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by Jac Kern 10.25.2012
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, Holidays at 10:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

I Just Can't Get Enough...Halloween

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

It’s recently come to my attention that it’s almost Halloween...

In my opinion, costumes are imperative to any good October outing, but a successful ensemble doesn’t have to be complicated. Pulling from pop culture — from favorite movies and TV shows to current events — is a perfect way to find a culturally-relevant costume. (And, speaking of cultures, make sure you don’t select a get-up that mocks one. Racist costumes, much like Daniel Tosh, are way more offensive than clever or funny.)

Dressing like your fave TV characters is always a hit. Most television networks sell costumes coinciding with their top shows online. Pay homage to the first season of American Horror Story by dressing as the Rubberman or sporting the creepy Larry Harvey burn-face mask. FX also offers costumes from Wilfred, Archer and The League. More of a Kenny Powers fan? Get his Miami Mermen look here because, in case you missed it, Powers is coming back fucking soon. Since creating your own costume is almost always preferred, put on your DIY cap and peep inspiration from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and 30 Rock.

Whether you're throwing a Halloweekend party or just want to experience the weekend from your couch, peep this week's Halloween-inspired TV picks here. AMC, Syfy, ABC Family and other networks will be showing marathons of horror classics, family-friendly favorites and everything in between, in addition to new holiday-themed episodes of your favorite shows.

And while there are tons of horror movies in theaters this weekend, Hollywood continues its butchery of all things sacred with the remake of Carrie. It's not in theaters 'til March 2013, but the trailer does look pretty creepy.

Off the screen and onto politics, this being an election year promises plenty of Romney- and Obama-inspired costumes. Expect plenty of down-and-out Big Birds, binders full of women and horses-n-bayonets. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing Workout Ken 2012, aka a guy dressed as Paul Ryan from his P90XXX Time Magazine photo shoot. Fellas, all you need are some earbuds, a red ball cap, grey T-shirt and some free weights (fake ones if you’re not as ripped as Romney’s running mate.) Make it work!

What’s orange, fiery and generally terrifying? No, not The Great Pumpkin. The Donald! Trump recently dropped his “October Surprise,” an announcement that had bloggers speculating all week. The statement, supposed to be detrimental to the Obama campaign, spurred rumors of everything from Obama’s alleged coke-dealing past to a failing relationship with his wife. But what recently surfaced was even lamer than all of that.

Trump has requested that Obama release his college transcripts as well as his full passport records by 5 p.m. Oct. 31 (there’s the Halloween tie-in!) and he will donate $5 million to any charities of the president’s choosing. So, essentially, more birther bullshit. Yawn. Last time I checked, Trump had about the same amount of political pull as Lindsay Lohan, so I doubt this bears any consequence on the upcoming election, but it would be nice to see Obama stick it to the grotesque ginge and, hence, idiots everywhere, one last time.

by Jac Kern 02.21.2012
Posted In: Events, Fun, Concerts, Holidays, Music at 03:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your (Fat) Tuesday To Do List

Bon Mardi Gras, mes amis (translation: Happy Fat Tuesday, y'all)! Today's To Do list has some cajun flavor to it, since nearly every bar and restaurant will be celebrating in some capacity tonight — even if it's just beer, beads and boobs.

Before you make dinner plans, you have to check out Anne Mitchell's guide to local Mardi Gras eats, our cover story for the week. From Otto's to Washington Platform to Half Day Cafe, she describes all the local restaurants celebrating with NOLA-inspired bites, traditional baked goods and gut-busting buffets (you are supposed to pig out today, right?).

Hofbräuhaus celebrates Fastnacht German-style, of course, with help from the Enzian Dancers, the German Heritage Museum and music from Nick Gulacsy Jr., the Akkordeon-Meister. Come dressed in costume if you're so inclined — prizes will be awarded to those most decked out. The fun starts at 6 p.m.

Countless other area eateries and drinkeries promise a night of crawfish and hurricanes, including Allyn's, Stanley's Pub, Righteous Room, Mecklenburg Gardens, The Stand, J. Gumbo's, Blue Wisp, Keystone Bar & Grill (Covington and Hyde Park), AliveOne, The Lackman and The Pub (Rookwood Mews and Crestview Hills).

And since the whole point of Fat Tuesday is to get all your vices out of the way before the Christian season of Lent, a time for sacrifice and prayer leading up to Easter, why not support a charity? At Mardi Gras for Homeless Children, guests can enjoy food and drink, authentic Zydeco and Jazz music, auctions and more. The event runs from 6:30-10 p.m. at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center. Tickets are $55, available here. Proceeds benefit homeless children shelters.

