CityBeat Blogs - The Morning After http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/blogs-1-1-1-33.html <![CDATA[Your Weekend To Do List (12/19-12/21)]]>

Since Christmas is next week (Thursday), there's a ton of holiday stuff to do this weekend — everything from plays and other onstage events to train displays and elves doing things.

Onstage:
  • Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some) (through Dec. 28 at Cincy Shakes): For seven seasons this mash-up of holiday tales has played to sold-out Cincinnati Shakespeare audiences. It starts as an annual performance of A Christmas Carol but goes off the tracks almost immediately to poke fun at the season and the stories we all remember — Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, The Island of Lost Toys, The Nutcracker, even It’s a Wonderful Life.
  • A Soldier's Christmas (through Dec. 21 at NKU's Corbett Theatre): Last summer Cincinnati Opera presented Silent Night, a retelling of the 1914 “Christmas Truce,” when World War I forces set aside their battles and marked the holiday. Local playwright Phil Paradis has rendered this story into a play that is being presented for the holidays. Two soldiers — one British, the other German — meet by chance as they seek warmth for their respective trenches.
  • Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings (through Dec. 21 at Covedale): The late-’50s singing group of Francis, Jinx, Smudge and Sparky died when a bus full of Catholic schoolgirls on their way to see the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show crashed into the Plaids’ car as they drove to an audition. In the sequel, they’re on a mission with heavenly guidance from Rosemary Clooney, who tells them harmony is needed to cheer a discordant world.
  • Amahl and the Night Visitors (Dec. 19-22 at Xavier University's Gallagher Center Theater): Amahl and the Night Visitors is Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s annual holiday gift, a multi-media extravaganza of the Christmas classic originally written for television in 1951. Gian Carlo Menotti’s one-act opera of the crippled boy Amahl and his encounter with the three wise men on their way to Bethlehem is a celebration of music, magic and miracles.
  • And, of course, A Christmas Carol (through Dec. at the Playhouse in the Park): Howard Dallin’s excellent adaptation has been used since 1991. The Playhouse’s A Christmas Carol features one of the Cincinnati area’s best local actors, Bruce Cromer, as Scrooge for the 10th consecutive year.
Off-stage but still holiday-ish

 

  • Grab a friend or family member and head to Fountain Square for some ice skating. The ice rink is up through Jan. 4, 2015 — and this weekend is the last weekend to skate with santa. The man in red hits the ice for some skate time on Saturday and Sunday.
  • BB Riverboats is offering a variety of holiday-themed cruises, including a Christian Moerlein Brew Ho Ho Ho dinner cruise with beer tastings on Saturday.  
  • The Cyclones are throwing an ugly sweater party during their game against the Elmira, N.Y. Jackals on Saturday. 
  • For an enlightening holiday experience, head to Union Terminal on Saturday and Sunday for their two-day Winter Solstice Celebration, highlighting end of year traditions like Chinese New Year, Diwali and Kwanzaa.
  • Take that a step further Sunday for the annual Lighting of the Serpent at Serpent Mound. Volunteers will light luminaries along the coils of the ancient effigy mound. 
  • And, another thing to see at Union Terminal: Holiday Junction. The Duke Energy trains are back through Jan. 4, 2015, with 300 mini rain cars, 60 engines and 1,000 feet of sparkly, snow-covered track. 
Music!
Over the Rhine

  • Folk duo Over the Rhine is continuing their annual Christmas tradition of performing a holiday concert at the Taft. Expect to hear songs from their recently released Blood Oranges in the Snow Saturday night.
  • Nashville, Tenn. quartet Steelism packed the house at this year's Midpoint Music Festival. Expect a similar crowd when the band plays MOTR Friday.
  • Guitar ace Adrian Belew plays the 20th Century Theater Sunday.
For more of what's going on this weekend (besides some last-minute gift shopping), check out our staff picks here.

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<![CDATA[From the Copy Desk]]>

Good late morning readers! It's time to take another look at the Words Nobody Uses or Knows in this week's issue and the general absurdities of the English language.

I once spent a lot of time in Columbus teaching largely illiterate adults how to read and write English. (Most were recent immigrants from India.) And let me tell you, trying to explain a sentence like: "Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present" to a person with little or no English skills is tough. Or how about "The bandage was wound around the wound" or "She was close to the door so she closed it."

It's a complicated language, riddled with nuances and mysterious rules. The adults I taught, many of whom had never taken a formal English course in their lives, astounded me with their sheer enthusiasm to take it on.

It's hard, ya'll. Even I mess it up on a daily basis, and reading and writing is, like, my job. Reading CityBeat has expanded my arsenal of adult words, though, and it will expand yours, too. Pick up this week's issue! Read it! Learn!

OK, onto the best word in this week's issue: bifurcated, in Kathy Y. Wilson's fatigued editorial regarding the criminal justice system.

bifurcated: having two branches or peaks; forked (adj.)

In this issue: "In those hands, blackness morphs into rage, disappointment, property damage, protests, shame, splintered loyalties and proof, once and for all, that we are indeed living in Two Americas, a bifurcated landscape where, after all these generations together, we steadfastly still refuse to accept and/or respect the complexities of race."

Next best word is nadir, found in our cover story, a really interesting and well written piece on the litany of issues facing the county morgue and crime lab.

nadir: that point of the celestial sphere directly opposite to the zenith and directly below the observer; the lowest point (adj.)

In this issue: "Sales tax receipts in the county have grown $9 million since their recession nadir in 2009."

Next word is idyll. I can't figure out where this word actually appeared in the issue, but I know it's in there somewhere. I'll give you the definition anyway, because two words just isn't enough:

idyll (can always be spelled idyl): a short poem or prose work describing a simple, peaceful scene of rural or pastoral life; a scene or incident suitable for such a work (n.)

And here's a random sentence with it, via the Almighty Google: "But the appearance of a pastoral idyll conceals a poverty trap."

Happy holidays, readers.

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<![CDATA[From the Copy Desk]]>

Good morning readers.

Well, we're in the thick of the holiday season. There's Christmas decor and Christmas music in every store and the expectation to attend holiday office parties, secret Santa games and family get-togethers. For those of you who find this terrifying, exhausting or nerve wracking, check out our latest issue: "In Defense of Everything You Think You Hate About the Holidays." It'll remind you that not everything this special time of year is awful. That scaring children into good behavior for toys has its benefits. That mother-in-laws aren't all pestering shrews, and eggnog, when made just right, is fluffy and delicious. Pick one up!

Now onto the matter at hand: vocab. There were plenty of Words Nobody Knows of Uses in this week's issue. Three of them were found in the review of The Mercer OTR, by Anne Mitchell. The first pretentious word (though not the issue's best) is scenester, which sounds very close to sinister.

scenester: one who associates with a prominent, usually fashionable, group of people (n.)

