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Vintage shop NVISION expands in Northside

NVISION, an independent retail shop in Northside, recently expanded to make room for its ever-growing inventory.
 
NVISION specializes in vintage, secondhand and handmade goods, including clothing and fashion accessories, original art, vintage décor, collectibles and furniture from the ‘50s to the present. Some of the clothing, jewelry, purses, greeting cards, ceramics and glassware sold at NVISION are handcrafted, redesigned or repurposed by local artists and designers. The shop also offers clothing alterations and repair services, and each piece of clothing comes with a custom fitting, if needed.
 
There’s also has an online store on NVISION’s website that has made merchandise available to customers all over the world. “I’ve sold merchandise from my shop to Sweden, Japan, Canada, Qatar, Turkey and plenty of cities in the United States,” says NVISION’s owner and sole employee Emily Buddendeck.
 
Buddendeck opened NVISION on Leap Day in 2008, but she saw that the store was outgrowing its original space. The tenant next door moved out at the end of November, and a week and many coats of paint later, NVISION unveiled its new space to the public at Northside Second Saturdays.
 
Buddendeck didn’t consider relocating because NVISION’s location, on Hamilton Avenue next to The Comet bar and Thunder-Sky Inc., gallery, allow the three businesses compliment each other, she says. Plus, she enjoys serving her Northside neighbors.
 
The original side of the store is now primarily dedicated to clothing and fashion accessories. The new space houses furniture and housewares, plus NVISION’s rotating art gallery with pieces by local and regional artists; the two spaces are connected by a door.
 
The expansion also allowed Buddendeck to expand NVISION’s menswear and children’s sections. Shoppers can now browse the store more easily and not bump into furniture.
 
“In the next few months, I’ll be fine-tuning the use of the new space as it relates to the whole store, and the ‘grand re-opening’ will be held Feb. 28-March 1 during our fifth anniversary sale,” says Buddendeck.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Local artists display talents at Essex Studios' Art Walk

If you still need a gift for that special someone, Essex Studios’ Art Walk might have just what you’re looking for.
 
Four times a year, Essex Studios in Walnut Hills hosts Art Walk, which opens the studios to the public and gives the community an opportunity to see and buy local art. This quarter’s Art Walk features work from impressionistic to contemporary abstract paintings, art glass and contemporary ceramics. There will also be a photographic installation by guest artist Tim Freeman that financially supports Village Life Outreach Project.
 
Along with the 120 artists that will contribute to Art Walk, Art Circle will have their work on display and for sale this weekend. Thirteen artists from Art Circle collaborated to produce a unique project: DELICIOUS!—The Art of Food.
 
DELICIOUS! is a set of 4”x5” cards of watercolors and colored pencil drawings of images related to food. There’s even a recipe on the back of each card that incorporates a depicted ingredient. The recipes are among some of the artists’ favorites, says Connie Springer, publicist and Art Circle member.
 
“We usually collaborate on calendars, but this year, we decided to create something that wasn’t tied to a specific date so people could enjoy the artwork and recipes for many years to come,” says Springer.  
 
Even though DELICIOUS! is a collaboration, each image is a representation of the different styles and talents of each artist. Some pieces are super-realistic, and others are more impressionistic, says Springer.
 
Art Circle is a group of 16 watercolor and colored pencil artists who meet weekly at Essex Studios to share painting time and camaraderie. Art Circle began in 2004 in Wyoming, Ohio, as a gathering of some of Pat Painer’s former students from the Wyoming Fine Arts Center. In 2009, the group moved to join more than 120 other artists at Essex Studios.
 
The 13 Art Circle members who contributed to DELICIOUS! are Clair Breetz, Amy Bryce, Margie Carleton, Sherry Goodson, Jan Glaser, Autumn Huron, Gay Isaacs, Mary Jo Sage, Nandita Baxi Sheth, Deb Shelton, Betty Smith, Connie Springer and Vivian Talley.
 
DELICIOUS! items are available for purchase in two formats: a spiral-bound mini-book that can be shelved with other cookbooks, or a set of loose cards that can be slipped into family recipe books. 

