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CINCINNATI’S NEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY • sept. 20 – 26, 2017 • free

Back to the ’Point The New Pornographers, Dan Deacon and dozens of other Alternative/Indie acts invade Cincinnati for the 2017 MidPoint Music Festival  PAGE 12

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VOICES your voice LETTERS BOTHER US Cincy Has Enough Expensive Apartments

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Christopher Sluder: How many more expensive apartments do we need — $2,000 and up a month. OTR = Only The Rich. Comment posted at Facebook.com/CincinnatiCityBeat in response to Sept. 13 post, “Portune: Library board vote to close north building ‘disturbing’ ”

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Trials at Clifton Market Phil Cotter: I tried to go to Clifton Market regularly but it was just too expensive. Eileen Crowe: They’ve been working on it, though. Comments posted at Facebook.com/CincinnatiCityBeat in response to Sept. 12 post, “Morning news: Will Clifton Market make it?”

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I L L U S T R AT I O N : P H I L VA L O I S

VOICES

It’s Fall Now.

What a Week!

Try Not to Get Sick.

BY T.C. Britton

WEDNESDAY SEPT. 13

This week’s Apple Event included a first look at upcoming iPhone models, tech news and other Apple announcements and a $3,000 pink jacket. Rolling out this fall are the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and (iGuess we’re just skipping the iPhone 9 and going straight to 10) “iPhone X,” symbolic of the phone’s 10th anniversary. The milestone is also reflected in iPhone X’s price, which is 10 x $100. All three models will feature wireless charging (which, iMsorry, is a lie since that shit has to plug into a wall) and a glass front and back, doubling the odds of getting an embarrassing spiderweb crack. The iPhone X will be all screen, no buttons and boast scary good facial recognition (even if the demo didn’t quite go as planned). The technological advance sparked discussion of animated emojis, realistic facial filters and just how you’ll be able to creep on your man’s convos when he’s not in the room. Oh, and Apple stores are now called “town squares.” OK, sure. But the spotlight-stealing moment goes to Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts, who got a lot of attention for wearing a pink lace Burberry trenchcoat valued at $2,900. Who says people don’t pay attention to women in tech?

ex-Batman as the lead. (And no, Will Ferrell is not playing Dubya, which is a total missed opportunity. Sam Rockwell nabbed that one.) Christian Bale is going full Christian Bale for the flick, chunking up significantly for the role. How is he managing this feat? Pie. Bale told Variety that he’s begun his transformation by eating “lots of pies.” How courageous! Don’t you love how whenever an actor gains weight for a role, journalists rush to ask them how they possibly manage, like it’s some incredible mysterious feat? #Brave

SUNDAY SEPT. 17

The 21st season of South Park premiered this week with an episode taking on both white nationalists and digital assistants. On the lighter side, Cartman gets an Amazon Echo and begins to put in raunchy requests; meanwhile the audio was picked up by viewers’ smart speakers IRL. Coming from OG trolls Matt Stone and Trey Parker, this Alexa fuckery was no mistake, and folks with assistantbots either appreciated the joke or had to unplug to end the ongoing loop of Echos. Next week’s ep will apparently take on North Korea. Alexa: Could a cartoon be responsible for world annihilation?

Sunday marked the 69th (heh) annual Emmy Awards, and one thing was for sure: These Hollywood celebrities did not stick to acting and did not keep politics out of it. Cue the tweets! Host Stephen Colbert kicked off the show with a song about something quite familiar: Drowning out the world’s problems by thrusting ourselves into the fictional drama of TV land. Everything is better on TV! Colbert remarked how if Donald Trump would have won an Emmy years ago, maybe he wouldn’t have run for president. None other than Sean Spicer appeared to confirm this was the most-viewed Emmys EVER!, which garnered an uproarious response… Hold up, are we getting a little too comfortable with key Trump players post-White House? For a room full of Trump haters, they sure gave Spicey a warm reception. Elsewhere, we saw a hilarious Westworld skit that envisioned Colbert as a glitching “host”; a 9 to 5 cast reunion featured Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda (new face, who dis?); RuPaul personified the golden Emmy; and Donald Glover, Lena Waithe, Riz Ahmed all made diverse Emmy history. The night’s biggest winner? Oprah, who despite getting zero nominations was shouted out in half of the acceptance speeches due to being sat in the front row like the queen she is.

FRIDAY SEPT. 15

MONDAY SEPT. 18

THURSDAY SEPT. 14

SATURDAY SEPT. 16

Christian Bale is going to play former Vice President Dick Cheney in a movie that is not at all a fantasy genre. Adam McKay of Step Brothers and Talladega Nights fame is directing a Dick biopic (biodick?) with

Remember when Cincinnati hosted the failed Taco Festival earlier this summer? NYC experienced its own version with the recent New York Pizza Festival, where attendees paid 75 bucks to enjoy a carby, cheesy wonderland. Instead, fest-goers claim they received tiny slivers of cold ’za after waiting for hours in long lines. Sound familiar? Luckily tickets are being refunded, but let it be a lesson to us all: Don’t go to the McDonald’s equivalent of local food fests.

TUESDAY SEPT. 19

This week in questionable decisions: Martin Shkreli offered $5,000 to anyone who could “grab a hair” from Hillary Clinton; Jessica Biel’s fancy restaurant for celebrities’ children got sued for withholding tips; Jon Cooper, chairman of the Democratic Coalition Against Trump, tweeted a photo of Busy Philipps from Freaks and Geeks thinking it was a young Sarah Huckabee Sanders; an Arkansas administrative official admitted to using public funds to buy a tuxedo for her pug; and Andy Dalton led the famous Chicken Dance at Oktoberfest even though the city hates him for no reason. CONTACT T.C. BRITTON: letters@citybeat.com

Fall is here, and your coworkers’ kids are about to give you a wicked sinus infection. The Centers for Disease Control suggests several ways to reduce your chance of getting sick this fall. However, the experts here at the CityBeat information box have suggested some improvements to the CDC list that are surefire ways to keep you and your loved ones healthy through the fall and beyond. Vaccinate high-risk persons (65 and older, children between 6 months and 5 years) to decrease their risk of severe flu illness. This is good advice. But it doesn’t take common sense into account. Everyone has that one gross or dirty “friend” who just has a “higher tolerance for filth” than everyone else, yet doesn’t fit into this demographic. Take public health into your own hands by administering a vaccine to a fleshy part of your dirty friend’s body while he is distracted spilling his cheese fries on your carpet or spreading cookie crumbs on your car’s interior. Of course, do this only if you are a licensed pharmacist or similar-type person. Avoid close contact with sick people. And nurses, doctors, teachers, bartenders, strippers, cashiers, people who open doors, policemen, valets and businessmen. As a matter of fact, it’s best to just avoid people altogether, unless they don’t open doors or don’t have contact with other people. People are always touching stuff, and stuff is exactly where bacteria and viruses thrive. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Again, good advice, but your entire body has surfaces on which viruses and bacteria can live. Do not touch any part of your body, ever. If you should have an itch or need to pluck a hair, it is best to wait until April or May to take care of it; there is less risk of infection this way. Wash your hands with soap and water: And fire*. The sun is a natural disinfectant — it is made of fire. The sun has been disinfecting the Earth for about 4.6 billion years. In fact, the sun disinfected the dinosaurs for millions of years, during which time they lived happy and healthy lives; that is, until the sun was blocked out by a comet. Now there are no more dinosaurs. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu. DO NOT DO THIS! Remember #2 and #3? Your body is covered with tiny organisms that could kill us all, and there are germs everywhere! You’ll just be mixing more surfaces and making super germs. Instead, concentrate on recognizing the tiny dangers in everyday life from afar. Eventually you will be able to avoid bigger and more acute dangers everywhere: potentially deadly snakes hiding in innocent-looking houseplants; hazardous discolorations in the sidewalk; even negative alpha vibrations that emanate from the fifth dimension in order to disrupt your third-eye. Do this, and you’ll certainly be the embodiment of health this fall! *  Fire can be dangerous. Skin can burn at temperatures as low as 109°F if exposed long enough. Make sure to use fire temperatures below 109°F when using fire to prevent illness.

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Cincinnati doesn’t really have bodegas — we have gas stations and sketchy delis that might give you food poisoning — but in real cities, these mom-and-pop corner stores play a crucial role in urban neighborhoods. City-dwellers rely on bodegas for everything from minimal grocery basics to booze to late-night munchies. So naturally, some Silicon Valley bros want to cash in and gentrify that shit. This week two Google alums launched Bodega, a startup that takes all human interaction out of hitting the corner market. Essentially they’re fancy vending machines stocked with a variety of goods that automatically charges you for any product you pick up. In a twist of the knife, their logo is a cat — a nod to #BodegaCats that often populate these shops. We’ll see how keen these douchebags are on bodega cats when some of the felines they’ve displaced break into one of their million-dollar vending machines and turn it into their personal litter box…

BY CDC & JEFF BEYER


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Burfict Epitomizes NFL’s Existential Crisis BY JACK BRENNAN

We may not have the greatest sports teams here in Cincinnati, but we do a pretty decent job attracting attention with them. Starting Oct. 1 at Cleveland, our 50thanniversary Bengals — despite a horrible start that’s expected to reach 0-3 at Green Bay this weekend — will be poised to bring us national notice, and on an issue that can blow up like a powder keg at any moment. Linebacker Vontaze Burfict gets to resume action on Oct. 1, after three games on suspension for a preseason hit on a Kansas City player that was deemed dangerous and unacceptable in today’s evolving pro football. Burfict also had a notable incident in preseason practice, starting a melee that included a confrontation with a coach when he appeared to take a dangerous dive at teammate Gio Bernard’s recently reconstructed knee. Scads of people nationwide, including many prominent journalists, have strong interest in Burfict’s return because 1) the NFL is America’s No. 1 sport, 2) pro wrestling isn’t the only entertainment with Bad Guys as stars, 3) Burfict has top-drawer talent, and 4) his dirty-player resume is so long, printing it out is considered environmentally unacceptable by the U.S. Forest Service. (His total of fines, including salary lost to suspensions, is now approaching $2 million.) And for the optimal mix of factors putting the Bengals on the U.S. sports radar, consider that football is quite literally in an existential crisis in the early 21st century. The game that so many (including me) love is under fire for being too dangerous, both for our kids to play it and for us to continue supporting its play by adults. The core issue, of course, is brain damage caused by repeated hits to the head, and though Burfict’s violations include actions to all parts of opponents’ bodies, he serves better than anyone as the personification of the NFL’s dangerous-play problem. Burfict is not a Bad Guy due to any offenses outside football. He has earned his black hat on the field, dating back to his college days at Arizona State. He entered ASU with the tag of future NFL first-round draft choice, but he eventually was benched for being out of control with personal fouls, and he left with a football reputation so bad he wasn’t among the 253 players selected in the 2012 draft. The Bengals picked him up as a “street free agent,” slang for a player “on the street” with no NFL home. But despite his humble NFL beginnings, Burfict is not simply a “goon,” in the mold of old-time hockey players whose only job was to physically bully the opponent. The skills that once made him a top prospect have proven no illusion, and he has been by far the Bengals’ leading tackler when not

injured or suspended. In 2013, the last season in which he has not missed significant time, he went to the all-star Pro Bowl game. Besides having great power, the compact 255-pounder has surprising range and agility. And, most distinctively, he is hailed by people who should know as a football savant. You can’t do defensive damage in this most complex of sports without getting in the right place at the right split-second, and Burfict uses his football smarts — “instincts” if you like — to get there time after time after time. To coaches continually frustrated by talented athletes who just can’t figure out how to execute, this quality in Burfict is such a gem that they simply can’t give up on it. Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, well-known for his dismissals of “knucklehead” players committing “selfish” penalties, stands steadfastly behind Burfict at every minute of the day. And ownership doubled down on Burfict a few weeks ago by signing him to a contract extension through 2020. Lewis and club president Mike Brown are charged above all else with winning games, after all, and they see Burfict as a rare and precious instrument, even though the sought results have yet to materialize. You may recall that Vontaze played great in an epic playoff game vs. Pittsburgh after the 2016 season, but then was a major factor in losing the game when he was called for a crucial roughing penalty. Despite that, red-meat Bengals fans adore Vontaze. “Free Burfict” T-shirts were easy to spot in the crowd at last week’s home loss to Houston. I mean, isn’t much of Burfict what being a great linebacker is supposed to be about? Aren’t we talking the very soul of football here? To beat up and intimidate your opponent? But you have to do that within the evertightening rules, and because he has come to personify the league’s Big Problem, no player has less leeway than Cincinnati’s No. 55. One more egregious foul, and he could be back on the shelf for a long time. And if Burfict really wants to help the Bengals start winning again, he should also try his mightiest, as one of the team’s best players, to more positively affect locker room chemistry and present a better face as a club ambassador. Vontaze brings tension to the locker room daily, in the form of poor relations with the media people whose job is to interact with players and bring their

comments to the fans. He’s thin-skinned — ultra-quick to take offense — and when he isn’t ignoring the media responsibilities that literally are part of his contract, it’s his M.O. to insist that one or another individual in the media crowd be excluded, because someone is always on his Shit List of the Day. I know, you may view Vontaze’s media relations as a very minor issue in the grand scheme of winning, and maybe as just one of my pet peeves. I was the Bengals’ media relations director for all of Vontaze’s career before retiring last March.

“One more egregious foul, and he could be back on the shelf for a long time.”

But I’ve come to see cases of star players with consistently nasty media relations as canaries in the coalmine for much wider troubles to come. Though front office and coaches basically looked the other way when former stars Carl Pickens (1992-99) and Corey Dillon (1997-2003) were daily acting the ass with media, their toxic personalities eventually caused much more extensive damage. Pickens even once made the Air Force mad, totally bagging a commitment to go to Wright Patterson in Dayton, where the Enquirer had laid elaborate plans to shoot his photo in a fighter jet. And Pickens concluded a few years later by massively embarrassing head coach Bruce Coslet with public words of utter disrespect. He had to sign off on a totally insincere apology and was ushered out on very bad terms. His hoped-for contributions to winning never materialized. And it was virtually the same with Dillon. At one point he famously said he’d rather “flip burgers” than play for Cincinnati, and was shipped out following an ugly post-game display of throwing his shoulder pads into the Paul Brown Stadium stands, another way of expressing his distaste for being a Bengal. So we’ll see what happens when Burfict starts playing again soon. Good or bad, it isn’t likely to be boring, and the wider sports world stands ready to take note. JACK BRENNAN’s column appears in this space biweekly. Contact him: letters@ citybeat.com.


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news

A Fund for All Occasions

Joe Deters’ asset-forfeiture fund helps pay for law enforcement, but also for furniture, briefcases, dues and “consultants” BY JAMES MCNAIR

U

nder Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, a criminal forfeiture fund statutorily intended for law enforcement expenses and drug abuse prevention has been tapped regularly for mundane purchases and, on two occasions, sketchy consulting contracts that Deters won’t discuss. • Since the beginning of 2015, the prosecutor’s office has spent about $200,000 on real estate consulting by a local man with a history of financial problems — and has no records of his consulting contributions. • In 2015, the office spent almost $15,000 on “briefcases for attorneys” and nearly the same amount on furniture for a grand jury office. • Since 2014, the office has spent $3,800 toward the personal dues of Deters in three bar associations and a local police group. • And as CityBeat reported in June, the office spent $2.2 million over 12 years on information technology contracts with a former employee — a friend of Deters — without seeking competitive bids.

$1,750,000 $1,625,000

RECEIPTS

$1,500,000

EXPENDITURES

$1,375,000

YEAR-END BALANCE

$1,250,000 $1,125,000 $1,000,000 $875,000 $750,000 $625,000 $500,000 $375,000 $250,000 $125,000 $0 2004

2005

2006

very sheriff-like, laden with outlays on vehicles, helicopter repairs, ammunition, phone bills, drug buys, uniforms and hardware store purchases. Deters’ LETF spends heavily on outside law firms, computer services, trial-related expenses, travel, training and depositions. But Deters’ office also uses forfeiture money for a $1,850-a-month parking tab, furniture, tables at awards banquets, a media room TV, a microwave oven, the briefcases and $855 worth of stuffed animals for children of grand jurors. In 2008, his office gave $3,200 to the Saint Xavier High School lacrosse program. Responding to CityBeat’s questions by email, Deters spokeswoman Julie Wilson was terse in defending the purchases. “Any expenditure from the LETF fund has been deemed appropriate by Mr. Deters,” she wrote. Carpenter, whose book Policing for Profit scrutinized civil forfeiture laws, said prosecutors and law enforcement officials should not be allowed to dictate unilaterally the spending of forfeited money. “There’s less likelihood of questions coming up if it’s done through a traditional appropriations process that is exposed to the light of day,” he says, “because then it’s

2007

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The Hamilton County prosecutor’s office has built up a $1.7 million forfeiture fund that isn’t posted online or included in county budget documents. going to go through various levels of review by committees and subcommittees. There’ll be public hearings. There’ll be multiple people who are involved in the decision-making. “(Deters) appears to be in complete compliance with the law. The problem is more the law than it is how this person is behaving,” Carpenter says. “There’s nothing probably illegal going on here, but there’s a greater potential for something like that to happen when decisions are made outside the normal appropriations process.” As in Illinois. There, a former prosecutor was indicted earlier this month for allegedly using forfeiture funds to buy a car and pay for personal business expenses. In June, CityBeat reported that Deters, since taking office in 2005, had given $2.2 million worth of computer systems and software work to an old friend, Dennis Lima, without obtaining competitive bids. The contracts were given to Lima’s companies as “consultants,” the hiring of whom is exempt from Ohio’s competitive bidding law. Other Hamilton County offices, such as the sheriff, auditor and board of commissioners, award computer systems contracts to the lowest bidder to save money.

Another Deters acquaintance, Jim Youngblood, is on the forfeiture fund payroll. In January 2015, the prosecutor’s office hired him to provide “professional real estate consulting services” — for $6,666 a month, or $80,000 a year, an amount Youngblood continues to receive. The two-paragraph contract says the work will include “evaluation of the selection, acquisition and cost of real estate in conjunction with projects which the prosecuting attorney provides legal services to various county officials.” Yet when CityBeat sent Deters’ office a public records request for anything Youngblood has produced, Wilson replied that there are no such records. CityBeat asked Wilson to verbally cite any examples of Youngblood’s work, how he might have saved the county money in real estate deals and the frequency of his consultations. Her response? “We have no further comment on Mr. Youngblood.” Youngblood did not return phone calls. Public records cast Youngblood, who is 74 years old and whose full name is Raymond J. Youngblood, in an unsettling light. As a former real estate broker, he was CONTINUES ON PAGE 13

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What these expenditures have in common is that the money comes from a special account funded by property and cash seized from criminal offenders. The accounts, called Law Enforcement Trust Funds in Ohio, were created by federal and state laws meant to divert money from the bad guys to the good guys. But Ohio’s law leaves a lot to the discretion of prosecutors, sheriffs and cities that maintain such funds. What’s more, the Hamilton County prosecutor’s office has built up a $1.7 million pot that isn’t posted online or included in county budget documents. It isn’t audited and it is used for purchases that don’t seem to fit the intent of the law. “This is not something peculiar to Ohio,” says Dick Carpenter II, director of strategic research for the Institute of Justice, a citizens’ rights group in Arlington, Va. “This is a problem all over the country.” How Deters, Sheriff Jim Neil and other law enforcement agencies in Ohio spend their LETF money is dictated by state law. It can be used to defray the cost complex investigations or prosecutions, training and shutting down meth labs. Ten to 20 percent of it must go toward “community preventive education programs” chosen by the forfeiture fund operator. And money can be spent on “other law enforcement purposes” that the operator “determines to be appropriate.” That’s where the law ends and subjectivity begins. Neil’s spending ledgers appear

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Critics Decry Possible Sale of Library Building By NICK SWARTSELL

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Some of the biggest points of contention around a controversial plan to potentially sell the north building of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County’s downtown campus didn’t come up during a meeting between Hamilton County commissioners and library officials Sept 18. Commission President Todd Portune last week called the meeting after what he termed “disturbing” revelations that the library’s Board of Trustees voted on the plan — part of a larger facilities revamp first reported here last year — without seeking public input first. That has caused consternation from critics like the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, who point out potential conflicts of interest in the deal and the financial hit the library would take if it sold the building, built in 1997 for more than $39 million, at an appraised value of $8.5 million. They oppose potential privatization of the building, which they say should remain available for public use. Critics of the potential sale have organized a campaign called “Our Library, Our Decision.” They’ve protested at an Aug. 8 board of trustees meeting and held an Aug. 22 town hall meeting at the downtown branch of the library. Library Director Kim Fender and Board of Trustees Chair Allen Zaring stressed that the library hasn’t made any decisions about selling the building but that something has to change about the way in which it is used by the library. “It’s very simple,” Zaring said. “The building is too large. It’s twice as large as it needs to be.” Those opposed to the plan who gathered in the small conference room at the county administration building for the meeting murmured disapproval at that assertion, with one person in attendance saying, “that’s bullshit.” Fender says the four library departments occupying the north building, including its popular Children’s Learning Center and Maker Space, utilize only about a quarter of the building. She said that some of the other 40 library branches have a much higher usage rate per square foot but have much smaller and out-of-date facilities. Fender said the uptick in building and activity in Over-the-Rhine and downtown hasn’t increased circulation at the downtown campus. The library is waiting for a report from the Cincinnati City Center Development Corporation — which it contracted to help it explore a sale of the building to private developers — before making its decision. That report should come out in December, Fender said.

