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by Hannah Bussell 02.11.2015 45 days ago
at 02:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
kaze oysters

Foods to Get You in the Mood

Where to find edible aphrodisiacs locally this Valentine's Day

In almost every culture, food and its erotic qualities are woven into history, mythology and superstition. We believe that chillies can spice up our sex lives just as easily as we believe bananas and their phallic resemblance can turn us on. Arguably a big plate of chocolate brownies fresh out the oven is enough to excite anyone, but science has proven that some foods actually do boost our libido. In honor of Valentine’s Day, here’s a list of aphrodisiac foods and where to find them in Cincinnati. 

Oysters 
Oysters are easily the most notorious aphrodisiacs. For hundreds of years people have been slurping back these bivalves with the belief they will impart sexual prowess. Giacomo Casanova, the 18th century Venetian womanizer, was an avid fan of combining food with sex. Not only would he unwisely use lemons as contraceptives (the empty rinds acting as cervical caps) but he apparently ate up to 50 raw oysters at breakfast each day to stir arousal before his legendary trysts. Though his contraception methods were completely useless, oysters and their special romantic powers don’t stem purely from an urban myth — scientists have found that they contain high concentrations of amino acids that trigger testosterone production in males and progesterone in females. 

This Valentine's Day, enjoy a "Mister B Hangtown" appetizer at Jean-Roberts table, an omelet of oyster, ginger, lemon, bacon, spinach, mushroom and Kentucky sheep’s cheese for $13. Salazar is offering lightly smoked Kusshi oysters with verjus mignonette, frozen grape and mint as the first course of their special Valentine's Day menu ($90 per person with wine pairings for $25). Alternately, for a quick and cheap fix of oysters, OTR sushi bar Kaze does single oysters for  $1 during their 4-7 p.m. daily happy hour.

Arugula 
 
This green, peppery and slightly bitter superfood comes from the Mediterranean region and has been recognized as an arousal aid since the 1st century. The Romans even consecrated arugula to the god Priapus, a god of fertility. It has now been proven that arugula’s natural aphrodisiac qualities stem from the trace minerals and antioxidants it contains, which inhibit the introduction of potentially libido-reducing contaminants into your system. Basically, the plant is a very effective overall stimulant and provides your entire body — and thus your sex life — with some amazing energy. 

Arugula is most commonly found adding a peppery kick to salads, and Cincinnati restaurants offer a whole range of salads stuffed with this saucy leaf. This Valentine's Day try a kale salad at Maribelle’s eat + drink, with raw kale, bourbon soaked figs (another aphrodisiac!), sunflower seeds, shaved parmesan cheese, charred lemon and, of course, arugula, for just $11. La Poste does a frisee and arugula salad, with pancetta lardons, grilled lemon and white balsamic vinaigrette, cotija and a poached egg to top for $9. If you don’t fancy a salad, you can eat arugula on top of one of A Tavola’s signature pizzas: white anchovy with parsley butter, fontina and lemon arugula for $16. 

Chocolate 
Chocolate’s sexy and seductive reputation started with the Mayans, who used cacao beans to pay for prostitutes in their whorehouses. Fast-forward to the late 20th century where chocolate is a billion dollar Valentine's Day cash cow, and scientists have proven that the phenylethylamine in chocolate releases the same warm and fuzzy hormone as does the act of falling in love. 

The taste and melt-in-your mouth texture of chocolate can turn on the pleasure sensors in the brain, which is totally understandable when you try the chocolate macadamia tart with brown sugar caramel gelato for $10 at Jean-Robert’s Table. Sweeten your Valentine's Day with chocolate-and-bourbon bread pudding for just $7.50 at the Senate in OTR or enjoy two aphrodisiacs in their sexiest form — a dessert of chocolate and raw strawberries — at The Mercer OTR for their fixed Valentine's menu. 

Pine Nuts 
Delicious sprinkled over a salad, baked into cookies or ground into a pesto, pine nuts have been reportedly stirred into love potions and provided men with sexual stamina since the Middle Ages. The vegetarian Roman poet Ovid, in his work The Art of Love, described "the nuts that the sharp-leafed pine brings forth" as his powerful aphrodisiac of choice. Arabian scholars such as Galen recommended men eat 100 pine nuts before going to bed and doing the deed. Many nuts, and especially pine, are rich in zinc, a key mineral necessary to maintain male potency and stimulate libido. 

For vegans and vegetarians, get some nuts this Valentine's Day at Primavista. Their penne pesto pasta is full of pine nuts and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for $16. Alternatively, to buy them in bulk and snack on them, you can find them toasted on site at Dean’s Mediterranean Imports in Findlay Market ($26.49 per pound). 

Pomegranates 
A big player in the aphrodisiac lore, this sweet and tart fruit owes its passionate powers to the high level of antioxidants within its juice. These antioxidants protect the lining of blood vessels, allowing more blood to circulate through them, enabling increased sensitivity in all the right places. The pinkish skin and the sexy deep red of the seeds alone can inspire sexual desire, some people even believe a pomegranate was the real fruit that Eve used to tempt Adam in the garden of Eden. 

