ONSTAGE: COOCHIE CHRONICLES Yes, you read it right. And after you've snickered, know that this is a stage play and not a stripper's convention. Inspired by The Vagina Monologues, UC's Slammin' on Main presents a multi-cultural spin on Eve Ensler's seminal body of work that first raised audiences' consciousness (and brows) 10 years ago. Conceived by spoken-word vet Rewop and directed by slam coordinator Jennie Wright (stage name Black Budda'fly), Coochie's colloquial take on Monologues journeys the stereotypes, lives, sexuality and politics of women of color. Without deducing the critical nature these topics impose, poets frame pieces with frank humor, lyric and melody to soulfully demonstrate stories of women seeking and claiming empowerment. Free, but donations are gladly accepted on behalf of Hamilton County Rape & Crisis Center. 7-10 p.m. at MainStreet Cinema in Tangeman University Center on UC's campus. Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Mildred C. Fallen
ART: THE CONTEMPORARY ARTS CENTER takes you to the vast, outer reaches of our universe with Space Is the Place. See Angela Kilduff's review here.
COMEDY: JERRY ROCHA A Texas native who now lives in Los Angeles, the Mexican-American comic isn't afraid to poke fun at his heritage. "I saw a billboard reminding people to carpool," he tells an audience. "But it was in Spanish. You know what, Mexicans already figured that one out. We figured that one out right after fire." But it's not all ethnic jokes; Rocha can also get personal. "I got picked on growing up," he says. "I was so much of a nerd. Junior High was the worst. Every morning for me it was, 'Look at the nerd! Look at the nerd! Nerd, nerd, nerd, nerd!' They'd kick me, unzip my book bag (and) drop all my books on me. And that wasn't even school, that was my mom's boyfriend in the morning before he would drive me." Rocha performs Thursday-Sunday at Go Bananas in Montgomery. $8-$12. Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- P.F. Wilson
ONSTAGE: CINCINNATI DIRECTORS' COMPETITION You might think of it as Survivor for the theater community: New Edgecliff Theatre (NET) stages its innovative Cincinnati Directors' Competition this week. Here's how it works: Nine different directors stage works no longer than 30 minutes, three performances per evening on Thursday, Friday and Saturday starting at 7:30 at the Columbia Performance Center (3900 Eastern Ave., Columbia-Tusculum). Audiences get to vote for their favorites and further input is provided with additional judgments by working professionals from area theaters, including Lynn Meyers from Ensemble Theatre, Alan Patrick Kenny from New Stage Collective, Eric Vosmeier from Know Theatre and Bert Goldstein from the Cincinnati Playhouse. The first-place winner from each night will go head-to-head in a showdown on Sunday at 2 p.m. (Top choice wins a $500 grand prize; second place gets $250.) Nathan Gabriel, NET's associate artistic director, says, "The goal of this event is to give exposure to new directors and actors, giving them a reason to stay in Cincinnati. Many of last year's contestants were offered paid directing positions immediately following their piece's showing. This is an excellent opportunity for directors and actors to get seen by people who could actually hire them." $10 ($30 for a four-day pass). Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Rick Pender
MUSIC: THE VON BONDIES If The Von Bondies' Jason Stollsteimer didn't write one more good song, the band's minor hit, "C'mon C'mon," would be more than a great legacy to leave behind. A perfect, classic three-minute Pop song, the tune opens Denis Leary's amazing Rescue Me TV show each week, an insistent reminder that Stollsteimer is one of today's more underrated songwriting talents, especially in the field of so-called "Garage Rock." But Stollsteimer has lots more punchy, irresistible melodicism left in him, especially if the recent EP We Are Kamikazes Aiming Straight For Your Heart is any indication.
With four songs on par with "C'mon," the Detroit rockers (whose lineup changes have left drummer Don Blum the only other original member) offer a buzzing preview of things to come -- the band's new full-length album (its first since the 2004 breakthrough, Pawn Shoppe Heart) is due this summer. The band's current U.S. trek (a mini-tour to get them to South By Southwest in Austin next week) stops at Covington's Mad Hatter Thursday night for a show with local duo Bad Veins (next week's CityBeat cover boys who are also headed to SXSW). Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- MIKE BREEN
ONSTAGE: LITTLE WOMEN takes to the CCM stage chock full of contemporary musical flair, power ballads and all. See Rick Pender's review here.
