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by Jac Kern 03.23.2012

Your Weekend To Do List: 3/23-3/25

Nothside Tavern's birthday, LEGO Fest, Robert Moses' Kin performance and more

Stop by the hipster haven that is Northside Tavern this weekend as it celebrates 10 years as a neighborhood bar and live music staple. NST's 10th Birthday Bash runs 6:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday with treats from Take the Cake both nights. Tonight, there's music from You, You're Awesome, Ohio Knife and Lydia Burrell. Saturday features music from Wussy and The Tigerlilies, the first band to rock the Tavern's stage a decade ago. As always, no cover. HB, NST!

Independent Spirit Award-nominated film In The Family opens at The Esquire tonight. Writer, director and star Patrick Wang will be in town for the premiere weekend, and will host a Q&A after this weekend's screenings. Check out the 8 p.m. screenings Friday and Saturday and the 1 p.m. show Sunday to meet and chat with the star. Read our review here.

San Francisco dance company Robert Moses' Kin performs in town this week with Contemporary Dance Theater's Guest Artist Series. Faith and Fable was inspired by choreographer/artistic director Robert Moses' children – fairy tales, in particular. Moses reexamined moral tales and translated them into a multi-genre dance piece for all ages. Performances are tonight at Saturday at the Aronoff Center. Go here to read our interview with Moses.

LEGOs are one of those iconic toys that kids still think are cool and adults still secretly want to play with. This weekend's LEGO's KidsFest may be marketed toward youngsters, but LEGO fans of any age can be entertained for hours at this construction block convention. At the fest, you'll find a LEGO model museum (clearly not built by kids), a master builder academy, activity area, challenge zone and much more. Saturday's sessions have sold out, but there's still tickets available for tonight (4-8:30 p.m.) and Sunday (9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 3-7:30 p.m.) All sessions feature the same fun exhibits and activities. Find ticket information and event details here.

Saturday morning, Park + Vine hosts a Grow Your Own Garden Class. Greensleeves Farm's Gretchen Vaughn will dish the dirt on growing vegetables and herbs at home with a hands-on demonstration on sowing and transplanting seeds. After the class, you'll take home a starter kit with seeds, soil and a plant. The class limited to 15 people, so RSVP at info@parkandvine.com. The workshop is $15 and runs from 10 a.m.-noon.

The Newport Aquarium welcomes Mighty Mike, a 14-foot, 800-pound American Alligator this Saturday. Mike is the largest gator in the U.S. outside of Florida. The new Gator Alley exhibit will feature many species of alligators and crocodiles from around the globe. The aquarium is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Find admission and other details here. Purchase your tickets in advance to save time at the door.

For more theater, visual arts and music events this weekend, check out our To Do, Music and Arts coverage.

by Eli Johnson 01.13.2012
Posted In: Movies, Music at 01:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Music, Movies and the Not So Mundane

EMI Records has filed a lawsuit against the Irish state for not fulfilling its obligations under European law to block online piracy. Despite major record labels in Ireland (Warner, Universal, Sony and EMI) being harmed by Ireland’s lack of “blocking, diverting or interrupting of Internet communications,” which breaches copyright law, Ireland never implemented any piracy blocking provisions and last year member of the High Court Justice Peter Charleton acknowledged this.

“It is not surprising that the legislative response laid down in our country in the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000, at a time when this problem was not perceived to be as threatening to the creative and retail economy as it has become in 2010, has made no proper provision for the blocking, diverting or interrupting of internet communications intent on breaching copyright,” Justice Charleton’s judgment began.

“Establishing a causal link between Irish law and filesharing will be difficult, particularly given the evidence from elsewhere that blocking is ineffective,” said TJ McIntyre, lawyer at the University College Dublin. And while site-blocking is a last resort for the record labels, the link between the breach of the State’s obligations and the labels’ losses could prove to be problematic.

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by Jac Kern 02.24.2015
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, Movies, Fashion at 10:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

I Just Can't Get Enough…Oscars

Recapping the 87th Academy Awards

Neil Patrick Harris hosted the 87th Oscars Sunday night. Let’s talk about it!

