Something fucking awesome happened in Cincinnati on July's Final Friday. A dude with a card table, some DJ stuff and a microphone (two turntables and a microphone, even) incited a random dance party with over 100 people around 1212 Main Street in Over-the-Rhine.
Music was pumping, and people flocked to it. I have never witnessed such an amassing of complete strangers and intimate friends. Plaid-clad hipsters were cutting loose with older, baggy-shirted locals. Drunk people who had tumbled out of bars were sweating out all the alcohol they had just paid for to Kool and the Gang. Everyone was incredibly, stupidly happy.
There was no reason for it. No social networking was involved. Nobody knew about it through a text or because they were Tweeted at or received a Facebook invite. It wasn’t sponsored by Final Friday, and it wasn’t even planned. DJ Alcatone, the awesome instigator, shrugged his shoulders when I asked him (over the Funk blaring out from two speakers), why he was playing music on a street corner in OTR. He said he just was. And people were just dancing.
There were three guys dancing in the middle of the damn street, stopping cars to gyrate in front of them. One was dancing intensely, and then he paused and directed traffic around other dancers. An SUV pulled up and four dudes sat on the edge of the car windows, took their shirts off, and held their arms in the air.
An entire two-block span of Main Street was filled with sweaty, writhing people. DJ Alcatone started a soul train in the middle of the crowd. There was a break-dancing competition, and seriously, who knew old people could get down like that? One guy did that thing where he contorted his whole body in the air, resting solely on his hand on the ground. (Yoga has not prepared me to attempt this.)
Cell phones crowded in the air, everyone snapping pictures of the “something” that was happening right in front of them. Cops drove by and didn’t stop. The opposite side of the street was crowded with overflow dancers. A girl with an “I’m the bachelorette!” sash across her torso sashayed in front of cars, darting back and forth between the two sides. There was even a man with a broken leg in a wheelchair. Seriously. He was spinning on his wheels, grooving to the music.
It was like someone had pressed pause on every social, racial and economic stricture and preconception, and hit “play” for uninhibited, good-spirited, uplifting interaction. It was so simple, and no one stopped to think about it. No one stopped to consider “what it meant,” or why it was happening, or how it could be better. Honestly, it couldn’t have been better.
The police were called about two hours in, and were actually smiling when they told everyone the party had to end. That was probably the best time to have the party end — before everyone remembered themselves, the faces we all put on for the everyday world, the way we conduct ourselves around people we want to impress. No one was trying to impress anyone. Even the bad dancers (there were a few) were applauded. It was the fact that everyone involved stepped outside of themselves, without any catalyst or promise of reward, and for two hours, we just were.
The weekly, true storytelling public radio show with its quirky, adorable host seriously has something for everyone — timely topics, laugh-out-loud (or cry-out-loud) anecdotes, thoughtful insight. TAL even got my stubborn, conservative father to listen to NPR on a regular basis. So since we can all agree how awesome it is, let's celebrate the announcement that Ira and Co. will present a live show in New York City, to be broadcast in movie theaters across the country on May 10.
Those who watched the television adaptation of This American Life know how flawlessly the program can be adapted to incorporate visual elements with the standard unscripted storytelling format. But the live show is set to involve more than just interviews and animations seen in the TV program.
The show will go live at 8 p.m. May 10 onstage at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. If you can't make the trip to the Big Apple (it's sold out anyway), check it out at one of many local theaters screening the show, including AMC Newport, Western Hills 14, Florence 14, Milford 16, Springdale Showcase Cinemas and Deerfield Town Center. Many of these theaters will present an encore screening May 15 as well. Go here for tickets.
And oldie but goodie from some PROJECTMILL members:
Living with the Amish is a documentary-style show originally aired on UK's Channel 4 in 2011. In that first season, six British teenagers (three boys, three girls) flew across the pond to live with Amish families in Ohio and Pennsylvania. This time, producers have teamed up with A&E for an all-American version.
"Having spent the last three years working with the Amish we have found them to have great wisdom and compassion in the difficult task of raising a family and this is something we will focus on in the new American series. We are therefore looking for families that feel they could learn something from the Amish lifestyle and way of parenting. For example, a single mother struggling to maintain discipline and authority in her household, or parents worried that their teenage son might be at risk of making poor life choices, or a daughter rebelling against her parents' authority. We hope that the time with the Amish will open their eyes to a different way of thinking and will be a positive and enriching experience for all those involved."
Did you know there's such a thing as National Etiquette Week? And that it's happening right fucking now?
Of course there is. This is America, motherfuckers.
Well, while the rest of the country is practicing their table manners and shit, we in Ohio apparently don't give a damn, according to a recent study conducted by Seattle-based Marchex Institute.
The bitches at Marchex apparently listened in on 600,000 calls placed from consumers to businesses across 30 different industries, and found that out of all 50 states, Ohioans are most likely to go AWOL on the phone.
Washington state was the least likely to curse. They swore about every 300 conversations; we dropped expletives about every 150 exchanges.
According to the findings, Washingtonians were also 800 times more likely to be afraid of caterpillars and use only anti-bacterial soap, while Ohioans were 46 times more likely to crush beer cans with their hands or eat store-bought apples before they even washed them.
