Come to Global Water Dance on June 20 (It’s Free!)

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On June 20, 2015 at 11am a free performance that features live music and dance while celebrating and raising consciousness about water will take place at Serpentine Wall at the Ohio River. The event, Global Water Dance, is one of 70 such performances occurring on six continents on the same day. Global Water Dance has been here before—it’s a biennial event—and, having witnessed a previous performance, I can testify that it promises a vibrant, colorful, spiritual, and powerful blend of music and dance that is lyrical (with a great and soulful ensemble of singers) but also has a strong world beat element, with a killer percussion section. What makes the event even more colorful will be the hundreds of Paddlefest kayakers who will be watching from the river.

This free event is a peaceful way to spend a Saturday morning; it also happens to raise awareness of the critical need for safe, clean, accessible water to sustain all beings on the planet. The choreography for the event is led by Fanchon Shur, an Ohio Governor’s Woman of the Year; the original music was penned by Event Director Shari Lauter, MEd. The Cincinnati dance also features over 60 yards of hand-painted silk oceanscapes painted by Shari.

The performance will be webstreamed live; visit for the live broadcast link. For more information, you can visit and like their Facebook page at or contact Shari Lauter at, or video gives a taste of the event:









Plaid Room Records is an A+ Record Store

Plaid Room Records

Plaid Room Records is a record store that opened a few months ago in Loveland. Right out of the gates there’s something really unique about the shop: its location (120 Karl Brown Way in Loveland). There’s no shortage of record stores in the city of Cincinnati, but if you’re hunting for vinyl in the burbs, well, it’s mostly been about the Half-Price Books locations, where their limited record selection seems almost like an afterthought.

Not at Plaid Room Records. This place lives and breathes records and music, and as someone who does the same—and who is hyper-sensitized to the faults of record stores—I know that these guys got it right. Their emphasis is primarily on both new and used vinyl, although I did see and buy some modestly-priced used CDs of modern jazz classics. Here are some of the things I liked:

The Vibe. With record stores, we’ve almost come to expect the employees to be grumpy and condescendingAlong with being knowledgeable and passionate about music, the two brothers who run Plaid Room Records are nice guys. I was probably in the store for about an hour, and I saw them interact with lots of different kinds of customers. Both brothers built a quick rapport with all their customers and made them feel welcome.

The Vibe (part 2). What I also liked about the store was the customer base. Since vinyl began to rebound, we tend to see record store customers as the province of male hipsters. That’s diversified somewhat as of late, but Plaid Room Records was much more mixed than what I normally see. There were as many female customers as there were male, and the crowd seemed, well, mainstream and suburban. Many adults walked in with young children, who, when they held the records in front of their faces, were fascinated by what they saw, as well they should be. As someone who would love to see vinyl continue to grow, and especially new vinyl, it was great to see its fan base expanding. Plaid Room is VERY popular already, and if that can happen, then maybe the vinyl thing can keep growing. That would be a great thing for both musicians and the record labels that support musicians.

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They’re A Family-Owned Small Business. The owners of the store, Terry Cole and Bobby Cole, are brothers. They run a family-owned small business, and you can tell that they love music. In fact, they have their own label, the ultrahip soul-and-funk-infused Colemine Records label. They have live concerts in the store and lots of other activities, and really I’m only scratching the surface here with things going on at the store. You can find out more about them on their Facebook page.

A Great Selection of Vinyl. The store has a combination of both new and used vinyl, with both LPs and 45s. They keep getting in used vinyl, so the stock doesn’t stagnate. They’re up on all the interesting new stuff, and they make it easy to pre-order upcoming releases.

(One Other Thing.) As someone who lives within the city limits of Cincinnati, one reservation I supposed I could have about Plaid Room is that, in theory, they could take away some of the business for, say, Shake-It, Everybody’s, Mole’s, or (in Northern Kentucky) Torn Light. I’ll make a prediction, though: they’ll help increase business at those stores. There were lots of teenagers and young adults walking through the store when I was there, and many of them will end up attending the University of Cincinnati or finding some other reason to move into the city. Plaid Records will instill in them the healthiest addiction I know. My rating for Plaid Records: A+

