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.
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.
Happy Bockfest! The annual event, which turns 21 this year, celebrates Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati’s brewing history and the coming of Spring. And goats. But mostly, beer! Bockfest weekend kicks off Friday with the parade, stepping off at 6 p.m. at Cincinnati’s oldest bar, Arnold’s, and continuing north on Main Street to Bockfest Hall (1619 Moore St., Over-the-Rhine) for a ceremonial beer blessing.
Bockfest Hall will fill with beer, food and live music all weekend long, offering brewery tours, the Sausage Queen finals and traditional German performances throughout the fest. Find a full event lineup here. As usual, several bars around Downtown and Over-the-Rhine also participate in the festivities with plenty of local Bock beer.
The Carnegie’s annual showcase of edible artwork opens Friday. The Art of Food brings chefs and artists together for the seventh year to prove you can wear your cake and eat it, too — that’s the saying, right? Tonight’s opening features around 30 artists, more than 20 chefs and a “Let Them Eat Cake (on the Cakewalk)” fashion show of beautiful and tasty ensembles. Online tickets have sold out, but those in attendance are really in for a treat (lots and lots of treats, actually). Read our cover story for a look into the making of The Art of Food.
Last year brought us Night Owl Market, a much-needed destination for late-night grub, shopping and music at the Central parking lot at 107 Main Street. At Cincy NOM, local vendors and food trucks set up shop near tons of popular bars until 3 a.m.! The Night Owl Market opens for 2013 in conjunction with Bockfest Friday and Saturday from 10 p.m.-3 a.m. When your belly’s full of bock, swing by for some tasty noms from Café de Wheels, C’est Cheese, Kaimelsky’s, SugarSnap! and more.
Saturday brings another
Macy’s Arts Sampler, a great opportunity to check out what all the local arts
organizations are up to. March’s sampler is focused in Washington Park and the
surrounding area in Over-the-Rhine (though there are a handful of participating
venues across the city). Free events include a Hip Hop dance class at Elementz,
a showcase of stage fight choreography at SCPA, performances from the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati
Ballet, May Festival Chorus, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Cincinnati Opera
and much more. Find a full lineup of events here.
More and more restaurants and food trucks are offering late-night yums to meet the demands of the area college students, bar crowds and general night owls. Usually “fourth meal” conjures up the thought of tacos or pizza, but what about donuts? Busken has set up a pop-up donut shop at 1218 Vine St. (between A Tavola and Sloane Boutique), open 7 p.m.-midnight Thursdays and 7 p.m.-1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays through March 16. Here, guests can swing by after dinner or drinks for a free Lite-Hearted donut, Busken’s new heart-shaped glazed treat. After tasting one of these bad boys, you’ll be shocked to find they’re only 140 calories a pop. You won’t have to feel too bad about indulging in a mindnight snack, but you may be left wondering whose soul Busken had to sell to get these delicious donuts to clock in at 2.5 grams of fat.
Bockfest might not officially begin until next weekend, but events leading up to the big parade and festival are already in full effect. Friday is the annual Precipitation Retaliation Happy Hour at Milton’s Tavern. Why the retaliation? In 2008, a huge snowstorm nearly shut down Bockfest, so the next year a paper snowman was set ablaze as a sacrifice to the precipitation gods. The burning snowman tradition stuck, and it continues tonight at 8 p.m. Grab a drink and watch the sucker burn!
In the market for some unique furniture, home décor or apparel? 20th Century Cincinnati is a must this weekend. The 19th annual show brings vintage and mid-century modern trends to a one-stop shop at Sharonville Convention Center. Sixty dealers bring furnishings, paintings, textiles and much more, filling 20,000 square feet. And fashionistas: There will be lots of vintage clothing, costume jewelry, accessories and more dating from the ‘20s to the ‘80s. The showroom is open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; $7 admission is good for the full weekend. Find more info here.
The Northern suburbs of Cincinnati sometimes get left out of the city’s biggest celebrations, so they made one their own! The Taste of Northern Cincinnati, also in the Sharonville CC, features food from some of the top eateries in the ‘burbs. From noon-4 p.m. Sunday, attendees will enjoy grub from LaRosa’s, Red Squirrel, Velvet Smoke BBQ, Blue Goose and more. These restaurants will also be competing for awards for best appetizer, salad, entrée, dessert and a people’s choice prize. Admission is $18; $5 for kids.
