If you debating which show you might go see this weekend, my strong recommendation is Ensemble Theatre's Outside Mullingar (ETC, 5/6-24). It's a great script by John Patrick Shanley (who wrote the award-winning play Doubt and the award-winning screenplay Moonstruck). It's set in Ireland, so the characters are overflowing with dry wit. And the actors playing them are a quartet of the performers who Cincinnati audiences love: Joneal Joplin (Scrooge for many years at the Playhouse) is a crusty old man who might not pass the family farm on to his more sensitive son, played by Cincinnati Shakespeare's artistic director Brian Phillips. Dale Hodges, a respected local stage veteran, plays Aiofe, the owner of an adjacent farm; Jenn Joplin (Joneal's daughter) is Aoife's grumpy, opinionated daughter. This is a tale of parents and children, but there's a lovely, stumbling love story at the heart of the play, and it's that's emotionally satisfying. The production was staged by Ed Stern, now retired as the Cincinnati Playhouse's artistic director. It's onstage through May 24. Tickets: 513-421-3555.
Brian Phillips did double-duty recently rehearsing to perform inOutside Mullingar while staging Henry V at Cincy Shakes. As the title suggests, this is one of the Bard's history plays, and it's a chest-thumping one about warfare and England's claim to power. The company is midway through a multi-year project to stage all of Shakespeare's tales of the kings of England in chronological order. That might sound a tad stodgy, but this one is full of fighting and bluster, and there's a thread of comic relief, too. Let's call it the Shakespearean equivalent of an action movie. It's onstage throughMay 30. Tickets: 513-381-2273.
You'll find two plays worth seeing at the Cincinnati Playhouse this weekend. One just opened last night (I haven't seen it yet): It's Annie Baker's award-winner, Circle Mirror Transformation, about some folks taking an acting class at a community center. Their lessons about performing expand to be come life lessons. It's a warm, thoughtful play in the Shelterhouse. On the Marx mainstage, you'll find the very funny Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, inspired by Chekhov but from the zany perspective of Christopher Durang, you don't need any theater history to be laughing out loud as three adult siblings from a dysfunctional family try to keep their balance. Tickets: 513-421-3888.
If you're eagerly awaiting the start of the Cincinnati Fringe (it kicks off on May 26), you should stop by Know Theatre for the American premiere of the Bane Trilogy with performances this weekend and next. It's three monologues about a guy who shoots first and doesn't ask questions in a one-musician film noir comic trilogy. You can experience them sequentially or out of order. Performer Joe Bone is the Guinness world record holder for the most characters portrayed by one actor in a performance; he's accompanied musically by Ben Roe. This show has a heavy-duty buzz: People were telling me about it weeks ago, so I'm sharing the news with you — although I haven't fit it into my schedule yet. It's running for two more weeks. Tickets: 513-300-5669.
Rick Pender’s STAGE DOOR blog appears here every Friday. Find more theater reviews and feature stories here.
Each week CityBeat staffers share their weekend plans: from dinner and drinks or special events to out-of-town concerts and stories we're working on. And some of us just watch TV.
Mike Breen: I’m planning on going to see Pixies at Horseshoe Casino Saturday night. I was actually fortunate enough to see them “back in the day,” before their breakup in the early ’90s. It was 1989, so their classic Doolittle album had been recently released, and they were touring with Love and Rockets, who had just had their first real “hit” with the song “So Alive.” The bands played at Riverfront Coliseum (now U.S. Bank Arena) when the arena was doing concerts in what they called a “theatre” setting (basically putting the stage in the middle of the venue facing one side, selling tickets only for half the arena, so it was slightly more “intimate” than the bigger shows there). My memories of the show are foggy, but I remember being a big fan of both bands at the time and being satisfied with the concert overall. My most vivid memory is of Kim Deal — when she sang, her mouth formed what looked like a big Cheshire Cat grin that beamed all the way up to our nose-bleed seats. (And I think Love and Rockets’ Daniel Ash came out in drag for their “So Alive” encore.)
I also saw Pixies towards the beginning of their lengthy reunion run, in 2005 at Lollapalooza in Chicago, and it was a great set. It was cool to see them reap some of the rewards of their vast influence on the music that led to the creation of Lollapalooza in the first place. And it was amazing to see the over-the-top response from the wide-age-ranging audience.
