Yes, we know you're busy. We also realize how easy it is to get so wrapped up in classes/work/family life that you forget there's an entire city out there just waiting to be discovered. With that in mind, we've combed through the jam-packed fall arts schedule and picked out the 25 events we're most excited to see, including an appearance from a legendary jazzman (Herbie Hancock), a killer silent film series (The Hitchcock 9) and a smattering of intriguing productions from local ballet and theater companies.

Yes, we know you're busy. We also realize how easy it is to get so wrapped up in classes/work/family life that you forget there's an entire city out there just waiting to be discovered. With that in mind, we've combed through the jam-packed fall arts schedule and picked out the 25 events we're most excited to see, including an appearance from a legendary jazzman (Herbie Hancock), a killer silent film series (The Hitchcock 9) and a smattering of intriguing productions from local ballet and theater companies.

"Blues for Smoke"

Wexner Center for the Arts

Sept. 21-Dec. 29

1871 N. High St., Campus

This expansive exhibit, which includes more than 40 artists and will take up the entirety of the Wexner Center's gallery space, explores the various ways the blues and African-American culture have helped inform and shape contemporary art. A handful of fall programs are also tied to the exhibit, including a performance by Tuareg blues collective Terakaft, faculty lectures and a youth photography workshop.

Film Festival of Columbus

Gateway Film Center

Sept. 21-29

1550 N. High St., Campus

The newly expanded Film Festival of Columbus (FFOCOL) runs eight glorious days and packs in a little something for everyone. Included this year are a documentary on John Waters muse Divine ("I Am Divine"), a fictionalized account of the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks ("Blue Caprice") and a trio of films that should appeal to music fans ("Muscle Shoals," "In Search of Blind Joe Death: The Saga of John Fahey" and "Approximately Nels Cline").

Steven Holl

Wexner Center for the Arts

Wednesday, Sept. 25

1871 N. High St., Campus

On "Seinfeld," George Costanza would occasionally pretend to be an architect in order to impress certain company. It's a ruse he could have pulled off more convincingly had he attended this free lecture from the acclaimed architect behind Simmons Hall at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Bruce Munro: "Light"

Franklin Park Conservatory

Sept. 25-Feb. 8

1777 E. Broad St., Downtown

Most gardens require sunlight, water and plenty of patience to reach full bloom. This colorful installation by Bruce Munro requires little more than an electrical outlet. The British artist will illuminate the grounds' indoor and outdoor gardens with 10 instillations that should give visitors a chance to see the conservatory in an entirely different light.

Colin Dunne: "Out of Time"

Capitol Theatre at the Riffe Center

Friday, Sept. 27

77 S. High St., Downtown

Dunne, best known for his stint as the lead in "Riverdance" following the departure of Michael Flatley, has pursued more interesting avenues of modern dance since parting ways with the production. In his latest one-man show, "Out of Time," Dunne utilizes the body (arms included!) to explore heady concepts like aging and career second-acts.

Jeff Smith

Columbus College of Art & Design

Friday, Sept. 27

60 Cleveland Ave., Downtown

This forum is something of a celebration of the Pennsylvania-born Smith, who studied animation at the Ohio State University and produced some of his earliest comics for the student newspaper The Lantern.

"Radiolab Live! Apocalyptical"

Palace Theatre

Thursday, Oct. 3

34 W. Broad St., Downtown

Expect the unexpected when the popular radio show/podcast visits Columbus to discuss the world's end. Joining hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich for this local stop are comedian Ophira Eisenberg and musical guests Noveller (Brooklyn-based guitarist Sarah Lipstate) and On Fillmore, a duo consisting of bassist Darin Gray and Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche.

Columbus Dance Theatre: "Dancers Making Dances"

Fisher Theatre

Friday and Saturday, Oct. 4-5

592 E. Main St., Downtown

The Columbus Dance Theatre kicks off its 16th season with a program of brand-new, dancer-created works, which should give some nice insight into the talents and personalities of the individuals in the troupe.

Columbus Symphony Orchestra: Mahler: "Symphony No. 2"

Ohio Theatre

Saturday, Oct. 5

39 E. State St., Downtown

Conductor Jean-Marie Zeitouni leads the Columbus Symphony Orchestra through a performance of Mahler's "Symphony No. 2," an epic piece alternately referred to as the "Resurrection Symphony." It's a fitting name for a composition that should spark interest even in those who have long eschewed classical music.

Herbie Hancock

McCoy Center for the Arts

Tuesday, Oct. 8

100 W. Dublin-Granville Rd., New Albany

The jazz legend is capable of stimulating the brain with flowering ditties as impressionistic as anything Claude Monet ever put to canvas, but he never forgets to engage the body by anchoring his compositions in earthy forms ranging from blues to deep-seated funk.

Richard Hell

Wexner Center for the Arts

Wednesday, Oct. 9

1871 N. High St., Campus

Richard Hell is something of a punk-rock "Zelig." In the 1970s he and buddy Tom Verlaine started Television - the first band to perform at New York club CBGB. Later he launched Richard Hell & the Voidoids and recorded the landmark punk album Blank Generation. Here he'll read from his new autobiography, "I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp," which chronicles this time period in expectedly colorful fashion.

Mike Birbiglia

Columbus College of Art & Design

Wednesday, Oct. 9

60 Cleveland Ave., Downtown

Comedian Mike Birbiglia served as writer, director and star of "Sleepwalk with Me," a 2012 film that expertly captured the struggles creative types go through in trying to discover their own voices. Expect this concept to anchor his talk at CCAD, a teaching institution designed to help students accomplish a similar goal.

