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Arts + Culture : For Good

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Music Resource Center hosting quarterly youth showcase tomorrow night


Cincinnati youth will have the opportunity to showcase their talents and potential tomorrow evening at The Sampler. The event provides a public outlet, on a quarterly basis, for Music Resource Center performers.

Housed within the MRC — an Evanston/Walnut Hills-based nonprofit that offers a rehearsal space and studio time for teens, grades 7-12, who can then learn from and receive mentorship from industry professionals as they create and hone their craft — is The Venue. The lounge-style space is where The Sampler will make its debut.

“Providing members with an opportunity to bring their ideas to the stage feels like the perfect way to celebrate how far they’ve come as young artists,” says Nick Rose, MRC's program manager.

From 5:30 to 6 p.m., community members are invited to mingle over a casual dinner, which is provided by Snack in a Sak — a nonprofit that regularly provides nourishment for MRC members who may not otherwise have access to a healthy meal — prior to the live performances, which will take place from 6 to 7 p.m.

"I love how our Sampler brings together people from all walks of life,” says MRC's founder and executive director, Karen D’Agostino. “Students, volunteers, donors and staff share a meal and celebrate the music being created at MRC.”

And the music produced, which students have the opportunity to create at a membership rate of just $2 a month via private instruction at an equipped space, is empowering.

“Music Resource Center’s youth take great care in developing their songs and learning about music,” Rose says. “It’s amazing to see them bounce their creative lyrics and beats among our teaching staff.”

DO GOOD:

- Attend The Sampler tomorrow night. The event is free with parking available in the lot adjacent to the MRC.

- Like what you see? Support the MRC by donating.

- Spread word about the MRC, and like its page on Facebook.
 


ReelAbilities Film Festival to showcase 60 films about living with disabilities


In years past, the Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival has attracted more than 8,000 attendees, but this year’s Festival is shaping up to be bigger than ever.

With celebrity guests like Breaking Bad's RJ Mitte (Walter White "Flynn" Jr.), various discussions and workshops, themed parties and celebrations and 60 film screenings — all of which will be showcased at the Duke Energy Convention Center, this year's Festival is becoming what Director of Public Relations Lisa Desatnik says is a true Hollywood style film event. 

“The films are world class,” she says. “A number have won awards — they’re coming from all over.”

Organized by Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled, RAFF aims to showcase the lives, stories and artistry of those with disabilities.

According to Desatnik, 1.3 billion individuals worldwide — a number equivalent to the population of China — are living with a disability, and face challenges with dexterity, cognition or the senses. This section of the population includes veterans and those with mental health issues.

“People will leave the Festival with different ideas of what disability is,” Desatnik says. “It’s a beautiful way to break down barriers to the community with questions about diversity and difference.”

To enrich the lives of those with disabilities, proceeds from the Festival will benefit 28 local nonprofits. Previous years’ festivals have helped local organizations tremendously. For example, the 2015 RAFF generated $50,000 for 17 local nonprofits, but this year it is on target to raise much more.

“Each screening is matched with a nonprofit that serves people with a disability,” Desatnik says. “They share a work that’s all about strengthening lives of those with disabilities.”

This year’s event also includes a tribute to veterans, an Interfaith Breakfast that will kick off a year-long effort of religious institutions supporting inclusion efforts through art and film and Family Fun Shorts — a showing that will feature a variety of animated short films.

“I love that it’s getting young kids involved and opening the community up to talking about difference,” Desatnik says. “It should make Cincinnati proud to see how many businesses, nonprofits, academic and governmental institutions are supporting the festival. Its impact is broad and far-reaching.”

DO GOOD:

- RAFF is still in need of volunteers. You’ll receive a free T-shirt and two tickets to a film if you sign up to help.

- Purchase tickets to this year’s festival. RAFF will run March 9-12, with all film screenings at the Duke Energy Convention Center.

- It’s not too late to sponsor the event. Contact the Cincinnati RAFF today.
 


Cincinnati International Wine Festival has donated more than $5 million in 27 years


Since 1991, the Cincinnati International Wine Festival has generated nearly $5 million for local charities, and the giving will continue at this year’s event, which takes place March 2-4.
 
