Your Weekly To Do List (Oct. 11-Oct. 17)

One of the nation's coolest light festivals; haunted tours; Dracula at Cincy Shakes; a chili cook-off and more.

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click to enlarge Dent Schoolhouse - Photo: Provided
Photo: Provided
Dent Schoolhouse


Haunted Walking Tours

It may surprise you to know that several people have died while inhabitants of Cincinnati — and some of them gruesomely. As Halloween approaches and the veil thins between the living and dead, people become increasingly interested in 
ferreting out the restless spirits. Luckily, Cincinnati has plenty 
of freaky paranormal tours to take.

Bobby Mackey’s Music World — As seen on Ghost Adventures (multiple times), the basement of this former slaughterhouse-turned-Honky-Tonk is said to contain the actual portal to hell and the ghost of a pregnant dancer named Johanna. Tours of the nightclub’s catacombs and malevolent spirits take place Friday and Saturday nights — like always, not just during Halloween. bobbymackey.com.

Cincinnati Ghost Tour — Led by an actor/professional guide, this walking tour switches things up from the typical Music Hall/Washington Park/Taft Museum/OTR-style haunted circuit and tells tales of murder and mayhem from the historic Gaslight District. #spookyliberals cincinnatighosttour.com.

Dent Schoolhouse — Visit the most haunted parts of Dent, home to an annual Halloween attraction and multiple murdered children. There are no actors or props on this tour, but there is a guide who will elaborate on the horrible history of the building (like when a janitor stuffed dead kids into barrels in the basement) and take you into rooms where ghosts have been spotted. frightsite.com.

Ultimate Queen City is Haunted — Travel the streets of OTR and hear tales of true crimes and grisly deaths, then visit the most haunted room in the Symphony Hotel to conduct a paranormal investigation. americanlegacytours.com.

Wednesday 11

click to enlarge Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati - Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati


ONSTAGE: THIS RANDOM WORLD

This week, one of Cincinnati’s most established theaters takes on a whole new look. “New” is a relative term for Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati. As a “premiere” theater, it traffics mostly in new plays — works not previously staged locally. Some productions are also, in fact, world premieres. The new ETC, opening its first production this week — Steven Dietz’s This Random World — has expanded its established footprint at 1127 Vine to now include four adjacent buildings. Dietz is ETC’s most frequently produced playwright. It’s the eighth production of one of Dietz’s scripts — a funny, bittersweet and heartbreaking story about the power of chance, exploring how our lives are often shaped by improbably coincidences. It had its world premiere in 2016 at the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville. This Random World is onstage through Nov. 4 at Ensemble Theatre, 1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine. Tickets/more info: ensemblecincinnati.org. — RICK PENDER

click to enlarge Bob Log III - Photo: Provided
Photo: Provided
Bob Log III


MUSIC: BOB LOG III

Bob Log III is a relentless one-man Blues machine. Born in Chicago but raised in the Arizona desert, he is a curio in a jumpsuit, a slide guitar maestro with enough showmanship kitsch to give Jon Spencer a run for his money. Inspired by equal parts AC/DC and Delta Blues advocate Mississippi Fred McDowell, the 40-something Log tours the world about half of each year, armed with nothing but his guitar, a makeshift microphone wired to a helmet that covers his entire head and foot peddles that allow him to add rhythm. Log’s songs ride on his versatile guitar antics — finger picking one minute, riffing righteously the next. His voice is but another instrument in the mix —  grunts and groans and callouts are as important as the often-rudimentary lyrics that emanate from his muffled mouth. He’s released eight or so full-length solo albums over the last 20 years — the most recent being 2016’s Guitar Party Power — but its Log’s singular, stripped-down one-man-band live show that remains his calling card and, as he is fond of saying, his saving grace. 10 p.m. Wednesday. Free. MOTR Pub, 1345 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, motrpub.com. — JASON GARGANO

THURSDAY 12

click to enlarge BLINK Cincinnati's "Architects of Air" - Photo: Provided
Photo: Provided
BLINK Cincinnati's "Architects of Air"


