a sweet hit of an off-broadway show, “i love you because” is currently running at the know theatre. the surprisingly good thesis project of two nyu students, the show follows the lives of four youngish new yorkers in search of, well, that elusive “something” that draws, and maybe even keeps, two people together.
fang du’s austin is so adorable as an uptight, tie-wearing republican that you just want to wrap him and shake him ’til he rattles and loosens up and starts ordering electric-colored drinks with cute little umbrellas. as his brother jeff, daniel s. hines and his ’80s fashion (non)sense — the too-high-waisted jeans worn with white tennis shoes, the moussed-into-spikes-hair — hits a nice counterpoint to his sweet vulnerability (how many guys do you know who would cry over a my little pony abacus?). courtney brown’s marcy fitzwilliams is a believable bohemian who unintentionally sweeps austin off his feet, while jenny guy as diana bingley seems to capture exactly what it is like to be a sex-starved actuary (at least, i think she does…since i’m not much of a number girl myself it’s hard to say).
“i love you because” is a musical, which after seeing “christmas yet to come” i believed was not the know’s strength. while i’m still not sure it is, this production has better-balanced sound and fewer out-of-tune tunes, making it much more enjoyable. the show’s instrumental quintet sits behind the stage in the midst of the new york city silhouette that is the play’s backdrop, and while at times i wanted their volume to drop so that i could better hear the actors’ voices, it’s a nice touch to have live music as a literal backdrop to the play.
my favorite things about the know are still the space and the ambiance. the bar/lounge area is a nice spot for a pre-show drink, with an eclectic decorative mix of urban industrial and public-school cafeteria. plus i like being able to sip slowly on my cocktail and take it with me into the theatre instead of guzzling it (or tossing it) at the door. the theatre space itself has a funky urban feel, with its steel stairs and metal grates leading up to what is basically a black loft with a stage area. given the group’s smallish space and minimal funds for sets and props, the shows we’ve seen imaginatively create various senses of place to carry the actors through their scenes. it’s a theatre for our times: economical and funky, doing good work with the resources at hand, it provides work for young up and coming actors and affordable entertainment for those of us who love theater.
i miss my days as an undergrad when i could get a rush ticket to big-city theatres for $5. but with $12 tix (shout out to the know for that one!), as well as a ticket stub worth 20% off a meal at the nearby mixx, a night at the know can fit into even a frugal budget. and everybody loves that.
“i love you because” runs through february 21. showtimes and more information about tickets at knowtheatre.com or 513-300-5669. curious but not ready to commit? check out a youtube clip, here.
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if you have not yet filled your christmas lists there is still time to shop locally, save money, and do good all at once:
your purchases at the downtown coffee emporium this weekend send 20% of sales to the know theatre. while you’re there, pick up an ornament tag to buy a gift for a needy child; gifts accepted through monday the 16th.
the folks at park & vine (which just earned their second notch in cinti mag’s “best of” belt, as well as 2008 recycling award) “are in love with” (honestly — that’s what dan said) the folks at the spotted goose (which also won a 2008 cinti mag award for best children’s clothing store). evidence? any purchase at p&v thru 12/31 earns you 20% off at tsg, a shop where a discount might come closer to making some (very nice) things affordable.
as you wander the gateway quarter you might notice that the storefronts between mica 12/v and metronation are now full and humming: switch (a new lighting store) and mahatma are both open, along with incredible creations hair salon. just next door the buzz from lavomatic fills metronation with a nice urban vibe, while across the street a lucky step is open for business. if you still need holiday greenery stop in at city roots for all things wreathy and swaggy.
so hop on the bus or grab and friend and carpool, head to otr, buy lunch and a latte on central parkway, meander through the gateway quarter, and end your evening with a cocktail. what better pre-holiday treat to yourself? c’mon…you know you want to.
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(with apologies to prince)
okay, first things first: the menu really is tiny, and the food is (or was on friday) uneven.
we’re a little late on blogging lavomatic — everybody’s been there, with mixed responses to the food, the service, and the atmosphere.
rather than cover everything in great detail, let me say that if you want to go sit outside in a little urban nook and have a glass of wine or a moerlein otr or a sparkling water with lime with a few good friends, the second-level patio (now open) would be hard to beat. and my sense is that sharing a few items from the “washboard” menu would be a perfect complement to such an experience. the full dinner menu, on the other hand, left a little to be desired: slightly dry rabbit, and monkfish buried in an overpowering relish, to name just a couple. (the salad special, on the other hand, was a delight: fresh local greens, a lemon vinaigrette, diced fresh peach, and a sprinkling of ajwain seed adding a savory flourish.)
but i have to say that we hit lavomatic on a perfect evening: delightful company, sun quickly dipping behind next door, cool breeze rustling between the row houses. our service was slowish but attentive, and that was fine, because we were slow to decide, and we sat a long time, chatting, and no one pushed us to leave sooner, and suddenly it was ten o’clock, and we’d been there for almost four hours.
you gotta love evenings like that — they’re rare, and worth trying to find again and again. so lavomatic is one of those spaces that i will go back to. and now i think i know what to order, and what to expect, so next time it’ll be perfect. right?
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