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!
Wow. Such stuff. Much do. So fun. …
In advance of February’s Cincinnati Beer Week, the Tap Room Trolley takes happy imbibers to six different Cincinnati breweries. The guided bus tour lasts approximately seven hours with three different routes — A, B or C — to take you to different alcoholic parts of town. All busses leave from the Moerlein Lager House. Tour A departs at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday; tour B leaves at noon Saturday and Sunday; tour C leaves at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $30. Moerlein Lager House, 115 Joe Nuxhall Way, The Banks, Downtown, cincinnatibeerweek.com.
This favorite exhibit of Cincinnati’s 19th-century brewing industry returns to the Betts House. It features photos, charts and narratives of the tunnels, breweries, buildings and people of our beer past. Bricks, Barrel Vaults, & Beer also highlights the social and cultural influences that made Cincinnati a brewery destination, like immigration. Opening reception: 2-5 p.m. Saturday. On view through May 7. Free. The Betts House, 416 Clark St., West End, thebettshouse.org.
Comedian Geoff Tate is adept at telling hilarious personal stories from his life, as well as making sharp observations about the seemingly mundane. Tate, a Cincinnati native, now lives in Los Angeles. He also hosts a podcast called Afternoon, Everybody! during which he talks about the sitcom Cheers with his friends. Showtimes Thursday-Sunday. $8-$14. Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, gobananascomedy.com.
Rodgers and Hammerstein created a musical about Cinderella for TV in 1957, watched by an audience of 107 million. It finally made its Broadway debut in 2013, with a contemporary story using their songs. In Douglas Carter Beane’s new script, the bedraggled chambermaid is Ella — taunted as “Cinderella” by her nasty stepsisters because she’s always dirty from cleaning the fireplace — and her story has had some political intrigue injected, making the heroine a bit of a social reformer. Through Jan. 18. $49-$101. Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-621-2718, cincinnati.broadway.com.
MODERN DANCE: MamLuft&Co. Dance at the Aronoff
CARS: The Cavalcade of Customs
The Duke Energy Convention Center hosts the Cavalcade of Customs, with tons of custom cars, hot rods, trucks and motorcycles, plus the cars of The Fast and the Furious, a live-demo chop shop, a Miss Cavalcade pin-up challenge and more. 3-10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. $16; $6 kids ages 6-12. 525 Elm St., Downtown, koiautoparts.com/cavalcade.
U.S. Bank Arena hosts AMSOIL Arenacross Saturday — an enclosed, dirt-track off-road motorcycle race filled with jumps, turns and other obstacles. 7 p.m. Saturday. $10-$40. 100 Broadway, Downtown, usbankarena.com.
THE CIRCUS: Syrian Shrine Circus
The 94th annual Syrian Shrine Circus comes to the Bank of Kentucky Center. The Shriners’ three-ring circus features death-defying aerial acts, clowns and animal attractions like tigers and elephants. 7:30 p.m. Friday; 1 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. Sunday. $10-$30; $5 parking. 500 Louie B. Nunn Drive, Highland Heights, Ky., bankofkentuckycenter.com.
CLEANSE: The Weekly Juicery
The Weekly Juicery, while enthusiastically committed to the juicing concept, is about much more than juice. The Kentucky-based company just opened its first Cincinnati location in December, strategically placing the cozy, colorful shop in the very center of Hyde Park Square. With successful juiceries in Louisville and Lexington, their well-established concept places The Weekly Juicery a few steps ahead of its OTR counterpart, Off the Vine. The juicery boasts an almost entirely gluten-free and vegan menu, and the staff is sensitive to just about every allergy imaginable. Their weekly juicing programs offer three, four and five-day juicing regimens in the $27 to $54 price range. 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily. 2727 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-321-0680, theweeklyjuicery.com.
Covington's Carnegie Center presents its sixth annual Art of Food show, opening tonight. As you might've guessed, this art exhibit is centered around all things edible. The reception features beautiful culinary creations (that you can actually eat) by everyone from BonBonnerie to La Poste, Queen City Cookies to Taste of Belgium. Admission is a little steep ($60 at the door for non-members), but you'll leave with your left brain and stomach both very satisfied. Admission after the reception is free. Get details here.
