Of all the comedians who have TV shows based on their lives, Paul Mecurio’s story would seem like a slam-dunk for any network. Now it seems, someone is ready to take a shot.
“I’ve got a great showrunner and writer working on developing my life story,” says Mecurio, a former Wall Street lawyer-turned-comedian, from his home in New York City. “It’s a show about a guy who thinks he’s got his life figured out, which is what I thought, but then gets bitten by this bug to do comedy while he’s doing these huge merger and acquisition deals on Wall Street.” For years, Mecurio led what he calls a “secret double life,” sneaking away from his job to go do comedy in all manner of seedy bars and comedy clubs. He has no shortage of crazy stories from those days.
“One time this guy I was opening for made me take him to the Brooklyn to buy coke before the show,” Mecurio recalls. “The end of his act was to take a piece of dental floss and floss his nasal passages through his mouth.”
During another performance, while he was supposed to be in an important meeting at work, one audience member stabbed another right before Mecurio went on. The victim pelted the would-be comedian with bloody napkins. When he got back to the office, his boss screamed, “Where have you been? Why is there blood on your shirt?” Whereupon the other bankers and lawyers in the meeting calmly debated the best way to get blood out of a Brooks Brothers shirt.
Once he took the plunge and started doing comedy full-time, though, Mecurio sold his apartment and most of his belongings and moved into a 10-by-12-foot room. “I was living in this building with two ex-convicts, two recovering addicts and a 300-pound phone sex operator who sold Herbalife diet products,” he says. With little more than a hot plate and a bed to his name, he performed night after night, even under the most trying circumstances. “I got audited by the IRS,” he says. “They asked, ‘Where’s all the money?’ ” They didn’t buy the idea that he quit Wall Street to become a comedian. “No one would do that,” the agent told him. To make matters worse, his car was damaged in a flood and inundated with seawater.
After having second thoughts, Mecurio went back to Wall Street at the behest of a friend who had just become head of new department at one of the major banks. “I went back and recreated my life and then was miserable,” he says, He’d sworn off comedy, vowing to never do it again. “But then two months later I’m doing it again like an alcoholic sneaking out for a drink,” he says.
Living the secret double life again, Mecurio was back in the comedy clubs at night and got good enough to be included in a TV show with other stand-up performers. That’s when his cover was blown. “I had forgotten about it,” Mecurio explains, “and I was at this client’s office in Arizona and he comes in and says ‘Hey, I saw you on TV last night. You were doing some kind of stand-up routine.’ ” Mecurio thought he was dead. “So he pauses and says, “my investment banker is a comedian, how great is that?’ ”
Mecurio left Wall Street again, this time for good, a few months later. “I didn’t enjoy my second tour of duty,” he says. His second go at comedy went much better, as he was gradually getting better spots and gig and coming to the attention of the producers of The Daily Show.
Mecurio became a writer and occasional performer on that program, earning an Emmy along the way. “I took [the job] thinking the show would get canceled in a few months,” he says, laughing. However, he stayed on for seven years before deciding to move on. “The show eats up all of your time,” he says. “I felt like I was missing a lot of opportunities to do stuff as a performer.”
He still does the audience warm-up for the show when he’s in town, which lets him to what he loves the most. “I always wrestled as a writer there, but I learned a lot,” he states. “But I just like having the ability to have my voice be heard and not constantly feeding someone else.”
Toward that end, Mecurio headlines clubs across the country and is a regular panelist on a variety of cable chat shows including Red Eye and Hannity on Fox News, as well as various shows on VH1 and ESPN.
PAUL MECURIO performs Thursday-Sunday at Funny Bone on the Levee. Tickets and more info: funnyboneonthelevee.com.
Stuff to do for athletes, aesthetes and people who love celebrating spring produce.
Party pre-marathon with the FLYING PIG WEEKEND
On your mark, get set and go to the 17th annual Flying Pig Marathon. Come and see thousands of runners and walkers of all skill levels take part in this beloved race (a Boston Marathon qualifier). Stand on the sidelines and cheer or register and take part in a course that travels along the streets of Cincinnati, Covington, Newport, Mariemont, Fairfax and Columbia Township. Along with the marathon, the Flying Pig weekend features a series of events.
See a full list of events and prices online. Marathon starts 6:30 a.m. Sunday; marathon registration is $115. flyingpigmarathon.com.
Buy some CHEAP AAART
Local artist and curator Paul Coors (an Art Academy of Cincinnati grad and co-founder of former OTR art space Publico) will exhibit and host a silent auction — with assigned low starting figures and minimum raises — of his own artwork made within the past 10 years on Friday and Saturday at his Brighton loft/exhibition space, The Ice Cream Factory. True to Coors’ legacy of engaging musical acts in his art shows, friends of the artist will DJ over the course of both evenings including Bridget Battle (Tweens), Chris Burgan (Platter Party Records), Jordan Bronk and Sebastian Botzow (the DJ duo behind the monthly Fogger set at Rakes End), Floyd From Ohio Johnson (of Ohio Against the World fame) and Yoni Wolf (WHY?). 5-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Free; all ages. The Ice Cream Factory, 2133 Central Ave., Brighton, paulcoors.co.
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the SOUND OF MUSIC with a live performance
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s great musical theater collaboration — The Sound of Music — has been in the news recently, celebrating the Academy Award-winning movie’s 50th anniversary. If you’d like to dig further into the past (56 years ago it won five Tony Awards in its Broadway debut), you’ll find it onstage at the Covedale Center. It’s the story of a young woman who fails at becoming a nun. But she loves to sing and that wins over a motherless family and their stern father. It’s been a winner since 1959, and it’s sure to please audiences in this production staged by Ed Cohen and Dee Anne Bryll. Through May 24. $21-$24. Covedale Center for the Performing Arts, 4990 Glenway Ave., Western Hills, 513-241-6550, cincinnatilandmarkproductions.com.
