Monday, December 31, 2012

Cirque du Soleil: World's Away 3D

Or should it be "World's Apart"?  
That would be an initial reaction

Dexter Floats Worlds Away
     Every Cirque show starts as a journey and the movie version is no exception.  Acrobat Erica Linz (an amazing aerialist with no acting future) visits a local carnival and becomes spellbound by the show's star trapeze performer, Igor Zaripov.  From there, the fantasy begins taking her

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Star Power: Edward Steichen's Glamour Photography

For a lesson in fashion photography, head to the Taft Museum

Lee Miller for Vogue, 1928
      Edward Steichen was offered the chance of a lifetime back in 1923.  He became the Chief Photographer for Voque and Vanity Fair magazines.  Along with the title came fame and

Via Vite: It Just Gets Better

From the smart, excellent food, wide-ranging menus to the extensive hours of operation, professional team service, and intriguing music, Via Vite is turning into a landmark

The Jewel Box of Fountain Square
     We wrote about Via Vite back in the spring of 2011.  It’s a restaurant we’ve always liked for a number of reasons.  It’s in the true center of Cincinnati – right on Fountain Square – but it feels like it could be in New York or San Francisco.  Along with

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Django Unchained & The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

One’s a shattering comedy-drama, the other is the darkest comedy imaginable – guess which is which

     A lot of our friends liked The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (for the Elderly & Beautiful) when it ran for about six months at the Mariemont Theatre.  We didn’t go because I said I didn’t want to see a movie about euthanasia.  Yes, I know it was supposedly a gentle, civilized British comedy about a group of literate, elderly retirees moving to India, but they were going there to die (eventually).  Plus, I thought it would be an example of hyperlink cinema that wouldn’t

Thursday, December 27, 2012

21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati

A perpetual addition to one of downtown's most vibrant blocks of entertainment

Entrance to the
21c Museum Hotel

      It's not every city that can boast a hotel and art museum under one roof.  With the opening of the 21c Museum Hotel in the renovated Metropole Apartment Building, Cincinnati becomes only the second city in the world (along with Louisville) to have such a claim.  It's older, but smaller, sister opened to much acclaim in 2006 and quickly reached world status as one of the top hotels.  We stayed there earlier this year (see that review "A Night at the Louisville Museum" posted 2/15/2012) and were impressed with the museum, but found our room to be equal to many boutique lodgings.

Hotel Lobby and Museum
      The Cincinnati lobby is an open space with an understated front desk and laptop computers for check in.  It's a bit confusing at first glance.  The art is prevalent immediately and continues into several of the main floor rooms.  We've visited twice, and our initial impression was that the staff was not

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Guilt Trip

Barbra Streisand finds her sense of humor and connects with Seth Rogen in a cute comedy that’s also pretty honest about parent-child relationships

A Little Touch Up from Mom Before the Interview
     The Guilt Trip is a surprise because it works as an exploration of a comfortably off widow’s weeklong cross-country trip with her quietly despondent inventor son.  It’s the type of movie where you think you’ve seen all the best parts in the previews, but it goes beyond those with a real conflict and some uneasy revelations.  The preview bits end up in the credits reel.  Reviews have been mixed, but I’m not certain the reason for this.  No, it’s not on

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Nicholson’s: The Gold Standard for Gastropubs

Nicholson’s is like a favorite, comfortable shoe that’s been given a new polish

The Elegant and Inviting Bar
     We started going to Nicholson’s when it first opened over fifteen years ago and it immediately took off because it was a gastropub before that term passed into popular usage.  We usually took family members there because the menu was

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Why Restaurants Survive

Here’s our Nice ‘n’ Naughty List with a Fun Quiz

     Everything comes down to service in a restaurant whether patrons, bloggers, or critics wish to acknowledge this consciously or not.  How else to explain why some restaurants with dreary food stay in business for decades while others with creative, beautifully prepared menus close up shop sometimes within a year?  Yes, people will say they like or don’t like a restaurant because of a specific menu item, but

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

BrewRiver Gastropub

Moderately priced selections range from excellent to mediocre with lots of beer and some lovely wine