I can safely say that I am not a scenester.

In this issue: "Many of the newest places appeal to a scenester crowd, happy to hang out and wait for a table in the crunch of friends."

Next up is allay.

allay: to lessen, relieve, or alleviate pain, grief, etc. (transitive v.) For those of you who haven't had a grammar lesson in years and don't remember what transitive means (like myself), a transitive verb with is an action verb with a direct object. The more you know the more you grow.

In this issue: "They were perfectly seared with brown butter and served over parsnip puree flavored with shiitake mushrooms — one of those dishes where you have to close your eyes when you take a bite to allay the sensory overload."  She's talking about scallops here. The entire article did a damn good job at making me hungry well before lunch.

If you're a decent cook you may already know this third word: lardons. Alas, my cooking skills are limited to basic chicken dishes and soup, so I had no idea.

lardons: also called lardoon, larding needle or larding, is a small strip or cube of pork fat (usually subcutaneous fat) used in a wide variety of cuisines to flavor savory foods and salads (n.)

In this issue:  "My friend loved her mix of wild bitter greens ($9) with crispy lardons and a poached egg — 'the breakfast salad,' we were advised."

GAH, GIVE ME THAT LARDOON SALAD.

Last on the list of Words Nobody Knows or Uses is hibernal, found in Maija Zummo's delightful essay, "In Defense of Scaring Children into Good Behavior."

hibernal: of, relating to, or occurring in winter

In this issue: "The afterlife mythos that guides the moral compass of adults doesn’t apply to children, only the hibernal horror of a costumed and obese adult male waiting on the roof for them to close their eyes scares them into the black-and-white behavior model of being 'good.' "

Enjoy the weekend, readers!

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

Peter Pan Live! took over TVs last week and it wasn’t nearly as messy as last year’s live spectacle, The Sound of Music, but I’m still confused about a very feminine woman (Allison Williams) playing a boyish man — and so are the folks at SNL. More on that later.

Marnie did a fine job and Christopher Walken was, well, Christopher Walken, but Jane Krakowski’s interpretation of Peter Pan would have been truly outstanding.

Last week I wrote about the other big TV spectacular du jour, Eaten Alive on Discovery Channel. Basically, for weeks the network teased us with the promise that nature-type Paul Rosolie baited a giant anaconda into eating him alive (while wearing a special safety suit, oxygen and a camera), all for us viewers at home to watch — only he didn’t. After an hour and 45 minutes of build-up, dude tapped out after only a portion of his head inside the snake for, like three seconds. Understandable outrage spilled onto Twitter. I mean, how long until I can turn on basic cable and watch a man get killed on live television?

In Case You Missed It: Charlie Hustle is hawking Sketchers now. In this commercial (which apparently debuted a couple months ago but I just recently saw), Pete “The Relaxer” Rose touts the brand’s new comfy shoe line and pokes fun of the whole Hall of Fame ban.

Also, great cameo from his glamorous wife Kiana. I miss seeing her on TV.

Queen Bey and King Hov hung out with their British equivalents at a Nets game this week. Prince William and Duchess Kate took a royal tour of NYC, complete with a visit to the Empire State building, some chill time with LeBron James (they even got a tiny Cavs jersey for baby George) and a quick Illuminati meet-up with the Carter Dynasty. Kate, give the people what they want, already. No, not a prime baby bump pic — a “7/11” video reenactment in Buckingham Palace!

This week in Let’s Feel Old: the stars of MTV’s Laguna Beach recently attended their 10-year high school reunion.

James Franco and Nicki Minaj performed on Saturday Night Live last week. In addition to poking fun at Peter Pan Live!, highlights included a Hip Hop nativity, Nicki as Kim Kardashian and Beyoncé, a realistic Star Wars trailer and a hilariously weird skit with Mike O’Brien, "Grow-A-Guy."

And in a skit that was cut for time, hosts of a St. Louis morning show feel incredibly awkward going live after the events in Ferguson.

Sons of Anarchy is officially over and, DAYUM, the last few episodes/season/basically all of it was brutal. No spoilers, but I will definitely miss seeing Charlie Hunnam’s chiseled butt cheeks on the reg and sweet Nero, with his delicate V-neck cardigans. (Jimmy Smitts was seriously amazing in this role). If you, too, need your Hunnam fix, check out his early days on Queer as Folk or in Judd Apatow’s Freaks and Geeks follow-up, Undeclared. Baby British Jax! And congrats to Vanderpump RulesJax Taylor for basically stealing the name being the new reigning Jax of television.

New movie trailers to hit the Interwebz: the latest film version of the beloved French short story The Little Prince; Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan star in romantic musical The Last Five Years; Dwyane "Still The Rock" Johnson's natural disaster flick San Andreas.

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<![CDATA[Your Weekend To Do List (12/5-12/7)]]> Things that are true: Getting dressed for a night out when it's cold is hard because it's unacceptable to wear down comforters as ponchos. Other things that are true: It's unacceptable to stay in for an entire weekend to watch holiday-themed movies on Lifetime (because Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever was truly not a very good film). 

Instead, here are several reasons to get off the couch:

1. Alcohol.
  • The Comet in Northside is throwing Hopnosis 7, its craft beer festival, on Friday and Saturday. They're tapping 30 kegs of rare and debut beers over two days. 
  • Metropole at 21c is hosting a repeal day speakeasy party on Friday. Dress in costume; they'll provide the mustaches.
2. Holiday stuff.
  • Elf the Musical is at the Aronoff through Sunday. Not Will Ferrell, but still entertaining. 
  • If you like something more traditional — like choirs and churches — this weekend's Saengerfest is for you. More than 14 area choirs will be singing at a variety of OTR spaces, including St. Francis and the Moerlein brewery. They also have a shuttle to take you from place to place, so you don't have to walk.
  • Admission to the Taft Museum is free on Sundays. Check out their annual Antique Christmas exhibit, with a collection of nostalgic and unique ornaments, toys and decorations.
  • Trains! Everyone's favorite train display is back at Union Terminal. See the Duke Energy trains in Holiday Junction — 300 mini rail cars, 60 engines and more than 1,000 feet of sparkly, snow-covered track. (Duke energy customers get free entry when you go to here.)
  • The Shillito Elves are making their annual appearance in their Mariemont workshop. 
  • Sunday, at Mother of God church in Covington, Cincinnati Camerata presents an entire vocal program devoted to the Virgin Mary.
  • While you're out and about, grab a hot chocolate from any of our favorite hot chocolate spots in town, from the West Side to OTR.
3. Shopping.
  • If you missed City Flea and Crafty Supermarket last weekend, stop by the Oakley Fancy Flea Market at the 20th Century Theater in Oakley on Sunday.
4. Music
5. SPORTS!
  • Meet-and-greet current and former Reds plays at this weekend's Redsfest
6. Anacondas. (Stay on the couch for this one.)
  • The much-discussed episode of Eaten Alive is airing Sunday on Discovery. Wildlife filmmaker Paul Rosolie gets eaten by an Anaconda in the Amazon, and then emerges unscathed. Beforehand, watch Naked and Afraid with Seth Rogen and James Franco. 

