Culture FIX: Feb. 14-20

Churches are the winners, this week. Check out interesting things to do in some of the area’s historic places of worship. Not all is sacred, though. Theater, children’s programs, chamber music, an organ concert and some Bach will grace chancels across the city. The Cincinnati Pops does a run-out to Hamilton and Memorial Hall never ceases to amaze with its diverse line-up of artists. Enjoy!

Wednesday, Feb. 14

Mayerson JCC, Jewish & Israeli Film Festival, “The Holy Closet” | 7 p.m. Virtual. 513-761-7500. DETAILS: An interesting Valentine’s Day offering, for sure. What does the wedding ceremony of two religious Jewish gay men look like? Or the pregnancy of a trans religious man? Stories of LGBTQ people who chose to remain religious Jews and to build their lives and relationships according to Jewish religion are on tap in this celebratory, poignant and often funny presentation of the lives of queer Jews who are reshaping Orthodoxy in Israel. Directed by Moran Nakar. Repeats on Thursday, Feb. 15, online only.

Kelly MacKenzie-Thurley

Caffè Vivace, “My Funny Valentine” | 7 p.m. 975 E. McMillan St., Walnut Hills. 513-601-9897. DETAILS: Unwind with your loved one this Valentine’s evening with the soothing jazz notes of Kelly MacKenzie-Thurley and the refined ambiance created by Ben Tweedt‘s trio on the piano. MacKenzie-Thurley is a graduate of NKU and CCM and has sung opera, cabaret, musicals and concerts in Cincinnati, Wales and Australia. She is on the faculty at NKU’s School of the Arts. Special Valentine’s Day pastries provided by Baudry French Pastries. Yum!

Thursday, Feb. 15

Fred Murrell as Hercule Poirot and his “Murder…” suspects

Footlighters, “Murder on the Orient Express” | 7:30 p.m. Stained Glass Theatre, 802 York St., Newport. 859-291-7464. DETAILS: Who can resist Agatha Christie in any form? Playwright Ken Ludwig has adapted her iconic book to the stage. Premiering in 2017, “Murder on the Orient Express” has become the most highly produced comedy-mystery in the world. Follow Hercule Poirot (played by Fred Murrell) as he tries to solve this great, alibi-heavy murder mystery before the Orient Express derails. The beautiful Stained Glass Theatre is the former Salem United Methodist Church which has been lovingly renovated into this totally kicky theater space. Have dinner at the York Street Café right across the street before the show. Makes for a great evening! Yours Truly can attest. Through Mar. 3.

Danish String Quartet

Chamber Music Cincinnati, Danish String Quartet | 7:30 p.m. Memorial Hall, 1225 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-977-8838. DETAILS: Finally! After having to cancel a scheduled 2020 performance because of you-know-what, the Danish String Quartet is back. Three Danes and a Norwegian (as they like to call themselves) play the masters as well as, in their own words, “an occasional folk gig.” Three of the four met as children at a summer music camp and have been together, ever since, adding Norwegian cellist Fredrick Schøyen Sjölin in 2008. The group is known for its exploration of traditional Scandinavian folk music. The program includes old classics as well as new.

Rick VanMatre

Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, A Tribute to Wayne Shorter | 7 p.m. The Redmoor, 3187 Linwood Ave., Mt. Lookout. 513-871-6789. DETAILS: Cincinnati favorite Rick Van Matre will honor the 60+ year career of enigmatic saxophonist Wayne Shorter who played with bands from Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers to Weather Report. Van Matre performs with the CCJO to pay tribute to this grandmaster who left us with beautiful tunes like “Infant Eyes,” “Black Nile,” “Footprints” and more.

Friday, Feb. 16

Pompeii: The Exhibition

Cincinnati Museum Center, Pompeii: The Exhibition | 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Monday, Cincinnati Union Terminal, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate. 513-287-7000. DETAILS: “What nature destroyed, it also preserved.” So goes the description of the catastrophe that was Pompeii. In 79 A.D. Mt Vesuvius erupted, freezing the city for the rest of the ages. In a media-rich, object-based immersive experience, discover the bustling commercial port and strategic military and trading center that was Pompeii. The exhibit includes holographic and 3D presentations of life in the city and over 150 authentic artifacts. Through July 28.

Cincinnati Ballet, “Don Quixote” | 7:30 p.m. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-381-3300. DETAILS: Join Don Quixote on his fanciful quest to find love and prove chivalry is not dead. A spicy score by Ludwig Minkus is performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Based on Miguel de Cervantes’ classic novel and choreographed by ballet megastar Anna-Marie Holmes this full-length story ballet is a high-energy, sunny romp through the Spanish countryside. You have to find out how Don Quixote’s love affair with Dulcinea turns out. (Unless you already know?) Through Feb. 25.

