CityBeat Blogs - Shopping http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/blogs-1-1-1-33-170.html <![CDATA[Your Weekend To Do List: 11/21-11/23]]>

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

On Friday:

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

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<![CDATA[Atomic Number Ten Closing]]> Over-the-Rhine vintage shop Atomic Number Ten is closing, or as owner Katie Garber puts it on the shop's twitter page, hopefully moving on to bigger and better things.

The shop, which specializes in finds for him, her and home from the '50s to the '90s, opened in fall of 2009. And with only a couple of weeks left on its Main Street lease (1306 Main St., OTR, facebook.com/AtomicNumberTen), Garber is having a crazy sale — a "last hurrah" sale. All clothing is $20 or less (some items are even selling for $1), housewares are $10 or less and everything else is discounted at 50 percent off. The store will be keeping normal hours through Jan. 18: noon-6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; noon-4 p.m. Sunday.

Says Garber of her customers in a blog post, "We really hope you can make it in to say goodbye. You've been so supportive and we can't thank you enough!  It's been a great ride!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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<![CDATA[World's Longest Yard Sale Kicks off Thursday]]> In my first days as a freshman at the University of Virginia, I was introduced to the “guys in ties, girls in pearls” traditional attire that students were expected to don at the season’s first football game. Frantic to find a set of pearls without visiting one of Charlottesville’s budget-busting boutiques, I called my mom, fashion guru and money-saver extraordinaire. One week later, the pearls arrived. Since then, I’ve received compliments from the most esteemed judges, including my Barney’s-or-bust roommate from Arlington, Va., and my friend’s grandma who once personally addressed Mick Jagger as "Mr. Yagger." Indeed, the pearls are a hit with high society, and it tickles me to know that my mom threw down a mere fifty cents to get them. In early August, there’s only one place where that’s possible.

Beginning Thursday and running through Sunday, the 26th annual World’s Longest Yard Sale spans 690 miles from Addison, Mich., to Gadsden, Ala. Aptly nicknamed the 127 Sale, vendors set up along the Highway 127 corridor to entice buyers with all the classic yard sale merchandise: picture frames, knick-knacks, clothing, accessories, furniture, as well as other handmade goods akin to those at events like The City Flea. It is a celebration of summer cleaning, sharing, bargain hunting and sight-seeing, with notable stops like Big South Fork National River and Pickett State Park.

Started in 1987 with the affirmation that “the back roads have something to offer,” the World’s Longest Yard Sale earned its name after the route began to cross the northwest corner of Georgia, adding another 100 miles to the existing 350-mile span of highway 127. Since then, it has continued to grow, with more than 200 miles of added terrain becoming part of the route.

People come from all over the country and the world to brave the congested traffic conditions and summer swelter with the hopes of finding a hidden local treasure they can take home. Some even travel the entire 690 miles, while others stay within certain pockets of vendors. This year, the World’s Longest Yard Sale runs directly through MainStrasse Village in Covington, a location that includes more than 100 vendors and a Yard Sale Grill where shoppers can fuel up as they continue north, south or home for the evening. It is an event for tourists and locals alike, an opportunity to discover and rediscover the cultural richness of Greater Cincinnati.

The World’s Longest Yard Sale not only rewards shoppers with inexpensive and unique items but also serves to stimulate local economies along the 127 corridor. Hotels fill up, restaurants prosper, and vendors renting space contribute to the local money supply. The sheer volume of shoppers usually results in fully booked hotels by mid-July, but a crowded landscape is considered a small price to pay for even smaller-priced goods and priceless views along the way. Southern hospitality has even led to travelers being taken into private homes if nothing else is available. Some people hope for cancellations, some travel upwards of 50 miles for a place to stay, and some sleep in their cars. But for shoppers, such lack of luxury is a small inconvenience in pursuit of the perfect set of 50-cent pearls.

For more information, visit www.127sale.com.

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<![CDATA[Findlay After Four Encourages Awareness of Later Market Hours]]>

Findlay After Four is a new way to promote shopping at Findlay Market on Thursdays between 4-6 p.m. The goal is to make sure Findlay Market frequenters and newcomers alike are aware of the market’s hours.

The hope is to drive more shoppers to the market and begin to chip away at the confusion around market hours. Even though Findlay is packed with shoppers and vendors during the weekends, but things tend to quiet down during the week — especially later in the day, but Findlay After Four is looking to change that while encouraging vendors and merchants to stay open until the market’s later hours.

Every Thursday, Findlay Market has a variety of activities planned to encourage people to take the time to visit the market and shop. Beginning at 4 p.m. later today, there will be a cooking demonstration by a guest chef, and recipe cards will be handed out so shoppers can take them and find ingredients for the dish throughout Findlay. Christian Moerlein and MadTree beers will be available at the OTR Biergarten, and there will be a raffle and giveaways. There will be new activities each Thursday through August.

