This weekend the Cincinnati International Wine Festival is taking place at the Plum Street divider known as the Cincinnati Convention Center. Tickets range from about $55 to like a million dollars. I know some of the proceeds go to charity while the rest goes to cleaning up the puke from the old woman that didn’t know she was supposed to spit out the wine after tasting it (I’ve seen Sideways once), and I’m totally down with giving to charities and doing things to make myself feel better about my privileged life.
The Ohio State Fair kicked off in Columbus last week when I realized that I could not actually remember ever attending it. I’ve been to a million church festivals over the years, and even a few county fairs, but it’s been at least 15 years since I have been to the statewide extravaganza. Banking that there would be loads of crafts, gardening and other D.I.Y. goodness to report on, Jason and I headed to Ohio’s capital Sunday afternoon.
So we gave Mixx Ultra Lounge a kind of shitty review when they first opened but this bar/sushi joint/plush-carpeted elevator ultra lounge offers a night life experience like no other place in this city. I went on Friday (12/19) for the Common listening party and was really surprised at how comfortably crowded and friendly it was in there. There are currently three floors although they plan on opening a fourth and fifth (that's where the "ultra" part comes in). There's a sushi bar, drinks and standing room on the first floor, a wooden bar and DJ area on the second and the third floor is for private VIP use (from what I gathered). The coolest part of the whole place is an old elevator they turned into a lounge area. Check out some photos from the Common listening party below and click here or on the image above to enter a full gallery.
If free ping pong and cheap drinks weren't enough ... now comes Northslice.
Every week Cincinnati's youth elite descends upon the great faux-dive known as the Gypsy Hut. If you're a regular, chances are you've gotten to know the bartenders there and chances are you know who pours the strong drinks: all of them. It's our favorite hot spot.
Bored on a Monday? Hit up the ping pong table. Looking for somewhere to run into all the people you pretend you don't like to see but in reality completely look forward to talking to? Head down on a Friday or Saturday. Want to have a killer pizza party with all of the above? GYPSY HUT!--
Humbly run by a man going only by Mike, the Hut has installed a pizza window. Bearing the witty name Northslice, you can buy pizza by the slice: $2.75 for cheese and $3 with a topping.
Mike bakes the pies while you get your drink on and the slices go fast, which means you're sure to get a piping hot piece. The sauce is a handmade, slightly sweet affair and while the cheese and crust are store-bought. You can taste the care put into every inch of the stuff. And all the necessary accoutrement for any pizza connoisseur such as crushed red pepper and grated Parmesan are there for free.
I recommend you ask Mike to paint on some garlic oil for you and make sure you grab some extra napkins.
Burned your mouth on some nuclear hot cheese? No worries: Cool it down with a specialty shot care of Kenny at the bar. Or perhaps a dessert shot ... I suggest an oatmeal raisin.
The Gypsy Hut, a place for friends.
— Review by Ian Wissman
In Glee, Kurt Hummel may have graduated from Lima, Ohio's McKinley High, but actor Chris Colfer will return his character's home state this summer while promoting and signing his new children's book, The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell.
Colfer, a 22-year-old Emmy nominee and Golden Globe winner, found time between takes on Glee to write a modern-day fairy tale for children ages 8 and older. He will discuss and sign the book at 3:30 p.m. July 29 at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Rookwood Pavilion.
From Amazon: "Alex and Conner Bailey's world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairy tales. The Land of Stories tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about. But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought."
Portraying an openly gay character on Glee (and being open about his own sexuality) has made Colfer somewhat of an icon in the LGBTQ community. After winning his 2011 Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor, he used his acceptance speech to support kids who watch the show that deal with bullies and naysayers. Colfer was bullied not only as Kurt on Glee, but in real life and resorted to homeschooling when he was in seventh and eighth grade. Check out his sweet, inspired speech below.
Screw that, indeed!
The Land of Stories is available for sale July 17. Reserve your copy in advance at Joseph-Beth, as it is anticipated that the book will sell out before Colfer's appearance.
