink and a press. How would you compare this to other
forms of media like painting?
BS: It is very different. You might spend months working on a
painting and then you only have one and it’s so precious, whereas with a print
I make hundreds at a time. Maybe all together they’d be worth the same as a
painting, but individually they’re that much more accessible. Not only one
person can own it and it isn’t so precious that it needs to have this high
price tag on it.
CB: Why did
you choose Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati to open shop?
BS: If I’d moved to Seattle, Portland, Ore., or New York, I would
just be another letterpress guy doing more letterpress. But here in Cincinnati
I’m the letterpress guy, and there’s a lot going on here.
people say Warhol killed art by revolutionizing mass produced art via prints. Do
you agree with that criticism?
BS: In terms of art, I don’t think so. Print has always been the
democratic medium, something people should be able to afford. The reason
etchings were made was to make reproductions of paintings people couldn’t
afford, so it was always like that. I don’t know that he ruined something that
wasn’t already stinking at the time.
you were originally a photographer, do you think you might ever get into doing
prints of your photography?
BS: Everyone’s a photographer now — everyone in the world has a cell phone.
The world doesn’t need any more photographers. I think what’s charming about
what I do is it’s authentic from the source. I’m not trying to take modern
technology and shoehorn it into a letterpress the way a lot of people do now.
CB: Do you
have a particular interest in vintage things beyond just letterpress?
BS: I definitely have an appreciation for well-made things, things
that were built to last. When I get something, even in the modern age, I have a
hard time not wanting it to last forever. The oldest press I’ve had was built
in 1891, and if it’s well cared for it will literally last forever, and I think
that’s what interests me.
For more information about STEAM
WHISTLE LETTERPRESS, visit steamwhistlepress.com.
by Paloma Ianes
27 days ago
Posted In: Alcohol
at 02:23 PM | Permalink
A Tavola's Aaron Strasser shares his favorite cocktails
A Tavola has
made its mark on Over-The-Rhine with its rustic wood fired pizzas and superb
flavor combinations. What you might not know about the high-end pizza joint is
that its craft cocktails are one-of-a-kind. CityBeat
sat down with A Tavola’s head bartender Aaron Strasser to pick his brain, and
it turns out he is as personable as he is creative and stirs up one hell of a
CityBeat: How did your career in bartending
Strasser: I was a
history major at UC, and my favorite period of time was Prohibition. I found it
very interesting that you could ban one of the greatest things in the world —
the cocktail. I really got into studying that when I was in college. I also
started flavor profiles. I grew up in the kitchen with my mom and she always
baking stuff and I loved tasting all the flavors and figuring out, ‘Oh, you can
pair this with this.’ I got my start here at A Tavola almost four years ago. I
didn't know much, but what I did know is flavor profiles and combinations. So
the owners gave me a chance and allowed me to make the bar what it is now.
CB: What’s your favorite spirit?
AS: I usually go with my whiskeys and
bourbon. Rye whiskey for sure.
CB: What’s the strangest
ingredient you’ve used in a cocktail?
AS: I have a couple. I always saw that
simple syrups were being made with fruits and some herbs and spices, but I
wanted to make a simple syrup out of a vegetable, so I made a red beet and
ginger simple syrup, which goes great with gin. It’s very unique, it’s a
beautiful color and the taste was very interesting. I didn't want to just use
fruit. Another strange ingredient in our new cocktail menu is the jalapeño jam
instead of a simple syrup. It’s a recipe that one of my kitchen people and I
have worked on. I wanted to have something that was sweet and savory. We do a
lot of that as far as combinations go — even in our food — lots of sweet and
CB: Do you see a change in
cocktail culture around OTR?
AS: Oh, yeah, its definitely growing.
There is a lot more appreciation as far as drinks go. A lot of people are not
just ordering cocktails that they know, instead they are actually looking at
the cocktails and asking, ‘What does this place have to offer that I haven’t
CB: If you had to pick one
cocktail to drink for the rest of your life what would it be?
