Arts Fuse critics select the best in music, film, theater, visual arts, author readings, and dance that’s coming up in the next week.
By The Arts Fuse Staff
April 29 at Rhode Island College
The multicultural contemporary ballet troupe led by Alonzo King makes a New England swing through three different regional venues. The fresh repertory includes King’s collaboration with composer and virtuoso bass player Edgar Meyer, set against a backdrop of water synchronized to the choreography by designer Jim Doyle.
Steppin’ out with Ben Vereen
Reagle Music Theatre,
Whether you know him as the original Leading Player in Bob Fosse’s Pippin, as the Wizard of Oz in Wicked, or recall his turn as Chicken George in the Roots television miniseries, the charismatic Vereen is a complete showman. His one-man show in Waltham is one night only. Celebrity gossip note: R&B star Usher is Vereen’s godson.
Dance Complex, Cambridge, MA
Cambridge’s Dance Complex is hosting a creative make it/share it/show it lab, and the participants and their mentors join up in a concert that displays the fruits of their explorations with jungle-themed work about everything from the search for lions to the arguably more dangerous suburban phenomenon of Tiger Mothers.
Dartmouth Native Dance Society
Hopkins Center Plaza, Dartmouth College
Hanover, New Hampshire
Back when Dartmouth College was founded in 1769, its charter included the creation of a college “for the education and instruction of Youth of the Indian Tribes in this Land … and also of English Youth and any others.” It took until the 1970s to make good on that promise, but today there is a significant Native American presence at Dartmouth. The school’s Native American students celebrate and share their heritage this week with Fancy Shawl and Jingle dances on the plaza outside the Hopkins Center along with other family-friendly participatory activities.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Citi Wang Theatre
Yup, it’s that time again. The annual visit of the Ailey company under the direction of Robert Battle brings a special focus on Alvin Ailey’s works to the music of Duke Ellington, the exultant Bill T. Jones D-Man in the Waters, the trendy, you-saw-it-at-Boston-Ballet Chroma by Wayne McGregor and LIFT, Aszure Barton’s first commission for the company.
Radius Ensemble in Compass
Longy School of Music
Alissa Cardone is featured dancing to John Fonville’s Music for Sarah composed for solo flute on a program of new classical music that includes a clarinet quintet by Bostonian Evan Ziporyn.
Across the Ages Dance Project “Point of Change”
Green Street Studio
In their fourth annual concert, the multigenerational Across the Ages Dance Project offers choreography by seven different dance makers that challenge what one participant called the culture’s predominant dance aesthetic of the “young, bendy, and thin.”
– Debra Cash
Lana Del Rey
House of Blues, Boston, MA
That we’re still talking about Lana Del Rey in 2014 is a something of a surprise. Thankfully, it’s a pleasant one. When her single “Video Games” was released in 2011, there was nothing else like it — a moody lament that defined life in the 21st century while sounding like it could have scored an old film noir. Her 2012 album, Born to Die followed and while it was alright, the hype leading up to it was too much and it simply couldn’t match it. Throw in a disastrous appearance on Saturday Night Live (honestly it wasn’t that bad, but everyone said it was so that’s the narrative whether we like it or not) and it seemed like the young woman born Elizabeth Grant was in for a short career. Here we are in 2014 though, and her new song “West Coast,” produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, mixes the best of Born to Die with a more modern sound. Looks like Lana just might have a long, healthy, career after all.
Upcoming and On Sale…
Rodriguez (5/9/2014, Orpheum Theatre); Haim (5/13/2014, House of Blues); Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (5/17-18/2014, Mohegan Sun Arena); Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls (5/25/2014, The Sinclair); Morrissey (6/7/2014, Boston Opera House); Parquet Courts (6/10/2014, TT the Bear’s Place); Eagulls (6/18/2014, Great Scott); The Kills (7/8/2014, Paradise Rock Club); Queen + Adam Lambert (7/19/2014, Mohegan Sun Arena); Queen + Adam Lambert (7/22/2014, TD Garden); Nine Inch Nails & Soundgarden (7/29/2014, Xfinity Center); Arcade Fire (8/19/2014, Comcast Center); Boston Calling Music Festival feat. The National, Lorde, The Replacements (9/5-7/2014, City Hall Plaza); Peter Hook & the Light (11/8/2014, Royale)
– Adam Ellsworth
Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932
Porter Square Books
Monday April 28 at 7 p.m.
