Monday, December 17, 2007

OtR: Cincinnati's homegrown holiday tradition

Every year-- since 1994, I believe-- Over the Rhine has hosted its own sort of holiday party. It started at the Emery Theater (whose website needs to be updated-- the last update was in 2001!) and has now moved to the Taft Theater, where on Saturday night (despite the weather conditions, enough to make any Cincinnatian stay home for the evening) they played to a full house.

Karin Bergquist and Linford Detweiler started up the band in 1989 in an apartment on Main Street, and in subsequent years gained a pretty impressive local following. After the release of their 2003 album Ohio, they gained real national attention-- awards, great reviews in national magazines (including Paste Magazine's first five-star review for Ohio), and sold-out tour dates both in the US and abroad.

The Cincinnati Entertainment Awards just this past year voted them "Best Musical Ambassador for the City"-- which is why I'm mentioning them here. Nearly every time I talk to someone from out of town who asks where I live and I say, "Over-the-Rhine," I don't get the response I get from locals (who react as if I said I lived in Gaza or Baghdad), but instead, "Over the Rhine-- you mean, like the band?" This gets a nice little dialogue going-- there's nothing like connecting with someone over music-- and we can talk not just about the band, but the rich history of Cincinnati's neighborhoods-- not just Over-the-Rhine.

If you want to support a local artist this holiday season, pick up their holiday album Snow Angels (available at your favorite local record store).

What do you consider a Cincinnati holiday tradition? Playhouse's A Christmas Carol, the trains at CG&E/Cinergy/Duke? The Nutcracker at the Cincinnati Ballet?

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