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CINCINNATI’S NEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY • DEC. 23–29, 2015 • free

2015 YEAR IN REVIEW

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VOL. 22 ISSUE 05 ON THE COVER: 2015 YEAR IN REVIEW

VOICES 04 LETTERS 04

NEWS 09 YEAR IN PHOTOS 12 NYE LISTINGS 15 STUFF TO DO 23 ONGOING SHOWS 25

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ARTS & CULTURE 26 TV AND FILM 30

EATS 33 MUSIC 36 CLASSIFIEDS 43 CITYBEAT.COM Facebook.com/CincinnatiCityBeat Twitter: @CityBeatCincy @CityBeat_News @CityBeat Eats @CityBeatMusic Instagram: CityBeatCincy News Tips: nswartsell@citybeat.com Feedback/Letters/Info/Questions/Website: letters@citybeat.com Music Listings: music@citybeat.com Events Listings: calendar@citybeat.com Dining News and Events: eats@citybeat.com Billing: billing@citybeat.com CityBeat Staff: first initial of first name followed by last name @citybeat.com Citybeat 811 Race Street • Fifth Floor • Cincinnati, OH 45202 Phone: 513.665.4700 • Fax: 513.665.4368 Printed on Recycled Paper with Soy- Based Inks

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VOICES

Worst Year Ever! BY isaac thorn

John Boehner’s Blog Team Uses GIFs, Surprises Everyone John Boehner likes being rich and suntanned, and he also likes driving for show and putting for dough. He’s played more rounds of golf in the past year than most ham-and-eggers do in their entire lives, yet he somehow plays the card of knowing what’s best for the blue collar vox populi of American society. He also knows how to make things that are puzzling (like trying to make college available to more people and less fiscally ruinous) and put them in terms that make sense to our Duck Dynasty watchin’ asses. Boehner’s blog usually goes along the lines of “Obummer suxx LOL,” but the Speaker’s communication staff took a new approach at dissing the president by featuring 12 GIFs of dead-eyed pop star Taylor Swift to demonstrate the point that “not even all the Taylor Swift album sales in the world would cover” the stupid liberal idea about making community college educations more accessible to people whose parents aren’t members of country clubs. While some might think that using tax dollars to make political points with GIFs from music videos is a stupid idea, Boehner supporters are into it and sincerely hope the next blog will feature the old-school dancing baby GIF with President Obama’s head superimposed on it because “that would make him look real stupid.”

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Mayor Cranley Enters Year 2 Feeling Smart, Rich, Accomplished These days it is tres chic to bash Mayor John Cranley for opposing the streetcar we voted for and doing things like trying to intimidate restaurant owners for humorously naming hot dogs after him. Unfortunately, voting wasn’t all the rage when our city held its last mayoral election, which is the reason he is now in charge of it. One year into his four-year term, Cranley was the subject of an Enquirer editorial that came off as if it were written by a second grader explaining why his or her dad is the best dad in the entire world. With gems like, “He didn’t go to Harvard for nothing — as he showed with his pension and budget solutions, the man is smart,” it is obvious that Cincinnatians should ignore the fact that Cranley acts as if his constituents are stupid and incapable of identifying things that are good for our community and embrace him because he is wealthy, smart and went to an Ivy League school. In addition

to improving road quality and working to include minorities more, Cranley plans on talking less shit about the yuppies who support the streetcar and asking for a “do over” on the photo op which resulted in the picture of him sitting on a red bike looking like he is from a distant star galaxy and had never touched a bicycle before.

Keebler Company to Bring New Human Jobs to Kentucky

Vietnam or if those experiences are just from him dropping acid and watching Apocalypse Now twice in a row at a frat party back in the early ’80s.

Schmucks’ Plan to Monopolize the Weed Game Takes a Hit By now, most are familiar with ResponsibleOhio, a group of profiteers who bonded together to try to subvert the free-market economy and make weed production in Ohio something that only they can do once it inevitably becomes legal and stops

The Keebler Company could be bringing 75 new full-time cookie-making jobs to Boone County sometime soon, as Kentucky state officials are considering tax incentives associated with an expansion of the company’s Northern Kentucky manufacturing plant. By adding a production line to its existing plant, the $19 million investment would re-establish some of the production capacity lost when the company consolidated its U.S. cookie network, shutting down many of the inner-tree, elf-run factories commonly seen in Keebler cookie commercials. Some local officials were hesitant to OK the addition of the production line, but The Keebler Company helped allay their fears by explaining that Cookie-making elves to be replaced by humans. all plant employees will be regularly drug tested to ensure safety and that the stoners who being such a drain on law enforcement. came up with the Keebler Elves concept Fortunately, the Ohio legislature crafted an will not touch heavy machinery at all ever. amendment placed on the Nov. 3 ballot that will prohibit any addition to our state’s constitution that creates “a monopoly, oligopoly or cartel” to sell federally controlled substances like the potweeds. Stoners across the state are rejoicing, glad that their state’s When blue collar folk don’t tell the truth, representatives realize that KFC/Pizza Hut/ it’s called lying, and they are usually held Taco Bell cartels are OK but monopolies and accountable for it. However, if you have a oligarchies and stuff like that is just plain job that entails wearing pancake makeup wrong in most instances. and talking about other people and things on the TV, you can do so with relative impunity. As you’ve surely heard, NBC’s Brian Williams got in trouble for making At Worst Week Ever!, we often resort to up a story about his time in Iraq — and writing gross and inappropriate headlines then describing his deceitful statements because we aren’t very funny. Unfortuas “misremembering” rather than lying. nately, part of our measly pittance for Williams will take a few nights off from writing these dumb articles requires us doing the news, during which he will try to occasionally be humorous, and being to figure out if he remembers fighting in

NBC News Anchor Lies About War Stuff, Doesn’t Really Get Punished for It

‘Enquirer’ to Replace Sloppy Copy with Naughty Copy?

gross kind of counts as being funny in some circles. The Enquirer dabbled in such lowbrow, attention-seeking behavior this year when it published a story about a local doctor losing his medical license for what we might as well describe in the exact words our city’s daily newspaper published in its print edition: “Doctor losing license for fingering patients’ G-spots.” The story drew complaints from even the conservative paper’s not-so-prudish readers, and editors quickly changed the online version to something that did not contain words best defined by Urban Dictionary. The story was published just days after Enquirer Editor Carolyn Washburn in an email to her staff ripped reporters for turning in “sloppy copy,” though she noted in the apology for the finger-bang headline that at least the writer put the apostrophe in the right place in “patients’.”

Reds Manager Bryan Price Is Sick of His Fucking Job Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price has plenty of problems these days, from multiple relievers blowing 8th inning leads multiple days in a row to the (multiple) catchers he’s had to bring up from the minors because Devin Mesoraco’s hip hurts. This week Price responded to the stress by using multiple expletives in an epic rant about how media coverage of his players not being at the stadium with the rest of the team is making it harder for him to strategically not use the players in the games the team is losing. The Enquirer didn’t take kindly to Price’s five-and-a-half-minute rant directed toward its reporter, publishing the entire transcript, which included 77 F-bombs and 11 versions of the word “shit.” An early version of the story even had the phrase “five-minute, 34-second tirade” in there twice, as if an editor were copying and pasting it all over the article to see where it might make Price look the dumbest. That early version also promised to post audio of the rant, but it never happened, presumably because Reds content is worth more to The Enquirer than 5,000


copy editors. Price later apologized via the Reds Twitter account.

Santa Ono, Clifton Leaders Don’t Think I-74/75 Hopple Street Ramps Look Scary Enough University of Cincinnati President Santa Ono and other influential Clifton businesspeople have thrown their support behind a plan to build a bridge connector to better connect Cincinnati State to South Cumminsville near the I-74/I-75 interchange. In a letter to Mayor John Cranley and Cincinnati City Council, the group asked them to come up with $42 million to fund the project and to also get the whole thing done on time despite this massive addition. Ono and the group of Clifton business leaders would also like Mayor Cranley to purchase more sledgehammers and demo equipment so every building in the neighborhood built before 1990 can be razed and turned into another sandwich shop.

Mayor Cranley Appoints Guy to Historic Conservation Board Who Loves Tearing Down Old Buildings

THIS WEEK ON

CITYBEAT.COM

standard for air quality. New rules this year will make complying more difficult, which could lead to regulations and fines against factory and transportation service companies. Living in a river valley full of stagnant, poor-quality air seems like something we should shy away from, but the National Association of Manufacturers believes new EPA regulations will reduce America’s gross domestic product by $270 billion… which is not the kind of thing that America likes. Mathematicians, climate scientists and concerned economic groups are set to meet next week to come up with a ratio of air quality/profit wherein people can still be rich but not too many people die from air and water pollution issues.

When the Internet was created, it was intended to better link researchers and other eggheads with cushy university jobs. These days, the web is used primarily for pornography, gambling, pizza-ordering and trying to find people to do it with. The last is still a little rough around the edges, but fortunately there are journalistic bros like the Wall Street Journal to help people out when they struggle with finding a mate in the real world as well as on digital platforms. According to the Journal, it turns out that not knowing the difference between “there,” “their” and “they’re” can be a major turn-off to other people on the web who want to have sex but don’t like people who aren’t very smart. Dating site Match.com reportedly asked more than It’s hard to remember all the words to 5,000 single people about the criteria they the Bengals’ fight songs and rhetorical use when assessing dates, with personal hygiene coming in first (96 percent of women valued this the most, as compared with 91 percent of men) followed by a person’s grammar. In addition to typing in a manner that shows a cursory command over the one goddamn language you know how to speak, it is also advisable to avoid including “69” in your profile name because no one has thought that was funny since America Online allowed people to further Astrophysics for jocks: Earth move; football bounce. demonstrate their stupidity

Bengals Win Again, Astrophysicist Confirms This Is Real and Not Part of Parallel Universe

with lengthy profiles and questionnaires.

New EPA Clean Air Standards Might Make Things Less Gray and Hazy This Summer The Environmental Protection Agency has given local Ohio and Kentucky counties passing grades for the past few years. However, it turns out that we’re just like stupid American school kids who pass because the test-givers lowered the standards enough so we would have a shot at getting by. Now the issue is figuring out how to let factories and other polluters operate enough to make their owners wealthy and happy while not poisoning the air and water to the point that the public gets concerned or deathly ill. Even though it was a mild summer last year, Greater Cincinnati just barely met the

questions about who is going to defeat the Bengals in a jungle, because most of the time when people go to a game they end up blacking out drunk at some point before alcohol sales in the stadium are cut off. Despite such difficulties maintaining one’s facilities during the contests, Cincinnati’s pro football team has won most of its games, sitting in first place in the AFC North at 11-3. After week five’s cool win over the Seattle Seahawks, famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson dropped some knowledge on sports fans, explaining how the game-winning field goal that clanged off the upright — and then went through — was aided by the Coriolis effect, a scientific explanation of which direction things bounce based on the Earth’s rotation. In the Who Deys’ case, the flying, spinning rock we

NEWS BLOG : Morning News & Stuff

EATS: WHAT WE ATE THIS WEEKEND

call Earth altered the football’s flight by 1/3 of an inch, pretty much making it bounce through the uprights and proving that the Seahawks suck.

Warren County Lawmaker Doing Best to Keep Same-Sex Couples on His Mind State Rep. Ron Maag is going to try to keep idiots that think Jesus would want them to treat gay people like shit happy by crafting legislation that will allow licensed wedding officiants to deny their services to samesex couples on religious grounds. After all, who would want to see two people happy together forever if their sexual preferences were different than yours? The mere thought is enough to get anyone riled up! Maag explains as such: “The intention of this bill is to preserve every person’s freedoms while still being respectful and cognizant of each individual’s equality.” He went on to explain how he hasn’t yet figured out why same-sex couples would seek the services of a wedding officiant who hatefully rejects their right to love, but also noted that you can never tell what the gays will do next.

Cincinnati Elevator Code Enforcement Goes Through Ups and Downs Forty-eight of Cincinnati’s 2,918 elevators are not up to code, according to records analyzed by an Enquirer reporter who probably was assigned an elevator investigation as punishment for doing something wrong. Apparently, many building owners will not let inspectors in to examine elevators and gauge the likelihood of its future occupants plummeting to their grisly deaths. The exposé is expected to increase the rate of compliance and guaranteed safety in local elevators, though elevator activists are reportedly pushing for inspections to first test an elevator’s ability to go down safely rather than up, since if anyone is going to be reduced to pieces in an old-timey-sounding elevator catastrophe, most would prefer for it to happen in the morning rather than when they’re trying to leave work at the end of the day. CONTACT ISAAC THORN: letters@citybeat.com

Pop culture news & Internet findings in

I Just Can’t Get Enough

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Because young people who were unsure if they would be given stickers and/or the opportunity to gloat on Facebook about voting didn’t show up in Coney Town’s last mayoral election, we have spent the last few years dealing with John Cranley’s Montgomery-Burns-in-his-younger-years persona. Cranley’s right-hand man, City Manager Harry Black, appointed a developer named Shree Kulkarni to a position on the city’s Historic Conservation Board even though Kulkarni once waged a two-year battle to raze a building on Fifth Street and replace it with a tiny parking lot. Kulkarni also opposed the Historic Conservation Board’s efforts to keep the Davis Furniture building in Over-the-Rhine from being demolished. Local media soon made the connection between Kulkarni the building smasher and an $8,300 donation to Cranley’s 2013 mayoral campaign. Kulkarni has only lived in Cincinnati for eight years and likely needs more time to study our city before identifying which historical property should meet the wrecking ball next. Mayor Cranley has asked that people give his new appointee a chance to serve before judging and not to pay attention to rumors that he and Kulkarni will partner to open up the old subway tunnels and then create some sort of ruse to lead the new streetcars into them to be sealed for eternity.

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news

Year in Review: The Biggest News of 2015 Weed, police, parks and marriage, oh my BY NICK SWARTSELL

i l l u s t r at i o n : L . D. N E h l s

C

incinnati saw huge news events this year, including a number that caught the eyes of the nation. Some of these were triumphant, including the Supreme Court’s decision in a case with roots in Cincinnati extending same-sex marriage rights to all states. Others, however, like the police shooting of an unarmed black motorist, were dark reminders of deep tensions that have long gripped Cincinnati and America at large. Still other stories were strictly local but caught us by surprise with their intensity. Long story short: We were busy this year. Here are some of the things that kept CityBeat’s news department awake in 2015.

Cranley Takes a Hit in Parks Tax Drama

over the streetcar and now over his parks proposal. While he’s had plenty of policy victories as well, these dramatic fights might signal an opening for a primary challenger to take a run at the 2017 mayoral election. The campaign over the parks tax was particularly heated, and even some supporters seem to have come away disillusioned by the effort. Cranley has sounded a conciliatory note in post-election statements, saying he’s proud to have stood up for the idea but will take the results as the will of Cincinnati voters and seek to serve their wishes. In the end, the defeat was bruising for Cranley, sandwiched as it was between criticism of his administration’s handling of the dismissal of former Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell a couple months prior and his controversial announcement later

A proposed tax levy to fund 17 parks projects drew intense opposition. Voters rejected the plan.

in November that Cincinnati would not be taking Syrian refugees. What’s more, the debate over the proposal opened up a serious can of worms for the Cincinnati Park Board involving its spending practices. Scrutiny over those practices started after it was revealed that the board gave the pro-parks tax campaign $200,000. The board says that money came from private endowments, not public funds, but asked for its return anyway after public outcry. More revelations about lush bonuses and car allowances to Park Board leaders from the nonprofit Parks Foundation, which is connected to the board, followed. The city is now in the midst of an audit of the board’s spending habits.

