Sunday, April 19, 2015

"Hey, Fred!" 04/20/15-04/26/15 A Biased and Idiosyncratic Top Five


April 20-21: The Aliens by Annie Baker. OSU Lab Series, Drake Performance Space, 1849 Cannon Drive, room 2060. The Ohio State University wraps up a year of fascinating, cutting edge work in their Lab Series with a production - I believe the first in the Columbus area - of one of the finest and most acclaimed plays of the last 10 years. Annie Baker's The Aliens takes place behind a Vermont coffee shop where nervous teenaged employee Evan is taken under the wing of two overeducated and lost 30ish men, Jasper and KJ, and it's told with such empathic observation that by the end it will remind you of Chekov. I saw the Off-Broadway run of this at Rattlestick with Dane DeHaan and Michael Chernus and it's one of my most treasured theatre-going memories, something that slowly grew in impact until I was crying by the end of it. I'm particularly interested in this production because of the director, Karie Miller who was astonishing directing and performing in Available Light's one-night workshop of The Burden of Not Having a Tail. Starts at 7:00pm, tickets available at 6:00pm. Free event.

April 23-26: the theatre is a blank page by Ann Hamilton and SITI Company. Wexner Center, 1871 N High St. I don't think it's any exaggeration to say this is the theatrical event of the waning days of the 2014-2015 season - both the Wex's anniversary season as well as the theatre season. Longstanding Wex collaborators, SITI Company, led by Anne Bogart, who took the top of my head off in college with their Room return for another look at a different Virginia Woolf piece, To the Lighthouse. This work jumps off from that to look at how reading is perceived and what "reading" means. Developed in full collaboration with visual artist Ann Hamilton (who worked with SITI on her Park Avenue Armory installation the event of a thread), the advance word I've gotten - and there hasn't been much, people are keeping the surprise close to their chests - is that this will be unlike anything I've seen and anything I expect. Look for a full review at Columbus Underground but believe I'll be there Thursday night drinking it all in. Sold Out. Check for information on times and tickets that become available.


April 22: Literacy Narratives of Black Columbus Community Sharing Night. Denney Hall, 164 W 17th St. As National Poetry Month rides the crest of its wave in 2015, OSU's English department is presenting something special late enough for those of us who work banker's hours to make it to. From 6:00-7:00pm students will present research presentations and interviews with Columbus's local black poets. At 7:15, the audience will be treated to performances by three of the best working in Columbus right now: William Evans, Barbara Holmes (better known as Barbara Fant), and Scott Woods. You won't see better poetry anywhere in town and there are even fewer opportunities to see that academic context wrapped around poets who are performing here and around the country every single week, refining their craft and doing the work. Begins with refreshments at 5:30pm. Free event.


April 21: Spotlight Series: "Jazz 100s: Billy Strayhorn". Lincoln Theatre, 769 E Long St. One of the finest composers of jazz and popular music of the 20th century is Billy Strayhorn. Just writing "Lush Life" gets you into whatever heaven exists for a songwriter but past that his work both with Duke Ellington and solo - "Bloodcount", "A Flower is a Lovesome Thing", "Chelsea Bridge", "Take the A Train" (with all my trips to New York, I still can't catch the A Train - whether in Harlem, the Upper West Side, Chelsea, Brooklyn or Queens - without starting to hum those sweet notes to myself). Part of Jazz Arts Group's Jazz Academy series, they honor the centennial of Strayhorn's birth with one of Columbus's great pianists, Dave Powers - himself an encyclopedia of recorded music and styles - talking about Strayhorn and playing his great pieces. For more/better informed information, check out Andrew Patton's JazzColumbus column. Starts at 7:00pm. $10 cover.

April 23: Sensations' Fix. The Summit, 2210 N Summit St. Most unexpected show to hit Columbus this season? Maybe. Italian prog progenitors Sensations' Fix, led by Franco Falsini, put out a run of dazzling, delirious albums in the '70s (later sampled by DJ Shadow) and were then mothballed as Falsini dabbled in new wave and electronic trance.  With the RVNG Intl label reissuing their classic albums cut for Polydor, Falsini started a full-on revival in 2012 that finally weaves its way through the heartland to dance, sway and destabilize. Some of Columbus's finest mind-bending bands round out the bill: Psychedelic Horseshit, Golden Death Music, and Jacoti Sommes. Doors at 9pm. $8 cover.


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