Going to the zoo isn't just for kids (though there always a million of them there). Whether you are a child, have 'em or hate 'em this weekend is perfect for a trip to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens. Friday-Sunday are Visitor Appreciation Days at the zoo, which means half price admission and parking for everyone! If you need any more reason to visit, there are tons of new exhibits like Night Hunters, African Savannah, Go Green Garden and more. Go here for special prices, hours and directions.
Craftmasters takes over Mainstay Rock Bar Saturday, offering up 10 local bands and 10 $4 craft beers all night long. Get down with Lions Rampant, Frankl Project, Eat Sugar and more as you sip tasty brews like Stone IPA, Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier and Two Brothers Dog Days Dortmunder Lager. Music starts at 7 p.m. with bands on two stages. Five bucks gets you in the door. Get the whole lineup here.
Worried no event will satiate your hunger this weekend? For-goetta-bout it! Glier's annual Goettafest is back with enough pork and oats to satisfy even the hungriest of visitors. Enjoy classics like goetta omelets, goetta burgers and goetta dogs or go crazy with goetta sushi, goetta brownies and goetta eggrolls. As always, there will be plenty of live music, games and rides to keep everyone happy (but wait 30 minutes after eating before going on The Scrambler. Goetta's even less pretty coming up.). The festival runs Friday-Sunday at Newport on the Levee. Go here for festival hours and parking information.
Cincy Blues Fest is one of largest volunteer-run Blues festivals in the world. Celebrate the music and the hard work Friday and Saturday at Sawyer Point. Besides checking out local, regional and national Blues acts, Mike Breen has come up with 19 reasons this is a can't-miss event. Go here to read 'em all.
The Cincinnati Art Museum makes so many fantastic works of art accessible to visitors. This Sunday, you can get an even more in-depth look at one artist's life during its Reel Art film series. Filmmaker Ellen Weissbrod's documentary A Woman Like That focuses on the life of Artemisia Gentileschi, a 17th century Italian woman who pursued art during a period when female artists faced much prejudice. Learn about this important Baroque-era artist and meet Weissbrod and co-filmmaker Melissa Powell at a Q&A session following the screening. Go here for ticket information and screening time.
As always, there are many more events, concerts, gallery exhibits and theater shows going on this weekend. Go here to see 'em all. Got a kick-ass event that should be on everyone's To Do list? E-mail arts and event listings to email@example.com at least two weeks in advance.
I like to think I'm always up on the gossip, but some newsworthy items slip under my radar, like 98 Degrees' Jeff Timmons (my childhood fave - sorry, Nick) being a Chippendales performer! Chippendales at The Rio in Las Vegas features the Cincinnati boy as their hunky headliner all summer long, extending his stay (eyebrow wiggle) several times.
So, if you like combining the most homoerotic performance ever to be marketed to middle-aged women with prepubescent boy band fantasies, and who the hell doesn't, get your ticket soon! Jeff will only be flexing his "Hardest Thing" (sorry) through Labor Day.
Or just watch this painfully awkward video of him posing for pictures!
Speaking of former child stars-turned-desperate, orange juiceheads, Baywatch alum and current Celebrity Rehab-er Jeremy Jackson has also made a bow tie-and-cuffs appearance. Some reports say he's addicted to fitness and would make excellent eye candy, so I'm guessing they haven't seen his stint on the VH1 show. Dude's addicted to German cattle steroids and cancer patient meds.
And if he's worried chemicals in bottled water will turn him gay, he clearly needs to give his Chippendales contract a second read.
Something fucking awesome happened in Cincinnati on July's Final Friday. A dude with a card table, some DJ stuff and a microphone (two turntables and a microphone, even) incited a random dance party with over 100 people around 1212 Main Street in Over-the-Rhine.
Music was pumping, and people flocked to it. I have never witnessed such an amassing of complete strangers and intimate friends. Plaid-clad hipsters were cutting loose with older, baggy-shirted locals. Drunk people who had tumbled out of bars were sweating out all the alcohol they had just paid for to Kool and the Gang. Everyone was incredibly, stupidly happy.
There was no reason for it. No social networking was involved. Nobody knew about it through a text or because they were Tweeted at or received a Facebook invite. It wasn’t sponsored by Final Friday, and it wasn’t even planned. DJ Alcatone, the awesome instigator, shrugged his shoulders when I asked him (over the Funk blaring out from two speakers), why he was playing music on a street corner in OTR. He said he just was. And people were just dancing.
