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Five Ways to Dig Winter in Columbus for $5 or Less

614now Staff

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Five Ways to Dig Winter in Columbus for $5 or Less 

by Nelle Smith


I’ve had enough of people complaining about winter. Yeah, it’s frequently freezing (or topsy-turvy warm and wet) and you just lost your left glove again, but there’s still plenty to do. In fact, I think Columbus is a pretty stellar place to survive winter, and I’m prepared to prove it.

Here are five of my favorite Columbus winter activities…all of which you can do for about five bucks each. (See what I did there?)

1. Go to Los Gauchos — but not on taco night

I acknowledge the obvious: Los Gauchos makes a mean taco al pastor. This little taco — made with succulent slow-roasted pork and flick of pineapple — got big press a few years ago when it landed on the Food Channel as one of the top tacos in the country—and you can get it for half off on Monday nights at both Los Gauchos locations.

So why skip taco night this winter? Because Wednesday is $2 gringas night, and I think it’s way better.

Gringas feature the same pork as their more famous cousins, but they’re bigger. You get way more meat for nearly the same price. And, best of all, if you go on Wednesdays you skip the taco night crowd. (You’re still stuck inside, but, hey…at least you’ve got a table to yourself.)

Price: $4 for two gringas

Winter benefit: You’re warm from the salsa…not from being wedged in a taco line.

2. Catch a free day at the Columbus Museum of Art

Sundays are free days at the Columbus Museum of Art — and even if you don’t aspire to be Michelangelo yourself, viewing the pieces in the museum is a worthy way to spend a winter afternoon. CMA boasts a fine collection, including works by such greats as Mary Cassatt, Paul Cezanne, Pablo Picasso, and Agnes Martin, and hosts traveling exhibitions on a regular basis.

If you’re not convinced by any of the “official reasons,” consider this: there’s something genuinely calming about a walk in a museum in winter. Don’t ask me why. It’s a universal fact. So go! Get your exercise. Reflect. Enjoy the winter quiet. (Just don’t irritate the docents.)

Price: $5 for parking (maybe free if you’re lucky and can find a meter closeby, meters are free on Sundays)

Winter benefit: Something to look at that isn’t the television.

3. See a movie at the Gateway on Super Tuesday

Sure, the Gateway Film Center plays your normal Hollywood crackerjacks. And, yes, from the outside it looks like a normal theater. But, actually, it’s also the kind of theater that hosts a twelve showing marathon of Groundhog Day, and plays 2001: A Space Odyssey in 30 mm film, and screens documentaries that no one has heard of except your neighbor with a handlebar mustache.

In other words, it’s great.

So go see an odd movie, dammit. Tickets are five bucks all day on Tuesdays and include free popcorn and, we presume, an unlimited pass to the drinking fountain.

Price: $5 tickets on Tuesday

Winter benefit: You’re watching a movie and you’re not freezing to death. What more do you want?

4. Take a walk in Highbanks on a snowy afternoon

In my humble opinion, Highbanks is the shining jewel among Columbus Metro Parks. It’s full of ravines and winding paths and hills just steep enough that pretending you’re in optimal physical shape might be a little more trouble than usual. It’s also completely overrun on beautiful weekend days.

But you’re in luck, because it’s winter, it’s snowy, it’s freaking cold, and no one wants to go to Highbanks in such dreadful weather. Except you.

Because on a lonely weekday when the snow is falling, being completely alone in the woods of Highbanks is an experience not to be missed. Trust me.

Price: Free

Winter benefit: An actual experience of actual winter. Bundle up, Buttercup.

5. Read a big old book at a big old library

They’ve prettied up the Columbus Metropolitan Library headquarters, and, boy, is it shiny.

It’s also a pretty good escape in the wintertime. Thanks to the attached garage, parking is super cheap and a breeze, and, unless you take a wrong turn of epic proportions, you will encounter absolutely no freezing, wintry substances on your walk inside.

Once inside, the big reading room feels airy and vast, with room to stretch and breathe — it’s a good antidote to winter claustrophobia. And you don’t actually have to read there, of course. Take any quiet project, a puzzle, or a computer with headphones. Electric outlets are plentiful. Plus, there’s an attached coffee shop and a hall that rotates art exhibitions.

Plus, it’s a place that’s not your house.

Price: A buck or two for parking

Winter benefit: Didn’t you always say you’d read War and Peace someday?

What do you think? Do you have any secret wintery spots that you want to share with the rest of Columbus? Comment below!

For more of Nelle Smith’s work, you can visit her website/portfolio.
Photo by Nick W.

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Arts & Creatives

“Treat Yourself” to this new Nina West music video

Mike Thomas

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Columbus just can't get enough of our hometown hero Nina West, and with good cause. When West isn't repping the 614 on national TV or making history on the red carpet, the local icon is usually finding inventive ways to give back to the community.

West's latest offering, a music video for the new track "Treat Yourself," is perfect example of fun with a cause. Presented by OraQuick, an over the counter HIV test kit, the video was filmed on location in Columbus and features several prominent local businesses:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9G2KHVlhjks&t=4s

Choreographer Mark Kanemura (a former backup dancer for Lady Gaga and So You Think You Can Dance all-star) co-stars with West in the video, which follows the pair on a sunny day-long frolic that concludes with a vital message about self-care: knowing your HIV status.

Filmed in the short North, viewers may recognize prominent locations such as Jeni's, Torso, bangSTUDIOS, Union Café, and the North Market.

