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by Jac Kern 04.11.2012
 
 
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'This American Life' to Be Broadcast Live

Popular public radio show will be shown in local theaters

"I don't really like This American Life or Ira Glass," said no one.

The weekly, true storytelling public radio show with its quirky, adorable host seriously has something for everyone — timely topics, laugh-out-loud (or cry-out-loud) anecdotes, thoughtful insight. TAL even got my stubborn, conservative father to listen to NPR on a regular basis. So since we can all agree how awesome it is, let's celebrate the announcement that Ira and Co. will present a live show in New York City, to be broadcast in movie theaters across the country on May 10.

Those who watched the television adaptation of This American Life know how flawlessly the program can be adapted to incorporate visual elements with the standard unscripted storytelling format. But the live show is set to involve more than just interviews and animations seen in the TV program.

The live event will feature stories by writer David Rakoff (who worked with Ira Glass and David Sedaris), comedian Tig Notaro (Comedy Central Presents, The Sarah Silverman Program), Glynn Washington (host of radio show Snap Judgement and jack-of-all-trades) and Ira himself. Taking full advantage of the live, visual format, the show will also feature music by OK Go, a short film by longtime TAL contributor and comedian Mike Birbiglia, a dance performance by Monica Bill Barnes & Company and much more to be seen. This American Life presented a live show, also broadcast in theaters, back in 2009.

The show will go live at 8 p.m. May 10 onstage at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. If you can't make the trip to the Big Apple (it's sold out anyway), check it out at one of many local theaters screening the show, including AMC Newport, Western Hills 14, Florence 14, Milford 16, Springdale Showcase Cinemas and Deerfield Town Center. Many of these theaters will present an encore screening May 15 as well. Go here for tickets.

 
 
by Jac Kern 04.20.2012
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List: 4/20-4/22

The next 48 hours or so present a trifecta of holidays: Saturday is Record Store Day, Sunday is Earth Day, and, thanks to a group of teens in 1971, today (4-20) is unofficially Weed Day. Surely we can find a way to celebrate all three this weekend.


Visionaries and Voices, the Northside gallery that works with artists with disabilities, hosts its annual art auction gala Saturday. Double Vision features live and silent auctions featuring artwork from 20 local artists and other prizes, music by Magnolia Mountain and DJ Mowgli, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. The event runs 7-11 p.m. at Memorial Hall; tickets are $50.


While April 22 is officially Earth Day, celebrations take place all weekend long. Cincinnati's 42nd Annual Earth Day Celebration takes over Sawyer Point Saturday from noon-5 p.m. The free event features exhibits, entertainment, kids activities and various recycling opportunities. Go here for a full list of local Earth Day events and be sure to pick up this week's Green Issue, featuring lots of environmental opportunities and the Central Ohio River Valley Local Foods Guide.


Cincinnati is lucky to have numerous quality, independent music retailers around town. From Everybody's Records to Shake It, we all have some great music memories thanks to these stores. Record Store Day, the third Saturday of April, is devoted to celebrating indie music shops and the music they help promote. Each year on this day, these stores present live music, limited releases and sales. Go here to check out local Record Store Day happenings.


We also suggest watching Bully, now in theaters, and Veep, premiering on HBO Sunday.


Check out Stage Door for this weekend's theater offerings, our music blog for a live show lineup and our To Do page for more events, art shows, performances and more this weekend.

 
 
by Zohair Hussain 09.04.2013
Posted In: Culture, TV/Celebrity, Music at 11:56 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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'Blurred Lines': Styled vs. Sensationalized, or Why 'We Can’t Stop'

As readers' interests shift, integrity seems to lose its main market in reporting

Following last week’s “scandal” at the MTV Video Music Awards, the pacing of news and reporting made itself known as a speed force to be reckoned with. In the minute-by-minute duration and aftermath of the performance of one, Miley Cyrus, and her “partner in crime”, Robin Thicke, new age media came together to do what it does best: twitter our feed with dribble and spit-up commentary.

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.)  

Some took an even more seasoned route, using temperance techniques to stop the sensational train in its tracks. In Rolling Stone's initially deceptive write up, “It's Miley, Bitch: The Tongue That Licked the World”, Rob Sheffield gave a more balanced account of the 2013 Video Music Awards, mentioning Cyrus almost in passing, and spending his time taking equal shots at all the stars involved in what he said was MTV’s attempt to make “sure this year’s VMA party was a real show. With a little help from Miley."

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.

Why can’t we create insight, rather than propagate fan mongering, rather than cling to one star's fateful decision to wear her teddy bear out that night? Let the reporters report and the readers decide. It’s now or never. Robin Thicke will age (even more so, it seems) Miley Cyrus will find Disney again (and a few more times after that), “Blurred Lines” will find its way off the Billboard charts (catchy can only be caught for so long), but the honest word —that will last for…at least a few more years.

