I've said it once, and I'll say it again: Cincinnati is a cool city. Despite popular belief, there's a whole crop of young adults out there getting involved in their community and doing creative things. One of these groups is PROJECTMILL. What is PROJECTMILL? The answer, my friend, is many things, including the host of Dance_MF, the monthly dance party at the Northside Tavern. And, it just so happens, Dance_MF is coming up this Saturday (Oct. 4). So start doing your squat thrusts, deep lunges or whatever you do to limber up for a danctastic night, and read this little Q&A with Projector Mandy Levy...
MZ: What is PROJECTMILL and who is involved? What roles do they play?
MANDY LEVY: That’s a lot of questions for the price of one! PROJECTMILL is people helping people do cool things. It is—ideally—a network of artists and creatives who are constantly “on call” and willing to lend their talent, ideas, advice, equipment, know-how, critiques, time and enthusiasm to any PROJECTMILL creation. It started at the beginning of the year with just me, Pete Ohs, and Josh Mattie, and has already branched out to a strong sampling of 15 or more “projectors” (that’s what we call ourselves) from Cincinnati, LA, New York, and Chicago, all masters of different creative domains. We have writers, video people, graphic designers, fashion designers, classic artists, animators, musicians, comedians, DJs, actors, even chefs… I think that’s the bulk of it. A nice variety to boot!
MZ: What is the goal or mission of PROJECTMILL?
MANDY LEVY: A kick in the pants, really. It’s about being productive and staying productive by surrounding yourself with productivity.
MZ: This sort of goes along with the above question, but why did you start PROJECTMILL?
MANDY LEVY: We like the idea of team creativity, and were inspired by the impressive artistic community in Cincinnati. If a rising tide lifts all boats, then an institution like PROJECTMILL could help all the awesome people involved to stay motivated and find success.
MZ: What else does PROJECTMILL do besides Dance_MF?
MANDY LEVY: Our inaugural project was going down to South by Southwest with WOXY and creating video content for all their twenty-something lounge acts for the week. We also became an Emmy Award-winning production company this summer, when American Rhapsody, a video Pete and I made, won a Midwestern Regional Emmy for the Advanced Media category. And later this month, we’re putting on a live radio play for the opening night of a spoken word exhibit at the Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center in Covington.
MZ: What inspired you guys to start Dance_MF? What do you feel the response has been?
MANDY LEVY: Last New Year’s Eve, Bad Veins played to a packed house at Northside Tavern, and afterwards they (and a bunch of other friends and future-projectors) proceeded to take over the DJ booth and curate a crazy night of dancing with abandon. It made everyone realize how much we missed Girls and Boys, and how much the cool young people of Cincinnati needed a dance night again. “Bring Dancey Back” was the title on our proposal to the Tavern. But DMF is so much more than just music and dancing. It’s an art installation. Each month boasts a different theme, expanded upon exponentially with various elements of décor, video content, dancer-interaction, and extra-added bonuses (like Razzlebear). The response has been awesome. We’ve gotten a great crowd in both nights so far, and people seem eager to dance and participate in everything that’s offered to them, whether it be following along with the giant '80s workout video projected on the wall, writing obscenities on an overhead projector, or asking Razzlebear to pose for pictures. It’s been really fun.
MZ: Why do you think it's important for young adults in Cincinnati to be more involved with what goes on in their city- creatively, entertainment-wise, etc.? How does PROJECTMILL strive to inspire others to become more involved?
MANDY LEVY: Cincinnati, first of all, is an awesome city. I’m a relative newbie here—I’m from Chicago and I lived in LA before this, and I’m telling you, this place is the best of the three. It’s so undiscovered and unappreciated outside of our little Mason-Dixon bubble, and the only way to put it on the map in the way it deserves is to build it up with our own devotion. We have to make it an outlet for awesomeness. Already this year (or maybe it was last year), Cincinnati was mentioned in Spin magazine as the next big music city—and it’s true! We have incredible music coming out of this place! So it’s the little things like that. Cincinnati needs its young adult community—which, let’s be honest, is the most important gauge for coolness and modern relevance—to produce, participate and promote like there’s no tomorrow. And like I said, PROJECTMILL is meant to be a kick in the pants. People who want to be involved are encouraged to be, and we want to encourage people to be involved. Collaboration swings both ways.
MZ: What are your plans for the future?
