Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Sponsors go to bat for art project

Well bless their hearts, the Bats Incredible! sponsors came through Thursday, and never mind the White Death - you remember, four inches of snow - that had weather forecasters in a frenzy.

Bats is this summer's public art project, successor to the Big Pig Gig and Flower Power. This time, it's sculptures made of baseball bats. They'll put 50 on the streets by Opening Day (March 31) and 250 by the start of the summer.

Thursday was the sponsor-match party during which potential sponsors took a peek at the 140 proposals, then signed on to sponsor one for $2,000 to $10,000.

About 60 people showed, and that delighted Tamara Harkavy, director of the sponsoring ArtWorks. "I was a little worried. They kept saying how awful the highways were and all that, but people showed up. We would have had more if the weather was decent, but we were happy with what we had."

Eighteen sponsors signed up Thursday, including Fifth Third Bank, which grabbed artist Frank Stanton's Johnny's Bench - no surprise there, he's company spokesman. It's a large bench with a picture of Bench on it.

The city didn't sign up, but Mayor Charlie Luken was smitten by artist Ellen Miller's Queen City themed tiara. Arts patron Otto Budig went with a tower of spiraling bats from a group called Urban Hieroglyphics.

Bats Incredible! has 86 committed sponsors and is looking for another 14.

Off to `Dawson': Wherein the national spotlight shines on one of Cincinnati's own, namely Cammy Award winner and folk diva Katie Reider.

Turns out Dawson's Creek producers have decided (with the permission of the musicians) to make 84 of the 700 songs played in the past six seasons available for people burning CDs. Sort of a do-it-yourself Dawson soundtrack.

Anyway, two Reider songs, both from her Wonder CD ("What You Don't Know" and "Piece of Soul"), are among the 84 selected - "a pretty cool thing to be part of, especially for little indie artists like myself," she says.

We'll say. Go to www.dawsons

creek.com and start those CD burners.

Bat patrol: Merciful heavens, we're starting to think we should give Tom Schwartz an award, what with all he's doing to get Bat Boy off the streets.

Bat Boy, recall, is the half-bat, half-human soul often found on the pages of Weekly World News, the bastion of truth sold in supermarket checkout lines.

Wellsir, danged if Bat Boy didn't show up again last week in a story about how he stole a BMW Mini Cooper in Detroit and was now on a joy ride through Ohio, Indiana and Michigan.

(Note to pet owners: Beware. According to WWN, Bat Boy dines on house cats.)

So now comes Schwartz, owner of Silverton's BMW Store and a guy who wants to help. Already he's alerted other BMW store owners to be on the lookout. He's also had Internet postings pleading with Bat Boy to give himself up - he promises even to help him deal with the authorities, get him counseling and pay his hotel bill. But no house cats.

So far, no word from Bat Boy, but WWN, when informed of the effort, promised to think about a follow-up story.

E-mail jknippenberg@enquirer.com

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