CityBeat Blogs - Music http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/blogs-1-1-1-33-142.html <![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.

FRIDAY
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 mayfestival.com.


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, vinokletwines.com.

The Cavalcaders
Photo: Pat Conley
Erin go Bragh with the ACTING IRISH INTERNATIONAL THEATRE FESTIVAL
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, irishcenterofcincinnati.com.

Circle Mirror Transformation
Photo: Sandy Underwood
Learn and laugh with CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION 
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. cincyplay.com

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.

SATURDAY
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, tasteofcincinnati.com.

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, ensemblecincinnati.org.

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., funnyboneonthelevee.com.

The Cincinnati Boxing Story
Watch the premiere 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, facebook.com/sweeneynowvideo.

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, wavepoolgallery.org.

SUNDAY
Unlocking the Gates of Auschwitz 70 Years Later
Photo: CHHE Collection
Remember history with UNLOCKING THE GATES OF AUSCHWITZ
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, freedomcenter.org.

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, cincinnatizoo.org.

MONDAY
Memorial Day Weekend at Spring Grove
Photo: Provided
Celebrate MEMORIAL DAY AT SPRING GROVE
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, springgrove.org.

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 overtherhine.com/barnraising 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, cincinnatiparks.com.



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<![CDATA[Your Weekend To Do List (5/15-5/17)]]>
Lots of things to do this weekend, from festivals and craft beer drinking to arts and film screenings. Plus, The City Flea, Carol Ann's Carousel and new OTR shop Idlewild open.

FRIDAY
Head to Bogart's for INTERPOL
Interpol’s 2002 debut Turn on the Bright Lights seemed to arrive out of nowhere, a visceral, uncommonly mature effort that channeled not only a host of Post Punk staples but also a distinct post-9/11 desolation. It was, in fact, the product of the band’s founder, guitarist and driving force Daniel Kessler’s long-simmering vision, one he formed through years of writing and playing live around New York City with frontman Paul Banks, bassist Carlos Dengler and drummer Sam Fogarino, who was the last (essential ingredient) to join the band in 2000. Thirteen years after that stirring debut, Interpol is still kicking — minus Dengler, who left after recording the band’s self-titled fourth album in 2010; Banks now serves as the group’s bassist — and still delivering its melancholic, angular brand of Indie Rock. Interpol performs at Bogart's Friday. Tickets/more info here

Maifest
Photo: Matthew Andrews Photography
Get your drink on at MAIFEST in MainStrasse
Based on the German tradition of welcoming the first spring wines, the 36th annual Maifest fills six city blocks of historic MainStrasse with food, beer and wine, and works by more than 75 artisans and craftsmen. There will also be entertainment by top local bands — 500 Miles to Memphis, Young Heirlooms, Ricky Nye and more — in the craft beer garden, with a special Kinderplatz area with rides for children and a Braxton Brewery light display at the Clock Tower Friday and Saturday night. Don’t miss the popular street chalk-drawing contest Saturday. 5-11:30 p.m. Friday; Noon-11:30 p.m. Saturday; Noon-9 p.m. Sunday. Free. MainStrasse, Sixth Street, Covington, Ky., mainstrasse.org.

The Breakfast Club
Photo: Universal Pictures
Break out the acid wash and pleated pants for a screening of THE BREAKFAST CLUB
Revisit your favorite brain, athlete, basket case, princess and criminal Friday when The Breakfast Club’s Brat Pack returns to the silver screen at the Esquire Theatre in honor of its 30th birthday. John Hughes’ high school bildungsroman might not be completely timeless, but it’s the movie’s cliché moments that make it so enduring. Forgo popcorn for Pixy Stix and don’t forget to bring your acid wash jeans and “Members Only” jackets — prizes will be given for the best ’80s costume. 10:30 p.m. Friday. $9.75. Esquire Theatre, 320 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, esquiretheatre.com.

CincItalia Festival
Binge on lasagna in a mini piazza the CINCITALIA FESTIVAL
The CincItalia festival celebrates all things Italy. You’ll find main dishes with lots of authentic Italian flavor like stromboli, lasagna, grilled spiedini and more, complete with a wide selection of wine and beer and cooking demonstrations. Visit the ladies of La Societa Fuscaldese Femminile to try their famous cannoli or enjoy lively music and a glass of vino in the mini piazza, with fountain and Tivoli lights. 6 p.m.-midnight Friday; 3 p.m.-midnight Saturday; 1-9 p.m. Sunday. Free. Harvest Home Park Fairgrounds, 3961 North Bend Road, Cheviot, cincitalia.org.

MadTree Brewing Company
Photo: Jillian Tellep
Have some beer on a paint palette at ARTS & CRAFTS
Organized by a handful of sophomore graphic design students at the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP (and with sponsorship from Modern Makers, a multidisciplinary arts collaborative), Arts & Crafts involves the consumption of local craft beer and the exhibition of up-and-coming artists — with accompanying food trucks and live music. With the expressed intent of supporting local breweries and artists in an effort to nurture the arts in the Clifton community, organizers enlisted UC students to participate as well as breweries MadTree, Rhinegeist and more. 7-9 p.m. Friday. Free. Niehoff Urban Studio, 2728 Vine St., Corryville, artsandcrafts.beer.

Put in your pin curls for CINCY SWING FEST
Put in your pin curls and break out the saddle shoes for the second annual Cincy Swing Fest. Can’t Lindy Hop? No problem. Cincy LX/Swingallery will be on hand to provide complementary dance instruction to live music from Swing Band The Makeshifts. Classic cocktails available, plus pin-up makeovers from Retrocentric. 6-10 p.m. Friday. Free. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown, myfountainsquare.com.

SATURDAY
Run the OTR 5K and then head to THE CITY FLEA for an after party
The ninth annual OTR 5k run/walk kicks off summer in the city a little early. The race begins and ends in Washington Park, with a course that takes you through historic Over-the-Rhine. Dogs and strollers welcome. Register online or in person. 10 a.m.; afterparty celebration until 4 p.m. Saturday. $30. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, otrchamber.com

Curated monthly urban flea market The City Flea launches a new season Saturday at Washington Park. Keep your dollars local and support small business by shopping from hundreds of area vendors, selling everything from handmade goods and vintage finds to artisan eats and organic beauty products. Food trucks flank the park and drinks will be available from the concession stand. This month’s flea is also home to the OTR 5k afterparty. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Free. 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, thecityflea.com.

Ride for free at the CAROL ANN CAROUSEL opening celebration
The public is invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Carol Ann's Carousel at Smale Park on the Riverfront. Following the ceremony, the carousel will open with free rides from 1-7 p.m. Tickets will be handed out on a first come, first serve basis. Other festivities include face painters, jugglers, magicians, food carts, music and more. Ride one of 44 adorable characters — horses, frogs, elephants and more. $2 a ride after Saturday. 11 a.m. Free. North of Mehring Way at the Pichler Fountains, Downtown, cincinnatiparks.com.

Pixies
Photo: Jay Blakesberg
PIXIES play the Horseshoe Casino
History will always chiefly remember Kurt Cobain as a creator of music, not a consumer. But the Nirvana leader was also an avid advocate for his favorite groups and most cherished influences. In the posthumously released Journals, he documented his 50 favorite records. Most telling of all was his inclusion of Pixies’ Surfer Rosa in spot No. 2. That’s significant because Nirvana’s biggest hit owes a great debt to the group. Since reuniting in 2004 to tour and occasionally record (last year’s Indie Cindy was Pixies’ first album since 1991’s Trompe le Monde), the band has evolved into more of an elder statesman outfit (minus original bassist/singer Kim Deal, replaced on the group’s current tour by Paz Lenchantin, who’s worked with acts like A Perfect Circle and Zwan), showing only rare glimpses of the brilliant provocateurs of their youth. But it’s not as if the band has much more to prove; its unimpeachable impact was cemented long ago. Pixies play The Shoe at Horseshoe Casino Saturday. Tickets/more info here.

Dress as a stormtrooper at the LIBRARY COMIC CON
Move over, San Diego. The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County’s third annual Comic Con proves you can immerse yourself in countless comic book universes locally. The five-hour festival has expanded to offer a host of events, including trivia, guest panels from local cartoonists, drawing contests and a superhero training camp for kids. Have a Wonder Woman ensemble, an Iron Man outfit or suit of armor for which you haven’t yet found a socially acceptable occasion? All ages can dress up as their favorite characters to win prizes. Noon-5 p.m. Saturday. Free. Main Library, 800 Vine St., Downtown, cincinnatilibrary.org/news/2015/comiccon.

Shop at IDLEWILD, Article's new women's boutique in OTR
Over-the-Rhine men's shop Article's sister store, Idlewild, opens Saturday. Brands sold at the store include Imogene and Willie, a Nashville, Tenn.-based denim company, and Free People. The shop will also feature garments from New York designers Steven Alan and Emerson Fry, as well as accessories from a pair of Portland, Ore.-based designers Another Feather and Mazama. 11 a.m. Free. 1232 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/articlemenswear.

Three Days of Rain
Photo: Untethered Theater Company
Get immersed in THREE DAYS OF RAIN at the Clifton Performance Theatre
Richard Greenberg’s Three Days of Rain is a mystery that unfolds in reverse. In Act I it’s 1995 as three adult children of two iconic New York City architects ponder the current state of their lives and what motivated their parents three decades earlier. Their conclusions, based on memory and a recently found laconic journal, make sense, but when Act II pushes back to 1960, almost everything they have hypothesized proves to be wrong. As is often the case, life was much more complicated. Continues through May 23. $25. Clifton Performance Theatre, 404 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, cliftonperformancetheatre.com.

Waite’s painting “Old School Boys Pool” is based on a swimming pool at the old School for Creative and Performing Arts. 
Check out paintings of abandoned sites in THE CINCINNATI SERIES
In his The Cincinnati Series of 29 paintings depicting depopulated city sites, Peter Waite — a Connecticut-based artist — neither celebrates nor dismisses what he sees. Rather, he just tells it like it is. His artwork is at Carl Solway Gallery in the West End through Aug. 1. If he finds something architecturally interesting to him that is also conventionally beautiful, like the suspension bridge or Union Terminal or downtown’s Isaac M. Wise Temple, he acknowledges and presents it. But if it’s something that interests him because it’s abandoned and decrepit, or it no longer serves its original use, he presents that, too. The Cincinnati Series continues at Carl Solway Gallery through Aug. 1. More info: solwaygallery.com.

SUNDAY
Price Hill Thrill
Photo: Steven Rosen
Tour the arts in Price Hill with PRICE HILL THRILL
Sunday there will be a tour of art studios and galleries in Price Hill, sponsored by the Weston Gallery. The event begins and ends at the Dunham Arts Center in the Dunham Recreation Complex and includes food, drink and entertainment by Comet Bluegrass All-Stars at a 5-7 p.m. closing reception. 2-7 p.m. Sunday. $35. 1945 Dunham Way, West Price Hill, westonartgallery.com.

Tommy Davidson
Photo: Provided
Laugh at SHAQ'S ALL STAR COMEDY JAM
Shaquille O’Neal’s All Star Comedy Jam is coming to town — get excited. Now lower the bar two notches because Shaq will not actually be there. … But raise the bar up again because comedian and actor DeRay Davis is hosting and he was on an episode of Empire. Other featured comedians include Tommy Davidson (pictured), Tony Roberts, Michael Blackson and Red Grant. Research some of their stuff on YouTube and check out the gig. The comedy franchise has featured some of the top urban comedians in the country and has been televised annually since 2009. 7:30 p.m. Sunday. $45.25-$92.25. Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, cincinnatiarts.org.