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<![CDATA[From the Copy Desk]]>

Afternoon readers! Now that Thanksgiving is over, it's back to the normal grind, at least until Christmas. I hope everyone was able to stuff themselves with turkey and spend time with loved ones.

Let's get to Words Nobody Uses or Knows in this week's issue, which, by the way, includes a lovely piece on Ohio's historical markers.

Best word of the issue: cineastes, which appears in TT Stern-Enzi's art piece about MUBI, an innovative new film-streaming service for the "cinematic-minded."

cineastes: plural of cineaste; a film or movie enthusiast, a person involved in filmmaking (n.)

It's an obvious definition, but one I had never heard before. 

In this issue: "Since signing up, I have embarked on an old-school word of mouth campaign in support of MUBI, whispering in the ears of cineastes in my inner circle, teasing them with hints about its possibilities."

Next best word is Gramaphone, capital G, found in Stacy Sim's review of Failure: A Love Story. Ancestor to the megaphone? A phone your grandma owns?

Neither. According to Wikipedia, the Gramaphone is a phonograph, the first device for recording and replaying sound (n.)

In this issue: "There are three lovely Graces (Sophia Dewald, Megan Urz, Molly Watson) who narrate rapid-fire the events of the play, a strong Ensemble (Gabby Francis, Colin Kissel, Sarah Allen Shull and Andrew Wiemann) of clocks, birds, a dog, snake and various others, plus a smooth jazz onstage band with vocals to contribute the Gramophone soundtrack."

Mathcore was the next word that caught my eye. Sounds like a really, really unpleasant type of math course. (But I find all types of math unpleasant.) It's in Sound Advice.

Mathcore: a rhythmically complex and dissonant style of metalcore. It has its roots in bands such as Converge, Coalesce, Botch and The Dillinger Escape Plan. The term mathcore is suggested by analogy with math rock. (n.)

Looking up the definition of a music genre is a bit like jumping into a rabbit hole. Each one one is derived from or related to another genre of music that I've never heard of. (If I'm being honest, most of the music genres I've learned feel like a joke.) What is math rock? What is metalcore?

It's obvious that I'm no music expert (hell, when I started to work here I thought there was, like, 10 genres tops) but I can't be the only one who has never heard of mathcore

In this issue: "Beyond their Spinal Tappish propensity to blow up bassists, Every Time I Die has earned a solid reputation as a scorching live outfit and a stylistically diverse band that has attracted Metal fans of every conceivable sub-stripe, as well as Mathcore and Punk aficionados."

Moving on. Next on the list is commensurate, in Kathy Y. Wilson's thought-provoking piece "On Being White."

commensurate: equal in measure of size; coextensive. corresponding in extent or degree; proportionate. (adj.)

In this issue: "Four: It doesn’t take a sociologist or statistician to know that white officers just do not shoot and kill white kids at commensurate rates that they shoot black kids."

Not exactly an uplifting note to end our vocab lesson on, but if you want something to chew on for awhile, read Kathy's piece. 

Have a good weekend, readers.

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<![CDATA[Pedal Wagon Offers Winter Tours]]>

If you’ve ever been driving around the interlocking streets of the city and seen a group of hysterical people slowly pedaling a giant wagon, then you’ve been exposed to the wonderful world of the Pedal Wagon. This 15-person rolling party — powered by the pedals beneath each rider’s seat — takes groups on historic tours, pub crawls and more while also offering specials on drinks at participating bars. Here are some special tours Pedal Wagon is offering during the winter season:

Polar Bear Express

Pedal Wagon presents a wonder that would have the likes of Clark Griswold lighting up in uncontainable excitement. This seasonally decorated Wagon takes riders — who are encouraged to don their favorite holiday costumes like Santa, the Grinch or the Abominable Snowman — on a two-hour pub crawl to four of Cincinnati’s most eclectic bars, where they will enjoy seasonal drink specials.

Progressive Dinner

With all the incredible culinary treasures of old and new sprinkled throughout the Queen City, who wouldn’t want to have fun balancing the calories between meals with a Pedal Wagon adventure? This three-hour tour takes riders to Kaze for an appetizer and drink, then Arnold’s for an entree and drink, and Taste of Belgium for dessert and a final drink.

Pedal to the Jungle

With football season upon us yet again and the cold creeping down from the north, standing around a parking lot with a beer sounds just plain chilly. For a more interactive adventure that might also keep you warm, Pedal Wagon offers a two-hour pub crawl that takes fans to some of the city’s best sports bars — Rhinehaus, O’Malley’s in the Alley and Jefferson Social — and drops them off just a half hour before kickoff.

Hair of the Dog

Celebrate the fact that it is indeed 5 o’clock somewhere with a barhopping pedal tour. This two-hour crawl takes riders to four great spots to grab a beer and warm their ears, stopping at HalfCut, Knockback Nat's, Lackman and Rhinehaus.

Go here for more info and to book your ride.

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

Everyone’s favorite naughty bedtime story, Go the Fuck to Sleep, is getting a follow-up! You Have to Fucking Eat by Adam Mansbach is available now. And, like Samuel L. Jackson did for Sleep, Bryan Cranston narrates this new hilariously explicit offering.


Can’t you just hear Walter White reading this to baby Holly?

I’m a sucker for topical parodies of popular songs, and Adrian Anchondo is behind a few of my favorites. He’s turned Bey's “Partition” and “Drunk in Love” into fast food anthems and teamed up with Mean Girls’ Daniel Franzese for a twist on Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me.” Now they’re back with a Thanksgiving remix of T-Shfit’s “Shake It Off” — “Shake and Bake”!

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful Damien is still in the game and still too gay to function. And speaking of the boys of Mean Girls

In Case You Missed It: Someone Photoshopped Guy Fieri to look less like a deep-fried fire demon and more like a regular dad.

Planning on binging on food and TV this week? I gotchu.

Something else to be thankful for: a music video that’s being touted as “the new ‘Gangnam Style’.” Because foreign Pop song + weird dance + animals = viral sensation, here’s Chinese performer Wang Rong’s “Chick Chick.”


A film adaptation of creepy childhood favorite Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark has been in the works for a while. Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan from the Saw franchise were once attached to the project, but now they’re out and John August is taking over the screenplay, keeping the source material so many people love/fear very close. August has written several Tim Burton movies, including Big Fish, Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Frankenweenie, so he may just be perfectly suited to take on Scary Stories.