Police Shooting of Sam DuBose Mirrors National Tensions The police shooting death of Samuel DuBose, a 43-year-old music producer from Avondale, underscored both the ongoing tension in Cincinnati and around the country regarding race, as well as concerted efforts here to address those tensions. On July 19, white University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing pulled over DuBose, a black motorist, in an isolated part of Mount Auburn about a mile from UC’s campus because his car lacked a front license plate. Just a few minutes later, DuBose was dead from a gunshot wound to CONTINUES ON PAGE 10

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Mayor John Cranley’s plan to fund some 17 parks projects by raising property taxes was the subject of an intense political firefight during the months leading up to the Nov. 3 election. Detractors of the parks plan put forward a number of objections to the measure ranging from assertions that it gave the mayor and the park board he selects too much power to fears that the proposed projects would lead to increased commercialization of parks. In the end, voters sided with the detractors, turning in a 59-percent walloping of Cranley’s proposal. The anti-Issue 22 victory here is interesting due to the truly David and Goliath nature of spending on the campaigns. The pro-Issue 22 camp, backed by major corporate donors such as Kroger, Western & Southern and others, spent more than $1.2 million on television ads, mailers and other slick campaign materials. Amendment opponents, however, spent about $7,500, with only a single radio ad buy. The list of opponents was formidable and diverse, however, including a majority of Cincinnati City Council, local civil rights icon and one-time amendment supporter Marian Spencer, both streetcar advocates such as Over-the-Rhine transit activist Derek Bauman and streetcar opponents COAST, and environmental group the Audubon Society. In the end, the pro-parks tax group spent about $47 per vote for their defeat; opponents of the tax spent just 27 cents per vote to win. While some city precincts, mostly on the East Side, passed the measure, many, including Cranley’s West Side home precinct, said no thanks. The bigger question now is what this means for Cranley as mayor. Two years into his term, the mayor has lost two big, hard-fought political showdowns, first


FROM PAGE 09

the head. Tensing’s initial explanation was that DuBose started to drive off during the traffic stop, nearly running him over. Tensing said he was then forced to shoot DuBose in the head because he was being dragged by the car and his life was in danger. Tensing said he suffered minor injuries when he fell to the ground as DuBose’s car rolled away. But footage from the officer’s body camera told a much different story, showing that Tensing was neither dragged nor had his hand caught in the car’s steering wheel, as he claimed. Protests broke out both before and after that video footage was released, and Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters announced that a grand jury had indicted Tensing on murder charges. “I thank God that everything is being uncovered,” said Audrey DuBose, Samuel’s mother. “This one did not go unsolved and hidden.” Audrey DuBose pledged to continue fighting against police injustice, calling for body cameras for all police departments. She said many others have died at the hands of police unnecessarily. “My son was killed by a cop unjustly,” she said. “I gotta know many more are killed unjustly. I’m going to be on the battlefield for them.” More than 500 people, including Mayor John Cranley, City Manager Harry Black and State Sen. Cecil Thomas, attended DuBose’s funeral services at Church of the Living God in Avondale where the father, musician and entrepreneur was laid to rest. His mother and other family members remembered him as a kind and loving man who nevertheless had a deep, sometimes complicated

independent streak. DuBose was buried at Landmark Memorial Gardens in Evendale. The incident evoked memories of the civil unrest following Timothy Thomas’ shooting by Cincinnati police officer Stephen Roach in 2001 and once again drew national attention to Cincinnati. Racially charged police shootings had been a big topic of national conversation during the year prior; the shooting deaths of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Mo., Cleveland, New York City and elsewhere had already sparked large-scale protests, media coverage and, in some cases, federal investigations. DuBose’s death, unlike some other police shootings, resulted in an indictment of the officer involved. Tensing has yet to stand trial, however, due to continued evidencegathering by authorities. So far, only pretrial hearings have been held; the next is scheduled for February. Meanwhile, UC police have been restricted in their off-campus duties, and the incident has sparked a deep, difficult conversation about race relations on campus and in Cincinnati as a whole.

Weed Legalization Effort Falls Short In Issue 3, weed legalization group ResponsibleOhio put forward a pretty gutsy gambit — wagering more than $20 million that Ohio voters would legalize medicinal and recreational marijuana. The group made this bet even as their proposal lacked support from key national and statewide legalization advocates, who balked at the proposal’s structure. That measure nosedived on election night, grabbing only 36 percent of the vote. That

was a surprise to some, who saw polling in Ohio showing more than 50 percent of the state supporting legalization as a sign the time had come. So what gives? Was it the nightmare-inducing bud-headed mascot, Buddy, who even ResponsibleOhio organizers later admitted was a mistake? (Poor Buddy!) Was it conservative state lawmakers’ attempts to deep-six the law with their own ballot initiative, the confusingly named Issue 2? Are Ohioans just afraid of weed? All of the above? In truth, ResponsibleOhio needed every pro-pot vote they could get. And they didn’t get them. Pro-legalization groups who otherwise might have been supporters expressed squeamishness about the fact that the amendment would have awarded a small group of investors, including a New York fashion designer and the former Pop star Nick Lachey, the only 10 legal grow sites in the state. That hesitancy, combined with the older, more conservative electorate that turns out in non-presidential election years, sank the amendment decisively. The main question is whether the rout was about legalization itself or simply the so-called “oligopoly” the amendment would have created. Polling in Ohio shows that voters here favor legalization by a slim margin, suggesting it might not be a lost cause in the future, given a more attractive structure. Some groups are working on campaigns to get legalization on next year’s ballot, but they face a huge hurdle: the overwhelming expense of mounting such a ballot initiative in Ohio, a politically diverse swing state and the country’s seventh-most populous. ResponsibleOhio collected more than 800,000 signatures to net the 300,000 valid ones needed to land the amendment on the ballot. That’ll be a big obstacle for any group, though if they can get a measure in front of voters, it might benefit from high presidential-election-year turnout and increased interest raised in this year’s campaign.

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Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell’s Contentious Dismissal

Audrey DuBose, mother of Samuel DuBose, mourns with family at a vigil in Mount Auburn. P H O T O : n i c k s wa r t s e l l

After a long, hot summer full of talk about the number of shootings in the city and whispers that then-Cincinnati Police Department Chief Jeffrey Blackwell was on the way out, things came to a head. City Manager Harry Black abruptly announced Sept. 9 that he had fired Blackwell. The dismissal came due to “lack of sufficient and proper communication, particularly within the command staff, coupled with a consistent and pervasive disregard for the chain of command,” according to a 35-page memo the city released at the same time Blackwell’s firing was announced. That memo contained testimony from CPD officials alleging poor leadership from the chief. Blackwell had been embattled for months. Early in the summer, severance documents between Blackwell and the city came to light, though these were never signed by the

chief and he asserted he was staying on the force. Cincinnati’s Fraternal Order of Police later announced a Sept. 14 meeting where union leadership said officers would take a vote of no confidence in Blackwell. Blackwell’s critics said the Cincinnati Police Department’s critical staffing, communication and morale issues festered during the summer as gun crimes rose, the department dealt with the shooting death of officer Sonny Kim and other difficult circumstances challenged the department. But the chief’s supporters, including some council members and other public figures, said he had done a fantastic job during a difficult time in the city and that his potential ouster was political in nature. They pointed to the fact that when he was campaigning for mayor, Cranley asked then-City Manager Milton Dohoney not to hire a chief until the election was finished so the newly elected mayor could have a say in the hiring. Dohoney hired Blackwell despite this request. Blackwell’s supporters say Cranley wanted to oust Blackwell and install his own choice for police chief. Immediately following Black’s Sept. 9 announcement, Blackwell supporters took to the steps of City Hall and Cincinnati City Council chambers to voice their opposition to the chief’s dismissal. The former chief himself appeared at Council’s public input session, though he was not invited to speak before Council. Some council members acknowledged the seriousness of the charges against Blackwell, but said they took deep issue with the way in which he was dismissed. They pointed to the fact they didn’t find out the firing was happening until that morning. Cranley and Black admonished them, and the public, not to rush to judgment and to read the report detailing the allegations against Blackwell. Cranley called the evidence against Blackwell “overwhelming” and said that anyone reading the report would conclude that Black “made the right choice.” At the same time he was revealing Blackwell’s dismissal, Black announced that Assistant Police Chief Eliot Isaac, a 26-year veteran of CPD, would be the interim police chief. Isaac was named permanent chief in early December. That caused more controversy, as critics decried the lack of a nationwide search for a new CPD head. Black and Cranley, however, said there was no need for that search.

Cincy at the Center of Supreme Court Legalization of Gay Marriage Over the past few years, America has seen dynamic changes when it comes to same-sex marriage, culminating in a historic June 26 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down same-sex marriage bans and legalizing CONTINUES ON PAGE 11


FROM PAGE 10

same-sex marriage across the United States. Cincinnati was at the epicenter of that moment in more ways than one. The U.S. Sixth District Court of Appeals here set up the Supreme Court showdown by upholding Ohio’s 2004 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, as well as similar bans in Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. That flew in the face of a number of decisions by other federal circuit courts across the country, which have struck down the bans, meaning the Supreme Court had to mediate the disagreement. At stake: whether or not state bans on same-sex marriage violated couples’ civil rights, and whether states like Ohio must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. The court ruled that indeed they did. Gay rights activists argued the bans are unconstitutional and compared the struggle for marriage equality with battles over civil rights in the 1950s and 1960s. Lawyers for states seeking to keep their bans, including Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, argued that the matter is up to voters, not judges. Repercussions for the bans went beyond a marriage ceremony, extending from birth to death. Ohio’s ban kept the state from recognizing official documents like birth and death certificates on marriages performed in other states.

Cincinnati also had a much more personal connection with the fight. Several of the plaintiffs whose cases were heard by the Supreme Court live here. Despite residing in one of the final 13 states barring gay marriage, they said they feel welcomed and supported by their city. That’s a big change from just a decade ago. Even after the decision, however, controversy dragged on. A county clerk in Rowan County, Ky. named Kim Davis refused to issue marriage licenses following the Supreme Court’s decision, even after federal courts told her to stand down. Davis became a national symbol for those who refused to accept same-sex marriage rights. Davis was briefly jailed, and other clerks in her office eventually began issuing the licenses despite her refusal to do so. Despite resistance from a few, however, the plaintiffs who challenged Ohio and other states’ gay marriage bans will forever be a part of a court case that made history and extended marriage equality to all LGBT couples. “It’s hard for me to emotionally grasp that,” plaintiff Jim Obergefell said before the historic decision. Because his particular suit against Ohio had the lowest case number, the case before the Supreme Court, Obergefell v. Hodges, bears his name. “On an intellectual level, I do a little, but it just doesn’t seem real.” ©

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THE YEAR IN PHOTOS 2015 ALL PHOTOS BY JESSE FOX

Cincinnati Film Society’s Latria Roberts, issue of March 18

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Bully at MOTR Pub, MidPoint Music Festival 2015

Maribelle’s eat + drink chef Mike Florea, issue of April 7

Dream Tiger’s Liz Wolf from “Best New Bands 2015,” issue of Jan. 14

Ladyfest Cincinnati co-founders Ashley Bowman, Abiyah, Rachelle Caplan and Ava Roberts, issue of Oct. 7

Cover art for “Where My Grrrls At?,” issue of Oct. 7

Costume and wig engineer Stacey Vest from “Love List 2015,” issue of Feb. 4

Diet Cig, MidPoint Music Festival 2015 online exclusive

Wonky Tonk’s Jasmine Poole, issue of Nov. 4


C. Jacqueline Wood and her mini microcinema, issue of July 1

A seafood boil from “Summer Guide,” issue of June 10

Twin Peaks, issue of June 17

“The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Food,” issue of Nov. 25

Presents for her from the “Gift Guide,” issue of Nov. 18

Mark Mothersbaugh, issue of Sept. 23

Leelah Alcorn vigil, issue of Jan. 7

Chef Molly Costello, issue of March 11

Cyclone Christiaan Minella, issue of Nov. 11

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Cover art from CityBeat’s Annual Manual 2015-16


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BARS / BOOZE An Elegant Affair: Igby’s New Year’s Eve Celebration Welcome the new year in style. Get a bottle of Perrier Jouet Grand Brut Champagne for $65, raise your glass and toast to 2016. 9 p.m. $20. Igby’s, 122 E. Sixth St., Downtown, 513-2464396, igbysbar.com. Bobby Mackey’s New Year’s Eve Party Do ghosts celebrate the New Year? Find out at Bobby Mackey’s annual New Year’s Eve Party, featuring live music from Bobby Mackey and the Best Damn Band. No reservations required. 9 p.m. $6. 21 and up; $11 guests 18 to 20. Bobby Mackey’s Music World, 44 Licking Pike, Wilder, Ky., 859-431-5588. Hometown New Year’s Eve at Hebron Grille Whittle down the hours with a steak and lobster dinner, live music from Dave May and a champagne toast at midnight. Take home door prizes every hour from Rhinegeist, Verona Vineyards and more. 6 p.m. $15. Hebron Grille, 1960 N. Bend Road, Hebron, Ky., 859-586-0473, facebook.com/hebrongrille. Mount Adams Pavilion’s New Year’s Eve Ball Two DJs on two levels provide music throughout the evening. Guests receive party favors, access to a complimentary hors d’oeuvres buffet and — of course — champagne to toast. 9 p.m.-2:30 a.m. $30; $40 at door. Mount Adams Pavilion, 949 Pavilion St., Mount Adams, facebook.com/mountadamspavilion. Mynt Martini The night features a balloon drop, a champagne toast and music by Davey C. and DJ Surge. 8 p.m. $25. Mynt Martini, 28 Fountain

Square Place, Downtown, 513-621-6968, myntcincinnati.com. Newport Syndicate Celebrate with The Rusty Griswolds, Gangsters Dueling Piano Bar and Q102’s Mark McFadden. 7 p.m.-1 a.m. Tickets start at $80. Newport Syndicate, 18 E. Fifth St., Newport, Ky., 859491-8000, newportsyndicate.com. New Year’s Eve at The Lackman No cover charge and $5 Bulleit cocktails all night long. 9 p.m. Free entry. The Lackman, 1237 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-0741, facebook.com/thelackman. NYE at Rhinegeist Brewery Rhinegeist rings in the New Year with DJs in the Tap Room and a Special Event Space. 9 p.m.-1 a.m. $15. Rhinegeist Brewery, 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-1367, rhinegeist.com. New Year’s Eve Bash with Stone Mountain Mafia Buzzard Bay Pub hosts a party with music from Stone Mountain Mafia. 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Buzzard Bay Pub, 7121 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, 513-714-4490, buzzardbaypub.com. Taft’s New Year’s Eve Bash Taft’s Ale House hosts its inaugural New Year’s Bash with live music by the Eden Park Band and a rare beer tapping at midnight ­— the brewery has teamed up with Taste of Belgium to created a special waffle-based beer for the bash. 7 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Tickets start at $35. Taft’s Ale House, 1429 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-334-1393, taftsalehouse.com.

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Banana Leaf Modern Thai Receive a complimentary glass of champagne with purchase of an entrée or dessert. 7 p.m. Prices vary. Banana Leaf Modern Thai, 101 E. Main St., Mason, 513-234-0779, bananaleafmodernthai.com. Cafe Mediterranean Featuring a fixed five-course menu. 7 p.m. $45. Cafe Mediterranean, 3520 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-871-8714, cafe-mediterranean.com. Grandview Tavern & Grille Surf & turf, braised short ribs and

potato-chip-encrusted sea bass in addition to special appetizers and desserts and a champagne toast at midnight. Live music by Legato. 7 p.m. Prices vary. 2220 Grandview Drive, Fort Mitchell, Ky., 859-341-8439, grandviewtaverngrille.com. Midnight in Munich Celebrate NYE with our sister city, Munich. Features a traditional German buffet with roasted pig and includes entertainment, a champagne toast, appetizers, dinner and desserts. 5 p.m. Prices vary. Mecklenburg Gardens, 302 E. University Ave., Corryville, 513-221-5353. The Presidents Room An optional five-course tasting menu accompanies live music and a champagne toast. 7 p.m. Prices vary. The Presidents Room, The Phoenix, 812 Race St., Downtown, 513-7212260, thephx.com.

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A Bright New Year Beer Dinner Make your last meal of 2015 a four-course beer dinner consisting of familiar foods with a twist. Each course is paired with Fifty West brews, including a special pilsner released for the New Year. 6-9 p.m. $59. Fifty West Brewing Company, 7668 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, 513-834-8789, fiftywestbrew.com.


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Great Parks’ Family New Year’s Eve Celebration Great Parks of Hamilton County hosts a nature-themed party with music, games and crafts. The day begins with animal programs and entertainment by John Louis of On the Edge of Illusion, followed by a ball drop at 7 p.m. 4-7 p.m. $6. Woodward Mound, Seasongood Nature Center, 8250 Old Kellogg Road, Anderson, greatparks.org.

plus tax

Family New Year’s Eve Celebration in Anderson Township A kid-friendly party with games, crafts, music, food trucks and live animals. 4-7 p.m. $6; valid Hamilton County Motor Vehicle Permit required. Woodland Mound, 8250 Old Kellogg Road, Anderson, 513-521-7275.

