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by Jac Kern 09.18.2013
Posted In: Movies, TV/Celebrity, Humor at 12:04 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

With two episodes of Breaking Bad left, everyone’s gone a little Walter White crazy — you’d think actual meth fumes were being released from our televisions. Jimmy Fallon & Co. have had a Breaking Bad spoof in the works for a while now, teasing fans all the while with photos and hashtags like #JokingBad.

The nearly 13-minute sketch is a hilarious Late Night take on Bad, starring Fallon as Walt and (Steve) Higgins as Jesse and complete with all the references you’d expect, plus some cameos you wouldn’t. Bask in the glory that is “Joking Bad!” (Mild spoliers from seasons 1-4, if you’re being picky.)

And while we’re at it, check out Drakeing Bad — a blog of illustrations by Barry Schwartz and Shea Serrano (who brought the world Bun B's Rap Coloring and Activity Book) featuring iconic Breaking Bad scenes…with rapper/former Degrassi High student Drake randomly inserted, replacing various characters. Again, sort-of spoilers abound, so anyone who intends to watch Bad but isn’t caught up should proceed with caution (if at all). And may god have mercy on your soul.

Saturday Night Live returns to NBC for its 39th season Sept. 28 (Tina Fey will host; Arcade Fire is the musical guest) and with the new season comes lots of changes. We already know Fred Armisen, Jason Sudeikis and Bill Hader will no longer be gracing the SNL stage with their presence this year, and now newcomer Tim Robinson has been banished to the writers’ lair (JK, maybe it's really cool there). The rest of 2012-2013’s cast, including soon-to-be Late Night host Seth Meyers, is sticking around.

New people: Fresh featured players will include Beck Bennett (that suited dude in the AT&T commercials who spends far too much time in children’s classrooms), Kyle Mooney (he and Bennett are in comedy group Good Neighbor), Upright Citizens Brigade member and Cracked contributor Noel Wells (the only new female to join the cast), SNL writer Mike O'Brien, Comedy Central’s comic to watch Brooks Wheelan and John Milhiser, another UCB-er.

Changes: Meyers will retain his Weekend Update duties until he takes over Late Night in February and, possibly, throughout the full season. Last year’s featured player Cecily Strong will join him at the desk and take over Weekend Update when Meyers eventually leaves. Strong was probably best remembered for her character, Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party (which I still think is kind of meh) and a pretty accurate interpretation of a porn star-turned-home shopping model. We’ll see how she transitions into this much larger role!

Confession time! I’m kind of seriously into Insane Clown Posse Theater on Fuse. I turned it on as a joke once, but now I actually find it pretty hilarious. (Note: If anyone sees me rocking JNCOs and cornrows while drinking Faygo, send help!) It’s basically Mystery Science Theater 3000 but with ICP’s Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope unleashing their offensive insights on an array of music videos.


They also bring on guests like Tom Green, Coolio and comedian Jim Norton, talk with them for a little bit, react to more videos and then awkwardly tell them to leave. I never would have guessed ICP could be so entertaining and —dare I say — likable! I mean, I’d think they would just objectify video vixens, which they certainly do, but there’s an equal amount of homo-erotic comments I’d never expect. And their constant inaccurate facts that have to be corrected onscreen get me laughing every time. At the very least, add this to your “drinking show” watch list, because that is a perfectly acceptable pastime as well as a good way to categorize TV shows, OK? Catch ICP Theater at 11 p.m. Wednesdays on Fuse.

Taystee from Orange Is the New Black (Government name: Danielle Brooks) is gonna be a Girl, the series’ first black female character.

Every mother and girlfriend’s worst nightmare was was released Tuesday as Grand Theft Auto V. The game allows players to wreak havoc on the streets of San Andreas, get high and drunk and even check out a strip club where dancers in private rooms give a topless show (digital boobs!). So yes, the infamous game has and will continue to spark controversy and backlash over the amount of violence and overall incorrigible behavior, but anyone with half a brain cell who watches or plays the game can see it is rife with satire, almost making fun of the culture it represents. The visuals, attention to detail and amazing pop culture and allegorical Easter eggs woven in the game are nothing short of astounding.

                                         Get your character this Drive-esque jacket and crush skulls in style!

