Hi. I hope that you're having a wonderful holiday season. My blog has moved to Culture Tantrum, so please feel free to visit me there.
Hi. I hope that you're having a wonderful holiday season. My blog has moved to Culture Tantrum, so please feel free to visit me there.
“This is not just about ghost stories,” said our tour guide and author/historian/teacher/ghost whisperer Doreen Uhas-Sauer. “This is a social history of Town Street.”
Doreen has given historic tours of Columbus for the past 35 years. She knows everything. Our all-ages group of about 30 met at the Topiary Park. Armed with lanterns and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, we walked half a block east and more than a century back in time, when the Town-Franklin area was the city’s first real suburb.
I have one of those keys.
I was a member of Kappa at Washington and Lee. Naturally, this made me feel twice as likely to see a ghost than anyone else on the tour. We wandered through the parlor into an ornate sitting room with dramatic Victorian furnishings and an 1887 Weber piano. Kappa’s archivist and curator Kylie Smith told colorful tales about the spirits who loom at the property. The first was David Gray.
I saw him in concert.
Ok, it was a different David Gray. BUT STILL. I was practically guaranteed to see a ghost at this point. We learned about the art of bird taxidermy, which young women practiced back then instead of pinning cat photos on Pinterest or Instagramming their meatloaf. They also created wreaths out of their hair. Kind of makes my no-sew fleece blankets seem lame.
We paused to admire a portrait of Celinda Hatton, who taught art at Columbus School for Girls. She died in the home’s morning room. Her favorite color was pink, and many have reported visions of a “Pink Lady” floating through the hallways.
I went to CSG! The coincidences, however far-fetched, were becoming overwhelming. Bring it on, Pinkie.
Next at the Kelton House, we learned of haunted dolls and tragic accidents. We tiptoed through the alley past a haunted house to the Columbus Performing Arts Center (formerly Players Theatre), where Doreen told us about mischievous 1902 Halloween rituals involving stolen corn and door-stopping cabbage.
I have dolls. I eat corn. This is crazy. Show me the ghost!
Alas, I didn’t see any apparitions, but I went home very informed and enjoyably spooked. If you’d like to try engaging with the afterlife, Columbus Landmarks still has a few ghost tours between now and November 2.
I recently launched Gluten-Free Ohio, a website and resource geared toward Ohioans following the gluten-free lifestyle. The site will offer free recipes, tips, and information for people who have eliminated or reduced gluten from their diets. Most of the featured breakfast, entrée, snack, dessert, and side dish recipes will contain natural, minimally processed ingredients and no refined sugars.
I became gluten-free in August of 2013, after being diagnosed with gluten sensitivity. The gluten-free movement is gaining a lot of attention. Nearly 18 million Americans are believed to have gluten sensitivities1. An estimated 3 million Americans have celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder in the digestive system) but 97% of those who have it aren’t diagnosed2. Thirty percent of adults find gluten-free food appealing3, and the gluten-free category is expected to reach $6.6 billion by 20174.
After becoming gluten-free, I was afraid that I’d never enjoy food again. I’m now cooking the best meals of my life and have really evolved in the kitchen. It’s an adventure.
I decided to launch Gluten-Free Ohio after being really inspired by gluten-free cookbooks, products, and networks. I hope to expand the site to include local contributing writers and feature stories. Anyone who is interested in contributing to Gluten-Free Ohio should email email@example.com.
I don’t know much about comics, but I enjoy reading them and am inspired by the local creators who work hard to build a strong scene. When I heard there was a panel called “A Voltron That Has Yet to Assemble: The Columbus Comics Scene Past, Present, and Future” at CCAD’s Mix comics symposium, I had to attend.
Moderated by James Moore (2-Headed Monster Comics), the panel included Bob Corby (S.P.A.C.E.), Ken Eppstein (Nix Comics), Jenny Robb (Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum), and Jeffrey Stang (The Laughing Ogre). Tom Spurgeon (The Comics Reporter) was the featured guest. As I typed notes, the guy next to me and the lady in front of me doodled cartoons of the panelists.
Spurgeon, the lone panelist not living in Ohio, offered a refreshing perspective.
“Columbus has all of the earmarks of a classic emerging comics scene,” he said. “It was always this terrifying weird city that people talked about but no one knew about, sort of like the South Carolina of cities.”
He referenced our nationally known comic shops and matter-of-fact cosmopolitanism (Ha! He knows us.) Thanks to our large volume of students and institutional support, he thinks Columbus is a “potential juggernaut” in the comics world.
“The Midwest has real audiences of arts enthusiasts,” he said. “And it’s actually kind of a nice place to live.”
Spurgeon established himself in Seattle, where he encountered “a mix of angry old people and angry young people.” He name-dropped a bunch of people he worked with that I’d never heard of. And Gary Larson1.
“Do Columbus comics feel a close connection with one another?” Spurgeon asked. Moore responded that most of them feel a real sense of community. They frequently hang out and share meals together.
“One thing that we all have in common is music as a topic,” Moore said. “A lot of local comics are about musicians.”
Eppstein, who actually molded his business plan after those of local indie bands, aims to publish a monthly cartoon newspaper.
“Columbus is one of the best cross-sections of American culture,” he said. “If you can come here and build an audience, that audience will follow you to other cities.”
When the OSU Cartoon Museum reopens in November, Robb hopes to better serve local comic creators. She’d also like to start a graphic novel book club. In her eyes, when it comes to the future of Columbus comics, “the sky is the limit.”
1 Okay. I vowed not to be That Girl who ran up to him afterward, babbling about how I wrote my college entrance essay about Larson and that two huge compendiums of Larson’s work live in my kitchen. But I thought about it.
They say in order to truly observe something, you must use as many of your senses as possible. When entering the full-size Lustron home inside of the Ohio History Center, I felt like Marty McFly reemerging in the 1955 version of Hill Valley. I listened to the vintage TV set barking in the living room and ran my fingers along the smooth steel walls, where pictures were hung with magnets (not nails). I opened cupboards and sat down at the dinner table. I held a brush from the master bedroom vanity table and played with toys in the children’s room. Other than the iPhone in my pocket, there were no indicators of 2013. Ten dollars (nine for AAA members) really isn’t much to pay for a chance to go back in time.
The Lustron installation is part of 1950’s: Building the American Dream, which explores 50’s life as told through a Central Ohio family. In addition to offering the thrill of time travel, the exhibit uncovers the fascinating era of prefabricated porcelain-enameled steel homes.
During the post-World War II housing boom, the Columbus-based Lustron Corporation was expected to be the world’s biggest churner outer of homes-in-a-box. The million-square-foot production plant was located on East 5th Avenue near the airport. With six miles of conveyor belts, it used more electricity than the whole city. Before Lustron, the site manufactured World War II fighter planes for the Navy. Now it’s a shipping hub for DSW.
More than 20,000 orders for Lustron homes were placed, but only 2,500 were built before the company declared bankruptcy in 1950. The 2002 documentary film Lustron: The House America’s Been Waiting For explores Lustron’s passionate but brief dance with success. It’s estimated that 1,500 Lustron homes still survive in the United States, 200 of which are in Ohio.
The Ohio History Center will host 1950’s Family Weekends with special hands-on activities and programs related to the exhibit on September 28-29, October 26-27, November 23-24, and December 28-29. Get your flux capacitors ready.
The Johnstone Fund for New Music, in partnership with Sunday at Central and Short North Stage, recently joined forces to create “New Music Salon at Short North Stage,” a free contemporary classical music series at the Garden Theater in the Short North.
For the opening performance on October 23 at 7:30 p.m., violinist David Niwa (Artistic Director, Sunday at Central); violinist Olev Viro @Columbus Symphony); violist Ken Matsuda (Columbus Symphony); violist Belinda Reuning Burge (Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra); cellist Luis Biava (Columbus Symphony); and cellist Michael Carrera (Professor of Cello, Ohio University) will perform Arnold Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night (Verklärte Nacht, 1899). The musicians also will perform Pulitzer-Prize-winning American composer Charles Wuorinen’s String Sextet (1989).
“As we look into the uncertainty of a new century, these two great 20th century works for string sextet show how connected we are to the past,” said Zoe Johnstone, co-founder of the Johnstone Fund for New Music.
The October 23 concert coincides with Short North Stage’s production of the Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine Pulitzer-Prize-winning musical Sunday in the Park with George, which is based on Georges Seurat’s painting “Sunday on the Island of the Grande Jatte.” Both Transfigured Night and “Sunday on the Island of the Grande Jatte” were completed at the end of the 19th century as romanticism in the arts gave way to the modern era.
“The Garden Theater was built in 1920 specifically for live music performance,” said Short North Stage board president Peter Yockel. “These concerts help bring the theater back to its original purpose.”
The series continues in 2014 with free concerts on February 19 and June 4.
The sixth annual Independents’ Day takes place on September 20-22 at Gay Street and Pearl Alley in downtown Columbus. The free all-ages festival features local bands, artists, crafters, filmmakers, comedy acts, fashion designers, food trucks, emerging chefs, brewers, and distillers.
More than 40 local bands will perform on four stages, including Lydia Loveless, Fields and Planes, Connections, The Whiles, The Regrettes, Cadaver Dogs, Way Yes, Nick Tolford & Company, Karate Coyote, Cliffs, Bummers, Sleep Fleet, Indigo Wild, The Girls!, Washington Beach Bums, and an appearance by New Bomb Turks.
September 20: 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. in Pearl Alley
Nina West will emcee the kickoff celebration, which includes live music by Forest & the Evergreens and Tin Armor, food trucks, and craft vendors.
September 21: 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Gay Street and in Pearl Alley
Crafts: Local crafters, including Columbus Crafty Cotillion, will showcase wares. Columbus Craftacular will host a Make N’ Take booth.
Food Trucks/Carts: Mikey’s Late Night Slice and Pattycake Bakery will be on hand, as well as newcomers The Coop, Ajumama, Explorers Club, Mashita Noodles, Tatoheads, Paddy Wagon, Freedom a la Cart, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, and J-Pops.
Up-and-Coming Eats: Emerging chefs, aspiring entrepreneurs, and ambitious home cooks will share free samples.
Beverages: Local brewers and distillers will pour spirits, beer, and mead.
Film: Selections from the Film Festival of Columbus (FFOCOL) will be screened. The Residence Inn will host entries from the Wexner Center for the Arts Ohio Shorts competition, as well as a series of short films by Central Ohio filmmakers.
Fashion: Local fashion designers will host a collaborative fashion show and T-shirt Remodel workshops.
Records and Comic Books: An array of vinyl from local record stores and works from local comic book writers and artists will be available.
Chalk Art: As a preview to Chalk the Block at Easton, local artists will create chalk art alongside the festivities.
Sunday, September 22: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Pearl Alley
The Hills Market and Due Amici will host Brunch and Bloody Marys, followed by urban bobsled cart racing and live acoustic music.
“Expanding this festival to three days is beyond thrilling,” said Independents’ Day captain Alexis Perrone. “Each day was thoughtfully crafted so that people can experience the best of what independent outlets in Columbus have to offer.”
Local designer and pop art aficionado John Buckley created this year’s troubadour-themed festival artwork, signage, posters, and T-shirts.
Sign up for volunteer shifts here.
The next Pecha Kucha Columbus event takes place on August 8 outside of the newly opened studio cooperative Tacocat in Grandview. Atmospheric indie rock band Fever Fever will perform at 7:30 p.m. and presentations begin at 8:30. The suggested donation is $2 per person.
Each speaker will follow the international Pecha Kucha format of showing 20 images and speaking about each image for 20 seconds. Presenters include culinary artist Donte Allen, architect Al Berthold, Jim Coe from WCBE 90.5 FM, Blake Compton of Compton Construction, artist Daric Gill, Jessica Mathews with Cbus Cycle Chic, meditation expert Lori Moffett, Beth Poley of Ohioana Library, Erin Scott from Benefactor Group, and physician Randy Sharma. Adam Brouillette will emcee. Pecha Kucha is about sharing passion and creativity, and is not a forum for sales pitches, commercial presentations, or self-promotional material. Presenters are subject to change.
Food trucks will sell refreshments, as organized by Food Fort Columbus. Guests should bring folding chairs. Free parking is available in most surrounding lots. Carpooling and bicycling are encouraged. In case of severe thunderstorms, a rain date has been scheduled for August 15. Updates will be posted on the Pecha Kucha Columbus Facebook and Twitter pages.
Until yesterday, I thought that magical forests existed only in fairytales. Then I discovered Inniswood Metro Gardens, whose lavish and playful world has made me a believer of supernatural nature.
Part of Columbus Metro Parks, Inniswood serves up 123 acres of horticultural heaven. It belonged to sisters Grace and Mary Innis, who donated the Westerville estate to the city in 1972. Streams, woodlands, wildflowers, wildlife, waterfalls, and 2,000 plant species burst through the grounds like a giant rooted fireworks display. More than 300 members and volunteers help keep the area in optimal condition.
Among Inniswood’s most mystical nooks are the Rose Garden, Woodland Rock Garden, Herb Garden, Fern Garden, Circle Garden, and Conifer Garden. Six walking trails zigzag the premises, with names like Chipmunk Chatter Trail and Frog Talk Walk. The Sisters’ Garden is a children’s garden with a story maze depicting the Native American tale Earth on Turtle’s Back.
