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by Jac Kern 04.09.2013
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, Music at 02:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

Country music is kind of one of those love-it-or-hate-it genres. You often hear people with limited exposure to music say “I listen to anything but Country;” at the same time, area Country music concerts draw huge crowds (CityBeat readers even voted the 2012 Kenny Chesney/Tim McGraw show the best concert of the year. Sigh.) — and we’re north of the Mason-Dixie line. Sure, it’s pretty easy to make fun of the stereotypical redneck Country music lover, but Country is making its way more and more into the mainstream, popular stage with crossover artists like Taylor Swift. And you don’t have to be a toothless moonshiner to like her squinty-eyed ass, right?

Brad Paisley just set the genre back a few decades with his new single, “Accidental Racist.” The song is meant to explain how just because someone is southern and proud of his roots, doesn’t mean he wishes we still had slaves. See, all Paisley wants is to be able to wear a Lynyrd Skynyrd T-shirt to Starbucks without some black barista thinkin’ he’s a racist (and who hasn’t been in that situation). Between that target of a song title and the poorly-written lyrics, Paisley’s gotten a lot of backlash. He appeared on Ellen Tuesday to rectify the song and his intention and started the conversation like any good non-racist should: by citing that one of his best friends is black (LL Cool J, who appears on the track).

The song is being pulled from YouTube and music sites faster than you can say “publicity stunt,” but you can see the lyrics here. One gem of note is LL’s chorus: "If you don't judge my do-rag/I won't judge your red flag/If you don't judge my gold chains/I'll forget the iron chains." See, guys? If you just stop being afraid of black guys who wear bling, all that white guilt can go away because we’re forgiven!

What’s that sound? Oh, it’s Conan O’Brien quietly weeping in the shower, because Jimmy Fallon is officially taking over for Jay Leno by this time next year. Fallon’s Late Night is by far my favorite of all the nightly talk shows, so I think he’ll kill it in the earlier slot with the help of his trusty house band The Roots and Saturday Night Live’s Lorne Michaels as producer. The Tonight Show will move back to New York with this change, the first time in 40 years, when Johnny Carson hosted. Rumored Late Night replacements include current SNL “Weekend Update” host, Seth Meyers.

Imagine if you were the sibling of a popular ‘90s singer/actress, trying to make your own name in the business. You release a couple mediocre albums, leak a sex tape with your no-name girlfriend, even star in a VH1 reality show. Years pass and, somehow, that big-booty trick you propelled into the spotlight is now about 700 times more famous than you. What do you do? Well, if you’re Ray J, you release “I Hit It First,” a song with “Kim K” written all over it. And if lyrics like “She might move on to rappers and ballplayers/But we all know I hit it first” weren’t obvious enough, the single cover is a pixelated photo of Kanye’s baby mama:

Cincinnati on TV Alert: The Cooking Channel debuts a new series, America’s Best Bites, on April 20 (a perfect program to accompany your munchies. Yes, I am 17 years old). Hosted by Natalie Forte, the show travels across the country to showcase local fare and favorites. Nothing revolutionary here, but Cincy’s own Daniel and Lana Wright of Abigail Street and Senate will appear on the show’s third episode. Check out Abigail Street on ABB at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, May 4.

Move over sloths. Step aside, oil-covered birds getting Dawn baths. My new favorite quirky cuties of the animal world are pets with cleft palates.

                                                 You say deformity, I say givemeonenoooowwwww

Meet Lentil. This little pup has had a rough road due to his irregular palate, but thanks to a feeding tube and a wonderful foster family, this little bean is growing to be healthy and adorable. Follow his heart-melting story on Facebook.

Palate mutations are not just exhibited in dogs, though. Take it from Lazarus, vamp-kitty!

Lazarus was a sickly alley cat when he was rescued, but now maintains a relatively normal kitty life, even without a nose and several teeth!

And, on the topic of online pet stalking, it would be remiss to not highlight the animal Internet trend du jour: dogs in pantyhose.

Big thanks to HBO for the shout out in their new HBO Go commercial!

 

 
 
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 04.03.2013
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, Humor, Music, Movies at 01:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

As the weather gets warmer, music lovers tend to get antsy looking forward to summer concerts and music festivals. There’s Bonnaroo, Forecastle, Bunbury all within a reasonable drive from Cincinnati, plus tons of touring concerts like The Shins, The Lumineers, country acts galore and the most anticipated tour of them all: The Package.

Boy band lovers of the ‘80s and ‘90s will unite for this music spectacular from New Kids on the Block, Boyz II Men and Cincy’s own 98 Degrees. The tour kicks off next month and Nick Lachey & Co. may not officially come home until the sold-out concert June 25, but Buzzfeed is already getting in the spirit with this collection of photos that reminds us about how Justin Jeffre was essentially the Michelle Williams of 98 Degrees. Upon looking up some 98 deets on Wikipedia, I realized dude is the only bandmate who doesn’t have his own page. And he ran for mayor in 2005! Poor Justin.

