By Thomas Consolo
At Movers & Makers, we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all humans are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Art, Culture and the pursuit of Personal Betterment. To make these Rights known to all, we mutually pledge our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor. To wit:
The Continental Congress, in Philadelphia assembled, voted on July 2, 1776, to adopt a declaration of independence from Great Britain. As anyone who has seen “1776” knows, John Adams predicted the day would be celebrated by coming generations with “pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other.”
Well, almost. We celebrate our independence two days later, on the date what we now call the Declaration of Independence (now with capitals) was made public. As Adams predicted, the festivities come in many forms. Here is a sampling of what’s in store in our corner of America.
Blue Ash-Montgomery Symphony Orchestra | 10105 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, OH 45242; 513-549-2197
Wednesday, July 3, 7:30 p.m.: “Super Heroes and Super Divas”
BAMSO gets the holiday off to a slightly early (Adams would say less late) start with film music (“Batman”), the late Aretha Franklin and of course plenty of patriotic tunes. The concert at Montgomery Park also kicks off that city’s Independence Day celebration, which continues on the Fourth proper with a 10 a.m. parade followed by a midday (11 a.m.-3 p.m.) festival at the park.
Cincinnati Reds | 100 Joe Nuxhall Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-765-7000
Wednesday, July 3, 7:10 p.m.: Reds vs. Milwaukee Brewers
I don’t know if there’s apple pie at Great American Ball Park, but there’ll be plenty of baseball, hot dogs and cold beverages for a hot July day. It’s about as Americana as you can get, and, in case you’ve been under a large rock for the past few months, it’s also the 150th anniversary season for the oldest professional baseball team. The boys of summer are even showing some spark lately, too, so head on down to the old ball orchard. Independence Day fireworks show follows the game.
Cincinnati Pops Orchestra | 6295 Kellogg Ave., Cincinnati OH 45230; 513-381-3300
Thursday, July 4, 8 p.m.: “Red, White and Boom”
The Pops’ annual Fourth of July blowout is the sole survivor of what was originally was a summer season of orchestral and pops shows at Riverbend. At least they still pull out the proverbial stops for this patriotic extravaganza. John Morris Russell leads the assembled forces, which this year include the U.S. Army Six String Soldiers, vocalist Montego Glover and the Cincinnati Pops Chorale. Six String Soldiers – a slight misnomer, since there are five of them and their instruments include a banjo and fiddle, both with four strings – performs bluegrass, country, folk and Americana music. Ticket holders get free admission to Coney Island’s classic rides, and, of course, there are fireworks; they’re launched at 10 p.m.
Cincinnati Museum Center | 1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45203; 513-287-7000
Saturday, July 6, at 9, 10 and 11 a.m.: Restoration and renovation tour
Union Terminal’s restoration cost more than $200 million, the bulk of it paid for by … us, thanks to a temporary tax. Find out what some of that money bought with this behind-the-scenes tour of the art deco architectural masterpiece. Fair warning: It’s a separate ticket from museum admission, but the webpage to buy tickets is broken, so check at the main ticketing desk.
While you’re there, take a look at “Until We Meet Again,” featuring photographs, posters, uniforms and other artifacts from the city’s World War I servicemen. The exhibition runs from through September 29, 2019, and is located in the Ruthven Community Gallery which is free and open to the public. Until We Meet Again: Cincinnati Portraits from World War I is presented in partnership with FotoFocus.
Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County | 800 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-369-6900
Saturday, July 6, 2 p.m.: “Making the Big Red Machine”
I was made to feel very old recently when a conversation I was having turned to baseball, and the person I was speaking to asked after I’d mentioned him, “Who’s Johnny Bench?” He was, of course, among the four Hall of Famers (only four because, well, Pete) to play on the greatest Reds team, the Big Red Machine. How was such a dominant team assembled in one of baseball’s smaller markets? Author Daryl Smith (“Making the Big Red Machine”) will be at the main library to talk about that, particularly the work of Bob Howsam, then the team’s general manager.
This week’s listing already includes several outdoor events, but there are more than that on tap. Take a look at M&M’s summer music guide for more.
Memorial Hall | 1225 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-977-8838
Monday, July 8, 7 p.m.: Mandy Gaines and the Brad Myers Trio
It’s another set from Jazz at the Memo. Vocal powerhouse Mandy Gaines will be “Singin’ and Swingin’” in the Green Room. Expect classics from the Great American Songbook and other favorites with guitarist Brad Myers, Michael Sharfe on bass and Art Gore on drums. As usual, Washington Platform serves up some light bites.
Cincinnati Opera | 108 W. Central Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-241-2742 (ARIA)
Opens Saturday, July 6, 7:30 p.m.: “Ariadne auf Naxos”
By World War I, Richard Strauss was no longer on the cutting edge of composition. Indeed, performances of his operas still gravitate to his three, stunning, early masterpieces (“Elektra,” “Der Rosenkavalier” and “Salome,” if you’re keeping score at home). That hardly means either that he stopped writing or that what followed was dreck, though. Cincinnati Opera lets you see and hear for yourself with its first production of “Rosenkavalier’s” successor, “Ariadne auf Naxos” (in its 1916 revision), since 1961.
The setting of this mashup of slapstick comedy, tragedy and theatrical-logistics-gone-awry has been moved from Vienna to Pinecroft – the College Hill estate of Cincinnati industrialist, inventor and media mogul Powel Crosley Jr. – in the 1950s. Look for lots of local references in the sets and costumes. As befits the work’s relatively miniature scale and orchestration, performances are at the Corbett Theater in the School for Creative & Performing Arts. Repeats July 11, 13 and 14.
• Read more about the production in M&M’s interview with the opera’s director, Omer Ben Seadia.
CAST | 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington, KY 41011; 859-545-0770
Opens Friday, July 5: “Mr. Burns – A Post-Electric Play”
Commonwealth Artists Student Theatre – CAST – is a Northern Kentucky theater collaborative that helps students achieve their artistic potential under professional guidance. The results are as grown up as the choice of productions, one drama and one musical. First up is Anne Washburn’s dark comedy about a future in which civilization has collapsed, and “The Simpsons” is one of the few surviving cultural icons and links to the past. See how our pop culture might evolve into another era’s mythology. Weekend performances through July 14.
• Second Annual Origami Exhibit: Origamists and other visual artists come together in this immersive art experience at Dick Waller’s ArtPlace (130 W. Court St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-399-6960). The ocean-themed second annual origami show features folded paper vignettes alongside vibrant oil and acrylic paintings by other artists (including Waller himself). Through Saturday.