There were three guys dancing in the middle of the damn street, stopping cars to gyrate in front of them. One was dancing intensely, and then he paused and directed traffic around other dancers. An SUV pulled up and four dudes sat on the edge of the car windows, took their shirts off, and held their arms in the air.
An entire two-block span of Main Street was filled with sweaty, writhing people. DJ Alcatone started a soul train in the middle of the crowd. There was a break-dancing competition, and seriously, who knew old people could get down like that? One guy did that thing where he contorted his whole body in the air, resting solely on his hand on the ground. (Yoga has not prepared me to attempt this.)
Cell phones crowded in the air, everyone snapping pictures of the “something” that was happening right in front of them. Cops drove by and didn’t stop. The opposite side of the street was crowded with overflow dancers. A girl with an “I’m the bachelorette!” sash across her torso sashayed in front of cars, darting back and forth between the two sides. There was even a man with a broken leg in a wheelchair. Seriously. He was spinning on his wheels, grooving to the music.
It was like someone had pressed pause on every social, racial and economic stricture and preconception, and hit “play” for uninhibited, good-spirited, uplifting interaction. It was so simple, and no one stopped to think about it. No one stopped to consider “what it meant,” or why it was happening, or how it could be better. Honestly, it couldn’t have been better.
The police were called about two hours in, and were actually smiling when they told everyone the party had to end. That was probably the best time to have the party end — before everyone remembered themselves, the faces we all put on for the everyday world, the way we conduct ourselves around people we want to impress. No one was trying to impress anyone. Even the bad dancers (there were a few) were applauded. It was the fact that everyone involved stepped outside of themselves, without any catalyst or promise of reward, and for two hours, we just were.
Feather hair extensions are one of the trendiest fashion accessories right now (I say this knowing that Cincy's always a little behind the times on all things stylish). Celebrities from Ke$ha to Steven Tyler to Roseanne Barr have been rockin' the look, which may sound like a deterrent, but now these birdy little weaves are everywhere. Even on dogs.
It was Sunday night and television options resembled that of The Banks project for the past 10 years — barren and dull. I was clearly in need of some entertainment. So, like 7,389* other people in the area, I tuned into Fox 19's premiere of Queen City.
I was hooked as soon as the intro song came on — excited to see what shenanigans the four “queens,” Adhrucia, Lauren, Tracey and Katie, would encounter in this local take on the Real Housewives series.
Luckily I didn’t hold my breath for too long.
The Cincinnati Health Department recently released a list of the most popular baby names of 2010. We live in Cincinnati, so there's enough average people to balance out all the Braidans and Jakilynns (read: smooshing two names together or purposely misspelling a name isn't being creative, folks) which means there aren't any big surprises on this list. It just means that in 2020, fourth grade classes everywhere will have Ava S., Ava B. and Ava M. instead of Ashley R., Ashley T. and Ashley O. like when I was a kid.
Besides being mildly interesting, what's the point of a list like this? To point out the least creative parents in the city? To give really dumb preggo people a basis for naming their offspring? Either way, If you're walking around and you hear a little human crying, its name is probably…
The most popular name for baby boys in Cincinnati was a pretty classic one. If names dictate a person's life, these little dudes will grow up to have giant teeth, front a really shitty Hip Hop group or be a general badass sax player:
Or, if that screaming spawn is wearing pink...
Olivia, the #1 baby girl name in Cincinnati, is alright. According to my research (15 seconds on Google), there are a lot of hot hoes by the name, but Olivia Newton John (pre-scary face) is the best of them all. Hopefully these babies will take after her, with a penchant for headbands and first words being "Xanadu."
On their own, the second place names appear to be perfectly normal. Who could have anything mean to say about...
JACOB AND ISABELLA
That's right, fucking Twilight. I can only assume that the increasing amount of teen moms out there are contributing to this fuckery (Thanks a lot, MTV!). There once was a time when I heard the name Jacob and immediately thought of the most perfect man of my John Hughes-inspired dreams...
Isabella is a cute name, too. It has the potential of many 'breves. Izzy. Ella. Sabel? I don't know, but when little Isabella and tiny Jacob have their first kiss on the playground, "Twihards" around the world will feel a sense of glorious satisfaction that I just can't deal with.
