At times, it’s almost too much … until I remember there are 2.26 million of you to absorb the onslaught of art being made in and around Our Fair City. Here’s what I ask: Take a risk. Explore something new. Bring a friend. Make art a verb – your verb.
Wednesday, Nov. 9
Holocaust & Humanity Center, “Different Trains” | 7 p.m. Union Terminal. 513-487-3055. DETAILS: This iconic 1988 work by Steve Reich presents a semi-autobiographical account of the Holocaust that electronically mixes his memories of being a Jewish child in the 1940s with those of child-survivors of the Holocaust who later recorded their testimonies. Cincinnati’s 4-Way String Quartet also performs African-American composer Rhiannon Giddens’ song, “At the Purchaser’s Option.” The two pieces together evoke memories of oppression and dehumanization, experienced by Jews during the Holocaust and African Americans slaves.
Joseph-Beth Booksellers, “The Cincinnati Bengals: An Illustrated Timeline” | 7 p.m. 2692 Madison Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45208. 513-396-8960. DETAILS: The best part of this project is that neither author is a Bengals fan, at least by birth. Jeff Suess roots for the 49ers and Rick Pender is a Cleveland native, albeit some 45 years ago. Perhaps because of their emotional distance, the two have tackled this with a fresh perspective, and apparent lack of disillusionment, that shines from beginning to end. A ton of cool photos, as well, said this proud owner.
Valley View Nature Preserve, Full Moon Hike | 5:30 p.m. 5330 South Milford Road, Milford, OH 45150. DETAILS: If the forecast holds, this could be a perfect opportunity for a relatively balmy moonlit hike through this underappreciated 190-acre nature preserve located along the East Fork Little Miami River. All ages are welcome, but the hike is approximately two miles. Meet at sunset at Valley View’s southern entrance behind Pattison Elementary. Check Valley View on Facebook in case of last minute changes.
Thursday, Nov. 10
College-Conservatory of Music, “Through the Looking Glass” | 7:30 p.m. Corbett Theater, University of Cincinnati. 513-556-4183. DETAILS: Musica Nova, led by CCM’s Kevin Michael Holzman, presents a program of contemporary compositions in homage to past eras, composers and compositions, and featuring harpsichordist Michael Delfin.
Xavier Music Series, Fred Hersch Trio | 8 p.m. Bellarmine Chapel, Xavier University. 513-745-3161. DETAILS: Hometown boy Hersch returns for a performance that’s part of this year’s tribute to artists with local and regional ties. NOTE VENUE: The intimacy of Bellarmine Chapel should provide a unique atmosphere in which to hear the 15-time Grammy nominee’s relatively new trio. A several-time physical survivor of rare proportions, Hersch has carved out a truly unique career as performer and composer.
Friday, Nov. 11
Cincinnati Art Museum, “Beyond Bollywood: 2000 Years of Dance in Art” | 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 953 Eden Park Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-721-2787. DETAILS: Entering a season when (count ’em) four “Nutcrackers” will be on the calendar, it’s only appropriate that the CAM balances things out with 20 centuries of South Asian art featuring movement and dance. We easily forget how integral dance has been in so many facets of our lives…up until the last century. You can strike a pose daily from Friday through Feb. 5.
Cincinnati Museum Center, “Holiday Junction” | 1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45203. 513-287-7000. DETAILS: The opening of this Queen City classic exhibit each year is what signals the beginning of the holiday season for me. When I was a kid, a model train set was on every young boy’s gift list. But there’s so much more to see while you’re at the Museum Center: “Dinosaurs of Antarctica,” “America’s Epic Treasures” featuring “Preternatural” by Michael Scott, and the new John A. and Judy Ruthven Get Into Nature Gallery that opened on Sunday. Take your time…
Cincinnati Pops, “Get Happy: Judy Garland Centennial” | 7:30 p.m. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-381-3300. DETAILS: Conductor John Morris Russell welcomes legendary songster/pianist Michael Feinstein and his centennial tribute concert to the talented, but troubled Judy Garland. Smooth where Judy was brassy, Feinstein nonetheless brings an elegance and sophistication to this tour through her life and songs, including big screen film clips, never-before-seen photosand rare audio recordings. Sound like a rare treat. Repeats Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon.
