Yours Truly is truly glad to be back on the beat, guiding you in search of your next FIX. This week is a cornucopia of events from art openings to movies to a big brass band. Christmas is in the air as the Greater Cincinnati Holiday Market fires up its cash registers and Coney Island’s Night of Lights flips the switch on its 8th season. Some seedy Cincinnati history comes to life at the American Sign Museum and intriguing chamber music will get you thinking. Indulge yourself before the busy holiday season really gears up and find something inspiring or fun or relaxing to do.
Wednesday, Nov. 8
Memorial Hall, Classic Lightfoot Live | 8 p.m. 1225 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-977-8838. DETAILS: Shortly after sundown, take your seat for some classic Gordon Lightfoot. Classic Lightfoot Live celebrates the music of the folk-rock legend. If you could read my mind, you’d know Yours Truly would do anything for love of Lightfoot. Steve Eyers, Gordon’s nephew is on bass guitar. Eric Kidd, on lead guitar, plays reminiscently of Red Shea and Terry Clements. Malcolm Gould and Bruce Campbell are on percussion. Founder and lead vocalist is John Stinson.
Thursday, Nov. 9
Cincinnati Holiday Market | Noon-7 p.m. Duke Energy Center, 525 Elm St., downtown. 513-419-7300. DETAILS: Start (or finish) your holiday shopping, this weekend, with more than 400 vendors to choose from at this Queen City tradition. Aisle after aisle, everything from cheese and pickles to photography and coffee is there for all of your gift-giving needs (or a treat or two for YOU). Santa pays a visit or you can have a silly picture taken in the photo booth. It’s all ready and waiting. Through Nov. 12.
ARTFlix, “The Painting” | 7 p.m. The Barn, 6980 Cambridge Ave., Mariemont. 513-272-3700. DETAILS: “The Painting” is a sophisticated, award-winning, animated, adventure crime film telling the story of a young Parisian girl whose cat leads her to unravel a thrilling mystery. Three characters of different social classes escape their unfinished painting in search of the Painter, hoping he will complete it. Have you ever been to The Barn? It’s a gem of a place buried in the heart of Mariemont. You’ve probably driven by it 50 times and never noticed. Check it out. $5 registration fee.
American Sign Museum, “Under the Marquee: the History and Signage of Cincinnati Theaters | 7 p.m. 1330 Monmouth Ave., Camp Washington. 513-541-6366. DETAILS: Cincinnati boasts a storied theatrical history and treasures the memories of some legendary, though long-lost theaters. Greg Hand will share some unusual and occasionally unsavory tales from Cincinnati’s legendary theaters, the celebrities who visited our city and the home-grown talent who changed the American entertainment industry. If you’ve never heard Hand speak, you’re in for a treat. Proprietor of the blog, “Cincinnati Curiosities” he is one of the most knowledgeable historians around. You can always count on him to provide a thorough story as well as a salacious, shocking tidbit or two. Check out the blog before you go, but be warned, it’s hard to stop reading story after story about Cincinnati’s sometimes checkered history. You won’t be sorry, though.
Friday, Nov. 10
Coney Island, Nights of Lights | Dusk-10 p.m. 6201 Kellogg Ave., Anderson Township. 513-232-8230. DETAILS: Put the kids in their jammies, toss some fish crackers in the backseat and head over to Coney Island‘s drive-through holiday light extravaganza. Turn your radio dial to 97.5 for musical accompaniment while you stay in the car and cruise through a gazillion twinkling lights. Guests of all ages and mobility levels will be mesmerized by fantastic light tunnels, larger-than-life Christmas trees, glowing snowflakes, dancing candy canes and more. It’s also a great little date night if you’re so inclined. Call up your sweetie, beef up the snacks and, well, you know what to do. Through Dec. 31.
Cincinnati Museum Center, Holiday Junction | 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate, 513-287-7000. DETAILS: The Duke Energy Holiday Trains have been a regional holiday staple since 1946, delighting generations since they first debuted in downtown Cincinnati. Track-level views reveal intricate details of the display, where more than 300 rail cars and 60 locomotives steam past anxious passengers waiting to board while cars sit with snow to their hubcaps and the perfect trees strapped to their roofs. Santa makes regular appearances from Nov. 24 and returning once again is Brickopolis, a blizzard of LEGO bricks crafted into fantastical scenes from the magical worlds of “Star Wars,” a winter holiday wonderland, amusement park, medieval village and local landmarks. Through Jan. 8
Manifest Gallery, “SELF, Works of Self-Portraiture & Self-Image” | Opening reception, 6-9 p.m. 2727 Woodburn Ave., Walnut Hills. 513-861-3638. DETAILS: What are the things that make you, You? How do you look at yourself? How do you imagine yourself? How much of your identity is flattery, how much is overly-critical? How well do you understand the ways your body shapes and is shaped by the world? “SELF” is works of self-reflection, and about self-image. 20 artists exhibit their own self-portraits in this provocative show including Penny Cagney, Marge Cameron, Cyrus Glance, Todd Kunkler, Ellen Starr Lyon and more. Through Dec. 8.
