Arts Fuse critics select the best in music, film, dance, author events, and theater for the coming week.
By The Arts Fuse Staff
The Boston Science Fiction Film Festival and Marathon
Through February 16
Somerville Theater, Somerville, MA
This year marks the 40th anniversary of this festival, which makes it the oldest continually running genre fest in America. The event’s first nine days emphasize emerging directors with distinct visions from around the globe. The festivities conclude with The Marathon (a.k.a., “The ‘Thon”), a 24-hour orgiastic motion picture endurance test made up of classic, new, and schlock films. Think of it as binge viewing with 700 close friends. The ordeal starts at noon on the 15th and ends at noon on President’s Day.
Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA
The award-winning documentary runs through the 11th. This evening stands out because it features a Docyard Q & A with director Robert Greene. Arts Fuse review
Oscar Nominated Short Films
February 8 through 16
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA
For the ninth consecutive year, the ICA presents the Oscar-nominated shorts program, with live-action, animated, and documentary short films you always wish you’d had an opportunity to see come Oscar night. See schedule for days and times
In honor of Black History Month, the theater is screening a 1970 Oscar-nominated documentary that chronicles the life and work of Dr. King, Jr., from the part he played at the start of the Civil Rights movement in Montgomery to his assassination in Memphis in 1968. Directed by Sidney Lumet and Joseph L. Mankiewicz, the film features the voices of Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Ruby Dee, and James Earl Jones. Co-Presented with The Arlington International Film Festival.
Lost in the Bewilderness
Boston University Cinemathèque, 640 Commonwealth Ave. COM: room 101. Free and open to the public.
For thirty years, documentarian Alexandra Anthony has been following the ongoing mystery (filled with extraordinary twists and surprises) generated by the kidnapping of her Greek cousin, Luke. Her film is mythological, philosophical, and very moving. “One of the finest documentaries you will ever see about adolescence, memory, and the importance of returning ‘home,’ using Greece’s ancient and modern mythologies as inspiration.” (Flix) A Q & A with director Anthony, moderated by The Arts Fuse‘s Gerald Peary, follows the screening.
– Tim Jackson
LaneCoArts: The Space Between
February 13 & 14
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Our world is becoming more digital by the day, and with this increase in virtual communication comes a change in the way we interact on the physical plane. LaneCoArts’ The Space Between is set to a sound score that reflects technological advances made across the decades. The piece serves as the culmination to the company’s BCA residency, which has been dedicated to exploring the issue of “culture and conversation.”
February 13 & 14
Waterfront Square at Atlantic Warf
Looking for something less traditional? Hit up Atlantic Warf this weekend for an eclectic mix of new dances, short plays, artworks, and creative collaborations. Hosted by Fort Point Theatre Channel and Contrapose Dance, Channel/Dance is free and open to the public for two nights only.
A Palo Seco: VO(i)CES
Saturday, February 14
Multicultural Arts Center
Whether you’re searching for that special Valentine’s Day night out—or for a little heat this snowy weekend—let A Palo Seco Flamenco Company be your destination. The live music and fiery dancers of VO(i)CES will excite and inspire, while the 21+ cash bar and complementary desserts will complete your holiday evening.
– Merli V. Guerra
Middletown by Will Eno. Directed by Curt Columbus. Staged by the Trinity Repertory Company in the Dowling Theatre at 201 Washington Street, Providence, RI, through February 22.
Playwright Will Eno’s acclaimed 2010 play is a “wry, bittersweet and achingly beautiful” look at small-town American living” that reveals “universal themes of love, birth, death, loneliness, elation, forgiveness, disappointment and redemption.”
The Big Meal by Dan LeFranc. Directed by David J. Miller. Staged by Zeitgeist Stage Company at the Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) Plaza Black Box Theatre, Boston, MA, February 13 through March 7.
Foodies Unite! LeFranc’s play focuses on how serious things can happen while we munch away. 8 actors play 26 characters, and their experiences chowing down at various tables, according to The New York Times, “manages to telescope more than three generations of family life — and strife — into less than 90 minutes.”
The King of Second Avenue (based on The King of the Schnorrers by Israel Zangwill). Book and Lyrics by Robert Brustein. Music by Hankus Netsky. Directed by Matthew ‘Motl’ Didner. Staged by the New Repertory Theatre in the Arsenal Center for the Arts at the Charles Mosesian Theater, Watertown, MA, through March 1.
