ONSTAGE: THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL I suspect that Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati's production of this 2004 show will be this spring's theatrical guilty pleasure. Trailer Park, a product of the 2004 New York Musical Theater Festival, sounds pretty silly. (One reviewer described it as "the theatrical equivalent of a bag of Doritos," not good for you but impossible to put down.) What should make this show fun is a cast directed by Aubrey Berg, head of the musical theater program at UC's College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), in his ETC debut. He's using present students and past grads, offering a local showcase of what CCM routinely exports. Current CCM student Ashley Kate Adams is Pippi, a "talented stripper"; Jessica Hendy, a CCM grad who's been in Aida and Cats on Broadway, is an agoraphobic housewife. The show also features members of a white-trash Greek chorus who play everything from hotel maids to disco queens -- ETC veteran Deb Girdler as Betty, the loud-mouthed manager of Armadillo Acres; another ETC regular, Sara Mackie, as Lin (short for "Linoleum"), whose husband is a death-row inmate; and another CCM grad, Gina Valentine, as Pickles, a 17-year-old who suffers from hysterical pregnancies. If you're looking for laughs, this will be the place to park. $16-$35. Through June 22. Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Rick Pender
MUSIC: RA RA RIOT, the chamber Pop sextet, supports its eponymous debut at the Gypsy Hut. See Sound Advice preview here.
ONSTAGE: ELLA captivates audiences with a soulful musical tribute to the "First Lady of Song" at the Playhouse in the Park. See Rick Pender's review here.
EVENTS: UC WORLDFEST Bringing together food, fun and culture, UC International is hosting free events of worldly proportions. Worldfest kicks off on Thursday with a variety of colorful outdoor booths featuring different cultural displays and cuisines from student organizations and community groups. This year the festival is going green and showcasing everything from trendy eco-friendly products to tips on organic farming. On Friday, The Society for the Appreciation of Bharatiya Heritage and Arts is promoting interest in Indian classical music and dance. The SABHA is proudly presenting vocalist Aruan Sairim. After getting in the mood from Friday's show, chow down on Indian cuisine Saturday afternoon at the Taste of India. It will not only be full of tasty treats, but cultural enthusiasts can also learn about the different aspects of the Indian culture including traditional music and dance and henna tattooing. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Friday and noon-5 p.m. Saturday. Free. Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Beth Rudolph
COMEDY: WARD ANDERSON Canadian stand-up comic Ward Anderson has some fond memories of Cincinnati. "I haven't been there in almost a year," he says, "(and) it's cool to get back. I went to the University of Georgia (and) I dated a girl from Cincinnati when I was 19 or 20. I used to come up to visit." He recalls one trip in particular but seems to have misplaced the date/event. "I was up there Fourth of July (weekend). We sat on the river and screamed across the river at Kentucky. I'd never seen anything like that. People screaming back and forth to each other while they shot off fireworks." He describes his set as "a wild ride tour-de-force of hilarity." Anderson appears Thursday-Sunday with Claude Stewart at Go Bananas in Montgomery. $8-$12. Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- P.F. Wilson
ONSTAGE: CHILDREN OF EDEN It's back to the beginning, musically speaking, as Footlighters offers a show by composer Stephen Schwartz, whose current mega-hit is Wicked. This musical, freely based on the Biblical story of Genesis, is a frank, heartfelt, humorous and bittersweet examination of the eternal conflict between parents and children -- filtered through the likes of Adam and Eve and Noah. The production is staged by two community theater veterans: Stage Director Jay Woffington and Musical Director Julie Woffington. It features puppetry by Aretta Baumgartner. Performances are at Newport's historic Stained Glass Theatre, a former church and Kentucky landmark. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 2 p.m.
