By Thomas Consolo
It’s a little more important than usual this week for you to take note of the huge variety of quality offerings from Greater Cincinnati’s cultural organizations. Today, Wednesday, ArtsWave kicks off its 70th community arts campaign. Known for decades as the Fine Arts Fund, it’s the oldest drive of its kind in the United States. These days, while still concentrated on boosting the region’s marquee arts institutions, ArtsWave offers financial support to more than 100 organizations and programs across the region – including many of the ones we feature weekly. Maybe you’ll want to help.
Esquire Theatre | 320 Ludlow Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45220; 513-281-2803
Sunday, Feb. 10, 1 p.m.: “A Bread Factory” – Parts 1 and 2
What does community mean, and how should we define the “local” in local arts? Those are just two of the themes to this 2018, two-part, low-key comedy, “A Bread Factory.” The name comes from the embattled 40-year-old arts center (housed in a repurposed bread factory) whose future lies at the heart of the production. The film’s two parts run four hours in total; expect Part 2 to start at about 3:30 p.m. Then, a small coup for the Esquire: The screening is followed by a live Q&A with writer-director Patrick Wang.
The Mini Microcinema | 1329 Main St., Cincinnati, OH 45202
Sunday, Feb. 10, 7:30 p.m.: Open Screen No. 6
Our topsy-turvy weather dial is expected to swing back toward “winter” by Sunday, so why not cozy up with some film and video work by local artists. It’s The Mini’s sixth Open Screen event – like open mic night, but with images. The evening will include a mix of short projects in several genres. Better yet, the filmmakers will be on hand to discuss their work.
Woman’s Art Club of Cincinnati | 6980 Cambridge Ave., Mariemont, OH 45227; 513-272-3700
Thursday, Feb. 7, 7 p.m.: “Words & Pictures”
What’s more important here, the word or the picture? (I know which side my English teacher mother would have rooted for.) An art instructor and English teacher square off in this 2013 Fred Schepisi film. It’s the latest in the ArtFlix series at The Barn.
The Mercantile Library | 414 Walnut St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-621-0717
Thursday, Feb. 7, 7 p.m.: An Evening with Chuck D
Yes, it’s the Chuck D of Public Enemy fame. He’s also the author of two critically acclaimed books, a political activist and radio host. Attendees may attend a 6 p.m. reception, and all can purchase Chuck D’s book “This Day in Rap and Hip-Hop History” and get it signed by the author. The program sold out fast at The Mercantile Library, so it’s being held in the Grand Hall of the Freedom Center, with simulcast to overflow seating in the center’s Harriet Tubman Theater (50 East Freedom Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202). A few tickets might still remain by the time you read this; call The Merc for the latest.
Tuesday, Feb. 12, 6:30 p.m.: Historian Jemar Tisby
Jemar Tisby’s historical focus has been on the intersection between race, religion and culture. At The Merc, he’ll talk about his latest book (which, of course, you can buy and get signed), “The Color of Compromise.” It’s a survey of how America’s religious establishment, for many years, worked squarely against the advancement of racial equality.
Caladrian Ensemble | 738 York St., Newport, KY 41071; 859-261-9675
Saturday, Feb. 9, 3 p.m.: “Baroque Meets Jazz”
The Caladrian Ensemble describes itself as exploring the intersections between early and modern music through unexpected collaborations. This week, that means exploring the connections between historical improvisation – which “classical” musicians did with aplomb for centuries in places like … well … coffeehouses – and jazz. With Dick Sorice, jazz guitar; Christopher Wilke, baroque lute; and Michael Ronstadt, cello.
Christ Church Cathedral | 318 E. Fourth St.; Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-621-1817
Tuesday, Feb. 12, noon: Moyen Âge
Christ Church Cathedral’s Live@Lunch series runs Tuesdays from September through May, and they feature a wide variety of performers. This Tuesday, Moyen Âge (French for Middle Ages) offers an hour of medieval music to accompany your carryout sandwich. Check it out. (The church sells $5 lunches, too.)
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra | 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-381-3300
Friday-Saturday, Feb. 8-9, 8 p.m.: Bruckner, Symphony No. 8
Even among classical musicians, Anton Bruckner’s music can be polarizing. Many string players bemoan the pages of tremolo; brass players salivate at it. Some conductors, Daniel Barenboim among them, say the problem with Bruckner symphonies is that they’re too short. So long as your seat is padded. If you’re a skeptic, though, it’s time to give Anton a chance. Donald Runnicles, the Scot now at the helm of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, makes his case with the CSO in Bruckner’s final completed symphony, a massive cathedral in sound (to perpetuate the cliché) that’s right up the CSO’s alley. In the more intimate, new Music Hall, it should be electric.