The venerable (and onomatopoeically named) Francine Prose comes to Porter Square Books to read from her widely praised new novel. Her heroine, Violette Morris, is based on a real-life person though sure seems like a fictional creation out of the movies. Prose originally intended to write non-fiction about her but ultimately decided that fiction would be more interesting. Violette was a cross-dressing lesbian French athlete who grew up in a convent and made quite the scene in belle epoque Paris with her lover and the bohemian milieu, smoking luxuriant cigarettes and scandalizing the bourgeois with the likes of Man Ray and Picasso, along the way to becoming a Fascist spy and sympathizer. Prose will show how fiction is stranger than truth this Monday in Porter Square.
The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap
In Conversation with Robin Young
Co-Sponsored by The Harvard Book Store and Boston Review
First Parish Church
Thursday May 1 at 7 p.m.
$5- tickets on sale now
Matt Taibbi’s trademark pyrotechnic insight, especially in the pages of Rolling Stone magazine, once inspired people to start calling him the heir to Hunter S Thompson. Turns out, he’s actually more an H.L. Mencken man. In The Divide, Taibbi’s sixth book, he delves into the social and political repercussions of this formula: “Poverty goes up; Crime goes down; Prison population doubles.” Taibbi takes us through the halls of Congress and the recession’s mean streets to do some good old fashioned advocacy journalism. He comes to discuss drastic income inequality with Robin Young on Thursday at the First Parish Church. Five bucks is your ticket to populist outrage. And it’s on May Day! Bring your comrades!
Elizabeth Graver and Jamie Quatro
The End of the Point and I Want to Show You More
Thursday May 1 at 7 p.m.
Elizabeth Graver reads from the new paperback edition of her latest novel, The End of the Point, her beautifully realized family chronicle which was long listed for the National Book Award and won rave reviews from the New York Times and the Boston Globe. Check out The Arts Fuse’s Judicial Review (a collection of reviews and comments responding to the book, including Graver’s response) here. Jamie Quatro also reads from her latest collection of short stories, I Want to Show You More, which explore the modern South in terms of sexuality and spirituality.
Paul C Clerici
Boston Marathon – History by the Mile
The Harvard Coop
Monday May 5 at 7-8 p.m.
Freelance journalist Paul Clerici returns to the Harvard Coop to read and sign copies from his latest book about the Boston Marathon. He will be discussing the history of the august Boston tradition, the ins and outs of the notoriously difficult Heartbreak Hill, and last year’s tragic events. He may or may not need to be handed a series of cups of water during his talk.
American Crucifixion: The Murder of Joseph Smith and the Future of the Mormon Church
Tuesday May 6 at 7 p.m.
In midsummer in 1844, an angry mob stormed the jail in Carthage, Illinois looking for one man and one man only: Joseph Smith. They wanted to find him and they wanted blood. Smith had done quite a bit in his thirty-nine years, including starting the Church of Latter-Day Saints, treasure hunting, founding a city bigger than Chicago and running for President.He had also secretly married more than thirty women. The Globe‘s Alex Beam launches his latest book at Newtonville Books, to explain how a charismatic leader became public enemy number one and how the doctrine of polygamy created a rift and then a schism among his followers and how his death changed the fate of the Mormon Church and the history of the settling of the West itself.
How Could This Happen: Explaining the Holocaust
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
Tuesday May 6 at 7 p.m.
The Holocaust has always presented a huge set of profoundly difficult questions, maybe the biggest of which is how could such a thing have happened? Historians have grappled with this puzzling question for decades and sometimes it seems like no answer will suffice. Author Dan McMillan comes to the Harvard Book Store to present the results of his research on how such a catastrophe would happen in the middle of Western Civilization. McMillan discusses how a lack of democratic political foundation, social and scientific racial ideologies, and the trauma of World War I all contributed to the midnight of the 20th Century.
The Serpent of Venice
Coolidge Corner Theatre
Wednesday May 7 at 6 p.m.
$5 tickets or free with pre-order of book from Brookline Booksmith
Christopher Moore continues his popular success with smart, playful, accessible novels mashing up classic literature and fresh imagination. In The Serpent of Venice, the sequel to his bestselling Fool, he brings back the titular fool Pocket. This time he’s in Venice, and he’s fending off the dastardly advances of characters like the merchant Antonio, a naval officer named Iago, and others. Moore mashes up Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe, which promises to be a devastatingly funny and engrossing one-two punch.
– Matt Hanson
PAAM100: A Century of Inspiration, 1966-1989
May 2 through July 20.
What makes one picturesque village a thriving art colony while another down caters only to tourists or lobstermen? In Victorian America, it had a lot to do with the railroads, cheap rents, and good light.
Provincetown, an ancient fishing village sleeping in the dunes at the tip of Cape Cod where the Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact, is a case in point. The town now bills itself as “the oldest continuous art colony in America,” dating the colony’s origins from its first summer art school, founded in 1899. Many others followed. Their commuting instructors forged an informal link, in particular, with Greenwich Village.
