Culture FIX: May 17-23

Lots of dynamic offerings this week – including AI art – as evidenced by a record eight (8!) embedded videos. This is transition time, from regular season to summer season, so expect the unexpected. But May Festival remains embedded in our culture like clockwork – 150 years and counting. Amazing. (Have you ever been?)

Wednesday, May 17

Broadway Across America, “Moulin Rouge! The Musical!” | Procter & Gamble Hall, Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., downtown. 513-721-3344. DETAILS: I’ve seen the movie, so am interested to see how they cram all that opulence on a stage, even one as large as Procter & Gamble Hall. We are going Thursday, so hope to see some of you there. The show runs through June 4. (In case you didn’t know, you can pick up a copy of M&M near the Seventh Street Weston Gallery entrance. The June issue will be distributed May 26.)

Thursday, May 18

Workmates cheer at last year’s CincyJams.

ArtsWave, CincyJams | 7 p.m. Hard Rock Casino Cafe. DETAILS: Company bands vie for glory in support of the annual ArtsWave campaign. It’s a rowdy, fun evening and (at least) some of the groups are pretty good! The band line-up includes: altafiber, The Christ Hospital, Fifth Third Bank, GE Aerospace (two bands), Great American Insurance Group (two bands), Jake Sweeney Automotive, Kroger, Music Resource Center of the YMCA, P&G, Ron Chambers Group and TriHealth.

ArtWorks, Wet Paint | 6 p.m. 21c Museum Hotel, 609 Walnut St., downtown. 513-333-0388. DETAILS: Wet Paint is a quarterly event series that offers a look behind the scenes of the organization’s upcoming projects, centering on the artists “who make our city vibrant.” In this instance, the artist is Joe Walsh, who works in illustration, animation and film (see above). He’ll talk about creating public art and other arts-based projects. The bonus is you get to check out the very cool, world-class contemporary art on the main and second floors of 21c. Grab a cocktail or glass of wine at the bar and cruise the galleries.

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center“Rhythms of the Land” | 6 p.m. 50 East Freedom Way, The Banks. 513-333-7500. DETAILS: This documentary is considered a “love letter to generations of black farmers” from slavery to the present, exploring how devotion to the land and its bounty created and still creates community. A panel discussion following the film – including a local chef, a food advocate, a farmer and a youth activist – examines what lessons can be learned and how to apply them.

Studio Kroner, “Yes But Is It Art?,” | Opening reception: 6-9 p.m. 130 W. Court St., Downtown. DETAILS: Like it or not, Artificial intelligence-generated “art” is here to stay. This is happening much faster than anyone expected, right? The question is: “Yes, but is it art?” For this monthlong exhibit, gallery owner Paul Kroner has invited five artists who explore AI in their work as they investigate the creative potential and limitations of “text to image” based artwork: Alan Brown, Patrick Lichty, Judy Bommarito, Teri Campbell and Brandy VanGessel. An artist talk is Saturday at 1 p.m., a panel discussion is Wednesday, May 31 at 6 p.m. Interesting and scary at the same time. Check it out.

Friday, May 19

May Festival, Opening Concert: 150th Anniversary | 7:30 p.m. Music Hall, Over-the-Rhine. 513-381-3300. DETAILS: To open its sesquicentennial season, principal conductor Juanjo Mena will contrast new and old. The concert features world premieres by Sir James McMillan and James Lee III followed by J.S. Bach‘s marvelous Magnificat, given its American premiere at the 1875 May Festival. The proceedings continue Saturday evening with “American Voices,” led by esteemed conductor Marin Alsop, in works by Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland and Robert Nathaniel Dett. Learn more about what 150 years has meant to the city, c/o David Lyman.

