Culture FIX: Oct. 25-31

It’s nearly Hallowe’en, when, as Joel Benton says,

Pixie, kobold, elf, and sprite
All are on their rounds to-night,—
   In the wan moon’s silver ray
   Thrives their helter-skelter play.

I’m deathly pleased to return briefly as your Culture FIXer. You may shiver from all the things the Queen City offers to those who dare to go out in the next week. Not everything is rooted in ghouls and goblins, though, so clutch your cloak and venture forth!

Wednesday, Oct. 25

Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, We Are One: Hope – “Asylum” | 7 p.m. Christ Church Cathedral, downtown. 513-723-1102. DETAILS: Closing concert of this minifestival centered around issues relating to immigrants, refugees and displaced persons offers contemporary choral reflections by Sir James MacMillan (“Cantos Sagrados”), Caroline Shaw (“To The Hands”) and others. Featured guest choir is Coro Volante, professional singers led by Brett Scott and Krista Cornish Scott. Brett Scott and Daniel Parsley, CCO associate conductor, share podium duties.

Thursday, Oct. 26

Woodward Theater, “Candlelight: Haunted Evening” | 6:30 p.m. 1404 Main St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-345-7981. DETAILS: Candlelight concerts combine multisensory musical experiences (starting with the namesake candle mood lighting) with instrumental arrangements of music across many genres. For the special Halloween edition, expect selections like “Thriller” (yes, the MJ song), Shostakovich quartet excerpts, “Danse Macabre,” “Der Erlkönig,” and a “Nightmare Before Christmas” medley.

Friday, Oct. 27

Conductor James Gaffigan
(Photo by Vera Hartmann)

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, “Ring Without Words” | 7:30 p.m. 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-381-3300. DETAILS: Triumph, treachery, tragedy. The latest from the FTX trial? No, they’re the essence of Richard Wagner’s massive tetralogy, “The Ring of the Nibelungs.” (I did not include this event just to use the word “tetralogy.”) The big impediment to enjoying the “Ring” is its length – 19 hours across four operas – and Mark Twain’s observation that Wagner’s dramas have great moments punctuated by miserable half hours. Conductor James Gaffigan has just the solution: an orchestral compilation of the cycle’s best bits. There are plenty of those, too, from the gods’ procession into Valhalla to the Valkyries ride to the transcendent final immolation. There’s even room for Mozart’s perennial charmer, “A Little Night Music,” plus an overture by Polish violinist and composer Grażyna Bacewicz.

Cincinnati Art Museum, Art After Dark | 5 p.m. 953 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park. 513-721-2787 (ARTS). DETAILS: Nothing says Halloween quite like cocktails, costumes and loud music. In the case of “Night at the Haunted Museum” – the latest incarnation of the CAM’s monthly party series – you can enjoy music from DJ Krispy, performances from Cin City Burlesque, tarot card readings, cash bars and food from Smiles n’ Spice. Guided ghost tours of some of the museum’s spookier places are officially sold out, but a self-guided version is available.

Cincinnati Museum Center, “Reasons for Hope” | Various screenings. 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate. 513-287-7000. DETAILS: The newest offering at the Lindner Family Omnimax Theater travels with, as the Museum Center puts it, “larger-than-life environmentalist” Jane Goodall (what else on an Omnimax screen?) as she highlights stories of nature’s resilience and the new human generation dedicated to helping nature.

If you go this weekend, bring your little monsters along for BOO!seum at the Children’s Museum. Guests in costume receive a $3 discount on admission; there’ll also be entertainment throughout the center’s museums; themed treats to buy; Monster Mash and costume parades at the Children’s Museum; and animal encounters and science experiments.

Saturday, Oct. 28

Middletown Sunset Park, Family Fall Festival | Noon-5 p.m. 2698 Milton Road, Middletown. DETAILS: Outdoor festivals aren’t quite over for the year, so why not get out one last time before the time change plunges us into midafternoon darkness? The spookiest part of this day of family fun will be surviving the trip up I-75. Once you’re there, enjoy live music, including from “American Idol” finalist (and Mason native) Michael Williams; eats from 19 food trucks; a kids zone, hayrides and pumpkin patch; and a farmers market and vendor fair. 

