I had a glimpse of Broadway's future last night on campus at UC. I attended Not Yet Famous, the 22nd edition of CCM's musical theater showcase, featuring the about-to-graduate senior class. The 19 vibrant performers presented a 45-minute program that they'll take to New York City on April 7 to present to casting agents, producers and others. It's how they begin to land contracts and establish relationships that will give them solid professional careers. With accompanist Julie Spangler at the piano, the singers worked as a large ensemble and smaller sets, but each one had multiple chances to show off her or his strengths as a singer, dancer and actor — they're all trained to be "triple threats" with a polished arsenal of vocal and movement skills. They were warmly received by the Friends of CCM, the support group that helps keep various programs at the conservatory going; the evening was a benefit. You have a chance to see the showcase for free if you act quickly: There will be performances on Saturday at 5 and 8 p.m. at Patricia Corbett Theater. No charge, but you need to call CCM's box office to reserve a seat (limit of two per order). I suspect tickets will be snapped up, so call right away: 513-556-4183.
Wicked is in the midst of its three-week run at the Aronoff Center. This is one of the most popular Broadway shows of the 21st century (it's been running for a decade, as well as spawning productions around the world plus two national tours, one of which is in our midst). It's here through April 23, but tickets are expensive (cheap seats are $38 and anything else is more), so you might want to try your chances in the daily lottery for a $25 orchestra seats. Grab your valid ID and show up in person 2.5 hours before the curtain time to enter; if your name is chosen, you can purchase one or two tickets. Of course, if you're flush you can guarantee seats by buying what you need at 513-621-2787.
The Playhouse just opened Pride and Prejudice, a theatrical adaptation of Jane Austen's most popular 200-year-old novel. I won't see it until next week (busy schedule), but if you're a fan — and it seems that everyone loves her novels of manners and romance — you probably need to line up to see this one. Director Blake Robison calls his production "epic," adding, "The story is a satire of the marriage market and an exploration of true love. What could be more fun than that?" It's onstage through April 5. Tickets: 513-421-3888.
What with St. Patrick’s Day coming on Monday, this might be the perfect weekend to see Clifton Players’ production of The Irish Curse (at Clifton Performance Theatre, 404 Ludlow Ave.). Lots of folks have told me they enjoyed this tale about a group of Irish-American men who meet weekly in a self-help group in a Catholic church basement to discuss a sad “shortcoming” — let’s call it “small equipment,” a curse they believe has ruined their lives. It gets its final performance on Sunday, right before you line up for your first green beer. Tickets: 513-861-7469.
Instead, Cincinnati will continue using 100-percent renewable-backed energy from First Energy Solutions.
The city signed on with First Energy in 2012, making Cincinnati the largest metropolitan are in the country to use 100-percent renewable energy.
Stiles was expected to sign the three-year contract with First Energy Solutions today, according to city spokeswoman Meg Olberding.
Sellbach and other council members convinced Stiles to change his mind about the contract, Olberding says.
She also added that First Energy told Stiles it would allow any customer who wants to save the additional $5.63 annual savings of conventional energy to opt-out of the green energy agreement.
The green energy plan is estimated to save customers $43.58 compared Duke’s standard service.
About 65,000 households and small businesses will continue using First Energy unless they choose to retain another energy supplier.
Stiles will also institute a green energy fee of $.006 on each electric bill as part of a program he’s developing that will help local business owners and residents equip their homes or offices with energy-saving solutions. The program will be run by the Office of Environment and Sustainability.
But luckily for us, our snow day was going to get a little brighter: I had booked reservations at Hen of the Woods Underground.
Hen of the Woods (it’s a type of mushroom) is the brainchild of Nick and Kim Marckwald. The duo (Nick is the chef and Kim manages services) recently purchased the old J.B. Schmidt contractor space at 1432 and 1434 Main Street in Over-the-Rhine. They have ambitious plans for a restaurant and urban market there. As a run-up, they have been holding “pop-up” brunches since January in Main Street’s Street Pops space (closed for the winter months). And the very last one was scheduled for Sunday.
Now, this is just a hop, skip and jump from us, so the weather was not a concern — or was it?
Just to be sure it was all going to happen given the poor road conditions, I sneakily walked our puppy by the space, which was holding the first of two seatings that day. The windows were properly steamed up, I could glimpse small tables of people inside and the most wonderful smells wafted from the slightly propped open door.
When we arrived an hour later, our table was waiting. We were among about 10 guests. Our first course was a refreshing juice du jour — Meyer lemonade with ginger and cilantro flavors, and a jalapeno ice cube floating in the jelly jar glass.
