Call it the summer of our dissed content -- what follows is a full 100 days of radical concerts, cutting-edge events and in-your-face performance art, all intended to enthrall your senses and satisfy your soul. Plus cute little church festivals, free symphony performances and tons of more info.
To help you plan each and every day of this celebrated season, we've picked a Hot Ticket for every date of the Summer of '03. We've also nominated a Hot Spot for each day, which are typically free or near free (hence, no ticket).
Let us begin.
Wednesday, June 4
Hot Ticket: You'll have to see a ticket scalper for tickets to the sold-out Reds game against the New York Yankees, but it should be worth a chance to root against the hated pinstripers. Reds fan or not, sometime this summer you need to check out Great American Ball Park, built at a price tag of some $300 million of your dollars (so you might as well enjoy it). Great American Ball Park, 100 Main St., Downtown. 7:10 p.m. June 4-5. $5-$30. 513-381-REDS or www.macsfarm.org.
Monday, June 30
Hot Ticket: Take a break and dip yourself into the largest recirculating swimming pool in the world -- Sunlite Pool at Coney Island. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily through Sept. 14. $12.95 adult; $10.95 children (ages 4-11); $8.95 seniors. Parking: $5. 513-232-8230.
Hot Spot: The latest "sprayground" in the Hamilton County Park system is at Woodland Mound. Parky's Wetland Adventure features a 16-foot tree with two slides, whimiscal and spraying blue herons, frogs and turtles. Other free spraygrounds include Parky's Pirate Cove at Miami Whitewater Forest, Parky's Ark at Winton Woods and the Ice Age Playground at Sharon Woods. Woodland Mound Park, Nordyke Road, Anderson Twp. Dawn to dusk daily. Free. 513-474-0580 or www.greatparks.org.
Tuesday, July 1
Hot Ticket: The Allman Brothers Band take the stage with guest Karl Denson's Tiny Universe. Riverbend Music Center, Kellogg Avenue at I-275, Anderson Twp. 7:30 p.m. $20.25-$45.25. 513-562-4949.
Hot Spot: Before the summer gets too hot, plan a trip up to the Carew Tower Observation Deck for a panoramic viewing perch. 441 Vine St., Downtown. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays. $2. 513-579-9735.
Wednesday, July 2
Hot Ticket: Voltage, a collection of artworks that use electricity, opens at The Carnegie Center, 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington. Hours vary daily, June 13 to early July. $5; $3 students and seniors. 859-491-2030.
Hot Spot: Getting too steamy outside? Then consider a visit to the oft-overlooked (and free) William Howard Taft National Historic Site. Run by the National Park Service, the museum preserves President William Howard Taft's birthplace. Six generations of the Taft powerhouse political dynasty (which include Ohio's current governor) are catalogued here. William Howard Taft National Historic Site, 2038 Auburn Ave., Mount Auburn. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Free. 513-684-3262.
Thursday, July 3
Hot Ticket: Just up I-75, the city of Dayton celebrates the 100th anniversary of powered flight and its favorite sons, Wilbur and Orville Wright, with "Inventing Flight," a three-week festival throughout the metro area. See Hot Air for details.
Hot Spot: Davy Jones of The Monkees headlines the Red, Rhythm & Boom celebration. Pine Hill Lakes Park, Kings Mills Road near the Kings Island exit off I-71, Mason. 6-11 p.m. (8:30 p.m. concert, fireworks at 10 p.m.) Free. 513-398-8010.
Friday, July 4
Hot Ticket: John Morris Russell and the Cincinnati Pops welcome the Capitol Quartet and Ropin' Rockets for "An American Celebration." Riverbend Music Center, Kellogg Avenue at I-275, Anderson Twp. 8 p.m. $18 (children 12 and under admitted free to the lawn). 513-381-3300. Also, the Rozzi Family Fireworks Co. presents "Night of Fire: An Eiffel Tower Spectacular" at Paramount's Kings Island, 6300 Kings Island Drive (exit 24 off I-71), Mason. 10 p.m.-midnight July 4-5. Park admission is $42.99, $25.99 for seniors and children 3-6. 513-754-5700 or www.pki.com.
Hot Spot: The All-American Birthday Party features fireworks, rock climbing wall, bungee trampoline and a Frisbee dog show. A Rozzi fireworks show completes the evening. Bicentennial Commons Park, Downtown along the riverfront. 3-11 p.m. (fireworks at 10). Free. 513-852-1657 or www.wofx.com.
Saturday, July 5
Hot Ticket: Motown legends The Temptations perform, with King Records recording artist and Cincinnatian Otis Williams opening. Safari Pavilion, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale. 7:30 p.m. $32-$40. 513-281-4700, 513-559-7748 or www.cincinnatizoo.org.
Hot Spot: Take a walk on the mild side. California Woods Nature Preserve along Kellogg Avenue in California is an often ignored city park that's one of its most peaceful. The totally pristine hiking trails accommodate different levels of ablility, including the one-mile California Junction Trail, Trillium Valley Trail and Prairie Meadow Trail. A great place to spot flowers, birds and butterflies.
Sunday, July 6
Hot Ticket: The "Wild American Summer" at the Cincinnati Zoo, running from early July to Aug. 10, focuses on North American animals, with a series of family entertainment events and interactive art projects. Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. $11.50 adults; $9 seniors; $6 children 2-12. 513-559-7748 or www.cincinnatizoo.org.
Hot Spot: Walk the labyrinth at Grailville Retreat Center in Loveland. No, it's not a maze. It's a circular path used for reflection and meditation. Grailville, 932 O'Bannonville Rd., Loveland. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Free. 513-683-2340.
Monday, July 7
Hot Ticket: Joe Cocker takes the stage, but not until after Cincinnati siren Tracy Walker makes her Riverbend debut in the opening slot. Riverbend Music Center, Kellogg Avenue at I-275, Anderson Twp. 8 p.m. $17.75-$32.75. 513-562-4949.