Each season, hosts of painters, printmakers, poets, novelists, playwrights, and Bohemians Without Portfolio, famous, infamous, and not famous at all, descended from trains and battered autos on the town, somnolent in winter, bringing with them warm, bright days, wild nights, and a celebrated tolerance for unconventional lifestyles.
A key moment in the transformation was the founding of the Providence Art Association in 1914 and its annual art shows, starting in the summer of 1915, just as the clarion bells of European modernism began to ring. Last fall, the Providence Art Association and Museum (PAAM) kicked off “A Century of Inspiration,” its centennial as a cultural epicenter and aesthetic battleground with a series of special exhibitions. The latest installment is part of that celebration.
PAAM’s show, enhanced with documents and objects from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, emphasizes “art and everyday life, constantly mixing and connecting” and the relationship between artists and the community “from destitute artists trading paintings for lodging from owners of local homes or guesthouses, to fisherman offering a share of their day’s catch to provide a mean for an artist who might otherwise go without, to the walls of local cafes and homes lined with artwork given in exchange for simple kindnesses.”
– Peter Walsh
Fabian Almazan Rhizome Trio
April 29, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
We know what you’re thinking: another genius Cuban pianist. But Almazan, who grew up in Miami, uses all that conservatory training and a grasp of folkloric rhythms to inform a decidedly New York-modernist frame of mind. Now living in that city, he’s joined by the exciting young bassist/composer/bandleader Linda Oh (a regular with Dave Douglas’s quintet) and drummer Henry Cole.
International String Trio
April 29, 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
The gifted young English violinist Ben Powell has been working his own post-bop variations on the gypsy-jazz tradition, but with the International String Trio he gets deep into a variety of world music strains — or what the band calls, “Cosmopolitan Gypsy Jazz.” The trio was created by Russian guitarist Slava Tolstoy in 1999 and also includes bassist Japanese Ippei Ichimaru — and their music extends from Appalachia to the Steppes.
Clayton Brothers Quartet
April 30, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
Post-bop veterans Jeff (alto, oboe, French horn, flute) and John (bass) Clayton are joined by trumpeter Terrell Stafford, drummer Obed Calvaire, and John’s son, the rising piano star Gerald Clayton.
Stephan Crump’s day job, as it were, is playing bass with the Vijay Iyer Trio, but one of his side gigs is this tidy little trio with Liberty Ellman playing acoustic guitar and Jamie Fox playing electric. If your thing is tone, texture, and three-way string-band counterpoint, this is the place to be. And yeah, they have a nice sense of swing, too. They’re celebrating the release of their third album, Thwirl.
Cuban-born pianist Omar Sosa’s music encompasses a broad range of Afro-jazz styles — from Cuba and Senegal to the Gnawan music of Morrocco. But don’t be surprised if his New AfroCuban Quartet busts out anything from Afro-pop to a number by Peruvian singer-songwriter Susana Bacca.
Kevin Harris Project
May 3, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
The talented Kentucky-born pianist and composer Kevin Harris brings a superb group into the Regattabar: trombone monster Frank Lacy (of the Mingus Dynasty Big Band and a million other projects), trumpeter Jason Palmer, bassist Edward Perez, and drummer Steve Langone.
JazzBoston Salutes Fred Taylor
May 4, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
The 2014 edition of Boston Jazz Week winds up at Scullers, where Fred Taylor — who’s been booking jazz in Boston for 50 years, including 15 years in the ’60s and ’70s at the legendary twin clubs the Jazz Workshop and Paul’s Mall — will be honored by JazzBoston with the Roy Haynes Award for “exceptional contributions to jazz and the jazz community.” You can expect to hear performances from Rebecca Parris, Grace Kelly, Yoko Miwa, Amanda Carr, Bob Gullotti, and probably some surprise guests. (And by the way, Taylor has also been book Scullers for nearly all of its 25 years.)
– Jon Garelick
April 30 at 8 p.m.
At New England Conservatory, Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
The violinist, who has been winning a big Boston following, plays a free recital of the music of Vitali, Franck, and Schubert.
April 30 at 8 p.m.
The Second Church in Newton, 60 Highland Street, West Newton, MA.
The Newton Baroque, under the direction of Andrus Madsen, performs “Musical Gems from the Bach Circle.”
MYTHIC WOMEN: Stories for Soprano and Chamber Ensemble.
May 1 at 8 p.m.
At Boston University’s CFA Concert Hall, 855 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA.
