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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.