What to Do/Hear/See | Aug. 29-Sept. 4

And so it ends…

Cincinnati summers always end with a bang, not a whimper. Literally lots of bangs, thanks to Western & Southern, WEBN, et al. And there are several opportunities to enjoy the display, one of the largest anywhere, while also contributing to an important cause or organization in our region. Here are some choices for you … check in early in case these have sold out.

Gateway Fireworks Party


Sunday, Sept. 2

Cancer Support Community | Hope is Here, 5:30-11 p.m. The Metropolitan Club, 50 E. Rivercenter Blvd., Covington, KY 41011

Beverages, dinner, entertainment, fireworks, live auction

Dan Beard Council | Annual Festival of Fireworks, 5-10 p.m. 1071 Celestial St., Cincinnati, OH 45202

Silent auction, basket raffle, games, bounce house, face painting, caricature and balloon artists, pig roast and coneys with free parking near I-71 and parking shuttle

Gateway Community & Technical College Foundation | Annual RiverBlast Fundraiser, 5-10 p.m. Champions Club, Great American Ball Park

Stadium tour, full beverage service, appetizers, buffet dinner, fireworks, silent auction and raffle

Rubber Duck Regatta | Purple People Bridge, downtown

Nearly 200,000 rubber ducks swim in the Ohio River for a chance at winning prizes. Ducks, $5 or six for $25. Proceeds benefit the Freestore Foodbank. You can still buy a duck and test your luck!


Krohn Conservatory | 1501 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-421-4086

Opens Saturday, Sept. 1: “At Home in the Garden”

The Krohn’s 2018 Fall Show opens Labor Day weekend. The weather’s always fine inside the conservatory, kind of like stepping into your own indoor garden. This flower show will be blooming with homemade style and the sweet sight of chrysanthemums, asters and verbena. Through Oct. 21.

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center | 50 E. Freedom Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-333-7739

Opens Saturday, Sept.1: “Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu”

To commemorate the centenary of the late civil rights advocate, the Freedom Center reprises this exhibit, first shown here in 2017. A partnership with South African documentary photographer Matthew Willman, the exhibit shares photographs by Willman of locations that figured importantly in South Africa’s route to racial equality and Mandela’s personal fight for freedom. Displays also feature artifacts from Mandela’s life on loan from The Nelson Mandela Foundation. Through Jan. 1.

No Promises Vocal Band

No Promises Vocal Band


Memorial Hall | 1225 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-977-8838

Thursday, Aug. 30, 8 p.m. No Promises Vocal Band

Cincinnati has not had an a cappella group of this quality in more than 15 years. These guys combine taut, precise harmonies with a freewheeling musicianship that’s just plain infectious.

This concert serves as the release party for their second recording, “All Wet.” Selections range from The Four Seasons to Ambrosia to Taylor Swift, so this should appeal to all ages. And without instruments to tip you off, it’s all just music, right?

Cincinnati Art Museum | 953 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-721-2787 (ARTS)

Saturday, Sept. 1, noon-4 p.m. ChamberPalooza

Here’s a great chance to bring your kids or your grandkids and sample, for free, a wide range of chamber music offerings in the Queen City. Ten ensembles in all, each playing about 20-minute sets.

Kentucky Symphony at Devou Park

Kentucky Symphony at Devou Park

Kentucky Symphony Orchestra | Devou Park, 1201 Park Drive, Covington, KY 41011; 859-431-6216

Saturday, Sept. 1, 7:30 p.m. “The Over-Tour of Broadway”

Blue Ash/Montgomery Symphony | Blue Ash Towne Square, corner of Kenwood and Cooper roads, Blue Ash, OH 45242; 513-549-2197

Monday, Sept. 3, 6 p.m. Labor Day Concert, Michael Chertock, conductor

Cincinnati is blessed with several professional orchestras, and this weekend you can sample two, al fresco. The fact that we can field these ensembles, and several others, with highly skilled players is a tribute to the region’s musical heritage.

Saturday evening features the always creative Kentucky Symphony, led by J.R. Cassidy, and includes your usual blog host, violinist Tom Consolo (who could not resist contributing a couple of curveballs to this post).

J.R. continues to be among the most imaginative programmers anywhere, and for this show he’s put together more than a dozen popular Broadway overtures by Gershwin, Kern, Berlin, Porter, Loewe and Rodgers. It’s like a greatest hits of musical theater without those pesky lyrics getting in the way. (Just kidding, singer friends!) If you want the Lerner, Hammerstein, etc., you’ll have to supply it yourself by singing along. TANK offers a shuttle from Covington Catholic to the bandshell.

On Labor Day evening, CSO pianist Michael Chertock switches hats to lead his band, BAMSO, in a concert of movie music, featuring the gifted and prolific John Williams. No doubt you’ll hear lots of familiar faves here, as well. For fun, listen for themes and textures he might have “borrowed” from classical composers. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all.


Barbara Chisholm as Annie Wilkes in “Misery”


Ensemble Theatre | 1127 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-421-3888

Opens Saturday, Sept. 1. “Fly by Night”

Playhouse in the Park | 962 Mount Adams Circle, Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-421-3888

Opens Saturday, Sept. 1. “Misery” (at Marx Theatre)

Preview performances begin this weekend for season-opening shows by two of the areas best professional theaters, and they could not be more different.

“Fly by Night” is described as a “darkly comic rock-fable,” a tale of young love featuring two sisters exploring fate and fortune, in the company of a guitar-toting sandwich assembler, in New York City during the blackout of 1965. Runs through Sept. 29.

“Misery” is based on the novel by Stephen King and the vehicle for Kathy Bates’ Oscar-winning and spine-chilling movie turn as a famous novelist’s “Number One Fan.” While this show could also be described as darkly comic, your laughter here is more likely to be preceded by a loud gasp – and any aspirations you have to be a famous novelist may just dissolve into a puddle below your seat. Through Sept. 29.

1305 Gallery

Sarah Rodriguez at 1305 Gallery


1305 Gallery | 1305 Main St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-383-6815

Opening reception Friday, Aug. 31, 6-10 p.m. Works by Sarah Rodriguez

Rodriguez is an emerging artist who recently moved to Cincinnati. Her work in collage and sculpture manifests itself in nostalgia and the tactile nature of creating with our hands, employing basic materials such as paper, paint, scissors and paste. Show continues through Sept. 21.

Art Academy of Cincinnati | 1212 Jackson St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-562-6262

Opening reception Friday, Aug. 31, 5-8 p.m. “Ohio Artists for Freedoms”

Emily Hanako Momohara, associate professor of studio arts, curated this show, in which artists wrestle with the juxtaposition of love of country and participation in democracy. This exhibit is part of the 50 State Initiative, created by For Freedoms, “a platform for civic engagement, discourse, and direct action for artists.” Show continues through Sept. 21.

Last chance:

Brazee Gallery | 4426 Brazee St., Cincinnati, OH 45209; 513-321-0206

Through Aug. 31: “In the Shallows: Nature Abstracted” by Leslie Daly

Switch Lighting & Design | 312 W. Fourth St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-421-1901

Through Aug. 31: “13th Annual Exhibition”

Colored pencil works by local artists, presented by the Colored Pencil Society of America

Wave Pool Gallery | 2940 Colerain Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45225; 513-600-6117

Through Sept. 1: “Let It Grow”

The exhibit explores ways artists frame human and plant interdependent relationships.

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