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by Staff 02.20.2015 7 days ago
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List (2/20-2/22)

The Art of Food, 20th Century Cincinnati design show, The Price is Right Live!, Oscar parties and more

Looking for things to do this weekend? There's plenty of reasons to leave the house — once you put on like six layers of clothes, a hat, gloves, some snow boots and tire chains. 

FRIDAY 20 
Celebrating the ways in which food appeals to our senses both orally and visually, The Carnegie’s ninth annual The Art of Food event and exhibition features some of our most experimental local chefs, bakers and sweets-mongers showing off their most artistically inspired creations. In addition to all the yummy eats, artist Pam Kravetz is organizing a multi-gallery “Candy Land” theme that corresponds with the classic board game. 6-9 p.m. Friday. $25 members advance; $40 non-members advance; $35 members at the doors; $50 non-members at the door. The Carnegie, 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington, Ky., thecarnegie.com.


500 Miles to Memphis, one of many Greater Cincinnati acts showing love for WNKU this weekend
Presented by the Good People Festival, 30 bands — locals plus out-of-towners Charlie Mars, Will Kimbrough and Jason Wilbur — will perform over two nights in honor of WNKU radio station’s 30 years on the air. The bands include 500 Miles to Memphis, Noah Hunt & The Scotty Bratcher Band, The Tillers, Buffalo Wabs & the Price Hill Hustle, Frontier Folk Nebraska and plenty more. All proceeds will benefit WNKU to help keep them going strong for another 30 years. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $30 weekend pass; $20 single-day ticket; $50 VIP weekend passes (includes Saturday reception with food, drinks and private performances from Chardez and special guests). Southgate House Revival, 111 E. Sixth St., Newport, Ky., wnku.org.


Nikki Lane
Photo: Glynis Carpenter
One of the great Wanda Jackson’s biographical talking points is the fact that she toured with and fleetingly dated Elvis Presley back in a time when her Rockabilly star shone as brightly as his. In a good many ways, Nikki Lane represents the 21st century manifestation of that vaunted pair’s musical DNA — she twangs and bangs with the ferocity of a roadhouse Rock band churning out amped up Country covers behind the sturdiest chicken wire known to man. Deals don’t come any more real than Nikki Lane. Lane’s appearance in Cincinnati at MOTR Pub during last fall’s MidPoint Music Festival was a near religious experience … if your religion allows whiskey shots, a foul-mouthed choir and a hymnal packed with classic Outlaw Country and scorching Rock. Nikki Lane plays at Woodward Theater Friday, Feb. 20. Find tickets/more info here.


EVENT: Bockfest Sausage Queen Preliminary Round

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.


Little Women
Photo: Cal Harris 

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.



SATURDAY 21 
Vintage is the new black, and Cincinnati knows this. Fuelling our desire for nostalgia and simplicity by feeding us quality and value is the annual 20th Century Cincinnati vintage modern design show, returning for its third decade. More than 60 dealers will fill the Sharonville Convention Center with a funky and fabulous selection of furniture, lighting, fashion and more. There will be plenty of period decorative objects featured, including art glass, pottery, posters, metal wares, textiles and dinnerware, with something for every collectors’ budget. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; ticketed preview 9-11 a.m. Saturday. $8 two-day general admission; $25-$30 preview pass. Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Road, Sharonville, 20thcenturycincinnati.com


You probably won’t see Bob Barker or Drew Carey cruising around Cincinnati this weekend. However, The Price Is Right Live! is in town, so you could still win a BRAND. NEW. CAR! The show is an untelevised stage version of the nation’s longest-running game show, hosted by a celebrity like Marc Summers, Todd Newton or Jerry Springer. Ticket numbers are already limited for both nights the show chugs through the Horseshoe Casino, but fret not. It turns out you can still try your luck and register to compete even without a ticket. Sticky wicket: Without a ticket, you wait in a holding area instead of inside The Pavilion, watching your neighbors play Plinko and spin the wheel. So, ya know, come on doooown! 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. $44-$55. Horseshoe Casino, 1000 Broadway, Pendleton, priceisrightlive.com. (REGISTER TO WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS FROM CITYBEAT HERE.)


Jean Yves-Thibaudet
Photo: IMG Artists 
This Saturday and Sunday, famed French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet will perform two Khachaturian pieces (the waltz from Masquerade Suite and Piano Concerto) and Holst’s The Planets. The Planets! On Saturday night, Bell’s Brewery is offering flights of its limited beer series, The Planets, for $8 a pop. Bottles will be available at all three concerts while supplies last. 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21; 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22. $12-$120. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cincinnatisymphony.org


Borrowed Landscape
Photo:CAC
Heine Avdal is making a short trip from Belgium to Cincinnati on Feb. 21 and 22 just to visit the Whole Foods Market in Rookwood Commons. It’s sandwiched between theatrical performances that he and his artistic organization fieldworks will be doing in Heine Avdal is making a short trip from Belgium to Cincinnati on Feb. 21 and 22 just to visit the Whole Foods Market in Rookwood Commons. It’s sandwiched between theatrical performances that he and his artistic organization fieldworks will be doing in Budapest and Oslo. So why exactly is he coming here to go to Whole Foods? It isn’t just because he needs goat milk or edible flowers. It will be the site of the U.S. premiere — and only U.S. event to date — of a site-specific performance art piece called Borrowed Landscape, which he has been performing in Europe. He is being sponsored by the Contemporary Arts Center as part of its international-oriented Performances series. 2-4 p.m. Feb. 21 and 22. Admission is free and you can come and go anytime within the two-hour window.


SUNDAY 22
 
In honor of the organization’s 40th anniversary, People Working Cooperatively takes its annual Oscars night party back to psychedelic during a “Hometown Hollywood 1975” event. While watching a live telecast of the annual Oscars gala, guests will enjoy a three-course dinner wrapped up in a funky ’70s theme reminiscent of the era’s groovy game shows. Attire for the night will be either classic black tie in true Oscars fashion or ’70s retro, complete with platform shoes and powder-blue tuxedos, so take your pick. 5:30 p.m.-midnight. Sunday, Feb. 22. $175. Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, 35 W. Fifth St., Downtown, pwchomerepairs.org.


