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.
It’s no secret that Northside is the city’s premiere taco destination. The neighborhood welcomes its third taco joint Friday with the grand opening of Barrio Tequileria. This latest addition comes from the folks behind popular food truck Taco Azul and will specialize in authentic Mexican/L.A.-style street food, tequila and mezcal. Doors open Friday at 5 p.m. and they’ll be serving up tacos and drinks until 2 a.m. Check them out on Facebook.
installment of Macy’s Art Sampler Weekend takes place Saturday. Enjoy free art
activities and performances all day in venues across Greater Cincinnati,
including: tours and music at the Contemporary Arts Center, Hip-Hop, spoken
word and crafts at the Taft Museum of Art, belly-dancing, toe-shoe performances
and Kung-Fu at the Cincinnati Ballet and an Amazing Arts Race from ArtsWave
Young Professionals. The sampler send with a Sock-Hop in Washington Park
featuring Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati's Marvelous Wonderettes. Look up the full
schedule by event, venue or category here.
Contemporary Dance Theater celebrates 40 years of bringing modern dance to Cincinnati with the FORTY40Gala Saturday. The evening includes music and dance performances, retrospective displays and videos, a silent auction, complementary drinks and hors d’oeuvres, all in the historic Emery Theatre. Go here to read our interview with CDT’s founder, Artistic Director and CEO, Jefferson James.
Have you been waiting for the opportunity to let you inner Maverick shine? Well, grab your aviators, zip up that jumpsuit and fly on out to SkateTown USA’s Top Gun-themed “Roller SK80s” party Saturday. Whether you’re a regular rollergirl or you haven’t skated since the actual ‘80s, there will be enough fun to go around with music, a photobooth and an all-you-can-drink bar (dangerous much?). Admission is just $10, which includes skate rental and drinks, and proceeds benefit Disabled American Veterans. The party runs 10:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. and word is there will be a shuttle to a hotel after-party. Go here for details, directions and tips on finding some prime ‘80s garb.
The Cincinnati Museum Center wraps up its Passport to the World series with this weekend’s Asian Culture Fest. Visitors will travel across China, India, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and Nepal via cultural displays, hands-on workshops, music and dance performances, an authentic Asian marketplace and much more. The fest runs Saturday-Sunday. Find a full event schedule here.
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.
Comedian Stewart Huff: Primarily a storyteller, he now focuses on stand-up. Huff started off wanting to be a writer of short stories. He wrote in secret, but after doing an open mic he became intrigued by what that art form had to offer. “I was obsessed with the idea of telling a story on stage and getting immediate feedback,” he says. After a time, Huff decided to focus solely on stand-up. Showtimes Thursday-Sunday. $8-$14. Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, gobananascomedy.com.
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.
Going to the zoo isn't just for kids (though there always a million of them there). Whether you are a child, have 'em or hate 'em this weekend is perfect for a trip to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens. Friday-Sunday are Visitor Appreciation Days at the zoo, which means half price admission and parking for everyone! If you need any more reason to visit, there are tons of new exhibits like Night Hunters, African Savannah, Go Green Garden and more. Go here for special prices, hours and directions.
Craftmasters takes over Mainstay Rock Bar Saturday, offering up 10 local bands and 10 $4 craft beers all night long. Get down with Lions Rampant, Frankl Project, Eat Sugar and more as you sip tasty brews like Stone IPA, Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier and Two Brothers Dog Days Dortmunder Lager. Music starts at 7 p.m. with bands on two stages. Five bucks gets you in the door. Get the whole lineup here.
Worried no event will satiate your hunger this weekend? For-goetta-bout it! Glier's annual Goettafest is back with enough pork and oats to satisfy even the hungriest of visitors. Enjoy classics like goetta omelets, goetta burgers and goetta dogs or go crazy with goetta sushi, goetta brownies and goetta eggrolls. As always, there will be plenty of live music, games and rides to keep everyone happy (but wait 30 minutes after eating before going on The Scrambler. Goetta's even less pretty coming up.). The festival runs Friday-Sunday at Newport on the Levee. Go here for festival hours and parking information.
