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.
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.
More and more restaurants and food trucks are offering late-night yums to meet the demands of the area college students, bar crowds and general night owls. Usually “fourth meal” conjures up the thought of tacos or pizza, but what about donuts? Busken has set up a pop-up donut shop at 1218 Vine St. (between A Tavola and Sloane Boutique), open 7 p.m.-midnight Thursdays and 7 p.m.-1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays through March 16. Here, guests can swing by after dinner or drinks for a free Lite-Hearted donut, Busken’s new heart-shaped glazed treat. After tasting one of these bad boys, you’ll be shocked to find they’re only 140 calories a pop. You won’t have to feel too bad about indulging in a mindnight snack, but you may be left wondering whose soul Busken had to sell to get these delicious donuts to clock in at 2.5 grams of fat.
Bockfest might not officially begin until next weekend, but events leading up to the big parade and festival are already in full effect. Friday is the annual Precipitation Retaliation Happy Hour at Milton’s Tavern. Why the retaliation? In 2008, a huge snowstorm nearly shut down Bockfest, so the next year a paper snowman was set ablaze as a sacrifice to the precipitation gods. The burning snowman tradition stuck, and it continues tonight at 8 p.m. Grab a drink and watch the sucker burn!
In the market for some unique furniture, home décor or apparel? 20th Century Cincinnati is a must this weekend. The 19th annual show brings vintage and mid-century modern trends to a one-stop shop at Sharonville Convention Center. Sixty dealers bring furnishings, paintings, textiles and much more, filling 20,000 square feet. And fashionistas: There will be lots of vintage clothing, costume jewelry, accessories and more dating from the ‘20s to the ‘80s. The showroom is open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; $7 admission is good for the full weekend. Find more info here.
The Northern suburbs of Cincinnati sometimes get left out of the city’s biggest celebrations, so they made one their own! The Taste of Northern Cincinnati, also in the Sharonville CC, features food from some of the top eateries in the ‘burbs. From noon-4 p.m. Sunday, attendees will enjoy grub from LaRosa’s, Red Squirrel, Velvet Smoke BBQ, Blue Goose and more. These restaurants will also be competing for awards for best appetizer, salad, entrée, dessert and a people’s choice prize. Admission is $18; $5 for kids.
The Academy Awards are Sunday and if your invitation also got lost in the mail (every damn year!), there’s a local way to celebrate. People Working Cooperatively presents its annual Oscar party at the Hilton Netherland Plaza, complete with a red carpet, cocktails, dinner, and a live screening of the show. Ticket sales benefit PWC’s Modifications for Mobility Program, which helps low-income, elderly and disabled homeowners make important alterations to their houses so they can remain safe and comfortable in their own homes. Buy tickets and find details here.
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!
Halloween may technically be over, but that doesn’t mean the spooky fun has to end. Exhale Dance Tribe’s annual Halloween performance Dead Can Dance takes over Memorial Hall Friday night. An eerie, engaging show in a historically haunted building? Check. Snacks and drinks included? Check. A chance to get another wear out of your costume? Check. (Attendees are encouraged to come “dressed as your worst nightmare.”) Read our full feature here.
A new gallery/boutique in Covington hosts its grand opening this weekend. Shrewdness of Apes (32 W. Seventh St.) opens its first art show, On Wood, with a reception 6-10 p.m. Friday. Guests can also purchase local artwork, home décor, jewelry and accessories and other handmade goods.
Apple-picking season comes to an end this time of year, and if you didn’t get a chance to head to an area farm, Saturday’s City Apple Festival is your ticket for local, seasonal produce. Washington Park’s first-ever apple fest runs 11 a.m.-6 p.m. featuring live music and local vendors in addition to apples and other fresh fruits and veggies for sale. Find a full list of participating bands and vendors here.
Velocity Bike & Bean is a full-service bicycle retail/repair shop and coffee house located in Florence. This Saturday, the joint hosts a home sale and swap from 1-3 p.m. Bring at least six home interior items (pictures, rugs, end tables, frames, lamps, etc.) to the shop to sell or swap with others. Be sure to only bring decor others would actually want to have — no tacky “Goodwill rejects,” so leave that porch goose with the seasonal bonnets and aprons in your garage. Go here for more details.
