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Podcasts provide new platform for local artists and activists

Since WNKU went off the air last September, many local radio stations have imitated the idea of playing local and national music, but one self-funded station is carrying on that format with added podcasts on local artistry and political activism.

The station, INHAILER, launched in May and consists of podcasts as well as primarily indie, folk, punk, and hip-hop music. Listeners can tune in on their websites as well as their app, which is on the Android and iPhone markets.

It all started when founder, Coran Stetter of Multimagic, heard that WNKU was going off the air. Since most of the team did not come from a radio background, they had to learn how to create an online broadcasting format.

“He got this space and started bringing people on board who wanted to give local musicians a platform and help give people, who like listening to music and music fans from this city, a place where they can listen to and meet their local performers. And the people who have potential to be, you know, national or successful performers,” says News Director and host of podcast Interchange 513, A.J. Kmetz. 

WNKU helped promote Multimagic and Setter and his team wanted to not only provide a platform for local musicians to be heard, but also let the people of Cincinnati understand and participate in the social issues happening in the city like the March of Our Lives Rally on March 24. 

“That's not our event, but it's something that's very near and dear to me and we want to see change happen so we want to get people to that,” says Kmetz.

Kmetz hosts a news hour daily as well as a bi-weekly podcast with producer Sam Benasek called “Interchange 513”. The podcast airs on Wednesdays and this season, they focus on how music correlates to social change.  Melvin Dillion of Soul Step Records has been featured and councilwoman, Tamya Dennard will be featured on the next episode.


Their other podcasts include “Lost on the River,” “Fresh Local Producers,” “DM in the PM,” and more.

 “Lost on the River” is presented by The Cincinnati Music Foundation and is recorded at the Herzog building where Aaron Sharpe of WNKU, Eli Leisring of Eli’s Barbeque, and Bill Furbee of The Cincinnati Music Foundation talk about the city’s history of music on Wednesdays from 7-8 p.m.

Fresh Local Producers is a podcast, hosted by Sledge of WNKU on Fridays nights, where he highlights electronic music producers. “DM in the PM” is hosted by Danielle Morris where she plays local rap, hip-hop, and R&B on Fridays 9-11 p.m.

The station, located on 1212 Sycamore St., has a creative 12-member staff. It is broadcasted 24/7, with live broadcasts during the week. The app can be downloaded on any smartphone, free of charge.

The Cincinnati Project Receives Grant from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation

As the progressive movement continues to support a variety of campus clubs, activities, and organizations, a push for more opportunities for women has led to another win for the University of Cincinnati community.

The Greater Cincinnati Foundation has invested $25,000 in UC’s The Cincinnati Project to support activities that benefit women of color. The Cincinnati Project, a community-engaged research initiative at the University of Cincinnati (UC), will use the funding to support projects that offer clear and direct benefit to women of color in Cincinnati.

The Cincinnati Project was launched in 2013 by faculty researchers in UC’s College of Arts and Sciences. The group focuses on research, with resources provided by the university and various Cincinnati organizations, that will directly benefit the community. The reach of The Cincinnati Project work spans from research related to poverty and living conditions in Cincinnati to classroom skills that are transferable to real-life situations and employment opportunities. With the growth of the University of Cincinnati as well as the ever-changing demographic of the Greater Cincinnati area, this research is important in developing new policies and habits that will bring positive change for the community.

25 community organizations have collaborated with UC researchers and 340 UC staff, faculty, and students have participated in the work of the Cincinnati Project since 1/16. More than 12 University of Cincinnati faculty and students from their classes will be involved in these upcoming projects.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Greater Cincinnati Foundation,” said Dr. Jennifer Malat, UC College of Arts and Sciences Associate Dean of Social Sciences and co-founder of The Cincinnati Project. “With their support, and the continued support and collaboration of our other community partners, The Cincinnati Project will raise the voices of women of color and collaborate to recommend policies that will improve lives.”

The funding received has been slotted to go towards several research areas within The Cincinnati Project. It will support upcoming projects including public relations research and messaging recommendations for organizations and businesses run by women of color; summaries of U.S. Census data for Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) for its work on tenants’ rights; documentation and storytelling of women of color who own businesses or are activists in Cincinnati; and sharing findings from research on gender and race equality in city employment, part of the Cincinnati for CEDAW (Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women) Coalition.

