What To Do This Weekend in Cincinnati: July 20-22

A Pink Floyd opera; 'Silicon Valley' star T.J. Miller; the City Flea; beer and tequila festivals; more

FRIDAY 20

click to enlarge T.J. Miller - Photo: Funny Bone
Photo: Funny Bone
T.J. Miller


COMEDY: T.J. Miller

The sometimes-controversial comedian and actor T.J. Miller takes the stage Friday and Saturday at the Funny Bone in Liberty Township. A headlining comedian for years, he is perhaps better known as an actor thanks to his run on the hit HBO series Silicon Valley. He left that show after two seasons, much to the dismay of fans including Jimmy Kimmel, who asked Miller about it last year on his talk show. Miller explained he simply wanted to spend more time with his wife in New York and that the plot presented a good exit point. On stage, Miller’s act can be described as “contained silliness.” “That’s a pretty good way of putting it,” he says. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard that exact phrase. I like to think that I’m a very polite maniac.” Miller offers up a variety of comedy in his set. “There’s observational stuff, true stories, then there are things that are just absurdist notions,” he says. Miller has been in the news in recent years for everything from calling in a fake bomb threat on an Amtrak train to allegedly assaulting an Uber driver over a disagreement about Donald Trump to allegations of sexual abuse while he was in college at George Washington University. “People need a villain, and I’m occupying that space,” he told Vulture in an interview published in 2017. “Nobody right now is publicly the Lindsay Lohan–train wreck–but–not–quite person. If I’d just said it was an honor to work on Silicon Valley and was thankful to Alec Berg, I would have disappeared. Instead, by being just a little authentic, I infected the news cycle. ...It’s more important to be polarizing than neutralizing. That’s my position.” More info here7:30 and 10 p.m. Friday; 7 and 10 p.m. Saturday. $25-$55. Funny Bone Liberty, 7518 Bales St., Liberty Township, liberty.funnybone.com

EVENT: Shutzenfest Cincinnati 2018 

America’s longest-running German fest has its roots in medieval times (the era, not the restaurant). A marksman saved a child from an eagle attack by shooting the bird and people began celebrating this event with a festival. Germans brought the Schützenfest to Cincinnati in the 1860s with an event that includes the shooting of a hand-carved eagle, authentic German food, live German music, rides, attractions and German and domestic beer (and wine). 6 p.m.-midnight Friday; 4 p.m.-midnight Saturday; 1-9 p.m. Sunday. Free. Kolping Society, 10235 Mill Road, Finneytown, schuetzenfestcincy.com.

ONSTAGE: Cincinnati Opera's Another Brick in the Wall 

click to enlarge Nathan Keoughan will sing the lead role in Cincinnati Opera's U.S. premiere of Another Brick in the Wall - Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Nathan Keoughan will sing the lead role in Cincinnati Opera's U.S. premiere of Another Brick in the Wall

One of the year’s most highly anticipated events on the local cultural calendar begins Friday (July 20) as Cincinnati Opera presents the U.S. premiere of Another Brick in the Wall at Music Hallwith an original score adapted from Pink Floyd’s 1979 classic Rock album The Wall. Last year’s world premiere by Opera Montreal sold out 10 performances, garnered international coverage and led to Cincinnati Opera signing on as a co-producer. There will be five 7:30 p.m. performances here through July 31. “Adapted from” — those are key words. Another Brick in the Wall is not a note-for-note transcription of the music written by Pink Floyd’s bassist/vocalist/songwriter Roger Waters, although the lyrics are all there. The operatic version is by Canadian composer Julien Bilodeau and incorporates themes from the iconic album for a large orchestra, minus electric guitars and percussion. The burned-out and alienated Rock star named Pink who dominates the album’s narrative now shares the stage with seven other singers portraying the characters in his life. The 51-member chorus has a huge role, and 21 non-speaking, non-singing extras fill the stage; 64 Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra musicians play the score live. Another Brick in the Wall is presented by Cincinnati Opera for five 7:30 p.m. performances between Friday (July 20) and July 31 at Music Hall (1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine). Tickets: cincinnatiopera.org.

EVENT: Cincinnati Burger Week

click to enlarge Eating a burger at Burger Week - Photo: Jesse Fox
Photo: Jesse Fox
Eating a burger at Burger Week

CityBeat's Burger Week is back for seven days of $5 burgers at more than 70 restaurants across the Tri-State. From July 16-22, hungry humans can find a burger for every palate, whether your favorite combo is classic with tomato, lettuce and mayo; vegan; or covered in mac and cheese. Participating restaurants will also be featuring beers from Braxton Brewing Company and drink specials from Jack Daniels to help wash down those burgers. Let your Official Burger Week Passport guide you through all the best spots to chow down and get it stamped at each restaurant you visit. If you collect three or more stamps, you can submit it for a chance to win a grill and a sweet summer grill-out party courtesy of the Ohio Beef Council. More info: cincinnatiburgerweek.com.  

