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by Jac Kern 01.04.2013
Posted In: Events, Fashion, Drinking, Music, Performances at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List: 1/4-1/6

If your New Year’s resolution is to go out more and explore the city in 2013, get started this weekend by checking out some of these events.

Thunder-Sky Inc. hosts an opening reception for New Magic and Costume Shoppe Friday 6-10 p.m. The Northside gallery, which highlights “outsider art” and supports creatives with disabilities, will display paintings by Yohana Junker, masks by David Earl Johnson and some beloved clown costumes by Raymond Thunder-Sky himself.

Tri-State brides-to-be (and psycho girlfriends eager to jump the gun) will flock to Duke Energy convention center this weekend for Wendy’s Bridal Show. More than 150 event planners, gown retailers, caterers and other wedding experts will be on hand to help create your big day from the invitations to the perfect reception music. Each day features fashion shows with dresses from Wendy’s Cincinnati Bride. The expo runs 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Get $2 off admission here.

Argentinean pianist Ingrid Fliter joins the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for some high-energy performances Friday and Saturday. Fliter will perform Ravel’s G Major Piano Concerto. Additionally, the CSO will present Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances. Go here for tickets and more information.

Ohio native and fashion photographer Rob Deaton has teamed up with Laura Kirkpatrick (America’s Next Top Model runner-up, ANTM All-Stars contestant and Kentucky native) to present Fashion Angels, a charity event benefiting the Freestore Foodbank, American Cancer Society and Dyslexia foundation Beautiful Minds. Taking place at Loveland’s Receptions Banquet Center, Fashion Angels runs Friday-Sunday featuring runway shows by more than a dozen designers. VIP ticket holders will enjoy cocktail parties and a meet-and-greet with Deaton and Kirkpatrick.

If bar hopping is on your schedule this weekend, be sure to read this week’s Drink column for tips on how to step up your cocktail game this year.

For more art openings, theater shows, concerts and other events, check out our full calendar.

 
 
by Jac Kern 10.28.2011
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, Music, Northside, Fun, Events, Concerts at 12:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Halloweekend To Do List: 10/28-10/30

There's usually so much happening the weekend before Halloween that the problem isn't finding something to do, it's narrowing your options down! Here are some fun, spooky, booze-filled and/or kid-friendly suggestions. It's the Halloweekend, baby I'm about to have me some fun.

Tonight is Final Friday in OTR, so check out gallery openings/shows at Aisle, YES, Static Age and 1305. Might as well Pimp That Pumpkin while you're in the neighborhood! If you're feeling nostalgic while in OTR, definitely check out the Final Friday OTR Skate at the OTR Rec Center. $3 gets you a skate rental, lessons from the Cincinnati Rollergirls, music by DJ Apryl Reign and Diamonn Gurr, horror film screenings, games and more. Go here to get all the details, and be sure to wear skate-friendly attire!

Perhaps you had a little more glam in mind for your Friday evening? Head over to Northside's Mayday for Ziggyween 2011, where you'll witness a live, full recreation of David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Also appearing are Scandinavian Leather and the original Gypsy Hut staff, dressed as the Mayday staff. That's more than you can shake a delicious, gourmet, pretzel-encased hot dog at (which, by the way, are $2 all night). Check out maydaynorthside.com for details.

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by Hannah Cook 07.19.2012
Posted In: Music, Movies at 02:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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When Someone Great Is Gone

Reflections on LCD Soundsystem's 'Shut Up and Play the Hits'

There’s a tremendous breach between a life of stardom and a life of ordinariness; it’s a point of view most of us Joes take. Constantly forming idols for ourselves, we forget that those deemed as “famous” perform such mundane tasks as even putting on underwear in the morning. For some reason, famous people don’t wear underwear — that’s too routine. They don’t have routines, they have fabulous, spontaneous lives. Perhaps they were never even children. Their birth was the moment that you fell in love with what they do. They are an entirely different kind.

Shut Up and Play the Hits bridges that gap for us, though. The documentary, directed by Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace, was screened in select theatres for only one night — a seemingly arrogant tactic, though I think it was done mostly just because it was the easiest and most affordable (the opposite of arrogant). Lucky for Cincinnati, the Contemporary Arts Center showed it in the lobby of its stone, skate park-like building to a full audience.

Shut Up and Play the Hits tells the visual tale of dance/punk band LCD Soundsystem’s final moments as one of the world’s most respected and adored musical entities. The band’s ending, oddly constructed as it was, provoked curiosity: Why stop at the pinnacle of your career? Did you have this planned all along?

Using shots of the band’s last show to a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden on April 2, 2011, mastermind James Murphy’s life before and after the show, and an actually informative interview, Shut Up and Play the Hits does some explaining, which was what Murphy really wanted. Not only that, but it also takes us through the inevitable emotional roller coaster Murphy and his bandmates rode on, anywhere from feeling “disturbingly normal” to breaking down in the presence of the band’s now jaded yet memorable musical equipment.

