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by Jac Kern 02.23.2012
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's favorite pop culture and Internet findings of the week

Thanks to Facebook friends with good taste, my mom's stream of animal photo chain emails and my voracious appetite for gossip and craft blogs, I'm constantly exposed to some of the greatest items from the far-reaching corners of the internet. Here's what I just can't get enough of this week.

"Bad Girls"

OK, so M.I.A.'s video for "Bad Girls" came out a couple weeks ago, and despite looping it for hours on end since then, I cannot get enough of it. It's one of those tunes that makes me want to dance in public even without a (few) cocktails in my system. With a penchant for controversy, the video (filmed in Morocco) depicts what seem to be Middle Eastern women in traditional-yet-pimped-out garb racing cars in the desert and dancing to music with strong, sexual, pro-femme lyrics.

Though it’s been said that the political standpoints M.I.A. makes in her music contradict her lifestyle, or sometimes don't even make sense, the “Paper Planes” singer is the queen of juxtaposition when it comes to her videos. It's also important to note that “Bad Girls” comes during a time when women in Saudi Arabia are banned from driving. So whatever her intended/implied/confusing statements may be, this video is a pretty hot way to say “F that.”


Go here to watch her response to fans’ YouTube comments on the video.

Bonnaroo

The mega-fest’s initial lineup was released last week, boasting headliners like Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Phish and The Beach Boys. Every year I go back and forth on my decision to go: Can I afford the ticket plus all the cash and supplies that go into surviving there (screw anyone who says you just need water and a sleeping bag)? Can my poor Irish skin bear four days in the blazing sun? What if next year’s lineup is even better? I still haven’t quite decided, but 2012’s lineup looks good to me for less-than-obvious reasons.

Ben Folds Five — As in, the original trio reuniting. One of my all time favorite bands. I’d die.
The Roots — I’ve been a fan of the crew since I first heard “The Seed (2.0)” when I was in eighth grade. And their day job as house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon has only solidified my love.

Ludacris — Not ashamed.

Of course there’s also this year’s #whoarethey Grammy winners, Bon Iver, Donald Glover’s alter-ego Childish Gambino, The Shins, jam band supreme Umphrey’s McGee and dozens more. Aziz Ansari (Parks and Rec, Funny People) is even confirmed to perform, though the rest of the comedy lineup is yet to be announced. It turns out most people go to ‘roo for music, but I will nerdily admit as a comedy fangirl, the stand-up tent was one of my favorite (and most air-conditioned) experiences during my trip to the fest in 2010. Ansari also appeared that year and Conan O’Brien, fresh off his firing from NBC, headlined.

Taxidermy Art

A friend on Facebook recently posted a link to Hi-Fructose Magazine’s blog, a page covered in creepy-cute taxidermy art. Netherlands-based art partners (artners?) Les Deux Garçons create whimsical pieces in which real taxidermied animals are embellished with knick knacks, toys and lush decorative ribbons. If that weren’t enough, many the animals are dual-headed conjoined mammals, or are transformed into unicorn-esque creatures with crazy horns. These (ethically-obtained) animals are transformed into their own art form that carefully walks the line between beautiful and grotesque. Observe:

Arianna Huffington

The media queen came to town Feb. 22 to speak as a part of the SmartTalk ConnectedConversations series, and boy, do I have a crush on her. She spoke (in a sexy Greek accent, BTW) on becoming fearless in love, work and life, providing many hilarious and interesting personal anecdotes along the way. Advice she gave included getting more sleep, turning off that negative voice, or “obnoxious roommate” in our heads and the importance of finding a “tribe” of friends we can all relate to and depend on. Fun Fact: She launched The Huffington Post in her fifties, thanks to help of a $100,000 loan from her tribe-mate Laurie David (former wife of Seinfeld/Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Larry David). Pretty inspirational. She ended the evening answering audience questions with Channel 12’s Cammy Dierking, who clearly also has a bit of a girl-crush on Huffington, and who nearly made me wet myself when she used the phrase “That’d go over like a turd in a punch bowl.” It was truly a fun femme-fest.

Sleigh Bells on SNL

Despite my undying love for Saturday Night Live, even I can’t deny the amount of lackluster musical performances on the show. Granted, it is one of the few “really live” shows left, details often aren’t finalized until the last minute, sound is often off and the tiny stage isn’t ideal, but who could forget Ashlee Simpson’s career-killing disaster on the show? This year, it’s all about hating on Indie songstress/mannequin Lana Del Rey’s performance. Personally, I don’t think the performance warranted such a backlash, but judge both for yourself. And check out SNL’s hilarious response to Lana-gate (with Kristen Wigg as LDR) here.

