DCDC Will Rock Your Socks and Your Soul
DAYTON CONTEMPORARY DANCE COMPANY, based just a short hop away from Cincinnati, returns to the Queen City this weekend for a pair of performances in the Aronoff Center's Jarson-Kaplan Theater. Presented by Contemporary Dance Theater in a program of four modern works, this exceptional company of 15 culturally-diverse dancers includes Cincinnatian Jaysin McCollum, now in his third season with the troupe, and the amazing veteran Sheri "Sparkle" Williams.
Founded by visionary Jeraldyne Blunden in 1968 and now headed by her daughter, Debbie Blunden-Diggs, DCDC maintains an active repertory of dances from many of the 20th century's greatest African-American choreographers.
On the bill are two works from former Artistic Director Kevin Ward — Etudes, an ensemble work honoring Dayton's Josephine Schwartz (and the craft of choreography she so lovingly nurtured), and Love & The Weather, set to a collage of "old school" Motown Hits — plus Unresolved, a poignant duet by Shonna Hickman-Matlock.
"So much of the music coming out of Motown was either about love or the weather or the influences of one upon the other," Ward says. " 'I Wish it Would Rain,' 'Heatwave' and opening lyrics to 'My Girl' somehow speak of environmental forces mirroring, assisting or influencing the many moods of love. All this music still maintains its joy of love and life in stark contrast to the struggles of the times in which it was produced."
But undoubtedly, the big gun of the program is its closer: 1999's Children of the Passage, set to the vibrant rhythms of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Following a party of decadent souls haunted and later rescued by spirits reconnecting them to their ancient and ancestral character, the piece moves to a cadence drawn from the traditional marching Jazz bands of New Orleans mixed with the grind and groove of contemporary Jazz and Soul music.
"Jeraldyne had the genius to put Ronald K. Brown, bursting onto the scene as an emerging choreographer, and Donald McKayle, tried and true, into a collaboration," says Blunden-Diggs.
"Both of them are masters of developing their own language. For instance, you won't be able to pull out pirouettes, a grand ronde de jambe or a fourth position the movement structure is so specific to the choreographers and to the music. Children is a remarkable shorthand that the two developed between themselves when they were creating the work on us."
$22-$27; $17 students/seniors. 513-621-2787. (See performance times, buy tickets and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — KATHY VALIN
WEDNESDAY 11/14 - SATURDAY 11/17
Anybody here you know? Check out "Rensler's Revisited" at CARTEAUX AND LESLIE, where large photographic prints from Rensler's Portrait Studio's original glass plate negatives are on view through Nov. 24. Photographer Brad Smith bought thousands of Rensler's plates at auction and produced 49 prints for this show. Rensler's opened for business at 925 Vine St. in 1906 and has photographed Cincinnatians through the years, eventually moving two doors away to 921 Vine, where today Carteaux and Leslie handle 19th and 20th Century books and prints. People used to have their pictures taken in regular dress and in costume in front of backdrops or with a paper moon that has long since disappeared. By the time the glass plates turned up at auction, identification was as lost as the moon. Timothy Leslie says "I'm hoping someone will exclaim 'Hey, that's my grandmother in that horrible hat!' " 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. 513-721-9555. (See Art.) — JANE DURRELL
Not only do rich people get to live in bigger homes and have nicer stuff than the rest of us, apparently they also get to breathe cleaner air. ENVIRONMENTAL COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION (ECO) recently released a study analyzing the results of Clean Air Act noncompliance by local sources of pollution. ECO found that Cincinnati's major facilities have a higher noncompliance rate than comparable polluters statewide and that noncompliance is more prevalent among minority and low-income neighborhoods. ECO will host an open house Thursday to spread the word of how we, as humans who don't live in West Chester, can hold industry accountable for making the air yuckier than it already is. The event will take place 7-10 p.m. Thursday at Park + Vine, a green general store at 1109 Vine St. in Over-the-Rhine, and include free music, appetizers, wine and beverages. ECO Program Director Marti Sinclair will give a presentation on these rampant violations of the Clean Air Act and how disproportionately they affect people without the means to protect themselves. Free. 513-721-7275. (See Events.) — DANNY CROSS
The annual ArtWorks fundraiser SECRET ARTWORKS manages to be interesting, playful, unobtrusive and successful, which is no easy task. Tamara Harkavy and her staff have recruited more than a thousand artists, local to international, to submit 5-by-7 inch original works of art. Adding a sort of garage-sale-Rembrandt excitement, Artworks has removed the artist's name from each piece and leveled them all to a price of $75. You can play in two ways: Try to figure out which work is worth a lot more than $75 (think ANTHONY LUENSMAN, MARK FOX or JIMMY BAKER) and make yourself an art deal. Or play the more carefree way and pick what you love. Who knows how much your piece will be worth in 20 years, and who cares? You might not recognize the name, but you've found a work of art you love — pretenses not included. And, after all, don't forget that the money goes to Artworks programming, which includes the outstanding summer program for teenagers. Secret Art Works will be on display at the Westin Atrium downtown beginning Monday. There's a sold-out preview cocktail party 6-7 p.m. Thursday; general admission 710 p.m. is free. You must buy vouchers to purchase secret artworks. 513-333-0388. (See Art.) — LAURA JAMES
THURSDAY 11/15 - SUNDAY 11/18
