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.
An initiative of Green Umbrella, the Great Outdoor Weekend is this Saturday and Sunday. Hundreds of Cincinnati parks celebrate nature with more than 120 free events that are open to the public. Whether you are taking your dog out for a stroll around the neighborhood, planning a hiking trip to a local park you don't often frequent, or taking a camping trip, there's no better time than this weekend to take an outdoor adventure.
The first day at the Cincinnati Nature Center inspired our outdoor adventure and our next stop confirmed it. Devou Park is most famous for it's picture-perfect view of Cincinnati. On any given day, you might see a professional and his camera atop the hill taking a photo of the skyline, a couple picnicking or perhaps a duo that was just wed. The park is definitely known for it's view, but did you know it has several miles of hiking and mountain biking trails too? It wasn't hard for me to get lost underneath the canopy of trees and forget that I was less than five miles from downtown Cincinnati.
Does all of this outdoorsy talk have you searching for your old hiking boots yet? You're not the only one. Hundreds of people, rookies and seasoned outdoorsmen alike, are marking their calendars for the Great Outdoor Weekend. Before you set off into the wilderness, you could attend a seminar that will make you trail ready. Learn where to set camp, how to pack, and what to eat on your next trip by attending a Great Outdoors seminar and overnight with Roads Rivers and Trails.
It's the weekend, y'all.
And as it approaches 5 p.m. on a Friday, you're probably thinking to yourself, "What should I do this weekend?" Why not try one of these …
- Sauerkraut Pizza. Made by the Order of the Eastern Star Masons, the handmade pizzas come in whole pies or slices and are topped with tomato sauce, cheese, green peppers, onions and sauerkraut.
- Cabbage Rolls. For more than 30 years, St. Augustine's Church has cooked cabbage rolls for the festival — recently, more than 10,000 per weekend. Cooked cabbage leaves are filled with ground beef, rice and spices and covered in tomato sauce.
- Sauerkraut desserts. The Waynesville Chamber of Commerce will be serving up sauerkraut pie, sauerkraut fudge, sauerkraut brownies and sauerkraut cookies.
- Sauerkraut Balls. A classic: breaded and fried sauerkraut and bacon, served by the Waynesville fire department.
- German Sundae. This is a pile of potatoes, topped with kraut, sour cream, cheese, bacon and green olive. (Recipe below.)
Celebrate Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day during the Cincinnati Celtic Festival Saturday and Sunday. The free fest moves from Fountain Square to Washington Park this year, but continues to celebrate all things Celtic with plenty of music, food and entertainment. Knock back some Guinness, cheer on Irish dancers and get jig-y to the sounds of bagpipes between noon and 10:30 p.m. both days.
With local Celts
taking over the park, this month’s City Flea moves up the street to the lot at
Twelfth and Vine. Vendors will be hawking everything from clothing and
accessories to home goods and fine art from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The City Flea is a fun one-stop spot to
support local artisans and sellers all under one roof. Sans roof.
Downtown isn’t hogging all the fun this weekend — Milford’s Longstone Street Festival brings more than 15 area bands to the ‘burbs Saturday. Area musicians will perform on two stages along Main Street where kid-friendly activities await (we’re talking a Velcro wall, bungee joust, rock climbing and more). Saunter through historic downtown Milford, stop in a few shops and restaurants and enjoy the music from 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
The fun continues west at the Westwood Art Show, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. More than 70 artists, crafters and DIY-ers will be selling goods including photography, re-purposed jewelry and accessories, woodwork, sculptures, pottery, edibles and more.
This weekend’s theater offerings include Ensemble Theatre’s Good People, The Three Musketeers at Playhouse in the Park, To Kill a Mockingbird at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and Covedale’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Peep the links for our reviews of each.
Browse our calendar for other events, art exhibits, volunteer opportunities and more to do this weekend.
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.
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.
Cincinnati beer festival Bockfest hosts the second of four preliminary rounds of a gender-neutral pageant to name the 2015 Sausage Queen, who will lead the Bockfest Parade with a symbolic tray of bockwurst sausage. Based on their personality, presence and talent, judges will move beer enthusiasts through a series of rounds of competition, leading up a final crowning and cash prize. Come out and support the candidates and have a couple of beers yourself. Future rounds Feb. 26 at Washington Platform and Feb. 28 at Crazy Fox Saloon. 9 p.m. Friday. Free. Milton’s, 301 Milton St., Prospect Hill, bockfest.com.
ONSTAGE: Little Women
The story of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel from the late 1860s, Little Women, has long been woven into the American consciousness. The March family lives in refined poverty, with a dutiful father away in the Civil War and a steadfast mother raising four headstrong daughters. Their story is one of hardship and heartbreak, with generous doses of situational humor, all of which are recaptured in Emma Reeves’ new adaptation for the stage being regionally premiered by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. CSC’s acting company is replete with fine actors, and local stage veteran Annie Fitzpatrick plays loving Marmee, who strives to keep her chicks in order. Through March 21. $14-$36. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 719 Race St., Downtown, 513-381-2273, cincyshakes.com.
