Category Archives: Reporting

All my reporting, compiled.

Athena to screen award-winning police documentary ‘Do Not Resist’

http://www.thepostathens.com/article/2017/02/do-not-resist-documentary-athens

As national security shifts its focus from the threat of drugs to the threat of terrorism and a resurgence of protests, Craig Atkinson’s award-winning documentary Do Not Resist sheds light on how policing in America has followed suit.

The Athena Cinema, 20 S. Court St., will hold a free screening of the documentary Wednesday at 7 p.m. sponsored by Ohio University’s Students For Liberty, a campus group that promotes individual liberties. Arts For Ohio is also sponsoring the event.

“Throughout discussion with us, the producers (of the film) eventually reached out to Alden Library who, in turn, reached out to the Athena on Court Street,” Conor Fogarty, an OU campus coordinator of Students For Liberty, said in an email. “The theater agreed to screen the film while we got funding to have both free admission and pizza.”

Do Not Resist won Best Documentary at The Tribeca Film Festival last year in Tribeca, New York. The 72-minute documentary tackles the subject of growing police militarization, increased SWAT raids and changes in law enforcement strategy and training. The film also marks cinematographer Atkinson’s directorial debut, who sought to capture a subject close to home.

“My initial intent was that my father was a police officer, so I always paid attention to police and was surprised to see the response after the Boston Marathon bombings,” Atkinson said. “It was a hot topic in the national conversation. I wanted to know what had changed since my father’s time and (Do Not Resist) captures the transition from policing during The War on Drugs to The War on Terror.”

Atkinson said he and his crew gained access to police training and SWAT operations by going to police conventions and engaging officers in conversations.

“We promised an honest portrayal, which was all we had to promise,” he said. “What we were hoping to do is put the camera in situations where policing is unfolding and let the audience decide for themselves. People were shocked that we were given such access.”

Atkinson discovered that police raids had become far more common than during the 13 years his father spent on a SWAT team. Atkinson said his father had served 29 search warrants over his career whereas modern police departments, like the one captured in the film from South Carolina, conduct raids more than 200 times per year.

“The one we covered in South Carolina was one of three during that day,” he said.

In 2014, $5.1 billion was seized from Americans by police, overshadowing the $3.5 billion taken from Americans through burglary, Atkinson said.

“There are some rays of hope in states passing laws requiring convictions before seizing criminal assets,” Atkinson said, pointing out California as one. However, he said the new Attorney General Jeff Sessions “thinks asset revenue is the best thing ever,” which complicates the matter.

The documentary will be shown one night only in theater three on the upper floor of the Athena Cinema, Alexandra Kamody, director of the Athena said. Theater three is the only theater in the building that has both film and digital projection.

“The significance of one-night events I think is about is to generate a good discussion and have a large crowd,” Kamody said. “Sometimes it helps to make it a special event because it does not divide the audience.”

Kamody organized the event with Students For Liberty, who both had an interest in showing the film that has generated some controversy with Netflix.

“Our organization works to focus discussion on college campuses in regards to maximizing personal and economic freedom,” Fogarty said. “Students for Liberty gives funding and support to … hold events such as this aimed at promoting awareness of issues like police militarization and criminal justice reform.”

Moon Tunnel provides opportunity for graduates to read among peers, community

http://www.thepostathens.com/article/2017/01/moon-tunnel-series-ohio-university

Reading heartfelt work in front of peers can stir up a pool of nerves in any social situation.

But with strings of Christmas lights, a supportive crowd and an introduction rife with light-hearted “roasting,” the Moon Tunnel Reading Series helps to build graduate students’ ability to read in public.

The reading series started last academic year. It consists of four reading events held in the downstairs space of ARTS/West at 132 W. State St. with one held upstairs, as well. Each show lasts roughly an hour, and consists of three to five 10-minute readings after a two-minute introduction given by a friend of the reader.

“It’s a good turnout every reading with 30 people at least, always on the borderline of too many people,” Derek Robbins said.

Robbins, a graduate student studying poetry, and Sarah Minor, a graduate student studying non-fiction, created a Moon Tunnel to fill the gap that Dogwood Bloom leaves.

Dogwood Bloom Reading Series, a tri-annual reading series named after the local Dogwood trees and held in Galbreath Chapel, allows second-year students in Ohio University’s graduate English program to read their work aloud in a more formal setting. Minor and Robbins, however, noticed the need to allow first-, third-, fourth- and fifth-year students in the program to continue harnessing the skill of public reading.

“Moon Tunnel is part of a five-year Ph.D. program and has a social element where graduate students get the opportunity to read in a safer space before being asked to read for a bigger audience,” Minor said. “Some of our colleagues have work published and some have books, but the work is not easily available. It’s a chance for us and the community to know each other’s work.”

The name “Moon Tunnel” originated from a myth of the Moonville Tunnel in Vinton County, where purports a ghostly figure carries a lantern at the end of the tunnel. Minor said the lantern carried by no one acts a metaphor for the proliferation of art, but Moon Tunnel has grown to have its own distinct meaning.

“We wanted it to be a local reading series with a local title,” Minor said.

The fourth date of this academic year will take place Friday night at 7:30 p.m. Minor and Robbins organize the readings to have a mix of students from different years and genres with readings ranging from funny to serious.

The two typically emcee the event, but since they are both reading work on Friday, Robbin’s wife and graduate student Sonia Ivancic and writer Thomas Mira y Lopez will host the evening.

In addition to the organizers, poet Emily Kramer and fiction writer Michelle Pretorius will also read their work. Pretorius published her first novel, The Monster’s Daughter, last July with Melville House.

The OU English department provides Moon Tunnel with enough funding to rent the space and to supply food for the event.

“It is wonderful because it allows the English students to express themselves in a less formal setting than a university building, and it seems like a great bonding experience for the students, too,” Emily Beveridge, an event coordinator for ARTS/West, said.

Rather than being held in ARTS/West downstairs, the final date for Moon Tunnel will be held in the gallery upstairs as a sendoff to graduate students in their final year. It usually attracts a larger audience of 60 to 70 people supporting the readers.

Moon Tunnel also seeks to engage local writers and readers and, as Robbins said, “build a literary community which is something we would love to do. We are opening ourselves up to the public to watch Ph.D. students for five years with connections to the Athens community.”

Minor further explained this wider aim.

“We are not trying to be in an insular department and engage with the community,” Minor said. “We intended to get away from campus. Our department feels very separate from the college and we want to have people see writing as a thing living and in the world.”

Stuart’s Opera House to host solo guitarists from noise, psych-rock and American Primitivist backgrounds

http://www.thepostathens.com/article/2017/01/lee-ranaldo-and-steven-gunn-athens-ohio

Guitarists Lee Ranaldo, Steve Gunn and Meg Baird will wield a different kind of ax in the heart of Wayne National Forest, one that does not cut down but rather builds up.

Stuart’s Opera House will host the three guitarists Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Psych-folk guitarist Meg Baird will play an opening set at the venue at 52 Public Square, Nelsonville followed by the co-headlining sets of Sonic Youth founding member Lee Ranaldo and New York guitarist Steve Gunn.

Tickets to the show are available online for $17 for main floor and $20 for box seats. Tickets sold at the door cost $22 for the main floor and $25 for box seats.

Lee Ranaldo received acclaim over his three-decade career as a founding member of the groundbreaking noise-rock group Sonic Youth along with Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon. In 2012, Spin gave Ranaldo and Moore the top spot on its “100 Greatest Guitarists” list as descendants of the “no wave” musical movement of late 1970s New York.

Steve Gunn takes a different approach to his guitar. In the tradition of acts like John Fahey and other American Primitivist guitarists, Gunn utilizes fingerpicking techniques to produce notes and sequences full of melodious resonance accompanied by his voice.

“Solo guitar music (is) overall pretty mellow,” Brian Koscho, marketing director of Stuart’s Opera House, said. “But it should be a mix of mellow and rockin’. All of the performers have played in louder groups in their careers.”

Parallel to his solo releases dating back to 2007, Gunn played guitar in Kurt Vile’s backing band “The Violators.” Last summer, he collaborated with the “Pretty Pimpin’” rocker on an EP for Three Lobed Recordings titled Parallelogram, which includes three original songs and three covers of songs by Randy Newman, John Prine and Nico.

Meg Baird will open with the first of the three sets. She has played at the Nelsonville Music Festival with the San Francisco psych-rock band Heron Oblivion but has never played the town as a solo performer. She also performs with the Philadelphia psych-folk Espers.

She will deliver her “classic singer style” Wednesday with her Martin 00-15 guitar. She described her performance as “kind of a shared quietness that isn’t forced” between her and the audience.

