EVENT: THE PORKOPOLIS PIG & WHISKEY FESTIVAL
CityBeat hosts the second-annual Porkopolis Pig & Whiskey Festival, a two-day smorgasbord offering the best bacon, bourbon and bites, plus live music and more at Washington Park. Favorite barbecue joints like Eli’s, Huit, Pit to Plate and Velvet Smoke will be serving up unique and meaty dishes, and booze brands like Jack Daniel’s, Old Forester and Woodford Reserve will be pouring samples of bourbon, scotch and whiskey. If brown liquor ain’t your thing, there will also be a beer tent. And Cincinnati’s best Bluegrass and Americana bands — including Young Heirlooms, Arlo McKinley & The Lonesome Sound, Comet Bluegrass All-Stars and Mark Utley and Bulletville — will take the stage throughout the weekend. There will be more than 50 varieties of whiskey to sample, but please note that some high-end and rarities may sell out. 5-10 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday. Free admission; samples for sale. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, citybeat.com.
ART: BLIND CINEMA
Britt Hatzius is interested in the limits and power of language. From Wednesday through Saturday, she will explore that subject at The Carnegie in a performance/film project called Blind Cinema. Designed to investigate what happens when children help the sightless visualize what they can’t see, the program is the start of the Contemporary Arts Center’s 2016-17 Black Box Performance Series. The Brussels- and London-based artist will direct these performances, the latest in her ongoing, distinctive Blind Cinema series. These are collaborative screenings of the artist’s films in which children, ages 9-11, whisper descriptions about the wordless moving images they are watching to the blindfolded adults in front of them in a darkened movie theater. All participants are sensitized due to the imposition of silence in a dark theater setting, and the children speak in hushed voices into listening funnels that reach one row ahead into the ears of the blindfolded adult audience. This invites an uncanny shared intimacy, as if the film itself is a secret to which the child is solely privy and must translate its meaning to the adult. Hatzius purposefully composes the films for Blind Cinema with no clear narrative, thus allowing her temporarily sightless participants to focus on the experience and perhaps add to the children’s verbal descriptions with details from their own imagination. Blind Cinema’s 7 p.m. performances Wednesday and Thursday are filled, but space is available for Friday and Saturday at The Carnegie, 1028 Scott St. in Covington. Admission is free with advance reservations at contemporaryartscenter.org.
ONSTAGE: THE SOUND OF MUSIC
Although it’s called “Broadway in Cincinnati,” the touring productions presented at the downtown Aronoff Center for the Arts might be more accurately labeled as “Broadway Musicals in Cincinnati.” The series seldom offers dramatic plays, and only occasionally presents shows that step beyond musical theater. There’s a reason: Musicals sell tickets, and audiences flock to see them. The Sound of Music, currently onstage through Oct. 9, kicks off the 2016-17 Cincinnati season. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s legendary show premiered in 1959 and ran for four years on Broadway. The story of the postulant Maria and her musical success with the unruly children of the Von Trapp family elevated to an international phenomenon with the 1965 film featuring Julie Andrews. What’s onstage at the Aronoff is a brand-new production that will surely appeal to audiences of all ages, not unlike the live production that aired on NBC in December 2013. Through Oct. 9. Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, cincinnatiarts.org.
EVENT: WEEKEND OF FIRE
Sick of flaming hot Cheetos and sub-par hot sauce? Well, you’re in luck. This weekend at Jungle Jim’s, more than 50 different vendors specializing in hot and spicy foods will be serving up their most dangerous concoctions. Hot sauces and barbecue sauces, salsas, marinades, rubs and mustards will be sold and tested on the show floor, with spice levels ranging from mild to face-melting. Based on an audience vote, awards will be given to the vendors with the best and hottest bites. If you’re feeling brave, you can enter the “Arena of Fire” and compete against other attendees to determine whose taste buds can endure the most torture. Entertainment for the night? Fire jugglers, who will literally be eating the flames and doing other dangerous stunts. 6-10 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. $10 single day; $1 child. Oscar Event Center at Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, junglejims.com.