Inniswood is open daily from 7:00 a.m. to dark. In an effort to connect people with nature, it offers nature education programs, where you can learn about everything from bluebirds and dragonflies to drying flowers and growing micro greens. It also hosts special events including concerts, yoga classes, and tai chi sessions.
If you’re seeking a place to hide out, rest up, and rekindle some childlike wonder, this is it.
These free movie nights are held on a 30-foot screen at the park’s softball diamond. Each film starts at sundown and is preceded by costume and trivia contests with prizes from local businesses. Back to the Future will be emceed by Tim Fulton, and Nina West will emcee Mean Girls and Despicable Me.
A variety of food trucks and carts will sell refreshments, including Green Meanie Food Truck, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Pattycake Bakery, Short North Bagel Deli, and Swoop! Food Truck. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets, lawn chairs, and flashlights. There are no rain dates.
The 5th annual Goodale Park Music Series kicks off in July with these Columbus performing acts:
July 14: Forest & the Evergreens
July 28: Angela Perley & the Howlin’ Moons
August 4: The Spikedrivers
August 11: Way Yes
August 18: The DewDroppers
August 25: Eric Nassau and Friends
Rain date: September 1
All shows take place at the Goodale Park gazebo from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. The series is made possible with generous support from theShort North Foundation, Short North Civic Association, Columbus Recreation & Parks, ComFest,Friends of Goodale Park, and Italian Village Society. Click here for photos of past concerts.
Live Art: A rotating group of artists will create live art throughout the series, including Adam Brouillette, Andrew Lundberg, Fresh A.I.R. Gallery, Michael Quinn, Sara Adrian, TRANSIT Arts, and Urban Scrawl.
Vendors: Participating vendors include 2-Headed Monster Comics, Accessorize Your Accessories,alison rose, Badala, Candle with a Cause, HOMAGE, Sweet Simpliciteas, Todd Beistel (The Horror Show), and What The Rock?
Sound Engineering: Above Sound
Check-In Partner: Yelp Columbus
Until recently, I didn’t believe it was possible to hold a letter that George Washington wrote in 1788. Or flip through a 15th-century medieval manuscript. I definitely didn’t think I could do so less than a mile from home. But thanks to a friend, I discovered an endless world of history and possibility at the State Library of Ohio.
The State Library was founded in Columbus in 1817 and provides a dizzying amount of free services for Ohio residents, libraries, and state employees. Located in the historic Jeffrey Manufacturing Building in Italian Village, it offers a statewide resource sharing service to more than 500 libraries. Its catalog contains more than 800,000 items.
“We can impact just about everyone in Ohio,” said Marsha McDevitt-Stredney, the State Library’s Director of Marketing and Communications.
The State Library is the only regional federal repository in Ohio. You can access federal government information for free, including congressional records, executive branch documents, census statistics, house and senate journals, topographical maps, atlases, and U.S. patents. On the state level, you can explore rosters of Ohio soldiers from the Civil War, Spanish-American War, and World War I; Laws of Ohio from 1803; agricultural reports (including history of Ohio State Fairs); Ohio Supreme Court decisions; and election statistics.
You can also get suggestions from librarians about what to read; access digital audiobooks, eBooks, music, and video; request help with genealogy projects; find jobs and get assistance applying for them; take practice tests and learn workplace skills; foster early childhood literacy; encourage other Ohioans to read; support the works of Ohio writers, artists, and musicians at the Ohioana Library; obtain recorded books, magazines, and playback equipment for blind, visually impaired, physically handicapped, and reading disabled Ohio residents; access a collection of materials related to deafness and American Sign Language; and research thousands of electronic resources and databases.
This place is cool.
As I explored the 98,000 square feet of history heaven, I found highway maps from 1919, vintage atlases, hundred-year-old New York Times microfiche, and 1916 U.S. soil samples. I also saw old FEMA flood insurance maps and an 1896 U.S. Army guide to drill regulations for light artillery.
Without question, one of the highlights is the Rare Book Room. It’s lovingly tended by Shannon Kupfer, who’ll be glad to give you a tour if you make an appointment. Among its 7,000 items are the aforementioned Washington letter and medieval manuscript, the complete works of Martin Luther circa 1539 (in German), and the exquisitely illustrated Birds of America collection.
“So many people don’t know that we even have a State Library,” said Beverly Cain, State Librarian of Ohio. “It's an incredible treasure trove.”
See you in the stacks.
Covert parking spots. The identity of Vinchen. Jeni’s Salty Caramel recipe. Some Short North secrets are best kept hidden. Dames Bond Marketplace shouldn’t be one of them (even if its name is inspired by a certain secret agent). The 1,500-square-foot Garden District boutique opened last October and offers a smashing array of apparel, jewelry, accessories, artwork, candles, body care, and home décor.
“The Marketplace gives women an opportunity to showcase their talent and participate in a retail experience, Mary said. “I did a lot of research, and there’s nothing like it in Ohio or the Midwest.”
When it opened, the Marketplace featured 30 vendors. It now has 43, half of which use Dames Bond as their only brick-and-mortar location. Mary designed and merchandised the space, and the vendors work on consignment. It also serves as a small business incubator, offering vendors monthly workshops about trends and marketing.
“This is all about championing women and giving them an opportunity to create something,” Mary said. “Social norms have stopped us from being our best selves, and I want to break that.”
Two new vendors joined the Marketplace yesterday: Sweet Simpliciteas dessert tea and Dragon Ikka Japanese jewelry and gifts. Upcoming events include a Bella Beads trunk show for tonight’s Gallery Hop; a silversmith demonstration tomorrow by Kristi Ross of KK Makes Things; and mother/daughter make-and-take journals with Thrive Theory on May 11.
Elvis Presley will probably forever be considered the King of Rock and Roll. I mean, the man has almost 99,000 Twitter followers, and he passed away 29 years before Twitter began. An estimated 85,000 people impersonate him. But after learning about the free Elvis photography exhibit at Capital University’s Schumacher Gallery, I was skeptical. Rhinestone-studded visions of fist pumps and girdled velvet filled my head. Haven’t we seen all of Elvis there is to see? I headed to Bexley anyway, and was treated to a raw glimpse of the man before the pelvis.
Elvis at 21: Photographs by Alfred Wertheimer contains 56 photographs (most of them 36x48 pigment prints) that were taken during one week in 1956. Wertheimer was a 26-year-old freelance photographer from Brooklyn who had never heard of Elvis, and Elvis could still sit alone at a drugstore counter without getting mobbed. The black-and-white images were shot in close range, and rarely used flash. As evocative as the photos were the anecdotes pinned alongside them.