In non-Fat news, tonight's live music lineup ranges from Dubstep (Rusko) to Christian Metalcore (August Burns Red). Check out Mike Breen's music blog for details.

by Jac Kern 02.29.2012
Posted In: Concerts, Culture, Events, Northside, Life, Holidays at 11:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your Leap Day To Do List

Leap Day means different things to everyone (like those with rare Feb. 29 birthdays), but we suggest spending this extra day exploring all the fun events our city has to offer. Or this:

Do you love the true storytelling style of This American Life and live groups like The Moth and Cincinnati's True Theater? Head down to Below Zero Lounge tonight for Teilen (German for "to share"), a local storytelling night. In honor of Leap Day, tonight's theme will be "leaping out." Enjoy a variety of true stories told without notes, and feel free to share your own five-minute anecdote. Storytelling is one of the oldest human traditions and it's still a great way to connect with others. Doors open at 6 p.m.; the free event starts at 7. Find details here.

Sexy Time Live Band Karaoke continues its weekly mission to make us all feel like Rock Stars. Become a frontman (or woman!), if only for three minutes. Karaoke kicks off at 9 p.m. in Northside Tavern's back room. Check out the group's Facebook page for details and an extensive song selection (start rehearsing now!).

The Lackman hosts a party to introduce new Six Point Brewery beers tonight, featuring Sweet Action (barley and hops), Bengali Tiger IPA (bitter hops and sweet malt) and Resin Double IPA (just delicious). Reps will be on hand for all questions. The tasting event runs 4-6 p.m. Find more info here.

Find more To Do suggestions, like theater productions and art shows, here. Check out Mike Breen's blog for tonight's live music happenings.

And a head's up: Our Swizzle bar guide came out today (purty, ain't it?) and if reading that doesn't make you want to grab a cocktail at one of many amazing local watering holes, nothing will! Celebrate the issue with us tomorrow at PLAY downtown. Guests can expect free cocktails and food from Bolly Bears and FUSIAN, live music from Pop Empire, a fabulous Flashbox photo booth and tons of giveaways. And when I say giveaways, I don't just mean movie passes and shot glasses (though there will be plenty of those) — one lucky partier will walk away with two passes to Bonnaroo! If you miss this, you cray. RSVP here.

by Jac Kern 10.26.2012
Posted In: Music, Events, Eats, Drinking, Holidays at 11:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Your Halloweekend To Do List: 10/26-10/28

Halloween is no longer a one-night event just for kids. Like many holidays, Halloween’s reach goes beyond Oct. 31 (I’m pretty sure I saw costumes descend into stores mid-August), giving us grownups a chance to dress up and act out. This (Hallo)weekend features events that celebrate all the weird, wonderful and freaky aspects of our favorite holiday.

If staged dance performances weren’t what you had in mind, think again. While not necessarily Halloween-related, Cincinnati Ballet’s ALICE (in Wonderland) will take audiences on a whimsical journey down the rabbit hole Friday-Sunday. In addition to talented dancers and music by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the costume and set designs are truly freaky-fabulous.

For a darker dance experience, check out Exhale Dance Tribe’s one-night engagement, Dead Can Dance. The troupe has transformed Emery Theatre into a haunted house, where dancers will lead spectators from room to room, creating an interactive, spooky show Saturday night. The performance begins at 7 p.m.

After a month of bringing photography to the forefront of the Cincinnati art scene, FotoFocus will close with Saturday’s Carnevil. The event boasts a full bill of entertainment from live music and DJs to improv and burlesque to fortune-tellers. Guests are encouraged to explore the venue, Newport’s Thompson House — which is said to be haunted — and hunt for spirits from Southgate’s past. Find tickets and event details here.

What’s creepier than three identical mute men, covered in paint? Blue Man Group wraps up its local run with performances at the Aronoff Center Friday-Sunday. The show is an energetic spectacle that theater critic Rick Pender describes as “a strange and wonderful communal experience.” Go here to read our full review.

Judging by the number of Halloween bar and club events, alcohol is the “candy” of choice for many adult trick-or-treaters. So it looks like Arnold’s picked the perfect weekend for The Bourbon Ball. The bar will be stocked with more than 30 top shelf selections, offering specials on Manhattans, Old Fashioneds and other bourbon classics as well as bourbon-infused bites like Bourbon Bacon Strips and Bourbon Sauce Pork. The free event will also have swag bags and live music all night.