How often do you think, “Good job, fast food restaurant,” or “Smart advertising, national chain eatery!”? Probably never, and that’s why Chipotle’s new promo, The Scarecrow, is getting so much attention. The fast-casual Mexican chain has cut ties with McDonald’s (its former majority partner) and plans to be the first U.S. restaurant chain to go GMO-free. Now, with this haunting anti-factory farm ad (with a little help from Fiona Apple on vocals), Chipotle is taking its “Food With Integrity” motto even further.

 
 
by Jac Kern 09.13.2013
at 02:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List: 9/13-9/15

Fountain Square and the surrounding Fifth Street area will be a beerhead mecca this weekend as 47+ breweries serve up more than 200 of their best brews for Cincy Beerfest. Enjoy samples of everything from Magic Hat and Rogue to local brews like MadTree and 50 West Friday and Saturday. Local food trucks will be on hand to supply munchies along with plenty of live music all weekend. Tickets are $15 and include a 16-oz. cup and two drink tickets or a 5-oz. sample cup and five sample tickets. Additional pints are $5; additional samples are $2 each. VIP tickets are $40 and include a 5-oz. sample mug, 25 samples and access to an exclusive area with VIP-only beers. Buy VIP and $10 designated driver tickets here. Cincy Beerfest runs 6-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Happiness is a warm donut and this weekend, you can buy happiness as Holman’s Donuts opens its highly anticipated Over-the-Rhine location. Welcome the donut dynasty to the neighborhood during the grand opening of their new Vine Street store from 7 a.m.-11 p.m. (yes, they’re open late!) Saturday.

The Westwood Civic Association presents the fifth annual Westwood Art Show outside Westwood Town Hall Saturday. Looking for that perfect work of art for your living room? More than 70 local artists will be selling their works at the event. There will also be live music, local food vendors, wine tastings from Henke Winery plus Madcap Puppets and a craft tent for kids. The free event runs 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday.

Celebrate “Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day” with a little culture during the Cincinnati Celtic Festival at Washington Park. Ireland, Scotland and other Celtic cultures will be represented with music, dance, handcrafted goods and — of course — plenty of food and Guinness. The fest runs noon-8 p.m. Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday.

Bill Maher is known for three things: Comedy, commentary and controversy. Fans can expect a mix of all three — with lots of laughs — at Maher’s stand-up show Sunday at the Aronoff Center. Maher is currently in his 11th season of his talk show, HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher which returns from summer hiatus Friday at 10 p.m. Check out our interview with Maher here.

For more art openings, summer festivals and other stuff to do this weekend, check out our To Do picks, full calendar and Rick Pender’s Stage Door for weekend theater offerings.

 
 
by Jac Kern 09.11.2013
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, Humor, Movies, Culture at 01:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

Back-to-school shopping was always pretty fun as a kid, but for child divas of the ‘80s and ‘90s, Lisa Frank made school supplies more than just educational basics — they were Technicolor accessories you were allowed to bring to school! Lisa Frank produced folders, posters, backpacks, pencils, notebooks and other craft and school supplies in the ‘80s and ‘90s that featured vibrant, colorful characters. It's like a child-friendly acid trip come to life. As The Atlantic reveals below, Lisa Frank is actually a real person and, despite the fact that she is a very private person, she recently gave a brief promotional interview after Urban Outfitters bought her vintage stock. Check it out, take the hand of a rainbow tuxedoed panda and walk down memory lane (and look out for a young Mila Kunis!) as you peek into Lisa Frank Incorporated:


Today, as Americans and people across the world remember 9/11, concerned about a possible war between the United States and Syria, young people are left with one question: What rhymes with hug me? Yes, Robin Thicke's “Blurred Lines,” the song version of that friend who was really fun at a party but doesn't know when to throw the towel in and call a cab, features plenty of questionable lyrics, but "You wanna hug me/What rhymes with hug me" has turned the average Top 40 listener into a regular investigative reporter. What does rhyme with “hug me?!” Thankfully, the WRWHM lyric generator is here to help, with a variety of fun options. Unfortunately, if you’re a rhyme Nazi like myself, you’ll be disappointed to find many non-rhyming examples, similar to the assumed "fuck me" in the song. (He's inferring "fuck me," right? Right?!)