EVENT: BLINK

The word “blink” is a simple, straightforward term meaning to shut and open your eyes quickly. But it has numerous connotations: a momentary gleam of light, a flash, a flicker, a sparkle, a glimmer or a shimmer. It will take on added meaning this week during a new, free and attention-getting four-day Cincinnati event that will cost $3 million to stage. In fact, BLINK — spanning 20 downtown and Over-the-Rhine blocks — will be one of the largest, most innovative light and art events in the nation, featuring large-scale projection mapping — familiar to Cincinnatians who attended the wildly popular Lumenocity event produced in Washington Park from 2013-2015 — plus light-based sculptures and installations, murals, interactive art and performances. During four fantastical evenings (Thursday through Sunday), there will be things to behold as far as the eye can see. Anyone venturing downtown will find BLINK’s 22 spectacular projections along the 3.6-mile Cincinnati Bell Connector streetcar route. The projection-mapped sites will serve as beacons, leading visitors from one display to another. More than 100 events have been strategically placed adjacent to the projection-mapped sites. While the light projections have been developed locally, BLINK’s creative team traveled to quite a few other “light festivals” around the world to identify installations, attractions and performances they wanted to include — and then invited their originators. BLINK takes place Thursday-Sunday. Shows and exhibits begin at sundown and run until midnight. More info: blinkcincinnati.com. — RICK PENDER

click to enlarge Michael Feinstein - Photo: Provided
Photo: Provided
Michael Feinstein

MUSIC: MICHAEL FEINSTEIN

The term “crooner” applies to male singers with a smooth, sophisticated delivery of standards known as the Great American Songbook. “Crooning is where my heart lies,” says Michael Feinstein, iconic performer and passionate advocate for American popular song, who brings his trio to the Taft Theatre for a show devoted to crooners and the legacy of Frank Sinatra. Backing him up will be a trio featuring his music director Tedd Firth on piano, drummer Mark McLean and bassist Phil Palombi. Michael Feinstein performs 8 p.m. Thursday at the Taft Theatre, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown. Tickets/info: tafttheatre.org. — ANNE ARENSTEIN

FILM: FADE2BLACK FILM FESTIVAL

I can’t accurately pinpoint when I first met filmmaker Pam Thomas, founder of Black Folks Make Movies and the driving force behind Cincinnati’s inaugural FADE2BLACK Film Festival, which runs from Thursday through Saturday at University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning. But I do know that our first meeting paved the way for an ongoing educational and experiential journey. Discussing film with Thomas, especially African-American cinema, is akin to trying to debate Aphrodite on the subject of love. Thomas lives, breathes and dreams in the moving images of black folks in this thoroughly modern art form. During a brief three-day window, F2B will spotlight a wide array of screenings and guests (including myself in my role as film critic). Actor, filmmaker and political activist Danny Glover will deliver opening remarks via video. Present will be co-host (with Thomas) Charles Burnett, whose classics of African-American cinema include To Sleep With Anger (featuring Glover) and Killer of Sheep. Also scheduled to be here are Carol Munday Lawrence, producer of the documentary Oscar Micheaux, Film Pioneer; Tanya Hart, a documentarian as well as a television and radio personality; Atlanta-based filmmaker Patrick James Thomas (Cut My Hair, Barber); and film historian Dr. V. Paul Deare. To Sleep with Anger, Oscar Micheaux: Film Pioneer and Cut My Hair, Barber are scheduled to run at the festival. The FADE2BLACK Film Festival runs Thursday-Saturday at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning. More info/tickets: blackfolksmakemovies.org/f2b. — TT STERN-ENZI

click to enlarge Hudson - Photo: Bill Douthart
Photo: Bill Douthart
Hudson

MUSIC: HUDSON

Xavier University’s excellent Jazz Series recently kicked off its 2017-2018 season — one of the best yet — and a highlight is coming up this Thursday. But unlike the rest of the lineup, the concert is being held off of Xavier’s campus (most events are held at the university’s Gallagher Theater) in the spacious and state-of-the-art Corbett Auditorium at downtown’s School for Creative and Performing Arts. Though the band name Hudson might not immediately ring bells, the group’s membership should have even casual modern Jazz fans understanding the need for a larger venue (it is also a part of the BLINK Festival). Truly a contemporary Jazz/Rock Fusion supergroup, Hudson features genre giants Jack DeJohnette (drums), Larry Grenadier (bass), John Medeski (organ/keys) and John Scofield (guitarist), each of whom has been responsible for expanding how Jazz is defined today, exploring and mixing a range of modes and genres. Named for the Hudson River Valley in New York (where each member lives), Hudson came together in 2014 to play the Woodstock Jazz Festival, releasing its self-titled debut album this summer to rave reviews. 8 p.m. Thursday. $35-$40 adult; $15 student. SCPA, 108 Central Parkway Downtown, xavier.edu/musicseries. — MIKE BREEN

