Friday, February 19, 2010


Posted By on Fri, Feb 19, 2010 at 4:00 PM

Zerbinetta is a girl who takes life as it comes. If one lover doesn't work out, as far as she's concerned, you can just find another. Here's Natalie Dessay singing her famous aria from Richard Strauss' Ariadne Auf Naxos, a 2004 production in Paris.

Scene has free pairs of tickets for the Cleveland Institute of Music's performances of Ariadne Auf Naxos next weekend. Performances are Thursday, the 25th, Friday, the 26th & Saturday, the 27th. If you want a pair, just send your name, address, and a phone number to

And read more about the CIM production here:

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Posted By on Fri, Feb 19, 2010 at 11:06 AM

The Great Lakes Theatre Festival is going all bestial this Spring with a couple of shows featuring man-beast creatures: You've got your Shakespearean donkey, queering relations in the fairy world of Midsummer Night's Dream, and you've got your tabloid headline grabbing tale of Bat Boy: The Musical with music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and a story by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming.


Bat Boy opens April 8, and Midsummer Night's Dream opens April 22, so you've got plenty of time to plan. Performances run through May 16.

And if you're reading this, you're in luck, because we've got free tickets to either of these shows, and we're just itching to give them to you. But of course you've got to play the game.

Perhaps you remember that beloved bastion of truth-telling, the Weekly World News. Hardly a week at the grocery store checkout line goes by that we don't mourn the loss of that paper with its stories of big foot, alien abduction, and believe it or not weirdness. It's where Bat Boy gets its mojo.

E-mail me your favorite real or invented headline for the Weekly World News, and we'll hook you up with a pair of vouchers for free tickets to either of these GLTF shows. They're good for any performance other than opening night for either of these shows. You just take them to the Playhouse Square box office and swap them for your tickets.

So: E-mail mgill at with your headlines, and I'll hook you up with some free tickets.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010


Posted By on Thu, Feb 11, 2010 at 2:24 PM

Scott Pickering radiates energy, and you can see that on the walls at Brandt Gallery, which are almost completely covered by paintings in a career retrospective show he’s calling “eyeball chatter.”


Beginning with works he did when he was not yet a teenager (including a color-by number clown done at age 12, which already shows that he’s only a little bit interested in working within the lines, and a lot interested in the texture of paint) it spans roughly 35 years of his vividly colorful output.

He mostly works in acrylic and pastel, often recycling foam core and other paintable surfaces from his company, Exhibit Builders. The thick, layered, and scratchy textures that result serve his subject matter well. There’s almost always a living figure—be it a person or some other animal—and they often seem to be shrieking the madness of the world.


By themselves these pictures are just plain fun to look at, but the installation at Brandt takes their effect into another realm: they are crowded on the walls, frame to frame, and sometimes overlapping, just about floor to ceiling, without much space between them. The presentation is an extension of the work itself. Just one frustrating thing about it: Scene Art Director Ron Kretsch and I both found that the pieces we most wanted to buy were not being offered for sale.

You’ve got one more chance to see his reckless joy ride of a show at its closing reception during this month’s Tremont Art Walk. Pickering, who’s been about as prolific in music as in visual art, will be dividing his time between this show and another he’s involved in (at Asterisk Gallery)—which is further testimony that he just can’t stop making stuff. Check it out from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday at Brandt Gallery (1028 Kenilworth,, 216.621.1610). Free.

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Monday, February 8, 2010


Posted By on Mon, Feb 8, 2010 at 3:37 PM

In the last half century or so a wave of community theatre has rippled out through the suburbs in the wake of sprawl. The strength of a community theatre is an easy barometer of community life, if not a precise one. It means a bunch of volunteers have the time and energy to pool their talents (for better or for worse), and put on a show. All the better if they’re doing it on behalf of kids.

That will is alive and well in Collinwood, in the upstage Players. The children’s theatre company, run by volunteers, was founded in 1995 with thirty kids. They now have 150. They come from all over the east side- Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, Bratenahl, Euclid, Eastlake, Mayfield, Mentor, Richmond Heights, Willoughby, Concord and Willowick. They’re gearing up for a production of Alladin, Jr.. Performances are March 26th - 28th at the Slovenian Workmen's Home (15335 Waterloo Rd. Collinwood).

