Twenty years ago today one of the most significant moments in modern-day Cincinnati occurred: Police officers walked into the Contemporary Arts Center and presented CAC Director Dennis Barrie and board members with four indictments against Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment, which had opened to the public that morning. Barrie (pictured) would later say the police "had symbolically walked into every arts institution in the country. When they demanded that we take the photos down they had found offensive, they were seeking the censorship of all art that was challenging, provocative or not politically correct."
Back-to-schooltime is always bittersweet. Lazy summer days give way to lectures and tests. All-night drinking binges are replaced by all-night textbook read-a-thons. However, there is always a glimmer of hope in the form of back-to-school shopping. Why purchasing binders and fresh pens in the month of September excites me remains a mystery. It’s fun to get new stuff, but the element of crafting can certainly be incorporated during this time. So if you’re chomping at the bit to hit up Target’s One Spot for some cheap school supplies, check out some fun and practical projects you can make instead of buying.
Sure, this is a supply mostly younger students go for, but anyone could use a cute tote for pens, pencils and doo-dads. One great D.I.Y. idea involves an old-school pastime: candy wrapper chains. If you’ve never made one before, it’s super easy. Here’s a quick how-to video on wrapper chain bags:
Next up, you’re gonna need a bag to carry all those pesky books.
One idea for a do-it-yourself tote involves just an old T-shirt , a stapler and some glorious duct tape. The hardest part is finding the perfect shirt to recycle! Just follow this video and voila! A new tote:
For a more challenging task, try rigging up this awesome laptop case from old school floppy disks:
If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can even make your own notebooks from scrap paper, cereal box cardboard and a few other materials.
Back-to-school can also mean time to get organized at home, as well. There are tons of projects for the home office, but here are a few I love:
You can find ‘em in your garage, at a junk yard and on the side of the road — license plates are everywhere. Since most are magnetic, all you have to do is attach string, hang in on your wall and add magnets! It’s a funky way to display To-Do lists and photos.
I first saw the concept of hanging an old suitcase on a wall as a shelf on the cover of an issue of ReadyMade, which is every D.I.Y.-er’s dream magazine. Unfortunately, there weren’t the clearest instructions on how to achieve the look. The video above explains the how to create a new space for books, paperwork, or any other lighter-weight items. I love this idea because not only looks wild to have a suitcase sticking out of your wall, but it utilizes space in a unique way. If you can handle the over-enthusiastic woman in the video, check it out!
I know these ideas are only scratching the surface when it comes to what you can make for the school year. So if you’ve MacGuiver-ed up some awesome school supplies, write in to D.I.Y. Samurai.
Has it really been 14 years since Beavis and Butt-head (dis)graced MTV and 15 years since the duo invaded movie houses with Beavis and Butt-head Do America, which, despite being a bit of a letdown as a full-length movie, is still one of my all-time favorite moviegoing experiences due to the unprecedented enthusiasm put forth by the sold-out, opening-night crowd at — of all places — the Western Hills Showcase?
If you were out and about this weekend, you may have heard rumors that Maiza Hixson has put in her resignation at the Contemporary Arts Center. Those would be true. Hixson was Associate Curator. Last year, she was the curator for the exhibition American Idyll: Contemporary Art and Karaoke, putting together a set of artists that looked at karaoke and similar real life or amateur approaches to community and singing. It was complex, reflecting her ability to load exhibition projects with strong talent and layered conceptual inquiries. The CAC has a knack for promoting and incubating talent throughout its institution. Many people who work there for a time go on to other great opportunities.
The New Yorker magazine recently published its Summer Fiction issue. It includes a list of what its editors deem as the 20 novelists under the age of 40 worth watching, an endeavor destined to be as contentious as it no doubt was excruciating to craft. (There's a reason the magazine hasn't published such a list in more than a decade.)
The Cincinnati Playhouse’s incoming artistic director, Blake Robison, today announced the shows to be produced for the 2012-2013 season. Robison takes over from Ed Stern, who retires on June 30 after 20 years setting the course for the respected regional theater. During Stern’s tenure, the Playhouse has twice won Tony Awards — in 2004 as an outstanding regional theater, and again in 2007 when its production of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s Company moved to Broadway and was named the season’s best revival of a musical.
Robison’s new season looks a little different from seasons that Stern has assembled in the past. In particular, he’s included two shows that offer journeys for the entire family — a big swashbuckling adaptation of The Three Musketeers (by Ken Ludwig, who wrote Lend Me a Tenor) to open the season on the Marx stage, and a seafaring expedition, Shipwrecked! An Entertainment – The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (by Donald Margulies, whose usual fare is dramas — including Time Stands Still, currently onstage at Ensemble Theatre.
The season's schedule will include two world premieres, Abigail/1702, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s script based on a central character from Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. On the Shelterhouse stage, Robison will offer Deborah Zoe Laufer’s Leveling Up, about four twentysomethings mired in video games who find the real world a lot more complicated. (Laufer’s End Days was presented by Ensemble Theatre a year ago.) We’ll also see Dayton native Daniel Beaty perform his one-man show, Through the Night, in which he plays six African-American men, ranging in age from 10 to 60. The show recently earned positive reviews as well as Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle award nominations in New York City.
Robison has several selected classic plays for the Marx by two legendary playwrights whose plays, I’m astonished to say, have never been produced at the Playhouse. Next fall will see Neil Simon’s semi-autobiographical script, Brighton Beach Memoirs, set in 1937. Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful (a television script best known for a 1985 movie version starring Geraldine Page), the story of an aging woman determined to return to her childhood home for one last visit, will be staged using African-American actors. Two more classic tales will be produced on the Marx stage: A Christmas Carol returns for its 22nd holiday season, and a new stage version of Double Indemnity, Billy Wilder’s spellbinding noir thriller from 1944.
Rounding out the season will be two Shelterhouse productions. For November and December, Robison has scheduled Hank Williams: Lost Highway, a show about the legendary Country artist created and staged by Randal Myler, who brought Love, Janis to the same space back in 2005. I suspect that Karen Zacarias’s The Book Club Play, a comedy about books and the people who love them, will be popular with audiences. It’s the story of a group that becomes the subject of a documentary with surprising results.
On the brink of his first season, Robison says, “It is an honor and a privilege to take the reins as the Playhouse’s new artistic director. To me, there is so much to celebrate here at the Playhouse — from the tremendous legacy of Ed Stern to the unlimited possibilities before us. What excites me most about joining the Playhouse family is the vibrant role that this theater plays within the region. The doors to the Playhouse are wide open, and we aim to invite as many people as possible inside.”
Here’s the season rundown in chronological order:
Among the eight winners announced for the 2012 Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Ohio are several Cincinnatians. Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Producing Artistic Director Ed Stern, who retires at the end of the current theater season, and Executive Director Buzz Ward have been named the recipient of the year’s recognition in the field of Arts Administration. Louise D. Nippert will be honored in the category of Arts Patron.
If you've been hearing rumors that Scott Boberg, the current Curator of Education at the Contemporary Arts Center, is leaving, then you've been hearing right.
I've been seeing theatrical productions aboard the Showboat Majestic for at least 25 years. Like the Ohio River adjacent to the "Boat" at the Public Landing, they're up and down, sometimes beautiful and sometimes a bit stinky. But I can offer you an unqualified recommendation for the current production, The Musical of Musicals: The Musical. The title itself is entertaining, but the material is even better — and then there's the cast that's been assembled. This is, in fact, a show that anyone who loves musicals needs to see. It's probably the best production I've seen on the Showboat ever. It's being performed through July 26.