Sunday. Through May 18. $17. Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Rick Pender
EVENT: THIS AMERICAN LIFE "I've never held a press conference before," says Ira Glass, host of Public Radio International's This American Life. "I feel like I should be announcing the bombing of Iran." He doesn't, of course. Instead the affable host explains why he has decided to broadcast his program into movie theatres across the country on May 1. "A lot of people who listen to our radio show still have not seen the television show (on Showtime)." Inspired by the Metropolitan Opera's monthly theatre-casts, Glass and his associates decided they should do something similar, and thus solve that problem. They also had another issue to address. "We're on 500 public radio stations, and I think that many of them feel like, 'Well, what do (we) get out of the fact that (they are) doing a television show?' Other than more re-runs from us while we're off doing the TV show. So we also thought it would be good for them." The bulk of what viewers will see will be from the television program, including outtakes and stories that didn't fit into any of the Showtime telecasts. Glass says there will be some radio stuff. "I ask for the same set up I have on the air, so I sit with a mixing console and microphone and play back quotes and music and basically re-create the sound of the radio show right there in stage." This American Life-Live! can be seen at The Springdale Showcase Cinema on Springfield Pike and The Deerfield Town Center Cinema on Mason-Montgomery Road. 8 pm. $20. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- P.F. Wilson
MUSIC: GODS OF KANSAS combine '80s Hair Metal, Classic Rock and a mean swagger at Dirty Jacks. See Sound Advice preview here.
LITERARY: MILK MONEY RELEASE PARTY Crafty new literary journal Milk Money celebrates the release of its second volume, the aptly titled Volume Two: Percent, with a shindig Saturday at Feralmade Gallery in Northside. The evening kicks off at 7 p.m. with readings from MM's various contributors and culminates with music from K Brutal and DJs Paul Coors and Spencer Yeh. A $2 donation gets you an evening of local literature, adventurous music and maybe even a complimentary cup of beer or wine. (Full disclosure: CityBeat listings guru Maija Zummo is one of MM's founding editors.) Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Jason Gargano
ART: ESSEX STUDIOS Just think: Simply buying an artsy decoration for your house could translate into life-saving immunizations for a child in Tanzania. This weekend, Essex Studios is hosting a gallery-wide Art Walk, with over half of the participants donating 100 percent of their proceeds to Village Life Outreach Project (VLOP), a nonprofit organization that focuses on providing life, health and educational improvement measures to the people of the Tarime District of Tanzania, East Africa. Marissa Woodly, a VLOP board member, says in a press release: "Cincinnati is an amazingly generous city, and what better way to mesh our community's love of the arts with its compassion for human suffering than hosting an Art Walk to benefit a grassroots nonprofit? The Essex Art Walk will serve as not only a fund-raiser for Village Life, but also as an educational platform to illuminate the struggles of thousands of Tanzanian families and the sustainable solutions Village Life is bringing to the region." The walk takes place 6-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and will also include refreshments, music and valet parking. Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Elizabeth Wu
ART: THE FLYING CAT, a new artist co-op, celebrates its grand opening with special discounts. See interview here.
MUSIC: HELLBINKI SEXTET Some of the main agitators in the quest to keep Cincinnati weird are the folks behind the Clovenhoof Theatre, a slanted arts organization that mixes cabaret, burlesque, surrealism and left-field music, currently presenting shows at its Central Parkway venue (in the old Mockbee building) that have had people talking for weeks. Saturday, the eccentric "theater group" brings in Asheville, N.C., ensemble The Hellbinki Sextet for a night of peculiar Gypsy/Pirate/Cabaret music made all the weirder by performances from the beloved local Barnyard Burlesque troupe. Hellbinki founder Andrew Benjamin -- who told a reporter the group is best described as "Three Penny Opera meets Sesame Street, with guerilla operatics and a Southern drawl" -- fronts the black parade like a satanic ringleader, guiding the rotating cast (featuring violin, accordion, woodwinds, samples, toys, empty bottles, etc.) with maniacal glee. If you love Tom Waits, Man Man, Dresden Dolls and Gogol Bordello, then the Hellbinki Sextet might well be on its way to becoming your new favorite band. And if you've been waiting for the right occasion to trip balls on absinthe, this one has "hallucinogenic fever dream" written all over it. 10 p.m. $10. 513-407-5957. -- Mike Breen
