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by Hannah McCartney 03.28.2013
Posted In: The Worst, Culture, Fashion, Life at 12:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Are the Swedes Leading the Mannequin Revolution?

You know when you’re at the store and they’ve run out of your size in a shirt you really, really wanted? And you look at the one hanging on the mannequin hoping and praying it’s a medium so you can derobe her and leave with that peplum top?

We all know that’s a lost cause, because she’s always, without fail, wearing a damn extra small, because anything larger would engulf the porcelain, size 2 life-size Barbie, which would make the clothes terrible and nobody would want to buy them.

One department store in Sweden — surprisingly, the stereotypical exporters of blonde, Scandinavian ice queens — has finally launched a "f&*# you" campaign against the mannequin industry standard, which apparently values female mannequins that are often designed to be six inches taller and six inches smaller than the average woman, according to the Chicago Tribune. Basically, clothes made only for this Ukrainian woman, who went through an insane amount of plastic surgery to become the first "real-life Barbie" (click on her photo to read more)





The store only has two of the normal mannequins right now, who are sporting some classy lingerie. Photos of the mannequins have gone viral, and to absolutely nobody's surprise, women across the world have become pretty smitten with the concept of seeing models in clothes that don't look radically different from themselves.

It's actually pretty genius, from a marketing standpoint: Aside from making a super-powerful social statement, it seems likely their sales will probably skyrocket — how many times, after all, have you seen something looking fabulous on a mannequin and tried it on yourself, only to look in the mirror with horror and disgust?

Let's compare. On the left, two Victoria's Secret mannequins. On the right, the lady from the Swedish department store

 


The photo of the healthy-looking models was apparently taken in 2010, but it didn't go viral until recently, when Women's Rights News posted on March 12 the image to its Facebook account with the caption, "
Store mannequins in Sweden. They look like real women. The US should invest in some of these." The post has earned nearly 20,000 shares and more than 64,000 likes.  

In the past, you'd probably usually find non-Barbie-fied mannequins strictly at "plus-sized" ladies' stores, which, to me, sort of gives off the impression that there are two types of women in this world who need clothes: white runway lingerie models and white overweight women. Of course, this is not the case, and it's probably time retailers stop deluding themselves and listening to what shoppers want. It's much easier — and less painful — to make smart shopping decisions, which makes for happier shoppers.

And it goes without saying that advertising — particularly in the clothing and beauty industries — plays a huge role in how young girls and women (and men) develop self-image. According to the National Eating Disorders Foundation, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from eating disorders sometime during their lives, and 40 to 60 percent of elementary school girls (ages 6-12) have expressed concern about their weight or becoming "too fat."

 
 
by Jac Kern 08.26.2011
Posted In: Concerts, Life, Culture, Events, Fun, Music at 02:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List: 8/26-8/28

If you're a festie fan, this is your weekend because there are three music festivals going on around the Tristate. Ohmstead Music Festival returns to Hannon's Camp American through Sunday, bringing Reggae/Rock groups The Cliftones, Skeetones, Revenge Pinata and more, joining The Ohms (who created the annual fest 10 years ago). Camp, browse vendors and listen to everything from brand new acts to regional talent. Tickets at the gate are only $30 for the weekend.

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by Jac Kern 03.13.2012
Posted In: Culture, Dating, Drinking, Events, Music at 12:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Tuesday To Do List

The instructors at The Art Institute of Ohio — Cincinnati talk the talk and walk the walk. In addition to teaching up-and-coming artists, they, too, create works of art on a regular basis. Tonight, check out their work during the college's 2012 Faculty Exhibition closing reception. The event runs from 6-8 p.m. in the Mason school's gallery. If you're interested in attending the Art Institute, stop by to check out the work and come back on March 31 when the school holds an open house.

Bree from Hot Wheels Entertainment hosts karaoke at The Drinkery every Tuesday. Whether you're a karaoke god or just a spectator, swing by the OTR bar between 9 p.m.-2 a.m. for tunes and booze. Find details here.

Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative (CPI) continues its New Voices Season of Staged Readings with Edge Walking. Written by Barbara Harkness and directed by Patrick Downey, Edge Walking follows two parents who are faced with a child claiming he is the reincarnation of their oldest son who died as a POW in Vietnam. The encounter brings up feelings of anger, loss and grief as each character must deal with the death. Tickets to the 7:30 p.m. performance are just $8 and can be purchased before the show at the Aronoff Center. For more information, call CPI's Kalman Kivkovich at 513-861-0004.

The library's Northside branch hosts a series of poetry and short story readings showcasing local authors from 6-8 p.m. tonight. Lyrical Synaesthesia is a quarterly reading event designed to showcase the breadth of talent in Cincinnati and help foster a strong living literary tradition in the Queen City. Tonight's free event is hosted by Justin Patrick Moore and will feature readings from Matt Hart, Nick Barrows, Abiyah and Betsy Young. Hosted by Justin Patrick Moore. The first 20 to arrive will receive a free chapbook published by Aurore Press. 


Want to enjoy after-work drinks while learning about an important local cause? GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) Greater Cincinnati presents a happy hour at Know Theatre from 5:30-7:30 p.m. tonight. Learn about GLSEN's mission to make schools safe for all students regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Enjoy a cash bar and complimentary hors d’oeuvres while the organization will gives a brief presentation at 6:45 p.m. Learn more about GLSEN and how to become on ally here.

Find ongoing art exhibits and other daily events here and follow our music blog for nightly live music offerings.

 
 
by Jac Kern 03.27.2012
Posted In: Eats, Events, Drinking, Music, Fun, Gardening, Culture at 11:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Tuesday To Do List

Tonight's the night! Our annual Best of Cincinnati Party is always one of the most fun events of the year. You voted for your favorite restaurants, bars, public figures, galleries, theaters, and everything in between – now's your chance to check them all out under one roof. This year's celebration is a preview party – our Best of issues doesn't hit the streets 'til Wednesday morning, which means those in attendance will be the first to know about all our winners!

As always, there will be dinner-by-the-bite from your favorite restaurants like Adriatico's, Izzy's and A Tavola; coffee and dessert from Coffee Emporium and BonBonerie; and the city's best cocktails including martinis, Bloody Marys and margaritas. As you're eating your way through the beautiful Memorial Hall, enjoy music from a DJ and a live performance from Exhale Dance Tribe performers.

If that's not enough, more than 100 guests will walk away with amazing swag bags from the Procter & Gamble eStore full of your favorite P&G products and coupons to local Best of businesses. Of course, like last year, we will feature Golden Ticket giveaways, which will feature amazing prizes like tickets to Bunbury, Forecastle, Bonnaroo, MidPoint Music Festival, eight consecutive Bogart's shows and much more. If you still don't have tickets, they'll be available at the door for $35. See you tonight!

Other events tonight include a Make and Bake glass jewelry class at Brazee Studios from 5-7 p.m., a Homegrown Tomatoes workshop at the Civic Garden Center from 6-8 p.m. and free concert at CCM featuring the U.S. Navy Band from Washington, D.C. at 8 p.m.

Find more daily arts, theaters and other events on our To Do page and follow our music blog for live show info.

 
 
by Jac Kern 11.14.2012
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, Culture, Movies at 02:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

At the risk of inducing widespread PTSD flashbacks, I invite everyone to recall 2011’s Internet Public Enemy No. 1, Rebecca Black. The teen, who is probably a decent human undeserving of worldwide hatred, assaulted eardrums on a massive scale with her music video gone viral, “Friday.” The worst realization to come out of Friday-gate wasn’t the sorry state of the music industry or even the online bullying Black faced, but the fact that, apparently, rich people will throw a few thousand dollars at a greedy producer to create a shitty song and music video for their marginally talented child.

Record producer and songwriter Patrice Wilson was one of the driving forces behind “Friday” and if you wanted to give his work another chance, you’re in luck. He worked with Nicole Westbrook to record a song not about one day of the week (that’s so 2011), but one day of the year. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Thanksgiving.

Kraft Mac-n-Cheese – AY! Stove Top stuffing – AY! We one-percenters should have better food than this.

While we’re on the topic of social phenomena ripe for mockery, it’s fitting to recognize Food Network’s Guy Fieri (Real Name: Guy Ferry. Yeah, douchebag status: confirmed) who recently opened a new restaurant in New York City. It seems most people either love or hate Guy. He co-owns five California restaurants and hosts the popular Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, on which he travels the country highlighting off-the-beaten-path chow-down spots — so, clearly he’s got some fans out there. Others are a bit turned off by his labored “Rock-N-Roll” façade, his annoying catchphrases and his penchant for bowling shirts.

I can’t trust a man who purposefully styles his hair like a goofy visor hat from Cappel’s, and apparently New York Times’ Pete Wells isn’t a fan either. In his Nov. 13 take-down piece on the new Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square, Wells completely ripped the joint apart limb from tribal tattooed limb. While any attempt to seriously review what sounds like a black hole for overweight tourists would probably prove futile, I feel Wells could have been a bit more creative in his blasting of Fieri. Guy’s an easy target, so why go with the cliched “Dear Guy,” letter format, punctuated by a series of overly sarcastic questions? At this point I’m waiting for a cynical review of Wells’ review (please tweet any findings to @jackern), but I have to hand it to the reviewer for this service assessment that made me choke on my morning coffee: “The well-meaning staff seems to realize that this is not a real restaurant.” Find the full story here.

Fans got a first look at Brad Pitt zombie action flick World War Z last week. The film, based on Max Brooks’ 2006 novel of the same name, may stray farther from the text than fans have hoped, judging by the trailer. (Though it’s important to note how deceiving these first looks can be). The book reflects on a worldwide war on zombies after the fact, using interviews with survivors to paint the terrifying picture, whereas the film appears to be a straight-up zombie movie. However it turns out, zombie purists beware: These may be the quickest and most agile undead yet.

After last week’s election, gay marriage is now legal nine states. It’s a great feat for equality, but we’ve got a long way to go. In fact, gays across America have given straight, conservative men an ultimatum: Vote to legalize same-sex marriage, or they will marry the crap out of your girlfriends.

Portlandia, the hilarious sketch comedy spoofing counter-culture trends, returns to IFC Jan. 4. The show stars SNL’s Fred Armisen and Sleater-Kinney/Wild Flag guitarist-singer Carrie Brownstein — quite possibly my favorite non-romantic duo — in a series of timely skits about the hipster sect of popular culture. All the good little boys and girls of Oregon and beyond can get an early sampling of the two with the “Winter in Portlandia” holiday special on Dec. 14. Fans will see Peter and Nance go low-carb to stave off winter blubber and meet Candace’s son as he swings by Women and Women First during his holiday visit.

Here’s the first skit from the upcoming third season:

 
 
by Hannah McCartney 11.07.2013
Posted In: Music, Culture at 01:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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This Could Be Ohio's New State Country Song

For whatever reason, Americans deem it a necessary source of pride for us to award the states we live in all sorts of symbolic attributes, such as an official state amphibian (Ohio: spotted salamander), official state muffin (Minnesota: blueberry) or an official state "sport" (Maryland: walking?). And Oklahoma's unofficial state sport is apparently obesity — their official meal is "fried okra, squash, cornbread, barbecue pork, biscuits, sausage and gravy, grits, corn, strawberries, chicken-fried steak, black-eyed peas, and pecan pie."

Now, there's a very real possibility that sometime soon, the state of Ohio will add to its arsenal of symbols (our state drink is tomato juice?) by adopting its own state "Country" anthem: On Wednesday, Nov. 6, Ohio Rep. Nick Barborack (D-Lisbon) introduced House Bill 330 to the general assembly, which would give the state an official Country song called "Ohio" by Lisbon, Ohio musician Zach Paxson.

Here's the song that's been Ohio's official, official song since 1969:


Old-timey, for sure, but at least there's some pretty imagery thrown in there. Everybody likes moonlit streams and freedom.

And we all know "Hang on Sloopy," the '60s Pop Rock ditty that was actually wasn't designated our state Rock song until 1985, when the House passed a resolution with a bunch of references to the song, including phrases like: 

WHEREAS, "Hang On Sloopy" is of particular relevance to members of the Baby Boom Generation, who were once dismissed as a bunch of long-haired, crazy kids, but who now are old enough and vote in sufficient numbers to be taken quite seriously; and

WHEREAS, Adoption of this resolution will not take too long, cost the state anything, or affect the quality of life in this state to any appreciable degree, and if we in the legislature just go ahead and pass the darn thing, we can get on with more important stuff.

The '80s were a weird time for a lot of things, so this makes a lot of sense. The introduction of Paxson's song, however, feels a little out of the blue.

Paxson's video, and the lyrics to the song, from Paxson's website (SIC to the errors):


Austin Texas was a great place
but I couldn’t wait to get home with a big smile on my face
and see those green farms and factories
as I made my way through my favorite city’s
Chorus
So give me a cold one at the end of the day
and a “w” for the scarlet and gray
this still is the greatest place that I’ve ever known
OHIO, OHIO
Every morning I pass them
in their work boots and their business suits but we all come from the same roots
and we’re the keeper of great names
cause we got the rock ‘n’ roll and the football hall of fame
Chorus
So give me a cold one at the end of the day
and a “w” for the scarlet and gray
this still is the greatest place that I’ve ever known
OHIO, OHIO

Chorus
So give me a cold one at the end of the day
and a “w” for the scarlet and gray
this still is the greatest place that I’ve ever known
OHIO, OHIO, we’re the pulse of America here in the heart of it all
OHIO

What do you think of it? I only made it through the first 30 secondsI grew up in a rural town and any varietal of  Country music makes me hurt inside. Plus, I found the video, which is a kind of schizophrenic mix of a bunch of really blurry photos accompanied by WordArt lyrics, hard to watch.

Clearly, I'm biased, and I don't really get why there are several politicians taking the time to lobby for this to join "Hang on Sloopy" and "Beautiful Ohio." The bill is just waiting to be signed to a committee, so it will be awhile before a decision is made. But it's worth thinking about. Does it deserve to join the ranks of Ohio's tomato juices and bullfrogs? Or are state symbols just generally not supposed to make any sense?

 
 
by Jac Kern 06.26.2012
Posted In: Culture at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Tuesday To Do List

With Cincinnati Pride Week just around the corner, Oakley’s 20th Century Theater hosts Cincy Pride Week Cruise-In with Chicago cabaret act, Amy & Freddy. The funny and fabulous duo is a smash on the GLBT cruise circuit, and they’ll perform along with Cincinnati Men’s Chorus and The Queen City D-Dolls. Dress in your hottest resort wear and get ready for a night of music, dancing, comedy and plenty of cruise cocktails. The ship sets sail at 8 p.m. and tickets are $25 at the door. Seating is limited nightclub-format, so arrive early and keep the party goin’ til 11 p.m. Find details here.

While we’re on the topic of cabarets, on the other side of the river is Musical Theatre Night at the Thompson House. This inaugural weekly event is like karaoke, but with a live pianist and tunes from your favorite movies and musicals. Bring your own sheet music or pick a hit from their provided selections. Come around 7:30 p.m. to sign up. The night runs through 11 p.m. Flex those jazz hands and go here for more info.

The JCC Summer Film Series kicks off tonight at Montgomery’s Mayerson JCC. Based on the popularity of the organization’s Jewish and Israeli Film Festival last winter, the