Cincy Blues Fest is one of largest volunteer-run Blues festivals in the world. Celebrate the music and the hard work Friday and Saturday at Sawyer Point. Besides checking out local, regional and national Blues acts, Mike Breen has come up with 19 reasons this is a can't-miss event. Go here to read 'em all.
The Cincinnati Art Museum makes so many fantastic works of art accessible to visitors. This Sunday, you can get an even more in-depth look at one artist's life during its Reel Art film series. Filmmaker Ellen Weissbrod's documentary A Woman Like That focuses on the life of Artemisia Gentileschi, a 17th century Italian woman who pursued art during a period when female artists faced much prejudice. Learn about this important Baroque-era artist and meet Weissbrod and co-filmmaker Melissa Powell at a Q&A session following the screening. Go here for ticket information and screening time.
As always, there are many more events, concerts, gallery exhibits and theater shows going on this weekend. Go here to see 'em all. Got a kick-ass event that should be on everyone's To Do list? E-mail arts and event listings to firstname.lastname@example.org at least two weeks in advance.
Miley Cyrus hosted and performed on Saturday Night Live this weekend and I have to admit — she rocked it. You have to give it to the writers for coming up with some original ways to incorporate her recent now-ubiquitous scandals (VMAs, buzzworthy music videos, ever-exposed tongue), but MiCy deserves some credit, too.
Bitch may be feuding with Sinead O’Connor and giving twerking a bad name, but she is definitely a solid performer. The weak skits of the night (How dare SNL make a failed attempt at a cheerleader sketch when we all know the Spartans can never be topped? Too soon!) flopped because of poor ideas or shoddy writing, not due to Miley’s lack of acting skills. The trend so far this year is the best skits being prerecorded ones (the Girls spoof with Tina Fey, this week's Fifty Shades of Grey auditions), which kind of defeats the purpose of it being a live show. Nonetheless, the No. 1 sketch of the night perfectly blended a Miley earbug with the government shutdown: “We Did Stop.”
Meanwhile, Nori West is racking up finer garments before her fourth month on Earth (FOR FREE) than the rest of us can probably ever imagine owning. In our adult lives.
In Case You Missed It: Dumb and
Dumber To is actually happening.
Not to be confused with the cringe-worthy 2003 prequel Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (which I totally saw in theaters the day it opened), this Farrelly Brothers sequel will feature OG stars Jim Carrey (Lloyd Christmas) and Jeff Daniels (Harry Dunne) picking up 20 years after the duo’s last adventure. In D&D2, which currently has an unspecified 2014 release date, one of the guys has a long-lost offspring, and they both embark on a journey to find the child in hopes of attaining a new kidney. Kathleen Turner will play Fraida Felcher, a character mentioned but never seen in two scenes of the original (Below). Sounds like she's the baby mama. And SPOILER ALERT: Jennifer Lawrence will make a surprise cameo as a young Fraida. Hopefully we’ll get to see the French Tickler in action. Billy the blind kid and Sea Bass will also return, played by their respective original actors.
And because behind-the-scenes movie peeks are so fun, here’s Quvenzhane Wallis on the set of Annie with her near-identical stunt double who is at least three times Q’s age. The Jay Z and Will Smith-produced remake, due in theaters during Christmastime next year, will also star Jamie Foxx in the Daddy Warbucks role, appropriately renamed “Benjamin Stacks.”
Although it’s been 13 years since Freaks
and Geeks originally graced our television screens, longtime fans and
newcomers discovering the fantastic series on Netflix or IFC can now experience
McKinley High in a whole new way. The Fine Brothers, Internet creatives behind
the popular React series, developed a Freak and Geeks
choose-your-own-adventure game that combines great television, old-school video
games and your inner 10-year-old’s favorite genre of books. Players can
actually click on different choices in the YouTube video, leading them to new
videos based on their selections. Play now!
Watch what you say to Siri: That robot voice on your phone is actually a real lady! Recently, we learned Lisa Frank is an actual, live human. Next up: Siri. Voice actress Susan Bennett has come forward as the woman behind the mysterious personal assistant living inside newer Apple mobile devices. The recent Apple software update iOS 7 gives users the option of a new “male” Siri voice, prompting Bennett to reveal Siri’s original real-life counterpart. Meet her here.
Check out these cool paintings on coins: