City & Country Life

Best of the City 2012


Guerilla Art

Bombshells of Cincinnati

What does it take to make a bus cozy? More than 100 pounds of yarn, string, fishing line, and rope—plus a couple hundred hours. That’s just one of the many projects from the dozen knitters known as the Bombshells of Cincinnati, who have yarnstormed public spaces from trees and statues to the entire Central Parkway median. Led by Pinky Shears (a.k.a. local artist Pam Kravetz), the graffiti knitters have expanded from covert operations to producing large-scale installations at the invitation of the CAC, Cincinnati Art Museum, and Dayton Art Institute. Restraint is not their canon—look for the guerilla knitters to drop a major yarn bomb on the upcoming Flying Pig Marathon. or on Facebook at Bombshells of Cincinnati


Dance Troupe

Cincinnati Ballet Second Company

Members of Cincinnati Ballet Second Company are described as emerging professionals, but audience reaction would suggest they’ve arrived. The small group of talented young dancers from around the country, all advanced students at the Otto M. Budig Academy, perform on community and school stages throughout the area, serving as emissaries for the company and the art of ballet. You also can spot them in the corps de ballet in CB’s full-length productions at Music Hall.
Cincinnati Ballet, 1555 Central Parkway, Over-the-Rhine, (513) 621-5219,


Event Entertainment

Dante’s Gypsy Circus

The members of Dante’s Gypsy Circus are not your ordinary party entertainers. Unless, of course, you’ve partied in hell with fire-eating belly dancers and performers brandishing blazing props. In the fall, the group’s incendiary talents were on display for patio diners during “Tantric Thursdays” at Mantra on the Hill in Mt. Adams. Now you can catch ’em at venues such as the goth-y gathering for Carnival Noir at Leapin Lizard Lounge in MainStrasse. Very cool. Also hot.,


Gallery Scene

Manifest Gallery

Manifest Gallery is that rarest of places in the art world: a space for students, up-and-comers, and established artists. The exhibitions tend to be “out there” (like the all-video Projections show, which featured 13 videos from 13 artists, shown both in sequence and in a loop during each artist’s “solo day”) and spark delight and debate—which is exactly the point, according to Manifest’s manifesto. The Creative Class is alive, well, and working at Manifest.
2727 Woodburn Ave., East Walnut Hills, (513) 861-3638,


Hot Spot

Washington Park

Thanks to its many bells and whistles—a playground, bandstand, performance stage, public lawn, dog park, and “sprayground”—Washington Park is ready-made for socializing. It’s also programmed to within an inch of its life (especially in the summer months), so chances are good that you’ll end up there eventually. Don’t miss The City Flea’s holiday market on December 8.
*1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,


Holiday Outing

Lebanon Horse-Drawn Carriage Parade

Let’s say you’re a Hollywood filmmaker. And let’s say you need to cast a handsome team of horses. Easy. Go to Lebanon the first Saturday of December for the town’s annual Antique Horse-Drawn Carriage Parade, where you can audition 140 of them. Clydesdales with legs as powerful as pile drivers; Belgians with necks like tree trunks; miniature ponies hitched to wee wagons—teams and their owners get gussied up and come from all over the region to trot down the town’s historic Broadway Street. If that doesn’t get you in the holiday mood, you’re hopeless.
(513) 932-1100


Best Volunteer Gigs

Join the leaf-blowing, limb-lugging, chain-sawing Adopt-a-Trail gang that clears The Little Miami State Park after Mother Nature does her worst.

Get in touch with your inner librarian by helping Friends of the Public Library at their Hartwell warehouse.
(513) 369-6035,

Each month, Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council brings international visitors to town. Mostly they spend time with others in their area of expertise—medicine, law, business, etc. But local hosts provide home-cooked meals and a chance to get acquainted with family life in the U.S.
Katie Krafka,

Full of Christmas Spirit
With 100 Red Kettles in the city, the Salvation Army always needs holiday bell ringers.
Michelle Jones,, (513) 762-5641

Running for Office
When you wait tables at the Sacred Heart Ravioli Dinner you’ll have a chance to glad-hand more voters than Jim Tarbell on Opening Day. Next opportunity: Palm Sunday, 2013.
(513) 541-4654

An airport layover is a lonely affair, especially when you’re heading off to—or coming back from—a war zone. Volunteers at CVG’s two new USO lounges greet military travelers and their families and offer them food and cheer during their stay.
Kathy Williams, (859) 803-8871,


Family Music Night

Wednesdays on the Green

Cincinnati favorites like Jake Speed and the Freddies, Tracy Walker, and the Faux Frenchman—as well as traveling musicians—grace the front lawn of the Clifton Cultural Arts Center for free Wednesdays on the Green concerts at 7 p.m. in June and July. Activities for kids are always included. Lawn chairs and blankets typically carpet the ground, so get there early, and bring a picnic dinner and beverages, adult or otherwise.
Clifton Cultural Arts Center, 3711 Clifton Ave., Clifton, (513) 497-2860,


Senior Hangout

Price Hill Chili

Just try to find a moment during business hours when Price Hill Chili isn’t hopping. Morning, noon, and night, the expansive diner and its adjacent Golden Fleece Lounge—it’s grown through several additions—is a real-life Cheers for west-siders who congregate there, especially older folks who invariably find a friend at the next table or bar stool. The menu is packed with well-prepared comfort foods—try the goetta omelette.
4920 Glenway Ave., Price Hill, (513) 471-9507,


Local App

Cincinnati Library

A lot of apps are out to make money. The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County’s app makes your life easier. Want to check out your own book instead of walking to a self-scan checkout? Go right ahead. Want to download an audiobook or e-book while you’re on the bus? Knock yourself out. Far from a catalog kiosk and forgot the call number? Look it up. Right on your phone. Now that’s helpful.


High/Low: Reading Series

High: Fancy Pants

Readings do not get more impressive than the Mercantile Library’s annual Niehoff Lecture. The black-tie event costs $200 ($175 for members) and includes a dinner and cocktail hour before the audience sits down to listen to a famous writer at some swanky off-site location.
414 Walnut St., downtown, (513) 621-0717,

Low: Fab and Free
Annually, the Northern Kentucky libraries select a new work for their “one book, one community” program (this year, the locally set political thriller _Writ of Mandamus by Rick Robinson). But each library also hosts additional programs. The best part? It’s all free.

Please note that the information listed in this section was accurate at the time the issue went to print in 2012 and that addresses, menu items, company status, etc., may have changed. Please contact the companies to confirm details.

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