When our summer interns go on family vacation, we can’t send them off without an assignment. So our resident Star Wars buff, Kenneth, gave us a rundown of Star Wars Weekend at Disney World.
At the age when most children began watching Aladdin, Hercules and Beauty and the Beast, I was lost in a galaxy far, far away. From those days on, my obsession has only grown. So, as you can imagine, I went to Disney World’s Star Wars Weekends years ago before Disney bought the franchise. People have voiced their opinions, which range from: “They’re ruining the series!” to “They’ll make it too kid-ish!” The list goes on. Opinions on that aside, Disney has been doing Star Wars Weekends for a while, since 1997. From what I remembered as a kid, Disney did a great job — I know I had fun.
Coming back after all of these years, with knowledge and wisdom of the series I’d acquired over the years in mind, I walked into Hollywood Studios half asleep from getting to the park so early. Needless to say, it was far more than I could’ve ever imagined. Disney has always been known for its showmanship and they really came through for this year’s festivities.
Disney had an all-star lineup of characters from the films and animated series, and fans could get autographs and watch them in different shows throughout the day. Just to name a few: Ray Park (Darth Maul), James Arnold Taylor (Obi-Wan in the animated series) Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett), Warwick Davis (Wicket) and Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano from the animated series). The park also had dozens of other characters guests could take pictures with during the day. It was almost guaranteed that around every corner, someone would run into a character from the universe. Whether it was Darth Vader shrouded in Storm Troopers or Tusken Raiders, it was always a treat.
The party carries on through four shows daily Friday-Sunday and change slightly each weekend (this year, the event runs every weekend May 17-June 9). There’s always a show with the special guest of the week like Warwick Davis or Jeremy Bulloch — the talks were just interesting to sit in on. The master of ceremonies and host of each show was James Arnold Taylor, voice actor extraordinaire. He even demonstrated 200 different voices he could do. Impressive, I know. Taylor hosted a talk show as well, where he interviewed the visiting star and Ray Park each day. This could range from being hilarious to quite inspiring depending on the guest. Trust me on that, hearing a story of how Boba Fett messed up his lines on his first day is something to behold.
If a taste for stunts and action are up your alley, Ray Park had his own martial arts show where he went through different fighting styles with an array of weapons. This was also where you learned to loathe the children who got the chance to go on stage and do move sets with the master himself. I’m still seething from that.
Special merchandise could be found at the one stop Star Wars shop near the back of the park: the Darth Mall (clever title if I don’t say so myself). Collectibles, helmets, toys, Disney characters in Star Wars outfits — it was all there. Guests could truly lose themselves in a place like that. If you’re an unabashed fan like myself, you can’t help but spend oodles of money there. I went in wanting something small and spent more than $90. Needless to say, it was neigh impossible to leave without some form of paraphernalia in hand.
Now, to deflect, again, the opinions I may have about Disney buying Star Wars. I have to say, Star Wars Weekends are on par with some conventions I’ve heard of. When Disney gets a hold of something, they’ll flaunt it and make it something everyone can enjoy. These weekends are comparable to a sacred gathering for fans of the series. To see people who enjoy these movies as much as I do having as much fun as me was sublime. The energy there was almost tangible, especially during Memorial Day weekend. The park’s population swelled so much, it almost reached capacity. This weekend was full of characters, big name actors, festivities, themes snacks, souvenirs and ways to immerse fans in the universe itself. Guests could make themselves Storm Troopers — it was awesome. I digress, these weekends were nothing less than magical for me and, from what I could tell, those around me. Where else at this time could you see Boba Fett dance with Princess Leia in her slave outfit?
For this Star Wars fan, Disney did a great job setting the atmosphere of my favorite series. The entire park was flooded with Star Wars music until the park closed. The employees where all nice, the characters excellent and actors incredible, I couldn’t have asked for a better time. The fireworks show was impressive, too — Disney literally ended the festivities with quite a bang.
Eighties mall girl-turned-pop star-turned-Playboy pin-up Tiffany swings through Hollywood Casino's Boogie Nights club Saturday!