What to Do/Hear/See | Nov. 20-26

We’re well into the weeks during which we think more than usual about giving thanks to the people and things we treasure. As an ongoing feast for the soul, there’s plenty in the Queen City’s arts and culture worlds for which we should be deeply grateful. Take a moment to appreciate the bounty surrounding us. Now go forth and enjoy it. Here’s a small tasting plate to get you started.


Pyramid Hill: Holiday Lights

More for the holidays

Yes, it’s still technically a little early – Thanksgiving is still another week away – but there’s no holding back the holiday flood. We told you about some of it last week. Here are a couple more happenings you should consider:

Christkindlmarkt: That many consonants in a single word should be a clear tipoff that there are Germans at work. That’s a good thing, because many of the traditions the U.S. celebrates around Christmas trace their origins to Germany. The fine folks at the Germania Society in Colerain Township offer up some of those Friday, Nov. 22, through Sunday, Nov. 24, in their 22nd annual holiday market. Enjoy some dill pickle soup, a currywurst, a pastry or two (there’s stollen!) and (of course) glühwein as you stroll among the vendor stands, enjoy live holiday music and welcome Sankt Nikolaus (friends call him Santa) and his alter ego, the Krampus. Did I mention there’s stollen? (3529 W Kemper Road, Cincinnati, OH 45251; 513-742-0060)

Holiday Lights: A few minutes north of Germania, Pyramid Hill puts its sprawling grounds to use with its annual – this is the 20th year – Holiday Lights display. It’s another drive-through experience, opening Friday, Nov. 22, and running through Jan. 5. (1763 Hamilton Cleves Road, Hamilton, OH 45013; 513-868-1234.)


For dance companies across the country, “The Nutcracker” is the Christmas present that keeps giving, year after year after year. The challenge, especially for smaller companies, is finding a fresh approach. Fortunately, Edward “Duke” Ellington and Billy Strayhorn teamed up in 1960 on an album with jazz takes on nine movements of the venerable Tchaikovsky score. This weekend, you have two ways to experience the Ellington groove:

The Nutcracker Jazzed Up!”: De La Dance has made an Ellington-based take on “The Nutcracker” its holiday tradition. This year is the 11th the company will perform it. It’s the first, though, that will be presented at the new Theater @de la Dance Center. The production opens Friday, Nov. 22; eight performances run through Dec. 1. (5141 Kennedy Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45213; 513-871-0914)

Nutcracker Suite”: The College-Conservatory of Music has talent to spare across several disciplines – including jazz and dance. Those teams join forces at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24, for a performance of the Ellington suite as recorded in 1960. The CCM Jazz Orchestra under Scott Belck plays in Corbett auditorium as musical theater students step through choreography by Diane Lala. (290 CCM Blvd., Cincinnati, OH 45221; 513-556-6638)


OutReels Cincinnati

Thursday, Nov. 21, through Sunday, Nov. 24. | Garfield Theatre, 719 Race St., Cincinnati, OH 45202

The annual film festival focusing on LGBTQ issues this year screens 19 films over four days – all but Sunday’s at Cincinnati World Cinema’s downtown home, the Garfield Theatre. The lineup includes shorts, documentaries and features from (besides the U.S.) Germany, Switzerland, Brazil and the U.K. Sunday’s screening is at the Baker Hunt Art & Cultural Center (620 Greenup St., Covington, KY 41011; 859-431-0020).

outreelscincy.org or 859-379-2193


Mercantile Library: 20 Best Noir Films

Thursday, Nov. 21, 6:30 p.m. | 414 Walnut St., Cincinnati, OH 45202

It may have been the feel-good days following World War II, but U.S. society still had a dark underbelly, and Hollywood was more than ready to shine a light on it – a bright light casting stark shadows, surprisingly often through venetian blinds. Many examples of so-called film noire are great movies with great stars, and Dan Andriacco, fellow Cincinnati Post alumnus and now mystery writer, and Rock Neelly, local English professor and also a mystery author, will tell you about their Top 20. I wouldn’t expect them all to be … the usual suspects.

mercantilelibrary.com or 513-621-0717


Bach Ensemble: Vespers

Sunday, Nov. 24, 5 p.m. | St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 100 Miami Ave., Terrace Park, OH 45174

There’s never a bad time to listen to some Bach, but the recent time change, sad though it is, gives you the chance to experience a vespers concert the way you should – at twilight. Centerpiece of the performance is the 1725 cantata “O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort” (O Eternity, You Thunderous Word). A brief pre-concert lecture starts at 4:30 p.m.

bachensemble.org or 513-831-2052

‘Carmina Burana’

Saturday, Nov. 23, 7 p.m. | Indian Hill High School, 6865 Drake Road, Indian Hill, OH 45243

They may have been reverential by day, but the monks at Benediktbeuern in the mid-1200s knew how to party. If you doubt it, just listen to the bawdy, satirical and decidedly not reverent poems they wrote. Better yet, hear two dozen of the best, set in 1935 to the rhythmic music of Carl Orff, as performed by the Cincinnati Choral Society and the Blue Ash/Montgomery Symphony Orchestra. The dance troupe Pones Inc. adds its kinetic artistry to the program, too.


CCJO: ‘Saving Our Love for Them’

Mandy Gaines headlines with the CCJO.