Besides the physical art, Art Walk will have refreshments, including some of the appetizer-type recipes from DELICIOUS! But if you can’t make it to Art Walk, you can find DELICIOUS! at the holiday gift shops at the Kennedy Heights Art Center and the Baker-Hunt Art and Cultural Center in Covington.
 
Art Walk is this Friday and Saturday from 6 to 11 pm, but the Art Circle studio (Studio 122), closes at 10 pm.

By Caitlin Koenig
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Spun Bicycles gearing up for 2013 opening

Judi and Dominic LoPresti met in a bike shop. Their first date was a bike ride. They even got married at an international bike show in Las Vegas.

Next year, the Cincinnati natives will fulfill a lifelong dream to open their own bike shop when they welcome customers to Spun Bicycles in Northside, at 4122 Hamilton Avenue in the storefront space of historic Hoffner Lodge. They've leased the storefront space and are already busy planning for the space, which will have a 60-inch TV screen pumping BMX videos and music and a bench constructed out of skateboards.

"Cincinnati hasn't seen anything like this," says Judi LoPresti, who worked as a bicycle messenger in San Francisco and raced for three years before deciding that the traditional riding scene was not for her. "We just want to have a bike shop that's going to be really cool."

With her background in bikes of all sorts and her husband's history as a sponsored BMX rider, the couple spent countless hours volunteering for MoBo, the city's only bicycle co-op. She spent most of her time volunteering with youth programs, including summer initiatives that provided bikes for neighborhood kids.

What she noticed, over and over again, were people who didn't want to work on their own bikes, which MoBo supports, but just wanted their own bikes fixed.

"The neighborhood needs a bike shop," she says.

While it won't be a focal point of Spun, the couple does plan on selling locally crafted skateboards by Fickle Boards. But the shop's main focus will be restoring and repairing bikes, selling bikes and supporting the local biking community.

Judi LoPresti says that he shop's location next to The Listing Loon will make it easy for customers to drop of their bikes for repair, stop next door for beer or wine, then come back to pick up their fixed wheels.

She sees a symbiotic relationship with MoBo and the newly opened Wrong Brothers bike shop in nearby Northside International Airport.

"I'm really excited," says Judi, who currently spends days tending the coffee bar at Sidewinder. "There are ton of people looking forward to it."

The LoPresti's get occupancy next month and hope to have their logo on the windows soon. Inside, though, they have lots of renovation and design work to do. Still, Judi LoPresti hopes to have the doors open by late March 2013. Currently, We Have Become Vikings is designing Spun's logo, which should be unveiled this month, and the shop's website, which will launch next year.

By Elissa Yancey
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Tactical Urbanism deploys in Covington

A group of eight University of Cincinnati students have designed seven projects that will bring creative elements to existing, underutilized spaces in Covington. The projects this semester focus mainly on the area around Pike Street and Madison Avenue, but in the future, the class hopes to have a continued impact and involve community members in Covington and other areas in the region.
 
The students are members of Matt Anthony’s Tactical Urbanism class at the UC Niehoff Urban Studio. It’s the first year for the class, but many elements of it have been seen in other classes where students have engaged and built projects that focus on changes in urban areas. Soapbox sat down with Anthony to discuss the impact of the class.
 
Q: Why are the projects based in Covington when there are opportunities in Cincinnati to revitalize the city’s urban core?
A: “Recently, the CDC has been engaged with a few projects in Covington, including some involvement in the studies or development of their Center City Action Plan. Covington itself offered a unique set of issues to address and also a territory that was largely unfamiliar to students, even though we are so close to this very central and urban area.

When we first started talking about doing this project, Frank Russell, director of the CDC, was the first to suggest Covington as a prime location. We’ve been fortunate to have a great relationship with some city officials, such as Natalie Bowers, who is the arts district director in Covington. She has been a great internal champion of arts projects and knows the right channels to get more official approval for some of our projects that require it. Katie Meyers from Renaissance Covington has also helped organize some business and commercial-oriented work.

There are more communities in our region on both sides of the river that we’d like to work with. Our hope is that there is some excitement with these projects and we can take what we learned in Covington and apply it elsewhere. There was interest in some temporary installation projects around the Pendleton neighborhood recently, so that is a possibility.”
 
