It’s a double-whammy weekend, with Valentine’s Day and Washington’s Birthday (still the government’s legal name for what everyone else calls Presidents Day) just three days apart. Whether you’re looking for something to do with a special someone or just want to feel the love for the arts, there’s a big list just waiting for you. These suggestions are just the reddest of the rosebuds.
Last chance: ‘Destination Moon’
Through Monday, Feb. 17 | Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45203
The only problem with the Cincinnati Museum Center’s big exhibitions is that, when they open, you think, “Oh, I have plenty of time to see that.” And so you do other things first, until, before you know it, the show is about to close. That moment has come again: This is the last weekend for “Destination Moon,” organized by the National Air and Space Museum and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service to mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. You won’t get the chance again soon to see Buzz Aldrin’s EVA helmet and gloves, star charts the crew used and, to save the best for last, Columbia itself, the command module that took the three-man crew from the earth to the moon and safely back. (Don’t forget there’s also the Omnimax film “Apollo 11: First Steps Edition.” It’s a breathtaking compilation of archival video and audio – including in 70mm – of the Apollo 11 mission.)
513-287-7000 or cincymuseum.org
Thursday, Feb. 13-Sunday, Feb. 16 | Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202
There are good reasons that this Tchaikovsky masterpiece is the second most performed work in Cincinnati Ballet’s history – the glorious, romantic score being just the most obvious. (David Lyman offers some more for you here.) The show’s magical myth of a story has undergone plenty of change from its 1877 premiere to 2010’s “Black Swan” Hollywood thriller, but the themes endure, as does the sheer beauty. Five performances through Sunday.
513-621-5282 or cballet.org
‘The Best Offer’
Thursday, Feb. 13, 7 p.m. | The Barn, 6980 Cambridge Ave., Mariemont, OH 45227
Duke Energy threw a wrench into the plan for the free ArtFlix series at the Barn by scheduling a power outage for utility work on the night slated for February’s film. The result was just a minor postponement, though, and so “The Best Offer” shows on Thursday instead. The 2014 art-themed thriller packs an impressive cast, including Geoffrey Rush as a lonely art expert, Jim Sturgess, Sylvia Hoeks and Donald Sutherland.
artatthebarn.org or 513-272-3700
Friday, Feb. 14-Sunday, Feb. 16 | Esquire Theatre, 320 Ludlow Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45220
The Oscars have come and gone, but the Esquire is still dedicating a screen to classic Hollywood fare. There’s a triple bill on tap for Valentine’s Day, including “Crazy Stupid Love” with Steve Carell and 1940’s “The Philadelphia Story” with Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart. In 1956, MGM decided to adapt “The Philadelphia Story” as a musical, and they pulled out all the stops with “High Society.” Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly (in her last role before becoming Princess Grace) and Frank Sinatra star. The score is by Cole Porter, and Louis Armstrong stops by, too. Worth it just for the Crosby-Sinatra duet: “Don’t dig that kind of croonin’, chum.” / “You must be one of the newer fellas.”
esquiretheatre.com or 513-281-8750
Jewish and Israeli Film Festival
Thursday, Feb. 13, 7:30 p.m. | Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Just a reminder that the Jewish and Israeli Film Festival is entering its third weekend of presenting films from around the world. Screenings are at several venues around the city; this week’s highlight is “Leona,” released in 2018. A young Jewish woman from Mexico City finds herself torn between her family and her forbidden love with a non-Jewish man. In Spanish.
mayersonjcc.org or 513-761-7500
Future History Now
Saturday, Feb. 15, 10 a.m. | Multiple locations
Since its 2016 founding under the aegis of Cincinnati’s Black Founders Group and the entrepreneurship hub Mortar, Future History Now has grown from a happy hour networking event to become a full day of programming. Session topics include mental health and the black community, financial planning for the black household and a conversation on relationships in the black community. Between the morning and afternoon sessions is the Black Business Crawl to encourage support of nearby black-owned businesses, including Black Coffee, Revel OTR Winery and Smith and Hannon Bookstore.
wearemortar.com or 513-241-6550
Langrée @ CCM: Philharmonia Orchestra
Saturday, Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m. | Corbett Auditorium, 290 CCM Blvd., Cincinnati, OH 45221
With a week off from his duties as CSO music director, one might expect Louis Langrée to enjoy a well deserved breather. But, no. Instead, he’s back on the podium, this time up on the hill at the College-Conservatory of Music. He’ll lead the Philharmonia Orchestra, aka my old band, in a French-themed program from the classical Top 40. There’s Debussy’s “Prélude à L’après-midi d’un Faune” and Berlioz’s fatal-attraction barnburner, the “Symphonie Fantastique.” Pianist Kara Huber, whose name you might recall from last week’s recital in Hyde Park, is back on center stage as soloist in Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand, a post-World War I commission by Paul Wittgenstein (who lost his right arm in the war).
ccm.uc.edu or 513-556-4183
CSI: España II
Saturday, Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m. | 8118 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati, OH 45236
No, we don’t mean the latest spinoff in the hallmark CBS television franchise. CSI is Cincinnati Song Initiative, dedicated to the intimate power of art song. On Saturday, it serves up the second installment in its multiseason “Alma de España” (Soul of Spain) series. Four performers offer works by Federico García Lorca, Enrique Granados, José González Granero and Joaquín Turina at the Willis Music Steinway Gallery.
