By Thomas Consolo
Greetings, friends. Been a while since I’ve offered my suggestions for ways to fill your week with culture, and it looks like I picked a good week to pop my head up again. Step by step, we seem to be marching at least in the direction of normalcy. That hardly means things are back to normal, of course, but Ohio will reach a milestone next week by lifting its mask mandate. In the meantime, take a look at this week’s lineup. You’d hardly know that the world has been mostly shut down for a year or so.
May 26, Wednesday
Behringer-Crawford Museum, NKY History Tour | 6:30 p.m. Virtual
The Behringer-Crawford Museum’s weekly look at the region’s past puts the 1889 Boone County Courthouse in the spotlight. The staid, brick, Renaissance Revival building on Washington Square was the site of one if the most notorious court cases in Boone County history: Sixteen-year-old Joan Kiger and her mother, Jennie, were tried for murder in the death of Joan’s father, Carl, and his son Jerry Kiger. Both were acquitted on the defense’s claim that Joan was experiencing nightmares.
With its tin ceilings, ornate plaster molding and bell tower, Boone County invested more than $1.6 million to preserve and restore the old courthouse as a community center. Historian Matt Becher will discuss the building’s history and preservation in tonight’s Zoom session.
May 26-28, Wednesday-Friday
Lloyd Library, “Women and Nature in the Arts, Sciences and Letters” | 917 Plum St., Cincinnati, OH 45202
It’s your last chance to see the Lloyd Library’s exhibit on female scientists, authors, artists and illustrators represented in the Lloyd collections. Under the microscope are works by naturalists, botanists, mycologists, horticulturists and explorers. Two of the more visually stunning books on display – “The Instructive Picture Book, or, Lessons from the Vegetable World” (published in 1858) and “Illustrations of the Fungi of Our Fields and Woods” (from 1864) – have been digitized and can be explored online by clicking their titles.
May 28, Friday
Manifest Gallery, exhibition openings | 6 p.m. 2727 Woodburn Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45206. 513-861-3638
One place that’s certainly nearly back to normal is Manifest Gallery, which launches (count ’em!) five simultaneous exhibitions in its sundry spaces. Friday’s opening is a ticketed affair, but public hours start Saturday (limited to 10 patrons at a time). The five shows are:
- “Rites of Passage”: It’s the 17th year for this annual show by emerging artists – i.e., artists who graduated or will graduate between 2020 and 2022. Works by 11 artists.
- “Magnitude Seven”: It’s also the 17th year for this celebration of good things in small packages – in this case works no larger than 7 inches. Works by 20 artists from among 140 who applied.
- “Rough Translation”: Textiles by Jiachen Liu, who currently lives and works in Hangzhou, China. Her studies included stints at the Maryland Institute College of Art and the Fiber and Materials Study Department of the School of Art Institute of Chicago. Liu emphasizes the bridge between painting and fiber materials.
- “Familiar Patters”: Showcase exhibition by Cincinnati-based Hannah Zimmerman. It’s the culmination of her time in the Manifest Artist Residency program.
- “SIR 2020/21”: The pandemic forced a change in the usual procedure for the Scholar in Residence program. Seth Adam Cook and Ed Erdmann share a show covering two years.
(The opening corresponds with this month’s Walk on Woodburn, so why not make a night of it in East Walnut Hills?)
May 28-29, Friday-Saturday
Art of the Piano | 6 p.m. Virtual
Cincinnati’s festival of all things piano continues for its second weekend with two Conversations + Music events on Zoom hosted by festival organizer (and performer) pianist Awadagin Pratt. On Friday, Young-Ah Tak discusses and performs “Old and New: Debussy and Zaimont;” Tanya Gabrielian speaks to “The Art of the Transcription;” and Angela Jeong Hyun Kim brings us “Chaos Magick – piano with design, animation, electronic sound.” On Saturday, it’s Mark Rabideau, executive producer of the Stillpoint Project, on making a record; Alvin Singleton composer of “Time Past, Time Future;” and pianist-transcriber-improviser Jeremy Ajani Jordan.
