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Gaslight Property Wins Uptown Business Award

Uptown Consortium Award photoThe last two weeks have been great ones for Gaslight Property. Last week marked the 25th Anniversary of the company, and this week, at Cincinnati Uptown Consortium’s Fifth Annual Business Awards, Gaslight Property won the Award of Excellence for Large Business. In the photo on the left, that’s Dave Taylor, CEO of Gaslight Property, flanked by University of Cincinnati President Santa Ono, Ph.D. and Beth Robinson, CEO and president of Uptown Consortium. You don’t win an award like that just for being a business; you win it for making a commitment to the community and making positive changes. Gaslight Property is a family-owned business with deep roots in the Clifton community, and they have a brick-and-mortar office in the heart of the Gaslight District, at 311 Howell Avenue. Also, Gaslight Property helped facilitate the Clifton Natural Foods move to Ludlow Avenue and the opening of Petey’s Pet Stop, Gaslight Gourmet Cookies, and others. And best of all, Gaslight Property has brought new construction to the Gaslight District, with The Whitfield, which offers “modern, luxury apartment living.” Apartments have already rented, but there are still some units available. To find out more about these or any other Gaslight Property apartments, call 513.861.6000.

Ricky Skaggs Performing at Ludlow Garage This Saturday

Ricky SkaggsRicky Skaggs has headlined music festivals and sold millions of records. This Saturday, May 14, the country and bluegrass musician will be performing to about 160 people at the Ludlow Garage. The person who Chet Atkins credited with single-handedly saving country music and who, after he returned to his bluegrass roots, helped spark a revival that is still flowering today, seldom plays such small venues. Musicians enjoy these small shows as much as the audience does, as it’s a rare opportunity to get up close and personal. There are two shows on Saturday—one at 7:15, the other at 10:15—for Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder with special guests Hoot & Holler. If you haven’t been to Live at the Ludlow Garage yet, this would be a great excuse to check it out, and if you have been to the Garage, you know that you can count on good sound, an intimate concert experience, and food and drinks before or after the show. Throw some smoking bluegrass into the mix and you have what should be a great evening! Here’s Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder performing “Get Up John”:



The Friday Special at La Mandi


La Mandi put this picture at the topIn August of last year La Mandi, an authentic New York style deli, opened at 3205 Jefferson Avenue in Clifton. La Mandi was an instant success with modestly-priced deli sandwiches, salads, breakfast items (including omelets), etc. Recently La Mandi broadened its horizons with new dishes and a Friday special. New items available on a daily basis are the chicken shawarma gyro, the lamb shawarma gyro, and “the mix” (a combination of lamb and chicken shwarma) gyro, all available for $6.99. Also new, the Friday Special consists of the following:

2 portions of chicken w/rice: $8.99

2 portions of lamb w/rice: $12.99

1 portion of chicken + 1 portion of lamb w/rice: $10.99.

After picking up the Friday Special today, I walked over to the Clifton Library, which recently moved a few blocks, to Jefferson Avenue. The food was delish and succulent. The Friday Special is available every Friday from 12:30pm to 8:00pm. If the special is successful enough, La Mandi will start running it other days as well. Hours are 8am to 8pm Monday through Saturday; the phone number is 513.559.0000, and you can call for carryout, delivery, or catering. It’s great to see this new business having such success while adding fresh new reasons to pay them a visit—yet another reason Clifton is a great place to live!

The owner of La Mandi, Mohammed Nahshal.

The owner of La Mandi, Mohammed Nahshal.

The Friday Special w/Lamb, Chicken, and Rice

The Friday Special w/Lamb, Chicken, and Rice

Rummage Sale for a Good Cause This Sunday at Clifton Plaza

CERESAVThis Sunday, May 1, from 1pm–5pm a rummage sale will take place at Clifton Plaza. The event is a fundraiser for CERESAV, a non-governmental organization created in order to fight acid violence, a sadly all-too-common occurrence in the world today. All proceeds from the sale will go to helping acid burn survivors. One of the great things about CERESAV is that since it was founded in 2012 it has had a real impact, so while acid violence is a horrible thing, definite steps have been taken to help survivors and, through the raising of awareness and legislation, decrease the likelihood of such attacks. More information about CERESAV is available on its website, on its facebook page, If you’re interested in donating items to the sale, CERESAV encourages you to email by Friday. Having attended their rummage sale last year, I can say that A LOT of people donate to this sale, and there was a huge, wide variety of stuff—I bought everything from a flat-screen computer monitor to some skinny 1950s ties. In other words, you don’t know what you’ll find there, plus it’s a chance for the neighborhood to show some support for a really good cause. See you on Sunday!

Happy Hour at the Ludlow Garage

Happy Hour Ludlow GarageLive at the Ludlow Garage is now running full steam, with concerts every week from national performers in an intimate setting. As the crowds last night (see below) made clear, the Ludlow Garage is also a great place to eat a modestly-priced meal, have a drink, and experience the ambiance of the street in a unique way now that, with the warm weather, the doors have opened. Regarding the drinking part…well, Ludlow Garage recently revealed the details of its happy hour. From 4 to 6pm it offers:

  • Tuesdays through Fridays – 1/2 off on appetizers
  • Tuesdays – $2 off any draft beer
  • Wednesdays – $2 off glasses of selected red & white wines
  • Thursdays – $5 martinis
  • Fridays –  $2 off house cocktails

Invariably beer lovers will wonder what kind of beer Ludlow Garage on tap, and for that reason I took a photo last night. Note, on the right, that Stella Artois is now part of their arsenal, along with Guiness way on the left and various craft beers in between.

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Martini Ludlow Garage 001

Martini Ludlow Garage 002


And don’t overlook the cocktail specials on Thursdays and Fridays. Although I’ve sipped a couple cocktails at the Ludlow Garage, this warrants some in-depth investigative journalism; I’ll take careful notes in case I forget something.

