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CINCINNATI’S NEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY | DEC. 13-19, 2017 | FREE

Th e V i s ua l S ide o f th e V i n yl S h op Queen City Re of Cincinna cords: Record Stores ti & Northe rn Kentuck captures th y e e s se n c e of local indie record stores BY S TE V EN R O SE N PA G E 08


EDITOR IN CHIEF DA NNY CROSS CRE ATIVE DIRECTOR JENNIFER HOFFM AN MANAGING EDITOR M AIJA ZUMMO

VOL. 24 | ISSUE 03 ON THE COVER: MIKE SPITZ & CASSIE LIPP | PHOTO: HAILEY BOLLINGER

MUSIC EDITOR MIK E BREEN ARTS & CULTURE EDITOR STE VEN ROSEN STAFF WRITERS JAMES MCNAIR, NICK SWA RT SELL PHOTOGR APHER /DESIGNER H AILE Y BOLLINGER CONTRIBUTING EDITORS THE ATER: RICK PENDER FILM: T T STERN-ENZI CONTRIBUTING WRITERS ANNE A RENSTEIN, CASE Y A RNOLD, BRIAN BAK ER, JEFF BE Y ER, JACK BRENN A N, STEPHEN NOVOTNI, BRIAN CROSS, HAYLE Y DAY, JANE DURRELL, JASON GA RGA NO, AUSTIN GAYLE, MCK ENZIE GR AHAM, K ATIE HOLOCHER, BEN L. K AUFM AN, DEIRDRE K AY E, JOHN J. K ELLY, JOHN L ASK ER, HA RPER LEE, M ADGE M A RIL, ANNE MITCHELL, PAM A MITCHELL, TA MER A LENZ MUENTE, M A RK PAINTER, SE AN PE TERS, RODGER PILLE, GA RIN PIRNIA, SELENA REDER, ILENE ROSS, K ATHY SCHWA RT Z, M A RIA SEDA-REEDER, LE YL A SHOKOOHE, BRENN A SMITH, ISA AC THORN, K ATHY VALIN, K ATHY Y. WILSON, P.F. WILSON EDITORIAL INTERNS ALISON BA X TER, ERIN COUCH, K ENNEDY PONDER CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGR APHERS SCOT T DIT TGEN, PHIL HEIDENREICH, KHOI NGUYEN, BRIT TANY THORNTON, CATIE VIOX PHOTOGR APHY INTERNS K ELLIE COLEM AN, MESA SERIK ALI

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Net Neutrality Repeal Will Harm Consumers BY J EFFR E Y L AY N E B L E V I N S

If you like how your cable and satellite service works, then you’re going to love the internet after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) votes to end net neutrality protections on Dec. 14. That’s because your broadband internet service providers (ISPs) will no longer be common carriers that have to deliver all lawful content and services. Instead, ISPs will be able to act like cable and satellite TV providers that decide which content, services and apps its customers receive. Why is this happening? Look no further than who is leading the FCC and who is lobbying for the change. President Donald Trump appointed Ajit Pai, a former attorney for Verizon, to head the FCC. As chairperson, Pai has done the bidding of Verizon and the other major cable and satellite service providers across the U.S., including Spectrum, Comcast, Charter and AT&T, which owns DirecTV. These companies want to treat their broadband internet customers the same way they treat subscribers to their cable and satellite TV service by bundling content and services and adding more fee structures. Cable and satellite subscribers are well acquainted with bundles, as they require you to purchase channels you don’t want in order to get the channels you do. While consumer groups have advocated for cable and satellite providers to offer TV channels on an à la carte basis for years, the bundled packages allow service providers to have more control over the market for certain networks. While several “cord-cutters” have circumvented cable program bundles by subscribing to internet-based streaming services such as Netlflix and Amazon video, that will most likely change once net neutrality protections go away. Your ISP will be able to bundle internet content and services, just like they do cable channels, and for an extra fee (of course). For example, consider how ISPs in other countries that don’t recognize net neutrality protections, such as Portugal, are able to bundle popular internet services. Customers pay their ISP to access the internet and then an additional fee to access different bundles of popular content and services, such as YouTube, Hulu, Amazon or PayPal. What is worse is that customers may also have to pay those same services separately, and those subscription fees are likely to go up, as content and service providers pass the extra cost of doing business with ISPs

on to their own customers. Not coincidentally, I just received an email message from Netflix that my bill will go up effective Dec. 28 — two weeks after the FCC’s expected vote to kill net neutrality protections. How will cable and satellite TV service operators get away with this? They do it by creating a two-sided market for themselves, as subscribers pay their service provider (Verizon, Comcast, etc.) to access to the internet, and then the service provider takes those same customers and markets them to content and service producers online (Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, etc.). Both the internet user and the content provider have to pay the same entity (Verizon, Comcast, etc.) to access each other. Not happy with being saddled with the extra cost of doing business, some of the most popular internet content providers and services, such as Amazon, Netflix, Google, Apple and Facebook, have backed net neutrality protections. Small businesses and entrepreneurs who rely on the current low cost of entry for an online presence also stand to lose after Dec. 14, as they can be forced to negotiate expensive carriage agreements with the largest broadband ISPs, or risk having their website, streaming services and apps degraded or blocked altogether if they happen to compete with similar content and services offered by ISPs. And, speaking of carriage agreements, cable and satellite TV subscribers know all too well what happens when the service providers and networks are in dispute over carriage arrangement — customers lose access to programming through no fault of their own. Earlier this year, Cincinnati’s DirecTV customers lost access to NBC programming when Hearst’s WLWT-TV was negotiating its carriage agreement with the satellite operator. DirecTV customers in Cincinnati were similarly deprived of FOX programming on Raycom’s WXIX-TV in September 2014 while the broadcaster and satellite operator quarreled over carriage arrangements. Now, imagine not being able to access Netflix while its negotiating carriage with your ISP. To its credit, Cincinnati Bell has issued several statements on Twitter that it will

treat all traffic the same for its customers, even after the FCC ends net neutrality. While this is a principled position to take, the company will have no legal obligation to keep this pledge. While the FCC is certain to role back net neutrality protections this week, all is not necessarily lost. Congress has the authority to amend, repeal or replace any FCC rule, and can require the agency to enforce any legislation that it creates. After Dec. 14 it will be time for internet users, small businesses and entrepreneurs to petition Congress for a redress of net neutrality protections. Additionally, proponents of net neutrality can continue to petition their ISPs to protect net neutrality, just as several protesters did last week by demonstrating outside of a Verizon store in Kenwood.

“Customers pay their ISP to access the internet and then an additional fee to access different bundles of popular content and services.” The telecommunications industry is sure to continue to push back with its hollow platitudes about net neutrality somehow being a “big-government takeover of the internet.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Net neutrality is about protecting the rights of all internet users, and not allowing a few powerful ISPs to dominate content and services. However, if you’re still convinced that its better to have big-telecomm control the internet rather than any governmentsupported net neutrality protections, and my cable/satellite analogy isn’t working for you, ask yourself this: How has the Airline Deregulation Act affected your experience on commercial flights? More fees, less service and no rights. Welcome to the internet without net neutrality protections. Jeffrey Layne Blevins, Ph.D., is head of the Journalism Department at the University of Cincinnati. Contact: jeffrey. blevins@uc.edu or @JeffBlevinsPhD

This Week in Questionable Decisions… 1. A fraudulent sign language interpreter crashed a Tampa news conference, signing gibberish on TV. 2. A sports writer made it his year’s mission to become the

human Bloomin’ Onion at the Outback Bowl. This week, he succeeded thanks to a social media campaign. 3. Rapist/white male privilege personified Brock Turner is

trying to get his conviction overturned. 4. Yet Brendan Dassey of Making a Murderer fame will remain in jail after losing his appeal.

5. A Cambridge newspaper accidentally printed its front page without a headline, running the obvious filler text, “100PT SPLASH HEADING HERE.”


SPORTS!

Bengals Need Radical Newness BY JAC K B R EN N A N

League Soccer says that it will reveal its picks for two expansion franchises next week, and I put FCC’s chances at an unscientific 43 percent. This is a three-team derby — Cincinnati, Nashville and Sacramento. (Forget Detroit.) FC Cincinnati is a close third in my analysis, and we must hope like crazy that one particular argument against Sacramento carries the day. That would be the idea that with Columbus apparently moving to Austin and a second Los Angeles franchise beginning play in 2018, a Sacramento pick would leave the MLS too geographically unbalanced toward the west. This is the only chink in the armor of a Sacramento bid that has been widely characterized as flawless, and the California capital is the largest of the three competing TV markets.

“Coaches are first in line to get bopped when things become intolerable, and that’s where we are now.” And if Sacramento is in, leaving Queen City vs. Music City for one spot, I sadly am hearing a lot of steel guitar. I saw Nashville in action on a weekend trip last month. It’s booming, presenting the image of one of the hottest cities in the U.S. Its recently built high-rise residences are of a scale not known here, and its Saturday night crowds downtown are stupendous. It’s the new Atlanta, and that’s why I don’t see FCC’s purported top selling point — its huge popularity as a minor-league team — as sufficient to close the deal. MLS is on an ego-ride and thinks every new city will go immediately soccer-crazy just by getting its blessing. FCC’s inspired play against three MLS teams in the U.S. Open Cup last year? It was great fun, but it won’t mean a thing in this derby. MLS plans further expansion down the road, but a failure next week will bring up a question I first posed in this space last July: How long can the amazing enthusiasm for a minor-league team here survive? At times it has seemed FCC fans didn’t even know they were in the second tier, but the MLS bid has certainly raised consciousness that the USL in comparison is a big nothing. My hope is that we don’t have to find out how well the USL experience will wear for two or three more years. But if we do, my expectations are less than sanguine. Contact Jack Brennan: letters@ citybeat.com

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Though it has gone under-reported in the wake of Sunday’s blowout loss to 3-9 Chicago, the Bengals enter this weekend’s play still mathematically alive for the playoffs. The chance is about equivalent to one Powerball ticket. Now that we’ve got that covered, let’s move on to the post-mortem for the Marvin Lewis Era, because clearly Bengals Nation is in no mood to wait. The Bengals will extend their NFL-high streak for seasons without a playoff win to 27 (it was 1990, people) and the last 15 of those have been coached by Lewis. As a Bengals employee for 23 seasons (1994-2016), working under Mike Brown (who hired me) and for 14 years with Lewis, I didn’t want to have to write this. But the Bengals are not nearly as good as even their 5-8 record, their wins coming against foes with a current aggregate mark of 14-51. The “underachieving” team of the early season has been exposed as simply one of the NFL’s very worst. The 50th anniversary celebration has become a wake, and count me among the many who believe Campaign 51 must begin with a radical turn toward something new. Sure I can imagine Brown resisting — who couldn’t? — but I can also imagine about seven very prominent members of the front office arguing that conditions demand radical newness, with ticket sales and overall fan interest at critically low levels. But the most radical thing that could happen in Mike-World is a new coaching staff, and it could be a staff not terribly flashy or even entirely new. That’s the internal debate as I see it. A Jon Gruden vs. a Paul Guenther, with plenty of possibilities in between.| What to say of Lewis? I admire “ML” in many ways, and he lifted the team from the pits to a five-season playoff run. But since I’m now employed to comment publicly on Cincinnati sports issues, I will question him for coddling too many players whose talent was enticing but whose behavior eroded team chemistry. Think Corey Dillon, Chad Johnson, Terrell Owens, Jermaine Gresham, Adam Jones and Vontaze Burfict. I’d even throw in Geno Atkins, whose implacable resistance to media responsibilities has been completely tolerated, setting a bad example. Clearly, the entire organization must also be cited for 1) recent unproductive drafts and 2) the loss through free agency of excellent players not adequately replaced. Think Andrew Whitworth, Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Kevin Zeitler and Rex Burkhead. But coaches are first in line to get bopped when things become intolerable, and that’s where we are now. And now on to FC Cincinnati. Major

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NEWS

Funding Conundrum Neighborhood groups want to revitalize a vacant grocery in Northside. Will the city chip in? By N I C K SWA R T S EL L

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he faded white 15,000-square-foot former Save-A-Lot building just a block west of Northside’s bustling business district has been empty and boarded up for more than four years. But the neighborhood’s community development corporation, Northsiders Engaged in Sustainable Transformation, wants to change that. The group asked Cincinnati City Council Dec. 11 to chip in $515,000 so it can buy the building at 4145 Apple St. and make it a contributing factor in the heart of one of Cincinnati’s most popular neighborhoods. NEST’s Stephanie Sunderland told city council’s neighborhoods committee that the CDC already has a tenant lined up who is willing to pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into bringing the property up to code and opening it as a grocery store again. Council will mull an ordinance by Vice Mayor David Mann granting NEST that money later this month, but there’s skepticism. The city’s Department of Economic and Community Development has doubts about the building’s most likely tenant, Apple Street Market. Mann’s ordinance is contingent on NEST’s ownership staying separate from the co-op market. NEST was founded in 2005 to foster affordable homeownership. “At the time that we started on this project, no one in their right mind would invest their time and energy as an independent contractor in the area,” Sunderland says about NEST’s first efforts on Fergus Avenue. “Foreclosure rates were high, The area was dangerous.” The Fergus project, helped along by city funding for property acquisition, led to the construction of the first two LEED Silver homes in Northside. Since that time, NEST has rehabbed and sold 30 properties. It currently has another 10 land banked, one pending sale and three currently in rehab. The CDC has also helped transfer 21 other homes to homeowners in partnership with the Port of Hamilton County Development Authority. Sunderland says the Save-A-Lot building is in a key spot, nestled between the business district to the east, Chase Elementary School and McKie Recreation Center to the west, a strong residential section of the neighborhood on the north

