Northside Rock 'N Roll Carnival, Cajun comedy, motorcycles in Newport, balloons at Coney Island and much more

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Donald Holden's "Schoodic Sunset"

ART: MEYERS GALLERY Midway is currently on display at the University of Cincinnati's Meyers Gallery in the Steger Student Life Center and features sculptural works and drawings by Laura Alich and Beth Graves. Both artists use skills honed in their day jobs as sculptors at Sculpco to create meticulous objects in a contemporary reformation of Magical Realist traditions. Plastics, polymer clay and urethanes are treated to realistically mimic items that call for closer inspection in the manner of René Magritte's composed, surreal situations. Each object is a playful non sequitur in its own right and together manages to command the space of the room, despite the small number of works and their diminutive statures. Graves' "Geology Chart" is evidently a pile of deli meat sculpted from polymer clay, except that the backside of the stack is cut away to reveal strata of whimsical, pastel hues. Their drawings are executed cleverly and with deft flourish. Alich's feathery portrait of a golden retriever in colored pencil, with what appears to be blood dripping from its mouth, is hung adjacent to Graves' darkly hilarious portrait of the small lights emitted from a cigarette and a cell phone. Elusive endgames and entrancing details will keep you totally engaged. Through Aug. 1. (Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.)

— Matt Morris

ART: XAVIER UNIVERSITY ART GALLERY Visit Xavier University for an art exhibition of abstract and landscape works on canvas, paper, fabric and ceramics that evoke the beauty, mystery and elemental forces of nature. Calligraphic Expressionism: Earth, Air, Fire and Water is a group exhibition featuring the work of Xavier faculty members as well as local and national artists. It is guest-curated by Daniel Brown, and there is much to see. The generously applied oil paint of Trish Weeks' landscapes gives them a dynamic sense of immediacy, while Donald Holden's ethereal watercolors seem to be dreamscapes rendered. Works by Andrea Grimsley, M. Katherine Hurley, Marsha Karagheusian, Bukang Kim, Frank Satogata, Valerie Shesko and M. Katherine Uetz are also included. Calligraphic Expressionism is on display through Aug. 1. The Xavier University Art Gallery is inside the A.B. Cohen Center, 1658 Herald Ave. Evanston. (Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — Angela Kilduff

MUSIC: MODEST MOUSE plays a sold out show at Bogart's. See interview here.

MUSIC: MICKEY HART BAND stops by the Southgate House. And, yes, Hart will be behind the drumkit. See Sound Advice preview here.

EVENTS: NEWPORT MOTORCYCLE RALLY/AMERICA'S CELEBRATION A traditional Fourth of July meets burning rubber. What a beautiful combination. The Newport Motorcycle Rally offers something for your inner-rider as well as your young child with events ranging from family-friendly games and fireworks to live music. Awards will be given to the best-looking wheels, so bring your bike and compete. There will also be a Poker Run beginning at 1 p.m. July 5. This event honors the late Joe Hurly, a local biker who passed away in an accident. Pick up a playing card at each stop along the run. Whoever has the best hand wins. So if you like bikes, leather, fireworks or food, you should probably join over 75,000 fellow Americans and head to Newport. America's Celebration, also on the Riverfront, will coincide with the motorcycle rally. This party includes games, live entertainment and, of course, fireworks. $20 per bike. 5-11 p.m. Thursday and Friday; noon-11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — Bessie Taliaferro

ATTRACTIONS: BALLOON GLOW AT CONEY ISLAND Lake Como? Q102? Hot air? Sounds like some sort of gab-infested powwow between former Q102 DJ Mark Sebastian (anyone remember his notorious Billy Squier meltdown?) and area native/current Lake Como, Italy, resident George Clooney. Don't get too excited: As far as we know, neither will be on hand for the ninth annual LaRosa's Balloon Glow (co-sponsored by Q102 and WCPO) on Thursday at Coney Island, which features numerous colorful hot-air balloons amid other family-friendly activities, culminating with a "Rozzi's Famous Fireworks" display at 10 p.m. over Coney's Lake Como. Why not get there early and make it a day? Coney Island has nearly two-dozen classic rides, miniature golf and a range of other kid-appeasing stuff. And don't forget Sunlite Pool. The world's largest re-circulating pool (3 million gallons at any given moment) has been around since 1925, which means that Calvin Coolidge might have stopped for a dip during a visit to the Tristate. Or not. The deep end features six diving boards for the show-offs, and there are four waterslides in which to partake: The Zoom Flume, The Pipeline Plunge, The Cyclone and the in-pool speed slide. Balloon Glow and fireworks are free, but the pool and rides will cost you. Parking is $10 after 4 p.m., yet another reason to get there early. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — Jason Gargano

EVENTS: NORTHSIDE ROCK 'N ROLL CARNIVAL This time of year, most neighborhoods have some sort of Independence Day celebration, maybe with an oldies act and fireworks galore. But Northside isn't most neighborhoods. The hip 'hood launches a three-day Fourth of July celebration Thursday with its annual Rock 'N Roll Carnival kicking off at 6 p.m. and extending through July 5. The free fest — which takes place at Hoffner Park — features some of the best original artists in the city including Wussy, The Sundresses, The Fairmount Girls (pictured), The Wolverton Brothers, Angels of Meth, The Libertines US, Peter Adams, Eat Sugar, Cash Flagg and Caterpillar Tracks, plus out-of-towners Black Diamond Heavies and Ghostfinger. The musical lineup alone would make this the most unique July 4-related event in the city. But toss in some fire-eaters, jugglers, magicians and routines from the performance art/burlesque troupe tandem of Cloven Hoof Theatre and Barnyard Burlesque, and you have one of the more singular Independence Day celebrations in the Midwest. And that's not even counting the wild, not-to-be-missed Fourth of July Parade, which starts at noon Friday on Hamilton Avenue. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — Mike Breen

COMEDY: JOHN MORGAN The "Ragin Cajun" is coming. No, not pundit James Carville, but comedian John Morgan. And, no, not the guy that does Bush impressions or the John Morgan that used to be in the Royal Canadian Air Farce (he's dead, by the way). This John Morgan is the Bayou-bred comedian with the telltale drawl, who punctuates many of his set-ups with his trademark "mmmm, hmmm!" His conservative Catholic upbringing has been a big influence on his comedy. Take the subject of child-rearing for instance: "I think every man should have to stay home and babysit," he says. "Not just while the wife runs to the store, but, ladies, take off for a couple of days. Mmm, hmm. Why not? My wife did to me. The other night she went on a girls' night, showed up about 1:30 in the morning. Me and the boys were still up. One was standing there. She said, 'What are y'all doin' up?' I said, 'Uh, nothing.' I'm scared of her. I ain't gonna lie. She said, 'It's 1:30 in the morning,' and I said. 'Uh, huh, we just ate. 'What'd y'all eat?' 'Some Skittles.' " Morgan performs Thursday-Sunday at The Funny Bone on the Levee. (Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — P.F. Wilson

ONSTAGE: JERRY SPRINGER: THE OPERA, designed to incite laughter and to entertain, continues at the New Stage Collective. See Tom McElfresh's review here.

EVENTS: RICK WALLENDA HIGH-WIRE WALK If your Fourth of July plans are still up in the air, you're not alone — Rick Wallenda's plans include a record-breaking high-wire skywalk at Kings Island. Thirty-four years ago Wallenda's grandfather, Karl Wallenda, set the world's distance high-wire record at 1,800 feet, also at Kings Island. Friday at 2 p.m., Wallenda will walk real slow and careful-like (without safety nets or harnesses) 112 feet above the ground from the Eiffel Tower, over the Royal Fountain, ending at the flagpole outside the front gate. But that's just to get warmed up. The record-breaking skywalk begins at 7 p.m. and will take Rick 2,000 feet through Coney Mall, 75 feet in the air. Just a heads up: Don't be alarmed by the scary-looking airplanes, skydivers and loud bangs while you're there. It's not terrorists, it's just a spectacular air show and the largest fireworks display the park has ever put on! Never has so much fun been such a pain in the neck. All free with park admission ($29.99; $24.99 junior/senior). Gates open at 10 a.m. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — Brian Cross

EVENTS: AULT PARK INDEPENDENCE DAY Come celebrate the Fourth of July with a day of fun and fireworks at the 37th Annual Ault Park Independence Day Celebration. The festivities will begin at 10:30 a.m. with the popular children's program, which includes a bike-decorating contest and parade, refreshments, games, crafts and prizes. The evening program will begin at 6 p.m. with a picnic near the Ault Park pavilion where concession stands will be selling food and drinks. At this time, there will also be live Pop and Rock music on the green as well as an array of fun family activities such as face painting, temporary tattoos and games. The Mistics take the stage at 8 p.m. so you can dance, but give your feet a rest at 10 p.m. when Rozzi's Famous Fireworks will brighten the night sky with a colorful display that the whole family will enjoy. The party will continue after the show with another great performance by The Mistics at 10:30 p.m. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — Elizabeth Brand

MUSIC: MORGAN HERITAGE, world-renowned Reggae/Rock hybrid, plays with Laza and Irie Love at the Madison Theater. See Sound Advice previewhere.

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