The film takes a spiral shape, starting and ending at the same spot — the cleaning up of LCD Soundsystem’s farewell show — but with two very different dispositions. At the beginning, we’re still confused as to why, but by the end, as that final heavy synth note rings out, we are understanding — content even — with Murphy’s decision to wholly join a life of normalcy.

This normal life seems to revolve around Murphy’s dog. Waking up at 10:32 the morning after the final, drunken show, Murphy lays pensively sleepy with his little dog on his belly, just staring at him. Maybe it’s the dog that keeps him from accepting the sadness of the end, or maybe he just hasn’t been able to look — really look — at his dog in quite some time. Either way, it’s an endearing moment that contrasts like a flash of lightening to the madness of their final show. The back and forth filming techniques foster those aesthetics.

In the moments of the show, the film actualizes just how much people treasure LCD Soundsystem. Slow-mo shots of the audience, focusing in on particularly passionate people, combined with the circling lights of the massive disco ball and LCD’s absorbing sounds gave life to the movie, like we were there ourselves. Murphy thanked the fans and his family with an authentic sense of farewell, leading into their final song “New York I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down,” which was almost too fitting for the circumstances — almost.

In many moments throughout the film, Murphy’s gaze suggests a complexity of despondency and hopefulness all at once, whether he’s making coffee or glowing in front of an 18,000-person show. The end is near and never has such an ending become so suddenly swallowed up. The film symbolically leaves us with a weeping fan staring at the dispersing stage, gracefully blurring the line of the sacred and profane. Murphy only wished to leave a stain, but that final note of that final song could very well ring out forever.

 
 
by Jac Kern 08.28.2013
Posted In: Humor, Music, Is this for real? at 01:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough...VMAs

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

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.

More stuff:

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 Bareilles’ “Brave.”

In other news, even D-list celebs, Like Dharma & Greg’s Thomas Gibson can get catfished.

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!  

 
 
by Jac Kern 08.30.2012
Posted In: Music, Concerts, Fun, Food, Events at 11:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Thursday To Do List

Raise money for the United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cincinnati while chasing a pack of stone-cold foxes? You can be a part of the fun at tonight’s Fox and Hound 5K at Sawyer Point. The race combines fundraising, running, walking and flirting for participants of all athletic abilities. Here’s the deal: The "hounds" (fellas) will chase the "foxes" (ladies), who get a five-minute head start for the race. Pairs of men and women can also compete to become top foxes and hounds. For those who haven’t yet registered, it’s $45 for the race, after-party admission, a T-shirt and chip timing (if available). Registration opens at 6 p.m.; the race starts at 7. Stick around post-race for an after-party at the park's Cincinnatus Sculpture.

The Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation (CUMHF) presents a celebration for the limited-edition digital EP/art package of Come Play The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams tonight at the CUMHF's (as well as CityBeat's) HQ, 811 Race St. The EP is $20; admission is a $5 donation to the foundation for non-members (or free to those who buy the EP). Guests will also get to see a video of the "Guitar Army" that performed at the 60th anniversary of the "Train Kept A-Rollin'" recording, last summer on Fountain Square. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Over at Washington Park, The Chris Comer Trio performs as part of the weekly Jazz in the Park series. Music runs 7-9 p.m. While you’re there, peep the sand volleyball court being set up for tomorrow's AVP Cincinnati Open kick-off. Volleyball players fresh off the boat from London’s Summer Olympics will play 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Find tickets here.

As September approaches and summer winds down, two additional free, weekly events come to an end tonight.

It’s Commonly Jazz welcomes the Mike Wade Septet featuring Steve Wilson to Eden Park Seasongood Pavilion. The free concert runs 6-8 p.m.

Salsa on the Square goes out with a bang tonight with music from Tropicoso (the group behind Latin Monday Nights at The Mad Frog). Learn to dance from Salsa pros or watch the fun while enjoying a cold beer. If you haven’t shown off your dance skills yet, strut your stuff on Fountain Square from 7-10 p.m.

Looking for a spot to grab dinner or drinks? We suggest Lavomatic, the recently made-over café in The Gateway Quarter. Check out this week’s review here.

