Summer doesn’t officially begin for another month and Memorial Day, the unofficial seasonal kick-off, is next weekend. But looking at this weekend's — the first round of church festivals, the opening of The Beach Waterpark, food fests abound — and it’s clear: Summer is upon us.
Legendary musician and artist Patti Smith is in town for the opening of her anticipated Contemporary Art Center exhibit and concert. Patti Smith: The Coral Sea, a tribute to Robert Mapplethore, officially opens Saturday but the opening celebration at the CAC is 6-11 p.m. Friday. On Saturday, Smith performs a sold-out concert at Memorial Hall. Check out our interview with Smith here.
There’s a bevy of festivals across the Tristate this weekend — most notably, the Asian Food Fest, CincItalia and Maifest. Asian Food Fest returns to The Banks 4 p.m.-midnight Saturday and 1-9 p.m. Sunday. Your favorite area Chinese, Indian, Korean and Thai restaurants and other Asian eateries will be serving up samples ranging from $2-$6. Guests can enjoy performances from local Asian-American groups and entertainers throughout the fest.
Get a taste of Italy by way of Cheviot at CincItalia (6-midnight Friday, 3 p.m.-midnight Saturday and 1-9 p.m. Sunday at Harvest Home Park). Once you’ve gotten your fill of pizza, pasta, gelato and tiramisu, check out the live music, auto show, Italian market and cooking demos.
Why not round out the weekend with a German celebration, too? The 34th Annual MainStrasse Village Maifest is also this weekend: 5-11:30 p.m. Friday, noon-11:30 p.m. Saturday and noon-9 p.m. Sunday. Maifest is the traditional German celebration of spring and the hundreds of thousands of expected visitors can expect plenty of food, wine, beer, street performances and kids activities. Think Oktoberfest, but in the spring.
Looking for something a little edgier and a lot sexier? Don’t miss Exhibitionism 3 at Weston Art Gallery (inside the Aronoff Center) Saturday. The late-night dance party features DJs, a lingerie fashion show, body painting, drinks and light bites. General admission tickets are $35 and get you in the door at 9:30 p.m.; $100 VIP tickets include early 8 p.m. admission for an Epicurious Exhibitionism pre-party dinner and drink tickets. Buy them here.
The Beach Waterpark opens Saturday under new management after being closed for the 2012 season. Expect a total makeover of the park, new attractions and familiar favorites like the lazy river and wave pool. The opening celebration runs Saturday-Sunday; daily hours begin May 25.
Nearby, at Kings Island, Barry Williams, Christopher Knight and Susan Olsen — better known as Greg, Peter and Cindy Brady — will be performing, signing autographs and taking photos with fans Sunday. Why, you ask? To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Brady Bunch episode that was filmed at KI in 1973.
The Piccadilly Circus has set up its big top at the Bank of Kentucky Center and tonight is the last chance to check out the spectacle. Expect standard circus favorites like camels and elephants, high bar performers and clowns. Bring the kids early and check out a free petting zoo and elephant, camel and pony rides. Showtimes tonight are 4:30 and 7:30 p.m; bring $10 cash for parking.
ConnectedConversations continues its series of inspirational speakers tonight
with pioneer, publisher and producer Vy Higginsen. Higginsen’s story is marked
with numerous accomplishments – she was the first black female radio
personality to land a prime time gig in New York City, the first woman in
advertising sales at Ebony magazine, the first black woman to produce a drama
on Broadway and has founded a non-profit for young artists. Titled “Seeing No
tonight’s 7:30 p.m. show promises an
This is the perfect time of year to start a home garden, and tonight Civic Garden Center presents an organic vegetable gardening class. Tending a garden doesn’t have to be a pain – instructor Melinda O’Bryant will demonstrate how to care for your garden using compost, organic fertilizers and pest controls and weed suppression techniques. The program runs from 6:30-8 p.m. and admission is just $10; free for CGC volunteers.
University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music hosts two free concerts at 8 p.m. tonight. Visiting composer from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Scott Wyatt performs with and CCM faculty and students in the Cohen Family Studio Theatre. As part of CCM’s Guest Artist Series, the New Continent Saxophone Quartet of the Sichuan Province, China plays Robert J. Werner Recital Hall.
Father’s Day is June 16, so make sure you get out there and show Dad (or the Dad-like guy in your life) a good time this weekend. There’s lots going on the next few days: stuff to do with Pops, and plenty to check out on your own once Dad starts talking about how wrecked the government is and how tough he had it when he was a kid (sorry, Dad, but it gets old).
Newport’s Italianfest runs Friday-Sunday on the Levee. Food is obviously a highlight at this annual fest; expect plenty of pizza, pasta, cannoli and gelato from area restaurants. There will also be live music, cooking and eating contests, rides and games and a photo exhibit of Italians that settled in Newport generations ago. Admission is free; go here for hours and more info.
Cincinnati Opera’s summer season kicks off with Mozart’s comic drama, Don Giovanni. The opener’s second showing is Saturday. Read our full Opera season preview here.
Jungle Jim’s is known for being the go-to grocery store for exotic types of meats, fancy cheeses, rare candy and produce from around the world, but it also has an extensive beer selection. Friday and Saturday, Jim’s hosts an International Beer Fest featuring 350 beers from 100 breweries across the globe. Tickets are $40 for Friday, $45 for Saturday, $15 for designated drivers and can be purchased at the store’s beer and wine department while they last (online sales have ended).
