Beside highway I-71 sits an abandoned red-bricked building with chipped paint and broken windows in Evanston, OH.
This is the former headquarters of King Records. Founded in 1943, it was once one of the largest recording companies in the country.
This studio is credited for launching the career of James Brown, and it might have been the first racially integrated record company in the country.
The owner is considering its demolition, despite support from a united city council for the preservation of the building.
Saturday, members of the Cincinnati community came together at Horzog Music to discuss the status of the fight for the preservation and restoration of the historic studio space.
The organizer of the event, Elliot Ruther, 43, of Clifton, said, “What happened at 1540 Brewster is a real essence of civil rights in the United States…[it] changed the world musically and culturally, and it’s a pleasure to work with folks to keep that present and alive.”
Among those present was the award-winning King Records’ former studio drummer Philip Paul, 92, of Evanston.
Paul said, “We have to engage the whole community, not just the musicians or people in the music business. We’re talking about going into a neighborhood that’s tainted…we have to speak honestly and maybe we’ll get this done.”
Blueprints of a possible restoration plan were shown during the meeting. Anzora Atkins, the president of Evanston Community Council and a 48-year resident of the town, was also present.
“We must accentuate the positive and downplay the negative in order to keep going,” Atkins said. “We can’t keep talking about the decline in Evanston. We’re talking about revitalization, and that is with King Studios…it would be a great history and legacy for the community of Evanston.”
A traveling exhibition has come to Cincinnati to bring together a crowd of all demographics who have one thing in common: their love for “Star Wars”.
Star Wars and the Power of Costume is a Smithsonian exhibit that is making its way across the country, being shown in cities such as Seattle, New York City, and Denver.
This exhibit showcases over 60 authentic costumes from all seven of the “Star Wars” films, directed by George Lucas.
The walkthrough starts off with an informational video covering the powerful role of costumes in the “Star Wars” series and the importance of this role to Lucas.
Each room contains multiple different costumes for each of the main characters in the saga, including the robes of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker, the hairy suit of Chewbacca, the dark ominous garb of Darth Vader, and the multiple ornate gowns of the queens Amidala and Jamillia.
Every costume contains a plaque with a description that lists which movie in which it is featured and the materials from which it was made.
The display attracts a diverse crowd, consisting of people of all ages and demographics.
Rory Hodis of Mason, 34 says, “There are a lot of ‘Star Wars’ fans. I mean, it’s been around for so long, and you can hand that down to different generations. Our son is a big fan of the cartoons, and we thought we’d bring him in here to see the costumes. He really enjoyed it.”
Will, his seven-year-old son, adds, “Yoda was my favorite!”
Besides the authenticity of the costumes themselves, what makes this exhibit interesting to all ages is the informational and interactive components.
Behind-the-scenes videos including interviews with the costume designers and movie cast, information about the process of making the costumes, and scenes from the movies are distributed throughout the exhibit.
“It gets to show the kids the history of the movie,” Steve Lanier, 38, Ft. Wright, KY, said. “They get to see the costumes up close and personal, as opposed to just seeing them on the big screen. It really brings them to life.”
Interactive bits engage the crowd, such as a room where people can press buttons that light up colorful lightsabers attached to certain characters’ costumes.
“I watched these movies as a good escape from a rough childhood, and it gave me joy to see the good side always prevail,” said Normarcus Mundy, 30, from Lexington, KY. “This exhibit is important because it brought people of different ages and backgrounds to one place with no discrimination.”
The exhibition will be on display until Oct. 1 before it travels to Florida, where it will remain until April of 2018.