The former Save-A-Lot in Northside has been vacant for four years. P H O T O : nick swartsell

and a still-struggling section to the south. Redeveloping it would catalyze further equitable progress in the area, she says. That’s something Northside Community Council hopes will happen soon. “We strongly support finding a way to acquire this property,” Council Vice President Mary Jo Minerich says. “The building stands almost in the center of our most important public spaces. Numerous times, the previous owners have told us they had tenants who were willing to take this property with almost no modifications. That means something like a U-Haul location.” One of NEST’s possible tenants, Apple Street Market, says it has confirmed $3.5 million in grants and loans it can pour into the building. The lion’s share comes from the Cincinnati Development Fund. Other sources include Finance Fund of Ohio and Interact for Health, which gave $100,000 for equipment. The city’s economic development department isn’t convinced of the market’s viability, however, and says the city doesn’t fund grocery stores. “While it’s certainly an interesting structure, it’s not something that we’re comfortable with at this point,” Greg Huth, interim director of Cincinnati’s Economic and Community Development Department, told council last month. “We’re struggling with, frankly, what happens

with the property if the market doesn’t work. It’s not a piece of property the city would be willing to hang on to and try to maintain while we try to figure out what to do with it.” NEST points out that the city wouldn’t be funding a grocery store, but instead providing money to a CDC to develop a neighborhood asset that could house a variety of tenants. Proponents of the plan asked the city to tap available money from federal Community Development Block Grants, which are often used for such projects. “Worst case scenario, the building is a code-compliant upgraded white box space perfect for the right commercial development, giving NEST the ability to chose a tenant that is right for the community,” Sunderland says. Sunderland notes that Northside has received just $195,000 of the roughly $264 million in block grant money the city has doled out in recent years. Downtown has seen more than $93 million from that funding source, and other neighborhoods like Madisonville, Oakley, Bond Hill and more have also received tens of millions of dollars from the federal grants. Huth and council member Mann expressed concerns about the financing structure of Apple Street’s plans for the building, saying that the building could

still be tied up in $975,000 in loans from the Cincinnati Development Fund. But Apple Street Market officials say that’s not the case. NEST will have full control of the building and will also own the investments the market makes in the property, Apple Street General Manager Christopher DeAngelis told council. Hanging over the Apple Street concept are the struggles of Clifton Market, a community-owned grocery store launched last year a couple miles from Northside. That store has experienced big difficulties meeting its projected sales numbers, keeping its cash flow up and competing with a new Kroger location nearby in Corryville. “I live in Clifton,” Vice Mayor David Mann pointed out during last month’s meeting. “It’s no secret that the market isn’t doing as well as hoped.” But Apple Street Market says its plan is much different. The Market is owned by both workers and community members, Market leaders say, and has based its business plan on very conservative estimates — the $69,000 a week in business that Save-A-Lot did profitably before its owners moved it out of the neighborhood. Northside leaders say the grocery store isn’t the only option for the space anyway. CONTINUES ON PAGE 07


FROM PAGE 06

city desk

Chabot Back in the Travel Saddle BY ja m es M c N a i r

Ending an unusual yearlong hiatus from traveling abroad at taxpayer expense, U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot of Cincinnati resumed his globetrotting ways in August with a five-day trip to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia. Chabot, chairman of the House Small Business Committee and a self-proclaimed spending hawk, has tapped the federal travel spigot frequently during his 21-year stay in Congress. CityBeat peered into his travel expense disclosures last year and learned that he had taken 16 trips to 46 different countries since his return to Ohio’s 1st District seat in 2011. As in most of those trips, Chabot had nothing to say publicly about his high-season mission to Eastern Europe — until CityBeat asked. The outing didn’t rate a mention in Chabot’s blog, on his Facebook page or in his press releases. It took his spokesman, Brian Griffith, to say what the Westwood Republican did during those five days. Chabot, Griffith explains, meets government and business officials in other countries to “seek ways to make it easier for small businesses to export and how we can work with foreign governments to make that a reality.” The biggest hurdles to American companies selling goods abroad, he says, are tariffs and trade rules. In Chabot’s role as a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Griffith says, Chabot meets with U.S. and

foreign officials abroad to “identify where there is common ground between nations and improvements to our relationships can be made.” To that end, Chabot met with a variety of people on both sides in Eastern Europe. Griffith did not cite any trade logjams or political impasses that Chabot broke through with his diplomatic charms. Another report came from the news service of Czech Technical University in Prague. There, Chabot and five other members of Congress met to discuss innovation, company startup support and commercialization of science and research in an academic environment. Chabot racked up a $13,289 bill on the trip. Since he was joined by his usual travel partner, Small Business Committee staff director Kevin Fitzpatrick, and a fellow committee member. The overall tab came to $40,634. Members of Congress do not remit itemized travel expenses with receipts. That last point rankles Stephen Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan budget watchdog group in Washington, D.C. “Spending decisions lawmakers make with the funds that are directly at their disposal are like a window into their budgetary soul,” Ellis says. “We’ve long held that all travel information should be publicly available. Then a lawmaker’s constituents can decide if they are operating in the public interest.”

Sentinels Vote No Confidence in FOP President BY n i c k swa r t s e l l

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The police association representing black Cincinnati Police Department officers late Dec. 7 cast a unanimous vote of no confidence in Cincinnati’s Fraternal Order of Police President Dan Hils. That vote comes after increasing tension between Hils, city of Cincinnati officials and black Cincinnati police officers. Controversy erupted last month after it was revealed that Hils worked to delay two Cincinnati police officers accused of racial profiling and excessive force from having to testify before the city’s Citizen Complaint Authority as their accuser stood trial. Hils and Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, who issued the order, say that was to keep from compromising the trial. But others, including City Manager Harry Black, expressed frustration that Hils was standing in the way of the CCA, which was created as part of the city’s Collaborative Agreement police reforms. Black called Hils late in the evening about the move Oct 29. Hils describes that call as threatening, though an internal investigation by the city found no wrongdoing on Black’s part. Hils again found himself at the center of contention this month when CPD Lieutenant Danita Pettis, who is black, filed an internal complaint against the FOP president, saying he undermined her authority by complaining about her to her subordinates. During comments made to officers under Pettis’ command during roll call, Hils reminisced about “kicking her ass” 25 years ago before she was an officer. He also called Avondale, which is predominantly black, an “urban ghetto.” That incident led to rebuke by the Cincinnati chapter of the NAACP, the Greater Cincinnati Urban League and other civil rights groups. “I was emphasizing the complexity of their jobs and how being degraded and mistreated by your superiors makes the job of service more complicated,” Hils posted on Facebook after civil rights groups blasted him for the comment. He apologized for using the word “ghetto.” That apology wasn’t enough for the Sentinels. “Sgt. Hils does not value or respect CPD’s African American officers,” Sentinel President Eddie Hawkins wrote in a statement. “We pay the same dues to the FOP as our white counterparts and deserve to be treated equally. Based on Sgt. Hils’ treatment of African American officers seeking his assistance for representation during his tenure as FOP president, we are unable to trust Sgt. Hils, and thus the Fraternal Order of Police, to represent African American officers.”

“There are other examples of uses that NEST could profitably use this location for,” Northside Community Council’s Minerich says. She mentioned co-working space, traditional offices, tech industry enterprises or restaurants as possible tenants for the location. Victor Williams, president of Northside Business Association, says the group voted unanimously to support NEST’s plan. “The business association has often done what NEST is asking to do,” Williams told city council. “We’ve acquired properties and turned them around, and we’ve had great success doing it. This property is pivotal. It’s important that it goes the right way.” Some council members, including Yvette Simpson, support the plan and would like to vote on it before council changes over Jan. 2. Simpson, who ran for mayor, won’t be on council after that time. “I actually appreciate the thoughtfulness of NEST on this,” she said. “That gives me a lot of security. Bigger picture, we’ve got to find a way in communities to have control over their grocery stores. This is a model that the community believes in.” Others council members say they’re “intrigued” by the idea. Kevin Flynn, says he bought a share in Apple Street when the initiative launched in 2015 and donated it to someone who otherwise couldn’t afford it. “When I was in law school, I used to shop at the Save-A-Lot,” Flynn told NEST last month. “When it was an IGA, I worked there. I have a lot of history with this building and with Northside. But I remain concerned by the finances.” At the Dec. 11 meeting, Flynn said he wants NEST to get control of the building and supports council moves to make that happen. But he’s still unsure that Apple Street Market would be successful there and would only support legislation that requires that the building’s ownership stays separate. Northside Community Council, NEST and other boosters are hopeful the space won’t become storage or parking for trucks — other uses zoning code would allow. That could happen if a deal with Apple Street falls through, as the building’s owner has expressed a desire to sell soon. “We can guarantee that the property will be used in a way that benefits the community and provides essential services,” Sunderland says. “We don’t believe a private owner would do that.” Some Northside residents say they hope it becomes a grocery store in one form or another. Zach Cox came to the November city council committee meeting to voice approval for Apple Street Market’s plan. “At a time when many communities have lost the local branches of their national chain grocery stores and feel helpless to stop this process, a community grocery store is one of our best options,” Cox said.

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ROSEN BY S T E V EN IT Z

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IK E SP Growing body’s, Ph o to s: M up on Grand Northside’s Vista Avenue Shake It in Pleasant Ridge, Records, ClifMike Spitz would often ton Heights’ Mole’s visit Everybody’s Records, a CD & Record Exchange, neighborhood and city institution for Newport’s C&D Record Bar and lovers of recorded music since 1978. Latonia’s Phil’s Records. Then there are “I discovered Everybody’s from walking the newer ones — Bellevue’s Torn Light down Montgomery Road to go to other Records, Loveland’s Plaid Room Records, stores,” he says. “My middle brother Covington’s Hail Dark Aesthetics, Oakley’s Paul was really into records and got me MetaModern Music, Newport’s aforehooked on it — he’s six years older. And mentioned Jet Age Records, Black Plastic my older brother had a lot of Beatles Records in Northside and Over-the-Rhine, records, so they influenced me. I just downtown’s Herzog Music and Over-thestarted buying a lot of my early records at Rhine’s Shakespearean-named Another Everybody’s and my interests grew. I still Part of the Forest. Also included in the book have most of them today.” is Newport’s Sugarcube Records, which Spitz, age 50, has been living in Los recently closed. Sometimes used vinyl is Angeles since 2000, so remembering the all they sell, but many shops also sell CDs, favorite record stores of his Cincinnati cassettes and music-related ephemera youth — he also has kind words for ones such as turntables, band T-shirts, books that have not survived, such as Norwood’s and magazines, concert posters and even Record Theater and the Wizard and Ozarka bobbleheads of favorite rockers. outposts near University of Cincinnati — Of the 14 stores profiled in Queen City may seem purely an exercise in nostalgia. Records, nine have opened since 2010 But it isn’t. He’s turned it into a new (including Sugarcube). Three profiled book, Queen City Records: Record Stores of in the book have opened just this year Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky. It debuts and a fourth (Morrow Audio in Florence) this weekend with signings at two stores opened too late for inclusion. They have featured in the book — 2 p.m. Saturday at benefitted from the vinyl revival, which Everybody’s and 4 p.m. Sunday at Jet Age has increased the popularity and prices Records in Newport. Both will also have for both used and new vinyl records. live music — 1:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. They have also provided Spitz’s book Sunday. Spitz’s initial printing is just 250 with currency. “There would have been books; he’ll do more as needed. less stores to take pictures of,” he says. A photographer when not busy with his “There are new businesses following that full-time job as a licensed clinical social resurgence.” worker/therapist specializing in the probThis isn’t Spitz’s first book featuring lems of children and teens, Spitz’s book record stores. In 2015, he published (via portrays the environments of 13 existing Rare Bird Books) The Record Store Book, record stores (plus one that recently closed) featuring 50 in the L.A. area. It received as sometimes funky and cluttered, somenational distribution and exposure. But times chic and art-designed. He worked on he actually started on the Cincinnati it during visits here to see his family. project first. The stores featured in the book include “In 2011, I got this idea to do some several long-established ones — Everykind of book about storefronts,” he says.

Everybody’S 

P H I L’ S r e c o r d s  

S TA F F ( B O T T O M )

•   OWNER

PHIL BREEN (LEFT)


S U G E RC U B E  

•   OWNER

CRAIG BAKER (BOT TOM LEFT)

SHAKE IT records 

M o l E ’ S c d & r e c o r d e x c ha n ge  

•   OWNER

•   OWNER

JIM BL ASE (BOT TOM RIGHT)

DEAN NEWMAN (LEFT)

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09 C&D record bar 

•   OWNER

D a v e H eil ( R I G H T )

JET AGE records 

•   OWNERS

SCHAER BROTHERS (BOT TOM LEFT)


HAIL DARK AESTHETICS 

•   OWNER

J U L I E F AY ( B O T T O M R I G H T )

B L A C K P L A S T I C 

•   OWNER

NEIL HIGGENBOT TOM

s te v e s chmoll

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A N O T H E R PA R T O F T H E F O R E S T 

•   OWNER

10 P L A I D R O O M re c ords 

•   OWNERs

COLE BROTHERS (TOP LEFT)

H E R Z O G m u si c  

•   ANDREW

ARAGON (BOT TOM RIGHT)


M E T A M O DE R N m u s i c  

•   OWNER

•   OWNER

DAN BUCKLEY (BOT TOM LEF T )

• Hail Dark Aesthetics is as much a cabinet of eerie curiosities, or oddities, as a used record store — one photo shows a doll baby’s head atop an animal horn with a stuffed squirrel holding an acorn nearby. • At Jet Age, which opened this year, the look is spare and retro-modern — there’s a red Formica table and chairs near a coffee bar. The listening station features a turntable with a bright red, futuristic-looking base. “Having done the first book, I know what works and doesn’t work,” Spitz says. “Usually I don’t know what the store is going to have in it, so I go in with a clean slate. But I tend to gravitate toward the same things. With images of people looking through records, the person has to be interesting. I take pictures of tapes, records — always used records out of the shrink-rap. And if I can, I try to get a shot of somebody who’s not just an old crusty record collector. I really try to break the cliches of record stores.” He also had an eye for the unusual. “With Hail Dark Aesthetics, what other store has dead animals on the wall?” Spitz asks. “You can’t ignore that — it’s what’s unique about the store. For Jet Age, I made sure to get the Formica table and a shot of the coffee sign in the back.” “And I always want to get a shot of the manager or the owner,” he continues. “You always get a guy like Dean Newman (of Mole’s) — the older guy, store’s kind of cluttered, very nice but tough veneer. And then the newer stores have the young hipster types with the tattoos. And then you also have the cynical guy whose business is not doing well and he’s pissed off at the world.” There was one like that in L.A., Spitz says, and also in Cincinnati. You might call record stores a labor of brotherly love. No less than three sets of brothers own one locally — Darren and Jim Blase of Shake It, Terry and Robert Cole of Plaid Room and Kevin, Tom and Mike Schraer of Jet Age. And there are two women owners — Iris BookCafe’s Julie Fay, who has kept the adjacent Another Part of the Forest open since its founder and her business partner, Mike Markiewicz, died in 2014; and Marilyn Kirby, who has run Everybody’s, with loyal employees, since 1978. Writer Lipp found her story inspiring. “She was a single mom raising two young sons when getting her record store off the ground,” she says. “She said some of her friends and people working in the music business would help her with her store and her family. I felt that was a neat story, how everybody came together for her as a community.” That may be the key lesson from the photos and stories that comprise Queen City Records. Each indie record store is a community unto itself. Queen City Records will soon be available at select record stores and JosephBeth Booksellers at Rookwood Pavilion, as well as from mikespitz.com.