Miles Ahead Comes to The Esquire

Miles Davis Miles Ahead imageThe Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead opens at the Esquire Theatre on Friday, April 15. Cincinnati should feel privileged and proud that it’s the backdrop for the film, in large part because it built—and preserved, more than most cities–the classic architecture that has film makers lining up to shoot movies here. And the story should be as colorful as the threads that Miles sports as he hops around in a sports car trying to recover a purloined reel of tape, gun ready, dark shades covering his eyes. I don’t know that a movie could have picked a better period in the life of Miles Davis to examine. It was the one time he disappeared. No records, no concerts, and a whole lot of silence. Miles had entered that limbo where Chet Baker, Sonny Rollins, Bud Powell, Art Pepper, and other great jazz musicians once resided, with drugs, drinking, artistic burnout, jail time, and asylum visits sometimes playing a role in such matters. What weighed down Miles was a combination of drugs, health problems that weren’t lifestyle related, and the fact that the music he was playing wasn’t connecting with an audiences because it was too far ahead of its time; now all people can do is rave about albums like Agharta and Dark Magus. So he disappeared. Away from the stage and the studio, a jazz musician who had been so busy reinventing himself and his music that reflecting on the past was not on his list of options looked back. Those flashbacks in the film seem like they’ll be more than a device, then: for once, during that period between 1975 and 1979, Miles could take stock of his life to date – and get that damn tape back.

April Aloisio CD Release Party at Lydia’s on Ludlow This Friday

April Aloisio Photo #2 for blog entry

April Aloisio is hosting a CD release party at Lydia’s on Ludlow this Friday, April 8. Along with singing jazz and Brazilian music, April is a yoga instructor, and on her new record, Yoga Bossa Nova, those two worlds are united. Accompanying her on the record is Fareed Haque, one of the most colorful and creative guitarists in both the jazz and jam band worlds. The album has a layered and expansive sound that may make you want to close your eyes and sink into the soundscape—or practice yoga while listening to it. The event, which takes place from 8pm to 10pm, is free, but take along a little extra cash to pick up a copy of Yoga Bossa Nova. (And if you can’t make the gig, you can still buy a copy of the record at this link on Here’s a cut from the album, a sensual and dreamy version of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Dindi.”

Free Tax Service Available in Northside

CAIN for blog entry on taxes 2016

On the off-chance (wink wink) that there’s anyone reading this blog entry who hasn’t done their taxes yet, I have good news: CAIN (which stands for Churches Active In Northside) is providing free walk-in service to help people file their taxes.

Again, it’s FREE.

CAIN is located at 4230 Hamilton Avenue, and Ohio Benefit Bank tax counselors are there Monday evenings from 6-7pm, and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am–1pm. All sessions are first come, first served.

Those interested in using this service will need to bring their W-2s or other tax forms, an ID and social security card, and the information they will need to have their refund direct deposited. It is also ideal to bring the previous year’s taxes, if possible.

CAIN wants you to KEEP YOUR WHOLE REFUND and take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit. Some childless individuals making under $14,000, or families making under $53,000, can qualify to get supplemental income in the form of a “tax credit.” One in five families who are eligible for the EITC fail to claim it, and as a result they miss out on potentially thousands of dollars.

Also, people earning under $65,000 per year as an individual or $95,000 as a couple are eligible to e-file their taxes for free through the Ohio Benefit Bank easy to use guided system. Use CAIN’s link to the Ohio Benefit Bank’s self-serve system or go to and click on E-FILE box on home page.

If you have any questions, just stop by CAIN during the above hours, or call CAIN 513-591-2246 or email Monica at

Gaslight Gourmet Cookies Is Open!

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Gaslight Gourmet Cookies, located at 272 Ludlow, officially opened this week. They couldn’t have timed it better, what with the nice weather and lots of new things happening in the Gaslight District, including Live at Ludlow Garage. There were plenty of customers when I visited in the middle of the afternoon today, and I smelled success for this new venture. Hours are 6am to 6pm Monday through Saturday, and the store has a Facebook page – just click this link to check it out and “like” it. Also, they have a walk-up window – how old school charming is that? My cookie of choice today was an oatmeal raisin, which is a very important cookie back where I come from. My father has a soft spot for that particular confection, and you can bet that he’s been feted by daughters and daughter-in-laws who all have their own secret recipe going back hundreds of years. So which is his all-time favorite? “I haven’t tasted it yet,” has been his mantra. Well, having sampled the oatmeal raisin cookie from our new store this afternoon, it seems to me that after my father visits Cincinnati next time, he’ll be able to put that mystery to bed for good….Yummy.

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Photos of the Miles Ahead Premier at the Esquire Theatre

Big doings on Ludlow Avenue last night, what with the premier of Miles Ahead, Don Cheadle’s tribute to Miles Davis that is based on a period when his career (and his life in general) were kind of in limbo. Folks were dressed in their finest, as only befits a film devoted to a musician who, no matter what decade you’re talking about, was known for his stylish threads. I haven’t seen the film yet, but when it opens on April 15th at the Esquire, I’ll forsurely check it out then, as I’ve got good feelings about this one. Shot in Cincinnati, it promises to be both a visual and musical delight.

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Only Yesterday at The Esquire

Only Yesterday at Esquire 1

The other day I arrived at the Esquire Theatre before the trailers had started for Only Yesterday, a Japanese animated film directed by Isao Takahata. At that point there were only two people in the room, and the person two rows in front of me asked if the movie was overdubbed or used subtitles. “You got me,” I said. “If there’s an animated movie on the big screen, that’s all I need to know.” He told that the movie was done with hand-drawn animation, which sounded even better. Only Yesterday has a simple and realistic plot wherein a vacation the main character, Taeko, launches a flood of memories…as well as some major life decisions. Visually a lovely film, Only Yesterday charms with its indoor school and family scenes and awes with its depictions of the woods and fields and the sky—this is definitely one for the big screen. Just as important, the story rings true. It’s fascinating how the tale unfolds piece by piece, leading we’re not sure where…but hang in there, because the ending is both subtle and powerful. I was glad to learn that the Esquire held this for another week, but it won’t be there forever—get there before it’s gone.

Only Yesterday 2


Steve Katz Plays the Ludlow Garage on April 9

blood sweat tears

The next time you’re playing the music edition of Trivial Pursuit, prepare yourself for this question: What member of Blood, Sweat & Tears collaborated with musicians from the Velvet Underground?

The answer is Steve Katz, who will be performing at Live at the Ludlow Garage on Saturday, April 9. If you sift through his discography you’ll find a sweet spot where it seemed like all he could do was contribute to classic albums.

After leaving the Blues Project, Katz was the guitarist (and sometimes vocalist and songwriter) for the early jazz-rock band Blood, Sweat & Tears. Their first album, Child is Father to the Man, impressed the critics while their eponymous second album was a commercial success and then some.

