THE ART OF BEING KATHY Y. WILSON
Sanctuary paints a portrait of the writer at home in her “colored museum” BY K ATHY SCHWARTZ | PAGE 08
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What A Week! BY T.C. B R I T TO N
New Fam, Who Dis? Last year, a Mesa, Ariz., woman trying to text her family Thanksgiving dinner details accidentally included a wrong number in a group chat. That unknowing recipient, a Phoenix teen named Jamal, had a little fun with her, asking who she was and to send a photo. When she told him she was his grandma and included a pic, he sent one back explaining that he was definitely not her grandson, but asked, “Can I still get a plate tho?” “Grandma” Wanda happily obliged, and the text exchange went viral. They even made real plans to meet up! Unsolicited texts between strangers never worked out so well. Well, it turns out 2017 isn’t completely horrible because Wanda and Jamal reunited for Thanksgiving this year, too. Jamal, now 18 and working as a butcher, even carved the turkey. “She contacts me a lot,” he said of Wanda to BuzzFeed. “As a grandma would. She’s very sweet.” The two plan to get together for Christmas, too. And with that, I’m more emotionally invested in these two than any people I actually know. Moving on!
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Anti-Gay Rally Features Colorful Flag Dance
Anti-LGBTQ hate group MassResistance’s Texas chapter recently hosted a “Teens4Truth” conference in Fort Worth, because teens don’t already have enough issues in their complicated lives and need to be warned of the dangers gay people present. OK. One clip from the event, which focused on the “LGBT agenda” in schools, is gaining attention for what organizers would certainly deem all the wrong reasons. With little context, a seemingly bewildered organizer introduces Derek Paul to present a “song thing,” which is one way to describe this interpretive dance with colorful flags set to Christian Rock. Derek’s white man uniform of a button-up, slacks and socks somehow added to the spectacle, which featured bright multicolored butterfly wing-esque banners that Paul flung about to lyrics like, “love keeps no record of wrong.” If you’ve ever seen the Chris Lilley character Mr. G in Summer Heights High, you have an idea of what this performance-art fuckery looked like. I’d praise the dude for epically trolling the hate group, but Paul is reportedly one of those “pray the gay away” minister types who identifies as an “ex-gay” man. Sad!
Lena Dunham Apologizes You’ve heard this one before, right? Girls star Lena Dunham is always making statements: about political issues, her body, her dog who she had to give away. But half of her messages tend to be apologizing for something she previously said or did. It’s the epitome of privilege:
This Week in Questionable Decisions... 1. Donald Trump Jr.’s Thanksgiving conversation-starter advice included riveting facts on the economy, most of which resulted from Barack Obama’s terms, not his daddy’s. 2. Reading Rainbow’s LeVar Burton got Twitter hate from people who thought he was LiAngelo Ball’s dad/Trump Enemy No. 1 LaVar Ball. (They’re not the same person.) 3. A couple that really loves endless breadsticks announced they’re naming their daughter Olivia Garton after the Italian(?) restaurant chain Olive Garden. Steve Harvey’s screwups and hypnotic moustache keep viewers coming back to Miss Universe. P H O T O : P atric k P rather / / © I M G U niverse L L C
She uses her wide-reaching platform to share an opinion or experience, often in a one-sided cringey way (like when she defended a Girls writer accused of rape last week), then sweeps it under the rug when it goes over like a lead balloon (like when she apologized for publicly defending him the next day). Oh Lena. Aussie creative Jess Wheeler created the Twitter account @LenaDunhamApols to share hypothetical situations for which the writer/director/actress may need to say sorry. They’re brilliant. Here’s a taste: • Lena Dunham Apologizes For Live Monologue About What Is Effectively A White Ethno-State At Burning Man • Lena Dunham Apologizes For Opening A Tupac Themed Frozen Yogurt Shop In Williamsburg Called ‘Yotorious BIG’ To Her Black Uber Driver • Lena Dunham Apologizes For Eating Subway With Jared While Standing On An Native American Burial Ground In the meantime, let’s show some love to another young multihyphenate in Hollywood named Lena, Emmy winning writer, Master of None star and co-creator of Showtime’s upcoming series The Chi, Lena Waithe. Whenever you’re annoyed by a Dunham social media post, cleanse your palate with one from Waithe.
Post-Thanksgiving Shopping Trends Holiday shopping mania begins after (and now during) Thanksgiving, and Americans continued to drop a ton of cash
during this long weekend. Lots of big-box retailers opened on Thursday afternoon in an effort to get more people off the computer and into a store, although there was a slight drop in in-person purchases. Of course there’s less shopping in stores. We are lazy and don’t want to communicate with other humans whenever possible (I recently bought shampoo on Amazon just so I didn’t have to put on pants), especially after the family trauma that is a major holiday. Since Black Friday deals are now also widely available online as early as Thursday through Monday, can we come up with a new name for Cyber Monday? Maybe Blue Monday, since we’re all sad to be at work and compensating by secretly online shopping at our desks? Anything would be better than using the antiquated term “cyber,” which I’m pretty sure 80 percent of people equate with “Wanna cyber?” aka The ’90s version of sexting. A/S/L, anyone?
Steve Harvey Returns to Miss Universe — Again Most of us would get fired if we monumentally fucked up at work and yet here’s the abundantly overemployed Steve Harvey hosting Miss Universe yet again! His flub at the end of the 2015 show is the only reason most of us have any awareness of the pageant, so they’re probably forever indebted to him and his hypnotic moustache. Harvey was in prime form. He referred to each contestant by just their country, which somehow felt more problematic than a Miss prefix. Any time a contestant discussed her education, career or country,
4. The New York Times profiled a “nazi sympathizer next door,” and, curiously, people were a bit disappointed. Also, he’s from Ohio. 5. Trump claimed he turned down Time’s Person of the Year aka MAN of the Year (#neverforget), which the magazine denied. 6. Sarah Huckabee Sanders might have posted a stock pie photo, claiming it was her own baked creation. 7. Superman actor Henry Cavill’s mustache had to be digitally removed for Justice League. It was expensive and it’s very obvious.
his face went blank and he’d say something along the lines of, “I have no idea what that is!” several times. (That’s not to say I’m an internationally informed individual. I learned about the existence of no less than three countries from watching this mess.) It was kind of funny when Miss Thailand referred to Harvey by only his last name (everyone else called him Steve), because you know she was probably primed on the creepy behavior of men in Hollywood and the name was fresh in her head. In the end, Harvey did not fuck up the big winner announcement this time (though he did make about 15 La La Land Oscar jokes, which was just as bad). South Africa’s Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters was crowned Miss Universe, with Colombia’s Laura Gonzalez as runner-up. Yet again, another earthling reigns over the universe. When will the competition exemplify true diversity and inclusion by featuring alien lifeforms? Contact T.C. Britton: email@example.com
The Crosstown Shootout Is Special BY JAC K B R EN N A N
I moved to Cincinnati in late 1983, for a sportswriting gig (not college hoops) at The Cincinnati Post, and I was first exposed to the Shootout as a fan on Jan. 26, 1984 at the Cincinnati Gardens. UC was way down, in its first year under coach Tony Yates (3-25 record), but I knew the program had a strong history. Xavier (or was it “Eggs-avier”?) was a nobody to me. The program’s one-anddone appearance in the NCAA tourney the previous spring had ended a 21-year absence from postseason play, and I don’t recall knowing Xavier even existed before I moved here. So initially I was disposed to prefer the Bearcats. They had my new city’s name on their jerseys, and the Musketeers didn’t seem worth caring about. But quickly that changed. A neighbor in Oakley became a close friend, and he was a huge Xavier guy, reared in Norwood, close to the campus. He influenced me, and the schools cooperated. Xavier was finally a program on the rise, under the colorful and likeable Bob Staak, and UC stayed in the pits under Yates, who in addition to not winning was terrible with the media. (Cardinal sin in my book, though I wasn’t covering him personally.) And all through the rest of the ’80s and into the mid-’90s, I was totally a Muskie guy. The likeable and successful Pete Gillen grabbed the XU reins in 1985-86, and UC gained no points with me in 1989-90, when it replaced the hapless Yates with Bob Huggins. No sir and no ma’am, I did not like Huggs’ act. Hell of a coach, easy to see why red-meat UC fans loved him, and he has mellowed with age and success. (He’s now at West Virginia, with a second Final Four under his belt.) But he came off to me then as arrogant, a bully, and he just fed my XU partisanship. UC fans seemed arrogant, too, quick to belittle the quality of play in XU’s Midwestern City Conference. One of my top Cincinnati sports kicks came Dec. 18, 1999. Huggins’ powerful Bearcats, led by Kenyon Martin, were ranked No. 1 in the nation but having huge trouble shaking Skip Prosser’s NITquality XU team at the Gardens. I was watching at home — I had only recently moved from the suburbs to Clifton — and early in the second half it dawned on me: I can drive to the Gardens in less than 15 minutes. The parking lots and turnstiles won’t be staffed now. I can park real close and walk right in for the end of this. Done. What an experience. Xavier won a tremendous nail-biter, 66-64. It
was the second time in four years the Muskies had knocked off a top-ranked Huggins UC team. And after the first one, in December 1996, XU broadcaster Andy MacWilliams had famously screamed that UC was “No. 1 in the nation and No. 2 in Cincinnati!!!” But in 2005-06, my Crosstown tide started turning. Huggins was blessedly gone, dismissed in a sea of controversy, and I had been living near the UC campus for seven years. I loved Clifton, UC felt like my “neighborhood university” and I had always supported UC football. Plus, I had always been a public-school kind of guy. And as the Catholic Church continued careening to the right on social issues, this ex-Catholic was no longer inclined to offer great support to any
Read us on your phone when you’re at the bar by yourself.
“Early in the second half it dawned on me: I can drive to the Gardens in less than 15 minutes.” Catholic institution. I ditched my Blueand-White for Red-and-Black. And here’s that answer I told you I’d make you wait for: I feel pretty much the same way today. I’ll be pulling for UC on Dec. 2, and my thoughts about the Muskies… well, some may not come from the best of me, as Coach Cronin might note. But before that kicks in, I want to give XU its due. The basketball program is a civic jewel, run with class and so much success. My goodness, in the last 10 seasons, the Muskies have reached the Sweet 16 six times, with two of those teams moving on to the Elite Eight (including last year). UC is one of only eight schools to reach the last seven NCAA tourneys — XU missed out once in that span — but only one of UC’s seven straight has carried to the Sweet 16. UC leads the all-time series by a comfortable 50-34, and UC has been to five Final Fours, with two long-ago national championships (1960-61 and 1961-62). Xavier has no Final Fours. But XU has won seven of the last 10 meetings and 14 of the last 21. And UC is a lame 1-6 at Cintas. Bottom line? Xavier is No. 1 in the Queen City right now. And I wish the Muskies well in 2017-18. Except on Dec. 2. Contact Jack Brennan: letters@ citybeat.com
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On Crosstown Shootout day, I used to love Xavier and hate the University of Cincinnati. Later on, I loved UC and hated Xavier. And this year? Ha — I’ll make you wait a few paragraphs for that. I know you wanna know, and ain’t it great? Ain’t this rivalry one huge hoot? We may not have the NBA, but darned if we aren’t one of the best college basketball towns in the land. Maybe the best. And though that’s not news to most of you, it’s worthy of a new drum-banging each November. When UC and Xavier are both good, it’s almost as prestigious for the city as having a mid-level NBA team. And in the Week 4 Associated Press poll, released Nov. 27, UC’s unbeaten Bearcats are 11th and XU’s once-beaten Musketeers are 21st. No other city has two schools in the poll. Very few other cities even have two Division I teams, and most of those few get lost in mega-markets. Think USCUCLA hoops in Los Angeles; out there it works better than Ambien. Philadelphia has its Big 5, with Villanova, Temple and three other schools, but there is no definable rivalry that parts the city. Simply, there is no situation like ours. And this year’s UC-XU game is fast upon us, Dec. 2 at Xavier. It’s a Saturday nooner this time, and the earliest date for the game since 1996. The intensity from Xavier’s first-class Cintas Center will be broadcast on FS1, continuing a long run of national TV spots for the series. Don’t you hope FS1 will do like ESPN has done, with a speeded-up video from a car driving the 3.5 miles from one campus to the other? I love that video, I know every foot of that route and it’s a real nice area to live in or near. It’s cool to have that on TV and to think of other people from Maine to Cali who are thinking it’s pretty cool, too. So hail to the Bearcats and hail to the Musketeers. But around 12:03 p.m. on Dec. 2, the game will start. And in most craniums locally, the urge to kumbaya both programs will disappear for a day. Or more. “This game brings out a lot of the worst in people instead of the best,” a succinct UC coach Mick Cronin told local scribe Bill Koch for Koch’s excellent recent book, Inside the Crosstown Shootout. Yeah, there was that nasty brawl at Cintas in December 2011. It makes Cronin feel the game should be played downtown, rather than on the campuses. But still, can’t we have some fun with this? Sure we can. So on Dec. 2, who will you love and who will you hate? You can’t be married to two teams any more than two spouses, and the intense locality of this rivalry means it’s hard not to think hard thoughts about the other guys on the day you face them. You want them, not you, to deal all winter with that dark little cloud that comes with a loss.
Missing the Bus It’s tough and getting tougher for riders of cash-strapped Metro By N I C K SWA R T S EL L
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arlan Ingram usually finds herself waiting for Metro’s route 19 after she gets off her third-shift job at Christ Hospital in Mount Auburn. Her early-morning commute back to College Hill will take at least 45 minutes — and that’s if everything runs smoothly. Oftentimes it doesn’t. “I’ve had problems with the 19 since I first started coming down here,” she says, noting that the route often comes late and occasionally seems to not show up at all. “That and the 41 (a cross-town route that runs through College Hill) have been the worst for me.” The struggles many Metro riders face came briefly into focus during this year’s mayoral and city council elections. But as the campaigns close up shop and winning candidates prepare for swearing in, it’s unclear what solutions are coming for those who depend on Metro. In the meantime, officials have warned that things could get worse before they get better. The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, which oversees the city’s buses, has warned of possible route reductions and fare increases if Metro’s sagging budget isn’t shored up soon. That comes ahead of a ballot initiative next year that would ask Hamilton County residents to pay for bus service for the first time in decades. Metro has already planned on reductions and restructuring of several routes to save money — those changes will go into effect next month and are expected to save about $500,000 a year. “Unless we find additional funding, we’re facing significant deficits that could require major service reductions beginning in 2019,” Metro CEO Dwight A. Ferrell said when SORTA released its 2018 budget earlier this month. “At the same time that we’re working aggressively … to improve service and get people to jobs, funding for our current system is not keeping pace with costs. The old model is broken, both in terms of service delivery and funding.” The 19 Ingram relies on every day is one of Metro’s most popular routes, but it only comes once an hour. Dependability-wise, it’s gotten better in the past few years. In 2014, it was at least five minutes late one out of five times, according to data from SORTA. These days, it’s late one time out of eight. That’s also the average for all Metro buses this year.