This is the world premiere production of a musical based on a story by Israel Zangwill. The update features “a Romeo and Juliet love story set against the background of antagonistic Jewish sects in the Lower East Side of 1960s Manhattan.” The klezmer score is composed by Hankus Netsky.
Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage. Directed by Summer L. William. Staged by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston at 40 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA.
Nottage’s tough but tender play deals with race, sex, and class. The script is a “loving and evocative portrait of Esther, an independent but lonely African American seamstress in early 20th-century Manhattan who earns a living sewing exquisite lingerie for wealthy socialites uptown, and women of ill repute downtown. When Esther receives a letter from a stranger who is laboring on the Panama Canal, she begins an epistolary courtship with him, only to discover that he is not all that he seems.”
Uncle Jack written and directed by Michael Hammond. A co-production of the Boston Center for American Performance (BCAP) and Boston Playwrights’ Theatre (BPT) at the Boston University Theatre’s Lane-Comley Studio 210, Boston, MA, February 12 to March 1.
“In this modern-day retelling of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, Uncle Jack, his niece Sonya, and his British brother-in-law Derek struggle to save their small summer theatre company in the Berkshires…and the company’s looming demise causes old wounds to bleed afresh.” Playwright Hammond is a member of the Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Theatre faculty, and Uncle Jack is his first full-length play. The strong cast includes award-winning local performers Will Lyman, Steven Barkhimer, and Nancy E. Carroll.
Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3) by Suzan Lori-Parks. Directed by Jo Bonney. A co-production between the American Repertory Theater and The Public Theater in New York, at the Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, MA, through March 1.
“A devastatingly beautiful new play set over the course of the Civil War” that impressed a number of New York theater critics. “A masterful new work from one of our most lyrical and powerful writers” — and at her best Suzan Lori-Parks lives up to the latter description — the drama “is a deeply personal epic about love and hope in a world of impossible choices.” Arts Fuse Review
Oceanside by Nick Gandiello. Directed by Melia Bensussen. At the Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Lowell, MA, February 12 through March 8.
Sounds like (another) intense family drama, though this is a world premiere: “Gwen thought she had successfully walked away from her troubled past. But then her ex-husband returns with news of their grown daughter’s disappearance and with him come the demons that she sought to erase from her idyllic new life.” The cast includes Allyn Burrows, Joey Collins, Caroline Lawton, and Carolyn Baeumler. Warning: Contains Adult Content
Familiar by Dabau Gurira. Directed by Rebecca Taichman. Staged by the Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven CT, through February 21.
The world premiere of a script (Yale Rep commissioned Gurira, an OBIE and Whiting Writers Award winning playwright) that is billed as “a richly funny and deeply moving new play about the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters, sisters, wives and husbands—the customs they keep, and the secrets they keep buried.”
Echoes by N. Richard Nash. Staged by the Brown Box Theatre Project at Atlantic Wharf, 290 Congress St, Boston, MA, through February 8.
The company claims that this script is “thought-provoking and mind-bending,” qualities missing in most local theater, so it may be worth a look. Still, the plot sounds suspiciously routine: “a young man and woman build a paradise through imagination, only to have it shattered by the intrusion of the outside world.”
The Second Girl by Ronan Noone. Directed by Campbell Scott. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Virginia Wimberly Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, through February 21.
Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night is the backdrop for this play, “which is set in the downstairs world of the Tyrone family kitchen in August 1912. Two Irish immigrant servant girls and the chauffeur search for love, success, and a sense of belonging in their new world.” This is the world premiere production of a script by Huntington Playwriting Fellow Ronan Noone. Arts Fuse Review
– Bill Marx
Vladimir Jurowski conducts Liadov, Birtwistle, and Stravinsky
Presented by the Boston Symphony Orchestra
February 12-14, 8 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
Jurowski turned not a few heads when he made his BSO debut a couple of years back with a scorching Shostakovich Fourth Symphony. He returns this week with more Russian music – Liadov’s From the Apocalypse and Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite – plus the American premiere of Harrison Birtwistle’s Responses: Sweet disorder and the carefully careless and Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun. The superb Pierre-Laurent Aimard is the soloist in the Birtwistle.
