by Steven Rosen
at 01:28 PM | Permalink
Monthly Listen to This! series introduces "Record Roulette"
Steven Kemple, who was
featured last year in CityBeat’s Cool Issue for his innovative programming as
the Main Library’s music librarian,
runs a monthly Listen to This! session there at which the group (it’s open to
anyone) hears in new ways selections from the Public Library of Cincinnati and
Hamilton County’s vast collection of recordings.
The sessions have been
inspired, sometimes wittily so — North Korean music when Dennis Rodman visited
that country, for instance. Or timely — when all of the underappreciated singer
Harry Nilsson’s albums were reissued a while back, Kemple scheduled a Nilsson
But even by his high
standards, the most recent Listen to This! was brilliant. Using a computer
program, Kemple randomly selected 14 LPs — vinyl albums — from the collection. Then,
on a portable record player, he played selections/excerpts from each —
accompanied by group discussion. The
informal name for the presentation was “Record Roulette.”
Those present consistently
found unexpected connections in the different recordings, and also made serious
and insightful observations. Even when
you might think they would treat something like a joke — during an excerpt from
The Speechphone Method, for instance,
on which speech specialist Hazel P. Brown read pronunciations of words.
One person noticed how the
way we say certain words has changed since this record’s 1959 release. And
careful listening to Brown’s list-reading of words began a long conversation,
not quite an argument, about whether she had a slight New England accent that
softened some "R"s.
The evening started with the
album Ballads by Niles, from the
traditionalist balladic Folk singer and Kentucky native John Jacob Niles (who
studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music — now University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music). The late Niles, popular in
the 1950s, doesn’t get much airplay these days and several in the group weren’t
familiar with him. Especially jarring, at first, was the high voice — it made
some think of Tiny Tim — as he started
singing “Mattie Groves.” But as it became clearer that Niles was using
different voices to portray different characters, and that he had an operatic,
storytelling approach to folk music, he impressed all present. This was a real
records from which we heard excerpts were:
·Songs of Corsica featuring Martha
Angelia (It prompted a discussion about the Corsican language.)
·The Trial of the Cantonsville Nine by
Daniel Berrigan, S.J. (This was a play based on an act of disobedience in 1968 — the burning of Selective Service-related files — by Catholic activists to
protest to Vietnam War. Berrigan, a Jesuit priest, was one of the nine. That was a long time — the younger members of
the listening group weren’t familiar with it.)
·“March from the River Kwai” by Mitch Miller & His Orchestra, from The 50’s Greatest Hits (The whistling
prompted a suggestion for a night of whistling songs.)
·Africa: Ceremonial & Folk Music
(We discovered the wrong record had been in the jacket for
who-knows-how-many-years — we heard the jazzy track “Americanization of Ooga
Booga” by South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela.)
·Classical Russian Poetry read in Russian
by Yevgeny Yevtushenko and English by Morris Carnovsky
·“April Come She Will” from Collected
Works of Simon & Garfunkel, the closest to rock ‘n’ roll the night got.
·From the seventh realm, a Modernist
classical work from the 1920s by Arthur Fickenscher for piano and string
quartet (This unfamiliar work, from an unfamiliar composer who pioneered
microtonal music, was moving – and had us wondering how many other 20th century composers are out there waiting for rediscovery.)
·Pianist Ronald Smith on a 1977 recording of Twelve
Studies in All the Minor Keys, Opus 39, by 19th century French
pianist and composer Charles Alkan
·The Best of John Williams (Hoping to
hear Star Wars, we discovered this John Williams is the classical
guitarist, not the film composer. Entertaining nonetheless.)
·In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer,
performed by the Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center under the direction of
Jules Irving (Interestingly, the computer picked two plays about political
trials of post-war American leftists. Oppenheimer, one of the chief architects
of the A-bomb, was persecuted in the 1950s during the height of McCarthyism for
wanting international control of the bomb. From what we heard, the 1964 play had
interesting and unusual multimedia aspects, possibly a precursor to the John
Adams opera Doctor Atomic.
ready to end with some silly pop by now, maybe the Chipmunks or Weird Al
Yankovic, but instead the computer chose for us Three Short Operas by Bizet and Romberg’s The Student Prince from a
Readers Digest collection, Treasury of
we discussed it’d be great to have these “Record Roulette” vinyl sessions on a
regularly scheduled basis, maybe every other month, so they could build the
larger following they deserve.
posts information on a Facebook event page.
remaining June events at the Main Library — at 7 p.m. — are a lecture next
Wednesday, June 11, by noted Cincinnati musicologist David Lewis on Mamie
Smith, the famed Cincinnati-born singer of early 20th century Blues
and Jazz; a multi-act Experimental Music at the Library session on June 18 with
headliner Wrest, a free jazz trio with percussionist Ben Bennett , saxophonist
Jack Wright and bassist Evan Lipson; and on June 25 another Listen
to This! session.
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 4, 2014
On June 1, area Blues
singer/pianist/multi-instrumentalist Jimmy D. Rogers won the Cincy Blues
Challenge competition for solo artists and duos after competing against
several other performers at downtown club/restaurant Arnold’s. This
Sunday, the Blues Challenge presents the band competition.
Greater Cincinnati is once again a hub for summer music fests
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 4, 2014
The festival scene has long been a fabric
of summer in Greater Cincinnati, with church and neighborhood festivals
going down every weekend across the region. But during the past decade,
almost as many music festivals have popped into the area as well.
Cincinnati Ballet closes its 50th anniversary season with local music heroes Over the Rhine
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Over the Rhine, the bluesy, jazzy, folksy
band headed by blonde chanteuse Karin Bergquist and real-life partner
Linford Detweiler, named after Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine
neighborhood where they once lived, this weekend will perform live with
Cincinnati Ballet dancers in the closing series of the company’s 50th
by Jac Kern
at 12:20 PM | Permalink
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
Senior prom is a special
milestone for many American teens, but even traditions as old as school dances
change over time. Intimate one-on-one dates have given way to group dates and attending as friends. Flip-flops and cutout cocktail dresses replaced the overdone evening
look for many girls. And now a southern-fried specialty is getting in the prom
game. Kentucky Fried Chicken — What? Yes. — partnered with Louisville florists to create the chicken corsage. For $20, Louisville residents can purchase a corsage from Nanz and Kraft Florists that includes a $5 gift card to KFC, where folks can then go buy the perfect piece of chicken. It can only be assumed that after prom, girls will press the greasy chicken bone between their yearbook pages, just like their moms did with their corsages when they were young.
It’s confirmed: Stephen
Colbert will take over the Late Show desk
once David Letterman retires sometime in 2015. That’ll mean no more Colbert Report and, likely, the end of
the host’s faux-servative character. Start the countdown to the announcement of
a new reality show following Letterman, Leno (and, let’s just be honest — Craig
Ferguson and Conan O’Brien) around Ex-Host Island. Move over, old people!
Slightly younger people are takin' yer jerbs!In the contemporary classic Mean Girls, Lindsay Lohan’s Cady
describes Halloween as, “the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut
and no other girls can say anything about it.” Well, Coachella must be kind of like
Halloween for celebrities, except instead of wearing lingerie and some form of
animal ears, they throw on the most jumbled assortment of terrible fashion fads. Not
sure about the new cream-colored designer jumpsuit you purchased? Try it out in the middle of
the desert! Want to channel Woodstock without ever having been to, read about
or seen a photo of Woodstock? Grab a Native American headdress and wear that
shit to Coachella. The fest is HQ for floral head wreaths, jorts and combat
boots (often all worn at once), and for some reason I cannot pull myself away
from the celeb photos of this mess.
It’s like someone made a slot machine with various teenagers’ style blogs on Tumblr and
everyone going to Coachella must take a spin to determine their outfit. “Ooh, I
got a bindi, a latex bra, a crocheted duster and gladiator sandals!” Just look
at these famous attendees, capped off with Koachella Kweenz Kylie and Kendall Jenner.
But seriously, you need to
see this video that’s (probably) of Leonardo DiCaprio Coachin’ it up (people
say that, right?) at an MGMT performance, which makes me feel weird and old.
And since I brought up
Lindsay, the supposedly sober starlet was supposedly washing down all that
Coachella dust and glitter with vodka this weekend. The reports come days after the latest
episode of her Oprah docu-series, in which she admits to drinking alcohol after
her latest stint in rehab. Also, there were a lot of emo scenes of Lindsay
filming herself crying. Get it together, girl. OPRAH WILL CUSS AT YOU AGAIN.
And everyone knows if Oprah has to cuss at you twice, you will spontaneously burst into flames.
Celebrispawn in the media
is quite the hot topic as of late, particularly thanks to Dax Sheppard and
Kristen Bell vs. Papz (this will definitely be a court case our children will study in history class). But what about fake famous babies
— fair game? OK! Leslie Knope is pregnant! Pawnee's upcoming addition will be the Prince George of
fictional TV comedy births. Which is to say, a very big deal. Parks and Rec's Leslie and Ben
will be the best parents ever. I think I speak for fans everywhere by saying we can't wait for his or her first playdate with the world’s most
attractive child, Ann and Chris’ little Oliver.
