Shiny and the Spoon at Tunes & Blooms

“Free concerts every Thursday in April from 6 – 8:30pm!” reads the website for the Cincinnati Zoo, and on Thursday, April 19 the concert will feature The Tillers  as headliners with Shiny and the Spoon opening. Although The Tillers are an impressive Americana act, you should definitely also check out Shiny and the Spoon, who combine solid songwriting, sweet harmonies, and a recently expanded lineup that includes Pete Brown, an upright bass player who also happens to be the maintenance supervisor for Gaslight Property.

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Record Store Day!

The fifth annual Record Store Day will be taking place this Saturday at independent record stores in Cincinnati. More than 200 vinyl records, including LPs, 10-inches, and 45s, will be on sale that day. Every year Record Store grows larger, with more to choose from and a broader selection as well. By itself, Record Store Day is something worth celebrating, as it pays homage to what’s pretty much the coolest thing Western civilization ever invented, but its impact goes way beyond a single day – it helps stoke interest in vinyl in general, which is a lot hotter than anyone dreamed it would be five years ago. In a society where Generic rules here’s something that actually has personality…I think of it as the craft beer of the music world. Continue reading “Record Store Day!”

Farmers Market in Northside

Every Wednesday from 4 pm to 7 pm there’s a Farmers Market in Northside. Being as I’m kind of a hard-nosed reporter—picture a grumpy guy with a cigarette dangling out of the side of his mouth and a crooked tie as he barks out questions in an old black and white movie—I recently posed some challenging questions to Sara Mulhauser, the Northside Farmers Market Manager. The first question was probably the toughest: so what’s so special about the farmers market in Northside?

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Sharon Van Etten at Mayday April 27

I’m not sure if there’s anything more frustrating than discovering after the fact that a musician came to town who you would have seen if only you’d known…Often the surprise element comes because you hadn’t dialed in some venues that bring in names that you wouldn’t expect in such a small venue – and as you know, those are often the best concerts. There are two clubs you especially have to watch out for that are close to Clifton – one neighborhood away, basically, although in different directions. Continue reading “Sharon Van Etten at Mayday April 27”

Loft-Style Apartment For Rent on Ludlow Avenue

(Update) This loft-style apartment is currently occupied, but Gaslight Property wants apartment seekers to know that it has apartments for rent in several buildings in the Gaslight District in Clifton. Those buildings include the Jonathan at 451 Ludlow; Tudor Court Apartments, also on Ludlow Avenue; Whitfield Gardens, at 3242 Whitfield; Lafayette Hills, at 880 Lafayette Ave.; and buildings at 319 Terrace Ave., 525 Lowell, and 3257 Bishop.  Call Stephanie Taylor at 513.861.6000 if you’re interested in seeing any of these apartments, and she’ll show you them in person!

A unique apartment just became available on Ludlow Avenue in the heart of the gaslight district, and she’s a beauty. With approximately 1,360 square feet, this apartment offers a rare opportunity for a loft-style apartment in Clifton. Instead of several rooms partitioned off with walls, this second-floor space at 343 Ludlow Avenue combines a living room, updated kitchen and dining room into one big open space, plus there’s a bedroom in the back, and a bathroom. As you can tell from the photos, the walls have a cool color scheme that you may to keep for yourself. With hardwood floors, a tiled fireplace and a stained glass window, the apartment has lots of charm, with plenty of natural light and a great view. The location couldn’t be better: you’re above the Proud Rooster restaurant and within walking distance of Ambar India, Sitwell’s, Olive’s, The Esquire Theatre, and dozens of other shops, restaurants, bars and . Call Stephanie Taylor at 513.861.6000 if you’re interested, and she’ll show it to you in person!

 

This video shows some of the other apartment Gaslight Property has available:

 

Bohemain Hookah Cafe (Part 2)

You may recall me mentioning in Bohemain Hookah Cafe Part 1 that a band was slated to perform one evening, although I had no idea who they were. When I slipped inside I came to learn that they were the Last Boppers (what a great name for a band), who I’d heard of but never actually seen. (They’ve played before at the Loft Society, where I’ve seen lots of great jazz, but not these guys.) They were between sets, so I had a chance to chat with them. I should note here that the ensemble consisted of three people that evening but the size and instrumentation varies. One constant is Kenneth Leslie, the leader of the band, and the person I spoke to the most. Continue reading “Bohemain Hookah Cafe (Part 2)”

Bohemian Hookah Café on Ludlow Avenue

bohemian-hookah-1

Partly because there were no windows in front and the outside was pretty nondescript, even though the gay bar called the Golden Lions was in the heart of the Clifton business district it was easy to forget it was there—and I’ll bet ya that even lots of Cliftonites have no idea that it closed. What’s replaced it, though, won’t stay under the radar for long. Cleary the Bohemian Hookah Café, located at 340 Ludlow Avenue and open from 2 pm to 2 am daily, wants to connect with the community—you can tell by the sandwich boards out front and the open front door and, on some nights, the music flowing out into the streets…more on that later.