About the time BS&T was losing steam Katz collaborated with Lou Reed, producing Reed’s great live album Rock ’N’ Roll Animal and the studio follow-up Sally Can’t Dance. Suddenly Lou Reed was a commercial success instead of a genius who deserved a larger audience.

In the 70s Katz also formed the band American Flyer with Doug Yule from a later incarnation of the Velvet Underground.

More evidence that Katz had a habit of being in the right place at the right time: he also performed at the two most famous music festivals from the 1960s, Monterey Pop (as part of the Blues Project) and Woodstock (with BS&T).

On April 9 Katz will be performing in a venue that’s much more intimate but that also has a rich history, the Ludlow Garage. It’s a good bet that you know some of the songs Katz has either played on or produced, and if you’re familiar with the second album by Blood, Sweat & Tears—the really famous one, that sold millions of copies and won three Grammy Awards—then you’ve heard this song that Katz wrote and sang, complete with a haunting melody, melancholy lyrics, and luscious harmonies:

What Would A Bookstore Bring?

Bookstore on Ludlow Avenue 006

Recently on nextdoorclifton someone posed the question, “What store is missing?” in reference to Ludlow Avenue’s business district. Possibly over a hundred people have responded by now, and while the answers have been all over the place, there were some repeats. I was pleased—and quite surprised—to see how many people exclaim that they would love to see a bookstore return to the Gaslight District.

Bookstore on Ludlow Avenue 007

In a way it seems funny that folks would long for something that in the spiritus mundi tends to be looked upon as antiquated and old-school. As our reading, like everything else, becomes increasingly electronic and digital, the physical book cast set aside for convenience, don’t bookstores have about as much of a place in our world as a zoetrope?

Bookstore on Ludlow Avenue 008

Well, not so soon (and besides, I’d love to own a zoetrope). You may have noticed that record stores (and especially the independent ones) are suddenly all kinds of popular, after that three or four minutes when everyone was convinced that our musical future would totally revolve around our computers. Recently, and tellingly, I’ve seen ads promoting books as “the new vinyl,” which makes sense. And just as veteran Cliftonites remember what it’s like to have a bookstore in the neighborhood, younger folks brought up on walmart are acutely sensitive to the difference between zero personality and color.

Bookstore on Ludlow Avenue 009

Having a bookstore (actually there were two at one point) added a lot to the Gaslight District. On someone mentioned—but couldn’t remember the name of—Kellerman’s, a store on Ormond that lasted, I don’t know, maybe a year or two. The owner of that store envisioned, but couldn’t quite pull off, a store like Kaldi’s (which, a few years later, pulled all the pieces together and became an enormous success). New World lasted decades, and the people in the neighborhood never took it for granted. Unfortunately, though, big box stores had a ravitational pull over the masses, and amazon could undersell anybody by a huge margin. Since New World folded ebooks entered the equation, providing even more competition to small bookstores, which folded all over America (it wasn’t just Ludlow Avenue).Bookstore on Ludlow Avenue 010            Well, the big boxes are almost all gone, ebooks sales tapered off long before people expected them to, and amazon has built an actual brick and mortar store because it has learned something those of us with any sense have known all along: bookstores are the ultimate platform for marketing books. Not only do you find out that a new book has hit the shelves (I still remember when Thomas Pynchon’s Mason & Dixon appeared in New World’s window after everyone thought the famous postmodern novelist had pursued a permanent disappearing act), plus the atmosphere of books gets under your skin. A bookstore on Ludlow Avenue would never be able to offer big fancy amazon-level discounts, but people are waking up to the fact that where you buy something can be as important as what you buy. It can erode a neighborhood, or it can help support a neighborhood.

Bookstore on Ludlow Avenue 012

If a bookstore were to return to the Gaslight District, it would have to do everything right. It should probably do the following:

  •           Include used books. This close to a university, people are constantly purging and collecting.
  •           Have a local authors section—and not just the new ones. How about books by Dallas Wiebe or (to go back a couple more years) Lafcadio Hearn?
  •           Include new novels. Those were popular at New World, and, here’s a case where bookstores + distributors had their system down.
  •           Sell gift cards. New World sold a lot of gift cards; they added up after a while.
  •           Sell records and compact discs as well. Records and compact discs could be both new and used. The new and already highly successful Plaid Room Records in Loveland handles a lot of pre-orders for vinyl, which is an ideal business model.

Bookstore on Ludlow Avenue 013

I worked part-time at both Kellerman’s and New World, and I still remember what bookstores brought to the neighborhood. Kellerman’s had lots of fun literary readings that brought together people in the literary community. I well remember how, on Friday nights at New World, people would walk in with ice cream cones asking, “Can I bring in ice cream?” (“That’s required,” I would answer). Some had had a drink or two before strolling in, and there was much frivolity on those nights. Sunday afternoons were quieter, with people sitting down and getting lost in a book. I got called in for New World during its last few weeks, and when people walked in the sense of loss to come was palpable. These are things I think about when I think about what a bookstore would bring to the Gaslight District. You can’t bring back the past, but you can start building new memories.

The Latest On Ludlow

Beads + Cookies 9

Now that the weather has warmed up a little, we’re starting to leave our cabins again. If you haven’t made it up to the Ludlow Avenue yet,here are some of the new sites that will greet you as you stroll down the street. First, it looks as if one of the storefronts has officially reached the getting-pretty-close-to-being-open phase; more on this development soon:

Beads + Cookie 1

Wonder what they’ll be selling…


Beads + Cookies 2

Could it be…


Beads + Cookies 3


Also, if you’re wondering what happened to the Bead Joint, it has moved to a new location. It’s still on the same side of the street, this time at 314 Ludlow Avenue. It’s in a smaller space now, yet the new location is so neat and tidy that when you walk in you may scratch your head and wonder how they got everything together in such a short amount of time. Martha gave credit for that to her new business partner, Tabitha, who is super-organized and efficient and the perfect complement to Martha. As I snapped photos Martha told me some of her old customers don’t know yet about her new location, so here I am spreading the word and asking other people that the Bead Joint is up and running again, with a new location and the same cute canine/spiritual advisor as before. (Her name is Sunshine.) The hours for The Bead Joint are Wednesday thru Saturday 11am to 7pm and Sunday 11am to 5pm. The phone number is 513.237.3725 and the email address is

Beads + Bookies 5


Beads + Cookies 7


Beads + Cookies 8


Beads + Cookies 9

Martha, Sunshine, and Tabitha



Esquire Theatre Hosts Live Music Every Wednesday

Esquire Theatre Live Music Every Wednesday

There’s no need to do suffer from cabin fever this winter, as there’s plenty of live entertainment on Ludlow Avenue. As you may have heard, Live at Ludlow Garage is up and running, already hosting sold-out shows by artists as esteemed as Rickie Lee Jones. Also, Lydia’s on Ludlow has open mics and featured readings three Thursdays a month; there are more details at this link.