Half of each purchased festival ticket will benefit 36 nonprofits — all of which host programs that impact education, the arts, health and human services.
 
More than 700 domestic and international wines from 250 wineries will be represented at this year’s event, making the Cincinnati International Wine Festival the Midwest’s premier wine experience.
 
This year’s honorary festival chair is Geneviève Janssens of the Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa Valley, who says she is thrilled to share her passion for winemaking with Cincinnati.
 
“I am dedicated to continuing the winemaking legacy of Robert Mondavi by producing wines with elegance and finesse,” she says. “And that’s exactly what you will find at the Cincinnati International Wine Festival. It truly will be an experience not to be missed.”
 
The festival will present wine enthusiasts of all kinds the opportunity to taste different wines and indulge in gourmet dining experiences and wine pairings. Education sessions and a charity auction, which will include everything from rare chef’s table dining opportunities to tours of wine cellars, will also occur.
 
“There is something for everyone, and it’s all for a great cause,” says Debbie Dent, executive director of the Festival. “Not only will you have an incredible time, but you will be helping us give back to local charities in a tremendous way, one glass at a time.” 

Do Good: 

•    Learn more about the local nonprofit beneficiaries and the causes they represent. 

•    Purchase your ticket(s) for a Cincinnati International Wine Festival event today.

•    Like the Cincinnati International Wine Festival on Facebook.
 

High school musicians will work with the CSO and Pops to put on a concert in April


Local high school students are practicing for what's bound to be a memorable performance.

On April 11, a combined orchestra — made up of students from Indian Hill, Mariemont and Madeira high schools — will perform under the conductorship of Cincinnati Pops’ John Morris Russell.
 
Along the way, they’ll receive coaching from Russell, as well as from the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Pops assistant conductors and musicians.
 
The concert is part of a longstanding and collaborative effort that is a key aspect of the CSO’s education and community engagement initiative.
 
“I’m thrilled we are continuing this collaboration for the fifth year in a row,” Russell says. “It’s a joy to see how this program has developed as well as the intense dedication of the student musicians and faculty members in rehearsing and performing together on this very special event.”

The opportunity to perform under the guidance of a top-notch and respected conductor fosters talent and discipline, says Ahmad Mayes, the CSO’s director of education and community engagement. “As the leading music organization in the region, the Orchestra embraces instrumental instruction as a tool for learning and change.”

And when students are highly engaged and inspired, they are capable of producing content that allows them to further recognize their creativity and strength.

“One of the most gratifying endeavors as Pops conductor  is working in the community with music educators, developing self-discipline, creativity, teamwork and love of beauty in our students," Russell says.

Do Good: 

•    Mark your calendars for April 11. Students will perform at 7 p.m. at Indian Hill High School. 

•    Explore ways you can create musical opportunities for students within the classroom.

•    Know a talented young musician? Check out the various opportunities for growth offered by the CSO and Pops.
 

Matilda Reading Challenge builds anticipation for upcoming Broadway production


Fans of Roald Dahl remember his beloved character Matilda Wormwood’s determined spirit. Perhaps, too, they recall her love of books.
 
In honor of Matilda's favorite hobby, there are currently some incentives offered to children who read three or more of Dahl’s books by March 17.
 
To participate in the Matilda Reading Challenge — a collaboration between Broadway in Cincinnati and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County — pick up a reading passport from the Aronoff Center ticket office or your local library, and stamp it after each book is completed.
 
The prizes?

One reader will win a family four-pack of tickets to Matilda the Musical during its April run, in addition to a copy of the book and gift cards, while 10 readers will receive a copy of the book signed by the musical’s lead actress.
 
“This musical is a tribute to those who love books,” says Genevieve Holt, general manager of Broadway in Cincinnati. “We are proud to work with the Library to create a fun reading challenge.”
 
Matilda the Musical runs April 4-16, and will close out Broadway in Cincinnati’s 2016-17 season. 

Do Good: 

•    Pick up your Matilda Reading Challenge passport today. 

•    Find ways to foster a love for reading among your children. 

•    Connect with Broadway in Cincinnati and the PLCHC on Facebook. 
 

The PLCHC invites you to share your neighborhood memories through "Our Cincinnati"


The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is inviting patrons to share their personal stories as part of its “Our Cincinnati” project, which is a digital celebration of Hamilton County’s neighborhoods.

Patrons can scan their paper-based memorabilia — photos, letters, maps — at one of eight library locations from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoons, now through March.

“What we ultimately wanted out of the project was a collection that was built by the community,” says Chad Lewis, sorting and materials retrieval manager for the PLCHC.

The library is also encouraging patrons to educate themselves on how to preserve photos, documents, mementos and memorabilia. Representatives from the University of Cincinnati's Preservation Lab will be visiting the library locations to help with this portion of the project.

The next phase of “Our Cincinnati” includes oral and video recordings, and a third phase will include a printed book as well as a digital archive.

“The role of our library is changing in a lot of ways,” says Kelly Hartmann, library branch manager at the Mt. Healthy location. “It used to be that the traditional library service was one waychecking out items to patrons. Now, we have customers creating the content that will become part of the library, and the library will make that content available to the community. It’s a community curated collection.”

Do Good: 

•    Gather your photos, momentos and memorabilia that tell the story of your neighborhood. 

•    See a list of dates and library locations, and plan a visit to scan your memorabilia for "Our Cincinnati."

•    For more information about "Our Cincinnati," call 513-369-6900 or visit cincinnatilibrary.org.
 

Pops to host NYC jazz band for NYE speakeasy-themed concert


If you’ve yet to formulate plans for New Year's Eve, have no fear; the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra has you covered.  
 
New York City-based jazz band, The Hot Sardines, will join the Pops at its Dec. 31 speakeasy-themed concert, which will feature old-time favorites from the likes of George Gershwin and Duke Ellington, in addition to some of The Hot Sardines’ originals.
 
“Sometimes life requires a party,” said Evan Palazzo, The Hot Sardines’ bandleader. “But one that conveys a rich emotional experience which people today sometimes need permission to feel, otherwise known as fun.”
 
And that’s what the two musical groups plan to bring to the Taft Theatre — perhaps the perfect setting for a speakeasy-themed event where patrons are encouraged to come dressed with their beads and boas.
 
“We love high-energy music from the first half of the 20th century,” Palazzo said. “Our mission is to show its relevance and power as we usher in 2017.”
 
Tickets are still available for the special New Year’s Eve performance, which begins at 8 p.m. 

Do Good: 

•    Purchase your concert tickets before they sell out. 

•    Check out a couple of The Hot Sardines' latest hits here and here

•    Connect with the Pops on Facebook.
 

Eight schools and nonprofits receive 6k in books to enhance promotion of literacy


The Literacy Network of Greater Cincinnati recently distributed about 6,000 books to eight local schools and nonprofits as a result of its annual partnership with Our Lady of the Visitation and its annual Read-a-Thon.
 
The Read-a-Thon originated when Visitation’s Parent Teacher Organization launched a fundraiser aimed at promoting literacy.
 
Tasked with reading as many minutes possible per day, logging their hours and then finding sponsors from the community willing to invest in the students is just part of the initiative, as a “giving back” component was added as well.
 
For the past four years, students and their parents have been encouraged to bring new or gently used books in during the Read-a-Thon, and their efforts have proven significant.
 
“Throughout the last four years, Visitation has donated a total of 18,571 books to children in need,” said the school’s Curriculum Director, Terry Chapman. “The students enjoy the friendly competition and giving back to others.”
 
This year’s recipients included The Boys and Girls Club of Cincinnati, Mt. Airy Elementary School, Cheviot School, Oyler Elementary School, Rees E. Price Elementary School, Hays-Porter Elementary School, Resurrection School and St. William School.
 
According to LNGC President Michelle Otten Guenther, distributing the books was a “great day for our community.”  
 
“Due to the generosity of the students, families and staff at Our Lady of the Visitation, we were able to distribute thousands of wonderful books to schools and students in need,” she said. “Thank you for being so enthusiastic about reading and enabling others to succeed.” 

Do Good: 

•    Become an LNGC volunteer.

•    Support the LNGC's efforts by donating.

•    Check out LNGC's upcoming events, and plan to attend one.
 