Q: Has anything like this ever been done at UC before?
A: “I don’t think there have been many projects of this specific type at UC. There have been many design/build activities over the years for both architecture and art projects, especially in urban areas, but I think this is one of the few that have allowed the students to identify the opportunity area themselves through personal research and viewing existing urban studies and then planning a temporary installation.

The studio is called “Tactical Urbanism” after a more recent movement to try to empower people to create temporary projects that have a potential to create long-term change. The idea itself isn’t new, but there is a renewed interest and a growing movement around it right now—I recently heard someone call it ‘urban prototyping.’”
 
Q: What about in Covington?
A: “In Covington, I know there have been various arts engagement projects around the city, including a class from NKU that created an installation under one of the train overpasses, so I don’t think we’re claiming a lot of firsts. The Awesome Collective has also been talking a lot about doing more subversive positive messaging and advertising to make people aware of Covington. But again, I think the student’s control of the projects and the kind of blitz we’re putting on with eight projects is more unique.”
 
Q: Does the Tactical Urbanism class partner with any organizations for projects and/or events?
A: “We’ve done a lot of work with the people from Renaissance Covington and the City of Covington, CSX for train overpass inquiries and various small businesses have been generous with their support of projects in effort and materials. One of our students is collaborating with holiday storefront installations that Covington merchants are planning, and another is working with the Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center to transform student drawings into life-size renditions that will enliven a train underpass. So the students have been a whirlwind through Covington and various organizations there.”
 
Q: There are lots of rejuvenation efforts going on throughout the Tri-State area. Why do you think it’s important for students to get involved in rejuvenating a city?
A: “I’ve seen more and more students looking for a way to make a difference in the world by utilizing the skills they are learning in school. I wanted to find a way to connect students with real problems that they could identify and physically make something that could make a difference that they can and should detect, even if it’s limited in scope.

I think it’s important from a civic engagement perspective both from the city’s and the student’s sides. Design and creative problem solving will continue to grow in importance as our cities grow, and empowering students now with experiences in affecting their environment is an important step.”
 
Q: What do you hope to see come out of the tactical urbanism class?
A: “I’d like to see students execute successful projects that are well attended that positively influence the City of Covington. But of equal importance is that the students understand the impact it had and the implications or suggestions they could make to the city regarding the issue they hoped to affect.

A number of students have projects aimed at changing perceptions of areas or creating some awareness around spaces and problems, so I think seeing people gather or talk about those things would be good as well. A number of students have ideas that they are documenting that could successfully be executed again, or have a version that with a few more local champions and perhaps a small cash infusion could scale up to be nice civic projects. So we’re looking for partners whose interest may have been peaked by some of the events to keep the ball rolling.”
 
The projects for this semester kicked off on Nov. 16 with Chalk Walk in the Arcade, and Covington’s first urban golf tournament was held on Nov. 17 on top of City Center Garage. The other projects will be popping up in Covington throughout the month of November.
  • Through Nov. 31, images of what Covington looked like in the past will be juxtaposed with what the vacant commercial properties look like today.
  • Weekends in November: Empty planters along Madison will see new plant life and help beautify the area.
  • Until Nov. 23, signs were on display along sidewalks to encourage people to visit local attractions.
  • Friday, Nov. 23: The Covington Urban Spaces Installation Project put up holiday storefront installations in windows near the corner of Pike and Madison, which will be on display until New Year’s.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 28: A pop-up park and café will appear under the overpass on Pike to bring together residents and visitors.
By Caitlin Koenig
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10 bars in 10 years: 4EG debuts Igby's this month

With 10 restaurants and bars launched in 10 years, and more set to open soon, Four Entertainment Group (4EG) continues its successful run with Igby’s downtown, at 122 E. Sixth Street in between Main and Walnut streets.

4EG founders Bob Deck, Dave Halpern, Dan Cronican and Ben Klopp have two spaces reserved in the new U Square development in Clifton, one of which will be the group’s third Keystone Grill (other locations are in Covington and Hyde Park) and an adjacent bar.

“I think Cincinnati’s just moving in the right direction,” says Deck. “I grew up here, so, just seeing the city change over the last, you know, six or seven years, with all the independent restaurants and all the independent owners, it’s pretty cool.”
Deck and his partners cemented their commitment to the city by opening a central business office in Over-the-Rhine, across the street from The Anchor-OTR restaurant and above Zula, a bistro and wine bar slated to open soon.