Richard Egarr conducts Mozart and Beethoven
Presented by the Handel & Haydn Society
February 13-15, 7:30 p.m. (3 p.m. on Sunday)
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
Early music by Mozart – the Weisenhaus Mass, written when he was just thirteen – and Beethoven’s Symphony no. 1 are the focus of this latest installment to H&H’s bicentennial season. Richard Egarr conducts the Period Instrument Orchestra and the excellent H&H Chorus.
Music of György Ligeti
Presented by Composer Focus Concerts
February 15, 7 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA
Arguably the 20th-century’s greatest postwar composer, a wide swath of Ligeti’s output is on display in CFC’s latest program. The program includes Ligeti’s Bartók-inflected Musica ricercata; the Sonata for Solo Cello; the awesome, formidable String Quartet no. 2; and excerpts from his path-breaking Piano Etudes.
– Jonathan Blumhofer
Trio Cleonice and Friends
February 10 at 7 p.m.
United Parish Church, 210 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA
“Love, Ecstasy, and Eternal Romanticism” is the title of a evening of music that includes the following pieces: C. Schumann’s Three Romances for violin and piano; R. Schumann’s Piano Trio No. 2 in F Major, Op. 80; R. Schumann’s Adagio and Allegro, Op. 70 for cello and piano; Brahms’s Piano Quintet in f minor, Op. 34. Guest artists are violinist Ariel Mitnick and violist Shira Majoni.
NEC Philharmonia with Hugh Wolff, conductor
February 11 at 8 p.m.
Presented by New England Conservatory at Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
On the program: Strauss’s Till Eulenspiegel, Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite, and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 featuring pianist Kyle Orth.
February at 8 p.m.
St. Cecilia Parish, 18 Belvidere Street, Boston, MA
The program’s title is “For heaven is a different thing”: Choral Settings of Sacred Poetry.” The performance features “a world premiere setting by Richard J. Clark, a U.S. premiere by Norwegian composer Jon Laukvik, and works by Charles Stanford, Gerald Finzi, Mårten Jansson, Carson Cooman, Frank Ferko, and James Woodman.” Heinrich Christensen is the organist.
Music From Marlboro
February 15 at 1:30 p.m.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, The Fenway, Boston, MA
Soprano Sarah Shafer, mezzo-soprano Rebecca Ringle, violinist Michelle Ross, cellist Brook Speltz, and pianists Izabella Simon and Dénes Várjon take on an ambitious program: Schubert’s Notturno in E-flat Major, Op. 148 (d.897); Kurtág’s Selections from Transcriptions of Machaut to J. S. Bach for Four Hands Piano ; Kurtág’s Selections from Games for Four Hands Piano; Dvorák’s Moravské dvojzpˇr vy (Moravian Duets), b.50, Op. 20; Brahms’s Vier Duette, Op. 61; and Beethoven’s Piano Trio in D Major, Op. 70, no. 1 “Ghost.”
– Susan Miron
The exciting young pianist Jason Yeager, now based in New York, got his start playing Friday nights at Bella Costa. He returns home for a cabaret-jazz show, “Blame It On My Youth,” with Broadway singer-actress Julie Benko. THIS SHOW HAS BEEN POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER. RESCHEDULED DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED.
Rhythm Future Quartet
February 11, 8 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
The Rhythm Future Quartet take their name from a Django Reinhardt song, inspired by the more out-there reaches of Reinhardt’s “gypsy jazz.” Violinist Jason Anick and Finnish guitar wizard Olli Soikkeli are the front-line players, with Vinny Raniolo providing the requisite rhythm guitar “pomp” and the versatile Greg Loughman anchoring the whole affair with his pliant bass lines.
February 12, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
Donny McCaslin came to the fore as a member of Gary Burton’s quartet back in the day. Always a player who’s tempered virtuoso power with probing thoughtfulness, he’s of late been experimenting with connections between jazz and electronic dance music. He comes to the Regattabar in anticipation of the March 31 release of Fast Future (on Dave Douglas’s Greenleaf label) with pianist Jason Lindner, bassist Tim Lefebvre, and drummer Mark Guiliana.
The Why Not
February 12, 7:30
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA.
Pianist and composer Bert Seager complements his experimental quartet the Why with this outfit, the Why Not, with muti-reed guy Rick DiMuzio on clarinet, John Lockwood on bass, and polymath Jerry Leake on percussion.