Ring in the year of the sheep at Orient Wok in Fort Mitchell for its Chinese New Year dinner and celebration. You’ll get the full experience of this notable holiday with a delicious and authentic nine-course meal. There will also be a traditional Lion Dance, plenty of explosives during the firecracker celebration and many more forms of cultural entertainment. 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21. $75; $25 children ages 6-12. Oriental Wok, 317 Buttermilk Pike, Ft. Mitchell, Ky., orientalwok.com.


Adam Cayton-Holland
"I was always doing funny stuff,” says comedian Adam Cayton-Holland from his home in Denver, “but it was more writing behind-the-scenes. I wasn’t one of those guys growing up watching stand-up going, ‘That’s going to be me.’ Never in a million years did I think I’d be the guy up on stage.” At the behest of a stand-up comedian friend, Cayton-Holland tried it on a whim. “I did it and I was hooked,” he says. Today he divides his time between Denver and Los Angeles and has picked up more TV writing gigs. Showtimes Thursday, Feb. 19-Sunday, Feb. 22. $8-$14. Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, gobananascomedy.com. 
 

MONDAY 23
Explore how science and art overlap for the perfect date night at the Contemporary Arts Center’s One Night One Craft event. A sommelier will walk attendees through the science of wine making and the art of sampling it, plus artist John Humphries will show you how to make art with less palatable wines. 6-8 p.m. Monday. $20 members; $30 non-members. 44 E. Sixth St., Downtown, contemporaryartscenter.org.




 
 
by Staff 02.13.2015 14 days ago
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List (2/13-2/15)

Reminder: It's Valentine's Day this weekend (and Cincy Winter Beerfest!)

Calling all lovers: There's plenty to do this weekend to celebrate Valentine's Day, whether you've made reservations or not. Calling all singles: There's plenty to do this weekend regardless of whether or not you have a date. And calling all people who are looking to adopt a dog or cat this weekend in order to fill a void: We've got an event for that, too.


FRIDAY 13
Love, Vodka, Death: First a little shameless self promotion. What do you get when you cross the name of a czarist Russian Woody Allen/Diane Keaton comedy — Love and Death — with vodka? “Love, Vodka, Death,” CityBeat’s la petite mort Friday the 13th Valentine’s bash. Whether you feel like getting drunk because you’re alone or using booze as an aphrodisiac, the event features more than 15 vodka brands — Grey Goose, Tito’s, Stoli, Three Olives, Svedka and more — for sampling, along with bites from A Catered Affair. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Friday. $25 single; $45 for two tickets; $60 for a threesome. Cincinnati Masonic Center, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown, citybeat.com.


Cincy Winter Beerfest: A Valentine's tradition for many. This year’s Cincinnati Beer Week takes over Tristate bars, restaurants, breweries and grocery stores for beer dinners, meet the brewer events, keg tappings and more. “Expect a week of really great, well-crafted beer-focused events,” says Lindsey Roeper, president of Cincinnati Beer Week. “We like to encourage participating venues to create events that are educational, impactful and, most of all, fun.” The party kicks off with the Cincy Winter Beerfest craft beer festival at the Duke Energy Convention Center Feb. 13-14 and continues at more than 100 official Cincinnati Beer Week venues through Feb. 22. For more information on Cincy Winter Beerfest, click here. For more on Cincinnati Beer Week and an event calendar, click here. And for information about the past, present and future of Cincinnati's brewing heritage, as told by CityBeat, click here for the Beer Issue.

ALICE (In Wonderland)
Photo: Peter Mueller
Cincinnati Ballet's ALICE (in Wonderland): Cincinnati Ballet’s extravagant production of Washington Ballet Artistic Director Septime Webre’s ALICE (in Wonderland) hits the Aronoff stage again this weekend, two years after the Cincinnati premiere, with live music from the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conducted by Cincinnati Ballet Music Director Carmon DeLeone. Webre drew his scenario from Lewis Carroll’s classic 19th century books Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, and he packed in all the familiar characters, including the Queen of Hearts, Cheshire Cat and Mad Hatter. The cast is huge, with children from the ballet’s academy as baby flamingos, piglets and hedgehogs. Cincinnati Ballet presents ALICE (in Wonderland) Friday through Sunday at the Aronoff Center. Tickets and more info: cballet.org.


MainStrasse Mardi Gras
MainStrasse Mardi Gras: BEADS! “Mardi Gras,” French for “Fat Tuesday,” refers to the debaucherous and indulgent celebration that precedes the ritual fasting of Lent (which begins on Ash Wednesday). Traditionally New Orleans is the party capital of Mardi Gras, but New Orleans better keep an eye out because the 19th annual MainStrasse Village Mardi Gras has all the beads, Cajun food, Big Head parades and live music you need. Parades with floats and giant heads take the streets both Friday and Saturday. Beads, baubles and bangles will be available at MainStrasse businesses and the Goose Girl Fountain. Parades begin at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $10 per night; $15 in advance for both nights. MainStrasse Village, West Sixth Street, Covington, Ky., mainstrasse.org.


Chapatti at the Cincinnati Playhouse
Photo: Sandy Underwood
Chapatti at the Playhouse in the Park: An offbeat Irish love story. Pets can be great companions. But as Dan, grieving the loss of a longtime lover, and Betty, a solitary divorcée, discover in Christian O’Reilly’s humorous tale of a pair of lonely hearts in an Irish town, human contact is essential and sometimes unexpected. The play’s title, “chapatti,” a kind of flatbread from India, is the name of Dan’s faithful and devoted dog. Director Anne Marie Cammarato says, “It celebrates the human connection we need to have with one another and even with our animals.” All that adds up to “a little play with such a big heart.” Through March 8. $30-$85. Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mt. Adams Circle, Mount Adams, cincyplay.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



SATURDAY 14

My Furry Valentine
Photo: My Furry Valentine
My Furry Valentine: There is nothing cuter than a puppy following you around everywhere you go. (When your date does it … it’s not so cute.) This is just one of the many, many reasons why pets make the best valentines. My Furry Valentine is the region’s largest annual animal adoption event, bringing together hundreds of adorable pets and potential pet parents at the Sharonville Convention Center. Dogs, cats, puppies, kittens and other pocket pets from animal rescues and shelters all over the region will be showcased. More than 1,300 animals have been taken home the past three years — this year it could be you. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free. Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Road, Sharonville, myfurryvalentine.com.com.

