Saturday, August 21, 2010

Metropole Lawsuit: Not So Fast, 3CDC

As the Enquirer reported earlier this week, the Metropole Tenants Association filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to halt the efforts of 3CDC and others to turn the Metropole into a luxury hotel. The tenants are now represented by preeminent Cincinnati civil rights attorney Jennifer Kinsley, as well as Terence Brennan (formerly Lead Organizer with the AMOS Project). And they've filed a lawsuit that is compelling. I thought many of our readers would be interested in an explanation of the allegations in the lawsuit, and why it could be a major impediment to 3CDC's plans for the Metropole.

Last November, I expressed skepticism that the tenants had a viable legal claim. Back then, according to published reports, the tenants (then represented by Legal Aid) seemed to be arguing only that 3CDC was engaging in race (and perhaps disability) discrimination. At the time, I wrote:
Ultimately, the question comes down to this: once a landlord accepts federal housing money, does that act as some sort of covenant that runs forever against the building, regardless of ownership? Certainly, that cannot be the case. Property owners must be free, assuming they follow the law, to opt out of Section 8.

I've reviewed the tenants' 50-page complaint, and there's more to the story than simply a landlord accepting rent subsidies. According to the complaint, back in 1988, the owner of the Metropole--609 Walnut Ltd. (which, in turn, is owned by Showe Builders Inc.)--executed a mortgage with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. A HUD mortgage--in this context--is a federally-insured loan that gives the building owner an extremely low (1%) interest rate in exchange for using the building subject to the mortgage for multi-unit, low-income housing.

While the lawsuit doesn't go into the history of Showe's acquisition of the Metropole, this decision from the Sixth Circuit does. Showe bought the property back in the late '80's when the previous owner, Mid-Towne Associates, was in bankruptcy. Showe paid $675,000 and assumed a $2.9 million HUD mortgage. I'm guessing that was quite a deal: according to the Auditor, Azeotropic (a creation of 3CDC) bought the building for $6.25 million last year.

When Showe took over the mortgage, it signed a "regulatory agreement" with HUD. According to the complaint, one of the provisions of this agreement was that Showe could not, without the prior approval of HUD, prepay the mortgage. Prepayment is a big deal. As long as the mortgage exists, the property must be used for low-income housing. If the note is paid off, though, the building owner is subject only to the ordinary requirements of Section 8, which means that the owner can cancel its participation in the federal rent subsidy program one year after giving notice to its tenants.

Congress hasn't given HUD unfettered discretion in deciding whether to approve prepayment of a mortgage. Instead, when a HUD mortgage prepayment is subject to HUD approval (not all HUD mortgages require such approval), acceptance of an offer to prepay may only be given where the HUD Secretary decided that the building no longer meets a need for rental housing for lower income families in the area; the Secretary agrees that the tenants have been notified of the request for approval of prepayment; and the Secretary ensures that a plan exists to provide relocation assistance to displaced tenants.

Back to the lawsuit: the tenants say that HUD didn't do its due diligence before approving the mortgage prepayment, and have challenged the decision under the Administrative Procedures Act. (In some respects, this case is analogous to those where an environmental group challenges an EPA decision permitting the construction of an allegedly polluting factory.) It's hard to see how one could conclude that the Metropole doesn't meet a need for rental housing for lower income families in the area. In fact, with the closure of the Metropole, no low-income housing will exist in the central business district. (And the only other low-income housing downtown I can think of is Page Tower--and that may technically be in the West End, since it's on the west side of Central.)

I'm no expert in HUD mortgage regulations. But on its face, the lawsuit raises serious, non-frivolous claims that will not go away quickly. Stay tuned, folks: this promises to be an interesting legal battle.

T.O. vs. OchoNoShow

For the last few years, at the beginning of every season, Bengals fans wonder which wide receiver will take the field this year: Chad Johnson, or OchoNoShow. If the preseason is any indication (and I agree, you've got to take the preseason with a huge grain of salt), it looks like the latter will be wearing number 85 this year.

OchoNoShow may have the best hands of any wide receiver in the game. At least, that is, as long as no one is touching him. As a wide receiver gets older, he gets a bit slower. (Especially one like OchoNoShow, who by all accounts hasn't changed his diet or his workout routine to account for the fact that he's no longer 22.) So they have to run crisper routes and be better at catching the ball in traffic.

I went to last night's Bengals game. OchoNoShow's two most notable plays were two interceptions. The first was on a play that looked like Ocho ran the wrong route--or just failed to "come back to the ball." Palmer looked upset at the time; after the game, he took the blame (probably to avoid some inevitable OchoNoShow pouting).

The second interception was a ball thrown to Ocho over the middle, and Chad got hit. Hard. Replays showed that the ball had actually bounced away from him before he took the hit. (That hit, by the way, should have been penalized, as the defender launched himself at a defenseless Ocho. Look for a fine on that one.) And what did OchoNoShow do? Whine about the hit on Twitter from the bench:
Man Im sick of getting hit like that , its the damn preseason shit! 1day I'm gone jump up and start throwing hay makers , #Tylenolplease

Do the math on the time stamp. Yup, that was during last night's game. (Look for another fine next week.)

T.O. is a different story. From the first three games, it's clear he knows where he's going to make his living: over the middle. He hasn't whined about getting hit. And he's caught most of what's been thrown at him. He had a great, down-the-field catch late in the first half. But that was only after he'd run several short routes. He set up the deep route.

I think NFL fans will finally learn the difference between T.O. and OchoNoShow this season. T.O. can hang onto a ball in traffic. Ocho can't. Or at least, he won't.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Nice Letter From Terrell Owens To Bengals Fans

New Cincinnati Bengal wide receiver Terrell Owens has written a very positive letter to Bengals fans. Yeah, it sounds like something a good PR person would write for him, but even so, I'm glad to see a professional athlete making a point to reach out to fans. Let's hope this attitude remains through the season, no matter how many wins the Bengals have.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Who Will Be The Next Hamilton County Coroner?

Current Hamilton County Coroner Odell Owens is leaving his position to become the President of Cincinnati State. The HCDP will get to pick his replacement to finish his term, who gets it?

I really have no idea. This job requires a license to practice medicine, so the candidates are not as plentiful. It likely would be a pay cut for many doctors, so that may rule many out.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

We're Number 1!

Unfortunately, the category is bedbugs.

Great Day for OTR: Welcome SCPA Students and Teachers!

The waiting is over for students and parents alike, the new SCPA opens for the school year today. I hope this school provides a great education to every student that enters its doors. I also hope the school can bring OTR, teachers, and parents together to make the school and everything around it better. The arts are the cultural core of society, and institutions like SCPA are critical to enriching that culture and giving it value.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Friday Night

There's lots to do this coming Friday night.

If you're hip enough, you can head up to Northside for the Greenhornes concert at the Comet. I'm not sure if this is properly termed a reunion or a revival, but lots of people are excited that the group is releasing a new album and playing again.

Then there's Fountain Square, where you can hear Bad Veins and the Harlequins. If the weather stays reasonably nice, anybody into Cincinnati's indie music scene who can't get into the Comet will be on the Square.

If indie music isn't your thing, then the Bengals play their final home pre-season game at 8:00. This is their third game, so there's a good chance the first team plays most of the first half. And it could be interesting to see exactly how bad a McNabb-less Eagles team is.

The Details On How Lakota Schools Will Worsen

The ramifications of the failure to pass a school tax levy in the West Chester area Lakota School District were outlined yesterday.

Gone are music, art, and physical education teachers in elementary schools.

Why would they not cut all high schools ports, instead of cutting the junior school programs? Why also would any parent pay any fee for their kid to play a sport, and not agree to a modest increase in their property taxes? This is an example of one of the problems with modern America. The heightened value placed on team sports and the devaluation of public schools is a sign that willful ignorance is manifesting itself as a lifestyle choice, not just a political philosophy.

I don't know if this levy will fail causing the beloved exurbanite paradise of West Chester will lose. We do know what will be cut if it does fail. Let's hope that West Chester voters will support public education again. If they want to cut the fat of their school, team sports would be the place to start.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Classism in McMansionville

The fight for maintaining your property values doesn't shield these Miami Township home owners when they fight to keep less expensive homes out of their subdivision. The situation has a group of home owners with houses the cost at least $300,000 fighting a developer from taking over an unfinished subdivision and completing it with $100,000 homes.

