The three-week run of the tour of Wicked wraps up this Sunday at the Aronoff Center. It's a faithful reproduction of the Broadway hit, with performers who can give you the experience of seeing the original, a kind of prequel to The Wizard of Oz. (Tickets, $38-$188: 513-621-2787, but each performance has a pre-show lottery; if your name is pulled, you can buy a ticket for $25). If you've already seen this one, I suggest you check out one of the great new productions on local stages.
Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati has offered another powerhouse season this year, but I'll venture to say that The Mountaintop is aptly named: It's at the peak. It's an imagined story about Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on the night before he was assassinated. I'll venture to say that you've never seen him in quite this altogether human light, as portrayed — dare I say wholly embodied — by Gavin Lawrence. And then he's visited by Camae, a sassy maid who evolves into something so much more as he contemplates the meaning of his life. The always watchable Torie Wiggins takes on this role, and it might be one of her best performances yet at ETC. The Mountaintop won London's Olivier Award for Best New Play in 2011, and in my opinion, it's one of the best productions we'll see here in Cincinnati this theater season. Through April 6. (Tickets, $25-$43: 513-421-3555).
I caught up with the Cincinnati Playhouse's production of Pride and Prejudice at the Playhouse earlier this week. (It opened a week ago, but I was out of town.) It's a faithful rendition of Jane Austen's beloved novel, gorgeously staged and costumed. It has a big cast, so all the characters, quirky and memorable, are present and accounted for — a few actors need to play more than one role. If you're an Austen fan, I suspect you'll like this one; if not, you might find it kind of uneven, since some characters come across as cartoons (especially Elizabeth Bennet's meddlesome, garrulous mother and the arrogant Lady Catherine de Bourgh) while others are more naturalistic. Kate Cook's Lizzie has all the right notes (she ought to, as she's played the role several times elsewhere) and Loren Dunn's Mr. Darcy, while a bit slow out of the gate, eventually captures the character's aloof charm. Director Blake Robison has done a good job with an interesting adaptation that has scenes that flow swiftly one into the next, sometimes with overlapping elements that recall past moments. Through April 5. (Tickets, $30-$80: 513-421-3888).
Back in the early 1980s, the musical A … My Name is Alice had a long run at New York City's The Village Gate. Northern Kentucky University is producing its version of this collection of songs focused on the paradoxes women face — beauty, strength and heart. The show, created by an array of comedians, lyricists and composers, has 20 songs. It's being staged by Corrie Daniely, the newest faculty member in NKU's theater and dance department. Through April 30. (Tickets, $8-$14: 859-572-5464).
Cincinnati is now a temporary home for Cate Blanchett (this year’s winner of the Best Actress Oscar for Blue Jasmine), Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Side Effects, Her), Sarah Paulson (The American Horror Story anthology, 12 Years a Slave) and Kyle Chandler (The Wolf of Wall Street, Zero Dark Thirty, the Friday Night Lights series) as filming for Todd Haynes’ upcoming movie Carol is in full swing! Some of the stars (and a giant movie crew) were spotted filming at their first location, Eden Park, as well as along US 52 in New Richmond and Spare Time Grill in Alexandria, Ky. The Enquirer’s Glenn Hartong was able to catch a glimpse at Mara and Paulson looking straight out of the '50s filming a scene at the now-closed diner.
Photo: The Enquirer/Glenn Harton. See more photos here.
The film is based on is based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel (published as both Carol and The Price of Salt) about Carol (Blanchett), a wife in a loveless marriage on the brink of divorce who falls in love with a young woman, Therese (Mara). The book was revolutionary at the time for portraying a lesbian relationship, and doing so in a non-stereotypical light. Chandler will portray the titular character’s husband while Paulson plays Abby, Carol’s best friend.
Filming continues this week at a home on Grandin Avenue in Hyde Park. Retro Westside institution Maury’s Tiny Cove will be closed April 1 for a day of filming Blanchett and Mara’s characters’ first date. Cincy Magazine tweeted that the Cincinnati Club, where the mag’s office is located, will also be used to shoot the film at an unspecified date. We’ll keep an eye out — the building is right across the street from CityBeat’s HQ. Search #carolmovie on Twitter for the latest dish on the movie and its local filming and tweet us if you have a run-in with any of the stars!
Even if Carol wasn’t filmed exclusively in Cincinnati, the adaptation sounds like a great premise for a film. Unfortunately the same can’t be said about most of the recent movies based on books and other, previous movies. This week in remake fuckery, we have Rosemary’s Baby and The Birds — two classic ‘60s horror films undergoing contemporary reworkings. Zoe Saldana will take on Mia Farrow’s iconic role in a made-for-TV version of Rosemary coming to NBC; Transformers director Michael Bay is apparently producing the remake of Hitchcock’s feathery flick. We can only guess that Bay will replace said birds with laser-shooting Velociraptors.
