CityBeat - Blogs http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/blogs.engine.php <![CDATA[Stage Door: Weekend Theater Picks]]>

There are several good theater choices south of the Ohio River this weekend.

The theater (and dance) program at Northern Kentucky University presents a truly varied array of programming — this season has included a play by Orson Welles, the legendary musical South Pacific, Shakespeare's As You Like It and more. The academic year's final production Monty Python's Spamalot, opened last evening, and it seems to be a perfect vehicle for a lot of onstage clowning. (In case you haven't been tuned in, the show is subtitled "A musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail," and many of the show's most hilarious moments are reproduced wholesale onstage.) But clowning can be serious work, and if you catch NKU's production, pay attention to the choreography (the work of NKU grad Roderick Justice) which is complex, amusing and very well executed by the cast of 25. Director Ken Jones keeps things moving; the actors get into the tomfoolery from start to finish, especially Kat Moser as the diva who's the Lady of the Lake and Bradley Goren as long-suffering Patsy (he's the one who clicks the coconut shells to simulate King Arthur riding on horseback, among other amusing moments). The show is a fine entertainment, if you're a fan of the low but articulate humor of the Python troupe. Through April 27. Tickets ($8-$14): 859-572-5464.

Comedy of an entirely different sort is available at another Kentucky venue, the Carnegie in Covington, where Mary Chase's 1945 Pulitzer Prize winner Harvey is available through April 27. This is a piece of gentle humor from the past, about a slightly off-kilter guy who sees a six-foot-plus rabbit — he calls it a "pooka" — named Harvey, much to the dismay of several family members who are embarrassed by his behavior. Their efforts to get him committed to a local asylum go awry to much merriment and a message about being, well, gentle and sweet. This is good, old-fashioned fun. Tickets: 859-957-1940.

If you prefer a well-written contemporary drama, this weekend is your last chance to see A Delicate Ship at the Cincinnati Playhouse. Anna Ziegler's new show (this is its world premiere) is a memory play that explores an unexpected chain of events triggered by a love triangle. It's beautifully staged by Michael Evan Haney with a cast of three actors who are just right for each of their roles. I gave this one a Critic's Pick when it opened; it's as good as anything I saw recently at the much-respected Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Tickets ($30-$80): 513-421-3888
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<![CDATA[Q&A with Rajiv Satyal]]>

Comedian Rajiv Satyal was born and bred in Cincinnati — Fairfield to be exact. He’s gone from being an intern on Capitol Hill to brand manager at Procter & Gamble to full-time comedian living in Los Angeles. Satyal has worked with Dave Chappelle, Kevin James, Tim (the tool man) Allen, Kevin Nealon and Russell Peters. Heard of the University of Cincinnati’s Bearcast? He named the school’s radio station-turned-media group. He runs a consulting business called StandPoint Agency and is a regular at all the L.A. comedy clubs, but he got his start at Montgomery’s Go Bananas. Satyal’s unique way of viewing the world continually draws in more fans. He refers to himself as the funny Indian, but he’s really just a funny — and nice — dude from Ohio. Satyal performs his first one-man show No Man’s Land Saturday to a sold-out audience at the Aronoff Center, and he squeezed CityBeat into his schedule for a quick rundown of all things Rajiv.

CityBeat: Since you’re from Cincinnati I have to ask, what high school did you go to?

Rajiv Satyal: Totally fine, a very Cincinnati question, but I went to Fairfield High School and I got an undergrad at the University of Cincinnati in materials engineering.

CB: I read that you worked on Capitol Hill, what did you do there?

RS: I was at the University of Cincinnati at the time and I went out to Capitol Hill to be an intern for a representative, Steve Chabot. So I just worked in the office and it was for fun, I got to live in DC and explore that town and did whatever tasks around the office, but it was mostly getting the feel of Washington.

CB: Do you have a funny family or what sparked your interest in comedy?

RS: Actually I have two brothers and, well, two parents, and everybody has a sense of humor. It was a super fun household to grow up in. We were all pretty positively reinforced, we weren’t really a tough crowd, like, we definitely encouraged each other to say funny things and we laughed a lot. I know a lot of comedians’ families would be like, you know, “boo” or whatever when they told a joke and were a tough crowd, but we were a really good crowd for each other and just kind of encouraged each other to be funny. My brothers and I never really fought a lot growing up, which is so strange, but we all got a long and we had a good time.

(Check out Rajiv’s dad going Bollywood last Monday on The Bob & Tom Show here.)

CB: Does Cincinnati or growing up here inspire any of your stand-ups?

RS: Oh, definitely. I feel like growing up in Ohio, it made me kind of more of an everyman being able to relate to people in the heartland of the country and people who grew up on the coast. I think people on the coast have their own sensibility, but it’s hard to know what works inland. A lot of comedians are like virgins; they knock it out on the coast, but when they come inland they die. I feel like being from the Midwest gives me an advantage.

CB: What inspired you to pursue comedy seriously?

RS: When I turned 30 I really flipped out, I was like, ‘Man, I’ve lived in Ohio my whole life and I need to do something different.’ So I left Procter & Gamble and moved to Los Angeles, I was a brand manager at P&G Water for only about 3 months and then I jumped shipped and went into it [comedy] full-time. I guess I felt like I really enjoyed speaking in front of people and I love being funny and those two things lend themselves well to being a famous comic, ya know.

CB: So basically just turning 30 did it for you?

RS: Yeah, I felt like life’s too short and, you know, why do something you don’t want to do? Why not go for it. I guess I thought when I turned 30 I felt like, “Man, I don’t want to turn 40 and watch TV and go, ‘Man I could have done that.’” I think given all the privileges, if I don’t try it…I’m born in the United States, I’m American, I have all these opportunities, it’s the land of opportunity, you got to self-actualize, man, go for it.

CB: How has your comedy evolved from where you first started to now?

RS: I would say that just getting deeper. As comedians do it longer and longer you start to go from jokes to more of a point of view. You start to realize what makes you funny. You have these weird beliefs and you stand out a little bit. You don’t really have to do jokes anymore, you just tell people what you think and they think it’s funny because they are like, ‘Wow, that’s a weird way to look at it.’ Being able to make people laugh at the way you look at the world, I think that’s kind of cool.

CB: Do you have any stories about opening up for or working with various comedians?

RS: I actually opened up Dave Chappelle’s very first show when he came back from Africa in 2005, so that was really cool. I had opened up for him at the University of Cincinnati in 2000 before I even started doing stand-up — I started doing stand-up in 2002. So people in the student senate and student government and programming board at UC were like, ‘Hey, you’re a funny guy, you’ve done a little bit of stand-up, would you want to do?’ So I opened for Dave Chappelle at UC and got booed off the stage in front of all these people. Then five years later I opened Dave Chappelle’s first show when he comes back from Africa and I did really well, I killed and it was really redeeming.

CB: Did he remember you from 2000?

RS: Yeah, he did actually, that’s what’s crazy about it — that he remembered that. It’s funny. He was really encouraging and complimentary. I talked to him for two hours by myself that night in 2005, after we were done, just he and I were in the room and for two hours we were just talking about politics and religion and the world…I know that he was happy that I stuck with it and everything. 