Final Saturday means Night Owl Market is back, bringing food trucks and vendors together at the parking lot at Main Street and Central Parkway. In addition to late night eats, NOMers can participate in a costume contest and a flash mob-style “Thriller” dance with Pones Inc. The free fun runs 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Saturday.

One thing that’s definitely scarier than any haunted house or paranormal activity hotspot is breed discrimination. Show some love to dogs that prove no breed is born “vicious” at Bark Bash: Celebrating National Pit Bull Awareness Day. From pit bulls to puggles, all are welcome to romp around Voice of America Park Saturday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. There will be raffles, vendors, kids activities and appearances from the Ben-Gals and Cincinnati Rollergirls.

Few experiences are more picturesque than spending a fall afternoon perusing Findlay Market. This Sunday the market presents its annual Fall Food Festival, featuring a pie baking contest, cider mulling demo, live music, food tour and more. Come hungry between noon and 4 p.m. Find details here.

Check out ScaryBeat for a full rundown of costume parties, bar events, haunted houses and more happening this weekend through Oct. 31.

by Jac Kern 12.20.2012
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, Holidays at 10:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

I Just Can't Get Enough...Holidays

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

It’s holiday time, y’all! Whether you celebrate Chrimbus, Festivus (Google it for a fun Easter egg), Ludachristmas, Eggmas or any other equally spiritual special occasion, now is that magical time of year where it’s acceptable to get drunk in front of your boss and/or Grandma, go on a shopping spree at 4 a.m. and eat your weight in HoneyBaked Ham. OK, some of us do these things year-round, but now we can’t be judged for it!

For some reason, it’s perfectly normal this time of year to go door-to-door singing unsolicited tunes to strangers. It’s also a good excuse to talk to your best friend’s wife, with whom you’re secretly in love.

Music is a major factor in this wonderfully insane season, so I’ve collected a sampling of this year’s best holiday tunes for all the good little CityBeat readers. Gather ‘round!

Rapper DMX spit some classic rhymes for New York radio channel 105.1 FM:

The Roots produce pure magic week to week on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and all their musical projects. Earlier this year, Fallon and the crew teamed up with musical guest Carly Rae Jepsen backstage to perform her The Song That Shall Not Be Named using children’s/beginner instruments. Their follow-up? Mariah Carey’s infectious holiday anthem, “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”

And who could forget the holiday collaboration we’ve all been waiting for — the reunion of Sandy and Danny — This Christmas from Olivia Newton-John Travolta (easiest celeb couple name ever). Apparently everything that’s ever existed is getting rebooted and, at this point, I think even my one-eyed cat has recorded a Christmas album, so it’s no real shocker that the Grease duo would team up again for a holiday record. But between Travolta’s Chia Pet hair, ON-J’s scary Juvederm face and the following low-budge music video, This Christmas is making my eyeballs beg for the impending apocalypse.

Speaking of hot messes, while it’s always fun to get drunk on your employer’s dime, it is important to keep yourself in check at your work’s holiday party. No canoodling with co-workers, challenging your boss to a drink-off or dancing Gangnam style. Thought Catalog has some hepful dos and don’ts here.

Everything is Terrible (via Videogum) got its hands on a clip from a 1988 Christmas television special starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, his Twins buddy Danny Devito, Mike Tyson, Country singer Randy Travis, old lady and champion bowler Marie Gretter and a bunch of probably terrified children.

While Arnold’s Austrian Antichristmas tradition may sound scary, it’s not nearly as freaky as having Mike Tyson scream a Christmas carol into the face of an innocent child. Also, I’m pretty sure that when Ah-nahld manhandled the little girl who joked that he needed singing lessons, he may have brokes that little girls’ ribs. This looks more like a Tim and Eric sketch than a primetime family program, but I guarantee if you show this to your kids, they will never misbehave again.

It's not Christmas in America until the Kardashian-Jenner family bestows its annual holiday card upon our unworthy eyes. Peep that Photoshopped piece here and find equally funny, scary and confusing family photos in this list of "34 of the most jovially insane family holiday cards ever sent."

by Amanda Gratsch 02.12.2015

Valentine's Day: Things to Do for Love

Events, dinner deals and flower pop-ups to make this weekend a romantic one

Whether you’re a full-blown romance-seeker or single and proud of it, here's a list of Valentine’s Day tastings, dinner deals and events that will have you embracing the holiday no matter who you’re bringing. From soothing dinners to musicals to wild celebrations, take your pick from a range of fun atmospheres each wrapped up in its own festive charm with plenty to go around. 