Thursday, Nov. 21, 7 p.m. | The Redmoor, 3187 Linwood Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45208

The music world lost two great lady singers in the past 12 months – both with local ties. Doris Kappelhoff, who was born in Cincinnati, started her career as a band singer on WLW-AM before changing her name to Doris Day and her home to Hollywood. She went on to win four Grammys. Nancy Wilson was born in Chillicothe, Ohio; a Columbus talent contest on a TV station then owned by Cincinnati’s Taft Broadcasting gave her her first break. Besides a long jazz career, she also enjoyed a long acting career and won three Grammys. The Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra and vocalist Mandy Gaines pay tribute to the late singers the best way they can – with their songs. 

cincinnatijazz.org or 513-280-8181

CSO Proof

Friday, Nov. 22, 7:30 p.m. | Onstage, Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra – recognizing the need to create new kinds of performance experiences to attract younger audiences – has created a new experimental series called Proof. Composer/pianist Timo Andres constructed a 70-minute program, “American Perspective,” with performers and audience all on the Music Hall stage, designed to appeal to a variety of tastes and several of your senses, incorporating dance, video and lighting design. According to Andres, “American music has always been a stacking of influences, a mirror of ourselves.” Might be interesting to see what he thinks we sound like.


Concert:Nova: ‘The Bourbon Edition’

Cellist Ted Nelson

Wednesday, Nov. 20, 7 p.m. | Symphony Hotel, 210 W. 14th St., Cincinnati, OH 45202

Great music and great spirits have a few things in common, most importantly that they both take time to do well. Cellist Ted Nelson and guitarist Neil Beckmann provide the tunes for tonight’s crossover event (sorry about the late notice), and Jay Erisman, co-founder and “whiskey man” of New Riff Distillery will provide the spirits. Erisman will offer his expertise and samples, including the vintage Martinez cocktail, a gin-based concoction that can, according to Erisman, can even inspire the appearance of unicorns. Do you really want to miss out … you know … just in case?



‘The Bartered Bride’

CCM’s ‘The Bartered Bride’

Thursday, Nov. 21, through Sunday, Nov. 24 | Patricia Corbett Theater, 290 CCM Blvd., Cincinnati, OH 45221

In his fall must-see list, M&M editor Ray Cooklis calls Bedřich Smetana’s “Bartered Bride” one of the cheeriest and most colorful rom-com operas. He’s right, and it boasts a famously cheerful and energetic score, too, to tell the story of Mařenka and Jeník overcoming scheming parents to find true love. College-Conservatory of Music alumnus Levi Hammer, who’s building an impressive career in the world’s opera houses, conducts. The new English translation is by CCM faculty member Kathleen Kelly. Performances are 7:30 p.m. daily except Sunday, which is at 2 p.m.

ccm.uc.edu or 513-556-6638


Falcon Theatre: ‘Marjorie Prime’

Opens Friday, Nov. 22 | 636 Monmouth St., Newport, KY 41071

Falcon describes this Jordan Harrison play as a must for fans of “Black Mirror.” Maybe you haven’t seen the British sci-fi TV series from earlier this decade. (It’s now on Netflix if you’d like to do some “research.”) The common thread is investigating the nature of human identity, and the limits and consequences of new technology. Are there limits? Runs through Dec. 7.

falcontheater.net or 513-479-6783

Know Theatre: ‘Puffs’

Opens Friday, Nov. 22 | 1120 Jackson St., Cincinnati, OH 45202

Three young friends bond as they study magic at a school of wizardry. No, not those three young friends, but three other students, who happen to be attending the same school as the trio that garnered all the attention. There’s magic, sports and, of course, a battle against evil in Matt Cox’s new comedy that serves as Know’s holiday offering. If you’ve ever felt as though you’re not quite the hero of your own story, you’ll relate. Note that, although the settings may remind you of a certain series of favorite children’s books, “Puffs” does include some adult language and situations. As Know puts it, it may not be appropriate for wizards under age 13, and those slightly older may learn some new curses. Runs through Dec. 21.

knowtheatre.com or 513-300-5669


CAC: three new exhibitions

Opens Friday, Nov. 22, 7 p.m. | Contemporary Arts Center, 44 E. Sixth St., Cincinnati, OH 45202

It’s another three-for-one deal at the city’s hub of new art. Opening this week are three ruminations on the nature of spaces. Through March 1.

Confinement: Politics of Space and Bodies”: This show includes the work of 18 artists in a response to “Happy Days,” a 1961 play by Samuel Beckett. (No Fonz jokes, please.) It’s a meditation on the idea of refuge and the conflicting implications of a restricted space as both cocoon and constriction.

Lauren Henkin: wood, double-sided mirrored acrylic, metal. Approx. 8’ x 13’ x 10’

Lauren Henkin – Props”: In her site-specific sculptural installation for the Contemporary Arts Center, Lauren Henkin takes advantage of unused areas of the Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center to give precedence to that which is typically considered peripheral: support, buttresses, sticks and trusses. Her “interventions” – props – open broader conversations about architectures in the museum context.

Tom Schiff: Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia

Tom Schiff: Surrounded by Art”: The development of panoramic photography has allowed artists to create more all-encompassing representations of the world. Cincinnati-based photographer Tom Schiff, with his camera of choice – the Cirkut, captures dynamic panoramic images of buildings, particularly museums, using the format’s distorted curvature to create a personal view.

contemporaryartscenter.org or 513-345-8400

Weston Art Gallery: ‘Felt Embrace’

Emily Moores at the Weston

Opens Friday, Nov. 22 | 650 Walnut St., Cincinnati, OH 45202

In intricate and ethereal installations, Emily Moores investigates texture and its interaction with our feelings and bodies without physical touch. Moores, based in Cincinnati, will construct a suspended installation from folded and cut paper and fabric that is fragile and detailed, yet also ominous and tumultuous. Runs through Feb. 2. Moores gives a gallery talk 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 26.

cincinnatiarts.org/weston-art-gallery or 513-977-4165

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