WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 

FotoFocus Has New Ideas, Big Plans for 2014 Event

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 4, 2014
At a luncheon/press conference Thursday in New York, the FotoFocus Biennial will announce details of its 2014 activities in Cincinnati for this year’s Oct. 8-Nov. 1 run.  
by Jac Kern 05.21.2014
at 11:03 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

When Catfish The TV Show premiered in 2012, I was less than impressed. While I enjoyed the original documentary film about a man’s (the filmmaker’s brother, Nev Schulman) online relationship-gone-wrong, Nev’s MTV version lacked the same authenticity and felt rather exploitative. But when Schulman tweeted about being in the Cincinnati area (Findlay Market, specifically) this past February, my interest was certainly piqued. Who doesn’t love seeing Cincy on TV (even if it inevitably would be a negative representation of the city and its people)? The Cincinnati episode of Catfish aired last week and local ties aside, it was one of the most controversial episodes thus far. Nev and his docu-series partner-in-crime Max embarked on a unique catfishing adventure when Carmen contacted the duo to help her host a “catfish intervention” with her cousin Antwane whom, despite never meeting the man in person, had been in a relationship with a guy named Tony for three years. Antwane explained that he “met” Tony on a late-night chat line but he’d never so much as seen a photo of him. Carmen and ‘Twane are both big personalities, sure to get a reaction from viewers, but they both seemed genuine. After a crazy turn of events, Antwane’s cousin Carmen nonchalantly revealed that she was “Tony” all along, and she had kept up the sick charade as revenge for…wait for it…the one time Antwane called her “a fat ass Kelly Price” in front of her family three years ago. Oy. When Max and Nev learned that Carmen was behind the whole thing and that she planned the Catfish cameras to catch her so she could get a brush with fame, they were furious. And rightfully so, that’s a straight Disney villain move (also your cousin?!). In a very edited scene, Nev heatedly called out Carmen, mocking the way she talked, when producers immediately stepped in to call for a break. While I in no way condone any of her sociopathic actions, I did find it bitterly just that these MTV hotshots got a taste of their own exploitative medicine. They embarrass countless people on the show (though some might argue the subjects ask for it) and while they say they do it to help people, like any television producers, it's all about ratings and "good" TV. In the end, this episode was sure to rack up plenty of viewers. After the show aired, Nev posted the following message on his Facebook page, which reeks of his signature smug judginess: “Shooting this weeks episode of Catfish was one of the most intense and emotional experiences of my life. Relating to and understanding Antwane was a struggle for me in many ways, but I really grew to appreciate and respect him. He has many fears and flaws, but showed so much courage and resolve in the face of adversity. He is a man who proves that you don't need anybody else's approval to be happy. My lesson learned is to be confident and proud of who you are no matter what anybody else says or thinks. Life isn't always easy, but we can all chose to be positive in the way we treat ourselves and others. Cheers.” Watch the full episode here. The show features shots of Short Vine (it looks like Antwane lives across the street from Bogart’s); Coffee Emporium in Over-the-Rhine (Nev and Max famously do all their research in a coffee shop in each episode, and were very impressed by the local spot); and various locations across Downtown and Over-the-Rhine. The term “catfish” has caught on as a definition for people who assume false identities on the Internet (or the act of doing so) — so much so, that the word’s new meaning has been added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Go here to read about how the term originated in the doc by the same name. Every year, the Guardians of the English Language at M-W begrudgingly add new words and definitions to the dictionary. This year’s list was just released and, in addition to catfish’s new meaning, there’s hashtag, selfie and steampunk . Peep the full list here. Brad Pitt and Matthew McConaughey are neighbors now, and apparently just a couple of bros.  Magic Mike was a hit. Channing Tatum is apparently working on a sequel, Magic Mike XXL. So it’s no surprise that “The Real” Magic Mike is also in the works. Directed by Joe Manganiello (“Big Dick” Richie in Mike, Alcide in True Blood), La Bare gives a raw, inside look at the talented male dancers at La Bare Dallas. LA BARE RED BAND TRAILER from Main Street Films on Vimeo.We now live in a world where Charlie from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia gets invited to give commencement speeches and receives honorary doctorates. Which is to say, an awesome world. Check out his words of wisdom here. Jimmy Fallon has been doing a Suggestion Box bit on The Tonight Show, where he takes completely random questions or ideas from fans and brings them to life in epic Tonight  fashion. Fallon has dubbed Game of Thrones with children’s voices, gotten Audra McDonald to sing real Yahoo Answers and tested out Digi-Staches on Higgins. But this might be one of my favorites:
 
