This weekend, more light displays are opening and holiday theater is hitting local stages. There's also a Taylor Swift-themed party, a live tattooing event at Rhinegeist and the O.F.F. Market returns to Summit Park.
Friday, Nov. 19
Hamilton's Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum is upping the wow factor once again with its second-annual Journey BOREALIS drive-thru light display. The immersive illuminated experience includes "light art, installation art, and projection mapping," says a release. Displays include an ode to Hanukkah and a journey through a German-inspired candy cane forest (with yarn-wrapped trees), Grinch's Greenland, Bethlehem and the North Pole. This year's soundtrack will be provided by the Butler Philharmonic Orchestra with tracks sung by the Cincinnati Boychoir. Before visiting, download the Otocast app to your phone for a mapped musical experience. Nov. 19-Jan. 2, 2022. $20 per car Monday-Thursday; $25 per car Friday-Sunday; $15 per car for members; free for Hamilton residents on Tuesdays. 1763 Hamilton Cleves Road, Hamilton, journeyborealis.com. Read CityBeat's list of 13 more holiday light displays, including Holiday in Lights at Sharon Woods, which also opens Nov. 19.
Miracle, a national nostalgic holiday bar pop-up experience, is returning to transform Pleasant Ridge's Overlook Lodge into a winter wonderland full of themed cocktails and ugly sweaters. Now in its fifth year at the Overlook — overseen by local Gorilla Cinema Presents, a creative company that traffics in immersive concept bars and enchanting nightlife spots — Miracle promises a 75-minute cocktail experience. Following a similar format to last year's event, this year's Miracle will require tickets. The event will transform the typically The Shining-themed Overlook Lodge into a kitschy Christmas stop. Tickets include a welcome shot and two cocktails from the holiday-themed menu. Opens Nov. 19. $35.Tickets are now on sale at theoverlooklodge.ticketleap.com, with reservations for parties of 2, 4, 6 and 8 available through Dec. 24. 6083 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge, thatshiningbar.com.PHOTOS: A look inside last year's festive-as-heck Miracle pop-up at Overlook Lodge.
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is transforming into an illuminated wonderland for the 39th-annual Festival of Lights, ranked the No. 1 zoo light show in America by USA Today for three years in a row. This year's display will feature 4 million LED lights spread throughout the park, as well as 27 glowing animal lanterns and the fan-favorite synchronized Wild Lights show at Swan Lake. A new "Under the Sea" area at Cat Canyon will offer some immersive fun and a new photo op. 4-9 p.m. daily through Jan. 9, 2022. The Cincinnati Zoo itself still opens at 10 a.m. daily during that time. The Festival of Lights is included with zoo admission. 3400 Vine St., Avondale, cincinnatizoo.org.
Taylor Swift just released her version of her iconic album Red and fans are going wild. And, if you aren't going wild, you are at least very aware of the pop culture impact of Swift — and the 10-minute short film for song "All Too Well," that seems to catalog her relationship and breakup with Jake Gyllenhaal. To celebrate the release of Red (Taylor's Version), Over-the-Rhine discotheque e19 is hosting a special party. They'll be playing classic Swift tunes, remixes and more all evening. Event organizers want you to come "dressed as your favorite Taylor Swift look (any era) for a chance to participate in the runway show." The best outfit will win a prize and the winner will be crowed "Swiftie of the Night." 6-9 p.m. Nov. 19. $10. 1905 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, eventbrite.com.
Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!) at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company
If you’re weary of the avalanche of “beloved holiday classics” this time of year, here’s your show. A couple of actors revolt and refuse to perform another retelling of A Christmas Carol. Instead, they trot out every “BHC” — aka “Beloved Holiday Classic” — they can think of and (for 90 minutes) poke fun at the holidays. Shows often sell out, so call soon to see Rudolph, Frosty, Charlie Brown, Mr. Grinch, George Bailey and — of course — Ebenezer Scrooge get their chestnuts roasted. Face masks and proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test required. Nov. 19-Dec. 26. Tickets start at $14. 1195 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cincyshakes.com.
South Carolina-based husband-and-wife duo Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent initially had no intention of making Shovels & Rope a permanent music-making union. Yet here we are 13 years and multiple albums later, each effort a slight creative shift following a self-titled debut that announced the presence of two voices with grit and grace, delivering Roots-fortified tunes that simultaneously nod toward tradition and go their own way. Shovels & Rope’s most recent album of original material, 2019’s By Blood, is perhaps the band’s most sonically expansive set to date, mixing raucous foot-stompers like “I’m Coming Out” and “Mississippi Nuthin’” with mid-tempo soul-stirrers like “Good Old Days” and “C’Mon Utah!." Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test from the past 72 hours is required. Masks are encouraged. 7 p.m. doors Nov. 19. $25 advance; $30 day-of. 342 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, ludlowgaragecincinnati.com.
Priscilla Queen of the Desert by Cincinnati Music Theatre
This musical is based on the 2006 adaptation of the popular 1994 movie The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, about three drag queens taking a picturesque trek across the Australian outback in a colorful bus they dub “Priscilla.” Adapted by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott from Elliott’s motion picture, it features music from the movie. However, in the style of Mamma Mia!, the musical uses additional Pop numbers — some lip-synced and some performed — for a broad array of purposes, from evocative to flat-out hilarious. Through Nov. 20. Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, cincinnatiarts.org/events.
Saturday, Nov. 20
Rhinegiest is hosting its second INKED event at its Over-the-Rhine brewery to celebrate the seasonal release of its Ink stout. INKED will feature artists from favorite local tattoo shops White Whale, Black Fern and Lonesome Town Tattoo, who will be giving pre-selected flash art tattoos — live. If you're on the fence, maybe a pint of Rhinegiest's seasonal imperial stout, Ink, will set you over the edge to get some real ink. Rhinegeist Ink was first released in 2014 to great success. "Blacker than night, Ink stains the soul. An indelible chasm of roasted malt, plunging through notes of coffee, dark fruit, and milk chocolate. Gaze long into the darkness and the darkness will gaze back into you," writes Rhinegeist of the beer on its website. Noon-8 p.m. Nov. 20. Free admission. 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,rhinegeist.com.
Holiday O.F.F. Market
The O.F.F. Market returns to Summit Park in Blue Ash for a day of shopping, craft beer and ice skating. Browse vendor booths set up across the park for local goods ranging from artisan eats and apothecary items to vintage finds, jewelry, T-shirts and more. Snag a beer from Fifty West to sip while you shop. The Warm 98 ice rink is also open with $7 admission (includes skate rental).10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 20. Free admission. 4335 Glendale Milford Road, Blue Ash, theoffmarket.org.
Light Up the Levee
Newport on the Levee gets in the holiday spirit this weekend with Light Up the Levee. The family-friendly event includes activities like face painting and balloon art, with the chance to write Santa your very own letter. For the grown-ups, Bridgeview Box Park will have a DJ playing holiday favorites, plus themed food and drink specials. At 6 p.m., they'll light the tree at Aquarium Plaza and the man in red will pay a visit. Look for carolers at 5 p.m., with a performance from the Clyde Brown Band at 5:30 and 6:15 p.m., and a fireworks display at 6:10 p.m. Noon-5 p.m. Nov. 20. Free admission. 1 Levee Way, Newport on the Levee, newportonthelevee.com/light-up-the-levee.
Sunday, Nov. 21
Wicked at the Aronoff Center
The touring production of this Broadway favorite is onstage now at the Aronoff Center. Discover what happened in Oz before Dorothy dropped in. Wicked is the "untold true story of the Witches of Oz" — Elphaba (the "wicked" witch) and Glenda (the "good" witch) — says the production descriptions. Expect hit songs including "Defying Gravity," "Popular" and "For Good." The New York Times called the show “the defining musical of the decade.” Masks and proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test required. Through Dec. 5. Tickets start at $43. 650 Walnut St., Downtown, cincinnatiarts.org.
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