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Happy Zoo Year The wildest celebration in Cincinnati with an early countdown to 2016. A show by Madcap Puppets and a meet-and-greet with Father Time and Baby ZOO Year preface a ball drop and Rozzi fireworks display. Zoo open 5-9 p.m.; New Year’s activities begin at 8:30 p.m. $18 adults; $12 children and seniors; $9 parking. Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale, 513-281-4700, cincinnatizoo.org.

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Holiday in Lights Festive displays line a mile-long road through Sharon Woods. Falling snowflakes, menorahs, Santa Claus and other scenes and characters keep the spirit of the holidays around a little longer; you’ll also spot New Year’s displays. Through Jan. 2. $13 per vehicle. Sharon Woods, 11450 Lebanon Road, Sharonville, 513-5217275, holidayinlights.com. Huntington Bank New Year’s Eve Blast Dance, skate and celebrate on Fountain Square with Jay Kruz from Mix 94.9 and DJ Tweet. Hop on the stage every half hour to participate in

eclectic games or rent a pair of skates and count down to midnight on the ice. A Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks display rings in 2016. 8 p.m.-1 a.m.; ice rink opens 9 a.m. Free (skate rental fees apply). Fountain Square, 520 Vine St., Downtown, 513-621-4400, myfountainsquare.com. International New Year’s Eve Celebration at the Museum Have your kids celebrate the New Year by traveling the world at the Cincinnati Museum. They’ll get their passports stamped as they learn how the holiday is celebrated in countries around the world through games, music and crafts. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate, 513-287-7001, cincymuseum.org. New Year’s Eve Kids Cruise Set sail with your kids and celebrate 2016 a little early. This BB Riverboats cruise includes party favors, a lunch buffet, a DJ and familyfriendly activities. Expect to meet a few pirates, princesses and super heroes. Boarding begins at 10:30 a.m.; cruise 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. $35 adults; $26 children. BB Riverboats, 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., 800-261-8586, bbriverboats.com. Perfect North’s New Year’s Eve Celebration Begin 2016 on the slopes. Perfect North says open until 1 a.m., allowing you to ski, snowboard and snow tube well into the night. Take a break in the lounge, where a DJ performs all evening, and watch ski instructors and patrol navigate the slopes during a torchlight parade. A fireworks display begins promptly at midnight. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. Tickets begin at $25. Perfect North Slopes, 19074 Perfect Place Lane, Lawrenceburg, Ind., 812-537-3754, perfectnorth.com.

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LIVE MUSIC /  CONCERT S Clutch: Psychic Warfare World Tour Clutch and Crobot play in the New Year at Bogart’s. 8 p.m. $29.50. Bogart’s, 2621 Vine St., Corryville, 513-872-8801, bogarts.com. Fly Me to the Moon New Year’s Eve Concert A New Year’s Eve concert that simultaneously celebrates Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday. The Pops and singer Tony DeSare perform familiar Sinatra hits including “Luck Be a Lady,” “New York, New York,” “Come Fly with Me” and many others. 8 p.m. $20-$95. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-3300, cincinnatisymphony.org. New Year’s Eve Blues Blast Light snacks, a champagne toast, party favors and music by The Eric Leyton Band, Prestige Grease and The Blues Express. 9 p.m. $10; $15 day of show. Southgate House Revival, 111 E. Sixth St., Newport, Ky., 859-431-2201, southgatehouse.com. New Year’s Eve with Naked Karate Girls DJ Toad, cocktails, a full dinner buffet and dessert bar and live music by the Naked Karate Girls Band. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. $99; VIP packages available. Receptions Loveland, 10681 Loveland Madeira Road, Loveland, 513-697-8999.

New Year’s Eve with Second Wind Band A full dinner buffet, cocktails, a late-night chili bar and more in addition to live music by Second Wind Band. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. $80. Receptions Fairfield, 5975 Boymel Drive, Fairfield, 513-860-6460. New Year’s Eve Music at the Hilton Netherland Music by the James Hart Quintet all night long. 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, 35 W. Fifth St., Downtown, 513-421-9100. Rumpke Mountain Boys’ Grateful New Year’s Eve Ball Rumpke Mountain Boys play the Thompson House. 8 p.m.-2 a.m. $25. The Thompson House, 24 E. Third St., Newport, Ky., 859-2617469, thompsonhousenewport.com. Tweens New Year’s Eve @ The Comet Tweens performs its first set in months, plus burritos and plenty of drinks. 9 p.m. Free admission. The Comet, 4579 Hamilton Ave., Hamilton, 513-541-8900, cometbar.com. The Werks 10 Year Anniversary NYE The Werks with Pink Talking Fish and Peridoni. 9 p.m. $20. Madison Theater, 730 Madison Ave., Covington, Ky., 859-491-2444, madisontheateronline.com.

February 6 / 8-11pm / Bertke Electric Warehouse

Best of Cincinnati

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March 30 / Horseshoe Casino

e h t e v a S dates! Know Theat re and Cit yBeat’s New Year’s Eve Speakeasy Part y


PARTIES / EVENT S 20th Century Theater 2016 New Year’s Party Live music by The Almighty Get Down and The High Definitions, plus food and a champagne toast at midnight. 7:30 p.m. $25; $30 day of show. 20th Century Theater, 3021 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-731-8000, 20thcenturytheatre.com.

in the Sky Art Gallery. Mix your own drink by pedaling a stationary bike, imbibe at a bar on the elevator and receive a complementary champagne toast at midnight. Special guest DJ Karnage. 9 p.m.-1:30 a.m. $75. Contemporary Arts Center, 44 E. Sixth St., Downtown, 513345-8400, contemporaryartscenter.org.

Axis Alley New Year’s Eve Bowling and shoe rental, appetizers, three well drinks per person and party favors. A family-friendly party takes place 11 a.m.-7 p.m. with pizza and soft drinks; tickets are $16.99. 9 p.m. $65. Axis Alley, Newport on the Levee, 1 Levee Way, Newport, Ky., 859652-7250, axisalleylevee.com.

NYE with Andy Woodhull at Go Bananas Club favorite Andy Woodhull — who has appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Conan and Comics Unleashed — counts down to the new year with prizes and jokes while audience members receive party favors, snack plates and bottles of champagne. 7:30 and 10 p.m. $20 for 7:30 p.m. show; $40 for 10 p.m. show. Go Bananas Comedy Club, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, 513-9849288, gobananascomedy.com.

Ball of the Beasts This party transforms the sanctuary space of Urban Artifact brewery into a zone of intrigue and mystery. Drawing inspiration from the historical wedding of Charles VI at the Bal des Ardents, at which revelers wore masks in order to hide their desires and act them out in public, the Ball of the Beasts masquerade encourages guests to become birds, beasts, lovers or mythical creatures. 8 p.m. $65 (all you can drink); $15 designated driver. Urban Artifact, 1660 Blue Rock Road, Northside, ballofthebeasts.bpt.me. BB Riverboats New Year’s Eve Cruise Sail into the new year full-steam ahead. The cruise includes a three-entrée buffet, party favors, entertainment, a late-night snack buffet and the main event — a split of champagne at midnight. Boarding begins at 8 p.m.; cruise 9 p.m.-1 a.m. $105 adults; $65 children. BB Riverboats, 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., 800-261-8586, bbriverboats.com. First Midnight New Year’s Eve Party at Horseshoe Casino Your ticket buys you three drinks, a glass of champagne at midnight and a 10-percent discount on the casino’s New Year’s Day buffet. 10 p.m.-2 a.m. $50. Horseshoe Casino, 1000 Broadway St., Downtown, 513-252-0777, caesars.com/horseshoe-cincinnati.

Night at the Museum The Contemporary Arts Center hosts a party

NYE with Guy Torry at Funny Bone Spend the last few hours of the year laughing with comedian and actor Guy Torry, who performs stand-up around the world and has appeared on Comedy Central and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. 21 and over. 8 and 10:30 p.m. $20 8 p.m. show; $25 10:30 p.m. show. Funny Bone on the Levee, 1 Levee Way, Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., 859-957-2000, levee.funnybone.com. Q102’s New Year’s 2016 at The Madison Q102 takes over the event center with their popular New Year’s Eve bash, featuring three floors of entertainment and live music by My Sister Sarah. Guests enjoy a full buffet dinner and drinks and a midnight breakfast buffet. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. $99; VIP packages available. The Madison Event Center, 700 Madison Ave., Covington, Ky., 859-261-1117, thecovingtonmadison.com. Silvestertanz: German New Year’s Eve A German-style celebration that includes assorted hors d’oeuvres and live music by Alpen Echos. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. $25. Donauschwaben Haus, 4290 Dry Ridge Road, Colerain Township, 513-385-2098, cincydonau.com. Star Wars at Springdale 18 Use The Force to raise your glass at midnight. Wrap up 2015 with a screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens; then watch the ball drop on the big screen. Ticket price also includes a champagne toast and dessert reception. Movie begins at 9:05 p.m. $20.16. Springdale 18: Cinema de Lux, 12064 Springfield Pike, Springdale, showcasecinemas.com. Venue Cincinnati’s New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball A sit-down dinner, party favors, a champagne toast and Electronic music by DV8. 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Tickets start at $25. The Venue Cincinnati, 9980 Kings Auto Mall, Mason, 513-239-5009, thevenuecincinnati.com.

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Know Theatre and CityBeat’s New Year’s Eve Speakeasy Party Put on your flapper dresses and fedoras for CityBeat and Know Theatre’s annual underground New Year’s Eve speakeasy bash: With coppers cracking down on the bootleggin’ be sure you’re not followed and get ready to party like it’s 1923. Attendees can look forward to raucous back-room games, tasty appetizers and tons of giggle juice like martinis, sidecars and Manhattans to boot! Complimentary champagne toast at midnight. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. $40; $60 at the door. Know Theatre, 1120 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-300-5669, knowtheatre.com.

December 31st | 8Pm


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WEDNESDAY 23

HOLIDAY: EVERY CHRISTMAS STORY EVER TOLD (AND THEN SOME!) If you’re weary of the avalanche of “beloved holiday classics” this time of year, here’s your show. A couple of actors revolt and refuse to perform another retelling of A Christmas Carol. Instead, they trot out every “BHC” — aka “Beloved Holiday Classic” — they can think of and (for 90 minutes) poke fun at the holidays. This is Cincy Shakes’ 10th time staging the show; it’s enlivened with references to the past year’s news and events. Shows often sell out, so call soon to see Rudolph, Frosty, Charlie Brown, Mr. Grinch, George Bailey and — of course — Ebenezer Scrooge get their chestnuts roasted. Through Dec. 27. $30. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 719 Race St., Downtown, 513-381-2273, cincyshakes.com. — RICK PENDER ART: LOOK HERE! Look Here!, an outdoor site-specific photo installation project throughout Overthe-Rhine, features 70 captioned historic photographs juxtaposed with their current locations to allow viewers to compare the past and present of the neighborhood. The images turn OTR into a large-scale outdoor museum, encouraging historic preservation and adding to the existing cultural vibrancy of the neighborhood. According to exhibit curator Anne Delano Steinert, “As buildings are rehabilitated and new users join long-established residents, it is important to root the present in an understanding of the past.” It’s also something free to do with the fam and open 24/7, even during the holiday weekend. On view through March 2016. Free. Over-the-Rhine. Map of images available lookhereotr.org. — MAIJA ZUMMO

HOLIDAY: KROHN BY CANDLELIGHT Twinkling and whimsical lights take over Krohn Conservatory at night as guests enjoy the current The Poinsettia Express exhibit by candlelight during select evening hours. There will be live music, a visit from Santa, free holiday photo opps and holiday greeting-card-making stations. The Poinsettia Express sets the stage with a festive floral display, with toy trains, snowy model villages and other holiday cheer. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday. The Poinsettia Express is on view through Jan. 3. $7 adults; $4 youth. Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park, cincinnatiparks.org. — MAIJA ZUMMO

Accompanying the document in the Freedom Center exhibition are illustrations from political magazine Harper’s Weekly published in 1863. Through June 2016. $15 adults; $13 seniors; $10.50 children 12 and under. National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, 50 E. Freedom Way, Downtown, 513-333-7739, freedomcenter.org. — EMILY BEGLEY HOLIDAY: SANTA’S WORKSHOP FEATURING THE SHILLITO’S ELVES A piece of Cincinnati nostalgia is on display again for the holidays. The Shillito’s Elves, first displayed in Shillito’s Department Store windows in 1979, are back and helping Santa build toys in his workshop. These handcrafted figures

— both animatronic and stationary — are sweetly nestled in a holiday vignette, open for public viewing to charm children and new viewers and rekindle classic holiday spirit for those who remember the original displays. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday-Sunday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday; closed Christmas Day. $4. 6940 Madisonville Road, Mariemont, thesantaworkshop.com. — MAIJA ZUMMO COMEDY: GABE KEA Gabe Kea is excited to be headlining shows during Christmas week at Go Bananas. “Those shows tend to always be good shows,” he says. “People are in town, family and friends go out together.” The St. Louis native has been based in Cincinnati

for several years now and recently started a family. “My girlfriend and I recently got engaged and we have a 4-month-old baby girl. It’s definitely a change of lifestyle, as it is for anyone with a newborn.” Kea took time off over the past few months, but he’s back on the road in the new year. Showtimes Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. $8-$14. Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, 513-984-9288, gobananascomedy.com. — P.F. WILSON

THURSDAY 24

EVENT: LATKAPALOOZA Got plans Christmas Eve? The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati’s Young Adult CONTINUES ON PAGE 24

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ATTRACTION: EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION EXHIBITION AT THE FREEDOM CENTER For a limited time, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is exhibiting a rare copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln. Penned by then-president Lincoln in 1863, the document states that “all persons held as slaves … are, and henceforward shall be free,” paving the way for the ratification of the 13th Amendment, which formally abolished slavery across the United States in 1865. Only 26 copies of the Proclamation are known to exist today, of which only nine signed by Lincoln have sold publicly within the last 40 years.