MANDY LEVY: We want to make a feature film. Between all of us, we can tackle every part that goes into it. We can write it, direct it, shoot it, star in it, edit it, market it… It’s a big job with a lot of moving parts, but it seems like it should be the ultimate destiny of PROJECTMILL. It makes sense. Want to help?
MZ: Who is DJing Dance_MF this time?
MANDY LEVY: This month’s lineup of DJ-projectors includes: Derek Ruch aka Indian Giver, Matt Luken, Kevin Bayer, Yusef Quotah, Josh Mattie and Bill Rich.
MZ: Your thoughts and feelings on living in Cincinnati? What's good? What's bad?
MANDY LEVY: Cincinnati, again, is awesome. Pete and I recently moved to Over-the-Rhine, and we’re obsessed with the area. It’s got so much to offer, so much potential. The history, the architecture… oh, it makes me weak in the knees! We’ve become so passionate about the Downtown Renaissance; maybe someday we can use PROJECTMILL as a political platform and speak at city council meetings! So that’s good… And the other good thing, again, is just the breed of people. There is an overwhelming wealth of talent here, and it’s so inspiring, but the best part is that these uber-cool and talented people are also Midwestern. So they’re normal. (Sorry LA). The thing that saddens me about Cincinnati, though, is the fact that not everyone has “city spirit.” People prefer to ignore OTR, rather than help it get back on its feet again. They prefer to assume ours is a lame city, rather than explore and discover all the great things it has to offer in all the neighborhoods they’ve never heard of. It’s the wrong attitude. We can’t expect anyone else to swoon for Cincinnati if we don’t love it first.
MZ: Do you guys have a slogan or like words to live by?
MANDY LEVY: “Collective Creativity.” And also, “Knee Socks or No Socks!”
I'm not ashamed to admit that I've been playing a lot of poker lately. That's not to say I'm not somewhat embarrassed each time I tell a fellow adult that I “play poker” — a statement which normally garners a response connecting the game to something along the lines of the lottery or Bingo. “Oh really? My father lost our first car betting on rat races. Hope your luck's better than his!”
Man, I just recently started watching Deadwood with the boyfriend. (I just IM’d him to confirm that he’s offish my boyfriend, because I’d never typed out the word before — in regards to him — and it looked funny, so I had to double check.)
Can’t stop thinking about ‘em!
Yesterday, my friend Mikey B. pulled a menu out o’ his wallet that he’d snagged cuz it made him think of me. One o’ the items listed was Bang Bang Tacos!
Those who know me know I’m kinda obsessed with tacos. I don’t know why, I just am. Mostly cuz they are delish … and they like to sit next to margaritas. And the word taco is funny. And it makes me think of vaginas. Another funny word. I’m kinda obsessed with vag, too, you might have noticed.
The large signs started showing up right outside of Ellis Park as we drove to the USA vs. Slovenia soccer match: "Johannesburg is ready." Sure, these signs were meant to tell foreigners that South Africa had everything in order for the 2010 World Cup. But they also seemed to be a pep-me-up for South Africans, as if the signs were saying, "Johannesburg is ready. Right, guys? Right?"
Before I left on my trip to South Africa to enjoy the World Cup, plenty of people tried to discourage me. My mom said it was too dangerous, and my friends wondered why I'd want to fly that far just for a soccer game.
Deciding which route to take in disciplining children is surely a tough decision. The closest thing I have to spawn is a gang of pets, and they don't know "sit" from "shut the hell up," so I guess training a little human would be even harder.
Today, it seems two extreme concepts of discipline stand out (usually while I'm shopping at a seedy Kroger location): the pulling-the-kid-by-the-arm-while-yelling-at-and-occasionally-spanking-them-onlooking-shoppers-be-damned or the children-deserve-freedom-and-isn't-he-adorable-shit-momma-needs-a-break. Surely, there's a happy medium between publicly berating your 4-year-old and falling into a dopey gaze as you let the kid scale shelves in aisle 6B. Thankfully, that's where Potty Mouth Soap comes in!
Made locally in Maineville, Ohio, creators of Potty Mouth Soap promise effective use of their product will help "nip the lip." The press release, sent to myself at CityBeat's office, is quite well-written, featuring enough alliteration to make Carrie Bradshaw squeal:
"Sick of the sass? Tired of the talking back?…Potty Mouth Soap is an all-natural, safe way to help discipline your kids. What's more, it's fun and effective." Fun? Just tell that to Ralphie.
It was...soap POISONING!
