Monday, March 2, 2015

"Hey, Fred!" 03/02/15-03/08/15 A Biased and Idiosyncratic Top Five


This is the most popular feature (within the very relative confines of that word as it relates to this). A look at things I want to shine some light on - not everything I'm going to do, and not quite (as the old version was) everything I'd do if money and time were no object.


These are my top 5 suggestions for the week in question - named for my great pal Fred Pfening and named long before it was born, by A., who suggested "Rick's going to have a blog called 'Hey, Fred! Here's what's coming to town...' - whatever media strike my fancy. It could be all theater one week, it could be all films or all readings or all gallery shows, but most weeks will include some if not mostly music - I hope to spark some  conversations and get people excited about what I'm excited for. If you read this, let me know what would make this more useful to you. As well, if you get any value out of this, please send me links/invite me on Facebook/send up a carrier pigeon to let me know about your events.

Visual Art


Luminous Landscapes: New Work By Kellie McDermott and Carol Snyder. McConnell Arts Center, 777 Evening St. Any time Kellie McDermott has a new slate of work to exhibit it's a cause for celebration. Her encaustic paintings use those layers of wax to create both a sculptural, sensuous feeling on the canvas but also a dreamlike, unsettling distance. There's an emotional heat that comes out of her barren but vibrating landscapes that intermingles with an unstuck-in-time quality you have to see in person. Carol Snyder's work I don't know very well, but the images I've seen of her landscape-inspired pottery seem like they'll be fascinating in juxtaposition with the other work and I can't wait to see them in the flesh. Opening March 6th, 6:00pm-8:00pm. Exhibition Runs March 6th-April 26th.


Theatre

Trouble in Mind by Alice Childress. OSU Theatre Department, Roy Bowen Theatre in the Drake Performance and Event Center, 1849 Cannon Drive. Childress' 1955 play isn't performed often but it's a razor-sharp satire of where each of draws the line for our own principles, how ingrained prejudice hurts and diminishes everyone, and how easily the veneer of "well-meaning" can be ripped away. I comment OSU Theatre for tackling this almost-lost classic and I can't wait to see it. 7:30 Weeknights except Monday, 3:00pm matinées Saturday and Sunday March 4th-March 12th. For tickets and more info visit http://theatre.osu.edu/boxoffice




On the Edge: Short Plays by Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter. Short North Stage, 1186 N High St. For other theatre nerds, this is a stone delight. Four rarely staged short plays by Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter staged in the green room of Short North Stage's Garden Theater. The Pinter plays are "Victoria Station", in which a cab driver and his controller argue over a pickup to the titular station, drenched in black humor and, like all Pinter, about far more than it seems on the surface; and "The Collection" about the shifting tectonic plates of an infidelity which has sometimes been seen as a trial run for his more acclaimed Betrayal; and "Night", a sketch about how people fall in love and how it's remembered. The Beckett is "Rockaby", which is a one woman play that serves as a fascinating repetition-driven look at aging. 8:00pm Thursday-Saturday, 2:00pm Sunday, March 5th-March 15th. For tickets and more info visit http://www.shortnorthstage.org/calendar/v/406


Music


March 2: Shilpa Ray. Rumba Cafe, 2507 Summit St. I've been a big fan of Shilpa Ray since she was in Beat the Devil and loved both her records as Shilpa Ray and her Happy Hookers. But I saw her with her new backing band at Cameo Gallery in Brooklyn last fall and can attest she's found a new level of purity and focus without sacrificing any of the rage or any of the delicious weirdness. At times it harkened back to a knives-sharpened Patsy Cline not unlike Neko Case, at times it conjured mutant disco, and at times it just flat-out rocked. Locals Dana, who I've heard fantastic buzz regarding, open. Doors at 8:00pm. $10 tickets available at Ticketweb.



March 8: Kevin Morby and Ryley Walker. Double Happiness, 482 S Front St. Morby and Walker are two singer-songwriters at the forefront of the latest wave bubbling over the edges of the new weird America. Kevin Morby has a smoother voice and accessible melodies but he never lets go of the mysteries in the song, he's not interested in a perfectly workshopped piece. Ryley Walker mines Bert Jansch-y territory not unlike early Six Organs of Admittance but with classical and jazz inflections that can shift right out of your grip, recalling James Blackshaw one second and his peer William Tyler the next, with riveting arrangements and a subsumed but never gone love of drone. A show on an early Sunday night that's your chance to get clean and reset for the next week. Starts at 8:00pm. $8 tickets available at Ticketfly.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

"Hey, Fred!" 02/23/15-03/01/15 A Biased and Idiosyncratic Top Five

This is the most popular feature (within the very relative confines of that word as it relates to this). A look at things I want to shine some light on - not everything I'm going to do, and not quite (as the old version was) everything I'd do if money and time were no object.