“We moved our offices down here because we’re invested in the city,” Deck says. “We didn’t have a central office, so we thought, ‘Hey what better place than to put our offices down in OTR, and support the whole area and movement.’”

Just across downtown, Igby’s represents 4EG’s collaboration with Core Resources, Beck Architecture and 3CDC. Think its name sounds mysterious? That’s the point.

“We called it Igby’s because we really wanted to come up with a name that didn’t really give you any idea of what the bar would be before you walked in,” Deck says
.
“We’re really designing this bar around good beer, and good wine and good craft, fresh cocktails,” Deck says.

Open Monday through Saturday, Igby’s weekends ramp up the energy by opening its second and third floor open up and featuring a DJ.

The space itself is huge—approximately 7,500 square feet. The Civil War era building posed challenges, but developers persevered through massive restoration work to create a wood-filled, modern and hyper-stylized space. Igby’s atrium features balconies around each level so that patrons can look up or down onto the other floors. Igby’s also has an outdoor patio with a lounge.

Cincinnati Chef Lauren Brown has a five-item menu, featuring oysters, sodabread and cheese and even seasonal salads, that is served from 4 to 10 pm. “It’s really meant to accompany people coming in and having some drinks,” Deck says. “It’s all very high-quality and fresh, and everything we can source locally, we try to source locally. It’s hard to source West Coast oysters locally, though.”

All of the juices for the extensive cocktail list are also fresh. Mixologist Brian Van Flandern from New York created the craft cocktail menu, which includes the bourbon-tinged Black Cherry Sling (with a kick of nutmeg), the Apple Toddler, which has Gerber Apple baby food in it, and locally themed drinks like RedsRum and Naked in Newport. Igby’s has 16 beers on tap, including craft beers, imported bottles and cans.

By Stephanie Kitchens

CoSign brightens Northside streetscapes on Black Friday

This year, Black Friday will be a “Bright Friday” for the community of Northside.

Up and down Hamilton Avenue, businesses will unveil fun and funky new signs that bedazzle Northside’s main drag. In an unlikely collaboration of 11 businesses, local artists, several zoning officials and one museum, the CoSign project is now a proven success in creating attractive, cohesive street signage with hopes to shape future signage projects in city neighborhoods locally and across the nation.

What started as a broader grant application to ArtPlace America for several city neighborhoods became a personal quest for Northsiders after the city-wide application went unfunded last spring.  

Stepping up with funding support, the Haile US Bank Foundation, Northside partners and the American Sign Museum created a pilot project that paired local businesses and visual artists with sign fabricators to design and install a critical mass of new signage along Hamilton Avenue.  

With an idealistic launch date of November 23, this year’s Black Friday, Eric Avner knew this would be a challenge. “We wanted to do multiple things at once,” says Avner, vice president and senior program manager of the Haile/US Bank Foundation. “Help the sign museum, help local business districts gain vitality and give the creative sector of Cincinnati more opportunities to make a living.”  

The American Sign Museum played a vital role in the project, serving as the primary grant recipient and providing staff as content specialists for the design process. The museum held two August training workshops for artists and businesses, put together a team of professional sign fabricators and installers, and participated in a judging panel to decide upon the best signage proposals from business/artist teams.  

“Part of our mission is to educate the public and special interest groups about signs,” says Tod Swormstedt, founder of the American Sign Museum. “The workshops helped to educate the business owners on why signage is so important for marketing, as well as to educate artists about what is a good sign. Artists may create an aesthetically-pleasing sign, but it may not identify the business well.”   

The week before their unveiling, the American Sign Museum displayed the signage in its brand-new facility near Camp Washington at 1330 Monmouth Street.  

CoSign documented the progress of the project from start to finish with help from The Queen City Project so other communities have the opportunity to replicate the project and broadcast their own creativity and collaborative spirit through signage. And the sign museum plans to go after that ArtPlace grant again - the one it lost just a few short months ago.

Says Swormstedt, “The application is much stronger now, given the learning curve we experienced, the lessons learned and the project’s success.”  

By Becky Johnson

Brandery hosts first Cincinnati Startup Grind

Startup Grind is coming to Cincinnati. On Dec. 6, The Brandery will host a Startup Grind event featuring Tim Schigel, founder of ShareThis, an online sharing platform.
 