Having hosted multiple Emmy and Tony award shows in the past, quadruple-threat NPH (he sings, dances, acts and does magic) was well suited — cue Barney Stinson high-five — to the task. He did in fact sing, dance, act and do magic all while poking fun at the nominees, recreating significant movie moments and ad-libbing on the fly. Great job, NPH!

As far as the night’s trends, there were a few:

Using the acceptance speech as a bigger platform

While some folks stick to the traditional “Thank God, the Academy and my manager” speech, others used the time in the spotlight to address other issues. This is nothing new — Marlon Brando famously boycotted the 1973 Academy Awards for Hollywood’s treatment of Native Americans, arranging for Sacheen Littlefeather to attend in his behalf and decline the Best Actor award (for The Godfather).

This year’s acceptance speech shout-outs ranged from appreciating parents (J.K. Simmons) and supporting ecological sanitation and women’s rights (Patricia Arquette) to empowering the LGBTQ community (Graham Moore) and discussing immigration (Alejandro González Iñarritu).

Play someone with a disease, win awards

Again, this trend is far from new. The Academy — and audiences — love to see an actor transform, and portraying someone with a mental or physical condition can certainly do the trick. It’s not a surefire way to win an Oscar — just ask poor Leonardo DiCaprio (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Aviator) — but the Oscars have looked favorably on roles like this in the past. And present: Eddie Redmayne won Best Actor for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything; Julianne Moore was awarded Best Actress for her role as a woman with early-onset Alzheimer’s in Still Alice.

Ladies in White

Whiteness wasn’t just the hilarious subject of NPH’s first joke in the monologue (see below), it was also a prominent dress color for many attendees, nominees and performers. Patricia Arquette, Reese Witherspoon, Carmen Ejogo, Marion Cotillard, Lupita Nyong’o, Julianne Moore, Lady Gaga, Kerry Washington, Nicole Kidman and others all rocked white, channeling the snow that many of those not in L.A. were knee-deep in.

Now for a play-by-play recap of the event.

Neil Patrick Harris opened the show with a theatrical song, but not before making a joke about celebrating the “best and the whitest” – err, brightest film stars.

I like how the Oscars always start with the supporting actor award to get people excited, only to spend the following hour busting out all the technical awards and best picture nominee previews.

Best Supporting Actor
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
Robert Duvall, The Judge

Yay! Simmons has been in the acting game a long time and killed it in Whiplash. Totally deserved.He used the time to thoughtfully and thoroughly thank his wife, kids and parents and urged viewers to do the same. “Call your mom. Call your dad.”

Adam Levine continues to take over the world/every television program. He performed a song from a movie he was in (???).

Costume Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice
Into the Woods
Mr. Turner

Makeup and Hairstyling
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

Makeup, hair and costume design awards went to the visually delightful The Grand Budapest Hotel. Costume designers always wear the best stuff, obviously Exhibit A: Milena Canonero’s sequined pants.

Oscar lobby boys officially became weird when they held Channing Tatum's hand down the stairs.

Best Foreign Film
Wild Tales

I love director Pawel Pawlikowski’s style — he just talked though the Oscars’ STFU Music Cue until it finally stopped playing! All bets are off now that we know the truth: Just. Keep. Talking.

The (not nominated) Lego Movie had its moment in the sun with an over-the-top performance of “Everything is Awesome.”

Best Live Action Short
Boogaloo and Graham
Butter Lamp (La Lamp au Beurre de Yak)
The Phone Call

Best Documentary Short
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Our Curse
The Reaper (La Parka)
White Earth

Sound Mixing
American Sniper

NPH recreated Birdman undies scene:

Sound Editing
American Sniper
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Jared Leto showed up in Dumb and Dumber cosplay to present Best Supporting Actress; he also had a heavenly moment.

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Emma Stone, Birdman
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Laura Dern, Wild

Yay again! The Boyhood actress had this one in the bag. During her speech, Arquette promoted the organization GiveLove and gave a call to action to all the country’s mothers.

Visual Effects
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy


X-men: Days of Future Past

Best Animated Short
The Bigger Picture
The Dam Keeper
Me and My Moulton
A Single Life

Feast director Patrick Osborne is a Cincinnati native and gave us a little shout-out.

Best Animated Feature
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
Song of the Sea
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Star T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley) was literally in the last row of the theater, but still managed to get the camera's attention as he celebrated in the nosebleed seats.

Production Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Into the Woods
Mr. Turner

Best Cinematography
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Mr. Turner

Film Editing
American Sniper
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game

Idina Menzel finally got her revenge on Glom Gazingo John Travolta.

Yet he still managed to act like a fucking weirdo.

Best Documentary Feature
Finding Vivian Maier
Last Days in Vietnam
The Salt of the Earth

Best Original Song
“Glory” (Selma)
“Everything Is Awesome” (The Lego Movie)
“Grateful” (Beyond the Lights)
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” (Glen Campbell … I’ll Be Me)
“Lost Stars” (Begin Again)

John Legend and Common won this right after giving a powerful performance of the song.

Best Original Score
Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game
Alexandre Desplat, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Jóhann Jóhannsson, The Theory of Everything
Hans Zimmer, Interstellar
Gary Yershon, Mr. Turner

Lady Gaga gave the most “normal” — for lack of a better word — performance of her career with a tribute to The Sound of Music, proving that beyond the meat dresses and famous fiancés and 9-inch heelless platform monstrosities, Gaga is a talented entertainer.

Best Original Screenplay
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Adapted Screenplay
American Sniper
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
The Theory of Everything

In his acceptance speech, director Graham Moore revealed he tried to kill himself as a teen because he felt different. “Stay weird. Stay different,” he encouraged.

Best Director
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Alejandro González Iñarritu, Birdman
Bennet Miller, Foxcatcher
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game

Best Actor
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper

Best Actress
Reese Witherspoon, Wild
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night

Best Picture
American Sniper
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

Iñarritu dedicated the award to, among others, Mexicans and immigrants.

While I was rooting for Boyhood (a movie I will probably never stop talking about and encouraging people to see), I’d be remiss not to say Birdman deserved all the accolades it received. Overall, many of the year’s best films got some deserved recognition on a night that was entertaining for movie makers and lovers alike. Also, did this year's show break the record for tighty whitie references?

by Hannah Cook 07.19.2012
Posted In: Music, Movies at 02:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

When Someone Great Is Gone

Reflections on LCD Soundsystem's 'Shut Up and Play the Hits'

There’s a tremendous breach between a life of stardom and a life of ordinariness; it’s a point of view most of us Joes take. Constantly forming idols for ourselves, we forget that those deemed as “famous” perform such mundane tasks as even putting on underwear in the morning. For some reason, famous people don’t wear underwear — that’s too routine. They don’t have routines, they have fabulous, spontaneous lives. Perhaps they were never even children. Their birth was the moment that you fell in love with what they do. They are an entirely different kind.

Shut Up and Play the Hits bridges that gap for us, though. The documentary, directed by Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace, was screened in select theatres for only one night — a seemingly arrogant tactic, though I think it was done mostly just because it was the easiest and most affordable (the opposite of arrogant). Lucky for Cincinnati, the Contemporary Arts Center showed it in the lobby of its stone, skate park-like building to a full audience.

Shut Up and Play the Hits tells the visual tale of dance/punk band LCD Soundsystem’s final moments as one of the world’s most respected and adored musical entities. The band’s ending, oddly constructed as it was, provoked curiosity: Why stop at the pinnacle of your career? Did you have this planned all along?

Using shots of the band’s last show to a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden on April 2, 2011, mastermind James Murphy’s life before and after the show, and an actually informative interview, Shut Up and Play the Hits does some explaining, which was what Murphy really wanted. Not only that, but it also takes us through the inevitable emotional roller coaster Murphy and his bandmates rode on, anywhere from feeling “disturbingly normal” to breaking down in the presence of the band’s now jaded yet memorable musical equipment.

The film takes a spiral shape, starting and ending at the same spot — the cleaning up of LCD Soundsystem’s farewell show — but with two very different dispositions. At the beginning, we’re still confused as to why, but by the end, as that final heavy synth note rings out, we are understanding — content even — with Murphy’s decision to wholly join a life of normalcy.

