Thursday, February 6, 2003

Knip's eye view

Owners ready for lights-out at Neon's


Well sure, any excuse for a party is a good one, but this one, well, it's also kind of sad because it's the end of an era.

To wit: Terry and Scott Carter, fixtures on Main Street since they opened Neon's in 1986 and started the Main Street renaissance, are outta here.

They've tentatively sold the place - parking lots and all - to one Allan Godshall, who has until Sept. 1 to finalize the deal. Until then, he can bail out and the place reverts to the Carters.

But no one sees that happening, especially Terry, who's off to Marco Island, Fla., Central America and the Marshall Islands to set up a fly fishing company, a little deal where he'll take folks out and teach them the basics.

"Fly fishing has been my true passion for years, the one thing I really love. Now, at 58, I'm going to be doing it all the time."

Well fine, but it's difficult to picture the Cincinnati bar scene without him. He's been pouring drinks all over town since since 1964.

"It's time to go. I'm at my wits' end with the situation here - not enough police and the ones we have feel like their hands are tied.

"And I'm tired of the city handing all our business to Kentucky.

"As far as I know, Allan isn't going to change anything, except to go after a younger crowd."

Yeah, but minus the Carters, and they're not going quietly. Friday night, starting with 5 p.m. happy hour, it's a going-away party organized by loyal patrons.

"I don't know, I might just have one person all night," Carter said. And he may have a zillion, which is the number of people he's served at Neon's.

Going batty: Meanwhile, off in the world of art, baseball bats and the search for Bats Incredible! sponsors, a party Sunday may have lined up as many as 20.

Bats is the public art project that will decorate the streets with 250 works made from Louisville Sluggers. It will run March 31 through the World Series.

Thrown at the West Side home of Owen and Jan Wrassman - "he did it because he's a huge fan of the Reds and a huge fan of the Pigs," marketing rep Betsy Neyer said - about110 people showed up to party, including former Red Tom Browning, Mayor Charlie Luken and former NBA ref Mike Mathis. Oh, and Gapper, who joins Mr. Red as an official mascot this year.

Anyway, only two guests made a firm commitment - as in writing a check - but 20 more

agreed to sponsor one once they decided on the funding level - anything from $2,500 to $10,000. Bats now has 104 sponsors.

Onstage: So what's this? Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival is calling the city a comedy of errors?

Not at all, says marketing rep Liz Taylor. It's just trying to have some fun. What it's doing is inviting local celebs to do a walk-on during its Feb. 13-March 9 run of Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors. Celebs like Cincinnati Councilman Jim Tarbell and Channel 19 anchor Jack Atherton, Huntington Bank VP Dave Carson and a bunch of CSF board members. The idea is to get more people in the audience by using well-tested names who don't have to learn any lines, just learn a double take and try not to trip over scenery.


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Get to it!