(614) Magazine: October 2019

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BIG PICTURE Come all ye revelers to the Ohio Renaissance Festival. See more on page 70. PHOTO BY BRIAN KAISER









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O N TH E COV E R: Illustration by Dustin Goebel



nce during college, my roommate and I were talking about “what we believed.” Tara was quite logical, rational, and utterly materialistic (meaning that she believed exclusively in the material world, not that she believed in the acquisition of material possessions as a way of life). So I was surprised to learn that the least favorite part of her first job was shutting down the upper floor of the small and only library her town had—and she often had to do it at night. The library had been the legacy of the town’s founders, and the name of the library was a quaint combination of their family names. They were now buried in the cemetery right across the street, and apparently, they had taken up residence on the library’s upper floor. The fear of the supernatural clearly embarrassed her. “What I believe sitting in my dorm room in the clear afternoon and what I believe while shutting down an old library at night are two different things,” she told me. That was the closest Tara ever came to saying that she believed in ghosts, or in anything that couldn’t be touched or visualized with scientific equipment. Personally, I don’t see how you grow up in a town as small as her hometown and not believe in ghosts. From everything I’ve read, that place is tripping with ghosts. They are everywhere, from churches to roller rinks. All the buildings are old. Everyone who lived in them or worked in them met with some tragic end, and their spirit selves are still in everyone’s damn small-town business. Tara drove us past this questionable library/ cemetery compound, a couple years later. “See, I shouldn’t have been so scared,” she said, trying to sound nonchalant. To me, the place looked like Salem Village, minus an actual gallows. Drive faster, I silently urged her.



ASSISTANT EDITOR Mitch Hooper PHOTO EDITOR Brian Kaiser CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Rebecca Tien, Zane Osler, Olivia James 614NOW EDITOR Regina Fox STAFF WRITER Mike Thomas

SENIOR CONTRIBUTORS J.R. McMillan, Jeni Ruisch Jaelani Turner-Williams, Linda Lee Baird

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS John McLaughlin, David Lewis, Melinda Green, Kerry Francis



Oh god, I do believe in spooks. The fear of the paranormal seems to be instinctual, firmly situated outside our reasoning. So even if we say we don’t believe in ghosts, the right environment certainly seems to affect the strength of that conviction. Creating that environment is the job of many people you’ll read about this month. Haunting is serious business for many Central Ohioans. From designers to performers to makeup artists to special effects and firebreathers, you’ll find that haunters absolutely love what they do, and they love perfecting their craft. Like drag, haunting is about creating a world, and then owning it. And it’s powerful and cathartic to own the things that scare us. It didn’t surprise me that one of our subjects this month told me he taught Sunday School. Religion also makes us confront our mortality, although there are decidedly fewer chainsaws


involved. October is a ritual. We look at death, aliens and ghosts face-to-face, scream, and then say, “Not today.” Then we’ll walk out of that haunted house, triumphantly waiting to return next year. The scary season encapsulates everything that’s human about us as a species: our need for excitement, our need to reassure ourselves that we are safe from what’s dangerous and evil, and the duality of our selves. Because hey, one day you’re teaching Sunday School, and the next day you’re applying bullet holes with spirit gum to someone’s forehead. Halloween is coming, and everyone’s hidden self is about to be revealed. Best,

Laura Dachenbach Managing Editor (614) Magazine

Dan Sponseller

CREATIVE DESIGNERS Jess Wallace Sarah Moore GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Hugo “Huggs” Albornoz ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Meggin Weimerskirch SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Derek Landers ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Becky Frazee , Nikki Harris DIGITAL ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Lori Brittanham OPERATIONS MANAGER Megan Sheedy VP OF SALES AND MARKETING Lindsay Press (614) Magazine 458 E Main St., Columbus, OH 43215 Office: (614) 488-4400 Fax: (614) 488-4402 Email submissions to: editor@614columbus.com www.614columbus.com


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Dictionary NOSH (näSH)

1. Noun: Food. My fridge is a little empty, but you should be able to find some nosh next to the PBR. 2. V erb: Eat food enthusiastically or greedily. We ordered three large pizzas so everyone can nosh till their stomachs explode. 3. Restaurant: A new restaurant in the Downtown offering American-style tapas and craft cocktails.

Extra Scoops Alas, only one headline could stand as the winner and it was I Scream, You Scream. If you flip back to the cover, we tossed a few easter eggs for the flavors of ice cream. Just like the cover headline, we could only fit so many on the page. Here are a few extras we think you’ll enjoy.

Ghost Face Vanilla Redrum Raisin Children Of The Sun-Popped Corn

You can read more about Nosh on High on page 40.

Blood… Orange Sorbet You’ll Root Beer Float Too




Now Streaming

This month’s cover is brought to you by Dustin Goebel—he’s our former lead designer, current senior graphic designer for the American Motorcycle Association, and the king of creepy in the illustration world. While many options were pitched as headlines for the cover, only one could make it. Here are a few that just didn’t quite make the cut, but are worth an honorable mention.

Happy Halloween! On page 54, we take a dive into the upcoming happenings and events geared towards the holiday. If those events just aren’t enough and you’re looking for more ways to get your scare on, check out these horror movies available for streaming.

Introducing The Scream Team

Green Room, available on Netflix

Creeping It Real

Creep, available on Netflix and Amazon Prime

Down To Clown

Hereditary, available on Amazon Prime

Just Here For The Boo’s

A Quiet Place, available on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime

Life’s A Scream

We Need To Talk About Kevin, available on Amazon Prime


Pull Quotes On page 32, we take a look at the national tour of the musical Mean Girls at the Ohio Theatre from Oct. 22-27. The musical is based on the iconic movie, which is chalk-full of quotable moments, and we wanted to highlight a few of our favorites.

“It’s October 3rd.” — Cady Heron

“Get in loser. We’re going shopping.” — Regina George

“It’s like I have ESPN or something. My breasts can always tell when it’s going to rain.” — Karen Smith

“I’m not like a regular mom. I’m a cool mom!” — Mrs. George

“I’m sorry that people are jealous of me. But I can’t help it that I’m popular.” —Gretchen Wieners






Bon Iver

There’s so many amazing events happening in the 614 that we needed to give them a little more room to stretch out. Not only will you get more events each month coming from the magazine staff, but a few will be recommended by your fellow readers. Have an event you want to shout-out? Send an email to events@614columbus.com.


Fresh off the album release of i,i in August 2019, Bon Iver is hitting the road and making a stop at The Schottenstein Center at the beginning of October. The American indie folk rock band has found a niche in blending electronic music with folk music creating an experimental sound which won them a Grammy for Best New Artist and Best Alternative Album in 2012.


Hugh Jackman: The Man. The Music. The Show. THE SCHOTTENSTEIN CENTER

While Hugh Jackman’s claim to fame might be his portrayal of Wolverine in X-Men with Marvel Universe, he’s much more than a burly superhero with a bad-ass attitude. His tour of “The Man. The Music. The Show.” features Jackman performing the soundtrack from his popular movie, The Greatest Showman as well as Broadway and Hollywood musical numbers backed with a live orchestra.


(-10.12, 10.18-19) The Rocky Horror Show

10.11 (-10.13) The Columbus Italian Festival



Let’s do the time warp again! The iconic Rocky Horror Picture Show is back in action in the city as Dr. Frank N Furter, Janet, and the rest of the crew portrayed by Cyclodrama will be taking over Club Diversity, where the intimate space is sure to make this a Rocky Horror you’ve never experienced before.



Don’t let the year go by without indulging yourself with pizza baked fresh by St. John Catholic Church, Italian cooking demonstrations, and dancing in the streets. Entertainment includes a historic church tour, and music such as the talents of Austin Giorgio of The Voice.



The ever-popular Chainsmokers are taking their music on tour and we can only imagine the Schott will be packed to the brim on this October night. The EDM duo has made hits like “Closer,” “Don’t Let Me Down,” and “Selfie” which have become the soundtrack to many college house parties across the country and right here in Ohio.

10.13 Instant Pot Cooking Class: Desserts for National Dessert Month 1400 FOOD LAB

Everyone’s new kitchen saver is the Instant Pot, so as part of a class series, Stephanie Eakins, creator of The Freezer Meal Club and 1400 Food Lab, aims to help you get the most out of your new gadget. Learn what all of those buttons actually do, and always know what your next meal will be.




(-11.17) West Side Story GARDEN THEATER

Short North Stage brings rival gangs Sharks and Jets to the stage for a rumble in this classic musical often described as a modernized Romeo and Juliet. Known for its social message, powerful choreography and beautiful musical numbers such as “Somewhere” and “Tonight,” West Side Story remains as relevant as ever.


Haunted Tour of Columbus VARIES

Sure you might’ve heard of the haunted spots in the city, but do you have the courage to explore them? That’s just what you’ll be doing on this tour where you’ll stroll through areas such as The Worthington Inn and the Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery. From history about these places to stories about hauntings, this should be on every Halloween fan’s radar.






Sara Abou Rashed’s Map of Myself LINCOLN THEATRE

A rising new voice in storytelling, Sara Abou Rashed returns to the Lincoln to explore identity, language, war, and journeys in her onewoman show. Rashed combines a powerful message with humor and vulnerability to create a performance that’s not soon forgotten.



10.18 (-10.20) WizardWorld Columbus GREATER COLUMBUS CONVENTION CENTER

While our experts in the field continue the hunt to find Hogwarts, the Greater Columbus Convention Center will play host to WizardWorld where all things mystical and magical will be celebrated. The event will be loaded with comics, games, film, pop culture references, and other things we Muggles find interesting.






Columbus Hard Cider & Doughnut Fest SPECIAL




It’s officially fall, and is there any beverage more quintessential this season than cider? The Columbus Hard Cider And Doughnut Fest is your chance to indulge your sweet tooth as you make your way through seven different venues offering cider and doughnuts. Your ticket grants you access to discounted prices on the beverages, with hard ciders costing $4 and beer at $3. Additionally, doughnuts will only be $2.






10.19 First Responders Night: Columbus Blue Jackets v. New York Islanders





The Blue Jackets are back, baby! As they prepare to take on the New York Islanders, Nationwide will also be celebrating the city’s first responders before the match and throughout the evening. Prior to the faceoff, the Columbus Police and Fire Department Ice Hockey Team will take on New York’s Police and Fire Department hockey team for a friendly (or not so friendly) match. Let’s go Columbus!



Spook Out Movie Magic

10.20 Celine Dion: Courage World Tour



The Disney movie Hocus Pocus is the feature for this part of CAPA’s 50th anniversary. Participating in a costume competition themed around the film could win you CAPA gift certificates. The “Mighty Morton” organ, as always, will be adding its own special presence to the evening.






Does Celine Dion even need an introduction? She is quite possibly one of the most-recognized names across the world in pop music, and she’s bringing her iconic music to Columbus near the end of October. This is her first tour in 10 years, so don’t miss out on your chance to see it!

VISIT US ON THE WEB www.columbus.funnybone.com



145 Easton Town Center Columbus, OH 43219








Remember the Wal-Mart yodeling kid? Yeah, he turned that into a career. Now, he’s yodeling and presumably breaking hearts on stage across the country, including right here in Columbus. He’s come a long way from the Wal-Mart shopping aisles, and we have to admit the name of this tour is just hilarious. Our family is great, Mason. Thanks for asking!

10.25 Haunted Fest Ohio OHIO EXPO CENTER

The Ohio Expo Center will be home to EDM fans from all around the city as REZZ, RL Grimes, Dombresky, and more will be taking the stage providing some electrifying sounds. Dance to your heart’s content, and please for us, drink some damn water.




Ohio State Buckeyes v. Wisconsin Badgers OHIO STADIUM

Happy Saturday, or as it’s more aptly known, the Buckeyes day. Our beloved Buckeyes take on the Badgers from Wisconsin in a Big Ten showdown and us fans will be needed in full force to give the cheeseheads a warm welcome. Go Bucks!




Rounding out your eventful October is BrewDog’s 5K Fall Classic. Here runners and walkers will have the option to participate in a 5K or a 10K, and all will have the opportunity to slug back some brews afterwards. Life is all about balance, so don’t even worry about the calories in your beer—you’ll burn them off in your jog prior to drinking!




Play Mystie for Me

Mystery Science Theater 3000 brings its live tour to Columbus



was young and did not have cable. Therefore, I did not understand the basics of Mystery Science Theater 3000 when two friends tried to persuade me to accompany them to the Ohio Union to see an episode of the then-Comedy Central cult phenomenon on a somewhat-bigger screen. One friend began to explain that MST3K was about a man who had been trapped on a satellite functioning as a penal colony by mad scientists trying to take over the world who forced him to watch movies to monitor his brain. When I failed to see why this might be entertaining, he turned to our companion. “It’s some guys making fun of old movies,” was the reply. “And it’s hilarious. And we’ll get free T-shirts.” Later that evening, free T-shirt in hand, I became a confirmed “Mystie,” and when I finally gained some access to cable, I spent serious time on a couch, visiting the Satellite of Love with snarky bots Crow, Tom Servo, Gypsy and their human host/test subject Joel Robinson, played by the series creator Joel Hodgson, who admits that the simple MST3K concept emerged out of creative need. “I felt like the executives I was meeting in L.A. and New York at the time weren’t giving me the feeling like they would understand or like the kind of shows I was coming up with,” said Hodgson. “And so I decided that I had to come up with a show I could basically selffund or do very cheaply. And so when I got to the idea of Mystery Science Theater I knew I had an idea that could be made really inexpensively and was also innovative and had never been done before.” Indeed, the time and technology were right to create and produce inexpensive television. MST3K premiered in 1988 on KTMA-TV, a UHF channel licensed to 26


Minneapolis, Minnesota and eventually made the leap to The Comedy Channel/Comedy Central. After seven seasons, the series was picked up on the Sci-Fi channel. A Kickstarter campaign and Netflix gave the series new life in 2017. MST3K has been recognized as one of the 100 Best Shows of All-Time and has won a Peabody award. MST3K came to me during a rough patch of my life, and did exactly what it needed to do: be an organic, responsive, communal humor that taught me to laugh at my less-than-perfect world—a world that like a bad movie, was often filled with insincerity, oversimplification and mediocrity that did not deserve any sort of celebrity or distribution. On screen, Joel and the bots channeled my frustrations at my real-life B-movie world. But Hodgson tells me putting together the show itself wasn’t always the laugh-fest that people imagined it to be. At the end of the day, creating and writing comedy is work. “There’s an outside perspective that people think it’s just hilarious from morning to night, and you must laugh all day long,” Hodgson said. “It’s just like any job; you have moments where you’re laughing with the people you’re working with, and the rest of the time you’re working.” Now 31 years after MST3K’s pilot, Hodgson is saying goodbye with his final live tour of the show. He and the rest of the cast will be riffing off lowquality movies, just as always. But Hodgson, who started performing as a magician and ventriloquist in the seventh grade, really wants to (re)acquaint you with the fantastic world of puppetry, starting with MST3K’s MST3K memorable robot crew, which he originally collaged out of found objects. “I had made probably 50 of these

sculptures that I used to sell locally in Minneapolis,” said Hodgson. “I kind of created a language of how to build stuff and so to make the robots I kind of used what I knew about building ventriloquist dummies [which] translated into these puppets. If you notice they’re really different than what was popular then, which were muppets. They’re kind of the opposite. They work on a headstick, and they move a little more woodenly and they’re not soft.”