Henry V
Photo: J. Sheldon Photo
Catch a matinee of a different Game of Thrones with HENRY V at Cincy Shakes
If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, you might want to tune in to Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, which is working its way through the real thing presenting Shakespeare’s eight history plays in chronological order over the span of five years. Up next is Henry V, in which the profligate Prince Hal has succeeded his bellicose father and sobered up to the bad state of affairs in England. He rallies the troops and his loyal partisans by declaring war on France. Against great resistance, using powerful speeches he pulls the kingdom together. Justin McCombs continues in this fascinating role. Through May 30. $14-$36. 719 Race St., Downtown, 513-381-2273, cincyshakes.com.

Quiet Company
Photo: Leah Muse
Austin, Texas' QUIET COMPANY play the Southgate House
With an instantly, insistently catchy Indie Pop/Rock sound that has drawn comparisons to the likes of Weezer and Death Cab for Cutie, Austin, Texas’ Quiet Company has seen its national profile rise considerably with the release of each new album, including this year’s excellent Transgressor. The group (which features former Cincinnatian and CityBeat employee Matt Parmenter on bass) is already a dominant force in its hometown scene. In its nearly decade-long history, Quiet Company has scored 12 Austin Music Awards, including Best Rock Band at the 2015 ceremony. But the acclaim isn’t limited to Austin — Time, Paste, The New York Times and numerous other national outlets have heaped praise on Quiet Company, and the group’s fanbase continues to grow thanks to regular touring and an explosive live show. 8 p.m. Sunday. $10; $12 day of. Southgate House Revival, 111 E. Sixth St., Newport, Ky., southgatehouse.com.


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<![CDATA[Your Weekend To Do List (5/8-5/10)]]>
FRIDAY
Get wild with TYLER, THE CREATOR at Bogart's
About halfway through “Deathcamp,” the lead track on Tyler, the Creator’s new album Cherry Bomb, the dense, hard-charging music takes a breather so the controversial California-bred rapper can declare, “I don’t like to follow the rules/And that’s just who I am/I hope you understand.” No doubt many don’t understand, which seems to suit Tyler just fine. There’s no denying the guy isn’t afraid to stir shit up, which in this age of feigned outrage and politically correct sensitivity is saying something. Cherry Bomb is another wild ride, a meld of slanted Hip Hop in the vein of Dr. Octagon and N.E.R.D., spruced up with a host of famous guests, including Lil Wayne, ScHoolboy Q, Kanye West and Pharrell Williams. But this is Tyler’s show, his wild-eyed delivery sparing pretty much no one — from fellow rappers to college debt carriers to Kendall Jenner. 8 p.m. Friday. $27.50. Bogart's, 2621 Vine St., Corryville, bogarts.com.

Wine Makers Live
Photo: 3CDC
Drink downtown with WINE MAKERS LIVE
Head to Fountain Square for two evenings of vino. Enjoy a variety of red, white and blended wines from across the region, accompanied by knowledgeable staff to help you navigate tasting selections. A wine list online, with wineries including Cupcake, Acronym, Mirassou and Moet, details what each will be serving. Includes live music from the likes of Tracy Walker, Ricky Nye, the Almighty Get Down and more. 5-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $1 tastings. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown, myfountainsquare.com.

Chasing Squirrel
Photo: Christopher Duggan
Catch inspired dance with the CINCINNATI BALLET'S DIRECTOR'S CHOICE
The Cincinnati Ballet’s Director’s Choice program is a unique mixed-repertoire presentation with selections chosen specifically by ballet Artistic Director and CEO Victoria Morgan, including Yuri Possokhov's Classical Symphony, Edwaard Liang's Feast of the Gods and Trey McIntyre's Chasing Squirrel. "These three pieces are choreographic powerhouses,” says Morgan via the ballet’s website. “They exemplify the direction dance is headed and changing the way people think about dance.” 8 p.m. Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets start at $32. Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, cincinnatiarts.org.

Enjoy some Bluegrass, handmade crafts, food and more at the APPALACHIAN FESTIVAL
The Appalachian Festival has come a long way from its first event decades ago in the basement of Music Hall. Back then the festival was a crafts exhibition developed by the Junior League of Cincinnati. Today, the 46th annual Appalachian Festival — presented by the Appalachian Community Development Association, a nonprofit promoting awareness and appreciation for Appalachian culture — is held at Coney Island and attracts about 50,000 people. Enjoy Bluegrass music, handmade crafts, food and more entertainment over the three-day Mother’s Day weekend. 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. $10 adult; $5 seniors; $2 children; $6 parking. Coney Island, 6201 Kellogg Ave., California, appalachianfestival.org.

Outside Mullingar at Playhouse in the Park
Photo: Mikki Schaffner
See an Irish tale of identity, heritage and love with OUTSIDE MULLINGAR
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, ensemblecincinnati.org.

SATURDAY
Heirloom
Photo: Joe Hedges
Attend a one-night-only art party with Near*By collective's HEIRLOOM at Wave Pool gallery
The Near*By curatorial collective, which has been making an impact on Cincinnati's visual arts scene with events that are conceptually imaginative and substantive in terms of ideas about art-making, presents Heirloom: an exhibition of objects from the childhood homes of artists at Wave Pool gallery. Four curators have each asked three different artists to choose an object from their childhood homes that in some way has influenced their cultural experiences and artistic output. Near*By will present the objects at the one-night event and will also have a catalogue. The participating artists are Chelsea Baker, Amanda Checco, Lizzy DuQuette, Izy Hardy, Sarah Jones, Brent Lashley, Caleb Marhoover, Jamie Muenzer, Matthew Shackelford, Nic Scrimenti, CM Turner and Christy Whittmer. 7-10 p.m. Saturday. Free. Wave Pool, 2940 Colerain Ave., Camp Washington, nearby.gallery.

Rose Hill House Tour
Photo: Provided
Check out other people's houses during the ROSE HILL HOUSE TOUR
The Cincinnati Preservation Association’s Spring House Tour explores six historic homes and a condo in the Belvedere building on Rose Hill Avenue in North Avondale. In the mid-1800s, wealthy merchants like Andrew Erkenbrecher, Samuel Pogue, Frank Herschede and Barney Kroger built beautiful homes on spacious lots. Today you can view historic homes ranging in date from the 1890s to the 1930s and in style from Italian Renaissance and English Medieval to Greek Revival. 1-5 p.m. Saturday. $35; advanced purchase is highly recommended; will-call in the lobby of the Belvedere (3900 Rose Hill Ave.). 513-721-4506, cincinnatipreservation.org.

Arrange some flowers for mom at FERN STUDIO
What’s better than buying mom a floral arrangement for Mother’s Day? Making mom a floral arrangement for Mother’s Day. North College Hill’s curated home, design and plant shop Fern Studio hosts a fundamentals of floral arranging class, led by Patricia Duque Campos of Una Floral. Learn how to compose lush and loose arrangements with seasonal blooms and other unique flora. Class fee includes materials (flowers, tools, vase, etc.), plus light snacks and refreshments. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday. $105. Fern Studio, 6040 Hamilton Ave., North College Hill, fern-shop.com.

The Donkeys
Photo: Provided
Remember Lost with THE DONKEYS
If you’re a Donkeys fan, you know the San Diego quartet from its decade-plus history. And if you don’t know The Donkeys at all but were, like most of the world’s television viewers at the time, obsessed with every scrap of informational minutiae related to Lost, you still know The Donkeys, in a tangential sense. The band’s song “Excelsior Lady,” from the 2008 sophomore album Living on the Other Side, was featured in the series, re-recorded as “Dharma Lady” and credited to the faux group Geronimo Jackson. It’s easy to trace The Donkeys’ sound to their California roots, just not along the obvious Beach Boys-to-Laurel Canyon path (although those signposts dot the landscape). The Donkeys combine a Byrdsian jangle, a twangy soulfulness, a gently rollicking Pop undercurrent and a melancholic lo-fi vibe that suggests a team-building trust exercise between Pavement, The Grateful Dead and Crosby Stills Nash & Young, with a healthy dose of contemporary ennui, a kind of hopeful disillusionment. 8 p.m. Free. MOTR Pub, 1345 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, motrpub.com.

Paul Mecurio
Photo: Provided
Laugh with PAUL MECURIO
Paul Mecurio, comedian and Emmy-winning former writer from The Daily Show, chose the name of his latest comedy CD, It’s Not Me, It’s the World, wisely. “I don’t relax, that’s what my wife says to me,” he says. “I get into a lot of confrontations in customer service situations. I almost got arrested on Amtrak because I got into a fight with the conductor.” The normally affable Mecurio can be seen on a variety of cable talk shows where he uses his quick wit to comment on social and political issues. He also has a podcast called The Paul Mecurio Show, on which he’s spoken to Sir Paul McCartney, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno and more. Thursday-Sunday. $15-$17. Funny Bone on the Levee, Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., 859-957-2000, funnyboneonthelevee.com.


SUNDAY
Brunch at Django Western Taco
Photo: facebook.com/djangonorthside 
Take mom to MOTHER'S DAY BRUNCH
Check out a variety of local restaurant's offering special Mother's Day meals here.

Look at more people's houses during the CLIFTON HOUSE TOUR
Take your mom to peep in other people’s houses during the Clifton House Tour. Explore homes with special architectural features and historical stories as the gracious owners Clifton homes — from Italianate and Victorian to Midcentury Modern and English Tudor — invite strangers in to explore. 1-5 p.m. Sunday. $18; $22 day of at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center or Clifton Plaza. Detailed tour guide with house locations available day of tour. cliftoncommunity.org/clifton-house-tour

Meet zoo moms at 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, cincinnatizoo.org.

Frank Ockenfels 3/AM
Take in a TV double feature with GAME OF THRONES and MAD MEN
Game of Thrones (9 p.m., HBO) – Daenerys is faced with a tough decision in Meereen; Jon finds assistance from an unexpected source; Brienne tracks down Sansa; Theon is still … Reek. How will Sansa react if and when she discovers the guy who was essentially her brother is now a shell of his former self? Mad Men (10 p.m., AMC) – Only two episodes left! Don can’t sleep; Pete gets blindsided; Henry hosts a family reunion.



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<![CDATA[Your Weekend To Do List (4/17-4/19)]]>
FRIDAY
See some world premiere theater at NKU's Y.E.S. FESTIVAL
Every two years Northern Kentucky University’s Department of Theatre and Dance offers audiences several theatrical adventures when it presents the world premieres of three plays. This year’s 17th biennial “Year End Series” productions are Joe Starzyk’s antic murder mystery and love story, It’s a Grand Night for Murder; David L. Williams’ The Divine Visitor, a tale of a ghostly Casanova inspired by British comedies from the 17th century; and Colin Speer Crowley’s Encore, Encore, a portrait of acerbic wisecracker and drama critic Dorothy Parker. Since 1983, NKU has undertaken this ambitious program, debuting more that 50 new works. Through April 26. $11-$14. Northern Kentucky University, Corbett Theatre/Rose Stauss Theatre, Fine Arts Center, Nunn Drive, Highland Heights, Ky., 859-572-5464, theatre.nku.edu.

Check out an EP release for COCONUT MILK
Local Indie Pop/Rock quintet Coconut Milk hosts a free release party in honor of its second EP, We’re Sorry, Friday at Northside Tavern. The band will be joined by fellow Cincinnati band Founding Fathers, as well as Columbus, Ohio’s Fine Animal and Dayton, Ohio’s Forage. On its Facebook page, Coconut Milk describes its sound as “Beach Rock,” which is one of the more precise self-descriptions by a band you’ll ever see. Like the best oceanfront-linked music (going back to The Beach Boys, but think more “Warmth of the Sun” than “Surfin’ USA”), there is a compelling blend of airy contentment and wistful melancholy to Coconut Milk’s sound. If Belle and Sebastian and Nada Surf went on a writing retreat to some small beach town on the West Coast, they’d probably come up with something similar to what Coconut Milk lays down on We’re Sorry. Free. Northside Tavern, 4163 Hamilton Ave., Northside, northsidetav.com.