“(All three of us) are chasing a lot of voicings and playing a really layered style,” Baird said. “My playing is pretty related to what Steve is doing with classic fingerpicking, but we are a little idiosyncratic and individual.”

The three guitarists bear different guitar styles exemplifying the possibilities of guitar work. However, roving in a similar group of collaborators, Ranaldo, Gunn and Baird maintain a complimentary sound that will echo off the walls of Stuart’s Opera House on Wednesday.

Multiple Brewing adds a hoppy new flavor to Nelsonville

http://www.thepostathens.com/article/2016/11/multiple-brewing-beer-nelsonville

Photo courtesy of Emily Mathews

Craft beer locavores (or anyone who appreciates a hoppy beer) will be pleased to learn about a new brewery that recently opened in Nelsonville.

Multiple Brewing, named and logoed after its co-owners’ mutual love of math, opened to the public Nov. 5 after a soft opening the night before. The brewery offers a selection of home-brewed craft beer and cream soda unrivaled in the Appalachian city.

The brewery, located at 82 W. Washington St., is open from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

The husband-and-wife team of owners, Jason and Michelle Warren, splits the tasks of supplying, brewing and running the brewery. On the weekends, Jason often spends an entire day brewing, mashing and adding hops to batches on location before allowing them to ferment.

“He might start at 6 a.m. and be finished at 6 or 7 at night,” Michelle said. “The process is messy.”

Beers with a lower alcohol percentage, like the brewery’s 5 to 6 percent offerings, take four to five days to ferment, while higher percentage beers such as stouts might take several weeks, Michelle said.

“We wanted to bring an approachable beer to the area,” Jason said of the brewery’s selection.

Jason’s family originally hails from Nelsonville, and his grandparents owned the city’s Dairy Queen, Michelle said.

Multiple Brewing focuses on American styles of ales and India pale ales, or IPAs. The Variable IPA is the house beer, Michelle said. It clocks in at 6.1 percent alcohol.

Other brews include Absolute Clementine pale ale and Obtuse IPA.

Jason said a Russian imperial stout ale ranging around 10 percent alcohol is on the horizon, possibly in collaboration with FullBrooks Cafe, which is also in Nelsonville. In addition, he plans to brew a Christmas porter soon.

During the weekdays, Michelle stays in Nelsonville to run the bar portion of the brewery, while Jason returns to Columbus, their city of primary residence. Michelle said Jason worked at several breweries in Columbus and has been brewing for 10 years.

“We felt like it was the right time, and we took a risk,” Jason said. “We knew we wanted to grow organically and start small.”

The two said other craft breweries in the area have been supportive and helpful, especially the people from Devil’s Kettle Brewing in Athens.

“It’s fantastic to bring more to the beer scene in a kind of neglected area,” Cameron Fuller, owner of Devil’s Kettle, said. “There’s no craft beer in Nelsonville, and to open an actual brewery there is a great addition to the square.”

Jason said local craft breweries like Multiple Brewing depend on each other rather than compete since breweries often see the same pool of customers.

“Making beer is a craft and an art,” Michelle said. “Bringing in business, bringing people in and bringing craft beer to Nelsonville is the most gratifying part.”

Nelsonville to host and sponsor 20th Annual Ohio Smoked Meat & BBQ Fest

http://www.thepostathens.com/article/2016/10/nelsonville-ohio-smoked-meat-festival-2016

Barbecue competitors and connoisseurs will travel to Nelsonville this weekend to flood the streets with the aromas of slow-cooked pork, ribs, brisket and chicken. And that’s not to mention the sweet sauces and peppery rubs.

“When you get that many teams, cookers and smoke, it smells delicious,” John Gambill, a pitmaster of Historic BBQ based in Lebanon, said. “People say they smell it driving past Nelsonville.”

The Ohio Smoked Meat and Barbecue Festival will start at 8 a.m. Friday, when teams begin to set up, and will run until 3 p.m. Saturday, when the winners are presented with their awards on the main stage of Elks Lodge, according to the event’s website. Vendors will sell food after 5 p.m. Friday and after noon Saturday.

In its 20th year, 40 teams are scheduled to participate in several meat-specific competitions and the lauded “Grand Champion” title. The festival is among the bigger barbecue competitions in Ohio, Paul Grant of Slippery Pete’s BBQ from Wadsworth, said.

Hocking College and the Inn at Hocking College hosted the event for the first 11 years of its existence before the Nelsonville Area Chamber of Commerce took on the responsibility of organizing the event in 2008.

