CityBeat Blogs - Holidays <![CDATA[Your Weekend To Do List (11/20-11/24)]]> FRIDAY


You’ve seen the Emmy-nominated show; now you can live it. The hosts of MythBusters will be wishing co-host and frequently bereted Jamie Hyneman farewell on a nationwide tour, and they need your help to conduct some of their final experiments when they make their stop in Cincinnati. Attendees will be brought on stage to assist Jamie and Adam as they use science to bust popular myths and misconceptions. 8 p.m. Friday. $45-$110. Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Downtown,

“Untitled (Antelope)” by Jochen Lempert
Photo: courtesy of the artist and ProjecteSD Barcelona
Jochen Lempert, the German photographer whose first major U.S. museum show, Field Guide, is now at the Cincinnati Art Museum, combines the metaphysical with the biological so well that the effect is often magical. Or, I should say, the effect is downright scientific. He’d appreciate that latter term — he’s a trained biologist who turned to art photography in the 1990s. Yet much of his work achieves magic by making something ephemeral concrete and vice versa. This is a show to spend some time with, because the way individual images affect the viewer often depends on the size and placement of the black-and-white prints. And the impact upon our cognitive process of seeing, in close proximity to each other, close-ups of sand (“Etruscan Sand,” a 2009 photogram), “Rain” (a 2003 photograph) and “Crushed Shells” (a 2013 photogram) teaches us as much about ourselves as photography. Read more about the exhibit here. Jochen Lempert’s Field Guide is on display at the CAM until March 6. More info:

'Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie'
Photo: Joe Wardwell
The Weston Art Gallery hosts an opening reception for Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie, an exhibition organized by artist and sometimes-curator Todd Pavlisko. Gimmie will examine “the varied experience of amassing objects and the practice of collecting” by featuring installation work by artists Antonio Adams and Alfred Steiner, as well as iconic works by world-renowned artists including Vito Acconci, Chris Burden, Ana Mendieta and Adrian Piper. Opening reception: 6-8 p.m. Friday. Through Jan. 17. Free. 650 Walnut St., Downtown,

Photo: Provided
Peruse one-of-a-kind gifts for the holidays (or just because) at C-LINK Gallery’s annual SHOP: Cincinnati exhibition. Beginning Friday, the gallery inside Brazee Street Studios will showcase a treasure trove of handmade items crafted by local artists, including everything from jewelry, ceramics and ornaments to greeting cards, paintings and more. Get started 6-9 p.m. Friday at the first of two free receptions. Through Dec. 26. Prices vary. C-LINK Gallery, 4426 Brazee St., Oakley,

'As You Like It'
Photo: Mikki Schaffner
Who knew cross-dressing could be such fun? Apparently Shakespeare did. All the actors on the Elizabethan stage were men, so having Rosalind dress as a man while hiding in the Forest of Arden was a kind of double-down trick. While disguised, she finds the forest’s trees covered with love poems about her “real” self. What’s a girl to do? That’s what As You Like It is about. One of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies, it’s a good-natured choice for the holidays. Audience favorite Sara Clark will play Rosalind; she excels with verbal comedy, so be prepared to laugh. Through Dec. 12. $22-$39. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 719 Race St., Downtown, 513-381-2273,

A fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund. This benefit coincides with National Diabetes Awareness Month, and activities include food pairings, bourbon tastings, a photobooth, silent auction and a live bow-tie experience auction. 7-11 p.m. $35 with bourbon tasting. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-793-3223.

A dance party where German costumes are encouraged. 8 p.m. Christian Moerlein Brewing Co., 1621 Moore St., Downtown,

Festival of Lights
Photo: Cincinnati Zoo
It’s that time of year again — more than 2 million sparkling lights illuminate the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, transforming its exhibits and landscape into an exuberant “Wild Wonderland.” New in 2015 are a Wild Lights Show on Swan Lake and a Frozen-themed area where guests can meet Anna and Elsa. Other festival features include visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, the Toyland Express Train Ride and a black-light show by Madcap Puppets. Remember to stop by the Holiday Post Office and the newly themed Gingerbread Village, where you can peek through the windows of each house to find the mouse that lives inside. Through Jan. 2. $27 adults; $21 seniors/children. 3400 Vine St., Avondale, 513-281-4700,

Victory of Light Expo
Photo: Provided
This psychic festival has been Cincinnati’s premier body, mind and spirit event for more than 20 years. With 79 seminars and more than 250 exhibitors, it’s the best opportunity for exploring alternative spirituality in the Midwest. Seminars feature dozens of experts as they speak about dreams, past lives, meditation, tarot, astrology and more. Other activities include holistic healing sessions, live music, book signings, psychic artists, aura photography and shopping. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $15 daily; $25 weekend. Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Road, Sharonville,

Black Dance is Beautiful
Photo: Provided
Help arts advocate and People’s Liberty Project Grant recipient Quiera Levy-Smith celebrate the Black Dance is Beautiful festival during a free performance featuring African-American choreographers and dancers from four companies. Included are two groups from Cincinnati: Bi-Okoto Drum & Dance Theatre, directed by Adebola T. Olowe, Sr., and Studio Kre8v, the Hip Hop dance team of urban arts center Elementz. From Columbus comes dynamic all-male company Berry & Nance (pictured). Rounding out the bill is Terence Greene’s Cleveland-based Greene Works Project. Cincinnati Ballet soloist James Gilmer also performs. 7 p.m. Saturday. Free with registration on the website or at the door beginning at 6:15 p.m. Walnut Hills High School, 3250 Victory Parkway, Walnut Hills,

Embark on bar and restaurant group 4EG’s Mustache Ball Crawl on Saturday to benefit the Testicular Cancer Society and Midwest Rugby Development Foundation. The bar crawl kicks off with free appetizers at event presenter The Sandbar; then, head to Mt. Adams Pavilion, The Righteous Room, Igby’s and O’Malleys. Ticket price includes round-trip transportation and drink specials, including $2.50 domestic beers and $2 off drafts, at all participating locations. 8 p.m. Saturday. $30. Begins at The Sandbar, 4609 Kellogg Ave., California,  

'A Little Bird Told Me'
Photo: Sara Pearce
Twelve well-regarded Cincinnati artists and artisans have banded together for a Studio Collection Holiday Sale Saturday. Judy Dominic, Jennifer Gleason, Renee Harris, Lisa Inglert, Terri Kern, Pam Korte, Mary Mark, Sara Pearce, Margaret Rhein, Melinda Ramos, Ursula Roma and Pat Statzer will be offering everything from ceramics, painting and prints to handmade condiments, hand-dyed clothing and handmade jewelry. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Free. Harmony Lodge, 646 E. Epworth Ave., Spring Grove Village,

Will Kimbrough
If there’s one phrase that Will Kimbrough’s family and friends don’t use in conversation with the renowned Roots/Rock singer/songwriter, it would have to be, “When you have some spare time..." The concept of unused hours in a day has to be fairly foreign to Kimbrough, who generally maintains a schedule that would exhaust three burly roadies. Kimbrough’s docket is routinely packed with studio session work, touring gigs and production projects (for the likes of Jimmy Buffett, Todd Snider, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Guy Clark and a host of other luminaries), as well as his various band/solo activities, the latter of which now includes Daddy, his group with fellow singer/songwriter Tommy Womack, and the minor supergroup Willie Sugarcapps, which also features singer/songwriter Grayson Capps and the members of the Folk duo Sugarcane Jane. Read more about Kimbrough in this week's Sound Advice. Will Kimbrough performs Saturday at Southgate House Revival. More info/tickets:

'The Art of the Brick'
Photo: Cincinnati Museum Center
Millions of LEGO bricks are taking over the Cincinnati Museum Center. Anticipated exhibit The Art of the Brick features more than 100 artworks created by contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya using nothing other than LEGOs. Explore life-size human figures, a 20-foot-long T-Rex skeleton and replicated famous paintings, including “Starry Night” and “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” plus familiar sculptures like “The Thinker” and the Sphinx. Sawaya has also created a Cincinnati-themed piece that will be revealed when the exhibit debuts. Create your own LEGO masterpieces in the interactive Brickopolis, and don’t miss special themed days revolving around Star Wars, dinosaurs, superheroes and more. Through May 1. $19.50 adults; $12.50 children 12 and under. Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate, 513-287-7000,

Fountain Square Ice Rink
Photo: Provided
Fountain Square’s Ice Rink is officially open, offering daily skating and special events (like frozen-turkey bowling Nov. 24) all the way through February. Rent a pair of skates on-site and spend the day in the heart of downtown. Open daily. $6 admission; $4 skate rental. Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown,

Poinsettia Express at Krohn Conservatory
Photo: Gary Kessler
Take a walk through a winter wonderland at Krohn Conservatory. The conservatory’s holiday floral show, Poinsettia Express, takes visitors through a charming array of floral arrangements whose colors resemble candy canes as toy trains carry peppermints through a village of gingerbread houses. In the Schmalz Family Holiday Village, see motionettes from the 1940s and ’50s Shillito’s and Pogues display windows, Santa music boxes, a 12-foot Christmas tree and even a model of a town inspired by A Christmas Carol. Through Jan. 3; special evening hours 5-7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 and Dec. 16-23. $7 adults; $4 children. Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park,

Bill Nye
Photo: Provided
Bill Nye, the quintessential science guy and public defender of evolution, discusses his latest book, Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World, at the main branch of the public library. Unstoppable combines optimism and scientific curiosity to examine today’s environmental issues, positing that global warming isn’t an insurmountable problem but a chance for our society to rise to the challenge to create a cleaner, healthier and smarter world. Nye also debunks some of the most persistent myths about our current environmental issues. 7 p.m. Sunday. Free; tickets to signing line sold out. Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Main Branch, 800 Vine St., Downtown,

A rare public screening of Homebodies, a “lost” movie filmed in Cincinnati’s West End and released in 1974, will take place Sunday at the main library. The film by Larry Yust is a very dark comedy about some desperate pensioners who, when their apartment building is targeted for demolition as part of urban renewal, resist by trying to kill all those who want to move them out. After the screening, there will be a panel discussion with former Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, librarian Christopher Smith (who has researched the film’s locations) and two police officers assigned to the Homebodies detail, Howard Nichols and Tom McAlpin. 2 p.m. Sunday. Free. Huenefeld Tower Room, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Main Branch, 800 Vine St., Downtown,

Photo: Martine Carlson
What do Caribou, of Montreal, Born Ruffians, Eleanor Friedberger and Yeasayer have in common? Besides a propensity for edgy Electro Pop, they’ve all collaborated with Ahmed Gallab —better known as Sinkane — to add a unique spice to their musical recipes. In his solo career, Sinkane combines several connected yet disparate genre elements — Funk, Afropop, Soul, Jazz, Psychedelia, Krautrock — creating a silky, sensual sonic experience that seeps into your pores like a healing balm while simultaneously inspiring you to dance with dervish-like intensity. Read more about Sinkane in this week's Sound Advice. See Sinkane with Steven A. Clark Sunday at MOTR Pub. More info/tickets:

Drew Hastings
Photo: Provided 
Drew Hastings is a stand-up comic, entrepreneur and the newly re-elected mayor of Hillsboro, Ohio. He was impressed with how voters responded to Issue 3. “I’m glad people who support legalization weren’t like ‘pot at any cost,’ ” he says, referring to the proposed monopoly system the law would have created. “I was saying a lot of the pot lobbyists are having meetings behind closed doors with rolled-up towels at the bottom of them. It’s ironic it was called a marijuana initiative, because I’ve found that initiative is the one thing marijuana knocks out of you.” As for his shows at Go Bananas this week, Hastings says, “You can expect a lot of political incorrectness.” Thursday-Sunday. $12-$18. Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery,

St. Anthony of Padua hosts a festival featuring the food and culture of Lebanon. Enjoy falafel, kibbee, stuffed grape leaves while listening to live Middle Eastern music and watching traditional dances. Noon-6 p.m. Free admission. St. Anthony of Padua Church, 2530 Victory Parkway, East Walnut Hills,

If you hate Mondays but love lasagna, you may be a human (or a fat orange cat?). Please/chef Ryan Santos and The Pharmacy Co have teamed up to present I Hate Mondays, a lasagna night pop-up dinner. This monthly Monday night event will feature a vegetarian and traditional meat lasagna with a guest lasagna from a chef — this month it’s Wright. BYOB. First come, first served. 7 p.m. $8-$12. The Pharmacy Co., 18 W. Seventh St., Third Floor, Pendleton,


Taft's Ale House
Photo: Jesse Fox

Taft’s Ale House and Maverick Chocolate Co. join forces for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner. Seating is very limited for this four-course meal, paired with Taft beer and Maverick chocolate. 6:30 p.m. $50. Taft’s Ale House, 1429 Race St., Downtown, 513-334-1393.