BB Riverboats Valentine's Cruise — A romantic cruise with buffet dinner and live music. 7-9:30 p.m. Feb. 13 and Feb. 14. $48 adults. 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., bbriverboats.com

Bistro Grace — Valentine's surf-and-turf special all weekend, with herb-buttered steak and pan-seared scallops. Dinner service starts at 4 p.m. $29.95 per person. 4034 Hamilton Ave., Northside, bistrograce.com

Boca — The Boca Restaurant Group (Boca, Nada, Sotto) is teaming up with collaborative art group Chase Public for a unique take on date night. From 6-10 p.m., the alley between Boca (114 E. Sixth St.) and Nada will turn into a heated poetry lounge. Wander in to chat with Chase poets about your love story and receive a customized poem. 

Jimmy G's — Guests receive a complimentary glass of champagne with purchase of entree, and couples receive a complimentary dessert to share with a purchase of two entrees. 5-11 p.m. Feb. 14. 435 Elm St., Downtown, jimmy-gs.com

La Petite France — Surprise that special someone with an elegant three-course gourmet meal featuring a range of appetizers, entrees and desserts to choose from. From grilled filet mignon with a brandy morel sauce to Grand Marnier crème brulee, your taste buds will be sure to feel some love, too. An extensive wine list and full bar is available. Reservations recommended. 5 p.m. Feb 14. $59.95. 3177 Glendale Milford Road, Evendale, lapetitefrance.biz

The Mercer OTR — A multi-course meal. Mains include wild mushroom risotto, scallops, beef tenderloin, berkshire pork chop and halibut. Chocolate and strawberries for dessert. 4 p.m. Feb. 14. 1324 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, themercerotr.com. 

Metropole — A four course farm-to-fireplace menu, with multiple choices. Mains includes seared scallops, verlasso salmon, grilled mushroom spaccatelli and more. 5:30-11 p.m. Feb. 14. $56-$73. 609 Walnut St., Downtown, metropoleonwalnut.com

Nectar — A special three-course menu. 5:30-9:30 p.m. Feb. 14. $65 per person. 1000 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout, dineatnectar.com

The Palace — A five-course tasting with beet gazpacho, arugula and prosciutto salad, butternut squash and ousemade ricotta agnolotti, petit filet mignon and triple chocolate panna cotta. 5:30 p.m. Feb. 13 and Feb. 14. $85 Feb. 13; $95 Feb. 14. 601 Vine St., Downtown, palacecincinnati.com.

Salazar — A special menu featuring a lightly smoked oyster appetizer, Belgian endive salad, saffron risotto, seared sea scallops, pine-roasted New york strip and dark chocolate cake with pink peppercorn panna cotta and rosé foam. Reservations at 513-621-7000. Dinner service begins at 5:30 p.m. Feb.14. $90 per person. 1401 Republic St., Over-the-Rhine, salazarcincinnati.com

Steinhaus — A four-course dinner for two with live harp music accompaniment. A flute of bubbly champagne will be provided so that you may toast to your sweetheart. 4:30-10 p.m. Feb. 14. $60 per couple. 6415 Dixie Highway, Florence Ky., steinhausrestaurant.com

Symphony Hotel and Restaurant — Enjoy a five-course meal paired with a wine. 6-9 p.m. Feb. 14. $75. 210 West 14th St., Downtown, symphonyhotel.com

Taft Museum of Art — Six wines paired with hors d'oeuvres and a self-guided tour of themes of love and romance in the Taft's permanent collection. 5-8 p.m. Feb. 14. $45; $35 members. 316 Pike St., Downtown, taftmuseum.org

Piccola Wine Room Valentine’s Day Pop-Up Dinner — Enjoy this three-course meal while listening to music by Jerome Cali in this charming little wine shop specializing in wines, unique cocktails and organic brews. Wine pairings will be available with dinner. Seatings at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Feb. 14. 23 Village Square, Glendale, piccolawineroom.com

Washington Platform Saloon & Restaurant — One dozen fresh-shucked oysters, two entree choices, soup or salad, chocolate-covered strawberries and a bottle of wine to share. Plus a half-hour horse-drawn carriage ride. Faux Frenchman play Feb. 13 and Andrea Cefalo Feb. 14. Available Feb. 12-15. $115 per couple; $85 dinner alone. 1000 Elm St., Downtown, washingtonplatform.com.