Beyoncé released a DIY video for “7/11” — one of the new tracks on her Beyoncé platinum edition release (listen to the entire album on Spotify) — and, obviously, it excites me. This will definitely be source material for countless upcoming holiday cards.

Thankfully, BuzzFeed has a guide to throwing your own Beyoncé 7/11 underwear party.

HBO announced some more casting info for True Detective Season Two. Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch and Kelly Reilly will officially join previously announced actors Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn in the highly anticipated drama.

Rachel McAdams as Ani Bezzerides, a Ventura County Sheriff’s detective whose uncompromising ethics put her at odds with others and the system she serves.

Taylor Kitsch as Paul Woodrugh, a war veteran and motorcycle officer for the California Highway Patrol, running from a difficult past and the sudden glare of a scandal that never happened.

Kelly Reilly as Jordan, Frank Semyon’s wife, a former D-list actress who is a full partner in his enterprises and ambitions.

Thanksgiving is just days away, and if you’re traveling back home to crash at your folks’ for the weekend, congratulations: You’re a Back Home Baller.

New movie trailers to hit the Interwebz: Richard "forever Robb Stark" Madden is Prince Charming, Helena Bonham Carter is the Fairy Godmother and Cate Blanchett is the wicked stepmother in Cinderella; Jurassic World looks as grand as it's been hyped up to be; the Bellas return for Pitch Perfect 2; and Paul Feig's Peanuts movie is coming in 2015.

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<![CDATA[Your Weekend To Do List: 11/21-11/23]]>

Things to leave the house for all weekend. Shopping. Holiday stuff. Music. Plays. Food. 

On Friday:

  • The Germania Society hosts a traditional German Christmas market all weekend — Christkindlmarkt — including hot mulled wine and Saint Nicholas.
  • ArtWorks hosts its last Secret ArtWorks fundraiser ever. Buy a ticket, get a secret 5-by-7-inch artwork. (Plus food, alcohol and live music.)
  • In other shopping news, BuyCincy (formerly Unchained Cincinnati) supports a weekend shopping-local initiative with more than 200 Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati small businesses. Buy local and get entered to win prizes.
  • You can also catch Hansel and Gretel (the opera) at CCM or Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors at Cincy Shakes.
  • Jamaican Queens bring their imagining of an Electropop seance between Joy Division and Deadmau5 to MOTR Pub.
On Saturday:
  • Lots of sparkly holiday stuff. The Zoo illuminates with the annual Festival of Lights celebration (including the option to purchase hot chocolate with booze in it). Eden Park also lights up with Balluminaria — a dozen or so hot air balloons glow on Mirror Lake.
  • Northside hosts the Northside Record Fair. Find vinyl, cassettes, music memorabilia and more. Pay an extra $5 and get in an hour early.
  • Head to the Cincinnati Art Museum to check out some street art in curator Brian Sholis' Eyes on the Street.
  • If you miss the original Dusmesh, the former owners opened a new Indian restaurant called Swad in College Hill. Our reviewer tried it and the food tastes as good as you remember.  
On Sunday:
  • Go global. Before you overload on turkey next week, try a Taste of Lebanon. Lebanese food, desserts, music and more. 
  • The Victory of Light expo gets metaphysical with seminars on everything from tarot cards and past lives to astrology and meditation.
  • It's the last night for Jessimae Peluso, comedian and start of MTV's Girl Code, at Funny Bone on the Levee. 

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<![CDATA[From the Copy Desk]]>

Afternoon, readers! Thanksgiving is almost here, which means an absurd amount of delicious, fattening food  and stampedes of greedy consumerists who will overtake the Walmarts and Macys and the Best Buys in the days and weeks following the holiday where you're supposed to be thankful for everything you've already got.

It also means three days of work next week and an early issue. Look for it on stands Tuesday!

(As a side note, if you're like me and will do anything to avoid the hollowed-eyed throngs of shoppers in the days before and after Thanksgiving but still need to get a head start on holiday shopping, check out our gift guide. You're welcome.)

Let's get to the Words Nobody Uses or Knows in this weeks issue. Best word of the issue is loquacious, which I think sounds like salacious? Not sure. It's in Kathy Y. Wilson's editorial on Bill Cosby and his recent string of no good very bad sexual assault accusations by various women.

loquacious: very talkative; fond of talking (adj.)

In this issue: "NPR is the nexus of Cosby’s identity in America as the loquacious raconteur (reality) and the benign All-American Dad (television)."

Loquacious raconteur. I have no idea what a raconteur is either; but it sounds French, so I keep thinking loquacious raconteur with a French accent in my head.

raconteur: a person who tells stories or anecdotes in an amusing and clever way (n.)

Next word is vagaries in this week's Sound Advice.

vagaries: odd or unexpected changes in behavior or actions (n.)

In this issue: "Written and recorded in the winter months after solidifying Spencer and Pressley’s partnership (which came to include the vital input of percussionist/philosopher Ryan Clancy), Wormfood was a song cycle on the vagaries of love and the songs that detail those particular woes."

Last is hamlet, also in Sound Advice.

hamlet: a small village, or a dramatic play written by Shakespeare in the 1600s (n.)

I had no idea hamlet ever meant anything other than Shakespeare's play. CityBeat's pretentious writers have been teaching me so much!

In this issue: "Delavan is a farm country hamlet of less than 2,000 people located about halfway between Chicago and St. Louis."

Enjoy the holidays, readers.



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<![CDATA[Your Weekend To Do List: 11/14-11/16]]> If you're feeling super brave and think you can make it from your heated car into a heated venue, then, boy, do we have some events for you this weekend. 

