By Thomas Consolo
When I was your age, you whippersnappers, we didn’t start school in the middle of August. The arts and culture scene took most of the month off, too. No more. Especially in music, this weekend is nearly as busy as the peak of the traditional season. Let me save you some sorting: Here are a few top prospects not to miss.
Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra | 4046 Hamilton Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45223; 513-723-1182
In Cincinnati, when one festival ends, another one is about to start. Cincinnati Opera’s summer festival ends; the Chamber Orchestra’s Summermusik fires up. It’s a monthlong celebration of big music wrapped in varying sizes of smaller packages. Here’s what’s in store for the opening weekend:
• Saturday, Aug. 3, 7:30 p.m.: “Visions of da Vinci”
The Mainstage, i.e., full ensemble, series kicks off with a program marking the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, the definitive Renaissance man. Percussionist Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic, himself a bit of a Renaissance man, performs music of Vivaldi (arranged by Evelyn Glennie) and … Zivkovic, a work commissioned of him using materiel coded in da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” Music by Torelli, Handel, Michael Nyman, and Ludovico Einaudi round out the evening. Liquid Video Solutions will wrap the hall with some of da Vinci’s most famous works for an immersive experience. Eckart Preu, CCO music director, conducts. (School for Creative and Performing Arts Corbett Theater, 108 W. Central Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45202)
• Sunday, Aug. 4, 4 p.m.: “Angels + Demons”
Zivkovic is back on Sunday for the first (A Little) Afternoon Music chamber concert. He’ll again perform his own music, as well as pieces by Pärt, Saint-Saëns and more. Preu joins conservation director Cory Cristopher to reveal some ties between music and nature. (Cincinnati Nature Center’s Groesbeck Lodge patio, 4949 Tealtown Road, Cincinnati, OH 45150)
• Tuesday, Aug. 6, 7:30 p.m.: “Battle of the Bands”
It’s strings versus microbrass in the first of the popular Chamber Crawl series, curated by CCO members. You’ll hear Bach, Mozart, Coldplay, Guns N’ Roses and Lin-Manuel Miranda. At least you would if it weren’t sold out. Call to get on the waiting list. (Fretboard Brewing Co., 5800 Creek Road, Blue Ash, OH 45242)
• Read more about the Chamber Crawl curators here.
• Read more about the CCO’s concurrent exhibition at Wash.Park.Art of art inspired by the Mainstage series programs here.
Northside Summer Market | 1641 Blue Rock St., Cincinnati OH 45223
Saturday, Aug. 3: Community yard sale; arts, beer and music
You might have heard about the uniquely American event that is the World’s Longest Yard Sale, an everything’s-for-sale extravaganza along U.S. 127 from Michigan to Alabama. Northside, as befits its artsy, eclectic reputation, puts its own spin on the idea Saturday. (U.S. 127 is Hamilton Avenue, you know.) From 9 a.m.-2 p.m., it’s part of the sale. CAIN – i.e., Churches Active in Northside at 4230 Hamilton Ave. – serves as sale central, offering a cookout from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
By 6 p.m., it’ll be all festival, with art, food, live music (including local indie-pop group Knotts) and libations at the corner of Apple and Blue Rock streets. Humble Monk’s beer garden will also be open to attendees.
Esquire Theatre | 320 Ludlow Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45220; 513-281-8750
Hot summer days and cool cinemas: It’s an American summer tradition. The Esquire is making it easy to want to keep that up with an eclectic mix of Hollywood classics and new films. No. 1 in my heart is Monday’s two showings of “The Maltese Falcon,” for my money one of the greatest movies ever. It’s the start of the joint’s monthlong Hard Boiled Bogey retrospective.
At the other end of the spectrum is a reminder of the winners from the 2018 Cindependent Film Festival. (This year’s is at the end of the month.) Top of the bill is the feature winner, “Hardface,” a gritty documentary about the local boxing scene. Two programs of 2018 short subject winners follows next weekend.
Last, “The Magnificent Seven” has a great theme, but that’s about all it’s really got over the Kurosawa classic that inspired it. “Seven Samurai” screens at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 4, to kick off the Blades and Dragons retrospective.
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center | 50 East Freedom Way, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202; 513-333-7500
Sunday, Aug. 4, 3 p.m.: “Two Trains Runnin’ ”
It’s the summer of 1964, and Mississippi is known for two things: its music and its brutality to its black residents. Those themes collide in this latest presentation of the Freedom 55 Film Series, commemorating the 55th anniversary of Mississippi Summer voter registration effort. Two white blues fans head to Mississippi to find two forgotten blues singers; they find them the same day – June 21, 1964 – three young civil-rights advocates disappeared (and were killed). This documentary was made in 2016 and features a Grammy nominated soundtrack.