Mark Normand
Laugh with MARK NORMAND
Mark Normand may become your favorite new comedian. “I was incredibly hungover today,” he tells an audience. “Had another beer. Hangover went away. Isn’t that the amazing thing about booze? The thing that causes the problem is also the solution. I wish other problems were like that. You have sex with a girl, she gets pregnant, have sex with her again, no more baby. Then you’re guaranteed to get laid at least twice.” The New Orleans native, now based in New York City, has appeared on Conan, Showtime’s Live at SXSW, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing and the hit Chris Hardwick game show @Midnight. Showtimes Thursday-Sunday. $8-$14. Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, gobananascomedy.com.

The Taming of the Shrew at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company
Photo: Mikki Schaffner Photography
Take a jolly romp through the TAMING OF THE SHREW
If you’ve ever seen The Taming of the Shrew, you might remember it as the tale of an ill-tempered woman brought into line by an abusive, gold-digging suitor. In that simple summary, Shakespeare’s early comedy understandably doesn’t sit well with most modern audiences. But contemporary presenters of the show have a variety options to make it more palatable. In its current staging at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, guest director Kevin Hammond has utilized more than one of them. Framed in this way, the story of the combative courtship feels more like a funny skit than a real recommendation for a happy marriage. In fact, Petruchio invites anyone in the audience who “knows better how to tame a shrew, now let him speak.” Nick Rose, a delight to watch in this rambunctious role, delivers the line straight to the audience and waits for a response. mond, the artistic director of Humber River Shakespeare in Toronto, uses 15 members of Cincinnati Shakespeare’s company to their full comedic potential. The Taming of the Shrew, presented by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, continues through April 25. Read a review here.

Prep for Earth Day by checking out the recycled sculptures at ECOSCULPT
In celebration of Earth Day, recyclables meet innovation during this three-week installation. Produced by 3CDC, EcoSculpt gives artists a chance to design and display large-scale, eco-friendly sculptures using recycled and recyclable materials in Washington Park. Judges will choose first-, second- and third-prize winners based on concept, execution and construction. All art is displayed during park hours. Awards ceremony 5 p.m. April 22 (Earth Day). Free. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, washingtonpark.org.

Belle Histoire 
Photo: Taylor Foiles
Belle Histoire's JANE DECKER celebrates an album release at Rohs Street
Cincinnati Indie Pop artist Jane Decker, who found some national acclaim with her former band Belle Histoire and with an appearance on the popular singing competition TV show The Voice, recently had her new single/video “Stonewallin’ ” premiered internationally on yahoo.com. This Friday, Decker will be celebrating the release of her new three-track EP of the same name with a performance at Rohs Street Café. Decker joins local up-and-coming AltRock band Harbour for its first headlining show, which also features Columbus, Ohio’s Indigo Wild. The all-ages show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance (through cincyticket.com) or $10 day of show. More information on Decker can be found at jane-decker.com. 245 W McMillan St., Clifton Heights, rohsstreetcafe.com.

SATURDAY
Braxton Brewing Company
Get a couple brews on the BARON BREW BUS TOUR
American Legacy Tours’ Barons Brew Bus returns for your drinking pleasure. The four-hour tour visits five Greater Cincinnati breweries: Christian Moerlein, Braxton Brewing Company, Rhinegeist, Hofbrauhaus and the new Taft’s Ale House (which recently opened on Race Street). As the tour guide entertains you with tales of Cincinnati’s brewing history, you will retain less and less after tasting more than 14 different beers. The party starts at Taft’s, with a bottle of water and soft pretzel sticks. Noon Saturdays. $65. Taft’s Ale House, 1429 Race St., Over-The-Rhine, americanlegacytours.com

Go green at the CINCINNATI EARTH DAY celebration
This annual Earth Day bash features a drum circle from the Miami Valley Council for Native Americans, a kid’s zones, live music, recycled costume contest, lecture series, parade with mascots, an animal showcase and more. Lecture topics include Red Bike, the streetcar and benefits of hemp. World Peace Yoga will be offering free yoga classes during the event at 1 and 3 p.m. Rain or shine. Noon-5 p.m. Free. Sawyer Point, 700 E. Pete Rose Way, Downtown, cincinnatiearthday.com.

Asian Culture Fest
Photo: Provided
Buy some blossom-scented soap at the ASIAN CULTURE FEST
The Cincinnati Museum Center is whisking you abroad to the Far East, where you’ll explore the rich histories, arts, culture and traditions of China, India, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and Nepal at Cincinnati’s one-day Asian Culture Fest. Peruse the Asian marketplace, where you can shop for authentic Asian-themed merchandise, including Japanese blossom-scented soaps and artisan glass bonsai trees. Cultural activities and performances include a Henna-adorned candle workshop, Taiwanese Lion Dance, Shadow Puppet Theater, traditional Japanese drum performances and much more. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Activities in the Rotunda and surrounding areas are free. 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate, cincymuseum.org.

Hug a puppy at the BOONE COUNTY ANIMAL SHELTER BABY SHOWER
Along with the many colors spring brings are the many new animal babies brought into the world and in need of a home. Around this time of year the Boone County Animal Shelter sees a sharp increase in animal intake, so they’re hosting a spring “baby shower” to raise donations for kitten and puppy food, potty pads, milk replacement and other items. Of course, there will also be a host of adorable adoptable kittens and puppies looking for a forever family during the shower. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. Free. 5643 Idlewild Road, Burlington, Ky., 859-586-5285, bountycountyshelter.org.

Everybody's Records
Photo: Eamon Queeney
Check out exclusives at RECORD STORE DAY
International Record Store Day is this Saturday and pretty much every independent record store in the area will be participating, offering RSD’s exclusive, limited-edition releases from hundreds of artists and other fun throughout the day. Many of those local stores will also be carrying a unique local exclusive, Bootleggers & Hustlers Volume One, a vinyl compilation album put together by Chris Breeden (manager of legendary local bar Arnold’s) and local graphic designer Keith Neltner of Neltner Small Batch (neltnersmallbatch.com). Limited to just 300 signed and numbered copies, the album features tracks by local (mostly Roots/Americana) artists who have performed at Arnold’s over the years: Cincinnati Dancing Pigs, The Part-Time Gentlemen, Jake Speed and the Freddies, The Tillers, The Kentucky Struts, River City Roustabout, The Goodle Boys, Buffalo Wabs and the Price Hill Hustle and The Sundresses (St. Louis band ClusterPluck also contributes a track). So get out there Saturday and support both local independent businesses and local music. More info and venus here

Zoo Blooms
Photo: Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
Enjoy some blooms at the CINCINNATI FLOWER SHOW
The Cincinnati Horticultural Society presents the 2015 Cincinnati Flower Show. See beautiful floral and garden displays created by the region’s most talented professional and amateur landscapers and designers. The show also includes lectures from the Cincinnati Zoo staff, dramatic table setting displays, container gardens, a marketplace, picnics in the park and more. Through Sunday. $20; special events ticketed separately. Yeatman’s Cove, Sawyer Point, 700 E. Pete Rose Way, Downtown, cincinnatihorticulturalsociety.com.

Orphan Black
Photo: BBC America
Watch the season premiere of ORPHAN BLACK
The phrase “best TV show you’re not watching” is overused, but Orphan Black is one of the few shows that’s definitely deserving of the title. The BBC America drama follows Sarah Manning, a British single mom living in Toronto. Shaken by witnessing the suicide of a woman who looks exactly like her, Sarah discovers she was conceived as an experiment and is actually one of many clones. The concept is undeniably intriguing — what would you do if you discovered there was another you (let alone several)? The sci-fi concept might draw you in, but it’s Tatiana Maslany’s performance as a dozen different clones that keeps audiences coming back for more. If you aren’t caught up for the new third season, IFC will run an Orphan Black marathon starting at midnight Friday night with all episodes airing up until the season three premiere Saturday. Clear some space in the DVR! Orphan Black Season Premiere, 9 p.m. Saturday, AMC/BBC America/IFC/Sundance/WE.

The Happy Maladies
Photo: Michael Wilson 
Mix Folk and Classical with CONSTELLA LATE WITH HAPPY MALADIES
Local quartet the Happy Maladies will be performing a late-night set as part of the Constella Festival at Ivy Lounge (formerly Obscura). The band — which brings together violin, guitar, mandolin, double bass and vocals — will play two short sets, showcasing new works and original music. The first set at 9 p.m. will feature selections from their most recent project, Must Love Cats, an album of commissioned compositions from American composers. The second set will feature music from their unreleased full-length. 9 p.m. $15 at the door; includes one drink. 645 Walnut St., Downtown, constellafestival.org

John Aulabaugh
Support NKY Hates Heroin at JOHN AULABAUGH's album release show
Alt Country/Roots Rock singer-songwriter John Aulabaugh is the dictionary definition of a musical late bloomer. Though he says he’d never written (let alone recorded) a song until he was 50, the Washington D.C.-based Aulabaugh released an incredibly accomplished debut album this year, Of Sins Present and Past, which sounds like the work of a veteran artist. Beautifully arranged and produced, Aulabaugh writes soulfully on his debut about the people he’s encountered in his life, with many songs dealing with the topic of substance abuse’s ravages. As such, Aulabaugh’s album release show in Covington this weekend will serve as a benefit for the treatment programs of Northern Kentucky’s Transitions, Inc. The NKY Hates Heroin organization is also an official sponsor. 9 p.m. Saturday. $10; $15 day of. Madison Theater, 730 Madison Ave., Covington, Ky., madisontheateronline.com

Listen to the songs of women at HERE AND NOW with MUSE, Cincinnati Women's Choir
Rachel DeVore Fogarty, Gwyneth Walker, Sarah Hopkins and Elizabeth Alexander are acclaimed composers whose music you may have never heard. MUSE, Cincinnati’s Women’s Choir, provides an opportunity to do so Saturday with two concerts titled Here and Aware, featuring the music of female composers at Saint Francis Seraph Church in Over-the-Rhine. The concert’s opener puts it right out there with Dianne Reeves’ “Endangered Species,” a defiant chant about a woman’s place in the world, followed by “Let Us Now Hold Hands,” a piece MUSE commissioned in 1995 from Dr. Jennifer Stasack with a text by Cincinnati poet Pat Mora. Another powerful piece is Elizabeth Alexander’s “Reasons for the Perpetuation of Slavery,” a three-part meditation on human complicity in “the price of keeping the prices low.” MUSE presents Here and Aware at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday at Saint Francis Seraph Church in Over-the-Rhine. Tickets: musechoir.org.


SUNDAY
Photo: highroadtouring.com
Hang out with the INDIGO GIRLS and the CINCINNATI POPS
This one-night-only Cincinnati Pops concert features the Grammy-winning Folk duo, The Indigo Girls. The girls — Amy Ray and Emily Saliers — will be performing their chart toppers, like "Closer," "Galileo" and "Power of Two," backed by the Pops. 6 p.m. doors. $20-$85. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cincinnatisymphony.org.

Asian small-clawed otter
Photo: Newport Aquarium
Meet new Asian otters at CANYON FALLS AT THE NEWPORT AQUARIUM
Canyon Falls at the Newport Aquarium is the new home of some unique species of otters and reptiles, including two Asian small-clawed otters, the smallest and most social otter species in the world. You’ll also find a yellow monitor lizard and colorful panther chameleons from Madagascar. Say hello to Thunder, a more than 100-year-old snapping turtle, and spend some time at the Turtle Corral. Additionally, aquarium staff will host interactive otter talks focusing on survival adaptations and how humans impact the environment of otters. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. $23 adults; $15 children; free for children under 2. Newport Aquarium, 1 Aquarium Way, Newport, Ky., newportaquarium.com

Buy some vintage stuff at the BURLINGTON ANTIQUE MALL
The Midwest’s premier antiques and vintage collectibles-only show is back, with 200 vendors spread over the Boone County Fairgrounds offering vintage jewelry, memorabilia and Midcentury Modern, as well as some wonderfully awful kitsch. It’s so good the History Channel’s American Pickers chose the fair as the location to film their spinoff, Top Collectors. 8 a.m.-3 p.m. third Sundays. Through October. $3. 5819 Idlewild Road, Burlington, Ky., burlingtonantiqueshow.com

Oxford Kinetics Festival
Build machines at the OXFORD KINETICS FESTIVAL
This celebration of all things kinetic — that is, relating to energy in motion — takes over Millet Hall in Oxford, Ohio. The family-friendly event is themed "Flight of the Flyer." Build your own moving contraption and then race it in either a bike-based "scramble" course (open to 18 and younger and families) or an alley-cat race for adults on human-powered machines. The fest also includes live music, a film festival and more. Noon-5 p.m. Free. Millet Hall at Miami University, 500 E. Sycamore St., Oxford, oxfordkineticsfestival.org.

See more stuff to do here.
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<![CDATA[Your Weekend To Do List (4/3-4/5)]]>

FRIDAY
ONSTAGE: THE LION KING
The Lion King began as a popular Disney animated feature film in 1994, but back then no one imagined that it would become a worldwide blockbuster stage production. In fact, when it was being assembled for Broadway’s refurbished New Amsterdam Theatre, a lot of skeptics wondered what would become of a story about heroic and often cute anthropomorphic characters in the hands of Julie Taymor, a respected but avant-garde director. More than 15 million people have seen touring productions of the show in more than 70 North American cities. It has returned to Cincinnati’s Aronoff Center for a four-week stop (through April 26) presented by Disney Theatrical Productions and Broadway in Cincinnati. For 2015, The Lion King will have “only” 32 performances (four weeks is double the length of time that most tours are presented at the Aronoff), likely meaning total attendance for these three stops could top 350,000 people — more than the population of the city of Cincinnati! These are staggering numbers for a show about wild animals in Africa.
In truth, it’s a more universal parable told by people brilliantly outfitted as lions, elephants, giraffes, antelopes, hyenas and birds, as well as a comic meerkat and warthog. Taymor’s imaginative costumes and puppet designs invite audiences to see the performers within them in a way that adds drama to the story. The Lion King, presented by Broadway in Cincinnati, continues at the Aronoff Center through April 26. More info: cincinnati.broadway.com. Read more here.


ART: BLDG’S 199C OPENING DAY ART EVENT AND BLOCK PARTY
Drawing its name from the Pantone color for the Cincinnati Reds, 199C is a celebration of Major League Baseball just in time to get you ready for the official Opening Day parade. Friday evening, Covington’s art gallery/graphic design firm BLDG will host an exhibition of the work of nearly 60 artists from around the country who were asked to celebrate their home team and love of the game. BLDG has also teamed up with Covington area businesses to provide visitors with activities (a whiffle ball tournament, late night derby, photo booth and live music) to welcome the coming of baseball season. 4-11 p.m. Free. 30 W. Pike St., Covington, Ky., bldgrefuge.com.


Buzzer at the Playhouse in the Park
Photo: Sandy Underwood
ONSTAGE: BUZZER

What happens when a guy who grew up in an inner-city neighborhood returns as a successful attorney, back because it’s now the trendy place to live? That’s Jackson’s story: He’s upwardly mobile and black, moving in with Suzy, his white schoolteacher girlfriend. But she’s not so comfortable with their arrangement. Add to the mix Don, Jackson’s privileged boyhood white friend who’s had drug issues and now needs a place to crash. The apartment’s buzzer is a reminder that their world isn’t so simple. Tracey Scott Wilson’s new play isn’t set in Over-the-Rhine, but it could be. Through April 19. $30-$85. Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mt. Adams Circle, Mount Adams, 513-421-3888, cincyplay.com.



MUSIC: SOMEBODY'S DARLING WITH THE WHISKEY SHAMBLES

It’s hard to stand out in the crowded Blues/Roots Rock field but Dallas-based Somebody’s Darling is a stacked deck of secret weapons. The visceral ’70s-to-today guitar pyrotechnics of David Ponder, the massive keyboard groove of Michael Talley, the velvet jackhammer rhythm section of bassist Wade Cofer and drummer Nate Wedan, and the smoke-and-whiskey-cured vocals of Amber Farris combine to create a blistering Blues sound that is reassuringly familiar and yet fascinatingly singular. Although Farris, who also plays electric and acoustic guitars, generates plenty of fair comparisons to Bonnie Raitt, Susan Tedeschi and Heartless Bastards’ Erika Wennerstrom (and maybe even a little Natalie Merchant in a rare quiet moment), she and Somebody’s Darling may align closest to Grace Potter and the Nocturnals by virtue of the slinky dynamism and mesmerizing power they both effortlessly exhibit. Somebody’s Darling plays Southgate House Revival's Revival Room on Friday. Tickets/more info here.


Braxton Brewing Company
EVENT: DRINK A BEER AT COVINGTON'S BRAXTON BREWING COMPANY
It has been decades since Covingtonians have whiffed fresh malt percolating from a neighborhood brewery, but from now on when they’re near the corner of Seventh and Pike streets, this will be the norm. The family-owned and -operated Braxton Brewing Company held its grand opening on March 27, and invited the community into the 11,000-square-foot space, which features a brewhouse and taproom. The founders behind the endeavor are brothers Jake and Evan Rouse, their dad, Greg, and brewmaster Richard Dubé (formerly of Christian Moerlein). In October, Braxton secured the title of the highest-funded brewery project ever on Kickstarter (654 backers pledged a total of $71,885), which enabled the team to finish construction, purchase a 20-barrel four-vessel brewhouse, a 40-barrel fermenter and hundreds of kegs. The taproom, the epicenter of the brewery, houses two leather couches, tables with charging stations for laptops, TVs displaying social media interactions, Golden Tee and Power Putt consoles, and Cincinnati Bell-partnered gigabit Internet. (Braxton is the first craft brewery in the nation to have gigabit Internet.) The 20-seat bar area features 20 tap handles of Braxton beers like Sparky, a hoppy wheat ale; Crank Shaft, an IPA; and Storm, a golden cream ale. 4-10 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday; noon-1 a.m. Friday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. 27 W. Seventh St., Covington, Ky., braxtonbrewing.comRead more here.


Earl Sweatshirt
Photo: Brick Stowell
MUSIC: EARL SWEATSHIRT
Hip Hop artist Earl Sweatshirt’s name first came to the public’s attention when the group he was associated with, Odd Future (a collective that’s grown a bratty reputation thanks to live shows and its ridiculous Adult Swim program, Loiter Squad), became much-buzzed about, not only for its shenanigans but also its progressive musical prowess. His debut came out in 2010 as a free download through Odd Future’s website when Earl was in his mid-teens, but he disappeared from the fold, reportedly sent off to a school for “at-risk” kids by his mother. By 2012, Earl was back making music and performing, leading up to his excellent new full-length released just last month, I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, a dark but smart and powerful album, showing the kind of introspection and honesty that made Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city one of the more compelling albums of this generation of Hip Hop. 7 p.m. Friday. $23. Bogart’s, 2621 Vine St., Corryville, bogarts.com.


SATURDAY
Rubblebucket
Photo: Shervin Lainez
MUSIC: RUBBLEBUCKET WITH VACATIONER
Born in Burlington, Vt., and headquartered in New York City, Rubblebucket is a perfect storm of Pop precision, Soul passion, Art Rock quirk and Ska bob-and-weave choreography. Even a cursory spin through the band’s third and best album, last summer’s brilliantly loopy Survival Sounds, reveals a talented group of musical changelings who can bounce off the satellites with the screwball quiver of The B-52s, howl with the focused lunacy of Fishbone and jerk with the rhythmic intensity of Talking Heads, while making it all seem like a peyote-fueled marionette carnival conceived and soundtracked by Dirty Projectors. Last year was really a breakout one for Rubblebucket; Survival Sounds was praised by The New York Times, Spin and Noisey, while NPR hailed the track “Carousel Ride” one of the year’s 50 best songs. Rubblebucket plays Woodward Theater this Saturday. Tickets/more info here.

ATTRACTIONS: INTERNATIONAL BUTTERFLY SHOW: 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. Through June 21. $7 adult; $4 children; free ages 4 and younger. 1501 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams, cincinnatiparks.com.


Art by Doug Korfhagen 
ART: OBO: THE LABOR SHOW
On Saturday, the NEAR*BY curatorial collective hosts OBO: The Labor Show, a social-practice and art experiment in which selected artists and tradespersons contract with each other to exchange labor for mutually beneficial purposes. It is inspired by anarchist Josiah Warren, who practiced something similar at his Cincinnati Time Store, an experimental storefront open from 1827 to 1830, considered the first experiment in mutalism. Among those participating are Doug Korfhagen (printing/woodburning), Donna Rubin (yoga), Libby Singhoffer (kombucha brewing) and Loraine Wible (pataphysics). 6-8 p.m. Saturday. Free. 2159 Central Ave., Brighton, nearby.gallery.


International Pillow Fight Day
EVENT: INTERNATIONAL PILLOW FIGHT DAY
In honor of International Pillow Fight Day, people all over the world will be bursting the seams of their pillows in feather explosions. Locally, bring your friends and kids to Northside’s Jacob Hoffner Park for a friendly pillow fight, where pajamas and costumes are totally encouraged. Make sure to bring soft pillows, wait for the signal to begin, and prepare for lots of laughter during the friendliest epic pillow fight battle of your life. 3 p.m. Saturday. Free. 4104 Hamilton Ave., Northside, pillowfightday.com.

Easter Egg Hunt at Washington Park
Photo: 3CDC
EVENT: EASTER EGG HUNT AT WASHINGTON PARK
Following the success of last year’s fun-filled event, the quest for Easter eggs continues at Washington Park. This year, Graeter’s has upped the game by adding 2,500 more eggs into the mix for a whopping total of 7,500 hidden, candy-filled eggs. There will also be face painting, a petting zoo and photos with the Easter Bunny. For those after something a little more gourmet, Taste of Belgium will also be on site serving their signature waffles. BYOB (bring your own basket). 10 a.m.-noon Saturday. Free. 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, washingtonpark.org.

EVENT: EASTER EGG HUNT AT DEVOU PARK
Here comes Peter Cottontail, hoping down to Volpenhein Pavilion at Devou Park. With spring finally deciding to show its face, what better way to celebrate Easter with your youngsters than with an Easter egg hunt? Come down to Devou Park’s annual hunt and have the young ones explore for pieces of brightly colored, egg-shaped treasure. 1 p.m. Saturday. Free for ages 3 to 12. Devou Park, Covington, Ky., 859-292-2151.


Rod Paulette
Photo: Provided
COMEDY: ROD PAULETTE
Rod Paulette set out to be an actor and majored in theater at Columbia College in Chicago but found comedy more to his liking. After a stint in advertising, he chucked the corporate world for the stand-up stage. “I like California — I just don’t like Californians,” he tells an audience. “I find them to be a little arrogant. I was talking to this lady there, a white lady, and I told her I was from Ohio and she asks, ‘Did you grow up on a farm?’ Really? When’s the last time you saw a black guy on a farm? I mean without the chain on his foot keeping his ass there? If you ever see black guy on a farm, walk up to him, tap him on the shoulder and tell him he’s free to go.” Thursday-Saturday. $10-$15. Funny Bone on the Levee, Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., funnyboneonthelevee.com.

