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 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.
- January 15: The Burden of Not Having a Tail by Carrie Barrett. Actor/writer Barrett's play is a one-woman look at the onrushing apocalypse that had a production n 2013 by Chicago's Sideshow Theatre. Interestingly, the director of this reading is Karie Miller who performed in the original Chicago production.There is a talkback with the cast and crew after this performance.
- January 16: Rust on Bone by Bianca Sams. Actor/writer (and Ohio University MFA) Sams' Rust on Bone has been wracking up prestigious readings including at Gulfshore Playhouse and Manhattan Theatre Club and her website describes her work as "violent intersections that force audiences to confront their own complex love affair with misery." This might be the play I'm most looking forward to in this year's Next Stage Initiative, directed by Yolanda Board.
- January 17: Queens of tbe Ring by Max Glenn. Actor/writer Glenn did a fascinating turn in Camille Bullock's Southern Cross the Dog in last year's Next Stage Initiative and has been working behind the scenes with AVLT in the intervening year, most recently as Dramaturge on She Kills Monsters and this workshop reading of his play is directed by frequent AVLT collaborator Whitney Thomas Eads who has been doing stunning work as an actress of late.
January 13: Writing Wrongs Poetry featuring Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib. Ruby Tuesday, 1978 Summit St. Columbus expat Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib created a thriving pocket of the scene in his years shepherding Travonna coffee house's poetry night and also appeared on stages with every other great poet in town and better than held his own. One of the most fluid voices and incisive wits I've ever seen. He's relocated to Connecticut so this rare local feature should be really special, plus one of the livest open mics in town. Starts at 8:00pm. $5 cover, $3 for students.
January 13: Mishka Shubaly. Ace of Cups, 2619 N High St. Mishka Shubaly used to come through Columbus regularly, as a solo act and in bands like Beat the Devil. He's spent the last few years focusing on a fantastic second career as a prose writer but I, for one, am very glad to see he's bringing his great lived-in Replacements style songs around the country again - his performance at Larry's 10 or more years ago is still one of my favorite singer-songwriter evenings ever at my favorite bar in Columbus. Seattle-based singer-songwriter Star Anna opens and local singer-songwriter Lou Poster, of Grafton, The Ferals, and Drift Mouth, closes the evening. Starts at 9:00pm. $5 cover.
This is a section for things that I recommended in earlier weeks still ongoing and I still recommend
Warehouse Theatre Company presents This is Our Youth by Kenneth Lonergan. Madlab Theatre, 227 N Third St. This play chronicles 24 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 reviewed this for Columbus Underground. More info: Interview with playwright Kenneth Lonergan occasioned by last year's Broadway revival: http://www.details.com/blogs/daily-details/2014/09/kenneth-lonergan-interview.html. Interview with the cast and crew about this production in the Columbus Dispatch: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/life_and_entertainment/2015/01/01/1-play-follows-three-slackers-on-bumpy-road-to-adulthood.html. 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: www.warehousetheatre.org/#!this-is-our-youth/c1gl
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. On view through February 22, 2015. More information: https://glassaxis.org/neon-dreams-an-exhibition-featuring-esther-ruiz/