Snow cones (for grown-ups)
If you're looking to cool off from the muggy August heat, check out Bristol Bar's (132 E. Fifth Ave.) variety of booze-filled snow cones. For $3 apiece and with such names as "Don't Call Me Shirley" and "Frojito," they're hard to resist. "I don't even know where I came up with [the idea]," says owner Todd Anderson. "We were sitting around in the backyard, it was hot as Hades and we wanted something to drink. My wife always loved shaved ice and I thought, 'I'll make it into a little cocktail.' Everyone loved them." After doing Internet research, Anderson purchased an industrial-sized snow cone machine. "I thought, 'Well, if the thing doesn't go over well, I'll have one for the house,' " he says.
Needless to say, it's still behind the bar.
Sugar Bar, 525 N. Park St., has closed. Co-owner Mike Gallicchio says he and his partners, Chris Corso and Brian Swanson, are remodeling the space to suit a new concept, called Park Street Saloon, which will house dueling pianos and live shows. Gallicchio says they hope to open in September.
The Columbus Museum of Art is doing its best to offer patrons the chance to submerge themselves in its art-even in the midst of a major renovation. The first Thursday of every month, CMA is putting on Uncorked!, which blends works of art with wines and food. For example, a recent month featured a Picasso. Paired with it were Spanish wines and paella. The events go from 5:30 to 7:30 pm and admission is $25 for nonmembers and $20 for members. The next Uncorked! is Aug. 5, when CMA chief curator Catherine Evans will spotlight photographer Tony Mendoza as part of the museum's Fur, Fins & Feathers exhibit that runs through next summer.
Planning a party can be murder, according to Powell resident and blogger Doug Winship. He learned this firsthand in the early 1990s while putting together a neighborhood Halloween gathering. "We came up with the idea to do a murder mystery," he says, which he spearheaded. After buying a run-of-the-mill murder mystery kit, he says he realized it was not "remotely the level of interesting" he wanted. "So, I said, 'I'm a writer. I'll do it myself.' "
When the finished product turned out to be a big hit, Winship says he started to field calls from strangers, requesting he come to their business or cocktail parties. "I would tell them I'm not in this business," he says. "But then I kind of realized: There's no reason I shouldn't be in this business."
The result is Killing Time, murder consultants.
Winship coordinates with the party's host several weeks before the event and then distributes character profiles based on the guests' personalities. If one guest is a real ham, Winship will take advantage of that. "If you've got some wallflowers coming to your party, they'll get a character where they're not going to feel too much pressure," he says. (The plotlines can accommodate 16 to 30 guests.) There are no truly good characters, Winship says. "Everyone's got skeletons in their closet."
The whole package runs $850 for a standard plotline. Winship also writes original scenarios for clients looking for a specific theme. "It's all about having a couple hours to be someone else," he says. "It lets people get out of their own skin."
For more information, call 431-DEAD (3323) or visit killingtime.com. Winship's cocktail blog, Pegu, can be found at killingtime.com/pegu.
By the time Chaz Mechenbier was a senior in high school, he was playing guitar five nights a week at Dayton clubs, back when they still served "three-two" beer. He spent a year at Ohio State before dropping out to pursue a music career that led him to Nashville.
While there, he toured with several national country acts, such as Eddy Raven and Jerry Reed, who's perhaps most famous for "When You're Hot, You're Hot" and writing the theme song for and starring in Smokey and the Bandit. Asked if he considers himself a country guitarist, Mechenbier, who cites Eric Clapton and B.B. King among his greatest influences, says that versatility "is the name of the game."
Although he grew up in Dayton and lived for several years in Nashville, the noted guitarist knew Columbus was home. After returning in 1997, he played bass for several years with Phil Dirt and the Dozers, the members of which Mechenbier says he's known since before they were even a group. "They are a very successful band, loaded with talent," he says. "Great entertainers."
Mechenbier currently performs solo, playing at Hidden Lakes Winery in Canal Winchester, Mezzo Italian Kitchen & Wine in Gahanna and a variety of other venues. Specializing in audience involvement, Mechenbier says, "I don't play at people; I play with them." The Westerville resident also stays busy with Unsung Heroes, a '70s and '80s rock band that plays gigs across the state. "We'll have an accordion onstage, a saxophone, we'll pick up instruments and sort of goof around on them," he says.
To see when and where he's playing, visit chazguitar.com.