“I kind of created a language of how to build stuff and so to make the robots I kind of used what I knew about building ventriloquist dummies [which] translated into these puppets. If you notice they’re really different than what was popular then, which were muppets. They’re kind of the opposite. They work on a headstick, and they move a little more woodenly and they’re not soft.”

Rather than create a copious cast of interchangeable puppet characters, Hodgson stuck with three basic characters, the same number an expert ventriloquist can interact with. While onscreen creature-making has largely become the domain of CGI, live puppetry is still an active, evolving art. The bots have all received upgrades for their tour, and they’ll be showing off their brand-new capabilities. “[The tour is] called The Great Cheesy Movie Circus Tour, so it’s really a robot circus,” said Hodgson. “That’s the one thing that I think people really miss—is who’s really doing the live puppetry now.” Tremendously proud of his cast, their work ethic, and their puppeteering skills, Hodgson doesn’t want to brag, nor criticize fellow puppeteers. But he looks around at the niche that MST3K is filling, and the words “state-of-theart” enters his vocabulary. “The Muppets aren’t doing anything like this.” •

The Great Cheesy Movie Circus Tour comes to Columbus on October 6th at the Riffe Center. See capa.com/events for details and tickets.




Gallery Space

Maya Lin, Ann Hamilton and Jenny Holtzer: HERE BY JA E L A N I TU R N E R -W I L L I A MS | P H OTOS BY B R I A N KA I S E R

Visual artists Maya Lin, Ann Hamilton and Jenny Holtzer have respectively crafted worldrenowned legacies that have brought them back to their native state. Challenging viewers with an intentional focus on Ohio’s constant adaptation, both environmental and ethical, each artist will make visceral connections with guests of HERE, an exhibition that brings together three significant Ohio artists whose work has stood the test of time, and who have finally come together for the first time. “While I and others at the Wexner thought about an exhibition that featured other Ohio-born artists, these three just seemed to make sense, aesthetically and in terms of their ideas and their potential relationship to the galleries of the Wexner Center,” says HERE curator Michael Goodman. “I started to think about this place in terms of the Wexner’s 30 years. About that time, I saw a set of Jenny Holzer’s benches from 2017 at Art Basel in Switzerland. This work used language by the Polish WWII-era poet Anna Swir. I was really moved by them, and it occurred to me that Jenny was from Ohio and that a good portion of her career matched the Wexner’s 30-year lifespan to this point.” Along with Holtzer, Goodman had aligned his sentiments with the works of Lin and Hamilton, thus spawning the aesthetical collaboration with The Wexner Center. While each artist has their own personal style that is imprinted in their art, they have an interdependence that has lasted throughout their careers. •

• Truisms and Inflammatory Essays, Jenny Holzer




“While there is some commonality in why these three artists think about and use materials, what has become more interesting is how the accumulation of materials seems to have, at least in part, come to define how they all thought about this exhibition and about the galleries of the Wexner Center,” says Goodman. “All three have literally accumulated massive amounts of their chosen materials—posters, language, glass marbles, map pins, images—to create immersive worlds for our patrons to think about and, hopefully, to carry away with them into their lives. As viewers walk into the Wexner galleries this fall, this will be immediately felt. I think the exhibition feels like a world, and also like the world.” Specifically addressing Ohio’s environmental issues, Maya Lin’s nail 30


installation Pin River: Ohio Aquifers will represent Ohio waterways. In tandem with another piece by Lin, a glass-beaded “map” of the 2017 flood between the Ohio and Wabash Rivers speaks to the impact of global warming. As an in-depth look into familiar home objects scattered across Ohio, Ann Hamilton’s on view placement will be on the walls of the Wexner Center overlooking Ohio State’s campus. Her project when an object reaches for your hand, is a collaborative effort with The Thompson Library, a meditation on the perception of objects, and how they’re ingrained in our lives. Engaged with themes of universal humanity, Jenny Holtzer’s direct immediacy of Truisms and Inflammatory Essays will surround viewers with verbal adhesives.

• Left to Right: Pin River: Ohio Aquifers, Maya Lin,

Detail of a glass-beaded “map” of the 2017 flood between the Ohio and Wabash Rivers, Maya Lin, when an object reaches for your hand, Ann Hamilton in collaboration with The Thompson Library

“We are happy to recognize all they have done to shape the contours of how we think about art because women really have done so much of this work; most of it, actually, over the last 50 years or so.” “Choosing the work for the exhibition was largely about these three artists doing what they have consistently done well—thinking about the emotional and physical engagement that views have to an exhibition space and applying these concerns to the Wexner’s spaces specifically and then doing so in terms of what they are thinking now,” Goodman says. For those who are unfamiliar with Lin, Hamilton and Holtzer, the significance of their work will be instantly recognized upon entering HERE. As Goodman’s curation relied heavily on emotional and physical engagement, his focus also opened a conversation of female visibility in the art world. “Simply put, women have been underrepresented in museum exhibitions. I think everyone at the Wexner Center feels a responsibility to not continue this myopic way of thinking and working. These three artists— who really have played a substantial role in defining what contemporary art is—happen to be women,” says Goodman. “We are happy to recognize all they have done to shape the contours of how we think about art because women really have done so much of this work; most of it, actually, over the last 50 years or so.” Formatively shaped by the metamorphosis of home, the art of HERE defies both time and space, foreshadowing inevitable environmental changes and its effect on the community’s spirit. “One cannot help but feel the weight of what [the artists] have contributed. The importance of what they have done can quite literally be felt as you enter these spaces,” says Goodman. “As you feel this, you also know the importance of the Wexner Center, what it has contributed to Columbus, Ohio and the world. In this regard, these three artists and their ideas are a perfect match to this place and this time.” • HERE will run at The Wexner Center for the Arts from September 21st to December 29th. 614NOW.COM



SOFETCH Beware the Plastics as Mean Girls comes to the Ohio Theatre BY L I N DA L E E B A I R D


t’s been 15 years since moviegoers watched Cady Heron move from Africa to suburban Illinois and attempt to learn the rules of the high school jungle in Mean Girls. Kids born the year the movie came out are in the throes of navigating high school now: the lunchroom, the parties, the homework. Some things have changed since then (social media) and some have not (teenage awkwardness).



Mean Girls is coming to the stage this month, now as a musical production, as part of the Broadway in Columbus series. Following the movie screenplay written by admitted former “mean girl” Tina Fey, who infused much of her own experiences into the story, the show aims to appeal to both a new generation of high school students, as well as those of us who have (gladly, perhaps) left those hallways far behind. •

Mary Beth Donahoe, a Cleveland-area native and member of the production’s ensemble, spoke to (614) from New York City, where the cast was in its final day of rehearsals before launching a tour that will bring them to Columbus later this month. Donahoe previewed what audience members can expect. Like the film, the story focuses on Cady Heron’s transition from being a homeschooled student in Africa to a high-school student in the Midwest. “It has all the classic one-liners from the movie that you’re gonna love, all the characters from the movie that you already know and love and think are hilarious,” Donahoe said. However, the script also acknowledges that the experience of high school students has changed over the past decade and a half. “There are all these parts in the show now that involve social media and how word can spread so quickly.” Perhaps the biggest change is that the theater production—as you’d expect from a Broadway musical—includes musical numbers. Donahoe said that these add depth to the show. “You get to be in every character’s thoughts so much more deeply. You get to really hear how they feel about other people,” she said. “The whole point of music is when you can’t speak, you sing, when you can’t sing, you dance.” The music itself enhances the characters’ stories. “A lot of Cady’s music has an African undercurrent,” she said. Lead mean girl Regina’s tunes have an ominous undertone that Donahoe described as “a little scary.” The songs also add opportunities for jokes and situational humor that Fey’s writing naturally capitalizes on. “The choreography is all just ridiculous humor that just comes out of left field,” Donahoe said. Fey, along with her husband, producer and composer Jeff Richmond, and songwriter Nell Benjamin, have been heavily involved in the production, attending rehearsals and offering notes to the cast. “That’s been really cool for them to be part of the production process, because they’ve already been part of the Broadway show, and the tour production is actually slightly different,” Donahoe said. The tour will send Donahoe across the country over the next year, from shows across the Northeast and Midwest in the fall and then to California and Florida this winter. While Donahoe is looking forward to the whole experience, she is particularly excited to return to Ohio to perform for friends and family. “My parents still live in Cleveland so that’s been a dream of mine forever,” she said.



Donahoe credits the arts education she received in the Lakewood Public Schools as the beginning of her path to the performing arts, starting with a tap dance class she took in second grade. Her interest continued to blossom until she made the decision as a high school senior to pursue musical theater professionally. But that didn’t mean hopping right on the bus to New York. Instead, she opted to attend Ohio Northern University. “A small school gave me the personalized attention that I knew I needed at the time ... to be pushed and expand my comfort zone.” Donahoe shared some advice for other Ohioans who share her interest in theater. “Follow the things that are your passion and the things that bring you the most joy, and the things that feels true to who you are,” she said. “Working hard and being a decent person to other humans goes a long way.” And while that behavior isn’t exactly modeled by all the characters in Mean Girls, the message certainly comes through. “Everyone’s gone to high school, everyone’s tried to fit in, everyone’s tried to change themselves to be with the cool kids or figure out where you belong. So it really is a universal story.” Now is the time to fetch yourself a pair of tickets. •

Mean Girls runs October 22-27 at the Ohio Theatre. Tickets available at capa.com/events or at the CAPA ticket office at 39 E State St. 614NOW.COM







Columbus’ new food truck is making vegan versions of classic sandwiches BY MITCH H OOP ER | P HOTOS BY BR I A N KA I S E R


uicy and tender, full of protein, and cut perfectly on a deli slicer—these are not the typical descriptions you think of when talking about a vegan eatery. Usually, what comes to mind are green plates featuring an array of vegetables, or some sort of play on tofu to resemble a meat counterpart. And while tofu and tempeh have carved out an audience of eaters for various dishes, a new wheat glutenbased alternative is on the market and it’s giving those two previous options a run for their money. It’s seitan, and a new vegan food truck, Seitan’s Realm, is changing the way meateaters and vegans alike go about getting their protein. For the record, yes, you read that correctly. It’s Seitan’s Realm, not Satan. And the offerings here should be sinful considering how delicious they are. Options include a Philly cheesesteak complete with vegan cheese sauce, onions, and peppers on a soft hoagie, or a gyro piled high with lettuce, tomato, and an addictive tzatziki sauce in a fresh pita. And the loaded curly fries? Don’t even get me started. While all these dishes are vegan and made with fresh ingredients, the true star of the meal is the seitan. What is seitan? I thought you’d never ask. Seitan comes from China. A loaf of seitan is made by laboriously kneading wheat flour and water together to form a dough. The starch is then rinsed away, leaving behind a stringy mass of gluten which can then be flavored and cooked to your liking. And if it’s up to Kevin Ridenbaugh, co-founder of Seitan’s Realm, he’s making vegan bites that will entice even the staunchest of meat eaters with tempting recreations of gyro lamb meat, cheesesteak steak, and even smoky bacon with chewy and crispy bits. The food truck started for Kevin, and his wife and cofounder Amber, in mid-May 2019 where they quickly found success in the parking lot at Virtue Salon in Clintonville. But, it didn’t all begin there for Kevin and Amber. Three years prior to starting the food truck, Kevin said he began experimenting with recipes featuring seitan. Through a trial-and-error process, he said he finally perfected his craft and his first “a-ha!” moment came after making his now popular gyro. •




Since then, the menu has expanded with the aforementioned cheesesteak, but also a take on Arby’s beef n’ cheddar, as well as a reuben complete with vegan thousand island dressing and sauerkraut. “We’ve got things to about as good as we can possibly get it,” Kevin explained. “We can always tweak a couple things here and there, but for the most part I’m really proud of everything we’re putting out.” And rightfully so. A cursory glance at the Instagram page and website shows just how well the sandwiches stack up to their meat inspiration. The sandwiches are large, stacked high, and topped with all the fixings we know and love on these dishes. While the flavor is the most important part, getting people to break away from their traditional meat-eating habits is an uphill battle, and having eyecatching dishes helps in the long-run. “It’s like people look at our menu and they see gyros or reubens and they know what that is, so they order it without knowing that we’re vegan,” Kevin said. “We toyed back and forth on if we should actually put that we are vegan on [the truck].” The verdict was to skip the label, and let people’s tastes, rather than their “preconceived notions” of vegan food guide them instead. A large reason for this decision is because what Kevin and Amber ate before going vegan. He said his diet mostly consisted of what he calls junk food and making the switch to vegan was difficult since he couldn’t chow down on some of his favorite foods. He was craving things like gyros, but didn’t have anywhere to go to get such a dish. So he did what he could: started making it on his own. “It took me about three years to really perfect the menu to have what we have now,” Kevin explained. “What we’re putting out now is the best possible thing we can put out.” Now, Seitan’s Realm stays busy with its food truck. From



continuing to grow its popularity at Virtue Salon, serving up vegan bites on Thursdays at Nocterra Brewing, and most recently becoming the follow up to Woodhouse Vegan at Oddfellows on Monday, business is boomin’. And the connection to Oddfellows is largely thanks to Woodhouse Vegan. Now with Woodhouse finalizing its opening date at the new brick-and-mortar location, the owners made sure that the vegan Mondays lived on at the Short North bar. “It was kind of funny, I got a call from Matt, and he was telling me that Woodhouse was moving out and they wanted to do a pop-up and I was just like, ‘Dude, there’s no way Oddfellows is calling! We’ve only been doing this for a month.’ ” Kevin recalled. This support is representative of the larger vegan community growing in the city. It isn’t a competition or a race to the top; rather it’s a chance to give a new business opportunity and make sure great vegan food gets out to hungry people and spreading that plant-based love. “Without their support, I don’t know if we’d be here right now,” Kevin said. For Kevin and others in the vegan community, it’s a bigger picture mindset. “We don’t really look at each other like competition,” Kevin explained. “It’s like, look—the more people we can get to eat this stuff, the more sales everybody will have. We’re not going to be cutthroat, you know? It’s like let’s do this thing together.” •

Seitan’s Realm can be found at Oddfellow’s Liquor Bar on Mondays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. To find out where the food truck will be next, follow it on Instagram at @seitansrealm, or the website at seitansrealm.com.