All Rise: A Joyful Elegy for Fats Waller
February 12, 8 p.m.
Brown Hall, New England Conservatory, Boston, MA
Jason Moran continues his investigation of the music of Fats Waller — influential singer, pianist, hit songwriter — in a New England Conservatory concert named for Moran’s 2014 Blue Note album. In this case, Professor Moran will draw on the NEC student body for various ensemble and solo piano performance, covering pieces associated with or written by Waller, including classics like “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” “Honeysuckle Rose,” and “Ain’t Nobody’s Business if I Do.” And yes, Moran himself will play in a few of the ensembles. And, like all NEC student/faculty concerts, it’s free.
Julian Lage Trio
February 12, 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
The exciting young guitarist Julian Lage — equally adept as a member of Gary Burton’s current quartet or leading his own bands exploring the crossroads of country music, jazz, world musics, and modern classical — brings his trio, with bassist Scott Colley and drummer Kenny Wollesen.
February 13, 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
Scion, keeper of the flame, educator, and all-around-exuberant jazz presence T.S. Monk brings his current band to Scullers.
February 14, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
Singer, pianist, and songwriter Karrin Allyson covers everything from bebop and folk-pop to French chanson. Should be a good Valentine’s Day treat.
Revolutionary Snake Ensemble with Charles Neville
February 17, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
The Boston band Revolutionary Snake Ensemble has a knack for mixing the New Orleans brass band tradition with African music and avant-garde streams of jazz. They again team up with Neville Brother Charles (alto saxophone) for a Mardi Gras bash at the Regattabar, with Charles’s son Khalif on piano, the fine young alto saxophonist (and Thelonious Monk Competition finalist) Godwin Louis, and RSE regulars Ken Field and Tom Hall (saxophones), trumpeter Jerry Sabatini, drummer Phil Neighbors, and bassist Blake Newman.
– Jon Garelick
Roots and World Music
Cantab Lounge, Cambridge, MA
California bluegrass songbird and fiddler Lewis is one of the headline attractions of this year’s Joe Val Bluegrass Festival. She and her string band the Right Hands are stopping by the venerable Cantab bluegrass jam as part of a string of New England dates.
There’s a long tradition of blue-eyed soul singers, but at the moment Farris pretty much has that genre all to himself. Specializing in highly spiritualized Americana, he is known for the passion of his live shows, which don’t occur in the Boston area very often.
If you saw Leon Russell in the ’90s or ’00 you might not be inclined to see him again. The Tulsa-bred songwriter and producer spent quite a few years coasting on his considerable laurels with passionless shows that were little more than an elongated and rushed oldies medley. But his collaboration with Elton John and T. Bone Burnett seems to have reinvigorated him. His 2014 Life’s Journey LP was heavy on covers, but used inventive arrangements. Last year at the Wilbur Theatre in Boston he actually spoke to the audience. He also came with a vastly improved band that featured a pedal steel player.
Tomova came to the US to study jazz, but ended up finding plenty of singers interested in the ethereal vocal traditions of her homeland. Her recent Somerville show was one of my top concerts of 2014.
Joe Val Bluegrass Festival
Sheraton, Framingham, MA
This large but friendly indoor bluegrass festival servers up one its more star-studded lineups this year, with appearances from the Del McCoury Band, Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, the Seldom Scene and the excellent young North Carolina combo Town Mountain. Even if you’re not a picker, the workshops often offer fascinating insights from the music’s top talent. Look for an interview with Joe Val artist Jim Lauderdale later this week on The Arts Fuse.
Chris Toppin of the beloved Boston outfit Fuzzy has a rootsy new project, and it’s crisp and catchy. The only problem with this gig will be the challenge of fitting a full horn section into the tiny Toad performance space.
Genres of Middle Eastern Clarinet: Music of Armenia, Turkey, Greece, and the Middle East
Distler Performance Hall, 20 Talbot Avenue, Tufts University, Somerville, MA
Another one of my top 2014 shows: clarinetist virtuoso Mal Barsamian, who will host this afternoon of clarinet music from around the Mediterranean and Middle East.
– Noah Schaffer
George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic
February 14, 2015
House of Blues, Boston, MA
The Atomic Dog himself, George Clinton, invites you to tear the roof off the mother sucker this Valentine’s Day. I’m not sure whether or not there will be spaceships (or motherships) or band members wearing diapers at the House of Blues this week, but there will certainly be a whole lotta funk.