The Hitchcock 9

Wexner Center for the Arts

Oct. 10-25

1871 N. High St., Campus

Alfred Hitchcock once said, "If it's a good movie, the sound could go off and the audience would still have a perfectly clear idea of what was going on." This film series, which collects all nine of the director's surviving silent movies, should put his theory to the test.

Young Jean Lee's Theatre Company: "We're Gonna Die"

Wexner Center for the Arts

Friday and Saturday, Oct. 11-12

1871 N. High St., Campus

On the album We're Gonna Die, Young Jean Lee and her band Future Wife explored the concept of mortality alongside a host of A-List guests like David Byrne, Laurie Anderson and Beastie Boy Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz. The Brooklyn-based playwright/director won't be packing the same musical firepower here, but the songs should still strike a chord.

Natasha Trethewey

Columbus College of Art & Design

Wednesday, Oct. 16

60 Cleveland Ave., Downtown

In her poem "Elegy," the current United States Poet Laureate writes, "I thought about the past." It's a theme familiar to the Mississippi native's work, which tends to explore the ways past injustices, hardships and even glories shape our present. This program is free and open to the public.

"Madness and Lust"

Shadowbox Live

Oct. 17-Nov. 14

503 S. Front St., Brewery District

If you're one of those people bored to tears by the thought of watching Kiera Knightley pout her way through another dry, British adaptation of some Jane Eyre or Emily Bronte novel, this could be a nice compromise. The local venue is staging a dance theater production of Bronte's "Wuthering Heights" that it pledges will "delve into the dark side of human desire."

BalletMet Columbus: "Swan Lake"

Ohio Theatre

Friday-Sunday, Oct. 18-20

39 E. State St., Downtown

The local ballet company kicks off its new season in grand fashion, bringing together more than 40 dancers from two Ohio companies for an epic performance of the classic "Swan Lake."

"The Air Loom"


Oct. 24-Nov. 9

227 N. Third St., Downtown

Indulge your inner-conspiracy theorist with MadLab's rendition of "The Air Loom" by Jim Azelvandre, a play whose description ("one man's journey through a world of imminent war, political assassination, mind control technology and the shady characters behind everything") reads like one of Alex Jones' wet dreams.

"The Merry Widow"

Shadowbox Live

Saturdays and Sundays, Oct. 26-Nov. 17

503 S. Front St., Brewery District

Opera Columbus' version of "The Merry Widow" transports the French satire to (comparatively) modern times, pitting small-time Columbus mobsters against the big-time Chicago mob boss. Think of it as a live-action episode of "Boardwalk Empire" with more laughs and far better singing.

Miwa Matreyek: "This World Made Itself" and "Myth and Infrastructure"

Wexner Center for the Arts

Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 31-Nov. 2

1871 N. High St., Campus

Multimedia performance artist Miwa Matreyek uses video footage, animation and her own body to create hypnotic pieces that can feel, at times, like surrealist paintings brought to life. Here she'll debut a new work, "The World Made Itself," which promises to trace existence from the Big Bang through modern times.

The Quay Brothers: "Mistaken Hands"

Wexner Center for the Arts

Saturday, Nov. 2

1871 N. High St., Campus

Identical twins Stephen and Timothy Quay return to Columbus to debut their latest film, "Mistaken Hands," a stop-motion puppet animation short inspired by the life and work of surrealist writer Felisberto Hernandez. It's a true premier event, too; according to a Wexner spokesperson the Brothers Quay plan to finish work on the film in the Wex's editing facilities in the days leading up to the screening. The brothers will also introduce the cult-classic film "Freaks" as a Halloween special on Oct. 31.

"Fully Committed"

Studio Two, Riffe Center

Nov. 6-24

77 S. High St., Downtown

In most cases projecting multiple personalities is a disorder. In "Fully Committed," however, it simply comes with the part. A single actor is required to portray roughly 40 roles in this comedy from playwright Becky Mode, which centers on an out-of-work actor taking reservations at a high-end Manhattan restaurant.

"Think Outside the Brick"

Columbus Museum of Art

Nov. 8-Feb. 16

480 E. Broad St., Downtown

This returning exhibition, which finds artists using the colorful blocks to construct imaginative sculptures, is proof that Legos are more than just child's play. Also, be grateful the museum requires shoes, since many could attest few things are more painful than stepping barefoot on a loose Lego.

Festival of Cartoon Art

The Billy Ireland Cartoon Gallery & Museum

Thursday-Sunday, Nov. 14-17

27 W. 17th Avenue Mall, Campus

This year the Festival of Cartoon Art, which is held once every three years, marks the opening of a new, expanded facility in Sullivant Hall with four days of artist forums (OSU alumni Jeff Smith and Paul Pope, "Love and Rockets" creators Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez and more), documentary screenings and youth programming. Also on tap are two new exhibits: "Treasures from the Collections of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum" and "Substance and Shadow: The Art of the Cartoon."

Miranda July

Columbus College of Art & Design

Monday, Nov. 18

60 Cleveland Ave., Downtown

Miranda July has been so many things over the years - musician, author, provocateur, actress, director - that it's best to simply refer to her as an artist. Her films ("Me, You and Everyone We Know," "The Future") tend to be willfully unguarded, and she has a knack for choosing projects designed to expose some deeper core of humanity. This is certainly true of July's latest experiment, "We Think Alone," where she invited a group of celebs (Lena Dunham, Kirsten Dunst and, uh, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, among others) to share emails from their private accounts.