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by Jac Kern 02.13.2015 44 days ago
at 12:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Lamb Watch 2015

Weekly 'American Idol' recap featuring Cincinnati's Jess Lamb

Part two of Hollywood Week aired Wednesday and Thursday, picking up right where we left off — with group performances, specifically Alexis D. and her case of the vapors. She got her shit together enough to perform with her group and ended up advancing with Jax. The others, including Sal, were sent home. I guess American Idol my call to investigate his real age. Sorry, Sal!

Another group performed a slowed-down version of O.G. A.I. Kelly Clarkson's "Since You Been Gone."

We saw Hollywood Anderson spittin’ game on a bunch of ladies, including Jess Lamb. He made it through to the next round.

There was a quick look at Alexis Gomez and her group — they all advanced.

Then we finally got to see a performance by Jess — the first time since her amazing audition in Kansas City. Her group put a funky twist on the earworm “All About That Bass” and got even more love from Harry Connick Jr.

They killed it! It was honestly one of the most cohesive and entertaining performances of the round. But only Jess and Lovey made it through; the rest of the group was sent home.

My dreams were crushed when Garrett fell flat on his song and was eliminated.

The night ended with a badass all-girl cover of Queen;s “Somebody to Love,” where we learned it’s OK to forget the words to a song if you can incorporate a joke about it within said song.

With all the groups finished, solo performances began on Thursday’s episode. The judges began to cut approximately 80 contestants down to the 48 that will have to perform in front of a live audience at the House of Blues in next week’s episodes — that’s how the final top 24 will be determined. No feedback was given immediately following each performance; instead,

Loren set the bar high with her rendition of “Skyfall.” I know it’s not Jess, but she game me goosebumps, so you need to watch it.

Fifteen-year-old Daniel is also crazy good. His singing voice is about 4 years ahead of his speaking voice, so that works for him.

Big Ron made a big fool of himself talking shit on the music director before, during and after his performance. Obviously, he was sent home. Loren and Baby Daniel advanced, along with Shi (the girl with "the look"), Quentin (the guy with "the look"), Maddie (another supposed “teen” that looks like a very mature soap opera actress), Trevor (the “geek” of the group), Jax (who got way too close to her parents while singing “Let It Be”) and Nick (the old man of the group).

Alexis Gomez couldn’t decide if she wanted to channel “Dirty” Xtina with white girl cornrows or young Taylor Swift with crunchy curls, so she rocked them both. She made it, so we’ve officially got some local talent in the top 48!

Unfortunately, Jess Lamb is not one of them.

They didn’t show her final solo performance but did dedicate a few clips to her as they announced some of the more prominent folks leaving the competition.

We'll miss you, Jess! Actually, we don’t have to miss her because we will be checking out her local performances. Jess is already working on new music — with fellow Idol contestant Hollywood Anderson and the one and only Bootsy Collins!


This wraps up our coverage of Jess American Idol, but we can all expect more on her in the months to come.

 
 
by Amanda Gratsch 02.13.2015 44 days ago
Posted In: Film, Dance at 11:26 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Cincinnati Filmmaking and Dance Collide in 'Ctrl+Alt+Dance'

Local film premieres Friday-Saturday at Memorial Hall

Move over, movie theater chains. While several films open in theaters this weekend, there’s one you won’t find at AMC or other traditional movie joints. Reaching a following across the globe, the locally made independent feature film Ctrl+Alt+Dance will have its world premiere this weekend at Memorial Hall.

When an unemployed security software specialist takes an adventure with dance, the definition of courage is surely illustrated — and that’s what audiences can expect to explore. Inspired by the Lindy Hop Movement, producer Brian Crone and producer/director Gex Williams have worked side by side on this low budget independent film that has flourished and received widespread recognition in the dance community. Filled with swing dancing, passion and an unfolding romance, it’s the perfect flick for Valentine’s Day.

Gex Williams has worked on multiple professional film projects and served as the producer and Artistic director of SAC Family Theater in Lexington, Ky. CityBeat caught up with Williams and discussed the inspiration behind the film and the experience of starting out as a small independent project. 

CityBeat: Are you and Brian Crone both originally from the Cincinnati area?

Gex Williams: Yes, we both grew up in the Northern Kentucky area but we knew each other growing up. We went to high school together and made some feature films.

CB: How did your film Ctrl+Alt+Dance come about?

GW: I became an avid swing dancer in high school through college. I was aware of this film community throughout the world and no other movies catered to this kind of dance, so I was like, “Hey, I want to make a movie.” I actually wrote the initial script in 2011 but wanted to sit on it to get other projects under by belt.

CB: What was your initial inspiration for the film?

GW: In 2011 I wrote the script, sat on it, and decided to move forward with it. It has a phenomenal story and [Brian and I] reworked a ton of it in early 2013 as we wrote a fresh script together on this draft. The film had dancing, but we needed a story to carry it along. We knew we didn’t have the budget to hire a huge actor and to be solid in the entertaining experience for the audience members. And then we ended the film in summer in 2013 two years from the initial start of pre-production. It went full force in the beginning of 2014 and we’ve been cranking on it ever since. We’re really happy. With an independent film it’s very hard on a low budget and we had phenomenal team members and people.

CB: After a few offers to shoot the film across the country, why was it important for you to film it here in Cincinnati?

GW: There were a few producers who were interested in shooting it out there, but it was really important for us to shoot it in Cincinnati because we love it so much and we’ve traveled some for business and we loved going back to Cincinnati. It’s a great place to come home to and what it offers. The city holds phenomenal landmarks and has a variety of locations.

CB: What were some of your favorite spots to film?

GW: One of my favorite shots of the film was a beautiful shot at Roebling Bridge set up on the Kentucky side, and you see this beautiful river flowing underneath the city and is lit up. And we had other phenomenal locations like Memorial Hall, which is gorgeous on the inside.

CB: What are some prominent themes in Ctrl+Alt+Dance?

GW: Action overcoming fear. We really wanted to communicate that. We [Brian and I] started our own business after college, a full-time gig and there was fear in our own selves and others. We wanted to tell a story about this and the dance was a catalyst to show how that takes place in the film. It’s a great story and a really cute romance. The dancing is amazing and we encourage people to feel good about it and hopefully inspire them to take risks in doing that.

CB: I see that you had difficulty getting into large chain theaters. Tell me about your experience with that in regard to the film.

GW: I can’t fault them because it is different for an independent film to get the mass distribution that an A-list film would get because they don’t have the budget to hire famous actors like Morgan Freeman. For large theaters, it’s a risk to put their movie in there that they won’t have people to support it. It’s so cool that that we have it in countries like Russia and China and were blessed that it was quite strong. We aced that challenge and we knew we had a strong following so we wanted people to see it. So we ended up contacting theaters ourselves and said we’d like to run a campaign in your city so people buy tickets for a one-night premiere showing. A lot of theaters responded.

CB: With a following in more than 80 different countries, how did word of the film spread so quickly all before the world premiere next weekend?

GW: It’s never been showed, but Cincinnati will be the world premiere. Because the Lindy Hop Swing Movement is huge around the world in countries like Spain and London and it’s really quite astounding that a lot of them they really tuned in. Our main actors, their acting is amazing, they’re international dance champions. People were aware of them and interest grew. We worked hard and wanted this film to benefit the community all over the world and we contacted local groups and wanted the proceeds to go back to local communities. We felt so blessed by the support we received and reached a considerable percentage to help others.

CB: What were your initial expectations for the film? Did you expect it to reach the magnitude it did?

GW: We’re blessed in something that is not at all normal for a normal independent project. A lot of projects start out with a grandiose idea and get small and less feasible and it’s a reality check. It’s difficult. And we’ve been so blessed with the talented people and how it blossomed from day one. We said we’re going to do this no matter what. We had talent and it’s grown and we hope it will continue to grow.

CB: Once it started gaining success, did you get any opportunities later on from corporate theaters?

GW: We are just at the beginning of our public awareness. We’ve had interest from larger producers and we’re definitely exploring our options to get a wider distribution of it.

CB: What are your hopes for the film after the big world premiere at Memorial Hall?

GW: We’ve been working hard to deliver the film in a way for people to access. We wanted to work hard to continue to pave a way and find a way to show this film to anyone who wants to see it. We’ll be talking to distribution companies for a possibility of larger scale so we have the resources to get it out there.

Ctrl+Alt+Dance premieres Feb. 13 and 14 at Memorial Hall. More info here.

 
 
by Samantha Gellin 02.13.2015 44 days ago
Posted In: Commentary at 11:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
from the copy editor

From the Copy Desk

In case you need a dictionary with the Feb. 11 issue of CityBeat

Good morning readers! I'm a day late, but let's review the Words Nobody Uses or Knows in this week's issue — which, by the way, has to be one of my favorites to date. It's The Beer Issue, if you haven't already noticed, and we did so much reporting on local beer and Beer Week festivities that we created an entirely new webpage for it. It's a great place to start if you're looking for a calendar of events, want to learn more about Cincinnati's rich brewing history or what today's local breweries are all about. 