As for future goals for The Cincinnati Project, members hope to create a course designed to teach students about the three research focuses (classroom, collaborative, and translational) of The Cincinnati Project, develop more partnerships with community organizations, fund an academic research infrastructure program, and promote further research and innovation in methodologies for evaluation.

For more information about The Cincinnati Project, visit http://thecincyproject.org/ or head to their Facebook page.

A new home for design in Over-the-Rhine

A newly renovated space in Over-the-Rhine called The Cincinnati Center for Architecture + Design (CCAD) will be the home space for five major Cincinnati Design Awards environmental and creative organizations to collaborate on future projects.

The organizations include the Cincinnati Chapters of American Institute of Architects (AIA), Society for Experiential Graphic Design (SEGD), the Ohio Kentucky Chapter of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), the Ohio Chapter of The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), and the Ohio Chapter of The American Society for Landscape Architects (ASLA).

AIA Cincinnati has five goals “vision, member value, impact on the community, and engage young professionals to engage in conversation,” says architect and President and CEO of AIA Cincinnati, Greg Tilsey.

"It's a big goal of the SEGD to continue to make connections with our ally organizations and friends in the design community," says co-chairman for the Cincinnati chapter of SEGD, Hannah Anderson. "What's interesting, yet still unknown, is figuring out the different ways we can take this collaboration to benefit members of the design community and beyond."

Tilsey helped come up with the idea to have the center on Race Street, a thriving area in OTR.

The original idea was to find rental space for the Executive Director for AIA Cincinnati, Patricia Daugherty. It eventually developed in to a bigger project.

It has office space as well as meeting rooms holding up to 30-40 people. Design firms can rent the space located right on 1116 Race St. right across from Washington Park.

The SEGD Cincinnati Chapter delivered a proposal fall of 2017 to develop the brand and visual identity for the Center. The Phase 1 assets include a name and brand mark for the front door which will be ready before the first event in 2018.

"This early identity initiative for the Cincinnati Center for Architecture + Design is a clean slate, if you will, for our five organizations to put what they do out there on a platform," says Anderson. "These organizations, including SEGD, have not had a permanent address or location which we will be able to tap into now."

Each of the organizations will operate per normal, with the intention to collaborate for future projects. Funding for the Cincinnati Center for Architecture + Design is predominately provided by the AIA, who are leaseholders of the space along with the existing tenants, Lynn McInturf & Associates.

Stay tuned for more information later this spring as CCAD plans to host an official open house for the design community.

Redevelopments and housing on the horizon for Mt. Adams

Mt. Adams is looking to reinvent their image as they implement changes proposed in the 2009 Mt. Adams Neighborhood Strategic Plan.

The Mt. Adams Civic Association (MACA) desires to veer away from the neighborhood’s former image as a night life hotspot "We're trying to get a more upscale demographic. We want this to be a destination entertainment district with wonderful restaurants,” says Kurt Meier, president of the MACA.

New developments include changes to existing businesses and streetscape improvements. Phase 1 includes installations of new beer garden style and Italian wedding style street lights along with additional planters on the sidewalks.

One of Mt. Adams greatest assets, its views, will be secured as hillside stability efforts provide greater protection and stabilization to infrastructure against landslides.

Renovations to major neighborhood installments include a new theater for Playhouse in the Park, and updates to Eden Park and the Cincinnati Museum Center.

Teak Thai, a neighborhood classic for over two decades has been purchased by its original founder from 1994.
Longworth’s, the once rowdy night life destination sold to a new owner planning to re-open the property as a white table cloth restaurant.

The MACA intends changes to enhance the Mt. Adams atmosphere, not completely alter it. Changes to streetscapes are planned to take place in under two years. New developments and updates to businesses are expected to happen over the course of the next 5 years.

Annual Neighborhood Summit to focus on communication, collaboration


On March 10, community leaders, volunteers, city officials, nonprofits and residents will descend on the Cintas Center at Xavier University for Invest in Neighborhoods’ 16th annual Neighborhood Summit.