Hot Spot: Check out one of the city's hottest (and least known) free art museums. The Manuel D. and Rhonda Mayerson Foundation Art Gallery exhibits contemporary art from all over the world. The private collection, open to the public, is located on the 36th floor of the Scripps Howard headquarters at 312 Walnut St., Downtown.
Tuesday, July 8
Hot Ticket: The Omnimax films Kilimanjaro (scaling the mountain from the folks who did Everest) and Pulse (a trip around the world with rhythm and music, using the performers of Stomp) are showing at Cincinnati Museum Center. See Hot Twin Bill for details.
Hot Spot: Done with fun? Want to explore your spiritual side? Visit one of the area's three most unique religious sites: The Monte Casino chapel is the smallest chapel in the world, fitting two worshippers snugly (it was used by monks who worked the vineyards where Thomas More College stands today); the Garden of Hope in Covington is the only replica of the tomb of Jesus in the United States and includes trees and plants documented in the Bible; and the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington has the largest stained glass window in the world and famous art from all over. Tours are offered at the cathedral after the 10 a.m. Sunday mass.
Wednesday, July 9
Hot Ticket: "Rock the Mic" features Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Fabulous and Bone Crusher. Riverbend Music Center, Kellogg Avenue at I-275, Anderson Twp. 7 p.m. $29.25-$57.75. 513-562-4949.
Hot Spot: Cheaper Than Therapy perform at Party in the Park. Yeatman's Cove at Sawyer Point, Downtown on the riverfront. 5:30 p.m. Free. 513-579-3191 or www.party-in-the-park.com.
Thursday, July 10
Hot Ticket: The popular Coffee Cup Concert Series kicks off with its headliner, Native American folk singer Bill Miller. Raison D'Etre opens. Behringer-Crawford Museum, Devou Park, Covington. 7 p.m. $10 for first admission (includes coffee cup, which gets you half off other shows in series). 859-491-4003.
Hot Spot: The Monday Night Big Band performs. Juilfs Park, 8249 Clough Pike, Anderson Twp. 7:30 p.m. Free. 513-474-0003.
Friday, July 11
Hot Ticket: The Cincinnati Film Society presents the "Cincinnati Puppetry Film Festival: Small Films, Big Fantasies -- Mark Fox and Stop-Motion Filmmakers." Fox himself will be on hand to talk about his work. Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park. Fox appearance: 7 p.m. Other times vary. July 9-11, July 16 and July 19. 513-721-ARTS.
Hot Spot: The 87th annual St. Rita Fest, one of the largest summer festivals in Cincinnati, kicks off with more than 100 booths and games. The event is particularly famous for its turtle soup and funnel cakes. St. Rita School for the Deaf, 1720 Glendale-Milford Road, Evendale. 7 p.m.-midnight Friday; 4 p.m.-midnight Saturday; and 1-10 p.m. Sunday, July 11-13. Free. 513-772-7005 or www.srsdeaf.org.
Saturday, July 12
Hot Ticket: "Gotta Dance" features the Cincinnati Pops and guest ballroom and ethnic dance groups. Riverbend Music Center, Kellogg Avenue at I-275, Anderson Twp. 8 p.m. July 11-12. $17-$40. 513-381-3300.
Hot Spot: Blood Sweat & Tears and Ambrosia headline the "Midsummer at the Meadows" festival. There's also a Taste of Miami, a Kidz Fun Zone, magic shows, petting zoo, games, car shows and Rozzi fireworks. Miami Meadows Park, 1546 Ohio Rt. 131, Miami Twp. 6-11 p.m. July 12; and 2-11 p.m. July 13. Free. 513-248-3725.
Sunday, July 13
Hot Ticket: An eclectic evening of Folk and Celtic music features The Chieftains and guest Nancy Griffith. Riverbend Music Center, Kellogg Avenue at I-275, Anderson Twp. Ticket prices TBA. 513-562-4949.
Hot Spot: The Festival in Sycamore promises fun, food and music. Saturday's headliners include Tommy Tutone and the Rusty Griswolds; Sunday, it's The Fabulous Thunderbirds and the Jujubees. Bechtold Park, 4312 Sycamore Road, Sycamore Twp. 4-11 p.m. July 12-13. Free. 513-792-8564.
Monday, July 14
Hot Ticket: It's a tag team death match played to the tune of acoustic guitars as Hootie and his Blow Fish wrastle Big Head Todd and his Monsters Monday, Monday, Monday! Riverbend Music Center, Kellogg Avenue at I-275, Anderson Twp. 7:30 p.m. $17.75-$27.75. 513-562-4949.
Hot Spot: Take a drive to The Sonic Drive-in Landen, where Elvis is belting out "Blue Suede Shoes" on the intercom, classic cars line up in the parking spots and car hops scurry to take orders. Corn dogs, Sonic burgers, cherry limeades, twist cones and onion rings adorn the menu. You'll feel like you've died and gone to '50s heaven. 3105 W. U.S. 22, Landen. 513-583-1854.
Tuesday, July 15
Hot Ticket: The 152nd annual edition of the Warren County Fair includes parades, clowns, tractor pulls, alligator shows and demolition derbies, as well as farm animals, food vendors and more. Warren County Fairgrounds, 665 N. Broadway, Lebanon. 8 a.m.-11 p.m. July 14-19. $6; free for kids 12 and under. 513-932-2636 or www.warrencountyfair.org.
Hot Spot: Take a stroll across the giant purple people mover. The former L&N Railroad Bridge, painted in glorious neon purple, taken on a new life as a pedestrian walkway spanning the waters between the Cincinnati shorefront and Newport on the Levee. Newport Southbank Bridge, at Newport on the Levee, Newport. Free. Dawn to dusk daily. 859-291-0550.