“I guess he felt that someone should be photographing him because one of these days he was going to be famous,” Wertheimer said. “People asked me later on, ‘What was so different about Elvis?’ I didn’t know at the time, but I would soon understand that first of all, he made the girls cry and second, he permitted closeness.”
Elvis was a hopeless flirt and a wicked dazzler — but he was talented and fearless. This show made me realize that, in spite of all the executives ordering him how to be a star, he defied them and became an icon.
Elvis at 21 was developed by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service with support from The History Channel. It debuted at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles on January 8, 2010 (Elvis’ 75th birthday) and has been touring throughout the country. The exhibit will be on display at Schumacher Gallery until April 27.
When hearing the word “bourbon,” you may think of mahogany leather sofas, wrap-around front porches, or J.R. Ewing. Dave Rigo of Watershed Distillery stares at his oak bourbon barrels and ponders something considerably less nostalgic: his 401(k). Since co-founding Watershed in 2010, his “kinda crazy idea” of making spirits in Columbus has exploded into an intoxicating force. With the Kentucky Derby less than two months away, I had bourbon on the brain and toured Watershed to learn more about the process of microdistilling.
“We make vodka and gin to support our bourbon habit,” Rigo said.
Rigo and his partner Greg Lehman didn’t fall into microdistilling immediately. The Watershed concept was actually the duo’s 20th business plan, after being informed by their attorney that their first 19 ideas “sucked.” After lots of passionate research and some out-of-state apprenticeships, they got started in a 2,000-square-foot Grandview warehouse. They recently expanded to 4,700 square feet and now produce up to 5,000 bottles a month. Their liquor is available in 150 liquor stores and 500 bars/restaurants in Ohio, as well as a handful of outlets in Kentucky and New York. They shipped their first order to Chicago this week.
Watershed produces four spirits: Four Peel Gin, Bourbon Barrel Gin, Vodka, and Bourbon. Gin is their signature item, which has been referred to as “The Gateway Gin” for its mild disposition. Many microdistillers use four or five botanicals when making their gin; Watershed uses eight. Rigo and Lehman also include the lowest possible amount of juniper in their gin (51%), making it more palatable for those who don’t like drinking Christmas trees. Watershed’s vodka is Ohio corn based and has been praised for its clean finish, thanks to the painstaking removal of methanol. As for the beloved bourbon, it’s double distilled and aged for roughly two-and-a-half years using a thoughtful mix of Ohio corn, wheat, rye, and spelt. Rigo is currently tinkering with malted barley for a possible new bourbon flavor and enlisted the expertise of a local molecular biologist to grow a proprietary strain of yeast.
According to The American Distilling Institute, there will be 400-450 boutique distillers in the United States and Canada by the end of 2015. Watershed aims to be one of the best of them. Until then, Rigo will gaze at his wall of 53-gallon bourbon barrels that won’t be ready until a few more years.
“We’re just sitting and watching our future in those barrels,” he laughed.
Some things are best kept secret. Colonel Sanders’ recipe. PIN numbers. What’s whispered at the end of Lost in Translation. The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at The Ohio State University is one of the biggest secrets in Columbus, but big plans are in the works to make it a place you won’t forget.
The Cartoon Library was founded in 1977, when Ohio State alumnus and famed cartoonist Milton Caniff donated his artwork to the university. It was named after former Columbus Dispatch cartoonist Billy Ireland, who mentored Caniff. With more than 300,000 original cartoons, 50,000 books, and 2.5 million comic strip clippings, it’s the world’s largest academic research facility dedicated to printed cartoon art. In addition to editorial cartoons, comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, sports cartoons, and magazine cartoons, it has one of the world’s largest collections of Japanese manga.
This summer, the Cartoon Library will move from its hidden 6,000-square-foot digs behind the Wexner Center for the Arts to a 30,000-square-foot space at Sullivant Hall. The new area will feature three museum-quality galleries for visiting and permanent collections, and will host book tour events, cartooning workshops, and live slide show readings of comics. The Grand Opening Festival is scheduled for November.
There are some amazing exhibits planned for 2014 that you won’t want to miss. Trust me. In the meantime, an exhibit of A.B. Walker’s work opens tomorrow. Walker was a popular early 20th century cartoonist who drew for Life, Harper’s, The Atlantic, The Saturday Evening Post, Judge, and Collier’s. The exhibit runs through April 26 and will be followed by a show of Civil War cartoons. In late May, the Cartoon Library will close for relocation.
The Cartoon Library is free and open to the public, but is a “closed stack” non-circulating institution. While you can’t browse items, you may access anything in the collection by completing simple paperwork and asking staff members for guidance. Researchers from around the globe visit the library to study items in the collection. All artwork is humidity/temperature controlled and stored in acid-free archival materials.
“Tons of famous cartoonists are from Ohio,” McGurk said. “There’s no reason that Columbus shouldn’t be the main comic city in America.”
Renderings courtesy of Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.
Yesterday I made a (last-minute) decision to hold the Great American Peanut Butter Tasting & Challenge. You see, the hubs is somewhat of a peanut butter sommelier. He knows more about PB than the combined workforces of Jif, Skippy, and Peter Pan. If I got a penny every time he said “Peanut butter is the perfect food,” I’d be typing this from my villa on Lake Como.
The rules of the Great Peanut Butter Tasting & Challenge were simple. I asked friends to do a blind taste testing of five peanut butters and rank them on a scale from 1 to 5 (5 being excellent). The challenge was to identify which of the five was organic, and which was the most expensive. All peanut butters sampled were creamy and all-natural, meaning that none of them contained added salt, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, trans fatty acids, or hydrogenated oils. Two of the five were Ohio made, and the milk I provided as a palate cleanser was locally produced from Snowville Creamery. Each peanut butter was graded on flavor, consistency, oil to butter ratio, aroma, appearance, peanutality1, and jaunt factor2. There were seven tasters, all of whom received gold star stickers for participating. Here are the results.
Whole Foods Grind-Your-Own Natural Peanut Butter
$4.49 (16 oz)
Overall Score: 184
Flavor: 3.6 / Consistency: 3.9 / Oil to Butter Ratio: 4.3 / Aroma: 2.9 / Appearance: 4.1 / Peanutality: 4.3 / Jaunt Factor: 3.4
Comments: “Simple. Fun to eat. Makes my tummy smile.” / “Just right. Oh yeah.” / “Grainy, very sweet. Would be good for baking.”