At least he took a break from rehearsing to stop by our Best of Cincinnati party last week (and if you obnoxiously asked him for a photo or just squealed and pointed at his presence…Shame on you), which was just one day before the release of the reunited band’s newest single. “Microphone” (which, according to The Daily Beast’s painstaking analysis, could have also been entitled “Penis”) has all the ingredients for a killer boy band tune: a danceable beat, barely-subtle phallic references that preteens could unknowingly sing on the back of the school bus, and lyrics that pay tribute to the group’s barber shop quartet past (“Say, ‘do-re-mi-fa-sooooo’ ”).

Remember Ryan Cabrera? He was an early-2000s Pop singer who dated pre-Pete Wentz Ashlee Simpson and was later resurrected on that post-Lauren Conrad final season of The Hills that probably only I watched. Well, in a move I can only wish I was bold enough to pull first, he got Ryan Gosling’s face tatted on his calf.

One glance at the InAPPropriate Comedy trailer and it was obvious — that shit was going to be bad. But as this Huffington Post live-blog of the — ahem — “film” describes, it was baaad. Like being-inside-Lindsay-Lohan’s-vagina bad (Spoiler Alert).

The Walking Dead’s third season finale was Sunday night and, though the season closer was full of ample zombie/Governor scariness, the most terrifying part of the night came during the live after-show, Talking Dead. Somehow, this dude managed to make it on the air:

Hey, if you want a captive, conspiracy-loving audience to stir up, TWD fans are it.

OK, time to get serious for a minute. I don’t usually like to discuss serious matters like death or illness on this silly pop culture blog, but this latest news from MTV is just too crazy to ignore. A cast member from Buckwild, MTV’s take on the rednecksploitation trend that replaced Jersey Shore, was found dead in his car after having gone missing over the weekend. While full details have not officially been released, it’s looking like the accident is a result of off-roading after a stint at a local watering hole. Shain Gandee, 21, was found dead with his uncle and a friend in Gandee’s truck, which was partially submerged in mud. Their deaths have been ruled accidents, caused by carbon monoxide poisoning (with the car's exhaust stuck under mud, fumes filled the car).

Obviously, this is tragic and not something to make light of. What’s really disturbing is that, had this not taken a terrible turn, the whole drinking-and-mudding scenario is something that easily would have been included in an episode of the series. Not that MTV needs to be a beacon for safety (see: Jackass, Ridiculousness, the Jersey Shore's “smoosh room,” etc.) But maybe it’s time to seriously re-think what we promote via reality TV bullshit. Production on the show's second season has since been halted and it has been reported that Gandee's funeral expenses will be covered by Buckwild producers.

And here’s a cute video of baby Gorilla Gladys at the Cincinnati Zoo to help you recover from that story.

 
 
by Hannah McCartney 03.29.2013
Posted In: Food, Eats, Culture, Life at 02:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Eight Local Eating Challenges

Eat a lot of food to find glory, fame, heartburn

If you're looking for your own 15 minutes of fame but find your skill sets are generally limited to things that are superfluous  — or, in this case, possibly self-destructive — your best bet might be to take up one of these local eating challenges (these are the ones we know of — we bet there's a lot more of 'em) so you can achieve glory, superstar status and indigestion — right after you unbuckle your pants.

Everybody knows Cincinnati is obsessed with food, probably because there's a lot of it around here. Good food, that is. Whether you want to show off, naturally induce hibernation, experience a lifetime's worth of a particular dish in one sitting or just want a good story to tell, there are plenty of opportunities to make it happen with eating challenges around the city.

We’ve only added the ones we were able to confirm with the restaurant, but if you're dead-set on checking one of these out, it's probably a good idea to call ahead and make sure it's not a periodical offering. Be sure to let us know where we missed in the comments!

1) Ramundo's Pizza  (Mount Lookout)
Two people split a 26-inch pizza with extra cheese and two toppings, with 10 minutes to devour the whole thing. It's an investment — the pizza costs $35 — but you get it (and heartburn) for free if you finish.

2) Blue Ash Chili (Blue Ash) – "No Freakin' Way Challenge": One person + 2.5 lbs. spaghetti + 2.5 lbs. chili. + 2.5 lbs. cheese + 1 lb. jalapenos + 60 minutes + $40 = the most extravagant and gut-busting possible way to prove your obsession with our city's trademark dish, Cincinnati chili. If you finish, it's free and you'll get a spot on the Hall of Fame plus a T-shirt. Losers go on the Hall of Shame, but you'll still get a tee for free.

3) Raniero’s Pizza  (Cold Springs, Ky.) – Two people have 10 minutes to devour a 24-inch pizza, and each is allowed one 20 oz. cup of water. Beat the clock and get the pizza for free; beat the record and get a T-shirt, too.

