Entertainment and the Arts

Movie theaters, Live Theater, Concerts, Festivals…

Victoria Theatre

Victoria Theatre

138 N Main St, Dayton, OH 45402

https://victoriatheatre.com/venues/victoria-theatre/

Theater has a long history in the Buckeye state. in the early days it was preformed in city halls, churches, and living rooms. After the Civil War there was an explosion of theaters across the state and the country. The industrial revolution had made cities larger and with more people came more need for entertainment. Dayton was no different. In 1866 the Turner opera house opened.

After a few years it burned down and was rebuilt. This new theater lasted changed names a few times but lasted into the 20th century. In 1913 heavy rains flooded the city and the Victoria Theatre. The theater was rebuilt but only 5 years later a fire gutted it. After rebuilding again the theater found fame. Housing plays, orchestra concerts (even creating The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra in 1930), and movies, the theater was in its prime. With the spread of the suburbs in the late 1960’s the theater, and downtown Dayton, faced economic decline. In 1970’s it was scheduled to be torn down. Dayton citizens, with their history of saving classic old buildings, found a way to save the building by founding the Victory Theatre Association. In 1988 the Arts Center Foundation acquired the theater and after $17.5 Million in renovations opened it as the Victoria Theatre. The organization did so well in bringing theater back downtown that it was able to open the Benjamin and Marian Schuster Center across the street.

The Victoria Theatre is one of the state’s classic old theaters. Updated slightly, and modernized with new equipment, the feel is still that of the 1988 renovation, which harked back to the original look of the place. The lobby houses a small bar / concessions area and restrooms. At the end of the lobby are the doors to the main floor of the theater and the stairs to the upper lobby and balcony. Inside the theater the seats are comfortable and the view decent. The older style seating can lead to obstructed views depending on the people sitting in front of one. The 1154 seats themselves are comfortable and not to small. The balcony has a steep rise and most seats have a good view from it. The stage is large enough to not feel out of place in the venue.

The theater is smaller than some of the other venues in the state. While the Broadway touring productions have moved across the street to the large Schuster Center. The intimate size is not as well suited for the larger productions any more, as the shows get grander and grander. The venue is great for the smaller shows the theater preforms. Small musical groups, one man shows, and family theater are housed there and do quite well. The theater even returns to it’s movie palace heydays in the Summer with the Cool Film Series.

From its early days after the Civil War to its revitalization to its modern use, The Victoria Theater has become a main stay of the Dayton, and even Ohio, theater scene.

 

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The Stuart & Mimi Rose Music Center at The Heights

6800 Executive Blvd, Huber Heights, OH 45424

https://www.rosemusiccenter.com

The Dayton area is no stranger to outdoor concert venues. Since 1991 there has been the Fraze Pavilion. Last year Levitt Pavilion in downtown opened for free concerts. The largest by far is the The Stuart & Mimi Rose Music Center at The Heights.

The Rose Music Center is located north of town in the city of Hube Heights. The venue opened in 2015 and is the first in a group of building being developed in the area. It is right of the highway and very easy to spot standing by itself in a field. It also is one of the largest buildings in the area, which doesn’t hurt.

The Center has plenty of parking and is well suited for the crowds that it attracts. The interior is just a row of concession stands restrooms and the performance area. The concessions are standard concert venue far with hot dogs, sandwiches, and plenty to drink. Offerings are the same across the entire pavilion. No need to walk far distances for something special. The area around the center is also full of many options for a bite before the show, with more being built in the future. The restrooms are large and right next to the entrance of the seating area. They handle a lot of people and tend to back up very little at busy times.

The actual performance area is the main draw of the center. Unlike the Fraze all seats are covered. This roof covers the seats but is high enough not to block any views and to allow for ventilation on the hot summer nights. Containing 4,200 seat, it is one of  larger venues in the county. The seating area is wide and deep angling toward the decently sized stage. Some of the back seats can be a little far from the stage, but are not too far to be able to enjoy the show. The back section is angled steep enough that views are not blocked too much. There are video screens and a good sound system to help make sure everyone has a good time, not just the people in front. The seats are comfortable without being anything to special. The Rose Center is located along a major highway (I-70). This makes for easy access to and from an event. This also means that during busy times some of the noise from the road will bleed into the venue. Any performance will usually drown this out.