Upcoming and On Sale…
Lux Deluxe (2/19/2015, Church of Boston); Gang of Four (3/6/2015, Paradise Rock Club); Will Butler (of Arcade Fire) (3/6/2015, TT the Bears); of Montreal (3/10/2015, Paradise Rock Club); Swervedriver (3/28/2015, The Sinclair); Carl Barat and the Jackals (3/28/2015, Brighton Music Hall); Belle and Sebastian (3/30/2015, House of Blues); Jeff Beck (4/19/2015, Orpheum Theatre); They Might Be Giants (4/23/2015, House of Blues); Manic Street Preachers (4/24/2015, The Sinclair); Sufjan Stevens (5/4/2015, Citi Performing Arts Center); Faith No More (5/11/2015, Orpheum Theatre); Kasabian (5/15/2015, House of Blues); Primal Scream (5/17/2015, Royale); Crosby, Stills and Nash (5/19/2015, Citi Performing Arts Center); Boston Calling (featuring Beck, Pixies, My Morning Jacket) (5/22-24/2015, City Hall Plaza); The Who (5/24/2015, Mohegan Sun Arena); Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (6/6/2015, Boston Opera House); Rush (6/23/2015, TD Garden); U2 (7/10, 11, 14, 15/2015, TD Garden); Billy Joel (7/16/2015, Fenway Park); Foo Fighters (7/18-19/2015, Fenway Park); Interpool (7/23-24/2015, House of Blues); Mark Knopfler (10/9/2015, Orpheum Theatre); The Who (10/29/2015, TD Garden)
– Adam Ellsworth
South End Writes Series
February 10 at 6:30- 8:00 p.m.
South Branch of the Boston Public Library
The eminent Antiguan-American novelist, essayist, and cultural critic comes to the BPL as part of their “South End Writes” series. Kincaid will read from her 2013 novel See Now, Then and then answer questions from the audience. Copies of the novel will be for sale or to borrow and refreshments will be served.
New England Review Reading
Brock Clarke, Lisa Van Orman Hadley, Matthew Lippman, Lenore Myka, and Alexandria Peary
February 10 at 7 p.m.
Newtonville Books, Newton Centre, MA
Since 1978, The New England Review has published quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry, encouraging its readers to expand their tastes and aesthetic expectations. Works published by the review are often nominated for prestigious prizes including the Pushcart Prize, O Henry prizes, and “Best American” anthologies. Newtonville Books hosts a reading from several writers whose works span the gamut of literary genres.
How to Grow Up: A Memoir
February 12 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
Tea is a Mass-born, California-based provocateur of many colors. The life of this author, poet, astrologer, activist, and queercore spokesperson has turned out to be a long, strange trip, from her runaway youth to mature adulthood, from living in a commune in San Francisco to attending Paris fashion week and everything in between. In her book, driven by the no-holds-barred attitude for which she is widely admired, Tea explains how she grew as a writer and a human being; she also explores such perpetually interesting subjects as politics, sex, relationships, and the meaning of feminism.
February 13 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
Artist Gareth Hines has written and illustrated richly imaginative graphic novel versions of classic literature, from Beowulf to King Lear. He has now taken on the rise and fall of the fiendishly ambitious Macbeths. The play has inspired a variety of adaptations in a range of mediums and remains one of the Bard’s most popular tragedies – learn about how it works as an illustrated text when Hinds to Cambridge this way comes.
In Conversation with David Gergen
Believer: My Forty Years in Politics
February 13 at 7 p.m.
First Parish Church, Cambridge, MA
$5 tickets on sale now
Now that the clock is winding down for the Obama Administration, it might be a good time to hear from one of the key people who made Obama’s election possible. Believer deals with Axelrod’s time as a liberal organizer in ’60s New York, his stint as a freelancing Chicago journalist who left the print game to become part of the campaigns of such trailblazers as Deval Patrick, Rahm Emanuel and Hillary Clinton. He also details his periods of working with morally questionable characters like Rod Blagojevich and John Edwards. Axelrod will discuss his lengthy and unique career in politics with CNN senior political analyst David Gergen, so the conversation promises to be a fiesta for the political junky in everyone.
– Matt Hanson