ART: SYNTHETICA GALLERY After taking some time to catch its breath, Synthetica Gallery is launching into a new season with Mason Paul at the helm. He's curated Post Perfect and will host a reception 7-11 p.m. Saturday. The group show is apocalyptic and testosterone-packed. Aaron Kent, one of Synthetica's favorites, exhibits documentation and relics of recent performance work where he distributed condoms bearing George Bush on the wrapper promoting safety. Christopher Hoeting's small, collaged panels are the most delicate works in the show. They furtively layer topographical maps of Cincinnati with bright orange patterning and remind me of the radioactive spills regularly occurring in The Simpsons. James Menkhaus' abstract paintings are aggressive, with paint declaring war on other paint. They call to mind the fetishistic parts of Carroll Dunham or Basquiat paintings. Also included are Newman-style canvases that have been charred and torn by Greg Clem and the neo-gothic black-and-white photography of Mark Gergen, who encases the prints in arabesque shapes of Plexiglas. This exhibition is open to the public for this one-night event; all other hours by appointment. 2157 Central Ave., Brighton. Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Matt Morris
EVENTS: CINCY-CINCO FEST Celebrate Latino Culture with a weekend full of Cinco de Mayo-related events. There will be the delicious foods, kids crafts and Latino music and dancing, but, in addition to all the usual festival activities, this year's event features a special Rozzi fireworks display, a parade with traditional costumes and a Mariachi mass. Noon-11 p.m. Saturday and noon-8 p.m. Sunday with a Mariachi mass at 11:30 a.m. Free. Riverbend Music Center. Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Maija Zummo
ONSTAGE: BLACK MONDAYS Love her or hate her, Madonna has inspired many girls and boys over the decades, either through her dance moves and fashion sense or her sheer resilience in a culture that usually disposes of their Pop icons after a few years. Now ol' Madge is inspiring girls who want to be boys -- or at least for one night. Black Mondays, a drag king troupe, will help Club Bronz celebrate the release of Madonna's new album by performing during the venue's Madonna-thon. A talented group of female illusionists who perform as males, Black Mondays takes gender-bending to a whole new level while providing spectators with a fun time. The troupe takes to the stage at 11 p.m., but come earlier for other activities including a chance to win door prizes and a Madonna look-alike contest. Bronz is located at 4029 Hamilton Ave. in the heart of the Northside business district. The event is ages 18 and older. Admission is $5. Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Kevin Osborne
MUSIC: DIMMU BORGIR, Norwegian black metalists, destroy Bogart's. See interview here.
EVENTS: FLYING PIG MARATHON Every U.S. state will be represented in this year's Flying Pig Marathon, and mid-February is the earliest the event has ever secured its nationwide registration status. Runners from 14 countries will participate in Cincinnati's most fun pre-7 a.m. event ever. At 6:30 a.m. Sunday, the Flying Pig Marathon, National City Half Marathon and Ernst & Young 4-Person Relay will begin, with the awards ceremony and celebration to take place before noon. The race is widely known as a high-class, prestigious marathon in the running world, with praise from running magazines to corporate sponsorship organizations. The actual Flying Pig Marathon is kind of the pinnacle of what will be a weekend's worth of running events and conferences. The National City Health and Fitness Expo will take place Friday, and Saturday's daylong schedule includes a 10-K, a 5-K and a kids' race. Late registration will be available Friday and Saturday. Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Danny Cross
ART: CONTEMPORARY ARTS CENTER Celebrating the fifth anniversary of its new Zaha Hadid-designed building at 44 E. Sixth St., the CAC has begun a series of Monday lunchtime social events called "44" in its first-floor gathering space. The next one features Jazz trio The Blue Wisp Triage from noon-2 p.m., followed by Cincinnati Ballet's Executive Director Victoria Morgan on May 19, DJ Pillo on June 2 and pianist Shiau-uen DING on June 9. You can pre-order a $10 lunch from caterer Salt of the Earth by calling 513-345-2941. Snacks will also be available at the CAC store. Free. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. -- Steven Rosen
MUSIC: ACE FREHLEY, the now sober guitar hero, plays Bogart's. See Sound Advice previewhere.
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