Bounteous Beauty This Week in Columbus

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Adam O’Farrill’s Stranger Days – photo courtesy of Wexner Center

I hope the handful of you reading this got the three-day weekend to rest up because there’s enough unmissable stuff this week to kill the weaker of constitution.

Starting off on Wednesday we see one of the early blendings of new Performing Arts Curator Lane Czaplinski and outgoing curator Chuck Helm. Helm booked, in collaboration with CCAD, NYC artist Neil Goldberg for his one-man show Inhibited Bites fresh off two performances around APAP. Czaplinski makes good on his commitment to connecting the Wex beyond its four walls by bringing the show to Franklinton’s Idea Foundry. There have been happy hours related to Wex events before, but this at Land Grant is one of very few we’ve had steps away from the show. I wrote a preview for Columbus Underground.

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Neil Goldberg’s Inhibited Bites – photo courtesy of the Wexner Center

Thursday, the Ogún Meji Duo kicks off a six-month residency at Art of Republic. One of our finest composers, Mark Lomax II, and my favorite saxophone player in town, Eddie Bayard, bring their fiery, flexible. Each of these residencies features a special guest and this week’s is very special: visual artist Bryan Christopher Moss. Friend and editor Andrew Patton previewed this for JazzColumbus.

Friday, one of our finest record labels, Heel Turn, celebrate their third anniversary with two showcases of our best rock and roll on the Old North High Street corridor. The appetizer at Dirty Dungarees features Bloody Show – never have better Stooges-style songs graced our town – with Mr. Clit and the Pink Cigarettes and the new Outer Spacist/Terrestrials offshoot Psychotropic. Facebook event. And the main event is headlined by my (and pretty much everybody else’s) favorite Columbus band right now, DANA, with Burning Itch from Knoxville, and Messrs and Raw Pony also from Columbus. Get there early, you don’t want to miss Raw Pony if you know what’s good for you. Facebook event.

Saturday, one of the finest young trumpet players from NYC, Adam O’Farrill brings his quartet Stranger Days to the Wex. I had the privilege of interviewing O’Farrill in advance of this show, and this is the kind of pure jazz that can move people who aren’t necessarily interested in jazz and leave those of us who already drank the Kool-Aid high for days. I previewed this show for JazzColumbus.

Later Saturday, Spacebar brings an unhinged rock extravaganza from near and far. I’ve barely been able to stop listening to London band Shame since they hit my radar before an NYC trip last year. Their first full-length Songs of Praise delivers on all the snotty, gleeful promise of their early singles with ingratiating post-punk grooves and snarled hooks that draw you in at the same time they’re pushing you away. Pittsburgh Sub Pop signees The Gotobeds have a slightly poppier shine to their stiletto sharpness but anyone who saw their Big Room show a year or two ago knows how hard they can rock. Local up-and-comers Kizzy Hall and Roof Dogs open, both of whom I’m looking forward to checking out again. Facebook event.

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CU: Kimberly Bartosik and Joanna Kotze at the Wexner Center

Dance might be the art form I love most and understand least. I’m so intrinsically clumsy that it’s like watching a magic trick I fall for every goddam time. “Oh my god, where did that rabbit come from?” I know a little more but I’m still that goofy, grinning mark.

The Wexner Center and Chuck Helm, in particular, shaped that interest from nothing into a real fire. Without that center being so close to me and having turned me onto so much music and film, I’m not sure I would have given modern dance a chance.

As Helm’s final season draws to a close – and don’t misunderstand, I’m very excited to see what Lane Czaplinski brings to the table – I’m trying to talk about what that era, that legacy, that place meant to me.

The modern dance double-bill coming to the Wex starting tomorrow is a prime example of Helm’s eye for the creme of the New York arts scene that a hip Columbus audience can embrace. The preview I wrote is too long but I’m pretty proud of most of it. And I can’t wait to see these two pieces.

Up at Columbus Underground.

August Wilson’s Fences at Short North Stage

“Mujahid Abdul-Rashid is a shining sun who makes people glow in his presence and makes the world of the play feel like it extends for miles. Slipping between a broken man, deeply believing his excuses but not letting himself off the hook more than anyone else, and the giant he was in his youth, submerged but not dead, watching him is like looking at a prize fighter. Troy’s battle with death feels physical and hyperreal throughout this play. Abdul-Rashid and Gregory have a terrific, sexy chemistry and a give and take that, at its best, rings truer to long-term relationships than anything I can remember seeing on a stage.”

Read my full review at Columbus Underground.