A Missive from the Crescent City

Jun 11, 2012 by

Greetings readers,

Loki here. I know it has been awhile since I posted anything here so I thought I’d hop online and provide an update.

Thanks to the efforts of Ben Sherman and ClassicGrrl CincyVoices will be revving up once more in the near future. I’ve been dealing with chaos ever since returning to New Orleans six months ago, and have not been able to contribute as much as I would like.

Now I’m home. In a city I love and a state I abhor. Eight people shot in a single afternoon, the highest rate per capita of prisoners to population in the world (3x that of Iraq for those of you keeping score), and creationism being pushed into the schools by a governor who makes Kasich look decent. This is why I would laugh at people who spoke to me about high crime in Cincy. Truth is, y’all don’t have crime by comparison and you should be overjoyed by that.

So why the hell did we return? Because even with a list of downsides as long as the Ohio river this is still home, and home is worth fighting for.  While my ties to Cincy will always be tight you just don’t see things like this at random in the streets:

My two and a half years in Cincy allowed me to recover somewhat from the burnout of five years of covering Hurricane Katrina, the levee failure and the disturbing effects of their aftermath. It is because of that golden respite, and the wonderful friends I made up there, that I will keep CincyVoices going. You see Northside is now home as well for me, and there is a lot to fight for in Cincy.

I will basically be playing manager and facilitating the work of bloggers that are still physically local to the Queen City. I know that despite my time spent up there I am not in the thick of it anymore so I am going to focus on making sure that the incisive writers on our team have the tools to generate discussion and community centered around a more progressive vision of Cincy’s future.

Much love to Northside, OTR, the Toylab, Cincy Dr. Who, Take the Cake, AmazonLil, Oberon and the Gehrlichs, Mr Disney, and all of my gamer friends up there. I hope to visit by next summer, and cannot wait to see all of you.  I now turn things over to Classicgrrl and Ben while I deal with moving into a new apartment. You’re in very good hands.

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Happy New Year from CincyVoices and Loren the Black

Dec 31, 2011 by

Three cheers for the Queen City’s own Loren the Black!

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NOLA Bound: Loki’s Farewell

Nov 13, 2011 by

Skyline Chili and cafe Du Monde CoffeeIt’s been a little over three years since my wife and I bought our home in Northside. The Queen City has been good to us in that time – my wife finished her MFA, we met some wonderful people, had the best pizza I’ve eaten outside of NYC (Northslice!) , and found the real life Hall of Justice.  I’ve also gotten to see some horrible things – Kasich getting elected, a fellow New Orleanian shot and killed by Cincy PD around the corner from my house, and meeting one of the biggest misogynists I’ve ever encountered. Like any place there is both good and bad aplenty.

All in all I’ve enjoyed my adventures in Ohio, but now it is time to move on. I was born French Creole from a family that arrived in New Orleans on the first boatload of settlers. The subtropical heat and cultural flambouyance of the Crescent City call to my blood, as do – surprisingly – more concrete economic concerns. A surprising array of new opportunities have opened up for me there recently.

There are some things I pine for. Alligator tenderloin gumbo and frog’s legs with cayenne glaze at Louisiana Bistro. The constant smell of night blooming jasmine. The constant sound of brass, even in the local punk music. And I’ll be honest there is a lot I don’t look forward to, not in the least! Let’s start with 9.5% tax on food at the grocery store and then add in the insane murder rate and post BP toxicity. It’s not ideal, but as flawed as it is it’s home.

I guess it’s a peculiarity of New Orleanians, and one repeatedly borne out by independent observation. Rebecca Corey wrote the following on Kiva: Stories From The Field, and she truly hit the nail on the head (emphasis mine):

Even after Katrina killed 1,835 people, destroyed 275,000 homes and 400,000 jobs, caused $81 billion in property damage, and forced the evacuation of 80% of the New Orleans population, over 140,000 have returned to rebuild. All of the Kiva borrowers with whom I’ve spoken left New Orleans for a while, but each one affirms the same thing: “I always knew I’d come back to New Orleans. There’s no other place like it on earth.” I’ve never seen so many people identify with and love their city with such fervent passion, with such abounding joy, and with such commitment to making it better. I’ll end with a quote from the Talmud that reflects the spirit and determination of the folks I’ve met here. I thank them for their hard work and optimism.

‘Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.’

So it is that I find myself madly packing with very few days left in the Queen City. I’ll still be posting here on occasion, but will be stepping back and allowing the other bloggers to carry the torch. I will do everything I can to make sure that CincyVoices continues to provide thoughtful and entertaining slices of Queen City life. In the meantime I’ll be back for periodic visits, we’re keeping our house in Northside.

It’s been fun. Hopefully I’ll see some of you coming down to NOLA sometime.

I’m going to close with music, as is appropriate for a New Orleanian. This song about sums it up for me.

-Loki

Keep making waves in the Queen City, and be warned – I’ll be back!

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Northslice Gone?!!

Oct 4, 2011 by

Northslice Closed?Some friends and I found ourselves hungry today and decided that is was worth waiting an hour or two in order to go to Northslice.  It’s no secret that I think they’ve got the best pizza I’ve had since I lived in NYC, so it was all about anticipation. As we came up to the storefront on Chase we were greeted by the spectacle of papered in windows.

The doors were locked  and there was no sign of habitation. My first instinct was hope that this was a remodeling that I had missed hearing about, but the feeling in the pit of my stomach was already one of loss. This feeling was confirmed when I ran into Mike, the man who started it, just around the corner. He confirmed that Northslice has closed. I won’t elaborate on what he told me because he was not aware that I write for the public.

I can report that shortly afterwards while we were bemoaning the situation I did overhear conversations to the effect that the building had been sold out from under him. [Edit for Clarity: These were conversations overheard among random customers at Melt, where we had decided to go as our second choice. -Loki] No matter what happened it seems that we have lost the best pizza in Cincinnati. If whoever owns the name and or building reopens under that name it won’t be the same.

My heart goes out to Mike, he seemed crushed. I know I am. This is a horrible loss to the neighborhood and to Cincinnati in general.

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GeekBeat: Cincinnati Comic Expo Part 1

Sep 27, 2011 by

Cincinnati Comic ExpoI must say, for an event that is only in it’s second year Cincinnati’s Comic Expo was quite impressive. Not only did everything seem to run very smoothly, but the array of talent presented was top notch. You can sum a lot of it up in two words: Jim Steranko.

You would not guess from his small frame that this is one of the living legends of the graphic medium. While his hair has gone almost white, it only takes a moment for you to notice the twinkle in his eye. Best of all he was really engaging and honestly interested in the works of other artists trying to get a start.

It was close to five when I approached his table, and they were obviously packing up to leave. One of the guys with him told me they were done for the day, but another one must have seen my disappointment.

“Hey Jim, do you mind dong one more?” I heard him ask. Mr. Steranko looked over and said okay. Then I stood there for fifteen minutes seeing something wonderful. The man who introduced pop art and op art into comics was talking to a pair of budding artists. Not feigned, obligated and stiff but rather really offering comment on just what he like about each piece. Mentoring.

This is a role model for all creators out there, no matter their medium of choice. An open hand extended to the next generation to give them a hand up on their dreams. I must confess it made my afternoon.

I spent a sizable part of the day connecting with some of the amazing talent that was there from the local area and have an extensive array of profiles and interviews set up for future posts. Additionally I’ll be interviewing Andrew Satterfield and Matt Bredestege, the super heroes behind the Expo once they’ve had a chance to recover.

In the meantime here is a slideshow of pics I shot while I was there. The kid in the Nightcrawler costume is my favorite, what’s yours?

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