A Heart-y, Art-y, Valentine Party — Surprise the kids with games, decorative face painting, and make-your-own Valentine cards with candy. 3-4 p.m. Feb. 14. Free. Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Corryville Branch, 2802 Vine St., Corryville, cincylibrary.tumblr.com

Alice (In Wonderland)
Photo: Peter Mueller
Alice in Wonderland — Cincinnati Ballet presents the return of the wildly popular ALICE (in Wonderland) this Valentine’s Day weekend. Audiences have five opportunities to see this bold, spectacular take on Lewis Carroll’s classic stories with live instrumentation by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. 8 p.m. Feb. 13; 2 and 8 p.m. Feb. 14; 1 and 5:30 p.m. Feb. 15. $32. Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, cballet.org

Cinderella: The Musical — Clifton Performance Theatre’s full-child cast production has young actors playing all the roles of this fairy tale classic. Explore the meaning of friendship, love, and humor in this not-so-girly adaption of Cinderella. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13; 2:30 p.m. Feb. 14. $10 for adults; $2 for children. Clifton Cultural Arts Center, 3711 Clifton Avenue, Clifton, cliftonculturalarts.org

Cin City Burlesque: Beaus and Eros — Join your favorite sweetheart, or round up your single friends. Either way, it’s bound to be a splendid time. Watch two shows in one night with new opening and closing numbers, some “cin”fully sweet new solo and duet acts and lots of audience participation with master of ceremonies Sweett Biscut. Seating will be tables of 2-4 for this intimate show. Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com. Sells out quickly. 6 and 9 p.m. Feb. 14. $19-$44. Bogart’s, 2621 Vine St., Corryville, cincityburlesque.com

Daddy Daughter Dance — Girls spend a magical evening with their dads or the special guy in their life. Take your special date out to eat, and then come to the dance later for desserts and snacks. A free, professional photo will be provided at the dance to each girl registered. Additional photo packages will be available for purchase. This event is first come, first served. Space is limited. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 13; 2:30-4:30 p.m. Feb. 14; 6:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 14. $40; $30 for residents per couple; $10 each additional daughter. Student Union Ballroom at Northern Kentucky University, 100 Nunn Dr., Highland Heights Ky., nku.edu

Fern + Una Floral Pop-Up — Una Floral and Fern have teamed up for Valentine'ss Day, and whether you're celebrating a partner or just self-love, they've got you covered with specialty gift boxes containing items from Herbivore Botanicals, PF Candle Co., Brown Bear Bakery, and a mini floral arrangement from Una Floral. They'll also be serving a "Heart-Beet" cocktail, made using Off the Vine Rockin' Roots juice as the focus, complemented by a lemon/ginger simple syrup, Lillet Rosé, Watershed Gin and topped with Prosecco. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 14. Fern Studio, 6040 Hamilton Ave., North College Hill, fern-shop.com.

From JB, with Love — Dedicated to art and the diversity of all individuals, Justified Bliss (JB) allows people to use their voice for expressive connection with others through open mic events. Just in time for Valentine's Day, this love show invites singles, couples, swingers, wives, anti-Valentine's day folks and romance seekers alike to take the stage. The event will feature gifted vocalist Bianca Graham, live musicians, dancers, poets and DJ Hershe B. 8-11 p.m. Feb. 13. $5. The Greenwich, 2442 Gilbert Ave., Walnut Hills, facebook.com/JustifiedBliss

In the Mood for Love
In the Mood for Love Screening — For anyone who has fallen in love with a friend, said goodbye to someone they care for deeply, or experienced the sacrifice and suffering that comes with the risk of loving, filmmaker Wong Kar-wai's masterpiece, In the Mood for Love, will move you deeply. The film conveys the moral dilemmas of the 1960s, depicting a passionate theme wrapped up between one couple. Tickets are available at CincyWorldCinema.org. 6 p.m. Feb. 13; 6 p.m. Feb. 14. $10-$50. Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center, 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington, Ky., thecarnegie.com

Krohn by Candelight — Enjoy a romantic evening at this event as you make a special craft for your significant other and learn about chocolate in the education room. 5-7:30 p.m. Feb. 13. Free with admission ($2-$4). Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park, cincinnatiparks.com