<![CDATA[Your Weekend To Do List (10/30-11/1)]]>



People’s Liberty’s Globe Gallery hosts an out-of-this-world opening and after party complete with music, food, booze and the main attraction — an interactive iridescent dome. 2015 globe grantee Amy Lynch and partners Joel Masters and J.D. Loughead unveil Deep Space, an “immersive multisensory infinityscape” that provides an intimate experience with colorful, abstract pieces that call reality into question. At 8 p.m., a short presentation will highlight 2015/16 Haile Fellows and Project and Globe Grantees; afterward, the Darkly Dreaming after party takes over 1706 John St. with dancing, music and more. 6-11 p.m. Friday. Free. Globe Gallery, 1805 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,

Art After Dark
Photo: Cincinnati Art Museum
Winter is coming…after Halloween. Head to the Cincinnati Art Museum for the latest installation of Art After Dark, a Game of Thrones-inspired installment that invites guests to show up in their most gallant medieval costumes and celebrate the current exhibit of High Renaissance art, Sublime Beauty. Snap a selfie with Ohio Renaissance Festival characters, listen to live music from Lemon Sky, take a guided ghost tour of the museum or participate in the Medieval & Mythical Creature costume contest. 5-9 p.m. Friday. Free admission; drink and appetizer prices vary. 953 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park,

The May Festival Chorus teams up with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra to tackle Liszt’s Dante symphony — inspired by Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy — depicting Dante’s and Virgil’s journey through hell. Australian conductor Simone Young also leads the orchestra in Brahms’ “Song of Destiny” and “Funeral Song.” 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $10-$104. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,  

Photo: Provided
More than 130 top-notch exhibitors share and discuss the latest design trends during Cincinnati’s only curated design showcase. Whether you’re in the middle of a project or are just getting started, DesignBuildCincy is a place to network, share and get inspired. Personally invited to participate by DesignBuild, exhibitors range from architects, contractors and fabricators to designers, retailers and suppliers. The second-annual event takes over Music Hall this weekend, kicking off Friday with a combined performance by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and May Festival Chorus. 5-8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. $8; Free 13 and younger. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,  

Circa Survive
Photo: Jesse Fox
There is much wisdom that can be gleaned from the Toms. Tom Petty taught us long ago to listen to our hearts, because “it’s gonna tell (us) what to do. And Tom Cruise reminded us eloquently and succinctly, “Sometimes you’ve just gotta say, ‘What the fuck, make your move.’ ” Eleven years ago, Anthony Green heeded those philosophical nuggets and momentously left his position as frontman of Post Hardcore outfit Saosin, which was on the verge of a major-label signing, and returned home to suburban Philadelphia.Upon arrival, Green contacted guitarist Colin Frangicetto, his friend and former drummer for This Day Forward, with which Green had briefly jammed during a visit home. The pair began recording and canvassing their circle of musician friends for people to round out the group, quickly adding ex-This Day Forward guitarist Brendan Ekstrom, ex-Taken bassist Nick Beard and drummer Steve Clifford. The original lineup of Circa Survive has remained intact since its 2004 formation. Read more about the band in this week's Sound Advice. See Circa Survive with RX Bandits and Citizen Friday at Bogart's. More info/tickets:

Craig Finn 
Photo: Provided
Craig Finn writes songs. He can’t help it, and he isn’t stopping anytime soon. Best known as the frontman for The Hold Steady, Finn has been delivering his detailed, word-addled songs about everyday people and places for more than two decades, a tradition he continues with his recently released second solo album, the eclectic but still-cohesive Faith in the Future.  Far more restrained than the riff-happy Hold Steady records, Faith in the Future is a nuanced, often wistful collection anchored by Finn’s ever-distinctive sing/speak vocals and literate lyrics. Album-opener “Maggie I’ve Been Searching for Our Son,” an evocative tale about a Branch Davidian-like cult, is as moving and memorable as anything in Finn’s now-bursting songbook. Read a full feature on Finn here. Craig Finn performs with Esme Patterson Friday in the Taft Theatre’s Ballroom. Tickets/more info:

Kwame Binea
Photo: Provided 
After growing up in London and Ghana, singer/songwriter/guitarist Kwame Binea spent his teen years in Cherry Hill, N.J., playing basketball, writing poetry and absorbing the output of artists who would become the foundation of his eventual musical persona — Led Zeppelin, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley and Parliament-Funkadelic, among others. Binea moved to New York City to pursue his musical dreams, and he and his Shakedown band honed their blend of Rock, Funk and Soul on the city’s club scene. This year, Kwame Binea Shakedown issued its first EP, a self-titled four-track release that nicely showcases its organic sound, running from the high-octane, horn-laden Funk explosion of “Let Go” to the folksy, slinky Soul of “Waiting.” 10 p.m. Friday. Free. The Drinkery, 1150 Main St., Over-the-Rhine,  

Photo: Jillian Tellep
Head to Arnold’s for a weekend of weird beers. The bar hunted to find the strangest and most peculiar brews they could get their hands on, including Rivertown’s Death, brewed with ghost chili peppers; Jackie O’s Pawpaw Wheat; Rhinegeist’s Vanilla Maple Squirrel; and more. All of the beers will be tapping on Friday, with live music all weekend. Friday and Saturday. Free admission. Arnold’s Bar & Grill, 210 E. Eighth St., Downtown,

Brass Tap hosts a costume party in conjunction with Fifty West, featuring six Fifty brews on tap. Costume contest with awards for first, second and third places. 6 p.m. Free admission. Brass Tap, 251 Calhoun Ave., Clifton Heights,

Taste the best selections from more than a dozen of Cincinnati’s breweries, including Bad Tom, Blank Slate, Braxton, Cellar Dweller, Christian Moerlein and more. Tickets include 10 four-ounce tastings. Don’t forget your costume. 6-10 p.m. $25. Ault Park Pavilion, 3600 Observatory Ave., Hyde Park,

Photo: Provided
Rhinegeist rings in Halloween with the second-annual Hopgeist Double IPA festival. If you’re really into IBUs, this is the fest for you. Guaranteed to deliver “hair-raising hop flavors,” the fest features beers from breweries across the country — Dogfish Head, Jackie O’s, 21st Amendment — including super-rares from locals Listermann, Blank Slate, MadTree and more. Rhinegeist will also be debuting the winner of their homebrew collaboration, Homie, a double IPA with mosaic hops. VIP tickets include early access at noon and free food from Dutch’s and Maribelle’s. Noon-6 p.m. Saturday. $35; $50 VIP. Rhinegeist, 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,

The Malice Ball
Photo: CityBeat Archives
The third-annual Malice Ball returns to OTR for a night of illusion, mystery and masquerading in the foggy underworld of the Christian Moerlein Malt House Taproom. Dress in chic, dark and elegant costumes to enter the costume contest for prizes and a parade down the red carpet; a makeup artist and masks will be at the ball to enhance your look. Complement your outfit with specialty cocktails, Moerlein’s small-batch rye brown ale Malice Ball Brew, a spooky photo booth and DJs Matt Joy and Kenneth Wright (CityBeat’s event coordinator). Last year’s party was huge (800-plus guests), so get ready to mix and mingle. 8:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturday. $30 at the door; admission includes a drink ticket. 1621 Moore St., Over-the-Rhine,

The Cincinnati Pops hosts a family-friendly, costumes-encouraged concert filled with songs familiar to kids and adults including the “Imperial March” from The Empire Strikes Back and “Harry’s Wondrous World” from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. A Family Fun Zone begins at 9:30 a.m. 10:30 a.m. Saturday. $4.50-$16. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,

Aries Spears
Photo: Provided
Aries Spears is still plugging away. As the second-longest serving member of Mad TV, he is still recognized for his work on that program. His impressions of Sean “Diddy” Combs, Shaquille O’Neal and Wayne Brady, to name just a few, are still remembered fondly by fans. And while he will still do impressions in his stand-up act, he mostly does observational material. “There’s certain shit I can’t do with white people,” he says to an audience. “Like go drinking...When you’re drunk you make that noise: ‘Wooo!’ There’s a lot of bad history behind that noise. When black people hear ‘Wooo!’ they start looking for pick-up trucks.” Friday-Sunday. $25. Funny Bone on the Levee, Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky.,


Sip on Venetian-themed cocktails at this Halloween costumer party. Think Casanova, ornate masks and fire performers. Unmask yourself at midnight. Free. 122 E. Sixth St., Downtown,

Do the Time Warp twice in one night with a double screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Esquire. Dress in your best Janet nightie or Dr. Frank-n-Furter thigh-highs and pearls for an evening with the Denton Affair, a live cast who plays along with the action on screen. Bring flashlights, noisemakers and bells. No one under 17 admitted without a guardian. 9:50 and 11:55 p.m. Saturday. $9.75. 320 Ludlow Ave., Clifton,

Trey Tatum and Paul Strickland grew up just 45 miles apart — Tatum in southern Alabama and Strickland in Florida’s Panhandle. But they didn’t meet until their paths crossed in Cincinnati during the Fringe Festival in June 2014. When Know Theatre announced Thunderdome, the second round of its 10-week Serials program, inviting local theater artists to create and stage shows in five 15-minute segments, Strickland and Tatum decided to join forces.  Neither had previously worked on a collaborative project like this, but they had chemistry. “This was the most fun I’ve ever had making a script,” Strickland says.They populated their show, Andy’s House of [blank], with versions of themselves. As they did during Serials, they’ll perform with two other actors, in what might be called a “semi-autobiographical mystery musical.” Andy’s House of [blank] was the most popular work among the Thunderdome offerings early in 2015, and now it’s back as a full-fledged show, the third production of Know’s 18th season. Read more about the play here. Andy's House of [blank] runs through Nov. 14 at Know Theatre. More info/tickets:

Photo: Mark Lyons
Rodgers and Hammerstein were the go-to guys during musical theater’s Golden Age. Carousel was their personal favorite, a hit two years after Oklahoma. In fact, the shows were across Broadway’s 44th Street from one another from 1945 to 1947. Carousel is about Billy Bigelow, a reckless carnival barker who’s a ladies man and a gambler often on the wrong side of the law. When he meets Julie Jordan, he tries to go straight, but good behavior is tough. It takes dying and a return from the afterlife to make things right. The story is a testament to the power of love. Through Nov. 1. $31-$35. Corbett Auditorium, CCM Village, University of Cincinnati, Clifton Heights, 513-556-4183,

Drink the District held this cider and beer festival in Washington, D.C. in May, and they’re bringing the event to Sawyer Point on Halloween. Sample more than 30 different ciders and 20 beers, both local and regional. There will be food from Alabama Fish Bar mobile and Cuban Pete’s. 2-6 p.m. $35-$50; $10 designated driver. Sawyer Point, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Downtown,

Head to MainStrasse Village for a Halloween parade and Disco dance party at the Goose Girl Fountain. Dress in costume for a masquerade parade down Sixth Street before heading to the fountain for a Disco dance-off and consume contest. Enjoy cauldrons of cocktails by Cock & Bull, Frida 602, Gypsy's, Pachinko, Rosie's, Strasse Haus and more. 9-11 p.m. Saturday. Free. MainStrasse Village, Covington, Ky.,

'The Art of the Brick'
Photo: Cincinnati Museum Center
Millions of LEGO bricks are taking over the Cincinnati Museum Center. Anticipated exhibit The Art of the Brick features more than 100 artworks created by contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya using nothing other than LEGOs. Explore life-size human figures, a 20-foot-long T-Rex skeleton and replicated famous paintings, including “Starry Night” and “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” plus familiar sculptures like “The Thinker” and the Sphinx. Sawaya has also created a Cincinnati-themed piece that will be revealed when the exhibit debuts. Create your own LEGO masterpieces in the interactive Brickopolis, and don’t miss special themed days revolving around Star Wars, dinosaurs, superheroes and more. Through May 1. $19.50 adults; $12.50 children 12 and under. Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate, 513-287-7000,

Photo: Mikki Schaffner
The Cincinnati Playhouse opens Mad River Rising, a play by Dana Yeaton that artistic director Blake Robison produced two decades ago in New Hampshire. It’s about an elderly man, escaped from a retirement home and hiding out in an old barn hayloft, defending the family farm where he grew up and grew old. The script has been updated and relocated to Ohio, so it’s a new work in many ways. It drifts back and forth in time, especially to a catastrophic 1937 flood. An insight into aging, it’s also a poetic tribute to hanging onto places with meaning. Through Nov. 14. $30-$85. Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mt. Adams Circle, Mount Adams, 513-421-3888,

'Antique Halloween'
Photo: Taft Museum of Art
Travel back in time this October at the Taft Museum of Art. Current exhibit Antique Halloween is a one-room display of spooky antiques ranging in date from the 1900s to 1950s. The items, obtained by local collectors, include decorations, toys and games, candy cups and more. A ghostly ambiance is created by candle shades and jack-o-lanterns dispersed throughout the room. Through Nov. 1. $10 adults; $5 ages 6-17; free Sunday. Taft Museum of Art, 316 Pike St., Downtown, 513-241-0343,

Celebrate World Vegan Day at Park + Vine with free N’ Eggs Benedict (Shadeau ciabatta roll, topped with tofu, vegan goetta, spinach and vegan hollandaise) and La Teraza Coffee. This marks the 71st anniversary of the term “vegan” and the establishment of The Vegan Society. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Free. Park + Vine, 1202 Main St., Over-the-Rhine,

<![CDATA[Halloween Haunts]]>
It's almost the end of haunted house season here in the Tristate, which means you only have a week or so left to scare the crap out of yourself at freaky local attractions. Whether you’re looking for thrills, chills or something a little more family-friendly, this list has you covered, including an intensity guide to help you find just the type of scare you’re looking for. Choose your haunt, grab some friends and enter at your own risk — you might just discover a real-life ghost or two along the way. Intensity guide out of three skulls. Visit our ScaryBeat section for more Halloween haunts, including family-friendly farms, spooky shows and autumn-themed events. 