Findlay Market reminds me in so many ways of the time I spent studying abroad in Paris, France, where there really aren’t any supermarkets or grocery stores. In Paris, if you want groceries, flowers, or even a new pet, you go to the market. There are markets all over the city and they’re just beautiful — always bustling with friends, family, and the smell of freshly baked bread. After my time in France, I had a newfound appreciation for the marketplace. Going there has always been a mixture of a family tradition and a field trip: my mom shopped there with her parents and brother every week growing up, but after spending my childhood in the suburbs, it was always hard for her to find the time to take me down there for family grocery shopping trips as often as she’d liked — which makes me even more excited for the idea of Findlay After Four.

I’m especially looking forward to a new excuse to make the trek from West Chester to Findlay Market. I feel so lucky to have such a link to my mom’s past and her family traditions, as well as a way to connect with my hometown in such a diverse environment. Not only is Findlay Ohio’s oldest continuously operated public market; it’s also a year-round home to dozens of food merchants selling meat, fish, fresh produce, flowers, cheese and — my favorite part — it boasts the largest tea selection in the Midwest at Churchill’s. It’s also a gathering place for street performers, farmers markets, shoppers and people watchers.

For more information on hours, vendors and special events, visit www.findlaymarket.org.

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<![CDATA[Truckshop Launches Cincinnati's First Mobile Fashion Boutique]]> Truckshop, Cincinnati’s newest mobile vendor, launches tonight at the Columbia Center in Columbia Tusculum. The mobile fashion boutique features clothing and accessories at affordable prices and a unique experience unlike that found in brick-and-mortar stores. While mobile boutiques have become popular trends along the coasts, Truckshop is introducing shopping-on-the-go to the Midwest and Greater Cincinnati area.

Founder and Cincinnati resident Ashley Volbrecht hopes to offer consumers a different shopping perspective. “Creating a pop-up shop in my mind just represented a new way to get people to think about shopping,” Volbrecht said in a press release. “We’re here today, gone tomorrow. I want shoppers to forget they are inside of a truck when they enter.”

The truck itself is a former bread delivery truck that has been reconstructed to reflect the trendy vibe of the shop’s clothing. Former tin walls are now pink and white shelves boasting a variety of dresses and tops. A dingy floor has been converted into a pristine black and white striped pathway leading shoppers through racks of clothing and accessories. The former white exterior now stands out with bright colors and an elegant store name that lets consumers know this isn’t your run-of-the-mill mobile vendor.

Most shoppers know that entering a boutique usually entails a bit of sticker shock, but Truckshop is changing that assumption for its customers. Truckshop sells dresses, tops, jewelry and accessories, all for $65 or less. “Price point is one of the most important parts,” Volbrecht explained. “I love finding pieces I’m obsessed with and I love finding a bargain. I tried to use this same approach when choosing pieces for the boutique.”

Truckshop, opened this past Saturday, is leading the way for mobile boutiques in the Midwest. Truckshop will be at various festivals this summer including City Flea and Second Sundays on Main. And now everyone can feel like a celebrity with a store that comes to you: Truckshop is available for private parties of six or more people. Customers can also shop online through Facebook and Instagram pages.

The launch party is tonight from 6-9 p.m. at the Columbia Center, 3500 Columbia Pkwy. For more information about Truckshop, visit www.facebook.com/shopthetruck or follow Truckshop on Twitter @shopthetruck.

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<![CDATA[Did I Just See a Gay Kindle Commercial?]]>

Last night around 9:30 I was just minding my own business, watching some harmless comedy shows on demand when a commercial came on that piqued my interest via a typically dumb interaction between a dude talking to a babe in a bikini. I was waiting for some type of cliché to end the interaction between the two — something like a beer-commercial crotch shot or the woman doing something weird like licking an ice cube — when the story took a most-surprising turn: the dude in the scene was gay. 

The woman sits down on a beach chair next to the guy, who is squinting into his iPad-looking device like a dork. She starts reading her Kindle like the sun is no big deal and he says: "That's a Kindle, right?"

Woman: "Yeah, it's the new Kindle Paperwhite."

Man: "I love to read at the beach, but..."

Woman: "This is perfect at the beach. And, with the built in light, I can read anywhere anytime."

Man: "Done."

Woman: "With your book?"

Man: Nope. "I just bought a Kindle Paperwhite." *Leans toward her.* "We should celebrate."

Woman: "My husband's bringing me a drink right now."

Man: "So is mine."

Husbands waive from the bar.

I watched it again this morning (the email I sent myself on the subject after having several beers and talking about sports all evening only says: “Gay kindle commercial. What does that commercial mean?”), and it’s actually pretty genius. Gay-rights groups have pointed out that this type of media is following steps taken by shows like Ellen and Modern Family, which depict gay couples as pretty much ordinary anymore. 

Check it out here: 

Naturally, some people on the Internet think it’s way icky. 

And organizations like One Million Moms (a weird, conservative Christian group that should be named something more like “One Million Mean Moms.” Ha.) took exception to it. OMMMs wrote this: “We have Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite commercial that promotes gay marriage. Instead of Amazon remaining neutral in the culture war while showcasing how their product has no glare even at the beach, they chose to promote sin.”

People flagged the ad as inappropriate enough times on YouTube that it was briefly taken down for review, but it was posted back on the site later. 

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<![CDATA[Your Weekend To Do List: 5/4-5/6]]>

In addition to Cinco de Mayo and Derby Day, the next couple days bring a ton of events and activities. Saddle up, grab some tequila and get out there this weekend!

