Jazz at Schwartz’s Point (Plus Some Greenwich Tavern Footage)

So much time had passed since I’d visited Schwartz’s Point that the last time I was there it wasn’t completely…well, legitimate, to state thing euphemistically. During its previous incarnation, I felt kind of like I was at a speak-easy, which is a rare feeling since they don’t exist anymore. (Why did they have to do away with Prohibition? I’m sure it was more fun sneaking around to have a drink.) After dropping by last night I’m happy to report that it still kind of has a speak-easy like vibe to it: note the Oriental rugs in the windows, which along with cushioning the sound help give the club an exclusive vibe. A nice intimate club in a great old Cincinnati building: check the photo on their website and (if you don’t know already) you’ll remember passing it countless times and wondering what it was.

Continue reading “Jazz at Schwartz’s Point (Plus Some Greenwich Tavern Footage)”

The University of Cincinnati: A Photographic Tour


Because the weather was sunny and warm, I grabbed the camera and went for a walk a couple days ago. Roaming around the University of Cincinnati sparked memories that included, in some cases, the actual construction of some buildings. The first structure I witnessed was the DAAP building, designed by the starchitect Peter Eisenman. Cincinnati is known worldwide for its high concentration of signature buildings, and the DAAP Building is among the most famous. In 1996 I was there the evening that the building was officially dedicated. Eisenman was there, and so was Michael Graves, whose nearby engineering building was another new signature building. Graves (whose architecture is considerably less avant-garde than Eisenman’s) ribbed his colleague a few times during their talk, as when someone apologized for being late because he couldn’t find the auditorium in the maze-like structure. “If you want to understand my architecture,” Eisenman explained to the audience, “you have to start with the fact that I’ve my last 20-? years on the couch.” A short time after the very colorful structure was finished Cincinnati author and UC creative writing professor Dallas Wiebe wrote a letter to the editor that noted the uncanny resemblance between the colorful and sprawling DAAP building and the under-appreciated El Rancho Rankin. Sadly, Cincinnati’s finest motel has since been demolished, a tragedy that puts me in mind of an old Joni Mitchell song where they paved paradise and put up a grocery store. During the talk, Eisenman lamented the fact that current architecture students are now required to delve more deeply into the mechanical side of things, which he considered beneath their profession. Since it was built in 1996, the DAAP building has had numerous mechanical problems, which may be more of a blessing than a curse: it shows DAAP students that architecture is a process as opposed to a series of structures that exist independent of time. Presently it’s undergoing its second major renovation that will address, in part, water leakage. Here are some pictures I took this week of the current construction: Continue reading “The University of Cincinnati: A Photographic Tour”

Free Menu Party at Aquarius Star & Om Cafe on Friday

This Friday, March 1, from 7 pm to 10 pm, there will be a menu party with free wine and food at Aquarius Star & Om Cafe at 329 Ludlow Avenue in Clifton. The party will be celebrate their new chef, Gary Garitson, and it’s also a way to shed light on some of changes taking place starting March 1.

Those changes include new hours – 7:30 am to 7 pm 7 days a week – and a streamlined focus. “The Om Café is our main focus now,” owner Lydia  Stec said. “We’re putting the seating up front, when people walk in the door, because we want to bring the cafe front and center.” The cafe is also going to look different, with (among other things) new signage in the windows. New look, new focus – and yes, new menu.  When I talked to Lydia, she seemed most excited about the fact that Gary Garitson is joining the staff as the new chef. The emphasis will continue to be on locally grown and organic ingredients, and the menu will continue to be affordable. The cafe is excited enough about his skills as a chef, however, that it’s having this special event Friday night.

A quick reminder that there are several apartment buildings Gaslight Property owns within walking distance of Aquarius Star & Om Café—and, in fact, one of them is right across the street, as Gaslight rents apartments above Graeter’s (the street address is 3405 Telford). Call 513.861.6000 to set up an appointment to look at one of these units today.