An extraordinary evening of original chamber works for soprano, harp, cello, piano, and clarinet by composer and world-renowned Grammy-nominated jazz harpist Deborah Henson-Conant. Persephone Lost is a one-woman, one-act opera about “the Goddess Demeter and the creation of the seasons.” Songs of the Pyre is a 5-movement song cycle about a woman accused of witchcraft in sixteenth-century Europe. The concert will feature musicians from Boston University’s Chamber Ensemble program. This concert kicks off “National Chamber Music Month.”
Pianist Marc-André Hamelin with violinist Anthony Marwood and clarinetist Martin Fröst
May 2 at 8 p.m.
At New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, Boston, MA.
Celebrity Series presents a trio of celebrated musicians performing duos and trios of Schubert, Debussy, Stravinsky, Poulenc, and Bartók.
May 3, 8 through 10 p.m.
Lindsey Chapel, Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St., Boston, MA.
The excellent ensemble — in period costume as nuns — will chant the Hours. A concert/installation in which the public is invited to immerse themselves in Gregorian chant, view a display of newly discovered 16th century Antiphonal folios, taste Medieval bread and drink, and converse with the art historian who discovered the 1554 Salzinnes illuminated manuscript. Come for the full two hours, or saunter in anytime for a look and a listen.
– Susan Miron
Presented by the Handel and Haydn Society
May 2 (7:30 p.m.) and 4 (3 p.m.)
Symphony Hall, Boston
Handel’s rarely-heard oratorio Samson is the focus of the Handel and Haydn Society’s penultimate concerts this season. Harry Christophers conducts the H&H orchestra and chorus with soloists, including Joshua Ellicott in the title role and Joélle Harvey as Dalila.
Firsts and Fantasies
Presented by the New England Philharmonic
May 3, 8 p.m.
Tsai Center for the Performing Arts, Boston
The New England Philharmonic ends its 2013-14 season with a pair of premieres: Gunther Schuller’s Dramatic Overture (first time in Boston) and composer-in-residence David Rakowski’s Zephyrs from Dance Fragments Symphony no. 5 (world premiere). Steven Drury is the soloist in Roy Harris’s Fantasy for piano and orchestra, and the program closes with Sergei Prokofiev’s Symphony no. 7.
– Jonathan Blumhofer
Jewish Film 2014
May 1 through 11
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.
The National Center for Jewish Film presents its 17th Annual Festival, which is full of lively, first-rate movies that fulfill the organization’s mission to collect, preserve and exhibit films with artistic and educational value relevant to the Jewish experience. The program opens with Before the Revolution, which is about the thousands of Israelis in the 1960s and 1970 who settled in Tehran, Iran before the revolution; Closer to the Moon, an absurdist take on a 1959 real life crime story in which a group of high-ranking Jewish Communists, pretending they were shooting a movie, robbed Romania’s National Bank; Diane Kurys’ (Entre Nous; C’est la Vie) new film, For a Woman; Argentina’s nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, the riveting and unsettling The German Doctor ; Joe Papp in 5 Acts, and many others.
May 1, 10, 11, 25, 26
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA
In his feature filmmaking debut, acclaimed visual artist Takashi Murakami creates a family-friendly monster movie using live action and CGI. Set post-Fukushima, Jellyfish Eyes follows a young boy, Masashi, forced to move to an “experimental city” where each child is paired with a remote-control monster, or “F.R.I.E.N.D.” This should be a unique visual experience.
Super Duper Alice Cooper
May 2 and 3
Regent Theater, Arlington, MA.
This is the New England premiere of the story of Vincent Furnier, a preacher’s son, who struck fear into the hearts of parents everywhere under the name of Alice Cooper, the ultimate rock star of the bizarre. The story is told in the form of a “doc opera,” a dizzying blend of documentary and rock opera that combines audio interviews with a generous serving of Cooper archive footage. Still touring the world, with over 100 concerts scheduled in 2014, and hosting his internationally syndicated Nights With Alice Cooper radio show five nights a week for over a decade, the entertainer shows no sign of slowing down.
– Tim Jackson
Blackadder Goes Forth: Live!
By Richard Curtis and Ben Elton. Directed by Darren Evans.
Staged by Theatre on Fire
Through May 11
At the Charlestown Working Theater, Charlestown, MA.
Theatre on Fire adapts the hilarious (and slyly subversive) British TV farce for the stage in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the show’s fourth and final season broadcast. First aired in 1989, this season (the most bittersweet of the series) is set in the trenches of WWI, “where our hero Blackadder once again is devising cunning plans to avoid being killed, this time by the Germans and the incompetence of his superior officers.” This theatrical treatment comes in two parts: Part One features the episodes “Captain Cook,” “Corporal Punishment,” and “Major Star.” Part Two features the episodes “Private Plane,” “General Hospital,” and “Goodbyeee.”
– Bill Marx