Hip-Hop/Jazz Collective ISWHAT?! Drops New EP

A few weeks ago, fans of the hip-hop/jazz collective ISWHAT?! received an email from founding member Napoleon Maddox in their inboxes: a Spotify link to a new EP called iMaintain. Maddox, a Cincinnati native who is currently doing an artist residency in Besançon, France, linked to the EP as a birthday celebration of sorts for himself, but the release also marked the first time he’d used the moniker ISWHAT?! since the death of the group’s founding member and saxophonist Jack Walker five years ago.

Covington Sister Shops Handzy and Gumdrop Set to Expand Across the River

While some small businesses are struggling to stay afloat due to the COVID-19 crisis, Brittney Braemer and Suzy Hinnefeld are bucking the trend with plans to open second locations of their lifestyle boutique Handzy Shop + Studio and its companion for kids clothing, Gumdrop. The DAAP grads-turned-business partners announced on social media last week that their new locations will open in October in the historic West Fourth District downtown.

Airbnb Program Highlights Local Olympian's New Children's Book

Twelve years ago this summer, former University of Cincinnati track star Mary Wineberg was in Beijing, China, bringing home the gold as a member of the U.S. Women’s 4 × 400 meter relay team at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Today, Wineberg, an elementary school teacher for Cincinnati Public Schools, gets to relive that experience with children around the world through Airbnb’s “Olympian & Paralympian Online Experiences” program. During each 60-minute “experience,” the Olympian reads from her new children’s book, I Didn’t Win, and talks to participants about their hopes and dreams and the power of perseverance.

Local Photographer Documents Models’ Feelings on COVID-19 With Wearable Art Project

During the last three months of quarantining, photographer Tina Gutierrez has had a lot of time to work on how to visually represent her feelings about the COVID-19 crisis. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, I feel like I’ve been the most creative I’ve ever been in my life,” says Gutierrez, a fine art photographer and adjunct professor at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. “It’s allowed me time to work in a way that is the most satisfying.” Her latest burst of creativity comes in the form of a wearable art portrait project in response to the coronavirus.

Rare disease foundation helps families during COVID-19

From virtual learning to working from home, the COVID-19 crisis has created unprecedented challenges for everyone, but extremely vulnerable populations have faced even more risks. At the onset of the pandemic, the International Rett Syndrome Foundation (IRSF) — which supports families who have children with Rett syndrome, a rare, severe neurological disorder — immediately began working with several researchers to find ways to support housebound families during the crisis.

Going the Distance: Bringing remote learning to low-income ESL students during COVID-19 crisis

With support from various businesses and nonprofits, the Office of Second Language Acquisition has made much needed headway to increase remote learning opportunities for its ESL students. So far, the district has received enough equipment and monetary donations to acquire 500 laptops and desktop computers for low-income ESL students. Officials are also working with local internet service providers to secure internet access for selected students.

YWCA commits to social distancing for domestic violence survivors during COVID-19

Faced with a major uptick in calls to its domestic violence hotline since mid-April due to the COVID-19 crisis, the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati ran into an unexpected problem — how do you provide enough space for social distancing during a pandemic? “Our shelter provides 24-hour safe housing in a congregate setting and we were unable to separate people at a six feet distance,” says Juwana Hall, director of the YWCA’s Domestic Violence Residential Services. “Therefore, we choose to move our survivors to a place where they could be in a space with only themselves or with their children alone.”

Chambers of commerce across the region are stepping up to help their members affected by COVID-19

Just hours after Governor Mike DeWine handed down the state’s first “shelter-in-place” order in mid-March to slow the outbreak of COVID-19, Jourdan Ivory, program director at the African-American Chamber of Commerce (AACC) of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, was already hatching a plan to move in-person programming online. The first program, “Project Management Made Easy,” went virtual on March 18, only two days after the governor’s order went into effect.

Author and Entrepreneur Morgan A. Owens Helps Others Find Their Sparkle

In the past three years, the 34-year-old entrepreneur has used her down-to-earth, affable personality to become a go-to brand influencer in the Greater Cincinnati market. With several business ventures under her belt (including her women’s fitness program Curvy Cardio and her marketing/branding consultation business Morgan A. Owens Brand), she’s worked with P&G Beauty, McDonald’s and other big-name companies in the area go build brand and social media awareness. This summer, Owens hopes to make the leap to the national spotlight by embarking on a nationwide tour for her first book, Finding My Sparkle. The book chronicles her journey to self-acceptance while overcoming confidence and body image issues.

Super Heroines, Etc., Creates a More Inclusive Role-Playing Community

If you spend enough time around the people who conduct role-playing games (RPGs), you’ll notice the players are predominately white and male. But geeky girl nonprofit Super Heroines, Etc., is doing its part to change the landscape with its Adventure Goddesses program, which encourages women and gender nonconforming people to take turns leading an RPG campaign to learn the ins and outs of being a game master (or GM) in a safe, judgment-free environment.

Flow: Movements of Tribute

When I attend dance performances, I tend to skip diving into the event program until after the show. I don’t like to read about what a piece is supposed to mean before I see it with my own two eyes. For me, part of the fun of watching a performance whose “story” I’m unfamiliar with is trying to interpret what the creator wants to tell me. Sometimes, my interpretations are correct. Sometimes, I’m wrong. And sometimes, the experience — and whatever emotions it evokes in you as an audience member — is what the artist wants. Dayton Contemporary Dance Company’s “Retro/ACTIVE,” the kickoff for ArtsWave’s Flow series, delivered all of these things and more.

UC Alum Hits the Right Note with Erykah Badu Tour

University of Cincinnati alum (and former Cincinnati Magazine intern!) Terron Austin was recently back in town as part of Nedda Stella, the background vocalist group for R&B/soul powerhouse Erykah Badu’s headlining set at Cincinnati Funk Fest. He’s currently on tour with Badu in support of the 21st anniversary celebration of her Grammy Award–winning debut album Baduizm. We talked to Austin about his journey from the Queen City to the Big Apple, singing behind one of music’s most sublime talents.
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