Keeping out middle and working class people is the goal. They can claim it is about property values, but that's not what it is about, it is about class, specifically keeping the lower classes out. I use "class" here to mean money/wealth, but part of what people with $300,000 homes mean is lower social status. To most people "class" refers to both the socio and economic distinction a person has, but in this case the prejudice is blatant and more importantly intentional. What these homeowners are telling us is that anyone who can't afford the $300,000 home has something wrong with them, and will degrade their lifestyle if they live near by. Segregation isn't going to make anyone stronger.

Look to OTR. We have Section 8 apartments a block from $250,000 condos next to $100,000 condos, all a block from market rate apartments. Go another block and you can find even more expensive condos. Except for the "activists" who are against any development anywhere, you are not going to find people complaining about mixing classes. You'll find more people seeing strength in this mix.

Let the lots go empty in Miami Township. Let the $300,000 homes lose value without adding more sprawl to the area. They may lose value slower, but less sprawl helps society more. Build more $100,000 homes in OTR or the West End or Pendleton. We'll be happy to have them in our neighborhood. We have neighborhoods, by the way, not subdivisions.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Random MPMF Thought of the Weekend

I can't stop giggling at the thought of a group called Holy F*ck playing at my office building during this year's Midpoint Music Festival. (It's just not quite what you expect of the building that previously hosted the law office of William Howard Taft.)

And while I'm on the topic, I'm confused: is there a difference between a "three day pass" and a "three day wristband," or are they the same thing?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pat Clifford Fired From Drop Inn Center

The Enquirer is reporting that Drop Inn Center Executive Director Pat Clifford has been fired by the board of the organization. Clifford told the Enquirer he has no idea why he was dismissed.

I will speculate that the DIC board may have determined that a new direction must be taken and that Clifford was an obstacle to change. This I would surmise is connected to the offer 3CDC gave the DIC to help it relocate. Clifford in my view was against the move, and fell in the lot of other 'activists' who are bent on using the homeless, mentally insane, and drug addicted as a political tool.

I honestly hope the board of the DIC can find a new director who can help the homeless inside it's doors, but also help the whole community deal with the problems it attracts outside its doors.

The Greenhornes Return: August 20th at the Comet

Local music heavy weights, The Greehornes, are reuniting while The Raconteurs are on hiatus and launch a tour at the Comet on August 20th leading up to a new album to be released in October.  Their FB page seems to be the place for the most up to date information, as their website appears to be under construction.

They would make a great guess for the MidPoint Secret Show at this point.  I have zero inside information, but their tour schedule has a big gap that leaves plenty of time for some MidPoint love.  Let the rumors fly!

Monday, August 09, 2010

It's the Baseball, Stupid

With the Reds beginning a three-game series against the Cardinals this evening (right now, in fact!), nothing else really matters in Cincinnati this week. Not the streetcar, not the City's budget woes, and certainly not that other team that plays its games on the river (no need to pay attention to them until September 12).

So feel free to talk about the Reds generally, but in particular the following:

1. What do you think about the Dickerson-for-Edmonds trade?

2. What should Dusty do about Cordero? (Remember that he's sitting on 30 saves. And if not him, who would you bring out in the ninth to shut things down in a close game?)

This is the first time since I moved to Cincinnati that baseball has mattered in August. It's awesome!

Oh--is anyone going to Wednesday's game?

Sheriff Rick Jones Needs to Set Priorities

Butler County Sheriff Rick is complaining about budget cuts that laid off deputies:
In the news release, Sheriff Rick Jones, who was forced to lay off about two dozen deputies last month because of a county budget crisis, said, "the effects of the recent budget cuts became painfully clear" in the Beissinger Road incident.
So to be clear, the Enquirer article reports that Jones said only eight deputies (four patrol and four detectives) were available to work this case. This screed comes from the guy who views illegal immigration to be the biggest concern in his county, but is worried about having only eight people to investigate one case. Sounds like someone needs to put his priories straight. Firstly, Mr. Jones, worry about crimes with actual victims: murder, rape, theft, etc. Secondly, Jones might rethink how many people he keeps in the field. Does it actually take more than 8 people to investigate a crime that will involve the help from Hamilton County, likely to include either the CPD or Hamilton County Sheriff's Department?

Saturday, August 07, 2010

2010 Midpoint Venue List

2010 will be a big year for the Midpoint Music Festival with 25 venues: 13 in OTR, 11 in Downtown, and 1 in Newport. Not all of the venues are hosting bands every night. Here's the list:

VenueStreet AddressNeighborhood
Arnold's Bar & Grill210 E 8th Street Downtown
ArtWorks20 E. Central Pkwy Over-the-Rhine
Below Zero Lounge1122 Walnut Street Over-the-Rhine
Blue Wisp Jazz Club318 E 8th Street Downtown
Cincinnati Club30 Garfield Place Downtown
Contemporary Arts Center44 East 6th Street Downtown
Courtyard Café1211 Main Street Over-the-Rhine
FB’s126 West 6th Street Downtown
Fountain Square5th and Vine StreetsDowntown
Grammer’s1440 Walnut Street Over-the-Rhine
Inner Peace Holistic Center708 Walnut Street Downtown
Jack Potts Tavern1150 Main Street Over-the-Rhine
Know Theater1120 Jackson Street Over-the-Rhine
Madonna’s11 E 7th Street Downtown
Main Event835 Main Street Downtown
Mainstay Rock Bar301 W 5th St Downtown
Media Bridges1100 Race StOver-the-Rhine
Mixx Ultra Lounge1203 Main Street Over-the-Rhine
MOTR Pub1345 Main StreetOver-the-Rhine

Mr. Pitiful’s1323 Main Street Over-the-Rhine
Neon’s Unplugged208 East 12th Street Over-the-Rhine
Segway of Cincinnati1150 Vine Street Over-the-Rhine
Southgate House24 E 3rd Street Newport
The Original Tax Place1335 Main StreetOver-the-Rhine
Washington Platform1000 Elm Street Downtown

For the full schedule and all up to the minute Midpoint information, go to

Friday, August 06, 2010

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Blues Fest and Blues, Brews, and BBQ

The Reds are out of town this weekend, but that's OK: it's time for the annual Cincy Blues Fest. With over 40 bands spread over four stages on Saturday and Sunday, there's lots of choices.

Blues Fest is at Sawyer Point and is on Friday from 5:00 to midnight and Saturday from 2:30 to midnight. Admission is $10 on Friday and $15 on Saturday. Kids 13-18 are five bucks each day, and children twelve and under (accompanied by a parent) get in free.

And if you don't get your fill of blues on Friday and Saturday, head on over to Findlay Market on Sunday from 11:00 to 4:00 for the Fifth Annual Blues, Brews, and BBQ. The Christian Moerlein will be flowing in the OTR Biergarten. Mayberry's Josh Campbell and Virgil's Matthew Buschle will be working the grill, and rumor has it that Molly Wellmann will be serving some sort of alcoholic, BBQ-friendly concoction. (She probably won't have the ingredients on-hand for it Sunday, but one of these, days, I've got to try her Manhattan, for which I've heard a great deal of praise).

Just one more weekend of nothing to do in Cincinnati.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Wussy, The Dukes, Yo La Tengo, and Molly Wellmann

I'm not feeling very politically motivated these days, so I thought I'd share a snapshot of my weekend.

Friday, following a late night at the office, I decided to stop at Mainstay on the way home. I'd heard that (a) Cincinnati's favorite mixologist, Molly Wellmann, was tending bar that night, and that (b) there was no cover charge. So I moseyed on up to the bar and, trying to be heard over the band, asked Molly what she was mixing up that night.

I just assumed that anytime Molly's behind a bar, she's working on some awesome craft cocktails. But based on the look she gave me, I'm pretty sure she was just filling in for one of the bar's regular bartenders, and didn't have much up her sleeve. But after a couple seconds' hesitation, Molly went to work, grabbing a bottle here and a bottle there, finally setting something in a martini glass in front of me. She made me a variation on a Martinez, which, as Molly explained (I could listen to her talk about liquor for hours!) was a precursor to the martini. I'd never heard of it before--much less had one--but, as seems to be the case with everything Molly makes, it was delicious.

Now, away from the booze, and on to the musical part of the post. Playing at Mainstay that night was The Dukes. I hadn't heard them before. I'd characterize them as a garage rock band, and from what I heard, they're really good. Good enough, in fact, that I'll look for another opportunity to see them perform.