ART: Pharmacognosy Illustrated at the Lloyd Library & Museum

Pharmacognosy is, according to Merriam-Webster, “the branch of pharmacology dealing with medicinal substances of biological origin and especially medicinal substances obtained from plants.” The Lloyd Library & Museum has created a display related to the field featuring artifacts, archives and equipment that deal with natural pharmaceuticals. View medical illustrations, botanical art and medicinal plant specimens for a deeper and colorful learning experience. Opening reception 5:30-8 p.m. Friday. Free. Lloyd Library & Museum, 917 Plum St., Downtown, lloydlibrary.org.

EVENT: Suicide is a Drag

The Ohio Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, ISQCBBE and the Cincinnati Sisters are hosting this event to help raise awareness about the rate of suicide in this country, particularly among members of the LGBTQ community. Suicide is a Drag will feature food, drinks and a drag show. All donations go to AFSP research, prevention, education and advocacy. 7-10 p.m. Friday. $10. American Sign Museum, 1330 Monmouth Ave., Camp Washington, facebook.com/afspohiochapter.

SATURDAY 21

The City Flea - Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
The City Flea


EVENT: The City Flea

Cincy’s original curated urban flea market returns to Washington Park for a day of local shopping. The park will be taken over by hundreds of vendors and small business selling everything from craft coffee and vintage finds to T-shirts, ceramics and skincare. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Free admission. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, thecityflea.com

ONSTAGE: All The Way at Mariemont Players

Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson unexpectedly became an American president when John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. A year later, Johnson ran to fill the office he assumed in the midst of tragedy. His campaign slogan: “All the Way with LBJ.” Robert Schenkkan has translated the ambitious Texan into a theatrical character in this 2012 script, first presented at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. And Johnson is indeed presented as a Shakespearean figure, charismatic and conflicted, portrayed by A.J. Ford from Mariemont Players. It’s unusual fare for a community theater, but it’s sure to be compelling with staging by veteran director Ed Cohen. Through July 29. $20; $15 student. 4101 Walton Creek Road, Mariemont, mariemontplayers.com.

EVENT: NamasDEY

click to enlarge NamasDEY - Photo: Yoga Bar
Photo: Yoga Bar
NamasDEY

Practice your best downward dog pose in preparation for the fourth annual “NamasDEY” yoga class on the field of Paul Brown Stadium. Led by instructors from The Yoga Bar, you’ll be guided through a variety of standing and seated poses, which have been shown to help strength and flexibility. Don’t worry: there will also be plenty of mindful breathing and mediation, so bring a mat and get ready to namaslay with the “Who Dey” Nation. Proceeds go toward helping provide feminine care products to women in need. Register online. Held rain or shine. 8 a.m. check-in; 9 a.m. class Saturday. $10. Paul Brown Stadium, 1 Paul Brown Stadium, Downtown, bengals.com/fans/namasdey.

EVENT: Tequila Fest Cincinnati

Some people love a wine tasting, others dream of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Tequila lovers, now is your time. Head downtown for a night of tequila tasting, live music and (probably) some agave-influenced shenanigans. Sample up to 12 of over 50 different top-shelf tequilas and enjoy beer and drink specials, a 50/50 raffle and entertainment from The Sun King Warriors and One World Tribe. Hit up the food trucks or purchase a VIP ticket for access to a DIY taco bar and more premium tequilas like Roca Patrón Añejo 44 and Don Julio 1942. With roughly half-ounce sample pours, you’re getting at least six tequila shots, if not more. Just know — once you start getting the urge to dance on the stage, it’s time to go home. 7-11 p.m. Saturday. $45 general admission; $125 VIP; $50 late registration (July 15 to July 20). Fountain Square, 520 Vine St., Downtown, tequilafestusa.com

EVENT: Crafted Food, Beer & Music Festival

What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than eating as much food as possible and washing it all down with 84 ounces of beer? Sawyer Point is hosting a riverside picnic in conjunction with seven different restaurants and more than 38 craft beer options featuring everyone from Bouquet Restaurant & Wine Bar and the Mac Shack to Fifty West, MadTree, Rhinegeist and Bad Tom Smith. Beer drinkin’ tunes will be provided courtesy of Buffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustle and Doc Robinson. And you don’t have to feel bad about your gluttony because a portion of the ticket sales will go toward funding the League for Animal Welfare. 2-6 p.m. Saturday. $60; $85 VIP; $35 designated driver. Sawyer Point, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Downtown, craftedfest.com.