Cincinnati’s dining scene is offering what scientists are calling a "natural Viagra" in a number of ways this Valentine's Day. Orchids at Palm Court is doing a stuffed quail with gold rice, foie gras and pomegranate juice for $16. For vegetarians, the Metropole at 21c Museum hotel is doing a bulgur wheat tabbouleh with charred pear, pomegranates and watermelon radish for $7. For just a hint of pomegranate at a more casual option, try the Firecracker crispy calamari accompanied by a spicy pomegranate dip for $6.50 at Suzie Wong’s

Salmon 
The god of love, beauty, pleasure and procreation, Aphrodite herself was born in the salmon’s own habitat: the sea. So of course this food is going to have some sexy powers. The omega-3 fatty acids packed into the fish keep sex-hormone production at its peak. The cupid-like omega-3s boost dopamine levels around your body, a neurotransmitter vital in stimulating desire. Not as famous for their aphrodisiac qualities as say chocolate or oysters, but they’re actually just as sensual. 

Start your Valentine's Day off by brunching like a Belgian; smoked salmon baguettes are offered for $10 at Taste of Belgium in Over-the-Rhine and Clifton. You could also treat your loved one to one of the best views in Cincinnati, and enjoy bourbon and maple marinated salmon with cilantro rice and veg for $16 at The Incline Public House. For a downtown option, Italian and French restaurant Boca is doing an exquisite verlasso salmon dish, with potato latke, sweet onion soubise and Swiss chard for $16/$31.

Other Valentine's Day dinner deals:
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.

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 housemade 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

 
 
by Amy Harris 02.11.2015 45 days ago
Posted In: Live Music at 11:07 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Getting ShipRocked

A recap of the sixth annual Hard Rock concert on the water, ShipRocked

You know you are not in Kansas anymore when you hear a voice on the load speaker of the cruise ship that says, “This is Fred MotherF*ucking Durst, your captain speaking.” Fred claimed to be driving the boat and getting a blow job at the same time. And so it began, the vacation of a lifetime, ShipRocked 2015. It became very obvious that sleep was not going to happen for the next five days.

When you step on the deck of the ShipRocked boat you realize immediately that this is a special place where artists and their biggest fans can rock the nights away with show after show for five days on the high seas aboard the Norwegian Pearl. In the festival at sea’s sixth year, ShipRocked offered a lineup headlined by Limp Bizkit, Buckcherry, Black Label Society and Sevendust. The lineup was rounded out by Metal Allegiance, P.O.D., Tremonti, Andrew WK, Living Colour, Filter, Lacuna Coil, Nonpoint, Otherwise, Zach Myers, Crobot, Icon for Hire, Thousand Foot Crutch, Wilson, Gemini Syndrome and many more.


ShipRocked 2015 kicked off with a mega Super Bowl pre-party on Sunday where fans could sport their favorite jerseys and watch the game on big screens all over the ship. Zakk Wylde started off the cruise with a full Metal version of the star spangled banner and then Chevelle hit the deck stage performing hits like “Hats Off to the Bull” as the sun set over the port of Miami. 


The ship pulled back into Miami on Monday to pick up more passengers and head out to the Bahamas for the ultimate Rock & Roll experience at sea. Limp Bizkit took the stage for the official sail-away party on Monday evening and blew away any skeptics as Fred and Co. got the party started dancing in the crowd on deck and closing out their set with “Break Stuff.” Fred seemed genuinely excited to be on his first cruise, saying how much he loved a “good buffet.” Wes Borland, who never disappoints, was ready to rock the cruise with full clown makeup, cowboy boots, and no pants, as he shredded on his bikini girl guitars. That’s right, ladies — no pants.


VIP guests were treated to rum runners and a private acoustic show on Monday with Nonpoint, Zach Myers and Lukas Rossi from The Halo Method. Zach Myers’ band previewed some new acoustic music off their upcoming album that showed off Myer’s vocals and guitar skills with fellow members JR Moore and Zack Mack.


One band that really stole the ShipRocked show this year was Sevendust. The Sevendust crew has been on every ShipRocked cruise and their shows onboard always bring a packed house. This year fans were treated to three Sevendust performances. For the first time the band played their entire first album live on stage, which was a special treat for the ShipRocked family. They also did an electric set on deck and a more intimate acoustic set in the Stardust Theater that featured guest appearances by frontmen Elias Soriano of Nonpoint and Aaron Nordstrom of Gemini Syndrome, who took the stage to help LJ sing “Angel’s Son.”


Another highlight of the trip was Metal Allegiance performing the entire original Van Halen album start to finish with special guest Wolfgang Van Halen. The ShipRocked Metal Allegiance lineup consisted of Joey Belladonna, Frank Bello, Chris Broderick, Rex Brown, Dave Ellefson, Gary Holt, Scott Ian, Mike Portnoy and Troy Sanders


On Tuesday and Wednesday the boat was docked at Grand Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas and a beach stage was erected to host performances in the perfect weather while passengers disembarked for some beach relaxation while listening to their favorite bands. Over the course of the two days, Letters From the Fire, Thousand Foot Crutch, P.O.D. and Nonpoint took over the beach stage to perform.


Tuesday night, Fred Durst hosted a late night DJ party at Bar City, dancing the night away with die hard fans starting at 2 a.m.


