We're just two months away from the highly anticipated MidPoint Music Festival and the free MidPoint Indie Summer Series is still rockin' on. Stop by Fountain Square Friday for a taste of quality music you can expect at the September fest. This week's line up features a superb spread of local talent. Alternative Folk crew The Western kicks off the show at 7 p.m., followed by Garage Rockers The Prohibitionists at 8:15 p.m. July for Kings headlines the show at 9:30 p.m., bringing their quirky Rock & Roll sound. Check out a past interview with her crew here. For tickets, lineups and all the latest updates on MPMF, follow them on Facebook.
Park+Vine's Vegan Slowcooker Throwdown, scheduled for tonight, has been postponed. Check their calendar or follow P+V on Facebook for updates. You can still celebrate meatless Monday by grabbing lunch or items to make dinner at the green general store.
If you're still experiencing some residual St. Patrick's Day drinking enthusiasm, Northside's Mayday presents Monday Mayhem each week – stop by between 4 p.m.-midnight and grab a dog and a draft for under eight bucks. Mayday's gourmet hot dogs are served on homemade pretzel buns with delicious, unique toppings. And their beer selection is killer. Or stop by Milton's on Prospect Hill for Vinyl Club. Bring your records to share or have a DJ spin 'em for you while you enjoy a drink. The night starts at 10 p.m.
Later tonight, Cincinnati native Geoff Tate will appear on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. The comedian offers a storytelling style and has been compared to the late, great Mitch Hedberg. Tune into CBS at 12:35 a.m.
Add a little français to your Thursday with Cincinnati Symphony's French Connection concert. Enjoy works of three French composers, performed by French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, led by French conductor Stéphane Denève. Tickets for tonight's 7:30 p.m. show at Music Hall start at just $10 — c'est bon marché! The show continues Saturday and Sunday. Go here for tickets and performance details.
Cincinnati Zoo's Tunes and Blooms series continues tonight with Magnolia Mountain and Comet Bluegrass All Stars. This free concert offers excellent local bands in the beautiful setting of the zoo's gardens. The concert runs 6-8:30 p.m.; admission to the zoo is free after 5 p.m. (parking is $8). Tunes and Blooms continues every Thursday this month.
Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards melted the face off the Internet, so if you’re still trying to form an opinion and sift through gif reactions, or you’re one of those people pretending you don’t know what the VMAs are — the Moonman has been around since 1983 and the VMAs have been pooping out pseudo-controversy for just as long. You know what they are. Sit back down — don’t worry, momma’s here.
If you really don’t watch the VMAs, it’s important to understand that the V and A do not matter — MTV rarely plays music videos, as we all know, and no one ever remembers who actually wins the Mooman by the end of the night. The respected academy of critics are teens who vote for whichever marginally talented star tweets the most. You watch for the pop culture experience — whether it’s Fiona Apple’s “bullshit” acceptance speech, the Britney-Madonna kiss or Beyonce’s baby bump announcement, crazy shit goes down at the VMAs. And this year was no different.
The big draw of the night was Lady Gaga’s big comeback. It’s been two years since a big performance and release, and Mama Monster also is back from a hip injury that kept her out of the public eye for a bit. Gaga opened the show with her new single, “Applause,” which was welcomed by audience boos (those turned out to be staged. Gaga — go figure.). The performance looked like some kind of jazzy, art school, off-broadway number, complete with dudes in leotards and onstage weave and costume changes, ending in LG in a big ass brown curly wig, a mermaid shell bra and thong. Her body was siiiiick (eat it, haters) and it was nice to see her look/act like a human — this is not the meat dress-wearing, alien goth princess, Jo Calderone Gaga. This is ARTPOP Gaga.
She seemed a little more down-to-earth, if that’s possible? Like she was having fun, and not taking it too seriously. Which is good, because her new song is in a fucking Kia commercial.
Next up is the kind of moment that makes careers
and ends presidencies. Just kidding. It’s just Miley! So I (like every human
with access to the Internet) detailed my roller coaster of emotions when I first
watched Miley Cyrus’ video “We Can’t Stop.” And I must say, I have no problem
with MiCy growing up and changing directions. Alternatively, I have no problem with her being a completely fake, manufactured product (cut to Lady Gaga —Government Name: Stefani Germanotta — looking like the normal girl she
actually was less than a decade ago, on an episode of Boiling
Points. Most pop stars were once Hannah Montanas before their producers gave them "molly"
and a rejected Rihanna beat, OK?).
I have no qualms with her getting an fierce haircut and wearing denim diaper shorts and juxtaposing her former good girl image with her current hot lady looks. But there's a difference between shifting from Country to Pop or Disney kid to edgy starlet and purposefully quashing your saccharine image by motorboating a woman's thonged butt on TV just for the shock factor. I see you Miley, and I will not respond to you.