Giant Eagle Nature’s Basket Organic Peanut Butter
$4.19 (16 oz)
Overall Score: 153
Flavor: 3.3 / Consistency: 3.1 / Oil to Butter Ratio: 2.9 / Aroma: 3.1 / Appearance: 3.4 / Peanutality: 3.4 / Jaunt Factor: 2.4
Comments: “All around very good.”
Trader Joe’s Creamy Unsalted Peanut Butter
$2.79 (16 oz)
Overall Score: 152
Flavor: 2.9 / Consistency: 3.1 / Oil to Butter Ratio: 3 / Aroma: 3.1 / Appearance: 3.6 / Peanutality: 3.7 / Jaunt Factor: 2.3
Comments: “Tasty! Love it.” / “I feel duped. Looks tasty, but it’s actually bland.” / “Slightly metallic. Fairly ugly.”
Krema Natural Creamy Peanut Butter (Made in Columbus, Ohio)
$4.29 (16 oz)
Overall Score: 123
Flavor: 2.6 / Consistency: 3.3 / Oil to Butter Ratio: 2.9 / Aroma: 1.9 / Appearance: 2.7 / Peanutality: 2.6 / Jaunt Factor: 1.9
Comments: “A bit bland.” / "Bland." / “Not a fan. Nice consistency though.” / “Vegetal taste. Least mouth-coaty. Sweet.”
Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter (Made in Orrville, Ohio)
$3.99 (16 oz)
Overall Score: 81
Flavor: 1.4 / Consistency: 1.1 / Oil to Butter Ratio: 1.3 / Aroma: 2 / Appearance: 2.6 / Peanutality: 1.9 / Jaunt Factor: 1.3
Comments: “Oily. Not fun to eat.” / “Clunky, gooey, hard to mix. Sloppy.” / “Linseedy.”
“I love processed peanut butter!”
“Hershey’s Kisses smell like vomit.”
“I’m lactose intolerant. Can I have vodka as my palate cleanser?”
Sole Winner of Challenge
Shawnsation (a.k.a. “Keylime”) correctly guessed that the Whole Foods PB was the priciest.
1 Peanutality: overarching
sense of peanuttiness.
2 Jaunt Factor: sense of giddiness and/or hyperactivity elicited by top notch peanut butter.
Yesterday was World AIDS Day. Five Columbus organizations (AIDS Resource Center Ohio, Greater Columbus Mpowerment Center, Stonewall Columbus, Ohio AIDS Coalition, and Columbus Public Health) collaborated to host a silent memorial flash mob at last night’s bustling Short North Holiday Hop. As we walked up and down High Street carrying red glow sticks, we honored those who live with HIV/AIDS and remembered those who have died from it. This was one small event among thousands that were held across the globe, but it shared the same goals: to raise awareness, promote access to treatment, celebrate prevention services, and advocate an AIDS-free future. It was a memorable show of support that I won’t soon forget.
Bullying is not an easy subject, but thankfully it has been getting lots of global attention. You Will Rise Project hosted a student art exhibit yesterday at Columbus Museum of Art, with pieces by 11 Columbus students aged 11 to 17 who have been victims of bullying. The multimedia display was as haunting and raw as it was uplifting. Each student spent several weeks embracing and releasing their innermost creative spirits with local artist volunteers. Here are some excerpts from the student bios, taken from the event program:
“People would attack me with words…I actually tried to commit suicide. My parents got me help and moved me to a very accepting school. I discovered art and it helped me get out of that dark place where I thought I wasn’t good enough.”
“I started getting bullied in the third grade. Then in sixth grade I started cutting myself. [In] seventh grade I finally tried to commit suicide…I finally found a healthy way to deal with my pain in art.”
“Art saved me…I was bullied because I am an art kid and I didn’t fit in at the other schools I went to…I have now begun to discover myself in my new accepting school that has a zero tolerance for bullying.”
To me, constructive and empowering efforts like these can help save the world. Click here for more photos.
At last night’s Spirit Day candlelight vigil in Goodale Park, a couple hundred community members came out to show their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth who have taken their lives or been severely impacted by bullying. It was hosted by Stonewall Columbus in honor of Bullying Prevention Month. Passionate speakers including Karla Rothan, Paul Richmond, Linda Regula, Tayo Clyburn, and Kaleidoscope Youth Center inspired us with tales of resilience and visions of a violence-free world. The You Will Rise Project, created by Richmond and Regula, will present an exhibition of artwork by high school students who have been affected by bullying on November 18 at the Columbus Museum of Art.
Today is Spirit Day. It has been reported that up to 77% of students have been victimized by some form of bullying. If you know any young people who have been teased, scorned, or belittled, consider reaching out to them. Offer a reminder that it gets better. Bullying is real and it’s ugly, but love is stronger than hate, and together we can overcome it.
Click here for more photos.
We often hear about programs that benefit the community. Last night at the first annual Short Stop Youth Center Open House, I experienced one that changes it. Children performed monologues from The Wizard of Oz, and the youth band performed such numbers as Seven Nation Army and Somebody That I Used to Know. Mentors spoke passionately about impacting young people’s lives through the arts. The air hummed with creativity and empowerment.
Short Stop is a free after-school program in the Short North for kids aged 7-18, offering activities in theater, art, music, dance, homework help, healthy eating, and drug/alcohol prevention. It’s open Monday to Friday from 2:30 to 8:00 p.m. There are currently 25 children enrolled at the center, which receives funding from United Way of Central Ohio and ADAMH, but it can accommodate more. The group is hosting a free haunted house on October 30.
Click here for more photos.
The eighth annual Craftin’ Outlaws alternative craft fair takes place on Saturday, November 17 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Gateway Film Center. Admission is free and all ages are welcome. Modern handmade goods from more than 50 Midwest vendors will be for sale, including clothing, jewelry, paintings, posters, ceramics, knitted accessories, stuffed animals, soap, stationery, skateboards, and home décor. Early Bird Passes (for shopping access from 10:00 to 11:00) can be purchased online or at the show for $5. Early Bird shoppers will be invited to participate in an Early Bird Raffle, the proceeds of which benefit Project: Zero Ohio.
“At Craftin’ Outlaws, you’ll find gifts that you can’t just get at a mall,” said Megan Green, Craftin’ Outlaws lead organizer and Owner of Stinkybomb Soap. “Each one tells a handmade story.”
Courtesy of Jessica Miller Photography.
Ten years ago this month, I wrote a story for Discover Ohio Magazine about 10 haunted places in Ohio. These are the sites I profiled. Have fun, ghost hunters.