Dexter Checks Out the Beautiful Bar
     Neil had gone to BrewRiver Gastropub for lunch and suggested it when Jan and Mike contacted us about going out last week.  It’s in the same house on Riverview where Maribelle’s used to be.  We went at 5:45 p.m. to beat the Friday night crowd.  The pub is located downstairs and it was

Friday, December 14, 2012

Chuy’s: Austin Legend Appears in Florence

With a relaxed, festive atmosphere and huge portions, this institution pulls in the crowds

The Ever-Present Elvis at the Bar
     While we were in Austin, Mara suggested that we all go to Chuy’s for dinner.  The original restaurant was famously where the Bush twins were busted for trying to buy drinks, though they were underage.  (Neil and I have a lot of respect for Jenna and what she’s been doing professionally so it’s a

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

White Christmas: Interactive at the Mariemont and Esquire Theatres

Singing along with the classic movie could become a new tradition if you can get a ticket

Waiting for the Doors to Open
     Since White Christmas is Neil’s favorite seasonal movie (he watches it every year), changing things up with a cinema viewing seemed like a great way to go.  Last year, the Esquire sold out two sing along performances of White Christmas.  This year, two earlier showings were held at the Mariemont and we lucked out, going with Susan and Kurt.  It was sold out and many other audience members were dressed in Santa

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bucks Tavern: The Neighborhood Pub in a Sprawling Suburb

An upscale sports bar with an overstated interior and prices.

The Inviting Dining Area
      I knew little about the Landen area so I was happy to explore a new place for lunch with Carole, Cindy, Billie, and Bobbie.  Bucks Tavern is welcoming with its detailed paneled

Monday, December 10, 2012

Our 22 Choices for Top Christmas Albums

Please Let Us Know Your Favorites Too!

      Every year the Holiday CD market is given a few more gifts of song.  The albums range from the singer-of-the-moment

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Lincoln: A Movie Classic That’s Simultaneously Stately, Salty, and Safe

A Troubled Lincoln Surveys the Battlefield
     Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Tony Kushner, has the deliberate pace and the extraordinary acting ensemble of a William Wyler classic and if it wasn’t for the cursing, which seems anachronistic, it could have been produced in the studio era as an allegory for World War II or the Cold War.  It has the momentum and rhythm of both a well-made and epic play.  It’s about the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which would seem a tight

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Puffins Bistro & Desserts

Finally an Eastern European restaurant that hits all of the cuisine's highlights.

European Street Scene at Puffins Bistro & Desserts
      For a moment, I was sitting in a café outside the Musée d'Orsay.  The masterfully executed street scene on the wall inside Puffins Bistro & Desserts in Blue Ash set the mood.  The European influenced menu from the owner's mother and

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Silver Linings Playbook

An excellent family comedy-drama that cuts close to the bone with a great cast and strong script

     David O. Russell directed three of our favorite movies (Three Kings, The Fighter, and Flirting with Disaster – one of the best comedies of the past twenty years) and one of the few movies to put me to sleep in the past decade, I Heart Huckabees.  The Silver Linings Playbook is Russell’s latest, which is based on Matthew Quick’s PEN/Hemingway nominated novel, and it’s a very strong family comedy-drama

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Wine Guy Wine Shop, Bar, & Bistro

A mid-priced small chain that’s serious about food, wine, and service and nails all three

Rustic Décor of The Wine Guy Bistro
    We thought Theresa and Chip had been to The Wine Guy in Rookwood, but they hadn’t so it was a first for the four of us.  Neil had looked it up and found that there are a couple of locations in the Columbus area and that there are additional locations scheduled for Hamilton and The Banks.  It shares some similarities with Brio, another chain that originated in Columbus.  Those are a mainstream menu with some intriguing choices, professional service, and a casually elegant interior.

Dexter Checks Out the Bar and Wine Shop
The Wine Guy looks rustic with the natural wood tables and the hanging picture frames around the larger party area.  The wine bar and shop are on the right hand side of the space.  We wondered if the shelving was from when it was the late,