Speaking of people who like to drink, tonight is our Swizzle Soiree, an annual celebration of the release of our bar guide. Head on over to PLAY downtown from 5:30-10:30 p.m. There will be free drink tickets and hors d'oeuvres from area restaurants, happy hour specials all night, music from Pop Empire and lots of giveaways — movie passes, shot glasses and two passes to Bonnaroo! Sign up to register and be present at 9 p.m. to win. It's gon' be fun. Check out the event on Facebook for more info.
The Cincinnati Opera's Opening Gala takes place April 28, with an after-party at the Duke Energy Center. In preparation for this "Late Night in Charleston," Japp's is hosting a happy hour tonight. Preview the event, and help the Opera decide which signature cocktail (by none other than Molly Wellman) to serve next month. The party runs 6-9 p.m. Go here for details.
Before you leave for the night, set up that DVR for Delocated, Awake, 30 Rock and more Thursday television gems. Peep our TV column for details.
Do you love the true storytelling style of This American Life and live groups like The Moth and Cincinnati's True Theater? Head down to Below Zero Lounge tonight for Teilen (German for "to share"), a local storytelling night. In honor of Leap Day, tonight's theme will be "leaping out." Enjoy a variety of true stories told without notes, and feel free to share your own five-minute anecdote. Storytelling is one of the oldest human traditions and it's still a great way to connect with others. Doors open at 6 p.m.; the free event starts at 7. Find details here.
Sexy Time Live Band Karaoke continues its weekly mission to make us all feel like Rock Stars. Become a frontman (or woman!), if only for three minutes. Karaoke kicks off at 9 p.m. in Northside Tavern's back room. Check out the group's Facebook page for details and an extensive song selection (start rehearsing now!).
20th Century Cincinnati is a vintage-modern (is that an oxymoron?) collector's dream. The 18th annual event brings 60 furniture and decor dealers to the Sharonville Convention Center with all kinds of goodies from the 1920s-1980s. Tickets are just $7 for the weekend, with the sale open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Find details here.
Do you think there's ever been a February Final Friday as mild as this one? Surely not. Hop around the galleries, restaurants and bars in Over-the-Rhine and make the most of this odd weather!
OK, so M.I.A.'s video for "Bad Girls" came out a couple weeks ago, and despite looping it for hours on end since then, I cannot get enough of it. It's one of those tunes that makes me want to dance in public even without a (few) cocktails in my system. With a penchant for controversy, the video (filmed in Morocco) depicts what seem to be Middle Eastern women in traditional-yet-pimped-out garb racing cars in the desert and dancing to music with strong, sexual, pro-femme lyrics.
Though it’s been said that the political standpoints M.I.A. makes in her music contradict her lifestyle, or sometimes don't even make sense, the “Paper Planes” singer is the queen of juxtaposition when it comes to her videos. It's also important to note that “Bad Girls” comes during a time when women in Saudi Arabia are banned from driving. So whatever her intended/implied/confusing statements may be, this video is a pretty hot way to say “F that.”
Go here to watch her response to fans’ YouTube comments on the video.
mega-fest’s initial lineup was released last week, boasting headliners like Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers,
Phish and The Beach Boys. Every year I go back and forth on my
decision to go: Can I afford the ticket plus all the cash and supplies that go
into surviving there (screw anyone who says you just need water and a sleeping
bag)? Can my poor Irish skin bear four days in the blazing sun? What if next
year’s lineup is even better? I still haven’t quite decided, but 2012’s lineup
looks good to me for less-than-obvious reasons.
Ben Folds Five — As in, the original trio reuniting. One of my all time favorite bands. I’d die.
The Roots — I’ve been a fan of the crew since I first heard “The Seed (2.0)” when I was in eighth grade. And their day job as house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon has only solidified my love.
Ludacris — Not ashamed.
Of course there’s also this year’s #whoarethey Grammy winners, Bon Iver, Donald Glover’s alter-ego Childish Gambino, The Shins, jam band supreme Umphrey’s McGee and dozens more. Aziz Ansari (Parks and Rec, Funny People) is even confirmed to perform, though the rest of the comedy lineup is yet to be announced. It turns out most people go to ‘roo for music, but I will nerdily admit as a comedy fangirl, the stand-up tent was one of my favorite (and most air-conditioned) experiences during my trip to the fest in 2010. Ansari also appeared that year and Conan O’Brien, fresh off his firing from NBC, headlined.
