Cool Things To Do This Fall

This year marks the second anniversary of Cincinnati’s Crafty Supermarket Holiday Show, a gathering of more than 50 local crafters, artists and designers making it easy to find those special gifts for all your holiday shopping.

COOL INDIE CRAFTS: This year marks the second anniversary of Cincinnati’s Crafty Supermarket Holiday Show, a gathering of more than 50 local crafters, artists and designers making it easy to find those special gifts for all your holiday shopping. Last year’s show drew more than 2,100 shoppers and this year proves to be as much fun, with food from local eateries and “treateries” (Dojo Gelato, La Terza Coffee, Sweet Peace Bakery and Fireside Pizza), activities for children and music by PROJECTMILL DJs. So if you’re tired of listening to the spin of politicians, turn off that TV and stop by to show your support for local artists displaying their latest creations. Among the many items for sale will be jewelry, clothing, home décor, stationery, accessories, children’s items and many other hand-made crafts. The Crafty Supermarket Holiday Show will take place 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 19 at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center. (Shawn Buckenmeyer)


History isn’t always the most riveting topic for discussion, but the Ohio Renaissance Festival is no snooze-fest. It’s an educational experience. It’s silly. It’s funny. And, yeah, sometimes it gets a little messy. Featuring nearly 100 shows each day on 11 different stages, more than 135 arts and craft shops and plenty of 16th-century and modern-style food and drink, history comes to life here in an action-packed way. The Renaissance Festival stands as proof that historical reenactment isn’t just for kids — events cater to adult tastes and humor as well, and there’s plenty of wine and cider to keep everyone happy. Check out the list of themed weekends that offer discounts and special deals, including Pirates Weekend (featuring the Pirate Stunt Show and a talk-like-a-pirate contest), Barbarian Invasion (rowdy contests in a barbaric fashion) and more. Visit for a full list of theme dates and details. The fest runs 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 16. 10542 E. State Route 73, Waynesville, Ohio. (Kelly Tucker)

Photo by Cliff Jenkins

COOL OUTDOOR FALL FEST: If you’ve lived in Cincinnati for any amount of time, you know we have a pretty kickass zoo on our hands. The benefits of the zoo stretch way beyond its extensive array of wildlife, though — it’s becoming a new favorite venue for outdoor concerts, too. After a summer of weekly performances from some of the city’s favorite local acts, the 2011 Zoograss Festival will present one more reason to make a beeline for Vine Street. This free, all-day event features the best of Cincinnati Bluegrass bands, including performances by Comet Bluegrass Allstars, Rumpke Mountain Boys, Magnolia Mountain and more. If that’s not rustic enough for your taste, gather ‘round for the Hank Peter’s Lumberjack Show from 1-3 p.m. at the Wings of Wonder Theater. There’ll be axe throwing and chain sawing, plus Fall foods, craft booths and demonstrations set up around the park. Stop by the Cincinnati Zoo 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 1 for a knee-slappin’, banjo-strummin’ good time. (Kelly Tucker)

Photo courtesy of Third Party Gallery

COOL NEIGHBORHOOD REINVENTION: Of the neighborhoods that make up Cincinnati’s fluid visual arts scene, the one that’s undergone the most significant transformation is Brighton — the oft-deserted slice of the West End. During the past few months U-turn has bid farewell to the neighborhood and Third Party Gallery has opened, while Museum Gallery-Gallery Museum is on the way, the Brush Factory is coming back and there are rumors, however muffled, of a café in the works. The anticipation is palpable. But given the whack-a-mole like nature of alternative spaces in the city, you might ask what makes this neighborhood reinvention worth noting. “With all the changes happening, I think there is a big opportunity to get a lot of new people interested in the neighborhood; all of the spaces have their own presence and that is something that makes the arts scene here really exciting.” says Wyatt Niehaus, a curator with Third Party Gallery. Exciting, and accessible. On the first Saturday of the month those that make their way up and down Central Avenue are open, friendly and committed to making the neighborhood a success. (Alan Pocaro)

Photo by Laura Wendling

COOL VENUE RENOVATION: For some Cincinnati music fans, Bogart’s is a venue that is sometimes shied away from. Whether it’s high prices on booze, expensive tickets, sound issues or tons of security, the excuses for not traveling to Short Vine are varied and numerous. But what if those problems were wiped away? And what if tons of awesome local acts started playing at the venue as well? That’s what Bogart’s is hoping to achieve with its new Bogart’s Front Room club. If shows already held in the venue are any indication, Bogart’s may be well on its way to accomplishing what it set out to do. The crowds are smaller, allowing for more intimate (or rowdy) performances than usual. By cordoning off the main floor, dropping prices on drinks and tickets and lowering security presence, Bogart’s Front Room is able to provide a club experience that’s more lively and less Live Nation. (Nick Grever)

COOL COMEDY: This is Ed Stern’s 20th season as artistic director of the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. What has he picked for the last show he’ll stage? Why it’s Shakespeare’s As You Like It, a comedy set in the Forest of Arden. It’s a fascinating choice by a man who has made the Playhouse into one of America’s great regional theaters, winner of Tony Awards in 2004 and 2007. Stern put on a dynamite production of Othello in the intimate Shelterhouse stage in 2007, a show he says was one of his best experiences. So why not have some fun in the same venue, offering audiences an up-close-and-personal experience with Shakespeare’s glorious romantic comedy, full of mistaken identities and misguided affections. Disguised as a boy, Rosalind ends up instructing the man she loves on how to woo a woman. This is the show that reminds us that “all the world’s a stage.” And aren’t we glad? Runs Oct. 6-Nov. 6. (Rick Pender)

Photo courtesy of Big Hassle

COOL MUSIC ANNIVERSARY: Starting on the official last day of summer (Sept. 22) and continuing through the first two days of fall (Sept. 23 and 24), the MidPoint Music Festival will celebrate “a decade of audio addiction” this year in various clubs and venues throughout the Over-the-Rhine and Downtown neighborhoods. MPMF.11 once again presents an impressive array of 180-plus musical acts, including the best of the local music scene (including numerous Cincinnati Entertainment Awards winners and nominees) and some of the hottest cutting-edge acts in the worlds of Indie, Roots, Electronica and more. Big names this year that you’ll likely be hearing a lot more from in the future (if you haven’t been hipped already) include Cut Copy, Washed Out, Okkervil River, Deerhoof, The Low Anthem, Toro Y Moi and The Joy Formidable (pictured), a Foo Fighters favorite (they were hand-picked to open dates on that band’s anticipated fall arena tour). Be sure to buy your three-day wristbands (by far the best bargain for MPMF entry) and keep tabs on the fest’s latest developments by visiting (Mike Breen)

COOL DRINK FOR THE GAME: Forget about wool sweaters and warm scarves. The important accessory for football season is the one that slips discreetly into a pocket — a flask. That’s the proper way to imbibe in the bleachers! But what’s the best flask-worthy beverage? That depends, according to Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris. “We’re going for the nip — not something to pour into a Coke,” Morris says. “And I’d divide the football season in half. The early games, you want something refreshing, so start with bourbon and add a little fresh fruit juice, maybe pineapple, orange or lemon. Then just a little mint and a hint of ginger. But in November you want a warming drink. Puree or press some blackberries and a peach. Then add a little pumpkin pie spice or clove. Think blackberry jam cake flavors with the caramel and vanilla notes of the bourbon.” Sounds way classier than one of those beer can helmets, don’t ya think? (Anne Mitchell)

Photo by Jennifer Morgan

COOL MUSIC THAT’S NOT IN AUSTIN: A local music festival isn’t necessarily a revolutionary idea, but the way Far-I-Rome Productions presents and promotes is reinventing the whole concept. Built on the vision of executive producer Rome Ntukogu, a community and music enthusiast, Far-I-Rome came into existence in late 2009 as haven for musicians and artists looking to make headway in the local scene. The organization’s motto is to create a collaborative artistic community by nurturing community artists. Following the success of the first Clifton Heights Music Festival — which has continued biannually with the fifth incarnation set to be the biggest yet — Far-I-Rome has organized a ton of other local shindigs, including the popular Turntables ‘n’ Snares (deejays + bands = damn good time) and OTR Skate (rollerskating + deejays = raising money for the OTR Rec Center). CHMF5 will take place Oct. 7 and 8, featuring more than 60 local bands at six different venues near UC. (Leyla Shokoohe)

