This weekend’s forecast includes warm weather, a bit of rain, a few clouds and tons of art. Whether you want to watch it, make it, buy it or just support local arts organizations, art is all around this weekend — starting with the last Macy’s Arts Sampler of the season, presented by ArtsWave.
Macy’s Arts Sampler Weekends bring free performances, workshops, tours and other art opportunities to venues across Greater Cincinnati. Saturday’s final installment includes concerts by the Cincinnati Children's Choir, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra and Cincinnati Men’s Chorus at St. John’s Unitarian Church; dance demo classes and performances at Covington’s Step-N-Out Studio; yarn-bombing 101 with the Bombshells of Cincinnati at 21c Museum Hotel and tons more events in College Hill, Butler County, Mariemont and other neighborhoods. Find a full schedule of free art to sample here.
Visionaries + Voices provides countless opportunities for local artists with disabilities. With locations in Northside and Tri-County, V+V helps these artists create, market and showcase their pieces. At the organization’s annual fundraiser, Double Vision, talented V+V artists exhibit and auction their works of art. Double Vision V takes place at Memorial Hall Friday — VIP and general admission ticket options available here. Art will be on sale via live and silent auctions, and attendees can enjoy drinks, snacks and music by DJ Mowgli.
Oakley’s Brazee Street Studios hosts a free art supply swap from 1-3 p.m. Saturday. Clean out your craft closet and bring any unwanted items such as paint, textiles and brushes, then stock up on other materials you may need. It’s all free and honor system-style — please bring at least two items if you plan on swapping. All extra supplies will be donated to Crayons2Computers.
It’s Northside Second Saturday time this weekend! Art, retail sales, food and drink specials abound throughout the neighborhood starting around 6 p.m. Highlights include shows at Northside Tavern and The Comet, gallery openings at Fabricate, NVISION and Northside International Airport’s Bathrool Gallery and a closing reception at Thunder-Sky, Inc.
Local electronic artist
Charles Woodman is a founding member of video performance group viDEO sAVant
and he currently has a show on display in Weston Art Gallery you can read about
here. This Sunday viDEO sAVant presents Lateral Thinking, a unique, live
multimedia performance at 21c Museum Hotel downtown. Video clips of both sci-fi
and avant-garde films will play out as a soundtrack is composed live. This
feast for the senses is free and begins at 4 p.m. Read more here.
Be sure to read our Best of Cincinnati issue for reader and staff picks on the city’s best restaurants, businesses, events and more.
If you follow music coverage in CityBeat (hey, isn't that really why you pick up the paper?), you're certainly aware of Green Day's 2004 recording American Idiot.
But since you're reading my weekend theater previews, you must be
interested in other kinds of performance, so here's a tip: For two nights
only, Green Day's American Idiot, a stage version of the powerful Punk score, will be onstage at the Aronoff. That's right — Friday and Saturday
only, just three performances, much shorter that Broadway in
Cincinnati's two-week presentation of touring Broadway musicals. I can
vouch for this one, since I saw it a year ago during a similar tour stop
It's the story of three disaffected guys who take different downward spirals when confronted with the numbing boredom of everyday life — "alien nation" — as they sing in the opening number. The recording was conceived as a "Punk Rock Opera" and turned into a Tony Award-nominated Broadway show in 2010, with a lot of involvement by Green Day's lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong (who actually appeared onstage in New York at various performances; that's not happening here in Cincinnati). There's a day-of-performance lottery for a limited number of $25 tickets; you need to show up two-and-a-half hours before the performance you're hoping to see (8 p.m. Friday, and 5 and 8 p.m. on Saturday) with a valid photo ID. Complete an entry form and wait 30 minutes to find out if you're a winner. If you prefer to just go ahead and buy your seats ($38-$91), you can call the Aronoff box office: 513-621-2787.