Linger Flower Pop-Up
Photo: Life in Balance Photography
Linger Flowers Valentine's Pop-Up at Cheapside Cafe: Your significant other will probably hate everything about the Linger Flowers/Cheapside Café Valentine’s Day floral fête. If you want to be a really nice girlfriend, take one of your BFFs, instead. Enjoy gorgeous, loose floral arrangements from Linger in hand-tied bouquets or handmade pottery by local pottery artist cgceramics, handmade cards from Rock Paper Scissors and learn about the romantic representations of different types of flowers — then return to your love with a sweet-smelling declaration of your affection. Or remind your dude of all the basketball you’ve watched lately, drag him along and make him buy you something pretty. 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Arrangements $5-$50. Cheapside Café, 326 E. Eighth St., Downtown, lingerflowers.com.

Fern Studio Floral Pop-Up with Una Floral: Beautiful flowers plus cocktails! Una Floral and Fern have teamed up for Valentine's Day and whether you are celebrating a partner or just self-love, they've got you covered with specialty gift boxes containing items from Herbivore Botanicals, PF Candle Co., Brown Bear Bakery, and a mini floral arrangement from Una Floral. Or if a bouquet of flowers is more your speed, they have beautiful hand-tied arrangements available. They'll also be serving up a "heart-beet" punch made by Aaron Strasser of A Tavola, made with Off the Vine Rockin' Roots juice, a lemon/ginger simple syrup, Lillet Rosé, Watershed Gin and topped with Prosecco. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. 6040 Hamilton Ave., North College Hill, fern-shop.com.

In the Mood for Love
In the Mood for Love Screening: A film called “brilliant” by the late Roger Ebert, Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love is a tale of love, longing, loneliness and relationship struggles. Set in 1960s Hong Kong, the film follows journalist Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung) and shipping company secretary Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung), who suspect wrongdoings from their respective spouses and form a bond. They promise to keep their blossoming relationship platonic to keep away from the same wrongdoing, but their lives continue to intersect as they fall deeper into forbidden love. Cincinnati World Cinema’s special Valentine’s Day screening includes an optional pre-movie dinner and cocktails. 6 p.m. dinner; 7 p.m. theater opens for seating. $10 advance film tickets; $12 at the door; $50 dinner and film package. Cincinnati World Cinema, The Carnegie, 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington, Ky., cincyworldcinema.org. 

Appalachian Culture Fest: Something less Valentine-ish. Dig deeper into the mountain culture of the Appalachians during the Cincinnati Museum Center’s Appalachian Culture Fest. Co-sponsored by the Appalachian Community Development Association, the event seeks to reveal its unique traditions through food, skilled mountain crafters selling handmade wares, traditional arts demonstrators, storytellers and performances by Bluegrass musicians. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Free events in the rotunda; other events included with museum admission. Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate, cincymuseum.org.

World Sound Healing Day: A Valentine to the Earth. This Valentine’s Day marks the 13th annual World Sound Healing Day. Cincinnati joins the wave of many groups around the world to give a sonic valentine to the Earth, combining sound and intention as a catalyst for peace, harmony and global and personal transformation. The concert features toning, percussion, instruments and chanting from musicians like Rob Dorsey, Roxana Imam, Audrey Causilla and more at Gothic-style Grace Episcopal Church. 6:30 p.m. Saturday. $10. Grace Episcopal Church, 5501 Hamilton Ave., College Hill. Contact causilla@yahoo.com for more information.

Find more Valentine's Day events here.

SUNDAY 15
Art on Vine
Art on Vine: Organized by James Jenkins, owner of Photography for the People, this monthly local boutique art fair showcases fine arts, handmade goods and photography from more than 30 Tristate artists. A portion of artist entry fees will be donated back to a local nonprofit. Guests can also enjoy food from vendors Holtman’s Donuts, A Tavola and Krueger’s Tavern while shopping. Noon-7 p.m. Sunday. Free. Rhinegeist Brewery, 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, rhinegeist.com.

Lydia Loveless
Photo: Patrick Crawford, Black Letter
Lydia Loveless: Not that long ago it wasn’t uncommon to see Columbus, Ohio, singer/songwriter Lydia Loveless performing a low-key set in one of Greater Cincinnati’s various clubs. But since her debut release for esteemed independent label Bloodshot Records, 2011’s Indestructible Machine, Loveless has become a critical darling who spends a lot of time on the road building on her growing fanbase. Initially noted for the expert melding of her Country, Rock and Punk influences, Loveless’ material — particularly on her fantastic latest full-length Somewhere Else — has grown less easy to pigeonhole, settling into a soulful Rock sound that shows her maturing skills as both writer and performer. Loveless’ visit to Newport this week will feature an opening set by locals Magnolia Mountain, a rare show as frontman Mark Ultey has spent much of the past year working on his Bulletville project. 9 p.m. Sunday. $10; $12 day of. Southgate House Revival, 111 E. Sixth St., Newport, Ky., southgatehouse.com

“Presentation of a Prince,” a six-fold screen by Chiyo Mitsuhisa
Photo: Provided by Cincinnati Art Museum
Masterpieces of Japanese Art at the Cincinnati Art Museum: When an art museum has a collection of more than 65,000 objects, it isn’t surprising that many of them wind up hidden in storage. Sometimes complete collections are stowed there, rarely if ever seen or studied. That was the case with Cincinnati Art Museum’s Japanese art when Asian Art Curator Hou-mei Sung arrived in 2002. Sung, who has a doctorate in museum studies and Asian art history from Case Western Reserve, discovered that her holdings included roughly 3,000 objects from Japan. The culmination of that long, meticulous effort will be seen starting Saturday when Masterpieces of Japanese Art (culled from the museum’s collection) opens. It will be up through Aug. 30 and accompanied by a catalog showing the 100 objects in the show and telling the stories behind their histories. Those objects include paintings, screens, prints, ceramics, lacquer and metal wares, ivory carvings, arms and armor, cloisonné, dolls, masks, costumes and textiles. Masterpieces of Japanese Art is on display at Cincinnati Art Museum Saturday through Aug. 30. More info: cincinnatiartmuseum.org.


