Cincy Stories Aims to Bring Neighbors Together Through Storytelling

Cincy Stories Poster - 020315 (1)-page-001One of the great aspects of urban life is the ability to meet new people and be exposed to diverse ideas you have not encountered before. Many of us, however, seem to take this fact for granted, and do not often engage in conversations with neighbors or other people we encounter throughout the city.

The creators of Cincy Stories, a new event series, hope to change exactly that. The quarterly event aims to bring people together to share stories personal from their lives.

“Cincy Stories is about intimately connecting to our neighbors and just sharing stories like people do in their living rooms or around their dining room tables,” event co-founder Shawn Braley told UrbanCincy.

Braley says that the event is modeled after others, such as The Moth in New York. Cincinnati has also had several previous recurring storytelling events like this, including UrbanCincy‘s urban campfire storytelling event in East Walnut Hills.

The first Cincy Stories will feature three speakers: Cincinnati City Council Member Chris Seelbach, OTR Community Council President Ryan Messer, and mixologist-entrepreneur Molly Wellmann. It will be held on Tuesday, February 3 at 7pm in the Sword Room at MOTR Pub. The event is free and open to anyone who would like to come and listen.

You can follow Cincy Stories on Facebook for more information about this and future events.

PHOTOS: Custom-Designed Banners Installed Throughout Central Business District

The holiday season was another record-setting year for Downtown with tourists, shoppers, and general holiday revelers packing the center city. At the same time Downtown Cincinnati Inc. partnered with Resource/Ammirati to design and install custom street pole banners.

DCI leaders say that the concept is modeled off of the iconic I “heart” New York marketing campaign that has since been copied countless times around the world. In this rendition, Resource/Ammirati developed 10 original designs that play off local traditions and things that people enjoy doing downtown.

In addition to the 10 total designs, the spelling of Cincinnati is done with typography that is drawn from logos from some of the city’s most famous brands including the Reds, Christian Moerlein, Skyline Chili, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Bengals, Findlay Market, Know Theatre, and the Taft Museum of Art.

In total, DCI installed 42 of these street banners throughout the Central Business District. They will remain in place throughout 2015. There is no word as to what will happen with the campaign at that point, or if the campaign will be expanded to other mediums.

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EDITORIAL NOTE: All nine photographs in this gallery were taken by Eric Anspach for UrbanCincy in January 2015.

DownTowne Listening Room Finding Its Niche inside the historic Shillito Building’s Club Room

The concept was new to Cincinnati: experience music in a quiet, intimate environment free of chatter, phones, and booze. DownTowne Listening Room, located in the historic Shillito’s Building at Seventh and Race Streets, hosted its first show back in June 2014. Presented in the building’s underutilized Club Room, the inaugural show attracted 50 people to the 60-person capacity room.

Founder Scott Skeabeck is an avid music lover who moved to Cincinnati from Philadelphia about five years ago. As a frequent concert-goer and listening room patron on the East Coast, he was determined to bring the experience to Cincinnati. With zero experience producing concerts, he booked his first act.

“I think this is an unmet need in Cincy. Perhaps some people don’t even know they’re missing,” Skeabeck told UrbanCincy back in May. His hypothesis proved true over the next six months. The music series hosted seven shows and wrapped up the year with a sold-out show in November.

While the Listening Room has exceeded its founder’s expectations, the endeavor has not been without its challenges. The Listening Room is slowly building a small community of followers, but the main hurdle, Skeabeck says, is finding its audience.

The concept is unique to Cincinnati and it has been a challenge for people to wrap their heads around a venue that falls somewhere between a coffee shop and a house concert. Similar venues exist, such as Schwartz Point Jazz Club and 213 Listening Room in Over-The-Rhine, though they cater to different genres or only occasionally host events. Skeabeck also says that it has been difficult finding people who are willing to pay $10 to $15 to hear relatively unknown artists when they can hear it a bar for free.

Another challenge is the time and money to produce each show, which occurs in Skeabeck’s spare time outside of his marketing job at Western & Southern.

