It can’t be denied that news reporting, in many ways, is stepping further away from hard facts and closer to tabloid gossip. In a day and age where Twitter is the new paperboy, it can’t be denied that the facts are coming faster. And while this could be an opportunity for better news, more quickly, more often than not we’re trading chances for quick links to real stories with 140 character quips on MC-Hammer-like “did you see her butt”s (#chauvanistsforCyrus).
The real disappointment comes, though, when we look to major media outlets (Still trusted by some. Take off the aluminum hat, Johnny.) the next day for hard-hitting news, only to see that they’ve decided to throw their own hats in the ring. With prize-winning headlines such as CNN’s “Miley Cyrus twerks, stuns VMAs crowd,” the morning news was just as obsessed as the evening newsfeed.
As a reporter, a writer, an observer, this obsessive, sprawling focus is what scares me most. It isn’t the performance itself, full of dancers dressed as teddy bears or Cyrus’ gyrating hips on Thicke’s overly hyped crotch (See “Blurred Lines” for more details). It isn’t so much the event that took place, as it was the reactive reports that left an extra, bitter after taste to my morning coffee.
Even arts reporting, perceived to have more lenient, pop-culture laced subject matter, used to hold itself to similar standards of respectful re-tellings of facts rather than fiction. Though there had once been a clear distinction between opinion pieces and news articles, even in the realm of aesthetic focus, the lines are suddenly more blurred than ever. And where does that leave us, the “responsible” voices?
Culture is, in many ways, defined by the voices that carry out its most essential conversations. If we are of the few so lucky as to have a readership, our words carry the weight of decades of said cultural insight and historical backing. What do we have to say for ourselves when these words, our influence, sacrifice authenticity for celebrity? Integrity for popularity? What are we really accomplishing when we re-draw the line between honest reporting and scandalized, gossip mongering, and honest words inch closer to the latter? What would our (fore)mothers say?
This isn’t to say that there aren’t some voices, some news outlets out there, who aren’t doing it right. While most couldn’t look away from Cyrus’ extended tongue (search “Venom” and “Marvel Comics” for more details), The Guardian, for example, wouldn’t look past the more subtly digressive implications of the performance. Did you miss the moment where the young, stage-dominant, Caucasian Miley Cyrus groped her not so white back up dancers? (The Guardian didn’t.)
I ask again: What are we creating when we allow objectivity to bend to the will of popular demand, asking for glitter and jazz and sensationalized headlines? Nothing. We are creating a secular sinkhole of informational access. We lead our readers right back where they started.
And that says to me that there must be a change made. The truth is, we CAN stop. If we want to.
Local design, marketing and PR firm Peanut Butter & Jelly Co. hosts a Final Friday party tonight to celebrate the opening of its new Over-the-Rhine studio and the launch of a bi-annual PB&J-produced magazine. Guests will check out the fruits of a creative partnership between members of PB&J and Such + Such Designs, including furniture from the collection. The party runs 6-9 p.m. at the new studio at 1417 Main St., OTR. Valet parking is complimentary.
Cincinnati’s favorite mobile eateries invade West Chester for the first-ever Union Center Food Truck Rally Friday. Vendors include Café de Wheels, Waffo, EAT! Mobile Dining, C’est Cheese, SugarSnap! Truck, Red Sesame Korean BBQ and many more, plus plenty of beverages and live music The event is already in full effect, running until 10 p.m. Proceeds benefit The Girls and Boys Club of West Chester and Liberty Twp.
Taylor Jameson Hair Design hosts its first annual fundraiser Saturday with White-Out Child Abuse: The Cincinnati White Party at the Japps Annex. A donation to Childhelp, a charity for which the salon has raised $6,000 over the years, gets you in the door for an evening of cocktails, a silent auction, fashion show and dancing. All white attire is encouraged! Tickets are $10 in advance online, $15 at the door.
Earlier this month, Mason welcomed the oldest tennis tournament in the world. This weekend, the city hosts the longest running beach volleyball tour in the world, the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour. Saturday through Monday, top American players will compete at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. Fans will be excited to see Olympians including Phil Dalhausser, Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross, Todd Rogers and others. Go here for tickets and more info.
