Short Vine Springs Back to Life

On a sunny day last week I strolled over to Vine Street in Corryville and snapped some photos and talked to some business owners, all of whom were happy to see construction wrapping up, revealing an attractive streetscape and a neighborhood that has a nice mix of spiffy new storefronts and long-established businesses. Finally you could look down the entire street without seeing orange barrels or construction vehicles, and it was clear that the work paid off:

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One of the newer shops, Red Mango Cafe, has a nice juice bar. Here’s a link to its Facebook page:

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The sandwich shop Which Wich has been there a few years now; I wrote about them in this earlier Short Vine update.

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The tasty and friendly Caribbean restaurant Island Frydays is another store that has been there several years, offering good food, a chill vibe, and some fine reggae music as part of their dining experience. Here’s a link to their Facebook page:

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The 86 Club is a coffee house and concert venue at 2820 Vine Street with nice employees and some very comfortable places to sit/drink coffee/peck away at your laptop/read the paper. If you’re looking for a friendly, spacious, comfortable coffee house, this is the place to go. Here’s a link to their Facebook page:

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Here’s another shot inside the 86 Club:

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Next I chatted with Randall Henderson and Katie Reynolds, who were chilling in front of the Corryville Library. Both of them said they lived in the neighborhood and were happy to see the new changes on Short Vine:

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The attractive and business-savvy Joyce Burson, with a nice, confident smile, stood in front of Cute Pieces, her very stylish clothing store at 2726 Vine Street. Here’s a link to her Facebook page, and here’s an insightful article about Joyce and her store before it moved to its current location:

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At 2722 Vine I encountered Exclusive, a clothing store with lots of team jerseys, ballcaps and other sports-related items. The owner, Congo, has had two businesses (this one + the Steak and Lemonade store) for ten years, so he’s a Short Vine veteran, and he’s confident that in this post-construction phase Short Vine will become all that. A nice guy with a good sense of humor, he’s also – as the picture testifies – Cincinnati Reds fan. Here’s a link to his Facebook page:

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And don’t forget Taste of Belgium, a restaurant and bar that in warmer weather has lots of outdoor tables. After snapping a photo of the bar I asked what their best beer was, and that question sparked a huge controversy. The bartender rated Old Rasputin above all the others, while two hard-at-work researchers argued the merits of Triple Karmeliet and Pauwel Kwak. Clearly I’m going to have to go back there and settle this controversy myself. Here’s a link to the Facebook page for the Corryville location of Taste of Belgium, at 2845 Clifton:

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Just off Short Vine is the stylish and tasty restaurant + bar, Hangover Easy, which has a killer breakfast menu:

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A centerpiece of the neighborhood is Bogart’s, which has been a successful venue for decades and actually, as this earlier blog entry makes clear, has made some significant improvements lately.

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Here are a few other picture of stores on this street that boasts a diverse mix of small businesses that combine to make Short Vine a great neighborhood to shop in and visit. Come check it out – it’s prettier than ever, and there’s plenty to do there!

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Zappa Plays Zappa Comes to Bogart’s Saturday

ZappaDweezil Zappa, son of Frank Zappa, is bringing his tribute band Zappa Plays Zappa to Bogart’s this Saturday, July 12. It should be wild and crazy, just like his father’s concerts were back when he was playing the Fillmore and Winterland and the Beacon Theatre and a thousand other venues around the world.

So what kind of music did Frank Zappa play, really? Were the Mothers pschedelic? A jam band? A strange mutation of classical music or jazz or rock or Dada what? Maybe all of the above. There’s gonna be a big crowd for this one, and you might want to buy your ticket now, as it could definitely sell out. Earlier this year Dweezil was playing the entire Roxy & Elsewhere in concert,  but for this leg of the tour it looks like he’s branching out and performing cuts from different stages of his father’s career. Here’s some footage from a show just a few days ago:

Ten Favorite Bogart’s Concerts: The Honorable Mentions

Bogarts-logoA month ago (or was it longer?) I promised a list of my ten favorite Bogart’s shows. A long processions of phone calls from people who wanted me to help promote upcoming events—which I’m always happy to do—delayed the process, but now I’m finally ready to share my top ten.

Or almost, anyway. Before I delve into the best of the best, I should mention some of the shows that that didn’t make the top ten but were memorable for one reason or another. My  honorable mentions would include the following:

Human Switchboard. A Cleveland band I’ll always associate with the early days of punk or new wave or whatever you want to call what was happening then.

John Cale. His show ended with a full-throttle rendition of “Mercenaries (Ready for War)” that made a lot of sense at the time (and still does).

Sonny Rollins. Boy am I glad that I went to this show. It taught me how much I didn’t know. Although I loved Sonny’s earlier work in a bebop vein, I was blasé about his later stuff. On the first song of the second set, “Don’t Stop the Carnival,” Sonny displayed an endless supply of energy and creativity for fifteen or twenty minutes. Truly a jazz god.

Casual Gods. Jerry Harrison from the Talking Heads wasn’t much of a vocalist, and that wasn’t my only misgiving about the show. It was the only chance I’ve had, however, to see guitarist Chris Spedding whose resume includes work with Jack Bruce and The Sex Pistols.

Charlatans UK. It surprises me what a sparse crowd there was for this show, as Some Friendly was a hit with the college rock crowd and Between 10th and 11th was just as good. Catchy pop tunes with a hint of psychedelia.

Iggy Pop. Those who know his work better wouldn’t have been surprised to hear him break out “Louie Louie” when I first saw him in the early 1980s, but I certainly was, and I got great pleasure out of hearing him thrash that one out. That was the same show where, at 2am, the power went off and all you could see were exit lights.

Everything But the Girl. I was shocked to learn that EBTG was coming to Cincinnati. Although I’m not as fond of the more club-oriented sound the band eventually developed, there’s nothing they could do to make me not love them. Toward the middle of the show the band shut off the rhythm machine and played two wondrous cuts off Idlewild, the second being Ben Watt’s “Caruso.” I’m glad that the college and young professional crowd (who in Cincinnati chatted through the entire concert) tapped into EBTG—otherwise the band never would have come to Bogart’s. Still, I have to think that their jazzier early sound could have connected with a much wider audience.

Sonic Youth. When I saw this band they were touring on the heels of 1992’s Dirty. For me the tune that stuck out most was “Youth Against Facism,” which I hadn’t heard yet, but it resonated instantly.

King Crimson. Had Bill Bruford been on hand, this show would have made my top ten list for sure, but the drummer that night was a mere mortal. That was the second time I saw Crimson, and this gave me a much deeper appreciation for Robert Fripp’s guitar playing in the post-Red era.

King Sunny Ade. A fabulous show; I also caught them at the zoo.

JJ Cale. Of the three concerts I saw by JJ Cale, one was pure magic while the two others (one at Bogart’s) were merely great. Actually some of my top ten shows are by artists I don’t like nearly as well as JJ Cale but who brought something very special on the evening that I happened to catch them.

White Stripes. Although there were only two musicians in the band, the White Stripes had such a huge, billowing sound that Bogart’s almost seemed to small for it! The show included a cover of Dylan’s “Love Sick” on which Jack White played keyboards.

Before I go the top ten, I also want to sneak in some official awards for past Bogart’s concerts:

The loudest show: Ministry.

Most entertaining show. Mojo Nixon/Skid Roper. They played upstairs, and Mojo was absolutely nuts. At one point he started banging rhythms on a water jug, and then—taking advantage of the short ceilings upstairs—he bounced the jug off the floor so hard that the jug in turn bounced off the ceiling and landed back in his hands. He did this without pause and repeatedly, and right on the beat! Surreal. After the show I asked him to sign my harmonica case, and he did. First, though, he rubbed it on his tallywacker.