Saturday night took me across the river to Southgate House. For some time, I had that night marked on my calendar for Yo La Tengo, a group I'd first seen in concert several years ago on the East Coast. It was great to see them again, and the concert was marked by moments of brilliance. Unfortunately, it was also marked by long stretches of self-indulgence: stuff that probably is fun for them to fool around with during a practice session, but frankly, isn't much fun to listen to. Lots of reverb and distortion, coupled with some riffs reminiscent of '70s psychadelic rock. I'm not sure if they were aware that those sections kept sucking the enthusiasm out of the crowd.

Wussy opened for Yo La Tengo, and their set alone was worth the price of admission. I've seen Wussy a couple times and a friend who was there has seen them more, and we agreed it was the best we've heard them.

Finally, Saturday was my first time at a smoke-free Southgate House. It was a tremendously better experience than the smoke-filled version (I was actually able to see the ceiling!). Should northern Kentucky communities choose to enact smoking bans, I don't think they have to worry about it hurting business.

And (really finally this time) what a great weekend downtown! Friday and Saturday night, downtown Cincinnati was wall-to-wall people. (Yes, I grumbled about traffic, although I felt bad about doing so.)

BC Update on Community's Efforts on Casino Planning

Building Cincinnati has a great update on the Community efforts to address issues and concerns about the Casino.

Monday, August 02, 2010

The City Needs Money, So Buck Up!

The Enquirer reports on the parking meter rate increase which takes affect today and breaks out the everyman knee jerk quotes from the public:
"This country's going to hell, ain't it?"
Seriously, anyone who owns a car is going to say something this ludicrous about a $1 per hour increase to parker charges? I suppose that when the Bengals signed T.O. this same person hailed it as greatest thing ever to happen in the world, so far. People need to face facts and start pulling their weight. It would be nice for the Enquirer to pick more intelligent and relevant quotes than this gem.

Ugh! The City needs money. We need to pay for essential services, and since a majority of council lacks the courage to stand up to the FOP, they have to make revenues go up somehow. Even with this change we are still heading to another show down over the budget gap. I wonder how much grandstanding will occur from Council.

Speaking of grandstanding, I'll be waiting to see what Councilman Chris Monzel has to say on the budget. Last year he didn't issue any type of plan that would make the needed cuts or raise revenues, so I would expect nothing from him this year, even though he is running for County Commissioner, where the budget woes are just as bad as the City's.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Cincy Douche-Bag Anthem

Dear Cincinnati douche-bags, you know you are. You hang out at douche-bag bars and generally possess the intellect of a plate of Goetta. Well, I have found something for you. This "remix" was made for you and you alone. It is your Anthem.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bad Move, NKY Chamber of Commerce

Local Businesses really don't need to get political. We don't need business interests funneling money into local candidates. Individuals who want to give, should do so, without hesitation. Business interests hiding behind a PAC sends a bad sign and adds more barriers to voters ability to know who is really funding local candidates.

The benefit of being local means you actually know the people who are candidates for political offices, or at least are very easily able to meet the candidates at various events. National candidates are faceless drones we really don't get to know, even the congressional candidates. We equally have the opportunity to know who is funding the local candidates. If a local business is going to fund a candidate, they should go on record and make it known who they are supporting. That is fair. That is democratic.  That is however possibly bad for business.

Additionally we don't need candidates running for Covington mayor trying to claim that since they got funded by the NKY Chamber, they are more pro-business than someone else. We can't let the broken national & statewide political systems corrupt the less broken local systems. Yes, I say they are less broken because for the most part, political party doesn't matter the same way it does on a national level. Party identification does not bind a city council member to vote for or against an issue. We have elected public officials that actually can evaluate an issue with a little bit of political leeway. Sure, they will vote to get reelected, but in local races that does not always mean voting with what the Party wants. A Chamber PAC just will increase the power of the Parties, making them more necessary if a candidate wants a chance to raise enough money to win.

I'm not saying if this is legal or not. It likely is very legal, especially under recent Supreme Court rulings. I'm talking about what good business people should be doing. Businesses should serve their customers and should, if they are thinking in the long run, believe that everyone is a possible customer. You can't please everyone, but why associate your business, even indirectly, with funding political candidates?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Food Equals Love

Just a quick post to note the return of Food=Love, a local food blog run by my friend, Kate. It had been dormant for a bit, but Kate is back now, promising a series of posts on finding good, meatless lunches for ten bucks or less.

Check it out.

Eat Sugar Plays Midpoint Indie Summer at Fountain Square This Friday

For the kids out there, this is what music videos were like in the early and middle 1980's. No frills, no real point, just imagery that may or may not makes sense with the song. In this case it makes pretty good sense.

For more check out or

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mike Brown is Still a Dick

So the Citizens of Hamilton County buy him a new Stadium. The same Citizens buy high priced tickets for his sports team. They buy jerseys and beer from his vendors. They don't rebel when he signs a too high number of players that can't stay off the police blotter. All of that and Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown still manages to say a big Fuck You to the Citizens of Hamilton County. Well, right back at you, Mike, right back at you.

More here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Si Leis Supports the Streetcars in Cincinnati

If we were talking about religion, I would say Si Leis has seen the light! Since we aren't, I will just be a little awe struck with his guest column in the Enquirer where he comes out in full support of streetcars in Cincinnati. It's a little bit late, but we're happy to have him along for the ride!

Big Week for the Reds

This is a pretty important week for the Cincinnati Reds. Not so much on the field (at least, this week's games are no more critical than any others). But the decisions General Manager Walt Jocketty makes over the next few days are critical, not just for this season, but for the future of the club.

The trade deadline is at the end of this week. I'm a Reds fan and a baseball fan, but I don't pretend to follow either closely enough to have a strong opinion as to which moves the Reds should or shouldn't make. I do realize, though, that a few teams have attractive players available, and right now, the Reds' farm club is chock full of talent. So Jocketty faces a daunting question: does he sacrifice a bit of the team's long-term potential for a chance to win the pennant this year? And that question, of course, raises a host of others. With or without an added player, is the World Series a realistic possibility this year? Will another player help the team, or upset the chemistry? How good are our prospects?

I'm not smart enough to have sabremetric statistics memorized or explain Moneyball principles, though Jocketty certainly is. And this year, the moves he doesn't make may be every bit as important as the ones he does.

Two Weeks Left to Vote for the CEAs in Theater

You have until Monday August 9th to vote in CityBeat's Cincinnati Entertainment Awards in Theater.

Keep August 29th open for the CEA Theater presentation show at the Know Theatre.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mt. Rumpke to Stink Less?

The Community Press is reporting the Ohio EPA has issued a permit for Rumpke to install odor control equipment at their landfill off of Route 27 in Northern Hamilton County.

This is replacement equipment, not something brand new. I wouldn't hold my breath for the smell of Mt. Rumpke to go away. I might consider holding my breath as you drive by Mt. Rumpke, at least if you have any fresh air circulating in your car.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Local GOP Wants TP Votes, But Not an Association

All of the local House GOP members ran the hell away from joining the new "Tea Party Caucus" in the U.S. House of Representatives. Boehner, Schmidt, and Davis all want the TPers votes, they just don't want to be associated with the crackpots who really believe all of the nutty crap they spew, like Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. This indicates a little bit of sanity on their part, but more importantly shows how two faced a politician can be.

Police Chief Tom Streicher Again Announces He Will Retire

This time the announcement comes from the horse's mouth. Cincinnati Police Chief tom Streicher has told WLWT-TV that he plans to retire next year. The City Manager's office stated that they have not received official word on the retirement. WLWT reports that it is expected Streicher will retire in about 8 months.

I just really hope Streicher does not pull a Bret Favre on the City. Make it official already!

If he wants to jump ship and become the Police Chief of Pittsburgh, no one here would mind.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Legal Advice: Don't Waive Counsel

I went to the Reds game Saturday night, so I saw this guy run onto the field late in the game. He acted differently than other fans I've seen run onto fields. He was fully clothed (always a plus). And once he was on the field (I didn't see exactly where he came from, but someone sitting near me thought perhaps he had fallen over the wall in shallow right field trying to get a baseball hit in that vicinity), he ran directly to the nearest police officer (near first base), stopped, and put his hands behind his back. Usually, these guys make the police chase them around for a bit. So kudos to him for not making the police work too hard on a hot day.