The Summit is a free, day-long series of seminars and workshops aimed at helping citizens work together effectively to improve the quality of life in their neighborhood. Each year, organizers choose a theme and organize the speakers and sessions around that theme — this year’s theme is communication.

“We thought that talking about communication was going to continue to be a timely issue,” says Elizabeth Bartley, who is in her fourth year as Summit chairperson. “The Summit will look at effective communication, and not just communication strategies but understand what we’re trying to communicate and what goals we’re trying to convey.”

In 2017, the Summit’s theme was equity and the equitable issues going on in Cincinnati. With each incarnation of the Summit, it builds on the theme of the year before, so there will be breakout sessions this year that deal with equity, collaboration erases boundaries (2015) and placemaking (2016).

This year, the Summit will feature over 20 breakout sessions hosted by recognizable names in Cincinnati, including City Manager Harry Black, Zach Huhn from Smart Cincy, the Cincy Stories team and leaders from neighborhood development corporations. The day is designed for attendees to pick and choose which events to attend, and to come and go as schedules allow. To see the full lineup, click here.

New this year is a riff on speed dating. There was an election in November, and with that, both new and familiar faces in new roles were elected to City Council. Attendees will be able to spend 40 minutes after lunch interacting with the nine members of City Council in a fast-paced meet-and-greet.

“This was done in Westwood during the campaign and was very successful,” Bartley explains. “It’s a great way to introduce a new administration and allow residents to ask questions.”

Direct outcomes from the Summit are hard to measure, but Bartley says that after last year’s event, organizers took the information gathered from the community engagement workshop and fed it into an ongoing project (the Equity Project) from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, the United Way and Interact for Health.

Last year’s event was attended by over 600 people, and Bartley says attendance is on track to meet that again this year. Online registration is closed, but you can register at the door day-of. The Summit will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 10.

Thirsty? Try these local brews on for size

People are starting to notice the Queen City’s obsession with beer. According to Smart Asset, Cincinnati ranks fourth in the country as a destination for beer enthusiasts, and our city's recent shout-out in the New York Times includes a suggestion to check-out the Brewery Heritage Trail.

We wanted to take things one step further and provide you, our dear readers, an unofficial guide to our favorite beers around town.

The Gadget, Urban Artifact

Breweries in Cincinnati are notorious for repurposing spaces, especially historical breweries from the turn-of-the-century, when the city was known for beer production. But, Urban Artifact is located in the old St. Patrick Catholic Church in Northside, which symbolizes the blend of two beautiful Cincinnati traditions: Catholic heritage and quality beer.

Urban Artifact is known for its sour beers, and The Gadget is the perfect way to represent the state of Ohio in this category. The Gadget is part of the Midwest Fruit Tart series and is brewed at the height of summer with fresh raspberries and blackberries up front and a clean, tart finish. You can get it this month on draft in the taproom or as a 4-pack to-go. Check out this release calendar for when the rest of the Midwest Fruit Tart series will be available.

Corruption, Wooden Cask

Cincinnati has always claimed Northern Kentucky as part of the city, and Newport's Wooden Cask Brewing Company is a beautiful example of this bond between states. Wooden Cask combines the best of Cincinnati — beer — with the best of Kentucky spirits — bourbon — by aging its beer in bourbon barrels. The results are a selection of richly flavored artisan ales.

Corruption is a dark, sweet, bourbon barrel-aged Scottish stout. The first batch was aged in Buffalo Trace barrels and the current batch is marinating in Boone County barrels. Corruption is boozy and smooth with notes of chocolate.

Team Fiona, Listermann

If you put a picture of everyone’s favorite hippo on it, the people of Cincinnati will buy it. However, Listermann Brewing’s Team Fiona New England Style IPA is more than just a gimmick to buy beer. This IPA is hazy with a fresh pop of citrus that balances the floral hoppiness usually present in an IPA. Not only is the beer delicious, but the partnership between the Cincinnati Zoo and Listermann’s symbolizes a collaboration between two great Queen City institutions.

