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5 things to do in NEO: Asian Festival, jazz at Severance and more

Female dancers in red dance with orange silk scarves
Edmond Wong
Cleveland Asian Festival

Immerse yourself in Asian culture, check out a music video tribute to Devo or take in the power of jazz over the coming days in Northeast Ohio.

Asian Festival

Cleveland’s 15th annual Asian Festival roars to life this weekend with food, dance and dragons galore. Head to Cleveland’s AsiaTown, at the corner of East 27th Street and Payne Avenue, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Also, Ideastream Public Media’s Gabriel Kramer hosts a food competition both days and trivia challenge Sunday at 3 p.m.

Highland Square Film Festival

Legendary Akron band Devo gets a tribute Saturday as part of the Highland Square Film Festival, featuring the band’s groundbreaking music videos accompanied by a live orchestra. Other festival highlights include a celebration of great film scores, a student film competition and a children’s film fest. The festival takes place at various Akron venues throughout the day, culminating in the Devo tribute at the Highland Square Theatre at 4:25 p.m.

Choreography as conversation

The National Center for Choreography - Akron welcomes award-winning Colorado choreographer Helanius J. Wilkins for a free performance at People’s Park in Akron Saturday. Wilkins is in residence at NCCAkron working on his multi-year, national project “The Conversation Series,” which is taking him to all 50 states. He debuts his new piece inspired by the Akron community, “Choreographic Ritual,” Saturday at 3 p.m.

Celebrating Sojourner

First Congregational Church of Akron stages the free performance Celebrating Sojourner in anticipation of the opening of the Sojourner Truth Legacy Plaza later this month. A slate of actors and performers are scheduled to honor the late Civil War-era abolitionist on Saturday, including a rendition of Truth’s historic Akron speech performed by Jasmine Davis, a 5th grader from Columbus. Celebrations begin at 4:30 p.m. at the church located on East Market Street.

Terence Blanchard and friends

Both the Cleveland Orchestra and the City Club of Cleveland welcome Grammy-winning trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard on Tuesday. At noon, Blanchard speaks at the City Club on Power and Artistry. Then at 7 p.m., Blanchard performs A Celebration of Wayne Shorter with his E-Collective band and the Turtle Island Quartet at Severance.

Corrected: May 16, 2024 at 11:40 AM EDT
The NCCAkron “Choreographic Ritual” performance is Saturday at 3 p.m.
Dave DeOreo is coordinating producer for Ideastream Public Media’s arts and culture team.