Before you make dinner plans, you have to check out Anne Mitchell's guide to local Mardi Gras eats, our cover story for the week. From Otto's to Washington Platform to Half Day Cafe, she describes all the local restaurants celebrating with NOLA-inspired bites, traditional baked goods and gut-busting buffets (you are supposed to pig out today, right?).
Countless other area eateries and drinkeries promise a night of crawfish and hurricanes, including Allyn's, Stanley's Pub, Righteous Room, Mecklenburg Gardens, The Stand, J. Gumbo's, Blue Wisp, Keystone Bar & Grill (Covington and Hyde Park), AliveOne, The Lackman and The Pub (Rookwood Mews and Crestview Hills).
And since the whole point of Fat Tuesday is to get all your vices out of the way before the Christian season of Lent, a time for sacrifice and prayer leading up to Easter, why not support a charity? At Mardi Gras for Homeless Children, guests can enjoy food and drink, authentic Zydeco and Jazz music, auctions and more. The event runs from 6:30-10 p.m. at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center. Tickets are $55, available here. Proceeds benefit homeless children shelters.In non-Fat news, tonight's live music lineup ranges from Dubstep (Rusko) to Christian Metalcore (August Burns Red). Check out Mike Breen's music blog for details.
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.
CANstruction kicked off today, with teams building artistic creations made entirely out of canned goods. Stop by the Weston Gallery to see their progress and drop off canned goods of your own. All donations, and all cans used to build the artwork, will go to the Freestore Foodbank.
Every Tuesday is Writer's Night at MOTR Pub. Songwriters, poets, spoken word artists — anyone with original work is welcome to share. Sign ups open at 8:30 p.m. and $40 goes to a special winner each week. Lucas of The Dukes Are Dead hosts. Enjoy a beer, a BLT and great company.
Check out our To Do page for tons of recommended art shows open today.
Thanks to the Contemporary Arts Center's current music video exhibition, Spectacle, a number of talented musicians, artists and directors have flocked to Cincinnati during the past two months to perform and discuss the power of music videos in our culture. Tonight, director Vincent Morisset stops by to screen Inni, his powerful black-and-white film about Icelandic Pop Rock group Sigur Rós. Morisset will then discuss his work with Sigur Rós and Arcade Fire and take questions. The event begins at 6:30 — come early to check out the Spectacle exhibit if you haven't yet. The screening and talk are free for members, $7.50 museum admission for non-members.
It's Final Friday and last year's popular monthly OTR Skate is back! Don your best hot pants and tube socks and roll over to the OTR Recreation Center for a night of old-school fun with a hip twist. Bust a move on the rink to the music of Automagik and You, You're Awesome. Admission is just $5 (skate rental included) and goes to the Rec Center to provide youth programs and scholarships for area kids. Enjoy free Vitamin Water and classic game room attractions like air hockey and foosball. Been a decade or two since you last laced up those skates? Cincinnati Rollergirls will be on hand for some pro tips. The fun begins at 8 p.m.
Northside's Building Value presents its third annual ReUse-apalooza tonight from 7-11 p.m. Learn about how the nonprofit reuses materials and what you can do to promote sustainable building practices. Music will be provided by Messerly and Ewing and there will be a silent auction featuring Building Value projects. Tickets are $20, $50 VIP. After the benefit, head over to Northside Tavern for a free after-party.
If you've checked out our cover story this week, you know about the steampunk movement that's taken flight locally. What started as a literary genre that mixes Victorian history with futuristic fantasy elements a la Jules Verne is know an underground culture with its own music, art, costuming and performance aspects. This weekend marks the first Steampunk Symposium at Tri-County's Atrium Hotel. While weekend passes are sold-out, Saturday one-day tickets will be available at the door for $20. Whether you're a diehard steampunk or just curious about the movement, this quirky event has something for everyone. Saturday's schedule includes various steampunk bands and authors, a midnight masquerade, workshops, fashion shows, a mustache parade, verbal dueling (a battle of wits) and dozens of other activities. Various events run from 10 a.m. until around 2 a.m. Read more about the culture and find a Saturday lineup here.
May is Bike Month and the Main Library downtown kicks off the cycling celebration Saturday with a bike expo. Check out various bicycle exhibits, meet organizers from groups like MoBo Bicycle Coop, Queen City Bike and League of American Bicyclists and meet Bobbi Montgomery, author of Across America by Bicycle. Get all the information you need to become a regular cyclist about town. The expo runs from 2-4 p.m. Go here for more details.
