If you like parties, dogs, drinking , world-class theater, Natalie Cole and po' boys, we've got a list of reasons for you to leave the house this week. If none of those things appeal to you, there's always TV.
Why not start with TV? For all of you who are still repeatedly binge-watching Breaking Bad
, Better Call Saul premieres 10 p.m. Sunday on AMC. It looks at the titular character before he was Mr. Goodman. Six years before Walter White stepped in his office, he was just a small-time lawyer named Jimmy McGill. In Sunday’s premiere, we’ll see Jimmy’s peculiar approach to finding clients and the dynamic between Jimmy and his successful lawyer brother Chuck (Michael McKean). A second new episode airs Monday at 10 p.m., the show’s regular time slot.
Friday, Feb. 6
Balls Around the Block pub-crawl: As the number of residents in downtown increases, so does the number of dogs without a backyard. This is where Balls Around the Block steps in. For the past 10 years, Cincy dog lovers have come together via canines and booze to raise an incredible amount of money for downtown’s Fido Field. For the crawl, check in at the 21c Museum Hotel at 6 p.m., find your team of 25 and start bar hopping around downtown. Prepare your livers and drink for the pooches of Cincinnati. $35; $40 at the door if there are any spots left. 21c, Second Floor, 609 Walnut St., Downtown, ballsaroundtheblock.com.
The Year of Magical Thinking
Photo: Jason Sheldon
The Year of Magical Thinking: In 2004, author Joan Didion came to terms with the unexpected death of her husband of 40 years as well as the grave illness of their only daughter by writing a memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking. In 2007, she transformed her narrative of mourning into a monologue for the stage that actress Vanessa Redgrave took to Broadway. Local director Lyle Benjamin launches his latest initiative, the Cincy One Act Festival — “great plays by great playwrights in 90 minutes or less” — with a production featuring Cate White. She earned positive reviews when it was staged in December, and Benjamin has brought it back for another month. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Through Feb. 28. $20. Cincy One Act Festival, College Hill Town Hall, 1805 Larch Ave., College Hill, 513-223-6246, cincyoneact.com.
Photo: Fleming Artists
Willie Nile at the Southgate House: Willie Nile
, the long underappreciated, roots-rockin’ singer/songwriter from the streets of New York, has been on an incredible ride — an American ride — of late. Nile’s 2013 album American Ride, a ringing affirmation of lyrically heartfelt Punk- and Folk-influenced Rock with chiming and crunching guitar chords and hugely irresistible, heroic sing-along choruses, turned out to be a surprise hit in Americana circles. It won an Independent Music Award in the Rock/Hard Rock category, got airplay on stations like Northern Kentucky radio outlet WNKU and was the most successful record in his decades-long career. Nile’s first album was his 1980 self-titled debut, which got him hailed as a new Dylan. An active touring schedule last year brought him and his band to Southgate House Revival, apparently his first time performing here. He had a standing, cheering, sweating crowd singing along to his sharp-visioned original songs and covers of Lou Reed’s “Sweet Jane,” Jim Carroll’s “People Who Died” and The Clash’s arrangement of “Police on My Back.” Willie Nile returns to the Southgate House Revival this Friday. Tickets/more info: southgatehouse.com.
Cincy Winter Blues Fest: T
his weekend the Cincy Blues Society presents the 2015 Winter Blues Fest
at The Phoenix. Music will again be featured on three stages at the venue. On Friday, joining national headliner Popa Chubby in the third floor ballroom will be Doug Hart, The Sonny Moorman Group and The Beaumonts. On the second floor ballroom stage, The Blue Birds Big Band, The SoulFixers, Chuck Brisbin & The Tuna Project and the BITS Band (featuring young players from the Blues in the Schools program) will perform, while Friday’s first floor lineup features The Brad Hatfield Band, The Whiskey Shambles, The Cheryl Renee Project and The Medicine Men.
Saturday’s headliner is the U.K.’s Joanne Shaw Taylor,
who will be joined in the third floor ballroom by The Juice, Kelly Richey and Tempted Souls. Saturday’s second floor ballroom lineup has G Miles and the Hitmen, Leroy Ellington Blues Band, Jay Jesse Johnson Blues Band and Johnny Fink & the Intrusion.On the first floor Saturday, you can catch the Noah Wotherspoon Band, Lil Red & The Rooster, Greg Schaber Band and Ricky Nye Inc. with Behah Williams.