The selection of acts are very similar to the ones at the Fraze. From well known new acts to older bands, The Rose has a little bit of something for everyone. While the Greater Dayton area seem too small to support two large venues, the differences between the more intimate feeling Fraze and the grand scale of the Rose set them apart enough for both venues to be supported and loved.

As the weather heats up so do the summer tours and The Stuart & Mimi Rose Music Center at The Heights is a great place to see a loved band or find a new favorite.

Ohio Theater (Columbus)

model of Ohio Theater

39 E State St, Columbus, OH 43215

https://www.capa.com/venues/detail/ohio-theatre

All large cities in Ohio, and some smaller, have a live show venues.  One of the states major venues is the Ohio Theater located in the heart of downtown Columbus. Just across the street from the Statehouse, and using the same parking garage, the theater blends into the taller buildings surrounding it, but somehow stands out.

The Ohio Theater originally opened in 1928 as a Loew’s showing movies and some live entertainment. Eventually the competition from television caused the movie house to close in 1969. The Columbus Association for the Performing Arts was formed to save the historic building. 50 years later the organization and the Ohio Theater are still going strong. While somethings have changed and been modernized, the original fell and look of the building is still intact. It has also been expanded to accommodate it’s role as the “official theater of the state of Ohio.” Many of the cities major preforming arts organizations, including “Columbus Symphony, BalletMet, and Broadway in Columbus,” use the building as their home venue.

The theater is very easy to find. The entryway is light up by a large marquee. Inside the lobby is a little small for the size of the theater and can become crowded. The lobby has a large bar taking up a bit of the space, and lines from it can get in the way at times. The loge too has a balcony for extra space which over looks the main lobby, and a separate bar. The decor of original building is the same as it was in its heyday as a movie place. The expansion on the side, however, does a nice job of adding the extra space that is needed. This is where a coffee bar and small snack bar are located. It is in a modern style and fells like the second building it is.  Access to the theater is easy to find with the friendly staff ready to help. The upper sections are a little harder to find. Being an old movie house the restrooms are smaller and can get very busy at peak times.

The theater itself is nice. Seating is comfortable. The sight lines to the stage are good from most seats. The sound has been upgraded over the years and is well balanced. It does not feel as if it is being projected from speakers but as if the performers are just louder. The stage is large enough to be able to hold almost any production. From concerts to plays to movies, The Ohio theater is a great place to see a show.

Tip: Located on across the street from the State house the Theater is in a well used part of town. Before the show there are a lot of places to eat and drink, but they can become very crowded with the downtown crowds. Make sure to arrive early. Parking at the Statehouse has one of the best show rates in the state. 

 

 

The hills of Hocking County Region and what to do.

In the southwest corner of Ohio, about 1/4 of the way up the map is the region surrounding the county of Hocking. The county has less than 30,000 residents. The region is in a part of the state crisscrossed with back roads and no interstates. Yet despite it small size and out of the way location millions of people visit it each year. The big question is what do all these people do in Hocking County and the surrounding region?

Museums:
For such a lightly populated place the region has a large number of museums. From the small museum with a great point to the giant washboard and its museum and factory  How about the birthplace of a famous Civil War General, or a glass hot shop and museum. Like art? The region has many art museums too. A good list is available at http://www.explorehockinghills.com/things-to-do/indoor-activities/arts/museums/

Outdoor Activities:
Paddling on the Hocking River or Lake Logan is always a popular option. They even have a water jetpack adventure. Biking, both mountain and road, are a good way to get exercise. Golf, both mini and big, is offered in the region. The area is known for its large forested hills and state parks. Hiking and simply enjoying nature seems to a very popular.

