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.
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.
While we’re on the topic of cabarets, on the other side of the river is Musical Theatre Night at the Thompson House. This inaugural weekly event is like karaoke, but with a live pianist and tunes from your favorite movies and musicals. Bring your own sheet music or pick a hit from their provided selections. Come around 7:30 p.m. to sign up. The night runs through 11 p.m. Flex those jazz hands and go here for more info.
The JCC Summer Film Series kicks off tonight at Montgomery’s Mayerson JCC. Based on the popularity of the organization’s Jewish and Israeli Film Festival last winter, the center will again screen excellent movies rarely shown in Cincinnati, through Thursday. Tonight’s film is Melting Away (Namess Ba'geshem), the first Israeli feature film that deals with the topic of parents and their relationships with transgendered children. The movie begins at 7 p.m. Check out the full lineup here.
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).
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.
I’ve been working at Kroger for about six years now. The union, however, will tell you it’s about four because of the frequent absences I take in the name of higher education. (And believe me, this makes a drastic difference in my pay scale.)
In the six (four) years I’ve been at Kroger, I thought that the worst thing that could ever happen to me was having to clean shit off of the walls, floor and seats of the women’s bathroom. Imagine my surprise: Up until this point, I was convinced that girls didn’t poop. But, no, apparently it can get worse.
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.
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.