Over-the-Rhine

Midpoint: Initial Band List Published

Jul
14
The 2007 Midpoint Music Festival has posted the initial listing of bands for this September's festival. The final listing is expected this month. Additionally, the festival schedule is out and two pre-party events have artists: Friday Night - Forget Cassettes, Saturday - Oh My God. The artist showcase schedule is not posted yet.
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Kate on a Sunday Afternoon

Jul
11
Local "Kate the Great" gives her take on her jaunting around Cincinnati last Sunday, including Second Sunday on Main and the Art Museum.
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Hip HB's Rule 14th Street

Jul
01

I have a big music-crush on the Heartless Bastards. I'm making up the term music-crush, so I'll define it as the kind of infatuation of the live music of a band. I connect to the music when I hear it live more than other bands I really enjoy. I've had a lot of experience with crushes, so as far as one sided emotional attachments go, I am safe to say I won't get burned on this one. When I first read about last Friday's show, I was excited. The location was inspired and the timing fit this day well.

The Heartless Bastard's block party show in front of the Lightborne Studios was the hippest place in the world for about and hour and a half Friday night. With an interesting hybrid mix of the Northside and Main Street crowds, the show/audience was laid back, fashion filled, and a brilliant musical firestorm all wrapped into a solid little package.

The mix of artists, music fans, and local musicians created a social vibe that was cliquish, yet open. The music broke down the walls. The Heartless Bastards have captured the best of blues/indie rock out there, with a sound that appeals to fans across ages as well as social group.

Being a Cincinnati band they had to wait 45 minutes after their announced start time of 7:30 to start the show. That was annoying, but the opening song, “The Will Song” , made up for the delay. I found myself closing my eyes and just listening, remembering, willing myself to a different place, a different choice.
Next came “Brazen” which worked well in comparison to some of the outfits. I’m no fashion guru, but what is with the open back shirt and bra combination thing?

“Done Got Old” was next and I felt her voice on the back of my neck, lifting each hair one by one. The hard blues song from there first album rips deep into your chest with every thumping bass note. With Erika Wennerstrom’s soulfully wailing through lyrics like:

“I don't look like I used to
I don't walk like I used to
I don't love like I used to, oh
but I feel old”

I laugh intellectually because she’s about 7 or 8 years younger than I, but with her voice you feel the angst, the loss, the age, and the blues of the song. Feeling that from a female perspective gives it more depth, when everyone with a past can look back on their life and remember the changes they've lived though, or survived. Those memories are of the bitter-sweet flavor. The audience was filled with the older and younger folks (older being us in our mid 30’s to mid 40’s). Those not overly socializing had more than ample opportunity to look back on their journey in life to date and long to go back and change. At this point I just lost track of the set list. The music, the conversations I was having, and ones I wasn't having, all swept me up in the moment, even though I stood in the back most of the show with my notepad out.

"New Resolution" had a clean sound that was tight with the lead in bass from Mike Lamping. This cut from their first album exhibited the Bastards as a trio, with Kevin Vaughn's drums ripping through the entire song. Erika's voice completes the trio with a quick cadence to match the bass and drums.

I find myself torn between the two albums. Stairs and Elevators just plain out rocks. The songs are hot, heavy, bluesy, and push the edge of indie rock out a few feet. Friday's concert set-list mostly came from the first album. It was a festive night and band was in-front of their hometown crowd, and really their select crowd of friends and big fans. The set was right for this crowd, who were there for a summer evening's relaxed joy.

All This Time as an album, and the title track, taps into a much deep set of emotions. It shows the band growing with experience, which the show exemplified with their near professional attitude. They played with the audience a little, but they were there to play. They played the title track for which the Lightborne Studios created the music video.

Presiding over the event, like a benevolent Robert the Bruce was Tom Schiff, owner of Lightborne and CityBeat who stood out in the crowd not only with his gentlemanly white hair but also with his towering camera on a stick, which presumably was his 360 degree panoramic camera. The opposite book end to Tom was the appearance of "Crazy Dave" who's not crazy, just really kind of out there. He asked me with a rye smile as he walked by "Hey, are there strippers around?" I just laughed and he continued on to ask someone else the same question. This is Main Street on Final Friday, after all, so you have to expect some oddities.

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Heartless Bastards Show - Final Friday - Main Street

Jun
26

Hot off their 2007 tour, the Heartless Bastards come home and play a free show in Over-the-Rhine:

Heartless Bastards will be performing outside Lightborne's production facility in Over the Rhine. Lightborne are the people who created our video for "All This Time". We go on at 7:30 PM. Surrounding galleries and bars will be open as part of the Over the Rhine Final Friday Block Party.

Location: 212 East 14th St, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Cost : free

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'Radiant Baby' @ New Stage

Jun
22

Last night New Stage Collective's latest production,'Radiant Baby', opened to rave reviews from the Enquirer.

It runs through July 15th. Get your tickets HERE. Tickets are $21.25 on-line, so buy yours today.