Wednesday, July 16
Hot Ticket: Lollapalooza returns with original frontman, Perry Farrell, and his original band, Jane's Addiction. Other acts include Audioslave, Incubus, Jurassic 5, Queens of the Stone Age, The Donnas and some outasight fun on the second stage. Riverbend Music Center, Kellogg Avenue at I-275, Anderson Twp. 2 p.m. $52.25-$62.25. 513-562-4949.
Hot Spot: Check out Stitches, a quilt and fiber exhibition at the Arts Consortium's African American Museum at Union Terminal. Also see the permanent exhibit, Bein' Round Natti Town: The History of Black Cincinnati. Free. 1-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. 1301 Western Ave., West End. 513-381-0916.
Thursday, July 17
Hot Ticket: The Women's Theatre Initiative presents the American premiere of In Flame, a play that overlaps the life of women in 1904 Yorkshire with contemporary characters. Dale Hodges stars and Regina Pugh directs. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, July 17-26. Performance Gallery, 3900 Eastern Ave., Columbia Tusculum. $12. 513-604-8545.
Hot Spot: Travel up to Hamilton to see Celebration of Ohio's Rich Artistic Heritage, an exhibition of 100 masterworks by Ohio artists representing 1788-2003. 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-noon Saturday. Fitton Center for Creative Arts, 101 S. Monument St., Hamilton. Free. 513-863-8873 or www.fittoncenter.org.
Friday, July 18
Hot Ticket: Verdi's La Traviata continues the Cincinnati Opera's summer festival, starring soprano Hasmik Papian. Bellini's Norma, a tale of Druids and Romans, stars soprano Lauren Flanigan and mezza-soprano Kristine Jepson. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. La Traviata is 8 p.m. July 10, 12 and 18. Norma is 8 p.m. July 17 and 19. $12-$90. 513-241-ARIA or www.cincinnatiopera.org.
Hot Spot: It's a "Free Friday" at the Museum Center at Union Terminal, as the Children's Museum, Museum of Natural History & Science and Cincinnati History Museum are open at no charge. (Offer doesn't include traveling exhibits such as Liberty on the Border.) Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., West End. 4-8 p.m. Free. 513-287-7000 or www.cincymuseum.org.
Saturday, July 19
Hot Ticket: The question isn't, "Does it play in Peoria?" The question is, "Does Peoria play here?" Yes, as a matter of fact. The Cincinnati Swarm, Cincinnati's professional arena football team, closes its season tonight against the Peoria Pirates. U.S. Bank Arena, Broadway at Pete Rose Way, Downtown on the riverfront. 7:30 p.m. $9-$29. 513-421-3222 or www.cincinnatiswarm.com.
Hot Spot: Kathy Wade's annual "The 'Hood Is Bigger Than You Think" free concert series presents its "Celebrate Ohio Concert" with the United States Air Force Band, the Kelly Richey Band and Jazz sax player Robby Bright. Seasongood Pavilion, Eden Park. 6 p.m. Free. 513-242-6028 or www.learningthroughart.com.
Sunday, July 20
Hot Ticket: The Butler County Fair features livestock exhibitions, rides and concessions sales. (The Rockin' Roadhouse Tour at 8 p.m. on July 20 is a different $20 admission from fair admission; call 513-562-4949.) Butler County Fairgrounds, 1715 Fairgrove Ave., Hamilton. 9 a.m.-11 p.m. 20-26. $5; $1 children 6-12. 513-892-1423 or www.butlercofair.com.
Hot Spot: The Editorial Eye: Cartoons by Jim Borgman and Jeff Stahler opens at Cincinnati Art Museum, Eden Park. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday (open until 9 p.m. on Wednesday), 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; and noon-6 p.m. Sunday, July 19-Oct. 12. Free. 513-721-5204 or www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org.
Monday, July 21
Hot Ticket: The 154th annual Clermont County Fair, a tradition since the days of the Gold Rush, includes monster truck shows, tractor pulls, demolition derbies, farm displays, auctions and horse races. A parade begins at 1 p.m. on Sunday (the only free admission day).
Clermont County Fairgrounds, 1000 Locust St., Owensville. 8 a.m.-10 p.m. July 20-26. $5 at 8 a.m.-3 p.m.; $7 after 3 p.m.; $1 children 6-12. 513-732-1657 or www.clermontcountyfair.com.
Hot Spot: Pack up the family and drive to the Sharon Centre, the Hamilton County park district's newest addition at Sharon Woods Park in Sharonville. The state-of-the-art, multi-purpose facility features interactive education exhibits focusing on the geology and natural history of Sharon Woods Gorge and the surrounding area. Displays include wildlife, fossils, the Buckeye Pool where visitors come eye to eye with wildlife and even a life-sized walk-through sycamore tree. 11450 Lebanon Pike, Sharonville. 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. Free with annual $3 parking pass. 513-563-9484.
Tuesday, July 22
Hot Ticket: Paramount Kings Island opens a stunt show at its International Showplace, "Tomb Raider Stunt Spectacular," to run July 15-27 as part of a promotion for the newest Tomb Raider movie. Paramount's Kings Island, 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday-Thursday. $42.99; $25.99 for seniors and children 3-6. 513-754-5700 or www.pki.com.
Hot Spot: The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra presents "Spiritual Heights Family Concerts." The free series doesn't get a lot of publicity but is well worth attending. 7:30 p.m. July 22, Zion Baptist Church, 630 Glenwood Ave., Avondale; 7:30 p.m. July 23, Lincoln Heights Missionary Baptist Church, 9991 Wayne Ave., Lincoln Heights; and 7:30 p.m. July 24, Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church, 10998 Southland Blvd., Forest Park. Free. 513-381-3300.
