By Thomas Consolo
When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to secure cultural entertainment for the next week, we at Movers & Makers pledge to provide you with the enlightening guidance you seek. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
RED, WHITE AND BLUE
Although they often have drama, family picnics don’t quite qualify for our theater listings, nor is the red, white and blue–layered Jell-O dessert visual art, no matter how good it tastes (and how fun it is to play with). Besides a family gathering and neighborhood fireworks shows galore, a couple of events stand out to help you celebrate the 242nd anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Cincinnati Pops Orchestra | 6295 Kellogg Ave., Cincinnati OH 45230; 513-381-3300
- Wednesday, July 4, 8 p.m.: “Patriotic Pops”
Some of you will remember that Riverbend was built to be the summer home of the Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Pops orchestras. The series of orchestral performances there has dwindled over the years though, until only the annual Fourth of July blowout remains. John Morris Russell leads the assembled forces, which include the U.S. Army Chorus, in a hefty dose of Americana. Expect music by Copland, Sousa, Williams and arrangements of patriotic songs through the years. Oh, and of course there are fireworks; they’re lit at 10 p.m.
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center | 50 East Freedom Way, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202; 513-333-7500
- Thursday, July 5, 2 p.m.: Gallery Talk – “What To The Slave is the Fourth of July?”
This year marks the bicentenary of Frederick Douglass, the most prominent black American before the Civil War and the moral polestar of the abolition and postwar civil rights efforts. On July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York, he gave one of the great addresses of American oratory. (It’s long but very much worth it.) He, an escaped slave, opened by reflecting at length on the extraordinary accomplishments of the American experiment … and then dropped the hammer, offering a slave’s perspective on the holiday: “Your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license;… your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless;… your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery.”
At Thursday’s event, Christopher Miller, the Freedom Center’s director of education, will speak about the significance of this speech and the paradox of America’s foundation.
Esquire Theatre | 320 Ludlow Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45220; 513-281-8753
- Sunday, July 8, 1 p.m.: “Yellow Submarine”
When confronted by a heat wave, what does one do? Head to the movies on the weekend, of course. Battle the Blue Meanies be revisiting the Beatles’ now-classic 1968 psychedelic animated feature. All together now: “In the town where I was born….”
The Mini Microcinema | 1329 Main St., Cincinnati, OH 45202
- Tuesday, July 10, 7:30 p.m.: “Stop Making Sense”
The musical theme on the silver screen continues with Jonathan Demme’s acclaimed, 1984 documentary following the Talking Heads at the height of their popularity. How good is it? Pauline Kael said it’s “close to perfection.”
Kentucky Symphony Orchestra | 1700 Montague Road, Covington, KY 41011; 859-431-6216
- Saturday, July 7, 7:30 p.m.: “Class Reunion Remix”
In honor of this year’s high school (and college) grads, the KSO kicks off season 24 – yes, 24 already – of its summer concerts in Devou Park with this look at 60 years of pop hits from years ending in eight (1958, 1968 … ). The 22 songs include hits by Bobby Day, the Beatles, Barry Manilow, etc., up through Camila Cabello’s “Havana” representing this year. I’ll be there sweating on stage as usual, so come say hello. There’s also a preview performance at 7:30 p.m., Friday, July 6, at Deerfield Township’s Cottell Park (5847 Irwin-Simpson Road, Mason, OH 45040).
Memorial Hall | 1225 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-977-8838
- Monday, July 9, 7 p.m.: “Mambo Combo”
The next installment of the Jazz at the Memo series features Michael Sharfe, bass; Charles Ali Schweitzer, percussion; Baba Charles Miller, percussion; Mike Darrah, piano; Tim McCord, reeds; and John Zappa, trumpet – a local all-star combo – in a Latin jazz celebration. Once again, there will be light bites from Washington Platform.
Cincinnati Opera | 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-241-2742 (ARIA)
- Thursday, July 5, and Saturday, July 7, 7:30 p.m.: “Der Fliegende Holländer”
The Black Pearl must have a captain! Oh, wait … . Wrong cursed sailor story. Wagner’s Dutchman is condemned to sail his ghostship forever – unless he can find redemption through true love when he is permitted once every seven years to come ashore. One would think that, over 90-plus seasons, “Dutchman” would have docked in the very-German Queen City a fair number of times. One would be wrong. This marks only the third production in the company’s history; the most recent was 22 years ago.
Commonwealth Theatre Company | 1 Nunn Drive, Highland Heights, KY 41099; 859-572-5464
- Opens Friday, July 6: “The Odd Couple”
Part two of Commonwealth’s Summer Dinner series kicks off Friday with Neil Simon’s comedy. Oscar, Oscar, Oscar… .
CAST | 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington, KY 41011; 859-957-1940
- Friday, July 6, through Sunday, July 8: “O Beautiful”
Never heard of Commonwealth Artists Student Theatre? It was founded to give high school actors a chance to extend themselves in productions with quality and content that may well be impossible to undertake in an individual school. (The best primer: Read our feature on them.) This is the second weekend for the summer’s musical – Theresa Rebeck’s take on contemporary American life that explores the lives of high school students, teachers and their families. The website warns that “O Beautiful” contains some strong language and adult themes, so this is not a simple kids show.
The Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s summer parks tour is in its by week.
Marta Hewett Gallery | 1310 Pendleton St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-281-2780
- Through Monday, July 9: “Forgotten Land”
This show of works by Kevin Muente was supposed to close in June, but it was extended a month – just so you could go see it. Muente’s work explores landscape as a metaphor for the human experience and often pairs archetypal figures within idealized (or sometimes decaying) rural surroundings. Hewett’s concurrent show, the annual “Summer Survey,” runs through July.
Cincinnati Art Museum | 953 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-721-2787 (ARTS)
- Van Gogh homecoming
One of the Art Museum’s most prized (and popular) works is Vincent van Gogh’s “Undergrowth with Two Figures.” You probably haven’t seen it lately because it’s been on loan to a show, “Van Gogh and Japan,” that traveled to Hokkaido, Tokyo and Kyoto in Japan and Amsterdam. After its long trip, late masterpiece (painted in 1890, the year the artist died) is back home now, though, and is back on display in Mount Adams.