The City Flea takes over Washington Park Saturday. Browse furniture, clothing, housewares, accessories and other vintage, antique, local and handmade goodies, plus food from local vendors and food trucks from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Does your father love pork? Of course he does, this is America! Bring Dad to Covington for MainStrasse Village’s “Original” Goettafest Friday-Sunday. Find ample versions of the sausagey Cincinnati stable along with plenty of beer, music, shopping and other festival favorites. Go here for details.
More to look forward to: Peep our Summer Guide, tucked into this week's issue, for all sorts of seasonal goodness to keep you busy all summer long. And be sure to get tickets to next Wednesday's Margarita Madness celebration at Newport on the Levee. Admission is $20 in advance ($25 at the Levee, if there are still tickets available) and includes ample tequila and margarita samples, summery bites from area restaurants and live music and DJs, all from 5:30-9 p.m. June 19. Get tickets and more info here.
You know when you discover something new, like a word or band, and suddenly, they're everywhere? Well, if you've recently started following comedian Geoff Tate, you're probably having a similar experience. Dude is popping up left and right.
Two weeks ago, the Cincinnati native appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson after the host saw his stand-up in Wichita, Kan. Tate's five-minute set definitely brought the laughs. Check it out:
Hearing Craig Ferguson say "MOTR Pub" on television did kind of make me squeal.
Tate is back in Cincy this week to record a CD/DVD at MOTR tonight through Wednesday. Comedy starts at 8 p.m. each night and admission is just $5. Have a couple laughs (and beers) and support this up-and-comer. Find details here.
Keystone Bar & Grill nabbed a Best of Cincinnati staff pick for "Best Comfort Food All Jazzed Up," and tonight is a perfect opportunity to check it out for yourself. Famous for their killer macaroni and cheese, Keystone has locations in Covington and Hyde Park. Their twists on the homestyle classic include the Fleetwood Mac (fresh mozzarella, pesto and tomatoes) and The B.B. King (grilled barbecue chicken and bacon). Best of all, mac-n-cheese is half-price on Mondays.
Speaking of staff favorites, downtown dive bar Knockback Nat's also made this year's list as the "Best Place to get Smoked Out." OK, get your mind out of the head shop — we're talking about Knockback's delicious smoked wings. Knockback Nat's transcends typical bar food with these meaty wings they smoke outside behind the bar. On Mondays they're just 50 cents a pop, so enjoy the smoky goodness and wash it all down with a cold brewski.
Happy Eight Track Tape and Barbershop Quartet Day! That's right, April 11 is designated as a celebratory day for the clunky cassette ancestor, as well as the harmonizing foursome. Anyone who actually owns an eight track featuring a barbershop quartet: Send a photo in!
The Over-the-Rhine Brewery District Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation is a non-profit committed to making OTR a healthy, balanced and supportive neighborhood economy. The organization helps preserve, restore and redevelop Cincinnati's unique brewing history and urban fabric. Live in the area or just want to get involved? Stop by the Brewery District's monthly meeting at Spotted Magpie Vintage (1420 Main St.) tonight from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
For an especially classy Wednesday, go to Cocktails with Conundrum at Celestial Steakhouse's Incline Lounge. Music ensemble Conundrum will perform Cincinnati's premiere of Eric Knechtges' "Simon" and other favorites. Come around 7 p.m. to enjoy cocktails and noshes (with an astounding view of the city) before the 7:45 p.m. performance. Tickets are $30 at the door. Find more information here.
Check out our To Do recommendations for ongoing theater and arts happenings tonight and follow our music blog for tonight's live show lineup. Feel like staying in? Here are some TV shows worth checking out.
Cincinnati Beer Week is in
full effect, bringing craft beer tastings, pairings and brewery nights to bars
and restaurants across the city through Feb. 13 (followed by the popular Cincy Winter Beerfest Feb. 14-15). Go here for the week’s highlights
and find all of today’s CBW events here.
Balls Around the Block is a
bar crawl with a mission: To expose more locals to the ever-changing downtown
landscape by visiting several different local establishments in one night, all
while raising money for a good cause. Twelve groups of 25 each begin at a
different bar on the same block (so as not to overwhelm one establishment all
at once) and continue progressing around to bars like Madonna’s, Rock Bottom
Brewery, Igby’s and Nicholson’s.
It’s $35 to participate, with food and drink specials along the way. This year’s crawl benefits Fido Field, the privately funded off-leash dog area located at 630 Eggleston Ave. BATB hopes to raise $12,000 this year for the continued construction of Fido Field — the group raised $10,000 in 2013. Go here for more information, to make donations and to join a group for the crawl.
Cincy Blues Society’s
annual Winter Blue Fest kicks off Friday at The Phoenix. More than 25 local
Blues acts perform through Saturday including headliners Tinsley Ellis and Janiva Magness. Read more here.
Jungle Jim’s Big Cheese Fest is now sold out, but those with tickets are in for a day full delicious dairy from more than 80 cheese companies. More than 40 booths will feature varieties of local, artisan and international cheeses, charcuterie, breads, spreads and more. Beer and wine pairing options available at additional cost. The festival takes over Jungle Jim’s Oscar Event Center from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday. The Big Cheese Kick-Off Party (also sold out) is 7-10 p.m. Friday.