This year we did pretty OK again, receiving six first-place and 13 runner-up awards from the Cincinnati chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for work produced in 2013. Six pieces are also finalists in the Cleveland Press Club’s statewide awards, which will be announced June 6.
CityBeat photographer Jesse Fox won the Cincinnati SPJ’s “Best Feature Photography” award for a collection of work that is also a finalist in the Cleveland contest. Arts & Culture Editor Jac Kern’s “I Just Can’t Get Enough” column won the local “Lifestyle Reporting” visual communication category, and Contributing Arts Editor Steven Rosen won the Cincy SPJ’s “Arts/Entertainment Critique” award for a collection of his "The Big Picture" columns. Editor Danny Cross won first in the “Editorial” category for an angry essay titled “Cincinnati’s 1 Percent,” and CityBeat’s “The Answers Issue” took first for “Lifestyle Feature.” CityBeat also won “Best Weekly Newspaper” in Cincinnati and is a finalist for “Best Non-Daily Newspaper in Ohio: Alternatives."
Other finalists for the Cleveland Press Club’s statewide awards were “The Linguistics of Legislation,” by Hannah McCartney, Maija Zummo and Julie Hill in the “Features: General” category, and German Lopez’s collection of streetcar coverage in “Community/Local Coverage.” Lopez’s investigation into Ohio’s dysfunctional private prison, “From the Inside,” is a finalist for the “Public Service” award, as is Cross’ look into the controversial firing of Loveland High School’s drama instructor, “Legally Banned,” for “Arts and Entertainment” reporting. CityBeat Music Editor Mike Breen was again recognized for music writing, as he is a finalist for the Press Club’s “Reviews/Criticism” award.
The following is a complete list of work recognized by the Cincinnati Society of Professional Journalists and Cleveland Press Club:
Cincinnati SPJ: First Place Awards
EDITORIAL: “Cincinnati’s 1 Percent” by Danny Cross
LIFESTYLE FEATURE: “The Answers Issue” by CityBeat Staff
ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT CRITIQUE: “The Big Picture” by Steven Rosen
BEST WEEKLY NEWSPAPER: CityBeat
LIEFESTYLE REPORTING: “I Just Can’t Get Enough” by Jac Kern
FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHY: Jesse Fox
Cincinnati SPJ: Finalists
GENERAL ASSIGNMENT NEWS STORY: “Restricted Responsibility: Lawsuit argues Miami University should have dismissed alleged rapist for previous violations” by Hannah McCartney; “Testing Faith: Catholic Church fires Purcell Marian assistant principal over support of gay marriage" by Danny Cross
INVESTIGATIVE/ENTERPRISE/DATABASE REPORTING: “Legally Banned: The secret complaints and controversial characters behind the firing of Loveland High School's drama instructor" by Danny Cross
CONTINUING COVERAGE OR SERIES: “Streetcar Coverage” by German Lopez
BUSINESS NEWS: “Cleaning House: Janitors strike against New York City-based company contracted by local Fortune 500 companies to clean their buildings” by Hannah McCartney
SPORTS NEWS: “All Part of the Game: Ruling against former Bengals players illustrates the next step in NFL concussion saga” by Bill Sloat and C. Trent Rosecrans
SPORTS FEATURE/ANALYSIS: “A League of Their Own: The Delhi Skirt Game's uniquely flamboyant, 36-year tradition of helping community members in need” by Hannah McCartney
COMMUNITY ISSUES: “Home Invasion?: Planned supportive housing facility has some Avondale residents concerned about its effects on an already plagued neighborhood” by Hannah McCartney
ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT: “Legally Banned: The secret complaints and controversial characters behind the firing of Loveland High School's drama instructor” by Danny Cross
Cleveland Press Club Best in Ohio Finalists:
FEATURES: GENERAL: “The Linguistics of Legislation” by Hannah McCartney, Maija Zummo and Julie Hill
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT: “Legally Banned: The secret complaints and controversial characters behind the firing of Loveland High School's drama instructor” by Danny Cross
COMMUNITY/LOCAL COVERAGE: “Streetcar Coverage” by German Lopez
BEST NON-DAILY NEWSPAPER IN OHIO: ALTERNATIVES: CityBeat
BEST IN OHIO: PHOTOGRAPHER: Jesse Fox
REVIEWS/CRITICISM: “Spill It” by Mike Breen
The really big show this weekend happens tonight when the The Cappies of Greater Cincinnati present their eighth annual awards for high school theater productions and performers. Our local program is one of the most established, right up there with programs in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and beyond. Our local awards are presented at the Aronoff Center's Procter & Gamble Hall. In addition to the recognition of high school student performers, the evening offers excerpts from a dozen or so schools plus ensemble numbers featuring kids from all over the region — more than 20 schools participate in the program. An especially exciting aspect (at least from my point of view as a critic) is the fact that an element of the Cappies involves students attending one another's performances and writing about them. Tonight will open with a recognition of the outstanding boy and girl critics, and wrap up by citing the top team of high school critics. I'll be onstage at the Aronoff to present that award, as well as something new: An award for the "top critique" by a student writer. I had the privilege of choosing the winner, which will be posted on CityBeat's arts blog after the award ceremony. And to show how profoundly CityBeat is committed to cultivating arts coverage, we're inviting that winner to cover a high school Fringe Next production in the Cincinnati Fringe Festival, which kicks off next week. No award for me, but I'm honored to be asked to hand out this recognition to the next generation of theater writers!
