Category Archives: Architecture

Old Timey Cincinnati

My brother hipped me to these the other day. WIRED published these recently and here they are online. Apparently these daguerreotypes belong to the library and they are a pretty incredible view at our city a long long time ago. For those wondering what exactly a daguerreotype is, I constacted Wikipedia:

The image in a Daguerreotype is formed by the amalgam, or combination, of mercury and silver. Mercury vapor from a pool of heated mercury is used to develop the plate that consists of a copper plate with a thin coating of silver rolled in contact that has previously been sensitised to light with iodine vapour so as to form silver iodide crystals on the silver surface of the plate.

So now you know. Check ’em out though, they are pretty phenomenal pictures of our city in its infancy.

1848 Daguerreotypes Bring Middle America’s Past to Life

Love,

John

Friend Alert… Overlooked Cincinnati

Despite the fact that we’re arguing elsewhere on my blog, I thought I should give mention to a blog that was birthed in the midst of my hiatus. Like Visualingual’s well documented series of Ghost SignsOverlooked Cincinnati is all about those tiny details that make our city even more worthwhile. Sure the cool architecture and fun happening around town are good for showing off to out-of-towners, but its the little things, like “BOOK MONSTER” and Lazarus Lizards, that keep us surprised, interested and in love with our city. Run, at least in part, by my good friend, ex-coworker and compulsive yeller Brian, it’s an excellent addition to the Cincinnati blog community. So get in there and start contributing!

Overlooked Cincinnati

Love,

John

The Cincinnati Labyrinth Project

I recently became involved with the Cincinnati Labyrinth Project, a group who mission statement goes thusly:

Cincinnati is in need of a cultural and economic renaissance. By signing this petition, you express your commitment to the notion that by selling the perennially unsuccessful, infuriatingly mediocre Cincinnati Bengals football franchise and erecting a complex, state-of-the-art stone labyrinth in Paul Brown Stadium, all Cincinnatians would experience both fiscal and cultural growth. We at the Cincinnati Labyrinth Project are a deeply committed bunch, so you may rest assured that we will work tirelessly to bring this wonderful proposal to fruition. Do it for Cincinnati! Do it for labyrinths!

I urge all of you to read the blog carefully, very carefully. When people ask me “What do philosophy majors do with their time after they are out of school?,” I now have something to point them towards.

As the mission statement says, do it for Cincinnati, do it for Labyrinths!

The Cincinnati Labyrinth Project 

Love,

John

The Imperial Theater or: The Need For A Venue

3. You need to train yourself to believe that the world cares about what you have to say.

-John Hodgman, “The Six Essentials”

Yes, it has been a while, and I’m getting back to blogging. Hopefully the above quote explains why I stopped blogging, and writing in general actually, and why I’m also getting back into it. I could do a lengthy paragraph (or nine) about stopping, the reasons behind it, the great sense of indifference I felt towards casting off words to be maybe/maybe-not read by the internet masses, but that’s boring. Let’s just get back into things. Now, I will say that the blog entries will be coming to you in a diminished volume relative to the last go around. For whatever reason, I was forcing myself to churn out two-to-three blog entries a day. This led to three things:

1. More daily entertainment for you. That’s a good thing, of course.

2. Annoyance that I had to write that much. Funny thing is though, it was entirely my own doing.

3. A lack of things to write about. I was really stretching at times towards the end. Stretching for subjects is hardly enjoyable.

But let’s move past this and talk about something, something that I’ve ranted about many-a-night to my friends while imbibing a few cocktails. Some claim its funny when I get ranty, but I have a hard time believing that. Either way, let’s talk about venues, as in we don’t have one where there should be one. Brace yourself kids, this could get long.

Think of the concerts you’ve been to in the past few months. Where did you see them? If you are like many people, Midpoint notwithstanding, you were at one of the bars in Northside, Southgate House or (shudder) Bogarts. In the past few years the amount of venues has dwindled drastically. With Top Cat’s, Alchemize and Sudsy Malone’s closing, the city was left with a great deal fewer places for bands to play. Thankfully Northside Tavern recognized this and opened up the beautiful back room. But I want to propose to you a different kind of venue. As Cincinnati concert-goers there will most likely be some things about this hypothetical venue that you won’t like, but hear me out. 

Continue reading

Oh neat! The proposed CAM expansion….

I found this over at Visualingual today, and I have to say I’m rather excited about this proposed new structure. While Visualingual and their commenters make some valid points, I’d thought I’d put my two cents in. The expansion is designed by Neutlings Riedijk Architects, a Dutch firm. I’m kind of a sucker for Dutch design. The Seattle Central Library, designed by Rem Koolhaas, was easily one of the highlights of my time spent there. Every time a visitor came to town we would take people there and it really never got boring. If you ever have a chance to go there and check it out, it’s totally worth it. I mean they have and entirely red floor! Look after the jump… Continue reading

Let’s look inside…The Emery Theater!

I was so disappointed that I wasn’t able to join in on the “Save the Emery” project that happened in late July. Run by Give Back Cincinnati, the project aims to gussy up the somewhat rundown and forgotten Emery Theater contained within the Emery building located at the corner of Central Pkwy. and Walnut. Many people aren’t even aware that when they are going to get coffee from the Emporium there is a beautiful old 1300+ seat theater right in the same building.

There were really two reasons I wanted to get in on this. First of all, I would love to see this theater return to operation. It’s place like these that give a city its character. Older buildings and classic structures like this become a rarity as you move further across the country. In Seattle, for example, buildings were rarely rehabbed due to compliance with earthquake codes. Rather, because I assume it was cheaper, old buildings were torn down to make way for less attractive, hastily built newer structures. Cincinnati has a surplus of these type of old theaters, warehouses, row-houses, store-fronts, etc. Volunteer projects like this, held on a regular basis, are exactly what the city needs. Give Back Cincinnati says they had at least 100 people there lending a hand, proving that many people are as interested in lending a hand in this type of thing.

My second reason for wanting to help was a bit more selfish. I just wanted to get into the place. For years I’ve walked by the entrance, wondering what was beyond those ticket windows. Unfortunately I had something to do that day and couldn’t make it down there. Thankfully, one industrious volunteer spent a portion of his time taking beautiful pictures of the inside. Here’s a hand-full of them, with more at his website Urban Up, after the jump… Continue reading

Places to be…Grammers

I hope by now it has become clear that this blog is kind of a catchall. I’ve found it easier to blog about whatever happens along my mind-grapes on any given day, or hour as the case sometimes is. I also am hoping that you, the reader, has been able to tell that one of my primary focuses for the blog is highlighting Cincinnati. I’m aiming to hit everything from people and places to the more existentially abstract bits about living here.

That said, today we’re looking at a place, Grammers, located at the corner of Liberty and Walnut. In an effort to avoid giving you the whole backstory, we’ll say that I’ve lived in the Liberty Hill neighborhood (we’re not technically inside the Prospect hill boundries) for about 3 years. In that time, I’ve seen downtown change a lot. At times it was for good, other times, the falling out of Main Street in about a two month’s span, were not so good. In the entire time I’ve been living here though I’ve driven and walked by Grammers a million times, always wondering what was inside there. I could tell it was a good-sized place, the parking lot was massive for a downtown eatery. Long-closed before I came to the area, the darkened windows just kept teasing me. This is, of course, up until recent months when Grammers finally opened its doors again to the general public. Continue reading