A sprinkling of holiday-themed events awaits this week, among a truly interesting smorgasbord of experiences. The key is finding the ones that will transport you where you’d like to go.
Wednesday, Nov. 30
Behringer-Crawford Museum, NKY History Hour: “Oldest Northern Kentucky“ | 6:30 p.m. Virtual. 859-491-4003. DETAILS: Local historian and author Rick Pender literally wrote the book on “Oldest Cincinnati.” In this virtual session, Pender shines a specific light on Northern Kentucky history dating back to 14,000 BC – its events, people, buildings and unique historical features. Pender and co-author Jeff Suess have also just released a history of the Bengals, “The Cincinnati Bengals: An Illustrated Timeline.” (Christmas shopping, anyone?) Register to receive Zoom link. The event will also be streamed live on BCM’s Facebook page.
Ensemble Theatre, “The Dancing Princesses” | 7:30 p.m. 1127 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-421-3555. DETAILS: This lesser-known Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale unravels the mystery of how the shoes of five princesses are worn to tatters each night when their owners are locked away in the castle by their overprotective father. From the production team of local playwright Joseph McDonough and composer/lyricist David Kisor, this is a reprise from the 2017 hollday season. Directed by D. Lynn Meyers. Runs through Dec. 30.
Northern Kentucky University, “Things Past Telling” | 6:30 p.m. Eva G. Farris Reading Room, W. Frank Steely Library, Highland Heights, KY 41099. DETAILS: Author Sheila Williams has had quite a year. In addition to the release of this historical novel, she appeared on our M&M June magazine cover, having crafted the libretto for a world premiere at Cincinnati Opera, “Fierce.” Here’s a chance to meet her in person and hear about her writing. Event is free.
Thursday, Dec. 1
Cincinnati Art Museum, “Singin’ in the Rain” | 7 p.m. Fath Auditorium, 953 Eden Park Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-721-2787. DETAILS: A rare chance to view this classic on the big screen. Perhaps one of the greatest dance movies of all time, thanks to the intense perfectionism of Gene Kelly and the perseverance of Debbie Reynolds, Donald O’Connor (see above) and Cyd Charisse.
Lloyd Library and Museum, “Floral Empires: Plant Hunting and Painting in Victorian Britain” | 5 p.m. 917 Plum St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-721-3707. DETAILS: Current Lloyd Fellow Lindsay Wells discusses her research involving how thousands of new plants entered British gardens from abroad during the nineteenth century, often traveling through imperial networks of travel, trade and cultural exchange. And many of these exotic beauties made their way into artworks of all kinds.
Friday, Dec. 2
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, “Gershwin & The Planets” | 7:30 p.m. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-381-3300. DETAILS: Each guest conductor this season might be viewed through the lens of “Is he or she next?” as the search continues for the next CSO music director. Giancarlo Guerrero certainly piques one’s interest, as he continues to impress in Nashville, and walks the walk in creating and showcasing new repertoire. This handsome, family-friendly concert offers Holst‘s ever-popular celestial suite, Gershwin‘s lesser-known, but smashing, Rhapsody No. 2 – featuring pianist Michelle Cann – plus a work, “The Observatory,” by Pulitzer-winner Caroline Shaw, who is quietly re-defining what it means to be a 21st-century composer. Concert repeats Saturday evening.
Essex Studios, Art Walk | 6-10 p.m. 2511 Essex Pl., Cincinnati, OH 45206. 513-476-2170. DETAILS: Several dozen prominent local artists share their current work, offering yet another opportunity to buy local and acquire something timeless. Repeats Saturday evenining, in case that’s preferable.
- Dec. 2-3. 6-10 p.m.
Visionaries & Voices, “Holly Dazed” | 5-8 p.m. 3841 Spring Grove Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45223. 513-861-4333. DETAILS: V+V is an inclusive arts organization providing creative, professional, and educational opportunities for adults with disabilities. This annual holiday show kicks off with an opening party and continues through Jan. 14. You’ll find unique art, crafts and more and support a wonderful cause in the process.
