Culture FIX: May 15-21

Azaleas are in bloom, the sun is shining and you’ve surely fired up the grill by now. Spring is a colorful kaleidoscope of arts and culture in the Queen City, too. The May Festival Chorus sings farewell to a musical titan. There’s more to the Pendleton Arts Center than Final Fridays. Seven Hills Baroque plays a concerto from the Vivaldi Four Seasons. (Guess which one.) Enjoy a film or an art show. Your city has it all.

Wednesday, May 15

Dr. Alvin Crawford

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, “Music, Medicine and Pieces In Between | 6 p.m., 50 E. Freedom Way, The Banks, downtown. 513-333-7500. DETAILS: The many connections between medicine and music are not new. Your own doctor might very well play the violin or sing in his church choir or blow a horn in a neighborhood jazz club. Dr. Alvin Crawford is one such Cincinnati surgeon. Crawford is an internationally acclaimed pediatric orthopedic surgeon and established the Comprehensive Pediatric Orthopedic Clinic at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. He also teaches jazz history at CCM and plays clarinet in the Queen City Concert Band. Join the good doctor as he chats about his new book, “The Bone Doctor’s Concerto: Music, Medicine and Pieces in Between” with medical student Abraham Araya. Stay for a post-chat reception and listen to the CCM Jazz Quartet.

Thursday, May 16

Mercantile Library, Best Seller Book Club | 6 p.m., The Bookery, 3704 Eastern Ave., Columbia-Tusculum. 513-818-8088. DETAILS: While our historic library undergoes renovation activities have relocated into some unique community venues. Check out a bookstore you’ve probably never heard of in this hip eastside neighborhood along the river when you join the conversation about Kristen Hannah’s newest book, “The Women.” The 1960s were turbulent times, for women, for politics and for a changed and divided America. Hannah tells a riveting story about Frankie McGrath, her journey to Vietnam and the battles fought after the war. Sounds interesting, this New York Times #1 bestseller. Mercantile member Jana Riess leads the discussion.


Cincinnati World Cinema, “The People’s Joker” | 7 p.m., 719 Race St., downtown. 859-957-3456. DETAILS: “Batman” reimagined, no comedy in Gotham and an aspiring clown? According to CWC, “The DC Comics universe, improv comedy, and gender identity all collide in this wild coming-of-age super-villain parody from Emmy-nominated filmmaker, Vera Drew.” Whew. The film finally makes its way to North America for a limited theatrical release after copyright infringement issues with Warner Bros. Sounds like some off-screen drama, as well. With its crowd-funded origins, the film has become a smash hit with critics and audiences, alike. Grab a bite at Butcher & Barrel across the street before the show. Repeats May 17.


Rockin’ the Roebling | 6-10 p.m., Schmidlapp Event Lawn, The Banks, downtown. DETAILS: Floyd and the Walkman will be Rockin’ the main stage for the first concert of the season. Head to Moerlein Lager House for your favorite brew or a bourbon from the Bourbon Bar. Pizza, chili, brats, burgers, kettle corn and more make for a rockin’ good time to start your weekend off right. Get ready for a great summer season with Cincinnati’s top local bands.

Friday, May 17

Robert Porco

May Festival, “The Creation” | 7:30 p.m., Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-381-3300. DETAILS: Robert Porco, esteemed director of choruses for 35 years, concludes his remarkable tenure this weekend. Porco conducts “The Creation,” Franz Joseph Haydn’s monumental, joyous work based on the creation texts of the Book of Genesis and John Milton’s poem, “Paradise Lost.” The piece was an instant hit after its first performance in Vienna in 1798. Soprano Camilla Tilling, tenor Nicholas Phan and baritone Alexander Birch Elliott share the stage. Porco’s artistry and craft are well known to many singers in this town. He leaves a lasting legacy of excellence in choral singing. Thank you, Sir.


Contemporary Arts Center

Contemporary Arts Center, “After (Work) Hours” | 10 a.m.-7 p.m., 44 E. Sixth St., downtown. 513-345-8400. DETAILS: Staff members creating art? You bet. This exhibition highlights the creativity, innovation and talent of dozens of current and former museum staff. CAC curator Theresa Bembnister and assistant curator Erin Adelman present this collection of pieces created after the day job is done. Maybe you’ll be inspired to get off the couch after your day job is done to pursue what you do best or create your life’s passion. Arrange some spring flowers. Write a story. Paint a sunset. Take piano lessons. See the exhibit then do it!