Essex Studios blossom this weekend for the galleries’ spring Art Walk, BLOOM. The space has been transformed with a thousand origami flowers, yarn gardens by the Cincinnati BombShells and color-coded pathways. As always, more than 100 artists’ work will be on view as guests eat and drink their way through the studios. The art walk runs 6-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Saturday is Clay Alliance’s annual pottery fair at DeSales Corner. Peruse decorative and functional pottery pieces, meet local artists and get supplies to work with clay on your self. Hourly raffles and live music round out the day. The 12th annual fair takes place 11 a.m.-5 p.m., rain or shine.

The first Saturday of May happens to be Cinco De Mayo this year, but it’s also Free Comic Book Day: once a year, comic/specialty book shops across North America offer free publications to all guests. Find a nearby participating store here. Many store offer additional in-store events and promotions; Up Up & Away in Cheviot welcomes The Walking Dead co-creator and original artist Tony Moore.

Crafty Supermarket is back! Making its home at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center, the spring show brings more than 50 indie, subversive crafters from across the city and country to sell their funky, functional handmade goods. Just in time for Mother’s Day, shoppers will find unique apparel and accessories, home goods, artwork and more goodies. Fuel your shopping with delicious food and coffee from local vendors while a PROJECTMILL DJ keeps you groovin’. Show up early to nab a coveted swag bag — every year, shoppers line up around the corner of Clifton Avenue in hopes of being one of the first 100 who get a bag. The market is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and admission is free.

Cinco de Mayo is more popular in the U.S. than Mexico, but since when do we let historical inaccuracies stand in the way of a good drinking holiday? Nearly every bar and restaurant participates in some capacity, but we’ve selected a few to host our annual Cantina Crawl. Here’s our schedule:

5 p.m. El Coyote

5:45 p.m. Pirates Cove

6:30 p.m. Tostado’s Grill

7:15 p.m. MLT’s

8 p.m. Cactus Pear (Clifton)

8:30 p.m. Nada

9 p.m. Bakersfield

Join our roving squad of senoritas and “Seen on the Scene” photographers as they travel from place to place with more prizes than you can throw a maraca at.

Prom is a rite of passage many, but often LGBTQ kids don’t feel comfortable at school dances because of bullies and expectations about dress and dates. The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Greater Cincinnati provides a welcoming environment for these individuals at their annual GLSEN Prom Saturday. Come to the Freedom Center for two events in one: those under 21 are invited to "dress as you want, bring who you want, and love as you want.” In a separate area of the center the over 21 crowd, who maybe didn’t get to experience a prom of their own, can enjoy dinner, drinks and dancing for $65. Those wanting to attend post-dinner can come after 9 p.m. for a discounted price. As always, kids are welcome free of charge with early registration. All proceeds support the local GLSEN chapter.

Check out Stage Door for this weekend's theater offerings, our music blog for a live show lineup and our To Do page for more events, art shows, performances and more this weekend.

And don’t forget to check out the "supermoon" Saturday — the biggest full moon of the year will peak around 11:30 p.m. tomorrow.

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<![CDATA[Larry Flynt in Cincinnati Today]]> Hustler publisher, First Amendment defender and creepy uncle to us all, Larry Flynt is in town today. The porn mogul will be onsite at the Hustler Hollywood sexplex's Monroe location.

Flynt is currently touring in support of his book, One Nation Under Sex: How the Private Lives of Presidents, First Ladies and their Lovers Changed the Course of American History. He will sign copies of the book starting at 7 p.m. The first 25 guests will receive a free gift bag.

The 2011 book was co-written by Flynt and Columbia University history professor David Eisenbach, Ph.D. It details the salacious yet interesting bedroom happenings of Ben Franklin, Woodrow WIlson and Eleanor Roosevelt, to name a few, and how these relationships affected the country. Other Flynt titles include 2004's Sex, Lies and Politics and his 1996 autobiography, An Unseemly Man: My Life as a Pornographer, Pundit and Social Outcast.

Flynt added a Hustler location Downtown last year on Seventh Street, not to be confused with his brother Jimmy Flynt's  store on Elm Street — the two have been involved in a long-standing financial feud.

Check out this video from Commonwealth Club of California with Flynt and Eisenbach as they discuss stories and implications from One Nation.


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<![CDATA[Your Thursday To Do List]]>

Tonight marks O'Bryonville's first Third Thursday Benefit Wine Walk of the year. Support the neighborhood's independent businesses like Hemptations, Phyllis Weston Gallery, Ten Thousand Villages, The Bonbonerie, indigenous and many more as you hop from spot to spot, enjoying complimentary wine and bites at each participating venue. This month's walk benefits Pets in Need (a UCAN affiliate) and Cincinnati Pet Food Pantry. The event runs from 5-8 p.m. tonight.

Enjoy a romantic night in Paris...without needing a passport. Art Design Consultants presents en evening with their Design Star, Grace Jones of Dwellings on Madison. Jones will transform the ADC loft space (310 Culvert St., Downtown) into a French apartment. Stop by at 6 for cocktails and stick around for the 7 p.m. unveiling of Jones' designs. Holly Golightly attire is encouraged! RSVP here.

