by Kerry Skiff 10.02.2015 54 days ago
Posted In: Literary at 09:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Beyond the Books

Headlines and Deadlines at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County's main branch

It was a dim and smallish room I entered for my third library event, and at first I thought I was lost. I was in the main branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, and after searching unsuccessfully decided to follow someone, who mercifully led me to the right room. “Headlines and Dead Lines”, the title of the class, promised to teach me about a library database that would research local history, and as the program began, I contentedly settled in for a good history lesson.The class, taught by Reference Librarian Cindy Hill, mostly focused on Newsdex, a database that holds listings for local Cincinnati history. As I listened, Hill rattled off various fun facts about the system. “It’s the longest-running publicly available database for the Cincinnati area,” she announced proudly. “It’s a really great place to start.”  According to Hill, Newsdex is often used for genealogies, but also provides information on companies, neighborhoods, historical sites and local events. You can find death notices, obituaries, wedding announcements, murders, addresses, local events and advertisements. The database includes articles from multiple Cincinnati publications, both current and discontinued, like the Cincinnati Post, Times-Star, Gazette, Commercial and the Western Spy. “[Newsdex] has a totally wide-range of newspapers, but it’s not complete,” Hill said. “It’s being updated all the time.”As I listened to her, I began to see why Hill sounded so excited about the database.  “As far as we know, there’s not another library that’s done this,” she said. “Many of our databases require a library card, but Newsdex is used all over the world…it’s used across this country and beyond.” She added that people from as far away as Japan have requested information from the index, and that local companies and news organizations have also used the site. Later I talked to Steve Headley, president of the Genealogy and Local History department of the public library, who told me that the database has been around in one form or another for a long time. According to Headley, Cincinnati librarians began to index newspapers into the library’s card catalog in 1927. In 1940 a concentrated effort began to index obituaries, as well as death notices, and in 1990 the system was digitized and named Newsdex. “There is no other real source [like] it, especially for the number of newspapers that it covers,” Headley said.However, as great as Newsdex is, it doesn’t contain everything. Hill explained one reason is that some people wanted to live private lives, so nothing was printed about them in the paper. “Not everyone can be traced,” she warned. “There were people back then that didn’t want to be out there.” According to Headley, the information might not be indexed yet, since information is added as librarians have time. “The further back you go, the less complete it gets,” he said, “simply because when the librarians were doing the indexing they were using the individual cards, and it was pretty time consuming.”One thing I appreciated about Newsdex is that it’s easy to use. Instead of having to weed through newspapers pages, Newsdex tells you what paper the article is in, what day it printed and what page it’s on. Then you simply work with the genealogy librarians to get that paper. At the end of the hour, I found myself wishing I had something to research, because I wanted to use my newfound knowledge. Instead of being intimidated by the wealth of information in Newsdex, it amazed me how much local history one city could hold. Cincinnati has so many facts to be discovered, and while I know I could never dig through them all, Headlines and Dead Lines made me want to try.Did this event sound interesting? Check out similar workshops at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County: Book a Librarian: Get help with job searches, research or resume writing.Date with an iPad: Learn the tricks to using this Apple device.Technology Appointment: Schedule a one-on-one workshop to learn basic computer skills.  
by Kerry Skiff 09.17.2015 69 days ago
at 11:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
a yart shopper chats with an artist

