What to Do/Hear/See | Jan. 22-28

If there was any collective post-holiday pause among the area’s arts and culture groups, we didn’t notice it, and there’s certainly no sign of it now. With the usual more-than-you-have-time-for agenda of events on tap for the week, let us help you with some select happenings that are sure to please.


Cooks hoping to be chili champion at Findlay Market in 2019.

Chili Cook-off

Sunday, Jan. 26, 10 a.m. | Findlay Market, 1801 Race St., Cincinnati, OH 45202

Want to see what it takes to be the next Findlay Market Chili Meister? Find out Sunday at the 16th Annual Chili Cook-off. There will be chili and chili-themed items for sale from more than a dozen of the market’s vendors, then the competition starts at noon. You can sample yourself starting at 1 p.m. (because what could taste better on a rainy Saturday than hot chili?). If a few are a little spicy for you, the beer garden is open, too. The Hot Sauce Boss competition is at 3 p.m. Ticket sales end at 11 p.m. Saturday.

findlaymarket.org or 513-665-4839


Ronald K. Brown\Evidence

Friday and Saturday, Jan. 24 and 25, 8 p.m. | Jarson-Kaplan Theater, 650 Walnut St., Cincinnati, OH 45202

Contemporary Dance Theater presents Ronald K. Brown and Evidence, the company he has choreographed and directed for 35 years. The program’s keystone is “Grace,” created 20 years ago for the Alvin Ailey Company. The work incorporates music of Duke Ellington, Roy Davis Jr. and Fela Anikulapo Kuti in a story of a goddess (with attendant angels, of course) who comes to Earth to spread grace among humans.

cdt-dance.org or 513-621-2787 (ARTS)


Jewish and Israeli Film Festival

Starting Thursday, Jan. 23 | Various venues

The annual Jewish and Israeli Film Festival presents films from around the world from both established and emerging filmmakers. Screenings run through February at several venues around the city. Opening night, Thursday, is at the Mayerson JCC (8485 Ridge Road, Cincinnati, OH 45236), which organizes the festival. “The Unorthodox” tells the story of a political neophyte who decides to act when his daughter is expelled from school because of her ethnic origin. Ticket includes admission to opening night reception. Next up, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Kenwood Theatre (7815 Kenwood Road, Cincinnati, OH 45236; 513-984-0302), is “Picture of His Life,” presented in partnership with the Cincinnati Zoo. It’s the story of wildlife photographer Amos Nachoum, who, to get the image he wants of a polar bear, swims unprotected with it.

mayersonjcc.org or 513-761-7500

Last chance: Cinema Cincinnati

Through Sunday, Jan. 26 | Public Library Main Branch, 800 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202

OK, this technically is not a film, but it’s certainly about film, so here it is. The Queen City has played a moderately illustrious role in the history of cinema, and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County wants you to know about it. This exhibition, in the Stern Cincinnati Room, celebrates local theaters, local businesses with ties to Hollywood – like Billboard (yes, Billboard), Wurlitzer, Hennegan Co. and Kenner Toys – Cincinnatians in the industry – from stars like Theda Bara, Doris Day and Tyrone Power to the people behind the scenes – and the growing list of movies filmed here – like, you know, “The Public.” Local organizations devoted to cinema also get a close-up.

cincinnatilibrary.org or 513-369-6900


KSO: ‘Symphonic Fission’

Saturday, Jan 25, 8 p.m. | Greaves Concert Hall, 1 Nunn Drive, Highland Heights, KY 41076

It was 115 years ago today, Wednesday (Jan. 9 on the Julian calendar Russia then still used) that demonstrators marching peacefully to the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg were shot by Nicholas II’s Imperial Guard. It was the flashpoint for the Revolution of 1905 and, 50 years later, the inspiration for Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11, “The Year 1905.” James Cassidy leads the assembled forces of the Kentucky Symphony (including yours truly) in Saturday’s explosive program, which features the almost cinematic No. 11. Also on the program is the “Doctor Atomic” Symphony by John Adams, a 22-minute extraction the composer arranged from his 2005 opera about J. Robert Oppenheimer (the so-called father of the atomic bomb).

kyso.org or 859-431-6216

Woolley-Chertock recital

Sunday, Jan. 26, 3 p.m. | Westwood First Presbyterian Church, 3011 Harrison Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211

You may recall about a year ago the sad notice here that the scheduled recital at Westwood First Presbyterian by brothers Scot and Stacey Woolley had to be canceled because of Scot’s sudden death. It was to have been another in the series of recitals that celebrated the lush, romantic music they discovered as children and loved at first note. This Sunday – the anniversary of Scot’s death – violinist Stacey joins Cincinnati Symphony pianist Michael Chertock for an afternoon of “Romantic Music from Around the World” in Scot’s honor.

wfpc.org or 513-661-6846

Simon Barrad

Winter Song Festival

Saturday, Jan. 25, 7 p.m. | Liberty Exhibition Hall, 3983 Spring Grove Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45223

Sunday, Jan. 26, 3 p.m. | Holocaust and Humanity Center, 1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati, OH, 45203

What we need in gray January is a song festival, or so Cincinnati Song Initiative asserts. Sounds good to us! CSI (the area’s exponents of art song, not the TV franchise) offers two (very different) performances in two venues this weekend. First, in the tradition of the poetry slam, is Saturday’s Songslam: Composer-performer teams will premiere a song (any language, voice and piano, no longer than 5 minutes). The audience then votes on their favorites. There’s even $2,000 in prize money at stake.

On Sunday, CSI helps the Holocaust and Humanity Center celebrate its first anniversary in the Cincinnati Museum Center complex at Union Terminal. Baritone Simon Barrad, pianist Kenneth Griffiths and Rabbi Kenneth Kanter offer a program called Prayer Interrupted.”

cincinnatisonginitiative.org or 513-745-3000


‘All the Way’

Opens Friday, Jan. 24 | Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 1195 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202

On the heels of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Shakespeare Company opens the regional professional premiere of Robert Shenkhan’s play about the tortuous national journey in the wake of President John Kennedy’s assassination that led to the 1964 passage of the Civil Rights Act. Runs through Feb. 15.

cincyshakes.com or 513-381-2273

‘Blues for an Alabama Sky’

Opens Friday, Jan. 24 | Falcon Theatre, 636 Monmouth St., Newport, KY 41071; 513-479-6783

By the early 1930s, the Great Depression had squelched much of the energy and cultural vibrancy of the 1920s Harlem Renaissance. In Pearl Cleage’s “Blues for an Alabama Sky,” the economic realities force reflection among a rich cast of characters with conflicting personalities and politics. Runs through Feb. 8.

falcontheater.net or 513-479-6783


A bowl by Bob Bruch of Oberlin, Ohio,
part of “Peripheral: Edges & Boundaries” at Manifest Gallery

Five Themes Project

Friday, Jan. 24, 6-9 p.m. | Manifest Gallery, 2727 Woodburn Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45206

One of the chief appeals of Manifest Gallery is its ability to mount multiple simultaneous exhibits that interact and throw light on different perspectives of a similar theme. To kick off 2020, Manifest offers five (count them, five!) concurrent shows. They represent themes accumulated through a survey sent to more than 3,000 Manifest exhibition alumni from 15 seasons, collated into clusters, then opened for public feedback. Details follow; all five run through Feb. 21.

  • “Mundane”: 20 works (vetted from 421 submissions) inspired by the “ordinary everyday.”
  • “Peripheral”: Nine works that explore the concepts of boundaries and edges – peripheries – as they relate to the creative process.
  • “Environmental”: A dozen works that address environmental activism through common bonds of love, respect and awe.
  • “Weathered”: 11 works that take to heart the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi to appreciate natural objects and processes as time wears all things.
  • “Chaos”: Whether you relate to chaos through randomness or the butterfly effect, the idea lends itself to reflection on personal life, patterns and effects of civilization, and on existence. Ten works take on the concept.

manifestgallery.org or 513-861-3638

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