Twin City Opera House
The stage floor of the Twin City Opera House (formerly known as The McConnelsville Opera House) used to have trap doors that led to an underground dressing room, allowing performers to leave the building unseen. Its tunnels linked to other places in the village, and were said to have helped conceal slaves who fled the South during the Civil War. They say one of the building’s ghosts is the spirit of Everitt Miller, who ushered there for more than 30 years. Known for his crisp white suits, he still apparently hovers over the aisles of his beloved hall. Dozens of people have reported seeing the “man in white.”
Courtesy of Lost & Found Ohio.
Lafayette Hotel (Marietta)
Another spirit that allegedly still likes to stick around is that of S. Durward Hoag, former owner of the Lafayette Hotel. Overlooking the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers, the hotel is said to have a “phantom elevator” that ascends and descends on its own, a possessed light bulb in the Gun Room restaurant, and coffee cups with a mind of their own. Several employees admitted having paranormal experiences on the third floor.
Courtesy of Hidden Marietta.
Fulton County Historical Museum (Wauseon)
The Fulton County Historical Musuem was both a high school and hospital back in the day, and psychics like contacting its young ghost “Little Johnny White.” A past curator said that Johnny once removed all of the Christmas tree ornaments and lined them up on the floor, one by one. Several people who grew up in the area claimed to see the spirit of an elderly woman clad in Victorian garb glaring at them from an upstairs window. Even though the building doesn’t allow smoking or display fresh flowers, some visitors have reported pungent smells of fresh bouquets and pipe tobacco.
Courtesy of Fulton County Historical Museum.
Wilson Hall, Ohio University (Athens)
Athens has been called the most haunted place in Ohio. Its surrounding hills are peppered with family cemeteries, including Simms, Hanning, Cuckler, Higgins, and Zion, which are said to form a pentagon. According to pagan beliefs, a pentagon offers a protective force, the center of which is exempt from any paranormal activity. Wilson Hall in Ohio University’s West Green is supposedly the center of the pentagon.
Courtesy of Ohio University.
Hammel House Inn (Waynesville)
Built atop a prehistoric Indian burial ground, Waynesville is “The Antiques Capital of the Midwest” and host of the Ohio Sauerkraut Festival. But the Hammel House Inn was more than just a friendly stagecoach stop. As legend has it, the innkeeper killed a young traveling salesman in 1823 while he slept and stole gold coins from his saddlebag. The victim’s body is believed to be buried on site, and some guests have claimed to see a wispy white figure lurking on the stairway, flicking the basement storeroom lights.
Courtesy of Museum at the Friends Home.
Memorial Hall (Dayton)
Memorial Hall is a Civil War monument that once housed the Dayton Philharmonic. More than 50 years ago, a stagehand fell into the orchestra pit and died. According to reports, he’s still lingering and has been linked to tales of cold bursts of air, flushing toilets, errant spotlights, and flickering stage lights.
Courtesy of route40.net.
Squire’s Castle (Cleveland)
A red light allegedly shines at Squire’s Castle in the North Chagrin Reservation. This mini castle was built by oil pioneer Feargus B. Squire at the turn of the 20th century. As the story goes, Squire’s wife developed a nasty bout of insomnia. One night during a bout of sleeplessness, she suffered a fatal fall on her way to the basement library. Even though the basement has been filled in, visitors have claimed to see the spirit of Squire’s wife gliding through the castle with a scarlet lantern.
Edison Birthplace Museum (Milan)
Built in 1841, the Edison Birthplace Museum has caused a few spine shivers for its unexplainable, unidentifiable noises. Thomas Edison’s father Samuel supposedly believed in ghosts and held a few séances there. Throughout the years, people have claimed to sense paranormal activity and hear spooky noises in the house.
Thurber House (Columbus)
Eerie noises weren’t considered strange at the Thurber House, where James Thurber grew up. Sounds of empty chairs scraping across the floor, books falling off shelves, and footsteps running up stairs were common occurrences. In 1912, Thurber reportedly saw the ghost of a previous male tenant who, upon learning of his wife’s infidelity, ran up the stairs and shot himself. Several families later moved out of the house to escape the apparition, but Thurber immortalized his encounter in The Night the Ghost Got In.
Brent Turner, courtesy of Thurber House.
I used to be afraid of cemeteries. Growing up, I abided the Honorary Kid Code by holding my breath every time I passed one. Then someone suggested that I tour Green Lawn Cemetery. It took me five months to warm up to the idea.
On Thursday, I headed west on Greenlawn Avenue through the grand cemetery gates and landed in a world of legends and splendor that instantly struck me to the core. I met my tour guide Sandi Latimer, who has volunteered at Green Lawn for the past decade, and we set off in her car to meander the enchanted forest.
“This is beautiful. It’s just so beautiful,” I kept muttering.
Sandi nodded at me knowingly. She’s uncannily passionate about Ohio history, and about the history of everything in general. Like Green Lawn’s lioness, she unlocked the mystical secrets of all 360 of its acres, and meticulously answered my questions. All 97 of them. She is, quite simply, the perfect tour guide.
Founded in 1848, Green Lawn is Ohio’s second largest cemetery. It’s laid out like a Victorian rural cemetery, with 3,000 trees (including four state champions) and endless rolling hills. More than 200 species of birds have been sighted there, making it a hot birding destination. Basically, Green Lawn is a big, beautiful park. It has joggers and dog walkers, and it even recently hosted an eight-year-old’s birthday celebration.
“It’s like all of these amazing people from history are here together, having a big party,” I blurted.
Now, I can’t tell you why I said that. People buried in a cemetery having a party? I was so unhinged by the overall sense of majesty and tranquility that it just came out. And that’s when I started to get star struck. Because among Green Lawn’s 151,000 inhabitants are some very notable people. Thurber. Neil. Sullivant. Rickenbacker. Dennison. Lazarus. Hubbard.
“Oh my God, is that Lincoln Goodale?” I shrieked as I jumped out of Sandi’s (still moving) car.
“Yes, it is,” she smiled.
I sprinted to Dr. Goodale’s grave like it was going somewhere. Oh, the million times I would thank him for giving us the best park in the world. We ventured forth to the Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I, and World War II areas. We stopped by the oldest grave, belonging to Dr. Benjamin Gard, who died of cholera in 1849 after treating cholera patients at the Ohio Penitentiary. We visited the popular toy-adorned gravesite of George Blount, who died in 1873 at the age of five, after sliding down the banister and crashing into his family’s potbellied stove. We marveled at the Tiffany stained glass windows and mosaic murals inside of Huntington Chapel, which was built in 1902. I saw the grave of a man who rode with Wyatt Earp’s posse in the 1880’s, and of the woman who co-founded my alma mater in 1898. I learned that several relatives of prominent people are buried at Green Lawn, like George Armstrong Custer’s half-brother, Harvey Firestone’s cousin, George W. Bush’s great grandfather, J.C. Penney’s brother, and Woodrow Wilson’s grandparents. Above all else, I discovered that cemeteries can be resoundingly full of life.