Krohn Zone Explores Chocolate — Interested in more chocolaty bliss to learn how to make drizzles upon drizzles of tasty treats? Maverick Chocolate Company demonstrates chocolate making techniques. Better yet, a tasting is included. 1-2 p.m. Feb. 15. Free with admission ($4). Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park, cincinnatiparks.com

Linger Flower Pop-Up
Photo: Life in Balance Photography
Linger Flowers/Cheapside Cafe Valentines Pop-Up — What would Valentine’s Day be without dozens upon dozens of fresh flowers? Choose your favorites from hand-tied bouquets, single-stem garden roses, orchids, sweet peas, ranunculus, tulips and more. Interested in the language of flowers? You'll have the chance to read about the romance concealed within each bloom and choose a sweet message to share with your special someone. Beautiful handmade cards will also be available for purchase. 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb.14. $4-$50. Cheapside Café, 326 E. Eigth St., lingerflowers.com

Love, Vodka. Death — As Valentine's Day falls right after Friday the 13th, embrace the spirit of love, lust, madness and death for these back-to-back days at the Masonic Center's Commandery Asylum. Romantic movies will bleed into horror classics as they're projected on the asylum walls, and 15 different vodka brands will be offered alongside delectable bites from A Catered Affair. Vodka tastings by Grey Goose, Titos, Stoli, Svedka, Three Olives, Hangar One, Crystal Head, Seagrams, Epic, Reyka, Blue Ice, Buckeye, Wildcat, Finlandia, & OYO. Entertainment is by Old Green Eyes, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Cincinnati Exchange Project. Must be 21 or older. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 13. $60 for three; $45 for two; $25 for one. Commandery Asylum, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown, citybeat.com

My Furry Valentine
Photo: My Furry Valentine
My Furry Valentine — Rescue some adoptable animals who are in need of your love this Valentine’s Day. This nonprofit organization features more than 500 adoptable pets (dogs, cats, puppies, kittens and other small critters) from more than 40 different rescue and shelter groups from around the Greater Cincinnati area. Every pet adopted will go home with a free goody bag overflowing with pet supplies and will be entered to win one of our popular Adopter Raffle Baskets. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 14; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 15. Free. Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Road, Sharonville, myfurryvalentine.com

Single Mingle — Mix and mingle with other singles in Jimmy G’s Sub T Bar & Lounge with drink specials and music by DJ. 5-11 p.m. Feb. 13. Free. Jimmy G’s, 435 Elm St., Downtown, jimmy-gs.com

Single Awareness Party — Tired of couples getting all the attention on Valentine's Day? Come out to the first annual Singles Awareness Party where the single life is surely celebrated. Enjoy music by Brittany Gillstrap, My Brother's Keeper, Dan Crowe, Justin Duenne and Alex Evans. Pizza and deserts included. Tickets are available for purchase at eventbrite.com. 6-9 p.m. Feb. 14. $10 at the door. 7560 Burlington Pike, Florence Ky., velocitybb.com

St. Clair Traffic Light Party — Don’t worry about telling anyone what’s up with your love life. Instead, let them see for themselves. Wear green if you’re single, yellow if it’s complicated and red if you’re taken to let everyone in the room know your romantic status. 8 p.m. Feb. 14. The St. Clair, 245 Calhoun St., Clifton, thestclair.com

Valentine Valley: Crafts with Art Spark — Bring the kids out for some fun Valentine’s Day fun with Art Spark Studio, an art enrichment program dedicated to helping children express their creativity through art making. Anticipate a variety of crafts, including Valentines, crowns and more. For ages 3-10. Noon-3 p.m. Feb. 14. Free. Tri-County Mall, 11700 Princeton Rd., Springdale, tricountymall.com

Wine tasting with your Sweetie — Presented by Woodstone Creek winery and distillery, choose from 10 craft spirits and 20 wines, dry to sweet, all made in Cincinnati. 1-6 p.m. Feb. 14. $3-$30. Woodstone Creek, 4712 Vine St., Saint Bernard, woodstonecreek.com.

by Belinda Cai 12.10.2013
Posted In: Holidays, The Worst at 04:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brace Yourself for Horrible Jewelry Ad Season

Few things induce more eye-rolling than cliché jewelry commercials with impossibly flawless couples, dialogue on par with that of pornos and overly sentimental background music. When it comes to these contrived advertisements, it doesn’t get worse than Kay Jewelers. My boyfriend and I were watching Hulu Plus the other day when the same unsettling (and outdated) Kay ads repeatedly popped up during breaks.

The first featured a stiff J. Crew catalog-worthy man presenting his fiancée’s daughter with an identical necklace to one he had given his fianceé. “I’m so happy to be marrying your mom. You know that, right?” The stepdad-to-be presents the young girl with the gift. “It’s just like yours, mom!” Everyone is smiling and hugging and kissing. The cloying situation is exacerbated by the fact that the necklace is part of the (rather unattractive) ‘Open Hearts’ collection by Jane Seymour (aka Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman), which has a sappy message — “Keep your heart open and love will always find its way in.” Not to mention, this isn’t such a good gift idea for someone who has had or might one day need open heart surgery…

Among some of the more uncouth YouTube comments are mentions of how this is from the “I’m doin yer ma” collection and how the man could mistakenly appear to have questionable intentions with the adolescent girl. All true. And what’s up with the misleading suggestion that a kid would ever need or even want an expensive piece of jewelry as a gift? My boyfriend’s ten-year-old cousin has LEGO Friends and video games on her Christmas list, not a $200 necklace that she’ll lose in a day.

And then there was the infamous Cabin in the Woods meets American Psycho ad, in which a Patrick Bateman-esque man surprises his lover with a necklace from the ‘Love’s Embrace’ collection after stating, "I'm right here... and I always will be.” (Cue sinister laughter.) This occurs amid lightning, thunder and overall ominous vibes. The woman loves it. Maybe it’s because he’s surrounding her with the “strength of his love” by presenting her with a “diamond that captures the comfort found in each others’ arms.”

Ugh. So why exactly were these uncomfortable Kay commercials ruining my otherwise great Hulu Plus experience? The answer may lie in the fact that it is currently “engagement season,” a prime time for these advertisements. Thank you, Jezebel for bringing this to my attention.

                And, more importantly, for the bringing this picture to my attention

I had no idea the holiday season — that glorious stretch of time between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day — was also known as “engagement season,” as disturbingly dubbed by women’s magazines. For example, Glamour Magazine has a 2012 online article titled, “Happy First Day of Engagement Season! Who's Expecting a Proposal in the Next Few Months?” on November 22 of that year. WeddingChannel.com has a similar article: “9 Ways to Know It’s Engagement Season.”

Approximately 39 percent of all marriage proposals take place between the holiday months. Sure, I’ve witnessed more than one friend on my Facebook newsfeed get engaged during this time frame (because, you know, it’s pretty inevitable when you’re in your twenties and use social media), but was unaware that this is some sort of national trend.

But now that it’s been brought to my attention, I can see why this trend exists. The holiday season is a family-centric time. People are able to take days off work and enjoy plenty of blithe celebrating with loved ones. If you’re the kind of person who wants to get married, now might be the time to make your move. Jewelry commercials cater to this big time.

And just to make myself clear, I have absolutely nothing against people getting engaged around this time or any other time. In fact, someone very close to me recently got engaged and I was lucky enough to be chosen as her maid of honor. I am genuinely happy for anyone who is genuinely happy. I don’t even have anything against jewelry stores in general, unless they are full of blood diamonds or other unethical practices.

I do, however, have a problem with commercials that portray males as saps who win their girlfriends’, wives’ and apparently stepdaughters’ affections through gold and silver diamond-studded necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings shaped like open hearts and warm embraces — ads that depict women as shallow creatures who are at their happiest when presented with sparkly stones. I dislike the season’s “endless subliminal hum of advertisements for engagement rings,” as noted by Jezebel. But ultimately, that is the nature of consumerism, and it’s effective.

The holidays, engagement season aside, are chock-full of commercial spending and advertising. Even lesser-known Hallmark Holidays such as Boss’ Day and Sweetest Day rake in cash, so it makes perfect sense that people break the bank around Christmas. The Gallup Economy’s Oct. 21 article, Americans' Holiday Spending Not Shut Down by Shutdown,” states that "underscoring the importance Americans place on holiday gift giving, 30% — identical to last year — plan to spend at least $1,000, and half plan to spend at least $500. Only 3% intend to spend less than $100."

So if not for the purpose of engagements, jewelry commercials portray that the time is ripe for men to splurge on their significant others with the perfect piece of jewelry for the holidays. But I would never want my boyfriend to feel pressured to pop the question or buy me such superfluous adornments, especially in an attempt to prove his love (as that would be entirely unnecessary). Some of us just want Hulu Plus to get rid of their commercials for Christmas, so instead of being enticed by jewelry, we can get back to The Colbert Report.

by Jac Kern 04.06.2012

Your Weekend To Do List: 4/6-4/8

The Heights Music Festival, TEDxCincinnatiChange, Rumspringa and more pre-Easter fun

While we’re sure many of you crammed enough fun into Opening Day to last the rest of April, there’s still plenty going on this weekend to keep the party going.

