ONSTAGE: THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL brings its eclectic collection of kitsch to ETC. See Rick Pender's review here.
EVENTS: CELEBRATE AS ONE Inspired by Israel's 60th birthday, the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati is throwing a party featuring musical, cultural and community experiences. With the tagline "Bring your people," anyone and everyone is invited to attend. There will be Worldbeat bands like Baoku and the Image; atmosphere performers like Dante's Gypsy Circus; ethnic food booths; and the thing no outdoor summer celebration is complete without: beer. The Idan Raichel Project, a diverse Israeli performing collective that mixes Ethiopian, Caribbean and Middle Eastern sounds, will headline the event. So come hang out on Fountain Square after work, get some food, drink some beers and listen to some music. 4:30-10 p.m. Free. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- Maija Zummo
COMEDY: DREW HASTINGS He once chased the bright lights of Hollywood but left SoCal long ago. "I have a farm about 50 miles east of Cincinnati," the Kettering native says. "I pretty much go straight from here to the Cincinnati airport and fly out." Drier than most comics, he describes his comedy as a look at the human condition with himself as an example. "I tend to be one of those people who thinks we are our own worst enemy, and that's the biggest thing we have to overcome." His latest gripe is about how people try to put animals on equal footing with human beings. "In the last 10 years, that's gotten so out of control and (has) hood-winked the American public," he says. "They're always talking about saving homeless dogs and cats. In a perfect dog/cat world they want to be homeless. That's why you have to put them on a leash and put a fence around the yard." Hastings performs Thursday-Sunday at Go Bananas in Montgomery. $15-$20. (Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- P.F. Wilson
ONSTAGE: LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, the heaving, harrowing behemoth of a play, is performed by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. See Tom McElfresh's review here.
COMEDY: EDDIE IZZARD Military brat turned "action transvestite," English comedian Eddie Izzard is the glittered, phlegmatic heterosexual equivalent of RuPaul, sans the egomaniacally large breasts. The two-time Emmy award-winning comedian blends sass and sophistication in his often tangential, never pedantic ramblings about history, culture and hegemony between the idiosyncratic American and British brethren. Izzard became a staple in the American idiom after his 1999 breakout HBO standup special Dress to Kill. Comically, Izzard describes his aesthetic in Barbie-esque terms: as either an "action transvestite" or an "executive transvestite," both of which are equal to a "male tomboy." While cross-dressing often both on and off the stage, Izzard makes it clear that his tranvestism has nothing to do with his sexual identity, that he simply enjoys wearing make-up and the occasional stiletto. He's appeared in other stand-up specials and the films Ocean's 13, Velvet Goldmine and Across the Universe. Currently he plays the role of con artist Wayne Malloy/Doug Rich in FX's The Riches. Malloy, along with wife/bitch-goddess Dahlia (Minnie Driver), assume the identity of a wealthy Louisiana family after killing them in car accident, lending credence to the notion that identity theft and murder can be unquestionably hilarious. Izzard appears 8 p.m. Friday at the Taft Theatre downtown.
$45. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- Ryan McLendon
ART: AISLE GALLERY In the past couple of years, Denise Burge's series of collaborative music video projects have been shown all over the world and in choice venues around Cincinnati. Out of the five artists that Burge paired herself with, the video called Driveway, made with Lisa Siders, exhibited the most rapport, creating a mystical, stop-motion world of nature encroaching on domestic memories. The two women now comprise a "multimedia collaborative project" called Maidens of the Cosmic Body Running and will be displaying the recent fruits of their efforts in Aisle's new exhibition: This Feeling of Nature. Burge has developed a national reputation for her blunt conceptual quilts that have oftentimes related patchwork surfaces to cut away views of Smokey Mountain-type landscape. It's easily reminiscent of the complicated anti-nostalgia in Dolly Parton's "My Tennessee Mountain Home." Though combined with Siders, this new installation of video, sculpture and wall works refers to "ecstacy" and "ritual trance," conjuring a loose, dark, outdoorsy narrative like Rip van Winkle but with lady parts. Opening reception: 5-9 p.m. Friday. Gallery hours are 1-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. Through June 13. Aisle Gallery is located at 424 Findlay St., Over-the-Rhine. (Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- Matt Morris
EVENTS: TEEN PREGNANCY CONVERSATION Despite dropping teen pregnancy rates, Cincinnati has a higher birthrate than other developed countries all over the world. Per 1,000 teens ages 15-19, Hamilton County has 43.5 births compared to Ohio at 38, the U.S. at 41, Germany at 12.5 and the Netherlands at 5.5. That's why Planned Parenthood and a number of other local women's organizations are announcing "The New 3Rs: Rights, Respect, Responsibility." During a community conversation about the need to reduce teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and abortion, the focus will be on what can be done. The event is free and open to the public 8:30-10:30 a.m. Friday at the Rookwood Conference Center, (seventh floor, 3805 Edwards Road, Hyde Park). To RSVP, call 513-721-7635, ext. 257. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- Margo Pierce
MUSIC: TEGAN AND SARA support their latest album The Con at a sold-out Bogart's performance. See interview here.
