Summer doesn’t officially begin for another month and Memorial Day, the unofficial seasonal kick-off, is next weekend. But looking at this weekend's — the first round of church festivals, the opening of The Beach Waterpark, food fests abound — and it’s clear: Summer is upon us.
Legendary musician and artist Patti Smith is in town for the opening of her anticipated Contemporary Art Center exhibit and concert. Patti Smith: The Coral Sea, a tribute to Robert Mapplethore, officially opens Saturday but the opening celebration at the CAC is 6-11 p.m. Friday. On Saturday, Smith performs a sold-out concert at Memorial Hall. Check out our interview with Smith here.
There’s a bevy of festivals across the Tristate this weekend — most notably, the Asian Food Fest, CincItalia and Maifest. Asian Food Fest returns to The Banks 4 p.m.-midnight Saturday and 1-9 p.m. Sunday. Your favorite area Chinese, Indian, Korean and Thai restaurants and other Asian eateries will be serving up samples ranging from $2-$6. Guests can enjoy performances from local Asian-American groups and entertainers throughout the fest.
Get a taste of Italy by way of Cheviot at CincItalia (6-midnight Friday, 3 p.m.-midnight Saturday and 1-9 p.m. Sunday at Harvest Home Park). Once you’ve gotten your fill of pizza, pasta, gelato and tiramisu, check out the live music, auto show, Italian market and cooking demos.
Why not round out the weekend with a German celebration, too? The 34th Annual MainStrasse Village Maifest is also this weekend: 5-11:30 p.m. Friday, noon-11:30 p.m. Saturday and noon-9 p.m. Sunday. Maifest is the traditional German celebration of spring and the hundreds of thousands of expected visitors can expect plenty of food, wine, beer, street performances and kids activities. Think Oktoberfest, but in the spring.
Looking for something a little edgier and a lot sexier? Don’t miss Exhibitionism 3 at Weston Art Gallery (inside the Aronoff Center) Saturday. The late-night dance party features DJs, a lingerie fashion show, body painting, drinks and light bites. General admission tickets are $35 and get you in the door at 9:30 p.m.; $100 VIP tickets include early 8 p.m. admission for an Epicurious Exhibitionism pre-party dinner and drink tickets. Buy them here.
The Beach Waterpark opens Saturday under new management after being closed for the 2012 season. Expect a total makeover of the park, new attractions and familiar favorites like the lazy river and wave pool. The opening celebration runs Saturday-Sunday; daily hours begin May 25.
Nearby, at Kings Island, Barry Williams, Christopher Knight and Susan Olsen — better known as Greg, Peter and Cindy Brady — will be performing, signing autographs and taking photos with fans Sunday. Why, you ask? To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Brady Bunch episode that was filmed at KI in 1973.
You know when you discover something new, like a word or band, and suddenly, they're everywhere? Well, if you've recently started following comedian Geoff Tate, you're probably having a similar experience. Dude is popping up left and right.
Two weeks ago, the Cincinnati native appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson after the host saw his stand-up in Wichita, Kan. Tate's five-minute set definitely brought the laughs. Check it out:
Hearing Craig Ferguson say "MOTR Pub" on television did kind of make me squeal.
Tate is back in Cincy this week to record a CD/DVD at MOTR tonight through Wednesday. Comedy starts at 8 p.m. each night and admission is just $5. Have a couple laughs (and beers) and support this up-and-comer. Find details here.
Keystone Bar & Grill nabbed a Best of Cincinnati staff pick for "Best Comfort Food All Jazzed Up," and tonight is a perfect opportunity to check it out for yourself. Famous for their killer macaroni and cheese, Keystone has locations in Covington and Hyde Park. Their twists on the homestyle classic include the Fleetwood Mac (fresh mozzarella, pesto and tomatoes) and The B.B. King (grilled barbecue chicken and bacon). Best of all, mac-n-cheese is half-price on Mondays.
Speaking of staff favorites, downtown dive bar Knockback Nat's also made this year's list as the "Best Place to get Smoked Out." OK, get your mind out of the head shop — we're talking about Knockback's delicious smoked wings. Knockback Nat's transcends typical bar food with these meaty wings they smoke outside behind the bar. On Mondays they're just 50 cents a pop, so enjoy the smoky goodness and wash it all down with a cold brewski.
Happy Eight Track Tape and Barbershop Quartet Day! That's right, April 11 is designated as a celebratory day for the clunky cassette ancestor, as well as the harmonizing foursome. Anyone who actually owns an eight track featuring a barbershop quartet: Send a photo in!
The Over-the-Rhine Brewery District Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation is a non-profit committed to making OTR a healthy, balanced and supportive neighborhood economy. The organization helps preserve, restore and redevelop Cincinnati's unique brewing history and urban fabric. Live in the area or just want to get involved? Stop by the Brewery District's monthly meeting at Spotted Magpie Vintage (1420 Main St.) tonight from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
For an especially classy Wednesday, go to Cocktails with Conundrum at Celestial Steakhouse's Incline Lounge. Music ensemble Conundrum will perform Cincinnati's premiere of Eric Knechtges' "Simon" and other favorites. Come around 7 p.m. to enjoy cocktails and noshes (with an astounding view of the city) before the 7:45 p.m. performance. Tickets are $30 at the door. Find more information here.
Check out our To Do recommendations for ongoing theater and arts happenings tonight and follow our music blog for tonight's live show lineup. Feel like staying in? Here are some TV shows worth checking out.
The Real World is in its 28th season (!), which got me thinking about how the show has degenerated over the past 20-plus years from a truly groundbreaking docu-series to just another pseudo-reality shitshow with weird green-light PG-13 sex scenes. But remember Season Three with Pedro? That season, filmed in San Francisco, dealt with AIDS in a mature but relatable way when the disease was still misunderstood and extremely taboo. They all had real jobs. When some of the housemates when to mass, others engaged in different forms of worship while the remaining roomies engaged in natural discussions on God and religion. Sure, the early seasons lacked the naked three- (and four- and five-)somes and catfights of The Real Worlds to come, but I miss the real Real World, where normal-looking people with average backgrounds came together to work, play and explore a new city.
Fast forward a couple decades to the current season, which takes place in Portland, Ore. Funny, between Portlandia and an as-mainstream-as-it-gets MTV show, this hipster capital of the world’s coolness bubble is about to burst. But I digress. Portland is an awesome city to transplant a group of 20-somethings for a couple months. It’s known for being easy to traverse via bikes or public transport, the dining and nightlife scene is bustling with offerings and you’d think there would be endless festivals, arts, outdoorsy stuff and other events to keep you occupied for the 24 hours you’re being filmed each day. But no. These douchers have managed to visit the same handful of neon-lit night clubs, sushi joints and SUBWAYS (pretty sure it’s in their contracts to eat at least on six-inch sub per day) through the past 10 episodes (…yet I still watch. I don’t know, I’m a masochist).
Pictured: Rejected applicants from The Bachelorette, Survivor, Big Brother, Amazing Race, Bad Girls Club and Judge Judy.
I originally tuned in to scope the digs (though the allure of the The Real World space and home décor is starting to fade), see what kind of quirky job the roommates would end up with (they all work at a normal pizza shop, except two girls who were too inept to even bus tables; they serve frozen yogurt out of a cart. I repeat, they’re in their 20s.), or find any other example of ripe Portland weirdness. Last week, my watching finally paid off as Averey, Johnny and Jordan attended a totally awesome overnight zombie survival course at Portland’s Trackers Earth — and I think we finally got a glimpse at the real Portland. For the first time this season, the people in the background didn’t look like extras from a Smirnoff Ice commercial!