Beyond the Books

YART: The Art Yardsale at the Campbell County Public Library's Newport Branch

As technology advances, we constantly revisit our old resources to determine their relevance. Perhaps one of the most common debates is if libraries are a thing of the past. Sure, the quiet atmosphere with thousands of books is soothing, but is it really necessary when most, if not all, of its services can be found in a Google search? I, and many others like me, say yes. To be clear, I’m a young twentysomething who’s as tied to her smartphone as anyone else, but I believe libraries are an essential and irreplaceable community establishment. Books aside, libraries offer so many services that it would take 10 community organizations to equal. “The library is here for [the community] and literally does a little bit of everything,” says Jill Liebisch, adult/teen services programmer for the Newport branch of the Campbell County Public Library. “We do everything from job fairs to learning how to knit and crochet to the YART [Art Yardsale] to one-on-one computer and technology training.” To explore just how relevant public libraries really are in this digital age, I’m exploring one service or program each week and evaluating its impact on me as a resident and on the community at large. My first event was YART: The Art Yardsale, hosted by the Newport library. YART showcased artists from around the Cincinnati community in a creative yard sale, where jewelry makers, sketch artists, painters, photographers, glass blowers, sculptors and scrapbookers sold their goods at affordable prices. Liebisch has organized the event for the last two years. “We kind of came up with the idea that we wanted it to be students and people who had never had a chance to sell their artwork before,” she says. “We had so many students and first-timers come and display and sell their artwork…they got to make contacts and kind of have a little art show of their own.” During my time there, YART kept up a steady stream of traffic, despite the constant dark clouds hinting at rain. I joined the handful weaving through the aisles of jewelry, paintings, photography, sketches and paper arts, taking time to chat with the artists. Nancy Howes told me about her fantasy-inspired jewelry made from copper, poly clay and paper. She’s been making jewelry off and on for the last 20 years and used to have a shop in Bellevue. “I do these craft fairs every once in a while,” she says. “It’s fun to get out and hear the people and visit with them.” Howes’ son, Chris, sat next to her, behind a table of ceramic faces. A professional sculptor, Howes designs The Grotesquerie, his collection of hand-sculpted faces and figures. “I make grotesques, in the classic sense of caricatures and grotesque faces,” he says, looking over his table of odd expressions. The wind spread around the constant aroma of his incense burners, shaped like fish and funny gnomes. “They just sort of happened, whatever comes out comes out,” he says, joking about the figures. “It surprises me sometimes.” After several passes among the tables, I ended up with a personalized picture album, small watercolor painting, a pair of earrings and an assortment of paper tags, not to mention the fun of chatting with local creatives. Melissa Huber, who sold me the earrings, remarked on how useful she’s found the public library. Huber said she and her mother attend the Friday night movies, and Huber herself has learned to knit and intends to learn fly fishing, all through their local branch. After a few hours at the YART sale, I walked away with great gifts for family at prices a broke twentysomething can afford. It was probably one of the most satisfying shopping trips I’ve ever made, and I can’t think of a better way to invest in a community.

Happy Birthday America!

Flags, fireworks and places to celebrate the Fourth of July

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Isn't it nice when the Fourth of July falls on a Friday? We've got the holiday weekend covered with America-saluting events all weekend long.   
by Jac Kern 05.30.2014
Posted In: Events at 12:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your Weekend To Do List: 5/30-6/1

It’s Pride Week in Cincinnati, a time to celebrate and support the local LGBTQ community, promote diversity as well as equality and just have a good time as a plethora of events takes over the city. The Pride party has been going all week and the fun continues tonight with the Skyy Vodka Pub Crawl featuring bars and clubs in Over-the-Rhine, Northside, Downtown, Newport and Covington. Shuttles run three loops with six busses stopping at 20 bars. A $10 wristband gets you on the bus all night and into any bars that have cover charges. Find details here. Cincinnati Art Museum’s free Art After Dark series also takes a Pride theme this month. Stop by the museum before the crawl for performances by Young Heirlooms and the Cincinnati Men’s Chorus, gallery tours, giveaways and more from 5-9 p.m. Bar crawl wristbands can be purchased at the museum or Millennium Hotel, Below Zero, Rosie's Tavern or Chameleon between 8-10 p.m.  The much-anticipated annual Pride Parade steps off at 2 p.m. Saturday with a slightly different route due to streetcar construction: Seventh and Culvert streets to Vine Street to Fifth at Fountain Square, down Eggleston Avenue. The parade will end at Sawyer Point, where a family-friendly festival runs 3-9 p.m. There will be two entertainment stages (be sure to swing by the CityBeat stage!), rides and games for kids, food and drink. There will also be a public commitment/re-commitment ceremony at 6 p.m., free to all couples interested in participating. The ceremony will cap off with a couples’ first dance. The festival ends with a fireworks display at 9 p.m. Find a full entertainment lineup here. And be sure to check out this week’s Pride Issue. We’ve got interviews with local LGBTQ advocates, a calendar of events and more. The 2014 Cincinnati Fringe Festival is in full swing this weekend (continuing through June 7). We’ve previewed each of the 30-plus performances and will be posting reviews of every show as well — check them out here. Eccentric painter, sculptor, printmaker and collector of fancy antique oddities Hunt Slonem graces Cincinnati with his colorful, fabulous presence this week. The American artist has work showcased in more than 100 museums across the world — and now, Miller Gallery in Hyde Park. Perhaps best known for his neo-expressionist paintings of tropical birds and other animals, Slonem will be at the gallery for the opening Friday night. Meet the artist and peruse his works from 6-8 p.m.; The Exotic World of Hunt Slonem will be on display at Miller through June 29. Jane’s Saddlebag in Union, Ky., is a unique attraction sprawling over 35 acres of land that features a general store, restaurant, wine shop, petting zoo, historic spaces and recreations. Located near Big Bone Lick State Park, Jane’s is great for a weekend getaway close to home. Visit this weekend as they host their second annual wine festival noon-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Sample wines from 20 local and regional wineries and shop handmade items from more than 40 craft vendors. Tickets are $12 and include four tasting tickets, a wine glass and live music. Go here for more info. For more art openings, parties, festivals and other stuff to do this weekend, check out our To Do picks, full calendar and Rick Pender’s Stage Door for weekend theater offerings.
by Jac Kern 05.16.2014
Posted In: Events at 10:52 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your Weekend To Do List: 5/16-5/18

The Contemporary Arts Center turns 75 this year and she’s looking as good as ever! Celebrate the CAC’s long history of pushing Cincinnati along the cutting edge with an epic birthday bash tonight. The festivities start at the CAC’s former location in the Mercantile Center with dinner and silent and live auctions from 6-9 p.m. (email sday@contemporaryartscenter.org or call 513-345-8422 to get on the waiting list). More food and drink, dancing and art awaits at the CAC with a Diamonds + Debauchery after-party from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. CityBeat’s own Jesse Fox will be taking fabulous photobooth pics and there will be an appearance by California avant-garde performance artist boychild. After-party tickets are $40 in advance, $75 per couple and $100 for a group of three (online sales end at 4 p.m.) or $50 at the door. Read this week's cover story on the Contemporary Arts Center here. Downtown nightlife staple Mt. Adams Pavilion recently underwent a facelift, complete with interior renovations of the dance floor area and penthouse, new cocktails and a menu created by Chef Brian Duffy (of Bar Rescue fame). Check out the updated digs tonight at Pavilion’s re-launch party from 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Head down to Washington Park for an OTR-rific Saturday with the first City Flea of the season and the eighth annual OTR 5K. City Flea, Cincy’s local curated urban flea market, embarks on its fourth season this weekend, offering handcrafted goods, art, antiques, local grub and more fun goodies from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The OTR 5K also kicks off at 10 a.m., with festivities following in the park. Northside is a hub for creativity, so it’s fitting that the Cincinnati Arts Association is sponsoring a self-guided tour of Hamilton Avenue artist studios from 2-5 p.m. this Sunday. North By Northside features studio tours, pop-up exhibitions and an overall celebration of art in the eclectic neighborhood. Start at Hoffner Lodge (4120 Hamilton Ave.), where tickets can be purchased beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday, then make your way through several artist studios and creative spaces. Head back to the lodge from 5-7 p.m. for an after-party including food, drinks and music. Tickets are $35; the event benefits non-profit gallery Weston Art Gallery. For more art openings, parties, festivals and other stuff to do this weekend, check out our To Do picks, full calendar and Rick Pender’s Stage Door for weekend theater offerings.
by Jac Kern 04.11.2014
Posted In: Events at 12:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your Weekend To Do List: 4/11-4/13

This weekend’s forecast includes warm weather, a bit of rain, a few clouds and tons of art. Whether you want to watch it, make it, buy it or just support local arts organizations, art is all around this weekend — starting with the last Macy’s Arts Sampler of the season, presented by ArtsWave. Macy’s Arts Sampler Weekends bring free performances, workshops, tours and other art opportunities to venues across Greater Cincinnati. Saturday’s final installment includes concerts by the Cincinnati Children's Choir, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra and Cincinnati Men’s Chorus at St. John’s Unitarian Church; dance demo classes and performances at Covington’s Step-N-Out Studio; yarn-bombing 101 with the Bombshells of Cincinnati at 21c Museum Hotel and tons more events in College Hill, Butler County, Mariemont and other neighborhoods. Find a full schedule of free art to sample here. Visionaries + Voices provides countless opportunities for local artists with disabilities. With locations in Northside and Tri-County, V+V helps these artists create, market and showcase their pieces. At the organization’s annual fundraiser, Double Vision, talented V+V artists exhibit and auction their works of art. Double Vision V takes place at Memorial Hall Friday — VIP and general admission ticket options available here. Art will be on sale via live and silent auctions, and attendees can enjoy drinks, snacks and music by DJ Mowgli. Oakley’s Brazee Street Studios hosts a free art supply swap from 1-3 p.m. Saturday. Clean out your craft closet and bring any unwanted items such as paint, textiles and brushes, then stock up on other materials you may need. It’s all free and honor system-style — please bring at least two items if you plan on swapping. All extra supplies will be donated to Crayons2Computers.It’s Northside Second Saturday time this weekend! Art, retail sales, food and drink specials abound throughout the neighborhood starting around 6 p.m. Highlights include shows at Northside Tavern and The Comet, gallery openings at Fabricate, NVISION and Northside International Airport’s Bathrool Gallery and a closing reception at Thunder-Sky, Inc. Local electronic artist Charles Woodman is a founding member of video performance group viDEO sAVant and he currently has a show on display in Weston Art Gallery you can read about here. This Sunday viDEO sAVant presents Lateral Thinking, a unique, live multimedia performance at 21c Museum Hotel downtown. Video clips of both sci-fi and avant-garde films will play out as a soundtrack is composed live. This feast for the senses is free and begins at 4 p.m. Read more here. Be sure to read our Best of Cincinnati issue for reader and staff picks on the city’s best restaurants, businesses, events and more. For more theater shows, parties and other stuff to do this weekend, check out our To Do picks and full calendar.
by Jac Kern 03.14.2014
Posted In: Events at 10:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your Weekend To Do List: 3/14-3/16

