Kedi

Kedi, cat, IstanbulWorried about the increasingly autocratic government of Turkey? Erdogan’s round-up of dissidents? His relations with Syria? You can forget all that watching this documentary (trailer) by Turkish filmmaker Ceyda Torun and cinematographer Charlie Wuppermann, about Istanbul’s Big Romance with—cats! (What did you think “Kedi” means?)

At an hour twenty-minutes, the film is somewhat longer than it might be, but as a vacation from the news cycle, perhaps not long enough. The residents of Istanbul don’t “own” most of the cats that roam their streets and markets, that nest in quiet places and makeshift hideaways. But they more than tolerate them, they celebrate them. And the cats, meanwhile, act like “slumming royals,” says Joe Leydon in Variety. You can see the cast here.

A number of the featured felines rule the neighborhoods where they live, defending their turf against interlopers and providing benefits to the humans. “They absorb my negative energy,” one man says. A waterside restaurant owner who’d had a problem with “mice” (I fear this was a euphemism) celebrated the day “this lion took up residence.” She takes care of the “mice,” to the comfort of the diners, I’m sure. My particular favorite was the cat who lives at a deli. She never goes inside, but paws at the window—rather insistently, it should be noted—when she wants one of the countermen to make her a snack.

The filmmakers identified a number of the city’s human residents whose mission seems to be to keep these felines in food. One pair of women cooks twenty pounds of chicken a day for them. (!) “All of us have tabs with all the vets,” says a bakery owner, and we see a man take an injured kitten to the vet in a taxi..

In short, the film is charming. It talks about how cats are different than dogs. And it shows how caring for the cats has been helpful to people in many ways. Suitable for all ages, and especially for those who have—or wish they had—been to Istanbul and now are reluctant to go because of paragraph one above. As Leydon says, it’s “splendidly graceful and quietly magical.”

Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 97%; audiences: 87%.

Related Reading

Istanbul isn’t the only city with wonderful cats. Felines of New York –featuring indoor cats, it must be said—gives them deadpan quotes: “I’m not entirely familiar with the Internet thing. Like, I’ve heard of it, but I’ve never watched it or smelled it or whatever you do to the Internet. I’ve heard it’s full of cats, though. Is that true?” LOL! (affiliate link below).

More Arizona Travel Tips

Next time you saddle up for Scottsdale or Sedona, these tips are for you!

Western Spirit: Museum of the West

Scottsdale, Southwest, purse

photo: Vicki Weisfeld

Scottsdale’s two-year-old Museum of the West houses a changing array of artwork, artifacts and memorabilia related to the history and culture of the Southwest. Only two exhibits are permanent: a recreated town street, with the kinds of stuff people needed in the Old West (guns and gambling equipment) and a display of remarkable Indian pottery, in the works.

The special exhibits when I visited included paintings by the Taos Society of Artists and a fantastic collection of fancy saddles, spurs, and other cowboy paraphernalia.

The museum has an enclosed sculpture courtyard, whose walls evoke basket-weaving and the state’s copper-mining history and a nice shop where I bought this handbag.

The museum is in Old Town Scottsdale (3830 North Marshall Way), close to everybody’s favorite 1950s pink palace for desserts, The Sugar Bowl.

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

Got the kids? Just a mile or two up Scottsdale Road, this Railroad Park may be the perfect  blowing-off-steam spot after a museum visit and sugar high. The 30-acre park includes playgrounds, a mini-trainride around the property, classic carousel, and loads of fun exhibits. You can tour the actual Presidential Pullman cars used by Presidents Hoover, FDR, Truman, and Eisenhower, which are nothing at all like Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor accommodations, believe me. The museum also boasts a 10,000-square-foot model train exhibit. There’s lots of room to run around, picnic facilities, summer concerts, and snacks too.

Scottsdale Railroad Park

photo: Vicki Weisfeld

Especially noteworthy is the train car emblazoned with coats-of-arms of regions of France. After World War II, the United States sent France a 250-car train packed with donated relief supplies. The following year, the French people reciprocated with the “thank you” (“Merci”) train, which had 49 railway cars like this one. The French people had nothing to spare, yet “generously gave what was most dear to their hearts”—toys, war medals, wedding dresses, musical instruments, handmade lace, and much, much more.

