Sunday, February 9, 2003

Tarbell promises buzz at council's arts meeting



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Cincinnati City Councilman Jim Tarbell wants Thursday's meeting of council's arts and culture committee "to be crowded with a variety of people so they can see each other there and see what they have in common and walk out with a buzz on."

There will be plenty to buzz about:

Tarbell promises plans for using the $2.2 million in city arts capital funding for 2003. (Expect to hear that he's taking to heart finance committee chair John Cranley's desire for "leveraging" funding, and offering a stamp of approval to the "Core City" report issued in January by consultant John Alschuler.)

SLOGAN WINNERS
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Kevin Barry and Renee Alper are two of the winners in the Enquirer Cincinnati arts slogan contest. They and Jerry Lowe submitted "Cincinnati - the art of it all." The porky painter and ballerina were drawn by Khai Q. Ngo.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
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Developing live/work space for artists in the neighborhood surrounding the planned Art Academy of Cincinnati on 12th Street in Over-the-Rhine "will be a big part" of Thursday's conversation, and Art Academy president Gregory Smith will give a presentation of the plans for the school's move.

There will also be a slide show by Bob Manley, who teaches city planning at University of Cincinnati, in which Tarbell sees potential inspiration in Brazilian reclaimed neighborhoods and Over-the-Rhine.

It might also be a good time to get an update on the planning for a Cincinnati Cultural Trust, which will be speeding along in coming weeks (see the Jan. 31 Enquirer.)

"THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT MEETING!" says Tarbell. Join him at 4 p.m. Thursday in City Council Chambers.

`Paradise' reading: Here's the latest on the Feb. 18 free public reading of Paradise, the educational play that grabbed wide attention when Playhouse pulled it from its school touring schedule.

The 50-minute play is about Palestinian and Israeli girls living - and dying - in the West Bank.

Tickets will be available at 6 p.m. the night of the 7 p.m. reading at Playhouse in the Park. There's a limit of two tickets per person.

After the reading there will be a brief intermission then playwright Glyn O'Malley and Playhouse producing artistic director Ed Stern will answer questions submitted in writing from the audience about the play and the theater's educational programming. A moderator will coordinate the session.

Box office: 421-3888.

Know more: Encore! Encore! Know Tribe hit Pretty Fire moves to the Aronoff Center's Weston Art Gallery for two added, free one-hour performances on Thursday and Feb. 21.

Burgess Byrd will perform three of the five monologues in the one-woman show about the life of an African-American girl from birth to age 11

Back at its Gabriel's Corner home base, Know opens a program of one-acts (Zoo Story, Tongues and Train Story) on Thursday, continuing weekends through March 1.

Tickets $12 (but if you can find a flyer, you get a buy-one, get-one-free offer for Thursday performances). Box office: 300-5669.

In other Know business, the second annual benefit performance of The Vagina Monologues is scheduled for March 8, proceeds going to YWCA Battered Women's Shelter and the Women of Afghanistan.

Speakers and pre-show events begin at 6:30 p.m. prior to an 8 p.m. curtain. Tickets $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

Know will hold auditions 1-3 p.m. March 1 and March 8 at Gabriel's Corner for Terrence McNally's provocative Corpus Christi.

The drama earned some headlines a couple of years ago for its subject matter, which riffs contemporary homophobia with the life of Christ.

Playhouse earns funding: Playhouse in the Park is celebrating a $25,000 award from National Endowment for the Arts to support this year's Rosenthal New Play Prize winner, The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Carson Kreitzer.

Kreitzer's work was a big hit last year on her home ground of Minneapolis. Her Self-Defense or Death of Some Salesmen made more than one Twin Cities Top 10 list.

The critic at Minneapolis' alternative arts weekly City Pages named it No. 1, calling Kreitzer "the most exciting dramatist currently working in the Twin Cities."

The script was inspired by the story of Aileen Wuornos, the serial-killing Florida prostitute. Wouldn't it be great to hear a reading of it during the Oppenheimer run (March 22-April 20)?

`Lysistrata Project': Theater folk on both sides of the Ohio River will participate in the worldwide Lysistrata Project on March 3.

Actors will protest a possible war with Iraq by reading Aristophanes' anti-war satire, in which women stop a war in ancient Greece by withholding sex until the men come to their senses. In a manner of speaking.

In Cincinnati, a free reading, is set for 7:30 p.m. at Xavier University's Gallagher Center Theater (3800 Dana Ave.) There are 23 readers signed on to date, representing most of the companies in town.

Donations will benefit the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center. (Xavier is on spring break, there will be plenty of free parking.)

For anyone who would like to participate, chorus roles are available "for as many as would like to add their voice" says Women's Theatre Initiative's Kristin Dietsche. Call (513) 604-8545; e-mail: dietsche@fuse.net.

In Newport, Lysistrata will be read at Monmouth Theatre, details to come, although Monmouth producer Isaac Turner is contemplating a peace walk as part of the festivities.

Information on the international project: http://www.lysistrataproject.com.

Traveling troupe: Showbiz Players will take a cast of 26 to Tiffin, Ohio, to perform a one-hour excerpt from its much-praised production of The Civil War at the state level competition of American Association of Community Theatre Festival on Feb. 22.

"We're packing up our set, costumes and orchestra, and heading toward a dream," says Showbiz president Bunny Arszman.

The dream began when Showbiz was the first community theater in the U.S. to receive rights to produce the show that looks at the War Between the States from the viewpoints of Union and Confederate soldiers, slaves and statesmen.

"Hopefully this will be the first stop on a journey toward the national title as Best Community Theatre Production in the nation," says Arszman.

The company is crossing its collective fingers that it will move on to regional competition in Wisconsin. "The company is completely committed to taking this show as far as we can," Arszman says. "We'd do this show forever if we could."

20/20/ foresight: Three's no stopping a great idea, so 20/20, the autumn arts party that went on for 20 days and 20 nights to celebrate Enjoy the Arts/START's 20th anniversary, returns in 2003.

Arts organizations - start your engines. Festival planners are looking for cool, hip and edgy arts events in all forms "to unite arts organizations large and small, traditional and fringe, in an all-inclusive artistic bash," says program chair Krista Pille.

Festival dates are Sept. 23 through Oct. 12. Requests for proposals go out this week and submission deadline is March 14.

Questions? Call Joelle Daniel at Enjoy the Arts, 621-4700.

Puppets for adults: How cool is this? PuppetSLAM comes to the Monmouth Theatre in Newport on April 5. That's four hours (starting at 8 p.m.) of adult puppet cabaret performances sponsored and hosted by Cincinnati Area Puppetry Guild.

While details are still being locked in, expect a total of 20-24 mini-performances of five to 10 minutes each. There will be two sets during the evening.

In charge is Terry Burke, a Boston transplant who brought the idea from Beantown.

"We hope to start a tradition," says Guild prez Aretta Baumgartner.

Goodbye `Oklahoma': No sooner does College-Conservatory of Music gets five grads into Oklahoma! on Broadway, the show posts its closing notice! You can catch Jessica Boevers, Justin Bohon, Angela Gaylor, Aaron Lazar and Justin Patterson through Feb. 23.

E-mail jdemaline@enquirer.com




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