Gem of the Ocean premiers regionally at the ETC

The Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati will be hosting the regional premier of August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean. The play, nominated for five Tony Awards, will be showing at the ETC from February 4th through the 22nd.

Gem of the Ocean (NYT review) takes a look at early 20th Century America for a young African-American – Citizen Barlow. Citizen struggles with identity issues in the new post-slavery era. The journey north brought promise, but also new difficulties. The play is part of Wilson’s ten-play “Century Cycle” about the African-American experience.

Last season Wilson’s Radio Golf sent sold out crowds home happy from the ETC. You can get tickets now for Gem of the Ocean by ordering online, calling (513) 421-3555, or by going to the theatre box office (GoogleMap) in person.

UrbanCincy readers receive a special “Buy One, Get One Half Off” discount on Adult tickets to any evening performance (not valid opening night). All you have to do is order your tickets by calling the box office and mention

***UPDATE: Due to overwhelming demand, ETC has added another performance of August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean on Tuesday, February 17th at 7:30 p.m.***

Whose grass is greenest?

A recent study, by the Pew Research Center, revealed that nearly half of all Americans want to live elsewhere (there’s a shocker). In that survey the three most popular cities were Denver, Seattle, and San Diego. The three least popular were Detroit, Cleveland, and Cincinnati. The survey also showed that many ‘city dwellers’ were unhappy about their living conditions. So what does all this mean, or does it mean anything at all?

Well it’s natural to want something better for yourself and your family. It is also natural to think the grass is greener on the other side. The survey also showed that younger people are more drawn to cities, and that women are the more difficult draw for cities – reemphasizing the indicator species phenomenon with women as noted by William H. Whyte in The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces.

Cincinnati’s own, Brianne Fahey, says that she not only loves Cincinnati, but she loves the city.

Brianne Fahey lives in a city the survey says an overwhelming majority of Americans would prefer not to live in: Cincinnati. Like many other large Midwestern and Northeastern cities, Cincinnati ranks near the bottom on people’s lists of ideal spots.

For Fahey, 30, Cincinnati is truly home. She grew up in North College Hill, a suburb where her parents and friends still live, but bought a downtown condo after college. She gets by without a car in a city that has few mass transit options. “I like the self-sufficiency of the city,” she says. “It’s a good place to be in all stages of life.”

From USA Today 9/27/09

I think Cincinnati does have a lot to offer. I would also say that other Midwestern and Northeastern cities are the same way. We could sit here and talk about the survey’s methodology or psychological behaviors all day. In the end I think people will take what they want to take from the survey, and criticize what they want.

The most significant data there is though is reality. The Cincinnati metropolitan area is a growing region and the city itself is growing too. Public schools are improving as is public safety. And the urban core has more residents and families calling it home than its had in many, many decades. Brianne is certainly not alone even though her story may be silent.

Map from Pew Research

Winter Blues Fest ’09

The Southgate House will be the host for the 2nd annual Winter Blues Fest this Friday and Saturday. The doors will open at 6pm with performances going until about 1:30am or so (you know how these things go). The festival boasts 28 bands on 3 different stages and will offer a great way to spend the weekend and escape the cold for a bit.

The festival serves as an annual fundraiser for the Blues in the Schools program. There will be youth performances in the lounge area both nights from 6:10 to 6:40pm. The Bluebirds and The Blue Shivers will be headlining on Friday and Saturday respectively.

Tickets are $15 per person, per night and can be bought in advance or at the door. Blues Society members getting a $5 discount. Visit the festival’s web site for more information on the list of bands and schedule of acts.

The 17th annual Cincy Blues Fest will take place August 7th & 8th at Sawyer Point.

What’s a Metro Nation without Strong Cities?

I found this to be especially profound while also being “duh” kind of thought process that is often lost amongst our population. The article has been partially reposted from CEOs for Cities

After an interview on WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi show Thursday, I started thinking again about this idea of America as a “metro nation.” I was on first with guest host Rebecca Roberts, followed by Amy Liu of Brookings, where the idea of regionalism has been pushed hard for the past couple of years.

The concept of regionalism is smart on its face. Economies are regional, we count people at a metro level, air and water issues transcend political boundaries, and, in a perfect world, major amenities — and their cost — are shared regionally.

But no one should be agnostic about where development occurs in a region. Metro regions all across America are littered with the inevitable consequence of that kind of thinking. Let the city core thin out (sucking its vibrancy in the doing) and spread development thinly across the landscape (which never quite becomes vibant). There. You have the worst of both worlds.

When regionalism asserts the centrality of the anchor city and the need to build its vibrancy through renewal, then regionalism makes sense. But too often, the execution of regionalism means the central city gives and gives (and pays and pays), while the suburbs live off the jobs, amenities and identity provided in cities (or, for that matter, another suburb) without paying a dime.

Continue reading the article at:

Vote UrbanCincy – Best of Cincinnati

UrbanCincy has been nominated for the annual Best of Cincinnati awards for Best Blog for the second year in a row. Last year UrbanCincy finished in the Top 5 (near bottom of page) without lobbying for a single vote and without even knowing about the voting until the last week or so. I think we can do better this year now that we have nearly 2 years under our belt and have grown as a website and information source.

For some reason we’re listed as ‘Urban Cincinnati (’ in the Public Eye section instead of the regular UrbanCincy moniker we use. Either way, go on and make your selections for the bests in Cincinnati and vote UrbanCincy as the best blog. We have also been written in as an option for best website, so go ahead and vote for us there too.

While I’m at the whole self-promotion thing…go on and join the UrbanCincy Facebook Page if you haven’t already. You can comment on the site, what we cover, get periodic updates, and view some Cincinnati photo galleries.

If you’re not into Facebook then you can simply subscribe to the site’s article and comments feeds so that you stay up-to-date with everything on UrbanCincy via your mobile device. You can do this by selecting your desired feed type in the drop down menus in the left-hand column second from the top listed under ‘Subscribe.’ Or you could follow this blog through your Google account for a less intrusive and easy way of showing your support.

Sorry for all the self-promoting, but I figured if I was going to do it I might as well get it all out in one post.