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“Ain’t Too Proud” at the Aronoff Center: A night at the theatre

If you’re not tempted to see “Ain’t too Proud”, the story of the Temptations, you should be. The show runs through March 27th here in Cincinnati. Some moments felt like I was attending an actual Temptations concert. Others, I was taken to church. From the more innocent Doo-Wop tunes to the edgier soul and R&B songs, every single moment on stage is musically magical.

As a literature teacher, I’m in love with the way songs weave in and out of the story of the Temptations (and all their iterations leading up to that name). Otis Williams, the leader, original founder, last member, and heart of the group walks us through this story of musical harmonies, troubled pasts, and the quick rise to fame. Even though I had a mask and no one could see it, I smiled the entire freaking time— at least through the first half.

(C) 2021 Emilio Madrid
(C) 2021 Emilio Madrid

We all know a second act brings conflict, climax, and eventually a resolution. Just not always the one we had hoped for. Troubled relationships. Egos exploding. The price of fame. All while growing unrest on the home front includes riots, civil unrest, and the Vietnam War. In an attempt to be the first big Motown crossover group, the Temptations, those layers of harmonies, never quit singing even though their attitudes toward those layers of unrest weren’t always in perfect harmony.

(C) 2021 Emilio Madrid

But back to those voices. Those moves. Being, for a couple of hours, in the heart of the Motown family, is something special. So go. Definitely go! But just be prepared. If Act 1 is a feel-good, get your groove on, sing-a-long, Act 2 is a heartbreaking, sobering, slowed-down review of history and the destructive power of fame— even among brothers. As the musical imparts, “The only thing you can rewind is a song!”

(C) 2021 Emilio Madrid

What is absolutely consistent throughout the entire tenure of the show, is the smoothest, slickest, grooviest dance moves you will ever see. Unparalleled. And those voices BLEW. ME. AWAY.

P.S.- THE choreographer is a Trujillo. No relation that I know of— claiming him anyway.

GO THERE (Aronoff)! TRY THAT (seeing “Ain’t too Proud” and other shows)!

Findlay Market: It’s Historic and Happening

Historic Findlay Market is, in my opinion, one of the coolest destinations for local food and artisan products! Right in the heart of Cincinnati, Findlay Market is this beautiful balance of old and new. Open Tuesday through Sunday, the market houses original vendors along with a growing number of new restaurants and businesses.  It’s absolutely one of my favorite spots in the entire city!

Findlay Market is the oldest continually running outdoor market in Ohio. It first opened in 1855 in the predominately German neighborhood of OTR. While quite a bit has changed over the years, it still has some of the original architectural details like the iron frame. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, Findlay is still very much alive and active.

For many years, Findlay has been the place to get all kinds of meat, spices, cheese, pickles, and fresh produce. It still is. Over time, more merchants opened! I found it interesting that some of the original vendors opened out of a longing for the taste of home. For example, Dean’s Meditteranean Imports, which happens to make our hands-down-most-favorite hummus, opened because Dean grew up in Lebanon and wanted access to some of the same foods and spices of home right here in Cincinnati.

Findlay has again been growing, both in the market and around it, which makes it a hub of activity. There are Artisan shops to buy things like pottery, purses, jewelry, fine teas, plants, and flowers. I don’t know why, but I just love seeing people walk around with fresh-cut flowers. It feels so urban! It’s like I’m living in New York City hitting up the local bodega. Shopping at Findlay makes this small-town girl feel cooler than she probably is!

Findlay Market is also a place to taste the flavors of the world. There are too many good places to name. Some of my favorites include Mashed Roots (Puerto Rican), The Arepa Place (Columbian), Mama Lo Hizo (Mexican), and Flavors of the Isle (Jamaican). You can find these foods both inside the market and lining the outside. I recommend trying a few different places and sharing!

Recently, the areas just outside of the market have been developing with everything from new restaurants to coffee shops; from pet spas to bakeries. You can find places like Goose and Elder, a Chef Salazar restaurant focusing on American comfort food, and Bee Haven, a shop featuring local honey, lip balms, lotions, and candles. There is a brand new Korean place, Kanji, that I have my eyes (and stomach) set on.

On the weekends there is often live music and other special events. Be sure to check out their calendar. If you’re worried about parking, there are a couple of lots on both sides and some street parking. One of the lots is right next to the Samual Adams Taproom! Truly, you could start your morning at the market and just spend the entire day eating, shopping, walking, and drinking.

Findlay Market is just one of the places you need to visit, then visit again. There is a Biergarten supported by local craft brewer Christian Moerlein where you can sit outside and enjoy a beverage (or two)! Maybe grab some delicious Dojo gelato or freshly baked goods. There are so many cool items at Findlay that you will not see anywhere else in the city . . . all in one location.

Tip: If there’s the slightest chance you might buy meat or cheese, bring a cooler bag! In fact, bring one just in case– and a shopping bag!

GO THERE (Findlay Market)! TRY THAT (leisurely shopping and dining)!