Culture FIX: April 27-May 3

Thanks to friend and PR maven Chris Pinelo for pinch-hitting this week, with assistance from our intern Reed Cunningham. Read on to see what goodies they have chosen for you…

Chris Pinelo is a storyteller, musician and longtime advocate for Cincinnati’s vibrant arts scene. A former member of the May Festival Chorus and the Vocal Arts Ensemble, Chris served as an administrator for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops and May Festival for 19 years. He has now taken the leap into education, working as the Community Relations and Foundation Strategist for Great Oaks Career Campuses.  

Wednesday, April 27

FC Cincinnati Foundation, Served by the Pros | 6-9 p.m. TQL Stadium. DETAILS: This progressive dinner features a VIP cocktail reception, handcrafted dishes and cocktails served by FC Cincinnati players – all while exploring TQL Stadium. Tickets: $150; VIP reception: $250.

Memorial Hall, Longworth-Anderson Series: Orquesta Akokán | 8:00 p.m. 1225 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-977-8838. DETAILS: Okay, maybe I’m a little biased. The music of Cuba is also the music of my father’s homeland, virtually imprinted on my brain from birth with punchy, rich timbers, and hypnotic rhythms. There is nothing like a Cuban big band, and according to The New York Times, Orquesta Akokán features the “island’s greatest instrumentalists” joined by acclaimed singer José “Pepito” Gómez.

Thursday, April 28

Cincinnati Opera, Divas and Diamonds | 6 p.m. Richter & Phillips Jewelers, downtown Cincinnati. DETAILS: Live performances by Cincinnati Opera singers and music deejayed by Q102, local boutiques. Tickets: $30.

(Photo by Amy Elisabeth Spasoff)

Mercantile Library, The Memoir Lecture: Laura Trujillo | 6 p.m. 414 Walnut St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-621-0717. DETAILS: In her New York Times-acclaimed memoir, “Stepping Back from the Ledge,” Laura Trujillo confronts her family’s history of secrets in the aftermath of her mother’s suicide. Hear the author — who is also the managing editor for Life & Entertainment at USA Today, a former editor and reporter for The Cincinnati Enquirer, and most recently a PR executive for Fifth Third Bank — discuss her journey of discovery and the healing process.

SVP Board Chair Chris Shroat

Social Venture Partners Cincinnati, 15 Year Anniversary and Project XLR8 Celebration | 5:30-8:30 p.m. Summit Hotel. DETAILS: SVP members pool partners’ monetary contributions and pair them with hands-on, in-depth coaching, training and collaboration for local nonprofits. Project XLR8 is SVP’s enhanced community impact and investment program. Four organizations that have participated in the program will vie to see which becomes the next SVP investee: Refugee Connect, Rise News, Stitched – St. Francis Seraph Ministries and Transform Cincy. The evening includes dinner and drinks. Tickets $75.

Friday, April 29 

John Morris Russell (Photos by Tina Gutierrez)
John Morris Russell
(Photos by Tina Gutierrez)

Cincinnati Pops, JMR’s Greatest Hits | 7:30 p.m. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-381-3300. DETAILS: The Pops is celebrating ten years with my good friend John Morris Russell at the helm, and what a decade it’s been! This multi-genre musical showcase features return collaborations with Tony Award-winner Brian Stokes Mitchell, acclaimed duo Over the Rhine, and vocal powerhouse Tatiana Mayfield, as well as a world premiere commission from Grammy Award-winning composer Eric Whitacre. And JMR’s contract has just been extended through the 2024-2025 season. “How sweet it is!” Concert repeats Saturday evening and Sunday a 2 p.m.


Cincinnati Music Theatre, “Ragtime” | 7:30 p.m. Jarson-Kaplan Theater, Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-621-2787. DETAILS: Composed by University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music alum Stephen Flaherty, and based on the celebrated novel by E. L Doctorow, this sweeping musical is set amidst the “volatile melting pot of turn-of-the-century New York” that confronts issues still relevant in modern America. It is a powerful piece of storytelling and a dazzling piece of musical theater.  Runs through May 7.

Contemporary Arts Center, Subterranean Series: Empath (Philadelphia) and The Serfs (Cincinnati) | 8 p.m. Black Box Theater, 44 E. 6th St., Cincinnati, OH 513-345-2941. DETAILS: This new “Subterranean” series from the CAC includes both national and local musical acts. Empath out of Philadelphia takes the stage, “bringing all their fuzzed and tripped out idiosyncrasies into harmony.” Also featured is Cincinnati’s own The Serfs, “a deliberately nebulous and incidentally industrialist gang of dance floor hymners…” I can’t make this stuff up! Repeats Saturday at midnight. You’ll arrive in April and leave in May. Mind blown.

Into America's Wild 1153x695.png

Cincinnati Museum Center“Our Shared Story: 200 Years of Jewish Cincinnati” and “Into America’s Wild” | Union Terminal. 513-287-7000. DETAILS: Two auspicious debuts at the CMC this week:

  • A new exhibition celebrates the traditions and culture of Cincinnati’s Jewish community while sharing stories of both prominent and unheralded Jewish Cincinnatians. The exhibition examines the people and traditions that continue to influence our food, medicine, arts institutions, social justice movements and more. The exhibit will run until Oct. 2. 
  • In the OMNIMAX, from the Academy Award-nominated producers of the acclaimed “National Parks Adventure,” this new film features hidden wonders of the world and some of North America’s most beautiful, little-known landscapes. Narrated by Morgan Freeman.