But let's get started. Two high-brow words that caught my eye are in Steven Rosen's piece on the Cincinnati Art Museum's forgotten Japanese art collection. The first is cloisonné, a French word pronounced KLOIS-ZE-NAY. (I found the actual phonetic spelling of it, kli-zə-ˈnā, a bit confusing.)

cloisonné: of, relating to, or being a style of enamel decoration in which the enamel is applied and fired in raised cells (as of soldered wires) on a usually metal background (n.)

Here's an example of a beauteous Chinese cloisonné incense burner, via the Google:

In the issue: "Those objects include paintings, screens, prints, ceramics, lacquer and metal wares, ivory carvings, arms and armor, cloisonné, dolls, masks, costumes and textiles."

The next word is accessioned. It looks like a word I ought to know, like an SAT word, but nope.

accession: to record the addition of (a new item) to a library, museum, or other collection (v.)

In this issue: “I didn’t even know we had a Japanese art collection because most of it had never been published or displayed or organized, and some were not even accessioned,” she says.

Tippling, another obscure word, is found in Garin Pirnia's piece on lesser-known taprooms and breweries that are brand-spanking new or slated to open in the Tristate area in the next few months.

tipple: to drink (alcoholic liquor) or engage in such drinking, especially habitually or to excess (v.)

What a great word. I should start using that all of the time and really confuse people. "Hey! I'm out tippling!"

In this issue: "Needless to say, now would not be a good time to curtail your tippling."  

Moving on. Perhaps my favorite word of the entire issue is found in Worst Week Everhoosegow. It's bizarre and antiquated and contains no hint whatsoever of its meaning.

hoosegow: slang for jail (n.) 

Fun fact: According to thefreedictionary.com, the term was born from a mixture of Spanish and English spoken in the Western part of the United States at the beginning of the 20th century. In other words, it's Old West slang. 

It comes from the Spanish word juzgado, meaning "court of justice, tribunal." If that's confusing, here's an explanation:

"In many varieties of Spanish, the ending ado is usually pronounced as ao in everybody speech, with no d at all or only a very lightly articulated one. The spelling hoosegow thus is a pretty good representation of the American Spanish pronunciation of the word juzgado as it might sound to the ears of an English-speaking American, even though hoosegow looks nothing like the actual written form of juzgado."

In this issue: "Remus’s life story is a fascinating and complicated one, which culminated in him killing his wife in Eden Park for betraying him while he was in the hoosegow."

Have a great weekend, readers!

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 02.13.2015 44 days ago
Posted In: News at 11:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

Luxury apartments at former SCPA building moving forward; Ohio House passes bill exempting students from Common Core test results; Justice Ginsburg was a lil tipsy at the State of the Union Address

Hey Cincy! It’s Friday, and Valentine's Eve, so I’ll be brief so we can all get to our weekends quickly.

The former School for Creative and Performing Arts on Sycamore Street in Pendleton is one step closer to becoming a 148-unit luxury apartment building. The Pendleton Community Council has approved a parking plan that will create almost 200 parking spaces for the development while still preserving green space next to the building. The units will range from $700 for an efficiency to $1,500 for a two-bed, two bath apartment. Work gutting the building has already begun, and Indianapolis-based developer Core Redevelopment says they expect to be finished with the building by spring of next year. The forward motion on the building comes as big changes take place across the small neighborhood bordering downtown and Over-the-Rhine. A number of other developments are planned for the historically low-income area, which sits near the Horseshoe Casino. There has been some controversy about the shift, though groups like Over-the-Rhine Community Housing have worked to preserve affordable housing in the neighborhood.

• Are the 100,000 Medicaid recipients who might have to pay premiums for the service under a new proposal by Gov. John Kasich cool with that? Yes, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. Well, actually, two the three folks the Enquirer quotes say they’re kind of OK with it. Actually, it sounds a bit more like, “we’ll pay it if we have to,” which is sort of an obvious conclusion to reach when the alternative is paying hundreds of dollars a month for private insurance.

“I just barely get by. I wouldn't have to give up anything, but it would be tight," 53-year-old Dawn Smith of Westwood told the paper. Smith relies on Medicaid for diabetes medication. "If I have to pay $15 to $20, I have to pay it, because I have to have my medicine to live."

The rationale, according to Kasich, is that making people pay premiums while they’re on Medicaid now will prepare them for paying premiums when they start making enough to be ineligible for the program. Kasich’s office says that will help people be more financially secure in the long term. Kasich’s proposal would charge premiums to those making above the federal poverty level, which is currently just under $12,000 for a single person. Premiums would start at about $20 a month. That’s about a 2 percent hit to someone on the high end of the low-income qualification, which doesn’t sound like a lot but could be a stretch for folks trying to make every dollar count. I did Americorps for a couple years making that amount of money and it was brutal. I didn’t have $20 a month to spare, but that’s anecdotal and not really a good way to measure the impact of a policy that will effect more than 100,000 Ohioans, right?

• More crumbling concrete: A big chunk fell in Lytle Tunnel last night, causing the left southbound lane of I-71 to close for more than an hour. Investigators are still trying to figure out what caused the concrete to fall.

• The Ohio House has passed a bill that would keep students from being held back because of their results on Common Core tests this year. Some critics of the Common Core standards say they’re an intrusion by the federal government on states’ abilities to set their own educational agenda, while others decry the increased difficulty level of some of the standardized tests used to measure whether students have learned the new standards. Supporters of the standards say they are a way to ensure that all students get an education that will allow them to be competitive in the global workplace. House Bill 7, which was sponsored by Republican State Rep. Jim Buchy, keeps students this year from being held accountable for their test results as the standards are phased in. Supporters in the state House say it’s just the first in a series of efforts to change or reverse the standards. The bill will next to go the Ohio Senate. If it passes there, it would still need to be signed by Gov. John Kasich, who supports Common Core.

Weird things are happening in Oregon. In what is one of the more fascinating political dramas to play out in the past few years, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber is resigning. Or he isn’t. No one is really sure at the moment. Equally unclear are the governor’s whereabouts, at least publicly. Kitzhaber, a Democrat, is caught up in a blooming controversy and court case around some improper payments his fiancée may have received and attendant accusations of corruption. State Democratic Party leaders met with the governor earlier this week to encourage him to step down. He seemed to indicate he would, then said he wouldn’t, then receded from public view.

• Finally, was Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (aka the Notorious RBG) a little tipsy at this year’s State of the Union Address? Yes, she says. Just a little. Those watching the address may remember a little hubbub about Ginsburg falling asleep during President Barack Obama’s big speech. She recently said she and the other justices had enjoyed a bottle of nice wine before the event.

“The audience for the most part is awake, because they’re bobbing up and down, and we sit there, stone-faced, sober judges. But we’re not, at least I wasn’t, 100 percent sober,” Ginsburg said last night while giving a talk at George Washington University in D.C. Cheers to you, Ms. Ginsburg.

 
 
by Staff 02.13.2015 44 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 Rick Pender 02.13.2015 44 days ago
Posted In: Theater at 09:37 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
heidi chronicles_ ccm- photo mark lyons

Stage Door: One Weekend Run for Heidi Chronicles at CCM

I hope my Curtain Call column (found here) in a recent issue moves you to head to UC's College Conservatory of Music for Richard Hess's staging of Wendy Wasserstein's Pulitzer Prize winner, The Heidi Chronicles, onstage through Sunday. If you remember the 1970s and ’80s, this production will transport you back in time as you watch young feminist Heidi Holland grow up, grow weary and grow wise. Tickets: 513-556-4183.

A dog might be man's best friend, but sometimes that's not quite enough. That's one of the lessons of Christian O'Reilly's
Chapatti, which opened last night at the Cincinnati Playhouse. Set in contemporary Ireland, it's about two lonely hearts, both in their 60s, who love animals — he's a dog guy ("Chapatti" is his dog's name) and she's a cat lady (she has 19 of them). That brings them together, but what they need is human companionship. That might sound predictable, but there's more to it than that. (Through March 8.) Tickets: 513-421-3888.

Falcon Theatre in Newport is opening its stage adaptation of In the Heat of the Night this evening for a two-weekend run. It's the story of a black homicide detective from L.A. who gets caught up in an Alabama homicide investigation in the early 1960s. It's a powerful drama that reminds us of how messy race relations were a half-century ago. With Ed Cohen as director and Derek Snow as Virgil Tibbs, this is likely to be a solid production. Tickets: 513-479-6783.

Get a kid started on going to theater: Take her or him to see School House Rock Live! JR., presented by the Children's Theatre of Cincinnati this weekend at the Taft. It's an adaptation of the educational cartoon from the '70s and '80s. And grown-ups are likely to have fun, too, since the local rock band The Rusty Griswolds is performing tunes like "Conjunction Junction" and "Three Is a Magic Number." Public performances tonight (7:30 p.m.), Saturday (2 and 5 p.m.) and Sunday (2 p.m.) Tickets: 800-745-3000.

