See Classical music through a new lens at THE CONSTELLA FESTIVAL
An ambitious initiative, Constella was conceived as an arts showcase featuring the best in international and local performers. This year’s festival is no less ambitious, but it’s considerably scaled back from the sprawling array of choices that in the past have potentially overwhelmed potential audiences. Originally scheduled throughout October and November, performances are now within a 12-day period in April. It’s still a packed schedule with five events each week, featuring violinist Hilary Hahn, pianist Simon Trpceski, other established European performers making Cincinnati debuts, Cincinnati performers and artists, and a film premiere. Performances are at downtown locations accessible by public transportation and tickets can be purchased from one source. Get more information and buy tickets here.
Get sloppy at ZINES, SCREENS & SCREAMS DIY music fest
The Zines, Screens & Screams Fest, a celebration of DIY music and culture, comes to Main Street in Over-the-Rhine this weekend for the first edition of what organizers hope to make an annual event. The festival starts Friday at 5 p.m. and Saturday at noon and will be centered around two main locations: Maudie’s (maudieslive.com) and Cincy By the Slice (cincybytheslice.com), which are both located at 1207 Main St. in OTR; and The Drinkery (1150 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, drinkeryotr.com). The Drinkery (which will only be participating in the music portion of the fest Friday night) is open to those 21-and-up only; all other events are open to all ages. The festival features a slew of local bands as well as some national touring acts that play Rock, Punk, Post Punk, Experimental, Metal and other Indie-oriented genres. It’s a great chance to catch some local musicians that don’t often get a ton of attention outside the DIY scene. Read more here.
Hang out at the Southgate House Revival with CHUCK PROPHET & THE MISSION EXPRESS
San Francisco singer/songwriter Chuck Prophet’s illustrious career began in earnest when he joined the influential and critically acclaimed Roots Rock band Green on Red right after high school. Since then, similar acclaim for his solo work has never slowed; he has released more than a dozen albums since 1990 that have carried the torch of Green on Red’s slanted Alt Roots Rock, taking it even further. Also a prolific collaborator, Prophet has worked with everyone from Warren Zevon and Solomon Burke to Alejandro Escovedo and Cake. Prophet is currently touring with his band The Mission Express behind his most recent full-length, Night Surfer, which came out last year on Yep Roc and features contributions from R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and others. (Visit the music page at citybeat.com to read our feature story on Prophet.) 8:30 p.m. Friday. $15; $18 day of show. Southgate House Revival, 111 E. Sixth St., Newport, Ky., southgatehouse.com.
Brings your leftover yarn to the BRAZEE STREET STUDIOS ART SUPPLY SWAP
If one artist’s junk is another artist’s treasure, then Friday’s art supply swap at Brazee Street Studios might be a gold mine of fodder for artistic creation. An informal exchange of materials, guests are asked to bring any two items to donate — paint, markers, pencils, rhinestones, charcoal, paper, canvas, yarn, sequins, etc. — and they can take as much as they like home. Drop-off begins at 9:30 a.m. and leftover items will be donated to Crayons2Computers, a local organization that gives school and art supplies to children in need. 9:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Free. Brazee Street Studios’ parking lot, 4426 Brazee St., Oakley, brazeestreetstudios.com. If you can actually knit and want to keep the yarn (or take someone else's home), Hospice of Southwest Ohio is currently accepting slipper donations for patients.
Take your time at SLOW ART DAY
Slow Art Day is one of the best ideas to reach art museums ever — a break from the rush-rush hubbub of trying to see everything. Visitors concentrate on just looking, really looking, at a few pieces and then discuss them with others. Saturday, the Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati Art Museum and Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum are participating in the international event. At the Taft starting at 11:15 a.m., docents will help visitors look slowly at five pieces of art. Participants then have a separately-sold lunch at the Taft cafe. (RSVP to 513-684-4515.) At the art museum at noon, an hour-long guided tour starts; participants will visit works by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Bernardino Mei, John Francis and Donald Judd. Afterward, there will be a discussion. (Reserve space at cincinnatiartmuseum.org.) Also at the Cincinnati Art Museum is the new Andy Warhol exhibit, Up at Bat: Warhol and Baseball, featuring the CAM's classic Pop Art Pete Rose and more from America's favorite pastime. And at Hamilton’s Pyramid Hill, visitors meet to begin looking at five pieces of art at 10 a.m., followed by discussion. They can bring a brown-bag lunch. Admission to Pyramid hill is $8 for adults; $3 for 12 and younger. (RSVP to 513-868-8336.)
As the birthplace of the first professional baseball team, as well as the creation of the World Series and the location of the National League and American League merger, Cincinnati has a long history of incredible on- and off-field moments. American Legacy Tours digs deeper into the city’s baseball past with The 1919 Tour. In conjunction with the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum, the tour focuses on events and activities surrounding the controversial 1919 World Series, which pitted the Reds against the Chicago White Sox and is associated with the “Black Sox” gambling scandal. The walking tour visits locations where the scandal unfolded and examines the cast of characters involved in the infamous event. 10:30 a.m. Saturdays. Through October. $20. Leaves from Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown, americanlegacytours.com.
Eat a whole bunch of haggis at TARTAN DAY SPRING CEILIDH
The Cincinnati Caledonian Pipes & Drums, a local nonprofit that aims to preserve and promote Scottish heritage, hosts their annual spring party. The Celtic bash will feature music from the likes of the Blue Rock Boys, Ceol Mhor and Riley Gaelic Singers, and performances from the McGing Irish Dancers and Cincinnati Highland Dancers. Themed food will be provided by Brazenhead Pub, with a scotch tasting, Scottish beer sampling, haggis-eating contest, tea room and more. 6-10 p.m. Saturday. $15; food and drink sold separately. The Center, 115 E. Fifth St., Mercantile Building, Downtown, cincypipesanddrums.org.
Dance all night at BALLET A GO GO
Inspired by the world famous Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles and New York’s Peppermint Lounge discotheque, Ballet A Go Go is one hot dance party. Celebrating the fifth anniversary of the ballet’s Club B, each room of the Cincinnati Ballet Center will transform into a trendy ’60s nightclub for an evening of Mod fashion, music and, of course, go-go dancing. Cocktails and dinner precede era-inspired music and dessert; tickets include an open bar. The dress code is funky Mod attire. 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets start at $150. 1555 Central Parkway, Downtown, cballet.org/events.
Get metaphysical at the VICTORY OF LIGHT EXPO
Established in 1992, the Victory of Light Expo showcases the world of the intuitive arts and psychic sciences. The festival provides a venue for spiritual teachers, readers, healers and vendors from around the country to share their philosophies and teach free seminars on topics including the shamanic anatomy of the soul, manifesting your desires and how to communicate with your guides, angels and loved ones who have passed over. After the seminars, enjoy shopping, featured artists and music from award winning Native American flute player Douglas Blue Feather, Lighthawk and crystal and Tibetan singing bowl artist Ron Esposito. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $15 single day; $25 weekend. Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Road, Sharonville, victoryoflight.com.
Celebrate the semi-return of Magnolia Mountain with MARK UTLEY's solo release show
Prolific singer/songwriter Mark Utley has released a single album’s worth of songs. And that’s all. Bulletville, Utley’s excellent sophomore solo album, is not a double-set on a single CD or accompanied by a new release from his band Magnolia Mountain or another musical vessel for the songs that pour endlessly from his head, heart and hands. Is this Utley’s version of writer’s block? Last year, Magnolia Mountain, Utley’s Blues/Roots Rock vehicle, was collapsing while Bulletville, Utley’s traditional Country side project with Magnolia Mountain’s Renee Frye and Jeff Vanover, was thriving. With Magnolia Mountain sidelined, Utley’s creative vacuum was quickly filled by Bulletville. His Country project’s profile rose exponentially with each new gig, naturally leading to more songs and ultimately the recording of Bulletville, produced, like every Magnolia Mountain album to date, by Afghan Whigs bassist John Curley. The difference this time is that Bulletville was largely recorded live in the studio. Mark Utley and Bulletville celebrate their new album release Saturday at MOTR Pub. More info: motrpub.com. Click here for details on Bulletville and all of Utley's projects.
See baby lion cubs at ZOO BLOOMS
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s annual floral exhibit, Zoo Blooms, features daffodils, hyacinths, flowering trees and one of the largest displays of tulips in the Midwest. Also on view, the zoo's three new lion cubs. Follow them on twitter @cincyzoolion. $18 adults; $12 children; $9 parking. 3400 Vine St., Avondale, cincinnatizoo.org.
Enjoy a matinee of THE TAMING OF THE SHREW
If you’ve ever seen The Taming of the Shrew, you might remember it as the tale of an ill-tempered woman brought into line by an abusive, gold-digging suitor. In that simple summary, Shakespeare’s early comedy understandably doesn’t sit well with most modern audiences. But contemporary presenters of the show have a variety options to make it more palatable. In its current staging at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, guest director Kevin Hammond has utilized more than one of them. Read a full review here. 2 p.m. Sunday. $22-$32.Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 719 Race St., Downtown, cincyshakes.com.
Feel a little hazy and lo-fi with COLLEEN GREEN and Leggy at the Woodward
Colleen Green’s third full-length (and first album recorded in an actual recording studio) is titled I Want to Grow Up, which is no coincidence. Well, that is if you equate a glossier sound and trying to kick coffee and weed as growing up. For I Want to Grow Up, Green hooked up with friends Jake Orrall (JEFF The Brotherhood) and Casey Weissbuch (Diarrhea Planet) in a Nashville, Tenn., studio to crank out 10 songs with titles like “TV” and “Pay Attention,” deceptively simple tunes that recall a cross between early Donnas and the bummed-out laments of Juliana Hatfield. Colleen Green plays Woodward Theater on Sunday. Tickets/more info here.
Grab a drink and an underground tour at TOAST TO THE TUNNELS
Back by popular demand, Toast to the Tunnels takes you on a tour to explore the Christian Moerlein Malt House’s underground barrel vault tunnels, once home to the pre-Prohibition Kauffman Brewing malt house. A quick taste of history will be accompanied by a $10 flight of Moerlein beers in the taproom. Proceeds benefit the Betts House, currently exhibiting Bricks, Barrel Vaults & Beer: The Architectural History of Cincinnati Breweries. 2-5 p.m. Sunday. Christian Moerlein Malt House, 1621 Moore St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/thebettshouse.
Watch GAME OF THRONES
As many know, Game of Thrones (Season Premiere, 9 p.m. Sunday, HBO) is based on author George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series. But what happens when the show’s progression surpasses that of the source material? Debuting this week, Season Five will cover the series’ fourth and fifth novels; by the time the finale airs, the show will be “off the books.” This means those who watch will have a leg up on those who read (nerds!). If you ever had a friend threaten to spoil the show with their literary knowledge, the tables have finally turned. Martin met with the show’s creators to guide them through the future of Game of Thrones — both versions will end with the same basic pieces in place — but fans can expect future seasons to diverge from the forthcoming novels. In Sunday’s premiere, Cersei and Jaime mourn their father’s death and adapt to life without his direction. At least they have each oth… Ew, nevermind. Tyrion is in hiding in Pentos with Varys, Jon’s loyalty is pulled between Night’s Watch and Stannis, and, after locking up two of her babies and banishing Jorah, Daenerys faces more setbacks in Meereen. Two of the most anticipated storylines come with new territory — Dorne and Braavos. Following Oberyn’s crushing defeat, we head to his home turf of Dorne to meet his daughters, the Sand Snakes. Also exciting is the prospect of Arya traveling to Braavos to find Jaqen H’ghar. Valar Morghulis, y’all!
What happens when a guy who grew up in an inner-city neighborhood returns as a successful attorney, back because it’s now the trendy place to live? That’s Jackson’s story: He’s upwardly mobile and black, moving in with Suzy, his white schoolteacher girlfriend. But she’s not so comfortable with their arrangement. Add to the mix Don, Jackson’s privileged boyhood white friend who’s had drug issues and now needs a place to crash. The apartment’s buzzer is a reminder that their world isn’t so simple. Tracey Scott Wilson’s new play isn’t set in Over-the-Rhine, but it could be. Through April 19. $30-$85. Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mt. Adams Circle, Mount Adams, 513-421-3888, cincyplay.com.
It’s hard to stand out in the crowded Blues/Roots Rock field but Dallas-based Somebody’s Darling is a stacked deck of secret weapons. The visceral ’70s-to-today guitar pyrotechnics of David Ponder, the massive keyboard groove of Michael Talley, the velvet jackhammer rhythm section of bassist Wade Cofer and drummer Nate Wedan, and the smoke-and-whiskey-cured vocals of Amber Farris combine to create a blistering Blues sound that is reassuringly familiar and yet fascinatingly singular. Although Farris, who also plays electric and acoustic guitars, generates plenty of fair comparisons to Bonnie Raitt, Susan Tedeschi and Heartless Bastards’ Erika Wennerstrom (and maybe even a little Natalie Merchant in a rare quiet moment), she and Somebody’s Darling may align closest to Grace Potter and the Nocturnals by virtue of the slinky dynamism and mesmerizing power they both effortlessly exhibit. Somebody’s Darling plays Southgate House Revival's Revival Room on Friday. Tickets/more info here.
Cincinnati beer festival Bockfest hosts the second of four preliminary rounds of a gender-neutral pageant to name the 2015 Sausage Queen, who will lead the Bockfest Parade with a symbolic tray of bockwurst sausage. Based on their personality, presence and talent, judges will move beer enthusiasts through a series of rounds of competition, leading up a final crowning and cash prize. Come out and support the candidates and have a couple of beers yourself. Future rounds Feb. 26 at Washington Platform and Feb. 28 at Crazy Fox Saloon. 9 p.m. Friday. Free. Milton’s, 301 Milton St., Prospect Hill, bockfest.com.
ONSTAGE: Little Women
The story of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel from the late 1860s, Little Women, has long been woven into the American consciousness. The March family lives in refined poverty, with a dutiful father away in the Civil War and a steadfast mother raising four headstrong daughters. Their story is one of hardship and heartbreak, with generous doses of situational humor, all of which are recaptured in Emma Reeves’ new adaptation for the stage being regionally premiered by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. CSC’s acting company is replete with fine actors, and local stage veteran Annie Fitzpatrick plays loving Marmee, who strives to keep her chicks in order. Through March 21. $14-$36. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 719 Race St., Downtown, 513-381-2273, cincyshakes.com.
Comedian Stewart Huff: Primarily a storyteller, he now focuses on stand-up. Huff started off wanting to be a writer of short stories. He wrote in secret, but after doing an open mic he became intrigued by what that art form had to offer. “I was obsessed with the idea of telling a story on stage and getting immediate feedback,” he says. After a time, Huff decided to focus solely on stand-up. Showtimes Thursday-Sunday. $8-$14. Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, gobananascomedy.com.
Things to leave the house for all weekend. Shopping. Holiday stuff. Music. Plays. Food.