Free Big Night Clifton Concert at Clifton Plaza This Friday

Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra

This Friday, May 22, from 7pm to 10pm the first in a series of free Big Night Clifton events will take place, with the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra performing a swinging set of jazz at Clifton Plaza. Also on tap: craft beers brewed by our friends at the newly launched Urban Artifact, who I wrote about in this blog entry last week. Should be a great, fun, spring night for the neighborhood. Here’s a video that gives you a taste of the talents of the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra:



Say Goodbye To The Old Library…

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In some respects it looked like just another day at the Clifton branch of the library when I dropped by there near the end of the day today, with people pecking away at computers and reading magazines and one guy returning a pile of children’t books stacked up to his chin. But some of the shelves were empty, or nearly so, and there were plenty of signs letting us know that the Clifton library was moving.

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The last hour of the last day…a good time to snap some photos, I thought, and reflect on all the years that it was part of the main drag in Clifton. It’s moving a few blocks, to a space that’s infinitely larger, and by doing so it will allow activities and events that weren’t possible in what we’ll now call “the old location.”

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But the old library had its charm, and we’ll miss it. Before I snapped a couple photos of the staff members who were there today. The second picture shows them waving – as in waving goodbye – but they assured me that all of the employees in the picture will work at the new place as well. That opens at the end of the month, and we’ll have plenty of picture of that as well.

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Blue Wisp Big Band Finds A New Home

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After the Blue Wisp closed last year, things looked bad for the Blue Wisp Big Band and Cincinnati jazz in general. With the recent opening of Urban Artifact in Northside (the address is 1662 Blue Rock), however, things suddenly seem much rosier for the big band and Cincinnati’s jazz scene overall. Here’s some of the good news:

  • The Blue Wisp Big Band now plays Urban Artifact every Wednesday from 8:30pm to 11:30pm.
  • Urban Artifact hosts live music every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, with jazz on many of those nights.
  • Thursday is always jazz night.
  • Urban Artifact is all ages and has non-alcoholic options like craft soda and Kombucha.
  • There’s no cover charge.

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I visited Urban Artifact for the Blue Wisp Big Band’s live performance last Wednesday, and what I discovered was an old church converted into a club that’s a great space for listening to music. On that night trumpeter Tim Hagans, who I first saw perform at the original Blue Wisp and is now living in Manhattan, was the special guest artist. The acoustics were excellent, and the whole room seem focused on what was happening on the stage; it was clear that much magic will take place there. Here’s a link to Urban Artifact’s web page. Here’s a link to Urban Artifact’s Facebook page.

For those readers who happen to like beer, I also throw in this little tidbit:

  • Urban Artifact is a brewery that serves its own tart and wild beers.
  • “Growler hour” takes place Mondays and Tuesdays at Urban Artifact. You get $2 off for every growler filled from 4-7pm.

Urban Artifact is also very friendly. That night I chatted with Emily Merz & Elese Daniels, who were happy to contribute valuable insights into what beer I ought to drink. I ended up choosing a Nitro Finn, and my professional assessment was: it rocked. Emily and Elese were both nice and helpful, plus they photograph well:

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Free Yoga in Burnet Woods Every Saturday

Yoga Picture for blog

Every Saturday from May 9 (this week!) through September 19 free yoga classes will be taking place in Burnet Woods. Each session runs from 11am to noon. Bring a mat or towel, water and sunglasses to the Burnet Woods bandstand and experience nature and get a great workout! Note that the classes will take place even if it rains; they’ll be under the bandstand if there’s a light rain and at the World Peace Yoga studio at 268 Ludlow Avenue in Clifton if there’s a heavy rain. While the classes are free, donations are accepted. These classes are being hosted by World Peace Yoga, long one of the most popular destinations on Ludlow Avenue. They have a great teacher training program that has generated some teachers who now teach globally. It’s also a laid back studio with a come as you are approach. Check out their Facebook page or their website to learn more, or call them at 513-300-9642. Here is the list of dates and instructors for the free yoga sessions in Burnet Woods:

May 9: Amber
May 16: Anna
May 23: Anna
May 30: Donna
June 6: Dara
June 13: Mary
June 20: Caroline
June 27: Mindy
July 4: Caroline
July 11: Amber
July 18: TBA
July 25: Betsi
August 1: Christy
August 8: Dara
August 15: TBA
August 22: Lori
August 29: Amber
September 5: Anna
September 12: Rachel
September 19: Christy