Celebrate the holidays at new Mt. Healthy maker space


If you’re looking for a day of unique activities and holiday cheer, Mt. Healthy businesses and community members are teaming up to make your Saturday a bit merrier.
 
Here is what the community has in store for Dec. 10:“We see that not only does Mt. Healthy have a lot of potential, but the neighborhood already has a lot to offer,” said Karen Arnett, Mt. Healthy Renaissance Project’s board president. “We see the community evolving by drawing new residents as more folks learn about the charms of the neighborhood and the values in housing.”
 
Some of that neighborhood charm comes from longstanding businesses like Hilltop Glass & Mirror, which hosted an open house this past October for its new maker space, Hilltop Glass Creations. The new space allows community members and visitors alike the opportunity to gather together, take classes, learn something new and be creative.
 
“It’s a bright spot of light in our business district — hopefully one of many to come,” Arnett said.
 
For Cindy Jurcenko, store and maker space owner, Hilltop Glass Creations allows her the chance to meet diverse groups of individuals.
 
“People from all walks of life have visited,” Jurcenko said. “I have met several different senior center stained glass members, local school teachers, a Girl Scouts’ leader, a dentist, contractors and remodelers and other small business owners.”
 
And she plans to meet even more individuals Saturday, as “Painting on Glass,” “Fused Glass” and “Stained Glass” opportunities for ornament-making will bring the crafty and the curious together.
 
“Everyone who stops in is thrilled to see a new storefront in town,” Jurcenko said. “We are going to be a great new community gathering spot. I couldn't be happier.” 

Do Good: 

•    Share the Christmas in Mt. Healthy! Facebook event with your friends, and plan to attend.

•    Like Hilltop Glass Creations' page on Facebook, and plan to check out the new maker space. You can view a schedule of classes and events here.

•    Like Mt. Healthy Renaissance Project's page on Facebook, and become part of the city's revitalization.
 

Local creatives raise nearly $10K for Make-A-Wish


Halloween has come and gone, but the impacts of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Cincinnati chapter’s latest fundraiser are long lasting.  The group hosted GUTS: Creatives Carving for Kids at Washington Park last month and raised nearly $10,000 for Make-A-Wish Southern Ohio. The “pipeline of eligible children” continues to grow with the proximity of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
 
“We raised more than enough for one wish,” said Jay Shifman of Make-A-Wish Shifman said noting that they work to grant the wish of every child facing a life threatening illness in our community.
 
AIGA to surpassed fundraising goal of $8,000 (the average cost of one wish) by $1,200.
 
The winning Team LPK carved “Haunted OTR"  four pumpkins, side-by-side, depicting the local streetscape.  
 
“GUTS is a part of AIGA Cincinnati’s larger ‘Design for Good’ initiative,” said Phil Rowland, architect and AIGA member. “We believe design can make a difference in our community.”

Do Good: 

•    It's not too late to donate. Contribute here.

•    Sign up to be a sponsor for next year's GUTS. It's never too early.

•    There are many ways to help grant wishes. Learn about them here.
 

Library Foundation announces newest Writer-in-Residence


The Library Foundation has a new Writer-in-Residence, local high school English teacher Kurt Dinan.
 
Dinan teaches 10th grade English and creative writing at William Mason High School. He also serves as the advisor for the school’s yearbook.
 
Dinan will make his first appearance in his new position at 7 p.m. on Nov. 15 in the Main Library’s Popular Library Lounge, where he’ll read from his first published young adult novel, Don’t Get Caught. The reading will be followed by a question-and-answer session.
 
“I started writing at 30, and I think when you find your passion, you want to be able to share it with people,” Dinan said.
 
He’ll have the opportunity to do just that, as he’ll share his talents through a variety of modes and mediums from now through next September.
 
Conducting writers’ workshops, hosting podcasts and blogging are just a few items on his agenda.

“I’m just really thrilled,” Dinan said. "I’ll have the opportunity to help other writers in the community and support the Library.”

Do Good: 

•    Support The Library Foundation in its quest to better the community through literacy, activity, enrichment and other support services.

•    Keep up with the Library and its upcoming events on Facebook.

•    Mark your calendar for Dinan's first appearance as Writer-in-Residence, which is at 7 p.m. on Nov. 15.
 