Now and forever:
Speaking of dinosaurs, paleontologists in Alaska last week discovered a miniature species of tyrannosaurs about half the size of its close relative, the T. rex — essentially, what the prehistoric Paris Hiltons were carrying around in their designer mammoth skin handbags. Teacup-Rex!
A post I found recently on Imgur (because Reddit still confuses/scares me) recalls the story of when the United Way decided to release 1.5 million helium balloons into the air in Cleveland in 1986, breaking the world record. The photos of the event are stunning, but — as anyone with a tiny bit of foresight could tell you — the mega-balloon launch totally backfired. Not only did this result in more than 1.5 million pieces of plastic trash around the region and as north as Ontario, but also reportedly hindered a missing person search on Lake Erie.
Peep this less dismal, totally ‘80s news segment about the event:
Kermit the Frog rang in the New York Stock Exchange Monday. Muppets Most Wanted opens in theaters Friday.
Everyone’s talking about “Strangers Kissing,” a viral video of 20 strangers making out for the first time that’s actually (somehow) an ad for women’s clothing label Wren. A bit contrived, I suppose, but definitely intriguing and pretty hot.
Jimmy Fallon put his own twist on the vid…with puppies and kitties.
Kasich has proposed to cut income tax 8.5 percent across the board by 2016, which would help drive Ohio’s top tax rate below 5 percent. The governor claims single mothers making $30,000 would save an extra few hundred dollars on taxes every year as part of his proposed tax cut, a claim Neuhardt called “despicable and wrong.”
During the press conference, Neuhardt said Kasich is using the plight of single mothers to propagate a tax cut that would disproportionately benefit Ohio’s upper echelon.
“I want to really emphasize pay equality is always an important issue,” Neuhardt said.
doesn’t have a plan to square the $11,600 pay disparity between genders in 2012
that she cites, but she did say that her administration would need to reverse
everything Kasich’s administration has done in order to get Ohio’s economy
moving forward, should she and her running mate, gubernatorial candidate Ed
Fitzgerald, win office in November.
“We need Ohio’s working class to have money in their pocket,” Neuhardt said.
Kasich’s previous budget took the first steps toward pushing the state’s top tax rate below 5 percent by lowering income tax across the board and raising sales tax, a combination that disproportionately favors the wealthy. CityBeat covered that plan here and Kasich’s early 2013 budget proposals here and here.
Council members P.G. Sittenfield and Yvette Simpson spoke about pay disparity before Neurhardt took the podium on Tuesday.
Simpson stated women on average are earning 27 percent less than men in Ohio and Latin American women are earning 57 percent less.
“In the year 2014, that’s unacceptable,” Simpson said.
She also stated that Cincinnati has a 50-percent single mother rate and that 53 percent of children are living in poverty.
Sittenfield said the way toward eliminating pay disparity is through “meaningful reforms,” not tax cuts.
“Wage equality is not just a women’s issue — it’s a family issue and it’s an Ohio issue,” Sittenfield said.
Kasich proposed the cuts as part of a mid-biennium review intended to lay out administrative goals for next year.
Cincinnati may be known as a German city, what with our legendary Oktoberfest and love for pork and sausages, but Irish heritage is also strong here, as we’ll see this weekend. St. Patrick’s Day is officially Monday, March 17, but the green beer starts flowing early in anticipation.
The 48th annual Cincinnati St. Patrick’s Day Parade steps off Saturday at noon downtown. The route begins at Eggleston Avenue and Reedy Street, wrapping around Central Avenue, crossing over Sycamore Street and back down Fifth Street. Hang out on Fountain Square during the parade, where festivities run from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. with live music, Irish grub and plenty of beer. Fun on the square continues Monday starting at 11 a.m. — for those playing hooky.
For those looking to take a more culturally rich approach to the holiday, Cincinnati actually has its own Irish Heritage Center located in the East End. Read our story on the center and its founders, Kent Covey and Maureen Kennedy, here.
Doors open at the center at 2 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday; events include Irish music and dance, art exhibitions, children’s events and food and drink for purchase. They host an Irish mass at 1:30 p.m. Monday, followed by more celebrating. Find the full schedule here.