Harriet Beecher Stowe House | 2950 Gilbert Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45206; 513-751-0651
Sunday, Aug. 4, 4 p.m.: “What’s Your Modern Day Slavery Footprint?”
Samantha Searls, program manager at the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center, speaks about what modern day slavery looks like and how you can do your part to end human trafficking.
Summer’s not over yet! There’s still time to take advantage of M&M’s summer music guide. And, while the CCO is making a big splash, it’s hardly the only game in town this weekend.
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra | 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-381-3300
Saturday, Aug. 3, 7 p.m.: “Look Around”
More than 20 local musical and dance ensembles join the CSO to create a musical environment that you can explore. Most events are centered around three zones in Washington Park, but the event extends to Ziegler Park, too. It’s the special kickoff to the orchestra’s 125th season, and you can expect to hear the venerable group in several combinations you would not expect of a symphony orchestra.
Kentucky Symphony Orchestra | 1 Bandshell Blvd., Covington, KY 41011; 859-431-6216
Saturday, Aug. 3, 7:30 p.m.: “45s Without Words”
The KSO is in its lighter, summer mode this weekend for a program of instrumental hits of the 1950s-1990s. The K-so Combo, a KSO subsidiary group created to perform just such tunes in their authentic arrangements, plays music you’re guaranteed to know by the likes of Booker T & the MGs, Edgar Winter, Herbie Hancock, Rush, Herb Alpert and Santana. I’ll be there, too, so c’mon down to the lip of the stage and say hello. (Saturday at Devou Park bandshell in Covington. Program repeats 7 p.m. Sunday north of the river at Cottell Park, 5847 Irwin Simpson Road, Deerfield Township, OH 45040)
Crown Jewels of Jazz | 4721 Reading Road, Cincinnati, OH 45237
Wednesday, July 31, 6:30 p.m.: Christian Sands and High Wire Trio
It’s the last set on St. Al’s lawn for the year. This week, pianist Christian Sands, musically mature beyond his less than 30 years, and his High Wire Trio offer a tribute to Erroll Garner. Don’t worry: The food trucks and refreshments will still be there.
It’s Commonly Jazz | 950 Eden Park Drive. Cincinnati, OH 45202
Thursday, Aug. 1, 6 p.m.: Adanya Lin Stephens
It’s the same theme: One jazz series ends, another takes its place. It’s Commonly Jazz’s mission is to showcase local and regional jazz artists on Thursdays in August. Up first is Adanya Stephens, who celebrated her 17th birthday – this spring – by releasing her first album. Didn’t we all? Best to enjoy her music now, so we can all say we knew her when…. The Backstage food area opens at 5 p.m., so head over after work.
Know Theatre | 1120 Jackson St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-300-5669
Sunday, Aug. 4, 8 p.m.: One Minute Play Festival
It’s America’s largest and longest running short-form theater endeavor, and its goal is to promote “the spirit of radical inclusion by representing local cultures of playwrights of different age, gender, race, cultures, and points of career.” They may not last exactly 60 seconds, but they’re short enough to present 39 of them on this program. Repeats at 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company | 1195 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-381-2273
Through Sunday, Aug. 4: “Miss Holmes”
Continuing: Shakespeare in the Park
First a last chance: The female recasting of Sherlock Holmes has the great sleuth fighting not only crime but the mores of Victorian society, but only through Sunday.
Then it’s another full weekend for CSC’s Bard brigade. Catch them this week at:
• Wednesday, July 31, 7 p.m.: “Romeo and Juliet” at St. Lawrence Square in Price Hill (3650 Warsaw Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45205)
• Friday, Aug. 2, 7 p.m.: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at Griffin Centre (420 Fairgrounds Road, Falmouth, KY 41040)
• Saturday, Aug. 3, 7 p.m.: “Romeo and Juliet” (1702 Mills Ave., Norwood, OH 45212)
• Sunday, Aug. 4, 7 p.m.: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at Peter Gruber Pavilion (205 E. Sharon Road, Glendale, OH 45246)
Cincinnati Landmark Productions | 513-241-6550
Through Sunday, Aug. 4: “Legally Blonde” and “Pippin”
It’s the last weekend for both musicals, “Legally Blonde” at the Covedale Center for the Performing Arts (4990 Glenway Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45238) and “Pippin” and the Warsaw Federal Incline Theater (801 Matson Place, Cincinnati, OH 45204).
Kennedy Heights Arts Center | 6546 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati, OH 45213; 513-631-4278
Opening Saturday, Aug. 3: Tiger Lily Press 40th Anniversary Exhibition
Learn more about printmaking and the history of Tiger Lily Press in this special exhibit that includes artist talks, printmaking classes and other activities. Tiger Lily Press is Cincinnati’s only public, fine art printmaking studio, this year marking its 40th year. The exhibition includes work from the studio’s past and present. Opening reception 6-8 p.m. Saturday.