Cincinnati may be known as a German city, what with our legendary Oktoberfest and love for pork and sausages, but Irish heritage is also strong here, as we’ll see this weekend. St. Patrick’s Day is officially Monday, March 17, but the green beer starts flowing early in anticipation. The 48th annual Cincinnati St. Patrick’s Day Parade steps off Saturday at noon downtown. The route begins at Eggleston Avenue and Reedy Street, wrapping around Central Avenue, crossing over Sycamore Street and back down Fifth Street. Hang out on Fountain Square during the parade, where festivities run from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. with live music, Irish grub and plenty of beer. Fun on the square continues Monday starting at 11 a.m. — for those playing hooky. For those looking to take a more culturally rich approach to the holiday, Cincinnati actually has its own Irish Heritage Center located in the East End. Read our story on the center and its founders, Kent Covey and Maureen Kennedy, here. Doors open at the center at 2 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday; events include Irish music and dance, art exhibitions, children’s events and food and drink for purchase. They host an Irish mass at 1:30 p.m. Monday, followed by more celebrating. Find the full schedule here. The Cincinnati Museum Center also gets in on the St. Paddy’s fun with its Celtic Lands Culture Fest Saturday-Sunday. Get your fill of folklore, performances and art from Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Kids will enjoy workshops, games and crafts throughout the weekend. Activities in the rotunda are free; access to the museum requires admission. Go here for tickets and more details. Movie lovers will want to check out Cincinnati World Cinema’s annual Oscar Shorts screening this weekend; a mix of the Academy Award-nominated flicks in the Short Film – Animated and Short Film – Live Action categories will be shown in two programs Saturday and Sunday. Each program contains a mix of five live action and animated shorts — be sure to check out both programs to see the winners from both categories. Find program details and schedules here. It’s a Macy’s Arts Sampler Weekend, with free art events across the Tristate all day Saturday. This month’s sampler includes a special “Catch the Spirit” concert featuring the collaboration of Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati Opera, May Festival Chorus, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and other local arts organizations. The performance takes place at 1 p.m. at Music Hall. Additional performances, classes, exhibits and other exciting activities for all ages will be offered at Elementz downtown, Behringer-Crawford Museum in Covington, Ky., Fairfield Community Arts Center, Hamilton’s Fitton Center for Creative Arts and more. Go here for more locations with a lineup of events.For more art openings, parties and other stuff to do this weekend, check out our To Do picks, full calendar and Rick Pender’s Stage Door for weekend theater offerings.
by Jac Kern 02.07.2014
Posted In: Eats, Events, Drinking, Fun at 01:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your Weekend To Do List: 2/7-2/9

Cincinnati Beer Week is in full effect, bringing craft beer tastings, pairings and brewery nights to bars and restaurants across the city through Feb. 13 (followed by the popular Cincy Winter Beerfest Feb. 14-15). Go here for the week’s highlights and find all of today’s CBW events here. Balls Around the Block is a bar crawl with a mission: To expose more locals to the ever-changing downtown landscape by visiting several different local establishments in one night, all while raising money for a good cause. Twelve groups of 25 each begin at a different bar on the same block (so as not to overwhelm one establishment all at once) and continue progressing around to bars like Madonna’s, Rock Bottom Brewery, Igby’s and Nicholson’s. It’s $35 to participate, with food and drink specials along the way. This year’s crawl benefits Fido Field, the privately funded off-leash dog area located at 630 Eggleston Ave. BATB hopes to raise $12,000 this year for the continued construction of Fido Field — the group raised $10,000 in 2013. Go here for more information, to make donations and to join a group for the crawl. Cincy Blues Society’s annual Winter Blue Fest kicks off Friday at The Phoenix. More than 25 local Blues acts perform through Saturday including headliners Tinsley Ellis and Janiva Magness. Read more here. Jungle Jim’s Big Cheese Fest is now sold out, but those with tickets are in for a day full delicious dairy from more than 80 cheese companies. More than 40 booths will feature varieties of local, artisan and international cheeses, charcuterie, breads, spreads and more. Beer and wine pairing options available at additional cost. The festival takes over Jungle Jim’s Oscar Event Center from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday. The Big Cheese Kick-Off Party (also sold out) is 7-10 p.m. Friday.For more art openings, parties and other stuff to do this weekend, check out our To Do picks, full calendar and Rick Pender’s Stage Door for weekend theater offerings.
by Jac Kern 01.10.2014
Posted In: Events at 12:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your Weekend To Do List: 1/10-1/12