These are my top 5 suggestions for the week in question - named for my great pal Fred Pfening and named long before it was born, by A., who suggested "Rick's going to have a blog called 'Hey, Fred! Here's what's coming to town...' - whatever media strike my fancy. It could be all theater one week, it could be all films or all readings or all gallery shows, but most weeks will include some if not mostly music - I hope to spark some conversations and get people excited about what I'm excited for. If you read this, let me know what would make this more useful to you. As well, if you get any value out of this, please send me links/invite me on Facebook/send up a carrier pigeon to let me know about your events.

First, R.I.P. to Brett Helling, guitarist, bassist, songwriter, singer, and great, great friend to many people I care very deeply about. I never knew Brett well but was always happy to see him when I did and I know his death is a great loss for many corners of the music scene in this town.

Literary


February 24: Scott Woods feature at Writing Wrongs Poetry. Ruby Tuesday, 1978 Summit St. One of the finest Columbus poets, Woods has brought the house down on stages from Vancouver to Boston, from the Bowery Poetry Club to the Green Mill to National Public Radio. One of the finest poets I've heard who's been astonishing me for at least 15 years and is a key catalyst to the Columbus performance poetry scene being as strong a contender and as nationally recognized as it is. He doesn't do many local features and I couldn't recommend this one, at Will Evans' Writing Wrongs night, any higher. Get there early enough for the open mic, when I hit Writing Wrongs a month or so ago I was impressed at the breadth of young talent that show has attracted lately. Starts at 8:00pm. $5 cover. 



February 27: Ohio Underground. Creating a Folklore of the Present and Future: Peter Laughner, The Black Orchid Society, and the Northeastern Ohio Music Scene, 1969-1977; Barnett Center, 131 Sullivant Hall, Ohio State University. And Performance Talk by David Thomas, Hagerty Hall 180, Ohio State University. If you have any interest in Ohio music history, you shouldn't miss either of these events. The morning panel discussion features Frank Mauceri, Nick Blakey and Andrew Russ of the Peter Laughner archives at Smog Veil records who have done great work keeping that flame alive. Peter Laughner might be best known to people my generation and younger by the Lester Bangs obituary anthologized countless times. He was a key component of influential bands like Rocket from the Tombs and early Pere Ubu and a vital link bringing New York proto-punk bands like Television and the Patti Smith Group to Cleveland and introducing the Dead Boys to the NYC scene. He died too young and left a small, but very, very choice body of work. David Thomas continued that work and took it in every more fascinating directions ever since with his work in Pere Ubu, solo records (the version of David Thomas and Two Pale Boys featuring Richard Thompson is a personal favorite), and a revived Rocket from the Tombs, as well as his avant-garde theatre and prose work. I can't wait to see what his "performance talk" looks and sounds like. Video below this is a song written by Laughner and performed by Rocket from the Tombs in an essential document, breaking a longstanding rule of mine of not posting videos that are a still photograph with music behind it, but sometimes there isn't a choice. This should have been Ohio's official rock song, and I feel like it is for those of us who give a damn. Panel discussion is 9:00am-10:30am, performance talk is 5:00pm-6:30pm. Both events are free.



Music


February 23: Swami John Reis and the Blind Shake. Double Happiness, 482 S Front St. John Reis is one of the most riveting frontmen I've ever had the pleasure to see grace a stage and every band of his - Rocket from the Crypt, Hot Snakes, The Night Marchers, Drives Like Jehu - is worth checking out. This new project, a collaboration with Minneapolis grime-laden rockers The Blind Shake, is a set of scorching original instrumentals in the vein of Ventures classics. In this tiny room on the edge of downtown, expect a sweaty, grooving party that grabs you by the throat and won't let go. One of my favorite local bands, weirdo-punks Hookers Made Out of Cocaine open along with Athens' much-buzzed-about surf band The D-Rays. Be ready to be sore at work on Tuesday. Doors at 8:00pm. $11 Tickets available at Ticketfly.