Startup Grind is a national organization of founders, entrepreneurs and “wantrapreneurs” looking for inspiration and education, as well as a way to network with the best and brightest in startups. It began in 2010 as friends getting together to chat about startups, but it has grown into an international speaker phenomenon, says Venture for America's Chelsea Koglmeier, who is serving as program coordinator at The Brandery.
 
The first official Startup Grind event was held in Feb. 2010. Nine people attended. Since then, there have been about 50 Startup Grinds around the world. They’re chances to brainstorm, provide and receive feedback on ideas and, just maybe, start something new.
 
There are Startup Grind chapters in Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, St. Louis, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Dallas, San Diego, Seattle, Tempe and Utah. International chapters are in Budapest, Cyprus, Dubai, Johannesburg, Ottawa, Tel Aviv, Toronto, Buenos Aires, Ireland, London, Melbourne, North Bay, Singapore and Sydney.
 
The Brandery has never had an event like Startup Grind, but they’re excited about the opportunity.
 
“The startup community in Cincinnati is growing tangibly, and The Brandery is doing everything in its power to provide resources and inspiration to continue the positive upswing of entrepreneurism,” says Koglmeier.
 
During the event, Schigel will be answering questions from Dave Knox, CMO of Rockfish and cofounder of The Brandery. Schigel will also chat about his experience with startups and starting his own business. Then, there will be time for Q&A and networking.

It’s a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to interact with one another.

"Startups bring a different level of energy that’s hard to mimic at the Fortune 500s or other agencies in Cincinnati--they’re literally pursuing their own dreams," says Mike Bott, The Brandery's general manger. "Startups are going to be the next great place to work in Cincinnati."

There isn’t a deadline for registration, but make sure to sign up early, as The Brandery has limited space. Check out the event’s meetup page for more information.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Rhinehaus sports bar targets OTR locals, soccer fans

Aaron Kohlhepp and Jack Weston were two single guys on a mission: to find a place to watch March Madness in Over-the-Rhine. What started as a joke over drinks about starting their own bar will soon launch rhinehaus, Over-the-Rhine’s newest sports bar.

The venue will launch in mid-December at the corner of 12th and Clay streets, not far from Japps. Kohlhepp and Weston both have generous employers who will let them cut back from full- to part-time positions at local financial institutions; Kohlhepp works in corporate marketing and Weston in accounting.

Kohlhepp says that discussions turned to concrete planning once they found their current space, an OTR building constructed in the late 1800s that has hardwood floors and exposed brick. “We found that space and just thought it was a good spot on the main corridor between Main Street and everything that’s going on on Vine," he says. "Eventually the streetcar will go right past us, and the casino [that opens next spring] is just a couple blocks away.”

The rhinehaus name is a play not only on the bar’s local digs and Cincinnati’s German roots, but also its former occupant, Rhino’s Bar. Currently, renovations in the space include replacing the storefront and adding floor-to-ceiling glass
windows.

Because both Kohlhepp and Weston are soccer fans, their first order of business will be to broadcast English Premier League soccer games on weekends. They’re also wading through the process of getting a liquor license and brainstorming ways to partner with other local businesses.

One hurdle the duo has faced is the fact that while the bar has 18 taps, it doesn’t have a kitchen. “We’ve reached out to a couple of the food trucks in town and we’re going to talk to more of them in the coming weeks," Kohlhepp says. "We want people to be here three-plus hours to watch games, so we’re going to try to feed them."

By Robin Donovan

21c opens Metropole on Walnut, shares art

A bright, smiling face—it's electric, really—greets diners at today's opening of Metropole on Walnut, the 21c Museum Hotel restaurant downtown.

The art installation, created by New York-based Sanford Biggers, serves as a cultural tease for the more than 8,000 square feet of exhibit space set to open with the 21c before the end of the year.

"We have eight site-specific commissions that are in various stages of being installed," says Molly Swyers, SVP of design and communications for 21c Museum Hotels. The Cincinnati location is the company's second site, with a flagship in Louisville and a third site slated to open next year in Bentonville, Arkansas.

