Tuesday, April 8, 2003

Guides warm up for OTR tours

Well, bless their hearts, these folks froze their digits off just for you.

Trudy Backus and her Architreks guides, we mean. Architreks, recall, are the downtown walking tours with guides who point out and elaborate on architectural treasures you see every day but never think about.

The $8 tours - departing 2 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday from Fountain Square - resumed Saturday after winter hiatus.

That's when the guides froze their digits off. Turns out Backus decided to add an Over-the-Rhine walking tour, so she enlisted OTR historian and author Bob Wimberg to train her and six guides. But the only time they could all do it was on four bitterly cold Saturdays in February.

Anyway, the training's finished, the guides have warmed their feet, and Backus is ready to unveil a two-hour tour of 20 OTR sites, including a detailed look at the Verdin complex, SCPA, homes on upper Broadway, the facades of Main Street, Old St. Mary's and the Germania Building.

OTR tours - this is OTR East; Backus is working on an OTR West tour - will leave at 10 a.m. the last Saturday of every month from Coffee Emporium Cyber Cafe & Roasting Company, 110 E. Central Parkway.

For the first one on April 26, Backus has lined up the sister/brother team of Kate Fischer, a teacher at Windsor Elementary, and Tony Fischer, an OTR resident and a former candidate for state rep, to do the guiding.

Body slams: Meanwhile, off in the world of local lad makes good, you might want to catch Wildcat Chris Harris on TV.

Harris, a pro wrestler who grew up in Fort Wright, is proud owner of the World Tag Team Championship Belt. He and partner James Storm wrestle under the name America's Most Wanted.

Turns out Harris, formerly with the WWF, signed on with the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) just as the group was developing a weekly pay-per-view TV spectacle and needed a centerpiece. Enter Harris and Storm.

Now they're beating the doo-doo out of people at 8 p.m. every Wednesday on NWA-TNA (total nonstop action). It's available on InDemand and Direct TV.

Shady ladies: There they go again, looking for call girls at the Cincinnati Opera. And hunks, too.

Seems the company's getting ready for its summer festival and needs close to 50 nonsinging extras. They do it every year, and every year the lineup seems to get odder and odder.

This year, artistic director Nic Muni says, they need five "flirtatious" women - that's the press release version; around the opera offices they're calling them call girls - for La Traviata, as well 11 men to act as waiters and party guests.

For Norma, they're looking for 10 hunky guys to play soldiers, as well as four skinny guys to be druids and four graceful young priestess types. Plus two children 4 to 6 years old.

And for Turandot they just need 11 fairly normal men and women.

Tryouts are 7 p.m. April 30 at Music Hall. Call 744-3232 for info. Taking the job involves about 10 rehearsals and two performances.

E-mail jknippenberg@enquirer.com

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