Labor Day is synonymous with Riverfest for the half-million Tri-state residents and visitors that attend the holiday fest and fireworks bash every year. Kicking off and noon and running until 11 p.m. Sunday, Riverfest draws gigantic crowds to both sides of the river, so come early and prepared (no booze or other beverages, coolers, wheeled items or weapons). This year’s event will feature the first-ever Dent Schoolhouse WEBN Zombie Walk at 5:30 p.m. Come dressed in your bloodiest, undead best to be apart of what organizers hope to be the biggest zombie event in the Tri-state. Rozzi’s famous fireworks display lights up at 9:05 p.m.
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.
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
news, even D-list celebs, Like Dharma & Greg’s Thomas Gibson can get
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!
Most cops discourage partying and street art — not The London Police. The British art duo has been leaving their precision-meets-cartoony signature pieces across Covington throughout the past week and tonight, from 7-11 p.m. at BLDG, The London Police will reveal the sites of their work, which includes several small-scale pieces and one mural. Meet the duo, purchase their work and see them perform live as TLP Dog Singers.
The 25th Annual Midwest Black Family Reunion takes places this weekend, bringing more than 50,000 people to Sawyer Point — making it one of the city’s largest family-focused annual festivities. Events include a parade Saturday, Sunday morning service, food and retail vendors, live music, town hall meetings and much more. Go here for a full event schedule.
As students across the Tri-state prepare to head back to school, you can do your part to ensure safe, accessible sex education is available through Planned Parenthood. The organization’s fundraiser, Summer’s Over – What a Drag…Show features two drag shows with lots of performances Saturday night at The Cabaret, above Below Zero in Over-the-Rhine. The shows — featuring drag queens and kings, including RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Mystique “Bitch, I am from Chicago” Summers — begin at 7 and 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for students, $20 GA or $30 for both shows if purchased online ($5 at the door). All proceeds go toward sex education through Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region.
Washington Park will be abuzz this weekend, as per usual. The City Flea sets up Saturday, fulfilling all your quirky shopping needs (plus eats and drinks from local foods trucks and vendors) from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Later that night at 9 p.m., it’s Date Night Movie time with Julie and Julia (which sounds more like a Date Night with Mom Movie, but we’re not judging). And Sunday is full of free performances, starting with ArtsWave’s Sundays in the Park. Cincinnati Ballet Second Company will present a free performance and dance-along at 2 and 3 p.m. To really make the most out of your day (without opening your wallet), stick around for Shakespeare in the Park at 7 p.m., where Cincinnati Shakespeare Company will present a free performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
On Saturday and Sunday, the Cincinnati Museum Center’s History Museum will host its annual 1940’s Weekend, where a menagerie of dance, history and antique cars await. Elizabeth Pierce, the vice president of marketing and communications shared, some information on what to look forward to at the event.
“Cincinnati History Museum staff were inspired to present 1940’s Weekend and help visitors understand history of Union Terminal and Cincinnati in that era,” Pierce said. “There are fascinating stories of Cincinnati area businesses and leaders that made a difference in the war effort and the impact the war had on our community.”
During the ‘40s, Union Terminal was teeming with life — commuters going to and from military bases, families awaiting their loved ones return and people headed off to work. These moments and more will be captured at the 1940s Weekend with photo galleries set up to give guests a taste of what the location was like in that time.
“The photos we have of Union Terminal at that time are bursting at the seams with people. Literally, tens of thousands of people, passed through Union Terminal on a daily basis,” Pierce said. “The Rookwood Parlor (currently our ice cream shop) was converted into the USO lounge. It is thought to be one of the first racially integrated USO lounges in the country. The Cincinnati USO was also unique in that it was led by broad group of women from Christian, Catholic and Jewish faiths.”
The Terminal itself had, at one point, a “make-shift nursery” to help soldiers traveling through the area on their way to or from training. To accommodate the people coming through as well, the Terminal had areas where soldiers could see their families during layovers.
There are free events that will be in the Rotunda and surrounding areas of the museum, like the exhibit Cincinnati Goes to War. This exhibit will show how Cincinnati did its part during World War II through interactive media displays, set pieces and photographs. There will be plenty of other activities ranging from live bands like The Jump n’ Jive Show Band and the P&G Big Band, to old radio broadcasts and food tasting from the legendary era. The museum will be hosting two survivors of the Holocaust to talk about their experiences. Holocaust survivors Werner Coppel and Henry Fenichel will be speaking Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m., respectively.
Cars from the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s will await guests at the museum’s entrance. This impressive display of history began with a search inquiry placed in winter of last year.
“Starting in February, CHM began to reach out to local vintage car owners through the Show and Shine Calendar — an event calendar that publishes all the great car events in six different states,” Pierce said. “The area has so many great automobile groups and car events that we were able to further spread the word about the weekend by attending shows such as the Rollin’ On The River Car Show and the Milford Cruise-In.”
The 1940s Weekend runs will during regular museum hours, 10 a.m -5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Tickets (required for the Cincinnati History Museum) are $12.50 for adults and $8.50 for children.
“There are fun ways to take people back in time through music, fashion and design.” Pierce said. “Union Terminal was a vital part of transporting troops across the nation and is a place where family members went off to war, some reunited, some never to return.”
For more information, visit www.cincymuseum.org
Cincinnatians don't like their city to be pigeonholed. At least not in a manner they perceive to be off target.That's so Cincinnati.
BuzzFeed's "BuzzFeed Community" site helps the list-empire target specific cities and regions, resulting in one of the more shared links of the week, at least locally — "31 Ways to Tell You're From Cincinnati."
At first, many seemed to celebrate more attention for our fair city. Then they read the list. It has proven to be far more controversial than BuzzFeed's "11 Cincinnati Foods That Are Better Than Yours" from earlier this year, likely because that list actually reflected contemporary Cincinnati. As far as I know, all those "Cincinnati foods" still exist.
It was clear to many that the "community contributor" who wrote the piece either hadn't been to Cincinnati for a while or was simply parroting one of the Enquirer's old "Cincinnati is so crazy and distinct — we say 'Pop' and 'Please' " articles from the past.
As commenters immediately pointed out, BuzzFeed's list was great … for anyone taking a time machine back to Cincinnati circa 2001 or earlier. While the list was mildly accurate, it reinforced some old stereotypes, like "You will die if you step foot in Over-the-Rhine" and how we can't shut up about George Clooney's Cincinnati roots (he's not from Cincinnati, he's from Kentucky). Elsewhere, items like "You hung in there with Reds’ pitcher 'Cool Hand Leake' even after he was booked for shoplifting" suggest the writer found an old sports page from 2011. That was hardly a big deal when it happened; I would wager most but the die-hardest of Reds fans have forgotten it even occurred. And things like Cincinnatians saying "Please" instead of "What did you say?" or calling Coke and Pepsi "pop" are local quirks that seem to be dying a little more with each more-widely-connected-to-the-world generation.
But what does it matter what Cincinnatians think? BuzzFeed got their big hits surge from Cincy residents and ex-pats. All for something that appeared to take about 10 minutes to put together. "List bait" works.
Yesterday, the folks at the site Cincy Whimsy responded with an "answer list" (oh, if only rap feuds were solved this way). Their "31 Ways to Tell You're From Cincinnati List: An Improved Version" list rang a lot more true to a lot people. The first item set the tone, calling out BuzzFeed for not correctly spelling Servatii and Procter & Gamble. Check it out here.
Last week, the local web buzz was all about the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber's "hip" ad for "Cincinnati USA," featuring a dude in capri pants and sandals talking about how Cincinnatians "do what we love." Unlike people from Pittsburgh, who strictly do things that they hate?
The video was also widely shared and, though well-intentioned, widely mocked.
Enter local comedienne Kristen Lundberg (aka Mammyspanx), whose equally-giddy response video is pretty pitch perfect.
Think “selfies” were limited to teenagers at the mall food court, drunk girls at bars and an alarming amount of people in bathrooms? Broaden your scope to include law enforcement with Cop Selfies, which sadly also include plenty of toilet shots: