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by Jac Kern 01.08.2014
Posted In: Movies, Music, Humor, TV/Celebrity at 01:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

The Internet is a scary place, and anyone who’s browsed 4chan can attest to that. But this creepy technological web can connect strangers and answer questions, often with unexpected results. The latest example: Jenna Jameson exchanged an unverified story and super sad, semi-nude pics for information about her former agent who Jameson said turned out to be a con man and is sabotaging her online presence. She was given the man’s phone number, address, social security number, credit score an more private information within the hour. Cool?

David Lynch fans will likely recall the last episode of Twin Peaks, where Laura Palmer tells Agent Cooper she’ll see him in 25 years. Peaks took place in 1989, which means she was referring to this year — 2014. Hence, Lynch is filming new episodes of the cult series, as evidenced by a Twin Peaks casting call.

It’s always exciting to see Cincinnati on the big screen — not just a mention, but actual shots of the city. It’s certainly not the most exotic locale, and many scenes of a Cincinnati-based movie could probably be replicated in a Hollywood studio. So movies that do make the trip Midwest tend to be very special to locals. Rain Man, Traffic and The Ides of March all brought a spotlight and stars to the Queen City. Next up: Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara make their way to Cincinnati this spring to film Carol. Based on the Patricia Highsmith book also known as The Price of Salt, the movie will be set in 1950s New York City, but shot exclusively in Cincinnati. Blanchett and Mara in vintage garb, traipsing around town? Celeb-stalking will be in full force, #ClooneyWatch style. Read more here.

In case you missed it, Shia LaBoeuf has lost his damn mind. Exhibit A. Exhibit B. Exhibit C. But, due to my undying love of Louis Stevens, I still anticipate seeing his wiener (again) in Nymphomaniac.

We’re a week into 2014 but, judging by the proliferation of “best of” articles and continued obligatory year-end reflection posts on Facebook, it appears most people are still in #RIP2013 mode — so we’re going to follow suit. Now that our marathon New Year’s hangover has passed (and since awards season doesn’t kick off until this week's People’s Choice Awards and Golden Globes), let’s look back at some of the highlights — and low points — of 2013.

The most photographed location on Instagram was a Bangkok mall; the most “popular” is this shot of Will Smith and the Biebs, with more than 1.5 million likes.

                                  A sacrifice to the Xenu gods? No such luck.

Moving on to Twitter, the most re-tweeted post was a somber one — Lea Michele of Glee’s photo of herself with boyfriend Cory Monteith, who died of a drug and alcohol overdose in July.

A close second was the announcement of actor Paul Walker’s death in November. :(:(:(

OK, enough with the sads! The most illegally downloaded artist of the year was Bruno Mars. Not sure whether that means he’s even more popular than his record sales show, or if people are just really ashamed to buy a Burno Mars album. Either way, the guy who penned, the exquisite phrase, “You and me baby making love like gorillas,” will be performing at halftime during next month’s Super Bowl. Good luck topping last year’s!

During awards shows and in end-of-the-year roundups, we often take a moment to remember people that have passed away. Since just looking at that Cory Monteith photo makes me want to sob and hide in a room full of Pug puppies and body pillows, actual real humans are out of the question. So, as a variation of this trend, let’s look back on some of the important TV characters we lost this year. SPOILERS.

In Memoriam

Game of Thrones

After the main protagonist of Game of Thrones, Ned Stark, was shockingly beheaded in the first season, audiences quickly learned any character on the series could find themself chopping block at any time. But who (besides, of course, those who’ve read A Storm of Swords) would expect Ned’s widow and oldest son to join him so quickly — and in such a terrifying fashion? The episode “The Rains of Castamere” brought the merciless death of Catelyn and Robb Stark plus Robb’s wife, Talisa, their unborn baby and direwolf Grey Wind, in addition to at least a dozen others at the "Red Wedding" alone. Earlier in the season, Ros — one of my favorite “working ladies” on television — fell victim to the insufferable Joffrey. While she played a much smaller role than the Starks, her death was heartbreaking and shocking. You’ll all be missed!

Boardwalk Empire

A Prohibition gangster drama is bound to rack up a serious body count. For some of the historically-based characters, like Al Capone, viewers have a pretty good idea about how long they will last. The fictional characters, however, can meet their maker at any point. While I’m still not over Jimmy and Angela’s demise, Boardwalk fully crushed my heart by having Richard Harrow go out in a completely un-badass style. Harrow was more than just a talented sniper with half a prosthetic face. He was a hero in the show. He killed — a lot — but usually only the true bad guys, and often to protect others. He was sensitive and strong, but slipped in his final scenes, accidentally killing Chalky’s daughter instead of his target, Narcisse. As soon as he missed the shot, I knew he was done for — Harrow, by definition, always hits his mark! Sure enough, after a dream sequence in which Harrow reunited with his family, we were jolted back to reality to find the wounded war vet dying peacefully under the boardwalk. The show will go on, but won’t have the same heart without him.