The Academy Awards are Sunday and if your invitation also got lost in the mail (every damn year!), there’s a local way to celebrate. People Working Cooperatively presents its annual Oscar party at the Hilton Netherland Plaza, complete with a red carpet, cocktails, dinner, and a live screening of the show. Ticket sales benefit PWC’s Modifications for Mobility Program, which helps low-income, elderly and disabled homeowners make important alterations to their houses so they can remain safe and comfortable in their own homes. Buy tickets and find details here.
Raise money for the United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cincinnati while chasing a pack of stone-cold foxes? You can be a part of the fun at tonight’s Fox and Hound 5K at Sawyer Point. The race combines fundraising, running, walking and flirting for participants of all athletic abilities. Here’s the deal: The "hounds" (fellas) will chase the "foxes" (ladies), who get a five-minute head start for the race. Pairs of men and women can also compete to become top foxes and hounds. For those who haven’t yet registered, it’s $45 for the race, after-party admission, a T-shirt and chip timing (if available). Registration opens at 6 p.m.; the race starts at 7. Stick around post-race for an after-party at the park's Cincinnatus Sculpture.
The Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation (CUMHF) presents a celebration for the limited-edition digital EP/art package of Come Play The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams tonight at the CUMHF's (as well as CityBeat's) HQ, 811 Race St. The EP is $20; admission is a $5 donation to the foundation for non-members (or free to those who buy the EP). Guests will also get to see a video of the "Guitar Army" that performed at the 60th anniversary of the "Train Kept A-Rollin'" recording, last summer on Fountain Square. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Over at Washington Park, The Chris Comer Trio performs as part of the weekly Jazz in the Park series. Music runs 7-9 p.m. While you’re there, peep the sand volleyball court being set up for tomorrow's AVP Cincinnati Open kick-off. Volleyball players fresh off the boat from London’s Summer Olympics will play 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Find tickets here.
As September approaches and summer winds down, two additional free, weekly events come to an end tonight.
It’s Commonly Jazz welcomes the Mike Wade Septet featuring Steve Wilson to Eden Park Seasongood Pavilion. The free concert runs 6-8 p.m.
Salsa on the Square goes out with a bang tonight with music from Tropicoso (the group behind Latin Monday Nights at The Mad Frog). Learn to dance from Salsa pros or watch the fun while enjoying a cold beer. If you haven’t shown off your dance skills yet, strut your stuff on Fountain Square from 7-10 p.m.
Looking for a spot to grab dinner or drinks? We suggest Lavomatic, the recently made-over café in The Gateway Quarter. Check out this week’s review here.
Four Entertainment Group (4EG) is the driving force behind nine of the most popular bars and restaurants in the area. While it would be difficult to drink at each location in one night (and possibly damaging to the liver), 4EG is bringing all of their venues to Fountain Square tonight. Try specialty cocktails, beers, wine and signature dishes from aliveOne, Keystone Hyde Park, Keystone Covington, The Lackman, The Stand, Mount Adams Pavilion, The Righteous Room, The Sandbar and Tap & Go as you get down to music from DJ Matt Joy and Bad Veins. Head down to the square from 5-10 p.m. and if you're on Foursquare, be sure to check in — the mayor of these venues will receive a prize.
On second Saturdays, Northside is the place to be. Celebrate the eclectic neighborhood and support local businesses by visiting some of the dozens of participating galleries, shops, restaurants and bars. Visitors will enjoy extended hours, drink and food specials, sales and unique promotions at places like Nvision, Mayday, Take the Cake, C&D, Tantrum, Skincraft and many more. Find a full list of participating businesses here.
Who is the most hilarious Tri-State resident? Each year, Go Bananas tries to answer that question with the club’s Funniest Person in Cincinnati Contest. Tonight the competition kicks off with semi-pros Dwight Simmons, Ranaan Hershberg, Jebb Lyons and Lindsay Boling and several amateurs. Five bucks gets you in the door to check out some of Cincy’s up-and-coming comics. The competition will continue weekly through August, when the favorite comedian will be crowned
Jenny “The Bloggess” Lawson makes a stop at Joseph-Beth Booksellers at Rookwood Pavilion tonight — kind of. The Internet superstar will discuss her “mostly true memoir,” Let’s Pretend This Never Happened via Skype at the book store. The Bloggess’ literary debut features mortifyingly hilarious anecdotes that helped shape an awkward girl into a wildly popular writer. The book talk begins at 7 p.m. Admission is free.