Marty Balin Coming to Town (Part 2)

After Bathing at Baxter’s was the album where the Jefferson Airplane broke the mold. After two relatively homogeneous records that built a large following, they proceeded to enter a laboratory and experiment (in more ways than one). Progress was slow, and there was a lot of knob-twisting while record execs wondered what the hell was going on in there. Considering the spirit with which the record was made—and the time period—it’s a wonder the record isn’t more of a full-fledged freakout. One song was pure madness (“A Small Package of Value Will Come to You, Shortly”), and there was a long, open-ended instrumental (“Spare Chaynge”), but beyond that, the music remained tuneful. Continue reading “Marty Balin Coming to Town (Part 2)”

Marty Balin Coming to Town (Part 1)

I just found out today that Marty Balin from the Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship will be playing at the Fairfield Arts Center next Saturday, March 2, at 8 pm. The Center is located at 411 Wessel Drive; tickets are $40 orchestra/$35 stadium; you can buy them by phone (513.867.5348), in person at the center, or online at this link. The show is a fundrasiser for Sojourner Recovery Services, an organization that provides substance abuse treatment .

Like I said, that’s the first I heard of this show, so I figure that this is new news for other people as well. Balin was, to the extent that they ever had one, the leader of the Jefferson Airplane early on; definitely he played a central role in forming the band. When I first started buying Airplane albums, they had already morphed into the Starship. I listened to everything from Takes Off (their 1966 debut) to Thirty Seconds Over Winterland (a 1973 live set). Like the Beach Boys and Fleetwood Mac, the Airplane was one of those bands where different artists grabbed the spotlight at different times. Sometimes that was due to shifting personnel, but that also occurred when the lineup stayed consistent. Continue reading “Marty Balin Coming to Town (Part 1)”

The Torch Singer From Down the Street

While passing Hughes High School and the University of Cincinnati, few people are aware that one of the great torch singers attended both of those schools. Probably few of the students know, either. But along with being one of the most famous jazz singers during the Jazz Age, Libby Holman was involved in a scandal on such a scale that a movie was based upon it.

With a title like Sing, Sinner, Sing, you can guess what the public thought about the matter. Yet no one was ever convicted, as authorities were never able to determine whether 20-year-old Zachary Smith Reynolds, heir to a huge tobacco fortune, committed suicide or was murdered.

Born in Cincinnati in 1904, Libby Holman pursued theater and music during high school and college. After graduating in 1923 she moved to New York, where after a string of small successes and the occasional flop, she went over big with The Little Show, a musical that included the song “Moanin Low.” That song will forever be associated with Libby Holman, and she also put her stamp on such standards as “What is This Thing Called Love” and “Body and Soul.” This was the kind of music that would have played at a party thrown by Jay Gatsby while flappers downed bathtub gin. Continue reading “The Torch Singer From Down the Street”

Makin Heads Turn Salon in the Gaslight District

For the past few weeks this blog has focused a lot on new businesses popping up in the Gaslight District, some of which are slightly off the beaten path – and that also describes the new Makin Heads Turn Salon. Its address is 3307 Clifton Avenue, but if you’re walking down Clifton you won’t see see it, because it’s behind University Nails. Basically, then, it’s across the street from Bruegger’s Bagels if you’re facing toward Good Samaritan Hospital; technically it’s on the corner of Terrace Avenue and Clifton. (I should note that it’s a few doors down from Mediterranean King, who I raved about in this blog entry.)

Part of the salon’s appeal, then, is its extremely convenient location. Employees at Good Samaritan could walk over during their lunch hour or after work, and so could residents of the Gaslight District (and UC students, who receive student discounts). The owner of Makin Heads Turn, Saira Huckleberry, cut hair for many years at Head First Salon on Ludlow Avenue, so she’s a veteran who decided it was time to launch her own business. I recommend checking out the salon’s Facebook page, where Saira posts some of the cool haircuts that she’s given. So much of the reason that the Gaslight District is a great neighborhood is due to the fact that it has so many small businesses, and we’re happy to have this new addition. To make an appointment for a haircut, styling, coloring, hair treatment, re-texturizing, or waxing, call Saira at 513.407.3911.