Wednesday, July 23
Hot Ticket: It's "Johnny Bench Autographed Baseball Day" as the Reds play the Pirates. The first 10,000 fans receive a commemorative Bench baseball card; scratch off to the number and see if you're one of 500 winners to receive an official Rawlings baseball signed by Bench. Great American Ball Park, 100 Main St., Downtown. 7:10 p.m. $5-$30. 513-381-REDS or www.cincinnatireds.com.
Hot Spot: The Wyoming Summer Concert Series presents The Modulators. Village Green Park, 400 Wyoming Ave., Wyoming. 7 p.m. Free. 513-821-9200.
Thursday, July 24
Hot Ticket: The popular Coffee Cup Concert Series presents The Juggernaut Jug Band. Raison D'Etre opens. Behringer-Crawford Museum, Devou Park, Covington. 7 p.m. $10 for first admission (includes coffee cup, which gets you half off other shows in series). 859-491-4003.
Hot Spot: On selected Thursdays throughout the summer, the historic Cincinnati Observatory Center in Mount Lookout is hosting public viewings. They're free, so give 'em a call. 3489 Observatory Place, Mount Adams. 513-321-5186.
Friday, July 25
Hot Ticket: It's the middle of another hot summer, so shed your clothes and check out the Beechmont Players' production of The Emperor's New Clothes. Krueger Auditorium, Clermont College, 4200 Clermont College Drive, Batavia. 7 p.m. July 25-26 and Aug. 1-2. Ticket prices TBA. 513-732-5281.
Hot Spot: Greater Anderson Days is one of Cincinnati's largest neighborhood festivals, a three-day carnival featuring musical acts such as Blessid Union of Souls and Clyde Brown (last year). There's also a Rozzi fireworks show, a "KidZone" interactive play areas for tots and gambling tents for the grown-ups with casino-style games such as blackjack. Beechmont Mall/Anderson Towne Centre, Beechmont Avenue at Five Mile Road, Anderson Twp. 5 p.m.-midnight Friday; and Saturday and 5-10 p.m., July 25-27. Free. 513-474-0003 or www.andersonparks.com.
Saturday, July 26
Hot Ticket: Magus Productions presents quirky singer-songwriter Patty Larkin at Jack Quinn's, Fourth and Court streets, Covington. 8 p.m. $12 advance; $15 at the door. 513-779-9462.
Hot Spot: At the Gold Star ChiliFest, there's a lot more simmering than Cincinnati chili. Try three days of free music, including up-and-coming Country stars. Sixteen vendors, meanwhile, serve up some 60 food items. The ChiliFest organizers are moving back to Court Street between Elm and Central, where the festival began, from Yeatman's Cove along the Ohio River shoreline. Noon-midnight July 26; and noon-10 p.m. July 27. Free. 513-579-3191 or www.chilifest.com.
Sunday, July 27
Hot Ticket: It's "Reggae Fest" every Sunday in July and August from 2-5 p.m. at the The Beach Waterpark. You can also cool off with the Typhoon Twist, Aztec Adventure, The Cliff waterslide, Banzai dual racing slides, Riptide, Twilight Zoom, Thunderbeach wave pool and Lazy Miami River tube ride for those who like slow rides. Jolly Mon Shores is a 10,000-square-foot water and sand area just for the little squirts. The Beach Waterpark, 2590 Waterpark Drive, Mason. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. daily. $25.95; $9.50 seniors and children under 48 inches. $14.50 after 4 p.m.; $6 children and seniors after 4 p.m. 513-398-7946 or www.thebeachwaterpark.com.
Hot Spot: The Newport Arts & Music Festival showcases musical acts ranging from Rock to Folk and Jazz to Alternative. Craftspeople will display their fine arts and crafts, from pottery to handmade jewelry, stained glass to mosaics. Also look for magic shows, face painting, sidewalk art, Folk songs, story-telling, trampoline demonstrations and even an area where children can make a noodle sculpture from colored foam noodles using water as glue. Riverboat Row, Newport. Noon-10 p.m. July 26; and noon-7 p.m. July 27. Free. 859-292-3666.
Monday, July 28
Hot Ticket: Check out the "BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2002 Exhibition," which features some of the finest nature pictures taken from around the world. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale. $11.50 adults; $9 seniors; $6 children (2-12); under 2 free. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. 513-281-4700.
Hot Spot: Beginning in late July, Monday nights are free after 5 p.m. at the Contemporary Arts Center. Check out the way-cool new building and the premiere exhibit, Somewhere Better Than This Place: Alternative Social Experience in the Spaces of Contemporary Art. Sixth and Walnut streets, Downtown. Free 5-9 p.m. Mondays; other times it's $6.50 adults; $5.50 seniors; $4.50 students; $3.50 children 3-12. 513-345-8400 or www.contemporaryartscenter.org.
Tuesday, July 29
Hot Ticket: Shower the people you love with love and take them to see James Taylor. Riverbend Music Center, Kellogg Avenue at I-275, Anderson Twp. 8 p.m. $27.75-$57.75. 513-562-4949.
Hot Spot: Cruise into the main branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County, which celebrates its 150th birthday this year with all sorts of special exhibits. Free & Public: A Journey Through the Library's Past includes rare glimpses of the old library building, which operated at 629 Vine St. Public Library, 800 Vine St., Downtown. Hours vary. Free. 513-369-6970 or www.CincinnatiLibrary.org.
Wednesday, July 30
Hot Ticket: Gentlemen, start your engines. The Hamilton County Fair showcases frenzied demolition derbies and other examples of extreme auto sports. There are also the standard favorites -- 4-H agricultural contests, milking parlors, petting farm, barn tours, dog obedience shows, sheep shearing and rabbit judging. Admission includes all mechanical rides and grandstand shows. Hamilton County Fairgrounds, Vine Street at Paddock Road, Carthage. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. July 30-Aug. 3. $7, children 2 and under free, seniors free. 513-761-4224 or www.hamiltoncountyfair.com.
