Over-the-Rhine

A New Know

Dec
06
Three young velvet clad actors sat down with me in front of the Know Theatre’s stage. At the end of the interview as I took the picture accompanying the article the three actors, Vandit Bhatt, Anne Marie Carroll, and Todd Patterson, all realized they were wearing something velvet. All three are very unique but they all bring two new elements to the Know’s 2007-2008 Season, freshness and enthusiasm. All three resident Know actors warmly demonstrated a rich passion for their craft. At the same time they are just really nice people who put forth a sense of normalcy one doesn’t expect if you buy into the old fashioned stereotypes of actors. I’ve met a few actors around Cincinnati and sometimes connecting with their audiences is not the favorite thing in the world. I was floored by the comfort all three had talking with me about their ideas, their careers, their acting experience, and their life this season working at the Know. That personal connection to the performers adds so much more to the theatre experience. At local theatres, like the Know, you can meet the actors and talk about their craft, their performance, the art of acting. That gives you value for your ticket far exceeding the price.

Anne Marie CarrollAnne Marie Carroll In our discussion I asked the trio about their favorite role so far. For Anne Marie Carroll it was her portrayal of May in “Fool For Love” by Sam Sheperd. She is a very beautiful woman who has a very Midwestern mindset. She came across as a grounded person who works very hard and is very conscious about the effort she puts into her craft. I also asked about the role this season each actor was looking forward to. With a warm wit Anne Marie declared that she is really looking forward to the next show. Males dominated the first production (“The Pillowman”), which included Vandit and Todd in key roles. Anne Marie professed her bias for musicals and she’ll get her chance to perform on stage in “Christmas to Come” opening on December 6th. Behind the scenes she was responsible for one of the more curious technical elements of “The Pillowman.” Near the end of the show Todd’s character, Katurian, is shot in the head. Yea, the run of the play is over, so I gave away the ending! A “squib” is then used to splatter fake blood on the back wall. My friends and I who saw the show together got into a nerdy discussion as to how they did it. We sat in the front row and couldn’t figure it out. It was like a magician's trick. The two guys gave her a little lite ribbing about it. My guess is that it was one of the more technical challenges the actors face, as opposed to the technical staff. It might also be one of the more enjoyable parts of the show for Todd, who likely had to trigger it. I have to wonder who got to clean it up every night. The bad part is, they wouldn't tell me the secret. I'm going to have to follow-up with them later and find out how they did it. Those are the little theatre stories that don't get told in the media, but that make theatre a lifestyle unto itself. Anne Marie's favorite drink is a "Moscow Mule" (Vodka, Lime Juice, Ginger beer- served in a cold copper cup) She's not yet found a bar serving one in Cincinnati. She's had a little bar tending experience, so I'll take her word that it is a good drink. Her other big interest is in photography, which she as a younger person dreamed of taking portraits as a way of supporting her acting career. She chuckled remembering that, most because of the fact that she was trained in traditional photography (on actual film) and she therefore feels left behind in the world of photos.

Vandit BhattVandit Bhatt The most laid back of the group was Vandit Bhatt. He had a beard for the show and comparing it to his head shot, I wondered if he purposely grew it for the show or if that was just a new look for him. He showed that heis laid back when he didn't mind that I mispronounced his name. He at least didn't show it. I'll likely mess it up again, but my shortcomings don't phase an actor who comes across with a sly sense of wit, but with an undertone of intensity that exploded with his performance in "The Pillowman." He was the last person asked about his favorite theatre genre, and after the first two answered "musicals" he smoothly quipped “Ah...I shy away from Musicals," after which Ann Marie and Todd burst out laughing. I take it that Vandit is not keen on singing, or at least his singing in comparison to the others. I think I should have asked him about that, but not every actor needs to be an opera singer. Vandit favors a Rum and diet Coke as his drink of He's not one to drink for the experience of drinking, it is more about the other affects of drinking. He was emphatic that he does not drink Tequila. He favors Shakespeare as his favorite theatre genre and is wild about movies.

Todd PattersonTodd Patterson The most energy of the trio clearly lies with Todd Patterson. His personality is so very contrary to his first Know performance at the introspectively intense Katurian. His outside interests includes sports (soccer), but he sticks to acting in the theatre realm. He's a beer drinker, so the Christian Moerlein OTR Pale Ale is he drink of choice at the Underground bar. I asked about how they worked on dialects for the roles in "Pillowman" and Todd mockingly and loudly whispered "For some people it didn't take that long..." which was a light hearted ribbing of Vandit. The production included accents for three of the four leads. "It is another layer you put on-top of your role," he said.

