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Meditteranean King Celebrates Its Two-Year Anniversary

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Mediterranean King recently celebrated its second anniversary, and I suspect that this Middle Eastern restaurant located at 3307 Clifton Avenue will be with us for many years to come. Two years is long enough to become part of the neighborhood, and the friendly service of this business “where everybody knows your name” is one reason Mediterranean King is so popular from people who both live in Clifton or like to visit the neighborhood.

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 The Mediterranean King is very spacious inside, with a dining room that’s open and peaceful, with lots of elbow room. Mediterranean King is located near the corner of Clifton and Dixmyth, on the same side of Clifton Avenue as Bruegger’s Bagels. Hours are Monday thru Thursday noon to 8, Friday 3 to 9, Saturday 12 to 8, and Sunday 5 to 8. The phone number for this dine-in or carry-out restaurant is 513.221.7222. Note, too, that Mediterranean King does extensive catering.

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 If you just want a quick, cheap bite, or if you want a full meal, the choices are numerous. Buffet hours for Mediterranean King are noon to 3 Monday thru Thursday and also on Saturday.  Also, Mediterranean King has daily specials, all of which highlight food from a different country, including Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, and Jordan. So how do you find out what the daily special is? By liking their Facebook page. Although it’s not vegetarian, the restaurant is very vegan friendly.

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Earlier I alluded to the friendly, personable nature of the restaurant, and the pictures below of drawings children made while eating there are a case in point. In other words, bring the whole family!

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Holiday on Ludlow Returns Friday, December 5

holidaysHolidays on Ludlow returns this Friday, December 5. The event kicks off at 6pm when the Clifton Fairview German Choir performs at Clifton Plaza. Free events include the pop-up window event and parade, horse carriage rides, kid cookie decorating, kids art activities with CCAC, a food drive, and photos with Santa.  The event takes place from 6 to 9pm, and there’s free parking after 5pm in the merchant lots on Howell Ave. Here’s a link to the Facebook page for the event. Holidays on Ludlow has ALWAYS been a lot of fun for people of all ages,as you can see from this blog entry w/photos that I posted a couple years ago. See you there!

 

 

PICTURES OF THE HOLIDAYS ON LUDLOW

Santa Claus at Holidays on LudlowI strolled up to Ludlow Avenue last night and snapped some photos of Holidays on Ludlow, and this morning I got up and went into the dark room to look at all the negatives and decide which pictures I should develop and, more importantly, which was the best picture of all.

Sometimes that’s a tough decision because nothing really stands out, but this time we have a clear winner.

Let’s start, though, with the also-rans. Here’s a photo of the wall inside Brown’s Tours and Travels, where travel agent Suzanne Sanchez helps people plan their dream vacation, including destination weddings, which are all the rage these days. Her office is located at 3410 Ormond Ave; her phone number is 513.731.3369; and her email address is Suzanne@BrownsToursandTravel.com.   This rather psychedelic photo is a combination of Christmas lights and brochures for vacation packages to exotic places (like Norway, for instance):

Next, the free carriage rides:

And the Sinfonian Brass Ensemble playing Christmas carols:

That was near the Clifton Plaza, where I chatted with Rob Taylor from Gaslight Property; they were collecting canned good donations that will be given to FOCAS Ministry’s Foodshare program. The collection was very successful that evening, but it’s not over:  Gaslight Property will collect canned good donations through the New Year at their office at 311 Howell Avenue in Clifton. As I continued to walk, I saw Lagniappe performing in front of what will soon be our newly revived grocery store (which would be good, because then I won’t be hungry all the time):

There was a big crowd inside Ludlow Wines:

There was some serious hat-making taking place at Aquarius Star, where I took this photograph of hatmakers hard at work:

While I was there I met Missy Miller, who’s the Program Coordinator for the Clifton Cultural Arts Center. In that role she’s passed along information to me about upcoming events at the Center that we’ve posted on the website, so we had met in cyberspace – but it was good to meet her in person and witness the  hatmaker handiwork:

Those were some of my favorite pictures, but now all that’s left are the very, very best photographs of the evening. Winner of the runner-up prize is this pic of Christopher Pazowski in a photo-op with none other than Santa Claus:

And finally the winner (and by a landslide). While at Aquarius Star I of course asked permission for all the photos I took. “Will she let me take her picture?” I asked an adult as both of us faced a child who was wearing one of the recently-made hats. ”Her? She’s a ham,” the adult said. The child was happy to have her picture taken, and it shows. (If someone knows her name, can you email me at disdat@hotmail.com; I’d like to give her credit.)

 

Woodward Theater Is Now Open

Woodward Laura Hegel 004The Woodward Theater is officially open. While watching the Tiger Lilies/Hiders/Culture Queer triple bill last week, I snapped a few photos. It’s good to know that the Woodward is now part of the local woodwork; it definitely will help fill a gap for interesting bands that would draw a crowd too big for a bar. Here’s a link to the Facebook page for the Woodward TheaterThe Woodward Theater is located at 140 Main Street, close to Another Part of the Forest, Iris Book Cafe and other small businesses on Main Street and Over the Rhine. While I was there the place filled up, and I saw a lot of familiar faces that I’ve seen at places like the Northside Tavern, the Comet, and Sudsy Malone’s, and I was glad to see the word is spreading.

 

 

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Short Vine Springs Back to Life

On a sunny day last week I strolled over to Vine Street in Corryville and snapped some photos and talked to some business owners, all of whom were happy to see construction wrapping up, revealing an attractive streetscape and a neighborhood that has a nice mix of spiffy new storefronts and long-established businesses. Finally you could look down the entire street without seeing orange barrels or construction vehicles, and it was clear that the work paid off:

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One of the newer shops, Red Mango Cafe, has a nice juice bar. Here’s a link to its Facebook page:

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The sandwich shop Which Wich has been there a few years now; I wrote about them in this earlier Short Vine update.

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The tasty and friendly Caribbean restaurant Island Frydays is another store that has been there several years, offering good food, a chill vibe, and some fine reggae music as part of their dining experience. Here’s a link to their Facebook page:

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The 86 Club is a coffee house and concert venue at 2820 Vine Street with nice employees and some very comfortable places to sit/drink coffee/peck away at your laptop/read the paper. If you’re looking for a friendly, spacious, comfortable coffee house, this is the place to go. Here’s a link to their Facebook page:

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Here’s another shot inside the 86 Club:

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Next I chatted with Randall Henderson and Katie Reynolds, who were chilling in front of the Corryville Library. Both of them said they lived in the neighborhood and were happy to see the new changes on Short Vine:

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The attractive and business-savvy Joyce Burson, with a nice, confident smile, stood in front of Cute Pieces, her very stylish clothing store at 2726 Vine Street. Here’s a link to her Facebook page, and here’s an insightful article about Joyce and her store before it moved to its current location:

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At 2722 Vine I encountered Exclusive, a clothing store with lots of team jerseys, ballcaps and other sports-related items. The owner, Congo, has had two businesses (this one + the Steak and Lemonade store) for ten years, so he’s a Short Vine veteran, and he’s confident that in this post-construction phase Short Vine will become all that. A nice guy with a good sense of humor, he’s also – as the picture testifies – Cincinnati Reds fan. Here’s a link to his Facebook page:

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And don’t forget Taste of Belgium, a restaurant and bar that in warmer weather has lots of outdoor tables. After snapping a photo of the bar I asked what their best beer was, and that question sparked a huge controversy. The bartender rated Old Rasputin above all the others, while two hard-at-work researchers argued the merits of Triple Karmeliet and Pauwel Kwak. Clearly I’m going to have to go back there and settle this controversy myself. Here’s a link to the Facebook page for the Corryville location of Taste of Belgium, at 2845 Clifton:

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Just off Short Vine is the stylish and tasty restaurant + bar, Hangover Easy, which has a killer breakfast menu:

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A centerpiece of the neighborhood is Bogart’s, which has been a successful venue for decades and actually, as this earlier blog entry makes clear, has made some significant improvements lately.

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Here are a few other picture of stores on this street that boasts a diverse mix of small businesses that combine to make Short Vine a great neighborhood to shop in and visit. Come check it out – it’s prettier than ever, and there’s plenty to do there!

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Northside Record Fair on November 22

record fair 2014The Northside Record Fair is back! On November 22 you’ll be able to paw through thousands and thousands of albums and 45s; they’ll have classic rock, punk, soul, country, classical, electronic, and every other genre that has been put on wax. From common titles to the rarest of records, the record fair always delivers. Along with vinyl, there will be t-shirts, posters, memorabilia, and all sorts of fun items! Also there will be DJs spinning all day. Here’s the facts:

NORTHSIDE RECORD FAIR
Saturday, November 22nd
@ Northside Presbyterian Church
4222 Hamilton Ave

11am – 4pm = $5 admission
10am early bird entry = $10 admission

DJ’s For the Evening:

Yoni Wolf ( of Why?)
Alex Cobb (of the fantastic Students of Decay label)
Carl Truman (seen behind the counters of Everybody’s Records)
John Rich ( ex-Art Damage DJ)

Here’s a report on, and some photos of, the first ever Northside Record Fair:

http://www.gaslightproperty.com/the-northside-record-fair-a-huge-success/

And here’s the Facebook page for this event:

https://www.facebook.com/events/349767128518398/

Bob Huggins For Mayor

bob huggins 003From 1989 to 2005 the University of Cincinnati had the most dynamic, charismatic, and intense basketball coach in the NCAA. The memory of watching Bob Huggins and his posse walk out out onto the court every game is imprinted permanently in the minds of sports fans everywhere. Brimming with attitude, Hugss & Co. lumbered out there like they were preparing for a street brawl. They played as tough as they looked, with a tenacity on defense that few teams have rivaled.

Ah, the good old days. As you may know, Bob Huggins continued to coach – and as you may also know, he would still be coaching at the University of Cincinnati were it not for some odd decision-making from a decision maker high up in the Ivory Tower. Bob Huggins now coaches for West Virginia, and as a result I have gone from caring less about their program to being a huge fan. I wish them luck in the upcoming season; everything starts with the right coach, and Bob Huggins is definitely the right man for the job. What prompted these reflections on Huggy Bear was eating breakfast at the Proud Rooster at 345 Ludlow Avenue the other morning. There’s a lot of sports memorabilia on the walls, and when I’m there I always look around a little, but for some reason I never fully digested the photograph at the top of this blog entry. Back in the glory days the Rooster was so enthusiastic about Huggs that they put up a sign that said Bog Huggins 4 Mayor and then took a photograph of the sign, framed it, and put it on their wall. Admittedly, my photo of the photo didn’t do it justice, but that doesn’t matter, because you need to see the original anyway, which you can do the next time you’re seeking breakfast food or fried chickcn.

China Kitchen Returns!

China Kitchen 001Lots of good things have been happening in the Gaslight District lately, especially in the eats department, with Clifton  Natural Foods, Marrakech Moroccan Cafe & Grill, and Los Potrillos recently opening. Now there’s more good news: China Kitchen is back. Located at 323 Ludlow Avenue, China Kitchen has been a fixture in Clifton since forever. It looks different now – sleeker, shinier, more modern. With the new look, a long counter, and more places to sit, they’ll probably have more people dining in while the restaurant again does a bustling carry-out business.

Hours are Monday to Friday 11am to 10pm, Saturday noon to 10 pm, and Sunday closed; the phone number is 513.221.5333, and the fax number is 513.221.5338. Prices are still reasonable, and – as you can surmise from the bottom photograph here – service is still as friendly as ever. In that photo you’ll see  the master minds behind the operation teaching their mother the ropes.  Jessie, Martin, and Jayden, welcome to the neighborhood!

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Live Jazz Every Monday at Om Eco Cafe

Ron Enyard 001It’s getting to be that time of the year when everyone sits at home and gets cabin fever. Here’s a close, convenient, and cheap alternative: on Monday nights from 7 to 10pm the Ron Enyard Quartet performs at Om Eco Cafe, located at 329 Ludlow Ave. There’s no cover charge, and the intimate setting is perfect for jazz. (I’ll sneak in here that Om Eco now serves alcohol.)

The vocalist is David Tarbell, whose delivery owes much to Chet Baker and other male vocalists from the 50s and 60s who epitomized a “cool” style now associated with a classic period in jazz history. Drummer and band leader Ron Enyard could easily rest on his laurels – he’s played with Roland Kirk, Bobby Miller, Paul Plummer, and everyone who performed at Kaldi’s during an eight-year stint there – but he keeps coming up with new ideas, and this particular project is both nostalgic and fresh. Here are a couple videos of the quartet that performs for free every Monday at Om Eco Cafe.

Myra’s is Still Going – Order Food Today!

 

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Myra’s is still going—one day a week for now—as a “community-supported restaurant” (CSR). If you are used to belonging to a CSR, and getting your box of produce every week, this is similar; think of Myra’s as part of your weekly shopping. Look at Myra’s Facebook page Monday night for that week’s offerings. Order by Friday 9am, pick up on Sundays from 10am to 5pm.

Special requests are possible and encouraged. Check the Facebook page again on Sunday—even if you haven’t ordered, Myra’s has extra goodies available!

Questions/orders: lklk@aol.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joan Shelley Plays a Shake It Instore This Week

Joan ShelleyJoan Shelley is a roots musician I first saw singing duets with Daniel Martin Moore at an Emery Theatre benefit. Their voices blended together beautifully and were strong enough individually that I was eager to hear what these musicians, both from Kentucky, sounded like on their own. This week the Joan Shelley album Electric Ursa is being released and she’s going to be do an instore at Shake It Records on Thursday (Oct 2) at 6pm. The event promises an opportunity to hear this musician whose new album just got a good writeup in Pitchfork in an intimate setting and pick up her new CD.

I have a video I want to share of Joan singing a track from her new album, but first I want to backtrack to last weekend, when some amazing music took place in Cincinnati. Of course MidPoint delivered, but for me the most mindblowing concert I saw that weekend (or for that matter for many a year) was the Zakir Hussain performance at the Aronoff. Although I didn’t know what the music was going to sound like that evening, I had a hunch that I was going to be blown away. I wasn’t prepared, however, for this kind of intensity. The smaller Aronoff auditorium (very intimate, great acoustics) was packed, and most of the crowd was Indian. There was a feeling, when the three musicians walked out on the stage and talked to the audience it felt like a homecoming, a reconnection between old friends. That already gave the event a good vibe – and then the band began to play.

Playing tabla, Zakir sat in the middle of the elevated stage, flanked on one side by the violinist Kumaresh Rajagopalan and on the other by the veena player Jayanthi Kumaresh. Virtuosity was displayed by all three musicians, along with the deep expressions of a music that’s spiritual at the same time that it’s quite visceral, as funky in its own way as a James Brown record. And bluesy. Between sets, when I mentioned the superb playing of Jayanthi Kumaresh on veena, Ron Esposito nodded and said, “What’s up with that Mississippi Delta shit?’ Exactly, I thought.

And it only got bluesier. During the second set there were extended solo performances passed back and forth between the violinist and the veena player, and what I heard Jayanthi was some of the dirtiest, most get-down blues I ever heard, without ever resorting to a direct quote or mimic-ization of any old Paramount 78s. Amazing. I haven’t seen Mick Taylor yet, but I have seen Jayanthi Kumaresh. Also, I’ve never attended a concert where an audience was more tuned into the music. For all its solemnity, Indian music involves a lot of tomfoolery, and every time a music made a musical joke the audience laughed (and sometimes burst into spontaneous uncued applause).

I don’t have any footage of that show (wish I did), but I can share a couple highlights from MidPoint. Here’s “The Wrecking Ball” by the superb Cincinnati band The Ready Stance from late Saturday afternoon:

Another highlight (this from later in the night came from the Raveonettes:

And here’s a quick blast of white noise, again from the Raveonettes:

Finally, here’s the title track from Joan Shelley’s new album, Electric Ursa. See you Thursday!