Three well-received productions have their final performances this weekend on Sunday: Ensemble Theatre's riveting mystery/psychological drama, The Other Place (CityBeat review here), with a fine cast led by Regina Pugh; the Cincinnati Playhouse's assemblage of Johnny Cash numbers, Ring of Fire (CityBeat interview here), featuring four singers and six excellent supporting musicians; and the funny two-man, 20+ character show Greater Tuna at the Covedale Center (CityBeat review here). And The Handmaid's Tale at Know Theatre, a one-woman adaptation of Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel, has just one more week in its run.

The energizer bunnies at Know keep things going with Serials 2: Thunderdome on Monday evening, 15-minute episodes of five new scripts. The concept had a big following over the summer, and one of those works has its parts reassembled as a "full-length" piece: Saturday the 14th, a dark romantic comedy. Playing two lonely losers who meet as they mutually contemplate suicide are Miranda McGee from Cincinnati Shakespeare and Nic Pajic. Tickets: 513-300-5669.

The Broadway Series offers a quick stop (they call it a "season extra") of the musical Anything Goes next week, openingTuesday and running through Sunday. If you can't get away for a mid-February cruise, this Cole Porter classic on an ocean liner might be just the ticket for an evening's escape. Tickets: 513-621-2786.
 
 
by Jac Kern 02.12.2015 45 days ago
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, Music, Movies at 03:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
web-blog-ijustcantgetenough-3

I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

Comedy Central’s nightly “news” lineup is amidst a total overhaul with the recent end of The Colbert Report and the addition of The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. Stephen Colbert stepped down in December, and now The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart is following suit. The comedian shocked audiences at a Daily Show taping this week with the announcement that he’d be retiring from the show sometime later this year. While Colbert left to replace David Letterman as Late Show host (Letterman will step down in May; Colbert will take over in September), it’s unclear whether Stewart has another gig lined up, but it does sound like the show will continue with a new host. (The show originally featured Craig Kilborn before Stewart took over in 1996.)

Amy Schumer stars in a new Judd Apatow movie and, predictably, it looks hilarious.

Some previously unreleased Spice Girls songs hit the webz Wednesday, only to disappear from SoundCloud soon after. Could this be assign of another girl powa’ reunion?!

Speaking of leaks, House of Cards’ third season — which does not premiere until Feb. 27 — was available on Netflix for about 30 minutes yesterday. No, Frank Underwood was not pulling a Beyoncé by releasing a full season unannounced. It was a “mistake.”

A leak? More like the best House of Cards ad ever. Anyone who had momentarily forgotten about the upcoming season is now ready to binge the moment it premieres.

It’s been a great week in fashion for models who don’t look like hungry baby aliens, which is rare. The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue featured two plus-size models; “World’s Oldest Supermodel,” 83-year-old Carmen Dell’Orefice appeared on the cover of New You magazine; and Jamie Brewer, who many of us know from American Horror Story, walked in a New York Fashion Week show today, becoming the first person with Down syndrome to do so. Yay beauty diversity!

And then there was The Grammys.

The night’s program kind of reminded me of the Super Bowl half-time shows of the early 2000s, where the desperate attempt to appeal to as many people as possible resulted in a mashup of lineups that simultaneously featured Nelly, Britney Spears and Aerosmith. Between Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett and Jessie J and Tom Jones, there were lots of slow songs sung by duos of old and young people, which made it very easy to watch the 603 other shows on Sunday nights (Hey, Better Call Saul!)

Sam Smith was the big winner of the night: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best New Artist and Best Pop Vocal Album all went to the magical songbird. Beck won Album of the Year and Best Rock Album (“Beck is still making music?” – everyone. Yes, he is. Morning Phase came out a full year ago). All those categories sound the damn same!

Of course, since Beyoncé was also nominated for Album of the Year — and a bunch of other categories she didn’t win #salty — Kanye just had to, well, Kanye Beck’s acceptance speech, and Bey and Jay Z were definitely surprised

I love Beyoncé’s subtle “No, Kanye, don’t...Someone stop him…” — which is basically the equivalent of “Somebody get a sponge!” — and Jay’s legit look of terror.

Also of course, if anyone thought Kanye was taking a jab at himself by recreating Taylorgate, he wanted to remind them of what a real asshole he is by running his mouth some more after the show. And then other people responded to Kanye’s response and now I’m writing about it. Circle of life, folks.

Highlights:

Sia’s “Chandelier” performance with Kristen Wiig and Maddie Ziegler totally takes the cake as my favorite performance (and you know this is a serious claim when Queen Bey is in the picture). Kristen Wiig gave a soulful choreographed performance with the Dance Moms star — who would have guessed?

GOOSEBUMPS.

Beyoncé recreated her sister’s recent wedding with her performance of “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” It was Sunday, after all. Amen!

Speaking of taking us to church, Hozier and Annie Lennox was my favorite collab of the night, performing the former’s breakout hit and “I Put a Spell on You.” Intoxicating!


Pharrell traded his Arby’s hat for an old-timey child bellhop uniform and presenting a heavy performance of “Happy”

And then it looks like Taylor Swift begged Jay Z to go to brunch with her. Awkward, especially when he finds out “brunch” is Taylor’s word for playing tea party with her cats while in pajamas. But judge for yourself.

"Brunch." "Brunch!" "BRUNCH."

See all the winners here.

 
 
by Mike Breen 02.12.2015 45 days ago
Posted In: Festivals, New Releases at 03:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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MusicNOW Compilation Set for March Release

The National's Bryce Dessner celebrates 10th anniversary of his Cincinnati new music fest with live collection

MusicNOW, the popular new music festival founded by Cincinnatian Bryce Dessner of internationally acclaimed Indie Rock band The National, will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year when the fest returns March 11-15 at Music Hall, Memorial Hall and first-time venue Woodward Theatre. 

On March 10, the Over-the-Rhine fest will be celebrated with the digital release of a compilation album featuring musical highlights from MusicNOW’s first nine years. MusicNOW- 10 Years will feature previously unreleased performances by Dirty Projectors, Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Grizzly Bear, My Brightest Diamond and others. 


The album’s “Trials, Troubles, Tribulations” by Sounds of the South, a project featuring Vernon, Sharon Van Etten, Megafaun, Matthew E. White and Fight the Big Bull, was recently released as a preview. 

The first track ‘Trials, Troubles, Tribulations’ gets at the spirit of the compilation and the event. It is an American bluegrass gospel song written by Estil C. Ball. Here it is performed by Sounds of the South, a project featuring Justin Vernon (Bon Iver, Volcano Choir), Sharon Van Etten, Megafaun, Matthew E. White, and Fight the Big Bull. The project, organized by Megafaun, initially appeared at Duke Performances in North Carolina and MusicNOW in Cincinnati, Ohio, and subsequently traveled to Sydney Festival in Australia.”


In the press release for the album, Dessner says, ““Many of my most significant memories as a musician have taken place in Cincinnati during the MusicNOW Festival over the last 10 years. When we started, we were driven to create an intimate music festival that was as much a creative refuge for the artists as it is for the audience to partake in intimate and rare performances. We have celebrated works in progress and new commissions, new collaborations and detailed music of all kinds regardless of genre or popularity." 


This year’s MusicNOW festival features appearances by Stevens, Nico Muhly, So Percussion, Timo Andres, concert:nova with Jeff Zeigler, Cloud Nothings, Will Butler and more. The National will also perform at the festival on March 13 at Music Hall with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Click here for full details and ticket info.


Here is the full track listing for the compilation:

Sounds of the South "Trials, Troubles, Tribulations"

Robin Pecknold "Silver Dagger"

Sufjan Stevens "The Owl & The Tanager"

eighth blackbird "Omie Wise"

My Brightest Diamond "I Have Never Loved Someone"

Dirty Projectors "Emblem Of The World"

Tinariwen "Imidiwan Ma Tenam"

Tim Hecker "Chimeras (Live) 2011"

Colin Stetson "Nobu Take"

Owen Pallett "E Is For Estranged"

Erik Friedlander "Airstream Envy"

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy "Love Comes to Me"

Grizzly Bear "While You Wait For The Others"

The Books with Clogs "Classy Penguin"

Andrew Bird "Section 8 City"

Justin Vernon "Love More"


 
 
by Amanda Gratsch 02.12.2015 45 days ago
 
 
antique_valentine_1909_01

Valentine's Day: Things to Do for Love

Events, dinner deals and flower pop-ups to make this weekend a romantic one

Whether you’re a full-blown romance-seeker or single and proud of it, here's a list of Valentine’s Day tastings, dinner deals and events that will have you embracing the holiday no matter who you’re bringing. From soothing dinners to musicals to wild celebrations, take your pick from a range of fun atmospheres each wrapped up in its own festive charm with plenty to go around. 

