Your Weekend To Do List (9/18-9/20)

Oktoberfest, City Flea, a big Comic Expo and more

click to enlarge Oktoberfest Zinzinnati
Oktoberfest Zinzinnati

Grab a beer at OKTOBERFEST
Prost! Since 1976, people have been coming out in droves to experience the rich German heritage that Cincinnati has to offer via our Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, full of delicious food, live music and plenty of beer. This year’s Oktoberfest — the largest in the nation— kicks off Friday at noon with the Running of the Wieners, a dachshund race on Fountain Square, and opens fully with the Gemuetlichkeit Games afterward. Saturday, Oktoberfest grand marshal and former Bengals quarterback Ken Anderson leads tens of thousands in this year’s iteration of the one, the only, The World’s Largest Chicken Dance. But the fun doesn’t end there. Sunday provides fest-goers with the opportunity to witness fierce competitors shove bratwurst in their faces at the Glier’s World Brat Eating Championship. It’s going to be a wunderbar weekend. Friday-Sunday. Free. Fifth Street between Vine and Sentinel, Downtown,

Sean Astin
Photo: Provided 
The Cincinnati Comic Expo features famous sci-fi and fantasy film and TV stars, including Adam West, the original Batman, Robin Lord Taylor, the Penguin from Fox’s Gotham, Ian Ziering from Sharknado (and 90210), Eve Myles from Torchwood and more, plus a ton of comic-book artists, cosplayers and other assorted events. Programming includes panels, sci-fi speed dating, a zombie walk, gaming areas, an “Enchantment Under the Sea”-themed geek prom (à la Back to the Future) and more to get your nerd heart pitter-pattering. Friday-Sunday. Tickets start at $20 for adults; weekend passes and VIP options available. Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Downtown, Read more geeky things in this week's cover story, Revenge of the Nerds
Death Cab for Cutie
Photo: We Are the Rhoads
Remember all your exes at DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE at Riverbend
My three favorite band names inspired by unlikely sources would be: a) Steely Dan, after the chrome-plated dildo in William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch; b) Toad the Wet Sprocket, a band name concocted by Monty Python for one of its sketches; and c) Death Cab for Cutie, taken from a song by the critically underappreciated (in the U.S., at least) Bonzo Dog Band from its 1967 debut album, Gorilla. Who said naming a band is hard? Thirty years after the Bonzos dropped their Boogie Woogie Elvis Presley homage, Bellingham, Wash., native Ben Gibbard adopted the song’s title as the name of his solo, Emo-tinged Indie Rock recording project and self-released a demo cassette, You Can Play These Songs with Chords. The tape’s critical buzz was significant; Gibbard inked a Barsuk Records contract and created an actual performing band with guitarist Chris Walla, bassist Nick Harmer and drummer Nathan Good. Death Cab for Cutie plays with Twin Shadow Friday at Riverbend's PNC Pavilion. More info/tickets:

Photo: Mikki Schaffner
Feel the romance at Cincy Shake's production of CYRANO DE BERGERAC
Edmond Rostand’s play, like its hero, seems to have fallen unexpectedly from the moon. Cyrano de Bergerac was a surprising instant hit in Paris late in 1897. Its premiere received an hour-long standing ovation, and it was subsequently performed for 200 consecutive nights. The heroic comedy about the romantic swordsman and poet was an anomaly in late 19th-century France, when literature was rife with realistic tales by the likes of Émile Zola and Alexandre Dumas, fils. Cyrano de Bergerac is staged at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company through Oct. 3. More info/tickets:

Beach House
Photo: Shawn Brackbill
Get real Dream Pop at BEACH HOUSE
Now more than a decade into its artistic lifespan, Baltimore’s Beach House wanted a shift in approach when 
it came time to write songs for what would become its fifth record, Depression Cherry. Sure, the resulting nine songs still employ the band’s signature hypnotic pull, as singer Victoria Legrand’s dreamy voice and guitarist Alex Scally’s reverberating guitar lines are as front and center as ever. But there’s a more laid-back feel than that of Beach House’s previous effort, 2012’s Bloom. That record’s often driving rhythmic thrust has been muted in favor of an even more languid approach. See Beach House with Jessica Pratt Friday at Bogart's. More info/tickets:

