Alive's staff has picked out this season's 20 most exciting arts events to help you plan out your fall.

No matter how the Buckeyes fare on the field this fall, it's going to be another winning season for arts and culture in Columbus. The arts scene kicks into high gear around this time each year, and, time and again, there are enough awesome performances and exhibits to overload your calendar.

This season is no exception - we're faced with tough and delightful choices. The Columbus Museum of Art will show an exhibition of paintings by Caravaggio, some of whose paintings are rarely shown in the U.S. Two different festivals will combine live music and film. Top-notch dance troupes are visiting from Slovenia and New York, a theater company is traveling from Ireland and an opera company is trekking down from Canada. There's even a play about the great Ohio State coach Woody Hayes.

Alive's staff has picked out this season's 20 most exciting arts events to help you plan out your fall. - Heather Gross

"Elliott Hundley: The Bacchae"

Wexner Center for the Arts

Sept. 16-Dec. 30

1871 N. High St., Campus

wexarts.org

Among the Wex's hearty fall helpings is the first significant solo show by LA artist Elliott Hundley. His dramatic mixed-media landscape is driven by "The Bacchae," an ancient Greek tragedy by Euripides, and how its themes of grief, guilt and pleasure still apply today. The exhibition includes 12 mostly new works, from sweeping sculptural pieces to cacophonous collages. Recognizing the show's intersections with theater, sociology, art history and literature, the Wex will also offer an illustrated catalog with scholarly examinations of Hundley's show. -Jackie Mantey

"Robert K. Wittman: Rescuing the World's Treasures"

Columbus Museum of Art

2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17

480 E. Broad St., Discovery District

columbusmuseum.org

Producers of TV police procedurals, you're missing a golden storytelling opportunity in Robert K. Wittman. The founder of the FBI's Art Crime Team, Wittman is a globetrotting undercover criminal investigator who's helped recover stolen works by Picasso, Rembrandt, Norman Rockwell, Rodin and many more. Fortunately for lovers of art and a good yarn, Wittman didn't wait for TV producers to come calling. He's written a book about his experience - "Priceless" - and will visit the museum to share stories at a lecture and book signing. -Melissa Starker

"Woody: His Life, Times and Teachings"

Ohio Theatre

Friday-Sunday, Sept. 23-25

39 E. State St., Downtown

woodyhayesplay.com

A new one-man play will tackle the legend of Woody Hayes, the face of Ohio State football from 1951 to 1978 and one of the university's most enigmatic and enduring figures. The coach won three national championships, yet he was fired after punching a Clemson University player during the 1978 Gator Bowl.

The play should be an interesting way to kick off this year's football season. Hayes will be brought to life by Jeff Hall. The veteran of stage and screen looks so much like the coach that it's tough to distinguish historical photos from the play's promotional shots. -John Ross

"August: Osage County"

Otterbein's Fritsche Theatre

Sept. 29-Oct. 8

30 S. Grove St., Westerville

otterbein.edu/artscene

Tracy Letts' "August: Osage County" could be "Long Day's Journey into Night" on human growth hormone - and with a sense of humor. In 2008, it ran off with pretty much every major theater accolade, including the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award for best play. What makes it even more noteworthy here in Central Ohio is that it features the return of CATCO veterans Geoffrey Nelson and Jonathan Putnam to the same stage. -Jay Weitz

Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble

Southern Theatre

8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1

21 E. Main St., Downtown

cmcolumbus.org

The British chamber group Academy of St Martin in the Fields is internationally renowned for renewing the popularity of Baroque music - think Bach, Handel and Vivaldi - among classical audiences. The group, now under the musical direction of famous violinist Joshua Bell, also presents works from more recent eras.

