By Thomas Consolo
The best part about stepping away for a week from compiling these suggestions to help fill your weeks is being able to pass the keyboard to Thom Mariner. Did you heed his advice last week on with soul-feeding activities in the region? I did, and I had a fine time because of it. If you couldn’t manage it last week, though, don’t worry. In this town, there are plenty more great events in store, such as….
Art Academy of Cincinnati | 1212 Jackson St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-562-6262
Friday, May 3, 6 p.m.: 150 – Block Party
We’ve written through the spring about events commemorating the sesquicentennial of the Art Academy. The celebration culminates this weekend with a party, and it’s invited the whole city. The Block Party will close off the 1200 block of Jackson Street in Over-the-Rhine to make room for multiple musical performers, a fashion show, food and wares from OTR vendors and, of course, art: 30 local artists, organizations, students and alumni will create 8-foot by 9-foot art pod structures that will be strung together to create an interactive exhibit.
Cincinnati Zoo | 3400 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45220; 513-281-4700
Begins Wednesday, May 1: Zoo Babies
With the tulips of Zoo Blooms faded, the zoo turns our attention this month from spring flora to spring fauna. It’s the annual cuteness-fest of the latest arrivals at what bills itself as America’s sexiest zoo. There’s Mani the tamandua, a Saki monkey, a crèche of blue penguin chicks and, of course, Fiona, who at 2 is no newborn but is still cute. Through May 31.
Fountain Square | Fifth and Vine streets, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Saturday and Sunday, May 4 and 5: Cincy-Cinco on Fountain Square
Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day; it’s the anniversary of the 1862 Battle of Puebla, at which a Mexican army defeated a French force trying to establish a European-dominated empire in the New World. (Like last year, I recommend the 1939 film “Juarez” with a score by Erich Korngold to see how that worked out.)
Like St. Patrick’s Day for the Irish, Cinco de Mayo is a bigger deal in the U.S. than it is in its homeland. In Cincinnati, Cincy-Cinco serves up a weekend-long celebration of Latin American culture (featuring food, music, food and family activities), and the first in the city’s parade of outdoor summer – well, nearly summer – festivals. It’s one of our first opportunities of the year to get outdoors and enjoy ourselves, so why don’t we?
Cincinnati Art Museum | 953 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-721-2787 (ARTS)
Thursday, May 2, 7 p.m.: “Zazie dans le metro”
It’s the last of the art museum’s Moving Images film series to be shown as a complement to the “Paris 1900” exhibition. Louis Malle’s 1960 exuberant comedy evokes the exhilaration and experimentation of the French New Wave as we follow 10-year old Zazie on a quest across Paris. “Zazie” uses new mobile camera technology to offer a glimpse into the sights and sounds of the rapidly changing city, from Art Nouveau metro stations to 19th-century passages.
Contemporary Arts Center | 44 E. Sixth St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-345-8400
Thursday, May 2, 6:15 p.m. “Cinema at the Center: Artist and Animal (1/2),” co-presentation with The Mini Microcinema
“Where do we place the limit on artistic collaborations?” is the question explored in this series of short films devoted to animals and artists in collaboration. Returning to present this evening is Steven Matijcio, former curator at the CAC and the soon-to-open exhibition, “Creatures.” (Opens May 10.) Matijcio recently left to become director of Blaffer Art Museum in Houston. The Mini has been presenting art and indie films on Main Street in OTR since 2015. Check it out during the month of May, before it takes a summer hiatus.
Harriet Beecher Stowe House | 2950 Gilbert Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45206; 513-751-0651
Sunday, May 5, 4 p.m.: “Ohio’s Role in Women’s Suffrage”
The women’s rights movement in the U.S. was tied closely with the abolitionist movement – and Cincinnati was a hotbed of both. Find out more in this talk by Kathy Durack as the 2020 centennial of national women’s suffrage approaches.
Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County | 800 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-369-6900
Thursday, May 2, 7:30 p.m.: Nnedi Okorafor
Nigerian-American author Nnedi Okorafor wanted to be a sports star, not a writer, but complications from back surgery forced her to change her plans. Okorafor, who was born in Cincinnati, went on to write several comic books for Marvel “Black Panther” universe. She’ll speak about her science fiction and fantasy works, including tales of Wakanda, in the context of the African storytelling tradition. A book signing follows.
Cincinnati Zoo | 3400 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45220; 513-281-4700
Tuesday, May 7, 7 p.m.: Dino J. Martins
Yes, more at the zoo. It’s the penultimate lecture in the Barrows Conservation series. Dino Martins is executive director of the Mpala Research Centre in Kenya, and he serves as technical advisor to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization. He’s been honored for his work to encourage the adoption of more sustainable farming practices that conserve pollinators, boost crop yields and benefit local populations in East Africa.
Bach Ensemble of St. Thomas | 100 Miami Ave., Terrace Park, OH 45174; 513-831-2052
Sunday, May 5, 5 p.m.: Vespers for Easter
The Bach Ensemble closes its season with an Eastertide performance of Bach’s “Du sollt Gott, deinen Herren, lieben” (You shall love God, your Lord). It’s a relatively early cantata in Bach’s career, written in 1723, and it was written for closer to Labor Day in the church calendar, not Easter. The message is pretty straightforward, though, and the music is, well, Bach. Hard to beat that.
Cincinnati Camerata | 103 William Howard Taft Road; Cincinnati, OH 45219; 513-941-5088
Sunday, May 5, 4 p.m.: “American Verses”
If you’d prefer your choral works a little more contemporary, Camerata has just the thing. It’s a program of American writers (including Agee, Dickinson, Dunbar and Whitman) set to American composers (including Barber, Copland, Higdon and Whitacre). Performance is at Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church and led by new Camerata music director Trevor Kroeger.
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra | 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-381-3300
Friday and Saturday, May 3 and 4, 8 p.m.
Linton Music Series | 536 Linton St., Cincinnati, OH 45219; 513-381-6868
Sunday, May 5, 4 p.m., and Monday, May 6, 7:30 p.m.
There are 88 connections between these two programs: the keys on the pianos Daniil Trifonov will be playing. The Russian-born Grammy winner (Best Instrumental Solo, 2018) and Artist of the Year (Gramophone, 2016) starts his busy Cincinnati weekend with Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor.” Louis Langrée also leads the CSO in music by John Adams, Arvo Pärt and Igor Stravinsky. At Music Hall.
Then it’s off to the Linton Series for a joint concert with the outstanding Ariel Quartet. After a half of Brahms and Webern, Trifonov follows in Beethoven’s footsteps and joins the party as both composer and pianist. He’ll perform his Quintet for Piano and Strings with the Ariel. Sunday’s performance is at First Unitarian Church (536 Linton St., Cincinnati, OH 45219); Monday’s is at Congregation Beth Adam (10001 Loveland Madeira Road, Loveland OH 45140).
Cincinnati Landmark Productions | 801 Matson Place, Cincinnati, OH 45204; 513-241-6550
Opens Wednesday, May 1: “Mamma Mia!”
Those of a certain age will remember the songs of ABBA as creators of the soundtrack to a decade. A decade of shag rugs and bell-bottom pants. Be that as it may, the revue of the group’s biggest hits wrapped around the unlikely plot of “Mamma Mia!” has proven a success on stage and screen. Knowing me, knowing you, there’s nothing we can do … but to go. Through May 26 at the Warsaw Federal Incline Theater.
The Drama Workshop | 3716 Glenmore Ave., Cheviot, OH 45211; 513-598-8303
Opens Friday, May 3: “Working”
This Westside community theater company has been around for 65 years, but it took a major leap in 2013 when it acquired a permanent home, converting the former Glenmore Bowl into the Glenmore Playhouse. Next up there is an adaptation of the great book “Working” by the legendary Studs Terkel. Terkel turned the work lives of ordinary Americans into a compelling saga, which was later turned into a musical by “Godspell” creator Stephen Schwartz.
• “Macbeth”: Behind every successful man there’s – well, let’s hope it isn’t Lady Macbeth. The femme-fatale pushes her husband to steal the Scottish throne. Everything goes well … until all begins to unravel. Through Saturday, May 4, at the Shakespeare Company’s Budig Theater (1195 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-381-2273).
Clay Alliance | 1523 Madison Road, E. Walnut Hills
Saturday, May 4, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.: Spring Pottery Fair
Whether you’re looking for that unique Mother’s Day gift or an artistic treat for yourself, this fair presents 50 of the area’s top clay artists. Throughout the day, Clay Alliance members will be conducting various wheel and hand-building demonstrations, and hobbyists and amateur artists will also have the chance to meet local suppliers and talk firsthand with clay and ceramic experts. Rain or shine!
Miller Gallery | 2715 Erie Ave., Hyde Park Square; 513-871-4420
Opens Wednesday, May 1: “Modern Nobility – The Art of Carlos Gamez de Francisco”
Cuban-born painter and art photographer Carlos Gamez de Francisco portrays the youngest generation of Cubans apparently in sumptuous costumes bridging past and present. The subjects, though, are actually using regular household objects – towels, curtains, table covers, bedspreads, clothes pegs and stainless steel scouring pads in this look at what power actually means. Through June 1. Opening reception 6 p.m. tonight.
• “La Vecchia”: In this painting from the early 1500s, Giorgio Zorzi (known as Giorgione) created both a portrait (the title translates “The Old Woman”) and an allegory of mortality. The slip of paper hanging from her sleeve says “col tempo” (with time) – a warning to all that old age and decline lies in store for us all. Through Sunday, May 5 at the Cincinnati Art Museum (953 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-721-2787).