Psychedelic music in the ’60s was characterized by thunderous volume, long flighty jams and seizure-inducing Pop Art light shows. Maybe the acid is better a half century later, but Psychedelia in the new millennium is more pastoral and reflective, sonic tendrils insinuating themselves into the cerebral cortex with a subtle yet palpable power and a message of unity, peace and, when necessary, resistance. Such is the passionate construct of The Bright Light Social Hour, a Texas quartet with a lysergic head, a Folk/Indie Rock heart and an activist soul.TBLSH began in 2004 when four Southwestern University students formed a Post Hardcore/Art Rock outfit, gaining a local reputation for their frenetic live presentation. The band was inactive while guitarist Curtis Roush studied audio production and vocalist/keyboardist Jack O’Brien pursued linguistics and Flamenco guitar in Spain. Drummer Thomas Choate left to study eco building and was replaced by high school beatkeeper Joseph Mirasole, while bassist Ryan O’Donoghue remained for TBLSH’s first EP, 2006’s Touches, until O’Brien and Roush transferred to the University of Texas’ master’s program and O’Donoghue stayed behind, at which point O’Brien took over on bass. Read more about the band in this week's Sound Advice. The Bright Light Social Hour plays Fountain Square. More info: myfountainsquare.com.
When C. Jacqueline Wood started her Mini Microcinema in 2015, it was temporary — she used a $15,000 Globe Grant from the People’s Liberty philanthropic lab to program shorts, art movies and documentaries for several months at the lab’s office space near Findlay Market. It was a hit, and its beautiful red and white cinema sign excited and inspired many to dream about something long missing from Cincinnati’s — and Over-the-Rhine’s — cultural renaissance: a serious-minded cinematheque. Wood was then able to reprise her microcinema as a temporary exhibit at The Carnegie in Covington. And last fall, with initial fundraising, she found a permanent home for the nonprofit Mini at 1329 Main St. in OTR. She has been slowly and relatively quietly introducing the 35-seat space and her programming vision to the city’s film buffs and arts community ever since. But now she is ready to make a bigger splash. To celebrate the Mini’s second anniversary, and to begin a membership drive, she and her team are launching Seven Weeks of Cinema with a Friday night party. The following days will bring such stimulating free programming (a $5 donation is suggested) as Home Movie Days: Selections from the Kentucky Amateur Film Archives (Sunday); Animalia: From Horses to Bats to Bears and Beyond (July 13); Sankofa, a 1993 movie by Haile Gerima presented by Black Folks Make Movies (July 16); and Lightning Over Braddock: A Rustbowl Fantasy, featuring work by acclaimed Pittsburgh-area filmmaker Tony Buba (July 18). Additionally, WatchWriteNow will be offering a film criticism workshop for kids. Varied and stimulating programming continues through Aug. 17. Read more about the event here.
Thunder-Sky, Inc. co-founder and curator Bill Ross came up with a prompt for a show at Pique gallery in Covington in which he asked artists to create a piece of artwork that they’ve been ruminating on for a long time but had not yet completed. According to Ross, the exhibition will be a “temporary museum of completed thought.” He reached out to nearly 30 artists, including Sarah Lalley, Avril Thurman, Hilary Nauman and Christian Schmit. Ross himself, along with artist Emily Brandehoff, took over the basement with an installation inspired by personal memories of childhood, Mike Kelley’s “thrift-store-Gothic approach” and John Waters’ “mean-spirited kitsch.” Opening reception 6-9 p.m. Friday. Through Aug. 23. Free. Pique, 210 W Pike St., Covington, Ky., facebook.com/piquesocialmedia.
Be spellbound by artwork forged from the pages of books in the 18th-annual Bookworks display from the Cincinnati Book Arts Society. The nonprofit society is comprised of book artists, both professional and amateur, and in this exhibit located in the atrium of the main library, the love of literary novelty spills into the work and merges with concepts such as feminism. A memorial exhibit for Keith Kuhn, former library services director, will be stationed alongside Bookworks and feature artist-created books from the library’s selection. Through Sept. 3. Free. Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Main Branch, 800 Vine St., Downtown, cincinnatilibrary.org.
ART: THE STRANGE & EXOTIC WORLD OF LAFCADIO HEARN
Lafcadio Hearn, a talented and eccentric writer who launched his career here in the 1870s and achieved worldwide acclaim long after he left, has now returned — in a roundabout way — to the city where he learned the basics of journalism and good writing. And, serendipitously, his arrival comes just as events are shaping up worldwide to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Greek-born Hearn’s arrival in the United States in 1869. A special exhibit, The Strange & Exotic World of Lafcadio Hearn, recently opened at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County’s main branch downtown and will continue through Aug. 20. It features material — books, letters and more — from the personal collection of the former Library director Thomas Vickers, for whom Hearn briefly served as private secretary before leaving Cincinnati in 1877 for, first, New Orleans and then Martinique and Japan. He died in Tokyo in 1904 after having married a Japanese woman, taking the name Koizumi Yakumo and becoming a Japanese literary icon as well as one of the nation’s first and best Western interpreters. Read more about the exhibit here. The Strange & Exotic World of Lafcadio Hearn is on display at the Main Library through Aug. 20. More info: cincinnatilibrary.org.
In his artist statement for Planes, Lattices and Interstices, a solo exhibit at Iris BookCafé through Aug. 25, photographer Lars Anderson says his latest body of work was born out of failure. We should all be so unlucky. Unable to always obtain permission to take pictures inside the grounds of active and abandoned factories around the Midwest, Anderson started turning his lens on the privacy fences surrounding his favorite subjects. In the process, he discovered infinite new opportunities for creativity and conversation. Straddling a line between realism and abstract Op Art, Anderson’s images reward viewers who take a second, third or, he hopes, 50th look at “the unexpected interestingness” of these spaces. Read more about the exhibit here. Planes, Lattices and Interstices is up through Aug. 25 at Iris BookCafé, 1331 Main St., Over-the-Rhine. More info: irisbookcafe.com.
