What to Do/Hear/See | Jan. 8-14

Did you resolve to attend more local arts events in 2020? If not yet, why not add it to your list? Trust us, it’s easier to achieve than passing on dessert, and our area’s many cultural organizations have set an intention to get your year off on the right foot (or a high note or picture-perfect start or … well, you get the idea). To keep you on track all year, we promise to keep you informed of exciting and engaging events we promise you’ll enjoy. Hey – the year’s already a week old; better get started!


‘Little Women’

Saturday, Jan. 11, 2 p.m. | Esquire Theatre, 320 Ludlow Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45220

It’s Oscar season once again, and the Esquire is helping to remind us of all the great films of earlier years. Greta Gerwig is all the rage this year for her take on “Little Women.” It’s the latest in a long line of adaptations of the Louisa May Alcott classic. George Cukor’s, starring a young Katharine Hepburn as Jo, won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar in 1934. Why not see how they did it then before you see the new kids on the block? Two additional screenings at 2 and 7 p.m. Monday.

esquiretheatre.com or 513-281-8750

‘Sickert vs. Sargent’

Thursday, Jan. 9, 7 p.m. | The Barn, 6980 Cambridge Ave., Mariemont, OH 45227

The monthly ArtFlix series picks up where it left off in 2019 with another cinematic treatment of the art world. It’s 1901 – a new century with a new king in Britain and art looking for a new, modern direction. Two painters working in London (both non-Britons, interestingly) offer very different visions for that future. John Singer Sargent, an American, paints high society, while Walter Sickert takes inspiration from Victorian society’s dark side. Waldemar Januzczak sets the symbolic faceoff as a boxing match in his 2007 movie about the two artists.

artatthebarn.org or 513-272-3700

‘Varda by Agnès’

Tuesday, Dec. 14, 7 p.m. | Woodward Theater, 1404 Main St., Cincinnati, OH 45202

C. Jacqueline Wood, the force behind the late Mini Microcinema, has a new stage (screen?) for bringing thought-provoking film to the city. She’s curating the new Second Screens series created by the folks at FotoFocus to mark that organization’s 10th year. (Read M&M’s story from last month if you missed that announcement.) Second Screens doesn’t have a set home, but the series kicks off Tuesday at the Woodward Theater (yes, just across Main Street from the former Mini). First up is “Varda by Agnès,” a look at New Wave pioneer Agnès Varda made just last year.

fotofocus.org or 513-345-7981


Fleming sings ‘Im Abendrot’

CSO: Renée Fleming and Rachmaninoff

Friday, Jan 10, 8 p.m. | Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202

Before you get too excited, I have to tell you that this weekend’s Cincinnati Symphony concerts are officially sold out. It’s still worth calling in case there are cancelations to this one, though. I’ve gotten to share a stage with Renée Fleming, and it’s one of my favorite musical experiences. She’s as gracious as she is talented. On Friday, she sings Richard Strauss’s “Four Last Songs,” the composer’s transcendent valedictory set for soprano and orchestra. But wait; there’s more! Pianist Behzod Abduraimov tackles Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 2, and (yes, still more!) we get a rare chance to hear turn-of-the-last-century orchestral works by two French women composers. “Of a Spring Morning” was one of the last pieces Lili Boulanger completed before her tragic young death; “Night and Love” was part of Augusta Holmés’s 1870s series of patriotic works.

The repeat, at 7 p.m. Saturday, swaps the “Four Last Songs” and the Holmes for other Strauss songs and some songs from Broadway and Hollywood. Good luck getting in.

Wednesday, Jan 8, 6:30 p.m. | Music Hall Ballroom, 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202

Listening to Renée Fleming sing may be therapeutic, but the soprano gives a presentation tonight on how music can contribute to our well-being. She gives this presentation in many cities each year, an initiative of hers as artistic advisor of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Two neuroscientists join the panel for a discussion on discoveries that are changing our understanding of the brain.

cincinnatisymphony.org or 513-381-3300

Linton: Matsuo and Rivers

Sunday, Jan. 12, 4 p.m. | First Unitarian Church of Cincinnati, 536 Linton St., Cincinnati, OH 45219

The Cincinnati Symphony’s new concertmaster, Stefani Matsuo, joins pianist Sandra Rivers for the Linton’s annual Subscriber Bonus concert. On the program are Beethoven’s “Kreutzer” sonata, Debussy’s sonata, Three Romances by Clara Schumann and the early Violin Sonata in E-Flat Major by Richard Strauss. You might already have guessed that, as a “subscriber bonus” concert, there aren’t single tickets for sale. You might also already have guessed how to gain admittance, though: Subscribe. Then you can enjoy a whole season of great chamber music.