MONDAY 16
Off-Line Dating Game
Photo: CAC
Off-Line Dating Game at the CAC: By now you’ve probably heard a million success stories from couples who met online. Internet dating is rough, though. (And a little scary.) If the swiping and questionnaires aren’t your style, you’re in luck. The Contemporary Arts Center is going back in time and promoting actual physical connections with the Off-Line Dating Game. Ticket includes admission to the museum, a light appetizer and a drink to loosen you up. Put your dang phone down for a couple hours and see how it goes. 6 p.m. Saturday. $5 members/$10 non-members. 44 E. Sixth St., Downtown, comtemporaryartscenter.org.


TUESDAY 17
Robyn Hitchcock
Photo: Laura Partrain
Robyn Hitchcock: Robyn Hitchcock, the British singer/songwriter whose intimately resonant, raspy voice and mysteriously peculiar worldview were shaped by such skewed troubadours of his youth as Nick Drake, Syd Barrett and the Incredible String Band, has long been said to make “autumnal” records. As in, “songs or singing that reflect on life with a bittersweet, melancholy wisdom coming from age and experience.” The term has been applied to his 1984 classic, I Often Dream of Trains, and has been used for his latest record, last year’s The Man Upstairs. It’s his 20th studio album, including those he recorded with his backing bands the Egyptians and Venus 3. And it is an acoustic, sparsely recorded mix of original compositions and covers of such songs as Psychedelic Furs’ “The Ghost in You,” Roxy Music’s “To Turn You On,” The Doors’ “Crystal Ship” and others. Robyn Hitchcock plays Tuesday at Southgate House Revival. Tickets/more info: southgatehouse.com

 
 
by Staff 02.06.2015 21 days ago
Posted In: Comedy, Concerts, Drinking, Eats, Events, Food, Music, Movies, Life at 12:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List (2/6-2/8)

Dogs, drinking, extreme bull riding, Natalie Cole and Covington's 200th birthday

If you like parties, dogs, drinking , world-class theater, Natalie Cole and po' boys, we've got a list of reasons for you to leave the house this week. If none of those things appeal to you, there's always TV.

Why not start with TV? For all of you who are still repeatedly binge-watching Breaking BadBetter Call Saul premieres 10 p.m. Sunday on AMC. It looks at the titular character before he was Mr. Goodman. Six years before Walter White stepped in his office, he was just a small-time lawyer named Jimmy McGill. In Sunday’s premiere, we’ll see Jimmy’s peculiar approach to finding clients and the dynamic between Jimmy and his successful lawyer brother Chuck (Michael McKean). A second new episode airs Monday at 10 p.m., the show’s regular time slot.

Friday, Feb. 6

Balls Around the Block pub-crawl: As the number of residents in downtown increases, so does the number of dogs without a backyard. This is where Balls Around the Block steps in. For the past 10 years, Cincy dog lovers have come together via canines and booze to raise an incredible amount of money for downtown’s Fido Field. For the crawl, check in at the 21c Museum Hotel at 6 p.m., find your team of 25 and start bar hopping around downtown. Prepare your livers and drink for the pooches of Cincinnati. $35; $40 at the door if there are any spots left. 21c, Second Floor, 609 Walnut St., Downtown, ballsaroundtheblock.com.

The Year of Magical Thinking
Photo: Jason Sheldon
The Year of Magical Thinking: In 2004, author Joan Didion came to terms with the unexpected death of her husband of 40 years as well as the grave illness of their only daughter by writing a memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking. In 2007, she transformed her narrative of mourning into a monologue for the stage that actress Vanessa Redgrave took to Broadway. Local director Lyle Benjamin launches his latest initiative, the Cincy One Act Festival — “great plays by great playwrights in 90 minutes or less” — with a production featuring Cate White. She earned positive reviews when it was staged in December, and Benjamin has brought it back for another month. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Through Feb. 28. $20. Cincy One Act Festival, College Hill Town Hall, 1805 Larch Ave., College Hill, 513-223-6246, cincyoneact.com


Willie Nile 
Photo: Fleming Artists
Willie Nile at the Southgate House: Willie Nile, the long underappreciated, roots-rockin’ singer/songwriter from the streets of New York, has been on an incredible ride — an American ride — of late. Nile’s 2013 album American Ride, a ringing affirmation of lyrically heartfelt Punk- and Folk-influenced Rock with chiming and crunching guitar chords and hugely irresistible, heroic sing-along choruses, turned out to be a surprise hit in Americana circles. It won an Independent Music Award in the Rock/Hard Rock category, got airplay on stations like Northern Kentucky radio outlet WNKU and was the most successful record in his decades-long career. Nile’s first album was his 1980 self-titled debut, which got him hailed as a new Dylan. An active touring schedule last year brought him and his band to Southgate House Revival, apparently his first time performing here. He had a standing, cheering, sweating crowd singing along to his sharp-visioned original songs and covers of Lou Reed’s “Sweet Jane,” Jim Carroll’s “People Who Died” and The Clash’s arrangement of “Police on My Back.” Willie Nile returns to the Southgate House Revival this Friday. Tickets/more info: southgatehouse.com.