Bobby Mackey’s Music World
This bar, owned and operated by Country singer Bobby Mackey, invites you to “come for the ghosts and stay for the music.” Featured on Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures in both 2008 and 2010, the building was built in 1850 and originally served as a slaughterhouse and meatpacking operation. After the slaughterhouse closed in 1890, the building took on new life as a casino and eventually became the site of the Latin Quarter, a nightclub popular with mobsters. The site became renowned for murder, mob activity and satanic rituals before becoming Bobby Mackey’s in 1978; the building remains rich with history, and many patrons say the bar is still inhabited by former frequenters. Its most notorious ghost is that of Johanna Jewel, a club dancer and the daughter of the Latin Quarter’s owner, who fell in love with a young Country singer named Robert Randall. When Johanna became pregnant, her father had Randall killed — supposedly through mob connections — and Johanna poisoned herself in her dressing room. Learn more about the building’s history Friday and Saturday nights during the bar’s haunted basement tours. You’ll stand inside Johanna’s dressing room, where many people claim to smell roses — her favorite flower — and make your way to the “portal to hell,” a dust-filled hole once used to drain animal remains in the building’s slaughterhouse days. (A young girl’s head was purportedly disposed of in the drain after she was murdered; the head was never recovered.) After the tour, head back upstairs to catch a show by Mackey himself — chances are, he’ll perform one of his favorite songs, “Johanna.” Admission fee. Thirty-minute tours Fridays and Saturdays. First tour 9:15 p.m.; final tour leaves 1:15 a.m. 44 Licking Pike, Wilder, Ky., 859-431-5588, 


The Dent Schoolhouse
Legend says that a group of students mysteriously vanished from the Dent Schoolhouse in 1942, followed by several more disappearances in the years to follow. It wasn’t until 1955 that a foul odor led angry community members to the schools’ janitorial basement, where the students’ bodies were discovered in barrels wedged between the walls. The murders were attributed to the school’s janitor, but the man — Charlie — was never found. That is, until now — Charlie is said to roam the halls of the school today, cleaning alongside the 50 to 65 actors who bring Dent to life every Halloween; the spirits of his victims are also said to roam the halls. Impressive acting and convincing animatronics are waiting to terrorize you in this abandoned schoolhouse. Even more horrifying, however, is the basement — in addition to the room’s grisly history, rusty pipes provide perfect coverage for actors to hide before they grab you. New sets, animatronics and technology are implemented every year, providing a fresh experience even for those who frequently haunt the attraction. With an average walk-through time between 25 and 35 minutes, this is one of the longest haunts in the city. Have an even more intense experience Nov. 6 and 7 during Dent’s lights-off tour ($15) or bring the kids along 5-7 p.m. Oct. 25 for the lights-on tour ($10; $5 kids 12 and under), which allows you to get a good look at the school’s decorations and animatronics, jump-scare free. Through Nov. 7. $20; $30 fast pass; $40 front-of-the-line. 5963 Harrison Ave., Harrison, 513-445-9767,


Highway 50 Fright Field
Since opening its doors in 2013, Highway 50 Fright Field has dedicated itself to bringing the crew’s “demented dreams” to life. The attraction, located on a real 1830s farm near a Native American archaeological site, takes guests through a cornfield and haunted trail ride into a “cemetery gone bad.” This year, the trail is longer than ever, so prepare for additional screams. 8 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays in October (closed Halloween). $10 adults; $8 kids 12 and under. 11294 State Route 50, North Bend, 513-353-0284,


Kings Island
Halloween Haunt at Kings Island
Photo: Provided
Kings Island transforms when the sun goes down, scaring up haunted mazes and scare zones as part of its annual Halloween Haunt. More than 600 live actors suit up for the event, becoming clowns, werewolves, ghouls and so much more. This year features 11 haunted mazes, four outdoor scare zones and three live musical performances: percussive music show Blood Drums, after-life revue Hot Blooded and new show Monster Rock featuring songs from Aerosmith, Journey, Foreigner and more. Make sure to venture through the all-new Blackout Maze, an indoor maze where whispers chase you through the dark. You’ll also have access to 20 rides throughout the night, including Banshee, the world’s longest inverted coaster (4,124 feet of track!). The chills die down when the sun comes up on Saturdays and Sundays during the family-friendly Snoopy’s Halloween Party. 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 31. Tickets start at $29.99. 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason, 513-754-5700,


Horror Hike Haunted Trail 
This nothing-held-back attraction takes guests through a half-mile hike through a wooded area complete with uneven and rough terrain. This year, the trail has transformed into a freak show American Horror Story-style and is more elaborate than ever. Expect blood, guts and gore galore as costumed actors touch, grab and block you as you make your way through the trail. This haunt isn’t for the faint of heart — actors “cater to an audience that expects to be scared and intimidated,” using aggressive demeanors, tones and language (this one’s definitely not for the kids). 8 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 7. $13; $5 reentry. 1415 E. Eads Parkway, Lawrenceburg, Ind., 


Land of Illusion
Land of Illusion
Photo: Land of Illusion
Featuring four haunted houses and a mile-long trail of terrors, the park draws inspiration from classic horror blockbusters. Explore the Voodoo Bayou Shanty, inspired by a spectral Louisiana swampland, where Bloody Bill is waiting to usher you inside. Ol’ black magic awaits. Or be chased through a circus from hell in Killer Klowns, in which “screams of joy soon turn to screams of horror.” (Afraid of clowns? This is not for you.) Land of Illusion offers two addition attractions not included with general admission — Zombie Sniper Patrol and Demon Drop. Don’t fear the walking dead — ward off the apocalypse in the Zombie Sniper Patrol ($23 per ride; $12.99 with general admission). You’ll climb aboard a retrofitted U.S. Army cargo truck and fire a paintball gun at live-actor zombies; catch them in the woods before they make it into the village. Demon Drop ($20 for two jumps) is a 40-foot free-fall experience that requires safety gear (and perhaps an extra pair of pants). Through Nov. 1. 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 8 p.m.-11:30 p.m. Sundays. $34.99 Friday-Saturday; $24.99 Sunday. 8762 Thomas Road, Middletown, 513-423-9960, 


Lewisburg Haunted Cave
Located 80 feet below ground, the Lewisburg Haunted Cave — a real limestone cave — features 500 feet of haunted bridges and 30,000 live bats. For a haunt with a side of history, the Lewisburg Historical Society offers wagon tours of the limestone mine — home to the largest brown bat habitat in Ohio — during the Haunted Cave’s hours of operation ($7). Ride in a tractor-drawn wagon into the 44-acre underground mine and get a glimpse into the cave’s former limestone mine operation. 7 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 31. $16; $8 children 10 and under. Cash only; ATM on site. 4392 Swishers Mill Road, Lewisburg,


The Mayhem Mansion
Mayhem Mansion
Photo: Kevin Doyle
The Mayhem Mansion is allegedly the site of a mass murder perpetrated in the fall of 1933. Bootlegger Robert Haverford  unexpectedly lost his daughter to an illness just as Prohibition was coming to an end; sticking to the old-fashioned traditions of his family, Haverford held her funeral in his home and promised to serve guests liquor from one of his finest casks. After attendees were served, however, they soon became ill themselves — Haverford poisoned their drinks and took his own life after they fell. The mansion was boarded up, and the bodies of Haverford and his victims were left inside to rot. Only one second-floor window remains open — and it’s through that window that you’ll enter the Mayhem Mansion. Actors, props and jump-scares abound in addition to invisible walls, tilting hallways and more. The attraction also features Haverford’s Hollow Trail, where — for an additional fee — you’ll explore a trail inhabited by homicidal characters. 7 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 7. $14 adults; $8 children 10 and under; $10 Haverford’s Hollow Trail. 13966 DeCoursey Pike, Morning View, Ky., 859-356-DEAD,


Mount Healthy Haunted Hall
This year is the 26th anniversary of the hall, and the old-school attraction is celebrating with the theme The Best of the First 25 Years. The haunt will feature more than 20 scenes new and old, including exclusive one-year-only scenes from different points throughout its history. Returning favorites include the International House of Pain, Spookers Bar, Bates Motel and Tired Bones Retirement Castle. The hall also remains home to original props including the Reverend Emmett Rotts and Bug Boy. Gory props and dedicated actors make this a realistically hellish haunt, but on Oct. 25, the attraction turns family-friendly during its Lights Up Night event. From 6-6:45 p.m., kids can go trick-or treating through the hall and explore its giant vortex tunnel ($5 children, free adults). 8-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 7-9 pm. Sundays through Oct. 31. $10; $8 with canned good donation. 7700 Seward Ave., Mount Healthy, 513-729-1974,


Sandyland Acres Haunted Hayride
Sandyland Acres
Photo: Sandyland Acres Facebook
Freddy Krueger, demonic clowns and more await at this hayride straight outta hell. The undead are waiting to catch a ride, concealed within tall stalks of corn, and flaming semi-trucks compete to run your wagon off the road. The attraction pays homage to terrors old and new, from Friday the 13th and Jeepers Creepers to The Exorcist and The Purge. Sandyland Acres is also home to the Farmers Revenge attraction, a (rather short) barn maze featuring a fearsome farmer. 8 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 31. Hayride $12; Farmers Revenge $10. 4172 Belleview Road, Petersburg, Ky., 859-322-0516,


Springboro Haunted Hayride
Violent creatures lie in wait as this tractor-drawn wagon twists and turns its way through the backwoods. Motorized chases, igniting vehicles and convincing actors are just some of the aspects composing this 26-year-old attraction featuring a far-from-average hayride. Also on site is The Black Bog, a haunted trail through a towering corn maze. Sundown-11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturdays through Oct. 31. $12 hayride; $12 bog; $22 both attractions. 6070 Springboro Road, Lebanon, 937-748-2272,


The USS Nightmare
USS Nightmare
Photo: USS Nightmare
Cincinnati’s infamous “death dredge” used to be a working steamboat in the early- to mid-1900s. Named the William S. Mitchell after its captain, the 290-foot-long steamboat was plagued with strange events, including bizarre accidents and mysterious deaths. Most famously, however, is the day the ship broke loose from its moorings and slammed into four different bridges on a frantic journey down the river. The damaged dredge was purchased by BB Riverboats and has been serving as a popular haunted attraction for 20 years. Actors bring the boat to life — you’ll run into characters like the rat girl and William S. Mitchell himself, who died aboard the ship. A special lights-on matinee is “perfect for younger kids or the faint of heart.” The Captain’s Extreme Tour is on the other end of the spectrum, promising an even more intense experience than regular boat tours with enhanced special effects and a more aggressive crew. 7-11 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, Sunday; 7-1 a.m. Friday and Saturday through Oct. 31. $17 Wednesday; $20 Thursday-Sunday. 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., 859-740-2293, 


Wilmington Haunted Hollow Ride
Although the bus ride is the haunt to beat, 
Wilmington has a total of four attractions: the ride, Nightmare Penitentiary, Slaughter Hotel and Terror in the Corn. Climb aboard a bus destined for hell and embark into the forests of Clinton County. The open-top vehicle begins its journey in a fog-filled tunnel and continues past Rattlesnake Mine — all while chainsaw-wielding actors jump on the bus from their hiding spots in the woods. Worst of all, however, is the mysterious Farmer Dave, who is always looking for “new things to reap and to sow.” Every year has something new to offer, and 2015 brings an all-new attraction: Terror in the Corn, which takes you through a field of tall corn stalks. The particularly adventurous can get additional scares during the Hollow’s Lights Off event on Sunday, Oct. 18 ($20), when you can make your way through the corn in complete darkness. Two other attractions — Nightmare Penitentiary and Slaughter Hotel — are also on site. Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 31. $15 Haunted Hollow Ride; $12 Terror in the Corn; $25 all four attractions. Cash only; ATM on site. 1261 W. Dalton Road, Wilmington, 937-382-6147,


<![CDATA[Your Weekend To Do List (10/23-10/25)]]>



Millions of LEGO bricks are taking over the Cincinnati Museum Center. Anticipated exhibit The Art of the Brick features more than 100 artworks created by contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya using nothing other than LEGOs. Explore life-size human figures, a 20-foot-long T-Rex skeleton and replicated famous paintings, including “Starry Night” and “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” plus familiar sculptures like “The Thinker” and the Sphinx. Sawaya has also created a Cincinnati-themed piece that will be revealed when the exhibit debuts. Create your own LEGO masterpieces in the interactive Brickopolis, and don’t miss special themed days revolving around Star Wars, dinosaurs, superheroes and more. Through May 1. $19.50 adults; $12.50 children 12 and under. Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate, 513-287-7000,

This casual “flower power” party is held in conjunction with the Cincinnati Art Museum’s four-day biennial event Art in Bloom. On display Thursday through Sunday, the exhibit features the work of more than 60 florists, who have each created floral arrangements inspired by artwork from the museum’s collection; flowers interpret the color scheme, mood and other aspects of individual paintings or sculptures. Bloom Under the Moon combines the artful arrangements with light bites, cocktails, wine and a DJ. 7-10 p.m. Friday. $45. 953 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park,

Fall Fest Weekend
Photo: 3CDC
Between music festivals and celebrations dedicated to beer, it may seem like Washington Park is more adult-playground than actual playground. But this weekend the park transforms into a family fun zone for Fall Fest. Enjoy family-friendly movies on Friday night (Scooby Doo: Decoy for a Dog Napper at 7:30 p.m. and The Addams Family at 8:15 p.m.) and activities all day Saturday and Sunday, including a performance by the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, magic shows, live music and even an apple pie-eating contest. 7:30-10 p.m. Friday; noon-7:30 p.m. Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Free. 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,

Cincinnati Art & Antiques Festival
Photo: Provided
This three-day extravaganza features 18th- to 20th-century English, American and Continental furniture, as well as fine art, posters and prints from a distinguished group of dealers, all set up in elaborate room displays in Music Hall. Proceeds benefit the Convalescent Hospital for Children and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Noon-5 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. $10 three-day admission. 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,

Lyfe Jennings
Photo: Provided
Toledo, Ohio native Lyfe Jennings’ life could have been quite different, but it was actually a stint in jail (and inspiration from an Erykah Badu album) that turned things around. As soon as he was released (he was serving a 10-year sentence for arson), Jennings set about pursuing his dreams of a career in music, recording a demo and winning multiple “amateur nights” at the Apollo Theater in New York. He landed a major-label deal, releasing a string of critically and commercially successful albums that showcase a mix of vintage-to-modern R&B, Soul and Hip Hop, as well as his abilities as a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. Jennings’ sixth album, Tree of Lyfe, came out this summer.  7 p.m. Friday. $38-$48. Bogart’s, 2621 Vine St., Corryville,

Photo: Ryan Kurtz

Did you know that Barbra Streisand has a personal shopping mall filled with memorabilia in the basement of her lavish Malibu estate? It’s true — she’s even published a coffee-table book about it. That’s what inspired this very funny one-man show. An out-of-work actor is hired to be the shopkeeper, and he gets to hang out and play store with the legendary musical star. It’s a fantasy, of course, but with enough reality to make the show hilarious, especially in the hands of Nick Cearley, a veteran comic New York actor who has appeared several times at Ensemble Theatre. Through Nov. 1. $28-$44. Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, 1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine,

The third-annual Beer Baron Ball at Horseshoe Casino features dining, dancing, a silent auction and craft beer. The part acts as a fundraiser for the Cincinnati Brewing Heritage Trail, which celebrates Cincinnati's rich brewing heritage and is the next step in the Brewery District's historical redevelopment. The event will also honor the legacy of former Cincinnati beer barons Conrad Windisch and Gottlieb and Heinrich Muhlhauser of the 19th-century Windisch-Muhlhauser brewery. 6:30 p.m. Friday. $40. Horseshoe Casino, Pendleton, 

Nearly anything goes at this philanthropic run — as long as you don’t come as yourself. Run the 3.1-mile course in your most creative costume; after you cross the finish line, the event becomes a costume party with food, drinks and live music. Benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. 7:30 p.m. Friday. $35 pre-registration; $45 day-of. Begins and ends at 3614 Woodburn Ave, Walnut Hills,

Is Music Hall really haunted? Find out for yourself during this guided tour that includes stops at the ballroom, freight elevator, Corbett Tower, backstage and more. Guests encouraged to bring their own ghost-hunting equipment. 7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday. $25. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-621-2787,