Riders board Metro’s Route 19 downtown. PHOTO: HAILEY BOLLINGER
“In the summertime, it’s at least hot, but in the wintertime — that’s a catch 22 right there,” Ingram says about waiting for a bus that may or may not show up on time, or at all. “It runs when it wants to. And if I miss it, guess what — I may have to wait an hour.” Other riders have it worse. Passengers on the 16, which runs from Mount Healthy to downtown, saw their buses arrive more than five minutes late 20 percent of the time this year. Riders waiting for the 67, which runs from downtown to Sharonville, where many jobs are located, faced similar chances of catching a bus that is significantly late. CityBeat requested data on how often buses miss routes entirely, but Metro says it doesn’t compile that information. There are a lot of reasons for the lags and dropped routes. Metro’s fleet is aging, with 101 of roughly 400 buses past the 12-year lifespan recommended by the Federal Transit Administration. Those buses cost more to fix and break down more often, meaning service interruptions. Metro has also experienced driver shortages and has had to press more drivers into overtime service. Cincinnati’s bus system continues to face big financial challenges. Though a $98.1 million 2018 budget SORTA’s board released earlier this month narrowly avoids deficits, the city’s Metro bus system
faces a $188 million shortfall over the next decade under current funding conditions. And that’s just to keep the status quo. An independent report released by consultants AECOM in January found Metro would need at least $1 billion in upgrades over the next 10 years to make it more functional and get more county residents to the region’s jobs. A 2015 study of Metro’s reach commissioned by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, the Urban Land Institute and other organizations found that only 23 percent of jobs in the city are easily reachable by public transit. Many others take more than 90 minutes to reach by bus. And about 40 percent of jobs in the city — some 75,000 — aren’t reachable by transit at all. All told, the city ranks lower than 11 other peer cities when it comes to job accessibility via public transit, including regional neighbors Louisville, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Columbus and Pittsburgh, as well as cities like Denver and Austin, Texas. The bus system’s budget this year relies on some $56 million from the city’s transit fund, which is paid for with a .3 percent city earnings tax. The rest of the money will come from bus fares and state and federal sources, though those are slim. Ohio ranks 45th among states when it comes to public dollars per capita spent on transit, even
though it ranks 14th in ridership. In 2015, Ohio, the nation’s seventh-most populous state, spent just 63 cents per person on public transit, making it one of the most tightfisted in the country. In contrast, every other one of the nation’s 10 mostpopulous states spent much more. Making the situation more difficult, Hamilton County hasn’t paid for transit since the city’s earnings tax was tapped to fund buses in 1973. Cuyahoga, Franklin and six other Ohio counties pitch in for their transit authorities. SORTA’s board has voted to put a sales tax levy on next year’s Hamilton County ballot to improve Metro’s funding. The amount of that levy has yet to be decided but could range between .5 and 1 percent — the most it can ask voters for without approval from Hamilton County commissioners. But not everyone agrees that is the right move. Hamilton County Commission President Todd Portune has asked SORTA to reconsider its ask as he works on a plan to establish a larger regional transit system encompassing eight counties and 200 municipalities in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. Last year, Portune discouraged SORTA from making a similar ballot request in 2017. CONTINUES ON PAGE 07
FROM PAGE 06
Stadium Plan Poised for Final Approval By N I C K SWA R T S EL L
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A dedicated soccer stadium for FC the most important things to consider as Cincinnati is one step closer to coming to the MLS deadline approaches. Oakley. Or somewhere else. Maybe. “There’s no question that all the money for Cincinnati City Council’s Budget and these infrastructure improvements that are Finance Committee voted Nov. 27 to identified by the city administration aren’t advance a deal drawn up by Mayor John presently funded,” Berding said. “Our intenCranley. The offer is $37 million in city tion is to try and go to New York and win funds toward infrastructure at the former a franchise on the basis of a solid plan in CastFab site in Oakley. That committee, place. Listen, this is the start of a process.” chaired by Republican Charlie Winburn, There are other questions remainincludes all members of city council, meaning. Cranley and other supporters have ing the deal will likely get final approval. pointed out that FC Cincinnati is funding FCC officials say they look at council’s all $200 million of the stadium’s construcapproval primarily as a first step toward tion costs and that the city picking up the winning a Major League Soccer franchise and that the plans could change as time goes on. Cranley and supporters on council say there’s no time to waste in securing a “once in a lifetime” opportunity. “We’re going to be playing in the major leagues,” Winburn said. “And sometimes you don’t have everything nailed down.” Cranley’s proposal would pull $7.2 million from two tax increment finance districts in Oakley near the stadium site, $2.5 million from the 2019 capital budget, $7.3 million in FC Cincinnati draws massive crowds to UC’s Nippert Stadium. cash from the city’s sale of P H O T O : haile y bollin g er the Blue Ash airport and somewhere between $10 million and $20 million over time from the tab for infrastructure isn’t any different city’s portion of hotel tax proceeds. than any other economic development Councilmen P.G. Sittenfeld and Chris deal it might execute. Seelbach voted against the plan, saying Simpson asked if the site would need the deal has too many downsides. Council $75 million or more in infrastructure if a members Kevin Flynn, David Mann, Amy different project was placed there. Murray, Christopher Smitherman and City of Cincinnati engineer Don Ginding Charlie Winburn voted for the deal. said the city doesn’t know. “Asking the public to help subsidize “That all depends on what development a team whose value will dramatically is going there, and then you’d have to do a increase doesn’t seem appropriate,” Seeltraffic impact study for different developbach said, ticking off other needs the city ments,” Ginding said. “So we really can’t is facing. answer that.” Councilwoman Yvette Simpson, who A number of residents from Oakley and abstained from voting, highlighted a numother neighborhoods crowded into council ber of questions lingering around the deal. chambers to speak for and against the deal FC Cincinnati General Manager Jeff Nov. 27. The speakers were mostly opposed, Berding implored council to look past but some die-hard FC Cincinnati fans also the uncertainties and give the deal the showed up to support the stadium deal. green light so the team has a viable plan to Oakley’s Community Council itself submit to Major League Soccer, which will seems conflicted about the proposal. It decide whether Cincinnati wins a bid for gave conditional approval of the plan earan expansion team Dec. 14. lier this month, then rescinded it last week. Berding, Lindner and other boosters Community council board member didn’t have answers for all of council’s Dave Schaff presented a number of docuquestions — including what will happen ments to city council detailing economic to a gap between the projected $75 million development he said would not happen infrastructure costs for the site and the if the stadium was built. But others were $52 million the city and Hamilton County more supportive. are offering, what public engagement will “This is a very difficult position for us look like as the project rolls forward and if to be in,” Community Council President Oakley will even be the final destination Sean Fausto said. “Do we support it, or do for the stadium. But, they said, those aren’t we not support it?”
Before that ballot initiative, SORTA’s board could also raise fares by 15 cents to $1.90 per ride. That fare increase would take place in June next year. It would be the first such increase since 2009. SORTA says it will hold public forums about the potential increase before making its decision. The money would go to buying new buses, according to the transit authority. By next year, SORTA says it will have 101 buses that are more than a dozen years old and past their normal functioning lifespan. Local transit activists agree that Metro’s situation is dire. A group calling itself the Better Bus Coalition has been advocating for SORTA’s transit levy, but has also released its own plan for ways to shore up Metro service, including envisioning new rapid-transit bus routes with fewer stops to serve riders more quickly. Like Ingram, the Christ Hospital worker, Coalition founder Cam Hardy often takes the 19 and other routes that run through his home neighborhood of Mount Airy. He says he has seen firsthand how tough it can be for bus riders. “There are a ton of people at these bus stops where I live who are waiting on buses that never show up,” he says. “That’s ridiculous.” Hardy and other members of the Better Bus Coalition have been working on a plan they say could help. They’ve crunched data, held community input
sessions and talked to riders and business owners who employ them. Their proposal, released earlier this month, envisions 11 transit hubs around Hamilton County in places like Northside, University of Cincinnati, Mount Healthy, Anderson, Kenwood and elsewhere. It would add more cross-town routes and express routes from downtown. It would also introduce two bus rapid transit routes. BRT systems generally give buses a dedicated lane and priority at intersections and also feature measures meant to streamline the boarding and fare-paying process to speed up service. “When you think of bus rapid transit, you think of buses coming every 10 minutes, they’re not stopping as often,” Hardy says. “It just speeds your time up. There’s no reason it should take 50 minutes to get anywhere in this city. You should be able to crisscross this city in 30 minutes.” To pay for this $197 million-a-year vision, the Coalition has endorsed a .75 percent Hamilton County sales tax increase, among other funding sources. Hardy calls the plan “a conversation starter” and acknowledges that there are a lot of pieces to the transit puzzle. But he says something has to change. “We’re just trying to start the conversation, because, quite frankly, the conversation has never been had,” he says. “We’ve never seen significant investment in our public transportation system. We as bus riders have said, ‘enough is enough.’ ”
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THE ART OF BEING KATHY Y. WILSON
Sanctuary paints a portrait of the writer at home in her “colored museum” WORDS BY K ATHY SCHWARTZ | PHOTOS BY HAILEY BOLLINGER
ven in an apartment whose four rooms and long, narrow hallway are chock-full of art and affirmations, Kathy Y. Wilson stands out as a work of art herself. Still frank, profane and hilarious after coming close to death last year, she remains Your Negro Tour Guide, as was the name of her popular CityBeat column as well as the title of a resultant book and stage adaptation. And now your guide is leading you through a gallery. Sanctuary: Kathy Y. Wilson Living in a Colored Museum opens Friday at the Weston Art Gallery downtown. Curated by Emily Buddendeck of Northside’s NVISION vintage shop, the exhibit recreates the salon-style feeling of Wilson’s apartment in East Walnut Hills, where the longtime writer and educator has amassed a floor-to-ceiling array of racist objects, locally made art, family photos and other black memorabilia. With its mammy figurines and grinning watermelon eaters, the exhibit could create a backlash. But rather than calling attention to Wilson’s provocative art, Buddendeck’s mission is to showcase the provocative woman she calls an artist. “This is a way to show another dimension of her that provides a lot of context to her writing,” Buddendeck said during a recent interview in Wilson’s living room retreat. In this room, Wilson can gaze upon a print of struggling brothers by the late Cincinnati artist Thom Shaw, who was a friend, or smile at a wiry-haired sculpture of a sister in a swimsuit by Kentucky folk artist LaVon Williams. Whenever she is feeling rage as a black citizen in America, “I come in here and look at a painting or something and calm all the fuck the way down,” Wilson says. But why would someone who’s been so outspoken about racism also seek out buffoonish coin banks and bugged-eyed bobbleheads? How can a home that houses such offensive objects still be considered a sanctuary, a place of refuge?
Left: Kathy Y. Wilson | Right: Wilson scrawls quotes from friends, rappers and the Bible on blank spots in her home.
