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The Visually Splendiferous and Architecturally Wondrous UC

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Classes began this week at the University of Cincinnati, and if you live in Clifton you can already tell the difference. Apparently the college is more popular than ever, with UC projected to have record enrollment this year. One reason we go to college is to be stimulated, and at UC that begins with the architecture that makes it such a unique-looking campus. It’s remarkable that UC has FIVE signature architect buildings: The Vontz Center for Molecular Studies, the Aronoff Center for Design and Art (“the DAAP building,” in other words), the Engineering Research Center, the College-Conservatory of Music, and the Vera Clement Edwards Center. The school’s visual appeal doesn’t stop there, though. Everywhere you look you’ll see a wild mix of architectural styles, and it’s not like each of those styles is tucked away in a different corner of the campus. No, at the University of Cincinnati they pack it all together, making it one of the most colorful and visually stimulating and architecturally diverse campuses anywhere, with fresh shapes and angles jutting out into the skyline from every direction. So while you’re there, don’t just rush to the next class—slow down and have a look around.

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Petey’s Pet Stop Opens in Clifton

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A store devoted to pets just opened in the Gaslight District. Petey’s Pet Stop is located in the same building as the office for Gaslight Property, which puts it at 311 Howell Ave. (It’s also, appropriately enough, right next door to the Howell Avenue Pet Hospital.) The phone number for the store is 513.221.PETS (7387). The hours are Tuesday through Friday 9am to 7pm and Saturday 9am to 5pm. Petey’s offers the following:

  • DIY bath stations
  • Grooming
  • Pet food & healthy treats
  • Pet gifts & toys
  • Pet accessories
  • Photo booth
  • Boarding

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The managers of the store, Beth McCarty and Linda Sterling, are both pet lovers. Linda’s had bulldogs since she was five years old while Beth is more of a cat person; the store is named after one of their pets, who they consider the CEO and ambassador of the enterprise. Their decision to open the store was fueled by their love of animals and their fondness for Clifton, which appeals to them because it’s a walkable community with a long history of supporting family-owned businesses. No doubt Petey’s Pet Stop will be a hit with all the pet lovers in the area, who have had to travel farther (and, quite often, pay more) for similar items. Beth and Linda made it clear that they are also interested in making deliveries anywhere within five miles of the store, something that will appeal to both super-busy and older citizens. The shop is all about convenience—for example, if you’re too busy to bathe your pet, you can drop your dog off at the doggie day spa on your way to work and pick up a clean and happy pet on your way home.

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After leaving Petey’s Pet Stop I ran into a pet lover who had already been to the store and who mentioned something I didn’t think to ask about while I was there. He had talked to them about their prices, and he found that they were quite reasonable, with prices that are Amazon level or slightly higher –a whole lot less expensive, in other words, than some retailers. Think of it, then, as an affordable place to pamper your pet AND take care of the most practical needs for your dogs, cats, or (fill in the blank). Beth and Linda were both nice and enthusiastic, their store looks bright and colorful with lots of windows, they’re in a great location, and it’s clear already that they’ll be a hit. Come welcome them to the neighborhood!

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Attention UC! Making Heads Turn Salon Is Right Down the Street

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Were you aware that there’s a hair salon right across the street from Bruegger’s Bagels? Making Heads Turn Salon (their number is 513.407.3911) is kind of tucked away, and while its address is 3307 Clifton Avenue, you actually enter the business through Terrace Avenue, behind University Nails on Clifton. The salon is run by Saira Huckleberry, who, when she opened the business in 2012, was already an experienced stylist. On the salon’s postcard you see the motto Where All Hair Is Good Hair. That’s more than just a feel-good slogan, for the fact is that the original reason Saira originally decided to pursue her career was that, being a mixed-race child with unique hair, she ran across some hairdressers who had no idea how to style her hair. She made it a point to learn how to work with people with all different kinds of hair, and that’s one of the reasons she’s so popular. The services she offers include extensions, dreads, custom coloring, and Keratin treatments. You should check out on her Facebook page some of the remarkably diverse and flattering hairstyles that are the handiwork of Saira and her assistants. No wonder she’s so popular! Thousands of people live within walking distance of the salon, plus there’s all the people who attend or work at the University of Cincinnati. The re-opening of UC prompted Saira to offer a free eyebrow wax with a haircut or a free conditioning treatment with a blowout. To make an appointment for a haircut, styling, coloring, hair treatment, re-texturizing, or waxing, call Saira at 513.407.3911. We’re glad she’s part of the Gaslight District!

Making Heads Turn Saira

 

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Authentic New York Deli Opens in Clifton!

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An authentic New York style deli named La Mandi recently opened at 3205 Jefferson Avenue in Clifton, in the same space where Adriatico’s Pizza was for many years. (It’s also right across the street from City Limits Laundry & Tanning, a long-familiar site.) La Mandi features Boar’s Head premium deli meats and cheeses, which have no trans fats, no artificial flavors or colors, no fillers, no by-products, and are gulten-free and low in sodium. And – as the owner. Mohammed Nahshal, explained – they taste better. “Nobody in Ohio does it the same way I do it,” Mohammed said of his New York style deli, mentioning other details like the way the meat is cut and the fact that the lettuce is chopped. (Also,true to form, it sells breakfast sandwiches on a roll.) When I asked Mohammed why he chose to open in Clifton, he said, “You have all kinds of people here – from China to India to everywhere.” The deli is set up for carryout, delivery, and catering. The phone number is 513.559.000, and they offer free delivery. I asked Mohammed what sandwiches he would consider La Mandi classics, and his answer was the La Mandi Club (w/ovengold turkey, deluxe roast beef, and turkey bacon) and the New York Philly Cheesesteak.I ordered a heated-up La Mandi Club, which was tasty and a great value: it cost $6.99, and because I’m not a defensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals, I spread it across two meals. Note that vegetarian options for La Mandi include falafel sandwiches, veggie burgers, and different salads. Cheap, high quality food with nice people running it – that’s Angel Duran there manning the  cash register – and a centralized location bode well for the new deli. I have to think that University of Cincinnati students and other Cliftonites and people in surrounding neighborhoods will eat La Mandi up.

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500 Miles to Memphis + Warsaw Falcons Play Fries Saturday – Get Your Ya-Ya’s Out!