Seitan’s Playlist While Kevin does whip up a mean vegan sandwich, he also has some experience shredding guitars and making music. With this in mind, (614) decided to take check out his Spotify account to see what he’s listening to on the daily. (614): What are three songs/albums/artists you’ve been listening to the most on your playlist? KR: I’ve been listening to Alex G a lot. I listen to Title Fight a lot. They are one of my favorite bands. And I’ve been listening to a lot of Hot Water Music. There’s a lot of old with new mixed in there. We listen to a lot of metal on the truck, but I’m more of a punk rocker. If you had to pick one song to describe the food truck, what would it be? “Number Of The Beast” by Iron Maiden. If you could serve food to one band/artist, who would you pick and what would you serve them? My favorite artist of all-time is Bob Dylan, so I’d want to make Bob Dylan a freakin’ reuben. What are some artists you play in the kitchen when you make food? Hot Snakes, Pixies, Kate Bush, Against Me, My Bloody Valentine, old-school Metallica, Joe Strummer, Citizen, and a lot of that old town Motown stuff like The Supremes.








New High Street eatery is a downtown trendsetter BY MIKE THOMAS PH OTOS BY BRIA N KA I SER

As the longest continuously-running road in Columbus at 13.5 miles, it’s no wonder that High Street is the mainline for eats in the 614. From fast-casual on campus to the latest trendy rooftop joints in the Short North, the character of High Street dining is as varied as the neighborhoods it connects. Then there’s downtown. While Columbus is a few years into the trendy return to urban dwelling, the city is still light years away from the thriving downtown nightlife found in many comparable metro areas. This is not to say that there aren’t a few quality places to grab a bite on High downtown; what’s there is good, but spread thin. With more people flocking to the convenience of an urban lifestyle, there’s plenty of room for more. Giving people a new, versatile option in the reinvigorated downtown is the goal of the team behind newcomers Nosh on High. “We were approached by Columbus Downtown Development Corporation when they were looking for someone to take over the old Mojo Lounge spot, and thought we’d be the right people to do that,” explains Nosh co-owner Kevin Jones, whose team includes a who’s who of seasoned industry professionals from such favorites as Milestone 229. One such talent is executive chef Benjamin Kershaw, who most recently served as sous chef at Milestone and is a 17year veteran of the culinary arts. Specializing in small plates, Kershaw’s menu is inspired by world travels, but tailored to a Midwestern palate. Handhelds such as the Duck BLT or the Philly Dip sandwich—which combines the best aspects of a Philly cheesesteak and a classic French dip—offer elevated takes on familiar favorites. Appetites of all sizes will find something to enjoy at Nosh, thanks to an extensive list of entree offerings from both land and sea. • 614NOW.COM





While it’s easy to make a satisfying meal out of a visit to Nosh, Kershaw’s creativity shines through on the restaurant’s extensive list of sharables. Similar to tapas, diners would do well to order a few items from this section of the menu to share with friends (or scarf down selfishly). Nosh’s version of tater tots, for example, will leave you wondering how you ever did without cauliflower in the lunchroom. Nosh’s beverage program is headed up by general manager Rusty Scarberry, Jr. Though it wouldn’t be Columbus dining without a curated draft beer lineup, a selection of off-the-beaten-path wines are central to the restaurant’s offerings. In another tip of the hat to Nosh’s upscale-yetapproachable vibe, cocktails are a point of focus. With a cocktail lineup designed to meet the evolving tastes of clientele, Nosh is poised for success with the after-work and late-night crowds. As for the space itself, the environs at Nosh sport the same elevated, eclectic flair as the food and drink. With a spacious patio, a plant-filled dining room set off by galleryquality lighting fixtures, and a welcoming bar, the restaurant seems equally fit for a serene lunch or a fancy night out. For larger groups, a magnificently appointed banquet area, complete with a longtable worthy of a medieval dining hall, offers a dining experience like no other. Nosh is not the first eatery to plant a flag in this stretch of downtown. While some establishments have been embraced as part of the fabric of the reinvigorated city core, many others have fallen by the wayside. Still, Jones feels confident that the time is right for a concept like Nosh. “I feel that it’s the right time to put something like this down here. Other restaurants have tried, and they might have been just a little early with the development,” says Jones. “With all of the new apartments and condos moving downtown, people are looking for more options. There are nine condo developments within a quarter mile of this restaurant, and that was one of the things that really attracted us.” Without much nightlife to speak of, many downtown restaurants depend heavily on lunch traffic. For some assurance of success in the current climate, fast casual fare is usually the safe bet. But for a real downtown dining scene to catch fire, the first step will be giving people somewhere to go. Taking the leap into full-service, Nosh on High could be the trendsetter in redefining the downtown food scene as we know it. • Nosh on High is located at 149 S High St. Visit noshonhigh.com for a menu and hours. 614NOW.COM





No Waffling for a Hero Lopaus Point waffles bring breakfast and snacks to all



tacie Skinner doesn’t look like a superhero, but to parents whose kids have food allergies, she’s only missing a mask and a cape. With a secret identity as astute as Bruce Banner and mild-mannered as Peter Parker, her background in retail planning and food industry R&D revealed a hidden superpower. No one was making really good gluten-free waffles. (Well, she was, but no one knew it yet.) “I wanted to have my own business, and I knew it would be gluten-free, to accommodate some of the allergies that affected my family,” Skinner explained, whose own childhood memories of cooking with her mother in Lopaus Point, Maine inspired more than just the name of her company. “I thought local farmers markets would be a great place to try out my recipes. But when I started, it was mostly cookies and breads.” Families with food allergies have to travel a little differently than those who don’t. You can’t just eat anywhere along the way. This writer also happens to have two kids who have issues with both wheat and milk. Before the proliferation of gluten-free and dairyfree options at the average grocery or restaurant, we had to bring all of our food with us. We didn’t simply pack for the weekend. We had to pack like we were going to the Moon. Skinner’s breakfast staple epiphany similarly came during a family vacation, staying in a hotel room with a kitchen, as many food allergy families often do. Even if you plan to prepare most meals yourself, you can’t pack everything—particularly a waffle iron. “I bought a box of frozen gluten-free waffles for my son to have while we were there. But when he made them, he held them up to the light and they were so thin, he could see through them,” she recalled. “Then when he ate one, he said they were “disgusting” and asked, ‘Why don’t you sell your waffles?’” Every superhero has an origin, and it doesn’t have to be as dramatic as gamma rays or a radioactive spider. Skinner followed her son’s suggestion and decided to

try selling her waffles at the farmers market, which for aspiring food entrepreneurs is often their first and most effective focus group. “My other baked goods were selling well, but they weren’t as unique. There were plenty of glutenfree products on the market that were sweet, but not necessarily wholesome,” she noted. “So I decided to let everything else go to focus exclusively on the waffles.” Ketchup wasn’t Henry Heinz’s first foray into condiments either. His humble start was actually selling horseradish. But something simple and sweet soon proved more popular and profitable. “I knew the waffles would be a meal component, and hopefully a snack. I felt like they needed to be made with better ingredients that were nutrient dense,” Skinner revealed. “A lot of gluten-free products are simple starches, sugar, and something to bind them together. I wanted these to be more.” Soon Banana Flax led to additional flavors, like Wild Blueberry, Chocolate Chip, and yes, Pumpkin Spice. A vegan version is among the most frequent requests, and already in the works. Free from most major allergens, raving fans and demand quickly grew beyond just gluten-free customers and local groceries. “Retailers are used to products that have a crazy shelf life—like two years for some frozen foods. I don’t understand why anyone would have six delicious waffles in their freezer for two years,” she chided. “It’s why partnerships became essential, and I was lucky to have a supportive, local community of fellow makers to guide me.” That’s when the collaborative culture that binds Columbus became baked into Lopaus Point. Instead of the cutthroat culture common between competitors in most cities, Skinner actually found mentorship among established gluten-free businesses, offering advice and insights on how to grow smarter, not faster. Bake Me Happy, which has their own gluten-free bakery, even sells her waffles. How’s that for an endorsement? •






“We think this is the product people deser ve, and small makers help create these new markets and can often right the wrongs of big companies whose early attempts fall short.”

“Just because you’re avoiding an allergen, it doesn’t mean there’s a compromise in your tastes,” she explained. “We think this is the product people deserve, and small makers help create these new markets and can often right the wrongs of big companies whose early attempts fall short.” Starting a specialty food company in Columbus also happened to be its own happy accident. Skinner’s earlier career brought her from Boston. But after meeting her future husband here and time spent away from Central Ohio, it wasn’t our test market credibility that convinced them to return. It just felt like home. “Our kids were getting old enough and almost ready to start school, so we moved back to Columbus. It was the only place we both had in common, even though we had no family ties here,” she recalled. “We loved it so much and knew it was where we wanted to raise a family.” Still very much a local brand, Lopaus Point recently launched a mail-order option for folks beyond the Midwest and East Coast reach of their grocery distribution. Skinner discovered many of her customers not only order for themselves, but as gifts—for someone who may have just been diagnosed with an allergy to college students who still struggle with dining hall fare. There’s even a subscription program. Automatically getting a big box of waffles in the mail every month might be the best thing since Netflix. Staffing also sets Lopaus Point apart. Their first kitchen was a shared space that worked with Franklin County to provide opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities that too often limit employment options. Now nearly a quarter of her staff have similar challenges, working in roles from preparation to packaging. It was the final ingredient Skinner realized she was missing. “I knew my company had to be bigger than just a product, and our special needs staff are an integral part of our entire operation,” she explained. “We’re not just serving customers whose dietary needs are often overlooked. It’s also about providing opportunities for people in our community whose potential is overlooked as well. At Lopaus Point, we want everyone to feel included.”•

Lopaus Point waffles are available at retailers throughout Central Ohio. For locations and online orders nationwide, visit lopauspoint.com. 614NOW.COM



A ClusterTruck that Works Columbus “ghost kitchen” focuses on a delivery-based dining concept BY J.R . MC MI L L A N | P H OTOS BY Z A N E OS L E R




hen Chris Baggott returns from a run to the ClusterTruck kitchen, he’s almost always late, and his fellow drivers don’t mind letting him know it. Tight delivery times aren’t just an expectation for the fledgling food service. It’s part of the brand, serving fresh fare to waiting patrons, often in less time than the average restaurant. So what’s ClusterTruck’s trick to providing such a wide range of high-quality cuisine at a record pace? There’s no restaurant, and their slowest delivery driver, Chris Baggott, is also the CEO. “I don’t go out as much as I used to, just to keep my hands in it. But when I get back minutes later than our more experienced drivers, they laugh at me,” Baggott confessed. “If you’ve been doing this for a year, you’re good at it. You know which corner or which door, a little shortcut here and there. Faster delivery is what makes our business work.” Quietly creeping into the local culinary scene between the flood of innovative eateries and a fleet of food trucks are so-called “ghost kitchens.” They’re restaurants without the restaurant, focusing exclusively on delivery without the hassle and overhead of running a retail establishment. Homegrown concepts like Food Fort Columbus and 1400 Food Lab help industry entrepreneurs prepare meals with all of the precision of their retail rivals. Kitchen United, which already operates locations in Pasadena and Chicago, is scheduled to open their latest facility in Grandview Yard this year as the next phase of an ambitious nationwide expansion. For those struggling to find and afford suitable space, it’s the culinary equivalent of coworking and part of an already $100 million food delivery industry. But ClusterTruck remains the original, unapologetic disruptor. Operating out of an inconspicuous warehouse near downtown Columbus, it relies on its own dedicated delivery team instead of contract food couriers to serve their hungry customers. “There’s a broken model in third-party food delivery, from delays that affect quality to low courier morale. If you look at Yelp, a lot of the negative reviews are really criticisms of the delivery process,” he explained. “When I first looked at this market, the restaurants weren’t happy, the customers weren’t happy, and the drivers weren’t happy. So we deconstructed it and built a system that serves all of its constituents.” That approach may sound a little wonky for a phantom food truck operator. But Baggott didn’t work his way into the restaurant business busing tables. His former life as a software creator proved both profitable and liberating, with earlier endeavors snapped up by Salesforce and Oracle for handsome sums. Along the way, he got back to basics, exploring his growing passion for sustainable agriculture, going as far as starting his own grocery store, then founding three farmto-table restaurants from scratch. Baggott is as much a chameleon as an iconoclast, as comfortable in a conference room as a chicken coop. Even with dirt under his fingernails, the gears of an engineer are always turning. “Let’s say the customer is five minutes away from the kitchen, and I have 30 minutes to get the order there. Our software manages our drivers, so we may not start making your food immediately,” Baggott noted. “Our driver may be able to make another delivery before your order is ready. We’ll start making your order when the driver is five minutes away. That way, you get your order on time, and fresh from the kitchen.” • 614NOW.COM



