On a Bit of Cincinnati

Located on the Ohio River, Cincinnati was a center for westward expansion – and it embraces its river heritage

 

Win or lose, Cincinnati embraces it’s baseball team … and we’ve lost a lot in recent years

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Fountain Square is the center of city center … and the place where people gather to celebrate and commemorate

 

Cincinnati love its art deco … these are in the Carew Tower

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The city shines during the day …

 

…. and at night …

 

… and it has quiet places in the city center

 

On the Cincinnati’s Merry-Go-Round, (Carol Ann’s Carousel) riders can choose from 44 handmade Cincinnati-centered characters. Do you have any ideas for these characters? To see all the characters, click here for a video.

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On Extra Murals

Before riding into the blog sunset, I’ve enjoyed cleaning out my blog closet. Whether pictures sitting in folders waiting for the words, notes waiting for expansion, or ideas waiting to be made real – I smile each time when I finally use something in a post.

Cincinnati’s murals have always caught my eye – but Resa is the one who motivated me to create posts about them. Resa, thank you for your encouragement. There are many murals that I’ve wanted to visit, but never got there. On the other hand, I have a hodge-podge collection of unused photos to share. Well – I don’t think I’ve used any of these.

Some of these are creations by ArtWorks – others not. Any favorites?

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To see more of my posts about the murals of Cincinnati, click here.

Thanks to Resa (Toronto’s leading lady) whose posts about street art in Toronto and Winnipeg, got me interested in outdoor art in my area. I invite readers to visit Resa’s blog (but tell her I sent you).

On a Floodwall

Embed from Getty Images

 

That’s the Ohio River with a bridge connecting downtown Cincinnati on the right to Covington, Kentucky on the left.

Floodwalls are walls built to prevent water entering an area. Not every town along a river has one – actually – most towns don’t. Cincinnati doesn’t. Covington and Newport Kentucky have them, but this post is about the one in Covington.

Led by artist Robert Dafford, his team of artists created 18 murals on the floodwall illustrating the Covington’s history from 800 BCE to the present. The collection is known as the Roebling Murals because of their location near the Roebling Bridge, a suspension bridge built by the same designer before the famous Brooklyn Bridge.

Dafford also created others murals throughout the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys, plus others in France, Belgium, England, and Canada. Enjoy a look at the Roebling Murals of Covington, Kentucky. Any favorites?

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More Information

Although these are very traditional, Resa needs to know about them.

On a Burning Man Exhibition

 

I already knew that Burning Man is a big annual event and that it is unique. I didn’t really know what it is – that is the why – but what little I knew sparked enough curiosity to attend a Burning Man traveling exhibit at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

First held in 1986 on San Francisco’s Baker Beach, today’s Burning Man is a unique cultural event exploring artist and self expression, community, and self reliance. Today, tens of thousands gather to form a temporary city in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert built around 10 principles.

Image from Cincinnati Art Museum

 

Much of the art is large scale – some is interactive. Forms include painting, photography, metal work, mixed media, multimedia, clothing, jewelry, and more. Enjoy my gallery from the exhibition. Any favorites?

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For those who want to see/learn more, a 3+-minute video is below.

On Walktober 2019

It’s time for Walktober, so cheers to Robin for her organizing this annual tradition. If my memory is correct, this is my seventh in the last eight years (missing 2017 – probably due to travels).  Here’s a walk that I’ve been wanting to do for some time, so here goes … but this is a long walk, so I hope you are in walking shape.

That’s downtown Cincinnati from the Kentucky side of the Ohio River. Such a great view. Access to my destination is a bit easier from this side, plus it gets me more steps. It’s a beautiful morning, but I wonder about the shadows that will be present today because the sun is still low.

 

As I cross on old bridge now known as The Purple People Bridge, oh look … an old friend is working as a lifeguard. That’s Bearcat, the University of Cincinnati mascot. A good one!

 

Cincinnati has a string of wonderful parks along the river. Each is different, plus another one is currently in the planning stage. That’s the popular Serpentine Wall to the west of this bridge ….

 

… but I’m going to the park on the east, Bicentennial Commons. Dedicated in 1988, this 22-acre park honors Cincinnati’s 200 years. Looks like the shadows are pronounced today.

 

Meet our city’s namesake – Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus – a Roman citizen, farmer, warrior, and leader.

 

Who’s over there? Well, well – it’s the infamous Lucius Quinctius Pigasus.

 

With part of the walk close to the river, I always love to look. After all, my hometown is many miles upriver from here.

 

The walk upriver is awesome. The trees, continuous views of the river, historical markers, a geologic timeline on the sidewalk, and the outlooks. The first set historical markers have information about the area’s German and Irish settlers, the Sultana (riverboat), and the Black Brigade of Cincinnati on the Union side of the Civil War. For those who don’t know, Cincinnati and the surrounding area had an important role in the Underground Railroad. Seeing the geologic timeline reminds me that the Creation Museum (promoting 10,000 year old Earth) is less than 30 minutes from here.

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I like the sight of an old pump house that was part of the Cincinnati Water Works. After all, Cincinnati had Ohio’s first publicly owned water system.

 

Oh look – river traffic! Because I grew up in a river town, seeing the barge traffic always reminds me of my youth. Do you see the recreational boat?