The Cincinnati Museum Center also gets in on the St. Paddy’s fun with its Celtic Lands Culture Fest Saturday-Sunday. Get your fill of folklore, performances and art from Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Kids will enjoy workshops, games and crafts throughout the weekend. Activities in the rotunda are free; access to the museum requires admission. Go here for tickets and more details.
Movie lovers will want to check out Cincinnati World Cinema’s annual Oscar Shorts screening this weekend; a mix of the Academy Award-nominated flicks in the Short Film – Animated and Short Film – Live Action categories will be shown in two programs Saturday and Sunday. Each program contains a mix of five live action and animated shorts — be sure to check out both programs to see the winners from both categories. Find program details and schedules here.
It’s a Macy’s Arts Sampler
Weekend, with free art events across the Tristate all day Saturday. This
month’s sampler includes a special “Catch the Spirit” concert featuring the
collaboration of Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati
Opera, May Festival Chorus, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and other local arts
organizations. The performance takes place at 1 p.m. at Music Hall. Additional
performances, classes, exhibits and other exciting activities for all ages will
be offered at Elementz downtown, Behringer-Crawford Museum in Covington, Ky., Fairfield
Community Arts Center, Hamilton’s Fitton Center for Creative Arts and more. Go
here for more locations with a lineup of events.
Mad Tree Brewing Beer Dinner at Mecklenburg Gardens: Mecklenburg Gardens hosts local brewery Mad Tree Brewing for a bier dinner on Saturday, March 22. The evening starts at 6:30 p.m. with a Mad Tree keg tapping at 7 p.m. and continues with a German buffet featuring German sausages, sides, salad and dessert. There will also be live music from Alpen Echoes. 6:30 p.m. $20. Mecklenburg Gardens, 302 E. University Ave., Corryville, reservations at 513-221-5353.
The Wines of Jean Luc Columbo at 20 Brix: Ryan Oliver joins to discuss finer points of this South American producer. Pairings by Chef Paul. 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 22. $50. 20 Brix, 101 Main St., Milford, 513-831-2749, 20brix.com.
I had a glimpse of Broadway's future last night on campus at UC. I attended Not Yet Famous, the 22nd edition of CCM's musical theater showcase, featuring the about-to-graduate senior class. The 19 vibrant performers presented a 45-minute program that they'll take to New York City on April 7 to present to casting agents, producers and others. It's how they begin to land contracts and establish relationships that will give them solid professional careers. With accompanist Julie Spangler at the piano, the singers worked as a large ensemble and smaller sets, but each one had multiple chances to show off her or his strengths as a singer, dancer and actor — they're all trained to be "triple threats" with a polished arsenal of vocal and movement skills. They were warmly received by the Friends of CCM, the support group that helps keep various programs at the conservatory going; the evening was a benefit. You have a chance to see the showcase for free if you act quickly: There will be performances on Saturday at 5 and 8 p.m. at Patricia Corbett Theater. No charge, but you need to call CCM's box office to reserve a seat (limit of two per order). I suspect tickets will be snapped up, so call right away: 513-556-4183.
Wicked is in the midst of its three-week run at the Aronoff Center. This is one of the most popular Broadway shows of the 21st century (it's been running for a decade, as well as spawning productions around the world plus two national tours, one of which is in our midst). It's here through April 23, but tickets are expensive (cheap seats are $38 and anything else is more), so you might want to try your chances in the daily lottery for a $25 orchestra seats. Grab your valid ID and show up in person 2.5 hours before the curtain time to enter; if your name is chosen, you can purchase one or two tickets. Of course, if you're flush you can guarantee seats by buying what you need at 513-621-2787.
The Playhouse just opened Pride and Prejudice, a theatrical adaptation of Jane Austen's most popular 200-year-old novel. I won't see it until next week (busy schedule), but if you're a fan — and it seems that everyone loves her novels of manners and romance — you probably need to line up to see this one. Director Blake Robison calls his production "epic," adding, "The story is a satire of the marriage market and an exploration of true love. What could be more fun than that?" It's onstage through April 5. Tickets: 513-421-3888.
What with St. Patrick’s Day coming on Monday, this might be the perfect weekend to see Clifton Players’ production of The Irish Curse (at Clifton Performance Theatre, 404 Ludlow Ave.). Lots of folks have told me they enjoyed this tale about a group of Irish-American men who meet weekly in a self-help group in a Catholic church basement to discuss a sad “shortcoming” — let’s call it “small equipment,” a curse they believe has ruined their lives. It gets its final performance on Sunday, right before you line up for your first green beer. Tickets: 513-861-7469.
Instead, Cincinnati will continue using 100-percent renewable-backed energy from First Energy Solutions.