Buckcherry played two sets onboard and have never sounded better. They played classic songs like “Crazy Bitch” that every fan can sing along to and highlighted songs off their new EP, Fuck.


One of the coolest things to see on the boat is how all of the band members are true Rock music fans. They all attend each other’s performances while onboard. Every night you could find Anthrax’s Joey Belladonna rocking out in the crowd, singing every word to his favorite songs. Almost every band on the ship turned out for the performance of Rock legends Living Colour with special guests like Anthrax’s Scott Ian and LJ from Sevendust performing on stage with the band during their set.


ShipRocked is all about the fans and the fan experience. Every single band member was out of their room enjoying the ship, meeting fans, taking pictures and signing autographs every day. I saw fans wait patiently to speak to their favorite band members and they were all very respectful of the artists throughout the cruise. This is not my first music cruise but this is the first one where every band on board did a formal meet and greet so that their fans could have a photo with all band members either onboard the ship or on the island. The most dedicated fans waited in line for several hours on Thursday to get photos with all of the headlining bands.


Many of Thursday’s "day at sea" fan festivities were canceled on deck because of inclement weather but the shows were all moved inside and the schedule was re-arranged to accommodate all the performances that were planned. Black Label Society, Tremonti, Crobot and others rocked the boat throughout the day and Limp Bizkit closed out the 2015 ShipRocked cruise with a performance that laid to rest any doubts that the band is back in peak condition. Fred said over and over how much he loved his experience onboard and now he “finally gets it,” referring to why people go out into the middle of nowhere in the ocean to vacation and listen to Rock music.


Click here for more of Amy Harris' photos from ShipRocked 2015.


 
 
by Nick Swartsell 02.11.2015 45 days ago
Posted In: News at 11:03 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

Proposed welfare reforms could make "one stop shops" for services; is Miley Cyrus planning a Leelah Alcorn benefit concert?; Bush campaign operative resigns after offensive online comments

Good morning! This week is going crazy slow but it’s half over now, so that’s awesome. But the news isn’t going slow, and it’s never half-over. It’s always hurtling forward. Always changing. Growing. Watching. Ok. Maybe not watching. But those other things. Sorry. I didn’t get much sleep last night.

Let’s get to it. Gov. John Kasich yesterday came to Cincinnati to detail his plans for reforming the state’s welfare program to leaders from a number of county social service agencies. Kasich says his plan will simplify welfare services in Ohio, which can currently sometimes be a complicated array of various service providers clients must navigate to get help. Kasich would like to gather as many services as possible under a single roof, saving the state money. Those agencies that don’t go along with the plan could lose state funding. But some providers are wary of too much consolidation, as various agencies in different counties often serve very different populations. Kasich called those concerns “turf battles,” though some providers see the issue differently. Kasich has yet to release all the details of his proposed changes.

• The debate over what to do about Hamilton County’s morgue and crime lab is turning into something of a shouting match. Republican Hamilton County Commissioners President Greg Hartmann clearly hit a nerve last week when he called Hamilton County’s crime lab “a luxury item.” Now Democrats are firing back at the assertion. Yesterday, Hamilton County Democrat Chairman Tim Burke berated Hartmann in a letter suggesting the commissioner is playing politics with the crime lab and morgue, which have been at the center of a county budget debate. Both offices, which share a building on University of Cincinnati’s medical campus, are in need of extensive upgrades.

“I’m sorry, but the need for a modern morgue and crime lab is so clear that I can only conclude that your failure to fulfill the Commissioner’s duty to provide that must be due to the fact that our County Coroner is a Democrat who you don’t want to see succeed,” Burke said in the letter.

All parties agree the lab needs updating. Republican Commissioners Hartmann and Chris Monzel, however, say retrofitting a former hospital in Mount Airy donated to the county will be too expensive at $100 million. They’re suggesting the possibility of partnering with neighboring governments to create a regional lab. Conditions in the current building are so cramped that neither the crime lab nor the morgue has room for the extra employees it needs to process the increasing amount of work it must undertake. Other issues include an outdated electrical grid that won’t allow all the lab’s equipment to be plugged in at the same time and an insufficient plumbing system beneath the building that causes the build up of autopsy debris.

• Sticking with news about the county for another beat, 100 Hamilton County poll workers have been dismissed from their jobs for not voting in the last election. Officials with the Hamilton County Board of Elections have said they want to encourage voting, and if their employees aren’t doing it, it sends the wrong message. I’m not sure how I feel about this. It’s kind of like wearing American Apparel when you work there or tweeting your articles when you’re a reporter — probably a good idea, but mandatory? Seems a little harsh.

• A quick bit of gossip and speculation: is Miley Cyrus planning a benefit concert in memory of Leelah Alcorn? Could be. Recent social media posts by Cyrus show rehearsals for an upcoming project and a notebook that says “Leelah set list,” the Columbus Dispatch reports. Alcorn, a transgender teen, died Dec. 28 after throwing herself in front of a truck on I-71. She left a suicide note on social media explaining the isolation she felt when her family did not support her transgender status.

• Three people were killed this morning in Chapel Hill, North Carolina after a gunman entered their home and shot each in the head. The alleged gunman, forty six-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks, turned himself in immediately following the shooting deaths of Deah Barakat, Yusor Mohammad and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, all local university students. Though no official motive has been determined, the killings may have involved the fact the three were Muslim. Hicks, an outspoken atheist, had recently put photos of guns on social media as well as writing anti-religious posts.

