What to Do/Hear/See | May 29-June 4

Thanks to the quirks of the 2019 calendar, Memorial Day is days past … but it’s still May. Not to fear, though. June will be busting out all over in no time. And June isn’t alone. Arts and entertainment are busting out for everyone, too. Good thing the days are longer these days….


2018 Best in Show winner by Michael Madzo

Summerfair | 6201 Kellogg Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45230

Friday, May 31, through Sunday, June 2

As we put it in our preview article, Summerfair Cincinnati is the 900-pound gorilla of arts fairs. Now in its 52nd year, it’s one of the nation’s oldest continuing arts fairs, and it continues to rank among the nation’s best. Even better, its community impact is broad: Proceeds benefit a wide range of area nonprofits.

In store for this year are works by more than 300 exhibitors, performing artists, food and family fun. The art covers just about any medium you can imagine, from painting and photos to sculptures and mixed media using wood, metal, ceramics, leather.… You get the idea. There’s a lot to see, and the parking is even free. Fair warning in consideration of Cincinnati weather, though: The show goes on rain or shine.

There’s a special event at 9 a.m. Saturday, too. The Brunch in the Gardens (as in Moonlite Gardens) benefit is accompanied by the Amy McFarland Trio and showcases pieces for sale by some of the show’s exhibitors.

Cincy Fringe presents “seXmas Cards” by Kate Mock Elliott

Cincinnati Fringe Festival | 1120 Jackson St., Cincinnati, OH 45202

Friday, May 31, through June 15

We warned you last week, and now it’s here. Hope you did your homework. The offerings of the Fringe Festival are so varied – by subject, genre and location – despite the festival’s origin with Know Theatre, that you have to do some planning before you go. Besides the Primary Lineup (34 curated productions), there’s Fringe Next (productions of high school artists), Visual Fringe, Film Fringe, Family Friendly Fringe (good to know because many Fringe events include quite adult material) and even the Fringe Bar Series of after-parties following the main events.

Take advantage of the festival’s pretty darn thorough lineup page and find something that sounds interesting to you. Trust us, there’s something for every taste.

(Also see Visual Art, below.)

CincItalia 2018

CincItalia | 3961 North Bend Road; Cheviot, OH 45211

Friday, May 31, through Sunday, June 2

We’re trained in Cincinnati to equate Cheviot and Harvest Home Park with the Harvest Home Fair. We’re also told that we’re a German-flavored city. The folks at St. Catharine of Siena Catholic Church beg to differ. The parish’s annual festival is a citywide celebration of all things Italian. Expect an abbondanza of pasta, grilled entrees and desserts – be sure to say hello to the cannoli ladies – and entertainment.


MamLuft & Co. Dance | 6620 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati OH 45213; 513-494-6526 (MLCo)

Thursday, May 30, through Saturday, June 1: New Dance Lab

MamLuft’s New Dance Laboratory is a showcase of works by the company’s own members. Corrinne Bailey, Claire Dieringer, Susan Honer, Juan Gabriel Martinez Rubio and Hannah Williamson will present pieces this year at the Lindner Annex of the Kennedy Heights Arts Center. Following each piece, there will be a short audience discussion with the choreographer.

National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Mike Fay in his 1999 “Megatransect” of the Congo River basin. (Photograph by Michael Nichols)


Cincinnati Zoo | 3400 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45220; 513-281-4700

Wednesday, May 29, 7 p.m.: Mike Fay

Tonight (sorry as usual for the short notice) is the last of the zoo’s Barrow Conservation Lectures this year. The speaker is Mike Fay, known for his “Megatransect” – he walked the 2,000 miles of the Congo River basin. That almost inconceivable accomplishment allowed him to document the natural diversity of the Congo and led to the establishment of 16 national parks across three countries. In short, he’s the embodiment of his presentation’s title, “Never Give Up.”