The library needs to consider how to use its limited resources as it launches a new facilities plan that will address maintenance issues and take some circulation and administration tasks out of the downtown campus, officials say. The board of trustees approved that plan in June — without community engagement efforts — after a committee of the board suggested it last October. Portune admonished Zaring and Fender for failing to hold public input sessions on the facilities plan. Zaring’s appointment ends at the end of this month, and it’s unclear if commissioners will reappoint him. “We would never make decisions of this magnitude without major public input,” Portune said. “That’s the minimum we can expect from our appointees.” But commissioners Portune, Denise Driehaus and Chris Monzel stopped short of delving into complaints about the plan from critics, including questions around some close ties between library board members, 3CDC and the commercial real estate company that did the initial appraisal of the building. William Moran, the secretary of the library’s board of trustees, also works for 3CDC, and his son, Michael Moran, is a vice president at CBRE here in Cincinnati. Earlier this year, the younger Moran touted the development potential for the north building of the library in an article in The Cincinnati Enquirer. Portune pointed out early in the meeting that appraisals from the Hamilton County Auditor placed the value of the property at $15 million — significantly higher than CBRE’s appraisal. Library director Fender says the library is in the process of getting another appraisal from other commercial real estate appraisers. She said that appraisal should be completed by the end of the month. Zaring and Fender told commissioners that they don’t have a plan yet for when they’ll schedule public input on the north building’s fate, but should have something scheduled by early next year. “I think we could plan for a January hearing,” Zaring said. Following the Sept. 18 meeting, a group critical of the plan gathered around library officials as they got up to leave, asking questions about the deal. The dozen or so critics also expressed frustration with commissioners for not being more aggressive in their questioning. Portune sought to reassure them — many of whom plan to attend the library’s next board of trustees meeting Oct. 10 — that there would be more opportunity to express opposition to a possible sale of the building. “Nothing is final,” he said, “nor will it be without robust public input.” ©


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fined $500 by the Ohio Real Estate Commission in 1997 for failing to maintain a trust account. He hasn’t had an Ohio real estate license for more than 15 years now. He filed personal bankruptcy in 1998. And in 2000, more than a decade of pursuit by the IRS for not paying federal income taxes culminated in his guilty plea to filing a false tax return. A judge put him on probation for three years and ordered him to pay $32,661. Youngblood’s Facebook page shows linkages to Deters. He lists as friends a brother, a nephew and a sister-in-law of Deters. He also lists several local Republican officials and a woman photographed with Deters. If Youngblood has advised on county real estate matters for almost three years, it isn’t widely known to other county officials. Ralph Linne, director of Hamilton County facilities, including the courthouse, county administration building and prosecutor’s building, did not recognize Youngblood’s name and said he has no dealings with him. Jim Knapp, chief of compliance for the Sheriff’s Office, said likewise. Youngblood did help the Coroner’s Office in its search for a bigger facility, to no avail. “Mr. Youngblood found a few locations that were considered, vetted and eventually disqualified,” said Chief Administrator Andrea Hatten.

When forfeiture funds top $100,000, state law dictates that 20 percent go toward “community preventive education programs.” Deters’ office does spread the ill-gotten wealth. It gave $25,000 to New Prospect Baptist Church last year and $10,000 apiece this year to the Marvin Lewis Community Fund, the Reds Community Fund, the Mack Family Foundation, the Boy Scouts of America and Women of Alabaster Ministries. It has given $166,000 to DePaul Cristo Rey High School since it opened in 2011. DePaul Cristo Rey is a private, collegepreparatory school in Clifton for students from low-income families. It uses the money for drug prevention education and a work-study program that places students with 130 employers. “The value of the Corporate Work Study Program and the support of its partners, including the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, cannot be understated,” says Sister Jeanne Bessette, the school’s president. “These partners are making an investment in the lives of our community’s young people and helping them to avoid the dangers and self-destructive behaviors associated with drug use.” In the first seven years upon returning to office in 2005, Deters sprinkled about $100,000 in forfeited funds across 14 K-12 schools. All but one were Catholic schools. Taylor High School was the only public school to receive money. ©

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Don’t Wait for Nightfall Six reasons to not simply go for the headliners at this year’s MidPoint Music Festival BY M I K E B R E E N

attempt to summarize an artist’s essence in three to four sentences as best we can (this year, “we” was myself and longtime CityBeater Brian Baker), but it’s also because I am easily distracted by good music I haven’t heard before. Occasionally I’d find myself two albums deep into a discography before realizing it’s taken me three-and-a-half hours to write 150 words on one band. The festival that began as an unsigned-only event in 2001 scattered throughout Greater Cincinnati is now

locatated on four stages within one block of Cincy’s downtown (inside Taft Theatre and the neighboring Masonic Center). The Cincinnati artists performing at MPMF this Saturday and Sunday are especially strong, so check out our full guide (at citybeat.com, which has been updated to reflect several recent schedule changes) to read what we wrote about them. As for nonlocals, here are six touring acts playing before sundown during MPMF that really grabbed my attention and were partly responsible for my sleep-deprived hallucinations.

L- R : T h e S p eedb u m p s   |   D Y AN   |   P H O T O S : P R O V I D E D

The process of putting together the MidPoint Music Festival guide is a monster task for us here at the ol’ CityBeat. A few all-nighters — writing and editing the blurbs on every act performing at the festival — have more than once taken their toll on our mood/sanity over the past decade and a half. But, much like the festival itself, it’s also an enjoyable and rewarding project. The amount of time it consumes is partially due to all of the research and listening involved, as we

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The Speedbumps Akron, Ohio  |  Indie Folk Rock Saturday, Masonic Cathedral  |  2 p.m. After dropping out of Kent State and traveling around playing music for change, singer/ songwriter/guitarist Erik Urycki returned to Northeast Ohio to form a band. Launched in 2007, The Speedbumps developed an acoustic sound informed by a love for both contemporary Roots artists and Indie Rock, releasing its first album in 2013 and earning praise from a variety of outlets. When the band decamped to an isolated cabin to make the follow-up to 2015’s Soil to the Seed, The Speedbumps began a musical transformation sparked by Urycki’s discovery of the joys of the electric guitar and a general desire to shift gears. Released in July, When the Darkness Comes is a more full-bodied and vigorous collection of songs that lean more in the direction of rich, emotive Indie Pop and Rock than Americana, still centered by Urycki’s raspy voice and

captivating melodies, but delivered with a renewed sense of energy. You’ll Dig It If You Dig: Artists unafraid of drastically reinventing themselves after establishing a successful formula, like Wilco and Radiohead.

DYAN Los Angeles  |  Indie/Electronic Pop Saturday, Taft Theatre Stage  |  5:05 p.m. Indie Pop trio DYAN came together when the film-scoring duo Alexis & Sam (whose work can be heard in various feature films and TV shows like Animal Kingdom and Sesame Street) decided to write a more traditional song to use over the main title sequence of a movie they were scoring. Inspired, Alexis Marsh (singer/guitarist/bassist) began writing more songs, eventually decamping to Cincinnati to form an album. Dan Dorff Jr. (once a regular presence in the Cincinnati music scene who went on to work with Jim James and Ray LaMontagne) joined Marsh

while recording in Louisville, Ky., adding drums and piano. Marsh’s scoring partner Sam Jones (guitarist/synths) came in during the album’s mixing, marking the first time the three members of DYAN worked together. The trio’s sparse but warm, visceral mix of synths and electronics with enchanting melodies and textural guitars and cello exhibited on DYAN’s 2016 debut, Looking for Knives, hit a nerve, garnering attention from popular music blogs and traditional music-press outlets while notching 500,000 spins of the title track on Spotify in just its first month available (its now nearing 1.8 million streams). YDIIYD: Sylvan Esso, Purity Ring, The xx.

Adam Torres Austin, Texas  |  Indie Folk Saturday, Taft Theatre Stage  |  6:15 p.m. Singer/songwriter Adam Torres’ life so far has been pretty fascinating, in and out of music.

Born in New Mexico and raised in the Cincy exburb West Chester, Torres found his musical footing in Athens, Ohio, where he performed as a solo artist and as a member of the regionally popular band Southeast Engine. Torres put out his first album, Nostra Nova, DIY-style in 2006, then carried on with his life, still writing music, but quitting the band, focusing on college and traveling to Ecuador to do volunteer work. Ending up in Austin, Texas in 2011 for graduate school, Torres later worked on a project to improve the water quality of the Rio Grande River, all the while hearing the music calling him back. Since leaving Athens, Nostra Nova had become a cult favorite, earning a widely praised reissue in 2015 and building up anticipation for Pearls to Swine, Torres’ debut album for the respected Fat Possum label, a year later. Now entrenched in the latest unexpected phase in his life, Torres kicked off 2017 with the EP I Came to Sing the Song, then headed out on the road for new adventures, playing shows all over the world.


C L O C K W I S E F R O M T O P L E F T: A dam T o r r es  |   L ed g es  |   B . M iles  |   S p h yn x   |   P H O T O S : P R O V I D E D

YDIIYD: Neutral Milk Hotel, Jeff Buckley, Bon Iver.

Sphynx

and a companion EP, Spacecamp. Still, you’ll never know if Sphynx would have played Steve Perry’s “Foolish Heart” at MPMF if you don’t yell it out.

Austin, Texas  | Dance/Pop/Electronic Sunday, Taft Theatre Stage  |  3:55 p.m.

YDIIYD: Chromeo, MGMT, Daft Punk, Jamiroquai.

Ledges Akron, Ohio  |  Indie Rock Sunday, Masonic Cathedral  |  6:30 p.m. Akron, Ohio might seem an unlikely musical hotbed to the uninitiated, but the onetime rubber capital of the world was key in shaping the sound of Alternative Rock, giving the world DEVO and Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. Current arena-fillers/Akronites The Black Keys were the latest reminder to the masses that Akron has an active music scene, but another powerful contender to represent the city’s current music-makers is Ledges, a very promising Indie Rock trio potentially on the verge of a big breakthrough.

YDIIYD: Smallpools, The Neighbourhood, The 1975.

B.Miles Los Angeles  |  Electronic Pop Sunday, Masonic Cathedral  |  5:30 p.m. The moody, dreamlike sounds of L.A.-based singer B.Miles caught on almost as soon as

it caught some ears. In 2015, she released a three-song EP, the result of an extended recording session with some friends, which instantly became a music-blog favorite and shot to the top of Spotify’s viral charts in four countries. The EP’s “Salt” — which became the theme song for the Netflix Spanish-language show Las Chicas Del Cable — has earned more than nine million plays on Spotify. B.Miles’ soulful, seductive voice wraps around chilled beats and airy electronics to even greater effect on her latest release, a much-anticipated self-titled EP that was released to even greater fanfare in March. With a four-piece backing band, she has hypnotized crowds with only a select few shows since the EP’s release, making her MPMF appearance a rare treat. YDIIYD: Vocals that evoke smoky vocal sculptors like Sade and Billie Holiday twisted through a 21st-century Trip Hop filter. F or tickets and f u ll M I D P O I N T M U S I C F E S T I VA L details , visit mpmf.com .

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If you are in the groove to move at MidPoint, let Sphynx be your full-service disco (light-up dance floor not included… probably). The MPMF veterans’ entertaining live show and deeply funky, playfully retro ElectroPop sound made them one of the more popular live entities in Austin, Texas — one of the biggest music towns in the world — before the musicians decided to take their glammed-up show on the road, sprinkling clubs and festivals across the country with Sphynx magic dust. To crank up the party vibes, the group is known to pull out an ironic crowd-pleasing cover song or two, but after spending much of 2016 writing and recording new material, the current focus is on the new jams featured on the recently released Golden Garden album

Though first emerging in 2014 with an EP release, Ledges underwent a reinvention of sorts over the next two years, developing not only the storyline that would become the basis for the trio’s debut full-length album, the just-released Homecoming, but also a richer, soaring sound with an alluring emotional depth and atmospheric layers that craftily incorporate elements of “Alternative” music from the ’80s into the dreamy soundscape. The band’s latest music also has a magnetic Pop pull to it that, mixed with the emotional relatability of the lyrics and vocals, could take Ledges’ music well beyond Akron’s city limits.


Darker Side of the Moon

Cincinnati’s Walk the Moon overcomes tragedy to produce its next bigger thing

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BY B RI A N BA K E R

The delirious success that Walk the Moon has experienced since the 2010 release of I Want! I Want! and its infectious and brilliantly videographed single “Anna Sun” has been mind boggling, to say the very least. The Cincinnati quartet — vocalist/keyboardist Nick Petricca, guitarist/ vocalist Eli Maiman, bassist Kevin Ray and drummer Sean Waugaman — traveled around the country and eventually the globe for close to half a decade, amassing a fervent and increasingly large fan base until 2014’s Talking is Hard and its megawatt single “Shut Up and Dance” shot them into stratospheric superstardom. And yet not all was well within the Walk the Moon camp. Last year’s Work This Body tour was cut short to allow frontman Nick Petricca to sit vigil for his terminally ill father. It was a tragedy that struck the core of the entire band. “It was awful. (Nick’s father) Joe had been battling Alzheimer’s disease for 10 years, I think,” Maiman says. “Joe was a great guy and it certainly had weighed on Nick since I’ve known him.” After a fairly long time to reflect and recover, the band was ready to return to work, albeit with a little rust in the pipes. The foursome eased its way back into the frantic pace the musicians had previously established and maintained. “We were coming off this long period of not doing anything, so diving straight in was kind of like going for a very long run after sitting on your ass for an entire year,” Maiman says. “We started off doing a couple of weeks here, a couple of weeks there and finished with a string of recording earlier this year to just get it done, because we’re anxious to get back out there. We had been doing 300 days a year on the road before we just stopped. We wanted to put out new music and get back into that live environment and share performances with fans again.” The new music sharing will begin when Walk the Moon’s new album — which its label since 2012, RCA Records, is strenuously keeping under wraps, including the actual title — is released later this year.

walk the moon   |  PHOTO : p r o v i d e d

Maiman notes that there is a fairly substantial difference between Talking is Hard and the band’s imminent new set. “With Talking is Hard, we were offering up a lot of answers,” he says. “There were themes of overcoming adversity and love is the answer. We went through a lot of tough personal stuff over the past year and with the political climate in America right now, we found ourselves having more questions than answers. With this record, we’re less afraid of letting the questions be what we’re putting out there, as opposed to solving all the world’s problems in three-and-ahalf minutes.” Walk the Moon did alter its songwriting process slightly with the new material, although Maiman quickly clarifies that “process” is a strong description of how they arrive at a song. “It’s not so much a process as it’s songwriting chaos,” he says. “It’s files of stuff that you’re working on on a computer, or it’s a jam in soundcheck or something that Nick works up with a producer. Songs are coming in from everywhere. What’s changed is that we’re really not afraid to explore any

options. A good song is a good song, no matter where it comes from.” The questioning aspect of the band’s new material, clearly an outgrowth of the last election and their personal struggles, resulted in the album having a slightly darker tone. Of course, from their perspective, dark is a relative term. “I think it’s dark by Walk the Moon standards,” Maiman says. “ ‘Compared to what?’ is what I’d say. It’s more introspective, the lyrics are very personal and are often drawn directly from our personal experiences for the last couple of years. So while the lyrics are getting smaller and more intimate, the sound of the record is much larger than we’ve ever been before. It’s much more epic.” Part of that epic sound can be traced to the two producers that helped the band shape the new album. Mike Elizondo (Dr. Dre, Eminem, Mastodon, Regina Spektor) and Mike Crossey (Arctic Monkeys, The 1975, Wolf Alice) each brought a unique flavor to the sessions. “We had Mike Elizondo, who’s coming from a little bit more of a Hip Hop

background, and Mike Crossey, who’s more of a mad scientist, studio guru Rock guy,” Maiman says. “I think it created a really nice, diverse group of songs for this record.” One of the big benchmarks of 2016 for Walk the Moon was scoring the cover of the iconic Ghostbusters theme for last year’s all-female reboot. Working once again with Talking is Hard producer Tim Pagnotta, the band cranked out its frenetic take on the song in a day and a half. “We did that on our first day back from a 22-country tour,” Maiman says. “We took a flight from Chile to Los Angeles, went straight to the studio and did it in 36 hours. The recording is kind of hazy in my mind, but the goal with doing it was kind of recreating the version that we had in our heads, like when you’re singing it in the shower and playing air guitar. We wanted it to sound that big while remaining faithful to the original.” After years of amazing accomplishments, Maiman has a pretty simple scorecard for keeping track of the high points. “I love writing, I love recording, but performing is the thing I love most,” he says. “That’s why I started playing guitar, for the performance aspect and the connection with other people. Playing (legendary Colorado outdoor venue) Red Rocks a couple years ago was a highlight, getting to open for The Rolling Stones (in Detroit in 2015) is way up there. This week, we’re playing Mexico City, Quito, Ecuador and then Rock in Rio in Brazil. In those three dates, we’re playing with Incubus, Aerosmith, Alicia Keys and Justin Timberlake. That’s pretty cool.” The reason Walk the Moon can share stages with that range of talent is the same reason the band can balance the sunshine of its previous work with the darker hues of their new songs. “It all works together,” Maiman says. “It’s still Nick singing over me and Sean and Kevin, playing as hard as we fucking can. As long as we do that, it’s going to be solid Walk the Moon.” WA L K T H E M O O N p l ays t h e M i d P o i n t M u s i c F e s t i va l’ s Ta f t T h e at r e S tag e at 10 p. m . S u n day.


Tech Support

The New Pornographers further embrace electronic sounds on their latest album, Whiteout Conditions BY A L A N S CU L L E Y

T he N ew P ornogrphers   |  PHOTO : J e n n y J i m e n e z

makes it more interesting for me, in the same way that you hear about people who write on guitar, then they (decide to) write on piano just because changing instruments gives them a new perspective.” For most of The New Pornographers’ history, however, Newman’s interest in synthetic sonics hasn’t been overly obvious. The Canadian-bred band has often been touted as a pop supergroup, thanks to the notoriety several of the band members have through solo projects or other bands — Newman, singer Neko Case and keyboardist/singer Kathryn Calder are established solo artists, while guitarist/singer Dan Bejar leads the group Destroyer. When first emerging, the Pornographers sounded like a fairly straight-forward — albeit uncommonly talented — Pop Rock band. The 2000 debut album Mass Romantic immediately established the band as a force on the indie music scene. Power Pop has remained at the center of The New Pornographers’ sound ever since, but Newman has brought shades of difference to each of the group’s subsequent albums. But it was on the 2014 album Brill Bruisers that

Newman and his bandmates took a step in a synthetic direction, introducing more synthesizers and electronic elements. Whiteout Conditions pushes those sounds further into the forefront. Songs like “Second Sleep,” “Avalanche Alley” and “Play Money” especially take on an Electronica feel, as their hooky Pop melodies come wrapped within keyboard/computer-generated instrumentation and programmed beats. Newman went into Whiteout Conditions with some other objectives, too. “I wanted it to be up-tempo, but also wanted it to be sort of laidback in its way. I wanted it to be driving, but not really aggressive,” he says. “I wanted to use a lot of drones as textures and just keep the song structures fairly simple and keep the songs to maybe three or four chords, which was relatively new to me because our songs have always… a lot of them just move in weird directions.” Newman achieved his goal of an uptempo album (none of the songs qualifies as a ballad), but he wasn’t entirely successful with creating simple songs. “Sometimes I’ll just do things like count bars on songs and realize that even when

I think we’re writing a really simple three-chord song, it isn’t really that simple,” he says. “Like ‘Play Money’ is built around three chords, but it’s built around a progression that’s six bars long. I thought ‘OK, well that’s not your standard (Pop song structure).’ ” Whiteout Conditions is also missing a component that has often brought a bit of a quirky dimension to The New Pornographers’ albums — Bejar. In contributing several songs to each previous album, Bejar’s songs have given the New Pornographers an idiosyncratic element. Newman said Bejar’s absence doesn’t mean he won’t be part of the band in the future, but a couple of issues prompted Newman to complete the new album without his songwriting cohort. “He was right in the middle of a Destroyer album,” Newman says of Bejar. “And another part of it was I told him the kind of record I wanted to make, which was the record that we made. And then he said he was writing weird quiet songs. He didn’t think he had anything that fit into the vibe.” Bejar also will be absent as The New Pornographers tour behind Whiteout Conditions. But the rest of the band — Newman, Case, Calder, bassist John Collins, keyboardist Blaine Thurier, guitarist Todd Fancey, drummer Joe Seiders and violinist/ singer Simi Stone — has generally been on board for the shows. The song selection figures to vary a bit from night to night. “Now that we’re on album seven, I realize there’s just not enough room in the set for all of the songs,” Newman says. “There are always songs we want to play, but there isn’t the room for them. There are always (a couple) of songs that we’ll trade out. Like one show we’ll play ‘Use It’ from ‘Twin Cinema’ and the next show we’ll think, ‘Why don’t we do (the song) ‘Twin Cinema’ instead of ‘Use It’?’ Or why don’t we do ‘Sing Me Spanish Techno’ instead of ‘Use It.’… I feel like we have a lot of songs that feel like very competent live songs to interchange.” T H E N E W P O R N O G R A P H E R S p l ay t h e M i d P o i n t M u s i c F e s t i va l’ s M a s o n i c cat h e d r a l S tag e at 9 p. m . S at u r day.