• Finally, a high-level campaign operative for potential presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush resigned today after racially and sexually charged comments he allegedly made online recently came to light. Ethan Czahor was chief technology officer for Bush’s Right to Rise political action committee. In Twitter posts before he was hired in January, Czahor made disparaging remarks about gay men and called women “sluts.” One grade-A post from 2009 reads, “new study confirms old belief: college female art majors are sluts, science majors are also sluts but uglier." Wow. Bush’s campaign initially called the tweets inappropriate but let Czahor stay on. He resigned yesterday after other racially insensitive statements attributed to him were found on a website for a radio show he worked on in 2008.

 
 
by John Hamilton 02.10.2015 46 days ago
at 03:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Forgotten Classics: The Seven-Per-Cent Solution

Reviewing lesser-known films that stand the test of time

There’s no denying it: The British TV drama Sherlock is popular — ridiculously popular. So popular that one could say that it’s what launched Benedict Cumberbatch’s status from actor to superstar. Thankfully, his talent is still intact.

But I’m not here to talk about Cumberbatch. I’m here to talk about Sherlock Holmes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes is, of course, a legendary character. Even if you’ve never read a book in your life, you’ve at least heard of this famous British detective.

A lot like the famous miser Ebenezer Scrooge, Holmes has had several versions of himself on the big screen. There’s The Hound of the Baskerville (1939) starring Basil Rathbone. Peter Cushing (Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars) starred in Hammer Film’s 1959 remake the same story. Disney’s The Great Mouse Detective (1986) had a Holmes-like mouse character named Basil of Baker Street (nice little reference to Rathbone’s version). Then, of course, there’s the newer films with Robert Downey, Jr. which are surprisingly enjoyable, plus countless others with many legendary actors portraying Holmes and his loyal friend Dr. John Watson. There’s far too many to list off.

But the one I want to highlight was made in 1976 by Herbert Ross — The Seven-Per-Cent Solution. The film tells of Dr. Watson (Robert Duvall) luring Sherlock (Nicol Williamson) to Vienna to meet the father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud (Alan Arkin) in an attempt to kick Holmes’ cocaine addiction. But a kidnapping caper soon presents itself, and the trio joins forces to solve the mystery.

The mystery aspect of the film, while interesting, isn’t the main focus. This story concentrates on an aspect of Holmes stories that really hadn’t been explored often — Sherlock’s cocaine addiction. Through the books it is noted that Holmes did recreational drugs but, to the best of my knowledge, this film is the one version that takes a look at what made him do it.

At the beginning of the film we see Holmes become totally obsessed with trying to find a way to outsmart his arch-nemesis, Prof. Moriarty (Laurence Olivier), and catch him in the act. But here’s a twist: It turns out Moriarty isn’t the criminal mastermind the stories portray him as. He’s this aging and timid mathematics teacher. It’s this that gives Watson and Sherlock’s brother Mycroft (Charles Gray) the idea that Sherlock may need help.

That’s not to say that Moriarty doesn’t have a role in the film. He does, but that would lead to a big spoiler and I’ll let you discover that for yourself.

The detoxing of Holmes, while it does last a bit longer than it should, is a very impactful scene that shows this usually confident character in a different light. It’s nice change of pace from the typical Holmes story.

The film is also full of spectacular performances. One of the main reasons I wanted to check this film out was because I saw Robert Duvall played Dr. Watson, which, despite Duvall being one of my favorite actors, seems like bizarre casting. But he was surprisingly good in the role. Alan Arkin was more than perfect for the role of Dr. Freud, combining a stern professional persona and a man who cares about his patient.

But, as one would suspect, the guy who stole the motion picture was Nicol Williamson as Sherlock Holmes. He gives a performance that is so great it’s almost indescribable. Just check him out and be amazed by his spectacular portrayal.

Here’s interesting little connection between this film and Sherlock: In 2013 J.J. Abrams directed Star Trek Into Darkness, which featured Benedict Cumberbatch as the main villain Khan, who was also the villain in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). That film was co-written and directed by Nicholas Meyer, who also wrote the screenplay for The Seven-Per-Cent Solution which was based on his book of the same name.

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 02.10.2015 46 days ago
Posted In: News at 11:02 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
weed

Morning News and Stuff

Three of Ohio's proposed weed farms would be in Greater Cincinnati; Cincinnati ranked in top 10 creative cities; Twitter's weird privacy disclosure

All right. Let’s do this news thing.

If its ballot initiative passes, three of the 10 marijuana cultivation farms proposed by ResponsibleOhio would be in Greater Cincinnati, including one in Hamilton County near Anderson Township. One other location would be in Butler County on land owned by Trenton-based Magnode Corporation and a third would be in Clermont County. The weed legalization group is working to put a constitutional amendment ballot initiative before voters in November, and the push has some big local funders. The downside: The state would only be able to have the 10 grow sites, and those sites would more than likely be owned by the group’s investors. ResponsibleOhio’s plan would also create a seven-member oversight board which could increase the number of growing locations in the future, though who would make up the board and how they would decide who can grow weed is unclear.