Dexter

Oh, Debra. I never much cared for Dexter’s little sis — the phony fowl mouth act just rubbed me the wrong way. But she definitely played an important role in the series, especially once she found out about her brother’s “dark passenger.” Dexter seriously declined after its fourth season, and this final one was a doozy. But it still didn’t prepare us for Deb’s death. After surviving a shot to the stomach, Deb appears to be recovering at a hospital. While Dexter was busy chasing down his sister’s shooter, Deb’s health turned for the worse, leaving her brain-dead. As a hurricane hits Miami, sending the hospital staff into a frenzy, Dex is able to pull the plug on his sister — sure she would not want to continue on in a vegetative state at a hospital for the rest of her days — and takes her body on his boat, to be whipped into the stormy sea. It seems like Deb and Dex died together in the water, until we meet up with a bearded, lumberjack Dexter in some mysterious woodsy locale, living in solitude. The fuh?

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead killed off a number of significant characters between the end of Season Three and first half of Season Four this year. Andrea, who once shared a bed with the Governor, ended up dead because of him. The Gov. hunted and captured Andrea after she attempted to run away to her group at the prison. Trapped in a torture chamber with the ticking time-zomb that was Milton, Andrea was unable to protect herself from a deadly bite. Michonne made it to her BFF Andrea’s side, only in time to put her down before she turned. And, after making an anticipated return to the show, Merle also fell victim to the Governor. His brother, Daryl, was tasked with killing zombie-Merle in a super-sad scene.

The Governor’s path of terror finally came to an end at the prison, but not before he was able to take out Hershel (the closest thing the group had to a doctor, not to mention Maggie and Beth’s father and the sweetest one-legged man to make it in the apocalypse). The villain was finally taken down in a big shoot-out between his group and Rick’s, which left all the survivors in disarray. Also, baby Judith is MIA, probably in a zombie’s belly. :(

Breaking Bad

I made up my mind early on that Walter White needed to die at the end of Breaking Bad in order for the story to retain its authenticity. Walt got into the meth business in order to pay for his medical costs and provide ample support for his family if and when he succumbed to cancer. We all know he stuck with the game for so long because, as he finally admitted in the finale, he liked it. He was good at it. “I did it for me,” he tells Skyler in their final scene. Most fans probably expected Walt to die, and he did so in a truly epic fashion, while protecting Jesse. His brother-in-law Hank also went out like a champ, after a brutal desert showdown. The saddest death of all was the end of the show itself, but Breaking Bad will surely stand the test of time as one of the greatest American dramas.

Homeland

Talk about a surprise ending! After breaking free from countless near-death experiences, Nicholas Brody was captured and killed. Viewers got a taste of a Brody-less Homeland this season, as the character was on the lam and not present in much of this season. But the show was so much better with Brody in it — somehow, he balanced Carrie’s cray, despite the fact that he was a damaged man who flipped every chance he got. This death gives the show an opportunity to take a completely new route. Hopefully we’ll still check in on his family (am I the only one who still cares about them?) but we’re definitely going to have a little bit of Brody in the form of his child with Carrie. How a fetus could survive the stress, cigs and booze she put it through proves that this is definitely a Marine baby.

 
 
by Jac Kern 04.05.2013
Posted In: Events, Music, Performances at 02:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List: 4/5-4/7

The artistically-minded Chef Frances Kroner of Feast and the creative minds behind Modern Makers present The Big Dinner: Taste {food art} Friday night. Guests will enjoy locally-sourced, beautifully designed foods in a gallery setting for a unique culinary experience. The event kicks off at 6 p.m. at the Niehoff Urban Studio in Corryville. Last-minute tickets are still available here.

Is Cincinnati haunted? Channel your inner ghost hunter at the Guided Ghost Tours of Music Hall. Beneath the historic building’s foundation lies an old pauper’s cemetery — all unmarked graves — and there have been rumors and reports of paranormal activity for years. See for yourself at these monthly tours (continuing May 31 and June 14) at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday.

Superstar violinist Sarah Chang joins the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for String Fever Saturday at Music Hall. After the performance, CSO Encore (the symphony’s volunteer young professional group) wraps up its season with an after-party at 21c Museum Hotel. Drinks and snacks will be served up alongside more great live music starting at 10 p.m. Attendees can explore the space, including the 24-hour contemporary art museum inside. Go here for more info.