One note I must make about the performance is Miley did share the spotlight with the black chicks from her "We Can't Stop" video. (Side note: those giant bear backpack apparatuses they’re wearing look really heavy!) Many critics of the vid questioned why these “friends” only appeared in one scene of the video, when she appears to be so immersed in black culture throughout (See: Conversation on cultural appropriation I’m not prepared to start here). Once Miley was done assaulting her backup dancers, rubbing her fur-covered crotch and definitely not lip synching (for better or worse), the two songs that had everyone clutching their pearls this year came to an uncomfortable head as Robin Thicke made his way onstage.
Thicke’s video for “Blurred Lines” sparked up just as much controversy
as Miley’s in recent months. From scantily-clad models (plus a naked one in the
uncensored version) to lyrics like “I know you want it” — plus dumb hastags
all over the place — there were bound to be some haters. But, doesn’t that
description sound comparable if not tamer than nearly any popular music video
circulating right now? Now, I can understand the concern about the subject of
“blurred lines” when there is so much right-wing bullshit about rape culture
going on right now. But the video came out in March, and it wasn’t until
recently, once a few people started writing about their disapproval, that other
folks started recycling these opinions and making parody videos that completely
miss the point.
Look, I’ve got a soft spot for Robin Thicke. He started off more
than a decade ago as an R&B singer — he’s got a smooth-as-a-baby’s-butt
voice so of course his songs are
going to be sexual and of course some of his videos are going to feature sexy
girls. He’s married to actress Paula Patton, whom he’s been with since he was
16. They have an adorable son named Julian Fuego. If anything, Miley would corrupt him!
So Miley rips off her PedoBear onesie to reveal the two-piece from the “Blurred Lines” video and everyone realizes yes, she’s going there. The world looked on in sheer terror as she twerked every which way upon Thicke, stroking him and herself with a We’re No. 1 finger you see at hockey games. Miley’s butt looked really scary and Robin looked like Beetlejuice.
Let’s all cleanse ourselves by looking back on Thicke’s earlier, hairier years.
One actual quality performance of the night came from Justin Timberlake. Sure, he’s ubiquitous, but damn, the dude is talented. JT sang and danced his way across every stage in the Barclays Center, never missing a beat or breath, touching on hits from all throughout his career. Naturally, everyone was waiting for the anticipated *NSYNC reunion, and every time a cluster of male back-up dancers rushed onstage, I thought that was the moment. Finally, four shadowy figures emerged from an illuminated stage, and Justin joined them in the center.
I hate to be a spoilsport, but, *NSYNC, you’re tearin’ up my heart. Nearly any millennial Pop lover was either a Backstreet Boy or *NSYNC fan, and I was more of an *NSYNC girl. Nevertheless, when I recently had the opportunity to attend the BSB reunion concert of PNC Pavilion, you better believe I screamed my lungs out with the rest of the crowds of pathetic women. I had to hand it to the ‘Boys — they looked more attractive as 40-year-olds than they did 20 years ago! They were in shape, still had their chops and were really good sports about it. The concert really was a fun time. So when I saw an overweight, wobbling Chris Kirkpatrick struggling to pull his jacket over his tummy, I could not focus on anything else. A single tear ran down my cheek. And why the hell, of all songs to play during this rare moment, would they sing “Girlfriend?!” I still love you, *NSYNC, but reunion wasted, in my opinion.
This picture is NOT the Smith family reacting to that Miley mess I just recounted. This is a still taken during Gaga’s performance and it’s not even an accurate reaction, so stop sharing it, ya losers.
Drake, Bruno Mars, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Kanye also performed, and no one is going to say anything about that. Drake reminds me of a dinosaur and his song was really boring. Kanye performed in a shadow in front of a screen cuz he’s a dad now and he can’t be bothered with camera close-ups, guys.
The camera cut away to reaction shots from Taylor Swift so often, she should be credited as a co-host. Good god.
Katy Perry’s new song "Roar" ended the night with a boxing-themed performance
by the Brooklyn Bridge, but it seems like everyone was too busy freaking out about
Miley to notice. It was pretty fun, but apparently it sounds a lot like Sara
news, even D-list celebs, Like Dharma & Greg’s Thomas Gibson can get
Breaking Bad’s Anna Gun (Skyler White) wrote a New York Times op-ed about how everybody HATES her — or at least the character she plays — any how this widespread abomination doesn’t seem to carry over to male characters on television.
Remember "Beauty and the Beat?" In his latest video, my newest hero Todrick Hall takes it to the next level and tells the story of Cinderella using the music of Beyoncé. Rupaul’s Drag Race star Shangela plays the fairy god mother. Naturally!
Hold on to your knickers, girls! This weekend is full of excellent music, arts, theater and shopping events. Here we go:
Ides of March premiers tonight (FINALLY). Check it out and see how many Cincinnati landmarks you can spot. Or just look at Ryan Gosling. Read our interview with an actor who is not Gosling or Clooney here, and check out our review.
Clifton Heights Music Festival is back for its fifth installment! Bands of all genres take over six Clifton-area bars (in walking distance of one another) tonight and Saturday. The ever-growing fest continues to be one of the most affordable - $8 gets you in all venues for one night, $12 for both nights. Go here for the full lineup and venue details.