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, “Little Women” | 7:30 p.m. 1195 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-381-2273. DETAILS: I find it fascinating that, while women were subjegated and worse throughout the 19th century, many of the enduring stories that bear retelling and reimagining were authored by women … such as Louisa May Alcott, here, and Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, and many more. If you enjoyed “Pride and Prejudice” last season, this adaptation is from the same pen – Kate Hamill. What remains compelling here are the universal truths, the humanity of these young women, as they navigate the stupid world we men made them traverse. Runs through Dec. 3.
Manifest Gallery, opening | 6-9 p.m. 2727 Woodburn Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45206. 513-861-3638. DETAILS: What makes Manifest so interesting is the infusion of art from across the country – in this case, artists from 17 states, plus Washington D.C. “Arch” consists of works exploring made space. “Fourth Wall” features art that challenges the frame. “Balance” explores composition. Won’t you come explore? On display until Dec. 9.
Saturday, Nov. 12
Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, “An Orchestral Puzzler” | 7:30 p.m. Greaves Hall, Northern Kentucky University. 859-431-6216. DETAILS: Has J.R. Cassidy finally lost his mind? A program of music by Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Brian Eno and Philip Glass? Does he know something we don’t? That could very well be, so it’s certainly worth checking out. Zappa, for one, was at least 50 years ahead of his time, which would make this about the right time to hear his orchestral works, including “Yellow Shark.” Good for you, J.R.
Playhouse in the Park, “The Lion” | 7:30 p.m. Warsaw Federal Incline Theater, Price Hill. 513-421-3888. DETAILS: The last installment of the Playhouse’s Queen City fall tour (while construction of the new theater is completed), this revival of Benjamin Scheuer’s semi-autobiographical one-man musical comes directly from a London engagement. Max Alexander Taylor, accompanied only by a handful of guitars, shares this hybrid of singer-songwriter concert and coming of age story. Thru Dec. 4. The new theater will be unveiled in March.
Taft Museum of Art, Holiday enhancements | 316 Pike St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-241-0343. DETAILS: The Taft is dressing things up a bit for the holidays, specifically the Dining Room and the Duncanson Foyer. In the former, new silver tea and coffee service pieces and table decor have inspired a series of Holiday Teas on select Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in December, held in the cafe. The foyer transfoprmation is in partnership with Wave Pool’s Welcome Project, which seeks to empower Cincinnati’s refugee and immigrant population. A festive tree and installation, “Vuelo Sin Fronteras / Flight Without Borders,” features an array of paper and fabric birds, butterflies and flowers, plus a paper nest to explore the concepts of migration, belonging, and diversity. You can enjoy these enhancements through Jan. 8.
Tiger Lily Press, “Local Ink” | 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Evendale Cultural Arts Center. 859-760-6070. DETAILS: This is the 15th annual printmakers market, produced and hosted by Tiger Lily, and featuring work by 35 print artists from across the region. One might call this one-day event “all the holiday gifts fit to print.” Might as well get started early.
Vocal Arts Ensemble, “Mass for the Endangered” | 7:30 p.m. Christ Church Cathedral. 513-381-3300. DETAILS: This concert was postponed because of COVID. Thankfully, music director Craig Hella Johnson brought it back. Composer Sarah Kirkland Snider has woven together texts from the Latin Mass and original text by Nathaniel Bellows as a call to action for all of us to become stewards of our planet. The music is profoundly beautiful – at times as delicate as environmental balance, and at others a powerful plea for attention. Full disclosure: I get to be part of the group that shares this very special piece with you.