Saturday, May 20

Artistic Director Spencer Zembrodt

Cincinnati Men’s Chorus, “Friends” | 2 p.m. Memorial Hall, Over-the-Rhine. 513-542-2626. DETAILS: There is an indomitable spirit to Men’s Chorus concerts, a palpable passion and enthusiasm. In this show, led by new artistic director Spencer Zembrodt, the local men are joined by “Friends” from the Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus for twice the fun as Pride month looms on the near horizon. Repeats Sunday afternoon, same time.

Sunday, May 21

Chamber Music Cincinnati, Juilliard String Quartet | 4 p.m. Corinthian Baptist Church, 1920 Tennessee Ave, Bond Hill. 513-342-6870. DETAILS: Winner of five Grammys (including a lifetime achievment award) and many other prestigious awards, this quartet – founded in 1946 as the Juilliard School’s quartet-in-residence – has long been among the most celebrated foursomes in the world. The program includes quartets by Mendelssohn (No. 6 in F Minor, Op. 80) and Dvořák (No. 12 in F Major, Op. 96, “American”) and a world premiere, String Quartet No. 2, by Tyson Davis, commissioned by the Kennedy Center, Chamber Music Cincinnati and DaCamera Society of Houston. As with most CMC concerts, this one repeats Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., at Memorial Hall in OTR.

Cincinnati World Cinema, “In Viaggio: The Travels of Pope Francis” | 4 p.m. Garfield Theatre, 719 Race St., downtown. 859-957-3456. DETAILS: This documentary is about what has been called the “reverse pilgramage” of Pope Francis, who visited 53 countries in his first nine years, taking the church to the people rather than waiting for them to come to him.

Organist Brenda Portman and the new instrument at Clifton United Methodist

Clifton United Methodist Church, Rededication Concert | 2 p.m. 3416 Clifton Ave., Clifton. DETAILS: In addition to being one the area’s top organists, Brenda Portman curates Hyde Park Methodist‘s annual organ series, where she serves as organist. The installation of a new pipe organ is a major moment for any congregation, so congrats to CUMC on keeping grand music-making alive in Clifton. This concert features works by Gioseffo Guami, Dietrich Buxtehude, J.S. Bach and Johannes Brahms, as well as diverse works by 20th and 21st century composers, including original works by Ms. Portman.

Members of New Downbeat

New Downbeat, Premieres Concert | DETAILS: 3 p.m. ARCO, Price Hill. DETAILS: Women-led, New Downbeat is a collective that shares music freshly new and mostly generated by women. This concert features premieres by New Downbeat’s composers-in-residence: Nicolas Bizub, Grace Jisong Choi, Lila Meretzky, Julien Monick and Meng Wang.

Wyoming Art Show | 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Worthington Ave., Wyoming. 513-761-1749. DETAILS: This annual art affair is one of the largest juried shows in the region, featuring more than 125 fine arts exhibitors and nearly $5,000 in cash awards. Attendees can also experience music, food and free children’s art activities. Admission and parking are free.

Monday, May 22

Washington Park, Jazz at the Park | 6-9 p.m. The Porch, Over-the-Rhine. DETAILS: Live music has returned to the out of doors once again. Called an “old soul” by Mark Thompson of Blues Music Magazine, 23-year-old Ben Levin plays the blues like a master, and maybe that’s because he’s been playing 100 shows per year since he was 15. Go hear the young man before he wears out.

Woodward Theater, “Cadejo Blanco” | 7:30 p.m. 1404 Main St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-345-7981. DETAILS: Diverging from music-related films this week, the Woodward offers this thriller, which translates as “White Dog,” about the “underbelly” of Guatemalan street gang culture. Cast with mostly non-professional actors, this looks pretty intense, in a good way.

Tuesday, May 23

Ludlow Garage, Leonid & Friends | 7:30 p.m. 342 Ludlow Ave., Clifton. DETAILS: You may not be familiar with this band made up of musicians from Russia, Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus, but if you are a fan of the group Chicago, go hear these guys. Absolutely spot-on to the original. Give a listen above.

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