CB: Who would you like to work with in the future that you haven’t worked with?

RS: I would like to work with Bill Burr. He is not an extremely well-known person, but he is a genius and he is from Boston. I think it would be awesome to work with Louis C. K., of course, he is like the biggest guy in comedy right now. I mean, I don’t know, I think Jerry Seinfeld would be pretty awesome. I love Ricky Gervais, I’m a big fan of Ricky Gervais, a guy from England. Chris Rock, I love Chris Rock. I actually met Chris Rock when he performed at Ohio State and I told him someday I am going to open for him and he goes, ‘That would be something man, you never know.’ So I have to make good of my promise. I told him one day I was going to open for him, so I better do.

CB: What kind of topics or themes can audiences expect from No Man’s Land?

RS: It’s mostly about dating and relationships. The central questions of the show are: Why am I single and how would you define manhood in modern society? So I’m a single, 38-year-old man out there trying to figure out the evolution of manhood and what does it mean now, how does the definition of manhood change and I try to define it. It’s not a show about men versus women, it’s a show about men versus guys.

CB: What do you miss most about living in Cincinnati?

RS: Well my family, obviously, my family and my friends. I have a really good friend who lives in Seattle, but he is thinking about moving back here and the only reason is his family; it’s not for the weather, it’s not for a better job and it’s not for anything else other than the fact that his family is here. I think family is a big thing.

CB: I feel like if I moved away I would miss three-ways too much.

RS: I do miss Cincinnati food. I love LaRosa’s, I love Graeters’, I love Skyline and I do love Cincinnati food. You know, there is something about the Midwest. The people are super nice and, you know, just walking down the street you can say hi and the person will say hi back or the person will initiate or whatever — that doesn’t really happen in L.A. as much, at all, and people are not as nearly as friendly as they are here.

CB: What advice do you have for people who are trying to break into the business?

RS: I think they should just start. They need to start…The Internet is such an opportunity to reach the people you want to reach. I think it’s possible more than ever to go down to the local comedy club and enter the open mic night and start. Get to know the people and get up and do it. Write material, start a group up that supports each other. It is difficult, but you know there is a way in. Comedy is more accessible than ever.

Get a glimpse of some of Satyal’s funny stuff here.

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<![CDATA[HalfCut Beer Cafe Grand Opening Friday]]> HalfCut Beer Café invites beer lovers to take their taste buds on an explosive journey as they celebrate their opening to the public April 18th.

The cafe — on Walnut Street in Over-the-Rhine, attached to the new taco shop Gomez Salsa — will offer growlers to-go plus beers to sample and drink in-store. Customers walk up to the counter to chat with a knowledgeable beer-ista and then choose the style and flavor of beer they want to indulge in. Then, they have the option of choosing to enjoy their beverage either at the bar or to-go in one a HalfCut growlers. For those in a super hurry, they also have a to-go only window on 12th street.


The interior of the cafe was inspired by a cross-country road trip. HalfCut wants to instill a sense of adventure in its customers via wall artwork by local store Frameshop and a 20-foot mural stretching across their exposed brick wall by Neltner Small Batch that pays homage to beer and the beer-making process telling the story of how beer got from the farm to your hands.


1128 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine, halfcut.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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<![CDATA[Know Theatre Announces 2014 Fringe Festival Lineup]]>

This evening at its Jackson Street headquarters in Over-the-Rhine, Know Theatre of Cincinnati revealed the lineup for the 11th annual Cincinnati Fringe Festival to a crowd of nearly 100 enthusiastic supporters and performers. The two-week festival begins Tuesday, May 27, with the CityBeat Fringe Kick-Off Party; it winds up 12 days later on Saturday, June 7, having presented 32 productions — 17 plays, two musicals, seven solo performers, and six dance presentations. In addition, there will be four FringeNext productions (selected from 11 applicants — a record number), featuring original material produced and performed by local students from the School for Creative and Performing Arts, Newport Central Catholic High School, St. Xavier High School and Highlands High School.

Performance Gallery is kind of the alpha and omega of the Cincinnati Fringe: They’ve been in all 11 festivals, including the 2008 hit show fricative. Producer Eric Vosmeier calls them the inspiration for much of what the Fringe is about: They were doing “fringe-like” work before the festival began, and they’ve returned annually with work that pushes the envelope. This time they’ll offer Heist, about three crooks of questionable ability. Vosmeier also cited Pones Inc., the dance-based company that returns for the seventh time with Traffick, a piece of audience engagement that explores issues of human trafficking. Vosmeier says, “This is the kind of work the Fringe was built to exhibit.”

“We had a great mix of new producers and returning favorites in the applicant pool,” Vosmeier says. “The word continues to spread about our Cincinnati Fringe Festival, which has a national reputation for being the most artist-friendly festival. We’ve worked very hard on this over the years, and I believe that we’ve created something special for our artists and for our region.”

The Cincinnati Fringe differs from festivals elsewhere in that productions are screened and handpicked by a committee of local theater artists. Drawing from a large pool of applicants, comparable to last year’s record-breaking number, this yielded a balanced mix of local vs. out-of-town producers: 15 from Greater Cincinnati and 18 from beyond. The latter number includes three international shows, the most ever for the festival: Around Dark Matter, a Holocaust memory piece by Mica Dvir, is from Tel Aviv, Israel; A Brief History of Beer by Wish Experience from London, a company that has performed at festivals from Edinburgh to Adelaide; and Prefer Not to Say, an interactive piece by blueDragonfly Productions, another U.K. group, the presenter of And All the Rest is Junk Mail a year ago.

For Wednesday evening’s announcement event, members of the Fringe staff mentioned the shows they were most looking forward to. They named:

·     An Unauthorized Autobiography of Benny Hill by Four Humors Theater (Minneapolis), the creative minds behind such past Festival favorites as Lolita: A Three Man Show, Bombus and Berylline and Harold. This will be their sixth consecutive Cincinnati Fringe appearance.

·     Blogging Behind Bars by Unity Productions, creators of two past Fringe hits, The Wave and Nothing. This time it’s a true story about a young, nonviolent criminal who wrote a blog while incarcerated in a maximum-security prison.

·     Papa Squat’s Store of Sorts by solo artist Paul Strickland from Indianapolis, whose Ain’t True and Uncle False was a “Pick of the Fringe” last year. His new show is a music-filled memorial for a guy who “once filled the emptiness in Big-Fib Cul-de-sac with his insightful songs.”

·     Something Something New Vagina by Rebecca Kling, a transgender artist and educator from Chicago with a follow-up show to her 2012 production, Beneath Her Skin.

·     The Ultimate Stimulus by Felipe Ossa, a Brooklyn-based playwright and a new artist to the Cincy Fringe, is presented in the form of a TED Talk that argues for concubinage as a way to address the problem of income inequality.

The festival is also a chance for Cincinnati’s local theater companies to show off. Clifton Performance Theatre will present Sarge, a piece by Kevin Crowley about the wife of discredited Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Untethered Theatre has prepared Where Edward Went, a new play by Ben Dudley and Adam Sievering about a screenwriter’s effort to make a documentary about Edward, the late fiancé of Elyse, a painter. They don’t quite agree about the portrait. New Edgecliff Theatre will offer TRAGEDY: a tragedy, described as “one of the funniest apocalypses of our time.” And Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati’s intern company always offers a fine showcase of young talent. This year it’s two one-act plays: Sheila Callaghan’s Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake) and Itamar Moses’s Authorial Intent.