• The partner of the man who died during the Hopple Street offramp collapse has hired a big-name Cincinnati attorney. Kendra Blair, who had four children with 35-year-old construction foreman Brandon Carl, is looking into a possible lawsuit over Carl’s death last month and has hired attorney Mark Hayden to begin the process. No suit has been filed just yet and it’s unclear if the suit will be filed in federal or state court. Carl was killed when the offramp collapsed during demolition. Investigations into the collapse suggest Kokosing Construction, the company carrying out the $91 million contract on the demolition, may have changed demolition plans at the last minute and should have gone about tearing the bridge down in a different manner. The company denies that its plans were flawed.

• U.S. Small Business Administration head Maria Contreras-Sweet yesterday dropped by Over-the-Rhine to check out Cincinnati’s startup scene, meeting with small business owners and nonprofit leaders from Taste of Belgium, Mortar, the Brandery and others, as well as officials from some of the city’s biggest companies. She also touted several programs the administration is looking to expand, including one offering microloans under $50,000 to small businesses. U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, who chairs the House Committee on Small Business, helped arrange the visit. Contreras-Sweet praised OTR’s business scene. “I’m enjoying the ecosystem you have here,” she said, which is business-speak for “this place is rad.”

• Real estate blog Movoto has ranked Cincinnati one of the nation’s top 10 most creative cities. Cincy ranks eighth on the list, just behind Seattle and just ahead of Pittsburgh. San Francisco took the top spot. Big reasons for Cincinnati’s spot on the list include high number of colleges, galleries, art supply stores and live performance opportunities per capita.

• Cincinnati Metro is teaming up with the city’s Red Bike program to show some love for riders leading up to Valentine's Day. On Feb. 13, Metro will be giving out free one-day bus passes and 24 hour Red Bike passes on Fountain Square at 1 p.m. Metro is also running a contest on its Facebook page and will choose one participant to receive a free 30-day Metro pass, a year-long membership to Red Bike and two tickets to a Valentine's Weekend performance at the Cincinnati Ballet. That’s pretty sweet.

• In national news, Twitter today released its biannual transparency report about how many government requests for user information it gets from government law enforcement agencies. The letter they released is cartoonishly redacted, including some parts that have been whited out and handwritten over. One part seems to have been erased and then scrawled over with a sentence saying that government surveillance of the public on the site is "quite limited." So yeah. That’s kind of hilarious but also kind of terrifying if you’re concerned about government snooping on social media.

 
 
by David Watkins 02.09.2015 47 days ago
at 04:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Queer City Spotlight: Queen City Queer Theatre Collective

Local LGBTQ news and views

As Louisville and Columbus receive more national recognition for a growing queer community, especially when it comes to nightlife, it made me think: Where is Cincinnati’s place in all of this? What burgeoning queer organizations or popular queer spots in town are making their mark and promoting education, change and the values that make up the queer movement?

First on my list is Queen City Queer Theatre Collective. Conceived by actor and director combo Linnea Bond and Lindsey Augusta Mercer, this uprising theater company presents play readings that speak to the queer experience. The goal: Create conversation, challenge social norms and ideals, and enjoy moving plays in a relaxed environment. With assistance from Below Zero owner Nigel Cotterill and sponsor Absolut Vodka, the group of artists performs readings once a month for free at Below Zero’s Cabaret Lounge. I caught up with Bond to learn more about QCQTC and why it is important to Cincinnati.

CityBeat: What inspired you to start QCQTC?

Linnea Bond: I wanted to, first, work more. I’m an actor, and I wanted to do more work. And I wanted to do more work that mattered to me. I saw a hole in Cincinnati. Cincinnati kind of fell behind, but there’s also a lot of people who are interested in talking about their experience and there’s a lot of people experiencing life as a queer person who don’t have that kind of outlet to talk about it and are not seeing their stories onstage. And as a queer person myself, it was a part of my life that I didn’t get to experience that much before. I grew up Evangelical and pretty much as an adult came to terms with the fact that I was allowed to explore that part of myself. So it was something I’d been thinking about — how to explore parts of art that I wanted to address, and also be working more. So I decided to start this group and I found a space — I talked to Nigel. A friend of mine from high school helped me make that connection, and I knew that her finance was a director. I’d seen some of her work and I sought her out and talked to her about maybe being a consistent director and working on this project. And she was really excited about it, so she came on and we moved forward together as co-founders and got other people involved. I got together a cast for the first show — of people who were really excited to do this — and we moved forward from there. It’s just really evolved. The community has really come out to support us, and it’s been a really exciting and rewarding process.

CB: What was is it like working with Below Zero Cabaret Lounge owner Nigel Cotterill?

LB: Nigel actually was so excited about the first reading. He really wanted to support us and I was putting forth money on my own for the rights of the first show. He volunteered to take care of those for us, which was fantastic. And he offered to broker that relationship with Absolut Vodka, so now they sponsor us for rights for every show. That is something we are also so grateful for. And we’re grateful for [Nigel] to be extending that space to us, and it’s been a really positive relationship for the bar, I think, so it’s just wonderful overall. His bar is a huge cornerstone for queer culture in Cincinnati. It’s a place where not only queer people feel comfortable, but I know a lot of not queer people who go there and love the culture and experience. I think it is a really wonderful, inviting, nonjudgmental, celebratory place. I think that it’s really cool that we get to partner with him in that space.