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It’s no secret that mainstream Pop has shifted away from organic, guitar-oriented sounds to music that features synthesizers, electronic tones and programmed rhythms. With their latest album, Whiteout Conditions, The New Pornographers have fully embraced this sonic setting for their otherwise rather traditionally rooted style of Pop music. But singer/guitarist A.C. Newman says the new sound of the album isn’t an attempt to capitalize on recent trends in that direction. “I’ve never thought it was a good idea to start chasing any style,” Newman says. “I thought if we start chasing what’s popular, we’re never going to catch up. Like by the time we get there, something else will be popular and we’ll be chasing that.” Instead, Newman says the more synthetic character of Whiteout Conditions is simply the product of his affection for sounds he’s been hearing that can be created on computers and keyboards. “A lot of music that I think is incredibly cool, like Animal Collective or Tame Impala or MGMT, a lot of it is moving toward electronics,” Newman says. “It’s arguably Psychedelic Pop, but it’s also very electronic. So when I hear these bands that I love, some part of me just thinks, ‘Let’s do something like that,’ not that we’re actively trying to chase them.” In fact, Newman says, he’s long been attracted to keyboards and unique synthetic tones. “I’ve always loved music with very cool keyboards,” he explains. “Even from the beginning, when I started making music, I always loved odd sounds — like where you take an odd sound and you just start looping it and then it stops being dissonant. It becomes part of the song.” “I think it helps that the technology has gotten to the point where it’s very user-friendly. Like it’s very easy for me just to go in my home studio and just start playing some chords and just start manipulating them. To me, that’s new because you get sick of playing guitar. Like some people, I want to hear them play guitar and sing their songs. But for me, I don’t want to do that anymore. So I’m trying to figure out new ways to do it. It


With Friends Like These

Quasi-supergroup Filthy Friends aren’t resting on their other bands’ laurels

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BY B R I A N BA K E R

For the more deeply involved Indie Rock fan, Filthy Friends is a supergroup of sorts; relatively big names paired with relatively obscure names to create a versatile but intentionally unassuming band. Guitarist/lead vocalist Corin Tucker, still on hiatus from Sleater-Kinney, insists that Filthy Friends isn’t merely a busman’s holiday from the group’s other musical interests, but a bona fide band that has every intention of moving forward as a unit. “I think we’re a real band,” Tucker says. “I feel like we have our own thing and the writing process has been really good, so it seems like the real deal. Too legit to quit.” The seeds of Filthy Friends were sown five years ago when former R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck was in the midst of his first solo album after the band’s breakup. He had met Tucker on a number of occasions and contacted her about singing the song “Nothing Means Nothing” on the album, which she readily agreed to do. “I came in, sang the song and tried to just do it justice,” she says. “It worked really well and he was super easy to work with. A week or so later, he called me up and said, ‘Hey, I think the song turned out great. I think we should make an record together.’ And I was like, ‘Uh…OK.’ It was one of those things I felt frightened to do and then at the same time, I was like, ‘I have to do this.’ ” Although Tucker agreed to the idea of working together, she presented Buck with the caveat that she wanted their work to be completely collaborative, with the two of them working together in person. Buck agreed enthusiastically. “We started getting together once a week when he was in (Portland, Ore.),” Tucker says. “He would play me things that he had, different riffs or whole songs, and I came up with a couple of songs and it came together pretty quickly.” The rest of Filthy Friends fell into place just as easily. Former Fastbacks guitarist Kurt Bloch, Young Fresh Fellows bassist Scott McCaughey and King Crimson drummer Bill Rieflin are all frequent

F ilthy friends   |  PHOTO : j o h n c l a r k

collaborators on a variety of projects, most notably Minus 5 and Buck’s solo recordings (McCaughey was also a longtime R.E.M. utility player). “They were going to be there in the studio for Peter’s solo thing,” Tucker says. “I just got tacked onto those dates. They were all there together and we were trying out this new thing to see what happened.” All of the songs that the newly dubbed Filthy Friends recorded at their initial session in 2013 have been released at this point. The song “Despierta,” which became part of the anti-Trump “30 Days, 30 Songs” project, and the A-side of the Record Store Day Single, “Any Kind of Crowd,” both appeared on Filthy Friends’ first full-length effort, Invitation, which came out on the Kill Rock Stars label at the end of August. The RSD single’s B-side was a cover of Roxy Music’s “Editions of You,” which is available on the group’s Bandcamp page. Given the number of styles in which Buck and Tucker chose to write in — and the length of time between sessions — Invitation

is amazingly cohesive, a fact that Tucker credits to Rieflin’s involvement. “He really kind of ‘got’ the album when we were just sort of messing around with songs and had this really basic mix we’d put together,” she says. “Bill came back to the album and was like, ‘You know what? This needs to be completely remixed. These are the songs that need to go on the album; this is the sequence that actually makes the album.’ And he was completely right.” As noted, Buck and Tucker were the primary songwriters and it was their chemistry that would determine whether or not the band would see the light of day. Luckily, their working relationship blossomed and bore fruit quickly. “Peter’s obviously very successful and I had no idea what the collaboration was going to be like, but it turned out to be really great,” Tucker says. “He’s one of those people that’s completely wide open to suggestions or ideas, he’s not uptight about things, and he’s totally cool with me saying, like, ‘What if we change the chords here?’ or ‘Let’s drop this part.’ ”

Invitation offers Filthy Friends’ take on early New York Punk, crunchy Indie Rock and swingy Glam, among other subsets of the quintet’s broad Rock experience.Rather than writing open-ended songs that could be shaped in the studio, Buck and Tucker wrote with a certain amount of sonic specificity in mind. “(We) had a template in mind that was kind of borrowing from all of our favorite bands,” Tucker says. “For ‘Windmill,’ Peter definitely was like, ‘I have this Television riff.’ Then it was like, ‘Cool! What if we did this and this?’ For ‘Brother,’ I was like, ‘I have this idea that’s kind of Pixies-ish.’ I came up with really simple chords. then we threw things together and added the really loud parts and the quiet parts. With ‘Come Back Shelley,’ that one was definitely, ‘Let’s do something like T. Rex.’ That was really fun.” With Rieflin’s return to King Crimson, the touring drum chair is being occupied by former Zuzu’s Petals/ current Steve Wynn & The Miracle 3 drummer and velvet hammer Linda Pitmon, who had also played with Buck and McCaughey in The Baseball Project. Tucker is quick to embrace Pitmon as the newest Filthy Friend. “She’s totally great to play with, and so fun onstage,” she says. “She’s got such a good musical personality. She’s got many more tricks up her sleeve.” Given the incredible collective catalog that each member of Filthy Friends brings to the group, it might seem tempting to throw a few golden oldies into the setlist for the live experience. Tucker insists that the band’s aim is to be a band and not a jukebox of past glories. “We’ve got a lot of songs, and we actually have new songs,” she says. “We did David Bowie’s ‘Rebel Rebel’ in New York, so we’ve definitely got stuff there. It’s more fun to play our songs and a few new songs that get everyone excited. We want to present ourselves like, ‘This is who we are.’ ” F I LT H Y F R I E N D S p l ay t h e M i d P o i n t M u s i c F e s t i va l’ s M a s o n i c C at h e d r a l S tag e at 7 p. m . S at u r day.


The Audience Whisperer

Dan Deacon reflects on his musical offerings via record, in concert and with context BY JA S O N G A R G A N O

Dan Deacon’s dense electronic soundscapes are not subtle. The longtime Baltimore (by way of Long Island, N.Y.) resident’s music teems with buzzing synths and maximalist beats, his processed yet oddly humanizing voice complementing instead of cutting through the mix. Deacon’s breakthrough album, 2007’s Spiderman of the Rings, ushered in a one-man sonic kaleidoscope — it moves from a relatively compact song like the tranceinducing “The Crystal Cat” (which sounds like Stereolab on ecstasy) directly into “Wham City,” a nearly 12-minute epic of ping-ponging synth lines and tribal vocals that brings to mind a soundtrack to an especially manic version of Super Mario Bros. Deacon has released three albums — 2009’s Bromst, 2012’s America and 2015’s Gliss Riffer — in the 10 years since Spiderman of the Rings, each a tweak on what has come before, while also taking on a variety of other projects, from film scores to art installations. Then there are Deacon’s live shows, interactive affairs in which our ringleader often plays within the audience and directs those around him to get out of their heads and into the moment. CityBeat recently connected with Deacon to discuss everything from his breakthrough album to his reluctance to be lumped into the EDM scene.

Spiderman of the Rings. What do you hear when you listen to it today? How have you changed since then? DD: I look back on that time fondly and also with many cringes. I was very stubborn and my ideology was ridiculous. I was convinced the world was going to end in 2012 — maybe I’m not convinced it didn’t — and so I had no concept of future planning. I don’t know how anyone else reacts in their early 20s, but that was a period of my life that was very crazy, for lack of a better term, and it definitely shaped the way I traveled and toured and made music and what I was making music about. I’m glad I’m not that person anymore, but obviously after 10 years you’d want to grow. Every 10 years I’d like to look back fondly on those 10 years and yet still be glad that I’m still not standing in those shoes. CB: You once said that Spiderman of the Rings was like an appetizer and that its follow-up, Bromst, was more like a meal. Do you still think about how albums relate to and play off one another when going into a project?

CityBeat: You’re in between album cycles right now. What can we expect of your MidPoint set? Will you be pulling from your entire discography? Will you be playing new stuff?

D an D eacon   |  PHOTO : F r a n k H a m i lt o n

CB: You’re known for your audience interaction and mixing things up depending on the context in which you find yourself. Why is that important to you? DD: Live shows are mixes of a particular artist’s material across the board. I remember when I first took on the scoring job for Francis Ford Coppola (for 2011’s Twixt), he told me how envious he was of musicians. He said, “I make a film, and it’s the same film forever. I can go see Steely Dan and hear them play ‘Peg,’ and it could be different every single time — intentionally.” That really spoke to me. I kept thinking

about how this is a valuable art form, and not only is it in constant variation of what it could be from either a recorded song (or) a performed song, but also the context in which people listen is so diverse compared to the way we watch film or read books or experience theater. Obviously there is great diversity within all those art forms as well, but music has this amazing ability of being so intermingled with so many different aspects of our lives. CB: You recently released a 10th-anniversary edition of your breakthrough album,

DA N D E AC O N p l ays t h e M i d P o i n t M u s i c F e s t i va l’ s M a s o n i c C at h e d r a l S tag e at 7:3 0 p. m . S u n day.

C I T Y B E A T . C O M   •  S E P T . 2 0   –   2 6 , 2 0 1 7   •  1 9

Dan Deacon: When I’m in between (album/touring) cycles, these shows are the most interesting. It’s easy to make a set when I’m on an album cycle because I’m pulling from a new record. But it’s fun to experiment between albums. That’s when I really like to try out new material and change it really heavily. I’ll write a song and I’ll think it’s completely done, and then I’ll play it live and I’ll think, “This section needs to be twice as long or half as long” or “The drums need to be completely remixed” or “I don’t like how this part flows in the set.” So all that can inform how things are going to sit on an album to come. Or I could have a song that really works well live, but I know it will never work on a record. So I’ll be doing about a third new material that I’m experimenting with and trying to find more details within, and then two-thirds older material sprinkled throughout.

DD: That was the first time I had any coverage in the media, and I would kind of just go off the cuff. It’s not that I didn’t mean what I said then, but I was bewildered by the way people were internalizing and listening to Spiderman of the Rings. The main word that plagued me during that time was the word “wacky.” I hated the word “wacky.” To me “wacky” implied such a heavy coat of insincerity. It drove me crazy. It was also around the same time I was starting to be programmed on shows with — and introduced to — what would become the EDM scene. I was not used to playing in that environment at all, and when I performed to very inebriated crowds, it was really difficult for me to perform when I wasn’t playing in the crowd. I couldn’t get down. It was very hard for me, so I wanted to make something that was less easy to use as escapism. I became very self-conscious about being lumped into that scene. I just didn’t want it. It was disenfranchising to me as a performer. I was like, “I have to make very distinct changes.” That led to Bromst and America, but also led me to like shedding a part of myself that didn’t give a fuck. And I don’t think I really got that back until recently, where it was just like, “I shouldn’t care what people think.”


2 0   •   C I T Y B E A T . C O M   •   S E P T . 2 0  –  2 6 , 2 0 1 7


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And if you’re trying to convince your significant other to finally try a medium to rare cut of beef, there are compelling arguments to do so, Amshoff says. “For medium and under you’re getting more of the meat flavor as opposed to anything that’s cooked over that point,” Amshoff says. “If it’s cooked over that point you’re more tasting the charred grill flavor than the actual flavor of the meat. I was told when I was young that anything over medium is burned and I still kind of live by that.” According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that target temperature is 145 degrees for most meats. It’s a little more for poultry and ground meats — generally 160 degrees. The idea is to kill off bacteria, which might be on the surface of the meat due to contamination potentially communicated by handling. Also, any internal parasites are killed by cooking. “There’s definitely risk from eating any kind of undercooked protein,” says Varacarcel of Kaze. “It just all comes down to the way it gets handled — from the purveyor to the time it lands in the restaurant and gets prepared.” That chain of trust stretches from the diner all the way to the farmer raising the livestock and, says regional executive chef Paul Miranda of Eddie Merlot’s, it is the most important safeguard against foodborne disease. “People are afraid of getting E. Coli or things like that,” Miranda says. “Typically when you find those illnesses that come in beef, it’s coming from ground beef and through the processing. When you think of the steak, you think of it being a whole cut and the bacteria that is going to get you sick is only going to live on the outside of the whole loin of beef.” Miranda says the cooking process kills off any bacteria on the outside for larger cuts. Unless there’s a complete mishandling of the meat, even ground beef, you’re unlikely to get sick, he says. “It’s actually easier for your body to digest a rare cut of meat than to break down and digest a well done cut of steak,” Miranda says. ©

3 1 0 5 P ric e Ave • i ncl i ne D i s t r i ct www. s om m w i nebAr ci nci nnAt i . co m

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Sept. 25 - Oct. 01, 2017  GRE ATER CINCINNATI RES TAUR ANT W EEK  5

Among diners, the debate over the degree to which meat is cooked — rare to well done — can be nearly as contentious as that of Republican versus Democrat. But local chefs generally agree that less is more when it comes to cooking meat, so if you’re the type that likes steaks bloody and pink inside, you’ll be pleased with what they have to say. It all comes down to the meat’s texture, taste and presentation. And, done correctly, a rare cut of meat carries little risk of illness. “The closer it gets to well done, the tougher that meat is going to be, because throughout the cooking process moisture is pulled out of the meat and those proteins begin to constrict and get tighter,” says Chef Michael Varcarcel, who works at Japanese restaurant Kaze in Over-the-Rhine. “The mouth feel of a steak that is closer to rare is more tender because of the gentler heating that has occurred to get it to the internal temperature it needs.” Nick Amshoff, executive chef at Covington’s Lisse Steakhouse, says the goal when cooking red meat is to achieve the Maillard reaction. That’s the proper term for the chemical reaction that makes food brown when it cooks. The changes are also known as carmelization, a reaction between sugars and amino acids in the food. This reaction is responsible for the umami, or savory flavor, of cooked meats. “That produces your outside flavor and texture,” Amshoff says. “The way you want to do that for most meats is you want to make sure the outside is as dry as possible before you season it. Then you look for the proper look, color, taste.” Amshoff says raw meats, which are served far less often than beef that’s cooked rare, are kept as safe as possible through the trusted supply chain. “There are other things, too — salt kills bacteria and acids from lemon juice or something with a high acidic content like vinegar — that will also kill a lot of the bacteria and make it safer to eat,” he says. “Nothing you eat raw is completely safe. It’s all about mitigating what potential risks there may be.”


6  GRE ATER CINCINNATI RES TAUR ANT W EEK  Sept. 25 - Oct. 01, 2017

Cincinnati-style.

makersmark.com WE MAKE OUR BOURBON CAREFULLY. PLEASE ENJOY IT THAT WAY. Maker’s Mark® Bourbon Whisky, 45% Alc./Vol. ©2017 Maker’s Mark Distillery, Inc. Loretto, KY


MENUS Banana Leaf Modern Thai $35 101 E. Main St., Mason, OH 45040 (513) 234-0779 • bananaleafmodernthai.com FIR ST COUR SE

Brown Dog Cafe $35 1000 Summit Park, Blue Ash, OH 513.794.1610 • browndogcafe.com FIR ST COUR SE

Chicken Satay Skewer Banana Leaf House Salad Tom Ka Soup

Triple Cream Brie Tart Carpaccio Caribbean Shrimp

SECOND COUR SE

SECOND COUR SE

Banana Leaf Signature Pad Thai Roasted Carrot Curry Asian Barramundi Sea Bass THIR D COUR SE

Thai Tiramisu Macarons

*Add a glass of our house red and house white wine for $6.5 a glass.

House salad Baby Blue Panzenella Salad THIR D COURSE

Haute Chocolate Caffinated Wild Pig Pan Seared Diver Scallops Beef Tenderloin Oscar

Bravo! Cucina Italiana $35

Behle Street By Sheli $35

2220 Grandview Dr., Ft Mitchell, Ky 41017 859-341-8888 • behlestreetbysheli.com/wordpress FIR ST COUR SE

Mediterranean Brushetta Behle Street Crab Cake (single) SECOND COUR SE

Caesar Salad Cafe Wedge Salad THIR D COUR SE

Jack Daniel’s Chops Parmesan Crusted Grouper 12 oz. Ribeye Braised Short Ribs Cajun Bayou Fettuccini C O C K TA I L

Classic Maker’s Manhattan: $8 all week

Bella’s of Loveland $35 FIR ST COUR SE

Stuffed Mushrooms Mozzarella Caprese Arancini SECOND COUR SE

FIR ST COUR SE

Crispy Ravioli Caprese Salad

SECOND COUR SE

Chicken Parmesan Mama’s Lasagna Bolognese Grilled Salmon Pasta fra Diavolo (chicken or shrimp) THIR D COURSE

Tiramisu Carmel Cheesecake

Cinque Ristorante by Nicola’s $35

9415 Montgomery Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45242 513.231.5555 • cinquerestaurant.com

SECOND COUR SE

Picanha House Special Sirloin Picanha con Alho Sirloin THIR D COURSE

Caramel Turtle Cheesecake Key Lime Pie Carrot Cake Chocolate Mousse Cake S P E C I A LT Y C O C K TA I L

Maker’s Mark Man O’ War — $10 each

The Capital Grille $35

3821 Edwards Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45209 (513) 351-0814 • thecapitalgrille.com FIR ST COUR SE

Wedge Caesar New England Clam Chowder SECOND COUR SE

8 oz Filet Mignon 14 oz. Sirloin Herb Roasted Chicken Seared Citrus Glazed Salmon Porcini Rubbed Sliced Tenderloin C H E F ’ S S U G G E S T I O N S ( A D D $ 1 0)

Bone-In Crusted Dry Aged 18oz New York Strip THIR D COURSE

Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake Classic Crème Brulee

BrewRiver GastroPub $35

FIR ST COUR SE

2062 Riverside Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45202 513.861.2484 • brewrivergastropub.com

SECOND COUR SE

Curried Beef Short Rib Gravy Poutine New Orleans Boudin Balls

Sweet Potato Soup Vegetable Frittata

Chicken Saltimbocca Fettuccine Alfredo (Chicken or Shrimp) Seafood Agnolotti

Spaghetti all’Amatriciana Potato Gnocchi

THIR D COUR SE

Braised Short Rib Grilled Pork Chop Scottish Salmon

Apple Crostata Chocolate Cannoli Cheese Cake

FIR ST COUR SE

Unlimited Salad Bar

FIR ST COUR SE

SECOND COUR SE

THIR D COURSE

Crispy Buttermilk Amish Chicken Oyster Po’ Boy Landslide Burger

S P E C I A LT Y C O C K TA I L

4 oz beer pairing of Listermann’s Nutcase Porter & Crème Brûlée Dark Chocolate “Beer” Brownie

Maker’s Mark Antica Manhattan — $12

THIR D COURSE

Restaurants with more than one option in the courses listed will give guests a choice on selection. Menus are subject to change.