Saturday, May 18

Composer Julia Wolfe

May Festival, “Anthems” | 7:30 p.m., Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-381-3300. DETAILS: In early 2024 the May Festival announced a new artistic leadership model. ”A Festival Director, drawn from a variety of artistic disciplines, will be engaged each year to offer fresh perspectives and experiences that infuse the Festival with artistic innovation and exciting new collaborations.” American composer Julia Wolfe has been selected to serve as inaugural director. Her eclectic resumé includes works for orchestra, bagpipes, small ensemble, theater, chorus, film and an accordion concerto. This program of four unique anthem interpretations opens with Wolfe’s world premiere “All that breathes, which embraces the massive sound of collective breath and exhalation. And her “Pretty” is a raucous feminist anthem of work rhythms. Wolfe’s frequent collaborator, composer David Lang, reminds us in his the national anthems” that freedom is fragile, delicate and easy to lose. The program concludes with Ralph Vaughan Williams’ beloved anthem for peace, “Dona nobis pacem.” Stephanie Childress conducts and is joined by the May Festival Youth Chorus and soloists, soprano Camilla Tilling and bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch.


May Festival Youth Chorus

May Festival, Pre-Concert Activities | 5 p.m., Corbett Tower, Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-381-3300. DETAILS: Enjoy two engaging pre-concert activities including a panel conversation with CCM composition professor Ellen Harrison, Julia Wolfe and David Lang. At 6:30, the May Festival Youth Chorus performs in Springer Auditorium under their director Matthew Swanson, who was recently promoted to new May Festival director of choruses.


Cincinnati Men’s Chorus, “Glitter and be Gay” Pre-Pride Concert | 2 p.m., Memorial Hall, 1225 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-977-8838. DETAILS: Get your glitter on and get ready for Pride Month in this exciting, vibrant show of Broadway tunes. Cincinnati vocalist Victoria Ellington makes an appearance in this program designed to showcase the members of the chorus in all their glory. Repeats May 19.


The Annex Gallery, Three Exhibits | 1-4 p.m., Pendleton Art Center, 1310 Pendleton St., Pendleton. 513-421-4339. DETAILS: If you’ve only been to this fascinating little corner of downtown on a Friday night (Final Fridays) check it out on a Saturday afternoon. Head across the alley to the annex for three exhibits in support of SOS (Save Our Souls) Art. “Common Ground” consists of 59 black and white portraits of visual, musical and literary artists by legendary Cincinnati photographer Michael Wilson (on display through July 26). In a separate exhibit, 13 area artists have donated 26 prints in support of SOS Art. Plus, “For a Better World” shares original drawings and poems from the annual SOS Art book in support of peace and justice. Poems on exhibit by Cincinnati favorites Elena Estella Green, Kathy Wade, Ellen Austin-Li, Diane Germaine and many others. The latter two exhibits run through June 1.

Sunday, May 19

Wyoming Art Show | 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Wyoming. DETAILS: The City of Wyoming invites you to shady, tree-lined Worthington Avenue for its annual art show. For 38 years, the show has attracted artists from multiple states and has become a destination for sophisticated art lovers and buyers in the area. More than 125 regional artists have been invited to participate. Food offerings, music and activities for children make for an inviting family outing. Donations and proceeds from the show have provided public art for the city as well as art supplies for local school districts.


Seven Hills Baroque

Seven Hills Baroque, Spring: Four Seasons | 6 p.m., First Lutheran Church, 1208 Race St., Over-the-Rhine. DETAILS: The group’s season of Four Seasons continues with “Spring” featuring violinist Miranda Zirnbauer in one of the most widely recognized works in classical music. Each concert has featured one concerto from Italian Baroque composer Antonio Vivaldi’s collection of four concertos celebrating Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. The concert will be paired with art and poetry selected to celebrate the beauty of the season. The program also includes works by G.F. Handel, Arcangelo Corelli, Matthew Locke and others.

Monday, May 20

Woodward Cinema, “Omen” | 7 p.m., 1404 Main St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-345-7981. DETAILS: Belgian-Congolese director Baloji has created a film that is “ambitious,” highlighting its “vivid symbolism” and, “in its best moments a quiet element of absurdity that grounds the spectacle” according to Beatrice Loayza of The New York Times. This award-winning film was selected as the Belgian entry for Best International Feature Film for the 96th Academy Awards. Congolese man Koffi returns to the Congo from Europe with his pregnant, white girlfriend. The visit does not go well as ancient rituals and superstitions continue to haunt. Sounds interesting.

Tuesday, May 21

Pamela Mallory

Jazz at the Square, Pamela Mallory Trio | 5-8 p.m., Fountain Square, 520 Vine St., downtown. DETAILS: This Cincinnati veteran jazz singer takes the stage with her crew to share a unique blend of soul and swing with innovative arrangements of the classic jazz songbook. While you’re there, have a drink at The Fountain Bar or really be radical and wander into Graeter’s for two dips of Mocha Chip in a waffle cone before dinner or, even better, for dinner. Lots to do on the Square. Find your favorite thing.


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