Covers a wide range of grisly topics from murder and suicide to decapitation. Follow your guide by lantern light as he or she regales you with tales of haunts including Bobby Mackey’s Music World. 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday. $20. Tours begin at 18 E. Fifth St., Newport, Ky.,

Dress up in costume and head to the Aronoff Center for Exhale Dance Tribe’s popular Halloween show. Choreography incorporates elements of Contemporary and Jazz dance. 3 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Aronoff Center, Jarson-Kaplan Theater, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-505-6340,

Eton Place Alley Festival
Photo: Provided
In a rapidly transforming neighborhood like Over-the-Rhine, advocacy for historically overlooked public spaces is often left out of strategic development efforts. In an effort to combat this oversight, Cincinnati-based nonprofit Spring in Our Steps will host a pop-up art installation by artist Mary Baxter, commenting on the construct of alleyways as catalysts for fear. Baxter’s large-scale installation, Miedo, is a series of nine-foot tapestries composed entirely of clothing collected from local thrift stores, which activate window wells within the alley directly adjacent to Rhinegeist Brewery. The festival is free and will feature food and beverages, and Spring in Our Steps will offer a walking tour of the neighborhood alleys and stairways a few hours before the festivities begin. 3-7 p.m. Saturday. Free. 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,

Celebrate the 150th anniversary of Jules Verne’s sci-fi classic, From the Earth to the Moon, with a costume party at the Cincinnati Observatory. The tale, which follows three men as they attempt to launch themselves onto the moon via a space gun, is perfect for some steampunk flair, so break out your best corsets, goggles and waistcoats for an evening of sci-fi discussion and moon viewing. 7-9 p.m. Saturday. $15; $10 in costume. 3849 Observatory Place, Mount Lookout, 

Not entirely sure what to do with yourself for Halloween? Have a costume but nowhere to go? Support a local charity and have yourself a blast at this year’s Halloween Gala, hosted by Children’s Dyslexia Centers of Cincinnati, a nonprofit dedicated to literacy. Enjoy music by the Naked Karate Girls, food from the Midwest Culinary Institute, a costume contest and more. 7 p.m. Saturday. Tickets start at $50. Cincinnati Masonic Center, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown,

James Gilmer and Abigail Morwood in 'Lady of the Camellias'
Photo: Tulsa Ballet
Imagine it’s 1998. Cincinnati Ballet is performing Val Caniparoli’s choreography for a full-length story ballet — the exquisite 1995 Lady of the Camellias. It’s the first time artistic director (now CEO) Victoria Morgan has chosen a ballet for her company from the up-and-coming choreographer. The story is from Alexandre Dumas’ Camille, the famous 1848 novel about a tragically doomed courtesan of the Paris demimonde, where high and not-so-high society mix in a heady whirl of champagne, fancy balls and fashionable romantic liaisons. Cut to 2015. This weekend, the Ballet again presents Lady of the Camellias. It’s the 20th anniversary of the production’s premiere. Choreographer Caniparoli is now very highly regarded; perhaps the busiest choreographer in the United States, with more than 100 works to his credit. Among them: Cincinnati Ballet’s popular Frisch’s Presents The Nutcracker, which ran from 2001-2011, as well as the brilliant shorter works “Caprice” and “Vivace.” And, it turns out that Lady of the Camellias, Caniparoli’s first full-length story ballet 20 years ago, has become nothing less than a modern masterpiece. “It’s one of the great dramatic ballets, like Romeo and Juliet,” Boston Ballet artistic director Mikko Nissinen has said. Read more about Lady of the Camellias here. Cincinnati Ballet will perform Lady of the Camellias 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 8 p.m. Sunday. More info: 

'Mad River Rising'
Photo: Mikki Schaffner
The Cincinnati Playhouse opens Mad River Rising, a play by Dana Yeaton that artistic director Blake Robison produced two decades ago in New Hampshire. It’s about an elderly man, escaped from a retirement home and hiding out in an old barn hayloft, defending the family farm where he grew up and grew old. The script has been updated and relocated to Ohio, so it’s a new work in many ways. It drifts back and forth in time, especially to a catastrophic 1937 flood. An insight into aging, it’s also a poetic tribute to hanging onto places with meaning. Through Nov. 14. $30-$85. Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mt. Adams Circle, Mount Adams, 513-421-3888,

Alex Scott
Photo: Provided
Alex Scott is a comedic chameleon of sorts. Virginia locals know him as Comedy Dad, a blogger and TV personality who works for the local NBC and FOX affiliates. On his dad blog, he waxes about everything from baby wipes to the environment. On stage, though, he’s more freewheeling, recounting past experiences in the Air Force, working in a hospital and being a teacher. “I had one kid say ‘I’m gonna build a bomb and blow up this place,’ ” he tells an audience about a former student. “You can’t even make a Valentine’s Day card, sit your ass down.” Thursday-Sunday. $15-$17. Funny Bone on the Levee, Newport, Ky.,

Annie Fitzpatrick and Bruce Cromer in 'Death of a Salesman'
Photo: Mikki Schaffner
The production of Arthur Miller’s 1949 Pulitzer Prize-winning Death of a Salesman is coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the playwright’s birth. It’s unarguably one of the great plays of the 20th century, and Cincy Shakes’ artistic director Brian Isaac Phillips has put together a masterful staging featuring two of our region’s finest professional actors.Bruce Cromer pours himself into the weary nowhere man, Willy Loman, a traveling salesman at the end of his sadly frayed rope. He admits to being “a little tired,” but he’s way beyond that. He lives in a world of self-aggrandizing fantasy, haunted by his past, roads not taken and wrong-headed decisions. He vacillates between blaming others for his plight — especially his weak-willed son Biff (Justin McCombs) — and reverting to glories that never actually happened in a life that was truly humdrum. He yearns to be remembered, but of course, he’s not done much worthy of recollection. Cromer runs the gamut from delusion to regret in an anxious, wrenching performance. Read the full review here. Death of a Salesman , presented by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, continues through Nov. 7. More info/tickets: 


'Antique Halloween'
Photo: Taft Museum of Art

Travel back in time while viewing the Taft’s Antique Halloween exhibit, a one-room display of objects from 1900 to the 1950s. Items range from party invitations and games to candy and cups. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday through Nov. 1. $10 adults; $5 kids 6-17; free kids 5 and under; free Sundays. Taft Museum of Art, 316 Pike St., 513-241-0343,

Pop Up Drag Brunch
Photo: Provided


Metropole’s inaugural HallowQueen Pop Up will feature specialty cocktails, a family-style brunch and performances by local drag queens. 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. $35. Metropole in the 21c Museum, 609 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-578-6660,

Photo: Kathy Newton
Kids and animals alike are in for a special treat during the Cincinnati Zoo’s HallZOOween festival. This family-friendly Halloween celebration features trick-or-treat stations for the kids, costumed characters, a Hogwarts Express train ride and special pumpkin playtime for elephants, otters, meerkats and more. Bring your own treat bag to stuff with goodies and hunt for the Golden Frisch’s Big Boy. Two golden Big Boy statues will be hidden around the zoo each weekend; whoever finds them wins a special zoo/Frisch’s prize package (with tartar sauce). Follow clues on the zoo’s Twitter page: #BigBoyClue. Noon-5 p.m. Select Saturdays and Sundays in October. Free with zoo admission ($18 adult; $12 child/senior). Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale,

Coney Island is getting creepy for its family-friendly Fall-O-Ween Festival. In addition to the park’s 24 classic rides, the fest features pumpkin painting, magic shows, barnyard animals and a light show choreographed to Halloween music. Use a giant slingshot to smash a pumpkin against a target or opt to take the kids to make their very own apple pie. New this year is a trick-or-treat trail through Coney’s Creep County Fair, a town populated by kid-sized buildings and candy-wielding characters. Also make sure to catch the Monster Bash live show for a little eerie entertainment every hour between 2 and 6 p.m. 1-7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 25. $11; $5 parking. Coney Island, 6201 Kellogg Ave., California, 513-232-8230, 

Meat Wave
Photo: Katie Hovland
Chicago threesome Meat Wave’s name apparently causes giggles and results in a lot of questions (fair enough, as it was reportedly taken from the headline of a 12-year-old story from The Onion: “Dozens Dead In Chicago-Area Meatwave”). But the group’s name isn’t (or at least shouldn’t be) as head-turning as its vibrant take on modern Post Punk, displayed magnificently on Meat Wave’s recent full-length (and debut for the esteemed SideOneDummy Records), Delusion Moon. The trio — singer/guitarist Chris Sutter, bassist Joe Gac and drummer Ryan Wizniak — came together in 2011 in an effort to start a project that was a bit more of an aggressive outlet than the members’ other bands at the time. As evidenced by the following year’s great self-titled/self-released nine-track album, the chemistry between the three musicians was instant. Read more about Meat Wave in this week's Sound Advice. See Meat Wave with The Dirty Nil Sunday at MOTR Pub. More info/tickets:

'Ramps for Leonardo'
Photo: Donald Kelley
Land art — or earth art — is a term for when artists go outside the gallery and, often using indigenous materials like soil, water and stone, create large works that seem integrated into the surrounding natural landscape. I recently wrote about a new film called Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art, directed by James Crump, former chief curator at Cincinnati Art Museum (see “Land Art,” issue of Sept. 30).When it works, it is a sublime merging of art and nature — awe-inspiring. But that merging of art-making and “outdoors” materials can also happen inside a gallery, although it’s a difficult undertaking. Donald Kelley, a professor emeritus at the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP, is taking on that task currently at downtown’s Weston Art Gallery. Transformed Worlds is on view through Nov. 8, and the work stands out for its sensitivity, thoughtfulness and ability to thoroughly transport. Read the full feature on the exhibit hereTransformed Worlds is on view at the Weston Art Gallery through Nov. 8. More info:

<![CDATA[Your Weekend To Do List (9/4-9/6)]]> FRIDAY

Dig your savage soul with BARRENCE WHITFIELD & THE SAVAGES

Barrence Whitfield & the Savages have had more lives than a Buddhist cat. They recorded two brilliant albums in the early ’80s, broke up in 1986 and reunited in 2010, resulting in three exceptional albums — 2011’s Savage Kings (on Cincinnati’s Shake It label), 2013’s acclaimed Dig Thy Savage Soul and their latest, Under the Savage Sky (both on Bloodshot Records). Given this consistent output, it’s natural to wonder how the quality remains so high. “We just come up with great, interesting tunes,” Whitfield says. “We try to stick to the same formula like guys of the ’50s and ’60s; sometimes it’s all about peoples’ lives and things going on in everybody’s world.” Read more in this week's Sound Advice. See Barrence Whitfield & the Savages with All-Seeing Eyes Friday at MOTR Pub. More info/tickets:

AVP Cincinnati Open
Photo: Kohjiro Kinno
Suck in the end of summer at the AVP CINCINNATI OPEN
Get a sneak peek of Olympic-level athletes before the Summer 2016 games at the Association of Volleyball Professionals’ Cincinnati Open. The AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour is the nation’s foremost beach volleyball tournament, and Cincinnati is the sixth of seven stops. See the best U.S. players all weekend — Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross, Casey Patterson, Jake Gibb and more — with two special Sunday matches: The Bigg Dig Classic, which pits the women’s indoor varsity volleyball teams of the University of Cincinnati and Miami University against each other, and the Rakuten Card Cup exhibition match featuring Japanese volleyball ambassador and legend Koichi Nishimura. The event also includes live music, food and more beachy entertainment. Friday-Sunday. Free general admission; seating $10-$75. Lindner Family Tennis Center, 5460 Courseview Drive, Mason, 

Country star Dierks Bentley
Photo: Nino Muñoz
Go Country with Dierks Bentley
Riser, the latest album from Dierks Bentley, is being lauded for its collection of mid-tempo tunes and ballads that finds the Country singer digging deeper emotionally than ever before — a direction inspired largely by the death of his father two years ago and the recent birth of his first son. For an artist who has been known for such energetic songs as “What Was I Thinking,” “Sideways” and “5-1-5-0,” the more restrained and contemplative material on Riser is a bit of a stylistic changeup. Read a full interview with Bentley here. Dierks Bentley plays Friday at Riverbend Music Center. Tickets/more info:

The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid to Die
Photo: Epitaph Records
Catch the last MIDPOINT INDIE SUMMER concert on Fountain Square
The free MidPoint Indie Summer shows on Fountain Square are ending with a bang, as diverse Connecticut-spawned rockers The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid to Die play the last concert of the season this week. The band emerged in 2009 and boasts an expansive, unpredictable sound that incorporates numerous Rock and Indie genres, with dynamic arrangements that wander between hazy atmospherics and earth-shaking heaviness. The rotating collective will release its first album for the legendary Epitaph Records, Harmlessness, on Sept. 25. Local acts Edison, Moonbeau and Injecting Strangers round out the bill. 7 p.m. Friday. Free. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown, 

Sure, it’s Labor Day Weekend, and almost everyone in the Midwest will probably be grilling burgers on some type of lake. But if you like the odd and unique more than the traditional, fear not — it’s also Freddie Mercury’s birthday weekend, and Northside Yacht Club is throwing a party (with a free champagne toast) in honor of the greatest Glam Rock frontman who has ever lived. Sure, it’s Labor Day Weekend, and almost everyone in the Midwest will probably be grilling burgers on some type of lake. But if you like the odd and unique more than the traditional, fear not — it’s also Freddie Mercury’s birthday weekend, and Northside Yacht Club is throwing a party (with a free champagne toast) in honor of the greatest Glam Rock frontman who has ever lived. 9:05 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday. Donation at the door. Northside Yacht Club, 4227 Spring Grove Ave., Northside,

Ohio Renaissance Festival
Photo: Will Thorpe Photography
Get thee a turkey leg at the OHIO RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL
The Ohio Renaissance Festival is back and bringing fall weekends filled with costumes, turkey legs, mulled mead, jousting, games, glass-blowing demonstrations, choirs, crafts and tarot readings inside a 30-acre, recreated 16th-century village. This weekend is opening weekend, so tickets for adults are buy-one-get-one, and kids under 12 get in free. Be sure to check the website for themed weekends (like Time Travelers Weekend Sept. 12; where’s your fez?) and different deals. Nerds of all kinds welcome — just remember that any medieval weapons you might bring need to be tied in a sheath at all times. 10:30 a.m.- 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays (and Labor Day). Through Oct. 25. $21.95 adult; $9.95 child; $119.95 season pass. 10542 E. State Route 73, Waynesville, 