Comfort food is evolving by definition. From hearty carbs to sophisticated salads, “comfort” is now more a measure of how food makes you feel, not an arbitrary attribute that’s the same for everyone. Meeting that ever-expanding expectation is also an edge for such hyperefficient eateries. “Ghost kitchens can iterate and innovate. We recently launched a gyro in Indianapolis. We also launched a protein bowl with hummus we make in house,” Baggott recalled. “That’s when we realized we already have pita, tahini, and chickpeas—we should make a falafel. Now, we’re testing recipes to launch a falafel.” Not all revelations are as obvious or unemotional. The Columbus customer base continues to grow, as are operations in Denver, Kansas City, and the original location in Indianapolis. But ClusterTruck locations in Cleveland and Minneapolis were temporarily suspended. Some menu items have also gone away when they didn’t make the cut, including their take on Johnny Marzetti. “Dropping Johnny Marzetti was heartbreaking for me because we already had all of the ingredients. I loved it, but it just didn’t sell. But a big advantage we have over a brick-and-mortar restaurant is access to data. A traditional restaurant may launch a new menu item and sell 500 the first day,” he explained. “But they can’t see who orders it again, or worse, who ordered it and never came back. All of those transactions are anonymous. We see everything, order rates and reorder rates. We don’t just know what sells, we know how it impacts overall customer experience.” ClusterTruck launched a tofu kimchi burrito that initially sold very well, but then seemed to taper off. They dropped it, but once they dug into the data, they discovered existing customers returned, but customers whose first order was the ill-fated burrito didn’t. Their online menu has since become more adaptive, featuring items with higher rates of reorder for new customers, something typical restaurants just can’t do, and an insight they probably would have missed. 50


“One of the challenges with Cleveland and Minneapolis was building the brand. We were great at building kitchens and software, but frankly, we weren’t great at marketing because what we do is so different,” he noted. “We haven’t abandoned those cities, we’re just refining our marketing before we reopen. It’s one of the advantages third-party food delivery services like Grubhub and DoorDash have. They’re just adding a new service to an existing restaurant. We have to introduce a whole new brand.” The funny thing about brands is that they aren’t how you view your company, it’s how others view you. And that’s also an inherent challenge for restaurants minus retail, even as the market for prepared foods booms. Catering is key for most ghost kitchens, and ClusterTruck tapped into it early, making group orders easier for folks with restrictive and selective diets, even offering access through the popular office collaboration platform Slack. Now about a third of sales come from group orders. But every new business needs a little luck and a leap of faith. Fast, free delivery still came down to customers meeting couriers at the curb, a hunch that paid off. “That’s our entire business model, and the one thing we couldn’t know for certain before we launched if customers would be willing to do. It’s why our drivers get four to six, even eight deliveries an hour, instead of just one or two,” Baggott explained. “We’ve had more than a million deliveries and I can count on one hand the number of complaints we’ve had about having to meet the driver. When it comes to quality, every efficiency matters. It’s why customers are as much a part of our success as our staff and our software. They come to us, online and outside, and that’s what makes ClusterTruck work.” •

For menus and ordering, visit clustertruck.com. 614NOW.COM



People Who Scare Us

Makeup/FX artist Bobbi Jo Gonzales at work. Read more about the craft of fear on page 61. PHOTO BY B R I A N KA IS ER

The witching hour has arrived in Central Ohio, but the haunting industry has already been hard at work, dreaming up the substance of your nightmares. Designers have been putting together their stunning HighBall creations for months, and events from frightening to familyfriendly have been slowly coming together. Turn the pages. Soon all will be revealed‌

How to get your scare on in Columbus this month BY M I TC H H O O P E R | P H OTOS P R OV I DE D


e know you’re just as excited as us for October to kick off—we’ve seen your Facebook and Instagram posts. Alas, the spooky month is finally upon us and we’ll be damned if we miss a minute of it. Here is an extensive look at the events, screenings, and haunted houses going down this Halloween.


10.11 (10.18) HAUNTED TOUR OF COLUMBUS LO C ATI O N : Varies P R I C E : $40-$75

10.11 (-10.27) BOO AT THE ZOO LO C ATI O N : Columbus Zoo and Aquarium P R I C E : $14

10.13 (-10.20) NINA WEST’S HEELS OF HORROR XII LO C ATI O N : Axis Nightclub P R I C E : $15-$50

Axis Nightclub is ready for action in the Halloween season as Heels Of Horror will star Nina and Virgina West in addition to performances by Barbie Roberts, Roxy Nikole, Shawty West, Emily Karn, and more.

HighBall Halloween

Photo by Alison Colvin & The Short North Alliance

10.11 (-10.12) HIGHBALL HALLOWEEN LO CATION: High St. and the Greater Columbus Convention Center P R I C E: $10-$150

Extravagant, elevated, and eye-grabbing; HighBall Halloween is back in the Short North. This year will also take place at the Greater Columbus Convention Center where runway fashion will be on full display. Come one, come all—and remember at HighBall, you are what you wear. 54


10.17 (-10.20, 10.24-27) PUMPKIN NIGHTS LO C ATI O N : Franklin Park Conservatory P R I C E : $11

Explore the Franklin Park Conser-vatory under the stars as glowing pumpkins light your way.

10.18 (-10.19, 10.25-10.26) HAUNTED STATEHOUSE TOUR LO C ATI O N : The Ohio Statehouse P R I C E : $12


10.25 HAUNTED FEST LOCATION: Ohio Expo Center P RICE: $50-$85

This year’s headliners include Rezz and RL GRIMES as well as performances from Dombresky, YOUNG BOMBS, Beach Boys, Mitch James, and Reckless.


James A. Willis has had an affinity with the spooky and scary, and he’s coming to the Thurber House to share his stories. From UFOs in Ohio to an explanation to what truly happened between James Thurber and an alleged ghost sighting at the Thurber House, this event is sure to send a few chills down your spine.

Trauma Fetish Fest, Photo by David Heasley

10.30 (-11.2) TRAUMA FETISH FEST LOCATION : The Bluestone P RICE: $20-$25

The annual fetish and freak show festival is back, and it’s not for the light of heart. From realistic body paintings, bondage, and aerial acts suspended by hooks in their skin, TRAUMA celebrates all things irregular. Just remember consent is key at this event, so don’t do anything you aren’t comfortable with, and don’t make anyone uncomfortable. •




HAUNT E D HOUSE S THE 13TH FLOOR HAUNTED HOUSE LO C ATI O N : 2605 Northland Plaza Dr. P R I C E : $19.99

Scary clowns? Check. Strobe lights and fog machines? Check, and check. Freakish zombies? Yup, they’ve got it all. Stop out at the 13th Floor Haunted House to have all your worst nightmares come to life. ‘Tis the season, right?

Carnage Haunted House, Photo by Ethan Clewell

CARNAGE HAUNTED HOUSE LO C ATI O N : 1160 Alum Creek Dr., Suite B P R I C E : $20

If you’re looking for a haunted house, Carnage Haunted House is here to help and they have plenty of options. This spot makes sure to hit on everyone’s fears as it offers 30 haunted rooms earning it the No. 1 scariest spot in Ohio by The Scare Factor Review. Anyone under 16 will need a supervising adult, and if we’re being honest, everyone should bring a friend or some sort of supervision to be safe.

BRIMSTONE HAUNT LO C ATI O N : 472 Brimstone Rd. P R I C E : $8-$27

At Brimstone Haunt, there are three ways to get your scare on. First is the Brimstone Haunted Hayride where you’ll take a tour through a once friendly-farm that is now inhabited by eerie stories and creepy curses. Next is the Forgotten Forest, a chance to hike through a mysterious woods in hopes of finding answers to some of the odd events that have occurred. And the final option is Psychosis, a dark and secluded maze where every turn can make you regret your decision. Either fight your way through, or succumb to the pressure. 56


ESCAPE FROM BLOOD PRISON LOCAT I ON : 100 Reformatory Rd. P R I C E: $25-$45

It’s no secret that the Mansfield Reformatory is a creepy-ass place on its own, but at the end of October, it’s going to get creepier. Here, you’ll have to make your way through the prison after authorities deemed it a lost cause due to the deranged and brutal criminals who took it over. What’s the worst that can happen? Unfortunately, there’s only one way to find out.


The Rocky Horror Show

Photo provided by Short North Stage

10.6 (-11.3) THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW LOCATION: The Green Room at The Short North Stage P R I C E: $36-$42



Keep your coffee close by as you make your way through 24-hours of scary movie screenings and horror-themed conversations. This year’s special guest is Michael Gornick who is responsible for horror classics such as Creepshow, Dawn Of The Dead, and Day Of The Dead. Do you have it in you to make it through 24 hours, or are you too scared?

10.24 NIGHTMARE FILM FESTIVAL LOCAT I ON : Gateway Film Center P R I C E: $12-$149

Nightmare Film Festival is just as much a chance to watch classic horror movies as it is to meet others who love them as well. Revel in all of your scary favorite movies, chat it up with the experts, and celebrate all things spooky to end your Halloween adventures. • 614NOW.COM



Life Beyond


Day of the Dead celebration at Green Lawn Cemetery commemorates the spiritual journey of the soul BY MI TC H H O O P E R


hat do you think of when someone mentions Halloween? Here in the states, it typically means haunted houses, costumed parties, scary movies, and of course, pumpkin spice everything. It’s a chance to explore horror, a time to be silly (or sexy), and above all, it’s a small break from reality. But not all things October are escapist or ghoulish, Día de los Muertos—Day of the Dead for those who failed Spanish 101—is a cultural celebration that dates back to the Aztecs. The original Day of the Dead celebrations took place in the beginning of summer, and eventually moved to coincide with All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day. Families and friends would prepare a picnic to eat at the graves of their loved ones as they shared memories to keep the spirits of those now gone alive. The mood was celebratory, stemming from cultural beliefs that the dead would not approve of mourning. This celebration is something Leticia Vazquez-Smith, president of Latino Arts for Humanity in Columbus, holds close to her heart, as she grew up in Mexico City. Those memories stuck with her when she moved to Ohio in 1999 and became the basis for how she began celebrating here in the States. It started in her apartment where she was asked to give a presentation on something she loved. Naturally, she picked Day of the Dead. With a full heart, she did things such as making traditional dishes like tamales for the community members looking to stop by. “I wanted to share the roots of the real thing,” VazquezSmith explained. But, that was 20 years ago. Now, the crowd is too large for her home and she and Latino Arts for Humanity have partnered with Green Lawn Cemetery for a Day of the Dead celebration with authentic Mexican food, calaveritas (sugar skulls) poem readings, and music and dancing from



Latino community members in Columbus. What started as a passion has blossomed into a citywide event where more than 2,000 people will show up, pay respects, and experience a cultural happening that might be difficult to find in a state more than 2,000 miles away from its origin. The Columbus Day of the Dead celebration will be on Oct. 19, and will include traditional food trucks, music and dancers, art vendors, and educational courses for children. Each year’s celebration offers a new theme for visitors, and this year will focus on the ocean. In keeping with the celebration of life, the entire day has been “greened”—from vendors avoiding single-use plastic items to educational conversations about pollution. Vazquez-Smith said in the years past, the event had been held out of almost anywhere they could find, such as galleries in the Short North or warehouses around town. But once she and her team discovered Green Lawn Cemetery hosted outdoor movie screenings, an idea was planted. They wondered if the cemetery would be interested in hosting a Day of the Dead celebration and Green Lawn happily obliged. “When Green Lawn was founded, it was meant to be in-part green space for the city; in-part a place where people could come out, walk the trails, and have picnics. It was meant to be more than a place to bury your dad, but also come out and celebrate and remember their ancestors,” said Randy Rogers, president of the Green Lawn Cemetery Association. This idea of celebrating ancestors, having picnics, and all the steps in between parallels nicely with Day of the Dead. And for Rogers, inclusivity is something he finds very important as Green Lawn Cemetery is a space that has grown with the community around it. Green Lawn is without many regulations for burial sites and markers, which allows different groups to express their cultural beliefs, even in death. A partnership with

Latino Arts for Humanity for a Day of the Dead celebration seemed to be the perfect expression of that philosophy.

“Everything is about the thought of living and dying. Any kind of culture that wants to come and do something with us, they are welcome. It’s for everybody.” “I always equate it with the writings of Dante, Dante’s epic poem, ‘La Vita Nuova.’ He’s writing about his new life after the death of his love,” Rogers explained. “As he tells that story, he also talks about her new life in the afterlife and that carries through as he encounters her again in The Inferno. And that’s kind of like Day of the Dead because you’re celebrating the lives of your ancestors after they passed— you’re celebrating their new life in the afterlife.” This theme of inclusivity runs deeper. Vazquez-Smith said this year she expects a wide variety of cultures to attend ranging from African-American communities to Midwesterners who grew up right here their entire lives. For the Mexico City native, this is exactly what she had hoped for. “Day of the Dead shouldn’t be an only Mexican tradition. We’re all going to die, That’s a fact. If you have time to do a little grieving, sharing your food with your family, it’s something the society here doesn’t have. They don’t have that day to be free to talk to the people who are not here body wise,” Vazquez-Smith said. “Everything is about the thought of living and dying. Any kind of culture that wants to come and do something with us, they are welcome. It’s for everybody.” •

Green Lawn Cemetery is located on 1000 Green Lawn Avenue. The Day of the Dead event will take place on Oct. 18 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.





