This week encompasses the full spectrum, from cultural events about our history to contemporary dance, from al fresco art and music to a trio of film events (one celebrating the outdoors), two Iranian artists standing up to fundamentalist oppression, an exploration of what financially divides us, new and traditional theater, art from around the nation, plus with a variety of music that illustrates our shared humanity. There’s a lot to take in.
Wednesday, April 19
Behringer-Crawford Museum, NKY History Hour: Riding the Rails | 6:30 p.m. Virtual. 859-491-4003. DETAILS: Author and historian Charles Bogart shares the history of the horsecar and streetcar lines that operated in Kentucky between 1860 and 1950. Beginning with horse-drawn cars and later evolving into electric powered ones, the streetcars were far faster than any earlier form of transportation at the time.
Cincinnati Landmark Productions, “Clue: The Musical” | 7:30 p.m. Incline Theater, East Price Hill. 513-241-6550. DETAILS: What makes this show especially fun is the interactivity. You get to participate in finding out whodunit among 216 possibilities. Continues Wednesday-Sunday through May 14.
Cincinnati World Cinema, “No Bears” | 7 p.m. Garfield Theatre, 719 Race St., Cincinnati 45202. 859-957-3456. DETAILS: The “Bears” in the film title comes from a local saying and is a metaphor for fear – real or imagined. In essence it is a device, a warning, saying “don’t risk, don’t trust, don’t cross boundaries – the bears will get you.” Iranian director Jafar Panahi has shown that he is not afraid of the bears that do and do not exist even though he has been hounded, censored and imprisoned (several times) for his work.
Cincinnati Zoo, Barrows Conservation Lecture: Kate Davis: “Fifty Years as a Junior Zoologist” | 7 p.m. 3400 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45220. 513-281-4700. DETAILS: In a testament to childhood inspiration, Kate (Phillips) Davis got her start at the Cincinnati Zoo with the Junior Zoologist Club at age 13 and went on to found the education program Raptors of the Rockies 35 years ago. She still runs the program from the banks of the Bitterroot River in Western Montana. Her birds are the sources of inspiration for her drawings, paintings, etchings, welded steel sculptures, photography and writing.
Elena Masrour: “I can chew gum all day long,” oil on canvas, 60″ x 50″
PAR-Projects, Elena Masrour: “Bingo, I’m the King, Now” | 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 1662 Hoffner St., Cincinnati, OH 45223. DETAILS: Must be radical Irananian artist week. Iranian-born painter Elena Masrour creates fantastical, large-scale paintings that place unfettered female figures front and center to critique the Islamic fundamentalist beliefs that control women’s lives and limit their freedoms in her home country. An artist talk and reception is scheduled for Saturday, May 20, 5-8 p.m. Exhibit continues through June 17.
Thursday, April 20
Cincinnati Zoo, Tune & Blooms | 5-8:30 p.m. 3400 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45220. 513-281-4700. DETAILS: According to the forecast, summer is on the menu Thursday (80 degrees!). If it holds, this could be a glorious night for some live al fresco music among the amazing flora and fauna. An opportunity to cheat spring a little. Curt Kiser has an impressive musical pedigree. He and his and friends in Carriers have a fresh, rhythmically interesting sound. Take a listen above…
Northern Kentucky University, Albertine Cinémathèque Festival of French Films | 6 p.m. Griffin Hall Digitorium, Nunn Dr., Highland Heights, KY 41099. DETAILS: How lucky we are to have all these options to view non-mainstream films. The final showing in NKU’s French film festival – “Le Cercle Rouge” (The Red Circle) – features a tale of strange bedfellows (including Yves Montand) – an ex-con master thief, a notorious escapée and an alcoholic former policeman – planning a heist. What follows is taut and tense, with a minimum of dialogue. Check out the trailer.
Skirball Museum, “Beyond Borders: The Art of Siona Benjamin” | 5:30-8 p.m. Hebrew Union College, 3101 Clifton Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45220. DETAILS: Siona Benjamin has a distinct and unusual heritage as a descendant of the Bene Israel Jewish community of India, and this informs her creative expression, which projects a feminist, Jewish and political bent. According to Skirball, “Immigration, gender, the concept of ‘home,’ and the role of art in social change are explored through vibrantly hued paintings.” Benjamin will speak at 6:15 p.m. The exhibit is on display until July 30.
Friday, April 21
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Mahler Symphony No. 7 | 11 a.m. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-381-3300. DETAILS: Gustav Mahler composed symphonic mountains and this is one of his grandest. (Interestingly, you’ll also be able to experience his Symphony No. 8 in just a month or so, as it closes this year’s May Festival.) It often takes a composer to truly understand another’s work, so it will be enlightening to hear how composer/conductor Matthias Pintscher, the CSO’s artistic partner this season, scales this massive, 80 minutes of music known as “Song of the Night.” Repeats Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Know Theatre, “Bankers” | 1120 Jackson St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-300-5669. DETAILS: The final show in Know’s (amazingly) 25th season is a world premiere. “Bankers,” by local playwright and professor Brant Russell, is described as “a darkly funny and explosive world-premiere drama about the last town left in a post-apocalyptic world, and the ways we come together – and the ways we fracture – when the chips are down.” The citizens must decide what’s worth saving in the apocalypse … and in the world that comes after. Sometimes it feels like we’re close to that, right? Show runs through May 14.
Manifest Gallery, Four new exhibits | 6-9 p.m. 2727 Woodburn Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45206. 513-861-3638. DETAILS: Manifest was founded in-part to stand for the importance of drawing as a process, skill and discipline. The annual exhibit, DRAWN, showcases this year the 22 best entries from across the nation. “Multi-Figure” is self-explanatory, incorporating works from nine artists incorporating multiple “figures” (self-defined) in their image. “Chimaera” celebrates the separate-but-equal nature of hybrids maintaining a semblance of self-identity. And “History and Legend (Listening to Jackalopes),” shares recent works by Patricia Bellan-Gillen, whose art is said to mix personal narrative with fairytales. Continues through May 19.