 

Given 22 acres, there’s plenty of available activities areas besides walking: tennis courts, kids play area, rollerblade rink, picnicking, and a concert venue.

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There’s another pig. Let’s see who. it’s the Ribs King! Look closer to see the crown.

 

What’s a park without ornamental plants!

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Ornamental plants are always nice, but looking up is something that not enough people do – therefore, they miss a lot. I know, one may miss something near when looking up, so balance is necessary.

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Here’s the official entrance into Bicentennial Commons. When first proposed, those four flying pigs created quite the ruckus. In time, the citizens embraced them – even naming a successful race after them – The Flying Pig Marathon.

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Thanks for walking along with me through Cincinnati’s Bicentennial Common. I’ve got over 9,000 already for my day!

 

Robin, a good lady and Ohioan now living in Maryland, is the host. Click here for her Walktober post that will have links to others participating as pingbacks in the Comments. (I hope to visit all of them). I invite my readers to visit other participants – plus hey – if you are interested in participating, Robin is a gracious and welcoming host.

To see my past walks, either click Walktober in the Categories sidebar or click here. Happy Walktober!

Because this (most likely) will be my last Walktober, a special thanks to Robin. For hosting, for visiting and commenting here, for wonderful posts, for our collaborations, and for anything else that I missed.

On Race Music

 

Underground is the opening number in Memphis: The Musical, which received 8 Tony nominations while winning 4 (2010) – including Best Musical. The story (loosely true) is about a white DJ in Memphis who played black music in the 1950s to a White audience. The musical’s script includes “race music” as a descriptive phrase.

In my almost 66 years, I haven’t heard “race music” before, well – until 10 days before attending a community theater performance of Memphis: The Musical when we saw the premier of a new play – Cincinnati King – a story about Cincinnati-based King Records. (Click for video ad.) From not ever hearing the term to it crossing my path twice within 10 days is a bit odd – but also a sign for a blog post.

Within a week after attending Memphis: The Musical, we saw a new movie (well, new at the time) – Green Book – many thumbs up! (Click for trailer.) Although not about race music, this movie involves both music and racism. Another timely event for my November and this post. However, this post is about Memphis and Cincinnati – so, let’s jump to Cleveland.

Cleveland is in the diagonally opposite corner of Ohio from Cincinnati – a 4 hour drive downtown-to-downtown. Cleveland is also home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Hall). Besides putting up the money to get the Hall, the location is based on Alan Freed, a Cleveland DJ (WJW) who coined the term rock and roll. Interestingly, Freed’s “sign-on” song was on the King Records label.

Then there is Terry Stewart, the Hall’s longest serving CEO and current President Emeritus, who said the following: “There are only three places in the country that can claim to be the birthplace of rock and roll: New Orleans, Memphis, and Cincinnati.” (Reminder of the two plays that I saw.)

Image from Wikipedia

King Records is the reason Cincinnati is in that quote. Syd Nathan, a local sales hustler, started King Records in 1943. With Cincinnati being home to one of the nation’s most powerful radio stations (WLW) and the local population having many Blacks and poor Appalachian Whites, Nathan saw a musical opportunity.

In time, Nathan grew King Records into one of the most successful independent record labels in the country, Nathan also controlled the recording, mastering, pressing, and shipping processes because they were typically done in-house – therefore a quick turnaround from recording to store shelves.

By realizing the importance of music to different populations, Nathan’s stable of artists included country & western, rhythm & blues, gospel, bluegrass, rockabilly, and boogie woogie. On the “B-side” of 45s, he often put a crossover song or artist to expand the music to different populations. Yes, Nathan promoted and distributed race music.

Fever was a hit for Peggy Lee in 1958 – but did you know that King Records Little Willie John recorded Fever two years earlier?

 

Everyone knows the success with The Twist. Did you know that the song was first done by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters on King Records? Ballard was unavailable for American Bandstand, so Dick Clark (who wanted the song on the show) turned to a local artist to perform the song as a cover – enter Chubby Checker.

 

Music buffs may know King Records names as Albert King, Grandpa Jones, Joe Tex, The Dominoes, The Charms, Freddie King, and John Lee Hooker – but the biggest name at King Records was none other than the Godfather of Soul – James Brown – with this mega-hit that won Brown his first Grammy Award (Best R&B Performance, 1966).

 

Syd Nathan died in 1968. Although King Records final demise would shortly follow, it’s impact on the music industry would last forever. Meanwhile, the City of Cincinnati is considering a King Records Museum. Let’s toast the pioneers of race music in Cincinnati and Memphis. Cheers!

On BLINK Murals

Cincinnati is blessed that ArtWorks has added over 120 murals throughout the city – many of which are downtown. Along comes BLINK, which adds murals 10 murals to the collection by artists from Belgium, Brazil, England, Lithuania, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Peru, Spain, and the United States. Enjoy the ones I saw.

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We didn’t see all the murals that evening, but here’s a glimpse.

 

To see all the murals, click to visit the BLINK page on murals. 

To see other posts about BLINK, click here.

To see past posts featuring Cincinnati’s ArtWorks murals, click here.

For those who enjoy murals and street art, I encourage you to visit the one who got me interested in this topic –Resa @ Graffiti Lux & Murals.