Tuzigoot National Monument

Tuzigoot National Monument, Sedona, Indian

photo: Alan English CPA, creative commons license

The National Park Service pairs this set of ruins, located north of Phoenix near Sedona, with Montezuma’s Castle. The two make an interesting contrast. The Castle (not visited) is a Sinaguan dwelling nestled in a high cliff, whereas Tuzigoot pueblo is located atop a hill with a fantastic 360-degree view of the Verde Valley.

At one time, Tuzigoot was a settlement of some two hundred people near the tree-lined Verde River. (There’s a nice walk along the river from Cottonwood, as well). It was an ideal situation, strategically, though the idea of having to get everything (like water) up that hill is daunting! Today, you can drive it, and will want to do so before the sun gets too hot.

Also near Sedona: Clarkdale’s eye-popping Copper Art Museum

Southwest Reading Adventures

The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy – Reading McCarthy’s bracing prose is a test of nerves, and unforgettable
The Far Empty by J. Todd Scott – one of the best thrillers I read last year, set in west Texas Big Bend Country
The Never-Open Desert Diner by James Anderson – picked up on the recommendation of the crime fiction mavens at The Poisoned Pen (your local bookstore, no matter where you live!)

Sedona Area’s Astonishing Copper Museum

Shell Casing Art, Copper Art Museum

Shell Casing Art, photo: Vicki Weisfeld

The tiny town of Clarkdale, Arizona, midway between Cottonwood and Jerome, in the outskirts of the much-visited Sedona region, hosts the not-to-be-missed Copper Art Museum. One of the first metals humans discovered—it and gold are the only ones that have a “color”—copper has been mined and worked for ten thousand years. Clarkdale was a company town for copper mining in the nearby mountains.

Through imaginative displays in the town’s former high school (built 1928), visitors see much more than art, they get a taste of mineralogy, astronomy, and history, plus the beautiful and varied ways copper has been put to use in architectural decoration, kitchens, winemaking, and war. Who knew?

On display are 525 brass (copper + zinc) artillery shell casings that World War I soldiers scavenged and transformed into one-of-a-kind artworks, startlingly intricate molds inspiring lavish desserts, religious works and paintings on copper, a wall of beer steins.

The extent of the collection suggests a seriousness of purpose, yet the curators have a light touch. They include yearbook pages from the high school, binding the current use of the building to its past. They include amusing and interesting “fast facts,” such as details about various copper-related crimes. They explain why copper is the desired material for certain medical uses, doorknobs, and in jewelry. And they provide a straight-faced set of definitions for carrot, caret, carat, and karat, for the confused. You make your way through the museum following copper footprints embedded in the floor.

There’s something fascinating and beautiful for everyone here!

Crime novels set in and around Arizona:

The Sinister Pig – A disused Mexican copper mine figures in this Tony Hillerman classic
The Blue Hammer – Ross MacDonald’s Lew Archer and a leggy blonde in the desert
Rage Against the Dying – female protagonist takes on a serial killer in Becky Masterman’s exciting debut

Or pick your own mayhem at Scottsdale’s fantastic Poisoned Pen Bookstore, 4014 N. Goldwater Boulevard. Floor-to-ceiling mysteries, thrillers, and crime and 300 author events a year!

Detroit’s Music Museum: Hitsville: USA

Motown - Ted Eytan

photo: Ted Eytan, creative commons license

If the button for your car radio’s Oldies’ station is shiny from use, there’s a travel stop for you in Detroit.  The Motown Museum’s headquarters and studio, Hitsville, USA, contained in two connected American Foursquares at 2648 West Grand Boulevard.

Once success arrived, Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr., had offices and operations departments in seven houses he owned on both sides of the street, later expanding into a ten-story office building, and eventually moving his whole operation to Los Angeles in 1972. But these buildings are the original home of the Gordy family, as well as the enterprise that created the soundtrack of the 1960s and 19970s: Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, The Supremes, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Smokey Robinson, The Marvelettes, Marvin Gaye, the Jackson 5, and so many more.

Gordie’s sister Esther Gordy Edwards recognized the importance of this original spot and founded the museum in 1985. When Gordy lived there, local kids who had a musical idea were welcome day or night, under the theory that “you can’t put a time limit on creativity.”