The boutique hotel serves as a free museum open 24 hours a day, every day of the year, Swyers says. Though the iconic 21c penguin sculptures (red in Louisville, yellow in Cincinnati) will remain on-site, curated exhibits within the museum hotel will change regularly.  "On any given visit, you'll see something different or new."

Guests won't even have to enter the 21c to experience the art. Last week, workers began installing a sound installation by Austrian artist Werner Reiterer; it's the same one that used to hang outside 21c's Louisville restaurant, Proof on Main.

"There's a trigger for chandelier inside the hotel," Swyers says."It's been adjusted some and we had to do some engineering around constructing the sidewalk to support it."

The opening of the 21c isn't just a boon for art lovers and foodies. Swyers says the company hired 160 employees property-wide, including a mix of 21c-seasoned pros from Louisville and newcomers from Cincinnati. "You have a good mix of people who have been with 21c for some time and people who are just joining the team," she says.

Metropole chef Michael Paley is one of the Louisville transplants, as is the site's food and beverage manager.

"I'm excited just to open the doors and see people's reactions to the space," says Swyers, who has been working on the project for two years.

As she plans the full opening in the next few weeks, she notes that 21c's historic predecessor, the Metropole Hotel, opened its doors on New Year's Eve in 1912. "It's exciting to make this a public space again, and it's nice to be inviting the public back in."

Follow 21c and Metropole on Walnut on Facebook to find out more about the opening, enter a yellow-penguin-spotting contest and sign up for regular email updates.

By Elissa Yancey
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Rabe finds 'Core' restores muscles, faith

After suffering from a serious accident that required the will of a determined athlete to overcome, Cydney Rabe of Over-the-Rhine resident opened Core, an exercise studio specializing in Pilates this September.

Three years ago, while walking across a street in Chicago, Rabe was hit by a car.

“[Doctors] told me, ‘You’ll never be able to lift your arm above your waist, you can’t ever lift anything more than five pounds, you’ll have no range in motion’,” Rabe says.  

But Rabe wasn’t ready to accept what to others seemed inevitable. After the accident, she used Pilates to completely rehabilitate her shoulder, which she claims made her stronger than before and gave her nearly full range of motion.

Following the accident, Rabe decided to move from Chicago back to Over-the-Rhine — where her family has lived for 12 years — to open Core.

“I’ve seen such a cool change happening in the neighborhood from when we first moved into it.” Rabe says. “It’s fun to be a part of it and add my own passion into the neighborhood.”

The studio uses Pilates equipment that puts the user in a standing position, challenging people’s body awareness in ways they aren’t used to.

Each equipment class has four or fewer people, so although people pay for a group class, they still get one-on-one attention from the instructor.

“When it’s only four people, it really allows for correction and to develop form, which are so important in a Pilates practice,” Rabe says. “It allows you to get the most out of the workout.”

Rabe also attributes small class sizes to keeping people more accountable for showing up and staying on their routines.

“You’re coming in and working out and seeing familiar faces, so you start developing relationships beyond just going to the gym,” Rabe says. “People are now looking for you in a class, like, ‘Oh, so-and-so is not here today.’ ”

Currently, Core offers classes in Pilates, TRX, Zumba and ballet barre, and will likely add yoga in the future.

“I wanted it to be a one-stop shop for people to come in, get their workout on and do a mixture of classes,” Rabe says.

Chermaya Woodson, who has been going to Core since it opened, says Rabe is the most passionate Pilates teacher she has worked with.

“[Rabe] makes it a point to not only ensure that I'm getting a good workout in — which I always do — but to ensure that I am actually learning about the muscles I'm working and what they do for me on a daily basis.”

Core’s operational hours vary — depending on classes — and it is located at 1423 Vine St., in the Gateway District across the street from Kroger.

Check out Core’s Facebook page here.

By Kyle Stone

Noble Denim launches with American-made, designer-quality jeans

Looking for something "crafty" to learn, Chris Sutton took up jean-making nearly two years ago.

"I wanted to learn how to make something with my own hands. I'd been doing a lot of tech endeavors, and wanted to get my hands dirty," says Sutton, whose background is in live event production.

Once he began sewing jeans, Sutton found he had a real talent for it. He decided he wanted to make high-quality, American-made jeans, a rarity in today's clothing manufacturing sector. He sought out American sources for his material, thread, zippers and pocket materials. Yes, he found them all in the USA; and he created Noble Denim.