In addition to the productions offered nightly, artists, audience members, staff and volunteers flock nightly at Know Theatre’s Underground and headquarters for the Fringe Bar Series, with a reasonably priced bar, some free food inside and offerings for purchase from food wagons on Jackson Street. Each evening after the Channel Fringe Hard Hitting Action News Update, everyone has a chance to be a performer with activities such as the Fringe Olympics, Fringe-A-Oke, Fringe Prom, Segway Night and the Night Without Technology. This year the Bar Series night adds Fringetoberfest, an evening of German-inspired food and brews from local craft beer creators.

Vosmeier expects the festival to attract more than 8,000 visitors this year. If you’re someone who tries to see as much as possible, your best bet is a “Full Frontal” Fringe pass ($200) providing access to every event in the festival. Know also offers “Voyeur” passes ($60) good for six shows of your choice. If you can only make it once, a “One Night Stand” pass ($25) is available — admission to any two performances in an evening plus one drink at Know’s Underground bar. Single tickets to Fringe shows continue to be priced at $12; they’ll go on sale in mid-May.

There will be lots more — and the lineup can change. Hey, it’s the Fringe, so be ready for anything. You’ll find details on all these shows and more at cincyfringe.com.

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<![CDATA[Contemporary Arts Center Launches Redesigned Website]]>

The Contemporary Arts Center marks its 75th anniversary with the launch of its newly redesigned website, contemporaryartscenter.org.

By adding a timeline and a list of exhibits dating back to 1939, the updated site highlights some of the museum’s most notable attractions through videos and interactive learning. The historical timeline depicts an honest look at what Cincinnati was like in 1939 and displays the iconic artists that put the CAC on the map. In 1940, Picasso’s Guernica toured the Midwest for its first and only time and made a pit stop in Cincinnati. In 1963, the Pop art show An American Viewpoint was one of the first exhibitions of its kind. And in 1990, nearly 81,000 people visited the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition.

Along with the illustrated timeline and videos, the CAC site also offers lesson plans, exhibit brochures, audio files and slideshows about past exhibits. New features like online ticket admission and family visitor information have been added. After 75 years and hundreds of amazing artists, the Contemporary Arts Center has proven it’s still the coolest place in Cincinnati to spark your creativity and become inspired.

FORM, a Cleveland-based creative services firm, designed the visual layout of the site.

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<![CDATA[Dining Out for Life 2014]]>

Dining Out For Life is an annual event to raise funds for licensed AIDS service agencies in 60 cities across the nation. Started in 1991 by ActionAIDS in Philadelphia, today more than 3,000 restaurants donate a portion of their proceeds from one day to the aforementioned service agencies; more than $4 million is raised each year which goes directly to the agencies (except for a $1,150 licensing fee). 


Cincinnati's Dining Out For Life event benefits Caracole, a nonprofit that provides housing and supportive services to individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS in eight counties across Southwest Ohio. Caracole currently serves more than 1,400 clients and their families.


Area restaurants participating include Arnold's Bar & Grill (donating 25 percent); Below Zero Lounge (donating 100 percent); Blue Jay Restaurant (donating 25 percent); Green Dog Cafe (donating 25 percent); Kitchen 452 (donating 25 percent); Tom+Chee (donating 25 percent); and more. Find a full list of participating restaurants and how much they're donating here.


Dining Out For Life is easy. Just follow three steps:

  1. Choose a participating restaurant.
  2. Gather a group of friends and call ahead to make a reservation. Be sure to mention you're with Dining Out For Life®.
  3. Dine out on Thursday, April 24th and enter for a chance to win fabulous prizes. Restaurants will list what time of day they're participating in fundraising.

If you would like to participate or would like more information, please contact Megan Green, Caracole Community Investment Coordinator, at 513-619-1483 or at mgreen@caracole.org.

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<![CDATA[I Just Can't Get Enough]]>

Senior prom is a special milestone for many American teens, but even traditions as old as school dances change over time. Intimate one-on-one dates have given way to group dates and attending as friends. Flip-flops and cutout cocktail dresses replaced the overdone evening look for many girls. And now a southern-fried specialty is getting in the prom game. Kentucky Fried Chicken — What? Yes. — partnered with Louisville florists to create the chicken corsage. For $20, Louisville residents can purchase a corsage from Nanz and Kraft Florists that includes a $5 gift card to KFC, where folks can then go buy the perfect piece of chicken. It can only be assumed that after prom, girls will press the greasy chicken bone between their yearbook pages, just like their moms did with their corsages when they were young.




It’s confirmed: Stephen Colbert will take over the Late Show desk once David Letterman retires sometime in 2015. That’ll mean no more Colbert Report and, likely, the end of the host’s faux-servative character. Start the countdown to the announcement of a new reality show following Letterman, Leno (and, let’s just be honest — Craig Ferguson and Conan O’Brien) around Ex-Host Island. Move over, old people! Slightly younger people are takin' yer jerbs!

In the contemporary classic Mean Girls, Lindsay Lohan’s Cady describes Halloween as, “the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.” Well, Coachella must be kind of like Halloween for celebrities, except instead of wearing lingerie and some form of animal ears, they throw on the most jumbled assortment of terrible fashion fads. Not sure about the new cream-colored designer jumpsuit you purchased? Try it out in the middle of the desert! Want to channel Woodstock without ever having been to, read about or seen a photo of Woodstock? Grab a Native American headdress and wear that shit to Coachella. The fest is HQ for floral head wreaths, jorts and combat boots (often all worn at once), and for some reason I cannot pull myself away from the celeb photos of this mess. It’s like someone made a slot machine with various teenagers’ style blogs on Tumblr and everyone going to Coachella must take a spin to determine their outfit.

“Ooh, I got a bindi, a latex bra, a crocheted duster and gladiator sandals!” Just look at these famous attendees, capped off with Koachella Kweenz Kylie and Kendall Jenner.

 

But seriously, you need to see this video that’s (probably) of Leonardo DiCaprio Coachin’ it up (people say that, right?) at an MGMT performance, which makes me feel weird and old.

And since I brought up Lindsay, the supposedly sober starlet was supposedly washing down all that Coachella dust and glitter with vodka this weekend. The reports come days after the latest episode of her Oprah docu-series, in which she admits to drinking alcohol after her latest stint in rehab. Also, there were a lot of emo scenes of Lindsay filming herself crying. Get it together, girl. OPRAH WILL CUSS AT YOU AGAIN. And everyone knows if Oprah has to cuss at you twice, you will spontaneously burst into flames.

Celebrispawn in the media is quite the hot topic as of late, particularly thanks to Dax Sheppard and Kristen Bell vs. Papz (this will definitely be a court case our children will study in history class). But what about fake famous babies — fair game? OK! Leslie Knope is pregnant! Pawnee's upcoming addition will be the Prince George of fictional TV comedy births. Which is to say, a very big deal. Parks and Rec's Leslie and Ben will be the best parents ever. I think I speak for fans everywhere by saying we can't wait for his or her first playdate with the world’s most attractive child, Ann and Chris’ little Oliver.

