McMicken FreeSpace is a volunteer-led, not-for-profit non-hierarchical social center located in the Mohawk-Brighton neighborhood of Cincinnati. The inclusive, comfy spot has been operating since 2015, offering regular programming that caters to those in need of a commercial-free sanctuary. Offerings include meetings for Art of Recovery/Alcoholics Anonymous, Cincinnati Allied Transgender Support and Womxn’s Wednesdays. Stephanie Phillips, building owner and volunteer for the collective space, says that the FreeSpace is sober by default. Volunteers have been involved with efforts like Countdown to Conviction Coalition to convict Ray Tensing for murder in the shooting death of Sam DuBose, and Our Library, Our Decision, which has tried to stop the sale of the Main Library’s North Building. McMicken FreeSpace, 527 W. McMicken Ave., West End, facebook.com/mcmickenfreespace.
2. American Can Lofts
3. Alumni Lofts
Due to an aging fleet and budget constraints, it’s a sad fact these days that you can’t always count on the bus showing up on time in Cincinnati. But here’s something you can set your watch by: Cam Hardy and the Better Bus Coalition he founded will be talking about it. Hardy has done tons of social media activism around Metro’s struggles, highlighting aging buses, riders left waiting in the cold and more in daily posts. But the group takes things several steps further. They’ve engaged residents to create their own roadmap to a better Metro. Don’t be surprised to see Hardy and his comrades out pushing for a levy for Metro this year. And if voters approve that money for the bus system, you may even see some of the coalition’s ideas in action. Better Bus Coalition, facebook.com/betterbusco.
Gone but not forgotten, the Dennison Hotel came down in 2017, leaving a gaping hole in the fabric of downtown Main Street. The building was demolished after a protracted fight the previous year between preservationists, the city and owners the Joseph Family. It was an obstinate old dude: the demolition was slowed multiple times by complications, including the discovery that the Dennison shared a structural wall with a neighboring building. Should’ve just left it up, y’all. Eventually, the wrecking ball prevailed and now all we have left are memories.
The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is one of the nation’s most popular and well appointed, and its crown jewel is undeniably its main branch downtown, which stretches over two city blocks along Vine and Walnut streets. So when proposals surfaced from the Library’s Board of Trustees to decommission and potentially sell the north building of the downtown campus, efforts to save the building were swift. After some tense meetings, protests and news conferences, activists with the Our Library, Our Decision Coalition got the news they were waiting to hear: Library trustees have pledged not to sell the north building.
By his own telling, Cincinnati City Councilman Charlie Winburn was Freddie Kruger, and he could always rise to the occasion because he did his homework. Wait, what now? During long legislative debates last council term, the Republican chair of the powerful Budget and Finance Committee could always be counted on for commentary. Some of it was insightful. Some of it was confusing — we still have no idea why he would occasionally compare himself to an ’80s horror movie character. But all of it livened up the sometimes-frustrating proceedings, even when the subject of discussion was the time the FBI seized several cardboard boxes from Winburn’s storage unit in the basement of City Hall. Nothing incriminating came from that investigation, but Winburn got yet another catchphrase — “Box Gate” — out of the incident.
Every Cincinnati City Council election cycle brings out some interesting efforts to win voters’ attention and hopefully their checkmarks at the ballot. But Tamaya Dennard’s campaign — in which she held kickball games, wine and postcard-writing nights and spoke to residents of Cincinnati neighborhoods at events staged on their neighbors’ porches — was especially unique and, if we dare say so, authentic. Dennard’s enthusiasm for people and her compelling story made the usual campaign fare — flashy ads and ubiquitous parade appearances — seem flat by comparison. The work seems to have paid off. Dennard now sits on City Council.
Former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, a hometown guy, was never the most taciturn of lawmakers. He was known to tear up on many an occasion during his tenure. But as it turns out, he was really holding back a lot. When he was forced to retire due to a rout by unruly tea partiers in Congress, he unloaded in a very long, very personal Politico story to the amusement and amazement of all but some of his former colleagues, whom he called “assholes,” “legislative terrorists” and worse. He even had some brutally honest words about President Donald Trump, calling situations at the White House at the time “a shitshow.” Tell us how you really feel, John.
We held our breath when we found out that purveyor of high-quality long-form journalism Cincinnati Magazine was up for sale last year, and breathed a brief sigh of relief when we heard it got new owners in the form of Hour Media. Hour publishes more than 70 titles, including, randomly, Jewel of Palm Beach, which bills itself as “the exclusive publication of Donald J. Trump’s spectacular Mar-a-Lago Club.” Sadly, the new owners dumped some of our local monthly’s most talented staffers. But new Editor-in-Chief John Fox (a CityBeat founder) seems to be keeping the mag on the right track in the aftermath. Cincinnati Magazine, cincinnatimagazine.com.