Music begins at 6 p.m. each night. Tickets are available in advance through brownpapertickets.com for $20 (or $32.85 for a two-day pass). For complete Winter Blues Fest details, visit cincyblues.org.
Bob Marley's 70th Birthday: If he hadn’t died in 1981 from cancer, music legend Bob Marley would be celebrating his 70th birthday this Friday. Fans across the world all year will be honoring the life of the man who popularized Reggae music, but this birthday weekend the Thompson House is the place to be for local Marley lovers. On Friday, the venue hosts the release party for the debut EP by Cincy Reggae/Rock/Jam crew Elementree Livity Project, You’re Not Ready. The lineup for the 8 p.m. show also includes fellow local Reggae acts The Cliftones and Know Prisoners. Besides their own performances, members of each band will join forces for a Marley tribute set. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door.
Saturday, Feb. 7
Peace After Marriage
Photo: Goodlap Productions
Jewish & Israeli Film Festival: The Mayerson JCC hosts the international Jewish & Israeli Film Festival with the tagline, “More controversy. More comedy. More films.” The fest screens 10 award-winning independent films, ranging from contemporary dramas to documentaries. There will also be a selection of Jewish-interest films produced outside of Israel. The fest kicks off with a screening of Peace After Marriage, a romantic comedy about a Palestinian-American actor’s green card marriage to a prickly Israeli woman, and a meet-and-greet with the director. 8 p.m. Saturday. $36; includes one free drink. 20th Century Theater, 3021 Madison Road, Oakley, mayersonjcc.org. Read more about the films that will be screening here.
Covington's 200th Birthday Party:
We spend a lot of time toasting to the greatness of Cincinnati, but it’s time to love on our neighbors to the south. Covington is celebrating its 200th birthday
and the city is doing it in major style. Say “Happy Birthday” to The C.O.V. by putting on your fanciest LBD (or tux, whatevs) and heading to the Cov200 Bicentennial Gala and Birthday Bash. Starting at 9:30 p.m., the city invites everyone to a free party with tunes from DJ Jon Carlo, a cash bar and palm readings. If you’re feeling super baller and have the dough, buy tickets to come early, enjoy a cocktail hour with the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, eat stellar food and see The Chuck Taylors. 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Free for birthday bash; $125 gala entry. Northern Kentucky Convention Center, 1 W. Rivercenter Blvd., Covington, Ky., cov200.org.
Garage Brewed Moto Show
Photo: Bill DeVore
Garage Brewed Moto Show
: The Garage Brewed Moto Show features more than 50 motorcycles/bikes from the Tristate for this first invitational motorcycle show, held in the historical Over-the-Rhine Brewery District. The event will include awards in four different categories: pro custom, garage custom, classic bikes and people’s choice. Appreciate the builders who dedicate their time building motorcycles, whether they’re pros with large garages or your next-door neighbor. 5 p.m.-midnight Saturday. Free. Rhinegeist Brewery, 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, garagebrewed.com.
Photo: Khoi Nguyen
Prep for Mardi Gras by Eating at Mardi Gras on Madison: In January, Latoya “Toya” Foster of New Orleans to Go food truck fame opened a brick-and-mortar version of her Cajun/Creole vittles called Mardi Gras on Madison in East Walnut Hills. There is no set menu. Foster decides on at least five different dishes to serve when she wakes up and then posts them on social media. (A menu from last week featured barbecue chicken tacos, catfish tacos, black beans and rice, fried okra and shrimp po’ boys.) Their food license doesn’t allow them to reserve food for the next day, which helps eliminate waste; food is served until closing time or until it’s gone, whichever happens first. The bar shakes up specialty cocktails such as a Bloody Michael, named after Foster’s dad’s middle name, made with king cake vodka and served with an okra garnish, and a Jazzerac, their take on a Sazerac, which is the official cocktail of NOLA. They also have various Abita craft beers, another Louisiana staple, and a Katrina hurricane (orange juice, rum and pineapple juice). They call it a hurricane for a reason, and if you’re looking to get pickled, drinking more than one of these will knock you on your ass. On actual Mardi Gras (Feb. 17), Foster is planning a party that might involve a crawfish boil, a live band and traditional king cake. Knowing Foster, there most certainly will be good food, dancing and bon temps. 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. first and third Sunday of the month. 1524 Madison Road, East Walnut Hills, 513-873-9041, neworleanstogopoboys.com.
Extreme Bull Riding:
Bull riding might be the most dangerous sport in the world, but don’t let that stop you from hootin’ and hollerin’. Cheer on cowboys and cowgirls during the Extreme Bull Riding Bronco Busting and Barrel Racing show at Cincinnati Gardens. Following the bulls and barrel racing, get a chance to see rising Country singer Cole Swindell in concert. For more on Swindell, see Sound Advice here. 7:30 p.m. Saturday. $30-$55. Cincinnati Gardens, 2250 Seymour Ave., Norwood, cincygardens.com.
Exhale Dance Tribe
Photo: Scott Petranek
Exhale Dance Tribe Celebrates a Decade of Dance: It’s a sunny, cold January afternoon when I pull up outside the stone façade of a grand old building on Gilbert Avenue for an interview with Missy Lay Zimmer and Andrew Hubbard. Spread across the loft-like top floor is Planet Dance, the progressive dance studio founded by the two. It’s also home to the duo’s prolific and highly lauded dance company, Exhale Dance Tribe. This weekend, 14 Tribe dancers (along with Hubbard, who will solo) will perform at the Aronoff’s Jarson-Kaplan Theater in a mixed bill revisiting a selection of characteristic vignettes from the past 10 years of evening-length productions. Exhale Dance Tribe will perform Best of 10: A Decade of Dance Saturday and Sunday at the Aronoff Center. More info: exhaledancetribe.com. Read more about the performances and Lay Zimmer and Hubbard here.
Sunday, Feb. 8
Unforgettable: An Evening with Natalie Cole: Do some prep for a romantic Valentine’s Day by indulging in the smooth sounds of the Cincinnati Pops and Natalie Cole. Cole, a nine time Grammy winner, internationally acclaimed artist and daughter of Jazz icon Nat King Cole, is best known for her hits like “This Will Be” and “Our Love.” On Sunday, Cole takes the stage for one-night only, belting out captivating versions of her favorite songs. 7 p.m. Sunday. $40-$110. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cincinnatisymphony.org.
Photo: Paramount Pictures
Grease Sing-Along: Grease is the word; The Esquire is the place. A special sing-along celebrating the highest-grossing musical of all time and cultural phenomenon Grease is arriving at the Mariemont and Esquire theaters. Feel free to belt out “Summer nights” and chant “We Go Together” at the high school carnival with the rest of the kids. Don pink jackets or grease up a quiff, because if you want to be a T-Bird or a Pink Lady then you can. There will be a fancy dress contest before each viewing. Advance tickets suggested. 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Mariemont Theatre. 10:30 p.m. Sunday at The Esquire. $10. The Esquire, 320 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, esquiretheatre.com; Mariemont Theatre, 6906 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, mariemonttheatre.com.
Autism Rocks: The sixth edition of the local Autism Rocks benefit concert takes place this Sunday at The Fairfield Banquet and Convention Center at Tori’s Station. Originally conceived to help a local couple with medical bills incurred from their young son’s treatment, the event soon expanded to raise money for other autism causes. This year, Autism Rocks benefits the Ken Anderson Foundation, formed by the former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback to “build and sustain a community for adults living with autism” (visit kenandersonfoundation.com for more about the cause). Several local celebrities and former sports stars are expected to make appearances, and there will be silent and live auctions throughout the day to further raise funds. Running from noon until around 7 p.m., Autism Rocks 6 features more than a dozen local acts, including The Sonny Moorman Group, Prizoner, Stagger Lee (with special guest Dallas Moore), After Midnight, Mr. Chris and the Cruisers, Devils Due, Mojo Rizin and 4th Day Echo. Admission is a $20 donation.
Looking for more stuff to do? Check the rest of our staff recommendations here.