“It’s a long, long while from May to December/And the days grow short when you reach September.”
Well, frankly, it wasn’t quite so obvious in September. On the cusp of November, though, it’s as clear as the car headlights turning on around dinner time these days. The unkindest cut comes Sunday, the saddest day of the year – aka, the day daylight saving time ends. Add to the brew in the cauldron the goblins of All Hallows Eve on Thursday, and it adds up to a frightful week indeed. We’ve got just the antidote, though: a bubbling mix of carefully selected arts and culture events.
One thing is certain about Halloween: Its dark themes have been explored in almost every genre, especially film, and that means opportunity for presenters and attendees alike. Here are some of the spooky events set to go bump in the night in Thursday’s vicinity.
• “Titus Andronicus”: Klingons say that revenge is a dish best served cold. Shakespeare’s Titus suggests it’s better served as a casserole at a banquet with your enemies in it. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s production of the Bard’s most over-the-top gruesome play runs through Saturday, Nov. 2, at the Budig Theater (1195 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-381-2273). Even better, there are half-price tickets available for tonight’s through Saturday’s shows. (NOTE: There is actually no Halloween night performance.)
• “The Rocky Horror Show”: That’s right, before the film, there was no “Picture” in the title. So where better to be than Transylvania for Halloween? You can enjoy the hospitality of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, courtesy of this studio production by the College-Conservatory of Music, for two weeks. Originally slated to run Thursday, Oct. 31-Sunday, Nov. 3, a second weekend of shows – Nov. 7-10 – has been added. At the Cohen Studio Theater (290 CCM Blvd., Cincinnati, OH 45221; 513-556-6638).
• “The Exorcist”: One may joke all one wishes about all the pea soup, but the 1973 film adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s 1971 horror novel, about a little girl possessed by a demon and the priest called in to drive it out, remains one of the scariest movies ever made. It also was nominated for 10 Oscars (and won two). The Esquire Theatre (320 Ludlow Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45220; 513-281-8750) offers just one screening, at 7 p.m. Halloween night, but that’ll be enough.
• “The Descent”: The Mini Microcinema has you covered for Halloween night frights, too. This 2005 British underground adventure-horror film features all-female principals and includes heavy doses of claustrophobia. The friends who go on a caving expedition already have some personal conflicts to work out … and then there are the “crawlers.” (1329 Main St., Cincinnati, OH 45202).
• “Touch of Evil”: OK, it’s not really a Halloween film, but this thriller is one of Orson Welles’s best. Charlton Heston plays a policeman who comes to suspect there’s something fishy about the perfect arrest record by the local police chief (Welles). With Janet Leigh and appearances by Marlene Dietrich and Zsa Zsa Gabor. At the Esquire, Nov. 1-3.
‘The Wizard of Oz’
Through Sunday, Nov. 3 | Procter & Gamble Hall, Aronoff Center. 650 Walnut St., Cincinnati, OH 45202
This week, the orchestra is new and the conductor is new, but it’s the same adaptation of the L. Frank Baum classic as filtered through the equally classic 1939 MGM film. Septime Webre did the choreography to the music of Matthew Pierce. I mention it again this week because, after selling out their usual tranche of tickets, Cincinnati Ballet has opened sales in P&G Hall’s upper second balcony. That means you may be a ways from the stage, but you’ll at least be there.
513-621-5282 or cballet.org
‘Blade Runner: The Final Cut’
Monday, Nov. 4, 7 p.m. | Esquire Theatre, 320 Ludlow Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45220
It’s truly a grand finale for the UC AI series at the Esquire. Ridley Scott’s sci-fi masterpiece has existed in half a dozen versions since its 1982 release. The most recent, Scott’s so-called final cut, was released in 2007. Like most of the later versions, it does away with the voiceover from Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard. As good as Ford is, Rutger Hauer, as replicant Roy Batty, steals every scene he’s in and in his last moments delivers the movie’s best (one of any movie’s best) speeches. Hauer died earlier this year; it’s worth seeing this to celebrate his talent.