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“These things are comforting to me when I get them. I call it liberating them because they have been enslaved,” Wilson says. “It’s also me saying I am not afraid of anything America thought I looked like.” The uglier the caricatures, they more beautiful the pieces are to her. The 52-year-old Wilson has lived in her apartment for 15 years and has been collecting for twice that long. She especially enjoys the thrill of the hunt for Jim Crow remnants at flea markets, estate sales and antique malls. “I actually have a physiological response in my body when I’m coming up on one,” she says. “My limbs get hollow. I start sweating. The hair stands up on my arms. I’m like, ‘There’s a nigger. There’s a nigger.’ And I’ll tell (my partner) Kandice, ‘There’s a nigger around here somewhere. I’m getting close.’ ” Wilson keeps a black lawn jockey outside her door, next to her Get Out of My Caucasian House mat. She wanted a jockey ever since she was a little girl in Hamilton. One of her father’s jobs as a child was to paint the statues and their coal-colored faces at a cement business run by a white man. Her dad understood the weight of that indignity even as a little boy, Wilson says. So one night he sneaked in to the business and used a sledgehammer to damage as many jockeys as he could. Though she’s been weakened in recent years by diabetes, end-stage renal failure and congestive heart failure, Wilson grows animated and zigzags an arm to punctuate her story of finding the jockey at a booth inside a huge Springdale antique mall. Wilson was shopping with her friend JJ when she picked up the unmistakable feeling that there was a racist
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object nearby that needed to be liberated. Then Wilson spotted the top of the jockey’s head, “back over behind a partition, in the corner, with something in front of it,” she says. “And I said, ‘AAAHHH-hahhhh-HAH!’ ” Wilson ran to get a cart for her treasure. Then she and JJ, a white woman, struggled to lift the jockey into the basket. “And everybody is looking,” Wilson says. “People want to say something. They’re not sure. They’re looking at me like, ‘Is she sane? Does she know what this is?’ Exactly I knew what this is.” Wilson has sacrificed to build the salon that she dreamed of since she was a young woman looking at pictures from the Harlem Renaissance. Every big piece in the living room represents rent money, Wilson says. “That Thom Shaw was rent and Duke (Energy),” she adds. A Victor Strunk/Tim Schwallie collaboration included in the Sanctuary exhibit originally was shown at the old SSNOVA gallery, which Buddendeck ran. The painting cost $500. Wilson gave Strunk $100; the Cincinnati artist told her to give him the rest when she could. “I was unemployed. I was becoming ill. I had no source of income,” she says. “But I would come in here and sit and look at that piece of artwork — knowing that I had to still pay for it — and it made my heart feel so good.” The painting on wood features a woman wearing a crown aboard a flaming ship. Strunk left the meaning open to interpretation. “But I tell myself that is Lady Liberty, and she is rendered as a saggy-breasted old hag surrounded by Muslims, with a faint image of the real Statue of Liberty in the distance,” Wilson says. “The boat is on fire — maybe representing the peril that immigrants withstand to come here and that the notion of ‘liberty’ is old and bedraggled and that, anyway, don’t we take freedom with us wherever we go?” To have Buddendeck see her as an artist, on par with friends like printmaker/ceramicist Terence Hammonds, Left: Art, photos and notes written in chalk surround Wilson’s writing area. | Right: Masks on a wall in the kitchen
David Pilgrim | Photo: Jim Crow Museum
whose work brightens a corner of the apartment’s Blue Room, is a mind-blowing, validating compliment, Wilson says. “I see some weird shit and I bring it home, and I think it’s art,” she says. “Then one of these artists will come in and say, ‘Damn! What you did with that, that’s incredible.’ And they start talking to me about artistic principles and shit, and I’m like, ‘I don’t know. I just did it that way because it looks good to me.’ ” Of course, doing her own thing is Wilson’s thing. As evidenced in more than nine years of CityBeat columns (2000-05 and 2012-16), Wilson resists letting anyone else, white or black, determine her identity. “When you are black, and also an out lesbian who also claims the love and redemption of Jesus Christ, that fucks people up,” she says. “Also, when you are articulate and smart and you have a platform, people regress all the way back to ‘Who does this nigger think she is?’ ” Wilson trusts Buddendeck to create a version of her “colored museum” apartment at the Weston, complete with window frames, doors and mantels. The women have known one another since 2006, when Buddendeck joined the now-closed InkTank writing nonprofit as creative strategist and Wilson was a board member. Buddendeck, who is white, had proposed the exhibit during the Obama presidency, when a segment of America wanted to believe that racism was over. The project was put on hold when Wilson got sick. In the current sociopolitical climate, Sanctuary is an even better reminder that some people aren’t as “woke” as they thought, the women say. One of Wilson’s first memories is seeing three Klan members coming down her Hamilton street on horseback
Why Racist Memorabilia Still Matters David Pilgrim is the founder and curator of the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich., and one of the nation’s leading experts on race relations. In conjunction with Sanctuary: Kathy Y. Wilson Living in a Colored Museum, the Weston Art Gallery has invited him to Cincinnati to speak in January about using objects of intolerance to teach tolerance. The size of the Jim Crow collection — 10,000 pieces on display and 4,000-5,000 more in storage — shows how prevalent racism was and is, Pilgrim says. “When I thought of propaganda, I thought of leaflets or grainy old black-and-white film,” he says. “But many years later I came to understand that any object could be propaganda.” It could be a postcard, a thermometer or an ashtray. Even a watermelon could be racialized. The everyday objects in the museum and Kathy Y. Wilson’s apartment both reflected and shaped attitudes about African-Americans, Pilgrim says. They served to legitimize first slavery and then Jim Crow’s discriminatory laws and customs. Items like a metal sculpture of a black man’s head that was used for striking matches implied that dark-skinned people felt no pain and therefore could be treated as second-class citizens. “These objects were so pervasive that they were represented in every room in a home as well as in restaurants, public accommodations, our public schools,” Pilgrim says. “You could not find a place in American society where you did not have anti-black two-dimensional and three-dimensional objects.” Wilson, who will be sharing a stage with Pilgrim, recognizes that ownership of racist items requires a level of responsibility and respect for personal histories. “It’s naïve to assume that black people are going to accept this show with open arms,” she says. Wilson admits she wasn’t ready for the flak when a mammy appeared on the cover of her book, Your Negro Tour Guide. The Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia was established in 1996 to have intelligent conversations about parts of history we might not like, Pilgrim says. “It’s not about offending. It’s about using real objects from our past, and present, to hold real discussions about where we were, where we are and where we hope to go as a nation.” David Pilgrim and Kathy Y. Wilson will speak 1-3 p.m. Jan. 14 in the Aronoff Center’s Fifth Third Bank Theater. Tickets are $20, $15 students at westonartgallery.com.
while she was all alone on her porch. She ran inside and when a frightened Wilson ran back outside with her family, the men were gone. But she knows she didn’t dream up the hateful episode at just 4 years old. “It’s been in my life all my life,” Wilson says. “And this is what I will say to white America: If you want us to shut up about his shit, stop showing it to us.” A news crawler about the Trump White House will set her off. “If you give me a crazy situation, I’m going to respond in a crazy way,” she says with a laugh. “I’ll give you what you gave me — insanity!” Fans who have missed Wilson’s columns will see her writing on the walls of the exhibit. When she was a child, her mother let her scrawl on her bedroom walls in crayon.
Sanctuary: Kathy Y. Wilson Living in a Colored Museum opens Friday with a 6-8 p.m. reception at Weston Art Gallery, 650 Walnut St., Downtown. On view through Jan. 28. Free. More info: westonartgallery.com. “These things are comforting to me when I get them. I call it liberating them because they have been enslaved.” — Kathy Y. WIlson
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In her own apartment, she records her thoughts and inspirational words from friends, rappers and the Bible on window frames, doors and any other blank spot. Next to a photo in her Blue Room of a black youth who is learning to box, she has written a note pondering whether he’s since been killed by cops. Wilson’s words disappeared from CityBeat last year as her health issues left her unable to work, or even walk. These days she’s driving again and no longer needs insulin for diabetes, but she doesn’t have all her stamina back after her body shed 125 pounds of fluid. She’s been on at-home dialysis and is going through screenings to get on a list for a kidney transplant. A GoFundMe campaign and benefit this summer raised $12,000 for living expenses and an attorney who can challenge a denial of disability coverage. “I’m coming out of a lot,” a grateful Wilson says as she reflects with Kandice, her partner. “This is a very difficult country to live in, so, yes, this is my sanctuary. We come in here and close the door and we forget about all of that shit.” They’ll turn off the news, put on music and look at their art. Then Wilson will tell her partner about the latest thing she has put on layaway — the next item she must liberate. “And she’ll be like, ‘Baby, where are you going to put it?’ And I’m like, ‘That’s not the point. We just gotta get it in here.’ ”
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STUFF TO DO
Twinkle Time The advent of long winter nights (and the approaching holidays) means it’s time for elaborate light displays — both drive-through and walkable — to bring a little glow-worm cheer to kids, cozy couples and those with encroaching seasonal affective disorder. Cincinnati Zoo’s Festival of Lights — The 35th annual Festival of Lights is a “Wild Wonderland” featuring a staggering 3 million LED bulbs and 19 new gigantic animal lanterns (including hippos) on display throughout the zoo. Classic attractions return: an elaborate synchronized light display on Swan Lake, thematic train rides, roast-your-own s’mores and plenty of holiday cheer… like peppermint schnapps- or Irish cream-spiked hot chocolate. Through Jan. 1. $18 adults; $12 children and seniors. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale, cincinnatizoo.org. Christmas Nights of Lights at Coney Island — Watch from the comfort of your car as more than 1 million LED lights illuminate animated Christmas characters and scenes, synchronized to holiday radio music. Now with more light tunnels. Through Jan. 1. $6 per person; free children 3 and under. Coney Island, 6201 Kellogg Ave., California, coneyislandpark.com. Christmas Glow at Land of Illusion — This haunted Halloween attraction transforms for the season. Instead of ghosts and ghouls,
ONSTAGE: Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere continues at Know Theatre. See review on page 19.
Holiday Lights on the Hill at Pyramid Hill — Snuggle in your cozy car and drive through a two-mile wonderland of lights adorning this Hamilton sculpture park. Through Dec 31. $20 per carload Monday-Thursday; $25 per carload Friday-Sunday; $15 members. Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum, 1763 Hamilton Cleves Road, Hamilton, pyramidhill.org. Holiday in Lights at Sharon Woods — This drive-through woodsy display features more than a mile of colorful lights depicting everything from nutcrackers, snow men and trains to elves and animals on the ark. Tune the radio to WARM 98 for some holiday music while you cruise. Through Dec. 31. $13 per car. Sharon Woods, 11450 Lebanon Road, Sharonville, holidayinlights.com.
EVENT: Nashville’s Blank Range stomp and swagger at the Southgate House Revival. See Sound Advice on page 28.
EVENT: Brain Candy Live! What do you get when you take a seasoned MythBuster, a YouTube star turned educator and a whole lot of science? You get Adam Savage’s and Michael Stevens’ interactive science show, Brain Candy Live!. Marketed as a cross between Blue Man Group and a TED Talk, the curiosity-fueled show features mind-boggling experiments and demonstrations, like a wild presentation about the air pressure in ping-pong balls. Audience members will have a chance to interact with the dynamic duo with activities like tweeting in questions during intermission and, if you’re lucky, you might even be selected to come onstage. Read an interview with Savage on page 18. 7:30 p.m. Thursday. $45-$150. Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, braincandylive. com. — ERIN COUCH
Comedy: Jim Gaffigan Pale observational comic/ author/actor Jim Gaffigan brings his Noble Ape standup tour to U.S. Bank Arena. Expect jokes about fatherhood (see: his book Dad is Fat), food (see: his book Food: A Love Story) and his characteristic deadpan delivery. 7:30 p.m. Thursday. $39.75-$69.75. U.S. Bank Arena, 100 Broadway St., Downtown, usbankarena. com. — MAIJA ZUMMO
ART: Sanctuary: Kathy Y. Wilson Living in a Colored Museum opens at the Weston Art Gallery. See cover story on page 08. MUSIC: Singer/songwriter Dustin Thomas brings modernized Folk to NKY’s Octave. See Sound Advice on page 28. ART: Winter Greens at the Lloyd Library Early Romans marked the winter solstice with evergreen boughs. Druids decorated temples with winter greens to symbolize everlasting life. Today, plants that thrive in the coldest months
Festival of Lights P H O T O : M ark D umont
— pines, mistletoe and more — still signify hope. The Lloyd Library celebrates those plants’ science and folklore in Winter Greens, an exhibit of botanical illustrations from old American and European tree and forestry books. This rare collection features vivid artwork and detailed line drawings, complemented by a series of programs that pay tribute to evergreens as symbols of enduring optimism. Opening reception 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday. On view through March 17. Free. Lloyd Library and Museum, 917 Plum St., Downtown, lloydlibrary.org. — JUDY GEORGE HOLIDAY: Christmas Saengerfest Saengerfest is a choral tradition that was brought to America by German immigrants; the first American Saengerfest actually took place in Cincinnati in 1849. And after years of silence, American Legacy Tours has been presenting a reinvigorated Christmas Saengerfest event for the past five years. Board a shuttle bus that stops at six venues throughout Over-the-Rhine to hear
Ongoing Shows ONSTAGE: An Evening with Groucho Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Mount Adams (through Dec. 17)
more than 20 award-winning local choirs like the Young Professionals Choral Collective, May Festival Youth Chorus and the Cincinnati Sound Chorus, among others. Expect holiday tunes in historic and sacred spaces. 7-11 p.m. Friday; 6:30-11 p.m. Saturday. $30 per day. Multiple venues, christmassaengerfest.com. — KENNEDY PONDER EVENT: Redsfest Batter up! The annual Redsfest returns to the Duke Energy Convention Center for a two-day event featuring Reds players past and present on hand for assorted appearances, photographs and autographs. While the list is subject to change, Major Leaguers slated to
appear include Joey Votto, Devin Mesoraco and Homer Bailey, with alumni and others like Marty Brennaman, Corky Miller and Eric Davis. If you’re a fan, this is the place to find autographed goods, unique memorabilia and other merchandise for sale. Other activities include bingo, batting cages, mascot meet-and-greets and a kidfriendly fun zone. Opens 3 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday. $17 adults; $7 kids; $25 adult two-day pass; $12 kids two-day pass. Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Downtown, mlb.com/reds. — ALISON BAXTER EVENT: Ugly Christmas Sweater Bar Crawl PSA: Just because the name has “Christmas sweater” in it does not mean you want to bring your grandma. Join the fun at The Banks and participate in a bar crawl with drink specials while donning your most hideous holiday wear. The Ugly Christmas Sweater Bar Crawl includes six bars offering draft deals on Braxton, New Belgium CONTINUES ON PAGE 14
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ONSTAGE: The Dancing Princesses For this year’s holiday season, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati is debuting yet another family-friendly musical. From a German fairy tale sometimes called “The Worn-Out Dancing Shoes,” this show is about five sisters who somehow dance their shoes to tatters every night but keep their overprotective father, the King, in the dark. As usual, ETC gives a classic fairy tale an imaginative modern spin including a meaningful moral that’s heartfelt and enjoyable. The show is peppered with contemporary references to keep kids laughing and adults entertained. Through Dec. 30. $55 adult; $31 student; $27 child. Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, 1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, ensemblecincinnati.org. — RICK PENDER
find a glowing drive-through light display commemorating “Christmas Around the World,” with a twinkling Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal and Big Ben. 6-11 p.m. daily through Dec. 30. $16 per vehicle; $14 with canned good donation. Land of Illusion, 8762 Thomas Road, Middletown, landofillusion.com.
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and Oskar Blues beers. There will be prizes for the ugliest, naughtiest and best team Christmas sweaters. Benefits Toys for Tots. 5:30 p.m.-midnight Friday. Free admission. Kicks off at the Blind Pig, 24 W. Third St., Downtown, braxtonbrewing. com. — ALISON BAXTER
MUSIC: Nine-piece Funk/ Rock collective Turkuaz brings its frenetic live show to Madison Theater. See Sound Advice on page 29.