Saturday, Dec. 3
Cincinnati Black Theatre, “Black Nativity” | 2 & 7:30 p.m. Word of Delieverance, 693 Fresno Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45240. 513-621-ARTS. DETAILS: This 1961, all-black-cast adaptation of the Nativity story by the visionary Langston Hughes returns with this year’s theme: “God is Still in Control.” Overflowing with gospel goodness, this local production is created fresh each year. Repeats next Friday and Saturday. Small coincidence: I’ll be in Hughes’ hometown of Joplin, Missouri, this weekend for a family wedding.
College-Conservatory of Music, “Feast of Carols” | 2 & 5 p.m. Corbett Auditorium, CCM Village, University of Cincinnati. 513-556-4183. DETAILS: Affectionately known for decades as “The Beast,” this big sing features not only the CCM choral and orchestral community, but high school and other guest choirs as well. CCM’s fabulous new head of choral studies, Joe Miller, leads an esteemed cast of conducting colleagues, joined by CCM faculty member, world-renowned tenor Stuart Skelton. Repeats same times on Sunday.
Cultural Centre of India, Bollywood Dance Party | 1:30 p.m. Great Hall, Cincinnati Art Museum, Eden Park. DETAILS: For three decades. the Cultural Centre of India has been offering dance classes, workshops and performances sharing India’s traditional dance styles and culture. This interactive dance performance is in support of the CAM’s “Beyond Bollywood: 2000 Years of Dance in Art” exhibit, on display through Feb. 5.
Findlay Market, Holiday Market | 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Over-the-Rhine. DETAILS: Weekends are always hopping at Findlay, but the festivities and holiday spirit are ramped up starting Saturday and Sunday (10 a.m.-4 p.m.). You can even buy your Christmas tree and receive a free ornament from Findlay tenant, Lucca.
Sunday, Dec. 4
Blue Ash Montgomery Symphony Orchestra, Kindel Memorial Holiday Concert | 7 p.m. Summit City Church, Montgomery. 513-549-2197. DETAILS: Known for it’s large-scale outdoor summer events, the BAMSO band, led by the gifted Michael Chertock, here offers a wide-ranging program of orchestral and choral favorites for the holidays, featuring the Cincinnati Choral Society, directed by Phil Clary. BAMSO is made up of outstanding professionals and displays the true depth of instrumental talent we have here in the Tristate.
Collegium Cincinnati, “Messiah” | 3 p.m. Christ Church Cathedral. DETAILS: What’s a Christmas season without Handel’s masterpiece? The composer tossed off this inspiration in a matter of weeks in the fall of 1741 and the musical world has never been the same. This performance, by the choral and orchestral pros of Collegium Cincinnati, marks the debut of Matthew Phelps as music director, who returns to his hometown to broaden the niche for this ensemble known for its Baroque interpretations.
Westwood First Presbyterian, James Bunte Jazz Trio | 2:30 p.m. 3011 Harrison Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211. 513-661-6846. DETAILS: Saxophonist James Bunte deftly straddles the line between classical and jazz, frequently augmenting the CSO in music by Prokofiev or Ravel. But here he wades deep into the jazz pool, accompanied by fellow CCM colleagues Kim Pensyl on piano and Aaron Jacobs on bass. The Great American Songbook is on the agenda, aided by vocalist Emily Jordan.
Monday, Dec. 5
Woodward Theater, “The Center of Nowhere” | 7:30 p.m. 1404 Main St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-345-7981. DETAILS: Seeing that I will be in proximity this coming weekend, for a family wedding, it’s only fitting that I mention this documentary about the “overlooked” music scene in Springfield, Missouri. You can travel with me without leaving OTR.
Tuesday, Dec. 6
Chamber Music Cincinnati, Escher Quartet with Terence Wilson | 7:30 p.m. Memorial Hall, Over-the-Rhine. 513-342-6870. DETAILS: This groundbreaking concert series continues with a visit by New York’s vaunted Escher String Quartet, joined by award-winning pianist Terence Wilson. The program includes quartets by Haydn and Bartok and George Walker‘s Lyric for Strings. Wilson chimes in on Brahms epic Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34. This concert will also be offered on Sunday, 4 p.m., at New Prospect Baptist Church in Roselawn. I highlight this Tuesday encore performance to remind people there are two opportunities to experience this special concert.