Not sure if it's effective, but hilariously (?) enough, there is a link to this video on Potty Mouth Soap's homepage:
The release continues:
"It's made with all-natural, non-toxic ingredients including coconut oil, palm oil and purified water. So when your little darling dares to sass you can feel completely safe when placing Potty Mouth Soap at the edge of their mouth. And that yucky taste will help nip the lip that you're so fed up with."
I know what you're thinking. "My kids are the worst when we're in public, but how can I keep a bar of soap in my purse?" Potty Mouth Soap gotchu.
Enter Potty Mouth Spray. This portable "Cinnamint" mouth spray if perfect for Krogering. The website warns, "Don't leave home without it!"
On the "How to Use Potty Mouth Soap" tab are four YouTube videos above the text that's printed on the press release. One would think these would be how-to videos on soaping your kids, or examples of children who need to be soaped. The videos include one of a baby "biting" (but really placing her toothless mouth upon) a dog, the infamous "David After the Dentist" and "Charlie Bit Me."
Now in Auto-Tune form
Now, it kind of seems like the soap method might just teach kids to shove gross things in people's mouths when they say something they don't like, but I'm no parent. I guess I've come across some 9-year-olds who might deserve to get soaped, but a freaking baby? They don't even know how to make words yet! And seriously, no person should ever be accountable for what they say when high, after the dentist or otherwise.
"Gotta teach 'em young," you say? "This is probably better than the belt method." Well, bars and spray are $3-$5 a pop and include a sticker reward chart for positive behavior.
No gold star for you!
Click the picture above to be transported to a photo gallery with images from the Perkins Pickle Tasting party at The Comet with White Girls and Holy Ghost on 2/7/09. Photos by Ashley Monk.
Voice of the common man, conscience of the American people, shepherd of men and 700WLW staple Bill Cunningham made an impassioned plea to his radio audience Nov. 2, saying if Mitt Romney lost the election, he would end his 30-plus year career in radio.
“For nearly 30 years I’ve been the voice of the common man and conscience of the American people. I have led you and you’ve allowed me to lead you through thick and thin, through good times and bad, through recessions, depressions, wars, feasts and famines, through hurricanes, tornadoes and more,” Cunningham said.
“If Mitt Romney does not win the election, I, Bill Cunningham, your shepherd, will quit radio on Wednesday Nov. 7. I’ll give it up. Continue my great television career and practicing law, but if my credibility means anything between you and me it means that you will listen to what I have to say.”
Now, in the morning after, a time when we ourselves have often felt that “oh God, what have I done” feeling, we at CityBeat want to make our own impassioned plea: Don’t quit, Willie. Cincinnati needs you.
You’ve always been a source of inspiration and wisdom to budding journalists and truth-seekers at CityBeat. Were it not for your Aug. 28, 2009 interview with Cincinnati Profile, we would never have known what “my baby daddy” was. We might forget what Barack Hussein Obama’s full name is were it not for your show.
Without your faithful shepherding we’d go on believing the lie that things like assistance to the disabled and payments to workers who are injured on the job were good things!
We’re glad to hear that you are backtracking on your Nov. 2 pledge planning to go on an intervention with Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Rob Portman to determine your future in radio.
As you said on your show today, “every herd of sheep needs a shepherd,” and you’ve been our shepherd for more than 30 years. Please don’t “take [your] staff, crash in [your] skull and kill [yourself].” We, the bleating masses of Cincinnati, still need you.
Despite the fact that three businesses have called it quits in Northside in the past month or so (Ali’s Boutique, Shoe-topia and the Northside Art Gallery), two ladies are trying their hand at opening something. Aileen McGrath and Chris Salley are celebrating the opening of their new gallery/boutique/supply store, Fabricate, tonight with an exhibition of Salley’s small, self-portrait paintings and music by PROJECTMILL (along with hors d’oeuvres and beverages).
Danny Cross wrote a To Do pick about the party here. And I e-mailed some questions to McGrath and Salley to learn more about their vision for the gallery/shop. See their answers below:
CityBeat: What is the name of your gallery?
CB: What does the name mean?
F: It means “to make by art or skill and labor; construct.” We’d kinda been butting heads on a name that we both liked and we’d both had that same word on our lists to describe the kinds of things we are going to be doing in there. We liked that it describes working with hard things, like metal or wood, and soft things, like textiles. It also means: “to devise or invent something.”
CB: Do you have a mission statement?
F: A store and gallery hybrid where artists, crafters and designers can be inspired, supplied and showcased.