The Pixies seemed to be solely doing these reunion tours for the money for a few years too long — they’d been a reunion band longer than they were an actual band, before they finally started making new music again (which is actually pretty good). This will be my first time seeing them without Deal, which will be odd. Add the fact that this is a casino concert (which doesn’t have the stigma it once did, especially at Horseshoe, but still …) and I’m mostly just really curious to see how it all goes down. It should be appropriately surreal.
Nick Swartsell: I'm heading to Chicago to catch a few friends' art show Friday and then, on Saturday, to watch Dan Deacon at Thalia Hall. The venue is super-rad. It's a 122-year-old hall in the Pilsen neighborhood modeled after the Prague Opera House. The building contains a punch house, a crazy-ornate performance space, a restaurant and a lot of history. Interesting fact: In the early 20th century, Pilsen had more people from Bohemia than anywhere else besides Prague. In 1915, a group of Bohemian activists drafted documents in Thalia Hall that would prove to be the beginnings of an independent Czechoslovakian state. Crazy stuff. I'll just be dancing my face off to the weirdness that is Dan Deacon, though, not helping helping to create any nations or anything.
Jesse Fox: This weekend is one I've been looking forward to for awhile. On Saturday my band [The Slippery Lips] is playing a show with a band I really like from LA called FIDLAR. I have friends coming down from Chicago and up from Florida to see it, which makes it even more exciting/flattering. Anticipating we will have a pretty fun-filled and wild Saturday, I haven't made any plans for Sunday yet … except perhaps continuing my binge watching of Community now that I have a Hulu Plus account and will likely be useless to the world otherwise.
Editorial Intern Sarah Urmston: My weekend begins getting dragged by my buddy Andrew to see Pitch Perfect 2 at Newport on the Levee, where luckily they serve alcoholic beverages to get me through it. I will also be checking out a house to lease for the upcoming year, saying bye-bye to good old Clifton Heights. Woo-hoo! I am especially anxious to spend Saturday afternoon in OTR, where they will be kicking off the 2015 City Flea in Washington Park. I can't wait to spend money I don't have on vintage/handmade items sold by local vendors and check out the grand opening of style boutique Idlewild Woman! Sunday I'll check out Crossroad's weekly message at Bogarts in Clifton. Church in a bar? Coolest way to end a weekend.Zack Hatfield: I’m heading over to City Flea on Saturday after inhaling brunch at a to-be-determined OTR restaurant I probably can’t afford (a weekend ritual). The flea always has interesting wares — Fern frequently has a snazzy selection of succulents and cacti worth browsing — so good that my apartment has of late turned into a sort of mini-terrarium/cactus shrine. At the risk of sounding nostalgic, I’ll probably check out the Butterflies of the Philippines at Krohn Conservatory on Sunday — I haven’t seen that since I was a kid, and there’s something badass about being surrounded by thousands of butterflies that span the colors of the rainbow. I guess my inner lepidopterist just can’t resist.
Cincinnati City Councilman and U.S. Senate Candidate P.G. Sittenfeld has come out in support of a ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana in Ohio.
The proposed amendment to the Ohio constitution by ResponsibleOhio would allow anyone in the state over 21 to buy marijuana but would restrict commercial growth to 10 sites around the state owned by the group's investors.
[See also: "Going for the Green," CityBeat Feb. 4 2015]
Sittenfeld told reporters in Columbus today that Ohio's marijuana laws are "broken" and that he favors legalization and regulation of the drug. Sittenfeld cited the disproportionate number of people of color jailed over marijuana violations in the U.S. and the dangerous black market for the drug as reasons he supports legalization.
"We have a binary choice between do we want to take this opportunity to move forward from the broken laws of the past, and I would vote yes on this opportunity," Sittenfeld said.
Sittenfeld is the first city councilman to come out in support for the ballot initiative, which needs to collect more than 300,000 signatures by July in order to make it onto the November ballot. The group says it is well on its way to that goal. But some controversy has erupted, both from conservative lawmakers and other legalization groups. Conservatives like Gov. John Kasich and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine say that legalization will increase drug usage and crime. Other legalization advocates, on the other hand, decry ResponsibleOhio's proposal as a state-sanctioned monopoly on marijuana.
The group's initial proposal did not allow private growers to cultivate marijuana, but after an outcry from legalization supporters, the group amended its proposal to allow for small amounts of the crop to be grown for personal use.
The group's proposal has garnered an interesting mix of supporters and investors, from basketball Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson, who has pitched in money for the effort, to conservative-leaning business leaders and officials. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters recently said he supports at least looking into legalization of marijuana, calling Ohio's drug laws "archaic." Deters stopped short of endorsing ResponsibleOhio's plan. He is heading up a task force studying the implications of legalizing the drug here.
Recreational marijuana use is legal in four states, and 19 others allow medicinal use.
Sittenfeld made the comments as he is campaigning for big promotion. The 30-year-old city councilman is currently locked in a tough Democratic primary race against former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland for the chance to run against GOP incumbent Sen. Rob Portman in 2016.
The two went back and forth between talking about how they each lost their virginity, how they met and when they got married and singing raunchy songs about stuff like 69ing and gang-banging Jesus. Nick played guitar and Megan played ukulele.
They also got the audience involved. A couple came onstage for a Newlyweds Game-style bit that was predictable but funny. After Nick and Megan shared a longtime argument with the crowd and we picked sides (Megan won!), she decided it was time to see what else was out there and picked a single guy from the audience to go on a date with her onstage. I have no idea who this dude was — Was he planted there? A rising local comic? Just a random guy with impeccable comedic timing? — but he was probably the most hilarious guest to be brought on stage in all of standup comedy. He played along with Megan’s advances and threw shade at Nick (sadly providing music on their date). He may have gone solo to the show but there is no doubt in my mind he found a ladyfriend that night.
All in all, it was a
gut-busting, nasty but also super sweet 90-minute show. THEY’RE SO IN LOVE!
Of note: Nick looked just as expected, dressed in a flannel shirt and jeans, but he was sans mustache (just some overall stubble) and had a cool, new undercut hairstyle going on (that one that every dude has now); I don’t know how I expected Megan to be dressed but I was surprised to see her in JNCO-style wide leg jeans and a casual T-shirt (reason No. 564 why she’s my hero); they ended the performance with a dance number to Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does it Better,” which ended with Nick apparently hurting himself, as evidenced by a facial expression of pain followed by limping offstage. Hope you’re OK, Nick!
Check out our interview with Nick Offerman here.
Ever notice the way Owen Wilson says, “Wo-oow” in movies? Here are all of those times.
A new American Idol was crowned last night and I don’t care who the winner was (it’s this guy) because it’s not Jess Lamb. But it is worth noting that next season of Idol — its 16th — will be the last. I wish it was because everyone realized that televised music competitions are complete bullshit (case in point: JESS LAMB), but it’s probably just because everyone likes The Voice better.
Also in the cancellation club: The Mindy Project, which is a goddamn crime. Mindy Kaling is a goddess and the show was really hitting a great stride (despite Adam Pally leaving — love that guy) and the last season ended with Mindy (the character) very pregnant and baby daddy Danny traveling to India to meet her parents. Thankfully, there’s chatter about the show moving to Hulu. Other shows hat bit the bust this year include Backstrom, CSI (after 15 years!), The Following, Marry Me, Mulaney, Revenge, Selfie and Weird Loners.
Feminist icon Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is getting a biopic and Natalie Portman will star as a young Notorious RBG.
Miley Cyrus’ brother Trace (known best for dating Disney person Brenda Song and being in Metro Station, the band responsible for this song that played on repeat in every Journeys across America in 2008) was supposedly denied entrance to an area bar over the weekend. Trace posted a video on Instagram claiming Brothers Bar & Grill at Newport on the Levee — in his home state — would not let him in due to his excessive tattoos. I don’t know what’s more hilariously pathetic: people complaining about businesses on social media; a celeb sibling partying in freaking Newport; said person being denied access to a bar in Newport; the fact that Brothers has any sort of limits on the types of people that can enter; or the last sentence of this story.
Hey all! I’m going to do a long news blog today. I won’t be doing the blog tomorrow or next week, as I need to burn up the vacation time I have before it expires and my boss says I’m not allowed to work while I’m not working. Tyranny, I say. Anyway, let's get all caught up before I jet.