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” | 7:30 p.m. 1195 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-381-2273. DETAILS: With a midwinter twist, this “Midsummer Night’s Dream” brings whimsical warmth and adventures to a classically summer tale. Magic and mayhem, feuding fairies and plenty of love will surely transform this summertime classic into an enchanting romp through the blustery chill of winter. The profound and timeless writing of “The Bard” also helps. Through Dec. 2.
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Tetzlaff & Tchaikovsky’s Fifth | 11 a.m. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-381-3300. DETAILS: “One of today’s most in-demand violinists” (NPR), Christian Tetzlaff returns after last showcasing his “jaw-dropping virtuosity” (Cincinnati Enquirer) here in in 2017. Tetzlaff performs Polish composer Karol Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto #1. Considered to be the first “modern” violin concerto, the work was based on a poem by Polish poet, Tadeusz Miciński, “May Night.” Conductor Gustavo Gimeno leads the CSO in the initial offering of a multi-year trilogy by composer Daníel Bjarnason. Tchaikovsky’s wealth of familiar melodies is on display in his Fifth Symphony rounding out the program. Repeats Nov. 11, 7:30 p.m.
Cincinnati Art Museum, “Charles White: A Little Higher” | 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 953 Eden Park Dr., Eden Park. 513-721-2787. DETAILS: Charles White is widely recognized as one of the most important and influential African American artists of the twentieth century. Using his skills as draftsman, painter and printmaker, White developed strong images of the African American experience. Although the work of the Chicago-based artist and educator focused almost exclusively on African American subjects, White speaks to viewers from all walks of life. He stated, “I like to think that my work has a universality to it. I deal with love, hope, courage, freedom and dignity—the full gamut of the human experience.” Through Feb. 25.
Saturday, Nov. 11
Linton Chamber Music, Peanut Butter & Jam | 10:30-11:15 a.m. Symmes Township Branch Public Library, 11850 Enyart Rd., Loveland. 513-369-6001. DETAILS: Exposing little ones to classical music and the instruments that make it is as critical to their growth and development as math and reading. Oh, wait a minute. Classical music promotes and enhances math and reading skills. PBJ gives them an up close look and listen to those instruments and how they create the music they hear in their cartoons, video games, movies or at the concert hall, if they are lucky enough. “Abracadabra!” features a little magic along with a piano, a cello and a flute in this important introduction to music. Who can forget “The Rabbit of Seville”? That was good. This is far superior. Free.
Fitton Center for Creative Arts, “Canary in Combat Boots” | 7:30 p.m. 101 S. Monument Ave., Hamilton. 513-863-8873. DETAILS: A jazz singer for the US Army? Did you know that was a thing? “Alexis Cole may be the most talented singer to hold a top-secret military clearance,” her bio notes. Celebrate Veterans Day with Staff Sergeant Cole as she performs a mix of WWII era jazz standards and what promises to be some interesting stories. “… Alexis is one of the most underrated singers in jazz. Fantastic voice with great tone and pitch, a strong swing beat, interpretation skills, range, and pacing. The total package singer. Definitely don’t sleep on this one.” — Jae Sinnett, WHRV-FM
Cincinnati World Cinema, “Black Barbie: A Documentary” | 4 p.m. 719 Race St., downtown. 513-859-957-3456. DETAILS: Did you have a Barbie? Many of us did and while we didn’t quite look like her she was something to which we could aspire. We surely didn’t stop to consider whether or not she looked like us. Not so for little Black girls. After Barbie’s introduction in 1959, it took 21 years for Mattel to create a doll that did look like those little girls. Three Mattel employees, Beulah Mae Mitchell, Barbie designers Kitty Black Perkins and Stacey McBride-Irby were driven by a simple premise: “Why not make a Barbie that looks like me?” This documentary tracks the groundbreaking arrival of Mattel’s Black Barbie, exploring the intersection of merchandising, consumer expectation and cultural representation. The rest is history. From Barbie in wheelchairs to curvy Barbie with braces (teeth and scoliosis) and yes, Black Barbie, today there is a Barbie for every child to play with and say, “She does look just like me.” Repeats Sunday, 4 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 12
Taft Theatre, State Ballet Theatre of Ukraine | 6 p.m. 317 E. Fifth St., downtown. 513-232-6220. DETAILS: “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” comes to life in dance and staging by the State Ballet Theater of Ukraine. The ballet is about love, friendship, witchcraft, and the eternal struggle between good and evil. Can you think of a better way to expose youngsters to the art of dance? It’s not Disney, but comical dwarfs, funny little animals and other famous characters along with dynamic music will put adults and children in a festive mood.