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T O R N L I G H T r e c or d s  

JOHN CONNER (BOT TOM RIGHT)

“I had seen a book about the storefronts of New York that was very nice. So I thought maybe I’d do a book on those of Los Angeles. But it seemed too broad, too big. So I thought about how I could narrow it down to something more specific. “Well, I like record stores and I remembered Everybody’s and thought, ‘Why don’t I try that?’ I went home for a visit and went to Shake It, Everybody’s, C&D and Mole’s and took pictures of those four stores.” But he also thought he should do something larger — if not record stores of the world, then at least of Los Angeles. Among other benefits, he could fit the work around his daytime therapist job. That resulted in the first record store book, which also featured interviews with record store owners by writer Rebecca Villaneda. “Then we started thinking, ‘Why don’t we do Seattle, Portland, Chicago or New York?’ ” Spitz says. When that idea fell through, he figured he already had begun a Cincinnati project, so why not finish it? He wound up doing additional photos of the four stores he had photographed in 2011, as well as new ones. To do interviews and provide history, Spitz hired writer Cassie Lipp, a 2016 University of Cincinnati graduate and also a CityBeat contributor. She responded to an ad that a UC journalism professor had sent. “I go to record stores all the time since 2012, my first year of college,” Lipp says. “I was writing a paper for my Rhetoric class on Bob Dylan at the time and I went to Everybody’s Records and bought some Dylan records. I thought, ‘Hey, this counts as homework, doesn’t it?’ After that, I started exploring record stores.” One thing Spitz had learned from doing the Los Angeles book is that he couldn’t just feature storefronts, as his original inspiration — Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York — did. “It’s what’s inside the store that’s more interesting,” he says. For those stores that have been around awhile, “they’ve created this nostalgic ambiance for you,” he says. But newer stores can be different. “Some of the newer boutique-y younger stores are tidy, clean, neat and just focus on new stuff. They’re trying to establish something different about them, something unique.” So what did he find inside Cincinnati record stores? Some examples from the book: • At C&D Record Bar, established in 1957, owner Dave Heil stands in front of shelves full of 45 rpm records while holding an old Andy Williams LP called Lonely Street, in which the late Pop crooner is on a sidewalk, leaning against a building in what looks to be a forlorn part of town. • At the connoisseur-ish Mole’s CD & Record Exchange, which started on Short Vine in 1974 and moved to Calhoun Street after Dean Newman bought it in 1989, Newman stands behind the counter, proudly wearing a T-shirt with the image of the late guitar god Tommy Bolin and propping up an album by Prog Rock band Spock’s Beard.

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STUFF TO DO

It’s a White Christmas

The Esquire and Mariemont theaters have hosted multiple sold-out, interactive screenings of White Christmas this season (the only tickets possibly left are for screenings on Saturday at Mariemont). It’s now a holiday tradition for the local indie theater chain, which encourages moviegoers to show up in Santa hats and sing along to this kitschy, classic Christmas film with a score by Irving Berlin. Starring Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and the teeny-tiny-waisted VeraEllen, it’s a Technicolor 1950s holiday romcom about a singing set of sisters who have a meet-cute with army buddies/Broadway entertainment duo Crosby and Kaye and work together to save a struggling Vermont inn, owned by the boys’ former general. There are lots of great costumes (by Edith Head), elaborate choreography (by an uncredited Bob Fosse), catchy tunes and white humans with very blue eyes. If you can’t get tickets, the movie is also on Netflix. Which means you can host your own interactive screening at home (as a member of our staff does every year, by herself, usually while simultaneously drinking white wine and baking sugar cookies). Here’s how:

• Use your TV box to stream the movie and put on English subtitles. That way, you can sing along with all the words. Or even talk along with all the dialogue! • Don’t forget to wear your best VeraEllen turtleneck and make a plate of liverwurst sandwiches with buttermilk. • Instead of learning the film’s choreography, you can recreate classic scenes, like the “Sisters” number, by coyly swinging around items from your living room instead of a blue feathered fan: throw pillows, wine glasses, a small dog, etc. Same effect.

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HOLIDAY: A Christmas Carol continues at the Playhouse in the Park. Read Rick Pender’s behind-thescenes account on page 16.

ONSTAGE: Bulgarian performance artist/singer/ dancer/choreographer/ photographer/visual artist/ gay activist Ivo Dimchev performs at the CAC. See interview on page 18.

• It’s OK to cry during the “White Christmas” finale. If you can, find a sparkly Mrs. Claus outfit to wear while doing so. You can also throw flour in the air like fake snow; easy if you happen to already be baking.

crèches are accompanied by a train display, a collection of Santa Claus figurines, multiple Christmas trees and a mini Dickens village, with a bonus live animal nativity featuring goats, sheep and donkeys at the nearby church on Vine Street. Through Jan. 1. Free; donations are encouraged. Christian Moerlein Malt House Taproom, 1621 Moore St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook. com/christianmoerlein. — ALISON BAXTER

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MUSIC: Americana/Bluegrass greats The Steel Wheels play the Southgate House Revival. See Sound Advice on page 28.

HOLIDAY: The Nutcracker What holiday season would be complete without a visit from the Clara and the Nutcracker Prince? The

COMEDY: Laura Sanders with Dave Waite Ludlow, Ky. native Dave Waite returns from Los Angeles for a run of shows at Go Bananas this week. He’s bringing along the very hilarious Laura Sanders. A former Toledo resident, she now lives in New Orleans. Performing was always in her blood. “I’m from a theater kind of family,” she

Sing along with Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby from the comfort of your own home. PHOTO: IMDB

Ongoing Shows VISUAL ART: Winter Greens Lloyd Library and Museum, Downtown (through March 17) ONSTAGE: The Dancing Princesses Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, Over-the-Rhine (through Dec. 30)

she couldn’t be shy about speaking up. “The phrase we would use is, ‘Lose your breath, lose your turn.’ Growing up in my family, you had to believe you were funny and had something worthwhile to say because we were all such fans of our own voices.” Through Sunday. $8-$14. Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, gobananascomedy. com. — P.F. WILSON

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says. “Both my parents were in theater in the ’70s. I did the nerdiest version of that I could — I did speech and debate team in high school and acted in a couple of plays, very badly.” At home,

MUSIC: Outlaw Country icon Shooter Jennings and singer/songwriter Jason Boland head to the Southgate House Revival for their “Acoustic Song Swap” tour. See Sound Advice on page 28.

ART: Crew Show at Clifton Cultural Arts Center Similar to the Cincinnati Art Museum’s recent exhibition, Employed: A Staff Art Exhibition, which showcased the work of 37 employees from the CAM’s various departments, this Friday the Clifton Cultural Arts Center will host an opening reception for Crew Show, an exhibition featuring individual and collaborative works by the Contemporary Art Center’s art handling team. The CAC’s crew members — including chief preparator Joe Civitello, Claire Talbot, Brittany Hargrave, and Justin West, just to name a few — work daily to elevate CONTINUES ON PAGE 14

C I T Y B E AT. C O M

LIT: RJ Smith discusses American Witness: The Art and Life of Robert Frank at the Mercantile Library. See Big Picture on page 17.

Cincinnati Ballet’s The Nutcracker makes a triumphant return to Music Hall for the first time in 11 years to continue the beloved holiday tradition. Dance your way through a chronicle of sugar plum fairies, mice monarchs and candy castles as the Land of Sweets comes to life through fantastical sets and vibrant costumes. An abundance of sugary yuletide fantasies — set to a score by Tchaikovsky — awaits you. Through Dec. 24. $36-$130. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cincinnatiarts.org. — ERIN COUCH

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HOLIDAY: A Franciscan Christmas Over-the-Rhine’s Saint Francis Seraph Church continues its annual A Franciscan Christmas at the Christian Moerlein taproom event center (aka Bockfest Hall) with a display of more than 50 nativity scenes from around the world. The

• Can you dress your pet like a tiny World War II general?

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MUSIC: Re-Art: The Many Faces of Israel at the Skirball Museum explores artistic interpretation and relationships utilizing the theme of Israel and its 70 years of independence. See feature on page 19.

• Vera-Ellen may have been a famous dancer, but instead of dancing to the very racist “Minstrel Show” performance, shout things like “WTF??” at the screen. Or do a bunch of statue poses during the mod and odd “Choreography.”

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and ensure the integrity of the work on exhibit, all the while continuing their own artistic praxis. Opening reception 6-8 p.m. Friday. Through Jan. 12. Free. Clifton Cultural Arts Center, 3711 Clifton Ave., Clifton, cliftonculturalarts.org. — MARIA SEDA-REEDER HOLIDAY: Santamania It’s three days of a Punk Christmas at the Northside Yacht Club during Santamania 2017. There will be five stages — including inside the freezer and the kitchen — featuring bands like Swim Team, The Dopamines, Smut, Leggy, Mardou and more. This fifth-annual jingle ball includes gift giveaways and an art sale, plus free breakfast burritos on Sunday. Music starts 5 p.m. Friday; 4:20 p.m. Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday. $10 at the door. Northside Yacht Club, 4227 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, northsideyachtclub.com. — MAIJA ZUMMO

SATURDAY 16

HOLIDAY: Brunch with Santa at Brink Brewing What is better than an afternoon with Santa Claus and your loved ones? That plus beer. Get in the Christmas spirit with adult beverages from Brink and root beer for the kids during Santa’s stop for family photos (bring your own camera; there’s no charge), holiday cheer and a little brunch. The Dapper Doughnut will be in attendance for extra snacks. Dogs are welcome. The brewery will also be collecting unwrapped gifts to donate to Bethany House Services for kids ages 7 to 12. Noon-4 p.m. Saturday; Santa will be there 1-3 p.m. Free admission. Brink Brewing Company, 5905 Hamilton Ave., College Hill, brinkbrewing.com. — ALISON BAXTER MUSIC: Songwriting Clinic with Erika Wennerstrom With soulful Rock ensemble Heartless Bastards on break, former Dayton, Ohio/ Cincinnati resident Erika

Wennerstrom is ensuring her band’s fans will still have forthcoming music to get excited about as she embarks on her first full solo adventure. Ahead of her forthcoming album, Wennerstrom has been touring, recently playing intimate rooms in the Midwest. Sandwiched in between a pair of shows at Northside’s Listing Loon (her Dec. 10 show sold out well in advance, as did her appearance there this Sunday) is a songwriting clinic at the recently opened music hub Herzog Music, which sells music gear and vinyl records, provides lessons and hosts a variety of events. For her Saturday appearance at Herzog (which is open to all ages), Wennerstrom will discuss her creative process, offer advice for aspiring songwriters and share stories from her impressive career fronting the now-Austin, Texas-based Bastards. 7 p.m. Saturday. $20. Herzog Music, 811 Race St., Downtown, facebook.com/herzogmusic. — MIKE BREEN

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WEDNESDAY 13

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HOLIDAY: A Holiday with the Harpers The Harpers — Charley, Edie and Brett — are Cincinnati’s favorite first family of natureinspired artwork, from Charley’s modernist wildlife work to Edie’s graphic cats to Brett’s looser style of painted florals. And this art show at the Cincinnati Nature Center features “a glimpse into the winter wonderland” of the family with posters, prints and other items, as well as an exclusive display of the Harper’s private collection of holiday cards. Get a free Charley Harper print with a $35 purchase. Through Dec. 31. Cincinnati Nature Center, 4949 Tealtown Road, Milford, cincynature.org. — MAIJA ZUMMO

R AINFOREST BIRDS // PHOTO: PROVIDED


P H O T O : provided

FRIDAY 15

HOLIDAY: 98 Degrees If you can get past the late-’90s staples of frosted tips, half-unzipped tracksuit jackets and astonishingly cheesy music videos, boy bands are pretty timeless, right? Relive the glory days Friday at the Aronoff and pretend two decades haven’t passed as 98 Degrees performs selections from their October album release, Let it Snow. Nick Lachey leads the charge as the boys (now men?) get in the Christmas spirit with some festive tracks from the album, including “What Christmas Means to Me,” “Run Rudolph Run” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” The early show doubles as a fundraiser to help with medical expenses for Ellie Richardson, the Lachey’s Bar employee who was shot near the bar on Thanksgiving morning. 4 and 8 p.m. Friday. $50.50-$70.50. Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine, cincinnatiarts.org. — ERIN COUCH

HOLIDAY: The City Flea Holiday Market The City Flea is hosting its final flea of the year, so don’t miss this opportunity to grab your last-minute holiday decorations or gifts. Select vendors will also have hot chocolate and other holiday treats for you to snack on as you shop the nighttime

market. 5-10 p.m. Saturday. Free admission. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St. Over-theRhine, thecityflea.com. — KENNEDY PONDER

SUNDAY 17

HOLIDAY: Art on Vine Featuring more than 60 vendors, this holiday gift-themed Art on Vine is a fast, fun and easy way to buy presents for your loved ones, handmade by local artists. Noon-7 p.m. Free admission. Rhinegeist, 1910 Elm St., Over-theRhine, artonvinecincy.com. — MAIJA ZUMMO

MONDAY 18

HOLIDAY: Die Hard Live Script Reading Yippie-ki-yay, mother fuckers! The second-annual live reading of the Die Hard script returns to Overlook Lodge. A panel of local comedians and actors will recreate this classic and violent holiday film featuring

a slew of office workers taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party. Will New York City cop John McClane be able to save them? Expect themed drinks, like a Yippie Ki Yay’d Mother F****r, with rum, cachaça, purple yam-coconut orgeat and pineapple. 7-9 p.m. Monday. Free admission. Overlook Lodge, 6083 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge, facebook.com/overlooklodge. — MAIJA ZUMMO

TUESDAY 19

MUSIC: Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles presents an evening of Christmas songs at the Taft Theatre. See Sound Advice on page 29.

