ART: ART ACADEMY OF CINCINNATI For young artists, BFA senior shows are about playing well with others and relishing in their own accomplishments. The best of them find a way of constructing a cohesive common ground for dialogue, offering palpable connections both visually and conceptually in the gathered artists' work. The current Art Academy of Cincinnati exhibition that runs through Friday is entitled Yes. Hard work and attention to detail reinforce the elaborate fantasies and perceptive analyses of contemporary culture that proliferate in traditional fine art mediums, installations of all kinds and design-based social projects. You might have already gone to one of the "Really Free Mobile Markets" without knowing that designer Meghann Sommer developed the concept and publicity. Lauren Goldenberg and Katie Koga are two local favorites of mine; I try to never miss an appearance of their work or acquire pieces when I can afford it. Amy Picknell's "large-scale wall drawings of minimalist cartoon elements that narrate her own love/hate relationship with technology" sound really intriguing. Yes also features the work of Joe Civitello and Jake Constantine. 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday. Closing reception: 6-9 p.m. Friday at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, 1212 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine. (Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. ) -- MATT MORRIS
EVENTS: CINCINNATI FLOWER SHOW The birds are chirping and the flowers are blooming. There's no better way to awaken your inner-gardener than by traveling to Lake Como at Coney Island for the internationally acclaimed Cincinnati Flower Show. After loading up on allergy medications, marvel at the dozens of beautiful gardens, each of which has its own unique blend of trees, shrubs, flowers and herbs. Different artists will teach and inspire, showing you all the possible ways to convert a tired patio or porch into an imaginative success. See master floral arrangers from the area in action and learn how to make your table spread a vibrant masterpiece. Because the snow is gone, and hopefully won't be coming back soon, discover new landscape ideas to brighten up your lawn. The show is in town until April 27, so bring your trowel and be prepared for a garden party. Visit cincyflowershow.com for a full list of events and times. $2-$25. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. )-- BETH RUDOLPH
ART: CINCINNATI ART MUSEUM shows Rembrandt as himself in Rembrandt: Three Faces of the Master. See Tamera Lenz Muente's review here.
ONSTAGE: THE COLOR PURPLE, Broadway's musical hit, continues at the Aronoff through Sunday. See Rick Pender's review here.
MUSIC: OKKERVIL RIVER Late last year, while putting together a list of my favorite albums of 2007, I mentioned that I had one request for Okkervil River: "Gimme a live stop." Well, I finally got it -- the Austin, Tex., six-piece hits Covington's Mad Hatter on Thursday. As the first sentence of this blurb might lead you to believe, the band's latest, The Stage Names, is yet another stellar collection of jagged, richly textured Folk Pop. Think Bright Eyes, but better and less self-indulgent. Album opener "Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe" is the perfect microcosm of what these guys do best: frontdude Will Sheff's evocative, literate lyrics and I-mean-it vocals over a bed of dynamic music that moves from plaintive piano and spare acoustic plucking one minute to booming drums and righteous riffing the next. And it should sound even better emanating from the intimate environs of a Northern Kentucky bar. Locals Turnbull AC's and Wussy open the show. $12; $14 day of show. 859-291-2230. (Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- JASON GARGANO
ONSTAGE: RASHOMON Have you ever had the experience of telling a story about something that happened to you and then listened to someone else's account of the same thing? Did it leave you wondering if one of you was really somewhere else? That's kind of what happens in the drama Rashomon, a Broadway hit in the late 1950s based on a 1950 Academy Award-winning film by legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. Playwrights Fay and Michael Kanin translated for the stage the story of an outlaw who kills a samurai warrior in a bamboo forest and rapes his wife.
We hear accounts from four different witnesses -- and they don't agree. We're left to judge who's telling the truth and who's lying. Rashomon is staged by the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music veteran drama faculty member Terrell Finney, who chairs programs in drama, musical theater and opera, so he knows what he's doing. He says it's a script he's considered for many years: "We found the story to be so compelling and the themes to be so provocative that we felt it important for us to explore." The tale of Rashomon is drawn from stories of medieval Japan by author Ryunosake Akutagawa, and Finney's production uses elaborate costumes and specially created weaponry to stage energetic fight sequences. Performances continue through a matinee at CCM on Sunday. $15-$27. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. )-- RICK PENDER
COMEDY: TOMMY DAVIDSON "I think I might be the luckiest guy in Hollywood," comedian Tommy Davidson says. "Because look at all the things I do and all of the things I've done, and then you've got to consider that I haven't had a hot flash yet." It's true he's never had that big breakthrough, yet he remains extremely popular with a wide range of audiences who not only enjoy his stand-up but also his TV work. The latter has ranged from the edgy sketch show In Living Color in the early '90s to the family-friendly (and hilarious) The Proud Family seen on Disney Channel. "So, here I am, this one piece of talent that's been doing this for 20 years, yet everybody's gone and got hot and so on, and I've stayed hot throughout. Everyone's cycled, but here I am." His famous, dead-on impressions remain a staple of his stand-up act. "I still do Sammy, I still do Stallone, I still do Michael Jackson, I still do James Brown, I still do Lionel Ritchie. But I do it like a segue on demand, it comes out when it comes out." Davidson performs Thursday-Sunday at The Funny Bone on the Levee. $20. (Get show times, buy tickets and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- P.F. WILSON
MUSIC: ENON supports its latest release Grass Geysers ... Carbon Clouds at the Gypsy Hut. See interview here.
LITERARY: GARY WALTON, nominated for the Kentucky Literary Award in Poetry, reads at Scribbles coffee house in Alexandria. See Renea Frey's book review here.
ART: WESTON ART GALLERY offers C'mon Everybody, Get Up!, works by Terrence Hammonds that commemorate the Civil Rights era. See Matt Morris' review here.
EVENTS: TAKE BACK THE NIGHT Every two minutes someone in the United States is raped. Every nine seconds a woman is battered. One out of every three girls will be victimized by someone they know and trust. And the statistics go on and on. Violence can happen and does happen to anyone regardless of what race or gender or age or economic group describes them. On Friday night, Take Back the Night aims to raise awareness to help end sexual assault with a candlelight vigil and march. Although a candlelight vigil seems somewhat passive, Take Back the Night is an organization devoted to breaking the silence. Many victims of sexual abuse are uncomfortable or embarrassed to speak out. By giving a voice to this "crime of silence," Take Back the Night lets survivors know they are not alone. The pre-march beings at 6:30 p.m. at Sawyer Point and then crosses over the Taylor Southgate Bridge and heads to the Millennium Peace Bell in Newport. The event is free. There will also be a pre-rally at Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. ) -- MAIJA ZUMMO
MUSIC: BACKYARD TIRE FIRE gets powerfully stripped-back at The Southgate House. See Sound Advice preview here.