Warsaw Falcons-page-001Boy, this sounds like a rowdy night: this Saturday (August 1) 500 Miles to Memphis and the Warsaw Falcons will be playing Fries Cafe. That should be a smoking combination. 500 Miles to Memphis is a self-described “American Cowpunk” band that’s been getting lots of attention. They are, relatively speaking, the much newer band of the two, having formed in 2003, with a style of music that’s very much in the same roots-y vein as the Warsaw Falcon, who have been a rockabilly staple since 1981. Expect rowdiness from both young and old folks, with two bands playing with soul and sweat and passion and real energy. It’s good to see Fries back in business – I wrote this blog shortly after they re-opened – and hosting such a lively night of music. I suspect they’ll sell a lot of beer that evening; they’ll also be grilling out. Music starts at 8. Here’s “Sunshine in a Shot Glass” by 500 Miles to Memphis:

 

Rescheduled Global Water Dances Takes Place This Sunday

Global Water Dance rescheduled August 2 2015

This Sunday, August 2, at 11am, Global Water Dances-Cincinnati will take place at the Serpentine Wall (more specifically, along the Ohio at Yeatman’s Cove and between the Purple People and Suspension Bridge). Once again this enviro-arts performance will coincide with Paddlefest. To find out more about this annual event, I interviewed Shari Lauter, MEd., the Global Water Dances-Cincinnati Event & Music Director.

What’s your role in the Global Water Dances? GWD-Cincinnati is a co-creation of Fanchon Shur (Choreography and original vision) and myself (original Worldbeat music and silk oceanscapes). As well as co-creating the performance, I direct the Choir, World Drum Orchestra, and for our 2015 event I’ve served as Event Manager.

What’s your favorite thing about the Global Water Dance? Such a tough question, Jeff! So many things are fabulous–the dance, the setting at Serpentine Wall. But perhaps my overarching favorite thing is that it uses the arts to share a critical environmental message. And over 50 passionate Cincinnati artists come together to create it–100% volunteer!

Tell me about the musicians and dancers…Some of the finest musicians in our area. Baba Charles Miller on lead Djembe. Saba Smith and Kathryne Gardette on Lead Vocals. Jon Lattier (Almighty Get Down) on Bass. Richard Branham (Sankofa) on congas. A few Cincinnati ’80s punkers on vocals (Kelly Hale and Viv Vinyl…and myself, too). The top dancers from modern, belly dance, and sacred dance communities: Renee McAfferty, Fran Bailey, Irene Mirci, Mary Kamp.

How did Global Water Dance get started? A group of insightful Laban Movement Analysts at a workshop in England birthed the idea in 2008. See the global website:  http://globalwaterdances.org/the-event/about/

How widespread is the event? In 2015, 80 global locations offered dances on 6 continents! See the global website for the full list as well as some gorgeous clips from around the globe:  http://globalwaterdances.org/global-locations/

This takes place at the Ohio River. How’s it doing, ecologically speaking? Hmmmmmmm…Not so well, I hear. For the 7th year in a row it’s been identified as the most polluted body of water in the US. Not a proud distinction. Factoring in that our city water supply comes from the river, even more concerning. Now, I do know that a few years back the water works invested $30 million in an advanced purification system—assume it’s more high-powered than your typical water faucet filter! But the reason behind having to do so, well, that’s worrisome. Listen to a report from local news leader WVUX:  http://wvxu.org/post/liquid-assets-how-cincinnati-became-world-water-leader#stream/0   and also see http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/water/news/gcww-launches-uv-treatment-facility/

After the bad chemical spill in W Va on the Elk River in January 2014, our water intakes were closed for 20 hours while the spill traveled by Cincinnati on its way to ultimately join the rest of the crud in the Gulf of Mexico. Only 20 hours of river closure didn’t affect our water stores. But if this had gone on for several weeks (as it did in W VA at the site of the spill)… who knows? We may have seen an impact. For more on this topic see  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/09/west-virginia-spill-anniversary_n_6437352.html

(Concerning water) Are things getting better, or worse? And can Global Water Dance actually have an impact? Water issues abound around the globe. In California, there’s NO water (except when they have the occasional torrential rain which their infrastructure can’t handle). Here, as you know, we’ve been getting such powerful and plentiful rain it feels like Central Florida in July, not our typical Cincinnati. In parts of Africa embroiled in civil/tribal strife, women sometimes have to walk many miles to get to the well—intercepted by rapist militias en route. Wells are drying up in various parts of the US and around the globe, due to either lack of rainfall or man-made interference like chemical fracturing, known as “Fracking.” And Fracking—while it’s a heavily politicized topic, bottom line is, the chemicals used in this natural gas extraction process are highly toxic, and creeping into aquifers and finding their way into homes where tap water can be LIT with a flame. This isn’t normal, healthy, or desirable—or sustainable.  Also—upriver in W Va there’s been a licensed issues to allow fracking UNDER the OHIO RIVER!. Just how bad an idea is this? Consider W Va is the most upriver state, any chemicals that leach into the water from that point affect all the points downstream –which is, in other words, all these states: Ohio, KY, IN, IL, MO, TN, AK, MS, LA as well as W Va.  For more info see: http://www.nofrackohio.com/ The GOOD NEWS is, all around the globe, Global Water Dances are using the arts to bring awareness to the fact that we need to pay more attention to our water supply–and do so, now!

Shari Lauter, MEd.

Global Water Dances-Cincinnati Event & Music Director

www.facebook.com/globalwaterdances-cincinnati
maestrashari@gmail.com
maestraservices.com
sharisilks.com
513.484.0746

Sally’s Treats & Treasures Celebrates One-Year Anniversary

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Sally’s Treats & Treasures is a cookware resource in nearby Spring Grove Village. All cookware is previously owned; the selection and prices are great. Help Sally’s celebrate their first birthday by stopping by either Friday, July 24 from noon to 8pm or Saturday, July 25 from noon to 6pm. There will be birthday cake and other goodies! Find them at 701 East Epworth Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45232. Call or text 916-300-8367 for more information.

PLEASE NOTE that they are not normally open on Fridays. This is special. Please check the date before you stop by. Normal business hours are on Saturdays only, from noon to 6pm, or by appointment by calling or texting 916-300-8367.

 

 

A New Bar Opens in Northside

 

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Tillie’s Lounge is a new bar located at 4042 Hamilton Avenue in Northside. About four weeks ago it opened in a building that dates back to 1881. In other words, it has some history, and its name reflects that: Tillie’s is named after a circus elephant who paraded down the streets of Northside in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

 

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When I walked into Tillie’s last weekend I’d heard nothing about it. I was just going there to hear a friend’s band. Generally I don’t like bars; usually after ten minutes my eyes glaze over as I think about how bored I am. But I quickly warmed to Tillies for these reasons:

  • Atmosphere: Talk about intimate. Tillie’s is a relatively small inside (although a good-sized patio out back adds some size); it seems like all the bars I actually like are smaller and more intimate. It has soft lighting and a nostalgic vibe enhanced by the old-school furniture, chandeliers, candelabras, and other details like the ceiling tile that gives the impression of a stamped-tin ceiling. I was also happy to see that the two large-screen TVs were both playing (with the sound off) old black-and-white movies; very appropriate.
  • Volume: There was a good-sized crowd that evening, but I didn’t have to raise my voice to be heard. That I attribute to room acoustics plus the fact that the psychedelic sounds of Kite and String were at much more moderate volume than with most live music.
  • Cocktails: The owner of Tillie’s are passionate about cocktails, and they’ll be happy to serve you a drink you’ve never had before, or even heard of for that matter. They like champagne cocktails, including the purple elephant, which combines Absolut Citron, Cointreau,  creme de violet, lime juice, and sparkling wine. All specialty cocktails are paired with macaroons from The Macaroon Bar in Over the Rhine. And note that on Throwback Thursdays cocktails are $5 all night long.
  • Patio: This offers an opportunity to smoke without leaving the bar, plus you can take in the night air.