Next, we were offered coffee. Deeper Roots Coffee’s Ryan Doan stood at the counter carefully pouring from what looked like a tiny watering can into a Chemex coffee maker. The brew was deep and rich without being acidic.
During the next hour or so, we were offered three courses and a dessert prepared by the clearly visible staff. Each was meticulously described by our server— most times it was Nick or Kim.
First came a beautiful refreshing plate made from lemongrass, tapioca, mango, fingerlime, almond, ginger and pea shoots.
Next up, another precisely plated combo — lovely pink-edged beet cured salmon was draped over a crispy seared rice cake on a bed of leeks and shiitakes with a horseradish and basil sauce.
Next, the brunch got down to business because, what’s brunch without bacon and eggs? Hen’s take on eggs Benedict was a fat, wobbly egg sitting on top of a concoction with Woodlands “back bacon” lardo, English muffin, frisee and Hollandaise, served on a wooden slab made of black walnut. One poke with my fork sent yellow yolk running hither and yon amidst the gathering of elements.
Finally, a rich bread pudding, with banana, sesame, chocolate, dulche de leche and pine. In the only misstep of the entire production, the crisp decorative chip had a distinct lack of flavor.
I’m not usually a fan of little-plate meals and such as a fill-in for a meal. They often just tease, sending you out the door looking for something else to eat. This time? Not the case. We walked home in the ice and cold, happy and full, ready to hunker down and slog through the last of winter.
I am so waiting for spring, and also for Hen of the Woods to begin doing impromptu servings in their new space while it is under construction. Nick and Kim assure me they’ll be doing it as soon as the permits are in order. The sooner the better for me!
Follow Hen of the Woods news on their Facebook page.
But no amount of acclaim and popularity protects a show from parodies — quite the contrary, it seems. Here are a few gems:
And if you're hungry for another crime drama, Breaking Bad's Vince Gilligan has a new show in the works. Battle Creek, starring Dean Winters (Law & Order: SVU, 30 Rock, The Mayhem Guy) and Josh Duhamel (Las Vegas, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton, Fergie's hubby) and will follow two detectives named Milton and Russ. Hmmm...
RIP Ke$ha! No, the
trash-pop “singer” didn’t meet an untimely demise, but the $ in her
name (turns out Kesha is her actual birth name) did. Upon her exit from rehab
for an eating disorder, Kesha unveiled a new twitter handle, @KeshaRose, which revealed she
was dropping the $. It’s always great to see people get healthy, and using a
dollar sign as a letter in your name is fucking stupid, but what will these changes mean for
her music/celeb persona? Can the girl who popularized whiskey as dental hygiene
make the leap to squeaky-clean good girl?
And speaking of hot mess makeovers, the new Oprah-backed Lindsay Lohan docu-series Lindsay premiered on OWN Sunday. The mighty O offered Linds $2 million to complete the filming of eight episodes for her network (in addition to one-on-one interviews aired throughout the show). The premiere was considerably boring for being the first “real,” inside look at the troubled star’s personal life. Honestly, it felt more like Celebrity Hoarders than anything. There were some genuinely sad moments — Lindsay was essentially forced to skip an AA meeting due to a crowd of stalkerly paparazzi threatening the others’ anonymity; she struggles to find a stable apartment she so desperately needs for her continuing recovery because no one wants her in their building (without a hefty insurance fee) — and some thinly veiled digs at the actress — an optimistic Linds explains how proud she feels to be independent, only to have the screen cut to her personal assistant moving all of her belongings from one hotel room to another without help. But if the series trailer is any indication, drama is forthcoming — particularly in a scene where Oprah tells LL to “cut the bullshit.”
Zach Galifianakis has been entertaining audiences with his spoof-talk show Between Two Ferns since 2008. The comedian has interviewed some of the most famous actors and personalities as well as Tila Tequila. The latest episode raises the bar by featuring none other than Barack Obama, further proving that the prez should just move to Hollywood in 2017. It is also revealed that Galifianakis has not been filming his segments in some public access studio, but rather the White House. Enjoy:
Everyone with a human heart loves ice cream, but perhaps no one appreciates a good soft-serve cone more than this dog.
Lena Dunham hosted Saturday Night Live last week. The Girls creator did a fine job with the material she was given, which is pretty much the overall consensus of this season (writers, up ya game!). One highlight was how SNL dealt with Girls. Obviously they have to address the show, her nudity and the ridiculous characters in it, but without relying on it as the punchline for every joke. Instead, the Girls spoofery was limited to a previously filmed faux trailer for (The First) Girl, complete with the reprisal of Taran Killam’s spot-on Adam impression.
Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Kyle Chandler and other stars are in Cincinnati right now for the filming of the upcoming movie, Carol. We're keeping a close watch on Paulson's Twitter (she's the only star that has an account) and, according to our research, so far she has definitely been to CVG airport and a local CVS. Keep @CityBeatCincy abreast of any celeb spottings you may experience during this magical time!
The weekend after the big Bunbury Music Festival at the Sawyer Point/Yeatman’s Cove parks along the riverfront, another festival by the same fest organizers, Buckle Up, is set to make its debut. This morning, the full lineup and schedule for the Country/Americana fest was announced.
Friday, July 18: Alabama, Eli Young Band, Jamey Johnson, Marty Stuart, Ashley Monroe, Eric Pasley, Chris Janson, The Cadillac Three, Sturgill Simpson, Old Dominion, The Railers, Son of Fathers, David Fanning, Jamie Lynn Spears, Joshua Scott Jones, Pistol Holler, Jeremy Pinnell & The 55's, Sara Haze, Phillip Fox Band, Tyler Childers & The FoodStamps, The Dan Varner Band, Ashley Martin, Kaitlyn Baker, Alexis Gomez, Lonesome Jared & The Heartattacks, Messerly and Ewing, and Andrew Hibbard
Saturday, July 19: Willie Nelson / Alison Krauss and Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, Old Crow Medicine Show, Emmylou Harris, Drive-By Truckers, Kristian Bush, Houndmouth, The Lone Bellow, The Spirit Family Reunion, Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, Joe Pug, Lera Lynn, Natalie Stovall and the Drive, Caitlyn Smith, The Tillers, Tall Heights, The 23 String Band, Buffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustle, Kentucky Timbre, Coralee and the Townies, Arlo McKinley & the Lonesome, Al Scorch, Shiny and the Spoon, The Carolines, Dean Fields, and Wild Carrot
Sunday, July 20: The Band Perry, Thompson Square, David Nail, Corey Smith, Dylan Scott, Sam Hunt, Blackjack Billy, Dallas Smith, JT Hodges, Chase Bryant, Logan Brill, Lyndsey Highlander, Abigail Rose, Noah Smith, Ruth Collins, Bobby Mackey, Straw Boss, The Kentucky Struts, Ty Bates, Carly Pearce, Jetset Getset, Honey & Houston, Zack Dubois, and Max Fender
Tickets for the Buckle Up Festival are available now ($55 for one day/$130 for a three-day pass, but prices go up after Memorial Day). For tickets and more info (including the daily schedule), visit buckleupfestival.com.
CincyMusic.com, a website dedicated to all things related to Greater Cincinnati music, launched in early 2012 (or, rather, relaunched, after purchasing the domain name from the previous owner, who’d let the site go dormant). Since then, the site — which has features, interviews, show listings, downloads and more — has continually expanded its brand by sponsoring numerous events and consistently growing its site and presence in the local community.
Last year, the CincyMusic empire expanded into terrestrial radio, presenting a local music-focussed show on Clear Channel local Alternative music station The Project (heard on 100.7 and 106.3). CincyMusic Spotlight airs every Sunday on The Project at midnight; on the Monday following each show, the programs are available for download as podcasts.
Now, WNKU — the Northern Kentucky-based public radio station with a long history of playing music by area artists — welcomes the CincyMusic crew on board for another weekly show, CincyMusic.com Soundcheck, which will “focus on local artists that are performing that weekend, releasing new material, or are just worthy of a little extra attention.”
Also hosted by CincyMusic Spotlight DJ Venomous Valdez, CincyMusic Soundcheck is slated to air every Thursday at 10 p.m. beginning this week (March 13). The shows can be heard on WNKU’s various over-the-air frequencies around the region (89.7 FM locally), as well as streaming on wnku.org. If you can’t listen, podcasts of the WNKU shows will be available here. (You can subscribe so you are alerted each time a new show is posted.)
Artists interested in submitting material for airplay on the WNKU show can do so here.
Each week our intern
Amber will be exploring what Cincinnatians are interested in by scouring the
local Twitter trends and reporting on what she’s found. From serious tweets to
goofy hashtags, she’ll highlight what Cincy’s been buzzing about. So get to tweeting,
This is a wrestling reference hashtag. I’m sorry, but how was this trending and not Bates Motel? I am ashamed of you, Cincinnati. I know they are both scripted, but at least Bates has good acting and an awesome plot. FYI: Norma Bates did start trending though, thank god. In this week’s episode, Norman visits Ms. Watson’s grave way too much, Norma makes a scene at a city hall meeting and Bradley blasts some guy’s head off and ends up in Norman’s bedroom asking for his help. Poor Norman, surrounded by all these crazy bitches. All you WWE fans better get hip to Bates Motel.