Gaslight Property owns a wide variety of apartment buildings in the Gaslight District and within walking distance of Makin Heads Turn (and for that matter dozen of other small businesses on or near Ludlow Avenue and Jefferson Avenue). You can call 513.861.6000 to set up an appointment to look at a unit today.

Last Day to Vote for Tudor Court; Jazz at Sitwell’s Monday; My Funny Valentine


Today is your final chance to show vote for Tudor Court Apartments in City Beat’s new Best of Cincinnati Readers Poll. The ballot is organized into six major sections, and one of them is Urban Life. At the top of Urban Life is the category of Apartment Community. That’s where you have an opportunity to vote for Tudor Court Apartments, which are owned by Gaslight Property and have a long Clifton history. You’ll also see lots of other Clifton businesses and venues worth voting for on the list:

City Beat Best of 2013 poll


Continue reading “Last Day to Vote for Tudor Court; Jazz at Sitwell’s Monday; My Funny Valentine”

Celebrate Fat Tuesday Today at J. Gumbo’s Clifton

Considering their cuisine, it seems fitting that J. Gumbo’s Clifton (the address is 286 Ludlow Avenue, near Skyline) would be celebrating Fat Tuesday today, February 12. The festivities include live music: the dixieland band Queen City Dixie Cats will be playing from noon to 1 pm, and the blues group Them Bones will perform from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. More than 30 prizes will be given away throughout the day. I saw the letters BYOB on the flyer, which means you don’t have to overlook that part of the celebration.

Their “taste of New Orleans” menu includes such medium zesty items as gumbo, etouffee, bumblebee stew, and white bean chili; hot & spicy meals include drunken chicken, voodoo chicken, and voodoo chili. The special today is bumblebee stew. For future reference, here’s their contact info and their hours:

J. Gumbo’s Clifton
286 Ludlow Ave.
Phone 513-407-6930
Fax 513-407-6931


M -TR: 11:00 am – 3:00 am
F – SAT: 11:00 am – 4:00 am
SUN: 12:00 pm – 12:00 am

Also, don’t forget to vote for Tudor Court Apartments for City Beat’s Best of Cincinnati 2013, And don’t forget about all the other great Clifton businesses that make us proud to call the Gaslight District home! Here’s the link:  City Beat Best of 2013 poll



Vote for Tudor Court Apartments

City Beat’s new Best of 2013 Poll gives you to a chance for Tudor Apartment as best apartment community. The category is Urban Life, and at the top of that list is Apartment Community. Tudor Court deserves top rating because:

It’s old, and it has character. Tudor Court was built in 1930, when buildings had more style, and before prefab apartment complexes took over.

Location. If you’re looking for an apartment in Cincinnati, you couldn’t find a more central location than Tudor Court Apartments. Located on Ludlow Avenue, it’s inches from dozens of stores and restaurants.

Wide variety of apartments. Tudor Court has 88 apartment units, and that includes efficiencies, one-bedroom apartments, and two-bedroom apartments. That means that people who are looking for an apartment in Clifton have every possible choice for a dwelling in a single building.

History. You would have a tough time finding a person who has lived in Cincinnati and/or gone to UC who hasn’t been in Tudor Court or for that matter lived there. Mention the name Jerry Santini (the apartment manager for a looong time), and the odds are (if it’s a person over a certain age), they’ll know who you’re talking about (and probably have a story to share). Plus there’s always been someone renting the space near the corner of Ludlow and Middleton. Now it’s the Clifton Performance Theatre; past tenants included the Cove Café (an earlier incarnation of Sitwell’s), the Cove Lounge (a bar), and a ballet studio.

The City Beat best-of poll also provides plenty of other opportunities to vote for other Clifton businesses. Clifton choices include (but are not limited to) Arlins, Habaneros, Aquarius Star & Om Café, China Kitchen, Bogarts, It’s Yoga, Sitwells, Clifton House Bed & Breakfast, The University of Cincinnati, Burnet Woods (for best hiking trail), and many others. Here’s a link to the poll:

Best of Cincinnati Poll