When Catfish The TV Show premiered in 2012, I was less than impressed. While I enjoyed the original documentary film about a man’s (the filmmaker’s brother, Nev Schulman) online relationship-gone-wrong, Nev’s MTV version lacked the same authenticity and felt rather exploitative. But when Schulman tweeted about being in the Cincinnati area (Findlay Market, specifically) this past February, my interest was certainly piqued. Who doesn’t love seeing Cincy on TV (even if it inevitably would be a negative representation of the city and its people)?
The Cincinnati episode of Catfish aired last week and local ties aside, it was one of the most controversial episodes thus far. Nev and his docu-series partner-in-crime Max embarked on a unique catfishing adventure when Carmen contacted the duo to help her host a “catfish intervention” with her cousin Antwane whom, despite never meeting the man in person, had been in a relationship with a guy named Tony for three years. Antwane explained that he “met” Tony on a late-night chat line but he’d never so much as seen a photo of him. Carmen and ‘Twane are both big personalities, sure to get a reaction from viewers, but they both seemed genuine.
After a crazy turn of events, Antwane’s cousin Carmen nonchalantly revealed that she was “Tony” all along, and she had kept up the sick charade as revenge for…wait for it…the one time Antwane called her “a fat ass Kelly Price” in front of her family three years ago. Oy.
When Max and Nev learned that Carmen was behind the whole thing and that she planned the Catfish cameras to catch her so she could get a brush with fame, they were furious. And rightfully so, that’s a straight Disney villain move (also your cousin?!). In a very edited scene, Nev heatedly called out Carmen, mocking the way she talked, when producers immediately stepped in to call for a break. While I in no way condone any of her sociopathic actions, I did find it bitterly just that these MTV hotshots got a taste of their own exploitative medicine. They embarrass countless people on the show (though some might argue the subjects ask for it) and while they say they do it to help people, like any television producers, it's all about ratings and "good" TV. In the end, this episode was sure to rack up plenty of viewers.
After the show aired, Nev posted the following message on his Facebook page, which reeks of his signature smug judginess:
“Shooting this weeks episode of Catfish was one of the most intense and emotional experiences of my life. Relating to and understanding Antwane was a struggle for me in many ways, but I really grew to appreciate and respect him. He has many fears and flaws, but showed so much courage and resolve in the face of adversity. He is a man who proves that you don't need anybody else's approval to be happy. My lesson learned is to be confident and proud of who you are no matter what anybody else says or thinks. Life isn't always easy, but we can all chose to be positive in the way we treat ourselves and others. Cheers.”
Watch the full episode here. The show features shots of Short Vine (it looks like Antwane lives across the street from Bogart’s); Coffee Emporium in Over-the-Rhine (Nev and Max famously do all their research in a coffee shop in each episode, and were very impressed by the local spot); and various locations across Downtown and Over-the-Rhine.
The term “catfish” has
caught on as a definition for people who assume false identities on the Internet
(or the act of doing so) — so much so, that the word’s new meaning has been
added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Go here to read about how the term originated in
the doc by the same name.
Every year, the Guardians
of the English Language at M-W begrudgingly add new words and definitions to the
dictionary. This year’s list was just released and, in addition to catfish’s
new meaning, there’s hashtag, selfie and steampunk . Peep the full list here.
Brad Pitt and Matthew McConaughey are neighbors now, and apparently just a couple of bros.
Magic Mike was a hit. Channing Tatum is apparently working on a sequel, Magic Mike XXL. So it’s no surprise that “The Real” Magic Mike is also in the works. Directed by Joe Manganiello (“Big Dick” Richie in Mike, Alcide in True Blood), La Bare gives a raw, inside look at the talented male dancers at La Bare Dallas.
We now live in a world where Charlie from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia gets invited to give commencement speeches and receives honorary doctorates. Which is to say, an awesome world. Check out his words of wisdom here.
Jimmy Fallon has been doing a Suggestion Box bit on The Tonight Show, where he takes completely random questions or ideas from fans and brings them to life in epic Tonight fashion. Fallon has dubbed Game of Thrones with children’s voices, gotten Audra McDonald to sing real Yahoo Answers and tested out Digi-Staches on Higgins. But this might be one of my favorites:
The gods of Rock must have known that Alice In Chains was in town on Saturday, May 17 as the area around the Horseshoe Casino was dreary, cloudy and cold. It’s as if they transplanted a little bit of Seattle into downtown Cincinnati for much of the day. Luckily the rain held off for the show, allowing the sold-out crowd to bear witness to a classic Grunge act proving just how energetic and relevant they still are.