And on top of that, the Esquire Theatre recently started hosting live music every Wednesday from 7pm to 9pm. The series features some of Cincinnati’s most popular musicians, including Ricky Nye, the Faux Frenchmen, and the Cincinnati Dancing Pigs. If you’re not aware already, the Esquire serves alcohol, including cocktails, so you can have a drink while you’re listening to the music (and popcorn!). The cover for each event is five dollars.  Here’s a link with more information about the series, and here’s the schedule:



FEB 10 – RICKY NYE & CHRIS DOUGLAS on upright bass






MAR 23 – RICKY NYE & vocalist KATIE LAUR


If you haven’t heard Rickie Nye before, check out this YouTube performance where he pays tribute to another Cincinnati blues musician; now that’s what I call the blues:


Never Mind the Bollocks, H-e-e-e-e-e-re’s Johnny!

Johnny Carson image

I’m not one to embrace new technology too quickly. Although I play CDs, vinyl is still the heart of my record collection, and I’ve never streamed anything. I record my songs not with Pro Tools but a cassette player.

One reason I’ve put off signing up for Cable TV is that I’ve gone for years at a time without a boob tube.

Last year, though, someone called to tell me that I could add cable to my Internet and phone package and actually pay less money, so for the first time I bit. By that point I had somehow amassed not one but two TVs.

In some ways the experiment has been successful. More than anything, Turner Classic Movies has helped satisfy my need for grainy black-and-white movies.

A couple months after I enrolled, however, I discovered that starting on January 1 Antenna TV—Channel 64.2 if you’re in Cinci—was going to show Johnny Carson episodes every night of the week. In some cities Antenna TV is available on cable, but with my cable provider you can only watch it with an antenna.

Somehow that just seems right.

So, I dug out an antenna and started watching Johnny Carson for the first time since his final week in 1992. At 11pm on weekends they show episodes from the 1980s and 1990s, and at 10 pm on weekend nights it’s shows from the 1970s. The weekend shows are 90 minutes long, a tradition that lasted until 1980.

No TV stations have rerun Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show since it ended. Even if you’ve watched clips on YouTube, returning to full episodes will spark a reappraisal.

Was it as great as you remember it being?

Absolutely. Carson is a master, and you can see it in the earliest 1970s clips through the episode that ran the other night with Elizabeth Taylor just three months before he called it quits.

Why was Johnny Carson such a natural as a talk-show host? In part it has something to do with his upbringing. Born in the Midwest, he was a down-to-earth guy who could have been your neighbor down the street.

Yet on the East and West Coasts—his shows took place New York and after that Hollywood—he exhibited a sophistication that was understated rather than flashy. Even the most famous entertainers Carson approached as an equal, and the interviews seem like real conversations as opposed to Hollywood glitz. We all know talk show hosts who are deferential or condescending, but that was never Carson’s style.

Something that becomes clear when you watch the show again is just how weird Carson’s humor could be. Obviously that’s a trait we associate with Letterman, but Carson got there first – somehow, though, with him that type of humor called less attention to itself.

So, the cable viewers whose providers don’t carry Antenna TV need to figure out how to hook their TV sets up the old-school way for an old-school show. And for those people who don’t watch cable, take note: the best show on TV is pure antenna.


A quick note: Antenna TV DOES show up these stations on cable in Cincinnati:

  • Comcast Ch. 253
  • Limestone/Bracken Cablevision Ch. 131
  • Limestone/Bracken Cablevision Ch. 18 (Mount Olivet)
  • Time Warner Cable Ch. 996

And they’re working on adding it to other cable providers.

Open Mic at Lydia’s on Ludlow

open mic 2 001

Good news from Lydia’s on Ludlow, aka Om Eco Café: two Thursdays a month the coffee house will host open mic nights, which means that anyone who wants to share their music, poetry, performance, fiction, or creative non-fiction is free to come up and perform. The readings will take place between 7pm and 9pm on the second and third Thursdays of each month, and the first will be on January 14. Already the buzz is on about this new series, which is sure to pull writers and musicians out of the woodwork from both the Gaslight District and throughout Cincinnati. The series will be hosted by Kelly Thomas, who earned an MA at Miami University and an MFA at Butler University and teaches English at NKU and Xavier. Kelly also happens to be a witty, provocative,energetic, and thoroughly unpredictable poet, as the poems on her website attest. Note also that Lydia’s on Ludlow is also going to have literary readings on the fourth Thursday of every month, only these will host featured readers instead of the open mic format – but I’ll save the details of that for a later blog entry. This should be fun, folks—and you can bet there will be a packed house, as ‘round these parts there’s all kinds of poets and fiction writers with no place to go—until now, at least!


Clifton Market Is A Go!

Clifton Market

Perhaps you’ve heard the news, or perhaps you haven’t. Even if you have, it’s worth hearing again, and in fact you may want to say it aloud a few times just to let it sink in:

Clifton is going to have a grocery store again.

That splendid news spread like wildfire yesterday, after this email that was straight from the horse’s mouth: Clifton Market Closed on it’s Loans Today! With our loans coming online today we will be seeing construction starting in the new year!  

Construction is expected to be finished by summer.

It’s appropriate that it would occur during the holiday season and right before the dawn of a new year. This happened because the people of Clifton worked together and refused to give up. It was the same spirit that save the Esquire Theatre, which has been a great success and a cornerstone in the community. 2015 was a great year for our community, and 2016 will be even better!


New Nelson Slater News

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It’s been awhile since we caught up with Nelson Slater; in fact, if memory serves, our last blog entry dates back to the release of his Steam-Age Time-Giant album. Turns out Nelson has another LP in the works, this project involving extensive collaboration with Tom Derwent, who’s worked with Nelson for a long time now. Nelson, who’s had more band names than Kiss has had farewell tours, has christened his present ensemble Andylouisian Dogs, and the release-in-progress is Unknown and Unsung. I’ve heard a rough mix of the recording, and I sent a CD of it to David Hintz, whose DC Rock Live is a much-read blog that does a great job of covering the wide range of music that hits Washington, DC. Dave was impressed with the record, and you can read his thoughts about it here.