DINNER DEALS FOR DATE NIGHT
BB Riverboats Valentine's Cruise — A romantic cruise with buffet dinner and live music. 7-9:30 p.m. Feb. 13 and Feb. 14. $48 adults. 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., bbriverboats.com

Bistro Grace — Valentine's surf-and-turf special all weekend, with herb-buttered steak and pan-seared scallops. Dinner service starts at 4 p.m. $29.95 per person. 4034 Hamilton Ave., Northside, bistrograce.com

Boca — The Boca Restaurant Group (Boca, Nada, Sotto) is teaming up with collaborative art group Chase Public for a unique take on date night. From 6-10 p.m., the alley between Boca (114 E. Sixth St.) and Nada will turn into a heated poetry lounge. Wander in to chat with Chase poets about your love story and receive a customized poem. 

Jimmy G's — Guests receive a complimentary glass of champagne with purchase of entree, and couples receive a complimentary dessert to share with a purchase of two entrees. 5-11 p.m. Feb. 14. 435 Elm St., Downtown, jimmy-gs.com

La Petite France — Surprise that special someone with an elegant three-course gourmet meal featuring a range of appetizers, entrees and desserts to choose from. From grilled filet mignon with a brandy morel sauce to Grand Marnier crème brulee, your taste buds will be sure to feel some love, too. An extensive wine list and full bar is available. Reservations recommended. 5 p.m. Feb 14. $59.95. 3177 Glendale Milford Road, Evendale, lapetitefrance.biz

The Mercer OTR — A multi-course meal. Mains include wild mushroom risotto, scallops, beef tenderloin, berkshire pork chop and halibut. Chocolate and strawberries for dessert. 4 p.m. Feb. 14. 1324 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, themercerotr.com. 

Metropole — A four course farm-to-fireplace menu, with multiple choices. Mains includes seared scallops, verlasso salmon, grilled mushroom spaccatelli and more. 5:30-11 p.m. Feb. 14. $56-$73. 609 Walnut St., Downtown, metropoleonwalnut.com

Nectar — A special three-course menu. 5:30-9:30 p.m. Feb. 14. $65 per person. 1000 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout, dineatnectar.com

The Palace — A five-course tasting with beet gazpacho, arugula and prosciutto salad, butternut squash and ousemade ricotta agnolotti, petit filet mignon and triple chocolate panna cotta. 5:30 p.m. Feb. 13 and Feb. 14. $85 Feb. 13; $95 Feb. 14. 601 Vine St., Downtown, palacecincinnati.com.

Salazar — A special menu featuring a lightly smoked oyster appetizer, Belgian endive salad, saffron risotto, seared sea scallops, pine-roasted New york strip and dark chocolate cake with pink peppercorn panna cotta and rosé foam. Reservations at 513-621-7000. Dinner service begins at 5:30 p.m. Feb.14. $90 per person. 1401 Republic St., Over-the-Rhine, salazarcincinnati.com

Steinhaus — A four-course dinner for two with live harp music accompaniment. A flute of bubbly champagne will be provided so that you may toast to your sweetheart. 4:30-10 p.m. Feb. 14. $60 per couple. 6415 Dixie Highway, Florence Ky., steinhausrestaurant.com

Symphony Hotel and Restaurant — Enjoy a five-course meal paired with a wine. 6-9 p.m. Feb. 14. $75. 210 West 14th St., Downtown, symphonyhotel.com

Taft Museum of Art — Six wines paired with hors d'oeuvres and a self-guided tour of themes of love and romance in the Taft's permanent collection. 5-8 p.m. Feb. 14. $45; $35 members. 316 Pike St., Downtown, taftmuseum.org

Piccola Wine Room Valentine’s Day Pop-Up Dinner — Enjoy this three-course meal while listening to music by Jerome Cali in this charming little wine shop specializing in wines, unique cocktails and organic brews. Wine pairings will be available with dinner. Seatings at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Feb. 14. 23 Village Square, Glendale, piccolawineroom.com

Washington Platform Saloon & Restaurant — One dozen fresh-shucked oysters, two entree choices, soup or salad, chocolate-covered strawberries and a bottle of wine to share. Plus a half-hour horse-drawn carriage ride. Faux Frenchman play Feb. 13 and Andrea Cefalo Feb. 14. Available Feb. 12-15. $115 per couple; $85 dinner alone. 1000 Elm St., Downtown, washingtonplatform.com.

EVENTS FOR WOOING
A Heart-y, Art-y, Valentine Party — Surprise the kids with games, decorative face painting, and make-your-own Valentine cards with candy. 3-4 p.m. Feb. 14. Free. Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Corryville Branch, 2802 Vine St., Corryville, cincylibrary.tumblr.com

Alice (In Wonderland)
Photo: Peter Mueller
Alice in Wonderland — Cincinnati Ballet presents the return of the wildly popular ALICE (in Wonderland) this Valentine’s Day weekend. Audiences have five opportunities to see this bold, spectacular take on Lewis Carroll’s classic stories with live instrumentation by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. 8 p.m. Feb. 13; 2 and 8 p.m. Feb. 14; 1 and 5:30 p.m. Feb. 15. $32. Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, cballet.org

Cinderella: The Musical — Clifton Performance Theatre’s full-child cast production has young actors playing all the roles of this fairy tale classic. Explore the meaning of friendship, love, and humor in this not-so-girly adaption of Cinderella. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13; 2:30 p.m. Feb. 14. $10 for adults; $2 for children. Clifton Cultural Arts Center, 3711 Clifton Avenue, Clifton, cliftonculturalarts.org

Cin City Burlesque: Beaus and Eros — Join your favorite sweetheart, or round up your single friends. Either way, it’s bound to be a splendid time. Watch two shows in one night with new opening and closing numbers, some “cin”fully sweet new solo and duet acts and lots of audience participation with master of ceremonies Sweett Biscut. Seating will be tables of 2-4 for this intimate show. Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com. Sells out quickly. 6 and 9 p.m. Feb. 14. $19-$44. Bogart’s, 2621 Vine St., Corryville, cincityburlesque.com

Daddy Daughter Dance — Girls spend a magical evening with their dads or the special guy in their life. Take your special date out to eat, and then come to the dance later for desserts and snacks. A free, professional photo will be provided at the dance to each girl registered. Additional photo packages will be available for purchase. This event is first come, first served. Space is limited. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 13; 2:30-4:30 p.m. Feb. 14; 6:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 14. $40; $30 for residents per couple; $10 each additional daughter. Student Union Ballroom at Northern Kentucky University, 100 Nunn Dr., Highland Heights Ky., nku.edu

Fern + Una Floral Pop-Up — Una Floral and Fern have teamed up for Valentine'ss Day, and whether you're 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. They'll also be serving a "Heart-Beet" cocktail, made using Off the Vine Rockin' Roots juice as the focus, complemented by a lemon/ginger simple syrup, Lillet Rosé, Watershed Gin and topped with Prosecco. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 14. Fern Studio, 6040 Hamilton Ave., North College Hill, fern-shop.com.

From JB, with Love — Dedicated to art and the diversity of all individuals, Justified Bliss (JB) allows people to use their voice for expressive connection with others through open mic events. Just in time for Valentine's Day, this love show invites singles, couples, swingers, wives, anti-Valentine's day folks and romance seekers alike to take the stage. The event will feature gifted vocalist Bianca Graham, live musicians, dancers, poets and DJ Hershe B. 8-11 p.m. Feb. 13. $5. The Greenwich, 2442 Gilbert Ave., Walnut Hills, facebook.com/JustifiedBliss

In the Mood for Love
In the Mood for Love Screening — For anyone who has fallen in love with a friend, said goodbye to someone they care for deeply, or experienced the sacrifice and suffering that comes with the risk of loving, filmmaker Wong Kar-wai's masterpiece, In the Mood for Love, will move you deeply. The film conveys the moral dilemmas of the 1960s, depicting a passionate theme wrapped up between one couple. Tickets are available at CincyWorldCinema.org. 6 p.m. Feb. 13; 6 p.m. Feb. 14. $10-$50. Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center, 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington, Ky., thecarnegie.com

Krohn by Candelight — Enjoy a romantic evening at this event as you make a special craft for your significant other and learn about chocolate in the education room. 5-7:30 p.m. Feb. 13. Free with admission ($2-$4). Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park, cincinnatiparks.com

Krohn Zone Explores Chocolate — Interested in more chocolaty bliss to learn how to make drizzles upon drizzles of tasty treats? Maverick Chocolate Company demonstrates chocolate making techniques. Better yet, a tasting is included. 1-2 p.m. Feb. 15. Free with admission ($4). Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park, cincinnatiparks.com

Linger Flower Pop-Up
Photo: Life in Balance Photography
Linger Flowers/Cheapside Cafe Valentines Pop-Up — What would Valentine’s Day be without dozens upon dozens of fresh flowers? Choose your favorites from hand-tied bouquets, single-stem garden roses, orchids, sweet peas, ranunculus, tulips and more. Interested in the language of flowers? You'll have the chance to read about the romance concealed within each bloom and choose a sweet message to share with your special someone. Beautiful handmade cards will also be available for purchase. 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb.14. $4-$50. Cheapside Café, 326 E. Eigth St., lingerflowers.com

