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Funky Artsy jewelry makes a bold statement

According to Kirstin Eismin, jewelry artist and owner of Funky Artsy, there is no such thing as a piece of jewelry that is too big.

Eismin travels three to four weekends a month to attend art shows in the Midwest or along the East coast, creating most of her pieces in her rare free time; she works full-time as a social worker, in addition to spending nearly 40 hours per week on Funky Artsy in her Pendleton studio.

Originally from Lafayette, Ind., Eismin attended Purdue Universty, majoring in sociology and minoring in art and design. These days, she sees jewelry making as a way to help women explore their self-identity and have fun.

“I try really hard to create pieces that showcase women and their independence and their beauty," she says. "For me, it’s about finding something that will highlight some sort of color or inspiration that may come from the earth or that individual person.”

She frequently alters her pieces on the spot for shoppers and meets with women to sketch commissioned items in front of them after gathering information.

Her colors and materials' palette includes metals with natural accents, such as gemstones, shells, rocks, and, occasionally, found objects, such as antique broaches. As far as size, she says, “My big funky pieces are the large ones you can see from 100 feet away, and then I’ll do small simple, elegant petite pieces that still have some funk to them, that speak to a woman’s personality.”

The fun of owning Funky Artsy, Eismin says, is watching women take a risk on bold, oversized necklace and discover that their new look works.

“It’s really important for women to try new things, go outside their comfort zone and see that there are things that can brighten up an outfit or themselves. … They don’t have to wear just the classic pearls.”  

Earrings, necklaces and other jewelry items and accents are available at Oakley’s Trend Boutique and via the Funky Artsy website and Etsy shop.

By Robin Donovan

CODE aims to crack city's creative manifesto

For four days in October, local creatives will launch a rebranding of Cincinnati as an international hub for design. CODE, which stands for Cincinnati Open Design Event, debuts Oct. 18-21.

The event is a four-day creative conference showcasing local designers and tastemakers.

The brainchild of AGAR (formerly Ionic Collective), CODE brings together international firms like LPK and Landor, as well as a bevy of freelancers and other professionals who call Cincinnati home. Over the course of four days, CODE participants will carve out Cincinnati’s creative manifesto, intent on solidifying the city’s international reputation, and build on that reputation.

CODE partners include Mitchell’s Salon and Day Spa and Navarro Photography, along with sponsors like LPK and 4EG. It is part professional education and part creative collaboration with plenty of opportunities for networking and socializing.

Andrew Salzbrun, AGAR managing partner, says, “CODE creates a unified place where local designers can really stake their flag in ground.”

CODE’s educational component will be held at the LPK Brand Innovation Center on Garfield Park and will feature a series of talks and sessions. Professionals from large firms to small will present, as will representatives from the University of Cincinnati and Miami University.

The daytime sessions are organized into tracks, including style, consumer marketing and entertainment, with topics ranging from fashion to branding to film and back again. Speakers will highlight how to leverage local design and keep working on the creative edge. The goal is brash and bold: create Cincinnati’s design manifesto.

While sessions form the framework for daytime activities, the evenings bring a whole new level of networking with peers.

Spearheaded by AGAR, event and experiential marketers that are responsible for some of the coolest events around, the CODE evening lineup includes custom designed cocktails during the Creative Directors Happy Hour, and Rocktober on Fountain Square in partnership with 4EG. The event concludes with a City Flea-inspired Freelance Market and evening fashion show.

“The creative talent in this city is as good or better than you’ll find anywhere,” says Salzbrun. “CODE gives our city a chance to showcase that talent.”

Tickets cost $125 for all three days, and can be purchased online.

By Deidra Wiley Necco

Requiem Project takes root, grows community

Just one year ago, the Emery Theatre, one of the nation's top acoustic concert halls, sat empty in Over the Rhine. For decades, its once-sumptuous spaces were neglected. They eroded. They crumbled. They gathered more than their share of dust.

Since last November, more than 6,000 guests have seen art shows, watched dancers perform, heard beautiful music and witnessed a dream unfold in the spaces Mary Emery had built to serve the people of Cincinnati.

That dream, known as the Requiem Project, continues to build this fall with a five-event series called "Art Moves Here," which debuts Sept. 30 with a FotoFocus-affiliated exhibit called "Handsome" by Chris Hoeting.