XU: Barry Douglas and Mak Grgic
Douglas: Wednesday, Feb. 12, 8 p.m.
Grgic: Sunday, Feb. 16, 2:30 p.m.
Gallagher Theater, 3800 Victory Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45207; 513-745-3000
The Xavier Music Series enjoys a double-the-music week with performances by these two big talents. First up – yes, it’s tonight – is veteran pianist Barry Douglas. He’s been a major presence in the keyboard world since winning gold in the 1986 Tchaikovsky Competition. He’ll frame sonatas by Beethoven and Schubert with “Moments Musicaux” by Schubert and Rachmaninoff.
XU’s guitar series isn’t what it used to be, but it’s making up in quality what it lacks in quantity. Mak Grgic brings his “Joy of Eastern Europe” tour of the U.S. to town on Sunday. A native of Slovenia, he’s a trustworthy musical tour guide.
xavier.edu or 513-745-3000
Thursday, Feb. 13-Sunday, Feb. 16 | Patricia Corbett Theater, 290 CCM Blvd., Cincinnati, OH 45221
CCM’s drama department mounts Bruce Norris’s Olivier, Pulitzer and Tony-winning play as its next offering. “Clybourne Park” examines how Americans talk – or don’t talk – about race, class and real estate. Part continuation to the classic “A Raisin in the Sun,” “Clybourne” is set in 1959 and 2009. In 1959, a grieving white family sells its home to a black family to the consternation of the rest of the neighborhood; 50 years later, the neighborhood is predominantly African American, and a white family intends to buy, raze and rebuild the home. Five performances through the weekend, plus a Feb. 12 preview. Note the play comes with a strong language warning.
ccm.uc.edu or 513-556-4183
‘Of Mice and Men’
Opens Thursday, Feb. 13 | Footlighters, Stained Glass Theatre, 802 York St., Newport, KY 41071
You know the line: “Tell me about the rabbits, George.” Lenny, the gentle giant with a mental disability, won’t ever get to see them, though, and therein lies the tragedy of a deep friendship in the Depression. Adapted from the Steinbeck novel. (Steinbeck worked on the 1939 screenplay, too, so there’s a solid dramatic model.) Runs through Feb. 29.
footlighters.org or 859-652-3849
Last chance: ‘All the Way’
Through Saturday, Feb. 15 | Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 1195 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202
The regional professional premiere of Robert Shenkhan’s play recounts the tortuous national journey in the wake of President John Kennedy’s assassination that led to the 1964 passage of the Civil Rights Act.
cincyshakes.com or 513-381-2273
Last chance: ‘Fortune’
Through Saturday, Feb. 15 | Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati | 1127 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202
In Deborah Zoe Laufer’s 2005 two-character romantic comedy, Maude – a lonely, third-generation storefront psychic who hates her life and her job – believes love is not in the cards for her. When Jeremy, a despondent accountant threatens to kill himself if she sees no love for him, she must wrestle with fate, and, in changing his destiny, change her own.
ensemblecincinnati.org or 513-421-3555
Last chance: ‘Buddy’
Through Sunday, Feb. 16 | Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mount Adams Circle, Cincinnati, OH 45202
This revue in the Playhouse’s Marx Theatre recounts Buddy Holly’s 18-month, meteoric rise to fame and the indelible impact he left after his untimely death at the age of just 22. More than 20 of Holly’s hits are included, and you’ll know most of them.
cincyplay.com or 513-421-3888
Saturday, Feb. 15, 6-10 p.m. | BasketShop, 3105 Harrison Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211
The number 5,712 in this Emma Robbins exhibition refers to the number of missing or murdered indigenous women throughout the Americas. For her BasketShop exhibition, her first in Ohio, Robbins displays hand-stitched objects alongside portraits from her ongoing photographic series. Her intent is to show that these women are mothers, sisters, daughters, etc., not just statistics. Robbins lives and works in Los Angeles and the Navajo Nation. Runs through March 13.
basketshopgallery.com or 469-774-5656
‘Sixty Paintings from the Bible’
Tuesday, Feb. 18, 5:30-8 p.m. | Skirball Museum, Hebrew Union College, 3101 Clifton Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45220
Internationally celebrated artist and Jewish scholar Archie Rand brings a unique blend of expressionistic comic book style and loosely painted imagery to familiar stories from the Hebrew Bible. Rand’s works are both irreverent and serious, adding fresh perspectives to narratives that have shaped Western civilization. Runs through June 28.
huc.edu or 513-487-3098