ART: Ansel Adams: A Photographer’s Evolution  at the Taft Museum of Art and Yousuf Karsh: American Portraits at the Dayton Art Institute

Two of the most influential and instantly recognizable — but very different — photographs ever taken in North America were done in the final months of the same year: 1941. As fate would have it, you can study excellent prints of both at two separate, simultaneous exhibitions at local museums through Sept. 16. Both are black-and-white. One, “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico” by Ansel Adams, essentially is a spookily atmospheric landscape in a remote New Mexico location. Seeing it close-up now, as a pristine gelatin silver print in an exhibit at the Taft Museum of Art, you feel its darkening sky is about to reveal big secrets. The other influential photograph, a gelatin silver print by the portraitist Yousuf Karsh on display at the Dayton Art Institute, couldn’t be less eerily atmospheric. A stiffly dressed Winston Churchill, the British prime minister then under the pressure of World War II, glowers into the camera, looking willfully strong. Your eyes and Churchill’s are together “locked in tight,” to quote Bob Dylan, and there’s no peaceful, quiet way out. You are facing, to use a word often used to describe Churchill in this definitive photograph, a “bulldog.” More info: taftmuseum.org and daytonartinstitute.org.

SUNDAY 22

click to enlarge Howlin Rain - Photo: Kristy Walker
Photo: Kristy Walker
Howlin Rain


MUSIC: Howlin Rain

Nearly 20 years ago, guitarist/vocalist Ethan Miller co-founded Comets on Fire, a raucous SoCal Psych/Garage Rock quintet with a mile-wide experimental streak and a cultishly fervent fan base. Although the band checked all the right boxes for new millennium noisemongers, Miller ultimately wanted to explore a sound rooted in Classic Rock melodicism and traditions. To that end he formed Howlin Rain, a side project that quickly eclipsed its parent band in terms of exposure and acceptance. The current Howlin Rain lineup — guitarist Dan Cervantes, bassist Jeff McElroy and drummer Justin Smith — released their sixth and perhaps best album to date, the brilliantly rough and tumble The Alligator Bride, which hit the streets early last month. By all accounts, the freshly energized Howlin Rain has given the new album a scorching presentation on its latest tour circuit, with Miller and his new cohorts sounding like stall-kicking thoroughbreds. 8 p.m. Free. MOTR Pub, 1345 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, more info here.

EVENT: The Good People Festival

The Good People Festival is back for its fifth year, taking over the Baker Hunt Art & Cultural Center in Covington. Founded in 2014 by local business owner Rachel DesRochers, the mind behind Grateful Grahams and businesses like the Northern Kentucky Incubator Kitchen, the fest focuses on building community and giving thanks. The free fest, which takes place from noon-6 p.m. on Sunday, features live music, cold beer from MadTree, multiple food vendors and a kids' craft area with Robot Inside Crafting Company. Bands include: Young Heirlooms, Chelsea Ford & The Trouble, The Newbees, Stephen Williams, Maria Carrelli, Krysta Peterson & The Queen City Band and Ben Knight & The Welldiggers. Noon-8 p.m. Sunday. Free admission. Baker Hunt Art & Culture Center, 620 Greenup St., Covington. More info here.

EVENT: Summer Bake Sale at Please

OTR eatery Please is hosting a series of part brunch/part pop-up “bake sales” with some of the finest female pastry chefs in the country — all complemented by featured wines, exclusively from female winemakers. Zoe Taylor is the featured chef in July. Taylor is a decorated pastry chef from Milktooth in Indianapolis and an outspoken advocate about gender bias and injustice in the restaurant industry. Events are first come, first served. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Free admission. Please, 1405 Clay St., Over-the-Rhine, pleasecincinnati.com.

COMEDY: Neil Hamburger

What do you get when you add a tux to greasy combover and a throat full of phlegm? The “brilliantly awful” Neil Hamburger, so says the New York Times. The anti-comedy underdog (a character played by Australian comedian and musician Gregg Turkington) is coming to Cincinnati and bringing with him his sometimes rude, usually gross and reliably off-color jokes. But it’s not all for laughs. He asks existential, intrinsically human questions like, “Why did Metallica cut their hair?” and, “Why did God create Domino’s Pizza?” The answers? Well, we’d rather not print them — all we’ll say is that they’re literally horrible. If you’re eager enough to know, you can ask him yourself on Sunday. But be warned, if you talk during his set, he’ll definitely heckle you back. 7-10 p.m. Sunday. $20. The Woodward Theater, 1404 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, woodwardtheater.com.

ART: Make Way for Ducklings at the Cincinnati Art Museum

click to enlarge An illustration from Burt Dow: Deep-Water Man - Photo: The May Masse Collection
Photo: The May Masse Collection
An illustration from Burt Dow: Deep-Water Man

The Cincinnati Art Museum is exhibiting the artwork of Robert McCloskey, the late Hamilton, Ohio-born author/illustrator best known for taking young readers blueberry picking in Maine and on a delightful walk with ducklings, starting some 70 years ago. Make Way for Ducklings: The Art of Robert McCloskey was organized by the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Mass. More than 100 pieces, including preliminary book sketches, private paintings and photographs of McCloskey with his daughters have been assembled for a thoughtful, nostalgic study of an artist who shied away from attention himself but depicted everything around him with careful detail. Through Sept. 9. Free. Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams, more info here.

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