WEDNESDAY 23


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FRIDAY 25

MUSIC: THE GUITARS There aren’t many live music options on Christmas night, which is great for the hard-working bar/club employees who deserve a night off, but not awesome for those looking for a respite from their family or those spending the holidays alone. But MOTR Pub will be rockin’ with the holiday spirit again this year as Cincy band The Guitars return to the club for its fifth-annual Christmas-night show. The band released a fantastic holiday-themed EP, A Very Guitars Christmas, in 2009, which features the group’s renditions of contemporary Christmas classics like “Run, Rudolph, Run,” “Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)” and The Sonics’ “Don’t Believe in Christmas.” The Guitars members have been busy with other projects, but have two releases in the works — a four-song EP and an album of covers of famed Italian film soundtrack composers. 10 p.m. Friday. Free. MOTR Pub, 1345 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, motrpub.com. — MIKE BREEN

FROM PAGE 23

Division and the Mayerson JCC host their annual Latkapalooza party. When everything else is closed, skip the Szechuan and sweats and head to Taft’s Ale House for drink specials, door prizes and mixing and mingling with the Chosen People. Open to ages 21-45. Text TAFT to 313131 to RSVP. 8:30 p.m. Thursday. Free. Taft’s Ale House, 1429 Race St., Over-theRhine, facebook.com/jewishcincinnati. — MAIJA ZUMMO

SATURDAY 26

HOLIDAY: KWANZAA EXTRAVAGANZA The Cincinnati Citywide Kwanzaa Committee hosts a seven-day Kwanzaa celebration to honor the family values of remembering the past, repairing the present and preserving the future. The pan-African celebration of ancestry, family, culture and community was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor of African studies, activist and author,

who encouraged the observance of seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. The events will be held at various locations around the city from Saturday through Jan. 1. For more information and locations, call 513-742-2808. — MAIJA ZUMMO ART: THE CINCINNATI ART MUSEUM’S REOPENED THIRDFLOOR GALLERIES The Cincinnati Art Museum opened galleries 103-105 on the first floor to the public for the first time this past fall, providing curators with another dedicated space to showcase artwork from the institution’s vast permanent collection. The Antiquities and Cincinnati Wing galleries on the first floor were also recently renovated, but the big recent to-do is that the CAM has finally reopened the third floor, which closed in the fall of 2012 to facilitate the move of staff members and the content of the Schiff Library and Archives into the Longworth Wing. Twenty works by such living


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artists as Ellsworth Kelly, Mary Miss and Ana England — whose commissioned large-scale ceramic installation is displayed — will be on view in the recently reopened third-floor galleries, which also includes new juxtapositions and labeling. Museum hours 11 a.m.-5 p.m. TuesdaySunday. Closed Christmas Day. Free admission. 953 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams, cincinnatiartmuseum. org. — MARIA SEDA-REEDER

ONGOING ONSTAGE The Nutcracker The Aronoff Center, Downtown (through Dec. 27) A Christmas Carol Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Mount Adams (through Dec. 30)

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SPORTS: HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS The Harlem Globetrotters are celebrating their 90th anniversary, and they’re bringing the party to the Queen City. This isn’t your average basketball game; expect tricks, bits, stunts and suspense as the team delves into the match with its iconic artistry and humor. Make sure to stick around after the game — the Globetrotters’ stars will sign autographs, take photos and — if you’re lucky — engage in a high-five session. 2 and 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 30. $21.50-$48.50. U.S. Bank Arena, 100 Broadway St., Downtown, 513-421-4111, harlemglobetrotters.com. — EMILY BEGLEY


arts & culture

Year in Review: Visual Arts

Mapplethorpe, James Brown, North American Indians: Cincinnati visual-arts highlights BY STEVEN ROSEN

PHOTO : J. Miles Wolf

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O

f all the things that occurred in the visual arts here during 2015, the one that stands out the most for me isn’t a museum exhibition or gallery show, but rather a statistic. In November of this year, the Contemporary Arts Center sold 100 new memberships, compared to just 40 for the same month in 2014. That’s a 150-percent increase, and a sizeable portion of it is due to Andres Serrano. He gave a slideshow lecture exclusively for members at the Nov. 6 opening of After the Moment: Reflections on Robert Mapplethorpe. The CAC sold 54 memberships the week before and 10 the night of his appearance. That’s right, the same Serrano who so riled religious conservatives and anti-pornography extremists — the kind of people who once thought they could dictate Cincinnati’s cultural standards — back in the 1980s with his “Piss Christ” photograph of a plastic crucifix submerged in a glass of his own urine. Serrano has become what he himself has called a bad boy of the art world, with subsequent provocative series devoted to the Ku Klux Klan, menstrual blood, the morgue and feces. Those were all the subjects of his presentation — slides accompanied with a droll, deadpan wit that was more appreciated than some of the images (although “Piss Christ” will always be eerily beautiful). But what’s important here is the demand for tickets — memberships! — just to see him. Overall, the CAC’s attendance is up over last year. November alone brought 6,504 people to galleries or to participate in any program, event or performance. That’s versus 3,134 in November 2014. In a city where too often in the past an arts institution’s programming decisions have been made with a certain caution, the CAC embraced the sometimes-outrageous edginess of contemporary art and found a pent-up craving. (The Mark Mothersbaugh show was also an attendance draw, and the CAC believes its new lobby café was a prime lure.) The CAC also — with a huge assist from FotoFocus — fiercely embraced the 25th anniversary of having shown Mapplethorpe’s The Perfect Moment in 1990 (and, in doing so, beating obscenity charges brought by censorious county officials). Although I had to miss the October Mapplethorpe +25 symposium the museum co-sponsored with FotoFocus, by all reports it was consistently packed with the curious and full of insights. Cincinnati clearly now has a new gen­ eration of art lovers who view Mapplethorpe, Serrano and other artists who break

the rules as patron saints. And the CAC benefited from that greatly in 2015. Meanwhile, the two other major art museums had good if quieter years, too. The Cincinnati Art Museum is on track to top its attendance of the last calendar year (176,530) and thus reverse a two-year decline. Already, its 2014-2015 fiscal year attendance (September to July) of 179,099 was higher than the previous one. The Art Museum in 2015 opened a series of first-rate, beautifully installed and intellectually substantial exhibitions — some traveling, some curated in-house. Several still are up and should be seen by all, including High Style: 20th Century Masterworks from the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection, Field Guide: Photographs by Jochen Lempert and Masterpieces of Japanese Art. Add to those several newly renovated (or newly created) galleries, and this is a place working well. I do wish the Schmidlapp Gallery — displaying “iconic” pieces from all collections — were instead used to showcase new contemporary acquisitions. It would complement existing contemporary art on the justreopened third floor. But all things in time. Meanwhile, the Taft Museum of Art is projecting an increase in total attendance (54,600), special exhibition attendance (23,500) and memberships (2,200) from the previous calendar year. This is especially

James Brown is immortalized in Jenny Ustick’s “Mr. Dynamite,” located at 1437 Main St.

heartening because even though the Taft’s roots give it a patrician aura, it stressed inclusiveness and diversity in two fine special exhibitions this year — Enduring Spirit: Edward Curtis and the North American Indians and the current Heroism in Paint: A Master Series by Jacob Lawrence. Moving outside the museums, it was good to see Michael Solway — director of the Carl Solway Gallery — continue to make an impact here. Not just at his own space, but also as a guest curator. At the nonprofit Weston Gallery, he not only put together an excellent multi-artist show called By This River, but arranged for one of its participants — the Fluxus pioneer Benjamin Patterson — to come to Cincinnati to perform on opening night. (His 1962 installation “Pond” was in the show.) I wish I could say it’s been a great year for everyone in the arts, but semantics departed from its Brighton District space of 18 years. The co-op gallery had been a constant there while so many other alternative art spaces have come and gone from the area. While Andy Marko of semantics says to expect future pop-up shows and maybe something more permanent in 2016, right now there’s a hole in the heart of Cincinnati’s arts scene. And yet, the alternative arts are staying alive. Camp Washington’s Wave Pool

had a number of good shows and events in 2015, including summer walking trips led by Bay Area artists Stairwell’s and a May show, Heirloom, organized by Cincinnati’s Near*by Collective, in which artists chose an object from their childhood home that meaningfully affected them. Elsewhere, C. Jacqueline Wood’s microcinema at People’s Liberty Globe Gallery woke up many to the need here to take film more seriously as art. On the public mural front, ArtWorks has really found its groove with the Cincinnati Heritage/Local Legends outdoor wall murals that have a boldly graphic Pop Art sensibility and pop culture subject matter. That breakthrough came last year with designer/lead artist Jason Snell’s “The Cincinnati Strong Man: Henry Holtgrewe” in Over-the-Rhine. It continued this year with two more in OTR — Snell’s “The Cincinnati Cobra” tribute to boxer Ezzard Charles, and Jenny Ustick’s tribute to King Records hit-maker James Brown, “Mr. Dynamite.” From what I hear, ArtWorks is being deluged with ideas for other cultural and “people’s history” murals. How about Mapplethorpe? CONTACT STEVEN ROSEN: srosen@ citbeat.com


A&C ONSTAGE

Shows You Should Have Seen in 2015, Plus New and Expanding Theaters BY RICK PENDER

If you went to see theater locally during 2015, you had a lot to choose from. Here are the shows that I particularly admired and some of the reasons why. If you didn’t see them, I hope this inspires you to add some productions to your 2016 calendar at our excellent local theaters. The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park has been honored with two Tony Awards, a feat matched by only a few regional theaters. Peter and the Starcatcher, the inventive Peter Pan prequel that won the 2012 Tony

Peter and the Starcatcher P H O T O : S a n dy U n d e r w oo d

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Award, had a national tour. But thanks to the tenacity of the Playhouse’s Blake Robison, we had a locally mounted production (March-April) that used numerous storytelling tricks rather than special effects. It was a fine example of the family-friendly shows Robison presents regularly at the Playhouse. Robison has also shown a commitment to produce plays by women, giving many new works their premiere or early productions. A perfect example was the Playhouse’s September-October production of Laura Eason’s Sex with Strangers, a witty script about writers — one male, one female — on divergent literary paths. In a production staged by KJ Sanchez (a female director), the characters collide in ways that are humorous, provocative and thoroughly entertaining. At Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, D. Lynn Meyers sustained her track record of shows that audiences love. (So strong is the faith of ETC’s subscribers that many sign up for the season before it’s announced by Meyers.) John Patrick Shanley’s Outside Mullingar (presented in May) told an emotional story of love, land and respect for aging in contemporary Ireland. Meyers recruited retired Playhouse artistic director Ed Stern to stage it; he landed two stage veterans, Dale Hodges and Joneal Joplin, and paired them with two

regulars from Cincinnati Shakeseldom-produced story of America’s foundspeare Company, Brian Isaac ers. This fall, the Incline began offering Phillips (Cincy Shakes artistic more adult fare, including William Masdirector) and Jennifer Joplin trosimone’s searing drama, Extremities, (Joneal’s daughter). and a just-concluded production of Rent, a In September, Meyers opened 20-year-old musical that’s still timely with ETC’s 2015-2016 season with messages about poverty and creativity. Rebecca Gilman’s Luna Gale, CLP’s success with its new venue was a the troubling story of a beleaharbinger of exciting developments by other guered social worker (played theater companies. In November, Cincinwith weariness and integrity by nati Shakespeare announced its plans for ETC veteran Annie Fitzpatrick) a theater to be built at 12th and Elm streets navigating a tugin Over-the-Rhine. Seating will expand from of-war over a baby 150 to 244. Demolition of the former Drop between her drugInn Center begins in January; construction Death of a Salesman addicted parents starts in April, and the facility is expected PHOTO : Mikki Schaffner and her fundamento be ready in time for the 2017-2018 season. talist grandmother. Even sooner, the Children’s Theatre Mohlenhoff (who happens to be his wife) With no easy answers offered, it of Cincinnati is presently putting the about a strangely evolved future America exemplified the kind of thoughtfinishing touches on its new facility at where women are used for compulsive breedprovoking and socially relevant 4015 Red Bank Road in Hyde Park. For ing. They teamed again for a compelling and stories at which Meyers excels. the first time, the company will have its fully staged production at Know. Cincinnati Shakespeare own 150-seat performance space. Main The other show that landed on Know’s Company remains steadfastly productions for kids will continue at the stage after a development process across the committed to the Bard, but its Taft Theatre downtown. And Ensemble United States was Hundred Days, a Rock scope is broader. They staged Theatre, marking its 30th season this & Roll folk opera performed in August by Richard Bean’s hilarious farce, year, has announced that it is in the final singer-songwriters Shaun and Abigail BengOne Man, Two Guvnors stages of fundraising for its long-awaited son. Their piece, an inventive blend of sto(June-July), derived from a work rytelling and moving Alt-Rock by 18th-century playwright songs, was cultivated in fringe Carlo Goldoni, and Arthur festivals here and elsewhere, Miller’s 1949 tragedy, Death of with staging by two-time Obie a Salesman (October-November). The latter Award winner Anne Kauffman. starred Bruce Cromer, one of the best actors Smaller companies doing in Southwest Ohio, as Willy Loman, a broken noteworthy work included Clifman clinging desperately to a career in which ton Players, local professionals he was never really very good. who crowd into a basement Know Theatre, the producer of the space on Ludlow Avenue to Cincinnati Fringe Festival, had good luck perform challenging shows like with several imported shows. One was The Tracy Letts’ August: Osage Handmaid’s Tale (January-February), County (February-March), and Joe Stollenwerk’s adaptation of Margaret Diogenes Theatre Company, Atwood’s novel. In 2011, Cincy Shakes’ artiswhich staged a thrilling psychotic director Brian Isaac Phillips workshopped logical drama, Ariel Dorfman’s The Producers the one-woman script with actress Corinne Death and the PHOTO : Mikki Schaffner Maiden (April). Both groups set high standards for expansion of its Over-the-Rhine footprint compelling theater. and capacity on Vine Street. Theater real estate is also Finally, New Edgecliff Theatre, which booming. Cincinnati Landplanned to perform at Urban Artifact, is still mark Productions built and at loose ends due to delays in finishing and opened — on schedule — its soundproofing the sanctuary space. Nevernew venue, the Warsaw theless, they staged a powerful production of Federal Incline Theater Terrence McNally’s romantic drama Frankie in East Price Hill. (CLP also and Johnny in the Clair de Lune in a makeoperates the Covedale Center.) shift space in Walnut Hills’ Essex Studios in The Incline had a remarkable September featuring strong performances by summer, selling out three Sara Mackie and Dylan Shelton. productions, including The Producers (June), a showbiz Sex with Strangers PHOTO : Mikki Schaffner satire, and 1776 (July), the CONTACT RICK PENDER: rpender@citbeat.com


A&C DANCe

Eye-Catching Companies and Performers of 2015

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BY KATHY VALIN

Executive Director Kim Popa’s favorite It was a busy year for dance in Cincinnati. Pones activity during 2015 has not been a sinLast February, Cincinnati Ballet’s imaggle performance, but the company’s partnerinative, family-friendly Alice (in Wondership with the Cincinnati Arts Association to land) boasted the largest paid attendance in create a pilot program called Arts in Healing, the company’s history of subscription-series designed to help veterans in Cincinnati’s VA productions. In March, Adam Hougland’s Hospital’s Treatment and Recovery Activity Mozart’s Requiem, a serious, full-length Center better cope with life’s challenges. contemporary ballet, was memorable to me During 2015, MamLuft&Co. Dance, for its passion and virtuosity. Cincinnati’s resident modern dance company, When asked for her personal favorite of the moved into its ninth season. Artistic and Ballet’s programming in 2015, Artistic DirecExecutive Director Jeanne Mam-Luft singles tor and CEO Victoria Morgan chose May’s Director’s Choice as artistically and choreographically most satisfying for her. The mixed bill featured the sexy, flirtatious “Chasing Squirrel” by Trey McIntyre; “Classical Symphony” by Yuri Possokhov, mixing thrilling academic dance with modern accents; and a sensitive work by Columbus BalletMet artistic director Edwaard Liang. Of course, any mention of Cincinnati Ballet would be remiss without acknowledging world-class contributions from the Cincinnati Symphony Cincinnati Ballet’s Cervilio Miguel Amador and Janessa Touchet Orchestra under the baton of PHOTO : Peter Mueller Cincinnati Ballet Music Director Carmon DeLeone. out the company’s first-ever mixed reperExhale Dance Tribe, founded and tory concert at the Aronoff in January as a directed by Missy Lay Zimmer and Andrew favorite. Four works (The Tragedy of Time, Hubbard to merge Broadway Jazz with Latitude, Maps and /Shift/), all conceptually Contemporary dance styles, celebrated its conceived, were edited down and reprised. 10th anniversary with a concert in Febru“The response to this MamLuft&Co. Dance ary at the Aronoff Center. In addition to in Concert was perhaps the most boisterous the Zimmer/Hubbard crowd fave “Imprint” of recent years,” Mam-Luft says. “I’m glad, to music by Mumford & Sons, highlights because I think it highlighted strength after included “Waiting for Sleep,” a pas de deux strength. We figured out how to capture the by Liz Schmidt performed by New York audience and keep them with us through four University dance student Maggie Westerpieces of a very serious nature.” field and Exhale’s Jacob Thoman in his Contemporary Dance Theater’s Artisfinal Exhale appearance before heading off tic Director Jefferson James was recently to Juilliard in NYC. There were also two joined by Amanda Lopez-Kurtz, who in spiritually inflected works by New Zealand’s August took on the role of executive direcOkareka Dance Company co-directors tor for this longtime dance presenter. Of Taane Mete and Taiaroa Royal. the four companies CDT presented in 2015, Both Zimmer and Hubbard say they espeJames cites the “deliciously witty, impeccially enjoyed the many alumni dancers cably trained” dancers of Paul Taylor Dance who returned as guest artists. Company; the live music, song and dialogue For Pones Inc., which is dedicated to of Chicago’s Lucky Plush Productions; the engaging audiences in new ways, 2015 put imaginative local dance community in the the company very much in the public eye. I annual Area Choreographers Festival; and particularly enjoyed the May/June colthe multi-discipline Everett Dance from laboration with Queen City Flash, a local Providence, Rhode Island, which in Novemflash-mob-style theater company, in Cincy ber took on the unwieldy problem of mass Fringe’s Shelter. Many performances sold incarceration in America. “It’s not a popular out. In September, POV brought audiences or simplistic subject,” James says, “but one along for an exploration of poverty, homeI’m particularly proud that CDT sponsored.” lessness and Over-the-Rhine. Zen and the Art, in October, explored Zen Buddhism and the music of John Cage with concert:nova.