Gordie recruited a backup band from Detroit jazz clubs, that became legendary as the Funk Brothers (fantastic documentary about them: Standing in the Shadow of Motown). Likewise one of his girl groups, the Andantes, served as backup singers on dozens of iconic records, from “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” to “Reach Out I’ll Be There.” Gordy wanted music and lyrics that were upbeat. “Part storefront church gospel, part jazz joint on a Saturday night, part street corner symphony,” that was the Motown Sound.

Though many Motown performers became major stars, they started as neighborhood kids. They knew each other from living down the block or around the corner, and many of them weren’t out of high school yet. Gordy set up an “artist personal development” program for them, headed by talent agent Maxine Powell, who taught grooming, poise, and social graces, to give these young people the polish that would support their success.

Museum visits are conducted by tour leaders in small groups and include a brief film plus an opportunity to sing in the legendary Studio A, where so much great music was created. The costume display, sample records, and photographs of those early days are amazing, though your tour group will move ahead before you can begin to read all the captions!

Exhibitionism: The Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones

photo: Vicki Weisfeld

Yesterday in New York City—terrible weather threatening all day, and a one-hour train trip home transformed into a six-hour wait-a-thon due to downed wires. Trains packed to bursting!

All that couldn’t dampen my enthusiastic endorsement of the Rolling Stones exhibit at Industria, a show venue in Manhattan’s West Village near the south end of the Highline (775 Washington Street, entrance on 12th), on view until March 12.

Seeing Mick, Keith, Charlie, Ronnie, and the others throughout a fantastic 50-year career tickles a lot of memories. One of the themes of the show is how they—Mick and Charlie, especially—recognized early that there was more to “show business” than their music. As a result they involve many of the arts and artists in their work. Alliances with folks like Andy Warhol and top set designers, graphic artists, and fashion designers led not only to innovative, memorable album covers and shows, but also plenty of interesting material for this exhibit!

The music gets its due, as well. You see a recreation of one of their favorite studios, lyrics as they wrote them in a notebook, and, if you’ve ever picked up a guitar, the display of many beautiful instruments they’ve used over the years and their comments about them are fascinating.

An early apartment is recreated (you wouldn’t want to live there), and the show ends with a 3-D movie. “Satisfaction,” indeed.

Winter Break: Quebec City

Chateau Frontenac

photo: Guillaume Cattiaux, creative commons license

Three nights in Québec City was a perfect post-Christmas getaway for three generations in our family. In warm coats, ear muffs, fur-lined gloves, tall boots, and ski-wear, we stayed comfortable, even though daytime temps were in the teens and low 20s and nighttime temps in the single digits. On Thursday, there was what in New Jersey would be termed a blizzard, but to the Québécois was just 18 inches more snow.

We stayed at historic Le Château Frontenac (take the hotel tour). Though there are other hotel choices that look charming, many Frontenac rooms have panoramic views of the St. Lawrence River—persuasive evidence for why this city was considered so strategic by the French and later the English. Québec is an Algonquin word that means “where the river narrows,” and it’s only a kilometer wide here, covered in snow now. We saw a canoe filled with crazy people row across.

A Great Lakes freighter slid past the city one morning, en route to Toronto, Cleveland, Detroit, or possibly even Milwaukee, Chicago, or Duluth, since the Straits of Mackinac appear not yet impassable. (This ship tracker showed the John B. Aird going through this morning.)

At the Musée du Fort, you get an excellent bird’s eye view of the several battles that have been fought for control of this location. Presentations are in English and French. We also visited the Citadel on Cape Diamond to see for ourselves what the military leaders could observe. A general “could see everything he needed to see,” a six-year-old member of our party observed. It’s an active military base, home of the distinguished Royal 22nd Régiment Canadién Français.

The hotel has a thrilling toboggan run as well as indoor pool and hot tub for thawing out. Horse-drawn calèches right outside the front door offer an hour’s leisurely tour through the upper city. Excellent restaurants.

maple sugar popsicle

photo: Jaime Walker, creative commons license

The lower city is full of charming shops, restaurants, a bustling farmer’s market, and a funicular to transport you back to the top of the steep cliff.

Not to miss: snow candy! Outdoor vendors fill wooden trays or hollowed-out logs with crushed ice and snow, then pour on stripes of hot maple syrup. As it hardens almost immediately, it’s gathered up with a popsicle stick. Warm and cold at the same time—delicious!

Reading List

To understand the place of Quebec in U.S. history, two excellent reads are:

Queen City Culture

Taft Museum, Cincinnati

Taft Museum of Art

Last week I reported on the remarkable hotels and some of the sights and history of Cincinnati. Here’s a rundown of arts opportunities for tourists, and we certainly did not get to all of them!

Museums

The Taft family has done much to create a lasting legacy of arts programs in the city. One of the family mansions downtown has been turned into the Taft Museum of Art, whose permanent collection includes a wide representation of different artists and styles, and a lot of beautiful Chinese porcelain. Nicely displayed, approachable.

We made no attempt to cover all the ground of the Cincinnati Art Museum, ignoring the permanent collection in favor of interesting temporary exhibits, “Van Gogh in the Undergrowth,” effectively curated to demonstrate the influence of painters of his era on each other. Plus an exhibit of the work of the legendary Lexington, Kentucky, Camera Club. Lovely gift shop, too.

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is a memorial, a detailed story of the slave trade, and an enlightening examination of the people who sought freedom north of the Ohio River and those who aided them along the way. Multimedia presentations.

American Sign Museum

American Sign Museum; photo: 5chw4r7z, creative commons license

The quirky American Sign Museum, whose main exhibition is set up like an old-time Main Street, the museum explores the evolution of advertising signs of every type (who knew there were so many!). It’s designed to tickle your nostalgia centers, like Simple Simon with the pieman on the sign for Howard Johnson’s 28 Flavors—pistachio was my favorite.

Arts

We didn’t partake of the renowned Cincinnati Orchestra (also started by a Mrs. Taft), and the Kennedy Center had invited the Cincinnati Ballet to perform its “Nutcracker” in the nation’s capital. But we did see a lively, well-staged performance of Much Ado About Nothing by the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, which is soon moving to new and expanded quarters.

Architecture

Loved the Romanesque City Hall and the old telephone exchange, with a parade of dial phones carved into a frieze above exterior windows. Many other buildings had charming art deco details. And cannot overlook the beautiful fish sculpture on the exterior of McCormick and Schmick’s downtown outpost!

Saint_Peter_in_Chains_Cathedral_Cincinnati_Ohio_

Stained glass in Saint Peter in Chains Cathedral, Cincinnati

Right by City Hall at Eighth and Plum are two stunning religious edifices. A classic Greek design, the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Chains (1845) has large murals depicting the stations of the cross that were done by Cincinnati artist Carl Zimmerman, inspired by Greek pottery painting. The sienna background with gold, black, and white figures creates a most unusual—and beautiful—effect. A magnificent gold mosaic glows from behind the altar, and the stained glass is a plaid of colored and clear panes.

We were lucky that a bat mitzvah was about to take place at the Byzantine-Moorish Isaac M. Wise Temple (1866) across the street, and we slipped inside to see the interior before the service began. The Temple’s astonishing painted décor covers every surface, much like religious buildings you may have seen in Central Europe. This historic temple is “the fountainhead” of Reform Judaism in America.

In Mount Adams, we stopped into the Holy Cross Immaculata Church (1859), smaller and more traditional than St. Peter in Chains, soaring white and light inside, with spectacular views of the river and city from its hilltop perch.

Also in this series:

Cincinnati: Pure Fun!

carew tower view, CincinnatiThough we took in some high culture on our recent visit to Cincinnati (more to come on that), some of the sights we saw were plain fun—a tour of the Cincinnati Reds stadium, a nighttime horsedrawn carriage ride through downtown, zipping up to the Carew Tower’s 49th Floor observation deck, and enjoying the holiday displays at the Cincinnati Zoo and Krohn Conservatory.

Great American Ball Park

The storied Cincinnati Reds play here, on the banks of the Ohio River. A wonderfully informative and entertaining guide walked us through the exclusive clubs, down to the field, and “backstage.” It seemed a long way from home plate out to the “batter’s eye,” a black screen required in all ball parks after Chicago Cubs fans (ahem!) would sit right in the batter’s line of sight wearing their white shirts when the opposing team was at bat, and change to black shirts when the Cubs were batting. “All the better to see the ball with, my dear.” You knew about this, right? Lots of interesting memorabilia. Loved “the toothbrush” light stanchions.

great_american_ball_park, Cincinnati

photo: wikimedia commons

The GABP is the Reds third ball park. The team started 135 years ago, and from 1912 played at a stadium called Crosley Field (that Mr. Crosley was a great story!), then moved to Riverfront Stadium in 1970, at the onset of “the Big Red Machine” era, then to the GABP in 2003. Our guide asked, “Who is the only guy to have played all three—Crosley Field, Riverfront Stadium, and here?” Puzzled looks and wracked brains among the baseball trivia nuts in our group. Answer: Paul McCartney.

