Tuesday, May 23, 2000

Bashful men lured into opera

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        Hmmm. Seems the men are a tad shy, but the women, well, they're kind of brazen.

        Referring here to Cincinnati Opera's search for supers to work this summer's Aida. Staffers Evelyn Stubbs and Caroline Giles, recall, are in charge of finding two guys willing to trot around in loin cloths, as well as 75 others, some who need to go topless.

        Wellsir, men aren't calling. But wives and girlfriends are.

        Mrs. Howard Seaver volunteered husband Howard, who's also an usher at Music Hall. But not for a loin cloth role.

        One caller recommended trainer Robert Kramer — “great buns” was her recommendation — who will do a loincloth role. And furthermore, his grandfather was Robert Sidell, Zoo Opera managing director, 1950-58.

        Over at WGUC-FM, staffer Coleen Tracy volunteered Len Sternberg, director of major gifts/planned giving and a major opera buff. He's in but dressed, and it's a good thing, 'cause Tracy's tormenting him about “his itty-bitty loin cloth.”

        “We still have plenty of openings,” Stubbs says, promising to try not to embarrass anyone. At least not too badly.

        In shape: Meanwhile on the party circuit, we don't know how good this is going to sound, but John Goodman's personal trainer threw a bash Saturday to open his fitness studio here.

        And get this: The trainer is the abovesaid Robert Kramer, who also was trainer to Carly Simon and Jay Morh (Jerry Maguire), two souls who had more success than Goodman.

        Kramer, 26 and certified by the American College of Sports Medicine, is a Fort Mitchell native moving home from New York to whip Cincinnati into shape.

        He didn't do a lot of whipping Saturday but did show off Robert Kramer's Personal Fitness and explain his philosophy, mostly a one-on-one approach, in his 2,000 square foot studio full of new equipment, massage therapy and nutritional counseling (which, we guess, Goodman ignored).

        Well lit: Not that she's been cranky or anything, but arts activist Peggy Kahn is the first to admit: “I've been bitchy about this for years.”

        That would be the other star of Friday's May Festival — the one that didn't sing: The massive rose window atop Music Hall's Elm Street facade. Dark since 1878, it's now electrified, lit and getting ooohs and ahhhs.

        Right, says Joyce VanWye, co-founder of the Society for the Preservation of Music Hall, the group that footed the $6,500 bill. The rose is not only lit, but lit by two local bright lights.

        It was a collaboration between Jay Depenbrock, the lighting designer who has lit shows all over town, and Ken Jones, the architect who lives in Over-the-Rhine and has done a zillion projects there.

        What they did was hang a “drop” (curtain) behind the window and shine a light on the drop, giving the window a rosy glow but not the glare a spot would create.

        Kahn has stopped griping but says “I'm going to start soon on the two small windows on the side.”

        Knip's Eye View appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Have an item to report? Call Jim Knippenberg at 768-8513; fax: 768-8330.