MUSIC: CURSIVE makes great drama and great art at Below Zero Lounge in what is CityBeat's MidPoint Music Festival announcement party. See Sound Advice preview here.
ONSTAGE: BUG, truly ugly art, opens at the New Stage Collective. See Tom McElfresh's review here.
ONSTAGE: BARE: THE MUSICAL, heir to Rent, sounds off at Know Theatre. See Rick Pender's review here.
ART: TAFT MUSEUM OF ART hosts a stellar collection of watercolors in From Winslow Homer to Edward Hopper: American Watercolor Masterpieces from the Brooklyn Museum. See Jane Durrell's review here.
ART: NORTHERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY Remember drive-in theaters? Why not head over to Highland Heights this week, where some NKU art students are transforming the campus' harsh, concrete buildings into giant outdoor projection screens? Although these young filmmakers were born well after the demise of most drive-ins, they've embraced the idea of bringing the moving image out into the spring night air. Projections: Sleepwalking Through the Concrete Jungle, 17 video installations based on dream imagery, will alter the appearance of buildings around the NKU Welcome Center, Steely Library and the University Plaza. The short films range from narrative to abstract and share the common theme of the subconscious and the surreal. Begins at sunset (around 8:10 p.m.), weather permitting, Wednesday and Thursday. Free. Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Tamera Lenz Muente
LITERARY: EMERGING FICTION WRITERS FESTIVAL Look for the annual Emerging Fiction Writers Festival to be as unique as it's ever been -- a vital celebration of the written word that features four of the best fiction writers currently crafting sentences: Tom Bissell, Kelly Link, Peter Orner and Hannah Tinti. Put together by UC's Department of English and Comparative Literature, the three-day festival offers readings and panel discussions ranging from the state of contemporary fiction to editing and publishing. A little background on the participating authors: Bissell is best known for God Lives in St. Petersburg, a hugely praised collection of short stories inspired by the writer's own Peace Corps experiences in Uzbekistan. Tinti's equally lauded short-story collection, Animal Crackers, was a runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway award. Orner, a Chicago native, has also accumulated an impressive array of praise for his novel The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo and his collection Esther Stories. And Link is no less than one of the most imaginative short-story writers around -- her stellar Magic for Beginners left me laughing for days amid its surreal mix of genre-based narrative gymnastics and spare, deadpan prose. Readings will occur 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday in UC's Engineering Research Center, room 427; panel discussions will occur 11 a.m. Thursday and Friday in the same building's Taft House Lecture Room. Free. Get event details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Jason Gargano
FILM: THE OXFORD INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL again takes over the small university town with a plethora of broad-based films. See the cover story preview here.
COMEDY: AUGGIE SMITH Comedian Auggie Smith's current career choice is no accident. He claims that while the rest of us were partying in high school and college he was president of the debate team and later attended open mics. A regular on the Bob & Tom Show, he entertains audiences these days with high-energy rants about everything from MTV to casinos. "The state of Kansas is going to be the first state to have state-sanctioned casino gambling," he tells an audience. "Apparently (they) need money, so they're going to open these casinos, and that is like planting a big old money seed. And then a money tree will grow, and they're going to shake the money leaves right out of that money tree.
Because obviously all this revenue is only coming from people who can afford it. Poor people would never gamble. They're great with money, that's why they're poor!" Smith performs Thursday-Sunday at Go Bananas in Montgomery. $8-$15. Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- P.F. Wilson
ONSTAGE: CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY Do you know a kid who really liked Tim Burton's 2005 film of Roald Dahl's classic story about a candy factory that's full of unexpected surprises? I really don't want to get inside the head of a kid who loved Johnny Depp's weird portrait of Willy Wonka, the childlike candy company owner who has, shall we say, a bizarre sense of humor. Regardless of that, you might want to take your young friend to The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati this weekend for a live, onstage version of the story of Charlie Bucket's magical visit. Director Jack Louiso knows his way around this show: He staged it in 1996 and again in 2002, and it's clearly an audience favorite. No, Johnny won't be here to play the role -- but he's sent a worthy replacement: It's Ken Jones, who chairs the theater department at Northern Kentucky University, and he's a pretty clever guy in his own right. You won't need a golden ticket to get into the Taft Theatre, but you should call ahead for a reservation because these productions are always well attended. (Children's Theatre also does a week's worth of school performances, so you might check in with your junior theatergoer just to be sure he or she isn't being bused downtown for a performance.) $7-$18. Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Rick Pender
ONSTAGE: DANCE, MUSIC, STORY! Gloria Esenwein is a woman of many talents. In a mixed-media variety show she's put together -- the aptly titled Dance, Music, Story! -- she sings her original compositions, tap dances, narrates and more. As she puts it, "I'm doing everything I know how to do." Originally she says she intended to present more of a retrospective of her own work from the past couple of decades, but thought it would be more fun to bring a gang of performing friends on board. The result promises to be an eclectic evening of movement, performance art and storytelling with an inventive edge and a dose of humor. The tap group Women of Sole bring the Blues out to play in Esenwein's "Journey Home Blues," set to the music of Skip James. Exploring the issue of homelessness, Esenwein's "The Longing" features original text and dancing from Flora Leptak- Moreau, Susan Moser and Juliane Patterson. Other performers include longtime Performance and Time Arts Series regulars such as Bill Donnelly, Steve Kreimer, Steve Schuckman and Shirley Maul. The always vivacious Maul re-examines her "Life's Persistent Questions" piece that comprises the second half of the program. She says, "It's about what we do when the world is not what it seems." Gloria Esenwein and Friends appear at College Hill Town Hall (1805 Larch Ave.). $12; $10 students/seniors. Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Julie Mullins