Fifty Shades of Grey, the Twilight fan fiction that made it OK for women to openly read shitty romance novels again (thank god!), has been on its way to the silver screen for a while now. All the while, fans have been speculating who would portray the book’s main characters, particularly the BDSM-loving Christian Grey. Well, wait no more, horny moms — Sons of Anarchy’s Charlie Hunnam will soon be the recipient of endless deliveries of cable ties and Lane Bryant panties, as he is officially the face of Mr. Grey. I guess this is a good move for him because every human with a vagina will throw their dollars and undies at anything Shades, but Jax Teller? Really? Taking on the role of Grey’s girl, Ana, is Dakota Johnson, daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, who I’ve referred to as “the Stanford girl who slept with Justin Timberlake in The Social Network” more than once. Here are some peeps who turned down the roles.

Four years ago, Mac from Always Sunny (in Season Five’s “The World Series Defense”) wrote a very emotional, sticker-filled letter to Philadelphia Phillies’ second baseman Chase Utley. It’s been a long wait, but Utley finally responded.


Ever want to watch celebrities recount their first sexual encounters to your favorite Full House heartthrob? I know, you’ve been waiting for years. Finally, here’s Losing It With John Stamos.

Australian comedian Chris Lilley is back with a new project featuring one of fans’ favorite characters. For those unfamiliar with the comic chameleon that is Lilley, cancel all of your plans, log onto HBO Go (or borrow someone’s account) and watch Summer Heights High and Angry Boys (Lilley’s first series, We Can Be Heroes, is not available to stream anywhere as far as I can tell, but you should buy that shit if you can find it). Lilley makes these amazing mockumentary-style series in which he plays multiple characters, often different genders, ages and nationalities, and he does so in a way that is so realistic, poignant, raw and hilarious, you’d really have to think twice before calling it “drag” or “blackface” — he becomes these characters.

In Lilley’s upcoming series, he will reprise his role of Ja’mie King, prissy bitch supreme featured in WCBH and SHS. Ja'mie: Private School Girl will debut on HBO Nov. 24. Please enjoy this Ja’mie mash-up, you fugly povos.

And as we welcome on new series, we say goodbye to another: True Blood will end after its seventh season next summer. Bon Temps better go out with a bang. And by bang, I mean a barrage of full-frontals (Spoilers!).

 
 
by Staff 09.04.2013
Posted In: Music, Life at 01:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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CityBeat Music Editor Mike Breen Wins Another Award

Ohio SPJ award for Rock and Roll Commentary among six CityBeat submissions recognized

CityBeat Music Editor Mike Breen for the second straight year has won the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists statewide contest for Best Rock and Roll Commentary. The Central Ohio SPJ chapter this week recognized work from all across Ohio, with CityBeat’s entries falling into the "Less than 75,000 Circulation" category.

Breen also won first place this year for his music writing entered into the local SPJ chapter’s annual awards.

CityBeat also won first place for Best Website and placed second in the Best Weekly Newspaper category. CityBeat eagerly anticipates finding out what [expletive] publication won first place and intends to mail its leaders a sarcastic token of congratulations once we figure out who they are.

Breen’s body of work included an essay on the Afghan Whigs’ relevance to his life during struggles with drugs and alcohol (My Dark Passenger,” issue of Oct. 17), a review of the Music of Change exhibit at the Freedom Center ("Power of Music Celebrated in 'Music of Change'," issue of Aug. 8) and a review of local band Foxy Shazam’s new album and release show (“Foxy Goes to 'Church',” issue of Jan. 18).

CityBeat’s Best of Cincinnati Issue (issue of March 28) won second in the Best Special Section category, and two investigative stories were also recognized.

Staff Writer German Lopez’s investigation into the failures of Ohio’s prison privatization plan (“Liberty for Sale,” issue of Sept. 19) won second place for Best Criminal Justice Reporting, and CityBeat Editor Danny Cross was runner up in the Best Investigative Reporting category for his uncovering of how Western & Southern Financial Group could have purchased the Anna Louise Inn long before entering into a dirty legal battle that ultimately forced the nonprofit to give up its building ("Surrounded by Skycrapers," issue of Aug. 15).

The awards will be presented at the annual Ohio SPJ ceremony at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on Oct. 5.

 
 
by Zohair Hussain 09.04.2013
Posted In: Culture, TV/Celebrity, Music at 11:56 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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'Blurred Lines': Styled vs. Sensationalized, or Why 'We Can’t Stop'

As readers' interests shift, integrity seems to lose its main market in reporting

Following last week’s “scandal” at the MTV Video Music Awards, the pacing of news and reporting made itself known as a speed force to be reckoned with. In the minute-by-minute duration and aftermath of the performance of one, Miley Cyrus, and her “partner in crime”, Robin Thicke, new age media came together to do what it does best: twitter our feed with dribble and spit-up commentary.