The rest of the names are pretty uninteresting, so here's a quick list complete with what people (myself and Google) will probably associate with them:
Obviously because the nearby Creation Museum is building a to-scale (WHAT SCALE?) ark
Would still be cool if it wasn't on this list
Boring interior design
My arch-enemy. Stereotypes are hilarious!
All about the Benjamin...Buttons
Holly Madison, Dolly Madison - They're both full of fake stuff, but probably preserved for all of time.
Go here to read more boring names.
Go here to read part one.
Somehow Saturday morning Jeff and I woke up bright and early. Flavor Flav must have sprinkled some magic dust on us the night before, because we weren't our usual hungover pieces of shit, writhing under covers 'til noon. For this special occasion, we headed to the famous Loveless Motel & Cafe (8400, Tennessee 100, Bellevue), a comfort food mecca and Nashville landmark. Hundreds of country musicians and otherwise famous humans hung their hats here when it was a hotel and have stopped in for grub since it's been a restaurant (seriously, there are countless autographed head shots covering every square inch of the walls).
I opted out of typing music listings and attending sociology class Friday in favor of checking out the conference taking place on the University of Cincinnati’s campus: Pop Praxis: Social Justice & the Media. With discussion topics like, “Disco Stick: Lady Gaga and the Phallus” and a keynote speech from Bitch Magazine’s own Andi Zeisler, I was stoked for an enlightening day of stimulating pop culture discussion.
The conference was the result of a collection of papers, presentations and workshops submitted by speakers ranging from undergrads to professors to alumni from a number of universities. Submissions were required to regard "pop culture as it relates to feminism, race, disability or queer theory, class, consumption, and all forms of political activism or cultural production."
It was an honor for the university to welcome Andi Zeisler, co-founder and editorial/creative director of Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture. She wasted no time launching into a pointed discussion about the importance of feminism today, despite the general public’s tendency to assume that the movement is past and irrelevant.
“Any media needs to make money,” Zeisler pointed out, “and the quickest and surest way to do that is to sell out women.”
In short, while addressing the frustrating roadblocks today’s feminist advocates face, Zeisler commended technology and blogging as new ways to comment on the media and bring important issues to public attention, keeping intelligent discussion going that might not have been able to take place before.
Zeisler said Bitch’s goal is to help people think about pop culture in a more critical way, so it makes sense that the speakers in the sessions that followed did exactly that.
While the main event was arguably Zeisler's speech, the presentations and workshops were fun and eye opening.
During the first session, Sarah Mitchell called out Winnie of The Wonder Years for her textbooks that attempt to make math “sexy” for middle school girls in “Postfeminist Math Barbie: Danica McKellar’s Provocative Education Advocacy.” Lee Serbin also pointed out the shaky, back-and-forth stance Tina Fey’s character holds between feminism and postfeminism in 30 Rock during her discussion, “30 Rock and Feminism in Flux.”
Some women in the media, however, aren’t so bad to look up to. One presenter discussed how Lady Gaga rocked the phallus on the cover of Q Magazine as a response to the public’s accusation that she’s packing a package. While still technically enforcing the belief that a penis equates power, her gender-bending humor puts sexists in their place.
A strong argument was also made for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Admittedly, she was skinny and blonde, but more importantly, she overcame that image to kick vampire ass. The slayer was decidedly deemed a pretty solid female role model for something popularized by mainstream television.
Feminism wasn’t the only topic of the day, however. One student discussed Batman as an extreme representation of hypermasculinity who tends to equate violence with being a man. That, and maybe steroid use after all the bulk the superhero’s acquired over the years.
During the same session, another speaker addressed the somewhat androgynous image of the emo kid. This speaker deserves props for researching something so fickle in the world of teenage cliques. She concluded that, while the emo subculture allows for somewhat of a break from that Batman-inspired masculinity, only the white boys of suburbia seem to make up this social group.
While it was impossible for me to make it to each presentation, at the end of the day, the message was clear: People need to be careful about what they consume.
There are no clear answers. Watching a Lady Gaga video over 30 Rock isn’t necessarily going to be more empowering, and children who prefer Batman to Chris Carrabba aren’t doomed to a life of violence. The important thing Pop Praxis stressed is that the discussion remains open and that we, as responsible consumers of popular culture, keep a critical eye on it.