The big news today is that the Cincinnati Enquirer is looking for a new top editor. Executive Editor Carolyn Washburn’s last day was yesterday, the Enquirer announced today. Washburn’s departure follows former publisher Margaret Buchanan, who left her post in March and was replaced by one-time Enquirer editor Rick Green. Washburn’s tenure saw the Enquirer shed a number of its long-time reporters and copy editors as part of parent company Gannett’s efforts to move toward the so-called “newsroom of the future.” That sounds like some cool, gee-wiz place where reporters fly around on hover boards and drive DeLoreans at 88 mph to break news two days before it happens, but don’t be fooled. It’s actually similar to a regular corporate newsroom, just with no copy editors and more typos. The Enquirer says Washburn will stay in town but has not revealed the circumstances behind her departure or what she’ll be doing next.
• Yesterday City Manager Harry Black unveiled his proposed $2.1 billion budget for 2016-2017. We’re still combing through that 769-page document, but we can give you the highlights. Disappointingly, there are very few pictures in the budget, though there are a lot of graphs. Facial hair growth for certain elected city officials, for example, is on the uptrend. Speaking of Mayor John Cranley, he's backed the budget, suggesting council pass it without amendment. Chances of that happening are on a sharp downtrend, however.
Human services will see $3.7 million in funding under the budget. Some of that will go toward Cranley’s Hand Up initiative and the city-county joint initiative Strategies to End Homelessness. Meanwhile, the $250,000 the city allocated in the last budget to Cradle Cincinnati to fight infant mortality disappears in this budget, and mega-charity funder United Way will get only about half of the $3 million council wanted.
Police and fire are prioritized in the spending plan, with increases that will bring 23 more officers and to Cincinnati’s streets. The budget also proposes big fixes for Cincinnati’s roads over the next five years and the city’s vehicle fleet over the next 12, spending $172 million on the paving alone over that time and another $35 million on vehicles. The plan is to get 85 percent of the city’s roads in good condition. Right now, about half are in poor shape. The city will take on nearly $91 million in debt in the process, though Black says the ratio of debt to cash used in this part of the capital budget is still prudent and that the investments will save the city millions over time.
This is just the first step in the long, sometimes grinding, budget process. We'll keep you up to date as council wrangles with the spending plan and also go in-depth ourselves.
• What else? Things are happening on the state’s voting rights front. We’ll be going in depth on that soon, but here’s some stuff to know: Hot on the heals of a settlement between Ohio and the NAACP on early voting last month, another lawsuit has been filed against the state alleging that its rules disadvantage voters who mostly skew Democrat, low-income and minority. That suit has been filed by Hillary Clinton's top campaign attorney. Meanwhile, there’s a bill in the General Assembly that would require voters to have a voter identification card. Ohioans who make above the federal poverty level (about $12,000 for a single person) would have to pay $8.50 under the proposed law for the card. Critics say that amounts to a poll tax and is unconstitutional. The fight is a big deal, as Ohio is a vital swing state in the 2016 presidential election.
Other politics tidbits:
• Republican Hamilton County Commissioner Chris Monzel wanted to fire County Administrator Christian Sigman over Sigman’s recent comments about The Banks, even drafting a press release announcing the administrator’s departure. Sigman’s job was spared at the last minute, however; Republican Commissioner Greg Hartmann didn’t want to see Sigman dismissed, and Democrat Todd Portune began crafting a compromise. Sigman was taken off economic development duties instead of losing his job, according to the commissioners.
• Real quick, but noteworthy: U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a GOP presidential hopeful, is polling neck and neck with Democratic prez frontrunner Hillary Clinton in Kentucky, at least according to one new poll.
• Meanwhile, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is down one endorsement for his presidential bid: Ohio Treasurer and fellow Republican Josh Mandel has announced he’s endorsing U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. Awkward.
• On the national stage, U.S. Sherrod Brown of Ohio is fighting with the White House over comments President Barack Obama made about U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. Warren has been criticizing Obama on what she says is a NAFTA-esque foreign trade deal. She alleges that the Trans Pacific Partnership deal will cost Americans jobs and shouldn’t give so-called “fast track” status to trade deals with other countries. The White House slammed Warren on that assertion, and Brown says their comments about her were disrespectful. Brown has also been fighting the trade legislation package, lobbying other Democrats in the Senate to block it from passage without amendments he says are designed to protect American workers. That’s led to some tension between the White House and Brown. The White House has asked the senator to apologize for his remarks about Obama’s remarks about Warren. Uh, got that? It’s starting to get to GOP levels of in-fighting over there.
That's it for me. See you in a week or so. Tweet at me or email me while I'm gone. Fair warning: I won't check the email but I might see the tweet.
