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by Jac Kern 03.19.2015
at 12:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

Eccentric millionaire type Robert Durst — not the Limp Bizkit one, AP  — has been arrested in New Orleans amidst gun charges and a separate investigation of his involvement in the 2000 death of his friend Susan Berman. If you’re reading this like, “Get that hard news out of my pop culture roundup!” you clearly missed the recent HBO docu-series, The Jinx. The show looked into the life of Robert Durst, who had been connected to but not convicted of three separate crimes: the 1982 disappearance of his wife, the 2000 murder of his friend and the 2001 death and dismemberment of a neighbor. The series featured interviews with Durst; police, detectives and lawyers involved in the various cases; friends and family of the victims. It also resulted in new information — the finale ended with a shocking (apparent) off-camera confession from Durst after being cornered with new evidence. The final minutes of the episode featured audio of Durst, likely unaware he was still mic’d up, offering self-incriminating revelations. The cherry on top: “[I] killed them all, of course.”

In a perfect storm of events — or perfectly calculated turn of events, depending on what you believe — the finale coincided with the real-time arrest of Durst, who was found in New Orleans using a false name. Filmmakers claim the timing was merely coincidence, that they’d shared all their findings with police and were not involved with the investigation. Durst is now locked up. To compare this to the popular podcast Serial, it would almost be like Adnan Syed was released from prison the day the final chapter aired. (Although Adnan is set to present his case to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals this month, thanks in part to the podcast.)

The whole story — of the documentary, Durst’s life and the events unfolding in real time — has been nothing short of captivating, taking true crime entertainment to a new level. Now, we go from watching Durst on an HBO show to reading about him in the news. And friends, the news doesn’t come with spoiler alerts.

In less murdery news, Will Ferrell stopped by The Late Show on St. Patrick’s Day looking like an Irish Buddy the Elf, and Letterman asked him for some of his vintage Harry Caray realness. Ferrell obliged. So here’s Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf as a leprechaun as Harry Caray:

Awards season might be over with the Oscars behind us, but the Emmys are already gearing up for September’s show. It was announced last week that Andy Samberg will host. Fellow SNL veteran Seth Meyers got the gig last year.

WWJD — What Would Joan Do? — is probably something the folks over at Fashion Police are asking themselves right now. Since legendary host Ms. Rivers passed away and Kathy Griffin took over, FP just hasn’t caught a break. First, Giuliana Rancic made some controversial remarks about singer Zendaya’s dreadlocked look she wore to the Oscars, then Kelly Osborne left the show, and now new host Kathy Griffin is ditching Fashion Police after just seven episodes. Since the show cannot be carried by stylist/new panelist Brad Goreski and E.T./bobblehead Giuliana alone, Fashion Police is taking a break until September (likely timed with the Emmys).

Truth or Dare? Dare: I dare you to watch this trailer for the first authorized Kurt Cobain documentary without crying. Truth: I couldn’t. 

Jimmy Kimmel brought his late night show back to Austin, Texas this week for South by Southwest. As per usual, he tricked a bunch of POSERS into sharing their opinions on completely made-up bands. He also offered his services to produce a commercial for Vulcan Video, an Austin video store, with help from “local actor” Matthew McConaughey.

Cincinnati was featured on Catfish the TV Show again in last night’s episode. If you recall, last time Nev Schulman and the Catfish crew were here, it resulted in a really sad episode where a dude was being catfished by his own cousin because he said she was fat once or something. This episode was also depressing, but for totally different reasons. The episode focused on Daisy, who lives in North Carolina. She met a guy on Instagram (need I even go on?) named Marcus, who’s from Cincinnati. The two hit it off and continued communication via text since summer of 2012. In the years since, they’ve never seen met one another, video-chatted or even talked on the phone (ugh, Daisyyyyy). But wait, there’s more. Daisy has mailed Marcus around $2,000 worth of gifts and cash over the years, including a professional-grade camera. Oh, and Marcus is a video producer. Marcus never put the camera or his skills to use as far as communicating with Daisy goes, so all signs point to Marcus being a real human who is exactly who he says he is. Right?

Surprisingly, yes. After Marcus hesitated and backed out of a meetup several times, Daisy and the crew came to Cincinnati and agreed to meet him at a riverside park in Northern Kentucky. To everyone’s surprise (except dumbass Daisy, ironically), Marcus was legit! He wasn’t being sneaky and secretive and hesitant to thank her for gifts or return the favor because he was a catfish or even because he had a girlfriend on the side — dude just hates talking to humans on the phone, via video or in person and is just really rude, I guess. Seriously, one of the weirdest episodes ever, and another example of stupid, communicationally-challenged Millennials that the world definitely did not need. Read more about the ep here.