Love, Vodka. Death — As Valentine's Day falls right after Friday the 13th, embrace the spirit of love, lust, madness and death for these back-to-back days at the Masonic Center's Commandery Asylum. Romantic movies will bleed into horror classics as they're projected on the asylum walls, and 15 different vodka brands will be offered alongside delectable bites from A Catered Affair. Vodka tastings by Grey Goose, Titos, Stoli, Svedka, Three Olives, Hangar One, Crystal Head, Seagrams, Epic, Reyka, Blue Ice, Buckeye, Wildcat, Finlandia, & OYO. Entertainment is by Old Green Eyes, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Cincinnati Exchange Project. Must be 21 or older. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 13. $60 for three; $45 for two; $25 for one. Commandery Asylum, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown, citybeat.com

My Furry Valentine
Photo: My Furry Valentine
My Furry Valentine — Rescue some adoptable animals who are in need of your love this Valentine’s Day. This nonprofit organization features more than 500 adoptable pets (dogs, cats, puppies, kittens and other small critters) from more than 40 different rescue and shelter groups from around the Greater Cincinnati area. Every pet adopted will go home with a free goody bag overflowing with pet supplies and will be entered to win one of our popular Adopter Raffle Baskets. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 14; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 15. Free. Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Road, Sharonville, myfurryvalentine.com

Single Mingle — Mix and mingle with other singles in Jimmy G’s Sub T Bar & Lounge with drink specials and music by DJ. 5-11 p.m. Feb. 13. Free. Jimmy G’s, 435 Elm St., Downtown, jimmy-gs.com

Single Awareness Party — Tired of couples getting all the attention on Valentine's Day? Come out to the first annual Singles Awareness Party where the single life is surely celebrated. Enjoy music by Brittany Gillstrap, My Brother's Keeper, Dan Crowe, Justin Duenne and Alex Evans. Pizza and deserts included. Tickets are available for purchase at eventbrite.com. 6-9 p.m. Feb. 14. $10 at the door. 7560 Burlington Pike, Florence Ky., velocitybb.com

St. Clair Traffic Light Party — Don’t worry about telling anyone what’s up with your love life. Instead, let them see for themselves. Wear green if you’re single, yellow if it’s complicated and red if you’re taken to let everyone in the room know your romantic status. 8 p.m. Feb. 14. The St. Clair, 245 Calhoun St., Clifton, thestclair.com

Valentine Valley: Crafts with Art Spark — Bring the kids out for some fun Valentine’s Day fun with Art Spark Studio, an art enrichment program dedicated to helping children express their creativity through art making. Anticipate a variety of crafts, including Valentines, crowns and more. For ages 3-10. Noon-3 p.m. Feb. 14. Free. Tri-County Mall, 11700 Princeton Rd., Springdale, tricountymall.com

Wine tasting with your Sweetie — Presented by Woodstone Creek winery and distillery, choose from 10 craft spirits and 20 wines, dry to sweet, all made in Cincinnati. 1-6 p.m. Feb. 14. $3-$30. Woodstone Creek, 4712 Vine St., Saint Bernard, woodstonecreek.com.

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 02.12.2015 45 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
Taft's Ale House

Morning News and Stuff

Dems won't come to Columbus; new OTR brewery to debut on Opening Day; how the New York Times kicks it old school

Hey all, let’s do a quick news update today.

Normally, I like to lead with local stuff first, but the big news today is that the 2016 Democratic National Convention will not take place in Columbus, it seems. The city was one of three finalists for the event, at which Democrats will formally nominate their presidential candidate. The Columbus Dispatch reports that Dems chose Philadelphia instead. Womp womp. Ohio is still getting two other major conventions that year, however: the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and the NAACP National Convention in Cincinnati.

• OK. On to local stuff. A new brewery has announced it will debut on Reds Opening Day. Taft Ale House is currently working on its three-level brewery and restaurant near Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine and aims to be open for business on April 6, just in time to welcome the Opening Day parade. The brewery, bar and restaurant had aimed to be open in late 2014 but ran into complications with the old church building it has been renovating on Race Street. The building was originally scheduled to be torn down before plans for the Ale House materialized. But now, after developer 3CDC spent tens of thousands of dollars shoring up floors and making other structural adjustments, it’s on track for the big day.

Bonus news in case you missed it yesterday: This year, none other than famous 1990 World Series-winning Reds relief pitching crew the Nasty Boys, aka Rob Dibble, Norm Charlton and Randy Meyers, are marshaling the parade.

• More good news for the city’s iconic public buildings. A local foundation has kicked in another $1 million for efforts to renovate Memorial Hall, bringing the project much closer to being completely funded. The Annie W. and Elizabeth Anderson Foundation put up the contribution toward the $8 million project, which will improve the building’s acoustics, replace seating and air conditioning, build a catering kitchen and renovate the building’s bathrooms. Hamilton County has pledged another $1.5 million to the project.

• State officials for the first time yesterday acknowledged that the Hopple Street offramp collapse might have been caused by faulty demolition plans. The collapse killed construction foreman Brandon Carl, sparking possible lawsuits from his family. It occurred while Columbus-based Kokosing Construction worked on a $91 million contract to remove the offramp that passed over I-75. Some experts have said it appears last-minute changes to the demolition plans might have played a role in the collapse. Ohio Department of Transportation officials say they haven’t finished their analysis of the collapse but acknowledge the plans used failed. Kokosing has also said it is still investigating what went wrong with the demolition.

• Gov. John Kasich looks to be ramping up a possible presidential bid. He’s visiting early primary state South Carolina next week as part of a national tour touting his balanced budget plans. Kasich polls fairly strong among GOP voters in Ohio, but he’s a virtual unknown outside the state. The trip could help boost his stature among GOP presidential nominee hopefuls and draw big-money donors to his campaign.

• Speaking of Ohioans on the national stage, Cincinnatian and Department of Veterans Affairs head Bob McDonald had a pretty public dustup yesterday with Colorado Republican Rep. Mike Coffman during a budget hearing in Washington, D.C. Coffman criticized McDonald for not doing enough during his first six months leading the V.A., pinning the blame for the agency’s continued dysfunction on its new leader.

But McDonald wasn’t having it. He got a couple zingers off, including pointing out he’s run one of the country’s largest companies, before pointedly asking Coffman what he’s done lately. And while pointing to your last job when you're being criticized about your current one is maybe not the strongest argument, the former P&G head seemed to be holding his own. McDonald, who is also a Republican, was probably drawing fire from the congressman because he was appointed by President Barack Obama, though the official complaint was that his actions thus far have amounted to nothing more than public relations and have not enacted substantive reforms on the V.A., which has been rocked by record-keeping and patient treatment scandals in the past year.

• Finally, if you’re like me, you do most of your news reading on a smartphone or, failing that, your laptop. But even if you’ve never touched a printed newspaper in your life, this piece about how the New York Times kicks it old-school and gets the paper out every day is pretty amazing. For something seemingly so low-tech, pumping out hundreds of thousands of newspapers each day is actually a mind-bending feat of engineering and coordination.

 
 

 

 

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by Nick Grever 03.27.2015 67 hours ago
Posted In: Local Music, Live Music, Music News at 10:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
jess

Beyond Idol Chatter: The Music/Day Job Balancing Act

Post American Idol, Cincinnati’s Jess Lamb scales back but continues her teaching job

For some musicians, their 9-to-5 is little more than a means to an end. Pizza and guitar strings don’t pay for themselves, after all. Others take pride in their work, both on stage and in the “real world,” but view them as two parts of a whole.

But for Jess Lamb, her twin identities as a musician and teacher are deeply intertwined. She works hard in both professional avenues and has put a large amount of effort into maintaining them, even during her post-American Idol influx of activities. It’s a balancing act with some unexpected complications that she is still learning to walk gracefully. But for Lamb, there is no other choice.


“I think that the public has seen me as a teacher and I don’t want my name to be tainted by this other persona, this other career, this other life. So I don’t want to be slosh drunk. I don’t want to be like Jim Morrison in my experimenting with life. But at the same time there’s a whole other vibe with playing in venues, playing in bars and it is very different from the teacher thing,” Lamb explains.


Before Idol, Lamb’s work as a musician and an ESL teacher were more easily separated. Nowadays, with the added exposure that Idol has brought to her and her late-night performances around town, she has had to go to greater lengths to protect the sanctity of both. A shot of Jameson may not be thrown back with the same careless abandon as a few months prior and photo ops are utterly devoid of the counter-cultural staples of, say, a middle finger or devil horns. This isn’t to say that Lamb was or is a reckless partier at night and a quiet bookworm during the day.


Rather, what happens at night can bleed into the daylight hours and her work in one aspect of life can’t compromise the other. She has to take into account who her new audience members may be and how they learned of Lamb. Being a teacher requires maintaining professionalism at all times. When a teacher is shown on national television, keeping that even-headed mentality all day and all night becomes even more important.


