Top 9 things to do this weekend in Cincinnati

CINCINNATI - Looking for something fun to do in the Greater Cincinnati area this weekend? 9 News has teamed up with CityBeat to bring you the top nine picks!

1. Saengerfest tradition returns this weekend

More than half a century has gone by since Over-the-Rhine hosted Saengerfest, but it's back again. A German-American choral tradition first held in Cincinnati in 1849, Saengerfest attracted thousands of people to the area to witness the festive holiday choral celebrations.

What was once an integral part of Cincinnati holiday tradition faded away with the popularity of May Festival, but the tradition is back, in line with Cincinnati's thriving vocal arts atmosphere still buzzing after the World Choir Games.

Find out more here ( .

2. Light Up OTR

Workers, admirers and residents of Over-the-Rhine know it's been a busy year for the revitalized neighborhood, which has not-so-slowly morphed into one of the city's hottest art, cultural and entertainment districts. For the third annual Light Up OTR event, gather with fellow OTR-lovers in a festive celebration and appreciation of the culture we've forged together.

Reflect on a year of insurmountable progress with a neighborhood luminary lighting; the soft glows represent safety, unity and the arrival of the holiday season.

Get details here ( .

3. Bi-Okoto's Heritage Festival

It's a celebratory time of the year, and the locally based African drumming and dance ensemble Bi-Okoto offers a hot, high-energy alternative to holiday-related fare with its 2012 Heritage Festival this Saturday. Bi-Okoto delivers a double dose of cross-cultural fun and learning: In the daytime at the Bi-Okoto Cultural Center, you can immerse yourself in traditional African dance and drumming workshops taught by visiting master instructors from countries as diverse as Nigeria, Senegal, Guinea, Ghana and the Congo.

Feeling less than full-on participatory? Visit the on-site African Market, where you'll find unique jewelry, clothing, instruments, foods and other goods straight from the continent.

Click here ( for more information.

4. Handel's 'Messiah' performed at Music Hall

If you think the "Hallelujah" chorus is all there is to Handel's Messiah, you'll have to wait until the end of Part II. But it's well worth hanging in there. Handel's iconic oratorio is in three parts, depicting the life of Jesus through memorable choruses and dramatic arias that are vocal touchstones.

This holiday tradition gets the ultimate performance ensemble: the CSO; the always terrific May Festival Chorus, led by renowned Baroque music specialist Jane Glover; and soloists Arianna Zukerman, Phyllis Pancella, Nicholas Phan and Kevin Burdetta.

Find out more information here ( .

5. Lisa Landry performs at Go Bananas

Brash, bold and, of course, hilarious, Lisa Landry returns to town this weekend. Her acclaimed DVD "Brazillionaire" came out last year and has helped gain her an even bigger following. That's good, as this is the only job that has ever worked out for her.

"I kept getting fired off every job I ever had," she says of her decision to start doing stand-up. "I had to turn this smart mouth into something that would get me ahead, and get me off of unemployment." Even job interviews were difficult for Landry.

Get more details on her visit to the Tri-State here ( .


6. Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival presents 'The Importance of Being Earnest'

As Oscar Wilde said, "Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." Come as you are in celebration of Cincinnati Shakespeare Company's third annual GBLT night with a production of Oscar Wilde's hilarious classic, "The Importance of Being Earnest."

Kick off the evening in true Oscar Wilde style at the free reception at 6 p.m. with wine, Bacardi drinks, hors d'oeuvres and a pre-show musical treat from AcoustiCool of the Cincinnati Men's Chorus. Before the play begins, listen to or engage in discussion about the important role that Oscar Wilde and Earnest played in the closeted gay community of the Victorian society.

Find out more on the show here ( .


7.  Toronto-based band The Shanks performs in Northside

Toronto-based The Shanks' classics-influenced Rock & Roll rumble draws all of its power and thunder from just two musicians — frontman/singer/songwriter/bassist Pistolwhip von Shankenstein and drummer/singer Colonel Crankshaft. Like Death From Above 1979, the duo — which was founded in 2005 — creates a whirling dervish of Rock sounds with distorted bass and expansive drumming but more resembles a thunderous, modern-day Blue Oyster Cult (mixed with a little Johnny Thunders swagger) than DFA's Punk and Metal break-neck mayhem.

The duo — which has previously drawn attention from college radio and scored an album of the year nomination from Exclaim! magazine — is currently working with the Cincinnati-based Counter Rhythm Group promo organization to break the States.

Get more details on their performance at the Comet in Northside  here ( .

8. Holiday film screening at Brighton gallery

As part of their monthly experimental film program, "Staring Eyes," Third Party Gallery in Brighton presents a seasonal screening of holiday-related animated films "you most certainly can't Tivo." This month, the gallery will present films by artist-animators such as Alison Schulnik, whose work you might recognize from the Bjork film featured in the CAC's recent exhibition, Spectacle; Peter Millard, whose film Hogan received special mention at the London Short Film Festival; or Atsushi Wada, who recently screened his film The Mechanism of Spring at the Venice Film Festival.

Click here ( for more information.

9.  PNC Festival of Lights

The zoo's almost 2 million LED lights line a series of festive strolls through the themed areas of the zoo, including Fairyland and Candy Cane Forest.

Also check out a brand new make-your-own s'mores station, a North Polar Express Train Ride and a lights show on Swan Lake. The zoo's cold climate animals will be out to play, including lions, red pandas, Japanese macaques, sea lions, reindeers and, of course, polar bears.

Visit for details.

Other things to do in the Tri-State:

Puffins Bistro and Desserts in Blue Ash offers up fluffy, light warm traditional Eastern European pastries called piroshkis. Read CityBeat's review here (

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