March to come in like a lion - at least culturally speaking

From a bevy of alt films to a show celebrating "Bernstein on Broadway" and a glittering green art opening, March will come in like a lion - at least culturally speaking. It starts with an event that might resemble what Twitter would look like if it were reborn as a film festival.
"We are showing 90 films this year over the three days," says Short. Sweet. Film Fest. organizer Michael Suglio, "and many are made here in Cleveland. We actually had so many Cleveland films this year that Friday night and a good chunk of Saturday are just local films."
The shorts will be screened at the intimate Alex Theater in the Metropolitan at the 9, which accommodates 70 and is outfitted with reclining leather seats and side tables.
The festival runs from March 4–6, from 7 to 10:15 p.m. on Friday, noon to 9:10 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 6:45 p.m. on Sunday.
The rapid-fire event will tackle topics such as afterschool bullying in Joddy Eric Matthews 11-minute documentary The Nehemiah Project, on Friday evening. Viewers will tag along on an outing to an Elvis impersonator contest in Charles Mazery's 17-minute Somewhere the King, which will immediately follow a musical interlude by TriHearn on Sunday afternoon. 
Some of the films condense the concept of short into micro. Zahra Jafarialimolk's The First Smile After runs just two minutes and is immediately followed by Marina Bruno's three-minute effort, Failed during the noon hour on Sunday.
Other evocative offerings include the Travis Aitken's Supporting Roles, Episodes 1–3, Olga Munding's seven-minute Gone and the 22-minute It Cannot Move, from Yoshiaki Sajima, the ironic tagline for which asks, "Or can it?" Tickets are $20 for a one-day pass or $40 for the entire weekend.
Several of the filmmakers will be on hand for brief question and answer sessions throughout the festival, although Sunday will feature just one such session.
This is the fifth annual Short. Sweet. Film Fest.
Leonard BernsteinFor a less frenetic event, The Musical Theater Project (TMTP) will offer “Bernstein on Broadway” on Saturday, March 5 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 6 at 2 p.m. in Mixon Hall at the Cleveland Institute of Music, 11021 East Blvd., in University Circle.
Bernstein’s career spanned five decades and included scores for works such as On the Town, Candide and West Side Story. “Bernstein on Broadway” will explore his music and biography with live performance and vintage images and video clips.
“It’s so exciting to sing music and lyrics filled with such deep sentiment, beauty and lyricism," says TMTP's associate artistic director Nancy Maier.
Maier will co-host the event with TMTP artistic director Bill Rudman. Vocalists include Sheri Gross, Benjamin Czarnota and Sara Masterson. Cleveland composer Ty Alan Emerson arranged the music for the accompanying seven-piece chamber ensemble.
“What’s so inspirational about Leonard Bernstein, beyond the power of his genius," says Rudman, "is his commitment to making great music for all of us to enjoy, music that blends so called ‘popular’ and ‘classical’ forms in adventurous ways. He was a musical evangelist, and his work for the theater is as thrilling as what he composed for the concert hall.”
Tickets are $30. Call TMTP’s box office at (216) 245-8687 for more information or purchase them online. But don't wait, advises Joanna May Hunkins, TMTP's associate director.
"[The show] is selling extremely well," she says. "One of our performances is almost sold out already."
Lastly and with a touch of the luck o' the Irish ahead of March 17, Welcome Home by local artist Eileen Dorsey will feature paintings of Ireland in her space at 78th Street Studios, 1305 West 80th St., suite 105.
The 14 oil on canvas works were informed by Dorsey's travels to Ireland. They include titles such as Entrance to Glenveagh, Minard Castle and Wall of Dunamase Castle. She created the works using her travel photos, and while she often takes creative liberties with her impressionistic painting, Welcome Home is more literal.

Minard Castle by Eileen Dorsey
"With this series I'm sticking really close to the compositions," says Dorsey. "I just wanted everyone to see how beautiful this place is." She also discovered that the Emerald Isle is aptly named. "The palette is different than what I'm used to using," she says. "It's a lot of green. Ireland is literally full of lots of green."
Dorsey's work evokes three-dimensionality, both in content and texture. She explains: "I do almost all of my work with a palette knife rather than using a traditional brush. I kind of prefer that technique. It relates more to nature. It has a rich surface to it."
Dorsey's work has shown in Baldwin Wallace University's Fawick Gallery, the Butler Institute of Art and Cuyahoga Community College Gallery West.
The show opens tomorrow from 5 to 10 p.m. amid 78th Street's regular Third Friday event and runs through March 18. With it, she hopes to give Clevelanders a little bit of the magic Ireland cast upon her.
"I just kind of fell in love with the people and the beauty of countryside and the coast," says Dorsey. "I created this show to immortalize my experience there." 

Read more articles by Erin O'Brien.

Erin O'Brien's eclectic features and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and others. The sixth generation northeast Ohioan is also author of The Irish Hungarian Guide to the Domestic Arts. Visit for complete profile information.