Go Your Own Way
Call it fashion, yet it's decidedly anti-fashion. Contemporary clothing becomes fine art as the Cincinnati Art Museum opens WHERE WOULD YOU WEAR THAT? THE MARY BASKETT COLLECTION, an exhibition highlighting works — garments — from three of most important and influential modern Japanese fashion designers: Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo (her label is Comme des Garçons, French for "like some boys").
According to CAM Curator of Costume and Textiles Cynthia Amnéus, "There's an underlying philosophy about what they're doing. They are true to themselves, they're not paying attention to what fashion is doing in any way; they're definitely doing their own thing."
The avant-garde pieces span the mid-to-late 1980s through current 2006-07 collections, but like great art they possess timeless qualities along with degrees of deconstruction (both literal and figurative) and quirky idiosyncrasy.
Miyake might be best known for his "Pleats Please" line but his range extends beyond his colorful, crinkled creations to involving the customer in his designs in fun, expected ways: The wearer "finishes" the garment by manipulating it in different ways on her body.
Yamamoto is a master of cut and construction who invokes historical references in classic forms but does so with unexpected twists. Amnéus describes his work as having "a Zen-like sense."
Perhaps the designer most likely to evoke the show's titular question, Kawakubo's highly unusual designs reinvent clothing as we know it.
Consider a dress that's actually a cardigan you put on with the dress portion attached and hanging on the front.
"People tend to look at her stuff and think it's ridiculous, in one sense, because it's so far out there," Amnéus says, "and that's because she really is working more as a conceptual artist than what we think of as the fashion designers."
Learn more about how fashion and art intersect when Harold Koda, curator-in-charge of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, speaks at the Cincinnati Art Museum at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
The 20 ensembles displayed on mannequins come from the personal wardrobe of Mary Baskett, a former CAM curator living in Cincinnati who actually wears the clothing regularly. Press materials suggest that Baskett has heard the exhibition's namesake question before: "When I step out of the dressing room and my husband laughs, that's when I know it's something I must add to my closet."
Fashionistas and art fans will be glad she did.
Info: 513-721-ARTS. (See Art.) — JULIE MULLINS
If you don't know the musical MY FAVORITE YEAR, you should. Bunny Arszman has been unable to forget it since the community theater she works with regularly, Showbiz Players, gave the show (based on the popular 1982 film) its regional premiere back in 1995. The musical about a live television song-and-dance show dealing with a fading film star is great fun — and Arszman and her friends at Showbiz decided this is the year to bring it back. The production opens Thursday with a cast including several Cincinnati Entertainment Award nominees and winners from Showbiz's 2006 production of Urinetown (Brian Benz, Sherry McCamley and Gary Rogers), so the odds are good that this very funny show will be given the humorous touch that will make for a fine evening in the theater (which happens to be Xavier University's Gallagher Student Center Theatre). Performances through June 10. 513-981-7888. (See Onstage.) — RICK PENDER
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If you missed the talk by former Cincinnati Art Museum Curator of Photography Dennis Kiel at the MERCANTILE LIBRARY earlier this week, don't fret. The weekend is a great opportunity to spend time at the library, lazily gazing at the beautiful exhibition of early modernist photography. The exhibition features work collected by a corporation — namely, A.G Edwards. Corporate art often gets a bad name (corporations and artists aren't necessarily the best of friends, though I don't see why not!), but the photographs in this show are world-class, collected with an awareness and a keen interest in the medium. Bernice Abbott's famous "Canyon, Broadway, and Exchange Place, Manhattan" image has been billed as the thing to see. Abbott's photograph is a stunning example of modern line and shape, not to mention a towering cheer for American capitalism, but it is not the only photograph that makes the exhibition exceptional. Modern photographers such as Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston, Arthur Dove, Georgia O'Keefe and Edward Steichen come together here in a show that would rival something in 291, Stieglitz's New York City gallery of the early 20th century. Runs through July 28. 513-621-0717 (See Art.) — LAURA JAMES
AN EVENING IN PARIS: A GALA BENEFITING THE MATT DOLAN SERVICE FUND will transform York Street Cafe into a glittering, glamorous version of the world's most romantic city at 6 p.m. Saturday — complete with scale models of the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe! Gift bags will be given to the first 100 attendees, and the evening will feature a silent auction with items contributed by popular local merchants such as EDB Diamond Showrooms, Jeff Ruby Restaurants, Nine West, The Mustard Seed Boutique and many more. Live musical entertainment will follow from CCM students, and delectable Parisian food will be on hand. Later, the event "winds down" (hardly!) with a Rock show: Vitriolic fan-favorites MOTH and the Turnbull AC's will cap the evening with their own infectious brands of Power Pop. All proceeds for this boundary-smashing social event will benefit the Matt Dolan Service Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps persons with disabilities by providing shelter, medical equipment, supplies and care. MDSF was founded in 2004 in memory of Matt, who suffered from Cerebral Palsy and passed away at the age of 30 from complications of a brain tumor. $10. 513-288-7904. (See Events.) — HANNAH ROBERTS
