Thursday, February 07, 2002

Knip's Eye View

He's got patriotic songs in his heart

        We're going to need a round of applause here. Clap it for Marvin Butts and his free CD.

        Butts, see, owns Air Marvin, an east side limo service whose fleet includes a gigantic motor home with custom interior. He rents it — along with a driver — to groups out for a night on the town or on regional excursions.

        And occasionally to stars. After 9-11, with planes still grounded, he got a call from Philly: Garth Brooks, pilot Mike Green and publicist Nancy Seltzer were stranded. Could he run up and drive them to Tulsa?

        He did, but by the time they got from Philly to Cincy, planes were flying, so he dropped them at the airport.

        But: “As I was driving back, I saw the looks on their faces and heard the things they said. I could see they were hurting.

        “So I got to thinking what can I do to make people stop hurting? Is there any way I can help?”

        He came up with a CD. His Tall and Skinny Management Co. manages Tabatha (Anderson, but she goes by one name) and her wonderful pipes. He got her to sing three patriotic songs: An a cappella National Anthem and “God Bless America” and “America” with piano accompaniment. Spectacular renditions, all three.

        “This isn't a money maker,” he says. “I did it with my money and I'm giving them away to anyone who needs a dose of patriotism. I started with 2,000, and I've probably given 1,000 away. All delivered personally.

        “If readers want one, they can call my company at 369-0035.”

        That's worth a round of applause, don't you think?

        Through the years: Guess our, uh, older readers will like this more, but young ones really need to see it. Ben Rosen's photo show, we mean.

        Rosen is closing in on 89 and still working as a professional photographer out of his downtown Cincinnati studio. And getting ready to show off his work at an exhibit at the Main Public Library.

        “I've been shooting steadily since 1928, right up through the present. Those are the photos I'll be showing at the library. About 50 of them.”

        Like what? A lot of long-gone theaters — the Capitol, the Albee and the Orpheum in Walnut Hills where Tyrone Power worked as an usher.

        “Oh, and four or five of the '37 flood. You just can't believe how high and how far that water went. I've got Charles Lindbergh visiting Cincinnati, Johnny Bench on a bull, five Cardinals here for Archbishop Karl Alter's celebration of the 50th anniversary of his ordination, Oscar Robertson when he was a Cincinnati Royal.

        “I even shot some behind the scenes in a cloistered convent. And I'm Jewish. But I was shooting for the Catholic Telegraph and had a lot of access. They wanted a group shot. One of the nuns was so tall I had to stand on a chair to get the shot. She was that tall.”

        What you learn talking to him is that every one of his pictures has a story and he's more than happy to tell it. In great detail.

        All the shots are black and white, he says, and have been sharpened with a little help from a computer. The show opens Feb. 11 and runs about a month.


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