Hoeting built "Handsome" specific to the Emery's nooks and crannies, knowing that his show would run in tandem with Midpoint Music Festival performances at the site as well as a showing of Mike Disfarmer's beautiful and sometimes unsettling portraits, set to be on display starting .

Like so many other endeavors over the past year, "Handsome" reflects the power and the potential of the Emery to occupy an emerging space in the local arts scene—to bring together art forms, artists and neighbors and together, to build a stronger, vibrant and diverse community.

"All of these things live together," says Requiem Project co-founder Tara Lindsey Gordon. She and partner Tina Manchise lead the all-volunteer effort to restore the Emery, which publicly kicked off on 11.11.11.

Since then, the two have built a non-profit business dedicated to the idea that Cincinnati needs the Emery. The idea that the space gives something powerful to the community, from guests at performances and fundraisers to the four neighborhood kids who "work" at the Emery after school.

Their fall season is filled with partnerships that bring something new to the city, from multimedia shows in conjunction with FotoFocus and independent artists, to a show with the Contemporary Arts Center that features Andy Warhol screen tests that will be projected on stage during a music performance.

"This is a huge endeavor," says Manchise. She could be talking about the complex programming line-up that involves Requiem's five major events this fall or the massive renovation work the Emery needs. The building sat empty for years, she notes, because keeping its doors open requires near-constant work.

She and Lindsey Gordon, who average between 40 and 80 hours a week doing Requiem Project work, take no salaries. They admit the task before them can feel daunting. But unlike last year, when some looked at the Emery as "the Tina and Tara show," now they know there are far more people involved, and invested in the theater's success.

First, there's the core of more than a dozen dedicated volunteers who help with everything from volunteer coordination to site logistics. Then, there are the neighbors, from fellow business owners to the fire marshall (who checks in weekly) to neighbors who find support and respite at the Emery.

Manchise and Lindsey Gordon take the "open door" policy seriously, partnering with groups large and small to offer spaces, time and support to independent artists, groups like the YPCC, Exhale Dance Tribe and even the Starfire Council, who look to the Emery as a safe place for practice and experimentation.

"We're not only a venue," says Manchise, who notes that one of the "Art Moves Here" events takes place outside of the historic theater.

"Contained," a collection of 11 shipping containers filled with different artists' works, will be set in the Grammer's parking lot on Walnut Street. The Oct. 20 event illustrates the Requiem Project's goal to connect with the community both inside and outside of the Emery.

Manchise and Lindsey Gordon know the stakes are high. It will take $25 million to revive the Emery. For now, the partners are in a sense performing perpetual CPR on the site, keeping it alive, making improvements as they can and building a community of supporters who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty, literally.

They work with partners who accept the extra challenges inherent in a space with a temporary certificate of occupancy. (Manchise and Lindsey Gordon will apply for another next year.) They work with weekend volunteers who clean under every seat in the auditorium because maintenance doesn't come cheap. They head home with green hands and way too much information about Port-o-lets and water supplies.

They stress over taking on too many projects. They squabble over printer jams and QuickBooks. They joke that they spend so much time together that it's like they are sharing tight quarters on a ship.

And still, they couldn't be more proud of the space where they have invested their money, their time and their lives.

"The theater is doing exactly what it is meant to do," Manchise says. "A buiding like this can do so much good."

Find out more about the Requiem Project's fall season as well as the fall line-up of events at the Emery on the newly re-launced website, built by Mower + Associates.

By Elissa Yancey
Follow Elissa on Twitter.

Boswell's makes a comeback in Northside

Northsiders, and really anyone who ever visited Boswell’s before 2004, remember the Bousin Burger, a thick, juicy staple on the neighborhood restaurant/bar’s menu. 

Beginning early September, the burger, along with an array of new vegetarian-friendly items, return to a fully renovated space once again owned and operated by Mike and Jan Beck, with business partners Walt and Debbie Schultz. 

“It was just always such a fun and exciting place to run,” says Mike Beck, who also owns a rental property in the neighborhood. “We always had a tremendous business there. We enjoyed the community and the people.”

Beck, who lives north of Ross, Ohio, first bought the space on the corner of Blue Rock and Boswell in 1983. In 2004, even though business was strong, he and his wife needed to take a break to help care for her ailing mother. 