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This Saturday, July 18, the self-described “eclectic torch pop singer ” Annette Shepherd will be performing duets at Tillie’s with Bob Ross from 8pm to 10:30pm ; there’s no cover charge. Annette is a very talented singer with an interesting mix of songs, as I noted in a previous blog entry.

 

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Hours are Thursday through Sunday from 4pm to 2am and the phone number is 513.541.1414. It’s run by the owners of Below Zero Lounge in OTR, and like Below Zero it looks to be a hit. While I was there last weekend, I videotaped the closing section of a Kite and String song, and while will accuse me of being a video pro, I like how it turned out, partly because the music sounds so good!

 

Watch the All-Star Game on Clifton Plaza!

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On Tuesday an All-Star Celebration will be taking place at Clifton’s favorite gathering place, the Clifton Plaza. Starting at 5pm, folks will gather at Clifton Plaza to watch the All-Star Game taking place downtown and to celebrate the history of both baseball and the Cincinnati Reds. Wear red and bring a chair as we celebrate being named one of ten top all-star neighborhoods in Cincinnati! The game starts at 7:30 p.m. Beer and local food trucks will be on hand, so you can pretty much plant yourself and enjoy the event.

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Clifton Plaza is a great place to watch the game, as the All Star Game is all about history and tradition, and so is Clifton. And we’ll have the perfect band on hand: One of the best roots and Americana bands in the area, Jake Speed and the Freddies, will begin playing at 5:30pm. You can bet that they’ll have plenty of songs about baseball in their setlist, as well as other great folk, country, and blues songs from the days of the mighty Red Stockings.

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This is a great idea. If they’re playing the All-Star Game outdoors with a crowd, heck, why not watch it outdoors with a crowd? Everyone is encouraged to don  Cincinnati Reds outfits…or newer Reds outfits…or baseball clothes in general…or dress like Peanut Jim. At 6:30 there will be a contest for the best baseball outfit. (There will also be a Baseball-Themed Photobooth.) So, you might ask, what did baseball players look like back in the day? And what was Peanut Jim’s outfit, exactly? These pictures should help give you an idea; it might not hurt, apparently, to buy some of that instant-handlebar-mustache-growing-cream that Mr. Haney’s been trying to sell you and that you didn’t think you needed.

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Live Salsa Music at CCAC This Wednesday

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Musically it’s been a lively summer for the Clifton Cultural Arts Center, with good-sized crowds showing up consistently for the free Wednesdays on the Green concert series.  The concerts are a good excuse for getting out of the house, mingling, and enjoying the nice weather; many people walk to the show from where they live. Last week I snapped some photos of a concert there, and as you can see, it’s a hit with the kids as well as the adults. This Wednesday, July 8, the salsa band known as Cla’ve Son will be performing.

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As always, there will be food vendors; on tap this week are Kaimelsky’s, Roll With It Café, and streetpops. The music starts at 7pm, rain or shine. (If there’s rain, the event will take place on the first floor of the CCAC.) And remember, Wednesdays on the Green takes place every week through August 12. Here’s some footage of Cla’ve Son in concert; come check them out this Wednesday!

 

 

 

Don’t Forget The Dead Tonight

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I was not among the lucky ones who got tickets for The Dead in Chicago tonight, and if you’re reading this, you probably didn’t either. But second-best ain’t bad: you can head down to Washington Park, check out some jam-oriented bands, and then, at 8pm, watch The Dead simulcast  on the big screen, with fireworks between the first and second sets. Here’s the schedule:

  • 3:00pm: The Almighty Get Down
  • 4:30pm: The Infinity Project
  • 6:00pm: Rays Music Exchange
  • 8:00pm: “Fare Thee Well”: The Grateful Dead Live at Soldier Field
  • 9:15pm: Fireworks show (between sets)
  • 9:30pm: Resume Grateful Dead Simulcast

In addition to games and face painting, hungry families can also enjoy $5.00 chicken sandwiches from The Eagle OTR. Washington Park’s concessions will also offer full bar service, coke products, and craft beer.

As you probably know, there’s been major hoopla about this event, all of which has me thinking about a college buddy we nicknamed Senator Birt, who has always had great concert karma.  The first time he saw the Grateful Dead – and the first time I saw them too – the Senator and I crammed into an MG with Gleason driving. It was quite cramped for two hours, and when we approached the venue I saw a huge sign that said GRATEFUL DEAD – SOLD OUT. It turned out the Senator knew – but didn’t tell me – about the sold-out status of the show. (The Dead was not as huge then as they later became, so sold-out was not a given.)  The Senator seemed unconcerned, and lo and behold we not only ended up with tickets, we had a small stack of them and were able to choose the best seats and sell, for what we paid for them (why be greedy when you get to see the Dead?).

Demand for tickets to the Chicago shows far exceeded supply, and people hoping to procure tickets have enlisted wizards and sorcerers and thrown I Ching in hopes that they would be among the lucky few in attendance. Somehow Senator Birt managed to get tickets for all the Chicago and California shows. He didn’t read his astrology chart or anything like that – I think he just kind of assumed that everything would go well, just like it did for that Columbus show. Because things went so well the first time I saw the Grateful Dead, I have always trusted the Senator to be in control of everything, even on the night that that cop pulled us over for going the wrong way down a one-way after that Neil Young show – well, we won’t go into that. Anyway, the Senator saw to it that I caught the Grateful Dead on about ten different tours. I was lucky to have him watching over me like that and making sure I witnessed one of the best bands America ever produced as many times as I did. So this one goes out to the Senator: the live version of Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” that the Grateful Dead played as their encore at that first show we saw together in Columbus. That was a couple years ago or so, but the memory’s still fresh. Enjoy the show tonight, Senator; I’ll be looking for you on the big screen in Washington Park:

 

 

Audio Swap Meet on July 11

 

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There’s been a resurgence of interest in stereo equipment in the last few years,with much attention on vintage equipment that, even though it’s decades old, still sounds good – and looks good too! Where do you find such equipment, though? Often record stores have a few components around, but there isn’t much to choose from, usually.

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But there will be gobs of equipment to choose from at the Vintage Audio Swap Meet taking place on Saturday, July 11. For the last seven years this event has been taking place at my friend’s house, but it’s gotten so popular that he’s outgrown it.

So now he’s partnering with Parts-Express to hold the swap meet in conjunction with their annual “Midwest AudioFest” on July 11, starting at 8:00 AM. Here’s a link to the website.

