Thursday, June 15, 2000

Buskers descend on the Square

        Not to ruin anyone's breakfast or anything, but starting today there's apparently a mime loose on the streets of our fair metropolis — and about 40 other performers.

        That would be the herd of buskers (i.e. street performers) for Unsquaring the Square, a summerlong effort of the Cincinnati Arts Association and Downtown Cincinnati Inc. It kicked off with a party Tuesday, continues today and goes on until Labor Day or thereabouts.

        They'll perform on Fountain Square and the Aronoff Plaza at various times, including lunch, around Aronoff events, Reds games, that sort of thing.

        “The amazing thing is the number of people,” says Dawn Zimmer at the Arts Association. “Here it is Tuesday, and we're still getting calls from people who want to perform.”

        Perform just about everything, she adds. There are singers, instrumentalists, Cajun music from Robin Lacy, Celtic music, story tellers, jugglers, magicians and the dreaded mime.

        “But a really good mime,” Zimmer says. “This one doesn't get on your nerves like most.”

        Performers who are part of the program will wear 3-inch Busker buttons.

        Bloom's Back: Looks as if Philip Thompson is getting his wish ... he birthed a tradition.

        Specifically Bloomsday in Cincinnati. Cities worldwide have been doing Bloomsday for years — June 16, 1904, the day Leopold Bloom wandered the streets of Dublin in James Joyce's classic novel Ulysses.

        But Cincinnati never joined in until Thompson threw one at Arnold's in '98. Then moved it to Jack Quinn's Irish Pub in Covington in '99 and said at the time, “It might become a tradition here, but what I really want is for people to read Joyce.”

        Don't know if they're reading Joyce (beach reading he's not) but the tradition is established. So much so that Quinn's has been getting calls for months.

        What they'll hear is Irish music plus local souls — Declan O'Sullivan, Bronagh Moore, Dale Hodges — reading from Ulysses. It's 7-9 p.m. Friday.

        Seen Around Town: A carrot. A biiiiiig carrot, 7-foot tall, encouraging people eating hot dogs to, well, eat carrots.

        Mr. Carrot, or Ms. — it's hard to tell with vegetables — is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' mascot. It popped up Saturday at Kahn's PigNic, the Big Pig Gig kickoff.

        “The amazing thing was a meat company sponsored, and they actually let us come in and tell people to eat vegetables, not animals,” says Sean Gifford in PETA's national office. “They wouldn't let us serve vegetarian hot dogs, but we served 450 vegetarian sandwiches and hundreds of bowls of vegetarian chili.”

        PETA has two veggie-themed pigs by artist Betsy Reeves in the Gig, one at Fifth and Elm streets, the other at Seventh and Main streets.

        Carrot, meanwhile, secured hundreds of signatures on PETA's mailing list and considered the day a success.

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