513-281-8750 or esquiretheatre.com
Community of Creative Writers Retreat
Saturday, Nov. 2, 10 a.m. | Thomas More University Biology Field Station Education Center/Lodge, 8330 Mary Ingles Highway, California, KY 41007
Let your creative writing flow on the banks of the Ohio River at this retreat under the aegis of Thomas More’s Creative Writing Vision. TMC’s biology field station is a little-known gem in the region, and on Saturday it switches from science station to inspiration. Start projects in any genre with TMC artists-in-residence Dick Hague and Pauletta Hansel, and CWV’s director, Sherry Cook Stanforth. There’ll be a guest author, options for guided prompts, short workshop session and writing solitude. Snacks and coffee – but not full lunch – will be provided.
859-341-5800 or thomasmore.edu
Music for Brass and Choir
Sunday, Nov. 3, 3 p.m. | Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption 1101 Madison Ave., Covington, KY 41011
One of the fall traditions at the College-Conservatory of Music is a choral performance at one of the great sacred spaces in the region. This year, it’s a program for chorus and brass at Covington’s basilica. There’ll of course be some of Gabrieli’s Symphoniae Sacrae, but also lesser known works, including Frank Martin’s Mass for Double Choir and Walton’s “Coronation Te Deum.” The highlight for me will be Henry Purcell’s “Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary,” a piece that packs an emotional punch with an economy of materials. Earl Rivers and Kevin Holzman conduct CCM’s Chamber Choir and Brass Choir, respectively.
859-431-2060 or cathedralconcertseries.org
Founder’s Birthday Celebration
Sunday, Nov. 3, 4 p.m. | First Unitarian Church of Cincinnati, 536 Linton St., Cincinnati, OH 45219
It’s a season of anniversaries for the Linton Chamber Music series. Besides being the 10th anniversary of the tenure of the current artistic directors, Sharon Robinson and Jaime Laredo, it’s the 90th birthday of the series’ founder, Dick Waller. Waller, of course, is the Bo Jackson of Cincinnati arts, serving for decades as principal clarinetist of the Cincinnati Symphony before moving on to pursue a career in visual art. (He’s now owner of Dick Waller’s Artplace.) For Sunday’s program, pianist Orli Shaham joins several CSO principals for music by Brahms, Ibert and Mozart. Program repeats 7:30 p.m. Monday at Congregation Beth Adam (10001 Loveland Madeira Road, Loveland, OH 45140).
513-381-6868 or lintonmusic.org
‘Auksalaq, A Climate Change Opera’
Monday, Nov. 4, 7:30 p.m. | Hall Auditorium, 101 S. Campus Ave., Oxford, OH 45056
In “Auksalaq” (the Inupiat word for melting snow and ice), composer Matthew Burtner and media artist Scott Deal take audience members to remote, and rapidly changing, arctic regions of Alaska and Canada. The work incorporates scientists, visual artists and cultural leaders to provide a stirring and sobering commentary on global climate change. Before the performance, Burtner, an Alaska native, will discuss “The Musical Temporalities of Climate Change.”
513-529-6333 or miamioh.edu
CCAC: 2019 Golden Ticket
Opens Friday, Nov. 1 | CCAC@Short Vine Gallery, 2728 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45219
It’s the 10th year for the Clifton Cultural Arts Center’s Golden Ticket juried exhibition, an annual showcase of artists living or working within a 25-mile radius of the CCAC. This year’s jurors selected works by 37 artists. Opening reception is 6-9 p.m. Friday. Exhibition runs through Nov. 30.
513-497-2860 or cliftonculturalarts.org
Last chance: ‘Levitating Monks’
Through Sunday, Nov. 3 | Pearlman Gallery, Art Academy of Cincinnati, 1212 Jackson St., Cincinnati, OH 45202
“Levitating Monks: Nothing Left But Memories” is a site-specific installation that immerses viewers in a frenzied, psychedelic mix of digital and analog culture. It was created for Blink by Bunk News, Channel 77 and Matthew Dayler.
513-562-8778 or artacademy.edu