Considering all the time that Lamb has spent on her music after her Idol run, some may wonder why she doesn’t put the teaching on hold for the time being. Between the Idol recaps she does regularly for Fox 19 since leaving the show, the myriad interviews, the residencies at Japps in Over-the-Rhine and Jags in West Chester (as well as other shows), the studio work and all the other opportunities that have arisen, finding time for teaching is pretty much impossible at this point. In fact, Lamb has cut down her teaching work to roughly four hours a week, doing basic lesson planning and similar activities. But she still carves out time for her teaching for a very important purpose.


“I don’t do it for the money, it’s not sustaining me. I do it for my spirit. It’s for something that feels important, I don’t know that what I’m doing all the time feels important,” Lamb says.


She views being a teacher and an entertainer as two professions with two different contributions to society. Music and teaching both give something back to the community at large, but she feels that teaching impacts the public on a much larger scale. While singing in a smoky bar reaches a small amount of people, teaching has a much larger reach.

Ultimately, Lamb is a musician and teacher in equal measure. At this point, the music is taking more of her time, but she is determined to not let it take all of it.


“I don’t want to cancel out one or the other with a teacher persona that’s too square or a Rock star persona that’s too crazy and unstable,” Lamb says.


For Lamb, finding a mix of her two professions and passions is an ever-present struggle. When Idol rocketed her music to the forefront, she has had to constantly work to balance it out with activities that are equally as fulfilling. It hasn’t been an easy process by any means but one that she sees as absolutely necessary. 


Just don’t be offended if she turns down a shot of whiskey next time you run into her in the Main St. district.


Nick Grever is checking in periodically with Cincinnati-based American Idol contest Jess Lamb about her post-Idol life. Check out previous "Beyond Idol Chatter" posts here. Visit jesslamb.com for music, show dates and more.

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 03.27.2015 67 hours ago
Posted In: News at 09:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
tedstrickland

Morning News and Stuff

UC's Innocence Project exonerates three wrongfully convicted men; state House advances fetal heartbeat abortion ban; powerful Republicans: Cruz has no chance at presidency

Good morning y’all. It’s the end of the week and the sun is out. Those are both good enough reasons to keep this news update short, so just the facts for you today.

Starting on a somber note, officials continue to investigate the death of Cincinnati firefighter Daryl Gordon, who fell down an elevator shaft while responding to a fire at an apartment building in Madisonville yesterday. Gordon was a 30-year veteran of the department. Two other firefighters and four residents where hurt in the blaze, which broke out early yesterday morning. Investigators are still trying to piece together exactly what happened to Gordon.

• Will you be able to walk around The Banks with an open beer in time for the Major League Baseball All Star Game in July? It’s looking increasingly possible. The Ohio House passed a bill allowing the creation of so-called “open container districts” this week. The proposed law could allow cities to designate specific areas where people can drink a cold one right out on the sidewalk. But the timeline is tight for would-be All Star Game revelers. The bill still has to go to through the state Senate and get Gov. John Kasich’s autograph. After that, the city could rush through designations for specific districts but would have to wait 30 days for them to take effect. The race is on.

• Three men who have wrongfully spent the past 18 years in prison may soon walk free thanks to efforts by the Ohio Innocence Project, which is based at University of Cincinnati’s College of Law. The Innocence Project announced yesterday that a Cuyahoga County Judge has thrown out the convictions of Derrick Wheatt, Laurese Glover and Eugene Johnson based on new evidence. The three will be released on bond and get a new trial. Their incarceration stems from the 1995 murder of Clifton Hudson, Jr. in Cleveland. Wheatt, Glover and Johnson who were nearby, were eventually arrested for the crime and convicted on the testimony of a single 14-year-old eyewitness. That witness later recanted her testimony and other evidence surfaced casting doubt that the three had a role in the crime.

• Ever been in a situation where you have to spend extended amounts of time the same room with someone who is competing with you for the affections of your crush? That’s probably how former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld will feel tonight when both attend and speak at the Ohio Democratic Party’s annual dinner. The two are currently going head to head in the party’s primary for the chance to take on incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Rob Portman. Making things especially uncomfortable is the fact that Sittenfeld had signaled he wouldn’t continue with campaign if Strickland entered the race. But the city councilman gained some good fundraising momentum and has decided to stay in the contest. Most of the higher-ups in the Democratic party have backed his more experienced foe, but Sittenfeld has said he’s in it to win it. I really hope someone seated them at the same table. 

• I mentioned a couple days ago that the Ohio House was mulling a fetal heartbeat bill that would ban abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. That bill has now passed the House thanks in part to local state representatives Jonathan Dever of Madeira and Paul Zeltwanger of Mason, who both voted for the proposed law. The bill will now make its way to the state Senate, where it faces skepticism from some moderate Republicans. They say the bill wouldn't survive an inevitable legal challenge. Some supporters of the measure, however, say bring it on — they see the ensuing legal battle as a way to challenge the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision prohibiting abortion bans. 

• Let's jaunt next door to the great state of Indiana where Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed into law yesterday a measure that prohibits the government from restricting religious freedom unless absolutely necessary. Critics of that bill say it could allow businesses to refuse service to people, including LGBT individuals, based on the business owner's religious beliefs. Pence says the bill will do no such thing, but that hasn't stopped backlash from forming. A number of businesses, including the NCAA, and even some religious groups have expressed reservations about the law, which takes effect in July. OK, let's leave Indiana now.

• News is happening in national politics. So much news. Well, really, political quasi-news that probably doesn’t actually make a difference but that we should pay attention to anyway because politicians are technically our employees and they haven’t really done that great of a job lately. One of the more interesting, and probably meaningless, stories on that front right now is that powerful Republicans in key primary states are saying that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who is so far the only presidential candidate to officially announce his campaign, has no chance of winning. A poll of 100 influential Republicans in Iowa and New Hampshire found that not one thought Cruz had a chance at the nomination, let alone prevailing in the general election. That’s important because those states are big in the primary game. Winning them signals to other delegates and funders around the rest of the country that you’re a serious contender.

• The other big story in national politics is that the most powerful, and many would say infamous, Democrat in the Senate will retire after his current term. Sen. Harry Reid, who is currently the Senate minority leader, has been a thorn in the side of nearly every Republican in Congress. Reid is a bare-knuckle brawler of a legislator who pulled out just as many nasty tricks during his time as Senate majority leader as his counterpart in the House, Republican John Boehner has. Reid’s 10-year turn as majority leader ended last November when Republicans took control of the Senate, but he’s continued to be a force there. The 75-year-old’s term ends next year. Republicans are rejoicing, seeing a rare opportunity to take Reid’s seat as one of Nevada’s two Senators.

 
 
by Steven Rosen 03.27.2015 69 hours ago
at 08:42 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Cincinnati-Filmed 'Carol' to Premiere at Cannes?

Carol, the drama about a romance between a younger and older woman in 1950s New York that was filmed in Cincinnati last spring, may have its premiere in May at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in France.

Variety, which closely follows the film industry, yesterday published a speculative report about what may be appearing at this years Cannes, the world's most important film festival. It said, in part:

"Looking to represent North America in competition are [Todd] Haynes’ Carol, a 1950s lesbian love story starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, and [Denis] Villeneuve’s Sicario, a south-of-the-border crime drama starring Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin. Slots may also be reserved in the official selection for Jeff Nichols’ Midnight Special, a science-fiction chase thriller starring Adam Driver and Michael Shannon, and Gus Van Sant’s The Sea of Trees, a suicide drama starring Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe."

Based on a novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, Carol has impeccable credentials for Cannes. The director is Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven, I'm Not There), a producer is Christine Vachon, and it stars Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett and Oscar-nominee Rooney Mara. The film came here with the assistance of the Greater Cincinnati and North Kentucky Film Commission.

This year's Cannes Festival occurs May 13-24. The full official-selection lineup will be announced April 16.

 
 
by Rick Pender 03.27.2015 69 hours ago
Posted In: Theater at 08:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Stage Door: Race and Urban Living on Local Stages

Two shows on local stages are dealing with top-of-mind issues of race and urban living, one at the Cincinnati Playhouse, the other at Ensemble Theatre.

