Make Covington covfefe again

Story by Kelsey Bungenstock

Featured photo courtesy of Jared Koshiol

There’s no arguing that when it comes to current politics, America is divided. With the constant debate and discourse from both sides, some may find it difficult to see the fun that may come from them. However, after President Donald Trump sent out a tweet with a confusing typo, social media users sure did try.

If you’re not familiar with the infamous ‘covfefe’ tweet at this point, you haven’t been online this week. Though the original tweet was eventually deleted, Cincinnati-area resident Jared Koshiol caught it as he scrolled through Twitter at 3 a.m.

His first reaction was bemusement at the President tweeting a typo. However, just as this small blunder snowballed into the latest meme fodder, Koshiol took what was supposed to be a simple goof and turned it into an opportunity.

Koshiol is no stranger to poking fun at life. In his free time, he runs a prank blog, As one of his latest shenanigans, he started a petition to have the city of Covington, Kentucky change its name to ‘Covfefe’.

An excerpt from the page states, “Since its inception, Covington has always strived to honor the presidents of this great USA […] but today we are presented with the opportunity to honor the words of the president and the 40,000 people of Covington by changing its name to “Covfefe”, president Donald J Trump’s newest catchphrase. This new name will allow us to honor the legacy of the 45th leader of the free world and make (what was formerly known as) Covington into the bigly-est and most beautiful must-see place from sea to shining sea.”

River City News caught onto the petition when it had just 18 signatures. After publishing a story of their own, the story got some momentum and as of now, the petition has nearly 180 signatures.

“I guess the word looked like Covington to me when I glanced at it real quick, perhaps a dyslexic moment,” Koshiol commented, when asked about his inspiration behind the petition. “And then from there I thought it would be funny to involve the local community into a national story about ‘Covfefe’.”

With part of his degree focusing on Public Relations, Koshiol decided to turn this joke into a fun exercise. His goal was to see if he could turn a goofy little petition into, in his own words, ‘a thing’. And boy, did he.

With news that President Trump will be paying the Queen City a visit on Wednesday, Koshiol has dedicated himself to spreading the petition even further, with pleasing results. Coverage of the petition includes publications from Fox 19, and, as well as an on-air segment from Fox 19. Koshiol had also been told WVXU’s NPR briefly discussed it, but soundclips haven’t surfaced as of yet.

Another one of Koshiol’s motives behind the petition was to “rustle some jimmies” within the community.

Political comedy and satire isn’t a new concept, but there has been debate as of late on when a joke goes too far. While some may find jokes at the president’s expense to be disrespectful, Koshiol would have to disagree.

“There is always a place for humor in politics! Politics are about people, and people need laughter! Much of [political humor] is just speaking truth to power, I think, and the other part of it is often just a good chance for a joke to make a situation less tense.”

Koshiol cites the funniest responses to the petition are from “elderly Facebook users” who “sincerely insist the idea is stupid and clearly miss the joke”. Despite the criticism, he gets a kick out of the hilarious responses from those who have signed the petition.

One anonymous user even went as far as to change the name of Covington City Hall on Google Maps to “Covfefe City Hall” on June 2, though it was eventually changed back around midnight that night.

“I just want to Make America Laugh Again. Laughter brings people together, walls tear people apart,” Koshiol said.

Cincinnati Culture has reached out to Covington City Hall for comments, but has yet to receive a response.


Faces of Fringe: A one-woman show written by one woman

Featured image by Erika Kate MacDonald

There are many shows involved in the Cincinnati Fringe Festival (Cincy Fringe) and I had the chance to talk about one of the more unique shows with the writer herself, Alexx Rouse.

“Busted Bumpers and Other Metaphors” is a one-woman show that focuses on growing up while having a friendly chat with your father.

What is your inspiration for writing Bumpers and Other Metaphors? What is it about?

My inspiration for “Busted Bumpers” has actually been brewing since I was around 13 years old. My dad drove me to high school every single day and we always talked about chronicling the talks that we had which could be about everything from history, to drugs, to my high school gossip. It’s grown up into part love letter to my dad and part working through my parent’s divorce and learning to grow up. Long answer short, it’s a coming of age story that has been almost a decade in the making.

Why did you choose to write a one-woman show?

I’ve always been really drawn to the format of one-woman shows and storytelling. I was raised with a lot of stand-up comedy and watching a lot of people tell stories (professionally and otherwise) and with the way I write and the stories I want to tell it just always made sense to me. It was something I’ve always known I’ve wanted to do — be interesting enough to tell stories that might resonate with others.

Who is directing it and why did you choose them?

An unbelievably awesome lady named Erika Kate MacDonald is directing my show and I am not worthy of her perfect self. It’s funny, I was actually friends with her boyfriend, Paul Strickland first (He’s doing “Balls of Yarns” at Fringe this year so you should see that too) and was inspired by the solo work he did. [I] even took one of his storytelling workshops thinking that he would direct my show when I eventually decided to do one.

But the more we talked about my script, the more it seemed like Erika was the perfect person for the kind of story I wanted to tell. I’d seen Erika perform before and always loved talking to her when I ran into her, but I had no idea that she also had this amazing body of solo work she’d done. When we had our first meeting earlier this year, it was obvious that she was exactly what I needed. She’s talented and honest and helpful in all ways and she has continued to be the greatest lady ever during this whole process. Not just directing, but helping me write and edit, network and talking down my nerves on way more than one occasion. She also won Critic’s Pick for her amazing show Evacuated! last year at Cincy Fringe which if you ever get a chance to see, you HAVE TO.

But I’ll stop talking now because I didn’t mean to go on this long. I’m kind of in love with Erika.

Is this your first time doing a show like this?

