Laser Magic, Juston McKinney, St. Rita Festival, Adrian Belew Power Trio and much more

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Alice Pixley Young's work is on view at Aisle Gallery.

ART: WESTON ART GALLERY houses three exhibits (Exodus/Elegy, piece work and Fundamentalism), each featuring either sculptural works or paintings. See Jane Durrell's Exodus/Elegy review here.

ART: CINCINNATI ART MUSEUM features a collection of detailed, David Lynch-esque Americana photographs by Gregory Crewdson. See Tamera Lenz Muente's review here.

ONSTAGE: FLORENCIA EN EL AMAZONAS, inspired by the works of author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, leads you on an operatic journey down the Amazon River. See Steven Rosen's cover story here.

EVENTS: LASER MAGIC Bored with all the traditional summer activities like cookouts, baseball games and swimming pools? Then might I suggest a new, exciting alternative that is sure to blow your mind? Laser Magic takes you back to the psychedelic era of the 1970s with a good ol' fashioned laser light show. Be entertained by classical-style 2-D animation, computer-generated 3-D animation and abstract geometrics all choreographed to the sounds of some of your favorite musicals acts.

Shows take place throughout July and August and feature a variety of great classic bands like the Beatles, Metallica, AC/DC, Queen and the more modern Alternative Rock sounds of Foo Fighters and Smashing Pumpkins. Not to mention Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, two bands no laser light show could be complete without. If you're into the more educational stuff, Laser Magic features "Legends of the Night Sky," an animated laser show that explains the Greek stories behind the constellations. Laser Magic is hosted by the Drake Planetarium (2020 Sherman Ave., Norwood), a nonprofit educational organization bent on teaching science to the youth of Greater Cincinnati. So forget staring into the actual night sky, go for the artificial kind, equipped with lasers and good music. $9 for adults and $6 for children in advance; $12 for adults and $8 for children at the door. (Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — Chris Boyer

COMEDY: JUSTON MCKINNEY Comedian and former Maine police officer Juston McKinney agrees that his sense of humor helped him in his law enforcement career. "Yeah, it totally did," he says. "It was definitely good for diffusing a situation." If that didn't work, he would simply point out to the perpetrator that he was a mere 140 pounds and that beating up a cop probably wasn't going to be the best option. "I'd tell them, 'You broke the law. I have no choice. We'll take you down there, you'll get bailed out, you'll be out in an hour." As a youngster, he was actually drawn to law enforcement through some domestic unrest. "The cops would come to our house," he recalls, "and I'd be watching Chips, which was my favorite show. The real police would pull up. I'd hear the sirens on TV and I'd look outside, and the real cops were outside arresting my dad." Now McKinney is married and often talks about his wife and how she wants to start a family. "She wants to have kids," he says. "She wants to have two and she hopes they're twins so she only has to have sex with me one more time." McKinney performs Thursday-Sunday at The Funny Bone on the Levee in Newport. $15. (Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — P.F. Wilson

ART: ART BEYOND BOUNDARIES Art from the Heart will be just that during a silent auction Friday evening and an exhibition on view through Sunday at Art Beyond Boundaries Gallery. The auction will benefit artist Thom Shaw, who is fighting not only poor health but mounting medical bills. Shaw's own strong drawings, woodcuts and paintings have made a visceral contribution to art here and elsewhere. Among his artist friends and colleagues providing their own acclaimed work to the benefit are Brian Joiner, Cal Kowal, Jay Bolotin, Melvin Grier, Kevin T. Kelly, Jymi Bolden and Anita Douthit. Reception and silent auction, with a Jazz saxophone and poetry reading, occur 6-9 p.m. Friday. Gallery hours are noon-5 Saturday and Sunday. 1410 Main St., Over-the-Rhine. All proceeds will help offset Shaw's medical expenses. (Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — Jane Durrell