 

Steelism Play the MidPoint Music Festival Thursday

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With dozens of bands performing at the MidPoint Music Festival this weekend, even the musical cognoscenti have to be scratching their head as they look over the list and saying, “Who are all these bands?” I don’t know them all either, but one group that I have heard and that sticks out out for me is the band Steelism, who play Mr. Pitiful’s at 10:30pm on the opening night of the festival (Thursday, September 25). Their all-instrumental music has a colorful, big screen sound that calls to mind the Midnight Cowboy  theme and soundtracks by Ennio Morricone; there’s also some film noir strangeness, psychedelia, and Duane Eddy twang in there. Something different – yet very accessible. Here’s a video from the Naxhville band Steelism that climaxes with the James Bond Theme:

Cliftonfest Starts Friday!

Clifton FestGaslight Property is a proud sponsor of Cliftonfest this year. The event starts this Friday, September 26, kicking off with “Jazz and Wine” from 6pm to 10m (Wade Baker will be performing at the Clifton Plaza, and wine will be provided by Ludlow Wines). Overlapping that event will be, from 7pm to 9pm, an artists reception at Om Eco Cafe. The weekend will also feature “art carpets,” with chalk art on streets and sidewalks; dozens of artisans booths; a pet parade; a 5K run; a story hour for children; and a screening of Mary Poppins at the Esquire. Details on times and locations for all the events discussed in this blog entry can be found on the Facebook page for the event

And there will be music –  lots of it. And festive music at that, with artists including Baoku Afro Beat and Robin Lacey and DeZydeco. Saturday’s show will end with the perennial favorites The Cliftones, and Sunday will kick off with Ron Esposito’s Singing Bowls, who I wrote about in this blog entry. They play some very heavy music; it’s great to hear on CD, and it’s also great to experience live. 

And don’t miss the mural that artists have been working on for weeks, on the wall beside Om Eco Cafe. Here’s my blog entry on the early stages of that:

Cliftonfest has a long history, and my blog chronicled part of that history in the last few years. Here are links with photos to some earlier Cliftonfests:

Cliftonfest link

Cliftonfest link

The colorful and hypnotic band Mayan Ruins will also be performing, and here’s a clip of a recent performance by them:

Taste of Ludlow This Thursday

Taste of LudlowTaste of Ludlow takes place this Thursday, Sept. 18, from 5pm to 8pm. Basically it’s an opportunity for the business district to show off a little, with people wandering in and out of stores and restaurants offering free wine, food samples, and a chance to fraternize and get know the neighborhood – and your neighbors – better. The weather’s going to be great, and one of the things worth celebrating will be the new changes in the neighborhood, including the new Marrakech Moroccan Cafe & Grill and Clifton Natural Foods. This monthly event runs the span of the Ludlow Avenue Business District, and it takes place the third Thursday of every month. Come join us, visit some stores and restaurants  you’ve never been to before, and make some new friends this Thursday – and tell your friends!

Let’s Save Myra’s, and Myra’s Is Open This Week!

myrasDid you really think Myra’s Dionysus was going to go gently into that good night? Well, it ain’t, and for starters it’s going to be open Tuesday thru Sunday this week from 5pm to 10pm. They’ve been packed the past few weeks and they’ll be continue to be packed this week IF you pass the word on to your neighbors and go there yourself and see what can done to help keep this fabulous restaurant with a rich history going.

I received the following press release in the middle of the night recently and am passing it along as well:

Help Save Myra’s Dionysus!

A potential buyer has encouraged Myra’s to stay open one more week–with our help the business could remain in place permanently.

The buyers are looking for experienced restaurant workers, preferably with Dionysus experience, and hope to convert the business toa worker-owned venture within the next 3-5 years.

The restaurant is open dinner hours only (5-10 pm) this week, from Tuesday thru Sunday, Sept 2-7.

For more information on how to help with the new venture, email LKLK@aol.com with the subject line “Myra’s”.

 

Did You Know There’s a Bang & Olufsen Store Downtown?

bang olufsen 001Back in the days when I was first falling in love with stereo equipment (this was when you could walk in a store and choose between Marantz, Pioneer, Sansui, Harmon-Kardon, and dozens of other brands at affordable prices – we didn’t know how good we had it), one of the elite brands, and one that stood out in the crowd, was Bang & Olufsen. You knew a piece of equipment was Bang & Olufsen the second you laid eyes on it. The sleek, sexy, Scandinavian design merged form and function in true modernist style, giving you great-sounding equipment AND a nice piece of furniture. Based in Denmark, Bang & Olufsen had a cult following, and I was pleasantly surprised that they recently opened a store in downtown Cincinnati where Bankhardt’s forever used to be, at 6 West 4th Street. Their hours are 11 to 9 Monday to Friday and 10 to 8 Saturday. Their Cincinnati store has its own website – linktobang and olufsenwebsite. When I visited the store yesterday I took some pictures of equipment that was all new to me. I once owned a Bang & Olufsen turntable and a pair of their speakers, but I really haven’t kept up with them. What I found when I walked around was that the the Danish electronics manufacturers  still had that signature look that – as I said before – stood out in the crowd. They’re definitely worth a visit! Although they stopped making turntables, I’ll betcha three or four Jimmy Smith 45s that, with vinyl sales ramping up, they’ll get back to it. After all, these guys have always been ahead of the curve, but they also have a rich history.

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Paul Weller Plays Bogart’s September 12

Paul Weller in concert - LondonIf you’ve heard the Jam or Style Council, then you’ve heard Paul Weller. He was the leader of both bands, singing, writing songs, and playing guitar for these two groups that, while quite different, enjoyed success from what I’m guessing were two widely different audiences. By now he’s put out more albums as a solo artist than he did with either of those bands, and the Bogart’s show on September 12 is part of a solo tour.

This is the kind of show that doesn’t come to Cincinnati very often, and it would be great if a good-sized crowd should show up to support this event. So tell your friends and share this blog entry. Here’s the Jam with Paul Weller doing one of their biggest hits, “That’s Entertainment:”

Marrakech Moroccan Cafe & Grill Opens On Ludlow

gaslite 001It’s all a roving reporter can do keep up with all the news stores and restaurants popping up on Ludlow Avenue in the Gaslight District lately. Just this week Marrakech Moroccan Cafe & Grill opened at 341 Ludlow Avenue, and when I walked past it during lunch and dinner hours it was packed. The phone number is 513.442.2233. Hours are: Sunday thru Thursday 11am to 10pm; and Friday/Saturday 11am to 11pm. On its Facebook page, the restaurant describes its food as Middle Eastern, French, and Morrocan. If you click the “About” link on that page, you can see the menu. We’re glad to see this tasty addition to the Gaslight District, and I should add that a couple other restaurants are on the cusp of opening as well – and you’ll read about here in this blog. 

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Boyhood Is Showing at The Esquire

BoyhoodThe new Richard Linklater movie is now at the Esquire Theatre. Boyhood has been getting press for a long time because Linklater used the same actors through a 12-year period for this story of a boy growing up. That strategy is more than a gimmick, and the movie is more than an interesting experiment; quite simply, the risk paid off. The main character, Mason, is likeable and believable. The movie feels like real life, and it really exposes what it the world is like in a child’s eyes. So what’s it like? Well, it’s uncomfortable. The trouble for children is that they’re surrounded by adults who see themselves as pillars of wisdom when actually they’re often kind of screwy. The children see this, but they can’t do much about it; much of their strategy is just finding a way to lay low.

There are some likable adults in the film, however. One is Mason’s mother, played brilliantly by Patricia Arquette. Abandoned by Mason’s biological father, she then marries and divorces two men who make Mason Sr. seem stellar in comparison. And while Mason Sr. makes his fair share of mistakes, he comes across eventually as a good guy who succeeds admirably—not at first, perhaps, but in the long run—in showing Mason Jr. that he loves him.

It’s the kind of movie that make you darn glad that the Esquire is still around. You might take it for granted, but there was a time when its future was a question mark. This link tells you more about the Esquire, including a period in the 1980s when some people in the Clifton community pitched in and, against great odds, helped save this historical theatre: Esquire History

Shop at Clifton Natural Foods & Win a Prize from Ludlow Wines!

002Clifton Natural Foods has been a hit since the day it opened on Ludlow Avenue, but just to add an extra incentive, Ludlow Wines is offering prizes to people who shop at the new store across the street. All you have to do is bring a Clifton Natural Foods sales receipt dated through September 30, 2014 and showing a $25 minimum purchase to win one of the dozens of prizes available. The top prize is a one-night stay at the Clifton House Bed & Breakfast. 

You get one entry for every receipt you bring in, and you can enter as often as you like. It’s that esprit de corps that makes the Gaslight District such a great neighborhood.

 Gaslight Property has been a part of the neighborhood for decades, with an office in the heart of the Gaslight District and a history of supporting activities that take place here (this year’s upcoming CliftonFest on Ludlow is just one example). Here’s a promotional video of some of our apartment buildings. Call 513.861.600 if you would like one of our staff members to show you some apartments in person!

JD Allen Quartet Live on Saturday

jd allenDid you know that a jazz musician who has built a reputation around the world as one of the most talented and innovative players on the scene happens to live in Cincinnati? Saxophonist JD Allen is young enough to still be considered a rising star and old enough to have already built an impressive resume. He didn’t grow up in Cincinnati—Detroit was his hometown, and he’s lived in New York—but recently he moved here. Although, like other in-demand jazz musicians, he spends a lot of time playing and recording around the world, he is interested in putting something together locally, and the performance Saturday night at the New Prospect Baptist Church at 1821 Elm Street (the corner of Findlay and Elm) has the potential to be some pretty awesome music. The quartet includes Willie Smart on drums; Willie you may know from the years he spent busking next to Graeter’s with any number of percussion instruments as well as a multi-tiered drum set. If someone can make it happen as a solo percussionist—and Willie sho’ nuff does—imagine what he can do with a quartet. The guitarist will be Brendon Scott Coleman, an extremely active and versatile young player, and the bassist is John P.

As for the bandleader, JD Allen, I’ll simply say that he’s one of the shining lights among young jazz musicians right now. Listening to him, I hear echoes of earlier tenor players from the golden age of bebop (and earlier too), but I also hear a searcher, someone who’s not content to mimic other musicians. He has a robust sound on the horn, and he’s a quite lyrical player when the situation calls for it.

The show starts at 8pm. The cover is $10 prepay (call 513-787-7025), or $12 at the door—and there’s a discount for seniors. Here’s some live footage of JD performing in Spain (I told you he’s a world traveler):

Come See the Cliftonfest Mural In Progress!

Mural 014It’s a beautiful day outside, and if you’re paining a mural in anticipation of Cliftonfest it’s even better. These folks were hard at workplay today, and seeing them inspired me to take a few snapshots of the colorful work of art that’s gracing the building where Om Cafe resides. They predict that they’ll be out there for two more weeks; hopefully they’ll have more days like today – sunny and just the right temperature. Come check them out! This year Gaslight Property is a proud sponsor of Cliftonfest, whose Facebook page you can check out and like: cliftonfestfacebookpage.

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Clifton Natural Foods Is Open!

011A collective hallelujah was heard today across Clifton as Clifton Natural Foods opened at 336 Ludlow Avenue, the location where New World Bookshop used to be. The store looks great: it’s fully stocked, and everything’s nice and neat and clean and bright. The store got slammed today, much more than they expected, but no one was complaining (and that includes some very happy customers.

The store hours are Mon – Sat: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm and Sun: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm. The phone number is 513.961.6111, and the email address is cliftonnaturalfoods@gmail.com. And here’s a link to their facebook page: cliftonnatural foods. Here’s some info from their facebook page:

“A part of the Clifton community since 1985, Clifton Natural Foods is a local, family-owned natural food store offering organic produce, bulk grains, coffee and herbs as well as vitamins, dairy alternatives, body care, chemical-free & cruelty-free cleaning products and so much more.

“At CNF you can find a rich and diverse selection of vegan, gluten free and locally made products that aren’t stocked at many chain stores, as well as organic meats, milk and cheeses. 

“Local brands that we stock include Don Popp’s Honey, Hartzler Dairy Farm, Snowville Creamery, Fishback Farms, Local Folks Foods, The Kitchen Factory, Blue Oven Bakery, Fab Ferments, Sixteen Bricks, Five Star Foodies, Seven Hills Coffee and Loveforce Raw Bars, just to name a few. 

“The shop also carries over 250 bulk herbs which are sold by the ounce and thousands of tablet, powder and capsule supplements by well esteemed name brands like Solgar, Soloray, Barleans and Nature’s Plus.”

Below are some photos I snapped in the store today, but before you look be aware that the reason you won’t see any produce is that there was such a clamor for it today that the store needs to restock – and will do so by tomorrow morning.

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Zappa Plays Zappa Comes to Bogart’s Saturday

ZappaDweezil Zappa, son of Frank Zappa, is bringing his tribute band Zappa Plays Zappa to Bogart’s this Saturday, July 12. It should be wild and crazy, just like his father’s concerts were back when he was playing the Fillmore and Winterland and the Beacon Theatre and a thousand other venues around the world.

So what kind of music did Frank Zappa play, really? Were the Mothers pschedelic? A jam band? A strange mutation of classical music or jazz or rock or Dada what? Maybe all of the above. There’s gonna be a big crowd for this one, and you might want to buy your ticket now, as it could definitely sell out. Earlier this year Dweezil was playing the entire Roxy & Elsewhere in concert,  but for this leg of the tour it looks like he’s branching out and performing cuts from different stages of his father’s career. Here’s some footage from a show just a few days ago:

Return of the Northside Rock N’ Roll Carnival!

Northside Rock Roll FestivalGaslight Property is a proud sponsor of the 2014 Northside Rock N’ Roll Carnival, which promises to rock out more than ever this year. The music takes place at Hoffner Park, and due to potentially hot weather there’s going to be a beer garden, not to mention fire breathers, a carnival slide show, sword swallowers and a bed of nails. The Rock ‘N Roll Carnival is an extension of the festival that has been presented by the Northside Business Association since the early 80’s.  The carnival takes place Thursday through Saturday, July 3, 4, and 5. It’s free, and open to all ages. Here’s a schedule of the performers:

Thursday, July 3rd
6:00 – 6:40 – Frontier Folk Nebraska
7:10 – 7:50 – Al Scorch and the Lost Boys
8:15 – 9:00 – Cincinnati Suds
9:25 – 10:05 – Bummers Eve
10:20 – 10:55 – Idiot Glee
11:10 – 11:50 – Bad Sports
12:10 – 1:00 – Radioactivity

Friday, July 4th
6:00 – 6:40 – Leggy
7:10 – 7:50 – Pretty Pretty
(8:00 – 8:30) – Anaya Belly Dancing
8:15 – 9:00 – Perfect Children
(8:50 – 9:25) – PICKLED BROS
9:25 – 10:05 -All Dogs
(9:45 – 10:30) – Dante’s Gypsy Circus
10:30 – 11:00 – Karl Spaeth and Chris Weir (Comedy)
11:10 – 11:50 – Tweens
12:10 – 1:00 – Twin Peaks

Saturday, July 5th
6:00 – 6:40 – Pearl De Vere
7:10 – 7:50 – Fists of Love
8:15 – 9:00 – The Hiders
9:25 – 10:05 -Mardou
10:20 – 11:00 – The Sidekicks
11:15 – 11:55 – Jaill
12:10 – 1:00 – Protomartyr

Also, don’t forget the Northide Parade, which takes place once again at noon on July 4. Here’s some footage I shot of the parade last year when the perennial favorites, the lawnchair ladies, once again did their thing:

 

Panegyri Greek Festival This Weekend

Panegyri Greek Festival

Gaslight Property is a proud sponsor of the 40th annual Panegyri Festival taking place this weekend at Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at 7000 Winton Rd. in Finneytown. Hours are Friday 5pm to 11pm, Saturday 3pm to 11pm, and Sunday 1pm to 8pm. Admission is $2 per person, with children 12 and under free. There’s free parking and a shuttle from St. Xavier High School. The Festival offers authentic and delicious Greek food, dancing combined with bouzouki music, and church tours of Ohio’s oldest parish by  knowledgeable church members. A portion of the proceeds goes to the Cincinnati Freestore-Foodbank. Always a popular event, this festival is a fun place to take the whole family to eat, dance, and socialize.