We're guessing Washingtonians probably say things like, "Bejabbers!" or "Criminy!" when shit goes wrong. And that's just fuckin' lame.
Oh, and guys, don't forget — tomorrow is National Sea Monkey Day.
Pork-themed festivals are plentiful in Cincinnati, but this weekend marks the first ever Queen City Sausage Festival. Friday-Sunday, head down to Newport on the Levee to fill your belly with brats, metts, coneys and more creative sausagey combinations. To ensure a great time for all, Hudepohl and Christian Moerlein will be serving up brewskies and there will be live music, games and kids activities. Go here for festival hours and more info.
Looking for a fest with a little more history behind it? Schutzenfest is "Zinzinnati's" oldest festival, celebrating all things German since 1866. Enjoy different types of authentic German music and performances at the Kolping Center Friday-Sunday. Don't miss the opening parade and the crowning of King and Queen Sunday afternoon. For directions and a full event schedule, go here.
This weekend's Cincinnati Boutique Sale brings every fashion-savvy gal's favorite independent shops together under one roof - the space formerly occupied by Anthropologie at Rookwood Commons, to be exact. For a suggested donation of $5 (benefiting the Karen Wellington Foundation for living with breast cancer), you can browse clothing, shoes and accessories from top local boutiques such as Soho, The Wardrobe, Sara Benjamin's and more. Go here for all the details.
Laughter is good for you. The act of laughing can lower blood pressure, make your body more resilient and even work muscles in your face and abs. So say goodbye to that double-chin and beer belly with the help of comedian Steve White, who performs at Funny Bone on the Levee through Sunday. You may recognize White from several Spike Lee films, '90s television gold (Martin, Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, need I go on?) or comedy clubs across America. Check out our interview with him here.
How about a little roadtrip? The Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus is an engaging space that celebrates visual art, music, performance art, film and everything in between. Open Saturday and Sunday during the summer, the space's galleries are currently showing three sexually-charged multimedia exhibits. Read all about them here and make the trip soon - these exhibits end July 31. In addition, Wexner's Contemporary Screen series continues Friday and Saturday night. This series promises area and regional premieres, international film festival favorites and all kinds of flicks you certainly won't find at Showcase Cinemas. This weekend you can check out The Arbor, based on the life and autobiographical writings of the late British playwright Andrea Dunbar. Be sure to check out the Wexner Center Store because, well, museum gift shops are always sweet as hell. Go here for directions, hours and ticket info.
At Sunday's OTR Pool Party, you can enjoy all the fun of dumpster diving minus the empty pizza boxes and risk of hepatitis. Back in 2009, hipsters in Brooklyn gained attention by turning unused trash receptacles into little watering holes and it wasn't that gross because the dumpsters were cleaned, sealed and covered with pool liners. And although Cincinnati's always behind the times, we're finally catching on to the trend. With a $50 donation to Chris Seelbach's City Council campaign, you can get your swim on, enjoy free grilled grub and an open bar, get framed by the fabulous photoboothers at Framester and dance to tunes spun by the almost-too-sexy Diamonn Gurr. It's sure to be one of the biggest parties of the summer, so go here for all the deets and here to register and donate early so you can skip the line Sunday.
This is just a taste of all there is to do! Go here for all of our weekly recommendations.
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.
That’s right, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, Cincinnati is the 21st best city in the United States.
The news wire cites Cincinnati’s picturesque downtown, Great American Ball Park, the Cincinnati Pops orchestra and the presence of corporate giant Procter & Gamble as reasons why the city was included in its list of “America’s 50 Best Cities.”
It also doesn’t hurt that have 105 bars, 600 restaurants, 18 museums, 35 libraries and two professional sports teams.
The rankings were based on leisure attributes (such as bars, restaurants and parks), educational attributes, economic factors, crime and air quality. Bloomberg Businessweek said the greatest weighting was placed on leisure amenities, (because having tons of bars to go to is way more important than a good public school system).
San Francisco topped the list of best cities, followed by hipster haven Seattle, Washington D.C. and Boston.
Cleveland barely made it onto the rankings at 46 and Columbus beat us out by one, ranking No. 20.
The Queen City (we at CityBeat are refusing to adopt the moniker “The City That Sings”) beat out such major metropolises as Los Angeles, St. Louis, Reno, Dallas, Indianapolis, San Antonio, Chicago and Houston.
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.
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:
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.
In quirkier event news, did you know there's a monthly meet-up of the Skeptical Society of Cincinnati where the group introduces a professional scientist to the public? Cincy Science Cafe is a casual gathering (usually at a bar) where the community can learn about interesting discoveries being made by area scientists. Tonight the crew meets at Glendale's Cock & Bull at 6 p.m. Go here for details.
Wednesdays are extra sexy at Northside Tavern — Sexy Time Live Band Karaoke takes over the back room this night each week. For those unfamiliar, STLBK is just how it sounds — the ultimate karaoke experience. You provide the vocals (and preferably hot dance moves) while a live band accompanies you. Be a Rock Star for, like, four minutes! Check out the group on Facebook. SexyTime for details and the song list. STLBK kicks off at 9 p.m.