Kicking off on Friday ...
  • Adorable and hilarious musical duo Garfunkel and Oates are at Bogart's tonight.
  • It also happens to be CityBeat's 20th birthday party tonight. Celebrate with us at happy hour at BLDG.
  • Grab your DD and trek yourself out to Jungle Jim's in Fairfield for their International Wine Festival. There's food, vino from around the world and private bathrooms (if you want to upgrade your ticket). It's on Saturday night, too.
  • Still have "Falling Slowly" from the 2006 film Once stuck in your head? Well, if you want to hear someone besides the film's lead Glen Hansard (from The Frames) singing it, you're in luck. Broadway in Cincinnati has brought the Broadway adaptation of Once to the Aronoff Center. Thirteen actors, one Irish pub and a lot of great music. (Through Nov. 23.)
  • It's also the last weekend to catch Into the Woods at the Covedale. (The film version, starring Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, Chris Pine and Emily Blunt, hits theaters in December.)
  • And beat the Black Friday crowd this weekend by buying up locally made and other crafty goods at the Greater Cincinnati Holiday Market. It goes all weekend, and coincides with the Cincy Specialty Food & Treats show. So if you want some ornaments, handmade soap or gourmet olives, the Duke Energy Center is the place to be Friday through Sunday.
  • If you just want to cuddle in a blanket all weekend and have food (pizza, Chinese take-out, etc.) delivered to you, here are Jac's TV recommendations.
Saturday? There's more stuff to do!
  • Local blistering Blues quartet The Whiskey Shambles release their new album at The Drinkery. The event also benefits Save the Animals Foundation.
  • Our film critic tt gave Birdman an 'A.' It's playing at the Esquire Theatre in Clifton.
  • Celebrate the warmth of Latin America at the Latin American Culture Fest at Union Terminal. There's a cultural market, dance, music and a Day of the Dead altar to open up the worlds of Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Cuba and Panama, right in Queensgate. 
  • Kaze is throwing a "Vogue to Rogue" dance party on Saturday to celebrate their split personality as a Japanese gastropub and an excellent party spot.
  • Something colder? How about on ice? It's Star Wars night with the Cincinnati Cyclones. First 1,500 kids through the door get a light saber. 
  • Krohn also kicks off its holiday floral show, Magic and Mistletoe. There's a tiny train chugging through the conservatory, running over bridges and replications of famous landmarks, all made out of willow and locally sourced natural material. 
Sunday…
And on Monday ...
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<![CDATA[From the Copy Desk]]>

Good afternoon readers! I've spent my day wrestling with terribly out of date software and silently cursing in my sad, grey cube. How's your day been?

If you haven't already noticed, this week marks CityBeat's 20th anniversary. (Hooray!) Our enormous anniversary paper recaps coverage of the issues Cincinnati has grappled with over the last 20 years. Plus, it has a head shot of me from 1994 wearing a purple turtle neck. Pick it up! Or, at the very least, join the staff at the anniversary party tomorrow for delicious food, drinks, and CAKE.

Moving onto the subject at hand...vocab. It was slim pickins' in this week's issue for Words Nobody Uses or Knows. Either that or my knowledge of pretentious words is actually expanding. (Doubt it.)

Best word of the issue is vitriolic, found in our anniversary issue; in the hilarious bit about Mike Breen pissing off all of Cincinnati's Jimmy Buffet fans. (You can read the digital version of our anniversary issue here.)

vitriolic: extremely biting or caustic; sharp and bitter: vitriolic talk (adj.)

In this issue: "This resulted in hundreds of hate emails from Buffett fans from across the country, most of which were nastily vitriolic, some even violently so (one writer said he hoped Breen's children were raped by drug dealers in Over-the-Rhine and given AIDS), a far cry from those smooth tropical vibes Buffit emits from stage."

People are the worst, aren't they?

Next best word is ethnomusicologist, which sounds like the best made up job ever. It's in this weeks Sound Advice.

ethnomusicology: the study of folk or native music, esp. of non-Western cultures, and its relationship to the society to which it belongs (n.)

Imagine introducing yourself to people with that title, and the reactions you'd get. People would be simultaneously confused, amazed and envious.

In this issue: "Huun Huur Tu got the attention of the West when American ethnomusicologist Ted Levin made the trek to Central Asia in the 1980s and brought the group to the U.S"

Next word is missive, also found in our anniversary issue. I feel like most people probably already know this one. It's in the other hilarious bit about that time everybody thought CityBeat was full of sexual deviants for selling adult-themed ads.

missive: a letter or written message (n.)

In this issue: "The missive called on CityBeat to exercise 'integrity as a corporate citizen' and asked that we 'eliminate the adult services category, and refuse to accept ads elsewhere for sexual services, in both your print and online editions.'"

If there's anything I've learned about the altweekly business in the three months I've worked here, it's that if you're being sued, you're doing something right.






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

Survivor-type Bear Grylls may drink his own pee and propose to his wife with an ass diamond, but naturalist filmmaker Paul Rosolie is upping the ante in the weird wilderness game by allowing himself to be “eaten alive” — for real, apparently — by an anaconda on TV.

Judging by the trailer, viewers will witness Rosolie and his crew travel to the Amazon, hunt down an anaconda, suit up in a custom death-proof ensemble, douse himself with pig blood and wait for said anaconda to get hungry. The Eaten Alive special airs on Discovery on Sunday, Dec. 7 as part of something called “Mega Week.” Apparently both Rosolie and the anaconda survived the incident, which was filmed in advance. Cue the music!

In other “Oh my god, Becky” news, Kim Kardashian’s greasy butt on the cover of Paper magazine has everyone all in a tizzy. I think we should be offended by the headline/goal of the spread to “Break the Internet,” because haven’t we all seen Kim’s dump truck plenty of times before? More noteworthy is the fact that she’s popping out of a trash bag, which is actually quite fitting.

Look at these cute illustrations of movies with one letter removed from the title. And yes, I would totally see a Ron Swanson superhero movie called Ron Man.

Some of your favorite lady-shows are coming back in January!

Girls returns Jan. 11:


Broad City is back Jan. 14:

Your BFF Jennifer Lawrence will never get a Twitter, and it’s all because of all you pervs who looked at her hacked pics she’s “not very good on phone or technology.” TIL Jennifer Lawrence is all of our moms.

Entertainment Weekly’s annual reunion issue is on stands now, which means apparently it’s already time to reminisce about Mean Girls and Napoleon Dynamite.

Fox News’ Megyn Kelly accidentally cursed on air when introducing Mike Huckabee this week. She said Fuckabee.

Watch these 1980s aerobic workout stars get down to Taylor Swift earworm “Shake It Off”

Kim Kardashian is releasing a selfie coffee table book called Selfish. Wait, two Kardashian-related items in one post? Everything is horrible, bye!

New movie trailers to hit the Interwebz: Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium) teams up with the incomparable Sharlto Copley again with Chappie, about a robot raised by a group of humans (Dev Patel, Yolandi and Ninja of Die Antwoord), proving once again that Copley is the go-to actor to play robot men; World War I drama Testament of Youth, starring Kit Harington (aka a beardless Jon Snow) and Hayley Atwell; and a fucking Minions movie.

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<![CDATA[Local Sisters Launch Civil War Beard Book Tonight]]>

It might seem impossible to celebrate both No Shave November and the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, but Cincinnati natives Julia and Anna Hider have just the solution. 

Their blog-turned-book Badass Civil War Beards showcases the best facial hair the war had to offer, from the most recognized politicians to unidentified soldiers. There are many aspects of 1860s America that have thankfully vanished over the last century-and-a-half, but today’s modern man can learn plenty from the epic facial styles of Union and Confederate soldiers.

CityBeat recently sat down with Julia and Anna Hider to discuss their new book and all things beard related.

CityBeat: Where did you get the idea for the blog?

Julia Hider: I was watching a History Channel documentary about the Lincoln assassination, and I just noticed that everybody had crazy facial hair, and so I texted Anna and I said, ‘Hey, we’re gonna write a blog about this, will you go set one up?’ and she did. And she picked out the name and…here we are!

CB: Did it take off pretty quickly?

Anna Hider: I just have a personal Tumblr for stupid pictures, like dogs and stuff. We started getting followers pretty quickly, I was kind of surprised — there are obviously lots of people on Tumblr that have more followers than us, but I was surprised by the history fandom — I guess you would say — of Tumblr, and how many history nerds there are on there.

CB: Even though you were at different schools [Ohio State and Syracuse], did you collaborate on it the whole time?

AH: We each did one post a day.

CB: And how did it get on BuzzFeed?

AH: I did that! But the thing is, it was a community post, but it made it on the front page of buzzfeed.com

JH: So Anna just wrote it.

AH: And I just sent it out on the Internet.

JH: And the community editors liked it, so they promoted it to the front of the community page, then I guess more editors saw it and liked it and so they put it on the front page of Buzzfeed, which is impressive for a community post.

AH: It was like the first time they had done anything like that, so I’m like, ‘This is easy.’ It was actually my second Buzzfeed [post]; my first one was called, “9 Giant Rocks That Look Like Willies.”             

JH: I really think Buzzfeed helped us get the [book] deal.

CB: And what made you want to turn it into a book?

JH: I first thought of it as a coffee table book, but I switched to the blog because it’s easier to do. But I was on Tumblr one day and saw that Chronicle...

AH: It’s like the biggest indie book publisher.

JH: ...out of San Francisco, I saw that they were having a contest and they were looking for the next Tumblr blog to turn into a book, and they wanted to have this contest so we entered it. And we didn’t win, but we got shortlisted, and that’s how we got it out there that we were interested in publishing a book, but we didn’t get the book deal for another year.

AH: It hasn’t even been a year, it was like mid-November of last year.

CB: Was it hard turning it into a book?

JH: Not really because we had a lot of stuff to draw on. When I write an everyday post, I normally find [photos] on Wikipedia because it’s easier to click through and you find one person, and that links to another person, and that links to another person…But we went through the Library of Congress to write the book, so all the pictures are from the Library and you can have the rights to those because they’re over 150 years old.

AH: And they’re in the public domain. There are tons that we had never seen before, like unidentified soldiers, doing weird stuff. There were two guys holding pipes up to each other, and we’re like, ‘We had never seen this before. This is incredible.’

JH: There’s a good mix of stuff that was popular on the blog or stuff that we really liked, and there’s also a good amount of new stuff, too.

CB: If you had to pick a side, who had better beards? The North or the South?

AH: This one constantly torments me, because I know people are going to ask this. I want to say the Confederates, but it’s probably the Union.

JH: I feel like it has to be the Union because they were more urban and cosmopolitan.

AH: And they had Ambrose Burnside, they had Abe Lincoln, they had tons of really creative stuff.

JH: The North just had way more people in general. I think that’s part of it.

CB: Do you think crazy beards like that will ever make a comeback?

JH: I think they kind of are.

CB: It’s kind of like the hipster look. Is it a bad thing, though?

JH: No.

AH: Of course not!

JH: You can express yourself through your facial hair.

AH: Everyone looks good in a beard.

CB: I’ve tried. Last year I did No Shave November and it was terrible.

CB: So do you have a most badass Civil War beard?

JH: I mean I really like Ambrose Burnside, but I also like when people tried to copy him. Sometimes it didn’t go so well. This one guy in the book, Gabriel Rains, it just doesn’t look good on him. It just looks bad.

AH: I really like Joe Revere, because he had a normal beard then he waxed it into like three points. I don’t know why you would do that, but he did and it looks really cool. Or Roswell Ripley, who just had the biggest mustache ever, and it’s kind of gross looking.

CB: Is there any other period of time where you think beards would rival [the Civil War]?

AH: Maybe caveman times.

JH:  I think that’s really the only other time.

CB: But they couldn’t shave, so that’s really sort of unfair.

JH: You could sharpen a rock so it’s sharp enough to shave, right?

CB: So do you still post on the blog?

JH: Yea, I think it was important to keep posting because I didn’t want to make our followers feel like we had abandoned them because we were trying to write a book.

AH: It wouldn’t make sense to stop. We want more people to find out about it, and start growing beards of their own.

CB: Do you have any next steps, plans after this?

JH: We don’t have anything solid.

AH: But if we could write another book, it might be about ladies, like Badass Civil War Babes.

JH: Because we’ve been looking at guys’ faces every single day for almost three years, and I kind of get sick of it. I try to bring in ladies whenever I can, but it’s not that often. We’d like to give them some attention.

Julia and Anna Hider launch the release of Badass Civil War Beards tonight at 7 p.m. at Joseph-Beth Booksellers. For some inspiration on growing your own badass beard, check out their blog at badasscivilwarbeards.tumblr.com.

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<![CDATA[Retro-culture Humorist Charles Phoenix Wants to Come to Cincinnati]]>

Charles Phoenix, the California pop culture humorist who came to Dayton Art Institute last night with his slide show of retro-Americana images, managed to find time to visit Cincinnati and take some photos in advance of his performance. He included them in his show.

He called Cincinnati Museum Center’s Union Terminal one of the most magnificent Art Deco structures in America and expressed shock when he learned Hamilton County voters just passed a tax levy to save it. “Who would ever want to tear that down?” he asked.

He also showed slides of the American Sign Museum and asked the Dayton audience if any had ever visited it. Few had and he said that the museum was well-known and well-regarded in Los Angeles, where he lives. He also raved about lunch at Terry’s Turf Club and praised its abundant collection of neon signs — though he observed not all were politically correct.

Phoenix said he thought Ohio was a veritable ripe orchard of retromania, and he wants to do his show in other Buckeye State cities besides Dayton. Cincinnati Museum Center/Union Terminal would seem a pretty perfect place for him to appear next.

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<![CDATA[From The Copy Desk]]>

Good late morning readers! After an absence last week it's good to be back. I found plenty of Words Nobody Uses or Knows in this week's issue. (If you're feeling as hopeless about the midterm election results as I am maybe some vocab will cheer you up? Eh. Not likely, but we can try!)

Best word in this weeks issue is proscenium, found in Garin Pirnia's piece about a super cool new music venue in OTR. On its own, proscenium sounds like a name of a body part (but I never trust my gut on these things; it's usually wrong).

proscenium: the stage of an ancient Greek or Roman theater; the plane separating the stage proper from the audience and including the arch and the curtain within it (n.)

In this issue: "They’ve since gutted the place, leaving the plaster proscenium with light-bulb rosettes as the only original intact interior memorabilia."

