Halloween is over and all the scary stuff is behind us, right? Oh no, not at all, culture fans! The coming week is haunted by the specters of a flaming Ferrari, a headless body, a demon barber, a witch, a giant, a mermaid, a Big Fish, a substitute-teacher nun and – most frighteningly of all – four ersatz singing Swedes. Intrigued? Read on…
Wednesday, Nov. 1
4-Way Quartet, “Remembrance: An All Saints Day Concert” | 6:30 p.m. All Saints Episcopal Church, 6301 Parkman Place, Pleasant Ridge. DETAILS: First things first: Nov. 1, the day after Halloween, is All Saints’ Day or All Hallows’ Day in Christian tradition, celebrating the bond between the saints in heaven and the living on earth. Cincinnati’s 4-Way Quartet, an ensemble that not only performs concerts but provides free lessons for youngsters through its 4-Way String Project, is now in its seventh year. This concert, appropriate at All Saints Episcopal, features music by Mozart and Barber, with bassist Hollie Greenwood joining violinist Shannon Lock, violinist Maggie Niekamp, violist Kevin Boden and cellist Nat Chaitkin. A catered reception follows.
Thursday, Nov. 2
Miller Gallery, “Notorious” | 5:30-8 p.m. 2715 Erie Ave., Hyde Park Square. 513-871-4420. DETAILS: “Notorious” is definitely a good term for the provocative, controversial photographer Tyler Shields with his striking (some say “over-the-top”), celebrity-oriented images, and the Miller Gallery is premiering a large selection of his new work. Shields will attend the opening for what the gallery promises to be “a suitably eventful evening,” and guests are encourage to dress in all-black attire. Just don’t set your sports cars on fire.
Music Live @ Christ Church, Duo Orchid | 12:05 p.m., Christ Church Glendale, 965 Forest Ave., Glendale. 513-771-1544. DETAILS: As solo artists, Cincinnati-based pianists Angela Lau and Jimmy Cheung each have prize-winning performances to their credit, plus doctoral degrees from CCM. As Duo Orchid, the two already have made a mark in the duo-piano world, recently winning the Ohio International Piano Duet and Duo Competition. This piano-four-hands program will be in the church’s Chapel of the Holy Spirit.
Friday, Nov. 3
Cincinnati Ballet, “Jewels” | 7:30 p.m. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-621-5282. DETAILS: Choreographer George Balanchine’s 1967 “Jewels” is recognized as one of the absolute masterpieces of ballet, as well as the first full-length abstract ballet to be created. Its three acts – named “Emeralds,” “Rubies” and “Diamonds” – are inspired not only by gems and jewelry but by the moods and emotions they evoke, employing music by, respectively, Gabriel Faure (“Pelléas et Mélisande” and “Shylock”), Igor Stravinsky (Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra) and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (“Polish” Symphony No. 3). Cincinnati Ballet appropriately celebrates its 60th (Diamond) anniversary season with this production, joined by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Through Nov. 5.
Tai Shani, “My Bodily Remains” | Opening reception 7-11 p.m. Contemporary Arts Center, 44 E. 6th St., downtown. 513-345-8400. DETAILS: British artist Tai Shani employs painting, sculpture, installation and film to explore “the politics of emancipation through a feminist lens,” notes the CAC. The much-anticipated opening of her first solo exhibition in the United States features a full-length film that studies “the often overlooked connections between leftist resistance movements over the past 150 years.” The reception features a cash bar and light bites, and the opening is free to the public, though CAC requests that attendees register beforehand. Exhibition continues through April 14.
Theatrical Convergence, Part Deux
In a late September Culture FIX, I noted that a bunch of area theater groups had productions opening on the same day. Not surprisingly, it’s time again for a new round of openings. At least a half-dozen shows are in the spotlight, with something for every taste. To highlight a couple of the more intriguing shows:
Loveland Stage Company, “Big Fish,” through Nov. 19. Daniel Wallace’s insightful 1988 “Novel of Mythic Proportions,” later a popular Tim Burton fantasy-drama film, was translated into a Broadway musical in 2013. The story focuses on the relationship between aging traveling salesman Edward Bloom, a tall-tale-teller extraordinaire, and his grown-up son Will, who learns more about his father through a series of stories with a witch, a mermaid and a giant.
Falcon Theatre, “The Head of Pearl Bryan,” Monmouth Theatre, Newport, also Nov. 4. This play by Paul Strickland and Erika Kate MacDonald, commissioned by Falcon Theatre and having its world premiere, is based on a true local story – the mysterious, gruesome murder of a young, pregnant Pearl Bryan in 1896 in Ft. Thomas, and her killers’ subsequent trial and execution (by hanging, behind the Campbell County Courthouse). Her head, by the way, was never found, but her ghost supposedly haunts Bobby Mackey’s Music World in Wilder.
Other productions opening:
Cincinnati Music Theatre performs “The Prom” at the Aronoff Center through Nov. 11; Lebanon Theatre Company stages “The Bridges of Madison County” through Nov. 12; Fitton Center in Hamilton has “Pirate School” on its Family Friday series; Northern Kentucky University’s theater program performs “9 to 5 The Musical” at The Carnegie in Covington through Nov. 11; OK, OK, it actually opens Nov. 2, but I can’t resist adding the Mariemont Players’ “The Book of Will” (through Nov. 19),the dramatized story about how two of William Shakespeare’s friends preserved his work (in the famous First Folio) after the Bard’s death.