4) Mecklenburg Gardens (Corryville) – The “Uber Terminator Challenge”: One person has an hour to put down a 3-foot long spicy mettwurst sausage on a hoagie bun, covered with peppers and sauerkraut. It’s $25, and free if you make it. You get a free T-shirt either way.

5) Padrino’s  (Milford)– Four pounds of spaghetti and meatballs + you + 45 minutes. If you make it, it’s free; if not, $30.

6) Izzy’s (multiple locations)
“110 Reuben Challenge”:  Of course, made famous a la Man v. Food: a super-sized potato pancake, more than 1 lb. of corned beef, a heap of sauerkraut, dressing and cheese, all inside a big loaf of poppyseed bread. You have 30 minutes to eat this monstrosity — it’s $19.99 — and if you make it, you’ll get it fo’ free plus a T-shirt and a photo on the Izzy’s wall of shame fame.

7) Guiseppe’s Pizza (Covington)  “Legend of the Drunken Fireman”: Just you and a 20-inch, 20-topping, 7-lb. pizza plus 59 minutes. If you lose, it’ll set you back $50; if you make it, you’ll get it free plus a T-shirt.

8) Bard’s Burgers  (Covington) – Two different challenges here: Go big with the Bardzilla — a burger with 10 1/3-lb. beef patties, 10 pieces of cheese, 2 lbs. of French fries and a 16 oz. milkshake (close to 7 lbs. of food). Free if you make it through in 45 minutes or less, $30 if not. Or, for the more timid, there’s the “Little Zilla” — beat the customer record to chow down one of two triple-stacked specialty burgers — the Kitchen Sink or the Widow Maker (eek) — plus an order of large fries and a milkshake, for a free meal
 
 
by Jac Kern 03.29.2013
Posted In: Events at 10:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List: 3/29-3/31

Whether or not the weather wants to cooperate, it’s spring, dammit. So, this weekend, grab a popsicle, throw on your Easter best, go play in a park and celebrate the season — even if you have to do it while wearing a sweater.

Local small-batch gourmet popsiclery streetpops opens for the season this Final Friday. Swing by the storefront at 1437 Main Street beginning at 5 p.m. for music, a photobooth, sammies from C’est Cheese and, of course, delicious and unique frozen treats. The pop shop will subsequently be open 1-6 p.m. Thursday-Sunday and the streetpops cart will make an appearance at various farmers markets and events through fall.

You probably won’t be able to pass a yard or park this weekend without seeing neon, plastic orbs dotting the grass — it’s Easter egg huntin’ time, y’all! The newest community hunt goes down at Washington Park Saturday from 10 a.m.-noon.

Local comedy troupe OTRimprov presents “The Chronicle” Saturday at Know Theatre. The improvisational comics will take “themes, ideas, characters, words and scenarios from guest storytellers and turn them into a beautifully chaotic series of improvised scenes.” Tickets are just $5 and can be purchased here.

If you’re looking for new places to check out, eat, drink, shop or play, be ruse to read our Best of Cincinnati issue. From Best Burger to Best New Bar to Best Bookstore, you voted and the results are in. And don’t forget our staff picks — we have pretty good taste, too.

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 Hannah McCartney 03.28.2013
Posted In: The Worst, Culture, Fashion, Life at 12:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Are the Swedes Leading the Mannequin Revolution?

You know when you’re at the store and they’ve run out of your size in a shirt you really, really wanted? And you look at the one hanging on the mannequin hoping and praying it’s a medium so you can derobe her and leave with that peplum top?

We all know that’s a lost cause, because she’s always, without fail, wearing a damn extra small, because anything larger would engulf the porcelain, size 2 life-size Barbie, which would make the clothes terrible and nobody would want to buy them.

One department store in Sweden — surprisingly, the stereotypical exporters of blonde, Scandinavian ice queens — has finally launched a "f&*# you" campaign against the mannequin industry standard, which apparently values female mannequins that are often designed to be six inches taller and six inches smaller than the average woman, according to the Chicago Tribune. Basically, clothes made only for this Ukrainian woman, who went through an insane amount of plastic surgery to become the first "real-life Barbie" (click on her photo to read more)





The store only has two of the normal mannequins right now, who are sporting some classy lingerie. Photos of the mannequins have gone viral, and to absolutely nobody's surprise, women across the world have become pretty smitten with the concept of seeing models in clothes that don't look radically different from themselves.

It's actually pretty genius, from a marketing standpoint: Aside from making a super-powerful social statement, it seems likely their sales will probably skyrocket — how many times, after all, have you seen something looking fabulous on a mannequin and tried it on yourself, only to look in the mirror with horror and disgust?

Let's compare. On the left, two Victoria's Secret mannequins. On the right, the lady from the Swedish department store