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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 & Culture

Watch: “World’s largest mural” in Short North is more than meets the eye

Regina Fox

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At a glance, "The Journey AR Mural" adorning the Graduate Columbus hotel in Short North is stunning. Look a little harder, and it actually comes to life.

Standing at over 107 feet tall and over 11,000 square feet of augmented reality, "The Journey AR Mural," is the world's largest AR mural, offering technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.

The gaily-painted snapdragons, hibiscus, Easter lilies, and hummingbirds bloom and fly when viewed through the Journey AR Mural app (free for iPhone and Android). Watch the murals come to life in the video below.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B7PRvBxpBkI/

Los Angeles-based artists Ryan Sarfati and Eric Skotnes (going by “Yanoe” and “Zoueh," respectively) are the creatives behind the project.

In an interview with Short North Arts District, Skotnes revealed he was inspired to take on the project after learning that Columbus is home to the second largest population of Somali immigrants in the country—he hopes the murals symbolize strength and prosperity for its viewers.

To learn more about The Journey AR Mural, visit shortnorth.org.

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Arts & Culture

Undercover: Unique music festival showcases Columbus music talent this weekend

Mike Thomas

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Since beginning in 2018, Columbus Covers Columbus (CCC) has grown into a signature event in the thriving local music scene. Now in its third year, this unique festival is centered on the concept of local musicians playing sets comprised entirely of music from other local acts.

CCC is the brainchild of Columbus music promoter Tony Casa, who wanted to create a showcase for a supportive community of local artists to share their mutual admiration for each other's music.

As entertaining as the event is for spectators, CCC doubles as a valuable networking opportunity for local entertainers and creatives.

"There are great local merchants, games, and tons of networking opportunities for everyone in the community," says Casa. "This isn’t just a great show, it’s like a proper festival—but in the winter."

Since its inception, the event has expanded to include stand-up comedy, poetry readings, burlesque performances, live podcast recordings, and more, all in the spirit of promoting and celebrating the Columbus creative community.

CCC will take place from January 17-19 at Classics Victory Live at 543 S High St. The event is 18+, with tickets available at the door for $10. For more info including a full list of artists and vendors, visit Columbus Covers Columbus on Facebook.

Cover photo by Catherine Lindsay photography.

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Arts & Culture

Columbus band snarls is bursting with promise on debut LP

Mike Thomas

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As the decade that birthed the fidget spinner and basically nothing else of note drew to a close, music blogs large and small dedicated astonishing amounts of digital ink to their inevitable “album/song/artist of the decade” rankings.

Usually restrained to a totally undaunting 100 items, these lists surveyed the topography of a ten year span that saw the legacy of rock music as we know it (straight, male, and horny) continue its gradual and unceremonious slide into irrelevance.

From relative newcomers like Courtney Barnett, Snail Mail, and Julien Baker, to established voices such as the Breeders, St. Vincent, and Sleater-Kinney, rock music in the 2010s was revitalized by female artists who enjoyed a larger portion of the spotlight in this decade than ever before.

Columbus-based alt-rockers snarls are firmly situated on this new wave, but the rapid success the group has enjoyed since forming in 2017 is entirely due to their own hard work and astonishing creative powers. Consisting of Chlo White on guitar and lead vocals, Riley Dean on bass and vocals, and sibling duo Mick and Max Martinez on guitar and drums respectively, snarls is the capital city’s contribution to the future of rock—and they won’t be contained to the 614 for long.

Photos: Brian Kaiser

Originating in the local DIY scene, snarls got their start playing house shows, eventually moving on to established venues throughout the city. The group’s sound incorporates influences from ‘90s grunge, to the emo stylings of bands like American Football, to the pop sensibilities of Halsey and Kesha. The result, as White puts it, is music that coalesces into a “melting pot of teenage angst.”

In the summer of 2019, snarls was propelled to a new level of notoriety when the video for the group’s single, “Walk in the Woods”—a glittering anthem of unrequited love sung over chorused-out guitars and with a hook more infectious than meningitis—premiered on the music blog Stereogum. The track also made the cut for the site’s “100 Favorite Songs of 2019” roundup.

“We didn’t even have a tripod, the camera was set on like four books and the backdrops kept fucking falling,” White recalls of filming the video, which the group self-produced.

“That song not only has given us more streaming, but has brought us so much press and cool shows,” Mick says of the track, which has accrued almost 40,000 streams on Spotify at the time of this writing. “I don’t think the Sleater-Kinney thing would ever have happened if that song wasn’t out. It’s crazy that just that one song alone has brought us so much opportunity.”

The Sleater-Kinney thing? That would be snarls opening for the legendary Pacific Northwest rockers at the Newport Music Hall on their recent tour stop in Columbus. While it was easily the biggest show in the young group’s career thus far in terms of profile and audience size, the members of snarls were up to the challenge.

“For me, it’s easy to switch between playing a house venue and playing the Newport,” Dean says confidently of the band’s milestone moment. “It’s still just a stage. It’s still just people watching me play my music. One’s just bigger.”

If the release of the group’s breakthrough single is any indication of snarls’ trajectory, it’s safe to assume big things are on the horizon. “Walk in the Woods” is just a taste of the group’s first full-length LP, titled Burst, which is planned for a Spring 2020 release. To help achieve their artistic vision for the album, snarls tapped Jon Fintel of Relay Recording to handle production duties.

“Jon has played a really important role,” Mick says of Fintel’s contributions to the recording process. “Not only does everything sound high-quality because of him, but even when we brought demos to him, it was like ‘let’s scrap this song because it doesn’t quite fit in, and I know that you guys can do something better.’ And then we wrote one of our favorite songs.”

For established fans, the description that snarls teases for their new release should come as no surprise: expect a long emotional arc cast across tracks that alternate between “perfect for dancing,” and others better suited to crying. For snarls, the completion of the recording provides a profound sense of accomplishment.

“I make a lot of art. I’m always making a photo, or doodling, or writing. But this is one of my—our—finer- crafted pieces of art that I am just really proud of, regardless of what happens with it, or if it goes anywhere,” says White. “If it just sits in a dark corner for the rest of my life, I’m still content. I’m just really proud of all the work that we collected in this little ten song record.”

Find snarls on all major streaming platforms. For tour dates, merch, and more, visit snarlsmusic.com

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