The brewery just celebrated Fiona's first birthday with a special release that sold out quickly, but it's possible there will be a new riff on the favorite in the near future.

Tea Bags, Streetside

Speaking of collaboration, Streetside Brewery’s motto is “the intersection of community and craft beer,” which influences every aspect of the business. Streetside in Columbia-Tusculum is all about balancing traditional brews with experiments that often invite community input and ingredients from some of the city’s favorite spots like local coffee shops and tea houses.

Tea Bags is a honey green tea blonde ale that is light and crisp with a finish of tannins and a twinge of sweet. The ale is brewed with Dragonwell and Jasmine Green tea from Essencha Tea House in Oakley, emblematic of Streetside's creative partnerships throughout the city.

Hefeweizen, West Side Brewing

The West Side has a reputation for being a bit more conservative and a little more traditional than the East Side of the city. The West Side has retained much of the vintage charm that put Cincinnati on the map way before we had our current brewery boom.

West Side Brewing is all about catering to this conservative market with traditional, staple brews like IPAs and ambers, but the Hefewiezen is a must try. Hefes are a unique German blend of wheat and yeast with a delicious result. West Side’s Hefeweizen is a true classic with subtle banana and clove notes swirling in a shade of hazy gold.

Platform Beer Co. extends its reach to Ohio's third "C" this summer

The region is home to nearly 50 micro-breweries that run the gamut of speciality, focus, ambiance and size. In 2018, Cincinnati will welcome at least one more.

Coming this summer, Over-the-Rhine will be home to a new tasting room for Cleveland-based Platform Beer Co. The two-story, 2,500-square-foot space located at 1201 Main St. will serve speciality coffee, food, cocktails and Platform's barrel aged beer program.

The company was founded in 2014 with its first location in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood and expanded to a second location in downtown Columbus in 2015.

The OTR location will complete Platform’s takeover of "Ohio’s three Cs," and owner Paul Brenner explains that having a local presence is important to their mission and vision. “We want to be localized in our markets so we’re not just another brand on the shelf and so there’s some connection to the local community. Customers will get to come in and interact with our brand, our look and feel, and who we are — as opposed to just grabbing a 6-pack.”

The space will be part coffee shop, part brew pub, and will be designed to be casual and inviting all day long, with couches and comfortable seating. Platform is partnering with Coffee Emporium to offer coffees that have been aged in repurposed beer barrels, and the beer served will be finished on-site in bourbon, rum, wine, scotch and brandy barrels.

Brenner says it will be possible to enjoy a shot of bourbon and then a beer that was aged in its barrel, plus a shot of coffee that was aged in that same barrel.

Platform will also offer a full food menu, which is still in the works. Hours are projected to be from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and until 12 p.m. on the weekends. Follow them on Facebook or visit their website for updates ahead of the grand opening.

And in other brewing news:

  • Fifty West is now canning: Open since 2012, Fifty West has been in the Cincinnati brewing game for a while, but up until January, its beer could only be enjoyed on-site. Cans of Coast to Coast IPA, American Lager and Doom Pedal White Ale are now available for retail sale and on the shelves in local Kroger stores.
  • Kevin Moreland joins Fretboard Brewing Company: Former Listermann brewer and co-founder of Taft’s Ale House Kevin Moreland has signed on as managing partner and production manager for Blue Ash-based Fretboard Brewing Co., which opened in November.
  • Braxton’s new event space: Covington-based Braxton Brewing recently added a 2,000-square-foot private event space called “The Loft” above its taproom. The space is available for private parties and can accomodate 90 seated or 120 standing guests.
Need more beer? Check out our favorite local brews in this week's roundup.

Lincoln Art Project will shed light on diverse culture in Walnut Hills

For the residents of Walnut Hills, the African-American culture is vital to the redevelopment of the neighborhood. One way to keep the culture prominent is through art.

The Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation, the Walnut Hills Historical Society and MORTAR are working to put together the Lincoln Art Project. The project aims to bring back some of the lost history of the African-American community through research, murals and events.

The three-part project is still in the infant stages, but the first portion — the research of African-American businesses in Walnut Hills — is already finished.