"I wanted to make my own rules around what could and couldn't be done. I wanted to make my jeans in America, and make them as sustainably as possible," he says.

Using his home in Over-the-Rhine as a sewing factory, Sutton began making and selling Noble Denim jeans. Twelve industrial sewing machines later, he moved the company into a space at Camp Washington.

Designer in style and quality, they're meant to have a longer shelf life than your average mass-produced jean. Materials come from suppliers in Kentucky, Ohio, North Carolina, Colorado, Oregon and California.

They're made from raw selvage denim, made through a time-consuming process that makes the material thicker and more durable. This type of denim is supposed to better fit the wearer's body and resist shrinkage.

Sutton launched an online shop in November, where buyers can chose from two styles, Regular and Earnest Slim Straight. The jeans are pricey, $250 a pair, but all materials are 100 percent organic, reclaimed or responsibly produced. Currently Noble Denim sells jeans only for men; a women's line is planned for next fall.

Noble Denim is a young company, and Sutton still does most of the sewing. He does have interns who are learning the jean-making craft. Within the next year, he hopes to hire three or four employees, who'll make 3,000 pairs of jeans a year.

"I want to grow, but only as fast as I can stick to my philosophy," Sutton says. "So our mantra is grow slow, but do it well."

By Feoshia H. Davis
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Italian-Argentine fusion moves to Hyde Park Square

Fans of Poco a Poco who were saddened by the restaurant’s recent closing may be comforted to learn that a new venture—Alfio’s Buon Cibo, which boasts veteran Cincy chefs and Italian-Argentine fusion—will soon occupy the vacated spot on Hyde Park Square.

Alfio’s is the product of 18 months of collaboration between owners Scott Lambert, Alfio Gulisano and Ken Arlinghaus. The trio aims for an affordable-yet-upscale dining experience to showcase the distinct culinary style that head chef Gulisano has been fine-tuning since growing up in an Italian section of Buenos Aires. 

With a résumé that includes stints at Bella Luna and VIEW Cucina, Gulisano brings his multi-ethnic expertise to his namesake endeavor, which he describes as, “probably 75 percent Italian and 25 percent Argentine.”

Alfio’s Buon Cibo, with a planned opening of Nov. 5, has a menu that features modern twists on classics: meat-and-cheese-stuffed empanadas, short-rib ravioli and traditional Argentine beef soup with potatoes, corn, tomatoes and onion.

A carefully selected yet deliberately modest wine list rounds out Alfio’s offerings, with Argentine, Italian and North American bottles ranging from $26-42. The owners plan to introduce a variety of events and promotions in the coming weeks, including half-price wine and specialty martini nights.

“There are a lot of places that are more for special occasions, like birthdays and promotions,” says Lambert. “But we want people to be able to come in here just because it’s a Tuesday or a Thursday. It’s affordable, and it’ll be a relaxed, fun atmosphere.”

By Hannah Purnell
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Festival reaches 'Heights' with untapped local talents

In its third year, the Heights Music Festival reaches deeper into the local music scene to highlight lesser known, hard-working local bands.

This fall's version, which takes place this weekend (Nov. 9-10) includes new names and innovative collaborations with artistically focused Cincinnati non-profits. 

"We actively sought out bands that have not had this kind of opportunity," says festival found Rome Ntukogu, of Far-I-Rome Productions. For example, Oui Si Yes, a seven-piece band that rarely plays out because of complicated performance schedules, will be part of the Heights this weekend.

What started as a once-a-year, one-night/four-venue event evolved into a biannual celebration of bands across a wide range of genres. This fall, one all-ages venue (Rohs Street Cafe) will feature collaborations with student artists from the Music Resource Center in Evanston and Elementz of Over-the-Rhine.

"I'm really excited about the Music Resource Center showcase we are doing," Ntukogu says. "They are going to create a small lineup of five of their students to perform." 

Some will be MCs, some poets. All will perform at Rohs Friday. 

Elementz offers its own showcase at Rohs Saturday.

"We like to bridge the gap between scenes," Ntukogu says. "We're trying our best to reach out into different pockets in Cincinnati."