EVENT: THE PELLÉAS TRILOGY
The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra presents the second installment of its three-year visual-music project, The Pelléas Trilogy. The trilogy, Pelléas et Mélisande, explores how three composers — Schoenberg, Fauré and Debussy — interpreted Maurice Maeterlinck’s romantic and evocative play of the same name. The play follows a forbidden love between the title characters, and in the CSO’s production of “Part II: Water,” shifting multimedia and live performance will push the plot forward. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $12-$65. Taft Theatre, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown, cincinnatisymphony.org.
ART: SHEIDA SOLEIMANI: MEDIUM OF EXCHANGE AT 1305 GALLERY
One of the must-see shows of this year’s FotoFocus Biennial (there are several, really) is Medium of Exchange, featuring a new body of work by locally raised Iranian-American artist Sheida Soleimani, a current assistant professor of graduate studies at the Rhode Island School of Design. Soleimani’s work actively deconstructs photographic images, which she gathers from various “documentary” source materials, then reproduces them into large-scale sculptural dioramas. Those composed visual vignettes are then re-photographed and re-presented to the viewers as actual artifacts. Opening reception 6-11 p.m. Friday. Through Oct. 23. Free. 1305 Gallery, 1305 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, fotofocusbiennial.com.
ATTRACTION: DENT SCHOOLHOUSE
You may be familiar with famously terrifying names like Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger, but have you heard of Charlie McFree? He was the janitor at a schoolhouse in Dent, Ohio that opened in 1894. McFree really disliked when children misbehaved, and according to legend he took his job just a little too seriously. When several kids vanished between 1942 and 1955, the students and faculty wondered where they went and — more importantly — why the school reeked of rotting flesh. Visit the Dent Schoolhouse to relive the nationally recognized nightmare. Weekends and select dates through Nov. 5. $20-$50. Dent Schoolhouse, 5963 Harrison Ave., Dent, frightsite.com.
ART: GLOBE IN THE DARK: SERENDIPITY OF SOUND
A new interactive installation by Michael DeMaria brings an orchestra of sound to life at the touch of a hand at People’s Liberty’s Globe Gallery. The Serendipity of Sound debuts Friday during Globe in the Dark, an evening art event with food, drinks and music, and guests are invited to reserve a 15-minute time slot in advance to experience this work in a small-group setting. Opening reception 6-10 p.m. Friday. Through Dec. 10. Free. 1805 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, peoplesliberty.org.
MUSIC: SMOOTH HOUND SMITH
Nashville, Tenn.’s Smooth Hound Smith features just two players — singer/guitarist/harmonica player/banjoist Zack Smith (who also provides the “drums” with his feet while playing) and singer/tambourine-shaker Caitlin Doyle — but their resourceful spin on American Roots music is as full-bodied as any group with a larger membership. The duo’s harmony-laden sound is organic and diverse, borrowing elements from Folk, Country, R&B, Blues and early Rock & Roll. Natalie Maines of Dixie Chicks heard a song by the twosome and used the Shazam app to find out who it was; when she discovered it was Smooth Hound Smith, the duo was asked to open dates on the Chick’s huge comeback tour this year. Also in 2016, the pair released the well-received Sweet Tennessee Honey album and a five-song live EP called Jam in the Van. 8:30 p.m. Friday. $12; $15 day of show. Southgate House Revival, 111 E. Sixth St., Newport, Ky., southgatehouse.com.
ATTRACTION: MERMAIDS RETURN
Bring your little ones and watch mesmerizing mermaids (aka women dressed as mythical finned hybrids with above-average diving skills) at the Newport Aquarium. For a limited time, these underwater creatures will be swimming through the aquarium’s Amazon Tunnel with other aquatic animals, offering up-close and out-of-water daily meet-and-greets and photo-ops. At 6 p.m. Friday, the Mermaid & Pirate Ball gives guests a chance to meet the mermaids at an after-hours, family-friendly costume party. Come dressed as your favorite mermaid, pirate or any other fantastical character and participate in a treasure hunt, dancing and more. Mermaids on view through Oct. 16. Ball $45.99. Mermaids Return free with admission: $23.99 adult; $15.99 child. 1 Aquarium Way, Newport Ky., newportaquarium.com.