Next best word is lascivious, which sounds to me simultaneously sexy and creepy. It's in Rick Pender's review of Into the Woods, the fairytale mash-up at the Covedale Center that earned a Critic's Pick.

lascivious: characterized by or expressing lust or lewdness; wanton; tending to excite lustful desires (adj.) 

In this issue: "Alessi also plays the lascivious Wolf." (Pender is referring to the Big Bad Wolf in Little Red Riding Hood here.) Hmm. The use of this word suddenly seems wrong, very wrong. It's insinuating all sorts of nasty....moving on.)

Ply is the next word that caught my eye. It's in "Battling Barriers," this week's cover story abut sex work in Cincinnati. But seriously, read this.

I momentarily mistook ply for pry, but both words have similar meanings.

ply (as a noun): a layer of fabric, wood or a strand of fiber.
ply (as a verb):
to make multiple layers, to work at, to keep supplying or to keep asking questions.

In this issue: "They also point out that not all sex work happens on the streets and claim that the Internet has made it safer and more liberating for those who wish to ply the trade."

Next word is progenitors, in the Sound Advice column for Carcass, a Grindcore and Death Metal band. Whatever that is.

progenitor: a forefather; ancestor in direct line; a source from which something develops; originator or precursor (n.)

In this issue: "Any discussion on the origins of Grindcore and Death Metal absolutely has to include Carcass on the shortlist of the genres’ progenitors."

Diametrically is the last word. I feel that most people already know this one. I do, but four words doesn't seem enough today, so I'll throw it in here.

diametrically: along a diameter; designating an opposite, a contrary, a difference, etc. that is wholly so; complete: diametrical opposites (adj.)

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

Halloween is officially over and I have to say, this year’s costumes — both celebrity and normal humans — left a lot to be desired (and I’m not even going there with the Ray Rice costumes). In my book, a costume can be scary, funny or sexy, but it has to be clever, one-of-a-kind or really well-executed. Enough with the “I’m a mouse, duh” getups, already!

One star who slayed the costume game was Iggy Azalea. I-G-G-Y: I know I slammed you last week for your lackluster SNL performances, but you totally redeemed yourself. A little background first: There have been memes going around comparing Iggy to the Wayons Brothers in White Chicks — both because of her apparent cultural appropriation of the Dirty South and, well, because she kind of looks like them.

Iggs had the last laugh on Halloween, dressing up in an eerie White Chicks costume with a friend.

Rihanna did a killer Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costume.

Also, Riri’s back on Instagram! #freethenipple

It’s always sad when a holiday ends — except, of course election season. Let’s toast to the end of campaign ads and at least a decrease in asinine political Facebook posts. To this photobomber!

Benedict Cumberbatch is officially off the market, and he made the announcement in the most Charlotte way ever. If you’re wondering what that faint sound is, it’s a million CumberBitches’ hearts breaking simultaneously.

Kevin Spacey went on The Tonight Show on Halloween and proved once and for all that he is an acting god, via the Wheel of Impressions.

Did somebody say, “wish”? If you were hoping for a new Pee-wee Herman movie, well, Jambi has granted your wish. Paul Reubens is working with Judd Apatow for a reboot I can definitely get behind for once.

Another mega-Yoncé album is coming this month. The Platinum Edition will feature everything from Beyoncé, plus two new songs, 10 live performances from the On the Run Tour, four remixes and some other swag if you purchase a physical copy.

Watching ignorant politicians make fools of themselves on The Daily Show never ceases to amuse. But when said ignorant politician is the Butler County sheriff, that just makes it all the sweeter (Richard Jones and his epic 'stache come in around the one-minute mark, and again at 3:30).

You know that iconic black and white photo of Sophia Loren and Jayne Mansfield? Some see it as representing the rivalry between blondes and brunettes, others see it as a testament to Sophia Loren's killer side-eye. So what was she looking at? Apparently, what everyone else (presumably) was. "I’m staring at her nipples because I am afraid they are about to come onto my plate," Loren told Entertainment Weekly. There you have it!

You may know T-Pain from his Hip Hop hits rife with Auto-Tune. Surprisingly, dude can sing for real. And he can buy me a drank any day.

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<![CDATA[Pressing Imperfections]]>

Brian Stuparyk is the owner of Steam Whistle Letterpress, a shop located in historic Over-The-Rhine that’s been pumping out hand-pressed cards, posters, flyers and more since opening in 2011. The shop uses vintage letterpress machines, a medium widely used to print for hundreds of years up until around the mid-20th century.

Steam Whistle is now selling their main card line nationally after receiving great reception at New York’s National Stationery Show, and Stuparyk also was a runner-up in ArtWorks’ Big Pitch competition.

CityBeat: How did you originally become interested in letterpress?

Brian Stuparyk: I was originally a photographer, and as I saw everything becoming digital I became less interested in that and wanted to do something more authentic. I studied print media in graduate school, and I was interested in things like letterpress because it’s actually a print, rather than a print-out. I bought my first letterpress about 15 years ago.

CB: Do you remember the first print you made?

BS: I remember being at the supermarket right around the time I had bought that letterpress and I overheard these two older ladies talking about dissecting bull’s eyeballs in high school. One of them was sort of obsessed with the shiny blue stuff on the inside of the eyeball and said she had always just wanted a bathing suit like that. It was in my head when I got back home and so I made a print about it.

CB: So you can only print one card at once?

BS: Not only that, but I can only print one color on one card at once, and most of my cards have at least three colors. It’s a pretty labor-intensive process. That’s why it costs more than a Hallmark card printed in China.

CB: Sounds repetitive — how does it feel to go through the process? Is it meditative at times?

BS: Yeah, it can be meditative in a lot of ways. It’s run by foot, so standing on one leg like a flamingo all day is a little hard on the hips. But I’m only printing a couple hundred cards at a time right now, so it goes pretty quick. At maximum speed I can print about 600 in an hour, but that’s exhausting.

CB: You told ArtWorks that you love letterpress for the imperfections. Why is that and how does that relate to artistic value?

BS: Oh, I don’t know that it adds any artistic merit, but the flaws give it character that doesn’t come out of a machine. Being handmade, each card is unique. It definitely adds a certain authenticity to it because, you know, the color can even shift a little between prints.

CB: The medium is simply paper, ink and a press. How would you compare this to other forms of media like painting?

BS: It is very different. You might spend months working on a painting and then you only have one and it’s so precious, whereas with a print I make hundreds at a time. Maybe all together they’d be worth the same as a painting, but individually they’re that much more accessible. Not only one person can own it and it isn’t so precious that it needs to have this high price tag on it.

CB: Why did you choose Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati to open shop?

BS: If I’d moved to Seattle, Portland, Ore., or New York, I would just be another letterpress guy doing more letterpress. But here in Cincinnati I’m the letterpress guy, and there’s a lot going on here.