Canadian quartet Monster Truck kicked off the show before the advertised 8 p.m. show time, meaning a large number of fans missed out on much of the band’s set. But the fans that did get to catch Monster Truck’s Southern-fried Rock were in for a treat. These denim-clad and bearded boys sound like they’re from Georgia more than Ontario, playing rippers that would make Lynyrd Skynyrd raise their beers to the sky. Monster Truck’s shirts read in big, block letters: “Don’t Fuck With The Truck.” After their set, I doubt anybody considered doing so.
Monster Truck’s set was a great warm up for the main attraction, but the crowd was really there for one reason and one reason only. At 8 p.m. sharp, as the opening lines to “Them Bones” rumbled through the stacks, Alice In Chains stormed the stage to prove exactly why they can still sell out venues almost 30 years after their formation. Vocalist/guitarist William DuVall (who joined the group after original frontman Layne Staley’s death in 2002) brings a constant energy and dynamic stage presence that revitalizes not only the crowd but his own bandmates. Bassist Mike Inez and guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell became visibly more active and engaged whenever DuVall entered their stage space.
This isn’t to say that the old school members were slacking. Inez and drummer Sean Kinney still banged out rhythms that probably made the Horseshoe’s windows quake a bit. And Cantrell plays the hell out of his guitar, playing through Alice In Chains’ iconic riffs with such power and intensity, it’s obvious that his newfangled haircut didn’t cause a Metallica-esque loss in Metal credibility.
The set featured a mix of classics like “Man in the Box” and “Rooster,” deep cuts and hits from the DuVall albums like “Check My Brain,” insuring that fans of all eras happy. Even casual fans such as myself (my set list notes have more question marks than actual song titles) had plenty to latch on and sing along to. The trio banged out each song so powerfully that even unfamiliar tracks came across as timeless classics.
The band’s interaction with fans is particularly notable as well. DuVall made efforts to point out fans who were truly enjoying the show, Cantrell invited a father and son up on stage because of the child’s enthusiasm in the front row and Kinney had the crowd call a lawyer’s office whose billboard was in his sight line for the entire performance. Judging by all the screens floating in the air, I feel bad for their receptionist.
As the show wound down and Alice In Chains played their encore, consisting of “Don’t Follow,” “No Excuses,” and “Would?” the crowd slowly filed out and were greeted by a group of religious protesters touting the dangers of gambling and Rock & Roll (sex and drugs were noticeably absent from their complaints). They were largely ignored but after the hour and a half concert experience that I’d just been a part of, all I felt was a bit of pity for them. They missed one hell of a show.
The air may have been Seattle cold but after almost three decades and five albums, Alice In Chains are still white hot.
The Contemporary Arts Center turns 75 this year and she’s looking as good as ever! Celebrate the CAC’s long history of pushing Cincinnati along the cutting edge with an epic birthday bash tonight. The festivities start at the CAC’s former location in the Mercantile Center with dinner and silent and live auctions from 6-9 p.m. (email email@example.com or call 513-345-8422 to get on the waiting list). More food and drink, dancing and art awaits at the CAC with a Diamonds + Debauchery after-party from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. CityBeat’s own Jesse Fox will be taking fabulous photobooth pics and there will be an appearance by California avant-garde performance artist boychild. After-party tickets are $40 in advance, $75 per couple and $100 for a group of three (online sales end at 4 p.m.) or $50 at the door. Read this week's cover story on the Contemporary Arts Center here.
Downtown nightlife staple Mt. Adams Pavilion recently underwent a facelift, complete with interior renovations of the dance floor area and penthouse, new cocktails and a menu created by Chef Brian Duffy (of Bar Rescue fame). Check out the updated digs tonight at Pavilion’s re-launch party from 8 p.m.-2 a.m.
Head down to Washington Park for an OTR-rific Saturday with the first City Flea of the season and the eighth annual OTR 5K. City Flea, Cincy’s local curated urban flea market, embarks on its fourth season this weekend, offering handcrafted goods, art, antiques, local grub and more fun goodies from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The OTR 5K also kicks off at 10 a.m., with festivities following in the park.
Northside is a hub for creativity, so it’s fitting that the Cincinnati Arts Association is sponsoring a self-guided tour of Hamilton Avenue artist studios from 2-5 p.m. this Sunday. North By Northside features studio tours, pop-up exhibitions and an overall celebration of art in the eclectic neighborhood. Start at Hoffner Lodge (4120 Hamilton Ave.), where tickets can be purchased beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday, then make your way through several artist studios and creative spaces. Head back to the lodge from 5-7 p.m. for an after-party including food, drinks and music. Tickets are $35; the event benefits non-profit gallery Weston Art Gallery.