ART: NICHOLAS GALLERY Nicholas Gallery's new exhibition is stunning in its scope and adorable in its theme. A Mad Tea {Towel} Party was organized with Maya Drozdz and draws an international set of artists and designers together from across Cincinnati, the United States, the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands. Each participant was asked to address or reinterpret the traditional linen or canvas tea towel as an alternative surface for painting, printmaking and a broad range of imagery. The results are playful and diverse and will be collectively displayed along clotheslines in the gallery. This ambitious exhibition will be one of the last in Nicholas Gallery (23 E. Court St., Downtown), as Nick Paddock has recently announced that it will be closing. The gallery's opening receptions always draw a noticeable crowd, but all friends and admirers should stop by to thank Nick for what he has added to the downtown art scene for several years. Opening reception: 6-10 p.m. Friday. (Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — Matt Morris

ONSTAGE: HUMAN RACE THEATRE COMPANY If you're a fan of musical theater, you need to be in Dayton this weekend when the Human Race Theatre Company gives local audiences a chance to see three new musicals at the Loft Theatre. Two are in workshop format; the third will be created and staged by teenagers from Dayton. Things kick off with a reception on Friday evening at 7 p.m., followed by a performance of Tinyard Hill, a story of big love and small-town dreams in Georgia in 1964. (It has a second presentation on Saturday at 3 p.m.) Saturday's activities begin at 11 a.m. with The Black Crook Project, a musical retelling of the story of a New York melodrama from the 1860s that added music and dancers, inadvertently creating the first "musical." (This one repeats on Sunday at 7 p.m.) The weekend's third production (8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday) is being created by the Human Race Summer Stock TEENS, guided by the Lovewell Institute from Florida in conceiving a musical from original ideas through performance. The Dayton theater has earned a national reputation for its development of musicals, and this weekend will show why. $15-$25 per show. (Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — Rick Pender

ART: AISLE GALLERY In Aisle's new exhibition thread tide, Carissa Barnard and Alice Pixley Young each present works on paper that complement the more involved installation art both have been known for. These drawings string together (and "string" is key here) a range of sources and level them into fundamental languages in drawing: shape in Young's case, and mostly lines in Barnard's. Back from an art residency during June, Young's works on paper — the paper cutouts that have populated her installation art for several years — are being employed as stencils for dustings of spray paint and gouache. What have typically been strong, crimson elements are translated into smoky, atmospheric layers, occasionally augmented by a red tessellation shape. Barnard, on the other hand, located a range of potential dialogues within Rudyard Kipling's poem "White Horses," and has abstractly responded to these ideas with undulating lines and curly-cues in India ink. Synaptic bursts, braids and decorative fields of small marks fill out her series of pieces that range in visual density. "That rope us where we run" is the simplest image, with a ropey stream of marks running left to right, invoking Barnett Newman's "zips," but with lanky, human handling. Alternately, "And a veil before their ways," packs a shock of post-Impressionist hatching emanating from a central field of electric blue. Opening reception: 6-9 p.m. Friday. Aisle is located on the third floor of 424 Findlay St. in Over-the-Rhine. (Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — Matt Morris

MUSIC: STEVEN GUERRERO For an evening that defies your expectations, head out to Essencha Tea House in Oakley to see solo bassist Steven Guerrero. Steven plays an extended-range bass and uses looping devices to create lush, mesmerizing soundscapes in real-time. When your tea-buzz kicks in, you might find yourself entranced by Steven's spider-like fingers, the vibrating strings and electronic devices, all working together as the music changes and grows in low-light conditions. This is normal. Food from Essencha's menu will be available (soups, salads, crepes, sandwiches) as well as tea and tea-based beverages. Don't miss the desserts. Local solo bassist Trentin Manning will also be playing. $5 cover. 6-9 p.m. 3212 Madison Road, Oakley. (Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — Brian Cross

EVENTS: BIG BUSKER SHOW WEEKEND Even though they're common in bigger cities like New York and San Francisco, there aren't many buskers in Cincinnati. "What's a busker?" you might ask. I'm glad you did. It's someone who performs in public for money. If you don't count Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory or Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, such entertainment is rare here, so the curious should head over to Newport on the Levee for the Big Show Busker Weekend. The three-day event is free and features some of the best street performers from the United States and abroad. Various circus-style acts are planned including jugglers, magicians, musicians and escape artists — all throwing down their hats for tips after their outdoor shows. Organized by Bobby Maverick, a local street performer who travels around the country, the Big Show will be held from noon-4 p.m. Friday through Sunday on the plaza in front of the Newport Aquarium. In the case of rainy weather, the event will be moved inside the Gallery Building near the AMC ticket booth. Also, performers will be strolling through the Levee complex doing smaller shows after the big event. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — Kevin Osborne

