By Thomas Consolo
Summertime, and the livin’ is … busy. One almost gets the impression that your summer vacation (if you’re lucky enough to get one) exists solely to allow you to attend more of the bumper crop of arts and culture events on tap this week. Take a look at what’s in store, and you’ll see what I mean.
ONE GIANT LEAP
“Tommy, don’t sit so close to the television. You’ll ruin your eyesight.”
Hard to believe it’s been 50 years since my grandmother warned me to control my fascination with those grainy images being sent live from the moon! Does any human achievement captivate or unite us – in the U.S. or around the world – like the moon landings did? (And, unfortunately, the die had already been cast on my eyes.)
There are various events to mark the half century since those halcyon days of space. Here are just a few.
Cincinnati Museum Center | 1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45203; 513-287-7000
Saturday, July 20, 10 a.m.: Space Day
In 1969, Union Terminal was still a train station. Fifty years later, its magnificent concourse has been lost and its mission has changed. Now serving as the Museum Center, and freshly renovated, it’s firing on all boosters to celebrate the anniversary, which includes:
• Apollo 11: First Steps Edition – a special, one-day showing in the Lindner Omnimax Theater. A breathtaking compilation of archival video and audio (including in 70mm) of the Apollo 11 mission.
• All-day programming in the Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery.
• Presentations in the STEM Lab.
• Astronaut Academy and space-themed sweet treats in the Children’s Museum lobby.
Read more about “Apollo 11: First Steps Edition” in M&M’s preview.
Esquire Theatre | 320 Ludlow Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45220; 513-281-8750
Wednesday, July 17, 7 p.m.: “2001: A Space Odyssey”
Saturday, July 20 and 21: “Alien”
Two retrospective series at the Esquire happily coincide with the Apollo anniversary. First, from the Stanley Kubrick appreciation series, is the classic adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke’s story of discovery and extraterrestrial life. Did you know a soundtrack was commissioned for the film, but Kubrick decided the classical music he’d played to set the mood on the soundstage worked even better? The result was most Americans’ first exposure to the music of György Ligeti.
In 1979, Ridley Scott reminded us terrifyingly that the wonders of outer space might not be those humans should mess with. In its landmark anniversaries series, the theater honors the 40th anniversary – yeah, 40 years – of “Alien.” Three screenings Saturday and Sunday.
Crafted | 705 E Pete Rose Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Saturday, July 20, 3-7 p.m.: Cincinnati – 2019
Craft beer, restaurants and live music. What more do you need for a summer Saturday night? In this case, it’s eight restaurants, more than 40 beers and local bands in Sawyer Point Park on the Cincinnati riverfront. Some proceeds benefit the League for Animal Welfare. Note: With the focus on brewing, it’s not surprisingly a 21-and-over event.
Price Hill Will | 3120 Warsaw Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45205
Friday and Saturday, July 19 and 20: Price Hill Creative Community Festival
The address listed here is more of a home base than the sole location for this free performing arts and neighborhood festival. In fact, the festival’s more than 50 performances are spread across four venues. In other words, there will be something you’ll like, whether it’s music, dance, poetry, film or theater. The event’s artists in residence also will collaborate with the MYCincinnati youth music program to create new works.
Cincinnati Art Museum | 953 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-721-2787 (ARTS)
Thursday, July 18, at 7 p.m.: “When I Get Home”
Singer, songwriter and artist Solange Knowles presents an extended director’s cut featuring new scenes and musical arrangements of her interdisciplinary performance art film. The film also features new sculptural work by Knowles. It’s on tour this summer, with screenings at museums and contemporary arts centers across the country. CAM’s Fath Auditorium gets its turn Thursday.
The Mini Microcinema | 1329 Main St., Cincinnati, OH 45202
Wednesday, July 17, 6:30 p.m.: “In a Lonely Place”
We’d apologize for the short notice, except that we alerted you to this last week. It’s Part II of the Adaptation series co-presented by the Mercantile Library and the Mini. Last week The Merc hosted a discussion about the 1947 noir mystery novel by Dorothy Hughes. This week, you get to see the movie it inspired. Humphrey Bogart stars, which is kind of like a cinematic UL seal of approval. Lillian Currens and Michael Sweeny from the Mini lead a discussion after the screening.
We’ve said it for a while now, but M&M’s summer music guide is still a useful resource for your outdoor music craves.