Other new Nelson Slater news dates back to 1977 and a live performance by Alex Chilton. One year after the release of Nelson’s Wild Angel—an album that Lou Reed produced and played on—Alex Chilton recorded a live cover of one of the songs on that LP. It wasn’t until this year that an album came out of that performance. Live at the Ocean Club ’77 is a 2-LP vinyl release on Norton Records. It’s a great-sounding record cut straight from the master tapes. The final song on the record was Nelson’s “Dominating Force” from Wild Angel. It’s great to see this affirmation of Nelson’s songwriting talent surface now, after existing in a bubble all these years. Great song, great performance:

David Bowie Tribute at Urban Artifact

David Bowie Tribute 001

Tonight (11/20/15) a tribute to the music of David Bowie will take at Urban Artifact in Northside, a new club that has quickly staked its claim as a venue where anything can happen, including one-time-ever projects like this one. The performance will take place from 8pm to 10pm, and it’s free. Where so many musicians seem to get lost in the shuffle as the decades float by, David Bowie has achieved a Mount Rushmore status with a new generation, and this event should make for a lively Sunday evening. The band performing hits from throughout Bowie’s career is the Just Strange Brothers, who recently performed a tribute to Sly and the Family Stone at Urban Artifact, and who, it should be noted, have a horn section, which leads one to suspect that they may hit on some of those funky, groove-oriented tunes from Young Americans and Station to Station—songs like this one:


Holidays on Ludlow This Friday

Blog Holidays on Ludlow 2015

Holidays on Ludlow is back! It starts at 6pm this Friday, Dec. 11, and there’s free parking after 5 in the Merchant Lot on Howell Ave. There are all kinds of fun free activities to choose from that evening, including:

  • Horse Carriage Rides
  • Strolling carolers: Transitions Barbershop Quartet & United Methodist Vocal Choir
  •  Kids Art Activities at Lydia’s on Ludlow, sponsored by CCAC
  • Children’s Photos with Santa, courtesy of Cincinnati EyeCare Team
  • Pet Photos with Santa, courtesy of Howell Avenue Pet Hospital
  • Refreshments at Hansa Guild
  • Wine Tasting at La Poste
  • Warm cider courtesy of Clifton Natural Foods
  • Cookies to nibble at Lentz & Company
  • Christmas Jazz performance by Clifton residents at Lydia’s on Ludlow
  • United Methodist French Horn Ensemble will be playing
  • SCPA Guitarist & Harpist will be playing at Live at the Ludlow Garage
  • Sale items at Mizti’s Shoes & Accessories, plus a chance to win a basket of Good Earth natural skin care products
  • Ludlow Wines, will be hosting their Friday night wine tasting

Not to pick favorites, but this is a splendid opportunity for folks to check out Live at the Ludlow Garage, where there will be musicians performing in the lobby (and a Leigh Nash and Gabe Dixon concert in their performing space as well).  If you didn’t know already, Ludlow Garage isn’t just a concert venue; you can have dinner and a drink there as well  Finally, check out the flyer below to find out what else is happening at Lydia’s on Ludow/Om Eco Cafe: 

Blog Entry Om Eco Dec 11 Christmas


Jim Lauderdale Coming To Live at the Ludlow Garage


Live and Ludlow Garage is now up and running, with several concerts under its belt and many more scheduled; check the calendar for more info. Also, the Garage serves food and alcohol every night, regardless of whether music is playing. I wanted to highlight just one of the shows on tap, this one featuring veteran roots and Americana singer and songwriter Jim Lauderdale; the show is on Saturday, December 12. If you’re not familiar with Lauderdale’s music, I’ll bet you know some of his colleagues. He’s collaborated with Ralph Stanley and Buddy Miller, and he’s also one of the few musicians to work extensively with Robert Hunter other than, well, Jerry Garcia from the Grateful Dead. Robert Hunter, of course, is one of the great storytellers among lyricists, and just as Jerry Garcia turned those stories into unforgettable songs, Jim Lauderdale has also established a strong rapport with Hunter over several albums. In the intimate and acoustically fabulous Live at the Ludlow Garage, Lauderdale’s music will have an opportunity to really shine. Here’s a Hunter-Lauderdale gem entitled “Jawbone” (even the name of the song sounds like vintage Robert Hunter):

Ace Hardware Is Now a UPS Access Point (Plus They Now Offer Free Off-Street Parking)

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When Ace Hardware opened at 344 Ludlow Avenue over six years ago the whole neighborhood breathed a sigh of relief, as life suddenly became a lot more convenient. And things just got more convenient when Ace Hardware announced recently that they are now a UPS Access Point for easy parcel drop-off or collection. If you want a package to go out that day, bring it in by 4pm. Owner/manager Bryan Valerius told me today that the service is already popular, with international students taking advantage of it right off the bat. So that small little sign at the entrance to Ace Hardware means a big bunch of convenience for neighborhood residents – and so does the new free off-street parking (see bottom photo for details). We’re super happy to have Ace Hardware in the neighborhood – just one more small business making this a more vibrant (and did I forget to say convenient?) neighborhood.

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Steven Paul Lansky Reading & Performance at Clifton Cultural Arts Center Nov. 14

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On Saturday, November 14 at 5:30 pm Steven Paul Lansky will host an event at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center (CCAC). Steve is a fiction writer, poet, musician, artist, and animated videographer who lives in Clifton. This free event might be seen as an overview of at least a small portion of Steve’s career, with both a literary reading and a multi-media presentation in connection with Jack Acid (which Steve has described as a “postmodern psychedelic picaresque novel modeled after the Appalachian jacktale)” as well as some live music. For this event Steve will receive a little help from his friends, including the singer and songwriter Angel Starlove, as well as the Wilson Snopes band, a two-piece band in which which Steve plays harmonica. This performance is a fundraiser to support Steve’s upcoming trip to the 20th Annual AAWP Conference in Melbourne, Australia. Steve will have plenty of things for sale, including downloads of the Jack Acid audionovel, a CD by Wilson Snopes, original art, and copies of the literary magazine This: A Serial Review, which included an excerpt from Jack Acid. Expect colorful prose and music from someone who has long been an important figure in Cincinnati’s literary scene; you’ll have an opportunity to see a projected image of this animated video in DVD quality that Steve created in collaboration with other Cincinnati artists:

Steve, who has both an MA and an MFA, taught at Miami University for 15 years. Once the poet laureate of Over the Rhine, Steve recently received a grant from the Ohio Arts Council. He has published two chapbooks, Main St. and Eleven Word Title for Confessional Political Poetry Originally Composed for Radio, as well as the audionovel Jack Acid. Recently Steve has published in Cosmonauts Avenue, Whole Terrain, New Flash Fiction Review, Black Clock 20, and St. Petersburg Review Issue 8.