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Satire is a tricky thing, even in the experienced hands of a comedian/actor like PAULY SHORE. Last December, while performing in Odessa, Tex., he decided to do a parody/publicity stunt hot on the heels of Michael Richards' infamous tirade. During his set Shore was interrupted by a young lady in the audience. He told her to shut up, prompting her rather muscular boyfriend to confront the comedian on stage. Despite an apology and pleas to back off, the man punched Shore, knocking him to the floor. The comic called the crowd "white trash" before scurrying off the stage. "It was me just being creative," Shore explains, "trying to come up with something different. As a writer or a comedian or an actor you're always thinking of different things all the time ... the stuff with the video phones I thought it would be funny to capitalize on it if I got beat up. So I had the whole audience (and the police) in on it. It would have gone a little farther if the police department didn't say that it was a joke and we were all playing around." Shore performs Friday-Sunday at The Funny Bone on the Levee in Newport. $25. 859-957-2000. (See Onstage.) — P.F. WILSON
The fourth annual Cincinnati Fringe Festival takes over Downtown again this year, offering up another batch of adventurous productions that otherwise would never have seen the light of day in these parts (see feature on page 5 of the Hot Issue). Likewise, CELLULOID FRINGE screens a collection of shorts that range from Clint Woods' surreal digital animation to Kendall Bruns' crafty take on reality TV, The Haircut. Celluloid's centerpiece is Jenise Treuting's Amid the Noise, a fascinating 52-minute series of static, single-shot vignettes complemented by the textured, delicate soundscapes of So Percussion, her brother's Brooklyn-based band. Reminiscent of Andy Warhol's early film experiments (long, single-take shot of seemingly banal subject matter), Treuting focuses on urban snapshots in Brooklyn and Manhattan and Japan's Osaka and Kyoto — our everyday movements by way of car, train, bus, van, bike and foot. Meditative and oddly incisive in its investigation of time and space, Amid the Noise leaves one's consciousness altered for the better in large part due to musical accompaniment that tickles and teases, adding another layer of intrigue to the images before us. Catch it if you can at 2-4:15 p.m. Saturday and June 9 at Know Theatre (1140 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine). Admission is free with a Fringe button. cincyfringe.com. (See Events.) — JASON GARGANO
Not all bugs make good meals. You can learn which to eat and which to send back to the kitchen at BUGFEST 2007 Saturday at Cincinnati Museum Center. Tastings from 11 a.m.-noon and 1-2 p.m. at the Museum of Natural History and Science feature insect cuisine from around the world, plus a chocolate fountain for dipping. The gross-out factor will be high — the better to catch kids' attention — but hissing cockroach races and programs on soil life, composting and microbes show how important insects are to humanity, whether ingested intentionally or not. All activities are free with regular admission ($10 adults, $7 kids and $9 seniors) to the Cincinnati History Museum, Duke Energy Children's Museum and the Museum of Natural History and Science. 513-287-7000. (See Attractions.) — GREGORY FLANNERY
Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of the summer. While so-called "experts" will tell you the actual beginning of summer is the day of the year when the Sun is farthest north, we all know (as the Creation Museum is currently schooling us) that science is for suckas. You're holding in your hands the Bible of "Hot" (aka CityBeat's Hot Issue) and, since the next congregation of members of our new religion of "Hot" is Saturday at the Southgate House, our faith ("Hottism") is proclaiming that day the official first day of summer. Now where's our tax-exempt status, bitches? Since we Hottists pray at the altar of fun summer events and incredible new music, for the third annual HOT PARTY we welcome our psalmists Hotpipes (searing Indie Rock from Nashville, with Cincinnati origins), Louisville's Wax Fang (trippy Experimental Rock) and Cincinnati's amazing Pomegranates (engaging, lively Indie quirkiness). Not Hot enough for ya? Then be sure to take communion from the new Cloven Hoof Theatre of the Weird, a mish-mash of sexy, sassy and unusual "vaudeville, burlesque, carnival midways and side shows and circus troops." The troupe will be on hand for a sneak preview of their new venture (before their grand opening June 16 at their new space in the Mockbee Building). Hottists also shun capitalist ways, so the event won't cost you a penny and you'll also have a chance to win free stuff (like Bonnaroo tickets, movie passes, vacation getaways and more). Can we get a "Hallelujah"? Praise be! 859-431-2201. (See Music.) — MIKE BREEN
Bill "Bojangles" Robinson is a name to some people and a legend to others. Those people might want to come celebrate him this Saturday at the 13th annual NATIONAL TAP DANCE DAY. As a theater and film star, his successes helped commercialize the art of tap dance and his eventual downfall helped expose Hollywood's racial stereotyping. Commemorate Robinson by breaking out the tap shoes and heading over to the Fairfield Community Arts Center, where students, teachers and friends of tap come together for a special performance with pieces from the likes of Shelley Oliver and Company, the Celtic Rhythm Dancers, Women of Sole, All That Jazz Dance Center and more. But if you aren't quite ready for the show, take a class with Oliver, a renowned master teacher. With over 20 years experience as a professional tap dancer, choreographer and educator, she's sure to make you break a sweat. Or get a blister. Classes begin at 10 a.m.; the show starts at 4. Tickets are $20 for classes and $5 for the show. 513-867-5348. (See Events.) — MAIJA ZUMMO
There's no doubt that new housing and cutting-edge arts organizations are driving growth in Over-the-Rhine, and Sunday afternoon is the perfect opportunity to find out first-hand. The OVER-THE-RHINE SUMMER TOUR OF LIVING spotlights 19 hot apartments, condos and single-family homes (including the American Building, pictured) built by a coalition of the city's best developers, all of which are open noon-5:30 p.m. for visiting via a self-guided walking tour (or a Metro bus shuttle). Ticket booths are located at Central Parkway and Vine Street and Main and Liberty streets (tour tickets are $10). Two new stores open this weekend as well — Park + Vine and Metronation, both on Vine Street just up from Central Parkway — and Findlay Market and a number of restaurants will be available for pre- and post-tour gatherings. 513-721-1317. (See Events and the "Summer Tour of Living" insert in this issue.) — JOHN FOX