A friend on Facebook recently posted a link to Hi-Fructose Magazine’s blog, a page covered in creepy-cute taxidermy art. Netherlands-based art partners (artners?) Les Deux Garçons create whimsical pieces in which real taxidermied animals are embellished with knick knacks, toys and lush decorative ribbons. If that weren’t enough, many the animals are dual-headed conjoined mammals, or are transformed into unicorn-esque creatures with crazy horns. These (ethically-obtained) animals are transformed into their own art form that carefully walks the line between beautiful and grotesque. Observe:
The media queen came to town Feb. 22 to speak as a part of the SmartTalk ConnectedConversations series, and boy, do I have a crush on her. She spoke (in a sexy Greek accent, BTW) on becoming fearless in love, work and life, providing many hilarious and interesting personal anecdotes along the way. Advice she gave included getting more sleep, turning off that negative voice, or “obnoxious roommate” in our heads and the importance of finding a “tribe” of friends we can all relate to and depend on. Fun Fact: She launched The Huffington Post in her fifties, thanks to help of a $100,000 loan from her tribe-mate Laurie David (former wife of Seinfeld/Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Larry David). Pretty inspirational. She ended the evening answering audience questions with Channel 12’s Cammy Dierking, who clearly also has a bit of a girl-crush on Huffington, and who nearly made me wet myself when she used the phrase “That’d go over like a turd in a punch bowl.” It was truly a fun femme-fest.
Sleigh Bells on SNL
Despite my undying love for Saturday Night Live, even I can’t deny the amount of lackluster musical performances on the show. Granted, it is one of the few “really live” shows left, details often aren’t finalized until the last minute, sound is often off and the tiny stage isn’t ideal, but who could forget Ashlee Simpson’s career-killing disaster on the show? This year, it’s all about hating on Indie songstress/mannequin Lana Del Rey’s performance. Personally, I don’t think the performance warranted such a backlash, but judge both for yourself. And check out SNL’s hilarious response to Lana-gate (with Kristen Wigg as LDR) here.
Noise Pop duo (now touring with a third musician) Sleigh Bells killed it on last week’s episode. I wasn’t expecting
the live TV format to do them justice, but they sounded great and were
entertaining despite a nearly naked stage.
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.
Like a UC version of the Fringe Festival, this weekend's Transmigration Festival features five 30-minute drama productions presented by CCM students. These works (written, cast and produced by students on a $60 budget) are presented in atypical spaces within CCM's Corbett Center for the Performing Arts. The event is free, but reservations are required. Find details here.
David Miretsky and Svetlana Derenshuk's exhibit Uniquely Ukraine opens tonight at Phyllis Weston Gallery. The duo present paintings that interpret the human condition on a miniature scale (Miretsky) and colorfully blend Othodox icon painting with modernist sensibilities (Derenshuk). Go here for hours and directions.
Author Andre Dubus III discusses his memoir Townie Saturday at Joseph-Beth Booksellers. Townie follows Dubus' life: growing up poor in Massachusetts following the divorce of his parents, his descent into drugs and street fighting, and ultimately becoming a novelist. Go here for details.
For those looking to give back while enjoying a night out, spend Saturday night at the Voices of the Heart fundraiser. Proceeds from this dinner and auction benefit women on the streets and involved in prostitution. The event will be held at the Cincinnati Hilton Netherland Plaza. Buy tickets here.
This weekend is full of boozy, boobs-out Mardi Gras celebrations, but if you're looking for a more authentic NOLA experience the whole family can attend, stop by Mardi Gras at the Market Sunday. Findlay Market hosts its annual event boasting a parade, Cajun style food and entertainment and, yes, plenty of alcohol. Multimedia artist Nick Cave, whose works are now on display at Cincinnati Art Museum, will even be on hand to present a soundsuit invasion. Laissez les bons temps rouler! Go here for a full schedule of the day's events, and read this week's cover story on how local eateries celebrate the holiday (Warning: May cause excessive mouth-watering) here.
Many area theaters have some great productions running right now, and this weekend is a chance to check one out. See Rick Pender's Stage Door for his advice on what to see. The coming nights are also full of live shows from Heartless Bastards, Purling Hiss and Dr. Dog, Natalie Wells, Mike Doughty and more. Follow our music blog for all your concert needs.
Finally, Best of Cincinnati voting ends Sunday at midnight, so if you haven't had a chance to show some of to your favorite local businesses, restaurants and people, go here to vote now!
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!
With the holidays right around the corner, this weekend promises plenty of twinkling lights, Christmas songs and the one gift the three wise men forgot: booze.