His goal is to expose young musicians to each other, allow them to become fans of one another, and together, build a stronger and more connected music and arts community in Cincinnati.

The fall Heights Festival features just four venues, down from previous festivals' higher club count. Ntukogu explains it's part of his plan for "surprises" for the spring 2013 festival. "We want to expand and add a few venues outside of the Clifton Heights business districts," he says. "I would like to double our venues by next spring."

By Elissa Yancey
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Public Interest Design Institute to educate attendees in community design

On Nov. 9 and 10, the Public Interest Design Institute will offer a two-day course in public interest design at the University of Cincinnati. Attendees of the conference will receive SEED® certification and learn ways to get involved with public interest design projects.
 
The course will feature speakers who will talk about specific public interest design projects and funding for those projects. Bryan Bell, founder of Design Corps and the Public Interest Design Institute, will be certifying attendees in SEED, or Social Economic Environmental Design. SEED helps guide, evaluate and measure the social, economic and environmental impact of design projects.
 
Public interest design enhances the existing design practice by putting design skills to use in the community. Many public interest design projects are for nonprofits and are funded through grants, foundations and collaborations with other organizations.
 
But public interest design isn’t just for designers or planners. The workshop is open to anyone, including students, interested in public interest design, specifically those in the development, government development, planning, urban design, landscape, interiors and industrial design fields.
 
“There’s an ever-growing recognition of both the need and opportunity for public interest design,” says Michael Zaretsky, associate professor in the School of Architecture and Interior Design at DAAP. “We know that in the past, design was really just for those that could afford it, but there are now so many examples of work that is for communities, and everyone benefits from it.”
 
In recent years, more and more large design firms are beginning to require that their employees donate a portion of their time to public interest design projects, some through organizations like theonepercent.org. The One Percent Project links nonprofits that need design projects with firms and individuals who want to donate one percent of their time to a project.
 
“It’s not just volunteering, but a chance to use our skills and knowledge to benefit a community,” says Zaretsky.
 
The speakers at the workshop include Maurice Cox, an urban designer and architecture professor at the University of Virginia; Ramsey Ford, co-founder and director of design for Design Impact; Emilie Taylor, design build manager at the Tulane City Center; and Zaretsky.
 
Zaretsky will be talking about a project he worked on in Tanzania with the Village Life Outreach Project. He serves as director of the Roche Health Center Design Committee, which, along with a nonprofit, helped build a health center in a rural Tanzanian village that has no power or running water. Zaretsky worked with students and engineering and architecture firms to complete the project.
 
There’s still time to sign up for the Public Interest Design Institute’s workshop. The cost for the course is $450; it’s $350 for AIA members and $250 for students.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Cincy Digital Non Conference shakes things up

Advertisers, marketers and PR representatives gathered at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza hotel for the fifth annual Digital Non Conference. This year’s two-day conference featured six keynote speakers and numerous breakout sessions that focused on different aspects of the digital world.
 
AAF Cincinnati founded the Digital Non Conference in 2007 to bring together employees of the more than 400 package design, branding, advertising and marketing firms in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. A few attendees were from firms in Cleveland and NYC, but most were local. 
 
Bing evangelist for Microsoft Jason Dailey’s keynote address on Tuesday focused on innovations in technology. Lesley Fair, senior attorney for the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, offered insights into legal rules for the digital age; David Payne, chief digital officer of the Gannett Co., talked about the importance of the "mobile first" mentality; and Dave Dorr, creative director and consultant of Epipheo Studios, shared lessons learned about getting your message across to consumers.
 
“Many of the things in today’s conference weren’t even imagined when the Digital Non Conference began in 2007,” says Lori Krafte, chair of the Digital Non Conference organizing committee.
 
It's true. Some of the technology featured in Dailey’s keynote won’t be made a reality for decades to come. The bare bones of the technology exist, but forward-thinkgin professionals know that it will take lots of testing before every household can have a refrigerator that provides recipes based on the ingredients inside.
 
The breakout sessions gave conference-goers the chance to learn about the digital world in social media, data measurement and related areas. Many sessions featured local entrepreneurs and digital gurus who spoke about their experience with new technology in Cincinnati.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Caitlin is also an Associate Editor for Barefoot Proximity
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