The haunting industry finds its thrills in staging fear and fun BY M I KE TH O MAS | P H OTOS BY B R I A N KA I S E R





PREVIOUS PAGE: Kelly Collins LEFT TOP: Interior detail of the 13th Floor LEFT BOTTOM: Keith Newsome posing with his masks, mask concept art


ike many a fiend of silver screen fame, the origins of Kelly Collins’ career in terror involve some teens, a campground, and a fateful ride into the deep, dark woods. Thirty-eight years ago, Collins was general manager at a campground. Every Saturday at noon, he’d hook up a wagon to a tractor and treat the young campers to a hayride through the woods. The route Collins followed circled around an old oak tree, before turning around and coming back to the start. One Saturday, some mischievous teens sprang out from behind the tree, giving quite a scare to the unsuspecting wagoneers. All of the children screamed in surprise—then they laughed. This gave Collins an idea. To spice up his little hayride, he would arrange for the teens to act out the same routine the next Saturday— but this time, he’d up the ante by giving them rubber masks to wear. His plan was set in motion, and this time, the startled youngsters on the wagon cried all the way back to the campground. “That was a bad idea, but it got me thinking...Why don’t we have a hayride at night and call it the ‘Spooky Hayride?’ ” Collins recalls. By fine-tuning the balance between fear and fun, Collins’ new enterprise was a success, and would set him on the path to a lifelong career in the haunted house business, or “haunting” as it’s known to its practitioners. Early in his career, Collins became a key figure in the Central Ohio scream scene. After his haunted hayride, he spent a couple of seasons overseeing the Hallowscream event at the nowdefunct Wyandot Lake. It was there that he was approached by Ken Schnacke, General Manager and President of the Columbus Clippers baseball team, who tapped Collins to create and lead the “Terror Park” event that was held at Cooper Stadium for a decade. When the Clippers made the move to Huntington Park, the Terror Park event was shelved. Collins set out again on his own, founding the Scareatorium: a haunted house attraction occupying a 40,000-square-foot space in a northeast Columbus strip mall. Over the next decade, the Scareatorium would serve as a hub for haunters, attracting and nurturing some of the city’s top talents in the field. From actors, makeup artists, set designers and people who just appreciate a good scare, the group that grew from Collins’ enterprise came together over buckets of blood and latex viscera, but now enjoy the valuable connection of a genuine community. A longtime compatriot of Collins, Keith Newsome was one of the creative minds behind Terror Park and the Scareatorium. Though he specializes in visual effects design and fabrication, Newsome’s talents in haunting are wide-ranging. Since retiring from 13th Floor, Newsome has remained a vital member of the community, teaching classes on topics ranging from makeup application to mask making and performance. This season, he’s lending his skills to an attraction in Lancaster, Ohio titled “A True American Haunt: Birth of a Nightmare.” The house is set up in the Miller Building, a “poor house” originally built in 1828, which event promoters suggest may in fact be haunted. According to Newsome, the building is classified as one of the top10 haunted houses in the United States, and was recently filmed for an upcoming episode of The Travel Channel show Destination Fear. “It’s actually a haunted place. I don’t believe in that crap...I do now,” says Newsome. “There’s something in that place. I don’t go on the third or fourth floor anymore.” • 614NOW.COM



RIGHT TOP AND MIDDLE: Bobbi Jo Gonzalez and some of her face painting work RIGHT BOTTOM: Ashley Shilling

Whether patrons can expect to encounter bona fide spirits along with latex-clad actors in this haunt remains to be seen, but whatever the case, the event serves an important purpose. All proceeds from this haunt will benefit Habitat for Humanity’s plan to plan to revitalize the historic Miller Building, and to help build housing for local veterans. The charitable angle for this event comes as no surprise in an industry that at times seems like an extended family. People attracted to haunting come from every imaginable background, but are united by a common passion. “I’ve had people who are financial managers of huge companies, down to people who are almost homeless,” says Newsome. “The cool part about it is that we treat everybody equally. When you walk in, you’re automatically family.” One member of Newsome’s haunt family is Bobbi Jo Gonzalez, an artist who has turned a passion for body art and makeup into a year-round career. Gonzalez’s first foray into the industry came while volunteering with her eldest daughters at a home haunt. Stepping up to fill the need for a makeup artist, Gonzalez gleaned what she could from YouTube videos. Her tool kit at that time consisted of, as she calls it, “that really crappy makeup you get at Kroger around Halloween.” After encouragement from her peers at smaller attractions, Gonzalez eventually made her way to the Scareatorium, where she met Newsome. Newsome introduced her to higher-quality, water-based makeup, and she went on to mentor under the more experienced effects artist for two years. Today, Gonzalez is the owner of Aftershock Art, a thriving facepainting and body art company that operates year-round. She’s also found a healthy sideline doing moulage—the art of creating realistic, simulated injuries on actors during training exercises for the military and first responders. Like her mentor, Gonzalez sees the past support and encouragement from members of the haunt community as a foundation of the success she now enjoys. “It’s something that we’re all passionate about, so once you find your niche in that community, it doesn’t matter what your background is, what your religion is, what your sexual orientation is—you have that weird background, and you have a family for life,” Gonzalez explains. While basking in the warm embrace of your fellow ghoul is reason enough to keep some hooked on this line of work, there’s another essential element that unifies all haunters: the love of the scare. “I fell in love. I didn’t know you could have so much fun scaring people,” says Ashley Shilling, another former employee of Collins from the Sacreatorium days who today serves as general manager of the 13th Floor Haunt. “Being an actor is a huge stress relief,” Shilling explains. “Getting to scare people kicks in your endorphins, especially if you can make a big man that looks very intimidating scream like a little girl—that’s a lot of fun. At the end of the night, you’re just relaxed.” Whether drawn to a sense of community that can sometimes be hard to find in the world at large, or simply in it for the thrill of scaring people, the haunting industry has an undeniable pull for those that find their way into its spooky ranks. Even retired industry veteran Collins is unable to fully step away from the work, and is gearing up for his first season as manager of a Spirit Halloween supply store in Newark, Ohio. “When you scare people, and they scream and run away from you, it’s a great way to let out pent-up frustration,” Collins says. “You could have the worst day in the world, and within a few minutes of working at the haunted house, you feel so much better. It’s a great tension reliever.” In professional haunting, one person’s fear is another’s bliss. •

For more information on the 13th Floor Haunt and other haunted houses happening in October, flip back to page 54.














ighBall Halloween is a big deal. Lavish costumes. Towering personalities. Runway models. High-energy entertainment. Ambitious contests. The nation’s most elaborate Halloween party. The lively Short North Arts District becomes larger than life for two nights a year. And it’s about to get even bigger. This year HighBall becomes an indoor-outdoor event, with the addition of significant space inside the Greater Columbus Convention Center. “It’s such an anticipated event, and we’re always making it bigger and better,” said Betsy Pandora, Executive Director of the Short North Alliance. Moving into the Convention Center will allow the event to grow while staying true to its fashionshow roots. Attendance has been skyrocketing, from 15,00-20,000 guests just a handful of years ago to 35,000-40,000 guests last year. With this expansion in space, Pandora wasn’t yet willing to venture a guess on how much attendance will increase this year, but she’s sure that it will. High Street will be blocked between Vine and Swan Streets for the outdoor party. The outdoor activities continue as usual, with street performers, interactive art, karaoke, and revelry. Nina West, who always has been an integral part of the festivities, returns to host the party again this year. Capitalizing on her skyrocketing popularity, another new addition for 2019 is the exclusive, $150 “Ultimate VIP” admission package, which includes a meet and greet with Nina, limited to 100 guests per night. But this year, the activities and entertainment will extend from the street through the Convention Center’s Arnold Plaza, inside to the Discovery Café, and finally to Exhibit Hall A, where the Main Stage will feature live music, performances, and the signature Battelle Costume Couture Fashion Show. • 614NOW.COM



Of course, this being Ohio, the indoor area proves to be a huge asset in preparing for all eventualities. Any given day in mid-October may warrant shorts, parkas, or a full rain suit (or, as some will joke, all of those). Weather is a prime factor in planning an outdoor event, and the convention center space will help to mitigate weather-related attendance issues. Pandora anticipates that the indoor spaces will be able to accommodate most, if not all, of the guests in the event of inclement weather. And, perhaps equally importantly, the indoor venue allows the designers to exercise greater creative freedom without risk of weather putting a damper on their art. This will be Tracy Powell’s first HighBall. A senior at Columbus College of Art and Design, Powell has high hopes for the new setup. “I was excited when I heard it was going to be inside,” she said. “I use a lot of latex, which you have to do a lot of treatments to—to make it shine. Thinking about weather, with all the embellishments I’m going to use—it wouldn’t be good. I wouldn’t be able to use certain materials. ... Now, I’m able to go wild,” she continued, laughing. “I have more freedom.” Que Jones, competing for the fifth year in a row, loves the change. “I think this change is great; I have a lot more freedom,” said Jones. “In the past four years, it has rained twice. You do these elaborate costumes, weeks and weeks of hand detail, and going out in the rain is just heartbreaking. And if it’s freezing, the models may not be able to move as well, and if it’s windy—my first year, I had a model almost get blown off the stage. The costume caught the wind and was like a sail.” Being indoors has its own challenges, though. Haley Topp, a recent graduate of Kent State University’s Fashion School and also new to HighBall this year, points out, “Logistically, now you have to think about doors—what can fit through spaces. My couture costume is quite large. I’m thinking she might have to come through the loading dock, or I might 68



have to create pieces that we can put together once she’s through.” Vincent Quevedo, an associate professor at Kent State University’s fashion school, is competing for the first time, and he says the change in venue won’t affect his designs at all. “I’ve been prodded by past students [to compete], and I was kind of worried, because my background is not in costume. But this is so different, and I wanted to do something fun. So my approach is ‘go fashion.’ I did worry about if it was rainy or windy, that might be a problem… but, in the end, I decided, ‘Stick with what you have and just show it.’ As for the indoor venue bringing more attendees and exposure to the Battelle Costume Couture Fashion Show, Topp observed, “The draw to being outside was that people would just stop by, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ Being inside might not be as lucrative? It’s hard to say.” On the other hand, Powell said, “I’m hoping it will bring a bigger crowd, if people aren’t worried about where to stand, whether they can see the stage.” Jones noted that the indoor area means more creative freedom for HighBall’s attendees as well as the designers, knowing that, if the weather is harsh, they’ll still be able to enjoy the event without risking their costumes. Quevedo is thinking a little bigger, hoping that the location change will draw in more attendance and pay off for the future of fashion design as well as for the city. “Kent State is one of the top three schools in the nation for fashion, but only people outside Ohio know it. If this change gets more people to the event, if it promotes what we do, if it helps Ohioans realize what we have, it will be great.” • HighBall Halloween will be held on October 11th and 12th from 6:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, 400 N High St. Tickets can be purchased at highballcolumbus.org. 614NOW.COM



Medieval Mayhem

A glimpse into the madness and merriment of the Ohio Renaissance Festival STORY A N D P H OTOS BY B R I A N KA I S E R




bout an hour south of Columbus in a rolling, 30-acre field outside of Waynesville, Ohio lies a magical world where kings and peasants mingle with knights, fairies, and the occasional pirate. Each weekend during September and October, this rural corner of Ohio is transformed into a medieval village for the Ohio Renaissance Festival. Here, friends and strangers alike greet each other with a hearty “Huzzah!” and in every direction, people are smiling, devouring enormous turkey legs, and generally, having a hell of a good time. I attended the festival for the first time last year and was immediately struck by the jovial spirit and inclusive nature of the gathering. Leaving behind the worries and constraints of the outside world, folks assume the persona of a 16th century shopkeeper, knight, or blacksmith. This year I returned to capture a small sliver of the zany energy of this community. My visit did not disappoint. In a single afternoon, I witnessed a pirate light his nipple on fire and then a few minutes later I watched as a man voluntarily had his face dipped in mud and a bucket of ice dumped down his pants. The performers are there to entertain—and entertain they do. So if you’re looking for a good time—or an excuse to dress up as an elf, head on down to the Ohio Renaissance Festival. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget. • The Ohio Renaissance Festival is held each Saturday and Sunday during the month of October in Waynesville, Ohio. See renfestival.com for more information.

A NEW CHAPTER How Columbus bookstores are thriving in an Amazon world BY DAV I D LEWI S P H OTOS BY O L I VI A K. JAM ES

I recently found an old bookmark from Parnassus Bookstore. It says: A bookshop in the old tradition. Lovers of books are welcome. No clerk will babble in your ears. Browse as long as you like. If you want to ask questions, you’ll find the proprietor where the smoke is thickest. We have what you want, but you may not know you want it yet. Parnassus Bookstore was a neighborhood hangout on the Upper West Side of New York City in the late 70s. You might have found Norman Mailer or Philip Roth browsing. A homeless guy might look for a respite there. Maybe a few Columbia University students would saunter in. It was a community. A book lover’s community—and my father’s store. But in the 80s Barnes and Noble, Borders Books and other behemoths, with their bulk-buying of cheaper-priced books, invaded the industry, and the independent bookstore faded like a good pair of jeans. Fast forward to the age of Amazon where transactions are quick, and delivery is even quicker. Instant gratification. Now even the large brick-and-mortar chains have had trouble responding to an online retail environment. But over the last decade, indie bookstores have been making a comeback. How can that be? How can a store that, for the most part, can’t compete on price, survive? The answer seems to be in the vein of “To thine own self, be true.”

Gramercy Books




2424 E Main St.

Linda Kass, owner of Gramercy Books, knows how she’s positioned her store for success. Surprisingly, she holds no animosity aimed at Amazon. In fact, Kass uses the site for tons of stuff she needs. (Hey, who doesn’t need paper towels in a blink of an eye?) But when it comes to books, she believes there’s no comparison. “I really don’t see us in the same business as Amazon,” Kass says. “They’re a very transactional business and we are an experiential business. This is a thoughtful purchase compared to Amazon where you search for the book, hit buy and wait for it to come to your door.” While hanging out at Kittie’s Café next to Gramercy, Kass recalls how she was very mindful of how she wanted to design her store. Kittie’s Café, while a separate business, is connected to Gramercy and provides an appealing aroma to customers. Amazon can’t offer the same brick-andmortar curated experience. “People that are coming into my bookstore— they are looking for an experience,” Kass says. “They want to be inspired, connect and discover things. They want a human experience with books. They want to browse—not be rushed.” Kass brings in authors and does book signings—standard for most indie stores—creating a true interaction you don’t get on Amazon. In the end, Kass appreciates what Amazon has done for the retail industry. “Amazon pushed us independent stores to create an even more experiential experience. And I am thankful for that.”


2116 Arlington Ave.

Nestled in a quaint part of Upper Arlington, around the corner from Jones Middle School, sits Cover to Cover, a children’s bookstore. “I decided not to make Amazon a competitor,” says owner Melia Wolf. “What I can bring is my experience to a customer—my past experiences and my expertise.” She understands her clientele is not an Amazon one. It’s a browsing culture of parents and children who want to experience the magic of books in a warm and welcoming environment. “I want to focus on the people that want to be in a bookstore and not the ones wanting a quick, narrow experience on Amazon.” Wolf’s store is filled with shelves and shelves of books, but what makes this place stand out is that there are interactive things to do. There’s a chess board where Wolf herself teaches youngsters how to play. And just like many indie bookstores there are plenty of visits from authors. “The publishers are very supportive of the independent stores, supplying authors and making sure the stores are being well-serviced,” Wolf says. “And occasionally our prices are cheaper than Amazon’s.” • 614NOW.COM



Prologue on High Street


841 N High St. Swinging by Prologue in the Short North is a pleasure. The doors are open on a hot summer day, inviting book revelers into power browse mode. Dan Brewster, the owner, sits behind the counter, unpacking books. He opened the store less than a year ago after getting fed up with computer coding back in San Francisco. “I wanted to open a store here for people to come in and relax,” says Brewster. “I wasn’t deterred by what Amazon was doing. Yes, Amazon sells books, but their site has become so chaotic. Ads all over the place. My store, and independent stores in general, offer a calm space for people to explore titles and get lost in the shelves.” Brewster speaks to a certain camaraderie most indie stores in the Columbus area share. “I have had contact with most of the bookstore owners in Columbus,” Brewster says. “We support each other and want everyone to flourish. In fact, back in April we did a book hop (Independent Bookstore Day) where you could spend the day visiting many of the indie bookstores around town [and] win prizes and share a love for books along the way.” Store foot traffic is in a constant decline, and stores such as Barnes and Noble may continue to feel the pinch, potentially leaving a huge hole in the brick-and-mortar bookstore landscape. Yet indie stores are not celebrating the downfall of their one-time nemesis. “Everyone is cheering for Barnes and Noble to succeed,” Kass says. “We want more booksellers, more readers. There needs to be a Barnes and Noble to complement what we are doing.” •



Prologue on High Street 614NOW.COM












t really all started with Braxton Miller’s shoulder injury. That became the subject of Michael and Kirsten’s first conversation while hanging out at Eddie George’s, watching Ohio State take on Navy. “This meeting was absolutely fate. Michael had just moved from New York and finished his first week as a teacher in Cleveland. We met his first weekend while he was visiting one of his cousins,” recalled Kirsten. Five years later, after a pre-game proposal in Buckeye Grove, the two were married in Ohio Stadium, joined by family, friends, pom-poms and members of the OSU marching band. “We were able to secure the Shoe through the Ohio State facilities website! You’d be surprised to learn what facilities and options are available. We could have turned on the scoreboard if we created a video or wanted to scroll a message to our guests!” said Kirsten. It’s romance in Columbus. One day you yell out O-H to a stranger, and a few years later you’re exchanging vows in Ohio Stadium. Well played, Kirsten and Michael. Well played.