Cincy Winter Blues Fest: This weekend the Cincy Blues Society presents the 2015 Winter Blues Fest at The Phoenix. Music will again be featured on three stages at the venue. On Friday, joining national headliner Popa Chubby in the third floor ballroom will be Doug Hart, The Sonny Moorman Group and The Beaumonts. On the second floor ballroom stage, The Blue Birds Big Band, The SoulFixers, Chuck Brisbin & The Tuna Project and the BITS Band (featuring young players from the Blues in the Schools program) will perform, while Friday’s first floor lineup features The Brad Hatfield Band, The Whiskey Shambles, The Cheryl Renee Project and The Medicine Men. 
Saturday’s headliner is the U.K.’s Joanne Shaw Taylor, who will be joined in the third floor ballroom by The Juice, Kelly Richey and Tempted Souls. Saturday’s second floor ballroom lineup has G Miles and the Hitmen, Leroy Ellington Blues Band, Jay Jesse Johnson Blues Band and Johnny Fink & the Intrusion.On the first floor Saturday, you can catch the Noah Wotherspoon Band, Lil Red & The Rooster, Greg Schaber Band and Ricky Nye Inc. with Behah Williams. 
Music begins at 6 p.m. each night. Tickets are available in advance through brownpapertickets.com for $20 (or $32.85 for a two-day pass). For complete Winter Blues Fest details, visit cincyblues.org.

Bob Marley's 70th Birthday: If he hadn’t died in 1981 from cancer, music legend Bob Marley would be celebrating his 70th birthday this Friday. Fans across the world all year will be honoring the life of the man who popularized Reggae music, but this birthday weekend the Thompson House is the place to be for local Marley lovers. On Friday, the venue hosts the release party for the debut EP by Cincy Reggae/Rock/Jam crew Elementree Livity Project, You’re Not Ready. The lineup for the 8 p.m. show also includes fellow local Reggae acts The Cliftones and Know Prisoners. Besides their own performances, members of each band will join forces for a Marley tribute set. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door. 


Saturday, Feb. 7


Peace After Marriage
Photo: Goodlap Productions
Jewish & Israeli Film Festival: The Mayerson JCC hosts the international Jewish & Israeli Film Festival with the tagline, “More controversy. More comedy. More films.” The fest screens 10 award-winning independent films, ranging from contemporary dramas to documentaries. There will also be a selection of Jewish-interest films produced outside of Israel. The fest kicks off with a screening of Peace After Marriage, a romantic comedy about a Palestinian-American actor’s green card marriage to a prickly Israeli woman, and a meet-and-greet with the director. 
8 p.m. Saturday. $36; includes one free drink. 20th Century Theater, 3021 Madison Road, Oakley, mayersonjcc.orgRead more about the films that will be screening here


instagram @thebldg
Covington's 200th Birthday Party: We spend a lot of time toasting to the greatness of Cincinnati, but it’s time to love on our neighbors to the south. Covington is celebrating its 200th birthday and the city is doing it in major style. Say “Happy Birthday” to The C.O.V. by putting on your fanciest LBD (or tux, whatevs) and heading to the Cov200 Bicentennial Gala and Birthday Bash. Starting at 9:30 p.m., the city invites everyone to a free party with tunes from DJ Jon Carlo, a cash bar and palm readings. If you’re feeling super baller and have the dough, buy tickets to come early, enjoy a cocktail hour with the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, eat stellar food and see The Chuck Taylors. 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Free for birthday bash; $125 gala entry. Northern Kentucky Convention Center, 1 W. Rivercenter Blvd., Covington, Ky., cov200.org.


Garage Brewed Moto Show
Photo: Bill DeVore
Garage Brewed Moto Show: The Garage Brewed Moto Show features more than 50 motorcycles/bikes from the Tristate for this first invitational motorcycle show, held in the historical Over-the-Rhine Brewery District. The event will include awards in four different categories: pro custom, garage custom, classic bikes and people’s choice. Appreciate the builders who dedicate their time building motorcycles, whether they’re pros with large garages or your next-door neighbor. 5 p.m.-midnight Saturday. Free. Rhinegeist Brewery, 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, garagebrewed.com.


BBQ Oysters
Photo: Khoi Nguyen
Prep for Mardi Gras by Eating at Mardi Gras on Madison: In January, Latoya “Toya” Foster of New Orleans to Go food truck fame opened a brick-and-mortar version of her Cajun/Creole vittles called Mardi Gras on Madison in East Walnut Hills. There is no set menu. Foster decides on at least five different dishes to serve when she wakes up and then posts them on social media. (A menu from last week featured barbecue chicken tacos, catfish tacos, black beans and rice, fried okra and shrimp po’ boys.) Their food license doesn’t allow them to reserve food for the next day, which helps eliminate waste; food is served until closing time or until it’s gone, whichever happens first. The bar shakes up specialty cocktails such as a Bloody Michael, named after Foster’s dad’s middle name, made with king cake vodka and served with an okra garnish, and a Jazzerac, their take on a Sazerac, which is the official cocktail of NOLA. They also have various Abita craft beers, another Louisiana staple, and a Katrina hurricane (orange juice, rum and pineapple juice). They call it a hurricane for a reason, and if you’re looking to get pickled, drinking more than one of these will knock you on your ass. On actual Mardi Gras (Feb. 17), Foster is planning a party that might involve a crawfish boil, a live band and traditional king cake. Knowing Foster, there most certainly will be good food, dancing and bon temps. 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. first and third Sunday of the month. 1524 Madison Road, East Walnut Hills, 513-873-9041, neworleanstogopoboys.com.


Cole Swindell
Extreme Bull Riding: Bull riding might be the most dangerous sport in the world, but don’t let that stop you from hootin’ and hollerin’. Cheer on cowboys and cowgirls during the Extreme Bull Riding Bronco Busting and Barrel Racing show at Cincinnati Gardens. Following the bulls and barrel racing, get a chance to see rising Country singer Cole Swindell in concert. For more on Swindell, see Sound Advice here7:30 p.m. Saturday. $30-$55. Cincinnati Gardens, 2250 Seymour Ave., Norwood, cincygardens.com.