WEDNESDAY 20

MUSIC: Seether supports its latest album, Poison the Parish, at the Taft Theatre. See interview on page 26.

YOUR WEEKEND TO DO LIST: Local.citybeat.com

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HOLIDAY: Torch to Kiln: Holiday Plate + Coaster Class You can make your own thematic holiday glass plate and coaster whether or not you have any experience working with the medium. This class at Brazee Street Studios teaches students how to twist and pull molten glass into festive decorations to fuse into a holiday plate or coaster. Class is recommended for ages 16 and up. 2-4 p.m. Saturday. $40 for a 6-inch plate or two coasters. Brazee Street Studios, 4426 Brazee St., Oakley, brazeestreetstudios. com. — MAIJA ZUMMO

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ARTS & CULTURE

The Other Side of ‘A Christmas Carol’ What you don’t see on the stage is as magical as what you do BY R I C K PEN D ER

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f you’ve seen the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s production of A Christmas Carol, you’ve probably been impressed. It’s a glorious, magical show. I’ve attended just about every year since 1991. But I recently saw it from behind the scenes. As impressive and entertaining as the holiday favorite can be for the audience, it’s equally fascinating to sit in the booth above the Marx Theatre stage, from where Andrea Shell “calls” the show. Another treat: to be in the trap room below the stage and see the magic happen. I attended a student morning performance on Dec. 6. The Playhouse produces A Christmas Carol for nine full houses of kids from local schools. Tech staff comes at 8 a.m. and actors at 9 a.m. to prepare for a 10 a.m. performance. On Dec. 6, an unexpected busload arrived; school officials had mistaken the date. They couldn’t return another day, so students filled in empty seats, while others stood against an aisle wall. It took some finagling, but the Playhouse team made it look easy. Before the show, Shell, the production’s stage manager, gave me a backstage tour through passages, stairways and hallways beneath the Marx’s seating and stage. At one point a booming voice over a loudspeaker announced, “Welcome to Humbug-Land!” We wandered through the honeycomb of tech offices and areas where actors relax when offstage (Christmas Carol has a cast of 28). The costume shop is there, wedged in near the small dressing rooms. Space is tight. I glimpsed Greg Procaccino, who plays Scrooge’s deceased business partner Jacob Marley, applying make-up for his ghostly arrival. He’s been Marley for 27 years, having just booked his 1,000th performance; he’s only missed three times. Waiting in Shell’s cramped office, I was surrounded by five actors practicing “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.” Lively Benny Mitchell, an eighth-grader from Mariemont who portrays Scrooge as a boy, was one of them. As buzzing adolescents filled the theater, I climbed up flights of steps to the booth Shell shares with master electrician

Andrea Shell makes sure every Christmas Carol performance runs smoothly. P H O T O : hai l ey bo l l in g er

Steve Saalfeld (another 27-year veteran of Christmas Carol), who controls the lights. As stage manager, Shell is the ringmaster of everything technical. Wearing a headset connecting her to a half-dozen others, she calmly cues lights, sound, motorized set pieces and more, coordinating with two assistants backstage who ensure actors and props are in place when needed. A Christmas Carol is an elaborate production. The set features two rotating “towers” — one contains Scrooge’s counting house and flips around to be the home of Bob Cratchit’s family; the other is Scrooge’s desolate apartment and his nephew Fred’s pleasant Victorian home. Periodically rolling on is Scrooge’s four-poster bed, from which he is beckoned by ghosts of Christmases past, present and yet to come. Two mechanized lifts push furniture and actors up through trap doors at various moments. One lift malfunctioned about 10 minutes into Act I. Shell announced that a pause was needed; Scrooge left the stage and house lights were turned on while techs feverishly tried to ascertain the problem. An electrical relay had failed and could not be fixed on the spot, so Shell told the audience action would resume without the lift. That required stagehands to deliver a piece of furniture or two to the stage, but it never slowed the production. The Playhouse team kept its cool and did

what needed to be done. I had a headset so I could hear Shell’s measured delivery of cues: “Stand by Electric 35.” Pause. “Go 35.” She orchestrates lights, music, moving scenery and sounds like door knocks. I could hear occasional crosstalk between the techs about families and colds and other mundane matters between cues, but most of the time it’s strictly business. Across the two-hour production containing more than 700 cues, all happened right on time. For Act II, I moved to the trap room beneath the stage. It’s like being downstairs from a noisy apartment — thumping footsteps, creaking scenery and more. When something needs to be moved up to the stage, several people spring into action: The platform is loaded with a profusely decorated Christmas tree or Scrooge’s tall desk. On Shell’s cue, technician Jon Pullen activates the lift from his keyboard as stage fog is generated (usually with a stagehand fanning a sheet of cardboard to make it spew from the open trap), and the piece ascends. Fans clear the room’s fog away quickly, and moments later the item slides back down to be quickly cleared for another item. An especially dramatic moment occurs when Scrooge’s possible death is portrayed with actor Bruce Cromer cringing on a tombstone emblazoned with “Ebenezer Scrooge.” The trap opens and the lift begins

to descend; all the techs in the trap room scream as if they’re the demons of hell welcoming a lost soul. Cromer rides down, frazzled from the dramatic scene, takes a few swigs from a proffered water bottle and gets lifted back up into the bed that’s moved onstage, where he will awaken on Christmas morning, a changed man ready to celebrate the joys of the season. As the cast takes their bows, Shell’s voice thanks everyone behind the scenes for the good work and reminds all, “Two (performances) tomorrow, 8 a.m. call.” They’ll be back at it in less than 24 hours. Students remain for a question-and-answer session with the cast, and Shell stands by to answer tech queries, including “What’s the snow made of?” (Recycled, shredded white trash bags.) The technical underside of this production is every bit as captivating as the story that’s told onstage. Charles Dickens, who conceived his beloved tale in 1843, could hardly have imagined the supporting drama and wizardry required to bring it to life onstage in 2017. The Cincinnati Playhouse makes it look easy, and that keeps audiences returning year after year. A Christmas Carol is onstage through Dec. 30 at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mount Adams Circle, Mount Adams. Tickets/more info: cincyplay.com.


BIG PICTURE

Robert Frank’s Long Road Trip to Fame BY S T E V EN R O S EN

some roots, for the artistic vision that propelled The Americans. “He had an amazing eye and amazing self-confidence,” Smith says. “He studied graphic design and photojournalism in Zurich in the 1930s and early 1940s, when so much was going on visually at the newsstands and on posters. And coming to New York, he was absorbing ideas frequently.” As a magazine photographer, Frank began to see the rest of the U.S. “He saw this

RJ Smith, author of American Witness P H O T O : j e n n y b u rm a n

as amazing material to make something out of, even though he had no idea what that would be,” Smith says. “He goes into (The Americans) looking at the culture and world that amazes him, and trying to figure it out.” At some point, Smith says, Frank realized the America he was finding needed more of a “pushback” than he originally conceived. That may have come about after suspicious Arkansas police arrested him, a foreign-born outsider. The Americans also has a strong sense of melancholy. Smith believes that, to some extent, Frank brought that with him on his travels. “But the other side of it is he saw (melancholy) out there,” Smith says. “He saw things that we, by and large, accept as truths today about what this county can do to people without a lot of power or money, or who are isolated geographically. He saw that and showed us that was a big part of who we are.” RJ Smith discusses American Witness: The Art and Life of Robert Frank 6 p.m. Thursday at the Mercantile Library, 414 Walnut St., Downtown. The presentation is free, but reservations are required at reservations@mercantilelibrary.com.

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Along with Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, Robert Frank’s The Americans is one of the great milestones of Beat Generation creative work. It’s a series of 83 photographs that Frank — a Swiss-born Jewish émigré to New York City — took during road trips across a disillusioning mid-1950s America adrift in Cold War anxiety, ennui and loneliness. These were not staged, prettified or conventional images — they were tell it (and see it) like it is. Its most famous image, “Trolley—New Orleans,” captures all you need to know about the gap between the real America of the time and the illusion by looking through the trolley windows at unsmiling passengers, with African-Americans seated in the rear. It’s become a defining image of our country’s shortcomings. Frank’s The Americans has proven so influential that you have to wonder how it did so. First published in France in 1958 and the U.S. in 1959 (with a foreword by Kerouac), it initially met a mixed reception. Some found both Frank’s unconventional photographic approach and his greater vision too stark. Only slowly has it found its audience, especially as the Beats begat the counterculture of the 1960s. That slow, dramatic journey of the book is one of the things that interested RJ Smith, author of the new and thoughtful biography American Witness: The Art and Life of Robert Frank and a former senior editor at Cincinnati Magazine. He will present his book at a 6 p.m. presentation Thursday at downtown’s Mercantile Library. “One thing I wanted to understand better was the arc of (The Americans’) life,” Smith says. “How it was received at its time, and how over the many years since it has been picked up by different generations and viewed quite differently. It’s to a point where today it seems like this Mount Rushmore kind of text that many artists feel they have to define themselves against, somehow.” Now 93 and still a cultural force, Frank has not yet made another still-photography project as culturally impactful as The Americans. His best-known work, a film, has never been officially released: Cocksucker Blues, about the Rolling Stones’ 1972 Exile on Main St. American tour, upset the band by showing too much sex and drugs with their Rock & Roll. His tussles with the band received a lot of coverage in the music press at the time. (The group had first used Frank’s work on the Exile album cover.) Smith remembers reading about Frank’s conflicts with the Stones during that period. “This kind of infinitely cool guy had gone his own way and now the Stones were really mad at him,” he says. “He was this interesting person nobody outside of New York knew a whole lot about.” As he researched Frank’s history (the photographer did not cooperate on the project), Smith discovered some origins,

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CAC Hosts Bulgarian Singer/Artist Dimchev BY B R I A N B A K ER

Ivo Dimchev comes to the Contempo“I’ve been 15 to 20 years so busy in the rary Arts Center on Wednesday almost an field of contemporary dance and theater unknown here. Elsewhere, especially in performance (that) I didn’t pay attention Europe, the Bulgarian performance artist/ to my voice,” Dimchev says. “I was more singer/dancer/choreographer/photograbusy with the dramaturgical complexity of pher/visual artist/gay activist is renown. the topics I was dealing with, so the songs And actually, he does have his fans here. I made up were just ornaments to my work. Dimchev’s parents, as well as his sister and I was in theater school between 14 and 18 her family, live in Cincinnati. But he has and I was told I had a great voice and to only visited them once, for a few days three take it more seriously. years ago. So the Bulgarian has no knowl“When I graduated in my 20s, I took edge of Cincinnati’s somewhat problemlessons with opera teachers, but I was atic past concerning controversial art. As unhappy. I found it very oppressive — too Dimchev’s previous 30-odd stage producmany rules, what’s good, what’s bad, tions featured nudity and militant sexual and social messages, it seems appropriate to raise the question: Might he be too daring? “I’m not provocative anymore. I used to be,” he says, with a laugh. “Now I’m just a nice, audience-friendly singer. I’m a radical now only in the transformation from being contemporary to being conventional. I didn’t have such a big audience with my contemporary radical work, but now it’s growing really fast. The concerts in Bulgaria, Berlin and London were sold out. “Since I started writing Dimchev recently sold out shows in Bulgaria, Berlin and London. songs, it’s opened me up PHOTO: PROVIDED to a completely other audience. I get letters from parents who tell me they put their children to what’s appropriate. It was extremely borsleep with my songs. It’s shocking actually, ing to me so I gave it up. But I must have because I usually hear the opposite, that developed my voice through dance and they have to protect their children from me.” physical theater for many years, without Dimchev’s concert here, for which he my being conscious of it.” will sing to backing tracks, features songs For years, Dimchev used his musical from his album Sculptures as well as from interludes as a relief valve for the tension past stage productions. In a Pop/Rock conin his heavily messaged and very physitext, Dimchev’s operatic vocals would be cal theater performances. Eventually, he name-checked along with the likes of Antconcluded that the songs he had tossed in ony and the Johnsons, Sam Smith, Bryan as icebreakers served a valuable purpose Ferry and Sparks’ Russell Mael. Not that on their own. any of them had an impact on Dimchev’s “I was using music as a tool to balance evolution as a singer — he barely listened and regulate the dynamics in the show, to music growing up, other than legends but I never took it seriously,” Dimchev like Billie Holiday and Mahalia Jackson. says. “When I looked back, I saw that I had “I think it’s just typical gay singing,” Dim16 little songs and I put them together in chev says of his vocal stylings. “That’s why I one evening to see if they could survive am similar to artists who are not afraid, as I by themselves. It happened that they feel am not afraid to allow my feminine energy quite comfortable out of those shows.” to take over my voice when I’m singing, to “But as I just had the songs (without) all be kind and fragile, which is considered the dramatic complexity and choreograsomething feminine. I think being gay phy, I had to take care of my singing,” he probably allows me to access this part of says. “I realize I can actually sing pretty my energy.” well, which was a surprise to me and to the Prior to 2011, Dimchev’s performances people who know me as a performer and had not included singing. Since then, he choreographer.” has incorporated more vocal pieces into his Ivo Dimchev performs 7:30 p.m. performances. Although Dimchev received Wednesday at the Contemporary Arts vocal training during his extensive artistic Center, 44 E. Sixth St., Downtown. schooling, including getting a master’s at Tickets are $10 and available at Amsterdam’s DasArts Academy, he never contemporaryartscenter.org. really explored that creative facet.


VISUAL ART

Whose Art Is It, Anyway? BY K AT I E G R I FFI T H

Aleph, in which she superimposed the entire Hebrew alphabet. “That blue color is all over Israel,” she says. “I really researched the symbolism behind it. It’s a very holy color and it serves as protection from evil. So I cut out all the blue in all the photographs. It could be anything — it’s water in some places and sky in some places and an Israeli flag or a Torah cover in others.”

