One World Wednesday, tree recycling, monster trucks, Arctic art and more

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CAM's The Lure of the Arctic features a variety of masks.

EVENTS: ONE WORLD WEDNESDAY Is winter getting you down? Skip airport security, flight delays and an expensive vacation and head south with One World Wednesdays at the Cincinnati Art Museum. Up this week via art, music and wine is Argentina. "We've actually got a pretty strong collection of work from Latin America in general," says Preeti Thakar, assistant director of communications for the Cincinnati Art Museum. Thakar says she expects attendance, usually around 1,000 people, to be high based on Cincinnati's large Latino population and the popularity of Tropicoso, who will provide the party's live music. The monthly cultural parties feature different countries and cities and target young professionals, a demographic previously underserved by the museum (and some would argue Cincinnati at large). This month's participants can create their own art with leather tooling, sample exotic wines, learn dance moves from Tango del Barrio Studio, take a guided gallery stroll throughout the museum's collection and participate in a 30-minute conversation concerning Argentinean political and social issues. "It gives Cincinnatians an opportunity to experience the world right here in their backyard," Thakar says. Food samples will be available for purchase and the cash bar is open all evening. 5:30-9 p.m.

Wednesday at Cincinnati Art Museum. $8; free for Art Museum members. — SUSIE SHUTTS

ART: CINCINNATI ART MUSEUM One of the current exhibitions at the Cincinnati Art Museum is coming to a close Sunday. The Lure Of The Arctic: Eskimo And Inuit Artifacts From The W. Roger And Patricia K. Fry Collection features the work and craft of indigenous peoples of the North American Arctic. The works collected here traverse generations. Instead of a straightforward chronological approach, however, the CAM exhibition examines the "refined lifestyle closely adapted to the frigid climate of the North, a way of life based upon a sense of the reciprocity and respect that binds these people to the sea and the animal populations sustained by it." Living in our central-heated 21st century, complete with flown-in fruits and vegetables, we tend to ignore extreme climates as well as our own past and its intense reliance on the land. The CAM exhibition offers us a new way of seeing such a reliance. Don't think of this as a natural history exhibition, though; art offers a taste of history just as strong. Exhibition closes Sunday. (Check out museum hours and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — LAURA JAMES

ONSTAGE: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM Let's just set aside the fact that it's unusual to see Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream in the dead of winter. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company has assembled a deliriously funny production of the play encompassing all four seasons (at least scenically, including some chilly snow). CSC's clever scheduling offered Dream as a pleasant holiday alternative, but it's continuing through this weekend, when most other theaters are just beginning to assemble their next productions. There's lots to watch, including sexy fairies played by members of the Exhale Dance Tribe, but the most fun are the blue-collar guys (especially Chris Guthrie and Jeremy Dubin, pictured) who stage a clumsy play-within-a-play that will have you laughing all the way home. A great theatrical kickoff for the New Year! $26; $22 seniors; $20 students. (Check out performance times, buy tickets and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — RICK PENDER

ONSTAGE: FINESSE MITCHELL "I've been described as a great storyteller," says comedian Finesse Mitchell. "I take you on journey. Every transition connects to the point that, when I'm done, it's like, 'Did he tell a joke?" Perhaps it's that ability that moved him from Saturday Night Live featured player in 2003 to full cast member in 2005. Born and raised in Atlanta, Mitchell played football as a walk-on for the University of Miami. He draws much of his comedy from his own life experiences and family. His mother, for example, is only 15 years older than him. "My mom and me, we never got along," he tells an audience. "Cuz we were in the same age group. Every Saturday morning we'd be fighting over the remote control. She liked Super Friends, I like The Smurfs. I remember sitting at the kitchen table doing my homework. She'd be on the other side doing her homework. I couldn't help her; she couldn't help me." Mitchell performs Thursday-Sunday at The Funny Bone on the Levee in Newport. $15-$17. (Check out performance times, buy tickets and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — P.F. WILSON