Prefer musical performances with a little more camp? Check out the Cincinnati Men’s Chorus as they present ExtrABBAganza Friday and Saturday. Performing a show originally created for the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus in 1997, the CMC will belt out the best tribute to ABBA you’ve ever heard (OK, you’re probably used to really bad karaoke, but these guys got chops). Those fun Swedish Pop hits will come alive in the SCPA Mayerson Theater. Read our full feature on the Cincinnati Men’s Chorus here.

If you’re a tattoo enthusiast or just love ink culture and history, you’ll want to check out Saturday’s screening of Tattoo Nation at AMC Newport on the Levee. Director Eric Schwartz and writer/producer John Corry focus on the rise of the black-and-grey tattoos as its own distinct style. AMN’s 9 p.m. show is the only screening in the Tri-state.

For more stuff to do this weekend, check out our To Do page or full calendar for more events, concerts, theater shows and art exhibits.

 
 
by Jac Kern 09.27.2013
Posted In: Events, Music at 11:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List: 9/27-9/29

MPMF Weekend is upon us! Two nights of music still lie ahead, plus free events for all ages on the MidPoint MidWay. Parents can bring the little ones to KidPoint on the Midway from noon-4 p.m. Saturday, where family-friendly fun awaits — activities in the ArtWorks box trucks, street performers, interactive presentations from Cincinnati Ballet’s CBII (Second Company), local food vendors and, of course, live music. MidPoint shows start at 5:30 p.m. Friday and 12:30 p.m. Saturday and continue late-night all weekend at Washington Park, Grammer’s, Taft Theater, the Contemporary Arts Center and tons of other venues around Downtown and Over-the-Rhine. Check out the official guide with schedules, maps and more info here.

The idea of “flea markets” has evolved in recent years from bazaars with folks hawking a hodgepodge of chintzy items to curated marketplaces full of local, handmade goods. The final Oakley Fancy Flea of the season is Saturday at 3047 Madison Road, near Oakley Pub. From 10 a.m.-4 p.m., shoppers can browse jewelry, housewares, artwork and more Cincy-centric stuff.

CliftonFest celebrates the quirky and colorful Ludlow Avenue — and that description will become literal as the street is transformed with sidewalk chalk art. Friday through Sunday, artists will create “art carpets” on the street’s edges that will last for months. The fest also features artisan vendors, live music and a pet parade (Sunday). The free event runs 7-11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday.

Northern Kentucky’s “premier urban art fair” Art Off Pike brings more than 80 artists to Covington this weekend to exhibit and sell their works. In addition to lots of artist booths, there will be demos and workshops, graffiti kiosks, live music, film screenings and local beers, bourbons and wines — all from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday on Seventh Street between Madison and Washington avenues.

Those traveling between Kentucky and Ohio this Sunday may be alarmed to see more than 100 people in the river below. Worry not — they’re swimming by choice! The Great Ohio River Swim race kicks off at 8 a.m. Sunday and is just one event in association with Great Outdoor Weekend, an annual showcase of Cincinnati’s plethora of nature-oriented events and organizations. More than 150 events across the Tri-state are scheduled for the GOW Saturday and Sunday at area parks, farms, nature preserves and other venues. Find a full lineup here.

For more art openings, theater shows and other stuff to do this weekend, check out our To Do picks and full calendar.
 
 
by Jac Kern 03.04.2014
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, Movies, Music at 01:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can’t Get Enough…Oscars

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

And just like that, “Awards Season” comes to a close. Does anyone else think it went out with more of a bore than a bang?

Sunday’s Oscars were preceded by the Film Independent Spirit Awards Saturday. I was introduced to this indie movie celebration last year and was pleasantly surprised by the fun, fast-and-loose nature of the show in addition to its highlighting of lesser-known, smaller-budget films compared to the Academy Awards. Maybe it was due to Jameson no longer sponsoring the event/getting everyone wasted; perhaps it was the fact that many of the winners went on to receive Oscars in similar categories the very next day. Either way, I found this year’s show, hosted by Patton Oswalt, to be just a little blah. See for yourself here.

Sunday night was not much of a departure from that feeling. I do love me some Ellen — she can always deliver consistently funny material everyone can relate to. She picked on stars without being too mean and rocked some fab suits, but it takes more than that to keep me awake through a 15-hour production like the Oscars.

But there were plenty of both touching and funny moments throughout the night. Supporting actor and actress winners, Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong’o, delivered thoughtful, emotional acceptance speeches (while looking freaking gorge). Leto — who I still can’t believe was the oldest nominee in that category — spoke about his mother’s inspiring perseverance, the conflicts in Venezuela and Ukraine and the victims of AIDS as well as discrimination (both central themes of Dallas Buyers Club). He also looked sharp in a cream tux with burgundy tie and the most coveted ombré locks of any human man.

And, clearly, the 42-year-old gets his looks from his hot ass mother. But seriously, maybe we should consider the fact that Jordan Catalano is a vampire. Any thoughts, Pharrell?

Speaking of, Pharrell performed his Oscar-nominated hit, "Happy," in what appeared to be a legit GAP ad circa 2003.

Lupita Nyong’o, who won for her role in 12 Years a Slave, also gave a heartfelt acceptance speech. Everyone is crushing on Lupita right now, myself included, but let’s talk about her equally attractive brother, Peter.

They’re basically the Kenyan Tegan & Sara in that they are super hot siblings with super cool androgynous hairdos.

Fans of Her (which nabbed Best Adapted Screenplay) no doubt cried, rewound, and cried again as Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend performed “The Moon Song” from the film, which totally got shut out by that stupid Frozen song everyone (including local weather guys) won’t shut up about.

Broadway darling Idina Menzel went on to perform the Frozen's “Let It Go,” but not before John Travolta’s Thetin levels temporarily crashed, causing him to forget how to speak.

This, of course, sparked a hilarious Adele Dazeem twitter account and John Travolta name generator. My Travoltified name is Jessica Kzing!

Early in the evening, Ellen was kind enough to order a few pizzas for all the starving celebs in the audience, which led to what will be known forever as The Selfie* That Broke Twitter. The star-studded pic has more than 3 million retweets, the most of anything ever #sorryobama.

*I just can’t with the term “selfie” anymore. I’m tired of the way newspeople say, “selfie” like they’ve coined some new generation-defining trend. Haven’t people been taking pictures of themselves via an extended arm since forever? Much like “hipster,” this term lives on thanks to the diligence of out-of-touch white people trying to be current.

America’s bestie Jennifer Lawrence was nominated, so naturally she fell on the red carpet. Warning to JLAW: We love you. You’re a “real woman” according to people, which means you’re not a robot I think, but you don’t constantly have to flaunt that fact by tripping and talking about eating fries all the time. You’re bordering on the Zooey Deschanel “adorkable” territory that has forced me to despise the banged, blue-eyed beaut. I still love you, JLAW — you cited Caroline Manzo as your American Hustle character inspiration for Chrissake — you just don’t have to push the clumsy slob persona all the time.

As far as winners go, 12 Years a Slave and Dallas Buyers Club cleaned up pretty well with three wins each and Gravity dominated the technical and directing categories, garnering a whopping seven awards. The Academy essentially said, "And none for you, American Hustle," and people are still crying over Leonardo DiCaprio's continued Oscar losing streak.

OK, that’s all the important stuff. Peep all the winners below.

Best Motion Picture of the Year

American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Gravity
Her
Nebraska
Philomena

12 Years A Slave

The Wolf Of Wall Street

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender,12 Years A Slave
Jonah Hill, The Wolf Of Wall Street

Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years A Slave

Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Amy Adams, American Hustle
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo Dicaprio, The Wolf Of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years A Slave

Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Animated Feature

The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine

Frozen

The Wind Rises

Best Cinematography

The Grandmaster (Philippe Le Sourd)
Gravity
(Emmanuel Lubezki)
Inside Llewyn Davis
(Bruno Delbonnel)
Nebraska
(Phedon Papamichael)
Prisoners
(Roger A. Deakins)

Best Costume Design

American Hustle (Michael Wilkinson)
The Grandmaster
(William Chang Suk Ping)
The Great Gatsby
(Catherine Martin) Totally blocked this one out of my memory.
The Invisible Woman
(Michael O'Connor)
12 Years a Slave
(Patricia Norris)

Best Directing

American Hustle (David O. Russell)
Gravity
(Alfonso Cuarón)
Nebraska
(Alexander Payne)
12 Years a Slave
(Steve McQueen)
The Wolf of Wall Street
(Martin Scorsese)

Best Documentary Feature

The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, Signe Byrge Sørensen)
Cutie and the Boxer
(Zachary Heinzerling, Lydia Dean Pilcher)
Dirty Wars
(Richard Rowley, Jeremy Scahill)
The Square
(Jehane Noujaim, Karim Amer)
20 Feet from Stardom
(Nominees to be determined)

Best Documentary Short

CaveDigger (Jeffrey Karoff)
Facing Fear
(Jason Cohen)
Karama Has No Walls
(Sara Ishaq)
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
(Malcolm Clarke, Nicholas Reed)
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall
(Edgar Barens)

Best Film Editing

American Hustle (Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers, Alan Baumgarten)