Smadar Barnea photo (above); Alan Brown re-art P H O T O : A l a n bro w n

In Loon’s piece, the delicate serifs of the Aleph quietly extend beyond the border of the collaged background. The re-arts below it involve a harmonious bunch of interpretations that include a pixelated version from Israeli artist Yehuda Yahav, and a photograph of a field with the letter repeated among it by Israeli artist Tami Suez. Brown, who also included pictures from a trip to Israel in his surreal piece, explained that the artists had no contact prior to the project, besides the initial exchange of art. “We wanted to be able to respond to the art itself without any bias of who the person was, what they intended or what they were thinking,” he says. “We wanted to be able to take it with a totally clean slate in terms of ideas.” The artists virtually met during a discussion panel at the museum on Dec. 3, but the project isn’t officially over until the Cincinnati artists go to Netanya for the exhibition’s debut there, Brown says. That will happen sometime in 2018. Re-Art: The Many Faces of Israel runs through Jan. 7, 2018 at the Cincinnati Skirball Museum, 3101 Clifton Ave., Clifton. More information: huc.edu.

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An exhibition currently at the Cincinnati Skirball Museum explores artists’ relationships to Israel through the act of “re-arting” — or manipulating — each other’s work. Five artists from Cincinnati and five from Netanya, Israel collaborated on Re-Art: The Many Faces of Israel, an interactive exhibit that celebrates 70 years of Israeli independence. The country came into existence in 1948. “The mission was to engage these artists with their own thought processes about what Israel means to them,” says Skirball director Abby Schwartz. “But the unexpected pleasure really is the sensitive way in which they all reinterpreted each other’s work.” The museum, which sits on the Hebrew Union College − Jewish Institute of Religion’s Clifton campus, teamed up with the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati’s Partnership2Gether program to select the 10 artists involved. About five months of work bore 70 pieces that range in style from Surrealism to Realism. Each artist made one “original” work (for the Israelis, all originals were photographs) and then all were digitally re-arted by artists from the opposite country, so each Israeli artist’s work was reinterpreted by artists in Cincinnati and vice versa. But how did they incorporate the symbolic number of 70 into their process? “It required a little extra math,” says Alan Brown, re-artist and P2G committee member. “Ten pieces of original art and 50 pieces of re-art, so that’s 60. And then each artist created one re-art from one of the artists from their own side. That gave us an additional 10, which gave us a total of 70.” Each original piece has its own wall, where it hangs with an artist biography. Underneath the original, its six re-art counterparts are displayed anonymously. Figuring out what artist did which reart can be challenging, but the artists’ individual styles slowly become apparent, which makes it easier to identify their creations. Viewers can also consult a pamphlet that reveals which re-art work belongs to which artist. “It is really an opportunity to engage with artworks and to have a process of discovery, almost like a treasure hunt,” Schwartz says. Israeli artist Smadar Barnea’s original piece is one of the most straightforward creations. Her photo portrays the beauty of Israel through the landscape of a field. Lines of grain that extend to the horizon can be interpreted as depth or longevity. Among the re-arts accompanying this landscape is one by Brown; his dreamlike interpretation depicts a barren field with a billboard that displays the original photo. In the overall show, there are themes that arise such as the Star of David or the color blue. Cincinnati artist and graphic designer Cindy Loon created a mosaic out of photos from a recent trip to Israel. Atop the blue-hued mosaic is the Hebrew letter,

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FILM

Love Trumps All in ‘Shape of Water’ BY T T S T ER N - EN ZI

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When I saw The Shape of Water at the going on behind their eyes.” There is a Toronto International Film Festival in level of activity and intention in their stillSeptember, it was easy to succumb so ness. With Hawkins, there also is a glow completely to the brilliant and lavishly that lights her from the inside, radiating rich spectacle composed by director/cooutward. Her eyes caress whatever passes writer Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labybefore them, and we feel their touch, even rinth) that you could minimize the timely through the camera. In Mike Leigh’s 2008 political message woven into the film — Happy-Go-Lucky, for which she won rave even though del Toro had made no effort notices, she embodied pure happiness to hide his intentions. and optimism. The narrative details the experiences In The Shape of Water, del Toro uses her of a woman named Elisa Esposito (Sally aura as a special effect, a sleight-of-hand Hawkins), who cannot speak but is tool in his already extensive arsenal to watchful and soulful. In the early 1960s, manipulate us. And make no mistake, during the Cold War, she has a job as a custodian in a secret government laboratory. There, she discoverers a creature is being held. She sees an injustice being committed against this amphibian entity (Doug Jones, in a costume reminiscent of an updated version of The Creature from the Black Lagoon), which can only be perceived by us as an Other. She immediately senses the inherent humanity in the creature and falls for him. He responds to her pure beauty. Sally Hawkins (left) and Octavia Spencer She bands together P H O T O : c o u rtesy o f f o x se a r c h l i g ht pi c t u res with a black co-worker (Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer) and her closeted gay this is unadulterated manipulation. neighbor to liberate him. They receive aid Hawkins is nearly childlike in her allure. from a soulful Soviet spy (Michael StuhlBut at the same time, the story never lets barg) in their fight against an authoritarus forget that she is playing a full-bodied ian figure played by Michael Shannon. woman. As you can see, del Toro is not ambiguThat’s what elevates The Shape of Water ous in the least. He traffics in fairy tales beyond mere fairy tale. She is not some for adults, reminding us that sometimes idealized damsel or a princess-in-waiting. mature audiences need things explained Rather, Elisa is a hungry seeker, searchto them in the most blunt, straightforing for meaning. And in this nameless ward ways, even if the stories happen to amphibian lover, she gets both an inspirbe set in the world of the metaphoric or ing cause to champion and a shot at love. the fantastic. The film portrays the rise of a collecToo often, we see evil or injustice and tive movement, an intersectional coming fail to challenge it because the circumtogether, that while not perfect — Spenstances don’t impact our lives directly. We cer’s narrative as a black woman of the wait, assuming that someone else will times never achieves distinct focus or step in or step up and then, possibly, we shape — shows what might happen if will lend our vocal support once it’s safe. marginalized folks find common purpose. That’s the genius of the character of I love how del Toro trusts his audience, Elisa. She might be voiceless, but she which means he’s willing and daringly leads the choir. There is a boldness that able to offer us a dizzying marriage of del Toro layers into the character. Alone the sensual and also possible salvation. and longing for connection, Elisa never He recalls Prince, a multi-hyphenate shies away from her needs and desires. performer who took our souls down to the She is a sensual being, in touch with her tempting waters of sin and baptized us sexual self and eager to take flight in the in that hot pool before raising us up. No dance sequences of the old black-andone else has more definitively planted one white musicals she adores. foot on the side of salvation and the other Hawkins perfectly slips into this narin sinful quicksand, but del Toro makes a rative creation. She has one of the most strong case for being a spiritual cousin to expressive faces and bodies in film. In life, that dearly beloved (and departed) “Sexy I like to say I meet people with “something MF.” (Opens Friday.) (R) Grade: A


TV

Sex, Lies and Videotape BY JAC K ER N

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Like so many movies of late, Steven producer in this TV adaptation, his stylistic Soderbergh’s 2009 film The Girlfriend signature is evident in each artful shot. Experience has gotten the TV treatment, The implications of being an escort are swapping adult film star Sasha Grey for magnified even more this season, with two indie darling Riley Keough. Where the longtime “GFE providers” getting in over film offered a straightforward look at the their heads. Beyond the physical and emolife of an experienced high-end escort, tional toll of sex work, Anna and Bria face the series followed a law firm intern who life-altering — sometimes life-threatening tiptoes into the profession as a way to pay — consequences. So do those around them. off her college loan debt, getting more and We don’t get into as many fine details of more wrapped up in the complexities of how the GFE business works as last season, sex work. Adopting the anthology format, but Anna’s and Bria’s totally contrasting The Girlfriend Experience (9 p.m. Sundays, experiences illustrate the wide range: Erica Starz) takes on yet another distinct storyhas a professional web presence for clients line in its second season — two of them, in fact. The first takes place in Washington, D.C. ahead of the 2018 mid-term elections. Erica (Anna Friel) is the finance director of a Republican super PAC facing serious pressure to hit fundraising goals. With the help of escort Anna (Louisa Krause), Erica blackmails a powerful dark money fundraiser to gain access to his donor network. As Erica and Anna’s relationship quickly evolves from professional to personal, one must question whether they can truly trust one Carman Ejogo as Bria another. After all, Erica P H O T O : C o u rte s y o f s tar z will use any means necessary to get what she wants, while Anna — whose job is literally to play to book her and meets them in discreet the role of a girlfriend — has spied on past hotels; Bria makes a free profile on a sleazy clients. There’s a tense, calculated House of sugar daddy site and is willing to brazenly Cards vibe at play. hop into a customer’s car. The other storyline follows “Bria” The two stories look drastically differ(Carmen Ejogo), the new chosen alias ent cinematically, too. Erica’s and Anna’s of a former high-end escort who enters episodes feature wide shots with the Witness Protection after turning in her camera lingering far enough away to not abusive criminal boyfriend. Complicit in really know who you’re looking at. There’s his crimes, Bria relocates to New Mexico, a cold feeling to these scenes, not unlike reluctantly joined by her ex’s 13-yearthe characters that inhabit them. Between old daughter (Morgana Davies). Under politicians and prostitutes, you never really the charge of a U.S. Marshal (Tunde know with whom you’re dealing. Adebimpe), Bria secretly seeks out clients In contrast, the uncomfortable nature again. Given her stark lifestyle change of Bria’s storyline is expressed through from living in a mansion, draped in tighter shots. She feels trapped — within a designer clothes, to being in a dingy aparttiny apartment unlike her former luxurious ment in the middle of nowhere, wearing home, the new rules of Witness Protection inconspicuous lost-and-found garb, her and the danger of her vengeful ex. desire to be a “sugar baby” is somewhat The sex scenes are much more full-body understandable. But it also seems like the graphic (though thoughtfully so) in Erica’s dynamic is all she knows and understands. and Anna’s story than Bria’s, which is Episodes air two at a time, with one interesting when you consider the former is half-hour devoted to Erica and Anna’s directed by a man and the latter, a woman. storyline and another to Bria’s. The stand(Kerrigan and Seimetz each write and direct alone stories never intertwine. It’s almost their own respective storylines.) a wonder why series co-creators/writers/ As if this season wasn’t ambitious enough, directors Lodge Kerrigan and Amy Seimetz The Girlfriend Experience’s exploration of would not just focus on one, or split them gender dynamics, sex work and power play into separate seasons — as the narratives force viewers to consider these issues at are as complex and compelling as they are what could not be a more pivotal time. different — yet they do manage to pull it off. Contact Jac Kern: @jackern And while Soderbergh is just an executive

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FOOD & DRINK

Noodles and ’90s Nostalgia Dope! pairs dumplings, ramen and Asian fusion with millennial memories R E V I E W BY M A D G E M A R I L

M

Dope!’s Hella Spicy Miso Ramen with Japanese-style barbecue pork and kale P H O T O : hailey bolli n ger

Dope! Noodle and Dumpling Shop

While Dope! features vegetables, meats and salads and rice bowls, the eggs. The soup features 29 E. Court St., dumplings and noodles large hunks of barbecue Downtown, 513-381are where it’s at. I ordered pork, which hold up 4848, dopecincinthe veggie dumplings ($6 perfectly against the nati.com. Hours: 11 for five) and Hella Spicy excellent noodles and a.m.-3 p.m. MondayMiso Ramen ($8.50). The nuanced miso broth. The Friday; noon-4 p.m. dumplings come stuffed blanched kale and green Sunday. with pork, chicken, vegonion were meaty enough gies or shrimp and can be to balance the pork. steamed or pan seared. I ordered a mediumDope! offers a variety of level spice and it was just unique dumpling sauces to spice up hot enough to get my attention while not your visit including hot chili oil with being totally uncomfortable to consume. green onion slices, soy vinaigrette with Siu tells me that the Hella Spicy Miso pickled carrots, roasted garlic Sriracha Ramen has been one of the most popular aioli with cilantro, coconut peanut and menu items. gochujang honey. “We use a Japanese-style barbecue pork,” I can’t stand a dumpling that is too he says. “Twelve to 24 hours goes into that thick to eat with chopsticks and explodes pork. Braising, marinating in a Japanese on first bite, but I didn’t run into that marinade for 24 hours. The Japanese softproblem at all at Dope! — their dumpboil egg in the ramen is also marinated in lings were on the thin side and pan the same marinade.” seared to a nice crisp. It’s a symphony of flavor and texture The vegetables inside had a good flavor in one soup bowl. The noodles reminded (which reminded me a little bit of pickled me of my all-time favorite Fortune Noovegetables) and retained a bit of crunch. dle House in Clifton, which specializes I opted for the coconut peanut sauce to in hand-pulled Chinese noodles. There dip. It had all the comfort of pad Thai was a freshness to them that I haven’t with a nice coconut ring. found anywhere else in Cincinnati, and The Hella Spicy Miso Ramen was beauit’s amazing to get it in such a quick and tiful. There is nothing more comforting cozy lunch dish. than a full bowl of ramen, teeming with If you’re like me and can’t finish a full

bowl of ramen and dumplings for lunch, or if you’re ordering Dope! to eat later that night after the restaurant has closed, both the dumplings and ramen held up exceedingly well as leftovers. I wasn’t sure about microwaving the ramen’s egg and kale components, but surprisingly both were excellent. Dope!’s portion sizes are pretty big for lunch, so this is a win for leftover lovers. The most nostalgic part of the ’90s to me, a certified ’90s baby, was how friendly everything felt in that decade. No problem couldn’t be solved in an hour or less, like an after-school special. The future was exciting, the internet was exciting, food was exciting. And Dope! manages to bring that feeling back by creating playful yet delicious dishes in a genuinely welcoming environment. Dope!’s staff even encourages people to bring in their own memories of the ’90s, because nostalgia is better when shared. “We encourage people to come in, give us ideas, song selections, tell us what you want to hear,” Siu says. “Good food, good music, good vibes.”