CB: What is your view on the queer movement in Cincinnati? Why are organizations like yours important to the city and queer community?

LB: From my perspective as an artist, I think that art and artists are the soul of a society. I think that if we aren’t doing things, society will often close up and become cold towards whatever we are not talking about. Especially in Cincinnati, where there is a thriving queer culture, that there still is not legalized gay marriage. There are certain parts of town I’ve worked in before where I’ve received closed-mindedness toward queer rights and the queer experience. I think there are a lot of forward-minded people and there’s a lot of backward-minded people. So we are really hoping to encourage that discussion and make it a normal thing for us to be talking about. My hope in the future is that — as we’ve seen lots of supporters come out [to support], lots of activists, lots of people who share our experience — I hope that it extends to people who might not be comfortable with that conversation. I hope they feel welcome to come experience our art, and gain something they have not experienced before. That is why [QCQTC] thinks [performances] should be free. We want to be accessible to everyone, no matter what their financial background is.

CB: What can an audience member expect when attending a reading?

LB: We were wondering how it was going to be perceived because people are used to a full presentation. We knew people would like it, but we were surprised at how much people like having that different format. We do it very efficiently, very quickly. We put that show up; so we only have a couple of rehearsals. It is also up to our director, Lindsey, on how it is going to be staged. There is sometimes movement on and off stage. Sometimes there’s a little movement and staging in it. But ultimately, we want to focus on the text and communicating that text and those relationships as well as we can.

CB: Your website explains that QCTQC brings “free public theatre to Cincinnati’s queer bar scene, giving locals the chance to celebrate the queer experience in art while enjoying drinks and downtown nightlife.” But what are your goals for the future? Do you ever plan on expanding to an actual theater space or a larger venue?

LB: Anything is possible at this point. We love our relationship with Nigel, so we appreciate the space and want to maintain that. But we have thought about possible partnerships with churches. GLSEN is an organization we also respect. We want places that are available to youth. We are very limited by the fact that people who are under 21 cannot come to our performances because it is a bar. We are hopeful for increasing accessibility in the future. We don’t know what that is going to look like, but that is something we think about. How can we expand? How can we reach more people?

CB: What is your process when choosing from a plethora of queer plays and literature?

LB: Some of it has to do with logistical constraints — you know how big the cast is, that stuff. We really want to do trans* shows, but we’re really sensitive to the fact that we don’t want to put a cis[gender] actor in the position of playing a trans* character. That is something we have to think about in terms of casting in the best way we can. We hope for that in the future, but it is wherever our heart leads. We have plenty of time. We’re in a sustainable position, so if something moves us — that we can’t do right now — we can perform it later. The first play that we did — The Beebo Brinker Chronicles is one I found over the summer — moved me so much because it shows so many different perspectives, especially the queer experience from the woman’s perspective. Additionally — and some people might disagree with me on this — I think that it is an early example of someone who wants to change their gender in a society that doesn’t have that dialogue.

CB: The past decade has provided entertainment through television programing like The L Word and Orange is the New Black that gives the queer woman’s perspective as you mentioned. Now TV shows like Transparent and RuPaul’s Drag Race have entered the mainstream, sparking a conversation about gender identity and gender roles in society. This has not always been the case. Still, today, the entertainment industry continues to glamorize the cisgender white male experience. Do these pop cultural themes or the role of cisgender white males in society contribute to the plays you choose to perform?

LB: We think of ourselves foremost as educators, but we think of ourselves, also, as artists telling good stories that are moving. I, personally, would like to do more shows that are about the intersectionality between the oppressive queer experience and other experiences of oppression.

CB: In high school I read Angels in America by Tony Kushner and it changed the way I see the world, myself as a queer individual and the queer movement. What was the first queer play you read that inspired you to connect your art and activism?

LB: That’s a great question! There was certainly stuff before this, but my mind first goes to reading The Beebo Brinker Chronicles last summer. I was able to come across a play that had characters I could really connect to — people who didn’t think they were allowed to feel the attraction that they felt.

CB: How can one get involved or audition for QCTQC? Is it only 21 and older?

LB: We’re working on it. We don’t have answers yet, but we know there is that energy and we’re really trying to find ways to serve it. The best way is to get in contact with us through our email, which is queencityqtc@gmail.com. We started this through a grassroots energy effort and if people have that excitement to join, we absolutely want to meet that energy. We feel so grateful to the people who have supported us, who have been moved by what we are doing. I feel so grateful.

Queen City Queer Theatre Collective presents a reading of The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me by David Drake tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Below Zero Cabaret Lounge. 1122 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine, 45202.

 
 
by Staff 02.09.2015 47 days ago
 
 
quan hapa congee

Leftovers: What We Ate This Weekend

Dried pork congee from Quan Hapa, Eli's BBQ, Cancun, plantains and LaRosa's

Each week CityBeat staffers and dining writers tell you what they ate this weekend. We're not always proud — or trendy — but we definitely spend at least some money on food.  