So he's arrested and charged with a first-degree misdemeanor (which means the possibility of six months in jail and $1,000 fine). I was curious as to what would happen when he appeared in court today, so I looked up his case. (It appears, by the way, that he has no criminal record in Hamilton County. He may have one elsewhere. I'm not convinced that the name he gave--Talon Power--isn't an alias.) At arraignment, he waived (or gave up) his right to an attorney. He pleaded guilty. And he got a seven-day jail sentence.

Again, I don't have the guy's entire criminal record available to me, but seven days seems awfully tough. People convicted of domestic violence or assault for the first time generally get probation. DUI will get you three days (or six, if you test at twice the legal limit.) Causing a 30-second delay in a Reds game is worth a week in the slammer?

The point, though, is this: if you're charged with an offense that carries the possibility of jail time, don't waive your right to an attorney. There's a reason that the Sixth Amendment protects your right to counsel. It's because you don't know what you're doing in a courtroom. And that's not shameful or embarrassing. There's a whole host of things I can't do: repair a car, fix a pipe, cut my own hair, cure an illness, or perform practically any other useful task. Instead, I call a professional. And that's what you should do.

Would this guy's outcome have been different if he'd had an attorney? Who knows? But he should have found out.

Is a NKY Smoking Ban Just Around the Corner?

The Kentucky Enquirer is reporting that a draft of an ordinance is being circulated among elected officials of the three Northern Kentucky Counties.  That ordinance would ban indoor smoking in public places, including businesses. The details on the ban are not known, as the drafts of the ordinances are being kept under wraps.

The article indicates that officials believe that the votes are there for passage of such an ordinance in Campbell and Kenton counties, but not currently in Boone.

The leakage of the existence of such a draft ordinance is pretty clearly a trial balloon to see how much outrage is out there on a possible smoking ban. Many in Ohio screamed how bars and restaurants would fail in droves after a smoking ban. That proved false. Yes, some bars have closed, but most adapted and flourished. If anything happens after a NKY ban, I would say Cincinnati bars may temporarily suffer, with a slight drop in Kentucky business crossing the river. I think in the end both sides will remain strong, with people staying local more often when they can walk to a bar without smoke.

Outside the DIC Is Not the Place to Be

A woman died reportedly from a drug overdose just outside of the Drop Inn Center last Thursday.  Little about the story was made public, but this does provide a prime example of one of the problems of the DIC.  If it happens or affects something outside of their doors, they are not doing much about it, even though they attract people prone to problems that affect others and denigrate the area around Washington Park.

I for one don't want overdoses being common place in direct sight of a K-12 school.  This is yet another reason the DIC should move and take the 3CDC offer.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pones, Inc. Presents: Rub, Dredge, Fry (repeat)

Join Pones, Inc. for provocative movement/dance/theatre as they Present: Rub, Dredge, Fry (repeat). It premieres Saturday, July 24, 2010 at 8 PM at the Museum Gallery / Gallery Museum located at 218 Sycamore Street.

Not sure what this is all about? Here's the description:
Rub, Dredge, Fry (repeat) examines our deep fried opinions, traditions, and relationships with comfort food. Layering dance, theatre, music, and cooking Pones Inc. creates a plethora of dishes (some more delectable than others) while asking: Why fried? Come hungry and leave happy but don’t be afraid to get your hands a little dirty in the process. “Rub, Dredge, Fry (Repeat)” wants to know ...are you better than fried food?

Throughout creating the show, the cast explored what happens when cost, accessibility, convenience, and tradition all factor into our choices.
Pones, Inc. has produced stunning productions at the last three Cincinnati Fringe Festivals. This show sounds like something cooked up with the food tastes of Cincinnati in mind. Get out of your comfort zone and try out a new show. You can't say there aren't cool things to do, so head to Over-the-Rhine and experience it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Result of Anti-Tax Extremism

Little Miami Schools is being taken over by the State of Ohio because the citizens of that school district have repeatedly failed to pass a tax levy to fund the schools. The anti-tax/anti-government extremists got their way and the schools will now suffer massive cuts. Students will likely not have any extracurricular activities. They will miss out on advance education opportunities. Little Miami Students will not have good educations.

Anti-tax zealots are dancing for Joy over this. Their goals include destroying public institutions. They have no plans for replacing these institutions. At best you are going to get a shrug and some vague reference to "let the market decide."  This is insanity.  There is no logic, no plan, just irrational selfishness, that if allowed to continue will create township that has nothing but a handful of residents, struggling to maintain a sense of a society.

There are reasonable people who can disagree on the size and focus of government. Reasonable people understand that public education is a bedrock of an functional society. If you have a public institution, you have to fund it. Starving it to death is not going to reform it, it is going to end it.

On a side note, I am less surprised knowing that Chris Finey, COAST/TP anti-tax/anti-government anti-gay activst works worth with Chris Smitherman, president of the the local chapter of the NAACP. Both men take actions that indicate a base underlying philosophy: tear everything down and start over. The politics of destruction will not gain advances for society, as these men think, each from their own perspective. Starting over isn't going to put anyone ahead, it puts us all permanently behind.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

West Chester Tea Party, What Say Ye?

The Enquirer is reporting that Lakota Schools is asking for a new 10 year tax levy. With West Chester, the home of Lakota Schools, being voting one of the "best" places to live in America and being a hot bed for the local Tea Party, I am wonder something. Will this levy get voted down? Will local officials instead campaign on increasing the budget of the county sheriff to help him remove the mythical illegal immigrant problem in Butler County? The Tea Party wants to decimate every element government run services, except law enforcement, border security and the military, so I would predict this levy will lose.

What is more logical than allowing public schools to decay in order to fund racism as a way to get votes? Isn't that the American Dream?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Interesting Article About Venue 222 Owner

Debbie Dent and her husband own Venue 222, but she also runs a marketing/design company which recently changed names.

The company has gone through a big transition, where the staff was let go as a result of the 2008-2009 recession.  The new name is, based on the article from the Business Courier, more of a rebirth of the company, which will be smaller than before.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Second Sunday in OTR - Global Groove

This Sunday, July 11th, head to OTR and check out Food, Fun, Beer, and shopping along Vine St, 12th St, and Main St. !  Here's the schedule:
12pm-5pm Street Fair on Main, craft and food vendors, and live DJ's (Main St. closed from 13th to Liberty)

12pm-5pm Neon's Unplugged- Beer Garden with live music
(208 E. 12th Street)
Bands at Neon's:
Toca Madera (Nuevo Flamenco trio) 12-1:15
Bachannal Steel Band (Carribean)  1:45-3:00
Laignappe (gypsy new orleans jazz)  3:30-5:00pm

12:30pm Free yoga session, hosted by You Do Yoga, (Main at Woodward)

1:00 Bellydancing demo by Anaya Gypsy Tribal Bellydance (Main at Woodward)

1:30 Bellydancing demo & class by Habeeba's Dance of the Arts (Main at Woodward)

2:30pm Celebrity Chef Demo featuring Daniel Wright from Senate
(1419 Main St., Falling Wall Condo)
For more information check out

Take the Hamilton County Citizen Survey

Hamilton County wants to know your opinions and has created the 2011 Hamilton County Citizen Survey. The questions cover many issues, but keep to mostly hot topics in the County's purview.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Streetcar Project Gets Federal Backing

The Enquirer is reporting that the City of Cincinnati will receive a $25 Million grant to help build the Streetcar to connect the Riverfront/Downtown to Over-the-Rhine and Uptown.
This is great news for the project, and was a critical need.  If they City had lost out on this round of funding, the project would have had a tough time maintaining support.  I believe now the corner may have finally turned to disway the anti-city/anti-downtown forces for good.

CityBeat's 2010 CEA Theater Nominations Announced

Rick Pending has announced the nominees for the 2010 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards for Theater.

The full list of categories and nominees is here. You can vote for the public categories here.

Set aside August 29th for the Awards show which will take place at the Know Theatre. We'll pass along more details on that as they become available.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Bias Against Portly Men?

I have no particular problem with Thomas Edison, or his potential selection as our Statuary Hall representative in the Capitol.

But how can you compile a list of 10 Ohioans for this honor that doesn't include William Howard Taft? As everyone knows, he's the only American ever to be both President and Chief Justice. More importantly, perhaps, he is responsible for the construction of the building that houses the Supreme Court.