Lauren McAllister leads and performs in a salon concert by VAE.


Vocal Arts Ensemble, “Take Yourself With You” | 2 p.m. Wilks Studio, Music Hall, Over-the-Rhine. 513-381-3300. DETAILS: This may be hard to believe, but, in the pre-mass media world, people actually visited each other for enjoyment and entertainment. For the artistic set of the 18th and 19th centuries, that often meant salon concerts – informal gatherings in the homes of affluent patrons or colleagues. The Vocal Arts Ensemble tries to recreate that atmosphere with its salon concerts series in the intimate Wilks Studio. Five vocalists and a pianist lead an eclectic musical exploration of the roads we take to learn about ourselves: Lauren McAllister, Jackie Stevens, Grace Kiver, Jason Vest and Stephen Michael Hanna, accompanied by David Kirkendall.

Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, “Dr. Divertimento” | 7: 30 p.m. Greaves Hall, Highland Heights. 859-431-6216. DETAILS: Northern Kentucky’s own orchestra kicks off its 32nd season with an entirely un-demented look at the divertimento through the centuries, from pleasant diversion to serious concert piece. You’ll hear works by Mozart, Bartók, Stravinsky and Leonard Bernstein (his highly underestimated Divertimento for Orchestra). For disclosure’s sake: Stop by the edge of the stage and say hello; I’ll be the violinist wearing black.

College-Conservatory of Music, “St. Matthew Passion” | 7:30 p.m. Corbett Auditorium, University of Cincinnati. 513-556-4183. DETAILS: For those seeking a more spiritual experience, CCM’s annual choral masterwork concert this year features Bach’s monumental – i.e., three-hour long – “St. Matthew Passion.” Joe Miller conducts the combined forces of CCM’s Philharmonia Orchestra, Chorale and Cincinnati Youth Choir Bel Canto. The conservatory’s theatrical resources are in on the act, too, adding staging to intensify the already dramatic music.

Aronoff Center, “label•less” | 8 p.m. Jarson-Kaplan Theater, downtown. 513-621-2787 (ARTS). DETAILS: In 2018, Cincinnati artistic power couple Drew and Lea Lachey led an empathy exercise in a theater class. The feelings, heartbreak and inspiration it unlocked led to the creation of a 90-minute musical in which a diverse, young (age 17-27) cast shares thought-provoking stories on difficult topics – race, sexuality, mental health – backed by a contemporary soundtrack. That show, “label•less,” comes back to Cincinnati as part of a tour of the Eastern U.S.

Sunday, Oct. 29

Music Hall, “Lore Live” | 7:30 p.m. 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-621-2787 (ARTS). DETAILS: One need look no further than the news to know the truth can be more frightening than fiction. That’s what the millions of listeners that tune in to each episode of the documentary podcast “Lore” count on. Just in time for the day we celebrate all things scary, Cincinnati Arts Association welcomes Aaron Mahnke, creator of “Lore,” and composer Chad Lawson for an evening of true-life, dark storytelling that explores the creatures, people and places of our wildest nightmares. 

Monday, Oct. 30

Esquire Theatre, “The Exorcist” | 7:30 p.m. 320 Ludlow Ave., Clifton. 513-281-8750. DETAILS: I’m not sure what’s scarier: that it’s been 50 years since “The Exorcist” was released or that another sequel starring Linda Blair and Ellen Burstyn was made this year. As one who respects originals, though, if you haven’t seen the 1973 original, the Esquire’s Shocktober series has a special showing cued up. You’ll never see pea soup the same again.

Tuesday, Oct. 31

Esquire Theatre, “Halloween” | 7:30 p.m. 320 Ludlow Ave., Clifton. 513-281-8750. DETAILS: If you really want to indulge your emotionally masochistic streak, celebrate actual All Hallows Eve with a 45th-anniversary screening (45 years? Really?) of the movie that started a fear-film franchise and made Jamie Lee Curtis a star. Also starring Donald Pleasance. It’s the final installment of the Esquire’s Shocktober series. Save a seat for little Mikey Myers.

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