Ilene Ross: It wasn't exactly cold this weekend, but most frigid winter days find me jonesing for a body-warming bowl of congee, a type of rice porridge popular in many Asian countries. On Saturday, I enjoyed a tasty bowl of dried pork congee at Quan Hapa in OTR. It's filled with chicken, and there's a poached egg hiding in there. On top is yummy fried pork, five-spice oil and green onions. Deeply satisfying, no matter what the thermometer says. 

Rebecca Sylvester: LaRosa's! Did you know LaRosa's garlic butter dipping sauce contains no actual dairy, so it's vegan/lactose-intolerant friendly? If you think about it too much it's super creepy, but if you just don't think about it then it is a delicious option to dunk your cheese-less veggie pizza. #thestruggleisreal 

Jac Kern: Yesterday I had fajitas and margs at Cancun, my home away from home. The Western Bowl-adjacent cantina is a great brunch alternative for lazy/antisocial people: fast service, standard but consistent Mexican grub, dim lights and crack-like frozen margaritas. Come hungry; leave stuffed, tipsy and with a frost-bitten tongue. That's basically how all of my (frequent) Cancun adventures go.  

Samantha Gellin: I ate at Eli's BBQ for the first time. The inside was packed so we ate at a picnic table inside one of their big white outdoor tents. It was like 30 degrees outside, so thankfully I was able to nab a spot right by a working heater, but it was still pretty chilly. But now I know what all the fuss over Eli's has been about: It's freakin' delicious. And seriously cheap. A meat-stuffed sandwich and two generous sides will run you eight bucks. That's it. There's not many other restaurants in Cincy (at least not that I know of) that are so generous with their portion size and yet so easy on your wallet. And it's BYOB. I mean, what else could you ask for?!

I got a pulled pork sandwich with a side of baked beans and macaroni and cheese. The deliciousness of everything made me forget I was cold. The macaroni is to die for; it's everything you want a side of macaroni to be with a barbecue dinner — super rich, creamy and calorie-laden. The baked beans were also delicious: savory, with hints of bacon and brown sugar and something more complex that I can't put my finger on. And the pulled pork was pretty much everything you've heard Eli's pulled pork to be: savory, tender and with just the right amount of sweet. Will I go again? Most definitely, but I'll wait until it's warm out. 

Jesse Fox: On Saturday I did a freelance photo job for Ena's Jerkmania and fell in love with their fried plantains. I had never even had a regular plantain before so I wasn't sure what to expect. The texture reminded me kind of of like a thinner version of French toast, a little crunchy on the outside but soft in the middle. They were great on their own but would have been really good with some agave nectar on, too — but that's probably the sugar addict in me talking. 

Garin Pirnia: I’ve been nursing a cold, so I decided to stay in this weekend and make a few things. First up was homemade chai tea. You just throw a lot of spices — crushed cardamom, pepper, vanilla bean, star anise, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves — into boiling water and then add black tea and brown sugar. When I bought the spices at Findlay Market a couple of weeks ago, the guy was like, “Do you work at a restaurant or something?” I don't.

Next, inspired by The Comet’s housemade ginger ale, I took it upon myself to make my own. A caveat: If you hate ginger you will not like this; it’s super strong. You chop up a few ounces of fresh ginger and let it simmer in water for 45 minutes, and then dissolve sugar into it, which makes a simple syrup. Just add carbonated water and you have ginger ale that tastes better than Vernors and anything else on the market.

Finally, I made bagels. Yes, bagels. It’s so easy! You mix bread flour, yeast, a pinch of sugar and salt and malt syrup (I use honey) in a mixer or food processor. Form the dough into a ball and wait for it to rise. Then you shape the dough into the semblance of bagels and flash boil them. The hardest part is forming the dough, but the most fun part is sticking toppings like sesame seeds and poppy seeds onto the bagels. You can get a little crazy and creative — anything goes. Bake 'em in the oven for about 20 minutes and, voila, bagels without weird stuff like yoga mat component/flour whitening agent azodicarbonamide. You can freeze the bagels to make them last longer. Damn, I should open a café.

Anne Mitchell: I ate a fancy dinner at Covington's 200th birthday celebration gala. For giant catered-meal food, it was great — especially the bundles of green beans tied up with red and yellow peppers. Bean bondage! Seriously, there was real bacon on the salad and bourbon in the chicken sauce, so bravo COV200. I hope the next 200 years are just as tasty.

Kristen Franke: This weekend, I had a lot of things. 1. Dollar oysters at Anchor OTR. Thursday nights are the best. We were seated by the window and ordered a dozen delicious little numbers. Their granita topping — basically caramelized red onions that have been frozen into slushy-like goodness — and the fluffy fresh horseradish are dynamite. Our kickass server also brought Sriracha, which is a game changer when it comes to oysters. 


2. The volcano roll at Ichiban (half-price sushi, hell yeah!) on Friday night. The roll features a tower of crab meat on top of a deep-fried eel roll. That and a standard spicy tuna roll and I was set. No, it's nothing stellar, but when your bill comes back with $10.57 printed on the bottom, it's hard to resist doing your happy dance.


3. Homemade meatloaf, whipped potatoes and crisp green beans at my dad's house. His meatloaf is essentially a giant, baked meatball made with soaked french bread, fresh garlic, Parmesan and parsley. Dip it in those buttery potatoes and you can just feel your soul relax.


