ART: PHYLLIS WESTON-ANNIE BOLLING GALLERY "Who will be the next Duveneck or Dine?" asks the current exhibition at the Phyllis Weston-Annie Bolling Gallery. As the title invokes the success of two of Cincinnati's great yet stylistically disparate artists, the exhibition card answers this question with a vote of confidence for all involved: "From traditional to cutting edge, each artist represents great talent that will eventually achieve the acclaim of Frank Duveneck of Jim Dine." This group exhibition, not limited to those represented by the gallery, includes a large number of established and emerging artists. With great variety in both media and scale, there is something to appeal to virtually any taste. Don't miss Mi-Hee Nahm's mixed-media installations or "Brook Canyon," Adam Hayward's compelling landscape painting. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday through April 19. (Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- Angela Kilduff
ATTRACTIONS: KROHN CONSERVATORY It's now been 75 years since the Cincinnati Park Board created our favorite indoor flower-smelling place, and a celebration is in order. Mayor Mark Mallory and other special guests will be on hand Wednesday morning to honor the historical institution, which opened March 26, 1933. Volunteers dressed like people from the past will serve as ambassadors, and tours by park staff will take place on the hour from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The afternoon will welcome historical lawn games if the weather is nice. But even if we continue to be plagued by January-like temperatures, the conservatory has all that nature inside it that you can still enjoy. See? It was a good idea. Official presentation 10 a.m.; events continue throughout the day. Free. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- Danny Cross
ONSTAGE: ALMOST HEAVEN: SONGS OF JOHN DENVER Back in 2005, local audiences couldn't get enough of '60s Rock icon Janis Joplin when the Cincinnati Playhouse staged Love, Janis. The guy who put that show together was Randal Myler, and he clearly has a strong sense of that era from all across the musical spectrum. His current project is a tour of music by Folk singer-songwriter John Denver, who told audiences, "Thank God I'm a Country Boy." Almost Heaven, which stops at The Carnegie Center for two performances (Wednesday and Thursday), assembles 29 of Denver's songs and threads them with excerpts from his 1996 autobiography, Take Me Home. Denver, who became well known for his efforts on behalf of the environment and international understanding, died in 1997 when a plane he was piloting crashed; he was 53 years old. Just a year before, based on a lifetime output of more than 300 songs, he had been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Almost Heaven employs an ensemble of five young singers to recreate Denver's joyous melodies. They perform against a backdrop of visual images from America in the '60s and '70s when Denver was at the peak of his popularity. $20-$25. 859-957-1940. -- Rick Pender
ART: WESTON ART GALLERY Ten Cincinnati-area design and architecture firms are coming together to stack canned and packaged foods for Canstruction, the sculptural competition that pits designer against designer in a cut-throat attempt to make a giant stack of food that most resembles something other than a bunch of tin cans. The two-week display will not only showcase the intelligence and creativity of our Cincinnati designers but it will also benefit the FreeStore FoodBank. After you all go and gawk at the precarious structures, the goods will be donated and distributed to help those in need. The judging takes place 5:30-7:30 p.m. March 28. The exhibit is on display 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Through April 6. (Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- Maija Zummo
ONSTAGE: BREAKING THE CODE Ed Cohen is a local theater director who ignores boundaries. He most often stages shows for community theaters, but he's done good work for semi-professional companies and last year's Fringe Festival and has earned several Cincinnati Entertainment Awards -- plus a chance to direct shows at two area universities.
Right now his production of Hugh Whitemore's script about Alan Turing, who cracked the German "Enigma" code during World War II, is onstage at Northern Kentucky University. In May he'll work with students at UC. His shows are always compelling. Breaking the Code, which alternates with Strindberg's Miss Julie, runs 8 p.m. March 26, 28, April 2 and 4 and 3 p.m. April 6. $6-$10. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- Rick Pender
ART: NICHOLAS GALLERY Me Machine Breakdown, an exhibition of two bodies of paintings by Bruce Riley, opens Friday at Nicholas Gallery Downtown. Most of the paintings are large, clocking in at 4-by-6 feet. The so-called "pattern paintings" involve organic, semi-transparent discs of color laid down in dense repetition. They could be depicting crowds of cells or crystallized flashes of disco lights. For all their uniformity of repeated shapes, each painting possesses distinct character and tone. The other set of paintings find the color fields interrupted with complicated biomorphic figures. These essentially abstract forms might be visual interpretations of egos or ids, especially when the artist notes in the show's statement, "The organic abstractions in this exhibition are Me ... After all it's Me that is responsible for all human induced suffering, isn't it?" I won't see the show until it opens, but I will go with high expectations. My interests are peaked by the Riley's thoughtful words and the hints of intensity to be found in the paintings. Opening reception: 7-10 p.m. Friday. Me Machine Breakdown continues through April 18. (Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.)-- Matt Morris
