Your Weekend To Do List (July 21-23)

Indulge in two days of swine-centric eats at CityBeat's Pig & Whiskey Festival; catch Emmy, GLAAD and Grammy-nominated comedian, actor and writer Tig Notaro at Taft Theatre; teeter along the landscape of oddities at the Vent Haven Museum.

FRIDAY 21

click to enlarge PHOTO: HAILEY BOLLINGER
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

EVENT: PORKOPOLIS PIG & WHISKEY FESTIVAL

With a nickname like “Porkopolis,” it’s no stretch to say that Cincinnati knows a thing or two about pork, and we’re celebrating the whole hog with two days of swine-centric eats, happily topped off by whiskey and music. CityBeat’s third-annual all-ages Pig & Whiskey Festival, presented by Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, takes over Summit Park on Friday and Saturday. Pair your barbecue bites from vendors like Eli’s BBQ, Pit to Plate and Sweets & Meats with pours from the likes of New Riff, Northside Distilling Co. and Maker’s Mark, then head to the Whiskey and Bourbon Tent to keep on samplin’. Friday’s local music lineup includes the Willow Tree Carolers, Wonky Tonk and the Jay Jesse Johnson Band, and Saturday features Ma Crow and The Lady Slippers, Royal Holland and the Comet Bluegrass All-Stars. 5-10 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday. Free admission; food and drink available for purchase. Summit Park, 4335 Glendale Milford Road, Blue Ash, citybeat.com

EVENT: CINCINNATI BURGER WEEK 

Cincinnati Burger Week has returned with more than 50 eateries serving up $5 specialty burgers. From Mount Adams Pavilion’s Buffalo Chicken Dip Burger to Oakley Pub & Grill’s succulent Soul Burger, there’s no shortage of culinary concoctions to fulfill every meaty — or vegetarian — craving. Burgers available at each participating restaurant are listed on this year’s official Burger Week passport, including designations showing where vegetarian substitutes are available. Get your passport punched at at least three locations to be entered to win a grill-out party courtesy of the Ohio Beef Council. Through July 23. For a list of participating restaurantsvisit cincinnatiburgerweek.com.

click to enlarge PHOTO: PROVIDED
Photo: Provided

EVENT: NATIONAL VETERANS WHEELCHAIR GAMES

Paralyzed and disabled military veterans go for the gold at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games. The largest annual wheelchair sporting event in the nation features more than 600 athletes from across the U.S., Puerto Rico and Great Britain competing in 18 events like swimming, softball, hand cycling and archery. Every year, the Wheelchair Games look a little different because of the community hosting them; this year, there is a subtle “Porkopolis” theme as a nod to Cincinnati’s early history. Find a full list of events and competitions online. Through July 22. Free admission. Main venue is the Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Downtown, wheelchairgames.org. 

COMEDY: MIKE CRONIN

“I felt kind of stagnant here,” says comedian and Cincinnati native Mike Cronin. “I saw people at my level moving away and I didn’t feel like I was getting motivated or pushed to do better. I thought a move would help that a lot — and it has.” It’s been two years since he packed his bags for Chicago to pursue stand-up, specifically improv. “Chicago is the home of that,” he says. Ironically, he’s been so successful booking stand-up dates he hasn’t had time to do other types of comedy. He still plans to work toward improv by calling on his experience with the live sketch show Underbelly, which ran here for a number of years. Showtimes Thursday-Sunday. $8-$14. Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, gobananascomedy.com

click to enlarge PHOTO: BOB CHAMBERLIN
Photo: Bob Chamberlin

COMEDY: TIG NOTARO

Tig Notaro, an Emmy, GLAAD and Grammy-nominated comedian, actor and writer from Mississippi, approaches comedy without fear of discomfort. She doesn’t stray from the honest or the personal; her work discusses everything from her bout with bilateral breast cancer — she’s now in remission — to her sexuality to being mistaken for a man at airport security. Notaro, who also stars in the semi-autobiographical Amazon series One Mississippi and Netflix documentary Tig, delves into the uncomfortable and makes it feel light. She often teeters on the edges of absurd humor — particularly in her most recent HBO special Boyish Girl Interrupted, where her usual deadpan delivery is served along with a side of unabashed goofiness. And, according to Notaro’s special, “Every single show (she’s) done, (she’s) gotten a standing ovation.” See for yourself. Doors open at 7 p.m. Friday. $37.50. Taft Theatre, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown, tafttheatre.org

click to enlarge PHOTO: JASON BURGESS
Photo: Jason Burgess

ONSTAGE: LES MISÉRABLES

Victor Hugo’s epic story of Jean Valjean’s lifelong hunt for redemption — he is unjustly sent to prison, then relentlessly pursued for years by the vindictive Inspector Javert — is being presented this week and next by the Commonwealth Artists Summer Theatre. Les Misérables School Edition is the sixth summer musical production by CAST. The annual results have been impressive, using an all-student cast, designer team and backstage crew. It’s a big undertaking with kids from 19 area high schools, but theater instructor Jason Burgess has the formula for success. Through July 30. $12. Highlands High School Performing Arts Center, 2400 Memorial Parkway, Fort Thomas, Ky., castnky.com

click to enlarge PHOTO: PROVIDED
Photo: Provided

EVENT: SCHÜTZENFEST

As America’s longest-running German festival, Schützenfest celebrates its 151st anniversary this year. In 1866, German immigrants brought this Medieval tradition with them as a way to honor a marksman who saved a child from an eagle attack. Today. marksmen can compete for the yearly crowned title of “Schützenkönig,” or Shooting King, by shooting at a hand-carved wooden eagle. As for the food, Schützenfest will serve up authentic German cuisine like schnitzel, Bavarian goulash, spätzle and more. And, of course, there will be bier. 6 p.m.-midnight Friday; 4 p.m.-midnight, Saturday; 1-9 p.m. Sunday. $3. Kolping Society, 10235 Mill Road, Mount Healthy, schuetzenfestcincy.com

click to enlarge PHOTO: PROVIDED BY CINCINNATI FILM SOCIETY
Photo: Provided by Cincinnati Film Society