Exhale Dance Tribe
Photo: Scott Petranek 
Exhale Dance Tribe Celebrates a Decade of Dance: It’s a sunny, cold January afternoon when I pull up outside the stone façade of a grand old building on Gilbert Avenue for an interview with Missy Lay Zimmer and Andrew Hubbard. Spread across the loft-like top floor is Planet Dance, the progressive dance studio founded by the two. It’s also home to the duo’s prolific and highly lauded dance company, Exhale Dance Tribe. This weekend, 14 Tribe dancers (along with Hubbard, who will solo) will perform at the Aronoff’s Jarson-Kaplan Theater in a mixed bill revisiting a selection of characteristic vignettes from the past 10 years of evening-length productions. Exhale Dance Tribe will perform Best of 10: A Decade of Dance Saturday and Sunday at the Aronoff Center. More info: exhaledancetribe.com. Read more about the performances and Lay Zimmer and Hubbard here.


Sunday, Feb. 8


Natalie Cole
Unforgettable: An Evening with Natalie Cole: Do some prep for a romantic Valentine’s Day by indulging in the smooth sounds of the Cincinnati Pops and Natalie Cole. Cole, a nine time Grammy winner, internationally acclaimed artist and daughter of Jazz icon Nat King Cole, is best known for her hits like “This Will Be” and “Our Love.” On Sunday, Cole takes the stage for one-night only, belting out captivating versions of her favorite songs. 7 p.m. Sunday. $40-$110. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cincinnatisymphony.org.


Grease
Photo: Paramount Pictures
Grease Sing-Along: Grease is the word; The Esquire is the place. A special sing-along celebrating the highest-grossing musical of all time and cultural phenomenon Grease is arriving at the Mariemont and Esquire theaters. Feel free to belt out “Summer nights” and chant “We Go Together” at the high school carnival with the rest of the kids. Don pink jackets or grease up a quiff, because if you want to be a T-Bird or a Pink Lady then you can. There will be a fancy dress contest before each viewing. Advance tickets suggested. 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Mariemont Theatre. 10:30 p.m. Sunday at The Esquire. $10. The Esquire, 320 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, esquiretheatre.com; Mariemont Theatre, 6906 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, mariemonttheatre.com.

Autism Rocks: The sixth edition of the local Autism Rocks benefit concert takes place this Sunday at The Fairfield Banquet and Convention Center at Tori’s Station. Originally conceived to help a local couple with medical bills incurred from their young son’s treatment, the event soon expanded to raise money for other autism causes. This year, Autism Rocks benefits the Ken Anderson Foundation, formed by the former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback to “build and sustain a community for adults living with autism” (visit kenandersonfoundation.com for more about the cause). Several local celebrities and former sports stars are expected to make appearances, and there will be silent and live auctions throughout the day to further raise funds. Running from noon until around 7 p.m., Autism Rocks 6 features more than a dozen local acts, including The Sonny Moorman Group, Prizoner, Stagger Lee (with special guest Dallas Moore), After Midnight, Mr. Chris and the Cruisers, Devils Due, Mojo Rizin and 4th Day Echo. Admission is a $20 donation.

Looking for more stuff to do? Check the rest of our staff recommendations here.

 
 
by Maija Zummo 01.02.2015 56 days ago
Posted In: Comedy, Culture, Concerts, Humor, Fun, Food, Events, Eats, Drinking, Life at 09:55 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List (1/2-1/4)

In case you didn't drink enough Wednesday night

You've had a day or so to nurse your New Year's hangover, so it's time to get out of the house. If you're looking for things to do this weekend to keep the party going, here's a list.

Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical
Photo: Sandy Underwood
1. Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Rosemary Clooney has long been a favorite of Cincinnatians. The legendary singer from Maysville, Ky., began her career here on WLW radio, singing with her sister Betty. Her life went sadly off the tracks in the late 1960s, but she resurrected herself as a performer, having a kind of “flip side.” That’s pretty much the story told in Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical, on the Cincinnati Playhouse’s Shelterhouse stage. The wildly successful musical has been extended to run through Jan. 11. Tickets are sold out online, so call the box office. 

Dave Landau
Photo: Provided 

2. Comedians. Dave Landau at the Funny Bone on the Levee and Robert Hawkins at Go Bananas. Both rang in the New Year with parties at the respective comedy clubs, and are here throughout the weekend.


The Appleseed Collective
Photo: Rob Woodcox 
3. The Appleseed Collective plays MOTR Pub Sunday (Jan. 4). Since forming about five years ago, the dynamic Americana string band The Appleseed Collective has become one of the more critically acclaimed Roots bands in the land. Part of the group’s appeal is the breadth of what the members’ consider Americana. Instead of simply old-timey Folk with a few twangy flourishes, The Appleseed Collective touches on Ragtime, Bluegrass, Dixieland Jazz, Western Swing and even a little Gypsy Jazz.

Wendy's Bridal Show
Photo: Provided
4. Wendy's Bridal show at the Duke Energy Convention Center Saturday and Sunday (Jan. 3-4). Reading Bridal District anchor Wendy’s hosts a bridal show at the Duke Energy Convention Center. There will be more than 150 wedding professionals on hand, offering all the services you need to get you from “yes” to “I do.” There will be a bridal fashion show at noon and 3 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, samples from caterers and bakers, representatives from Tristate reception and ceremony locations, displays from wedding photographers and videographers, and design ideas from florists and décor specialists.

Bye Bye Liver: The Cincinnati Drinking Play
5. Drunk theater! Bye Bye Liver: The Cincinnati Drinking Play Saturdays through Feb. 28. The local version of this regional collection of “drinking plays” (Bye Bye Liver performances are also put on in Chicago, Boston, Nashville, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Milwaukee) combines sketch comedy and “social games” into a unique night of drinking in public while laughing at performers who will also be drinking. Warning: Shows do sell out, so check for tickets in advance. 


