Monday, September 18, 2000

Bogart's founder dies

By Nicole Hamilton
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati night life is more vibrant thanks to the artistic talents and creative initiative of Kenneth L. Kornell.

        In 1969 Mr. Kornell earned a degree in architecture from the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning.

        A year later, he co-founded Reflections, the Clifton nightclub where he took care of everything from designing the structure to painting the 10-foot pieces of art that hung on its walls.

        Mr. Kornell died Sept. 9 at a Cleveland hospital of complications related to hepatitis. The architect and real estate developer was 52.

        “There are some people you know for a concentrated amount of time and then you move on and 10 or 15 years pass. But when you recall that person you're sort of frozen in that time. We just didn't know how great things would turn out.”

        This is what Mr. Kornell's friend Daniel Wolfe, also a co-founder of Reflections, recalls of the time they ran the club. Between 1970 and 1974, it introduced the city to acts such as Yes, Genesis and the Allman Brothers. Another co-founder, Doug Yeager of New York City, said Mr. Kornell's layout design of Reflections was unique, with tiered levels that enabled the entire audience to enjoy good views of the acts.

        Mr. Yeager also said that in the late '60s, Mr. Kornell found a green Plymouth and painted it in psychedelic colors.

        “He sort personified that era,” said friend Peter Eden of Mount Lookout, who was responsible for Reflections advertisements.

        Mr. Eden said his friend was also a talented sculptor, painter, and graphic artist.

        Mr. Kornell was born and raised in Cleveland.

        He spent his junior UC year at the University of London.

        “He was like an English gentleman,” said Mr. Yeager. “It was as if he came from the Globe Theater. He was always even-tempered and never stressed, and he had the voice of a late-night disc jockey — very soothing.”

        In 1975, Mr. Kornell designed and co-founded Bogart's, a Corryville nightclub that remains a premier rock venue.

        In 1977, he moved to Cleveland and began working as an architect. In recent years, he and his life partner, Damion DiFranco, purchased a property development and real estate company.

        “He had an enormous amount of energy. He was a true creator,” said Mr. Yeager.

        Also surviving are his parents, Lee and Sylvia Kornell of Cleveland; and two brothers, Gary and Keith, also of Cleveland.

        Memorials can be made to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, 332 North Lauderdale, Memphis, Tenn., 38146.


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