Photo by Kevin Wauligman

COOL FALL FLAVORS: During the harsh heat of summer, one way to cool off is by indulging in some of Cincinnati’s finest Gelato offerings, but why let the end of summer stop you from sampling some more cool treats this fall? Aroma’s Java and Gelato (6407 Bridgetown Road, Cheviot) has some tasty flavors in store for the Fall season. Their seasonal flavors, created in-house, include: Carmel Apple, Pumpkin Pie, Candy Corn, S’mores, Ginger Bread and many more. Also offering seasonal flavors is Dolce Vita Cafe (517 Sixth St., Dayton, Ky.), whose homemade 

flavors include Apple Crisp, Butternut Squash, Salted Carmel, Hazel Nut and Pumpkin Spice. You can also find Dolce Vita Cafe’s gelato at the Madeira Farmers Market and the Bellevue Farmers Market. Aroma’s Java and Gelato ( is open 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday. Dolce Vita Café is open 6:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. (Shawn Buckenmeyer)

COOL RICHLY TEXTURED COMEDY: Playwright Sarah Ruhl has created plays that audiences have adored at several Cincinnati theaters — from The Clean House (Cincinnati Playhouse) and Eurydice (Know Theatre) to Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Ensemble Theatre). Her recent script, In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) , was a runner-up for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize. In the Victorian era, the question of “what do women want” evoked a lot of furrowed brows and strange medical notions. Ruhl’s play, set in the 1880s, is the story of young doctor and his wife as he explores what electricity can do for his patients using a new medical device intended to pacify “hysterical” women. It’s a richly textured comedy about marriage, motherhood and the charged energy between men and women. Ruhl’s show has its local premiere at Covington’s Carnegie Center in a production featuring talent from the drama program at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music, directed by Ed Cohen, one of our city’s most dependable directors. Runs Nov. 4-20. (Rick Pender)

Photo by Mark Leeds

COOL ROAD TRIP (AS COOL AS ICE-NINE): What’s really fun for literatis about Indianapolis’ new Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library is getting a chance to walk in the author’s shoes. The prominent Hoosier novelist and World War II veteran died in 2007, and the library, which offers an immersive experience for those in Vonnegut’s karass (It’s a Cat’s Cradle thing), opened earlier this year in his hometown. Vonnegut’s famous World War II novel Slaughterhouse Five , a fictionalization of his time as a POW during the Dresden bombing, is brought to life through a military exhibit at the library. Included are Vonnegut’s Purple Heart, letters to and from family and his medals. There’s also one of the letters that was sent to the author by his father while Vonnegut was a POW. It is still unread. Vonnegut’s books are regional and global treasures. The Mark Twain of his generation, his offbeat tales have blended humor and tragedy with his unique outlook on life, death, war and peace. The Memorial Library offers insight into his work and opportunities to meet with those who have been changed by his words. Admission to the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library is free. Open noon-5 p.m. daily except Wednesdays, 340 N. Senate Ave., Indianapolis, (Stephen Carter-Novotni)

Photo by Ronny Salerno

COOL BUMPS IN THE NIGHT: The witching season is upon us and Cincinnati’s most popular and unique haunted houses are about to be open for business. The USS Nightmare returns for its 20th season with a devilish crew and a leaky old tub packed with terrorific surprises. The 30-minute tour on the haunted riverboat includes new laundry and machine shop scenes. Also look for the scares to get amped up the later you board the ship. They save their best work for after the kids are asleep. The Dent Schoolhouse reprises its popular Detention Hall chain link fence maze and this year will include admission to the maze in the standard ticket price. Expect more and updated thrills within this historic, horrific educational facility, too. The USS Nightmare is open every Friday and Saturday starting Sept. 16 and every day except Monday and Tuesday beginning Sept. 25. Admission is $16; RIP access is $20. Look for coupons on its website. Newport on the Levy, The Dent Schoolhouse admission is $20; $30 for fast pass. Open every Friday and Saturday starting Sept. 16 and all week except Monday-Wednesday beginning Oct. 1. 5963 Harrison Ave., Dent, (Stephen Carter-Novotni)

Photo by Greg Rust, Xavier Director for Photography

COOL BALLER: It’s always nice when a college basketball team has a non-senior who’s good enough to gets looks from NBA teams before exhausting his college eligibility. Even better when the player decides to come back for his senior season to try and build on Third Team Associated Press All-American honors. Such is the case for Xavier and Tu Holloway, a 6-foot senior guard who returns this November to lead a Xavier team that has been to the NCAA tournament six straight seasons. Holloway averaged 19.7 points, 5.4 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game during his junior year, leading the Musketeers to their third consecutive Atlantic 10 championship. He’ll enter the season with 1,238 career points, which is 26th on Xavier’s all-time scoring list. Jam it in the hoop! (Danny Cross)

Photo by Eileen Babbs


Miami University in Oxford sometimes is called the “Cradle of Coaches” because it once produced such important football leaders as Paul Brown, Ara Parseghian and John Pont. But maybe it should also be known as the “Cradle of the Counterculture.” It produced Ken Babbs , a 1958 graduate, and Ed McClanahan , class of 1955. Both wound up in California, where they studied creative writing with Wallace Stegner at Stanford University, and both became good, devoted friends of classmate Ken Kesey (the now-deceased author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest ). Babbs became an especially close friend, as well as a highly visible Merry Prankster in the early 1960s. In 1964, Kesey, Babbs and other Pranksters drove a dazzlingly psychedelic school bus called Further (sometimes spelled Furthur) cross-country to the New York World’s Fair, an event chronicled by journalist Tom Wolfe in his bestseller The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test . It’s also the subject of a new documentary, Magic Trip , that features Babbs. Babbs, who lives in Oregon, finally this year published a long-gestating novel — based on his experiences as a Marine helicopter pilot in the earliest days of the Vietnam War — called Who Shot the Water Buffalo? Babbs will be at Miami Oct. 10 and 11 for a “Sixties Extravaganza,” along with fellow prankster/author McClanahan. At 7 p.m. on the 10th, Magic Trip will screen followed by a discussion. And at 7 p.m. on the 11th, both will read from their work. Events take place at Leonard Theater in Peabody Hall on the Oxford campus and are free and open to the public. (Steven Rosen)

Photo by Ian Johnson


: Out for a night of drinking but refuse to relieve your munchies with White Castle? You needn’t travel to Brooklyn or Seattle for a more sophisticated late-night snack. Local spots around Cincinnati are serving up traditional bar grub with gourmet makeovers. Senate (1212 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine) has transformed drive-thru favorites into couture cuisine with items such as truffle fries, lobster BLTs and vegetarian bean and lentil sausage dogs. Or head over to Northside to try one of Mayday ’s (4227 Spring Grove Ave.) gourmet hot dogs served on house-made pretzel buns. Whether you’re a vegan or meataholic, there are tons of tasty options to load up your dog until last call. One of Downtown’s hottest clubs, FB’s (126 W. Sixth St.) has also risen the bar when it comes to late night bites. Check out their QBG (quality bar grub) menu, featuring chicken and waffles, tuna tacos and chocolate chipotle mousse, all served until 11 p.m. (Jac Kern)

Photo by Kevin Wauligman

COOL BOOK SALES: Friends of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is a local nonprofit dedicated to making libraries and their resources more accessible to the public. The Friends present several book sales across the Tristate year-round, offering used books, CDs, DVDs and books-on-tape for extremely cheap. They often present “bag sales,” where shoppers can stuff all they want into a provided bag for $5-$10. Despite Kasich planning to cut budgets for libraries, Cincinnati is lucky to have a wonderful public library system that provides excellent programs like this. Fall brings sales to the Westwood and Madeira branches. Check out ongoing sales at The Friends Warehouse (8456 Vine St., Hartwell) 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesdays, 5:30-7:30 p.m. second Mondays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. fourth Saturdays. Reading is cool. (Jac Kern)

Photo courtesy of Taft Theatre

COOL RENOVATION: It’s a pretty safe bet to say that John Kasich (someone please cast him as Mr. Grinch in the next Dr. Seuss musical revue) wasn’t the anonymous donor who, along with Mr. and Mrs. Carl H. Lindner, dropped a generous “leadership gift” on the Taft Theatre . Built in 1928 by the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, the historic venue reopened last week with mondo upgrades, including but not limited to a sweet new paint job, new carpeting, larger seats, tripled capacity in the women’s restrooms, doubled capacity in the men’s restrooms and a state-of-the-art, eco-friendly central air-conditioning unit. The upgrade has already yielded dividends, as the Taft will fill a local mid-sized, sit-down venue vacuum: the fall season includes performances by such diverse entities as the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops orchestras, John Hiatt (Oct. 7), Cyndi Lauper with Dr. John (Oct. 29) and actress/comedienne Lily Tomlin (Oct. 29). Hey, investment can work, Governor! For more information on the Taft’s 2011-12 season, go to (Jason Gargano)

Photo courtesy of The Travel Channel

COOL PIG OUT HOTSPOT: Host of the Travel Channel’s Man V. Food Nation and man of my dreams Adam Richman recently came to Cincinnati to stuff his face with local delicacies. He was reportedly spotted at Findlay Market, Izzy’s, Senate (where they named a hot dog after him for the day), Newport’s Tom & Chee and other Cincinnati eateries. And since an episode of MVF wouldn’t be complete without a gut-busting food challenge, Richman supposedly scarfed a special eight-foot cheese coney at Camp Washington Chili. Did he finish the dog? We’ll have to tune in Oct. 12 to find out. (Jac Kern)

COOL VISIONS: The rapidly growing international film festival circuit has become a new, vital kind of distribution network, places where smaller films can find audiences eager to experience works that once more readily graced art-house cinemas and college campuses. And while the relatively young and still-evolving Cincinnati Film Festival might not have the reputation of a Sundance or the many well-established smaller fests across the U.S., it’s quickly making its mark as a filmmaker-friendly destination under the leadership of Executive Director Katharine Steele. This year’s fest, which takes place Sept. 29-Oct. 2 at The Cincinnati Club downtown, has a few new additions — a virtual online screening room via for officially selected films; a screenplay contest; and a new programming director, Brandon Harris, who says CFF is bringing in “wonderful films from elite festivals like Sundance, Rotterdam, SXSW and Tribeca that would never otherwise reach Cincinnati, as well as some terrific regional selections.” Now let’s make sure there’s a Cincinnati audience, people. (Jason Gargano)

Photo by Diana Lucas-Leavenwood

COOL BOOK GATHERING: There’s nothing like a good book — they’re informative; they feel and smell good; they usually have snappily designed dust jackets; they take you places you might not have otherwise gone; they look impressive to your friends when sitting on your overstuffed bookshelves; and they can be burned by


those who disagree with their contents. By extension, there’s nothing like a gathering of people who like to write and read books, which means the annual Books by the Banks might just be the best day of the year. This year’s smorgasbord of the written word — Oct. 22 at the Duke Energy Center — features a plethora of authors and publishers, from acclaimed crime-noir master Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Shutter Island, Gone Baby Gone and the recent Moonlight Mile) to best-selling romance mistress Judy Collins to former UC creative writing professor/current crafty satirist Brock Clarke (An Arsonists Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England and the recent Exley). Hell, we’ve even seen Paul Daugherty hawking his sports books at this thing. See, a little something for everyone. For more information, go to (Jason Gargano)

COOL MEAL DEAL: Chef Steve Geddes is giving Cincinnatians the option to have an expertly prepared family-style meal with the all-new “Family Meal” at Local 127, scheduled for Sundays when the options for eating out are sparse. The very first Family Meal took place Aug. 21 and featured chicken three ways — a buttermilk drumstick, confit thigh and panko encrusted breast — with whipped potatoes and chicken gravy and cornbread which, sorry, Ma, was the best I’ve ever had. Not to mention the plum crisp for dessert. Local 127 prides itself on a “farm-to-table” philosophy, which means most of the produce is from regional farms if not from the nearby Findlay Market. The Family Meal will change just as the regular menu does — what’s in-season is what’s served. Although Local is still working on the ins and outs of the deal, this is what we can tell you: For 20 bucks a head, diners can experience rustic, down-home cooking at its finest in a bistro setting every Sunday from here on out. Check out Local 127’s FaceBook page on Sundays for more details. 413 Vine St., Downtown, 513-721-1345. (Eli Johnson)

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