Sunday was an epic night for television with the final Mad Men premiere (sort of) and a crazy-ass episode of Game of Thrones. These two are great popular, critically-acclaimed dramas, but they’re on complete opposite ends of the style spectrum. Mad Men’s seventh season debut was gradual and calculated (as always), giving viewers a chance to fill in the blanks between Season Six and now, speculate on what’s to come and read into every little detail. And by detail, I mean Pete’s California Ken Doll look, which was #flawless. Ratings were way down Sunday — the lowest-rated premiere since the second season's in 2008. Some attribute the drop to a lackluster episode, but the truth is probably that everyone was too busy losing their shit over this week’s Game of Thrones to get into the cool Mad Men mood.

Without giving too much away (and because I spoiled “the incident” for myself since I can’t stay off the damn Internet — so I know it sucks), Thrones fans who hadn’t already read the books were treated to a truly righteous, bubbly, bloody scene this week that totally flips the script for many of our favorite characters. Can’t these people get through one wedding without having to immediately plan a funeral?

New movie trailers to hit the Interwebz: bestseller-turned-likely blockbuster Gone Girl; two red band previews for 22 Jump Street (The College Years); Sex Tape, starring Cameron Diaz and a manorexic Jason Segel, a comedy that’s exactly what you think it’s about; and Jon Favreau’s take on the foodie world, Chef.

Aaand it looks like Jay-Z and Beyoncé may tour together for a string of shows this summer, so I need to go quit my job and fulfill my dreams of being a roadie. Byé! ]]>
<![CDATA[CORV Local Food Guide Release Party Tonight]]> The annual Central Ohio River Valley (CORV) Local Food Guide celebrates its release (find one inside this week’s CityBeat) and upcoming Earth Day with a party at Om Eco Café on Ludlow in Clifton. The CORV guide is a very complete directory of area food resources that connects residents of Greater Cincinnati, Southwest Ohio, Southeast Indiana and Northern Kentucky with local farmers, markets, producers, restaurants, wineries and fresh, local, healthy food. 

Download the 2014 guide here. It has a full list of farmers markets, a story about local artisan/cottage businesses, a harvest guide, a list of local CSAs and farms and more.

5-7:30 p.m. $10 donation requested. Om Eco Café, 329 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, eatlocalcorv.org. 

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<![CDATA[Arnold's Taps Great Lakes Cherry Vanilla Edmund Fitzgerald for Autism]]> Arnold’s has partnered with Great Lakes Brewing Company and Neltner Small Batch to host a fundraiser for autism, #BeerAutismHope. Great Lakes will be tapping a cask-conditioned firkin of their fabled, impossible-to-find and extremely delicious Cherry Vanilla Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. For each pint sold, a dollar will be donated to Lance’s Room, a charity to fund scholarships for people with autism. In addition to the beer, local artist Keith Neltner will be designing a limited edition, multi-layer Great Lakes Brewing Company art print, released exclusively for the event. A portion of those proceeds will also be donated to Lances’s Room. The Hot Magnolias will perform. 

9 p.m. Friday. Free. 210 E. Eighth St., Downtown, 513-421-6234, arnoldsbarandgrill.com.

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<![CDATA[MidPoint Indie Summer Concerts Announced]]>

The first good sign that consistent warmth is on its way is the announcement of the lineup for this year’s MidPoint Indie Summer series at downtown’s Fountain Square. The concerts are part of the Square’s free PNC Summer Music Series, which showcases different types of music (played mostly by local acts) five days a week. (The lineups for the every-Thursday Salsa on the Square shows have also been announced; visit myfountainsquare.com for details.)

The eclectic, free Indie Summer shows take place every Friday throughout the summer. This year’s lineup is perhaps the series’ strongest yet, with some higher profile national touring acts and the usual array of top-notch local talent. 

Here’s the full rundown of Indie Summer shows so far (a few slots are still to be announced): 


• May 30: WHY?Yip DeceiverBad BoxesDark Colour 


• June 6: WussyThe TigerliliesHoney & HoustonMason School of Rock


• June 13: Betty WhoVito EmmanuelCaptain KiddPluto Revolts


• June 20: Those DarlinsThe HarlequinsThose Crosstown RivalsThe Frankl Project 


• June 27: Moon TaxiPeridoniNeveleAcarya 


• July 4: Local HNew StrangeMad AnthonyOne Day Steady 


• July 11: Soledad BrothersElectric CitizenPop Goes the EvilGrotesque Brooms 


• July 18: Wesley Bright & the Hi-LitesDAAP GirlsMardou 


• July 25: Clap Your Hands Say YeahPublicDanny & His Fantasy


• August 1: The Spiders (tribute to David Bowie); Honeyspiders


• August 8: Man ManInjecting StrangersOhio KnifeSkeleton Hands


• August 15: The Nightbeast (a co-headliner will be announced in July)


• August 22: psychodotsLemon SkyTonefarmerHeavy Hinges 


• August 29: IslandsThe PassThe YugosJoey Cook & The Keepers of the Secret


The Indie Summer series is sponsored by the MidPoint Music Festival, CityBeat’s popular annual music extravaganza, which returns to the clubs and venues of Downtown and Over-the-Rhine Sept. 25-27. (Though all MPMF-worthy, the acts are booked through Fountain Square, not by MidPoint.) There will be a MidPoint booth on Fountain Square every Friday where music fans can find the latest MPMF info and purchase tickets to the three-day festival. 


A limited amount of discounted early-bird passes for this year’s MPMF are available now at mpmf.cincyticket.com. Nail down your three-day tickets (or VIP Experience tickets) before the prices increase. And be sure to stay tuned to mpmf.com and the fest's various social media accounts for the latest updates. 

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<![CDATA[Know to Announce 2014 Fringe Lineup Tonight]]> This evening at its Jackson Street headquarters in Over-the-Rhine, Know Theatre of Cincinnati will announce the lineup for the 11th annual Cincinnati Fringe Festival. The two-week festival begins on Tuesday, May 27, with the CityBeat Fringe Kick-Off Party, and continues through Saturday, June 7, presenting 33 productions — 17 plays, two musicals, seven solo performers, six dance presentations and one defined as “variety/other.” In addition, there will be four FringeNext productions, featuring area high school students, and an array of special events.

“We had a great mix of new producers and returning favorites in the applicant pool,” says Producing Artistic Director Eric Vosmeier. “The word continues to spread about our Cincinnati Fringe Festival, which has a national reputation for being the most artist-friendly festival. We’ve worked very hard on this over the years, and I believe that we’ve created something special for our artists and for our region.”

The pool of applicants, comparable to last year’s record-breaking number, has yielded a mix of local vs. out-of-town producers: 15 from Greater Cincinnati, including the return of Performance Gallery for the 11th consecutive year (it’s the only group that’s been in every Fringe) with a new piece, Heist, about three crooks of questionable ability. There will be 18 productions from beyond Cincinnati, including three international shows.

