Culture FIX: May 25-31

By Thomas Consolo

Glad to be back for a week to help guide your week’s agenda. This week is a bit of a cusp week. Many fall-spring seasons have wrapped up, and summer seasons haven’t quite gotten up to speed. Don’t think for a second, though, that there isn’t still plenty to do this last week of May, especially since it coincides with Memorial Day. Here’s a sampling to prove the point:

The Taste of Cincinnati in the Before Times. The event returns this weekend for the first time in three years.

A serving of normalcy …

Taste of Cincinnati | Fifth Street downtown. DETAILS: I don’t know if there’s a hidden meaning to this, but it certainly seems as though my cameos as your culture guide mysteriously align with major food events. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. 

It’s been three years now since Cincinnati has been able to come together on Memorial Day weekend to sample the cuisine of the region’s fine and favorite restaurants. (Thanks, coronavirus.) Taste of Cincinnati is back at last, stretching several blocks along Fifth Street in the east side of downtown. Organizers tout that there will be 36 restaurants and 18 food trucks on hand to offer 300 menu items. While you rest to make room for the next serving, more than 35 entertainment acts will keep you busy across four stages. Add the people-watching, and it’s a feast for all your senses.

  • May 28 and 29: 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
  • May 30: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Thursday, May 26

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, “Apart” | 6 p.m. Harriet Tubman Theater, 50 East Freedom Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-333-7500. DETAILS: In the second installment of the Freedom Film series, a partnership between the Freedom Center and LADD (producers of the OTR International Film Festival), “Apart” looks at the effects of the massive increase in incarceration rates among U.S. women with a special focus on three mothers who try to rebuild relationships with their children after years of separation.

Friday, May 27

Etta Gallaway’s work is included in Manifest’s “Rite of Passage” exhibit. She’s a junior at Bowling Green State University.

Manifest Gallery, “Rites of Passage” | 2727 Woodburn Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45206. 513-861-3638. DETAILS: It’s the 18 year for Manifest’s annual emerging artists exhibit of works by current or recent undergraduates. This year’s incarnation comprises 11 works by nine artists studying as far afield as Virginia and Utah.

Cincinnati Museum Center, “America’s Epic Treasures featuring Preternatural by Michael Scott” | 1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45203. 513-287-7000. DETAILS: This exhibition, opening Friday, showcases 32 works inspired by the beauty of natural landscapes and the destructive and rejuvenating nature of the elements. Accompanying Michael Scott’s works are a dozen local landscapes – most from the 19th century – from the Museum Center’s collections, including works by Rudolph Tschudi, John Casper Wild, William Louis Sonntag and Robert S. Duncanson. Animal specimens and fossils will connect the natural worlds depicted in the artwork, and “Regeneration,” a multimedia installation, examines racial justice and climate change through the lens of indigenous peoples. Through Jan. 8.

Saturday, May 28

Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, “Tiny Beautiful Things” | 7 p.m. 1127 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-421-3555. DETAILS: The theme is resilience in ETC’s newest production, based on the book of Cheryl Strayed (she of “Wild” fame) and adapted by Nia Vardalos (of “My Big Fat Greek…” fame). It’s funny and touching … and comes with a mature language and content advisory. The official opening is June 1, but there are two previews – Saturday and Tuesday.

Isaac Selya

Queen City Opera, “Fidelio” | 3 p.m., Finneytown Performing Arts Center, 8916 Fontainebleau Terrace, Cincinnati OH 45231. 513-503-8323. DETAILS: Always one to find the contemporary in classic operas, Queen City Opera puts the emphasis on liberation in its two-day run of Beethoven’s only opera. Isaac Selya conducts. Repeats 3 p.m. Sunday.

Miami Whitewater Forest, Ben Levin | 7 p.m., 9001 Mt. Hope Road, Harrison, OH 45030. 513-521-7275. DETAILS: Besides outdoor eating, Memorial Day weekend also kicks outdoor concert season into high gear. The Great Parks of Hamilton County’s Summer Concerts in the Park series launches from the harbor at Miami Whitewater Forest with blues pianist (and Cincinnatian) Ben Levin.

Monday, May 30

BAMSO Conductor Michael Chertock

Blue Ash Montgomery Symphony Orchestra, Memorial Day Concert | 7 p.m. Blue Ash Town Square, Cooper and Hund roads, Blue Ash, OH 45242. 513-549-2197. Enjoy some music under the stars as Michael Chertock leads the BAMSO in a program of appropriate favorites, including “Fanfare for the Common Man,” “Armed Forces Salute” and a Duke Ellington suite.

Tuesday, May 31

Harriet Beecher Stowe House, “Who Controls the Narrative?” | 2950 Gilbert Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45206. 513-751-0651. DETAILS: This is the last day for this exhibit, but how could I not recommend a presentation of history and newspapers? Not that this is a feel-good exhibit: It looks at the role of Cincinnati newspapers in encouraging anti-Black violence in the city during the 19th century. Includes timelines and maps of mob activity in town and printing artifacts, courtesy of the Cincinnati Print & Type Museum. (Did you know we have a print and type museum?) There’s also a fine online version if you can’t get there in person.

Moyen Age

Christ Church Cathedral, Moyen Age | 12:10 p.m. 18 E. Fourth St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-621-1817 DETAILS: For something completely different, step back a few years, by which we mean around 1,000 years, for a concert of Medieval music. It’s the end of the cathedral’s Live at Lunch series. You’ll forget about the office in no time.

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