Tuesday, October 10, 2000

Smoke rings lead to 'GQ' magazine

        Well for goodness sake, look who's about to pop up in GQ. None other than Harry Garrison, amateur magician, Player Piano Shop owner, art collector and expert smoke-ring blower.

        Such an expert, don't you know, that he has demonstrated on stages nationwide, including the old Johnny Carson Show.

        GQ is the bible of men's fashion and a magazine “I don't know a damn thing about,” Garrison says. But it knows him and his rings, so it invited him to smoke for a photo layout.

Harry Garrison is famous for blowing smoke rings.
(Joseph Fuqua II photo)
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        What GQ might not know is that he's a fashion star himself. “I believe in dressing well and properly. For the past 18 years, I've been going to Budapest twice a year to have my clothes made. I buy the fabric and give it to the tailors.”

        Garrison, who just turned 65, was originally going to fly to New York Thursday for the photo shoot, but got a call from GQ a few days ago telling him they were coming here instead. Look for it in the December edition.

        Look for this a lot sooner: Garrison speaks at the Main Public Library at 7 p.m. today about an exhibit he loaned the library.

        That would be “From Oil to Stone: Decorative Poster Company Posters & Postcards from the Collection of Harry H. Garrison.” It's a batch of posters from before World War I, back when Cincinnati was the center of the lithography universe. The posters hang around the the Art & Music Department all month.

        Icy vows: So, you were wondering, what were those people doing shivering on Fountain Square Saturday?

        Watching a wedding, that's what. Tony Trotta and Karen Ford, who know most everyone who lives and works downtown, got the permits, bundled up and did the “I do” thing smack in front of the fountain.

        The site wasn't the only unusual aspect ...

        • Their meeting: Ford worked 17 years at the West Side's Lutz Floral Co. Early this year, she decided she was burned out on flowers, and in March moved to a sales position at Spatz Natural Life Health Food downtown on Main. Trotta, a UPS guy with a downtown route, delivers there.

        “If I hadn't gotten burned out on flowers, we never would have met,” Ford says.

        • The courtship: So he asked her to lunch. Once, twice, then daily, always carryout on Fountain Square, all spring and summer, till he proposed — at lunch on the square — in late summer.

        “The square is such a part of our lives, it was the only place for the wedding,” Trotta says.

        • The guest list: Their families — Trotta has a huge West Side clan — and everyone on Trotta's delivery route. “It's my downtown family. I couldn't get married without them there.”

        And so they were. Tons of downtown office workers, about 150 who see Trotta every day in his UPS ensemble, watched him trot out in a black Italian suit and marry Ford in an antique gown that wasn't nearly warm enough.

        Happily, the reception was in a heated tent on Ford's lawn in Price Hill.

        Olympic hello: Two bits of advice for Cincinnati councilwoman Alicia Reece: Don't go one-on-one with Ricardo Williams and don't try to follow state senator Mark Mallory's act.

        Reece is co-chairing a do that honors boxing silver medalist Williams at noon Wednesday on Fountain Square.

        Because, Reece says, “he's amazing and I want the whole city to see. I want them to know and appreciate what he's accomplished already in his life.”

        Which means she'll congratulate him but not throw punches. Wise choice.

        He'll get lots of that, 'cause Reece invited all Cincinnati Olympians, past and present, to join the party and take a bow. Everyone from runner Julie Isphording to swimmer Joe Hudepohl, basketballers George Wilson and Oscar Robertson, 72 in all.

        There'll also be presentations, including one by Mallory, who may be the hardest act in town to follow: Funny, deadpan, deadly accurate barbs. Come to think of it, a body might be better off going one-on-one against Williams than against Mallory.

        Contact Jim Knippenberg at 768-8513; fax: 768-8330.


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