This is an outrage, I say, an outrage!

Confusing or Just Bad Journalism?

Now that Pride week is past, I want to point out a really confusing article in CityBeat last week. In fact, it was part of the Cover Story- The Great Gay Migration: Why are young gay professionals leaving Cincinnati? The confusing part of the article comes from the simple fact that it fails to cite any source, other than a random survey of some of the writer's friends, that there is in fact any type of change in the number of GBLT people leaving Cincinnati to warrant the use of "Migration." In fact, the article doesn't cite how many GBLT people left last year or the last decade. For all the writer knows, there could be a net gain in Cincinnati of GLBT people since Article XII was repealed.

The article consists of several anecdotal cases of people, obviously friends to the writer, who left or are leaving town. One wants to be a NATIONAL political activist. Gee, I am shocked there are not a 1,000 jobs for that here. Another wanted to be a rock star. Also, I am shocked this is not the place you can sell your demo for a million dollars. The third example moved for a job, also a shocking revelation!

The buried lead that should have been replaced the poorly written headline was this:
"Available data on LGBTQ individuals suggest they’re just as likely to move as heterosexual individuals but are more likely to move further away."
So gays are "just as likely to move" as straight people? How is this twisted into making people think there is a mass exodus of gays from Cincinnati?

The article just doesn't know what it wants to be, and fails at all attempts. Is Cincinnati anti-gay? Are Cincinnati gays not friendly enough to punk rockers? Do Cincinnati gays not support other gays enough?

GLBT people have a ruff time everywhere, but if you are going to write about gay flight from this Midwestern city, why not state some facts that it is actually happening, more than other groups. Using examples of GBLT people who left for reasons that are the same as any straight person only demonstrates that GBLT people are starting live normal lives like everyone else and are doing it right here in Cincinnati. Pride was just on Fountain Square and almost no one protested. Life for GBLT people in Cincinnati, at least in the City, is getting better. There are hurdles still ahead, but progress has been made.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Maltese Falcon and Fork Heart Knife

This Sunday July 11th get two tantalizing experiences in one place at one time. Venue 222 hosts dinner and a movie starting at 6PM. The movie is the Noir of all Noir films: The Maltese Falcon. The food is from Fork Heart Knife.

The Menu:
Bacon wrapped, manchego stuffed date
(the perfect bite)

Chimichurri chicken Skewer!
(skewers of finger food friendly on the stick chicken)

Peppadew devilled eggs
(who doesn’t love peppadew?)

Bloody mary gazpacho!
(served in cute cups, with classic bloody mary accessories- our pickled asparagus and olives)

Blueberry lavender jello mold
(yes we said ‘jello mold’ don’t judge…)

Mini brown butter sugar cookies
(like your kindergarten teacher used to make)

Cost is $6 for both dinner and the flick combined. What a deal! Get your reserved spot by paying via paypal on

The location is 222 E 14th St, Cincinnati, OH 45202. What a great way to end a Sunday that starts at Second Sunday in OTR!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Touchdown Jesus 'Reborn' in Northside

If you happened to be at the Northside Fourth of July parade (which was on the Third of July this year), you may have witnessed a religious experience. No, I'm not talk about the really cute hipster girls in their short dresses and tall boots. Instead I'm referring to the return (of sorts) of Touchdown Jesus, aka Big Butter Jesus.

Don't believe me? You think that the hippies that live in Northside can't conjure up a resurrection? Come on, this is NORTHSIDE we are talking about!

Yes, those are scorch marks. I can't effective interpret how those work narratively, but there is likely a religious opinion on it, and I'm not qualified to render one, so I won't.

UPDATE: More on the return:

Friday, July 02, 2010

WLWT Is Living In A Blue Oyster World

In a post yesterday, I remarked that the comically-intended yet nonetheless stereotypical portray of a gay bar in a 1980's movie just wouldn't fly today.

It turns out, such stereotypes are just fine for WLWT, so long as they're meant seriously.

I'm not sure why I watch that station for news anymore. (OK, I do know: a friend of mine is a reporter and I wanted to see her story.) But last night I turned on the 11:00 news. The "Number One" story was about "opposition" to the decision to move the Gay Pride parade and festival downtown this year.

WLWT decided to feature everyone's favorite "community values" activist, Phil Burress. He should be a punchline by now. But instead, there's WLWT, treating him as if he's a serious person. And on camera--unchallenged and uncontradicted by WLWT--he warned that people would be "naked" and "having sex on the street" this weekend.

Part of me wishes he were right; it'd be interesting to watch. But he's wrong. It's bad enough that Burress says such things. It's worse--it's appalling, it's indefensible, it's pick-your-adjective-and-superlative-bad--that WLWT published his views to anyone who left Channel Five on for a few minutes after prime time ended.

WLWT owes an apology to the gay community, as well as to downtown residents and businesses.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

A Good Time To Remember The Roots Of The Gay Rights Movement

Today's Enquirer carried an excellent article by Lauren Bishop on the decision to move Cincinnati's annual Gay Pride festival from Northside to Downtown this year. The article mentions in passing the Stonewall riots. It made me realize that while I've always been supportive of--and at times, an active advocate of--GLBT equality, I know very little about the history of the movement. In fact, until yesterday, I didn't even know why some gay rights groups organized under the name "Stonewall."

A brief summary, for those of you who don't know. (And a link to more information, for those who are interested.) In 1969, New York police raided a a gay bar. The reason for the raid? Well, it was a gay bar. That night, the bar's patrons, tired of being hassled by the police, responded with violent protest. The name of the bar: the Stonewall Inn. The event is largely credited as being the birth of the modern gay rights movement.

It can be easy to forget that not so long ago, police could harass with impunity an establishment simply because it catered to the GLBT community. I was born in 1974, and even in my lifetime, gay rights have come a long ways. Think about the stereotypical portrayal of a gay bar in Police Academy, made in 1984. I don't think a mainstream movie would get away with such a scene today. In fact, fast forward about twelve years to The Birdcage (a movie with some pretty bad ethnic stereotyping), where gay culture is presented as normal and Gene Hackman plays a Republican who is presented as out-of-touch because he is disapproving of his son-in-law-to-be's gay fathers. And this year, there are gay pride banners hanging from lamp posts on Fifth Street.

A schedule of events for this year's gay pride events--called the Equinox Festival--is available here.

Passage "Sneak Preview" This Weekend

Passage Lounge, at 6th at Main, will have a "sneak preview" this Friday and Saturday night. I'm not sure what else to say about this. Griff was excited about this back in October.

"Upscale lounges" generally aren't my scene; I'm neither hip enough nor pretty enough for such escapades. But I usually like to wander in once, just to know what all the fuss will be about.

So I think maybe my plan for Friday is to go watch the Pomegranates at Fountain Square, then head over to Passage to check things out.

Good Eats: Main Event

With a couple of friends, I stopped by Main Event for lunch today. (That link will eventually redirect you to the restaurant/bar's Facebook page, as its website is still under construction.) Griff posted about it back in April, before it opened; there's some help additional information in the comments. Main Event is at 835 Main Street--the old Lava Lounge, next to what used to be Bouchard's (and before that, Burrito Joe's).

The lunch menu was simple, but has some good food. The place offers sandwiches, salads, and freshly made pizza. All three of us opted for a sandwich, and all of us agreed that they were made of fresh ingredients and tasty. Their pulled pork and BBQ beef sandwiches both come on pretzel bread buns. I had a "Wellington"--roast beef, a potato cake, Colby cheese, and some sweet-and-sour sauce served on a Kaiser roll. It was probably the only truly original sandwich (most were clubs or straightforward, single ingredient creations) on the menu, and I'm glad I tried it.

Service was fast and friendly. It's definitely a good spot to hit on the way out of the courthouse (or on a lunch break if you're stuck in/work at the courthouse all day). And the prices are right: my sandwich, chips, and a pop cost $7.50.

Main Event is also open late at night. The bar was clearly well-stocked. The venue features a fairly large dance floor with a DJ booth. Our server ran down each night's theme for us, all of which I promptly forgot (one night is 80's music). But it sounded like it might be worth checking out.

Park + Vine Moving to Main Street

Cincinnati's very popular green store Park + Vine announced yesterday they are moving to new location in Over-the-Rhine.