Watch drunk people talk about art at DRUNK ART HISTORY
If you’re a fan of the show Drunk History and have a soft spot for art history, you might have found the Holy Grail in Live-In Gallery’s second-annual Drunk Art History night. The gallery assigns participants a subject to research while imbibing, and they plan a live presentation for fellow partygoers. Audience members eat, drink and wax profound about their assigned art movement and/or artist — oftentimes in the form of mostly made-up art historical lectures, which tend to have more humorous than educational effects, but nonetheless get participants excited and invested in art historical narration. 7 p.m. Saturday. Free. Live-In Gallery, 2159 Central Ave., Brighton, 

Enjoy at staycation at SEE CINCNNATI
“See Cincinnati” is Washington Park’s Labor Day staycation destination featuring a series of concerts and tours highlighting the best of the Queen City. Musical acts Jess Lamb, Johnny Walker, Gospel singer Jonathan Dunn and more will play the park’s main stage, which will temporarily transform into The King Records Legacy Stage. And a series of tours will explore the best of the city’s local breweries, OTR’s most beloved murals, Findlay Market, iconic historical Cincinnati landmarks and, for the more morbid, sites of historical grisly crimes and murders. 3-10 p.m. Saturday. Free; tour prices and times vary. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,

Krohn Conservatory
Get really ready for fall at the KROHN CONSERVATORY
The Krohn Conservatory’s fall floral show — A Bevy of Blossoms and A Flock of Flowers — will be in bloom for two months this fall, starting Saturday. The show celebrates the best of fall flora with various displays, a full room of chrysanthemums, discussions and activities. Browse table displays of autumn plants and learn about the history of harvest, or create your own fall décor from real flowers and leaves. Enjoy themed days like a Fall Harvest Celebration, Fungus Fest and a Very Green Halloween. Details online. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. Through Oct. 25. $4 adult; $2 children. Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park, 

'A Chorus Line'
Photo: Mikki Schaffner
Sing along with A CHORUS LINE at the Covedale Center
The dancers who back up Broadway productions are called “gypsies.” They lead anonymous lives, but they’re passionate, dedicated performers. They got their star turn in A Chorus Line, a 1975 show about a group of performers competing for spots in the company of a new production. The show was based on composites of real people, but it features some of Broadway’s greatest musical theater numbers. With songs by Marvin Hamlisch — especially “One Singular Sensation” — the show danced off with nine Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize. It ran on Broadway for more than two decades. It’s a great choice to open Covedale’s 2015-2016 season. Through Sept. 27. $21-$24. Covedale Center for the Performing Arts, 4990 Glendale Ave., Covedale, 513-241-6550,

Rubber Duck Regatta
Photo: Provided
Throw a plastic bird in the Ohio River for a good cause with the RUBBER DUCK REGATTA

On your mark, get set … float! On Sunday, hundreds of thousands of yellow rubber ducks will race on the Ohio River before Riverfest. The 21st-annual Rubber Duck Regatta benefits the Freestore Foodbank’s efforts to end hunger in the Cincinnati area: Buy a duck, feed a child. First prize wins a new car. 3 p.m. Sunday. $5 duck, with bulk duck deals. Yeatman’s Cove, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Downtown,

Photo: Provided 

The fireworks aren't being broadcast on TV this year (WHAT?) so you better head to the actual RIVERFEST if you want to see them

It’s almost Labor Day, and here in Cincinnati that only means one thing: Riverfest featuring the WEBN (and now Western & Southern-branded) fireworks, the ultimate way to celebrate the end of summer. It’s a tradition that began more than 30 years ago when the radio station treated the Tristate to a fireworks display to celebrate its 10th anniversary. Now, nearly half a million people will watch the fireworks — choreographed by Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks — from both sides of the river after an all-day fest featuring live music, family fun zones and vendor booths. Make sure to stake your fireworks-watching spot out early — they go fast. Noon-10 p.m. Sunday. Free. Sawyer Point/Yeatman’s Cove, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Downtown,

<![CDATA[Your Weekend To Do List (5/22-5/25)]]>
The big party this weekend is Taste of Cincinnati, but there are plenty of other options if you don't want to spend your entire weekend gorging. Check out the May Festival, Memorial Day Weekend at Spring Grove cemetery, plenty of live music, live theater and more.

Celebrate the power of the voice with THE MAY FESTIVAL
The May Festival, one of the oldest and most prestigious choral festivals in the Western Hemisphere, kicks off its 2015 showcase at Music Hall with Haydn’s “The Creation” on Friday and works by Handel and Vaughn Williams on Saturday. A special May Festival Youth Chorus/May Festival Chorus performance takes place Sunday at Covington, Ky.’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption. Renowned guest vocalists will be joining each performance, with pre-concert festivities before Music Hall performances, including al fresco food trucks, lobby recitals, drink specials and more. The May Festival continues through May 30. $12-$125; subscriptions available. More details at

Mamma Mia!
Photo: Universal Pictures
Bring a blanket for MOVIES IN THE VINEYARD
You can pop corks or corn at Vinoklet Winery’s vineyard, which is hosting three outdoor movie nights this summer. On Friday, get your Streep on when they show Mamma Mia! on the silver screen amid the sprawling acres of the award-winning vineyard. And hey, if ABBA isn’t your thing, you can catch later flicks in June and July with Under the Tuscan Sun and Phantom of the Opera, respectively. Bring a blanket or a lawn chair, but no outside coolers, drinks or food; picnic snacks, beer and wine will be for sale. 7 p.m. Friday; film starts at dusk. Free. 11069 Colerain Ave., Colerain,

The Cavalcaders
Photo: Pat Conley
Irish theater is top of mind locally, what with the warm-hearted Outside Mullingar continuing at Ensemble Theatre and this week an international festival of Irish acting. Catch daily performances of full-length Irish plays produced by companies from the U.S., Canada and Ireland — including our own Irish American Theater Company of Cincinnati, which is hosting the 22nd annual festival at its 200-seat theater. George Heslin, founder and artistic director of New York City’s Origin Theatre Company, critiques each day’s production and presents awards for directing, acting and production during a brunch on Sunday morning at downtown’s Millennium Hotel. Through May 23. $17-$22. Irish Heritage Center of Greater Cincinnati, 3905 Eastern Ave., East End, 513-533-0100,

Circle Mirror Transformation
Photo: Sandy Underwood
Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation is a deceptively simple play — on the surface, it’s a comedy about five people enrolled in a community center class about learning how to act. They work their way through six weeks of exercises intended to reduce their inhibitions and open them to being more expressive and comfortable onstage. None seem bound for onstage careers, although one says she’s worked as an actress and another, a high school student, aspires to be one. But they do learn a lot — about themselves and each other. In fact, they learn how to act on the broader stage of life in this award-winning play that’s closing the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s current season. Circle Mirror Transformation, presented by the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, is onstage through June 7.

Steve Katz
Rock with Blood, Sweat & Tears' STEVE KATZ at the Southgate House Revival
According to Publishers Weekly, Steve Katz’s new memoir Blood, Sweat, and My Rock ’n’ Roll Years: Is Steve Katz a Rock Star? has maybe the most spectacular revelation yet of any Rock memoir. Katz was a guitarist with two successful Rock bands in the 1960s, The Blues Project and Blood, Sweat & Tears, and he went on in the 1970s to produce Lou Reed’s classic live album, Rock n Roll Animal. Katz says one of the stereo feeds of the audience track for Reed’s Animal concert at New York’s Academy of Music was lost, so there was only mono sound. That wouldn’t work, so the engineer went through his archives and found an audience track from a concert by the ultra-square John Denver. (Both were RCA recording artists at the time.) Steve Katz plays Newport's Southgate House Revival on Friday. Tickets/more info here.

Taste of Cincinnati
Photo: Provided
Gorge yourself at TASTE OF CINCINNATI
It’s no secret the food scene in the Queen City rivals that of major U.S. metropolises — a few OpenTable award winners, some James Beard Award semifinalists and even a AAA Five-Diamond restaurant call Cincinnati home. And from Saturday to Monday, your favorite Cincy foodstuffs will be in one location at the Taste of Cincinnati, the nation’s longest running culinary arts fest in the heart of downtown. Want to chase LaRosa’s with a donut grilled cheese from Tom+Chee? And then follow that up with a Thai basil/lime ice pop from streetpops? At Taste, you can, and you should. This year there will even be a Food Truck Alley on North Broadway off of Sixth. I recommend fasting until then. 11 a.m.-midnight Saturday and Sunday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday. Free. Fifth Street, between Vine and Sentinel streets, Downtown,

Outside Mullingar at Playhouse in the Park
Photo: Mikki Schaffner
Catch the extended OUTSIDE MULLINGAR at the Ensemble Theatre 
Count on John Patrick Shanley for compelling storytelling: His Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Doubt explored the power of innuendo; his Academy Award-winning movie Moonstruck was a romantic comedy. His play Outside Mullingar lands squarely between those extremes, connecting with his family’s roots in rural Ireland for a tale of identity, heritage and love. It’s sure to be a winning production with a cast featuring Dale Hodges, Joneal and Jen Joplin (yes, they’re father and daughter) and Brian Isaac Phillips, directed by former Playhouse artistic director Ed Stern. This show is likely to be a hot ticket: It’s already been extended by a week. Through May 30. $40-$44 adult; $25 student; $18 senior/children. Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, 1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-421-3555,

Ian Bagg
Photo: Provided
Laugh with IAN BAGG
Ian Bagg had dreams of playing pro hockey, but switched to comedy because he grew tired of getting knocked around the ice by players he describes as decidedly more talented than him. Fortunately, he had a knack for humor. “It’s so much fun being on a [hockey] team and hanging out,” he says. “I think that’s where I got my comedy chops: chirping at everyone from the bench and in the locker room and having a great time.” Fellow hockey fan Dave Coulier told CityBeat a very similar story a few months back. Oddly, Bagg and Coulier have never met. “You’d think if there’s anyone I would know, it’s a guy that does comedy and plays hockey,” he says. Thursday-Sunday. $10-$20. Funny Bone on the Levee, Newport, Ky.,

The Cincinnati Boxing Story
The world premiere of The Cincinnati Boxing Story screens at Taft Information Technology High School on Ezzard Charles Drive in the West End on Saturday. Mark Sweeney’s film explores how Cincinnati is a boxing town that has long produced great fighters — most notably Ezzard Charles himself — and examines our boxing history with past and present champions and their supporters. 6 p.m. Saturday. $15. 420 Ezzard Charles Drive, West End,

Celebrate art all day with the ART SPACE IS YOUR SPACE artist in residence at Wave Pool gallery
Wave Pool gallery’s first artist in residence, Georgia-based artist and filmmaker Erin Colleen Johnson, organized several events Saturday that seek to investigate the intersection of race, class, migration, agriculture and environmental justice, all through the lens of soil. A groundbreaking ceremony for Camp Washington’s Urban Farm (3220 Colerain Ave.) involves setting personal intentions with a ceremonial shovel. Later at the gallery, David Singleton, executive director of the Ohio Justice and Policy Center, will talk about his work to eliminate racism within the criminal justice system, and Johnson herself will give a live performative video lecture called Providence Canyon. Groundbreaking 11 a.m.; Gallery events start at 6 p.m. Saturday. Free. 2940 Colerain Ave., Camp Washington,

Unlocking the Gates of Auschwitz 70 Years Later
Photo: CHHE Collection
The Freedom Center’s current Unlocking the Gates of Auschwitz 70 Years Later exhibit weaves together rare artifacts, photographs and the personal stories of Holocaust survivors Werner Coppel and Bella Ouziel to explore their journey and how life and the power of the human spirit continued in the face of the horrors of Auschwitz. Also on view are artifacts on loan from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Hebrew Union College and more. A closing reception May 27 features a conversation with Coppel and Ouziel, as well as special recognition of area liberators and veterans to commemorate the end of World War II. Through May 27. $14 adults; $12 seniors; $10 children. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, 50 E. Freedom Way, The Banks, Downtown,

Ohhh and ahhh over ZOO BABIES
Celebrate the newest arrivals at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden during the entire month of May, where you'll find the cutest baby faces from all over the globe. Follow the six-foot-tall pink and blue stork statues displayed throughout the zoo to lead you to baby African lions, penguin chicks, bonobo monkeys, a whole litter of African painted dogs and more, as their big eyes, miniature sizes and playful personalities melt your heart. Through May. Park admission $18 adults; $12 children and seniors. 3400 Vine St., Avondale, 513-281-4700,

Memorial Day Weekend at Spring Grove
Photo: Provided
Between kicking off Memorial Day weekend with the Ohio Military band performing in the Rose Garden Gazebo, a veterans tribute and a historical Patriots and Pioneers walking tour of the cemetery, Spring Grove has the entire weekend jam-packed with activities. On Monday, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and the 6th Ohio Volunteer Infantry will perform an 1860s Grand Army of the Republic ritual and shower flower petals on the graves of union soldiers interred in Spring Grove, followed by a living history presentation by President Abraham Lincoln (or a man dressed like him) and a Civil War walking tour. Thursday-Monday. Free. 4521 Spring Grove Ave., Spring Grove Village, 513-681-7526,

Over the Rhine
Photo: Provided
Raise a barn with OVER THE RHINE
Barns and farms have played an important role in the history of Over the Rhine, married couple Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist’s internationally acclaimed, 25-year-old Cincinnati band. The couple met in a restored barn while in college in Canton, Ohio. For the past decade, the twosome has lived in and worked out of a brick farmhouse in Highland County on land they’ve dubbed “Nowhere Farm.” And now Detweiler and Bergquist are restoring a 140-year-old barn in Clinton County (in the village of Martinsville) and transforming it into a performing arts center with a recording studio called Nowhere Else.  As with Over the Rhine’s past two albums, Detweiler and Bergquist are turning to their loyal fanbase to help fund the new facility. The band is offering a variety of perks for donations. Among the perks (starting at the $100 level) are tickets to special preview concerts at Nowhere Else this weekend (the couple is hoping to have the facility fully ready to open by early October). The full six-piece band is performing special “Barn Raising Concerts” on Saturday (which is sold out), Sunday (7 p.m.) and Monday (3 p.m.). Over the Rhine will be debuting new songs at the concerts, which will be filmed and recorded for a forthcoming live album and DVD project. The release can be pre-ordered as part of the fundraising campaign. Visit at for full details.