Hot Spot: Time is running out on your chance to see Works on Paper, an exhibition of over 100 watercolors, gouaches, drawings and pastels by various artists. Cincinnati Art Galleries, 225 E. Sixth St., Downtown. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. 513-381-2128.
Thursday, July 31
Hot Ticket: Tour Cincinnati's "Must-See Museum Marvels" as part of the Cincinnati Historical Society's Heritage program tour. Stops include the Vent Haven, the world's largest collection of ventriloquist dummies and memorabilia, as well as the Cincinnati Fire Museum, Behringer/Crawford Museum and Betts House, the city's oldest surviving brick home. 8:45 a.m.-4:45 p.m. $68. 513-287-7031.
Hot Spot: It's time for the 11th annual incarnation of the Queen City Blues Fest, loaded with two dozen acts from Blues, Gospel, Spirituals, Ragtime, Bluegrass and Jazz. Sawyer Point Park, Downtown on the riverfront. 5:30-11 p.m. July 31; and noon-11 p.m. Aug. 1-2. Free. 513-684-4227.
Friday, Aug. 1
Hot Ticket: Bon Jovi plays with Goo Goo Dolls. Riverbend Music Center, Kellogg Avenue at I-275, Anderson Twp. 7 p.m. $37.75-$87.75. 513-562-4949.
Hot Spot: The Movies in the Park Series presents My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Juilfs Park, 8249 Clough Pike, Anderson Twp. Dusk. Free. 513-474-0003.
Saturday, Aug. 2
Hot Ticket: The "Crown Jewels of Jazz" features Grammy winner Dionne Warwick and Kathy Wade. Music Hall Ballroom, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. 7:30 p.m. $36-$76. 513-242-6028 or www.learningthroughart.com.
Hot Spot: The annual Over-the-Rhine Community Festival, traditionally held on this date, showcases free entertainment as well as games and food vendors. Performers have included the Over-the-Rhine Steel Drum Band, Peaslee Peace Singers, Tracy Walker and the Crow Medicine Show. Washington Park, Over-the-Rhine. 12-6 p.m. Free. 513-381-4242.
Sunday, Aug. 3
Hot Ticket: The Reds Hall of Fame Induction ceremony highlights the Reds vs. the San Francisco Giants. George Foster and Dummy Hoy will be inducted. Great American Ball Park, 100 Main St., Downtown. 1:15 p.m. $5-$30. 513-381-REDS or www.cincinnatireds.com.
Hot Spot: Underneath Cincinnati is co-sponsored by the Cincinnati Film Society and highlights independent film and video projects produced by local and regional filmmakers. SSNOVA, 2260 Central Pkwy., Brighton. 8 p.m. Free (donation suggested). 513-929-9463 or www.ssnova.org.
Monday, Aug. 4
Hot Ticket: The Cincinnati Nature Center offers the most complete hands-on nature study you'll find in the area, with numerous educational programs for youths, including spring and fall biology programs and summer classes. Their bookstore stocks every possible nature book relating to Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana; topics include local birdwatching, trail hiking, bicycling and botany opportunities. Besides the books, there's an educational center where a window overlook allows you to view cardinals, ducks, geese, you name it, in the pond below. Cincinnati Nature Center Bookstore, 4949 Tealtown Road, Glen Este. Dawn to dusk daily. $3. 513-831-1711.
Hot Spot: "31 Ways to Love Art" is part of the Festival of the New. There's theater, art and dance all month. Arts Consortium, 1515 Linn St., West End. Varying times Aug. 1-31. Free. 513-381-0645.
Tuesday, Aug. 5
Hot Ticket: Every Tuesday you can catch the newly formed Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, an 18-piece big band, at the Havana Martini Club, Sixth and Walnut streets, Downtown. 8 p.m. $3. 513-651-2800.
Hot Spot: Starting to get a bit hot? Try Putz's on Putz Place in Westwood. In a city full of places such as The Cone, Dari Crest and Tummy Treats, Putz's stands above. Any place with its own street named after it has to be an institution. The white shack is a West side favorite, offering soft-serves, metts and more. (See Chillin' at the Dairy Bar.)
Wednesday, Aug. 6
Hot Ticket: Counting Crows and John Mayer perform. Riverbend Music Center, Kellogg Avenue at I-275, Anderson Township. 7:30 p.m. $38.25-$48.25. 513-562-4949.
Hot Spot: Soul Progression performs at Party in the Park. Yeatman's Cove at Sawyer Point, Downtown on the riverfront. 5:30 p.m. Free. 513-579-3191 or www.party-in-the-park.com.
Thursday, Aug. 7
Hot Ticket: Get a refreshing laugh at the Shadowbox Cabaret, a combination theater, comedy and rock music club. Shadowbox Cabaret, Newport on the Levee, Newport. 7 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; and 8 and 11 p.m. Saturday. $20-$25, $10 students and seniors. 859-581-7625 or www.shadowboxcabaret.com.
Hot Spot: Grab that someone special and gaze at the stars via the oldest telescope in the western hemisphere. Cincinnati Observatory Center, 3489 Observatory Place, Mount Lookout. 8-10 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 1-5 p.m. Sunday; by appointment. $4 adults; $2 children. 513-321-5186.
Friday, Aug. 8
Hot Ticket: The now-legendary Scribble Jam plays town Aug. 7-10 with local and national Hip Hop musicians, DJs, dancers and graffiti artists. Annie's Outdoor Pavilion, 4343 Kellogg Ave., Columbia-Tusculum. 7 p.m. $15 in advance, $20 at door. 513-321-0220 or www.scribblemagazine.com.
Hot Spot: The Movies in the Park Series presents E.T. Juilfs Park, 8249 Clough Pike, Anderson Twp. Dusk. Free. 513-474-0003.