Do you just wanna dance? Mayday hosts All Twerk and No Play, a weekly dance party, every Saturday starting this weekend. LOOKUP mans the ship this Saturday, presenting a nautical-themed party. The fun starts at 10 p.m. and, with daylight savings ending Sunday and clocks “falling back” at 2 a.m. Sunday, attendees will get an extra hour of dancing!
Yoga in unconventional spaces is always fun. Every Sunday this month, Modo Yoga will bring its urban yoga series to Rhinegeist brewery. The free yoga class begins at 10:30 a.m. starting this Sunday, followed by beers and brunch.
For more art openings, parties and other stuff to do this weekend, check out our To Do picks, full calendar and Rick Pender’s Stage Door for weekend theater offerings. And for those riding the Halloween wave until it crashes, peep ScaryBeat for some final spooky and fun events of the season.
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.
When Tim Haines purchased the Mohawk Building on Central Parkway in 2012, he understood that he would probably need to sort through some abandoned items in the space, particularly leftover stock in the old Castner Picture Frame Company warehouse. But he was surprised to find hundreds of thousands of vintage frames and equipment left behind. Now, he and close friend Janet Baltzersen are working to clear the space, selling these rare gems (many of which date back to the 1920s) for next to nothing. This Sunday, they will host and open house sale in the warehouse from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Come dressed appropriately (some rooting around is required and much of the stock has been untouched for decades, resulting in quite a bit of dust) — Baltzersen will provide gloves and masks plus cocktails and snacks. Artists, antiquers and vintage-lovers will find a huge variety of shapes, styles and sizes of frames like small ovals, large rustic circles, gesso and antique gold finishes. The warehouse is located on the south end of the building at 2145 Central Parkway. For more information or to schedule a private viewing, contact Baltzersen at email@example.com. Read our full story here.
CincyMusic.com photographers have gathered some of their favorite performance pics for Friday’s Concert Photography Showcase. Hosted by Know Theatre, the exhibit will feature photos of shows in Cincinnati including Bunbury and MPMF, taken by photographers Brian Bruemmer, Mike Clare, Phil Dawson, Jacob Drabik, Julia Huber, Sarah McDermott, Kelly Painter and Matt Steffen. Swing by Know between 5:30-8 p.m. tonight for the reception; snacks and a cash bar will be available.
Craft Supermarket is always a fun shopping experience, but it’s also a great display of local and regional talent. Saturday’s Crafty Supermarket Holiday Show will be chock full of handmade gifts (or goodies for yourself) for purchase in addition to hands-on activities for attendees to get their craft on. The show runs 11 a.m.-6 p.m. in the Music Hall Ballroom. As always, the first 100 early bird shoppers will receive fun swag bags. Find vendor info and more show details here.
cannot miss the Northside Record Fair
Saturday. Record shop owners, collectors and dealers will all meet under one
roof (Northside Presbyterian Church) from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is $5 — $10
for early entrance at 10 a.m. CDs, cassettes, 8-tracks, poster and more music
goodies will also be for sale.
Ready to get in the holiday spirit? De la Dance Company's The Nutcracker Jazzed Up opens today running Friday-Sunday through Nov. 30; Festival of Lights kicks off at The Cincinnati Zoo opens Saturday; Cincinnati’s Germania Society hosts Christkindlmarkt Friday-Sunday.
Pop culture icon and Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner is in town for one night only this evening. Touring with his one-man show, Shatner's World: We Just Live in It, The Shat will perform at the Aronoff Center tonight at 8 p.m. Fans will get to hear about his life and career on television, film and stage, with plenty of music and video clips. Fun fact: the famous phrase "Beam me up, Scotty" was never actually said in Star Trek's original run. Get last-minute tickets here.
The International Quilt Festival takes over Duke Energy Convention Center Friday-Sunday. The event features textile exhibits, hundreds of vendors selling books, patterns and fabrics, lectures and tons of classes for all levels of quilters. Single-day tickets are $10 ($8 for students and seniors); most classes cost extra.
The Cincinnati Museum Center's Passport to the World series continues this month with Asian Culture Fest Saturday and Sunday. "Visit" India, Japan, Taiwan and other Asian countries without leaving Cincinnati! There will be taekwondo, karate and dance demonstrations, movie screenings, craft projects and plenty of kids activities. The event is free with museum admission. While you're there, check out A Day in Pompeii.
As always, there will be dinner-by-the-bite from your favorite restaurants like Adriatico's, Izzy's and A Tavola; coffee and dessert from Coffee Emporium and BonBonerie; and the city's best cocktails including martinis, Bloody Marys and margaritas. As you're eating your way through the beautiful Memorial Hall, enjoy music from a DJ and a live performance from Exhale Dance Tribe performers.
Other events tonight include a Make and Bake glass jewelry class at Brazee Studios from 5-7 p.m., a Homegrown Tomatoes workshop at the Civic Garden Center from 6-8 p.m. and free concert at CCM featuring the U.S. Navy Band from Washington, D.C. at 8 p.m.
I love video games. Always have, always will. I grew up watching Mario stomp koopas, Link slay moblins and Kirby inhale enemies to copy their powers. Games will always have a special place in my heart.
As much as I like the classics and the stuff being released by the big name companies, however, recently my attention's been diverted to a select few independent companies and developers. People say these past few recent years have been some of the best times for indie developers to get into the gaming market, and, frankly, I agree with them. As of late the indie game market's really been booming, and it's no wonder why. There are some really great indie games out there to find if one knows where to look. And unlike pricey console games, many of these independently developed games can be downloaded onto your computer for as low as $20, $10 or even $5.
Given, these games might not have the newest, most-cutting edge graphics, and might be relatively simple when compared to some of the things we see Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft releasing. However, that doesn't change the fact that they are good games nonetheless. And many gamers seem to agree with me.
One shining example of an indie game that's risen from obscurity is Dokutsu Monogatari, better known by is Americanized name, Cave Story. The game was originally made as a freeware 2D platform-adventure game by independent developer Daisuke Amaya (art-name "Pixel") in 2004. He developed the game in his spare time, intending it to be a tribute to classic popular titles he had played in his youth, such as Castlevania and Metroid.
After it's initial release on the Internet, Cave Story slowly gained popularity as a indie game, and was praised by many gamers for its compelling story and gameplay. Fans of the game eventually developed an English translation, spreading the game even further.
Later on, Nicalis, an independent video game company, worked with Amaya to bring an updated version of Cave Story with new modes of gameplay and improved graphics to Nintendo's WiiWare service in 2010.
Since then the popularity of Cave Story has skyrocketed, leading Nicalis to work with Nintendo to bring yet another updated version of the game to the Nintendo 3DS under the title of Cave Story 3D.
And Cave Story is just one of the many success stories told about independently developed games these days. Several other popular titles have risen from the depths of obscurity to become commonly known titles to gamers everywhere: Minecraft, Super Meat Boy and Angry Birds just to name a few.
Unfortunately, there are also risks involved for gamers who chose to invest their money in independent games. A method many indie developers seem to be taking recently is releasing a “beta-version” of their game over platforms such as Steam for a low price, with the promise of free updates as the game is further developed. A prime example of one such game is Re-Logic's Terraria, a 2D “sandbox” game featuring exploration, crafting, resource gathering, and combat with a variety of different creatures.
Upon its initial release in January 2011, Terraria's sales boomed. Over 1 million copies of the game were sold, gamers being drawn in both by the unique style of gameplay and the prospect of future updates to the game. Head developer of the game, Andrew Spinks, made regular posts about planned features to the game in his blog, keeping the community informed about what they could expect in future updates.
Upon Terraria's version 1.1.2 update, which included new enemies, biomes, resources and a slew of new items to be discovered and crafted, popularity of the game boomed even more, resulting in the game being named as the No. 1 of 2011's Indie of the Year Player's choice.
Unfortunately for fans, Spinks suddenly decided to halt production of Terrarria, announcing in his blog on Feb. 21 that there would be no further updates to the games despite the fact that the several planned features that had been announced in his blog. Many members of Terraria's online community protested, feeling that the game had been cut down in its prime, and had yet to reach its full potential.
Sadly, however, this seems to be a route that many independent game companies take. Several indie games seem to be halted before they are considered to be “finished.” Lacking the resources that larger game companies have, independent developers either run out of money for production, or simply become burned out, no longer having the time or interest to continue working on their projects. It's disappointing for the fans who pay to play these games in the early stages of development, however, it's also a risk people take when they decide to play independent games.
Is it enough to scare people away from the indie game market? Certainly not, as there are still many gems out there to be found if one is willing to spend the time and money. Indie gaming is on the rise. And things can only get better as time goes on.