 

 
 
by Jac Kern 02.27.2013
Posted In: TV/Celebrity at 09:12 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

Beardwatch 2013

Last week on Survivor, most of the episode was devoted to the Bikal tribe, aka the Favorites. Our homeboy Matt Bischoff didn’t get a ton of airtime, but was selected to join an alliance with Sherri, Laura, Julia, Shamar and Mike. The other alliance, referred to as “The Lovers,” is comprised of the four attractive people who bonded early on their collective attractiveness. When Gota got their buts kicked in the immunity/reward challenge, Cincy-born Reynold Toepfer immediately addressed his issues with Shamar. The Iraq War veteran, who started a tiff with Matt last week, prefers to “conserve energy” and do crazy Pilates stretches over wasting time fishing, securing the shelter or doing pretty much anything else.

                                                              Feel the burn!

After Reynold spoke his peace, he proverbially slipped in an extra chair at the popular kids’ lunch table and asked Matt to join the pretty people’s decision and vote Shamar off, going against Matt’s original alliance.

Later, Reynold found a hidden immunity idol (which is a thing?) that protects whoever’s in possession from elimination. After hiding the object in his pants, trying to keep it secret, Laura immediately noticed a telling “bulge” and knew the plan to eliminate one of the Lovers was foiled. Clearly, this was all just a producer’s plot to get people to talk about Reynold’s “bulge.” Success! Unfortunately, Reynold did not give his immunity idol to cuddle buddy Allie, and the blonde got six out of 10 votes (Matt stuck with his original alliance). Looks like there’s more space at the popular table!

Speaking of locals on TV, it looks like Cincy has their own Sons of Anarchy (I wish).

You know how at the end of every Law and Order episode, a message states that the stories are not based on actual events? Well, we all know that’s a bunch of bullshit, and this week’s upcoming episode of Special Victims Unit couldn’t make that any more clear. Via Dlisted:

A famous young Hip Hop couple in a physical dispute screams “Chris and Rihanna!” but, in SVU world, the abuser done gets killt!

People love it when local products make national news. The latest: BuzzFeed’s list of “Cincinnati Foods That Are Better Than Yours.” Sure, you’ve got the ubiquitous Skyline and Montgomery Inn (yawn, sorry), but there are some fresh Cincy exports like Tom + Chee’s grilled cheese donut, Kings Island’s blue soft-serve and portable yums from It’s Just Crepes.

Check nearly any humor blog/Internet recreation site and you’ll likely find a list of the “Worst Tattoos EVAR” complete with misspellings, poor drunken decisions and unfortunate portraits. Also, you’ll probably see this picture. Well, not anymore — Scott Versago of Akron’s Ohio Ink Studios fixed the butchered tat! Channeling my guilty pleasure crush Oliver Peck (panel judge on Ink Master and ex-husband of Kat Von D — don’t judge me), I have to say the “new” tat has entirely too much dark shading, but it’s certainly an improvement and looks much more like the original woman who passed away.

The Oscars were kind of fun this year. Seth MacFarlane didn’t attack us with his arsenal of voices (though many saw his jokes as misogyny at its finest) and the awards were pretty spread out among the films (as opposed to the usual one or two favorites). But after watching Saturday’s Film Independent Spirit Awards, no other movie awards show will match up. The much-funnier-than-MacFarlane Andy Samberg hosted, the show is uncensored on IFC and the evening was brought to us by Jameson, an apparently magical ingredient for a high-larious evening. And, yes, independent films are way cooler than Lincoln.

The night kicked off with the award for Best First Screenplay (See what I mean? What a cool award.) As the camera panned around to all the nominees, Derek Connolly (of the perfectly surreal Safety Not Guaranteed) took a giant swig of what appeared to be a wine glass full of Jameson (each table had a half gallon!). To his surprise, Connolly won and went on to make a speech that stumbled along for more than six minutes (this was what appeared to be the only time the show was cut/censored), ending with a fabulous moment with the one and only Bryan Cranston. Check out this moment and more highlights:


And one last Oscars gripe: I was enraged to see Channing Tatum perform an entire dance sequence onstage without tearaway pants, Ginuwine's "Pony" or a single pelvic thrust. They totally overlooked a potential Magic Mike nod and I don't appreciate it.

 
 
by Jac Kern 10.25.2012
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, Holidays at 10:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough...Halloween

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

It’s recently come to my attention that it’s almost Halloween...