Alfred Hitchcock made Psycho infamous by killing off the main character 30 minutes into the movie. Audiences were shocked — some even walked out of the theater. This had never been done before. Viewers had already invested 30 minutes into Janet Leigh. But her character’s death — as shocking as it was — created an essential space for Norman Bates to emerge and develop. The movie took a twist for the unexpected, and Norman Bates remains one of the most fundamental characters in the history of film.
It took me awhile to get into House of Cards. The series seems to pick up more steam the longer you watch. Kevin Spacey makes me uncomfortable (for good reason). I wasn’t hooked right away. Like Heisenberg in Breaking Bad, we are captivated by the villains — the evil doers. Frank and Claire Underwood are the political equivalent to Bonnie and Clyde. The audience is part of a first-person psychopathic journey through a politician’s road to world domination, and we’re frozen on the edge of our seats.
The turning point for many was the first episode of the second season, “Chapter 14.” Here we are, fully engaged with these characters, rooting for the journalists (I was rooting for the journalists) and waiting to see what amazing one-liners this series would come up with next. And then Zoe died. I had to re-watch the subway scene twice before I believed it was real. It was quick and dirty (just like Frank), an ingenious move on creator Beau Willimon’s part.
It’s the kind of moment where you think about criminal intent and defendants blaming their murders on “insanity.” Frank Underwood is an insane character with direct criminal intent. He didn’t get angry and frustrated and regret his decision. He saw an opportunity to get rid of a pesky journalist, so he took it. We all knew Frank was capable of stepping on anyone (Peter Russo) who was in his way. But this…this was different. This was a character that he had an established sexual and professional relationship with. And he killed her in two seconds. (It was so acrobatic and ninja-like.) That was the turning point for me, the point where I was hooked. Zoe’s death was a classic Hitchcockian move, only viewers had already invested an entire season into her.
The reason why Zoe’s death was so shocking to viewers is because we don’t believe our government officials to be capable of throwing journalists in front of trains when they are getting uncomfortably close to the truth. (9/11 truthers will disagree). In reality, dictatorships and corrupt regimes all over the world have the power to kill and do so regularly. Especially journalists. I find it so interesting that we are fascinated by a concept of unethical government and abuse of power when there is so much damn truth to it. We are romanticizing tyranny. We are making crooked governments into a drama series and it’s enticing and addicting because that’s not how we think we live. It’s dramatic to imagine Congress as a group of blood-thirsty criminals. Things like that “just don’t happen” in this country — so we make it into a TV show.
The group gave Ohio a “D-” ranking after its government spending transparency website earned 51 points out of 100 in U.S. Public Interest Research Group's fifth annual “Following the Money” report.
“Ohio’s been kind of sinking through the ratings year by year,” says Phineas Baxendall, a U.S. PIRG senior policy analyst and co-author of the report released on Tuesday. “It used to do much better, which doesn’t mean they’re dismantling their transparency systems. It just means our standards get tougher each year and they’re more staying in place while other states are improving.”
Ohio’s the only state in the nation that doesn’t offer certain customizable search options including bid award recipients, keywords, agency and bulk download searches. Ohio’s poor score follows three years of ranking in the bottom half of the study.
Researchers look for transparency websites to be comprehensive, one-stop and offer simple search formats.
The nation as a whole is moving toward a more transparent approach to documenting government spending. Since PIRG began the study, all six categories it uses to compile rankings have shown an increase in states performing specific duties. The largest leaps in the past five years involve showing how a project benefits from taxpayer subsidies, which has seen an increase from two to 33 states, and how tax money is spent with an increase from eight to 44 states. All states now have ledger listings for transactions of any government spending on a website, compared to only 32 five years ago.
Ohio’s score doesn’t reflect Cincinnati’s efforts to be transparent. In a 2013 study in transparency of the 30 largest cities in America, Cincinnati scored a “B+” for providing ledger listings for spending information, allowing Cincinnatians to view where money is spent, specific recipients of tax subsidies and the existence of a service request center allowing residents to notify officials about quality of life issues.