Jake Speed & the Freddies at CCAC Wednesday

Jake Speed

As part of the free “Wednesdays on the Green” series taking place at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center, Jake Speed & the Freddies will be performing this Wednesday, June 25, starting at 7pm. One of the most popular Cincinnati bands, Jake Speed & the Freddies combine clever songwriting, strong musical chops, and a sense of humor. Seems like I always catch them outdoors, where they seem right at home. The ten-week “Wednesdays on the Green” series still has plenty of other shows lined up; here’s the schedule for the rest of the series:

  • July 2: The Sunburners Steel Drum Band
  • July 9: Son del Caribe Salsa Band
  • July 16: Tracy Walker & Friends
  • July 23: Baoku Moses & The Afrobeat Band
  • July 30: Sound Body Jazz Orchestra
  • August 6: BONUS! Cincinnati Shakespeare presents A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Here’s some footage of Jake Speed performing “Queen City Rag” to help get you in the mood:

 

Where Will the Blue Wisp Go?

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There’s a lot of talk these days about the closing of the Blue Wisp downtown, and there’s also plenty of talk about reopening the wandering jazz club in a new location. Matter of fact, lots of people would like to see it end up in Clifton, as you’d know if you’ve signed up with Nextdoor Clifton, which I highly recommend. Already people are stepping up to help keep great jazz alive in Cincinnati. Starting this Wednesday, and for at least the next six weeks, Japps Annex will be home to the Blue Wisp Big Band. Admission to the Annex is free while admission to Japps proper is free as always.

I started attending shows at the Wisp when it was still located in O’Bryonville. Some of my first concerts there included Johnny Lytle, Joe Lovano (who came there often), Cal Collins, Tim Hagans, and the Blue Wisp Big Band. My memory is still clear of seeing, through a cloud of smoke, Steve Schmidt leaning over his piano with a cigarette dangling out of the side of his mouth while launching into a solo. I suspect that the Wisp will be back with us soon. I hope so, as it has a history, character and a tradition of hosting great jazz. Below are five concerts that I’ve seen at the Wisp. These are from the previous three Blue Wisp locations as opposed to the most recent one. The last time I was at the Wisp I saw a Bernie Worrell show where the P-Funk legend was joined by lots of local and area musicians for a superb evening of music. Technically the music wasn’t jazz, but it was all about improvisation, even when the dj Tobe Tobotius Donohue scratched records on his turntable.

Dave Liebman. When the Dave Liebman Quartet came to the Wisp, it was the opening weekend of the Eighth Street location. Arguments that Cincinnati can’t sustain a jazz club were negated by their opening night performance, which was packed, and arguments that can only straight-ahead jazz can draw and please a crowd was also negated, as a young, curious crowd seemed quite pleased to hear something so radically different from the norm in any genre. The music was way out, including the most circumlocutious version of “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” that you could ever imagine. The final set closed with a version of John Coltrane’s “India” that shook the rafters.

Red Rodney/Ira Sullivan Quintet. A great show that featured some jazz heavyweights fronting a band that included some younger guys, including the fabulous Joey Barron on drums. You best believe Joey had a capricious streak that evening, throwing in crashes when no one (band members included) expected it. Ira Sullivan played numerous instruments throughout the evening, including, at the end, trumpet, as he and Red Rodney duked it out in a trumpet duel that was (pardon the pun) red hot. Afterwards, Red Rodney complained that his lip hurt after such a fiery battle—but hey, sometimes you gotta take one for the team.

Tal Farlow. Even a dumbo like me knows that when a legend like Tal Farlow hits town you best get off the La-Z-Boy and go hear some live music. On that evening he was joined by Kenny Poole, who shared some impressive licks of his own. I remember clearly the size of Tal Farlow’s fingers—ginormous they were, making it easy (yeah, right) to rip off some lightning-fast licks with perfect intonation and, when it turned ballad time, coax some beautiful tones out of a guitar model that was named after him.

Sun Ra. Did I really see Sun Ra, and did this really take place in Cincinnati? I guess it did. Stranger still, the most avant-garde extraterrestrial to visit planet Earth devoted a good chunk of his set to playing stride piano on some old Disney tunes, including the closer, “Zip a Dee Doo Dah.” A few months I caught Sun Ra again at the Public Theatre in New York City, at a fundraiser for Jimmy Lyons. (The same show also included performances by Walt Dickerson, World Saxophone Quartet, and Archie Shepp, among others.) You could tell he was a favorite in that neck of the woods—like an old friend.

Charlie Rouse. My friends and I were not prepared for what we witnessed on the evening that we saw this tenor sax immortal at the Wisp. I remember that we sat at the bar that night. I know that because we kept falling off our bar stools when Charlie was soloing. No amount of music theory could explain why he was such a powerful player. With great jazz musicians, there’s something that comes through in their playing that comes from within that penetrates to the very heart of jazz and makes you realize why it’s such an amazing and deeply human style of music. Charlie, who had a long run with Thelonious Monk, played mostly Monk that evening. I think he opened with “Played Twice” and also dipped into “Rhythm-n-ing” and “Round Midnight.” My friends were so blown away by the first set that they split to have a jam session in which they hoped to catch some of the spirit they’d just experienced. I stuck around and met Charlie. As he signed an album I basically gushed the whole time, and I’m not ashamed that I did. The second set opened with Monk’s “Epistrophy,” for which Charlie launched into a lengthy solo that was nothing less than sublime. So yes, a lot of magic has taken place at the Wisp, and I’m hoping for more.

From Deep Inside the Forest

Another Part of the ForestIn early 2011 a business called Classical Glass moved from Main Street in Over-the Rhine to a new location. Shortly thereafter Mike Markiewicz showed me the space they’d left. Classical Glass was a studio as opposed to a storefront, and the room looked dirty, dark and dingy. I had a hard time imagining it being transformed into a record store.

Mike Markiewicz didn’t, however. After all, he’d overseen Kaldi’s, Sibylline Books and Iris Book Cafe as they went from nothing to something. Each helped to make Over-The-Rhine a better place. But could he do the same with a record store? He believed he could.

Progress at the store moved at what like a glacial pace, to the point where I wondered if it was ever going to open, whereas Mike knew it would. Mike and I talked a lot back then, and he was pumped about the store. “This will be my masterpiece,” he said.

Even then, though, he was thinking beyond that. He kept talking about moving out into the woods and living a bare-bones existence after a few years of the record store. There would be music, but not the massive collections he had accumulated (and then disposed of) repeatedly. “Two hundred albums,” he said. “That’s it. Only the essentials.”

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What Mike would take to the woods was revealed in bits and pieces to me over time. After Another Part of the Forest was in full swing, with records filling both floors, I continued to drop in on him. He always had a record he wanted to play me that he had to search to find, and sometimes it eluded him. In fact, it often eluded him. But when he did find the record I needed to hear, my musical universe expanded. Often during those visits our discussion would return to the records that he would take to the woods. The three artists he made it clear would definitely accompany him to the woods were the twentieth-century classical composers Martinu and Messiaen and the jazz musician John Surman.

Heavyweight stuff, in other words: the kind of music that, even though you listened to it while busses zoomed past and sirens howled in the distance, you left OTR and entered a different world, a place that was often dark and turbulent and was full of the “ugly beauty” that inspired a Thelonious Monk song title.

Mike passed away a week and a half ago. His death come suddenly, although the extreme exhaustion that was evident when I visited him during his last several months made the fact that he was extremely ill less of a surprise. When the store was getting up and running he predicted that he would head to the woods after three or four years. Ever since he passed I’ve been thinking about that trip he wanted to make but didn’t. On the other hand…

another part forest again again

On the other hand, when a person names a record store Another Part of the Forest you have to wonder how far away the woods really were in the first place. Maybe he entered the woods when he opened the store, or maybe he’s there now. He always seemed oblivious to the noise and the commotion surrounding him. Quiet and introspective, he was tuned into something else. As many times as we talked, and as often as those conversations focused on big fat metaphysical issues, I must say that part of him remained elusive. “The world is too much with us,” Wordsworth said, but for Mike it wasn’t. He kept it at bay. He did his thing. He lived the way he wanted to live, a nonconformist who in spite of crazy odds did all sorts of good things for the best neighborhood in a city that people are finally starting to appreciate. I miss the guy more every time I return to his masterpiece. I wish that just one more time he could drop the needle on a record. This time, though, it’s my turn to drop the needle. Listen close, my friend. You’ll recognize the tune:

 

Miles Davis in Cincinnati

Miles Davis MovieHere’s something to be excited about: a movie about one of the greatest jazz musicians ever is about to be filmed in Cincinnati.

That musician is Miles Davis, and the filming is set to take place in July. As with ‘Carol,’ ‘A Rage in Harlem,’ ‘The Public Eye’ and ‘Lost in Yonkers,’ modern-day Cincinnati will be transformed into midcentury New York City.

Miles Davis for blogOne of the intriguing things about the project is the fact that Miles Davis visited Cincinnati during every phase of his career. He played Cinci when his introspective style was described as “walking on eggshells,” and he also performed here after turning electric and throwing some Sly Stone into the mix.

Then, after battling back from serious health issues, he pMiles Davis for bloglayed here a couple times in the 1980s. That brings us to the two times I have been the same room as Miles Davis: one at the beginning of his “comeback,” and the other near the end of his life. In all, I saw Miles Davis perform three times, and each concert was radically different. I published a piece about that in perfectsoundforever.com, and if you’d like to know what happened when I saw Miles Davis in Cincinnnati, have a look-see: Miles Davis in Cincinnati.

Favorite Vapors Is The New Store on the Block

001Located at 368 Ludlow, Favorite Vapors (www.favoritevapors.biz) is a new store in the Gaslight District. It’s the first store in the neighborhood to specialize in e-juices plus hardware and accessories. As stated on the Facebook page for Favorite Vapors, the store has “all your vaping needs in one spot.” When I visited the owners of the store, Chris and Tabitha Favorite, they explained that their clientele primarily consists of people who are either trying to quit smoking or did quit. Like the Bohemian Hookah Cafe located a few doors down on Ludlow Avenue, Favorite Vapors also appeals to people who just to try something exotic and different. The nice thing is, with over 60 tasty flavors to choose from, people can actually enjoy this alternative to smoking cigarettes, and everything is sold in a zero nicotine form. With tastes that resemble anything from fruits to cocktails mixes to desserts, favorite blends include 57 Chevy (with orange, pineapple, and rum), Cowboy Blend, and Milk and Honey. Hours for the store are Mon – Thu: 11:00 am – 8:00 pm; Fri – Sat: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm; and Sun: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm, and their phone number is (513) 446-7417. Come check them out and welcome them to the neighborhood! Favorite Vapors

University of Cincinnati Has Largest Graduating Class Ever

December CommencementThis weekend the University of Cincinnati conducted ceremonies for its largest graduating class ever, handing out 6,381 degrees to 6,272 students, The enrollment numbers are also breaking records: 43.000 breaks the previous record of 42,421. Add to that a record number of incoming freshmen (6,450) and incoming international undergraduates (over 1,000 slated), and you can see that UC is thriving. According to the UC New Record, “Increased enrollment could tax the university’s housing capacity, which can shelter 4,676 students this fall.”

That’s where Gaslight Property comes in. After all, Gaslight Property won the 2014 UC News Record’s “Best of UC” poll for Best Rental Property. There’s a reason we deserved to win the “Best of” contest—or several reasons, actually. Gaslight Property has a huge and varied selection of apartments available for rent in neighborhoods close to the University of Cincinnati, and we have a long history of renting to both undergraduate and graduate UC students. If you’re interesting in looking at some apartments, call Gaslight Property at 513.861.6000. We won that poll because we offer:

  • Classic Spaces: Like most cities, Cincinnati has its share of prefab apartment complexes, but Gaslight Property rents apartments with history and character.
  • Experience: Gaslight Property is a family-owned business that’s been part of Clifton for decades.
  • Accessibility: Gaslight Property’s office is in the heart of Clifton’s Gaslight District, within walking distance (or a short drive) for many of their tenants, so you can talk to us person to person.
  • Location: Most of Gaslight Property’s rentals are located in or near “The Uptown Area,” known for world-class education and healthcare. Within minutes you’ll find University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, Cincinnati State, Hebrew Union College, University Hospital, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Good Samaritan Hospital. You’ll find many of Gaslight Property’s places are pet-friendly, within walking distance of unique shops, locally-owned cafes, an independent theater, and scenic parks. Most also have close access to public transportation.

Northside Record Fair Returns

Northside Record FairThe hugely successful Northside Record Fair returns on Saturday, May 10. The event takes place at the Northside Presbyterian Church at 4222 Hamilton Avenue. Hours are 11am to 4pm, and it costs $5 to get in the door. Those people who’d like to get first pick can pay $10 and start shopping at 10am.  According to the Northside Record Fair’s Facebook page, this event promises “1,000’s and 1,000’s of amazing LP’s, 45’s, 7“‘s, 10“‘s, flexi’s, 8-tracks, cassettes, CD’s, DVD’s, zines, magazines, posters, and all sorts of fun music memorabilia.”  The Record Fair also encourages people who want to sell records to contact them as well. Tables are $25 and half tables are $15. A good way to downsize…and make some quick, easy cash.

Only a couple years old, the Record Fair was an immediate hit, and it’s already morphed into a bi-annual instead of an annual event. Every time I’ve gone I’ve seen different vendors and a different mix of records. Definitely a buzz was in the air for the first Record Fair, as I stated in this blog entry with lots of photos of the event.

I live in Clifton, one neighborhood over from Northside. On that same day I’m going to set up records in my front yard. They’ll be cheap – 25 cents to a buck – and there will be a ginormous quantity of them. I’ll have 33s, 45s, and 78s, with really high numbers of 45s. I’ll also have lots of twelve-inch singles from the 70s and 80s, and other stuff related to music (speakers, etc.). The address is 315 Terrace Ave.; it’ll start at 10 (don’t come early; it’ll take me until 10 to lug them all out) and I reckon I’ll go until 3. So feel free to stop by after the Record Fair.

