The large signs started showing up right outside of Ellis Park as we drove to the USA vs. Slovenia soccer match: "Johannesburg is ready." Sure, these signs were meant to tell foreigners that South Africa had everything in order for the 2010 World Cup. But they also seemed to be a pep-me-up for South Africans, as if the signs were saying, "Johannesburg is ready. Right, guys? Right?"
Before I left on my trip to South Africa to enjoy the World Cup, plenty of people tried to discourage me. My mom said it was too dangerous, and my friends wondered why I'd want to fly that far just for a soccer game.
With the holidays right around the corner, this weekend promises plenty of twinkling lights, Christmas songs and the one gift the three wise men forgot: booze.
White Castle is the oldest fast-food burger joint in the country, serving up savory, moist cardboard-like mini sandwiches for 90 years. That's right, back when people enjoyed a night of Prohibition-grade bathtub gin, they could wash it down with some sliders.
No matter your last name, everyone’s green on St. Patrick’s Day, but finding authentic (and near authentic) Irish events in German-dominated Cincinnati can sometimes be difficult. Not anymore.
The newly opened Irish Heritage Center of Greater Cincinnati will offer a variety of Gaelic-oriented events tomorrow and on the holiday itself, Wednesday. They include Irish musical groups and dancers, an Irish art exhibit, sing-alongs, films, food and an indoor Children’s Parade.
James Abram Garfield: First to Use and Be Failed By the Metal Detector
James Garfield was the workingman’s president. His father died when he was only two, leaving him and his family in poverty. He earned his keep as a carpenter, teacher and canal boatman before he found inspiration in politics. He was also one of four presidents assassinated in office, and suffered for weeks before complications from the bullet took his life.
It was under these dire circumstances that none other than Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, was called in to help. Bell came equipped with an experimental metal detector invented just months before and intended to use it to locate and remove the bullet where others had failed. Unfortunately for Garfield, the ramshackle device failed to locate the bullet because the bed’s metal coil mattress jumbled the signal.
Bonus: Garfield was the U.S.'s last president born in a log
William Henry Harrison: A Fool in Love
Although not a true Ohio native, Harrison spent much of his life gallivanting in what would become the Buckeye State as governor of the Indiana Territory.
While governing the territories, Harrison became interested in a young Anna Symmes, Judge John Cleves Symmes’ daughter (you may know him from the Symmes Purchase and, consequently, his thousand namesakes around town).
Harrison was only in his early twenties and not exactly a distinguished figure yet, so Judge Symmes was unimpressed, surmising his daughter could make a more prosperous match elsewhere.
Undeterred, Harrison asked the Judge for his daughter’s hand, and was flatly denied. So what’s a young president to do? Why, wait until her father leaves on business and elope of course!
When Judge Symmes learned of the nuptials, he berated Harrison, asking, "How, sir, do you intend to support my daughter?" Harrison smoothly replied, "Sir, my sword is my means of support." Now that’s president material.
William Howard Taft: A Reluctant Champion
Who’s the Cincy judge,
That turned trusts into mud?
Can you dig it?
Sorry for the Shaft intro, but we Cincinnatians
certainly can dig it when we’re talking ‘bout the 27th President. During his one term as president
Taft reinforced Roosevelt’s anti-trust policies and created the U.S. Department
of Labor, but he’s also remembered for dragging his feet into the presidency.
His real ambition was to serve in U.S. Supreme Court.
Before elected, Taft told supporters: “Don’t sit up nights thinking about making me President for that will never come and I have no ambition in that direction. Any party which would nominate me would make a great mistake.”
Taft was eventually convinced otherwise, but during his inauguration on a particularly chilly day he told Roosevelt, “I always said it would be a cold day when I got to be president of the United States.”
After office, Taft was eventually named chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from none other than Warren G. Harding, another Ohioan. Taft then became the only man in history to occupy both the presidency and the chief justiceship.
Ulysses S. Grant: A Match Made in Heaven
Born in 1822, Grant grew up the son of an Ohio tanner, later becoming one of the most decisive military leaders in United States history.
But in the twilight of his years, Grant plunged into debt after his financial firm went bankrupt. As a means for settling his accounts, he began writing his own memoirs with the hope of finding a publisher. And he found his salvation in one of the most prolific writers in U.S. history: Mark Twain.
Samuel Clemens (Twain) heard Grant was looking for a publisher and offered to publish the book with Grant receiving 75 percent of the profits. They agreed and the former general finished his notes days before dying from throat cancer.
The resulting publication, Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, became one of the most successful books of the 19th century, earning Grant's family more than $400,000 in royalties. Quite a happy ending.
This weekend Cincinnati Ballet presents a production quite fitting, considering our weather – Rite of Spring. With Stravinsky's music performed live by the Cincinnati Orchestra, Rite of Spring is a “raw, grungy” piece that pits “individual against the group; it’s kind of timeless and universal,” as described by Resident Choreographer Adam Hougland. There is an 8 p.m. performance tonight and 2 and 8 p.m. performances Saturday. Go here for ticket information and performance details.
Concert:nova's Food + Music Festival comes to a close Sunday with Quartetto Italiano. The festival, which featured food and music from France and Germany, wraps up with an Italian brunch at Via Vite prepared by Chef Christian Peitoso and string quartet music written by Italian composers Puccini, Verdi and Nino Rota. The event takes place at noon and is $55 ($35 for pass holders). Get tickets here.
46th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade steps off at noon downtown. The parade famously continues through rain, snow, or, perhaps this year, unseasonably warm weather. Hopefully the impending storms will hold off anyway. The route begins at Second and up Main Street, across Fifth and down Elm Street. Find details here.
If historically inaccurate holidays that celebrate stereotypes aren't your thing, check out The Art of Food, Merrily We Roll Along, A Day in Pompeii, tons of live music or any of our other To Do recommendations. Or just stay home and watch Always Sunny. No judgement.
The next 48 hours or so present a trifecta of holidays: Saturday is Record Store Day, Sunday is Earth Day, and, thanks to a group of teens in 1971, today (4-20) is unofficially Weed Day. Surely we can find a way to celebrate all three this weekend.
Visionaries and Voices, the Northside gallery that works with artists with disabilities, hosts its annual art auction gala Saturday. Double Vision features live and silent auctions featuring artwork from 20 local artists and other prizes, music by Magnolia Mountain and DJ Mowgli, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. The event runs 7-11 p.m. at Memorial Hall; tickets are $50.
While April 22 is officially Earth Day, celebrations take place all weekend long. Cincinnati's 42nd Annual Earth Day Celebration takes over Sawyer Point Saturday from noon-5 p.m. The free event features exhibits, entertainment, kids activities and various recycling opportunities. Go here for a full list of local Earth Day events and be sure to pick up this week's Green Issue, featuring lots of environmental opportunities and the Central Ohio River Valley Local Foods Guide.
Cincinnati is lucky to have numerous quality, independent music retailers around town. From Everybody's Records to Shake It, we all have some great music memories thanks to these stores. Record Store Day, the third Saturday of April, is devoted to celebrating indie music shops and the music they help promote. Each year on this day, these stores present live music, limited releases and sales. Go here to check out local Record Store Day happenings.
In addition to Cinco de Mayo and Derby Day, the next couple days bring a ton of events and activities. Saddle up, grab some tequila and get out there this weekend!
Essex Studios blossom this weekend for the galleries’ spring Art Walk, BLOOM. The space has been transformed with a thousand origami flowers, yarn gardens by the Cincinnati BombShells and color-coded pathways. As always, more than 100 artists’ work will be on view as guests eat and drink their way through the studios. The art walk runs 6-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Saturday is Clay Alliance’s annual pottery fair at DeSales Corner. Peruse decorative and functional pottery pieces, meet local artists and get supplies to work with clay on your self. Hourly raffles and live music round out the day. The 12th annual fair takes place 11 a.m.-5 p.m., rain or shine.
The first Saturday of May happens to be Cinco De Mayo this year, but it’s also Free Comic Book Day: once a year, comic/specialty book shops across North America offer free publications to all guests. Find a nearby participating store here. Many store offer additional in-store events and promotions; Up Up & Away in Cheviot welcomes The Walking Dead co-creator and original artist Tony Moore.
Crafty Supermarket is back! Making its home at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center, the spring show brings more than 50 indie, subversive crafters from across the city and country to sell their funky, functional handmade goods. Just in time for Mother’s Day, shoppers will find unique apparel and accessories, home goods, artwork and more goodies. Fuel your shopping with delicious food and coffee from local vendors while a PROJECTMILL DJ keeps you groovin’. Show up early to nab a coveted swag bag — every year, shoppers line up around the corner of Clifton Avenue in hopes of being one of the first 100 who get a bag. The market is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and admission is free.
Cinco de Mayo is more popular in the U.S. than Mexico, but since when do we let historical inaccuracies stand in the way of a good drinking holiday? Nearly every bar and restaurant participates in some capacity, but we’ve selected a few to host our annual Cantina Crawl. Here’s our schedule:
p.m. El Coyote
p.m. Pirates Cove
p.m. Tostado’s Grill
p.m. Cactus Pear (Clifton)
Join our roving squad of senoritas and “Seen on the Scene” photographers as they travel from place to place with more prizes than you can throw a maraca at.
Prom is a rite of passage many, but often LGBTQ kids don’t feel comfortable at school dances because of bullies and expectations about dress and dates. The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Greater Cincinnati provides a welcoming environment for these individuals at their annual GLSEN Prom Saturday. Come to the Freedom Center for two events in one: those under 21 are invited to "dress as you want, bring who you want, and love as you want.” In a separate area of the center the over 21 crowd, who maybe didn’t get to experience a prom of their own, can enjoy dinner, drinks and dancing for $65. Those wanting to attend post-dinner can come after 9 p.m. for a discounted price. As always, kids are welcome free of charge with early registration. All proceeds support the local GLSEN chapter.