Vosmeier expects the festival to attract more than 8,000 visitors for 2014. If you’re one of those people who tries to see as much as possible, your best bet is a “Full Frontal” Fringe pass ($200) that gives you access to every event in the festival. Know also offers “Voyeur” passes ($60) good for six shows of your choice. If you can be there for one evening, a “One Night Stand” pass ($25) is available, offering access to any two performances in an evening and one drink at Know Theatre’s Underground bar. Individual tickets to Fringe Festival shows continue to be priced at $12; they’ll go on sale in mid-May.

Look for more information at CityBeat.com after the 7 p.m. announcement tonight. More info: cincyfringe.com.

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<![CDATA[A Tavola Madeira Now Open]]> Favorite OTR eatery (and this year's Best of Cincinnati winner for Best Pizza, non-chain) A Tavola opens its new Madeira location today at 4 p.m. 

Located in a former bank that once housed a sushi restaurant, A Tavola has given the building a facelift with new flooring, lighting from Switch Lighting & Design, custom banquettes from Landeck Woodworking, a brand new patio and they've also installed a pizza oven from Naples, Italy, a solid-wood bar, a La Marzocco espresso machine and an Italforni Bull oven (which their Facebook says created the "First pizza made in A Tavola, Madeira, and first pizza made on an Italforni Bull in the U.S.!")

They don't take reservations and they're currently BYOB (with a corkage fee).

7022 Miami Ave., Madeira, 513-272-0192, atavolapizza.com.

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<![CDATA[Cincinnati Takes Over New York City]]> Cincinnati's arts groups and chefs are road tripping it to New York City for a seven-day showcase highlighting the eats, arts and culture of the Queen City for Cincy in NYC.

The showcase, which runs May 6 through May 12, features events and performances from the Cincinnati Ballet, CCM alumni, the May Festival Chorus and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Playhouse in the Park, the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Taft Museum of Art, Queen City chefs (Jean-Robert de Cavel, Julie Francis of Nectar, David Cook of Daveed's NEXT, David Falk of Boca, Jose Salazar of Salazar, chocolatier Jean-Philippe Solnom and Stephen Williams of Bouquet) and more.

According to an article in Cincy Magainze, the original idea was that just the Cincinnati Ballet would return to New York City for the first time in 30 years. But it turns out the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the May Festival Chorus were also scheduled to be in NYC, performing around the same time as the ballet's performance week at the Joyce. So, long story short, other Cincinnati-based art groups were recruited to head East and now there's a ton of Cincinnatians trekking to New York to show the city what the Midwest has to offer.

Events kick off on May 6 with a performance from the Cincinnati Ballet at the Joyce and round out with a performance by CCM's quartet-in-residence, the Ariel Quartet, at the 92nd Street Y. 

MAY 6
The Cincinnati Ballet at The Joyce Theater — The ballet celebrates it's 50th anniversary with a week-long tour at the Joyce, where they'll be performing three New York City premieres: Hummingbird in a Box, featuring seven new compositions by Grammy-winner Peter Frampton; Chasing Squirrel, an eccentric work by Trey McIntyre; and Caprice, a new ballet choreographed by Val Caniparoli that features live musicians performing Paganini's Violin Caprices. 7:30 p.m. $19-$49. Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street, New York, cballet.org/newyorktour.

CCM Jazz Alumni at Jazz at Lincoln Center — Past and present CCM big band alumni perform at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola. 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. $30-$45. Broadway at 60th Street, New York, jalc.org/dizzys.

MAY 7
Music and Words with Ricky Ian Gordon — The composer will discuss his work with moderator Evans Mirageas, the Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director of the Cincinnati Opera. 7 p.m. Free for members; $20 for non. The National Opera Center, 330 Seventh Ave., New York, operaamerica.org

The Cincinnati Ballet at The Joyce Theater — The ballet celebrates it's 50th anniversary with a week-long tour at the Joyce, where they'll be performing three New York City premieres: Hummingbird in a Box, featuring seven new compositions by Grammy-winner Peter Frampton; Chasing Squirrel, an eccentric work by Trey McIntyre; and Caprice, a new ballet choreographed by Val Caniparoli that features live musicians performing Paganini's Violin Caprices. 7:30 p.m. $19-$49. Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street, New York, cballet.org/newyorktour.

MAY 8
May Festival/Symphony Party — The May Festival and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra host a cocktail soiree. 6-8 p.m. $275 (patron); $200 (guest). New York Yacht Club, 37 W. 44th St., New York, cincyinnyc.com.

The Cincinnati Ballet at The Joyce Theater — The ballet celebrates it's 50th anniversary with a week-long tour at the Joyce, where they'll be performing three New York City premieres: Hummingbird in a Box, featuring seven new compositions by Grammy-winner Peter Frampton; Chasing Squirrel, an eccentric work by Trey McIntyre; and Caprice, a new ballet choreographed by Val Caniparoli that features live musicians performing Paganini's Violin Caprices. 8 p.m. $19-$49. Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street, New York, cballet.org/newyorktour.

MAY 9
Playhouse Staged Reading in Afternoon — Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park presents a reading of Fool, by Cincinnati native Theresa Rebeck, creator of TV's Smash. The reading features an all-star cast of Cincinnati stars. 2 p.m. Free but tickets required. Pearl Studios, 519 Eighth Ave., 12th Floor, Studio D, 513-421-3888.

Cincinnati Night at Carnegie Hall — The May Festival Chorus and the CSO take the Carnegie Hall stage as part of the prestigious Spring for Music Festival with a program including John Adams' iconic "Harmonium" and the New York premiere of R. Nathanial Dett's "The Ordering of Moses." 7:30 p.m. $25. Carnegie Hall, 881 Seventh Ave., New York, mayfestival.com.

The Cincinnati Ballet at The Joyce Theater — The ballet celebrates it's 50th anniversary with a week-long tour at the Joyce, where they'll be performing three New York City premieres: Hummingbird in a Box, featuring seven new compositions by Grammy-winner Peter Frampton; Chasing Squirrel, an eccentric work by Trey McIntyre; and Caprice, a new ballet choreographed by Val Caniparoli that features live musicians performing Paganini's Violin Caprices. 8 p.m. $19-$49. Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street, New York, cballet.org/newyorktour.

Cincinnati Party for Young Professionals — Cincinnati-native YPs are invited to an evening of live music, mingling and an open bar. Dhani Jones will MC. 9-11 p.m. Free. Arlene's Grocery, 95 Stanton St., New York, cincyinnyc.com.

MAY 10
Queen City Chefs Take a Bite Out of the Big Apple — Jean-Robert de Cavel, Julie Francis of Nectar, David Cook of Daveed's NEXT, David Falk of Boca, Jose Salazar of Salazar, chocolatier Jean-Philippe Solnom and Stephen Williams of Bouquet head to the James Beard House in NYC to cook a seven-course dinner. While they planned the menu together, they're each responsible for a different course. 7 p.m. $170; $130 for James Beard members. James Beard House, 167 W. 12th St., New York, jamesbeard.org.

Cincinnati Art Museum's Eyes on the Street Panel — A panel discussion of street photography in the 21st century. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. $5. Aperture Gallery, 547 W. 27th St., Fourth Floor, New York, cincyinnyc.com.