Veterans and military get in free at BUTTERFLIES OF THE PHILIPPINES
As Cincinnati welcomes spring, the Krohn Conservatory welcomes the colorful and exotic butterflies of the Philippines. For 12 weeks, Krohn will transform into a majestic tribute to the Southeast Asian island country, capturing its stunning natural beauty and Filipino culture. The showroom will be a tropical paradise of free-flying butterflies soaring among waterfalls and bold volcanic murals. A rainforest under glass, the conservatory will be filled with more than 3,500 beautiful plant species, such as ornate orchids, brilliant bromeliads, delicate anthuriums and dramatic dracaenas, providing a backdrop close to home for the native butterflies to flutter. Free for active military and veterans on Memorial Day. Through June 21. $7 adult; $4 children; free ages 4 and younger. 1501 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams,

<![CDATA[Valentine's Day: Things to Do for Love]]>

Whether you’re a full-blown romance-seeker or single and proud of it, here's a list of Valentine’s Day tastings, dinner deals and events that will have you embracing the holiday no matter who you’re bringing. From soothing dinners to musicals to wild celebrations, take your pick from a range of fun atmospheres each wrapped up in its own festive charm with plenty to go around. 

BB Riverboats Valentine's Cruise — A romantic cruise with buffet dinner and live music. 7-9:30 p.m. Feb. 13 and Feb. 14. $48 adults. 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky.,

Bistro Grace — Valentine's surf-and-turf special all weekend, with herb-buttered steak and pan-seared scallops. Dinner service starts at 4 p.m. $29.95 per person. 4034 Hamilton Ave., Northside,

Boca — The Boca Restaurant Group (Boca, Nada, Sotto) is teaming up with collaborative art group Chase Public for a unique take on date night. From 6-10 p.m., the alley between Boca (114 E. Sixth St.) and Nada will turn into a heated poetry lounge. Wander in to chat with Chase poets about your love story and receive a customized poem. 

Jimmy G's — Guests receive a complimentary glass of champagne with purchase of entree, and couples receive a complimentary dessert to share with a purchase of two entrees. 5-11 p.m. Feb. 14. 435 Elm St., Downtown,

La Petite France — Surprise that special someone with an elegant three-course gourmet meal featuring a range of appetizers, entrees and desserts to choose from. From grilled filet mignon with a brandy morel sauce to Grand Marnier crème brulee, your taste buds will be sure to feel some love, too. An extensive wine list and full bar is available. Reservations recommended. 5 p.m. Feb 14. $59.95. 3177 Glendale Milford Road, Evendale,

The Mercer OTR — A multi-course meal. Mains include wild mushroom risotto, scallops, beef tenderloin, berkshire pork chop and halibut. Chocolate and strawberries for dessert. 4 p.m. Feb. 14. 1324 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 

Metropole — A four course farm-to-fireplace menu, with multiple choices. Mains includes seared scallops, verlasso salmon, grilled mushroom spaccatelli and more. 5:30-11 p.m. Feb. 14. $56-$73. 609 Walnut St., Downtown,

Nectar — A special three-course menu. 5:30-9:30 p.m. Feb. 14. $65 per person. 1000 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout,

The Palace — A five-course tasting with beet gazpacho, arugula and prosciutto salad, butternut squash and ousemade ricotta agnolotti, petit filet mignon and triple chocolate panna cotta. 5:30 p.m. Feb. 13 and Feb. 14. $85 Feb. 13; $95 Feb. 14. 601 Vine St., Downtown,

Salazar — A special menu featuring a lightly smoked oyster appetizer, Belgian endive salad, saffron risotto, seared sea scallops, pine-roasted New york strip and dark chocolate cake with pink peppercorn panna cotta and rosé foam. Reservations at 513-621-7000. Dinner service begins at 5:30 p.m. Feb.14. $90 per person. 1401 Republic St., Over-the-Rhine,

Steinhaus — A four-course dinner for two with live harp music accompaniment. A flute of bubbly champagne will be provided so that you may toast to your sweetheart. 4:30-10 p.m. Feb. 14. $60 per couple. 6415 Dixie Highway, Florence Ky.,

Symphony Hotel and Restaurant — Enjoy a five-course meal paired with a wine. 6-9 p.m. Feb. 14. $75. 210 West 14th St., Downtown,

Taft Museum of Art — Six wines paired with hors d'oeuvres and a self-guided tour of themes of love and romance in the Taft's permanent collection. 5-8 p.m. Feb. 14. $45; $35 members. 316 Pike St., Downtown,

Piccola Wine Room Valentine’s Day Pop-Up Dinner — Enjoy this three-course meal while listening to music by Jerome Cali in this charming little wine shop specializing in wines, unique cocktails and organic brews. Wine pairings will be available with dinner. Seatings at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Feb. 14. 23 Village Square, Glendale,

Washington Platform Saloon & Restaurant — One dozen fresh-shucked oysters, two entree choices, soup or salad, chocolate-covered strawberries and a bottle of wine to share. Plus a half-hour horse-drawn carriage ride. Faux Frenchman play Feb. 13 and Andrea Cefalo Feb. 14. Available Feb. 12-15. $115 per couple; $85 dinner alone. 1000 Elm St., Downtown,

A Heart-y, Art-y, Valentine Party — Surprise the kids with games, decorative face painting, and make-your-own Valentine cards with candy. 3-4 p.m. Feb. 14. Free. Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Corryville Branch, 2802 Vine St., Corryville,

Alice (In Wonderland)
Photo: Peter Mueller
Alice in Wonderland — Cincinnati Ballet presents the return of the wildly popular ALICE (in Wonderland) this Valentine’s Day weekend. Audiences have five opportunities to see this bold, spectacular take on Lewis Carroll’s classic stories with live instrumentation by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. 8 p.m. Feb. 13; 2 and 8 p.m. Feb. 14; 1 and 5:30 p.m. Feb. 15. $32. Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Downtown,

Cinderella: The Musical — Clifton Performance Theatre’s full-child cast production has young actors playing all the roles of this fairy tale classic. Explore the meaning of friendship, love, and humor in this not-so-girly adaption of Cinderella. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13; 2:30 p.m. Feb. 14. $10 for adults; $2 for children. Clifton Cultural Arts Center, 3711 Clifton Avenue, Clifton,

Cin City Burlesque: Beaus and Eros — Join your favorite sweetheart, or round up your single friends. Either way, it’s bound to be a splendid time. Watch two shows in one night with new opening and closing numbers, some “cin”fully sweet new solo and duet acts and lots of audience participation with master of ceremonies Sweett Biscut. Seating will be tables of 2-4 for this intimate show. Tickets can be purchased at Sells out quickly. 6 and 9 p.m. Feb. 14. $19-$44. Bogart’s, 2621 Vine St., Corryville,

Daddy Daughter Dance — Girls spend a magical evening with their dads or the special guy in their life. Take your special date out to eat, and then come to the dance later for desserts and snacks. A free, professional photo will be provided at the dance to each girl registered. Additional photo packages will be available for purchase. This event is first come, first served. Space is limited. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 13; 2:30-4:30 p.m. Feb. 14; 6:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 14. $40; $30 for residents per couple; $10 each additional daughter. Student Union Ballroom at Northern Kentucky University, 100 Nunn Dr., Highland Heights Ky.,

Fern + Una Floral Pop-Up — Una Floral and Fern have teamed up for Valentine'ss Day, and whether you're celebrating a partner or just self-love, they've got you covered with specialty gift boxes containing items from Herbivore Botanicals, PF Candle Co., Brown Bear Bakery, and a mini floral arrangement from Una Floral. They'll also be serving a "Heart-Beet" cocktail, made using Off the Vine Rockin' Roots juice as the focus, complemented by a lemon/ginger simple syrup, Lillet Rosé, Watershed Gin and topped with Prosecco. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 14. Fern Studio, 6040 Hamilton Ave., North College Hill,

From JB, with Love — Dedicated to art and the diversity of all individuals, Justified Bliss (JB) allows people to use their voice for expressive connection with others through open mic events. Just in time for Valentine's Day, this love show invites singles, couples, swingers, wives, anti-Valentine's day folks and romance seekers alike to take the stage. The event will feature gifted vocalist Bianca Graham, live musicians, dancers, poets and DJ Hershe B. 8-11 p.m. Feb. 13. $5. The Greenwich, 2442 Gilbert Ave., Walnut Hills,

In the Mood for Love
In the Mood for Love Screening — For anyone who has fallen in love with a friend, said goodbye to someone they care for deeply, or experienced the sacrifice and suffering that comes with the risk of loving, filmmaker Wong Kar-wai's masterpiece, In the Mood for Love, will move you deeply. The film conveys the moral dilemmas of the 1960s, depicting a passionate theme wrapped up between one couple. Tickets are available at 6 p.m. Feb. 13; 6 p.m. Feb. 14. $10-$50. Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center, 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington, Ky.,

Krohn by Candelight — Enjoy a romantic evening at this event as you make a special craft for your significant other and learn about chocolate in the education room. 5-7:30 p.m. Feb. 13. Free with admission ($2-$4). Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park,

Krohn Zone Explores Chocolate — Interested in more chocolaty bliss to learn how to make drizzles upon drizzles of tasty treats? Maverick Chocolate Company demonstrates chocolate making techniques. Better yet, a tasting is included. 1-2 p.m. Feb. 15. Free with admission ($4). Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park,

Linger Flower Pop-Up
Photo: Life in Balance Photography
Linger Flowers/Cheapside Cafe Valentines Pop-Up — What would Valentine’s Day be without dozens upon dozens of fresh flowers? Choose your favorites from hand-tied bouquets, single-stem garden roses, orchids, sweet peas, ranunculus, tulips and more. Interested in the language of flowers? You'll have the chance to read about the romance concealed within each bloom and choose a sweet message to share with your special someone. Beautiful handmade cards will also be available for purchase. 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb.14. $4-$50. Cheapside Café, 326 E. Eigth St.,

Love, Vodka. Death — As Valentine's Day falls right after Friday the 13th, embrace the spirit of love, lust, madness and death for these back-to-back days at the Masonic Center's Commandery Asylum. Romantic movies will bleed into horror classics as they're projected on the asylum walls, and 15 different vodka brands will be offered alongside delectable bites from A Catered Affair. Vodka tastings by Grey Goose, Titos, Stoli, Svedka, Three Olives, Hangar One, Crystal Head, Seagrams, Epic, Reyka, Blue Ice, Buckeye, Wildcat, Finlandia, & OYO. Entertainment is by Old Green Eyes, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Cincinnati Exchange Project. Must be 21 or older. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 13. $60 for three; $45 for two; $25 for one. Commandery Asylum, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown,

My Furry Valentine
Photo: My Furry Valentine
My Furry Valentine — Rescue some adoptable animals who are in need of your love this Valentine’s Day. This nonprofit organization features more than 500 adoptable pets (dogs, cats, puppies, kittens and other small critters) from more than 40 different rescue and shelter groups from around the Greater Cincinnati area. Every pet adopted will go home with a free goody bag overflowing with pet supplies and will be entered to win one of our popular Adopter Raffle Baskets. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 14; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 15. Free. Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Road, Sharonville,

Single Mingle — Mix and mingle with other singles in Jimmy G’s Sub T Bar & Lounge with drink specials and music by DJ. 5-11 p.m. Feb. 13. Free. Jimmy G’s, 435 Elm St., Downtown,

Single Awareness Party — Tired of couples getting all the attention on Valentine's Day? Come out to the first annual Singles Awareness Party where the single life is surely celebrated. Enjoy music by Brittany Gillstrap, My Brother's Keeper, Dan Crowe, Justin Duenne and Alex Evans. Pizza and deserts included. Tickets are available for purchase at 6-9 p.m. Feb. 14. $10 at the door. 7560 Burlington Pike, Florence Ky.,

St. Clair Traffic Light Party — Don’t worry about telling anyone what’s up with your love life. Instead, let them see for themselves. Wear green if you’re single, yellow if it’s complicated and red if you’re taken to let everyone in the room know your romantic status. 8 p.m. Feb. 14. The St. Clair, 245 Calhoun St., Clifton,

Valentine Valley: Crafts with Art Spark — Bring the kids out for some fun Valentine’s Day fun with Art Spark Studio, an art enrichment program dedicated to helping children express their creativity through art making. Anticipate a variety of crafts, including Valentines, crowns and more. For ages 3-10. Noon-3 p.m. Feb. 14. Free. Tri-County Mall, 11700 Princeton Rd., Springdale,

Wine tasting with your Sweetie — Presented by Woodstone Creek winery and distillery, choose from 10 craft spirits and 20 wines, dry to sweet, all made in Cincinnati. 1-6 p.m. Feb. 14. $3-$30. Woodstone Creek, 4712 Vine St., Saint Bernard,

<![CDATA[Party Like It's 2015]]> BARS 
An Elegant Affair New Year’s Eve at Igby’s 
Dress in cocktail attire and dance to music by DJ Ice Cold Tony. Advance-order bottle specials available: two bottles of Tito’s Vodka and two bottles of Perrier Jouet Brut champagne for $515. 9 p.m.-2:30 a.m. $20. Igby’s, 122 E. Sixth St., Downtown, 513-246-4396,

New Year’s Eve Ball at the Pavilion 
Two DJs on two levels plus an hors d’oeuvres buffet, party favors and champagne toast. 8 p.m. $30; discounts for 10 or more. Mount Adams Pavilion, 949 Pavilion St., Mount Adams, RSVP to 513-744-9200 or

New Year’s Eve at The Blind Pig 
Free buffet from 8-10 p.m., with a champagne toast at midnight. 8 p.m. $25; $20 advance; $75 table; $20 champagne bottle. The Blind Pig, 24 W. Third St., Downtown, 513-381-3114.