click to enlarge Jeremy Essig - Photo: Provided
Photo: Provided
Jeremy Essig

COMEDY: JEREMY ESSIG

It’s a wonder comedian Jeremy Essig has time to make it to Go Bananas at all, what with everything he has going on: Besides stand-up, he’s also doing some music journalism, as well as performing in two bands in St. Louis (Shark Dad and Let’s Go). “I’m opening a recording studio next month,” he says.” And he may be moving. “I’ve got a line on a good apartment in New York, so I may split time between there and St. Louis.” A former political correspondent, Essig still discusses current events in his act, but not in the same way he did a few years ago. “Back then I would comment on policy, but now it’s more about how it affects me,” he says. “I’ve become hyper self-involved as I’ve become older.” Thursday-Sunday. $8-$14. Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, gobananascomedy.com. — P.F. WILSON

FRIDAY 13

click to enlarge Colt SAA Peacemaker by artist Jen Edwards - Photo: Rob Holpert
Photo: Rob Holpert
Colt SAA Peacemaker by artist Jen Edwards


ART: A LOADED CONVERSATION

The National Rifle Association’s American Rifleman magazine once published a story with the headline “Happiness is a warm gun,” which inspired a famous Beatles song. And maybe creative solutions to violence start with a warm and fuzzy gun. By presenting iconic firearms in a soft and approachable format, fiber artist Jen Edwards hopes she can “disarm” people of their most polarizing views about the Second Amendment and encourage more productive discussions. Edwards makes crocheted guns with exacting detail but says she’s not a gun enthusiast. She’s upset about the massacre in Las Vegas, and she doesn’t align with any side in the nation’s gun-control debate. Instead, the artist says she wants to be completely nonbiased and hear everybody’s opinions during A Loaded Conversation, her solo exhibit that opens Friday at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center. A Loaded Conversation opens 6-8 p.m. Friday and continues through Nov. 3 at Clifton Cultural Arts Center, 3711 Clifton Ave. More info: cliftonculturalarts.org. — KATHY SCHWARTZ

MUSIC: PINBACK

Pinback is one of many Indie Rock entities that include the considerable talents of Zach Smith, better known as Armistead Burwell Smith IV, and Rob Crow, a pair of singing, songwriting multi-instrumentalists from San Diego.
Smith and Crow roomed together but didn’t begin to collaborate musically until Smith’s departure from his first high-profile band, Three Mile Pilot, over Geffen Records’ attempts to alter the band’s sound. Smith and Crow then formed Pinback in 1998, naming their new band after a character in John Carpenter’s 1974 cult science fiction classic Dark Star. Over the subsequent decade and a half, Smith and Crow, accompanied by a revolving cast of bandmates including Three Mile Pilot drummer Chris Prescott, released a wealth of Pinback material: five studio albums, a rarities compilation, 10 EPs and eight singles characterized by Smith’s note-driven and complex bass style and Crow’s Math Rock guitar ministrations. With the March reissue of two early Pinback EPs — 1999’s Some Voices and 2003’s Offcell — as a single remastered full-length, aptly titled Some Offcell Voices, by their last label, Temporary Residence Limited, the duo has reconvened to hit the road in support of that release. 9 p.m. Friday. $20; $24 day of. Woodward Theater, 1404 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, woodwardtheater.com. — BRIAN BAKER

HALLOWEEN: QUEEN CITY IS HAUNTED TOUR

Who — or what — is the Witch of Washington Park? Find out by booking a Queen City is Haunted tour, an American Legacy walking tour that examines the morbid, supernatural underbelly of Cincinnati. You’ll hear stories of local murders, deaths and hauntings while visiting an abandoned cemetery and exploring grounds where human remains have recently been unearthed. Wear comfortable shoes; if the witch indeed appears, you’ll probably want to be able to run. Tours last between 60 and 90 minutes. Fridays and Saturdays through October. $20. Tours begin at 1332 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, americanlegacytours.com. — EMILY BEGLEY