Local artists team up, support Pets in Need


Calling all pet lovers: Pets in Need of Greater Cincinnati will host its third annual fundraiser, Petcasso, on Nov. 19, at The Carnegie Center of Columbia Tusculum.
 
New this year is the “Painted Pets” auction of unique artwork by Mara McCalmont, local artist and creator of the “Peter Max” Painted Pet, and other artists who are donating their work.

“Ninety-nine percent of my work features animals,” said McCalmont. “It’s hard to put my love for animals into words — it’s unconditional — it doesn’t matter if you’ve had a bad day. They don’t care what you look like. They’re like children that never grow up; they just stay your sweet little baby.”
 
The organization, which provides food and low-cost veterinary care for pets in homes of those living at 150 percent below poverty level, currently serves 1,800 households.
 
“I’ve seen first-hand how Pets In Need helps people keep their pets, when it would have otherwise been impossible,” McCalmont said. “Their work is so important because pets are just such a big part of our lives.”
 
The nonprofit’s function stretches far beyond providing food and low-cost veterinary care for board member and volunteer Lexie Stevenson.
 
When one client’s canine companion, Beowulf, was euthanized, her niece requested memories of Beowulf from better times.
 
“She told me later how much it meant to her aunt to have those pictures,” Stevenson said. “At Pets In Need, we provide amazing low-cost veterinary care, but we also provide something intangible: respect, compassion and dignity to people who are often worn down by poverty, illness or age. It means almost as much to me as it does to them to be able to provide a memento of their dear companion.”  

Do Good: 

•    Register now for Petcasso, Nov. 19 from 7-10 p.m., $85, 3738 Eastern Ave., 45226, includes open bar, live entertainment, cocktail buffet.

•    Can't attend Petcasso? Support Pets in Need by donating.

•    Connect with Pets in Need on Facebook.
 

Walnut Hills High School host CSO chamber concert Oct. 18 to benefit refugees


A Walnut Hills High School (WHHS) student-led group is doing its part to educate themselves and others about refugees and their needs, while offering a helping hand and system of support.
 
Students Together Assisting Refugees (STAR), founded in 2015, will host a benefit chamber concert featuring Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) principal musicians Oct. 18.
 
The intimate concert experience will allow STAR, in collaboration with the Junior League of Cincinnati’s project RefugeeConnect, to fund scholarships for student refugees.
 
“We live comfortably in Ohio, far away from most of the international conflict, but there are refugee teens in Cincinnati who struggle with very difficult lives,” said Adam Sella, STAR president and WHHS senior. “We hope to raise enough money from the concert to offer more than one scholarship to Cincinnati Public Schools’ students.”
 
It’s important to Sella and other STAR members to reach out to their fellow student body as well. German Consul General Herbert Quelle, who will attend next week’s concert, will also speak to WHHS students about the German response to the refugee crisis.  It’s just one of many opportunities for both learning and engagement STAR makes possible.
 
“Last year when two Bhutanese youths spoke, the WHHS students were shocked to learn their stories of hardship and asked questions about what it is like to be a refugee,” Sella said. “It is important for everyone to understand the refugee crisis.” 

Do Good: 

•    Support WHHS's STAR in its effort to raise funds for student refugees' education by attending next Tuesday's concert.

•    Even if you can't attend the October 18 event, consider donating to the scholarship fund.

•    Want to do more? Learn more about RefugeeConnect and how you can get involved.
 

Women craft brewers host beer tasting to benefit Women Helping Women


Amelia BEERhart: Celebrating Women in the Craft Beer Industry — the brainchild of Ei8ht Ball Brewing — presents an opportunity to not only honor strong women who brew beer, but also to honor strong women who have survived domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
 
Women Helping Women will receive a portion of the proceeds from the Oct. 14 celebration.
 
“The nonprofit is local, like all of our breweries, and through programs, it gives strength to women who have lost their voice,” said Holli Redmond, who manages Ei8ht Ball Brewing’s taproom in addition to outside sales within its distribution area.
 
A portion of sales from each fli8ht special, in addition to proceeds from a silent art auction in which local females have depicted what it means to be a strong woman will go to the nonprofit, as will diapers — a much needed item, according to Women Helping Women — which are being collected all week, and throughout the night of the event.
 
According to Redmond, the decision to give back came out of the gratefulness women within the craft beer industry possess with regard to their experiences and expertise.
 
“As a female in the craft beer industry, I know there are other women, but our paths don’t always cross, and it can seem like you are surrounded by men,” Redmond said. “We thought it would be a great to invite women interested and working in craft beer to an event that celebrates them and gives them a chance to see that in a sea of male craft beer fans — who are equally as awesome — they are not alone, and that’s a very cool thing.”
 
Ei8ht Ball Brewing has teamed up with more than 8 other local breweries to present the event, which takes place at Ei8ht Ball’s taproom, which houses 42 different beers.
 
“The event is open to everyone, but we wanted to specifically invite women who are interested in, or who work in the industry,” Redmond said. “We have teamed up with other local breweries who not only have female employees, but whose female employees are taking on leadership roles and breaking the mold in the industry. It takes a strong, confident women to be in this field.” 

Do Good: 

•    Male or female, it matters not. Make plans to attend Friday's event from 5-8 p.m. at Ei8ht Ball's taproom.

•    Donate diapers to support Women Helping Women. Each Ei8ht Ball guest donating a pack of diapers will receive a glass of non barrel-aged Ei8ht Ball Beer for the price of a taster. Visit the taproom, and bring your donation by any day this week. 

•    Support Women Helping Women by getting involved
 

Raising awareness, reducing stigma surrounding mental illness in urban communities


One in five individuals is affected by mental illness, according to Gloria Walker, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ (NAMI) Urban Greater Cincinnati Network on Mental Illness.
 
“African Americans are no exception,” Walker says.
 
It wasn’t until one of Walker’s loved ones began exhibiting symptoms of what was later diagnosed as a mental illness that she says she came to understand the ways in which mental illness is addressed within the African American community.
 
“I was introduced to the Alliance for the Mentally Ill — People of Color [Support Group] of Greater Cincinnati, and through that involvement, I recognized how devastating stigma and ignorance, lack of information and hopelessness about these illnesses impacted the African American community,” Walker says. “Stigma, perpetrated by jokes people tell and the names people are called keep people from getting the help they need early when recovery outcomes are better.”
 
She went from knowing nothing, she says — researching a mental illness on her own, joining a support group and asking questions  — to running a nonprofit that’s aimed at raising awareness and providing much needed resources to the urban community so they can lead fulfilled and productive lives.
 
Oct. 2-8 is Mental Illness Awareness Week, and one way that the UGCNOMI is doing its part in raising awareness is through a partnership with ReelAbilities Cincinnati Film Festival.
 
Patrick’s Day, a love story between a man living with schizophrenia and a female flight attendant who is suicidal, will premiere at the Esquire Theatre on Oct. 6. It will be preceded by the debut of an art exhibit at Sitwell’s Coffee House, which will feature the work of those within Greater Cincinnati who are experiencing or living with someone who is experiencing the effects of mental illness.
 
Deb Pinger, director of ReelAbilities, says she’s eager to partner with the UGCNOMI and bring Patrick’s Day to the community.
 
“It’s a powerful film, and we are excited to premiere it in Cincinnati as yet another example of the stories we believe need to be shared in the community to celebrate the lives of people who experience disabilities,” Pinger says.
 
For Walker, the film premiere and art opening are ways to honor the UGCNOMI’s current campaign — “Bringing Mental Illness Out of the Shadows."
 
“People with mental illnesses are human with human feelings," she says. "They deserve respect and understanding. We hope this will get and keep the conversation going. We want people to leave wanting to learn more and feel comfortable reaching out to us for help if they need it.” 

Do Good: 

•    For more information about NAMI's Urban Greater Cincinnati Network on Mental Illness, contact 513-238-7788.

•    Check out ReelAbilities' website to learn more and to purchase tickets for Thursday's premiere screening of Patrick's Day. Tickets are also available at the door. The showing begins at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $10.

•    Stop by Sitwell's to check out the art exhibit prior to the showing. It debuts at 5:30 p.m. and will remain on display for the next month. 
 
341 Arts + Culture Articles | Page: | Show All
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