Shopping:
The region does not have many large big box chain stores, but makes up for it in the many little art studios and mom and pop shops dotting the region. A quick search on the internet, or with the help of the friendly staff at the regional welcome centers, will bring up a large list of places to find that unique item or gift.

Free Stuff:
The amount of free stuff to do in the area will make it a sure draw for people from all over the state. We tried to put a list together but found this one covered more than we could even imagine. http://www.explorehockinghills.com/things-to-do/free-fun/

Or one could just visit  the State parks with ravines. They always seem to be a popular option.

Special thanks to Hocking Hills Tourism Association. Their Website is overflowing with things to do in the region. Their Welcome Centers are a must stop for the beginning of any tour of the area.

 

The Scioto Mile

https://www.sciotomile.com/

The Scioto Mile is a collection of 9 parks along the Scioto River in the heart of Downtown Columbus. Started in 2015, this “mile” was a reworking of the land surrounding the river. Dams were removed. The area was taken back to a more natural state and the its beauty was emphasized. The mile has more than 175 acres of land, but is more than just a series of parks along a river.

The parks are connected by the Scioto Trail. The trail makes up the backbone of the system running from Scioto Audubon Park in the south to the Olentangy Trail in the north and on to the Ohio to Erie Trail. It follows the east side of the river winding from park to park. The parks are not just open green spaces with a few benches. Many of them are filled with sculptures and memorials. There is a center dedicated to the visual arts. More in to the performing arts? The trail has a place for them too. The variety of things to see and do is enormous.

Along the trail is Milestone 229. A restaurant for people on the trail. This is not a fast food joint but a comfort food joint for everyone. It “offers a kids’ menu, as well as vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.” The restaurant has great views of the river and the Scioto Mile Fountain. The fountain is a large interactive fountain that comes alive at night with lights and fog. A must see on the mile.

In the middle is the name sake that flows through the city. This section of the river has been improved to be a great water recreation venue. Paddleboards, canoes, and kayaks can be seen on the river during the warmer months. Tours are even offered.

Along the west bank the trail goes through less parks but is no less as scenic. The trail ends up at the new National Veterans Memorial and Museum and one of the Greatest Science Museums in the nation.

The Scioto Mile is a great way to get out and see nature or to experience the city life, or do both at the same time. It is the variety that makes this state great all within the heart of its capital city.

 

19 place to go in ’19

For the last few years we have been doing a list of places to see in Ohio. This is our wish list of places to see for the year.  There is no order or ranking. So, we hope you enjoy, 19 places to see in 2019.

  1. John Glenn Museum – In the 50th year of the Apollo 11 moon landing we wanted to visit more of this new museum
  2. The Stuart & Mimi Rose Music Center at The Heights – A large music venue in Huber Heights. Seems to have a great line up each year.
  3. Fort Meigs – the site of a major battle of the war of 1812. Recreated to look like it did in William Henry Harrison’s time.
  4. Loveland Castle – A cool medieval castle in sw Ohio.
  5. Paul A Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum – The name says it all
  6. Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum and Library – a collection and displays on the newspaper and magazine comic. Free!
  7. Ohio Theater – Columbus – They always have a good schedule.
  8. Mansfield -While known for the world-famous Ohio State Reformatory Museum, there are a lot of other museums and attractions in the area. This place is worth a weekend.
  9.  Riverboat Cruise (Cincinnati ) – Here are two places that offer riverboat cruises on the Ohio river. Both offer different cruises and tours. Queen City and BB Riverboats
  10. Pine Tree Barn, Wooster – a shop, barn, restaurant, and unique Ohio attraction all in one
  11. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (original location) and the North Market – Columbus – We love markets, we love ice cream. This is seems like the perfect combination.
  12. Covered Bridge Pizza – Multiple locations of these pizza restaurants that are located in covered bridges.
  13. Toy and Plastic Brick Museum – Lego and toys and a museum, Yes please.
  14. The Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati – Cincinnati has great art, and somehow we missed last time in town. Also we want to see more of the great murals.
  15. Glass Heritage Museum – Heritage and art all in one free location.
  16. Deer Creek State Park – A new place to hike and be outdoors.
  17. Sweetie Candy Company – Return to the Candy!
  18. A Street Fair in Ohio – So many to choose from.
  19. Sandy Ridge Reservation – scenic views and hiking trails