If classic Broadway musicals are your thing, then you have a double-header of a week awaiting you: Up and running at the Aronoff Center is a touring production of CAMELOT, a show from 1956 about King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table, the musical that made the late Robert Goulet a household name when he originated the role of the dashing Sir Lancelot. With Lou Diamond Phillips as the noble Arthur who argued that might did not make right, Camelot is the second work by Lerner and Loewe to stop at the Aronoff this fall. (My Fair Lady was here six weeks ago.) A second great show from the 1950s is WONDERFUL TOWN, the annual "big musical" at UC's College-Conservatory of Music. The story of two sisters from Ohio who land in New York to seek careers, one as a writer and one as a singer, is a great yarn with lots of humor and heart, plus tunes by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by the great team of Betty Comden and Adolph Green. This one is only around for the weekend, so call for tickets quickly: 513-556-4183. For Camelot: 513-241-7469. (See performance times, buy tickets and find nearby bars and restaurants here and here.) — RICK PENDER
THURSDAY 11/15 - SUNDAY 11/18
Comic AL LUBEL says it was his family that inspired him to eventually pursue comedy as a career. "My family was always arguing or joking," he explains. "I think I got attracted to the joking part, although I still love to argue. My mother, father and grandmother would joke around a lot. ... It masks hostility, so it was their way of communicating." Lubel did go to law school, but the pull of comedy was always there. He was particularly motivated after listening to an old Lenny Bruce album. "What attracted me was the fact that a guy could get up on stage and have total attention of a room and make them laugh," he says, adding that eventually law started to wear on him. "Law school took the law right out of me. I had had enough law." Though he did practice in Southern California for a few years, he also did stand-up at night and eventually made the leap to comedy full-time. Still, his legal experience, he feels, has helped his comedy. "As a lawyer you have to analyze both sides of the issue, in order to know how strong your issue is. You have to see the strength of the other side's argument. It helps as a comedian to look at all different sides of the joke you're writing." Go Bananas, Montgomery. $10-$15. 513-984-9288. (See performance times, buy tickets and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — P.F. WILSON
What do you get when you cross a guitar with a harp? A harp-guitar! This isn't a joke — it's the instrument you'll hear if you come to Oakley's Essencha Teahouse at 6 p.m. Friday. Adept at the finger-picking school of guitar playing, ERIC LOY executes complex arrangements at roadrunner's speed and also plays one of the wackiest instruments you'll ever see. He does everything from favorite standards to avant-garde originals with a playful personality that shows in his titles. He tells me with the excitement of a child how he came up with the names for some of his songs. "When I wrote the 'Preposterous Rhinoceros' I had just taken a trip down to the Louisville Zoo and I saw rhinoceros for the first time." he says. "I wanted to write a song that sounds like them, and I think I did. I think it sounds like 'em. I dig spy stuff so 'Spy Jive,' I think that sounds like a spy song. I write stories, songs — it's very important for me to have the right title. I don't want some mediocre, lame title — can't stand that." There will be nothing mediocre about Loy's performance. It might be bizarre, quirky or at times just plain silly, but regardless of anything else it promises to be impressive and unique. $5. 513-533-4832. www.essencha.com. — ELIZABETH WU
SATURDAY 11/17 - SUNDAY 11/18
If you already predicted what this brief is about, you don't need to attend the VICTORY OF LIGHT PSYCHIC FESTIVAL — unless you want to give readings. Billed as one of the country's largest metaphysical conventions, the Psychic Festival includes psychics, sages, healers, animal communicators and astrologers, plus their trove of exotic wares: crystals, aromatherapy products, books and more. Add the ethereal music of Native American flute player Douglas Blue Feather and you have an event to delight all six senses. The festival is from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Nov. 17 and 18 at the Sharonville Convention Center. For a program schedule and directions, check out www.victoryoflight.com. But maybe you already knew that. $10 for one day, $15 for two. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — GREGORY FLANNERY
SATURDAY 11/17 - SUNDAY 11/18
Although it may be cold outside, it's muy caliente inside the rotunda at Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal. This weekend the facility opens its doors for the 2007-08 "Passport to the World" series with the seventh-annual LATIN AMERICAN CULTURE FEST. "Passport to the World" has always given visitors a chance to experience cultures from around the world, but this year's series is different. The main focus is on children and families, with many of the displays and presentations designed with young ones in mind, providing a unique opportunity for those of all ages to learn and interact with members of diverse multicultural backgrounds. The Latin American Culture Fest activities include musical performances by Sumakta Inca, a Caribbean Pirates Cove, with face painting, balloon artists and dress-up area. Latin American dance performances and a simulation of a bustling marketplace selling pottery, clothing, jewelry and more are not to be missed. And don't forget your passport! At each event, visitors collect stamps at various stations. Once the passport is full, it can be exchanged for a prize. So, what are you waiting for? Get the familia together and grab a sombrero because this is sure to be divertido (fun)! Free, apart from activities that take place within the museums. 513-287-7000. (See performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — KARI CAPEK