Get drunk on mint juleps at Neons' DERBY DAY SOIREE
The Kentucky Derby takes a two-minute race and turns it into a weekend of festivities throughout Louisville — drinking signature cocktails, exclusive parties and many out-of-town celebrity guests in elaborate millinery. But why should Louisvillians have all the fun? Neons is gathering Cincinnatians together to craft derby hats, sip on three different kinds of juleps (in 2015 official Kentucky Derby glasses) and watch the race in their second annual Derby Day Soirée. The event also features live music from the OTR Bluegrass Band featuring members of the Comet Bluegrass All-Stars. 2 p.m. Saturday. Free. Neons, 208 E. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine, neons-unplugged.com.
Wear a fancy hat to the WILDER EP release party at the Southgate House
Americana/Country group Wilder was formed last year by singer/songwriters Kelly Thomas and Randy Steffen after their previous projects had come to an end (Thomas’ Fabulous Pickups and Steffen’s Sleepin’ Dogs). Building into a full band and establishing a presence on the local club scene, Wilder is now set to release its debut EP with a special show Saturday at Southgate House Revival. Falling on the same day as the Kentucky Derby, the 9 p.m. show will have a derby theme (Wear wild hats! Drink mint juleps!). Arlo McKinley & the Lonesome Sound, Mad Anthony and Danny Mecher and the Home Demos are also on the bill. Admission is $5 (or $7 if you’d like a copy of the EP on CD). 111 E. Sixth St., Newport, Ky., southgatehouse.com.
Celebrate spring at Gorman Heritage Farm with SAVOR THE SEASON
The phrase “farm-to-table” gets a literal translation at Gorman Heritage Farm’s annual Savor the Season celebration Saturday. This epicurean adventure, in partnership with Slow Food Cincinnati, focuses on reveling in spring’s bounty from the 122-acre working farm and farms around the area. Top local chefs — including Jose Salazar of Salazar, Allison Hines of Butcher Betties, Todd Kelly of Orchids, Ryan Santos of Please and more — will be offering tasting samples of dishes that highlight seasonal produce, and chef Julie Francis of Nectar and Lance Bowman of Japp’s will be creating cocktail and food pairings. Don’t miss the “Raid the Garden” competition (CityBeat dining writer Anne Mitchell will be one of the judges), where chefs enter into a Chopped-style food competition. The event also includes food trucks and vendors, music from DJ Mowgli and garden/farm workshops, like composting 101, chickens in your backyard, beekeeping and more. 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday. $25-$35; $10 for Raid the Garden only. 10052 Reading Road, Evendale, 513-563-6663, gormanfarm.org.
Party on Fountain Square for the CINCY-CINCO FIESTA ON FOUNTAIN SQUARE
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with the Fiesta on Fountain Square. This authentic Latino festival is designed to share all aspects of Latin American culture, values and traditions with the Cincinnati community in a fun, family-oriented event. Live entertainment throughout the weekend includes performances from Latin band Tropicoso, Cincinnati Balia Dance Academy, Mariachi Zelaya and more, plus food from the likes of La Mexicana, Cuban Pete and Empanadas Caribe. A special children's area will provide free games, crafts, prizes and other activities. All proceeds benefit Tristate charities in support of the Hispanic population. Noon-11 p.m. Saturday; Noon-7 p.m. Sunday. Free. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown, cincicinco.com.
Buy some rocks at the GEOFAIR
The 50th annual GeoFair is Cincinnati’s largest gem, mineral, fossil and jewelry show. This year’s theme is “American Mineral and Fossil Treasures,” with displays containing private, university and museum-quality specimens, along with vendors and wholesalers, a swap area and free fossil, meteorite, mineral and gemstone identification. Demonstrations include gold panning, geode cracking and gemstone polishing. Children younger than 12 will receive free mineral and fossil specimens upon entry. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. $9 adults; $3 kids; free for uniformed scouts. Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Road, Sharonville, geofair.com.
Make cooing noises at ZOO BABIES
Celebrate the newest arrivals at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden during the entire month of May, where you'll find the cutest baby faces from all over the globe. Follow the six-foot-tall pink and blue stork statues displayed throughout the zoo to lead you to baby African lions, penguin chicks, bonobo monkeys, a whole litter of African painted dogs and more, as their big eyes, miniature sizes and playful personalities melt your heart. Through May. Park admission $18 adults; $12 children and seniors. 3400 Vine St., Avondale, 513-281-4700, cincinnatizoo.org.
Take in a lightly staged matinee of THE MUSIC MAN
As Hugh Jackman declared in his 2009 Oscars performance, “The musical is back!” Musicals and movie-musicals have lodged themselves in the mainstream consciousness though film productions like Les Miserables (in which the aforementioned Jackman starred) and Into The Woods (an Oscar-nominated adaptation of the Sondheim classic) and various frequent Broadway touring productions, like those at the Aronoff Center. Cincinnati Pops Orchestra conductor John Morris Russell is giving us another angle through which to experience a classic musical, resurrected this weekend. The Pops’ semi-staged performance of 1957’s The Music Man features Broadway veterans Will Chase and Betsy Wolfe in leading roles, plus hundreds of local artists from Playhouse in the Park, CCM’s musical theater department, May Festival Chorus and more. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. $20-$103. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cincinnatisymphony.org.
Laugh at VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE
Vanya, Sonia and Masha are mismatched siblings, named by academic parents who had a yen for community theater. Now late in middle age, Vanya and Sonia continue to live in rural eastern Pennsylvania on the family’s farm with a few cherry trees. (Durang constantly drops reminders of Chekhov, dollops of amusement for anyone who recognizes them.) Their lives have some angst and ennui, but they aren’t doing anything about it. Through May 23. Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mt. Adams Circle, Mount Adams, cincyplay.com.
Grab a coffee at the CAC's new lobby and check out REMEMBER THE FUTURE
Blah concrete no longer dominates the Contemporary Arts Center lobby. A mere decade after its opening, the harsh environment needed a change. “We wanted the lobby to be the movie trailer for what’s upstairs,” says CAC curator Steven Matijcio. Architect Zaha Hadid’s vision of an “urban carpet” that draws visitors from the sidewalk has been realized with a colorful mural blanketing the walls, lights on the concrete pillars and the welcome desk front and center. A neon sign over the entrance reads “Contagious,” reflecting the vibe enjoyed at the café and in conversations on comfortable couches. Even though they resemble thunderclouds, chandeliers by Cincinnati sculptor Matt Kotlarczyk perk up an overcast day. The CAC needed to seize control of space, time and light.