When I asked if they still get nervous before a show, the consensus was fairly clear. They don't dread the show until the last second before the curtain goes up. Each had a different comment that showed a different layer of each actor's personality: When thinking about doing a good job on stage or when thinking about performing here is what comes to mind: Todd: "Not gonna fuck it up" Ann Marie: "My nerves lie with singing." Vandit: "Nervousness, at least for me, is that you don't want to disappoint the audience"

"They trust us with the characters," Todd confessed while saying that in most other theatres he and Vandit wouldn't have been given the roles in "The Pillowman" they played. "This is the best an actor can get right out of college," Vandit said, enforcing the trust he feels the Know Theatre has placed on him.

The next production all three appear in is "Christmas.to.Come"" a reworking of a reworking of Dickens "A Christmas Carol." The show starts December 6th and runs through the 28th. Tickets are available online at www.knowtheatre.com or by calling 513.300.KNOW.
Posted By editor read more

Below Zero Gets Out the Stars

Dec
04
Lou Diamond Philips sings at Cincinnati's Below Zero Lounge.
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Pillowman, Pillowman, does the things a Pillow can...

Oct
28
Pillowman was good. And funny. Usually when I hear dark comedy, I assume more dark than comedy, but this one did have some laugh out loud parts. Saturday night's show was sold out. After the show there was a Halloween Party hosted by the NAAAP in the Jackson Street Underground.
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Kicking Myself...

Oct
03
Unfortunately, I'll be out of town the weekend of 10/13, when both the Ultimate Urban Tour of Living and the Community Immersion will take place.
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Day Three of Midpoint

Sep
30
Tonight I had half of my 10 out of town picks and I only got to see two of them. That bit of failure aside, I started out with Anton Mink at Ink Tank. All I could think about with this band is that they come across as an Indie version of No Doubt, with the lead singer even dressed in early Gwen Stefani chic. She played a cowbell for one song. No, I'm not going to say it, but I really, really want to say it.

Stereophile was at the Cue and had a bass heavy sound that needs some refinement or just a better sound mixer. Sound mixing at MidPoint is always an issue with bands having little time for a sound check.

The most theatrical band of the festival before they ever took the stage was Ferdinand Fox. All of the members were dressed in what can best be described as Peter Townsend's Woodstock jump suit. If you ever seen the Woodstock movie, you'd know of the outfit. They drummed up a big audience, one filling Cue for a 10 PM show, by walking up and down main clapping in unison like they were rallying the troops for a charge on the enemy. In fact they do a version of the Empire March from Star Wars. Yes, they are geeks and not afraid to show it.

I broke away from their performance to catch the end of the Ag Silver show at the Know. I was glad I did. I caught my favorite song of the fest "All that to say." Have a listen to it on their MySpace page.

I briefly caught the Church of the Red Museum back over at Ink Tank. I liked the band's line up of instruments. The one trend I saw at Midpoint this year was the inclusion of keyboards for many Indie bands. Church of Red Museum pulled in keyboards into their music as a focus and it worked.

In the end I saw 23 bands. As a rule, I tried to see at least 2 bands an hour, and almost made over the three days. Getting a taste for each band is good, but it still makes it difficult to pick the bands. I'll be exploring other's takes on the bands they saw and how they made their choices.

I believe overall the Festival clearly improved over last year, and the weather helped out. I'll be coming up with an over all recap of the positives and negatives of this year's fest. I look forward to next year's event!
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Day Two of Midpoint

Sep
29
I wasn't expecting much with tonight's line-up. Most of my picks were on Thursday or are on Saturday. I instead ending up seeing several local bands, which wasn't my plan.

I started with Western Civ. I wasn't that into them. Maybe it was just me or the odd sound Ink Tank presents as a music venue, because I didn't stay long.

I made to the newly redone Cue to see for algernon, the ever evolving group. At this point for algernon can best be described as the Newbees Plus 1.

I stayed at the Cue for Cassavettes. The biggest controversy here was how to pronounce the band's name. The consensus was that it would be like the film director. The band disagreed. After a quick Google search shows the spellings are different. An extra T in the band's name.

Next was the Black Canary at New Stage. Soft music and the crowd was seated in the Theatre Space and very quiet.

The Newbees were next and they were nice. They gave out free CDs to half the crowd, which was the most packed I have ever seen Courtyard Cafe.

The night ended back again at Cue for Cari Clara. The Tally so far has me seeing 16 bands. A couple of which I lasted a song.
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CityBeat Midpoint Coverage

Sep
29
CityBeat has great coverage of Midpoint, with a horde of reviewers. Check out the Spill It blog for the reviews. The CityBeat main site has tones of photos here.
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It Starts with SuperDrag

Sep
27
Before Midpoint I had never heard of Superdrag. Call me a hack music fan. Call me a man with bad hearing. My ears are ringing a little bit, but I throughly enjoyed the Midpoint opening act. They had a very emotional sound that felt like EMO on steroids. They remind me a ruffer version of Weezer, but I am sure that would make their skin crawl.

The crowd could have been a little bigger for all the hoopla made about them. I guess I'm hearkening back to the slight fact that I have never heard of them before Midpoint, but I digress. The crowd was solid and were clear fans of the group.
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Day One

Sep
27
Vanity Theft started out the night at the Know Theatre's Underground stage. They're from Dayton. They are an all girl band. Strike that, make them an all woman band. CityBeat has one of their sound alike bands as Sleater Kinney. I guess being all female adds something to that moniker.

Next was one of my picks Kink Ador, from Nashville. I was impressed by this band, which gave off a clear Blondie vibe with their female lead singer/bassist. As I stumbled back towards Main street I got my first slice of Pizza of the night. I caught a bit of Mike Fair and the Adventure Seekers and the Andy Shaw Band. I saw some of the The Teenage Prayers, another one of my picks. The crowd was ok, but looked small in venue. I made my way over to Jardine and to my surprise they had a tent in the courtyard, with the sides. Think of it as a really small circus tent. I wondered inside and found the Industrial Jazz Group big band sound with trippy look and feel, complete with a dancer/cheerleader. I ended the night back at the Know with the Stud Muffins. As the pick of both CinWeekly and CityBeat I was hopping for a little more of a wow.

Ok, now for the tally. After day one I've seen 8 bands. My goal is to see over 20 by the end of the weekend, not counting the WPMF.
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5 Empty Slots = Broken Down Vans

Sep
26
On the Eve of the Festival there are only 5 open Midpoint slots on the showcase schedule. That isn't too bad for over 240 spaces. I know in years past, local groups filled in the slots. Some years some artists took up a second slot at a bigger venue, especially those who played at 9PM, when the crowds are the thinest.

It will be interesting hearing the stories of bands that just don't show up. When the van breaks down just North of Columbus and they don't have the bread to make it to the show...the song just writes itself.
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Kick Off Party Notes

Sep
26
I'm blogging this thanks to the Know's wifi. Here are random useless thoughts that makes blogging so worthy of scorn and disdain. I say this in preparation of the hours of angst I'll be which I'll be witnessing of the next three days.

With the rain that appears to have stopped I am able to sit in a nice semi-comfortable couch and watch a very different crowd hang out at the Know Theatre. I'm used to the Theatre crowd, which has a very quiet unique vibe, but consistent. The music crowd is also consistent, but in a way that screams individuality.

It is great being here with almost no one know. That is the beauty of music.

Wow, some of the kids here are young. I know I'm getting old, but Jee-bus.

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MidPoint Kick Off Party Moved to Know Theatre

Sep
26
Per the MidPoint web page, due to the weather, the Kickoff Party for Midpoint is being moved to the Know Theatre, 1120 Jackson Street. Music starts at 5PM. I am going to assume admission is still free, so don't skin me alive if I am wrong.
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MidPoint Locals To See

Sep
25
Do you not know what a vibrant music scene Cincinnati possess? If you don't, then take the opportunity Midpoint gives you to see some of the best bands in Cincinnati. The best here measures up with anywhere in the country. Here are the 10 local bands I'd see and I do like to see when they are around town.
Ellery @Below Zero 09/27/2007 12:15 AM
The Newbees @Courtyard Cafe 09/28/2007 12:00 AM
Jake Speed & The Freddies @Arnold's 09/28/2007 12:00 AM
The Lions Rampant @Poison Room - Toxic Stage 09/28/2007 12:15 AM
Cari Clara @cue 09/28/2007 01:15 AM
Peter Adams @Below Zero 09/28/2007 11:15 PM
The Seedy Seeds @Speakeasy 09/29/2007 12:00 AM
Wussy @Ink Tank 09/29/2007 12:00 AM
500 Miles to Memphis @Mr. Pitiful's 09/29/2007 01:15 AM
Catalog Cowboys @Mr. Pitiful's 09/29/2007 11:15 PM
The Turnbull AC's @cue 09/29/2007 11:15 PM
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Midpoint Top Picks

Sep
25
Hours and hours later and I still don't have a full handle on what bands I am going to end up seeing. It is a bit of game to pick the bands at the right times in the right venue.