Rainbow’s End, mixed media by Steven Paul Lansky

 Jack Acid is necessarily a trippy story, and by some turn of events this performance will take place in what was Steve Lansky’s fourth grade social studies classroom. The piece will bring the listener to the end of the rainbow where Jack Acid finds a lotus tree that miraculously fixes the bad front tooth that he broke as a child.

What Store is Going in There?

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There’s been so much going in Clifton lately that we can’t keep up with everything. Just the other day when we were walking past the building at 272 Ludlow Avenue, between Subway and Jagdeep’s, we saw a storefront where it looked like a new business in the process of moving in and getting ready to open a new shop in the Gaslight District. Beyond that, though, we don’t know much. We’ve been sending asking people on our Facebook page for any information, and thus far the only response we’ve gotten is this rather cryptic video. Any sleuths out there who have any theories about what business this might be that will soon grace Clifton?



Clifton Natural Foods Celebrates 30th Anniversary

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This Saturday, November 7, Clifton Natural Foods is going to celebrate its 30th anniversary. Fortunately we’ll be able to celebrate the event at its new location, at 336 Ludlow Avenue in the heart of the Gaslight District. There will be lots of samples to try, plus discounts, gift basket raffles, and goodie bags. It’s been about a year and a half since Clifton Natural Foods moved to the Gaslight District (an event we wrote about in this blog entry), and it immediately seemed like a perfect fit. The owner, Bob Craig, couldn’t be happier, “We have half the space we had in Clifton Heights,” he said today, “but we have more product, and business has increased dramatically….We’re exceeding our expectations.” When asked how he liked the neighborhood, he said, “We love it. People here are invested in community. They want businesses to succeed. We really feel at home. Every day people tell me they’re so glad we’re in the neighborhood, and when you’re a retailer, that’s music to your ears.” He’s really looking forward to Saturday, and so are we–so come out and join the festivities!

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Zappawen at Urban Artifact Saturday

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This Saturday, October 31st, the first annual ZAPPAWEEN will take place at Urban Artifact! That means a superband with some of Cincinnati’s finest musicians will be performing a very special Frank Zappa album in its entirety on the most twisted night of the year. There’s no cover. The mystery album will be performed live in its entirety beginning at 9pm, and a set of Zappa favorites will follow at around 11:30. Expect wildness and frivolity–and join in the freak show yourself, wearing your craziest costume and acting like characters in Frank Zappa songs. To slightly misquote a song from the first Mothers of Invention album, “Who could imagine…that they would freak out…in Cincinnati?”

Exactly what Frank Zappa album will be performed, it turns out, is a bit of a mystery. Actually it’s more than that: it’s a great BIG mystery, and I was hoping that, since I knew Dominic Marino personally and have from time to time offered him a little support in the form of social media, he might give the inside scoop if I promised to keep a secret, but his lips are sealed. And that’s a bit troubling, as Zappa’s discography consists of exactly 100 albums. Nonetheless, I put on my detective thinking cap and, along with the help of some other Zappaphiles, made some deductions. When analyzing the clues that Urban Artifact has been leaking about the mystery album, it seems to us that it must be Joe’s Garage. Can we expect a live performance of acts I, II, & III? Will there be more theatrics than just a musical performance? How are they going to pull off things like the Central ScrEnutinizer, Sy Borg, and difficult tunes such as “Keep It Greasy” and “Wet T-Shirt Nite”?

The instrumentation of this Cincinnati superband also suggests that this album may be Joe’s Garage, the musicians in questions being Brad Myers (Ray’s Music Exchange, Jeremy Pinnell & The 55s, Aja), Brandon Scott Coleman (local jazz guitarist who has been playing with EVERYONE lately), Steve Goers (adjunct professor for CCM’s Musical Theater program and session keyboardist around town), Kristin Agee (Us, Today, The Lovers), Devon Leigh (The Qtet, Eclipse), Aaron Jacobs (the busiest bass player in Cincinnati), and Dominic Marino (Blue Wisp Big Band, The Cincy Brass, and founder of Urban Artifact).

The event promises a live performance of the mystery album at 9pm, plus a second set of “Zappa favorites” to follow—and from the special guest appearances list, it seems to me we should expect a horn section for the second set.

This is the first ZAPPAWEEN in what Urban Artifact hopes to be many; let’s make it one to remember!

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Live at the Ludlow Garage: The Facts


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Everywhere I go people are talking about Live at the Ludlow Garage, the new performance venue that opens next week in the Gaslight District. Because I live in the neighborhood, people assume I know everything about it; no end of questions have come my way, and at first all I could say was, “I don’t know any more than you do.” Gradually, though, I’ve pieced together some facts with the help of Scott Crawford, the owner of the Garage, and Kevin Blum, who books the shows. Since people still ask where it is, I should start by saying that that it’s located at 342 Ludlow Avenue, where Olive’s used to be. Other frequently-asked questions include:

What kind of performance venue will it be? Live at Ludlow Garage will offer a unique concert experience. Expect an intimate, up-close concert experience with superb acoustics. With only 262 seats, it will be like seeing the national acts in your own living room.

How do I buy tickets? That’s simple: go to the website,, clicks the EVENTS tab, which will reveal the acts scheduled to perform there; beneath those pictures you’ll see the word BUY; from there it’s self-explanatory.

Can I buy tickets at the door on the night of the show? Yes, but because these are national acts playing a small venue, many shows will sell out before the night of the concert.

What kind of music will be featured? The list would include roots music of every style (including folk and blues), world music, pop music, jazz, rap and reggae (Matisyahu), and acts like the California Guitar Trio or Jake Shimabukuro, both of whom play a very eclectic style of music. In keeping with the intimate atmosphere, you’ll mostly hear acoustic instruments, some by musicians who always play acoustic, and—in the spirit of MTV Unplugged—some by musicians who welcome the opportunity to perform in a more stripped-down setting.