Already people are starting to sniff it out. I know, because I pop in and out of the Bohemian Hookah Café so often that, as customers have started to filter in, I’m beginning to feel like I’m watching time-lapse photography of a budding business. For me the burning issue right off the bat was the fact that the folks had an acoustic piano left over from the Golden Lions that at least to these ears sounded pretty much in tune—close enough, anyway. I’ve actually been huntin’ ‘round for a place to play chords while I sing the songs in my folder labeled “My Songs.” When I broached the subject Blackie, the owner, said cool, no problem.

What I could tell right away as I looked around the room was that I had found a perfect place to chill. As you can tell from the picture, the owners painted the place some cool colors and threw in some comfy couches and chairs, so that even non-smokers like me will want to hang there. (The front door has always been open when I’ve dropped by, so you don’t get smoked out.) Along with all the sweet-tasting tobacco there’s lots to drink, including espresso, cardamom ginger chai, loose mint tea and the drink that intrigues me the most, Turkish coffee. At one point I had a roommate from Turkey who made me a cup of Turkish coffee, and by the time that wore off I’d written the first half of a novel, filled out my tax forms, cleaned the bathroom and changed the muffler on my car—I can’t wait to try it again. I should also note that the first time I visited the café they were playing Thelonious Monk, which left a good first impression.

Recently when I popped into the café the proprietor told me some jazz musicians would be performing there that evening and that I might want to sit in with them. At that point I sat down at the piano and said, “You don’t understand. Now listen closely.” At that point I began to tickle the ivories—except that’s not the right expression. When I play the piano I sound a bit like a robot would if you told it to play a simple sequence of chords; someone once compared my internal rhythms to those of a Russian marching band. After a short audition the proprietor agreed that perhaps for this event I might wish to be an audience member.

PART 2

You may recall me mentioning in Bohemain Hookah Cafe Part 1 that a band was slated to perform one evening, although I had no idea who they were. When I slipped inside I came to learn that they were the Last Boppers (what a great name for a band), who I’d heard of but never actually seen. (They’ve played before at the Loft Society, where I’ve seen lots of great jazz, but not these guys.) They were between sets, so I had a chance to chat with them. I should note here that the ensemble consisted of three people that evening but the size and instrumentation varies. One constant is Kenneth Leslie, the leader of the band, and the person I spoke to the most.

“We’ll be here on a regular basis,” he said. Reluctant to pigeonhole their music as solely jazz at the same time that he was wearing a t-shirt with images of jazz icons, Kenneth said, “We’re creative artists. We do creative music, mostly spontaneous, real spontaneous. We try to create according to the environment.”

“We’re all visual artists,” he added. “Our approach to the arts is basically in the same spirit.”

Sitting down, I watched people mosey into the café and start smoking from giant hookahs, an image that always puts me in mind of a great Marx Brothers poster that I used to see on the walls of headshops. The place was starting to fill up when The Last Boppers began their set. At first two guys were playing keyboards with preset rhythms while Kenneth blew the trumpet. The sound reminded me of the kinda funky early 1970s sound of say Les McCann or Bob James—something along those lines….Then Kenneth played some keys while someone else played sax….While listening to the music and looking around the room Leslie’s comment about creating according to the environment came back to me. This was definitely music for chilling out and smoking hookahs; even just drinking a vitamin water, I knew I had come to the right place. I got the feeling that I was watching three old friends who loved playing music together and hanging together; there was nothing but good vibes in that room. The door was open, and at times people peeked in off the street with “what the hell” faces—we call that free advertising in the business.

Using a cheap little Kodak digital camera, I have yet to win any photography awards, but I must say that on that evening I outdid myself. Check out this photo of the artists at work. I have no idea how those bubbles ended up in the photo, but it certainly underscores the far-out vibe that was in the air.

bohemian-hookah-2-the-band

And last, but not least, for the first but not the last time in this blog, the overheard Quote of the Night: a woman walked in and sat down with a man who had been hookah smoking by himself for a good twenty minutes and said right off the bat, “Why do you look fancy when you don’t have to anymore?”