Sunday was an epic night
for television with the final Mad Men premiere
and a crazy-ass episode of Game of
Thrones. These two are great popular, critically-acclaimed dramas, but
they’re on complete opposite ends of the style spectrum. Mad Men’s seventh season
debut was gradual and calculated (as always), giving viewers a chance to fill
in the blanks between Season Six and now, speculate on what’s to come and read into every
little detail. And by detail, I mean Pete’s California Ken Doll look, which was
#flawless. Ratings were way down Sunday — the lowest-rated premiere since the second
season's in 2008. Some
attribute the drop to a lackluster episode, but the truth is probably that
everyone was too busy losing their shit over this week’s Game of Thrones to get into the cool Mad Men mood.
Without giving too much
away (and because I spoiled “the incident” for myself since I can’t stay off the damn
Internet — so I know it sucks), Thrones fans
who hadn’t already read the books were treated to a truly righteous, bubbly,
bloody scene this week that totally flips the script for many of our favorite
characters. Can’t these people get through one wedding without having to
immediately plan a funeral?
New movie trailers to hit
the Interwebz: bestseller-turned-likely blockbuster Gone Girl;
two red band previews for 22 Jump Street (The
starring Cameron Diaz and a manorexic Jason Segel, a comedy that’s exactly what
you think it’s about; and Jon Favreau’s take on the foodie world, Chef.
Aaand it looks like Jay-Z and Beyoncé
may tour together for a string of shows this
summer, so I need to go quit my job and fulfill
my dreams of being a roadie. Byé!
Bennett revue falls flat
0 Comments · Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Cincinnati Landmark Productions’ I Left My Heart, A Salute to the Music of Tony Bennett
at the Covedale Center for the Performing Arts presents a musical
tribute to Bennett, with more than 30 songs made famous by or famously
sung by the legendary crooner.
by Amber Hemmerle
Posted In: Local Music
at 01:07 PM | Permalink
Beginning Feb. 27, Northside’s The Listing Loon will host a
new onstage series called Folk & Fiction where music and writing will be
interwoven to bring together the audiences of various genres.
The monthly event, each final Thursday, was created in collaboration with Brooks
Rexroat, Matt Mooney and Margaret Darling. The trio was at an acoustic show
when they began talking about the limited places available for Folk musicians
and fiction writers to share their work.
“The two groups have the same audience, so that was kind of an
‘ah-ha’ moment for us,” Rexroat says.
They decided to create a place where these musicians and
writers could connect, as well as their audiences. Thus, Folk And Fiction was
Folk & Fiction is open to any genre of writing and music,
but has a heavy focus on, well, Folk music and fiction writing. This gives
prose writers a chance to share what they are working on as well as Folk
musicians who take just as much pride in their lyrics.
"There is a limited audience for any artists endeavor,”
Rexroat continues. “Even those excited only have a percentage of time for
support... It's much more efficient to share an audience, rather than battle
The first event, at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, will double as
the Cincinnati launch party for the book, Best
of Ohio Short Stories Vol. 1. From hundreds of submissions, 18 were chosen
to be featured in the book. Four of those writers will be on stage sharing
their work in conjunction with musicians.
For the first event, each musician will have two 15-minute
sets with the writers reading their works in between. The second event will
feature Jacinda Townsend, the author of Saint
Monkey, which will be released Feb. 24.
For more information, go to facebook.com/folkandfiction. Those
who are interested in performing in future events can email the event
coordinator at FolkAndFiction@gmail.com.
Feb. 27 Lineup:
The WritersBrad Pauquette (Columbus, Ohio)Brooks Rexroat (Cincinnati) Lin Rice (Columbus, Ohio) Heather Sinclair Shaw (Newark, Ohio)
The MusiciansMargaret DarlingRoyal Holland
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Last month, one of the greatest, most
influential Rock bands to come out of the Cincinnati music scene, The
Afghan Whigs, announced their return to the concert stage.
Monday • MOTR Pub
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 29, 2014
In an interview with Pitchfork
shortly before the release of her second album under the moniker
Waxahatchee, this fascinating bit of information was revealed about
Katie Crutchfield’s bedroom decor.
Saturday • Southgate House Revival
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Americana has tended to be a home for
Alternative Country performers with Southern or Western roots, and also
introspective Folk troubadours who favor a quiet, often-acoustic