That local swingers show on A&E premieres this weekend. Read more about the show and TV this week here.

by Jac Kern 03.12.2015
Posted In: Movies, Music, TV/Celebrity, Humor at 01:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

Seeing locals on reality TV combines two of my favorite things: Cincinnati and trashy television. So I was elated to hear that A&E’s Neighbors with Benefits – a new unscripted series following swingers — is set just north in Warren County. The show will document married couples in a suburban neighborhood that have open, extra-marital relationships. The show hasn’t even aired yet (it premieres Sunday, March 22), but it already has reality red flags, as with many A&E shows filmed in Cincinnati (remember Rowhouse Showdown?). While at least one couple on the show is confirmed local, some residents of the Thorton Grove neighborhood near Maineville question the legitimacy of the other couples and shooting location. There’s speculation that a rental home outside Thorton Grove was used to shoot the series after residents complained about associating the neighborhood with a swinger capital. But honestly, if the worst thing about your neighborhood is that people are having sex with each other, isn’t that something to brag about?

Marilyn Manson is all about his pops these days. He took an unexpected but awesome role on Sons of Anarchy’s final season, saying he took the role because he watched the show with his father, and now the two are in Paper Magazine.


New show news:

True Detective Season Two is still without a premiere date, but stars Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell, Taylor Kitsch and Rachel McAdams have been at work shooting the next installment. Go here to read more about the season’s storyline — public transportation + murder + conspiracy — the characters and directors — various directors will take over for Season One’s Emmy winner Cary Fukanaga — and see photos from set. (Spoiler Alert only if you want to go in to the show with zero background info on the story.)

The ladies of Litchfield will be back for the binging when Orange Is the New Black Season Three premieres June 12. 

American Horror Story’s fifth season will apparently take a look at the horrid world of hospitality because Lady Gaga revealed the next setting will be a hotel. Gaga will reportedly star. AHS: Hotel premieres in October and here’s some totally unconfirmed juice goose (translation: juicy gossip) posted on the AHS Reddit thread. I don’t know about Gaga taking the lead on this — let alone starring in three seasons amidst her very successful music career — but the general storyline sounds good to me! And the present-day setting with flashbacks to different eras is in line with the show’s pattern (so far, odd seasons have been set in modern day — Murder House, Coven — while even seasons were period pieces — Asylum, Freak Show). I love the idea of peeking in on various scandalous guests over the years — so many opportunities for killer guest-stars!

Hannibal returns June 4 and the first image is out. I’m getting Dr. Lecter-meets-SAMCRO vibes and I'm loving it.

Speaking of new shows, check out this week’s TV column for a spring television preview. Winter might finally be gone, Game of Thrones is coming!

Zoolander 2 is officially happening, as evidenced by Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson stomping the Valentino runway as Derek and Hansel during Paris Fashion Week.

Nothing says haute couture quite like Ben Stiller’s old ass on a runway. And if you really want to roll your eyes to the back of your skull and never to see the light of day again, get this: I looked on IMDB for evidence that this sequel is really happening (yes, I fact-check the gossip rags I read; yes, IMDB is a reputable fact-checking source) and found that Stiller is also attached to Dodgeball 2 (predictable) and Space Jam 2 (da fuh?).

Ryan Gosling must be craving some attention since that baby of his stole the spotlight, because he shared some cute throwback dance videos that have everyone saying, “Hey girl,” again.

Ryan, if you think we haven’t already seen all your talent show videos and Mickey Mouse Club clips, you are seriously underestimating the stalkiness of your fans. Speaking of, why is there no term for Gosling fans, a la Cumberbitches? Can I bring up “juice goose” twice in one post?

But I digress. Here’s the little man at work:

Vince Gilligan would like everyone to stop throwing pizzas on Walter White’s house, please. The Breaking Bad creator says fans flock to the real house used for exterior shots in the show, and the current owners are cool with that, except when people creep up at night and recreate the famous pizza scene.

The Dress that captivated the Internet is dead and buried and I’m not trying to resurrect it anytime soon, but if you are curious about the science behind why one dress looks completely different to different people, read here. And see how good you are at differentiating colors here — you may have a fourth cone, which means you probably saw the blue and black dress for what is was: a goddamned blue and black dress.

And here’s Earl Sinclair singing “Hypnotize” because it’s Thursday and we all need this.

(Thanks, Amberly)

by Samantha Gellin 03.12.2015
Posted In: Commentary at 08:23 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
from the copy editor

From the Copy Desk

In case you need a dictionary with the March 11 issue of CityBeat

Good morning readers! After a long dark haul, it's finally, finally spring. Well, actually, it's not. Spring technically doesn't start until March 20. But with the sun shining and the temps hitting 60 degrees, it certainly feels like it. And I'll take whatever I can get.

Let's jump right into Words Nobody Uses or Knows in this week's issue. I found three in Rick Pender's critique of August: Osage County, which is running at the Clifton Performance Theatre until March 14. (Three? What's he trying to do?!)

My favorite word of the issue is donnybrook — it sounds a bit made up, doesn't it?

donnybrook: a scene of uproar and disorder; a heated argument (n.)

Fun fact: The word originates from the historical Donnybrook Fair in Donnybrook, a district of Dublin, Ireland. The Fair, according to The Google, began in 1204 (whoa ... it always blows my mind a bit when I realize how much more history other countries have) and ran annually until 1866. Apparently the "fun fair" was infamous for its drunken brawls. Hence, the use of the word donnybrook.