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Cincy Fringe Pulls a Profit

Jun
19

Big News for the Cincinnati Fringe Festival:

  • 6,500 attendees
  • Income exceeded the budget by $3,000!
  • Annouced that CincyFringe 5 would start on May 28th, 2008
  • Announced that Eric Vosmeier will be joining the Know Theatre as assistant artistic director, and will run Fringe starting on July 1st.

2007 was a very good year for Fringe.  With new businesses going in the OTR area, 2008 has the opportunity to grow what was a really strong audience this year.
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Pick of the Fringe

Jun
10
Last night at the closing night after-party, Fringe Producing Director Jason Bruffy made the announcement of the Pick of the Fringe winners before a packed crowd. The Winners were:

Critics Pick: "True + False"

Audience Pick: "Calculus: The Musical!"

Producers Pick: "iLove"
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Top of the Fringe

Jun
09
The constant discussion point people had with me this week was what shows I liked the most at this year's Fringe. Well, to formalize my picks, I've come up with a list of the best in a couple of categories, from my own perspective.

Best of Fringe: Here are the productions I felt were the the Top tier shows, in order.
1. The Kid in the Dark
2. iLove
3. True + False
4. Calculus: The Musical!
5. girlfight
6. Mad


Most Fringe: Here I chose the shows that broke the most ground during Fringe:
1. lusthaus (1914)
2. Tommy Nugent’s the Show

This year was by far had the best quality of any Cincy Fringe to date. I think one of the best moves of the festival was to create the Artistic Selection Committee.
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Fringe Review: The Art of Longing

Jun
09

Two couples struggle to find themselves. Alivia and Harrison are drifting apart. Harrison is focused on changing himself and ignores Alivia in the process. Alivia is lost and can't voice her own opinion. Salisha and Brock are void of passion for each other and seek it in the form of odd hobbies.

The Ovation Theatre Company production is a collaborative work based in part of input of their audience at the Fine Arts Sampler this past February.

The characters and play structure have many interesting and funny elements. The length of the play limited the dept of each character, which hinders the development the piece.

The final performance of the production occurs tonight at 6:30 PM at Inktank.

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Fringe Review: I Do….I Think

Jun
08

Amanda Thompson’s one person show was a women’s show tonight. The women out numbered the men by about 4 to 1. I would best describe this production as cute. The character Britney, the Bride, is a woman trying to find her way in a Bridezilla world, self aware of the pitfalls of weddings.

The production was broken down into two short acts giving the before the wedding and one year later perspective. The one-year-later section is the much stronger portion and the audience’s reaction supports its humor. There is a little bit of man bashing, but a whole lot of mother-in-law bashing. That at times can appear a little forced, but the audience got it.

The theme I felt she was putting forward was “what is marriage.” Britney is searching for a meaning to her life. This is a struggle of modern day women, but the character seemed hollow. Britney appears to be a housewife, with no life outside of marriage. It was as if she was taking the first baby steps out of the traditional trap she has placed her self in by rebelling against her mother-in-law, but the play ends before she find something more than just living for marriage.

In the strictly defined world of a semi-traditional marriage, this play speaks wonders. The audience of mostly women really responded to the humor and some were even pleasantly bemused at the handful of tame sexual references. It was as if Britney was a modern woman who is fulfilling some type of traditional family fantasy, but without a reason why. Why does “meatloaf Monday” matter to her so much?

This production was very funny and very entertaining. Intellectually I was left scratching my head, thinking: who is this play trying to reach? When a joke that referenced a soap-opera wedding got a big laugh, I think I understood who this play was for, and it wasn’t targeting the regular theatre audience. Since a large number of attendees this night were new to Fringe, which makes it work to help Cincinnati theatre in a new way, cultural outreach.

There are two more performances, 6/8 at 6:30PM and 6/9 at 8PM, both at the Art Academy.

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Fringe review: The Monkey's Paw

Jun
08

Reality and truth are at the forefront of The Monkey's Paw, the story of a man dealing with fatherhood, over a backdrop of extreme neurosis. The Characters of Mike and Tish are among the most developed of the Festival, with their internal struggles being opened up in each scene.

The play floats back and forth through time, flashing back to certain moments when the couple's child was "still around." Mike's fear of germs is the manifestation of his fear of intimacy. Since the loss of her child, Tish has been living in denial, refusing to leave their house because she fears missing their son if he returns.

The reality of the situation was confusing. Mike comes across like a Howard Hughes of the upper middle class. His life is filled with such intense guilt over the loss of his son, which mirrors he relationship with his own father and left him without the ability to express or feel love.

At times the confusion of the characters gets in the way of the piece. The depth of the story is barely explored. You are left wondering if the son was murdered by Mike or if he carelessly let him die. You don't even know if anyone else ever new they had a son. That is the sense of reality that you never get, but that is what I believe was intended.

I was very disappointed at the size of the crowd for this performance, it was so very small and at ETC that stands out more.

There is one more performance, tonight at 7PM at ETC, this play is worth coming out for.

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Fringe Review: Christmas in Bakersfield

Jun
06

One of the mainstays of the Cincinnati Fringe Festival has been the one-man-show. In his third appearance at CincyFringe Les Kurkendaal again shows his mastery of this form and gives you a humorous look into the life of his boyfriend’s wealthy conservative family.