CONTACT KATHY VALIN: letters@ citybeat.com


A&C CLASSICAL MUSIC

This Year’s Winning Classical Collaboration BY ANNE ARENSTEIN

CONTACT ANNE ARENSTEIN: letters@citybeat.com

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included verbally dazzling spoken-word There’s nothing “alleged” about my choice presentations delivered by young artists for 2015’s most exciting Classical music Bri Middlebrooks and Timo Andres. event. No other performance came close to “We didn’t have much time,” Jenkins says. concert:nova’s collaboration with Ele“As soon as we set it, they had to learn it, and mentz’s Studio Kre8v for brilliant musical then we moved on to the next thing.” and dance performances of John’s Book of Dancers and musicians inspired each Alleged Dances by John Adams in April. other’s performances, starting in rehearsal. It was one of the first performances at “Working with live music allowed the dancthe newly renovated Woodward Theater. ers to really engage and say, ‘OK, now I get The sold-out crowd was a demonstration it,’ ” Jenkins says. “Hearing small things of how to draw a widely diverse audience, like the movement of the bow across the who gave the performances a prolonged standing ovation. Adams calls his suite of 10 pieces for string quartet and prepared piano “alleged” because “the steps for them had yet to be invented.” The performances from Studio Kre8v and the Millennium Robots would have changed his mind and maybe even the composition’s title. This marked the first time Hip Hop choreography was set to Adams’ music, and it was so perfect that I was amazed no other choreographer came concert:nova musicians rehearse at Elementz. up with it earlier. The dances PHOTO : Provided seemed to flow organically out of each piece, tapping into the strings got them excited. Me, too!” music’s humor and emotional core. The excitement was clearly shared “Alleged Dances was on my top-10 list from by quartet members Eric Bates, Rachel the inception of concert:nova nine years Frankenfeld, Christian Colberg and Ted ago,” Artistic Director Ixi Chen says via Nelson. Their performance of this challengemail. “Because the music is so rhythmic ing work — what Chen says is one of the and percussive and energetic, we wanted to more difficult scores in chamber repertoire incorporate street-style dance.” — created an extraordinary synthesis of “Many of us saw Elementz’s dancers with music and the movement onstage. the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra or the “More than anything else, we wanted to Cincinnati Ballet, and we immediately knew show that street-style dancing is a living, they’d be a perfect fit,” she continues. breathing, viable art that people put a lot Derrek Burbridge works with Studio of work into developing,” Jenkins says. Kre8v and Julius Jenkins choreographs for “We want audiences to accept street-style Millennium Robots. Both say working with as a dance form that can sustain a show Adams’ 10-part suite and a string quaron its own.” tet was a 180 from working with a large Both Burbridge and Jenkins express orchestra or a ballet company. great pride in their dancers and agree “When we performed with the CSO and that it was transformative for everyone the Ballet, there was a full orchestra with involved. And they want to do it again. percussion and it was easier,” Burbridge Let’s hope that happens. says. “It was also more entertainment at Included in a Vimeo of the performance face value. This was different because we is Mars (Mario Miller) reciting “Purpose,” really did our homework. whose final lines speak to Elementz’s “I just tried to relate to the music,” he says. experience: “Each selection carried a different story, and “So let’s strum our chords/until our that’s what we tried to grasp onto. Before fingers callus/and let’s sound our horns/ we put one step down, we just really tried to and take every challenge/for we are the figure out what made sense to us.” composition/and every vibration/in this For both artists, the priority was to piece/serves its purpose/what’s yours?” showcase as many forms of street culture as possible. “We made all those things fit with the music,” Jenkins says. That


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THE BIG SHORT — Having truly listened to writer-director (and Will Ferrell cohort) Adam McKay during roundtable interviews for The Other Guys, I wasn’t the least bit surprised that he would be interested in tackling this adaptation of Michael Lewis’ book on the insiders who foresaw the financial crisis and took advantage of the situation. McKay’s persona is the perfect mix of broad, engaging comedy and shrewd, probing insight, which would be necessary to explain the largely indecipherable nature of high-finance while distracting audiences from the fact that we were all played for fools. Plus, he’s aided and abetted by Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt, which can’t hurt. (Now open at Mariemont Theatre) — tt stern-enzi (R) Not screened in time for review CONCUSSION — I entered the press screening of Concussion, Peter Landesman’s adaptation of Jeanne Marie Laskas’ GQ article “Game Brain” about the research into the devastating effects of brain damage in football players, with a high degree of skepticism. The NFL has now embraced much of the information originally presented by accomplished pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu (Will Smith), but just how willing would the league be to support a film casting them as a longstanding corporate bad guy, all too eager to keep this damning information hidden from the public? Landesman’s film and Smith’s performance make a compelling case that my cynicism was largely unfounded. The film shines a harsh light on the game, the league and the tragic consequences suffered by a generation of players. (Opens wide Friday) — tts (PG-13) Grade: B+ THE DANISH GIRL — Tom Hooper takes on the David Ebershoff novel inspired by the experiences of Einar (Eddie Redmayne) and Gerda Wegener (Alicia Vikander), married artists whose lives and careers are altered when Einar begins the journey to transition from male to female in the early 1920s. Hooper, known for his mannered and stately work behind the camera in The King’s Speech, offers yet another polite presentation when an appreciation for the passion and the complications of the subject would have better served the material. Of course, this hard knock cannot diminish the powerful performance of Vikander, who far more explicitly renders the emotional complexity of her character, while providing us with parallels to contemporary gender dynamics. (Opens wide Friday) — tts (R) Grade: C+

A&C film

The Top Films of 2015 BY T T STERN-ENZI

tiny space in which they have been imprisLet’s get right to it. oned for his entire life, but the real adventure Youth – Italian writer-director Paolo begins when the pair escapes and must Sorrentino, who won the Foreign Language adjust to life on the outside in director Lenny Oscar for The Great Beauty, returns with Abrahamson’s and screenwriter Emma DonoYouth, the story of a retired conductor ghue’s adaptation of her own novel. (Michael Caine) seeking to enjoy a holiday Beasts of No Nation – Cary Joji Fukuretreat with his best friend (Harvey Keitel) naga presents Uzodinma Iweala’s novel while fending off an invitation to perform Beasts of No Nation as a modern-day take for Queen Elizabeth II. Youth explores on Apocalypse Now, with Agu (newcomer large themes with an artful disinterest that Abraham Attah), a child soldier lured into gradually becomes profoundly moving. committing atrocities in an African civil war Spotlight – Director Tom McCarthy brought to life this true story of The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team’s investigation into the child molestation scandal in the Catholic Archdiocese (and its far-reaching prevalence throughout the entire Church) by immersing us in the dying art of old-school journalism. Spotlight shows us the time and attention to detail that it takes to uncover the truth, which runs counter to the fast, fast pace of the Internet and social-media-driven news cycle. The Revenant – Revenge is The Revenant definitely best served cold, but P H O T O : 2 0 th C e n t u r y F o x Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman) takes that sentiment under the command of a ruthless but beguilfar too literally, creating in The Revenant a ing leader (Idris Elba), as our guide through situation in which the cold frontier environthis dark and seemingly heartless world. ment cannot come close to matching Hugh Son of Saul – Auschwitz and its horrors Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio), an expert guide take on a surprising degree of immediacy in left for dead after a bear mauling, and John first-time director László Nemes’ Son of Saul, Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), the mean-spirited due to his focus on the efforts of a prisoner trapper who not only made the decision to (Géza Röhrig) who, while working to clean leave Glass behind but also killed his son. up the ovens after the repeated cremation of Carol – Todd Haynes has often drifted in Jews, attempts to arrange a proper burial for reveries of the past, where romantic longings a body of a boy he claims as his son. Nemes clash with societal expectations (Far From hitches his camera and our perspective so Heaven). Carol, based on a novel by Patricia tightly to the prisoner that we become him. Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley), far Ex Machina – To my mind, no one has more powerfully engages in the battle as its had a better year than Alicia Vikander, but young heroine (Rooney Mara), a department Alex Garland’s examination of a reclusive store clerk and would-be photographer, finds programmer’s attempts to create self-aware herself taken with an older married woman artificial intelligence (in the captivating (Cate Blanchett) in 1950s New York (played form of Vikander) signaled the arrival of with subtle and knowing nods by Cincinnati). a performer with the sophistication to Brooklyn – John Crowley, working from obliterate any of the silly “It Girl” labels and a screenplay by Nick Hornby, enchants audiassumptions we might try to pin on her. ences with this tale of an Irish immigrant Amy – Music documentaries, from this (Saoirse Ronan) who settles in 1950s New point on, will borrow liberally from the York and struggles to weave herself into the tracks laid down by Asif Kapadia in his fabric of the new world until she falls for stunning examination of the all-too-brief another ethnic striver (Emory Cohen). That life of singer Amy Winehouse. This doc, love gets tested, though, when she is called comprised exclusively of archival footage, back home due to a family emergency and allows Winehouse to speak for herself, and must choose between the old and the new. her testimony is tragic and damning. Room – A mother (Brie Larson) creates a whole world of wonder for her 5-year-old son (Jacob Tremblay) within the confines of the

CONTACT TT STERN-ENZI: letters@ citybeat.com


Welcome to

A&C television

Premieres, Finales and Returning Faves of 2015

Where the locals come to eat, drink and have fun

BY JAC KERN

Best New Shows

events after the mysterious, simultaneous disappearance of 140 million people. The introduction of the Murphy family (especially the talented Regina King) and the mysterious, spiritual land of Jarden, Texas upped the ante in an already complex, thought-provoking story. The Knick – The idea of turn-of-thecentury surgery might be enough to turn your stomach, but director Steven Soderbergh makes it so damn beautiful. The style, the drama and the stellar cast, led by Clive

Best Final Seasons

Best Returning Shows

The Leftovers – A new setting, new characters — hell, even a new intro — shook up this second season, but it all worked in favor of HBO’s The Leftovers, which follows the

CONTACT JAC KERN: jkern@citybeat.com

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The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst – If 2014’s Serial podcast whetted America’s appetite for long-form investigative journalism and the true crime genre, HBO’s The Jinx couldn’t have premiered at a better time. Exploring the life of eccentric Robert Durst and the various crimes he’d been accused of over the past several decades, Andrew Jarecki’s docuseries had us hooked through the finale — which flung Durst out of a TV show and onto the news. And if you enjoy long-form, true crime documentaries that are truly stranger than fiction, look no further than Making a Murderer, a 10-part series that just premiered on Netflix. Master of None – The ending of Parks and Recreation freed up star Aziz Ansari to focus on his own projects, and the result is this semiautobiographical Netflix series he created with Parks’ writer and producer Alan Yang. The whip-smart comedy offers The captivating Bokeem Woodbine (center) wowed in Fargo. PHOTO : Chris L arge/F X an authentic look at life as a Millennial, first-generation American, minority actor and Owen, make The Knick reason alone to New Yorker. subscribe to Cinemax. Better Call Saul – A Breaking Bad Honorable Mentions: Comedy Central’s spinoff starring Walter White’s comedic Broad City, Inside Amy Schumer and attorney? The move was questionable, Nathan For You; The Mindy Project on Fox, even with a built-in audience and the then Hulu; and HBO’s Game of Thrones and talented Bob Odenkirk. But boy, did it Project Greenlight. work. Heisenberg fans and newbies alike can appreciate the sometimes-hilarious, sometimes-tragic underdog story of Jimmy Mad Men – When critics talk about the McGill, aka Saul Goodman. new “Golden Age” of television we’re in right Honorable Mentions: AMC’s Humans, now, AMC’s Mad Men plays a huge part. HBO’s Togetherness, MTV’s Scream, IFC’s From the flawed characters to the flawless Documentary Now! and AMC’s Fear the costumes, the story of Don Draper and Walking Dead. advertising’s heyday (not to mention general 1960s Americana) was endlessly compelling, down to the last drop. Fargo – Inspired by the titular Coen Hannibal – Bryan Fuller’s take on Dr. Brothers’ film, the FX anthology series Lecter never quite got the recognition it cemented its standing with a stellar deserved, but went out in spectacular fashpremiere season in 2014. Season 2 served ion. When you cut past the gruesome murder, as something of a prequel, following Lou Solthe eating of human parts and the impeccaverson (Patrick Wilson; portrayed by Keith bly tailored suits, the NBC series was really Carradine in Season 1) as he juggles orgaa story about Hannibal and Will — and in nized crime activity, decidedly disorganized the end, that was the focus. crime activity, aliens, Ronald Reagan and Honorable Mentions: NBC’s Parentmore. Captivating storytelling and fantastic hood, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, FX’s character acting by way too many stars to Justified and NBC’s Parks and Recreation. list make it a must-see.


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eats

A Year in Reviews

CityBeat dining writers’ favorite stops from 2015 BY CIT YBEAT STAFF

Piccolo Wine Room 23 Village Square, Glendale, 513-7716612, piazzadiscepoli.com/piccolo Manager Julia P H O T O : S t e ph a n i e M ath e n a Piazza Porter welcomed and seated us at Piccolo Wine Room in Glendale, and we spent the next couple of hours sampling wine and chef Aimee Saling’s six-item food menu. Both the setting and the bonhomie made for a splendid experience — and we enjoyed the food and drink, too. Conceived as a wine bar, Piccolo offers wines by the six-ounce glass ($7-$9) or two-ounce taste ($3-$4), or you can select a bottle from the shop next door and pay $10 corkage. If you bring non-wine drinkers with you, they can choose from a list of mostly local bottled beers. Although the wine room operates Tuesday through Saturday, hot food is available only on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with a simple cheese plate and maybe a couple of other snacks earlier in the week. The menu rarely repeats from one week to the next but usually will include a soup and a salad, a hearty burger or meat dish and perhaps another sandwich and two or three entrées for a total of six choices. My husband started with roasted garlic and corn bisque ($6), thickened with not too much cream and garnished with bacon — a delicious soup. I asked for a half-order of the salad, which was crunchy cashew and kale ($10 whole; $5 half). It was pretty much a perfect salad. For our mains, he got the very good mushroom and asparagus crepes ($12) and I went for beef Bolognese ($13). The overwhelming majority of Piccolo patrons drop in from surrounding neighborhoods, but the concept and execution make it worth a visit even from city folks. (Pama Mitchell)

Forno Osteria + Bar 3514 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513818-8720, fornoosteriabar.com PHOTO : Haile y BollingeR Via Vite chef/ owner Cristian Pietoso and his wife Amanda leased the space in East Hyde Park that formerly housed M Wood Fired Oven, gave the place a minimal facelift and opened as Forno Osteria + Bar in the early fall, serving what they describe as “Italian comfort food.” The chef is Stefano Carne, who spent four years working his way up to sous chef at Via Vite before collaborating with Cristian to develop the new Forno menu. Their intention was to offer “the most authentic dishes possible,” Cristian says. We tried as many items as possible, beginning with salads and appetizers, and traded tastes of everything. My choice was Cristian’s Gazpacho ($12), a chilled vegetable purée — orange in color, reminding me of the gazpacho you get in Spain — with a large serving of crabmeat in the middle of the bowl. It was the consensus favorite of the first courses among my dining companions. I preferred a companion’s heirloom tomato salad ($12), an unconventional preparation with avocado on toast, topped with sliced tomatoes. In addition to a selection of red- and whitesauced pizzas ($11-$18), the menu lists six pasta plates and five meat- and fish-based entrées. After hearing our waiter’s suggestions, we ended up with two pizzas and two entrées, plus one of the “sides for the table.”