EVENTS: ASIAN CULTURE FEST Without leaving Cincinnati or driving all over town you can watch an Indian dance based on the works of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore and traditional fan dancing by the Korean-American School and the Taiwanese Association of Cincinnati. You can also learn about Feng Shui philosophy and the day in the life of a Tibetan Buddhist monk. It's all at the Asian Culture Fest this weekend. For the last in the Passport to the World series, the Cincinnati Museum Center will celebrate the rich traditions of Asia noon-5 p.m. April 26 and 27. The event will highlight the histories, arts and traditions of a variety of countries though demonstrations, storytelling, workshops, cultural displays and an Asian marketplace. The event is hosted in the Union Terminal Rotunda and is open to the public. Parking on site costs $5. (Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. ) -- MARGO PIERCE
EVENTS: CINEMA CARNEGIE FILM SERIES Film critic Roger Ebert once said Casablanca is "probably on more lists of the greatest films of all time than any other single title, including Citizen Kane, because of its wider appeal; while Citizen Kane is 'greater,' Casablanca is more loved." Ebert is probably on to something. It's harder for audiences to feel a connection with an unloved, ambitious multi-millionaire than it is with ill-fated lovers Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund. After all, it's unlikely that any of us will ever build a mansion like Xanadu, but we've all probably longed for someone we can't have or who's already taken. Movie buffs can relive the black-and-white yearning all over again when Cinema Carnegie shows Casablanca in all its big-screen glory at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The 1942 classic features Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart, along with Nazi intrigue, exotic locales and some memorable dialogue. The film won three Academy Awards including "Best Picture" and "Best Screenplay." Casablanca is presented as part of a new film series at The Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center in Covington that showcases the best in independent films, documentaries, short films, art house films and repertory classics. $8. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- KEVIN OSBORNE
MUSIC: WHITE GIRLS host a CD release show at The Gypsy Hut with guests The High & Low and The Read. See interview here.
MUSIC: FIZZGIG, local Power Pop heavyweights, play Dirty Jacks. See interview here.
EVENTS: KEY IN TO ART Brighton has long been one of Cincinnati's most mysterious and alluring industrial neighborhoods, just north of the West End. In recent years, Brighton has become a budding artist colony -- an affordable, grittily picturesque haven for studios and residences as well as contemporary galleries like Semantics. This Sunday from 2-5 p.m., the third annual Studio Tour will take place in Brighton, followed by a 5-7 p.m. party at Weston Art Gallery in downtown's Aronoff Center. Studios for Jay Bolotin, Suzanne Fisher and Eric Puryear, among many others, will be included. Semantics and other arts venues will be open. $35. (Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. ) -- STEVEN ROSEN
ONSTAGE: PIANOPALOOZA What has six heads, 12 hands, 528 keys and spends an inordinate amount of time on the bench? No, it's not a half-dozen suspended Bengals, it's Pianopalooza III: Sixty Fearsome Fingers. For the third year, all six members of the applied piano faculty at the University of Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music will rock the grands for your ivory-tickled pleasure, culminating in a wild finale featuring the whole faculty in a four-hour, Grateful Dead-like encore jam, hence the event's catchy subtitle. Or perhaps it's Lizst, Brahms, Barber, Rachmaninoff, Beethoven and Copland. At any rate, it will be a thing of beauty and a joy for the program's duration (or longer, if your memory for such things is good). The arena-like spectacle of Pianopalooza III takes place at UC's Corbett Auditorium at 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets for the event, which directly benefits CCM's piano department, are $15, $10 for non-UC students and free to UC students. (Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- BRIAN BAKER
DANCE: ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER As American modern dance company go, the late great Alvin Ailey's pioneering company is an undisputed global force -- even Congress says so: A recent congressional resolution proclaims them a "vital American cultural ambassador to the world." Over five decades, they have performed in 71 countries on six continents. Under the expert artistic direction of former Ailey star dancer Judith Jamison, the company is still going strong: 2008 marks the big 5-0 for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, but the revered company is anything but over the hill. Widespread celebrations are in store, from a recent Dancing with the Stars appearance to an Ailey archive exhibition at the Library of Congress to the release of ... a commemorative Barbie doll styled as a "Revelations" dancer! AAADT is perennially popular, and with good reason. Ailey dancers are known for their technical virtuosity, boundless passion and strength tempered by classical grace. It's always a thrill to watch them express emotion with abandon and mine a deeper musicality. Catch them here as they present a mix of classic and cutting-edge works. Aronoff Center for the Arts. 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. $30-$50. (Buy tickets and find nearby bars and restaurants here. )-- JULIE MULLINS
MUSIC: THE COPS bring a Northwest attitude and a sound influenced by Gang of Four and The Clash to the Gypsy Hut. See Sound Advice preview here.