Next, local artist Janet Creekmore will paint murals based on submitted stories of the neighborhood's African-American community. The murals will be painted on storefronts on the corner of Lincoln and Gilbert avenues.

Lincoln was once a prominent area for African-American shops but has been abandoned due to the expansion of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

“If you look at development all around Cincinnati, all around the world, there's always a historical preservation committee or something and often times, African-American communities are left out of the equation,” says Aprina Johnson, community outreach coordinator for the WHRF.

By helping to preserve the African-American culture, the Lincoln Art Project will help add African-Americans back into the equation.

“There's value there; there's worth there — I want people to see that,” Johnson says.

The third part of the project is to continuously have art-related events in the area that demonstrate African-American culture.

“Most of the children that go to school in Walnut Hills are African-American, so to have that place where they can go and see and interact with art rather than a plaque or book is really exciting,” says Johnson. “They don't have to think about things, they see it and say ‘Oh I'm here, it's real so I can actually follow in these people's footsteps. I can actually do this.’”

The WHRF, the City of Cincinnati and the Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority, with the help of the Cincinnati Development Fund and the Haile Foundation, purchased the properties that the murals will be painted on.

Many of the people in the community, as well as outside of the community, are in favor of the project.

The project will revamp the cosmetic look of the Lincoln and Gilbert intersection and bring people of all races from all over Cincinnati to the neighborhood.

“Sometimes it's like people don't want to shop in a black community,” says Johnson. “They'd rather shop in another community and once this all blossoms, this will be a business district where people of all races and nations and belief systems will come and find it valuable.”

Flores Lane focuses on eco-friendly ingredients for city-themed candles

Trish Baden loves candles. She founded Flores Lane in 2014, and her vision and leadership have transformed the company into a successful, eco-friendly business. Though she’s now based in LA, she’s never forgotten her Cincinnati roots; she recently released a line of candles based on neighborhoods in the city.

What inspired you to start making candles?
I LOVE candles. I burn them often and when I moved to LA, the cost of maintaining my habit was expensive. I didn’t know anyone and I was hoping to meet people in a candle class.

Flores Lane was born quite literally from demand: I was sending candles to friends and family as gifts, and people wanted to gift them to others. There’s a local flea market in West Hollywood’s high school where I bought a little space, got mason jars and filled them with amazing scents like “granny smith” and “jasmine.” I sold out in hours. I went back the next weekend and sold out again. So I decided to rebrand into something that I loved: travel + wanderlust + celebration of local movements.

What’s special about Flores Lane candles?
Not only are we are a successful, female-founded and run startup, we pride ourselves on transparency of ingredients, as well as being a knowledge base for other women that are DIY-ing. #BossBabe

We use soy wax and essential oils in our candles, which create a candle that is healthy to have in your home and does not hurt the environment. We try to be as eco-friendly as possible, staying away from plastic products and using recycled glass. Our candles are completely customizable, from the candle labels to the scent to the color — we can make anything our customers dream up.

What inspired you to make Cincinnati-themed candles?
Flores Lane’s essence is sharing experiences and vibes of locations within a candle, so it was only natural to create Cincinnati. Scents are a huge part of our memories, and when I am homesick I want to be able to light up a candle and feel like I’m back there again. I think we accomplished that with this line.

How did you choose the scent combinations for the Cincinnati candle series?

The last time I visited, I walked around some of my favorite parks and spots downtown. I focused on what Cincinnati smelled like to me in its purest form, as well as the natural elements that make the city what it really is. From the ivy-covered homes in Hyde Park to the industrial bare-brick lofts in Over-the-Rhine, I made a few sample candles of scents that reminded me of the city, e.g. a combination of earthy scents like English ivy and bamboo, and city scents like amber and sea salt.

We have created an OTR candle (launching soon) and will continue to collaborate with local retailers on a few more — so definitely stay tuned.

To purchase a candle, visit Flores Lane's website.