Since you can't see everything, here are my picks of the Top bands that caught my eye. First are the top 10 from out of town. These are the acts not from the Cincinnati Area that you won't be able to see any given Saturday night.
The Macpodz @Jardine 09/27/2007 12:15 AM
The Teenage Prayers @Exchange 09/27/2007 11:15 PM
Brigid Kaelin @Kaldi's 09/28/2007 12:00 AM
Cassavettes @cue 09/28/2007 10:15 PM
Ag Silver @Know Theatre Underground 09/29/2007 10:00 PM
Anton Mink @Ink Tank 09/29/2007 09:00 PM
Hey Champ @Speakeasy 09/29/2007 01:00 AM
Man In Gray @Poison Room - Poison Stage 09/29/2007 10:00 PM
Revolver Modele @New Stage Collective 09/29/2007 12:00 AM
Kink Ador @Know Theatre Underground 09/27/200 10:00 PM
UPDATE:It appears The Go are off the schedule, so after a little more research I'll make another pick.
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Midpoint Venue Change

Sep
15

With the closeing of Club Drearm, the Midpoint Music Festival has switched the shows scheduled at Dream to Ocho Rios, the site of the former Club Clau.

Additionally a new venue map is available here (pdf).
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New Stage - New Season

Aug
28

New Stage Collective has announced their 2007-2008 season and it is filled with cutting edge productions sure to challenge, engage, and delight audiences. Two productions:

Oct. 25-Nov. 18 - "Caroline, or Change,"
Nov. 29-Dec. 31 - "Striking 12"
Feb. 14-March 9 - "Take Me Out"
April 3-27 - "Bug"
June 26-Aug. 3 - "Jerry Springer: The Opera"

Three things stand out in this announcement. First is the collaboration with Queen City Off Broadway. Second is the enlistment of Brian Isaac Phillips as director for "Take me Out." Finally, "Jerry Springer: The Opera" is a brilliant pick. The production will garner some valuable attention for the theatre, some of which will be "negative," but in the case of Springer, it will both attract a bigger audience and add a complimentary tone to the King of the tawdry talk show.

Check out more from the Enquirer Here, Here, and here.

Rick Pender has more at CityBeat's arts blog.

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Fifth & Vine Has Its Own Brew

Aug
18

I really like Christian Moerlein's OTR Ale, but last night I tipped a couple of their new Fifth & Vine Oktoberfest Marzen and I may have a new favorite. I don't know how different this was from Moerlein's prior Oktoberfest Marzen, but I would love to have this all year round. I look forward to repeated sampling this beer, and will stock in my fridge if I see it in stores.

Get your taste of it today and tomorrow at the Moerlein OTR Ale Haus at Findlay Market Square. The Ale Haus is open until 9PM on Saturday and 5PM on Sunday.

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Midpoint Music Schedule Is Out

Aug
14
The Midpoint Music Festival has announced the showcase schedule for all bands during the festival.

Mike Breen has more on the conference and pre-parties.
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2 Shows in 2 days... & a movie

Aug
12

Friday night at Know Theatre was crowded. I'd say pretty close to sell out. Thrill Me is a great show if you like true crime stories and/or musicals. Only 2 characters and no intermission - the actors and piano player deserve a lot of credit for their performances since they could have easily claimed heat exhaustion by the end.

 

Greater Tuna at CSC on Saturday afternoon was sparsely attended but the actors (again - only 2) put on a great show for the 15 of us who watched. It reminded me of when side stage seating allowed the performers to look right at you. I hadn't been since the lobby and restrooms were remodeled - big improvement!

 

Once at the Esquire is a relatively short movie that seems long at times. It uses songs to establish characters/relationships and occasionally slips into a music video instead of moving the plot forward. Great story line shot in a semi-documentary style makes up for the slow spots. There were a couple points where I realized how action movies have influenced my expectations. At one point she walks down a dark hall and I expect her to be jumped by muggers but instead she finds a piano.

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Nixon in Cincinnati

Jul
16

I'm always impressed by the power required for opera singers to project their voices out over the orchestra without microphones and music hall is always a great experience. Saturday's audience for Nixon in China was a nice mix of the usual opera crowd and some < 40's.

 

Slice of life is an interesting style for an opera. Most operas involve big dramatic events, murder, kidnapping, weddings, etc. This one kind of moved along and then was over. My favorite part was the pig song in the second act.

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