February 27-28: Erik Friedlander and Mitch Epstein, American Power. Wexner Center for the Arts, 1871 N High St. Erik Friedlander is one of my favorite cellists who I've seen more than a dozen times  and probably have 20 records featuring - in a variety of modes, including John Zorn's compositions in the Masada String Trio, recreations of jukejoint blues in Nighthawks, riffs on Oscar Pettiford's music in his Broken Arm Trio, free improvisation, and string arrangements for bands like Mountain Goats. Friedlander particularly excels in works inspired by and riffing off other media, including his solo cello record Maldoror based on the poems of the Comte de Lautreamont, his work based on his father Lee Friedlander's photographs Block Ice and Propane and this new project built around Mitch Epstein's book American Power. Friedlander's never played a note that wasn't worth hearing. Starts at 8:00pm. $18 tickets are available at http://wexarts.org/performing-arts/erik-friedlander-and-mitch-epstein-american-power


February 28: Miss Tess and the Talkbacks. Brothers Drake, 26 E 5th Ave. NYC's evergreen roots scene is in a particularly good upswing right now and high upon that wave is Miss Tess and the Talkbacks, a four-piece band led by a voice that's mastered every emotion she wants to deploy. They synthesize classic rockabilly, small-group Western Swing, and grooving early R&B with aplomb. Stellar original songs and a razor-sharp taste in covers and arrangements. This should bring some warmth to even the coldest heart on even the coldest Saturday night. Local fellow retro-revisionists The Dewdroppers round out this raucous party of a bill. Starts at 10:00pm. $7 cover.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

"Hey, Fred!" 02/16/15-02/22/15 A Biased and Idiosyncratic Top Five

This is the most popular feature (within the very relative confines of that word as it relates to this). A look at things I want to shine some light on - not everything I'm going to do, and not quite (as the old version was) everything I'd do if money and time were no object.

These are my top 5 suggestions for the week in question - named for my great pal Fred Pfening and named long before it was born, by A., who suggested "Rick's going to have a blog called 'Hey, Fred! Here's what's coming to town...' - whatever media strike my fancy. It could be all theater one week, it could be all films or all readings or all gallery shows, but most weeks will include some if not mostly music - I hope to spark some conversations and get people excited about what I'm excited for. If you read this, let me know what would make this more useful to you. As well, if you get any value out of this, please send me links/invite me on Facebook/send up a carrier pigeon to let me know about your events.

Music

February 21: Mark Lomax and Edwin Bayard, BlackLivesMatter Album Release; Kafe Kerouac, 2250 N High St. Anyone who thinks jazz is disconnected from current events or concerned with virtuosity at the expense of live can, first, go fuck themselves. Second, they should get their ears and soul thoroughly scoured at the release party for a majestic, righteously furious album by the duo of percussionist Mark Lomax and tenor sax player Edwin Bayard. The first time I ever saw Lomax lead a band was his old group Blacklist playing behind Amiri Baraka at the King Arts Center, the most recent time was his trio (also featuring Bayard) bringing some needed acidity and sharpness to the Jazz and Rib Fest downtown, and he's never less than jaw-dropping. This new record, BlackLivesMatter, reckons with the newest flowering of a long line of disgrace and dehumanization and horror and not only looks it in the face but comes out swinging. It's a blood-and-fist-pumping ecstatic masterpiece that should be talked about in the same breath as Mingus and Roach and Coltrane, but it's no history lesson. Poet Scott Woods put together this show (and wrote the brilliant liner notes for the record) and I believe will lead a Q&A with Lomax and Bayard after. The record can be downloaded for free at Lomax's website: http://www.marklomaxii.com/blacklivesmatter. Show starts at 5:00pm. $10 cover.



February 21: Aaron Quinn, New Music for Percussion and Guitar. Brothers Drake Meadery, 26 E 5th Ave. Aaron Quinn, after a couple years being one of the finest jazz guitarists in Columbus, took off for NYC but is back for a few days and a couple amazing-looking shows. For this, at Brothers Drake, a club he practically owned the stage of during its Jazz Wednesday series, he's put together a showcase of new compositions for percussion, guitar, "and other inferior instruments" by himself as well as longtime friends and compatriots including Alex Burgoyne, Seth Daily, Aditya Jayanthi, Ryan Jewell, Frances Litterski, and Larry Marotta. Feel the pulse of the cutting edge while warming up with a fine cocktail in one of the best listening rooms in town. Show starts at 5:00pm. Free, tips encouraged.