LITERARY: INKTANK The local literary nurturers over at InkTank are geared up for a busy 2008. The new year kicks off at 7 p.m. Thursday with the latest installment of the Next Writers' Salon, a free series that is open to anyone willing to put pen to page, no matter the level of experience or size of imagination. Sarah Strickley, InkTank's resident "writing maven," guides the gathering. Tuesday unveils 2008's first Monthly Open Mic Night, an always intriguing mix of poets and writers from the Drop Inn Center and beyond (i.e., anyone who's brave enough to let their voice be heard). The proceedings, which are also welcome to those who just want to listen, commence at 7:30 p.m. Finally, don't forget Write Here: The InkTank Writing Competition, the organization's first such endeavor that rewards its winner with $200 and the, uh, honor of being published in CityBeat. The deadline is Feb. 1, which means you have less than a month to get your ass in gear. (Details from InkTank here.) — JASON GARGANO

SPORTS: MONSTER TRUCK WINTER NATIONALS The Monster Truck Winter Nationals, one of the few publicly endorsed events dedicated to purposely losing control of motor vehicles, will take place this weekend at the Cincinnati Gardens. Drivers will ramp huge trucks over lines of cars and compete in events such as side-by-side racing, monster truck freestyle and a wheelie competition. The legendary giant truck Bigfoot will participate, as will a 30-foot-tall fire-breathing robotic dinosaur called Megasaurus. Local car crashers are welcome to participate in the Tuff Truck Championships where area drivers will ramp their own Jeeps, pick-up trucks and buggies through an obstacle course while thousands in attendance root for them to flip over. There will also be a V.I.P. Pit Party where attendees can meet the drivers and talk about how much air their Mustang can get on the backstreets of Colerain. 7:30 p.m. Jan. 4-5. $15-$18 adults; $5-$10 kids 12 and younger. (Buy tickets and find nearby bars and restaurants here.)— DANNY CROSS

ATTRACTIONS: CINCINNATI MUSEUM CENTER The museum opens its new Saturday Night Alternative Film Series with Ski To The Max, an "extreme adventure" that's likely to drop a jaw or two. Directed by extreme-skiing guru Wally Bognar, this immersive Omnimax offering features more than 20 world-class (and ice-veined) snowboarders, skiers, base jumpers and stunt riders who do their thing on peaks and mountains most of us would be satisfied to view from the comfy confines of a theater seat. Bognar's footage is complemented by the Pop sounds of Pink, a similarly fierce performer who isn't afraid to express her more extreme desires. Screens 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — JASON GARGANO

EVENTS: TREE RECYCLING PARTY Unlike the majority of CityBeat staffers, you're likely recovered from your New Year´s Eve hangover (we've got a few days left of Tylenol popping). And, unlike most CityBeat staffers, you probably woke up New Year's Day and thought, "I really ought to take down that damn tree now" (we staffers have pink or white plastic trees and usually leave them up year-round, 'cause that's how we roll). If you can hold off on your Christmas tree disposal until Saturday, a fun little post-holiday adventure is waiting for you at Northern Kentucky University, as public radio station WNKU (89.7 FM) hosts its annual "Tree Recycling Party" on the NKU campus' "Lot I" (I'm assuming that's code for "the parking lot"). The station started the tradition more than a decade ago, when tree-recycling options were minimal at best. The station spices things up with coffee and snacks, free CDs and schwag and a performance from hard-working Rumpke Mountain Boys. What happens to the trees? Event partner Asplundh Tree Experts, Inc. picks 'em up and sends them off to be turned into mulch. From being the heart of holiday cheer to being ground down into dirt — ah, the circle of (tree) life. There's a good chance this will be the best party of the year! Er, so far. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — MIKE BREEN

ART: SEMANTICS Imagine the convergence of Eva Hesse's delicate minimalism and Marcel Duchamp's matter-of-fact ready-mades — that's about what you´ll find at the new show at Semantics, which opens this Friday. Two artists, Nick Hill and Zach Rawe, come together for the second time in the joint exhibition Keep On Living. Both Hill and Rawe transform ¨quirky¨ found objects — common things like soft drink cans and candies as well as odd things like pompoms — into sculpture. Hill calls the work ¨sensational experiences,¨ and from what I can tell, he´s right: Despite what you might imagine, the work is enduringly graceful with twine lagging from walls and random objects wrapped like gifts. Each piece is a phenomenological experience in itself. You will be aware of your position in the gallery when looking at the work. The sensation of presence is what these artists are after, like the minimalists of the 1970s. An added bonus: The materials are fascinating and indeed quirky enough to make you follow the artists´ choices more carefully. Opening reception: 6-10 p.m. Saturday. Continues through Jan. 25. 859-757-8356. — LAURA JAMES

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