Something fucking awesome happened in Cincinnati on July's Final Friday. A dude with a card table, some DJ stuff and a microphone (two turntables and a microphone, even) incited a random dance party with over 100 people around 1212 Main Street in Over-the-Rhine.
Music was pumping, and people flocked to it. I have never witnessed such an amassing of complete strangers and intimate friends. Plaid-clad hipsters were cutting loose with older, baggy-shirted locals. Drunk people who had tumbled out of bars were sweating out all the alcohol they had just paid for to Kool and the Gang. Everyone was incredibly, stupidly happy.
There was no reason for it. No social networking was involved. Nobody knew about it through a text or because they were Tweeted at or received a Facebook invite. It wasn’t sponsored by Final Friday, and it wasn’t even planned. DJ Alcatone, the awesome instigator, shrugged his shoulders when I asked him (over the Funk blaring out from two speakers), why he was playing music on a street corner in OTR. He said he just was. And people were just dancing.
There were three guys dancing in the middle of the damn street, stopping cars to gyrate in front of them. One was dancing intensely, and then he paused and directed traffic around other dancers. An SUV pulled up and four dudes sat on the edge of the car windows, took their shirts off, and held their arms in the air.
An entire two-block span of Main Street was filled with sweaty, writhing people. DJ Alcatone started a soul train in the middle of the crowd. There was a break-dancing competition, and seriously, who knew old people could get down like that? One guy did that thing where he contorted his whole body in the air, resting solely on his hand on the ground. (Yoga has not prepared me to attempt this.)
Cell phones crowded in the air, everyone snapping pictures of the “something” that was happening right in front of them. Cops drove by and didn’t stop. The opposite side of the street was crowded with overflow dancers. A girl with an “I’m the bachelorette!” sash across her torso sashayed in front of cars, darting back and forth between the two sides. There was even a man with a broken leg in a wheelchair. Seriously. He was spinning on his wheels, grooving to the music.
It was like someone had pressed pause on every social, racial and economic stricture and preconception, and hit “play” for uninhibited, good-spirited, uplifting interaction. It was so simple, and no one stopped to think about it. No one stopped to consider “what it meant,” or why it was happening, or how it could be better. Honestly, it couldn’t have been better.
The police were called about two hours in, and were actually smiling when they told everyone the party had to end. That was probably the best time to have the party end — before everyone remembered themselves, the faces we all put on for the everyday world, the way we conduct ourselves around people we want to impress. No one was trying to impress anyone. Even the bad dancers (there were a few) were applauded. It was the fact that everyone involved stepped outside of themselves, without any catalyst or promise of reward, and for two hours, we just were.
As always, there will be dinner-by-the-bite from your favorite restaurants like Adriatico's, Izzy's and A Tavola; coffee and dessert from Coffee Emporium and BonBonerie; and the city's best cocktails including martinis, Bloody Marys and margaritas. As you're eating your way through the beautiful Memorial Hall, enjoy music from a DJ and a live performance from Exhale Dance Tribe performers.
Other events tonight include a Make and Bake glass jewelry class at Brazee Studios from 5-7 p.m., a Homegrown Tomatoes workshop at the Civic Garden Center from 6-8 p.m. and free concert at CCM featuring the U.S. Navy Band from Washington, D.C. at 8 p.m.
On July 21, the Roadshow will make a stop at an area venue (not yet announced) and hopefully make a few locals a little bit richer (but just a few — it's honestly more fun to watch when people's precious collectables aren't worth jack).
I love video games. Always have, always will. I grew up watching Mario stomp koopas, Link slay moblins and Kirby inhale enemies to copy their powers. Games will always have a special place in my heart.
As much as I like the classics and the stuff being released by the big name companies, however, recently my attention's been diverted to a select few independent companies and developers. People say these past few recent years have been some of the best times for indie developers to get into the gaming market, and, frankly, I agree with them. As of late the indie game market's really been booming, and it's no wonder why. There are some really great indie games out there to find if one knows where to look. And unlike pricey console games, many of these independently developed games can be downloaded onto your computer for as low as $20, $10 or even $5.
Given, these games might not have the newest, most-cutting edge graphics, and might be relatively simple when compared to some of the things we see Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft releasing. However, that doesn't change the fact that they are good games nonetheless. And many gamers seem to agree with me.
One shining example of an indie game that's risen from obscurity is Dokutsu Monogatari, better known by is Americanized name, Cave Story. The game was originally made as a freeware 2D platform-adventure game by independent developer Daisuke Amaya (art-name "Pixel") in 2004. He developed the game in his spare time, intending it to be a tribute to classic popular titles he had played in his youth, such as Castlevania and Metroid.
After it's initial release on the Internet, Cave Story slowly gained popularity as a indie game, and was praised by many gamers for its compelling story and gameplay. Fans of the game eventually developed an English translation, spreading the game even further.
Later on, Nicalis, an independent video game company, worked with Amaya to bring an updated version of Cave Story with new modes of gameplay and improved graphics to Nintendo's WiiWare service in 2010.
Since then the popularity of Cave Story has skyrocketed, leading Nicalis to work with Nintendo to bring yet another updated version of the game to the Nintendo 3DS under the title of Cave Story 3D.
And Cave Story is just one of the many success stories told about independently developed games these days. Several other popular titles have risen from the depths of obscurity to become commonly known titles to gamers everywhere: Minecraft, Super Meat Boy and Angry Birds just to name a few.
Unfortunately, there are also risks involved for gamers who chose to invest their money in independent games. A method many indie developers seem to be taking recently is releasing a “beta-version” of their game over platforms such as Steam for a low price, with the promise of free updates as the game is further developed. A prime example of one such game is Re-Logic's Terraria, a 2D “sandbox” game featuring exploration, crafting, resource gathering, and combat with a variety of different creatures.
Upon its initial release in January 2011, Terraria's sales boomed. Over 1 million copies of the game were sold, gamers being drawn in both by the unique style of gameplay and the prospect of future updates to the game. Head developer of the game, Andrew Spinks, made regular posts about planned features to the game in his blog, keeping the community informed about what they could expect in future updates.
Upon Terraria's version 1.1.2 update, which included new enemies, biomes, resources and a slew of new items to be discovered and crafted, popularity of the game boomed even more, resulting in the game being named as the No. 1 of 2011's Indie of the Year Player's choice.
Unfortunately for fans, Spinks suddenly decided to halt production of Terrarria, announcing in his blog on Feb. 21 that there would be no further updates to the games despite the fact that the several planned features that had been announced in his blog. Many members of Terraria's online community protested, feeling that the game had been cut down in its prime, and had yet to reach its full potential.
Sadly, however, this seems to be a route that many independent game companies take. Several indie games seem to be halted before they are considered to be “finished.” Lacking the resources that larger game companies have, independent developers either run out of money for production, or simply become burned out, no longer having the time or interest to continue working on their projects. It's disappointing for the fans who pay to play these games in the early stages of development, however, it's also a risk people take when they decide to play independent games.
Is it enough to scare people away from the indie game market? Certainly not, as there are still many gems out there to be found if one is willing to spend the time and money. Indie gaming is on the rise. And things can only get better as time goes on.
Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is taking over downtown this weekend, bringing around 500,000 guests! Once you've had your fill of schnitzel, Spaten and sauerkraut, stop by the CityBeat booth for the official Oktoberfest guide and register for a VIP MPMF Package and other prizes.
May is officially Bike Month, but celebratory events kick off this weekend with a Bike Art Poster Party at Coffee Emporium 6:30-8 p.m. Friday and the Bike Month Kick-Off Expo 2-4 p.m. Saturday at the downtown public library. The Expo will include crafts, bike-related books and unique bikes on exhibit such as a tall bike, bamboo bike and vintage, delivery and cargo bikes.
CityBeat will preview in its cover story next week the many other Bike Month events scheduled during May, in addition to some fun cycling tips and a rundown of local cycling infrastructure and resources. (There might also be a check-in with a local guy who doesn’t have a car to see how things are going with him…)
The following are some
of the many events taking place in May, via Queen City Bike:
Howl at the Moon Ride: Explore city streets at night, top off with a party
Walk Along Wasson Way-:Walking tour along the proposed Wasson Way Biking Trail
Pompeii and Pizza: Tour the exhibit at the Museum center then ride to a pizza lunch
Cyclo Femme: 50-mile female-only ride
Bike Swap- sell, buy and trade bike goods
Bikes and Brews: bike pub crawl
Teilen Story Hour: Tell your story or come to listen
Bike Prom: a formal bike ride
Ride of Shame Brunch Ride: Roll out wearing your clothes from Saturday night
Here’s a link to the official Bike Month calendar.
And check out last
year’s Bike Month cover package here (the image on this blog is last
year’s CityBeat cover, which garnered much praise/ridicule from the Stuff You Will Hate “Caption This Picture” contest).
It’s Bunbury Weekend! The second annual three-day music fest takes over Sawyer Point Friday-Sunday with acts including fun., Walk the Moon, MGMT, Cake, Tegan and Sara, Yo La Tengo, Belle & Sebastian and tons more. Check out our interview with Matt Berninger of The National — Bunbury’s Sunday headliner — here.
In addition to great music, there will be tons of food and drink vendors with lots of local options, a craft beer village, free Rockstar energy drink and water samples and a Trojan vibrator giveaway from 4-8 p.m. Saturday (for real!). Official after-parties take place at Igby’s Friday, aliveOne Saturday and The Righteous Room Sunday. Ready to go? Don't leave home without peeping our cheat sheet, complete with lineup, map, dos and don’ts and more vital info.
One- and three-day
tickets to Bunbury are still available here.
Second Sunday on Main returns to Over-the-Rhine this week with a lineup of special Pride events in addition to the art, shopping, demos, kids activities, food and music that the free street festival serves up every month. Be sure to check out the annual Drag Race and Dykes on Trykes — a race you’ll have to see to believe! — as well as the new mobile boutique Truckshop. Read more about the unique, locally owned shop-on-wheels here. Second Sunday on Main runs noon-5 p.m.
The Gambling Rose
Tattoo Convention brings some of the best tattoo artists across the globe to
town for the weekend. Swing by Duke Energy Center Friday-Sunday for tattoo
competitions, seminars, vendors and a roller derby showdown between the
Cincinnati Rollergirls and the Black-N-Bluegrass Rollergirls. Tattoo artists
and piercers from around the country and world will be under one roof,
available for appointments. Featured artists include Jerod Ray and Tylor Schwarz
(contestants on Oxygen’s Best Ink
Season Two); Sarah Miller (runner-up, Spike’s Ink Master Season Two); Tatu Baby (contestant on Spike’s Ink Master Season Two, voted by fans to
return to Season Three — premieres Tuesday); and Chris Torres (NY Ink bad boy). Tickets are $20 for a single-day
pass/$30 for two days/$40 for the whole weekend.
Newport on the Levee is going to be a real sausage fest this weekend — literally! The Queen City Sausage Festival unites all the loves of a true Cincinnatian: pork, beer and river views. Eat your way through more than two-dozen sausage specimens including the grilled gyro cheddar met, the zest Italian sausage hoagie and, of course, Queen City goetta. There will also be foods that didn’t once say “oink,” plus live music, eating contests and lots of rides and games for the kids. The fest runs Friday-Sunday at the Levee and admission is free.
Independent Spirit Award-nominated film In The Family opens at The Esquire tonight. Writer, director and star Patrick Wang will be in town for the premiere weekend, and will host a Q&A after this weekend's screenings. Check out the 8 p.m. screenings Friday and Saturday and the 1 p.m. show Sunday to meet and chat with the star. Read our review here.
San Francisco dance company Robert Moses' Kin performs in town this week with Contemporary Dance Theater's Guest Artist Series. Faith and Fable was inspired by choreographer/artistic director Robert Moses' children – fairy tales, in particular. Moses reexamined moral tales and translated them into a multi-genre dance piece for all ages. Performances are tonight at Saturday at the Aronoff Center. Go here to read our interview with Moses.
LEGOs are one of those iconic toys that kids still think are cool and adults still secretly want to play with. This weekend's LEGO's KidsFest may be marketed toward youngsters, but LEGO fans of any age can be entertained for hours at this construction block convention. At the fest, you'll find a LEGO model museum (clearly not built by kids), a master builder academy, activity area, challenge zone and much more. Saturday's sessions have sold out, but there's still tickets available for tonight (4-8:30 p.m.) and Sunday (9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 3-7:30 p.m.) All sessions feature the same fun exhibits and activities. Find ticket information and event details here.
The Newport Aquarium welcomes Mighty Mike, a 14-foot, 800-pound American Alligator this Saturday. Mike is the largest gator in the U.S. outside of Florida. The new Gator Alley exhibit will feature many species of alligators and crocodiles from around the globe. The aquarium is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Find admission and other details here. Purchase your tickets in advance to save time at the door.
While whoever is behind CranleyVille clearly has more time on his or her hands (whoever it is tweeted 90 times in three days), both provide some pretty amusing fodder for 4 p.m. on a Friday afternoon.
Why social media has quickly taken to poking fun at Cranley in every way possible — or whether or not a Qualls victory would have brought something like an "Afghan Girl Qualls" to life — we'll never know. And while CityBeat holds a great deal of respect for the mayoral position and for Cranley, that doesn't mean we're not allowed to be immature and laugh a little bit.
Kanzi the bonobo knows how to say around 500 words via a keyboard, start a fire with matches and make his own food. He has a leg up on the modern 12-year-old.
A family from Canada recently welcomed their 100th grandchild to the family. It is alleged that the children each receive a $1 gift card to the Planned Parenthood gift shop from the grans each Christmas.
Gucci Mane and V-Nasty released an album called Baytl. People are calling it the worst hip-hop collaboration since Snoop Dogg teamed up with astronaut Buzz Aldrin to drop “Rocket Experience.”