New Year’s Eve at The Lackman
Drink specials include $5 Bulleit cocktails. 8 p.m. Free. The Lackman, 1237 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine,

New Year’s Eve at Lachey’s Bar 
Only limited VIP packages available; includes eight tickets, full access to open bar, two bottles of champagne, personal cocktail waitresses and special VIP seating. Enjoy a special guest DJ, photo booth and party favors. Dress is formal. 10 p.m. -2 a.m. $1,200. Lachey’s Bar, 101 W. Seventh St., Downtown,

New Year's Eve at MOTR
A dance party with music from Founding Fathers, Fluffer and a DJ set by Sabastooge. Ball drop at midnight. 10 p.m. Free. 1345 Main St., Over-the-Rhine,

New Year’s Eve at Mynt Martini
Radio station KISS FM hosts a party with a balloon drop, music by Davey C. and a champagne toast at midnight. 8 p.m. $25 advance; table packages $1,000-$2,000. Mynt Martini, 28 Fountain Square, Downtown, RSVP to 513-621-6968.

New Year’s Eve at Obscura 
Includes unlimited signature and classic cocktails, select liquors, domestic beers, select wine, light bites and a champagne toast at midnight. 9:30 p.m. $100; $500 table for four. Obscura, 645 Walnut St., Downtown,

New Year's Eve at Pulse
Includes complimentary appetizers (9-11 p.m.) and a champagne toast at midnight. For ages 18 and older. $15 pre-sale older than 21; $25 pre-sale 18-21. $20-$30 at the door. 700 W. Second St., Downtown,

New Year’s Eve at The Stand 
VIP tables available. 8 p.m. Free. The Stand, 3195 Linwood Ave., Mount Lookout, RSVP to or 513-871-5006. 

New Year’s Eve at Unwind Wine Bar 
Music by DJ Kim with wine and drinks. 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Free. Unwind Wine Bar, 3435 Michigan Ave., Hyde Park,

No Hassle New Year’s Eve 
Drinks specials and a mac-and-cheese bar at midnight. $4 fireballs, Stoli drinks and cherry bombs. Complimentary champagne toast at midnight. 9 p.m. Free. Keystone Clifton, 249 Calhoun St., Clifton Heights, 

Stress Free New Year’s Eve 
Music by DJ Simo in the back courtyard. VIP tables available. 9 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Free. The Righteous Room, 641 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-381-4408,

A Bright New Year Beer Dinner 
Fifty West throws a New Year’s party with four courses paired with beer and featuring foods that symbolize good fortune in the coming year. 6-9 p.m. $55. Fifty West, 7664 Wooster Pike, Mariemont,

New Year’s Eve at Andy’s 
A special menu with a full bar, champagne toast at midnight, belly dancers and a DJ. 6 p.m. Free. Andy’s Mediterranean, 906 Nassau St., Walnut Hills,

New Year’s Eve at BrewRiver GastroPub
Chef Michael Shields crafts a three-course meal. Drop an additional $20 and get a bottle of Casteller sparkling cava. 5 p.m.-1 a.m. $45. BrewRiver GastroPub, 2062 Riverside Drive, East End,

New Year’s Eve Dinner at Daveed’s NEXT 
Seatings at 5:30 and 8 p.m. $50 early seating; $75 late seating (includes a sparkling wine reception). Daveed’s NEXT, 8944 Columbia Road, Landen,

New Year’s Eve at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse 
Enjoy upscale dining and a live performance by the Kelsey Mira Band. Happy hour begins at 4:30 p.m. 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Free. Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse, 700 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-784-1200,

New Year’s Eve at La Petite France 
A four-course dinner with entrees choices including filet mignon Oscar and roasted rack of lamb. 5 p.m. $49.95. La Petite France, 3177 Glendale-Milford Road, Evendale,

New Year’s Eve at The Mercer OTR 
A four-course NYE dinner with a champagne toast. 7 p.m. The Mercer OTR, 1324 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine,

New Year’s Eve at the Metropole 
Head to the 21c Museum Hotel for chef Jared Bennett’s farm-to-fireplace menu. Dinner served until 7 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., dinner jumps to a $95, four-course prix-fixe menu, which includes a champagne toast. 5:30-11 p.m. $95 prix-fixe menu. Metropole, 609 Walnut St., Downtown,

New Year’s Eve at Nectar 
A three-course meal with several choices for entrees, dessert and starters. 5:30-10:30 p.m. $65. Nectar, 1000 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout,

New Year’s Eve at Parkers 
Parkers Blue Ash Tavern throws a NYE dinner party, featuring music by Jeff Henry. 9 p.m-1 a.m. Prices vary. Parkers Blue Ash Tavern, 4200 Cooper Road, Blue Ash,

New Year’s Eve at Via Vite 
Two separate seatings with chef Cristian Pietoso’s signature Italian buffet. Late seating includes a prosecco toast and cocktail or glass of wine. 6-8 p.m.; 9 p.m.-1 a.m. $50; $99. Via Vite, 520 Vine St., Fountain Square, Downtown,

Axis Alley New Year’s Eve 
A DJ, noisemaker, balloon drop, champagne toast, bowling and shoe rental, appetizers and prize packages. 9 p.m. $50. Axis Alley, Newport on the Levee, 1 Levee Way, Newport, Ky.,

Cheers to the New Year at Rhinegeist 
Normal tap offerings, plus cocktails and champagne. 8 p.m. $10. Rhinegeist, 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, 

CityBeat and Know Theatre’s Speakeasy Party 
A 1920s-themed speakeasy in the basement bar of the Know Theatre with casino games, dance lessons, food, martinis and a champagne toast at midnight. Benefits the Know Theatre. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. $35 advance; $50 day-of. Know Theatre of Cincinnati, 1120 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine, RSVP to 513-300-5669 or

First Midnight Party 
Music by DJ Taryn Manning in The Pavilion and complimentary champagne. VIP options include table and bottle service. Benefits Give Back Cincinnati. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. $30-$550. Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati, 1000 Broadway St., Pendleton,

Fountain Square New Year’s Eve Blast 
Music by DJ Tweet, games and prizes, dance contests and more. Rozzi’s famous fireworks at midnight. Full bar service and drink specials available. Complimentary skating admission. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. Free; $4 skate rental. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown,

Lawrenceburg Event Center New Year’s Eve 
Live music from After Midnight and Gen X. Includes a buffet dinner, beer and wine, champagne toast at midnight and party favors. 8 p.m. $75. Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg Event Center, 91 Walnut St., Lawrenceburg, Ind.,

New Year’s Eve Ball with Taken by Storm at Music Hall 
Celebrate the New Year in concert with Pops conductor John Morris Russell and a special guest appearance by Storm Large. After the concert, festivities continue in Music Hall’s Ballroom with a catered dinner, dancing and live music and a champagne toast at midnight. 7:30 p.m. concert; $22-$90. 9:30 p.m. ball; $175-$275. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,

New Year’s Eve at Bobby Mackey’s Music World 
The 36th annual NYE bash at Bobby’s. Music by Bobby Mackey and the Big Mac Band. 9 p.m. Free. Bobby Mackey’s Music World, 44 Licking Pike, Wilder, Ky.,

New Year’s Eve Dance at Receptions Bridgetown 
A catered dinner with beer, wine and a champagne toast. Live music by Saffire Express. 8 p.m. $50. Receptions Banquet and Conference Center Bridgetown, 3302 Westbourne Drive, Bridgetown, 513-922-6777

New Year’s Eve BB Riverboats Dinner Cruise 
An Ohio River cruise with BB Riverboats includes a buffet, entertainment, champagne split at midnight and a late-night snack buffet and party favors. Moonshine provided by Old Smokey Moonshine. 9 p.m.-1 a.m. $102 adults; $62 children. BB Riverboats, 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., RSVP to 859-261-8500 or

New Year’s Eve Dinner Dance at Lakeridge Hall 
A hot buffet with drinks, a wine fountain, hats, noisemakers, music by DJ Larry Robers and an option to BYOB. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. $40. Lakeridge Hall, 7210 Pippin Road, Colerain, 513-521-1112. 
New Year’s Eve at Embassy Suites Blue Ash 
An all-inclusive package includes a deluxe two-room suite plus an open bar, dancing, DJ, chef’s premiere buffet dinner, cooked-to-order breakfast and late check out. $349 per couple. Embassy Suites Blue Ash, 4554 Lake Forest Drive, Blue Ash, RSVP to 513-981-3752. 

New Year’s Eve at Funny Bone on the Levee 
A special engagement with comedian Dave Landau. 8 and 10:30 p.m. $20 early show; $25 late show. Levee Funny Bone, Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., 

New Year’s Eve at Go Bananas 
Two sets by comedian Robert Hawkins. The later show features a cheese and veggie plate and champagne toast. 7:30 and 10 p.m. $20 early show; $40 late show. Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery,

New Year’s Eve at Perfect North Slopes 
Skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing open until 1 a.m., with party favors and a DJ in the lodge. Fireworks at midnight plus a torchlight parade down the slopes by ski instructors and ski patrol. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. $35-$47 lift tickets. Perfect North Slopes, 19074 Perfect Lane, Lawrenceburg, Ind.,
New Year’s Eve at Receptions Fairfield 
Second Wind Band performs live. Reservations include open bar, appetizers and the executive chef’s buffet with sinful desserts. Enjoy a champagne toast at midnight and a late-night chili bar. $149 per couple, tax and tip included. Receptions Conference Centers, 5975 Boymel Drive, Fairfield, RSVP to 513-860-4100. 

New Year’s Eve at Springdale 18 
A screening of Unbroken in the Director’s Hall plus a champagne toast, dessert reception and a live feed of the ball drop on the big screen. Screening at 9:40 p.m. $20.50. Springdale 18: Cinema de Lux, 12064 Springfield Pike, Springfield,

New Year’s Eve at the Syndicate 
Three parties in one. Features an open bar, dinner, champagne toast, party favors, late-night appetizers and entertainment by The Rusty Griswolds, DJ Mark McFadden and the world famous Gangsters Dueling Piano players. 7:30 p.m.-1 a.m. $75-$150. Newport Syndicate, 18 E. Fifth St., Newport, Ky.,
Party with the Ponies 
Turfway Park presents live horse racing, music by the Danny Frazier Band, party favors, a champagne toast, balloon drop, DJ and light appetizers. 5:30 p.m.-1 a.m. $85. Turfway Park, 7500 Turfway Road, Florence, Ky., 

A German New Year’s Eve celebration, with an hors d’oeuvres buffet (9-11 p.m.) and live music from Alpen Echos. 8 p.m.-1:30 a.m. $25. Donaschwaben Haus, 4290 Dry Ridge Road, Colerain,

Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical 
The Cincinnati Playhouse’s extended run of Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical has two performances on New Year’s Eve. 1 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $30. 962 Mt. Adams Circle, Mount Adams, 

Great Parks Family New Year’s Eve Celebration 
A ton of family-friendly fun to fit in before the ball drops at 7 p.m. See live animals, balloon sculptors, magicians and play games, make crafts and more. 4-7 p.m. $5; free for two and younger. Woodland Mound, 8250 Old Kellogg Road, Beechmont, or 513-521-7275. 

Happy Zoo Year 
Ring in the New Year early with the Festival of Lights, a New Year’s Eve Madcap Puppet Theatre show, party favors, costumed characters and appearances by Baby Zoo Year and Father Time. An early New Year countdown begins at 8:55 p.m. with Rozzi’s Famouse Fireworks. 5-9 p.m. Included with zoo admission ($15 adults; $11 seniors and children). Cincinnati Zoo, 3400 Vine St., Avondale,

International New Year’s Celebration 
Celebrate New Year’s traditions from around the world each hour in the Cincinnati Museum Center’s rotunda. Learn about the different countries and their culture with music, games and crafts. Stop by “customs” for special participation stamps and write a letter to troops stationed abroad. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate,

Kid’s Night New Year’s Eve at YMCA 
Camp Kern Get the kids out of the house on New Year’s Eve and drop them off at camp for s’mores, bonfires, rock climbing and more. Meals and snacks provided. Check-in begins 3 p.m. Dec. 31. Check-out 11 a.m. Jan. 1. $100 per child. Camp Kern, 5291 State Route 350, Oregonia, register at or 513-932-3756. 

New Year’s Eve Kids’ Countdown at Newport Aquarium 
Head to Shark Ray Bay Theater for a kid-friendly NYE celebration with music, dancing and giveaways, plus a special appearance countdown by Scuba Santa at 5 p.m. Kids also get noisemakers and party hats to ring in the New Year. 3-5:30 p.m. Free with admission ($23 adults; $15 children; free two and younger). 1 Levee Way, Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky.,

New Year’s Kids Cruise 
Countdown 2015 at noon. The cruise features party favors, a DJ, lunch buffet and characters from BB Riverboats’ pirate, princess and super hero cruises. 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. $32 adults; $20 children. BB Riverboats, 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky.,

500 Miles to Memphis 
Say goodbye to 2014 with 500 Miles to Memphis. 9 p.m. $12 day-of; $10 advance. Southgate House Revival, 111 E. Sixth St., Newport, Ky., 859-431-2201,

RL Big Band and Nancy James 
Dinner, dancing, a champagne toast and live music from RL Big Band. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. $65. Legends, 3801 Harrison Ave., Cheviot,

New Year’s Eve with The Almighty Get Down 
Appetizers, a champagne toast and live music from The Almighty Get Down, Buffalo Wabs & the Price Hill Hustle and Jamwave. 7:15 p.m. $25; $20 advance. 20th Century Theater, 3021 Madison Road, Oakley,  

New Year’s Eve Show Featuring Ott. 
With Bluetech, Aytiko and Yheti. 9 p.m. $30; $25 advance. Madison Theater, 730 Madison Ave., Covington, Ky.,

Rumpke Mountain Boys’ Grateful New Year’s Eve Ball 
Bluegrass band the Rumpke Mountain Boys host a New Year’s bash with David Gans, Born Cross-Eyed and Restless Leg String Band. 7 p.m. $25. The Thompson House, 24 E. Third St., Newport, Ky., 859-261-7469, 

Woodward New Year’s Eve with Wussy and Bobby Bare Jr. 
8 p.m. $10; $15 day of. The Woodward Theater, 1404 Main St., Over-the-Rhine,

Tweens at The Comet 
Trash Punk trio Tweens and The Harlequins. 9 p.m. Free. The Comet, 4579 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-541-8900,
<![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.

  • 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. 
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.

<![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
  • 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. 

<![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. 

<![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. 
And on Monday ...
<![CDATA[Something Wicked This Way Comes]]>

October is synonymous with Halloween, haunted houses, harvest festivals and more-sexy-than-scary costume balls. Whether you plan on being a slutty nurse, a moody John Snow, your basic zombie or Dracula, the Tristate offers more than enough events for you to get your freaky on all haunting season.