Sept. 25 - Oct. 01, 2017  GRE ATER CINCINNATI RES TAUR ANT W EEK  7

110 South 2nd St., Loveland, OH 45140 513.583.1248 • bellasloveland.com

5045 Deerfield Blvd., Mason, OH 45040 • (513) 234-7900 9436 Waterfront Dr., West Chester, OH 45069 513-759-9398 • 3825 Edwards Road, Cincinnati, OH 45209 • 513-351-5999 • 3825 Edwards Rd. , Cincinnati, OH 45209 • 513.351.5999 • bravoitalian.com

Boi Na Braza $35

441 Vine St. , Cincinnati, OH 45202 513.583.1248 • boinabraza.com


Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant $35

8080 Montgomery Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45236 • 513 .488-1110 // 7490 Bales St., Liberty Township, OH 45069 • 513.463.9463 coopershawkwinery.com APPETIZER

Artisan Hummus & Roasted Vegetable Caprese Flatbread Chicken Potstickers ENTRÉE

Dana’s Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Spaghetti & House-Made Meatballs Jambalaya

Favorites At Belterra Park Gaming $35

6301 Kellog Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45230 (513) 232-8000 • belterrapark.com FIR ST COUR SE

French Onion Dip Roasted Beets SECOND COUR SE

Forest Mushroom Ravioli Braised Short Rib Salmon alla Plancha THIR D COURSE

Lemon Cheesecake Chocolate pot de crème

4172 Hamilton Ave Cincinnati, OH 45223 513.542.3664 • djangonorthside.com FIR ST COUR SE

Ensalada Fresca Grilled Bread SECOND COUR SE

Blended Steak Burger Pan Roasted Swordfish Mushroom Enchilada THIR D COUR SE

Chili Chocolate Mousse Warm Doughnuts

Little Gem Salad Beet Salad Chestnut Soup SECOND COUR SE

Paparadelle Seafood Risotto Pan Seared Chicken THIR D COURSE

S’mores for 2 Toffee Cake

M A K E R ’ S M A R K C O C K TA I L

The Golden Lamb $35

Wild Burgundy Snails Fall Bruschetta

SECOND COUR SE

Butternut Squash Bisque Golden Salad

THIR D COUR SE

Carrot Cake Triple Chocolate Cake

FIR ST COUR SE

caesar salad (gf) arugula (gf) (available vegetarian) SECOND COUR SE

6 oz. Filet Mignon Lemon Chicken Grilled Halibut Lobster Ravioli

pappardelle (available on gluten-free pasta) branzino (gf) risotto (v) (gf) pork tenderloin (gf)

THIR D COUR SE

THIR D COURSE

Banana Cream Pie Butterscotch Pudding

key lime pie (v) bread pudding (v) madisono’s sorbet (v) (gf)

Metropole $35

Lisse Steakhuis $35

609 Walnut St., Cincinnati, OH 45202 (513) 578-6660 • metropoleonwalnut.com

FIR ST COUR SE

Charred Beet & Potato Salad Cauliflower Soup

SECOND COUR SE

Garlic Flower Bigoli Grilled Marksbury Farms Chicken Thighs Verlass Salmon Cake

530 Main St., Covington, KY 41011 (859) 360-7008 • lisse.restaurant Dutch Garden Salad Caesar Salad 4oz Barrel Cut Filet Faroe Island Salmon Roast Chicken THIR D COUR SE

Creme Brûlée

FIR ST COUR SE

SECOND COUR SE

THIR D COURSE

Grilled Venison Loin Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast Seasonal Fresh Fish Raspberry Tart

FIR ST COUR SE

SECOND COUR SE

THIR D COURSE

Honey Custard Chocolate Cheesecake S P E C I A LT Y C O C K TA I L

The Thyme Machine — $9

Classic Maker’s Old-Fashioned — $5

FIR ST COUR SE

Filet Del Mar Cedar Roasted Salmon Creekstone Farms Pork Chop 7 oz. Filet Mignon - $8 upgrade

8  GRE ATER CINCINNATI RES TAUR ANT W EEK  Sept. 25 - Oct. 01, 2017

FIR ST COUR SE

27 S Broadway St., Lebanon, OH 45036 (513) 932-5065 • goldenlamb.com

Caesar Salad Merlot Iceberg Salad

SECOND COUR SE

The Presidents Room $35

Eddie Merlot’s $35

10808 Montgomery Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45242 • 513.489.1212 • eddiemerlots.com

House Salad Lobster Bisque

The Mercer OTR $35

1324 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202 (513) 421-5111 • themercerotr.com

Maker’s Mark Collins ($8)

812 Race St, Cincinnati, OH 45202 (513) 721-2260 • thepresidentsrm.com

Django Western Taco $25

FIR ST COUR SE

S P E C I A LT Y C O C K TA I L

DESSERT

4S’more Budino Cooper’s Hawk Chocolate Cake Salted Caramel Crème Brûlée Dark Chocolate Brownie

Trio Bistro $35

7565 Kenwood Road, Cincinnati, OH 45236 (513) 984-1905 • triobistro.com

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks $35

21 East 5th St., Cincinnati, OH 45202 (513) 721-9339 • mccormickandschmicks.com S TA R T E R

Shrimp Bisque Strawberry Bibb Salad Prosciutto Wrapped Mozzarella SECOND COUR SE

Clear Springs Rainbow Trout Herbed Grilled Shrimp Steak Florentine THIR D COUR SE

Chocolate Pot De Crème Mango Crème Brulee

Moerlein Lager House $35

115 Joe Nuxhall Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202 (513) 421-2337 • moerleinlagerhouse.com FIR ST COUR SE

Wild Mushroom and Truffle Mac & Cheese Spinach Salad Crab Bisque SECOND COUR SE

Braised Pork Shank Grilled Swordfish Crispy Balsamic Tofu Twin Filets THIR D COURSE

Salted Caramel Brownie Sundae Apple Dutch Pie

S P E C I A LT Y C O C K TA I L

Maker’s Mark Burnt Orange Manhattan – $10

Embers Restaurant $35

8170 Montgomery Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45236 (513) 984-8090 • embersrestaurant.com FIR ST COUR SE

Spicy Tuna Maki Roll Roasted Red Pepper Bisque Caesar Salad SECOND COUR SE

72 Hour Braised Short Rib Amish Chicken Breast Scottish Salmon THIR D COUR SE

Creme Brulee Raspberry Tart

Jag’s Steak & Seafood and Piano Bar $35

5980 West Chester Rd, West Chester, OH 45069 • (513) 860-5353 • jags.com FIR ST COUR SE

The Melting Pot $25

11023 Montgomery Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45249 • (513) 530-5501 • meltingpot.com/ cincinnati-oh

We Olive & Wine Bar $25

FIR ST COUR SE

FIR ST COUR SE

Artisan Cheese Board Camelot Chicken Emerald Sushi Roll

Bourbon Bacon Cheddar Spinach Artichoke Cheese Fondue

SECOND COUR SE

SECOND COUR SE

Charred Vegetable Salad Burrata Mozzarella Cream of Asparagus Soup

House Salad Spinach and Bleu Cheese Salad

THIR D COURSE

Teriyaki Marinated Sirloin Cajun Breast of Chicken Pacific White Shrimp Chicken Potstickers and Vegetable Medley

Grilled Filet Mignon Salmon Provencal Pork Osso Bucco M A R K E R ’ S M A R K C O C K TA I L

After Midnight In Kentucky — $9

THIR D COUR SE

S P E C I A LT Y C O C K TA I L

Maker’s Mark Manhattan

33 E. 6th Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202 (513) 954-8875 • weolive.com/cincinnati Artisan Bread

SECOND COUR SE

Prosciutto-Wrapped Dates THIR D COURSE

Caprese Panini Artichoke Caper Flatbread BBQ Chicken Flatbread DESSERT

Blood Orange Brownie M A K E R ’ S M A R K C O C K TA I L

Fig Old Fashioned


The National Exemplar $35 6880 Wooster Pk., Cincinnati, OH 45227 (513) 271-2103 • nationalexemplar.com FIR ST COUR SE

Clam & Corn Chowder Herbed Duck Confit Crepe SECOND COUR SE

Turbot Short Ribs

THIR D COUR SE

Chai Creme Brûlée National Exemplar Carrot Cake

Palomino $35

505 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202 (513) 381-1300 • palomino.com/cincinnati

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill $35

5075 Deerfield Blvd. , Mason, OH 45040 (513) 234-9032 mason.firebirdsrestaurants.com FIR ST COUR SE

Lobster Spinach Queso Homemade Soup of the Day BLT Salad, Mixed Greens Salad or Caesar Salad SECOND COUR SE

Steak and Tomatoes Crispy Honey Rosemary Chicken Breast Santa Fe Pasta Wood Grilled Salmon

SECOND COUR SE

Organic Rotisserie Chicken- gf Roasted Moroccan Salmon* Pappardelle & Marsala Cream-veg Grilled Filet Mignon* THIR D COUR SE

Organic Ricotta Donuts-gf Selection of locally made gelato or sorbet, biscotti

Prime Cincinnati $35 FIR ST COUR SE

House Strawberry Fields Greek Caesar Soup du Jour Lobster Bisque SECOND COUR SE

Parkers Blue Ash Tavern $35

4200 Cooper Rd., Blue Ash, OH 45242 (513) 891-8300 • parkersblueash.com FIR ST COUR SE

Smoked Sirloin Crostini Parmesan Potato Croquettes

6 oz. Certified Angus Filet Hawaiian Ultra Grade Ahi Tuna Wild Halibut Berkshire Pork Chop 10 oz. Ribeye THIR D COURSE

Half Baked Cookie Grippo’s Pretzel Crusted Brownie Key Lime Pie

SECOND COUR SE

Prime Rib Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops THIR D COUR SE

Pompilios $35

Crème Brulee Cheesecake Godiva Chocolate Ganache Cake

600 Washington Ave., Newport, KY 41071 (859) 581-3065 • pompilios.com

S P E C I A LT Y C O C K TA I L

FIR ST COUR SE

Parkers Fashion — $10

The Pub Rookwood $25

FIR ST COUR SE

Belhaven Beer Cheese SECOND COUR SE

Guinness Stew with Yorkshire Pudding THIR D COUR SE

Molten Lava Cake Enjoy a 1 or 2 oz pour of our TRG Private Barrel Selection Makers Mark. Available only at TRG locations $9.95

ENTREE

Chicken Liver Mousse Butternut Squash Soup “The Blues” Salad

DESSERT

Mediterranean Sea Bass Amish Chicken Breast Duroc Pork Shank

Arugula Salad Potato Gnocci Fresh Mozzarella Grilled Pork Chop “Saltimboca” Sauteed Verlasso Salmon Crab and Fettucine Budino di Panettone Tiramisu Dark Chocolate Custard

Classic Meat Lasagna Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo Meat or Cheese Ravioli Eggplant Parmigana Shrimp Ronaldo Chicken Parmigana M A K E R ’ S M A R K C O C K TA I L

Blackberry Manhattan -$10

A dd a homemade dessert $ 4

Cannoli and Tiramisu

FIR ST COUR SE

SECOND COUR SE

THIR D COURSE

Oreo Cheesecake Key Lime Mousse Pie S P E C I A LT Y C O C K TA I L

Maker’s Mark Boulevardier - $10

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse $35 FIR ST COUR SE

Caesar Salad Steak House Salad SECOND COUR SE

Petite Filet Salmon Stuffed Chicken Breast DESSERT

Warm Bread Pudding W I N E PA I R I N G S

Ask about our exclusive Fall Restaurant Week wine specials

Kaze $25

1400 Vine St. , Cincinnati, OH 45202 (513) 898-7991 • kazeotr.com FIR ST COUR SE

Poke bowl House smoked ribs Short rib dumplings SECOND COUR SE

Katsu bowl Salmon Vegetable bowl

THIR D COURSE

Platinum Brownie Banana gyoza THIR D COURSE

Seasons 52 $35

3819 Edwards Road, Cincinnati, OH 45209 (513) 631-5252 • seasons52.com

Crème Brule Cheesecake Squares Chocolate Brownie with Ice Cream Key Lime Pie Cinnamon White Chocolate Mouse

FIR ST COUR SE

Signature Flatbreads (to share) Roasted Roma Tomato Garlic Pesto Chicken Braised Short Rib & Aged Cheddar All-Natural Pepperoni

Morton’s The Steakhouse $35

SECOND COUR SE

441 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202 (513) 621-3111 • mortons.com/cincinnati

THIR D COUR SE

Morton’s Salad Caesar Salad Cup of Baked Five Onion Soup Cup of Lobster Bisque ($3 upgrade)

Seasonal Spinach Salad Organic Field Greens Crisp Romaine & Baby Kale Caesar Cedar Plank-Roasted Salmon Wood-Grilled Filet Mignon Southern Style Shrimp & Grits Wood-Grilled Pork Tenderloin All-Natural Roasted Half Chicken FOURTH COUR SE

Two Mini Indulgence Desserts WINE PAIRINGS Upgrade your Experience: Normally $10$12, these wines pair perfectly with our Restaurant Week menu. Your selection by the glass: $7 WHITE

Markham, Chardonnay, Napa ‘15/’16 King Estate, Pinot Gris, Williamette ’15 RED

Loveblock, Pinot Noir, New Zealand ’13/‘14 Catena Vista Flores, Malbec, Mendoza ‘14/’15

FIR ST COUR SE

SECOND COUR SE

Center-Cut Filet Mignon 6 oz. (upgrade to an 8oz. Filet - $10) Double-Cut Prime Pork Chop, 16 oz. Broiled Salmon with Beurre Blanc Chicken Christopher SECOND COURSE ACCOMPANIMENT Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes Lyonnaise Potatoes Jumbo Asparagus Creamed Spinach THIR D COURSE

Double Chocolate Mousse Crème Brûlée Morton’s Legendary Hot Chocolate Cake® ($6 upgrade)

VISIT greatercincinnatirestaurantweek.com FOR DETAILED DESCRIPTIONS AND SPECIAL OFFERS

Sept. 25 - Oct. 01, 2017  GRE ATER CINCINNATI RES TAUR ANT W EEK  9

Toasted Cheese Ravioli Calamari Egg Plant Parmigiana SECOND COUR SE

2692 Madison Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45208 (513) 841-2748 • experiencethepub.com/ Rookwood

3105 Price Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45202 (513) 244-5843 • sommwinebarcincinnati.com

100 E. Freedom Way Suite 160, Cincinnati, OH 45202 • (513) 381-0491 • ruthschris.com 580 Walnut Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202 (513) 579-0720 • primecincinnati.com

Somm Wine Bar & Kitchen $35

APPETIZER

THIR D COURSE

Crème Brule Cheesecake Squares Chocolate Brownie with Ice Cream Key Lime Pie Cinnamon White Chocolate Mouse

FIR ST COUR SE

Portabella Mushroom Soup Warm Spinach Salad Seafood Bucatini

Primavista $35

810 Matson Pl., Cincinnati, OH 45202 (513) 251-6467 •pvista.com


autHEntic tHai cuiSinE in the heart of Mason

101 E Main St, MaSon, oH 45040 (513) 234-0779 bananaleafmodernthai.com

Join us for $35 three course meals

10  GRE ATER CINCINNATI RES TAUR ANT W EEK  Sept. 25 - Oct. 01, 2017

during Cincinnati Restaurant Week

9415 Montgomery Road | Cincinnati, OH 45242 (513) 231-5555

Join us!

Sept. 25 – Oct. 1 fOr Greater cincinnati reStaurant Week!

Three mouthwatering courses for $35! Also try our Specialty Cocktail, the Maker’s Mark Collins! Call to make your reservation today!

513.984.1905 | www.triobistro.com 7565 Kenwood Rd | Cincinnati, OH 45236


Join us Sept 25 - Oct 1 for Greater Cincinnati Restaurant Week & enjoy your choice of cheese fondue, salad, & entree from our special menu for only $25.

MELTINGPOT.COM

11023 Montgomery Rd | Cincinnati, Ohio 45249 | 513-530-5501

Sept. 25 - Oct. 01, 2017  GRE ATER CINCINNATI RES TAUR ANT W EEK  1 1


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2062 Riverside Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45202 Reservations Accepted

513.861.2484 BrewRiverGastroPub.com

Join Prime Cincinnati for an amazing evening out and a three course meal

for only $35 September 25th - October 1st

12  GRE ATER CINCINNATI RES TAUR ANT W EEK  Sept. 25 - Oct. 01, 2017

$35 pre-theater menu available daily from 4-6pm

580 Walnut St #100 | Cincinnati, OH 45202 | (513) 579-0720

primecincinnati.com

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Open Daily For Dinner at 5:00 PM Happy Hour 4:30 PM - 7:00 PM Monday - Friday

513.721.9339

Downtown in Carew Tower - 441 Vine St. - 513.421.7111


Just Desserts

What’s trendy and pairs well with sugary sweets? B y S tep h en N o votni

sweet. Things you only used to see in the other side of the kitchen, the hot side of the kitchen, you see that now in pastries as well.” Chef Thomas Ross says his restaurant, Seasons 52 in Norwood, offers what they call “mini-indulgences.” These include sized-down versions of raspberry chocolate chip canoli, pecan pie and chocolate s’more. “That is something that’s pretty trendy right now,” Ross says. “Smaller portions, more health conscious, lighter dining culture that seems to be evolving nowadays. You do see a lot of those smaller dessert items.” The interplay between the flavors of a dessert and the drink ordered to compliment it can be really fun for diners. And making this work is both an art and a science, Ross says. “Chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cake, anything that is super rich and dense — like brownies that are really rich and chocolatey — you want to pair those with a red wine, like a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot,” Ross says. “If you’re looking at something like a piece of cheesecake ... you’ll find that if you pair that with a Riesling or something like that you have that lighter, crisper notes that go really well with cheesecake.” Some pairings should be avoided. Ross says beer can be especially difficult to get right. “Obviously, a darker, richer, oatmeal stout would probably go really well with some oatmeal cookies,” Ross says. “But, I think maybe a pale ale wouldn’t really go well with a piece of cake. I think a lot of beers would not go well.” In the end, it’s about starting with your personal preferences and getting informed advice from your wait staff on how this can be combined with the right drink. “You want one flavor to compliment another,” Ross says. “I’m real classic. I’m a chocolate chip cookie guy at heart. I’ve always loved eating Grandma’s cookies right out of the oven. Being a wine guy, I like a chocolate chip cookie and a nice glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. That would be my go-to.” ©

Tastes as good as it looks

1324 Vine Street Cincinnati, OH 45202 513-421-5111 www.themercerotr.com

Sept. 25 - Oct. 01, 2017  GRE ATER CINCINNATI RES TAUR ANT W EEK  1 3

Imagine how it was to be the first person to taste sugar. Or honey. The pinnacle of sweetness, rolling along the tongue in a glorious rapture. It’s one of the few experiences that remains as potent now as it was in ancient times. Dessert still subdues our senses. Jeremy Luers is culinary director of Phoenix Restaurant Group and oversees the fare presented at the National Exemplar in Mariemont and the Presidents Room at the Phoenix. Luers describes one of the desserts available at the President’s Room, a stone fruit dessert: “Chef (Ed Przedwiecki) does that with some Bavarian crème, some coconut, some almond crumble and anise. Chef’s desserts here are meticulous, refined.” It’s more than a list of ingredients; it’s the description of elements harmonizing to create a fantasia blend — a taste unavailable in nature. Desserts are changed out seasonally at the Presidents Room to entice patrons with novel flavors and to focus on fruits that are in season, but chocolate is a mainstay. “We like to use fruit at the peak of its ripeness,” Luers says. “And it’s almost inevitable to have some sort of chocolate dessert on your menu. And we also serve a cheese board. Some people do enjoy cheese as a savory, final course. We do three different cheeses with three different seasonal accompaniments; a jam or something along those lines.” Luers says that what trends are adopted by restaurants depends a lot on their ethnic focus — Italian restaurants are always going to gear toward Italian desserts — but putting a unique spin on a familiar sweet always commands the public’s interest. “People, when it comes to desserts, want something familiar more times than not,” Luers says. “Pies are trendy right now. Almost any restaurant is going to have chocolate. I think you’ll see classic a lot because of that familiarity. The other trend you see is people doing unique combinations. Pastry chefs are getting more and more talented, the way they play them up and the flavor combinations. You see a lot of savory and


PRIMAVISTA

The Food ~ The View we’re open thu-sat / 5pm-9pm wed / starting oct 11

FOLLOW US! The Presidents Room @presidentsroom @presidentsroom

happy hour thu-sat / 5pm-7pm

RESERVE YOUR TABLE

via OpenTable or by phone 513.721.2260

Get a sneak peek into our fall menu by joining us for Greater Cincinnati Restaurant Week. We will be featuring a special 3 course fall-inspired prix fixe menu for $35 w/ optional wine and beverage pairing for $10. You will not want to miss this!

810 Matson Place Cincinnati, OH 45204

MODERN AMERICAN DINING with lasting Italian + German influences thepresidentsrm.com

513.251.6467

14  GRE ATER CINCINNATI RES TAUR ANT W EEK  Sept. 25 - Oct. 01, 2017

www.pvista.com

Stay. Sit. Savor.