EVENTS: BOCKFEST PARADE The 16th annual Bockfest celebration is the closest you're going to get to mass Dionysian revelry in Cincinnati -- just substitute bock beer for the wine. This weekend-long event kicks off with the Bockfest Parade, a zany procession that forms in front of Arnold's on Eighth Street and moves north up Main, ending at Bockfest Hall. The parade is always led by a monk and a goat (pictured at right) pulling a ceremonial keg of beer, and a Sausage Queen with a ceremonial tray of sausage is never far behind. Besides those two long-standing ceremonial traditions, anything goes. Entry in the parade is free and the grand prize for best entry is a one-of-a-kind, hand-blown glass stein. Enjoy live music, German cultural happenings and lots of sausage as you celebrate bock beer, Cincinnati brewing history, Over-the-Rhine and the coming of spring. 5:30 p.m. Friday, noon-2:30 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday. Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Maija Zummo
DANCE: MAMLUFT&CO. DANCE Good news for modern dance fans: Ohio's newest modern dance company performs two works this weekend in their premiere event. For Bread and Water and Yesterday's Wedding (a world premiere), director Jeanne S. Mam-Luft has drawn on the spirit of Yvonne Rainer's famous "NO Manifesto." Rainer was a key figure in the avant-garde New York modern dance scene of the '60s who famously mandated NO spectacle, virtuosity, style or star-image but ordained an emphatic YES to visual culture and collaboration. She celebrated, like Merce Cunningham, a love for ordinariness and the emotionality of the body itself. Mam-Luft's own version of Rainer's mantra will be interpreted by dancers Jacque Corcoran, Rachel James, Kira Kelly, Ashley Powell and CityBeat contributing editor Julie Mullins. For Bread and Water, Mam-Luft says she aimed to re-create her childhood recollections in a fantasy-like reality, in which the performers drink from galvanized buckets and scatter and reclaim pieces of bread. In the enigmatic Yesterday's Wedding, women in white satin dresses swirl in evolving solos, duets, trios and in unison, using weighted movement motifs and contact improvisation, only highlighting that despite physical intimacy, a sense of regret and indelible loneliness remains. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Aronoff Center for the Arts. $18; $16 for students and seniors. Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Kathy Valin
EVENTS: SYRIAN SHRINE CIRCUS The Syrian Shrine Circus is coming to town, and the only reasonable way to draw attention to this fact is by saying something like, "Shriners and tigers and bears, oh my!" For writing this, I apologize, but the circus really is coming to town, and it will offer tigers and elephants trained to amuse even the most cliché-hating members of the audience. Children will be allowed to ride and pet strange animals like elephants, donkeys and camels, and the Shrine Circus clowns will be on hand to give kids balloon animals and make them laugh in other ways. The three-ring circus will take place at The Cincinnati Gardens with five performances this weekend, each complete with "death-defying" aerial stunts. 7:30 Friday, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 and 5 p.m. Sunday. $15-$25 adults; $15 kids 12 and under. Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Danny Cross
ONSTAGE: PERFORMANCE AND TIME ARTS Who doesn't want to go on "a merry romp through subterranean cavities of secrets, lies and confabulations?" That's how one of the artists participating in a show Friday and Saturday at the Contemporary Dance Theater describes her performance. Hey, I'm all about the subterranean cavities. For the next installment in the theater's experimental Performance & Time Arts concert series, Japanese composer Kazuaki Shiota will perform his composition, "Internal Rhythm." The piece involves tap dancing, electronic sounds and spoken-word text, all performed more or less simultaneously. Joining Shiota in the show are performance artist Shirley Maul (she of the cavity exploration), dancer Judith Mikita, poets F. Keith Wahle and Jerry Roscoe and percussionist Allen Otte. Performances will begin at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at College Hill Town Hall (1805 Larch Ave.). $12; $8 for students and senior citizens. Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Kevin Osborne
MUSIC: NOFX play hard, fast and smart at the Madison Theater. See Sound Advice preview here.
MUSIC: BLACK MOUNTAIN Fire up the bongs and break out the incense -- Black Mountain hits the Southgate House on Saturday. The Canadian five-piece's latest, In the Future, sounds like something my musically discerning uncle might've cranked to 10 back in the day -- a heavy, expansive, Sabbath-worshiping batch of songs that leave one weary amid their evil majesty. My iPod smelled of smoke and sweat after just one listen. The epic, eight-minute "Tyrants" sports more shifts in tone than recent Hillary, and is just as fear-inducing. The dark, atmospheric "Wucan" rides a wicked groove while throwing out this vague recurring lyrical tidbit: "No, you don't/Ever wanna get some place where you cannot believe." How very Obama of lead Mountaineer Stephen McBean, whose otherworldly vocal trade-offs with Amber Webber bring to mind a more sinister Sonny and Cher fronting Zeppelin. On first listen Black Mountain's proggy '70s nods -- elaborate, Dada-esque album packaging; big, fuzz-toned riffs and spacey keyboards; scruffy physical aesthetics; druggy, desolate lyrics -- border on retro parody. But repeated exposure reveals a band riding on its own adventurously singular melt. Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Jason Gargano
ART: CLAY STREET PRESS Allen Mann pushes the printmaking envelope in the most innovative and inventive ways in Untitled (In Memory), layering thoughts as though he could touch them. His intent, though, is to show the intangible nature of memory, an intention carried out on utterly tangible materials. He prints on silk, on Plexiglass, on paper and even on the wall. No color appears; we are distanced even more by the limits of black and white. A recurrent image of a smiling woman's face appears and fades throughout the works, and we come to recognize her hairline even when the face has disappeared. These are family memories, perhaps the most poignant a photolithograph, Untitled (a dress). Its three layers of synthetic silk move gently when the air moves, to suggest not only a remembered person but also a remembered dance. Final showing noon-4 p.m. Saturday. 1312 Clay St., Over-the-Rhine. Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Jane Durrell
MUSIC: THE CALIFORNIA GUITAR TRIO cut across genre lines at Seton Performance Hall on Glenway Avenue. See Sound Advice preview here.
MUSIC: EASY ACTION brings the danger to The Gypsy Hut. See Sound Advice preview here.
MUSIC: THE GUTTER TWINS, Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan, support their darkly impressive debut at the Southgate House. See interview with Dulli here.
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