But Beck never forgot Northside, and Northside never forgot Beck. When the building was taken over by Northside Bank & Trust, the bank president hired Beck to renovate the restaurant space as well as four apartments upstairs. 

Then the building went up for auction, and Beck and his friend Walt Schultz decided to go watch the sale. As they stood and talked, Beck couldn’t stop thinking about the building. He turned to his friend and said, “Northside is up and coming. I think we should do this.”

After they informed their wives that they were once again building owners, they considered different business ideas. Should they open a wine and cheese shop? Maybe a small deli? Or pizza? But none of those ideas stuck.

“The more we thought about reopening Boswell’s,” he says, “the more excited we got.”

While Beck and his team have completely renovated the restaurant’s kitchen and patio, they were able to hire some of the former employees. He plans for music on the patio through the fall, just like the old days.

“I think Northside has expanded,” Beck says. “We’re pretty impressed with the community again.”

Depending on furniture delivery and other potential delays, Beck plans to have Boswell’s (now just Boswell’s, not Boswell’s Alley) open for Northside’s Second Saturday this Sept. 8. 

By Elissa Yancey (who was always a big fan of the Boursin Burger)
Follow Elissa on Twitter
 

Hello Honey offers made-from-scratch ice-cream treats downtown

Move over Graeter’s, there’s a new ice cream shop in town that’s a must-try for anyone who loves ice cream. 

Although Hello Honey has only been open a little more than a month (its official opening day was July 16), it’s already a clear hit with ice-cream savvy Cincinnatians. 

That popularity is in part because owners Brian and Pook Nicely make their ice cream from scratch. Everything, even the marshmallow toppers, is made from scratch. 

The Nicelys started their ice cream venture a few years ago by making products for their friends and family. At home, they used fresh ingredients, and they figured they could open an ice cream shop using that same concept. 

So Pook used her experience working in restaurants and now oversees the daily operations of Hello Honey. Brian still has a full-time job, but he’s at the shop in the evenings and on the weekends. 

Hello Honey’s Vine Street location reaches a wide variety of customers: downtown workers and residents, college students and families. For now, the Nicelys want to focus on one location. They enjoy being part of the energy behind independent businesses downtown.  

Hello Honey’s menu rotates constantly to adapt to the availability of seasonal ingredients, especially fruit, and to make room for new dessert ideas. Brian says Pook has a great imagination for whipping up flavor combinations, so when inspiration strikes, the new flavor goes on the menu. Unique combinations go hand-in-hand with more traditional options. 

“We want folks to be able to come in and get something they really enjoy, and perhaps get a taste of something they never knew they would like,” Brian says. 

Not only will you get a great treat at Hello Honey, but if you come at the right time, you might be able to see the ice cream being made from start to finish. 

By Caitlin Koenig
Caitlin Koenig is new to Cincinnati, but she’s getting to know her way around. When she’s not writing, she enjoys exploring the city with her husband and playing with her dog, Casper. 
 

X-Lab offers startups opportunities, expertise, community

In 2010, Xavier University’s Williams College of Business launched its X-LAB program (short for Xavier Launch a Business) in an effort to recognize on-campus opportunities for community engagement. The program is returning for its third year, and is accepting applicants until Sept. 7.

The X-Lab program is designed for people (including students) in the Cincinnati area who are excited about their ideas, but may not necessarily have the skills to execute them in the business world.

“A lot of people understand their ideas and are passionate about them,” says Joe Carter, director of the X-lab competition and a professor at Xavier University, “but they have no idea how to take the next step or how to run a business.”

The program will accept 25 applicants from Cincinnati who are interested in starting their own businesses, social enterprises and nonprofits. The businesses and nonprofits are chosen based on the applicants’ ideas and the potential for local and national growth.

After the X-Lab committee chooses the program’s 25 finalists, they are invited to attend free workshops conducted by local executives and Xavier students and staff. The free workshops teach applicants how to turn their ideas into actual businesses and nonprofits.

“We teach them the components of the business model,” says Carter. “Like how to protect their intellectual property, identifying target audiences and marketing skills.”

Then, the X-Lab committee will choose five finalists in the program and introduce them to potential investors and collaborators. 

Carter says small businesses and nonprofits are important to the community because they help attract and retain jobs and talent in the region. He also says the X-lab members become a community of entrepreneurs, who work together to make their ideas successful.