MUSIC: Moon Hooch Popular music is filled with triumphant stories of successful artists or bands that cut their teeth busking for change on the street. But Brooklyn-spawned trio Moon Hooch holds the distinction of being the only two-saxophones-anddrums trio to ever go from being subway-busking stars (attracting so many revelers that cops banned them from certain locations) to becoming an internationally
acclaimed ensemble that consistently sells out concerts all over the U.S. and Europe. Despite their initial success on the road, the breathtakingly unique and primarily instrumental group hasn’t rested on its well-earned laurels. It endlessly explores new musical territory and deftly blends Funk, Jazz and Electronic/ Dance sounds, which are given a textural richness with the incorporation of effects, vocals and other instruments (like synths and clarinet). This year, the band released the concert film and double live album Live at the Cathedral. 9 p.m. Saturday. $12; $15 day of. Octave, 611 Madison Ave., Covington, Ky., theoctavebar.com. — MIKE BREEN COMEDY: Cedric the Entertainer Cedric the Entertainer first burst onto the national comedy scene way back in 1992 when he appeared on It’s Showtime at The Apollo. From there, he went on to HBO’s Def Comedy Jam and BET’s ComicView,
which he eventually wound up hosting for one season. He began acting in 1996 when he was cast in The Steve Harvey Show as Cedric Jackie Robinson. He has since acted in several films, including Barbershop 1 and 2, and the TV series The Soul Man. Onstage he talks quite a bit about the AfricanAmerican experience in America today. 7 and 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $45. Liberty Funny Bone, 7518 Bales St., Liberty Township, liberty.funnybone. com. — P.F. WILSON EVENT: Crafty Supermarket If you think the massproduced ugly Christmas sweater you’re gifting is as authentic as your mom’s glorious shoulder-padded, lightup cardi circa 1984, you’re sorely mistaken. Head over to the Crafty Supermarket instead and score some truly unique gifts from more than 90 vendors and makers hand-selected from Ohio and beyond, including a few local favorites like Northside’s honey and beeswax
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HOLIDAY: Water Wonderland with Scuba Santa Santa’s coming to town. Well, to the Newport Aquarium at least. Celebrate the holidays with Scuba Santa as he trades in his reindeer for a herd of seahorses and a school of fish. The man in red will be visiting a variety of aquarium exhibits throughout the day, such as Shark Ray Bay and Stingray Hideaway. Other exhibits will be decorated for the holidays, with a special magic-bubble mailbox in Penguin Palooza to send wishes to Santa. There will also be an opportunity to meet Scuba Santa one-on-one as he plunges into the tanks. Through Dec 31. $24.99 adult; $16.99 child. Newport Aquarium, 1 Levee Way, Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., newportaquarium.com. — KENNEDY PONDER
14 S anta , there ’ s a shark ray behind you . . . / / P H O T O : provided
“ F I N D I N G K E N Y O N B A R R ” / / P H O T O : C I N C I N N AT I M U S E U M C E N T E R
ART: Photographing Kenyon Barr Panel Discussion Anne Delano Steinert, historian, preservationist, educator and curator of the exhibit Finding Kenyon Barr: Exploring Photographs of Cincinnati’s Lost Lower West End, will join the Cincinnati Museum Center’s curator of audio-visual collection, Jim DaMico, and CityBeat staff writer Nick Swartsell, to participate in a panel talk. Finding Kenyon Barr, on view until Jan. 2, documents the devastating destruction of more than 2,600 structures in Cincinnati’s West End during the late 1950s, when federal urban renewal dollars were readily available. The second in a series of three panel talks, this one will address the ways in which the aforementioned photo collection has inspired the work of the three panelists. 6:30 p.m. doors; 7 p.m. panel Thursday. Free admission. 1202 Linn St., West End, facebook.com/fi ndingkenyonbarr. — MARIA SEDA-REEDER
FILM: Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present screens at the Mini Microcinema. See page 17.
YOUR WEEKEND TO DO LIST: LOCAL.CITYBEAT.COM
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EVENT: Ohio Explored Holiday Maker Mart Ohio Explored is a social media site dedicated to inspiring people to explore Ohio and shop local. As an extension of this mission, its Holiday Maker Mart will
EVENT: The O.F.F. Market Get a double-dose of holiday shopping done by also stopping by the O.F.F. Market at the 20th Century Theater in Oakley. Check out the handmade and found goods from plenty of makers, bakers, thrifters, artists and more. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Free admission. 20th Century Theater, 3021 Madison Road, Oakley, theoffmarket. org. — MAIJA ZUMMO
feature more than 100 local makers selling their wares on Sunday at two venues in Northside — Urban Artifact and Chase School. Expect to see some of the best and most reputable artisans, crafters and small businesses in the area, including The Northern Market, Rock Salt Vintage, Smartfish, Eliza Dot Design, Fern, Cincy Shirts and more. 1-6 p.m. Sunday; early bird noon-1 p.m. Free general admission; $10 early bird. Urban Artifact, 1660 Blue Rock St., Northside; Chase School, 4151 Turrill St., Northside, ohioexplored. com. — MAIJA ZUMMO
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craftsmen, Bee Haven, and Covington’s gift-centric design studio and shop, Handzy. Arrive early to enjoy tasty eats and vintage arcade games, and you might be one of the first 100 out of the expected 5,000 visitors to get your mits on a free swag bag. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday. Free. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-theRhine, craftysupermarket. com. — ERIN COUCH
ARTS & CULTURE
Notable Regional Books of 2017 From historic candies of Cincinnati to secret atomic bomb research in Dayton and more BY S T E V EN R O S EN
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t’s been a busy year for books either with regional subject matter or by local authors — and those that fit both categories. There are so many that no single story can cover everything, so this is a selective look at some of the most notable. Or, one might say in the case of Dann Woellert’s new book, most appetizing. His research into the history of Cincinnati foodstuffs and eating trends has already yielded books on the roots of Cincinnati chili and a survey of our historic restaurants. He explores the local connections to the making of opera creams, candy corn, marshmallow candies, French chews and more in Cincinnati Candy: A Sweet History (The History Press). Another sweet history, so to speak, is the journey of Cincinnati Zoo’s Fiona from newborn to international superstar. It’s the subject of Jan Sherbin’s Hip, Hippo, Hooray for Fiona! (Insight Productions), which features photos by the zoo. Inclusion in this article should not be meant to imply that the book inherently makes for a perfect all-ages holiday gift. Some have more serious concerns than that, such as one by Cincinnati’s Poet Laureate, Pauletta Hansel. Her new Palindrome (Dos Madres Press) candidly, lovingly observes — in poems like “My Mother Has Stopped Telling Me She Loves Me” — the process by which her dementiastricken mother loses touch. It’s tough stuff, but wonderful writing. Another major Cincinnati poet, Richard Hague, also has a fine volume out on Dos Madres, Studied Days: Poems Early & Late in Appalachia, which anthologizes many poems that first appeared elsewhere. There are some new coffee-table books that would indeed make excellent holiday gifts. Photographer (and FotoFocus cofounder) Thomas R. Schiff ’s Cincinnati Panoramas (SPCA Cincinnati) captures spectacularly colorful wide views of such city landmarks as the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge, the downtown skyline, Findlay Market, Vent Haven Museum and much more. Photographer Matthew Zory’s other job — assistant principal bass for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra — afforded him
These books and more will be of interest to readers looking for local connections in their choice of literature. PHOTOS: PROVIDED
much opportunity to observe the recently completed renovation of the CSO’s historic home, Music Hall. Due out Friday is his 272-page Through the Lens: The Remaking of Music Hall (Cincinnati Book Publishing), culled from the 10,000 photographs he shot of the in-progress project. Shelly Reese provided text. And ArtWorks celebrates the growth of its program to create large-scale outdoor murals with Transforming Cincinnati: How a decade of ArtWorks murals changed people and communities forever (Orange Frazer Press). The book features 88 murals from 37 neighborhoods. Two new guidebooks of sorts might also make good gifts. Rick Armon’s 50 Must-Try Craft Beers of Ohio (Ohio University Press) is especially appealing for those who like a little peanut butter with their brew. It includes both local Listermann Brewing Co.’s Nutcase Peanut Butter Porter and Willoughby Brewing Company’s Peanut Butter Cup Coffee Porter. Filling out the volume are such additional sections as “10 Coolest Brewery Names,” including Toxic Brew Company and Zaftig Brewing Co. And from Cleveland’s literary-minded Belt Press comes Edward McClelland’s How to Speak Midwestern, which humorously looks at the speech, slang and dialect variations within the Midwest. It even includes a chapter on “‘Well, That’s
Different’: How to Passive-Aggressively Criticize People, Places and Things.” Turning to fiction, Jessica Strawser — an editor-at-large at Writer’s Digest — found success with her Almost Missed You (St. Martin’s Press), a romantic thriller that found a devoted following among fans of The Good Girl and The Girl on the Train. Jasmine Warga, a Cincinnatian, had her family drama Here We Are Now (Balzer + Bray/Harper Collins) published this month. It tells the story of a young woman — a music lover — who discovers a shoebox full of old letters to her mother from a current Indie Rock star as she tries to learn more about their relationship. And a new local publisher, Waxing Press, debuted this year with Daniel S. Jones’ novel An Accidental Profession, which dissects the “unspeakable acts and embarrassing situations” that are part of modern corporate life. History and biography books of regional interest were plentiful in 2017. The great lyrical Jazz pianist Fred Hersch, a Cincinnati native who survived a two-month-long coma in 2007, wrote a heartfelt memoir, Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In and Out of Jazz (Crown Archetype). The Cincinnati Human Relations Commission, originally called the Mayor’s Friendly Relations Committee, came into being in 1943 after shocking race
riots erupted in Detroit. How has the commission fared in the decades since? That’s explored in Phillip J. Obermiller and Thomas E. Wagner’s The Cincinnati Human Relations Commission: A History, 1943-2013 (Ohio University Press). Who knew Dayton was so exciting? Two different books explore different secret projects there during World War II. Linda Carrick Thomas’ Polonium in the Playhouse recounts how the U.S. War Department seized a glass-roofed indoor tennis court in the upscale neighborhood of Oakwood to process radioactive plutonium for atom bombs. And the role of the city’s National Cash Register Co. in cracking German and Japanese codes is part of the story in Liza Mundy’s Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II (Hachette Books). Finally, the 1960s continue to fascinate, and how the decade’s political tensions played out on American college campuses is getting special attention. William J. Shkurti’s The Ohio State University in the Sixties: The Unraveling of the Old Order (Trillium/The Ohio State University Press) looks at the confl icts there. It should be noted that, for space reasons, this story omits worthwhile 2017 books that CityBeat either already has featured or soon will be.
Honoring an Avant-Garde Giant BY S T E V EN R O S EN
DECEMBER 20 | TAFT THEATER Visit CityBeat.com/win-stuff to enter for a chance to win tickets to this upcoming show!
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John Rich and Jon Lorenz, the creators Trained in math at Harvard University of the No Response music festival, have and a keen student of computers, Conrad a mission: To bring as many of the giants, perfected a revolutionary droning sound the elders, of the avant-garde to Cincinon his violin while playing in the Theatre nati as they can. As Rich explains it, it’s an of Eternal Music, an early-1960s collechonor for the city to be able to host them tive of New York experimental musicians while it can — not unlike hosting an Olymdevoted to the tension and beauty of pics or World Series if you really care about composer-less Minimalism. Doing the arts and culture. same on viola was John Cale, who went “We feel a very deep sense of history, and on to bring the Theatre of Eternal Music’s it’s good to present people who have broken Classical ideas to the Rock group Velvet ground,” Rich says. “For the older people Underground — that band’s name came who haven’t been brought here yet, we’ve from a book Conrad kept in his apartment. got to do it.” Conrad began to perform live in front of a On Tuesday at the Mini Microcinema, they are honoring one who got away — Tony Conrad, who died last year at age 76. They’re presenting a recent documentary by Tyler Hubby called Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present. Conrad was one of the creators of musical Minimalism as well as an avant-garde filmmaker and a conceptual artist with an impish wit. And on Dec. 7, the microcinema is showing a program of Conrad’s own short films and videos. Previously, the two have tried to bring such artists, live and in person, to town Tony Conrad is the subject of a documentary screening here. on what Rich acknowlPHOTO: PROVIDED edges is a limited budget. They have presented New York No Wave musician Lydia Lunch; Gersheet lit to make him appear like a towerman Free Jazz saxophone/clarinet colossus ing shadow. Peter Brötzmann; and literary and musical As a filmmaker, Conrad challenged our experimentalist Genesis P-Orridge. This notions about the structure of a movie. His isn’t merely an exercise in looking backgroundbreaking 1966 The Flicker, which ward at forward-thinking artists. They know will be screened at the Mini Microcinema that younger artists learn from seeing the on Dec. 7, alternates all-black and all-white most historically important avant-gardists frames in a way that, over the course of 30 still out there. minutes, can cause a viewer’s brain to perNor are they alone in their mission: ceive hallucinatory images. In the 1970s, Michael Solway, managing director of Carl Conrad substituted film stock for foodstuff Solway Gallery, brought the pioneers of in recipes, producing jars of “pickled film.” psychedelic art into town for this year’s Having seen Tony Conrad: Completely Distant Horizons show, and the Cincinnati in the Present in preparation for this story, I Symphony Orchestra, Contemporary Arts highly recommend it. It ends with a scene Center and MusicNow have also brought of great warmth and humor that is mastersuch elders in. fully insightful about what made Conrad But it can be a struggle — not everyone special. It’s also telling about how artists gets the importance of providing such can see through the commonplace. cultural experiences. And the artists who Standing in traffic, Conrad “conducts” fit this category aren’t getting any younger. the noises like an orchestra. “Make children If there was someone who Rich and noises,” he says as some kids pass. He Lorenz wanted to bring here in person to dismisses a passing bicyclist for not making be honored, but couldn’t, it was Conrad. He enough noise. A woman crossing the street died before their first No Response Festival. asks if he’s all right — his actions strike her “Jon and I worship Tony Conrad,” Rich as odd. But Tony Conrad couldn’t be better. says. “His existence was our starting point Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present for doing the festival; we said we’ve got to screens 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Mini get him to town somehow. Now that he’s Microcinema (1329 Main St., OTR), and passed away, we’re showing the documenshort films and videos by Tony Conrad tary. And the voice he had in his short films screens there 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7. More info: and videos definitely makes them deserve mini-cinema.org. a program of their own.”