Comedian Jim Norton kicks off his three-night gig at Funny Bone on the Levee tonight. Specializing in dark comedy and self-deprecation, the comic has also acted in television and film and has written two humorous nonfiction books. Many will recognize Norton from the Opie & Anthony radio show, Louie, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and several small, odd film roles (two words: Furry Vengeance). Norton goes on tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets are $22.

Cincinnati Zoo's Tunes and Blooms series continues tonight with Shiny and the Spoon and The Tillers. The free concert features local favorite musicians performing in the beautiful setting of the zoo's gardens. The concert runs 6-8:30 p.m.; admission to the zoo is free after 5 p.m. (parking is $8). Tunes and Blooms continues every Thursday this month.

Jungle Jim's hosts a mystery mix cigar tasting tonight from 5-8 p.m. The tasting will be held at the Oscar Event Center's Monorail Terrace. Guests can enjoy three different cigars with $15 admission. There will be a cash bar, raffle and plenty of cigars and accessories for sale. Each Thursday, Jungle Jim's presents a different variety of cigars to try. No word yet on whether "mystery mix" is an early 4-20 reference.

Follow our music blog for nightly shows and check our To Do page for more art exhibits, theater productions and events.

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<![CDATA[Your Thursday To Do List]]> SmartTalk ConnectedConcversations continues its women's speaker series tonight with Kara DioGuardi. You might recognize DioGuardi from her short time as a judge on American Idol Seasons 8-9, but you've definitely heard her work as a writer and producer with some of the biggest Pop stars of the past decade. DioGuardi has been nominated for a Grammy and won countless other music awards for her work with Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias and Santana. Tonight, she'll speak on "Surviving Life, Love and American Idol" at 7:30 p.m. at the Aronoff Center. Past speakers for the series include Arianna Huffington and Tim Gunn (the only male speaker of the series' history. He's a honorary lady.) Find some last-minute tickets here.

If you miss Turntable Tuesdays at Clifton's Golden Lions Lounge, dust off your disco balls, because John O'Bryant and Hilly Kenkel are back! The duo who presented the weeknight dance party on Ludlow Avenue have relocated downtown. Now Mainstay Rock Bar will be the place to for weeknight partiers, 10 p.m.-1 a.m. on Thursdays.

Most of us haven't even thought about prom for years, but for high schoolers, the dance season is upon them. Any girl can attest to the importance of a perfect dress, but for many local young women, purchasing one is not financially possible. Kenzie's Closet takes gently worn dresses (many of us wear a prom dress just once) and make them available for disadvantaged girls in Greater Cincinnati. Principals, social workers and counselors refer these students to Kenzie's Closet, where the girls are able to browse tons of gorgeous gowns – and pick one free of charge. Tonight, Downtown's PLAY hosts a fundraiser for the organization. Just bring $10 or a formal dress, (shoes, bags and accessories are important, too!) and enjoy specialty drinks, specials, prize raffles and more from 7-10 p.m. tonight. It's an excellent opportunity to help young girls in need and make room in your closet.

Important People is a diverse collective of area writers that strives to bring together others through creative expression at organized events. Tonight's Important People Forget Their Lines is a night of staged works of poetry, theater and other performances. Forget Their Lines is an investigation of the stage as an environment for exposing human impulses like anxiety, absurdity, self-deprecation and vulnerability. Come to Museum Gallery-Gallery Museum in the Brighton Arts District from 7-9 p.m. tonight to check it out. Read more about Important People and tonight's performers here.

Martinis and manicures might sound a bit messy (I can't go without smudging wet polish while I'm sober), but not when professionals are involved! Oriental Wok in Hyde Park hosts a pampering session tonight: mini-manicure appointments, two cocktails and mani-friendly appetizers for $35. All proceeds go to the Red Cross to benefit local victims of recent tornadoes. Order some tasty dinner to go when you're done. Go here to RSVP.

If you happen to see a little more PDA than usual, it's because today is the first national make-out session. Officially headquartered on Fountain Square (though all are encouraged to participate in any public space), the event was created by an area man to replace commercial "love" holidays like Valentine's Day with real, public signs of affection. Like smooching. Events on the square have been going all day, including live music, speed dating and vendors. Acoustic music runs 'til 4 p.m., followed by DJ tunes. Another speed dating session will take place 5-6 p.m., so if you don't have a partner to lock lips with, maybe you'll find one! Luxe Nightclub hosts the after-party. At least stop by for some free condoms. More info here.

Find more arts, theater and comedy events on our To Do page, and follow our music blog for nightly shows.

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<![CDATA[Your Weekend To Do List: 3/16-3/18]]> DAAP grad and former Project Runway contestant Althea Harper is in town tonight, presenting a trunk show at OTR's Sloane Boutique. Check out the designer's Spring 2012 looks featuring her signature combination of fine tailoring and delicate draping. Sloane offers 15 percent off its spring merchandise and a chance to win a $50 gift certificate. Get details here.