When the lineups for the every-Friday MidPoint Indie Summer concerts on Fountain Square were announced, showcasing a solid lineup of local and touring Indie Rock acts, a colleague in Charlotte, N.C., Jeff Hahne, bemoaned his own city’s lackluster “outdoor free music” offerings. Writing on the blog of the city’s Creative Loafing weekly, he said he was increasingly disappointed by the cover bands and “’90s alt-rock” acts that populate two of Charlotte’s free outdoor music series.
“Charlotte may have twice the population and enjoy warmer weather,” Hahne wrote, “but as far as a summer music series goes, Cincinnati clearly wins.”
It was a good reminder of how good things are for live music fans in Cincinnati. And Hahne wrote this about only one small part of the overall free, outdoor, live music offerings the city provides. There are events for fans of cover bands, too, like the every-Wednesday Party in the Park shows at Yeatman’s Cove on the riverfront, but, besides Indie Summer, downtown’s Fountain Square and Over-the-Rhine’s Washington Park present a wide variety of styles of music every year once the warmer weather rolls around. And every series draws respectable-to-blockbuster crowds, showing that our city has more than enough music lovers to support the multitude of musical events each summer. (Even these two spaces’ series only represent a portion of the overall outdoor, live music action downtown; there are also events like next weekend’s Taste of Cincinnati that have a wide variety of local musicians performing.)
The lineups for the musical performances at Washington Park and Fountain Square (officially known as the PNC Summer Music Series and presented by 3CDC and a wide range of different sponsors) have leaked out gradually over the past few weeks. Now that most of the artists booked for the various series have been announced, we’ve collected them below for you to marvel at the quantity and quality of what our city core has in store this summer for music fans. (Visit Fountain Square’s site here and Washington Park’s site here for more info and some links to check out some of the artists ahead of time.)
Washington Park (SHOWS 7-10 P.M. WEEKLY UNLESS NOTED)
WEDNESDAYS: CROWN JEWELS OF JAZZ
May 28: Rashon Murph & Randy Villars
June 4: Marc Fields
June 11: Tropicoso
June 18: Patricia & Chris Berg
June 25: Siobhan and the Situation
July 2: Rick Van Matre
July 9: NKU Faculty Band
July 16: Anne Stephens
July 23: Art Gore featuring Delfeayo Marsalis
July 30: No concert
Aug. 6: Sylvain Archer
Aug. 13: Fo/Mo/Deep
Aug. 20: Dick Sisto
Aug. 27: Mike Wade
THURSDAYS: BANDSTAND BLUEGRASS
May 29: Jake Speed & The Freddies andThe Red Cedars
June 5: The Comet Bluegrass Allstars
June 12: Wild Carrot & the Roots Band
June 19: Ma Crow & The Lady Slippers
June 26: The Downtown County Band
July 3: Northern Kentucky Bluegrass Band and Woody Pines
July 10: Steve Bonafel & One Iota
July 17: Buffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustle
July 24: The Rattlesnakin’ Daddies
July 31: No concert
Aug. 7: The Tillers
Aug. 14: Hickory Robot
Aug. 21: Bulletville
Aug. 28th: Whiskey Bent Valley and Al Scorch
FRIDAYS: FRIDAY FLOW
(Note: Local DJ crew Selectas Choice spins between sets)
May 30: EU, Jameze and performers from Elementz
June 6: Natural Progression and Collective Peace
June 13: Hotsauce, Tyshawn Colquitt and more TBA
June 20: Carpe Diem, Ron C and more TBA
June 27: Bobby Valentino, L’ Renee and performers from Elementz
July 4: Playa (featuring Smoke & Black), Deuces and more TBA
July 11: Carl Moore, Marwan (Soul Flow)
July 18: 2nd Wind, The Ingrid Rachel Project
July 25: (3 p.m. start) Sei High, 432, performers from Elementz and more TBA
Aug. 1: No Friday Flow; LumenoCity returns
Aug. 8: Flawless and Keenan West
Aug. 15: Big Jim and Erica P
Aug. 22: Gregory Porter and Mandy Gaines
Aug. 29: Tiara Purifoy (American Idol), performers from Elementz and more TBA
Fountain Square (SHOWS 7-10 P.M. WEEKLY UNLESS NOTED)
TUESDAYS: AMERICAN ROOTS
May 27: Jeremy Pinnell & the 55s and Ben Knight & the Welldiggers
June 3: Kim Taylor and Peter Mulvey
June 10: The Black Lillies and The Kentucky Struts
June 17: Buffalo Wabs and the Price Hill Shuffle and Arlo McKinley
June 24: Dallas Moore Band
July 1: The Tillers and Red Cedars
July 8: Pure Grain and Shoot Out the Lights
July 15: Chuck Mead and Straw Boss
July 22: The Wheeler Brothers and Shiny & the Spoon
July 29: Bulletville and Bucktown Kickback