4. Late-night spoonbread at The Eagle OTR. Eagle is fantastic late night. We arrived at 10:41 p.m. and waited 30 seconds for a table for four. Their maple syrup-soaked spoonbread goes GREAT with a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, an on-tap staple at this place.


 
 
by Nick Swartsell 02.09.2015 47 days ago
at 09:35 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
horseshoe2_jf

Morning News and Stuff

Kasich in Cincy tomorrow to discuss social services changes; NKY couple charged with selling military tech to China; is Cincinnati "crying out for the wrecking ball?"

Hey all, I’m about to run out to cover a story, but here’s a quick little morning news reading list for ya. I’ll update as necessary a little later in the day.

Gov. John Kasich will come to Cincinnati tomorrow to talk about new standards for the state’s social service organizations he has proposed in his budget. Kasich says many agencies providing different services don’t coordinate well enough and don’t help clients move toward self-sufficiency. The specifics of the proposed new standards haven’t been released yet, but failing to meet them will be costly for organizations: Kasich has said the state could pull funding from various county agencies that don’t measure up.

• Is it fair to give valet parking services free parking, especially now that parking rates have risen in the city? Councilman Chris Seelbach says no, and he’s calling on the city to make Cincinnati’s parking arrangements with valet companies serving various restaurants downtown more fair to taxpayers. Currently, valet companies can reserve four spots near the businesses they serve using a permit and so-called “valet bags” that go over parking meters. Other cities charge for thousands for those permits, and even the bags, but Cincinnati gives them away.

• This is wild: A Northern Kentucky couple is in federal court on charges that their company, Valley Forge Composite Technology, sold $37 million in military-grade micro conductors to China. The United States has had a military trade embargo against China since 1990 as a result of what the U.S. government says is an ongoing arms buildup there. If convicted, Louis and Rosemary Brothers could face up to 45 years in prison and fines totaling more than $1.75 million.

• No matter what your feelings are about Cincinnati’s architecture, this opinion piece in the Enquirer is sure to start a conversation at your office or house or classroom or wherever you are right now. Read it aloud to friends and coworkers. Unless you’re in the Great American Tower or the Horseshoe Casino. Then lines like, “The new Horseshoe Casino looks like a temporary colonoscopy supply center with mall entrance” (LOL) will probably just result in really awkward silence. It's hilarious, though I'm not sure I totally agree.

• Speaking of architecture: as we get closer to Presidents Day, here’s a neat story about Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, a grand and eccentric mansion in Virginia that is one of America’s most famous landmarks. The current tourist destination, which today adorns the back of nickels, wasn’t always so revered. At one point, farmers herded cows into its basement and it sat basically derelict, in danger of crumbling completely. Yes, I know Jefferson isn’t one of the presidents whose birthday is commemorated by the national holiday (he was born in April) but he had a much cooler house than Abraham Lincoln, and Washington’s Mount Vernon estate is well, kinda vanilla.

 
 
by Staff 02.06.2015 50 days ago
Posted In: Comedy, Concerts, Drinking, Eats, Events, Food, Music, Movies, Life at 12:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List (2/6-2/8)

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

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

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

Friday, Feb. 6

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

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


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

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

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


Saturday, Feb. 7


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


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


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


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


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

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


Sunday, Feb. 8


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


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

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

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

 
 
by Jac Kern 02.06.2015 50 days ago
Posted In: Music, TV/Celebrity at 12:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Lamb Watch 2015

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

With the news of local musician Jess Lamb competing on the 14th season of American Idol, I’ve been watching and waiting for the initial audition episodes to end so we can really get into the competition and see more Jess. This week was the first half of Hollywood rounds, where some 200 contestants that received golden tickets during the aforementioned auditions before the judges — Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr. — converged under one roof. The musicians and singers will perform solo and as groups for the judges, who will gradually dwindle the crowd down to the top 24 finalists.

Unfortunately for locals (Spoiler Alert), we got about 30 seconds of Jess Lamb air time between this week’s two episodes. But on the upside, she’s still in the game!

On Wednesday’s episode, the judges surprised a room full of contestants, telling them a select few would be called onstage to perform right then. For viewers at home, we’ve seen these folks before — they’re the ones we saw audition and receive golden tickets (but keep in mind there were many more than what we saw), the judges’ “most memorable auditions.” But they don’t know that. For those in the crowd, it seems like random contestants were pulled up to perform in front of their competition with no immediate feedback from the panel of mega-stars. And the judges were continuously bewildered as to why these kids were coming up scared shitless.

Highlights:

First up was Jax, who looks like a PG-13 Ke$ha that got puked on by Forever 21, but gave a really cool cover of “Toxic” by Britney Spears.


Walking New York stereotype Sal was also called. According to the show he’s 19, but this man is definitely at least 45 judging by his voice, appearance and penchant for standards (his name is Sal for crying out loud).


Afro’ed Adam — who gave a boisterous performance of “Born to be Wild” in his audition — surprised everyone with a softer side that the judges didn’t seem to like.


Fast-forward through what seemed like a million 15-year-olds that made me feel like a stale prune…

And it was nice to see Garret, the blind cowboy with a voice of a thousand Country angels. He so needs to be in the top 24.