click to enlarge Stanbery Park - Photo: Marc Raab
Photo: Marc Raab
Stanbery Park

HALLOWEEN: BEETLEJUICE

Don’t let that Best Actor Oscar nod in 2015 let something slip your memory: Michael Keaton was once the green-haired, pervy bio-exorcist that wreaks havoc on an affluent Connecticut family in 1988’s Beetlejuice. Stanbery Park presents the creepy cult classic on Friday the 13th; what better way to spend the unluckiest day of the year than with a movie about a couple that realize they’re actually ghosts and enlist the help of a psychologically unstable demon to terrorize an unsuspecting family? The film rounds out this season’s cinema series at the park. 7:30-9:30 p.m. Friday. Free. Stanbery Park, 2221 Oxford Ave., Mount Washington, facebook.com/mwcc.org. — ERIN COUCH

click to enlarge Dracula - Photo: Cincinnati Shakespeare Company
Photo: Cincinnati Shakespeare Company
Dracula

ONSTAGE: DRACULA

The stars have aligned for this Halloween season presentation of a stage adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic tale of the creepy vampire Dracula, opening (prophetically?) on Friday the 13th. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s Brian Isaac Phillips is directing, and he says, “I have long been a fan of horror novels, horror films and all things macabre.” He calls the show “a delightful Halloween treat,” and it should be just that with veteran Cincy Shakes actor Giles Davies reprising the title role and Miranda McGee as Lucy. The company’s new OTR theater puts audiences less than 20 feet from the action — so watch out! Through Nov. 4. $55 adult; $51 senior; $31 students. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 1195 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cincyshakes.com. — RICK PENDER

EVENT: THE MUSIC OF JOHN WILLIAMS

You know John Williams — aka the “master of film music” — from classic movie scores, including those heard in E.T., Star Wars, Jurassic Park and Harry Potter. Be transported back to when you first saw those films this weekend when John Morris Russell and the Cincinnati Pops tackle Williams’ greatest hits. The orchestra will perform selections from the aforementioned films and more, in addition to the world premiere of the theme from Schindler’s List adapted for cello and orchestra, which was personally offered by Williams for this performance. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. $25-$125 adults; $15 kids. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cincinnatisymphony.org/pops. — ALISON BAXTER

SATURDAY 14

click to enlarge Taste of Tibet - Photo: Provided
Photo: Provided
Taste of Tibet


EVENT: TASTE OF TIBET

Gaden Samdrupling Buddhist Monastery brings a Taste of Tibet to Clifton. Experience a slice of Tibetan culture as the Clifton Cultural Arts Center transforms into a shopping bazaar with a silent auction and authentic dinner feast. Monks will be preparing a handful of traditional dishes including momo dumplings, bean threads, potato and cheese rounds and Tibetan salt tea to help raise funds for the monastery’s new building project. Dinner will be picnic-style, weather permitting, so bring a blanket or chairs. RSVP requested. 6 p.m. Saturday. $20 adults; $15 children. Clifton Cultural Arts Center, 3711 Clifton Ave., Clifton, gslmonastery.org. — MAIJA ZUMMO

click to enlarge Brink Brewing Co. - Photo: Javier Aparicio
Photo: Javier Aparicio
Brink Brewing Co.

EVENT: BRINK CHILI COOK-OFF + HOMEBREW COMPETITION

Here in Cincinnati, we have two additional chunks built into our food pyramid reserved for our ideal balanced meal: chili and beer. Brink Brewing Co. is offering the opportunity to satisfy your Queen City diet at a cutthroat competition of chili and beer tasting. Participants will be vying for your vote for the People’s Choice Award with their handcrafted chili and homebrews. Try your luck for a door prize and stick around for a flagon of ale — scratch that, flagon of chili — when the Brink crew taps a chili firken. 1-5 p.m. Saturday. Free. Brink Brewing Co., 5905 Hamilton Ave., College Hill, brinkbrewing.com. — ERIN COUCH

click to enlarge RetroFittings - Photo: Provided
Photo: Provided
RetroFittings

EVENT: RETROFITTINGS

This annual fashion-forward celebration is presented by Saint Vincent de Paul and the University of Cincinnati’s School of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, featuring work by more than 70 sophomore students in a grand fashion show. Here’s the catch: All featured designs were created with findings from Saint Vincent de Paul thrift stores with a budget of $15 each. The evening also includes raffles at the start of the show, drinks, hors d’oeuvres and boutique shopping, with all proceeds from the event benefitting Saint Vincent de Paul Cincinnati. 6:30 p.m. preshow events; 8 p.m. show Saturday. $60 general admission; $50 young professionals; $25 students; $100 VIP. Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Downtown, svdpcincinnati.org. 
— ALISON BAXTER