MUSIC: KING RECORDS MONTH
September was designated King Records Month in Cincinnati, and numerous events throughout the area (from lectures and radio specials to concerts, film screenings and more) celebrated the legacy of the locally based record label that changed popular music beginning in the early ’40s. As September comes to an end, King Month winds down with a pair of live music events. local Blues great Sonny Moorman closes out King Records Month at The Greenwich Friday night. Moorman will pay tribute to guitar icon Lonnie Mack, who passed away earlier this year. Mack was a session player on King releases and also recorded some of his biggest hits at King’s studios for the local Fraternity label. Mack was one of the biggest influences on the electric Blues Rock boom of the ’60s and ’70s. Moorman performs at 8 p.m. and admission is $5. The Greenwich, 2442 Gilbert Ave., Walnut Hills, the-greenwich.com. Find more about King Records (and King Records Month) at kingstudios.org.
ART: FOTOFOCUS BIENNIAL
Really, the motto for this FotoFocus should be, to quote Buddy Holly, “Not Fade Away.” When the photographic image has become so much digital clutter, how do we know what deserves to stand out and be remembered? During October — and in some cases afterward, too — 49 venues here and in the surrounding region will host lens-based art exhibitions that organizers believe offer work of long-lasting value. These range from the large and venerable institutions, like the Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus art museums and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, to places like Over-the-Rhine’s Robin Imaging Services and the West End’s Betts House that you might not even be familiar with. Even the very streets of downtown are one big venue. In J. Miles Wolf’s Obscure Cincinnati, an October-long interactive project sponsored by Downtown Cincinnati Inc., he is displaying on vacant storefront windows large photographic prints of unfamiliar area places and encouraging viewers to guess the locale. This year’s FotoFocus has a theme, “the undocument,” so that participants have something to respond to in shaping their exhibitions. However, FotoFocus artistic director Kevin Moore cautions that the theme wasn’t meant to be so strong as to stifle or limit anyone. Read more in this week's cover story here.
EVENT: SUNFLOWER FESTIVAL
Pumpkins, hayrides and sunflowers (obviously) set the scene for this picturesque autumn celebration. Gorman Heritage Farm’s annual Sunflower Festival is a celebration of the fall harvest season and a local favorite. After you pick out your perfect carving pumpkin and take a hayride or a carriage ride driven by a miniature horse, you can meet and greet animals from the farm. Head out to enjoy delicious eats from local food trucks, buy crafts from local artists and listen to live music, all while soaking up fall vibes and exploring the living history of a working farm. Pick a sunflower or two to take home with you so you don’t forget the experience — $1 each or $10 for 12. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $8 adults; $5 kids. Gorman Heritage Farm, 10052 Reading Road, Evendale, gormanfarm.org.
EVENT: BARK OUT AGAINST BATTERING
Washington Park goes to the dogs this weekend for Bark Out Against Battering, a pet-centric event that strives to raise awareness of the link between animal cruelty and domestic violence. According to the YWCA, nearly half of women in abusive relationships report staying with their partners out of concern for their pets, either because they have been threatened directly or because the majority of domestic violence shelters do not allow animals. To help ease some of these concerns, the YWCA has teamed up with the SPCA to provide protective shelter for pets in these situations. The seventh-annual Bark Out features food trucks, pet-product vendors, a photo booth, Cincinnati Circus performers and adoptable animals, and pups can participate in canine trick-or-treating and a costume contest and parade. 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday. Free; donations encouraged. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, ywcacincinnati.org.
EVENT: HYDE PARK ART SHOW
The 50th-annual Hyde Park Art Show transforms Hyde Park Square into a one-day art and craft market, featuring more than 200 Tristate artists working in a variety of mediums, including paint, printmaking, ceramics, jewelry, fiber, photography, sculpture and more. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Free admission. Hyde Park Square, hydeparksquare.org.
It’s pretty remarkable when a play becomes timelier after its debut than when it was written, but that’s what has happened with Ayad Akhtar’s 2013 Pulitzer Prize winner. In discussing Disgraced, he recently said, “I could never have guessed ... that the degradation of social discourse between these characters in this play could actually mirror what’s happening out in the world.” His play digs into the taboo topics of religion and politics at a contentious dinner party, ignited by the Muslim experience in America. It’s one of the most produced plays in the U.S. this season, including this Cincinnati staging at the Playhouse. Through Oct 23. $35-$85. Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mount Adams Circle, Mount Adams, 513-421-3888, cincyplay.com.