Last year, Historic BBQ picked up first place in the brisket competition. Gambill said the team likes to cook at low temperatures using smoke as a complementary flavor. Evoking natural flavors of meat, especially chicken, also garners them compliments from the public, Gambill said.

“The community supports the festival and does a good job of running it,” he said

Nelsonvilles’ Public Square and the surrounding pavement closed to traffic will serve as the location for the smoky gathering. There is no admission fee.

Grant said the competition draws talented and top teams from around the region and throughout the country.

“A lot of teams stay awake the entire night,” Grant said. “For an Ohio contest to be holding 40-plus teams is saying something.”

Gambill noted the atmosphere of the festival has shifted and refined over the years.

“There used to be a lot of people there for the party and only a few serious cookers and now there’s more serious cookers than partiers,” Gambill said. “It’s a tough weekend, and there are a lot of talented teams.”

He said the event acts as a precursor to the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational held in Lynchburg, Tennessee, on Oct. 22, and Nelsonville offers an opportunity to get one last cook in before an event of such magnitude.

The Ohio Smoked Meat & BBQ Festival is set to award $10,000 in prizes on Saturday to the top teams that reach the podium.

The festival is Kansas City Barbecue Society certified, and local reps will be in attendance.

Along with Gambill, Grant also praised the festival’s historic setup in town.

“Nelsonville is a great host and sponsor,” Grant said. “The organizers are some of the best around and a lot of people look forward to the competition.”

If You Go

What: Ohio Smoked Meat & BBQ Festival

When: Friday and Saturday

Where: Nelsonville Public Square

Admission: Free, food for sale

Weekender Briefs: Alumni can celebrate Homecoming with sports and music

http://www.thepostathens.com/article/2016/10/athens-ohio-university-homecoming

Homecoming Weekend is nearly upon Ohio University. And like every year, it will draw in a cavalcade of Bobcat alumni driving crossover SUVs and touting much-desired financial stability. But even if students have no funds to spend, there’s a variety of events to get in the Bobcat spirit.

At 9 a.m. on Saturday, the university will reopen the Class Gateway. The annual parade will return to Court Street at 10 a.m. and will be followed by tailgates hosted by several colleges from the university. At 2 p.m., Ohio will take on MAC competitor Bowling Green. The game is free for students and $35 to $40 for non-students.

Along with Homecoming, the weekend brings many other shows and entertainment. On Friday, Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons will play at Casa Nueva, and DJ Barticus will play an early-2000s-themed set at The Union Bar & Grill.

Admission: Free

On Saturday, Casa Nueva will host the Annual Bobcat Alumni Jazz Jam, in which alumni will sight-read music in a big band performance. Sunday offers a chance to volunteer and enjoy the trails with Trail Maintenance Day, hosted in collaboration between the Southeastern Ohio Trail Runners and the Ohio University Physical Therapy program.

The weather will rest in the high 60s, offering the perfect chance to take in the university and surrounding scenery.

If You Go:

What: Y2K Millennium Dance Party with DJ Barticus

Where: The Union Bar & Grill, 18 W. Union St.

When: 9 p.m., Friday

Admission: Cover charge for those under 21 years old

DJ Barticus will spin crowd-favorite jams from the dawn of the new millennium from 1999 to 2005.

If You Go:

What: Football: Ohio University vs. Bowling Green

Where: Peden Stadium

When: 2 p.m., Saturday

Admission: $35-$40, free for students

The 3-2 Ohio Bobcats are hosting the 1-4 Bowling Green Falcons at Peden Stadium. The tailgate begins at 11:30 a.m., and various colleges at the university will hold alumni tailgates.

The Bobcats are coming off a 17-7 win in the Battle of the Bricks against Miami University and will face another MAC opponent: Bowling Green.

For coverage of games over the weekend, check out The Post‘s sports coverage.

If You Go:

What: 2016 Bobcat Alumni Jazz Jam

Where: Casa Nueva Restaurant & Cantina, 6 W. State St.

When: 10 p.m., Saturday

Admission: Cover charge of $2 to $3

Musically gifted Ohio University alumni will gather at Casa Nueva on Saturday night for the Annual Bobcat Alumni Jazz Jam.

Matthew James, an OU professor of saxophone and jazz studies, said each year the evening brings alumni back to campus to take parts in a big band performance and to casually socialize with current students.