Aug. 5: Josh Eagle and The Hiders
Aug. 12: The Ragbirds and The Happy Maladies
Aug. 19: Tony Furtado and Rumpke Mountain Boys
Aug. 26: Birds of Chicago
WEDNESDAYS: REGGAE WEDNESDAY
May 28: Super-Massive (Summer Splash Happy Hour DJ: Frankie D)
June 4: Driftaways (Summer Splash Happy Hour DJ group: Avalanche Sound)
June 11: Peach Freedom and Connect (Summer Splash Happy Hour DJ: Frankie D)
June 18: Aaron Kamm and the One Drops (Summer Splash Happy Hour DJ group: Queen City Imperial Sound System)
June 25: Milele Roots (Summer Splash Happy Hour DJ: Frankie D)
July 2: Jah Messengers (Summer Splash Happy Hour DJ group: Avalanche Sound)
July 9: Zvuloon Dub System (Summer Splash Happy Hour DJ: Frankie D)
July 16: Gato’s Gullah Gumbo (Summer Splash Happy Hour DJ: DJ Mowgli)
July 23: Ark Band (Summer Splash Happy Hour DJ: Frankie D)
July 30: 77 Jefferson (Summer Splash Happy Hour DJ group: Avalanche Sound)
Aug. 6: Rashita Astemari (Summer Splash Happy Hour DJ: Frankie D)
Aug. 13: The Drastics (Summer Splash Happy Hour DJ group: Queen City Imperial Sound System)
Aug. 20: Big Wig Mechanics (Summer Splash Happy Hour DJ: Frankie D)
Aug. 27: The Cliftones (Summer Splash Happy Hour DJ: DJ Mowgli)
THURSDAYS: SALSA ON THE SQUARE
(Note: Salsa on the Square kicked off May 1)
May 22: Grupo Tumbao
May 29: Mambo Diablo
June 5: Son Del Caribe
June 12: Tropicoso
June 19: Kandela
June 26: Grupo Tumbao
July 3: Zumba
July 10: Mambo Diablo
July 17: Kandela
July 24: Son Del Caribe
July 31: Tropicoso
Aug. 7: Clave Son
Aug. 14: Grupo Tumbao
Aug. 2: Son Del Caribe
Aug. 28: Kandela
Sept. 4: Clave Son
Sept. 11: Tropicoso
Sept. 18: Latin Beat Project
FRIDAYS: MIDPOINT INDIE SUMMER (7-11 P.M. WEEKLY)
May 30: WHY?, Yip Deceiver, Badboxes, Dark Colour
June 6: Wussy, The Tigerlilies, Honey & Houston, Mason School of Rock
June 13: Betty Who, Vito Emmanuel, Captain Kidd, Pluto Revolts
June 20: Those Darlins, The Harlequins, The Frankl Project, Those Crosstown Rivals
June 27: Moon Taxi, Peridoni, Nevele, Acarya
July 4: Local H, Mad Anthony, New Strange, One Day Steady
July 11: Soledad Brothers, Electric Citizen, Pop Goes the Evil, Grotesque Brooms
July 18: Wesley Bright & the Hi-Lites, DAAP Girls, Mardou, Young Colt
July 25: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Public, Dream Tiger, Danny & His Fantasy
Aug. 1: The Spiders (A tribute to David Bowie), The Honey Spiders, Bad People, To No End
Aug. 8: Man Man, Injecting Strangers, Ohio Knife, Skeleton Hands
Aug. 15: The Nightbeast, more TBA
Aug. 22: psychodots, Lemon Sky, Tonefarmer, Heavy Hinges
Aug. 29: Islands, The Pass, The Yugos, Joey Cook & The Keepers of the Secret
SATURDAYS: BEATS BY SELF-DIPLOMA (7-11 P.M. WEEKLY)
May 31: Cal Scruby, Matt Persin, NJ + drummer, Nuk, Federal & Company, TJC with DJ Vizion, Beatboxer Nav & Jake
June 7: Chingy, DJ Diamond, Sleep, Planet Venus, Chestah T & Snowball, Razook, Alexander the Bear
June 14: DJ Clockwork, DJ Etrayn, Buggs Tha Rocka, Jon Schuyler, Ingrid Rachel Project, SSE, DJ RiQ The Professor, Miles Mulligan
June 21: OCD: Moosh & Twist, Puck, Hafrican, Jayme Shaye, Eazy El Loco, A1 & Juice Jones, DJ iGrind
June 28: DJ Bandcamp, Junya Be, Macho Means, Aysia Marie & Ajax Stacks, Nate Paulson, Mad Snipes, EddieO
July 5: The Knocks (DJ set), Millennium Robots, Disco Joe & Friends, Aviators, T3CCHTUNE, Mr. Fantastic, Keyyz
July 12: Mike Stud, James Dapper, The S.A.U.C.E., SkeetR V. Twinkiee, Kid Quill, Blue Society
July 19: DJ D-LO, Joseph Nevels, Oregonia, Spearpoint, Brad Redford, Banducci and the Wheels, Kyle English
July 26: DJ Kid Capri, Khimera Records (8:30 p.m. start)
Aug. 2: Hi-Tek and Friends, Jillian Faith, Suave & Under New Order, Frankly Speaking, B. Soul, Haze
Aug. 9: Dizzy Wright, Trademark Aaron, Young ILL, Jaylee, Odd Fella, MCB, Jameze Latrail
Aug. 16: Trentino, DJ Skills, Ingrid Woode & the Woode Tribe Orchestra, DJ Will Kill, Mark Moore (8 p.m. start)
Aug. 23: Sound Remedy, Bob A Dob, Panzer, Black Signal, Randi Floss, Skyelle, Button Mashers
Aug. 30: Capitol Thrill, Firecat 451, Riot Ten, DJ B-Funk, Reaux, Chris Alarcon, DJ Edge