Cincinnati World Cinema, 2024 Oscar-Nominated Shorts | 6:30 p.m. Garfield Theatre, 719 Race St., downtown. 859-957-FILM. DETAILS: Documentary, animation and live action short films now showing at the Garfield in three different programs – each program in a single sitting. Tonight features documentaries. Animation is featured in weekend matinees at 3:30 p.m. Live action shorts are shown Saturday and Sunday evenings. Nominees from Canada, China, Denmark, France, Iran, Israel, Taiwan, the UK and the USA provide a global perspective on important universal topics. Enjoy some bites at Butcher & Barrel across the street before or after the show. Through March 9.

Know Theatre, “Kairos” | 7:30 p.m. 1120 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-300-5669. DETAILS: This world premiere by playwright by Lisa Sanaye Dring seriously invites us to consider boundaries. The boundaries and timing of commitment, love and care are at issue when the question of mortality is raised. Or removed. What should the boundaries of medicine be? Some compelling stuff. Through Mar. 3.

Saturday, Feb. 17

Fitton Center for the Creative Arts, Cincinnati Pops: Poptet | 7:30 p.m. 101 S. Monument Ave., Hamilton. 513-863-8873. DETAILS: The Poptet, the pop/jazz combo of the Cincinnati Pops, does a run-out to Hamilton for a show that breaks down some of the best-known music in the world just to build it back up with layers of sound and style. If you don’t get to Music Hall very often, enjoy world class musicians as they make the music they know best.

Linton Peanut Butter & Jam Sessions, “It’s a String Thing” | 10:30 a.m. Westwood First Presbyterian Church, 3011 Harrison Ave., Westwood. 513-381-6868. DETAILS: The violin, viola and cello are what’s happening in Westwood this morning. Bring the kids to a family-friendly show where they will learn, dance and sing with members of the string family of instruments. What happened to the string bass? Maybe next time.

Sunday, Feb. 18

Bach Ensemble of St. Thomas, Bach Vespers for Lent | 5 p.m., St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 100 Miami Ave., Terrace Park. 513-831-2052. DETAILS: Travel to Terrace Park and St. Thomas Episcopal Church to immerse yourself in a sacred journey of Lenten vespers. Vespers, or a liturgy of evening prayer, is one of the canonical hours in Catholic, Eastern, Oriental and Lutheran liturgies. Featuring BWV 229, one of J.S Bach’s awe-inspiring motets for double chorus, this evening connects you to a rich tradition of spiritual contemplation.

David Briggs

Hyde Park Community UMC, Organ Concert Series | 3 p.m. 1345 Grace Ave., Hyde Park. 513-871-1345. DETAILS: Internationally acclaimed organist David Briggs presents another Lenten offering with an improvised accompaniment to the silent film “King of Kings” (1928). In director Cecil B. DeMille’s epic blockbuster, with what was then one of the biggest budgets in Hollywood history, the film depicts the last few weeks of Jesus’ life before his crucifixion and resurrection. Briggs is artist-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.

Trio Seoul

Linton Chamber Music, The Best of Three | 4 p.m. First Unitarian Church, 536 Linton St., Avondale. 513-381-6868. South Korea sends its best to Cincinnati as Trio Seoul makes its Linton debut. Included on this program of Russian greats are piano trios by Anton Arensky and Dmitri Shostakovich. Czech composer Antonín Dvořák quietly slips in with some of his extraordinary drama. The group also performs music of Uzong Choe, whose compositions incorporate a vast range of musical styles and aesthetics from early music to popular music.

Monday, Feb. 19

Tom Schneider and Paul Hawthorne

Jazz at the Memo, Vibes & Vocals, Keys, Skins & Strings | 7 p.m. Memorial Hall, 1225 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-977-8838. DETAILS: Vibist-vocalist Paul Hawthorne and pianist-vocalist Tom Schneider take the stage to present music from a repertoire developed over decades performing together, in a mix of styles including jazz, ballads, standards, blues and bossa nova. Also featuring Matt Holt (bass) and Alex Merk (drums).

Tuesday, Feb. 20

Playwright Leo Bradley

Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative, “The Magic Opry” | 7:30 p.m., Fifth Third Bank Theater, Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., downtown. 513-621-ARTS. DETAILS: Playwright Leo Bradley traces the evolution of country music from the hills of Appalachia to its current, universal popularity through the eyes of characters with different interests. Rock Fork Records has fallen on hard times, and producer Nelson Easten is desperate to save both the recording company and his job. Responding to pressure from his corporate bosses, Easton comes up with a scheme to resurrect the fortunes of the label and the career of Rankin Winters, Nashville’s most successful star. CPI’s goal is to enhance the cultural awareness of the community by offering new, original work by local playwrights in both an entertaining and educational setting.

Broadway Across America, “The Book of Mormon” | 7:30 p.m. Proctor & Gamble Hall, Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., downtown. 513-621-ARTS. DETAILS: At the other end of the Aronoff Center, the Tony award-winning, laugh-riot “The Book of Mormon” stops over for a six-day run. With music, lyrics and book by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone, the story follows two missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on their journey to a remote village in Uganda. The village is less than receptive as they worry about more pressing matters in their lives. The musical premiered in 2011 and continues as one of the most successful musicals in theater history. Through Feb. 25.

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