 

Thunder-Sky 'Rejoices' over Late Cincinnati Icon

0 Comments · Tuesday, April 29, 2014
A diminutive white-bearded man, Avtar Gill stood out in any crowd despite his humble stature. Always wearing his oversized, hand-drawn, (typically) all caps messages which he affixed to a baseball cap with usually no more than a few strategically placed rubber bands, he documented everyday history in mundane yet sometimes profound ways.   

At The Edge Of The Stage

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 anniversary season.   
by Anthony Skeens 04.09.2014
Posted In: News at 04:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
transparency map

Ohio Ranks Poorly in Government Transparency

Options for tracking government spending rank higher than only four states in the U.S.

Ohio scored fifth-worst in a nationwide government transparency survey conducted by a national consumer group focused on investigating and advocating for American citizens against powerful interest groups. The group gave Ohio a “D-” ranking after its government spending transparency website earned 51 points out of 100 in U.S. Public Interest Research Group's fifth annual “Following the Money” report.  “Ohio’s been kind of sinking through the ratings year by year,” says Phineas Baxendall, a U.S. PIRG senior policy analyst and co-author of the report released on Tuesday. “It used to do much better, which doesn’t mean they’re dismantling their transparency systems. It just means our standards get tougher each year and they’re more staying in place while other states are improving.” Ohio’s the only state in the nation that doesn’t offer certain customizable search options including bid award recipients, keywords, agency and bulk download searches. Ohio’s poor score follows three years of ranking in the bottom half of the study.   Researchers look for transparency websites to be comprehensive, one-stop and offer simple search formats.  The nation as a whole is moving toward a more transparent approach to documenting government spending. Since PIRG began the study, all six categories it uses to compile rankings have shown an increase in states performing specific duties. The largest leaps in the past five years involve showing how a project benefits from taxpayer subsidies, which has seen an increase from two to 33 states, and how tax money is spent with an increase from eight to 44 states. All states now have ledger listings for transactions of any government spending on a website, compared to only 32 five years ago.  Ohio’s score doesn’t reflect Cincinnati’s efforts to be transparent. In a 2013 study in transparency of the 30 largest cities in America, Cincinnati scored a “B+” for providing ledger listings for spending information, allowing Cincinnatians to view where money is spent, specific recipients of tax subsidies and the existence of a service request center allowing residents to notify officials about quality of life issues.  Suggestions for improvement included making checkbook-level spending information searchable by the vendor who received the money and developing a comprehensive transparency website. “We feel strongly that this isn’t a partisan issue, and the fact that states that do best in our rankings show no political pattern, with Texas and Massachusetts standing side-by-side, sort of speaks that this is one of those issues that should not be politicized,” Baxendall says. “We look forward to advancement in transparency in Ohio regardless of who is in office.”
 
 

Cincinnati Named One of Six GOP National Convention Site Finalists

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Cincinnati was recently named to a shortlist of potential 2016 Republican National Convention host cities, and a coalition of local politicians and business leaders held a press conference on City Hall’s front steps on April 2 to praise the city’s recent progress and its potential to host such an influential — and economically impactful — event.   

Health Insurance Deadline Approaching

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Enroll America, a nonprofit designed to help citizens who are uninsured wade through the insurance process, stopped by Cincinnati on March 17 during a four-city Ohio tour meant to educate citizens on their health insurance options ahead of a March 31 deadline to sign up for coverage.  

Family Ties

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 26, 2014
 There is increasing unease and reports of rioting in the streets of Kharkiv, a Ukrainian city that is tied to Cincinnati by a 25-year-old sister city partnership. Kharkiv has 1.4 million residents and is nestled near Ukraine’s eastern border with Russia. Two people recently died in pro-Russian protests amid calls for a vote that would make Kharkiv independent from Ukraine’s central government in Kiev.  

On the Road Again

Cincinnati's newest bike plan sees small victories but is still behind schedule

6 Comments · Wednesday, March 19, 2014
The sun’s morning gaze provided clear visibility as Wes Crout navigated his bicycle across the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge on March 6, a route he often takes to work in Covington.    

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