This normal life seems to revolve around Murphy’s dog. Waking up at 10:32 the morning after the final, drunken show, Murphy lays pensively sleepy with his little dog on his belly, just staring at him. Maybe it’s the dog that keeps him from accepting the sadness of the end, or maybe he just hasn’t been able to look — really look — at his dog in quite some time. Either way, it’s an endearing moment that contrasts like a flash of lightening to the madness of their final show. The back and forth filming techniques foster those aesthetics.

In the moments of the show, the film actualizes just how much people treasure LCD Soundsystem. Slow-mo shots of the audience, focusing in on particularly passionate people, combined with the circling lights of the massive disco ball and LCD’s absorbing sounds gave life to the movie, like we were there ourselves. Murphy thanked the fans and his family with an authentic sense of farewell, leading into their final song “New York I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down,” which was almost too fitting for the circumstances — almost.

In many moments throughout the film, Murphy’s gaze suggests a complexity of despondency and hopefulness all at once, whether he’s making coffee or glowing in front of an 18,000-person show. The end is near and never has such an ending become so suddenly swallowed up. The film symbolically leaves us with a weeping fan staring at the dispersing stage, gracefully blurring the line of the sacred and profane. Murphy only wished to leave a stain, but that final note of that final song could very well ring out forever.

by Eli Johnson 01.03.2012
Posted In: Animals, Movies, Music, Fun, TV/Celebrity at 01:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Music, Movies and the Not So Mundane

Kanzi the bonobo knows how to say around 500 words via a keyboard, start a fire with matches and make his own food. He has a leg up on the modern 12-year-old.

A family from Canada recently welcomed their 100th grandchild to the family. It is alleged that the children each receive a $1 gift card to the Planned Parenthood gift shop from the grans each Christmas.

Gucci Mane and V-Nasty released an album called Baytl. People are calling it the worst hip-hop collaboration since Snoop Dogg teamed up with astronaut Buzz Aldrin to drop “Rocket Experience.”

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by Jac Kern 03.02.2012

Your Weekend To Do List: 3/2-3/4

Bockfest is upon us! The annual celebration of Cincinnati's beer brewing history kicks off tonight with the Bockfest Parade, stepping off at 6 p.m. Organizers are keeping an eye on the weather, so check back with their site and Facebook page just in case. Even if the weather gets real ugly, just stop by one of the dozen participating venues where admission is free and beer is a-flowin'. Tons of special events coincide with the fest: Tonight, Park + Vine hosts its second annual veenie roast tonight (veggie hot dogs on delicious Mayday pretzel buns), Japps will feature a dance party tonight and Saturday, a Craft Menagerie takes over Arnold's Saturday and Washington Platform has a Bockfest Brunch Sunday, to name a few. And remember, you're not just getting your drink on, you're supporting Cincinnati history!

Covington's Carnegie Center presents its sixth annual Art of Food show, opening tonight. As you might've guessed, this art exhibit is centered around all things edible. The reception features beautiful culinary creations (that you can actually eat) by everyone from BonBonnerie to La Poste, Queen City Cookies to Taste of Belgium. Admission is a little steep ($60 at the door for non-members), but you'll leave with your left brain and stomach both very satisfied. Admission after the reception is free. Get details here.

It's always exciting when a new exhibit comes to the Contemporary Arts Center, and their opening parties are always a blast. Saturday the CAC welcomes two new art shows: I surrender, dear, Dasha Shishkin's first solo museum exhibit and Spectacle: The Music Video, curated by creative collective Flux. Read more about the artists here and check out our preview of Spectacle here. Music videos as art. Super cool.

The opening reception kicks off at 8 p.m. In addition to checking out the artwork, electronic musician/wizard Dan Deacon will perform 8-9 p.m. If you haven't heard of him, here's a preview:

Following the original performance is a DJ set 'til 11 p.m. The party is free and there will be a cash bar. Get more info here.

If you didn't score tickets to tonight's sold out Black Keys show, there are plenty of other music options. Eli's BBQ on Riverside Drive hosts Downtown Country Band tonight at 10 p.m. Tickets are $12. And really, any concert that also features barbecue is probably a sure bet. The Harlequins hosts an album release show Saturday at Mayday in Northside. Peep our interview with the crew. There are tons of other live music shows this weekend. Find them all on our music blog.