4335 Glendale-Milford Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45242 (513) 794-1610 browndogcafe.com


http://www.lisse.restaurant/

Sept. 25 - Oct. 01, 2017  GRE ATER CINCINNATI RES TAUR ANT W EEK  1 5

530 Main St., Covington, KY 41011 email: info@lisse.restaurant phone: 859-360-7008


GREAT FOOD, MOER BEER America’s world-class Brewpub featuring award-winning Moerlein beers freshly brewed on site & over one hundred guest beers.

Spinach Salad

Indulge in our 3 course Restaurant Week menu for $35 per person and choose from a variety of dishes that are sure to please anyone!

16  GRE ATER CINCINNATI RES TAUR ANT W EEK  Sept. 25 - Oct. 01, 2017

Make your reservation today.

Braised Pork Shank

115 Joe Nuxhall Way, Cincinnati, OH | 513.421.2337 | www.MoerleinLagerHouse.com


to do

Staff Recommendations

J e s s i c a V o s k ( E l p h a b a ) , G i n n a C l a i r e M a s o n ( G l i n d a ) a n d t h e t o u r i n g c a s t // p h o t o : J o a n M a r c u s

THURSDAY 21

MUSIC: New Orleans Folk/Gospel/ Funk group TANK AND THE BANGAS plays the Taft Theatre. See Sound Advice on page 36. MUSIC: Electro Indie Pop duo SYLVAN ESSO heads to Bogart’s. See Sound Advice on page 36.

COMEDY: LISA LANDRY “I’m dating again,” comedian Lisa Landry tells an audience. “But I have very bad taste in men. I pray a lot to keep the dicks away. I probably could get a medical marijuana card because I have PTSD because I date men.” The Louisiana native got divorced a few years ago and is still adjusting to life as a single mom. “You become more spiritual (after) becoming a single mom,” she says. “It happens to a lot of woman. Just wait until you start dating again and you’re a few days late. I prayed so hard the Lord said, ‘Stop stalking me, Lisa. I’ve got shit to do.’ ” Landry recently started a new comedy podcast called Womenace to Society and her fourth CD, Compliments Below the Waist, was recorded at Go Bananas in 2015. Showtimes ThursdaySunday. $8-$14. Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, gobananascomedy.com. — P.F. WILSON

FRIDAY 22

ONSTAGE: Know Theatre’s THE ARSONISTS is a Southern Gothic tale set in the deep Florida swamps about a father-and-daughter arson team. See feature on page 27.

ONSTAGE: WICKED It’s the official girl-power show of the millennium based on the notion that millions of Elphaba fans can’t be wrong. The success of the musical about the origin of Wizard of Oz’s green-skinned witch is truly mind-boggling: On Broadway alone, Wicked is approaching 6,000 performances, earning more than $1 billion. It’s been a hit in Cincinnati, too, with four past stops by touring companies for a total of 104 sold-out performances. Forty more are happening currently. You can try your luck at the daily in-person lottery for pairs of $25 tickets; to enter, show up at the Aronoff two-and-a-half hours before performance time. Through Oct. 15. $42.50-$107. Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, cincinnatiarts.org. — RICK PENDER

25. Friday-Sunday. Tickets start at $25; $30 Geek Prom. Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Downtown, cincinnaticomicexpo.com. — EMILY BEGLEY EVENT: CINCINNATI FOOD + WINE CLASSIC Grab a fork and maybe an autograph book — the third-annual Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic is bringing out the big guns with a multi-faceted food festival featuring more than 150 local, regional and national culinary stars. A ticket gets you unlimited samples of the tasty eats these geniuses have whipped up, and there are plenty of options for refined and not-so-sophisticated palates alike. Kick off the weekend happyhour style with handcrafted cocktails, then dig in to every scrumptious cuisine category at the various stations scattered across Yeatman’s Cove. You can sample as much as possible and give a nod to your favorite

chef by casting your vote in the People’s Choice award at the end of the festival, so make sure you arrive on an empty stomach. 5:30-9:30 pm. Friday; noon-9:30 p.m. Saturday. $95-$330. Yeatman’s Cove, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Downtown, cincinnatifoodandwineclassic.com. — ERIN COUCH EVENT: NEWPORT OKTOBERFEST Didn’t get enough Oktoberfest action last weekend? You’re in luck: There’s more drinking and dirndl-ing to do. Head to the Newport riverfront for a Munich-style Oktoberfest party featuring German bier, German food and live German entertainment. Venture into giant fest tents, each sponsored by a different German brewery, to get a different experience — like a Bavarian bar crawl. 5-11 p.m. Friday; noon-11 p.m. Saturday; noon-9 p.m. Sunday. Free admission. Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., facebook.com/newportoktoberfest. — MAIJA ZUMMO

EVENT: CINCINNATI BEER RUN The Cincinnati Beer Run blends athletics and alcohol into a 2.5-mile “race” that takes intrepid beer drinkers in sneakers from Newport to Cincinnati and back. Every half mile you make it in this noncompetitive run, you’ll be rewarded with a specialty local craft beer sample. And if you make it all the way back to Newport, there’s an even bigger beer bash — aka Newport Oktoberfest (see above) — at the finish line with music, food and your choice of a 16-ounce beer. Because this is a night run, every participant receives glow wear (fun!), a Beer Run glass and Beer Run T-shirt. 7:20 p.m. walkers; 7:50 and 8:05 p.m. runners Friday. $50. Leaves from Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., cincinnatibeerrun.com. — MAIJA ZUMMO CONTINUES ON PAGE 22

C I T Y B E A T . C O M   •  S E P T . 2 0   –   2 6 , 2 0 1 7   •  2 1

EVENT: CINCINNATI COMIC EXPO Fellow Potterheads, this is a Cincinnati Comic Expo you can’t afford to miss. Featured guests at this year’s massive celebration of all things nerd include Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy), Natalia Tena (Nymphadora Tonks), David Bradley (Argus Filch, aka Game of Thrones’ Red Wedding mastermind Walder Frey), Miriam Margolyes (Professor Sprout), Scarlett Byrne (Pansy Parkinson) and Julian Glover (voice of giant spider Aragog). The event capitalizes on its particularly magical lineup with a Harry Potterthemed Geek Prom 7:30 p.m. Saturday night. Compete to win the House Cup, round up all seven horcruxes, toss Dobby some socks and explore the Forbidden Forest. Come dressed in character; the first 400 guests will be sorted into Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin. Other Comic Expo guests include Cary Elwes of The Princess Bride fame (“assss youuuu wishhhh”) and Caroline Blakiston from Return of the Jedi; go online for a full guest list and schedule of events. Read an interview with The Princess Bride’s Vizzini, Wallace Shawn, on page

WEDNESDAY 20


photo : mirama x

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Additional Parking Available in Clifton Business Lot (next to IGA)

SUNDAY 24

EVENT: ART HOUSE THEATER DAY Art House Theater Day is a national initiative that celebrates the legacy and cultural impact of independent theaters with screenings of special films and other exclusive programming. Locally, the Esquire in Clifton offers three films throughout the day: Food Evolution, a documentary narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson about the controversy surrounding GMOs, at 2 p.m.; Only Yesterday, an animated Japanese drama from 1991, at 4:50 p.m.; and Amélie, the delightfully charming Parisian romcom starring Audrey Tautou, at 7:30 p.m. $10 Food Evolution, which includes a Q&A with Jon Entine of the Science Literacy Project; $7.50 Only Yesterday; $10 adult and $7.50 senior/child for Amélie. Esquire Theatre, 320 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, esquiretheatre.com. — MAIJA ZUMMO

FROM PAGE 21

SATURDAY 23

MUSIC: The MIDPOINT MUSIC FESTIVAL kicks off with weekend headliners The New Pornographers, Broken Social Scene, Walk the Moon and BADBADNOTGOOD. Check out other recommended acts to see and band interviews in the cover story on page 14.

2 2   •   C I T Y B E A T . C O M   •   S E P T . 2 0  –  2 6 , 2 0 1 7

MUSIC: LIZZ WRIGHT plays Live! at the Ludlow Garage. See Sound Advice on page 37. MUSIC: BLUEGRASS FOR BABIES Celebrate the beloved music of our Southern border state for a good cause at Bluegrass for Babies. The ninth-annual Bluegrass extravaganza donates 100 percent of proceeds to the Perinatal Institute at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, so you can jam out to some sweet banjo riffs while supporting local babies. Acts this year include the Comet Bluegrass All-Stars, the Redemptioners and Jake Speed & the Freddies. Special guest Jennifer Ellis will also be making an appearance to sing some kids’ tunes in the family-friendly spirit of the event. 3-9 p.m. Saturday. $15 advance; $20 day of concert. Seasongood Pavilion, 950 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams, bluegrassforbabies.com. — ERIN COUCH

EVENT: FIFTY FEST 2017 Fifty West is hosting their fifth-annual Fifty Fest on Saturday, a daylong celebration in honor of local beer, local food and live music. More than 25 breweries will be on hand including Taft’s Ale House, Cellar Dweller, Urban Artifact, Dogberry and Braxton — basically, if you can name a Cincy brewery, they’ll be there slinging suds, as will regional guests like West Sixth, Jackie O’s and Great Lakes. Food from the Beerded Pig, Pizzelii, Quite Frankly and Fifty West will be complemented by live music every hour on three different stages with sets from Brian Olive, Heavy Hinges, Honey & Houston, Hot Magnolias and more. Level up with a $20 BC Bottle Lodge Tent ticket for access to rare bottled beer (pre-sale only) or enter the Fender Stratocaster raffle, with all proceeds benefitting Houston hurricane victims. Noon-midnight Saturday. $10; $7 advance. Fifty West, 7668 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, fiftyfest. fiftywestbrew.com. — KENNEDY PONDER EVENT: GREAT OUTDOOR WEEKEND Green Umbrella wants you to get outside this weekend. The Great Outdoor Weekend is an annual smörgåsbord of events for children and adults to sample to get a taste of the Tristate’s outdoor recreation and nature-awareness programs, everything


t r i o b i s t r o // p h o t o : p r o v i d e d

IT’S ON LIKE DONKEY KONG... LITERALLY! MONDAY 25

EVENT: GREATER CINCINNATI RESTAURANT WEEK Be a culinary tourist in your own city with CityBeat’s Greater Cincinnati Restaurant Week. We’ve gathered together a plethora of participating restaurants — from BrewRiver GastroPub and Somm Wine Bar to Trio Bistro, Metropole and many more — to present curated prix-fixe menus for $35 or less. Menus are viewable online (and in the GCRW insert) so you can make an itinerary to dine from Over-the-Rhine and downtown to the ’burbs. Keep your eyes peeled for special bourbon cocktails from sponsor Maker’s Mark. Through Oct. 1. Prices vary. Find a full list of participating restaurants at greatercincinnatirestaurantweek.com. — MAIJA ZUMMO

from outdoor scavenger hunts and honey harvests to adventure hikes, fly fishing and bird walks. There will be more than 100 events taking place throughout the weekend — and they’re all free. Browse the calendar online and find an event near you. Saturday and Sunday. Free. Find a calendar of events at meetmeoutdoors.org/ greatoutdoorweekend. — MAIJA ZUMMO

SUNDAY 24

EVENT: GREAT OHIO RIVER SWIM Get ready to get wet — the Great Ohio River Swim open water competition takes place this Sunday. The race is open to men, women

MONDAY 25

MUSIC: Husband-and-wife Doom Metal outfit CASTLE heads to the Northside Yacht Club. See interview on page 34.

ONGOING shows ONSTAGE A Midsummer Night’s Dream Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Over-the-Rhine (through Sept. 30)

Over-the-Rhine + 16-BitBar.com

C I T Y B E A T . C O M   •  S E P T . 2 0   –   2 6 , 2 0 1 7   •  2 3

EVENT: FIRE UP THE NIGHT Coney Island’s annual Fire Up the Night international fireworks competition is bigger and better this year: The 2017 event will feature three previous years’ winners — Portugal, Japan and Greece — going head to head for international bragging rights, with a finale by Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks. Admission includes parking, Coney Island’s fun rides, entry to the “empty pool” party, live stage entertainment and the Cruise-APalooza classic car show. Gates open at 4 p.m.; competition begins at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. $25 per car. Coney Island, 6201 Kellogg Ave., California, coneyislandpark. com. — KENNEDY PONDER

and children with waves for different age groups and genders. The Ohio River will be shut to traffic to ensure swimmer safety, and the 900-yard course goes from the Serpentine Wall to Kentucky and back to the boat ramp at Public Landing. Nervous about swimming in open water? Get there early for an open water swim clinic at 7:30 a.m. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, this year’s swim is dedicated to Bill Keating Jr., who recently lost his battle with brain cancer; Keating was the first man to win the Great Ohio River Swim. Check in begins at 6:15 a.m.; swim begins 8:15 a.m. Sunday. Registration $25$50. Serpentine Wall, Sawyer Point, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Downtown, greatohioriverswim.com. — ALISON BAXTER


2 4   •   C I T Y B E A T . C O M   •   S E P T . 2 0  –  2 6 , 2 0 1 7

GREEN MEANS GO!

NOW THRU OCTOBER 15 ONLY ARONOFF CENTER HURRY FOR THE BEST SEATS CincinnatiArts.org • 513-621-ARTS PRESENTED BY


arts & culture

Both Sides Now

Wallace Shawn, beloved family-film star and provocative writer, celebrates his two careers at events this weekend BY JASON GARGANO

PHOTO : Serge Nivelle ( lef t ) ; provided

W

Wallace Shawn today (left) and in 1987’s beloved The Princess Bride give a talk at a conference, and by chance my friend is also a publisher. He said, ‘Why don’t you turn your talk into a book?’ And I was eager to do that.” What Shawn has learned about the world is distilled in the book through what he calls the Lucky vs. the Unlucky. “For the lucky ones on the banks of the Nile, the lucky ones who were right there in the right place at the right time when the river overflowed, it was all fantastic,” he writes early in Night Thoughts. “More could be grown than they even needed — a surplus! How amazing! So, should the surplus be shared with the less lucky people who lived farther from the river and had less fertile soil? No!” Flash forward to our contemporary situation — we now have a president who was lucky enough to have been born in the most powerful nation on Earth, to a father who gave him a head start unimaginable to all but a miniscule few. “The United States, from the point of view of someone in Latin America or Asia or the Middle East, has looked like a swaggering bully, drunk with itself — that’s Trump,” Shawn says, his voice a little deeper on cellphone than in his various movie roles. “He’s just a personification of what the United States has looked like for a long time.”

Shawn says the rise of Trump is the culmination of a political and cultural system that has been going down the wrong road for decades now. “I could have written the book, and did write this book, before that particular individual became president,” Shawn says. “I’ve been thinking about these things for many decades, and I suppose why I wrote this book now had more to do with the fact that I thought I was reaching a certain age where if I waited for another year or two or 10, it might be too late. Once you’re dead, you can’t write any books at all.” Shawn speaks in a deliberate manner. He takes his thoughts seriously, unlike the man who currently occupies the White House. “Trump to me is just a kind of exaggeration really of the way our country has looked to less privileged people in the United States and around the world during my lifetime,” Shawn says. “He says things very recklessly. He’s ignorant of history. When he speaks, I don’t think he hears that he’s echoing certain things from the 1930s that ended in millions of people being exterminated.” Serious, sobering thoughts from a man who is best known by kids everywhere as the voice of Rex, the amusing Tyrannosaurs Rex character in the Toy Story movies.

Which brings us back to the curious, almost bipolar, nature of Shawn’s life and career. The Princess Bride is in the midst of its 30th anniversary and Shawn has been attending various conventions around the country that are celebrating that fact. “I’d never heard of them up until this year, but now I’m addicted,” Shawn says of the convention circuit. “I meet as many people as a politician would, but I can have a little exchange with them. Pretty much everybody there is extremely friendly to me.” “That’s a kind of fantasy, like a dream that almost anybody might have,” he continues. “But instead of having people come up to you and say why they feel you’ve fallen short or why they think your ideas about life are totally wrong, people come up to me and say very nice things. It’s absolutely addictive. It’s mindboggling. It’s exciting for me. It’s an unusual experience in my or really anybody’s life.” WALLACE SHAWN will appear at Joseph-Beth Booksellers (2692 Madison Road, Rookwood Pavilion) at 7 p.m. Friday. More info: josephbeth. com. Cincinnati Comic Expo occurs Friday-Sunday at downtown’s Duke Energy Convention Center. More info: cincinnaticomicexpo.com.

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allace Shawn is a curious case. The 73-year-old native (and still) New Yorker is best known for his character actor turns in enduring mainstream movies like The Princess Bride and Clueless — a distinctive, amusing presence marked by his diminutive size and high-pitched speaking voice. He’ll be one of the many film and TV stars at this weekend’s Cincinnati Comic Expo at Duke Energy Convention Center; he’s here on Saturday and Sunday to meet and greet fans of his work in such fantasies as the aforementioned Princess Bride, Toy Story (the voice of Rex) and the series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. But his real, if lesser seen, big-screen breakthrough came courtesy of 1981’s My Dinner with Andre, a semiautobiographical philosophical comedy of sorts in which Shawn and his buddy — the theater actor, director and writer Andre Gregory — sit in a Manhattan restaurant and talk about everything from Gregory’s spiritual and artistic adventures to Shawn’s love of a good cup of coffee. It’s a provocative, often funny little movie that revealed Shawn’s humanist approach to life and politics. It has become an indie classic. Which brings us to Shawn’s far lesser known work as a writer: His latest book, the recently published Night Thoughts, is an incisive 75-page essay about nothing less than the story of civilization and how he is “upset about what my species has turned out to be — the species that went mad and destroyed the planet,” as he writes. At 7 p.m. Friday, a day ahead of his Comic Expo appearances, he’ll be discussing and signing copies of that highly literary and intellectual book at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati’s Rookwood Pavilion. In fact, Shawn had been investigating his interest in humanism and leftist politics for more than a decade before My Dinner with Andre. He’s also a playwright of some accomplishment and controversy — his 1977 play, A Thought in Three Parts, was allegedly investigated by a London vice squad and attacked in Parliament for its pornographic content — and is the author of a previous collection of political essays, 2009’s succinctly titled Essays, which Toni Morrison rightly called “lovely, hilarious and seriously thought-provoking.” “I’ve written essays before, but I thought, ‘I’m going to write one sort of long essay which contains everything I think I’ve learned about the world and to throw it out there,’ ” Shawn says about Night Thoughts by phone from his apartment in New York City. “I also had been invited by a friend to


a&c the big picture

Finding Architecture’s Soul in ‘Columbus’