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There will be everything from Audio Alchemy to McIntosh to Marantz, Pioneer, Krell, Acurus, Infinity, Bose, Teac, Revox, Sansui and so much more! Amps, preamps, speakers, turntables, reel to reel decks and plenty of parts, raw drivers and a whole lot more! You can buy equipment – or trade – or sell your own equipment.

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Here’s where the swap meet is taking place: Parts Express• 725 Pleasant Valley Dr. • Springboro,OH 45066 • USA • Parts-Express will have a registration form online but registration is NOT required. If you have any questions, call them at (937) 743-3000.

Heartless Bastards Performing A Free Acoustic In-Store At Shake-It Thursday

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Although several years ago they wandered off to Austin, Texas, Heartless Bastards have their roots in the Cincinnati area, and by the time they left they had already established a big following here. In support of their new album, Restless Ones, and they’re going to spend two nights – Thursday and Friday (6/25 + 6/26) – at the Woodward Theater. Also, Shake-It Records in Northside just announced that the Heartless Bastards will be performing a free acoustic in-store at the shop this Thursday at 6pm. This is very last minute, so help spread the word. Kind of a homecoming – and a chance for people who haven’t seen the band live to see, close-up, a band that brings it live. In late 2012 I caught a performance by Heartless Bastards that was so crowded that, while filming it, I got bumped into every few seconds. So, it’s some less-than-perfect footage – but the music was good, and the energy level was high, as it will also be when the band returns to Cincinnati:

 

 

 

 

Northside Rock and Roll Carnival Returns

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Gaslight Property is a proud sponsor of the 2015 Northside Rock and Roll Carnival. This all-ages free event will take place from Thursday through Saturday, July 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. The music takes place at Hoffner Park, where the pavilion will be a Beer Garden. Along with music, carnival-goers will be treated to fire breathers and a carnival side show features sword swallowers and a bed of nails.

This year’s carnival definitely features a strong and varied lineup, with some of Cincinnati’s best bands as well as a slew of out-of-town groups. No doubt a huge crowd will be on hand on Thursday night when Wussy, a Cinci band that now has a national audience, takes the stage at midnight.  Of the out-of-town groups, the one I like best is Wildhoney, who start at 8:05pm on Friday. Here’s the schedule for the event:

THURSDAY JULY 2

6:00 THE STEALTH PASTILLE 7:00OHIO KNIFE 8:00MASON SCHOOL OF ROCK 9:00JEREMY PINNELL 10:00THE HARLEQUINS 11:00NUDE BEACH (NEW YORK) 12:00WUSSY

FRIDAY JULY 3

6:00 COMET BLUEGRASS ALLSTARS 7:00 OLD CITY 8:00R. RING 9:00 NOMAD 10:00 BEAT AWFULS (LEXINGTON) 11:00 CAVE (CHICAGO) 12:00 SAINTSENECA

SATURDAY JULY4

6:00 DANIEL WAYNE AND THE SILVER LININGS 7:00 THEE TSUNAMI’S (BLOOMINGTON) 8:05 WILDHONEY (BALTIMORE) 9:00 DAAP GIRLS 10:00 FLESH PANTHERS (CHICAGO) 1:00 THE GOTOBEDS (PITTSBURGH) 12:00 THOSE DARLINS

Don’t forget, of course, that the main event that weekend will be Northside’s July 4th parade; here’s a link to more information on that, and here’s a video of the dark shoegazing sounds of Wildhoney:

 

 

Have A Look at The New Clifton Branch Library

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Last week I paid my first visit to the Clifton Branch Library, and I couldn’t have timed it better. This was during what will forever be remembered as The Great Blackout of 2015 – the power was off all over Clifton, and it lasted for a couple hours. I live a few blocks away from the library, and I assumed that even though the power was down in my building the new branch would be fully operational. Turns out the power was off there too, although that didn’t stop lots of people from going in and out of. It was fun roaming around the darkened rooms where Boss Cox used to hold court while getting a taste of both the old and the new. Librarian Eric Davis showed me around the place, and I snapped some photos while discussing features that the new, much larger location offers that the older one didn’t. The new things include two meeting rooms, one with a huge TV screen. The porch has several chess/checker boards, and looks charming; also, there are bike racks. There are more computers than in the old place; the branch now has 12 PCs and 4 Macs in one room, 8 teen computers, and 5 for kids. There’s a solarium that’s already a hit with children, plus a reading room with lots of natural lighting. The new place also has study carrels where you can plug in electronic devices. It seems to me the library did a seamless job of blending new technology with the warm old architecture that characterizes the building and the Gaslight District in general. Below are a bunch of  photos, most of them taken before the lights came back on.

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Prime Numbers, The Debut Album by Jazz Guitarist Brad Myers

Brad Myers Prime NumbersPrime Numbers is the debut album of Brad Myers, a guitarist who’s among the busiest and most high-profile jazz musicians in Cincinnati. The album, which comes out today, has something in common with midcentury modern furniture—sleek, with clean lines, it’s marked by clarity and focus, with an understated postbop coolness. It makes sense that, on this album that primarily consists of the bandleader’s originals, two of the three covers, though decades old, could not seem more modern. Wayne Shorter “The Big Push” and Thelonious Monk’s “Evidence” will forever sound fresh. It’s interesting to hear a tune composed by Monk—who was, after all, a pianist—played without a piano. Here the highly impressionistic and typically sparse harmonic coloring is provided by both Myers and the vibes player Chris Barrick. Without block chords on the piano to potentially gunk up the works, the musicians have all kinds of wiggle room, and their creative use of space takes us to the heart of Monk. The strongest performance may be “Rule of Threes”; it’s certainly the most ambitious, a sprawling and fractured narrative that clocks in at 11:40. The lineup on Primary Numbers is primarily a quintet that includes the tenor saxophone work of Ben Walkenhauer; the tenor can be the heaviest of horns, but here it shares the introspective and lyrical vibe that characterizes the rest of the ensemble. Jazz guitar has a healthy tradition of colorists with a feather-light touch; here Jim Hall and Bill Frisell would seem like influences. Myers may be heard to best effect on his own “You Are Here,”, a sweet ballad that inspires some of his warmest playing. Prime Numbers is a damn good album, and it helps underscore the paradigm shift that has recently taken place in Cincinnati. Last year things certainly looked bleak for jazz in these here parts. The increasingly chaotic Blue Wisp ultimately closed, and we had cause to wonder if the Blue Wisp Big Band would ever find a comfortable home. Well, guess what? Urban Artifact is a hip new venue that hosts lots of jazz, including, every Wednesday, the Blue Wisp Big Band; you can read about it in this previous blog entry. A true tenor heavyweight, recent greater Cincinnati transplant JD Allen released Graffiti, a smoking new album, on Savant in mid-May. The Cincinnati Jazz Hall of Fame was just launched, and Ran Blake just paid tribute to the great composer and musician George Russell, who grew up in Walnut Hills, played in jazz clubs here while in high school, and went on to change jazz history. Blake’s album is called Ghost Tones, and you can count on it and the new JD Allen to show up at the top of best-of lists at the end of 2015. Cincinnati has an amazing jazz history, and it also has a future. If you want a taste of both, check out Brad Myers’ CD release show at Urban Artifact this Thursday; here’s a link to the event. The show is free, but there will be plenty of CDs for sale. Here’s a live performance of “Spherical,” one of the cuts on Prime Numbers:

Come to Global Water Dance on June 20 (It’s Free!)