You really can't go wrong with a show at the Cincinnati Playhouse this weekend. I gave both productions Critic's Picks. The North Pool, on the Shelterhouse stage through June 1, is a taut dialogue between a suspicious high school vice principal and a wary student of Middle Eastern descent. (CityBeat review here.) It takes a while (the show is about 90 minutes, played in real time) to decide who's the good guy and who's the bad guy, and you'll be turned around several times in the process. Excellent acting and a fine script by Ohio native (and Miami University grad) Rajiv Joseph makes this an excellent theatrical experience. On the Playhouse's Marx Stage, it's the final weekend for another kind of cat-and-mouse game. Venus in Fur is all about sexual tension, between an imperious playwright/director and the woman who's auditioning for a role in a play he's adapted from an erotic novel. (CityBeat review here.) David Ives' witty and allusive script (it's literary and mythical in some most amusing ways) is being produced at theaters from coast-to-coast, but I can't imagine there's a finer production than this one anywhere. Tickets: ($30-$75) 513-421-3888.
Throughout history, people have often said they can remember many details about where they were when they heard monumental news: the moon landing or JFK’s assassination, for example. So it is likely we’ll recount to our children and grandchildren what we were doing when we learned of the most recent Great American Tragedy: The Solange-Beyoncé-Jay Z Feud of 2014.
Just weeks ago, sisters Beyoncé and Solange Knowles were playfully performing onstage together at Coachella. Now, Solange has all but erased her sibling from her life (well, from her Instagram, at least).
The fallout comes after the release of an elevator surveillance video from the Met Gala after-party in which (supposedly) Solange Knowles (apparently) attacked (a man who might be) Jay-Z as Beyoncé (reportedly) stood by. Check out the video here.
This shit is a goldmine for
gossip rags every media entity, so rumors, anonymous reports and vague
speculations are coming out of the woodwork regarding all three recording
artists. Some say Solange was just being a drunk mess and flipped when Jay told
her to chill out; others report Solange has concerns about Jay’s fidelity and
Beyoncé has become his robot bride; it’s also being speculated that the stunt
is just a piece of performance art arranged by James Franco.
At the end of the day, we can all hope the trio will work things out, because they are a fambily. And speaking of, shout out to my friend Miranda who brought it to my attention that the sisters sang the theme song for the early-2000s Disney animated series, Proud Family. Never forget.
Now, cue the “Drunk in an Elevator” spoofs.
Usually when your grandma discovers social media, it can be an embarrassing disaster. Not if your grandma is a badass bitch, though. Enter Baddie Winkle.
With a Twitter and Instagram tagline that reads, “stealing your man since 1928,” Baddie lives up to her name by posting pictures of her babely outfits, words of wisdom and videos of her twerk game. BuzzFeed calls her “the most hardcore grandma on the Internet.” And she’s a local! Baddie hails from Williamstown, Ky., just a few miles south of Cincinnati on I-75. Represent, Baddie!
Macaulay Culkin was trending this week when his pizza-themed Velvet Underground cover band, Pizza Underground (yes, yes, a million times yes) tweeted an epic photo of Culkin. Kevin McAllister himself is seen wearing a T-shirt with a photo Ryan Gosling…wearing a T-shirt with a photo of Macaulay. Meta, for sure, but not to be missed in the photo is the awesome Pizza Underground coffee mug. I’ll take one of each, please.
BREAKING: Add another layer to this meta-ception.
(Totally ‘shopped, but I don’t care)
Like it or not, Ben Affleck
is the new Bruce Wayne in the upcoming (and still untitled) Batman vs. Superman movie. Check out the first look at the
actor in character with the new and improved bat suit and Batmobile here.
Plenty of great authors have odd writing process quirks, and A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin discussed one of his writing secrets on Conan this week. When asked if he was ever worried about a computer crash or virus deleting any of his lengthy works-in-progress, the writer revealed he uses WordStar 4.0 on a DOS — essentially a dinosaur of a word processor on an ancient computer not connected to the Internet. Because when you’re writing fantasy work about the Middle Ages, you get into character as much as possible.
Game of Thrones is in the final four episodes of the season, but we’re in for a bevy of new and returning shows this summer. Check out this week’s TV column for a summer show preview. We’re really looking forward to HBO’s The Leftovers and Cinemax’s The Knick, to name a few.