After all that, you’d think I would skip dessert. But we took one for the team and split two of the five dessert offerings. The lemon tart ($8) came topped with meringue, not whipped cream, a detail that always scores points with me. The basil pannacotta ($7) may have been my favorite dish of the night — not too sweet and flavored subtly with the fragrant herb, like one last whiff of summer. (PM)

Frida 602 602 Main St., Covington, Ky., 859-815-8736, facebook.com/ frida602 Owners Paul P H O T O : K ho i N g u y e n Weckman and his wife Emily Wolff, who also run Otto’s down the street, wanted their MainStrasse taqueria Frida 602 — named after the legendary painter Frida Kahlo — to be a hub for the growing village. So far they’ve succeeded; the locals have been coming out in droves. Their cocktail list is divided into margaritas and house cocktails made with either tequila or mezcal, and they offer a long list of both spirits ranging from $3.50-$11.25 per “shot,” or you can get a flight, both served in copitas (small clay cups). Frida is a bar first, but food comes in at a close second. The menu is categorized into antojitos of chips and salsas, chips and queso dip, salads, nachos and several kinds of tacos. You can order either two or three of each taco ($8-$14). The fish tacos came with thick slices of mild mahi mahi rubbed with spices and served with slaw, pineapple chunks and aioli. The goat in the goat tacos was roasted a long time to eliminate some of the gamey flavor. Of the tacos we tried, the vegetarian chickpea and Brussels sprout was the best. Usually I don’t like sprouts, but these were slightly caramelized, and the chickpeas and peanut salsa sealed the deal. Also a must: the queso dip. It’s a blend of melted pepper jack and Parmesan cheeses, corn and hot peppers served in a round iron skillet and accompanied by a metal bucket of crispy tortillas to scoop up the gooiness. (Garin Pirnia)

Northside Yacht Club

P H O T O : C at i e V i o x

4231 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, 513-541-0528, northsideyachtclub.com

The best thing about the new Northside Yacht Club has to be the quality of the drinks. The section called “Kill Devil” lists seven house concoctions ($8-$9) ranging from a couple of high-octane drinks (“Boat with caution” on these, the menu advises) called Suffering Bastard and Painkiller to the more tropical-themed Singapore Sling and Banana Daiquiri. After much discussion with the bartender, I asked him to make me the daiquiri, and it was not only beautiful in a Tiki cup with paper-umbrella garnish, but also quite delicious and sneakily strong with white rum. The fare might be described as typical bar food with a few creative twists. Most bar food leans toward meat, cheese and fries — your basic high-fat, low-cost, satisfying stuff. The Yacht Club has three sandwiches: short rib grilled cheese, smoked portabello ($8 each) and smoked pulled pork ($9). All meats are smoked and braised in-house, including smoked chicken wings (6 for $6; 12 for $12), which come with a choice of butter, Parmesan garlic or cilantro honey-lime sauces and blue cheese. For vegetarians, there’s the portabello sandwich and a large salad with corn, avocado, black beans and pickled onions ($9), or vegan lentil Cincinnati chili over fries ($8), to which you can add vegan or dairy cheese. My husband and I split a few dishes: the pulled pork sandwich — very tasty with a fried egg on top of the open-faced bun; the salad; vegan chili and mac and cheese. My favorite bite overall was the mac and cheese made with cheddar mornay sauce. I liked that while it was as rich and creamy as such a dish should be, the portion was small enough that I could (and did) eat the whole thing without feeling like I’d gone overboard (nautical pun intended). (PM)

Mita’s 501 Race St., Downtown, 513421-6482, mitas.co Chef Jose Salazar is a continent away from his mamita P H O T O : J e ss e fo x (grandmother) and the hand-cranked mill she still uses to grind corn for arepas and empanadas, but his new restaurant, Mita’s, is a tribute to her spirit and to Spanish and Latin American food. Salazar mentions plantains as an ingredient that many North American diners don’t know, but some of the more intriguing dishes at Mita’s use familiar ingredients in new ways. One of the tapas dishes, for CONTINUES ON PAGE 34

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O Pie O 1527 Madison Road, East Walnut Hills, 513-2743238, opieo.com While FindlayMarket-famous for P H O T O : J e ss e F o x their sweet pies, O Pie O’s restaurant also does savory — pot pies, quiche, empanadas, etc. And they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with a selection of both types. For dinner, my friend ordered a slice of chicken pot pie ($11), while I opted for two of the smaller options: the corn

and cheese empanada ($7) and the savory pocket pie ($9), filled with ham, cheddar and red pepper. Chef Ian Sobeck’s pie crust anchors the menu with a flakiness that truly melts in your mouth and tastes just as lovely and buttery whether filled with sweet or savory ingredients, both of which he tries to source as locally as possible. My empanada was fantastic. The savory pocket pie and chicken pot pie were hearty, comforting and delicious. My friend and I split a slice of the rosemary caramel apple pie ($5) with vanilla ice cream ($2 extra for à la mode; they serve both Graeter’s ice cream and Madisono’s Gelato). The crust is, again, the star, but the way Sobeck manages to coax an herbal rosemary flavor out of his caramel apple mixture is also a standout — it’s subtle and earthy and perfectly balances the sweetness of the rest of the pie. (Colleen McCroskey)


FROM PAGE 33

example, melds together simple roasted cauliflower and mission figs ($7). The figs give the savory dish a fruity earthiness and grace, accented by soft pine nuts and herbs. The fresh emerald-green sauce for the short-rib empanadas ($11) is unexpectedly minty, and the beef is tucked into cornmeal crusts so light and crisp that it lifts the dish to the sublime. Empanadas can be doughy and heavy, but here, they’re perfect. Pastry chef Brian Neumann has earned his chops at Salazar, Salazar’s first and eponymous eatery, and is now making things sweet at both of the Salazar spots. His peach Melocotón ($9) is amazing. The bar at Mita’s is a great place to get familiar with mezcal, the underexplored spirit-of-themoment, and the Mezcal Manhattan ($12) is getting lots of buzz. Compared to Salazar, Mita’s is vast, and the huge windows give diners a good view of pedestrians passing by. During daylight hours, they’re fairly opaque from the outside, but after dark, the restaurant glows. (Anne Mitchell)

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15 N. Fort Thomas Ave., Fort Thomas, Ky., 859-441-0967, 15northpizza.com 15 North Owners Lori and Ed GossPHOTO : Jes se Fox man left their Italian restaurant in Washington D.C., Roscoe’s Pizzeria, in exchange for a quieter life in Northern Kentucky, opening their new restaurant at 15 N. Fort Thomas Ave. (hence the name) in a former Mio’s. Since opening, the Gossmans have been slowly rolling things out. Their wood-fired pizzas are the centerpiece of their “limited” menu; they plan on expanding the current salad, pizza and sandwich selection in the future. The Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizzas are smallish — about six slices per pizza — so it’s best to order one per person. Surprisingly, most of the pizzas are veggiefriendly; 15 North currently offers about 11 pizzas. Supposedly it only takes them 75 seconds to cook a pizza in the restaurant’s wood-fired oven, and the pizzas ($9-$14) come out charred at the edges. We tried the Wild Mushroom, with big and tiny exotic ’shrooms, double-bock mushroom cream, smoked mozzarella, thyme and lemon zest. The contrast of the different-sized mushrooms elevated the pizza beyond a pedestrian mushroom pie. Our second pizza, the Prosciutto Arugula, came with olive oil, roasted garlic, mozzarella, shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, prosciutto and raw arugula layered on top after the pizza was taken out of the oven, adding a nice freshness. Fort Thomas isn’t the most likely place for pizza, but I will drive anywhere for a good pie that’s made with interesting

ingredients, which is why 15 North’s worth the trip to the ’burbs. (GP)

Le Bar a Boeuf 2200 Victory Parkway, East Walnut Hills, 513-7512333, jrcincy.com Jean-Robert de Cavel’s Le Bar a P H O T O : C at i e V i o x Boeuf — French slang for “beef bar” — has a lot going for it: a beautiful dining room, a spacious lounge and spectacular panoramic views of the Ohio River. The raison d’etre of the place is, of course, the “boeuf” — ground meat (beef, bison, lamb, fish or wagyu) served without a bun but with potatoes and veggies, along with a selection of sauces, cheese and garnishes. Two of our party selected from the boeuf menu section and went with the server’s suggestions about how to dress their meat. My husband selected bison, topped with goat cheese and a delicious “forestiere” mushroom-based sauce ($22). It was perfect in every way. I wanted to sample something from the short list of “main course” options — classic French dishes such as calves’ liver with onions and duck leg confit, each accompanied by potatoes and veggies. My entrée was an excellent trout amandine ($21), perhaps the best plate of the night. The sliced, toasted almonds atop the delicate, lemonscented fish lit up my taste buds. We managed to try one of the desserts, recommended by our server: a duo of chocolate mousse with crepe ($8). But, truthfully, we were too stuffed to appreciate it. We couldn’t get to other intriguing menu items, either, including beef barley and fish velouté soups, and an array of creative side dishes and appetizers such as “shrimp Maisonette style” ($11), crab cake ($14), snail en papillote ($12) and beef tongue French dip ($16). More reasons to return! (PM)

Pontiac Bourbon & BBQ 1403 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-579-8500, P H O T O : K ho i N g u y e n pontiacbbq.com Pontiac, named for a Chicago café where owner Daniel Wright and his wife shared their first date, features a quirky coupling of barbecue and Tiki-style cocktails along with more than 100 bourbon varieties, 10 draft beers and an assortment of popular bottles and cans. Signature Southern sodas like Ale-8, Squirt and Cheerwine round out the beverage menu. We started off with the requisite Pulled Pork Nacho Cheese Poutine ($9). Wright’s braised short rib version at Senate may be legendary, but Pontiac’s take on the Canadian drunk-food classic is no slouch. Perfect


for two, the poutine was a well-balanced ratio of crinkle-cut fries smothered in a creamy, Velveeta-inspired cheese and pulled pork saturated in sweet barbecue sauce and jalapeno slices. We were next presented with two meaty entrées served on sheets of butcher paper: a Texas-style beef brisket sandwich ($9) with a side of bacon-fat grits ($3) and a smoked turkey sandwich ($9). My brisket sandwich sported a soft, diminutive bun dwarfed by three heaping slices of meat topped with a peppery barbecue sauce and creamy coleslaw. Holding it inches from my mouth, I could easily smell the rich history of this slow-cooked beef’s birthplace: a white-oak fueled, carefully cured smoker. I’m usually reluctant to order brisket — it’s often served tough, dry and leathery — but Pontiac’s is easily among my favorites: It is tender and juicy, with a vibrant pink smoke ring and a pleasantly caramelized outer crust. Wright could easily have transformed barbecue, an inherently unpretentious preparation, into something unapproachably highbrow. Instead, he’s created a restaurant for the masses, an urban dive where hipsters, dweebs, geeks, West Siders and average Joes can rub elbows with one another in a harmonious, righteous fog of evaporating meat sweat. (Michael Taylor)

Mardi Gras on Madison

Krueger’s Tavern 1211 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-834-8670, kruegerstavern. P H O T O : C i t y b e at A r ch i v e s com Krueger’s Tavern serves some German food, but I would not call it a German restaurant. While flavorful housemade sausages are on the menu, they are not necessarily the star. And while they do serve beer — and lots of it — they also go a step beyond. They offer buckets of assorted (mostly local) craft brews, make their own bathtub gin and have cornered the market of indecisive drinkers with the beer cocktail. For a starter, we opted for the Tomato Pesto Jar ($5) from the “snacks” section of the menu when told that the tomato jam inside was made in-house. In barely an instant, it was on our table: the cutest little glass pot of goodness. Bright red tomato jam is layered atop chunky pesto and whipped ricotta. The rest of the menu is broken up into sandwiches, sausages, “greens” and sides. We sampled from each. From the housemade sausage side we chose the Lincolnshire ($8), an herbed British banger served over colcannon, a yummy play on mashed potatoes with wilted kale and Guinnessbraised onions. The Lincolnshire was bursting with herby flavor and the kitchen took care not to overcook it. Their sandwich section is equally appealing. It features a Cuban, Krueger’s take on the sloppy Joe, a roasted chicken club, a burger, and, our choice of the evening, the eggplant parm sandwich ($8). The housemade San Marzano tomato sauce caught my eye — that and the fact that “eggplant” was modified by “crispy.” As a big fan of the traditional Italian dish, I was extremely pleased (and extremely full) after finishing it. The restaurateurs behind Krueger’s have proven they understand atmosphere and crowd-pleasing dishes with their other ventures (the Eagle OTR and Bakersfield), and their newest addition to Vine Street is no exception. (Kristen Franke) Find a full year of CITYBEAT DINING REVIEWS online at citybeat.com.

4th Annual New Years Eve Celebration! Special Prix Fixe Menu by Chef Michael Shields

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1524 Madison Road, East Walnut Hills, 513-873-9041, P H O T O : K ho i N g u y e n facebook.com/ mardigrasmad Latoya Foster doesn’t like the word “restaurant” and wants her customers to think of Mardi Gras on Madison as a home. The homespun food and Foster’s down-home demeanor is what separates Mardi Gras on Madison from not only other Cajun-themed restaurants in the city, but also the way so many restaurants are traditionally run. First, there is no set menu. Foster decides on at least five different dishes to serve when she wakes up and then posts them on social media. (A menu from last week featured barbecue chicken tacos, catfish tacos, black beans and rice, fried okra and shrimp po’ boys.) Inside the storefront, the menu is posted on a chalkboard, and when something sells out (this happens a lot), it’s marked off. Food is served until closing time or until it’s gone, whichever happens first. Mardi Gras on Madison seats about 70 people at round tables designated for larger parties or at the bar, which shakes up specialty cocktails such as a Jazzerac, their take on a Sazerac, which is the official cocktail of NOLA. They also have various Abita craft beers, another Louisiana staple, and a Katrina hurricane (orange juice, rum and pineapple juice). They call it a hurricane for a reason, and if you’re looking to get pickled,

drinking more than one of these will knock you on your ass. Étouffée wasn’t on the menu the day I dined there, but Foster cooked me a special étouffée dish made with spinach, mushrooms, cayenne pepper, a roux (a thickening sauce made with flour and butter or oil) and crawfish, and it was delicious. She likes to mix up the po’ boy sandwiches and one day will offer a stick-to-your-bones cochon made with pulled pork, but another day it’ll be chicken or shrimp or catfish. (GP)


music

The Year in Local Recordings

A look back at some of our favorite 2015 releases by Greater Cincinnati music-makers BY CIT YBEAT MUSIC STAFF

A

s always, numerous albums, EPs and singles by musical artists from Greater Cincinnati caught our ears in 2015. But know that the list you are about to read is just a snapshot. Perhaps you’ll find something you haven’t heard of before on here, and hopefully you’ll look up artists that sound like they might interest you. But don’t stop there — get out to the clubs or do a little online research and we’re certain you’ll find even more great original works by members of the Cincinnati area’s amazing music scene.