The store will move to 1202 Main Street and will expand operations to include a vegan grocery store, a food bar, indoor/outdoor seating, as well as a room for meetings.

The new location plans to open in September during the MidPoint Music Festival, (Sept. 23-25). The Vine Street location will remain open until then.

This is really great news for Main Street and OTR. It shows the commitment of Dan Korman to OTR, Cincinnati, and community his store serves.

Read the full press release here.

The Cincinnati Herald in Tax Trouble

The Cincinnati Herald, a weekly newspaper targeted towards African-Americans, owes $73,000 in back taxes to the IRS. The newspaper is owned by Ohio State Senator Eric Kearney. Niche print media is difficult on a national level, but it is a nightmare on a local level. The Herald should consider ways to expand readership by including other target groups. Latinos would be the obvious choice to consider, but being the Urban newspaper, serving the City, would be the only long term model that could avoid these type of financial issues. The only other option would be finding a benefactor to plug the funding gaps. That is something a viable business should not rely on.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cincinnati Police Accused of "Targeting Athletes"

According to this report, some ESPN guy named Ric Bucher, during a discussion of Cedric Benson's arrest on ESPN radio this morning (on Mike and Mike?) claims that the Cincinnati police target athletes.

Bucher claims to be able to make this assessment because he's a "Cincinnati native." How long has it been, one wonders, since he's actually lived here? And can he cite an example of an athlete that was arrested because the police (a) knew he was an athlete, and (b) targeted him for that reason? And does Bucher mean the Cincinnati police specifically, or Cincinnati-area police departments in general?

Seems like quite the over-generalization to me.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Is Kroger A Responsible Corporate Citizen?

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) "is a community-based organization of mainly Latino, Mayan Indian and Haitian immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout the state of Florida." For the past decade, it has been working with (and sometimes against) large purchasers of produce to adopt standards to ensure that farm workers are treated humanely and paid something approaching a fair wage. (See this Wikipedia entry.)

It turns out that some of the worst working conditions in the US are found on tomato farms throughout Florida. Things are so bad that a couple years ago, two farm overseers were convicted on federal slavery charges. One of the farms that utilized slave labor was Pacific Tomato Growers. (Keep track of that name.)

In the past few years, several major companies have changed their tomato-purchasing practices in response to pressure from CIW. Those companies, which include Chipotle, Taco Bell, McDonald's, Burger King, and Whole Food Market, have adopted the "penny-per-pound" initiative, through which tomato pickers' wages are increased by one penny per pound of tomatoes picked.

Enter Cincinnati-based Kroger, the nation's largest grocery chain. CIW has been seeking cooperation from Kroger in improving the conditions under which tomato pickers are forced to work. So far, Kroger has been resistant to the effort. The company seems almost intentionally oblivious to the plight of those who pick its produce--so much so that, as it turns out, Kroger sells tomatoes grown by Pacific Tomato Growers. Yep, that's the same farm we told you to remember two paragraphs ago.

Other companies have managed to stay profitable while supporting the dignity and human rights of those who pick the produce they sell. Why can't Kroger follow suit? And do we Cincinnatians have a special obligation to pressure our hometown grocer to do the right thing?

Texting While Driving Ordinance Is A Bad Idea. And You Might Have To Give Up Your Tom-Tom!

Jane Prendergast reports that City Council is poised to enact a ban on "texting while driving" within city limits. The law, being pushed by Chris Bortz, would be a minor misdemeanor for first offenders--carrying a fine of up to $100--and an unclassified misdemeanor for repeat offenders, who could be fined up to $500.

It's a bad idea.

Bortz's motion is available here. Given that the motion points to Columbus's TWD law as a model, the ordinance (which has not yet been written) will probably have the following characteristics:
  • TWD will be a "primary offense." In other words, police can stop a driver on suspicion of TWD without observing any other traffic offense.
  • Dialing a cell phone will not be banned.
  • TWD while at a red light will be banned, but TWD while parked (out of the flow of traffic) will not.
So why is this a bad idea? First, the obvious: how does an officer know whether a driver is texting or dialing? An officer who pulls someone over cannot simply demand a motorist's phone and look through it. Instead, the Ohio Supreme Court has recently held that in order to examine the contents of a cell phone, an officer needs a search warrant. I can't wait to start watching trials in Hamilton County Municipal Court that are all about whether a driver was dialing or texting. That's just what the criminal dockets need: more traffic trials (usually with pro se defendants).

Second, the law is over-broad. My cell phone package includes a GPS program. As I read the Columbus law, even if I punch in my destination address before starting the car, I would be breaking the law if I look at the turn-by-turn directions on the phone while at a traffic light or stop sign. Nothing prohibits me from looking at a separate GPS device, or having an old-fashioned map spread across the steering wheel, or a sheet of paper with directions from Mapquest in my hands as I drive. But I could be fined one hundred bucks for trying not to get lost during a foray into Northside. That doesn't seem fair. It probably also isn't Council's intent; it is, however, prohibited by the proposed ordinance.

I originally suggested that a GPS device was OK. But re-reading the Columbus law, which bans looking at "internet-based content" on a "mobile communications device," the law as written applies to GPS devices. Of course, police won't enforce the law against a guy looking at his Garmin. And that will lead to a challenge of the ordinance on the grounds of selective enforcement.

Third, this ordinance will be just one more pretext to pull people over. I can already see an officer's arrest report:
Observed defendant holding something in his hands and looking at it. During traffic stop for suspicion of TWD, defendant made furtive movements with his hands, causing this officer to fear for his safety. Officer approached the vehicle and ordered the defendant out. After defendant was handcuffed for officer safety, the vehicle was searched and ________ was found.

Is this really a good use of City resources? The Enquirer has recently run stories about the cost of police overtime for court appearances. Do we need another reason for officers to come to court in pursuit of a hundred bucks for the city coffers?

This would be an awfully good time for those conservatives who like to complain about "the nanny state" to speak up.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Some Props for MidPoint

A very nice article in the Enquirer singing the praises of the MidPoint Music Festival. The festival schedule hopefully will be out in July. Until then, focus on Friday Nights, when you can see great music on Fountain Square for FREE!.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

WLW Reporting Police Chief Thomas Streicher Retiring

700 WLW-AM is reporting that Cincinnati Police Chief Thomas Streicher is retiring. No details were included. Is there any additional info out there confirming this report?

Earthquake Felt This Afternoon In Downtown Cincinnati

Griff and I don't consider ourselves reporters, but I thought I'd break that rule for now.

A few minutes ago while on the sixth floor of my ten-story office building, I began to feel a rocking sensation. It seemed as if the whole building was rocking back and forth; it lasted for about 30 seconds.

My Facebook page is lighting up with similar reports all over downtown. I've heard from friends in Buffalo who say they felt something at about the same time.

This felt like a slightly stronger version of the minor earthquake we had early one morning a couple of years ago.

UPDATE: 700 WLW is reporting that this was the result of a magnitude 5.5 earthquake near Ottawa.

UPDATE 2: Here's a report from CBC News confirming the origin of the quake.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Watson Named Campaign Manager For Reece

CityBeat reports that Bernadette Watson, former candidate for City Council, was appointed as campaign manager for Alicia Reece's run for the Ohio House 33rd district's seat.

This is a lock seat for Reece, so her campaign team needs to be competent, not world class. I will be interested in seeing if this is a hands-on job for Watson, or will she be more of a figurehead? She might serve as more of a strategist, than as a day to day manager of staff and message.

PETA Loves a Butterless Jesus

The Oxford Press reports that PETA, the pro-animal rights group, has offered to rebuild the "King of Kings" statue located at the Solid Rock Church in Monroe. The statute known better as Touchdown Jesus and Big Butter Jesus, burned down recently after being struck by lightning. PETA sent a letter to the church leaders proposing a new statue of Jesus holding a lamb with an inscribed message reading "Blessed Are the Merciful. Go Vegan."

No word yet from the Church.

You can't make this stuff up.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Watch This: The Evolution of the Internet (or Play Bingo at Hamburger Mary's This Tuesday!)

I've been meaning to write a post about Watch This for some time, but I've also wanted to put something together about how it fits into the broader context of the internet. Here we go.

Ten years ago, it was popular to point out the following paradox: while bowling alley revenues were increasing, bowling league participation was decreasing. The idea was that people were becoming more and more isolated from each other. And the internet, at one time heralded for its ability to "connect" people, wasn't counteracting that trend. Generally speaking, it was thought that the internet was enabling people to avoid in-person contact with each other. Why go to a "brick-and-mortar" store when you can buy everything online? Why go to a bar when you can get a six-pack, stay at home, and go to a chat room? The blogosphere is largely part of this phenomenon: you've got the conservative bloggers, liberal bloggers, libertarian bloggers, and so on. You can manage to avoid all contact with anyone who might disagree with you.

Over the past couple years, I think there's been a backlash against that. People don't want the faux connectionalism of the internet; they want the real thing. So the internet has become a tool to create and facilitate real, face-to-face interactions. Cincinnati Imports in a manifestation of this trend. Candace Klein's Bad Girl Ventures is another example of using the web to create connections between people that go well beyond fiberoptic. And Watch This also shows the power of the internet to get people together in the physical world.

For those of you who don't know, Watch This is the brainchild of Alex and Allison (who, I believe, actually met at a Cincinnati Imports event). The idea: watch all of the movies on the AFI Top 100 Movies list in 2010. It started off simple enough. Alex and Allison would screen each of the movies in their living room, inviting anyone who read their blog to come over. Then, others started offering to host movies. Then they started to book larger facilities (including the 20th Century Theatre and, later this month, Fountain Square).

I'm ashamed to say that they're nearly halfway through the list, and I still haven't been to a screening. I'll fix that soon, though (how can any lawyer worth his salt NOT show up on August 27th for To Kill a Mockingbird?). Showing up at a non-friend's living room is a bit out of my comfort zone. But if you're like me in that regard, fear not: lots of future screenings are at places like Take the Cake, Baba Budan's, and Grammers.

It turns out, though, that you can't just rent a movie and invite a bunch of strangers to a public place to watch it. Instead, you've got to pay for the screening rights to do that. So tomorrow night, Hamburger Mary's is hosting a fundraiser to help defray those costs. From 8:00 to 10:00, you can stop by the restaurant/bar (on Vine between Ninth and Court) and play drag-queen bingo. Apparently, there's prizes. And Hamburger Mary's has invented a drink for the occasion--vodka cherry lime with Cotton Candy.

So if you've been to one of the movies, or if you think you might go, pop into Hamburger Mary's for a fun, bingo-filled night (there's even prizes!). And show up to a movie sometime; I know I will.

(I do have one question about Watch This: when the movie is hosted at the Cincinnati Athletic Club, does everyone go for a naked swim afterwords?)

Here's An Actual Socialist

Want to know a real live socialist? The Enquirer profiles one and you can get an idea of the extremism he represents, and as the article points out, President Obama isn't a Socialist.

If you ever read about Dan La Botz attacking OTR redevelopment efforts, take the fact that his motivation is politics, not anything else, when evaluating his message. Every position he takes will be against any type of capitalistic action, so even if there are efforts that will help people transition out of poverty, if it is not done on his terms, then I don't see him supporting it.

This type of thinking is rampant in the 'Homeless' activist community and keeps the problem worse than is should be. Many people, like La Botz, would rather keep people living in Washington Park instead of accepting good plans from the City or other local groups. They do that because they want Socialism to run the city and country, and need the weapon of poverty to make their case. Take away their weapons and their case against capitalism falls apart. Extremists like La Botz are little different than the nuts at COAST. They have a purist ideology, but no actual concept of how to govern.

Sunday, June 20, 2010 Returning???

CincyVoices reports on a recent online comment which indicates may be back. No details are known on how or when, except the key element that the DJs who made the station what it is, are either looking for work or in the case of one staffer have a job and looking to return to Cincinnati. I have to agree with Classicgrrl that without Joe, Shiv, Mike, you don't have much of a station.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cincinnati SPJ Awards

Last night at the Blue Wisp (which is neither closed nor boring, by the way), the Cincinnati chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists had its annual awards ceremony. For a run-down of awards, see this Enquirer article. Kevin Osborne was awarded for having the best news blog, while was deemed the best website.

One award not mentioned: Lauren Bishop (aka Miss Print), with Stacy Doose (video) and Michael Keating (photo), won first place for web news feature for this piece marking the thirtieth anniversary of the tragedy at The Who concert at the Riverfront Coliseum. We had linked to it when the article first appeared, thinking it was a great read for anyone not old enough to remember the event.

Congratulations to Lauren and all of the Cincinnati SPJ winners!

Is "Black-on-Black Violence" A Myth?

Earlier this week, the Enquirer reported that several local non-profit agencies are working together to "curb black-on-black violence."

This piece, currently available at The Root, posits an interesting thesis: that the label "black-on-black violence" is an unnecessarily racialized view of problems that are really socioeconomic in nature. From the op-ed:
At this particular moment in our history, it is more important than ever to reject these kinds of racialized explanations. They are being used to slander public school children as incapable of learning; to deem affordable housing a hopeless cause. In gentrifying cities, ''black-on-black crime'' is used as a weapon to encourage public policies that treat black people as blights on the new urban aesthetic. There is a moral imperative to challenge these assumptions.

I've not fully thought this through, but I thought the piece made some good points (after all, have you ever heard a crime described as "white-on-white violence"?) that might be of interest to our readers.

And with respect to the linked Enquirer article: I should note that apart from the headline, the article doesn't use the phrase at issue. And, in fact, the body of the article does a pretty good job of exploring the socioeconomic causes of urban crime.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Gumption Awards Honor Cincinnatians For Progress on June 23rd

Head to OTR Venue 222 on June 23rd to honor Bobby Maly, Rob Richardson, Jr. and Joe Sprengard from Cincinnatians for Progress who are being awarded the Charles P. Taft Civic Gumption Award.  Information on tickets is Here.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Jack Kerouac's On the Road to CAM

The Cincinnati Art Museum brings On the Road to life with a full reading of the Jack Kerouac masterpiece. Local celebrities, actors, and Art Museum staff will read the Kerouac signature work from 11 AM to 5 PM on Saturday June 19th. Admission is free!

This event is part of the See America program:
Now through summer’s end, the Art Museum is presenting a series of exhibitions, installations, performances, and special events for visitors of all ages. Think of it as taking a visual road trip through the human and natural landscapes of this great country. The journey we’ve planned will take you and your family through art from all over this country, with an emphasis on the art of the Cincinnati area. You’ll find something new going on every week, so keep checking our online calendar and take the perfect staycation with us that you’ll remember for years to come.
As always for more information, check out

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Is Monzel Running for Sheriff?

I am confused. No seriously, I am confused with which office Chris Monzel is seeking. I thought he was running for Hamilton County Commissioner. Based on the vote he made against a resolution condemning Greg Hartman's (aka Guy of Gisbourne) effort to pay for the Stadium budget gap by cutting funding for indigent healthcare, you might think he was running for the Sheriff of Nottingham.

‘Touchdown Jesus’ Destroyed by Lightning

I will not make a religious interpretation of this, but ‘Touchdown Jesus’ was destroyed in a fire reportedly started by a lightning strike.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mmm, Suckling Pig....

Mayberry's Josh Campbell did it again. Friday was his Don Ho Tiki Party, on the rooftop of Boost at 532 Reading. A combination of great food and interesting people made the evening memorable.

The food? Too much to mention, really. That's a suckling pig in the picture. Add to that lobster tails, shrimp, jerk chicken, crab salad, hickory-smoked pineapple rice, lime papaya salad, and three kinds of cake. And, oh, yeah, Molly Wellman was on-hand preparing authentic Tiki drinks. Somehow she made a drink that features violet liqueur into something other (something much, much, other) than a fruity, girlie drink.
And to top it all off: fireworks, courtesy of the Cincinnati Reds.

Hmm. Pictures in my post? I'm slowly becoming a less cool, more tolerant version of 5chw4r7z.

