Jerry Springer: The Opera

Jerry Springer: The Opera is not fit for polite company. Fortunately for us, New Stage Collective knows their audience. When Alan Patrick Kenny began dress rehearsals, I imagine they started something like this:

“Are we ready to go? Tap dancing Klansmen? Check. Guy in mullet? Check. Self-pitying God? Check. Bizarre and questionable wig sequence? Check. Alright, let’s get started!”

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“Don’t Make Me Pull This Show Over” is sweet and touching.

Let’s get a few things straight before I go any further. Number one, if you want to see this show, call now to reserve tickets. No, seriously-right now. Opening night was sold out and then some. If you do not heed this advice, you will miss this show. And that’s a shame.

Number two. Dress in layers. With the air on, Know Theatre’s performance space is an icebox. The woman next to me had on a parka. But when the A/C kicks off, you will want to remove something (but keep it clean, people). Moving on.

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“Meet Me at 3” is an experiment in experimentation


That was my first reaction when the room suddenly went silent, and one by one, dancers began emerging from various points in the performance space. Some moved with slow, deliberate movements, others with more urgency. The movements were lovely – they really were – and it’s a testament to the skill of the performers that they are capable of improvising almost exclusively for 45 minutes. The problem was that at many points, it was obvious that it was being improvised, and therein lays the conundrum of experimentation. You just never know what you’re going to get from performance to performance.

I went into this production having read the description and brushing up a bit on the company. Nothing in the description implies that there is any kind of storyline, and it’s a good thing, because I would totally need the Cliff’s Notes if there were. I found myself staring, wondering, “Why is that girl doing half-hearted jumping jacks in front of a projected waterfall? Why is that other one salsa dancing with a concrete pillar? Why does that one look like she’s being tased over and over again?” And I’m still not sure what the particular projected images had to do with anything, although the Fountain Square sequence is really cool.

The feel of the entire experience was very primal. There’s an interesting segment where a lone dancer “realizes” that her every move is being projected onto the video screen. She moves and tests the idea, discovering and playing to the camera as though she were seeing it for the very first time. The music, which doesn’t become part of the show until about ten minutes in, also has a primordial vibe, evoking images of the hunter/gatherer bringing in the day’s haul.

For a contemporary dance aficionado, it might be a bit more obvious what the essence of this piece is supposed to be. And for the novice, this is a great opportunity to expose yourself to something new. MamLuft&Co. Dance have put together a highly stylized experimental piece, and going in, it’s important to see it as such or it can become very tedious to experience.

“Oatmeal and a Cigarette” more than satisfies

I should not smile and giggle when a thirty year old man with a full beard and dread locks proclaims that he “made a poopie.”

But I did. Again and again.

Succinctly stated, this show is brilliant. It’s funny, it’s dark, it’s poignant – all of the things a Fringe-goer has come to expect.

Written by award-winning New York playwright George Sapio, “Oatmeal” explores issues of exploitation, repressed memories, regression, and the power that human instinct holds over every decision we make.

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“Body Language” is one that we can all understand.

“Body Language,” the creation of Stacy Sims’ True Body Project, takes the audience on a journey.


It begins with a scientist in typical white lab coat and horn rimmed glasses, descending the stairs of the School for Creative and Performing Arts to share her wisdom, wit, and humor with the crowd gathered below. The entire audience is then moved upstairs and through the twisting hallways for a series of dramatic lessons in the mind/body connection.

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Here’s the “Catch”…

It’s very exciting to sit in an audience, knowing that the show you are about to see is being performed for the first time ever as it was intended. “Catch” is the labor of love of one Seth Moore, a University of Michigan student who not only wrote the piece, but co-directed it alongside Transit Five Productions Associate Artistic Director Julia Albain. It’s an effort that mostly pays off, with only minor missteps along the way.

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The Cheapest Date of All: Things You Can Do for Free in Cincinnati Right Now.

When someone visits, I’m always torn: How best to show them the city, without breaking the bank? Save your money for dinner and drinks- there are a number of things you can do for free throughout the city:

  • The Cincinnati Art Museum is always free and always worth a visit. I went a few weeks ago and there was an installation involving 1000 or so light-up dildos. What’s not to like? 953 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati 513 721-2787.
  • The world's largest church stained glass window, sweeping murals and awe-inspiring carvings abound at the Covington Basilica Cathedral. Open daily from 10-4. 1140 Madison Avenue, Covington 859-431-2060 (Visit the Basilica site for details about mass times).
  • The Clifton Gaslight district is always attractive to my visiting nieces and nephews. Browse import shops, wellness boutiques and clothing stores. Clifton.
  • Hamilton county parks have an unlimited number of free events. Hike, take a class or visit art shows and photo exhibits. When the weather warms, free movie nights start at the parks- and there’s no better place for a picnic dinner after a busy day in the office.
  • The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County has free classes ranging from ballroom dancing to yoga, guest speakers and clubs for readers, sewers and card players, too.
  • Walk across the suspension bridge to stretch your legs, people watch and enjoy that eerie feeling of realizing you’re 100 feet above the Ohio River on a bridge that moves.
  • Finally, Devou Park of Covington and Fountain Square downtown get a special mention here, because of the photo opportunities for out-of-towners.

I'll update this list when the weather gets warmer and the long list of free summer activities and events begins. If you have more ideas for things to do for free, let me know.

Jazzing Up Covington’s Mainstrasse

The vereee talented Mary Ellen Tanner has started a weekly gig singing at Chez Nora's in Covington's Mainstrasse. Backed by her trio (including the venerable jazz drummer John von Ohlen), she performs every Sunday at 7. If you've never seen M.E. perform, jump at the chance- she sings jazz standards in a throaty voice that's heavenly, making you yearn for a zoot suit, wing tips and a cool martini.

On another note, the Beastie Boys just announced more upcoming dates. They'll do a couple of shows next month in Washington, then they're abroad for months and months… Portugal, anyone?