12 days of Holiday Activities 2018 – Day #11

The “A Christmas Story” House

http://www.achristmasstoryhouse.com

Every year TBS has a tradition of playing a Christmas Story for 24 hours on Christmas eve and day. Many people across America do not know that the film, based on stories from Jean Shepherd‘s book “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash“, was filmed in Cleveland. The house that was used for exterior shots and the opening of the “Fragile” package has become a museum and is open year round. This time of year, however, is the perfect time to visit the house. The original house has been decorated to match the sound stages from the movie and tours are given. Overnight stays are also offered.  The Bumpuses’ house next door (for overnight stays), a Museum across the street, and a gift shop are also on site. The House is located in a residential area so be mindful of the neighbors when visiting.

a few blocks away from the House is

West side Market

http://westsidemarket.org

Our Review of The West Side Market

The West Side Market is a nationally known market. The market is a great place to stock up on fresh meat, vegetables, and other goodies for your holiday meals. The site is also a great place to see the history of Cleveland. The citizen of Cleveland have been going to the market for the last 106 years so you know they must be doing something right.

12 days of Holiday Activities 2018 – Day #8

A Crystal Holiday at Krohn Conservatory

Cincinnati, Ohio

https://www.cincinnatiparks.com/krohn/

The Krohn has great flowers year round but The Holiday show this year is taking it a step further.  As their website says
“See replicas of the Roebling Bridge, Carol Ann’s Carousel, Union Terminal and others.  Special this year, National Park Service structures will be on display, including the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore National Memorial.  Applied Imagination’s installations garner nationwide recognition and delighting audiences by using plant materials to build historic architecture and whimsical worlds.”
Just down the way  from the Krohn is

LUMINARIA

Night Lights at the Cincinnati Observatory
December 9 6:30pm – 8:30pm

https://www.cincinnatiobservatory.org/publicevents/upcoming-events-2/

For the 43rd year the Cincinnati Observatory will open up it historic telescope for a look at the Holiday night sky. They will have carolers, stargazing, gift shop, and Hot Drinks to warm you up.

Best of all this event is free and open to the public.

12 days of Holiday Activities 2018 – Day #3

Ohio Statehouse Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting:

December 6, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

This year’s holiday festivities at the Ohio Statehouse open with the annual tree lighting on December 6th. The festival will include Carolers, local mascots, historical characters, dignitaries, and even Santa himself. The event is free.
http://www.ohiostatehouse.org/calendar/event?id=1294

Through out the rest of the season there will be weekday lunchtime choir concerts in the Museum Gallery in the basement of the Statehouse. In the past the performances have included local groups and high school choirs from around the state. As always the concerts are free and open to the public.
http://www.ohiostatehouse.org/calendar/event?id=1308

12 days of Holiday Activities 2018 – Day #1

The Legendary Christmas Lights at Historic Clifton Mill

Our review

The Legendary Lights at the Historic Clifton Mill have been lighting up the holidays for the last 31 years. The display started with a few lights on the mill and has exploded to the hills, cliff, and creek surrounding it. The display will even put on a show on the hour every hour. The Light display maybe a reason to go but it is so much more than that. The Mill also features a vintage toy room, a Santa room, and a miniature city with many moving parts.

With over 4 million lights every year is a big year. 2018, however, is a big year for the lights at Clifton Mill. This year they have made the USATODAYS 10best public holiday lights display nomination list. They also will be on the December 3 Great Holiday Light Fight on ABC. With so much national exposure make sure dress warm and take some time to see them this year.

To vote for Clifton Mill as the best public lights:
https://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-public-holiday-lights-display/legendary-lights-of-clifton-mill-clifton-mill/