Wave Pool Gallery and The Welcome Project, “Room For Two Table For Ten” | 2940 Colerain Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45225. DETAILS: The people at Wave Pool are busy. In addition to the above-mentioned installation at the Taft Museum, here is an opening of a Welcome Project “Welcome (M)Art,” Art/Food Residency. Experiencing this exhibit and immersion, featuring Vietnamese artist Ngoc Nguyen, the viewer will reportedly “be engaged in different situations and contexts such as family gathering meals or Vietnamese style street food stalls.” “Welcome (M)Art” is a program that blurs the lines between art gallery, grocery and dinner party; providing a unique opportunity for social discourse. On view through Dec. 10.
Sunday, Nov. 13
Art Equals, Woolly Fest | Noon-4 p.m. Hellmann Creative Center, 321 W. MLK Blvd, Studio 6, Covington, KY 41011. DETAILS: Art Equals is a nonprofit working to empower everyone to be an artist, in this case those involved in the “fiber community.” Whether you are a knitter, goat raiser, wool dyer, spinner, or lover of all things fluffy, then Woolly Fest might be for you. Shopping, demonstrations, the sharing of new techniques – all are on the table at this inaugural event, just in time for sweater season.
Chamber Music Cincinnati, Ritz Chamber Players | 4 p.m. Word of Deliverance Ministries, Forest Park. 513-342-6870. DETAILS: Continuing its commitment to showcase diverse ensembles in diverse venues, CMC presents the long-celebrated Ritz Players in a program loaded with first-rate African American composers (Margaret Bonds, Agustus Hailstork, Jonathon Bailey Holland…) along with songs by André Previn and a piano quartet by Dvořák. The concert repeats Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., at Memorial Hall in OTR.
Cincinnati World Cinema, Julia Reichert 50 Years in Film: “Seeing Red” | 4 p.m. Garfield Theatre, 719 Race St., Cincinnati 45202. 859-957-3456. DETAILS: The final installment in CWC’s retrospective, this 1983 documentary by Julia Reichert and Jim Klein tells the forgotten history and adventures of ordinary Americans who joined the Communist Party and the high price many of them paid during the Red Scare in the 1950s. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, “In Memoriam” | 3 p.m. 325 W. 8th St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-421-5354. DETAILS: On Nov. 13, 2021, I sang beside tenor Marco Panuccio with the St. Peter in Chains Cathedral Choir in a performance with the Kentucky Symphony. Two weeks later, Marco died within a just few days from contracting COVID-19. This concert of works by Marco’s favorite composers is a tribute to his larger-than-life personality and his contributions to SPC and the Cincinnati musical community: Herbert Howells: Magnificat & Nunc (Gloucester), Benjamin Britten: “Rejoice in the Lamb,” and Morten Lauridsen: “Lux Aeterna.” RIP, Marco. Honored to have been your colleague.
Monday, Nov. 14
New Downbeat, Fall Fest | 7 p.m. Woodward Theater, Over-the-Rhine. DETAILS: This intrepid ensemble’s fourth season kicks off with a showcase of local artists, including: Brooks Plays Strings, OLEA Ensemble, Wayside Winds and – the host band – New Downbeat. New Downbeat is a new music collective featuring women musicians who perform works exclusively by living composers.
Tuesday, Nov. 15
Cincinnati Arts Association, Black Violin | 7:30 p.m. Procter & Gamble Hall, Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-621-2787. DETAILS: Classically trained Wil B. (viola) and Kev Marcus (violin) are joined onstage by DJ SPS and drummer Nat Stokes for Black Violin’s Give Thanks Holiday Tour. Blending and juxtaposing classical and hip-hop is quite frankly the point, with the goal of breaking down stereotypes about what instruments Black musicians play and how string instruments can be used to cross genre barriers.
Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative, “Not Just Cousins” | Fifth Third Bank Theater, Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-621-ARTS. DETAILS: Former advertising exec Susan Medure Decatur penned this “fictionalized memoir inspired by the lives of two small-town, teenage girls in the “sexy seventies.” As these close-knit cousins grapple with how to break out of their working class lives, we watch them grow into fearless females navigating the balance between career and family while remaining true to themselves and each other until fate steps in.” A chance to watch new theater being birthed.