“We teach them how to run a business, and that builds confidence,” says Carter. “They also want to help one another and network, so it’s a positive experience for everyone.”

By Jen Saltsman
Follow Jen on Twitter



 

Plans for Northside Skatepark in motion

In 2000, after considering options for the empty space, Northside Community Council (NCC) members proposed turning the space between Colerain and Kirby into a skatepark as a way to welcome visitors to the neighborhood and reflect the interests of its residents. Backed by the City of Cincinnati and with grant funding, that never-forgotten project is now in motion.

“The idea was that we had to come up with something that we wanted people to see when they come into the neighborhood,” says Tim Jeckering, former president of the NCC. “Whatever we decided on needed to set the tone for what we want this neighborhood to be.”

The Council enlisted the help of the international consulting firm Action Sports Design, which has designed parks in Denver, Santa Fe and St. Cloud, MN. The company recently completed the initial designing phase of the Northside project. Next, members of the NCC plan to raise funds for park construction.

The proposed skatepark will cover 2,300 square feet and will include a skating area, a community garden, a space for small children and a walking trail. 

Action Sports Design constructed the layout of the new park with multiple uses in mind: the skate platforms can also double as stages for performances; hiking trails and a garden provide other outlets for visitors in and from the community.

“We want it to be a positive place for youth for physical activities, exercise and recreation,” says Jeckering. “The idea is to make it a destination skating place; it’s something Cincinnati lacks.”

Jimmy Love, who has been skating Cincinnati for 10 years, says he’s excited to see the project move forward.

“I can't wait to have a spot with new ramps and rails to shred,” says Love. “As a local skater, I realize we damage a lot of the architecture in the city. Now that we’ll have a legitimate place to skate, it's a win-win situation."

By Jen Saltsman
Follow Jen on Twitter
 

Cincinnati Innovates' winners collect $100K in awards

One is a soccer dad tired of suffering on the sidelines. Another is a savvy entrepreneur with a plan to help professionals who have said “yes” to one too many find a safe and convenient way home. Still another is a mom inspired by healthy living.

This year’s Cincinnati Innovates winners encompass an impressive range of ideas and strategies to improve quality of life and health.

Rick Pescovitz of Under-the-weather.com won one of the top awards, the $25,000 CPG Strategies Award, for his all-purpose tent built to fit soccer chairs and protect fans from extreme weather. The other $25,000 winner, Brooke Griffin of Skinny Mom, has built a network of more than 70 mom-bloggers around the world. She won investment help from CincyTech.

Another winner, Jon Amster of 321RIDE.com, received a $5,000 Taft Legal/Patent Award for his innovative approach to his membership-based designated driver service already used by the Cincinnati Reds and Dunhumby USA.

In its third year, the Cincinnati Innovates competition awarded $100,000 in funding and in-kind services to entrepreneurs representing 12 business ideas. Since its inception, the competition has sparked millions of dollars of investments in companies with local connections.

More than 200 entries vied for support this year, with awards given in a variety of categories. Commercialization award winners were selected by their sponsors (CincyTech, LPK) with help from a team of judges; in-kind services awards were chosen by sponsors with help from judges; community choice award winners were chosen by the public.

Browse this year’s innovative entries here

By Elissa Yancey
Follow Elissa on Twitter.

 

Brew River Gastropub brings craft beer, gourmet pub food to East End

Brew River Gastropub. The name alone prompts stirrings in the hearts and bellies of Cincinnati foodies.

Joby Bowman, Christian Babani and chef Michael Shields, along with a silent partner, have been developing their casual-meets-gourmet concept for more than two years, while their combined experience spans decades, numerous cuisine styles and geographical locations, from NYC to NOLA.

Brew River soft-opened in July and plans a series of grand opening events later this month. So far, the response from the community has been enthusiastic, a testament to the collaborators’ passion.

“We’re all extremely particular and detail-oriented,” says Bowman. “It shows in everything from the décor, which we’ve done entirely ourselves, to the atmosphere and recipes. People have told us it’s clear there’s a lot of love in every detail.”

When it come to the menus, it’s like Brew River’s answering machine claims: “Local is our focus; libations are our passion.”

Chief among the local ingredients used in their cooking are their house brews—the products of an exclusive partnership with Great Crescent Brewery in Aurora, IN.