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Visual Sweets in Store at ‘Brain Candy Live!’ BY B R I A N B A K ER
After the Discovery Channel cancelled for someone else to collaborate with. They its hugely popular MythBusters program represented Michael and didn’t realize last year, co-host Adam Savage should that I was a huge fan of his and that we had have taken an extended vacation. The intrikind of a mutual admiration society.” cately planned and executed experiments Magic relies on misdirection to achieve that Savage, his co-host Jamie Hyneman its end, while Brain Candy Live!’s experiand their dedicated crew created over the mentation demands you pay attention to course of 14 seasons were mentally and every detail to enjoy the payoff. In both often physically grueling, so by all rights cases, the intended reaction is exactly the overworked presenter should probably the same. still be thigh deep in a couch dent. “We’re looking for the same gasp, the But that’s not how Savage rolls. While same ‘huuuh’ moment,” Savage says. “The MythBusters’ fi nal season was airing, he fun part of the show is we hear the audiwas planning his next professional phase, ence make that sound every night.” which resembles his last professional phase with slightly more glitz and flash. His new stage show, dubbed Brain Candy Live!, is the co-creation of Savage and Michael Stevens, the mastermind behind YouTube’s informational/ educational VSauce channel, and a hybrid of their two famous broadcasts. They present it at Aronoff Center for the Arts on Thursday. “For us, ‘brain candy’ is the pleasure you feel at learning something new, so we built a show that celebrates that specific Adam Savage previously was co-host of TV’s Mythbusters. feeling,” Savage says. “It P H O T O : M AT T C H R I S T I N E P H O T O G R A P H Y defi nitely has the DNA of both Michael’s and my pasts, and there are aspects that are Like many magicians, Savage and Stevery different for us. With this show, for vens recruit assistance from their gasping Michael, there’s a lot more physicality audience to help them onstage. Be prepared than anybody realizes he’s capable of. not only to be amazed but also involved. For both of us, it’s very fertile ground for “We bring audience members onstage improvisation and trying out new stuff.” to help us with various parts of the show,” Improvisation would seem to be more Savage says. “We bring a young person in the wheelhouse of stand-up comics. So onstage who helps us build a machine that where does improvisation occur within we then utilize with the help of that young the context of a science presentation? person. Audience participation is really “Weirdly, kind of all of it,” Savage says. key and one of the most fun parts of doing “There is a script, but the show is never a the show.” static object. We modify it, modulate it For Savage, the jolt from Brain Candy and attenuate it to the audience every sinLive! is equal to the one he got from Mythgle night. If you have a particularly rauBusters for 14 years. cous crowd that’s super energized, some“I’m addicted to storytelling in any format, times you can offer up whole new swaths whether it’s building a prop and making it of material just because they’re willing to look like it has history, writing out a piece on go along. Michael has an improv backhow I build stuff or being on television tellground, so if one of us changes a word, the ing stories,” Savage says. “Each discipline other goes on alert and realizes we may requires a different kind of mindset in order go in a slightly different direction. The to communicate a narrative. And comoutline is so the crew knows when to turn municating a narrative onstage in front of a the lights on, but there’s room to move.” live audience is one of the most adrenalineSavage describes his early 2016 meeting rushing ways to tell stories. To take them with Stevens as “a very funny Hollywood along with you while also being willing to meet-cute.” Almost immediately the pair go along with them is the closest I’ll ever get began spitballing ideas for what evolved to feeling like a rock star.” into Brain Candy Live!. Brain Candy Live! occurs 7:30 p.m. “Our agents introduced us to each other,” Thursday at the Aronoff Center for the Savage says. “I was touring with Jamie Arts. $45-$150. Tickets/more info: Hyneman for years. Jamie wanted to stop cincinnatiarts.org. touring and my agency knew I was looking
The Never-Ending Story of ‘Neverwhere’ BY JAC K I E M U L AY
Richard likable, as he absolutely must be or the entire production falls apart. However, the most delightful moments of the entire play are when sadistic assassin partners Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar steal the stage. The character development and comedic timing that actors Sean P. Mette and Dylan Shelton bring to their roles are superb, and that allows them to steal every scene in which they are featured. But this
Rory Sheridan and Ernaisja Curry in Neverwhere PHOTO: MIKKI SCHAFFNER PHOTOGRAPHY
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Neverwhere is presented by Know Theatre in Over-the-Rhine through Dec. 17. Tickets/ more info: knowtheatre.com.
leaves many of the other characters to fall flat in comparison. Poor accent work, a lack of development and shallow emotions make it difficult for the audience to care about those characters and their journeys. The production’s expansive and inventive scenic design by Sarah Beth Hall is slightly less chaotic than the play itself. Although at times the staging feels confused and the stage combat clumsy, the standout element of the production is absolutely Noelle Johnston’s costume design. The leather-clad Hunter (Jordan Trovillion) and the feathered Old Bailey (Andrew Ian Adams) are truly creative and quite beautiful. These elements help the audience identify and recognize the massive number of characters (eight of 10 actors play multiple roles) and create a detailed idea of what a place like London Below might actually look and feel like. Perhaps serious cult fantasy enthusiasts will suspend their disbelief long enough to sustain the length of the production. For others, it will require a meaningful investment.
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Neil Gaiman’s novel Neverwhere, as staged by Know Theatre using a theatrical adaptation by Robert Kauzlaric, is a nearly three-hour-long epic fantasy that follows the misadventures of a Scotsman named Richard Mayhew. He is an unremarkable financier who plunges into the illusory world of London’s underground — here called “London Below.” In Neverwhere there are two Londons: the everyday London of reality, London Above; and London Below, a treacherous, anachronistic fantasy world beneath London inhabited by those who have “fallen through the cracks.” A simple act of kindness kicks off Richard’s adventures into London Below. After finding a mysterious and seriously injured young woman named Door on the street, Richard resists being a bystander and comes to her aid. He is subsequently hurled into a lengthy convoluted quest for truth in Door’s world, London Below. What follows is a hero’s journey that includes the staples of the fantasy genre — a quirky cast of nearly 30 characters, lies, deceit and, of course, self-discovery. The production, directed by Andrew J. Hungerford and Dan R. Winters, seeks to go beyond the fantasy story to provide an “in” for the audience. The dwellers of London Below are clearly an allegory for the homeless population. In fact, Richard comes to this realization just after his first adventure in London Below. Waking up in his apartment the next day, he finds that no one in London Above can see him, remember him or pay him any attention at all. He is, in short, as invisible as a homeless person can be. But the play is so focused on building the fantasy world of London Below that this socioeconomic commentary never comes into sharp focus. As a result, many extraneous details fall flat. The production knows the play is a hard sell, so there is a clear attempt to create a fully immersive theatrical experience. Audience members are met at the door with a warning (“Mind the Gap”), and hints of the London Underground tube lead them into Know’s second-floor theater. These subtle touches are creative and fun, but ultimately not enough to transform the play into a fantasy epic that will keep a broad audience engaged and wanting more. Neverwhere’s fatal flaw is in the writing. The length of the production and the children’s-story-like tropes make it difficult to stay invested. And though laugh-out-loud funny at times, the comedy in the play often feels like a lifeline trying to reel the drowning audience back into the world of London Below. In terms of the acting, perhaps the strongest of the ensemble is Rory Sheridan, playing Richard in his Know Theatre debut. His consistency in motivation and his ability to pull the audience back to his side help him shine in nearly every scene. He makes the otherwise uninteresting
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‘Roman J. Israel, Esq.’ Fights the Good Fight BY T T S T ER N - EN ZI
We rarely associate the law and lawyers of the criminal justice process. Roman with principled stands. We, as a society, could avoid the courtroom himself, but have lost any sense or memory of a time still believe that he was following in the when this might have been possible. footsteps of those lawyers making sure The civil rights era is remembered for that the civil rights protesters would be in the marches and rallies, the nonviolent position to march for social justice. protests and sit-ins, but it could be argued But the façade that protected him that none of that would have been possicrumbles when Roman gets left alone to ble without the invaluable support of legal fend for himself. From his very first day in strategies that ensured those protests court, we see how ill-equipped he is to surwere operating within a framework that vive. With his comrade — who had been allowed for legal challenges to be made his armor and shield — gone, Roman is a against a flawed system. hapless knight in a world of dragons. He This reality is part of what makes attempts, initially, to spurn the support of Roman J. Israel, Esq. such a fascinating and somewhat confounding film. The titular hero, played by Denzel Washington, is a compulsive and idealistic defense attorney, albeit one who works far beyond the courtroom world we normally associate with legal dramas. Looking at Washington, with his bushy afro and his shabby sport coats and sweater vests, you would be hardpressed to imagine not only that this guy could be an attorney but also that he even exists in the modern world at all. Roman Denzel Washington plays an idealistic defense attorney. looks like a bum, the kind P H O T O : g l en wi l son of person everyone walks past on the sidewalk without a second glance. George Pierce (Colin Farrell), an attorney Writer-director Dan Gilroy has a real who, while inspired by Roman’s partner, affinity for characters and narratives that has pursued a far more practical path and pick away at the margins of social conestablished his own high-powered firm. cerns. In 2014’s Nightcrawler, his directing Roman wants his principles to be rockdebut, Gilroy linked audiences up with solid, but the film’s narrative shows us how Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), a con man even the most righteous man can start to hustling for work who enters the L.A. question his beliefs. crime journalism game. And before that, Washington, over the course of his he co-wrote 2012’s The Bourne Legacy, career, has given us examples of proud starring Jeremy Ritter. and committed men, honorable warriors Roman J Israel, Esq. appears to be a on a variety of battlefields — some quite natural and obvious next step for Gilroy, literal (like Glory, where he earned his but he gets to start things off from slightly first Academy Award), others metaphorihigher ground. Roman is a Don Quixotecally (take the one-two punch of Spike type figure tilting at windmills, champiLee’s Mo’ Better Blues and Malcolm X). He oning his principles with a combination has subverted his righteousness to create of pure idealism and blunt arrogance that captivating monsters (Training Day, for stems from his savant-level recall, which which he received a Best Actor Oscar by makes him a shuffling compendium of playing an especially corrupt Los Angeles California codes and cases. He sees the narcotics cop). truth plainly and directly, but it makes But in Roman J. Israel, Esq., he accomhim a lousy lawyer because the art of plishes yet another marvelous feat by lawyering is less about the law and more waging the most dangerous war of all — about the pleas and deals that take place arguing both sides of the case for his charbehind the scenes. acter’s soul. It goes without saying that He has worked with a front man for Washington, once again, proves to be the decades, a lawyer who used the courtundisputed winner of this morality play, room to effectively game the system, to although he does so at the expense of a fight the good fight for the poor and the legal drama that yearns to score points disenfranchised citizens by winning at the box office without providing the class action suits and protecting regular obvious courtroom thrills. (In theaters.) folks from the more predatory aspects (PG-13) Grade: B
Winter TV Preview BY JAC K ER N
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While most primetime and cable Fukunaga (Beasts of No Nation, True series go on hiatus in December and Detective) and adapted from the titular January, a fresh batch of series and Caleb Carr novel, this psychological seasons are set to debut. Here’s a taste of drama takes place in 1896 New York what to watch, stream, binge and DVR City, when then-police commissioner this winter. Two trends are clear: The Teddy Roosevelt is faced with a rash of miniseries is back in a major way, and gruesome child murders. He assembles famous crimes from the past continue to a team, including an early criminal get new life in scripted dramas. psychologist (Daniel Brühl), a newspaper The Crown (Season Premiere, Dec. illustrator (Luke Evans) and a secretary 8, Netflix) — The second season of this (Dakota Fanning), to find the killer. buzzy royal drama is the last with Claire Waco (Series Premiere, 10 p.m. Jan. 24, Foy playing Queen Elizabeth II (Olivia Paramount Network) – Taylor Kitsch stars Colman will take over the role for Seaas Branch Davidian leader David Koresh sons 3-4), taking viewers from 1956’s Suez Crisis through the retirement of Harold Macmillan (Game of Thrones’ Anton Lesser), the Queen’s third Prime Minister, in 1963. New cast additions include Dexter’s Michael C. Hall as John F. Kennedy, Jodi Balfour as Jacqueline Kennedy and Matthew Goode as Antony Armstrong-Jones, Princess Margaret’s first husband. The Chi (Series Premiere, 10 p.m. Jan. 7, Showtime) — Master of None Emmy winner Lena Waithe’s new drama explores life on the South Side of Chicago (her Taylor Kitsch is Branch Davidian leader David Koresh in Waco. hometown), where the P H O T O : co u rte s y o f para m o u nt net w ork daily grind is a struggle for neighbors young and old, whose stories interweave. Executive proin this six-part look at the fateful FBI siege ducer Common joins a cast that includes of a religious sect that took place nearly 25 Straight Outta Compton’s Jason Mitchell years ago. Michael Shannon, Paul Sparks, and Moonlight’s Alex Hibbert. Shea Whigham and John Leguizamo The Assassination of Gianni Versace: round out the stellar cast. This comes as American Crime Story (Series Premiere, Spike TV rebrands as Paramount Network 10 p.m. Jan. 17, FX) — Following a very on Jan. 18, mixing new premium scripted successful debut season in which the series that have star power with Spike’s anthology reexamined the O.J. Simpson unscripted favorites like Lip Sync Battle, trial, American Crime Story stays firmly Ink Master and Bar Rescue. planted in the 1990s with its look at serial Trust (Series Premiere, January, killer Andrew Cunanan and his path to FX) – British film director Danny Boyle murdering Italian fashion giant Gianni (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting) Versace. Stars Darren Criss, Penelope directs and produces his first American Cruz, Ricky Martin and Edgar Ramirez television series with this anthology on certainly look the part, but performance the Getty family. Set in 1973, this first will be key for the anthology to replicate season follows the kidnapping of John the success of Season 1. Paul Getty III and his grandfather J. Paul High Maintenance (Season Premiere, Getty’s (Donald Sutherland) apparent 11 p.m. Jan. 19, HBO) – Creative duo Katja ambivalence toward his rescue. Boyle has Blichfeld’s and Ben Sinclair’s web-turnedsuggested future seasons will explore the TV series about an unnamed New York family through different decades. Hilary City weed dealer (Sinclair) and his varied Swank and Brendan Fraser also star. The encounters was a standout in its debut series is set to debut sometime in January, season on HBO in 2016. The quirky coma month after the film premiere of All the edy mastered the episodic anthology forMoney in the World, which also centers on mat, much like the similarly toned Room the Getty kidnapping saga. It made head104 earlier this fall. High Maintenance lines recently when star Kevin Spacey was steers clear of pot cliches and utilizes replaced by Christopher Plummer weeks fresh talent to deliver a sort of scripted before the film premiere after a wave of Humans of New York. sexual assault allegations. The Alienist (Series Premiere, 9 Contact Jac Kern: @jackern p.m. Jan. 22, TNT) – Created by Cary
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FOOD & DRINK
Planting Deeper Roots Oakley coffee shop and roaster opens a new Findlay Market location BY ER I N C O U C H
Deeper Roots Findlay 1814 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, deeperrootscoffee.com.Hours: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Deeper Roots Findlay serves a full menu of coffee and pastries. PHOTOS: MESA SERIK ALI
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and cortados, Deeper Roots also has a rotating seasonal beverage selection. On the menu this fall is the Maple Leaf, a cortado with a touch of local maple syrup and orange zest, and the Honey Bear, a latte doused with local honey and dusted with cinnamon. They also serve MainWood pastries and Sixteen Bricks toast. While forging new connections with your Deeper Roots barista, you may run into the topic of single-origin coffee beans,
a mark of a high-quality coffee that makes Deeper Roots’ products so sought-after. Single-origin beans come from a single farmer or one location. For Deeper Roots, sourcing those beans involves visiting countries known for their coffee industries to work directly with farmers to solidify a business relationship and bring home the best beans possible. One of Deeper Roots’ current top-sellers is Guatemala La Armonia Hermosa — its taste profi le offers notes of plum, chocolate and licorice. Stoneham says coffee culture tidbits like this are what make the interactive coffee bar model fulfi ll its purpose.