A Really Good Day for the Enquirer

Fair is fair. A few weeks ago, I and other bloggers expressed displeasure with the Enquirer over its characterization of a streetcar survey. Today, though, there's some great reading in the Enquirer, and I wanted to point it out.
  • A "First in Print" piece by Dan Horn (quickly becoming my favorite reporter) profiling a couple's foreclosure troubles. The couple are among many people who suffered more than necessary because the bank that owned their mortgage didn't properly record the transfer of their home's deed upon foreclosure.
  • A front-page, above-the-fold article by Sharon Coolidge placing Hamilton County's indigent care levy in context. Judging from the piece, Ms. Coolidge is clearly enjoying--and making good use of--the greater space her paper will give her to do analysis on political issues.
  • A "First in Print" feature by Howard Wilkinson (is he now the Enquirer's senior reporter?) on the meme we can't hear enough about, "The Year of the Angry Voter."
  • And the Enquirer's editorial lambasting Greg Hartmann's proposal to balance the stadium fund deficit by slashing the indigent care levy. (I believe this editorial was originally an op-ed by Tom Callinan that called Hartmann's suggestion an "indecent proposal," but the link to the earlier piece is broken.)
There's other good stuff in there as well (a nice article by Jessica Brown, newly-reassigned to the CPS beat, on the district's decision to explore alternative schools, as well as a fascinating piece by Janelle Gelfand--who, frankly, is one of the Enquirer's lesser-known gems--on the 90-year history of Cincinnati Opera). My Sunday paper, by the way, was an excellent accompaniment to a Mary-Cristo from Hamburger Mary's.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Final Day of Fringe

The 7th annual Cincinnati Fringe Festival has 1 more day left. More shows, more beer, more theatre, and more art await you! All you need to do is get off the couch. Lift yourself onto your hind legs and get down to the Know Theatre at 1120 Jackson Street in OTR and buy a ticket or five. For info on the shows go here:

If you have seen shows already, make sure you vote for the Audience Pick Of The Fringe. Voting closes immediately after the last show tonight.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Final CincyFringe Weekend Recommendations

Tonight and tomorrow are the last days of the Cincinnati Fringe Festival, if you want to Catch a few shows here are some recommendations:

The Finkle's Theater Show
Tantric Acting at the Holiday Inn
A Short Lecture of a Different Time
Queer in the U.S.A.
A Night of Well Adjusted Ladies
Just Say Know
That One Show
Soul Juice

Aberrant Reflections on the Barbarism of You & I
The Finkle's Theater Show
A Short Lecture of a Different Time
The Council
Ain't That Good News
Sophie's Dream
Money Back Guaranteed
Blue Collar Diaries
True Body Project III
Queer in the U.S.A.

Best advice: Get your tickets on line NOW! Many of these shows are going to sell out well before the show starts.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

A Slap in the Face For Miller

The Cincinnati Business Courier is reporting that Mark Miller, Treasurer of COAST, lost his legal case against the Hamilton County Commissioners, in which he claimed certain commission executive sessions violated the Ohio Open Meetings Law. The Judge ordered Miller to pay the costs of litigation.

I've seen no word on an appeal, but I would expect one.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

World Cup at Fountain Square!

Are you looking to root on the USA against England in the World Cup on June 12th? Come out to Fountain Square where organizers will have the game on the big screen and will have beer flowing from 1:30PM to 5PM.

Monday, June 07, 2010

CincyFringe 22.5 Hour Play Project Starts Tonight!

The Cincinnati Fringe Festival's 22.5 hour play project starts tonight at about 12:30 AM after Fringe Olympics. There are still a few spots open. Here are all of the details:
Does a 12 day festival of explosive and experimental independent performing arts seem a little too…rehearsed to you? Is the honest, free-form flavor of unbridled creativity that runs rampant at the Cincy Fringe a little…over-polished for your spontaneous personality? Are you looking for the freshest of the fresh, the rawest of the raw, the spontaeousest of the spontaneous?

This year’s Cincy Fringe is embracing that critical mass of contagious creativity that incubates amid all of the artistic stimulation of the festival. We invite your participation in our first attempt at a 24-Hour Play Project.

Artists meet, are assembled into teams, given some very loose framework, synchronize their watches, and meet again 24 (or in our case, maybe something like 22 ½) hours later, each team with a short play that has been written, staged, rehearsed, memorized and ready to perform in less time than it takes for this lumbering old planet we’re sitting on to heave itself around on its axis.

-You sign up by emailing Participation is limited to 25.
-After Fringe Olympics on Monday, June 7 (around 11:30pmish) you and the other participants assemble in Know Theatre Underground. You will be randomly assigned to teams of 4-5 people.
-Your team will be given a series of elements (perhaps a phrase, an image, a prop, and/or something else) that you are required to work into your piece.
-Your team then has until 10:30pm the following day, Tuesday, June 8 to make a play! It should be 10-15 minutes in length (no more!), be completely original (so no adaptation of or borrowing from existing works—these are to be world premiers!), it must be at least somewhat rehearsed and finished (it's not an improv jam) and other than the required elements you’ll be given, there are no restrictions!

It is up to your team to democratically allocate responsibilities. Your team can write collaboratively or assign a head writer. Your team can say “screw text” and base it on improv, music, secret dreams, or anything else. Your team can appoint one director or not. Costume designer? Dramaturg? Foley artist? Decide what needs to be done and make sure one of you does it. Your team can all act in it, or some or only one of you can act in it. Your team can do whatever your team wants. Just keep your finished product to 15 minutes and be ready to perform—no matter what—at 10:30pm Tuesday.

A performance space. The event will take place on the Underground Stage. We will provide two chairs, a piano and two actor blocks for you to use or not use as you desire.

An audience. So make your show good. And invite your friends—admission is free as part of the Underground Series.

Access to props and costumes. During the hours of 2-4 on Tuesday afternoon, you are invited to Know Theatre’s stock storage to sign out any costume or prop pieces that you desire. We do take names and we do kick asses, so you will be held accountable for returning everything you borrow in the same condition in which you took it.

Rehearsal space. Sorry—you gotta be creative here.

Uptight rules and restrictions that otherwise stifle your creative spirit. This project is about the joy of feverish creativity. We want your piece to be original and we provide some unifying elements to get you going, but otherwise you will not be censored for content. Working in a short time frame with randomly assigned partners is an experiment and is sure to lead to surprising discoveries. Have fun! Oh, but keep your clothes on while you’re on the stage—nudity’s not allowed in the Underground. Liquor laws, blah blah blah.
If you do this, you might be on my team. Ahhh! The Horror!

Friday, June 04, 2010

Wendell Young Appointed to City Council

So, who was surprised to hear that Wendell Young was appointed to fill Laketa Cole's Council seat? The job had been Bernadette Watson's, but reports indicate she didn't get the appointment because she wouldn't guarantee the jobs of Cole's staff.

So, we have a new council member because Cole was given a job to avoid running against Alicia Reece. Cole in turn stated publicly that she was picking the person based on race, and one would pick a person who would keep her staff employed. Cronyism is common in politics, but it is not good for politics.

Yes, this sucks. Picking a person based on race is illegal. People have shed blood to make that happen. Politically speaking, Cole had no choice but to pick a black person to fill her seat, but why would she be so upfront about it and not get any flack for doing that? If Berding or Qualls or Bortz or Ghiz did the same thing, you know what we would be hearing. We aren't hearing that. Why are we not hearing Chris Smitherman screaming at the top of his lungs against Cole for publicly stating she was picking a person because of race? Yes, I think there's an obvious Conventional Wisdom answer to that question, but can anyone answer it honestly? Why is there not outrage about this? Why was it OK for Cole to Discriminate against every other race but her own?

Wendell Young seems like a very nice person, but he has not shown he has the passion needed to be a vibrant councilman. His campaigns have not been very strong, a sign he's not had the full commitment to get elected. The job is now his, so he has the power to show he was the right choice. I hope he is successful.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Fringe Day Two

Last night Fringe kicked off to a raucous start with great music and food that you may have missed. That's your loss. Tonight you get your first change to see performances, so go on-line to and buy your tickets!

Not sure what to see? More ideas on can't miss shows can be found in Metromix from Enquirer Theatre critic, Jacki Demaline.

My shows tonight are That One Show and Aberrant Reflections on the Barbarism of You & I.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Changes in Enquirer Coverage

It looks like the Enquirer's Politics Extra Blog will have a new voice: Sharon Coolidge, who will now be covering Hamilton County for the paper. For the past several years, Ms. Coolidge has covered the Hamilton County Courthouse. Jessica Brown, previously assigned to the Hamilton County beat, will now cover CPS issues.

No word yet on whether the Enquirer will shift someone to replace Ms. Coolidge, or whether the paper will now have just one HamCo Courthouse reporter (Kimball Perry). Dan Horn covers federal court issues, so perhaps he'll be split between the two now.

Either way, Ms. Coolidge's presence in the courthouse and her courthouse reporting will be missed.