German composer/musician Volker Bertelmann, aka “Hauschka,” performs at the Contemporary Arts Center Friday. Hauschka performs on a prepared piano, placing foreign objects on the strings, dampers and hammers to create a unique sound. The CAC show begins at 8 p.m. Go here to read our interview with Hauschka. Souped up car show Cavalcade of Customs returns to the Duke Energy Convention Center this weekend. The 54th annual expo’s highlights include more than 500 cars on display, live music, a motorcycle stunt show and appearances by Rick and Kyle Petty, WWE’s Shawn Michaels and Chris Jerico, Shane Harper of Disney’s Good Luck Charlie and more. Cavalcade runs Friday-Sunday. Get tickets and daily schedules here. Cincinnati native and rising comic Geoff Tate makes a homecoming to record his third comedy album at Go Bananas nightly through Sunday. Tate spent the last year touring the country and with with Doug Benson and Bill Burr. Find show times and ticket info here. Top stylists from an array of local salons will create works of living art Sunday at The Art of Hair at The Carnegie in Covington. Tresses take the spotlight at this runway show, running at 1 p.m. and repeating at 3. Check out our cover story to get a glimpse of the preparation for this event; buy tickets here. Trackside seats at Cincinnati Rollergirls matches only get you so close to the action. Want to get even more involved? CRG are looking for skaters, referees and volunteers for their upcoming season. Roll on over to tryouts at The Skatin’ Place in Colerain Twp. Sunday for a chance to join the team. Go here for more details. For more art openings, parties and other stuff to do this weekend, check out our To Do picks, full calendar and Rick Pender’s Stage Door for weekend theater offerings.
by Jac Kern 12.13.2013
Posted In: Events at 12:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
housedforthehollerdaysbanner copy

Your Weekend To Do List: 12/13-12/15

Powerhouse Factories, the brand-building agency/print shop behind some of your favorite local music/concert posters, opens its Newport studio doors to the public Friday for it annual holiday party. ‘Housed for the Hollerdays is a perfect opportunity to do some gift shopping for the music lovers on your list — posters run $10-$50; framed prints start at $100. The free event also features live music from Pope Goes the Evil (10-11 p.m.) and a holiday portrait photo booth. ‘Housed for the Hollerdays runs 6 p.m.-midnight. The 2014 Winter Olympics begin in less than two months in Sochi, Russia. In anticipation for February’s games, the United State Olympic Committee has organized the Road to Sochi tour. The tour began in New York City last month, marking the 100-day countdown to the games, and it stops at Fountain Square Friday. Fans can participate in Winter Olympic simulated activities like ski jumping, curling and bobsledding from 1-8 p.m. Locally based African cultural organization Bi-Okoto hosts its annual Heritage Festival Saturday. Swing by their Pleasant Ridge center to experience the traditional music, dances, food and goods from various African countries. For more information about Bi-Okoto and the fest, read our interview with founders Ade and Jeaunita Olowe. If you notice dozens upon dozens of Santa Clauses traipsing across the city Saturday, don’t worry — you’re not having a holiday party hangover-induced hallucination. It’s Cincinnati Santacon time! Everyone in the holiday spirit is invited to register online, grab a Santa suit and join in this holly jolly pub crawl. The Santa mob will travel to various downtown bars and events until midnight, singing songs, drinking booze and spreading holiday cheer. This year a “sleigh” (shuttle) will be available for Santas wanting to swing through Mount Adams. To participate, meet at Fountain Square at noon or follow Cincinnati Santacon on Facebook or Twitter to join the group at another location. Over-the-Rhine also gets a holiday makeover Saturday. Volunteers will “Light Up OTR” with 2,000 luminarias distributed throughout Washington Park and on Elm, Race and Main Streets from 6-9 p.m. For more art openings, theater shows, parties and other stuff to do this weekend, check out our To Do picks and full calendar.