Unforgettable, Exciting, Unique, Breathtaking, Surreal... Best Day Ever! (I know this is three, but it’s been our family motto during the planning process!) WHO WAS SOMEONE THAT MADE YOUR BIG DAY RUN SMOOTHLY OR STAND OUT?

Every vendor we worked with was nothing short of amazing. Nathan at Xtreme Limo shuttled our guests in the Buckeye Bus to and from the Shoe, but really shined the entire day. Celeste, our coordinator at Dock580 delivered the most outstanding experience for our guests and kept us on schedule. •




FOOD: Dock580 Juniper and The Loft/Short North Piece of Cake/Buckeye Donuts

APPAREL: David’s Bridal/Men’s Wearhouse

BOOZE: North High Brewing/Wild Ohio and Rhinegeist Bubbles/Giant Eagle

OFFICIANT: Ben Shaw, friend of the bride

STANDOUT VENDOR: Flowerman DJ/PhotoBooth Buckeye Entertainment/Xtreme Limo

BUDGET: $40,000-$45,000


I remember the moment before I walked down the ramp into the north end of the stadium. I took several deep breaths and looked at my father, and back out across the stadium. It was absolutely surreal. There wasn’t a football team, or any loud noise; only the sound of the band and our fans cheering us on. I will cherish that moment forever! My “something blue” was actually a statement on the bottom of my shoes in vinyl, “It’s May 11 2019 and M still Sucks!” In the spirit of Ohio State football, it was absolutely perfect! 84



I don’t think very many of our guests noticed this, but my husband struggled putting my wedding band on. I had it custom made into a horseshoe shape due to my setting and I wish we would have practiced that! I also had a bridesmaid missing in action until about seven minutes before the ceremony—we had such a great time at Juniper for our welcome party! We did have another bride interrupt our photo session after our ceremony in the Rotunda. Her ceremony was at the Shoe four hours before ours and she forgot to get that photo! Had I not allowed her to get that shot we would have had more time for Michael and I to get some great shots around campus. WAS THERE ANYTHING YOU DID OR HAD THAT MADE THE BIG DAY EASIER?

I created a few timelines for the bridal party, photographers and shuttle service. It worked like a charm and everything was on schedule the entire day. DoorDash was a lifesaver! I planned and purchased every meal in advance as well—it took all of the guesswork out. ANYTHING THAT YOU WANT TO ADD THAT MADE YOUR DAY STAND OUT?

The Ohio State Band was not only a surprise for my groom, but it truly created a game day ambiance for our guests! Easily one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Our guests were seated to Ohio State game day classics like “I Want to Go Back” and “Hang on Sloopy” while I patiently waited in a suite overlooking the field. My bridesmaids walked out to the same drum cadence the band marches down the ramp to on game days and I walked down to “Buckeye Battle Cry.” We also had pom-poms for guests to cheer us on as we walked out of the shoe. Guests loved being transported in the Buckeye Bus and taking photos on the field! At our reception we served beer brewed and bottled by the bridesmaids with custom labels using our engagement photos! (My sister really knocked it out of the park.) My husband and I made Buckeye magnets as one of our favors and even made a shadowbox football field seating chart! Also on theme Buckeye Donuts were served. When it came time to toss the bouquet and garter, we tossed footballs with the saying, “Great Catch, You’re Next!” • 614NOW.COM







“People are weird. When we find someone with weirdness that is compatible with ours, we team up and call it love.” The quote is from Dr. Suess, and it seems to sum up searching for love in a chaotic world. Is it weird to hope for snow on the weekend of your wedding? Or is it merely brave? For the adventurous Dallas and Kelly, the line might blur a bit. After a three-and-a-half-year relationship that started on Tinder, Dallas and Kelly decided they both wanted to propose and accept proposals, and a weekend in Shenandoah National Park provided them with the perfect opportunity. Bearfence Mountain Trail took the breath out of Dallas, not only from the difficulty of the trail, but also from Kelly’s mountaintop proposal, which she had written as a letter. Now it was up to Dallas to match the level of romance. She waited until after dinner. “I asked [Kelly] to finish the dishes while I picked out a movie for us to watch. When she was done cleaning up, I surprised her with a movie made of pictures and memories of our relationship—one of the only times I’ve ever surprised her—on the candle-lit screened-in front porch. She said yes and we celebrated with more champagne.” With this level of expression coming to them naturally, it comes as no surprise that Dallas and Kelly wrote their own vows and designed their own ceremony. They included that quote from Dr. Suess and an excerpt from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières which concludes “Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground.” Underground or over mountains, we wish this couple the best.

F O O D : Buehler’s Catering A PPA REL: Dallas: Esperance, WILLOWBY Kelly: Dress made by LeGoullon Custom Studio BO OZE: The Grand Barn at the Mohicans O FF I CIANT: Charlie McCary, Kelly’s younger brother STA NDO U T V E N D O R : Wooster Floral & Gifts BU D G E T: $18,000 - $22,000

The Big Day in six words: Shivering down the aisle to love. Who was someone that made your big day run smoothly or stand out? Aimee Espitia from the Grand Barn at the Mohicans made sure our wedding was an absolute DREAM. She was so helpful from the first time we met her at a bridal show in Columbus to the end of our wedding night. We hired her as our wedding coordinator and didn’t have to worry about a thing. She worked with all of our vendors and made the entire night run as smooth and as fun as possible! • 614NOW.COM



Any standout stories from that day, or something that you’d do over every time if given the chance? Our wedding venue, the Grand Barn at the Mohicans has several amazing treehouses and cabins on their property. We booked almost all of them for family and friends for the night of our wedding. We were the very first couple to stay in the newest treehouse (at the time), El Castillo. There was a beautiful spiral staircase and floor to ceiling windows. It was the perfect place to wake up with my beautiful wife. Did anything go comically wrong, or was there anything you wish you had skipped? Before our wedding day, we had asked our wedding party to make sure everything gets packed up from our bridal suites after the wedding so we wouldn’t have to worry about it that night. When we went to the “party cabin” where our wedding party was staying to get our stuff, most of them were already asleep and our marriage certificate was nowhere in sight. After a lot of interrogation of drunk friends, some threats, and what seemed like an hour of searching, we finally tracked it down. I wish we would have established a safe place for that important document before the drinks started flowing… We had an outdoor ceremony and Ohio weather is never predictable. The weekend before our wedding was 50 degrees, perfect for a fall wedding. Our wedding day was 32 degrees. Luckily, our wedding favors were blankets; some people had 2 or 3 wrapped around them. We were standing up there shivering and giggling throughout the ceremony. In some pictures, if you zoom in you can see goosebumps. I think it definitely made our wedding memorable. And once everyone warmed up, the cold weather ended up being perfect on the covered balcony with the heaters going. Was there anything you did or had that made the big day easier? Endless support from family and friends. Theknot.com was a lifesaver—especially their wedding planner binder. If you can, book a wedding coordinator. Anything that you want to add that made your day stand out? We were EXTREMELY happy with our photographer, Dan Buckley, and his second shooter Jessica. Our first-look photos are some of our favorites because they were able to catch our reactions simultaneously during a very beautiful and special moment on our big day. The photos turned out so great and Dan and Jessica were fun to hang out with all day. • 88





Wedding Planners

Life is a party, let’s plan it BY MI TC H H O O P E R


hroughout the years of putting together two weddingthemed issues every year, we at (614) have noticed a trend: couples really appreciate having a wedding planner, or they really wish they would have hired one on to make the day run smoother. Whether it’s their immense experience in putting together a wedding, or knowing exactly what to do with the headache that is a seating list, wedding planners have a method to the marrying madness.

With that in mind, we reached out to three wedding planners for tips and tricks for your big day. These planners flexed their knowledge on food and booze, decor and fashion, and guests and planning. If you’re looking for advice, you’ve come to the right place. And if you’re looking for a wedding planner, these three come highly recommended.


If budget is an issue, be aware of your venue’s catering fees before booking an outside caterer. Have your eye out for excellent service and read reviews on as many different sites as possible. — Meredith Browning-Diamond, Founder of Auburn and Ivory At The Club I always suggest having an idea of what kind of menu you are looking for to find the best possible one suited for your cuisine and also to have a budget decided first so that all the vendors you look at are within budget. There is nothing worse than finding the dream vendor and they are out of budget.


— Kendra Bowdle, Private Event and Tournament Sales Director with Tartan Fields I would try to see if you can provide your own alcohol. This is usually cheaper than doing open bar through them. Also, remember when signing with them that you only need a guaranteed minimum guest count. You can always add to the count later, closer to the wedding date. It’s better to add on than to pay for people who do not come! Also, don’t forget the mixers! — Lindsay Gaeta, Wedding and Event Planner with Mode Event



An all-inclusive venue can be great for a couple with a tighter budget, just be sure that what the venue is offering is in line with your tastes and style. Make sure to inquire about their policies for bringing in outside vendors as well, in case you prefer to find your own. — Meredith Browning-Diamond I would always suggest asking the sales coordinator to run a full estimate with ALL charges including service charge and taxes, prior to booking just to make sure you are within budget on all accounts so you can choose what to add or take off as needed. — Kendra Bowdle I recommend asking them if it’s okay to bring outside vendors, in case they don’t cover everything. Example—if there is a local bakery that you really love and want to use for a cake, are you permitted to bring in outside sweets? — Lindsay Gaeta



Everyone is working with a different budget and every couple has a different goal for their wedding day. My biggest advice here is to remember that it’s often not worth the stress of nickel and diming when a small amount more can give you peace of mind (if you’re in a position to do so.) — Meredith Browning-Diamond You can always explore different bar options. Beer and wine is always a price friendly option to cut cost. Cake is always another aspect you can cut cost on. Getting a displayed cake and then having sheet cake (safely hidden in the kitchen) to provide to your guests. They’ll never know! — Kendra Bowdle Continued on page 100 •




Justin & Jenny 9.21.2018 | Eugene’s Canteen/ Reception: Land Grant P H OTOS BY N I CO L E F O L L E N •




ustin and Jenny built Eugene’s Canteen together, so it was natural that they (along with their photobombing dogs Bruno and Roux) celebrate their Big Day in a place that had become special to them, and it wasn’t too far from the site of their first date: Short North Tavern. “We had always wanted to do something laid-back and more casual; that’s just more our style.” explained Jenny. “We’d talked a lot about having a small ceremony and a larger party with the rest of the extended family. Personally, I didn’t want the attention of everyone staring at me. We were engaged for four years and at some point we thought, ‘Ok, let’s just do this already.’ ” The DIYers put together much of their own materials: invitations, bouquets, table-scapes, and the wood-cut background that hung behind the couple. Justin’s mom pitched in with a five-layered, multi-flavored, wedding cake covered in handmade fondant flowers that was served at the reception the following day. Eugene’s Canteen used to be Da Levee, a Cajun/creole fast-casual restaurant, and Justin has been a Cajun chef for many years. So on Mardi Gras 2015 in New Orleans, he proposed to Jenny from a trolley, temporarily stopping the parade. “He then asked me to come up and that’s when I realized what was happening,” Jenny recalled. Congratulations Justin and Jenny. As they say in New Orleans, “Laissez le bon temps rouler!” (Let the good times roll!) F O O D: Preston’s Burgers A P PA R E L : Dress: Department store $45 find Tux: Custom Made from a past India trip B O OZ E : Eugene’s Canteen OF F I C I A N T: Jessica Jordan, friend of the couple STA N DO U T V E NDO R : piink iink studio B U DGE T: $3000-$4000 The Big Day in six words: Intimate, personal, simple, stress-free, pooches, unique. Who was someone that made your big day run smoothly or stand out? One of the best parts was having one of our best friends as our officiant. It made the day that much more special and personal. Any standout stories from that day, or something that you’d do over every time if given the chance? Instead of the more traditional wedding customs, we had a celebratory shot with all our guests and our first pool game instead of the first dance. He won. Did anything go comically wrong, or was there anything you wish you had skipped? A few weeks later we had visited Land-Grant and our coordinator asked if “the thing with the music was figured out?”.... We’re not sure what that was. Was there anything you did or had that made the big day easier? We had a built-in venue. We designed and built Eugene’s Canteen together which made it an incredibly special place to get married. This also forced us to keep it small. The day of the ceremony there were only about 30 people there. Then we had a big party with all extended family the next day at Land-Grant Brewery. Anything that you want to add that made your day stand out? We were able to have our two dogs at the ceremony. They’re family too, so we had to include them! •







was not one of those girls that grew up with a vision in mind of how I wanted my wedding, so when we started looking for venues, we were not quite sure what we wanted. I had been to a couple barn weddings and loved the rustic feel of that type of venue,” said Carolyn. “Did I ever think I was going to get married in an alley? Heck no, but it was PERFECT in every single way.” Although the Brewery District winery has moved on to the South Side, the rustic and industrial style of Via Vecchia at the time spoke to Carolyn and Nathan, and suddenly they couldn’t imagine having their wedding anywhere else. They built an arch to be married under, kept the decor simple, and let the character of the venue speak for itself. Nathan and Carolyn met through Carolyn’s roommate, who befriended Nathan as a newcomer in town and met him for drinks. Eventually she and Carolyn invited Nathan to Carolyn’s apartment for dinner, and a collective friendship formed. “Everyone around us knew we were ‘dating’ before we even knew,” said Carolyn. “We do not have an official date that our relationship began. It just sort of transformed from friendship to an intimate relationship. And guess what, my roommate was my maid of honor and takes full credit for our relationship.”