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BY STEVEN ROSEN

If you’re interested in architecture, you Columbus — just another delusion about our may know that Columbus, Ind. — a small ability to control our futures? city just 90 miles west of Cincinnati — is Such philosophical depth and complexity one of America’s most important showcases demand a lot from a movie. But Columbus for Modernist buildings. succeeds smashingly, hugely aided by That, in itself, makes Columbus special. cinematographer Elisha Christian. It is But now, a new movie called Columbus — a naturalistically Minimalist in style, with dramatic film, not a documentary — finds an quiet dialogue, introspective music and even deeper meaning in the city’s commitenvironmental sounds, long takes and ment to newness in architecture. It sees in pronounced edits. Yet it’s nevertheless emoColumbus a beautiful but haunted metaphor tional because the screenplay is wise in its for life and the hopes, dreams, delusions, perunderstanding of the human condition. sonal struggles and quest for meaning we all have. The film, which is one of the year’s best, opens Friday at the Esquire Theatre. I’d give it an A. A little background on Columbus the city is appropriate. As the Visit Columbus Indiana website explains, the city “is one of the rare places on Earth where the idea that architecture can improve the human condition has been put to the test.” The force behind this was the late Irwin Miller, a forward-thinking industrialist (his family Haley Lu Richardson and John Cho star in the dramatic film. founded the city’s Cummins P H O T O : e l i s h a c h r i s t i a n / c o u r t e s y o f s u p e r l at i v e f i l m s a n d d e pth o f f i e l d Engine Co.) who saw in Modernist architecture a symbol of a better future. Its openness — a reliance The film features John Cho (Harold & on glass, love of clean and uncluttered Kumar Go to White Castle) as the estranged lines, disavowal of pretentious decoration — Korean-born son of a noted Korean architecseemed part of its search for truthfulness. tural historian living in the U.S. His father’s The first building that Miller wanted, grave illness brings the son to Columbus to Eliel Saarinen’s 1942 First Christian Church, stand vigil, and he’s angry about it. He seems has a subtle stone cross embedded in the to hate architecture, although maybe he’s limestone façade that’s so mirage-like it just angry about his father’s devotion to this could float out and hover in the air. In 1957, city at his son’s expense. Saarinen’s son Eero designed Miller’s home, But in Columbus, waiting around for which now is open to the public and has his father to die, he meets a young woman become recognized as one of America’s from a working-class background who is most important post-World War II homes. struggling to live better. Played incredibly Other important architects who have done soulfully by Haley Lu Richardson, she has public structures in Columbus include I.M. developed a fascination with the mysterPei, Harry Weese, Robert Venturi, Deborah ies of Modernism. To her, it is truly frozen Berke and Gunnar Birkerts. poetry — and she’s trying to find a vocabuTo this heritage now comes the movie lary to express that. Columbus, directed and written by KogoThough there is an age difference, they nada — the single name favored by a South develop a friendship. Her interest seems to Korea-born filmmaker who is an acolyte of point to a promising future in architecture, the great Japanese director Yasujiroō Ozu but she’s afraid to leave a single mother (1953’s Tokyo Story). He clearly loves and (Michelle Forbes) recovering from drug dwells on the architecture — for instance, he use and a hard life in general. sees in the tall and seemingly endless spire Their stories play out quietly, but proof Eero Saarinen’s 1964 North Christian foundly. One of the film’s last shots is of Church, which otherwise has an unassuming the bright red steel beams of a Modernist exterior, a kind of protector for all who live bridge. It is to be admired as an art object, below it. But Kogonada also has an existenbut also something you have to cross when tial question for Modernism — and, thus, for you come to it. Columbus memorably Columbus: What good is its optimism against takes you to it. the inevitability of death and disease? Does CONTACT STEVEN ROSEN: srosen@ citybeat.com such hopefulness make Modernism — and


a&c onstage

Fire and Folk Tunes: ‘The Arsonists’ at Know BY RICK PENDER

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Know Theatre’s Tamara Winters is funny — and also touching and full of grief staging the company’s next production, and hope,” she says. the rolling world premiere of Jacqueline Her script for The Arsonists indicates Goldfinger’s The Arsonists. She says the songs for various scenes, but she wanted to play, which opens Friday (and runs through enable flexibility and invite interpretation Oct. 14), “is about how hard it can be to let from production to production. “While it’s go of what we cling to for survival, when it’s technically the same traditional songs, in no longer helping us survive.” She adds that some theaters they do them with a harthe playwright “has crafted a cathartic tale monica and change the arrangement. In of the intensity of love and the power of consome, they do them with two guitars. The nection, threaded together with unforgetmusic is specific, but it’s malleable enough table classic American melodies.” to fit whatever vision the director wants to Goldfinger, a Philadelphiabased playwright born and raised in south Florida, has written a Southern Gothic tale set deep in the Florida swamps about a father-daughter arson team. The Arsonists is part of a trilogy of plays about spooky events in the Everglades, a setting that’s ripe for visual, emotional storytelling. The Terrible Girls is a dark comedy about women who kill and bury their boyfriends in the walls of a café where they work; Skin and Bone is about a set Erin Ward and Jim Stark in Jacqueline Goldfinger’s new play of cannibal grandmothers. PHOTO : dan r. winters Initially, Goldfinger considered adapting Sophocles’ Electra, an ancient Greek tragedy about a fill the space in the text.” Winters has been daughter grieving her father’s death. “But rehearsing with her two-person cast, who as I did a deeper dive into the literature, I are creating their own arrangements of the found that that story has been adapted and classic Americana Folk songs that weave readapted so often that I wasn’t sure we together the threads of Goldfinger’s play. Vetneeded another adaptation,” the playwright eran regional actor Jim Stark, who teaches says. Instead, she turned to the ancient story theater at Hanover College, plays the father; as a loose inspiration for her new play. “The Erin Ward, a Northern Kentucky University Everglades was the perfect place to set this theater grad who has done a lot of improv mythical story, transforming Electra’s story and Fringe shows as well as an acting internof family connection into American myth.” ship at the Cincinnati Playhouse, makes her Goldfinger recalls, “It can be so dry in the Know mainstage debut as the daughter. Everglades that you can have these fires In The Arsonists, after a job goes bad, that just rage. Sometimes they’re set by peothe daughter is torn between keeping her ple, sometimes by nature — and sometimes family whole and putting her father’s spirit you don’t know.” Setting fires brought necesto rest. Goldfinger says the play’s bottomsary elements together for her script. “To line appeal is the fact that “often we don’t have a father-daughter team with arson as a realize how much we love someone until legacy passed down by generations allowed they are gone. Rather than wait for my me to connect with the mythic nature of father to die, I’m going to tell him how much Electra and her family’s journey while also he means to me.” In fact, Goldfinger calls making it very specifically American and her play “a love letter to my father.” talking about us today.” This is just the second production for The Goldfinger has powerfully employed Arsonists. Know’s Artistic Director Andrew music in her concept. The ancient Greek Hungerford says, “It’s exciting to join complay had “huge monologue moments that panies across the country in the creation express very deeply held emotions” and she of new work. I’m thrilled that this beautiful felt songs would be a good choice to replace new play is our third foray into this kind of these moments. As the daughter of an national theatrical conversation.” amateur musician, Goldfinger grew up with THE ARSONISTS is onstage at Know Theatre, Americana and Folk tunes. “I chose songs 1120 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine, Friday through prevalent in the region that two characters Oct. 14. Tickets/more info: knowtheatre.com. could play and be interesting, moving and


a&c film

The Best Films at This Year’s Toronto Film Festival

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BY T T STERN-ENZI

At the just-concluded Toronto Internaand appreciate how she has tapped into tional Film Festival, which presents many her own story of growing up in Northern movies destined to be factors in the end-ofCalifornia. She captures the longing of year awards, every major title jockeys for Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse attention. Film journalists converge from Ronan) to break free from a stifling family around the world to start critical conversaand community with an assurance that tions about their worth that will last until recalls the lived-in reality of a year of Richthe Academy Awards presentation in early ard Linklater’s Boyhood. March 2018. • Every Guillermo del Toro fan has a film However that plays out, I certainly saw that stands as the absolute representation some notable films screening at Toronto of what they love about his complete and this year. There was The Square, from utter surrendering to the fantastic and Ruben Östlund, which earned the Palme surreal. The comic book crowd can’t get d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as enough of the graphic pulp found in Blade the Cincinnati-filmed The Killing of a Sacred Deer, which snagged Best Screenplay at Cannes. The Shape of Water, from Guillermo del Toro, took the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival mere days before its unveiling at Toronto, which meant it rocketed to the top of quite a few must-see lists. Heading into this year’s event, I had the sense that there would be several female filmmakers on my must-see list. Writer-director Dee Rees definitely held a Louis C.K. stars in and directs I Love You, Daddy. spot near the top, as I had P H O T O : c o u r t e s y o f th e to r o n to i n t e r n at i o n a l f i l m f e s t i va l seen her powerful debut feature Pariah at Toronto in 2011. The new Mudbound II and the Hellboy movies. Some love the heralds a monumental step forward for mythic reimaginings and gothic stylings of Rees, who proves to be an adept translaCronos and Crimson Peak, while others tor of narrative period fiction — the film is based on an award-winning novel by Hillary appreciate the dark fairy tale allure of Pan’s Jordan — while also illuminating tragic Labyrinth. With The Shape of Water, del contemporary reflections that can so easily Toro has — like a magus of the first order trip up other celebrated and well-intended — concocted a strange and steaming brew filmmakers (see Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit). that combines all of these elements into a Her film captures the two sides of America romantic fairy tale for adults. — black and white — forever stuck in a • There has always been a comic black hole racial mudslide, yet offers up an ending far at the center of Martin McDonagh’s work. As happier than we deserve. • Back in 2012, I agreed to a phone interview offered with actress Greta Gerwig in support of Lola Versus, an indie comedy about a young woman’s misadventures in love and life on the cusp of turning 30. I was intrigued because I wanted to see if there was more to Gerwig than this typecast persona. I sensed she was on the verge of discovering another layer, dormant and waiting inside. Five years later, it is a truly marvelous surprise The late Sammy Davis Jr. is the subject of I’ve Gotta Be Me. to watch Lady Bird, GerP H O T O : c o u r t e s y o f th e to r o n to i n t e r n at i o n a l f i l m f e s t i va l wig’s solo directorial debut,

This film is a sensual case study of how moments can define a life. • It will be a shame if the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences somehow overlooks the wonderfully human and humane work of Willem Dafoe in Sean Baker’s The Florida Project. The film revolves around the giddy and mischievous adventures of 6-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince), who lives with her mother Jason Mitchell (left) and Garrett Hedlund in Mudbound among a community of P H O T O : c o u r t e s y o f th e T o r o n to i n t e r n at i o n a l f i l m f e s t i va l outcasts in the shadows of Disney World. Baker, followa writer-director, he’s given us In Bruges ing the edgy and experimental vision of his (which earned a nomination for Best Original previous Tangerine, continues to set his Screenplay at the 2009 Academy Awards) gaze on forgotten and invisible people on and Seven Psychopaths, but I’m not sure the margins, but Dafoe reminds us that real those films came close to preparing us for kindness exists everywhere. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Mis• How did Louis C.K. keep I Love You, souri. Rather than focusing on a collection Daddy a secret during its filming? When of daft and dank career criminals, here he you’re shooting a 35mm film in black and centers on a mother (Frances McDormand) white all around New York, you assume going to extraordinary lengths to get justice word is going to get out, since social for her murdered daughter. Notions of right media is all- seeing, right? Well, he did it and wrong take a cruel beating at every turn, and he distilled all of his neuroses about fame, success, parenthood and scandal into a lethally addictive cocktail about a famous writer (C.K.) trying to raise his daughter (Chloë Grace Moretz) and protect her from the trappings of his celebrity. As a parent, I found I Love You, Daddy tough to sit through because, despite the very real class and social distinctions, it is still an alltoo relatable experience. • Samuel D. Pollard’s documentary Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Frances McDormand’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Me is a sad reminder that P H O T O : c o u r t e s y o f th e to r o n to i n t e r n at i o n a l f i l m f e s t i va l certain social and cultural realities will never die. Sammy Davis Jr. was a legendary talent, a but somehow McDonagh never loses sight of one-of-a-kind entertainer who literally did the redemptive power of forgiveness. it all. He played a variety of instruments, • Outside his dual turn as the Winklevoss sang, danced, acted and performed standbrothers in The Social Network, I’ve never up comedy like a virtuoso. Unfortunately, understood the appeal of Armie Hammer he also served in the military for a country beyond his hulking blond presence. But Luca that didn’t recognize his humanity, loved Guadagnino (A Bigger Splash) expertly women deemed inappropriate for him employs Hammer’s all-American physicality because of his race and attempted to stand to great effect in Call Me by Your Name, with an oppressed community by whom contrasting it with the precociousness of an he never truly felt accepted. Pollard’s film American-Italian teen (Timothée Chalamet) shows us that no one, other than Sammy as the two characters gradually discover and Davis Jr., could have been him. begin to act upon their mutual attraction CONTACT TT STERN-ENZI: letters@ citybeat.com during the summer of 1983 in northern Italy.


a&c television

Murder, Motive and Memories in ‘The Sinner’ BY JAC KERN

Exhibitions and Events Anila Quayyum Agha: All The Flowers Are For Me Now–October 15, 2017 William Kentridge: More Sweetly Play the Dance Now–January 28, 2018 Ana England: Kinship September 8, 2017–March 4, 2018

Art in Bloom October 26–29, 2017 Albrecht Dürer: The Age of Reformation and Renaissance November 17, 2017–February 11, 2018 Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China April 20–August 12, 2018

Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion October 13, 2017–January 7, 2018

Art After Dark Final Fridays

cincinnatiartmuseum.org

General operating support generously provided by:

Anila Quayyum Agha (b. 1965), All the Flowers Are for Me (Red), laser-cut lacquered steel and lightbulb, Alice Bimel Endowment for Asian Art, 2017.7

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What’s more terrifying: a cold, calcupsychologist — recovering repressed memolated murder by an evil villain or an unsusries can be a dangerous game with inacpecting woman who snaps sans motive curate results — Cora revisits the 20-some to commit a heinous crime? Based on the years before she became a wife and mom. novel by Petra Hammesfahr, The Sinner Much like no one on that beach could have (Series Finale, 10 p.m. Wednesday, USA predicted her behavior, few would guess Network) poses this question when the Cora had such a troublesome upbringing. But unassuming Cora Tannetti (Jessica Biel) it is in her complicated past that we eventuattacks a stranger, unprovoked. ally find answers, buried deep in her psyche. The mystery, then, in this compelling Cora survived a staunchly religious, eight-part thriller is not the “who,” but the sheltered upbringing with a spiteful mother “why.” The Sinner is akin to fellow miniseries and gravely ill sister. Her desire to escape The Night Of and Big Little Lies (both recent Emmy Award winners) in that a murder occurs in the first episode, but the details surrounding the killing — in this case, motive — are slowly revealed week by week. Before the attack, it’s clear Cora is battling some internal struggle — her detachment from her husband Mason (Christopher Abbott, Girls) and an ominous swim into open water, sinking below for a little too long, foreshadow a dark turn as the series Jessica Biel is The Sinner’s Cora Tannetti. opens. But they don’t explain PHOTO : courtesy of usa net work why, in a split second, Cora would stab a man repeatedly on the populated shore of a picturesque leads Cora down a dangerous path, though lake, her family’s relaxing beach day coming it’s obvious she would be just as messed up to a screeching halt. She immediately tries if she never escaped her family. Her mother to comfort the wife he was kissing just blames young Cora — “the sinner” — for sismoments before, as if she’s protecting her. ter Phoebe’s sickly state and the two young While Cora is a sympathetic enough charwomen develop a demented codependent acter as a beautiful young wife and mother, relationship, with Phoebe pushing Cora into no one comes to her defense — even Mason situations for the younger sister to experiinitially ignores her call from jail. After ence vicariously — and eventually first-hand. all, what could possibly justify this act? In As the story unfolds, current-day scenes fact, Cora is eager to accept her punishment, are spliced with flashbacks. Cora’s recovered foregoing a lawyer or even public defender. memories result in hits and misses for her She knows she committed a horrible crime, case. With every clue and answer she unveils just not why. While Mason eventually takes comes a dead-end or misplaced memory. We action to help his wife, Cora has another must take a note from Gone Girl and Girl on ally in her corner — Detective Harry a Train (also novels adapted for screen) and Ambrose (Bill Pullman). While hers is an question whether Cora is a reliable source. open-and-shut case for the D.A., Ambrose The puzzle pieces of this slow-burner is one of the few in law enforcement asking begin to come together and Cora’s motive the same questions as the audience. There’s becomes clear, but the truth reveals a web of much more to this story, and he’s deterabuse that reaches far beyond Cora. mined to get to the bottom of it. The beautifully shot miniseries is a win for Ambrose is an odd bird — he connects USA Network, which is raising the bar on its more with nature than other people, includprogramming with offerings like Mr. Robot. ing the wife he’s trying to reconnect with It’s an opportunity of a lifetime for Biel, who after a separation. He sees something in hasn’t had a regular TV role since playing Cora, and, in a fragile and confused state, Mary Camden on the squeaky-clean family she’s able to trust him in return. drama 7th Heaven. To see her embrace such In his conversations and interviews with a gritty, layered character — and the execuCora, he discovers she is missing significant tive-producer role — is refreshing, much like chunks of memory. If she can dig them up, this female-driven drama itself. they might find an answer to why she killed CONTACT JAC KERN: @jackern this man. With the assistance of a reluctant


AN IRISH WHISKEY, SCOTCH ANd cRAFT BEER TASTING EVENT

OCTOber 5th • 5:30-8:30 Pm New Riff Distillery // Newport, Ky

FOR TICKETS AND MORE INFORMATION:

citybeat.com/citybeat/events

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Early bird tickets available at The Party Source: $2 General admission tickets available online: $25

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FOOD & DRINK

Raising the Wine Bar

Hyde Park’s Cork & Cap gives off Italian café vibes with a clever menu of whites, reds, light bites and more REVIEW BY PAMA MITCHELL

E

and luscious, reminiscent of the warmth and density of the tropics”) for a couple of serious California chardonnays and an intriguing Spanish Godello? Despite those intriguing options and a short but well-chosen selection of wines by the glass, I couldn’t resist the Italian wine flight ($15). My husband and I had visited northern Italy this summer and the offering of three half-glasses of wines from those regions went perfectly with the food my friend and I had ordered. While I sipped the two white and one red wines, my friend enjoyed a strong and (she said) very creditable Manhattan on the rocks ($10). Later, we each had a glass of the Italian red that was part of my flight, a medium-bodied Super Tuscan. I was impressed by the attentiveness and knowledge — especially about the wines — of every staffer we encountered. They paid just enough attention to us so that we felt unhurried while also competently served. Dinner was simple but satisfying: We each had a grilled Caesar salad that topped a nicely charred grilled romaine with croutons, diced tomatoes, shaved parmesan, herbs and a creamy dressing ($9), and then we split a grilled pizza. I love the smoky flavor of grilled romaine, as well as other grilled lettuces, such as radicchio, and this version hit all the right notes. Our wild mushroom pizza ($15) came bubbling hot with a finish of arugula salad, which reminded us of how pizza often is served in Italy. We lingered into the evening on one of the patios — there are two adjacent outdoor spaces, decorated somewhat differently. I found out later that the difference resulted from Cork & Cap having to remove a dead shade tree from one side, which required re-engineering and leveling the space. While they were at it, they replaced the tables and chairs. Barthelmas said that by next season they hope to partially cover one side to create an “Italian café” ambience. Dessert choices are minimal, but Barthelmas said that is a conscious decision that management made, in part because Graeter’s is just across the square and has been such an important anchor to the neighborhood. “We would love to turn Cork & Cap into a Hyde Park staple — a 30-year-plus restaurant catering to the needs of the Hyde Park community,” he added. “We don’t necessarily strive to be the greatest restaurant in Hyde Park, we just want to be everyone’s favorite.”

The menu at Cork & Cap focuses on good wine and grilled pizza.

Cork & Cap GO: 2637 Erie Ave., Hyde Park; CALL: 513-321-5227; INTERNET: corkandcapofhydepark. com; HOURS: 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-11 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday.

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ven though it’s a Cincinnati neighborhood, Hyde Park feels like the suburbs to me. The chain restaurants in nearby shopping centers, some of which are technically in Norwood, make the area feel relatively homogenous. An exception to this vibe does exist in and adjacent to Hyde Park Square, an area that has an urbanvillage feel, although still populated mostly by white folks. A few of Hyde Park’s more interesting independent restaurants cluster near the Square, as well. Tucked in a corner at one end of the Square proper is Cork & Cap, an establishment that opened more than a year ago with a wine bar focus that has rapidly evolved into a nice little restaurant. A friend of mine goes there often and invited me to join her one lovely evening. It was my first visit since it replaced the former J Bar Pizzeria, which took over the long-running spot of Indigo Café for a little while in April 2016. The fact that we hit a perfect summer evening for relaxing on their large patio certainly helped to make me fall a little in love with the place, but that’s not the whole story. I’m all about the food when I eat out — you have to deliver on that score or all the clear skies and mild breezes on Earth won’t get me back again. Happily, Cork & Cap passed that test. A selection of grilled pizza anchors the menu, with a couple of salads, casual small plates and a section of “mains” that range from burgers and sandwiches to one salmon entrée. There are also charcuterie and cheese offerings that you can mix and match. A selection of three, chosen from six meats and six cheeses, runs $18, while a plate of six is $36. Manager Kyle Barthelmas says the original concept was a wine bar with “boutique wines from around the globe while offering a selection of fresh, from-scratch food options.” The principal owner is Abed Keis, a Hyde Park C.P.A., who delegates most of the food and drink decisions to Barthelmas and chef Crystal Swieton. Given that Cork & Cap started as a wine bar, wine lovers will be happy to know that your grapey choices are many and varied. Clever minds organized the 70-bottle list into a dozen descriptive categories such as The Garden (“floral and aromatic, fresh and adventurous”) for white wines from parts of France, Spain, Germany and elsewhere, or Smoke (“rich and powerful wines with a dark side, laden with ripe, dark fruit”) for an array of California, Washington state and international reds. Or how about The Jungle (“tropical, rich

PHOTO : haile y bollinger


F&D THE DISH

Incubator Kitchen Yields Velveteen Chocolate BY LEYLA SHOKOOHE

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Sherri Prentiss loves chocolate. The vice Prentiss is also committed to educating president of marketing for the Cincinnati consumers on the chocolate she sources. Symphony Orchestra has taken her fondness She traveled to Costa Rica earlier this year, for cacao, cocoa and their resultant confecmeeting the workers who help bring her end tions and turned it into a pretty sweet side product to life. business called Velveteen Chocolate. “I spent time on a lot of organic cacao A lifelong chocolate fan, Prentiss began farms and actually harvested some cacao to indulge her sweet tooth in a more serious and talked directly to the farmers about way last year, traveling abroad to learn their connection to the final product,” she about the craft of making chocolate and says. “It wasn’t until just recently with the earning her maître chocolatier certification sweep of the craft chocolate movement at the Valrhona Ecole du Grand Chocolat where these farmers actually got to taste in France. She was smitten and enrolled what their beans became.” in the inaugural ArtWorks CO.STARTERS: Kitchen Edition entrepreneurship program upon her return stateside. “I came back from France a certified chocolatier, but was kind of afraid to launch,” she says. “I was afraid to take that first box of chocolates and go out and pound the pavement and have someone carry it and consume it. That’s very scary.” The 12-week Kitchen Edition program required three hours of onsite time each French-trained Sherri Prentiss is a “micro-batch” chocolatier. week at the Findlay Kitchen, PHOTO : provided a food incubator affiliated with Findlay Market. (The program is now nine weeks.) Prentiss and Velveteen Chocolate is not available for her fellow CO.STARTERS learned from a purchase online yet, and Prentiss is not different food entrepreneur every week. taking any custom orders, but that works “It was an amazing experience,” she says. perfectly for her micro-batch business model. A self-described “micro-batch chocolatier,” “Making chocolates is fun and exciting, Prentiss focuses on two or three flavors at a and I think it’s been helpful getting my time when making her confections. brand out, but that’s not where my focus “I try to experiment as much as possible is,” she says. “Part of what I learned from with new flavors,” she says. “I am inspired by going through the CO.STARTERS program a number of things, from the season to a paris where the white space is in the market, ticular holiday to an event I’m creating for.” and it’s really around events, tastings, pairAs a chocolatier, she doesn’t roast or grind ings — public and private — and hands-on her own cocoa beans, but rather uses the chocolate-making classes.” chocolate made from that process to create She held a recent chocolate tasting at confections. Prentiss gets her traceable, Skeleton Root winery with local Lamp Post ethically sourced chocolate primarily from Cheese and she’ll be on hand at this weekFrance, Belgium and Switzerland and is comend’s Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic and mitted to using local ingredients as much as concert:nova’s Bittersweet: food, chocolate possible — Snowville Creamery dairy and + music event Oct. 22 at Dutch’s. spices from Colonel De’s, for example. “I sum it up as connecting people to chocoVelveteen Chocolate is currently sold at late. My goal is not really to compete but Madison’s and OTR Candy Bar at Findlay to collaborate,” Prentiss says. “We have an Market, where offerings include dark chocoamazing bean-to-bar maker here in Cincinlate passion fruit truffles and milk chocolate nati: Maverick. We have other chocolatiers in hazelnut praline squares. The latter’s filling the market, Shalini Latour being one of them. is thick and creamy, with just the right ... I want to elevate the work that (they’re) amount of hazelnut flavor and a satisfydoing at the same time as connecting people ing crunch of praline. The passion fruit is to craft chocolate in general. That’s where smooth with a surprise liquid-y filling. I’m really excited about collaboration.” “I’m not into flavor combinations just to For more on VELVETEEN CHOCOLATE and be ‘unexpected,’ ” Prentiss says. “They still upcoming events, visit velveteenchocolate.com. have to be delicious.”