“The conversation we want to have with customers is expanding coffee knowledge and appreciation, and it’s really impossible to have some informed discussion around that without talking farmers, the land that the coffee’s coming from and the context there,” he says. “We really focus on the barista’s knowing the stories of all the coffees and being able to communicate those as well.” The Deeper Roots roasting facility and headquarters is also migrating closer to the city from its location in Mount Healthy to a building 10 times its size in the West End. For the past five years, the roaster has expanded its reach across the region, providing coffee for shops in Dayton, Columbus, Akron and even Pittsburgh. “It just kind of happened,” Stoneham says. “We don’t know what our future is going to bring, we don’t know where people are going to open up new places. Everything we do is word of mouth. ...We just take it one step at a time.” For now, this means an OTR venue to peddle their java, and it’s officially open for business.
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ocal coffee roaster Deeper Roots recently opened its second coffee bar — a space with all the bells and whistles, adjacent to Findlay Market in Over-the-Rhine. The shop has a full range of seating both inside and out, something not available at the kiosk and mobile-style coffee shops within Findlay Market itself. Deeper Roots started as a roaster in 2012 with a primary focus on selling wholesale coffee beans. But as their single-sourced beans grew in popularity, selling to local favorites like Rohs Street Café, BLOC and 1215 Wine Bar & Coffee Lab, owner Les Stoneham says the coffee bar concept became the next logical step in his business model. “Opening up our own retail started out as that desire to kind of have a venue of our own where we could really tell the story of the coffee and have that conversation directly with the customers and fans of our coffee,” he says. So in 2015, the fi rst Deeper Roots Coffee shop was born in Oakley. Fast-forward two years to the new location in OTR — and peer into the physical setup of the coffee bar — and it becomes clear that telling that story became so much easier. With a white-walled minimalist design featuring a Modbar pour-over system, quartzite countertops, a coffee display case and a large wooden table with shared seating (and millennial pink legs), the shop has a clear mission of bringing people together. In fact, the bar for customers is next to the La Marzocco espresso machine, on the same side as the barista, which Stoneham says was an intentional choice to help demystify the coffee-making process. “It’s something different we kind of wanted to play with in terms of how you set up the space,” he says. “(Customers) can walk around, really rub shoulders with the barista, kind of look down in and see what’s going on as they’re pulling an espresso, take a seat at the community table right next to where they’re brewing coffee.” The mystery of that perplexing hissing noise that follows your in-house cappuccino order? Solved. Just glance over the barista’s shoulder as she immerses the steam wand into a pitcher of cold milk to create the foam. Along with their popular bread-andbutter espresso drinks like cappuccinos
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Holiday Ales and Ugly Sweaters BY G A R I N PI R N I A
• The 84th anniversary of the end of ProThe holidays are in full swing, which means you’re going to need a lot of beer to hibition is Dec. 5. To celebrate, Woodburn get through awkward family gatherings, Brewery will have a flight of three Indian stressful holiday shopping and the literal Creek Distillery whiskeys paired with dark days of winter. This season, local three of their beers. They also will have breweries have got you covered. MadTree’s charcuterie and Prohibition-style cocktails. famous Thundersnow — made with local Tickets for the tasting are $32. ginger grown at Carriage House Farm — is • On Dec. 8, Listermann will host an back on tap and in cans. So is their “asserUgly Sweater Party. Wear an ugly Christtive” super hoppy Citra High imperial IPA mas sweater and enjoy a hot chocolate and the new Luna Lux, a white IPA brewed bar, board games and a $10 white elephant with lemon and coriander. Taft’s Christmas gift exchange alongside their latest brews. cookie ale, Santa’s Bribe, is available in cans Donate canned food to Listermann’s funeverywhere. And Mt. Carmel collaborated draiser for the Freestore Foodbank in the with the Cincinnati Zoo on a black IPA taproom until Dec. 22; for every three cans called Hibernation, which is available at the Festival of Lights and in bottles at Mt. Carmel’s taproom. Keeping with the black theme, last week FigLeaf released their first bottled beer, Barrel Aged Black Solstice imperial stout, to commemorate the coming of winter. Rivertown released Salted Carm-Ale, a new salty-sweet porter, in bottles. Darkness Brewing tapped their Ike Ike Baby, a brown ale brewed with vanilla and maple syrup, and March First recently released Vanilla Chai MadTree’s new Luna Lux is a wintery white IPA. Cream Ale. Before Thanksgiving, PHOTO: PROVIDED Urban Artifact released cans of Milkman — a maple breakfast stout brewed with maple donated you’ll receive a raffle ticket toward syrup, molasses, Deeper Roots coffee, winning a Listermann gift basket. almonds and vanilla beans. Braxton has • On Dec. 9, hit up Covington businesses Claus peppermint sweet stout on tap and in The Gruff, Smoke Justis, Molly Malone’s bottles; local candy maker Doscher’s proand Keystone for the Merry COV-mas vided the peppermint. And new-ish brewPub Crawl. Prizes will be given to the best ery Grainworks released Winter Warmer, a dressed and for the best karaoke perforbeer with cinnamon and sugar that they say mance at the fi nal stop — the Covington will “exorcise The Grinch.” So put on your Night Bazaar. ugly sweater, grab a beer and ride out 2017. • On Dec. 11, Wooden Cask and FigLeaf will host separate Star Wars trivia nights, a Events few days before the Dec. 14 release of The • Rhinegeist’s third annual Dad Day takes Last Jedi. Prizes will be awarded to those place noon-6 p.m. on Dec. 2. Bring your dad who know their Star Wars stuff, like why and wear plaid to the brewery to celebrate was Jar Jar Binks so annoying? the seasonal release of Dad, a hoppy holiday • It’s the season for caring, so stop by ale. They’ll have an Airing of Grievances Braxton from 5:30-9:30 p.m. on Dec. 14 for Board and throwback jams, too. their Bears & Beers Benefit for St. Joseph • Braxton’s annual all-day Winter Block Orphanage. You’ll have a chance to BuildParty is one of the greatest beer events of A-Bear and donate it to a child in need. the year. On Dec. 2, they’re releasing several Elves will be at the brewery spreading variants of Dark Charge, everything from holiday cheer, and so will Graeter’s, who Dark Charge Bourbon Barrel Aged Tirawill supply alcoholic ice cream floats. misu to Dark Charge Bourbon Barrel Aged Tickets are $24. Molé. The beers will be sold in bottles and • On New Year’s Eve, Urban Artifact will be on tap for the party. Local restauhosts the Black Light Ball. Tickets are rants will provide beer-infused dishes. $65 and include an open bar, access to • Alexandria Brewing Company plans the upstairs glow level, live music and a to open in the spring, but get a sneak peek at midnight toast. Designated driver tickets an open house from 10 a.m-3 p.m. on Dec. 2. are $15. They will have pinball, hot chocolate, hopinfused tea and possibly some brews to try. Contact Garin Pirnia: firstname.lastname@example.org
CLASSES & EVENTS WEDNESDAY 29
Appetizers for Your Holiday Entertaining with Ilene Ross — CityBeat dining writer Ilene Ross leads this class on how to make wowworthy holiday appetizers. Menu includes pimento cheese gougeres, pumpkincarrot soup shooters with coconut cream, mini corn cakes with smoked salmon and more. 6:30-9 p.m. $50. Cooks’Wares, 11344 Montgomery Road, Harper’s Point, cookswaresonline.com.
Ballet + Root Beer — This multi-generational event invites kids and adults to take a look inside The Nutcracker with the Cincinnati Ballet. Meet your favorite characters and drink root beer. 6-8 p.m. Free with pre-registration. Cincinnati Ballet Center, 1555 Central Parkway, Overthe-Rhine, cballet.org. Bacchanalian Fall Wine Tasting — The Bacchanalian Society hosts its fall gathering with the wine varietal of cabernet. Bring three bottles of the same wine; two go out on the floor for drinking and the third remains as a prize. Drinkers vote for their favorite wine and winners take home the remaining bottles. Onehundred percent of ticket sales will be donated to the Aruna Project. 7-10 p.m. $20. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, bacchanaliansociety.com.
Winter Block Party at Braxton — #LiftOnetoLife at Braxton’s winter block party. The brewery will be releasing a very limited round of 22-ounce bottles of its Dark Charge bourbon-barrel aged imperial stout, plus six variants. There will also be live music, guest taps, rare Braxton brews and food served by the likes of Coppin’s, Smoke Justis, Wunderbar, Molly Malone’s and more. Noon-1 a.m. Free admission. Braxton Brewing Company, 27 W. Seventh St., Covington, Ky., braxtonbrewing.com. Holiday Market at Findlay Market — This seasonal farmers market features gifts made by area artisans, seasonal desserts, cocktails, holiday entertainment and Santa on a bicycle. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free admission. Findlay Market, 1801 Race St., Over-theRhine, fi ndlaymarket.org. Brrrbon Holiday Dinner Cruise — BB Riverboats has teamed up with regional distilleries to present this themed holiday cruise. Taste some premium bourbon as you fill up on a buffet of favorites — striploin, bourbonglazed chicken breast, baked stuffed sole, green bean casserole, roasted potatoes and chef’s choice dessert. 6 p.m. boarding. $60 adults; $42 children. BB Riverboats, 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., bbriverboats.com.
Intro to Macaron Baking — Macaron Bar hosts this class to teach the basics. Over the course of three hours, you’ll learn the best tips and tricks for making successful macarons, how to bake the cookie shells and how to make the bakery’s most popular fillings. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. $95. Macaron Bar, 1206 Main St., Over-theRhine, macaron-bar.com.
Cookies with Santa — The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati hosts Santa for an afternoon featuring holiday treats, a special craft and a holiday photo. 1-5 p.m. $15. The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, 4015 Red Bank Road, Madisonville, thechildrenstheatre.com.
Holiday Mixology with Molly Wellmann — Master mixologist Molly Wellmann teaches you how to shake, mix and stir holiday classic cocktails. Includes samples. 6:30-8 p.m. $59. Myrtle’s Punch House, 2733 Woodburn Ave., East Walnut Hills, uc.edu/ce/commu.html.
Holiday Crostini Bar — Make a crostini bar with one, two and three ingredients to build quick snacks to pair with holiday libations. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. $50. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester, thelearningkitchen.com. Hands-On New York Strip Roast — Make a decadent New York strip roast accompanied by a wedge salad, balsamic roasted potatoes and mushrooms and Edinborough mist. 6-8 p.m. $75. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfi eld, junglejims.com. Repeal Day Drag Spectacular — Calling all queens and alcohol enthusiasts: The Repeal Day Drag Spectacular at Metropole features specialty cocktails, light bites and a drag show to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition. Period attire is encouraged to party. 9:30 p.m. $40. Metropole, 609 Walnut St., Downtown, metropoleonwalnut.com.
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Holiday Appetizers — In this hands-on appetizer class, learn how to make impressive hors d’oeuvres for your next party. Recipes include bacon and ricotta tartlets, Hawaiian poke cucumber canapés, pineapple-ginger chicken bites and more. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. $65. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane,
West Chester, thelearningkitchen.com.
Clifton Market Happy Hour — Sip and shop at the local market. It’s happy hour every Friday with five pours for $5. 5-7:30 p.m. $5. Clifton Market, 319 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, cliftonmarket.com.
Baked Holiday Sweets — Bake some merry and bright goodies like chocolate candy cane biscotti, gingerbread cookie bars, mini eggnog cheesecake, Italian almond Christmas cake and more. 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. $55. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfi eld, junglejims.com.
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Ugly Christmas Sweater Bar Crawl — Braxton, Oskar Blues and New Belgium team up for a bar crawl for a cause. Participating bars include The Blind Pig, Pies and Pints, Jefferson Social, BURGERFI, The Stretch and Howl at the Moon. Benefits Toys for Tots. 5:30 p.m.-midnight. Free. Kicks off at the Blind Pig, 24 W. Third St., Downtown, braxtonbrewing.com.
Most classes and events require registration and classes frequently sell out.
Smut Peddlers Smut has become one of Cincinnati’s most incendiary on-the-rise bands, without really intending to BY B R I A N B A K ER
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n Smut’s relatively brief three-year history, the Cincinnati band has compiled a trio of short but potent recordings, including the just released End of Sam-soon, endured some personnel shifts, raised its local profile to a prominent level and scored various touring opportunities beyond the Queen City’s zip code. While remote tours were initially a stated goal of the Noise Pop group, little else was by purposeful design on the musicians’ part. “Usually we just hop onto things. It’s the unintentional method,” says vocalist Taylor Roebuck from Smut’s new Northside band house. “Our label, Broken Circles, has done a lot for us in the last year, too.” The group’s upcoming weeklong tour swing through the South with Indie Rock darlings Bully is a case in point. After hearing about Smut through a mutual friend, Bully guitarist/songwriter/vocalist Alicia Bognanno came to see the band last year and offered an opening slot. “We didn’t hear anything for an entire year, so we were like, ‘That’s probably not going to happen,’ ” guitarist Andrew Min says. “Then we just got the email, and it was like, ‘OK, here’s the (info for the tour dates).’ We were like, ‘Oh, OK.’ We had to call our jobs and get a week off work.” However it’s being achieved, Smut is doing very well. The band has amassed a fervent fan base and evolved from a noisy Post Punk band into a fully formed melodic Noise Pop group with Punk tendencies, which was exactly what the musicians wanted for End of Sam-soon. Smut’s evolution has largely been a matter of finding the chemically correct combination of players as well as the group’s search for its actual sound, a blend of organic path-finding and deliberate decisions. “A lot of it was realizing we love and want to make Pop music,” says guitarist Sam Ruschman. “The dissonant Punk stuff is cool too, but I think we grew out of it. At one point, we just tried to take a risk with writing a song with the intent of (it) being a Pop song and then afterward dirty it up.” Smut’s lineup has been in a state of flux since its formation in late 2014. The group began as trio with Roebuck (who also has acting interests and had never been in a band before Smut) joining Min and
Smut P H O T O : B roken C irc l e R ecords
Ruschman, who’d played with various Greater Cincinnati outfits. “I moved from Kentucky to Ohio to live with Andrew, and (Min’s Garage Pop band) Plastic Inevitables had disbanded and he wanted to keep writing music,” Roebuck says. “We worked on some stuff together, and I realized I liked it, but I still wanted to be onstage and perform. Essentially, I felt like I was acting like a singer until people started reacting to it, (and) it was, ‘Oh, this is what I do.’ ” After losing its original drummer, Smut enlisted Chris Campbell, who splits his time between Smut and another touring Cincinnati band, Leggy. The band then added Erich Mukuda on bass, allowing Ruschman to move into the second guitar position. Mukuda eventually left to go back to school, with his place capably taken over by Bell Cenower. “Bell is really good, and because of that, rhythm-wise, we’re becoming a lot more crisp and tight,” Roebuck says. “When you get different members, they have different types of music they like to play, so it morphs into a slightly different thing..” Smut’s recent spate of touring has been at least somewhat designed to promote End of Sam-soon, the creation of which actually began last summer. The band had worked up new material and was anxious to document the next phase of its creative journey,
so the musicians hit the studio and let it rip. “When we recorded the demo, we had just written the songs and we were really excited and just wanted to get them to tape,” Min says. “We hadn’t really practiced them at all, so it was an off-the-top-of-our-head kind of thing.” Consequently, last year’s Sam-soon demo sounded like Smut’s debut EP, 2014’s Purse, a raw, powerful and noise-driven blurt of energy and volume. The sound of the new album and ultimately the band itself has been forged by relentless gigging and touring over the past year, the influence of new members along the way and the input of former Pomegranates multi-instrumentalist Isaac Karns, who engineered the album at his Marble Garden studio. “We did add some synths,” Ruschman says of the demo-to-album conversion. “I don’t think we changed the songs that much, we just tightened them up. If there was a philosophical shift, it was that we wanted high fidelity for the first time.” Min says the band members liked the way the demo came out, but they wanted to punch it up for the full-length. “We wanted Tay’s vocals to be represented more clearly,” he says. “We made the decision to put some distortion on the demos to make it more lo-fi and dirtier, but we realized we wanted the Pop to carry through a little more.”