The Cincinnati Ballet at The Joyce Theater — The ballet celebrates it's 50th anniversary with a week-long tour at the Joyce, where they'll be performing three New York City premieres: Hummingbird in a Box, featuring seven new compositions by Grammy-winner Peter Frampton; Chasing Squirrel, an eccentric work by Trey McIntyre; and Caprice, a new ballet choreographed by Val Caniparoli that features live musicians performing Paganini's Violin Caprices. 2 p.m. $19-$49. Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street, New York, cballet.org/newyorktour.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Tour — Enjoy a special docent-led tour of the Met's Rembrandt galleries, including Portrait of a Man Rising from His Chair, on loan from the Taft Museum of Art. 2 p.m. $29. The Met, 1000 Fifht Ave., New York, taftmuseum.cincyregister.com/rembrandtatmet.

MAY 11
World Piano Competition Gold Medalists at the Carnegie — Performance by gold medalist Alexander Yakovlev, 2012 World Piano Competition winner. 2 p.m. $15. The Carnegie, 881 Seventh Avenue and 57th Street, New York,  carnegiehall.org/events.

The Cincinnati Ballet at The Joyce Theater — The ballet celebrates it's 50th anniversary with a week-long tour at the Joyce, where they'll be performing three New York City premieres: Hummingbird in a Box, featuring seven new compositions by Grammy-winner Peter Frampton; Chasing Squirrel, an eccentric work by Trey McIntyre; and Caprice, a new ballet choreographed by Val Caniparoli that features live musicians performing Paganini's Violin Caprices. 2 p.m. $19-$49. Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street, New York, cballet.org/newyorktour.

MAY 12
CCM's Ariel Quartet — The internationally acclaimed Ariel Quartet and CCM's quartet-in-residence perform Haydn's String Quartet in G Major, Op. 76, No. 1; Beethoven's String Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 130 and more. 7:30 p.m. $30. 92nd Street Y, SubCulture, 45 Bleecker St., New York, 92y.org.

For more information on all the events and Cincy in NYC in general, head to cincyinnyc.com.
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<![CDATA[Your Weekend To Do List: 4/11-4/13]]>

This weekend’s forecast includes warm weather, a bit of rain, a few clouds and tons of art. Whether you want to watch it, make it, buy it or just support local arts organizations, art is all around this weekend — starting with the last Macy’s Arts Sampler of the season, presented by ArtsWave.

Macy’s Arts Sampler Weekends bring free performances, workshops, tours and other art opportunities to venues across Greater Cincinnati. Saturday’s final installment includes concerts by the Cincinnati Children's Choir, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra and Cincinnati Men’s Chorus at St. John’s Unitarian Church; dance demo classes and performances at Covington’s Step-N-Out Studio; yarn-bombing 101 with the Bombshells of Cincinnati at 21c Museum Hotel and tons more events in College Hill, Butler County, Mariemont and other neighborhoods. Find a full schedule of free art to sample here.

Visionaries + Voices provides countless opportunities for local artists with disabilities. With locations in Northside and Tri-County, V+V helps these artists create, market and showcase their pieces. At the organization’s annual fundraiser, Double Vision, talented V+V artists exhibit and auction their works of art. Double Vision V takes place at Memorial Hall Friday — VIP and general admission ticket options available here. Art will be on sale via live and silent auctions, and attendees can enjoy drinks, snacks and music by DJ Mowgli.

Oakley’s Brazee Street Studios hosts a free art supply swap from 1-3 p.m. Saturday. Clean out your craft closet and bring any unwanted items such as paint, textiles and brushes, then stock up on other materials you may need. It’s all free and honor system-style — please bring at least two items if you plan on swapping. All extra supplies will be donated to Crayons2Computers.

It’s Northside Second Saturday time this weekend! Art, retail sales, food and drink specials abound throughout the neighborhood starting around 6 p.m. Highlights include shows at Northside Tavern and The Comet, gallery openings at Fabricate, NVISION and Northside International Airport’s Bathrool Gallery and a closing reception at Thunder-Sky, Inc.

Local electronic artist Charles Woodman is a founding member of video performance group viDEO sAVant and he currently has a show on display in Weston Art Gallery you can read about here. This Sunday viDEO sAVant presents Lateral Thinking, a unique, live multimedia performance at 21c Museum Hotel downtown. Video clips of both sci-fi and avant-garde films will play out as a soundtrack is composed live. This feast for the senses is free and begins at 4 p.m. Read more here.

Be sure to read our Best of Cincinnati issue for reader and staff picks on the city’s best restaurants, businesses, events and more.

For more theater shows, parties and other stuff to do this weekend, check out our To Do picks and full calendar.

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<![CDATA[Stage Door: Green Day and More]]>

If you follow music coverage in CityBeat (hey, isn't that really why you pick up the paper?), you're certainly aware of Green Day's 2004 recording American Idiot. But since you're reading my weekend theater previews, you must be interested in other kinds of performance, so here's a tip: For two nights only, Green Day's American Idiot, a stage version of the powerful Punk score, will be onstage at the Aronoff. That's right — Friday and Saturday only, just three performances, much shorter that Broadway in Cincinnati's two-week presentation of touring Broadway musicals. I can vouch for this one, since I saw it a year ago during a similar tour stop in Dayton.

It's the story of three disaffected guys who take different downward spirals when confronted with the numbing boredom of everyday life — "alien nation" — as they sing in the opening number. The recording was conceived as a "Punk Rock Opera" and turned into a Tony Award-nominated Broadway show in 2010, with a lot of involvement by Green Day's lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong (who actually appeared onstage in New York at various performances; that's not happening here in Cincinnati). There's a day-of-performance lottery for a limited number of $25 tickets; you need to show up two-and-a-half hours before the performance you're hoping to see (8 p.m. Friday, and 5 and 8 p.m. on Saturday) with a valid photo ID. Complete an entry form and wait 30 minutes to find out if you're a winner. If you prefer to just go ahead and buy your seats ($38-$91), you can call the Aronoff box office: 513-621-2787.

In the classic musical Gypsy, Rose has very concrete ideas regarding how to turn her daughters into stars (long before Green Day was punking out, to be sure): Back in the 1920s and ’30s she pushed her kids onto vaudeville stages whether they liked it or not. Things never went quite as she imagined, which was really a desire for her own fame and stardom. It's one of the great musicals, and the role of Rose has been compared to King Lear. That might be a bit of a stretch, but she's a tragic character who's fascinating to watch. There's a ton of great music, composed by Jule Styne with lyrics by a very young Stephen Sondheim and lots of humor along the way, especially the hilarious number by three strippers, "You Gotta Get a Gimmick." Cincinnati Landmark opened its production Thursday night, and it will be onstage at the Covedale Center for the Performing Arts through May 4. Tickets ($21-$24): 513-241-6550.