James Crump, the Cincinnati Art Museum's chief curator/photography curator who was a key figure in the planning and programming of the first FotoFocus festival in 2012 and then resigned from the museum in early 2013, has re-emerged as the director of a new documentary, Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art.
It tells the story, with plenty of archival footage, of three restless New York artists in the who — as part of the 1960s/1970s rebellion against materialistic values sweeping American culture — sought to create epic art that was one with the outdoor environment, especially in the open and hard-to-access spaces of the west. That, they thought, would make it hard to buy and own.
Robert Smithson created "Spiral Jetty" in Utah, Walter De Maria made New Mexico's "Lightning Field," and Michael Heizer did "Double Negative" in Utah and is still working on "City." (The other two are deceased.)
Other artists featured in the film are Nancy Holt (who has an environmental artwork at Miami University), Dennis Oppenheim, Carl Andre and Vito Acconci.
In an exchange of emails with CityBeat, Crump said he is hoping for the film to show at festivals and then get a limited theatrical release in fall, followed by availability on other distribution platforms. He also said his sales agent, Submarine Entertainment, represented Citizenfour and Finding Vivien Maier.
Before coming to Cincinnati, Crump made a documentary about Robert Mapplethorpe's relationship to Sam Wagstaff, Black White + Gray.
He has provided CityBeat with a link to Troublemakers' trailer:
Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic Good Spirits — Get a sneak peak of September’s second annual Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic at Good Spirits, a paired cocktail dinner party featuring mixology and bites from the crew at Metropole. The party will be held at New Riff Distillery’s bar and outdoor patio, and will celebrate the recent release of the distillery’s Kentucky Wild Gin. Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic will also release the names of local, regional and national chefs, beverage experts, winemakers and storytellers booked for their 2015 event. 6-8 p.m. Monday. $25. 24 Distillery Way, Newport, Ky., cincinnatifoodandwineclassic.com.
Crawfish Boil — BrewRiver GastroPub flies crawfish in from Louisiana for a weekly Tuesday night crawfish boil. Buy them by the pound; includes potato, mushroom and sausage. $15 per pound. 2062 Riverside Drive, East End, brewrivergastropub.com.
How to Make a Steak — Precinct sous chef John Ruppel teaches this class. 6:30-9 p.m. $65. Cooks’Wares, 11344 Montgomery Road, Harper’s Point, cookswaresonline.com.
Homemade Pasta Workshop — Chef Bridget Lieb will teach you to make your own linguini using an Italian manual countertop pasta machine, and then finish it with a delicious Sauce. Noon-2 p.m. $70. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox lane, West Chester, 513-847-4474, thelearningkitchen.com.
Lebanese Favorites — Learn some family-recipe Lebanese cuisine from Rita Heikenfeld, and learn some tips for growing the best produce, flower and herbs in containers or in the ground from Ron Wilson. 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. $50. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, junglejims.com.
Clean Eating & Label Reading — Chef Bridget Lieb will discuss what clean eating actually is and how to spot processed ingredients. In class you will prepare a soul-warming chicken soup with avocado, egg-fried quinoa with chicken, and snap peas with shallots. Noon-2 p.m. $65. The Learning Kitchen, 7659 Cox lane, West Chester, 513-847-4474, thelearningkitchen.com.
Lebanese Favorites — Learn some family-recipe Lebanese cuisine from Rita Heikenfeld. 6-8:30 p.m. $65. Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, junglejims.com.
Taste of the World Food Tour — Take a guided foodie tour of Ohio’s oldest public market, Findlay Market. Includes stops and tastings at six merchants. 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Wednesdays; 3-4:30 p.m. Saturdays. $20. Meets at Daisy Mae’s Market at Findlay Market, 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, cincinnatifoodtours.com.
May Beer Dinner at Christian Moerlein — A paired beer dinner featuring brews from Revolution Brewing. 6 p.m. $55. Moerlein Lager House, 115 Joe Nuxhall Way, The Banks, Downtown, facebook.com/moerleinlagerhouse.
Burger and Beer Wednesdays — A burger and a pint for $10. 9:30 p.m.-midnight. Fifty West Brewing Company, 7668 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, fiftywestbrew.com.
Pints for Paint — #PintsforPaint is a fundraising effort to benefit Memorial Hall's renovations; buy a drink, the money goes to Memorial Hall. 6 p.m. Free; buy alcohol. Memorial Hall, 1225 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/events/425141254331782.