The Cincinnati Opera will perform the highly anticipated Southern-inspired George Gershwin hit Porgy and Bess in June, but you don't have to wait until summer to get in on the excitement. Saturday's Opera Gala, "A Hot Night in Charleston" will transport Duke Energy Convention Center's Grand Ballroom into the Pametto State with soul food, cocktails, music and dancing. After you've had your fill of Southern-style eats, stick around for the after-party, "Late Night in Charleston." Being a benefit for the Opera, tickets for the Gala are pretty steep ($250, $175 for first-timers); If you're on a budget, consider coming for the after-party, which runs from 10 p.m.-1 a.m. — tickets are $30 in advance, $40 at the door. Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will begin being serves at 6:30 p.m.
Add a little cuteness to your weekend with the Ohio Alleycat Resource & Spay/Neuter Clinic open house Sunday. The facility has been yarn bombed by the Cincinnati BombShells to welcome new cats ready for adoption. If you're looking for a new cuddle buddy, consider adopting one of OAR's rescue kitties at the event. The free open house runs 1-4 p.m. Go here for more details, directions and more info on donations and volunteer opportunities.
Is beer more your style? The folks who brought us Cincy Winter Beerfest just a couple weeks ago present All About Stout Fest Saturday at Molly Malone's Irish Pub in Covington. For $15, guests get five tastings, one full pint of choice and a souvenir pint glass. There are 25 stouts to choose from, plus Molly's 18 draft beers on tap. With live Irish music to keep you movin', consider this your dress rehearsal for St. Patrick's Day. Find a full beer list and ticket information here.
Final Fridays are to OTR as Second Saturdays are to Northside. As usual, all are encouraged to explore the neighborhood's bars, restaurants, galleries and businesses for extended hours, later happy hours, art openings and sales starting at 6 p.m. Find a full list of participating venues here.
Of course, there's also tons of live music, theater, art shows and more events going on this weekend. Find all our To Do recommendations here.
If staged dance
performances weren’t what you had in mind, think again. While not necessarily
Halloween-related, Cincinnati Ballet’s ALICE
(in Wonderland) will take audiences on a whimsical journey down the rabbit
hole Friday-Sunday. In addition to talented dancers and music by the Cincinnati
the costume and set designs are truly freaky-fabulous.
For a darker dance
experience, check out Exhale Dance Tribe’s one-night engagement, Dead
Can Dance. The troupe has transformed Emery Theatre into a haunted
house, where dancers will lead spectators from room to room, creating an
interactive, spooky show Saturday night. The performance begins at 7 p.m.
After a month of bringing photography to the forefront of the Cincinnati art scene, FotoFocus will close with Saturday’s Carnevil. The event boasts a full bill of entertainment from live music and DJs to improv and burlesque to fortune-tellers. Guests are encouraged to explore the venue, Newport’s Thompson House — which is said to be haunted — and hunt for spirits from Southgate’s past. Find tickets and event details here.
What’s creepier than three identical mute men, covered in paint? Blue Man Group wraps up its local run with performances at the Aronoff Center Friday-Sunday. The show is an energetic spectacle that theater critic Rick Pender describes as “a strange and wonderful communal experience.” Go here to read our full review.
Judging by the number of Halloween bar and club events, alcohol is the “candy” of choice for many adult trick-or-treaters. So it looks like Arnold’s picked the perfect weekend for The Bourbon Ball. The bar will be stocked with more than 30 top shelf selections, offering specials on Manhattans, Old Fashioneds and other bourbon classics as well as bourbon-infused bites like Bourbon Bacon Strips and Bourbon Sauce Pork. The free event will also have swag bags and live music all night.
Final Saturday means Night Owl Market is back, bringing food trucks and vendors together at the parking lot at Main Street and Central Parkway. In addition to late night eats, NOMers can participate in a costume contest and a flash mob-style “Thriller” dance with Pones Inc. The free fun runs 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Saturday.
One thing that’s definitely scarier than any haunted house or paranormal activity hotspot is breed discrimination. Show some love to dogs that prove no breed is born “vicious” at Bark Bash: Celebrating National Pit Bull Awareness Day. From pit bulls to puggles, all are welcome to romp around Voice of America Park Saturday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. There will be raffles, vendors, kids activities and appearances from the Ben-Gals and Cincinnati Rollergirls.
Few experiences are more picturesque than spending a fall afternoon perusing Findlay Market. This Sunday the market presents its annual Fall Food Festival, featuring a pie baking contest, cider mulling demo, live music, food tour and more. Come hungry between noon and 4 p.m. Find details here.
Check out ScaryBeat for a full rundown of costume parties, bar events, haunted houses and more happening this weekend through Oct. 31.
NST's back room will transform into a runway where you'll watch some local hottie patotties strut their stuff with hair designs by Northside Chop Shop. Kenneth Wright will DJ the show and ongoing dance party.