Marcia Ball
Photo: Mary Keating Bruton
Dance along to some Boogie Woogie piano with MARCIA BALL
Boogie Woogie/Swamp Rock piano pounder Marcia Ball is the poster child for the phrase “born to the craft.” The Texas-born, Louisiana-raised Ball began piano lessons at around the same time she started school and almost immediately felt an affinity for the rolling swing of New Orleans pianists like Professor Longhair and Fats Domino. As her personal style developed, she folded in plenty of muscular Texas Blues to create her own unique and powerful hybrid. Marcia Ball plays Friday at Southgate House Revival. More info/tickets:

Celebrate the 30th anniversary of Back to the Future with BACK TO THE FUTURE: LIVE IN CONCERT
The Cincinnati Pops celebrates the 30th anniversary of the classic sci-fi adventure film Back to the Future with a live orchestral accompaniment. As the film plays on a screen above the Music Hall stage, the Pops will perform Alan Silvestri’s iconic score, live, in time with the movie. 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets start at $25; $10 for kids. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,

The City Flea
Buy local at THE CITY FLEA
It’s all about Cincinnati at the City Flea. This monthly outdoor market combines local scenery with local goods to celebrate the local energy of the Queen City. Small businesses and hobbyists alike gather to display their best deals for your dollar. For the fifth year in a row, City Flea showcases a variety of vendors, from vintage dealers and hair stylists to coffee shops and book-sellers. Find anything and everything you need, all while enjoying the great social atmosphere of Washington Park. A live DJ provides music and food trucks serve all day. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Free. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,

Fifty West Brewing Co.
Photo: Provided
Have a lot of local beer at FIFTY FEST
Twenty-five breweries, a ton of food vendors and 10 bands on three stages all adds up to fifty — Fifty Fest 2015, that is. Held at Fifty West Brewing Co., Fifty Fest is a celebratory showcase of the best local and regional beer, food and live music. If you’re not the drinking, eating or dancing type, be sure to check out “Fifty Rest,” a new addition to the fest that provides a more relaxed, low-key atmosphere with spa amenities. Noon-midnight Saturday. $10. Fifty West Brewing Co., 7668 Wooster Pike, Mariemont,

Russian Fest
Photo: Provided
It's time for piroshki at RUSSIAN FEST
In celebration of their newly constructed church, St. George Russian Orthodox Church hosts Russian Fest. The event features delicious Russian foods from stuffed cabbage to piroshki, tours of the new church and traditional Russian dances performed by the youth parish. Imported crafts such as nesting dolls, wooden boxes and jewelry will be available along with religious books and icons, children’s activities and live music. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday. Free. St. George Russian Orthodox Church, 118 North Lebanon Road, Loveland,

Bluegrass for Babies
Photo: Provided
Raise funds for Cincinnati Children's with BLUEGRASS FOR BABIES
Enjoy a fun day of activities and education at the annual Bluegrass for Babies event, part of the Healthy Roots Foundation’s fundraising efforts for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Centered around Bluegrass music, the event features bands the Comet Bluegrass All-Stars and Hickory Robot, as well as headliners Cabinet. Craft beer and food from Dewey’s, Mazunte, Eli’s BBQ and Green BEAN Delivery accompany a variety of interactive games and activities. Learn about diet, safety, art and green living at the various learning stations. Kids entertainment includes magicians, LEGOs, a musical petting zoo, cooking demos and a special performance by Jennifer Ellis. 3-9 p.m. Saturday. $15; $20 at the gate. Sawyer Point, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Cincinnati,