The smokiest show. Mudvayne. I believe that show was sold out, and if I’m not mistaken every single person in the club was smoking that evening…except for me.

The biggest bunch of attitude: Ministry and Wolfgang Press. The way these two bands walked off the stage without acknowledging the crowd and in fact acted dismissive toward the people who came out to see them inspired me to quickly sell their records back to Mole’s.

Best opening act. Tracy Chapman opening for 10,000 Maniacs. This was, for the Maniacs, the In My Tribe tour, which is the only time you got to hear them play “Peace Train” live. Tracy, who played solo and was hard to hear over a chatty crowd, closed with “Talkin’ bout a Revolution.” I saw her shortly thereafter with a full band opening for Neil Young at Riverbend, but I found her solo performance in a smaller setting more powerful.

Most unusual performer. Timothy Leary saw fit to visit Cincinnati and talk about turning on, tuning in and dropping out. He definitely had a sense of humor about it all, however—in fact, I think he always did.

Best 1-man band. I liked how Michael Hedges strutted out to the front of the stage while exuding confidence that one acoustic guitar and a voice could provide entertainment for an entire evening. No gimmicks, no light show, no electronics, no flashy American Idol type persona—just music…and it worked.

 The Bogart’s show I most wish I’d seen but didn’t. There’s been much talk over the years about some of the mythical Bogarts shows by folks like The Police, U2 and Prince. The band I most wish I’d seen there, however, was Shakti w/John McLaughlin, who had just released Natural Elements. I almost made it to that show—and then heard detailed accounts from people who made it clear that I had missed something extraordinary. I did catch him a couple years later with a band that included L. Shankar (from Shakti) in the band, and they played a duet from a Shakti album.


My Favorite Bogart’s Concerts

Bogarts-Corryville-CincinnatiHow do you know you’re a music nerd? One hint is that you have a vast collection of memorabilia devoted to concerts you attended over the years. That could include posters, handbills, ads and reviews from the paper, tickets…I’ve got all those things and more. Today I scanned all the Bogart’s tickets that I’ve kept since I attended my first show there back in the ’70s.

This precedes my upcoming blog entries dedicated to my 10 favorite Bogart’s concerts. As I started to make my list I realized that this was going to be a painful process, as I hated to leave out some fabulous shows. For that reason my first round is going to be devoted to honorable mentions, of which there will be many. I have lots of other Bogart’s memorabilia that I’ll dig out for this series.

These tickets, btw, represent a fraction of the Bogart’s shows I attended, as I didn’t keep everything. Also, there was a period during the 1980s when I used to hang w/some folks who worked there;  I killed some time backstage and caught some freebies. That was an exciting period musically, and Short Vine was happening, with Bogart’s bringing in lots of good shows and a fine laundromat across the street. There was also a period when I reviewed concerts for the Cincinnati Enquirer. I’ll get to all that – but for now, here are the tickets stubs that managed to make it home. (btw, if you click the image it will magnify, making a lot easier to read the names)

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Check Out the Bogart’s Memories Facebook Group

Bogarts-logoBogart’s Memories (Cincinnati, OH) is a Facebook page where hundreds of people write and read about concerts they attended at the iconic music venue since it opened in 1975. There’s lots of memorabilia—ticket stubs, posters, fliers, pictures, videos, etc.—and people discussing memorable shows in every conceivable genre. Everyone who lives in Cincinnati has been to Bogart’s, and it’s also been a significant regional draw. When I contacted the person who formed the Facebook Group, Robert Wendel, he wrote, “I got the idea after one day cleaning out a closet. I found the old fliers that Bogart’s used to mail out back in the 80’s, informing what bands would be playing there in the near future.

“With those and the ticket stubs I had saved from most of the concerts I attended @ Bogarts, I decided to make a FB page to keep the memories going. The general manager of Bogarts Karen Foley loves the page so much, she used my fliers and stubs to make cool collage on the wall @ Bogarts.”

The Facebook group members aren’t just fans, either: “A lot of them are members of bands that played @ Bogarts at one time or another, the latest being David T. Chastain.”

This comes at a good time, as Bogart’s recently underwent significant improvements and will be creating new memories for many years to come. Their Facebook page is a work in progress, and your entry doesn’t have to be decades old—for example, I recently posted on their page a blog entry about a recent Todd Rundgren show that took place at Bogart’s. So check it out, join it, and share your own memories and memorabilia!

Bogart’s September Ticket Discount Ends Wednesday

The Bogart’s “welcome-back” discount, timed for returning students but available to anyone, continues until Wednesday of this week.

With this discount, any tickets for September shows with a value over twenty dollars are now available for twenty, no matter how much they originally cost. Here’s  the lineup for the month of September (if you click, it will expand to become clearly legible):














Bogart’s Welcomes Back Students with Ticket Discount

Bogart’s is welcoming back students with a discount for concerts taking place in September. Every ticket that originally cost over twenty dollars is now having its price dropped to twenty. Please note, however, that this special is only available from today, August 28, through September 4, so buy your tickets now! Technically the deal is available to anyone, student or non-student, but the historic nightclub timed the offer to coincide with students going back to college.

Bogart’s has been a favorite nightspot of college students for decades, and it’s within walking distance for UC students. As documented in this blog entry, new management has made a good club even better. Also, lots of good things have been happening in the neighborhood, including many small businesses, as this blog entry points out.

Here’s a list of the concerts taking place in September; if you click the image, it will expand to become easily readable:



Bogart’s, Daniels Pub, Nelson Slater, Short Vine, Wish You Were Here, & Gaslight Night at Clifton Performance Theatre

The theme of this particular blog entry is goings on around Short Vine, and I encourage any readers brave enough to follow what might like seem a circuitous verbal trail to remember that. My adventures began the night I handed out umpteen beer cozies at a table for Gaslight Property at Bogart’s while Wish You Were Here, a Pink Floyd tribute band, played a long show that included, along with both earlier and later material, all of Animals and Wish You Were Here. The club was packed, and even in the back, where I was sitting, crowd members were singing along whenever Pink Floyd’s biggest hits were performed. I was able to leave the table long enough to film one song:

Upcoming Bogart’s shows include Insane Clown Posse on May 13 and Todd Rundgren on May 18. Continue reading “Bogart’s, Daniels Pub, Nelson Slater, Short Vine, Wish You Were Here, & Gaslight Night at Clifton Performance Theatre”

Wish You Were Here Update: Interview with Band Member Eric Sosinski

Today I spoke on the phone with Eric Sosinski,the bassist, co-lead vocalist, music director and manager of Wish You Were Here, the Pink Floyd tribute band that will be performing at Bogart’s this Saturday, April 6. Eric lives in Cleveland, but during our conversation I learned that one of the other members of Wish You Were Here (Jamie Combs, who plays guitar and handles the other lead vocals) is from Cincinnati; Jamie is also a member of the popular local band Fourth Day Echo. Eric also informed that band members will be doing a meet and greet at the merch table about 8:20 that night, so walk over and ask him your Pink Floyd questions. These were mine:

How long has Wish You Been Here been together?

We formed in late 1995. It’s one of the longest continually running Pink Floyd tribute bands. We’re coming up on 20 years, and it’s been a successful run.

What’s the biggest challenge about playing the music of Pink Floyd live?

You have to be careful not only what you play but what you don’t play Often the space between the notes is just as important. You have to play it in the style of the artist. Details, sound effects, specific notes, drum fills, also the sounds. It helps to use the right gear , the effects, the keyboards. Continue reading “Wish You Were Here Update: Interview with Band Member Eric Sosinski”