Thankfully, Noise Pop duo (now touring with a third musician) Sleigh Bells killed it on last week’s episode. I wasn’t expecting the live TV format to do them justice, but they sounded great and were entertaining despite a nearly naked stage.


 
 
by Danny Cross 02.22.2012
Posted In: Is this for real?, Life, Culture at 02:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
 
 
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Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill Now Open

Banks restaurant/concert space offers live music, Whiskey Girls, touch of xenophobia

Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill this week became The Banks’ newest tenant, opening its red, white and blue doors and offering “family friendly” lunch and dinner, ongoing live performances and a guitar-shaped bar where patrons can drink beer out of Mason jars.

The official website says its family friendliness makes it “the perfect spot for everyone,” though it is assumed to have instituted some kind of protocol for children who accidentally view one of the “Whiskey Girls” the restaurant prides itself on offering (“Don’t close your eyes, Billy! It’s just the American way!”).

There currently aren’t many online reviews of the restaurant, but at least one proud American has braved the giant, Country music-themed complex and come away with an experience worth mentioning on Metromix’s online listing.

User “couintrymusiccincy” (sic) was disappointed by his experience, describing a waitress that had a bad attitude and thought she was so cute she should be Miss Universe. “Couintrymusiccincy” advised the restaurant to fire her, and noted that he would return if managers hire “pretty and legitimate waitresses” like the Las Vegas and Tulsa, Ok., locations do.


In addition to the Whiskey Girls, who apparently are allegedly “more worried about their reflection than about getting an order right” (classic Couintrymusiccincy complaint), the bar/grill/stage/conference plaza offers American and Southern cuisine such as friend bologna sandwiches and pan-fried ribs. Burger names include the “American Soldier” (Toby’s classic burger with cheese), “She’s a Hottie Burger” (melted pepperjack cheese, Hatch Valley Chiles and crispy onion straws) and “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” (Bacon, cheddar and Toby’s BBQ sauce topped with crispy onion rings). Dessert offerings include deep-fried Twinkies, “All American Apple Pie” and "Saddam's Head Pudding" (just kidding).

The décor relies heavily on a “Country cliché” aesthetic to ensure that guests don’t forget they’re in a bar owned by the guy whose artistic response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2011 was to write a song titled “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American),” which called upon the wrath of Uncle Sam, a personified Statue of Liberty and an eagle (flying, of course) to serve justice to goddam terrorists across the globe. The chorus is enough to make even the most cowardly among us raise a Mason jar in defiance.

“Ohhh Justice will be served, and the battle will rage/This big dog will fight, when you rattle his cage/And you'll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A./'Cause we'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American Way.”

It’s enough to bring a tear to one’s eye and cause a man to mistake his fellow American brother with one of the Whiskey Girls and tie on a big, patriotic hug (“Sorry man, I ain’t gay I just love this song and my country and when Middle Eastern people get killed." *Sniffs*).

For those interested in more information or to see the many other creative names TKILB&G has come up with for typical bar food, the official website is www.countrybaroh.com. For scary homemade videos set to “Angry American” just search YouTube. 

 
 
by Jac Kern 02.16.2012
Posted In: Culture, Dating, Events at 11:34 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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National Make-Out Session Invades Fountain Square

Was your Valentine's Day lacking in the passion department? You'll have a chance to get hot and heavy — in public — this March during the First National Make-Out Session on Fountain Square.

Dayton, Ky., native Shawn Blagg has organized this smooch fest in hope to counter-balance the daily negativity many experience in the news, politics and day-to-day life. He explains in an email, "There is a lot of anger and hatred being put out there right now. I wanted to do something that can draw people together, if at least for one day. Valentine's Day, Sweetest Day, Christmas — All of the day's we've set aside for love have become nothing more than shopping events. This is about love, pure and simple."

Blagg encourages all lovebirds across the country to kiss in public on March 22, but has designated Fountain Square as a local meeting place for those wanting to create a bigger scene, or even as a spot to find a potential make-out partner. The kiss-a-thon is set to take place from 9 a.m.-noon that Thursday. DJs will be on the Square to provide some mood music and vendor space is still available. Anyone wanting to be a vendor, volunteer or participant can contact Blagg at 1makeoutsession@gmail.com.

So if you're feelin' frisky, grab the one you love and show the world your best smooch! And since kissing can burn 2-5 calories per minute, an hours-long make-out sesh totally counts as your daily workout! For more info, check out the event on Facebook. Get your PDA on!

 
 
by Jac Kern 02.09.2012
Posted In: Culture, Concerts, Events, Fashion, Fun, Shopping, Northside, Music at 02:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Very Vintage Valentine Fashion

Chicken Lays an Egg hosts a runway show and dance party at Northside Tavern Saturday

Northside's Chicken Lays an Egg, a gem in Cincinnati's growing collection of excellent vintage shops, hosts a Valentine fashion show featuring their retro-fab clothing, shoes and accessories Saturday at Northside Tavern.

NST's back room will transform into a runway where you'll watch some local hottie patotties strut their stuff with hair designs by Northside Chop Shop. Kenneth Wright will DJ the show and ongoing dance party.

Spot someone with the best moves you've ever seen? Send them a message via the valentine post office, and pose for pictures in a fabulous Flashbox photo booth. It all starts at 9 p.m., with the fashion show at 10 p.m.

Afterward, party with Bad Veins, who perform at 11 p.m. The duo's album The Mess We've Made drops April 24.

Get a peek at Chicken's fashion in Bad Veins' new video for "Dancing on TV." Some of the ensembles in the Soul Train-esque shots were provided by the boutique!

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by Martin Brennan 02.07.2012
Posted In: Animals, Culture at 10:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)
 
 
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Pit Bulls in Cincinnati

Not all dogs are treated the same

Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I’m an avid dog-lover. I’ve owned dogs from the time I was a young teen, and I’ve loved every moment of it. There’s something about our canine companions that just warms my heart. Their wagging tails, their wet noses, the way they’re always happy to see you when you come home ... I just love them.

Unfortunately, it seems like not all people in this world share the same passion for dogs that I do. Hundreds upon thousands of dogs are abandoned each year and end up either dead or in shelters, and many more suffer at the hands of neglectful or abusive owners. Fortunately, we have organizations such as the SPCA around to speak out and help these animals. However, it’s recently come to my attention that not all shelters treat certain breeds of dogs the same.

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by Jac Kern 02.01.2012
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, Life, Culture, Fun at 01:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 
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Shit Cincinnatians Say


I guess it was only a matter of time. The Shit Girls Say viral phenomenon has sparked hundreds of knock-offs: Shit Black Guys Say, Shit Girls Say to Gay Guys, Shit Nobody Says are among my favorites. Now, we have our own.

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by Jennifer Saltsman 01.31.2012
 
 
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Valentine's Gifts Around the World (and Back)

How Do You Say I<3U?

It's two weeks until Valentine's Day, and we've got a few suggestions on how to celebrate.

To women, nothing says ‘I Love You’ quite like a big, fat cockroach on Valentine’s Day. That's right, for just $10, you can name a special bug living at the Bronx Zoo after your sweetie - because like love, a cockroach is indestructible.

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by Eli Johnson 01.20.2012
Posted In: Culture, Dating, Life at 11:42 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Misery’s Company: The Watering Hole

Winter is here. Not quite the bitter cold but no longer the brutal heat wave Cincinnati was treated to during the middle months. A nice enough night to appreciate not having to be at work, servicing the needs of diners. As I approach the steel gates I show the doorman my ID even though I’ve been here dozens of times before, but he’s never seen me. He’s only ever seen a cheeky smile in a photograph and a birthdate. As I walk in I scoff at the hunky metrosexuals crowding the entrance still toting tank tops and skinny jeans, slurping tallboys of whatever while they talk nonsense. The bartender knows my face so he promptly pays mind to me. Tonight I’ll start with and probably stick with bourbon, neat. “Bulleit?” he asks. He knows my face too well.

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by Jac Kern 12.09.2011
Posted In: Culture, Events, Fun, Northside, Music at 10:49 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List: 12/9-12/11

Santa Claus is coming to town a little early this year. SantaCon kicks off at noon Saturday, when Santas of all sorts will gather on Fountain Square, then disperse around the city, singing, passing out candy and bringing holiday cheer to area bars and restaurants. To participate, email santa@cincinnatisantacon.com and follow @CincySantacon on Twitter to find them around town.

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by Jac Kern 10.07.2011
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List: 10/7-10/9

Hold on to your knickers, girls! This weekend is full of excellent music, arts, theater and shopping events. Here we go:

Ides of March premiers tonight (FINALLY). Check it out and see how many Cincinnati landmarks you can spot. Or just look at Ryan Gosling. Read our interview with an actor who is not Gosling or Clooney here, and check out our review.

Clifton Heights Music Festival is back for its fifth installment! Bands of all genres take over six Clifton-area bars (in walking distance of one another) tonight and Saturday. The ever-growing fest continues to be one of the most affordable - $8 gets you in all venues for one night, $12 for both nights. Go here for the full lineup and venue details.

Rapper Machine Gun Kelly plays Madison Theater tonight. My little sister wants to marry him. Important facts here.

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