Muskie fans were blowing up their newsfeeds expressing their frustration after Monday night’s game when they lost to Seton Hall 71-62. Monday’s upset left many fans complaining about wasting their last Hopslam and chugging too much wine. On top of all the frustration, Matt Stainbrook went down with a knee injury and left the locker room on crutches. Better luck next year? Maybe.
I actually watched some of this show, Pretty Little Liars, for once. Awkward used to be my Tuesday night show (don’t judge me), but since Jenna and the crew are AWOL until next season, I figured I’d give this show a shot since I was apparently the only female in Cincy not watching it. I am a few seasons behind, so I don’t really get all the drama and who I should love/hate yet, but not a bad show from what I’ve seen so far. The season finale is Tuesday, March 18 at 8 p.m. on ABC Family.
If this just isn’t confirmation that Cincinnatians are obsessed with their alma maters, then I don’t know what else is. Fox 19 set up a March Madness style bracket of all the high schools in the area and launched a Twitter competition. I’m reppin’ the Newport Wildcats, who already lost in the first round to Simon Kenton. Voting for the North bracket is going on now until midnight tonight.
I saved this one for last for a reason. Ukraine was trending all week. I haven’t been keeping this blog for very long, but nothing has ever stayed trending for an entire week before, as long as I’ve been keeping track. I also saved it for last because honestly, I don’t know what to say about the crisis in Ukraine. I guess it’s good that people are taking to social media for such a serious matter, but most of the people tweeting about it seem more clueless than me. I do know that most Americans want our government to mind their own damn business and do something about those crazy fucking Russians.
Also trending: Oscars, World Cup, #LiesToldByFemales, WCW (can this one just die already,) Taco Bell, #Scandal and The Lakers.
Mayor John Cranley is trying to find a compromise over whether early voting will move out of downtown after the 2016 general election, as some Republicans in the county government have suggested. Cranley called for a meeting with Hamilton County Board of Elections Chairman and Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Tim Burke, Hamilton County Republican Party Chairman Alex Triantafilou, Cincinnati NAACP President Ishton Morton and Hamilton County Board of Commissioners President Chris Monzel. The meeting will aim to “discuss alternatives the City of Cincinnati can offer to accommodate early voting downtown after the 2016 elections. (Cranley) believes that such a discussion is consistent with the recommendation of the secretary of state that there be an effort to find a nonpartisan solution to the existing disagreement.”
With a $12 million price tag in mind, Cranley remains worried Cincinnati is paying too much for a downtown grocery and apartment tower project. But the project is truly one of a kind, claims The Business Courier: The tower would boast nearly twice the number of luxury apartments of any other project underway in Over-the-Rhine or downtown. And it would replace a decrepit garage and establish the first full-scale grocery store downtown in decades.
A study found Ohio teens’ painkiller abuse dropped by 40 percent between 2011 and 2013. State officials quickly took credit for the drop, claiming their drug prevention strategies are working. But because the Ohio Youth Risk Behavior Survey only has two sets of data on painkillers to work with — one in 2011 and another in 2013 — it’s possible the current drop is more statistical noise than a genuine downturn, so the 2015 and 2017 studies will be under extra scrutiny to verify the trend.
Similarly, fewer Ohio teens say they’re drinking and smoking. But 46 percent say they text while driving.
Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.9 percent in January, down from 7.3 percent the year before. The numbers reflect both rising employment and dropping unemployment in the previous year.
To prove his conservative bona fides, Ky. Sen. Mitch McConnell touted a rifle when he walked on stage of the Conservative Political Action Conference.
The other Kentucky senator, Rand Paul, will headline a Hamilton County Republican Party dinner.
Researchers studied a woman who claims she can will herself out of her body.
Personal note: This is my last “Morning News and Stuff” and blog for CityBeat.
After today, I will be leaving to Washington, D.C., for a new
journalistic venture started by bloggers and reporters from The Washington Post and Slate. (CityBeat
Editor Danny Cross wrote a lot of nice things about the move here, and
my last commentary touched on it here.) Thank you to everyone who read
my blogs during my nearly two years at CityBeat, and I hope I helped you understand the city’s complicated, exciting political and economic climate a little better, even if you sometimes disagreed with what I wrote.
