Thursday, February 27, 2003

Knip's eye view

Nightlife booster will talk the walk


Nicholas Spencer wants to make it clear: He's dead serious about turning the city around through Cincinnati Tomorrow.

Spencer is the 24-year-old who organizes After5 Walks, the Thursday night assemblies that started last fall. They usually begin at Kaldi's, then walk to two or three downtown/Over-the-Rhine businesses. Cincinnati Tomorrow is After5's parent group.

Anyway, Spencer took it to the next level recently when he unveiled his Creative City Plan at a party at Plush, upstairs from Carol's on Main. The party, with six bands playing mini-sets, filled the room with 120 of the people Spencer is targeting - young professionals with money to spend and the time to help turn Cincinnati into a 24/7 town.

His plan, besides continuing the After5 Walks, brought smiles to the diverse crowd, which included Mayor Charlie Luken and city Councilmen John Cranley, David Pepper and Pat DeWine, who called the whole thing "the kind of grass-roots energy we need here."

Spencer's plan, based on feedback to his Web site, includes exploring such things as expanded nightlife listings, free classifieds, cable TV spots about the nightlife scene, alcohol alternatives for under-21s, and more participation in minority-driven arts and entertainment projects.

This week's walk starts at 6:30 p.m. at Kaldi's (1204 Main St.), visits the Pendleton Arts Center & Coffeehouse and winds up at Know Theatre's Trust.

Happy happy hour: Elsewhere on the streets, Tom Moehringer is wrapping up his annual F-month celebration.

Moehringer, recall, is the guy who hates February so much he annually arranges Friday happy hours to get people out socializing and making friends instead of whining about how cold it is.

Already this month his group has hit Plum Street CafÈ, Head First Sports CafÈ and the Westin's more upscale Albee because "It's good to show some class - even if you must pretend," he says.

The beauty of this group is its fluidity - always new people coming and going over three or four hours. Moehringer communicates with his core group - about 75 - by e-mail, then the core communicates with co-workers and friends to ensure there are always fresh faces. And always hard-core partiers, making it one of the happiest happy hours in town.

Anyone can join in: "Come from work and bring a friend or three - or the whole office. Look for a familiar face, or just walk in like you own the place and wait until someone buys you a drink."

The last happy hour is Friday, and it's looking to be the biggest - 5:30 p.m. to whenever at Neon's, 208 E. 12th St.

Celeb sighting: Hmmm. Was that TV stars John Ritter (8 Simple Rules) and wife and Cincinnati native Amy Yasbeck wandering the Cinergy Children's Museum Monday at Union Terminal?

Sure was, says Rodger Pille of the museum's marketing department. "They came in about noon with her family and spent a fair amount of time here. They had their daughter Stella with them, and a few other children that we speculated belonged to her sister.

"People here were cool about it. They recognized them, but no one flocked them. They were very respectful of their privacy."


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