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by Zohair Hussain 09.04.2013
Posted In: Culture, TV/Celebrity, Music at 11:56 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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'Blurred Lines': Styled vs. Sensationalized, or Why 'We Can’t Stop'

As readers' interests shift, integrity seems to lose its main market in reporting

Following last week’s “scandal” at the MTV Video Music Awards, the pacing of news and reporting made itself known as a speed force to be reckoned with. In the minute-by-minute duration and aftermath of the performance of one, Miley Cyrus, and her “partner in crime”, Robin Thicke, new age media came together to do what it does best: twitter our feed with dribble and spit-up commentary.

It can’t be denied that news reporting, in many ways, is stepping further away from hard facts and closer to tabloid gossip. In a day and age where Twitter is the new paperboy, it can’t be denied that the facts are coming faster. And while this could be an opportunity for better news, more quickly, more often than not we’re trading chances for quick links to real stories with 140 character quips on MC-Hammer-like “did you see her butt”s (#chauvanistsforCyrus).

The real disappointment comes, though, when we look to major media outlets (Still trusted by some. Take off the aluminum hat, Johnny.) the next day for hard-hitting news, only to see that they’ve decided to throw their own hats in the ring. With prize-winning headlines such as CNN’s “Miley Cyrus twerks, stuns VMAs crowd,” the morning news was just as obsessed as the evening newsfeed.

As a reporter, a writer, an observer, this obsessive, sprawling focus is what scares me most. It isn’t the performance itself, full of dancers dressed as teddy bears or Cyrus’ gyrating hips on Thicke’s overly hyped crotch (See “Blurred Lines” for more details). It isn’t so much the event that took place, as it was the reactive reports that left an extra, bitter after taste to my morning coffee.

Even arts reporting, perceived to have more lenient, pop-culture laced subject matter, used to hold itself to similar standards of respectful re-tellings of facts rather than fiction. Though there had once been a clear distinction between opinion pieces and news articles, even in the realm of aesthetic focus, the lines are suddenly more blurred than ever. And where does that leave us, the “responsible” voices?

Culture is, in many ways, defined by the voices that carry out its most essential conversations. If we are of the few so lucky as to have a readership, our words carry the weight of decades of said cultural insight and historical backing. What do we have to say for ourselves when these words, our influence, sacrifice authenticity for celebrity? Integrity for popularity? What are we really accomplishing when we re-draw the line between honest reporting and scandalized, gossip mongering, and honest words inch closer to the latter? What would our (fore)mothers say?

This isn’t to say that there aren’t some voices, some news outlets out there, who aren’t doing it right. While most couldn’t look away from Cyrus’ extended tongue (search “Venom” and “Marvel Comics” for more details), The Guardian, for example, wouldn’t look past the more subtly digressive implications of the performance. Did you miss the moment where the young, stage-dominant, Caucasian Miley Cyrus groped her not so white back up dancers? (The Guardian didn’t.)  

Some took an even more seasoned route, using temperance techniques to stop the sensational train in its tracks. In Rolling Stone's initially deceptive write up, “It's Miley, Bitch: The Tongue That Licked the World”, Rob Sheffield gave a more balanced account of the 2013 Video Music Awards, mentioning Cyrus almost in passing, and spending his time taking equal shots at all the stars involved in what he said was MTV’s attempt to make “sure this year’s VMA party was a real show. With a little help from Miley."

I ask again: What are we creating when we allow objectivity to bend to the will of popular demand, asking for glitter and jazz and sensationalized headlines? Nothing. We are creating a secular sinkhole of informational access. We lead our readers right back where they started.

And that says to me that there must be a change made. The truth is, we CAN stop. If we want to.

Why can’t we create insight, rather than propagate fan mongering, rather than cling to one star's fateful decision to wear her teddy bear out that night? Let the reporters report and the readers decide. It’s now or never. Robin Thicke will age (even more so, it seems) Miley Cyrus will find Disney again (and a few more times after that), “Blurred Lines” will find its way off the Billboard charts (catchy can only be caught for so long), but the honest word —that will last for…at least a few more years.

 

 
 
by Jac Kern 02.21.2012
Posted In: Events, Fun, Concerts, Holidays, Music at 03:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your (Fat) Tuesday To Do List

Bon Mardi Gras, mes amis (translation: Happy Fat Tuesday, y'all)! Today's To Do list has some cajun flavor to it, since nearly every bar and restaurant will be celebrating in some capacity tonight — even if it's just beer, beads and boobs.