Look for "Treat Yourself" on October 10/4 on iTunes. All proceeds from purchases of the song will be donated to Equitas Health.

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Arts & Creatives

What’s up with these mini murals painted on downtown buildings?

Mike Thomas

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If you're one of the many Columbus drivers whose commute takes you through downtown via 4th street, you may have noticed the strange artwork adorning several buildings in the vicinity of 4th and Broad:

More intricate than your average street art, these perplexing works are rendered in acrylic paint that is applied directly to the face of the structures, depicting various scenic views from throughout the city.

So what gives? Is Columbus home to a brazen, landscape-obsessed Banksy wannabe? Upon closer inspection, each piece on display is accompanied by a gallery-style placard, complete with a scannable QR code. From here, the not-so-mysterious mystery of the downtown paintings is revealed.

A scan of the code on a smartphone directs you to columbuspublicart.com, where the project is revealed as a commissioned public work by Central Ohio Plein Air—an informal group of artists who enjoy painting outdoors.

As the site explains, members of the group created 20 discrete paintings on buildings downtown "en plein air," a style of painting in which the artist paints a subject on location.

For this project, an element of the unexpected was intentional. Focusing on unlikely urban locations, the artists tucked works away in alleys and crevices throughout the downtown core to be stumbled upon spontaneously by unsuspecting pedestrians.

The next time you're rushing your way through downtown, remember to take a peak down those dark alleyways. What you find may surprise you!

For more on this and other public art projects throughout Columbus, and for a full list of artists and works on display, visit http://columbuspublicart.com/.

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Arts & Creatives

Maker’s Space: Brother, sister team spreading unique prints around Columbus

Laura Dachenbach

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From moveable type to Xerox to 3-D, printing has always been a game-changer.

Several years ago, Columbus graphic designer Nigel Ewan saw a zine with an “impossible” hot pink color that he knew he couldn’t replicate with an inkjet or laser printer. The printmaking game changed for him as well.

Photos: Brian Kaiser

“I was curious enough to investigate the print method— it turned out it was riso, and that pink color was possible because risograph printing uses specifically-chosen inks as opposed to mixing toner or CMYK inks together to produce a spectrum,” said Ewan.

Nigel teamed up with his sister Dempsey, and the two began the onomatopoetically- named Clatter Press, exploring the possibilities of risograph printing to create unique items in small numbers. Risograph printing is not completely unlike mimeograph or silk screen printing, in that the risograph uses a stencil and ink color that is applied one layer at a time, resulting in an often imperfect, but exciting and authentic image. Clatter Press now features the Fluorescent Pink (along with five other colors available for designers) that originally caught Nigel and Dempsey’s attention. (You may have seen a pink photo of Meryl Streep that has made its way around Columbus.)

(614) recently spoke with Nigel and Dempsey to learn more about this unusual printmaking technique and what it can be used to do.

(614): Can you explain the technology and the process behind the risograph?

NE: In risograph printing, a stencil is created in a thin paper which then is wrapped around a cylindrical ink drum. When the drum rotates, ink is pushed through the stencil onto paper to produce an image. This whole process happens inside a large machine made by a Japanese company named RISO, hence “risograph.” Riso printing is extremely environmentally friendly. Stencils are made from rice paper and ink is soy-based. No solvents or heat are used in the printmaking process and all consumables are recyclable.

Is this your primary gig, side gig, or hobby? How did it come to be?

NE: We are a brother-sister team and Clatter Press is a side gig for both us. I am a full-time graphic designer and Dempsey is finishing up her graphic design BFA at [Columbus College of Art and Design]. It’s also definitely a hobby for us; neither of us had ever done any riso printing before we purchased our machine. We wanted to use this technology ourselves to push the limits of our own creative practices. The entire shop is set up in my Clintonville basement—it took four of my friends several hours to get the machine down my narrow basement stairs—so it’s very much a cottage industry. But we love where we are and are excited to continue growing our business.

What sort of projects are ideal for this medium?

NE: Although the RISO company markets its printers as office equipment, the technology is much better suited to creative applications. Artists and designers are drawn to riso because the ink is real ink—wet, oily, gooey—that gets applied to paper in a style more like fine art printmaking than office printing. Misprints such as smearing, roller marks, and mis-registration (different colors not perfectly lined up) are common. This is all part of the appeal. Another appeal is that riso is cost-effective: once a stencil is created, the per-print cost is very inexpensive.

The riso does really well at replicating all sort of mark-making. It can be used to produce sharp digital graphics, smooth gradients, organic marks such as charcoal and graphite, halftones, and even photography.

What ingredients come together to make Columbus fertile ground for makers, designers, and creatives?

DE: Columbus doesn’t always feel like it has the street-cred of older, cooler cities like New York or Chicago, but the upside of this is that everything here feels on the brink of something exciting and new. There is a lot of energy and opportunity in Columbus which seems to be emanating from all of the amazing people who have made Columbus their home and livelihood. We have so enjoyed the people Clatter has introduced and connected us to. Being able to watch so many people we call our friends pursuing fulfilling creative work is really encouraging—and makes us want to always be creating as well. Columbus seems to have boundless energy and this makes it the perfect fertile ground for creators.

What’s your six-word creative story?

DE: Inspiration. Curiosity. Family. Creation. Community. Clatter.

To learn more, order, or see samples of risograph printing, visit clatterpress.com.

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