The Heights Music Festival (formerly Clifton Heights Music Festival, launched in 2009) kicks off tonight with more than 70 bands (and some comedy sets) at five venues within walking distance around Clifton Heights. Rohs Street Café, Baba Budan’s, Mac’s, Christy’s and Roxx Electrocafe all host performances beginning at 7 p.m. tonight and starting at 3 p.m. tomorrow afternoon through the night. Tickets are $8 for just tonight, $5 for tomorrow’s daytime shows or $12 for the whole weekend. Go here for lineup details and more information.

Though iconic Cincinnati-based artist Charley Harper passed away almost five years ago, his artwork is as recognizable now than ever. His modernist depictions of nature and wildlife still cover the walls of fans young and old. Mary Ran Gallery is currently holding an exhibit and sale of Harper’s vintage signed and numbered prints. Stop by the Hyde Park gallery, peep some of his colorful works and walk away with one of your own. Find details here.

TEDxCincinnatiChange is the first of many TED events to hit the Tri-state this spring. Saturday’s theme is "Big Picture, Small Details," set to examine issues with global and local impact and zeroing in on small details to make big ideas work. This a satellite event of a national TEDxChange, which marks a partnership between TED (Technology, Entertainments and Design) and the Melinda Gates Foundation. The Cincinnati event will kick off with a live streaming of a TEDxChange talk from Berlin. Speakers and performers include filmmakers Andrea Sisson and Peter Ohs, True Body Project founder Stacy Sims, taste of Beligum's Jean-Francois Flechet and many more. The event is currently sold out, but go here to find other upcoming TED events.

Rumspringa is a rite of passage when Amish adolescents can leave their community and enjoy a relaxed atmosphere prior to deciding to be baptized or to leave the Amish church. In popular culture, those participating in Rumspringa are often portrayed as hardcore partiers, swapping their values and traditional garb for booze and sex (but in actuality, it’s not so drastic – most choose to continue being Amish). Saturday, Mayday presents its annual Rumspringa Beer and Sausage Fest. Rock out like it’s your only chance to do so and enjoy Amish-inspired delights like beerwurst, bangers, homemade mustards and more beer than you can shake a buckled shoe at. Remember to call a designated carriage driver! The fun starts at 4 p.m.

OTR A.D.O.P.T. is an organization that helps match prospective home/business owners renovate deteriorating historic buildings in Over-the-Rhine. Saturday, Neon’s Unplugged hosts a benefit for the organization, inviting you to Partly Like it’s 1869! Learn about the organization and how to get involved while celebrating the eclectic neighborhood. Costumes are encourage, so sport your favorite hoop skirt or suspenders and capture your look in a photo booth. A $5 donation gets you in; enjoy old timey drink specials from 8 p.m.-1 a.m.

Check our full To Do page for more arts and events, follow our music blog for this weekend's shows and find theater recommendations here. And Happy Zombie Jesus Day!

by Jac Kern 02.14.2012
Posted In: Fast Food, Fun, Holidays, Dating at 12:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Put a Chicken Ring On It

White Castle continues its annual Valentine's Day celebration

Treat your loved one like royalty this Valentine's Day by taking him or her to the castle — White Castle, that is. For about 20 years, the oldest fast food burger joint in America has pulled out all the stops on this special occasion. In a one-night-only celebration, White Castles get a makeover with pink and red decor, table cloths, candles, even table service and photographs. No, they don't make sliders of Kobe beef or serve your meal on silver platters, but for those who don't take this Hallmark holiday too seriously, it's the perfect way to pig out with your sweetie. You will need a reservation (seriously), so call 513-559-0575 ext. 14 to select a participating location and dinner time between 5-8 p.m.

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by Jennifer Saltsman 01.31.2012

Valentine's Gifts Around the World (and Back)

How Do You Say I<3U?

It's two weeks until Valentine's Day, and we've got a few suggestions on how to celebrate.

To women, nothing says ‘I Love You’ quite like a big, fat cockroach on Valentine’s Day. That's right, for just $10, you can name a special bug living at the Bronx Zoo after your sweetie - because like love, a cockroach is indestructible.

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