FILM: ASBURY SHORT FILM CONCERTS

Are you a movie buff? Want to actually know the short films that are nominated for awards at your next Oscar party? You’re in luck! The New York-based Asbury Shorts film fest is coming to Cincinnati as part of an annual tour screening the most significant shorts of this year and last. Watch these film festival darlings the way they were intended — on the big screen in a room full of people and anticipation. Since 1981, Asbury Shorts has been promoting these filmmakers’ important voices and vision by making the medium more accessible than ever. Enjoy a few laughs, shed a few tears and leave the festival with the satisfaction that you’re more cultured than your friends. 7:30-9:30 p.m. Friday. $12. The Mockbee, 2260 Central Parkway, West End, cincinnatifilmsociety.org

SATURDAY 22

EVENT: TEQUILA FEST 

Tequila Fest brings more than 30 different tequilas to Fountain Square — and you can sample 12 of them with admission. Enjoy award-winning, 100-percent agave tequilas — el Jimador, Tres Agaves, Herradura, Jose Cuervo and more — plus a margarita competition and live entertainment. Mazunte will bring a taste of Mexico with its authentic street food, and stop by the taco, salsa and guacamole bars so you won’t be drinking on an empty stomach. Admission includes tequila samples, food and a T-shirt (while supplies last). 7-10 p.m. Saturday. $55. Fountain Square, 520 Vine St., Downtown, tequilafestcincinnati.com

MUSIC: KOOL KEITH 

This weekend, Cincinnatians will have the opportunity to experience one of the most unique and innovative figures in Hip Hop history in an intimate club setting as Kool Keith comes to the Northside Yacht Club. Long established as one of the singular voices in underground music, Keith began blazing paths with his cohorts in Ultramagnetic MCs in the mid-’80s before torching the entire highway with his solo debut, Dr. Octagonecologyst, which was released under the name Dr. Octagon in 1996. Since then, Keith has remained remarkably prolific and unpredictable. His legacy is born from his willingness to not just transcend the established expectations of his chosen art form, but also to blow them up so spectacularly it creates a portal into music’s future. 10 p.m. Saturday. $15; $18 day of. Northside Yacht Club, 4227 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, northsideyachtclub.com. 

click to enlarge PHOTO: KANDICE ODISTER
Photo: Kandice Odister

ART: INVASION OF THE BOUGIE BLACK BARBIES AT NVISION 

As a young girl, artist Kandice Odister started designing and crafting clothes for her Barbies out of fabric scraps, making up elaborate personal histories for each doll as she went. Rediscovering her stash of Barbies at her mom’s house inspired her new exhibit, Invasion of the Bougie Black Barbies. The show combines two of her conceptual series — Bougie Black Barbie and Invasion of the Colored Barbies — to inspire “more true-to-life representations of women of color within the fashion industry and to kindle the imaginations of young women.” Odister has styled, clothed and photographed the badass Barbie, Rappin’ Rockin’ Christie, in a series of vignettes, digitally printed on large-scale canvases. Opening reception 6-10 p.m. Saturday. Through Sept. 3. Free. NVISION, 4577 Hamilton Ave., Northside, facebook.com/nvisioncincinnati. 

click to enlarge PHOTO: PROVIDED
Photo: Provided

EVENT: VENT HAVEN MUSEUM OPEN HOUSE

Teeter along the landscape of oddities at the Vent Haven Museum, a one-of-a-kind place that houses more than 800 ventriloquist dolls, play bills, memorabilia and books that date back to the 1700s. The sheer number of figurines may feel both intriguing and frightening, depending on how many horror movies you’ve watched. Located in Fort Mitchell, Vent Haven is the ultimate roadside attraction right outside of Cincinnati. Only open to the public a few times a year (and by appointment), the museum is a place of deep eccentricity coupled with history and knowledge that is otherwise scarce. Noon-3 p.m. Saturday. $10 donation; $5 seniors and children. 33 W. Maple Ave., Fort Mitchell, Ky. venthaven.org.  

SUNDAY 23

click to enlarge PHOTO: HAILEY BOLLINGER
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

COMEDY: COMEDYSPORTZ 

As I watch a grown man bake an imaginary cake in slow motion, I cannot help but think, without irony or sarcasm, “Well done, Cincinnati.” I’m taking in a ComedySportz match — a type of friendly scrimmage for improvised comedy. ComedySportz Cincinnati is a 6-month-old institution that, to me, acts as a symbol of a healthy local improv scene, a scene that even 5 years ago felt anemic. In a ComedySportz match, two groups of three improvisers form “red” and “blue” teams. Co-managers Kirk Keevert and Eileen Earnest hand-select each match’s players from a roster of around 30, based on, as Keevert says, “availability, strengths, experience” and more. The red team always is called the Cincinnati Big Machine; the blue one is always the Northern Kentucky Grass. These teams take turns performing improv comedy in a style called “short form,” made popular by Whose Line Is It AnywayComedySportz takes the sports metaphor pretty far. Performers are “players,” the stage is the “field” and, in lieu of a master of ceremonies, it uses a referee. The ref has the power to call fouls on improvisers and audience members alike — for instance, for breaking the event’s firm G-rating through innuendo or rough language. (In ComedySportz-speak, they “keep the comedy above the waistline.”) ComedySportz Cincinnati performs 8 p.m. most Friday nights at Memorial Hall. Tickets and more info: memorialhallotr.com.

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