It can’t be denied that news reporting, in many ways, is stepping further away from hard facts and closer to tabloid gossip. In a day and age where Twitter is the new paperboy, it can’t be denied that the facts are coming faster. And while this could be an opportunity for better news, more quickly, more often than not we’re trading chances for quick links to real stories with 140 character quips on MC-Hammer-like “did you see her butt”s (#chauvanistsforCyrus).

The real disappointment comes, though, when we look to major media outlets (Still trusted by some. Take off the aluminum hat, Johnny.) the next day for hard-hitting news, only to see that they’ve decided to throw their own hats in the ring. With prize-winning headlines such as CNN’s “Miley Cyrus twerks, stuns VMAs crowd,” the morning news was just as obsessed as the evening newsfeed.

As a reporter, a writer, an observer, this obsessive, sprawling focus is what scares me most. It isn’t the performance itself, full of dancers dressed as teddy bears or Cyrus’ gyrating hips on Thicke’s overly hyped crotch (See “Blurred Lines” for more details). It isn’t so much the event that took place, as it was the reactive reports that left an extra, bitter after taste to my morning coffee.

Even arts reporting, perceived to have more lenient, pop-culture laced subject matter, used to hold itself to similar standards of respectful re-tellings of facts rather than fiction. Though there had once been a clear distinction between opinion pieces and news articles, even in the realm of aesthetic focus, the lines are suddenly more blurred than ever. And where does that leave us, the “responsible” voices?

Culture is, in many ways, defined by the voices that carry out its most essential conversations. If we are of the few so lucky as to have a readership, our words carry the weight of decades of said cultural insight and historical backing. What do we have to say for ourselves when these words, our influence, sacrifice authenticity for celebrity? Integrity for popularity? What are we really accomplishing when we re-draw the line between honest reporting and scandalized, gossip mongering, and honest words inch closer to the latter? What would our (fore)mothers say?

This isn’t to say that there aren’t some voices, some news outlets out there, who aren’t doing it right. While most couldn’t look away from Cyrus’ extended tongue (search “Venom” and “Marvel Comics” for more details), The Guardian, for example, wouldn’t look past the more subtly digressive implications of the performance. Did you miss the moment where the young, stage-dominant, Caucasian Miley Cyrus groped her not so white back up dancers? (The Guardian didn’t.)  

Some took an even more seasoned route, using temperance techniques to stop the sensational train in its tracks. In Rolling Stone's initially deceptive write up, “It's Miley, Bitch: The Tongue That Licked the World”, Rob Sheffield gave a more balanced account of the 2013 Video Music Awards, mentioning Cyrus almost in passing, and spending his time taking equal shots at all the stars involved in what he said was MTV’s attempt to make “sure this year’s VMA party was a real show. With a little help from Miley."

I ask again: What are we creating when we allow objectivity to bend to the will of popular demand, asking for glitter and jazz and sensationalized headlines? Nothing. We are creating a secular sinkhole of informational access. We lead our readers right back where they started.

And that says to me that there must be a change made. The truth is, we CAN stop. If we want to.

Why can’t we create insight, rather than propagate fan mongering, rather than cling to one star's fateful decision to wear her teddy bear out that night? Let the reporters report and the readers decide. It’s now or never. Robin Thicke will age (even more so, it seems) Miley Cyrus will find Disney again (and a few more times after that), “Blurred Lines” will find its way off the Billboard charts (catchy can only be caught for so long), but the honest word —that will last for…at least a few more years.

 

 
 
by Jac Kern 08.30.2013
Posted In: Events, Eats, Fun at 03:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List: 8/30-9/2

Local design, marketing and PR firm Peanut Butter & Jelly Co. hosts a Final Friday party tonight to celebrate the opening of its new Over-the-Rhine studio and the launch of a bi-annual PB&J-produced magazine. Guests will check out the fruits of a creative partnership between members of PB&J and Such + Such Designs, including furniture from the collection. The party runs 6-9 p.m. at the new studio at 1417 Main St., OTR. Valet parking is complimentary.

Cincinnati’s favorite mobile eateries invade West Chester for the first-ever Union Center Food Truck Rally Friday. Vendors include Café de Wheels, Waffo, EAT! Mobile Dining, C’est Cheese, SugarSnap! Truck, Red Sesame Korean BBQ and many more, plus plenty of beverages and live music The event is already in full effect, running until 10 p.m. Proceeds benefit The Girls and Boys Club of West Chester and Liberty Twp.

Taylor Jameson Hair Design hosts its first annual fundraiser Saturday with White-Out Child Abuse: The Cincinnati White Party at the Japps Annex. A donation to Childhelp, a charity for which the salon has raised $6,000 over the years, gets you in the door for an evening of cocktails, a silent auction, fashion show and dancing. All white attire is encouraged! Tickets are $10 in advance online, $15 at the door.

Earlier this month, Mason welcomed the oldest tennis tournament in the world. This weekend, the city hosts the longest running beach volleyball tour in the world, the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour. Saturday through Monday, top American players will compete at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. Fans will be excited to see Olympians including Phil Dalhausser, Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross, Todd Rogers and others. Go here for tickets and more info.

Labor Day is synonymous with Riverfest for the half-million Tri-state residents and visitors that attend the holiday fest and fireworks bash every year. Kicking off and noon and running until 11 p.m. Sunday, Riverfest draws gigantic crowds to both sides of the river, so come early and prepared (no booze or other beverages, coolers, wheeled items or weapons). This year’s event will feature the first-ever Dent Schoolhouse WEBN Zombie Walk at 5:30 p.m. Come dressed in your bloodiest, undead best to be apart of what organizers hope to be the biggest zombie event in the Tri-state. Rozzi’s famous fireworks display lights up at 9:05 p.m.

For more art openings, summer festivals and other stuff to do this weekend, check out our To Do picks, full calendar and Rick Pender’s Stage Door for weekend theater offerings.

 
 
by Jac Kern 08.28.2013
Posted In: Humor, Music, Is this for real? at 01:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough...VMAs

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards melted the face off the Internet, so if you’re still trying to form an opinion and sift through gif reactions, or you’re one of those people pretending you don’t know what the VMAs are — the Moonman has been around since 1983 and the VMAs have been pooping out pseudo-controversy for just as long. You know what they are. Sit back down — don’t worry, momma’s here.

If you really don’t watch the VMAs, it’s important to understand that the V and A do not matter — MTV rarely plays music videos, as we all know, and no one ever remembers who actually wins the Mooman by the end of the night. The respected academy of critics are teens who vote for whichever marginally talented star tweets the most. You watch for the pop culture experience — whether it’s Fiona Apple’s “bullshit” acceptance speech, the Britney-Madonna kiss or Beyonce’s baby bump announcement, crazy shit goes down at the VMAs. And this year was no different.

The big draw of the night was Lady Gaga’s big comeback. It’s been two years since a big performance and release, and Mama Monster also is back from a hip injury that kept her out of the public eye for a bit. Gaga opened the show with her new single, “Applause,” which was welcomed by audience boos (those turned out to be staged. Gaga — go figure.). The performance looked like some kind of jazzy, art school, off-broadway number, complete with dudes in leotards and onstage weave and costume changes, ending in LG in a big ass brown curly wig, a mermaid shell bra and thong. Her body was siiiiick (eat it, haters) and it was nice to see her look/act like a human — this is not the meat dress-wearing, alien goth princess, Jo Calderone Gaga. This is ARTPOP Gaga.

She seemed a little more down-to-earth, if that’s possible? Like she was having fun, and not taking it too seriously. Which is good, because her new song is in a fucking Kia commercial.

Next up is the kind of moment that makes careers and ends presidencies. Just kidding. It’s just Miley! So I (like every human with access to the Internet) detailed my roller coaster of emotions when I first watched Miley Cyrus’ video “We Can’t Stop.” And I must say, I have no problem with MiCy growing up and changing directions. Alternatively, I have no problem with her being a completely fake, manufactured product (cut to Lady Gaga —Government Name: Stefani Germanotta — looking like the normal girl she actually was less than a decade ago, on an episode of Boiling Points. Most pop stars were once Hannah Montanas before their producers gave them "molly" and a rejected Rihanna beat, OK?).

I have no qualms with her getting an fierce haircut and wearing denim diaper shorts and juxtaposing her former good girl image with her current hot lady looks. But there's a difference between shifting from Country to Pop or Disney kid to edgy starlet and purposefully quashing your saccharine image by motorboating a woman's thonged butt on TV just for the shock factor. I see you Miley, and I will not respond to you.