Can you imagine Les Misérables without a turntable or the immense barricades lumbering down from the wings? Aubrey Berg, head of the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music’s renowned musical theater program, has dramatically re-imagined the legendary show for a run at UC, using a largely bare stage backed by a wall of ladders, staircases, shelves and recessed ledges. Berg's simplified physical production earned my Critic's Pick with its sharper focus on characters, action and music. Les Mis has a remarkable cast of 40 or so with soaring vocal talent for solo numbers and breathtaking choral power when they combine forces in iconic numbers such as “Do You Hear the People Sing?” and “One Day More.” It's a spectacular production, onstage through Sunday. Tickets: 513-556-4183.
Wicked just opened a three-week run at the Aronoff (it's the third time the show has been here, and it's set box office records every time). Tickets can be expensive (the cheap seats start at $38 and go up quickly from there), so keep in mind there's lottery for a limited number of $25 orchestra seats for each performance. You need to show up in person 2.5 hours before the curtain time (with a valid photo ID) to submit your name; if it's pulled you can purchase one or two tickets. It's worth a shot. Otherwise, you can purchase tickets by calling 513-621-2787.
If you're a Tony Bennett fan, you might consider heading to the West Side for I Left My Heart at the Covedale Center, a salute to the legendary crooner. You'll get to hear 40 standards that he's known for — "Because of You," "I Wanna Be Around," "The Good Life" and, of course, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." Tom Highley, Deondra Kamau Means and Brian Wylie will be singing, with Mark Magistrelli at the piano. Through March 23. Tickets: 513-241-6550.
Here's an item worth considering for Monday evening: The Educational Theatre Association, a national organization for high school kids involved in theater, is headquartered here in Cincinnati. (They're the folks behind the National Thespian Society.) They're partnering with the School for Creative and Performing Arts on Monday at 7 p.m. for Making Magic, Defying Gravity. Presented at SCPA's Corbett Theatre (108 Central Parkway in Over-the-Rhine), the evening offers a program of music and conversation featuring members of the touring cast of Wicked (as noted above) and performances by high school students from the area. You'll hear from Jason Daunter, Wicked's production stage manager, and Matt Conover, VP with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. They'll talk about how their high school dreams led to careers in the theater. Tickets are $10 in advance; 15 at the door (going on sale at 5:45 p.m.). Proceeds from this event will benefit the Friends of SCPA Scholarship Fund and the Educational Theatre Association's Scholarship Fund, both of which will help develop talent for the future of the theater.
Bockfest signals the coming of spring, celebrates Over-the-Rhine and serves up beer from tons of local breweries. The 22nd annual fest runs Friday through Sunday. Here’s just as handful of special events to check out.
Each year, the Bock-festivities commence with a parade of goats, music, people dressed as monks and a sausage queen, and it all starts at Cincinnati’s oldest bar, Arnold’s. This year’s parade is led by parade marshals Jim and Carolann Slouffman, a couple known for their involvement in Cincinnati German culture. They co-founded Kolping Sängerchor, a local German choral group, and organized the 150th anniversary Saengerfest of the Nord-Amerikanische Saengerbund in Cincinnati in 1998. The parade steps off at 6 p.m. Friday at Arnold’s (210 East 8th St., Downtown) and continues up Main Street to Bockfest Hall (Christian Moerlein Brewery – 1619 Moore St., Over-the-Rhine).
Park + Vine (1202 Main St., Over-the-Rhine), known for its array of eco- and vegan-friendly foods, drinks and a bevy of other products, brings back the popular healthy alternative to a typical pork-laden grill out. Park + Vine will be grilling up Field Roast vegan hot dogs and sausages with Fab Ferments kraut and kombucha on tap from 6-9 p.m. Friday.
This second annual race takes runners and walkers through the historic brewery district of Over-the-Rhine. The race kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday.
The Craft Menagerie
Come support local artisans and their goods while knocking back a few pints. Browse and buy metal works, pottery, screen prints, fabric and textiles, jewelry, mosaics, paper goods and more from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at Arnold’s.
A new event coinciding with the fest this year is BockFEAST, a beer and food pairing event taking place at five OTR restaurants. A Tavola, Bakersfield, Lavomatic, Quan Hapa and Taste of Belgium are all offering the same sweet deal: $10 for a 10-ounce sample of Christian Moerlein’s Emancipator Doppelbock and a unique paired dish. The offer is available from 5 p.m. Friday through 3 p.m. Sunday. Go here for a full menu list.
For more info on these and
other Bockfest vents, including a full schedule of festivities at Bockfest
Hall, go here.