In this issue: "The ultimate result is a family donnybrook, with Barbara forcing her mother into rehab."

Next best word in Pender's piece is miasma.

miasma: a vaporous exhalation formerly believed to cause disease; an influence or atmosphere that tends to deplete or corrupt (n.)

Appropriate, I think, because there was something about the word that reminded me of disease before I even looked up the definition. It's from the Greek word miainein, which literally means "to pollute."

In this issue: "Ivy has been the dutiful daughter, keeping her life on hold for years while tending to her battling parents and their ills and idiosyncrasies and being badgered for not marrying; she’s sick of the miasma of bad behavior and more than eager to escape."

The third (but not last) word from Pender is vituperative, pronounced "vahy-too-per-uh-tiv."

vituperative: bitter and abusive (adj.)

In this issue: "Hodges captures Violet’s vituperative nature, but allows a few cracks in her cantankerous façade to reveal the once vulnerable woman inside."

Of course, our lesson wouldn't be complete without an unusual word from Kathy Y. Wilson's piece "Mother and Child Reunion." It's actually one of my favorite stories in this week's issue. (Which I hope you've picked up already.) The word is mellifluous. It's a from the late Latin word mellifluus (15th century), where mel translates to "honey" and fluere translates to "flow".

mellifluous: (of a voice or words) sweet or musical; pleasant to hear (adj.)

Makes sense, right?

In this issue: "The very first time I heard the plaintive and mellifluous baritone of Luther Vandross I was riding with my mom through a cold rain through the intersection of Kemper Road and Springfield Pike in Springdale coming from the old Thriftway grocery store."

by Staff 03.06.2015
Posted In: Animals, Culture, Concerts, Fun, Events, Drinking at 01:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your Weekend To Do List (3/6-3/8)

Wine! Beer! Goats!

Lots of booze-based, full-weekend events going on. Bockfest and the Cincinnati International Wine Festival Grand Tastings both kick off tonight — one with a goat and the other with a far classier couple, Gina Gallo of the Gallo wine family and her husband Jean-Charles Boisset, of France's Boisset Family Estates winery.


Event: Bockfest

Cincinnatians not only love their beer, they also love to celebrate that they love their beer. They even love to celebrate the celebration of loving their beer. Bockfest, the oldest and largest German-style bock beer festival in the United States, is back to host a weekend of beer drinking, live music, German games, dancing, a 5k run and tons of sausage. The party kicks off 6 p.m. Friday with a parade led by a majestic bock — or to the non-German speaker, a goat — and a Sausage Queen, starting at Arnold’s Bar & Grill and ending with a ceremonial keg blessing at the festival hub, Bockfest Hall (1619 Moore St., OTR). The festivities continue in tents and overflow into surrounding participating venues, none of which will have an admission fee. A free shuttle will run a continuous loop among Bockfest sites all weekend long, taking you quickly from one keg tapping to another.

Along the route will be a traditional fish fry at Old St. Mary’s in OTR and a “veenie” vegan sausage roast outside Park + Vine. The festivities continue into the outdoor tent venues, and overflow into surrounding participating venues, none of which will have an admission fee. A free shuttle bus will run a continuous loop among the Bockfest sites all weekend long, taking you quickly from one keg tapping to another. To get a taste of history to sample with your beer, there will be tours of the city’s historical breweries and underground tunnels, plus a Bockfest Heritage Series at the Woodward Theatre, with speakers, presentations, displays and stein collections. The third annual Bockfest 5k run takes off from Bockfest Hall 10 a.m. Saturday to benefit the Flying Pig Marathon charities — a great way to burn off all that beer. Grab a “Continental Bockfest” of Amish chicken, hot bacon sauerkraut slaw and plenty of German sausage noon-2 p.m. Sunday at Bockfest Hall, before dancing the night away at a traditional German folk dance … or at least until all the beer runs out. Friday-Sunday. Free. Full schedule of events at bockfest.com.

Photo: Provided

Event: Cincinnati International Wine Festival

If wine gets better with age, it makes sense that the Cincinnati International Wine Festival would too. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the three-day fest is made up of winery dinners at local restaurants and grand tastings, plus a Saturday charity auction and luncheon at the Hall of Mirrors. The fest, which is a nonprofit, has raised more than $4.2 million for local charities during its lifetime. And if you can do good while imbibing samples of more than 800 wines from around the world, what’s better than that? Most winery dinners are sold out, but tickets are still available for Grand Tastings on Friday and Saturday, which allow expert and beginner oenophiles to taste rare, new and exciting wines while chatting with winemakers. Read our cheat-sheet for how to get your grape on here. 6:30-9 p.m. Friday; 2:30-4:30 p.m. and 6:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday. $65-$125. Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Downtown. winefestival.com

Mort Shuman (left) and Doc Pomus
Photo: Felder Family Archive 
Film: AKA Doc Pomus
It’s been a long, slow journey for Doc Pomus — who died in 1991 without being widely known by the public — to become recognized as one of Rock & Roll’s greatest songwriters ever. But his cause has gained much momentum recently. One key element is the recent documentary
AKA Doc Pomus, which plays Friday at The Carnegie in Covington as part of the current Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival. It is followed by a tribute concert for Pomus featuring local acts The Hiders, Magnolia Mountain, The Perfect Children and DJ Mowgli. Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival presents AKA DOC POMUS and a tribute concert at 6 p.m. Friday at The Carnegie in Covington. More info and tickets: cincyra.org.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Film: Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

For part two, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel continues along the same path, with a wistful, unfulfilled ache that lingers in each character, some moreso than others.

Douglas, having jettisoned Jean, pines for Evelyn. The two spend their days working through their retirement in Jaipur, and their evenings engaged in a most understated courtship. Norman, on the other hand, has settled down quite comfortably with Carol (Diana Hardcastle), a fellow pleasure-seeker, while Madge has a pair of eligible suitors hooked, but has an itch that neither is quite able to satisfactorily scratch for her. 

Muriel and Sonny have the most obvious big-picture storyline, thanks to the burgeoning success of the first Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Sonny wants to expand but needs an infusion of cash and support, so the pair heads to the U.S. to negotiate with a branded chain headed by Ty Burley (the exquisitely bearded David Strathairn) who agrees, in principle, but sends an anonymous scout to check on things before making a final decision. 

Of course, the secret inspector is slated to arrive just as Sonny’s in the final stages of planning and executing his wedding to Sunaina, so there are the typical examples of mistaken identity and botched plans that must occur along the way before the happy ending, right? Check.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is all about the innumerable chances life offers, and the fierce fighting spirit that burns in us no matter the age or situation in which we find ourselves. Intriguingly, that spirit, this time out, replaces the exotic location, and with new beacons (in the form of Richard Gere and a much better used Lillete Dubey as Sonny’s mother) presents a worthy second stay that could open the door for even more — not at all unwelcome — visits down the road. Opens wide Friday.


Event: Men's Roller Derby
If you’re missing your weekly chance to watch dudes beat the tar out of each other now that football season is over, we may have found your replacement. And, no, it’s not hockey. It’s way too freaking cold to go sit around an ice rink. It’s not too cold, however, to huddle up with your friends at Sports Plus and watch a testosterone-filled roller derby battle between the Cincinnati Battering Rams and the Cleveland Guardians. Now, if we could just get them to update their uniforms with some booty shorts… 5 p.m. Saturday. $10-$12. Sports Plus, 10765 Reading Road, Evendale, cincinnatibatteringrams.com.

Photo: Provided
Art: Macy's Arts Sampler Weekend
More than 100 free performances and activities for thespians and admirers of the arts are jam packed into a single weekend at venues across Cincinnati during the Macy’s Arts Sampler. Brought to you by ArtsWave, Greater Cincinnati arts organizations of all shapes and sizes will get their turn on stage and in the spotlight, with free shows on Saturday and Sunday. Highlights from the weekend include puppet shows from Madcap Puppets, performances of the classics from Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, interactive activities like the family art camp by Art Academy of Cincinnati and an open house Sunday at Music Hall featuring self-guided tours, hands-on activities and performances throughout the building by the likes of Visionaries + Voices, Pones, Inc., Playhouse in the Park and more. See a full list of events online. Saturday-Sunday. Free. theartswave.org.

Art: Brighton First Saturday
At least one new gallery in Brighton will host its inaugural exhibition Saturday — i.e. Pear Gallery (2159 Central Ave., #8) — and no less than four exhibitions will be on view along the stretch of Central Avenue between the Ice Cream Factory and semantics gallery. semantics hosts the work of Cincinnati visual artist and musician Evan Lautzenheiser; Pear Gallery will pair (a play on the gallery’s name/curatorial mission) the work of sculptor Lindsey Henderson and painter Mica Smith; Molly Donnermeyer will show new work of her own at Live(In) Gallery with site-specific installations for each room of her home; and the Ice Cream Factory (2133 Central Ave., Brighton) will come alive from 7-11 p.m. with the illustrated event posters of Brighton resident and advocate for Cincy’s free DIY community calendar, Robert Inman. facebook.com/liveingallery, facebook.com/semanticsgallery, facebook.com/peargallery2159

Peter Pan at CCM
Photo: Mark Lyona
Onstage: Peter Pan
Don’t let the disappointing TV production of Peter Pan in December keep you away from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music’s production of this delightful show, where it will be populated by performers on their way to Broadway careers. The story of a mischievous boy who can fly and refuses to grow up will get a lively production, complete with flying effects. An escape to Neverland is something we all deserve this time of year, even if Captain Hook, his pirate crew and the voracious crocodile are lurking in the shadows. “Second star to the right, and straight on till morning.” 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. $31-$35. Ralph Corbett Auditorium, CCM Village, University of Cincinnati, Clifton Heights, 513-556-4183, ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice.