DANCE: CINCINNATI BALLET'S A THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS Does the character name Scheherezade ring a bell? Certainly the names Aladdin and Sinbad are familiar thanks to Disney, but they're all personas who appear in Cincinnati Ballet's exotic production, A Thousand and One Nights. Although there's no cartoon animation, there's no shortage of imagination -- or of classical Russian athleticism, sets and costumes. The full-length ballet is based on the anonymous Arabian literary masterpiece containing 1,001 stories that was discovered in the year 1000. Here's the framework: Scheherezade tells 1,001 tales in the hopes that the omnipotent Sultan Shakhriar will spare her life. Just three are presented here -- tales that celebrate women's best qualities: beauty, love and wisdom, according to choreographer Eldar Aliev. Aliev, a former principal dancer with Russia's famed Kirov Ballet, hails from the Republic of Azerbaijan and currently lives in Indianapolis. (Fikret Amirov, the late composer of the classical score, and Aliev share the same homeland.) "It's a lot of folk elements which are adopted in a classical way," Aliev says of the ballet's style. "So, basically, arms and body positioning and some poses are based on (particular) folk dances. But the basis is the thing: the classics. Once you have strong classical training, you can do anything -- you can do modern, you can do jazz, you can hip hop, you can do classics as well." 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. $21-$66. Aronoff Center for the Arts. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- Julie Mullins
COMEDY: DOUG STANHOPE "There's never a good answer to that question," comedian Doug Stanhope replies when asked what gave him the urge to try stand-up comedy for the first time. "I don't fucking know. Anyone who tells you a straight answer to that question is fucking lying 'cause they're sick of saying, 'I don't know,' so they made something up, but I refuse to do it." Stanhope's set can best be described as angry social observation. "Yeah, it fits into all different morphs," he says. "It's a lot of anger and drunkenness, smut and a potpourri of all things awful inside your soul." And it's constantly changing. "I turn over my material as quickly as I can ... find something to replace it with. I get so incredibly sick of my own voice. Having to repeat the same words makes me crazy (and then I) forget why it was funny to begin with." Though he's a popular comic, you won't seem him on TV much, and for good reason. "I try to avoid it. TV work is just that: work. Stand-up is so fantastic. It's an hour of getting drunk and hollering at people." Stanhope performs Friday-Sunday at Go Bananas in Montgomery. $15-$18. (Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- P.F. Wilson
MUSIC: THE WEAKERTHANS, the versatile Canadian Indie Rock juggernaut, hits the Mad Hatter. See the Sound Advice preview here.
EVENTS: CINCINNATI WINE FESTIVAL, a three-day extravaganza of all this wine with a little dining mixed in, hits the 'Nati. See the feature story here.
MUSIC: WHY? Like current R.E.M. tourmates The National, the Indie band why? contains all former Cincinnatians. Also like The National, why? wasn't even a real band until the members moved elsewhere. The members of why? (Yoni Wolf, Josiah Wolf and Doug McDiarmid) each independently moved to the Oakland area, where Yoni started the band as a solo venture (something he maintained for six years before connecting with his bandmates). Yoni was recording for awesomely esoteric Bay Area label anticon (which features other ex-Queen City residents, such as Doseone, with whom Yoni collaborated in cLOUDEAD) and was gaining notice for his quirky, experimental sound, which moved further away from strange, unique Hip Hop (anticon's bread and butter) and deeper into an idiosyncratic brand of electro-meets-organic Indie Rock. Hooking up with his equally creative homeboys, why?'s music continues to get more head-spinningly magnetic, as evidenced by their excellent, recently released new album, Alopecia. Yoni continues the cleverly oddball but effective wordsmithery (delivered in his nasally, They Might Be Giants-like voice), which is slathered atop circular, trippy soundscapes that veer from leftfield Hip Hop to unique, twilight-tickling Psychedlia. The band opens for likeminded Pop destroyers Xiu Xiu Saturday at the Southgate House. $10. (Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) -- Mike Breen
DANCE: EXHALE DANCE TRIBE, a local crew known for its adventurous endeavors and who now have a new home, performs at the Aronoff Center's Jarson-Kaplan Theater. See the feature story here.
ONSTAGE: THE CINCINNATI CHAMBER ORCHESTRA performs at Memorial Hall. See an interview with featured singer Mark Panuccio here.
EVENTS: FINDLAY MARKET OPENING DAY PARADE Baseball and parades -- you can't get much more all-American than that unless you throw in some hot dogs and apple pie, and they're probably available somewhere along the route. For the 89th year, Findlay Market will hold its annual Opening Day Parade from Over-the-Rhine to downtown's Fountain Square. This Queen City institution features marching bands, classic automobiles, antique fire trucks, drill teams, horse-drawn wagons, a gaggle of politicians and local celebrities and more than 200 floats (local rockers Buckra are slated to play on CityBeat's float) cruising at a leisurely pace through the city to mark the start of the season's first game, which will have the hometown favorites face off against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Former Reds outfielder Cesar Geronimo, who is one of the 2008 Reds Hall of Fame inductees, will serve as the parade's grand marshal this year. The parade begins at 11 a.m. on Race Street in front of the market house and then proceeds south on Race Street to Fifth Street. It will bear east on Fifth past Fountain Square and end at Broadway. Arrive early to get a good spot. WKRC-TV (Channel 12) will hold a pep rally on the square at 9 a.m. Also, Kentuckians will try to horn in on all the fun a day early by holding an Opening Day party at Newport on the Levee from 4-7 p.m. Sunday, featuring live music and family-friendly activities like a pitching game and a hot dog-eating contest. (Get details here.) -- Kevin Osborne
EVENTS: MEN'S RALLY FOR RESPECT In respectful relationships, partners don't hit. That's the point male students at Xavier University want to make at the start of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The "Men's Rally for Respect" is an opportunity for "the silent male majority to speak out and take a stand on issues that are far too often stereotyped as women's only issue in which men are seen as merely attackers." This Women's Center is "a grassroots effort made by male students in hopes of bringing a visible and positive stand for respectful relationships." The event is open to the public on the Xavier campus' On the Green Space 6:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday. (Get details here.) -- Margi Pierce
MUSIC: ROBIN TROWER, the legendary Blues-based guitarist, stops at Bogart's. See the Sound Advice preview here.
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