Photo: Jordan Frei
6. AnnapaloozaA diverse collection of local musical acts will band together on Saturday (Jan. 3) at Newport’s Southgate House Revival for a special cause. “Annapalooza” was organized by friends as a benefit for Anna Mouch, a local nurse who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma this year. The money raised from ticket sales (as well as various raffles and auctions) will help Mouch, who has a 1-year-old son with Sean Geil of local Folk faves The Tillers, pay for medical bills that have arisen from the intensive treatment she has been receiving. Scheduled to perform at Saturday’s benefit concert: Chris Mouch, Josh Eagle, Jake Book, Lenny Hall, Casey Campbell, Wilder, Dead Man String Band, Rattlesnakin’ Daddies, Mamadrones, BiBs & BaReFeeT, Shiny and the Spoon, Animal Circles, Perfect Norm, The Blue Rock Boys, Frontier Folk Nebraska, The Guitars and The Almighty Get Down. Annapalooza kicks off at 6 p.m. Tickets are $15 (through ticketfly.com) or $20 at the door.

Festival of Lights
Photo: Cincinnati Zoo
7. The Festival of Lights run through Jan. 3. The Cincinnati Zoo illuminates for the annual PNC Festival of Lights — a spectacular light show with holiday-themed areas, symphonic synchronized light displays and wintry events. 

Mummies of the World
Photo: Cincinnati Museum Center 
8. Mummies of the World at Union Terminal. Discover how mummies are created, where they come from and who they are in an immersive, multi-media display at the Cincinnati Museum Center’s new once-in-a-lifetime exhibit, featuring real mummies and artifacts, some dating back as far as 4,500 years.

 
9. Fountain Square Ice Rink. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys balancing on foot blades while gliding on top of frozen water, you’re in luck: The ice rink at Fountain Square is open for another couple of weeks.

 
10. Sleeping Beauty at Ensemble Theatre. While most local theaters have swept away the artificial snow and stashed the Christmas decorations, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati continues to present its family-friendly holiday musical. It’s an amusing “fractured fairy tale,” but there’s a lot more than that. Using romance, comedy, action, Rock & Roll and opera, Sleeping Beauty is an entertaining take on the tale of a princess who snoozes away a century until she’s awakened by love. 
 
 
by Maija Zummo 12.19.2014 70 days ago
Posted In: Fun, Events, Food, Drinking, Culture, Concerts, Comedy, Arts, Life, Holidays at 09:55 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List (12/19-12/21)

It's almost Christmas, so it's mostly holiday stuff

Since Christmas is next week (Thursday), there's a ton of holiday stuff to do this weekend — everything from plays and other onstage events to train displays and elves doing things.

Onstage:
  • Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some) (through Dec. 28 at Cincy Shakes): For seven seasons this mash-up of holiday tales has played to sold-out Cincinnati Shakespeare audiences. It starts as an annual performance of A Christmas Carol but goes off the tracks almost immediately to poke fun at the season and the stories we all remember — Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, The Island of Lost Toys, The Nutcracker, even It’s a Wonderful Life.
  • A Soldier's Christmas (through Dec. 21 at NKU's Corbett Theatre): Last summer Cincinnati Opera presented Silent Night, a retelling of the 1914 “Christmas Truce,” when World War I forces set aside their battles and marked the holiday. Local playwright Phil Paradis has rendered this story into a play that is being presented for the holidays. Two soldiers — one British, the other German — meet by chance as they seek warmth for their respective trenches.
  • Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings (through Dec. 21 at Covedale): The late-’50s singing group of Francis, Jinx, Smudge and Sparky died when a bus full of Catholic schoolgirls on their way to see the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show crashed into the Plaids’ car as they drove to an audition. In the sequel, they’re on a mission with heavenly guidance from Rosemary Clooney, who tells them harmony is needed to cheer a discordant world.
  • Amahl and the Night Visitors (Dec. 19-22 at Xavier University's Gallagher Center Theater): Amahl and the Night Visitors is Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s annual holiday gift, a multi-media extravaganza of the Christmas classic originally written for television in 1951. Gian Carlo Menotti’s one-act opera of the crippled boy Amahl and his encounter with the three wise men on their way to Bethlehem is a celebration of music, magic and miracles.
  • And, of course, A Christmas Carol (through Dec. at the Playhouse in the Park): Howard Dallin’s excellent adaptation has been used since 1991. The Playhouse’s A Christmas Carol features one of the Cincinnati area’s best local actors, Bruce Cromer, as Scrooge for the 10th consecutive year.
Off-stage but still holiday-ish

 

  • Grab a friend or family member and head to Fountain Square for some ice skating. The ice rink is up through Jan. 4, 2015 — and this weekend is the last weekend to skate with santa. The man in red hits the ice for some skate time on Saturday and Sunday.
  • BB Riverboats is offering a variety of holiday-themed cruises, including a Christian Moerlein Brew Ho Ho Ho dinner cruise with beer tastings on Saturday.  
  • The Cyclones are throwing an ugly sweater party during their game against the Elmira, N.Y. Jackals on Saturday. 
  • For an enlightening holiday experience, head to Union Terminal on Saturday and Sunday for their two-day Winter Solstice Celebration, highlighting end of year traditions like Chinese New Year, Diwali and Kwanzaa.
  • Take that a step further Sunday for the annual Lighting of the Serpent at Serpent Mound. Volunteers will light luminaries along the coils of the ancient effigy mound. 
  • And, another thing to see at Union Terminal: Holiday Junction. The Duke Energy trains are back through Jan. 4, 2015, with 300 mini rain cars, 60 engines and 1,000 feet of sparkly, snow-covered track. 
Music!
Over the Rhine

  • Folk duo Over the Rhine is continuing their annual Christmas tradition of performing a holiday concert at the Taft. Expect to hear songs from their recently released Blood Oranges in the Snow Saturday night.
  • Nashville, Tenn. quartet Steelism packed the house at this year's Midpoint Music Festival. Expect a similar crowd when the band plays MOTR Friday.
  • Guitar ace Adrian Belew plays the 20th Century Theater Sunday.
For more of what's going on this weekend (besides some last-minute gift shopping), check out our staff picks here.