February 21: Cheetah Chrome. Shrunken Head, 251 W 5th Ave. If you love rock and roll you shouldn't miss this chance to see one of its guitar legends in a room this small. Of all the great rock Ohio has given the world over the years, Rocket From the Tombs and its offshoots, Pere Ubu and Dead Boys, is among the greatest, and Cheetah Chrome (born Gene O'Connor)'s lead guitar was the juice in both Rocket and the Boys. Music that recombined the DNA of rhythmic, throbbing, sexy rock and roll and helped jumpstart punk and its more avant-garde offshoots. The Dead Boys first record, Young, Loud, and Snotty still sounds as fresh, as thrilling, and as hard to ignore as ever. Cleveland native Chrome, now based in Nashville, has in the last few years put out a terrific memoir, a brash, joyous record called Solo, and recorded with Sylvain Sylvain, Drivin' and Cryin', and The Batusis, and he's still playing great, so this appearance should be a treat. The bill is rounded out by longstanding Detroit glam-punk ringleader Ricky Rat, formerly of the Trash Brats, and Columbus stalwarts Little Orphan Anarchy. Show starts at 9:00pm. $10 tickets available at Brown Paper Tickets.


February 21: Hypnotide. Dick's Den, 2417 N High St. Local surf-rock provocateur supergroup, Hypnotide, featuring Brett Burleson on bass, Joe Nelson on drums, and the dueling guitars of Aaron Quinn and Larry Marotta, were never less than a house-shaking party whenever I saw them, and best of all doing three sets at Dick's Den. Great compositions, great grooves, great taste in repertoire you'll get a little more of in this context than you would just seeing one set - I remember a long, reharmonized version of "Surfer Girl" that made my rye whiskey age in my glass it was so hot and rich. Their long awaited record is coming out and Quinn's back in town (see above) for the release party. I expect this to be the rare record release party that fully lives up to the party in its name. There's a lot going on this night, but if you manage to make it to this for the first set, you might never leave, and if you make it for the last set, I guarantee you'll be glad you did. Show starts at 10:00pm. $4 cover. 



Turkuaz, Pimps of Joytime, MojoFlo, and Deep Fried Five. Park Street Saloon, 533 Park St. This is one of the most loaded bills for pure funky goodness in recent memory. Locals MojoFlo have been killing it of late, heavy touring and Columbus gigging have made their stage show a can't miss and their material gets tighter and tighter. Nashville's Deep Fried Five have a fresh take on bluesy, greasy classic soul. Turkuaz' brand of afrobeat-tinged jam band have been known to really move a crowd in NYC, here in Columbus, and elsewhere. But for my taste, the can't miss act, the shining jewel in this funky crown, is Brooklyn's Pimps of Joytime. I saw them at Woodlands Tavern a few years ago and on a shitty, rainy weeknight, they not only got over 100 people out they made the sometimes staid or stuffy Columbus crowd dance. Riffing on all the great dance music of the last 50 years, from Barretto-styled boogaloo to Roy Ayers-ish jazzy slow jams (they even had Ayers guest on their last record) to hip hop to deep house, expect this band to leave a pint of blood on the stage and make the floor and some bodies slick with sweat.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

"Hey, Fred!" 02/09/15-02/15/15 A Biased and Idiosyncratic Top Five

http://lastagetimes.com/2013/09/terrence-mcnally-talks/This is the most popular feature (within the very relative confines of that word as it relates to this). A look at things I want to shine some light on - not everything I'm going to do, and not quite (as the old version was) everything I'd do if money and time were no object.

These are my top 5 suggestions for the week in question - named for my great pal Fred Pfening and named long before it was born, by A., who suggested "Rick's going to have a blog called 'Hey, Fred! Here's what's coming to town...' - whatever media strike my fancy. It could be all theater one week, it could be all films or all readings or all gallery shows, but most weeks will include some if not mostly music - I hope to spark some conversations and get people excited about what I'm excited for. If you read this, let me know what would make this more useful to you. As well, if you get any value out of this, please send me links/invite me on Facebook/send up a carrier pigeon to let me know about your events.

 Visual Art


Mobile Photo Now. Columbus Museum Art, 480 E Broad St. This opened last week but it definitely deserves some additional shine. The CMA over the last number of years has really amped up its photography holdings and particularly has done as good a job of taking a curatorial eye to the current flood of individual photography in the smartphone age as any institution I can name, largely through the work and support of Jennifer Poleon. Mobile Photo Now is their biggest, widest-ranging take on this phenomenon yet, including photographers from over 40 countries. Check out this interview with Jennifer Poleon about Mobile Photo Now: http://www.columbusmonthly.com/content/roundups/2015/mobile-photo-now-columbus-museum-of-art.html
Runs Through March 22nd. 