SUNDAY
Photo: Krae Photography 
ATTRACTIONS: ZOO BLOOMS
We’ll soon be getting an eyeful of brightly colored flowers instead of gloomy winter greys at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s annual floral exhibit, Zoo Blooms. Daffodils, hyacinths, flowering trees and one of the largest displays of tulips in the Midwest will take over the zoo grounds, with free after hours concerts every Thursday in April — Tunes & Blooms — featuring local musicians in the urban oasis. Through April. $18 adults; $12 children; $9 parking. 3400 Vine St., Avondale, cincinnatizoo.org.


ART: ECOSCULPT
In celebration of Earth Day, recyclables meet innovation during this three-week installation. Produced by 3CDC, EcoSculpt gives artists a chance to design and display large-scale, eco-friendly sculptures using recycled and recyclable materials in Washington Park. Judges will choose first-, second- and third-prize winners based on concept, execution and construction. All art is displayed during park hours. Awards ceremony 5 p.m. April 22 (Earth Day). Free. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, washingtonpark.org.

MONDAY 
EVENT: FINDLAY MARKET OPENING DAY PARADE
Findlay Market remains a Cincinnati institution as the state’s oldest continuously operated public market. Another old thing? Monday marks the market’s 96th annual Cincinnati Reds Opening Day Parade. The parade will include local businesses and organizations like Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks, the Cincinnati Fire Department and, of course, the Cincinnati Reds. This year also marks the 25th fifth anniversary of the World Series championship that featured one of the most dominant back-end bullpen groups of all time. “The Nasty Boys” — Norm Charlton, Rob Dibble and Randy Myers — are this year’s Grand Marshals. Noon Monday. Free. Departs from 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, findlaymarketparade.com
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<![CDATA[I Just Can't Get Enough]]>

Seeing locals on reality TV combines two of my favorite things: Cincinnati and trashy television. So I was elated to hear that A&E’s Neighbors with Benefits – a new unscripted series following swingers — is set just north in Warren County. The show will document married couples in a suburban neighborhood that have open, extra-marital relationships. The show hasn’t even aired yet (it premieres Sunday, March 22), but it already has reality red flags, as with many A&E shows filmed in Cincinnati (remember Rowhouse Showdown?). While at least one couple on the show is confirmed local, some residents of the Thorton Grove neighborhood near Maineville question the legitimacy of the other couples and shooting location. There’s speculation that a rental home outside Thorton Grove was used to shoot the series after residents complained about associating the neighborhood with a swinger capital. But honestly, if the worst thing about your neighborhood is that people are having sex with each other, isn’t that something to brag about?

Marilyn Manson is all about his pops these days. He took an unexpected but awesome role on Sons of Anarchy’s final season, saying he took the role because he watched the show with his father, and now the two are in Paper Magazine.

Cute!

New show news:

True Detective Season Two is still without a premiere date, but stars Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell, Taylor Kitsch and Rachel McAdams have been at work shooting the next installment. Go here to read more about the season’s storyline — public transportation + murder + conspiracy — the characters and directors — various directors will take over for Season One’s Emmy winner Cary Fukanaga — and see photos from set. (Spoiler Alert only if you want to go in to the show with zero background info on the story.)

The ladies of Litchfield will be back for the binging when Orange Is the New Black Season Three premieres June 12. 

American Horror Story’s fifth season will apparently take a look at the horrid world of hospitality because Lady Gaga revealed the next setting will be a hotel. Gaga will reportedly star. AHS: Hotel premieres in October and here’s some totally unconfirmed juice goose (translation: juicy gossip) posted on the AHS Reddit thread. I don’t know about Gaga taking the lead on this — let alone starring in three seasons amidst her very successful music career — but the general storyline sounds good to me! And the present-day setting with flashbacks to different eras is in line with the show’s pattern (so far, odd seasons have been set in modern day — Murder House, Coven — while even seasons were period pieces — Asylum, Freak Show). I love the idea of peeking in on various scandalous guests over the years — so many opportunities for killer guest-stars!

Hannibal returns June 4 and the first image is out. I’m getting Dr. Lecter-meets-SAMCRO vibes and I'm loving it.

Speaking of new shows, check out this week’s TV column for a spring television preview. Winter might finally be gone, Game of Thrones is coming!

Zoolander 2 is officially happening, as evidenced by Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson stomping the Valentino runway as Derek and Hansel during Paris Fashion Week.


Nothing says haute couture quite like Ben Stiller’s old ass on a runway. And if you really want to roll your eyes to the back of your skull and never to see the light of day again, get this: I looked on IMDB for evidence that this sequel is really happening (yes, I fact-check the gossip rags I read; yes, IMDB is a reputable fact-checking source) and found that Stiller is also attached to Dodgeball 2 (predictable) and Space Jam 2 (da fuh?).

Ryan Gosling must be craving some attention since that baby of his stole the spotlight, because he shared some cute throwback dance videos that have everyone saying, “Hey girl,” again.

Ryan, if you think we haven’t already seen all your talent show videos and Mickey Mouse Club clips, you are seriously underestimating the stalkiness of your fans. Speaking of, why is there no term for Gosling fans, a la Cumberbitches? Can I bring up “juice goose” twice in one post?

But I digress. Here’s the little man at work:

Vince Gilligan would like everyone to stop throwing pizzas on Walter White’s house, please. The Breaking Bad creator says fans flock to the real house used for exterior shots in the show, and the current owners are cool with that, except when people creep up at night and recreate the famous pizza scene.

The Dress that captivated the Internet is dead and buried and I’m not trying to resurrect it anytime soon, but if you are curious about the science behind why one dress looks completely different to different people, read here. And see how good you are at differentiating colors here — you may have a fourth cone, which means you probably saw the blue and black dress for what is was: a goddamned blue and black dress.

And here’s Earl Sinclair singing “Hypnotize” because it’s Thursday and we all need this.

(Thanks, Amberly)

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<![CDATA[Your Weekend To Do List (2/20-2/22)]]>
Looking for things to do this weekend? There's plenty of reasons to leave the house — once you put on like six layers of clothes, a hat, gloves, some snow boots and tire chains. 

FRIDAY 20 
EVENT: The Art of Food
Celebrating the ways in which food appeals to our senses both orally and visually, The Carnegie’s ninth annual The Art of Food event and exhibition features some of our most experimental local chefs, bakers and sweets-mongers showing off their most artistically inspired creations. In addition to all the yummy eats, artist Pam Kravetz is organizing a multi-gallery “Candy Land” theme that corresponds with the classic board game. 6-9 p.m. Friday. $25 members advance; $40 non-members advance; $35 members at the doors; $50 non-members at the door. The Carnegie, 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington, Ky., thecarnegie.com.


500 Miles to Memphis, one of many Greater Cincinnati acts showing love for WNKU this weekend
MUSIC: Show Your Love Festival 
Presented by the Good People Festival, 30 bands — locals plus out-of-towners Charlie Mars, Will Kimbrough and Jason Wilbur — will perform over two nights in honor of WNKU radio station’s 30 years on the air. The bands include 500 Miles to Memphis, Noah Hunt & The Scotty Bratcher Band, The Tillers, Buffalo Wabs & the Price Hill Hustle, Frontier Folk Nebraska and plenty more. All proceeds will benefit WNKU to help keep them going strong for another 30 years. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $30 weekend pass; $20 single-day ticket; $50 VIP weekend passes (includes Saturday reception with food, drinks and private performances from Chardez and special guests). Southgate House Revival, 111 E. Sixth St., Newport, Ky., wnku.org.


Nikki Lane
Photo: Glynis Carpenter
MUSIC: Nikki Lane with Young Heirlooms
One of the great Wanda Jackson’s biographical talking points is the fact that she toured with and fleetingly dated Elvis Presley back in a time when her Rockabilly star shone as brightly as his. In a good many ways, Nikki Lane represents the 21st century manifestation of that vaunted pair’s musical DNA — she twangs and bangs with the ferocity of a roadhouse Rock band churning out amped up Country covers behind the sturdiest chicken wire known to man. Deals don’t come any more real than Nikki Lane. Lane’s appearance in Cincinnati at MOTR Pub during last fall’s MidPoint Music Festival was a near religious experience … if your religion allows whiskey shots, a foul-mouthed choir and a hymnal packed with classic Outlaw Country and scorching Rock. Nikki Lane plays at Woodward Theater Friday, Feb. 20. Find tickets/more info here.


EVENT: Bockfest Sausage Queen Preliminary Round

Cincinnati beer festival Bockfest hosts the second of four preliminary rounds of a gender-neutral pageant to name the 2015 Sausage Queen, who will lead the Bockfest Parade with a symbolic tray of bockwurst sausage. Based on their personality, presence and talent, judges will move beer enthusiasts through a series of rounds of competition, leading up a final crowning and cash prize. Come out and support the candidates and have a couple of beers yourself. Future rounds Feb. 26 at Washington Platform and Feb. 28 at Crazy Fox Saloon. 9 p.m. Friday. Free. Milton’s, 301 Milton St., Prospect Hill, bockfest.com.


Little Women
Photo: Cal Harris 

ONSTAGE: Little Women

The story of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel from the late 1860s, Little Women, has long been woven into the American consciousness. The March family lives in refined poverty, with a dutiful father away in the Civil War and a steadfast mother raising four headstrong daughters. Their story is one of hardship and heartbreak, with generous doses of situational humor, all of which are recaptured in Emma Reeves’ new adaptation for the stage being regionally premiered by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. CSC’s acting company is replete with fine actors, and local stage veteran Annie Fitzpatrick plays loving Marmee, who strives to keep her chicks in order. Through March 21. $14-$36. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 719 Race St., Downtown, 513-381-2273, cincyshakes.com.



SATURDAY 21 
Vintage is the new black, and Cincinnati knows this. Fuelling our desire for nostalgia and simplicity by feeding us quality and value is the annual 20th Century Cincinnati vintage modern design show, returning for its third decade. More than 60 dealers will fill the Sharonville Convention Center with a funky and fabulous selection of furniture, lighting, fashion and more. There will be plenty of period decorative objects featured, including art glass, pottery, posters, metal wares, textiles and dinnerware, with something for every collectors’ budget. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; ticketed preview 9-11 a.m. Saturday. $8 two-day general admission; $25-$30 preview pass. Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Road, Sharonville, 20thcenturycincinnati.com


You probably won’t see Bob Barker or Drew Carey cruising around Cincinnati this weekend. However, The Price Is Right Live! is in town, so you could still win a BRAND. NEW. CAR! The show is an untelevised stage version of the nation’s longest-running game show, hosted by a celebrity like Marc Summers, Todd Newton or Jerry Springer. Ticket numbers are already limited for both nights the show chugs through the Horseshoe Casino, but fret not. It turns out you can still try your luck and register to compete even without a ticket. Sticky wicket: Without a ticket, you wait in a holding area instead of inside The Pavilion, watching your neighbors play Plinko and spin the wheel. So, ya know, come on doooown! 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. $44-$55. Horseshoe Casino, 1000 Broadway, Pendleton, priceisrightlive.com. (REGISTER TO WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS FROM CITYBEAT HERE.)