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?).

Hofbräuhaus celebrates Fastnacht German-style, of course, with help from the Enzian Dancers, the German Heritage Museum and music from Nick Gulacsy Jr., the Akkordeon-Meister. Come dressed in costume if you're so inclined — prizes will be awarded to those most decked out. The fun starts at 6 p.m.

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.

 
 
by Jac Kern 02.28.2012
Posted In: Animals, Fun, Events, Music, Northside at 01:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Wednesday To Do List

One year ago today, the home of Shannon DeBra, founder of the all-foster rescue Recycled Doggies, caught on fire. Thirteen dogs and one cat died as a result, and Recycled Doggies faced a tremendous setback. Tonight, on the tragedy's anniversary, animal lovers everywhere are invited to attend a benefit, give what you can and support the organization and all its foster families and volunteers. Head over to Star Lanes at the Levee for a silent auction, raffles, happy hour specials and, of course, plenty of bowling fun. Go here to RSVP to the event, which runs from 5:30-8:30 p.m.

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.

Crazy! Cool. No, I'm not talking about TLC's 1994 album, I'm talkin' 'bout West Side Story. The Bernstein and Sondheim hit is alive and well 55 years after its debut on Broadway. The Jets and Sharks put any Crosstown Shootout rivalries to shame, and in this revived version, audiences can expect a grittier tale with more Hispanic influence. The classic runs at the Aronoff Center through March 11. Find details here.

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.

Honey in Northside offers a $10 comfort food menu every Tuesday. Choose from homestyle favorites like fish and chips, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, chicken stew with dumplings and more. It's a great chance to try the local spot if you've never been and you're on a budget. Peep our full review of Honey here.

Check out our To Do page for tons of recommended art shows open today.

 
 
by Jac Kern 03.01.2013
Posted In: Events, Food, Drinking, Performances, Music at 12:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List: 3/1-3/3

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.

For more stuff to do this weekend, check out our To Do page, full calendar and Rick Pender’s Stage Door for weekend theater offerings.

 
 
by Jac Kern 03.09.2012
Posted In: Concerts, Culture, Drinking, Events, Northside, Music at 03:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List: 3/9-3/11

The Cincinnati International Wine Festival opens tonight at Duke Energy Convention Center. More than 600 varieties from 100 wineries will be at your disposal during the grand tastings tonight, tomorrow afternoon and tomorrow evening. There will also be live music, a silent auction and plenty of food to soak up that alcohol. This is a pricey event, but it's a chance to taste wines from across the globe. Go here for tickets.

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.

Though we live in a city with limited access to independent, art house and foreign films (the Esquire can only do so much!) Cincy World Cinema brings us some much-needed film opportunities, like this weekend's Oscar Shorts. Saturday and Sunday, CWC hosts an exclusive screening of Academy Award nominated live-action and animated short films. Enjoy cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and the rare opportunity to see these films on the big screen, in one day. Many screenings have sold out, so go here to purchase yours.

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.

Springtime brings the start of everyone's favorite spectator sport. No, not baseball, roller derby! The Cincinnati Rollergirls open their seventh season with a double-header against the Arch Rival Roller Girls of St. Louis Saturday. Head down to the Cincinnati Gardens early for free parking and tailgating, then enjoy $1 happy hour beers beginning at 6 p.m., when the doors open. The Cincinnati Junior Rollergirls, featuring mini badasses age 8-17 (isn't that kind of a crazy age range?) make their debut during halftime. General admission is $10 in advance, $12 at the door ($15/$17 for trackside seats). If you haven't been to a roller derby since the '90s, it's exciting, cheap and the sport is really fun to get into. You'll be getting rowdy in no time! Go here for tickets.

Tickets to Radiohead's June concert at Riverbend go on sale at 10 a.m. tomorrow. If you're planning on snagging a pair, you should probably camp out tonight.

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.

 
 
by Jac Kern 09.27.2012
Posted In: Events, Music, Movies, Performances at 11:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your (MPMF) Weekend To Do List: 9/27-9/30

Odds are if you’re reading this, you already know all about the 11th annual music festival descending upon OTR and Downtown Cincinnati this weekend. MidPoint Music Festival runs tonight through Saturday, bringing more than 100 local, regional and national musicians to the city. If you still haven’t gotten tickets, planned your schedule and read interviews with artists, find all that good stuff here.

