ONSTAGE: THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL It might seem a tad antithetical to talk about a trailer park and the Tony Awards in the same breath, but thanks to Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, it makes perfect sense. ETC is resuscitating The Great American Trailer Park Musical, which had a sold-out three-week run during May but stopped when the Fringe Festival kicked in. So many people wanted to see this satirical piece about life and love set in a kitschy trailer park that ETC decided to bring the show back for two more weeks. It opens tonight and is set to run until at least June 22 -- maybe longer if people keep buying tickets. If you missed it before, get tickets now: It's perfect summertime entertainment. And, since the Tony Awards happen to fall on Sunday evening, ETC decided to hold its annual party at the theater to take advantage of Brian C. Mehring's wild and wonderful set -- complete with pink flamingoes, neon, Christmas lights, garden gnomes and more. The evening will be a raucous party at the theater, including a chance to see the newly acquired building that will allow ETC to expand its facility. After the dining and celebrations, audiences will move inside to watch the Tony broadcast on a big-screen TV. This is a fund-raiser, so tickets are on the high side (especially for trailer-park types), but this evening is sure to be a lot of fun -- and it's the only big fund-raiser that ETC throws all year long. Pull up your doublewide and get ready for some big fun. $27-$35. Tony party: $100-$200. 513-421-3555. (Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- Rick Pender
ART: THE WEXNER CENTER Mary Heilmann's exhibition To Be Someone at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus is startlingly unfussy and refreshingly immediate. All of her nearly Modernist paintings in this retrospective are packed with content from Rock & Roll songs, the artist's life and interpretations of her environment (first California, now New York). This infusion of pop culture information into the tropes of Modernism (squarish primary colors from Mondrian, fuzzy bars from Rothko, slapdash plumes of color from Joan Mitchell) is at the heart of Heilmann's importance as a post-modern painter. She is a role model for generations of hip young painters to follow. The paintings are dazzling but I was floored by Heilmann's flirtatious inquiries into sculpture and space. The spindly older objects that show off her relationships with early post-Minimalists are quirky and enigmatic, but even better are her recent furniture pieces -- chairs with wheels monochromatically colored with pastel, saccharine hues. They mediate the gallery experience between viewers and walls of paintings and are utterly brilliant. Even with the soaring gas prices and the heat of summer, this exhibition calls for multiple trips to Columbus. Free. Exhibit continues through Aug. 3. www.wexarts.org. -- Matt Morris
MUSIC: POI DOG PONDERING performs experimental Pop/Soul/Jazz/Rock/Insert-Appropriate-Genre-Here at the Southgate House. See an interview here.
ONSTAGE: MADAME BUTTERFLY opens the Cincinnati Opera's 2008 summer season. See an interview with Shun-Ying Li here.
LITERARY: WILLIAM GIBSON William Gibson's singular mind has yielded a body of work that finds science fiction and tech geeks in fits of orgiastic glee. Gibson's 1982 "cyber punk" debut Neuromancer changed the game forever, rewiring readers with a fresh vernacular and a prescient vision of our growing dependence on technology.
Yet Gibson downplays his coining of the term "cyberspace" and other visionary ideas. "The production of the gizmos for some reason never seemed like work for me," Gibson says by cell phone from some highway in Oregon. "That's like pure fun and a source of relaxation compared the amount of work it takes to make the prose seem musical on a good day." And while Gibson's recent work (2003's Pattern Recognition and 2007's Spook Country) indulges in semi-traditional narrative approaches set in the modern day, his descriptive skills and cultural powers of perception remain as sharp as ever. "It's not so much figuring out where we're going; it's figuring out where we are," he says of the shift in perspective. "I needed to write these books to get a yardstick for the basic weirdness of the early 21st century. I started with a really good yardstick for the basic weirdness of 20th century, but things have changed. Things are a whole lot weirder now." Gibson reads from Spook Country 7 p.m. Thursday at Books & Co. in Dayton. That's right: Road trip! 937-429-2169. -- Jason Gargano
EVENTS: THE TURTLE MOVIE SCREENING Quentin Tarantino's massive influence on contemporary movie culture rears its head again with the premiere of slick local short The Turtle. Co-written by director Drew Money and producer Dan Phenicie, this 30-minute calling-card tells the tale of a hapless mob dude whose decadent behavior yields a dead cocktail waitress, an unlucky security guard and one pissed off "cleaner." Rife with the kind of testosterone-laden, darkly comic juice that powered QT's early efforts, The Turtle leaves one wondering what's next for Money and Phenicie, a duo who no doubt have designs on continuing their stylish genre fixation. The Turtle gets a one-time screening at The Esquire 8 p.m. Thursday. Hit Olives (formerly Uno's) down the street on Ludlow for a pre- and post-screening party. $5. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- Jason Gargano