Jean Yves-Thibaudet
Photo: IMG Artists 
This Saturday and Sunday, famed French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet will perform two Khachaturian pieces (the waltz from Masquerade Suite and Piano Concerto) and Holst’s The Planets. The Planets! On Saturday night, Bell’s Brewery is offering flights of its limited beer series, The Planets, for $8 a pop. Bottles will be available at all three concerts while supplies last. 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21; 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22. $12-$120. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cincinnatisymphony.org


Borrowed Landscape
Photo:CAC
Heine Avdal is making a short trip from Belgium to Cincinnati on Feb. 21 and 22 just to visit the Whole Foods Market in Rookwood Commons. It’s sandwiched between theatrical performances that he and his artistic organization fieldworks will be doing in Heine Avdal is making a short trip from Belgium to Cincinnati on Feb. 21 and 22 just to visit the Whole Foods Market in Rookwood Commons. It’s sandwiched between theatrical performances that he and his artistic organization fieldworks will be doing in Budapest and Oslo. So why exactly is he coming here to go to Whole Foods? It isn’t just because he needs goat milk or edible flowers. It will be the site of the U.S. premiere — and only U.S. event to date — of a site-specific performance art piece called Borrowed Landscape, which he has been performing in Europe. He is being sponsored by the Contemporary Arts Center as part of its international-oriented Performances series. 2-4 p.m. Feb. 21 and 22. Admission is free and you can come and go anytime within the two-hour window.


SUNDAY 22
 
EVENT: People Working Cooperatively Oscars Party
In honor of the organization’s 40th anniversary, People Working Cooperatively takes its annual Oscars night party back to psychedelic during a “Hometown Hollywood 1975” event. While watching a live telecast of the annual Oscars gala, guests will enjoy a three-course dinner wrapped up in a funky ’70s theme reminiscent of the era’s groovy game shows. Attire for the night will be either classic black tie in true Oscars fashion or ’70s retro, complete with platform shoes and powder-blue tuxedos, so take your pick. 5:30 p.m.-midnight. Sunday, Feb. 22. $175. Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, 35 W. Fifth St., Downtown, pwchomerepairs.org.


EVENT: Chinese New Year Celebration 
Ring in the year of the sheep at Orient Wok in Fort Mitchell for its Chinese New Year dinner and celebration. You’ll get the full experience of this notable holiday with a delicious and authentic nine-course meal. There will also be a traditional Lion Dance, plenty of explosives during the firecracker celebration and many more forms of cultural entertainment. 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21. $75; $25 children ages 6-12. Oriental Wok, 317 Buttermilk Pike, Ft. Mitchell, Ky., orientalwok.com.


Adam Cayton-Holland
COMEDY: Adam Cayton-Holland
"I was always doing funny stuff,” says comedian Adam Cayton-Holland from his home in Denver, “but it was more writing behind-the-scenes. I wasn’t one of those guys growing up watching stand-up going, ‘That’s going to be me.’ Never in a million years did I think I’d be the guy up on stage.” At the behest of a stand-up comedian friend, Cayton-Holland tried it on a whim. “I did it and I was hooked,” he says. Today he divides his time between Denver and Los Angeles and has picked up more TV writing gigs. Showtimes Thursday, Feb. 19-Sunday, Feb. 22. $8-$14. Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, gobananascomedy.com. 
 

MONDAY 23
EVENT: One Night One Craft: Wine
Explore how science and art overlap for the perfect date night at the Contemporary Arts Center’s One Night One Craft event. A sommelier will walk attendees through the science of wine making and the art of sampling it, plus artist John Humphries will show you how to make art with less palatable wines. 6-8 p.m. Monday. $20 members; $30 non-members. 44 E. Sixth St., Downtown, contemporaryartscenter.org.




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<![CDATA[Your Weekend To Do List (2/13-2/15)]]> Calling all lovers: There's plenty to do this weekend to celebrate Valentine's Day, whether you've made reservations or not. Calling all singles: There's plenty to do this weekend regardless of whether or not you have a date. And calling all people who are looking to adopt a dog or cat this weekend in order to fill a void: We've got an event for that, too.


FRIDAY 13
Love, Vodka, Death: First a little shameless self promotion. What do you get when you cross the name of a czarist Russian Woody Allen/Diane Keaton comedy — Love and Death — with vodka? “Love, Vodka, Death,” CityBeat’s la petite mort Friday the 13th Valentine’s bash. Whether you feel like getting drunk because you’re alone or using booze as an aphrodisiac, the event features more than 15 vodka brands — Grey Goose, Tito’s, Stoli, Three Olives, Svedka and more — for sampling, along with bites from A Catered Affair. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Friday. $25 single; $45 for two tickets; $60 for a threesome. Cincinnati Masonic Center, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown, citybeat.com.


Cincy Winter Beerfest: A Valentine's tradition for many. This year’s Cincinnati Beer Week takes over Tristate bars, restaurants, breweries and grocery stores for beer dinners, meet the brewer events, keg tappings and more. “Expect a week of really great, well-crafted beer-focused events,” says Lindsey Roeper, president of Cincinnati Beer Week. “We like to encourage participating venues to create events that are educational, impactful and, most of all, fun.” The party kicks off with the Cincy Winter Beerfest craft beer festival at the Duke Energy Convention Center Feb. 13-14 and continues at more than 100 official Cincinnati Beer Week venues through Feb. 22. For more information on Cincy Winter Beerfest, click here. For more on Cincinnati Beer Week and an event calendar, click here. And for information about the past, present and future of Cincinnati's brewing heritage, as told by CityBeat, click here for the Beer Issue.

ALICE (In Wonderland)
Photo: Peter Mueller
Cincinnati Ballet's ALICE (in Wonderland): Cincinnati Ballet’s extravagant production of Washington Ballet Artistic Director Septime Webre’s ALICE (in Wonderland) hits the Aronoff stage again this weekend, two years after the Cincinnati premiere, with live music from the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conducted by Cincinnati Ballet Music Director Carmon DeLeone. Webre drew his scenario from Lewis Carroll’s classic 19th century books Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, and he packed in all the familiar characters, including the Queen of Hearts, Cheshire Cat and Mad Hatter. The cast is huge, with children from the ballet’s academy as baby flamingos, piglets and hedgehogs. Cincinnati Ballet presents ALICE (in Wonderland) Friday through Sunday at the Aronoff Center. Tickets and more info: cballet.org.


MainStrasse Mardi Gras
MainStrasse Mardi Gras: BEADS! “Mardi Gras,” French for “Fat Tuesday,” refers to the debaucherous and indulgent celebration that precedes the ritual fasting of Lent (which begins on Ash Wednesday). Traditionally New Orleans is the party capital of Mardi Gras, but New Orleans better keep an eye out because the 19th annual MainStrasse Village Mardi Gras has all the beads, Cajun food, Big Head parades and live music you need. Parades with floats and giant heads take the streets both Friday and Saturday. Beads, baubles and bangles will be available at MainStrasse businesses and the Goose Girl Fountain. Parades begin at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $10 per night; $15 in advance for both nights. MainStrasse Village, West Sixth Street, Covington, Ky., mainstrasse.org.


Chapatti at the Cincinnati Playhouse
Photo: Sandy Underwood
Chapatti at the Playhouse in the Park: An offbeat Irish love story. Pets can be great companions. But as Dan, grieving the loss of a longtime lover, and Betty, a solitary divorcée, discover in Christian O’Reilly’s humorous tale of a pair of lonely hearts in an Irish town, human contact is essential and sometimes unexpected. The play’s title, “chapatti,” a kind of flatbread from India, is the name of Dan’s faithful and devoted dog. Director Anne Marie Cammarato says, “It celebrates the human connection we need to have with one another and even with our animals.” All that adds up to “a little play with such a big heart.” Through March 8. $30-$85. Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mt. Adams Circle, Mount Adams, cincyplay.com. 


Comedian Stewart Huff: Primarily a storyteller, he now focuses on stand-up. Huff started off wanting to be a writer of short stories. He wrote in secret, but after doing an open mic he became intrigued by what that art form had to offer. “I was obsessed with the idea of telling a story on stage and getting immediate feedback,” he says. After a time, Huff decided to focus solely on stand-up. Showtimes Thursday-Sunday. $8-$14. Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, gobananascomedy.com



SATURDAY 14

My Furry Valentine
Photo: My Furry Valentine
My Furry Valentine: There is nothing cuter than a puppy following you around everywhere you go. (When your date does it … it’s not so cute.) This is just one of the many, many reasons why pets make the best valentines. My Furry Valentine is the region’s largest annual animal adoption event, bringing together hundreds of adorable pets and potential pet parents at the Sharonville Convention Center. Dogs, cats, puppies, kittens and other pocket pets from animal rescues and shelters all over the region will be showcased. More than 1,300 animals have been taken home the past three years — this year it could be you. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free. Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Road, Sharonville, myfurryvalentine.com.com.

Linger Flower Pop-Up
Photo: Life in Balance Photography
Linger Flowers Valentine's Pop-Up at Cheapside Cafe: Your significant other will probably hate everything about the Linger Flowers/Cheapside Café Valentine’s Day floral fête. If you want to be a really nice girlfriend, take one of your BFFs, instead. Enjoy gorgeous, loose floral arrangements from Linger in hand-tied bouquets or handmade pottery by local pottery artist cgceramics, handmade cards from Rock Paper Scissors and learn about the romantic representations of different types of flowers — then return to your love with a sweet-smelling declaration of your affection. Or remind your dude of all the basketball you’ve watched lately, drag him along and make him buy you something pretty. 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Arrangements $5-$50. Cheapside Café, 326 E. Eighth St., Downtown, lingerflowers.com.

Fern Studio Floral Pop-Up with Una Floral: Beautiful flowers plus cocktails! Una Floral and Fern have teamed up for Valentine's Day and whether you are 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. Or if a bouquet of flowers is more your speed, they have beautiful hand-tied arrangements available. They'll also be serving up a "heart-beet" punch made by Aaron Strasser of A Tavola, made with Off the Vine Rockin' Roots juice, a lemon/ginger simple syrup, Lillet Rosé, Watershed Gin and topped with Prosecco. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. 6040 Hamilton Ave., North College Hill, fern-shop.com.

In the Mood for Love
In the Mood for Love Screening: A film called “brilliant” by the late Roger Ebert, Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love is a tale of love, longing, loneliness and relationship struggles. Set in 1960s Hong Kong, the film follows journalist Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung) and shipping company secretary Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung), who suspect wrongdoings from their respective spouses and form a bond. They promise to keep their blossoming relationship platonic to keep away from the same wrongdoing, but their lives continue to intersect as they fall deeper into forbidden love. Cincinnati World Cinema’s special Valentine’s Day screening includes an optional pre-movie dinner and cocktails. 6 p.m. dinner; 7 p.m. theater opens for seating. $10 advance film tickets; $12 at the door; $50 dinner and film package. Cincinnati World Cinema, The Carnegie, 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington, Ky., cincyworldcinema.org. 

Appalachian Culture Fest: Something less Valentine-ish. Dig deeper into the mountain culture of the Appalachians during the Cincinnati Museum Center’s Appalachian Culture Fest. Co-sponsored by the Appalachian Community Development Association, the event seeks to reveal its unique traditions through food, skilled mountain crafters selling handmade wares, traditional arts demonstrators, storytellers and performances by Bluegrass musicians. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Free events in the rotunda; other events included with museum admission. Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate, cincymuseum.org.

World Sound Healing Day: A Valentine to the Earth. This Valentine’s Day marks the 13th annual World Sound Healing Day. Cincinnati joins the wave of many groups around the world to give a sonic valentine to the Earth, combining sound and intention as a catalyst for peace, harmony and global and personal transformation. The concert features toning, percussion, instruments and chanting from musicians like Rob Dorsey, Roxana Imam, Audrey Causilla and more at Gothic-style Grace Episcopal Church. 6:30 p.m. Saturday. $10. Grace Episcopal Church, 5501 Hamilton Ave., College Hill. Contact causilla@yahoo.com for more information.

Find more Valentine's Day events here.

SUNDAY 15
Art on Vine
Art on Vine: Organized by James Jenkins, owner of Photography for the People, this monthly local boutique art fair showcases fine arts, handmade goods and photography from more than 30 Tristate artists. A portion of artist entry fees will be donated back to a local nonprofit. Guests can also enjoy food from vendors Holtman’s Donuts, A Tavola and Krueger’s Tavern while shopping. Noon-7 p.m. Sunday. Free. Rhinegeist Brewery, 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, rhinegeist.com.

