The Civic Garden Center hosts many gardening and eco-friendly classes throughout the year. Tonight is the first installment of a three-part Master Composter Series. Participants who take all three classes in addition to completing 15 hours of community service will be certified as Master Composters. The entire series is free. Tonight's 6-8:30 p.m. class is Composting 101, instructed by Master Composter, Master Gardener and Founder of the American Compost Society, John Duke. Learn about how composting works, different systems to use, how to start and analyze your pile and more. Go online or call 513-221-0982 ext. 18 to reserve your spot.
Over in Clifton Heights, Baba Budan's hosts a night of open-minded, pride-filled fun. From 7-9 p.m., UC Alliance presents Open-Minded Mic, where all are welcome to play a song, perform in drag, recite poetry, do some stand-up – express yourself openly to a welcoming crowd! Afterward, Alternative to the Alternative Night takes over. Tonight's theme is Under Construction, fitting as Baba's is still remodeling after a car crashed through the entrance early Feb. 20. Come in your best construction gear, dressing in red if you're taken, yellow if you're dating or green if you're totally single and ready to go. There will be drink specials all night long. Find details here.
Occupy Cincinnati is hosting a primary watch party at C & D Northside from 8-11 p.m. Check out the night's results while enjoying a stiff drink — the group's Facebook invite suggests ordering a "Santorum" (though something tells me I might have to pass). Occupy has some tips for voting against corporate parties; check those out here.
And speaking of the man who turned "Santorum" into a dirty word, a bit further south down I-75 Dan Savage is speaking at the University of Kentucky. Savage is touring as a part of the It Gets Better lecture series, the movement created by Savage to give hope to LGBTQ kids who face bullying, and fight hatred and intolerance against them. Savage will give a presentation and sign books beginning at 7 p.m. in Memorial Hall on the UK campus. If you can make the trip, it's a great opportunity to meet Savage and become involved in It Gets Better — tickets are free to all attendees (just have a local direct you to the Student Center Ticket Office to pick up passes).
Investigative reporter, film producer and Cleveland-native James Renner debuts his first novel tonight at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Rookwood Commons. The Man From Primrose Lane is a "mind-bending and genre-twisting" story about the murder of an elderly man in Akron. Renner will read from and sign the novel at 7 p.m. The event is free (the book is $26).
Monday is Vinyl Night at Milton's Prospect Hill Tavern. Show support for local record stores and vinyl culture by bringing your collection to play. Variety is key, so go here to check the specs and see which genres could use a little more airtime. All are welcome to play records, or have one of the DJs spin it for you. The event runs from 10 p.m.-2:30 a.m.
Did you miss the jam-packed Contemporary Arts Center opening party Saturday, or perhaps you became entranced by Dan Deacon and forgot to check out the exhibits? Spectacle: The Music Video and Dasha Shishkin's I surrender, dear are both on display at the museum. Swing by after 5 p.m. for free admission. The CAC is open until 9 p.m. tonight. Find more info here.
Covington's Carnegie Center presents its sixth annual Art of Food show, opening tonight. As you might've guessed, this art exhibit is centered around all things edible. The reception features beautiful culinary creations (that you can actually eat) by everyone from BonBonnerie to La Poste, Queen City Cookies to Taste of Belgium. Admission is a little steep ($60 at the door for non-members), but you'll leave with your left brain and stomach both very satisfied. Admission after the reception is free. Get details here.
The opening reception kicks off at 8 p.m. In addition to checking out the artwork, electronic musician/wizard Dan Deacon will perform 8-9 p.m. If you haven't heard of him, here's a preview:
If you didn't score tickets to tonight's sold out Black Keys show, there are plenty of other music options. Eli's BBQ on Riverside Drive hosts Downtown Country Band tonight at 10 p.m. Tickets are $12. And really, any concert that also features barbecue is probably a sure bet. The Harlequins hosts an album release show Saturday at Mayday in Northside. Peep our interview with the crew. There are tons of other live music shows this weekend. Find them all on our music blog.
Speaking of people who like to drink, tonight is our Swizzle Soiree, an annual celebration of the release of our bar guide. Head on over to PLAY downtown from 5:30-10:30 p.m. There will be free drink tickets and hors d'oeuvres from area restaurants, happy hour specials all night, music from Pop Empire and lots of giveaways — movie passes, shot glasses and two passes to Bonnaroo! Sign up to register and be present at 9 p.m. to win. It's gon' be fun. Check out the event on Facebook for more info.
The Cincinnati Opera's Opening Gala takes place April 28, with an after-party at the Duke Energy Center. In preparation for this "Late Night in Charleston," Japp's is hosting a happy hour tonight. Preview the event, and help the Opera decide which signature cocktail (by none other than Molly Wellman) to serve next month. The party runs 6-9 p.m. Go here for details.
Before you leave for the night, set up that DVR for Delocated, Awake, 30 Rock and more Thursday television gems. Peep our TV column for details.
I love video games. Always have, always will. I grew up watching Mario stomp koopas, Link slay moblins and Kirby inhale enemies to copy their powers. Games will always have a special place in my heart.