Find more restaurant NEWS AND reviews at CityBeat.com/ food-drink

DE C . 1 3 – 19 , 2 0 1 7   |   C i t y B e at. c o m

ove over Stranger Things-induced 1980s nostalgia, because the ’90s are where it’s at. You can keep your Eggo Waffles, just give me Power Rangers, Heath Ledger, AOL and glitter on every surface. Now that the kids who grew up crying while watching Dawson’s Creek are old enough to start their own businesses, it’s no surprise that Dope! Noodle and Dumpling Shop not only exists (exclamation point included), but is also thriving. A restaurant for ’90s-kids-turnedyoung-professionals is smart. And Dope! is only open for the downtown lunch crowd. The menu is simple yet playful, featuring dishes like Da Bomb Nutty Chicken Noodle, Notorious ‘Veg’ Dan Dan Noodles and the No Diggity Seared Lemongrass Chicken. The space is splashed with theatrical posters for movies like Braveheart and Austin Powers, but the theme almost didn’t happen. “We were going to call the restaurant Little Huit,” says Kam Siu, culinary maestro and one of Dope!’s proprietors. But when the restaurant was still under construction, a mural concept was created that featured a guy slurping down a noodle bowl with the word “Dope!” in a cartoon bubble by his head. When the mural was sent to Siu and Co., they figured the place was going to be called Dope!. “It was a sign,” Siu says. “And so we arrived at Dope! Noodle and Dumpling Shop’s ’90s theme, too. I was born in 1981 and grew up in the ’90s. The pop culture stuck with us. ‘Dope’ was used for everything.” If you recognize the name Huit, you may be a Cincinnati foodie. Dope! was created by the same team behind Asian fusion restaurants Huit, Lalo and the former Neuf. Dope! actually took over the Huit space on Court Street in a rebranding. With the space available, the team pondered what to do next. When they considered the prospect of opening a dumpling shop, Siu said they all thought, “Sure, why not? Let’s give it a go.” And away it has gone. When I stopped in to grab lunch, the place was bustling.

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LOST IN THE SUPERMARKET

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A Vegan Holiday Dinner? BY M A D G E M A R I L

I am not vegan. I tried to be, for one was a blend of both. I could tell it wasn’t month. It was the grumpiest I have ever supposed to taste like meat, but golly it been in my life. The stipulations involved looked like a slice of meat on my plate. It in the diet were constantly shocking, even had a crumbly texture, and the spice blend though it is quite simple: Don’t eat any knocked it out of the park. Overall, a solid animal products or byproducts. But when 7 out of 10, but I don’t believe my roast was you’re an hour into your Kroger shopping gluten free, which knocks it back to a 6. trip because you forgot your glasses and My macaroni was all I could ever ask have to read the tiny, tiny print on the for. It looked exactly like Velveeta mac and food-packaging label to see if they, for cheese. The science of it amazed me as I ate some undisclosed and mystifying reason, it. This wasn’t cheese or noodles in the way snuck dairy into, say, green beans, you that I knew both foods growing up. The start to get a little mad. sauce tasted like movie theater popcorn I couldn’t suss the vegan life. Since then, butter, which isn’t bad for having no butter I’ve fallen farther from pristine dietary involved. I doctored the dish with olive grace and embraced a full omnivore lifestyle. Ex-vegetarian guilt is real, but so are barbecue pulled-pork sandwiches, so I try to find a happy medium. It’s this medium and the changing leaves that have led me to today’s experiment: Can a full Americana holiday dinner be vegan and gluten free? Brands like Tofurky and Field Roast, both popular meat-replacement companies, have rolled out a coup de grâce to satisfy our American bellies: vegan protein “roasts” that, while shaped like real meat, are It is possible to make a satisfying meatless and cheeseless feast. completely animal free. P H O T O : hailey bolli n ger I didn’t want to just try a roast and call it a day, though. I needed to see if I could pull off a oil and fresh cracked pepper. It ended up full holiday dinner that virtually anyone tasting like cheap, regular macaroni and without an uncommon allergy could eat. cheese. However, it did have hands down This meant I also needed at least one totally the best gluten-free pasta I’ve ever had delicious side dish and a dessert. (I did skip from a box, so I’ll give it an 8 out of 10. buying and preparing a vegetable, as those My dessert looked the most boring. I are, well, already known to be vegan.) sliced myself a piece from the incredibly I settled on a Field Roast 1-pound Celplain white cheezecake and dolloped on ebration Roast for my centerpiece, Daiya the dairy-free CocoWhip!. It was white Deluxe Cheddar Style Cheezy Mac as my fake cream on white fake cream and for a side and Daiya Cheezecake with So Delisecond I wondered what I was doing. Then cious Dairy Free CocoWhip! as my dessert. I took a bite, and it was the best thing I’d This properly fattening and soul-appeashad all day. ing holiday dinner ran me about $20 and I eat dairy daily and I would not have could serve four. It was all for me, though, been able to tell that it was dairy free. so let’s get started. It was just as creamy as Cheesecake Field Roast’s website boasts the CelebraFactory, with a packed buttery graham tion Roast as “luxuriant grain meat seacracker crust. The only downside was that soned with rubbed sage, garlic and lemon between the whipped coconut topping juice” filled with “rich and savory sausageand the creamed coconut cake, there style stuffing made from Field Roast grain was a weird coconut flavor in my mouth. meat, fresh-cut butternut squash, mushWhile it wasn’t pumpkin pie, my holiday rooms and Granny Smith apples.” The dessert was a 10 out of 10. Celebration Roast truly looks like a hunk If you’ve been following along, this of meat, though what kind of meat, I’m not means I’ve given my holiday dinner 24 sure. The taste is… good. Really. points out of 30. And if I, a woman who I’ve eaten a lot of veganized food in my cries with joy while eating a good steak, day, and there’s almost always two types: can be happy with my dinner, you can be, food that looks like the regular version too — or at least please your surly teenage and tries its best to also taste like it, or food cousin in a Morrissey T-shirt. that looks nothing like anything you know Contact Madge Maril: letters@citybeat.com and tastes delicious. The Celebration Roast


CLASSES & EVENTS WEDNESDAY 13

Raclette Night at The Rhined — The Rhined takes a big old half-wheel of raclette cheese (a semi-hard Swiss) and heats it and scrapes it onto different stuff, like potatoes and charcuterie. 5-8 p.m. Prices vary. 1737 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/therhined.

THURSDAY 14

Asian Fried Rice Three Ways — Learn to make three different types of fried rice: chicken fried rice, Thai fried rice with egg and pineapple fried rice. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. $65. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester, thelearningkitchen.com. Hearty Holiday Brunch — In this demo class, Bryn Mooth teaches you how to upgrade your brunch. Learn how to make a strawberry sparkler, winter citrus salad, buttermilk biscuit muffins, quick old-fashioned coffee cake and more. 6-8:30 p.m. $55. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfi eld, junglejims.com. Bears & Beers Benefit for St. Joseph Orphanage — Braxton hosts an event to give back. Build a bear for a child in need while brewery elves spread holiday cheer with Graeter’s alcoholic ice cream floats. 5:30-9:30 p.m. $24. Braxton Brewing Co., 27 W. Seventh St., Covington, Ky., braxtonbrewing.com.

FRIDAY 15

Wine and Food for Happy Holidays — A trio of food and wine experts lead this demo class on how to pair an unforgettable meal with vino. Dishes include parmesan panna cotta, filet mignon with mushrooms and an Italian flourless chocolate cake. Noon-2:30 p.m. $75. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfi eld, junglejims.com. Brrrbon Holiday Dinner Cruise — Hop aboard a BB Riverboat for an evening cruise down the Ohio River featuring bourbon tastings from local distilleries and a buffet dinner. 6:30 p.m. boarding. $60 adults; $42 children; $27 adults sightseeing only; $18 children sightseeing only. BB Riverboats, 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., bbriverboats.com.

SUNDAY 17

Breakfast with Santa at The Phoenix — Enjoy a breakfast buffet followed by a visit to Santa’s workshop. There will be cookie decorating, story time and hot chocolate. Seatings at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. $30; $18 children. The Phoenix, 812 Race St., Downtown, eventbrite.com/e/breakfastwith-santa-at-the-phoenixtickets-40983965143.

MONDAY 18

Northside Yacht Club Ramen Monday — The bar hosts chef Hideki Harada every Monday in December for a ramen pop-up. Veggie options available. Harada and his wife are opening Japanese restaurant Kiki in College Hill in late spring 4 p.m. Prices vary. Northside Yacht Club, 4227 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, facebook.com/ northsideyachtclub.

TUESDAY 19

Northern Kentucky Incubator Kitchen Open House — Head to the kitchen to shop for hand-crafted food goods from more than 20 local artisans and vendors. Samples will be available to help you make a decision. Vendors include Grateful Grahams, Smooth Nitro Coffee, The Pickled Pig, Grandola Granola, Russo’s Ravioli and more. Noon-7 p.m. Free admission. 517 W. Seventh St., Newport, Ky., incubatorkitchencollective.org. The Barefoot Contessa — A special menu inspired by Ina Garten. Cook like the Barefoot Contessa (or try) as you learn to make her chicken breast stuffed with brie, bistro smashed potatoes and winter green salad. 6-8 p.m. $75. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester, thelearningkitchen.com. Simple Soups — Learn to bring bowls of warm and hearty soup to the table. Serve recipes like Tuscan white bean and farro soup, chicken pot pie soup and beef stroganoff soup all winter long. 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. $55. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfi eld, junglejims.com.

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C I T Y B E AT. C O M

Date Night: Champagne Soiree — A gastronomic evening paired with champagne. Work at your own station to prepare a selection of holiday bites. 5-7 p.m. $175. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox Lane, West Chester, thelearningkitchen.com.

Brunch with Santa at Brink — Head to the brewery to meet the man in red during a family-friendly brunch featuring the Dapper Doughnut, root beer and a breakfast beer for mom and dad. Santa will be present from 1-3 p.m. to hear everyone’s last-minute wishes. Bring your own camera; there’s no charge for photos. Dogs welcome! Noon-4 p.m. Free admission. Brink Brewing Co., 5905 Hamilton Ave., College Hill, brinkbrewing.com.

Brunch with Santa — Enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet before snagging a free photo with Santa Claus. Seatings at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. $18.35 adults; $8.75 child; advance tickets required. Mill Race Banquet Center at Winton Woods, 1515 W. Sharon Road, Forest Park, greatparks.org.

|

SATURDAY 16

Breakfast with Santa — Head to the Millennium Hotel for a breakfast buffet, face painting, ornament decorating and a visit from Santa. Bring your own camera. RSVP recommended. 9-11 a.m. $14.95; $6.95 ages 4-12; free 4 and under. Millennium Hotel, 150 W. Fifth St., Downtown, 513-352-2120.

D E C . 1 3 – 19 , 2 0 1 7

Holiday Art Market Sip and Shop — The Kennedy Heights Arts Center is offering a glass of wine or cup of hot cocoa while you shop for gifts made by local artisans. 5-7 p.m. Free admission. 6546 Montgomery Road, Kennedy Heights, kennedyarts.org.

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

(859) 5 81-3 0 65 p o m pi li o s .co m 6 0 0 wa s h i n g to n av e . n e w p o r t, k y

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25


MUSIC

An Artistic Antidote Seether’s Shaun Morgan targets vapid celebrity culture on latest album By A l a n S c u l l e y

C i t y B e at. c o m  |   D E C . 1 3 – 19 , 2 0 1 7

S

26

haun Morgan, frontman of Seether, sounds more content and enthused — and maybe even self-assured — than at any time since the early years of his group’s 15-year recording history. “The whole thing is I was in a really bad place for about 10 years, and I came out of that about a year and a half ago, closing in on two years,” the singer/guitarist says. “So I’m in a different space, headspace, as a person and I’m in a different headspace just as a human being in general, and as a musician and as the guy that runs this whole show.” Morgan didn’t delve into the sources of his problems, although a few difficult events are public knowledge, including the suicide of his brother, his breakup with Evanescence singer Amy Lee, a stint in alcohol rehab in 2006 and some band and music industry disagreements. Morgan said there was no specific thing that got him out of his doldrums. “You know, you just wake up one day and decide enough is enough,” Morgan says. “And it’s as simple as that. It’s about wanting to make a change, and that’s kind of what I did.” Morgan’s improved outlook is worth noting because it had direct effects on Poison the Parish, the most recent Seether studio album. It allowed Morgan to be more focused in his songwriting, gave him the clarity to know the type of music he wanted to create and helped him feel comfortable taking the helm for the first time as producer. “I wanted to produce the album because I felt I had learned enough from the four producers we had used in the past — learned from one in particular, Brendan O’Brien — all the things that I wanted to do. And then I learned from the other (producers) what sort of things I didn’t want to do,” Morgan says. “That’s in no way meant to sound arrogant or conceited. It was just that I had learned enough. “Really all I needed was a good engineer to help make (the songs) sound great, and I enlisted Matt Hyde. He’s a great engineer. So I knew with him I could get the sounds that I wanted. And we did.” Morgan also took complete control of the songwriting on Poison the Parish. Though he’s always been Seether’s primary songwriter, there were times (especially on the 2011 album Holding Onto Strings Better Left

Seether P H O T O : M a r i n a Cha v e z

to Fray) when Morgan invited collaboration from his bandmates. But this time he felt he needed to keep the songwriting to himself. “I had far more focus on everything I was doing,” Morgan says. “So as I was writing, I really wrote specific parts on drums and bass and guitars and vocals. All of it was carefully thought out. It wasn’t just sort of bang some things together and hope for the best. It was a nine-month process from the first note being written of the demo to the last note of the demo. Because of that, there was a lot more time for me to get it to be just the way I wanted. I mean, I sat in my house and I spent months and months and months and months in a darkened room writing music.” What Morgan also knew well before he got to the studio with the other members of Seether (bassist Dale Stewart and drummer John Humphrey) was that he wanted to make an album that would be loud, rock hard and capture the sound he’d always envisioned for Seether, but had not quite realized on the band’s five previous studio albums. “I had found with the past few albums (I was) quite frustrated with the mixes and with the way we had been portrayed on the sonic side of it,” Morgan says. “I didn’t feel like we’d actually ever really been able to make an album that was really, truly guitar-heavy (and) that got the heaviness of

our band. And I also wanted it to be a little bit more chaotic. I think it’s the best thing we’ve ever done, and I certainly think it’s the best sounding album we’ve ever created because of the fact that it completely represents who we are as a band.” While the melodic sensibilities that have helped make Seether’s albums accessible is still present, Poison delivers more wallop, especially on songs like “Something Else,” “Stoke the Fire” and “Saviours,” which come with thundering drums, thick guitars and plenty of intense energy. The songs that dial back on the tempo are still plenty taut. If the process of making Poison the Parish was overwhelmingly positive, the same can’t be said for the lyrics on the album, some of which take sharp aim at the rise of celebrity culture in the internet age. Morgan didn’t hold back in expressing his extreme dislike about the situation.   “The Poison the Parish title comes basically from my view that the preachers of society these days are the Kardashians and the Real Housewives of this and that and 16 and Pregnant and all of that crap,” Morgan says. “I think that they preach to the youth that it’s OK to be like that and it’s OK to be a vapid, contribute-nothing-tosociety celebrity, and that’s basically where it started. A lot of the lyrics are about that.  “It’s been boiling under my skin for years and years and years, with the reality

TV phenomenon and the fact that we take a bunch of idiots and put them on TV and then idolize them and give them a ton of money. And they have nothing to offer society. They have nothing to give back to people. There’s no legacy they’re leaving behind.” Morgan hopes Seether has proven its worth by making music throughout its career that’s been honest and has had lyrical substance. Certainly, the group’s music has spoken to a sizable audience, being one of the most consistent hit-making acts in Hard Rock since its 2002 debut. The band has had dozens of high-charting singles, including “Remedy,” “Fake It,” “Rise Above This,” “Words as Weapons” and a multi-format hit cover of Wham!’s “Careless Whisper.” Seether has spent much of this year on the road touring Poison. The shows have featured improved visual production and a notable addition to the touring lineup — guitarist Clint Lowery of Sevendust. “He’s (brings) a whole different energy and a whole different level of enthusiasm,” Morgan says. “He’s just such a positive guy. I think overall we are really excited to be touring. We’re really excited to play this new music and get out there.” Seether plays Taft Theatre Wednesday, Dec. 20. Tickets/more info: tafttheatre.org.