Below decks we passed the room where the  umpires get ready and take their breaks, identified with an embossed-letter plaque and—confirming the worst fears of every baseball fan—braille.

Cincinnati Zoo

We visited the Cincinnati Zoo at night to see the magical Festival of Lights (video clip)—voted #1 zoo lights display in the country–so the only animals we saw were homo sapiens. As to the lights, there are 2.5 million of them. What more need be said? I wanted to ride the little train but was outvoted. Seasonal snax (hot chocolate, s’mores-n-more).

Krohn Conservatory

Not to be outdone at the holidays, the Krohn Conservatory has an enchanting indoor display full of toy trains and depictions of the city’s landmark buildings and bridges, created from plant stuff—gourds, seeds, and other natural materials. While its varied greenhouse exhibits would be beautiful at any season, I’m a sucker for model trains, so found lots to enjoy. On display until January 8.

krohn-conservatory, Cincinnati

photo: WVXU, Cincinnati

What to Read if You Get Rained Out

  • The Machine: A Hot Team, a Legendary Season, and a Heart-stopping World Series: The Story of the 1975 Cincinnati Reds
  • Crosley: Two Brothers and a Business Empire That Transformed the Nation

Cincinnati: Politics and Porker

flying-pig, Cincinnati

photo labeled for reuse: ArtWorks Cincinnati

From before the Civil War to the career of John Boehner, southwest Ohio has been steeped in politics. So maybe it should come as no surprise that later this week the president-elect is launching his “thank you” tour in Cincinnati.

Meanwhile, the city’s renown as the pig processing capital of the country earned it the sobriquet “porkopolis,” as a Cincy native recently reminded me. In the early 1800s, herds of pigs trammeled the streets. No more, we were glad to learn when we visited the sites below, though an ArtWorks project means you encounter gaily painted flying pigs all around town.

Politics and pork, together forever. Or was that politics and poker?

Harriet Beecher Stowe House

Stowe’s dramatic 1852 novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, sold more than 1.5 million copies its first year and has been translated into some 75 languages. Historians credit her depiction of the horrors of slavery and the desperation of runaway slaves as energizing the U.S. anti-slavery movement. She based the book on her own experiences. She’d seen slaves in nearby Kentucky and the repugnant activities of slave-hunters in Ohio (a free state) after passage of the Fugitive Slave Act, and she could convey the profound sense of loss her characters experienced, based on her own grief after the death of her son Charlie. She lived in this house as a young woman, and the Ohio History Connection has added displays about Cincinnati at the time, including one on the whole porkopolis thing.

William Henry Harrison Tomb and Monument

A few miles west of downtown, along a winding Ohio River drive to North Bend, you’ll find the tomb and monument to ninth U.S. President William Henry Harrison (“Old Tippecanoe”). He’d already had a lengthy military and political career before becoming president at age 68, only to die after a month in office. He was pro-slavery and negotiated numerous extortionate treaties with the Indians that resulted in the loss of their lands. Although he came from a wealthy Virginia family, he pioneered modern campaign techniques, representing himself as a humble “man of the people.” This timely quote from President Harrison’s Inaugural Address is carved on one of the memorial’s stones:

“As long as the love of power is a dominant passion of the human bosom, and as long as the understandings of men can be warped and their affections changed by operations upon their passions and prejudices, so long will the liberties of a people depend on their own constant attention to its preservation.”

William Howard Taft House

william-howard-taft

Anders Zorn, Portrait of William Howard Taft, 1911

Taft was the nation’s 27th President and 10th Chief Justice, his favorite job. He lived in this house as a child and young adult. A Republican, he served as Governor of the Philippines and Teddy Roosevelt’s Secretary of War, Vice-President, and right-hand man. (When Roosevelt sent feisty daughter Alice to Asia with a delegation headed by Taft, one of the chief inducements for her was the opportunity to hobnob with another famous Cincinnati politician in the group, her future husband Nicholas Longworth.)