Ohio River Foundation, Wild & Scenic Film Festival | 7:30 p.m. Woodward Theater, Over-the-Rhine. DETAILS: One of the largest environmental film festivals in North America, this evening of 11 short films hopes to to inspire environmental activism and a love for nature: “I Am Salmon,” “A Flyfishing Refugee,” “Endangered Migration: A Monarch Butterfly Story,” “The Rock Pool Waltz,” “An Alaskan Fight,” “Iridescent,” “If You Give a Beach a Bottle,” “Voices from the Water,” “Black Like Plastic,” “A Baffin Vacation,” “The Voice of a River.”
Saturday, April 22
College-Conservatory of Music, CCM Chamber Choir: “Path of Miracles” | 7:30 p.m. Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington. 513-556-4183. DETAILS: If you missed the Vocal Arts Ensemble’s performance of this work in January (as did I), here’s your second chance, in a performance by CCM’s top choir led by Joe Miller. Composer Joby Talbot‘s work is a journey past the four main posts along the Camino de Santiago, one of the most taxing pilgrimage routes in the Roman Catholic tradition. Although this is new music, it evokes ancient rituals, and is sung in Greek, Latin, Spanish, Basque, French, English and German, reflecting the worldwide impact of the Catholic faith.
Exhale Dance Tribe, “Equal/Night” | 8 p.m. Jarson Kaplan Theater, Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-621-2787. DETAILS: This new production presents an evening of dance reflecting “the balance of light and dark as we realign ourselves with the cycles of nature.” Choreographers are Jennifer Rutherford, Exhale artistic directors Missy and Andrew Hubbard, and Exhale company member Madison Welchman. Info is scarce on this production, but Missy and Andrew are among the very best dance creatives in the region, and need to share more often. Not to be missed.
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Solidarity Day | 10 a.m-5 p.m. 50 E. Freedom Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-333-7500. DETAILS: The Freedom Center views this event as an opportunity for the community to learn more about the growing financial divide in the US, and to be inspired to bridge that gap. The day will feature $5-off admission, a financial and mortgage homeownership education session, plus the opportunity to hear directly from the nation’s leading activist in the fight against poverty – a separate, ticketed evening keynote featuring Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II. (reception: 5:30 p.m. talk: 6:30 p.m., $40/members and $50/non-members.)
Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum, Art & Earth Day | 9 a.m.-8 p.m. 1763 Hamilton-Cleves Rd., State Route 128, Hamilton, OH 45013. 513-868-1234. DETAILS: This annual celebration of art and nature encompasses Arbor Day, Earth Day and International Sculpture Day. Features Art Academy and DAAP students’ temporary sculptures, sculpting demos, a high school art competition, food, music and much more. Park members: free; non-members: adult/$10, child 6-12 years/$5, under 5/free.
Queen City Clay, Spring Pottery Sale | 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Imagination Alley, 1317 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. DETAILS: More than 40 QCC vendors will be selling handmade ceramics and more. Coffee and food for sale, or you have plenty of options within just a couple blocks in the heart of OTR.
Sunday, April 23
Bach Ensemble at St. Thomas, Bach Vespers for Easter | 5 p.m. Christ Church Cathedral, downtown. 513-831-2052. DETAILS: If the trek to Terrace Park has hindered your attendance at one of these Vesper services, this one may be closer to home and is a joint venture with the host Christ Church Choir. The J.S. Bach cantata this month is “Bleib bei uns, den es will Abend warden” (Stay with us, for evening falls), BWV 6, from 1725. And the service closes with Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 played by some of the best Baroque musicians in town. In between is a spiritual hymn by the late Moses Hogan.
Linton Chamber Music, “Noteworthy Piano Quartets” | 4 p.m. First Unitarian Church, Avondale. 513-381-6868. DETAILS: The regional debut of this newly formed ensemble features well-known works by Brahms (Piano Quartet No. 2 in A Major, Op. 26, 1861) and Fauré (Piano Quartet No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 15, 1879, rev. 1883), plus a little-known work for viola and piano, “Morpheus” (1919) by pioneering English/American violist and composer Rebecca Clarke. Can’t make it Sunday? Concert repeats Monday, 7:30 p.m., at Loveland’s Congregation Beth Adam on Loveland-Madeira Road.
Playhouse in the Park, August Wilson: “Seven Guitars” | 2 p.m. Rouse Theatre, 962 Mt. Adams Circle, Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-421-3888. DETAILS: (This is a preview performance; opening night is April 27.) The second show in the new Moe and Jack’s Place (First was “A Chorus Line”) is another Tony-Award-winning, musically-themed play, this time tinged in blues, literally and figuratively. Set in 1948, this is the story of how the premature death of a close friend, who was well on the road to success, alters the lives of seven of his friends. Runs through May 14.
Monday, April 24
Art Academy of Cincinnati, “Before I Leave” | 1212 Jackson St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-562-6262. DETAILS: Another spring week means another cache of creative energy from five students about to graduate from AAC. If you can’t get there during the day next week, a closing reception happens, 5-8 p.m., Friday, April 28.
Tuesday, April 25
Cincinnati Pops, Ben Folds | 7:30 p.m. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-381-3300. DETAILS: If I were a betting man, I would not wager that tickets still remain for this one-night-only performance of such a pop music icon (limited seats remain as of this writing). But I think this appearance represents inspired progamming and should be called out as such, even if your procrasination has left you high and dry. Good luck, though. Worth a try!