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THIS EVENT WAS POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER CONDITIONS – NOW WORD YET ON THE NEW DATE

On June 20, 2015 at 11am a free performance that features live music and dance while celebrating and raising consciousness about water will take place at Serpentine Wall at the Ohio River. The event, Global Water Dance, is one of 70 such performances occurring on six continents on the same day. Global Water Dance has been here before—it’s a biennial event—and, having witnessed a previous performance, I can testify that it promises a vibrant, colorful, spiritual, and powerful blend of music and dance that is lyrical (with a great and soulful ensemble of singers) but also has a strong world beat element, with a killer percussion section. What makes the event even more colorful will be the hundreds of Paddlefest kayakers who will be watching from the river.

This free event is a peaceful way to spend a Saturday morning; it also happens to raise awareness of the critical need for safe, clean, accessible water to sustain all beings on the planet. The choreography for the event is led by Fanchon Shur, an Ohio Governor’s Woman of the Year; the original music was penned by Event Director Shari Lauter, MEd. The Cincinnati dance also features over 60 yards of hand-painted silk oceanscapes painted by Shari.

The performance will be webstreamed live; visit globalwaterdances.org for the live broadcast link. For more information, you can visit and like their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GlobalWaterDancesCincinnati or contact Shari Lauter at maestrashari@gmail.com, or teamgwdcincy@gmail.com.This video gives a taste of the event:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plaid Room Records is an A+ Record Store

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Plaid Room Records is a record store that opened a few months ago in Loveland. Right out of the gates there’s something really unique about the shop: its location (120 Karl Brown Way in Loveland). There’s no shortage of record stores in the city of Cincinnati, but if you’re hunting for vinyl in the burbs, well, it’s mostly been about the Half-Price Books locations, where their limited record selection seems almost like an afterthought.

Not at Plaid Room Records. This place lives and breathes records and music, and as someone who does the same—and who is hyper-sensitized to the faults of record stores—I know that these guys got it right. Their emphasis is primarily on both new and used vinyl, although I did see and buy some modestly-priced used CDs of modern jazz classics. Here are some of the things I liked:

The Vibe. With record stores, we’ve almost come to expect the employees to be grumpy and condescendingAlong with being knowledgeable and passionate about music, the two brothers who run Plaid Room Records are nice guys. I was probably in the store for about an hour, and I saw them interact with lots of different kinds of customers. Both brothers built a quick rapport with all their customers and made them feel welcome.

The Vibe (part 2). What I also liked about the store was the customer base. Since vinyl began to rebound, we tend to see record store customers as the province of male hipsters. That’s diversified somewhat as of late, but Plaid Room Records was much more mixed than what I normally see. There were as many female customers as there were male, and the crowd seemed, well, mainstream and suburban. Many adults walked in with young children, who, when they held the records in front of their faces, were fascinated by what they saw, as well they should be. As someone who would love to see vinyl continue to grow, and especially new vinyl, it was great to see its fan base expanding. Plaid Room is VERY popular already, and if that can happen, then maybe the vinyl thing can keep growing. That would be a great thing for both musicians and the record labels that support musicians.

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They’re A Family-Owned Small Business. The owners of the store, Terry Cole and Bobby Cole, are brothers. They run a family-owned small business, and you can tell that they love music. In fact, they have their own label, the ultrahip soul-and-funk-infused Colemine Records label. They have live concerts in the store and lots of other activities, and really I’m only scratching the surface here with things going on at the store. You can find out more about them on their Facebook page.

A Great Selection of Vinyl. The store has a combination of both new and used vinyl, with both LPs and 45s. They keep getting in used vinyl, so the stock doesn’t stagnate. They’re up on all the interesting new stuff, and they make it easy to pre-order upcoming releases.

(One Other Thing.) As someone who lives within the city limits of Cincinnati, one reservation I supposed I could have about Plaid Room is that, in theory, they could take away some of the business for, say, Shake-It, Everybody’s, Mole’s, or (in Northern Kentucky) Torn Light. I’ll make a prediction, though: they’ll help increase business at those stores. There were lots of teenagers and young adults walking through the store when I was there, and many of them will end up attending the University of Cincinnati or finding some other reason to move into the city. Plaid Records will instill in them the healthiest addiction I know. My rating for Plaid Records: A+

Free Big Night Clifton Concert at Clifton Plaza This Friday

Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra

This Friday, May 22, from 7pm to 10pm the first in a series of free Big Night Clifton events will take place, with the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra performing a swinging set of jazz at Clifton Plaza. Also on tap: craft beers brewed by our friends at the newly launched Urban Artifact, who I wrote about in this blog entry last week. Should be a great, fun, spring night for the neighborhood. Here’s a video that gives you a taste of the talents of the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra:

 

 

Say Goodbye To The Old Library…

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In some respects it looked like just another day at the Clifton branch of the library when I dropped by there near the end of the day today, with people pecking away at computers and reading magazines and one guy returning a pile of children’t books stacked up to his chin. But some of the shelves were empty, or nearly so, and there were plenty of signs letting us know that the Clifton library was moving.

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The last hour of the last day…a good time to snap some photos, I thought, and reflect on all the years that it was part of the main drag in Clifton. It’s moving a few blocks, to a space that’s infinitely larger, and by doing so it will allow activities and events that weren’t possible in what we’ll now call “the old location.”

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But the old library had its charm, and we’ll miss it. Before I snapped a couple photos of the staff members who were there today. The second picture shows them waving – as in waving goodbye – but they assured me that all of the employees in the picture will work at the new place as well. That opens at the end of the month, and we’ll have plenty of picture of that as well.

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Blue Wisp Big Band Finds A New Home

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After the Blue Wisp closed last year, things looked bad for the Blue Wisp Big Band and Cincinnati jazz in general. With the recent opening of Urban Artifact in Northside (the address is 1662 Blue Rock), however, things suddenly seem much rosier for the big band and Cincinnati’s jazz scene overall. Here’s some of the good news:

  • The Blue Wisp Big Band now plays Urban Artifact every Wednesday from 8:30pm to 11:30pm.
  • Urban Artifact hosts live music every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, with jazz on many of those nights.
  • Thursday is always jazz night.
  • Urban Artifact is all ages and has non-alcoholic options like craft soda and Kombucha.
  • There’s no cover charge.