Last evening the Playhouse opened its production of Tracey Scott Wilson's Buzzer. Wilson is a playwright who's not afraid to get at prickly issues of contemporary life (read more here), and that's what she does in this piece that could be set in Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine. (It's actually in New York City, but that doesn't make it less relevant.) Jackson returns to his onetime childhood neighborhood, once neglected and now trendy; he's black, girlfriend Suzy is white, and so is Jackson's troubled friend Don, out of rehab yet again and needing a place to stay. Their triangle is a toxic mix with a troubled past that's exacerbated by life in a neighborhood where black and white relations are strained. The Playhouse is offering talkbacks after each performance to discuss issues raised, and there will be a panel discussion focused on OTR's housing challenges here in Cincinnati on Saturday evening at 6 p.m. My take: This show is more about personal relationships that aren't entirely honest, even though there is constant conversation about "no secrets." The actors in this tense drama are vividly real, unpredictable and vulnerable; you'll feel like they're people you know. (Through April 19.) Tickets: 513-421-3888

The second show that's heating up conversations about race is ETC's staging of Dominic Morisseau's award-winning play, Detroit ’67 (reviewed here). While the story has a historical setting — the story of family aspirations and disappointments unfolds against the backdrop of the Motor City's race riots almost 50 years ago — it almost feels ripped from current news stories about unrest stemming from police brutality in Ferguson, Mo. Five actors portray some colorful and occasionally humorous characters from the era involving the family dynamic between a brother and sister who differ about making ends meet in a challenging environment. Motown tunes from the ’60s are the soundtrack for a story that's often painful but ultimately hopeful. (Through April 5.) Tickets: 513-421-3555

Know Theatre opens Hearts Like Fists tonight at its Jackson Street stage in Over-the-Rhine. Adam Szymkowicz's comic-book-inspired action adventure has some fine local actors as the Crimefighters, female superheroes who are out to stop Dr. X, on a mission to murder happy couples in their sleep using a deadly serum that goes straight to the heart. When the show was staged in New York in 2012, the New York Times called the show's comic hybrid of parody and punches "madcap" and "hysterical." That's what Know will be striving for, through April 25. Tickets: 513-300-5669

If you are interested in seeing actors, singers and dancers who are on their way to professional careers, you might want to catch Senior Showcases from the drama and musical theater programs at UC's College-Conservatory of Music. The drama majors, readying their piece for trips to Los Angeles (for potential TV work) and New York City, will perform today at 2 and 7 p.m. at Patricia Corbett Theatre. (Admission is free.) The triple threats graduating from the musical theater program offer their showcase twice on Saturday at 4 and 8 p.m. as they prepare to shine for Broadway producers and casting agents in New York next week. Admission is free but reservations are required: 513-556-4183.  

Planning ahead? The popular touring production of The Lion King returns to Cincinnati where it's been a big hit twice, in 2003 and 2007. The magnificent musical about good overcoming evil and youth finding maturity opens on Tuesday for a four-week run at the Aronoff Center. (Through April 26.) Tickets: 513-621-2787


Rick Pender’s STAGE DOOR blog appears here every Friday. Find more theater reviews and feature stories here.

 
 
by Staff 03.27.2015 69 hours ago
Posted In: Arts, Comedy, Concerts, Culture, Food, Fun, Events, Drinking, Life at 08:13 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List (3/27-3/29)

Sebadoh. The Pops + acrobats. Thrillers about 1971 Belfast. Vintage markets. More!

Music! Plays! Events with alcohol! Acrobats and Classical music! Gorilla suits!


FRIDAY 27

MUSIC: SEBADOH
Influential Indie Rock band Sebadoh began in 1986 as an outlet for Dinosaur Jr. bassist Lou Barlow, who showed a keen lo-fi, experimental sensibility early on but also proved himself to be a compelling songwriter. After leaving Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh evolved into one of the best bands of the era, with Barlow’s emotionally honest and effective songs becoming the band’s centerpiece. After reuniting with Dinosaur Jr., Barlow reteamed with longtime co-conspirator Jason Loewenstein and drummer Bob D’Amico to make the first new Sebadoh album in 14 years, Defend Yourself, released in 2013 on the Joyful Noise label. Defend Yourself received mixed reviews, but it’s a great addition to the band’s impossibly strong discography. The band returns to Cincinnati Friday after sneaking into town to play a free show at MOTR Pub last year. 9 p.m. Friday. $12; $15 day of show. Woodward Theater, 1404 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, woodwardtheater.com.



Cirque Mechanics
Photo: Armand Thomas Photography

ONSTAGE: CIRQUE MECHANICS

The Cincinnati Pops presents Cirque Mechanics, an innovative show featuring aerialists, trapeze artists and contortionists performing alongside orchestral favorites from composers like Tchaikovsky, Strauss, Copland, Ravel and more. In a press release, conductor John Morris Russell describes it as a mix between Cirque du Soleil and the steampunk scene, with a huge titanium infrastructure placed before the orchestra that serves as the canvas for the entertainment. Additional fire performers, jugglers and magicians will also be at the event. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. $25-$99; $10 children. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cincinnatisymphony.org.



EVENT: ART AFTER DARK AT THE CINCINNATI ART MUSUEM

The theme of this art-meets-cocktail-party event is “Cherry Blossom Bash.” Check out the museum’s Japanese art collection with hourly docent-led tours, and enjoy live music from The Happy Maladies (6:30 p.m.) in the Great Hall. Sushi and drinks available for purchase. 5-9 p.m. Free. Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park, cincinnatiartmuseum.org.



 

ONSTAGE: PETER AND THE STARCATCHER

In Rick Elice’s loopy script (based on Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s novel about Peter Pan’s backstory), wordplay abounds, sometimes blowing by faster than the typhoon that comes upon ships on the way to Rundoon with three orphan boys to be sold into slavery. But this ensemble cast can manage wind speed as they narrate and perform the hilarious show — sometimes individually, sometimes together — but even more so as they race through delirious reinvention of the fairytale. Everything is performed both obviously and imaginatively, from levitating (at the close end of a seesaw plank) to a storm at sea to flying (with just the suggestion of motion, no wires — no “real” taking flight). Amusing costumes, a star field of 200 incandescent light bulbs and buckets of stage magic make it possible. Peter and the Starcatcher continues through April 4. $30-$85. Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mt. Adams Circle, Mount Adams, cincyplay.com.


Photo: Roadside Attractions

FILM: ’71

Streets don’t get much meaner than those of Belfast back in 1971 as the British army all but occupied the territory, caught up in what amounted to terroristic street fights between Catholics and Protestants with few truly innocent bystanders in the middle. Everyone took sides, no matter how reluctantly. Gary Hook (Jack O’Connell), an anonymous soldier in the British army, trains hard but is no standout. Hook looks for all intents and purposes like a young Liam Neeson or a baby-faced soldier-boy of few words (think Clint Eastwood) who is simply waiting for the opportunity to prove himself in the theater of battle. And he certainly gets his chance when his unit, under the command of a rather green lieutenant (Sam Reid), receives orders to back up local police in a neighborhood search for weapons. Opens Friday. Read full review here




SATURDAY 28

Over the Moon Vintage Market

EVENT: OVER THE MOON VINTAGE MARKET

Rustic vases, crocheted tops, paint-chipped mirror frames and more will flood the Over the Moon Vintage Market this weekend. Shop a variety of vendors as you peruse various booth displays for vintage and urban goods, including primitives, furniture, garden items, artisan jewelry and unique feminine and bohemian style clothing. 4-9 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Free. Agner Hall at Lawrenceburg Fairgrounds, U.S. 50 and Hollywood Blvd., Lawrenceburg, Ind., facebook.com/overthemoonvintagemarket.


Elliott Brood
Photo: Provided 

MUSIC: ELLIOTT BROOD WITH YOUNG HEIRLOOMS

When a band’s sound gets tagged as “Death Country,” you know something special is afoot. And Canadian trio Elliott Brood lives up to its advance billing in every conceivable way. Utilizing guitar, banjo, ukulele, bass pedals, kazoo, harmonica, keyboards, percussion and a sampler in acoustic and electric contexts, Elliott Brood has reimagined rootsy Country, Bluegrass and Folk in a twangy and bracing manner that suggests Old 97’s and legitimately deserves the designation of Canadiana.The trio’s latest triumph is Work and Love, released late last year to rapturous reviews, many of which cited it as the trio’s best album to date. No need to plan a long trip to see Elliott Brood; the best of the Great White North is coming your way. Free. MOTR Pub, 1345 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, motrpub.com.



POP-UP CINCY
Photo: Provided

EVENT: POP-UP CINCY CONCEPT CAMP

POP-UP CINCY, a monthly pop-up organization founded by local artist and designer Catherine Richards, invites creative thinkers and makers to participate in the second Concept Camp at an unused storefront in Corryville. Participants will brainstorm with peers from various sectors about effective ways to take their ideas from concept to completion in this one-day event. The space will feature an “idea wall” to pin project outlines and receive feedback from participants, as well as the opportunity to connect with those whose skillsets might help accelerate your plan. Work session: 1-4:30 p.m. (sign-up required); celebration: 5-7 p.m. Free. 3501 Burnet Ave., Corryville, facebook.com/popup.cincy.



How to Build a Rain Barrel
Photo: The Civic Garden Center

CLASS: HOW TO BUILD A RAIN BARREL

Spring is slowly showing itself as the winter and its accursed snow melt away. As you plan to plant petunias, sunflowers, vegetables and more, consider the task of watering and the best practices to save money, go green and store water for a hot summer so your plants (and your wallet) won’t suffer. The Civic Garden Center hosts a DIY class on how to build and use your own rain barrel to collect free rain water to use for the garden. 1:30-3 p.m. Saturday. $10; free for Civic Garden Center volunteers. 2715 Reading Road, Avondale, civicgardencenter.org.