Honey & Houston's debut album, Barcelona
Music: Honey & Houston
Fantastic Northern Kentucky Folk/Country/Americana foursome Honey & Houston celebrate the release of its debut full-length, Barcelona, this Saturday at the Southgate House Revival. It will be quite an impressive triple bill featuring three of the area’s best Folk/Roots acts — Young Heirlooms and Arlo McKinley & the Lonesome Sound are set to join Honey & Houston. 9 p.m. $5. 111 E. Sixth St., Newport, southgatehouse.com.


Photo: Malcom Viles
Music: The Church
In the late ’70s, Australia exported a fair amount of bracingly unique Alternative Rock that rivaled anything produced by America or Great Britain. One of the Antipodean music scene’s leading lights in the subsequent ’80s was The Church, an aptly christened quartet that played with a hushed, psychedelic intensity and inspired an almost religious fervor among its rapidly converted fan base. Anchored by singer/songwriter Steve Kilbey and guitarists Peter Koppes and Marty Willson-Piper, The Church scored an Australian hit out of the gate with its 1981 debut album, Of Skins and Hearts, and its massive first single, “The Unguarded Moment.” Released in the U.S. on Capitol, Of Skins and Hearts generated little attention and The Church eventually lost their American distribution when it ignored requests for more deliberate radio hits.The band’s second American chance came in 1984 with a Warner Brothers contract and the repackaged release of two EPs as the full-length Remote Luxury. The band’s breakthrough, 1988’s Starfish, was its best selling album at home and sold well over a half million copies in the U.S. (where it was its debut for the Arista label) largely on the basis of its signature single, “Under the Milky Way,” an Alt Rock classic. The Church plays at Woodward Theater Sunday. Find tickets/more info here.

Cincinnati Home & Garden Show
Event: Cincinnati Home & Garden Show
According to the current weather forecast, most of our yards will still be covered in snow during the entirety of the 2015 Cincinnati Home & Garden Show. As depressing as that may seem right now, spring is (hopefully) just around the corner and it has already sprung at the Duke Energy Convention Center. Wander through fairy gardens, let your significant other try to coerce you into buying a hot tub or swoon over kitchens the size of your entire OTR apartment. Seriously. Your only other plans this week are working and shoveling the walk … again. Through March 8. $13; free for kids. 525 Elm St., Downtown, cincinnatihomeandgardenshow.com.

The Walking Dead
TV: The Walking Dead
Watch out, Alexandria: “Smooth Face” Grimes is here, and he’ll take your place and your wife! This week we get a broader look at the seemingly safe haven and learn about the residents’ concerns, which include prosciutto. 9 p.m. on AMC.

See more picks here.
by Staff 02.27.2015
Posted In: Culture, Concerts, Comedy, Arts, Drinking, Eats, Events, Fun, Life, TV/Celebrity at 02:04 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your Weekend To Do List (2/27-3/1)

Let's be real: House of Cards premieres tonight; most of us probably won't leave the house this weekend

After fans were teased by its brief availability online two weeks ago — a “bug,” they say — the next chapter of House of Cards is finally here. Since some of us are guilty of binge-watching both previous seasons, it’s been more than a year since many viewers have spent some quality time with the Underwoods. Let’s recap. 

On the brink of his impeachment, President Walker resigned at the end of Season Two. Walker’s wealthy confidant Raymond Tusk was arrested, knocking out two of Vice President Frank Underwood’s political roadblocks. After two seasons of watching Frank go to any length to secure his power, it seems he’s reached the pinnacle. Which means … 

Frank Underwood is the President of the United States of America. Terrifying. But that doesn’t solidify his reelection in the upcoming race. Wife and sometimes literal partner in crime Claire Underwood made some low and dirty moves last season. Despite Claire helping them both rise in the ranks, expect to see her question the couple’s actions and use her title as FLOTUS as she sees fit. 

And Doug Stamper was last seen lying in the woods. While trying to protect Rachel he sufficiently spooked her, leading to a chase and brick to the head. Fingers crossed for his (unlikely) miraculous return. 

If you do want to leave the house (or you finish the entire season before tomorrow night), here are some other things to do this weekend: 

Elton John
Photo: eltonjohn.com
Music: Elton John 
The legendary Sir Elton John will be at U.S. Bank Arena on Friday with his piano and backing band, performing hits from his prolific five-decade career. His 2013 release, The Diving Board, was his 31st album, and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road — the album with “Bennie and the Jets,” “Candle in the Wind” and “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” — just celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2014. Warning: This show will probably sell out; he’s kind of a big deal. 8 p.m. Friday. $39-$149. U.S. Bank Arena, 100 Broadway, Downtown, usbankarena.com

The Total Look
Photo: William Claxton
Event: Art After Dark 
The Cincinnati Art Museum’s Art After Dark events are a great way to visit the museum after hours for socializing, art viewing and wine drinking. Friday’s Art After Dark event celebrates the opening of the museum’s new exhibit, The Total Look, an exploration of the creative collaboration between fashion designer Rudi Gernreich, model Peggy Moffitt and photographer William Claxton, featuring Mod garments Gernreich created in the 1960s and ’70s. Dress in your best ’60s-era ensemble for an evening of docent-led tours, dance performances by Pones Inc., appetizers and drinks. 5-9 p.m. Friday. Free. 953 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams, cincinnatiartmuseum.org. 

Art: Final Friday/Reconstructed at 1305 Gallery 
Via the continued efforts of artist friends Michael Stillion and Melanie Derrick, 1305 Gallery continues to promote the work of quality artists more than a year after founder Lily Mulberry’s death. Final Friday, 1305 hosts Reconstructed: New Work by Michael Willett, a solo show of work by Willett, who graduated from DAAP’s MFA program and currently serves as an assistant professor of art at the University of Montevallo in Birmingham, Ala. His large-scale paintings and collages will be featured in an upcoming issue of New American Paintings, so check out his work while you can still see it for free. Through March 21. Free. 1305 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/1305gallery

Photo: Shen Yun Performing Arts
Onstage: Shen Yun 
Prepare to be uplifted and inspired by tremendous onstage energy as legends and classic heroes spring to life through historic Chinese dance. Sensational global performing group Shen Yun will take you on a profound journey through 5,000 years of Chinese culture, featuring the world’s most classically trained dancers accompanied by a live orchestra combining the best of Chinese and Western composition. Anticipate leaps and flips of Shen Yun’s aerial masters, thundering battle drums and singers’ soaring voices with dazzling animated backdrops that transport you to another world. 7:30 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday. $53-$123. Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, cincinnatiarts.org. 

Event: Cold Night & Warm Spirits 
If you’re tired of the winter dredge, seek refuge at Ault Park’s Cold Night & Warm Spirits whiskey tasting. Enjoy some of the finest American, Irish, Canadian and Scottish whiskies at this social and spirited event, with live music and light bites. Bring your own cigar to enjoy around a roaring fire on the cigar patio. Benefits Ault Park. 6:30-10 p.m. Friday. $40. 3600 Observatory Ave., Hyde Park, aultparkac.org.  

Marlee Matlin
Film: ReelAbilities Film Festival 
The ReelAbilities Film Festival, dedicated to movies that highlight the abilities of those considered “disabled,” isn’t new. It was here in 2013. But it’s vastly different this year — in fact, it’s now the city’s highest-profile film festival because the local group Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled has contracted to operate the national series of ReelAbilities festivals and wants to make the Cincinnati fest, which runs from Friday to March 7, a showcase. There will be more than 15 features from around the world. Highlights include guests like Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin at Friday afternoon’s awards luncheon; a touching film on Tuesday, The Commute, about a wheelchair-using man’s journey through the New York subway system; the Independent Spirit Award-nominated Stand Clear of the Closing Doors on March 7; and a documentary about the polio-afflicted great Rock & Roll songwriter Doc Pomus (“This Magic Moment”), which is being coupled with a tribute concert to him following the screening on March 6. Premiere Night Gala 6 p.m. Saturday. $150. More info at cincyra.org. 

Music: Chris Brown 
Yeah. He'll be at US Bank Arena with Trey Songz. So if you like Chris Brown, this is great for you. His tickets also cost more than going to see Elton John? 7:30 p.m. Saturday. $29.75-$199.50. U.S. Bank Arena, 100 Broadway, Downtown, usbankarena.com

Maple Sugar Days
Photo: Great Parks
Event: Maple Sugar Days 
Come celebrate the spring awakening of maple trees as you learn the craft of maple syrup making. Sweet tooths of all ages will discover how the clear, sticky sap is collected, boiled over a fire and transformed into syrup. Additionally, families can enjoy crafts, demonstrations and naturalist-led hikes. Maple treats, including waffles, ice cream and cotton candy, will be available for a small fee. Noon-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free. Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve, 3455 Poole Road, Colerain, greatparks.org

Cincinnati Home & Garden Show
Event: Cincinnati Home & Garden Show 
According to the current weather forecast, most of our yards will still be covered in snow during the entirety of the 2015 Cincinnati Home & Garden Show. As depressing as that may seem right now, spring is (hopefully) just around the corner and it has already sprung at the Duke Energy Convention Center. Wander through fairy gardens, let your significant other try to coerce you into buying a hot tub or swoon over kitchens the size of your entire OTR apartment. Seriously. Your only other plans this week are working and shoveling the walk … again. Opens 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Through March 8. $13; free for kids. 525 Elm St., Downtown, cincinnatihomeandgardenshow.com

Xoe Wise
Photo: Provided
Music: Xoe Wise 
Singer/songwriter Xoe Wise moved from North Carolina to Chicago to follow her musical dreams and quickly became a local favorite. Wise has gradually moved from a Folk Pop style to a highly melodic and soulful Electro Pop/Chillwave approach since debuting with her 2010 album, Echo. Wise’s excellent 2013 EP Breakfast was well received, reaching the Top 20 on iTunes’ Singer/Songwriter charts and beautifully showcasing Wise’s sultry vocals and songwriting. This spring, Wise — who performed at the 2014 MidPoint Music Festival — will release Foreplay, an EP precursor to her anticipated full-length, Racecar Orgasm. 10 p.m. Saturday. Free. MOTR Pub, 1345 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, motrpub.com