Green Lawn Cemetery is open seven days a week, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. April through October, and 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. November through March. It hosts tours, First Saturday programs, and monthly bird walks, and has ongoing volunteer opportunities.
When I moved to Columbus 22 years ago, I learned something key: In the land of Ohio State football, one either bleeds scarlet and gray or goes home. I found out about this thing called “tailgating,” where people set up compact parking lot parties and eat toothpicked meatballs out of contraptions called “crock pots.” I began wearing necklaces fashioned out of poisonous nuts, and obediently matched every bellowed “O-H!” with an equally boisterous “I-O!” But after attending the season opening Buckeye game against Miami University (Ohio) on Saturday, I learned that some of OSU football’s most memorable moments happen between plays.
1. Urban Meyer is a big deal. Like, bigger than Santa Claus, President Obama, and Lady Gaga combined. I had a hunch this was the case, but when our new coach jogged onto the field for the first time, I thought all 105,039 of us at Ohio Stadium had enough emotional voltage to power Cedar Point for a year.
2. The raising and lowering of the American flag, heroically performed by Ohio military personnel, is an unbelievably profound and respectful ceremonial ritual. This was the first time I got to see it up close, and I’ll never forget it.
3. Touchdown push-ups, also executed by local members of the U.S. Military, are crazy impressive. I can’t even do one push-up, so the 252 they did after we beat the Red Hawks 56-10 blew my freaking mind.
4. The Ohio State Marching Band, a.k.a. The Best Damn Band In The Land, plays opponents’ fight songs in their honor. At the end of the game, after the crowd left and a few stragglers were hanging on, TBDBITL marched in formation at the middle of the field and played Miami’s fight song in front of the visiting band. I may have fought back a tear.
5. After home games, spectators can stand by the southeast gates of the stadium to catch a glimpse of star players exiting the building. When I got wind of this, I made the hubs wait with me for an hour so I could see Braxton Miller in person for 8.4 seconds. We also saw more armed servicemen and women, who were chatting with and posing for photographs alongside top players. OSU Athletics has a program that helps military personnel meet members of the team. We talked to one of them who is being deployed this week and was thrilled to have that experience.
Although Ohio State fans are sometimes nuts1, what happens just off the field can underlie the purest meaning of sportsmanship.
1 Yup. Went there.
When it comes to birds, I’m what you might call “challenged.” I know that Big Bird is nice, being flipped the bird is not nice, and avoiding bird poop on your head is good. I can’t tell a Blue-Breasted Kingfisher from a Trumpeter Hornbill and I only watched The Big Year because Steve Martin was in it. Yesterday, however, I upped my bird game with a visit to the Grange Insurance Audubon Center. On my way inside, a precocious 10-year-old saw the camera dangling from my neck and mistook me for a birder. “A Yellow Finch is hanging out by the rain garden if you want to photograph it,” he said. “And there’s a snapping turtle inside. Don’t put your hand in the tank though.”
Oh my God, I thought. This kid knows real names of actual birds. What the heck is a finch? And why can’t I pet the turtle?
I played it cool. “Thanks,” I said. “Yeah, I figured there’d be one over there so I’ll just go take a quick shot.”
Naturally, the little yellow maniac scurried to the highest branch when he sensed my oafishness. I thought I heard him chirp “You have to earn this.”
The Audubon Center opened three summers ago. Nestled in Scioto Audubon Metro Park, it’s the first U.S. Audubon Nature Center to be built so close to the heart of a big city. Admission is free, and at least 212 bird species have been sighted there. The building itself is Green Certified and acts as a working model of sustainability and energy efficiency. It contains recycled construction materials, geothermal wells that use the earth’s temperature to provide heating and cooling, low-flow plumbing, walkways and courtyards made of permeable concrete to increase rain recharge, and an angled roof that collects and distributes rainwater. Never have I experienced a place that’s as educational and environmentally conscious as it is peaceful.
I’m coming for you, Little Finchie. One of these days, I’ll catch you off guard and take your picture. Just don’t poop on my head.
Alternative ad agency CivitasNow just installed an interactive hanging garden outside of Dinin’ Hall at 400 West Rich in Franklinton. Designed to promote social living and creative urban growing, the “cube garden” features 16 burlap-covered crates filled with tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. Visitors are welcome to tend and water the plants — and pluck vegetables from them. Dinin’ Hall opened in May and is the first street food hub in Columbus.
During the last Pecha Kucha Columbus event at Eartha Limited in May, CivitasNow built a warehouse garden installation with 100 veggie containers. The plants were strewn throughout the space in baskets, Campbell’s Soup cans, and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams cartons and given to attendees to take home. CivitasNow also gave away 150 seedlings of sweet basil, cilantro, mint, peas, eggplant, carrots, and beets in White Castle slider boxes.
According to CivitasNow co-founder Jacob Taylor, the goal of these imaginative giveaways is to foster eco-friendly ways of living and working. “We wanted to demonstrate how easy independent food production can be,” he said.
The 5th annual Independents’ Day takes place on Saturday, September 15 from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. at Gay Street and Pearl Alley in downtown Columbus. Presented by Gateway Film Center, this all ages festival celebrates indie culture, commerce, and creativity by offering live music on four stages, artists, crafters, dancers, street performers, restaurants, food trucks/carts, beer tents, and a kids area.
Independents’ Day represents a collaboration of organizations including Capitol Square Rotary, CLOUDHAUS, Columbus Crafty Cotillion, Columbus Young Professionals, The Couchfire Collective, DRAC (Downtown Residents’ Association of Columbus), Etsy Team Columbus, Experience Columbus, Franklinton Arts District, Kobo Live, Locality 2012, Music Loves Ohio, Ohio Historical Society, The SBB (Small Business Beanstalk), and Wonderland Columbus. This year’s Independents’ Day beneficiaries are Columbus Youth Guild and TRANSIT Arts. Sponsors include Gateway Film Center, Alexandra477, Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District, Columbus Alive, ColumbusLocalMusic.com, Due Amici, Eartha Limited, Greater Columbus Arts Council, Little Industries, The Other Paper, and WCBE 90.5 FM.
New This Year
A free Independents’ Day mobile phone app will launch in August. Other new elements include a dance stage, an Ohio-grown short film festival, a local author fair, a Fashion Collection area with apparel and accessories from local fashion designers, a craft vending machine, a social media corral, and a comedy show.
The application deadline for musicians and vendors is August 1. Dancer applications are due on September 1. Click here to apply.
People who are interested in volunteering at Independents’ Day can sign up for a shift here.