The city signed on with First Energy in 2012, making Cincinnati the largest metropolitan are in the country to use 100-percent renewable energy.
Stiles was expected to sign the three-year contract with First Energy Solutions today, according to city spokeswoman Meg Olberding.
Sellbach and other council members convinced Stiles to change his mind about the contract, Olberding says.
She also added that First Energy told Stiles it would allow any customer who wants to save the additional $5.63 annual savings of conventional energy to opt-out of the green energy agreement.
The green energy plan is estimated to save customers $43.58 compared Duke’s standard service.
About 65,000 households and small businesses will continue using First Energy unless they choose to retain another energy supplier.
Stiles will also institute a green energy fee of $.006 on each electric bill as part of a program he’s developing that will help local business owners and residents equip their homes or offices with energy-saving solutions. The program will be run by the Office of Environment and Sustainability.
But luckily for us, our snow day was going to get a little brighter: I had booked reservations at Hen of the Woods Underground.
Hen of the Woods (it’s a type of mushroom) is the brainchild of Nick and Kim Marckwald. The duo (Nick is the chef and Kim manages services) recently purchased the old J.B. Schmidt contractor space at 1432 and 1434 Main Street in Over-the-Rhine. They have ambitious plans for a restaurant and urban market there. As a run-up, they have been holding “pop-up” brunches since January in Main Street’s Street Pops space (closed for the winter months). And the very last one was scheduled for Sunday.
Now, this is just a hop, skip and jump from us, so the weather was not a concern — or was it?
Just to be sure it was all going to happen given the poor road conditions, I sneakily walked our puppy by the space, which was holding the first of two seatings that day. The windows were properly steamed up, I could glimpse small tables of people inside and the most wonderful smells wafted from the slightly propped open door.
When we arrived an hour later, our table was waiting. We were among about 10 guests. Our first course was a refreshing juice du jour — Meyer lemonade with ginger and cilantro flavors, and a jalapeno ice cube floating in the jelly jar glass.
Next, we were offered coffee. Deeper Roots Coffee’s Ryan Doan stood at the counter carefully pouring from what looked like a tiny watering can into a Chemex coffee maker. The brew was deep and rich without being acidic.
During the next hour or so, we were offered three courses and a dessert prepared by the clearly visible staff. Each was meticulously described by our server— most times it was Nick or Kim.
First came a beautiful refreshing plate made from lemongrass, tapioca, mango, fingerlime, almond, ginger and pea shoots.
Next up, another precisely plated combo — lovely pink-edged beet cured salmon was draped over a crispy seared rice cake on a bed of leeks and shiitakes with a horseradish and basil sauce.
Next, the brunch got down to business because, what’s brunch without bacon and eggs? Hen’s take on eggs Benedict was a fat, wobbly egg sitting on top of a concoction with Woodlands “back bacon” lardo, English muffin, frisee and Hollandaise, served on a wooden slab made of black walnut. One poke with my fork sent yellow yolk running hither and yon amidst the gathering of elements.
Finally, a rich bread pudding, with banana, sesame, chocolate, dulche de leche and pine. In the only misstep of the entire production, the crisp decorative chip had a distinct lack of flavor.
I’m not usually a fan of little-plate meals and such as a fill-in for a meal. They often just tease, sending you out the door looking for something else to eat. This time? Not the case. We walked home in the ice and cold, happy and full, ready to hunker down and slog through the last of winter.
I am so waiting for spring, and also for Hen of the Woods to begin doing impromptu servings in their new space while it is under construction. Nick and Kim assure me they’ll be doing it as soon as the permits are in order. The sooner the better for me!
Follow Hen of the Woods news on their Facebook page.
But no amount of acclaim and popularity protects a show from parodies — quite the contrary, it seems. Here are a few gems:
And if you're hungry for another crime drama, Breaking Bad's Vince Gilligan has a new show in the works. Battle Creek, starring Dean Winters (Law & Order: SVU, 30 Rock, The Mayhem Guy) and Josh Duhamel (Las Vegas, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton, Fergie's hubby) and will follow two detectives named Milton and Russ. Hmmm...
RIP Ke$ha! No, the
trash-pop “singer” didn’t meet an untimely demise, but the $ in her
name (turns out Kesha is her actual birth name) did. Upon her exit from rehab
for an eating disorder, Kesha unveiled a new twitter handle, @KeshaRose, which revealed she
was dropping the $. It’s always great to see people get healthy, and using a
dollar sign as a letter in your name is fucking stupid, but what will these changes mean for
her music/celeb persona? Can the girl who popularized whiskey as dental hygiene
make the leap to squeaky-clean good girl?