Food: Creative Cuisine Catering

Apparel: Wendy’s Bridal/Men’s Wearhouse Booze: Via Vecchia Winery

Officiant: Pastor Ron Hitchcock

Standout Vendor: Madison House Designs Budget: $30,000-$35,000



The Big Day in six words: Loving, unforgettable, beautiful, perfect, authentic, blissful. Who was someone that made your big day run smoothly or stand out? Our officiant/pastor Ron Hitchcock and his wife Barbara helped our ceremony run perfectly. Barbara helped direct the wedding party when to walk out with the music. Ron so elegantly ran the ceremony adding his own beautiful personal touches to the ceremony including what he calls “the five loves.” He had Nathan and I write five things we love about each other that he shared at the ceremony. Nathan and I did not hear these five loves ahead of time. It was beautiful and made the ceremony very personal! Any standout stories from that day, or something that you’d do over every time if given the chance? I’d marry this man over and over if I could. We got married at Via Vecchia Winery in an alleyway, which in itself is incredibly memorable and unique. Via Vecchia has since moved locations, but I’ll never forget the intimate downtown city feel of getting married in a beautiful brick alleyway. It’s sad that this is no longer an option for people. I cannot imagine getting married anywhere else. Did anything go comically wrong, or was there anything you wish you had skipped? We did a unity candle ceremony, but when my mom went to light the first candle, the lighter was not working. She tried for like two minutes straight in front of all the people but it never worked. The unity candles were a total flop! Was there anything you did or had that made the big day easier? I had the most engaging and helpful caterer. I did not have a wedding planner, but it was okay because Kristen from Creative Cuisines was awesome and set up the entire venue for me the day of my wedding. She organized the tables and all my decorations to my liking and added personal touches as well. I had a couple amazing friends go early to help her as well. I was overwhelmed when I saw everything come together for the first time. Kristen was amazing and I am so thankful for her! Anything that you want to add that made your day stand out? Near the end of the night, my husband’s friends decided it would be fun to “ice” us. They hid Smirnoff Ice drinks in their pants and then Nathan and I had to get on our knees (not so easy in my wedding dress) and chug them. It was a photo finish, but I’m certain I chugged faster than him! He also insists he won but I think the video shows me winning! •




Wedding Planners Continued





Decor & Fashion


Pay attention to who you are as a couple. Do you love certain books, movies, activities? Look for inspiration for your own life to help your wedding feel authentic to you. Visit art museums, think of your travels, and of course, READ! Not just wedding blogs and magazines… inspiration is everywhere. Also, ahem, hire a stylist to help do that translating for you (and to keep you ahead of the trends.) — Meredith Browning-Diamond

Couples find inspiration everywhere! From a place they visited, Etsy, Pinterest, a past visited wedding to a specific theme. We have seen it all. Popular trends right now are ditching the wedding cake for something informal like macarons, donut wall or grandma’s favorite sweets. — Kendra Bowdle Instagram is a huge tool right now for brides. We are seeing more couples trying to be more “green,” using less plastic disposables (straws) and less paper products (invitations and name cards). — Lindsay Gaeta


This is really important. Brides—buy a dress for your body as it is now. LOVE your gown and love who you are. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you need to make unhealthy dieting decisions to fit in a certain gown. Love yourself! Loving the skin you are in the best trend you can follow. — Meredith Browning-Diamond I would suggest narrowing down a style if possible with inspiration from magazines, internet, etc., set a budget and start booking appointments. I would only suggest two to three in one weekend otherwise all the styles blend together. We have seen brides getting their dresses from all over, even one from Lulu’s bridal section. Talk about a cost saver but still super-gorgeous! — Kendra Bowdle It’s good to pop onto Pinterest or Instagram and start saving photos of dresses that you see and like. From there you will hopefully start noticing styles that you are drawn to. If anything, I think going into a dress shop and just starting to try on dresses is super helpful. You’ll see that different styles will fit differently on your body. Sometimes a dress might look good in a photo, but it may not be the most flattering for your body type. — Lindsay Gaeta HAVE YOU HAD ANY COUPLES WHO PREFER TO DO THEIR OWN DECOR RATHER THAN GOING THROUGH A VENDOR? WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES OF THIS?

Because I offer wedding styling, a couple wanting to DIY everything under my care is rare. My advice is to look realistically at your life and your free time before you decide to take on the very time-consuming, often tedious, challenge of DIY decor. Additionally, your vendor’s full time job to create or source what you’ve hired them for should mean they have experience and knowledge on their side. Not only for results, but for cost as well. The best thing a couple can do is hire vendors they love and them TRUST them to do their job! — Meredith Browning-Diamond We’ve seen it all, from the DIY brides to the professional wedding designers. The DIY option will be cheaper but at the cost of much more work for the happy couple and their families bringing in and taking out the décor. — Kendra Bowdle The benefit of having DIY items for décor is you’ll be able to create exactly what you are envisioning. DIY often saves money, but not always, depending on what you are wanting. The main disadvantage is having enough people to help with these DIY projects. They may sound like a fun bonding experience at first, but in actuality you’ll need to properly assess how much time you will need to complete everything. A lot of people do not fully think things through when get start on DIY projects, which wastes time and money doing multiple trial and errors. — Lindsay Gaeta Continued on page 110 614NOW.COM



Saba &



rowing up in the same neighborhood, high school sweethearts Saba and Lisa spent 14 years going through the expected courtship rituals of homecoming, movies, and a long-distance college relationship. But when it came to their fusion Persian and American wedding, they gave their special day a unique and personalized twist. Saba and Lisa included the Iranian custom of a “sofreh aghd” or “wedding spread,” a table that held items such as honey, eggs, fruit, and candles—symbols of the qualities they wanted to bring to their marriage. Lisa’s aunt Gigi, a retired florist, created the centerpieces. “My husband wrote our entire ceremony from start to finish and it could not have been more perfect. We started with the Baha’i portion, which is his religion. Then we sat behind the sofreh and did the kaleh ghand ceremony. During this part, my bridesmaids held a veil over our heads and my beautiful Matron of Honor—it’s important that a married woman does this part—rubbed the kaleh ghand [sugar cones] over our heads. This is to bless us with a sweet marriage. We then transitioned into the more American traditional part with our own vows and exchange of rings. Then it was done!” said Lisa. No garter and bouquet toss for these two. Instead, a traditional “knife dance” ensued. “The knife dance was such a fun addition. The idea is the bride and groom try to ‘bribe’ different family members to give us the knife to cut our cake. My new sister-in-law started it off, taking the cake knife and dancing to a Persian song.”

FOOD: BROOKSHIRE: The Venue/Jeddo Kabab of Dublin APPAREL: Wendy’s Bridal/Romanoff ’s Classic Tuxedo BOOZE: Brookshire: The Venue OFFICIANT: Ata Sayfee and Codi Giesey STANDOUT VENDOR: Bloomtastic BUDGET: $20,000-$25,000

The Big Day in six words: Magical multi-cultural garden party. Who was someone that made your big day run smoothly or stand out? Sydney, our coordinator at Brookshire! She was absolutely incredible and took so much stress off me. Amanda Allen (our photographer) was insanely amazing. Her vision was magical and she made the day so smooth. Corralling our families was a bit of a task and she knocked it out of the park. I cannot thank her enough for capturing our day so beautifully. She is the BEST. Any standout stories from that day, or something that you’d do over every time if given the chance? I highly recommend doing a first look with your future spouse and your father. Both of them helped calm some butterflies and it was so nice having a private few minutes to reflect with each of my favorite guys before all the crazy started! Also we had a late night bite of traditional Persian food as my husband is Persian. It was a huge hit—everyone loved it! The sparkler send off was absolutely magical. Did anything go comically wrong, or was there anything you wish you had skipped? The only roadbump we had was our videographer missing the first look with me and my husband. Other than that everything was truly perfect! Was there anything you did or had that made the big day easier? My family was so incredible. They helped with last minute details. My aunt did our bouquets and decorated the pergola. She executed our vision better than I could have ever imagined. Anything that you want to add that made your day stand out? Since my husband is Persian, we wanted to incorporate his culture into our day. For our ceremony, we had a “sofreh” which is a table of offerings meant to bring blessing into our marriage. Some items included a mirror (light and brightness into the future), spices (protect against evil), and Kaleh Ghand (sugar cones for a sweet marriage). Part of our ceremony included the bridesmaids holding a veil over our heads while my maid of honor rubbed the sugar cones over our heads to bless us. It was so special having our two cultures come together in one ceremony. I even said part of my vows in Farsi as a surprise to my husband—it was a huge hit! 614NOW.COM

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e met pretty much like everyone else these days—Andy slid into my Twitter DMs,” laughs Haley. Things got a bit more romantic on a hiking trip when Andy proposed, and when the two chose The Club at Tartan Fields, situated by the Arnold Palmer Signature championship golf course for their wedding. Practicing mindfulness helped Haley get through the Big Day by concentrating on the big picture: the marriage itself. “I tried to focus on the fact that everyone was being so generous with time and money in order to help us have the best day possible. We also kept the guest list to close friends and family, so we didn’t have an overwhelming amount of people attending the wedding.”

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Like many couples choose to do, Haley and Andy asked a family member to officiate their ceremony. “Andy and I wrote our own vows— it was funny that we wrote them individually and kept them a secret, because they pretty much ended up being the same memories and promises about and to each other. Ben noted that during the ceremony, and it really showed how on the same page we are.” Although the bride usually gets to nix or add last minute changes, Haley doesn’t regret her mother’s stealth move to call a caricature artist to the reception. “She read about the artist in the Dispatch that week, gave him a call, and booked him without telling me.”

FOOD: The Club at Tartan Fields APPAREL: David’s Bridal/Indochino at Easton BOOZE: The Club at Tartan Fields OFFICIANT: Ben Lupton, brother of the groom STANDOUT VENDOR: Elizabeth’s Flowers in Jackson, Ohio (the bride’s hometown) BUDGET: $7,000 - $10,000

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THE BIG DAY IN SIX WORDS: Lighthearted, festive, radiant, timeless, humorous, calm. WHO WAS SOMEONE THAT MADE YOUR BIG DAY RUN SMOOTHLY OR STAND OUT? The wedding coordinator at Tartan Fields, Kendra Bowdle, helped our day run smoothly. We had so much fun due to the pressure taken off the schedule because Kendra handled the details. She always made sure we had everything we needed, and that we weren’t stressed out. The bride’s aunt, Elizabeth Callahan, also deserves recognition for arriving at the venue early from out of town and with the flower delivery and helping the family decorate before the ceremony began. ANY STANDOUT STORIES FROM THAT DAY, OR SOMETHING THAT YOU’D DO OVER EVERY TIME IF GIVEN THE CHANCE? Ben Lupton, the officiant, is the groom’s younger brother. We couldn’t imagine anyone else performing the officiant’s duties and he exceeded our every expectation. The ceremony was thoughtful, personal, and vivacious. Ben worked on the details of the speech for a long time, and the end result was by far the most memorable part of our wedding day. Friends and family from afar received extra recognition for their dedication to the couple, and the bride’s and groom’s families felt the significant impact of the meaning of the day. All of our guests commented on how our ceremony was one of the best ones they had been a part of. DID ANYTHING GO COMICALLY WRONG, OR WAS THERE ANYTHING YOU WISH YOU HAD SKIPPED? One of the ring bearers, Leo Lupton, had a bit of a meltdown before his turn to walk down the aisle. However, Alex Lupton, the other ring bearer, handled his duties with a level of professionalism and style that can’t be matched. And the stories from the guests of watching the two trying to work together are amazing. WAS THERE ANYTHING YOU DID OR HAD THAT MADE THE BIG DAY EASIER? The venue handling the ceremony, dinner, and reception all in one place definitely made everything easier for us and the guests. We took most of our formal pictures before the ceremony took place, which allowed us to be more relaxed during the ceremony, and spend more time with guests at the reception. ANYTHING THAT YOU WANT TO ADD THAT MADE YOUR DAY STAND OUT? Andy’s nephew, Zack, joined the bride and groom at their sweetheart table for dinner. We shared dinner together and listened to the speeches together. It was adorable and such a great memory. A caricature artist, Jason Hay, was a big hit with guests and they had an extra favor to bring home. • 614NOW.COM

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Wedding Planners Continued


Again, every couple is different. I sit down with my couples and we go over an extensive priorities worksheet. The way you want your wedding to look and feel is unique to you as a couple—where one couple may want to spend extravagantly on gourmet food, another may prefer to spend on a killer band. It’s about you and your partner (and whoever is footing the bill) being on the same page about your priorities and using it as north star throughout the planning/spending process.



That depends. If you have a dream venue you may be willing to fit your guest list to whatever capacity it holds. Again. This comes down to priorities. — Meredith Browning-Diamond Always build your guest list first to make sure you know about how many people and you don’t choose a venue that has a maximum less than your guest count. The amount on your guest list will also help determine the budget of the wedding and how much you can spend on venue.

— Meredith Browning-Diamond

— Kendra Bowdle

The prior items for budgeting would be to get the wedding dress and venue picked out and then go from there on the other items such as flowers, DJ, and décor. You can always cut costs on the add-on items. Replace flowers with candles, cut the bar cost, switch cake for cookies, etc. There are always unavoidable costs such as dress, venue and food. Those are the most important and what counts the most. The other items shop around and find the best deal!

I would sort out your (rough) guest list first, to get a gauge of what you will need. One of the first questions that venue representatives ask is what your guest count is. They’ll want to make sure your guests are comfortable and able to enjoy your wedding!