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I visited Urban Artifact for the Blue Wisp Big Band’s live performance last Wednesday, and what I discovered was an old church converted into a club that’s a great space for listening to music. On that night trumpeter Tim Hagans, who I first saw perform at the original Blue Wisp and is now living in Manhattan, was the special guest artist. The acoustics were excellent, and the whole room seem focused on what was happening on the stage; it was clear that much magic will take place there. Here’s a link to Urban Artifact’s web page. Here’s a link to Urban Artifact’s Facebook page.

For those readers who happen to like beer, I also throw in this little tidbit:

  • Urban Artifact is a brewery that serves its own tart and wild beers.
  • “Growler hour” takes place Mondays and Tuesdays at Urban Artifact. You get $2 off for every growler filled from 4-7pm.

Urban Artifact is also very friendly. That night I chatted with Emily Merz & Elese Daniels, who were happy to contribute valuable insights into what beer I ought to drink. I ended up choosing a Nitro Finn, and my professional assessment was: it rocked. Emily and Elese were both nice and helpful, plus they photograph well:

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Free Yoga in Burnet Woods Every Saturday

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Every Saturday from May 9 (this week!) through September 19 free yoga classes will be taking place in Burnet Woods. Each session runs from 11am to noon. Bring a mat or towel, water and sunglasses to the Burnet Woods bandstand and experience nature and get a great workout! Note that the classes will take place even if it rains; they’ll be under the bandstand if there’s a light rain and at the World Peace Yoga studio at 268 Ludlow Avenue in Clifton if there’s a heavy rain. While the classes are free, donations are accepted. These classes are being hosted by World Peace Yoga, long one of the most popular destinations on Ludlow Avenue. They have a great teacher training program that has generated some teachers who now teach globally. It’s also a laid back studio with a come as you are approach. Check out their Facebook page or their website to learn more, or call them at 513-300-9642. Here is the list of dates and instructors for the free yoga sessions in Burnet Woods:

May 9: Amber
May 16: Anna
May 23: Anna
May 30: Donna
June 6: Dara
June 13: Mary
June 20: Caroline
June 27: Mindy
July 4: Caroline
July 11: Amber
July 18: TBA
July 25: Betsi
August 1: Christy
August 8: Dara
August 15: TBA
August 22: Lori
August 29: Amber
September 5: Anna
September 12: Rachel
September 19: Christy

Incline Ridge Apartments Are Ready To Rent!

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Gaslight Property is excited about the Incline Ridge Apartments now available for rent. These two-bedroom apartments are located at 2361 – 2377 Maryland Avenue in the historic Incline District in East Price Hill. The location is fabulous – a hop, skip, and a jump from downtown – and it just got better. Recently construction wrapped up on Route 50, and the distance to downtown is a mere two miles. You can drive to and from work downtown in under five minutes, which means enjoying all the benefits of downtown without having to deal with the hassles and expense of parking if you lived there (parking is free at the Incline Ridge), plus (unlike downtown) the rent’s quite modest (695 – 795 a month).

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These two-bedroom apartments brand new, stylish, stainless appliances, and they feature long balconies — long enough to link the master bedroom and the living room — and those balconies offer a fabulous view. In fact, the view competes with any in Price Hill or for that matter the whole city. Incline Ridge Apartments are also close the Incline Public House and other spots in Price Hill that are themselves destination spots.

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If you have any interest in finding out more about these or any of the other apartments Gaslight Property has to offer, call us at 513.861.6000. Our agents would love to tell you more about these apartments!

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Really it’s “the best of both worlds,” as the apartments are on a peaceful and quiet street on the edge of East Price Hill at the same time that they’re close to downtown and Northern Kentucky.

Buy Tickets Now for the Clifton House Tour on May 10

Clifton House Tour

 

Every third year on Mother’s Day the Clifton House Tour pays homage to the beautiful historic homes that are part of the reason Clifton has so much character. This year on Sunday, May 10 there will be homes from the 1800s to 1970 highlighting several different styles, including mid-20th century modern, Italianate, and early Shingle Style.

Tickets for the event are already on sale and can be purchased in advance at the following Clifton merchants: Ace Hardware, Hansa Guild, Ludlow Wines, and Skyline Chili. You can also buy tickets online at www.cliftoncommunity.org. They’re $18 in advance and will be $22 on the day of the tour. Day-of tickets can be purchased at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center on Clifton Avenue and at Clifton Plaza on Ludlow Avenue.

And this is an event for the whole community. Local businesses throughout Clifton will be open during the tour to provide food, refreshment, and shopping for those looking to extend the day. A free shuttle will escort visitors from two locations: Clifton Cultural Arts Center at 3711 Clifton Ave. and Clifton Plaza at 333 Ludlow Ave.

Along with being a lot of fun, the Clifton House Tour is for a good cause. The tour proceeds are reinvested in the community through the various projects of Clifton Town Meeting (CTM), which include the Clifton Chronicle, and events such as the Memorial Day Parade and Picnic, Lantern Walk, CliftonFest and carriage rides for Holidays on Ludlow.

For more information, email contactctm@cliftoncommunity.org or visit www.cliftoncommunity.org. 

Northside Record Fair on April 25

Northside Record Fair picture for 2015

On April 25 the Northside Record Fair will host another record show in Northside. The address is 4222 Hamilton Avenue (the Northside Presbyterian Church). Admission is five dollars from 11am to 4pm while the early birds (10am) pay ten bucks.

Before the Northside Record Fair started hosting record shows, it always seemed like the other big cities in Ohio had thriving record shows while Cincinnati’s was an embarrassment. The Northside Record Fair has been such a success that they quickly decided to start hosting it twice a year. As someone who loved records long before I ever attended any shows, I can say why, if they’re done right, they’re a great way to shop for vinyl. The reasons include (but are not limited to):

  • A Healthy Selection of the Classics. Record stores can’t stock enough Beatles, Stones, Floyd, Talking Heads, REM, Zeppelin, and they tend to keep running out of those essentials. But with each vendor a mini-record store, you see a lot more of the major artists at the shows.
  • Obscure Records. Personally, my favorite thing about record shows is the plethora of obscure records that I’ve never heard of before and have never seen in person.
  • 45s. Because of space limitations, record stores tend to stock the records that are most likely to fly off the shelves the fastest and don’t bother stocking 45s. There are always lots of 45s at the Northside Record Fair.
  • You Can Cut A Deal. Record stores don’t cut you any bargains, but it’s common practice at record shows for dealers to shave off a few dollars when you buy more than one record.
  • Rubbing Shoulders. I love record stores, but the camaraderie that exists on at shows, where the crowd is thicker and the buzz is on, is that much stronger. I always find it a crash course in music and records, and my teachers are people who’ve delved much more deeply into musicians and genres than I have. It kind of deflates my ego when the savants are so much younger than I am, but I still attend class and take note diligently.

A Thousand Foot Slide on Jefferson Avenue!