Dark Love: Fables and Foibles.  The Vanderelli Room, 218 McDowell St. This gallery show purports to cover the ugly side of love and how that's suffused children's stories, fables and fairy tales, through interpretations by 20 local artists. A source of inspiration that seems to never run dry and should be a nicely acidic counterpoint to the other Valentine's Day-themed shows around. Opens on February 13th at 7:00pm.

 Theatre

Master Class by Terrence McNally presented by CatCo in association with Opera Columbus. Studio One, Riffe Center, 77 S High St. One of the finest American playwrights of the last 40 years, Highlights of McNally's work includes the heartbreaking Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune, the groundbreaking mainstream gay comedy Love! Valour! Compassion!, and the books of musical adaptations of novels like Ragtime and Kiss of the Spider Woman. My favorite has always been Master Class, a fictionalized look at the great Maria Callas in decline, teaching a class at Columbia University and trying to hold her life together. I don't claim to be any more than a dilettante about opera but one of those budget compilations of Callas's arias was my biggest gateway drug and this heartbreaking, snarling play also sent me down that road. Interview with Terrence McNally about Master Class: http://lastagetimes.com/2013/09/terrence-mcnally-talks/ Opens on February 11th and runs through March 1st. For tickets and more information, please visit CatCo.

Music

February 10: Joy. The Tree Bar, 887 Chambers Rd.  A rare heavy touring show through the intimate confines of the Tree Bar. Joy, signed to heavy connoisseurs Tee Pee Records, are one of the finest exemplars of the current trend of hard psychedelia without ever sacrificing the big, sensual groove. Pittsburgh's Carousel open in a similar vein but with a harder line in classic rock like Thin Lizzy and Motorhead. Openers Mama and High Definitions open. If this is your kind of thing, expect this show to make the walls shake in that little room. Starts at 9:00pm. $5 cover.


February 14: Melissa Aldana and Crash Trio. Wexner Center, 1871 N High St. Melissa Aldana, Chliean born and NYC based, is on a meteoric rise as one of the most promising tenor sax players working today. A Thelonious Monk award winner in 2013, she released a self-titled record with the band she's bringing to the Wexner Center on Concord last year to astonishing reviews. Aldana combines a lyrical tone with a hard-edged rhythmic authority, walking the line between lush and bracing. It's a gorgeous, burnished, classic sound and a chance to get in on the ground floor of someone we'll all be hearing about for a long time. Starts at 8:00pm. $20 Tickets available on the Wexner Center website.
 

Still Running Recommendations

Theatre 



Romance Romance by Barry Harman and Keith Herrmann presented by Red Herring Theatre. Riffe Center Studio 2 Theater, 77 S High St. Red Herring haven't made a bad show in the time since their return. Regular (ha!) readers of my blog will remember my raves about Thicker than Water and Assassins. This show assembles a dream team on stage and backstage including director John Dranschak, musical director Pam Welsh-Huggins, and stars Nick Lingnofski and Kate Lingnofski. I wrote about this for Columbus Underground and I'm happy to report this continues the streak of terrific work with two of the best performances I've ever seen in a musical. Runs 8:00pm Thursday through Saturday February 5-February 14th with 2:00pm matinee shows on Sunday February 8 and Saturday February 14. $20 tickets in advance by phone, more information at http://www.redherring.info/romanceromance/

Sunday, February 1, 2015

"Hey, Fred!" 02/02-02/08/2015 A Biased and Idiosyncratic Top 5

This is the most popular feature (within the very relative confines of that word as it relates to this). A look at things I want to shine some light on - not everything I'm going to do, and not quite (as the old version was) everything I'd do if money and time were no object.

These are my top 5 suggestions for the week in question - named for my great pal Fred Pfening and named long before it was born, by A., who suggested "Rick's going to have a blog called 'Hey, Fred! Here's what's coming to town...' - whatever media strike my fancy. It could be all theater one week, it could be all films or all readings or all gallery shows, but most weeks will include some if not mostly music - I hope to spark some  conversations and get people excited about what I'm excited for. If you read this, let me know what would make this more useful to you. As well, if you get any value out of this, please send me links/invite me on Facebook/send up a carrier pigeon to let me know about your events.