 

Clifton Plaza Farmer’s Market Returns

1898225_10151971573343036_399450311_nClifton Plaza Farmer’s Market (located in the courtyard next to Om Eco Cafe on Ludlow Avenue) is back, offering a chance to show some support for local farmers and shop for fresh produce that takes place EVERY MONDAY from 5:30pm to 8pm. The Market blossomed into a fun and popular event last year,  making it one of the things that makes Clifton a special place. So come shop and mingle, and tell your friends too! One of the vendors returning from last year, Amanda Bowman, is a Gaslight Property resident. Amanda has created a blog devoted to growing and preparing food, eclectikuchen.blogspot.com. “I’ve seen the life of food from seed, to seedling, to growing up in the soil,” she writes in her blog. “I’ve seen what I’ve worked hard to maintain become a bountiful harvest, delivering colorful and vibrant specimens to chefs, who appreciate the pure flavor, and the fact that what they are using is grown close to where they artfully craft it.” That spirit is there in spades when you visit the Clifton Plaza Farmer’s Market. Here are some photos from my visit there yesterday:

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The Hold Steady Are Coming to Bogart’s

Hold SteadyTouring in support of their new album, Teeth Dreams, The Hold Steady is playing Bogart’s on Tuesday, April 22. People like to compare The Hold Steady to Bruce Springsteen, but at times I hear a much stronger resemblance to Husker Du (who performed at Bogart’s at least once, on their Warehouse tour). Of the new Hold Steady album, one critic stated, “Blue-collar rock and gritty story-songs of desperation and sketchy connections infuse the Brooklyn band’s powerful sixth album….Ferocious, chiming guitars frame Craig Finn’s half-spoken narratives of lives on the edge.” A review of a Hold Steady concert that took place last week stated, “Folks don’t show up to a Hold Steady show looking for melody or crooning. They want sweat and shouting and all sorts of catharsis.” So, if you’re looking for a full-fledged musical catharsis, catch The Hold Steady at the better-than-ever Bogart’s next Tuesday. It’s possible, too, that this catharsis could be free: if you go to the Facebook page for Gaslight Property and “like” our posting about the Hold Steady, you’ll be eligible to win free tickets to the concert. Here’s a video of their lead-off single from Teeth Dreams, “I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You:”

 

Tunes & Blooms Kicks Off With Jake Speed & The Freddies

Tunes & BloomsCincinnati Zoo’s Tunes & Blooms free concert series kicks off this Thursday April 10 with a concert by Cincinnati’s Americana favorites Jake Speed & The Freddies. Opening the show is Shiny & The Spoon, another Cinci band with a rootsy sound. Make sure you catch the opening act, as it features the talented Pete Brown on upright bass; Pete also happens to be a long-term Gaslight Property employee. Again, the shows are free, although there is a charge for parking; here’s the lineup for these extremely popular Thursday night concerts:

  • April 10 -Jake Speed & the Freddies & Shiny and the Spoon
  • April 17 – The Cliftones
  • April 24 – The DAAP girls & Green Light Morning
  • May 1 – Comet Bluegrass All-Stars & Bulletville

To give you a taste of this Thursday’s show, here’s a video of Jake Speed & The Freddies performing Woody Guthrie’s “Pretty Boy Floyd:”

 

A New CD by The Tigerlilies

TigerliliesThe Tigerlilies are a Cincinnati power-pop band that’s been together almost 25 years. During that time they’ve countless shows and recorded several full-length releases. When I first saw them they were playing Sudsey Malone’s during a period when short Vine was hopping. Already they showed evidence of tight songcraft, good live energy, and an ability to combine pop melodies and rich harmonies with crunchy rock n’ roll. Everything they’re able to do live comes through on their studio recordings, and their latest, In The Dark, is solid from start to finish. Their chief influence (and they’d be the first to tell you) is Cheap Trick. At times I hear echoes of other bands as well – The Ramones, Big Star, and (on “Pull You In”) REM. Just to throw in one arcane reference, the background vocals on “Green Eyes” make me think of a French pop group named Indochine, who are (or were, at least) huge in their native country but not so big here. People I’ve played them for have usually found them too sugary for their tastes.  I’m a fan, though, for the same reason that I like the Tigerlilies: their albums string together one well-crafted pop melody after another. In The Dark can be purchased online at cdbaby.com or at Shake-It Records. From the album, here’s “Sweetheart.” It may sound nice on your computer or your phone, but another thing I like about the new Tigerlilies release is its rich, layered sound, so grab the CD to get the full experience.

Come Meet The National at The Esquire Theatre!

Mistaken for StrangersIn the next few days the Esquire Theatre will be hosting two special events in connection with the premier of Mistaken for Strangers, the new rockumentary about Cincinnati’s own The National. Subtitled “A year on tour with my brother’s band,” the movie had been referred to as a comedic documentary for reasons that – judging by the trailer – have to do with the tensions that result when one member of the band is a rock star (Tom Berninger) and one member isn’t (the film director, Matt Berninger). Both the rock star and his brother will discuss the outcome of their year on the road together during the Q&A events taking place at the Esquire this Friday, March 28th, and next Monday, March 31st.

Friday’s live Skype Q&A with Matt Berninger and Tom Berninger will take place after the 7:30pm screening. The event will be hosted by Jeff Thomas from the Jeff & Jen show on Q102. Tickets for the event can be purchased here or at the Esquire’s ticket office.

After Monday’s 7:30pm screening Jim Blase from Shake-It Records will host a live Q&A with Matt Berninger, Tom Berninger and the drummer for The National, Bryan Devendorf. Tickets for this event can be purchased here or at the Esquire ticket office.Both events are being presented in conjunction with Shake It Records. I should note here that Mistaken for Strangers will be a full-run movie at the Esquire, so if you can’t make it to one of the Q&A events, you’ll have plenty of other times to see it. Also, ticket’s for Monday’s event are going FAST, but there are still plenty of seats for Friday’s event.  The trailer suggests the film will have plenty of backstage humor along with exciting live footage:

 

The Grand Budapest Hotel is at the Esquire

grand-budapest-hotelThe new Wes Anderson film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, is now showing at the Esquire Theatre. This highly anticipated film was packed on its first weekend, and it was clear from Friday night’s show that this new work by a unique director lived up to its expectations. There was plenty of laughter as well as the cries an audience makes when characters fall off cliffs or dodge bullets. What makes Wes Anderson such an interesting director is the fact that he can make an art film that after a half-hour of setting up some highly formalized frame narration turns out to be hilarious, fast-paced, and action-packed, complete with chase scenes, slapstick humor and bizarre visual effects that wouldn’t have been out of place in an old Buster Keaton silent film. Some wildly imaginative storytelling also gives the film an old-fashioned air (with, of course, a post-modernist spin). In summary, if you see The Grand Budapest Hotel, expect to be entertained. Due to demand it’s showing in two different rooms, and the times are 12:00. 12:40 1:10, 2:10 2:50 3;20, 4:20, 4:55. 5:30, 6:30, 7:10, 8:40, 9:20, and 9:50.  Here’s the trailer:

 

Arrietty Is a New Store on Ludlow

ArriettyA couple new stores have popped up on Ludlow Avenue recently. One was the vintage store Lentz and Company, and last week saw the opening of Arrietty, a children’s shop located directly across the street from the Esquire Theatre (as my highly-reflective photograph makes clear)  at 325 Ludlow Avenue.

The owner of the store, Etsuko Adachi, is a long-term Clifton resident – long enough that, when we talked, she waxed nostalgic about New World Bookship. Etsuko emphasized that the store isn’t just for girls (“I have two sons,” she explained) or for that matter young children.

For example, high school girls might be interested in the purses, which are handmade:

Arrietty Handmade Purses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While talking to Etsuko I noticed on the wall behind the counter a stylish piece of electronics that would appeal to many adults. The space-efficient Muji CD player appeals to those of us who want to free up some room at the same time that it has a neat modernist design – enough so that the Museum of Modern Art added the Muji CD player to its collection.

Muji CD Player

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Etsuko said that the name of the store was inspired by a character in a movie involving a movie director who now has a film at the Esquire Theatre, an animated feature called The Wind Rises. Such a huge coincidence suggests that Arrietty was meant to be on Ludlow Avenue. The hours are:  Monday closed; Tuesday to Saturday 12:00 to 7:00; Sunday 12:00 to 4:00.

Clifton 005   Clifton 006 Clifton 010

Rare King Records Gem Reissued on Vinyl

Lula ReedLula Reed is a rhythm and blues singer who recorded for King Records during the same period when James Brown, Little Willie John and Hank Ballard were active. She never became as well-known as these artists, nor was she as prolific. In fact, along with some singles on King and Federal (and, later, a couple other labels), she only recorded one album, Blue and Moody. This 1958 gem consisted of singles that were recorded for King between 1951 and 1956. It wasn’t a best-selling record, and I suspect there are many people who like the King Records sound who’ve never heard the album. Therefore I was pleased to learn that Blue and Moody was just released on vinyl by Sundazed, a label with a long history of putting high-quality reissues of both well-known and obscure old gems. Mastered from the original analog session tapes and pressed at RTI, the LP is on 180-gram vinyl. With some of the more soulful vocals you’ll ever hear and great songwriting by King mainstays Sonny Thompson, Henry Glover and others, Blue and Moody more than deserves such red-carpet treatment.  It’s worth adding that original copies of this album are insanely rare, and they do not come cheap, making the release of a good-sounding reissue on vinyl all the sweeter. Here’s a recording of Lula Reed singing “I’ll Drown in My Own Tears,” a song that was later a big hit for Ray Charles:

Ten Favorite Bogart’s Concerts: The Honorable Mentions

Bogarts-logoA month ago (or was it longer?) I promised a list of my ten favorite Bogart’s shows. A long processions of phone calls from people who wanted me to help promote upcoming events—which I’m always happy to do—delayed the process, but now I’m finally ready to share my top ten.

Or almost, anyway. Before I delve into the best of the best, I should mention some of the shows that that didn’t make the top ten but were memorable for one reason or another. My  honorable mentions would include the following:

Human Switchboard. A Cleveland band I’ll always associate with the early days of punk or new wave or whatever you want to call what was happening then.

John Cale. His show ended with a full-throttle rendition of “Mercenaries (Ready for War)” that made a lot of sense at the time (and still does).

Sonny Rollins. Boy am I glad that I went to this show. It taught me how much I didn’t know. Although I loved Sonny’s earlier work in a bebop vein, I was blasé about his later stuff. On the first song of the second set, “Don’t Stop the Carnival,” Sonny displayed an endless supply of energy and creativity for fifteen or twenty minutes. Truly a jazz god.

Casual Gods. Jerry Harrison from the Talking Heads wasn’t much of a vocalist, and that wasn’t my only misgiving about the show. It was the only chance I’ve had, however, to see guitarist Chris Spedding whose resume includes work with Jack Bruce and The Sex Pistols.

Charlatans UK. It surprises me what a sparse crowd there was for this show, as Some Friendly was a hit with the college rock crowd and Between 10th and 11th was just as good. Catchy pop tunes with a hint of psychedelia.

Iggy Pop. Those who know his work better wouldn’t have been surprised to hear him break out “Louie Louie” when I first saw him in the early 1980s, but I certainly was, and I got great pleasure out of hearing him thrash that one out. That was the same show where, at 2am, the power went off and all you could see were exit lights.

Everything But the Girl. I was shocked to learn that EBTG was coming to Cincinnati. Although I’m not as fond of the more club-oriented sound the band eventually developed, there’s nothing they could do to make me not love them. Toward the middle of the show the band shut off the rhythm machine and played two wondrous cuts off Idlewild, the second being Ben Watt’s “Caruso.” I’m glad that the college and young professional crowd (who in Cincinnati chatted through the entire concert) tapped into EBTG—otherwise the band never would have come to Bogart’s. Still, I have to think that their jazzier early sound could have connected with a much wider audience.

Sonic Youth. When I saw this band they were touring on the heels of 1992’s Dirty. For me the tune that stuck out most was “Youth Against Facism,” which I hadn’t heard yet, but it resonated instantly.

King Crimson. Had Bill Bruford been on hand, this show would have made my top ten list for sure, but the drummer that night was a mere mortal. That was the second time I saw Crimson, and this gave me a much deeper appreciation for Robert Fripp’s guitar playing in the post-Red era.

King Sunny Ade. A fabulous show; I also caught them at the zoo.

JJ Cale. Of the three concerts I saw by JJ Cale, one was pure magic while the two others (one at Bogart’s) were merely great. Actually some of my top ten shows are by artists I don’t like nearly as well as JJ Cale but who brought something very special on the evening that I happened to catch them.

White Stripes. Although there were only two musicians in the band, the White Stripes had such a huge, billowing sound that Bogart’s almost seemed to small for it! The show included a cover of Dylan’s “Love Sick” on which Jack White played keyboards.

Before I go the top ten, I also want to sneak in some official awards for past Bogart’s concerts:

The loudest show: Ministry.

Most entertaining show. Mojo Nixon/Skid Roper. They played upstairs, and Mojo was absolutely nuts. At one point he started banging rhythms on a water jug, and then—taking advantage of the short ceilings upstairs—he bounced the jug off the floor so hard that the jug in turn bounced off the ceiling and landed back in his hands. He did this without pause and repeatedly, and right on the beat! Surreal. After the show I asked him to sign my harmonica case, and he did. First, though, he rubbed it on his tallywacker.

The smokiest show. Mudvayne. I believe that show was sold out, and if I’m not mistaken every single person in the club was smoking that evening…except for me.

The biggest bunch of attitude: Ministry and Wolfgang Press. The way these two bands walked off the stage without acknowledging the crowd and in fact acted dismissive toward the people who came out to see them inspired me to quickly sell their records back to Mole’s.

Best opening act. Tracy Chapman opening for 10,000 Maniacs. This was, for the Maniacs, the In My Tribe tour, which is the only time you got to hear them play “Peace Train” live. Tracy, who played solo and was hard to hear over a chatty crowd, closed with “Talkin’ bout a Revolution.” I saw her shortly thereafter with a full band opening for Neil Young at Riverbend, but I found her solo performance in a smaller setting more powerful.

Most unusual performer. Timothy Leary saw fit to visit Cincinnati and talk about turning on, tuning in and dropping out. He definitely had a sense of humor about it all, however—in fact, I think he always did.

Best 1-man band. I liked how Michael Hedges strutted out to the front of the stage while exuding confidence that one acoustic guitar and a voice could provide entertainment for an entire evening. No gimmicks, no light show, no electronics, no flashy American Idol type persona—just music…and it worked.

 The Bogart’s show I most wish I’d seen but didn’t. There’s been much talk over the years about some of the mythical Bogarts shows by folks like The Police, U2 and Prince. The band I most wish I’d seen there, however, was Shakti w/John McLaughlin, who had just released Natural Elements. I almost made it to that show—and then heard detailed accounts from people who made it clear that I had missed something extraordinary. I did catch him a couple years later with a band that included L. Shankar (from Shakti) in the band, and they played a duet from a Shakti album.

 

Classical Revolution at the Northside Tavern Sunday

Classical Revolution CincinnatiClassical Revolution Cincinnati is a free music series that takes place every second Sunday at the Northside Tavern. The series is part of a global movement that offers chamber music performances in places other than concert halls. At 8 pm on Sunday, March 9 a concert will take place that will include the world premier of Mark Lehman’s “Sonatina for Two Violins,” which will be performed by Harvey Thurman and Amy Kiradjieff.  Mark is an old friend who has been the music editor of The Absolute Sound since 2009 and has been reviewing classical music for the American Record Guide for decades. Mark currently has three pieces on commercial CDs: a song cycle called “Pilgrim Songs,” a set of “Three Souvenirs” for flute and piano, and a toccata for piano on the anthology Touch: The Toccata Project. “Conundrum,” a piece for voice, flute, clarinet, and piano, is due out on CD this Spring.  

Lehman is particularly drawn to the clarity of instrumental duos, which give the composer both the opportunity and the challenge to write music in which every note can be heard and every note matters. He calls his violin duo a “sonatina” not because it’s short or easy to play, but rather to reflect its neoclassic aesthetic, its use of traditional forms and procedures, and its basically optimistic, high-spirited mood. The composers that he most admires and have most influenced him in this piece as in all his music are Bartok, Hindemith—and Mozart. 

The classical concerts at the Northside Tavern have been a hit, offering a unique experience for listening to classical music and visiting a bar. In a Cincinnati Enquirer article bartender Beth Harris said of the series, “These nights are different. Delightful, very mellow. I didn’t know people drank so much wine.” To get you in the mood, here’s  footage from a lovely Classical Revolution performance by Brickmeat, a saxophone duo: 

 

Annunciation School’s 100th Birthday Celebration on Saturday!

AnnunciationThis Saturday, March 1 Annunciation School will host its 100th Birthday Dinner/Silent Auction. The event will take place at the Clovernook Country Club from 6:30 – 11:00 pm and will include cocktails, a sit down dinner and a silent auction. Musically the evening will be a treat as well, with the Steve Schmidt Jazz Ensemble performing. Steve has been a fixture of the Cincinnati jazz scene for decades, and it’s cool that this member of Annunciation’s 1970 graduating class can show the alma mater some of what he’s learned since graduating! Also, Claudia Taylor has put together a PHENOMENAL SILENT AUCTION for the event; there’s more information on that here.

Culinarily speaking, the evening starts with cocktails and hot hors d’oeurves being passed. The sit down dinner is: Mixed Greens Salad with Cranberry & Feta, Both Chicken Alouette & Beef Tenderloin, Medley of Mixed Vegetables, Custard Potatoes, fabulous rolls & butter, and ending with Dark Chocolate Mousse w/Raspberry Sauce.

