Arts Fuse critics select the best in music, film, theater, author readings, and dance that’s coming up in the next week.
By The Arts Fuse Staff
Norte, the End of History
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Lav Diaz’s 250-minute film is inspired by Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. The narrative explores (and critiques) the embattled state of the rural Philippines from the 1890s Philippine Revolution against the Spanish to the present day. “Filipino actor Sid Lucero gives a stunning performance as Fabian, an existential law school dropout who gets entangled in a small village’s feud: As one man is wrongfully imprisoned, the actual criminal thinks he’s escaped scot-free.” (SF Film Society) Film Comment article on the film. See full schedule for times.
Though September 5
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
September 5 – September 11
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
Ari Folman’s (Waltz With Bashir) new experiment in live action and animation combines social satire with a compelling story. Aging actress Robin Wright (playing a version of herself in a parallel universe), decides to take her final job, which involves preserving her digital likeness for future Hollywood use. Her electronic alias will be controlled by the studio, and the simulacrum will star in any film they want with no restrictions. In return, she receives plenty of monetary compensation so she can care for her ailing son. Another perk: her digitized character will stay forever young. Twenty years later, under the creative vision of the studio’s head animator (Jon Hamm), Wright’s digital double has become a mega-star. Her contract is expiring, so Wright is invited to take part in “The Congress,” a convention “where reality is warped and animated fantasies invade the real world.”
– Tim Jackson
World and Roots Music
Ace southern troubadour Paul Thorn shares his hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi with both Elvis and gospel sensation Lee Williams. Some of those tangy gospel vibes can be found in his new LP Too Blessed to be Stressed, which features the backing harmonies of Nashville’s McCrary Sisters. But there are also plenty of portraits of Thorn’s fellow sinners in the wry lyrics.
Anyone who saw Finding Fela, the excellent portrait of Nigerian Afrobeat master Fela Kuti, saw how his sons Seun and Femi are keeping his legacy alive. While Femi integrates his father’s music with modern R&B, Seun is serous about maintaining the classic Afrobeat blog groove. He’s bringing some veterans of Fela’s original Egypt 80 band here, and you can bet this huge ensemble will take up every inch of the Brighton Music Hall’s stage.
– Noah Schaffer
JP Music Festival
September 6, 12 to 7 p.m.
At Pinebank Field, Jamaica Plain, MA
The fourth annual bash looks like the biggest yet — “two stages, with continuous music from more than 20 artists and bands. The festival features musicians, bands, group, or ensemble members who either live or work in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood.” You know the musical produce will be local and fresh. Something new regarding getting to and from the gathering: “Jamaica Plain-based Samuel Adams is donating use of a trolley to take residents to and from Pinebank field before and during the festival with live acoustic music on-board. The trolley will make stops around JP and help decrease the need for parking near the concert site.” Some of the groups slated to appear: Bed of Coals, Blue Gold, LOVE LOVE, Rick Berlin w/Nickel & Dime Band, Stray Bullets, and The Taxonomists. A 70-minute playlist featuring this year’s artists is available on Soundcloud.
— Bill Marx
Faculty Dance Concert
Fall semester is here, and the faculty of Amherst College present a free dance, music, and video evening featuring Companion Piece, a gorgeous duet created by Wendy Woodson for former Bill T. Jones dancers Paul Matteson and Jennifer Nugent, new video by Woodson with dancer Noa Shiloh, a dance Matteson performs with a string quartet standing around him, and a solo by Leslie Frye Maietta.
Night at the Tower
Arlington Heights water tower
Twenty foot tall video projections will loom over a one-evening-only site specific work by Luminarium Dance Company. Free, but bring bug spray.
— Debra Cash
Editor’s Note: Also check out J.R.Carroll’s guide to jazz festivals coming up in the next few months around New England.
August 31, 2:30 p.m.
Tanglewood, Lenox, MA
Ageless crooner (well, 88, if you must know) Tony Bennett has dedicated that latter part of his varied career to serious jazz singing. ““My whole game,” he told DownBeat, “is to try to do definitive versions of great standards. That’s my game. And I’m not really interested in doing anything except making the public feel the song that I’m singing.” Playing with a small group (including the guitarist Gray Sargent and bassist Marshall Wood), he does just that. His daughter Antonia Bennett, herself an accomplished jazz singer, will join him as special guest.
September 4, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA
The quartet of accordionist Roberto Cassan, electric mandolinist Matt Glover, percussionist/vocalist Fabio Pirozzolo, and bassist Mike Rivard bring a wealth of experience and expertise to their exquisite mix of Moroccan, Italian, Argentine, and Balkan traditional folk and original compositions. They’re celebrating a new CD, Global Shuffle.
Northampton Jazz Festival
The Northampton Jazz Festival concludes a week of shows with an all-day (11 a.m.- 10 p.m.) free downtown Saturday event on Hampton Street. Acts include trumpeter Etienne Charles & Creole Soul, trombonist Steve Davis’s Quintet, saxophonist Seamus Blake, and singer Champion Fulton.