Collegium Cincinnati | 318 East Fourth St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-428-2224 (BACH)
Sunday, July 21, 4 p.m.: SummerSing Chamber Choir
Every summer, Collegium invites singers of all ages and abilities to come together to prepare and perform choral masterworks in a condensed schedule. The main Masterworks Choir performs a week from now, but the smaller (only two dozen singers), select Chamber Choir takes the stage Sunday at Christ Church Cathedral. Megan Boyd, director of choral activities at Xavier University, leads “From Her Perspective,” a program with texts by and about powerful women.
Crown Jewels of Jazz | 4721 Reading Road, Cincinnati, OH 45237
Wednesday, July 17, 6:30 p.m.: “Marc Fields Quintet”
The jazz concerts co-sponsored by Learning Through Art Inc., Bond Hill Roselawn Collaborative and St. Aloysius Orphanage continue on St. Al’s lawn. Up this week, the Marc Fields Quintet. There are once again food trucks and refreshments, too.
Memorial Hall | 1225 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-977-8838
Monday, July 22, 7 p.m.: Mambo Combo
Another Monday, another night of jazz at Memorial Hall. American jazz musicians and Latin musicians have been drawn to each other’s art for decades, finding common starting points in some mutual African roots. Mambo Combo boasts a cast of all-star Cincinnati musicians who are setting course this week for Cuba. Expect music from the likes of Tito Puente, Cal Tjader, Poncho Sanchez and Mark Levine. Washington Platform of course supplies complimentary light bites.
Cincinnati Opera | 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-241-2742 (ARIA)
Opening Saturday, July 20: “Porgy and Bess”
A hot, sticky summer, a love triangle that ends in murder, drugs and even a hurricane. No, it’s not the local 11 o’clock news, it’s America’s greatest opera. In the hands of George and Ira Gershwin, Dubose Heyward’s story of the residents of Catfish Row in Charleston, South Carolina, was immortalized through one amazing tune after another: “Summertime,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” “Bess, You Is My Woman Now,” … you get the idea. Though the show is now nearly 85 years old, this year’s is just the second production mounted by Cincinnati Opera; they’re making up for it with four performances through July 28, starting Saturday, at Music Hall.
We’d like to tell you more about “Blind Injustice,” too, the world premiere based on the work of the Ohio Innocence Project, but that wouldn’t be fair: Its run in the Wilks Studio, which starts Monday, has been sold out for months.
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company | 1195 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-381-2273
Opens Friday, July 19: “Miss Holmes”
Continuing: Shakespeare in the Park
When a young newlywed suspects her husband, an investigator at Scotland Yard, has murdered his previous two wives, she turns for help to two fiercely intelligent and independent women: Miss Sherlock Holmes and her companion, Dr. Dorothy Watson. This recasting of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Victorian crime-fighting duo pits its heroes against not only cunning criminals, but the rigid rules and gender roles of Victorian society. Runs through Aug. 4.
CSC’s mobile thespians continue their tour of the community, too. Up this weekend:
• Friday, July 19, 7:30 p.m.: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at City Park (1541 Hill Ave., Mount Health, OH 45231).
• Saturday, July 20, 7 p.m.: “Romeo and Juliet” at Summit Park (4335 Glendale Milford Road, Blue Ash, OH 45242).
• Sunday, July 21, 7 p.m.: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at Washington Park (1230 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202).
CAST | 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington, KY 41011; 859-957-1940
Opens Friday, July 19: “Spring Awakening”
Commonwealth Artists Student Theatre was founded to give high school actors a chance to extend themselves in productions whose quality and content may well be impossible to undertake in an individual school. (The best primer may be M&M’s own feature on them.) The young participants of CAST close out their summer with another show any adolescent can relate to but that requires some serious maturity to portray. Wendla, Melchior and Moritz are discovering themselves, each other, love and heartbreak in the strict world of Germany in 1891. Additional performances Sunday, July 21, and July 26 and 28.
Northern Kentucky University | 1 Louie B. Nunn Drive, Highland Heights, KY 41099; 859-572-5421
Through Sunday, July 21: “Church Girls – The Musical”
The final show in NKU’s summer dinner theater series is a campy, cheeky, audacious musical comedy.
The “ladies” of the Umatilla Second Christian Church Women’s Auxiliary League are back and producing their annual Mother’s Day pageant with some less than saintly behavior. In the Stauss Theatre.