Tuesday, February 19, 2002

PULFER: 'My Cincinnati'

Your life a potential photo op

By Laura Pulfer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Pat DeWine tried to slam the photo album shut, but it was too late. I saw him naked.

        The Cincinnati City Councilman, smiling unself-consciously, was in a bathtub, circa 1970. Mr. DeWine is thinking he'll choose something more recent, something more Cincinnati, possibly something more, uh, clothed for public display in the traveling photo exhibit called “My Cincinnati.”

        He holds up a snapshot of himself at Cinergy Field nee Riverfront Stadium with his father, Sen. Mike DeWine. They'd made the drive from Cedarville, east of Dayton, for a Reds game. His Cincinnati.

Uncle Al's twist contest
        Vice Mayor Alicia Reece says maybe she'll pick a photograph of herself learning to ride a bike in her old neighborhood on Linn Street in the West End. Or, if she can find it, she might submit her picture on the day she won first prize in the twist contest on the Uncle Al Show. She was presented with a supply of Mama's Cookies, which she ate, and a photo, which she may have lost.

        And I'm wondering if I can locate the picture, commemorating the day I was in the audience at the Ruth Lyons show. It was my annual summer pilgrimage from Lima to visit an aunt and uncle here. Painfully skinny, I would have been about 12 years old. Shapeless legs dangled from the center of an enormous cotton skirt, an improbable hoop of crinoline.

        The effect was of a pastel bell with saddle-shoe clappers.

        My Cincinnati at that moment was Cheviot and Coney Island and Al Schottelkotte. I wouldn't mind seeing what everybody else saw. That's the plan, according to Alicia Reece and Pat DeWine who came up with it. A giant photo collage will be displayed at City Hall for a week, then travel around the area. And the creators use the word “diversity” often enough that I'm guessing that is part of the plan as well, maybe noticing that your Cincinnati has something in common with somebody who doesn't look exactly like you.

        Or maybe your experiences here are nothing alike, also worth saying. “We hope people will come downtown with a picture that means Cincinnati to them,” says Pat DeWine. Photos will be collected in the lobby of the Westin Hotel, downtown, after work Friday, March 8, or Saturday, March 9, from noon to 6 p.m.

Talking pictures
        The photo doesn't have to be of you. It can be the most unflattering photo you can find of your brother. Maybe a nice shot of your sister the day after a Toni home permanent. Or somebody you love posing in Eden Park. Or your Girl Scout troop or your team or your club or your mother.

        You choose.

        “Ideally,” Alicia Reece says, “people will stay and talk about the picture, where it was taken, why they chose it.”

        Organization for this, may I say, is very loose. “There could be food,” one of the organizers says. No promises. You may be asked to paste your picture on a collage. Or you may be rescued from artistic duty by somebody from ArtWorks, which is supervising the project.

        If you have any questions, call Artworks at 333-0388. Do not call Pat DeWine, Alicia Reece or me. We are up to our ears in photos. The councilman has narrowed his choices down to photos at the stadium. The vice mayor found one she likes of her brother and sister. I couldn't find the Ruth Lyons show snapshot, so I am submitting a borrowed photo of a nice young politician. He is naked.

       E-mail Laura at lpulfer@enquirer.com or call 768-8393.


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