Those who have an insatiable appetite for three-way might be interested to know that the last Monday of every month at Edward’s in Tribeca is Cincinnati Night during which the bistro serves up cuisine originating from the Queen City including its famous Skyline 3-Way Chili, a delectable combination of chili, spaghetti, and cheese. Those who are even more adventurous can enjoy it four ways, and yes, even five ways. Then top it off with a little Graeter’s Ice Cream, the smoothest, sweetest, creamiest tongue chill you’ll ever know.
Edward’s is really hopping this week, because a lot of Cincinnati has come to town for some “calculated bragging” about Cincy’s positive business climate, its rich arts heritage, and to announce that “it's not your parents' Cincinnati.”
What?! You mean this is gone?
The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and its May Festival Chorus will perform this Friday evening at Carnegie Hall. Last night at the National Opera America Center (7th Ave & 28th St), the Cincinnati Opera and composer Ricky Ian Gordon were on the program. The Cincinnati Art Museum will moderate a discussion on street photography at the Aperture Gallery on Saturday. Cincinnati’s prestigious theater Playhouse in the Park, the Ariel Jazz Quartet, and the Taft Museum are in town this week hosting events, too.
Cincinnati Ballet made a strong New York debut at the Joyce Theater Tuesday night with a program that continues through Sunday. When a company comes to New York, it’s wise to bring something different than what the natives encounter on a routine basis. Bringing along guitar god Peter Frampton to head up the ballet tour’s fan club was an impressive way to start. In pre-curtain remarks, he introduced the company which was about to perform to seven of his brand new songs co-written by Gordon Kennedy, also in attendance, which are set to be released on June 24th as the Hummingbird in a Box collection. The songs were composed for the center section of an entire evening of Frampton music to which the Cincinnati Ballet performed last year.
The songs had that recognizable Frampton imprint of thoughtful rock-blues melodies and his magical mesh of acoustic and electric. Good listening. The choreography by CB resident choreographer Adam Hougland was a little underpowering, even keeping in mind that this was the center section of what was overall a three-part program based on Frampton’s work for which three other choreographers contributed. The movement was painfully simple, risk-free, faux jazz-ballet that tried to convey the dancers’ sass and attitude, but lacked the content needed to do that. The women wore black tutus with sparkly black bras while the men were in white jeans and shirtless. Within the first minute, we could see that these dancers were capable of much, but the question was, Would we see it? Yes, we would, but we would have to wait for the next two ballets of the evening.
Caprice, choreographed by Val Caniparoli to Paganini’s Caprices for Solo Violin, got the energy flowing in the right direction. Violinists Haoli Lin and Yabing Tan made alternating entrances onto the corners of the stage to perform solos with bold bows. Again costumed in black, the dancers stressed the small stage with their power. The choreography erupted with positive energy that flowed from ensemble to soloists to duets. Pique attitudes derriere flew high against straight backs with arms stretching upward. Rodrigo Almarales, Abigail Morwood, and Patric Palkens stood out in a very strong cast for their vibrance and attack.
And finally, somebody said “squirrel” and the chase was on – up the proverbial tree and around the tree and down the tree – with the women dressed mostly in black with their hair pulled up to the tops of their heads and frizzed out - just like ‘quirrel tails. Chasing Squirrel by Trey McIntyre was a hoot. The men in pink Panama suits, white hats, and no shirts – although sometimes in their briefs or even less – danced as hot as they were pink. It was a riotous chase fueled with smoking technique and style. When toward the end, one of the women appeared with a long, ruffly purple train that must have been twenty feet long and the men lifted it up and carried it around, you just knew that she had the most desired ‘quirrel tail in town. Set to selections from Nuevo by the Kronos Quartet with costumes designed by Sandra Woodall, Chasing Squirrel was the hit of the night. Rodrigo Almarales and Cervilio Miguel Amador were sensational. Both from Cuba, they radiated heat, smoke, and impressive pirouettes and grand jetes.
Cincinnati Ballet is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and is clearly in fine artistic shape under the direction of Victoria Morgan. Haglund was around those parts for its birth a half century ago and remembers well his encounters with the company's inaugural director in advanced-beginning ballet class. Oleg Sabline, a product of Russian parents and Parisienne upbringing danced with Marjorie Tallchief, Maria's sister, in the Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas among other great companies. Never impressed by any tenderfoot's good intentions, Sabline, whose Russian-Parisienne accent thickened during his years in Cincinnati would offer wry, succint encouragment, "Real man do double tour on edge of building with cigarette in mouth" or "Ladies, it's time to plug in toe shoes." It was a welcomed trip down memory lane to open the gorgeous souvenir book that Cincinnati Ballet and David Lyman put together on the occasion of the 50th anniversary and see such wonderful historical photos as this:
Having watched the way Sabline ripped through the Polovtsian Dances like dance demons possessed him, Haglund is sure that he would have lifted an admiring eyebrow to the talented and impassioned artists in today's Cincinnati Ballet. Not sure what he would make of Chasing Squirrel, but it gets the H.H. Pump Bump Award for the highlight of the evening: