When journalists interview people, it's more often than not about something very specific. When we interview the governor, his press person would definitely give us a dirty look if we threw in questions like, "What's your favorite '90s boy band?" or, "Did OJ do it?" We're there to discuss something specific, and straying too far outside that topic is viewed as either a waste of the interviewee's time or an invasion of privacy.
The reality is that there are more facets to the people we interview than we'll ever know. What was Senate Chef Daniel Wright's favorite toy when he was a kid? What does CityBeat editor-in-chief Danny Cross order at Taco Bell?
The answers to questions like these don't define a person, but neither do their jobs, possessions, political leanings, philanthropic efforts or social status. It's a little bit of everything. In this blog series, I'll be picking random Cincinnatians who are doing something interesting, call them on the phone/harass them on the street and ask five or six weird questions and hope I don't get yelled at. Feel free to comment if there's someone you'd like to suggest.
As a practice go, I'm first interviewing my cubicle mate and reporter extraordinaire, German Lopez. If you don’t recognize the name German Lopez, it’s because you probably never read CityBeat, so shame on you. Around the office, he's known for his dry sense of humor, really liking donuts, ditching all of our happy hours and one time writing almost an entire issue by himself. He's the one we all go to when we need him to explain in plebeian language the meaning of complicated political and economic data.
Hannah McCartney: What's your favorite most recent viral video?
At the risk of inducing widespread PTSD flashbacks, I invite everyone to recall 2011’s Internet Public Enemy No. 1, Rebecca Black. The teen, who is probably a decent human undeserving of worldwide hatred, assaulted eardrums on a massive scale with her music video gone viral, “Friday.” The worst realization to come out of Friday-gate wasn’t the sorry state of the music industry or even the online bullying Black faced, but the fact that, apparently, rich people will throw a few thousand dollars at a greedy producer to create a shitty song and music video for their marginally talented child.
Record producer and songwriter Patrice Wilson was one of the driving forces behind “Friday” and if you wanted to give his work another chance, you’re in luck. He worked with Nicole Westbrook to record a song not about one day of the week (that’s so 2011), but one day of the year. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Thanksgiving.
Kraft Mac-n-Cheese – AY! Stove Top stuffing – AY! We one-percenters should have better food than this.
While we’re on the
topic of social phenomena ripe for mockery, it’s fitting to recognize Food
Network’s Guy Fieri (Real Name: Guy Ferry. Yeah, douchebag status: confirmed)
who recently opened a new restaurant in New York City. It seems most people
either love or hate Guy. He co-owns five California restaurants and hosts the
popular Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,
on which he travels the country highlighting off-the-beaten-path chow-down
spots — so, clearly he’s got some fans out there. Others are a bit turned off
by his labored “Rock-N-Roll” façade, his annoying catchphrases
and his penchant for bowling shirts.
I can’t trust a man who purposefully styles his hair like a goofy visor hat from Cappel’s, and apparently New York Times’ Pete Wells isn’t a fan either. In his Nov. 13 take-down piece on the new Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square, Wells completely ripped the joint apart limb from tribal tattooed limb. While any attempt to seriously review what sounds like a black hole for overweight tourists would probably prove futile, I feel Wells could have been a bit more creative in his blasting of Fieri. Guy’s an easy target, so why go with the cliched “Dear Guy,” letter format, punctuated by a series of overly sarcastic questions? At this point I’m waiting for a cynical review of Wells’ review (please tweet any findings to @jackern), but I have to hand it to the reviewer for this service assessment that made me choke on my morning coffee: “The well-meaning staff seems to realize that this is not a real restaurant.” Find the full story here.
Fans got a first look at Brad Pitt zombie action flick World War Z last week. The film, based on Max Brooks’ 2006 novel of the same name, may stray farther from the text than fans have hoped, judging by the trailer. (Though it’s important to note how deceiving these first looks can be). The book reflects on a worldwide war on zombies after the fact, using interviews with survivors to paint the terrifying picture, whereas the film appears to be a straight-up zombie movie. However it turns out, zombie purists beware: These may be the quickest and most agile undead yet.
After last week’s election, gay marriage is now legal nine states. It’s a great feat for equality, but we’ve got a long way to go. In fact, gays across America have given straight, conservative men an ultimatum: Vote to legalize same-sex marriage, or they will marry the crap out of your girlfriends.
Portlandia, the hilarious sketch comedy spoofing counter-culture trends, returns to IFC Jan. 4. The show stars SNL’s Fred Armisen and Sleater-Kinney/Wild Flag guitarist-singer Carrie Brownstein — quite possibly my favorite non-romantic duo — in a series of timely skits about the hipster sect of popular culture. All the good little boys and girls of Oregon and beyond can get an early sampling of the two with the “Winter in Portlandia” holiday special on Dec. 14. Fans will see Peter and Nance go low-carb to stave off winter blubber and meet Candace’s son as he swings by Women and Women First during his holiday visit.
Here’s the first skit from the upcoming third season:
As part of that initiative, the city of Cincinnati on Tuesday announced an agreement signed by Cincinnati city manager Milton Dohoney Jr. as well as city managers of Newport and Covington, Ky., agreeing to allow licensed taxicabs to freely commute and transport passengers across city lines from July 1-15. This differs from normal taxi law, in which a Covington driver who picked up passengers in Covington and transported them to Cincinnati, for example, would be barred from picking up another group of passengers within Cincinnati limits, instead required to go back to Covington to seek business.
Licensed taxi drivers who wish to take part of the integrated system are required to attend a "Hospitality Session" hosted by the City of Cincinnati, which will offer recommendations for interacting with international visitors and offer drivers World Choir Games schedule information. With completion of the session, drivers will earn a purple World Choir Games placard for their car, signifying their ability to commute across the river.
In May, City Council voted to approve a number of changes to the Cincinnati taxi system, to be implemented over a series of three stages, beginning July 1 to coincide with the influx of the World Choir Games. Changes included increased fares, an expanded arsenal of taxi stands and improved signage.
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.
An after-work summer destination for many yuppies Tri-Staters, Party in the Park returns tonight for its 32nd year tonight. Every Wednesday through July, Party in the Park brings booze and popular area cover bands to Yeatman’s Cove from 5-10 p.m. Happy hour runs 5-6:30 p.m. and for the first time, wine and cocktails are available in addition to beer. Tonight’s music comes from Naked Karate Girls. Check out the full lineup here.
Perhaps contemporary Classical is more your style? World-renown composer
Yanni performs at the Aronoff Center tonight. Known for being the sound of New
Wave and providing the music for the Olympics (since 1988) and countless other
televised sporting events, Yanni presents a new touring show featuring new
music from Truth of Touch, his first
album of original studio music in almost a decade. Tonight’s performance begins
at 8 p.m. Go here to find tickets.
Interior decorator and HGTV host/designer Monica Pedersen will stop by Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Rookwood Pavilion to discuss and sign her new book. Monica Pedersen Make It Beautiful: Designs and Ideas for Entertaining at Home combines the author’s DIY nature and design/décor expertise to turn readers into party-throwing pros. The event begins at 7 p.m. tonight.
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.
Today is also the kick-off of American Craft Beer Week. That’s a thing! Cincinnati has a rich brewing history, so it’s no surprise that local watering holes are celebrating the creation and consumption of delicious craft beer. Tonight, Arnold’s taps Bell’s Third Coast Ale — one of two fifth-barrels in the entire city. Find Arnold’s full ACBW schedule here.
The Crazy Fox in Newport hosts open mic and all-night happy hour every Monday. All musicians are welcome to perform in a friendly atmosphere, beginning at 8:30 p.m. The Seedy Seeds’ Margaret Darling guest hosts this week.
It's Only A Day Away
Tomorrow, Northside Tavern hosts a fundraiser for End Slavery Cincinnati. Help raise awareness about human trafficking in the country and right here in Cincinnati from 5-10 p.m. There will be live music from The Flavor Junkies and Wild Mountain Berries, door prizes and more, for $5 at the door.
This American Life presented a live cinema event last Thursday that featured its standard true storytelling format, but with ample visual elements. In addition to anecdotes from David Sedaris, Tig Notaro and others, there were also dance performances, a hilarious short film from Mike Birbiglia and an interactive performance by OK GO. The theater in Newport where I watched the show was far too empty — I found the show more entertaining than any movie in theaters right now! Those who missed out have another chance to check out the program in theaters Tuesday. Sure, it will be a recording of the live show, but the charm and excitement of the live format will surely shine through. Without spoiling anything, the stories they were able to assemble were killer: laugh-out-loud, misty-eyed, thought-provoking TAL goodness.
Be sure to 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 screening the show tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. Can I gush any more? No. It’s worth the $20 ticket. Please go.
Ricky, Julian and Bubbles bring the trailer park to town for
a night tomorrow! For those unfamiliar, Trailer Park Boys is a Canadian
mockumentary-style comedy series and movies that has developed a
cult following over the past decade. It’s white trash hilarity at its finest.
If last year’s live show was any indication, Tuesday’s “Community Service Variety
Show” is sure to bring the LOLs. Buy tickets here.
Four Entertainment Group (4EG) is the driving force behind nine of the most popular bars and restaurants in the area. While it would be difficult to drink at each location in one night (and possibly damaging to the liver), 4EG is bringing all of their venues to Fountain Square tonight. Try specialty cocktails, beers, wine and signature dishes from aliveOne, Keystone Hyde Park, Keystone Covington, The Lackman, The Stand, Mount Adams Pavilion, The Righteous Room, The Sandbar and Tap & Go as you get down to music from DJ Matt Joy and Bad Veins. Head down to the square from 5-10 p.m. and if you're on Foursquare, be sure to check in — the mayor of these venues will receive a prize.
On second Saturdays, Northside is the place to be. Celebrate the eclectic neighborhood and support local businesses by visiting some of the dozens of participating galleries, shops, restaurants and bars. Visitors will enjoy extended hours, drink and food specials, sales and unique promotions at places like Nvision, Mayday, Take the Cake, C&D, Tantrum, Skincraft and many more. Find a full list of participating businesses here.