James said 20 to 30 alumni have signed up to take part in the performance. So far, the trumpet section has the most players.

“It will be a sight-reading performance,” James said. “And current students can switch off with alumni if they get tired.”

He said the numbers for the evening include John Coltrane, a few Latin tunes and a New Orleans groove.

Two students from OU’s School of Music will take the stage before the main event.

James said there will be a cover charge of either $2 or $3.

If You Go:

What: Trail Maintenance Day

Where: Strouds Run State Park, 11661 State Park Rd.

When: 1 p.m., Sunday

Admission: Free

The Southeastern Ohio Trail Runners are collaborating with the Ohio University Physical Therapy program for an afternoon of trail maintenance at Strouds Run State Park. This is the second year the two groups have partnered for the event.

It is scheduled in recognition of Global Physical Therapy Day of Service, which officially falls on Oct. 17 this year.

The volunteers will be trimming overgrown sections of many miles of trail at Strouds Run State Park. The event will also provide an opportunity to enjoy the crisp October weather and take in the changing colors of the leaves.

Stargazers escape the light pollution of Athens to peer into the heavens

http://www.thepostathens.com/article/2016/09/ohio-university-stargazing-star-party

After dark, Athens has many sights to see — and not all of them are within this solar system.

Using a telescope with the right amount of power, like the eight-inch model Ethan Gower brings to each of his “Star Party” events, one can peer into the sky to catch a glimpse of double stars, Neptune, nebulas and infinitely more celestial objects.

During the Star Party, Gower described his Dobsonian telescope as “basically a light bucket.” A Dobsonian telescope has a simple design that allows it to be affordable and available for amateur astronomers. Gower and sophomore Jack Deffet have hosted a series of stargazing events, the last of which took place Friday night. To combat the light pollution Athens radiates, the group convened on a hillside in the State Street Cemetery, beyond the neon glow of Court Street. The previous one had been held at the rugby field on South Green.

Dubbed “Star Party 5.2,” Gower, a junior studying astrophysics, said the event attracted more people than any of the previous four star parties. The “.2” in the title accounts for two weather-obstructed attempts. Only sparse clouds obscured Friday night’s view.

As bright as Athens might seem, the light pollution in Athens is not as bad as other areas, George Eberts, an assistant professor of astronomy and physics said.

“O’Bleness Hospital and the mall have (light) cut-offs at certain times because that’s what contractors are required now,” Eberts said.

He said lighting ordinances reduce the light pollution as well.

At the height of the evening, 12 to 15 stargazers trickled in and out. Each time Gower adjusted his large, cylindrical telescope to the next star, planet or star group, the attendees formed a line to to have an up-close view of an elusive sight.

The main event for the evening, Gower said, occurred at 11:44 p.m., when Algol, “the demon star,” would become eclipsed by a smaller star, causing it to flicker and dim.

“Algol is eclipsed every two and seven-eighths days, so you can’t exactly wait for it,” Eberts said.

Those in attendance showed their appreciation for the event.

“It’s cool that Ethan is taking the time do this,” Trevor Seymour, a college student studying in Columbus, said. “He’s really knowledgeable about everything. It’s a perfect spot and everyone is in good spirits.”

As an astrophysics major, Gower said his fascination with space started when he read a space-themed National Geographic magazine as a child. He aspires to work for NASA and holds a special interest in Pluto — he said he would like to lead a mission traveling there, although the long exposure of radiation to the human body would render it difficult.

“My friends say I know too much about space,” Gower said. “There’s so much to learn about in astronomy. Just two days ago I learned two new things.”

He had previously borrowed an 8 inch inch reflector telescopes used by professors in OU’s astronomy department. He now uses his own 8 inch Dobsonian telescope that is glossy blue, wide and cylindrical.

“Telescopes are measured by their aperture in inches,” Eberts said. “The wider the reflector mirror inside, the more surface area is exposed to starlight.”

Eberts said telescope apertures reach to sizes of two meters and larger.

One stargazer said she appreciated the event’s focus.

“We describe it as really pure — no drinking or drugs,” Alayna Coverly, a senior studying painting and drawing, said.

Gower pointed the telescope at star groups such as Pisces and Taurus until attention transferred to the fading of the demon star in the Perseus constellation.

The star dimmed, much like the evening, ending another stargazing expedition.

Gower, however, plans to host another Star Party on October 27 when Saturn, Venus and a star align.