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THIS EVENT WAS POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER CONDITIONS – NOW WORD YET ON THE NEW DATE

There will be a 1000 foot slip and slide on Jefferson Ave in Clifton  on Saturday June 20, 2015. That may sound a long ways off, but tickets are already on sale, and “early bird registration” – code words for “the cheapest tickets” – ends this Friday, April 10. Don’t worry, though: if you miss that deadline, you can still buy tickets; they’ll just cost you a few bucks more.

Per the Cincinnati Business Courier, “Sliders can choose between a one-time sliding package that includes a drawstring bag, tattoo and mouth guard for $20 during the regular registration period; a pass to slide three times during the day along with an inflatable tube, mouth guard and drawstring bag for $35, and an unlimited sliding pass with a mouth guard, tattoo, T-shirt, tube, drawstring bag and hat for $60.”

Here’s the webpage for this Slide The City event; it includes the link for purchasing tickets: LINK TO SLIDE CITY

And here’s a video of people sliding down the thousand foot slide. Looks like fun, doesn’t it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lentz and Company on Ludlow Avenue

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Now that spring is here, everyone’s getting out more. That means more people will be dropping into some of the small shops in the Gaslight District, so it’s time to highlight some of them. When Lentz and Company opened on Ludlow Avenue a year and a half ago, its “carefully curated collection of kitsch” added a colorful touch to the neighborhood. Mad Men may be about to call it quits, but its spirit lives on at this nostalgic store. Recently I dropped by and snapped some photos of some of the latest items for sale there. As the pictures below show, along with vintage goodies the store sells interesting new art by local artists. Here’s a link to Lentz and Company’s Facebook page; “like” it and keep up with the latest news from the store at 339 Ludlow Avenue!

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Construction Begins on Gaslight Manor

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Construction began last week on Gaslight Manor, a new upscale apartment community that Gaslight Property is building on Whitfield Avenue in Clifton. This 17 million dollar project will contain 117 luxury apartments with hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops. Ideal for empty nesters, Gaslight Manor will be close to hospitals, the University of Cincinnati, I-75, and downtown, plus it’s a short walk from the Esquire Theatre, eclectic shops, and restaurants. The apartments are expected to be finished in about a year. Let’s consider the above image the “before” picture; below is a rendering of what the apartment community will look like after construction is completed:

Gaslight Manor rendering

 

 

 

The Church is Coming to The Woodward

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You’ve probably heard by now that the Woodward Theater has opened, but did you know that the Church was going to play there? The Australian-based neo-psychedelic band will take the stage Sunday, March 8; the show begins at 8pm. Tickets are only fifteen bucks. For this tour the Church is playing two sets that mix some of the old stuff with a chunk of the Further/Deeper album, which was released in Oct 2014 but only became available on vinyl a couple weeks ago. That’s important because the vinyl LP contains three bonus cuts—and because good albums are worth seeking out on vinyl. The last time I saw the Church was at Bogart’s during their Gold Afternoon Fix tour. That’s been awhile, but Further/Deeper is dark and mesmerizing and haunting as Starfish, which was the album that got people’s attention in the first place. This cut off the new album, “Miami,” has been a staple in their live performances this tour; you can expect to hear it at the Woodward, offering what me be the final glittering crescendo:

Leviathan is a New Movie at The Esquire

LEVIATHAN

During the bitter cold winter weather seeing a good movie in a theater is one of the few recreational activities we all can enjoy, and there’s a great one at the Esquire. Leviathan is a Russian movie that won the 2014 Golden Globe Award for best foreign language film. The Russian have a flair for creating deeply depressing novels, movies, and even symphonies that make you feel the weight of history. Leviathan succeeded on those fronts and goes a step further, as there’s an element of the film that precedes recorded history—and that’s nature, red in tooth and claw (and, on the sea coast where the main character and his family live, gray and craggy and bleak, yet beautiful in its own haunting way). The story is set in the present, but by the time the first human appears—the main character walking out to his car, which makes that alien “beep-beep” sound that confirms we’re in the modern age—you already feel the tension between the present and the past and small and big. Too much plot analysis can ruin a film, so let me just say that the dark, depressing tone I hoped for when I walked in the theater was there in spades. During this Arctic-like weather, the longer the movie the better, and Leviathan clocks in at two hours and twenty minutes. On Sunday afternoon there was a decent-sized crowd, which leads me to suspect it’ll be around a little longer—but don’t lollygag, as there are no guarantees.

Sitwells Reopens; Come to the Open Mic!

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This Thursday, February 19, Sitwells Coffee House will host an open mic. Of course such news begs the question, Did Sitwells reopen – and the answer is, they return to normal business hours (8am to 1am) tomorrow (Wednesday, February 18). The open mic, which starts at 9pm, will include music, spoken word (poetry, fiction, non-fiction), and stand-up comedy. Anyone can perform, so sign up and share this blog entry with your friends who write or sing or play (or crack jokes). Sitwells is located at 324 Ludlow Ave. in Clifton, and their phone number is 513.281.7487.

Sally’s Treats & Treasures in Spring Grove Village

Project1There’s a new shop in Spring Grove Village (aka Winton Place) that you might want to check out.

Calling themselves a “center for the home cook,” Sally’s Treats & Treasures is part cookware shop, part carryout food, part meeting place for anyone wanting to learn more about how to cook or how to adjust to a newly prescribed diet.

“We’re not doctors, we won’t tell you what to eat,” says owner Laura Kristal, “But if you know your restriction (such as no salt, or wanting to switch to a whole foods vegan diet) we can help you go from feeling deprived to excited about your new delicious menu.”

Currently working on their commercial kitchen, Sally’s hopes to have the carryout food available soon. But for now, stop by and see their collection of gently-used cookware at great prices. The store is located at 701 East Epworth Ave (at the corner of North Edgewood, the zip is 45232) in Spring Grove Village, not far from the 75 and Mitchell exit. Hours are from noon to 6pm every Saturday, or by appointment.

 …And these are the folks who will be providing us with Myra’s soups very soon. For more information or to get on the mailing list, email LKLK@aol.com.

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Umphrey’s McGee Bring a Unique Concert Experience to the Taft

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Umphrey’s McGee will be performing at the Taft Theatre on Friday, January 30, at 8pm. Just at the band has broken new ground musically, merging extended improvisation with progressive rock, they’re offering a new concert experience during this tour. Upon entering the Taft, everyone attending the show will be handed a Sennheiser in-ear monitor wireless pack and a pair of high fidelity Audio Technica headphones. That’s the same equipment the band uses, and the show will combine a live concert experience with audiophile sound quality. When it comes to headphones, many of us have only heard cheapies playing mp3s, and hearing music as layered, intricate, and energetic as this promises a superb audio experience. Thinking about it takes me back to my early days with Koss headphones and Quadraphonic receivers and five-way speakers that, when cranked, rattled the walls. The Taft show, then, will combine a touch of nostalgia with cutting-edge technology. As this live footage of UM’s “In the Kitchen” shows, the concert will also prove visually stimulating:

Fries Cafe Is Back!