Visual Art

February 6: Exhibition Preview: Hassan Hajjaj and Fiber: Sculpture 1960-Present. Wexner Center for the Arts, 1871 N High St. After the flash and spectacle of Fall 2014's Transfigurations, the Wex focuses on its core competencies with the one-two punch of a video installation by fascinating Moroccan-born and London-based artist Hassan Hajjaj and a various artists' retrospective on the sculptural properties of textiles. Fiber was curated by Jenelle Porter and comes to us from the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. A review of Fiber from its previous run: http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/theater-art/2014/10/02/the-ica-displays-marvels-woven-with-thread-rope-and-more/bYj5A63e9kDzABcTLNX5qO/story.html More information on Hajjaj, from his New York gallery, Taymour Grahne: http://www.taymourgrahne.com/exhibitions/hassan-hajjaj-and39kesh-angels/selected-works  This preview is open to the public 6-9pm on February 6. The exhibitions run from February 7-April 12.

Theatre 



Romance Romance by Barry Harman and Keith Herrmann presented by Red Herring Theatre. Riffe Center Studio 2 Theater, 77 S High St. Red Herring haven't made a bad show in the time since their return. Regular (ha!) readers of my blog will remember my raves about Thicker than Water and Assassins so you know I'm looking forward to seeing their Central Ohio premier production of this music, with a dream team on stage and backstage including director John Dranschak, musical director Pam Welsh-Huggins, and stars Nick Lingnofski and Kate Lingnofski. Hopes and expectations are high. Runs 8:00pm Thursday through Saturday February 5-February 14th with 2:00pm matinee shows on Sunday February 8 and Saturday February 14. $20 tickets in advance by phone, more information at http://www.redherring.info/romanceromance/


Literary

February 7: An Afternoon of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. Bexley Public Library, 2411 E Main St. For as long as I can remember, this area has been overflowing with SF/F writers of the highest caliber. This event at Bexley Public Library brings together four of the brightest lights right now to read and discuss their work. Jason Sanford (no relation), has been nominated for SFWA's Nebula Award and the BSFA award. Paul Melko's acclaimed hard science fiction novels include Singularity's Ring and The Walls of the Universe and have been nominated for the Hugo and Nebula awards. Gary Braunbeck, for my money, is one of the finest short story writers working today with heart-wrenching work that conjures a vein of the gothic going back to McCullers, O'Connor, and even Hawthorne but with a contemporary literary sensibility that recalls Russell Banks, that's led to his winning five Bram Stoker Awards among other awards like the International Horror Guild award. Lucy Snyder writes fantastic work in a dizzying array of genres from formal poetry to erotica with a particular focus on urban fantasy lately in her acclaimed Jessie Shimmer novels. Begins at 2:00pm. Free Event.

Music

February 4: Cult of Youth. Ace of Cups, 2619 N High St. In the few years since their first album, and since they last played Columbus in a Skully's show that was almost there but left me a little unsatisfied, Cult of Youth had an almost-complete turnover of members around singer-songwriter Seth Ragon and refined both their sound and their attack. They've shed some of the overt Clash references and the New Romantic textures and let in some wildness and looseness, a controlled chaos around Ragon's growl that at times conjures early Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds or even Current 93. But even in the more avant arrangements (the interplay between Paige Flash on cello and Christian Kount on guitar is incendiary) there's always a core of rock-solid folk-tinged songwriting there. Riveting harmonium-based locals Cosmic Moon and the new project from Kevin Failure (Pink Reason), Brass Orchids, open, with Scott and Erin Void DJing between bands. Starts at 9:00pm. $7 cover.
 

February 7: Nyodene D. The Summit, 2210 Summit St. Nyodene D, Aaron Wilk from Pennsylvania, for a number of years has made a transcendent, even beautiful art out of the tricks and tropes of harsh noise. The textures aim to get behind your initial reactions and under that layer of your brain like pudding skin that filters and keeps out the toxins, built in layers of detritus by the banal ugliness of the world. If you're anything like me, this is the kind of therapeutic acid bath your soul needs once in a while. Check out this interview from Heathen Harvest: http://heathenharvest.org/2013/07/02/overthrowing-an-empire-of-decadence-an-interview-with-nyodene-d/ His kindred spirit, Envenomist, one of Columbus's shining lights in gorgeously arranged grim electronic music, who plays out very rarely, opens, along with Ty Owen and Lord Hypnos. Starts at 10:00pm. $5 cover.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

"Hey, Fred!" 01/26/15-02/01/15 A Biased and Idiosyncratic Top Five

This is the most popular feature (within the very relative confines of that word as it relates to this). A look at things I want to shine some light on - not everything I'm going to do, and not quite (as the old version was) everything I'd do if money and time were no object.

