In a town the size of Cincinnati, it’s easy to fall into the trap of looking for, and finding, only familiar faces. Familiar faces are great. They know us; we know them. They are comfortable. And so are we.
But that’s where this issue of Soapbox comes in. Featuring remarkable yet overlooked (and underappreciated) local women on these virtual pages made sense in the abstract. We’d had the idea on the calendar for weeks. But in reading the thoughts of our first five “wonder women,” I quickly realized that this Soapbox Special went further, deeper, than any quick list of cool and intriguing personalities.
Take Tara Lindsey Gordon and Tina Manchise, the duo behind the restoration of The Emery Theatre in Over-the-Rhine. Remarkably, they have taken on an exhaustive, and exhausting, challenge to restore the massive and complex landmark.
The best part, though, is how they are doing it. Surrounded by friends – both old and new. These friends include Karin Bergquist and Linford Detwiler, also known as Over-the-Rhine, who will be performing at the Emery’s 11-11-11 kickoff event. (That’s right, you heard it here on Soapbox first!) And Michael Wilson, the legendary local photographer from my hometown of Norwood, whose images of musicians and lost landscapes alike carry a desolate kind of fierce and simple beauty.
Listening and reading stories of these new and old connections, I remember the first time I entered the Emery. It was back in the 1980s, when silent movies filled my college weekends with the echoes of the Mighty Wurlitzer organ. In that space, at once familiar and foreign, lies potential.
All because of women who forge ahead, not willing to let what they don’t know stop them.
Photos by Scott Beseler