CB: Who is responsible for the gallery? What did you two do before this?
F: We both are equally responsible for everything. We will both pick what art will show each month and work to constantly be filling the store with consigner’s merchandise. We will also both be working in the store. We will still continue to work our other jobs as well. (Chris as a Program Manager for Girl Scouts of Western Ohio and Aileen as a bartender at Northside Tavern.)
CB: There aren’t generally many galleries in Northside, save for Feralmade, which is now Raymond Thunder-Sky, inc. and Prairie. How do you think the neighborhood will respond to your presence?
F: We’ve already gotten a really positive response. We both know a lot of people in Northside and Cincinnati and it seems like everyone is coming out for the opening. We are kinda intimated actually with how many people have said they are coming. … We think the community will embrace it. There isn’t anything like what we are doing in Northside already. Everyone we talk to is really fired up to have an art show in there and create other things to sell as well.
CB: With the recent closing of businesses like shoe-topia and Ali’s Boutique, how are you two planning to ensure your vitality?
F: Bribery via pie! But seriously, this is our passion project and we both have other incomes, so we are not sweating every dollar even though it is going to be tight. We are able to experiment because we have stability elsewhere. There will be new art exhibits once a month and a lot of our friends are creative people who make amazing things, but don’t have a place to display/sell them except for online, so we are providing them that space. We will have unique items, locally made, that you can’t find anywhere else.
CB: What else will be there besides artworks?
F: Ultimately, all sorts of handmade goods from local indie crafters: art prints, scarves, jewelry, cards, stationary, accessories, pillows, curtains, unique artist T-shirt lines and eventually bigger creations like furniture and lighting. Anything that we think is interesting and would be cool to sell. We will also have art and craft supply as well. All of this we will be building up as we go. It’s gonna start-up small and then grow from there as we acquire more merchandise and, therefore, the funds to stock more art supply.
CB: What are your plans for the future? How do you envision the gallery six months from now?
F: Haha! Hopefully we’ll not still be paying rent out o’ pocket. It’s gonna be a slow build, but we are comfortable with that. We hope the creative community sees us as a resource and an outlet, as well as a great place to see new art once a month along with the other new things that their peers create. And hopefully in turn that inspires them to keep creating more things to display and sell there.
CB: What can gallery-goers expect to see in your inaugural exhibit?
F: Chris’ paintings. The space in general. Us jumping up and down when we make out first dollar…aaaannnnnd probably making sure it’s being documented via various photographic devices. Potable beverages. Their friends! The beginnings of the boutique and us communicating with future consigners about their work. Suggestion box for art supplies to stock. High fives! My mom. Snackage generously supplied to us via Hideaway, Take the Cake and cookies from the now imfamous Mikey B!
CB: You say you enter through Red Polly. HOW? Where is the gallery?
F: We are 4012 Hamiliton Ave. in Northside, but you will enter through 4016 Hamilton Ave. You will come through Red Polly’s front door, we share the same entrance. Walk to the room on the right. Two of the walls in our space will always be dedicated to artwork that will stay up all month.
CB: Tell me bout the party.
F: Fabricate’s grand opening will be on Friday, with the inaugural art show 4 x 6 x 100: an exhibition of Chris’ paintings. What started out as sketches for larger works turned into a series of one hundred 4 x 6 paintings that are self-portrait snapshots of everyday emotions, split-second ideas and random documentation of the images that reside in her brain. There will potable beverages, hors d’oeuvres and entertainment provided by the DJ’s of PROJECTMILL, creators of award winning DANCE_MF. This is your first chance to get a glimpse of the location that will house once-a-month art exhibits and shows, preview the beginnings of the boutique and meet/talk with the owners about consigning your own handiwork in the future. It’s gonna be a lot fun and will hopefully get everyone ramped up for future exhibitions we plan on having each month accompanied by different DJ’s and bands.
Bar: Fries Cafe (3247 Jefferson Ave., Clifton, 513-281-9002). I think this place is really comfortable but it generally smells like barf even though no one is barfing. Here's our review from the Swizzle Guide: There's almost something inherently wholesome about your neighborhood dive, and Fries is no exception other than it seems to embrace its dive-iness. It has the feeling of the childhood excursion to Grandma's, but only if she had a habit of chain-smoking two packs of unfiltered Pall Malls everyday for 40 years and hoarding Depression-era spearmint leaves in her bureau. But just like Grandma, Fries is sturdy and reliable.