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DAN KARLSBERG – THE ’NATI SIX To record his third album, The ’Nati Six, CCM-grad-turned-teacher Dan Karlsberg enlisted some of the city’s finest veteran Jazz players (dubbing the ensemble The ’Nati Six) and the pianist/composer takes full advantage of the talented musicians’ services. The album features a ton of sublime playing, but it’s also a stellar showcase for Karlsberg’s remarkable writing and arrangement abilities. The creativity and diversity on display have the ability to draw in a new generation of under-exposed Jazz listeners and also earn appreciation from lifelong fans/players, helping to make The ’Nati Six one of the best Jazz albums you’ll hear this year, local or otherwise. (Mike Breen) SLEEP – THE H.W. BUSH/CLINTON ERA Sleep’s third full-length release, The H.W. Bush/Clinton Era, is an exhilarating concept album and sonic scrapbook that hearkens back to Hip Hop’s ’90s heyday. There are more than a few moments of hairraising power on Bush/Clinton, like the gauzily realistic gunfire on “B.Y.O.G.,” the roll call of keep-the-poor-poor realities on “Government Assistance” and the sad litany of local-TV-news shooting reports threaded throughout “Cannibalization,” a candid assessment of the self-destructive elements present in some black neighborhoods that is alternately sympathetic and critical. Like the Straight Outta Compton movie (transferred to the streets of Ohio), it’s an undiluted homage to ’90s Hip Hop that also illuminates the harsh socio-economic circumstances of the era. (Brian Baker) THE SUNDRESSES – THIS MACHINE KILLS For longtime fans, This Machine Kills doesn’t mess with The Sundresses’ formula much — it’s just done better. It’s Bluesinjected, livewire Rock & Roll, alternately delivered with M-80 explosiveness and a swaggering, slow-burn simmer. The adrenalized rave-ups would be enough to make The Sundresses a must-hear Rock & Roll marvel, but the band has a whole other

side to its sound that helps take it miles above its like-minded peers, and makes This Machine Kills a dynamic, start-tofinish masterwork. The band is capable of nimbly dialing back the tempestuous energy and crawl into a creeping, slowerpaced mode that is as impactful and potent as the barnburners. (MB)

HONEY & HOUSTON – BARCELONA The debut album from Country/Americana/ Folk group Honey & Houston is one of the best debut albums to emanate from the Greater Cincinnati music scene in recent memory. There’s not a down moment on the enchanting Barcelona — from the rollicking, spine-tingling opener “Rosie” and the quartet’s buoyant, soulful take on the traditional Gospel tune “In My Time of Dying” to the Folkrockin’ “Dreamer” and the strutting and soaring title track. If this is just the beginning, watch out — these musicians have a masterpiece in them and have shown (with Barcelona and live shows) they have what it takes to take their music to the masses and enrapture them. (MB)

of Wish You Were Here-era Pink Floyd, a mash-up of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, a tribute to avowed influence Captain Beyond and a nod to The Beatles in the Abbey Road crosswalk. (BB)

ANDY GABBARD – FLUFF Last year, fans of Cincinnati rockers Buffalo Killers were treated to two superb new releases. In 2015, the solo debut album by the band’s singer/guitarist Andy Gabbard also turned heads. Fluff is a magnificent Rock & Roll album overflowing with so many stellar, brain-burrowing melodies, it’s more than fair to call it a Power Pop record (emphasis on both the “power” and the “Pop,” equally). (MB)

listening experience with broad appeal. With Look Inside Your Love, DAAP Girls find the sweet spot between the sweaty grit of a Rock & Roll show and the sweaty grind of an all-night dance party. (MB)

DAAP GIRLS – LOOK INSIDE YOUR LOVE DAAP Girls’ s in-concert energy is wholly captured on its second album, Look Inside Your Love. The band’s sonic charisma is inherent and it shines in the context of the album’s warm, vintage feel. Still, the album does allow for a closer look at the group’s musical craftiness, which can sometimes be missed in the frantic blur of its live show. DAAP Girls’ music engagingly balances intense fervency with a supple, sensuous swing, and that multifaceted nature makes for a stimulating

LEMON SKY – DOS Lemons Sky’s 2011 self-titled debut was full-bore Rock with a modern Pop heart, like Jellyfish steered by Led Zeppelin and Queen rather than The Beatles. That same framework exists on Lemon Sky’s sophomore album, Dos, but the band’s shifting lineup and natural creative evolution over the past four years have resulted in expansive and kaleidoscopic growth. Building on the band’s existing foundation of thunderous Rock with a sweet/sour minor-key Pop melodicism, Dos is alternately reminiscent

TO NO END – REMORA With Remora, To No End blends the Kenny Wayne Shepherd-meets-Warren Haynes Blues direction of the band’s debut with a blistering ’70s Hard Rock energy. Split into a pair of stylistically-distinct sides, the album showcases the group’s deft modern Blues/Hard Rock translation, a riff-laden celebration of the forms painted with a new brush, as well as its gentler elements. On the second half of the release, To No End dials down the volume but not the songwriting intensity. Rather than interspersing Remora’s more sedate songs with amped-up fist-pumping anthems, To No End shows two different sides of themselves to suit your listening moods — further proof of its thoughtful creativity and amazing talent. (BB) AARON COLLINS AND THE BLIND CONDUCTORS – AARON COLLINS AND THE BLIND CONDUCTORS EP


Aaron Collins and The Blind Conductors’ debut EP feels like a logical progression from Collins’ stunning solo debut, Godlessly Oscillating, albeit with a more extroverted sonic personality. But the music still has that same dreamlike spirit that made Oscillating so magical — it’s haunting, uniquely textural, unpredictable, enigmatically atmospheric and thoroughly entrancing. The band does add an extra vigor to the proceedings — standout track “Scar” pulsates on funky Post Punk groove, while “Seasick” is a dynamic aural journey that builds into a full-on guitarflailing eruption. (MB)

BRAD MYERS – PRIME NUMBERS Multi-faceted and experienced guitarist Brad Myers’ solo debut, Prime Numbers, has scored glowing reviews from respected national Jazz outlets. On the album, Myers and his group truly shine on originals like the delicately powerful “Bentley’s Blues” and the tropical, swaying “There is Space for Us.” Prime Numbers’ highlight is the boldly nuanced “Rule of Threes,” a nearly 12-minute noir-ish Jazz jam that bisects the album’s overall arc, a cinematic side journey that is foreshadowed by the first half of the album and naturally leads to the concluding second half. (BB)

US, TODAY – TENENEMIES Post Rock provocateurs Us, Today flipped the script on its improv structure for the composed and concussive latest album, Tenenemies, which vibrates with sonic tension and visceral intent. After five years of exploring minimalist Post Rock’s frontiers, Tenenemies possesses the rhythmic

ROYAL HOLLAND – VOLUME 2 - FLAMINGO EP While Folk is a part of Royal Holland’s sound, on Flamingo, singer/songwriter Matt Mooney toys with the boundaries of that genre tag with a sound that incorporates heavy doses of Rock and Indie Pop (the light Electronic dashes from the first EP are largely gone). Whatever you want to call it, Flamingo once again shows Mooney’s fantastic (and evolving) abilities as a songwriter. As stellar as Flamingo is, it still feels like it’s only scratching the surface of what Royal Holland is capable of. (MB) HARBOUR – WITH LOVE EP Cincinnati Indie Pop/Rock foursome Harbour has developed a large and loyal fan base locally, and recent industry attention could mean that more love could be coming Harbour’s way on a much wider level. If the band’s new EP, With Love — with its abundance of instantly catchy hooks and buoyant, radiant Pop/Rock vibe — is any indication, grabbing the national spotlight is much more than just a pipe dream. (MB) DANIEL WAYNE AND THE SILVER LINES – DANIEL WAYNE AND THE SILVER LINES After living in New York for several years, Daniel Wayne returned to Cincinnati and formed the all-star Silver Lines to record a self-titled atmospheric and rootsy Country/ Folk/Rock debut album (he has a slightly different local all-star crew for live shows). Both entities are stacked decks of local talent, lending more than a little credibility to Wayne’s material, which bristles with contemporary verve and classic timelessness, giving the album a My Morning Jacket/ Avett Brothers/Wilco vibe. (BB) COCONUT MILK – WE’RE SORRY EP Local Indie Pop/Rock quintet Coconut Milk describes its sound as “Beach Rock,” which is one of the more precise selfdescriptions by a band you’ll ever see. Like the best oceanfront-linked music (going back to The Beach Boys, but think more “Warmth of the Sun” than “Surfin’ USA”), there is a compelling blend of airy contentment and wistful melancholy to CONTINUES ON PAGE 38

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MOONBOW – VOLTO DEL DEMONE After showcasing a heavy, Sabbath-indebted sound on its 2013 debut, Moonbow decided to throw a curveball in the form of an acoustic-based album. The resulting Volto del Demone isn’t your typical “unplugged” Rock record — the musicians adapt incredibly well to the acoustic setting and aren’t simply playing scorching rockers without electric guitars. Yet the group also doesn’t sound like a completely different band, making like a Rock & Roll chameleon by showing an intensity and creativity regardless of the instrumentation. (MB)

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FROM PAGE 37

Coconut Milk’s sound. If Belle and Sebastian and Nada Surf went on a writing retreat to some small beach town on the West Coast, they’d probably come up with something similar to what Coconut Milk lays down on We’re Sorry. (MB)

LIVID – AS IT HAPPENS As It Happens shows LiViD, which has been active for the past 15 years, in top form. The album is crisply produced and impressive from start to finish, showcasing the band’s broad-view approach to Hard Rock, which combines air-tight rhythms and riffs and more brutal, in-your-face elements with soaring, arena-ready hooks and dynamic song arrangements, sounding a little like a pristine blend of Fall Out Boy, Korn and Deftones. Finding the intersection of grinding, grunting heaviness and accessibility makes them perfectly suited for commercial Rock radio stations. (MB) JANE DECKER – STONEWALLIN’ EP Jane Decker’s most recent work is a directional shift from the arty Indie Pop of her fairly successful previous band, Belle Histoire. Moving to a purer mainstream brand of catchy, straightforward Pop, the Stonewallin’ EP came out in April, two weeks before Decker’s 21st birthday, and rightfully garnered her some national attention. (BB) CASINO WARRIOR – CENTAUR Newcomers Casino Warriors’ riff-laden, five-track release, Centaur, follows in the same vein as other Rock/Metal hybrids that are currently dominating many a longhairs’ playlist. If the likes of Red Fang, Black Tusk, Orange Goblin or old The Sword cause your skull and brain to repeatedly high five, then Centaur is right up your alley. If you’re a Cincinnati Rock and/or Metal fan, do yourself a favor and jump on the Casino Warrior bandwagon now — it’s about to get much more crowded. (Nick Grever) WILDER – WILDER EP Americana/Country group Wilder was formed by singer/songwriters Kelly Thomas and Randy Steffen after their previous projects had come to an end. Wilder’s self-titled EP is fleshed out by the impressive guitar work of Zach Rowe, impeccable drumming

from two of the city’s best, Kevin Hogle and Christopher Alley, and some brilliant harmonies. But what makes Wilder such a compelling introduction is the fantastic songwriting; the band’s bio says the group was started around the basic idea of “(writing) songs that stand on their own.” Mission accomplished. The band’s sound shows elements of classic Country and its modern cousin, AltCountry, but Steffen and Thomas’ writing is timeless. (MB)

BOB CUSHING – TROUBADOUR SONGS EP Bob Cushing’s sound is a mix of Heartland Rock and earthy Country (the true-blue stuff, not the modern Pop version)… or as he calls it on the opening title track, “Redneck Hippie Rock and Soul.” Cushing’s lyrics are consistently engaging, full of honesty and passion, with dashes of his trademark humor poking through. With a soundtrack that resembles a roadhouse Bruce Springsteen/Hank Williams, Jr. jam session, Cushing turns Troubadour Songs into a snapshot of his current feelings about the life he’s lived and the life that’s still ahead of him. His no-nonsense approach is remarkably refreshing. (MB) THE PART-TIME GENTLEMEN – WHISKEY ON MY BREATH The Part-Time Gentlemen’s 10-track debut is a mix of traditional songs and originals. It’s a testament to the group’s writing abilities and understanding of the source material that the handful of original tracks aren’t all that discernible from the tunes plucked from American Roots music’s traditional songbook. Greater Cincinnati’s rich Roots music scene is overflowing with incredible talent right now and Whiskey on My Breath, as well as the band’s adrenalized live performances, prove that The Part-Time Gentlemen is among the best the area has to offer. (MB) NEW SINCERITY WORKS – NOWADAYS Earning comparisons to Big Star, Paul Westerberg and Guided By Voices for his debut New Sincerity Works, singer/songwriter/ multi-instrumentalist Mike Tittel carved an impressive notch. With a penchant for clever wordplay, ringing guitar anthemics and Beatlesque melodies, with this year’s Nowadays, Tittel hits near the bullseye that local Pop Rock notables like The Raisins


(and their subsequent solo/group projects), Roger Klug and Brian Lovely and the Secret have all hit over the years with supernatural precision and power. (BB)

OLD CITY – THE SUN IS MY LIGHT EP Cincinnati Indie Rock trio Old City went old school with its 2015 EP/maxi-single release, putting the four-song The Sun is My Light out on “cassingle” (that’s a single on a cassette for those under 35). The release is a great sampler of powerful Indie Rock that puts a fresh spin on the best of the genre’s pre- and post-breakthrough years in the ’90s. (MB) THE GOODLE BOYS – LONG WAY HOME On Long Way Home, The Goodle Boys showcase their deft blend of Folk, Bluegrass and Blues across 10 original tracks that masterfully capture the spirit of the originators that influenced the band (and generations of other musicians). Along with the skilled musicianship (delivered on banjo, guitar, standup bass, harmonica and mandolin) and rock-solid arrangements, Long Way Home stands out due to the compelling lyrics, which have a timeless storyteller quality that fits perfectly into the Folk tradition. (MB)

DAVE MCDONNELL – THE TIME INSIDE A YEAR After establishing himself in his native Chicago’s rich Jazz scene, Dave McDonnell relocated to teach music, but he’s also continued his acclaimed recording/performing career. McDonnell and his Group (a version of which features Cincinnati players for area live shows) returned to record-store shelves in 2015 with the time inside a year, his debut for esteemed Chicago Jazz label

POMEGRANATES – HEALING POWER A couple of years after retiring as band, Indie Pop faves Pomegranates returned briefly in 2015 to play a pair of sold-out shows and release its shelved fifth full-length, Healing Power. The sprawling album has several propulsive moments, including the staggering, stuttering majesty of the seven-minute “Hand of Death” and the tribal electric blast of “House of My Mortal Father.” There is also a fairly diverse dynamic across Healing Power’s 13 cuts, which careen from those spurts of high energy to atmospheric and moody Pop confections, like the gentle and aptly titled “Taking It Easy” and the melancholic reverie of “Morning Light,” with the strolling bounce of the title track finding the middle ground between those stylistic ends of the spectrum. (BB) JIM PELZ – LOSER ANGELS Jim Pelz, singer/guitarist for the great local Americana/Bluegrass crew Hickory Robot, released his first solo album in 2015, the 13-track gem Loser Angels. The album is a great exhibition of Pelz’s ace songwriting talents and timeless sound, effortlessly moving from smoking Country Rock to sublime Roots/Americana balladry and beyond. (MB) NEW MOONS – GLASS PLANET Splintered off of previous band Big Rock Club, New Moons concoct a sound that is reminiscent of ’90s AltRock’s heyday, but doesn’t put off too much of a retro vibe. It’s simply a strong Rock & Roll record, highlighted by cuts like “Dream Street,” with its gliding guitar riffs, the memorable “You Don’t Need to Know Me” and closer “Morning Light,” a woozy, swaying track with some stinging guitar leads piercing the haze. With good chops and promising songwriting, Glass Planet shows New Moons is a band to keep an eye on. (MB) CONTINUES ON PAGE 40

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COMMON CENTER – GYPSY RIVER After nearly a year in the studio and a successful crowd-funding campaign, unique Northern Kentucky-based seven-piece band Common Center released its debut fulllength, Gypsy River. The band’s sound is hard to categorize, a progressive fusion of endless influences played with instrumentation that includes prominent strings and saxophone. Common Center’s Facebook page tags its genre as “Psychedelic Gypsy Rock (Soul-clad) Boogie Funk,” which comes fairly close to describing the quirky vibe conjured on the album. (MB)

Delmark. While McDonnell adheres to his winning compositional-vs.-improvisational strategy on the time inside a year, he also adds a new wrinkle with a slightly older piece from his canon, namely his threemovement suite “AEpse,” which grew out of his doctorate studies and which he debuted in Chicago two years ago. (BB)


12/23 the waves Banducci & the wheels 12/25 the guitars 5th annual rock-n-roll christmas show 12/26 no good heroes newport secret six,the strike 12/27 future science sketch comedy 12/28 motr vinyl session w/ dj dirty c 12/29 writer’s night w/ kyle word of mouth: open poetry

wussy alBum pre-release of “forever sounds” | 2/27 just announced // tickets on sale friday

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Buy tickets at motr or woodwardtheater.com 513-345-7981 1404 main st. cincinnati oh

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FROM PAGE 39

RUSTY BURGE AND STEVE ALLEE – FARAWAY Vibraphonist and Cincinnati Jazz staple Rusty Burge’s 2015 duo album with pianist Steve Allee, the blissful and understated Faraway, lives up to the title. Quietly evocative yet passionately intense, the seven originals (three from Burge, four from Allee) and two covers (Duke Ellington’s “Isfahan” and Charlie Mingus’ “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”) exude a laidback vibe while showcasing the glorious virtuosity of both players as their talents meld into an effortlessly complementary pas de deux. (BB) HOWARD BROTHERS BAND – GO A LI’L FASTER Driven by the powerhouse riffs, stirring leads and hearty vocals and anchored by chunky but finessed rhythms, Go a Li’L Faster (the Howard Brothers Band’s first release in seven years) is bursting with thick, heavy grooves and a distinct swagger, with guitar work that recalls ex-Guns N’ Roses axman Slash in peak form. It’s an enjoyable Rock album that would fit nicely in a record collection heavy on artists like Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Mountain, Bad Company and another sibling-driven group, The Allman Brothers Band. (MB) BEN KNIGHT & THE WELLDIGGERS – AMERICAN HIGHWAYS Recorded largely live in a single room with minimal overdubs in studios in Nashville, Tenn., and Cincinnati, American Highways has an earthy, intimate and timeless feel that matches the soulful songs. Ben Knight and the band combine various Americana forms (from Country and Folk to vintage Rock & Roll and more contemporary Heartland Rock) and give them a hearty pulse and Rock-edged veneer. But American Highways isn’t a touristy exploration of genres — the band has its own distinct identity, building its sound around Knight’s remarkably engaging songwriting. (MB) DEAD MAN STRING BAND – I Dead Man String Band is the impressive one-man Rock & Roll show masterminded by guitarist/singer Rob McAllister, who’s been impressing local audiences with his high-octane live act since beginning the project last year. A fingerpicking guitar

specialist, McAllister creates a full-band sound in concert with the help of a kickdrum set up, great vocals and some solid, Roots- and Blues-inflected songwriting, which sound just as great on the Dead Man String Band’s debut album, I. (MB)