Upstairs Daniel Arsham’s Remember the Future is anchored by a gray mountain of hundreds upon hundreds of pop culture artifacts cast from volcanic ash, obsidian, quartz and glacial rock. Yet colorful, not-so-distant memories stir as the viewer circles the heap and notices boom boxes, video game controllers, keyboards, cameras, turntables, guitars, film reels and videotapes. 10-4 p.m. $7.50 adults; $5.50 educators/students/seniors. 44 E. Sixth St., Downtown, contemporaryartscenter.org.
James Franco is coming to Cincinnati two shoot not one but two films this May. The actor/filmmaker, who will always be Daniel Desario to me, will be working on two movies simultaneously: Goat, a frat hazing film based on the memoir King Kelly by Brad Land, and The Long Home, about bootlegger Dallas Harden, adapted from William Gay’s novel of the same name. Franco is on to produce Goat, which stars Nick Jonas and Ben Schnetzer; he’ll produce and direct The Long Home. The latter film’s cast has not been announced yet, but a recent Facebook post by Franco mentioned the movie along with Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games series, Union, Ky., native), Timothy Hutton (a bunch of TV dramas I've never seen + Ordinary People), Keegan Allen (not to be confused with Andrew Keegan), Ashley Green (all the Twilights), Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou?), Jim Parrack (True Blood) and Scott Haze (lots o' Franco flicks). Let’s ponder while looking at a topless Franco:
In a Salon article about HBO's Silicon Valley that called out the show’s “woman problem,” the writer mistakenly reported that Silicon’s Kumail Nanjiani is the same person as Big Bang Theory’s Kunal Nayyar. OOF.
The Full House sequel show you’ve been wishing for is finally coming, and the cherry on top of this nostalgic cake has to be the fact that Kimmy Gibbler will return! Fuller House is set to premiere on Netflix sometime next year and will focus on D.J. (Candace Cameron-Bure), Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) and Kimmy (Andrea Barber). Adult D.J. is a vet, she has two boys and is pregnant with another, and the show picks up with her being recently widowed (R.I.P. Steve?!). Aspiring musician Stephanie moves in along with single mom Kimmy and her teenage daughter. It sounds like a pretty fucked up plot until you realize it is exactly the same as the original, but with ladies. Remake ALL THE THINGS with ALL THE LADIES!
John Stamos is producing and will pop in from time to time as Uncle Jesse, but the rest of the original cast is still up in the air. This could be a big pile of awful, but one thing gives me hope: Stephanie is still pursuing her entertaining dreams!
A masked hero in the UK is
going around spray painting penises around potholes to try to get them filled
faster. Best part: they’re going by the name Wanksy.
Inside Amy Schumer’s third season just started, and already there have been some epic musical moments. She pays tribute to the It Girl of body parts, the butt — watch out, eyebrows are comin’ for that title — in “Milk Milk Lemonade” and gives One Direction a realistic makeover with “Girl, You Don’t Need Makeup.”
David Ayer revealed Jared
Leto’s Joker look for the upcoming Suicide
Squad movie. Let the mockery begin!
Cecily Strong hosted “nerd prom,” which is the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and not Comic-Con. See the SNL star’s full speech here.
Obama addressed the crowd beforehand and, thankfully, Luther the anger translator was on hand.
Apparently any time more than two stars of a past TV show/movie are in the same room, that constitutes a reunion. So I guess there was a Lizzie McGuire “reunion” with Hilary Duff, Lalaine (Miranda) and Jake Thomas (Lizzie’s little brother whose name I can’t remember and won’t look up). Considering Gordo, Lenny and animated Lizzie weren’t there, this is truly a weak reunion. Sorry. Read more in this TIME article (seriously).
If you need a massive dose of Beyoncé in a short amount of time:
Disclaimer: Although Jenner gave ABC, some news outlets and Jenner’s family permission to use "he," "him" and "his" pronouns until people become comfortable with the change, I am using gender neutral pronouns "they," "them" and "their "and dropping Jenner’s first name out of respect to an individual that has dealt being misgendered for a large portion of their life. Jenner also has not released their preferred name.
The black and white photo showed what appeared to be a twentysomething with a shaggy bowl-cut. The person was smiling, mouth open, revealing his probably perfect pearly whites as he looked off camera. Who is he looking at? Is he in mid-laugh or mid-sentence? What made the old photo interesting, despite it being posted on Instagram by Kylie Jenner in the first place, was how the person’s chiseled muscles and hairy abs contrasted with the tight clothes that concealed body parts our society likes to label “vulgar” and “inappropriate”. The last place I looked was in the eyes. I had noticed they were looking away, but I never really looked in their eyes and tried to read them. The eyes in the photograph read as distant, unfocused, not fully engaged. Was I just looking at it in a different light because my prior knowledge and context changed? The Instagram post read, “daddy throwback. #Tonight #DianeSawyer #ABC #love”.
I had a lot of positive and negative anxiety about the Bruce Jenner Interview with Diane Sawyer. My two biggest passions — the queer rights movement and popular culture — were center stage, about to sing a dynamic duet under a hot spotlight. The iconic event would change my view on the direction of the trans* movement, how I view the Kardashian family — a guilty pleasure turned complete obsession, especially with Kim K. — and how the public views a community they have little knowledge about. Waiting for the interview to start, I was clueless as to what was in store. I only knew the duration of the interview and sneak peeks I viewed online. While I was confident I knew Jenner’s announcement after viewing the illegal paparazzi shots published by the New York Daily News of Jenner in a dress, I refused to give into the stereotypes I made based on photographs. Jenner was the only reliable source. I did not think it was a public relations scheme to promote a new reality show, but I wondered how it could last two hours. What are we in store for — two hours of ignorance and the same pictures on rotation from the 1976 Summer Olympics?