These are my top 5 suggestions for the week in question - named for my great pal Fred Pfening and named long before it was born, by A., who suggested "Rick's going to have a blog called 'Hey, Fred! Here's what's coming to town...' - whatever media strike my fancy. It could be all theater one week, it could be all films or all readings or all gallery shows, but most weeks will include some if not mostly music - I hope to spark some conversations and get people excited about what I'm excited for. If you read this, let me know what would make this more useful to you. As well, if you get any value out of this, please send me links/invite me on Facebook/send up a carrier pigeon to let me know about your events.

Visual Art

Various Artists, Sitter. Canzani Center at CCAD, 60 Cleveland Ave. I missed this opening last week but with so much going on it would've been hard to shoehorn this into last week anyway. Over the last 7-8 years, the Columbus College of Art and Design has stepped up their gallery game immeasurably to the point where they're one of our preeminent modern art institutions. The new group show, Sitter, is a look at how portraiture changes and is used to what ends in contemporary photography and the list of artists is mind-boggling. Including Dawoud Bey, Leigh Ledare, Nan Goldin, and my favorite Catherine Opie, this is a great opportunity to take the temperature of modern photography. Runs through March 25, 2015.



Literary

January 26: Siaara Freeman. The Poetry Forum, Bossy Grrl, 2598 N High St. The longest running poetry series in Columbus has one of its best, most diverse seasons in quite some time. I've already missed (by all accounts) fantastic sets by Scott Woods and Charlene Fix this year but this week is one of the most promising younger voices on the scene, Siaara Freeman. I saw Freeman read at the MeatGrinder Poetry Slam a few months ago and her work blew my hair back. Do not miss this. Starts at 7:00pm. No cover.



Music

January 29: Pete Mills' Side One Series - Eddie Harris, The In Sound. Natalie's Coal-Fired Pizza, 5601 N High St. Pete Mills is one of the finest tenor sax players and educators in town and his periodic repertory shows delving into a particular record are always enlightening. Eddie Harris was one of the great Chicago tenors and one of jazz's finest composers in the soul-jazz era and while I have a personal bias toward the rawer Vee-Jay albums, The In Sound, being paid tribute to, is one of those perfect records, nailed down by the unstoppable rhythm section of Cedar Walton on piano, Ron Carter on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums, and kicked off a marvelous run for Harris on Atlantic Records. Mills' 5tet usually consists of Erik Augis on piano, Andy Woodson on bass, Cedric Easton on drums often with special guest Rob Parton on trumpet in from Chicago. I haven't seen word on who's in the quintet for this performance but expect it to be players who know this sound-world inside and out. Starts at 9:00pm. $7 Tickets available at Vendini.


January 29: The Sidekicks. Ace of Cups, 2619 N High. The Sidekicks have been bubbling under for a while, honing their craft, and it's finally paying off with a rock-solid pop-punk record Runners in the Nerved World on the biggest label for that kind of music, Epitaph Records. Razor sharp playing, good time bouncing grooves, and undeniable hooks. This serves as the local record release show. Check out this interview of theirs on The Runout: http://therunout.com/post/88962672326/the-sidekicks-throw-out-the-rulebook-for-new-album Locals All Dogs, also getting a lot of righteous buzz and praise, open along with Connections and LVL. Starts at 9:00pm. $6 cover.



January 31: Herzog. Spacebar, 2590 N High St. Herzog from Cleveland are a blast of catchy, jittery rock and roll energy who were the brightest spot at the Diarrhea Planet show at Skully's last year and I can't wait to see them again, especially at Columbus's finest new rock venue. Check out this feature on Agit Reader: http://www.agitreader.com/features/herzog-01.31.html Washington Beach Bums, Columbus's principal dissectors and inciters of the party, host them and headline. Locals The Sweet S open. Starts at 10:00pm. $5 cover.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

"Hey, Fred!" A Biased, Idiosyncratic Top Five for the Week of January 19-25, 2015

This is the most popular feature (within the very relative confines of that word as it relates to this). A look at things I want to shine some light on - not everything I'm going to do, and not quite (as the old version was) everything I'd do if money and time were no object.