Reservations AND Payments MUST BE IN by Thursday 2/27. $75/Person or $600/Table of 8. Mail your Payment to Lynn Overbeck Hughes, 583 Wirham Pl., Cincinnati, Ohio, 45220. Call Lynn @ 513-961-3034 for more details.  SCHOOL PARENTS: feel comfortable giving your reservation and payment to fellow Event Chairs, Claudia Taylor & Chris Morsch. Payment and Reservations must be in by Thursday, 2/27.

Finally, here’s footage of Steve Schmidt performing the very beautiful Miles Davis composition, “Nardis:”

 

Josh Ritter and Gregory Alan Isakov on Tuesday

Gregory Alan IsakovOn Tuesday, February 25 the Taft Theater will present a double-header of seasoned Americana artists with headliner Josh Ritter and opening act Gregory Alan Isakov.  Singer-songwriter Ritter, whose new album The Beast In Its Tracks will be released March 5 on Pytheas Recordings, will be doing a spare, stripped-down all acoustic set, and you can expect the same from Isakov.

The Taft has been hosting all sorts of Americana concerts lately, including the Jason Isbell show I wrote up afterwards, and one of the things you’d hope for in an all-acoustic show – great sound – was present, as well as the classic charm of the Taft.

Here are videos of a couple of the more well-known songs by both performers for Tuesday’s concert:

 

Film Premiere of Global Water Dances – Cincinnati

Global Water DanceThe film premiere of Global Water Dances-Cincinnati will take place this Sunday, February 23, at 5:30pm at Mayerson Hall at Hebrew Union College. Remember how steamy it was in June 2013? A vibrant group of Cincinnati area dancers, musicians, and artists presented Global Water Dances–Cincinnati to an audience of 100s on Serpentine Wall and 1000s in kayaks on the lovely Ohio River. Dripping in the 10 am, 95-degree sun the performers pooled all their energy and resources to create an engaging, inspiring enviro-arts event. The Global Water Dances-Cincinnati Film is the result of 100s of hours editing the 4-camera hi-definition video shoot and sweetening the live recorded audio. A brief synopsis of Global Water Dances of other countries will also be shown. It will make you feel warm again! Admission is free; donations are gratefully accepted. A reception will follow.

Global Water 3 Global Water 4 Global Water 5

Great Beauty at The Esquire

great-beauty-3Playing now at the Esquire Theatre, The Great Beauty (La Grande Belleza) features 2 hours and 17 minutes of beautiful camera work and quite often stunning scenery. Appropriately enough it focuses on “the beautiful people” in the social and artistic circles in contemporary Rome. The camera work, symbolism, decadence, grotesques, bold juxtapositions between the ancient and the present, and many other details call to mind films by another Italian director, Frederico Fellini. The moral of the story—for what starts out seeming like more like an impressionistic portrait ends up unveiling a narrative that makes a point—might also have been at home in a movie by Fellini. What the main character, Jep Gambardella, learns is that being at the social epicenter of one of Europe’s most glamorous cities doesn’t add up to much in the end.

There are two ways he envisions escaping from the emptiness he’s beginning to feel. One is to finally enter into a relationship with a woman; the other is to write his second novel. As a young man he had published a novel that, while it seems unlikely that he put his heart and soul into it (or anything else for that matter), was probably better than he realized, and in any case it received enough attention to give him a toehold into elite social circles. Quickly he turned to a less demanding and more socially rewarding brand of journalism that had him rubbing shoulders with the beautiful people and leading a life that would be the envy of many of us. So why does it all feel so hollow in the end? In part, perhaps, because many times “the art world” has so little to do with art and in fact has little substance.

Matt Wilson Quartet Plays CCM Sunday

GatheringCallOne of the most in-demand jazz musicians in America is coming to CCM this Sunday, February 9 at 4pm. Matt Wilson is a drummer who’s played with all the Who’s Whos but also loves to lead; in fact, he’s headed a quartet since 1996. Released a couple weeks ago on the Palmetto label, Gathering Call features special guest artist John Medeski from Medeski, Martin and Wood on piano. The record’s split almost evenly between standards and originals, and I’m intrigued by Wilson’s choice of standards. “Main Stem” and “You Dirty Dog” are definitely lesser-known Ellington compositions, and “Pumpkin’s Delight” was penned by tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse, who, in spite of extended work with Thelonious Monk, remains relatively obscure. (He played at the Blue Wisp once, incidentally, back in the O’Bryonville days.) It’s a treat to hear these overlooked compositions in a small-group setting (drums/bass/cornet/sax & clarinet/piano).

Much of the press about Wilson has focused on his eagerness to make the jazz experience less stuffy and more fun. In his words, “We perform music that is not afraid to challenge AND entertain.”  Makes sense to me; in fact, while listening to Gathering Call I’m reminded of some earlier incarnations of Jack DeJohnette’s Special Edition, whose music was both playful and adventurous. In any case, Wilson’s quartet show at CCM should smoke. Here’s the full skinny per the CCM website:

4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9
• Jazz Series •
ARTS AND CRAFTS WITH M@ WILSON
Jazz Ensembles
Scott Belck and Dominic Marino, music directors and conductors
Featuring guest artists Matt Wilson’s Arts and Crafts Ensemble

Location: Corbett Auditorium
Tickets:
$12 general, $6 non-UC students, UC students FREE.

And here’s a video of the Matt Wilson quartet performing “Rear Control:”

 

Last Night at the Taft

Height-heightening hairstyles notwithstanding, she's the tallest of 'em all.

Height-heightening hairstyles notwithstanding, Holly Williams is the tallest of ‘em all.

Often at concerts the venue is mostly empty when the opening act begins and what crowd there is seems disinterested. At the Taft Theatre last night, however, most everyone who was coming had taken their seats by the time Holly Williams walked out on stage—and the opening chords of her first song, “Drinkin’,” brought cheers of recognition.

Armed only with her acoustic guitar, another acoustic, and an upright bass (that and the voices of the people playing), Holly delivered a strong eight-song set that confirmed her reputation as a refreshingly unvarnished and unaffected country singer boasting a rich, soulful voice that’s equal parts painful and sensual and that exudes a “been-there” quality. She knows how to write songs—“Drinkin’,” “Railroads,” “The Highway,” and “Waiting on June” were definite highlights—and she also knows how to sing John Prine, as the sole cover of the night made clear. Another thing you don’t associate with opening acts—good clean sound—helped ensure that this was an opening act people would remember. Incidentally, Holly is the granddaughter of Hank Williams, daughter of Hank Jr., and half-sister to Hank III. We call that “lineage” back where I come from.

The headliner was Jason Isbell, who I had seen recently on Austin City Limits.  His latest record, Southeastern, is a more subdued affair than some previous efforts, and, rightly or wrongly, his performance on the television show seemed flat to me. Last night at the Taft I got it, though. It helped that the sound was fantastic—the best I’ve heard at the Taft. Sitting there 13th row dead center, I was so impressed that I ended up complimenting the sound man on the way out. The mix brought out the subtleties as well the dynamics of a band that was locked in from the first note. Aside from the drummer, everyone stood even with Jason (as opposed to the norm, where everyone’s behind the lead singer), which seemed to suggest that this was a band as opposed to a solo artist backed by accompanying musicians. Drummer Chad Gamble killed it, btw—laying a rock-solid foundation but never resembling a metronome, which can make for a long night of listening. This was a Monday night and the day after the Super Bowl, but plenty of beer and mixed drunks were sold and consumed by a crowd that between songs wished Jason happy birthday so many times the show began to feel like a birthday party.

I filmed Holly Williams singing John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery,” and here ‘s the video. (Please note that the music doesn’t start until about 1:20 in, so I recommend jumping there right off the bat.) 

 

My Favorite Bogart’s Concerts

Bogarts-Corryville-CincinnatiHow do you know you’re a music nerd? One hint is that you have a vast collection of memorabilia devoted to concerts you attended over the years. That could include posters, handbills, ads and reviews from the paper, tickets…I’ve got all those things and more. Today I scanned all the Bogart’s tickets that I’ve kept since I attended my first show there back in the ’70s.

This precedes my upcoming blog entries dedicated to my 10 favorite Bogart’s concerts. As I started to make my list I realized that this was going to be a painful process, as I hated to leave out some fabulous shows. For that reason my first round is going to be devoted to honorable mentions, of which there will be many. I have lots of other Bogart’s memorabilia that I’ll dig out for this series.

These tickets, btw, represent a fraction of the Bogart’s shows I attended, as I didn’t keep everything. Also, there was a period during the 1980s when I used to hang w/some folks who worked there;  I killed some time backstage and caught some freebies. That was an exciting period musically, and Short Vine was happening, with Bogart’s bringing in lots of good shows and a fine laundromat across the street. There was also a period when I reviewed concerts for the Cincinnati Enquirer. I’ll get to all that – but for now, here are the tickets stubs that managed to make it home. (btw, if you click the image it will magnify, making a lot easier to read the names)

Bogarts tickets 1

Bogarts tickets 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bogarts tickets 4

Bogarts tickets 2

 

 

 

 

New Coen Brothers Film at the Esquire

Inside Llewyn DavisThe new Coen Brothers movie Inside Llewyn Davis is showing now at The Esquire Theatre. The film takes us into the world of the 1960s folk music revival during the period where the corporations are starting to infiltrate a scene that originally stood out for its idealism. In the film Oscar Isaac plays Llewyn Davis, an authentic folk musician who has opportunities to sell out but chooses not to. He also makes some career and life blunders along the way, and the movies runs the risk of presenting a character who’s just one more ne’er do well in a long line of losers. It sidesteps that trap, however, and it also avoids the hoaky, two-dimensional portrayal of the folk coffeehouse scene that would have been so easy to stumble into.

I was too young to experience that scene, but as a record collector I caught a whiff of it. It seems like it was always in Clifton that I would find remarkable collections from folkies who were there when it happened. The ten- and twelve-inch EPs and LPs on Folkways, Elektra, Arhoolie, and other labels were more than just black plastic discs that happened to contain music. They were mementos of a movement whose musical depth was matched by a deep social and political consciousness. That was new stuff back then, and it helped lay the groundwork for whatever progress has been made. I suspect that Inside Llewyn Davis will help turn some ears toward folksingers who made invaluable contributions during the revival but have been under-recognized since. Phil Ochs was one of them, and when I started dropping the needle on folk records, this was one the songs that stuck out:

Gaslight Property Wins The “Best of UC” Poll

Gaslight LogoLast week we were excited to learn that Gaslight Property won the 2014 UC News Record’s “Best of UC” poll for Best Rental Property. Thanks to everyone who voted for us! There’s a reason we deserved to win – or several reasons, actually:

  • Classic Spaces: Like most cities, Cincinnati has its share of prefab apartment complexes, but Gaslight Property rents apartments with history and character.
  • Experience: Gaslight Property is a family-owned business that’s been part of Clifton for decades.
  • Accessibility: Gaslight Property’s  office is in the heart of Clifton’s Gaslight District, so it’s within walking distance (or a very short drive) for many of their tenants.
  • Location: Most of Gaslight Property’s rentals are located in or near “The Uptown Area,” known for world-class education and healthcare. Within minutes you’ll find University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, Cincinnati State, Hebrew Union College, University Hospital, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Good Samaritan Hospital. You’ll find many of of Gaslight Property’s places are pet-friendly, within walking distance of unique shops, locally-owned cafes, an independent theater, and scenic parks. Most also have close access to public transportation.

This came at a time when Gaslight Property is extremely busy preparing for the upcoming school year. We encourage anyone who is looking for a house or an apartment to rent to call us at 513.861.6000, so the best rental property in the area can find an apartment that suits your needs!

Check Out the Bogart’s Memories Facebook Group

Bogarts-logoBogart’s Memories (Cincinnati, OH) is a Facebook page where hundreds of people write and read about concerts they attended at the iconic music venue since it opened in 1975. There’s lots of memorabilia—ticket stubs, posters, fliers, pictures, videos, etc.—and people discussing memorable shows in every conceivable genre. Everyone who lives in Cincinnati has been to Bogart’s, and it’s also been a significant regional draw. When I contacted the person who formed the Facebook Group, Robert Wendel, he wrote, “I got the idea after one day cleaning out a closet. I found the old fliers that Bogart’s used to mail out back in the 80’s, informing what bands would be playing there in the near future.

“With those and the ticket stubs I had saved from most of the concerts I attended @ Bogarts, I decided to make a FB page to keep the memories going. The general manager of Bogarts Karen Foley loves the page so much, she used my fliers and stubs to make cool collage on the wall @ Bogarts.”

The Facebook group members aren’t just fans, either: “A lot of them are members of bands that played @ Bogarts at one time or another, the latest being David T. Chastain.”

This comes at a good time, as Bogart’s recently underwent significant improvements and will be creating new memories for many years to come. Their Facebook page is a work in progress, and your entry doesn’t have to be decades old—for example, I recently posted on their page a blog entry about a recent Todd Rundgren show that took place at Bogart’s. So check it out, join it, and share your own memories and memorabilia!

Visit Us at the UC-Rutgers Game Saturday!

UC Bearcats BasketballAlong with thousands of UC fans, Gaslight Property will attend the UC-Rutgers division game Saturday. The game starts at 6pm. Come visit our booth, where, along with grabbing free basketball schedule magnets and koozies, you can enter a contest to win two free floor tickets to the UC – UConn game on Thursday, Feb. 6 at 7pm, a game that will be nationally televised on ESPN. This promotion is a reminder that Gaslight Property stays busy all year. Along with showing a list of apartments (with photos) ready to rent for next school year, we’ll hand out coupons offering discounts on security deposits. It’s our way of showing support for the team and UC fans and students. If you can’t attend the game, just call a representative at 513.861.6000 to learn about rental opportunities.

Vote for Gaslight Property!

Gaslight PropertyThe News Record is running their annual “Best of UC” poll as we speak, and guess what? One of the categories is Best Rental Property, and the best one on the list is Gaslight Property. All you have to do to vote for Gaslight Property is go to www.newsrecord.org/bestofuc/ and then scroll down until you see Best Rental Property – and then cast your vote for Gaslight Property. Why do we think Gaslight Property is the best rental property? Here are some reasons:

  • Classic Spaces: Like most cities, Cincinnati has its share of prefab apartment complexes, but Gaslight Property rents apartments with history and character.
  • Experience: Gaslight Property is a family-owned business that’s been part of Clifton for decades.
  • Accessibility: While some landlords seem in absentia, Gaslight Property’s  office is in the heart of Clifton’s Gaslight District, within walking distance (or a very short drive) for many of their tenants.
  • Location: Most of Gaslight Property’s rentals are located in or near “The Uptown Area,” known for world-class education and healthcare. Within minutes you’ll find University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, Cincinnati State, Hebrew Union College, University Hospital, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Good Samaritan Hospital. You’ll find many of of Gaslight Property’s places are pet-friendly, within walking distance of unique shops, locally-owned cafes, an independent theater, and scenic parks. Most also have close access to public transportation.

A Pinball Parlor on Main Street

100_4843Did you know there’s a pinball parlor on Main Street? The other day I was walking down the 1300 block of Main when I saw, from across the street, a sign for Porter’s Pinball Parlor, and. inside. a line  of pinball machines. That was a surprise, and a good one at that, a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11am to 9pm. The parlor is located at 1334 Main Street, next door to Shadeau Breads and across the street from Iris Book Cafe and the world’s best record store, Another Part of the Forest.

This comes at a good time. We now know that the beleaguered streetcar will actually become a reality, which can be interpreted as Cincinnati’s way of showing some love for Over-the-Rhine. In the last five years I’ve seen, in slow motion, the changes taking place in the neighborhood. There are flashier spots than Main Street, and that’s cool. The more down-to-earth and low-key locations also need to be part of the mix, however, and that’s why the Main Street is so important. It’s places like the pinball parlor and the other stores I mentioned that help give Over-the-Rhine so much character.

Interestingly, Main Street is becoming a mecca for pinball lovers, as MOTR Pub has had several pinball machines ever since it opened. That’s been one of my favorite things about going there (I also discovered that they serve beer), although I keep losing to this hustler who always tries to convince me that I stand even a smidgen of a chance of beating her. Watch out for her, as she’s one of those people who gets top score for ten years in a row but tries to pretend that she’s just like the rest of us.