In my opinion, costumes are imperative to any good October outing, but a successful ensemble doesn’t have to be complicated. Pulling from pop culture — from favorite movies and TV shows to current events — is a perfect way to find a culturally-relevant costume. (And, speaking of cultures, make sure you don’t select a get-up that mocks one. Racist costumes, much like Daniel Tosh, are way more offensive than clever or funny.)

Dressing like your fave TV characters is always a hit. Most television networks sell costumes coinciding with their top shows online. Pay homage to the first season of American Horror Story by dressing as the Rubberman or sporting the creepy Larry Harvey burn-face mask. FX also offers costumes from Wilfred, Archer and The League. More of a Kenny Powers fan? Get his Miami Mermen look here because, in case you missed it, Powers is coming back fucking soon. Since creating your own costume is almost always preferred, put on your DIY cap and peep inspiration from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and 30 Rock.

Whether you're throwing a Halloweekend party or just want to experience the weekend from your couch, peep this week's Halloween-inspired TV picks here. AMC, Syfy, ABC Family and other networks will be showing marathons of horror classics, family-friendly favorites and everything in between, in addition to new holiday-themed episodes of your favorite shows.

And while there are tons of horror movies in theaters this weekend, Hollywood continues its butchery of all things sacred with the remake of Carrie. It's not in theaters 'til March 2013, but the trailer does look pretty creepy.

Off the screen and onto politics, this being an election year promises plenty of Romney- and Obama-inspired costumes. Expect plenty of down-and-out Big Birds, binders full of women and horses-n-bayonets. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing Workout Ken 2012, aka a guy dressed as Paul Ryan from his P90XXX Time Magazine photo shoot. Fellas, all you need are some earbuds, a red ball cap, grey T-shirt and some free weights (fake ones if you’re not as ripped as Romney’s running mate.) Make it work!

What’s orange, fiery and generally terrifying? No, not The Great Pumpkin. The Donald! Trump recently dropped his “October Surprise,” an announcement that had bloggers speculating all week. The statement, supposed to be detrimental to the Obama campaign, spurred rumors of everything from Obama’s alleged coke-dealing past to a failing relationship with his wife. But what recently surfaced was even lamer than all of that.

Trump has requested that Obama release his college transcripts as well as his full passport records by 5 p.m. Oct. 31 (there’s the Halloween tie-in!) and he will donate $5 million to any charities of the president’s choosing. So, essentially, more birther bullshit. Yawn. Last time I checked, Trump had about the same amount of political pull as Lindsay Lohan, so I doubt this bears any consequence on the upcoming election, but it would be nice to see Obama stick it to the grotesque ginge and, hence, idiots everywhere, one last time.

 
 
by Jac Kern 12.13.2012
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, Is this for real? at 02:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

Since I’m convinced the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Will and Kate, rarely have physical contact and imagining their sexy times is like picturing two pieces of notebook paper laying on a desk, I think it’s safe to say Queen Elizabeth’s turkey baster procedure was a success, cause Royal Baby Watch is upon us!

Duchess Kate was hospitalized last week for Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which is pretty much a fancy way of saying “bad baby morning barfs.” My professional opinion is that her tiny 12-year-old boy body has gone into shock now that it requires more than its usual daily dose of three saltines and a grapefruit. Will and Kate’s baby is approximately the size of a pea at this point and people are already putting Kate’s nonexistent stomach under a microscope, asking absurd questions like "Could it be twins?" And, ever the bastion of journalism, US Weekly has a timeline of the duchess’ body changes over the past 10 years here. See Kate’s shape transform from fettuccine to spaghetti to spaghetti a la fetus before your eyes!

I’m rarely one to say “poor princess” and I love a good celebrity pregnancy as much as the next sad fool, but Kate's gone through more than a year of royal pressure to get knocked up, and now she is, but not even at the standard pregnancy announcement 3-month mark yet. Let up on her womb, yo!

If Kate was like us lowly commoners, she’d likely be Instagramming her tiny bump and tweeting from inside the hospital (Nuthin 2 worry bout, just tummy troubles #preggers). Call it over-sharing, but most people announce their monumental life moments on social media. So, thankfully, if you were trying to recall the major events you experienced this past year, Facebook has gone ahead and just done it for ya. Just go to your page, click See your 2012 Year in Review or go to facebook.com/yearinreview/[your Facebook url]. A slideshow of photos you’ve been tagged in rotates above a list of friends you’ve added and pages you’ve liked in the past 12 months. Scrolling further down, Facebook has generated what it believes to be the 20 “biggest moments” from your year, including status updates, photos and links. I’m assuming those who’ve posted about starting a new job, getting engaged/married, moving to a new city or having a baby — royal or otherwise — would see those types of announcements highlighted, but for losers like me that just incessantly post pointless crap, this feature is pretty damn funny.