Redsland Forever

In an event that was most definitely uniquely Cincinnati, the illustration by CF Payne entitled Redsland Forever was unveiled at the Cincinnati Art Museum (CAM) last Thursday evening. Any time there are cocktails, mascots, and art involved you know you’d be hard pressed to find it anywhere else besides Cincinnati, and you know someone from the UrbanCincy team would have to go see what it was all about. The event was extraordinarily well attended even in the midst of one of the best autumns of football our fair town has ever seen.

When one walks into an event that is focused on things happening in our city and one of the first people you see is Jim Tarbell, one knows that this is the place the be that evening. There was a well stocked bar and patrons mingling in under the gigantic blue Chihuly prior to the formal presentation of the evening. Passing through the entrance and towards The Great Hall, which was where the main event was going to happen, it was easy to see the Reds influences. Look, Chris Sabo. Then Mr. Redlegs. Then Rosie. As folks gathered into The Great Hall for the presentation it was standing room only and it was tightly packed, more so than when The Reds Community Fund & CAM joined up for their first venture which showcased the Andy Warhol print of Pete Rose.

The original illustration by CF Payne, which was purchased by Reds owner Bob Castellini, was stage left and covered by a black cloth as we heard all about the efforts of the Reds Community Fund as well as the Art Museum. The two folks that stole the show though were former Red Chris Sabo and the artist himself, CF Payne.

Redsland Forever from Reds Internal Affairs

In the everyman style that made him popular in his heyday, Sabo got up for a few minutes and chatted up the room, even joking that he was not expecting to speak this evening. The most recent Red elected to the team’s Hall of Fame did point out one thing that has caused some discussion about the illustration, which is that among the fourteen Reds featured, number fourteen, Pete Rose, is conspicuously absent which brought some applause from the room. Promising to be more prepared at his induction, Sabo quickly yielded to the artist himself.

The unveiling was anti-climactic considering the print had been published in the paper and on the web leading but to the evening, but it was great to hear from local and relatively unknown treasure, CF Payne. whose work has been featured on magazine covers ranging from Mad Magazine to Time and many others in between. As he walked us through his process from idea to finished product one thing became incredibly evident: CF Payne is a huge baseball fan. He talked about the fact that Davey Concepcion belongs in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He talked about listening to Reds games growing up. He talked about why Pete Rose was not included in the illustration. (It had a bit to do with Pete being the focus of the Warhol exhibit and not any other factors) But the most fascinating part was to hear how he balanced art (“I need Big Klu in the corner as my anchor”) with passion (“I took my favorite Red, Vada Pinson, out so that I could make room for Barry Larkin.”)

You can, and should, check out the print itself either at the Art Museum (which of course features free admission) as part of a CF Payne exhibit that runs through January 10, 2010. In the spring, the print moves over to the Reds Hall Fame & Museum alongside an exhibit that will be paying tribute to the 1990 World Series Championship team.


Secret Artworks Show – Friday Nov 20

Do you like art but aren’t sophisticated enough to tell one artist from the next? Do you like what you see, but don’t understand all why all those stuffy critics fawn over a certain piece? Well, you are in luck! The fourth annual Secret Artworks Show takes place this Friday, November 20 in the grand ballroom at the Westin Hotel starting at 5pm and it’s made for people just like you!

The fundraiser benefits ArtWorks programming and features approximately 1,500 5×7 pieces of art from all walks of the art world. There will be some pieces from well known professionals, some from students, and some from everywhere in between. But how do you know which is which? Well, you don’t, and that is the fun of it.

Secret ArtWorks Show pieces – images provided.

You see, the ‘secret’ behind the show is in the fact that the artist’s identity is kept secret until the piece has been purchased. The group is expecting about 1,000 folks to show up and race through the show while enjoying cocktails, hors d’oeuvers and live music starting at 5pm this Friday. While admission is fairly steep at $100 per entry ($125 per couple), each entry purchased guarantees that you walk away with one of the pieces of art on display.

Is the cost a little prohibitive for your pocketbook? Is your social agenda a little too busy for a Friday night art show? Well, at the very least you can browse the entries virtually by heading here.

Arts & Entertainment Development News Transportation

Memorial Day – 2012*

So, I’m sitting here at the Christian Moerlein Lager House enjoying a Helles and thinking about what lies ahead this summer… it’s going to be a busy one! Living in Cincinnati has never been better with all of the new things we have going on; I’m so glad I decided to stay after we turned down Issue Nine back in 2009. Back then, the downtown area was just starting to turn around compared to where we are today. I mean, Fountain Square had again taken its rightful place as the center of our community and things up in the Gateway Quarter were really starting to tick. There was some real promise, but many people had their doubts as well. Now though, there are very few doubters left, and almost all the concerns from back then have been alleviated.

I mean, the things that are going on these days in and around the center city are just amazing compared to where we have been for at least the past twenty years. I would call it a renaissance or even a rebirth, but it’s more like a brand Cincinnati is developing right before our very eyes. The Banks project is coming along nicely, even if we all know that it seems like it was talked about forever. We all knew that even when the project started it was going to take a while, but it’s so good to see people living and working there even now! Alongside it Riverfront Park has added a wonderful green space at the base of the freshly painted Roebling Suspension Bridge. I have to say it is so much nicer to sit here and watch people in the park than it would be to see another parking lot along the riverfront. Hard to believe we had to live through that for all those years!

Central Riverfront Park, Great American Tower at Queen City Square, Phase 1 of The Banks – Renderings Provided.