When I interviewed Raphaela Platow, the Contemporary Arts Center’s director/chief curator, several weeks ago for this week’s CityBeat story about the institution’s 75th anniversary, I asked about some of the highlights of her tenure.
One was the 2008-2009 exhibition of abstracted and intense figurative paintings by then-octogenarian Austrian painter Maria Lassnig, who was little known in the U.S.
Platow had arranged for the show to travel here from London’s Serpentine Gallery, and it was presented as Lassnig’s first major solo U.S. museum show. It meant a lot to Platow, who as a native of Germany had been familiar with Lassnig’s work, and she was emotional addressing the audience on opening night. (The first CAC show Platow curated, work by Carlos Amorales, also opened that night.)
Because of space considerations, not much about the Lassnig show was included in the story, beyond noting it as an example of CAC’s prescience, since MoMA-PS1 currently has a major retrospective of her work and calls her “one of the most important contemporary painters.”
Lassnig died last week at age 94. So, as a tribute to and remembrance of her, here are some excerpts from the interview with Platow (that was done before Lassnig’s death):
“I had a very personal relationship to the exhibition because I loved the work for many years,” Platow said. “It was really surprising to me she had never had a show in the U.S. I really felt she was one of most prominent female painters there is, and there are not that many female painters of that generation who are not part of the history, part of the discourse.
“In the area of painting, it was always the heroic male creating these amazing canvases, and here was Maria always struggling and staying her course. It meant a lot to me to present this first exhibition, and ever since then she won the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale, and PS1 now has a big show of her work. I’m happy we sort of spearheaded that.”
Lassnig did not come to Cincinnati for the opening of her 2008 show here. And as Platow recalled, it wasn’t all that easy even to get her paintings to town.
“We ended up taking a show that Serpentine in London put together because it’s extremely difficult to work with her,” she said. “She didn’t want her paintings to fly over ocean.
“We had to separate them out and put them on three different planes. She didn’t want all her work to be on one cargo plane. And she was extremely afraid of the work traveling overseas on a trans-Atlantic flight. It was very strenuous to get it here.
“I was so happy we did it, and it was a beautiful show and very meaningful for me.”
Read more about the CAC’s 75th anniversary here.
A new batch of over 20 artists has been announced for this year’s MidPoint Music Festival, which returns to the clubs and venues of Over-the-Rhine and Downtown Sept. 25-27. The following acts join The Afghan Whigs, who were announced last week as the Washington Park headliners on Sept. 26, at 2014’s MPMF.
New Jersey Indie rockers Real Estate enhanced the buzz they’ve been building on in March when Domino Records issued the group’s latest album, Atlas. The tough critics at Pitchfork, supporters of the band since its 2009 debut, gave Atlas an 8.8 (out of 10) and said it’s “at once their most forlorn album and their most beautiful.” “It is rare, and special, for a band to be this effortlessly and completely themselves,” Pitchfork added.
Noah Lennox is a founding member of Animal Collective but also a successful solo artist under his stage name, Panda Bear. His experimental, psychedelic style will be on glorious display at MPMF as he promotes his latest solo effort, Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, due sometime this year on Domino Records. (Fun fact: Panda Bear was a guest artist on Daft Punk’s Album of the Year Grammy-winning Random Access Memories.)
Ambient Electronic artist Tycho (born Scott Hansen) makes critically acclaimed music for the esteemed Ghostly International label. His latest album, Awake, came out in March and reached No. 2 on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic Albums chart (and No. 23 on the general Billboard album chart). In a review of the new album, Consequence of Sound said, “Listening to Tycho is the aural equivalent of exploring a new art museum. The overall effect is one of remarkable beauty and you still have the option of how you’ll take it in.”
Uniquely adventurous San Francisco metallers Deafheaven take a unique approach to Black Metal, which has led to wider acclaim and a more diverse audience than most other Black Metal bands … and, of course, has led to some of the genre’s fans to decry them as “not Black Metal.” Whatever. The group’s fantastic Sunbather was one of the more compelling albums of 2013 (and, subsequently, one of the best reviewed albums of last year, as well). Here’s CityBeat’s interview with the band from earlier this year.
Gardens & Villa
After spending a couple of years touring the world and becoming a tighter, better band in the process, Californian Indie Electro Pop band Gardens & Villa released its second album, Dunes, on the Secretly Canadian imprint earlier this year.
Danish Indie Rock duo The Raveonettes have been buzzing around since 2001, when Rolling Stone editor David Fricke saw the band at a music festival and publicly raved about them. The twosome’s fuzzy Pop sound was an instant hit upon the release of Chain Gang of Love on Columbia in 2003. Over a decade later, Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo are prepping their seventh full-length and continue to tour the globe.
Sun Kil Moon
Mark Kozelek first brought his emotive, slo-mo Indie Rock to the masses with the great Red House Painters. When that band dissolved around the turn of the century, the singer/songwriter and actor (he was in Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous and Vanilla Sky) continued the vibe with Sun Kil Moon, which released its sixth album, Benji (featuring Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley and Will Oldham, among other guests), in February of this year. In July, Kozelek will release a live Sun Kil Moon album.