Karns made the band feel comfortable during the sessions, offering a lot of useful tips and setting the mood. “He has a lot more experience with studio recording, so he taught us a lot of weird tricks,” Roebuck says. “Like for me, standing on your toes if you’re trying to focus on hitting certain notes. He burned a lot of incense, too. It was a full experience, very nice.” Sam-soon was then mastered by San Francisco sound designer/editor Alex Previty, who has worked on several short films and video games, including the forthcoming Spider-Man game for PlayStation 4. His work on Sam-soon coincided with the PS4 project, so the band lobbied Previty to slip some Smut into Spider-Man. “We were like, ‘Put us in an elevator, make us elevator music,’ ” Roebuck says. “He was like, ‘That’s not part of the job.’ ” “We begged him to put us into the background in the cityscape sounds,” Min says. “He said, ‘We’ll see.’ ” So if you’re doing a little PlayStation web-slinging in the future and find yourself grooving to dissonant Pop emanating from the New York skyline, you just might be getting your Smut on. Smut plays Northside Yacht Club’s Santamania 2017 on Dec. 15. More info: facebook.com/smutohio.
12 Rods Gets the Documentary Treatment BY M I K E B R EEN
creative work without music biz assistance/ interference. Highlights are plentiful, including the tale of entering the seemingly ideal experience of going to Hawaii to record with Rundgren, only to discover their high-paid producer was more interested in crossword puzzles and far less talented than hype indicated. There’s also an appearance by
BY M I K E B R EE N
Jon Wurster, in-demand drummer (Superchunk, The Mountain Goats) and all-around funny dude (radio’s The Best Show), regularly posts signs and ads on his social media accounts that include cringeworthy puns in the names of products and businesses. Probably the best was a truck for a Welsh gardening company called Mick Cave and the Good Seeds. As far as we know, Nick Cave and his band The Bad Seeds haven’t launched any copyright suits, but RZA of Wu-Tang Clan is far less tolerant of such silliness. Alleging trademark infringement, the Hip Hop legend filed a lawsuit against Brooklyn dog-walking business WoofTang Clan. Perhaps RZA already had a dog-walking project in the works? Or maybe he’s sending the small-business world a message about the brief shelf life of one-muffled-chuckle gag branding.
Morrissey: Sexual Assaulter Sympathizer?
Early 12 Rods promotional photo PHOTO: PROVIDED
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Banana Crimes When celebrities in America or the U.K. do something unpopular, the likely worst outcome is tabloid and/or social media shaming. But in some countries, the repercussions can be far more severe. Just as news surfaced that an Indian politician offered a $1.5 million bounty for the beheading of a Bollywood star and director for their allegedly sacrilegious film, reports emerged that Egyptian Pop star Shyma was jailed for “inciting debauchery” and “corrupting public morals” after appearing in a music video in which she eats a banana and dances in her underwear. She was released after four days, but faces charges that could put her in prison for three years. So STFU, Morrissey.
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Contact Mike Breen: mbreen@ citybeat.com
Former Smiths singer Morrissey long ago figured out the PR advantage of saying controversial and/or stupid things in the press. But the latest series of quotes making the rounds seems to have caused him more trouble than his usual animal rights, anti-Trump or anti-royalty quips. In an interview with a German magazine, the vocalist seemed to excuse sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, later doubling down on his defense in U.K. paper The Times by saying the abuse was possibly only a “pathetic attempt at courtship.” After the backlash, Morrissey suggested his words were misrepresented; at a show in Chicago, he said that the Times interview would be the last he’d ever do with print media.
the author of that “10” Pitchfork review, who reads his review on-camera, at first embarrassed, but ultimately seeming to come around to the fact that he was absolutely right in his opinion of the band. Meanwhile, the 2015 concert scenes — with the songs presented largely in chronological order — show Olcott’s remarkable and continuous development as a songwriter, which adds another layer of melancholy to the film; we’ll never know if 12 Rods’ full potential was realized and it’s largely because of a fumbling music industry’s lackluster support. There’s also a brief post-credits, post-reunion-show scene that makes for a perfect, tear-jerking epilogue. The film premiered earlier this year at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival. This Saturday, Accidents Waiting to Happen screens at The Carnegie (1028 Scott Blvd., Covington, Ky., thecarnegie.com). The 7 p.m. event also includes a Q&A with James and Matt Flynn and 12 Rods’ preternaturally gifted original drummer Christopher McGuire (he was followed in the band by another jaw-dropping beat-keeper, The Bad Plus’ Dave King). Tickets ($12) are available at thecarnegie.com. DVD copies of the film and other 12 Rods merchandise will be available for purchase at the screening.
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Wu-Tang v. Woof-Tang
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Oxford, Ohio’s transcendentally melodic AltRock juggernaut 12 Rods was born in 1992, cultivating its sound and following in clubs and house parties throughout the college town, while also often venturing into Cincinnati’s music scene. The band moved to Minneapolis in 1994, after which its EP Gay? was released and nabbed an extremely rare perfect “10” rating from the notoriously picky Pitchfork, when the outlet was also in its embryonic stage. Becoming one of the biggest bands in Minneapolis, 12 Rods signed to V2 Records (Richard Branson’s post-Virgin Records label) and put out two full-lengths, including Separation Anxieties, which was produced by Rock legend Todd Rundgren. After getting dropped from V2, 12 Rods put out Lost Time in 2002 before breaking up in 2004. Lost Time was reissued in 2015 through Chigliak Records, the label founded by Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, a 12 Rods superfan who called the album “one (of) my most listened to albums of all time” and has heaped effusive praise on incredibly talented singer/songwriter/guitarist Ryan Olcott. The band played a reunion/final show timed to the rerelease that drew a sold-out crowd to Minneapolis club First Avenue. It also attracted the attention of Oxford native James Flynn (brother of original 12 Rods bassist and longtime Cincinnati musician Matt Flynn), who filmed the concert after requests on Facebook for video of the show flooded in from fans. The concert footage would eventually become the basis for Flynn’s documentary film on 12 Rods, Accidents Waiting to Happen. Made possible by a Kickstarter campaign, the pulse of Accidents Waiting to Happen is its beautifully shot multi-cam footage from the reunion show, which included members of 12 Rods from throughout its history. (During the concert, Matt Flynn sports a shirt from Cincy band Oyster and elsewhere there are some local landmarks and icons referenced via the stories, photos and fliers like Sudsy Malone’s, SHAG and Lizard 99.) But the heart of the film is the group’s story, which is told through current -day interviews with the musicians. Obviously, a band has to have a compelling backstory for a retrospective documentary to even remotely be considered, but there have been plenty of weak documentaries about groups with epic storylines. Besides the great production value, the magic of Accidents Waiting to Happen is James Flynn’s storytelling abilities. He perfectly captures the hopeful, wandering spirit of 12 Rods’ early years; the frustration that came with working with V2; the disappointment of realizing the dreams we have when we’re young are rarely the fairy tale imagined; the interpersonal bitterness that damaged lifelong friendships; the weight Olcott felt carrying the band’s burdens; and the pride and fulfillment that comes with taking the reins and doing your best
SOUND ADVICE Truckers, Alice in Chains, Death Cab for Cutie and Spoon, among many others. After losing keyboardist Rainville, Blank Range carried on as a quartet, dropping its sophomore EP, Vista Bent, in late 2016. Earlier this spring, the group teased new material with a single — the loping “No Aim” — ahead of the August release of its debut full-length, Marooned with the Treasure, which stomps and soars with the swaggering tumult of Steve Earle fronting a band featuring cherry-picked members of Beachwood Sparks, Marah and Gringo Star. Almost every band plays with electricity, but Blank Range is one of those rare bands that plays like electricity. (Brian Baker)
German Christmas Market Fri, Sat, Sun nov 24–Dec 9 @ fountain square Travel to an authentic German Christmas market this year – no passport needed – at Cincideutsch’s Christkindlmarkt downtown on Fountain Square. For six straight years Christkindlmarkt has transported thousands of visitors to Christmas time in a small German Village with delicious hot food, cold beer (natürlich!), Glühwein (hot, spiced wine) and pastries as well as a wide variety of locally handmade crafts sure to satisfy your holiday shopping list. Recognized by Travel + Leisure magazine as one of “America’s Best Christmas Markets,” the Cincideutsch Christkindlmarkt is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from the day after Thanksgiving through Saturday, December 9th. Hours are: Fridays (4 p.m. – 10 p.m.), Saturdays (11 a.m. -11 p.m.) and Sundays (11 a.m. -5 p.m). Shop extended hours on Friday, November 24 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. as you enjoy Macy’s Light Up the Square featuring the annual lighting of the Christmas tree, live music and a special appearance by Santa Claus.
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Blank Range P H O T O : D O N VA N C L E AV E
Blank Range with Tyler Childers
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Thursday/Friday • Southgate House Revival
Nashville continues to be a hotbed of Indie Rock invention, and Blank Range is just the latest example of Music City’s sonic expansion in recent years. The quartet is a particularly fascinating example of the scene’s hybridization, partly because the band represents the city’s acceptance and absorption of talent beyond the city limits — Blank Range’s membership hails from St. Louis and Northern Illinois — and partly because the group has risen so quickly to “Band to Watch” status. Blank Range began in 2013 as a quintet comprised of lead vocalist Jonathon Childers, guitarist/vocalist Grant Gustafson, keyboardist Jonathan Rainville, bassist Taylor Zachry and drummer Matt Novotny. Almost immediately, the musicians proved the potency of their chemistry with a brief set at The Basement, a local venue that hosted a new talent night. The band endeared itself to the club’s owner and got regular bookings thereafter. After recording its debut EP, Phase II, and a follow-up single in its fi rst year together, Blank Range concentrated on playing in and out of town as much as possible. As the band developed its broad signature sound — an irresistible blend of citified Americana, psychedelic Country, soulful Garage Rock and ’70s outlaw attitude — Blank Range won over critics and fans with blistering appearances at the Austin City Limits and South by Southwest fests and opening slots for an impossible spectrum of artists, including Drive-By
Dustin Thomas PHOTO: PROVIDED
Dustin Thomas Friday • Octave
If you bemoan the fact that there aren’t enough protest singers these days — especially during a period in world history when they seem most needed — you probably should give singer/songwriter Dustin Thomas a listen. Thomas’ modernized Folk songs often go straight to the heart of political and societal issues, rallying against injustice with surgical focus, yet also infusing the message with a peace-and-love perspective. He is certainly a spiritual relative of ’60s icons like Richie Havens and Joan Baez, but his musical and ideological palates are much more expansive, a reflection of his generation, his background and his experiences. A Missouri native, Thomas grew up in Minneapolis before deciding to leave behind the cold, harsh winters (as well as a supportive music community) in favor of the warm and natural lightness of Hawaii. After honing his performance skills busking on the streets, he met the likeminded Nahko Bear and began touring with him and his band Medicine for the People, developing a bigger taste for global touring — something he has sustained to
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Over the Rhine – Dec. 8, Memorial Hall Shooter Jennings/ Jason Boland – Dec. 15, Southgate House Revival Murder By Death – Dec. 30, Southgate House Revival Bone Thugs-NHarmony – Jan. 11, Bogart’s Turkuaz
Aimee Mann – Jan. 26, Madison Theater
PHOTO: DAN IBR ANDWEIN & GREG DEL DEO
12/1 - dom flemons, mike oberst; tyler childers, blank range, arlo mckinley
12/2 - bj’s band jam - 10th annual charity show & ugly sweater christmas party w/ ky myle, pheve, yellow cuss, the plant that ate the south, ryan mckenzie; lexy dunn, jordan wilson; six miles to nellie
Todd Hepburn & Friends 8-11
12/3 - guttermouth, koffin kats, the atom age, gallows bound
The Steve Schmidt Trio 8-12
12/6 - chelsea ford & the trouble - dec. artist in residence, harlot, twig & leaf
12/7 - two beards & a babe: amber nash, andyman hopkins, casey campbell
Five Little Bears 8-12
12/8 - sundy best, brother smith; mack mckenzie, david payne; punk rock night: rat trap, methmatics, the absolute beginners, the mudlarks
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A rolling stone gathers no moss, and neither does nine-piece Funk/Rock collective Turkuaz. Between its frenetic live presentation and rigorous coast-to-coast touring,
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Turkuaz with The Suffers
the Brooklyn band is constantly in motion. After forming in 2008, Turkuaz hit stages with a vengeance, amassing a fervent local following for a solid three years before dropping a debut album, 2011’s Zerbert. But it was the unit’s sophomore album, 2012’s Live at Southpaw, that proved to be the most potent evidence of its incredible live extravaganza. In 2013, the band experienced a watershed year, beginning with the September release of an eponymous studio album and followed two months later by Covers Vol. 1, which documented Turkuaz’s incredible range of influence and ability as the musicians ecstatically churned out Funkfueled versions of Talking Heads’ “Slippery People,” The Band’s “The Shape I’m In,” Hot Chocolate’s “Everyone’s a Winner” and Led Zeppelin’s “Trampled Under Foot.” A mere month later, on New Year’s Eve, Turkuaz released its second concert album, A Live Affair. Over the past three years, Turkuaz has cemented its live reputation with sold-out shows across the country and further exhibited its studio mastery with a trio of new releases — the Stereochrome EP and the full-lengths, Future 86 and Digitonium. Turkuaz just dropped a new single, “On the Run” — a horn-driven groover that could have been a lost track from Saturday Night Fever — which was produced by former Talking Heads keyboardist Jerry Harrison. The absolute beauty of Turkuaz is that the band’s nine members, dressed in colors bright enough to have been chosen from The Muppets’ Pantone palette, incorporate elements from an encyclopedic array of influences, from New Wave, Disco, Gospel and R&B to Classic Rock and Pop of the Psychedelic, Afro and Latin varieties. The band cooks those ingredients up into a bubbling gumbo that could raise the dead without a voodoo incantation. Turkuaz doesn’t just play shows, they stage dance marathons, so the band’s Madison Theater visit could very well be the best workout you’ve had all year. (BB)
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this day. He’s played everywhere from Bali to Russia and with artists like SOJA and Xavier Rudd, cultivating a rabid following with every show. Musically, Thomas’ style is a smooth and unique blend of contemporary Folk, R&B and Hip Hop. In 2013, he explained to Minnesota Public Radio station The Current why he had yet to release a true “album,” saying he didn’t know what direction he wanted to go. “Do I want to make an album like Frank Ocean? Or do I want to do a Lumineers/Mumford thing?” His 2017 album Year in Review indicates that he has since figured things out, presenting a sparse, uniquely rhythmic (providing largely by his own beat-boxing) and atmospherically layered sound without fussy production. Thematically, as the title suggests, the songs are incredibly “of the moment,” as he addresses pivotal 2016 events like Prince’s death and the fight against the pipeline through Standing Rock. Some of Year in Review’s songs feature sampled quotes to help lay the foundation for the subject matter, from Sinead O’Connor calling out religious hypocrisy (on “Trouble Ain’t Nothing”) to Marlon Brando speaking on America’s racist blind-spot when it comes to Native Americans (“Cowboys & Indians”). “Call on the Wolves” is one of the album’s highlights, beginning with NFL player Colin Kaepernick explaining the reasons for his “kneel” protests before Thomas takes over and delivers a deep meditation on police aggression, faux patriotism, greed and corruptive political power. The song is threaded throughout with the repeated line, “Can there be peace for all?,” which comes off like both a worryingly serious question and an urgent call-to-arms plea. (Mike Breen)
CityBeat’s music listings are free. Send info to Mike Breen at email@example.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.