Lydia Loveless
Photo: Patrick Crawford, Black Letter
Lydia Loveless: Not that long ago it wasn’t uncommon to see Columbus, Ohio, singer/songwriter Lydia Loveless performing a low-key set in one of Greater Cincinnati’s various clubs. But since her debut release for esteemed independent label Bloodshot Records, 2011’s Indestructible Machine, Loveless has become a critical darling who spends a lot of time on the road building on her growing fanbase. Initially noted for the expert melding of her Country, Rock and Punk influences, Loveless’ material — particularly on her fantastic latest full-length Somewhere Else — has grown less easy to pigeonhole, settling into a soulful Rock sound that shows her maturing skills as both writer and performer. Loveless’ visit to Newport this week will feature an opening set by locals Magnolia Mountain, a rare show as frontman Mark Ultey has spent much of the past year working on his Bulletville project. 9 p.m. Sunday. $10; $12 day of. Southgate House Revival, 111 E. Sixth St., Newport, Ky., southgatehouse.com

“Presentation of a Prince,” a six-fold screen by Chiyo Mitsuhisa
Photo: Provided by Cincinnati Art Museum
Masterpieces of Japanese Art at the Cincinnati Art Museum: When an art museum has a collection of more than 65,000 objects, it isn’t surprising that many of them wind up hidden in storage. Sometimes complete collections are stowed there, rarely if ever seen or studied. That was the case with Cincinnati Art Museum’s Japanese art when Asian Art Curator Hou-mei Sung arrived in 2002. Sung, who has a doctorate in museum studies and Asian art history from Case Western Reserve, discovered that her holdings included roughly 3,000 objects from Japan. The culmination of that long, meticulous effort will be seen starting Saturday when Masterpieces of Japanese Art (culled from the museum’s collection) opens. It will be up through Aug. 30 and accompanied by a catalog showing the 100 objects in the show and telling the stories behind their histories. Those objects include paintings, screens, prints, ceramics, lacquer and metal wares, ivory carvings, arms and armor, cloisonné, dolls, masks, costumes and textiles. Masterpieces of Japanese Art is on display at Cincinnati Art Museum Saturday through Aug. 30. More info: cincinnatiartmuseum.org.


MONDAY 16
Off-Line Dating Game
Photo: CAC
Off-Line Dating Game at the CAC: By now you’ve probably heard a million success stories from couples who met online. Internet dating is rough, though. (And a little scary.) If the swiping and questionnaires aren’t your style, you’re in luck. The Contemporary Arts Center is going back in time and promoting actual physical connections with the Off-Line Dating Game. Ticket includes admission to the museum, a light appetizer and a drink to loosen you up. Put your dang phone down for a couple hours and see how it goes. 6 p.m. Saturday. $5 members/$10 non-members. 44 E. Sixth St., Downtown, comtemporaryartscenter.org.


TUESDAY 17
Robyn Hitchcock
Photo: Laura Partrain
Robyn Hitchcock: Robyn Hitchcock, the British singer/songwriter whose intimately resonant, raspy voice and mysteriously peculiar worldview were shaped by such skewed troubadours of his youth as Nick Drake, Syd Barrett and the Incredible String Band, has long been said to make “autumnal” records. As in, “songs or singing that reflect on life with a bittersweet, melancholy wisdom coming from age and experience.” The term has been applied to his 1984 classic, I Often Dream of Trains, and has been used for his latest record, last year’s The Man Upstairs. It’s his 20th studio album, including those he recorded with his backing bands the Egyptians and Venus 3. And it is an acoustic, sparsely recorded mix of original compositions and covers of such songs as Psychedelic Furs’ “The Ghost in You,” Roxy Music’s “To Turn You On,” The Doors’ “Crystal Ship” and others. Robyn Hitchcock plays Tuesday at Southgate House Revival. Tickets/more info: southgatehouse.com

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

Comedy Central’s nightly “news” lineup is amidst a total overhaul with the recent end of The Colbert Report and the addition of The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. Stephen Colbert stepped down in December, and now The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart is following suit. The comedian shocked audiences at a Daily Show taping this week with the announcement that he’d be retiring from the show sometime later this year. While Colbert left to replace David Letterman as Late Show host (Letterman will step down in May; Colbert will take over in September), it’s unclear whether Stewart has another gig lined up, but it does sound like the show will continue with a new host. (The show originally featured Craig Kilborn before Stewart took over in 1996.)

Amy Schumer stars in a new Judd Apatow movie and, predictably, it looks hilarious.

Some previously unreleased Spice Girls songs hit the webz Wednesday, only to disappear from SoundCloud soon after. Could this be assign of another girl powa’ reunion?!

Speaking of leaks, House of Cards’ third season — which does not premiere until Feb. 27 — was available on Netflix for about 30 minutes yesterday. No, Frank Underwood was not pulling a Beyoncé by releasing a full season unannounced. It was a “mistake.”

A leak? More like the best House of Cards ad ever. Anyone who had momentarily forgotten about the upcoming season is now ready to binge the moment it premieres.

It’s been a great week in fashion for models who don’t look like hungry baby aliens, which is rare. The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue featured two plus-size models; “World’s Oldest Supermodel,” 83-year-old Carmen Dell’Orefice appeared on the cover of New You magazine; and Jamie Brewer, who many of us know from American Horror Story, walked in a New York Fashion Week show today, becoming the first person with Down syndrome to do so. Yay beauty diversity!

And then there was The Grammys.

The night’s program kind of reminded me of the Super Bowl half-time shows of the early 2000s, where the desperate attempt to appeal to as many people as possible resulted in a mashup of lineups that simultaneously featured Nelly, Britney Spears and Aerosmith. Between Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett and Jessie J and Tom Jones, there were lots of slow songs sung by duos of old and young people, which made it very easy to watch the 603 other shows on Sunday nights (Hey, Better Call Saul!)

Sam Smith was the big winner of the night: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best New Artist and Best Pop Vocal Album all went to the magical songbird. Beck won Album of the Year and Best Rock Album (“Beck is still making music?” – everyone. Yes, he is. Morning Phase came out a full year ago). All those categories sound the damn same!

Of course, since Beyoncé was also nominated for Album of the Year — and a bunch of other categories she didn’t win #salty — Kanye just had to, well, Kanye Beck’s acceptance speech, and Bey and Jay Z were definitely surprised

I love Beyoncé’s subtle “No, Kanye, don’t...Someone stop him…” — which is basically the equivalent of “Somebody get a sponge!” — and Jay’s legit look of terror.

Also of course, if anyone thought Kanye was taking a jab at himself by recreating Taylorgate, he wanted to remind them of what a real asshole he is by running his mouth some more after the show. And then other people responded to Kanye’s response and now I’m writing about it. Circle of life, folks.

Highlights:

Sia’s “Chandelier” performance with Kristen Wiig and Maddie Ziegler totally takes the cake as my favorite performance (and you know this is a serious claim when Queen Bey is in the picture). Kristen Wiig gave a soulful choreographed performance with the Dance Moms star — who would have guessed?

GOOSEBUMPS.

Beyoncé recreated her sister’s recent wedding with her performance of “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” It was Sunday, after all. Amen!

Speaking of taking us to church, Hozier and Annie Lennox was my favorite collab of the night, performing the former’s breakout hit and “I Put a Spell on You.” Intoxicating!


Pharrell traded his Arby’s hat for an old-timey child bellhop uniform and presenting a heavy performance of “Happy”

And then it looks like Taylor Swift begged Jay Z to go to brunch with her. Awkward, especially when he finds out “brunch” is Taylor’s word for playing tea party with her cats while in pajamas. But judge for yourself.

"Brunch." "Brunch!" "BRUNCH."

See all the winners here.

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<![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. 

DINNER DEALS FOR DATE NIGHT
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., bbriverboats.com

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, bistrograce.com

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, jimmy-gs.com

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, lapetitefrance.biz

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, themercerotr.com. 

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, metropoleonwalnut.com

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

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, palacecincinnati.com.

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, salazarcincinnati.com

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., steinhausrestaurant.com

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, symphonyhotel.com

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, taftmuseum.org

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, piccolawineroom.com

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, washingtonplatform.com.

EVENTS FOR WOOING
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, cincylibrary.tumblr.com

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, cballet.org

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, cliftonculturalarts.org

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 ticketmaster.com. Sells out quickly. 6 and 9 p.m. Feb. 14. $19-$44. Bogart’s, 2621 Vine St., Corryville, cincityburlesque.com

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., nku.edu

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, fern-shop.com.

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, facebook.com/JustifiedBliss

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 CincyWorldCinema.org. 6 p.m. Feb. 13; 6 p.m. Feb. 14. $10-$50. Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center, 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington, Ky., thecarnegie.com

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, cincinnatiparks.com

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, cincinnatiparks.com

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., lingerflowers.com

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, citybeat.com

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, myfurryvalentine.com

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, jimmy-gs.com

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 eventbrite.com. 6-9 p.m. Feb. 14. $10 at the door. 7560 Burlington Pike, Florence Ky., velocitybb.com

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, thestclair.com

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, tricountymall.com

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, woodstonecreek.com.

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<![CDATA[Your Weekend To Do List (2/6-2/8)]]> If you like parties, dogs, drinking , world-class theater, Natalie Cole and po' boys, we've got a list of reasons for you to leave the house this week. If none of those things appeal to you, there's always TV.

Why not start with TV? For all of you who are still repeatedly binge-watching Breaking BadBetter Call Saul premieres 10 p.m. Sunday on AMC. It looks at the titular character before he was Mr. Goodman. Six years before Walter White stepped in his office, he was just a small-time lawyer named Jimmy McGill. In Sunday’s premiere, we’ll see Jimmy’s peculiar approach to finding clients and the dynamic between Jimmy and his successful lawyer brother Chuck (Michael McKean). A second new episode airs Monday at 10 p.m., the show’s regular time slot.

Friday, Feb. 6

Balls Around the Block pub-crawl: As the number of residents in downtown increases, so does the number of dogs without a backyard. This is where Balls Around the Block steps in. For the past 10 years, Cincy dog lovers have come together via canines and booze to raise an incredible amount of money for downtown’s Fido Field. For the crawl, check in at the 21c Museum Hotel at 6 p.m., find your team of 25 and start bar hopping around downtown. Prepare your livers and drink for the pooches of Cincinnati. $35; $40 at the door if there are any spots left. 21c, Second Floor, 609 Walnut St., Downtown, ballsaroundtheblock.com.

The Year of Magical Thinking
Photo: Jason Sheldon
The Year of Magical Thinking: In 2004, author Joan Didion came to terms with the unexpected death of her husband of 40 years as well as the grave illness of their only daughter by writing a memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking. In 2007, she transformed her narrative of mourning into a monologue for the stage that actress Vanessa Redgrave took to Broadway. Local director Lyle Benjamin launches his latest initiative, the Cincy One Act Festival — “great plays by great playwrights in 90 minutes or less” — with a production featuring Cate White. She earned positive reviews when it was staged in December, and Benjamin has brought it back for another month. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Through Feb. 28. $20. Cincy One Act Festival, College Hill Town Hall, 1805 Larch Ave., College Hill, 513-223-6246, cincyoneact.com


Willie Nile 
Photo: Fleming Artists
Willie Nile at the Southgate House: Willie Nile, the long underappreciated, roots-rockin’ singer/songwriter from the streets of New York, has been on an incredible ride — an American ride — of late. Nile’s 2013 album American Ride, a ringing affirmation of lyrically heartfelt Punk- and Folk-influenced Rock with chiming and crunching guitar chords and hugely irresistible, heroic sing-along choruses, turned out to be a surprise hit in Americana circles. It won an Independent Music Award in the Rock/Hard Rock category, got airplay on stations like Northern Kentucky radio outlet WNKU and was the most successful record in his decades-long career. Nile’s first album was his 1980 self-titled debut, which got him hailed as a new Dylan. An active touring schedule last year brought him and his band to Southgate House Revival, apparently his first time performing here. He had a standing, cheering, sweating crowd singing along to his sharp-visioned original songs and covers of Lou Reed’s “Sweet Jane,” Jim Carroll’s “People Who Died” and The Clash’s arrangement of “Police on My Back.” Willie Nile returns to the Southgate House Revival this Friday. Tickets/more info: southgatehouse.com.