D.C. Benny
Photo: Provided

COMEDY: DC BENNY

Like his peers Jimmy Shubert and Rocky LaPorte, D.C. Benny is a talented veteran comic who received a nice boost by competing on last season’s Last Comic Standing. Well-known in the New York and L.A. comedy scenes, Benny has also written and performed extensively for various TV projects. He also functions as the producer and head writer for Jim Breuer Unleashed on Sirius/XM satellite radio. On stage he mixes jokes with storytelling, peppering them with several original characters. Showtimes Thursday-Sunday. $15-$17. Funny Bone on the Levee, Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., funnyboneonthelevee.com.



Detroit '67
Photo: Mikki Schaffner

ONSTAGE: DETROIT ’67

Detroit ’67, making its regional premiere at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati this month, is not something to smile about — but it might be possible to feel good about the “tryin’,” even though 48 years later the backdrop of this story feels eerily familiar, perhaps leading us to ask if America will ever rise above such racially driven conflicts. The details behind the story of Chelle (Zina Camblin) and Lank (Bryant Bentley), a sister and brother hoping to build a secure future, are this: In late July 1967, more than 10,000 citizens of Detroit rioted. Police had raided a blind pig — an unauthorized after-hours hangout very much like the one Chelle and Lank have established in their family’s basement — where more than 80 patrons, all African-American, had gathered to celebrate the return of a Vietnam veteran. Detroit '67 continues through April 5. $18-$44. Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, 1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, ensemblecincinnati.org.


SUNDAY 29

Ian Svenonius in Moon Dust

FILM: MOON DUST

Detroit-based painter Scott Reeder’s new Moon Dust is a sci-fi feature film with a one-and-a-half-hour running time. Moon Dust is about the denizens of a run-down tourist resort on the moon (called Moon World) who struggle to maintain enthusiasm at a time when the hip, wealthier travelers have all gone to Mars. With its deadpan tone, frequently improvised dialogue from non-professional actors (including Reeder, himself) and eccentric production design featuring color-saturated, patterned or monochromatic sets and oddball costumes and hairstyles, it very much is the work of a visual artist.  2 p.m. Sunday. Free. Cincinnati Art Museum’s Mary R. Schiff Library & Archives, 953 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams, cincinnatiartmuseum.org.



The Cincinnati Gorilla Run
Photo: Provided 

CHARITY: CINCINNATI GORILLA RUN

This Sunday don’t be surprised to find downtown resembling a scene from Planet of the Apes. Hundreds of runners dressed as our endangered primate relatives will be participating in the Cincinnati Gorilla Run 5K presented by The Gorilla Glue Company, which aims to raise money for the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund. Gorillas found in the African mountains are close to extinction, and the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund is working to expand the program’s wildlife health and research center in Uganda. Registration closes at 5 p.m. March 28. Race opens at 9 a.m.; run starts at 11 a.m. $99.95 first-time gorillas; $40 and up for returning gorillas; $15 kid gorillas. Montgomery Inn Boathouse, 925 Riverside Drive, East End, cincinnatigorillarun.com



Mummies of the World
Photo: Cincinnati Museum Center 

ATTRACTIONS: MUMMIES OF THE WORLD

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, is in its final weeks. Discover how mummies are created, where they come from and who they are in an immersive, multi-media display. Through April 26. Non-member exhibition-only tickets: $19.50, $17.50 senior, $12.50 child. Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate, mummies.cincymuseum.org.

See more stuff to do here.


 
 
by John Hamilton 03.26.2015 3 days ago
at 01:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Reel Redux: Top 10 Good Remakes

Today, whenever the terms “remake,” “reboot” or anything like that pop up in terms of film or TV, people automatically assume the worst thing imaginable. While I won’t deny the fact that there have been several remakes that have been pointless, there have been a lot of remakes that have been very good and, in a lot of cases, have improved on a few aspects.

Now, I’m not claiming that the 10 I’m listing off are “better” than the original. Instead, these films (listed by release date in chronological order) are evidence that a remake is not an automatic seal of sucking.

The Magnificent Seven (1960, John Sturges)

I’m sure some of you saw this coming given what my first "Reel Redux" was about, but none the less this is still a pretty good film. A remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, this version doesn’t do too much different from the original film but it is still holds up through its fine acting, amazing music score and story.

A Fistful of Dollars (1964, Sergio Leone)

Another remake of a Kurosawa film, this time a remake of his film Yojimbo. In this film you see the foundations of Eastwood’s most famous screen persona, many of Leone’s trademarks and an awesome final duel. A good stepping stone for anyone wanting to get into Spaghetti Westerns.

The Thing (1982, John Carpenter)

Yes, believe it or not there are some good horror remakes, and this was one. John Carpenter’s remake of the Howard Hawks-produced The Thing from Another World ups the ante with the suspense and gore. This is not for the faint of heart. But it’s more than just a gore-fest — it’s a film with amazing suspense and atmosphere.

Little Shop of Horrors (1986, Frank Oz)

This music adaptation of the Roger Corman B-movie is a genuine delight and definitely improves on a few aspects of the original, mainly the special effects. That glorious Audrey II puppet is a testament to how great practical effects can be. Also, Levi Stubbs of The Four Tops is a perfect voice for Audrey II.

Beauty and the Beast (1991, Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise)

This classic Disney animated musical actually has a lot in common with the 1946 French surrealist adaptation by Jean Cocteau. Both beasts have a similar design, both feature a castle of human servants that are also appliances, and both have a Gaston equivalent. But of course the animated version does do a few things differently, mainly musical numbers, funny side characters and, of course, being a cartoon.

Homeward Bound – The Incredible Journey (1993, Duwayne Dunham)

Here’s another Disney remake that proved its worth. A remake of the 1963 movie just called The Incredible Journey, this renditions seems to hold up for anyone because of the animals. All three have distinct voices and personas that make us love and root for them.

The Birdcage (1996, Mike Nichols)

A film by the late Mike Nichols and starring the late Robin Williams is a remake of a French-Italian film called La Cage aux Folle. With the combined comedic charm and brilliance of Williams and Nathan Lane, it’s no wonder why Nichols had a hard time holding his laughter during some of the scenes. My words won’t do it justice — you just have to watch.

Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003, Peter Jackson)

If we’re loosely defining the term remake, Jackson’s fantasy trilogy is technically a remake of Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings (1978) and Rankin/Bass’ Return of the King. If you’ve seen those animated films then you can see why Jackson’s are usually the preferred versions. Jackson's films create an epic fantasy environment, they have an amazing film score and feature some awesome battle sequences.

3:10 to Yuma (2007, James Mangold)

Many hold the original 1957 film as a classic and it is, but Mangold’s version doesn’t try to duplicate it. Instead he goes the action route, and it does not disappoint. The gunfights are stunning throughout the film. Also, the chemistry between Christian Bale and Russell Crowe is stunning, and it also has a great villain performance from Ben Foster.

True Grit (2010, Ethan & Joel Coen)

My first two listed were westerns and so we end with two westerns. The Coen Brother’s version of the manhunt of Tom Chaney is truly phenomenal. The Coens stay close to the tone and style of Charles Portis’ original book by sticking to the dryer tone, keeping it less romanticized and “Hollywood.” And it features some trying fantastic performances from everyone.

 
 
by Steven Rosen 03.26.2015 3 days ago
Posted In: Visual Art at 12:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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FotoFocus Sponsors Upcoming Robert Mapplethorpe Symposium

Symposium will be co-presented by the Contemporary Arts Center in October

Last night before photographer Roe Ethridge's FotoFocus Lecture at Cincinnati Art Museum, FotoFocus' Artistic Director Kevin Moore announced the organization is co-presenting a two-day symposium on photographer Robert Mapplethorpe's work with the Contemporary Arts Center on Oct. 23-24.

It will mark the 25th anniversary of CAC's presentation of The Perfect Moment, the retrospective of Mapplethorpe's work that prompted conservative elements — led by then-Sheriff Simon Leis Jr. — to pursue criminal charges for alleged obscenity. (Some of Maplethorpe's work in the show was sexually graphic.) A Hamilton County jury cleared the museum of all charges.

Specifics for the symposium have yet to be announced, although indications are speakers from around the country will be invited. Also not yet announced is what, if any, works by Mapplethorpe will be shown and in what context.

Information should go on on the FotoFocus site when firm.

 
 
by Jac Kern 03.26.2015 3 days ago
Posted In: Humor, TV/Celebrity, Movies at 11:57 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

A terrified-looking local 2-year-old has become something of an Internet sensation over the past week. In a funny photo with a cute story-turned-viral image, Quincy Kroner posed with two friendly looking garbage men in front of their truck (as he held his own mini garbage truck toy).