Spot someone with the best moves you've ever seen? Send them a message via the valentine post office, and pose for pictures in a fabulous Flashbox photo booth. It all starts at 9 p.m., with the fashion show at 10 p.m.
Get a peek at Chicken's fashion in Bad Veins' new video for "Dancing on TV." Some of the ensembles in the Soul Train-esque shots were provided by the boutique!
In quirkier event news, did you know there's a monthly meet-up of the Skeptical Society of Cincinnati where the group introduces a professional scientist to the public? Cincy Science Cafe is a casual gathering (usually at a bar) where the community can learn about interesting discoveries being made by area scientists. Tonight the crew meets at Glendale's Cock & Bull at 6 p.m. Go here for details.
Wednesdays are extra sexy at Northside Tavern — Sexy Time Live Band Karaoke takes over the back room this night each week. For those unfamiliar, STLBK is just how it sounds — the ultimate karaoke experience. You provide the vocals (and preferably hot dance moves) while a live band accompanies you. Be a Rock Star for, like, four minutes! Check out the group on Facebook. SexyTime for details and the song list. STLBK kicks off at 9 p.m.
Pop culture icon and Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner is in town for one night only this evening. Touring with his one-man show, Shatner's World: We Just Live in It, The Shat will perform at the Aronoff Center tonight at 8 p.m. Fans will get to hear about his life and career on television, film and stage, with plenty of music and video clips. Fun fact: the famous phrase "Beam me up, Scotty" was never actually said in Star Trek's original run. Get last-minute tickets here.
The International Quilt Festival takes over Duke Energy Convention Center Friday-Sunday. The event features textile exhibits, hundreds of vendors selling books, patterns and fabrics, lectures and tons of classes for all levels of quilters. Single-day tickets are $10 ($8 for students and seniors); most classes cost extra.
The Cincinnati Museum Center's Passport to the World series continues this month with Asian Culture Fest Saturday and Sunday. "Visit" India, Japan, Taiwan and other Asian countries without leaving Cincinnati! There will be taekwondo, karate and dance demonstrations, movie screenings, craft projects and plenty of kids activities. The event is free with museum admission. While you're there, check out A Day in Pompeii.
Something fucking awesome happened in Cincinnati on July's Final Friday. A dude with a card table, some DJ stuff and a microphone (two turntables and a microphone, even) incited a random dance party with over 100 people around 1212 Main Street in Over-the-Rhine.
Music was pumping, and people flocked to it. I have never witnessed such an amassing of complete strangers and intimate friends. Plaid-clad hipsters were cutting loose with older, baggy-shirted locals. Drunk people who had tumbled out of bars were sweating out all the alcohol they had just paid for to Kool and the Gang. Everyone was incredibly, stupidly happy.
There was no reason for it. No social networking was involved. Nobody knew about it through a text or because they were Tweeted at or received a Facebook invite. It wasn’t sponsored by Final Friday, and it wasn’t even planned. DJ Alcatone, the awesome instigator, shrugged his shoulders when I asked him (over the Funk blaring out from two speakers), why he was playing music on a street corner in OTR. He said he just was. And people were just dancing.
There were three guys dancing in the middle of the damn street, stopping cars to gyrate in front of them. One was dancing intensely, and then he paused and directed traffic around other dancers. An SUV pulled up and four dudes sat on the edge of the car windows, took their shirts off, and held their arms in the air.
An entire two-block span of Main Street was filled with sweaty, writhing people. DJ Alcatone started a soul train in the middle of the crowd. There was a break-dancing competition, and seriously, who knew old people could get down like that? One guy did that thing where he contorted his whole body in the air, resting solely on his hand on the ground. (Yoga has not prepared me to attempt this.)
Cell phones crowded in the air, everyone snapping pictures of the “something” that was happening right in front of them. Cops drove by and didn’t stop. The opposite side of the street was crowded with overflow dancers. A girl with an “I’m the bachelorette!” sash across her torso sashayed in front of cars, darting back and forth between the two sides. There was even a man with a broken leg in a wheelchair. Seriously. He was spinning on his wheels, grooving to the music.
It was like someone had pressed pause on every social, racial and economic stricture and preconception, and hit “play” for uninhibited, good-spirited, uplifting interaction. It was so simple, and no one stopped to think about it. No one stopped to consider “what it meant,” or why it was happening, or how it could be better. Honestly, it couldn’t have been better.
The police were called about two hours in, and were actually smiling when they told everyone the party had to end. That was probably the best time to have the party end — before everyone remembered themselves, the faces we all put on for the everyday world, the way we conduct ourselves around people we want to impress. No one was trying to impress anyone. Even the bad dancers (there were a few) were applauded. It was the fact that everyone involved stepped outside of themselves, without any catalyst or promise of reward, and for two hours, we just were.