Shanghai'd for the Month
Photo: Tim Stegmaier
Shanghai’d for the Month: Photographs by Tim Stegmaier can be seen at Iris BookCafé through Saturday, the intriguing result of the Cincinnati photographer’s month in Shanghai in 2013/14. Stegmaier has an individual eye and a seemingly endless interest in how people go about their lives and the urban areas in which those lives take place. His color sense is sharp, and the photographs fascinate not only through their subject matter, but also through their accomplished sense of design. The China most of us unwittingly carry in our minds is outdated; Stegmaier shows us an undeniably 21st-century place and time, underlaid by centuries gone before. Through Saturday. Free. Iris BookCafé, 1331 Main St., Over-the-Rhine,

Go back in time with Heritage Village Museum's FALL HARVEST FEST
Head to the Heritage Village Museum’s recreated 1800s living-history town to experience and old-fashioned fall harvest festival. There will be wagon rides, quaint games, a donut-eating competition for kids, cider-pressing and hearth-cooking demos and pumpkin painting, plus people in period-authentic costumes. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. $8 adults; $5 children. Heritage Village Museum, 11450 Lebanon Road, Sharonville,

'The Secret Garden'
Photo: Mikki Schaffner
Find some magic in THE SECRET GARDEN
Blake Robison is the guy who makes the artistic decisions at the Playhouse in the Park, and he’s committed to shows that appeal across generations. He says The Secret Garden is one of his favorite musicals. “So many stories with child protagonists are cutesy and saccharine. Not so in The Secret Garden,” he says. Mary Lennox, 10, is a selfish, spoiled orphan in Victorian England put in the care of an unhappy uncle in a remote British manor. In the midst of unhappiness and loneliness, a secret garden becomes a place of healing for several characters. It’s a powerful show, full of deep, complex emotions and great music. Through Oct. 3. $30-$85. Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mt. Adams Circle, Mount Adams, 513-421-3888,

Luna Gale
Photo: Ryan Kurtz
See real drama onstage in LUNA GALE
Ensemble Theatre doesn’t pull any punches with the opener for its 30th season. Artistic director D. Lynn Meyers is passionate about shows that tell us about the world in which we live, and Luna Gale is a tough but necessary reminder about how hard it is to do the right thing. Annie Fitzpatrick turns in another memorable ETC performance, this time as a caring but overextended social worker trying to deal with a baby caught in a tug-of-war between 19-year-old parents with drug issues and a religiously judgmental grandmother. No heroes, no villains — and no easy answers in this award-winning drama. Through Sept 27. $28-$44. Ensemble Theatre, 1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-421-3555,

Ohio Renaissance Festival
Photo: Will Thorpe Photography
Grab a turkey leg at the OHIO RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL
The Ohio Renaissance Festival is back and bringing fall weekends filled with costumes, turkey legs, mulled mead, jousting, games, glass-blowing demonstrations, choirs, crafts and tarot readings inside a 30-acre, recreated 16th-century village. This weekend is opening weekend, so tickets for adults are buy-one-get-one, and kids under 12 get in free. Be sure to check the website for themed weekends and different deals. Nerds of all kinds welcome — just remember that any medieval weapons you might bring need to be tied in a sheath at all times. 10:30 a.m.- 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays (and Labor Day). Through Oct. 25. $21.95 adult; $9.95 child; $119.95 season pass. 10542 E. State Route 73, Waynesville,

Take a covered wagon ride at the OLD WEST FEST
If you have a pair of cowboy boots laying around that you’ve been meaning to break out, you’re in luck — Old West Fest is back for its eighth year, featuring an authentic recreated Old West Dodge-City-style town, with gold panning, covered-wagon rides, kids activities, live entertainment (including trick riding and a saloon show) and more. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Through Oct. 18. $12 adults; $6 ages 6-12; free under 12. 1449 Greenbush Cobb Road, Williamsburg,

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