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27 Years of Live Stand-Up Comedy in Cincinnati!

Show Times

Wed / Thur / Sun 8:00 - 18+ Friday 7:30 & 10:00 - 18+ Saturday 7:30 & 10:00 - 21+ Just 15 minutes from downtown in Mongtomery! Cy Amundson May 17 - 20

Tim Dillon

May 24 - 27

Reformed Whores May 23

LETTERS Free Music on Fountain Square Alex Breyer: Are we sure this isn’t last year’s lineup? Or two years ago? Or three? Michael Finnigan: Hopefully Clap Your Hands doesn’t cancel again. Comments posted at in response to the May 10 post, “Fountain Square has announced the lineup for this summer’s free ‘Fifth and Vine Live’ concert series and it includes Rev. Horton Heat, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Cowboy Mouth, Maps & Atlases, Delta Rae, Dave Hause and much more.”

The rooftop bar at AC Hotel

Geoff Tate

June 28 - July 1


CONTACT US ONLINE FACEBOOK @CincinnatiCityBeat TWITTER @CityBeatCincy @CityBeat_Eats @CityBeatMusic INSTAGRAM @CityBeatCincy SNAPCHAT @CityBeatCincy VOICEMAIL



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513-665-4700 SNAIL MAIL 811 Race St., Fifth Floor Cincinnati, OH 45202 EMAIL Feedback/Letters/ Info/Questions: News tips:

Rooftop Patio Party Michelle Guenthner: Alright let’s get a move on. Sara Campagna: Abby  Abby Ober Emily Ober Billy Garrett roof Garrett rooftop crawl soooooooon

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Event Listings: Dining News/Events:

Jill Keefe: I organized a Rooftop Bar Tour last summer - of about 30 friends (not that many came each time!). We went to about 10 places. This winter/spring we’ve done Underground! A new plan for this summer is coming!!


Amy Jensen: Michelle here are 6 to start with

Staff: first initial of first name followed by last

Jennie Corry: Jessica here’s a list for us!


Music Listings:

Adrienne Conrad: Catherine Everage Disney... next ladies night Kari Ann Alexander: Andrew date night ideas Comments posted at in response to the May 12 post, “Sit back, relax and watch the rest of the city bustle by while you sip on something cold: 6 Cincinnati Rooftop Patios for Drinking Fancy Cocktails (and Beer).”


UPCOMING EVENTS May 23 Margarita Madness June 23 Brunched

Live music from Elementree Livity Project






Tickets On Sale Now!

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Featuring food and drink from Aloft, Axis Alley, Bakersfield, Chart House, Game Works, Keystone Bar & Grill, Lalo Chino Latino, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks, Mitchell's Fish Market, Old 502 Winery, The Pub, Rosedale, Sammy's Craft Burgers and Beer . . . and more to be announced!





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Met Gala Hot Takes


I don’t pretend to know a lot about fashion (*wipes coffee stain and cat hair off Old Navy sales rack sweater*), so as much as I love a celebrity red carpet moment, the Met Gala always kind of evades me. For those similarly out of the loop, the Met Gala is an annual fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City. It also marks the opening of the Costume Institute’s yearly fashion exhibit. Celebs and fashion types show up every year in extravagant costumes that fit the theme, which usually flies right over my head. For example, last year was “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between.” So. But this year as a good old Cincinnati Catholic, I actually got the theme! “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” (which is on view at the Met through October) had all my faves serving papal realness. A week later, I still can’t stop fawning over the photos. Here’s a look at what you might have missed: Sarah Jessica Parker balanced a full nativity scene on her head; 2 Chainz proposed to his girlfriend on the grand staircase; the witchy Olsen twins showed up to continually haunt our dreams; Scarlett Johansson wore Marchesa, which was ~controversial~ because designer Georgina Chapman is married to (but separated from) accused sexual assaulter Harvey Weinstein; Katy Perry wore some giant ass angel wings that put the Victoria’s Secret fashion show to shame; former arch enemies Nicki Minaj and Cardi B were seen being cordial; Jaden Smith brought his framed gold record as a date (past plusones included his sister Willow and a fistful of his cut off dreads); Frances McDormand did not show up in a burlap sack; new itcouple (?) Elon Musk and musician Grimes made their public debut; and Met Ball cochair Rihanna looked like a glittery, slutty pope. Very much my vibe! The only thing that was missing was an epic Ocean’s 8 moment. The lady-leading spin-off film, which I am truly unironically excited about, features a jewelry heist at the Met Gala. Many of its stars, including Mindy Kaling, Queen Riri, Sarah Paulson and Anne Hathaway, were there. It seemed like a missed opportunity. Then again, if Anna Wintour — chair of the gala — caught wind of some tawdry movie publicity stunt, they might end up at the bottom of the Hudson River.

When Harry Met Meghan

The #RoyalWedding is coming up this weekend, when Prince Harry will marry American actress Meghan Markle in what will be the last marital event of its caliber until George, Charlotte or Louis tie the knot in another 20-30 years. This means

Andre Braugher in the cancelled-then-revived Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

This Week in Questionable Decisions…


1. Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz named his newborn daughter after Captain Marvel. At least Marvel Jane is not as bad as Pepper Potts. 2. A white Yale student called the police over a black student napping in a dorm common area. Y’all, this has to stop. 3. An Arizona woman was arrested for stalking after allegedly sending a man 65,000 texts, breaking into his house and chilling in his bathtub.

loads of magazine covers, campy royal wedding swag, interviews with anyone remotely connected to the couple and, of course, a Lifetime Original Movie! Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance aired Sunday night and it was actually…not terrible? Lifetime’s dramatized flicks are often criticized for failing to even find actors that look the part, but their Meghan (Parisa Fitz-Henley) was actually quite the Markle doppelganger. On the other hand, their balding Prince William (Burgess Abernethy — helluva name) fell a little flat in the look-a-like department. The movie introduced the verb Botswana’d, featured a CGI lion and revealed that Meghan put Harry in his place for being 40 minutes late to their first date. The couple dressed as Hillary Clinton and a frog for Halloween. And, of course, there was the engagement roast chicken. Inaccuracies abounded, but I was surprised to see the movie delve into some of the more serious racial and cultural aspects of their relationship. Is Lifetime woke now? (Spoiler Alert: Probably not.) The flick ends with a cut to the IRL Harry & Meghan and damn it if it didn’t make me excited for this Saturday. The only downside: The wedding starts at 7 a.m. our time with coverage beginning at 4 a.m. Do I wake up early on *gasp* a Saturday or just pull an all-nighter?

Mom Mum Mommy

Curling up to a Lifetime movie about a real life prince falling in love with an American woman on a Sunday night is a total mom move, which was perfect because Sunday was also Mother’s Day. While you were making your wife breakfast or taking your mom out to brunch, the internet celebrated with so many throwback family photos you would have thought it was Thursday. Seriously, vintage mom

Facebook posts are the new macaroni necklaces — Andre 3000 even attached his old-school mommy and me pic to a couple of new singles. If you don’t shout out to your ma’s hot ’80s hair on Instagram, did you even celebrate Mother’s Day? In fact, the whole social media element has kind of turned the holiday into a celebration of all women, acknowledging women who can’t or don’t want to have children, people who have lost a child or mother, even nannies and caregivers that help moms out. Yas, queens! Saturday Night Live kicked the day off early with what’s now a tradition of cast members inviting their moms onstage. The women fawned over their famous children — and requested less politics and more comedy on the show. Classic moms!

TV Is Cancelled

Networks axed a bunch of TV series this week. Did your shows make the cut? ABC killed off Alex Inc., The Crossing Crossing, Deception, Designated Survivor Survivor, Kevin Probably Saves The World, Marvel’s Inhumans, The Mayor and Quantico. NBC pulled the plug on The Brave, Great News, The Night Shift Shift, Rise, Shades of Blue and Taken. Fox cancelled Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Exorcist Exorcist, The Mick, The Last Man On Earth and Lucifer Lucifer. But then NBC grabbed Brooklyn Nine-Nine and performed mouth-to-mouth, which is to say the network revived the Andy Samberg cop comedy. Also, Fox’s Lethal Weapon series might get a third — that’s right, third — season if they can replace the recently ousted lead. And good news for conservatives: Last Man Standing Standing, the only GOP-approved sitcom they’re allowed to watch, is also being revived after cancellation. *Cue Tim “The Toolman” Taylor grunt sound* Contact T.C. Britton:

4. A different human was caught after breaking into Rihanna’s house and spending the night (thankfully she wasn’t there). 5. The Israeli Premier League futbol club is set to rename itself after Trump. 6. A newly engaged woman’s photo went viral after she accidentally texted her friends a live photo of the ring that, when played, revealed her fiancé’s penis. Her friend’s cheeky response: “Congrats girl. It’s huge!” 7. A new “No, no, no, no, no” beauty trend has women’s fingernails looking like teeth. 8. Pamela Anderson “penned a letter” (so chic!) to Kanye West asking for his support of Julian Assange. Totally normal and fine. 9. Celine Dion’s 17-year-old son is embarking on a Rap career under the moniker Big Tip. 10. Two months after announcing his split from wife Vanessa Trump, Don Jr. is reportedly dating Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle. 11. Mena Suvari is set to star as Nicole Brown Simpson in a horror movie about how a ghost haunted and maybe murdered her. 12. At 80 years old, Jane Fonda says she has officially retired from the dating pool, crushing countless hearts everywhere. I mean, have you seen her lately? Jane Fonda can still very much get it.

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Center of Refuge A new, no-cost legal aid center in a Cincinnati public school aims to help local immigrants BY N I C K SWA R T S E L L


Julie LeMaster (left) speaks with clients of the Immigrant and Refugee Law Center at Roberts Academy PH OTO: NIC K SWARTSELL

immigrants have is they’re getting zero help,” he says. “They don’t have government assistance for anything. They have to find ways to be independent. Our goal is to teach immigrants how to be independent, so they can start looking for their version of the American dream.” Many of those people looking for a new life, like Sandra’s sons, have taken a rough journey to get here and face another long slog through America’s legal system. The asylum process is a complex, difficult one for many fleeing violence in places like Central America. Many immigrants get to the U.S. border with Mexico in states like Texas and turn themselves in to immigration authorities. There, they are given an initial screening to determine whether they may be eligible for a visa because they are fleeing violence or political persecution. If so, they may be released, after which they face months or years of court appearances and legal filings. If not, they stay in detention awaiting a judge to simply order them to be deported. The journey recently got a little more harrowing. Last week, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he would begin prosecuting adult immigrants crossing into the U.S. without documentation. That’s just a misdemeanor offense — but it means that parents and children will be split up when they arrive. Sessions also said that he would prosecute parents who bring their children with the smuggling of


“They have the space, and the International Welcome Center. They’ve built trust here, which is very important — having the trust of people in the community.” Fernandez says the school’s student body is 65 percent immigrants — up from 30 percent a few years ago. The law center operates as part of Roberts’ larger welcome center, which provides families with help on a wide range of issues, from finding employment to dealing with housing issues to complaints about discrimination and harassment, which have been increasing in recent years. Once a week, the center holds a meeting where families can get together and discuss issues in the community. Those meetings sometimes include the Cincinnati Police Department’s immigrant liaison officer Anthony Johnson, who works to stress that CPD is there to protect immigrants from crime and not to deport them. “We’re always welcoming, and we try to make a safe place in the school where families can feel confident,” Fernandez says. “We’re trying to support them in any possible way to help them succeed. We have a pretty much open-door policy, with families coming in at any time of day.” Cincinnati Public Schools Family Resource Coordinator Carlos Guzman says those needs are especially pronounced among the area’s undocumented people. Guzman, a kind of liaison between the school and community, is often the first point of contact when people come looking for help. “The challenge that undocumented


you don’t have the resources.” The legal help hub is a new addition to the school’s already bustling community learning center, especially at a time when more immigrants are coming to the area and when rhetoric against immigration has gotten more intense. The seeds of the center were planted last July, when LeMaster, a Cincinnati native who recently moved back home after stints doing international human rights work in Washington, D.C. and Spain, began talking with CLCI Executive Director Darlene Kamine. Kamine had been working on the law center idea for a while, and it seemed like an ideal fit for LeMaster. The center was formally incorporated in August last year and opened its doors in February. Since then, the work has been steady. LeMaster says most cases so far have been asylum applications like the ones the center is currently working on for Sandra’s sons. The center has also seen a large number of applications for so-called U visas, which provide documentation for victims of crimes. Requests for green card and citizenship application help have also been popular, LeMaster says. Sandwiched between Price Hill — which has a growing population of people coming from Guatemala, Mexico and other countries south of the U.S. border — and Millvale, North and South Fairmount and other West Side neighborhoods that are increasingly home to refugees from countries in Africa and elsewhere, Roberts is an ideal location for the center. “Roberts just made sense,” LeMaster says.

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n January, a woman named Sandra approached Price Hill’s Roberts Academy Welcome Center Director Antonio Fernandez with a pressing concern: Her two underage sons were fleeing Honduras to live with her in Cincinnati and would need to make a long, treacherous journey to get here. Sandra, who asked that her full name be withheld, begged them not to attempt the dangerous trip. But they said gangs in their neighborhood had started pressing them about joining, and they hadn’t seen their mother in eight years. Nothing, they said, would stop them from trying to get to her. She wanted to know: Could Fernandez help her keep track of them when they got to the border and turned themselves in to immigration officials so they could begin seeking asylum? It was an intense test for an innovative new program running out of Roberts created by the Community Learning Center Institute (CLCI). Called the Immigrant and Refugee Law Center, the program provides free legal assistance for Cincinnati immigrants and refugees trying to navigate America’s complex immigration laws. After Sandra told Fernandez about her sons’ impending trip to the U.S., he tapped incoming law center director Julie LeMaster to help him keep track of them. A few weeks later, word came that both had made it to the U.S. border. But there was a problem. Sandra’s older son, 16, is very tall for his age, and authorities didn’t believe he was a minor. They separated him from his younger brother and sent him to an adult immigration detention center. “I didn’t hear about my son for two weeks, and I was devastated,” Sandra says. Fernandez and LeMaster made frantic phone calls to detention centers and authorities searching for the boy. Eventually, they found him and were able to prove he was underage. Two months after leaving Honduras, mother and sons were reunited in Cincinnati, thanks to LeMaster’s and Fernandez’s efforts. The morning after getting off the plane, the three celebrated with a gathering at Roberts. “They’re angels to me for that,” Sandra says. “It’s very hard to find and pay for a lawyer when you’re an immigrant here and


Opponents Want Citywide Vote on Stadium Infrastructure

Cincinnati City Council Votes to Ban Bump Stocks



Opponents of FC Cincinnati’s proposed West End stadium say they’ll try to get a citywide vote on whether the city should spend public money for infrastructure around the project. But the City of Cincinnati says that’s not possible. A group calling itself Coalition Against an FC Cincinnati Stadium in the West End announced it had filed paperwork to get a referendum against the April 16 city council vote to spend $35 million on infrastructure for the project.  To get the referendum on the Nov. 6 ballot, the group will need to collect 6,000 signatures in the next 30 days. The group, which includes Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless Executive Director Josh Spring, activist Brian Garry and former Cincinnati City Council candidate Michelle Dillingham, says city voters should be able to decide whether the city spends tax money to support the stadium.  The group says four West End residents — Ernestine Hill, Rachel Anderson, Contina Davis and George Lee — are among the six people who filed the petition drive. “We believe the people of Cincinnati should have the opportunity to democratically vote on whether the City should provide support, financial and otherwise, to FC Cincinnati’s proposed stadium,” the stadium opponents said in a news release. “This petition would let the PEOPLE of Cincinnati decide whether this is a good or bad deal for Cincinnati.” The city, however, says that because the ordinance allowing the money for infrastructure was passed as an emergency measure, it is not subject to referendum. An emergency designation allows an ordinance to go into effect right away, without

the usual 30-day wait period. Stadium opponents say they’ll fight the city in court over that. Opponents of a 2013 deal that would have privatized the city’s parking system took a similar tack trying to kill that plan. Hamilton County Courts upheld their efforts to get a referendum against the privatization ordinance, but a federal appeals court later shut them down. The ordinance creating that plan was also passed as an “emergency,” and the city defended it on those grounds. The deal died after Mayor John Cranley was elected. FCC’s potential privately financed $200 million stadium at the site of Cincinnati Public Schools’ Stargel Stadium has been controversial. CPS Board of Education entered into a land swap agreement with the team last month after a protracted battle about fees in lieu of taxes for the school. Other groups, however, have not approved the stadium. The general body of the West End Community Council voted 50-10 in opposition to the project, and the Over-the-Rhine Community Council also voted against it. The stadium will be located along Central Parkway, just a few hundred feet from OTR.  Prior to city council voting to provide infrastructure funding for the stadium, FC Cincinnati GM Jeff Berding and WECC President Keith Blake signed a community benefits agreement that would give $100,000 a year to various neighborhood groups, transfer purchase options on land currently owned by the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority through the Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority to a private developer for mixedincome housing construction and mitigate


light, traffic and sound issues around the stadium. That deal, however, did not have the support of the WECC general body, which subsequently voted to begin impeachment proceedings against Blake. Skeptics, including a national expert on such agreements, have said the CBA is too favorable to the team. The team, elected officials from the city and representatives from the West End met May 12 to try and hammer out a new CBA, though no agreement was reached. At press time, another meeting was scheduled for May 16. The stadium’s construction hinges on FCC receiving a Major League Soccer expansion franchise. Several deadlines for the announcement of the winner between Cincinnati, Sacramento and Detroit have come and gone with no announcement. 

Former Hamilton County jail boss sues county for discrimination



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In a lawsuit filed May 9, the former head of the Hamilton County Jail says she was ousted from her job last year because she is a lesbian and because she raised questions about use of force by deputies within the jail system. Now, she wants her job back and backpay. Charmaine McGuffey’s U.S. District Court civil suit against the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Jim Neil, the county and the county commission alleges that her coworkers didn’t like that she was openly gay. McGuffey is alleging four counts of discrimination and retaliation and that she was wrongfully terminated from her job. In her suit, McGuffey claims male

employees were given preferential treatment, that she was left out of management meetings and that some veteran employees under her management, all of whom were male, were insubordinate to her. McGuffey had been with the county since 1983 and in her role as jail director since 2013. At that time, the jail was among the worst in the state, but under McGuffey’s leadership, it improved to the point where it complied with state standards. McGuffey, the county’s first female jail director, was also lauded for her work helping inmates recover from addiction. But some in the jail didn’t like her management style, or the fact that McGuffey

wanted use-of-force incidents against inmates investigated more thoroughly, she claims. In January 2017, an employee at the jail filed a complaint alleging a hostile work environment under McGuffey. The county’s internal affairs department launched an investigation into the complaints. That investigation, citing allegations of favoritism, bullying and misleading statements to investigators by McGuffey, led to a demotion in May of last year. McGuffey subsequently quit, and now says the investigation was biased. “Defendants’ articulated reasons for terminating Plaintiff were that she created a hostile work environment and was dishonest,” McGuffey’s suit claims.

In a 7-2 vote on May 9, Cincinnati City Council asked city administration to ban bump stocks in the city limits, becoming the first city in Ohio to do so. The move comes as an intense debate around gun control continues across the country following a number of mass shootings, including the February school shooting in Parkland, Fla. that killed 17 people. That shooting has sparked nationwide protests advocating for stricter gun laws, including a local demonstration outside City Hall that drew thousands of people. “There comes a time when people need to decide if some perverted interpretation of the Second Amendment granting anyone the right to own what’s basically a machine gun overrides the right of people to stay alive and not be gunned down by a weapon of war,” said Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, who proposed the ordinance. “No city should tacitly condone a device which is specifically intended to maximize carnage. I’m proud that Cincinnati has stepped up to lead the charge on this common sense reform, joining just a few other cities across the country.” Bump stocks are trigger-activation devices which allow weapons to fire at a higher rate of speed, effectively making them automatic weapons. Mass shooter Stephen Paddock used a bump stock during his 2017 rampage in Las Vegas, which killed 58 people at a concert. Council members Amy Murray and Jeff Pastor voted against Sittenfeld’s

“These reasons were a false pretext for discriminating and terminating Plaintiff because of her gender, her failure to conform to traditional female stereotypes, her sexual orientation, and her open criticism of HCSD’s excessive use of force against inmates.” Sheriff Jim Neil has reprimanded 14 Hamilton County sheriff’s deputies for use-of-force violations in the jail. Seven got the lightest punishment possible, while seven others received somewhat more penalties. All are still on the job. The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office has not yet responded to the lawsuit. “Some serious allegations were brought to my attention,” Sheriff Neil said in a statement after McGuffey’s demotion last year. “Throughout the course of a very thorough investigation, these allegations were substantiated.”

Man firing a rifle with a silencer and a bump stock. PHOTO: GUY MIDKIFF/SHUT TERSTOCK

legislation. Pastor argues that the city’s coming law will violate a 2007 state preemption on municipal ordinances that override state laws on guns. That could expose the city to legal challenges, he said. The Ohio Supreme Court in 2010 ruled with the state after Cleveland challenged the preemption as it sought to enact stricter gun laws. It isn’t clear, however, if the state restriction applies to firearm components like bump stocks. “Glad to join @ElectAmyMurray at Council voting against legislation that will lead @CityOfCincy to be sued for passing

ordinances that violate Ohio Revised Code 9.68 re: bump stock bans while legislation is pending in Congress and State House,” Pastor tweeted out following the vote. Denver and Columbia, S.C. have passed similar laws, as has the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut. Last year, following Paddock’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, the Trump administration announced it was mulling a federal ban on bump stocks, though that process is still in progress and has received pushback from gun rights groups. Council today also rejected another gun control measure — a mostly ceremonial motion opposing reciprocity with other states when it comes to recognizing out-ofstate concealed carry permits. Democrat Councilman Wendell Young, usually a reliable ally to fellow progressives on council, balked at the resolution. “Denying people the right to lawfully carry a firearm (via concealed carry) is further than I’m willing to go,” he said.


minors. Sessions also recently eliminated policies under which immigrants were entitled to hearings for their asylum claims. The move, he said, was a way to more quickly move through the 670,000 pending asylum claims in U.S. immigration court, which exists as part of the DOJ. But critics say he’s actually just working to make it harder for those fleeing horrific conditions to find safety here. “A lot of people hear ‘undocumented’ and because of all the rhetoric, think these are just people coming across the border to get jobs,” LeMaster says. “Yes, there are people here just to find work. But there are also a lot of people who are really legitimately fleeing dangerous situations. These people are here to be hard-working, to make a better life, to put their kids through schools. They want to belong.” Of course, the center doesn’t just help undocumented immigrants. Sara, who asked we not use her real name, has been in Cincinnati for three years. She moved to Washington, D.C. from the Central African Republic when she was 19 to escape violent conditions there and to attend college. But she quickly found out how hard it can be to navigate the U.S. immigration system. When she arrived, she learned

her expired student visa wouldn’t be accepted, as she was told it would be. She was held for three months in Virginia before an attorney worked to gain her release. Mindful of the difficulties the immigration system can present, Sara is taking no chances with various immigration paperwork for her son. She’s working with the legal center to get it all squared away. “I know (LeMaster) has been helping a lot of the parents and families here,” she says. “My son is one of the students here, and I’m not sure how to fill out some paperwork for him. We’re working on that. I need to make sure what I’m doing is right. It’s different legally than in Africa, and I want to make sure I’m doing the right thing.” LeMaster says right now, the school is partnered with Evanston’s Academy of World Languages, which also has a large immigrant student body. In the future, she says, she’d like to have branch offices there and in other Cincinnati Public Schools like Withrow and Dater. “Most immigrants can’t afford attorneys,” she says. “The agencies in town that provide services for low-income families don’t have enough capacity, so a lot of families have been falling through the cracks. It’s been great for me to be able to come back home and do work I love but do it to fill a need.”

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The Invisible Migration C I T Y B E AT. C O M


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ight-year-old Dave Offenbacker was playing alongside the mill-darkened waters of the Jackson River near Covington, Virginia one morning in 1958 when his mother called to him to tell him to run and get his grandfather: His father had died. The loss of the family’s breadwinner triggered a journey that would change Offenbacker’s life. His mother eventually herded the family onto a train from their home in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains to seek the comfort of relatives and opportunities for work in Cincinnati. As he and his family exited the train and made their way from Union Terminal’s lower concourse up into its enormous rotunda, Offenbacker marveled, believing that they had come to live in a brightly domed indoor city. “I thought the station was Cincinnati,” he says. “It was so big, and I was just a little fellow. It had all kinds of things, booths and stores. I’d never seen anything like that in Virginia.” If the grand, echoing expanses of Union Terminal were a surprise for Offenbacker, then the crowded, gray landscape of his new home, Lower Price Hill, was a shock. Offenbacker’s small Virginia town had a mill, one main street, a couple stoplights,

two small movie theaters and not much else, besides a boarding house where, at 8 years old, Offenbacker worked gathering kindling for guests’ fireplaces. Otherwise, his days were spent on the river or among the green hills. Cincinnati had hills, all right, but they weren’t the same, with the steep slopes surrounding the Mill Creek Valley full of factories, traffic and tightly-huddled buildings teeming with people. The family quickly found a four-story apartment building right alongside a humming viaduct, where their third-floor apartment door opened up onto the sidewalk next to an overpass full of speeding cars. The Offenbackers weren’t alone in their journey. People from Appalachia had been trickling into the Queen City since the mid-1800s. But starting in the 1940s and going well into the 1980s, the 13-state, 420-county region we know as Appalachia lost roughly 4 million people as many headed for cities like Pittsburgh, Louisville and Cincinnati looking for work, following other family members or simply wanting to see what city living was all about. While the Offenbackers came on the train, others took Greyhound buses or crammed into old, busted cars. When they arrived, they found the work and housing they were looking for — but they often came with their own sets of problems.

The Cost of Migration

Many migrants from Appalachia had little or nothing when they arrived here. There was no Census designation to count them as they came, and no federal laws to protect them from discrimination when they got here. The impact on Cincinnati and surrounding areas was enormous. A study by the Urban Appalachian Council suggests that almost 50,000 people identifying as Appalachian were in the city proper by 1970. Ten years ago, that number was somewhat smaller, but still significant. At that point, 35,000 people in Cincinnati — roughly 12 percent of the population — identified as Appalachian. Today, many of them continue to face challenges. Some remain in isolated enclaves like Lower Price Hill, Camp Washington, parts of Northern Kentucky and elsewhere where their parents or grandparents settled. Those neighborhoods have seen high unemployment, generational poverty, high dropout rates and struggles with addiction as the industrial jobs that once sustained the communities have largely left. Those neighborhoods have life expectancies five or more years below the city’s average. Their median household incomes are tens of thousand dollars or more less than the city as a whole. Census tracts in the Price Hills and Camp Washington make up seven of the city’s 10 neighborhoods where evictions are the highest. Those places where Appalachians were able to move up and attain home ownership — places like East and West Price Hill — were then the neighborhoods hardest hit

by the foreclosure crisis of 2007 and 2008. Michael Maloney has helped lead a succession of groups dedicated to improving the lot of folks in Cincinnati who trace their roots back to Appalachia. Maloney came here himself from Breathitt County, Kentucky in the early 1960s to attend seminary school. He always meant to go back to Breathitt, he says, but seeing the conditions faced here by many from Appalachia, he stayed. “The families in Lower Price Hill and what’s left of the old East End, Camp Washington and other areas are struggling,” he says. “We still have thousands of Appalachians in Cincinnati below the poverty level and struggling for the basics like food, clothing and housing.” Greater Cincinnati’s ties to Appalachia are no secret — the national body of academics who study the region, the Appalachian Studies Association, held its annual

MIGRANTS FROM APPALACHIA HAVE LEFT AN INDELIBLE MARK ON CINCINNATI, BUT THEY OFTEN FEEL FORGOTTEN convention in Cincinnati last month, one of only a few times the gathering has taken place outside Appalachia. One of the more controversial guests at the conference was J.D. Vance, author of the memoir Hillbilly Elegy. The work, which recounts Vance’s experiences growing up as the descendant of Appalachians, rocketed to national best-seller status two years ago, drawing both praise and derision for its sometimes-one-dimensional exploration of the woes of Appalachia. That’s not the only attention the region has gotten of late. Following the 2016 election of President Donald Trump, who scored overwhelming victories in many parts of Appalachia, reporters swarmed in to report on beleaguered coal miners, the graphic toll of the nation’s heroin epidemic and the crippling layoffs at plants that represent one of few remaining employment options in much of the region. But that attention hasn’t always translated to concrete efforts to understand and aid those who left Appalachia, even in a city as tied to the region as Cincinnati. “We’re celebrating Appalachian culture today, but we’re not doing anything to help Appalachians,” says Larry Redden, a Price Hill resident and member of the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition whose

Dave Offenbacker PH OTO: NIC K SWARTSELL



Donna Jones sits in the basement of State Avenue United Methodist Church. It’s

protections in the neighborhood wonder about the lingering legacy of industrial pollutants there. Data detailing deaths in Hamilton County over the last several years shows that the areas around the heavy industry in Lower Price Hill have seen as much as three times the rate of lung and other cancers as other parts of Cincinnati. Nancy Laird is the granddaughter of Appalachian migrants from Eastern Kentucky. She has lived in East Price Hill almost her entire life and works closely with Cincinnati’s Appalachian population in that neighborhood and Lower Price Hill via a number of groups, including the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition. Like


Illness and Addiction

serious battle with cancer. She’s not the only one to get the disease. Jones rattles off a heavy list of babies and young people in the neighborhood who have come down with unexpected forms of cancer. Jones blames it on environmental hazards in the neighborhood, including the 2004 explosion at the Queen City Barrel Factory. Jones witnessed that event — the sky turned surreal reds and blues and purples as it filled with swirling smoke, her neighbors lined up watching from the overpass, the confusion, the popping sounds of lids coming off barrels of decommissioned industrial materials. Though the site has long since been cleaned up, Jones and others who have become advocates for environmental

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family migrated to Cincinnati from Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia in the 1930s and 1940s. “We’re still poor. We’re still not going to school, but you don’t see it. Because we’re invisible, no one is paying attention to us.” Members of this tight-knit, sometimes forgotten community have left an indelible mark on Cincinnati decades after their migration here began in earnest. But their struggles — and triumphs — are often misunderstood.

neat and tidy in the cool room, but Jones apologizes for the mess anyway — there was a just a funeral here for a decades-long resident of the neighborhood, a traditional Appalachian-style end-of-life celebration full of food and neighbors. Jones has lived in Lower Price Hill since the early 1960s, after moving to the neighborhood from Over-the-Rhine with her parents, who migrated from Kentucky. She has raised her two daughters and two sons in the neighborhood, sending them to nearby Oyler School. As we sit in the basement, one of her daughters, a slim 36-year-old with her brown hair pulled back tight, walks in. The two have a brief, quiet, but intense conversation. When she leaves a few minutes later, Jones reveals her daughter is fighting a




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Jones, she’s been keenly interested in the subject of environmental justice in Lower Price Hill. Laird was taking children to visit their mother at the Chemical Addiction Treatment house in the neighboring West End the day the Barrel Factory explosion happened. “We looked over and it just looked like an atom bomb had gone off,” she says, noting that she and others had pushed the city to look into the factory. “We kept telling the city about Queen City Barrel, but no one would listen.” There are other dangers associated with living in Lower Price Hill. As poverty and unemployment have risen, so have crime and addiction. Offenbacker recalls the time not long ago when he found the windows of his truck shattered and its body riddled with bullets from a gunfight. “This neighborhood has been to hell,” Offenbacker says. “Prostitution, drugs, stealing, murdering.” He then brings up the night in 2012 when 26-year-old Brian Thompson died a block over from him. Two men shot him in front of his daughter while trying to steal his truck. Today, the building where he lived still wears a spray-painted message: “Brian RIP.” Drugs have fueled some of the violence. The opioid crisis has hit many areas home to Cincinnati’s Appalachians hard. In a one-year stretch between 2016 and 2017, there were 35 overdose deaths in the ZIP codes around the Price Hill neighborhoods, for example — among the highest rates in the city. That doesn’t count myriad other non-fatal overdoses there. But there’s more to Lower Price Hill and Cincinnati’s other urban Appalachian communities than the darkness. Offenbacker, Laird and Jones are quick to praise the people of Lower Price Hill, saying they form a tight-knit community where family ties stay strong, even when family members stray into rough patches. There’s a resilience among the residents here, and self-reliance, they say. Among the brightest points has been the continued comeback of Oyler School, where many families in Lower Price Hill have sent their children for multiple generations. Once, it was one of the lowestperforming schools in the Cincinnati Public Schools district. But it has since become a community learning center — meaning it contains a dental clinic, an optometrist and other services for students and their families — and has been the subject of glowing national coverage as an example of ways to revive struggling urban schools. Just as much as people like Jones and Laird say they’d like the city to pay attention to the health and social troubles that Appalachians and their descendants face, they’d like to dispel the stereotypes and misunderstandings around them. To do that, it helps to understand how migrants from Appalachia got here, and what they went through when they first arrived.


Industry and Identity

Most depictions of people from Appalachia start and end with a vision of white, rural people living in poverty. But the story is much more complicated. Not all are white. Many were blue-collar workers, but some were highly-educated professionals — teachers, doctors and lawyers. Among the ranks of local icons who trace their roots back to Appalachian migration are recent Cincinnati Poet Laureate Pauletta Hansel, acclaimed writer Michael Henson and nationally renowned musician Katie Laur. “We are a group of people of all classes,” advocate Maloney says. “But tens of thousands of people came here with very little formal education, and their job experience was often either agricultural or mining or timber.” Long before the bulk of migrants arrived in Cincinnati, the workings of the coal and timber industries in Appalachia set up the circumstances that would bring them here. Even before industrialization, Appalachia had a complex and varied economy, including urban areas with small groups of middle-class professionals. But many of those living in the region were farmers descended from poor Scottish or English immigrants who had moved west from the East Coast to better their lot. Fueled by urbanization and the industrial revolution, first timber and then coal consumption in the United States skyrocketed in the 19th century. Coal production went from about 8.5 million tons in the

middle of the 1800s to a peak of nearly 700 million tons by the end of World War I. Much of that production centered around Appalachia. By the late 1800s, those who owned land in places like Eastern Kentucky — rich in coal and timber — began receiving offers from companies, or, in some cases, local officials conscripted by those companies, for their trees, their land and later, for the mineral rights underneath it. In many cases, those companies bought the land for a tiny fraction of what its resources were worth. With the land increasingly eroded by logging or opened up to mining, many of the inhabitants of the region found farming ever more difficult. They turned to work in the mines or to timber harvesting. As they did, the companies that now owned so much had the upper hand. Many created entire towns, dictating the availability of food, housing and education. “The unincorporated company town became one of the defining features of life in the region,” West Virginia University history professor Ronald L. Lewis wrote in a 1999 article for the anthology Talk-Back from Appalachia. “The company constructed the physical plant, became the miner’s landlord, provided the police force, built the churches and the stores, any other service the town required.” As these company towns and industrial plants grew, they needed more workers, Lewis points out. That led to a massive influx of Eastern European immigrants and African-Americans into the region — a

dynamic often glossed over by stereotypes of Appalachia as culturally and racially homogeneous. New industry brought a new level of development to Appalachia, but it also brought strife. The conditions in many mines, mills and company towns, exacerbated by boom-and-bust cycles, sparked waves of sometimes-fatal labor battles. And then, following World War II, employment in the industries that had become so important to Appalachia began to diminish. During the peak of coal production around World War I, for example, the industry employed almost 900,000 miners, the vast majority in Appalachia. By 1970, that number was less than 150,000. In 2018, there were around 6,000 jobs. Not everywhere suffered uniformly by the loss of coal and timber jobs. Offenbacker’s father, for instance, was able to make a decent living logging and farming well into the 1950s. The elder Offenbacker owned a business harvesting pulp timber for a nearby paper mill. But in the years leading up to his death, he suffered declines in health and could no longer work cutting and hauling timber. “We owned our own home,” Offenbacker says. “He owned his own farm. But he got sugar (diabetes) really bad, and we had to move into town.” Moving to cities like Cincinnati presented better options for work for thousands of families like the Offenbackers. Offenbacker’s mother found work serving food at one of the myriad bars that then existed in Lower Price Hill. Wanting to

last group standing from that time, ceased operations in 2014. But the work lives on in the form of the decentralized Urban Appalachian Community Coalition, and in a number of other ways.

Celebrating Community


Sondra Saylor and Mike Malloney PH OTO: NIC K SWARTSELL

help support the family, Offenbacker began working at age 15 and left Western Hills High School in the 10th grade. That’s been a worrisome trend in Cincinnati’s Appalachian community, where, in the recent past, the dropout rate has reached more than 90 percent. It wasn’t such a risky bet to quit school back then. At the time, Offenbacker could leave his family’s apartment, walk two doors down under the viaduct, and go to work at a shop that machined screws. Nearby, other options presented themselves — furniture manufacturers, Queen City Barrel, Hutch sports equipment company and a number of others. But those jobs presented big downsides, too, some of which made families’ situations precarious. “The jobs they got were often really hard labor,” Maloney says. “So, if your health broke down, you were out of luck. A lot of people did independent work, like, if you could get a pickup truck, you could do jobs for people. But that was really hard work that caused a lot injury and disability that could plunge a family into poverty.” There were other hardships. The places many found to live in Cincinnati were far from the soaring grandeur of Union Terminal.

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Larry Redden’s family came from West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky to Ohio in the 1930s and 1940s, as coal mines started automating. They lived in Over-the-Rhine, a major port of entry for Appalachians, beginning around 1940. “It was cheap housing,” Redden says. “You might have family that lived here already who would let you stay with them. That’s why tens of thousands of people lived here.” The Reddens lived at a few locations throughout OTR, including the Alcoa Hotel, which was a series of flats without hot water or individual bathrooms.

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History of Housing

“It was five stories and had rooms all through it,” Redden says. “The higher you went up, the cheaper the rent was. They’d take one room and make them into two or three rooms. You’d have one bathroom on a floor, and you’d have five or six families sharing it. Most people had to wash in big iron tubs. Most had outhouses, right here in the middle of town.” The neighborhood’s history had primed it to become a landing site for low-income migrants. “These buildings were all built before there was gas, before there was electricity, before running water,” says local urban historian Anne Delano Steinert. “So, to modernize those buildings would take a pretty large infusion of cash. And if you’re going to do that, why not just buy a brandnew house up on the hills? So what happens is, basically anyone who can afford to leaves Over-the-Rhine and leaves this lower grade of residential structure behind for other families to move into.” Those sorts of conditions existed well into the 1960s, when the city finally updated its code and, for example, outlawed outdoor toilets. Those and other changes that, on their face, would seem to have been a benefit to low-income Appalachians proved to be a double-edged sword. Shifts in federal housing policy related to the Fair Housing Act and other civil rights legislation pushed landlords to renovate buildings that folks moving from Appalachia lived in. They were told they could come back after the construction was finished — but many weren’t able to do so. By that time, Maloney and Redden were heavily active in advocacy for housing rights in Over-the-Rhine. Maloney says that pushes for better code enforcement at the city level to improve living conditions ironically had an adverse affect, causing landlords to move low-income tenants out of buildings instead of fixing them up. The upshot: Over time, lowincome Appalachians began leaving

Over-the-Rhine. More filed into Price Hill, Camp Washington and places outside the city, further isolating them and destabilizing the communities they had built. Coinciding with this displacement in the 1960s was the beginning of the decline of American industry, which would cost thousands of urban Appalachians decentpaying jobs that didn’t require a college degree. “There were all these big plants up here that needed workers,” East Price Hill’s Laird says, including General Motors in Norwood and others dotted up and down the Mill Creek Valley. Many of those workplaces closed up shop in the 1970s and 1980s. “The people who got jobs because they were hard workers — that didn’t count anymore because they didn’t have enough education,” Laird says. “It really strangled a lot of families. It was really tough.” But many in the Appalachian community didn’t take those hardships sitting down. Shortly after moving to Cincinnati, Maloney had come under the wing of preacher and social worker Ernie Mynatt, who was then working at Over-the-Rhine’s Main Street Bible Center. Aided by a federal grant to establish a central hub for social services in the late 1960s, Mynatt, Redden, Maloney and others worked to form a succession of groups, including nonprofit HUB, the Urban Appalachian Council and the Appalachian Identity Center, which began in 1970 on Walnut Street as a place for Appalachians in Overthe-Rhine to gather, play games, talk and make connections. The groups worked for decades to organize low-income Appalachians and others around issues like housing rights, and to address the high dropout rate among urban Appalachians with GED centers and other educational efforts. The need for those efforts was wellenough known at the time to become the subject of a feature-length movie set in Cincinnati starring Johnny Cash. The Pride of Jessie Hallam, released in 1981, features a widowed Kentucky coal miner, played by Johnny Cash, who moves to Cincinnati after losing his job so his daughter can receive medical treatment. Cash’s character, who is illiterate, must rely on the help of a tutor to learn to read and write. The Urban Appalachian Council, the

It’s a drizzly, unseasonably chilly day in early May, but the former sanctuary of St. Michael’s Church in Lower Price Hill is buzzing with energy and light. Inside, Jones, Laird and others are working to set up for the 41st Lower Price Hill Community Festival, or, as they call it, the mini-Appalachian Festival. There’s plenty of food — beans, cornbread, chicken and cake — and most folks’ spirits are high. The festival, a precursor to the larger Appalachian Festival held Mother’s Day weekend at Coney Island, feels like a reunion of sorts. Michael Henson, the writer, is there, playing with his band Carter Bridge. And Maloney is also on hand, presenting a plaque to Sondra Saylor commemorating her mother, Effie Saylor, who was a matriarch of Lower Price Hill and helped start the community festival four decades prior. The elder Saylor was a key player in the formation of another neighborhood institution — the Lower Price Hill Community School, an outgrowth of efforts to aid the urban Appalachian community as it struggled with high dropout rates. That school, founded in 1971, went on to become Education Matters, which later spun off another organization, Community Matters, to serve Lower Price Hill’s low-income Appalachian, African-American and Hispanic populations. Those organizations now occupy the former St. Michael’s complex. Organizations like Community and Education Matters, along with Oyler and its community learning center, have provided buttresses to the pride and self-reliance of many of the folks in Lower Price Hill as they continue to face challenges. Sometimes, the progress the community is making manifests in young folks’ individual victories. As Jones is busy putting up poems and photos by students at Oyler School on a large, stained-wood cityscape at the festival, she talks about her granddaughter, a high schooler at Oyler who just got accepted to Cincinnati Fire Department’s cadet program. She beams as she tells people. It’s a big deal for the whole family. Despite the continued challenges and feelings of invisibility those in the city’s heavily Appalachian neighborhoods sometimes face, Jones isn’t the only one feeling optimistic about the next generation. Ask Offenbacker about his kids, and his usually stern, bearded face lights up. His youngest daughter is about to finish her undergraduate degree in psychology — the first in her family to graduate college — and wants to go on to medical school. “We raised five kids, and you’re talking about moving up — my three boys and two girls graduated or got their GED,” he says. “My kids are doing better than their pa did. That’s what it’s about.”


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STUFF TO DO Ongoing Shows ONSTAGE: His Eye is On the Sparrow Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, OTR (through May 19)


EVENT: The MeSseD Tunnel Tours blend sci-fi sensibility and information about the sewer district to create an interactive comic-bookbased underground tour. See feature on page 22.

ONSTAGE: The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park presents Murder for Two. See review on page 23. MUSIC: Australian Indie Pop singer Amy Shark heads to the 20th Century Theater. See Sound Advice on page 32. MUSIC: Rock band Citizen plays Southgate House Revival. See Sound Advice on page 32.