SPILL IT

Holiday-ish Events Invade Northside BY M I K E B R EEN

BY M I K E B R EE N

1345 main st motrpub.com

Advertisers Boycott Hijacked Altweekly

At CityBeat, we’re kinda big fans of our nation’s fine alweeklies (duh), so it’s been heartwarming to see the outpouring of support and outrage that comes each time one of our kindred-spirit publications is gutted or hijacked. In California, after longtime community voice LA Weekly was purchased by a group of conservative, anti-union Republican donors with possible ulterior motives (while also laying off most of the paper’s editorial staff and looking for “volunteer” writers), several music venues, record labels, concert promoters and record shops (among others) joined a boycott, which was initiated by LA Weekly contributors and laid-off employees in an effort to potentially buy the paper back. In response to the controversy, one left-wing investor who seemed caught off guard by the political thrust of the takeover announced he was backing out of the deal.

Congress Shout Outs Meat Loaf

During a debate over the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, several Meat Loaf quotes were bandied about in Congress after Sen. Sherrod Brown expressed the work he felt was needed on the act by saying, “As Meat Loaf used to sing, two out of three ain’t bad.” Brown’s apparently quick-on-histoes colleague pulled out another quote from the same song — “There ain’t no Coupe DeVille in the bottom of a Cracker Jack box” — and the debate devolved into a Meat Loaf faceoff from there. Sen. Michael Crapo subtly called bullshit on the whole tangent, remarking, “I guess I’m going to have to learn a little more about Meat Loaf.”

Homme Kicks Photog

b.c. duo

thu 14

daisy chain, xzela

fri 15

the grove

s at 16

carriers

sun 17

ricky nye & chris douglas

mon 18

ben knight & the welldiggers

tue 19

writer’s night w/ mark

free live music open for lunch

1404 main st (513) 345-7981

12/16

dance yrSelf clean a tribute to lcd SoundSyStem

why?, open mike eagle

12/23

“Santa goeS Straight to the hood” movie premiere

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madcap puppetS: juleS & verne’S excellent adventure buy tickets at motr or woodwardtheater.com

C I T Y B E AT. C O M

2/2

|

Queens of the Stone Age frontperson Josh Homme exhibited some highly unusual behavior during a recent radio-sponsored festival in L.A., insulting the audience and headliner (Muse), intentionally cutting his forehead open and, worst of all, kicking credentialed photographer Chelsea Lauren as she took photos from the pit during QOTSA’s set. Lauren was treated for her injuries and said she was planning on pressing charges, while Homme followed up a half-hearted apology with a more sincere one in which he said he was sorry for being a “dick.” The following night at the festival, Brandon Flowers of The Killers pulled a photographer on stage and told him and his colleagues they were safe and respected.

wed 13

D E C . 1 3 – 19 , 2 0 1 7

Th is weekend in Northside there’s Foodbank, a nonprofit that provides food a holiday feast of local music taking and other services for needy area children place — although in this case, the salad and families. comes at the end and, really, the holiday TossedSalad features six “pop-up” tie-ins are more just in spirit. bands, each consisting of several local • If you’re a Cincinnati music fan musicians from a variety of Cincinnati (particularly of the Punk variety, though bands. Just as each musician was ranvarious points in between and beyond are domly assigned to a band, the cover song also showcased), Santamania may well choices each band has to perform (submitbe more your speed. Returning Friday and ted by the public, along with a $1 donation Saturday to Northside Yacht Club (4227 to the cause) were drawn for the groups, Spring Grove Ave., Northside, northsideywho then had two months to learn them. achtclub.com), Santamania 2017 features The bands have been encouraged to come more than two-dozen acts — including up with unique arrangements and ideas for several bands from other parts of the Midwest — on five stages each night. Admission to the fifthannual event is $10. On Friday, music begins at 5:30 p.m. on the “Freezer” stage, which features performances by Brain Dead Breath, Menstrual Munchies, Hateflirt and Two Inch Winky, while N6664, Off The Meat Rack and Vampire Weekend At Bernie’s rock the “Kitchen” stage. Friday’s Upstairs stage lineup includes Hostik, Raging Nathans, Pout, Cross Country, Coelacanth and Swim Team plays Santamania 2017 on Friday. Room 101 and the “Green PHOTO: JESSE FOX Room” stage has Black Planet, Ball of Light, Sok, Tit, Smut and Leggy. On the Main Stage the songs (as well as costumes and band Friday are The Obnoxious Boot, Hissing names), and a panel of judges will chose a Tiles, Rubythroat, Swim Team, Treason winner at the end of the night. and The Dopamines. The bands/performers/songs slated Torn’d Up Dudes kick things off Satfor TossedSalad are Trash Santa, featururday at 4:20 p.m. on the Freezer stage, ing Emily Ash, Warren Harrison, Sarah which also features Kicked Out, Push Off Hanselmann, Tim Miller and Sarah and Flesh Mother. The Kitchen stage has Gorak, who will play a Rod Stewart and Josh Goodloe, Lazy Ass Destroyer and Fugazi song; Rogue Xanax, featuring Jess Randall Garbage on Saturday, while the Lamb, Mike Stankovich, Allen Whitt, Jared Green Room stages hosts Actual Italians, Dean Stephens and Abby Vice, who are Nuclear Hollercaust, Crime of Passing, set to perform “Hound Dog” and an Isley Sega Genocide, PJ Baby and Frustrate. Brothers tune; SoftRadio, which consists Saturday’s Upstairs lineup features Narof Nancy Paraskevopoulos, Jaki Howser, row//Arrow, Shellshag, Mardou, Hyper Chase Watkins, Charles D’Ardenne and Tensions, The Touch and Slutbomb, while Kate Wakefield doing songs by Roberta Casteless, Eugenius, Fuck You Pay Me, Flack and The Buggles; Stranger Danger, DSA, Bad Taste, By Force and Vacation which so far has Monica West, Kerstin are on the Main Stage. Bladh and Andrew Aragon playing a LivNorthside Yacht Club hosts a brunch ing Color and an Ace of Bass song; Plastic party Sunday, with music starting on the Hassle, featuring Molly Sullivan, Kent Main Stage at 3 p.m. Artists performing Meloy, Andrew Boylan, Yemi Oyediran include Spike, John Hays, Post-Church and Melissa Fox playing Prince and Echo Life, Bill James In His Own Mind, Toby and the Bunnymen songs; and Sassy Foster, John Hoff man and Al Scorch. Carafe, which will have Sarah Daigneault, • If you’re Santamania-ing all weekend Jude Hayden, Yusef Quotah, Pierce Carver and want to keep the jolliness going (and and Brianna Kelly playing Elastica and support a good cause in the process), Toots & the Maytals. you can hit up Northside Tavern (4163 Admission is $5 or five canned or boxed Hamilton Ave., Northside, northsidetav. food items (or personal care items), which com) at 8:30 p.m. Sunday for the special will be donated to the Freestore. TossedSalad event, a unique concept that Contact Mike Breen: mbreen@citybeat.com raises food and funds for the Freestore

MINIMUM GAUGE

27


859.431.2201

111 E 6th St Newport, KY 41071

SOUND ADVICE

live MusiC no Cover

TICKETS AVAILABLE AT THE SOUTHGATE HOUSE LOUNGE OR TICKETFLY.COM 12/13 - topshelf records tour: prawn, slingshot dakota, people like you, us and us only; chelsea ford & the trouble - december artist in residence, the old souls string band, sean geil 12/14 - the steel wheels; wilder, t. lipscomb, arlo mckinley & the lonesome sound; josh morningstar 12/15 - acoustic song swap with shooter jennings & jason boland, julie roberts; cougar ace, veronica grim & the heavy hearts 12/17 - beverly hills supper club debut & 7” release party, a.m. nice, red skylark 12/20 - chelsea ford & the trouble - dec artist in residence, joe’s truck stop 12/21 - Queen city storytellers home for the holidays: elia burkhart, amber nash, andyman hopkins, randy steffen, chelisa clifton, kelly thomas, renee frye

C I T Y B E AT. C O M

|

D E C . 1 3 – 19 , 2 0 1 7

WWW. SOU T H G A T EH O US E.C O M

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Wednesday 12/13 The Phil DeGreg Trio 8-11

Thursday 12/14 Todd Hepburn & Friends 8-11

Friday 12/15 The Andrea Cefalo Quartet 8-12

saTurday 12/16 Dan Radank with The Steve Schmidt Trio 8-12 CoCktails

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The Steel Wheels

Shooter Jennings

PHOTO: SANDLIN GAITHER

PHOTO: HUNTER NESSLEY

The Steel Wheels

Big Ring for 2015’s Leave Some Things Behind, and followed that triumphant album with perhaps their best work to date, the recently released Wild as We Came Here. Produced by Josh Ritter’s keyboardist Sam Kassirer at his Maine studio, Wild is a sublime mixture of heartfelt love songs, protest anthems and odes to a simple country life, fleshed out for the fi rst time with the addition of keyboards and drums. At least part of that dynamism has been added to the Steel Wheels current tour, with former Duhks drummer Kevin Garcia laying down the driving Americana beat. (Brian Baker)

Thursday • Southgate House Revival In their 13 years together, The Steel Wheels have risen to the pinnacle of the Americana and Bluegrass scenes with a sound that is drawn from tradition but crackles with contemporary passion and intensity. Like so many modern Bluegrass practitioners, guitarist Trent Wagler and bassist Brian Dickel started their musical journeys in Punk and Alternative bands before hearing the siren’s call of acoustic music in 2004. Those visceral roots brought an amazing urgency to their subsequent musical direction. In the beginning, Wagler and Dickel played as a duo but expanded to a trio with the addition of fiddler Eric Brubaker. After gaining a reputation in and around the Blue Ridge Mountain Folk scene in Virginia, mandolinist Jay Lapp offered his services and the quartet was complete. Not long after, the collective was dubbed The Steel Wheels and the real work began. Early incarnations of the band had produced various studio recordings but sparks flew when the newly minted Steel Wheels documented their initial sessions. The fi rst official Steel Wheels albums, Uncloudy Day and Red Wing, both released in 2010, earned the band seven Independent Music Award nominations and a Best Country Song win for “Nothing You Can’t Lose.” Red Wing in particular fared well with critics, fans and radio programmers, eventually making the Americana Music Association’s Top 100 albums of the year. The year before their dual releases, the Wheels embarked on their first SpokeSongs tour, a handful of dates within a 500-mile area that allowed them to reach all of the venues by bicycle, with their gear strapped to their backs (seems like upright bassist Dickel got the worst of that decision). After independently releasing two more studio sets, The Steel Wheels signed with

Shooter Jennings with Jason Boland and Julie Roberts Friday • Southgate House Revival It may have occurred to Shooter Jennings relatively early in life that it would be nearly impossible to fi ll his father’s musical shoes or emerge from that long cultural shadow without fi nding his own true identity fi rst. Waylon Jennings was a Country music original, and his son has found myriad opportunities to exponentially expand that originality, even when he’s worked directly with his impossibly famous father. Pretty good for the kid whose crib was a fi xture on Waylon’s tour bus and who played percussion with his father’s band as a teenager. After growing up on the road, Shooter recorded an album with Waylon in 1996 when he was just 17 that showed his stylistic diversity and maturity and his father’s fearlessness. Fenixon was part Alternative Rock anthemics and part Industrial screed, and the polar opposite of everything Waylon had ever done. Shooter fi nally released the full album on his own label in 2014, nearly 20 years after its creation. In 2001, Shooter relocated to Los Angeles and assembled Stargunn, a Glam/Hard Rock hybrid band that quickly became an


Future Sounds

Jennifer Nettles

Murder By Death – Dec. 30, Southgate House Revival Ben Miller Band – Jan. 10, Southgate House Revival Bone Thugs-N-Harmony – Jan. 11, Bogart’s St. Vincent – Jan. 11, Taft Theatre Umphrey’s McGee – Jan. 12 and 13, Taft Theatre Johnny Lang – Jan. 14, Taft Theatre Rebelution – Jan. 17, Taft Theatre The Steepwater Band – Jan. 19, Southgate House Revival Black Label Society/Corrosion of Conformity – Jan. 19, Bogart’s