Mary Chase's comedy Harvey won the 1945 Pulitzer Prize and had a four-year Broadway run (1,800 performances). The story of Elwood P. Dowd and his invisible friend, a 6-foot tall rabbit named Harvey, is perhaps best known for the 1950 movie featuring Jimmy Stewart in an Oscar-nominated performance. That's all well and good, but it's a show that audiences love to see live and in-person, and you can do just that at Covington's Carnegie for the next three weekends (tonight through April 27). It's directed by Buz Davis, who produced shows at the Carnegie when it was a dilapidated wreck back in the ’80s and ’90s. Now he's returning to stage Harvey in the beautifully renovated Otto M. Budig Theatre.
(Tickets ($17-$24): 859-957-1940.) Davis has assembled a strong cast for this family-friendly comedy, you can catch a few of them in this charming promotional video:



Still onstage are several recommended productions: The Mountaintop at Ensemble Theatre (final extended performance is Saturday evening; 513-421-3555); A Delicate Ship at the Cincinnati Playhouse (through April 20; 513-421-3888; CityBeat review here); and The Twentieth-Century Way at Know Theatre (through May 3; CityBeat review here.) And if Monday comes and you want still more: Check out True Theatre's next installment — True Dating (7:30 p.m. at Know Theatre). This round of monologues of real experiences will feature stories of dating that led to true love, and some that went off the tracks along the way. Tickets ($15): 513-300-5669.
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<![CDATA[Thoughts After Binge-Watching 'House of Cards']]>

Alfred Hitchcock made Psycho infamous by killing off the main character 30 minutes into the movie. Audiences were shocked — some even walked out of the theater. This had never been done before. Viewers had already invested 30 minutes into Janet Leigh. But her character’s death — as shocking as it was — created an essential space for Norman Bates to emerge and develop. The movie took a twist for the unexpected, and Norman Bates remains one of the most fundamental characters in the history of film.

It took me awhile to get into House of Cards. The series seems to pick up more steam the longer you watch. Kevin Spacey makes me uncomfortable (for good reason). I wasn’t hooked right away. Like Heisenberg in Breaking Bad, we are captivated by the villains — the evil doers. Frank and Claire Underwood are the political equivalent to Bonnie and Clyde. The audience is part of a first-person psychopathic journey through a politician’s road to world domination, and we’re frozen on the edge of our seats.

The turning point for many was the first episode of the second season, “Chapter 14.” Here we are, fully engaged with these characters, rooting for the journalists (I was rooting for the journalists) and waiting to see what amazing one-liners this series would come up with next. And then Zoe died. I had to re-watch the subway scene twice before I believed it was real. It was quick and dirty (just like Frank), an ingenious move on creator Beau Willimon’s part.

It’s the kind of moment where you think about criminal intent and defendants blaming their murders on “insanity.” Frank Underwood is an insane character with direct criminal intent. He didn’t get angry and frustrated and regret his decision. He saw an opportunity to get rid of a pesky journalist, so he took it. We all knew Frank was capable of stepping on anyone (Peter Russo) who was in his way. But this…this was different. This was a character that he had an established sexual and professional relationship with. And he killed her in two seconds. (It was so acrobatic and ninja-like.) That was the turning point for me, the point where I was hooked. Zoe’s death was a classic Hitchcockian move, only viewers had already invested an entire season into her.

The reason why Zoe’s death was so shocking to viewers is because we don’t believe our government officials to be capable of throwing journalists in front of trains when they are getting uncomfortably close to the truth. (9/11 truthers will disagree). In reality, dictatorships and corrupt regimes all over the world have the power to kill and do so regularly. Especially journalists. I find it so interesting that we are fascinated by a concept of unethical government and abuse of power when there is so much damn truth to it. We are romanticizing tyranny. We are making crooked governments into a drama series and it’s enticing and addicting because that’s not how we think we live. It’s dramatic to imagine Congress as a group of blood-thirsty criminals. Things like that “just don’t happen” in this country — so we make it into a TV show.

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<![CDATA[Ohio Ranks Poorly in Government Transparency ]]> Ohio scored fifth-worst in a nationwide government transparency survey conducted by a national consumer group focused on investigating and advocating for American citizens against powerful interest groups.

The group gave Ohio a “D-” ranking after its government spending transparency website earned 51 points out of 100 in U.S. Public Interest Research Group's fifth annual “Following the Money” report. 

“Ohio’s been kind of sinking through the ratings year by year,” says Phineas Baxendall, a U.S. PIRG senior policy analyst and co-author of the report released on Tuesday. “It used to do much better, which doesn’t mean they’re dismantling their transparency systems. It just means our standards get tougher each year and they’re more staying in place while other states are improving.”

Ohio’s the only state in the nation that doesn’t offer certain customizable search options including bid award recipients, keywords, agency and bulk download searches. Ohio’s poor score follows three years of ranking in the bottom half of the study.  

Researchers look for transparency websites to be comprehensive, one-stop and offer simple search formats. 

The nation as a whole is moving toward a more transparent approach to documenting government spending. Since PIRG began the study, all six categories it uses to compile rankings have shown an increase in states performing specific duties. The largest leaps in the past five years involve showing how a project benefits from taxpayer subsidies, which has seen an increase from two to 33 states, and how tax money is spent with an increase from eight to 44 states. All states now have ledger listings for transactions of any government spending on a website, compared to only 32 five years ago. 

Ohio’s score doesn’t reflect Cincinnati’s efforts to be transparent. In a 2013 study in transparency of the 30 largest cities in America, Cincinnati scored a “B+” for providing ledger listings for spending information, allowing Cincinnatians to view where money is spent, specific recipients of tax subsidies and the existence of a service request center allowing residents to notify officials about quality of life issues. 

Suggestions for improvement included making checkbook-level spending information searchable by the vendor who received the money and developing a comprehensive transparency website.

“We feel strongly that this isn’t a partisan issue, and the fact that states that do best in our rankings show no political pattern, with Texas and Massachusetts standing side-by-side, sort of speaks that this is one of those issues that should not be politicized,” Baxendall says. “We look forward to advancement in transparency in Ohio regardless of who is in office.”

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<![CDATA[I Just Can't Get Enough]]>

The fellas of Mad Men showed off their mad manes (sorry) when Jon Hamm and Pete Campbell revealed some pretty epic ‘dos to the public this week.

Let’s start with Mr. Draper. Apparently in all my research of Jon Hamm (Read: browsing his free-ballin’ pics), neither I — nor the rest of the Internet — realized the star had appeared on the short-lived dating show The Big Date in 1996. The USA Network game show was hosted by Mark Walberg (the Antiques Roadshow one, not the triple-nipple one).

Then-25-year-old Hamm, identified on the show as a waiter, rocked the classic ‘90s parted shaggy ‘do (which I like to call the Shawn Hunter). And as if that wasn’t enough to confuse your boner (or ladyboner), just watch as he describes his perfect first date:

(Cut to the 2-minute mark for Hamm’s introduction, but seriously just watch the whole thing).


TOTAL FABULOUSITY! For some unknown reason that will go down as one of life’s biggest mysteries, Hamm did not go on to win a date. FOR SHAME!

OK, fast forward to modern times at the Mad Men premiere party last week. Vincent Kartheiser aka Pete Campbell showed up looking like he started to pull a Britney before changing his mind and running to the red carpet.

Apparently the actor shaves his bang area (why does that sound so dirty) so his character Pete can have a receding hairline  — because obviously — but couldn’t he achieve that look with makeup and a bald cap? Or why not just shave the whole thing? This is especially bothersome to me because, as a child, I was convinced you didn't need to "grow out" your bangs once you grew tired of them, you just had to cut them off. This could have been me:

                                       WHAT IS HAPPENING

Mad Men’s final season premieres Sunday night at 10 p.m. on AMC. Like Breaking Bad, this final season will be split between this year and next. Read more in this week’s TV column.