Attractions: Mummies of the World 
The Cincinnati Museum Center’s once-in-a-lifetime exhibit features real mummies and artifacts, some dating back as far as 4,500 years. Discover how mummies are created, where they come from and who they are in an immersive, multi-media display. Through April 26. Non-member exhibition-only tickets: $19.50, $17.50 senior, $12.50 child. Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate, mummies.cincymuseum.org

Attractions: Bravo the Galapagos Tortoise's Last Day at Newport Aquarium 
The Newport Aquarium’s 650-pound Galapagos tortoise Bravo — the largest turtle in the Midwest — is set to leave his Turtle Canyon home on March 1 and return to the Columbia, S.C., zoo. Upon Bravo’s departure from the aquarium, Turtle Canyon, also home to Thunder, an more than 100-year-old snapping turtle, will temporarily close for renovations. The greenhouse-like facility will re-open as a new exhibit in mid-March. During Winter Family Days, two kids get in free with each paying adult. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Through March 1. $23 adult; $15 kids. Newport Aquarium, Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., newportaquarium.com

Event: Ohio Winter Food Festival 
Formerly known at the Taste of Northern Cincinnati, the Ohio Winter Food Festival celebrates the restaurants of Cincinnati’s northern suburbs. This friendly competition pits vendors like West Chester’s Troy’s Café, Parkers Blue Ash Tavern, Sharonville’s Brick House Bar & Grill and more against each other to win best in show. Taste each of the restaurants’ signature dishes and vote for your favorite. Noon-4 p.m. Sunday. $18; $20 at the door. Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Road, Sharonville, sharonvillechamber.com

August: Osage County at Clifton Performance Theatre
Photo: Jennifer Mahuet
Onstage: August: Osage County 
Tracy Letts’ 2008 play was a throwback to another era, a three-act, three-hour drama about a dysfunctional family colliding in the arid flatlands of the Oklahoma plains when their father goes missing. Not the usual fodder of contemporary drama (or perhaps because of it), the show won that year’s Pulitzer Prize for drama and Broadway’s Tony Award for best play. It features 13 vivid and vicious characters and a houseful of contentious, sometimes startling interactions. It’s going to be all the more interesting when this sprawling script is staged in the close confines of Clifton Performance Theatre, which has about 40 seats for this production. Through March 14. $20. Clifton Players, 404 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, cliftonperformancetheatre.com

Attractions: Falling Waters at Krohn Conservatory 
The Krohn Conservatory’s early spring floral show takes design inspiration from architect Frank Lloyd Wright (his 1935 modernist Pennsylvania home built for the Kaufmann family is called “Fallingwater”). The show features a Mission-style flowerbed that looks like a stained glass window made of hundreds of pansies, tulips and hydrangeas, as well as real stained glass windows created by local artist David Duff of Classical Glass. Through March 22. $4 adult; $2 child; $1-off coupon online. Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams, cincinnatiparks.com

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Photo: Andrew Eccles
Dance: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 
Alvin Ailey once said, “Dance is for everybody. I believe that the dance came from the people and that it should always be delivered back to the people.” More than two decades after his passing, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is coming to the Aronoff for two days to deliver said gift of dance to Cincinnati. Among the six dances the troupe will perform over these two shows is Ailey’s most renowned and moving work, Revelations. Set to a series of African-American spirituals, Revelations explores both painful and splendid moments during the African-American journey. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. $30-$75. Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, cincinnatiarts.org.
by Samantha Gellin 02.26.2015
Posted In: Commentary at 09:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
from the copy editor

From the Copy Desk

In case you need a dictionary with the Feb. 25 issue of CityBeat

Good morning readers. I hope you're all surviving the bleak, cold, dark days of February better than I am. I can't stop myself from browsing the "Getaways" section of Groupon — five night, all-inclusive stay in Punta Cana? Sign me up! I'll go anywhere the sun is shining and the heat is brimming.

Someday, right? For now, though, I've got my coffee and a list of Words Nobody Uses or Knows from this week's issue. Let's get started.

My favorite word of the issue (or phrase, really) is in toto. It's found in Kathy Y. Wilson's editorial on the Oscars, a night, as Neil Patrick Harris so accurately said, where "we celebrate Hollywood’s best and whitest, sorry… brightest."

In toto: a Latin phrase meaning in the whole; as a whole (adv.)

In the issue: "Secondly, the voter finessed the fact that most members are white men — which is, in fact, the larger problem plaguing Hollywood in toto and it is the direct genealogical link to the white-out of this year’s Oscars and what’s fraught past racist Oscar races."

Though whenever I say in toto, I can't help but think of Toto, Dorthory's dog in Wizard of Oz.

Anyway, next up is the French word outré, pronounced OO-TREY.  (French words are the best, aren't they?)

outré: highly unconventional; eccentric or bizarre (adj.)

In this issue: "Later, during an interview for this story, Katkin explained his affinity for that band, which released several outré albums in the late 1980s and early 1990s."

Environs, another word of French origin, caught my eye too.

environs: a surrounding area, especially of a city; surroundings; environment (plural n.)

My mind is a little blown by this one. It's essentially just another word for environment and yet I've never heard of it.

In this issue: "It’s bitter wisdom that easily translates to certain local music environs where bands are neither nurtured nor respected."

The last word I have jotted down is rubes, but I can't seem to find it anywhere in the issue. It may have been edited out (or else I'm reading things that aren't there). I'm going to include it anyway. The more you know, the more you grow, right?

I love this word because Rubes is one of the many, MANY nicknames I have for my cat Ruby. She is also sometimes called Ruben, Princess Pastry Puff, Doot, Street Rat ... OK I'll stop there.

rubes: an unsophisticated country person; nickname of Reuben (n.)

by Jac Kern 02.24.2015
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, Movies, Fashion at 10:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

I Just Can't Get Enough…Oscars

Recapping the 87th Academy Awards

Neil Patrick Harris hosted the 87th Oscars Sunday night. Let’s talk about it!

Having hosted multiple Emmy and Tony award shows in the past, quadruple-threat NPH (he sings, dances, acts and does magic) was well suited — cue Barney Stinson high-five — to the task. He did in fact sing, dance, act and do magic all while poking fun at the nominees, recreating significant movie moments and ad-libbing on the fly. Great job, NPH!

As far as the night’s trends, there were a few:

Using the acceptance speech as a bigger platform

While some folks stick to the traditional “Thank God, the Academy and my manager” speech, others used the time in the spotlight to address other issues. This is nothing new — Marlon Brando famously boycotted the 1973 Academy Awards for Hollywood’s treatment of Native Americans, arranging for Sacheen Littlefeather to attend in his behalf and decline the Best Actor award (for The Godfather).

This year’s acceptance speech shout-outs ranged from appreciating parents (J.K. Simmons) and supporting ecological sanitation and women’s rights (Patricia Arquette) to empowering the LGBTQ community (Graham Moore) and discussing immigration (Alejandro González Iñarritu).

Play someone with a disease, win awards

Again, this trend is far from new. The Academy — and audiences — love to see an actor transform, and portraying someone with a mental or physical condition can certainly do the trick. It’s not a surefire way to win an Oscar — just ask poor Leonardo DiCaprio (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Aviator) — but the Oscars have looked favorably on roles like this in the past. And present: Eddie Redmayne won Best Actor for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything; Julianne Moore was awarded Best Actress for her role as a woman with early-onset Alzheimer’s in Still Alice.

Ladies in White

Whiteness wasn’t just the hilarious subject of NPH’s first joke in the monologue (see below), it was also a prominent dress color for many attendees, nominees and performers. Patricia Arquette, Reese Witherspoon, Carmen Ejogo, Marion Cotillard, Lupita Nyong’o, Julianne Moore, Lady Gaga, Kerry Washington, Nicole Kidman and others all rocked white, channeling the snow that many of those not in L.A. were knee-deep in.

Now for a play-by-play recap of the event.

Neil Patrick Harris opened the show with a theatrical song, but not before making a joke about celebrating the “best and the whitest” – err, brightest film stars.

I like how the Oscars always start with the supporting actor award to get people excited, only to spend the following hour busting out all the technical awards and best picture nominee previews.

Best Supporting Actor
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
Robert Duvall, The Judge

Yay! Simmons has been in the acting game a long time and killed it in Whiplash. Totally deserved.He used the time to thoughtfully and thoroughly thank his wife, kids and parents and urged viewers to do the same. “Call your mom. Call your dad.”

Adam Levine continues to take over the world/every television program. He performed a song from a movie he was in (???).

Costume Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice
Into the Woods
Mr. Turner

Makeup and Hairstyling
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

Makeup, hair and costume design awards went to the visually delightful The Grand Budapest Hotel. Costume designers always wear the best stuff, obviously Exhibit A: Milena Canonero’s sequined pants.

Oscar lobby boys officially became weird when they held Channing Tatum's hand down the stairs.

Best Foreign Film
Wild Tales

I love director Pawel Pawlikowski’s style — he just talked though the Oscars’ STFU Music Cue until it finally stopped playing! All bets are off now that we know the truth: Just. Keep. Talking.

The (not nominated) Lego Movie had its moment in the sun with an over-the-top performance of “Everything is Awesome.”

Best Live Action Short
Boogaloo and Graham
Butter Lamp (La Lamp au Beurre de Yak)
The Phone Call

Best Documentary Short
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Our Curse
The Reaper (La Parka)
White Earth

Sound Mixing
American Sniper

NPH recreated Birdman undies scene:

Sound Editing
American Sniper
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Jared Leto showed up in Dumb and Dumber cosplay to present Best Supporting Actress; he also had a heavenly moment.