EVENTS: EVERYTHING PETS EXPO The Everything Pets Expo has everything but the pets. More than 250 exhibitors, including pet stores and boutiques, groomers, trainers, pet sitters, vets, rescue and shelter organizations, breeders, recreational facilities, artists and more are going to be crammed into the Duke Energy Center to pass along information and goodies for animals of all shapes, sizes and skins from puppies and kitties to horseys and iguanas. The event incorporates interactive feature areas, animal shows and contests and competitions for exhibitors and attendees. And this isn't just for the furry and cute. If you're one of those owners who just knows that their pet's a star, opportunity's knocking. David Letterman's Stupid Pet Tricks will be holding auditions to find the next animal star. Bring your money, but unless your pet's auditioning, leave them at home. Noon-9 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. $12 adults; $8 for children 2-12. Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Maija Zummo
ART: ESSEX STUDIOS Thom Shaw's ambitious, large-scale relief prints have always reflected his own inherent traits: passion, vitality, boldness and a worn care for the world's events and people around him. His work and his role as an established African-American artist in Cincinnati are important signs of our times. Thom Shaw's prints often depict individuals or relationships ravaged by life's troubles in uncompromising severity. In recent years, Shaw has had serious health problems with equally serious medical expenses. This Saturday from 6-8 p.m., Essex Studios in Walnut Hills will be presenting a panoply of Shaw's work for sale, with proceeds helping to pay those medical bills. For more information, contact D. Shaw at 513-253-6868. Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Matt Morris
EVENTS: CLARK MONTESSORI STUDENT DOCUMENTARY SHOWCASE Ever wonder what local high-school kids think about life in Cincinnati? The Cincinnati Art Museum is the place to find out this Saturday when the Clark Montessori Student Documentary Showcase offers 10 short documentaries created by teams of students. The projects are a result of the school's Intersession program, which allows two weeks of in-depth study that leads to hands-on experience with the material. Ten groups of three students set out to capture their versions of life in Cincinnati examining neighborhood, family and social issues. The pieces will range from five to 10 minutes and themes include single-parent vs. traditional families, the effects of illegal drugs on a neighborhood and city life. 2 p.m. $5; free for high school students. Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Danny Cross
EVENTS: EARTH DAY CELEBRATION It might be a week or so early, but there's no reason you can't celebrate Earth Day everyday, right? Whole Foods Market (aka Wild Oats) in Rookwood is hosting an Earth Day pre-party. Ten community organizations including Keep Cincinnati Beautiful and the American Compost Society will be on-hand to enlighten you about the wonders of recycling and turning your leftover food and garbage into usable soil! Retailer Park + Vine will be giving tips on how to go green with your shopping list and Honda's going to let you sit in some Hybrid vehicles. They might look weird from the outside, but the daily affirmation that you're driving greener than others will be enough of a boost that you won't even care if it looks like you're driving a tiny roller skate. And no party is complete without giveaways! You can win everything from a compost bin to an organic tote. They'll also be firing up the Giving Grill for food and profit; proceeds go to benefit Rivers Unlimited. The whole event is free, except for the food. There's no reason not to go, unless you hate the planet or free tote bags. Noon-4 p.m. Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Maija Zummo
MUSIC: MINUS THE BEAR translates Planet of Ice from the studio to the stage at Bogart's. See the interview here.
EVENTS: U.S. IMMIGRATION POLICY DISCUSSION A central issue in this year's presidential election is what should be done to stem the flow of immigrants who enter the nation illegally each year, and how should the government treat the ones already here. Some conservative Republicans are making sensationalistic claims in an effort to make the topic into this year's wedge issue, like gay marriage and flag burning were in past elections, to increase voter turnout. A more rational discussion of the issue will occur at the University of Cincinnati's College of Law, when a panel of experts will present "U.S. Immigration Policy in a Climate of Fear." Participants will include Margaret Stock, an associate professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, who also is a member of the American Immigration Attorney's Association and an expert in the fields of international affairs and national security, and Robert Cohen, a Columbus attorney who is an immigration law instructor at Capital University. The moderator is Michael Zavatsky, an adjunct professor of immigration law at UC. The event is sponsored by the Immigration & Nationality Law Review, the University of Cincinnati Federalist Society and the Immigrant Community Legal Advocacy Project. It will be held from 4:30-6:15 p.m. at the College of Law, and is free and open to the public. Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Kevin Osborne
MUSIC: CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROPS harness a Bluegrass sensibility at Molly Malone's in Covington. See Sound Advice preview here.
MUSIC: GREG MAHAN supports the release of his sophomore album at the Northside Tavern. See the interview here.
MUSIC: THE PANDERERS open for Mike Doughty at Southgate House. See the interview here.
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