F&D classes & events Most classes and events require registration; classes frequently sell out.

WEDNESDAY 20

Groceries & Grilling: Italian Night — Head to Findlay Market for late-night market hours and special Wednesday grilling parties. Guests will get the recipe and list of ingredients so they can shop and then grill the recipe onsite. 5-8 p.m. Free admission. Findlay Market, 1801 Race St., Over-theRhine, findlaymarket.org.

THURSDAY 21

Hands-On Salmon on the Grill — Conquer your fear of grilling fish. Menu includes prosciutto-and-nut-stuffed dates, picked nectarine salad, grilled salmon with orzo and lemon poppy seed cake. 6-8:30 p.m. $75. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, junglejims.com.

Chocolate: From Plantation to Sweet Treat with Lisa Cooper-Holmes — This hands-on class includes a history lesson and recipes for haute cocoa mix, truffles, nut and fruit bark and nutty clusters. 6:30-9 p.m. $55. Cooks’Wares, 11344 Montgomery Road, Harper’s Point, cookswaresonline.com.

FRIDAY 22

Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic — More than 150 culinary stars descend upon Yeatman’s Cove for two days of tastings, demos, cooking classes and more. 5-9:30 p.m. Friday; 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Saturday. $95-$330. Yeatman’s Cove, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Downtown, cincinnatifoodandwineclassic.com. Cincinnati Food Truck Association Street Food Festival — Head to Summit Park for a daylong fest featuring local music and local food trucks, including Bones Brothers Wings, c’est cheese, Chicken Mac Truck, Cuban Pete, Hungry Bros. and a ton more. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Free admission. Summit Park, 4335 Glendale Milford Road, Blue Ash, cftafoodfest.com.

Date Night: India at Home — This menu features the most popular Indian dishes at American-Indian restaurants: tandoori chicken, saag paneer, chicken makhani and jeera chawal. 6-8 p.m. $155. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester, thelearningkitchen.com. Streetcar Brewery Tour — Cincy Brew Bus uses the Cincinnati Connector to visit three local breweries, incorporating tastings, tours, history and architecture. 1 p.m. Friday. $20-$35. Meets at Taft’s Ale House,

Newport Oktoberfest — Head to the Newport riverfront for three days of German music, food and bier. There will be a Munich-style fest tent sponsored by German breweries. Friday-Sunday. Free admission. Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., facebook.com/newportoktoberfest. Golden Lamb Beer Dinner with Taft’s — Golden Lamb hosts Taft’s Ale House for a dinner featuring five courses paired with Taft’s brews. Reps from both establishments will be on hand to discuss tasting notes and history. 7-10 p.m. $45. The Golden Lamb, 27 S. Broadway St., Lebanon, facebook.com/thegoldenlamb.

SATURDAY 23

Fifty Fest — Local beer, local food and local music collide at the annual Fifty Fest. Participating breweries include everyone from Cellar Dwellar, Rivertown and Taft’s to Fat Head’s, Braxton and Louisville’s Goodwood. Along with live music from the likes of Brian Olive, Hot Magnolias, Heavy Hinges and Perfect Children, there will be barbecue, pizza, franks and plenty of bites from Fifty West’s in-house bistro. Noon-midnight. $10. Fifty West Brewing Co., 7668 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, fiftyfest.fiftywestbrew.com.

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Taste of Liberty — Head to Liberty Center for the second-annual Taste of Liberty food festival. Sample eats from restaurants including BIBIBOP, Cooper’s Hawk, Kona, Cantina Laredo and more. All of the funds raised will benefit the mission and operations of Hannah’s Treasure Chest children’s nonprofit. 1-5 p.m. $15; free children 12 and under. Liberty Center, 7100 Foundry Row, Liberty Township, eventbrite.com/e/ taste-of-liberty-2017-tickets-36471807157.

MONDAY 25

CityBeat’s Greater Cincinnati Restaurant Week — Greater Cincinnati restaurants come together to offer excellent prix-fixe multi-course menus. Participating eateries include Banana Leaf Modern Thai, Brown Dog Café, Cinque Ristorante, The Golden Lamb, Metropole, Pompilios and more. Featuring specialty cocktails from sponsor Maker’s Mark. Through Oct. 1. More info at greatercincinnatirestaurantweek.com.

TUESDAY 26

A Tour of Asia — Take a culinary tour of Asia. Menu includes wild mushroom potstickers, teriyaki salmon over braised leeks, tempura-fried banana split with lemongrasscarmel sauce and crab and asparagus soup. 6-8:30 p.m. $55. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, junglejims.com.

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Glendale Craft Beer & Wine Festival — The 53rd-annual fest will feature tons of craft beer, fine wine, food, vendor booths and live music. 5-11 p.m. Friday; noon-11 p.m. Saturday. Free admission. 30 Village Square, Glendale, glendalecraftbeerwinefestival.com.

1429 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, cincybrewbus.com.


music

Witching Well

After a stint in Los Angeles, Doom/Hard Rock duo Castle now calls the road home BY BILL FORMAN

PHOTO : E arsplit PR

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“L

iz can only remember the lyrics when she’s onstage,” says Castle guitarist Mat Davis with a laugh. “She blocks them out any other time.” Vocalist Elizabeth Blackwell, who serves double duty as Castle’s bassist, can be forgiven for momentarily drawing a blank when asked the specific wording of a lyric from Castle’s latest album, last year’s Welcome to the Graveyard. She is, after all, at the wheel of the van as the affable Doom Metal outfit makes its way from Tampa to Jacksonville, Fla. It’s a city-to-city ritual that’s being re-enacted dozen of times over the course of the band’s current American tour. “ ‘Welcome to the Graveyard’ for us was like ‘Welcome to Los Angeles,’ ” Davis says of the album’s title track, written in the wake of the duo’s relocation from Northern to Southern California. “We were really overwhelmed by the city itself, and the quality of life was hard to accept on a basic human level, you know? It’s like people are just cutting each other’s throats every second they’re there.” The husband/wife team, who met seven years ago while working at San Francisco’s Noise Pop Festival, were also taken aback by their fellow emigrants, the type who grew up in small Midwestern towns and were always being told they had what it takes to make it big in Hollywood. “The street we lived on, there was a casting agency,” Davis says. “So it was an endless parade of actors and actresses and models. You always knew them because they had their headshots under their arms.” That said, the guitarist admits to liking a lot of things about L.A. and still having many friends there. But for now, the band will get by with no fixed address. “Our touring schedule is where we’re gonna basically call home,” Davis says. “And it goes much further than the dates we’ve released so far.” Castle’s work ethic — they’ll typically go two or three weeks without taking a night off — isn’t the only thing that separates the band from less serious counterparts on the road. There’s also the music. The stereotypical and all-too-true image of female-fronted Doom bands, especially those with an occult angle, is an orgy of mock-operatic wailing and/or guttural roaring. But Castle’s four albums to date are nothing like that. If anything, the duo sounds more like a latterday Black Sabbath that has kicked out Ozzy Osbourne, had a little too much coffee and recruited Patti Smith or Ann Wilson to take his place. Yes, that Ann Wilson. The

Castle often uses occult imagery but says it’s more about perception than religious dogma. Heart lead singer is on Blackwell’s short list of favorite vocalists, as are Punk poet Smith, Judas Priest’s Rob Halford and Deep Purple’s Ronnie James Dio. Blackwell’s delivery, which her bandmate refers to as a “natural kind of wailing,” doesn’t feel affected or calculated, blending easily with the more hypnotic elements of Stoner Rock and classic Metal. Metal is in the guitarist’s blood, as well. Davis grew up near Toronto and was 12 years old when he went to his first concert with his older brother and cousins. He vividly remembers watching Canadian Heavy Metal bands Helix and Kick Axe from the front row and speaks of it with the kind of enthusiasm that suggests he walked out a different person than the one who walked in. “Yes, I think I would probably say that,” he confirms. “It left a pretty big imprint. My friends and I were all playing guitar or bass, and just jamming at that point. So (that concert) was hugely inspirational on a lot of different levels — the sounds, the lights, everything — not just (jamming) in your parents’ garage or basement.” Blackwell and Davis recorded Welcome to the Graveyard in Portland, Ore. with producer Billy Anderson, whose clients

have included Sleep, Neurosis and Melvins. While Blackwell’s vocals sometimes got drowned in the mix on previous records, they’re more front-and-center this time, less enveloped by thickly layered guitars. That’s not to give the impression that the band has stripped down its arrangements. “Stripped-down, for Castle, is still pretty built up,” Davis admits. “But it just seems to be more taut, and tighter in the rhythm section. I mean, it’s not stripped down like AC/DC, but it’s definitely leaning more toward Hard Rock in a lot of spots. Which is something we’ve always had in our sound, but I think we just highlighted it here.” Lyrically, Castle still embraces occult concepts and imagery, but pulls it off without the more cartoonish trappings of some similarly inclined bands. The new album’s “Traitor’s Rune” was inspired by Aleister Crowley’s Amphora (which the occultist/ writer tricked a British Roman Catholic publishing house into issuing in the early 1900s), while 19th-century French author/ magician Eliphas Levi’s work was one of the influences behind “Flash of the Pentagram.” For the well-read Blackwell and Davis, taking inspiration from vintage literature is a practice that dates to their first album,

2011’s In Witch Order, which kicks off with “Descent of Man,” a song influenced by Scottish poet Robert Blair’s “The Grave” (famed partly for a printing that included illustrations by William Blake, one of which was titled “The Descent of Man into the Vale of Death”). Castle also borrowed some language, tone and imagery from French poet Charles Baudelaire’s “Song of Autumn” for the In Witch Order track “Total Betrayal.” “I wouldn’t call them occult in any way,” Davis says of those poets, “but they did push the boundaries of perception in their own way, whether it was through writing or the way they lived life and looked upon it.” As for Crowley’s and Levi’s tendencies toward occult magic, Davis is more interested in self-realization than sacred ritual. “I can’t really speak for other people or any religious dogma attached to any of it,” he says, “but for me, it’s more like a practical way of seeing or thinking about the world. It’s more of a personal journey, where you’re putting it all together, and maybe seeing something else in the world that’s not so easily seen.” CASTLE performs Monday at Northside Yacht Club. Tickets/more info: northsideyachtclub.com.


music spill it

Locals at the 2017 MidPoint Music Festival BY MIKE BREEN

following with frequent shows throughout the area. 3:30 p.m. Sunday; Masonic Cathedral Stage • Earnest Folk troupe Edward + Jane relocated to Cincinnati this year from Chattanooga, Tenn. 4 p.m. Sunday; Masonic Ballroom Stage • Adam Petersen’s solo keys/looping works as A Delicate Motor blossomed into an equally compelling full-band Indie

Daniel in Stereo P H O T O : C o r y W oo d r u f f

Rock project with the March release of Fellover My Own. 4:30 p.m. Sunday; Masonic Cathedral Stage • Sublime Indie Folk crew (and frequent MPMF highlight-provider) Young Heirlooms’ much-anticipated album, The Hammer, is set for an Oct. 20 release. 5 p.m. Sunday; Masonic Ballroom Stage • Daniel in Stereo recently released “Fool Me Once,” the latest in a steady stream of irresistible singles from Daniel Chimusoro’s AltPop project. 5:05 p.m. Sunday; Taft Theatre Stage • Jeremy Pinnell continues his hot streak on sophomore solo LP Ties of Blood and Affection, which has garnered the Country artist more big-time critical praise. 6 p.m. Sunday; Masonic Ballroom Stage • Automagik’s regular roadwork and superb Indie Pop/Rock releases through Old Flame Records have helped it build national attention. 6:15 p.m. Sunday; Taft Theatre Stage • Harbour’s infectious AltRock sound (exhibited on this summer’s Heatwave) and rabid following make it a top contender for Cincinnati’s next big thing. 7:25 p.m. Sunday; Taft Theatre Stage CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbreen@citybeat.com

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BY mike breen

Down with (Certain) Clowns On Sept. 16, news networks spent much of the day covering three rallies — one supporting Confederate statues in Virginia, one in Washington, D.C. protesting people being mean to Donald Trump and another in the nation’s capitol advocating for fans of Detroit Horror Rap duo Insane Clown Posse. It says everything about 2017 that the clown rally (well, the one supporting those who wear facepaint) was not only the best attended, but also the most reasonable. The march of the Juggalos (as ICP’s fans are known) was to protest the FBI’s designation of the fervent fan base as a “gang” in 2011. The event was well-organized and included some of the best protest signs ever, including “Judge Me Not By the Color of My Facepaint,” “The FBI Listens to Nickelback,” “Make America Whoop Again” and “Dragnets: How Do They Work?” Nazis Back Down The radio show affiliated with the white-supremacist “Stormfront” website is in need of a new theme song. After being served with cease and desist letters from American Recordings and Universal Music Group, Johnny Cash’s version of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” will no longer be the theme song of Stormfront Radio, with the host conceding the song change, but insisting that they’re not “backing down.” Last month, the mere presence of a neoNazi at the infamous Charlottesville, Va. protests wearing a Johnny Cash T-shirt led to a statement from late music icon’s family denouncing hate. Show Stoppers Activists in Saint Louis found a clever way to get the attention of white people — get U2 and Ed Sheeran concerts canceled. Actually, the police in Saint Louis caused the last minute cancelations (as well as Saint Louis Symphony’s two soldout Harry Potter-themed shows). Protests formed in the city after another acquittal of a police officer accused of killing a black citizen, leading the police force to inform promoters they could not provide the usual security for the events.

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The MidPoint Music Festival has changed a lot over the past decade and a half, but its dedication to supporting local artists hasn’t wavered. The festival comes to downtown Cincinnati this Saturday and Sunday in its latest incarnation — with two stages at Taft Theatre and two at the neighboring Cincinnati Masonic Center — once again featuring a solid representation of Cincinnati music. Visit mpmf.com and CityBeat’s official guide at citybeat.com for the latest schedule updates, previews and more. • After MPMF, progressive instrumental Post Rock unit Lo, the Loyal Conscripts is taking a break from the stage to write and refocus. 2:10 p.m. Saturday; Taft Ballroom Stage • Onstage, Indie Pop artist Rachel Mousie plays keys and uses a looping station to layer vocals and beats. Her third album, Talk to Your Babies, is due in early October. 2:30 p.m. Saturday; Masonic Ballroom Stage • Described as “equal parts ’80s New Wave, ’90s AltRock and contemporary jitter Pop,” Blossom Hall released its debut single, “Easy to Want to Die,” this summer. 2:45 p.m. Saturday; Taft Theatre Stage • Indie Rock group Even Tiles issued the EP The Lower Tangent in 2013 and recently teased the release of a new tune on social media. 3:20 p.m. Saturday; Taft Ballroom Stage • Indie Pop faves Saturn Batteries just released “The Panda’s Friend,” a tantalizing taste of the group’s anticipated forthcoming full-length debut. 3:55 p.m. Saturday; Taft Theatre Stage • Singer Chrissy von Savoye and guitarist Drew James moved from New Jersey to Cincinnati to start Kid Stardust, releasing the stellar EP Something Like This But Better last year. 4:30 p.m. Saturday; Taft Ballroom Stage • CityBeat’s Brian Baker calls Mad Anthony — which recently spent a year releasing a new song every single week — the best band in the world. He is never wrong. 6:50 p.m. Saturday; Taft Ballroom Stage • Explosive and creative Post Punk trio Ampline is releasing its fifth album, Passion Relapse, in January. 8 p.m. Saturday; Taft Ballroom Stage • Formed just last year, the promising AltPop band Coastal Club issued its selftitled debut EP this past spring. 2:10 p.m. Sunday; Taft Ballroom Stage • Indie/ElectroPop act Moonbeau’s first single, “Are We in Love Yet?,” came out earlier this year; a full-length on Old Flame Records is expected in 2018. 2:45 p.m. Sunday; Taft Theatre Stage • Mixing a variety of AltRock styles (Post Hardcore, Emo, Post Punk and more), Current Events have built a strong

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Tank and the Bangas with Sweet Crude Thursday • Taft Theatre (Ballroom) There may be no more telling factoid about Tank and the Bangas that this: The New Orleans band’s sophomore album was 2014’s The Big Bang Theory: Live at Gasa Gasa, a sure indication that, regardless of the energetic excellence of its 2013 debut, Thinktank, no studio can contain the raucous adrenaline rush of the live Bangas experience. It’s the difference between enjoying a potent cocktail in your finished basement with the stereo cranked and being served a Hurricane in the French Quarter while an impossibly talented band forces your feet to adopt a frantic dance maneuver while rearranging your internal organs with a visceral intensity. Fronted by churchraised/stage-crazed force-of-nature lead vocalist Tarriona Sylvan Esso “Tank” Ball — think P H O T O : Sh e r v i n L a i n e z the love child of Tina Turner and Barrence Whitfield — Tank and the Bangas have been dropping jaws, dusting rafters and lifting souls since their 2011 formation. Ball’s early creative outlet was slam poetry, and that experience informs her effortless rhymes within the Bangas’ Funk/Soul/Hip Hop/ Tank and the Bangas Jazz/Rock context, P H O T O : G u s B e n n e tt J r . but she’s also a dynamic and passionate R&B singer and the perfect voice for the Bangas’ diverse and danceable soundtrack. She is the band’s visual centerpoint, with a wild mane of multi-colored hair and an ultra-hip thrift-store wardrobe that is less about shabby-chic and more about brilliantly recycled glamor. For the last three years, Tank and the Bangas have been increasing their fan base and accruing an impressive array of awards for the band’s mantle. The group was this year’s NPR Tiny Desk Concert contest victor, flooring celebrity judges like Trey Anastasio. For proof they deserved the win, take a look at the Bangas’ Tiny Desk version of their superb “Drummers” — it’s an onslaught of Hip Hop bravado, Pop skill, Soul passion and exquisite musical storytelling that plays like a two-and-half-minute Broadway production. Tank and the Bangas are more than the real deal — they’re the deal, the whole deal

and nothing but the deal, so help me God. (Brian Baker) Sylvan Esso with Helado Negro Thursday • Bogart’s Electro Indie Pop duo Sylvan Esso burst onto the scene via “Coffee,” an addictive, impressive textural tune about the best liquid humans have ever concocted. Or is it about the allure of physical interaction? Or both? The brainchild of North Carolina-based singer Amelia Meath and producer/electronic programmer Nick Sanborn, “Coffee” appeared on the duo’s 2014 self-titled debut, which featured nine additional nuggets driven by Meath’s versatile voice and anchored by Sanborn’s idiosyncratic way with rhythm and other random sonic quirks. Think a less darkhued Portishead by way of Phantogram, with a little Lali Puna sprinkled in. The pair’s longawaited follow-up, What Now, finally surfaced this past April. The opening track, “Sound,” is uncommonly spare, with Meath’s barely perceptible mutterings backed by electronic squiggles. It’s a curious choice to kickoff Sylvan Esso’s anticipated return. “Writing ‘Sound’ was one of the more relieving moments of creating What Now,” Meath recently wrote in a piece for NPR’s website. “Once it was finished we knew that it was the first track. It became a reassuring light post through what would become a rather intense and doubt-filled writing process. “That opening sound is an old, half-broken Korg MS-20 being tuned by my voice. So much was wrapped up in that initial sound for us — the mission statement of our makeshift reverse-auto-tune, the combination of the two of us in a single sound, the idea of translating your humanity through a machine in the hopes of connecting with someone on the other side, it all feels contained in that moment.” The duo shouldn’t be worried: What Now indeed connects, highlighted by “Radio,” a bright, sonically buoyant track leavened by lyrics that would suggest a darker horizon: “While the world melts on