The city’s tallest building, The Tiara Tower, has been open for a little over a year and not only does it look great but it has a nice occupancy rate as well. It has brought a lot of jobs and driven interest in additional ambitious building projects around town. For example, over in Newport more development has taken hold as Ovation opened up recently. Really, when you stop and think about it, this area along the Ohio River is booming and both sides of the river have taken great pride in it all.

Speaking of pride, the Cincinnati Streetcar opened up early this year and the response has been amazing! People park down at The Banks, jump on the streetcar and find their way around town very easily. They are able to ride up to Findlay Market among other places, and next year they will be able to get all the way up to the University. New businesses and residences abound along the line and have really added a substantial amount of tax revenue to the city coffers that were not looking good even three years ago.

The Cincinnati Streetcar travels on Walnut Street past the Aronoff Center and the Backstage Entertainment District south towards The Banks.

What else is going on? Well, the World Choir Games will be here before we know it and we are expecting quite a crowd. It is the first time the games will be in the United States and estimates are that 250,000 people will be here in town in less than six weeks to take them in. It’s going to be quite an event and the hotels have been booked up for the last year. There is also a huge Pomegranates show this coming weekend. They haven’t been in town for a while because of their touring schedule, and we all miss them dearly. They really started cooking in 2009 back when we were all concerned with Issue 9. Additionally, the Major League All-Star Game will be here in 2015 and we are all looking forward to that gigantic event! People around the area are so glad that we have a city to show off and one that we can be proud of!

Cincinnati… we’ve had a lot of hurdles and obstacles to overcome, but things have been moving in the right direction for a while now and I don’t see how the momentum could be stopped!

*Denotes that this is a vision of where we are headed, and not truly a post from the future. As you can see, almost all of these projects are underway in 2009 and this post was meant to tie them all together & draw a picture of what it all will look like. As of now, the All-Star game & streetcar are the the biggest dreams, but hopefully that all begins to change tomorrow. NO ON NINE!

Development News

The Banks & Queen City Square

Cincinnati’s new tallest building, the Great American Tower at Queen City Square, continues to climb upward as it now appears to be over the half-way mark in terms of total height. Meanwhile, The Banks is climbing above street level, the new street grid continues to develop, and the underground parking garages that will lift the development out of the flood plain are pretty much completed for phase 1 of the billion dollar mixed-use development. The first of the multi-floor residential buildings with street level commercial space should be rising within the coming weeks.

Here are a series of pictures taken over the last week or so of some of the progress being made on both developments happening Downtown. Aside from the few taken from the upper deck at Paul Brown Stadium, they are mainly a street view of where things stand these days.


Getting to Know Andrew Bench

UrbanCincy recently had a chance to catch up with a new friend of ours that we met back in early September at a lunch over at Findlay Market. Andrew Bench is brand new to town and has seen quite a bit of the developments in rail transit first hand around this country of ours. He has worked in the rail transit industry for twelve years and has been in construction for a total of two decades. He has had a chance to settle into Cincinnati over the last six weeks since we last saw him, and we were interested to check in with him and get his initial observations about his new surroundings.

Living in Downtown Cincinnati – It’s amazing how small the city blocks are here especially compared to the last city I was in (Salt Lake) which makes the urban core so walkable. Five blocks here is about the same distance as two and a half blocks in Salt Lake. I do find it frustrating that there are no easy grocery options in downtown. I don’t always have a car and aside from the Over-the-Rhine Kroger and Findlay Market there isn’t much else available. If even just the streetcar was in place I would be able to get on and ride it up there, and get to other options such as the Kroger at the University. A few years from now I’d be able to ride over the river to Kentucky. The options are endless really.

Regarding Rail Transit in Cincinnati – A phrase from the poem titled Maud Muller written by John Greenleaf Whittier sums up the whole situation. It says “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: “it might have been!” I think Cincinnati has the potential for a rail transit system that would spur redevelopment. Imagine a streetcar connecting neighborhoods to the core, light rail connecting the suburbs, and high speed rail for those trips to Columbus and even further.

An example of How it All Fits Together – We were in Portland for our annual meeting a few years back and we were waiting for the streetcar. Along it came, and it was packed, but everyone got out where we were because it was the MAX connector which is their light rail to the suburbs. Clearly people were using the combined streetcar and MAX to commute to and from work downtown. I was just in Portland earlier this year and there is still new development happening on the streetcar line ten years after the first phase opened up!

Salt Lake is More Progressive Than Cincy – The typical response is “NO WAY!” But they have a $2.6B program underway that is scheduled to be finished by 2015. It includes a mix of rail transit and after living there it is clear that they are thinking about the future, not just for right now. They are investing heavily in rail transit to solve problems and attract young folks to their city, essentially making sacrifices now for future generations. They fought and fought the light rail but now the cars are jammed pack and all the outlying cities not along the route are asking to be included.

About Issue 9 – Issue 9 is about options and if it passes the city will be crippled for years to come. It’s about all kinds of rail transit options for the city of Cincinnati which in turn could make the Metro more useful and profitable if it is paired up right to compliment the rail transit choices. Cincinnati really does have the potential for redevelopment and growth and need to look at this issue as if they are solving for future transportation problems for their kids.

Come out and help defeat issue 9 by joining a few of your UrbanCincy writers at the Cincinnatians for Progress phone bank at 1344 Vine Street tonight! Last week we had quite a crowd and hope for the same tonight! Just comment on the post if you want to join us. Please plan on bringing your own phone along though as there are only a few down there.

In the meantime, enjoy this video from our friends at Soapbox Media. Andrew let us know it was his favorite one of the all the No on Nine videos making the rounds.