Saturday, Aug. 9
Hot Ticket: The "Gala of International Ballet Stars" displays some of the top names from the Bolshoi Ballet, American Ballet Theater, New York City Ballet and other dance companies performing modern or classical ballet. See Hot Feet for details.
Hot Spot: Have a fork full of lobster and a plate full of music at the 17th annual Great Inland Seafood Festival. More than two dozen local restaurants, a record number, will hawk sampler size seafood entrees at the fest, which is now being held on both sides of the Ohio River. A river shuttle operates between the dual shorelines. Yeatman's Cove, Sawyer Point Park, Bicentennial Commons and the Serpentine Wall, Downtown on the riverfront, and along Riverboat Row, Newport. 5-11 p.m. Thursday and Friday; noon-11 p.m. Saturday; and noon-10 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7-10. Free admission, but the river shuttle costs $3 round-trip. 513-684-4722.
Sunday, Aug. 10
Hot Ticket: This is your last chance to get bit by Dracula, the untold story, a comedic retelling of the Dracula story by Mary Lynn Dobson. Part of the NKU Summer Dinner Theatre 2003 series. Black Box Theatre, Fine Arts Building, NKU campus, Highland Heights. Dinner: 5 p.m. Show: 6:30 p.m. $60 for series; $24 for single shows. 859-572-5464.
Hot Spot: They've been serving up the fried chicken for decades now at the St. Joseph Festival, so get a leg up. St. Joseph Church, 2470 Lorraine Ct., Crescent Springs. All day Aug. 8-10. Free. 859-578-2742.
Monday, Aug. 11
Hot Ticket: One way to cool off in August is at Waterworks, which includes such rides as the Bonzai, Fast Tracks, Helix, Rushing River, Sidewinder and several wave pools. The waterpark features the Midwest's only body-board surfing attraction, WipeOut Beach -- no ocean required. Waterworks at Paramount's Kings Island, 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday-Thursday. $42.99; $25.99 for seniors and children 3-6 (includes Kings Island admission). 513-754-5700 or www.pki.com.
Hot Spot: Check out the oil on canvas and scrap metal works of Jill Vanepps. Enjoy the Arts/START, 1338 Main St., Over-the-Rhine. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Free. 513-621-4700.
Tuesday, Aug. 12
Hot Ticket: The Western & Southern Financial Group Masters (formerly known as the Tennis Masters Series and ATP) serves up at the Tennis Center at Kings Island. Reigning vets Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Michael Chang (seven ATP titles between them in the 1990s) face Wimbledon and French Open champs and other former ATP winners. One of the nation's premier tennis tournaments, the $2.95-million event is one of 13 mandatory tour stops for top-ranked players. 6140 Fairway Drive (take the Kings Mill Drive exit 25 off I-71), Mason. Aug. 7-17. $10-$250. 513-651-0303.
Hot Spot: The Delhi Summer Concert Series continues with Country/Western stylings of Mad River. Delhi Township Park, 5125 Foley Road, Delhi. 7 p.m. 513-451-3300.
Wednesday, Aug. 13
Hot Ticket: Aerosmith and Kiss perform with an opening act named, appropriately enough, Saliva. Riverbend Music Center, Kellogg Avenue at I-275, Anderson Twp. 7 p.m. $47.75-$127.75. 513-562-4949.
Hot Spot: Get together at Kovergence, a site-specific installation by Susan Ewing and Vratislav Novak. Weston Art Gallery, 650 Walnut St., Downtown. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. 513-977-4165.
Thursday, Aug. 14
Hot Ticket: The popular Coffee Cup Concert Series presents Eddie Pennington and Greg Schaber. Behringer-Crawford Museum, Devou Park, Covington. 7 p.m. $10 for first admission (includes coffee cup, which gets you half off other tickets in series). 859-491-4003.
Hot Spot: Enjoy A Brush With Nature: The Gere Collection of Landscape Oil Sketches. Cincinnati Art Museum, Eden Park. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. 513-721-5204 or www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org.
Friday, Aug. 15
Hot Ticket: This is no illusion. Abracadabra!, the Playhouse's annual salute to the mysterious world of magic (and its annual fund-raising event), returns with serious acts of prestidigitation. Headliners are Kevin James and his "Twisted Cabaret," illusionist Dale Salwak and comic magician Kerry Pollock. Playhouse in the Park, atop Mount Adams. 7 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14-17. $36.50-$44.50, $15-$20 for children 5-12. (Friday's opening night gala, preceded by a 5:30 p.m. reception and followed by dinner and dancing, is $150-$250). 513-421-3888 or www.cincyplay.com; for gala tickets, call 513-345-2242.
Hot Spot: Barbecue Fest is a celebration of all things bbqed. Riverboat Row, on the riverfront, Newport. 5-11:30 p.m. Friday; noon-11:30 p.m. Saturday; and noon-9 p.m. Sunday, August 15-17. Free. 859-761-9911 or www.cityofnewportky.org.
Saturday, Aug. 16
Hot Ticket: Baseball as America, the first touring exhibit from the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., premieres. Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., West End. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday; and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 16-Nov. 9. $6.75; $5.75 seniors; $4.75 children (ages 3-12); $3.75 toddler pass (ages 1-2). 513-287-7000 or www.cincymuseum.org.
Hot Spot: Enquirer editorial cartoonist Jim Borgman and Post editorial cartoonist Jeff Stahler offer a panel discussion and book/poster signing, as part of the show The Editorial Eye. Cincinnati Art Museum, Eden Park. 1 p.m. Free. 513-721-5204 or www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org.
Sunday, Aug. 17
Hot Ticket: The annual "All About Kids Expo" features some 190,000 square feet of games, music, shows, petting zoos, toy exhibits and retailer displays and hands-on play areas. Your children can do anything from pet a horse or ride a pony to attend a science experiment show or check out the "Diaper Derby." Cincinnati Convention Center, Fifth and Elm streets, Downtown. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 16 and noon-6 p.m. Aug. 17. $6 parents; $3 children 3 and up. 513-684-0501.
Hot Spot: The Midwest Black Family Reunion features R&B and Gospel concerts as well as ethnic food vendors, children's activities and the Black Inventors Pavilion. Sawyer Point Park, Downtown on the riverfront. 1-9 p.m. Aug. 15-17. Free. 513-742-9378.
Monday, Aug. 18
Hot Ticket: Check out the fascinating (and air-conditioned) exhibit Turtles: Journey of Survival, which features exotic species from around the globe -- 17 exhibits display Matamata turtles, Kemp's ridley sea turtles, Egyptian tortoises, Diamondback terrapins, an Indian star tortoise, Loggerhead sea turtles and more. Newport Aquarium, Newport on the Levee, Newport. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. $16 adults; $14 seniors; $10 children 3-12. 859-491-3467 or www.newportaquarium.com.
Hot Spot: See Video +, a selection of video-based works by Nam June Paik, Fabrizio Plessi, Alan Rath, Matthew McCaslin and others. Carl Solway Gallery, 424 Findlay St., Over-the-Rhine. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Through Aug 29. Free. 513-621-0069.
Tuesday, Aug. 19
Hot Ticket: Take a trip back to the Old West via The Dude Ranch, a 100-acre complex featuring horseback riding, paintball, fishing, steer roping, a petting zoo and much more. 3205 Waynesville Road, Morrow. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. $19.95-$42.95. 513-421-DUDE.
Hot Spot: The collected artifacts of the Behringer-Crawford Museum of Natural History are waiting for your attention. On permanent display are paleontology, archeology, Underground Railroad and Civil War exhibits. 1600 Montague Road, Covington. $3 adults; $2 seniors and children. 859-491-4003.
Wednesday, Aug. 20
Hot Ticket: The Cincinnati Film Society opens its Chop-Socky Theater series with Master of the Flying Guillotine, a martial-arts extravaganza from kung-fu legend Wang Yu. 7 p.m. Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park. $6 general; $4 members. 513-721-ARTS or www.cincinnatifilmsociety.com.
Hot Spot: Kaan-Shuz performs at Party in the Park. Yeatman's Cove at Sawyer Point, Downtown on the riverfront. 5:30 p.m. Free. 513-579-3191 or www.party-in-the-park.com.
Thursday, Aug. 21
Hot Ticket: The popular Coffee Cup Concert Series presents Mohenjo Daro. Raison D'Etre opens. Behringer-Crawford Museum, Devou Park, Covington. 7 p.m. $10. 859-491-4003.
Hot Spot: The Alt Park Summer Dance Series continues with Leroy Ellington and the E-Funk Band. 6 p.m. 3600 Observatory Ave., Hyde Park. 513-956-9876.
Friday, Aug. 22
Hot Ticket: Catch Cincinnati's professional soccer team, the Riverhawks, in A League action against Charleston. 8:05 p.m. Town & Country Sports Complex, 1018 Town Dr., Wilder. $10 adults, $6 youth. 513-326-GOAL or www.riverhawks.com.
Hot Spot: The Go-Gos, Dion, Starship, Herman's Hermits and Al Green perform at the Taste of Blue Ash. Kenwood Road between Hunt and Cooper roads, Blue Ash. 6-11 p.m. Friday; noon-11 p.m. Saturday; and noon-9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 22-24. Free. 513-956-7292 or www.blueash.com.
Saturday, Aug. 23
Hot Ticket: The Bi-Okoto Drum & Dance Theatre presents their Summer Quarter Performance of dances, songs, drumming and drama from West African countries. 3900 Eastern Ave., Columbia-Tusculum. 8 p.m. Aug. 22-23. $10 adults, $7 children 12 and under. 513-321-1333.
Hot Spot: Peel back the Layers (FotN) of artist James F. Dicke's paintings and photography. Reyne Gallery, 17 E. Eighth St., third floor, Downtown. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Free. 513-651-4198.
Sunday, Aug. 24
Hot Ticket: A Renaissance festival in Ohio? You bet, and we're not jousting you. This week generally marks the return of the annual Ohio Renaissance Festival, a 30-acre replica of a 16th-century English town complete with roving jesters, minstrels, magicians, fire-eaters, jugglers and knights adorned in full armor, plus daily shows on 11 stages or in roving areas. More than 130 craft merchants offer up full suits of armor as well as chain maile, period weaponry, pewter mugs, stained glass and stone carvings. And the food booths are always good for a leg of mutton or the odd mug of mead. Renaissance Park, Ohio Hwy. 73 (exit 38 off I-75 or exit 45 off I-71), Harveysburg. 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. weekends Aug. 23-October. $14.95 for adults; $8 for children 5-12. 513-897-7000 or www.renfestival.com.
Hot Spot: The Chili Cook-Off & Car Show is for those folks who don't know beans about cars or chili but want to learn. Riverboat Row, on the riverfront, Newport. Noon-9 p.m. Free. 859-655-9415 or www.cityofnewportky.org.
Monday, Aug. 25
Hot Ticket: A summer tradition continues as Tecumseh! returns for yet another season of outdoor drama. Sugarboat Mountain Amphitheatre, 5968 Marietta Road, Chillicothe. 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Through Aug. 30. $8-$16. 866-775-0700.
Hot Spot: This is the week that Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops always perform a free "Labor Day Patriotic Celebration" with the United States Army Soldiers Chorus. Concerts are held at Northern Kentucky University campus, Highland Heights; Miami Whitewater Forest Park, I-74 at Dry Fork Road, Harrison; and Cincinnati Zoo at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 25-29. Free. 513-381-3300 or www.cincinnatipops.org.
