ART: ART ACADEMY Christa Dalien's newly opened exhibition of works on paper entitled Not Fade Away runs smoothly across the walls of the Art Academy of Cincinnati's Convergys Gallery. Botany (including both indoor and outdoor plants) is delicately rendered in colored pencil and acrylic, set against quirky tessellations and brightly colored abstract mounds befitting a harlequin. Striking reds and vintage-feeling greens are speckled across monochrome background hues such as intriguing denim blues and off whites. Are these compost piles? Felled environmental eras? Are those 'shrooms? The playful, sparse compositions will definitely appeal to contemporary tastes. The show opened at the beginning of August but will have a reception 5-9 p.m. Aug. 29, after the Art Academy's fall semester is in full swing. Dalien's presentation will be a fresh, inviting start to the fall season.
Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. — Matt Morris
EVENTS: BLUE VELVET SCREENING I'm really afraid of Dennis Hopper. He's scary in Apocalypse Now. He's scary in those Ameriprise insurance commercials. And he's really, really scary in David Lynch's Blue Velvet. The film is kind of disturbing in general, which is why I think it would be really fun to go watch it with a bunch of strangers at the Cincinnati Art Museum (more comfortable than watching it with your parents). Lynch explores the dark and perverse secret life of a little town called Lumberton, the picture of suburban perfection, where Isabella Rossellini is a more-than-troubled lounge singer caught up in a violent mystery that young, innocent Kyle MacLachlan tries to unravel. His investigation uncovers an underworld of drugs, murder and deviant sexual behavior. Cincy World Cinema screens the movie in conjunction with Gregory Crewdson's Beneath the Roses exhibit because Crewdson's images and style have been greatly influenced by Lynch's work and aesthetic, which is immediately obvious after you view the film. A discussion will follow. 7 p.m. $9; $7 for ETA/START or museum members. Cincinnati Art Museum. Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. — Maija Zummo
ART: NVISION Even if you don't remember the '60s first hand, you can get a jolt of the era's flamboyant self-expression in Living Without Dead Time, Nina Wright's series of hand-painted mannequins (pictured at right) and a few large paintings at NVISION, (4577 Hamilton Ave.) Northside's coolest purveyor of clothing, art and furnishings. The Cincinnati-based artist draws on the Situationist movement of the 1960s in painting standard plastic torsos, designed for less creative use, with motifs that range from bird houses to plants, locks and keys and the occasional toilet. Ribs are prominent; a bee rests on a breast. The colors could stop traffic. Situationists, says Wright, believed society destructed the individual but that the individual could fight back. Here's how, she suggests. The show is on view 2-9 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday through Aug. 31. Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. — Jane Durrell
LITERARY: REV RUN AND JUSTINE SIMMONS Ahh, the glories of a late-'80s adolescence: Holed up in various suburban basements, my neighborhood crew and I devoted endless hours to the conquest of Super Mario Bros. while under the influence of Mountain Dew and Zesta crackers and powered by the sounds Run-D.M.C.'s Raising Hell and The Beastie Boys' License to Ill. Two decades later, Super Mario Bros. is still the greatest video game ever, "It's Tricky" is my ringtone, The Beastie Boys should retire and Run has added Rev to his name. Yes, the onetime hell-raiser is now a man of God and a proud family man, as evidenced by his successful MTV reality show, Run's House. And now comes Take Back Your Family, a guide to modern parenting Run co-authored with his wife Justine. While not much help to a childless heathen like me, the book will surely be useful to numerous families. Just ask Run. From the intro: "I might have earned my reputation as a rapper, but when all is said and done, I hope what I'll ultimately be remembered for is being a good dad. I truly believe that God has intended for me to provide African-Americans specifically (and all people in general) with an example of a better way to raise their families." Rev Run and Justine discuss Take Back Your Family 2 p.m. Thursday at Joseph-Beth Booksellers. Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. — Jason Gargano