And speaking of hot mess makeovers, the new Oprah-backed Lindsay Lohan docu-series Lindsay premiered on OWN Sunday. The mighty O offered Linds $2 million to complete the filming of eight episodes for her network (in addition to one-on-one interviews aired throughout the show). The premiere was considerably boring for being the first “real,” inside look at the troubled star’s personal life. Honestly, it felt more like Celebrity Hoarders than anything. There were some genuinely sad moments — Lindsay was essentially forced to skip an AA meeting due to a crowd of stalkerly paparazzi threatening the others’ anonymity; she struggles to find a stable apartment she so desperately needs for her continuing recovery because no one wants her in their building (without a hefty insurance fee) — and some thinly veiled digs at the actress — an optimistic Linds explains how proud she feels to be independent, only to have the screen cut to her personal assistant moving all of her belongings from one hotel room to another without help. But if the series trailer is any indication, drama is forthcoming — particularly in a scene where Oprah tells LL to “cut the bullshit.”
Zach Galifianakis has been entertaining audiences with his spoof-talk show Between Two Ferns since 2008. The comedian has interviewed some of the most famous actors and personalities as well as Tila Tequila. The latest episode raises the bar by featuring none other than Barack Obama, further proving that the prez should just move to Hollywood in 2017. It is also revealed that Galifianakis has not been filming his segments in some public access studio, but rather the White House. Enjoy:
Everyone with a human heart loves ice cream, but perhaps no one appreciates a good soft-serve cone more than this dog.
Lena Dunham hosted Saturday Night Live last week. The Girls creator did a fine job with the material she was given, which is pretty much the overall consensus of this season (writers, up ya game!). One highlight was how SNL dealt with Girls. Obviously they have to address the show, her nudity and the ridiculous characters in it, but without relying on it as the punchline for every joke. Instead, the Girls spoofery was limited to a previously filmed faux trailer for (The First) Girl, complete with the reprisal of Taran Killam’s spot-on Adam impression.
Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Kyle Chandler and other stars are in Cincinnati right now for the filming of the upcoming movie, Carol. We're keeping a close watch on Paulson's Twitter (she's the only star that has an account) and, according to our research, so far she has definitely been to CVG airport and a local CVS. Keep @CityBeatCincy abreast of any celeb spottings you may experience during this magical time!
The weekend after the big Bunbury Music Festival at the Sawyer Point/Yeatman’s Cove parks along the riverfront, another festival by the same fest organizers, Buckle Up, is set to make its debut. This morning, the full lineup and schedule for the Country/Americana fest was announced.
Friday, July 18: Alabama, Eli Young Band, Jamey Johnson, Marty Stuart, Ashley Monroe, Eric Pasley, Chris Janson, The Cadillac Three, Sturgill Simpson, Old Dominion, The Railers, Son of Fathers, David Fanning, Jamie Lynn Spears, Joshua Scott Jones, Pistol Holler, Jeremy Pinnell & The 55's, Sara Haze, Phillip Fox Band, Tyler Childers & The FoodStamps, The Dan Varner Band, Ashley Martin, Kaitlyn Baker, Alexis Gomez, Lonesome Jared & The Heartattacks, Messerly and Ewing, and Andrew Hibbard
Saturday, July 19: Willie Nelson / Alison Krauss and Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, Old Crow Medicine Show, Emmylou Harris, Drive-By Truckers, Kristian Bush, Houndmouth, The Lone Bellow, The Spirit Family Reunion, Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, Joe Pug, Lera Lynn, Natalie Stovall and the Drive, Caitlyn Smith, The Tillers, Tall Heights, The 23 String Band, Buffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustle, Kentucky Timbre, Coralee and the Townies, Arlo McKinley & the Lonesome, Al Scorch, Shiny and the Spoon, The Carolines, Dean Fields, and Wild Carrot
Sunday, July 20: The Band Perry, Thompson Square, David Nail, Corey Smith, Dylan Scott, Sam Hunt, Blackjack Billy, Dallas Smith, JT Hodges, Chase Bryant, Logan Brill, Lyndsey Highlander, Abigail Rose, Noah Smith, Ruth Collins, Bobby Mackey, Straw Boss, The Kentucky Struts, Ty Bates, Carly Pearce, Jetset Getset, Honey & Houston, Zack Dubois, and Max Fender
Tickets for the Buckle Up Festival are available now ($55 for one day/$130 for a three-day pass, but prices go up after Memorial Day). For tickets and more info (including the daily schedule), visit buckleupfestival.com.