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down, we’re so happy to be listening to our radio.” (Jason Gargano)

post-election recording became a plea for renewed faith and resolution in the face of disappointment and frustration. If Grace is Wright’s political album, it is the politics of the soul. Amen to that. (BB)

FUTURE SOUNDS JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER ORCHESTRA – Sept. 27, Taft Theatre THE AFGHAN WHIGS – Sept. 28, Bogart’s ZAKK SABBATH – Sept. 29, 20th Century Theater SAN FERMIN – Sept. 29, Woodward Theater GOGOL BORDELLO – Sept. 29, Bogart’s BETH HART – Sept. 30, Taft Theatre AGNOSTIC FRONT – Oct. 1, Southgate House Revival AGAINST ME! – Oct. 3, Bogart’s WYE OAK – Oct. 3, Southgate House Revival THE GROWLERS – Oct. 4, Woodward Theater MIKE GORDON – Oct. 4, 20th Century Theater CHRIS HILLMAN & HERB PEDERSEN – Oct. 4, Southgate House Revival DARK STAR ORCHESTRA – Oct. 6, Taft Theatre BLIND PILOT – Oct. 6, Woodward Theater ANDREW W.K. – Oct. 8, Bogart’s IRIS DEMENT – Oct. 8, 20th Century Theater

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Wednesday 9/20 Open Mic with Bill & Amy 8-11

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WHEELER WALKER JR. – Oct. 15, Madison Live RON POPE – Oct. 16, Bogart’s BEST COAST – Oct. 16, 20th Century Theater SECONDHAND SERENADE – Oct. 17, Bogart’s FLAMIN’ GROOVIES – Oct. 20, Southgate House Revival OPEN MIKE EAGLE – Oct. 21, Chameleon LOW CUT CONNIE – Oct. 21, MOTR Pub IMAGINE DRAGONS – Oct. 21, U.S. Bank Arena

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Lizz Wright Saturday • Live! at the Ludlow Garage Like most Gospel singers, Lizz Wright’s career was seeded in the church; her father and mother were her church’s minister and musical director and she sang and played piano for her congregation at an early age. And like most Gospel singers, as she was becoming active in sacred music, she also developed a fascination in the more secular forms of Jazz and Blues. In high school, Wright won the National Choral Award, which led her to study singing at Georgia State University, The New School in New York City and in Vancouver, Canada. When she was 20 years old, Wright joined the renowned vocal quartet In the Spirit, which ultimately led to her solo contract with Verve Records in 2002. Her debut album, 2003’s Salt, earned her comparisons to Norah Jones for her seamless blending of Jazz and Pop, as did its Folk-tinged followup, 2005’s Dreaming Wide Awake (the former got as far as No. 2 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart, while the latter Lizz Wright took the top spot). P H O T O : J e s s e K i tt Wright’s third album, 2008’s The Orchard, was notable for its amazing guest list, including keyboardist-to-the-stars Patrick Warren, Folk legend Toshi Reagon, peerless session multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell and the members of iconic desert Indie Rock outfit Calexico. It was also lauded for Wright’s emotive work on the album, particularly her soulful take on Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You.” On The Orchard, Wright tabled her Jazz influences and concentrated on the Folk/ Roots side of her musical equation. For 2010’s Fellowship, Wright returned to her Gospel beginnings with a set devoted to modern arrangements of Gospel standards, then waited a full five years before releasing her ecstatic Jazz/Pop/Blues masterpiece, Freedom & Surrender, the perfect hybrid of the full range of her estimable talents and influences. Wright’s just-released Grace follows a similar sonic arc, if from a slightly more reflective and somber perspective, particularly on the album’s only original tune, the atmospherically earthy “All the Way Here,” but also on the Jazz-kissed Folk lilt of “Stars Fell on Alabama” and her languorous take on Allen Toussaint’s classic “Southern Nights.” Wright intended Grace to be her love letter to her Southern homeland, but the

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music listings

CityBeat’s music listings are free. Send info to MIKE BREEN via email at mbreen@citybeat.com. Listings are subject to change. See citybeat.com for full music listings and all club locations. H is CityBeat staff’s stamp of approval.

WEDNESDAY 20 BOGART’S - Tech N9ne. 8 p.m. Hip Hop. $28. BREWRIVER GASTROPUB - Old Green Eyes and BBG. 6 p.m. Standards. Free. BROMWELL’S HÄRTH LOUNGE Open Mic with Billy & Amy. 8 p.m. Various. Free. KNOTTY PINE - Dallas Moore. 10 p.m. Country. Free. THE LIBERTY INN - Stagger Lee. 7 p.m. Acoustic. Free. MANSION HILL TAVERN - Losing Lucky. 8 p.m. Roots. Free. MARTY’S HOPS & VINES - Mike Biere. 7 p.m. Acoustic. Free. MOTR PUB - Love Theme with Bernardino Femminielli. 9 p.m. Electronic/Drone. Free. NORTHSIDE TAVERN - Shiny Old Soul. 9 p.m. Americana/Jazz/ Rock/Roots/Various. Free. PIT TO PLATE - Bluegrass Night with Vernon McIntyre’s Appalachian Grass. 7 p.m. Bluegrass. Free. SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (LOUNGE) - Veronica Grim with Rucca. 8 p.m. Americana/Rock/ Various. Free. SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (SANCTUARY) - Jason Eady with Adam Lee. 8 p.m. Country. $10, $12 day of show.

THURSDAY 21 ARNOLD’S BAR AND GRILL - Dottie Warner and Wayne Shannon. 7:30 p.m. Jazz. Free. BOGART’S - Sylvan Esso with Helado Negro. 8 p.m. Indie/ Electronic. $25. COMMON ROOTS - Open Mic. 8 p.m. Various. Free. FOUNTAIN SQUARE - Salsa on the Square with Óscar Salamanca & La Fórmula. 7 p.m. Latin/Salsa/Dance. Free. THE GREENWICH - Phil DeGreg Trio (album release show). 8 p.m. Jazz. $10. KNOTTY PINE - Kenny Cowden. 9 p.m. Acoustic. Free. THE LOUNGE - Out Of The Blue. 7 p.m. Classic Rock/Country. Free. THE MAD FROG - X Eye Blind. 7:30 p.m. Third Eye Blind music. $15. MADISON LIVE - Kip Moore with Runaway June. 8 p.m. Country. Sold out. MOTR PUB - Mothers with Dro’s Midnight Army. 10 p.m. Indie Folk. Free. NORTHSIDE YACHT CLUB Nobunny, Vanity Creeps and Army of Infants. 9 p.m. Pop/Rock/Various. $10, $12 day of show. OCTAVE - Carnival Giant with Bat House and Eco Quartet. 8 p.m. Prog/Rock/Jam/Various. $5.

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PLAIN FOLK CAFE - Open Mic with Mike Lieser. 7 p.m. Various. Free. RIVERBEND MUSIC CENTER Matchbox 20 and Counting Crows with Rivers & Rust. 6:45 p.m. Rock/Pop. $29.50-$99.50. SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (LOUNGE) - Vibrant Troubadours, Nick Baker and J Dorsey Band. 8 p.m. Rock/Roots/Blues/ Various. Free. TAFT THEATRE - Tank and The Bangas with Sweet Crude. 8 p.m. Soul/Funk/Hip Hop/Alt/Various. $15 (in the Ballroom). URBAN ARTIFACT - Fritz Pape, Cracked Flashlight, Silent Tongues and Go Go Buffalo VS Pisswater Preachers. 8 p.m. Rock/Experimental/Various. Free. U.S. BANK ARENA - Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band with Nancy Wilson. 7:30 p.m. Rock. $49-$95.

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FRIDAY 22 ARNOLD’S BAR AND GRILL H - AB&GMF featuring The Part-time Gentlemen, Jim Casto

and Dr. Hue and Buffalo Wabs and the Price Hill Hustle. 7 p.m. Americana/Various. Free. BROMWELL’S HÄRTH LOUNGE The Hank Mautner/Bill Gemmer Quartet. 8 p.m. Jazz. Free. EASTGATE BREW & VIEW - Encore Duo. 6:30 p.m. Acoustic Classic Rock/Americana. Free. FOUNTAIN SQUARE - Freekbass with Ernie Johnson From Detroit. 7 p.m. Funk. Free. THE GREENWICH - Radio Black. 9 p.m. Soul/Dance/Various. $10. HARMONY HILL VINEYARDS & WINERY - Tracy Walker. 5 p.m. Acoustic/Folk/Pop/Soul/Various. Free. JAG’S STEAK AND SEAFOOD Inflatable Ape. 9 p.m. Dance/ Various. $5. JAPP’S - Burning Caravan. 5:30 p.m. Gypsy Jazz. Free. JIM AND JACK’S ON THE RIVER Danny Frazier. 9 p.m. Country. Free. KNOTTY PINE - Wayward Son. 10 p.m. Rock. Cover. LAWRENCEBURG EVENT CENTER - Creedence Clearwater Revisited. 8 p.m. Rock. $35-$79. LIVE! AT THE LUDLOW GARAGE - Martin Sexton. 8 p.m. Singer/ Songwriter. $25-$50. THE LOUNGE - The Lounge Karaoke. 8:30 p.m. Various. Free. MANSION HILL TAVERN - Misterman & the Mojo Band. 9 p.m. Blues. $4. MARTY’S HOPS & VINES - Greg Hines. 9 p.m. Americana. Free. THE MOCKBEE - Mielo, Audley, Vander, Suave and Dreweybear. 9 p.m. Electronic/Various. $7-$10.

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MOTR PUB - Palehound with H Wax Fang. 10 p.m. Indie Rock. Free. NORTHSIDE TAVERN - Soften H (album release show) with Leggy and Disaster Class. 10 p.m.

Indie/Rock/Various. Free. NORTHSIDE YACHT CLUB Make-Overs, Wet Wallet, Sarn Helen, No Holiday and Daisys. 10 p.m. Garage Punk/Post Punk/ Various. PLAIN FOLK CAFE - Whiskey Bent Valley Boys. 7:30 p.m. Bluegrass. Free. THE REDMOOR - Soul Pocket. 9 p.m. Dance/R&B/Pop/Various. $10. RICK’S TAVERN - Elementree Livity Project. 10 p.m. Reggae/Rock/ Various. $5. SCHOOL OF ROCK MASON School of Rock Mason CAKE vs. Beck Show. 7:30 p.m. Alt/Rock. $6, $8 day of show. SILVERTON CAFE - DeJaVue. 9 p.m. Rock/Various. Free. SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (LOUNGE) - Billy Don Burns. 9:30 p.m. Acoustic. Free. SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (REVIVAL ROOM) - Boy Named Banjo with Leah Blevins. 8 p.m. Americana/Roots Rock. $13, $15 day of show. SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (SANCTUARY) - Dale Watson’s Ameripolitan Caravan with Celine Lee and Jake Penrod. 9 p.m. Americana/Country. $15, $18 day of show. THE UNDERGROUND - Andy Mineo Friends & Family Tour with Social Club Misfits & Wordsplayed. 7:30 p.m. Hip Hop. Cover. URBAN ARTIFACT - The Maladroits with Bird Brain Breakfast. 9 p.m. Surf/Rock/Various. Free. WASHINGTON PLATFORM SALOON & RESTAURANT - Mandy Gaines Quartet. 9 p.m. Jazz. $10 (food/drink minimum). WOODWARD THEATER - The Cincy Brass’ “90’s Party”. 9 p.m. ’90s Pop/Dance/Brass/Various. $10, $12 day of show.

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SATURDAY 23 50 WEST BREWING CO. H Fifty Fest 2017 with Bucket & Friends, Ernie Johnson From

Detroit, The Brian Olive Band, Heavy Hinges, The Perfect Children, Honey & Houston, The Lovers, The Hot Magnolias, Hank & Will of the Rubber Knife Gang and Todd Hepburn & Less More Band. 12 p.m. Various. $10. ARNOLD’S BAR AND GRILL - AB&GMF with Moonshine Drive, Jake Speed and the Freddies and Honey and Houston. 8:30 p.m. Americana/Various. Free.

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BROMWELL’S HÄRTH LOUNGE The Dan Radank Trio. 8 p.m. Jazz. Free. CINCINNATI MASONIC CENTER - MidPoint Music Festival with The New Pornographers, Filthy Friends, Valerie June, William Elliott Whitmore, The Cactus Blossoms, Preoccupations, David Luning, Welles, Swarming Branch, Lemon Sky, Virginia Man, Youth Yamada, Rachel Mousie and The Speedbumps. 2 p.m. Indie/Rock/Roots/ Various. $65. COLLEGE OF MOUNT ST. JOSEPH Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder. 6:30 p.m. Bluegrass. $55-$65. THE COMET - Church Girls with Mutt Fuzz, Sleepy Drums and Fun Machine. 10 p.m. Indie/Rock/ Various. Free. DEPOT BARBECUE - April Aloisio. 7 p.m. Jazz. Free. DOWNTOWNE LISTENING ROOM - EG Kight with Lisa Biales. 7:30 p.m. Blues. $15. FOUNTAIN SQUARE - My Brother’s Keeper and more. 7 p.m. Roots/Americana. Free. GRAND CENTRAL DELICATESSEN - The Matt Warner Trio. 9 p.m. Jazz. Free. THE GREENWICH - Trufiyah Poetry presents Zo! + Carmen. 7 p.m. Various (shows at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.). $20-$25. HARMONY HILL VINEYARDS & WINERY - Ma Crow and the Lady Slippers. 5 p.m. Bluegrass. Free. JAG’S STEAK AND SEAFOOD - My Sister Sarah. 9 p.m. Pop/Rock/ Dance/Various. $5. JIM AND JACK’S ON THE RIVER Dan Varner. 9 p.m. Country. Free. KNOTTY PINE - DV8. 10 p.m. Rock. Cover. LIVE! AT THE LUDLOW GARAGE - Lizz Wright. 8 p.m. Jazz/Pop/Roots/Gospel/Various. $35-$65. THE LOUNGE - The Lounge Karaoke. 9 p.m. Various. Free. MANHATTAN HARBOUR YACHT CLUB - Pirate’s Ball with Trailer Park Floosies. 8 p.m. Dance/Rock/ Pop/Country/Various. $10. MANSION HILL TAVERN - Jeff Bonta and the Tucker Boys. 9 p.m. Blues. $3. MARTY’S HOPS & VINES - Doug Kreitzer. 9 p.m. Rock. Free. MCCAULY’S PUB - AD Band. 9 p.m. Rock. Free. MOTR PUB - Suck the Honey (album release show). 10 p.m. Rock. Free. NORTHSIDE TAVERN - Heavy Metal Planned Parent Hood Fundraiser with Mutilatred, Cryptic Hymn, Sewage Grinder, Coelacanth, Grey Host, Horseburner, Fenrir, Choking and Casteless. 8 p.m. Metal. Free.

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NORTHSIDE YACHT CLUB - Kicked Out. 9 p.m. Punk. PLAIN FOLK CAFE - Hickory Robot. 7:30 p.m. Americana/Bluegrass/ Various. Free. RICK’S TAVERN - Cherry on Top. 10 p.m. Pop/Dance/Various. $5. SEASONGOOD PAVILION Bluegrass for Babies featuring Jake Speed and the Freddies, The Comet Bluegrass All-Stars, The Redemptioners and Jennifer Ellis. 3 p.m. Folk/Americana/Bluegrass. $15, $20 day of show. SILVERTON CAFE - The Night Owls. 9 p.m. Rock/Various. Free. SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (LOUNGE) - The Midnight Ghost Train with Casino Warrior and Moonbow. 9:30 p.m. Rock. Free. SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (REVIVAL ROOM) - The Appleseed Collective. 9 p.m. Progressive/Americana/Various. $10, $12 day of show. SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (SANCTUARY) - The Cincinnati Beard Barons present The Big Whisker Revival 4 featuring Moonshine & Wine. 7 p.m. Americana/Various. $15, $20 day of show. STANLEY’S PUB - Reed Turchi. 9 p.m. Blues. Cover. TAFT THEATRE - MidPoint Music Festival with Broken Social Scene, Citizen, Frightened Rabbit, Pile, Bedouine, Ampline, Adam Torres, Dyan, Saturn Batteries, Brat Curse, Mad Anthony, Kid Stardust, Even Tiles, Blossom Hall and Lo, the Loyal Conscripts. 2 p.m. Alternative/Indie/Various. $65. THOMPSON HOUSE - Denihilist with Dead Culture, Edorra, Underestimate, Eternal Void, Among Giants and The Earth Laid Bare. 6:30 p.m. Metal. $10. THE UNDERGROUND - Battle Of The Bands 2017 Round 1 with RB3, Roberto, Payton Stewart and Grieving Otis. 7 p.m. Various. Cover. URBAN ARTIFACT - Ramblin’ Rob’s Greatest Story Ever Told WAIF FM FunDraiser with The Inturns, Twig and Leaf, Mike Connolly and Evan Ray and Maritime Law. 8 p.m. Rock/Jam/Acoustic/Various. $8. WASHINGTON PLATFORM SALOON & RESTAURANT - The Faux Frenchmen. 9 p.m. Gypsy Jazz. $10 (food/drink minimum).

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SUNDAY 24 20TH CENTURY THEATER H Poptone. 8 p.m. Alt/Rock/Pop. $25, $30 day of show. BREWRIVER GASTROPUB - Todd Hepburn. 11 a.m. Blues/Various. Free. CINCINNATI MASONIC CENTER - MidPoint Music Festival with BADBADNOTGOOD, Noname, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Dan Deacon, Mandolin Orange, Ghost of Paul Revere, Ledges, B.Miles,

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Jeremy Pinnell, Young Heirlooms, A Delicate Motor, Edward + Jane, The Long Lost and Current Events. 3 p.m. Indie/Alt/Rock/Roots/Jazz/ Hip Hop/Various. $65. THE DRINKERY - Ajoke, Doughty Family, Matte, DJ Wavy Moe and DJ Iron Chef. 10 p.m. Hip Hop/Pop/ Experimental. Free. THE MAD FROG - September Mourning with Curse of Cassandra. 7:30 p.m. Rock. $10, $12 day of show. MANSION HILL TAVERN - Open Blues Jam with Jimmy D. Rogers. 6 p.m. Blues. Free. MOTR PUB - Hoan. 8 p.m. Indie Pop. Free. SONNY’S ALL BLUES LOUNGE Blues jam session featuring Sonny’s All Blues Band. 8 p.m. Blues. Free. TAFT THEATRE - MidPoint Music Festival with Walk the Moon, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Flint Eastwood, Urban Renewal Project, Harbour, Automagik, Charly Bliss, Amy O, Varsity, Daniel in Stereo, Sphynx, Bicentennial Bear, Moonbeau and Coastal Club. 2 p.m. Alternative/Indie/Electronic/Rock/ Dance/Various. $65. URBAN ARTIFACT - Watabou, Tropical Obstacle, Troy Gallagher and Fernald Feed. 9 p.m. Experimental. Free.

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MONDAY 25 THE MOCKBEE - OH jam! presents Off tha Block Mondays with hosts Stallitix, Goodword, DJ Noah I Mean, Chestah T, Gift of Gabi, Christian, Toph and Preston Bell Charles III. 10 p.m. Hip Hop. Free. MUGGBEES BAR & GRILL - Karaoke DJ. 8 p.m. Various. Free. NORTHSIDE TAVERN - Northside Jazz Ensemble. 10 p.m. Jazz. Free. NORTHSIDE YACHT CLUB Castle with Temple. 9 p.m. Hard Rock/Doom/Metal SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (LOUNGE) - Pegi Young. 8 p.m. Americana/Rock. $10. URBAN ARTIFACT - Rosedale, SKRT, Actual Italians, ForestFox and Alex Baker. 8 p.m. Rock/Pop/ Alt/Various. Free.

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TUESDAY 26 ARNOLD’S BAR AND GRILL Diamond Jim Dews. 10 p.m. Blues. Free. BOGART’S - Tank. 8 p.m. R&B. $35 (and up). THE LOUNGE - The Lounge Karaoke. 8 p.m. Various. Free. STANLEY’S PUB - Trashgrass Tuesday featuring members of Rumpke Mt. Boys. 9 p.m. Bluegrass. Cover. URBAN ARTIFACT - Diane Cluck, Rachel Miller and Harlot. 8 p.m. Folk/Americana. $10.


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last week’s answers C I T Y B E A T . C O M   •  S E P T . 2 0   –   2 6 , 2 0 1 7   •  3 9

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