Like many veteran comics, Brad Williams has gradually found it easier to talk about personal things. “My dad fought and beat cancer a few years ago,” he says. “So that’s a large part of the new material. It’s some stories about my dad and how he raised me, because my dad’s not a dwarf but he had to raise a dwarf son.” Williams reports that some audience members have shed tears. “Not like, ‘Oh my god. He’s horrible; get him off the stage,’” he’s quick to note. “They laugh, they cry, they have a full range of emotions.” Williams credits his father with helping him cope with being different. The elder Williams often made fun of his son, but not in a mean way. “He did it because he knew other kids would make fun of me, so he did it first to get me prepared for it. Kind of ‘A Boy Named Sue’ thing.” Showtimes Thursday-Sunday. $12-$15. Liberty Funny Bone, 7518 Bales St., Liberty Township, liberty.funnybone.com.
Join the pampered pooches of the Chihuahua Beauty Pageant, the masked wrestlers of Lucha Libre and Hollywood star Mario Lopez for a day of tacos and tequila. This fest is a celebration of everyone’s favorite Mexican dish: tacos. You’ll find 50 restaurants serving up tasty, $2 tacos, including local favorites like Nada, Gomez Salsa, Cuban Pete Sandwiches and Casa Figueroa. Pair your meal with a margarita or samples from the Tequila Expo. For an extra $20, enter the expo for a taste of 10 tequilas. If you haven’t had your fill by the evening, enter an eating competition: You’ll have the opportunity to gobble down tacos — or hot chili peppers — by the dozen. 4-10 p.m. Saturday. $12 in advance; $85 VIP in advance. Yeatman’s Cove/Sawyer Point, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Downtown, thetacofestival.com.
Strap on your gloves, warm up with the Rocky soundtrack and grab your favorite beer at the second-annual Punch Out, hosted by Fifty West Brewing Company. Watch employees from local breweries including Rhinegeist, Taft’s, MadTree and more literally face off in the ring to compete for this year’s championship title. Have a go at 80 local craft beers from 40 different breweries as you cheer on your champion during eight boxing matches. By the end of the night, you’ll have a new go-to beer and “Eye of the Tiger” stuck in your head. 4 p.m.-midnight Saturday. $15 advance; $20 day of; $30 VIP (premium sightlines). Fifty West Pro Works, 7605 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, fiftywestbrew.com.
EVENT: SIP N’ SLIDE
Like a grown-up Slip ’N Slide, the inaugural Sip N’ Slide event at The Beach Waterpark is an adults-only night full of craft beer, live music from the Naked Karate Girls and a chance to get wet on select water rides. For a true thrill (and possibly a wedgie), take a plunge on one of the park’s giant waterslides. Tickets include park admission, a 20 oz. beer and all the lounging and live music you can handle to make your Saturday night a success. 6-10 p.m. Saturday. $25. The Beach Waterpark, 2590 Waterpark Drive, Mason, citybeat.com.
Do you enjoy impressive beards, old-school muskets and standing in a field for hours? If yes, head over to Civil War Weekend at the Heritage Village Museum. Join Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis to relive one of the most tumultuous periods in American history through daily battle reenactments and engaging activities. The genuine 19th-century scenery and architecture makes this weekend even more authentic. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. $10 adults; $6 children; free members. Heritage Village Museum, 11450 Lebanon Road, Sharonville, heritagevillagecincinnati.org.
ATTRACTION: PETALS & PEDALS
Ride your bike over to Krohn Conservatory as part of the Petals & Pedals summer floral show for a dollar off admission. Once inside, enjoy hours of horticultural entertainment while learning about the Cincy Red Bike program. Beautiful blooms are inside, including cascading calibrachoa, gorgeous hydrangea and Carolina allspice, which will be complemented by info on the history of the bicycle. Through Aug. 27. $7 adults; $4 children. Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park, cincinnatiparks.com/krohn-conservatory.
Self-contained New York AltPop group AJR is a trio of brothers that’s earned quite a bit of commercial success, especially given its largely DIY creative approach. Beginning as buskers around the Big Apple over a decade ago, the Met brothers (Adam, Jack and Ryan, in case you were wondering about the band name) self-released a video in 2013 that caught the attention of big-time singer/songwriter Sia, leading to the trio’s initial industry inroads and major viral success. That video and song, “I’m Ready,” climbed the charts and in 2015, AJR’s debut album, Living Room, pushed its mix of catchy hooks, electronic sounds and more organic instrumentation (guitar, ukulele, etc.) even further into the spotlight. The band — which has major-label distribution and big management, but writes, records and produces its own music and videos — recently released its anticipated Living Room follow-up, The Click, which thematically revolves around the concept of resisting the “quick fix” and embracing substance, and also includes a guest spot from Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo. 8 p.m. Saturday. $15. Madison Live!, 734 Madison Ave., Covington, Ky., madisontheateronline.com.
Show off your LGBTQ+ pride and support the Over-the-Rhine community by heading down to Second Sunday on Main, a street festival featuring live music, vendors and food trucks. Aimed at giving the festival back to the merchants on Main Street, this daylong block party is a celebration of the neighborhood businesses rooted in Cincinnati culture that locals have grown to love. To continue June’s Pride festivities, this month’s event features drag shows, drag races, line dancing and other dance groups all day long. Below Zero Lounge will host an after party starting at 5 p.m. Noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Free. Main Street between 12th and Liberty streets, Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/OTRSSOM.