 
 
by Jac Kern 05.10.2012
 
 
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Your Thursday To Do List

I'll admit I'm obsessed with This American Life. I listen to archived shows like most people listen to Rhapsody. I've seen every episode of Showtime's TV version. I have a bit of a crush on Ira Glass. For anyone else who's laughed and cried over a story or reached a destination only to sit in the parked car until the broadcast was over, get excited: This American Life is being broadcast live tonight! Ira and Co. will take over New York City's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts tonight for a production of TAL which will be broadcast live in hundreds of theaters across North America. The live event will feature writers David Rakoff and David Sedaris, comedian Tig Notaro, Snap Judgement's Glynn Washington and Ira himself. Taking full advantage of the live, visual format, the show will also feature music by OK Go, a short film by longtime TAL contributor and comedian Mike Birbiglia, a dance performance by Monica Bill Barnes & Company and much more to be seen. Participating cinemas include AMC Newport, Western Hills 14 and Florence 14. Go here to find a nearby theater and get your tickets to tonight's 8 p.m. show. Some theaters will present a recording of the show May 15. Get pumped by listening to 2009's live show here. (I am right now.)

Dayton's Ruckus Roboticus is currently featured on MTVu.com as one of this week's "Best Freshman Videos." The funky Hip Hop bot's "Take Me To The Disco" Video, featuring local actors, is vying for a spot in MTVu's permanent rotation. To celebrate the vid's lead in votes, the crew invites everyone to happy hour at the Moerlein Lager House. Enjoy cheap drinks and a vote-a-thon — bring your smartphones and other space devices beginning at 5:30 p.m. Voting for the video continues through Friday.

Visionaries and Voices opens its new exhibition Autocomplete: A Collaborative Coloring Book Exhibit tonight. V+V artists created black-and-white images which other area and national artists "colored in" using a variety of mediums. The project provided the opportunity for artists with disabilities to collaborate with other creatives they might typically not get the chance to work with. The result is more than 80 works from 160+ artists. Get your first look tonight at V+V's Northside gallery from 5-8 p.m.

Support the Junior League of Cincinnati while checking out a sweet showcase tonight at Scene Ultra Lounge. JLC's "I Want Candy" fashion show will feature items from Knickers XY and Fetish Boutique, hairstyles by High Five Salon and Bobbi Brown cosmetics from Saks Fifth Avenue. Ten bucks gets you in the door; the show begins at 9 p.m.

Art's Bizzarre takes over Mainstrasse's Leapin Lizard Gallery every second Thursday, for a night of music and art by local performers and crafters. Come watch live model drawing and participate in the creative process. At tonight's union-themed event, models will portray icons Rosie the Riveter and The Ironworker. Find more info here.

Check out our To Do page for art exhibits, theater shows and other events happening tonight and follow our music blog for nightly club shows and concerts.

 
 
by Jac Kern 03.02.2012
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List: 3/2-3/4

Bockfest is upon us! The annual celebration of Cincinnati's beer brewing history kicks off tonight with the Bockfest Parade, stepping off at 6 p.m. Organizers are keeping an eye on the weather, so check back with their site and Facebook page just in case. Even if the weather gets real ugly, just stop by one of the dozen participating venues where admission is free and beer is a-flowin'. Tons of special events coincide with the fest: Tonight, Park + Vine hosts its second annual veenie roast tonight (veggie hot dogs on delicious Mayday pretzel buns), Japps will feature a dance party tonight and Saturday, a Craft Menagerie takes over Arnold's Saturday and Washington Platform has a Bockfest Brunch Sunday, to name a few. And remember, you're not just getting your drink on, you're supporting Cincinnati history!

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.

It's always exciting when a new exhibit comes to the Contemporary Arts Center, and their opening parties are always a blast. Saturday the CAC welcomes two new art shows: I surrender, dear, Dasha Shishkin's first solo museum exhibit and Spectacle: The Music Video, curated by creative collective Flux. Read more about the artists here and check out our preview of Spectacle here. Music videos as art. Super cool.

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:



Following the original performance is a DJ set 'til 11 p.m. The party is free and there will be a cash bar. Get more info here.

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.

This not enough for you? There are tons of other happenings this weekend. Arts? We got 'em. Theater? You bet. Foul-mouthed, inxtoicated comedians? Of course. Just check out our To Do page for all your fun-having needs.

 
 
by Eli Johnson 01.06.2012
Posted In: Music, Movies, Reviews, Life at 12:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Music, Movies and the Not So Mundane

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.

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by Eli Johnson 01.24.2012
Posted In: Music, Movies at 01:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Music, Movies and the Not So Mundane

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.

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by Eli Johnson 01.09.2012
Posted In: Movies, Music, Reviews, TV/Celebrity at 12:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Music, Movies and the Not So Mundane

It was announced today that Actor/Director/Humanitarean/Total Heartthrob Jeff Spicoli Sean Penn is receiving the 2012 Joel Siegel Award at the 17th Annual Critics Choice Movie Awards on Jan. 12 for the relief work he has done in Haiti. This will be only the fifth Joel Siegel Award given by the BFCA, and dedicated “to those who understand, as Joel did, that the greatest value of celebrity is as an enhanced platform to do good works for others."

“While it was heartening to see such an outpouring of support and aid for the Haitian people in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, the long-term commitment made by Sean and his organization is particularly notable," said BFCA president Joey Berlin.

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