September 6, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA
The pianist, composer, and family physician Stanley Sagov brings his Remembering the Future Jazz Band to the Regattabar with special guest guitarist Larry Coryell, plus singer Wanetta Jackson, alto saxophonist Robert Douglas, bassist John Lockwood, and drummer Bob Gullotti.
— Jon Garelick
A Far Cry
Saturday, September 6 at 4 p.m.
St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1 Roanoke Ave, Jamaica Plain, MA
Sunday, September 7 at 1:30 p.m. Same program at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, The Fenway, Boston, MA
The acclaimed conductor-less chamber orchestra presents “Serenade,” a program of music that includes Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber’s The Night Watchman, W.A. Mozart’s Divertimento in F, Igor Stravinsky’s Concerto in D, and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings.
Rockport Music presents guitarist Sharon Isbin performing works of Albeniz, Granados, Tárrega, Tan Dun, and others. Also on the program: the Massachusetts premiere of her documentary Sharon Isbin: Troubadour. The film portrait “includes guest appearances from a wide array of luminaries including Michelle Obama, Joan Baez, Steve Vai, Stanley Jordan, Garrison Keillor, Mark O’Connor, Martina Navratilova and many more.”
Sunday, September 7 at 3 p.m.
At New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
The New England Conservatory presents the James Pappoutsakis Annual Flute Competition Winner’s Recital. Flutist Sanborn performs with Deborah DeWolfe Emery (piano), Matthew Vera (viola), and Annabelle Taubl (harp) in a program that includes works of Debussy, Lowell Liebermann, Copland, and Hindemith.
— Susan Miron
Medea by Euripides. A new version by Ben Power. Directed by Carrie Cracknell.
Presented by National Theatre Live at Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA (and other screens around New England)
A screening of a video-taped version of what, by all accounts, should be a steamy, powerhouse production of the great tragedy via England’s National Theatre. Critics have been wild about Helen McGrory’s Medea, but they have also had high praise for Goldfrapp, “the acclaimed music duo whose oeuvre slides between electro-pop and ethereal folk.” The group has scored the show, writing music for a live band and Chorus. The latter also dances.
Ivanov, by Anton Chekhov. Translated from the Russian by Curt Columbus. Directed by Brian McEleney.
September 4 through October 5.
Presented by Trinity Repertory Company in the Dowling Theater, Providence, Rhode Island.
The world premiere translation of one of Chekhov’s earliest seriocomic works — a difficult script to pull off, but if well staged this can be a powerful study of the fallout of failure. The script focuses on the lethargy that afflicts an idealistic man after his life goes sour.
Emilie: La Marquise du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight, by Lauren Gunderson. Directed by Judy Braha.
September 4 through October 5.
Staged by the Nora Theater Company at the Central Square Theater, Cambridge, MA.
A wild and wooly script that promises to give us the French Enlightenment from the point of view of a feisty female: “Emilie du Châtelet, leading physicist (before there was such a word), card shark, and all-around bad ass during the Age of Enlightenment returns searching for answers: Love or Philosophy? Head or Heart?” The production marks the Boston acting debut of Lee Mikeska Gardner in the title role. She was recently appointed Artistic Director of The Nora Theatre Company.
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, by Todd Kreidler. Directed by David Esbjornson.
September 5 through October 5
Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Boston University Theatre, Boston, MA.
Malcolm-Jamal (The Cosby Show) Warner makes his Huntington Theatre Company debut with this stage version of the 1967 Hollywood movie about race relations and the superannuated that starred Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. “Joanna surprises her liberal, white parents when she brings home John, her African-American fiancé, to meet them. Both sets of parents must confront their own unexpected reactions and concerns for their children as their beliefs are put to the test.” Do we need a theatrical version of his old cinematic warhorse? Let’s see if this antique can be air-brushed into relevance.
Closer Than Ever, Music by David Shire, Lyrics by Richard Maltby. Directed by Leigh Barrett
September 6 through 28.
Staged by the New Repertory Theatre in the Charles Mosesian Theater the Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown, MA
A strong cast, featuring Leigh Barrett (who is also at the helm), David Foley, Brian Richard Robinson, and Kathy St. George, tackles Richard Maltby Jr. and David Shire’s acclaimed musical about middle-aged people with the blues. Winner of the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical, the show serves up “twenty-four wise and witty ‘songs of experience’” that are based “largely on true stories” and “intertwine insightful tales about love, security, happiness, and self-definition in an ever-changing world.”
— Bill Marx
Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, MA
The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
Nomad, the album released in 2013 by Bombino, a Niger-born member of the Tuareg tribe, was one of the most exciting guitar-based records of the year. He’s been called “the Jimi Hendrix of the desert,” which isn’t too far off from characterizing his sound which, based on video evidence his live show, is inventive and exciting. Both the Iron Horse and the Sinclair should be good rooms to experience him in.