One-of-a-kind moto show returns to Rhinegeist for fourth year

On Jan. 27, more than 50 one-of-a-kind vintage and custom motorcycles and upward of 5,000 motorcycle enthusiasts will descend on the Queen City. The fourth annual Garage Brewed Moto Show will take over Rhinegeist for an all-day celebration of classic bikes and craft beer. The event, which runs from noon to midnight, will fill the taproom and event space with bikes on display, motorcycle accessories and equipment vendors and a silent charity auction.

Garage Brewed is the brainchild of the Cincinnati Cafe Racer Motorcycle Club and its founder, Tim Burke. The club formed about nine years ago when there was nothing else like it in the region. “We started to build community around vintage and Euro bikes,” says Burke. “We always talked about doing something in the winter because we sit around with cabin fever and can’t ride, everyone gets stir crazy.”

Cabin fever motivated the club to start the Garage Brewed Moto Show four years ago, which quickly grew to larger proportions than the organizers or venue had imagined. “That first year we set up this huge show, brought in thousands of people. Throughout the night it was shoulder to shoulder from the time we opened; they were running out of beers and didn’t have enough staff. We were their single largest sales day of the year.”

The event has continued to grow and command big crowds, and organizers have continued to make tweaks and improvements to the original formula. It's still free to attend, and for the past two years, has been held all day to give ample time and more space for attendees to peruse the unique bikes on display.

This year, a distinguished panel of judges will evaluate and award bikes in the garage custom, pro custom, classic and race bike categories, and attendees will vote on the People’s Choice Award. The bikes in the show are included via invitation to pro-builders and through nominations from the general public.

Burke is excited about a strong line-up of interesting bikes this year. Hollerin’ Jerr, a builder out of New York, will be displaying a highly-customized, found-art chopper with unexpected details like bottlecaps as washers. The show will also feature a locally-built electric motorcycle, plus an assortment of vintage Japanese and British bikes, vintage Harleys and pre-WWII Indians.

The show is also a fundraiser for Operation Combat Bikesaver, an Indiana-based nonprofit that builds custom motorcycles with veterans and first responders working to overcome depression and PTSD. Event sponsor Bitwell Inc. donated motorcycle helmets that were decorated, painted and embellished by local artists and will be auctioned off to help raise funds. Other event sponsors helping to make the event a success include Rev’it, T.C. Bros and Metal Rescue.

The free, family-friendly event runs from noon to midnight on Saturday, Jan. 27, at Rhinegeist (1910 Elm St.). For more information and updates, check out the event website and Facebook page.

Cincy receives over $800,000 in historic tax credits for four rehab projects

Although state historic tax credit programs across the country recently experienced cutbacks, Ohio communities plan to make the most of the funds from the most recent round of funding.

The State Historic Preservation Office and the Ohio Development Services Agency awarded projects across the state $28.4 million in historic preservation tax credits to rehabilitate 22 buildings in 11 communities, including projects in Over-the-Rhine and College Hill. Cincinnati projects received a total of $818,000.

The hope is that these credits will catalyze development and attract millions of dollars in additional private investment.

Local projects receiving tax credits include:

  • The former Engine Company 22 firehouse at 222 W. 15th St. in OTR, which received $250,000. Developer Jim Daniels plans to restore the property into a mixed-use office space with a parking garage and an upper floor rental unit.
  • Two other vacant buildings in OTR at 57 E. McMicken Ave. and 1662 Hamer St. received $225,000 for rehabilitation into nine apartments and ground-level commercial space.
  • College Hill is receiving $188,000 in tax credits for developments at 5901 Hamilton Ave. — the former Dow Drugstore, which will be converted to commercial space and four apartment units. 
  • Also in College HIll, $155,000 will go to 5917 and 5932 Hamilton Ave., a former bakery/restaurant known as the Dollhouse and a bank building, respectively. Plans include first-floor commercial space and apartments.

As the city continues to grow, the need for more residential and commercial space increases. State historic tax credits help complement the city's historic buildings, while making room for continued growth and migration.


New York-based filmmakers bringing live, interactive event to Memorial Hall on Jan. 27

On Jan. 27, a duo of New York-based indie filmmakers, Brent Green and Sam Green, are bringing their unique Live Cinema experience to Memorial Hall. Live Cinema blends short film screenings with storytelling and live narration, scored with live music performed by musicians, including Brendan Canty (Fugazi), James Canty (Nation of Ulysses), Becky Foon (Thee Silver Mt. Zion) and Kate Ryan.