GO GO BUFFALO – IT AIN’T WORTH IT EP Go Go Buffalo’s five-track It Ain’t Worth It kicks off with “Ironclad Lad,” which is loaded with winding riffage, heavy, shape-shifting rhythms and Diamond Jim’s gruff, eyebulging vocals. Elsewhere, “Worth It” shows the psychedelic side of the band a bit more; it still retains that Hard Rock fire, but the arrangement takes so many twists and turns in just over four minutes, you may want to pop a Dramamine before listening (and if you’re flashback prone, perhaps strap yourself to a chair, because those evil laughs will have you flinching uncontrollably). (MB) WONKY TONK – STUFF WE LEAVE BEHIND Greater Cincinnati’s Jasmine Poole has been tearing up stages as Wonky Tonk in and out of town for years, but in 2015 she released her first album, the stellar Stuff We Leave Behind. With six years and four engineers behind the project, perhaps the most amazing aspect of Stuff We Leave Behind is its cohesion. The album hangs together as a tight collection of disparate songs — either Country-tinged Indie Rock or Indie Rocktinted Country — but nothing seems out of place or forced. (BB) THE HAPPY MALADIES – THE HAPPY MALADIES Even a cursory listen to The Happy Maladies’ slim but impressive Chamber-Folk-meetsIndie-in-Jazztown catalog reveals a certain thoughtful deliberation, but the band members say they didn’t recognize they were even making “an album” until their phenomenal 2015 self-titled full-length was finished. In the six years since Sun Shines the Little Children, The Happy Maladies’ full-length debut, they’ve been anything but idle. They released the new again EP in 2012 and they’ve remained a regularly active live presence (as a band and individually) around and beyond the area. This year also saw the release of the collaborative Must Love Cats, a recording featuring original works by a broad spectrum of musical composers who responded to the band’s call for compositions. (BB)

MAURICE MATTEI – GIRL JUNGLE Like the bulk of Maurice Mattei’s wonderfully tremulous catalog, Girl Jungle finds the adept songwriter shining his lovelight through the kaleidoscope of his musical influences, resulting in unique but colorfully familiar reflections and dancing patterns. Like picking flecks of individual colors out of a mosaic, it’s not difficult to identify fleeting touches of Bob Dylan, Randy Newman, Steve Forbert, Bruce Springsteen, maybe even Iggy Pop and Jimmy Buffett, but the larger sonic picture that Maurice Mattei creates is always a fascinating and personal self-portrait. (BB) UMIN – LINE Line continues umin’s all-instrumental collaging of baritone ukulele riffs and rhythms, which are often chopped, looped and otherwise manipulated and blended with electronic additives. The 13-track album is an incredibly fluid listen, but the fluttering atmospherics shape-shift throughout. Sometimes the music is hypnotic or meditative, while other times it’s utterly disorienting, though it’s almost as if the listener’s state of mind going in determines the effect, with umin’s soundscapes merely molding to that mood. (MB) BOYMEETSWORLD – BECOME SOMEONE Bristling with youthful energy while displaying the thoughtful deliberation of an older band, Become Someone, Pop Rock band BoyMeetsWorld’s self-released debut full-length, was released ahead of the group’s appearance on the entire summertime Warped Tour in 2015. BoyMeetsWorld’s buoyant melodies and frenetic presentation help its music transcend the work of many of its peers. (BB) CHAKRAS – BLACK SUNRISE: THE OJAI SESSIONS EP After raising funds through a Kickstarter campaign, Cincinnati rockers Chakras headed to California to record with one of the Rock world’s top producers, Joe Chiccarelli. The band worked on six songs during the 14-day sessions, and Chakras released three of them (“Swagger,” “Cherish to Perish” and “Earthquakes Everywhere”) as the fantastic-sounding EP, Black Sunrise: The Ojai Sessions. (MB)


DALLAS MOORE – DARK HORSE RIDER On his latest and perhaps best album of powerful originals, Dark Horse Rider, successful singer/songwriter Dallas Moore displays his typical pastiche of various influences — Country both traditional and Outlaw, Folk, Southern Rock, Bluegrass, Blues — unified by his passionate presentation. The album is a perfect storm of Moore’s unique storytelling abilities and incendiary performances. After 20-plus years, Moore and his band have crafted the release that should help them get to the next level. (MB) MARK BECKNELL – LIKE THE VINE Local musician Mark Becknell has been primarily known as a drummer/percussionist and has worked with a wide range of local acts. But Becknell is also an excellent singer/songwriter, as evidenced on his debut full-length solo album, Like the Vine. The recording highlights Becknell’s impressive Folk/Americana songwriting, which is given a uniquely ethereal vibe on the album that suggests a collaboration with super-producer Daniel Lanois would be a perfect fit. (MB)

THE MOXIE BAND – EMINENT DOMAIN The Moxie Band estimates that between its five members it has about 200 years of experience performing music. The band’s experience can be heard in the expert chops evident on Eminent Domain, which includes The Moxie Band’s smooth, groovebased arrangements of material by the likes of Duke Robillard, Michelle Shocked and others. The album also features three songs

Even More Great 2015 Releases ILYAS NASHID – TRANSFORMATION PT. 1: EGO HONEYSPIDERS – HONEYSPIDERS FREEKBASS – CINCINNATI MARK UTLEY – BULLETVILLE VACATION – NON-PERSON JESS LAMB – FREE EP PIKE 27 – CALLING OUT EP TAYLOR SHANNON – HOME & TENNESSEE KEVIN AND THE OCTAVES – YOUNG AGAIN ALONE AT 3AM – SHOW THE BLOOD LEGGY – NICE TRY EP NOAH SMITH – LIVE AT THE SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL THE TIGERLILIES – 123456 EP SONNY MOORMAN – YOU MADE ALL MY BLUES COME TRUE STRANGETUNGE – BETTY BEAT THE DEVIL EP MOHENJO DARO – SANGEET THE CLA-ZELS – SET YOUR RAY TO STUN 40LBS OF LYE – THE HILLBILLY DEATHTRAP DEMOS EP SIREN – A KINGDOM AFLAME KEITH JONES AND THE MAKESHIFTS – ROCK AND ROLL WITH KEITH JONES AND THE MAKESHIFTS TECHNICOLOR MONSTER – FOREWORD EP VARIOUS ARTISTS – BOOTLEGGERS & HUSTLERS VOLUME ONE AUTOMAGIK – DARK DAZE EP VARQUIS – ESSENCE OF A KING A.M. NICE – A.M. NICE NEW STRANGE – NEW STRANGE SEE YOU IN THE FUNNIES – FLOOZIE EP JACK BURTON OVERDRIVE – TARBELL STREET NIGHT BEES – DONALD RUMP COMPRADOR – POLLINATOR THE RUBBER KNIFE GANG – BROKEN LINES THE GROVE – PSEUDOTHUMP GLASSWORLD – BREAKING FREE EP LONESOME JARED AND THE HEART ATTACKS – LONESEOME JARED AND THE HEART ATTACKS EP

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THE Z.G.S – THE Z.G.S The Z.G.s’ self-titled album is impressive in its ability to straddle several generations of Punk Rock — you can hear elements of some of today’s more powerful and melodic bands, but there are also traces of pioneers like The Clash evident in the Cincy group’s throbbing, buzzing bluster. The band sets itself apart with strong songwriting and guitar work, a powerful rhythmic throttle and lyrics that also seem to encapsulate many of Punk’s main themes since its inception. The band touches on political and social issues and offers working-class observations, but the songs also get more personal and internal at times, like on the pining “Used to Be.” (MB)

written by Ed Cunningham of Cincinnati’s Comet Bluegrass All-Stars, including the swingin’ “Money,” which was co-written with fellow Bluegrass legend Katie Laur. (MB)


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

Wednesday 23

Arnold’s Bar and Grill— Todd Hepburn. Piano. Free.

Bella Luna— RMS band. Soft Rock/ Jazz. Free. BrewRiver GastroPub— Dan Radank and Brian Batchelor-Glader (6 p.m.). Holiday Jazz. Free. The Comet— Steve Schmidt’s H Christmas Schmidt-actular. Holiday Jazz. Free. The Drinkery— Hot for Alice with H Moonbeau and Healing Trapeze. Rock/Indie/Electronic/Various. Free. Grandview Tavern & Grille— Chris Cusentino. Acoustic. Free. HD Beans and Brews Café— Open Jam with Nick Geise and Friends. Various. Free. Knotty Pine— Dallas Moore. Country. Free. MOTR Pub— The Waves with Banducci & the Wheels. Rock/Soul/Funk/Various. Free. The Mad Frog— DJ Skinny Fresh. Dance. Cover. Madison Live— Madison Theater Band Challenge. Various. $10.

Inner Peace HolIstIc center Zen Head Rub for $25.00

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Meritage — Sonny Moorman. Blues. Free. Northside Tavern— Sexy Time Live Band Karaoke. Various. Free. Northside Yacht Club— 2 Inch Winky Christmas Show with Kid Stardust and Dan Webb. Punk. Free.

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Plain Folk Cafe— The Spookfloaters. Roots/Jam/Rock/Various. Free. Silverton Cafe— Bob Cushing. Acoustic. Free. Southgate House Revival (Lounge)— The Grove. Rock/Americana/Various. Free. Southgate House Revival (SancH tuary)— Noah Sugarman (Camp Sugar) with Arlo McKinley. Rock/ Roots/Various. $10. Stanley’s Pub— 123 Go with The Lavatones. Blues/Funk/Soul. Free. Urban Artifact— Blue Wisp Big Band. Big Band Jazz. Free.

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Thursday 24

Walt’s Hitching Post — Bob Cushing. Acoustic. Free.

Friday 25

MOTR Pub— The Guitars’ Fifth H Annual Rock ’N Roll Christmas Show. Christmas Rock. Free. Stanley’s Pub— Ben and Adam from Rumpke Mountain Boys. Bluegrass/Roots/Various. Free.

H

Saturday 26

The Cricket Lounge at The Cincinnatian Hotel— Philip Paul Trio. Jazz. Free.

Tillie’s Lounge— Steve Schmidt and Dan Radank. Jazz. Free.

Dee Felice Café— The Sleepcat Band. Jazz. Free.

Tin Roof Cincinnati— Flip Cup All Stars. Pop/Country/Rock/Rap/Various.

The Drinkery— Beat Faction ’80s Nite Holiday Party with DJs Gerald & Troll. Dance/DJ. Free.

Washington Platform Saloon & Restaurant— Bobby Sharp & Friends with Brenda Folz. Jazz. $10 (food/drink minimum).

Jag’s Steak and Seafood — Shakedown. Dance/Funk/Pop/Rock/R&B. Free. Jim and Jack’s on the River— Heather Roush. Country. Free. Knotty Pine— Wayward Son. Classic Rock. Cover.

Sunday 27

Bogart’s— Led Zeppelin 2. Zeppelin tribute. $12. The Comet— Comet Bluegrass All-Stars. Bluegrass. Free.

Live at the Ludlow Garage— CockThe Greenwich— BLUE bridge JAZZ H tails and Christmas with Kathy H series: Young Lions Celebration Wade and the Bill Cunliffe Trio. Jazz/ with Michael Cruse Quartet. Jazz. $15. Holiday. $15-$50.

The Listing Loon— Maurice Mattei and Mike Tittel. Acoustic. Free.

H MOTR Pub— No Good Heroes with H Newport Secret Six and The Strike. Rock/Punk/Reggae/Various. Free. The Mad Frog— SS Platinum Holiday Party. Dance/Various. $5. Madison Live— Madison Theater Band Challenge. Various. $10. Mansion Hill Tavern— Tickled Pink. Blues/Various. $3. Marty’s Hops & Vines— Two Blue Acoustic Duo. Acoustic. Free. Northside Tavern— Electric Citizen, H All Seeing Eyes and Leggy. Rock/ Various. Free.

Madison Live— Madison Theater Band Challenge. Various. $10. Mansion Hill Tavern— Open Blues Jam with The Ben Duke Band. Blues. Free. Northside Tavern— The Tillers. H Folk. Free. Slammer’s Lounge— LoHeat Sunday Jam. Blues/Rock/Country/Various. Free. Sonny’s All Blues Lounge— Sonny’s All Blues Band featuring Lonnie Bennett. Blues. Free. Southgate House Revival (Revival H Room)— Staff and Friends Holiday Party with Misty & Jeff Perholtz (of The Newbees) and open jam (6 p.m.). Pop/ Rock/Roots/Various. Free.

Northside Yacht Club— Northside Nick and Friends. DJ/Dance. Free.

Stanley’s Pub— Stanley’s Sunday Night Open Jam. Various. Free.

O’Neal’s Tavern— Dan Varner Band Christmas Bash for Inter-Parrish Ministry featuring Clark Jenkins Band, Scotty Ryan and Dan Varner Band (6 p.m.). Country/Rock/Various. $10, $15 day of show.

Monday 28

Plain Folk Cafe— Jarred Schaedle. Folk/Americana. Free. Pompilios— Out of the Blue. Various. Free. R.P. McMurphy’s— Otten Bros. Rock. Cover.

Mansion Hill Tavern— Acoustic Jam with John Redell & Friends. Acoustic/ Blues/Various. Free. McCauly’s Pub— Open jam with Sonny Moorman. Blues. Free. Northside Tavern— The Qtet. Jazz/ Fusion. Free.

Om Eco Café— Ron Enyard Jazz Quartet. Jazz. Free.

The Redmoor — Strange MechanTuesday 29 H ics’ Second Annual Day After Xmas 1215 Wine Bar and Coffee Lab— Show with Nevelle. Funk/Jam/Prog/ Rock. Cover. Rick’s Tavern— Dallas Moore Band. HCountry. $5. Rock Bar and Lounge (Horseshoe Cincinnati)— DJ Jessica the Ripper. Dance/DJ. Free. Silverton Cafe— Quarter Mile Band. Rock/Country. Free. Sonny’s All Blues Lounge— Sonny’s All Blues Band featuring Lonnie Bennett. Blues. Free. Sonny’s All Jazz Lounge— Rappin’ Ron. Old-school. Free.

Benjamin Thomas & Peter Gemus. Jazz. Free. BrewRiver GastroPub— Danilo Fusaro. Acoustic. Free. By Golly’s— Open mic with Ronnie Vaughn. Various. Free. Madison Live— Madison Theater Band Challenge. Various. $10. McCauly’s Pub— Stagger Lee. Country. Free. Miller’s Fill Inn— Open Mic Blues Jam. Blues. Free. Northside Tavern— Mayalou & HoneyCombs. Acoustic/Various. Free.

Anderson Pub And Grill— Backbeat. Rock. Free.

Southgate House Revival (Lounge)— Daddy Luthor and the Warrior Poets with J Dorsey Band. Rock/Various. Free.

Northside Yacht Club— Way Out H with Black Planet. Post Punk.

Bella Luna— Blue Birds Trio. Classic Rock/Jazz.

Stanley’s Pub— Highway Radio. Americana/Rock. Cover.

Sis’s on Monmouth— Northern Kentucky Bluegrass Band. Bluegrass. Free.

College Hill Coffee Co.— Dave Hawkins. Folk/Americana/Celtic. Free.

Thompson House— Afroman Merry Spliffsmas. Hip Hop. $15.

Pub— Rumpke Mountain H Stanley’s Boys. Bluegrass. Cover.


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