SUNDAY 15

EVENT: FRIENDS & FAMILY SIDS BRUNCH


Join some of the best chefs and foodies in the Queen City for a Sunday brunch benefiting the De Cavel Family SIDS Foundation, which conducts programming and research in an effort to eradicate Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Treats, music, kid-friendly activities and a silent auction accompany food and drink from some of the city’s best chefs, foodies and restaurateurs including Babushka Pierogies, Bauer Farm Kitchen, Taste of Belgium, Metropole and many others. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. $65 adults; $40 young adults; $20 children. Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State, 3520 Central Parkway, Clifton, eatplaygive.net. — KENNEDY PONDER

click to enlarge Burlington Antique Market - Photo: Provided
Photo: Provided
Burlington Antique Market

EVENT: BURLINGTON ANTIQUE SHOW

The Burlington Antique Show is closing out its 36th season as the Midwest’s premier antiques and vintage-only market with the final show of 2017 on Sunday. Cooler weather means it’ll be a perfect afternoon of hunting and haggling if you’re in the market for farmhouse furniture, giant metal letters, Midcentury tchotchkes, architectural salvage and vintage postcards. 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. $4; $6 early bird (6 a.m. entry). Boone County Fairgrounds, 5819 Idlewild Road, Burlington, Ky., burlingtonantiqueshow.com. — MAIJA ZUMMO

MONDAY 16

click to enlarge Best Coast - Photo: Janell Shirtcliff
Photo: Janell Shirtcliff
Best Coast


MUSIC: BEST COAST

Californians Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno have been creating melody-riddled Rock songs as Best Coast for nearly a decade, moving with relative ease from the fuzzed-out, lo-fi bliss of 2010’s Crazy for You to the sleeker sonics of their third and most recent album, 2015’s California Nights. Cosentino sings with a voice that channels equal parts Stevie Nicks, Belinda Carlisle and Liz Phair and writes universal lyrics that center on relationships — good, bad and indifferent. Bruno’s multi-instrumental talents are most obviously manifested through his reverb-driven guitar work. Best Coast is currently finishing up an extensive North American tour opening for Paramore, which should infect whatever comes next in the ever-evolving Cosentino/Bruno collaboration. Best Coast plays 20th Century Theater Monday with Tweens. For tickets/more info, visit the20thcenturytheatre.com. — JASON GARGANO

click to enlarge Wolves in the Throne Room - Photo: Provided
Photo: Provided
Wolves in the Throne Room

MUSIC: WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM

When one hears the words “Black Metal,” it conjures up the sound of demons writhing in a pit of brimstone, the smell of corpse paint and smoldering Norwegian churches and the pulse of an addict with a turkey baster full of meth and gorilla adrenaline. Only some of that is true of Wolves in the Throne Room. Brothers Nathan and Aaron Weaver formed Wolves in the Throne Room in 2003 around various extreme influences, including Crust Punk and Doom, along with elements of Folk and Prog. From the beginning, the Olympia, Wash. trio (the second guitar slot has rotated regularly since then; it was filled earlier this year by Kody Keyworth) has turned its back on traditional Dark/Black Metal tropes, preferring to blend their inspirations into a symphonic and atmospheric dirge of epic proportions. Nathan’s howling vocals are clearly drawn from the template of Metallurgists before him — not guttural, dirty vocals but the shriek of the willingly damned. And Aaron’s double-clutched drumming — he also provides bass and synthesizers in the studio — is the imminent heart attack that propels Wolves in the Throne Room at a breakneck pace, but not to the exclusion of subtlety and nuance in the appropriate moments. 8 p.m. Monday. $17; $20 day of. Taft Theatre Ballroom, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown, tafttheatre.org. — BRIAN BAKER

TUESDAY 17

click to enlarge Black Violin - Photo: Colin Brennan
Photo: Colin Brennan
Black Violin


MUSIC: BLACK VIOLIN

Classically trained violinist and viola duo Wil B. and Kev Marcus bring their eclectic “Classical Boom” style — a mix of Classical music, Hip Hop, Rock, R&B and Bluegrass — to the Aronoff Center. Citing influences ranging from Shostakovich and Bach to Nas and Jay-Z, Black Violin creates a mesmerizing mix of musical styles that thwart any and all expectations. Their latest album, StereoTypes, was released in 2015. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. $15-$45. Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, cincinnatiarts.org. 
— KENNEDY PONDER

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