CB: Many people say Warhol killed art by revolutionizing mass produced art via prints. Do you agree with that criticism?

BS: In terms of art, I don’t think so. Print has always been the democratic medium, something people should be able to afford. The reason etchings were made was to make reproductions of paintings people couldn’t afford, so it was always like that. I don’t know that he ruined something that wasn’t already stinking at the time.

CB: Since you were originally a photographer, do you think you might ever get into doing prints of your photography?

BS: Everyone’s a photographer now — everyone in the world has a cell phone. The world doesn’t need any more photographers. I think what’s charming about what I do is it’s authentic from the source. I’m not trying to take modern technology and shoehorn it into a letterpress the way a lot of people do now.

CB: Do you have a particular interest in vintage things beyond just letterpress?

BS: I definitely have an appreciation for well-made things, things that were built to last. When I get something, even in the modern age, I have a hard time not wanting it to last forever. The oldest press I’ve had was built in 1891, and if it’s well cared for it will literally last forever, and I think that’s what interests me.

For more information about STEAM WHISTLE LETTERPRESS, visit steamwhistlepress.com.

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

With Halloween coming up Friday, we’ve got lots of costumes to look forward to/dread: over-the-top celebrity ensembles, clever pop culture costumes, folks who didn’t get the memo that Halloween is not an excuse to be racist. But we get an awesome early costume from Paralympian Josh Sundquist. The athlete lost his left leg as a child and couldn’t be any better of a sport about it, as evidenced by his creative costumes year after year. This time around, he’s a foosball player.


Holy shit, Harry Potter can rap.

LeVar Burton has read countless books to children during his time on Reading Rainbow. But now, Burton just wants kids to Go the Fuck to Sleep.

Let’s talk about last week’s SNL. Jim Carrey hosted for the third time, this one in advance of the upcoming Dumb and Dumber sequel (so help us, god). If you’re wondering why the comedian never starred on the sketch comedy show, instead getting his big break on In Living Color, he tried — read more about his failed auditions here.

While the episode had its low points — more on musical guest Iggy Azalea later — Jim Carrey served up classic Jim Carrey insanity with plenty of physical humor, face-morphing impressions and even a walk down memory lane with his characters from the past 25 years. Best of all was his take on the weird Matthew McConaughey Lincoln ads.

Then there was Iggy Azalea. The musical guests so far this season have all catered toward a mostly younger audience, but that’s typically the case. And whether you’re sick of her faux Atlanta rap-cent or you still have “Fancy” as your ringtone, Iggy has churned out hit after hit over the past year and she should have been able to produce at least a mildly entertaining performance. But she did not. Both performances flat-lined, plagued with bad lip synching to less-than-stellar pre-recorded tracks, awkward quasi-dancing (you don’t have to have choreography just because you’re a girl, you know) and featured artists with whom she had zero chemistry. And I know following every episode of SNL someone writes a “Was this the worst performance in SNL history?” commentary, but you really have to watch the uncomfortable, dead-eyed performances for yourself.

It seemed more like a skit making fun of white girl rappers than anything. But it stands as a reminder that ass alone does not a rapper make.

Blog You Should Follow: Drunk J. Crew

Pardon my Seinfeldism, but what is the deal with kids on competition shows? First there was MasterChef Junior, where kids who have been cooking since they were in diapers compete to impress Gordon Ramsay and other chefs. Now there’s Project Runway: Threads with little Tim Gunns that know their way around a sewing machine better I can ever dream (hot glue is my savior). Do you want me to feel inferior to 9-year-olds?

Apparently you can permanently alter the color of your eyes if you hate yourself just enough! 

Marcel the Shell is back! Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp’s lovable personified shell returns for the first time since 2011 with a new video and a book, Marcel the Shell: The Most Surprised I've Ever Been. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On went viral in 2010 but the short film actually has critical accolades, too: It was awarded Best Animated Short at AFI FEST 2010, was an official selection of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and won the Grand Jury and Audience Awards at the New York International Children's Film Festival. (You know, just in case you needed any further proof that Jenny Slate is the best.)

And speaking of new installments of viral videos, there’s a new Between Two Ferns with — as Zach Galifianikis calls him — Bradley Pitts.

New movie trailers to hit the Interwebz: Paddington Bear, a character made popular through children’s books since 1958, gets the live-action treatment in Paddington; A troubled young man finds the will to live when his young but more mature niece is put in his care in Before I Disappear; and Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Chelsea Peretti has a stand-up special coming to Netflix next month, One of the Greats.

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<![CDATA[CityBeat Staffers' Favorite 'This American Life' Episodes]]>

This American Life, the true storytelling public radio show hosted by Ira Glass, is one of the most popular radio programs and podcasts today. Each week since 1995, Glass presents a theme — cars, summer camp, break-ups — and a variety of writers, comedians, journalists and everyday people share stories of their experiences with that subject. For the few unfamiliar with TAL, it’s one of those shows that will keep you in your car with the radio on long after you’ve pulled in the driveway.

Ira Glass will present his live show, Reinventing Radio, this Saturday at the Aronoff Center. CityBeat spoke to Glass about his history with public radio — check out our interview here.

To celebrate the program and its adorable bespectacled host, CityBeat staffers have compiled a few of our favorite episodes (in no particular order).

Why not start at the beginning? This American Life’s very first episode — back when the program was called Your Radio Playhouse — aired on Nov. 17, 1995. The theme: New Beginnings. One of the guests is Ira’s mom.

Fear of Sleep (Aug. 8, 2008) features tales on various things that go bump in the night. Comedian Mike Birbiglia shares his astonishing stories of sleepwalking, which later inspired his movie, Sleepwalk with Me.

This American Life has done a few live productions over the years. On May 10, 2012, Glass and friends took the stage at New York University’s Skirball Center for Invisible Made Visible, a performance that was streamed live in movie theaters across the country. It was an incredible interactive experience that included music, dance, comedy and a short film. Check out photos here.

From mistaken identity to evil twins, Dopplegangers (Jan. 11, 2013) has it all. Including Fred Armisen’s impeccable Ira Glass impression.

A lot of This American Life segments are anecdotal, but sometimes the show has taken on newsier issues — and one time, they got it all wrong. On Jan. 6, 2012, Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory aired. Mike Daisey spoke about the conditions of an iPhone factory in China, including vivid details and interviews with workers. Soon after, it was revealed that Daisey had fabricated his story and lied during the fact-checking process. Retraction is not only an interesting correction to the original Daisey program, but a commentary on journalistic integrity, the importance of fact-checking and the lengths people will go for a moment in the spotlight.

Reinventing Radio: An Evening with Ira Glass takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Aronoff Center. Tickets: 513-621-ARTS or cincinnatiarts.org.

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