In addition to Cinco de Mayo and Derby Day, the next couple days bring a ton of events and activities. Saddle up, grab some tequila and get out there this weekend!
Essex Studios blossom this weekend for the galleries’ spring Art Walk, BLOOM. The space has been transformed with a thousand origami flowers, yarn gardens by the Cincinnati BombShells and color-coded pathways. As always, more than 100 artists’ work will be on view as guests eat and drink their way through the studios. The art walk runs 6-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Saturday is Clay Alliance’s annual pottery fair at DeSales Corner. Peruse decorative and functional pottery pieces, meet local artists and get supplies to work with clay on your self. Hourly raffles and live music round out the day. The 12th annual fair takes place 11 a.m.-5 p.m., rain or shine.
The first Saturday of May happens to be Cinco De Mayo this year, but it’s also Free Comic Book Day: once a year, comic/specialty book shops across North America offer free publications to all guests. Find a nearby participating store here. Many store offer additional in-store events and promotions; Up Up & Away in Cheviot welcomes The Walking Dead co-creator and original artist Tony Moore.
Crafty Supermarket is back! Making its home at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center, the spring show brings more than 50 indie, subversive crafters from across the city and country to sell their funky, functional handmade goods. Just in time for Mother’s Day, shoppers will find unique apparel and accessories, home goods, artwork and more goodies. Fuel your shopping with delicious food and coffee from local vendors while a PROJECTMILL DJ keeps you groovin’. Show up early to nab a coveted swag bag — every year, shoppers line up around the corner of Clifton Avenue in hopes of being one of the first 100 who get a bag. The market is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and admission is free.
Cinco de Mayo is more popular in the U.S. than Mexico, but since when do we let historical inaccuracies stand in the way of a good drinking holiday? Nearly every bar and restaurant participates in some capacity, but we’ve selected a few to host our annual Cantina Crawl. Here’s our schedule:
p.m. El Coyote
p.m. Pirates Cove
p.m. Tostado’s Grill
p.m. Cactus Pear (Clifton)
Join our roving squad of senoritas and “Seen on the Scene” photographers as they travel from place to place with more prizes than you can throw a maraca at.
Prom is a rite of passage many, but often LGBTQ kids don’t feel comfortable at school dances because of bullies and expectations about dress and dates. The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Greater Cincinnati provides a welcoming environment for these individuals at their annual GLSEN Prom Saturday. Come to the Freedom Center for two events in one: those under 21 are invited to "dress as you want, bring who you want, and love as you want.” In a separate area of the center the over 21 crowd, who maybe didn’t get to experience a prom of their own, can enjoy dinner, drinks and dancing for $65. Those wanting to attend post-dinner can come after 9 p.m. for a discounted price. As always, kids are welcome free of charge with early registration. All proceeds support the local GLSEN chapter.
And don’t forget to check out the "supermoon" Saturday — the biggest full moon of the year will peak around 11:30 p.m. tomorrow.
Another TED event takes place locally today, this time on Xavier's campus. TEDxXavierUniversity brings leaders in innovation from across the city and country to speak on the theme "Touching the hearts and minds of others through innovation, service, and leadership." Speakers include emcee Michelle Beckham-Corbin (President and Chief Digital Marketing Strategist of C3: Creating Connections Consulting, LLC), Todd Henry (founder and CEO of Accidental Creative), Rashmi Assudani PhD. (Associate Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship at XU's Williams College of Business) and other CEOs, directors of non-profits and cutting edge entrepreneurs. The free event runs 1-5 p.m. today at the Cintas Center Schiff Banquet Hall. Guests should have already reserved their spot in advance.
Comedian John Heffron makes a tour stop at Funny Bone on the Levee starting tonight. Heffron was the winner of Last Comic Standing's second season and has performed on tons of late night shows and Comedy Central specials and at comedy festivals. A relatively "clean" comic, Heffron avoids politics and controversy in his acts, focusing on the naturally funny aspects of everyday life. Tonight's performance begins at 8 p.m. Find details here.
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.