lintonmusic.org or 513-381-6868

VAE: ‘The Arc in the Sky’

Sunday, Jan. 12, 5 p.m. | Memorial Hall, 1225 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202

Maybe they should just hold the Grammys in Cincinnati this year. Not only are the CSO and Pops up for awards, but so is the Vocal Arts Ensemble, for its recording of Kile Smith’s “Canticle” (for Classical Producer of the Year). On Sunday, Craig Hella Johnson is back in town to lead the Midwest premiere of yet another Smith work, his jazz-infused “The Arc in the Sky.”  The Grammy connections continue: “Arc in the Sky” is also up for a Grammy in a recording by Donald Nally – wait for it – a former VAE music director.

vaecinci.com or 513-381-3300


‘Evelyn in Purgatory’

Opens Friday, Jan. 10 | Mariemont Players, 4101 Walton Creek Road, Cincinnati, OH 45227

If you think community theater companies limit themselves to a short roster of warhorses, Mariemont Players wants you to think again. Topher Payne’s “Evelyn in Purgatory” takes audiences inside the “rubber room,” the reassignment center office where teachers in New York City’s public schools wait – and wait – for adjudication of complaints against them. Think of it as “The Breakfast Club” for teachers.

mariemontplayers.com or 513-684-1236

Last chance: ‘2 Pianos, 4 Hands’

Through Sunday, Jan. 12 | Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mount Adams Circle, Cincinnati, OH 45202

As we left you for our brief holiday hiatus, this comedy with keyboards was to be closed by now. Its popularity has extended its stay at the Rosenthal Shelterhouse Theatre through the weekend. There’s music from Bach to Billy Joel as Richard and Ted work to become concert piano stars.

cincyplay.com or 513-421-3888


‘Motel X’

Opens Saturday, Jan. 11 | National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, 50 East Freedom Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202

The number of human trafficking cases in the U.S. and in our region has increased steadily in the past decade. This interactive exhibition at the Freedom Center, set in a symbolic motel room, allows visitors to experience the stories of teenage girls trafficked for sex and those caught up the underworld of trafficking them. Also includes plenty of information to help combat trafficking and an exhibition of artwork by local trafficking survivors. Runs through April 5.

‘Revolutionary: Being American Today’

Opens Saturday, Jan. 11 | Kennedy Heights Arts Center, 6546 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati, OH 45213

What does it mean to be a U.S. citizen today? How does that change depending on a person’s race, gender, sexuality or immigration status? Eight artists from Ohio and Kentucky contributed to this exhibition with themes that include identity, community and tradition.

kennedyarts.org or 513-631-4278

‘Sentiments of Here’

Opens Saturday, Jan. 11 | Wave Pool Gallery, 2940 Colerain Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45225

“Sentiments of Here” explores the effects of the Midwestern landscape – its languor, flatness, texture and drawl. This exhibition is an ode to resonant spaces imbued with nostalgia and longing. Runs through Feb. 29.

wavepoolgallery or 513-600-6117

Last Chance: Robert Colescott

Through Sunday, Jan. 12 | Contemporary Arts Center, 44 E. Sixth St., Cincinnati, OH 45202

Robert Colescott’s work brings to the surface and challenges diversity and racial stereotypes. The CAC’s major retrospective includes 85 works created across 53 years of the artist’s life.

contemporaryartscenter.org or 513-345-8400

Last chance: Manifest Gallery’s 15th anniversary celebration

Friday, Jan. 10, 7-9 p.m. | 2727 Woodburn Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45206

Fifteen years ago this month, Manifest opened its doors in East Walnut Hills, anchoring commercial and residential development in this still-evolving neighborhood. Friday’s event is a celebration of that milestone, and a closing party for the latest exhibitions in Manifest’s 16th season:

  • One 10: Finalists and the winner of the 10th Manifest Prize, a $5,000 award given each year “to reward, showcase, celebrate and document exceptional artwork being made today by working artists.”
  • “Time Bombs”: 24 works by 19 artists on the theme of anxiety or impending disaster.
  • “Bug-Insectum”: Speaking of anxiety, this parallel exhibition includes 11 works by nine artists on bugs, including insects and spiders, large and small, real or imagined.
  • “10th Annual Tapped”: 16 works by 16 artists that show the artistic connections between artists and the current or former professors who inspired them. (Some of the “students” are now professors in their own right.)

manifestgallery.org or 513-861-3638

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