To help pay the bills, they invite folks to the UpStage Artisan Alley, a craft sale offering handcrafted bath and body products, hand-painted keepsakes and magnets, rock-n-roll inspired art prints, jewelry, candles, crocheted items, rock-n-roll posters, fused glass items, photographic art, ceramic keepsakes, eco-friendly items and, of course, more. All proceeds help fund Aladdin, Jr.

The sale is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, at the Slovenian Workmen's Home. For information, go to, or

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Friday, February 5, 2010


Posted By on Fri, Feb 5, 2010 at 10:55 AM

It's amazing what you can say just by juxtaposition. For example, that cello virtuoso and occasionally straight up trippy musician Matt Haimovitz—as seen here

is performing this cello concerto (Shostakovich No. 1, as seen here with Tina Guo and the State of Mexico National Symphony)

for free with City Music Cleveland in churches around town this weekend.

I heard him Wednesday night at Fairmount Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights. You like heavy metal? You think words like "muscle" and "vicious" belong in discussions of classical music? Check this out. Remaining performances are:

7:30 p.m. Friday at Willoughby United Methodist Church, 15 Public Square, Willoughby

7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Shrine of St. Stanislaus, 3649 E. 65th St., Slavic Village


2 p.m. Sunday at Elyria First United Methodist Church, 320 Middle Ave Elyria.

Go to for deteails.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 11:54 AM

Everybody looked tired in the foyer at Severance Hall Tuesday as musicians and management of the Cleveland Orchestra held a joint press conference to announce an end to the musicians strike, and at least the key details of a new contract.

Executive director Gary Hanson looked like he’d been running on just a couple of hours’ sleep, which he had: negotiations had run all night, concluding at 6 a.m. As he and the musicians’ negotiating committee chair, oboist Jeffrey Rathbun, talked about the deal at the podium, musicians stood by, capturing the whole thing on digital video with their cell phones and Blackberries.

The deal involved pieces of the offers that musicians and management had made earlier in the dispute. Instead of the one-year wage freeze proposed by the musicians, or the 5 percent pay cut proposed by the management, they settled on a two-year wage freeze, followed by semi-annual pay increases of 3 percent and 2 percent the third year. Musicians will donate up to 10 “services” (either rehearsals or performances), which helps the orchestra save money. In addition, the musicians will increase their health insurance premium contributions beginning in July, 2011.

Rathbun indicated there were still details of the contract to be worked out, and still “work to do” in the long term, but the deal—approved by a ballot vote by the musicians just before the conference—allows the season to proceed. Rathbun expressed gratitude that the deal did not “further erode” the orchestra’s standing among top orchestras in terms of pay, and therefore ability to attract top players. In an apparent nod to the overall financial outlook, however, he referred to the negotiations as “a wake-up call.”

The orchestra had already postponed its concert in Indiana, though music director Franz Welser-Most was to keep an engagement conducting the Indiana University Philharmonic Tuesday, and senior staff will keep an arts management seminar commitment Thursday. The orchestra’s residency in Miami will go on starting Friday, as scheduled.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Posted By on Wed, Jan 6, 2010 at 4:38 PM

In my conversation with Cleveland Orchestra principal flutist Joshua Smith we talked about the influence of classical rhetoric on the work of baroque composers. You can hear that in his most recent CD, J.S. Bach Flute sonatas, which he recorded with harpsichordist Jory Vinikour.


We were talking about music and language—specifically about his upcoming recital of Telemann’s flute fantasies with Laura Perrotta reciting William Shakespeare—but I had to ask about another art form. The cover art for the Bach disc is a photo of Smith standing in front of some very familiar graffiti. It turns out to be an otherwise grey concrete wall on the west bank of the flats, visible from the Columbus Road lift bridge.

Why graffiti?

“I love that question,” Smith says. “I am so tired of the idea that baroque music has to be presented in those arch traditional ways—pictures of stained glass windows, or of a flute on an oriental rug. I wanted to look for something fresh.”

He came to the idea of graffiti as a visual representation because like baroque sonatas, it has a well defined form and its own vocabulary of quick gestures that live in the moment of their creation. Not only on the cover of the disc, but in a related promotional video called Bach in the Moment several Cleveland graff artists spend time in the company of Smith’s incredibly fine playing. The video’s creator, Graham Veysey, uses photos by Jay Szabo that emphasize the walls’ palimpsest of color and texture, both in the context of the urban river, and so far up close that color and texture is all they become.

Check it out:

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