AS: An Old Fashioned.
cherries1 slice of
orange1 sugar cube1 or 2 dashes of
Angostura bitters2 oz. rye or
bourbon whiskeyClub soda
Place the sugar
cube in a glass and add one or two dashes of Angostura bitters and a splash of
club soda. Muddle the the sugar cube. Add whiskey and ice. Stir until sugar is
dissolved. With a lighter, singe a strip of orange peel and pinch the peel to
release oils. Add the orange peel and the Amarena cherries to top it all off.
by Nick Swartsell
36 days ago
Posted In: News
at 10:06 AM | Permalink
Tracie Hunter suspended by Ohio Supreme Court; COAST, labor unions jump on anti-toll effort; Cincinnati one of the best cities for Halloween
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.
by Jac Kern
43 days ago
at 08:37 AM | Permalink
Mag encourages readers to "Check out Cincinnati's New Cool"
It seems every day a new love letter to Cincinnati makes its rounds on the Internet. The latest is from New York Magazine’s Weekend Travel
section, where Alex Schechter touts Cincy as a perfect three-day trip thanks to
the city's breweries, restaurants and neighborhood redevelopment.
to Stay: Downtown’s 21c Museum Hotel
and The Cincinnatian are mentioned for their accommodations, along with a few
area Airbnb picks.
Where to Eat: Metropole, Salazar and Sotto — no surprise to local foodies. There’s
even a cute explanation of goetta (“oatmeal-infused sausage hash”).
What to Do: The article sums up a local urbanite’s ideal Saturday in OTR with
stops at Washington Park, the Christian Moerlein Brewing Co., Findlay Market
Insider’s Tip: Cincinnati’s beer brewing past and present is certainly a draw for
tourists. Schechter suggests the American Legacy underground tour, where folks can explore beneath the
streets of OTR.
Oddball Day: A hodgepodge of noteworthy Cincinnati destinations: munch at Holtman’s Donuts, Senate
and The Eagle; Shop Jack Wood Gallery, Steam Whistle Letterpress and Article;
peep local art at the latest Red Door Project installation; and check out a
concert at the soon-opening Woodward Theatre.
And it looks like CityBeat
got a quick shout out in the Links section, along with Soapbox Media and 3CDC. Thanks!
Go here for more on the latest “no
seriously, Cincinnati is cool” article your friends are sharing.
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Nothing bridges cultural gaps better than
sharing a meal together. Food does far more than nourish the body — it
tells the story of who we are, where we’ve been, our trials and
tribulations and, most importantly, does so in a most delightful way.
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Demand for property in Over-the-Rhine is
growing quickly, and the neighborhood’s biggest developer is ramping up
its renovations to keep up.
by Nick Swartsell
85 days ago
Posted In: News
at 10:25 AM | Permalink
Cincinnati hit hard by recession, still recovering; Horseshoe Casino hit with lawsuit; Judges strike down abortion laws
So let's get to what's happened in the past three days in the real world while we were all busy watching fireworks and drinking beers, shall we?The Great Recession dropped incomes in 111 of 120 communities in the Greater Cincinnati area, according to a report today by The Cincinnati Enquirer. The recession lasted from 2007 to 2009, though its reverberations are still being felt today. The drop hit wealthy neighborhoods like Indian Hill and low-income areas like Over-the-Rhine alike. The average drop in income was more than 7 percent across the region, though reasons for the loss and how quickly various neighborhoods have recovered are highly variable. Wealthier places like Indian Hill, where income is tied more to the stock market, are well-positioned to continue an already-underway rebound. Meanwhile, places with lower-income residents like Price Hill still face big challenges.• A Centerville man filed a lawsuit against Cincinnati’s Horseshoe Casino Friday, charging that the downtown gambling complex engaged in false imprisonment and malicious prosecution last year. Mark DiSalvo claims that he was detained while leaving the casino after a dispute over $2,000 in video poker winnings. DiSalvo wasn’t able to immediately claim the winnings because he didn’t have the proper identification, but was told he would receive paperwork allowing him to claim the money later. He says he waited two hours before receiving the forms. Afterward, as he stopped to check the nametag of an employee who was less than kind to him, he was confronted by casino security officers, who called police. Three Cincinnati police officers were originally named in the suit as well, but the department settled out of court. DiSalvo claims casino employees and police gave false testimony about him and his prior record.• Sometimes, something is better than nothing. At least, that appears to be the thinking for groups supporting the Hamilton County Commissioners’ compromise icon tax plan to renovate Union Terminal. The Cincinnati Museum Center board decided to back the commissioners’ version of the plan last week, despite earlier misgivings. That plan replaced a proposal by the Cultural Facilities Task Force that would have also renovated Music Hall. Now the task force, led by Ross, Sinclaire and Associates CEO Murray Sinclaire, is regrouping and looking for ways to fund the Music Hall fixes without tax dollars. “Initially we were very disappointed and somewhat frustrated because of all the time we spent” on the initial proposal, Murray said, but “we’ve got an amazing group of people with a lot of expertise and we’ll figure it out.”Meanwhile, Republican Commissioner Chris Monzel, who helped orchestrate the new, more limited deal, has said he supports it. Initially, he indicated he wasn’t sure if he would vote for the plan himself. The backing of the Museum Center board has swayed him, however, and he now says he’s an enthusiastic supporter of the effort to shore up Union Terminal.• The Cincinnati Cyclones have a new logo, which is exciting, at least in theory. The team’s prior logo looked a lot like a stack of bicycle tires brought to life by a stiff dose of methamphetamines, and the one before that looked Jason Voorhees fan art. Neither of which is really all that bad if you want to strike fear and confusion (mostly confusion) into the hearts of your opponents. But the team, making a bid for a higher level of professionalism, tapped Cincinnati-based design and branding firm LPK for a new look. The results are slick and clean, with the team’s colors adorning a sleek sans-serif font and a big “C” with a kind of weather-report tornado symbol in the middle. The team’s marketing reps call the new logo “versatile,” while fans have taken to the team’s social media sites to call it boring and generic and to compare it to water circling a toilet bowl. Personally, they can put just about whatever they want on their jerseys and I’d still hit up any game on $1 dollar hotdog night. Not a lot of hockey options around here.• In the past three days, federal judges have stayed or struck down some of the nation’s strictest laws against women’s health facilities that provide abortions, enacted last summer in Texas and Louisiana. The laws stipulated very specific standards for clinics. The Louisiana law, which was put on hold by a federal judge Sunday night, set requirements that facilities have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles, a rule that could have shut down every clinic in the state. The Texas law stipulated that clinics had to meet the same standards applied to hospitals, which would have dictated how wide hallways had to be in the facilities and other burdensome rules. That law was struck down by a federal judge Friday. The law would have caused the closure of 12 clinics in the state. Ohio has laws similar to Louisiana’s requiring hospital admitting privileges. That has caused problems for many facilities here, including one in Sharonville which a Hamilton County magistrate ordered to stop providing abortion services last month.
by Mike Breen
96 days ago
Washington Park and SCPA host events throughout the two-day fest presented by Learning Through Art, Inc.
The Crown Jewels of Jazz Festival returns Friday and Saturday with an adjusted format. While last year’s fest was spread out across the Over-the-Rhine area, this year’s Crown Jewels is more streamlined, with free events concentrated in OTR’s Washington Park.The fest kicks off Friday night with an 8 p.m. concert featuring unique and widely acclaimed Jazz singer Gregory Porter, as well as Cincinnati native Mandy Gaines (whose been busy performing throughout Europe and Asia). Saturday at Washington Park, the fest kicks up again with Phil DeGreg, Baba Charles Miller and Kathy Wade (whose Learning Through Art, Inc. presents the Crown Jewels fest) performing and telling the story of Jazz (and other music) in a program called “Journeys: A Black Anthology of Music” at 4 p.m. At 5 p.m., “Piano Picnic in the Park” will showcase area pianists; DeGreg, Jim Connerly, Billy Larkin, Charles Ramsey III, Cheryl Renee, Steve Schmidt and Erwin Stuckey will each perform their two favorite Jazz numbers during the hour and a half performance. Then it’s time to dance! The fest closes out at 8 p.m. with “Dancing Under the Stars” at the park’s bandstand, featuring music from the 18-piece Sound Body Jazz Orchestra and dancers/teachers from the Dare to Dance Ballroom Dance and Fitness Studio.Given that it is presented by Learning Through Art, Inc., it is fitting that the Crown Jewels of Jazz fest will also include an educational program Saturday morning for high school musicians at the School for Creative and Performing Arts, just across the street from Washington Park’s 12th Street entrance. The CJ2 Jazz Camp, which will feature clinics, classes and more with many of Cincinnati’s top Jazz musicians and educators (including DeGreg, Stuckey, Jim Anderson, Marc Fields, Ted Karas, Mike Wade, Art Gore, Brent Gallaher and many others), begins at 8:30 a.m. There is a $35 fee per student.For complete info on the Jazz Camp and all of the Crown Jewels of Jazz events, visit learningthroughart.com. And click here to read CityBeat's interview with Wade about the fest and her org's other work.