Tuesday, Aug. 26
Hot Ticket: BB Riverboats offers the Aquarium Cruise Package, an afternoon of sightseeing that includes admission to the Newport Aquarium and trip down the mighty Ohio River. Newport Dock, 101B Riverboat Row, Newport. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. $14.95-$24.95. 800-261-8586.
Hot Spot: The Phil DeGreg Trio fills the Blue Wisp with original compositions as well as Jazz standards. 318 E. Eighth St., Downtown. 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays. $2. 513-241-WISP.
Wednesday, Aug. 27
Hot Ticket: The Cincinnati Film Society's Chop Socky Theater series continues with Shark Skin Man and Peach Hip Girl, a Japanese gangster film from director Katasuhito Ishii. Cincinnati Art Museum, Eden Park. 7 p.m. $6 general; $4 members. 513-721-ARTS.
Hot Spot: Motion Sick headlines the Q102/Bud Party at Sawyer Point, Downtown on the riverfront. 5:30 p.m. Free. www.wkrq.com.
Thursday, Aug. 28
Hot Ticket: The popular Coffee Cup Concert Series concludes with Homer Ledford and the Cabin Creek Band. Behringer-Crawford Museum, Devou Park, Covington. 7 p.m. $10. 859-491-4003.
Hot Spot: The Delhi Township Summer Concert Series continues with swinging sounds of Lee's Junction Big Band. Delhi Township Park, 5125 Foely Road, Delhi. 7 p.m. Free. 513-451-3300.
Friday, Aug. 29
Hot Ticket: The Know Theatre Tribe gets Ruthless!, a darkly comic musical by Joel Paley and Marvin Laird. 1425 Sycamore St., Over-the-Rhine. 8 p.m. 513-300-KNOW or www.knowtheatre.com.
Hot Spot: Final Friday continues to attract folks to the Main Street and Pendleton Arts Center areas of Over-the-Rhine to see the artist spaces, galleries and retail shops. Plus meet the artists and hang out a bit. 6-10 p.m. Free. 513-621-4700 or www.cincinnatiarts.com.
Saturday, Aug. 30
Hot Ticket: Kimberly "DuWaup" Bryant hosts a night of spoken word dubbed "The Ra" the last Saturday of every month at The Greenwich. See Hot Words for details.
Hot Spot: Conductor Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra wrap up the "WildNights at the Zoo" summer concert series. Safari Pavilion, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale. 7:30 p.m. Free (free parking as well). 513-281-4700 or www.cincinnatizoo.org.
Sunday, Aug. 31
Hot Ticket: The Cheetah Run is a 5-K run through the zoo, though the cheetahs stay in their cages while humans dash to raise funds for cheetah preservation. There's a kid's fun run, too. Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale. 8 a.m. $20; $15 kids. 513-281-4700 or www.cincinnatizoo.org.
Hot Spot: Summer comes to an explosive conclusion when the Riverfest fireworks detonate over the Ohio River. Live music and general festivities kick off the day at noon on the riverfront, but it's the pyrotechnics, which lift off at precisely 9:05 p.m., that are the major draw of this final salute to summer. The Rozzi family provides 30 minutes of synchronized bangs and booms choreographed to the latest Rock chart-toppers as well as classic hits. Riverfest is located on the Cincinnati riverfront, stretching from the Public Landing along the Serpentine Wall to Sawyer Point and Bicentennial Commons (as well as the Newport and Covington riverfronts on the opposite side of the Ohio River). Noon-10:30 p.m. Free. 513-852-5872 or www.webn.com.
Monday, Sept. 1
Hot Ticket: Last chance to check out Liberty on the Border: The Civil War and the Ohio River Valley. The War Between the States and southern Ohio's precarious role during the conflict comes alive in the exhibition. Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., West End. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday; and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday through Sept. 2. $6.75 adults; $5.75 seniors; $4.75 children (ages 3-12); $3.75 toddler pass (ages 1-2). 513-287-7000 or www.cincymuseum.com.
Hot Spot: Labor Day is awfully early this year -- the earliest it can be, actually. Relax with a CityBeat and get caught up on Cincinnati's alternative arts, culture, politics, issues, events, music, movies, restaurant and opinions. It'll make you feel good and might make you a better citizen. Or check out www.citybeat.com.
Tuesday, Sept. 2
Hot Ticket: The Cincinnati Playhouse launches its 2003-04 season for the Marx Theatre with My Fair Lady, using the original piano score that gets back to G.B. Shaw. Playhouse in the Park, atop Mount Adams. 7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 5 and 9 p.m. Saturday; and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 2-Oct. 3. Season subscriptions are $145-$222.50. 513-421-3888 or www.cincyplay.com.
Hot Spot: Check out the Harriet Beecher Stowe House, the actual home where Stowe learned of slavery and prompted her to write Uncle Tom's Cabin. 2950 Gilbert Ave., Walnut Hills. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday. Donations accepted. 513-632-5120.
Wednesday, Sept. 3
Hot Ticket: The Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati's 2003-04 season begins with Nite Club Confidential, a campy visit to a 1950s nightclub. ETC, 1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 3-21. Season subscriptions are $130. 513-421-3555 or www.cincyetc.com.
Hot Spot: The Rusty Griswolds close the Party in the Park summer concert series. Yeatman's Cove at Sawyer Point, Downtown on the riverfront. 5:30 p.m. Free. 513-579-3191 or www.party-in-the-park.com
Thursday, Sept. 4
Hot Ticket: The Xavier Players present a local premiere, The Bench, the European Repertory Co.'s production of Russian playwright Alexander Gelman's work. Gallagher Center, XU campus, Evanston. 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4-7 and 11-14. 513-745-3939.
Hot Spot: Lawrenceburg, Indiana's Music on the River series continues with talented performers from a variety of musical styles. High and Walnut streets, Lawrenceburg. 7 p.m. Free. 800-322-8198.
Friday, Sept. 5
Hot Ticket: Oktoberfest at MainStrasse Village features four c