Once a month he and his wife set up the signage, seating, tables, and sound equipment for the show, and then break it all down that same night so the room can operate as an apartment complex club room. Skeabeck pays for the marketing, promotion, food and security out of pocket since ticket sales go back toward the artists’ guarantee. He has even gone so far to offer up his loft when an artist needs room and board.

In spite of its hurdles, the time, energy and investment is worth it to Skeabeck, who has already booked shows into July 2015.

“Of course, it’s not for everyone; but so many more have thanked us for creating a refuge of solitude where they can really hear the artist and not the audience around them,” Skeabeck concluded.

DownTowne Listening Room will return January 17 with a free local singer-songwriter showcase featuring in-the-round sets by three Cincinnati artists. While the show is free, and already sold out, donations are appreciated and still accepted if you want to support the concept. A listing of upcoming artists at DownTowne Listening Room can be found on the venue’s website.

VIDEO: A Day in the Life of a Downtown Cincinnati Ambassador

DCI’s Downtown Ambassadors have become a fixture in the center city over recent years. Those working, living or just visiting downtown can easily spot them in their brightly colored uniforms.

Tasked with polishing up the public right-of-way and select buildings, working with panhandlers and the homeless, and providing guidance for the millions of annual visitors, the ambassadors serve a critical role in maintaining the success being experienced downtown.

Thanks to SaucePanCinematic, we now have this approximately three-minute, behind-the-scenes look at a typical day for a Downtown Ambassador.

Christkindlmarkt Returns to this Popular Cincinnati Landmark

CKM 2014 Dates_locationsStill missing German traditions after Oktoberfest? Want some energy and warmth in the freezing cold? The Cincideutsch Christkindlmarkt -Cincinnati’s premier holiday event- kicked off the holiday season this past weekend.

First held in 2012, this is the third year for the holiday market, which is a German tradition that dates back centuries at Europe. But only just began in Cincinnati in 1988 when the Germania Society introduced the city’s first German-style Christmas market.

“One of my favorite memories from living in Augsburg, Germany was heading to the Christkindlmarkt after work for a cup of warm, spiced wine,” explained vice president and co-founder Linda McAlister. “After I founded Cincideutsch with Peter and Olaf, I wanted to bring these fond memories to life here in Cincinnati.”

Christkindlmarkt literally translates from the German language to “Christ Child Market.” These markets originated in Germany and Austria and are now held all over the world. They typically occur in town squares where vendors sell sweets, warm drinks, and seasonal decorations for the holidays.

In Cincinnati the event is once again being held at Fountain Square, where wooden booths have been erected for vendors to sell a range of items for gift-giving, decorating, eating and drinking. While walking through it, you can sense the rich German culture by tasting tradition holiday sweets, sampling a piece of European baked goods, bringing home some handcrafted gift or seasonal decoration, or by warding off the cold with a warm cup of Glühwein.

Cincinnati’s Christkindlmarkt will be complimented by live music, sparkling lights and ice skating. Live entertainment will be scheduled each day in hope to satisfy the more than 15,000 expected visitors.

Like last year, the market celebrated its opening on Thanksgiving weekend at Fountain Square in conjunction with Macy’s Light Up the Square and Downtown Dazzle, which features the annual lighting of the holiday tree and draws thousands of people from across the region.

It was a success last year with the following weekends moving to Findlay Market, this year, in order to seeking for expansions, Cincideutsch had hoped to move to the Schmidlapp Event Lawn at Smale Riverfront Park for the second two weekends because it’s an up-and-coming area and there are plans for even more expansion.

“If we want to make the market bigger, it would be a good place.  But, we were informed that some drainage issues needed to be taken care of ASAP, so Fountain Square and 3CDC have been great in allowing us to stay on the Square for the entire time.” Linda told UrbanCincy, “We’re also lucky to be sponsored by some great local companies, including American Modern Insurance Group, Christian Moerlein Brewery, Ruthman Companies, Siemens, and UBS.”

The Christkindlmarkt opened at Fountain Square for the Thanksgiving weekend (November 28-30) but continues for the following two weekends (December 5-7 and 12-14). Fountain Square is easily accessed by Metro buses from nearby Government Square. There is also a RedBike station on the square for bike share access.