These are my top 5 suggestions for the week in question - named for my great pal Fred Pfening and named long before it was born, by A., who suggested "Rick's going to have a blog called 'Hey, Fred! Here's what's coming to town...' - whatever media strike my fancy. It could be all theater one week, it could be all films or all readings or all gallery shows, but most weeks will include some if not mostly music - I hope to spark some conversations and get people excited about what I'm excited for. If you read this, let me know what would m ake this more useful to you. As well, if you get any value out of this, please send me links/invite me on Facebook/send up a carrier pigeon to let me know about your events.

Film

National Gallery directed by Frederick Wiseman. Wexner Center for the Arts, 1871 N High St. Frederick Wiseman's documentaries get you the closest to the reality of a situation you will ever see on film. His dedication to getting it right in a way that's not sensationalized is a wonder and very, very rarely equaled in any medium. At 85, he's still doing riveting work you could get lost in, and I can't wait to see this exploration of London's National Gallery. An interview with Wiseman on Lumiere: http://lumiere.net.nz/index.php/an-interview-with-frederick-wiseman/ A New Yorker review:  http://www.newyorker.com/culture/richard-brody/frederick-wisemans-relentless-museum-talk

Screens on January 24, 2015, at 2:00pm and 7:00pm. $8 Tickets available at the Wexner Center website.


Theatre

January 25: Richard Maxwell and the New York City Players, Isolde. Thurber Theatre at Drake Center, 1849 Cannon Drive (presented by the Wexner Center). Richard Maxwell, who makes theatre unlike almost anyone else and has for 25+ years bring his take on the wrenching, epic love story of Tristan and Isolde to town under the auspices of the Wexner Center. I'm not saying much about this here because I'm writing a full preview for Columbus Underground which I'll link to here when it posts, but nothing this week gets a higher recommendation from me. A titan. To tide you over, a an interview with the New Yorker and a review from Hyperallergic. 8:00pm. Tickets available at the Wexner Center website. 


Music

January 20: Zola Jesus. Skully's Music Diner, 1151 N High St. Zola Jesus (real name Nika Rosa Danilova) returns to town after what seems like a protracted absence bringing her shuddering, restless, sultry songs and one of the richest, most resonant voices you'll hear live. She's broadened her scope through relentless collaboration and in the last few records exploded the songs with fascinating arrangements by the likes of J.G. Thirlwell (with Versions) and Tuba Joe (on Taiga). Taiga, the newest record of hers, was a bolder grab for pop music but it still sounds inimitably like her and there are great songs throughout. Angel Deradoorian from Dirty Projectors opens with her captivating baroque folk. Doors at 8:00pm. $20 tickets available at Ticketweb.
January 23: Margo and the Pricetags. Ace of Cups, 2619 N High St. Margo Price, formerly of  Nashville rock band Buffalo Clover, brings her classically-styled honk-tonk five piece The Pricetags to town with a fresh voice and a quiver of great, great songs. Where too much alt.country (or whatever you call it now) settles for monochromatic depression, Price remembers that the great weepers like Lefty Frizzell and Ernest Tubb also had more than a few dance numbers and could even keep you dancing and crying at the same time. Locals Meagan and Milan from the Alwood Sisters and cough-syrup country Drift Mouth open, and local singer-songwriter Chad Williams, who runs the DJ night Whiskey Jukebox, spins records between bands.. Doors at 9:00pm. $5 cover.

Pharmakon.  The Summit, 2210 Summit St. It took me a while for Pharmakon to make an impression. I didn't quite get it with her first record and her opening slot for Swans here in town. But her second album, Bestial Burden, and a 15 minute set I saw at PS1 for Return of Schizo-Culture burned the cataracts off my eyes. Her new work is some of the most moving, gripping composition about the dread and horror of knowing your own body can turn against you at any moment. It's a deep, cathartic, pulse-pounding music that doesn't give you any quarter in understanding. Locals Corrina and Slavehouse, along with Lafayette, Indiana's, Rev//Rev, open. Starts at 9:30pm. $10 cover.


Still Running

Visual Art

Esther Ruiz: Neon Dreams. Glass Axis, 610 W Town St.  Brooklyn artist Esther Ruiz is presenting a solo exhibition of her minimal futuristic landscapes that use glittering, shiny surfaces to conjure a vibration down the viewer's spine. I can't wait to see this work in person.  Opening Friday, January 9 from 5:00pm-9:00pm. On view through February 22, 2015. More information: https://glassaxis.org/neon-dreams-an-exhibition-featuring-esther-ruiz/