St. Catharine of Siena Catholic Church | 2848 Fischer Place, Cincinnati, OH 45211; 513-661-0651
Sunday, Feb. 10, 3 p.m.: Organ Recital
Giving this year’s Seiwert Organ Recital is Aaron Tan, winner of the 2018 American Guild of Organists national Young Artists Competition. He’s studying at the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University and serves as organ scholar at Church of the Resurrection in New York City. St. Catharine says Tan will present a “bombastic” recital featuring a varied program.
Cincinnati Soundbox and Salon 21 | 650 Walnut St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-621-2787 (ARTS)
Wednesday, Feb. 6, 7 p.m.: “Parallels”
Soundbox is dedicated to new music, Salon 21 to piano performances in intimate, nontraditional settings. So how about a piano performance of new music from Poland and the U.S. in an intimate, nontraditional setting? Sounds like the cue for a collaboration, doesn’t it? The result, “Parallels,” includes works for string quintet by Żaneta Rydzewska, Aleksandra Chmielewska, Julia Seeholzer, Laura Harrison and Rachel C. Walker. Jill Jantzen, Salon 21 artistic director, joins the Cincinnati-based 4-Way Quartet (one supposes they head to the chili parlor after rehearsals) at the Aronoff Center’s Weston Art Gallery.
A final note:
I can’t let this week go by without noting the cancellation of a recital scheduled for Sunday at Westwood First Presbyterian Church. It was to have been another in the series of recitals over the years by brothers Scot and Stacey Woolley, who individually and together celebrated the lush, romantic music they discovered as children and loved at first note. Scot died suddenly Jan. 26. His absence as a pianist, teacher, conductor and arranger will be felt across the region.
College-Conservatory of Music | 290 CCM Blvd., Cincinnati, OH 45221; 513-556-4183
Friday, Feb. 8 through Sunday, Feb. 10: “Die Fledermaus”
As the old joke goes, no, it’s not “Die, Fledermaus,” like “Kill Bill in Vienna.” It is a revenge story, true, but this one is sung to the effervescent tunes of Johann Strauss Jr., and it’s regarded as the masterpiece among Viennese operettas. CCM’s Opera d’Arte – the opera department’s undergraduate showcase – offers a studio production of “Fledermaus” in the Cohen Family Studio Theater at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday.
“The Exonerated”: The biggest problem with the death penalty, of course, is that you’d better make sure you’ve got the right suspect before you carry it out. That’s been a problem through American history, especially when race is added to the mix. In “The Exonerated,” the stories of six wrongfully convicted death row inmates are told through their own words. At Falcon Theatre (636 Monmouth St., Newport, KY 41071; 513-479-6783) through Saturday.
Contemporary Arts Center | 44 E. Sixth St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-345-8400
Opening Friday, Feb. 8: “Returns” and “Archive as Action”
The CAC marks the simultaneous opening of two exhibitions with a celebration Friday evening. A members-only reception begins at 6 p.m., followed by a talk with artist Julie Nguyen at 7. At 8, the event opens to everyone and features performances at 8:15 by Amanda Curreri, Lindsey Whittle and Calcagno Cullen. So about the shows:
• “Returns”: Nguyen’s work mixes modern inspiration – like manga and sci-fi – with the techniques and aesthetics of Renaissance Florence. The result gives a sense of timelessness to her subjects. Through June 16.
• “Archive as Action”: Curreri, Whittle and Cullen are Cincinnati-based artists who make historical materials – textiles, documents, archives, etc. – active through the lens of performance or participation. Through June 16.
Middletown Arts Center | 130 N. Verity Parkway, Middletown, OH 45042; 513-424-2417
Opens Saturday, Feb. 9: Tomorrow’s Artist Today
Despite what the movies might suggest, artists don’t really just appear, like Athena, fully formed and ready to storm the world. The MAC is doing its part for the future of art by showcasing work of area students, ages 13-18. It’s a tight schedule: The submission deadline was just Monday, and the catalog of accepted works will be released today. They’ll have everything ready to go, though, by Saturday’s 1 p.m. opening reception. If you go, you can officially say, “I knew them when….”