By Thomas Consolo
If you keep thinking, surely all the arts and cultural entertainment opportunities will have to take a summer breather, I’m afraid you’re mistaken (and, as the joke goes, don’t call me Shirley). This week might be as close as we get, though, with the Fourth of July coming just a day into next week’s picks. That hardly means there’s a shortage of events to enjoy. Here are some of the tasty options.
Cincinnati Museum Center | Union Terminal, 1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45203; 513-287-7000
Opens Friday, June 29: “Chocolate: The Exhibition”
Talk about a tasty way for the museum center to welcome patrons back as renovation work on Union Terminal slowly winds down. The history of chocolate is as fascinating as today’s confections are delicious. From Mayan and Aztec religious ceremonies (for which chocolate was used in an unsweetened beverage) to Spain via the conquistador Hernán Cortés to the modern candy bar, this exhibition traces the development of chocolate from its agricultural origins through modern industry.
The Aztec god Quetzalcoatl was thrown out of paradise for sharing chocolate with humans. Don’t let his sacrifice be in vain. Go and learn. It’ll make your next chocolate bar taste better. Runs through Jan. 6.
Harriet Beecher Stowe House | 2950 Gilbert Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45206; 513-751-0651
Opens Sunday, July 1: “To Give It All to this Cause”
Harriet Beecher Stowe became the most famous Beecher through her writing (yes, she wrote more than “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”), but the entire Beecher family was socially active. Just in time for Independence Day, this new exhibition at the house where Harriet lived before her marriage showcases six members of the family and how they contributed to the Civil War effort, both on and off the battlefield.
48 Hour Film Project | 320 Ludlow Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45220; 513-281-8753
Thursday, June 28, 7 p.m.: Best of Cincinnati 48 Hour Film Project Screening and Awards
Make a movie in 48 hours? It can be done. Want proof? See 10 of the best of this year’s crop of films from Cincinnati’s fourth 48 Hour Film Project at a red-carpet event at the Esquire Theatre in Clifton. An awards ceremony and wrap party follow the films.
Mercantile Library | 414 Walnut St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-621-0717
Thursday, June 28, 6:30 p.m.: “Implosion: A Memoir of an Architect’s Daughter”
You may not know the name Garber or the legacy the family has left in the Queen City, but Elizabeth Garber does. She’s the daughter and granddaughter of architects who changed the face of Cincinnati, and she’ll offer a presentation on them and a reading from her new memoir at Thursday’s event. Her grandfather Frederick W. Garber and his firm designed both Withrow and Walnut Hills high schools, as well as downtown’s Anna Louise Inn, Dixie Terminal, Phoenix and Phelps (now the Residence Inn). His son, Woodie Garber, designed the original part of the current main Cincinnati Public Library (the part nearest the corner of Eighth and Vine streets), ill-fated Sander Hall (source of the title’s “Implosion”) at the University of Cincinnati and Procter Hall (pre-renovation) on UC’s East Campus.
Memorial Hall | 1225 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-977-8838
Monday, July 2, 7 p.m.: The Harmonic Troopers
Next up in the Jazz at the Memo series are Pat Kelly, keyboards; Eugene Goss, vocals and percussion; and Steve Hoskins, flute and saxophone. You’ll find cocktail seating, a cash bar and light bites from Washington Platform.
Butler Philharmonic | 1763 Hamilton Cleves Road, Hamilton, OH 45013; 513-895-5151
Saturday, June 30, 7 p.m.: “Shall We Gather at the River”
Ease into your Fourth of July celebrations with the Butler Phil’s second summer program. Fresh off their trip to Carnegie Hall (yes, the real one in New York), they’ll offer a river-themed program that includes Copland’s “At the River,” Smetana’s “Moldau,” music from “Jaws,” Handel’s “Water Music” and “The Blue Danube.” Conductor Paul Stanbery leads this performance in bucolic Pyramid Hill – a pretty inspiring combination for the ears and eyes.
Blue Ash Montgomery Symphony | 10105 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, OH 45242; 513-549-2197
Tuesday, July 3, 7:30 p.m.: Independence Day Concert
Conductor Michael Chertock and BAMSO set the Wayback Machine (here’s help for those who don’t remember) to the 1960s for an eclectic program of patriotic selections and music by the Beach Boys and Henry Mancini, from “2001: A Space Odyssey” and James Bond films, and hits by Tina Turner and Carole King.
Cincinnati Opera | 108 W. Central Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-241-2742 (ARIA)
Thursday, June 28, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, July 1, 3 p.m.: “The Coronation of Poppea”
Performances of Monteverdi’s “Coronation of Poppea” continue this week at the School for Creative and Performing Arts’ Corbett Theater. Baroque opera performances are still fairly rare these days, even with specialist performers like countertenor Anthony Roth Constanzo and the Catacoustic Consort to help. If you’ve never experienced one, Monteverdi’s 1642 gem is as good a place to start as any.
For more background on the season, read M&M’s season preview.
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company | 1195 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-381-2273
Various dates and times: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
The Shakespeare in the Park tour continues with three performances of one of the original rom-coms. Performances this week are 7 p.m., Saturday, June 30, at Northwoods Park Lawn (5444 Northwoods Lane, Norwood, OH 45212); 1 p.m., Sunday, July 1, (indoors) at the Carnegie Center of Columbia Tusculum (3738 Eastern Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45226); and 7 p.m., Tuesday, July 3, at Smale Riverfront Park’s Schmidlapp Lawn (100 E. Mehring Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202). Check the Cincy Shakes website for the full summer schedule, which includes performances of “Julius Caesar” and “Romeo and Juliet.”
“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”: Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati – Closes Sunday, July 1 (1127 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-421-3555).
“Once On This Island”: Cincinnati Landmark Productions – Closes Sunday, July 1, at the Warsaw Federal Incline Theater (801 Matson Place, Cincinnati, OH 45204; 513-241-6550).
Cincinnati Art Museum | 953 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-721-2787 (ARTS)
Friday, June 29, 5 p.m.: Art After Dark: Summer Shakedown
The monthly Art After Dark series kicks off summer with live music from The Cliftones, specialty cocktails, food from Eli’s BBQ and Graeter’s, and as always, access to the museum after hours. That includes free admission to “Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China” with one caveat: Access is limited; timed tickets will be awarded first-come, first-served.
The Red Door Project | Rookwood Pottery, 1920 Race St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-381-3510
June 29, 6-9:30 p.m. Pop-up art exhibit and silent auction
Art lover Barbara Hauser shepherds this occasional impromptu show of local artists, with all art available for bidding by attendees. The bonus this time is the venue, allowing guests to visit the showroom of the fabled pottery works, while sampling food and drink, of course, including Injoy Indian-inspired food, OCD Cakes and Churchill’s Tea.
Manifest Gallery: Three simultaneous shows close this Friday: “Rites of Passage,” Manifest’s annual showcase for emerging artists, “Magnitude Seven,” the annual small works exhibit and “Charlie Goering: Recent Works.” (2727 Woodburn Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45206; 513-861-3638.)