Fries Cafe 001There was joy and jubilation Wednesday night in Clifton due to the reopening of Fries Cafe. People who went without a beer for the nine months that the long-established watering hole was closed suddenly were able to drink beer again. (My fact checker just informed me that’s a bit far-fetched – but still, it felt that way as people muscled their way up to the bar and shouted their drink orders.) So how’s the new Fries, you ask? Did they decide, during that long stretch of time between closing and reopening, to “modernize” the place, with a disco ball and some thump-thump electronic dance music blasting out of speakers, turning a friendly, casual neighborhood bar into a fancy nightclub? Heck no. It still feels as real and unpretentious as ever. And it still has a fine selection of beers (see photos). And it’s still a friendly place as opposed to a snobfest. There is one difference, though: it smells a lot better. I snapped a few photos while I was there, including a couple of Riley Martin, an iconic Clifton canine whose charismatic cameo made a special night even better (he’s never one to miss a photo-op). I’ve always been a fan of Fries, ever since I got kicked out of there at 9 o’clock in the morning on my first day in Cincinnati. I knew then that this was the town for me. If everyone’s too friendly it softens you up, and who wants that?

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Patrick Battstone at the Listing Loon

Patrick Battstone picture to use for blog entryThe Listing Loon (at 4124 Hamilton Avenue in Northside) is one of the few places around Cincinnati with an acoustic piano, and it has a nice, intimate atmosphere to go with it. For two nights—Friday, January 16 and Saturday, January 17—Patrick Battstone will be performing there for free from 8:30 to midnight. These performance are a combination of a homecoming, musical performances, and two separate CD release parties. Friday, January 16 is the CD release for Beyond the Horizon, his latest solo effort, and on that night Patrick will be performing solo. Saturday, January 17 is the CD release for a live recording of the Sound Museum, a legendary group from Cincinnati that ended up crossing paths with James Brown. The CD is entitled The Sound Museum Live at New Dilly’s. The personnel for the Sound Museum included Jimmy McGary on tenor saxophone, Kenny Poole on guitar, David Matthews on piano, John Young on bass, and Grover Mooney on drums—and the amazing Popeye Maupin on vocals. Grover’s son, Moses Mooney, will be playing drums with Patrick on Saturday. Admission is free both nights, and the dark, cozy room is a splendid place to listen to music, especially with craft beers on hand and a superb wine selection.

Patrick is a Cincinnati native who studied at Berklee and has been part of the Boston jazz scene for decades. At the same time he remains well-grounded in (and appreciative of) the Cincinnati jazz scene—he knows all the players, and he’s worked with lots of them, and he’s also deeply appreciative of Cincinnati’s rich jazz history. So come to the show, stay late, and drink a lot. As Patrick so aptly put it, “The more you drink, the better I sound!” Here’s a video of Patrick performing “Over the Rainbow.”

 

 

Natural Disasters

Keith Jarrett Mourning Star

One day a friend of mine was playing a record by Keith Jarrett called The Mourning of a Star. While the LP was playing I flipped the cover over to the back side, where I encountered a poem by a writer who I didn’t recognize. This was truly one of those times where a poem reached out and grabs you (or, as Bob Dylan put it, “Every one of those words rang true/And glowed like burning coal”). Although it was a long time before I saw that poem again, the memory of reading it the first time remained vivid, and when someone mentioned it to me ten or fifteen years later, I immediately knew what he was talking about.

It turns out the person who brought it up was the poet who wrote it.  Terry Stokes was a creative writing professor at the University of Cincinnati, and the two of us had been hanging together for months before I connected the dots between the writer and the poem. That happened when Terry was telling me about a poem that he published in Esquire. Soon thereafter Terry was contacted to find out if he would be willing to have his poem appear on an album cover by Keith Jarrett, and Terry gave his permission.

“I got fifty dollars from Esquire,” Terry explained, “and fifty dollars from Keith Jarrett. So I made a hundred bucks for my poem.

Not bad – and especially because so many more people would be able to read the poem due to the fact that it was on the back of an album cover by such a popular musician. 

By that point I had figured out that Terry and I had already bumped into each other long before I saw his poem on the Keith Jarrett album cover. At a Miami University writer’s conference where I also met Cameron Crowe and P.J. O’Rourke I had heard Terry give a reading and chatted with him at one of the parties that took place every night. 

Attending that conference convinced Terry to move to this party of the country. Englight professors John Weigel and Milton White had much to do with that – and happened to be the two teachers who had the deepest influence on me as a writer, artist, reader, teacher, whatever. 

After Terry retired from teaching, I heard less and less from him, and it’s been over ten years since we spoke. We became friends at a good time for both of us. During that period I was editing a offbeat literary magazine called Evil Dog that published lots of interesting writers from this area. In a small way the buzz was kind of on about that magazine, which – in part because I worked downtown at that time and made lots of downtown friends – seemed to connect with people who normally didn’t read literary magazines. Terri Ford, Aralee Strange, F. Keith Wahle, and Terry Stokes – those were some of the writers who helped make the magazine something special (and fun, too!).

The poem on the Keith Jarrett album cover was called “Natural Disasters.” That was also the name of the book where it appeared as the lead-off poem, and today I scanned it so others could read it. When I read “Natural Disasters” I think of all my friends who “wrestled with the lion.” Those seem to be the kind of folks I hang with, and Terry Stokes was one of them. As another year ends while a new one begins, it’s natural to take stock of things and look inward – and this poem by an old friend certainly inspires that.

Terry Stokes poem

Myrtle’s Punch House in Walnut Hills

Myrtle 10Have you ever been to a punch bar? Me neither—or not until last weekend, that is, when I visited the recently opened Myrtle’s Punch House at 2733 Woodburn in Walnut Hills. Already the bar is drawing a crowd, as both floors were well-populated without feeling crowded. Wonderfully, there were no big-screen television screens (no TVs at all, actually), and the only music was the performance in the basement by a jazz quartet doing a low-volume mix of old-timey songs like “Night And Day” and “Sweet Georgia Brown.” Once again mixologist extraordinaire Molly Wellman has opened another drinking establishment that’s added character to Greater Cincinnati—or perhaps we should say that she’s help bring back some of the character that was originally there. I don’t like bars—ironically enough, they often seem uptight as opposed to friendly—but Myrtle’s had a arm vibe to it; nicely, age-wise there was a nice mix. I ended up meeting new people while I was there, the porter and punch I drank were par excellence, and visually Myrtle’s was splendiferous, inspiring me to snap a few photos. Hours are Mon – Wed 4pm to 1am, Thu – Sat 4pm to 2am, and Sun 4pm to midnight. The phone number is 513.479.6554.

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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:

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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:

http://youtu.be/cs9mKetZFQk

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:

http://youtu.be/Sl_bh9PyI1o

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:

http://youtu.be/kqMrU3LMUCA

 

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.