CCM Brass Choir, “A Tribute to Betty Glover” | 3 p.m. Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, 1101 Madison Ave., Covington. 859-431-2060. DETAILS: Betty Glover, one of the first female trombonists to play in a major symphony orchestra, was the principal bass trombonist of the Cincinnati Symphony for 33 years. Many musicians have famously made their name when they filled in for another ailing musician. Glover is no different. She earned her place in the orchestra when the regular bass trombonist became ill during a May Festival concert back in 1952. Without warm-up, she sight read the entire second half of the concert and never looked back. She was offered the permanent position soon after. She taught at CCM for 40 years and led the CCM Brass Choir during that time. The nationally recognized brass choir performs works by Strauss, Beethoven, Tomasi and a work by Glover, herself. The choir welcomes guest conductors CCM alumni Marie Speziale (BM, Trumpet, ’64) and Professor Emeritus Earl Rivers, raising their batons in honor of this trailblazing Cincinnati legend. Free.
Ruth’s Parkside Cafe, “PERSPECTIVES: Landscapes and Close-Ups” | Opening reception 3-5 p.m. 1550 Blue Rock St., Northside. 513-542-7884. DETAILS: A new art exhibit opens in this quirky restaurant in the American Can Building. Jeff Smith and Diane Debevec are next up with an eclectic blend of photography, painting and drawings. Smith’s landscapes are notable for their striking contrasts between sky and land. Debevec’s bold colors and designs inspire an emerging constellation of intensity. Ruth’s walls have a long history of featuring local artists. Enjoy browsing the exhibit while enjoying a tasty sandwich or other house specialty. Through December 31.
Linton Chamber Music Series, “Quartet for the End of Time” | 4 p.m. First Unitarian Church, 536 Linton St., Avondale. 513-381-6868. DETAILS: French composer Olivier Messiaen was one of the most prominent composers of the 20th century. After his capture at Verdun and during his imprisonment at Gorlitz during World War II, he wrote “Quartet for the End of Time,” one of his most well-known works. Messiaen was not the only skilled musician in the camp and wrote the piece for the musicians available to him, clarinet, violin, cello and piano. They premiered the piece in 1941, inside of the POW camp for 400 inmates and prison guards. His passion for bird song is incorporated throughout the piece as in much of his music. The quartet was inspired by the Book of Revelation (Rev 10:1–2, 5–7). Renowned pianist and composer Stewart Goodyear joins the Cincinnati Symphony’s Christopher Pell, clarinet; Stefani Matsuo, violin; Gabriel Napoli, viola and Ilya Finkelshteyn, cello for a program also featuring works by Goodyear and Beethoven.
Monday, Nov. 13
Woodward Theater, “Stop Making Sense” | 7:30 p.m. 1404 Main St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-345-7981. DETAILS: Talking Heads, the iconic American rock band, is featured in this cult classic directed by Jonathan Demme (“Silence of the Lambs”). The live performance was shot over the course of three nights at Hollywood’s Pantages Theater in December of 1983 and features Talking Heads’ most memorable songs. If you saw it back in the day, be aware the film has been completely restored for its upcoming 40th anniversary. Enjoy!
Tuesday, Nov. 14
Chamber Music Cincinnati, Gryphon Trio | 7:30 p.m. Memorial Hall, 1225 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-997-8838. DETAILS: These Canadian musicians – violinist Annalee Patipatanakoon, cellist Roman Borys and pianist Jamie Parker – met as teenagers and continue to make music 25 years later as one of the world’s preeminent piano trios. They have commissioned more than 85 new works and frequently collaborate on projects that push the boundaries of Classical music. The group performs works by Dvorak, Pärt and Beethoven. Arvo Part’s “Spiegel im Spiegel” (mirrors in the mirrors) is an example of minimal music. It is indeed rhythmically minimal, but quite lyrical and deeply meditative. If you’re in need of a short (about 10 minutes) meditation or something to slow you down, this is your piece. Yours Truly highly recommends. Dvorak and Beethoven? You already know their genius.
Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative | 7:30 p.m. Fifth Third Bank Theater, Aronoff Center, downtown. 513-621-2787. DETAILS: CPI presents several short, new plays by three veteran playwrights and one new to the stage. “Lovestruck” consists of four short plays about love and romance: “Forever Soulmates,” “Naked Neighbors,” “The Big Bad Wolves” and “Tiny Dancer.” Written by husband and wife team, Susan and Doug Decatur, the brief stories detail their own love story. “Boy Meets Girl” by Cincinnati playwright Bertha/Lynn Davis, shows what a stalled elevator can teach us. “Can’t Stop What’s Coming,” by Barry Cobb goes to a 30-year college reunion where a reversal of fortunes reveals itself along with the opportunity of a lifetime. CPI provides staged readings of new and original works by local playwrights, open to the public. Playwrights receive feedback while the audience engages in the creative process.