The opening reception kicks off at 8 p.m. In addition to checking out the artwork, electronic musician/wizard Dan Deacon will perform 8-9 p.m. If you haven't heard of him, here's a preview:
If you didn't score tickets to tonight's sold out Black Keys show, there are plenty of other music options. Eli's BBQ on Riverside Drive hosts Downtown Country Band tonight at 10 p.m. Tickets are $12. And really, any concert that also features barbecue is probably a sure bet. The Harlequins hosts an album release show Saturday at Mayday in Northside. Peep our interview with the crew. There are tons of other live music shows this weekend. Find them all on our music blog.
An 82-year-old named George Murphy was getting stomped by a ferocious Alaskan moose before his 85-year-old, 97-pound wife Dorothea Taylor intervened. With a shovel. Story here.
Mee Yan Leong, 58, sat down on a toilet and refused to get up for 902 days because she claimed she “felt a force holding me down.” Story here.
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.
Gangnam’s latest incarnation? Mitt Romney Style!
Who’s down for a rousing game of “Steak House or Gay Bar?”
Kanye West stripped us all of our daily
affirmation source by deleting all of his previous tweets last week. He has since returned to Twitter, but just to mourn the one-year since Steve
Jobs’ death. Riveting stuff.
Vomiting onstage is the new black. Lately, high-profile performers across the globe have proverbially sniffed the milk carton, shrugged and took a sip anyway, all ending up tossing their cookies on stage. Now, if you’re like music editor Mike Breen, watching people experience a retaliating digestive system is disturbing and you'd rather not see that shit. Otherwise, here’s Lady Gaga and Justin Beiber barfing at their recent respective gigs. Thank goodness for HuffPo, who compiled a gallery of “Stars Who’ve Puked During Concerts.”
When Heidi Klum and Seal broke up, I was crushed (mostly because it meant no I’d really never be invited to one of their epic Halloween parties or themed vow renewals). When Amy Poehler and Will Arnett split, I was angry and confused. (Can’t they just laugh it off?!) Well, now I know there’s no such thing as love because after more than 30 years together, Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman have separated. Maybe people grow apart after decades together. Perhaps DeVito’s role as Frank on Always Sunny began rubbing off on him. I don’t care — Matilda’s parents were supposed to stay together forever.
Thankfully, Amber Tamblyn and David Cross got hitched this week, giving us all a final shred of hope for humanity. Check out Questlove’s Instagram (the coolest way to peep wedding pics, ever) for photos of the Esty-fied Tommy Hilfiger ad starring Joan of Arcadia and Tobias Fünke.
Ricky, Julian and Bubbles, better known as the Trailer Park Boys, come to Madison Theater tonight. The Canadian mockumentary-style comedy series makes a fun transition to stage with the “Community Service Variety Show.” If last year’s live show was any indication, expect more skits, audience participation and white trash goodness than you can throw a rum and Coke at (and you know Julian will have plenty of those). The show is sold out, so try your luck with the fine scalpers of Covington!
This American Life went live last
Thursday, broadcasting the show in theaters across the U.S. and Australia. The show featured its standard true storytelling format, but with ample
visual components. In addition to anecdotes from David Sedaris, Tig Notaro and
others, there were also dance performances, an NPR-inspired short film from Mike
Birbiglia and an interactive performance by OK GO. If this sounds amazing (which it was) and you missed out, you're in luck! The broadcast will screen again tonight in several area theaters.
Pro Tip: Download this free app
before you go — the TAL crew pulled some strings to allow audiences to use
their phones at one point in the performance. Go here to find nearby theaters. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $20 (more than a 3D movie, but way less crappy).
Northside Tavern hosts a fundraiser for End Slavery Cincinnati tonight from 5-10 p.m. Learn about human trafficking in the country and right here in Cincinnati, and what you can do to help raise awareness and bring it to an end. from 5-10 p.m. Enjoy live music from The Flavor Junkies and Wild Mountain Berries, door prizes and treats, for a great cause. Admission is $5 at the door.
Know Theater welcomes two local comedy groups onstage tonight. Underbelly Comedy and Off the Rocks Improv team up for a "Little Big Night" of laughs. There will be stand-up, improv, sketch comedy and more from some of the city's truly talented performers. Five bucks gets you a seat and a beer! What more could you possibly want? Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m.
Music Hall will come to life this weekend. Thanks to a collaboration between Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Landor Associates and funding from local organizations, the Cincy landmark will be part of LumenoCity, a first-of-its-kind multimedia performance in Washington Park Saturday and Sunday. Many details of the performance won’t be revealed until the show, but we know it involves live orchestra music set to a process called architectural mapping — where three-dimensional graphics are projected onto a building’s surface, interacting with its architectural details, causing the building to illuminate and appear in motion. This process of mapping has been done before (just check out the video below), but never like what we’ll see this weekend.
marks Maestro Louis
Langrée’s arrival as the CSO’s new musical director. The free concert takes
place at 8:30 p.m. in Washington Park Saturday and Sunday. Bring your own
seating. Read more about the event here.
Newly opened OTR brewery Rhinegeist unveils its limited edition Saber Tooth Tiger IPA with a celebration Saturday. This Imperial IPA is the brewery’s first “Rarity,” meaning they’ll brew it only once and have a limited amount. Admission to the release party is $10 and includes a goblet with 12 oz. of STT and guaranteed option to purchase a 32 oz. growler of the IPA. There will also be local food vendors, live music, merch for purch(ase) and more. The event runs 5-10 p.m. Saturday. Buy tickets here.
The city’s definitely got a case of the blues this weekend with Cincy Blues Fest at Sawyer Point Friday-Saturday and Findlay Market’s Blue BBQ Sunday. The Cincy Blues Society’s CBF turns 21 this year, bringing dozens of Blues acts from around the country. Check out our preview here.
From noon-4 p.m. Sunday, Findlay Market’s eighth annual Blue BBQ brings local Blues musicians together with delicious barbeque from Eli’s BBQ, Velvet Smoke and other area restaurants. Go here for more info.
It’s an end of a sweaty era Saturday as Northside Tavern holds the final Dance_MF EVER. Projectmill’s monthly first Saturday dance party has been going strong for five years, steaming up the Tavern’s back room and even taking to the high seas (or at least the Ohio River) for a couple RiverDance_MF events on a boat. So limber up, drink up and dance your ass off one last time, starting at 10 p.m.
The Heights Music Festival (formerly Clifton Heights Music Festival, launched in 2009) kicks off tonight with more than 70 bands (and some comedy sets) at five venues within walking distance around Clifton Heights. Rohs Street Café, Baba Budan’s, Mac’s, Christy’s and Roxx Electrocafe all host performances beginning at 7 p.m. tonight and starting at 3 p.m. tomorrow afternoon through the night. Tickets are $8 for just tonight, $5 for tomorrow’s daytime shows or $12 for the whole weekend. Go here for lineup details and more information.
iconic Cincinnati-based artist Charley Harper passed away almost five years
ago, his artwork is as recognizable now than ever. His modernist depictions of
nature and wildlife still cover the walls of fans young and old. Mary Ran
Gallery is currently holding an exhibit and sale of Harper’s vintage signed and
numbered prints. Stop by the Hyde Park gallery, peep some of his colorful works
and walk away with one of your own. Find details here.
TEDxCincinnatiChange is the first of many TED events to hit the Tri-state this spring. Saturday’s theme is "Big Picture, Small Details," set to examine issues with global and local impact and zeroing in on small details to make big ideas work. This a satellite event of a national TEDxChange, which marks a partnership between TED (Technology, Entertainments and Design) and the Melinda Gates Foundation. The Cincinnati event will kick off with a live streaming of a TEDxChange talk from Berlin. Speakers and performers include filmmakers Andrea Sisson and Peter Ohs, True Body Project founder Stacy Sims, taste of Beligum's Jean-Francois Flechet and many more. The event is currently sold out, but go here to find other upcoming TED events.
Rumspringa is a rite of passage when Amish adolescents can leave their community and enjoy a relaxed atmosphere prior to deciding to be baptized or to leave the Amish church. In popular culture, those participating in Rumspringa are often portrayed as hardcore partiers, swapping their values and traditional garb for booze and sex (but in actuality, it’s not so drastic – most choose to continue being Amish). Saturday, Mayday presents its annual Rumspringa Beer and Sausage Fest. Rock out like it’s your only chance to do so and enjoy Amish-inspired delights like beerwurst, bangers, homemade mustards and more beer than you can shake a buckled shoe at. Remember to call a designated carriage driver! The fun starts at 4 p.m.
OTR A.D.O.P.T. is an organization that helps match prospective home/business owners renovate deteriorating historic buildings in Over-the-Rhine. Saturday, Neon’s Unplugged hosts a benefit for the organization, inviting you to Partly Like it’s 1869! Learn about the organization and how to get involved while celebrating the eclectic neighborhood. Costumes are encourage, so sport your favorite hoop skirt or suspenders and capture your look in a photo booth. A $5 donation gets you in; enjoy old timey drink specials from 8 p.m.-1 a.m.