This weekend Cincinnati Ballet presents a production quite fitting, considering our weather – Rite of Spring. With Stravinsky's music performed live by the Cincinnati Orchestra, Rite of Spring is a “raw, grungy” piece that pits “individual against the group; it’s kind of timeless and universal,” as described by Resident Choreographer Adam Hougland. There is an 8 p.m. performance tonight and 2 and 8 p.m. performances Saturday. Go here for ticket information and performance details.

Millenicon is a literature-based sci-fi convention celebrating its 26th year in Cincinnati. This isn't your standard Trekkie symposium (though there's many programs for them!) – there's a variety of programming during the convention's run, including science fiction literature and fantasy subjects, science, space, technology, writing, art, costuming, collecting, gaming, children's programming, film and media interests. All are welcome to get their geek on at the longest-running sci-fi convention in the area. It all takes place tonight through Sunday, with programs occurring throughout the day, at the Holiday Inn Cincinnati - I-275 North in Sharonville.

Concert:nova's Food + Music Festival comes to a close Sunday with Quartetto Italiano. The festival, which featured food and music from France and Germany, wraps up with an Italian brunch at Via Vite prepared by Chef Christian Peitoso and string quartet music written by Italian composers Puccini, Verdi and Nino Rota. The event takes place at noon and is $55 ($35 for pass holders). Get tickets here.

Of course, there are endless St. Patrick's Day events also happening this weekend. Find some of them (and a fun history of the holiday) here. You know the drill – nearly every bar and restaurant across town will celebrate in some capacity, even if it's just green Budweiser and that damn Dropkick Murphys song on repeat.

46th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade steps off at noon downtown. The parade famously continues through rain, snow, or, perhaps this year, unseasonably warm weather. Hopefully the impending storms will hold off anyway. The route begins at Second and up Main Street, across Fifth and down Elm Street. Find details here.

One suggestion is the Schmidlapp Event Lawn preview party running tonight through Sunday. The event lawn, located next to the Moerlein Lager House and Smale Park at The Banks, opens for the first time to the public for the holiday. Enjoy live dancers, pipers and bands, plenty of beer stands and a killer view of the riverfront. If you get hungry or crave some harder stuff (Jameson, anyone?) just hop inside the Lager House.

If historically inaccurate holidays that celebrate stereotypes aren't your thing, check out The Art of Food, Merrily We Roll Along, A Day in Pompeii, tons of live music or any of our other To Do recommendations. Or just stay home and watch Always Sunny. No judgement.

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<![CDATA[Your Weekend To Do List: 3/2-3/4]]> Bockfest is upon us! The annual celebration of Cincinnati's beer brewing history kicks off tonight with the Bockfest Parade, stepping off at 6 p.m. Organizers are keeping an eye on the weather, so check back with their site and Facebook page just in case. Even if the weather gets real ugly, just stop by one of the dozen participating venues where admission is free and beer is a-flowin'. Tons of special events coincide with the fest: Tonight, Park + Vine hosts its second annual veenie roast tonight (veggie hot dogs on delicious Mayday pretzel buns), Japps will feature a dance party tonight and Saturday, a Craft Menagerie takes over Arnold's Saturday and Washington Platform has a Bockfest Brunch Sunday, to name a few. And remember, you're not just getting your drink on, you're supporting Cincinnati history!

Covington's Carnegie Center presents its sixth annual Art of Food show, opening tonight. As you might've guessed, this art exhibit is centered around all things edible. The reception features beautiful culinary creations (that you can actually eat) by everyone from BonBonnerie to La Poste, Queen City Cookies to Taste of Belgium. Admission is a little steep ($60 at the door for non-members), but you'll leave with your left brain and stomach both very satisfied. Admission after the reception is free. Get details here.

It's always exciting when a new exhibit comes to the Contemporary Arts Center, and their opening parties are always a blast. Saturday the CAC welcomes two new art shows: I surrender, dear, Dasha Shishkin's first solo museum exhibit and Spectacle: The Music Video, curated by creative collective Flux. Read more about the artists here and check out our preview of Spectacle here. Music videos as art. Super cool.

The opening reception kicks off at 8 p.m. In addition to checking out the artwork, electronic musician/wizard Dan Deacon will perform 8-9 p.m. If you haven't heard of him, here's a preview:



Following the original performance is a DJ set 'til 11 p.m. The party is free and there will be a cash bar. Get more info here.

If you didn't score tickets to tonight's sold out Black Keys show, there are plenty of other music options. Eli's BBQ on Riverside Drive hosts Downtown Country Band tonight at 10 p.m. Tickets are $12. And really, any concert that also features barbecue is probably a sure bet. The Harlequins hosts an album release show Saturday at Mayday in Northside. Peep our interview with the crew. There are tons of other live music shows this weekend. Find them all on our music blog.

This not enough for you? There are tons of other happenings this weekend. Arts? We got 'em. Theater? You bet. Foul-mouthed, inxtoicated comedians? Of course. Just check out our To Do page for all your fun-having needs.

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<![CDATA[I Just Can't Get Enough]]> Blues Night at the White House

No, it wasn’t a somber night of the Obamas watching the GOP race progress. Blues Night brought B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Mick Jagger to Washington for a night of great performances! The trio, along with many other performers, played classics like “Let the Good Times Roll,” “I Can’t Turn You Loose” and “Let Me Love You Baby.” No word on whether “Moves Like Jagger” was on the bill (sorry for making that get stuck in your head). The highlight of the night? Obama singing a few lines of “Sweet Home Chicago.” The concert aired on PBS Feb. 27.

My Strange Addiction

It’s baaaack! This hot mess of a show seems like it would be an SNL spoof on ridiculous reality shows, but it really exists. And who really knows if these people are truly “addicted” to their behavior, or just do it for attention — either way, it’s some twisted entertainment. This season of the TLC "hit" features a man who is in love with (as in sexually attracted to) his 1998 Chevy Monte Carlo; a woman who can’t stop snorting baby powder; a woman with 38KKK-sized breasts addicted to (you guessed it) breast augmentations and plenty more sorry souls.

Alcohol on the Internet

You’ve probably heard of What The Fuck Should I Make For Dinner, a comically crass blog that randomly generates unique recipes (and if you “don’t fucking eat meat,” there are plenty of veg options, too). Thankfully, now you can find out where to get a cocktail after dinner, with Where The Fuck Should I Go For Drinks. Just enter your location, and the site gives plenty of good options to wet your whistle.

I also discovered an amazing blog this week (That’s So Michelle) and instead of gushing, I’ll just explain one thing: It has a category devoted to Jell-o shots. And I’m not talking nasty lime gelatin-and-Popov crap, this shit is gourmet! Michelle uses excellent ingredients and ingenious flavor combinations to create shots of pink lemonade, caramel apple and strawberry margarita, all served in hollowed-out fruits. Bask:


Chloe

Frankly, I’m disappointed in myself for just now discovering “Chloe.” This web show stars Drew Droege as Queen Original Hipster, Chloe Sevigny. Each episode is set up the same: Chloe introduces herself and discusses her appreciation of something mildly timely (Valentine’s Day, Summer, Resolutions). She then goes on to discuss how she celebrates the topic, name-dropping all along the way. From the unusual accent to the discussion of obscure activities to the amazing wardrobe, it’s hi-lar-i-ous. Again, I realize this has been around the ‘nets for a while, but I have to share with anyone deprived of Chloe as I was. Enjoy!

Baby Kanye Meme

OK, I’ve grown tired of this “everything’s a meme!!” trend happening, but sometimes there are decent ones amidst the sea of “What my friends think I do…” And since everything Kanye is generally entertaining, I present Baby Kanye: The Meme.

 

Design*Sponge’s "Living In" Page

D*S can do no wrong, so I love everything about it. But I’ve always particularly liked when blogs and magazines show me how to incorporate style from a movie into my real life. D*S’ “Living In” page covers all the best scenes you want to copy, from Cleopatra to Clueless. Most recently, the site featured Twin Peaks, Almost Famous and Chocolat.

Christopher Plummer

Remember in grade school when there would be “Star of the Week,” and that kid would bring in brownies and talk about his pet turtle and make a posterboard about his cool life? Beginners' Christopher Plummer is my Star of the Week. He’s proof that it's never too late to do something awesome. So if you’re 28 and crying because you hate your office job and you don't know what to do with your life, suck it up!  CP waited 82 damn years to get an Oscar! Check out his charming speech here.

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<![CDATA[Your Weekend To Do List: 2/24-2/26]]> Radius, a local crowd-sourced short film shot at MidPoint Music Festival, Final Fridays and other area events, premieres Saturday at Memorial Hall. According to the press release, the movie follows "a man's investigation into a mysterious superhero and its effect on the community leads to a startling revelation." The red carpet event kicks off at 7:30 p.m., and guests are invited to stick around after the premiere for drinks, noshes, music by DJ Pillo and entertainment from Cincinnati BombShells, Young Professionals' Choral Collective and Pones Inc. Tickets are $25 at the door; go here for more information and a sneak peek.

20th Century Cincinnati is a vintage-modern (is that an oxymoron?) collector's dream. The 18th annual event brings 60 furniture and decor dealers to the Sharonville Convention Center with all kinds of goodies from the 1920s-1980s. Tickets are just $7 for the weekend, with the sale open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Find details here.

Born to Swap's February Swaptique Sunday is another fun shopping event this weekend. Clothing swaps are absolutely genius: just bring 5-20 fashion items in a bag and a potluck dish, and prepare to share both with a great group of women. You'll be able to get rid of shoes, clothes and accessories you no longer need, find a new-to-you ensemble and meet other eco-conscious, fabulous fashionistas like yourself. Tickets are $10 in advance ($15 if you don't have clothing to bring), $15 at the door ($20 without swapables) and leftover clothing will be donated to charity. Purchase tickets and find FAQs here.

Do you think there's ever been a February Final Friday as mild as this one? Surely not. Hop around the galleries, restaurants and bars in Over-the-Rhine and make the most of this odd weather!

For even more stuff to do, peep Mike Breen's weekend music forecast, Rick Pender's weekend theater suggestions and all of our recommended arts, performances and events for the week.

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<![CDATA[Crafty Supermarket Accepting Applications]]> Crafty Supermarket, one of Cincinnati's greatest showcases of all things handmade, is accepting applications for its spring show. Indie crafters wanting to sell their items at the May 5 event have until Feb. 29 to woo CS organizers with their creations.