At the Southern Theatre, the chamber ensemble will perform the overture to Strauss' final opera, "Capriccio." Also on the program are Felix Mendelssohn's Octet in E-flat Major and an octet by Mendelssohn's not-as-famous friend, Woldemar Bargiel. -Heather Gross

The Builders Association: "HOUSE/DIVIDED"

Wexner Center for the Arts

8 p.m., Oct. 6-8

1871 N. High St., Campus

wexarts.org

To bring home the details of the mortgage crisis and its effect on the American Dream, Wexner Center residency recipients The Builders Association return with a world premiere combining classic literature, modern technology and the remnants of a Weinland Park arson job. "HOUSE/DIVIDED" connects recent foreclosure stories with the tale of the Joad family from Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath," told with digital media and a set made of materials reclaimed from a burned, abandoned home near Ohio State. -Melissa Starker

Ohio Film + Music Festival

Thursday, Oct. 6 – Sunday Oct. 9

Various locations

ofmfest.com

Columbus will play host to a four-day celebration of film and music from the minds of Ohio natives.

On the film side, screenings at the Arena Grand will feature documentaries and features from Ohio-born talents. One highlight will be three never-before-screened Jim Jarmusch shorts starring Tom Waits.

The three-day music lineup at Skully's, The Summit and Cafe Bourbon Street will feature an impressive array ranging from RJD2 to the New Bomb Turks. -Brad Keefe

"IMPACT"

OSU College of Arts and Sciences Swing Space Gallery

Oct. 6-27, 2011

Reception: 4-6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21

1556 North High St., South Campus

art.osu.edu

Swing Space Gallery debuts in its new space - located in the South Campus Gateway between two purveyors of cheese-focused fare, Gooeyz and Pizza Rustica - with an inaugural show called "IMPACT." The juried exhibition will include visual art, video and stories by immigrants and their children, all of which will give an insightful look at the life-changing experience of immigration through themes of discovery, assimilation, struggle and identity. IMPACT is part of Immigration COMPAS, a year-long, university-wide program to create dialogue about the subject of immigration. -Erin Edwards

Cinemusica

Arena Grand Movie Theatre

7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15

175 W. Nationwide Blvd., Arena District

wonderlandcolumbus.com

This fall, creative wunderkind Wonderland revives Cinemusica by tapping eight local filmmakers to create silent films and handing them over to musicians to craft the score - and vice versa. Organizers hope to spur collaboration and "let the chaos ensue." The videos' soundtracks will be performed live by Tigers in the Mirror, Walker Crane of DAGR, guitarist Aaron Quinn and the Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra. Comedy outfit The Asbestos Crew will construct fake trailers for the event. -Erin Edwards

Columbus Symphony Orchestra with Rachel Barton Pine

Southern Theatre

Oct. 21-23

21 E. Main St., Downtown

columbussymphony.com

For the first Masterworks concert of the season, the Columbus Symphony will be joined by violinist Rachel Barton Pine, who has had a long solo career even though she's only in her 30s.

The program features three popular 20th-century pieces that highlight string instruments. The first is Bela Bartok's Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, which you may recognize as the eerie music from Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining." The orchestra will also play Samuel Barber's ever-popular Adagio for Strings, and Barton Pine will join the symphony for the concerto-like Serenade (after Plato's "Symposium") by Leonard Bernstein. -Heather Gross

"Caravaggio: Behold the Man! The Impact of a Revolutionary Realist"

Columbus Museum of Art

Oct. 21-Feb. 5, 2012

480 E. Broad St., Discovery District

columbusmuseum.org

One of fine art's original bad boys, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio lived a life of criminal excess in Italy in the early 1600s while creating works that would influence artists for centuries. The exclusive exhibition debuting this fall at the Columbus Museum of Art revisits Caravaggio's impact by showing his work, including a rare U.S. viewing of his masterpiece "Ecco Homo (Behold the Man)," as well as a selection of works by artists who emulated his style. -Melissa Starker

"Radio & Juliet"

Palace Theatre

8 p.m., Thursday Oct. 27

34 W. Broad St., Downtown

capa.com

This innovative production from Slovenian troupe Ballet Maribor is set entirely to Radiohead songs. The story follows the violent emotional spin Juliet cycles through after she wakes up to find her Romeo dead. Choreographer Edward Clug asks, through minimalist modern movements, what we can learn from Shakespeare's tragic, heartbroken protagonist. One female and six male dancers reinterpret star-crossed love to songs like "Fitter Happier," "We Suck Young Blood" and "Idioteque." -Jackie Mantey

"A-Z"