Barrence Whitfield & the Savages
The Afghan Whigs aren’t the only MPMF band with international acclaim and Cincinnati ties. Vintage R&B/Rock & Roll outfit Barrence Whitfield & the Savages was formed in the ’80s by Soul shouter Whitfield and Peter Greenberg, guitarist for the pioneering Cincy Garage Rock band The Customs (and, later in Boston, DMZ and The Lyres). The twosome reformed the band (with some local musicians in the fold) and released the locally-recorded Savage Kings album in 2010. Building a bigger audience with every tour, the band’s Dig Thy Savage Soul album last year was its best received yet, leading to successful shows across Europe (and a spot of Later … with Jools Holland in the U.K.). Read CityBeat’s feature story on the band from last year when they played a two-night stand at MPMF venue MOTR Pub.
EMA is Erika M. Anderson, a South Dakota native who honed her chops in the California experimental music scene. With EMA, Anderson makes slinky Indie Pop Rock so infectious it caught the attention of indie label giants Matador Records. The label released EMA’s latest album, The Future’s Void, in April to widespread praise.
Ex Hex is the new band from Mary Timony, leader of Helium, member of Wild Flag and also a solo artist (the band name comes from the title of her 2005 Lookout! Records album). The band’s first release, the 7-inch single “Hot and Cold,” came out on Merge Records in March.
Formed by Man Man’s Adam Schatz, Brooklyn’s Landlady became a hometown favorite thanks to consistently great live shows and a 2011 self-released album. In July, the band releases its new album, Upright Behavior, on Hometapes, home to artists like Matthew E. White and Megafaun.
When Massachusetts Indie Rock band Speedy Ortiz had its first official full-length, Major Arcana, released on Carpark Records last year, the band instantly became an audience and critical favorite, landing on many scribes’ “Best of 2013” lists. The A.V. Club called the album “a markedly assured debut, one that makes Speedy Ortiz an act to watch. Like its songs, the band’s detonation is inevitable.” Earlier this year, the band released the Real Hair EP.
Low Cut Connie
After building a strong following in Cincinnati thanks to repeated visits (including a great set at last year’s MPMF), Piano Rock crew Low Cut Connie return for another rollicking show in the Queen City. Read CityBeat’s interview with LCC from March here.
Houston Indie rockers The Tontons hit the touring circuit hard over the past seven years and now, with the release of their second album, Make Out King and Other Stories of Love, earlier this year, the hard work is paying off for the band. The self-released LP received high praise from the likes of The New York Times, Paste and Rolling Stone.
Psych/Proto Punk band Ex-Cult hails from Memphis and recently released its second album, Midnight Passenger, on Goner Records. CMJ says, “This second full-length breathes with a more expansive volume and guitar churn, without resorting to every other current garage band’s habit of just dumping reverb on everything. In fact as this rec moves along, its snaky sprawl sees the band crawling out of its genre garage, like spilled oil and gas seeping into the weeds and cracks in the driveway, making everything a bit more slippery as you approach.”
Brooklyn’s Milagres make Indie Synth Rock for the Kill Rock Stars label. After the success of their 2011 album, Glowing Mouth, the band released Violent Light in early 2014.
Formed by two former members of Reggae group John Brown’s Body, trippy Dance Rock band Rubblebucket self-released its debut, Rose’s Dream, in 2008. Since then, the band has had its cover of The Beatles’ “Michelle” declared on the 50 greatest Fab Four covers of all time by Paste, appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live and recorded with LCD Soundsystem’s Eric Broucek. The band’s most recent release is the EP Save Charlie.
NYC-based Mutual Benefit is the dreamy project of singer/songwriter Jordan Lee, who grew up in suburban Columbus, Ohio. Last year’s debut full-length, Love’s Crushing Diamond, drew comparisons to the likes of Sufjan Stevens and Grizzly Bear.
The Cave Singers
Seattle Indie Folk group The Cave Singers formed in 2007 out of the ashes of the great Pretty Girls Make Graves. The band’s latest album, Naomi, came out last year on Jagjaguwar.
Canadian Indie rockers July Talk formed just a couple of years ago, but already they have an international profile, touring with artists like Billy Talent and Besnard Lakes and catching audiences attention with a great live show. The group recently premiered a new music video for “Summer Dress,” a song slated for a forthcoming EP.
St. Paul & the Broken Bones
Alabama Soul ensemble St. Paul & the Broken Bones’ great sound and live show have made them a favorite on the international touring circuit. The band’s debut album, Half the City, came out earlier this year, leading to the group’s appearance on CBS’s The Late Late Show and, more recently, a nomination for Emerging Act of the Year from the Americana Music Association.
Three-day tickets (and VIP tickets) are on sale now at mpmf.cincyticket.com. Today at noon, single-show tickets for The Afghan Whigs’ all-ages (kids under 10 can get in free with a paying adult) concert in Washington Park on Sept. 26 go on sale at the same site.