Local musicians and the fans who love them will be getting gussied up for the 13th annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards for Music Sunday night at Covington's Madison Theater. Even if you disdain the concept of award shows, the CEAs are always one of the best parties of the year and totally down to earth. The afterparty ranks up there too — buy a ticket and get into the post-ceremony shindig at The Mad Hatter, where The Fairmount Girls will hand out their Fashion Trashie Awards.
The historical marker proposed for the former site of Herzog Studios downtown has been approved. Thanks to the hard work of the Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation, the marker will be installed at the site (where Hank Williams recorded trademark tunes like "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry") on Sunday, Nov. 22, the day of the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards.
You could stand in a check-out line at a grocery story in northwestern Cincinnati behind Joe McDonough and never detect that the guy unloading his cart before you is a playwright whose scripts have been enjoyed by audiences at theaters all over town and beyond. In fact, the self-effacing man who is disinclined to talk about himself at length has been writing plays since 1988. This season he's accomplished something no other local writer has ever managed to do: Two of his scripts will be given their world premieres almost simultaneously by the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati.
A dozen years after Ed Stern's arrival in Cincinnati to take over the creative reins at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, the theater company finally was recognized by the Tony Awards for fostering new plays, building a subscriber base envied by theaters in larger cities and reaching out to several hundred thousand young people annually, the audiences of the future. Stern is quick to deflect praise from himself to those he works with and to the community the Playhouse serves. But he's played a leading role in tandem with Playhouse Executive Director Buzz Ward.
"Ain't nothing goin' on but the weather, time and old age," Big Joe Duskin is known to say. With all due respect, he's wrong. There's plenty going on for Big Joe these days. One might be tempted to call it a comeback, but in order to "come back" you have to go away, and that certainly doesn't apply to the King of Cincinnati Blues. Besides, he knew about coming back years ago.
At the age of 14, three years before he ever sat behind a kit or held a drumstick in his hand, John Von Ohlen became a drummer. He'd already been playing classical piano for a decade and trombone for half that long when he attended a Stan Kenton concert at some forgotten ballroom in his Indianapolis hometown in 1955 and witnessed the fluid brilliance of Kenton's gifted skinsman Mel Lewis. The event transformed him.
Forget blow-dried scenesters and self-absorbed spotlight stealers. It's original and compelling artists like H-Bomb Ferguson that halls of fame were designed to lionize for the lucky contemporaries who knew the man and for the envious generations who will only know his music. While the CEA Hall of Fame induction came posthumously, H-Bomb knew he was loved as one of Cincinnati's most outrageously colorful musical figures.
One of the most heartwarming and vindicating moments of the 2006 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards ceremony came when local Soul/Funk legend
Kenny Smith took the Taft Theater stage to accept his long overdue Lifetime Achievement Award. He joked about not accepting it. "Can I turn it down?" Smith said before the CEAs with a hearty, self-deprecating laugh. "No, I wouldn't turn it down. I think it's great that we have something like this in Cincinnati."
One of the most heartwarming and vindicating moments of this year's Cincinnati Entertainment Awards ceremony will come when local Soul/Funk legend Kenny Smith takes the Taft Theater stage to accept his long overdue Lifetime Achievement Award. If he accepts, that is. "Can I turn it down?" Smith says with a hearty, self-deprecating laugh from his independent insurance sales office.
During the 10 years that D. Lynn Meyers has served as producing artistic director at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, she's staged 46 regional premieres, helped establish the League of Cincinnati Theatres and served in a leadership role during the league's early years. It seems fitting that, for the 10th anniversary of the CEAs, Meyers received LCT's Award for Continuing Excellence and was inducted into the CEA Hall of Fame.