September 24 - 30

Sexsmith is a classic Pop stylist, writing melodies that transcend the meager tag of "catchy," tickling the soul and seething a timelessness that few capture. He's Brian Wilson, Nick Drake and Paul McCartney all rolled into one.


ONSTAGE: REEFER MADNESS provides some sizzle and high moments on the Know Theatre’s stage. See review on page 43.

ART: THE WESTON ART GALLERY infects with impulsive nostalgia through the exhibit Since You’ve Been Gone, a collection of ephemera from Publico’s five years of operation. See review on page 41.

LITERARY: BROCK CLARKE Local literary types have long known that Brock Clarke is one of Cincinnati’s best ambassadors when it comes to the written word. Now everyone else does, too. Clarke’s latest novel, 2007’s An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England, was pimped by a wide range of national publications — from The New York Times and The Village Voice to People and Paste — drawing the type of hyperbolic praise saved for only the most elevated of writers. The book centers on Sam Pulsifer, a uniquely flawed first-person narrator who is jailed for burning down Emily Dickinson’s house — a tidbit Clarke uses to riff on everything from the state of contemporary literature to the more absurdist elements of family life. Clarke discusses the book, which was recently released in a paperback edition, 7 p.m. Wednesday at Joseph-Beth Booksellers at Rookwood Commons. 513-396-8960.


THURSDAY25 MUSIC: MIDPOINT MUSIC FESTIVAL officially kicks off a weekend full of music and mayhem with Seabird at 6 p.m. on Fountain Square. Other Thursday shows include ROBERT POLLARD’S BOSTON SPACESHIPS, THE ROCKWELLS, WHY? and RUCKUS ROBOTICUS. See cover story on page 21.

MUSIC: DAR WILLIAMS The Folk Pop queen supports her new album Promised Land at the Covington’s Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center. See music on page 33.

MUSIC: RON SEXSMITH Despite the fact that Elvis Costello and other legendary songwriters love him (and despite his phonebook-sized press kit of glowing reviews), it’s still fair to call Canadian Ron Sexsmith one of the Top 5 most underrated songwriters on the planet. That’s mostly because the immensity of his talent should have made him a bigger star than Britney, Lindsey and Paris combined. In a just world, of course.
Sexsmith is a classic Pop stylist, writing melodies that transcend the meager tag of “catchy,” tickling the soul and seething a timelessness that few capture. He’s Brian Wilson, Nick Drake and Paul McCartney all rolled into one. Sexsmith is currently on the road promoting Exit Strategy for the Soul, his recent Yep Roc Records release, which contains “Brandy Alexander,” a song written with fellow Canadian Feist. The album also finds Sexsmith delving heavily into Cuban music; the disc was recorded partly in Havana and Sexsmith hired legendary Cuban musicians to help give his magnificent Pop a punchy, uplifting Latin flair. Sexsmith plays the 20th Century Theater in Oakley Thursday with Indie Folk artist Meaghan Smith. 8 p.m. $12. 513-731-8000.


COMEDY: LISA LANDRY Although she has a 2-year old, comedian Lisa Landry doesn’t talk a whole lot about motherhood on stage. “I try to talk about other things,” she says. “It’s awesome to have a kid, but there’s obviously a lot more going on in the world than diapers and booties.” She does admit that her lifestyle has changed somewhat. “I love drinking, but you can’t drink when you’re a mom unless you’re Britney.” Like Ms. Spears, Landry is a native of Louisiana but now lives in Los Angeles. She recently relocated from New York with her husband. “We were tired of living in a 600-square-foot (apartment) with a baby,” she says. “Now the baby has his own room so we can have sex again.” She pauses and tells her husband in the background, “It’s for an interview for the paper.” She then explains, “He’s like ‘Do you really need to tell him that?’ ” Landry admits that her move to Los Angeles was made mostly to land a television sitcom. She has some ideas on what she wants the show to be like. “I want it to be a sitcom that’s like a reality show,” she says. “Every week I get to eliminate a family member. Ultimately the sneakiest person always wins. What they win (on my show) is that they get to take my baby for three months. If the show runs for seven years, I get a lot of free babysitting.” Landry performs Thursday-Sunday at Go Bananas Comedy Club. $8-$12. 513-984-9288.


EVENTS: CEASEFIRE CINCINNATI Sometimes trying to stop the cycle of gun violence that plagues many inner-city neighborhoods can seem almost insurmountable — especially if you’re caught up in the lifestyle. That’s where CeaseFire Cincinnati can help. The community-based program stages marches within 72 hours of shootings in the neighborhoods where they occurred in an attempt to show that residents won’t condone such behavior and also offer an opportunity for people involved in the violence that there are people who will help them find a better path. CeaseFire will commemorate its second anniversary with a festival featuring several activities this weekend. The event will kickoff with the premiere of Empty Closets: In Honor of Those Left Behind, a local documentary about the lives of people who lose a family member to an act of violence. It will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Avondale Pride Center (3520 Burnet Ave.). From 6-8:30 p.m. Friday, the Motorcycles and Scooters Ride for Peace/Prayer Walk & Candlelight Vigil will be held at the Avondale Town Center to remember those who were killed in acts of violence. Also, a Stop the Violence three-on-three basketball tournament will be held from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday at South Avondale School (636 Prospect Place). For more information on CeaseFire Cincinnati, call 513-675-4102.


THURSDAY - Sept 25

ONSTAGE: OF MICE AND MEN John Steinbeck’s 1937 tragic story about migrant workers during the Depression is a masterpiece in several art forms.Steinbeck, eventually a Nobel Prize winner for literature, wrote his novella in a form that was also the framework for a playscript: It has three “acts” of two chapters each. The onstage version was first presented late in 1937 on Broadway, and it was named the “best play” of that season by the New York Drama Critics Circle. Two years later it was released as a film.

Given the state of our nation’s economy, Of Mice and Men might be a perfect play to demonstrate how larger issues drive individual tragedies. Two men, hard-working George and simple-minded Lennie, struggle to make ends meet with various farming jobs. But Lennie constantly gets into trouble because of his size, his strength and his powerful emotions. It’s a sad story that reflects a troubled era in American history, one that has resonant echoes today. Northern Kentucky University is presenting a production of the show casting veteran student actor Nick Vannoy as Lennie and Matt Bohnert as George. It’s a literary classic that has powerful impact when it’s brought to life onstage.Through Oct. 5 at NKU’s Corbett Theatre. $8-$12. 859-572-5464.


Director Jefferson James says, “It just seemed right for Cincinnati to see this internationally renowned company for the first time during its 40th anniversary tour. I think Lubovitch’s dances, based on the power of music to inform and propel a work, will be very congenial to audiences here.” What’s not to like? Lubovitch’s work, which indulges our longing for beauty and sentiment in dance, has been called beguiling, intricate, witty, endlessly fascinating and has also been noted for its humanistic voice.

“The best dancers today are linguists,” he has said, comparing the ability to perform different dance styles with being fluent in several spoken languages. “But all of my dances are really about dancing. Dancing is really a superior metaphor for humanity and emotions.” 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $27-$32. 513- 621-5787.


ART: 1305 GALLERY After a summer hiatus, 1305 Gallery resumes with a solo exhibition of recent work by Lily Mulberry, the gallery’s director. Inherent is made up of several bodies of work developed throughout the past year. Most of Mulberry’s work I have seen are small paintings with accumulated layers of struggle through composition and content.

These new pieces deal with the challenges and maintenance of family relationships as change and additions alter the dynamic. In the gallery’s press release, Mulberry describes her process of working on finished wood surfaces, or else “nontraditional surfaces.” Like daydreams inscribed onto school desks, figurative drawing and other illustrations are layered (in some cases with the density that I have known in her other paintings) into contemplative scenarios.

1305’s warm, folksy interior will be well suited to these new works, and the experience offered will be a rare one in which the space and the art inside of it have been developed by the same creator’s vision. A catered reception will be held from 6-11 p.m. on Friday. Inherent runs 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday through Oct. 25.


EVENTS: THE 20/20 FESTIVAL For 20 days and 20 nights, Cincinnati pays homage to the arts with a citywide extravaganza featuring entertainment ranging from the family-friendly to the avant-garde. Come sample something new and experience your local arts organizations firsthand with more than 75 events in 36 neighborhoods, including some in Northern Kentucky.

The festival kicks off with the Final Friday gallery walk around Main Street in Over-the-Rhine and continues through the weekend with Cincy Couture on Fountain Square, Since You’ve Been Gone at the Weston, A Sense of Wonder at the Carnegie and more. There’s at least one art event happening in the city every day until Oct. 15, and 20/20 has conveniently organized all of these in a printable calendar with times, locations and descriptions. Many events are free, and, if they’re not, they offer discounts for Enjoy the Arts/START members. Head to for the printable calendar. 513-621-4700.


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