Bogart’s - 21 Savage with Youngboy Never Broke Again. 7 p.m. Hip Hop. $40. BrewRiver GastroPub Old Green Eyes & BBG. 9 p.m. Jazz. Free. Crow’s Nest - Steve Dirr. 9:30 p.m. Acoustic. Free. Junker’s Tavern White Cop, Brutal Age and Necronomaconda. 9:30 p.m. Punk/Metal/Hardcore. Free.
Knotty Pine - Kenny Cowden. 10 p.m. Acoustic. Free. The Liberty Inn - Stagger Lee. 7 p.m. Acoustic. Free. MOTR Pub - Chris From Space with Joe Wannabe and The Madman Blues Band. 9 p.m. Rock/Blues/ Various. Free. Southgate House Revival (Lounge) Noah Smith with Michael Moeller. 8 p.m. Country. Free.
College Hill Coffee Co. Hot Lips and Finger Tips. 7:30 p.m. Various. Free. Grand Central Delicatessen - Ricky Nye. 9 p.m. Blues/Boogie Woogie. The Greenwich - Rollins Davis Band featuring Deborah Hunter. 9 p.m. Jazz/R&B. $5. Jag’s Steak And Seafood Why So Serious. 9 p.m. Pop/ Dance/Various. $5. Jim and Jack’s on the River - Nick Netherton. 9 p.m. Country. Free. Knotty Pine - The Amy Sailor Band. 10 p.m. Country. Cover.
Lawrenceburg Event Center - Lonestar. 8 p.m. Country. $15-$45.
Live! at the Ludlow Garage - Norman Brown’s Joyous Christmas with Bobby Caldwell and Marion Meadows. 8 p.m. Holiday Jazz. Sold out.
Common Roots - Open Mic. 8 p.m. Various. Free. The Greenwich - Now Hear This! 8:30 p.m. Jazz/Various. $5.
Horse & Barrel - John Ford. 6 p.m. Blues/Roots. Free. C ity B eat. com | n o v. 2 9 – D E C . 0 5 , 2 0 1 7
Arnold’s Bar and Grill Lagniappe. 9 p.m. Cajun. Free.
Urban Artifact - Blue Wisp Big Band. 8:30 p.m. Big Band Jazz. $10.
Arnold’s Bar And Grill Dottie Warner and Wayne Shanon. 7:30 p.m. Jazz. Free.
Southgate House Revival (Sanctuary) - Tyler Childers with Blank Range and Arlo McKinley. 8 p.m. Americana/Country/ Folk/Various. Sold out.
Mccauly’s Pub - Pandora Project. 7 p.m. Rock. Free. MOTR Pub - The Night Divided with Hot for Alice. 10 p.m. Rock. Free.
Northside Tavern - Karaoke Fantastic. 9 p.m. Various. Free. Southgate House Revival (Revival Room) - Dan Tedesco. 8 p.m. AltFolk. $10, $12 day of show.
Mansion Hill Tavern Sonny Moorman Group. 9 p.m. Blues. Cover. MOTR Pub - Automagik with Oids. 10 p.m. Indie/ Rock/Pop. Free.
MVP Bar & Grille Ekoostik Hookah with Rockstead. 9 p.m. Rock/ Roots/Jam/Reggae/Various. $10.
Northside Tavern Kate Wakefield, Kuber and Paper Doll Scissor Fight. 10 p.m. Alt/Indie/Rock/Various. Free.
Northside Yacht Club - Salvation with The Waterheads, Flesh Mother and Rivers Edge. 9 p.m. Rock/Various. $5. Octave - Dustin Thomas. 9 p.m. Folk/ Soul/Acoustic/Various. $10.
Peecox Erlanger - Saving Stimpy. 9:30 p.m. Rock. $5. The Redmoor - CancerFree Kids Christmas Fundraiser with Sound Mind. 7:30 p.m. Alt/Rock.
Eastgate Brew & View Encore Duo. 6:30 p.m. Acoustic Classic Rock/ Americana. Free. The Greenwich - Kelly Richey. 8 p.m. Blues. $10.
Rick’s Tavern - Cherry on Top. 10 p.m. Pop/Dance/ Various. Cover.
Jag’s Steak and Seafood The Fixx Band. 9 p.m. Pop/ Soul/Hip Hop. $5.
Silverton Cafe - Frogmen. 9 p.m. Various. Free.
Jim and Jack’s on the River - Jason Owens. 9 p.m. Country. Free.
Southgate House Revival (Lounge) - Boo Ray. 9:30 p.m. Singer/Songwriter. Free. Southgate House Revival (Revival Room) - Dom Flemons with Mike Oberst. 7:30 p.m. Folk/ Americana. $12, $15 day of show.
Southgate House Revival (Sanctuary) - Tyler Childers with Blank Range and Arlo McKinley. 8 p.m. Americana/Country/ Folk/Various. Sold out.
The Underground - Spencer Anthony, The Thrifters, Flight Pattern and Red Metafor. 7 p.m. Pop/Rock/ Various. Cover.
Knotty Pine - Lt. Dan’s New Legs. 10 p.m. Pop/Dance/ Various. Cover. Live! at the Ludlow Garage - Birds of Chicago. 8 p.m. Folk/Americana. $12-$35.
Madison Theater - Turkuaz with The Suffers. 9:30 p.m. Funk/Soul/ Dance. $16.
Mansion Hill Tavern - Noah Wotherspoon. 9 p.m. Blues. $3. MOTR Pub - Joe’s Truck Stop. 10:30 p.m. Folk/Americana. Free. Northside Tavern - Sexy Time Live Band Karaoke. 8:30 p.m. Various. Free.
Urban Artifact - Mister F and Urban Tropic. 8 p.m. Funk/Dance/Pop/Various. $5.
Washington Platform Saloon & Restaurant Eric Lechliter Quartet. 9 p.m. Jazz. $10 (food/drink minimum).
Peecox Erlanger - Saving Stimpy. 9:30 p.m. Rock. $5.
Arnold’s Bar and Grill Cincinnati Dancing Pigs. 9 p.m. Americana/Jug band. Free. Blue Note Harrison Panama. 8 p.m. Van Halen tribute. $10. Cincinnati Public Library, Sharonville Branch - Holiday Music with the Buckeye Strings. 2 p.m. Holiday. Free. Cincinnatian Hotel - Philip Paul Trio. 7 p.m. Jazz. Free. College Hill Coffee Co. Kurt Schellingerhout. 7:30 p.m. Piano/Various. Free. Depot Barbecue - The Corncobs. 7 p.m. Bluegrass/ Old-time. Free.
Octave - Moon Hooch and Gnomedad. 9 p.m. Funk/Jazz/Electronic/Jam/ Various. $12, $15 day of show.
Plain Folk Cafe - Evan Lanier Bluegrass Express. 7:30 p.m. Bluegrass. Free. The Redmoor - The McCartney Project. 7 p.m. Beatles/ Wings tribute. $15-$20. Rick’s Tavern - Bad Habit. 10 p.m. Rock. Cover. Roselawn Live - Eightball & MJG. 10 p.m. Hip Hop. $35-$250.
Silverton Cafe - The Gamut. 9 p.m. Rock. Free. Southgate House Revival (Lounge) - Six Miles to Nellie. 9:30 p.m. Americana. Free. Southgate House Revival (Revival Room) - Lexy Dunn with Jordan Wilson. 9 p.m. Country. $15.
Southgate House Revival (Sanctuary) - BJ’s Band Jam: 10th Annual Charity Show & Ugly Sweater Christmas Party featuring KY Myle, Pheve, Yellow Cuss, The Plant That Ate The South and Ryan McKenzie. 6 p.m. Rock/Country/Various. $10-$15. Thompson House We’re Not Lost Fest with Spirit of the Bear, Infinity Spree and Dead Humor. 8 p.m. Rock/Alt/Various. $10, $12 day of show.
The Underground - Schoolyard, Men Of Blues, Abbi Love and more. 7 p.m. Rock/ Various. Cover. Urban Artifact - Void King, Silent Monolith, Cult of Sorrow and Pale Grey Lore. 8 p.m. Doom/ Stoner/Psych Rock. Free.
Washington Platform Saloon & Restaurant Retro Nouveau. 9 p.m. Jazz. $10 (food/drink minimum). Westside Venue - Gift Rapper Toy Drive. 9:30 p.m. Hip Hop. Free with unopened toy donation for Children’s Hospital.
American Czechoslovakian Club - The Casuals Band Christmas Celebration. 3 p.m. Polka/Holidays. $14. Mansion Hill Tavern - Open Blues Jam with Jimmy D. Rogers. 6 p.m. Blues. Free.
Washington Platform Saloon & Restaurant - Traditional New Orleans Jazz Brunch with 2nd Line Jazz Trio. 11:30 a.m. Jazz. $10 (food/drink minimum).
20th Century Theater Tribute To Michael Jackson featuring Danny Dash Andrews. 8 p.m. MJ tribute. $20. The Greenwich - Baron Von Ohlen & the Flying Circus Big Band. 7:30 p.m. Jazz. $5 (or two cannedgood donations for Freestore Foodbank).
Incline Lounge at the Celestial - Tom Schneider. 6 p.m. Jazz. Free. 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. MOTR Pub - Okey Dokey. 9 p.m. Psych Soul. Free. Muggbees Bar & Grill Karaoke DJ. 8 p.m. Various. Free. Northside Tavern - Northside Jazz Ensemble. 10 p.m. Jazz. Free.
Arnold’s Bar and Grill John Redell. 7 p.m. Blues. Free.
MOTR Pub - Banducci and the Wheels. 8 p.m. Rock/ Blues. Free.
Christ Church Cathedral - Music Live at Lunch with Ricky Nye. noon Blues. Free.
Northside Tavern - Bulletville. 8:30 p.m. Country. Free.
The Comet - Marr. 10 p.m. Alt/Pop/Experimental/Electronic/Various. Free.
Northside Yacht Club - Exhumed with Arkaik, Hell Scorched Earth and Nithing. 8:30 p.m. Death Metal/Grindcore. $13, $16 day of show.
Southgate House Revival (Sanctuary) Guttermouth and Koffin Kats with The Atom Age and Gallows Bound. 8 p.m. Rock/ Rockabilly/Punkabilly/Various. $18, $20 day of show.
Urban Artifact - David Palmer Quintet. 7 p.m. Jazz/ Fusion. Free.
Madison Live - Through Fire with Danger Kids, American Sin and Righteous Vendetta. 7 p.m. Rock. $14, $16 day of show. Northside Tavern - The Stealth Pastille. 10 p.m. Psych/Pop/Rock. Free. Stanley’s Pub - Trashgrass Tuesday featuring members of Rumpke Mt. Boys. 9 p.m. Bluegrass. Cover.
By B rendan E mmett Q u igley
Ac r o s s
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1. They’ve got all the answers 5. Catching a bit more Z’s 9. Spot for a lavalier mic 14. Little character on TV 15. Host before and after O’Brien 16. French 101 school 17. Have-___ (those in need) 18. Impartiality from your pops? 20. Bioinformatics strand 21. is.gd thing 22. Learning method 23. Pest near the Taj Mahal? 26. Broadcasted 27. Aconcagua, e.g.: Abbr. 28. Shock jock in a cowboy hat 30. Mouselike animal 33. Puts another candle on the cake 34. Money put on the table 38. Two things that you do at an Oasis concert? 41. Big Apple cops 42. Mangy dog 43. D&D brutes 44. Magazine with a red border on its cover 45. “We’re drowning here” 46. Outboard motor locale 49. Crime novel? 54. High spirits 56. One’s better half’s title: Abbr. 57. Popped thing 58. Kudos for some BDSM activity? 60. Pained expression 61. Spook’s work 62. Northern duck 63. Con ___ (with vigor) 64. Vogue topic
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Published on Nov 27, 2017