Boston Calling Music Festival (featuring the National, Lorde, and the Replacements)
City Hall Plaza, Boston, MA
For the fourth time since May 2013 the Boston Calling Music Festival takes over City Hall Plaza. This edition features its strongest lineup yet. Heavyweights the National, Lorde, and Nas x the Roots will headline, but the remainder of the bill is nothing to sneeze at with the recently reunited Replacements (can you believe it, the Replacements!) playing Sunday night, Neutral Milk Hotel on Friday, and the Hold Steady on Saturday. Plus, there’s Spoon, Girl Talk, Childish Gambino, and more spread over the rest of the weekend. Unlike the last three Boston Callings, this one feels like a can’t miss.
Justine Townes Earle
Royale, Boston, MA
Singer-songwriter Earle’s new album Single Mothers is out the day before his show at Royale, so expect some new songs in this show along with well-known favorites. Earle was just here less than a year ago, playing at the Sinclair, but that’s certainly no reason to skip what promises to be an entertaining show.
Upcoming and On Sale…
Bob Mould (9/12/2014, Paradise Rock Club); Jack White (9/17/2014, Fenway Park); Willie Nelson (9/20/2014, Indian Ranch); The Black Keys (9/21/2014, TD Garden); Kasabian (9/26/2014, Paradise Rock Club); Jeff Tweedy (9/26/2014, Berklee Performance Center); Neil Young (10/5-6/2014, Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theater); The Orwells (10/9/2014, Brighton Music Hall); Foxygen (10/11/2014, Paradise Rock Club); J Mascis (10/18/2014, The Sinclair); The Thurston Moore Band (10/22/2014, The Sinclair); Temples (10/24/2014, Paradise Rock Club); Peter Hook & the Light (11/8/2014, Royale); Bob Dylan (11/14/2014, Orpheum Theatre); Bob Dylan (11/15/2014, Providence Performing Arts Center); Randy Newman (11/19/2014, Wilbur Theatre); Film Screening: “Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets” (11/19/2014, Brattle Theatre); Greg Trooper (11/23/2014, Atwood’s Tavern); Julian Casablancas + The Voidz (11/26/2014, House of Blues)
– Adam Ellsworth
In conversation with Claire Messud
High As The Horses’ Bridles
September 2 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
The Harvard Book Store and Grub Street present their New Voices in Fiction series, showcasing debut novelists reading and discussing their work. Scott Cheshire, the interview editor of The Tottenville Review, reads from his highly acclaimed debut novel about a charismatic boy preacher in 1980′s America whose words come fast and true but with a disturbing apocalyptic quality. Is he a prophet or is he just a hyperventilating kid? Cheshire will read from and discuss his novel’s ambiguities with the eminent novelist Claire Messud.
Lorenz J Finison
Boston’s Cycling Craze
September 4 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner, Brookline, MA
When bicycles started becoming a widely popular trend in the late nineteenth century, Boston was well ahead of the curve. The Boston Bicycling Club was the very first in the nation, and several prominent cycling magazines were started here. Several of the city’s citizens founded The League of American Wheelmen. Author Finison, a founding member of Cycling Through History, has penned what may be the definitive account of Boston’s symbiotic relationship with bicycling.
This is Improbable Too: Synchronized Cows, Speedy Brain Extractors and more WTF research
September 5 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA
Marc Abrahams writes the “Impossible Research” column for The Guardian and is the founder of Harvard’s Ig Noble awards for the strangest and silliest projects in scientific research. He will read from and sign copies of his latest book, which asks such essential questions as: What is the best way to get monkeys to floss regularly? How many dimples can be found on the cheeks of 28, 282 Greek children? Just who is the Einstein of pork carcasses? Abrahams will not only share his eccentric expertise, but promises there will be several surprise guests.
We Are Not Ourselves
co-sponsored by Grub Street
September 9 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
Author Matthew Thomas’s epic chronicle of an Irish-American family in nineteenth century Queens is generating quite a bit of critical buzz. The novel tells the story of a family fashioning its distinctive version of the American Dream despite social disappointments, alcohol, and the compromises of time. Thomas will read from his debut novel and sign copies as well.
Randy Susan Meyers and Marianne Leone
Accidents of Marriage and Jesse: A Mother’s Story
September 10 at 7 p.m.
Newtonville Books, Newton Centre MA
Authors Meyers and Leone come together to discuss their books as well as their long-held friendship. Meyers’s novel tells the story of a morally conflicted woman who marries a passionate public defender with a devastatingly abusive temper. Leone is an actress and essayist who has appeared in a recurring role in The Sopranos and in films by John Sayles and Martin Scorsese. She has written on a variety of topics for The Boston Globe. She was the mother of Jesse Cooper for seventeen years before his tragic demise. This traumatic experience forms the basis for her new memoir. The evening will also be a fundraiser for each author’s charitable foundations, the Laura Dunne Astley Memorial Fund and the Jessie Cooper Foundation.
— Matt Hanson