Boris Berman (photo by Olef Kvashuk)


Art of the Piano | 290 CCM Blvd., Cincinnati, OH 45221; 513-556-6638

Thru Sunday June 16

We told you last week about Awadagin Pratt’s “intimate festival” to raise the level of artistry for young pianists. “Intimate” these days means performances and master classes by a dozen world-class pianists at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Up this week are performances by Boris Berman, Russian-born resident of New Haven, Connecticut (where he heads Yale’s piano department) and Leon Fleisher, at age 90 still enjoying his second act as a performer after being struck by a neurological disorder in the 1960s. Berman offers a program of Haydn and Schubert at 7 p.m. Friday; Fleisher performs Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12 (accompanied by a string quintet) at 4 p.m. Sunday.

For more details about the festival, read M&M’s preview of Art of the Piano by Thom Mariner.

Behringer-Crawford Museum | 1600 Montague Road, Covington, KY 41011; 859-491-4003

Thursday, May 30, 7 p.m.: Rick VanMatre with the Phil DeGreg Trio

It’s the second concert in the Music@BCM series that runs through August. Rick VanMatre and the Phil DeGreg Trio join forces for a tribute to Dave Brubeck titled “Time Out for Take Five.” Bring folding chairs or a blanket.

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

Thursday, May 30, 8 p.m.: Morgan James

Saturday, June 1, 8 p.m.: Judy Collins

It’s a battle of the generations this week as two female song stylists make back-to-back visits to Memorial Hall. Morgan James, who performs Thursday, proved in her regional premiere with the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra that she’s equally comfortable in every genre from opera to blues. She’s also a regular with Postmodern Jukebox, which puts a vintage spin on modern hits. Judy Collins actually began her career as a pianist. She’s mixed singing, songwriting and social activism since the 1960s.

Isaac Selya leads “Der Freischütz”


Queen City Opera | 8916 Fontainebleau Terrace, Cincinnati, OH 45231

Friday, May 31, 8 p.m.: Carl Maria von Weber: “Der Freischütz”

Max so loves Agathe that he’s willing to make a deal with the Devil to win the shooting contest that will determine who wins her hand. As with many tales involving the Devil, things don’t go according to plan in Weber’s dark masterpiece, not performed here since 1933. Isaac Selya leads a QCO cast of emerging singers at the Finneytown Performing Arts Center. Sung in German with English dialogue. Repeats at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 2.


Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati | 1127 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-421-3555

Opens Saturday, June 1: “The Wolves”

In the final production of the 2018-19 season ETC stages the regional premiere of Sarah DeLappe’s complex depiction of girls navigating friendships, growing up, confronting the future – all while competing ferociously on the soccer pitch. Through June 29.

Last chance:

• “A Flea in Her Ear”: Georges Feydeau’s 1907 sex farce, in a fresh translation by David Ives, takes us to the Frisky Puss, a hotel of dubious reputation but elite clientele, for a comedy of mistaken identities and intentions. Through Sunday, June 2, at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s Budig Theater (1195 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-381-2273).

Open Source 1.4 at The Carnegie


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

Friday, May 31, 5 p.m.: Art After Dark – “On the Fringe”

The art museum hosts a kickoff for the Cincinnati Fringe Festival in the form of one of its monthly Art After Dark parties. Attendees will experience live music, courtesy of Athens-Ohio-based Largemouth Brass Band, preview performances from Fringe, plus the usual run of the museum, including the Fringe-like “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man,” and available-for-purchase food and cocktails. These events always fill quickly; expect this one to reach capacity extra early.

The Carnegie | 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington, KY 41011; 859-491-2030

Opens Friday, May 31: Open Source 1.4

Way back in the fall we told you about the Carnegie’s yearlong evolving, curated exhibit of work by regional artists. The effort has reached its final incarnation, version 1.4, with works by 51 artists. Several pieces from earlier Open Source exhibitions remain, too, but in different context. New for 1.4 is a screen-printing workshop. The show opens with a reception at 5 p.m. Friday at the Carnegie. Artists in attendance will be available to speak about their work, including this year’s Governor’s School for the Arts artists Daisy Slucher, Travis Sparks and Anya Zalewski.

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