“We had all been [home brewing] for quite a while,” says Bowman.

That’s why early in their quest for the perfect location, the group toured—or, as she puts it, “spelunked”—many of the storied former breweries on McMicken Ave.

Soon after, they learned that Maribelle’s would not be renewing their East End lease, and, says Bowman, “Everything just sort of came together from there.”

Well, almost everything.

The Riverside Drive location allows the partners—who Bowman describes as “sort of obsessed with water”—to weave in Cincinnati’s rivertown history. One upside to the building’s non-conforming use zoning? You won’t see copycat bars and restaurants cropping up nearby.  

The lease, however, does not allow for on-site brewing—a minor setback that Bowman and crew hope to eventually remedy by housing that part of the operation in a vacant church just across the street.

In the meantime, the pub’s entrepreneurs are more than happy with their Great Crescent partnership. Patrons seem content, too, imbibing specialty blends like Island Queen Blonde Ale and Ubiquitous Coconut Porter by the pint.

By Hannah Purnell
Follow Hannah on Twitter.

Chenault 'Springboards' into new Northside space, Pallet23

Entrepreneur Laura Chenault talked with Soapbox about her new and innovative venture, Pallet23, scheduled to open this fall in Northside.

How did you start your business?
I am in the process of launching. The space is being “white boxed” and should be ready for me to start the kitchen build-out by September.

How did you come up the idea for your business?
I have been the organizer and chair of the Celebrity Chef & Wine pairing event during Second Sunday on Main for the past five seasons; I’ve been talking with my chef friends for years about opening a dedicated space for food demonstrations, dinner parties and food events for years. It wasn’t until I found the perfect space in Northside that that vision expanded into what it is now.

What resources here did you take advantage of and how did they help?
A good friend, Barbara Hauser, who works for Procter & Gamble, turned me on to the Springboard program last summer and I signed up right away. Springboard and Sarah Corlett have been instrumental in clarifying my idea by showing me the path and steps I need to tackle to launch.

Several Springboard graduates are Pallet23 collaborators in making the space come to life, including Once Blind Studios, Lucius Limited, Such + Such, E13 and Dulcet Designs, to name a few.

Also, I am so grateful for the generosity of knowledge and advice from successful businesspeople, such as Todd Meyerrose, Bill Cunningham and Tom Hodges, for example. It has been inspiring.

Finally, Carriage House Farm will be creating an edible walkway and landscape, and is donating beautiful wood from their farm for the kitchen build-out and tables. Building Value has generously partnered to fill any supplemental cabinet and countertop needs.

What will a typical day in your business look like?
In the first phase of the launch, I anticipate the space being rented Friday and Saturday evenings for private parties, art openings, reunions, etc. Sunday days will feature cooking events, while Sunday nights will be set aside for private “supper club” chef dinners. I will still need to keep my day job as a freelance producer!

Hopefully, I will start filling the weekdays with meetings, luncheons, video/still shoots, classes etc. and grow the cooking, food component on the weekends.

Interview by Robin Donovan

For C'est Cheese, MoLo, new locations spell opportunity

Two local start-ups, the C’est Cheese grilled cheese truck, and mobile keepsake digitizer Memories of Loved Ones (MoLo) are celebrating new digs this month.

C’est Cheese, whose founder, Emily Frank just completed the Bad Girls Ventures program, is putting the tires to the pavement with a new food truck that made its first appearance at the City Flea on July 14.

C’est Cheese’s menu features 19 grilled cheese sandwiches – up to six available on a given day – and two soups, including the obligatory tomato, and a selection of homemade, flavored pickles.

Frank says finding the truck was a matter of patience and perserverence. “It was just spending hours and hours and hours every day searching online through several different sites to find the right vehicle. I ended up finding one in Chicago where I had just moved from. It was a former chocolate burrito truck painted with this crazy spray paint. With a little TLC, she has come a long way.”

Meanwhile, formerly mobile-only MoLo moved into a permanent – and stationary – office space at 6020 Harrison Ave., while keeping its RV for home visits. The keepsake digitizing services, which prepares posters, photo books and more for funerals, special events and celebrations, needed more space, says founder Katy Samuels.

“Over the past two years, we’ve had more celebration orders; now,  we can be a one-stop shop for everything people need,” she says.