DANCE: THE CINCINNATI BALLET performs Carmina Burana, choreographed by Mauricio Wainrot, and Serenade. See interview here.
MUSIC: THE HIDERS celebrate the release of their new CD, Penny Harvest Field, at the Southgate House. See interview here.
EVENT: SILK AND SPICE GALA This year's Contemporary Arts Center gala is spiced up further with Raphaela Platow's new perspectives and ideas. At past events, the gala's auction featured a smattering of artists from across the area. But this year leading contemporary architects have been invited to create cutting-edge designs of chair-like objects that have been fabricated in Formica © Brand materials (Formica is also the sponsor of the gala). The designs are stunning and relevant and can be seen on the Web site when you purchase tickets for the event. Proceeds from the gala will benefit CAC programming, as usual. The after party, called "Built/Stacked," is sure to be a lively addition to the night's proceedings. The gala runs from 6-10 p.m. then the after party takes over until 1 a.m. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- Matt Morris
EVENTS: MADISONVILLE ARTS CENTER Well, of course, downtown and Over-the-Rhine are where you find lots of Cincinnati's arts venues. But look around and you'll discover an increasing number of neighborhood centers offering exciting options. Add the Madisonville Arts Center (MAC) to your list. On Saturday the one-time recreation center at 5021 Whetsel Ave. celebrates its re-opening as a revitalized facility bringing arts to a neighborhood that's coming back to life. Having raised $600,000 and working hard for four years, organizers Ed Cohen, Dee Anne Bryll and Dan Dermody created a venue with a first-floor art gallery, classroom and performance space, plus a second-floor auditorium and lecture hall seating 170 and outfitted with state-of-the-art lighting and sound equipment. MAC is accessible to people with disabilities. According to Dermody, "Our vision is to help increase the opportunities for arts experiences for all members of our community, regardless of age, ability, income or location within Greater Cincinnati's neighborhoods." Already groups are queuing up to perform at MAC -- the Drama Workshop, Queen City Off-Broadway, Blue Chip Players and Foxrock Theatre. More will surely follow. On Saturday from noon-7 p.m. you can enjoy free entertainment and refreshments; the official dedication is at 4 p.m. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- Rick Pender
EVENTS: KING RECORDS ANNIVERSARY Boogie on down to the Hamilton County Public Library's main branch for two panel discussions celebrating the 65th anniversary of Cincinnati's illustrious King Records. The event highlights the iconic record label's rich history and success, focusing on King's musicians and their impact on Country, Bluegrass, Blues, R&B and our wonderful city. The first panel, starting at 1 p.m., focuses on the label's early years of Country and Bluegrass, while the second panel discusses the later years of R&B and the Blues at 3 p.m. Panels are comprised of a variety of highly respected, Cincinnati-based authors, critics, producers and musicians. Along with the panel discussions, the library will also display a photo exhibit on King Records during the month of May. The event takes place in the Cincinnati Public Library's Main Branch (800 Vine St., Downtown) first floor atrium. Free. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- Kevin Bruce
EVENTS: BELTAINE CINCINNATI PAGAN PRIDE DAY "Paganism" traditionally can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. In modern American society, however, it usually refers to a belief system that honors nature and has its roots in Hellenic, Celtic or Germanic religions that were common in Europe before the spread of Christianity. As such, you'd better believe that the vernal equinox and the coming of spring are a big deal to its worshippers. The Greater Cincinnati Pagan Community will celebrate the season by holding its 10th annual Beltaine Cincinnati Pagan Pride Day celebration. The event will feature workshops, rituals, vendor booths, children's activities and fellowship. Some of the highlights include a drum circle and a maypole dance that culminates with the crowning of the group's 2009 Maypole Queen. The festival, which is free and open to the public, will be held from 11 a.m. to dusk at Sycamore Park (4082 State Route 132, Batavia). (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- Kevin Osborne
EVENTS: SECOND SUNDAY ON MAIN It's all about your mama. Even if you've already sprung for a bouquet or brunch for mom, here's an opportunity to do something special for her: "Take Mom to Main" this Sunday -- as in Mother's Day -- kicks off this season's Second Sunday on Main series. Free flowers will be given to the first 200 moms, and you might try brunch at Lavomatic or Kaldi's while you're in the neighborhood. Speaking of culinary delights, look for a cooking demonstration from Angelina Lucarelli of Angelina's Fine Italian Foods of Findlay Market in Enjoy the Arts' space. City Cellars will provide wine tastings to pair with the dishes. The Over-the-Rhine Chamber-sponsored event also features a stellar lineup of local musicians: Tupelo Honey, Tracy Walker, Seedy Seeds and Messerly & Ewing. You can hit the area shops, too. What's not to love? Well, perhaps the cornhole... Noon-5 p.m. along North Main Street between 13th and Liberty Streets. Free. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- Julie Mullins
MUSIC: THE SWORD churns out impenetrable walls of lethal yet melodic guitar squall at the Mad Hatter. See Sound Advice preview here.
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