Arnold's Halloween Blackout — Arnold's hosts a Halloween Blackout party, tapping eight hard-to-find seasonal black stouts including Rivertown's Deateh, Southern Tier's Warlock, MadTree's Are You Ready for the Darkness, Bell's Java Stout, Bad Tom Smith's, 50 West, Listermann's Lateral Nitro Oatmeal Sweet Stout and Great Lakes Brewing aged black stout. Live music from the Hot Magnolias. Beers tapped at 4 p.m.; music at 9 p.m. Oct. 31. Free. Arnold's Bar and Grill, 210 E. Eighth St., Downtown,

Fear of the Dark — The bar’s fourth annual celebration of dark beers featuring Southern Tier’s Warlock, Great Divide’s Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti and more (while supplies last). 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Oct. 23-31. Free entry; beers cost money. The Lackman, 1237 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine,

Halloween Concert at the Littlefield — Party for a good cause! Hiders and the Perfect Children will be performing, while the Littlefield serves you up food, beer and drink specials all night! There will be a costume contest as well, so dress to impress! Proceeds will benefit the Cincinnati Northside Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation. All night. Oct. 31. Free. The Littlefield, 3934 Spring Grove Ave., Northside,

Japp's Halloween Eve Dance Party — Ring in Halloween with a costume contest, dance party, "scary-delicious" cocktails and prizes. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Oct. 30. Free. Japp's, 1136 Main St., Over-the-Rhine,

Neon's David Bowie's Labyrinth-Themed Halloween Party and Silent Disco — The Labyrinth will be on the TV all night, David Bowie and Halloween tunes with be on the juke and at the silent disco, you can grab a pair of headphones and dance around all night. 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Oct. 31. Free. 208 E. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine,

Pick Your  Poison — People in costumes get $3 Dogfish Head Pumpkin, $4 call cocktails or $5 bombs. Oct. 31. The Righteous Room, 641 Walnut St., Downtown,

Pavilion's 13th Annual Halloween Masquerade — Costume contest, cash prizes, and DJ Big Once. Nov. 1. Free. Mount Adams Pavilion, 949 Pavilion St., Mount Adams, 513-744-9200.

‘Stache Bash at The Stand — In partnership with Movember Cincinnati, The Stand invites you to boogie down on Halloween night! Anyone wearing a mustache (real or fake) gets $3 Yuengling Brewery’s Black & Tan all night! There will also be a costume contest starting at midnight. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Oct. 31. Free. The Stand, 3195 Linwood Ave., Mount Lookout,

Wicked Wine Tasting — A costume contest, snacks, door prizes, wine tastings and live music. 4 p.m. Oct. 25. $10. Meier’s Wine Cellars, 6955 Plainfield Road, Silverton,

Zombie Pub Crawl — A spooky slow Covington pub crawl starting at the Cock & Bull Public House then to Pachinko, Zola and finally the Strasse Haus at 11:30 p.m. Awards for best scary and sexy zombie costumes. 10 p.m. Oct. 25. Free. Cock & Bull English Pub, 601 Main St., Covington, Ky.,

A Wicked Affair — Drinks, dancing and a costume contest in support of organ donation, benefiting the National Kidney Foundation of Greater Cincinnati. 7 p.m. Oct 25. $40. Receptions Banquet and Conference Center, 4450 Eastgate South Drive, Eastgate, 937-763-0474, 513-265-8530, awickedaffair

Children’s Dyslexia Centers of Cincinnati Halloween Gala — Support the Children’s Dyslexia Centers of Cincinnati by attending a Halloween Gala where guests will be treated to a performance by the Naked Karate Girls while enjoying an evening of dancing, food and drinks. Guests are also invited to help sponsor the event with Gold, Platinum and Diamond packages. 7 p.m. Oct. 25. $30 in advance; $40 at the door; $500 VIP tables. Cincinnati Masonic Center, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown,

Fashion Angels: The Masquerade — Dress to impress in your best masquerade disguise, all for a great cause. This charitable fashion event benefits the American Cancer Society, Freestore Foodbank, Aubrey Rose Foundation and more while showcasing local designers, singers, dancers and hair and makeup stylists. Attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishables for the Freestore Foodbank. 6-11 p.m. Oct. 31. $25. Kings Island Resort & Conference Center, 5691 Kings Island Drive, Mason,

Pop Art Costume Party — Grab your most vibrant, colorful costume and head to this Art After Dark event. Join the Cincinnati Art Museum in celebration of all things Pop with the opening of Beyond Pop Art: A Tom Wesselmann Retrospective. Tours of the special exhibition will meet in the Great Hall at 5:30 p.m. (members only), 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. (public tours). Drinks and appetizers available for purchase. 5-9 p.m. Oct. 31. Free admission; $4 parking; free for Art Museum members. Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park,

Scream Acres Haunted House Dance Party — It’s not every day (or even every Halloween) you get to listen to live zombified music in one of the area’s largest and most terrifying haunted houses. But Scream Acres is pulling out all the stops to make this a fright night to remember: it’s opening its doors to a ghoulishly impressive lineup of bands to create a night of costumes, dancing, monsters, and screams. All ages are welcome … if they dare. 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Oct. 31. $14. Scream Acres Ct., 4399 Boron Drive, Covington, Ky.,

The Malice Ball — Dance the night away in a spectacular masquerade ball while being served by bartender’s from Bakersfield OTR, the Eagle and other OTR favorites. The Malice Ball will also feature light snacks from OTR restaurants, makeup and styling by Rebel Face Makeup, a photo booth and more! DJ Matt Joy will be providing the tunes for the night. All proceeds benefit the Over-the-Rhine Chamber’s Business First Grant Program. Must be 21 years of age or older. 8-12:30 p.m. Oct. 31. $25 advance; $35 at the door. Christian Moerlein Brewing Company, 1621 Moore St., Over-the-Rhine,

Boogie to Death — Dance Halloween away in Hollywood Casino's Boogie Nights, with 600 feet of lighted dance floor, a haunted maze of horror and costume contest. $1,000 for best overall costume. 9 p.m. Oct. 31. $10. 777 Hollywood Blvd., Lawrenceburg, Ind.,

For more events, like family-friendly frights, scary movie screenings and haunted tours, click here.

<![CDATA[Brace Yourself for Horrible Jewelry Ad Season]]>

Few things induce more eye-rolling than cliché jewelry commercials with impossibly flawless couples, dialogue on par with that of pornos and overly sentimental background music. When it comes to these contrived advertisements, it doesn’t get worse than Kay Jewelers. My boyfriend and I were watching Hulu Plus the other day when the same unsettling (and outdated) Kay ads repeatedly popped up during breaks.

The first featured a stiff J. Crew catalog-worthy man presenting his fiancée’s daughter with an identical necklace to one he had given his fianceé. “I’m so happy to be marrying your mom. You know that, right?” The stepdad-to-be presents the young girl with the gift. “It’s just like yours, mom!” Everyone is smiling and hugging and kissing. The cloying situation is exacerbated by the fact that the necklace is part of the (rather unattractive) ‘Open Hearts’ collection by Jane Seymour (aka Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman), which has a sappy message — “Keep your heart open and love will always find its way in.” Not to mention, this isn’t such a good gift idea for someone who has had or might one day need open heart surgery…

Among some of the more uncouth YouTube comments are mentions of how this is from the “I’m doin yer ma” collection and how the man could mistakenly appear to have questionable intentions with the adolescent girl. All true. And what’s up with the misleading suggestion that a kid would ever need or even want an expensive piece of jewelry as a gift? My boyfriend’s ten-year-old cousin has LEGO Friends and video games on her Christmas list, not a $200 necklace that she’ll lose in a day.

And then there was the infamous Cabin in the Woods meets American Psycho ad, in which a Patrick Bateman-esque man surprises his lover with a necklace from the ‘Love’s Embrace’ collection after stating, "I'm right here... and I always will be.” (Cue sinister laughter.) This occurs amid lightning, thunder and overall ominous vibes. The woman loves it. Maybe it’s because he’s surrounding her with the “strength of his love” by presenting her with a “diamond that captures the comfort found in each others’ arms.”

Ugh. So why exactly were these uncomfortable Kay commercials ruining my otherwise great Hulu Plus experience? The answer may lie in the fact that it is currently “engagement season,” a prime time for these advertisements. Thank you, Jezebel for bringing this to my attention.

                And, more importantly, for the bringing this picture to my attention

I had no idea the holiday season — that glorious stretch of time between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day — was also known as “engagement season,” as disturbingly dubbed by women’s magazines. For example, Glamour Magazine has a 2012 online article titled, “Happy First Day of Engagement Season! Who's Expecting a Proposal in the Next Few Months?” on November 22 of that year. has a similar article: “9 Ways to Know It’s Engagement Season.”

Approximately 39 percent of all marriage proposals take place between the holiday months. Sure, I’ve witnessed more than one friend on my Facebook newsfeed get engaged during this time frame (because, you know, it’s pretty inevitable when you’re in your twenties and use social media), but was unaware that this is some sort of national trend.

But now that it’s been brought to my attention, I can see why this trend exists. The holiday season is a family-centric time. People are able to take days off work and enjoy plenty of blithe celebrating with loved ones. If you’re the kind of person who wants to get married, now might be the time to make your move. Jewelry commercials cater to this big time.

And just to make myself clear, I have absolutely nothing against people getting engaged around this time or any other time. In fact, someone very close to me recently got engaged and I was lucky enough to be chosen as her maid of honor. I am genuinely happy for anyone who is genuinely happy. I don’t even have anything against jewelry stores in general, unless they are full of blood diamonds or other unethical practices.

I do, however, have a problem with commercials that portray males as saps who win their girlfriends’, wives’ and apparently stepdaughters’ affections through gold and silver diamond-studded necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings shaped like open hearts and warm embraces — ads that depict women as shallow creatures who are at their happiest when presented with sparkly stones. I dislike the season’s “endless subliminal hum of advertisements for engagement rings,” as noted by Jezebel. But ultimately, that is the nature of consumerism, and it’s effective.

The holidays, engagement season aside, are chock-full of commercial spending and advertising. Even lesser-known Hallmark Holidays such as Boss’ Day and Sweetest Day rake in cash, so it makes perfect sense that people break the bank around Christmas. The Gallup Economy’s Oct. 21 article, Americans' Holiday Spending Not Shut Down by Shutdown,” states that "underscoring the importance Americans place on holiday gift giving, 30% — identical to last year — plan to spend at least $1,000, and half plan to spend at least $500. Only 3% intend to spend less than $100."

So if not for the purpose of engagements, jewelry commercials portray that the time is ripe for men to splurge on their significant others with the perfect piece of jewelry for the holidays. But I would never want my boyfriend to feel pressured to pop the question or buy me such superfluous adornments, especially in an attempt to prove his love (as that would be entirely unnecessary). Some of us just want Hulu Plus to get rid of their commercials for Christmas, so instead of being enticed by jewelry, we can get back to The Colbert Report.

<![CDATA[Black Friday Is the Worst]]>

Marking the beginning of the holiday shopping season, Black Friday is easily the most disgusting bastardization of what a holiday is. 

Let’s start with a brief history of where Black Friday began. This day has been a grotesque part of the holiday season here in America for years. Notably, in 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to an earlier date, stretching out the holiday shopping season. This change was brought on by retailers during the Depression Era, allowing people more time to go gift shopping or, more importantly, spend their money in the retailers’ stores. 

Later in the 1950s and '60s, the day began to be viewed as a kind of worker-less void for shop owners as their employees started to not show up to work in order to go shopping. 

Finally, in the '80s, store owners began to state how profitable the day was, or how much their profits were “in the black." See what they did there?

Now, the day is a barbaric ritual for many people across America as they wait until store-doors open so they can grab a hodgepodge of items away from their competition and fight anyone who gets in their way. 

Black Friday is like the Hunger Games but without all the talk about a rebellion against an oppressive regime. It’s just people fighting each other, and sometimes dying, for seemingly no good reason other than saving a buck or two. 

Like back in 2011 when Walter Vance was trampled to death by other shoppers while trying to shop at his local Target in West Virginia. No one noticed they were literally running over a person to get their goodies. 

Deaths do happen on this “holiday,” which is unsettling on its own, but the injuries far outnumber the deaths. 

According to, there have been seven deaths attributed to Black Friday and a total of 89 injuries. This data only dates back to 2006, though, which means there are surely more from earlier years.

Just a quick look at this same website shows people are not afraid to pepper-spray, stab or even shoot each other, again, all in the name of savings. 

What is even more unsettling is how ravenous customers are. The following compilation of Black Friday videos over the years shows just how crazy people can act on this unholy of days as people break down doors to enter stores, tear apart in-store kiosks and basically act like filthy animals.

Watching videos of Black Friday is simply depressing, and when you remember these are people and not zombies from The Walking Dead, it’s hard to think of this day as a holiday. 

By definition, a holiday is when little to no work is done and people celebrate something, but more than that, holidays are meant to bring people together. 

One clear example of what a holiday should be is the Christmas Truce of 1914 during the first World War. Both sides of the fighting had a ceasefire on Christmas Day along many points of the Western Front, and some points saw friendly and enemy soldiers alike exchanging gifts, food and good tidings. 

That’s a holiday. Everyone put aside their differences for a short period and came together as humans. 

If soldiers fighting a war can do this, why can’t shoppers perform these same acts of kindness and decency towards each other?

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

One good thing about Halloween falling on a Thursday is that we get two weekends of celebrity costumes to dissect.

Heidi Klum always pulls out the stops for Halloween, hosting a major bash every year. And her costumes are always over-the-top. This year is no different, though Heidi wasn’t dressed in a crazy cyborg suit or a scary Kali goddess getup — Ms. Project Runway was unrecognizable as an old ass lady!

There’s a 15 percent chance this is actually just Heidi Klum after a week with no Botox, green juice or airbrush artists.

There are essentially three categories in which Halloween costumes fall: “sexy” costumes, offensive costumes and pop culture costumes. As Julianne Hough proved with her Orange Is the New Black-face ensemble, it’s typical for costume categories to overlap. Here are my fave star costumes of the year, which happen to all be celebs dressed as other celebs. #meta

Miley as Lil' Kim

                                                   Honey Boo Boo family as the Kardashian Klan

                                                                       Ellen as Nicki Minaj