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De la Dance Center“Cinderella” | 7:30 p.m. 5141 Kennedy Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45213. 513-871-0914. DETAILS: This brand-new ballet production of the fairytale classic was choreographed by artistic directors Meredith Benson and Mario de la Neuz to the majestic music of Sergei Prokoflev. This eye-popping fantasy is full of comedy, action, romance, and most importantly, love. Performances run until May 8. It’s fun just seeing all the little girls who attend dressed like the star of the show.

Saturday, April 30 

Contemporary Arts Center“Asha Ama’s New Moon: A Fashion Healing Experience” | Doors open 6 p.m. 44 E. 6th St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-345-8400. DETAILS: Asha Ama’s new collection, “New Moon,” looks to the future through the lenses of divine, Black, female energy that will heal the world. The evening’s entertainment kicks off with a fashion show at 6:30 p.m., followed by a cocktail party and after party featuring aerial arts, music and more. The exhibit runs through June 5.

Ish, del-ISH-us: a Celebration of Mimouna | 8 p.m. Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45202. DETAILS: Rooted in the Jewish traditions of North Africa, Mimouna is a celebration of the end of Passover combining joyous traditions observed and enjoyed by people of many different backgrounds with great music, color, and del-ish-us foods. A joyous community gathering, Jews break bread, eat sweets, and enjoy traditional culture, often with non-Jewish neighbors. Proceeds benefit the annual ish Festival in Washington Park.

Playhouse in the Park“School Girls: Or, the African Mean Girls Play” | 7:30 p.m. Marx Theatre, 962 Mt. Adams Circle, Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-421-3888. DETAILS: This off-Broadway hit combines comedy, beauty, and drama between teenage girls as they fight for a chance to become Miss Universe in a boarding school in Ghana. The play examines the often hilarious universality of young girlhood and all the drama that comes with it. Runs through May 22.

Conductor Tony Burdette

Viva Voices, “Life Amplified: A Concert to Raise Awareness About Organ Donation” | 7 p.m. Christ Church Cathedral, 318 East Fourth Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. Once again, Cincinnati is living up to its reputation as the “city that sings.” Viva Voices, founded in 2021 and led by Tony Burdette, strives to “provide a choral experience that is affordable, multi-generational, diverse and high quality.” This free concert is presented in collaboration with the LifeCenter Organ Donor Network. (Burdette is himself an organ donor recipient.) The concert will feature a 70-voice choir and orchestra performing the regional premier of Dan Forrest’s “the breath of life.”

Sunday, May 1 


Harriet Beecher Stowe House“Beyond Barbed Wire: A Family’s Living Legacy of the Japanese Internment Camps of WWII” | 4 p.m. 2950 Gilbert Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45206. DETAILS: As a schoolboy, nobody believed Walnut Hills and UC grad Dennis Kato when he told of his father’s parents and their families having been forced into incarceration camps simply because they were of Japanese descent. Hear this Army veteran’s story of how this happened right here in the U.S.

Immaculata Chamber Music Series, “The Poet and The Composer” | 4 p.m. Holy Cross-Immaculata Church, Mt. Adams. DETAILS: An exquisite chamber music program featuring works by Richard Strauss (Sextet from “Capriccio,” plus art songs) and Mozart (his Grande Sestetto Concertante) begs the question, “Can poetry win out over music or vice versa?” Soprano Shannon Cochran and pianist Samuel Martin join six outstanding string players for this season finale.

Clarinetist Alan Kay and the Orion Quartet: cellist Timothy Eddy, violist Steven Tenenbom, violinist Daniel Phillips, with (seated) violinist Todd Phillips. (Orion photo by Andreas Hafenscher)

Linton Chamber Music, A Stellar Finale | 4 p.m. First Unitarian Church, 536 Linton St. , Cincinnati, OH 45219. 513-381-6868. DETAILS: Experience true musical virtuosity and collaboration up and close and personal with Alan Kay, clarinet, and the Orion String Quartet, one of the world’s best, as they offer a trio of chamber works: Stravinsky’s Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet, Max Reger’s Clarinet Quintet in A, and Beethoven’s monumental String Quartet No. 13 with the “Grosse Fugue” — a fitting finale for Linton’s season. Concert repeats Monday, 7:30 p.m. at Congregation Beth Adam in Loveland.

Tuesday, May 3

Christ Church Cathedral, The May Festival Live at Lunch | 12:10 p.m. Christ Church Cathedral, 318 E. 4th St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-621-1817. DETAILS: As a fan, a former member of the May Festival Chorus and former member of the May Festival’s administrative team, I have always admired the combination of musicality, professional work ethic, and dedication to volunteerism among the talented members of the ensemble. These singers will no doubt bring something remarkable to Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes in this free lunchtime performance.

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