By Thomas Consolo
“In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it / You’d be the grandest fellow in the Easter parade.”
Easter is one holiday for which Cincinnati does not hold a parade. It is, after all, traditionally more holy day than holiday to those who mark it. Perhaps that’s why the arts agenda this week is a little lighter than in recent weeks. Not that there’s nothing to do, mind you. Grab a chocolate bunny, bite an ear and peruse these events for a few that call to you.
The Mini Microcinema | 1329 Main St., Cincinnati, OH 45202
Tuesday, April 23, 7:30 p.m.: “The Most Awesome Female Muscle Celebration in the World”
Do perfect pumpitude, a la Hans & Franz, and femininity go together? Judge for yourself. The Mini presents “Hyper-muscularity & Femininity on Film” (aka the above also-long title), a selection of obscure and riveting clips was culled from Women’s Physique World’s extensive documentary archive of ’80s-’90s women’s bodybuilding competitions and post-competition interviews, complementing the 1985 documentary “Pumping Iron II: The Women.” Co-presented with the Weston Art Gallery (see Visual Art below).
FotoFocus | 953 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-721-2787 (ARTS)
Wednesday, April 17, 7 p.m.: William Wegman
William Wegman has worked with various media, but he continues to draw profound, global attention for his photographic portraits of Weimaraner dogs. Together, he and his dogs have been featured everywhere from the Smithsonian American Art Museum to “Saturday Night Live.” Wegman speaks tonight (as always, sorry for the short notice) at the Cincinnati Art Museum’s Fath Auditorium as part of the FotoFocus Lecture and Visiting Artist Series. Wegman will take questions, too, and a reception and book signing follow the lecture.
Cincinnati Zoo | 3400 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45220; 513-281-4700
Wednesday, April 17, 7 p.m.: Anne Savage
As we mentioned last month, the zoo is hardly all Fiona all the time. (It just seems like it.) The Barrows Conservation Lecture Series, now more than a quarter-century old, continues with Anne Savage, founder of Proyecto Tití, a program designed to conserve the cotton-top tamarin, Colombia’s most endangered primate.
Mercantile Library | 414 Walnut St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-621-0717
Wednesday, April 17, 6:30 p.m.: The 1835 Lecture – Erica Armstrong Dunbar
“First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.” George Washington was all those things, as the children’s Musical “Let George Do It!” says. He also was a southern planter who owned slaves, and he took several with him to Philadelphia, the nation’s temporary first capital. One of them, a 21-year-old woman named Ona Judge, saw her chance and fled to freedom in New England. Washington, the most powerful and famous man on the continent, launched a manhunt to recapture her, using his political and personal contacts to help. Erica Dunbar wrote about the escape in her book “Never Caught,” and she’ll talk about Judge and Washington in the context of the history of black women who lived in a United States that declared many of them property. Reception begins at 6 p.m.
Memorial Hall | 1225 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-977-8838
Thursday, April 18, 6:45 p.m.: The Scripps Howard Awards
“Give light and the people will find their own way,” said Edward Willis Scripps, founder of a media empire that rose with penny papers (including the still-lamented Cincinnati Post) and continues in the electronic age through television stations (including WCPO-TV) and digital news outlets. On Thursday, the Scripps Howard Foundation presents the 66th annual Scripps Howard Awards, honoring journalists who have changed outlooks, laws, political practices and, by extension, the world. They represent the proudest tradition of a free press, the linchpin of a functional democracy. Michelle Miller, “CBS Morning News” co-host, serves as emcee. Tickets are free but required.
Chamber Music Cincinnati | 1225 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-342-6870
Tuesday, April 23, 7:30: Escher Quartet
This 14-year-old ensemble, proteges of the hallowed Emerson Quartet, serves as Season Artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The Escher has performed in all the world’s great chamber music halls and with a list too long to start here of musical greats from several genres. (And yes, the quartet was named after the visual artist whose images somehow loop around on themselves in reality-denying ways.) On Tuesday, the members will offer listeners in Memorial Hall a taste of central Europe though recent centuries, with music by Haydn, Smetana and Bartok.
Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra | 3187 Linwood Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45208; 513-280-8181
Thursday, April 18, 7 p.m.: CCJO Meets Soul
The CCJO rocks the Redmoor this week with new high-energy, horn-fueled arrangements of music by Ray Charles and Earth, Wind and Fire. Jazz jams with R&B, funk and soul in songs including “Georgia,” “Sing a Song” and “September!” We dare you to sit still through them.
St. Peter in Chains Cathedral | 325 W. Eighth St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-421-2222
Wednesday, April 17, 7:30 p.m.: Ancient Office of Tenebrae
In the Gospel story, Easter is the catharsis that follows the tragedy of Good Friday – the story of light overcoming darkness. Each year on the eve of Maundy Thursday, St. Peter in Chains offers a musical reflection on the darkness to be overcome in a moving Tenebrae service. The origins of Tenebrae, Latin for “darkness,” are special Holy Week versions of the Catholic Hours of Matins and Lauds. The always stellar Choir of St. Peter in Chains performs music from a millennium of faith, this year including works of Marc’Antonio Ingegneri, Tomás Luis de Victoria, William Byrd and Anton Bruckner (and more). It’s a real service, not a concert, but it’s an experience that’s hard to beat. And typically a full house; arrive early.
American Sign Museum | 1330 Monmouth Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45225; 513-541-6366
Saturday, April 20, 7 p.m.: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
If the bloodletting of “Macbeth” doesn’t feel like the right vibe for a spring evening, how about a preview of a summer night? Cincinnati Shakespeare Company teams up with the sign museum for a special performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the timeless comedy of love confounded. No rude mechanicals, these folks.
Know Theatre | 1120 Jackson St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-300-5669
Opens Friday, April 19: “Mercury”
In the second of his “planetary” plays, Steve Yockey takes on the heat of Mercury and the odd things that happen when the mercury rises. There’s an illicit affair, a couple hanging on by a thread, bears at the window, the worst curiosity shop on the west coast and an adorable missing dog named Mr. Bundles. In this black comedy, revenge is a dish best served bloody. Through May 11.
Playhouse in the Park | 962 Mount Adams Circle, Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-421-3888
Opens Saturday, April 20: “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”
The Peanuts gang comes to life on stage in this whimsical and witty Clark Gesner musical based on the Charles Schulz cartoon characters. The songs are fun, and, like several previous Playhouse efforts, this “Charlie Brown” production employs the gimmick of the actors’ playing their own instruments. Through May 18 at the Marx Theatre.
• “The Thanksgiving Play”: Liberal artists try to create a politically correct Thanksgiving play for elementary students. As one can imagine, the well-meaning plans fall into chaos. Through Sunday, April 21, at the Playhouse’s Rosenthal Shelterhouse Theatre (see above).
Manifest Gallery | 2727 Woodburn Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45206; 513-861-3638
Friday, April 19, 6-9 p.m. : “Drawn”
Manifest presents the sixth annual International Exhibition of Contemporary Drawing in its main gallery. Drawing remains integral to Manifest’s mission: It was founded in part to advocate for drawing as a viable product of creative fine art and design. The annual “Drawn” showcase calls for artists to submit works in any media relevant to drawing, in any style and in any genre. Of more than 500 submissions, the exhibition comprises 43 works by 33 U.S. and international artists. Through May 17. If you cannot attend the opening on Friday, there is a preview recepetion, Thursday, 7-9 p.m.
Running concurrently is “Packaged,” a show of art made from or about packing materials. From shipping boxes to plastic bottles to tissue paper, 21 works by 17 artists turn the materials used in packaging other things, and usually tossed into landfills, into works of art.
Weston Art Gallery | 650 Walnut St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-977-4165
Friday, April 19, 6-8 p.m.: “Oh! You Pretty Things”
“Pretty Things” celebrates nearly two decades of documentary and experimental video by Brooklyn-based Rachel Rampleman, including many of the Cincinnati native’s video installations and new works from her “Life is Drag” series. Rampleman is best known for exploring and challenging common clichés associated with masculinity and femininity (see Film listing above). Through June 16.