Rapper Machine Gun Kelly plays Madison Theater tonight. My little sister wants to marry him. Important facts here.
Tonight, The Comet hosts a free show with David Liebe Hart, Hardon Collider and Jordin Goff. Considering Hart's best known from Adult Swim, it should be expected that this show will bring the weird. Hart gained attention with his Los Angeles public television show, The Junior Christian Science Bible Lesson Program — a quirky mix of music, puppetry, cautions against drug use and much more. Today, he’s recognized from Tim and Eric, on which he’s performed songs with said creepy puppets.
And now for something completely different!
Hunter Valentine is
a Toronto-born, NYC-based alt-rock lady band currently touring North America.
The group played 2011’s MidPoint Music Festival and is returning to Mainstay
Rock Bar Friday night in support of Collide and Conquer, debuting Oct. 23.
The band formed in
2004 and I’ll admit, they weren’t on my radar until this summer when The Real L Word’s third season
premiered. The reality show centered on a group of hip L.A. lesbians introduced
new cast members from New York City this season. The new ladies? Hunter
Cameras followed lead singer Kiyomi, drummer Laura, bassist Vero and then-guitar and keyboard player Somer as they jammed, drank, partied and fought their way through last year’s tour. The season ended with Somer (not-so-surprisingly) parting ways with the band, making room for HV newbie, Aimee.
Will Real L’s Lauren, who made things official with Kiyomi the the end of the season, be present as Hunter Valentine groupie supreme? Swing by Mainstay Downtown at 10:30 p.m. Friday to find out.
Peep this promotional video HV shot for The Real L Word:
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.”
It turns out that an alleged old Radiohead demo called “Putting Ketchup in the Fridge” is actually called “Sit Still” and not by Radiohead at all. It’s by Toronto bakery owner Christopher Stopa. “As nice as it is, because I like Radiohead, and on some technical level it means I sang [the song] well, I don’t really want to be known as the person that was mistaken [for] Radiohead,” Stopa said in an interview with the Torontoist. You can stream the single and read the full story here.
Like a UC version of the Fringe Festival, this weekend's Transmigration Festival features five 30-minute drama productions presented by CCM students. These works (written, cast and produced by students on a $60 budget) are presented in atypical spaces within CCM's Corbett Center for the Performing Arts. The event is free, but reservations are required. Find details here.
David Miretsky and Svetlana Derenshuk's exhibit Uniquely Ukraine opens tonight at Phyllis Weston Gallery. The duo present paintings that interpret the human condition on a miniature scale (Miretsky) and colorfully blend Othodox icon painting with modernist sensibilities (Derenshuk). Go here for hours and directions.
Author Andre Dubus III discusses his memoir Townie Saturday at Joseph-Beth Booksellers. Townie follows Dubus' life: growing up poor in Massachusetts following the divorce of his parents, his descent into drugs and street fighting, and ultimately becoming a novelist. Go here for details.
For those looking to give back while enjoying a night out, spend Saturday night at the Voices of the Heart fundraiser. Proceeds from this dinner and auction benefit women on the streets and involved in prostitution. The event will be held at the Cincinnati Hilton Netherland Plaza. Buy tickets here.
This weekend is full of boozy, boobs-out Mardi Gras celebrations, but if you're looking for a more authentic NOLA experience the whole family can attend, stop by Mardi Gras at the Market Sunday. Findlay Market hosts its annual event boasting a parade, Cajun style food and entertainment and, yes, plenty of alcohol. Multimedia artist Nick Cave, whose works are now on display at Cincinnati Art Museum, will even be on hand to present a soundsuit invasion. Laissez les bons temps rouler! Go here for a full schedule of the day's events, and read this week's cover story on how local eateries celebrate the holiday (Warning: May cause excessive mouth-watering) here.
Many area theaters have some great productions running right now, and this weekend is a chance to check one out. See Rick Pender's Stage Door for his advice on what to see. The coming nights are also full of live shows from Heartless Bastards, Purling Hiss and Dr. Dog, Natalie Wells, Mike Doughty and more. Follow our music blog for all your concert needs.
Finally, Best of Cincinnati voting ends Sunday at midnight, so if you haven't had a chance to show some of to your favorite local businesses, restaurants and people, go here to vote now!
Occupy Cincinnati has experienced some recent victories, settling the federal lawsuit against the city and getting a 24-hour public space designation for a year. Tonight, the organization holds a general assembly at the OC warehouse space, 2023 Dunlap St., Over-the-Rhine. From now on, the group will meet on Monday and Wednesdays, 6-8 p.m. and Saturdays at 3 p.m. to discuss issues, working groups and general business matters. All are welcome to attend these assemblies and share ideas, express concerns or just sit in and observe. Follow the group on Facebook for updates and assembly information.
Looking for dinner plans? On such a summery day like today, we suggest Eli's BBQ on the East side. From pulled pork sammies to smoked ribs, Eli's does barbecue right. You're even welcome to make yourself at home and BYOB, so crack open a beer, chow down on some hot dogs, and enjoy the choice tunes coming from Eli's turntables. Read our review of Eli's BBQ for more info.