MUSIC: KATY PERRY, cheeky former Christian Pop singer, will most likely perform her bi-curious hit "I Kissed a Girl" at the Van's Warped Tour. See interview here.
ART: CINCINNATI ART MUSEUM's Long Time No See is a grand grab bag of more than 100 objects pulled from storage to hammer home the museum's need for more gallery space. See review here.
COMEDY: LAVELL CRAWFORD "There's two fat brothers on BET," LaVell Crawford tells his audiences, "and I'm the other one. I ain't Bruce Bruce. I'm LaVell Crawford. I'm so sick of (people) getting us mixed up. I ain't got nothing against Bruce Bruce, but damn it, that ain't me. Bruce Bruce got his own high blood pressure, I got my own high blood pressure." That confusion has been lessened since Crawford appeared on Last Comic Standing last summer.
He was first runner-up (Jon Reep won), but it was a strong enough finish that it has since landed him more headlining gigs in clubs across the country. While Crawford does joke about his weight, he insists he's not just about the fat jokes. "I always talk about being a big guy in America," he says. "I do a lot of fat experience jokes. It's not like 'I'm so fat.' No, I don't do that." One of Crawford's most popular bits, about crack, was taken off of YouTube earlier this year, but not because of the content. "They remove stuff all the time," he notes. "I think it was on BET, and (network owner) Viacom didn't want it on there. I think that's what that was about." The tale was essentially about how crack is the only drug that will talk to you. "Its worst side effect is that it can make you go down on a guy," Crawford says. "Ain't nothing good about that." Crawford performs Thursday-Sunday at The Funny Bone on the Levee. $20. Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- P.F. Wilson
ONSTAGE: THE MUSIC OF LED ZEPPELIN: A ROCK SYMPHONY On the surface, a marriage of Led Zeppelin and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra might seem slightly dichotomous, but it isn't a stretch when you think of it rationally -- the music of the greatest live band in the world (according to Classic Rock magazine, anyway) interpreted by one of the greatest symphonic bands on the planet. Clearly, Led Zep's dazzle was accentuated by Robert Plant's otherworldly vocals and Jimmy Page's stunning guitar, but the epic nature of the band's foundational music provided their shock and awe -- and it's that elemental appeal that the CSO will exemplify when it presents The Music of Led Zeppelin: A Rock Symphony at Riverbend's new National City Pavilion 7 p.m. Friday. And it's a safe bet that no one from the symphony will be too drunk or stoned to take the stage ... they're only taking this thing so far. $21.75-$61.75. Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Brian Baker
ART: SANDRA SMALL GALLERY This is a new addition to the district of commercial galleries that can be found along Pike Street in Covington. This Friday, a reception celebrating its "opening show" will run from 5-9:30 pm. Out of the crowd of artists being presented, two are gallery-featured: Lauren Goldenberg and Kiyomi Masuda. Masuda's ethereal paintings churn with cool, wispy abstraction, occasionally blossoming into detailed images. In one painting, sneakers, pigeons and other wildlife drift among breasts and hips to create an erotically charged field of painterly action. Goldenberg's installation of work will stand out in the setting of mostly framed paintings and drawings: Swaths of cut paper perforated into nets and webs unfurl with Arachne-like fatefulness. Lacy forms occasionally give way to intricately cut images (such as skulls) that loom forebodingly.
Also on display will be work by Thomas Hieronymus Towhey, whose sherbet-colored abstracts, which bubble with goofy and eloquent shapes and marks, are appearing in more and more venues around the area. Small, herself, will include a number of craggy, marbleized encaustic paintings, whose waxen surfaces are littered with glass, shiny wire and other collaged objects and textures. The exhibition is dense, with plenty to see. Sandra Small Gallery is located at 124 W. Pike St. in Covington. Gallery hours: 1-5 p.m. Thursday-Saturday or by appointment. Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Matt Morris
ART: FERALMADE Feralmade's doing it again, and by "it" I mean something cool. This time Able Projects, a Cincinnati-based collaborative visual group, is turning the gallery into a performance and visual art exhibition entitled Skateable and the Non. This is just what it sounds like. There will be some installations/sculptures that are skateable and some art that is not. To fully grasp this union of performance, art and entertainment, you'll have to stop by the opening 7-11 p.m. on Friday. If you happen to be doing something else that night, gallery hours are 6-9 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday. The event is free. Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Maija Zummo
ONSTAGE: PERFORMANCE AND TIME ARTS SERIES Remember that big blizzard back in March? Now it's steamy August and this weekend marks high time for Performance and Time Arts Series' "make-up" show for those canceled dates. Season after season, PTA offers the area's primary passage into a progressive world of offbeat mixed-media performances. Think of it as a variety show for curious thinkers. This go-round, catch poetry from Erica Dawson and PTA stalwart F. Keith Wahle, multi-disciplinary performance by Ethan Philbrick, Allen Otte on percussion with spoken word and works from Japanese composer Kazuaki Shiota with local dancer/choreographer Karen Wissel. Also on board are multi-talented dancers Rachel James and Todd Juengling, who are reprising their "I'm gonna sit down now," a lighthearted, "semi-pedestrian" movement piece created for last year's Movement to Empower concert in Louisville. The press release mentions it'll be "the year's hottest show (literally)," and -- as the historic venue lacks AC -- a good time to accessorize with a hand fan. College Hill Town Hall, 1805 Larch Ave. 8:30 p.m. $12; $8 students/seniors. -- Julie Mullins
ART: MURMUR GALLERY Music and art will coalesce into an evening event Friday at Murmur, whose various occupations continue to engage the raw, the experimental and the discursive. Everything and Everything and Everything will feature multimedia installations by Alex Bayer, Molly Mitchell and Aaron Walker -- all recent graduates from UC's DAAP. The work presented is tempestuous and hazardous with intent, especially the suspended papier-máché "meteor shower" highlighted with bright yellow bolts like theatre props. This installation was created collaboratively and will hang as a stage set for a series of musical performances by A Pinecone, Big Friends, Jukebox Values and others. In a small, adjacent space, Bayer will show a video piece comprised of footage in which the House of Representatives sit quietly and unproductively. This exhibition, a process-oriented project, has gone through evolutions and edits on location for several weeks: Paintings you might have seen Walker working on in the space have been painted out and reconceived, highlighting the frustrations and troubleshooting inherent in making art. 2450 Beekman Ave., Fairmont. 8 p.m. Free. Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Matt Morris
EVENTS: CHEESE CONEY CONTEST There's nothing more American than competitive eating, and there's nothing Cincinnatians love more than free chili (these are facts; I checked Wikipedia). So I feel it is my duty to bring to your attention the Camp Washington Chili Cheese Coney Eating Contest. Here's how it works: Fill out the entry form online, show up, eat as many coneys as you can in three minutes, get prizes. The grand prize includes a trophy, T-shirt, hat and a $50 gift certificate to Camp Washington Chili. Eleven runners-up will each score a $20 gift certificate. The rest of the losers pay for their lunch with their dignity, but it's worth it. 12:30 p.m. Fountain Square. And if you can't make the coney contest this week, Gold Star Chili is having a Jalapeno Cheese Coney eating contest at Yeatman's Cove 6:30-8 p.m. on Aug. 6. The grand prize here is cheese coneys for a year, not like you'd ever want to eat one again after that. Free. Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Brian Cross
MUSIC: KANYE WEST'S GLOW IN THE DARK TOUR Kanye West is a complex musical genius. But much of that complexity comes from his public persona. West often grabs headlines for negative reasons -- like his frequent "cry baby" routines at awards shows where he loses or his rude reception for a delayed performance at the Bonnaroo festival this year. But he's also been lauded for his outspokenness, decrying homophobia in the Hip Hop community and admonishing the President Bush for not caring about black people. Strip all of that away, though, and Kanye as a creative being is one of the greatest success stories of the 21st century. His albums are all Hip Hop classics, eschewing rote thugism for something more intelligent and dynamic. And his dedication to presenting a memorable live show is also unique (that dedication is allegedly why his Bonnaroo appearance was pushed back to the wee hours, angering the crowd). His performance at U.S. Bank Arena Friday will allow fans to see if it's all worth the wait (this show was rescheduled from earlier in the summer). From the reviews, it sounds like West might have indeed become Hip Hop's first legit "stadium act." Rihanna, Lupe Fiasco and N.E.R.D. are also on the bill. 7 p.m. $55-$85. Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Mike Breen
MUSIC: CAPTAIN OF INDUSTRY plays a free show on Fountain Square with Mallory and Roundhead as part of the "Indie Summer" series. See interview here.
MUSIC: LIL' ED & THE BLUES IMPERIALS play Cincy Blues Fest. Don't be fooled by Lil' Ed's small stature -- he's a Blues giant. See Sound Advice preview here.
ART: SEMANTICS One reason artists are different from the rest of us is because they tend to see the world differently, making unusual connections and finding unexpected depth of meaning in everyday events. Take Cincinnati artist Krista Gregory, for instance, whose new show of drawings, Whacked, has a 7-10 p.m. opening this Saturday at Semantics, the cozy and always-intriguing contemporary-art gallery in the Brighton arts district. She has linked her favorite episode of The Sopranos, in which snitch Adriana is offed by Tony Soprano's right-hand-man Silvio with her own traumatic experience putting her 17-year-old cat to sleep. The result is a suite of bold, expressive work using gouache, carbon paper and pencil on paper. Her drawings are joined on display by William Renschler's latest series of paintings, which suggest and abstractly reference landscape but remain free and unencumbered by strict representation. Also a Cincinnatian, Renschler in addition to painting runs a frame shop where Gregory works when she's not running the Aisle Gallery. Semantics is at 1107 Harrison Ave. Its regular hours are just noon-4 p.m. Saturdays, so the opening-night reception is a great time to go. The show runs through Aug. 31. Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Steven Rosen
MUSIC: BOWERBIRDS stop by the Northside Tavern to support Hymns, with a back-porch vibe similar to Andrew Bird and Jeff Buckley. See Sound Advice preview here.