This not enough for you? There are tons of other happenings this weekend. Arts? We got 'em. Theater? You bet. Foul-mouthed, inxtoicated comedians? Of course. Just check out our To Do page for all your fun-having needs.

by Jac Kern 04.30.2012
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, The Worst, Movies, Fun, Comedy, Commentary at 12:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's favorite recent pop culture and Internet findings

The White House Correspondents’ Dinner was Saturday, and while CityBeat’s invitation must have gotten lost in the mail, the event brought journalists, celebrities and famewhores from across the country to Washington, D.C. What began in the 1920s as an opportunity to recognize journalists is now more of a “Washington goes Hollywood” event, usually hosted by comedians and attended by celebs who have little (if anything) to do with politics or reporting. Although the event gets criticism for becoming a schmooze-fest, I’m a fan of what has become a Washington roast, where politicians stop taking themselves too seriously, at least for one night.

President Obama kicked off the night with a dig at his recent “hot mic” incident, and continued by poking fun at other politicians, odd celebrity guests and other current events.

The evening was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, who took the stage like a true equal opportunity offender:

Speaking of diminishing journalistic integrity, how ‘bout the rise and (immediate) fall Gawker’s Fox News mole? Earlier this month, Gawker announced a new column by a Fox News employee, who was prepared to share the deepest, darkest secrets from everyone’s favorite conservative channel — or something. Two days later, the “mole” (revealed as O’Reilly Factor associate producer Joe Muto) was found out by the network and subsequently fired. So that’s the end of that, right? Not quite. Muto was served with a search warrant early Wednesday morning. New York’s District Attorney’s office seized Muto’s laptop, cell phone and some notebooks as part of an open investigation. Fox News is accusing Muto of conspiracy and grand larceny, according to this warrant. The best/worst part of the whole debacle is that Muto only managed four Gawker posts, which included juicy Fox dirt like a photo of a bathroom Bill O’Reilly uses and a clip of Mitt Romney talking about his horses to Sean Hannity. Yawn. UPDATE: Muto apparently grew up in Cincinnati. Represent!

From Pizza Hut’s new pies with cheeseburgers instead of crusts to the Heart Attack Grill living up to its name, junk food on ‘roids is all the rage right now! Las Vegas’ Heart Attack Grill is known for its over-the-top diner grub, including a “Quadruple Bypass Burger,” so should anyone be surprised that eating there could potentially be harmful to one’s health? For the second time this year, a guest collapsed at the restaurant, which boasts the Guinness World Record for highest calorie hamburger (9,983 — about five times the calories recommended for one day). People go to Vegas for the thrill of a gamble — the Heart Attack Grill just offers a unique spin!

Meanwhile, in the Middle East, Pizza Hut is finally solving that boring pizza crust problem (what are we supposed to do — just eat plain dough?!) by swapping it for cheeseburgers and chicken sliders. This came just weeks after we were introduced to The Hut’s hot dog-stuffed crust, which is now available in the U.K. The most shocking part about these pizza monstrosities? They aren’t served in the States (yet)! Are we becoming a healthier nation or is our fatness just rubbing off on other countries?

In movie news, a 2007 viral comedy short is now becoming a star-studded smorgasbord. Jay and Seth vs. The Apocalypse starred Jay Baruchel and Seth Rogan as friends confined to an apartment during the end of the world. Filmed in just four days immediately following production on Knocked Up, the short is only available as a trailer on YouTube:

After the success of Knocked Up, Pineapple Express and other Rogen comedies, the crew is remaking the short into a feature film, currently titled The End of The World. In the film, James Franco (playing himself) hosts a party at his apartment when the world begins…to end. Party-goers will include Jonah Hill, Danny McBride and Aziz Ansari, in addition to Rogen and Baruchel. It’s an Apatowpocalypse!

While these dudes are taking something scary (the apocalypse) and turning it into something funny, this bitch is turning something from my youth (dolls) into the stuff of nightmares. Meet Valeria Lukyanov, “human” Barbie!