Tonight marks O'Bryonville's first Third Thursday Benefit Wine Walk of the year. Support the neighborhood's independent businesses like Hemptations, Phyllis Weston Gallery, Ten Thousand Villages, The Bonbonerie, indigenous and many more as you hop from spot to spot, enjoying complimentary wine and bites at each participating venue. This month's walk benefits Pets in Need (a UCAN affiliate) and Cincinnati Pet Food Pantry. The event runs from 5-8 p.m. tonight.
Enjoy a romantic night in Paris...without needing a passport. Art Design Consultants presents en evening with their Design Star, Grace Jones of Dwellings on Madison. Jones will transform the ADC loft space (310 Culvert St., Downtown) into a French apartment. Stop by at 6 for cocktails and stick around for the 7 p.m. unveiling of Jones' designs. Holly Golightly attire is encouraged! RSVP here.
Comedian Jim Norton kicks off his three-night gig at Funny Bone on the Levee tonight. Specializing in dark comedy and self-deprecation, the comic has also acted in television and film and has written two humorous nonfiction books. Many will recognize Norton from the Opie & Anthony radio show, Louie, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and several small, odd film roles (two words: Furry Vengeance). Norton goes on tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets are $22.
Cincinnati Zoo's Tunes and Blooms series continues tonight with Shiny and the Spoon and The Tillers. The free concert features local favorite musicians performing 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.
Jungle Jim's hosts a mystery mix cigar tasting tonight from 5-8 p.m. The tasting will be held at the Oscar Event Center's Monorail Terrace. Guests can enjoy three different cigars with $15 admission. There will be a cash bar, raffle and plenty of cigars and accessories for sale. Each Thursday, Jungle Jim's presents a different variety of cigars to try. No word yet on whether "mystery mix" is an early 4-20 reference.
The ArtsWave creates and supports art programs and opportunities in the city year-round, but three Saturdays each year, the organization kicks its mission into high gear with the Macy’s Arts Sampler. The free event brings visual art, theater, dance, music, crafts and more to venues across Greater Cincinnati. This Saturday’s sampler includes shows and backstage tours at Playhouse in the Park, Madcap Puppets at Cincinnati Art Museum and tons of other fun, creative opportunities for the whole family from Kings High School to Behringer-Crawford Museum in Covington, all day long. Find a full schedule of events here.
Cincy Blues Society celebrates 23 years this weekend with Winter Blues Fest. The fest takes place at The Phoenix, CityBeat’s across-the-street neighbors, Friday and Saturday with more than 25 local acts. Sonny Moorman and the Stacy Mitchhart Band headline; tickets are $20 per night; $35 for the weekend.
Not able to make it to the Big Easy this Fat Tuesday? Celebrate Mardi Gras in MainStrasse Friday and Saturday. Get your fill of beads with parades each night, plus live music and Cajun grub in the entertainment tent open 8 p.m.-1 a.m. Stop by your favorite MainStrasse bar, restaurant or business to keep the party going. Tickets are $10 per night or $15 for the weekend; find more info here.
With Valentine’s Day next week, lots of folks are buying up chocolates, flowers, special undies and other goodies for their significant others. You know who could really use some love? The hundreds of adoptable animals that have been abused, neglected or left behind by owners. This weekend, My Furry Valentine brings these lovable critters from dozens of rescues together in West Chester for Greater Cincinnati’s largest animal adoption event. Skip pet stores and breeders and find a pet that needs a home 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday at flexi USA, Inc. (8494 Firebird Dr., West Chester). If you can’t make it out to the ‘burbs, check out one of more than 20 participating locations. Each adopted cat, dog, rabbit or other pet will go home with a gift bag of treats, toys, coupons and more supplies.
The Mayerson JCC’s Jewish and Israeli Film Festival kicks off Saturday with a screening of Hava Nagila, a comedic documentary that tells the story of this Jewish celebration staple song. This opening night celebration takes place 8-10 p.m. Saturday at the Cincinnati Museum Center and includes dessert, a photo booth and private admission to the museum’s Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit. The fest continues through Feb. 28 with films shown at the Museum Center, Esquire Theatre, Kenwood Theatre, Mariemont Theatre and the Mayerson JCC. Go here for ticket information and a full schedule.
Whether the word “craft” conjures up thoughts of glitter and glue or bottles and brew, Mt. Caramel Brewing Company’s Art. Craft. Beer. show has something for everyone. The brewery’s gallery will be full of works from area artists with plenty of fresh craft beer to go around, Saturday and Sunday. The event is just one of many happenings coinciding with Cincinnati Beer Week (which continues through Thursday). Get a full schedule and find participating bars and venues here.
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.