It is my first time ever doing a show like this! I’ve done smaller sets before for True Theatre and for storytelling workshops, but never a full 55 minutes by myself. I am both pumped and terrified in my bones.

Is rehearsal weird when it’s by yourself?

Rehearsal is so weird by yourself!

Especially when I didn’t have Erika I was constantly wondering if anything I was doing was making sense or cohesive. But I’m lucky to have had a lot of kind people who let me drag them into rooms and force them to watch my bits. And Erika to talk me down when I was convinced I was crazy.

How did you get into playwriting? And why?

I think it’s something I was always supposed to do. I wrote all the time as a kid and always loved telling stories, but I always kind of ran away from the idea of writing. I thought I was supposed to be an actor, but for some reason that never felt totally right to me. In college I was really lucky to have this professor named Brian Robertson who saw something in me and then subtlety bullied me (In a loving way!) into the playwriting program at NKU. I’m so glad he did. I’m at my best when I’m locked away somewhere pounding away at a laptop. Telling stories has always been my way to deal with and process things and playwriting has been the perfect avenue for me to do that.

Who are some people that you look up to?

I feel like I know a lot of people I look up to personally. To continue with my love letter, I really look up to Erika. Watching her solo show made me feel honored to just know her, let alone be her friend. She’s also one of those people who has a really gorgeous spirit and I count myself really lucky that she was a sort of Fringe big sister for me. I look up to Paul a lot too. The first time I saw his solo show “Ain’t True and Uncle False” was when went, “That. That is the kind of thing I want to do.”

Outside of people I know, I look up to a lot of stand-up comics [such as] Marc Maron, Ali Wong, Jen Kirkman and Matt Braunger. I also think I can quote any bit that Patton Oswalt or Louis C.K. has ever done in a stand-up special.

The show opens tonight at 7:45 p.m. at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. It will run until Friday, June 9.

There are a ton of other shows going on for Cincy Fringe so be sure to check those out too! Click here for the official line up.

Photo by Erika Kate MacDonald



Friday Giants re-energizes pop punk for the music-loving millennials

Combining the familiar sounds of A Day to Remember and Blink 182 from our punk phases, NKY natives Friday Giants revitalizes our pop punk past with their new release of “Twenty Nothings.”

Although Friday Giants have been around for awhile, the members have had some lineup changes.

The current lineup is vocalist Gavin Bonar, guitarists/backup vocalists Chuck Ralenkotter and Kyle Rhodes, bassist/vocalist Zac Taylor and drummer Logan Boatright.

“Twenty Nothings” is a CD for the millennials that captures a picture of college life and life in your twenties.

“It basically describes most of the people in their twenties,” Ralenkotter said. “It talks about, like, hating your job, not wanting to get out of bed. Just kind of not wanting to do anything because you don’t like the life you live at the moment.”

Rhodes added that being a millennial shouldn’t have a negative connotation.

“Yeah, we have dreams and we’re gonna go pursue them,” Rhodes said. “But we work really hard to get them.”

As the only original member, Ralenkotter said that this is has been a great band to work with.

“The things we argue about are not petty things,” Ralenkotter said of the present line up. “None of us think we’re pitted against each other. We’re like an old married couple.”

The band draws inspiration from bands like Avenged Sevenfold, A Day to Remember, Neck Deep and Logic the Rapper.

With this blend, Friday Giants wanted “Twenty Nothings” to be inclusive.

“There’s a song on there for everybody,” Rhodes said.

Because of this idea, one of Ralenkotter’s favorite songs on the CD is “Catch Me if You Can.”

“That was the first song we all collaborated on and wrote together,” Ralenkotter said. “I liked getting everybody’s little taste in it and it’s a good song to show how all of us write together and what all of our styles sound like when they’re put together.”

Rhodes’ favorite is “This isn’t a Love Song, it’s What I Need Right Now” which is the only song written by him since most of the CD was written before he joined.

“I’ve never had a song move me as much as that,” Rhodes said. “I felt the pain and I just love that song.”

Photo credit: Chris Hughes of Streetlight Studios

Rhodes had the song written in a day and they had it fully completed by the next band practice.

“Twenty Nothings” is a CD that the band is really proud to have made.

“Locally, none of us have put out something that’s gotten this much hype,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes even mentioned that a fan commented on their latest music video saying, “I feel like this band is going to revive the scene.”

“It makes you feel good,” Ralenkotter said. “Like you’re actually doing something.”

When asked where they saw the band going, Rhodes said that the rest of the year would be spent promoting and making new videos.

“It’s in our hands, but it’s not in our hands at the same time,” Rhodes said. “We’ve already started writing for our next album.”

Friday Giants will be playing with Here Come Here, Ocean Grid and Pilot Around the Stars at Southgate House Revival Saturday night. Tickets are $10 and you can find them here.
You can also support them in their pursuit of being on the Warped Tour lineup by viewing their video here.

Featured image credit: Chris Hughes of Streetlight Studios

Welcome to Cincinnati Culture!

Welcome to the everything blog for Cincinnati people.

I want to focus on the music scene as well as the gaming scene and the arts scene. My blog is basically the Arts and Life section in the newspaper.

If you have a story involving any of that, send me a message. So far, I’m looking at writing reviews and talking to local bands.

Have a great day!

The Jayhawks are back in town.

I’ve loved the band since I was introduced to them at five years old so you can imagine my excitement when I got to see The Jayhawks perform at Madison Theater Nov. 1.
When we first arrived at Madison, the crowd seemed sparse. Doors opened at 7 p.m. so we were hoping more people would come in to fill in the cracks.

Sure enough, more people filed in as the opening act took the stage. Folk Uke is a band consisting of two members: Amy Nelson and Cathy Guthrie.

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