This week in movie remake fuckery: The Goonies 2 is coming atchu.

David Letterman realized Leno wasn’t backing out of retirement this time, so he hopped on the bandwagon and announced he’d be leaving The Late Show in 2015. Chelsea Handler also recently revealed she’ll be leaving E! when her contract is up in a few months, and is one of many celebs rumored to be considered to take Dave’s place. (Her first change: Swap out Stupid Pet Tricks for Stupid Vagina Tricks. Or maybe just Stupid Tricks, a game show with hookers? Call me for more ideas, Chels!) Stephen Colbert is at the center of these rumors as well, as his Colbert Report contract also ends at the end of this year. Meanwhile Late Late host and Letterman follow-up Craig Ferguson waits in the shadows as 75 percent of Americans still think Craig Ferguson is "the black guy from The Office." Wah waaahhh

Iconic album art like The Beatle’s Abbey Road can transform ordinary places into fan destinations. Check out these classic record covers inserted into their respective Google street view locations.

Normally grown-ass women with a hardcore love for Disney turn me off — everyone’s entitled to a nostalgia fest every now and again, but you should not see Frozen three times in theaters if you do not have a child in your life. And there’s a new announcement for you:


Anna Kendrick hosted Saturday Night Live for the first time this weekend and her debut featured not one but two nods to Disney with her Beauty and the Beast-themed monologue and, later, a Little Mermaid bit. But — as you’ll see from the links — Kendrick’s stint was anything but basic. Bravo, Anna! This will certainly be a highlight episode of the season.

Could you use $500,000? Have you always wanted to be on TV? Are you either a soft-spoken racial minority or a loud-mouthed racist? Big Brother is casting its 16th season and the crew will be in Cincinnati next month to scope prospects. According to the online application, casting is curious about important personal information like applicants' weight, hair color and a “self biography” of a whopping 70 words. Those interested in being locked in a house, recorded 24/7 by 65 cameras and 98 microphones and pitted against some of the worst human beings on the planet can apply in person at Mount Adams Pavilion between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday, May 2.

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<![CDATA[Easter Brunch Specials]]>

A smattering of local restaurants offering special Easter menus and buffets on Sunday, April 20. Reservations required.

A Touch of Elegance: Entrees include beef tenderloin, honey-glazed ham, fish, chicken and vegetarian choices plus a traditional breakfast including goetta and smoked salmon. There will also be a baby chick display; after brunch, the chicks will be donated to Parky's Farm. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. $23.95 adults; $20.25 seniors; $16 ages 4-10; free ages 3 and younger. 5959 Kellogg Ave., 
California, 513-231-2312, atouchofelegance.info.

Blinkers Tavern: Breakfast, lunch and dinner Easter choices featuring honey-glazed ham, oven-roasted Cornish hen and prime rib. 10:30 a.m. 318 Greenup St., 
Covington, Ky., 859-360-0840, blinkerstavern.com.

Crave: Hot and cold buffets with meat-carving stations, a pastry table and kid-friendly choices. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. $27.95 adults; $12.95 children. 175 Joe Nuxhall Way, 
Downtown, 513-241-8600, craveamerica.com.

Crowne Plaza Hotel Blue Ash: Stations including an omelet station and a waffle station plus salads, fruit, cinnamon French toast, seasoned roast pork loin, baked fish and more. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. $27 adults; $21 seniors; $12 ages 5-12; free ages 4 and younger. 5901 Pfeiffer Road
, Blue Ash, 513-793-4500.

Embassy Suites Blue Ash: Menu includes a carving station with glazed ham and beef. 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. $24.95 adults; $22.95 seniors; $9.95 ages 5-10; free ages 4 and younger. 4554 Lake Forest Drive
, Blue Ash, 513-981-3752.

Jag’s Steak and Seafood: Steak and seafood menus. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. 5980 West Chester Road
, West Chester, 513-860-5353, jags.com.

Metropole: Chef Michael Paley offers dishes including milk-braised rabbit papparadelle and house-made sticky buns. Brunch cocktails include a salty bloody mary or Morning Glory, Metropole's spin on mimosa. 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. 609 Walnut St.,
 Downtown, 513-578-6660, metropoleonwalnut.com.

Oasis Conference Center: All sorts of stations including a omelet station, salad station, carving station, dessert station and a children’s buffet. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. $22.95 adults; $17.95 seniors; $8.95 children. 902 Loveland-Miamiville Road, Loveland, 513-583-8383, oasisconferencecenter.com.

The Palace Restaurant: Executive Chef Joe West offers a traditional brunch buffet with carving and crepe stations. 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. $42.95 adults; $32.95 seniors; $22.95 children. 601 Vine St., 
Downtown, palacecincinnati.com.

The Phoenix: Brunch plus complimentary photos with the Easter Bunny. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. $28.95 adults; $16.95 children. 812 Race St.,
Downtown, 513-721-8901, thephx.com.

Riley’s Restaurant: All-you-can-eat smoked pit ham, fried chicken tenders, jambalaya, breakfast casserole, scrambled eggs and more. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. $18.50. 11568 Springfield Pike
, Springdale, 513-771-3361, rileysgreatmeals.com.

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse: New seasonal spring dishes plus children's options. Noon. $42.95; $13.95 children. 100 E. Freedom Way
, Downtown, 513-381-0491, ruthschris.com.

Schoolhouse Restaurant: Fried chicken, fish, carved roast beef, meat loaf, baked ham and spinach-stuffed chicken breast served with sides. 11:30 a.m. 8031 Glendale-Milford Road
, Camp Dennison, 513-831-5753, theschoolhousecincinnati.com.

Via Vite: A buffet with Italian items and drink specials. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. $25; $10 ages 2-10; free for 2 and younger. 520 Vine St.,
 Downtown, 513-721-8483, viaviterestaurant.com.

 

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<![CDATA[Playhouse World Premiere 'Seven Spots on the Sun' Earns National Recognition]]>

Actors Theatre’s Humana Festival is indeed a launching pad for exciting new works. That makes its final weekend the perfect moment for the American Theatre Critics Association to recognize a set of outstanding plays produced at regional theaters during 2013. None of the 2013 Humana Festival shows was nominated, but one of the three works to win a significant cash prize ($7,500) was Martín Zimmerman’s Seven Spots on the Sun, given its world premiere at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park last fall. The play blends magical realism and political issues in an affecting tale examining if forgiveness is truly possible. Set in a Central American nation ravaged by civil war, lust, plague and a consuming need for vengeance, it’s about a widowed doctor in a small village and a newly-married soldier charged with subduing dissent. Their journeys towards redemption converge in some painful ways.

The top prize ($25,000) went to Lauren Gunderson for her play I and You, about a cranky high school student who needs a liver transplant. A smart, athletic classmate recruits her to help him finish a school project focused on Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. As their unlikely relationship evolves, they explore the meaning of life and death without a shred of condescension or pretentiousness. I and You was staged last October at Marin Theatre Company in California, where Jasson Minadakis, who founded Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, is now artistic director and nurtured the development of Gunderson’s script. Her play Toil & Trouble was presented locally last summer by Know Theatre.

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