As the interview began and progressed, I was pleasantly surprised with Jenner’s well-informed, genuine responses and the educational presence of the interview. I appreciated the inclusion of newsworthy events from the past couple of years, interviews from other transgender figures and the visual approach the interview took in terms of explaining and comparing terminology. Here are the good and bad moments before, during and after the interview that I found the most interesting:
But Jenner was not the only one making national headlines that day. Cincinnati received coverage, but not for anything noteworthy. Senate, a gastropub in OTR that occasionally picks a celebrity or current event as inspiration to name and create the Dog of the Day, featured the “Bruce Jenner 2.0” Friday. The dish, described as “part hot dog part taco,” had a beef frank sliced in half and filled with taco toppings. After experiencing outrage on social media, Senate issued an apology and donated the proceeds to The Heartland Trans Wellness Fund. This whole situation is wrong for multiple reasons.
In 2014, transgender folks received an unprecedented amount of media attention. Actress Laverne Cox, model Carmen Carrera and author Janet Mock reestablished how reporters and talk show hosts speak to trans* individuals by speaking out when they felt uncomfortable or triggered in interviews and making it an on-air educational opportunity. One of the main themes in these interviews was America’s fascination with transgender genitalia instead creating conversation about the trans* suicide rate or homeless queer youth. The bottom line was that trans* public figures wanted to be valued for more than what is in their pants. Sexual reassignment surgery is typically the final stage of the transformation, but not required or done by everyone. It is a monumental and hyper-personal moment for individuals that continue on in that journey. The “Bruce Jenner 2.0” was a symbol of how privileged individuals and businesses appropriate minority groups, even for just one day of media buzz, and increased revenue. Senate’s actions were regressive to the strides Cox and others made in regards to how we speak to trans* people.
The Jenner interview was unprecedented and a major success for trans* visibility, but it does not change the suicide rate or the fact that seven trans* women of color were murdered the first eight weeks of 2015. Visibility in the media and educating the masses is crucial to the movement, but it must translate to policies and how mainstream society treats transgender people. Jenner is not the first to show public displays of bravery. As the trans* rights movement continues on and we meet new faces, let us not forget the historical events like the Stonewall riots and the unspoken queer heroes that paved the way for Jenner to come out and educate the nation on primetime television.
Growing up, you always hear that eyes are windows to the soul. If that is true, why is it the last place we truly look? Why is it so romantic and out of the ordinary when you are on a date and the other person describes your eyes in great detail, as opposed to generalizations like, “You’re beautiful,” and “You look so hot in that”? During Jenner interview, I saw it all in their eyes — the pain, the relief, “her”. I saw it again as they replayed scenes from Keeping Up with the Kardashians. When now-ex-wife Kris made fun of Jenner’s clothing and style, what I perceived as annoyance when I watched the episode years ago I now perceived as hurt and pain in Jenner’s eyes. In the flashback scene of Khloe referring to Jenner as a strong male presence in her life, Jenner looks deep in thought and distant.
Context changes a viewer’s perception, and we need to start paying attention. Reflecting back on Kylie’s Instagram photo of a young Jenner, I realized that I had to get past the short jean shorts and cut-off tee to truly see the photograph. You never really know someone’s life or the journeys they are on. Here was the model “masculine figure,” but inside Jenner was filled with emotions and feelings most people cannot begin to understand. Like society’s fascination with what transgender folks have below the waist, we could not see that Jenner had a lot more depth to him that we presumed. Jenner’s closing advice for people was to “have an open mind and have an open heart.” This ideology can be translated to different aspects of our life and the relationships with others, especially those we do not know. Together we are all connected, making up collective humanity. We are one.
full interview with Jenner and Diane Sawyer here.
See Classical music through a new lens at THE CONSTELLA FESTIVAL
An ambitious initiative, Constella was conceived as an arts showcase featuring the best in international and local performers. This year’s festival is no less ambitious, but it’s considerably scaled back from the sprawling array of choices that in the past have potentially overwhelmed potential audiences. Originally scheduled throughout October and November, performances are now within a 12-day period in April. It’s still a packed schedule with five events each week, featuring violinist Hilary Hahn, pianist Simon Trpceski, other established European performers making Cincinnati debuts, Cincinnati performers and artists, and a film premiere. Performances are at downtown locations accessible by public transportation and tickets can be purchased from one source. Get more information and buy tickets here.
Get sloppy at ZINES, SCREENS & SCREAMS DIY music fest
The Zines, Screens & Screams Fest, a celebration of DIY music and culture, comes to Main Street in Over-the-Rhine this weekend for the first edition of what organizers hope to make an annual event. The festival starts Friday at 5 p.m. and Saturday at noon and will be centered around two main locations: Maudie’s (maudieslive.com) and Cincy By the Slice (cincybytheslice.com), which are both located at 1207 Main St. in OTR; and The Drinkery (1150 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, drinkeryotr.com). The Drinkery (which will only be participating in the music portion of the fest Friday night) is open to those 21-and-up only; all other events are open to all ages. The festival features a slew of local bands as well as some national touring acts that play Rock, Punk, Post Punk, Experimental, Metal and other Indie-oriented genres. It’s a great chance to catch some local musicians that don’t often get a ton of attention outside the DIY scene. Read more here.
Hang out at the Southgate House Revival with CHUCK PROPHET & THE MISSION EXPRESS
San Francisco singer/songwriter Chuck Prophet’s illustrious career began in earnest when he joined the influential and critically acclaimed Roots Rock band Green on Red right after high school. Since then, similar acclaim for his solo work has never slowed; he has released more than a dozen albums since 1990 that have carried the torch of Green on Red’s slanted Alt Roots Rock, taking it even further. Also a prolific collaborator, Prophet has worked with everyone from Warren Zevon and Solomon Burke to Alejandro Escovedo and Cake. Prophet is currently touring with his band The Mission Express behind his most recent full-length, Night Surfer, which came out last year on Yep Roc and features contributions from R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and others. (Visit the music page at citybeat.com to read our feature story on Prophet.) 8:30 p.m. Friday. $15; $18 day of show. Southgate House Revival, 111 E. Sixth St., Newport, Ky., southgatehouse.com.
Brings your leftover yarn to the BRAZEE STREET STUDIOS ART SUPPLY SWAP
If one artist’s junk is another artist’s treasure, then Friday’s art supply swap at Brazee Street Studios might be a gold mine of fodder for artistic creation. An informal exchange of materials, guests are asked to bring any two items to donate — paint, markers, pencils, rhinestones, charcoal, paper, canvas, yarn, sequins, etc. — and they can take as much as they like home. Drop-off begins at 9:30 a.m. and leftover items will be donated to Crayons2Computers, a local organization that gives school and art supplies to children in need. 9:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Free. Brazee Street Studios’ parking lot, 4426 Brazee St., Oakley, brazeestreetstudios.com. If you can actually knit and want to keep the yarn (or take someone else's home), Hospice of Southwest Ohio is currently accepting slipper donations for patients.
Take your time at SLOW ART DAY
Slow Art Day is one of the best ideas to reach art museums ever — a break from the rush-rush hubbub of trying to see everything. Visitors concentrate on just looking, really looking, at a few pieces and then discuss them with others. Saturday, the Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati Art Museum and Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum are participating in the international event. At the Taft starting at 11:15 a.m., docents will help visitors look slowly at five pieces of art. Participants then have a separately-sold lunch at the Taft cafe. (RSVP to 513-684-4515.) At the art museum at noon, an hour-long guided tour starts; participants will visit works by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Bernardino Mei, John Francis and Donald Judd. Afterward, there will be a discussion. (Reserve space at cincinnatiartmuseum.org.) Also at the Cincinnati Art Museum is the new Andy Warhol exhibit, Up at Bat: Warhol and Baseball, featuring the CAM's classic Pop Art Pete Rose and more from America's favorite pastime. And at Hamilton’s Pyramid Hill, visitors meet to begin looking at five pieces of art at 10 a.m., followed by discussion. They can bring a brown-bag lunch. Admission to Pyramid hill is $8 for adults; $3 for 12 and younger. (RSVP to 513-868-8336.)
As the birthplace of the first professional baseball team, as well as the creation of the World Series and the location of the National League and American League merger, Cincinnati has a long history of incredible on- and off-field moments. American Legacy Tours digs deeper into the city’s baseball past with The 1919 Tour. In conjunction with the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum, the tour focuses on events and activities surrounding the controversial 1919 World Series, which pitted the Reds against the Chicago White Sox and is associated with the “Black Sox” gambling scandal. The walking tour visits locations where the scandal unfolded and examines the cast of characters involved in the infamous event. 10:30 a.m. Saturdays. Through October. $20. Leaves from Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown, americanlegacytours.com.
Eat a whole bunch of haggis at TARTAN DAY SPRING CEILIDH
The Cincinnati Caledonian Pipes & Drums, a local nonprofit that aims to preserve and promote Scottish heritage, hosts their annual spring party. The Celtic bash will feature music from the likes of the Blue Rock Boys, Ceol Mhor and Riley Gaelic Singers, and performances from the McGing Irish Dancers and Cincinnati Highland Dancers. Themed food will be provided by Brazenhead Pub, with a scotch tasting, Scottish beer sampling, haggis-eating contest, tea room and more. 6-10 p.m. Saturday. $15; food and drink sold separately. The Center, 115 E. Fifth St., Mercantile Building, Downtown, cincypipesanddrums.org.
Dance all night at BALLET A GO GO
Inspired by the world famous Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles and New York’s Peppermint Lounge discotheque, Ballet A Go Go is one hot dance party. Celebrating the fifth anniversary of the ballet’s Club B, each room of the Cincinnati Ballet Center will transform into a trendy ’60s nightclub for an evening of Mod fashion, music and, of course, go-go dancing. Cocktails and dinner precede era-inspired music and dessert; tickets include an open bar. The dress code is funky Mod attire. 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets start at $150. 1555 Central Parkway, Downtown, cballet.org/events.
Get metaphysical at the VICTORY OF LIGHT EXPO
Established in 1992, the Victory of Light Expo showcases the world of the intuitive arts and psychic sciences. The festival provides a venue for spiritual teachers, readers, healers and vendors from around the country to share their philosophies and teach free seminars on topics including the shamanic anatomy of the soul, manifesting your desires and how to communicate with your guides, angels and loved ones who have passed over. After the seminars, enjoy shopping, featured artists and music from award winning Native American flute player Douglas Blue Feather, Lighthawk and crystal and Tibetan singing bowl artist Ron Esposito. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $15 single day; $25 weekend. Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Road, Sharonville, victoryoflight.com.
Celebrate the semi-return of Magnolia Mountain with MARK UTLEY's solo release show
Prolific singer/songwriter Mark Utley has released a single album’s worth of songs. And that’s all. Bulletville, Utley’s excellent sophomore solo album, is not a double-set on a single CD or accompanied by a new release from his band Magnolia Mountain or another musical vessel for the songs that pour endlessly from his head, heart and hands. Is this Utley’s version of writer’s block? Last year, Magnolia Mountain, Utley’s Blues/Roots Rock vehicle, was collapsing while Bulletville, Utley’s traditional Country side project with Magnolia Mountain’s Renee Frye and Jeff Vanover, was thriving. With Magnolia Mountain sidelined, Utley’s creative vacuum was quickly filled by Bulletville. His Country project’s profile rose exponentially with each new gig, naturally leading to more songs and ultimately the recording of Bulletville, produced, like every Magnolia Mountain album to date, by Afghan Whigs bassist John Curley. The difference this time is that Bulletville was largely recorded live in the studio. Mark Utley and Bulletville celebrate their new album release Saturday at MOTR Pub. More info: motrpub.com. Click here for details on Bulletville and all of Utley's projects.
See baby lion cubs at ZOO BLOOMS
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s annual floral exhibit, Zoo Blooms, features daffodils, hyacinths, flowering trees and one of the largest displays of tulips in the Midwest. Also on view, the zoo's three new lion cubs. Follow them on twitter @cincyzoolion. $18 adults; $12 children; $9 parking. 3400 Vine St., Avondale, cincinnatizoo.org.
Enjoy a matinee of THE TAMING OF THE SHREW
If you’ve ever seen The Taming of the Shrew, you might remember it as the tale of an ill-tempered woman brought into line by an abusive, gold-digging suitor. In that simple summary, Shakespeare’s early comedy understandably doesn’t sit well with most modern audiences. But contemporary presenters of the show have a variety options to make it more palatable. In its current staging at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, guest director Kevin Hammond has utilized more than one of them. Read a full review here. 2 p.m. Sunday. $22-$32.Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 719 Race St., Downtown, cincyshakes.com.
Feel a little hazy and lo-fi with COLLEEN GREEN and Leggy at the Woodward
Colleen Green’s third full-length (and first album recorded in an actual recording studio) is titled I Want to Grow Up, which is no coincidence. Well, that is if you equate a glossier sound and trying to kick coffee and weed as growing up. For I Want to Grow Up, Green hooked up with friends Jake Orrall (JEFF The Brotherhood) and Casey Weissbuch (Diarrhea Planet) in a Nashville, Tenn., studio to crank out 10 songs with titles like “TV” and “Pay Attention,” deceptively simple tunes that recall a cross between early Donnas and the bummed-out laments of Juliana Hatfield. Colleen Green plays Woodward Theater on Sunday. Tickets/more info here.
Grab a drink and an underground tour at TOAST TO THE TUNNELS
Back by popular demand, Toast to the Tunnels takes you on a tour to explore the Christian Moerlein Malt House’s underground barrel vault tunnels, once home to the pre-Prohibition Kauffman Brewing malt house. A quick taste of history will be accompanied by a $10 flight of Moerlein beers in the taproom. Proceeds benefit the Betts House, currently exhibiting Bricks, Barrel Vaults & Beer: The Architectural History of Cincinnati Breweries. 2-5 p.m. Sunday. Christian Moerlein Malt House, 1621 Moore St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/thebettshouse.
Watch GAME OF THRONES
As many know, Game of Thrones (Season Premiere, 9 p.m. Sunday, HBO) is based on author George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series. But what happens when the show’s progression surpasses that of the source material? Debuting this week, Season Five will cover the series’ fourth and fifth novels; by the time the finale airs, the show will be “off the books.” This means those who watch will have a leg up on those who read (nerds!). If you ever had a friend threaten to spoil the show with their literary knowledge, the tables have finally turned. Martin met with the show’s creators to guide them through the future of Game of Thrones — both versions will end with the same basic pieces in place — but fans can expect future seasons to diverge from the forthcoming novels. In Sunday’s premiere, Cersei and Jaime mourn their father’s death and adapt to life without his direction. At least they have each oth… Ew, nevermind. Tyrion is in hiding in Pentos with Varys, Jon’s loyalty is pulled between Night’s Watch and Stannis, and, after locking up two of her babies and banishing Jorah, Daenerys faces more setbacks in Meereen. Two of the most anticipated storylines come with new territory — Dorne and Braavos. Following Oberyn’s crushing defeat, we head to his home turf of Dorne to meet his daughters, the Sand Snakes. Also exciting is the prospect of Arya traveling to Braavos to find Jaqen H’ghar. Valar Morghulis, y’all!
Each week CityBeat staffers share their weekend plans: from dinner and drinks or special events to out-of-town concerts and stories we're working on. And some of us just watch TV.
Maija Zummo: My only plan so far this weekend is to go to Zoo Blooms at the Cincinnati Zoo. The zoo is probably my favorite place in Cincinnati — I'm a member and I go as often as I can, especially in April for the flower show and then in May for Zoo Babies(!!!). I'm not sure how many tulips will be out yet, but apparently the new lion cubs have started to explore their outdoor enclosure in the Africa exhibit, which seems really exciting. Tiny lions. Also people frequently don't realize the zoo sells beer, but it does, including its own exclusive Moerlein Red River Hog Ale. I like to get a beer, walk around and ride the tiny train. And if you go like mid-afternoon, it's feeding time, so all the animals are out and snacking.
Danny Cross: I might pop by Zines, Screens & Screams on Saturday. I like pizza and being downtown on Saturday nights, plus Jesse Fox’s band is playing and it’s always fun to watch her flail about and yell shit. My girlfriend is a St. Louis Cardinals fan (boo!) but she bought tickets to Sunday’s game (yay!), so we’re going back to GABP for the second time in a week. Raisel Iglesias is making his major league debut against one of the Cardinal bubs not named Adam Wainwright. It’s going to be retribution for the time last year I watched “Waino” beat the Reds in person.
Jac Kern: I will be hanging out with photographer Harvey Drouillard as he continues his local stint photographing nudes in public places around town. (I will be staying behind the camera — you’re welcome, world.) Stay tuned for a story on Drouillard and his provocative project. On Friday I hope to swing by Visionaries + Voices’ annual benefit Double Vision. V+V is an excellent local resource for artists with disabilities, and this fundraising art auction is a great way to learn more about the organization, support the artists and load up on stellar local art. Sunday is the Sabbath in my house, which for us means gathering with loved ones…around the TV. Game of Thrones is back! New seasons of Veep and Silicon Valley also premiere on HBO that night, along with a new episode of the final season of Mad Men. I do lots of DVR catch-up on the weekends, too.
Jon Stewart is stepping
down as host of The Daily Show sometime
later this year, and now we know who will be taking his spot: 31-year-old South
African comedian Trevor Noah. He joined The
Daily Show as a correspondent last December. As to be expected, people
scoured his Twitter feed to
find something to be offended about see a
sampling of his work, but despite some “controversial tweets,”
overall Noah seems to be a great fit for the show. Watch some of his stuff
The Walking Dead fans got their first peek at the series’ spinoff show, recently titled Fear the Walking Dead (yawn), during last week’s super-packed, super-long, intense season finale. While details like these are just now being confirmed, it was revealed that the show will premiere this summer, meaning basically 365 Walking Dead. If the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it trailer is any indication, the series will explore the early days of the zombie outbreak, which is very exciting for fans of the original or just the genre (It’s almost an unwritten rule that zombie media focus on the fallout instead of the cause.) Gone Girl’s Kim Dickens (who also had recent stints on Sons of Anarchy and House of Cards) will star.
Who doesn’t love a good pop culture map? Thrillist compiled all the real locations from Broad City’s second season into one convenient map so you can make like Abbi and Ilana the next time you’re in NYC.
LEGO may soon be making a Golden Girls-inspired toy set complete with Blanche, Dorothy, Rose, Sophia and their iconic kitchen.
On the heels of HBO’s Scientology documentary Going Clear, SNL offered hilarious commentary in the form of a fake 1990s music video for fake religion Neutrology.
This actual Scientology video appears to be the inspiration.
Which is real, which is a parody?
Game of Thrones is coming! Season Five premieres Sunday and by the final episode this
year, the show will be completely “off books,” meaning this is the time to get
your revenge on any Song of Ice and Fire-reading
friends who’ve spoiled anything for you. No one is safe! Check out this week’s television column
for a look at the season plus TV picks for the week (Veep, Silicon Valley and Louie are back, too!). Further reading
to get in the Thrones mood: Jon Snow
as a terrible dinner party guest;
The Gang of Thrones?: Mac and Charlie may be coming to Westeros;
Gay of Thrones — the Funny or Die GOT recap
show I can’t believe I missed out on until today (Thanks, Kenneth!).
If people left parties the same way they quit Facebook:
Looking for a Netflix
offering to binge on/obsess over? Watch Black
Mirror stat. The British mini-series (as in only three episodes per season
— so binge wisely) is like a modern approach to The Twilight Zone, with each episode taking on a different cast and
story loosely based around technology and a not-so-distance dystopian future. Serious mind-blowing stuff.
Speaking of Netflix, 17 new episodes of cult favorite Arrested Development are supposedly on their way to the streaming platform. Start saving those vacation days now!
Also, the Orange Is the New Black Season Three trailer is here:
File this under: Tricks to Make Me Pay Attention to Politics: Rand Paul’s Drag Race.
What happens when a guy who grew up in an inner-city neighborhood returns as a successful attorney, back because it’s now the trendy place to live? That’s Jackson’s story: He’s upwardly mobile and black, moving in with Suzy, his white schoolteacher girlfriend. But she’s not so comfortable with their arrangement. Add to the mix Don, Jackson’s privileged boyhood white friend who’s had drug issues and now needs a place to crash. The apartment’s buzzer is a reminder that their world isn’t so simple. Tracey Scott Wilson’s new play isn’t set in Over-the-Rhine, but it could be. Through April 19. $30-$85. Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mt. Adams Circle, Mount Adams, 513-421-3888, cincyplay.com.
It’s hard to stand out in the crowded Blues/Roots Rock field but Dallas-based Somebody’s Darling is a stacked deck of secret weapons. The visceral ’70s-to-today guitar pyrotechnics of David Ponder, the massive keyboard groove of Michael Talley, the velvet jackhammer rhythm section of bassist Wade Cofer and drummer Nate Wedan, and the smoke-and-whiskey-cured vocals of Amber Farris combine to create a blistering Blues sound that is reassuringly familiar and yet fascinatingly singular. Although Farris, who also plays electric and acoustic guitars, generates plenty of fair comparisons to Bonnie Raitt, Susan Tedeschi and Heartless Bastards’ Erika Wennerstrom (and maybe even a little Natalie Merchant in a rare quiet moment), she and Somebody’s Darling may align closest to Grace Potter and the Nocturnals by virtue of the slinky dynamism and mesmerizing power they both effortlessly exhibit. Somebody’s Darling plays Southgate House Revival's Revival Room on Friday. Tickets/more info here.
Music! Plays! Events with alcohol! Acrobats and Classical music! Gorilla suits!
FRIDAY 27MUSIC: SEBADOH
ONSTAGE: CIRQUE MECHANICSThe Cincinnati Pops presents Cirque Mechanics, an innovative show featuring aerialists, trapeze artists and contortionists performing alongside orchestral favorites from composers like Tchaikovsky, Strauss, Copland, Ravel and more. In a press release, conductor John Morris Russell describes it as a mix between Cirque du Soleil and the steampunk scene, with a huge titanium infrastructure placed before the orchestra that serves as the canvas for the entertainment. Additional fire performers, jugglers and magicians will also be at the event. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. $25-$99; $10 children. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cincinnatisymphony.org.
EVENT: ART AFTER DARK AT THE CINCINNATI ART MUSUEM
The theme of this art-meets-cocktail-party event is “Cherry Blossom Bash.” Check out the museum’s Japanese art collection with hourly docent-led tours, and enjoy live music from The Happy Maladies (6:30 p.m.) in the Great Hall. Sushi and drinks available for purchase. 5-9 p.m. Free. Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park, cincinnatiartmuseum.org.
ONSTAGE: PETER AND THE STARCATCHERIn Rick Elice’s loopy script (based on Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s novel about Peter Pan’s backstory), wordplay abounds, sometimes blowing by faster than the typhoon that comes upon ships on the way to Rundoon with three orphan boys to be sold into slavery. But this ensemble cast can manage wind speed as they narrate and perform the hilarious show — sometimes individually, sometimes together — but even more so as they race through delirious reinvention of the fairytale. Everything is performed both obviously and imaginatively, from levitating (at the close end of a seesaw plank) to a storm at sea to flying (with just the suggestion of motion, no wires — no “real” taking flight). Amusing costumes, a star field of 200 incandescent light bulbs and buckets of stage magic make it possible. Peter and the Starcatcher continues through April 4. $30-$85. Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mt. Adams Circle, Mount Adams, cincyplay.com.
Streets don’t get much meaner than those of Belfast back in 1971 as the British army all but occupied the territory, caught up in what amounted to terroristic street fights between Catholics and Protestants with few truly innocent bystanders in the middle. Everyone took sides, no matter how reluctantly. Gary Hook (Jack O’Connell), an anonymous soldier in the British army, trains hard but is no standout. Hook looks for all intents and purposes like a young Liam Neeson or a baby-faced soldier-boy of few words (think Clint Eastwood) who is simply waiting for the opportunity to prove himself in the theater of battle. And he certainly gets his chance when his unit, under the command of a rather green lieutenant (Sam Reid), receives orders to back up local police in a neighborhood search for weapons. Opens Friday. Read full review here.
SATURDAY 28EVENT: OVER THE MOON VINTAGE MARKET Rustic vases, crocheted tops, paint-chipped mirror frames and more will flood the Over the Moon Vintage Market this weekend. Shop a variety of vendors as you peruse various booth displays for vintage and urban goods, including primitives, furniture, garden items, artisan jewelry and unique feminine and bohemian style clothing. 4-9 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Free. Agner Hall at Lawrenceburg Fairgrounds, U.S. 50 and Hollywood Blvd., Lawrenceburg, Ind., facebook.com/overthemoonvintagemarket.
MUSIC: ELLIOTT BROOD WITH YOUNG HEIRLOOMS
When a band’s sound gets tagged as “Death Country,” you know something special is afoot. And Canadian trio Elliott Brood lives up to its advance billing in every conceivable way. Utilizing guitar, banjo, ukulele, bass pedals, kazoo, harmonica, keyboards, percussion and a sampler in acoustic and electric contexts, Elliott Brood has reimagined rootsy Country, Bluegrass and Folk in a twangy and bracing manner that suggests Old 97’s and legitimately deserves the designation of Canadiana.The trio’s latest triumph is Work and Love, released late last year to rapturous reviews, many of which cited it as the trio’s best album to date. No need to plan a long trip to see Elliott Brood; the best of the Great White North is coming your way. Free. MOTR Pub, 1345 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, motrpub.com.
EVENT: POP-UP CINCY CONCEPT CAMP
POP-UP CINCY, a monthly pop-up organization founded by local artist and designer Catherine Richards, invites creative thinkers and makers to participate in the second Concept Camp at an unused storefront in Corryville. Participants will brainstorm with peers from various sectors about effective ways to take their ideas from concept to completion in this one-day event. The space will feature an “idea wall” to pin project outlines and receive feedback from participants, as well as the opportunity to connect with those whose skillsets might help accelerate your plan. Work session: 1-4:30 p.m. (sign-up required); celebration: 5-7 p.m. Free. 3501 Burnet Ave., Corryville, facebook.com/popup.cincy.
CLASS: HOW TO BUILD A RAIN BARREL
Spring is slowly showing itself as the winter and its accursed snow melt away. As you plan to plant petunias, sunflowers, vegetables and more, consider the task of watering and the best practices to save money, go green and store water for a hot summer so your plants (and your wallet) won’t suffer. The Civic Garden Center hosts a DIY class on how to build and use your own rain barrel to collect free rain water to use for the garden. 1:30-3 p.m. Saturday. $10; free for Civic Garden Center volunteers. 2715 Reading Road, Avondale, civicgardencenter.org.
COMEDY: DC BENNY
Like his peers Jimmy Shubert and Rocky LaPorte, D.C. Benny is a talented veteran comic who received a nice boost by competing on last season’s Last Comic Standing. Well-known in the New York and L.A. comedy scenes, Benny has also written and performed extensively for various TV projects. He also functions as the producer and head writer for Jim Breuer Unleashed on Sirius/XM satellite radio. On stage he mixes jokes with storytelling, peppering them with several original characters. Showtimes Thursday-Sunday. $15-$17. Funny Bone on the Levee, Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., funnyboneonthelevee.com.
ONSTAGE: DETROIT ’67
Detroit ’67, making its regional premiere at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati this month, is not something to smile about — but it might be possible to feel good about the “tryin’,” even though 48 years later the backdrop of this story feels eerily familiar, perhaps leading us to ask if America will ever rise above such racially driven conflicts. The details behind the story of Chelle (Zina Camblin) and Lank (Bryant Bentley), a sister and brother hoping to build a secure future, are this: In late July 1967, more than 10,000 citizens of Detroit rioted. Police had raided a blind pig — an unauthorized after-hours hangout very much like the one Chelle and Lank have established in their family’s basement — where more than 80 patrons, all African-American, had gathered to celebrate the return of a Vietnam veteran. Detroit '67 continues through April 5. $18-$44. Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, 1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, ensemblecincinnati.org.
SUNDAY 29FILM: MOON DUST Detroit-based painter Scott Reeder’s new Moon Dust is a sci-fi feature film with a one-and-a-half-hour running time. Moon Dust is about the denizens of a run-down tourist resort on the moon (called Moon World) who struggle to maintain enthusiasm at a time when the hip, wealthier travelers have all gone to Mars. With its deadpan tone, frequently improvised dialogue from non-professional actors (including Reeder, himself) and eccentric production design featuring color-saturated, patterned or monochromatic sets and oddball costumes and hairstyles, it very much is the work of a visual artist. 2 p.m. Sunday. Free. Cincinnati Art Museum’s Mary R. Schiff Library & Archives, 953 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams, cincinnatiartmuseum.org.
CHARITY: CINCINNATI GORILLA RUN
This Sunday don’t be surprised to find downtown resembling a scene from Planet of the Apes. Hundreds of runners dressed as our endangered primate relatives will be participating in the Cincinnati Gorilla Run 5K presented by The Gorilla Glue Company, which aims to raise money for the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund. Gorillas found in the African mountains are close to extinction, and the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund is working to expand the program’s wildlife health and research center in Uganda. Registration closes at 5 p.m. March 28. Race opens at 9 a.m.; run starts at 11 a.m. $99.95 first-time gorillas; $40 and up for returning gorillas; $15 kid gorillas. Montgomery Inn Boathouse, 925 Riverside Drive, East End, cincinnatigorillarun.com.
ATTRACTIONS: MUMMIES OF THE WORLD
The Cincinnati Museum Center’s new once-in-a-lifetime exhibit, featuring real mummies and artifacts, some dating back as far as 4,500 years, is in its final weeks. Discover how mummies are created, where they come from and who they are in an immersive, multi-media display. Through April 26. Non-member exhibition-only tickets: $19.50, $17.50 senior, $12.50 child. Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate, mummies.cincymuseum.org.