And don’t forget to check out the "supermoon" Saturday — the biggest full moon of the year will peak around 11:30 p.m. tomorrow.
We’ve all heard it before.
“Remember, remember, the fifth of November/Gunpowder treason and plot/We
see no reason/Why Gunpowder treason/Should ever be forgot…”
It is a well-known 18th century rhyme and a memorable quote perhaps immortalized by the film V for Vendetta. The movie features Hugo Weaving as an enigmatic vigilante sporting a Guy Fawkes mask (both as symbolism and to cover his gruesome burns via government experimentation) who delivers such fervid lines as, “Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof.” While the verses of the Guy Fawkes poem are widely recognized and even plastered over social media today, it is unlikely that everyone is familiar with its origin.
Guy Fawkes Day is a British observance mostly celebrated in the U.K. and other countries that were formerly a part of the British Empire (lookin’ at you, North American colonies). It takes place on Nov. 5 (today) and memorializes the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605. The Gunpowder Plot conspirators, led by Robert Catesby, planned to bomb the Houses of Parliament (House of Lords) during its state opening, aiming to assassinate the King along with members of Parliament. The conspirators were ardent Roman Catholics who believed King James’s intolerance toward Catholics to be unjust, with his severe penal law against those who practiced the religion.
Once he was out of the way, the conspirators planned to instigate an uprising of English Catholics and reestablish Catholic rule in England. Alas, the conspirators were betrayed and the plan did not come into fruition. Guy Fawkes, among the most famous of the bunch, was caught right before lighting the fuse to a massive 36 barrels of gunpowder. He was taken into custody and subsequently tried, convicted and executed. The others suffered the same fate or were killed while resisting capture. And so began the tradition noted in the poem, as parliament dubbed Nov. 5 a national day of thanksgiving for “the joyful day of deliverance.”
Despite its history, this observance is no longer a tribute to parliament, but rather a tribute to the conspirators who had the audacity to challenge authority. People around the world wear Guy Fawkes masks in protest, as seen during the Occupy Wall Street movement and the Arab Spring, to hide their identities. Today, the Million Mask March World Event, brought together by the Anonymous movement, takes place near political institutions around the globe. Activists planned rallies in more than 400 cities, including Washington D.C. and London, with Facebook pages set up in countries from Nigeria to Belize.
(non-official) says that the event is a “call for Anonymous, WikiLeaks, The
Pirate Party, Occupy and Oath Keepers to Unite Marchers, Occupiers, Whistleblowers
and Hacktivists” to mobilize and protest. The website also states, “There is no
official site, and nobody is in charge: it’s a movement, not an organization.”
With that in mind, it is a feat that Anonymous now has as powerful of a web presence as it does, successfully receiving worldwide attention on issues such as anti-censorship protests against government/corporate websites and calling attention to allegations of corruption in local and international cases. A Facebook event page for the Million Mask March, with a cover photo of numerous Guy Fawkes masks, states that the march’s mission is “to remind this world what it has forgotten, that fairness, justice and freedom are more than just words.”
In D.C., the rally is scheduled to move from the Washington Monument to the street by the White House, with more than $2,000 raised for transportation and accommodations for the Anons. Similarly, in London, thousands of individuals intend to rally at Trafalgar Square, a hotspot for past Anonymous Guy Fawkes Day congregations that successfully occurred in large numbers. Unlike V in the film, activists plan to march silently and “resist peacefully” in the event of police action.
While the Guy Fawkes rhyme was established in the 18th century and the movie V for Vendetta debuted in 2005, the spirit of Guy Fawkes is very much alive today — perhaps more than ever — as individuals come together to protest political injustices all around the world.
Before you make dinner plans, you have to check out Anne Mitchell's guide to local Mardi Gras eats, our cover story for the week. From Otto's to Washington Platform to Half Day Cafe, she describes all the local restaurants celebrating with NOLA-inspired bites, traditional baked goods and gut-busting buffets (you are supposed to pig out today, right?).
Countless other area eateries and drinkeries promise a night of crawfish and hurricanes, including Allyn's, Stanley's Pub, Righteous Room, Mecklenburg Gardens, The Stand, J. Gumbo's, Blue Wisp, Keystone Bar & Grill (Covington and Hyde Park), AliveOne, The Lackman and The Pub (Rookwood Mews and Crestview Hills).
And since the whole point of Fat Tuesday is to get all your vices out of the way before the Christian season of Lent, a time for sacrifice and prayer leading up to Easter, why not support a charity? At Mardi Gras for Homeless Children, guests can enjoy food and drink, authentic Zydeco and Jazz music, auctions and more. The event runs from 6:30-10 p.m. at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center. Tickets are $55, available here. Proceeds benefit homeless children shelters.In non-Fat news, tonight's live music lineup ranges from Dubstep (Rusko) to Christian Metalcore (August Burns Red). Check out Mike Breen's music blog for details.