Sunday, January 4, 2015

"Hey, Fred!" A Biased, Idiosyncratic Top Five for the Week of January 5-11, 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.

This is 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 about. If you read this, let me know what would make it 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.


Available Light Theatre Presents Next Stage Initiative 2015. Riffe Center - Studio Two, 77 S. High St.  8:00pm Thursday-Saturday, January 8-January 17. Pay What You Want at the door.  One of my favorite Available Light events and one of my favorite theatrical events in town becomes a tradition with its second year. Next Stage Initiative is a mixture of workshops of plays so new they're still damp and tryout readings of plays that have been produced with some success elsewhere that are being considered for future production. This is the best place in town to see and hear new and fascinating voices that might not get a reading of this caliber anywhere else. In its first weekend, the plays are as follows:

  • January 8: The Death of Captain Hero by Amy Crider.  This play, written by Crider, an alumna of Second City and Chicago Dramatists, won the Chameleon Theatre Circle's New Play Contest, and is about the head writer of a 1970s children's show trying to honor the death of its star by giving the character the heroic death his actor didn't get but running into FCC restrictions. Directed by David Glover who has been a shining star since joining the AVLT troupe last year. There is a talkback, including the playwright, after this performance.
  • January 9: Quixote: A Radical Adaptation by Jen Schleuter.  Jen Schleuter's deconstructionist approach to one of the great novels of the Western world has a full production scheduled later in the season, but this is a chance to see it in its embryonic stage and even give some feedback. Directed by Matt Slaybaugh, who will also direct the final production. Last year's Leaving the Atocha Station adaptation went through this same process and it was a fascinating look at the bones of a piece coming to life for a theater lover. There is a talkback with the cast and crew, including the playwright.
  • January 10: After by Brett Beach.  This is a workshop staging of a brand new play from former OSU MFA student and writer Brett Beach, directed by Francesca Spedalieri, who's doing killing work with the OSU Theatre department. I don't know anything about this, but it's a key example of what makes this project AVLT embarks on so exciting. There is a talkback with the cast and crew, including the playwright.
Warehouse Theatre Company presents This is Our Youth by Kenneth Lonergan. Madlab Theatre, 227 N Third St.  This play chronicles 48 hours in the life of three young people adrift in early '80s Manhattan. When it premiered in the mid-'90s, it helped cement Lonergan as a keen vivisectionist of the American neurosis. Warehouse Theatre Company returned to the Columbus scene last year after an almost 10 year absence, and I have great memories of their productions of Assassins, Yasmin Reza's Art, and more, so expectations are high. Interview with playwright Kenneth Lonergan occasioned by last year's Broadway revival: Interview with the cast and crew about this production in the Columbus Dispatch: Preview at 8pm January 7, 2015. Performances at 8pm Thursday-Saturday, January 8-January 14; at 2pm and 7pm on Sunday January 11, 2015. More information and tickets:!this-is-our-youth/c1gl

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:


Tuesday, January 6, 2015: Sapphic with Sex Tide, Katherine, and Phases. Double Happiness, 482 S. Front St.  Grand Rapids band Sapphic are mining a similar vein of Joy Division-esque growly swing spun through with explosions and swirls of noise and echo as fellow Michigan band the heavily buzzed Protomartyr, but Sapphic have a fresh-sounding live approach that should be perfectly suited for the tight confines of Double Happiness. Locals Sex Tide - really finding their own as a two-piece and tightening their songs - and Katherine - a bass/drums queer punk duo who are a much needed shot in the arm to Columbus's scene - open, along with Indiana's Phases.  Doors at 8:00pm. $8 cover. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015: Bobby Floyd Trio. Natalie's Coal Fired Pizza, 5601 N. High St.  One of Columbus's finest jazz piano and organ players, Bobby Floyd plays with a gospel-infused fire and a harmonic imagination that's second to none. Since he's been on the tour with Dr. John he doesn't play in town nearly as often these days and it's a special treat to see him in a small listening room like Natalie's. He'll be backed by two of his long-running compatriots, Derek DiCenzo on bass (and possibly also guitar) and Reggie Jackson on drums, and the simpatico relationship among these three borders on the telepathic. Starts at 9:00pm. $10 tickets available at Natalie's. 


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