High Art and a Low Down Injustice

Having decided the Anderson Township Board of Zoning Appeals is full of crap, homeowners Robin Sutton and Allen Lade have started a "potty protest," using their yard as a forum. The couple had

Allen Wade


Pretty toilets, all in a row: a zoning protest in Anderson Township.



Having decided the Anderson Township Board of Zoning Appeals is full of crap, homeowners Robin Sutton and Allen Lade have started a "potty protest," using their yard as a forum. The couple had applied for a zoning variance to erect a 6-foot-high cedar privacy fence. Zoning staff recommended approval, but the board denied the request, saying the proposed fence would not fit well with the neighborhood.

On Aug. 5, the couple decorated their yard at the corner of Forest Lake and Lancelot avenues with 10 toilets and a sign saying, "Why can't I?" Some of the toilets merely contain flowers, but Mr. Potato Head and Snoopy are also part of the toilet tableau.

"We've gotten a lot of support," Sutton says. "Somebody brought over a sign saying, 'Art lovers honk.' We hear people honking all the time now."

But not all the neighbors are pleased. Zoning and health officials have been by, and Sutton is waiting to hear if they'll be forced to close the lid on their protest.

"We're not going to take it down until somebody forces us," she says. "I've been called 'white trash' by one neighbor. I don't care. If I'd do something like this, I obviously can take it."

A more ominous form of government persecution — the communist Chinese campaign against practitioners of Falun Gong — is the backdrop for an art exhibit visiting Cincinnati during the next two weeks. The Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance International Fine Art Exhibit will be on display in the third floor lobby of UC's Tangeman Center from Monday through Aug. 20, then at Cincinnati City Hall Aug. 22-24. The exhibit, which has already been to Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., honors the courage of Falun Gong practitioners jailed and tortured by the Chinese government since 1999.

Falun Gong is a system of meditation and self-improvement rooted in traditional Chinese culture. For more information about the exhibit and the philosophy, visit falunart.org.

Markets on Main is the latest reason to visit Over-the-Rhine on weekends. Artisans have been selling their wares on Main Street on Sundays in the weeks since Findlay Market launched its new Sunday hours. Last weekend Spirit Fest took to the streets, with Tarot readers, Reiki healers, chair massage therapists and other practitioners of alternative health and spirituality offering their services alongside other streetside entrepreneurs.

Gospel singers and praise dancers will perform in a benefit concert to raise funds for the legal defense of William J. Mayo, a Cincinnati man serving two life sentences in Georgia for aggravated burglary. Two witnesses against Mayo later signed affidavits that they'd perjured themselves under pressure from the prosecutor to avoid sentences for the very crime Mayo was charged with (see "Justice Denied," issue of March 19-25, 2003). Studying psychology and criminal justice at Morehouse College at the time of his arrest, Mayo had no prior criminal record. His lawyer argues that prosecutors were aware of witnesses committing perjury, allowed them to use false names and failed to disclose immunity agreements.

The William J. Mayo Innocence Coalition organized the benefit concert, which is 6-9 p.m. Aug. 27 at St. Agnes Church in Bond Hill. Tickets are $10. For more information about the legal effort to free Mayo, visit freemayo.com.



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