Suggestions for improvement included making checkbook-level spending information searchable by the vendor who received the money and developing a comprehensive transparency website.
“We feel strongly that this isn’t a partisan issue, and the fact that states that do best in our rankings show no political pattern, with Texas and Massachusetts standing side-by-side, sort of speaks that this is one of those issues that should not be politicized,” Baxendall says. “We look forward to advancement in transparency in Ohio regardless of who is in office.”
The fellas of Mad Men showed off their mad manes (sorry) when Jon Hamm and Pete Campbell revealed some pretty epic ‘dos to the public this week.
Let’s start with
Mr. Draper. Apparently in all my research of Jon Hamm (Read: browsing his
free-ballin’ pics), neither I — nor the rest of the
Internet — realized the star had appeared on the short-lived dating show The Big Date in 1996. The USA Network game show was hosted by Mark Walberg (the Antiques Roadshow one, not the triple-nipple one).
Hamm, identified on the show as a waiter, rocked the classic ‘90s parted shaggy
‘do (which I like to call the Shawn Hunter).
And as if that wasn’t enough to confuse your boner (or ladyboner), just watch as he
describes his perfect first date:
(Cut to the 2-minute mark for Hamm’s introduction, but seriously just watch the whole thing).
TOTAL FABULOUSITY! For some unknown reason that will go down as one of life’s biggest mysteries, Hamm did not go on to win a date. FOR SHAME!
OK, fast forward
to modern times at the Mad Men premiere
party last week. Vincent Kartheiser aka
Pete Campbell showed up looking like he started to pull a Britney
before changing his mind and running to the red carpet.
Apparently the actor shaves his bang area (why does that sound so dirty) so his character Pete
can have a receding hairline — because
obviously — but couldn’t he achieve that look with makeup and a bald cap? Or
why not just shave the whole thing? This is especially bothersome to me because, as a child, I was convinced you didn't need to "grow out" your bangs once you grew tired of them, you just had to cut them off. This could have been me:
WHAT IS HAPPENING
Mad Men’s final season premieres Sunday night at 10 p.m. on AMC. Like Breaking Bad, this final season will be split between this year and next. Read more in this week’s TV column.
This week in movie remake fuckery: The Goonies 2 is coming atchu.
David Letterman realized Leno wasn’t backing out of retirement this time, so he hopped on the bandwagon and announced he’d be leaving The Late Show in 2015. Chelsea Handler also recently revealed she’ll be leaving E! when her contract is up in a few months, and is one of many celebs rumored to be considered to take Dave’s place. (Her first change: Swap out Stupid Pet Tricks for Stupid Vagina Tricks. Or maybe just Stupid Tricks, a game show with hookers? Call me for more ideas, Chels!) Stephen Colbert is at the center of these rumors as well, as his Colbert Report contract also ends at the end of this year. Meanwhile Late Late host and Letterman follow-up Craig Ferguson waits in the shadows as 75 percent of Americans still think Craig Ferguson is "the black guy from The Office." Wah waaahhh
Iconic album art
like The Beatle’s Abbey Road can transform
ordinary places into fan destinations. Check out these classic record
covers inserted into their respective Google street view locations.
Normally grown-ass women with a hardcore love for Disney turn me off — everyone’s entitled to a nostalgia fest every now and again, but you should not see Frozen three times in theaters if you do not have a child in your life. And there’s a new announcement for you:
Anna Kendrick hosted Saturday Night Live for the first time this weekend and her debut featured not one but two nods to Disney with her Beauty and the Beast-themed monologue and, later, a Little Mermaid bit. But — as you’ll see from the links — Kendrick’s stint was anything but basic. Bravo, Anna! This will certainly be a highlight episode of the season.
Could you use $500,000? Have you always wanted to be on TV? Are you either a soft-spoken racial minority or a loud-mouthed racist? Big Brother is casting its 16th season and the crew will be in Cincinnati next month to scope prospects. According to the online application, casting is curious about important personal information like applicants' weight, hair color and a “self biography” of a whopping 70 words. Those interested in being locked in a house, recorded 24/7 by 65 cameras and 98 microphones and pitted against some of the worst human beings on the planet can apply in person at Mount Adams Pavilion between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday, May 2.
A smattering of local restaurants offering special Easter menus and buffets on Sunday, April 20. Reservations required.
A Touch of Elegance: Entrees include beef tenderloin, honey-glazed ham, fish, chicken and vegetarian choices plus a traditional breakfast including goetta and smoked salmon. There will also be a baby chick display; after brunch, the chicks will be donated to Parky's Farm. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. $23.95 adults; $20.25 seniors; $16 ages 4-10; free ages 3 and younger. 5959 Kellogg Ave., California, 513-231-2312, atouchofelegance.info.
Blinkers Tavern: Breakfast, lunch and dinner Easter choices featuring honey-glazed ham, oven-roasted Cornish hen and prime rib. 10:30 a.m. 318 Greenup St., Covington, Ky., 859-360-0840, blinkerstavern.com.
Crave: Hot and cold buffets with meat-carving stations, a pastry table and kid-friendly choices. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. $27.95 adults; $12.95 children. 175 Joe Nuxhall Way, Downtown, 513-241-8600, craveamerica.com.
Crowne Plaza Hotel Blue Ash: Stations including an omelet station and a waffle station plus salads, fruit, cinnamon French toast, seasoned roast pork loin, baked fish and more. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. $27 adults; $21 seniors; $12 ages 5-12; free ages 4 and younger. 5901 Pfeiffer Road , Blue Ash, 513-793-4500.
Embassy Suites Blue Ash: Menu includes a carving station with glazed ham and beef. 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. $24.95 adults; $22.95 seniors; $9.95 ages 5-10; free ages 4 and younger. 4554 Lake Forest Drive , Blue Ash, 513-981-3752.
Jag’s Steak and Seafood: Steak and seafood menus. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. 5980 West Chester Road , West Chester, 513-860-5353, jags.com.
Metropole: Chef Michael Paley offers dishes including milk-braised rabbit papparadelle and house-made sticky buns. Brunch cocktails include a salty bloody mary or Morning Glory, Metropole's spin on mimosa. 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. 609 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-578-6660, metropoleonwalnut.com.
Oasis Conference Center: All sorts of stations including a omelet station, salad station, carving station, dessert station and a children’s buffet. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. $22.95 adults; $17.95 seniors; $8.95 children. 902 Loveland-Miamiville Road, Loveland, 513-583-8383, oasisconferencecenter.com.
The Palace Restaurant: Executive Chef Joe West offers a traditional brunch buffet with carving and crepe stations. 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. $42.95 adults; $32.95 seniors; $22.95 children. 601 Vine St., Downtown, palacecincinnati.com.
The Phoenix: Brunch plus complimentary photos with the Easter Bunny. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. $28.95 adults; $16.95 children. 812 Race St., Downtown, 513-721-8901, thephx.com.
Riley’s Restaurant: All-you-can-eat smoked pit ham, fried chicken tenders, jambalaya, breakfast casserole, scrambled eggs and more. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. $18.50. 11568 Springfield Pike , Springdale, 513-771-3361, rileysgreatmeals.com.
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse: New seasonal spring dishes plus children's options. Noon. $42.95; $13.95 children. 100 E. Freedom Way , Downtown, 513-381-0491, ruthschris.com.
Schoolhouse Restaurant: Fried chicken, fish, carved roast beef, meat loaf, baked ham and spinach-stuffed chicken breast served with sides. 11:30 a.m. 8031 Glendale-Milford Road , Camp Dennison, 513-831-5753, theschoolhousecincinnati.com.
Via Vite: A buffet with Italian items and drink specials. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. $25; $10 ages 2-10; free for 2 and younger. 520 Vine St., Downtown, 513-721-8483, viaviterestaurant.com.
Actors Theatre’s Humana Festival is indeed a launching pad for exciting new works. That makes its final weekend the perfect moment for the American Theatre Critics Association to recognize a set of outstanding plays produced at regional theaters during 2013. None of the 2013 Humana Festival shows was nominated, but one of the three works to win a significant cash prize ($7,500) was Martín Zimmerman’s Seven Spots on the Sun, given its world premiere at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park last fall. The play blends magical realism and political issues in an affecting tale examining if forgiveness is truly possible. Set in a Central American nation ravaged by civil war, lust, plague and a consuming need for vengeance, it’s about a widowed doctor in a small village and a newly-married soldier charged with subduing dissent. Their journeys towards redemption converge in some painful ways.
The top prize ($25,000) went to Lauren Gunderson for her play I and You, about a cranky high school student who needs a liver transplant. A smart, athletic classmate recruits her to help him finish a school project focused on Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. As their unlikely relationship evolves, they explore the meaning of life and death without a shred of condescension or pretentiousness. I and You was staged last October at Marin Theatre Company in California, where Jasson Minadakis, who founded Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, is now artistic director and nurtured the development of Gunderson’s script. Her play Toil & Trouble was presented locally last summer by Know Theatre.
Ei8ht Ball Brewing hosts a party this Saturday that echoes most folks’ sentiments after the past few months. The brewery’s “F#$K Winter” bash features the tapping of Ei8ht Ball’s new double IPA, Preach, the grand opening of its patio, live music from Honey & Houston and a pig roast with all the fixins. Give Old Man Winter the proverbial finger by celebrating in true spring fashion — it looks like this monsoon will end today. Ei8ht Ball’s “F#$k Winter” party runs 4-8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased in advance here.
If you’re looking for a fun way to introduce the kids to classical music and our local orchestras (or if you’re just an adult with an unabashed loved for children’s movies — no judgment), The Cincinnati Pops’ Pixar in Concert is definitely worth checking out. The Pops will be playing tunes from more than a dozen of your animated favorites including the Toy Story trilogy, Finding Nemo and more. Concerts run all weekend, Friday-Sunday at Music Hall; tickets start at $12.
Cincinnati gets a little spring break flavor this weekend with Foam N’ Glow. You know those sketchy Panama bar parties where they flood the joint with suds and everyone goes wild, unaware of what bodily fluids they may or may not be exposed to? It’s just like that, only at Bogart’s. Expect DJs, light shows, foam shooters and way too many neon tank tops packed into Bogart’s beginning at 9 p.m. Friday. Get tickets here.
Monster Jam returns to the Tristate this weekend with a lineup of badass monstertruckers to entertain audiences with tricks and racing. U.S. Bank Arena gets down and dirty as it transforms into race track and obstacle course for Monster Jam Friday-Saturday.
Innovative chamber music ensemble concert:nova always presents fun, interdisciplinary concerts in atypical venues. This Saturday and Sunday, the group flips the traditional classical music gala on its head with RE:BEL — a performance and party at Rhinegeist Brewery. Lots of live music accompanies art installations and guests have the option of enjoying a three-course dinner. Go here for tickets and more details.
The 22nd Victory of Light Expo takes over Sharonville Convention Center this weekend for two days of workshops, lectures, art and music for the mind, body and spirit. Meet and mingle with psychics, healers, paranormal investigators, astrologists and other presenters with spiritual flair. The expo is also a great shopping spot for books, crystals and materials on Tarot, Reiki, aromatherapy and more. Tickets are $14 per day, $20 for a weekend pass.
Be sure to read our Best of Cincinnati issue for reader and staff picks on the city’s best restaurants, businesses, events and more.