Roosevelt was disappointed in Taft’s presidency, though, and ran against his re-election in 1912, splitting the Republican vote and assuring a victory for Woodrow Wilson. Taft was much happier as Chief Justice and worked almost daily, modernizing Supreme Court procedures and practices. The nicely maintained house and National Park Service’s visitor center provide an interesting glimpse into the impressive contributions of the entire Taft family to life in Cincinnati and the nation.

What To Read Between Stops

  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin, of course, the most popular book of the 19th Century! An American classic.
  • The Carnival Campaign: How the Rollicking 1840 Campaign of “Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too” Changed Presidential Elections Forever by Ronald G. Shafer

But Where Do You STAY in Cincinnati?

cincinnatus

Cincinnatus (photo: Lucas, creative commons license)

Cincinnati takes its name from Roman farmer Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus, who exemplified unwavering service, civic virtue, and a willingness to set aside personal power for the good of the nation.

Similarly, George Washington was admired for stepping aside after two terms as President (while some framers of the Constitution wanted the President to have a lifetime appointment). You may recall this event being recognized in the musical Hamilton, in which Washington sings about “how to say goodbye.”

The Society of the Cincinnati, named in honor of Washington’s act, was set up for veterans of the Continental Army and is the nation’s oldest military hereditary society. Cincinnati was the first major American city founded after the Revolution (1788) and is named for the Society.

Cincinnati an overlooked gem. Even my family’s recent week there didn’t do it full justice. But where do you stay?

Netherland Plaza

Dear reader, no question about it. You stay at the French Art Deco palace, the Netherland Plaza, now a Hilton. The name came about because this landmark hotel is built on the flat land, the Netherland, of the Ohio River’s flood plain below the steep hills for which the city is famous. Its name also came about because the owners originally planned to name it the St. Nicholas Plaza, but ran into legal obstacles after they’d received all the monogrammed linens, china, silverware, and stationery. They needed a “SNP” name—fast. Thus for a while it was the Starrett’s (the builder’s) Netherland Plaza.

netherland-plaza, Art Deco

photo: Vicki Weisfeld

The interior, dining rooms, ballrooms, and every tiny detail are a feast for the eyes. It’s hard to believe such an investment was still doable when construction began in January 1930, a few short months after the big stock market crash.

It was all painted over in the 1960s, of course, in a bid for modernity, but restored lovingly in the early 1980s. Alas, the ice rink in the middle of the restaurant Pavilion Caprice is no more, nor the garage’s automatic (driverless) parking equipment. I’ve seen pictures and cannot imagine how it worked, but it did.

Orchids in the Palm Court is one of only 63 AAA five-diamond restaurants in the United States, and the only one in Ohio. The stunning decorations—murals! marble and rosewood! silver nickel sconces!—would be worth savoring even if the food were less spectacular.

Maybe you won’t luck out like my cousin did and be given the Churchill Suite for a week—yes, Winnie stayed there—but all rooms on the high floors have wonderful views of downtown and the River.

Cincinnatian

Another highly rated hotel is The Cincinnatian, but we spoiled ones found the décor only so-so and the Christmas decorations downright tatty. Still well worth a visit for the delicious high tea, served the third Sunday of every month.

21C Museum Hotel

Now for something completely different. The 21C Museum Hotel is part of a small chain of boutique hotels that feature—and celebrate—contemporary art. We took a tour with a super-knowledgeable guide, and it was thrilling to see so much thoughtful, creative work—painting, sculpture, photography, tapestry, interactive, unclassifiable.

One mesmerizing piece was a clock that uses Big Data to tell the viewer how many x have happened since noon that very day until the current hour and minute. In the ever-changing graphic display, “x” might be “new cases of syphilis” (29 that day),  “dollars spent at US Walmarts” (you don’t want to know), “cases of Svedka vodka sold” (thousands), ad infinitum. Upstairs, a photo exhibit.

Literally hundreds of framed artworks are in the hotel’s Metropole restaurant. Tasty and unusual. Condé Nast travelers named this the “#1 Hotel in the Midwest” in 2014. Loved it lots! Also the yellow penguins’ surprising appearances.

21c-museum-hotel, penguins

photo: Ohio Redevelopment Projects, creative commons license

What to Read in Your Hotel Room

Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality, co-authored by Jim Obergefell, a Cincinnatian whose same-sex marriage to his dying partner was one of the four lawsuits prompting a 5-4 Supreme Court decision favoring gay marriage. Co-authored by Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Debbie Cenziper. (Click carefully; other books have the same title.)