The company now offers an extended suite of services for weddings and other events, including creating logos, invitations, programs and even websites, as well as reception displays and guest books.  

Up next for these two companies on the move?  “Getting people to know us,” Samuels says. “That’s the challenge.”

By Robin Donovan

DAAP first-year fuses design brand of her own

How do you wear beauty? Fuse Theory has some ideas…

University of Cincinnati College of Design Architecture Art and Planning (DAAP) student Alexandra Scott has an eye for beauty found in the “ugly and unusual” and some inspired ideas about the expression of individuality.

That’s why only a year into her college career, she decided to launch her own line of hand-designed, dyed and screen printed apparel and accessories based on the premise that “everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”

Scott is the creator, owner-operator and designer for her brand, Fuse Theory, a line of clothing and accessories for men and women that she developed after just one year in the DAAP program’s fashion design and product development track.

A native Cincinnatian and graduate of Walnut Hills High School, Scott says she has always been interested in art and fashion, but wasn’t sure at first how to combine the two.

“I wanted to find a way to open people’s eyes to the beauty found in the unexpected,” she says.

Scott derives inspiration from the fusion of ideas and concepts into an aesthetic that reaches a little deeper to connect beauty with individuality.

The brand name Fuse Theory unifies this connection with wearable pieces of art that are as comfortable as they are interesting. The brand seeks to combine color, texture and emotion to find beauty in life’s imperfections. Her trademark eye image, which can be found on her designs, symbolizes both her aesthetic and philosophy.

Although Scott’s designs are grounded in the basics, they’re far from unremarkable.

“My designs are not about impressing others,” she says. “It’s more about expressing the emotional side of fashion.”

She focuses on comfortable pieces that allow the wearer to be creative. “I don’t want my customers to be walking billboards for my brand,” she says. “I want them to buy my designs because they mean something.”

Both artisan and entrepreneur, Scott’s merchandise is a work of art from the initial design concept to the hand dying and screen-printing that bring pieces to life. Any flaws in the process contribute to the individualistic and emotional intent of her work.

Currently, Scott is collaborating with local graffiti artists on a new collection that incorporates street art onto men’s and women’s apparel. Look for these new designs online in late August.

In the meantime, Scott’s handiwork can be found online at fusetheoryapparel.com, or in the community on Aug. 25 at the Price Hill Cultural Heritage Festival, at Second Sunday on Main in Over-the-Rhine or at the West Chester Art Market every other Saturday.

Scott says she would like to feature her brand with local retailers and eventually open her own store. She will graduate in 2014, and the possibilities are likely to expand. We can’t wait to see what’s next.

By Deidra Wiley Necco


Succesful local party designers join to create stellar parties

A trio of Cincinnati's best and most accredited party planners recently combined their collective expertise to create a new party styling service, Stellar Party
 
The three women, Margot Madison, Nora Martini and Brigid Horne-Nestor all have a particular set of skills that differ slightly. They came together in March to begin their new business. 
 
"The beauty of Stellar Party is that all three of us have experience in slightly different areas that all fit together perfectly," Madison says. 
 
Horne-Nester has been planning events for more than 20 years and is one of only 60 planners around the world to have obtained credentials from Bridal Consultants, an organization that has been helping recommend planners and services for weddings since 1955.

Horne-Nester's expertise is in the big picture of the party, including overall timeline and set-up of events. Martini has experience in movie and photography set design, thus giving her an eye for the tone, theme and flow of an event. 

Madison is the detail person. As a graphic designer, Madison designs all the printed materials, such as invitations and menus, as well as the centerpieces and other party collateral.
 
All three women have been working in Cincinnati for years, and have occasionally teamed up before.

Horne-Nester runs the small bridal boutique, I-Do Boutique, in O'Bryonville,

Madison runs her party service company, Margot Madison Creative, and Martini does mostly freelance work.

Each will continue to run their own businesses while collaborating when contracted for events through Stellar Party. 
 
"We have worked mostly with wedding and bat and bar mitzvahs, but saw an opportunity to team up for more events," Madison says. "From corporate events to private parties that aren't weddings."
 
Instead of taking work from one another, Madison says forming Stellar Party will create more opportunities for everyone. 
 
"We add to each other," Madison says. "I have a high-level of skill in the graphic side of things, but I wouldn't want to plan an entire event in a million years. When we were talking about the business, it just became apparent that things each of us don't like doing, someone does."