There’s more to MPMF than hopping from venue to venue and discovering your new favorite band (though that is an awesome aspect). The MidPoint Midway, which takes over Twelfth Street between Vine and Walnut, is not only the box office location (where you can still purchase three- or one-day tickets) but also features the returning Box Truck Carnival, poster expo, photo booth, food court and more. Here, MPMFers can enjoy box truck gallery exhibits, improv shows, an arcade and more interactive activities between concerts each day.

Just down the street at the School for Creative and Performing Arts, the Midland Film Institute presents the first MidPoint Film Festival, featuring local, independent and cult films (ahem, Human Centipede double feature). It’s a great sign that MPMF has expanded beyond music to incorporate art, film, theater and more entertainment — there’s quite literally something for everyone, from children to hip kids to old timers. Read more about the carnival and film fest here.

When you’re all MPMF-ed out, there’s even more happening around town.

Amid the MidPoint action, Night Owl Market returns to the parking lot at Main Street and Central Parkway. Grub out on goodies from local food trucks like SugarSnap!, New Orleans To Go and C’est Cheese from 8 p.m.-3 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Vendors will also be on hand hawking goods each night.

Remember our cover story on the area steampunk trend? The antiqued-futuristic creatives who brought the Steampunk Symposium to Cincinnati present Pandoracon Friday-Sunday. Whether you’re into comics, sci-fi, anime, cosplay or anything in between, there’s a nerd in all of us that wants to come out and play at Pandoracon. Meet fantasy artists and authors, geek out in the game room, dress in costume, watch sideshow circus acts and stop by what are sure to be some of the craziest hotel parties — all at Blue Ash’s Crowne Plaza Hotel. There are tons of events all weekend long, so go here for more info and tickets.

This weekend is locals’ last chance to celebrate Oktoberfest this year with Newport on the Levee’s festival running Friday-Sunday. Enjoy live music, traditional dancers and all the beer and schnitzel you can stomach. Find a full rundown of events and menus here.

From UC students and grads to retired hippies to skater kids, Clifton has been home to many of us at one point or another, and the neighborhood holds special memories for most who have visited. Make more during A Weekend in Clifton, a celebration of Ludlow Avenue and its surroundings. The street will be closed from 6 p.m. Friday-Sunday to accommodate Cliftonfest — featuring vendors, live music and artists — and the 10th annual StreetScapes street-painting bash.

 
 
by Jac Kern 09.16.2011
Posted In: Events, Fashion, Fun, TV/Celebrity, Music, Life, Culture, Concerts at 11:58 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List: 9/16-9/18

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is taking over downtown this weekend, bringing around 500,000 guests! Once you've had your fill of schnitzel, Spaten and sauerkraut, stop by the CityBeat booth for the official Oktoberfest guide and register for a VIP MPMF Package and other prizes.

Read More

 
 
by Jac Kern 02.09.2012
Posted In: Culture, Concerts, Events, Fashion, Fun, Shopping, Northside, Music at 02:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Very Vintage Valentine Fashion

Chicken Lays an Egg hosts a runway show and dance party at Northside Tavern Saturday

Northside's Chicken Lays an Egg, a gem in Cincinnati's growing collection of excellent vintage shops, hosts a Valentine fashion show featuring their retro-fab clothing, shoes and accessories Saturday at Northside Tavern.

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.

Afterward, party with Bad Veins, who perform at 11 p.m. The duo's album The Mess We've Made drops April 24.

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!

Read More

 
 
by Jac Kern 10.26.2012
Posted In: Music, Events, Eats, Drinking, Holidays at 11:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Your Halloweekend To Do List: 10/26-10/28

Halloween is no longer a one-night event just for kids. Like many holidays, Halloween’s reach goes beyond Oct. 31 (I’m pretty sure I saw costumes descend into stores mid-August), giving us grownups a chance to dress up and act out. This (Hallo)weekend features events that celebrate all the weird, wonderful and freaky aspects of our favorite holiday.

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 Symphony Orchestra, 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.

 
 
by Leyla Shokoohe 08.02.2011
Posted In: Concerts, Life, Culture, Events, Fun, Music, Is this for real? at 11:32 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 

Dancing in the Street

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.

 
 

 

 

 
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