Brent and Sam (no relation) have performed Live Cinema internationally, and thanks to a partnership between Memorial Hall and the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnatians will have a chance to experience it firsthand.

The short films included in each show rotate and the stories that the filmmakers tell change, too. “We have a rule for the show,” explains Brent. “On stage, we’re allowed to ask the other person to tell any story we’ve ever heard them tell and they have to do it.” This spontaneity shapes their performances and no two Live Cinema events are the same.

Brent, who is both a filmmaker and a visual artist, is known for his 2010 film Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then, which features a full-scale town he built in his backyard and was filmed using a blend of animation, stop-motion and live-action.

His collaborator Sam has made more than a dozen films, including The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller, a live film collaboration with the indie rock band Yo La Tengo; and the documentary The Weather Underground, which was nominated for an Academy Award. Both filmmakers have new work screening at the Sundance Film Festival (Jan. 18-28), and Sam is performing a new live cinema piece there with the Kronos Quartet. Sam has been performing live cinema pieces since 2009, and the duo have worked together for several years.

As Brent explains, they perform live cinema because they believe that “communal experiences are important. We like the audience, the whole thing feels like hanging out.”

Unlike typical film-watching experiences where moviegoers sit individually in a dark room, the pair strives to create a welcoming and interactive experience more akin to a rock concert than watching a movie.

The duo will share their special live cinema experience for one performance only on Saturday, Jan. 27. Live Cinema is happening at the Annie W. and Elizabeth M. Anderson Theater at Memorial Hall at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $20.

More info and tickets are available on Memorial Hall
's website. Brent is also curating a short film screening at 7 p.m. at The Mini Microcinema on Jan. 26. Visit Sam's and Brent’s websites for more info about their individual work.

Last-minute local gift guide


It's Dec. 19, and you’ve waited until the last minute to buy your Christmas gifts. That’s okay, because these local, female artisans and crafters have you covered, with options for almost anyone on your list. ‘Tis the season!

For the considerate yet snarky person
Greeting cards and stationery from local printing company Pistachio Press are musts. The cards are beautifully handcrafted and include sincere messages from owner Rachael Hetzel, with a humorous twist. Hetzel is committed to environmentally sustainable materials for her edgy cards, and uses cotton paper and rubber-based inks, and she cleans her press with earth-friendly solvents. You can check out her range of products on Etsy.

For the person who loves their neighborhood
Flores Lane candles have captured East Side, West Side and the city itself in abundant, rich scents. Though the shop isn’t technically local, part-owner Trish Baden is a hometown girl who grew up in Hamilton. Like all of its candles, the Flores Lane Cincinnati series features hand-poured soy wax that diminishes environmental impact and makes the candles last longer.

For the slightly morbid girl in your neighborhood
Tooth and Claw owner and designer Chelsea Stegeman crafts her jewelry from ethically sourced animal parts like groundhog pelvis, King Cobra vertebrae and coyote ribs. Though her jewelry often leans toward a darker aesthetic, the designs and natural beauty can complement most any style.

For the guy who just moved in and is already obsessed with his neighborhood
T-shirts from Originalitees are go-to holiday gifts. Khisha Asabuhi started Originalitees seven years ago as a way to express neighborhood pride. The company’s clothing celebrates the uniqueness of Cincinnati while catering to many tastes — and they're comfortable too.

For someone who loves coffee, soup, hot chocolate or tea
Grab a mug from CG Ceramics. Although a mug for Christmas may not seem very original, these mugs are special — every single piece is hand-thrown by potter and owner Christie Goodfellow. CG Ceramics’ pottery is durable enough for daily use, making it the ideal go-to coffee cup. Goodfellow's neutral color palette and organic design make her pieces appealing to a wide variety of people.

Two local entrepreneurs opening Mexican, Japanese restaurants in College Hill

The College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation sees College Hill as “an urban, comfortable and livable community,” which is why the nonprofit is working with partners to amplify the neighborhood’s image and expand its already thriving business community.

Kiki and Tortilleria Garcia will join College Hill’s central business district next year at 5932 and 5917 Hamilton Ave., respectively. Kiki will utilize the space in the former National City Building, and Tortilleria Garcia will inhabit what was once the Doll House Property, for which CHCURC received a $35,000 grant for architectural and engineering drawings for renovation.

“CHCURC is really doing some amazing things in the community,” says Hideki Harada, who is working with his wife Yuko to open Kiki. Harada has been the chef at Kaze in Over-the-Rhine since it opened.

The two met while attending culinary school in Japan. “It’s been a dream of ours to open a business together and create something genuine and creative,” Harada says. “Kiki was my nickname from grade school through high school, and it reminds me of the fun, rebellious and tough years growing up.”

It’s a description that exemplifies what Harada says the restaurant will embody.

The concept: a Japanese bar, or “izakaya.” Expect décor to include wood furniture and denim, while the menu will feature Ramen and other Japanese dishes. With seating for 65, enough flexibility will be offered to allow Harada to keep the menu new and fresh. Tentative plans include one sushi night per week.

The restaurant will be within close proximity to hiss home, which Harada says makes opening a business in College Hill even more special, as he knows the amount of support offered to new businesses there.

For Omar Garcia, owner of Tortilleria Garcia, sentiments are similar, as he is also a College Hill resident.

Tortilleria Garcia currently operates in a location on Springfield Pike, and it will continue to do so, but will have the opportunity to grow with the opening of a second location.

Known for its tortilla machine, which allows patrons to watch as their food is made, Tortilleria Garcia offers classic and authentic Mexican fare.

The College Hill location will offer the same concept; however, Garcia says there will be more items on the menu, and will feature a large dine-in area and patio.

With recipes passed down to him from his mother and grandmother — with whom he grew corn with on his family farm in Mexico prior to his arrival in the U.S. — Garcia is achieving his dream of passing on his heritage and food-related traditions to others. Now he has the opportunity to do it in his own neighborhood.

Expect Kiki and Tortilleria Garcia to both open in spring 2018.

Woodward Theater won $150,000 national grant to restore its historic marquee

When MOTR owners Dan McCabe, Chris Schadler and Chris Varias opened the Woodward Theater in 2014, there wasn’t enough money left after renovations to paint the place. But they didn’t let that stop the grand opening. Instead, they held a “Pints for Paint” event, which with the help of the community, they raised the funds they needed.

This community spirit and participation continues to guide the Woodward, which recently won a $150,000 grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Vote Your Mainstreet contest to facelift the building and restore its original electric marquee.

With the help of the Cincinnati Preservation Association's executive director Paul Muller, the Woodward applied for the grant. The national contest pitted the Woodward against 25 other main street communities around the country; it required organizations to get daily community votes in support of their projects.

“The local music community really got behind this and voted diligently, and the other businesses on Main Street were supportive as well,” says McCabe. “The support of our staff, most of which have been with us since we opened MOTR in 2010, was fantastic. They mobilized their friends and people voted daily.”

The grant will allow the Woodward to complete a total exterior facelift, including improving structural elements, updating wiring and sockets, repairing the crumbling plaster rosettes and returning the original lightbulb sign to its 1913 glory. With the help of local metal fabricator Kate Schmidt, as well as an architect and structural engineer, the Woodward's marquee restoration project should be completed by the end of 2018.

The sign will be constructed of copper, maintaining the original beaux-arts (think pre-Art Deco) aesthetic. “It’s going to be an attraction,” McCabe says. “I expect people to get off the streetcar and walk up. It’s going to be bright and shiny and a destination for people exploring OTR for the architecture.”

Cincinnati is rich in architectural heritage, especially period Italianate architecture, which is part of what McCabe attributes to the community support for the project. “Cincinnati loves its history,” he says.

The permitting process is expected to take some time, but McCabe is confident in the project, which he says will include some fun and surprising touches as they ramp up to the big reveal. Stay tuned to the Woodward's Facebook page for progress updates and for announcements related to the reveal. “It’ll be worth celebrating,” McCabe promises.

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