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Jun 25, 2008 at 2:06 pm
Cincinnati Arts Museum

David Macaulay's "Rome Antics"

ART: FERALMADE's latest exhibition, Obsolete, highlights a dying photographic medium: the Polaroid. See review here.

ART: CINCINNATI ART MUSEUM David Macaulay can turn anything inside out and does so with marvelously deft and amusing drawings in Building Books: The Art of David Macaulay. Ostensibly Macaulay is a writer and illustrator of children's books; in fact his books are an undiluted pleasure for readers of any age. He shows how a cathedral would have been built, how to dismantle the Empire State Building, what's going on under city streets and other unlikely subjects. The Way Things Work (1988) has been updated in The New Way Things Work (1998), presenting complicated ideas in a straightforward fashion. Macaulay's original drawings, paintings and studies are on view in a show shared by the Cincinnati Art Museum (513-721-2787) and the Fitton Center for the Arts (101 S. Monument Ave., Hamilton, 513-863-8873) through Sept. 7. (Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — JANE DURRELL

ART: COUNTRY CLUB A precise description of David Ellis' work in the new exhibition Uh-oh at Country Club gets clunky and doesn't do the work justice. Collaborating with composer Roberto Lange, Ellis has created an installation of projected video with sonic accompaniment from a wall composition of homemade instruments that is truly absorbing.

Time-lapsed footage shows an incredibly active painting forming and reforming, incorporating graffiti-style text, blocks of delicious color and coy formal comparisons (like the shape of Superman's "S" symbol with the silhouette of a stealth aircraft). The music is danceable and recalls the energy of a Stomp performance. This involved work is augmented by a series of sleek paintings that overlay collaged grids of notations and sketches with striped silver-and-black amorphous forms. Black areas plunge back into a different space than the collage that surrounds the forms; dribbles and splatters around the edges of the painted elements crash the works with animation. In addition to Ellis' painting discourses, the pieces that Louisville's Cynthia Norton presents in Double Agent Workhorse promise to be a cast of real characters. A moonshine still will be set up in the back gallery, with a series of "Folkisms" (Norton's anagram paintings) and other objects to complement it. The exhibition runs noon-4 p.m. Thursday-Saturday through Aug. 16. 513-792-9744. (Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — MATT MORRIS

ONSTAGE: JITNEY, August Wilson's play about cab drivers in the 1970s, continues at the Madisonville Arts Center through Sunday. See review here.

COMEDY: MIKE ARMSTRONG "I'd get suspended for just dumb stuff," says Louisville native Mike Armstrong of his former job as a police officer. "Really stupid stuff. I answered a 911 phone call once. Just goofing off, and the caller said he had a gun to his head — his wife left him. And I said 'Well, the next click I hear won't be call waiting will it pal?' I thought it was funny." Armstrong is quick to point out, "He didn't kill himself. That was my argument." On patrols, Armstrong would routinely pull people over and warn them about speed traps, just to see their reaction. "On the expressway, where it says 'authorized vehicles only,' people make u-turns," he says. "I'd pull up behind them, put on my lights, put on my intercom and say, 'I authorize you.' " Today on stage he talks about what he thinks most people can relate to. "People don't want to hear that you're happily married and that you love your kids," he says. "They want to hear that your wife is evil and your kids are driving you crazy. It makes them feel better about themselves." Armstrong performs Thursday-Sunday at Go Bananas in Montgomery. $10-$15. 513-984-9288. (Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — P.F. WILSON

ONSTAGE: JERRY SPRINGER: THE OPERA There are people telling you not to go to see the raucous opera about Cincinnati's own Jerry Springer. In fact, some of them might show up at New Stage Collective (NSC) to protest the production. They've been sending thousands of postcards to the Main Street theater, pleading for the show's cancellation. What's got them so worked up? The opera's first act offers a particularly dramatic taping of Springer's infamous TV show. In the second act, Jerry hosts a show in a very different venue — Hell — as he is forced to experience the worst day of his life with guests including Satan, God and the Virgin Mary, taking the level of debate to operatic heights. "Why present this piece?" asks NSC's Artistic Director Alan Patrick Kenny. "We're starting a dialogue about public spectacle and the boundaries of theater. We're exploring issues of morality, empathy, human desperation and the yearning for the spotlight. What better place to encourage such a dialogue than in the very city that turned Gerald Norman Springer into 'Jer-RY'?" That's not to say that NSC doesn't expect some people to be put off by what they see (the show's content advisory warns, "Potentially offensive themes and extensive language — ages 17 and up"). NSC anticipates, however, that this show will find an audience: "Anyone who appreciates popular culture, satire, comedy contemporary theater, opera, grand spectacle and anyone who supports the First Amendment." Sounds like CityBeat readers to me. $12-$20. 513-621-3700. (Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — RICK PENDER

MUSIC: ADJUST YOUR EYES The third annual "Adjust Your Eyes" event, a concert/benefit concocted by Nick Mitchell (a local musician of The Terrors and Chick Pimp fame), takes place this Friday and Saturday at Newport's Southgate House. Though primarily a music festival, AYE also has a strong visual art component — this year, look for progressive art collective Bunk News to provide some visual surprises, as well as Early Light Dyes. The musical lineup is always eclectic at AYE and this year is no different as the fest features an impressive collection of local and regional talent, each harder to pin down — in terms of "genre classification" — than the next. Among the performers: Newgrassers The Rumpke Mountain Boys, Athens' ElectroJam band Papadosio (pictured), Ann Arbor Jam/Fusion unit The Macpodz, Prog/Hard Rock locals The Host, Cincy Indie rockers The Harlequins, Funk/R&B hot shots Daughters & Sons, local Funk rockers Losanti, New York singer/songwriter Jaclyn Dima and many others. In the past, AYE has raised money for WAIF and Chris Walker; this year, the beneficiary of the proceeds is the American Cancer Society. For the full lineups (including set times), go to myspace.com/adjust_your_eyes. 859-431-2201. (Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — MIKE BREEN

MUSIC: THE FAIRMOUNT GIRLS host a release party for their latest CD Forever at the Northside Tavern with guests The Sundresses and The Chauncers. See cover story here.

ONSTAGE: THE SECOND CITY Chicago's legendary comedy theater troupe is bringing some laughs to Covington's Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center this weekend with performances on Friday and Saturday evening. Founded in 1959, Second City has been a training ground for the likes of Joan Rivers, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Chris Farley, Mike Meyers, Tina Fey, Steve Carroll and Stephen Colbert. The group's "Green Company" has seven performers whose names you might not know now, but why miss their show, One Nation, Under Blog, with new material and classic sketch comedy performed by talent who might be comedy legends in the not-too-distant future? 8 p.m. both nights. $24-$30. 859-957-1940. (Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — RICK PENDER

ART: PARK + VINE As part of the city's extensive plan to revitalize, develop and rebuild the housing and economic infrastructure of Over-the-Rhine, Park + Vine (1109 Vine St.) will host the opening of 1700 Vine Street: Visions of a Sustainable Over-the-Rhine as part of Final Friday. From 6-9 p.m., the environmentally friendly general store will display a collection of drawings, photographs and models that illustrate how a historic building in Over-the-Rhine could be rehabilitated using "green" construction. The exhibit, continuing through July 20, was created by architecture students in the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning as well as cultural resources consultants Gray & Pape, Cincinnati Preservation Association, solar and geothermal experts, LEED-certified architects and the building's owners, Patty Klein and Reid Hartman. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday; noon-4 p.m. Sunday. 513-721-7275. (Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — ELIZABETH BRAND

EVENTS: DEADRAMONES RELEASE PARTY I don't actually know anything about the band Modern Life Is War, but from the name I can guess they're sort of Hardcore, which in turn means that former CityBeat intern and DIY publisher extraordinaire Kevin Bruce is sort of hardcore too. This weekend he's throwing a party for the third issue of his skate, music and art zine deadramones (named after a MLIW song) at murmur gallery. Bruce started deadramones after getting multiple rejection letters from some skate magazines. Instead of feeling down, he said "fuck it" and started compiling all of his rejected articles into a modestly photocopied and stapled black-and-white zine. After the first one came out, people started asking for a second and so on. "deadramones is bitter as hell and this is a pathetic attempt at holding onto my youth," Bruce says. "Most skateboarders are fucking idiots and most magazines cater to that. Recently, I've been trying to make this something out of the ordinary for whatever 'target audience' there is, which is probably going to alienate a few people, but hopefully this issue sparks someone to blow up a gas station or something." For $5 you can participate in an evening of live music from bands La Otracina (NYC heavy Psychedelic Jazz Rock), K Brutal (Experimental Electronic Post-Punk), Ownweatherone (Cleveland Psychedelic weirdness) and Pete Fosco (solo Experimental Bluesy guitar). The money goes to support the touring bands and gets you some homemade chips, guacamole and margaritas, while they last. You'll also be entered in a raffle to win some gear from Alien Workshop or a deadramones shirt — made in America and sweatshop-free. Isn't that exciting? www.myspace.com/murmurmurspace. (Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — MAIJA ZUMMO

EVENTS: PANEGYRI "Greeks always have the table full and the door open," or so an old folk saying alleges. People can put the phrase to the test this weekend by checking out Panegyri 2008, the 35th annual Greek festival organized by Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Finneytown. The three-day event features authentic, hand-made food delicacies, live Greek music and folk dancing. Cooking demonstrations will offer tips on preparing Greek cuisine at home, while parish members dressed in regional costumes will offer dance instructions for the brave-hearted. Also, vendors will be selling jewelry, leather goods, fine linens, home goods and classical Greek statuary, all imported from Greece. Tours of the Byzantine-style church will be available for those needing a respite from the sun. 5 p.m.-midnight Friday; 3 p.m.-midnight Saturday; and 1-9 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $2 per person or a donation of two non-perishable food items. The items will be donated to Cincinnati FreeStore/FoodBank. 513-591-0030. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — KEVIN OSBORNE

EVENTS: PADDLEFEST Many don't appreciate the beauty and recreational benefits of our very own Ohio River. Paddlefesters, however, do. Paddlefest is the largest canoe and kayak event in the Midwest. Organized by the Ohio River Way, the event begins at Coney Island and ends at the Cincinnati Serpentine Wall. The 8.2-mile stretch is a competition for the athlete and a journey for the leisurely paddler. If water sports are not your forte, check out the concerts on the WNKU Music Stage, including Lagniappe, StarDevils, Straw Boss, the Rumpke Mountain Boys and Mr. Rhythm Man, who is not to miss. This local DJ won "Best Radio Show" with CityBeat in 2008 for his "mishmash of hep cats like James Brown, the Yardbirds and Chuck Berry up through KT Tunstall and North Mississippi All-Stars." Paddlefest even caters to children, with Ohio's largest environmental and water-safety event. The one and only Kids Ex-Stream Expo includes fishing, canoeing, live music, live animals and info sessions on preserving the environment. Last year Paddlefest raised more than $25,000 for the nonprofit, volunteer-driven Ohio River Way. This is no small stroke to preserve "our region's most important natural asset." $25 adult; $15 children. All available canoes and kayaks have been rented. www.ohioriverway.org. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — BESSIE TALIAFERRO