EVENTS: ST. RITA FESTIVAL St. Rita's Festival has more to offer than games, heat and screaming children — namely, 600 gallons of turtle soup. The vat of homemade green goodness sells out long before the three-day festival closes. Additionally, the festival includes several posh raffle prices. The grand prize is the winner's choice of $24,000, his and her Harleys, a BMW 325, Lexus RX 330 or Chevy Venture. Other prizes include getaways to Hawaii and the Caribbean. The entertainment lineup includes the five-piece horn band Second Wind, which plays everything from Elvis to Santana. Hot Wax, a Las Vegas-style show group, and the Clash of the Choirs winner, Team Cincinnati, will also perform. For the gambler, there is a $31,500 Texas Hold 'Em tournament. If you're not into turtle soup, ritzy raffle prizes, Harleys or horn bands, check out more than 100 booths and games at the 92nd annual festival. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — Bessie Taliaferro

MUSIC: THE WORKING TITLE plays The Southgate House with Junior Revolution, All the Day Holiday, Edison Glass and more. See interview here.

EVENTS: DOG DAYS OF SUMMER Have a canine companion or two? The College of Mount St. Joseph presents Dog Days of Summer, a whole festival dedicated to entertaining you and your best friends. Events include a dog fashion show, dog/owner look-alike contest, demonstrations by police and fire dogs and other activities for your pooch. Don't have a dog? Not to worry — you can adopt a pet of your own at the SPCA Adopt-a-thon and check out various vendors while you're at it. Proceeds from the festival will benefit the Eldermount Adult Day Program. In the case of rain leave your bitch at home because the event will be canceled. Free. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Lions Park at Mount St. Joseph Sport Complex, Delhi. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — Brian Cross

MUSIC: ADRIAN BELEW POWER TRIO Adrian Belew is not only one of the most accomplished musicians to come out of Greater Cincinnati, but his place in the history of 20th-century music is huge and often under-noticed. The Covington-born Belew is a visionary and true guitar original, constantly experimenting with sounds, tones, textures, rhythms, playing styles and technology. The projects for which he plays "frontman" (from solo albums to King Crimson to The Bears) might cause head-scratches from the uninitiated, but Belew's "sideman" gigs have often been crucial to the sonic evolution of some hugely influential artists. It's a safe bet that without Belew, pivotal projects from Talking Heads, Laurie Anderson, Tom Tom Club and Frank Zappa would have sounded vastly different (and that's not counting all of the varied recording projects he's participated in, including albums by Nine Inch Nails, Tori Amos and ... William Shatner!). A fantastic case is made in an online petition that Belew belongs in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (linked to at, which claims that Belew's creativity and versatility have "directly, and indirectly, influenced a wide range of performers, professional musicians, plus regular guitar playing fans and enthusiasts alike." If not as a main inductee, at the very least, Belew should have been inducted into the "sideman" category the second he was eligible (the petition is gunning for the 2009 induction ceremonies). Sunday, Belew swings through his native Northern Kentucky at the Southgate House for a show with his Power Trio, which consists of two stunning young musicians, sibling rhythm section Eric and Julie Slick. Local singer/songwriter Wake the Bear opens the show at 8:30 p.m. $25. (Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — Mike Breen

MUSIC: MAP & ATLASES, the compelling and confounding Prog/Post Rock group plays with mewithoutYou and Gasoline Heart at the Mad Hatter. See Sound Advice preview here.

MUSIC: SOUND TRIBE SECTOR 9, proof positive that technology and soul can work together, play with Umphrey's McGee, DJ Rootz and Kap10 Harris at Coney Island's Moonlite Gardens. See Sound Advice preview here.

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