Fisher Theatre

Oct. 28-29

592 E. Main St., Downtown

coldancetheatre.org

In December 2009, Columbus Dance Theatre presented its first "A-Z," in which Tim Veach choreographed 26 snippets, asked the audience to choose its favorites and then cobbled together a coherent dance from the disparate parts. With former Columbus Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Charles Wetherbee now providing the music, Veach repeats his experiment, inviting the audience to take part in what he calls "the first spark of the creative moment." -Jay Weitz

"Por Vida IV"

Junctionview Studios

Oct. 29-30

889 Williams Ave., Grandview

porvida614.com

Celebrate the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, at this popular event led by local artist Kat Moya. Installations and exhibits by Moya's fellow Columbus artists pay tribute to the dead and, ultimately, life. Brian Reaume, ThoughtCo, Adam Brouillette and Thia Bella are just a few on this year's bill. Add to the aesthetic by wearing a colorful costume or traditional Dia de los Muertos skeleton face painting. -Jackie Mantey

Ailey II

Capitol Theatre

7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 30

77 S. High St., Downtown

alvinailey.org

Ailey II, the renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater branch of young dancers, will present contemporary works by modern-day choreographers as well as important masterful classics by Alvin Ailey, a choreographer and civil rights activist who founded the theater company in 1958 to express the African-American experience through dance. This marks the last season before Ailey II's original artistic director, Sylvia Waters, retires. -Jackie Mantey

"Carmen"

Capitol Theatre

Nov. 4-12

77 S. High St., Downtown

balletmet.org

The 1875 opera "Carmen" is about a deadly love triangle between a soldier, a bullfighter and Carmen, a feisty and amorous gypsy woman bent on asserting her independence. BalletMet will perform Italian choreographer Amedeo Amodio's contemporary take on the story, performed to Georges Bizet's legendary score. Amodio's ballet is set backstage after a performance of "Carmen." Stagehand characters get caught up in the drama of the show that just ended and begin to re-enact and embody the "Carmen" characters. -Jackie Mantey

"How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe"

Columbus Performing Arts Center

Nov. 10-19

549 Franklin Ave., Downtown

avltheatre.com

"How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe" includes a dog named Ed who doesn't exist and Tammy, a seductive computer with low self-esteem. In the play's pivotal moment, Charles, the time-machine repairman, is shot by his future self. So naturally, this is a one-man show. That one man is Ian Short. The company is Available Light Theatre. That's really all you need to know. -Jay Weitz

"The Rehearsal, Playing the Dane"

Black Box in Mershon Auditorium

Nov. 17-20

1871 N. High St., Campus

wexarts.org

In "The Rehearsal," Irish theater ensemble Pan Pan uses a novel approach to deconstruct the work of Shakespeare and bridge the distance between his work and the audiences of today: allowing the viewer to sit in on the casting of one of the Bard's most renowned characters. Through the actors vying for the role of Hamlet, they illuminate the challenges of playing him and explore the idea that we all have a little Great Dane in us. -Melissa Starker

"Souvenir"

Studio Two Theatre, Riffe Center

Nov. 22-Dec. 11

77 S. High St., Downtown

catco.org

Think Rebecca Black is a terrible singer? You ain't heard nothing yet. CATCO's "Souvenir" tells the true story of the infamous Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York socialite in the early 1900s who whole-heartedly believed in her singing ability. Unfortunately she was talentless - zero sense of rhythm or pitch. And yet she rented out Carnegie Hall, the creme de la creme of concert halls, for a solo performance. During "Souvenir," we get to laugh at her hopeless pursuit of perfection while wondering whether we have skewed perceptions of our own talents. -Heather Gross

"Don Giovanni"

Southern Theatre

Nov. 25 and 27

21 East Main St., Downtown

operacolumbus.org

Mozart's gloriously dark comic opera, "Don Giovanni," gets a sumptuous period treatment by Toronto's celebrated Opera Atelier, with help from the Opera Columbus Chorus and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. An unrepentant rake, Don Giovanni seduces every woman in his path until confronted by the statue of a man he murdered. Bask in Mozart's melodies and Lorenzo da Ponte's Italian libretto while you follow along with the projected English surtitles. -Jay Weitz