Each speaker will follow the international Pecha Kucha format of showing 20 images and speaking about each image for 20 seconds. Presenters include Matthew Barnes and Jacob Taylor with CivitasNow, Bear Braumoeller from Slow Food Columbus, Erin Corrigan of Independents’ Day, Kim Crabtree from IM Creative, Connie De Jong with Global Gallery, dance artist Cassia Hinchman, and artist Lisa McLymont. Presenters are subject to change. Pecha Kucha is about sharing passion and creativity. It’s not a forum for sales pitches, commercial presentations, or self-promotional material.
A pop-up art show will be on display, featuring work by Catherine Bell Smith and Helma Groot. Food trucks will sell refreshments, as organized by Food Fort Columbus. THOUGHTco will screen print T-shirts for guests throughout the evening ($5 for shirts brought from home and $12 to buy a new one). Scott Vayo will deejay.
The suggested donation is $2 per person, benefiting Pecha Kucha Columbus. Attendees are encouraged to bring reusable cups (for the water fountain) and lawn chairs. Junctionview Studios is located at 889 Williams Avenue in Grandview. Free parking is available on the street and alongside the building. Click here for a detailed map. Carpooling and bicycling are encouraged.
Photos by Jill Moorhead
At last weekend’s 31st annual Columbus Pride celebration, the air literally swirled with love. Signs read “God Loves Us All,” “I Support Love,” “Love Makes a Family,” and “Love Never Fails.” Around 230,000 people visited the Short North in honor of diversity and equality. The needle is moving in the right direction, but there’s still work to be done. During Saturday’s parade, I overheard a college student say that his father tried to discourage him from moving to Columbus because it was “too gay,” a woman who said that her parents would never march in a parade to support her being a lesbian, and a man who said that he suffered with severe depression as a teenager. When all of us have true universal acceptance to love whomever we choose, the comfort to live without fear, and equal legal rights — humanity will have taken one of its biggest strides. Click here for more photos.
The Short North Civic Association will launch the fourth season of Screen on the Green on July 20 with a screening of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. This will be the first of three outdoor movie nights held on a 30-foot screen at the softball diamond in the southwest corner of Goodale Park.
All movies begin at sundown and will be preceded by a half hour of classic cartoons. Each film will also feature themed contests and activities that encourage audience participation. Details about these fun interactive elements will be shared two weeks before each screening.
A variety of food trucks and carts will sell refreshments, as organized by Food Fort Columbus. Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets, lawn chairs, and flashlights. There are no rain dates.
Screen on the Green is free and open to the public. It’s made possible through organization and major funding by the Short North Civic Association, with additional funding by the Gateway Film Center and ComFest.
The 4th annual Goodale Park Music Series will host six free concerts at Goodale Park’s Gazebo this summer. The lineup features Tony Monaco on July 8, The Fabulous Johnson Brothers on July 15, Maza Blaska on July 29, Mary Adam 12 on August 12, Nick Tolford & Company on August 19, and The Spikedrivers on August 26. All shows run from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m.
New This Year: Live Art + Comic Book Creators
A rotating group of local artists will create live art at the park throughout the series, including Short North artist Josey Joseph, Hayley Meyers with Terra Gallery, and youth artists from TRANSIT Arts. Local comic book creators including 2 Headed Monster Comics, Max Ink, Nix Comics, Sunday Comix, Vantage:Inhouse Productions, and Yuri The Comic will sell comic books at the concerts.
A variety of local food carts will sell refreshments at each show, as organized by Food Fort Columbus.
Veteran sound engineer Fred Blitzer with Vital Companies will run sound for all six shows.
Click here to see photo albums from the series.
Oh, zombies of Central Ohio. I adore you. Congratulations on an amazing turnout at Saturday’s 6th annual ZombieWalk Columbus. More than 2,000 of you trudged through the Short North, and you raised a staggering 4,264 pounds of food for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank. There were bride zombies, marching band zombies, surgeon zombies, hula girl zombies, scarecrow zombies, hippie zombies, baby zombies, dog zombies, a parrot zombie, and (of course) sexy zombies. And yet it was the zombie clowns that made me want to climb the arches and cry. Regular clowns scare me, let alone corpse ones. So thanks for the creepy clown memories, and see you next year. Click here for more photos.
Until last month, it wouldn’t have occurred to me to willingly visit a greenhouse or botanical garden. I’m a founding member of the Black Thumb Club, meaning that I struggle to keep plastic plants alive. You know those “fail-proof” orchids that thrive on three ice cubes a week? I’ve killed five of them. But a few weeks ago, seemingly out of nowhere, I started weeding and planting with fury. And I liked it.
Our modern planet is wonderfully connected, but it’s easy to feel trapped by technology. Sometimes I need to disentangle from the wires and focus on things that transcend status updates, like playing in the dirt. Yesterday, amid a fit of technological suffocation, I zipped over to the Franklin Park Conservatory to see the Blooms & Butterflies exhibit. For one hour, I marveled at the wizardry of patterns in nature and forgot all about to-do lists. Plastic flowers: Love you, mean it — but we both knew this wasn’t going anywhere.
Blooms & Butterflies is on display through September 3, and there are butterfly releases at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. daily. Click here for more photos.
It started somewhere between Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Battlestar Galactica. It was intensified by The Hunger Games, Green Hornet, Super, Iron Man, The Oatmeal, and the Columbus Indie Comix Fair. Yep, my fate has been uncloaked: I have an Inner Nerdesse. Maybe she was always there, lying dormant until the Cylons activated her while being transported via hovercraft to the arena, but I can’t be sure. In my head, Admiral Adama was telling me it was time to join the fleet. And so yesterday I attended the 13th annual SPACE convention. With more than 180 vendors from around the country, it’s the biggest creator-owned comic show in the Midwest. The two-day event is organized by Bob Corby of Back Porch Comics and features thousands of self-published comic books. In addition to hosting workshops and panels, it awards juried prizes to creators in various categories. There are so many talented indie writers, illustrators, graphic artists, and cartoonists with brain-bendingly kinetic material. It’s gratifying to support them directly, since the comic industry has been infiltrated by pop culture behemoths like movies and video games. This is evidenced in the Morgan Spurlock film Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope, which was released two weeks ago.
Some personal SPACE highlights included getting my pony portrait, learning that the first edition of Grammar Man had typos, discussing how cats are plotting to overtake humans by communicating through Netflix envelopes, hearing the phrase “well-meaning homeless alligator,” and listening to my husband roar “Boba Fett!” when finding his favorite Star Wars character in a stack of drawings. I may have blurted “Battlestar Galactica is the best show ever” a little louder than I intended, but no one frakking cared. Click here for more photos.