“All You Need is Love” Music Benefit at Mecklenburg Gardens

Brooke Salem Krewe

Brooke Salem Krewe

This Friday, December 27 from 7pm to 11pm a benefit to celebrate the life of a good friend and support The Lindner Center of Hope will take place at Mecklenburg Gardens. All You Need is Love III promises a night of music, fun, and friendship. According to one of the organizers of the event, Jim Lawson, “It’s always a good time, and it’s always a good crowd.”

“After the hustle and bustle of family obligations at Christmas, it offers a chance to catch up with friends,” he added. “There’s a warmth there that I feel all the time.”

The event will include a cash bar and free hors d’ouevres. The suggested donation is ten dollars, with a “more if you can, less if you can’t” policy. The proceeds will be donated to Lindner Center of Hope, which describes itself as “a state-of-the-art, free-standing mental health center.” The donations underscore the fact that the motivation to host the events in the first place is quite serious. The people who stage the All You Need Is Love benefits,  as well as many of the musicians and attendees, were friends with Britt Stevens Krebs, a huge music fan and a musician who, having struggled his whole life with depression, took his own life in 2011.

Think of it, then, as a good time for a good cause, with six musical acts performing: (more…)

The Best Beer I Have Ever Had

Three Floyds GumballheadLike everyone else I’ve been running around more than normal this month, it being the holiday season and all. Whenever I’m the designated driver I drink one beer at most. That was again the case last night—but boy, I chose well. When I noticed at Neon’s a Three Floyds beer on the board, I asked the bartender to describe it. He told me it was a wheat pale ale and it was kind of hoppy, but not too much. Those comments didn’t influence my decision to order a Gumheadball—it was kind of a no-brainer as it was a Three Floyds I’d never tasted before—but, I was curious.

Located in Indiana, Three Floyd’s is a brewery I take quite seriously, as do many other people. Because of archaic, illogical and business-unfriendly state laws Three Floyds used to be impossible to obtain in Ohio.  For this reason me and my posse used to make the trek to Indiana to stock up and imbibe. Driving the back roads to bars and liquor stores that sold the stuff, we passed Amish families riding in buggies. (We also stopped at their farm houses to buy some of their some rhubarb). In Indiana and Ohio I have tasted some superb Three Floyds, but Gumballhead was favorite—by them or by anyone.

Here’s my low-level analysis of what I consumed last evening. I can never get too crazy about beers that are weighed down by extraneous flavors, and there was a citrusy undertone to the Gumballhead, but just enough that you could notice it (crucial). Beers that are too hoppy make my stomach hop, but there were just enough of the right kinds of hops to give the beer a wee bit of an edge, which I consider an asset. It was a highly drinkable beer, but it wasn’t one of those wimpy “gateway” craft beer bars serve to placate the unenlightened. It had body, but not to the point where I felt as if were drinking oatmeal, and it was flavorful.

And there’s one other thing. In audiophile circles folks talk about what’s called “tonal balance.” Perhaps you got your lows, mids or highs just right—but the trick is blending them all together seamlessly, and in a way that’s pleasing aesthetically. Those same attributes apply to the beer I drank last night. It warrants a trip to Neon’s—where a friendly and informed bartender also gushed about some European imports presently on tap.

Finally, mark your calendars now for the Three Floyd’s beer tasting taking place at MOTR Pub on March 5. That may seem a long way away, but I would hate for someone to double book on that night. After all, this is serious business.

Tatsuya Nakatani Performs this Saturday

Tatsuya NakataniThis Saturday, December 21 at 7pm sound artist, percussionist and drummer Tatsuya Nakatani will perform at Bromwell’s downtown. Yes, you read that right: the store at 117 W. 4th Street, which sells luxury fireplaces and home décor, will host this intriguing event. According to his website, Nakatani “creates sound via both traditional and extended percussion techniques, utilizing drums, bowed gongs, cymbals, singing bowls, metal objects and bells, as well as various sticks, kitchen tools and homemade bows….His approach is steeped in the sensibilities of free improvisation, experimental music, jazz, rock, and noise, and yet retains the sense of space and quiet beauty found in traditional Japanese folk music.”

Saturday’s show will include both solo performances and duets with Napoleon Solo Vox, the composer, beat box artist, and front man for IsWhat?! Recently I asked Nakatani a few questions via Facebook, and he was kind enough to respond. He requested that I edit his English, which I did in a conservative manner.

What made you decide to work extensively as a solo artist using percussion instruments?

I used to play as a drummer and was in a band or group. Sometime ago (late 90s) I realized many drummers work as a member and not as a soloist. Solo is very flexible and powerful, so I moved to that direction instead of playing in an ensemble. Based on touring and moving myself to different places as a touring musician, that also makes it possible to do a variety of work.

To what extent will Cincinnati’s show be improvised?

The Cincinnati show will be solo and collaboration with Napoleon. We will be totally improvised. We have collaborated briefly, a few very short collaboration in a several years; this time should be a nice one.

You’ve made a great number of recordings. Is there a particular label that you’ve been working with primarily for the last few (or many) years? Can you tell me a little about that label?

I have been producing a small self label for surrounding my work. I have a new LP on Taiga records in Minneapolis, they focus on only vinyl. They did a beautiful job. I trust their work.

Are your influences primarily other drummers…or composers…or musicians who play other instruments?

I am influenced by day-by-day life and people. I tour, meet so many people every day, which is my influences. I used to listen carefully to drummers, but now, more to focus on what kind of sound, tone is…

I was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, and I see that you performed there last night. Your thoughts of that fair city…

It was good time in Des Moines for my first time show. A small but nice group of people are doing the art of sound there.

Here’s a video of Nakatani during a live performance:

Holidays on Ludlow on Friday

Holidays on LudlowHolidays on Ludlow takes place this Friday, December 13 from 6pm to 9pm, with free parking after 5pm in the Merchant Lot on Howell Avenue. Bring your kids–and bring your pets! Here are just a few of the activities for one of Clifton’s most popular annual events:

  • Free pictures with Santa
  • Free pet pictures with Santa
  • Open houses, refreshments, raffles, and specials
  • Free carriage rides with luminaria along route
  • A concert by the Clifton-Fairview Language Choir
  • Free entertainment throughout the business district
  • Holiday hat making and raffle
  • Snowflake making contest
  • Holiday tree in Clifton Plaza

Here’s a link to lots of pictures from last year’s Holidays on Ludlow.

Once again during this event Gaslight Property will be collecting canned goods and cash donations for the Lord’s Gym at 1829 Vine Street in Over-the-Rhine and 811 Madison Avenue in Covington.  Since 1993, the Lord’s Gym has provided an opportunity for men to grow spiritually, emotionally, and physically. The Gym offers a variety of weight-lifting equipment and opportunities for Christian fellowship. The FoodShare is a food co-op for the participants.

Because the Gym hosts on average 400 patrons each month, hundreds of people have heard and responded to the gospel of Jesus. The Gym has seen God help men overcome their addiction problems and become productive people. Recently Channel 12 broadcast a feature about The Gym that shed light on how the Lord’s Gym is helping people get back on track. Check it out!

Laurel and Hardly Come to Clifton

Laurel and HardySome great Laurel and Hardy movies will be showing this Saturday, December 14 at 6:45pm at the Masonic Lodge at 215 Ludlow Avenue in Clifton. You seldom get a chance to see such films on the big screen—except in Clifton, that is, as “The Chimp Tent” (a Laurel and Hardy Appreciation Society) has hosted films by the duo and other early comic geniuses regularly since 2008. Cost is $5, and the event is free to children 12 years old and younger. To learn more about the film series, check out the website for The Chimp Tent or email Gene Sorkin at chimptent@live.com. In one of Saturday’s films, Laurel and Hardy attempt to sell a Christmas tree to Jimmy Finlayson, a classic comedian who was the foil in many a Laurel and Hardy film. Here’s a scene from him one of the 33 movies Finlayson made with Laurel and Hardy:

 

Pop-Up Ludlow Rescheduled to 6pm Today

Pop-Up-Ludllow-Dec-2013Today’s “Pop-Up Ludlow” offers a chance to see the redecorated merchant windows in the Ludlow Avenue Business District.

Festivities begin at 6:00pm on the plaza with the  lighting of the tree and reindeer. Then follow the artists, who will be in illuminated costumes, down Ludlow Avenue as the magical windows are unveiled.

Then at 7:15pm you can meet and greet the DAAP creators of the window wonderlands at the library for cookies and hot chocolate.

Originally this first-time event was rescheduled from last night due to bad weather.  It will be more fun tonight, with snow still on the ground but much safer conditions!

Mandela by Santana

Nelson Mandela on Day After ReleaseIn 1987 Santana released an album that contained the song “Mandela.” At that time Nelson Mandela was still in prison, but people around the world were drawing attention to the injustice he was experiencing. Along with being a call to action, the song was a tribute to Nelson Mandela, who passed away yesterday. Time hasn’t diminished the relevance of this song; in fact, it has only deepened it. Three of the musicians appearing in this video performed at the amazing Bogart’s show that took place in 1983: guitarist Carlos Santana, who was wearing a John Coltrane t-shirt; percussionist Armando Peraza, who first appeared on the 1972 release Caravanserai; and keyboardist Chester Thompson, who was so new to the lineup that he had not yet shown up on a Santana album. With a band comprised from musicians of different races, from different countries and radically different musical background, Santana embodied, long before most of us even knew who Nelson Mandela was, the spirit of his message. Here’s Santana performing “Mandela:”

Go Bearcats!!!

Keg of NailsIs it any surprise that the UC-Louisville football game taking place at Nippert Stadium Thursday is sold out?

Along with a long-standing rivalry, this game is a make-or-break game for Cincinnati to stand any chances of reaching the BCS Bowl. This is Nippert Stadium’s last game before remodeling begins, and at stake is the Keg of Nails trophy.

To show our support for both the team as well as UC fans and students, Gaslight Property will be in attendance that evening. We encourage everyone to visit our booth behind the student section, where we’ll be handing out basketball schedule magnets and coozies – AND you can enter to win a FREE iPad!

This promotion is a friendly reminder that Gaslight Property is very active renting all 12 months of the year.  December is actually a busy month that includes many renters setting their sites on the fall.  For example,  this month we will already have houses available for fall rentals. Call one of our representatives at 513.861.6000 to learn more.

Live Music at the Listing Loon

Listing LoonThe Listing Loon is a craft beer and wine bottle shop located at 4124 Hamilton Avenue in Northside; its phone number is 513.542.5666. It’s been around for almost two years, and during that time it’s kept adding events, some musical and others that tie in directly with alcohol (wine tastings, etc.). Their schedule includes Piano Wednesdays, and  starting at 8pm this Wednesday, December 4, jazz pianist Chris Comer will be performing duets with bassist Bryan Berwanger.

It’s also worth nothing that the Listing Loon is hosting “Tuesday Night Vinyl Sessions” that start at 8pm and are all about spinning records. Vinyl nights continue to spread around  Cincinnati – in fact, a new one just popped up at The Drinkery in Over-the-Rhine; they take place every Wednesday, starting at 9pm.

Back to Chris Comer: here’s some nicely-shot and -edited footage of him performing recently with a trio:

http://youtu.be/0glu4L3y8jc

A Thanksgiving Tale

coffee

Please note that Sitwell’s is having a Hobbit trivia night this Wednesday (December 11) at 8pm, with lots of great Hobbit-related giveways – should be a great time!

This story took place back when Sitwell’s was in a different location. Back then the coffee house was in the basement of Tudor Court Apartments. At that time I lived about a block from Sitwell’s.

People see Thanksgiving in different ways. Many people see it as an opportunity to be surrounded by other people, and who can blame them? Many writers, however, see four-day holidays differently—especially novelists, who, in order to write books that are hundreds of pages along, engage in the verbal equivalent of an endless series of marathons.

Marathons take time. Like many novelists, I had mastered the art of forging ahead with a book in spite of the fact that I worked a nine to five—but nothing beats four days in a row with nothing to do but write. I was stoked when I woke up on Thanksgiving morning. All I had to do was get some coffee, since I had run out. I figured I could get some from Sitwell’s, which wasn’t open for business, but had a tradition at that time of hosting a free Thanksgiving dinner.

When I got there, I asked if I could buy a pound of coffee, and even though I was a regular I was turned down. Nor could I buy a cup of coffee. They weren’t open for business, and I couldn’t give them an IOU or any of that business.

Can I function without coffee? Sure, but let’s face it: coffee, to many fiction writers, is like whiskey is to a blues artist. In many respects writing a novel is an endurance battle, and caffeine helps. So, while I was contemplating the possibility of writing dull, flat prose for the rest of the day an employee started talking about the free dinner that day. I had assumed that it was only for the needy. The employee emphasized, however, that it was open to anyone who wanted to come. “Why don’t you come back?” she said.

At that moment a humongous 5,000-watt light bulb went off in my head.

A couple hours later I returned to Sitwell’s. The room I walked into was full of people, many of whom I knew because they too were regulars at Sitwell’s. I hung and out and chatted with folks and ate lots of good food, including turkey, which has lots of Triptophan, which has long regarded as an enemy of potentially productive writers.

I more than counteracted that, however, by drinking massive amount of caffeine—and after leaving Sitwells, I spent the rest of my long weekend writing.

What happened that day taught me something. For one day a year, no matter how much you plead, there are situations where people absolutely refuse to sell you something – and believe me, there was absolutely no way the employees at Sitwell’s were going to allow me to make a cash transaction.

They were more than happy, however, to give me something. For me that reinforced what Thanksgiving is all about. Here’s hoping you receive a little reinforcement yourself this year.

Northside Record Fair on Saturday

100_4802The second annual Northside Record Fair takes place this Saturday, November 23rd. The first record fair was a huge success, with a full house from beginning to end. (I know; I was there.)

This record fair will take place at the Northside Presbyterian Church, 4222 Hamilton Ave from 11am to 4pm. Admission is $5, but if you want to be an early bird, $10 will get you in at 10am.

The last I heard there were still two tables left for vendors; full tables cost $25 while half-tables cost $15.

I wrote a blog entry about last year’s record fair and included some photos. Here’s a link to that blog entry.

Because I write about vinyl so often, I also want to sneak in that I recently created a “category” on the right side of this page called “vinyl.” Entries have to do with record stores, record shows, local record labels that are vinyl only, and so on – so if you have a second, check it out.

Also, my friends King Reeves and Charlie Wilson and their sextet will be performing John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme in its entirety (and other Coltrane compositions) at the Blue Wisp on Friday, December 6th from 7pm to 10pm. Included in the sextet will be saxophonist Eddie Bayard, a very powerful tenor player who is very well-respected by the jazz community on a national level. Also, the band will include not one but two drummers, which is something that Coltrane used to do. Here’s some footage I shot one night when Bayard was soloing and the band only had one drummer. Imagine what kind of damage they could do with two:

 

Lentz and Company on Ludlow Avenue

 

A new vintage shop has opened in the Gaslight District. Located at 339 Ludlow Avenue, Lentz and Company adds a splash of color to the neighborhood, with an emphasis on cool-looking mid-Century home goods as well as local art. In its own words, “You’ll find retro kitchenware and bar accessories, chic to cheap vintage furniture as well as a carefully curated collection of kitsch.” Tentative store hours are 1pm to 8pm Wednesday through Saturday. They have a Facebook page, and the owner of the store, Leigh Ann Lentz, can be reached at leighann@lentzandcompany.com.

In other news, last night I attended the film Capital at the Esquire Theatre. As was the case with the now-departed Capital, some Esquire movies come and go in a week, so it pays to check the Esquire’s website. The film was directed by Costa-Gavras, the Greek-born French filmmaker who got worldwide attention when he released Z in 1969. There’s a lot to love about Z, including the cinematography, the suspenseful plot, the soundtrack, and the fact that the Irene Papas appears in it. The semi-fictionalized account of the assassination of a Greek politician, Z laid bare the widespread corruption in the Greek government.

Capital focuses on corruption of a different nature: the upper echelon of the financial world. Initially while climbing the corporate ladder the main character is less ruthless than many of his colleagues, and even as he becomes more cutthroat he does so with a sense of detachment. Although the French bank he works for finds plenty of opportunity to play dirty, American financiers who bully him into making ruthless decisions take nastiness to a whole nother level. Here I’m reminded of a film I saw at the Esquire in 2001, Eloge de l’Amour (In Praise of Love), in which fellow French director Jean-Luc Godard depicts Americans as monsters spreading their tentacles worldwide. Near the end of the film the main character turns nasty to three women—his wife, the supermodel he rapes, and an idealistic fellow executive—suggesting that the energy behind amoral corporate interests is a beefed-up form of hyper-aggressive and mindless masculinity.

During the film the question arises whether there’s any way to fight against such forces. The answer appears in the last scene, when the main character turns to the camera for the first time and announces in a matter-of-fact manner that even if he tried to expose corruption everything would turn out the same in the end. He predicts that the system will explode. History may prove him wrong, but there are plenty of folks working night and day to prove him right.

Shiny and the Spoon Live at the Esquire

The roots and Americana band Shiny and the Spoon will perform at the Esquire Theatre this Saturday, November 16.  The show starts at 11 pm that evening, and the cover is $3.00. The concert will include vintage photos of Cincinnati appearing on the big screen while the band plays. Since forming in 2008, Shiny and the Spoon has blossomed into one of the better-known bands around town. The four-piece includes long-term Gaslight Property employee Pete Brown, who plays a mean upright bass. There are two things to love about the show: it’s taking place at Clifton’s 100-year-old movie theatre, and it starts at 11 pm. That means you can have a drink or two before the show—and a drink or two while you’re at the show, as the Esquire serves beer, wine, and cocktails. Here’s a video of Shiny and the Spoon in performance:

Wadjda Tells a Great Story; It’s at The Esquire

Currently at The Esquire, Wadjda is the story of a 10-year-old girl living in Saudia Arabia. The bare bones of the plot involve her attempts to obtain a bicycle. That may sound undramatic, but the trials she undergoes in her quest end up exposing much of what’s wrong with fundamentalist Muslim society, not just for females, but for everyone. The movie does so in a non-didactic fashion, with rich, fully developed characters.

In this movie you can feel the oppression—even with young schoolchildren like Wadjda and her classmates. Wadjda’s desire to ride a bike turns out to be a radical act, as doing so is frowned up by fundamentalist Muslims. The struggles Wadjda and her classmates undergo are paralleled by Wadjda’s mother, whose inability to bear a second child has her husband seeking Wife #2. The parallels also extend to the director of the film, Haifaa Al Mansour. Because she’s female, Haifaa was forced to jump through all kinds of extra hoops to make the film.

In movies that expose society’s ills characters sometimes feel like stick figures, but not here. Even when they act in a sexist manner, the male characters seem like real human beings. For them, as with the woman, there’s little wiggle room in such an oppressive society, and you sense that, like the women, the men are also ready to see their society evolve. As the charming and industrious Wadjda wheels and deals her way in the direction of bicycle ownership, she finds support in unexpected places. Her allies include the boy who inspired, due to her competitive streak, the desire to own a bike—and someone who, unexpectedly and at the last minute, lends a helping hand.

Don’t Forget to Vote YES for the Library

 

We may disagree on the Bengals, but most people in Cincinnati strongly support their library. Therefore, it’s important that we go out and show our support by voting YES for Issue 1 on November 5. Here’s more information on the library levy:

http://www.gaslightproperty.com/support-the-library-levy/

 

 

 

Have You Heard of Nextdoor Clifton?

Annunciation School in Clifton

A couple months ago someone suggested I join Nextdoor Clifton, the Clifton version of Nextdoor, which describes itself as a “free private social network for your neighborhood community.” I did so not knowing if it would be worth my time. Now that I’m a veteran, though, I can say that Nextdoor Clifton is a highly useful website that also helps you feel more connected with your neighborhood.

Many people post on Nextdoor looking for recommendations. This person needs a piano tuner, that person wants a landscaper. Someone else is looking for a good gutter cleaner. I find this part of the social network particularly useful; it reminds us that sometimes you have to go beyond Google and actually communicate with people who have experience in an area where you don’t.

Along with a “Free Items” section, people post things they want to sell or buy. A friend of mine posted that he was searching for a turntable, and people responded; the one he ended up buying was only a few blocks away from where he lived. Likewise, I announced that I bought records, and again people responded.

Part of the appeal, then, is the convenience factor. Rather than drive twenty miles to buy something, you can walk a couple blocks.

Nextdoor is also a useful tool for finding out about neighborhood events. A current example would be this posting in regard to Annunciation School, which has been a part of Clifton for 100 years:

Annunciation School Open House

CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE IN

EDUCATION 
School Tours and Classroom Open House
for prospective students and their families
Pre-School – 8th Grade

ANNUNCIATION SCHOOL
3545 Clifton Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45220
(513) 221-1230

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2013
3:00-5:00 p.m.

Free Opening at the CCAC Nov. 14

 

From 6pm to 8pm on Friday, Nov. 14 the Clifton Cultural Arts Center will host a free opening. This event will usher in the new exhibition CURRENTS, a sound and light collaboration between sound artist Justin West and installation artist Sean Mullaney. The exhibition will run until Wednesday, December 4th, 2013.

Collaborations between sound and image are still a new phenomenon in the art world, so you’ll never know what you’ll see and hear. The video below features a previous installation by CURRENTS collaborator Sean Mullaney without music. Watching it makes me wonder what will happen when sound combines with his upcoming collaboration:

 

Cincinnati’s New All-Vinyl Record Label

I met Melvin Dillon at one of the record shows that take place once a month at MadTree Brewing. It quickly became clearly that his recently-launched label, Soul Step Records, was a direct outgrowth of his love for vinyl. He loves listening to records, but it’s also clear that, as the owner/founder of Soul Step Records, he has fun with them, as you can see by the pictures in this blog entry of some of the creative ideas he has for decorating platters.  The web address for the young label is www.soulsteprecords.com, and the Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/soulsteprecords. Recently, in a cyberspace Q&A, he told me a little more about Soul Step Records:

What’s unique about your label?

We are first and foremost, vinyl only. We sign independent artists to contracts that allow us to release music strictly vinyl format. After recouping our initial investment – we split any all profits evenly with the artists. It’s a win-win and much better than any other offer you’ll find in the record industry. We look to help support these artists so they can continue to chase their musical passions and dreams.

Are the records recorded analog or digitally? Where are they recorded, and where are the artists from?

Most have been recorded digitally. We’ve however had some recorded analog – and we love the sound. However not everyone can afford that! They are recorded all over the USA. Places have included Chicago, San Francisco, Charlotte, and Lexington, KY. (more…)

Footage of King Reeves & Charlie Wilson at the Blue Wisp

Charlie Wilson and King Reeves performed duets at the Blue Wisp on October 4. Here’s some footage from those performances:

 

 

 

 

Support the Library Levy

The time has come to show some love for the Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County. This year the levy is up for renewal, and voting yes for Issue 1 means giving your stamp of approval to a system of libraries that keeps coming up with new ways to be useful to the community. All libraries are good, but ours is something special, with a strong connection to the community. Our Library is one the ten busiest in the nation and has more than half a million cardholders. 88% of Hamilton County households have at least one cardholder. With more than 1.3 million visits in 2012, our downtown library ranked second only to the Cincinnati Reds.

Because the Library is so popular in Cincinnati, I assume the levy will pass by a wide margin if people know about it. So here are the facts: election day is November 5, 2013; early voting begins…today (October 1, 2013); and if you want to support the library levy, vote yes on Issue 1.

When I started thinking about all the reasons I’ve had to visit different library branches over the past few months, it surprised me how many way I rely upon our Library system. Off the top of my head, I:

  • Checked out books, CDs and DVDs;
  • Used the Internet;
  • Printed documents;
  • Made copies;
  • For an article I was writing, I used Microfiche to research an event that took place in 1961;
  • Perused old articles from a hard-to-find magazine;
  • Attended “Listen to This” events at the downtown library, hosted by Steve Kemple, where we played records and CDs and discussed music.

I suspect that, if you think about it, you’ll be surprised at how many ways you benefit from having access to so many library branches in Hamilton County.

Record Show After The Bengals-Browns Game

After the Bengals-Browns Game tomorrow (Sunday, September 29) a record show will take place at MadTree Brewing Company at 5164 Kennedy Avenue. From 5pm to 8pm people will be buying and selling records. There’s no charge for buyers; for people setting up a table, the charge is going to be five or ten bucks; and if you just want to bring one box of records to sell, that’s free. We had a good turnout at the last show, and in general record shows have been catching on around here as people realize that there are opportunities to find 33s and 45s that don’t always show up in record shows (and often at cheaper prices). Also, we’ve had people show up who simply want to sell their record collection, and that’s a quick, painless, and profitable way to do that. For more information, here’s a link to the Facebook page for the event.

 

 

 

At MidPoint Tonight

 

As fate has it, the two best MidPoint artists are playing back-to-back tonight at Washington Park – Main Stage. At 7:15 a neo-soul artist named Cody ChesnuTT will take the stage. Last year’s Landing on a Hundred was a brilliant album, with great hooks, funky beats, and a touch of reggae. I transferred the album from CD to tape and then then threw it in my cassette player in my car, where it got a lot of air play. Whenever this song came on I’d roll down the window and crank the stereo so that the people who looked like they were taking life too seriously would have a brief respite from their somberness:

At 8:45pm the amazing Shuggie Otis will take over. Shuggie’s best work ranks right up there with Sly Stone. Soul and funk were woven into his dreamy pop confections, and he also played a mean guitar. The song he wrote that is most well-known – because of the Brothers Johnson hit from the 1970s – is “Strawberry Letter 23:”

 

Coming to the Blue Wisp on Friday, October 4

On Friday, October 4 at The Blue Wisp a free concert will take place that’s been a long time coming. If you’ve seen vibraphonist King Reeves and pianist Charlie Wilson perform live, you know they’re world-class jazz musicians. Yet they’ve never played together at the Blue Wisp, which due to its high profile and central location (700 Race Street) is an ideal venue for people to check out these veteran players.

The concert is free, and it runs from 6pm to 10pm. Both the early start and the lack of a cover charge are an attempt to woo the nine-to-five folks who get off work on Friday and want to either (a) try something different or (b) were curious about The Blue Wisp (or both). The show is being billed as an Evening of Duets because another talented twosome, April Aloisio on vocals and Philip Burkhead on piano, will open the show. (more…)

New at Cliftonfest This Year

For the second annual Cliftonfest taking place Sept. 27 – 29, many of the highlights from last year – including nonstop live music on three stages, artisan booths, and art carpets – will return. There are some new things happening, however, that you should know about now so you can plan ahead:

  • Mural Painting at IGA. After peeking in the window of the perpetually non-reopening IGA countless times, my theory is this: whoever owns the building now saw Tarkovsky’s Stalker, which features endless footage of industrial wreckage in Russia, and wants to make the inside of our old grocery store look and feel like that. The mural painting, which will take place from 6pm to 9pm on Friday,  will provide a much-needed antidote to this rather dubious homage to an overrated Russian art film.   :-)
  • Pet Parade.  The first Cliftonfest Pet Parade will take place Sunday. The parade’s starting point will be the parking lot of the Annunciation Church on Clifton Avenue, and you should show up there by 1:45. Starting at 2 pm, the parade will march down Clifton Ave., turn right on Ludlow, and stop at the Main Stage near Middleton Avenue.
  • Seed Swap. A seed swap will take place from 1pm to 3pm on Sunday next to Adrian Durbin Florist. The premise is simple enough: for every kind of seed you bring, you take away a neighbor’s seeds in exchange.
  • 5K Run. The 5K run will start at 9am on Sunday. Pre-registration ends ends Monday September 23, 2013; race-day registration opens 8am. Details about the run and registration are available at Cincinnati Running Website.

As was the case last year, Gaslight Property is among the sponsors for this event.

A Today-Only Special at Olives (Hint: It Involves Hamburgers)

If you woke up feeling like there was something special about today, now you know why: today Olives on Ludlow is offering a one-time special – not every Monday, just this Monday — that involves hamburgers. In their own words, on their own Facebook page, “Just for you, today, we are gonna offer a sweet deal, buy one get one burgers. Just tell your server we are friends by writing Facebook on your check. Dine in only.” The special is in effect for the rest of the day, and Olives stays open until 10 pm.

Don’t forget, too, that Gaslight Market in the Clifton Plaza takes place every Monday from 5pm to 8pm. The Gaslight Market quickly grew in size, with new vendors continually popping up and customers increasing every week. Here are some photos I snapped of the farmers market a couple weeks ago: (more…)

Bogart’s September Ticket Discount Ends Wednesday

The Bogart’s “welcome-back” discount, timed for returning students but available to anyone, continues until Wednesday of this week.

With this discount, any tickets for September shows with a value over twenty dollars are now available for twenty, no matter how much they originally cost. Here’s  the lineup for the month of September (if you click, it will expand to become clearly legible):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fundraiser to Benefit Abused Children Saturday at Japp’s

On Saturday, August 31, Taylor Jameson Hair Design will be the exclusive sponsor of the the inaugural “White Out Child Abuse – The Cincinnati White Party”. This event will benefit ChildHelp, a non-profit organization dedicated to the needs of abused, neglected and at-risk children. Tickets are $15 at the door, and along with helping a good cause patrons will find themselves in cocktail heaven. Among the activities planned:

  • Acclaimed local cabaret performer Mirelle Jane Devine will host and perform at the event.
  • Salon and performance artist John E. Anderson III will unleash a runway show featuring fashion created with recycled materials.
  • A silent auction featuring gift certificates from local restaurants, tickets to upcoming plays and performances.
  • Mixologist extraordinaire Molly Wellmann is pairing with Cavalier Distributors to create some tasty libations.

The event will take place from 6pm to 9pm at Japp’s Annex, located at 1136 Main Street.

Bogart’s Welcomes Back Students with Ticket Discount

Bogart’s is welcoming back students with a discount for concerts taking place in September. Every ticket that originally cost over twenty dollars is now having its price dropped to twenty. Please note, however, that this special is only available from today, August 28, through September 4, so buy your tickets now! Technically the deal is available to anyone, student or non-student, but the historic nightclub timed the offer to coincide with students going back to college.

Bogart’s has been a favorite nightspot of college students for decades, and it’s within walking distance for UC students. As documented in this blog entry, new management has made a good club even better. Also, lots of good things have been happening in the neighborhood, including many small businesses, as this blog entry points out.

Here’s a list of the concerts taking place in September; if you click the image, it will expand to become easily readable:

 

 

A Hilarious New Movie Comes to The Esquire

There was good-sized crowd at The Esquire Theatre Saturday for the 10pm showing of Edgar Wright’s new film The World’s End, and people laughed out loud from the beginning to end. The premise is simple enough: five guys who failed to finish a pub crawl twenty years earlier give it another try. This time, however, things are more complicated, partly because their lives are more complicated, and also because an ominous extra-terrestrial conspiracy weaves its way into the plot. The ability of the movie to keep adding a layer of absurdity when you thought it had reached its limit reminded me of Being John Malkovich. I won’t give away the ending of The World’s End, but I will say that during the film many a pint gets consumed, and by the time the film was over I was more than ready to quaff a cold pint at Arlin’s. The movie is number three of director Edgar Wright’s Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, after Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.  (more…)

Clifton Plaza Music Series Tonight

Due in part to some wonderful weather, The Clifton Plaza Live Music Series has been a hit this summer, with big crowds and a warm neighborhood vibe. Tonight’s show should be the best yet, with the folksy, rootsy, down-home Four Bit Fancy Band playing from 6pm to 9pm. This band features not one but two employees of Gaslight Property, and along with being good musicians they’re good entertainers.

The music series takes place every Friday and Saturday from 6pm to 9pm, and it’s right next door to Om Eco Cafe, who have these recommendations for this particular evening: “Come into Om Eco Cafe and check out our Special! Om-made Italian Flat Bread topped with *right out of the garden* marinara sauce, spinach and parmesan cheese. Enjoy an organic Fresh Squeezed Lemonade with it! YUM! Tonight’s performance in The Clifton Plaza is The 4-Bit Fancy Band! They play LIVE for FREE from 6pm-9pm. Check them out! But get your Om on first! ~Om Eco Cafe, 329 Ludlow Ave. Clifton Gaslight Business District.”

Record Show at MadTree Brewing

Although the blog entry below was published in August 2013, MadTree Brewing will be hosting another record show on Sunday, October 27 from noon to 4pm.  There’s no admission fee for the event. People are also welcome to sell records. If you’re only bringing a box, there’s no charge, to sell and if you want to set up a table, the charge is minimal; I think it was five or ten bucks the last round, to help pay the DJ. If you have questions, email Tom Luce at tluce@fuse.net.

In olden days record shows in Cincinnati were notoriously bad, with the same overpriced and bland records trotted out every six months. Fortunately the show that took place in Northside last December seemed to break the mold, with lots of newcomers buying and selling 33s, 45s and 78s of every genre imaginable.

On Sunday, August 25 a record show will take place at the MadTree Brewing Company, a brewery at 5164 Kennedy Ave. in Oakley. Frankly, I’ve never understood why all the record shows don’t take place in bars, but we’ll address that another time. This is actually the second MadTree Vinyl Swap, and the people running it are going out of their way to keep recruiting fresh new dealers and have the return dealers restock with new stuff so that return buyers can continue to see something new.

The show will begin at noon and end at four, although the bar stays open until eight. Catch-a-Fire Pizza will be serving at 1pm, and DJ Grover spins from 2 to 4pm. If you have any questions for MadTree Brewing, call them at 513.836.8733, and if you’re interested in setting up for this or future shows, contact Tom Luce at tluce@fuse.net

I encourage anyone who reads this and knows other potentially interested parties to pass the information on. The more people who show up as both sellers, buyers and swappers, the more interesting records (and record collectors) will come out of the woodwork.

Nelson Slater Playing Fries Cafe Saturday

On Saturday (8/10) Nelson Slater will be performing at Fries Cafe in Clifton. As I reported in a recent blog entry, Nelson just released a new album on vinyl that is a long-awaited follow-up to Wild Angel, which was produced by his old college friend and bandmate, Lou Reed. This is one those shows that should “bring ‘em out of the woodwork,” as fans and friends of Nelson Slater are many. Among other things, the show provides an opportunity to buy a copy of his new LP.

I was happy to see that The Hunt, a movie shot by a Danish director, is still at The Esquire, as it’s the best new movie I have seen since The Double Hour in 2011. More than with most movies, a plot summary would be ill-advised if you haven’t seen it, so I won’t go there. I will say it’s a disturbing very movie, but is not without heart – in fact, that’s among its most redeeming qualities.

In spite of the threat of rain there was a good crowd at the Etienne Charles show at Seasongood Pavilion yesterday, which shows that there is still an audience for jazz.  That in turn renews my conviction that the Blue Wisp can overcome its growing pains and connect with a wider audience. Part of the equation is fresh new blood, and that’s one of the strengths of the It’s Commonly Jazz series, which has focused on younger musicians with new ideas. There’s still three shows left in the series, which takes place the next three Thursdays from 6pm to 8pm and is free.

George Duke Tribute Tonight on WAIF (He Played with Zappa)

At 10pm tonight on WAIF (88.3 on your FM dial) the radio announcers Saint Slade & Vincident will present a tribute to keyboardist George Duke, who passed away this week at age 67. Duke’s music career was diverse enough that since his passing my friends and I have expressed surprise at all the artists he worked with in radically different genres. Many people know him for his work with Zappa, but other projects include stints with such jazz and jazz-fusion artists as Miles Davis, Stanley Clarke Billy Cobham…and he recorded a great deal as a leader. The whacked-out style of his lengthy stint with Zappa was also present in some of his other projects, including a live album with Billy Cobham and a collaboration with another Zappa alumni, Jean-Luc Ponty, whose King Kong LP was devoted to Zappa compositions. Tonight’s program will also provide an opportunity to get a taste of the weekly programs of Saint Slade & Vincent, who play a lot of  the experimental and psychedelic music that other radio stations ignore.

I should also note that Nelson Slater will be performing at Fries Cafe this Saturday (8/10). Friday there’s a rare chance to catch the talented jazz and bossa nova vocalist Andrea Cefalo at Chez Nora in Covington; the show begins at 8pm. Here’s a sweet Billy Cobham track that includes George Duke (who was credited as Dawili Gonga because of all that record company business). Other musicians included Douglas Rauch, a bass player who did some great work with Santana, and a young and at that time relatively unknown John Scofield. Here’s “Song for a Friend (Part 1)” by Billy Cobham:

 

Internationally-Known Jazz Performers Play For Free at Seasongood Pavilion

My ears have been buzzing lately from conversations about the Blue Wisp, which has been in a state of flux for several months. One of the tricky things about making a jazz club work these days is that there aren’t a lot of new names getting anywhere near the attention of the older icons—yet many of them have passed away, leaving a gap that has yet to be filled.

So how do the younger guys get their names out there?  One way is to host the It’s Commonly Jazz series at Seasongood Pavilion, which takes place every Thursday this month from 6pm to 8pm. The next four concerts all spotlight younger jazz artists whose playing draws from the tradition yet has a distinct style. This Thursday (8/8), for example, features the trumpeter Etienne Charles, who blends Caribbean music with jazz. Next Thursday(8/15)  tenor saxophonist  J.D. Allen will perform. Allen performs frequently in an atypical sax-bass-drums trio format. The pianoless lineup offers greater harmonic freedom, but it’s also very challenging, and Allen has gotten a lot of attention due to his ability to make a statement in that context. Jazz vocalist Gregory Porter (8/22) and vibraphonist Warren Wolf (8/29) are also jazz artists who, though young, have already built impressive resumes. (more…)

New Movies at The Esquire Theatre

When the Esquire Theatre reopened a couple decades ago, many of us hoped it would show a healthy percentage of experimental or “art” movies from around the world, and fortunately it has. Because of the historic Clifton theatre, we have a place to see movies by directors like Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, whose Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown is probably his most famous film. His 2011 film, The Skin I’m In, was a brilliant and spine-chilling study of gender and identity. For reasons that do not need explaining if you saw the film (and would spoil the film if you haven’t), I felt serious non-comfort while watching the film, but I walked away knowing that I had undergone a unique and intense film experience.

Almodovar’s new film, I’m So Excited, is night-and-day different from its predecessor, to the point where I wouldn’t have known it was the same director…except both films are miles from mainstream cinema. In fact, one of the intriguing things about I’m So Excited is how this silly, wacked-out and absurd flick references conventional movies and TV shows while turning them on their head. (more…)

Remembering JJ Cale

After guitarist, songwriter and vocalist JJ Cale passed away a few days ago, memories started popping up of a musician who, in his own understated, behind-the-scenes, low-profile way left a big mark on music.  Yesterday I typed up some of those memories and sent them to a website I’ve never submitted to before – popmatters.com – and discovered this morning that my article is now in print. Here’s a link to my piece in popmatters.com:

 

 

 

 

Book Signing at Japp’s Tonight

Japp's Cocktail BoardI certainly hope that the event taking place at Japp’s tonight will start a trend. Too often book signings take place at boring old bookstores, whereas the preferred location would be a bar, and especially one that serves a vast array of cocktails. Molly Wellmann, the owner of Japp’s (i.e., cocktail central) has just published her first cocktail book, Handcrafted Cocktails: The Mixologist’s Guide to Classic Drinks for Morning, Noon & Night. Rather than devote the evening to discussing cocktails in the abstract, Molly and Japp’s will be making them, a process that inevitably deepens the understanding of this rare science for eager students (until the next morning, that is). Here are some details:

• Molly wants to throw a party for the first 75 people who pre-order the book at Japp’s for $20 ($5 off sticker price). Everyone who RSVPs will get a signed copy of the book and a free class in the Japp’s Annex where Molly will demonstrate how to make some of the cocktails in her book, hang out and of course, drink with you. (more…)

The New James Brown Release

A half-century ago James Brown took a huge risk, self-funding his first-ever live album because the main man at Cincinnati’s own King Records, Syd Nathan, assumed it would tank. Nathan was wrong and James Brown was right, and the rest is history: Live at the Apollo became a huge success. The Godfather of Soul continued to perform and record at the Apollo, and two later releases from the historic theater chronicled the evolution of an artist who was constantly breaking new ground. A fourth Apollo live concert was recorded with plans for a release and then shelved. Selections from all four of those recordings appear on Best of Live at the Apollo: 50th Anniversary, which you can order online or buy at local record stores such as Shake-It Records and Everybody’s Records.

Because three of the live records were double LPs, there was a lot of material to choose from. The emphasis from all four shows remains on uptempo numbers of moderate length, with no ballads to be found; the groove is established early on, and it never stops. And while the music here spans an almost ten-year period, the record flows along smoothly, getting a little funkier with time, but that seems like such a natural progression that there’s nothing strained about it. Best of isn’t focused exclusively focused on the biggest hits, but there are plenty of songs that even casual James Brown fans will know, including “Cold Sweat,” “Please, Please, Please,” and “Sex Machine.” I recommend this release to anyone who wants to throw in a CD at their next party and know that, from beginning to end, everything on it is danceable. (more…)

First-Ever Taste of OTR August 10

Over-the-Rhine is hosting its first annual Taste of OTR on August 10 from 11 am to 11pm at Washington Park. This will give the neighborhood a chance to celebrate and recognize its wide variety of restaurants, bars, coffee houses and other businesses, many of which have popped up in the last few years. Vendors include The Anchor-otr, Taste of Belgium, Eli’s BBQ, Coffee Emporium, Findlay Market, Dojo Gelato, The Lackman, Lavomatic, MOTR, Taste 513, Venice on Vine, Cafe de Wheels, Moerlein, Lucy Blue, and Urban Gill.

Some vendor spots are still available. If interested, contact casey@cincyeventsmanagement.com for more information.

Music will also be performed throughout the event, with the following bands on tap: (more…)

Soul Burst, the New Singing Bowls CD by Ron Esposito

It’s always a good thing when one of your friends finds some success in the music world, and I’m happy to report that lately singing-bowl artist Ron Esposito has done exactly that.

Recent TV shows on which Esposito’s recordings have been heard include Hawaii 5-0, Nashville, Touch, Common Law and Ray Donovan, and his music has also been heard on John Diliberto’s Echoes.

Meanwhile Esposito has continued to record new material, and his third CD, Soul Burst, should focus more attention on his unique talent. “The world is too much with us,” Wordsworth wrote, and if you agree with that, consider this a remedy. Quiet, dreamy and introspective, Soul Burst is a soothing blend of World and Indian music that includes sitar, tablas, bansuri, harmonium, and a mixture of brass bowls and quartz crystal singing bowls. Fans of ECM and Windham Hill will enjoy it, and it seems so appropriate for New World Bookshop that I think they should re-open it just to give it a spin. Singing Bowls is music you can meditate to, but you can also become fully immersed in the soundscape, as with Dark Side of the Moon. (more…)

MJ’S Play Old-School Soul + Funk at Arlin’s Saturday

Have you heard the MJ’S? They play old-school soul and funk, and they’ll be playing a free gig in the patio behind Arlin’s Saturday from 10pm to 2am. Every time the MJ’S play Arlin’s they draw an enthusiastic crowd of old fans and new converts, and it makes it all the sweeter that the show will be outdoors.

It’s tough to find a weak link the MJ’S. Along with being a good singer, lead vocalist Ronnie J Foster is a convincing front man. Justin Hall is a versatile guitarist who wowed us the last time out with his rendition of Funkadelic’s psychedelic opus, “Maggot Brain.” Keyboardist Joel (Razor Sharp) Johnson has worked extensively with Bootsy Collins, bass player Mark Becker finds deep funk grooves wherever the music roams…and since the MJ’S have been juggling drummers, I’ll hold off there. (more…)

Video of Northside 4th of July Parade!

Here’s some footage of the Northside 4th of July Parade. On reflection, the rain made it feel like a Dionysian rebirth, and visually I liked how everything seemed shiny due to the rain.

The rain threw a wild card into things, I suspect, and when folks did start moseying down that hill the first round seemed all squished together, with Jim Tarbell aka Mr. Cincinnati leading the pack:

 

 

 

 

 

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Northside 4th of July Parade: Sights and Sounds

No one has experienced previous Northside 4th of July Parades complained about the rain that fell throughout the event, not even when it intensified near the beginning. (It let up shortly thereafter.) This time the sauna-like conditions created by high temperatures with high humidity were not part of the equation, and the large and festive crowd was lucky to avoid that business. Here are some pictures of the occasion, most of them self-explanatory, while a couple include some commentary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Acetate I Found: “Band Practice 1963″

The other day when I was flipping through some records I ran across two 33s that were recorded at 501 Terrace Ave., which is right down the street from me. One of the LPs is an acetate dated 1963, but between tracks at a couple points someone announces that some of the tracks were recorded a couple years before that. (Acetates, by the way, are made in very limited quantities, with no intention, usually, of a commercial release, so I’m always curious when I find one – but their quality declines quickly, and the next time a needle drops I’ll be downloading it digitally, to make sure the music survives.)

The music on the acetates consist of “traditional jazz” (Dixieland or “hot jazz” or other terms that are used to define this style). Presumably the music was never officially released, and of course I wanted to know who recorded it and what their history was. Did they play around Cincinnati, and did they continue to play music?

Fortunately two between-track monologues listed personnel (which underwent some changes) along with the instrument each person played. The musicians included: Bob Heidrich, trumpet (and apparently the tracks were recorded at his house); John Cantrell, clarinet; Jack Fessler, banjo; Jack Horning, drums; Jim Osborne, trombone; Bill Sporr, piano; Ken Steagman, sousaphone; and Tom Harter. (In most cases these spellings are what linguists refer to as a phonetic stab in the dark).

1963 was awhile ago, and there was no guarantee when I visited cyberspace that any information would surface about the musicians—but a quick search proved fruitful. It turns out that at least two of the musicians still play traditional music, although not in Cincinnati; I’m pretty sure I got the right people because their name, instrument and genre all matched.

Interestingly, one of the musicians is the father of Mark Boone Junior, who’s played (more often than not) a bad guy (including a crooked cop) in dozens of movies and TV shows. His biggest roles include the Christopher Nolan films Memento and Batman Begins and FX’s Sons of Anarchy, where he plays Bobby Munson.

I’ve taken the initial steps in trying to track down some of the musicians involved with this project, and thus far it’s been a bust, but it’s still early in the process. I’m curious, though, if anyone reading this has any idea who any of the musicians are and how to reach them. I’d love to find out more about these musicians.

The Words and Voice of Aralee Strange

Over two decades ago Tom Kellerman opened a used bookstore near the post office in the Gaslight District of Clifton. His idea was to create a store that was more than just a store—he was picturing a place where people would mingle and drink coffee and have literary readings and sit in a corner and read for as long they wanted. That doesn’t sound so radical now, but at the time there was nothing like it in Cincinnati.

At one of the literary readings I shared some of my fiction. On that night I was paired with someone I’d never heard of before.

Literary reading can turn into a shoutfest, and part of the reason for that may be that literature is so under the radar writers feel they have to strain to get people’s attention.

With a lightning bolt tattoo near her right eye and an androgynous face, Aralee Strange spoke in a soft voice, yet her readings were so powerful that the audience was spellbound. There was vulnerability in her voice, but there was also strength.

Kellerman’s didn’t last long, and when it closed I saw it as a confirmation of literature’s marginal existence in America.

Ultimately, though, Kellerman’s wasn’t the end of something. Really it was a beginning, forging connections between writers and inspiring thoughts about what could happen if artists pulled together. (more…)