As much as I like the classics and the stuff being released by the big name companies, however, recently my attention's been diverted to a select few independent companies and developers. People say these past few recent years have been some of the best times for indie developers to get into the gaming market, and, frankly, I agree with them. As of late the indie game market's really been booming, and it's no wonder why. There are some really great indie games out there to find if one knows where to look. And unlike pricey console games, many of these independently developed games can be downloaded onto your computer for as low as $20, $10 or even $5.
Given, these games might not have the newest, most-cutting edge graphics, and might be relatively simple when compared to some of the things we see Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft releasing. However, that doesn't change the fact that they are good games nonetheless. And many gamers seem to agree with me.
One shining example of an indie game that's risen from obscurity is Dokutsu Monogatari, better known by is Americanized name, Cave Story. The game was originally made as a freeware 2D platform-adventure game by independent developer Daisuke Amaya (art-name "Pixel") in 2004. He developed the game in his spare time, intending it to be a tribute to classic popular titles he had played in his youth, such as Castlevania and Metroid.
After it's initial release on the Internet, Cave Story slowly gained popularity as a indie game, and was praised by many gamers for its compelling story and gameplay. Fans of the game eventually developed an English translation, spreading the game even further.
Later on, Nicalis, an independent video game company, worked with Amaya to bring an updated version of Cave Story with new modes of gameplay and improved graphics to Nintendo's WiiWare service in 2010.
Since then the popularity of Cave Story has skyrocketed, leading Nicalis to work with Nintendo to bring yet another updated version of the game to the Nintendo 3DS under the title of Cave Story 3D.
And Cave Story is just one of the many success stories told about independently developed games these days. Several other popular titles have risen from the depths of obscurity to become commonly known titles to gamers everywhere: Minecraft, Super Meat Boy and Angry Birds just to name a few.
Unfortunately, there are also risks involved for gamers who chose to invest their money in independent games. A method many indie developers seem to be taking recently is releasing a “beta-version” of their game over platforms such as Steam for a low price, with the promise of free updates as the game is further developed. A prime example of one such game is Re-Logic's Terraria, a 2D “sandbox” game featuring exploration, crafting, resource gathering, and combat with a variety of different creatures.
Upon its initial release in January 2011, Terraria's sales boomed. Over 1 million copies of the game were sold, gamers being drawn in both by the unique style of gameplay and the prospect of future updates to the game. Head developer of the game, Andrew Spinks, made regular posts about planned features to the game in his blog, keeping the community informed about what they could expect in future updates.
Upon Terraria's version 1.1.2 update, which included new enemies, biomes, resources and a slew of new items to be discovered and crafted, popularity of the game boomed even more, resulting in the game being named as the No. 1 of 2011's Indie of the Year Player's choice.
Unfortunately for fans, Spinks suddenly decided to halt production of Terrarria, announcing in his blog on Feb. 21 that there would be no further updates to the games despite the fact that the several planned features that had been announced in his blog. Many members of Terraria's online community protested, feeling that the game had been cut down in its prime, and had yet to reach its full potential.
Sadly, however, this seems to be a route that many independent game companies take. Several indie games seem to be halted before they are considered to be “finished.” Lacking the resources that larger game companies have, independent developers either run out of money for production, or simply become burned out, no longer having the time or interest to continue working on their projects. It's disappointing for the fans who pay to play these games in the early stages of development, however, it's also a risk people take when they decide to play independent games.
Is it enough to scare people away from the indie game market? Certainly not, as there are still many gems out there to be found if one is willing to spend the time and money. Indie gaming is on the rise. And things can only get better as time goes on.
CANstruction kicked off today, with teams building artistic creations made entirely out of canned goods. Stop by the Weston Gallery to see their progress and drop off canned goods of your own. All donations, and all cans used to build the artwork, will go to the Freestore Foodbank.
Every Tuesday is Writer's Night at MOTR Pub. Songwriters, poets, spoken word artists — anyone with original work is welcome to share. Sign ups open at 8:30 p.m. and $40 goes to a special winner each week. Lucas of The Dukes Are Dead hosts. Enjoy a beer, a BLT and great company.
Check out our To Do page for tons of recommended art shows open today.
The Contemporary Arts Center is one of those few arts organizations open on Mondays (instead, Tuesday is their day off) Admission is always free after 5 on Mondays, but until Saturday, all admission is pay-what-you-can while the upcoming exhibits are installed. This is an interesting opportunity to watch as new works are brought in, play like a kid in the UnMuseum and shop in the always-fabulous gift shop. Saturday's opening party for the new exhibits will be quite a Spectacle, so look for details in this week's upcoming issue. Find ours and directions to the CAC here.
Check out Mike Breen's daily blog for tonight's live music lineup. And mark your calendars: Thursday is our annual Swizzle Soiree. Join us at PLAY for a celebration in conjunction with the release of our bar guide (on stands Wednesday). Cheers!
20th Century Cincinnati is a vintage-modern (is that an oxymoron?) collector's dream. The 18th annual event brings 60 furniture and decor dealers to the Sharonville Convention Center with all kinds of goodies from the 1920s-1980s. Tickets are just $7 for the weekend, with the sale open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Find details here.
Do you think there's ever been a February Final Friday as mild as this one? Surely not. Hop around the galleries, restaurants and bars in Over-the-Rhine and make the most of this odd weather!