By Evan Wallis
 

Newport on the Levee dance, fitness studio near one-year anniversary

Francisco Marziano has made it his mission to bring art and culture to Newport on the Levee. This August, Marziano’s Locomotion on the Levee will stand as a one-year-old testament to his determination.

Just about a year ago Marziano, owner of the gallery Art on the Levee, along with the Newport on the Levee staff, decided it was time to utilize the space adjacent to Art on the Levee.

“We were trying to bring some kind of energy to this empty space,” says Marziano. “The space became empty just at the right moment to bring the locomotion idea to the table.”

This idea was to establish and nurture a fitness and dance environment at the Levee. Well, they have been going strong on that front with classes in salsa, yoga, break dancing, zumba, belly dancing and tango. (The tango instructor is currently out of the country.)

Even The Cincinnati Circus utilizes the Locomotion space. “They do some classes here and a summer camp,” says Marziano.

Most of the activities at Locomotion on the Levee take place during the evening, though that will likely change.
“We are trying to find more activities for the day, like yoga for seniors. We are trying to bring more instructors as soon as possible,” Marziano says.

He also wants to expand the business of Art on the Levee. “We want to do more art openings, more events at the gallery,” he says.

In addition to regularly scheduled events, both Art on the Levee and Locomotion on the Levee double as flex venues. Want to throw a private party? Art on the Levee is open for that.

“You can enjoy the wine patio, you can enjoy the art, you can go to the movies later. You can have a place other than your home to do something different,” Marziano says.

The same is true of Locomotion on the Levee, which could host a concert or another creative offering. “Let’s say you’re a photographer, and you’re looking for a space to shoot some pictures for a Web page or a special project; you can do that here,” he says.

“You can rent the space and do it here [at Locomotion].”

By Perry Simpson

Baker-Gibboney makes most of cool beans

Jill Baker-Gibboney has been making coffee professionally since she was 16. Originally from western Pennsylvania, she moved to Cincinnati with her parents as a teenager.  

“I spent a lot of time saying that I was going to leave,” she says of her teenage ennui. But after having a child herself and moving over a decade ago to Northside, “I knew I was staying.”

Although she no longer lives in Northside proper (she thinks Cincinnati has a lot of “best kept secret” neighborhoods), Baker-Gibboney now slings a wholly different kind of cup of joe at farmers markets and small independent businesses around town.  

Her current endeavor is bottled iced coffee: Coffee Cold—named for the eponymous song by jazz composer/pianist Galt MacDermot.

With the help of her friend of nearly two decades, Chuck Pfahler of La Terza Artisan Roasterie, Baker-Gibboney wants to revolutionize the way Americans—or at least Cincinnatians—drink coffee.  

The cold-brewing process creates a slightly sweeter cup, Baker-Gibboney says.

“My hope is that folks will at least try it first without their normal doctoring of the cup,” she says. “What’s the point in demanding a better product if you’re still going to treat it the same as a bad one?”

Her reasoning is valid. Coffee brewing technology has improved by leaps and bounds, and independent roasters like La Terza use responsibly sourced beans that are single origin and locally roasted in small batches, so the coffee is as fresh and customized to taste as possible.  

The process of cold brewing adds to the intensity.

“When you ice a bean, you can taste everything,” says the coffee lover. “There’s no hiding behind temperature—every flavor, good or bad, is present.”

So far, the verdict has been sweet. After testing several batches at Hyde Park and Wyoming farmers markets, they’ve sold out of each case nearly every time.  

A mere week after the launch, the fledgling company was contacted by six different retailers about selling wholesale. Expect to see Coffee Cold on the shelves of area markets like Park + Vine, Picnic & Pantry and Clifton Natural Foods, as well as specialty shops that carry alcohol like the Listing Loon and local pubs like the Comet.

Although Coffee Cold is the first and only locally roasted/brewed/bottled iced coffee in the Tri-State, they’ll still have to contend with the hyper-sweet “frappe-latte-smoothies” of their corporate competitors.

From the sound of it, Coffee Cold will rely more on the depth of their beans than artificial flavors and sweeteners. “If you start with great beans, and you prepare them carefully, you don’t need anything at all,” Baker-Gibboney says.

By Maria Seda-Reeder
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