— Kendra Bowdle A good guideline is food/beverage and venue tend to be about 50% of your budget. From there, we say floral tends to be 10% of your overall budget. It is important to start with a budget spreadsheet, and have a line item for each vendor. This helps to make sure you don’t forget anything before all of your budget has been used. — Lindsay Gaeta


Everyone gets a timeline and we go over it many times before the wedding. When people see how the big picture of the day relies on each piece of the timeline puzzle and how they fit into it, they tend to work harder at being punctual. That, and always build in a little buffer time for life’s unpredictabilities! — Meredith Browning-Diamond

I stress to the couple at the first tour and meeting that we take the timeline very seriously and continue to highlight this throughout the planning. We have timed our on course photography and have the time allotted appropriately for all items. I make contact with the other vendors throughout the planning process so that we are all on the same page and no one is surprised the day of. If you have all of the vendors plus the bridal party aware of the timeline then it makes it easier to stay on schedule. — Kendra Bowdle Communication is key! Having a wedding website is helpful, for guests and the wedding party. In terms of hair and makeup, it’s important to ask your hair stylist and makeup artist to work together on a schedule. You’ll want to build in time for getting into your dress, and getting from point A to point B for photos. Another thing that helps move the day along in a timely manner is having a shot list for your photographer. This is a list of portrait photos you want of family and close friends. Having the person’s name and affiliation is helpful. Example: instead of bride with immediate family you can say “bride Susan with mom Carol, dad Dave, brother Dan, sister Sharon” etc. — Lindsay Gaeta

Modern takes, Classic designs Columbus is yet again on the cutting edge of a new trend. BY K E R RY F R A N C I S

Looking for the scoop on the latest in home design? Then you’re living in the right area code. Consumers are taking the current style of combining modern and vintage to the next level by incorporating true antique pieces into their décor. This emerging trend is a continued nod to people’s love for sustainable, unique items. For the last few years, the hot trends in home décor were industrial chic and urban farmhouse. While they have slight differences, both styles incorporate vintage items and materials such as metals, glass and aged wood with modern pieces. This updated, fresh look pays homage to the time of the Industrial Revolution. To be technical, the term “vintage” is used for anything that is or looks to be from the last 75 years or so while the term “antique” refers to an item that’s at least 100 years old, often dating back to the mid-1800s. What sets this trend apart from the industrial chic/urban farmhouse styles is the quality of the piece. Rather than massproduced vintage items, consumers are gravitating toward true one-of-a-kind antiques. These pieces are more durable and longlasting, and most are unique with a rich history of ownership. Local businesses that specialize in vintage and antique items are seeing this trend emerging in their stores. “The industrial chic/urban farmhouse trend isn’t as popular and we’re seeing a slow resurgence in people using traditional or classic pieces, but the style cleaned up a bit,” said Sharon O’Brien, owner of Grandview Mercantile. O’Brien said that people find beauty in something you can touch up and keep for a long time. And she points out that it’s the true definition of something that is recyclable, as it can be passed along to someone else. 112


All things must change—a little While this new approach to decorating uses traditional pieces, it has its own twist on what you might think of as your grandmother’s antiques. Rather than looking for a piece that’s admired and not used—perhaps even put behind glass to protect it—consumers are looking for something that’s practical and works within their lifestyle. “People are looking for industrial carts, things they can use as cocktail tables,” she said. “Unless it’s something you can sit on, sleep on, or use in some way, they’re not going buy it.” Also incorporated into this new trend is the desire to find something unique that has history. Consumers want something that no one else has and that tells a story rather than massproduced items that they have seen in friends’ homes. Antiques fit that bill. “These pieces have great stories behind them—there’s real romance to it,” O’Brien said. A third change is that, while consumers are looking for quality, they still want a piece that’s easy. Today, consumers are looking for something without the special upkeep required by some antiques. Because of their age, some antiques require special care such as cleaning with specific cleansers or keeping them out of sunlight. “People want things that don’t require special care,” O’Brien said.

Keeping it Modern O’Brien said that incorporating antiques doesn’t require you to decorate using a traditional style—it’s easy to incorporate them into any style without them looking out of place. Some ways to do that include focusing on a single antique item in the room, using an eclectic mix of items and incorporating complementary styles, colors and patterns rather than trying to closely match everything. “Don’t be afraid to mix and match,” she said. “You can have a contemporary couch that’s comfortable and add an antique piece.” O’Brien, who has been a collector most of her life and has owned and operated Grandview Mercantile for 22 years, stays on top of trends. She sees this trend as something that is likely to take off across the country as Columbus is a good barometer of what’s to come. She also said now is a good time to jump on this trend if it appeals to you. Because antiques haven’t been as popular in recent years, you can find many pieces at a reasonable price. But if this trend is old hat to you and you have items you may want to sell in the future, don’t despair. O’Brien expects that prices will change in the future. “I tell people to keep a hold of them,” she said. •

Grandview Mercantile is located at 1489 Grandview Ave. Visit grandviewmercantile.com for hours, or to shop online. 614NOW.COM



Not Any Old House

Columbus Landmarks and the Home Preservation Program help homeowners restore the beauty of older homes.



he charm of old houses. The fear of old houses. Italianate or Queen Anne or American Foursquare, they are undoubtedly beautiful. But what are you getting yourself into? An endless project? A money pit? Renovations are never as easy as HGTV makes them look. But is owning one of these architectural masterpieces really out of your reach? If you’ve ever thought about owning an older or historic home, the resources of the Home Preservation Program, part of the Columbus Landmarks Foundation, can help you learn to restore and preserve the architectural beauty of an older home, not only for your own enjoyment, but to create a historic legacy for years to come. The slightly over three-year-old program, a free service, was started by the city of Columbus, but has since received additional sources of funding to help its mission. The program has made 182 site 114


visits for individual homeowners. “We’re not selling anything,” said Susan Keeny, director of the Home Preservation Program and an architect by training. “We want to go out and help people with their decision-making when they renovate homes. We also have a whole list of contractors that work on older homes so we feel confident that when we give somebody a list ... that those are people who know how to work with old buildings.” One of the first steps of purchasing an older home is finding a qualified home inspector or structural engineer, and the Home Preservation Program offers a list of such professionals. “If you do get into structural issues, that could be expensive,” said Keeny. The renovation process can take a while, so Keeny recommends a priority list that will get an owner moved in and stable: electricity, plumbing, and HVAC systems generally need to be brought up to code.

“Tackle the important things first, and every step you make, you’ve added life to your old house.” Although renovation isn’t a good option for everyone, it shouldn’t be an unnecessarily intimidating choice. Keeny points out that old or new, all homes require care and investment. And sometimes the investment in an older home is less than one might expect. “You don’t have to throw out old windows. You can repair them,” says Keeny. “If your wood windows are well-repaired, and they’ve got weatherstripping and you combine them with a storm, either inside or out, you get just as much energy efficiency as with an expensive new replacement window.” Keeny added that a replacement window must be replaced in its entirety, while original windows can be repaired a bit at a time, and are likely to last longer. In fact, any old wood that looks good probably is good, since much of it comes from old-growth forests. “We don’t have those forests anymore, and that wood has much denser growth rings—it’s allowed to grow longer. So it’s inherently disease- and rot-resistant,” says Keeny. The Home Preservation Program holds hands-on workshops to help homeowners with projects like window repair. Other popular workshop topics have included masonry repair, porches, and garden design. Homeowners and prospective homeowners observe that many of the features of an older home were made with basic tools, making many projects more manageable than they anticipated. Eric Fryxell began work on his 100+ year-old home in Woodland Park: “I have long wanted to fix up a neglected old house. This is because I’m fascinated by the past, recycling benefits everyone, and old houses generally are more attractive and well-built than new ones.” He reclaimed the house from a poorly-done flip. “Fortunately, the flippers were so cheap they did not damage the house. It had gorgeous original unpainted trim, the old ceilings and original walls.” In the middle of his renovation process, Fryxell met Keeny at a Home Preservation Program presentation, and found the connection invaluable. “Susan was immediately enthusiastic and helpful, soon coming to my house and working on planning the kitchen, which was the next major and overwhelming step. She produced at least half a dozen plans and was most generous with her time,” Fryxell said. “Dozens of times I anticipated our consultations with pleasure, and was always inspired and comforted by them. Susan was more than an architect. She was also a general advisor and psychotherapist through the ups and downs of a long, exciting, and stressful process.” In addition to repair and maintenance workshops, Columbus Landmarks and the Home Preservation Program holds Saturday workshops to help people research the history of their older homes. Fryxell has found information on the original owner (and likely builder) of his home, as well as others who have resided at the address throughout its history. Fryxell has been at work for about four years on his home since its original improvements were shoddy, but he doesn’t regret his decision to purchase an older home. “True, had I known that it would be so long and frustrating, I may not have bought a house that needed so much work. At the same time, I am really enjoying the process,” he said. “It is satisfying to have control over the future of an old house—its quality, and aesthetics. I feel that I saved a beautiful house from the ravages of open concept, granite countertops, gray walls, painted trim, and recessed lighting!” But the Home Preservation Program doesn’t see just individual houses. It sees an entire piece of Columbus history populated in neighborhoods with older homes, subject to neglect and possible demolition. “Those are the ones we want to save because when those start going, you don’t get those back,” said Keeny. •

To see if the Home Preservation Program can help you, visit columbuslandmarks.org/home-preservation-program. 614NOW.COM



Just Your Size Ideas to help small spaces make big statements BY J O H N MC L AU G H L I N

Try as hard as you want, that sectional couch isn’t going to fit in your new tiny home. With the meteoric rise in popularity that tiny homes have enjoyed over the last several years and with rentals still the first dwelling of most young adults, owners of small-scale properties should consider a handful of important factors before moving in. The first, and perhaps one of the most important is this: How the hell am I going to fit all of stuff into this space? The short answer is this: you’re not. But don’t worry, new tiny homeowner, we’ve got your back. (614) checked in with the Columbus-based Crimson Design Group to better understand the best and most efficient ways to design a tiny house, or any small space in general. They combined all of their design experts and pooled an essential list of tiny home design musts. As I alluded to earlier, one of the first rules you are forced into 116


following is that you simply can’t have everything you own in an exceptionally small space. “As with any design, decide what you really want,” say Stephanie Walker, the Design Director at Crimson Design Group. “Once you figure out what is most important to you, you can determine how to incorporate this element in the space and then design around it.” While your home will definitely thank you for it, you might also find a significant sense of liberation after shedding years and years worth of accrued belongings that you really don’t need. In the same vein, the design firm recommends taking the phrase “Simple and streamlined” to heart. Streamlining tips include incorporating the same floors throughout the home to achieve an organic flow, and keeping cabinets and other built-ins consistent. “Adding too many different materials and textures could cause the space to feel smaller,” notes Walker.

“Once you figure out what is most important to you, you can determine how to incorporate this element in the space and then design around it.” There are certain styles of design that feel more essential to tiny home survival than others. This is one of them: multifunctionality. You’ve likely seen in any of the myriad tiny house shows that have flooded cable television, from a bed and futon combo, to a cutting board that slides out of a kitchen counter and doubles as tabletop space. “In one of our current projects at a retreat house, we are designing a multi-function room. It is to function as a guest suite, office, and exercise room. Similar to a tiny house, the best way to ensure this room is ready for each function is to include multi-purpose pieces. We have incorporated a gorgeous murphy bed that can easily be stored away in the wall while also having the ability to be pulled down into a desk,” Walker said. A few other ideas include using design pieces that can double as storage, such as baskets, which provide a rustic touch in their own right while being able to store any number of items, or ottomans and end tables with drawers or pull-open tops with storage inside. Make sure to also be aware of lighting, as a well-lit space can feel more open and larger. Including accent lighting and sconces is a good first step toward achieving this. The final design hack we’re offering you is less about jettisoning items and more concerned with embracing what you do have. In a tiny home that’s admittedly not much, but you still always have a decent amount of vertical space as well as an expansive ceiling. Learn to use it. “In a tiny home, you won’t have much horizontal space, but you can make great use of vertical space. Incorporating shelving for storage and accessories is a great option,” said Walker. This includes the almost-assumes facet in nearly every time home today as well, which involves creating a lofted sleeping area to create what is functionally a second floor. As designer Nate Blum from Crimson Design Group notes, these same tips can also be utilIzed in designing a small room in a house, or even an apartment or dorm room, so you can always stay tiny, but think big. • 614NOW.COM




[ IN CASE YOU MISSED IT ] Important Local News

- AUG 26 -

I came, I Seesaw, I Conquered: My experience at Short North’s newest bar The open space inside of what was formerly Ram’s Short North location was built up in style by none other than Seesaw, the new playground-for-adults restaurant and bar. With high rooms and floor-to-ceilings window walls, the place has to be just as appealing in the sun as it was on a summer night.

- AUG 28 -

“Sizzling” steakhouse returning to Columbus this fall A sizzling steakhouse will making its return to the capital city this fall. New Orleans-based Ruth’s Chris Steak House will move into 511 N High St. right across from the Convention Center.



- SEPT 4 -

Strip Mall Surprise: Clintonville’s Over The Counter Fourteen months ago, Molly Rice and her managing partners found the energy and stamina to match their vision of opening a retro diner with modern touches. Located on (way) North High Street—where Clintonville kisses Worthington—Over The Counter is a neighborhood gathering place, watering hole, and restaurant that’s overflowing with character.

- SEPT 11 -

Adios, Abuelo’s: Easton loses Mexican restaurant Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant at 3950 Gramercy St. in Easton has very quietly said, “Adios” to the Columbus market. According to Google, Yelp, and the company website, the Mexican restaurant is officially closed.

- SEPT 19 -

- SEPT 12 -

The very last York Steak House is on Broad St. and it’s perfectly nostalgic

Review + virtual tour of stunning new Columbus brewery Gemüt Biergarten, located at 734 Oak St., opened to the public on August 22 and offers guests a cultural drinking and dining experience in a setting just as unique.

Only one last York Steak House stands in this country, and it’s right here in Columbus. While the times have changed around it, everything is still the same at York.

- SEPT 23 -

New Columbus attraction is “the future of bowling” Star Lanes Polaris has announced the addition of HyperBowling, the newest attraction from bowling equipment supplier QubicaAMF. HyperBowling brings together a high-tech blend of software, futuristic user interfaces, lights, and sensors to deliver a neverbefore-seen experience that plays like a physical video game on a bowling lane.

Never miss a thing:





It’s difficult for us here at (614) to catch it all. That’s where you come in: while you’re out there capturing the city, you might as well slide some of your best shots our way. We’ll throw a few of ours in the mix, too. There’s plenty to see in Columbus, so there’s no reason not to share. #AsSeenInColumbus












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124 (614) MAGAZINE OCTOBER 2019 614NOW.COM