Friday, August 31, 2012

Clint Eastwood: We Love and Revere You Regardless of the Pundits

Eastwood Speaking to "Obama"
     Clint Eastwood spoke at the RNC on August 30 as a conservative – without explicit party affiliation – uncertain about how to vote, but questioning President Obama’s effectiveness over the last four years.  This was a major theme of the convention with the motivation to attract as many

Ice Cream and Puddings and Pies…Oh, My!

      We had dinner at Hammerheads in Louisville and decided to travel down Bardstown Road to the Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen.  Affectionately known to locals simply as "The Pie Kitchen", we decided to forego the ice cream (you won't hear that statement coming from us often) and go directly for the other confections.  Seeing the Chocolate Chess Pie, and 

Chocolate Chess Pie
getting a nod from our server, Paul's mind was settled.  Loaded with dark chocolate, it was similar to a smooth molten

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hope Springs: Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones Go Deep

     I never thought I’d see two acting titans navigating a scene involving oral sex in a public setting that goes from comic to awkward to poignant in a matter of seconds.  Credit that to those giants’ performances as well as Vanessa Taylor’s depth charged script and David Frankel’s direction that always emphasizes emotional complexity.  He directed Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada and she seems much more relaxed and imaginative in her work with him than she is with Phyllida Lloyd because she’s much more physical.  She reveals layers

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Sandtrap Grill is Pretty Much On Par

Cincinnati Magazine Showcases the Cooper Creek Events Center
      It can be difficult finding a basic snack bar like those walk up ones at a beach.  There are some downtown lunch places with similar attributes, but it's especially hard to uncover one of these gems in the suburbs.  While attending a Cincinnati Magazine event at the new Cooper Creek Events Center at the Blue Ash Golf Course, that's exactly what Paul and I

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Merry Olde Mariemont

Dexter Waits for a Tour of Mariemont Village
      I planted my Cincinnati roots in Madison Place 26 years ago after falling in love with Mariemont, and soon realizing I couldn't afford a home there.  The planned community (one of only a few in the U.S.) was the vision of Mary Emery in the early 1900's, and is based on a typical English village.  The detailed tudor structures are evident in the town centers (both old and new) as well as those homes originally constructed in

Friday, August 24, 2012

¡Ay, caramba! Havana in Louisville

Lunchtime at Havana Rhumba
      Sometimes a restaurant has so much personality you just can't wait to tell everyone you know.  Havana Rumba didn't project much of that when we drove up to its strip mall location in the St. Matthews area.  We were immediately welcomed by Anna who seated us and then returned to tell us she would be

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Xanadu: When Talent Just About Overcomes Material

     When we saw that Alan Patrick Kenny was back in town directing a show at The Carnegie produced by Joshua Steele, we knew we’d have to see it because there was neither a more exciting director in Cincinnati in the past six years nor a more ambitious arts producer. Kenny and Steele started New Stage Collective as a summer project in college and presented a lovely Side Show (I believe it’s the only

Friday, August 17, 2012

Chez Nora: Covington’s Venerable Standby

Chez Nora in Mainstrasse
     There are a few establishments in the region that always offer a quality experience based on good food, efficient service and fair prices yet are rarely on the foodies’ radar.  I immediately think of the National Exemplar in Mariemont, The Greyhound Tavern in Fort Mitchell, and Ron’s Roost in Cheviot.  They’re each pretty unique in terms of menu and

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Déjà Vu Trip to Wine Country at 20 Brix

20 Brix Corner

     Milford’s entry in the regional fine dining sweepstakes is 20 Brix.  It’s certainly connected with residents on the east-far east side because there were only two reservation times available on a Saturday night and the restaurant and bar area were packed from 6 p.m. through when we left at 7:30 p.m.  The name refers to a 
The Wine Shop on the Premises

method for measuring sugar level in wine grapes. The scale’s limits are 18 and 35 so this would indicate a dry wine.  A main focus for the restaurant is an extensive wine and beer list with a great variety of European and American brands.   

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Political Animals: Roman à clef with too much clef

The Cast of Political Animals with Dexter
     Political Animals is USA Network’s bid for appointment television following the glowing lead of FX and AMC.  This approach has worked well for AMC in terms of awards and prestige and FX has had a considerable niche audience for over a decade.  This show is about a Democratic Secretary of State, who was a former First Lady, then Governor of Illinois, but lost the presidential nomination to her current boss.  Her former husband was Governor of North Carolina before becoming President and he’s now at loggerheads about what

Thursday, August 9, 2012

"The Deep Blue Sea" or Sort of Shallow Gray Creek

     Terence Davies adapted Terence Rattigan’s The Deep Blue Sea and did everything he could to free it from its stage origins by use of flashbacks and opening up scenes that are referred to but not seen in the play.  He cast three of the best current British actors – Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston, and Simon Russell Beale, all of whom acquit themselves beautifully – and has shot it in an elegant, impressionistic manner with a great musical score of pre-existing works.  And it’s so dreary that I felt almost as

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Buffet of Epic Pro-"Portions"

Entrance to Epic Buffet
      The buffet at the Hollywood Casino has been a favorite of ours since the original Argosy days.  It's waned off course in recent years, but has now undergone a major remodeling so Paul and I set out for an inspection and taste test.  I always

Monday, August 6, 2012

"The Watch": Training Executives and Misbehaving Dogs

       The Watch is the kind of mediocre Hollywood corporate crap that is a symptom of creative bankruptcy.  When I saw the preview, I thought it looked like a remake of Ghostbusters.  If only.  Four guys in suburban Ohio – not like the Ohio in which we live, but some overdressed, over-accessorized, soft core consumerist porn version of the ‘burbs (actually The ‘Burbs starring Tom Hanks was a better version of this story) –

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Doris Day: A Great Cincinnati Native in Relation to Some Other ‘50s Icons

     This is the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death.  Audrey Young, Billy Wilder’s wife, always thought that she accidentally overdosed on pills because many stars were taking such medications at that time.  I think she was right.  All of the conspiracy theories are artfully reasoned ‘docudrama.’  Monroe was an extraordinary screen presence – her skin really does shimmer when she’s onscreen and even in a third rate James M. Cain knockoff like Niagara, she’s the only element worth watching.  So, let’s take a moment to remember MM, but now I’d like to focus on the biggest star of that era, who also replaced MM in the film that eventually became Move Over, Darling.  

     Doris Day’s With a Smile and a Song is a recently released two-disc compilation that she selected, produced by TCM, and released by Sony.  As she states in the notes, “I am so thrilled

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Day (of Eating) in Pompeii

A Pompeiian Meal in 79 A.D.
A Garum
(Fish Sauce) Jug
with Petrified
Oyster Shells
and Peach Seed
       One thing that struck me most during my visit to A Day in Pompeii at the Cincinnati Museum Center was the similarities between our two cultures—2,000 years apart.  That was most readily seen when viewing the Food and Dining gallery in the exhibit.  One thinks of this culture as being ancient, yet they were almost as civilized as today with their culinary offerings.  They had three meals a day with breakfast and lunch mostly eaten on the run (sound familiar?) stopping en route to

Thursday, August 2, 2012

It's the Sign of the Times for Camp Washington

Gold Leaf and Glass Techniques
      Essex Studio was home to the American Sign Museum from its beginning in 2005.  Now they're in a former women's clothing and parachute factory in Camp Washington, best known for its chili parlor.  We were at their sneak preview party and excited to see the signs displayed in a museum setting rather than the stacked and leaning against the wall approach used at their former home.

Entrance to the American Sign Museum