Cincy Winter Blues Fest: This weekend the Cincy Blues Society presents the 2015 Winter Blues Fest at The Phoenix. Music will again be featured on three stages at the venue. On Friday, joining national headliner Popa Chubby in the third floor ballroom will be Doug Hart, The Sonny Moorman Group and The Beaumonts. On the second floor ballroom stage, The Blue Birds Big Band, The SoulFixers, Chuck Brisbin & The Tuna Project and the BITS Band (featuring young players from the Blues in the Schools program) will perform, while Friday’s first floor lineup features The Brad Hatfield Band, The Whiskey Shambles, The Cheryl Renee Project and The Medicine Men. 
Saturday’s headliner is the U.K.’s Joanne Shaw Taylor, who will be joined in the third floor ballroom by The Juice, Kelly Richey and Tempted Souls. Saturday’s second floor ballroom lineup has G Miles and the Hitmen, Leroy Ellington Blues Band, Jay Jesse Johnson Blues Band and Johnny Fink & the Intrusion.On the first floor Saturday, you can catch the Noah Wotherspoon Band, Lil Red & The Rooster, Greg Schaber Band and Ricky Nye Inc. with Behah Williams. 
Music begins at 6 p.m. each night. Tickets are available in advance through brownpapertickets.com for $20 (or $32.85 for a two-day pass). For complete Winter Blues Fest details, visit cincyblues.org.

Bob Marley's 70th Birthday: If he hadn’t died in 1981 from cancer, music legend Bob Marley would be celebrating his 70th birthday this Friday. Fans across the world all year will be honoring the life of the man who popularized Reggae music, but this birthday weekend the Thompson House is the place to be for local Marley lovers. On Friday, the venue hosts the release party for the debut EP by Cincy Reggae/Rock/Jam crew Elementree Livity Project, You’re Not Ready. The lineup for the 8 p.m. show also includes fellow local Reggae acts The Cliftones and Know Prisoners. Besides their own performances, members of each band will join forces for a Marley tribute set. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door. 


Saturday, Feb. 7


Peace After Marriage
Photo: Goodlap Productions
Jewish & Israeli Film Festival: The Mayerson JCC hosts the international Jewish & Israeli Film Festival with the tagline, “More controversy. More comedy. More films.” The fest screens 10 award-winning independent films, ranging from contemporary dramas to documentaries. There will also be a selection of Jewish-interest films produced outside of Israel. The fest kicks off with a screening of Peace After Marriage, a romantic comedy about a Palestinian-American actor’s green card marriage to a prickly Israeli woman, and a meet-and-greet with the director. 
8 p.m. Saturday. $36; includes one free drink. 20th Century Theater, 3021 Madison Road, Oakley, mayersonjcc.orgRead more about the films that will be screening here


instagram @thebldg
Covington's 200th Birthday Party: We spend a lot of time toasting to the greatness of Cincinnati, but it’s time to love on our neighbors to the south. Covington is celebrating its 200th birthday and the city is doing it in major style. Say “Happy Birthday” to The C.O.V. by putting on your fanciest LBD (or tux, whatevs) and heading to the Cov200 Bicentennial Gala and Birthday Bash. Starting at 9:30 p.m., the city invites everyone to a free party with tunes from DJ Jon Carlo, a cash bar and palm readings. If you’re feeling super baller and have the dough, buy tickets to come early, enjoy a cocktail hour with the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, eat stellar food and see The Chuck Taylors. 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Free for birthday bash; $125 gala entry. Northern Kentucky Convention Center, 1 W. Rivercenter Blvd., Covington, Ky., cov200.org.


Garage Brewed Moto Show
Photo: Bill DeVore
Garage Brewed Moto Show: The Garage Brewed Moto Show features more than 50 motorcycles/bikes from the Tristate for this first invitational motorcycle show, held in the historical Over-the-Rhine Brewery District. The event will include awards in four different categories: pro custom, garage custom, classic bikes and people’s choice. Appreciate the builders who dedicate their time building motorcycles, whether they’re pros with large garages or your next-door neighbor. 5 p.m.-midnight Saturday. Free. Rhinegeist Brewery, 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, garagebrewed.com.


BBQ Oysters
Photo: Khoi Nguyen
Prep for Mardi Gras by Eating at Mardi Gras on Madison: In January, Latoya “Toya” Foster of New Orleans to Go food truck fame opened a brick-and-mortar version of her Cajun/Creole vittles called Mardi Gras on Madison in East Walnut Hills. There is no set menu. Foster decides on at least five different dishes to serve when she wakes up and then posts them on social media. (A menu from last week featured barbecue chicken tacos, catfish tacos, black beans and rice, fried okra and shrimp po’ boys.) Their food license doesn’t allow them to reserve food for the next day, which helps eliminate waste; food is served until closing time or until it’s gone, whichever happens first. The bar shakes up specialty cocktails such as a Bloody Michael, named after Foster’s dad’s middle name, made with king cake vodka and served with an okra garnish, and a Jazzerac, their take on a Sazerac, which is the official cocktail of NOLA. They also have various Abita craft beers, another Louisiana staple, and a Katrina hurricane (orange juice, rum and pineapple juice). They call it a hurricane for a reason, and if you’re looking to get pickled, drinking more than one of these will knock you on your ass. On actual Mardi Gras (Feb. 17), Foster is planning a party that might involve a crawfish boil, a live band and traditional king cake. Knowing Foster, there most certainly will be good food, dancing and bon temps. 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. first and third Sunday of the month. 1524 Madison Road, East Walnut Hills, 513-873-9041, neworleanstogopoboys.com.


Cole Swindell
Extreme Bull Riding: Bull riding might be the most dangerous sport in the world, but don’t let that stop you from hootin’ and hollerin’. Cheer on cowboys and cowgirls during the Extreme Bull Riding Bronco Busting and Barrel Racing show at Cincinnati Gardens. Following the bulls and barrel racing, get a chance to see rising Country singer Cole Swindell in concert. For more on Swindell, see Sound Advice here7:30 p.m. Saturday. $30-$55. Cincinnati Gardens, 2250 Seymour Ave., Norwood, cincygardens.com.

Exhale Dance Tribe
Photo: Scott Petranek 
Exhale Dance Tribe Celebrates a Decade of Dance: It’s a sunny, cold January afternoon when I pull up outside the stone façade of a grand old building on Gilbert Avenue for an interview with Missy Lay Zimmer and Andrew Hubbard. Spread across the loft-like top floor is Planet Dance, the progressive dance studio founded by the two. It’s also home to the duo’s prolific and highly lauded dance company, Exhale Dance Tribe. This weekend, 14 Tribe dancers (along with Hubbard, who will solo) will perform at the Aronoff’s Jarson-Kaplan Theater in a mixed bill revisiting a selection of characteristic vignettes from the past 10 years of evening-length productions. Exhale Dance Tribe will perform Best of 10: A Decade of Dance Saturday and Sunday at the Aronoff Center. More info: exhaledancetribe.com. Read more about the performances and Lay Zimmer and Hubbard here.


Sunday, Feb. 8


Natalie Cole
Unforgettable: An Evening with Natalie Cole: Do some prep for a romantic Valentine’s Day by indulging in the smooth sounds of the Cincinnati Pops and Natalie Cole. Cole, a nine time Grammy winner, internationally acclaimed artist and daughter of Jazz icon Nat King Cole, is best known for her hits like “This Will Be” and “Our Love.” On Sunday, Cole takes the stage for one-night only, belting out captivating versions of her favorite songs. 7 p.m. Sunday. $40-$110. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cincinnatisymphony.org.


Grease
Photo: Paramount Pictures
Grease Sing-Along: Grease is the word; The Esquire is the place. A special sing-along celebrating the highest-grossing musical of all time and cultural phenomenon Grease is arriving at the Mariemont and Esquire theaters. Feel free to belt out “Summer nights” and chant “We Go Together” at the high school carnival with the rest of the kids. Don pink jackets or grease up a quiff, because if you want to be a T-Bird or a Pink Lady then you can. There will be a fancy dress contest before each viewing. Advance tickets suggested. 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Mariemont Theatre. 10:30 p.m. Sunday at The Esquire. $10. The Esquire, 320 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, esquiretheatre.com; Mariemont Theatre, 6906 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, mariemonttheatre.com.

Autism Rocks: The sixth edition of the local Autism Rocks benefit concert takes place this Sunday at The Fairfield Banquet and Convention Center at Tori’s Station. Originally conceived to help a local couple with medical bills incurred from their young son’s treatment, the event soon expanded to raise money for other autism causes. This year, Autism Rocks benefits the Ken Anderson Foundation, formed by the former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback to “build and sustain a community for adults living with autism” (visit kenandersonfoundation.com for more about the cause). Several local celebrities and former sports stars are expected to make appearances, and there will be silent and live auctions throughout the day to further raise funds. Running from noon until around 7 p.m., Autism Rocks 6 features more than a dozen local acts, including The Sonny Moorman Group, Prizoner, Stagger Lee (with special guest Dallas Moore), After Midnight, Mr. Chris and the Cruisers, Devils Due, Mojo Rizin and 4th Day Echo. Admission is a $20 donation.

Looking for more stuff to do? Check the rest of our staff recommendations here.

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<![CDATA[Lamb Watch 2015]]>

With the news of local musician Jess Lamb competing on the 14th season of American Idol, I’ve been watching and waiting for the initial audition episodes to end so we can really get into the competition and see more Jess. This week was the first half of Hollywood rounds, where some 200 contestants that received golden tickets during the aforementioned auditions before the judges — Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr. — converged under one roof. The musicians and singers will perform solo and as groups for the judges, who will gradually dwindle the crowd down to the top 24 finalists.

Unfortunately for locals (Spoiler Alert), we got about 30 seconds of Jess Lamb air time between this week’s two episodes. But on the upside, she’s still in the game!

On Wednesday’s episode, the judges surprised a room full of contestants, telling them a select few would be called onstage to perform right then. For viewers at home, we’ve seen these folks before — they’re the ones we saw audition and receive golden tickets (but keep in mind there were many more than what we saw), the judges’ “most memorable auditions.” But they don’t know that. For those in the crowd, it seems like random contestants were pulled up to perform in front of their competition with no immediate feedback from the panel of mega-stars. And the judges were continuously bewildered as to why these kids were coming up scared shitless.

Highlights:

First up was Jax, who looks like a PG-13 Ke$ha that got puked on by Forever 21, but gave a really cool cover of “Toxic” by Britney Spears.


Walking New York stereotype Sal was also called. According to the show he’s 19, but this man is definitely at least 45 judging by his voice, appearance and penchant for standards (his name is Sal for crying out loud).


Afro’ed Adam — who gave a boisterous performance of “Born to be Wild” in his audition — surprised everyone with a softer side that the judges didn’t seem to like.


Fast-forward through what seemed like a million 15-year-olds that made me feel like a stale prune…

And it was nice to see Garret, the blind cowboy with a voice of a thousand Country angels. He so needs to be in the top 24.