COMEDY: JOE MATARESE Joe Matarese is driving to a performance in New York City as he talks to CityBeat. His current schedule forces him to multi-task like this. "I have a six-month-old-son," he says. "Being Mr. Mom while my wife went back to work, trying to organize (my) comedy career while watching a baby is very, very difficult." A few years back Matarese sought therapy to help him become better father and husband. But he noticed it was having an adverse affect on his comedy. "The more I went to therapy," he says, "the more I felt like I didn't want to do comedy. I started losing that need of strangers' laughter." It seems comedy can be a form of therapy. "You start feeling better (on stage). My therapist totally thinks that that's not true." Cincinnati audiences can decide for themselves Thursday-Sunday at Go Bananas in Mongomery. $8-$12. (Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- P.F. Wilson
EVENTS: INDIE SUMMER According to the Indie Summer Concert Series' MySpace page, it's 22-years-old, single, female and enjoys television shows with Sarah Jessica Parker. In actuality, Indie Summer is a concert series offering up some of the most entertaining Indie bands from the area. All ages are welcome to come to Fountain Square's 14-week series where you can listen to a great lineup each Friday. Buckra, the Seedy Seeds and Bad Veins will be rocking out, not to mention this week's guest, Kim Taylor. Show up at 6 p.m. for a great place to rest your overworked behind. Not only will be the night be filled with great music but it also will be filled with plenty of drink options. After the Indie-kids beat out their sounds, get your groove on with Open Mic Night that will immediately follow. 7-10 p.m. Free. $4 parking after 4 p.m. (Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- Beth Rudolph
ART: AVS ART GALLERY Your lost childhood, lost freedom, lost dog ... find it all at the AVS ART Gallery (315 W. Fourth St., Downtown). In the exhibition Lost, artist Tony Dotson recovers what is missing in the unabashed style of an Outsider Artist. Mr. Potato Head is no longer a toy but a tool for reliving childhood. He is an expensive collectible, never taken out of the box. In "Mountain Gorillas," two animals are stacked against a monochromatic backdrop. Their teeth are showing, their eyes are narrowed, they are wild and aggressive, but they are threatened. Like Dotson, gallery owner Andrew VanSickle is also trying to recall what has been lost. Carl Solway, Toni Birkhead and Cage galleries all were once part of a lively Fourth Street art scene in the 1970s and '80s. Now VanSickle is reviving the block, bringing a New York-style gallery to Cincinnati. Lost opens Friday and runs through July 11. (Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- Selena Reder
MUSIC: NOAH SUGARMAN, a local native now living in Los Angeles, returns to Northern Kentucky to support his debut album. See interview here.
EVENTS: PRIDE ALIVE 2008 Seriously, Pride is one of my favorite weekends of the year and it's not because I get to start drinking really early. I mean, I can start drinking before lunch any day, but it's not usually acceptable behavior and it's not usually with throngs of other drunk people. The theme of this year's Pride Alive is "Celebrate Our Diversity," and I suggest you do this by participating in one of this weekend's many festive and accepting events. Starting on Saturday, enjoy an evening of music at Hoffner Park in Northside. Then wake up early-ish on Sunday, get a lawn chair or a towel or something and grab a spot on the sidewalk to watch the Pride Parade. There's going to be lots of floats and fun and rainbows. Hopefully, in true parade spirit, someone will be throwing candy or condoms. The parade route runs from Burnet Woods in Clifton back to Hoffner Park in Northside, where more drinking and music will happen until 7 p.m. with entertainment from the likes of the Black Mondays, Sity Hall, the Queen City Rainbow Band and more. Afterward, the party doesn't have to stop. Do a little Northside bar-hopping. Ever been to the Serpent? I haven't, but I'm interested in leather. 4-10 p.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday. (Get event details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. See the related cover story and GBLT directory elsewhere in this issue.) -- Maija Zummo
ART: CLAY STREET PRESS Tim McMichael's Kingdoms changes the context of familiar shapes. See Angela Kilduff's review here.
MUSIC: BOMB THE MUSIC INDUSTRY, a roving collective of musical provocateurs, comes to the Mad Hatter. See Sound Advice preview here.
MUSIC: TEDDY THOMPSON overcomes his parent's fame to become a unique and formidable talent. See Sound Advice preview here.
MUSIC: MATES OF STATE Shimmery Indie Pop duo Mates of State couldn't have more properly named their new album, Re-Arrange Us -- unless they called it Babies and a More Complex, Fuller Sound Have Changed Our Band Drastically. MoS's Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel built a fervent following with their quirky yet strangely lush, melodic approach, performing songs strictly as a duo (both sing; Gardner rocks a large bank of keyboards and Hammel provides the backbeat). On tour now behind the just-released album, the twosome is bringing auxiliary musicians for the first time. That's not the only thing that has expanded the travel party this time out -- Gardner and Hammel are brining their two young children along for the jaunt, balancing being a "normal," happy, mobile family and Indie Pop stars effortlessly (if you are to judge from their "Band on the Diaper Run" blog). The whole crew stops by the Southgate House this Tuesday for a show. When will the kids -- future bankers and Republicans, no doubt -- stop traveling with the band? I'm guessing when they start sneaking beers from the backstage cooler and sarcastically yelling, "Freebird!" during the shows. $12. 9 p.m. (Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- Mike Breen
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