Applicants should send five photos of their best work, provide a description of their creative process and a $10 nonrefundable application fee by the end of the month. Go here for the application and details.

DIY-ers will be notified about their acceptance into the show by March 15. These winners will then need to provide vendor fee of $75 (minus the application cost).

Crafty Supermarket is an amazing opportunity for artisans and craft-lovers alike, and the event gains more popularity year after year. This isn't your grandma's arts-n-crafts show: shoppers can expect outrageous and subversive handmade items.

There is typically a spring and holiday show, both featuring around 50 DIY-ers and drawing thousands of shoppers. Vendors hawk everything from handmade clothing and jewelry, to re-purposed artwork, to books and paper goods. It's an excellent place to find a unique gift while supporting hard working crafters. Many vendors also have websites or Etsy pages so shoppers can continue to show their love for their goods year-round.

Attending a CS is a full-day affair. Though they typically open around 11 a.m., many will show up early, wrapping around the block, in hopes of receiving an infamous crafty swag bag and first dibs on all the crafts. With a live DJ and plenty of local food vendors, it's a super fun way to spend a Saturday. This year, the event returns to Clifton Cultural Arts Center.

Go here to read my 2010 interview with the ladies behind CS. Happy crafting!

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<![CDATA[Very Vintage Valentine Fashion]]> Northside's Chicken Lays an Egg, a gem in Cincinnati's growing collection of excellent vintage shops, hosts a Valentine fashion show featuring their retro-fab clothing, shoes and accessories Saturday at Northside Tavern.

NST's back room will transform into a runway where you'll watch some local hottie patotties strut their stuff with hair designs by Northside Chop Shop. Kenneth Wright will DJ the show and ongoing dance party.

Spot someone with the best moves you've ever seen? Send them a message via the valentine post office, and pose for pictures in a fabulous Flashbox photo booth. It all starts at 9 p.m., with the fashion show at 10 p.m.

Afterward, party with Bad Veins, who perform at 11 p.m. The duo's album The Mess We've Made drops April 24.

Get a peek at Chicken's fashion in Bad Veins' new video for "Dancing on TV." Some of the ensembles in the Soul Train-esque shots were provided by the boutique!---


The show coincides with Northside Second Saturdays, a monthly event that will no doubt be on-par with Final Fridays in OTR soon. Each second Saturday, the neighborhood's bars, art galleries, restaurants and businesses offer extended hours, drink specials, sales and extra fun times. Participating businesses include Fabricate, The Painted Fish, Shake It Records, Melt, Comet, Happen's Toy Lab and many more. Go here for a full description of events and participating businesses.

Check out these photos from Chicken's last fashion show at Memorial Hall in August 2011.

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<![CDATA[Valentine's Gifts Around the World (and Back)]]> It's two weeks until Valentine's Day, and we've got a few suggestions on how to celebrate.

To women, nothing says ‘I Love You’ quite like a big, fat cockroach on Valentine’s Day. That's right, for just $10, you can name a special bug living at the Bronx Zoo after your sweetie - because like love, a cockroach is indestructible.---

You may not have someone to christen a bug for in the name of love, but don’t be sad: The Boyfriend Pillow is up for grabs, just $29. He will dry your tears and listen to your struggles while snuggling you to sleep on that special night. Plus, he won’t snore or have dragon breath in the a.m. And you don’t need to buy him a gift.

If you don’t get your kicks from pillows, get your (real) dude a chocolate-themed Mercedes this year. The smart car runs at about $28,000 - it isn't made out of chocolate, unfortunately, but it’s the next best thing.

Want to make coworkers jealous, but can’t budget a Mercedes? Keep it classy and send roses by the dozen to your significant other’s workplace (or to yourself - no judgement). Adrian Durban Floral arrangements start at $34.95. Caution: green sparks of envy may fly.

For those who dislike the cards, cockroaches and candies, why not occupy Valentine’s Day? Vent with the 99 percent of other Americans (who are also too broke to afford chocolate cars) about why the holiday ticks you off.

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<![CDATA[My Night with Tim Gunn]]> Project Runway mentor, author, fashion guru and catch phrase king Tim Gunn stopped by Cincinnati this weekend as he opened the 2012 SmartTalk ConnectedConversations speaker series at the Aronoff Center. Gunn, who I envision as that proverbial angel on everyone's shoulder, was just as sweet in person as on TV.---

Dapper as ever in a navy suit and gold tie, Gunn met with media and fans before and after his talk, humoring fashion students with bits of advice and posing for photographs. During his appearance, however, he wasn't afraid to pull out the big Gunns (sorry) and dish some dirt on fashion giants.

Gunn gabbed about his personal mentor and "therapist" designer Diane von Fürstenberg, noting that at restaurants she always orders the same food (boneless roasted chicken, string beans and couscous) and never uses silverware. He lovingly joked about her running "her greasy little hands" through her hair between bites.