 
 
by Jac Kern 10.10.2014 140 days ago
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, Food at 11:14 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Vine Street Restaurants Featured on Food Network Tonight

Taste of Belgium, Bakersfield and Senate on 'Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives'

Remember when Guy Fieri and his Flavortown mobile came to Cincinnati this summer to film Diners, Drive-ins and Dives? The Food Network star made appearances at several area restaurants from Corryville's Island Frydays and Northside's Melt to a bevy of spots in Over-the-Rhine. Melt and Island Frydays' segments have since aired; tonight, a special OTR-centric episode of DDD premieres.

Vine Street eateries Senate, Bakersfield and Taste of Belgium will all be featured in this "One Street Wonders" episode. Typically three restaurants from three different cities are compiled in each episode; tonight, the entire episode will be devoted to OTR's Gateway Quarter. Tune into Food Network at 10 p.m. Go here for additional showtimes and recipes from Senate and Taste of Belgium.

Diners Drive-ins and Dives is no stranger to Cincinnati. Before this summer's filming, Fieri had visited Terry's Turf Club, Blue Ash Chili and Virgil's Cafe for the show.

 
 
by Jac Kern 07.12.2013
Posted In: Events, Fun, Food, Music at 10:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List: 7/12-7/14

It’s Bunbury Weekend! The second annual three-day music fest takes over Sawyer Point Friday-Sunday with acts including fun., Walk the Moon, MGMT, Cake, Tegan and Sara, Yo La Tengo, Belle & Sebastian and tons more. Check out our interview with Matt Berninger of The National — Bunbury’s Sunday headliner — here.

In addition to great music, there will be tons of food and drink vendors with lots of local options, a craft beer village, free Rockstar energy drink and water samples and a Trojan vibrator giveaway from 4-8 p.m. Saturday (for real!). Official after-parties take place at Igby’s Friday, aliveOne Saturday and The Righteous Room Sunday. Ready to go? Don't leave home without peeping our cheat sheet, complete with lineup, map, dos and don’ts and more vital info.

One- and three-day tickets to Bunbury are still available here.

Second Sunday on Main returns to Over-the-Rhine this week with a lineup of special Pride events in addition to the art, shopping, demos, kids activities, food and music that the free street festival serves up every month. Be sure to check out the annual Drag Race and Dykes on Trykes — a race you’ll have to see to believe! — as well as the new mobile boutique Truckshop. Read more about the unique, locally owned shop-on-wheels here. Second Sunday on Main runs noon-5 p.m.

The Gambling Rose Tattoo Convention brings some of the best tattoo artists across the globe to town for the weekend. Swing by Duke Energy Center Friday-Sunday for tattoo competitions, seminars, vendors and a roller derby showdown between the Cincinnati Rollergirls and the Black-N-Bluegrass Rollergirls. Tattoo artists and piercers from around the country and world will be under one roof, available for appointments. Featured artists include Jerod Ray and Tylor Schwarz (contestants on Oxygen’s Best Ink Season Two); Sarah Miller (runner-up, Spike’s Ink Master Season Two); Tatu Baby (contestant on Spike’s Ink Master Season Two, voted by fans to return to Season Three — premieres Tuesday); and Chris Torres (NY Ink bad boy). Tickets are $20 for a single-day pass/$30 for two days/$40 for the whole weekend.

Newport on the Levee is going to be a real sausage fest this weekend — literally! The Queen City Sausage Festival  unites all the loves of a true Cincinnatian: pork, beer and river views. Eat your way through more than two-dozen sausage specimens including the grilled gyro cheddar met, the zest Italian sausage hoagie and, of course, Queen City goetta. There will also be foods that didn’t once say “oink,” plus live music, eating contests and lots of rides and games for the kids. The fest runs Friday-Sunday at the Levee and admission is free.

For more art openings, theater shows, summer festivals and other stuff to do this weekend, check out our To Do picks and full calendar.

 
 
by Jac Kern 06.04.2013
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, Humor, Food at 12:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

The Real World is in its 28th season (!), which got me thinking about how the show has degenerated over the past 20-plus years from a truly groundbreaking docu-series to just another pseudo-reality shitshow with weird green-light PG-13 sex scenes. But remember Season Three with Pedro? That season, filmed in San Francisco, dealt with AIDS in a mature but relatable way when the disease was still misunderstood and extremely taboo. They all had real jobs. When some of the housemates when to mass, others engaged in different forms of worship while the remaining roomies engaged in natural discussions on God and religion. Sure, the early seasons lacked the naked three- (and four- and five-)somes and catfights of The Real Worlds to come, but I miss the real Real World, where normal-looking people with average backgrounds came together to work, play and explore a new city.

Fast forward a couple decades to the current season, which takes place in Portland, Ore. Funny, between Portlandia and an as-mainstream-as-it-gets MTV show, this hipster capital of the world’s coolness bubble is about to burst. But I digress. Portland is an awesome city to transplant a group of 20-somethings for a couple months. It’s known for being easy to traverse via bikes or public transport, the dining and nightlife scene is bustling with offerings and you’d think there would be endless festivals, arts, outdoorsy stuff and other events to keep you occupied for the 24 hours you’re being filmed each day. But no. These douchers have managed to visit the same handful of neon-lit night clubs, sushi joints and SUBWAYS (pretty sure it’s in their contracts to eat at least on six-inch sub per day) through the past 10 episodes (…yet I still watch. I don’t know, I’m a masochist).

                             Pictured: Rejected applicants from The Bachelorette, Survivor, Big Brother, Amazing Race, Bad Girls Club and Judge Judy.

I originally tuned in to scope the digs (though the allure of the The Real World space and home décor is starting to fade), see what kind of quirky job the roommates would end up with (they all work at a normal pizza shop, except two girls who were too inept to even bus tables; they serve frozen yogurt out of a cart. I repeat, they’re in their 20s.), or find any other example of ripe Portland weirdness. Last week, my watching finally paid off as Averey, Johnny and Jordan attended a totally awesome overnight zombie survival course at Portland’s Trackers Earth — and I think we finally got a glimpse at the real Portland. For the first time this season, the people in the background didn’t look like extras from a Smirnoff Ice commercial!