EVENTS: MIDWEST REGIONAL BLACK FAMILY REUNION Generally the idea of family probably includes fewer than 100,000 people, but not this weekend. Participants of the Annual Midwest Regional Black Family Reunion Celebration, part of America's largest family movement, are coming together at Sawyer Point from August 14-17 to celebrate this year's theme: "Look How Far We've Come...by Faith." The event opens with a Town Hall Meeting about the presidential election, featuring Mayor Mark Mallory. Senator Eric Kearney and UC Law Professor Verna Williams will represent Sen. Barack Obama, and Greg Hartmann and Alex Triantafilou will represent Sen. John McCain. The Reunion will also include a Cultural Diversity/Minority Job Fair, a 20th Anniversary Gala, a fashion show, an R&B concert, a parade led by Chief Robert Wright of the nation's oldest fully-paid fire department, food and more. More than 2 million people are part of the Celebration nationwide. Admission is free. Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. — Bessie Taliaferro
COMEDY: IAN BAGG It's no coincidence that the words one would use to describe hockey could also be applied to the material of comedian Ian Bagg. "Basically my show is controlled chaos," the Canadian funnyman claims. "I like to have a conversation with the audience, so you don't know where the show's going to end up. I have prepared material but that's basically markers. I have to hit certain points." Always a fan of comedy, the British Columbia native decided early on that he probably wouldn't make a living at his other passion. "I'm a huge hockey fan," he says. "I really wanted to be a pro hockey player. I went to a couple of camps and got beaten up quiet brutally, and said 'Nope. I wanna be a comedian.' " But how does one go from a village in the upper reaches of B.C. to doing stand-up? "Hitchhike," Bagg says. "My parents were always firm believers in 'if you want to do something, go do it,' so I just got on a plane one day and went to Vancouver. Two years later I ended up on stage. It kind of steamrolled from there." Bagg performs Thursday-Sunday at Newport's Funny Bone on the Levee. $15. Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here. — P.F. Wilson
MUSIC: MACABRE How do you write songs about killing people for over 20 years without wanting to kill your own self? For Chicago's "Murder Metal" kings Macabre, "fun" and "killing" go hand in hand: Their albums and live shows are hardly all gloom and doom. Formed in 1985, the trio built up a cult following and, eventually, industry attention with a pioneering blend of Death Metal, Grindcore and "macabre" humor. Like a mix of Shawn of the Dead, Cannibal Corpse and serial killer comic books, Macabre's songs center around infamous mass murderers/serial killers, occasionally delivered in nursery rhyme or classic song melodies. The band has had albums out on big Metal labels like Nuclear Blast, but some have speculated that the warped wit has kept them from becoming the Metal stars their musical prowess proves they could be. So pick up a copy of the classic Sinister Slaughter and keep Macabre your own twisted little secret. Or go see the group Thursday at Dirty Jack's, where they'll be joined by Pain Link, Horns to Heaven and L.O.H.E.D. WARNING: If you see any creepy, greasy-haired guys taking notes, "keeping to themselves" and cracking no smiles, be sure you get somebody to walk you back to your car after the show. As great as Macabre is, it would suck if you became a character in one of their songs. 9 p.m. $10-$12. Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. — Mike Breen
ONSTAGE: NUNSENSE is still charming, even though it's been done to death. See Rick Pender's review here.
ONSTAGE: CLOUD TECTONICS, presented by Transit Five Productions, jumps time at Xavier University's Gallagher Theater. See Tom McElfresh's review here.
ONSTAGE: THE MOUSETRAP You have the opportunity to witness the birth of a brand-new theater series when The Carnegie in Covington opens its inaugural 2008-2009 season this week with a production of Agatha Christie's murder mystery, The Mousetrap. The show is a classic about a married couple of novice innkeepers on their first night of business in the midst of a blizzard. When one of five people lodged at the antique Monkwell Manor is gruesomely dispatched, the remaining guests are individually interrogated — and lo and behold, each of them has a secret and potential motive. The show has an Agatha Christie trademark twist at the end which audiences are sworn not to divulge. The Mousetrap began as a radio drama in England in 1947, then premiered in October 1952 as a stage play in London's West End. Almost 56 years later it's still running, the longest initial run of any play in modern history. The show is a co-production with New Edgecliff Theatre, whose artistic director Greg Proccacino is staging the action with a cast of nine, including two stage veterans — Roger Ortman (with credits from Indiana Repertory Theatre) as Detective Sergeant Trotter and Tom Manning (recently retired from a 38-year teaching career at Columbia and Miami universities) as Major Metcalf. Unlike the original production (which is still going strong after 23,000 performances), the Carnegie is only offering The Mousetrap nine times — Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.; it closes Aug. 31. $14-$18. Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here. — Rick Pender
MUSIC: ARMOR FOR SLEEP, along with Chris Cornell and a bunch of other bands, stops by Riverbend with the Projekt Revolution Tour. See Sound Advice preview here.
EVENTS: ROCK OF LOVE CASTING Real love is hard to find. Apparently so is reality love, which is why Bret Michaels is at it again! That's right, ladies. Bret and Ambre broke up, although I thought they were totally a match made in heaven, and he's cruising the states in search of babes to ride on his motorcycle with him and listen to acoustic versions of Poison songs. This time instead of staying in that really sweet VH1 mansion, you have to live on a tour bus with him and the other tramp-stamp contestants to prove you can handle his "Rock star" lifestyle. It's sort of like Road Rules but with more leather. So if you are a "sexy, personable, energetic, edgy, hip and unique" rocker chick with "wild hair" or at least older than 21, stop by BlackFinn (19 E. Seventh St., Downtown) from 10-11 p.m. because you just might be Mr. Bret Michael's Rock of Love, at least until next season. Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. — Maija Zummo
MUSIC: THISTLE, the enduring local Post-Punk trio, celebrates the release of The Small Hours at the Southgate House with Miranda Sound, Caterpillar Tracks, Lost Hands Found Fingers, Banderas, Disguised as Birds and Straw Boss. See interview here.
ART: CLAY STREET PRESS is home to SCREAM, Saad Ghosn's new subversive woodcuts exhibit. See interview here.
EVENTS: MINI PSYCHIC FESTIVAL Sit down and relax. Settle in and clear your mind. Focus inward to your spiritual center and take deep cleansing breaths. OK. I see something. I see a day of fun and celebration in your future... You are getting a photograph taken of your aura. I see free lectures and a reading. Yes ... a reading with a clairvoyant medium. There's an astrologist ... and more lectures. It is all taking place at a mini psychic festival at Angelic Whispers Holistic Center in celebration of their one year anniversary. You are a lucky person indeed. Your lucky numbers are: 8/16/08, 11 a.m.-8 p.m., 11465 Springfield Pike, Springdale. Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. — Brian Cross
EVENTS: ANTIQUARIAN BOOK FAIR For 21 years Cincinnati has been home to the Annual Antiquarian Book Fair. With dealers who've been returning year after year since the inception of the fair, there's always a diverse mix of genres from which to choose. Some dealers specialize in children's and illustrated books, others in modern firsts and some just bring in an assortment of fiction and non-fiction. There's even a rumor that the first British edition of To Kill a Mockingbird will be there. And this event is not just for collectors and geeks. There's free parking, a concession stand, air conditioning and experts on hand to help answer any book-related questions you might have. Buy an interesting coffee table book and impress your friends, or just come touch a really old or rare book. Talk about a rush. The event is held from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Business Club of Montgomery (7777 Ted Gregory Lane). Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here. — Maija Zummo
MUSIC: PETER MULVEY, acoustic Folk artist, plays the Taft Museum of Art with openers Lisa Walker and Chuck Cleaver of Wussy. See Sound Advice preview here.