A much juicier tale touched on his war of words with Vogue Magazine after he was quoted describing the following scene: Vogue editor and all-around terrifying ice queen Anna Wintour was making her way around New York fashion week a few years ago. It's important for her to see at least part of many runway shows, so a quick exit is a must. But when Gunn spotted her at the Metropolitan Pavilion, she wondered how she'd make her escape - the show took place on a fifth floor, where there was only a service elevator or stairs. In a move only a true diva could pull off, Anna had her two body guards lock arms fireman-style, sat on them cheerleader-style, and was carried down to her car (they placed her in there like that, he added). After a lengthy battle with Vogue regarding this story, he refused to retract his statement ("I couldn't make this up!" he said), but did offer to print that he never meant to imply that Ms. Wintour didn't know "how to work a Monolo" and sent her a giant bouquet of white flowers.

Project Runway fans were elated to hear some inside gossip, as Gunn talked in great detail the beloved reality show. First off, he says he and the panel judges would have loved to be a part of the current All Stars season, but producers had it overlap with the taping of Season 9, making it impossible to use the same cast. He also revealed that after Heidi shunned his advice on the show ("You're not a judge, your opinion doesn't matter," Heidi Klum reportedly said to him - bitch), she turned to him during the Season 8 finale. Apparently it was Micheal Kors and Nina Garcia for Gretchen (who's name sparked a resounding "Boo!") vs. Heidi and Tim for Mondo. Majority ruled on this one, but Mondo fans can rejoice in his return for the All Stars season (9 p.m. Thursdays on Lifetime).

Of course, the true message of the night was about maintaining quality, taste and style - not just in clothing, but in the overall way we present ourselves and interact with others. Gunn mentioned fit as a major fashion problem for most - people often buy too large or too small for their frame. He also tried to convince the fashionally-challenged that what we wear really does matter: "It's not superficial, it's true!" he said, asking the audience how we can tell who the wait staff is at a restaurant - uniforms.

And speaking of the service industry, Tim offered a bit of advice that I have considered many times. Whenever there is someone with whom you might have a significant personal or professional relationship, go out to eat with them and pay attention to how they treat the staff. How they act toward someone in service can be very revealing as to what kind of person they are. On behalf of servers everywhere, we love you, Tim.

Gunn also discussed the problem with larger sizes in fashion. He expressed his disgust with the lack of clothing options in plus sizes (which, sadly, can be considered size 8 and above), but moreso with the attitude of designers who don't want to make clothing above a certain size. It was great to finally hear someone in the fashion industry discuss the problems in sizing - If a designer chooses to go above a size 10, the clothing is sized up the same as every other size, meaning the design is exactly the same, just bigger. Gunn argues that designers should instead re-size the garment so proportions are correct and all the garment's lines match up correctly on the body. Any curvy girls out there can certainly testify to this need.

Finally, during a Q&A session with the audience, Tim spoke out about PETA and the use of fur in fashion. He fought to get a representative from PETA into his class at Parsons School for Design and was surprised by how wrong common perceptions of the group are. "I would never tell anyone to not wear fur," he explained,"but if you choose to wear fur, it's your responsibility to know where it comes from."

Alright, so I am a little biased (I geek-ily have him listed under my "People who inspire me" on Facebook), but Gunn's talk was really entertaining. Even my straight, completely-normal-dude boyfriend enjoyed it! Clearly a storyteller (he opened with "If I start rambling, somebody yell, 'Shut up, Tim!'"), it was truly a delight to hear his quips and tips.

I'll share his parting advice, a great mantra for the new year: "Keep making it work!" Swoon.

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<![CDATA[Your Weekend To Do List: 12/16-12/18]]>

With the holidays right around the corner, this weekend promises plenty of twinkling lights, Christmas songs and the one gift the three wise men forgot: booze. ---

Tonight, watch Over-the-Rhine begin to glow as volunteers place luminaries across the neighborhood. Light Up OTR kicks off at Neon's, so meet there at 7 p.m. if you'd like to help or just enjoy one of their 12 days of Christmas beers and watch the lighting of their OTR tree. There will also be a Bright Ride across town for bike enthusiasts looking to add to the cheer.

On the other side of the river tonight, Powerhouse Factories presents Pass the Flask, a gig poster holiday bash. Enjoy seasonal cocktails and get some awesome, unique gifts for the music lovers on your list.

Over the Rhine present their annual Holiday Homecoming show Saturday at Taft Theater. Fans can expect to hear OTR hits as well as holiday classics.

Cincinnati Ballet gave The Nutcracker a whimsical makeover for 2011. Check out new choreography, costumes and more surprises at The Aronoff Center through Dec. 24. Read our interview with the woman behind all the exciting updates, CEO, Choreographer and Artistic Director Victoria Morgan, here.

If there's one theater show that packs the most holiday punch this year, it's Cincinnati Shakespeare Company's Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!). Get a shot of all your favorite holiday tales, presented in 90-minutes by an intoxicated Santa Claus. Shows this week are at Arnold's Bar & Grill, so come early and enjoy a delish dinner before the hilarious show.

Of course, there are more holiday shows, attractions and events than you can shake a candy cane at (as well as non-holiday concerts, comedy acts and art shows for all y'all Grinches), so check out all our recommendations here. Looking ahead? Here's our holiday guide, including seasonal events, attractions, films, stories, gift-guides, TV shows, music and more. Happy Weekend!

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