When does it open? Oct.29th is the opening night; it kicks off the Grand Opening, with four nights in a row of live music.

How do I find out who’s playing there? On the website, click the EVENTS tab, and you’ll all the upcoming concerts. And to learn about newly-added shows as soon as they’re added, click the op-in for email updates on the homepage of the website

Now that we’ve got some details out of the way, let me say something much more subjective. Those of us who live in the Gaslight District are thrilled to see the Garage coming to fruition. Being able to walk to see national artists in an intimate venue, have a drink and dinner before and after – does it get any better than that?  It’s great for the neighborhood, and it’s great for the whole city. There’s nothing better than a great concert, and when it’s up close and personal it’s even better. Welcome, Live at the Ludlow Garage!

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The Latest at Petey’s Pet Stop: Go Get Grover Groomed!

The groomer, Suzanne Whitaker, with the scene-stealing and perpetually photo-opping Breezy and Annabelle

The groomer, Suzanne Whitaker, with the scene-stealing and perpetually photo-opping Breezy and Annabelle

About two months have passed since Petey’s Pet Stop opened in Clifton’s Gaslight District. Petey’s was an instant hit in the neighborhood, and it’s nice to have such a fun new addition to the small businesses that make the Gaslight District a special to live. You can read about some of the services it offers in this blog entry. This week it began offering a new service: grooming. The newly-hired groomer, Suzanne Whitaker, has over 15 years of experience with dog grooming as well as a lifelong passion for animals. Suzanne trained at Nash Academy of Animal Arts in Lexington, Kentucky. She has groomed at several grooming salons in Greater Cincinnati and owned and operated Your Best Friend Pet Salon in Hebron, Kentucky for several years. She’s at Petey’s every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, as well as some Saturdays. You can make an appointment for a grooming session or try a walk-in; she’s available for walk-in nail trims no matter what. Although it’s not essential, Suzanne encourages first-timers to meet her beforehand and discuss how they like their pet groomed. Price varies according to breed and size. Sounds like Suzanne was, like the store, an instant hit—when I checked in at the end of her first work day, she said she was busy the whole day. Petey’s is located at 311 Howell, right next to–very conveniently–Howell Avenue Pet Hospital. Hours for Petey’s are Tuesday through Friday 9am to 7pm and Saturday 9am to 5pm. Their phone number is 513.221.7387.

Mondays on Clifton Plaza


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Mondays are becoming more active on Ludlow Avenue, and this Monday, September 28, should be the biggest yet. The Clifton Plaza “Flea for All” will have at least three vendors from 4pm until they decide to go home. One of them, Niemeyer Farm, has been setting up for the last few weeks, and it always draws a crowd, as you can see from the photo at the top of this blog entry. On Monday mornings Julie Benthaus always posts what she’s bringing to Clifton on nextdoor.clifton, as in last week’s post: “It’s a PERFECT market day! Visit Niemeyer Farm for apples, tomatoes, plums, basil + rosemary plants, honey and peppers!” New to Clifton Plaza is Stu “VintageKing” Nizny, whose Pixel 19 has been selling vintage and retro clothes, t-shirts, artwork, jewelry, and furniture for decades. There will also be a vendor selling record albums for a very soft price. We encourage other vendors to set up as well this Monday or any Monday. It doesn’t cost anything to do so, and you don’t have to get a permit or anything like that – just show up and sell!

Also, hang around some, as Ludlow Avenue stores and restaurants are either continuing to run or adding Monday night specials.

  • Los Potrillos offers half-price small margaritas;
  • The Esquire Theatre continues to promote “Boomer Mondays”;
  • Habaneros sells burritos for $5 and Tecate beer for $2;
  • Arlin’s charges $2.50 for 23-ounce Yuenglings, Budweisers, or Bud Lights.

Be aware, too, that the vendors and specials will continue for many Mondays to come. As Julie Benthaus put it, Niemeyer Farm plans to keep selling “until it starts snowing.” So come out and buy or sell or just see what’s going on the Plaza!

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Come to the CliftonFest Kickoff Party on Friday!

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CliftonFest on Ludlow is back this weekend, Sept. 25-27, with live music, food, arts, retail booths, beer, wine, “the Clifton Chase,” a 5K Race, and some good old-fashioned camaraderie. Gaslight Property is again a proud sponsor of this annual event. Things will kick off Friday night with the Wine & Jazz party at Clifton Plaza. From 6pm to 10pm people will be able to drink wine on the Plaza, catch up with old friends and make new ones, and (from 7pm to 10pm) listen to the jazz sounds of Wade Baker. There will be other things cooking on Ludlow Avenue as well: from 8pm to 11pm Om Eco Café will host a literary reading that will feature writers from the University of Cincinnati. Also, Ludlow Wines will be hosting its weekly wine tasting from 5pm to 8pm. Ludlow Wines was nice enough to donate the wine for the Clifton Plaza event. I should also mention that, at 7:30pm on Saturday, Ludlow Wine will have a prize drawing, the top prize being tickets to visit the Maker’s Mark Distillery. For a full rundown of what’s going on at CliftonFest 2015, check CliftonFest’s website.

OTR Record Fair This Saturday

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A first-ever record fair will take place this Saturday, September 26, from 12pm to 6pm at Rhinegeist Brewery, located at 1910 Elm Street in Over the Rhine. The event, which is free, promises “Vinyl, Beer, and great door prizes from Crosley Radio, Ubahn, Plaid Room Records, and more.” Agar, Rhinegeist, Northside Record Fair, Savantry and Ubahn Festival teamed up for this event. It’s great to see more record fairs coming to Cincinnati. The Northside show has been a hit from the beginning, and the vinyl boom in general has helped a music industry that took a quick, hard dive begin to crawl back and make things interesting again. Although there are lots of other good things you can say about vinyl, I focus on the craftsmanship involved in physically creating a vinyl record; to make one, you have to get your hands dirty, applying old-school (and largely forgotten) technology that they don’t teach you in school. The person spearheading this record fair is Rob Mason, who works for the OTR marketing firm Agar and has met Jerry Springer. And he’s a real music + record lover, as this Q+ A attests:

What inspired you to host a record fair in Cincinnati? I decided to put this event together because I was looking throw a fun, community facing event that coincided with the music community that will be taking over OTR during the music festival.

How long have you been into records/vinyl, and what do you collect? I’ve been amassing records for the past 20 years. I’m a music fanatic and I’m always on the lookout for cool new bands…I’d say I’m probably 70/30 in favor of new music over classic LPs. My wife would say that I have more than enough LPs and 45s but we all know that’s never the case.