COMEDY: Cy Amundson It’s been a big year for comedian Cy Amundson. This past fall, he was tapped to host ESPN’s Sportscenter on Snapchat. “They had certain way of doing their app,” he says, “and when you do something new, people take a minute to adjust. But it seems to have really taken off.” It’s been a bit of balancing act for Amundson between stand-up and sports-casting but so far, it’s working out. The new gig hasn’t changed his stand-up set. “I didn’t want to suddenly become a sports comedian. I’m doing what I’ve always done on stage and talking about my life and my experiences.” Through Sunday. $8-$14. Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, — P.F. WILSON


COMEDY: Steven Wright brings his deadpan sense of humor to the Taft Theatre. See interview on page 21.


things have gone from bad to worse. Many of Cincy Shakes’ fine actors are in on the fun, joined by veteran actors Dale Hodges and Joneal Joplin. Hodges and Joplin often worked closely with director Ed Stern — the former producing artistic director at the Cincinnati Playhouse — who is now retired but still putting together entertaining productions. Through June 9. $38. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 1195 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, — RICK PENDER

ONSTAGE: Noises Off The talented actors at Cincy Shakes aren’t always serious. That’s especially true in regard to the production of Michael Frayn’s hilarious backstage farce. It’s about a hopelessly lame show called Nothing On that we see in three incarnations: a rehearsal onstage, the first performance as viewed from backstage and the end of a long tour when

EVENT: Oakley On Tap Beer Festival One weekend, over 100 beers on tap. We needn’t really say more, but you at least need to know where to show up. The Oakley On Tap Beer Festival takes over Oakley Square Friday through Sunday for a weekend of sampling suds with local and national beer experts, supplemented by live music and Cincinnati

food trucks. Picks on tap will include beers from breweries all over the country — and right down the street — including Ballast Point, Fifty West, MadTree, Braxton Brewing Co., Breckenridge Brewery and more. Your ticket includes 15 sampling tickets, plus a 5-ounce commemorative mug, bottled water and a soft pretzel. Any chance we could get some beer cheese for that pretzel? 4:30-10:30 p.m. Friday; 2:3010:30 p.m. Saturday; 1-4:30 p.m. Sunday. $20-$50. Oak Oakley Square, Madison Road, Oakley, — MORGAN ZUMBIEL


COMEDY: Kevin Hart Comedian Kevin Hart brings his Irresponsible Tour to Cincinnati. The little guy has a lot going on: His last tour — What Now — was the first time a comedian sold-out an NFL stadium (at Lincoln Financial Field), grossing over $100 million worldwide; he recently hit the top of the New York Times bestseller

list for his memoir memoir, I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lesson; was in the Jumanji reboot with Dwayne Johnson; and he just launched the digital LOL Network platform. Expect Hart’s patented blend of riffing on his own life as well as his insecurities. 5:30 p.m. doors; 7 p.m. show Saturday. Tickets start at $39. U.S. Bank Arena, 100 Broadway, Downtown, — MAIJA ZUMMO FILM: A Page of Madness/ Little Bang Theory It’s hard to imagine a more intriguing, fun combination than watching an avantgarde silent film while listening to live accompaniment from a trio that plays toy and handmade instruments. You’ll get that opportunity when a remastered version of A Page of Madness, a long-lost 1926 Japanese art-horror film about a janitor at the insane asylum where his own wife is being held, is screened for adventurous CONTINUES ON PAGE 18


Don’t miss the chance to bid on those upcycled art, furniture and homeware creations from professional and amateur artists. If all that bidding wears you out, take a break and chow down with bites from Babushka Pierogies, Django Western Taco, Ruth’s Parkside Cafe and more. All proceeds from the event benefit Easterseals programs, which break down barriers to employment. 7-11 p.m. Friday. $40. Building Value, 4040 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, — MORGAN ZUMBIEL


EVENT: ReUse-apalooza This annual extravaganza is Cincinnati’s most unique celebration of sustainability. Hosted by Building Value — a reuse center in Northside that salvages building materials and architectural details bound for the landfill and resells them to the public — this event asks people to reimagine pre-loved objects to give them a second life. Enjoy entertainment like live DJs, Lip Sync Battles, a living statue, origami artists, award-winning magician Brett Sears and jugglers from Cincinnati Circus, but don’t forget the main events: the live and silent auctions.

Burlington Antique Show

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EVENT: Murder on the Menu On a March night in 1879, William Schaller, the son of a wealthy Cincinnati brewer, was arrested outside of a brothel for firing a gun inside city limits. The charge wasn’t taken seriously until police discovered Harry Baldwin, staggering and bleeding in a nearby alley. Baldwin died — and the city got its first highprofile murder investigation. At the time, Cincinnati was too corrupt to convict and Baldwin’s murderer was never charged. During Murder on the Menu, guests will take a brief walking tour of the crime scene and then debrief over a four-course, 19th-century-inspired dinner at Washington Platform with author, attorney and historian Michael Morgan as he unwinds the case’s major theories. There are no bad

actors in this story — only an actual unsolved murder. 6 p.m. the third Thursday of the month. Through October. $48 includes dinner, entertainment and beer. Washington Platform, 1000 Elm St., Downtown, — MAIJA ZUMMO



movie lovers. The music will be provided by Little Bang Theory, a Detroit group whose member Frank Pahl has composed the score. The event is cosponsored by Mini Microcinema and the Weston Gallery, where Mini founder C. Jacqueline Wood’s exhibit What Makes a Life is on display. 7 p.m. Saturday. $12. Fifth Third Bank Theater, Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, — STEVEN ROSEN EVENT: Swing House Open House Mark de Jong’s brainchild, Swing House, is nestled within a suburban niche of Camp Washington. Seemingly nondescript on the exterior, blue paint welcomes visitors to step inside a work of art. In this home, everything is intentional. De Jong, a renovator

of old houses, has made an 1880s three-story brick house — the interior width is 15 feet — into something entirely new. In the middle of the floor plan sits a swing, hence the name “Swing House;” de Jong removed the upper floor and interior walls to install it. It beckons nostalgia. Like a childhood fever dream, it’s art that’s meant for interaction. Yes, you can swing indoors. While you’re at it, stare up at the patchwork colors on the walls, or head to the basement, which contains art that reflects the startling symmetry of the upstairs abode. Bonus: After touring, head over to the Contemporary Arts Center, which is currently displaying art objects and material inspired by the Swing House, alongside other work by de Jong. Noon- 4 p.m. Saturday. Free. 1372 Avon Place, Camp Washington, — MACKENZIE MANLEY


EVENT: Burlington Antique Show The Burlington Antique Show kicks off its 37th season this weekend. With more than 250 dealers selling everything from vintage jewelry and architectural elements to Americana, primitives and one-of-a-kind antiques, this outdoor event is worth an all-day excursion. For dedicated diggers and historic hunters, early bird admission starts at 6 a.m. for first dibs on special finds. Held rain or shine. 6 a.m.-8 a.m. early bird; 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. $4 adults; $6 early bird; free 12 and under. Boone County Fairgrounds, 5819 Idlewild Road, Bur Burlington, Ky., — MAIJA ZUMMO EVENT: 9x18 Parking Lot Experiment Remember being a wild hooligan teen hanging out in parking lots because it



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EVENT: OTR5k The OTR 5k is celebrating its 12th anniversary with a new course. Runners and walkers will take off from Washington Park, pass by Vine Street’s shops and restaurants, then jog up Mulberry Street, followed by a downhill trek into Over-the-Rhine, past Ziegler Park and Woodward Theater, before returning to the starting line. “We wanted to make sure runners and walkers from all around the city get a chance to see the progress our community has made, and be encouraged to explore new streets and development,” said Kelly Adamson, President of the Over-The-Rhine Chamber of Commerce, about the new route. The 5k is followed by a Summer Celebration in the park with the City Flea artisan market and live entertainment from Lauren Elyse, Dawg Yawp and Buffalo Wabs. Race pre-registration is available online. There’s also a neighborhood pre-celebration on Friday. Find more details online. Race-day registration opens at 7:30 a.m.; race beings at 9 a.m. Saturday. $40. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, — MAIJA ZUMMO



EVENT: Trixie Mattel: Now With Moving Parts Tour Oh honey! There’s a new drag queen coming to the

FILM: Girlfriends This 1978 mumblecore flick is woman-led and directed by Claudia Weill. Set in New York City, it



MUSIC: Off-kilter Indie brass band Pressure Fit heads to Urban Artifact. See Sound Advice on page 33.

follows up-and-coming 20-something Susan, whose roommate (and best friend) leaves to go Upstate after announcing that she’s getting hitched. What follows is a coming-of-age story: Susan learns to juggle friendship and romance, Judaism and Bohemianism, and commerce and art. On the forefront of mumblecore, it’s textured in lo-fi visuals, an intimate narrative and a strong dialogue focus. Seep into a story of a woman finding herself, and a time when Manhattan was more affordable (and less pretentious). The film, screening at the Mini Microcinema, won numerous film festival awards and critical praise. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. $5 donation encouraged. Mini Microcinema, 1329 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, — MACKENZIE MANLEY



Queen City. Trixie Mattel, a RuPaul’s Drag Race alum, will be gracing Bogart’s with her presence on Tuesday for a night of music, comedy and drag. She’s released two studio albums (Alternative-Folk, to complement her Dolly Parton-meets-Barbie look), created a YouTube show with Vice and won Drag Race All Stars Season Three. She has performed sold-out shows all over North America for her Now With Moving Parts Tour, so Cincinnati fans should plan for glamour, drama and an unforgettable performance from the Skinny Legend herself. 6 p.m. doors; 7 p.m. show Tuesday. $38.25$105. Bogart’s, 2621 Vine St., Clifton. — MORGAN ZUMBIEL

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was 1) free and 2) there was nothing else to do? The time has come where these antics are acceptable: The 9x18 Parking Lot Experiment returns as an alternative art fair in Camp Washington. The event’s namesake is the dimensions of a standard parking space. That space is the only rule participating artists abide by when creating art that doesn’t fit into the “commodified, reductive arena of typical fairs.” Viewers can immerse themselves in a sporadic showcase of performance art, experimental engagements and ephemeral works. 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Free. 2927 Colerain Ave., Camp Washington, — MACKENZIE MANLEY

EVENT: Margarita Madness It’s tequila time. CityBeat’s sixth-annual Margarita Madness event returns to Newport on the Levee for an early salute to summer. A slew of local margarita makers — restaurants, bars and entertainment destinations — will be serving up their best tequila creations in a friendly margarita throwdown competition. Tickets include 10 drink tickets to sample 10 margaritas and one special token to vote for your favorite cocktail to win a coveted People’s Choice award. Local guest judges will also be on hand to offer their input to bestow awards like Most Creative Margarita. Dance to live music from Elementree Livity Project while snacking on food samples and judging the city’s best guacamole in the annual Guac Off competition. Ticket proceeds benefit the Patty Brisben Foundation for women’s sexual health. In case of severe weather, the party moves indoors to the nearby Gallery Building. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday. $35; $40 day-of (if available). Newport on the Levee, Newport, — MAIJA ZUMMO




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Many Wrongs Make a Wright Comedian Steven Wright has never followed convention in his successful career — or in his life BY B R I A N B A K ER



act, Wright is a music fan who raves about a recent discovery. “A good friend was a big Grateful Dead fan and I never really cared for them,” he says. “I started listening to them about two months ago just because he listened to them for years, and now I can’t stop listening to them. I’m addicted. I’m becoming a 63-year-old Deadhead. I’m looking to see if I can go see the version that they now are this summer. Now I get it. It’s not that I’m late; I’m just behind.” Over the years, Wright’s material has had a relative lack of topicality. He decided early on in his career that he would ignore politics and the celebrity-du-jour angle for straight (well, somewhat straight) observation. He admits that he does have a joke about the current political climate, but it doesn’t really fit in the arc of his current routine. So what is Wright focused on this time around? “I’m talking about the expansion of the universe,” he says. “And lint.” Must have been a double Dunkin’ kind of morning. Steven Wright appears 8 p.m. Friday at the Taft Theatre (317 E. Fifth St., Downtown). Tickets/more info:


material comes from the same moment of clarity that signals the need for a roach clip, he only admits to the regular use of a single mood-altering substance. “I have a weird reaction to caffeine,” he says. “It kind of makes my imagination get going. I don’t sit down to write jokes, but a lot of this stuff will come into my head when I’m high on caffeine. There’s like an hourand-a-half window where my mind goes crazy. I already have a good imagination, but then you add this drug and stuff comes to me. I wander around the rest of the day and do whatever I do, and then the next day I get high on coffee again. I’m like the receptionist for my own brain. Whatever my mind thinks is funny, I write it down. Coffee is one of my top five favorite things of being alive.” And in keeping with his low-key approach to, well, everything, Wright is no coffee snob. “I’m addicted to Dunkin’ Donuts,” he says. “It goes well with my brain.” Other revelations about Wright include his adoration for the Boston Red Sox, though he does not watch entire games because “It’s too slow for me.” In addition to having used guitar in his


has a handful of releases — 1985’s I Have a Pony and 2007’s I Still Have a Pony albums, the videos of HBO’s 1985 The Steven Wright Special and Comedy Central’s 2006 When the Leaves Blow Away Away. He also has appeared in movies. One of his performances became a classic, in a suitably (for him) off-kilter way. In Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, he is the voice of radio DJ K-Billy, who plays Stealer’s Wheel’s 1970s hit “Stuck in the Middle with You” during a notoriously memorable torture scene. Last year, he gave voice to a character in The Emoji Movie. (Tarantino and The Emoji Movie… sounds like a Wright one-liner.) Wright also took a long hiatus from TV appearances, save for rare late-night talk show visits, but continued to perform live. It was his passion for the stage that kept him from pursuing the write/record/release/ tour/repeat cycle of his comedy peers. “I love being in front of the audience. It’s very intense out there,” Wright says. “Everything is exaggerated. Everything that goes great is fantastic, and when there’s no laughter, it’s horrible. It’s like walking on a tightrope, except that it’s on fire behind you.” Although it seems like much of Wright’s

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rom his first appearance on The Tonight Show in 1982, it was clear Steven Wright — who performs at the Taft Theatre on Friday — was clearly no standard-issue comedian. His razor-sharp yet demented observational skills were cloaked by a stoned, somnambulistic delivery that guaranteed every punchline landed with roundhouse power and left-field surprise. The audience reaction was so overwhelming, and host Johnny Carson so enamored of Wright, that the comedian was invited back the very next week. Three years later, Wright’s debut album, I Have a Pony Pony, was a smash hit and earned him a Grammy nomination. People began quoting his deadpan, off-kilter jokes and sayings like, “When I die, I’m leaving my body to science fiction,” “Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time” and “I bought an ant farm. I don’t know where I’m going to get tractors that small.” Their twisted logic sounded so wrong they just had to be Wright. Then, he won an Oscar for writing and producing the 1988 live-action short The Appointment of Dennis Jennings. After the accolades of the 1980s, he never looked back. Long before that, however, there were dues to be paid to get to such success. Wright took his licks, like so many other stand-ups of the era, by opening for bands. “There was Manhattan Transfer in Atlantic City,” says Wright, from his Massachusetts home, recalling the time he opened for the Jazz-Pop vocal group. “I wasn’t really known yet, so (the audience is) like, ‘Who is this guy mumbling up there?’ They might have even thought I was testing the microphone, in a very wrong way. ‘Can you hear that guy?’ ‘No, I can’t.’ ‘They must be trying to fix the mic.’ ” On paper, Wright’s act sounds improbably doomed to failure: one-liners, nonsequiturs and convoluted set-ups presented in a deadpan monotone that implies a genespliced hybrid of George Carlin and Henny Youngman overdosing on Xanax. Although he eventually was cited by Rolling Stone as the 15th best stand-up comedian of all time, Wright broke with comedy conventions to get there. He only




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Tunnel Tour Mixes Sci-Fi and Sewers BY S T E V EN R O S EN

“I’m the artist showing his work in this place — then the developers move in,” says Jay B. Kalagayan, referring to the eerie, semi-secret, gigantic subterranean chamber in the heart of Over-the-Rhine’s restaurant district where he’s hosting his current MeSseD Tunnel Tour. He’s sort of joking about that — no one is yet thinking that the tour location, the sub-basement of 131115 Vine St., a 19th-century building known as Union The MeSseD Tunnel Tour is in an old OTR beer-cooling chamber. Hall, is about to become an underground hotel. PHOTO: GEOFF RAKER The Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation’s website says it restored the aboveproject would also inform the public about ground Union Hall space in 2015 and owns the role of the sewer district. A higher-level, the commercial portion of it; Cintrifuse more finished basement serves as an inforowns the office portion. But in a neighbormation center about the MSD. hood where seemingly every long-unused At last weekend’s opening, visitors edifice appears to be getting renovated, assembled at the rear of the building, at who can tell? What’s below ground would 1314 Republic St. (the sub-basement’s seem to be next. actual address), and then signed waivers, Meanwhile, Kalagayan certainly has donned protective helmets and safety vests, found a historic locale, an old lager-beer got small flashlights and tromped down cooling chamber designed to stay at 55 several flights of stairs to parts unknown. degrees. It dates to either the short-lived (There is also an elevator.) Cincinnati Brewery of 1849-50 or the Tivoli Arriving at the sub-basement, we were Beer Garden of 1878-1882, says Brewery welcomed by a volunteer who warned us District Community Urban Redevelopto step carefully onto the dirt floor. There, ment Corp. Executive Director Steve we could look around and see the raw, Hampton, citing Robert J. Wimberg’s cavern-like space we had entered — with Cincinnati Breweries. its old walls and arched ceiling, it is a trip The MeSseD Tunnel Tour is an offshoot back in time. It’s a full block long, with two of the bizarre MeSseD comic book series, separate but interconnected chambers. which writer Kalagayan and visual artist We wound through enlarged comicDylan Speeg started in 2016; they now have book panels on vinyl, watched a video12 issues out with six more scripts preprojected light show on the ceiling, and pared. The funny spelling highlights the listened to the recorded sound of water. fact it’s set in the tunnels of Cincinnati’s Upstairs, I met education designer Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD). On “Realsewer1.” He told some entertaining the comic’s website, the creators describe stories about what he has found as an it as a mixture of “sewer management and employee of an unidentified local sewerscience fiction.” management utility. “The most unusual When CityBeat’s Emily Begley wrote was a cotton-candy machine and a bowlabout the then-new MeSseD comic in 2016, ing ball,” he says. “I don’t know if they travshe eloquently described its fantastical eled together, or if they were mates.” narrative this way: “Deep in the bowels of Kalayagan’s joke about “developers the Metropolitan Sewer District, a young following in his footsteps” may yet turn out woman in a baggy MSD uniform wades to be prophetic. “When 3CDC redevelthrough knee-deep water, a small rat oped Union Hall, the organization put the perched on her shoulder. A light on her infrastructure in place to make the space hard hat illuminates a massive worman underground bar, restaurant and/or like creature in front of her, fangs bared entertainment venue,” says Joe Rudemion each of its four otherwise featureless ller, 3CDC’s communications director, via heads.” email. “It’s a unique space that requires an Kalagayan, a founder of Know Theatre, imaginative tenant.” received a People’s Liberty grant late last MeSseD Tunnel Tours occur through June year to translate that comic book’s creepy 16. Hours are 6-9 p.m. Thursdays and 11 ambiance into something more physically a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays (except May 26). concrete. It would conjure the monsters, Timed tickets recommended; there is a fee. yes — as installed, it has soft-sculpture More information: worms lurking in the darkness. But the


‘Murder for Two’ is Manically Funny BY JAC K I E M U L AY


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Part Agatha Christie novel and part 1960s However, Shorey brings such varied voice Batman, Cincinnati Playhouse’s Murder for tones and cadences, such wide-ranging Two puts a twist on the classic whodunit nuances, to each of his characters that with unwavering camp and charming the audience never gets confused about musical numbers. which suspect is speaking when during the It investigates the mysterious death of action. famed novelist Arthur Whitney on the Director Paul Mason Barnes is careful night of his surprise birthday party and not to let the high energy of the production features just two actors: Eric Van Tielen as fatigue the audience. Barnes allows the detective Marcus Moscowicz and Eric Shoactors to take breaks from the play’s charey as all 11 suspects. The book and music otic, manic pitch to have softer moments are by Joe Kinosian; Kellen Blair provided that, while still very silly and thus true to song lyrics. the play’s overall intent, nevertheless offer Murder for Two leaps to life with the respite from that comic onslaught. He immensely high energy delivered by the two performers. Van Tielen and Shorey also show their talents on the piano, accompanying one another as they sing songs and play intricate duets that add an extra flair to the production. In Murder for Two, there is not much time to contemplate the actual murder, as the audience is too busy learning about each character’s story and possible motive while consuming joke after unceasing joke. Even the set gets Murder for Two’s Eric Van Tielen (left) and Eric Shorey to play along in the action: Each part of it, as designed PHOTO: MIKKI SCHAFFNER PHOTOGRAPHY by Bill Clarke and Lonnie Rafael Alcaraz, helps allow for an onstage joke. The revolving door keeps Murder for Two from going over the that serves as the main entrance and exit top. to the stage lends endless physical humor, Murder for Two isn’t exactly Agatha helping elevate the actors’ delivery. There Christie — it lovingly but intentionally subare lighting cues that become a running verts her approach to murder mysteries. In joke throughout the evening as characters that regard, the better comparison might reference old jokes. be the 1960s TV series Batman, which Campy humor takes complete dedicasomewhat nods to the suspense of its tion, and Van Tielen and Shorey certainly source material but then tries to knowingly commit themselves 110 percent to the and provocatively upend it. sheer ridiculousness of their characters Murder for Two’s purpose is to have fun and situation. Despite this, the show and let people have fun watching it. It’s does take a bit of time to get into — fully actually a rare thing today that a new show immersing oneself into a world as zany as like Murder for Two, which premiered on this takes an incredible amount of suspenBroadway in 2013, should seek purely to sion of disbelief, as well as the ability to sit entertain without any greater agenda. But back and allow yourself to be completely that makes it a refreshing experience that accepting of the silliness. produces countless laughs. At times, the unending energy on The show ends with a spectacularly stage can be exhausting. But as the show impressive piano duet, in which Van Tielen progresses, the audience becomes more and Shorey cooperate and compete with accustomed to the tone, and thus more each other to deliver outstanding keyboard willing to play along and enjoy. tricks. It’s in this last moment (after which The two indefatigable stars sell Murder the audience demanded an encore piano for Two. As Moscowicz, Van Tielen brings a performance) that you can totally embrace vulnerable and wide-eyed earnestness to Murder for Two and put to rest any misgivthe role that helps bring order to the chaos ings about it being a “guilty pleasure.” onstage — he is undeniably the straight There’s no guilt about it — it’s just plain man to Shorey’s wild and wide-ranging pleasure. suspects. With a show that features as Murder for Two is at Cincinnati Playmany suspicious characters as Murder for house’s Shelterhouse Theatre through Two, but only features one actor to play June 10. Tickets/more info: them all, it can be easy to get lost in the fray.








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May Fest: Tradition, Innovation BY A N N E A R EN S T EI N

Juanjo Mena has conducted the May Festival Chorus and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in four of the May Festival’s last five seasons, but this year he officially becomes the annual event’s principal conductor, for the next three years. The Spanish-born Mena will conduct two of the festival’s five concerts, on May 25 and 26; the 2018 May Festival runs May 18-26. The festivities open on Friday night at Music Hall with Eun Sun Kim — the first female conductor ever for the event — leading the chorus and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra through Verdi’s Messa da Requiem. And on Saturday night, Robert Porco will conduct and direct three choruses through a full-scale production of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, which also will feature dancers, a Rock band and the Walnut Hills High School marching band. Mena’s big event is the following week on May 25. That concert features a culmination of his first encounter with the May Festival Chorus — it’s a complete performance of Maurice Ravel’s ballet score Daphnis et Chloé, in which the chorus is a vital part of the soundscape. The ballet is rarely performed, although its two orchestral suites are frequently programmed. Mena conducted those suites with the CSO and May Festival chorus during the 2012 festival. In doing so, he forged a strong connection. “The chorus amazed me from the first minute with their professional attitude in a work as complex as this one,” he explains via email. “Their musicality and their capacity to react to whatever I asked of them strengthened our musical relationship.” Ravel described his 1912 Daphnis et Chloé as a “Symphonie chorégraphique” (choreographic symphony) that tells the story of the shepherd Daphnis’ love for Chloé in one act and three scenes. The score is acclaimed as Ravel’s finest orchestral work, but it is a major challenge for choral singers. “The chorus’ participation is fundamental in conveying emotion and creating a sound picture,” Mena says. “They’re effectively another instrument of the orchestra. The a cappella sections have incredible harmonic complexity. It’s technically demanding and difficult to do well.” The chorus sings no words, an innovation Ravel used brilliantly. “Just the vowels are used, and with these wordless phrases the chorus creates atmosphere, colors and sensations,” Mena says. Although Ravel at first insisted that a chorus must be part of any performance, he later relented when he realized that few were up to the challenge. But the May Festival Chorus can handle it, Mena says. Music Hall’s improved acoustics will enhance this work. The sound will be more evenly distributed but, even more

May Festival’s principal conductor Juanjo Mena P H O T O : M I C H A E L N OVA K

importantly, the dynamic contrasts will be appreciated, “from the delicate and suggestive pianissimos to the exuberant and overwhelming fortissimos,” according to Mena. “It’s a masterpiece,” he says. “Allow yourself to be carried away by this Impressionist music of enormous beauty, which is full of sensuality, enormous energy, emotions and life.” Daphnis et Chloé is the final work heard on the May 25 program, which also includes Magnificat by Giovanni Gabrieli, Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms (with vocal soloist David Daniels), and the North American premiere of James MacMillan’s Credo, which Mena premiered in England in 2012. Daniels, who attended University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, has been a leader in the revival of male “countertenor” singers. Mena also is celebrating his debut weekend as principal conductor with a vocal ensemble from his native Basque region of Spain, Otxote Txanbela, which will perform throughout the city and before concerts. On the evening of May 26, the May Festival concludes with Mena conducting a performance of Handel’s Messiah, which features a community chorus. Mena’s appointment marks the beginning of a new leadership model for the nation’s oldest choral festival, with roots going back to Saengerfests of the 1840s. The May Festival has also decided to appoint an annual “Creative Partner” to develop programs with an outreach component. For this year, Rollo Dilworth will be curating a free Sing Hallelujah concert at 6 p.m. Sunday. It’s your chance to be a featured singer. The May Festival occurs this weekend (May 18-20) and May 25-26 at Music Hall. Tickets/more info:


Rediscovering a TV Classic: ‘Deadwood’ BY JAC K ER N

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Much like my experience watching The worse, are creating a town from scratch Sopranos for the first time, years after the and creating their own rules, government mob drama went off the air, HBO’s Deadand justice system in a lawless land. People wood had long been on my must-watch list. from across the globe have found their way David Milch’s gritty look at the Wild West, to Deadwood — and they’re not all going featuring real-life figures with larger-thanto see eye to eye; not to mention how what life personalities, finally made its way to today would be simple illness or injury my screen recently and it easily still holds could be a death sentence. In that respect, its own in competition with the countless the growing town relies heavily upon the top-shelf dramas of today. I’m not alone in fantastic Doc Cochran (Brad Dourif), the being late to the game — cancelled unex unextown’s most valuable player and the series’ pectedly after running for three seasons, moral compass. from 2004-06, Deadwood gained many Deadwood ended abruptly after its followers post-mortem. It’s now available three season, and it’s obvious that the final through HBO Go and Amazon Prime. Set in 1870s South Dakota, Deadwood follows the early days of the camp’s development into a town with characters plucked from history, like gunslingers Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane and tycoon George Hearst. In fact, nearly every character in the series — and there are a ton, as new folks make their way to the camp each day — is loosely based on a real person Ian McShane, Timothy Olyphant, W. Earl Brown and Sean Bridgers from the era. Of course, in Deadwood they’re fictionalized for the story’s benefit. Boasting PHOTO: DOUG HYUN/HBO characters as colorful as their vocabulary, the show is infamous for its curse-laden dialogue episode was not intended to be a series — there are 55 “fucks” in the first episode finale. At the time, HBO did not renew the alone — not entirely accurate to the era. cast’s contracts and Milch refused to do a But that language paired with the bawdy short-order season. The writer/producer barroom behavior is an interesting juxtawent on to create John from Cincinnati position to the many formalities of the time. (which unfortunately isn’t really about the And no one can cuss quite like Al SwearenQueen City at all) for the network, which gen, owner of the Gem Theater saloon who lasted just one season but also found some presides over Deadwood, played to perfeccult status after its cancellation. When tion by Ian McShane. He’s easily the star of the hit-or-miss anthology True Detective the show, a standout in a pool of talented returns for its third installment sometime performers including Timothy Olyphant, next year, Milch will write alongside creator John Hawkes, Molly Parker, Kim Dickens, Nic Pizzolatto. Definitely something to Gerald McRaney and loads more — many watch out for. of whom have gone on to star in other Deadwood was truly ahead of its time. excellent series and films. If it premiered in today’s prestige TV era I knew next to nothing about the show instead of nearly 15 years ago, it could going in, other than that it came highly receasily have doubled in seasons. Talk of a ommended from friends and critics alike, Deadwood film has circulated off and on and I was immediately hooked. Deadwood for more than a decade, and while it’s not endures because, in addition to the stacked certain, HBO is making strong moves to cast, every element is so solid (especially in make it a reality. HBO recently secured a the first two seasons), from the magnificent California tax incentive to make a Deadset and costumes to the compelling writing. wood movie, which means the script has It’s no wonder the series racked up eight probably been written and the network has Emmys — it’s only surprising that number plans to officially greenlight the project. isn’t higher. Getting the gang back together would Never a dull moment, the town of prove to be the true hurdle — and a crucial Deadwood is rife with liquor, brothels, one. Fingers crossed, Deadwood fans just gold mining and shoot-outs, but intense may finally get the ending they’ve been drama can also come from the everyday clamoring for in 2019. realities of living in the 19th-century Old Contact Jac Kern: @jackern West. This group of people, for better or

Best of Cincinnati 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018


26 26 C I T Y B E AT. C O M

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FOOD & DRINK A New Sandwich Stop in OTR Main Street’s The Takeaway offers fresh produce, pantry staples, beer, wine and an eclectic menu of deli-fresh sandwiches BY L E Y L A S H O KO O H E


The Takeaway’s Sundried Turkey Bacon sandwich PHOTO: HAILEY BOLLINGER



customers that live and work just around the corner and I think that’s our main customer base.” In addition to the fixed sandwich menu, customers can try their hand at building their own. Meat options include ham, turkey, German bologna or turkey pastrami; cheese includes Swiss, cheddar, provolone, muenster or American; and bread options are white, wheat, sourdough or rye; with a choice of veggies and sauce. “We have a guy who’s a barber down the street named Tony,” Stephens says. “He gets a bologna sandwich every day, so he gets (what we call) the Tony Bologna.” I haven’t tried the bologna yet, but I did try the Sundried Turkey Bacon on my last visit, and the slices upon slices of juicy turkey piled atop sourdough smeared with house sundried-tomato tapenade was *insert Italian chef’s kiss* delicious. Future potential plans for the Takeaway include breakfast and late-night options, but Stephens says it will take some time to build to that. In the meantime, the Takeaway is open daily.


smattering of yogurt, eggs, milk and butter, ice cream and frozen fruits. Wire baskets stand at the ready to fill with your essentials, and cold cases are stocked with an eclectic array of beer, wines and other beverages. “You’re probably not gonna Whole Foods it up and spend $200 at my store,” Miller says. “It’s (about) partnering with other people that are small businesses that do good stuff, too.” The deli offers an assortment of sandwiches, sides, The Takeaway daily soups, salads and a 1324 Main St., Overkids menu — a rarity in the-Rhine, 513-873to-go shops. Among other 1157, sandwich options, you can takeawayonmain. chow down on the Reuben, Hours: 10 a.m.-8 featuring house corned p.m. Monday-Saturbeef layered on rye bread further my belief that any day; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. from Allez; the northeast“salad” sandwich should Sunday. Ohio staple, Trail & exclusively be served on Swiss, featuring Troyer’s flaky bread. The croissant Genuine Trail bologna; lasted to the very last trior one of three variants of umphant bite — no soggy The Salad Sandwich, with bottom slice here — and egg, chicken or tuna salad. Vegetarianthe housemade mayonnaise sets the trio of friendly options include the Caprese with salads apart from others of a similar ilk. housemade basil pesto on Allez sourdough “We wanted simple food items, affordor one of three salads — the Caesar, kale able food items you can eat every day and apple and house. I stopped in on three enjoy,” says Jared Stephens, the store manseparate occasions to get a taste of the ager. “We wanted a sandwich that wasn’t proverbial action. too filling but not not worth the dollar.” On the first visit, a BLT felt like a safe Stephens worked with Miller to create choice. It proved to be that and more. The and develop the sandwich menu, which bacon was the thickest cut I’ve had on a abides by their simple credo: “What tastes sandwich in a long time (the slicer is set to good, and how do we execute it?” Having a 26), the aioli was creamy, but not overpowteam that’s fully on board with the vision is ering, and the wheat bread sufficiently an essential ingredient. held it all together. (I also added a slice of “(My team) really gets it at a deeper cheddar.) level,” Miller says. “They know we’re not “You don’t need artisanal bread for a just running a restaurant. They know how BLT. You don’t want artisanal bread for a important it is that this kind of thing exists BLT,” Miller says emphatically. “You want here, specifically.” sandwich bread and Giminetti’s makes Building into the existing fabric of Main great sandwich bread and Allez makes Street is an imperative of the Takeaway great sourdough and rye.” team. He’s not wrong. But I did try the tuna “I think the community really loves us salad on a Mainwood Pastry croissant on to be around. We really invite everyone a subsequent visit, and it only served to in,” Stephens says. “We have a bunch of

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he Takeaway’s premise is simple: grab a really good sandwich …and go. Step inside, though, and you’ll probably be tempted to stay as long as possible. The cheerful white subway-tiled interior is full of blonde wood surfaces — including long, thin countertops, which line the huge picture windows looking out onto Main Street — complemented by a gleaming silver deli case. “It is a place for everybody,” says owneroperator Dustin Miller. “You can have a CEO and the next person in line is somebody coming in to buy a pound of ham, and that’s a beautiful thing about delis —it’s a leveling thing.” Delis are something of a family venture for Miller; his brother Ryan runs Deli Ohio in Canton, and Miller says his brother was definitely an inspiration for starting his own. Couple that with hearing from customers at Collective Espresso, his popular local coffee shop, the desire for a grab-andgo sandwich shop, and the impetus for the Takeaway was born. After more than a year spent securing the location at the corner of Woodward and Main streets, the Takeaway opened about a month ago. Of course, the neighborhood food situation has changed even in that short amount of time. “Now, you stub your toe on a new restaurant on Main Street,” Miller says. The Royal OTR, Allez Bakery and The Pony are all recent additions to the streetscape, among the already existing myriad pizza joints and neighborhood bars. Despite the limited real estate, there’s not as much of a sense of competition among business owners on Main Street as one might expect. “You walk down the street and we’re all friends because we’re all trying to figure out this life thing together,” Miller says. “Not just life but this business thing.” Business at the Takeaway is split between the deli — with sandwiches and cut-to-order meats and cheeses — and a tidy retail grocery. Shelves lining the wall and stands in the store hold bunches of bananas, avocados and lemons, bags of chips, crackers and jam. There’s a


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Boomtown Biscuits & Whiskey 1201 Broadway St., Pendleton, 513381-2666, The Pendleton restaurant is inspired by the trappings of the American frontier and California’s 19th-century gold rush. Its name is a nod to the term “boomtown,â€? which refers to the burst of economic and population growth of towns that popped up seemingly overnight during the California Gold Rush. At Boomtown, the true delight comes plated. The signature biscuit isn’t a run-ofthe-mill thousand-layer flaked baked good. It’s a buttery, soft disc with a close crumb and a browned, lightly bubbled top that no breakfast chain can compete with. The food menu starts with “Pick & Shovel Sandwiches.â€? All of these options feature fillings like fried chicken, barbecue short ribs or mush cakes with chimichurri tofu, stuffed between two biscuits. The most popular sandwich — and the one I ordered — is the Yukon ($11), with fried chicken, gravy, smoked cheddar and thick-cut bacon. The option to add an egg is, theoretically, optional (and a $2 upcharge), but better thought of as an intrinsic part of the dish. This sandwich was sumptuous. Besides the sandwiches, the menu offers “Prospector Plates,â€? which are more entrĂŠestyle than the sandwiches; “Bowls of Gold,â€? which are the requisite beans and grits but gussied up; “Sundries,â€? aka the sides you’ll want at least a few of; “Nuggets of Gold,â€? for condiments and dips; and “Sweet Fixinsâ€? for dessert. Boomtown Biscuits & Whiskey breaks the mold — or rather makes a new, goldnugget-shaped one — with its fun take on American favorites. (McKenzie Graham) Unwind Wine Bar 3435 Michigan Ave., Hyde Park, 513-321-9463, unwindehydepark. com Unwind may not be Cincinnati’s oldest wine bar, but after almost six years in business, it’s definitely in the running. The expansive indoor and outdoor space around the corner from Hyde Park Square has fused an upscale-casual ambiance with a wide selection of New World and Old World wines and small plates that complement the drinks. The deal at happy hour consists of a $2 discount on glasses of wine — regular 35prices range from about $9-$15 — and $2 |

7 $ 2 & 1 2

$3 Off Carryout Entree. Good Only at Ambar India. Only 2 Coupons Per Party, Per Table.


6 8 % * $ 5 5 8 0 1 1 $ 3

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off most of the food items (regularly priced $9-$14). There’s also a wine flight of the day, which consisted of three ounces each of four Spanish wines ($20) during our visit. You can create your own flights of four pours from the entire list, at half the listed price. Regular pours are six ounces; flight pours are three. We did enjoy a few small plates. I’d especially recommend the warm artichoke dip, pleasantly garlicky with truffle oil and topped with browned bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. It came with a few slices of baguette (and we would have welcomed a few more). All of the food is either vegetarian or vegan (the owners are vegan). With choices such as crostini, flatbread, warm olives, cheeses and a hummus sampler, along with a few desserts, there’s enough for a light meal — or at least some satisfying bites to accompany your wine. (Pama Mitchell) Agave & Rye 633 Madison Ave., Covington, 859-360-1060, Over the past few years, the “craft taco� eatery has become quite the thing in our town and Agave & Rye’s location, at the corner of Madison Avenue and Seventh Street, couldn’t be better for this kind of casual food. Except for a few small side dishes and a couple of desserts, the menu consists entirely of tacos ($3-$5). They’re organized as “Graze� for meat-based fillings, “Swim� for fish-filled tortillas and “Grow� for veggie versions. Graze is the largest category, with eight different options that include a taco based on kangaroo meat — we didn’t try that one — as well as chicken, pork, beef and duck confit. Altogether we selected from 15 taco options, including a monthly feature with “cheese-filled mini beef meatballs, mac and cheese, white cheddar and vodka sauce.�   One unusual feature of the menu is that each taco comes in a crispy corn shell and a soft flour tortilla.  With Agave & Rye tacos, you get that yummy corn crunch with every bite while the firmer flour tortilla holds it all together.   We all loved The Alderman — ancho grilled steak with Mexican street corn salad and a good salsa. The Swanky One came in a fried wonton shell — the only non-tortilla wrapped taco — with a filling of ahi tuna poke, serrano aioli and guacamole. It tasted good, but the shell fell apart when you picked it up. One of the veggie tacos, The Bang Bang, hit the right notes with crispy cauliflower, spicy carrots and a creamy cheese sauce. (PM)


Chicken or the Egg: A Turner Farm Journey — Take a look inside Turner Farm’s egg production with livestock and pasture manager Daniel Losekamp. After the tour, return to the barn studio for a hands-on cooking class in Turner Farm Teaching Kitchen. 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. $70. Turner Farm, 7400 Given Road, Indian Hill, Bubble Tea Workshop with Kung Fu Tea — Kung Fu Tea will be in class to teach you how to make authentic Taiwanese Bubble Tea. 6-9 p.m. $75. Findlay Kitchen, 1719 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,


Yappy Hour at Washington Park — Grab your furry friend for happy hour at Washington Park’s Southwest Porch. There will be drink specials and doggy themed fun. 5-8 p.m. Free admission. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, Shavuot Cheese Fest — Celebrate Shavuot with the Mayerson JCC by partaking in the custom of eating dairy during the holiday. Enjoy some kosher cheeses paired with your choice of beer or wine, with “curd nerds” from Block and Wedge, a Columbus-based kosher cheese shop. 7-9:30 p.m. $35 members; $40 public. Mayerson JCC, 8485 Ridge Road, Amberley Village,


Low-Country Shrimp Boil — Throw the ultimate summer party with this shrimp boil

Royal Wedding Brunch — Celebrate the wedding of Meghan Markle and Price Harry with brunch at The Pub Rookwood. Festivities include a screening of the ceremony and events, themed cocktails, raffles, giveaways, food and $3.25 Old Speckled Hen. 7-11 a.m. Free admission. The Pub Rookwood, 2692 Madison Road, Norwood, facebook. com/pubrookwood.


Family Dinner: A Potluck Comedy Show — This live comedy show, from Bombs Away! Comedy, gathers friends and comedians around the table for “family dinner.” Each month will feature six comedians along with beer from Brink and dinner, provided by you. Each guest is asked to bring a family recipe to share. Plates, silverware and napkins will be provided. The potluck starts at 5 p.m. 5-8 p.m. Free. Brink Brewing Co., 5905 Hamilton Ave., Northside, facebook. com/brinkbrewing. Please Bake Sale — Cincinnati chef and entrepreneur Ryan Santos is doling out extra treats this summer at his OTR eatery Please with a series of “bake sales,” hosted by some of the most celebrated female pastry chefs in America — all complemented by featured wines, exclusively from female winemakers. The series kicks off May 20 with Stella Parks, a food writer from Lexington whose book, BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts, made it on the New York Times bestseller list. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Prices vary. Please, 1405 Clay St., pleasecincinnati. com.


Herbs and Edible Flowers — Head to Turner Farm to learn the basics of herb

gardening and how to cook with herbs to create healthy, delicious meals. During class, eat a salad with greens from the farm and a fresh fruit compote with sweet herbs, complemented by kombucha and vitamin water. Participants will go home with a scoby to start their own kombucha. 6:30-8:30 p.m. $30. Turner Farm, 7400 Given Road, Indian Hill, Return of the Ramen — Ramen nights return to Northside Yacht Club. Hosted by chef Hideki Harada in anticipation of his forthcoming Kiki Japanese gastropub in College Hill, the menu includes both meaty and vegetarian noodle soups. 4-9 p.m. Free admission. Northside Yacht Club, 4227 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, northsideyachtclub.


Biscuits & Gravy Workshop — Chef Jordan will lead you through a hands-on class to make fluffy biscuits and rich, creamy sausage gravy. Class includes wine, beer or a non-alcoholic drink. 6-9 p.m. $75. Findlay Kitchen, 1719 Elm St., Overthe-Rhine, tablespooncook

A Tour of Asian Cuisine — In this demo class, watch as chef Rob Seideman creates salmon and halibut spring rolls, wonton soup, Thaigrilled pork and Vietnamese grill corn. 6-8:30 p.m. $75. The Cooking School at Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield,


EST. 1933




Amy McFarland and Billy Larkin Jeff Thomas




Margarita Madness — CityBeat’s Margarita Madness takes over Newport on the Levee for our annual celebration of all things tequila and lime. The sixth-annual event features a margarita throwdown competition from participating vendors, a guac off, live music, guest judges and more. 5:30-8:30 p.m. $35; $40 day of (if available). Newport on the Levee, Newport,


Save the date

october 3rd, 2018 5:30-8:30 Pm New Riff Distillery

Newport, Ky

|| C I T Y B E AT. C O M


featuring shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes. Menu includes pimento cheese, buttermilk cornbread and blackberry cobbler cake. 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. $75. The Cooking School at Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield,

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Cincinnati Streetcar Food Tour — Take the streetcar to tour and taste at various area restaurants. Stop and dine at three unique restaurants, enjoying a sample of beer and wine. The adventure concludes at Findlay Market. 1 p.m. $59. Leaves from Howl at the Moon, 145 Second St., Downtown, river

Most classes and events require registration and classes frequently sell out.



Rolling in the Steep Steep Canyon Rangers may be touring with some very funny people, but they’re one of the seriously great contemporary Bluegrass bands BY A L A N S C U L L E Y



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f Bluegrass music has an equivalent to the relationship Bob Dylan enjoyed with The Band, it might be in the partnership that has developed between veteran comedian and actor Steve Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers. Dylan famously brought on the future members of The Band (originally known as the Hawks) to be his backing group on his 1965 and 1966 tours when he plugged in and went electric for part of his show, a move that sparked loud objections from some fans of his solo acoustic Folk music. In subsequent years, the pairing became regarded as one of Rock music’s classic partnerships. The Steep Canyon Rangers had been a group for some nine years and had released five albums when they met Martin and were selected by the comedian/ banjo player to be his backing band on a tour to promote his 2009 Bluegrass album, The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo. A decade later, the collaboration is still going strong. The Rangers have now done several tours with Martin and played on two of his records, the latest of which is last year’s The Long-Awaited Album. Several members of the Rangers also played on Love Has Come for You, the album Martin and Edie Brickell released in 2013. Looking back, mandolin player Mike Guggino said the band’s first work with Martin was ideal timing. Steep Canyon Rangers — which also includes guitarist/ singer Woody Platt, banjo player/singer Graham Sharp, fiddle player Nicky Sanders, drummer Mike Ashworth and new bassist Barrett Smith (replacing Charles Humphrey III) — were established enough in the Bluegrass world to be seen as a viable group on their own. But they were still in a place where an association with a big name like Martin would help them grow their audience without deflecting too much time and attention away from their own career. “I think if we had met (Martin) years later, it might not have been a good idea,”

Steep Canyon Rangers P H O T O : S H E L LY S W A N G E R

Guggino says. “But I think we met him just at the right time, when we were popular enough and good enough to be able to do the gig and bring something to the table, but not so popular that it would have been a bad choice to not do our stuff. And it really did help boost our career, for sure. It put us in front of a larger audience. He got us on TV and big-time radio stations and really got our name out there.” As the years have gone on and they’ve done more projects with Martin, the partnership has only deepened. Guggino said both the Rangers and Martin have brought things to the table that have benefited both parties artistically. On The Long-Awaited Album, Sharp and Humphrey III have co-writing credits, and the entire band was heavily involved in arranging the songs. “I think the Rangers had as much to do with the arrangements — if not more — than Steve on every song,” Guggino says. “And that’s what’s so cool. He trusts us. He trusts our ears and our tastes and we work together very well. It’s a great collaboration that way. I think our style and our aesthetic is aligned even more than it was when we started.” Of course, Steep Canyon Rangers also continue to make albums and do their own shows between touring and recording commitments with Martin. The group just released its 10th studio album, Out in the Open, and are playing a mix of their own headlining dates and shows where they serve as backing band for Martin and fellow comedian/actor Martin Short, who bring a mix of comedy and music to the stage. For Out in the Open, the group worked

with Joe Henry, a noted producer who isn’t from the Bluegrass world. Going into the recording, Henry proposed a recording approach that is rarely used these days: He wanted the Steep Canyon Rangers to record completely live — including the vocals — with no overdubbing. Guggino says the band knew that could be a challenge. “You’ve got to get every solo, every little backup lick, every harmony vocal, and you all have to do it at the same time,” he says. “And if somebody messes up, the whole take is gone.” But it turned out to be an effective way to record the songs. “It wasn’t as hard as we thought it was going to be, and the reason is we play together all the time,” Guggino says. “We’re such a live band — a touring band, we’re always touring. We know each other so well and our tendencies and how we all think it’s going to feel, how we kind of push and pull together, and it works. It makes sense. We even stood like we do on the stage. That’s how we stood around the microphones (in the studio).” The idea behind recording live, Guggino says, was to capture the fire, energy and emotion the Steep Canyon Rangers bring to their concerts, and he thinks Out in the Open turned out to be a very authentic representation of the group as a result. What also helps is that the band’s songwriting is strong throughout the album. Out in the Open continues the Steep Canyon Rangers’ move toward a broader acoustic sound that, while rooted in Bluegrass, draws from other genres. Highly melodic tunes like the easygoing “Farmers And Pharaohs” and

“Roadside Anthems” are as much Pop and Americana as any other genre. The lovely ballads “Going Midwest” and “Best Of Me” have a timeless Country sound, and even songs that have a good bit of Bluegrass (“Let Me Out Of This Town” and “Love Harder”) have richer melodies than one might expect in that genre. Guggino says the band is so pleased with Out in the Open that they are playing the entire album during headlining shows. “This is the first album that I think we’ve ever released where we play every single song from the record in the show, which is pretty cool,” Guggino says. “I think that has a lot to do with the way we recorded the record.” For the current shows with Martin and Short, though, the Steep Canyon Rangers play a more supportive role. “It’s a comedy show with those two guys doing their thing,” Guggino says. “But what we do is really impactful. I think it’s really impactful for the audience to all of a sudden see Steve up there playing the banjo, and not just playing the banjo, (but) tearing it up.” “They give us the chance to showcase our stuff on a pretty hot little number, and that usually gets the crowd to its feet,” he adds. “Marty and Steve like to joke that it’s the only standing ovation that happens during the whole show — and they’re not on stage.” Steep Canyon Rangers perform with Steve Martin and Martin Short May 27 at Riverbend’s PNC Pavilion. Tickets/more info:


The Multifarious Expansion of Comprador BY M I K E B R EEN

has helped transform the project into something less linear and more epic in scope. According to a recent interview with Jim Nolan on WVXU’s “Local Exposure” program, after D’Ardenne acquired a piano, he began to write on it more, allowing him to look at songwriting from different perspectives. Comprador tags itself as a “Psychedelic Rock” band, but there’s so much more going on. The experimental sensibilities that drive Downstream result in a journey that makes pits stops in heart-swelling, high-ceilinged etherealness (“Dark Neon”),


Spotify opened up an interesting debate/can of worms when announcing it was punishing R. Kelly after two decades of sexual assault allegations. The service’s new policy against “hate content and hateful conduct” (call it “The R. Kelly Rule”) limits the reach of offenders, not by removing their music, but by banning it from curated playlists. Apple Music did likewise shortly after the announcement. While well intentioned, some noted that the rule created a slippery slope. Reps for rapper/singer XXXTentacion, who was also hit with the ban, made a list of artists (from David Bowie to Miles Davis) and their corresponding crimes and allegations, and asked if Spotify would also be removing their work from playlists.

Duke VP Takes the L


Contact Mike Breen:

Last week, the vice president for student affairs at Duke University made headlines after being so irritated by Hip Hop artist Young Dolph’s song “Get Paid” being played loudly at a coffee shop on campus (it had bad words!), he had the two employees working there fired. The action caused students to protest and the coffee vendor to close the shop and rehire the baristas, who also literally got paid $20,000 by Young Dolph after he invited them to a concert in Miami in the wake of the incident.

wed 16

pink mexico

thu 17

lung, second story man, siren suit

Fri 18

comprador lipstick fiction

s at 19

jess lamb molly sullivan

mon 21

dupont brothers

tue 22

writer’s night w/ lucas

wed 23

the go rounds the turtledoves

free live music open for lunch

1404 main st (513) 345-7981

So Random! The marketing for Deadpool 2 is already a bit much (the main character even guest-edited a stunt issue of Good Housekeeping for some reason). Branding people co-opting the smart-ass, snarky movie’s tone seems like a recipe for disaster considering most of the smart-ass, snarky members of the target demo notably have finely tuned bullshit detectors. The film’s PR blitz also included an on-brand (and planted) news item about the film’s music. Because they’re mostly instrumental, no movie’s original score has ever been forced to include a “parental advisory” warning. But the cool kids behind Deadpool don’t play by society’s rules, grandpa! The movie’s score received the designation because of track titles like “Holy Shit Balls” and “You Can’t Stop This Mother Fucker.”

6 /6

nikkie lane ruBy Boots

6 /23

stephen malkmus & the jicks


otr prom: under the sea



marcia Ball

ricky nye & chris douglas

buy tickets at motr or

| | C I T Y B E AT. C O M

scorching, anthemic U2-meets-Radiohead Post Punk (“Second Rites”), orchestral, piano-driven lushness (Side B’s “Clenched Fists”), bluesy guitar riffage (“Downstream Now”), Indie/Freak Folk (“Kissoff”) and garage-y (but still rich) Nirvana-esque boot-stomping (“One Reads Our Fates”). Even within an individual track, Comprador’s music is rarely just “one thing” — it’s progressive and experimental, but also magnetically melodic and familiar, as a range of Rock & Roll tropes past and present are deconstructed and reconstructed in unanticipated but rewarding ways. Downstream is a “Modern Rock” masterwork that deserves to be heard by as many music lovers as possible — not so much for the band’s sake, but for the music world’s benefit. What comes next for the group is a thrilling prospect. If there’s a “next level” up from this creatively, Comprador will be among the stars in no time. The Downstream cassette will be available Friday night at Comprador’s release party at MOTR Pub (1345 Main St., Overthe-Rhine, Fellow local group Lipstick Fiction opens the free show, which begins at 10 p.m. For more on Comprador, visit facebook. com/compradorohio and comprador.

1345 main st

Kelly vs. Streams

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This Friday, Comprador Comprador, the incredibly dynamic Cincinnati Indie Rock group led by hyper-talented singer/songwriter Charles D’Ardenne, is releasing its sprawling new album, Downstream, via the Chicago label Dark Circles Records. The release contains 19 tracks and, like the music itself, it is presented uniquely — laid out like a “double album” (with a Side A, B, C and D), Dark Circles is releasing Downstream on two cassettes (it will also be issued digitally). It’s a distinctive format, certainly, but in this age of shortening attention spans — with many musicians trending toward singles and EP releases — crafting a double album is a statement in itself. Comprador has sculpted an engaging and engrossing piece of art with Downstream, and it’s worth every second of the release’s run time. Ambitious, yes, but this isn’t an overlong album stuffed with filler. Each song is well crafted and shaded with fluctuating tones and colors, and there is so much diversity from track to track, the release Comprador never feels weighted down or meandering. Very few PHOTO: BRIANNA double albums in the past 25 years have needed to be double albums, but once you get going with Downstream, you’ll want to keep following the sounds to see where they’ll go next. Comprador began in 2013 and D’Ardenne has collaborated with a variety of local musicians in the band’s short lifespan. Aaron Collins played drums and provided backing vocals on the 2014 EP Voyeur, Voyeur but D’Ardenne played everything else in the studio (there was a trio for live shows). It was the same setup for the band’s 2015 debut full-length, Pollinator Pollinator, though a couple of bassists sat in. D’Ardenne took over all drumming duties on Beheld, an EP released at the start of this year, but Jon Delveaux — along with Corey Waddell, his bandmate in Cincy Dreamgaze group Soften — provided assists, which turned out the be a preview of the current full-band edition of Comprador. With Delveaux playing guitar and Waddell on bass (D’Ardenne now plays drums and sings lead live), the group also includes Soften’s frontperson Brianna Kelly on keys, guitar and vocals. The expanded lineup was a logical development in the context of Downstream’s expansive canvas, allowing for wide-angle depictions of the songs in concert. D’Ardenne’s talent was evident on those very first Comprador recordings, but his musical curiosity and sense of adventure


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Amy Shark Wednesday • 20th Century Theater


111 E 6th St Newport, KY 41071




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5/16 - basement, citizen, pronoun, souvenirs; big sandy & his fly-rite boys, the jimmy d three; willow tree carolers presents: pirate night


5/17 - lost dog street band, the tillers, arlo mckinley; frontier folk nebraska, blueprints & elements 5/18 -squirrel nut zippers; luke winslow-king; veronica grim, eric bolander, kyle keller, chase crawford 5/19 - an evening with ana popovic; the living deads, jake logan & the midnight riders, season of the witch; noir - world goth day dj night 5/20 - candyrat guitar night; swimming with bears, the cuckoos 5/22 - 20 watt tombstone

W W W . S O U TH G A TE H O U S E . CO M

Amy Shark is one of those apparent overnight sensations that has actually been slogging her way through the knee-deep puppy and horse shit that accumulates during the music industry’s ridiculous and endless dog-and-pony show. After years of rejection from industry executives, the Queensland, Australia native had a massive hit in 2016 with her single “Adore,” and suddenly there was a bidding war among the idiots who ignored her in the first place. Last month, just after Shark won an Australian Performing Rights Association award, she released a new single, “ I Said Hi,” as a response to the cloth-eared industry types who shunned her for so long. When her managers would mention they were meeting with someone she recognized as having been aggressively unpleasant in her journey to bring her music to the world, she would respond by saying, “Tell them I said, ‘Hi.’ ” Though Shark toiled for years in obscurity, she made a lot of fans at the grassroots level, and won admirers who helped her in the studio, including producer Mark Landon (aka M-Phazes), who manned the board for the breakthrough “Adore.” Like she had done with songs so many times before, Shark posted “Adore” on YouTube, but it exploded like nothing she had done in the past; the song won the Queensland Music Award for Pop Song of the Year and, to date, it has been streamed 34 million times on Spotify. The explosive response to “Adore” led to Australian chart success, American tours and her debut EP, Night Thinkers, which has grown her fan base exponentially. The year has already proven to be a big one for Shark and it’s likely to get bigger before it’s over. She has a song on the successful soundtrack to Love, Simon, and in July, Shark releases her first full-length album, Love Monster Monster, which will feature “I Said Hi,” “Adore” and songs she has

Citizen P H O T O : C I T I Z E N M I . B A N D C A M P. C O M

co-written with M-Phazes, Lorde and blink-182’s Mark Hoppus. (Brian Baker)

Citizen with Basement, Pronoun and Souvenirs Wednesday • Southgate House Revival Duke Ellington once noted that there are two kinds of music — good music and the other kind. Categorization is equally simple for Citizen guitarist Nick Hamm, who has boiled down the various genre tags that have been assigned to the Michigan/ Ohio quintet — including Emo, Indie Rock, melodic Hardcore, Grunge, Shoegaze, Pop Punk and various hybridized combinations thereof — into a single potent declaration that Citizen is a Rock band. Citizen began in southern Michigan nine years ago when vocalist Mat Kerekes assembled a group of friends from high school as a side project to another band. Within six months, guitarist/vocalist Hamm and his bassist brother Eric joined Kerekes along with rhythm guitarist Ryland Oehlers and the core of Citizen was complete (the band went through a couple of drummers before settling on Jake Duhaime). After two years of playing regionally around their southern Michigan home and amassing a loyal fan base, Citizen released a pair of singles and its debut EP,


Young States, in 2011. The following year, Citizen signed with Run For Cover Records, which promptly reissued Young States and began a concerted marketing campaign to expose the band to a wider audience, starting with tours supporting the likes of Aficionado and State Champs. In 2013, the band hit the studio with producer Will Yip to create Youth, an emotive and powerful album inspired by Kerekes’ heartbreak after the end of a five-year relationship. Over the past five years, Citizen has continued to be a constant fixture on the road, as both a support act and a headliner. The group has released two subsequent full-lengths — 2015’s Everybody is Going to Heaven and last fall’s As You Please — both of which generated positive reviews. With comparisons to the likes of Brand New, Nirvana, Jesus Lizard and a host of undercard bands, including labelmates Basement and Superheaven, it’s understandable that the band has been tagged with a surfeit of stylistic labels. But in the end, Hamm’s assessment seems the most appropriate: Citizen is Rock. (BB)

Pressure Fit with Tomato Dodgers and Vampire Weekend at Bernie’s Tuesday • Urban Artifact

Future Sounds

Thunderpussy – June 19, Madison Live

Andy Frasco and the U.N. – June 28-29, Octave Maddie & Tae – June 30,

Ratboys – July 30, Urban Artifact Tory Lanez – Aug. 1, Bogart’s Charlie Puth/Hailee Steinfeld – Aug. 3, Riverbend

5:30–8:30 p.m.

Wednesday, December 3rd New Riff Distilling


Warren G – June 14, Bogart’s

O-Town – June 23, Ludlow Garage


Bourbon & Bacon


John Pizzarelli Duo – June 13, Woodward Theater

Green Jello – June 22, Urban Artifact


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In the realm of Indie Rock, brass instruments have traditionally been overshadowed by their stringed peers, usually surfacing as part of a lush, orchestral

backdrop for a prominent guitar or piano. It’s a role that Virginia-based trombonist Reginald Chapman has filled for more than a decade, contributing to the triumphant horn section that characterized The Mountain Goats’ Transcendental Youth (2012) and the orchestral neo-Soul arrangements Foxygen enlisted for its latest effort, Hang (2017). Onstage, he’s worked as a side man for Sufjan Stevens, The Temptations and Bon Iver. Chapman’s latest project, Pressure Fit (he’s also a co-founder of the No BS! Brass Band), serves as an opportunity to put brass at the forefront of his work, weaving his impressive Jazz chops into off-kilter compositions that hold firm to the Indie ethos. The current incarnation of the band features a lineup of musicians whose collective résumé includes gigs with Chance the Rapper, Herbie Hancock and Pearl Jam, showcasing their abilities in a more intimate, free-flowing context. Check out Pressure Fit’s debut cassette release, Toolong Tea, for a solid preview of their live material (it’s online at Recorded with a variety of digital samplers, Chapman’s creative output plays like an even more chaotic take on the free-jazzy Hip Hop pioneered by Madlib and J. Dilla, chopping siren-like saxophone squalls atop wonky drum-machine patterns. Tracks like “83.7” and “Take the Time” reveal Chapman’s affinity for retro sounds, layering Jazz loops beneath a veil of tape hiss. The result would feel right at home in the soundtrack to a ’70s sitcom theme: warm, groovy and just a little bit grimy. On the other end of the spectrum, cuts like “Before the Day” and “My Song 12” signify forward-thinking, avant-garde sensibilities. The former cakes its muted instrumentation in distortion, providing a nebulous canvas onto which guest vocalist Marcus Tenney paints his frenetic spoken word bars, while the latter heaves with Industrial rhythms, groaning like a broken Nintendo cartridge. Whether your tastes lean toward Jazz, Hip Hop or even Garage Rock, Pressure Fit aims its musical curveballs just shy of your wheelhouse, challenging you to swing outside your comfort zone. Chapman’s genre-defying compositions may revel in experimentation, but most importantly, they’re crafted with fun in mind. (Jude Noel)

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CityBeat’s music listings are free. Send info to Mike Breen at Listings are subject to change. See for full music listings and all club locations. H is CityBeat staff’s stamp of approval.



20TH CENTURY THEATER–Amy Shark with TOMI. 8:30 p.m. AltPop. $15, $18 day of show. CAFFÈ VIVACE–Lynne Scott and Phil DeGreg. 7 p.m. Jazz. KNOTTY PINE–Dallas Moore. 10 p.m. Country. Free. THE LISTING LOON–Ricky Nye. 8:30 p.m. Blues/Boogie Woogie. Free. MANSION HILL TAVERN– Losing Lucky. 8 p.m. Roots. Free.


MOTR PUB–Pink Mexico with Spaceface. 10 p.m. Indie Pop/Rock. Free. NORTHSIDE TAVERN– Shiny Old Soul. 9 p.m. Cosmic Roots/Various. Free. SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (LOUNGE)–Willow Tree Carolers presents Pirate Night with The Rev. Eric Osborne and The Old Souls String Band. 9:30 p.m. Folk/Roots/Americana. Free.


SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (REVIVAL ROOM)–Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys with The Jimmy D Three. 8 p.m. Western Swing/Country/ Americana. $17.


SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (SANCTUARY)–Basement and Citizen with Pronoun and Souvenirs. 7 p.m. Rock. $17. STANLEY’S PUB–Maritime Law. 9 p.m. Acoustic/Jam. Free.



M A Y 1 6 – 2 2 , 2 0 18



BROMWELL’S HÄRTH LOUNGE–Todd Hepburn LOUNGE– and Friends. 8 p.m. Various. Free. CAFFÈ VIVACE–Garin Webb Trio. 7 p.m. Jazz.


THE COMET–Summer Like the Season and Rachel Mousie. 10 p.m. Indie/Alt/Pop/Electronic/Various. Free.


MOTR PUB–Lung with Second Story Man and Siren Song. 10 p.m. Indie Rock. Free.

OCTAVE–Strange Mechanics. 9 p.m. Funk/Psych/Prog/ Jam.

Floosies. 10 p.m. Dance/ Rock/Pop/Hip Hop/Country/ Various. $5.

SCHWARTZ’S POINT–Phil DeGreg & Friends. 8:30 p.m. Jazz. Cover.

THE MAD FROG–Hellraiser, U.S. Hellcamp and more. 8 p.m. Metal. Cover.

SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (LOUNGE)–Frontier Folk Nebraska with Blueprints and Elements. 9:30 p.m. Rock. Free.


SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (SANCTUARY)–Lost Dog Street Band, The Tillers and Arlo Mckinley. 9 p.m. Folk/Americana. $12. STANLEY’S PUB–Augustus. 9 p.m. Psych. Cover.


URBAN ARTIFACT–Go Go Buffalo, Common Center, Heavy Hinges and Bucko. 8 p.m. Rock/Alt/ Various.


ARNOLD’S BAR AND GRILL–Moonshine and Wine. 9 p.m. Americana. Free. BLIND LEMON–Warren Ulgh. 9 p.m. Acoustic. Free. BLUE NOTE HARRISON– Afroman with C the Gray. 8 p.m. Hip Hop. $15, $20 day of show. CAFFÈ VIVACE–Brandon Coleman Trio. 8 p.m. Jazz. THE COMET–Particle Devotion and Kid ESP. 10 p.m. Rock/Alt/Post Punk. Free. COMMON ROOTS–Missed Munsuns. 10 p.m. R&B. Free. THE GREENWICH–Mike Wade & the Nasty Nati Brass Band. 8:30 p.m. Jazz. $10. HILLSIDE GASTROPUB– Sonny Moorman. 8 p.m. Blues.

MADISON LIVE– LIVE–Tsuruda, Peanutbutter Williams, Salty, Mr. Scissors and HumorMe. 9 p.m. Electronic/Bass/Various. $10. MANSION HILL TAVERN– Soul Pushers. 9 p.m. Blues. MARTY’S HOPS & VINES– The Mood Rings. 9 p.m. Acoustic. Free.


MOTR PUB–Comprador (album release show) with Lipstick Fiction and Marisa. 10 p.m. Indie/ Rock/Various. Free.

MVP BAR & GRILLE– Echoes From A Distance (EP release show) with Dear Agony, LIVID and Signal the Revolution. 8 p.m. Rock. $10, $12 day of show. NORTHSIDE TAVERN– Cookin’ Hearts. 9 p.m. Americana. Free. OCTAVE–Sylmar, Moonlight Bloom and SolEcho. 9 p.m. Rock/Alt/Various. SCHWARTZ’S POINT–Josh Kline, Peter Gemus and Tony Franklin. 9 p.m. Jazz. Cover. SILVERTON CAFE–Full Circle. 9 p.m. Rock. Free. SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (LOUNGE)– Veronica Grim, Eric Bolander, Kyle Keller and Chase Crawford. 9:30 p.m. Singer/ Songwriter/Various. Free.


SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (REVIVAL ROOM)–Luke Winslow-King. 8 p.m. Blues/Jazz. $10.

JAG’S STEAK AND SEAFOOD–Sly Band. 9 p.m. Pop/Dance/R&B/Funk/Various. $5.

SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (SANCTUARY)– Squirrel Nut Zippers. 8 p.m. Americana. $30.

JEFF RUBY’S STEAKHOUSE–Grace Lincoln Band. 8 p.m. Soul/R&B. Free.

STANLEY’S PUB–Watchfrogs and Room For Zero. 9 p.m. AltRock. Cover.

KNOTTY PINE–Lt. Dan’s New Legs. 10 p.m. Pop/ Dance/Various. Cover. LUDLOW BROMLEY YACHT CLUB– CLUB–Trailer Park

Rock/Various. WASHINGTON PLATFORM –Max Gise Trio. 9 p.m. Jazz. $10 (food/drink minimum).


ARNOLD’S BAR AND GRILL–Modern Groove Jazz Band. 9 p.m. Jazz. Free. BLIND LEMON–Jake Walz. 9 p.m. Acoustic. Free. BLUE NOTE HARRISON– Waylon & Willie Tour: Jelly Roll and Struggle Jennings. 6 p.m. Rap. $20. CAFFÈ VIVACE–Marc Fields Quartet. 8 p.m. Jazz.


THE COMET–Grunge Dad, Slow Glows and Stella. 10 p.m. Indie/Alt/ Rock/Various. Free.

COMMON ROOTS– ROOTS–The Old Souls String Band (release party). 8 p.m. Americana. Free. CROW’S NEST–Aaron Hendrick. 10 p.m. Acoustic. Free. FITTON CENTER FOR CREATIVE ARTS–Jazz & Cabaret: The Pat and Julie Show with Pat Linhart and Julie Spangler. 7:30 p.m. Jazz/Cabaret. $25-$30. THE GREENWICH–Radio Black. 8 p.m. Pop/Dance/ R&B/Various. $10. JAG’S STEAK AND SEAFOOD–Brass Tracks. 9 p.m. Rock/R&B/Funk. $5. JAPP’S–Ricky Nye Inc. 7 p.m. Blues/Boogie Woogie. KNOTTY PINE–DV8. 10 p.m. Rock/Pop/Various. Cover. MACADU’S–Basic Truth. 9 p.m. Funk/R&B/Soul. Free. MADISON LIVE–Superdivorce, One Day Steady, The Almost Heroes. 8 p.m. Alt/ Pop/Rock. $10, $12 day of show.

THOMPSON HOUSE–Damsel and Distress. 8 p.m. Rock/Soul. $10.

MADISON THEATER– Straight On: A Tribute to the Music of Heart with Invincible: A Pat Benatar Tribute. 7:30 p.m. Rock. $15, $17 day of show.

URBAN ARTIFACT–Infinity Spree, The Grove and Michael McQuaid. 8 p.m.

MANSION HILL TAVERN– Jay Jesse Johnson. 9 p.m. Blues. Cover.

MARTY’S HOPS & VINES– Doug Kreitzer. 9 p.m. Acoustic. Free.


BLIND LEMON–Jeff Henry. 8:30 p.m. Acoustic. Free.


MOTR PUB–Jess Lamb with Molly Sullivan. 10 p.m. Indie/Alt/ Experimental/Rock/Soul/ Pop/Various. Free.




NORTHSIDE TAVERN– Dark Wave Dance Night with DJs Will Ross, Christian Wilhelmy & Brian Scott Switzer. 10 p.m. Alt/Dance/ DJ/Various. Free.


MVP BAR & GRILLE– The Great Affairs with Ferris & the Wheels and Room for Zero. 9 p.m. Alt/ Rock. $5.


OCTAVE–Tribute to AviOCTAVE– cii with DJ FurSur, DJ BSP and more. 9 p.m. EDM/ Dance/DJ. Free.

PLAIN FOLK CAFE–Rated BG. 7:30 p.m. Bluegrass. Free. SCHWARTZ’S POINT–Pat Kelly Trio. 9 p.m. Jazz. Cover. SILVERTON CAFE–Retro Vibe. 9 p.m. Various. Free. SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (LOUNGE)– (LOUNGE)–The Living Deads, Jake Logan and the Midnight Riders and Season Of The Witch. 9:30 p.m. Rock/Various. Free. SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (REVIVAL ROOM)–“Noir” World Goth Day DJ Night. 10 p.m. DJ/ Goth/Dance/Alt/Various. $5.

MEMORIAL HALL– Rhiannon Giddens with Jake Blount and Tatiana Hargreaves. 8 p.m. Americana. $40-$55.

NORTHSIDE TAVERN– School of Rock Mason Off The Dial Show (7 p.m.); School of Rock Mason British Invasion Show (4 p.m.). 4 p.m. Rock/Alt/Various. $6, $8 day of show. SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (REVIVAL ROOM)–Candyrat Guitar Night with Luca Stricagnoli, Calum Graham and Spencer Elliott. 7 p.m. Guitar/Various. $20.


THE GREENWICH–Baron Von Ohlen & the Flying Circus Big Band. 7:30 p.m. Jazz. MANSION HILL TAVERN– Acoustic Jam with John Redell and Friends. 8 p.m. Acoustic. Free. MOTR PUB–Dupont Brothers. 9 p.m. Indie Folk. Free.


ARNOLD’S BAR AND GRILL–Diamond Jim Dews. 7 p.m. Blues. free.


THE COMET–Lauren Eylise. 10 p.m. Soul/ Pop. Free.

SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (SANCTUARY)– Ana Popovic. 9 p.m. Blues. $22.

NORTHSIDE TAVERN–Big Cat & the Showgirls, Broken Chairs and Horse Divorce. 9 p.m. Indie/Punk/Various. Free.

STANLEY’S PUB–Bronzi Blonde and Wax Wings. 9 p.m. Funk/Rock. Cover.


THE UNDERGROUND– Circle It and Dr. J & The Apostles. 7 p.m. Rock. Cover.


URBAN ARTIFACT– Hood Smoke and Josiah Wolf. 9 p.m. Experimental/Jazz/Funk/Fusion/ Various. Free.

WASHINGTON PLATFORM –Rusty Burge and Mike Sharfe Quartet. 9 p.m. Jazz. $10 (food/drink minimum).

NORTHSIDE YACHT CLUB–Hospital Job with Attic Salt, Raging Nathans and Undertipper. 9 p.m. Rock/Punk. $8, $10 day of show. SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (LOUNGE)–20 Watt Tombstone. 8 p.m. Rock. Free.


URBAN ARTIFACT– Vampire Weekend at Bernie’s, Tomato Dodgers, Pressure Fit and Eunoia. 9 p.m. Rock/Funk/Indie/Alt/ Various. Free.


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CityBeat | May 16, 2018  
CityBeat | May 16, 2018