Grandma’s music is a highlight gag that Les uses to its fullest. The bumper music puts me in mind of Masterpiece Theatre. Les shows the personal side to his humor that is biting, but not mean. He has problems with his boyfriend’s family, but he sees promise with them and in the end he relates to them, even though they are different than he his. Comedy with a positive sentiment is best kind. If you make fun of someone, they need to be someone you care about, otherwise it is easy, and cheap.

If you are looking for lots of eggnog jokes (this is a Christmas show, after all), you’ll be disappointed. If you’d like to hear how one family could possibly be the nicest yet most ignorant people in the State of California, then make it a priority to see one of Les’s two remaining shows at 6/7 8:15PM and 6/9 at 7 PM at Below Zero.

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Fringe Review: lusthaus (1914)

Jun
06

Picture yourself in Europe just before WWI, then tear off multiple layers of your life. Lusthaus (1914) confronts love with haunting imagery. The music, lighting, and costumes put you in a Europe with hidden sexual fantasy, intensely woven into the use of movement. Josh Beshears, Katie Kershaw, Jen Spillane, and Michael Stone portray four individuals mixing lust and love with violence and anger in a challenging effort directed by Gabe Johnson. I was intrigued by this work. This type of work infuses story/plot conceptually, so those expecting simplicity will be better suited to stick to the lighter fare.

This work has almost a retro-experimental feel to it. The period costumes gave me the sense that I was in a Viennese playhouse of ill repute, one that specialized in stories of debauchery, at least as would be considered debauchery in 1914. Think of a playwright premiering a work that is shown only to trusted friends, for fear of being jailed.

A subtext that got to me were each character's haunting eyes. Sickly haunting eyes to be more precise. It is as if each character is dead or near death. 1914 and WWI did kill off the ways of Royal Europe, where the Victorian Era morals ruled, and Kings/Queens made them up as went.

The audience for this production was a complete sell out, with people both sitting in the aisles and standing in the back. There are two more shows, June 7th at PM and June 9th at 8:30. Both shows are at InkTank.

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Calculus: The Musical! Encore Details

Jun
06

Calculus: The Musical!. Encore Performance
9:45 PM, Saturday, June 9.
Art Academy of Cincinnati,
1212 Jackson Street.
Ticket go on sale June 6, 2007 at 10 a.m.
Call 513.621.ARTS (2787)

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Calculus Extended

Jun
05
A reliable source indicates that Calculus: The Musical! is being extended to a Saturday June 9th show. Time and location are TBD. Be sure to stay tuned to the www.cincyfringe.com site for the official announcement.
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NSC Behind the Scenes of Radiant Baby

Jun
05
New Stage Collective has a little behind the scenes video, consider it the first installment of the "Making" of Radiant Baby. No, there's no sex in this kind of baby making. Sorry.

For more on "Radiant Baby" check out NSC's Blog or hit here for the details on the shows that opens June 21st.
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Scalping Calculus Tickets?

Jun
04

"Calculus: The Musical!" is sold out for the final three shows on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Actually as of this evening a reliable source inside the Fringe Festival says there are less than 10 tickets left. That surely will be gone early tomorrow.

Will we see the first ever scalping of Fringe tickets? "Word" has it that match clubs from across the Tri-state are on their way to see the show. If they find out there are none to be had, trouble may ensue. If you have tickets in your possession, then watch out for surprise pocket protector to the throat!

(My apologies to the math folks everywhere, but I just couldn't resist)

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iLove Sells Out on Monday

Jun
04
It is 8:28 on a Monday at Fringe and iLove just sold out. That has never happened at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival before. Get your tickets now. Get your tickets now.
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Fringe Review: Alone Together

Jun
04

Ted Bredngle's story of love and friendship bravely dives into one of life's most dangerous area, breaking the boundaries of the friend zone. Try to remove all of the Ross & Rachel images that may have come to mind with the friend zone reference.

Miranda and Walter were best friends. They broke the bounds of friendship and fell in love. They broke up. The show is based on Walter reliving the relationship, the good times and the horrible times that fill him with terrible remorse.

The shades of love and loss fill the story making Walter's pain palpable. Josh Stramoolis and Courtney Maistros gave very sold performances. The script could have done more with the story. The running time was around 35-40 minutes and the history of the two characters were not touched, and nor were the possible resolutions.

The crowd for the Monday night performance was very solid, with many first time Fringers in attendance.

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Mid-Fringe Update

Jun
04
There are six days left of the Fringe Festival and the Enquirer has a mid-fringe article today that postulates (Ooo....big word) that Fringe is already a hit. At this point I am sure the entire Fringe staff is knocking on every piece of wood or simulated wood product inside the Know Theatre.

I can't quibble with calling Fringe a Hit. All of my experiences had audiences quite strong at nine of the ten shows I've seen so far. Today's through Wednesday are traditionally the slow period, so don't judge anything by Monday's or Tuesday numbers. Some shows have completed their runs and left town, some just arrived.
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