PHOTO: provided

Jennifer Nettles

Tuesday • Taft Theatre Jennifer Nettles is quite possibly one of the most under appreciated female vocalists in Country music. That might sound crazy at first considering her success, but it’s true. As part of Sugarland, Nettles was well loved and much respected. Between the duo’s five studio albums, Sugarland

managed to nab six Country Music Association Awards, five Academy of Country Music Awards and two Grammy awards, among a handful of others. In 2012, Sugarland announced a hiatus and both members began working on solo projects. But despite her powerhouse vocals, Nettles’ three solo albums managed to fly under the radar of those same awards programs that once lauded Sugarland. This bothers me. While we can all recognize the certain level of misery that comes with celebrity, don’t we all wish for our favorite people to get the recognition they deserve? She’s by no means struggling — insiders see Nettles’ talent. Which is why in the last few years she has nabbed a duet with John Legend and done time in an Off-Broadway version of Mamma Mia!, while also making an official recording of “No Good Deed” from Wicked (if you can do Idina Menzel, you can do anything). She’s just not getting the love from the public that she necessarily deserves. No paps. No sold-out solo arena tours. No armloads of Grammys like Adele or Taylor Swift. Plus, I’d even argue that Nettle’s talent trumps the latter’s considerably. (Sorry not sorry, TSwizzle.) Then again, maybe her under-theradar solo status plays to fans’ advantage. Instead of jockeying for tickets to sold-out arena shows, they get to see her in such a lovely, intimate setting as the Taft Theatre. And in her current role, fans get politically charged one-off singles like September’s “King of The City.” The song tells the heartbreaking story of an immigrant on 9/11. Nettles and her Sugarland counterpart, Kristian Bush, recently announced an end to their hiatus, so it looks like its back to trophy collecting and arena shaking for Nettles soon enough. New Sugarland music is expected at the end of December, with touring to follow in the new year. (Deirdre Kaye)

d e c . 1 3 – 19 , 2 0 1 7   |   C i t y B e at. c o m

L.A. sensation. But even after scoring a track on the Waylon Jennings tribute I’ve Always Been Crazy and getting placement in a couple of movies, Shooter dismantled Stargunn in 2003, the year after his father’s passing, and embarked on his solo career. In 2005, Shooter released his debut solo set, Put the “O” Back in Country, and later that year, he appeared as his father in the Oscar-nominated Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line. In the subsequent dozen years, Shooter has branched off in numerous musical directions and found fascinating new outlets for his restless creative muse. Since his debut, Shooter has dropped eight other studio releases, including the Black Ribbons concept album and tributes to George Jones and Giorgio Moroder, as well as four live albums. In 2005, he began Shooter Jennings’ Electric Rodeo, a weekly radio program on Sirius XM’s Outlaw Country channel, and since then he has launched his own record label and become an indemand producer, as well as an outspoken critic of the Nashville Country music machine and modern artists who hijack the “Outlaw Country” tag. Shooter’s current tour is his second acoustic circuit with singer/songwriter Jason Boland, whose album he produced in 2013. The tour is being billed as an “Acoustic Song Swap,” so there is likely no set list and no clear format other than to go out and let whatever happens happen. Which sounds like Shooter Jennings’ informal blueprint from the start. (BB)

29


LISTINGS

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

Wednesday 13

Bogart’s - Brett Young with Carly Pearce. 8 p.m. Country. Sold Out.

Knotty Pine - Dallas Moore and Lucky Chucky. 10 p.m. Country. Free. Latitudes Bar/ Bistro Ricky Nye and Bekah Williams. 6 p.m. Blues/Jazz. Free. MOTR Pub - B.C. Duo. 5 p.m. Funk/Various. Free. Southgate House Revival (Lounge) - Chelsea Ford and The Trouble with The Old Souls String Band and Sean Geil. 8 p.m. Folk/Americana/Various. Free. Southgate House Revival (Revival Room) - Topshelf Records Tour with Prawn, Slingshot Dakota, People Like You, Us and Us Only and More. 8 p.m. Indie/Alt/Rock/Various. $10, $12 day of show.

H

Thompson House - Villain Of The Story with Glass Houses. 8 p.m. Metalcore. $10. Urban Artifact - Blue Wisp Big Band. 8:30 p.m. Big Band Jazz. $10.

Thursday 14

C i t y B e at. c o m  |   D E C . 1 3 – 19 , 2 0 1 7

Sever The Ties, Mister Mason and Motel Faces. 8 p.m. Rock. $13, $18 day of show.

Southgate House Revival (Revival Room) - Wilder with T.Lipscomb and Arlo Mckinley & The Lonesome Sound. 8 p.m. Roots/ Americana. Free.

Mansion Hill Tavern - The Heaters with Ben Levin. 9 p.m. Blues. $4.

H

Southgate House Revival (Sanctuary) - The Steel Wheels. 8 p.m. Roots/Americana. $18, $20 day of show.

H

Urban Artifact - Milo with Scallops Hotel, Speed and Eugenius. 9 p.m. Hip Hop. $10.

H

Friday 15

Aronoff Center For The Arts - 98 Degrees At Christmas. 4 p.m.; 8 p.m. Holiday/Pop. $50.50-$70.50.

H

Blue Note Harrison - Charlie Farley. 8 p.m. Country/ Rap. $15, $20 day of show. Bromwell’s Härth Lounge - Andrea Cefalo Quartet. 8 p.m. Jazz. Free. The Comet - Darlene, Halvsies and S.M. Wolf. 10 p.m. Indie/Rock/Pop. Free.

H

Crow’s Nest - Alexander Lee & Thee Vatos Supreme. 10 p.m. Honky Tonk. Free.

Common Roots - Open Mic. 8 p.m. Various. Free.

Froggy’s - Pandora Project. 9:30 p.m. Rock

Knotty Pine - Kenny Cowden. 9 p.m. Acoustic. Free.

Grand Central Delicatessen - DJ Matty P. 9:30 p.m. DJ/Various. Free.

Latitudes Bar & Bistro Pat Kelly. 6 p.m. Jazz. Free.

The Greenwich - Brandon Meeks. 9:30 p.m. Jazz. $10.

Live! at the Ludlow Garage - Sister Hazel. 8 p.m. Pop/ Rock. $20-$45.

Jag’s Steak and Seafood - The Good Hooks Band. 9 p.m. Dance/Pop/Various. $5.

McCauly’s Pub - Pandora Project. 7 p.m. Rock. Free.

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Southgate House Revival (Lounge) - Josh Morningstar. 9:30 p.m. Folk/Country/ Blues. Free.

MOTR Pub - Daisy Chain and Xzela. 10 p.m. Soul/Hip Hop/Various. Free.

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Jim and Jack’s On The River - Jamison Road. 9 p.m. Country. Free. Knotty Pine - Flatline. 10 p.m. Rock. Cover.

Plain Folk Café - Open Mic with Christina Schnetzer. 7 p.m. Various. Free.

Latitudes Bar & Bistro - Billy Rock Trio. 9 p.m. Soul/R&B/Blues. Free.

The Redmoor - Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra: Nutcracker Remix featuring Adia Dobbins. 7 p.m. Holiday/Jazz/ Various. $10-$20.

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The Show On 42 - Pandora Project. 7 p.m. Rock.

Live! at the Ludlow Garage - Red Wanting Blue and The Alternate Routes Quartet. 8 p.m. Pop/ Rock. $17-$35. Madison Theater Peroxwhy?Gen with Heart Means More, Toybox Killer,

MOTR Pub - The Grove. 10 p.m. Rock/Various. Free. Muggbees Bar & Grill - Saving Stimpy. 9 p.m. Rock. Free. Northside Yacht Club - Santamania 2017 with The Dopamines, Treason, Swim Team, Leggy, Smut, Two Inch Winky, Vampire Weekend At Bernie’s and many more. 5 p.m. Rock/ Punk/Various. $10.

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Plain Folk Café - Willow Tree Carolers. 7:30 p.m. Americana. Free. Radisson Cincinnati Riverfront - Basic Truth. 8 p.m. Funk/R&B/Soul. Free (in The Fifth Lounge). The Redmoor - 2nd Wind Band. 9 p.m. Jazz/R&B. $10. Redwine & Co. - Ashley Knapp and Nolan Taylor. 8 p.m. Acoustic/Country/Roots. Free.

Saturday 16

Northside Tavern - Strange Creature, Lovecrush 88 and Los Honchos. 10 p.m. Rock/ Various. Free.

Bobby Mackey’s - The Last Caballeros. 8 p.m. Country/ Latin/Tex Mex/Rock/Varous. Cover.

Northside Yacht Club - Santamania 2017 with Vacation, By Force, Slutbomb, The Touch, Frustrate, Flesh Mother, Spear, PJ Baby, Mardou, Shellshag and many more. 4 p.m. Rock/Punk/Various. $10.

Arnold’s Bar and Grill Moonshine Drive. 9 p.m. Bluegrass. Free.

Bromwell’s Härth Lounge Dan Radank with The Steve Schmidt Trio. 8 p.m. Jazz. Free. Cincinnati Public Library, Main Branch - Chris Comer Trio. 3 p.m. Holiday Jazz. Free.

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Cincinnatian Hotel - Philip Paul Trio. 7 p.m. Jazz. Free. College Hill Coffee Co. Angela Minton. 7:30 p.m. Pop/Rock/Country. Free. Crow’s Nest - Willow Tree Carolers. 10 p.m. Americana. Free. Depot Barbecue - Forest Hills Bluegrass Band. 7 p.m. Bluegrass. Free. Jag’s Steak and Seafood - Gee Your Band Smells Terrific. 9 p.m. ’70s Pop/Dance/ Various. $5.

Rick’s Tavern - Naked Karate Girls. 10 p.m. Pop/ Rock/Dance. $5.

Jim and Jack’s On The River - Dan Varner. 9 p.m. Country. Free.

Southgate House Revival (Lounge) Cougar Ace and Veronica Grim & The Heavy Hearts. 9:30 p.m. Rock/Americana/ Various. Free.

Knotty Pine - Flatline. 10 p.m. Rock. Cover.

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Southgate House Revival (Sanctuary) Shooter Jennings & Jason Boland with Julie Roberts. 9 p.m. Acoustic “Song Swap.” $20, $22 day of show.

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Symphony Hotel & Restaurant - Ricky Nye and Bekah Williams. 8 p.m. Jazz/Blues. Free. The Underground - Arbor, Ever Burning Bright, Launchpad and Against Icarus. 7 p.m. Rock. Cover.

Latitudes Bar & Bistro The Whammies!. 9 p.m. Pop/ Rock. Free.

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Octave - Born Cross Eyed. 8 p.m. Dead Tribute. Cover. Parkers Blue Ash Tavern Encore Duo. 6 p.m. Acoustic Classic Rock/Americana. Free. Plain Folk Café - Fox N Hounds. 7:30 p.m. Free. Rick’s Tavern - Ldnl. 10 p.m. Dance/Hip Hop/Pop/Various. $5. The Show On 42 - Pandora Effect. 9:30 p.m. Rock Silverton Café - Big Trouble. 9 p.m. Blues. Free. Thompson House - Killa Killz (EP release party). 8 p.m. Rap. $10. Top Of The Line - Ambush. 9 p.m. Rock. Free. The Underground - Battle Of The Bands 2017 SemiFinals with Peyton Stewart, Saving Escape, Bassless Chaps and Dr. J and The Apostles. 7 p.m. Various. Cover.

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Urban Artifact - Soul Butter (EP release party) with Static Tension and Donnie Canfield and The Electric Campfire. 8 p.m. Blues/Rock. Free.

Mansion Hill Tavern - Jay Jesse Johnson. 9 p.m. Blues. $3.

Washington Platform Saloon & Restaurant Brandon Coleman and Michael Sharfe Quartet. 9 p.m. Jazz. $10 (food/drink minimum).

Live! at the Ludlow Garage - Rumours. 8 p.m. Fleetwood Mac Tribute. $17-$35. Madison Theater - Harbour with Circle It, Dream Chief, Costal Club and The Vims. 8 p.m. Alternative Pop/ Rock. $12, $15 day of show.

Maury’s Tiny Cove - Ricky Nye. 7:30 p.m. Blues/Boogie Woogie McCauly’s Pub - Phoenix Rising. 9 p.m. Rock. Free.

Urban Artifact - Love Alive, Solecho and Dropsickle. 8 p.m. Rock/Jam/Funk/Various. $5.

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Washington Platform Saloon & Restaurant Rusty Burge & Dan Dorff Quartet. 9 p.m. Jazz. $10 (food/drink minimum).

MVP Bar & Grille - Brandon Gibbs & Eric Brittingham with Counting Stars. 8 p.m. Rock. $10.

MOTR Pub - Carriers. 10 p.m. Indie/Rock/ Roots/Various. Free.

Westside Venue - Paradise Crossing. 8 p.m. Country. Woodward Theater Dance Yrself Clean with Multimagic and Us, Today. 8 p.m. Lcd Soundsystem Tribute/Indie/Alt/Dance/Electronic/Various. $15.

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Sunday 17

The Greenwich - Psychoacoustic Orchestra. 7:30 p.m. Jazz. $12.

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Mansion Hill Tavern - Open Jam with Deb Ohlinger. 6 p.m. Various. Free. MOTR Pub - Ricky Nye and Chris Douglas. 8 p.m. Blues/ Boogie Woogie. Free. Northside Tavern Tossedsalad: Pop Up Bands & Music Fans Combating Hunger In Cincinnati (fundraiser/food drive For Freestore Foodbank). 8:30 p.m. Pop/Rock/Various.

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Northside Yacht Club - Santamania 2017 Brunch with Spike, John Hays, Post-Church Life, Bill James In His Own Mind, Toby Foster, John Hoffman and Al Scorch. 3 p.m. Various.

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Southgate House Revival (Lounge) - Beverly Hills Supper Club (7-Inch release party) with AM Nice, Red Skylark. 3 p.m. Rock/Various. Free. Urban Artifact - Harlot and Jake Logan and The Midnight Riders. 4 p.m. Folk/ Americana. Free.

Monday 18

The Greenwich - Baron Von Ohlen & The Flying Circus Big Band. 7:30 p.m. Jazz. $5 (or two canned-good donations for the FreeStore Foodbank). McCauly’s Pub - Open Jam with Sonny Moorman. 7 p.m. Blues/Various. Free. The Mockbee - Oh Jam! presents Off Tha Block with Stallitix, Goodword and more. 10 p.m. Hip Hop. Free. MOTR Pub - Ben Knight and The Well Diggers. 9:30 p.m. Americana. Free. Northside Tavern - Northside Jazz Ensemble. 10 p.m. Jazz. Free.

Tuesday 19

The Comet - Marr. 10 p.m. Alt/Electronic/Pop/ Various. Free.

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Stanley’s Pub - Trashgrass Tuesday featuring members of Rumpke Mt. Boys. 9 p.m. Bluegrass. Cover. Taft Theatre - Christmas with Jennifer Nettles. 8 p.m. Holiday/Pop/ Country. $33.50-$64.50.

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CityBeat | Dec. 13, 2017  
CityBeat | Dec. 13, 2017