May 28-30, Friday-Sunday
May Festival, closing weekend | 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday; Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-381-3300.
For many years, the May Festival was a biennial affair, so let’s just call skipping 2020 for COVID-19 a nod to tradition and move on. Between the pandemic and this year’s festival landing on Memorial Day weekend, there’s more than a little introspection in the weekend’s repertoire.
- Friday’s keystone is John Adams’s quietly powerful setting for voice and small orchestra of Walt Whitman’s “The Wound-Dresser” (inspired by his service in Civil War military hospitals), plus Emily Dickinson settings by Aaron Copland and Maria Schneider’s “Winter Morning Walks.” Robert Porco conducts.
- On Saturday and Sunday, Juanjo Mena leads the sopranos and altos of the Mary Festival Chorus (the men got their spotlight last weekend) in excerpts from Group 2 of Holst’s “Hymns from the Rig Veda.” Also on the program: Benjamin Britten’s “Les Illuminations” – performed by CCM grad, soprano Joelle Harvey – selections from Reena Esmail’s “I Rise: Women in Song,” and songs by Mahler and Schubert.
Hollywood Drive-In | 9:15 p.m. 1538 Cedar Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45224
Hollywood Cinema in College Hill is still closed … inside. Its back wall, though, makes for the perfect reincarnation – we should write that rein-car-nation – of a great American summertime tradition, the drive-in. Load up the car and park to watch family-friendly movies on weekend nights (including Sunday this week because of the holiday). After kicking off Frida with 1993’s “The Sandlot,” the Hollywood heads to outer space for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” on Saturday and “Coco” on Sunday.
The Carnegie, “I Got Rhythm” | 7 p.m. each evening, plus 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; Covington Plaza at Riverfront Commons, Covington, KY 41011
It’s the final weekend for this original, tap-centric musical revue presented by The Carnegie and created by its artistic director, Maggie Perrino, and music director, Matthew Nassida. Featuring music from the Great American Songbook by the likes of Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Irving Berlin and George Gershwin, among others. The weekend’s weather is looking good, so why not check out Covington’s new 1,300-seat outdoor amphitheater and concert venue.
May 30, Sunday
Raptor Inc., Open House | 1-4 p.m. 961 Barg Salt Run Road, Milford, OH 45150
Take advantage of the (briefly) comfortable weather to see a different side of nature: Learn about the birds of prey native to our area. Raptor Inc. holds an open house on the last Sunday of the month. The organization’s educators will welcome guests, lead tours, conduct educational programs, share biological artifacts and answer questions. Free, but donations appreciated.
May 31, Monday
Spring Grove Cemetery | 11 a.m. 4521 Spring Grove Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45232
Memorial Day is one of the country’s most important civic holidays, and paying tribute to the fallen takes on a special immediacy this year. Spring Grove hosts its annual ceremony in its Civil War Section. (Other traditional holiday celebrations at the Grove are canceled again.)
June 1, Tuesday
Juneteenth Flag Raising | 10 a.m. Art Climb, corner of Gilbert Avenue and Eden Park Drive.
Although celebrations have generally settled on June 19, the origin of Juneteenth’s somewhat vague name is that Blacks held as slaves in Southern states learned of the Confederacy’s surrender and, hence, their freedom, at different times. So the Cincinnati Art Museum and Cincinnati Juneteenth Festival can’t be accused of overenthusiasm, then, for holding a collaborative flag-raising Tuesday to kick off the city’s 34th Annual Juneteenth Festival. The free, public ceremony is set for the bottom of the Art Museum’s Art Climb and will feature Bishop Todd O’Neal, Catherine Roma and the Unity Celebration Choir, and Eric Kearney, president and CEO of the African American Chamber of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.