Saturday, Nov. 4
Kennedy Collective Exhibition, “Shine” | Opening reception 6-8 p.m. Kennedy Heights Arts Center, 6546 Montgomery Road, Kennedy Heights. 513-631-4278. DETAILS: KHAC’s annual group show includes new work by 19 of its local member artists, in media ranging from painting and photography to collage and fiber. The show also features “Off the Wall,” a selection of smaller works priced at $50 each, with half of the proceeds going to support the center. The opening reception is free to the public, with light refreshments provided. Through Dec. 30.
Dayton Opera, “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” | 7:30 p.m. Victoria Theatre, 138 N. Main St., Dayton, OH. 937-228-3630. DETAILS: This may be Stephen Sondheim, but it’s no Sunday in the park – with or without George. “Sweeney Todd” is a brilliant, witty and cleverly constructed musical, but its dark subject – from a popular Victorian-era story about an obsessive, murderous barber who supplies his landlady with certain raw ingredients for her meat pies – may not be everyone’s cup of elixir. As Dayton Opera warns: “The production contains sexual content, violence, stage blood, gun shots and death.” Yes, but also memorable characters and first-rate music. Also Nov. 5.
Playhouse in the Park, “Late Nite Catechism” | 7:30 p.m., Rosenthal Shelterhouse Theatre, 962 Mt. Adams Circle, CMt. Adams. 513-421-3888. DETAILS: This long-running, one-nun comedy from Chicago puts the audience in the middle of the action as members of Sister’s late-night adult catechism class, where she explains what it means to be a Catholic with a delicious, sometimes irreverent humor. If you go, though, don’t forget that you may be called upon to recite the proper answer to some bit of catechistic minutiae. And for heaven’s sake, please don’t chew gum. Through Dec. 17.
Sunday, Nov. 5
College-Conservatory of Music, CCM Jazz Orchestra, “Yes, Mahalia!” | 7 p.m., Corbett Auditorium, University of Cincinnati. 513-556-4183. DETAILS: Scott Belck’s student big band has a top-notch guest artist for this program: long-time Chicago jazz-gospel great Tammy McCann, singing a program that pays homage to a fellow Windy City legend, Mahalia Jackson.
Cincinnati Song Initiative, “The Belletrists: Josef von Eichendorff” | 3 p.m. The Overlook, Eden Park, 950 Eden Park Dr., Cincinnati 45202. DETAILS: The third program in CSI’s “Belletrists” series focuses on the great German Romantic poet and novelist Eichendorff. Soprano Rachel Kobernick, baritone Jesse Blumberg and pianists David Breitman and Marie-France Lefebvre perform a cleverly interwoven program of songs set to Eichendorff’s poetry by Felix Mendelssohn, Fanny Hensel, Hugo Wolff, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms and other composers. This is a good opportunity to gain insights into 19th century German culture and arts.
Monday, Nov. 6
Concert:nova, “Eastern Echoes: A Cincinnati Celebration of Asian Composers” | 7:30 p.m. Woodward Theater, 1404 Main St., Over-the-Rhine. DETAILS: What a unique and thoughtful program. Concert:nova describes the event as “a collection of stories, each told with a delectable treat evoking the favorite childhood memory of our composers,” whose backgrounds are Indian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Cambodian and Japanese. Along with a Concertino by the famed Chinese-American composer Bright Sheng, the program includes music by several younger Asian-American composers of note – Vivian Fung, Reena Esmail, Viet Cuong, Paul Wiancko and Andy Akiho – plus drumming by the Wakaido Gouken Japanese Drum Troupe.
Jazz at the Memo, “Boston to Cincinnati: Lili Shires and The Steve Schmidt Trio” | 7 p.m. Memorial Hall, 1225 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-977-8838. DETAILS: Talented Cincinnati jazz vocalist Lili Shires, a 2020 School for Creative and Performing Arts graduate who has gone on to the New England Conservatory and Boston-area, returns to her hometown for a program with local jazz stalwart Steve Schmidt, a frequent collaborator.
Tuesday, Nov. 7
Music Live@Lunch, flutist Danielle Hundley | 12:10 p.m. Christ Church Cathedral, 318 E. 4th St., downtown. 513-621-1817. DETAILS: Cincinnati flutist Danielle Hundley, an active performer, teacher and business consultant, presents an enticing program in Christ Church Chapel with violist Scott Schilling and pianist Jessica Madsen. Featured are Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Trio in E-Flat, K. 498; a new work called “Passages” by American composer Adrienne Albert, who writes extensively for the flute; and “Seven Postcards to Old Friends” by the late Robert Russell Bennett, a prolific and first-rate composer who unfortunately is known mostly as the orchestrator of scores such as “Oklahoma!,” “Show Boat” and “Victory at Sea.” Free.
Taft Theatre, “Mania – The ABBA Tribute” | 7:30 p.m. Taft Theatre, 317 E. 5th St., downtown. 513-232-6220. DETAILS: Go on, be a super trouper and take a chance on this. Admit it, once you’ve got an ABBA tune in your head, it’s hard to get rid of it. No wonder the catchy music of the Swedish supergroup lives on in performances by numerous tribute bands, of which “Mania – The ABBA Tribute” is a prominent example. With one ABBA hit after another, this high-energy show might seem like a live version of the film “Mamma Mia!” But unlike the movie, you won’t be subjected to the spectacle of Pierce Brosnan trying to sing.