Sounds like you’re from around these parts, then left, then came back. What took you away/where did you go…and why did you come back?  Nice Jerry Springer photo by the way. I went to school at Miami Univ…got my start in the music biz at WMSR and then at WOXY… I lived in NYC for the past 10 years working for various record labels and a music distribution company. We recently relocated to Cincinnati (my wife is from here) as we just had our 2nd kid and it was time to be closer to family. I was very excited to meet Jerry at Whispering Beard Fest. He couldn’t have been nicer!

Tell us about your label. I’ve been running Old Flame in various capacities for the past 7 years. It’s definitely been a labor of love but I’ve had the honor of working with some amazing bands including putting out an early 45 for Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings, the debut LP from Northampton, MA’s Potty Mouth, and way more great bands. I’m really excited to be back in SW Ohio and bring more shows and music-centric events to the area!

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Sao Paulo Underground Plays the Loft Society This Saturday

With two musicians from Brazil and one from Chicago, Sao Paulo Underground is a one-of-a-kind band whose music is a heady mix of Brazilian melodies, electronica, jazz, and funky beats. Their music is dense, detailed, ambient, and groove-oriented, with so many layers it’s hard to believe only three musicians can make such a thick wall of sound. Somehow it just makes sense that this trio would end up at the hippest and…well, most underground jazz club in Cincinnati, the Loft Society at 119 Calhoun St. The show takes place this Saturday, September 19, with sets at 8pm and 10pm. Between sets you can check out the memorabilia- and art-filled walls that act as a giant collage. The cover is $20.

On percussion, cavaquinho, and electronics, Mauricio Takara provides the rhythms and polyrhythms; along with adding to the groove, multi-keyboardist Guilherme Granado is a builder of soundscapes. After their Contemporary Arts Center performance in 2012, Granado mentioned touring with the electronica ensemble Prefuse 73, a familiar name in alternative hip hop and ambient music circles. Cornetist Rob Mazurek from Chicago is among the most prolific jazz musicians working today, releasing records at a staggering rate on multiple labels. Mazurek has peformed all over the world, but after the CAC show he said the Loft Society is probably his favorite play to play anywhere. In fact, that evening he praised the Loft so effusively that Granado and Takara were itching to play there. Three years later, they are.

Guilherme Granado's keyboard setup the last time he played Cincinati - we'll see what he brings this time

Guilherme Granado’s keyboard setup the last time he played Cincinati – we’ll see what he brings on Saturday.


Sundry and Vice

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I would like to tell you that my visits to local cocktail joints around Cincinnati are all based on hours of in-depth research prior to walking in the door, but the truth is, this is the second time in a row that my cocktail blog entry occurred because…well, I accidentally ran into the place. This tale begins with the Bootsy Collins concert that was supposed to take place at Washington Park, except Mother Nature wasn’t having it. With just a slight trickle of precipitation drizzling down from the sky and a few scattered lightning bolts, I figured I’d wander down to OTR and see if Cincinnati’s fabled funkster had scared the clouds away with his bootie-shaking bass. No such luck, but on my way back to my car, which was parked a few streets over, I spotted what looked like a cocktail bar. Walking inside Sundry and Vice, located at 19 W. 13th St., I saw people drinking from glasses in all the right shapes. The lighting was soft, and the music was too; a stamped tin ceiling, a wooden bar, and a shelving display of old medical bottles that may have been used when Sherlock Holmes was solving murder mysteries added to the atmosphere. You could sit in one of the large, comfy booths or at the line of bar stools and talk without shouting. One of the things I liked right away about Sundry and Vice was its simplicity. This was a cocktail bar, with its own apothecary theme…and that’s enough. It uses its 1100 square feet well. The servers were friendly and the atmosphere low key. Along with the martini I ordered (gin, dry, good) I was handed a book with a pen, and at first I thought, are they handing me my bill? No, the idea was, here’s an old book with lots of words in it, but drinkers are encouraged to, I guess, add their own post-modern spin to it.

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I’m a little weak on histology, but for some reason these lines of poetry came into my head:

All things are a-flowing

Sage Heraclitus says,

But a tawdry cheapness

Shall outlast our days.

I couldn’t remember who the poet was who penned those words, but I ascribed that stanza to Donald Trump—and who knows, maybe I’m right.

Hours for Sundry and Vice are: Monday closed; Tues – Fri 4pm – 2am; Saturday 12pm – 2am; Sunday 12pm – 12am; and its phone number is 513.721.VICE (8423).

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Big Lazy To Play MOTR Pub

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On September 10 MOTR Pub will host a very special (and free) concert by a NYC-based band that uses three instruments—guitar, upright bass, and drums—to create a rich and colorful soundscape. Big Lazy doesn’t play a lot of notes, yet their music spreads out like a wide-screen Technicolor movie that opens with a shot of a desert sky that seems to go on forever. The soundtrack you’re imagining as you listen to Big Lazy somehow combines a rural setting with a noir narrative. It only makes sense that the leader of the band, guitarist Stephen Ulrich, has composed music for HBO series Bored to Death and the film Art and Craft. If you attend the show, you’ll hear echoes of Ennio Morricone and Henry Mancini, but in a different context. Their music should sound lovely in an intimate setting like MOTR Pub. The opening act will be Cincinnati’s re-energized Tigerlilies, who have been on a roll lately with live shows and new music, some of it in the form of cassettes! Sounds like a good night to check out the merch table. Here’s a video of Big Lazy playing Elephant Walk:


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!

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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:

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:

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:   and also see

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

(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: 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

Sally’s Treats & Treasures Celebrates One-Year Anniversary


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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Peanut Jim

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


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


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:







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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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 for the live broadcast link. For more information, you can visit and like their Facebook page at or contact Shari Lauter at, or 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

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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

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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 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 or visit 

Northside Record Fair on April 25

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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!



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:

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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


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!


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



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.

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Myrtle’s Punch House in Walnut Hills

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Have 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 generally don’t like bars, but Myrtle’s had a nice, laid-back vibe to it, and 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 for Myrtle’s is 513.479.6554

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Meditteranean King Celebrates Its Two-Year Anniversary


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.


 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.


 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!






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!




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   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; 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:

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:

And here’s the Facebook page for this event:

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!





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!











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


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 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 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.





































































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.”

another part forest again

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: