Arts Fuse critics select the best in film, theater, dance, music, visual arts, and author events for the coming week.
By The Arts Fuse Staff
Son of the Sheik
November 2 at 7 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline
Featuring an original live score by the renowned Alloy Orchestra, The Sounds of Silents Series presents this 1926 Rudolph Valentino classic. It is a sequel to the hit film The Sheik (1921), which gave Valentino the memorable role that secured his reputation as an exotic lover and a major heartthrob. This second movie is much more polished, and contains tongue-in-cheek humor not found in the original. It was also Valentino’s last screen appearance. More than 80,000 fans came to his funeral.
Boston’s most robust film festival kicks off Wednesday with 12 days of screenings that showcase the best contemporary films on Jewish themes; there will also be visits from filmmakers, panel discussions, and musical events. Sub-divisions of the festival include: FreshFlix, a series of films and events created especially for audience members in the 20 through 40 age demographic; ReelAbilities Boston features movies that promote awareness and appreciation of the lives, artistry, and stories of people with disabilities.
Four films with local ties:
Projections of America with director and Boston-area native Peter Miller, who will be present at the MFA Boston screening on November 15 at 12 p.m. When American forces liberated Europe from the Nazis, a campaign was launched to improve the image of Americans in the eyes of the Europeans. It consisted of 26 propaganda films produced by Jewish Academy Award-winner Robert Riskin. Dedicated to presenting an idealized version of America—cowboys, school children, farmers, and new immigrants—the films were locked in archives for nearly 70 years.
A screening of Driving Miss Daisy on November 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the Coolidge Corner Theatre will feature a conversation with Newton resident and author Tova Mirvis.
Nan Goldin: I Remember Your Face on November 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. Director Sabine Lidl will be present for the screening of her film. Massachusetts native Nan Goldin made her debut as a photographer in the 1970s; she was one of the first photographers to turn her camera on herself and the people closest to her. 40 years later, the film follows Goldin as she meets old friends and lovers and tells personal stories about her life as an artist.
In the Footsteps of Regina Jonas on November 8 at 12 p.m. at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline will include a personal appearance by Gail Reimer, director and founder of the Jewish Women’s Archive. Four American women rabbis—each the first female leader of her denomination—take a historic trip to Berlin, birthplace of Regina Jonas, the first female ever to be ordained a rabbi.
November 5 at 7 p.m.
Bright Family Screening Room, 559 Washington Street, 4th floor, in Boston, MA
The storyline revolves around high school senior Malcolm and his friends Jib and Diggy, who bond over ’90s hip-hop culture, their studies, and their own punk band. A chance encounter with a drug dealer named Dom lands Malcolm and company at the dealer’s nightclub birthday party; when the scene turns violent, they flee—with the Ecstasy that Dom secretly hid in Malcolm’s backpack. Rick Famuyiwa’s too-little-seen film is edgy, funny, and legitimately discussion worthy. A talk with Emerson College assistant professor Cara Moyer-Duncan follows the screening. Read the full review on The Arts Fuse here.
What Happened, Miss Simone?
November 5 at 7 p.m.
UMass Boston Campus Center, Ballroom C, 3rd Floor, Dorcester, MA
Drawing on never-before-heard recordings, rare archival footage, and Simone’s best-known songs, this is the well-documented story of legendary singer and activist Nina Simone, who was labeled the “High Priestess of Soul.” The Film Series is free and open to the public. No tickets required. A Q&A with filmmaker Liz Garbus will follow the screening.
This festival is for parents, students, and educators: there is a lineup of excellent feature films, shorts, and movies created by kids about kids and their personal concerns. The screenings on Friday, November 6 are reserved for school field trips. Saturday features a ‘Social Media Bootcamp for Parents’ at 10 a.m.—parents will explore how kids use Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and whatever is coming down the digital pike. At 1:30 p.m., there will be a ‘GoPro Workshop’ where kids and parents can learn about the different camera models in the GoPro lineup and the multitude of settings they offer. Sunday includes media scholar Joni Siani’s film Celling Your Soul; along with the screening there will be a discussion about the ubiquitous effects of cell phone communication.
View the full schedule of films.
From the Ground Up
Boston Conservatory Theater
Renowned choreographers Zoe Scofield, Andrea Miller, and Francesca Harper have created three new works on the students of Boston Conservatory for this exceptional production directed by Cathy Young.
November 6 & 7 at 8 p.m.
Boston University Dance Theatre
BoSoma Dance Company presents a new work featuring its two choreographers Irada Djelassi and Katherine Hooper centered around the concept of technology in modern society—pulling inspiration from Steve Jobs to the Butterly Effect.
Neruda’s Book of Questions
November 6 & 7 at 6:00 & 7:30 p.m.
Based on Pablo Neruda’s The Book of Questions, Urbanity dance proffers an evening in which the viewers meander the Ink Block apartment complex in a choose-your-own-adventure style choreographic tour.
Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba
November 7 at 8 p.m. and November 8 at 3 p.m.
Cutler Majestic Theatre
World Music/CRASHarts presents Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba. Hailing from Havana, this talented group of dancers and musicians brings the Boston premiere of Cuba Vibra, an energetic work based in Afro-Cuban movements and melodies.
– Merli V. Guerra
Roots and World Music
One of acoustic music’s great voices, Tim O’Brien has released a new LP, Pompadour. Besides the expected source material from Woody Guthrie, Michael Hurley, and a traditional fiddle tune, the album includes an old-timer cover of James Brown’s “Get Up Offa That Thing” that works a lot better than it has any right to. Kindred spirit Old Man Luedecke opens the show.
Last month’s memorable Berklee Signature Series revue of Senegalese music found several of that country’s musical giants performing student-arranged material with a giant orchestra. More master/student collaborations are on tap as the series continues with 75-year-old Totó La Momposina, one of the key musical ambassadors of Colombia’s Afro-Colombian and Indigenous peoples. The day before the concert she offers a master class, which is also open to the public.
A Balkan State of Mind
Arts at the Armory Cafe, Somerville, MA
Cuisine en Locale, Somerville, MA
Central Somerville will surely be the Balkan music capital of New England on Friday night as two great bills take place across the street from each other. The Armory show is a double bill of the fine Balkan Mind Meld trio and a combo led by master musician Mal Barsamian. At Cuisine en Locale, Balkan brassers Cocek! Brass Band, Somerville Symphony Orkestar, and Raya Brass Band team up with the soul-jazz of the Brian Thomas/Alex Lee Clark Big Band.
Joe Hunt Quintet
November 1 at 4 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA.
The esteemed drummer Joe Hunt convenes a formidable band for this Sunday afternoon: tenor saxophonist Brian Levy, trumpeter Phil Grenadier, pianist Ken Schaphorst, and bassist Bob Nieske, featuring arrangements by Levy, Schaphorst, and Nieske.
November 1 at 5 p.m.
Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport, MA
The exciting young Cuban pianist Harold López-Nussa holds court as part of the Rockport Music concert series in the jewel box by the sea, the Shalin Liu Performance Center.
Bert Seager Quartet
November 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA.
Pianist and composer Bert Seager mixes standards and originals, combining his natural lyricism with a hunger for new sounds and an affinity for Latin American rhythms. He’s joined by tenor saxophonist Hery Paz, bassist Max Ridley, and drummer Dor Herskovits.
The Israeli-born reed player Anat Cohen came to Berklee as a tenor saxophonist, but was encouraged by teacher/bandleader Phil Wilson to pick up her “double,” the clarinet—which, he said, immediately revealed her full personality, “positive and bubbly.” Since then, the clarinet has been Cohen’s key to all manner of jazz, swing, and Afro-Latin explorations. And she still plays a nice tenor saxophone.
Guitarist/composer Juanito Pascual has probed deeply into the flamenco tradition (way past the Gypsy Kings) to look at the form’s many permutations. His New Flamenco Trio, with bassist Brad Barrett and percussionist Tupac Mantilla, work that tradition and build on it with fresh writing and improvisation.
Wax & Gold
November 7 at 8 p.m.
Third Life Studio, Cambridge, MA
Saxophonist Danny Mekonnen and drummer Adam Clark carry the vibe of ’70s Ethiopian funk of their Debo Band in the direction of heavy jazz sax-drum partnerships: John Coltrane & Rashied Ali, Dewey Redman & Ed Blackwell, Getachew Mekuria & Katherina Bornefeld, and others.
Mili Bermejo/Dan Greenspan
November 10 at 7 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA
The soulful Mexican-born singer, composer, and Berklee professor Mili Bermejo and her husband, bassist Dan Greenspan, continue their fall-winter residency at the Lily Pad. Both in her singing and her approach to a broad range of Latin American music, Bermejo is like no one else.
Chucho Valdés: Irakere 40
November 12 at 8 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA
The (literally) towering Cuban pianist and composer Chucho Valdés is celebrating the 40th anniversary of his path-breaking outfit Irakere. This band broke ground by combining traditional Afro-Cuban forms with all manner of contemporary jazz, rock, and pop, and defining the sound of modern Cuban music.
– Jon Garelick
KEPLER 438b: An Exoplanetary Meditation
November 7 at 8 p.m. until 8 p.m. on November 8
MOBIUS, 55 Norfolk Street, Central Square, Cambridge, MA
The audience may enter or exit at any time during this “24 hour participatory meditation devoted to Kepler 438b, an earth-like exoplanet.” This unusual multimedia event features artist Anna Weller with Jessica Ferguson (visual installation), Dennis Friedler (video), Sara June (movement), and Mark Pevsner (original music).
Field Kallop: Harmony of the Spheres
November 7–December 13
Tremaine Gallery at The Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, CT
Hotchkiss alum Field Kallop’s ephemeral works combine Renaissance science with the aesthetics of the sand paintings of Tibetan monks and Australian aborigines. Created by long pendulums hanging from the ceiling, the images are drawn by the movements of the earth interacting with gallery visitors, suggesting the relationships between earthly microcosms and the far vaster motions of heavenly bodies.
Tea of Oblivion, Heidi Lau and Megan Ledbetter
November 6–February 19, 2016
Kniznick Gallery, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
In Chinese mythology, Meng Po, the Lady of Forgetfulness, serves in the Realm of the Dead. Her job is to be sure souls about to be reborn remember nothing of their previous life or of their time in hell. From herbs collected from earthly ponds and streams, Meng Po brews a five-flavored “tea of oblivion,” which wipes each mental slate clean when the time comes to leave the Realm of the Dead and return to the living. Sometimes, though, people avoid the brew and are reborn with memories of their past life. In this Kniznick Gallery show, works by Lau (ceramic sculpture) and Ledbetter (photography) incorporate nostalgia, pieces of their respective cultures, and personal connections in order to explore a “threshold between the physical and intangible” and, perhaps, the borders between memory and forgetfulness.
Sam Cady: Structures
November 8–December 20
McCoy Gallery, Merrimack College, Andover, MA
Maine artist Sam Cady calls himself a “realist oil painter,” though his elaborately shaped canvases of boats, houses, highways, and landscapes, many of them on a grand scale, are less illusionistic than invasive and have a touch of Pop and Rauschenberg constructions about them. A summer resident since childhood of the tiny seacoast town of Friendship, Cady has divided his time between Maine and New York City, where he exhibits regularly and has taught part time. His work draws on his surroundings, city, and country, with a tidy, classically Maine-like aesthetic.
2015 Faculty Exhibition
November 7–December 21
David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University, Providence, RI
Faculty shows, a species of exhibition particular to college and university art galleries, are a fascinating look into the creative culture of a particular teaching institution. Brown’s 2015 edition, at its Bell Gallery in Providence, is an especially inclusive one, drawing recent work from 20 artists working across the university’s faculty. Many of the artists even call for the participation of visitors in their creations, inviting them to handle, sort through, play, converse with, and move inside their works. More traditional media in the show include carbon fiber, elm slab, and epoxy and watercolor and propane torch. The school’s music and dance faculty will join in with special performances throughout the show’s run.
Copenhagen by Michael Frayn. Directed by Eric Tucker. Staged by the Nora Theater Company at the Central Square Theater, Cambridge, MA, through November 15.
A revival of Frayn’s challenging exploration of the mysterious connections between ideas and personalities. “Copenhagen, 1941: Two brilliant physicists—fast friends from enemy nations—famously confront each other at the height of WWII. This award-winning psychological mystery unravels what transpired on that fateful night. Werner Heisenberg and his mentor Niels Bohr meet again in the afterlife, goaded by Bohr’s wife, Margrethe. Who will remember the truth that changed the course of history?” Read the full review on The Arts Fuse here.
I and You by Lauren Gunderson. Directed by Sean Daniels. Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre, 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA, through November 1.
This New York-bound (for off-Broadway) production “tells the story of two very different teenagers, Caroline and Anthony, who struggle to connect as they work on a school project about Walt Whitman’s poetry. Over the course of the play, and through a stunning surprise ending, they find that there is more that unites them than divides them. This production marks the New England premiere of the play that won the 2014 Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award, which recognizes new work produced outside of New York.” Read the full review on The Arts Fuse here.
A Number by Caryl Churchill. Directed by Clay Hopper. Staged by the New Repertory Theatre in the Charles Mosesian Theater at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown, MA, through November 1.
Nael Nacer and Dale Place are featured in a production of Churchill’s two-person play about the emotional and metaphysical fallout of cloning: “In this stark and startling drama, a son confronts his emotionally distant father, learning a horrifying truth about his past. As anger and abandonment issues emerge, a mystery is exposed, revealing a disturbing incident involving a number of ‘others.’” Read the full review on The Arts Fuse here.
An Iliad, an adaptation of Homer’s epic poem (the Robert Fagles translation) by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare. Directed by Jonathan Epstein. Staged by Shakespeare and Company in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, Lenox, MA, through November 1.
“A modern-day retelling of Homer’s tale of gods and goddesses, undying love and endless battles, the narrative is told through the eyes of a single narrator (Michael F. Toomey), whose gripping monologue captures both the heroism and horror of war. Crafted around the stories of Achilles and Hector, this powerful piece vividly drives home the timelessness of mankind’s compulsion toward violence.” The OBIE award-winning play also features musician Gregory Boover.
A Measure of Normalcy by Lucas Balsch. Directed by David R. Gammons. Staged by Gloucester Stage at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA, through November 1.
The world premiere of a play that deals with “lost youth and lost souls [who] struggle to find meaning amid dingy basements, vanishing malls, and a bleak Midwestern summer.” Note: Ages 15 and up. Strong language and some adult situations. Read the full review on The Arts Fuse here.
Saturday Night/Sunday Morning by Katori Hall. Directed by Dawn M. Simmons. Staged by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston at 140 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA, through November 23.
A play by the author of The Mountaintop “that brings together seven African-American women in a Memphis beauty parlor/boarding house during the waning days of World War II. As they wrestle with the uncertainty of what the future will hold when, and if, their men return, they fight dirty—with each other and with their own fears and desires, uncovering newfound friendship and love.”
Casa Valentina by Harvey Fierstein. Directed by Scott Edmiston. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage Company of Boston at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, through November 28.
The New England premiere of Fierstein’s script, nominated for a 2014 Tony Award for Best Play: it is “set in 1962 at a Catskills resort where a group of heterosexual men gather secretly to dress and behave as women.” An all-star cast includes Thomas Derrah, Will McGarrahan, and Robert Saoud.
Refuse the Hour. Conception and libretto William Kentridge. Music Composed by Philip Miller. Choreography by Dada Masilo. Dramaturgy by Peter Galison. Video Design by Catherine Meyburgh and William Kentridge. Presented by Yale Repertory Theatre at University Theatre, 222 York Street, on November 6 and 7.
For those who are tired of the commercial musicals currently hogging our regional stages, here is something that promises to be completely different. “In this multimedia chamber opera, renowned South African artist William Kentridge joins forces with a composer, a choreographer, a video designer, and a physicist to deliver an astonishing collision of art and performance. Sharing the stage with a menagerie of strange machines of his own invention, along with singers, dancers, and musicians, Kentridge conjures a stunning and profound exploration of the nature of time.”
Luna Gale by Rebecca Gilman. Directed by Rebecca Bradshaw. Staged by the Stoneham Theatre, Stoneham, MA, through November 8.
A Boston-area premiere that examines a crisis in the career of a veteran social worker: “Caroline thinks she has a typical case on her hands when she meets Peter and Karlie, two teenage drug addicts accused of neglecting their baby, Luna Gale. But when she places Luna in the care of Karlie’s mother, Caroline sparks a family conflict that exposes a shadowy, secretive past and forces her to make a risky decision with potentially life-altering consequences.” The impressive cast includes Paula Plum and Stacy Fischer.
Bettencourt Boulevard: A Story of France by Michael Vinaver. Translated from the French and directed by Gabriella Maione. Staged by MIT’s “It’s Alive Play Reading” Series at the Kresge Little Theater, Cambridge, MA, on November 5 at 7:30 p.m.
A “semi-staged” reading of Vinaver’s “retrospective look at the famed Bettencourt Affair around the heiress to the L’Oréal fortune, while wading through France’s muddy contemporary history.” The veteran dramatist “draws upon the searing Bettencourt case and analyzes the intimate, political, and economical aspects that compose it by putting into words the most salient information from the case. Published in 2014, the text will receive its premiere performance in Paris – Villeurbanne, in its original French version, this month.
Lab Rats by Patrick Gabridge. Directed by Kyler Taustin. Staged by Brown Box Theatre Project at the Atlantic Wharf, 290 Congress St, Boston, MA, November 6 through 15.
The world premiere of a “sharply comic love story that follows Mika and Jake: two twenty-somethings making a slim living as test subjects for medical experiments. They navigate a treacherous maze of emotion, trust, and survival as their carefully monitored and medicated lives bleed into their true selves.”
Thrill Me: The Leopold and Loeb Story. Book, Music & Lyrics by Stephen Dolginoff. Directed by Jeffry George. Staged by the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater at the Julie Harris Stage, Wellfleet, MA, through November 8.
An intriguing subject for a musical: this “theatrical event recounts the chilling, true story of the legendary duo who committed one of the most infamous and heinous crimes of the twentieth century.”
Choice by Winnie Holzman. Directed by Sheryl Kaller. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, through November 15.
Winnie Holzman (who wrote the book for the musical Wicked and penned TV’s My So-Called Life) has come up with her first nonmusical, full-length play. According to Holzman, the script deals with “a woman journalist who ends up writing a story that changes her life. I’m so interested in friendships and their complications, and women friendships are so interesting to me. The center of this play is a female friendship that is so different from Wicked.” Read the full review on The Arts Fuse here.
The Love of the Nightingale by Timberlake Wertenbaker. Directed by Rebecca Bradshaw. Staged by Hub Theatre Company of Boston at the First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough Street, Boston, MA, November 6 through 21.
“In this timely and topical production, Wertenbaker addresses the issue of sexual violence which has reached crisis proportions in our communities, corporations and college campuses today. The Love of the Nightingale brings to light what happens when society’s only response to sexual assault is deafening silence.”
Presented by Grand Harmonie
November 1 at 4 p.m.
Memorial Church, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
The period-instrument ensemble presents a free performance of Robert Levin’s completion of Mozart’s unfinished Requiem. They’re joined by the Harvard University Choir, soloists, and Edward Elwyn Jones.
Gunther Schuller, Bouquet for Collage
Presented by Collage New Music
November 1 at 8 p.m.
Pickman Hall, Cambridge, MA
CNM remembers Schuller, who would have been 90 this month, with the premiere of his Singing Poems. Music by Paul Brust, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, and Rand Steiger share the rest of the program with Schuller’s eponymous Bouquet.
Music by Glinka, Stravinsky, Debussy, and Tchaikovsky
Presented by the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra
November 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
Boston’s newest youth orchestra gives a free performance of a meaty program: Ayano Ninomiya plays Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto, Debussy’s La Mer follows it up, and Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony closes the evening. Also on tap is Glinka’s brilliant, bubbly Overture to Ruslan and Ludmila.
Lachenmann at 80
Presented by Goethe-Institut Boston
November 5, at 6 p.m. (film presentation) & 8 p.m. (concert)
Goethe-Institut, Boston, MA
The German experimental master’s 80th birthday is marked with a screening of Bettina Erhardt’s 2006 documentary on the composer, Where I Have Never Been Before: The Composer Helmut Lachenmann, followed by a performance of his chamber music by Julia den Boer, Mark Berger, Alexis Lanz, and Jeffrey Means.
Liszt, Chin, and Schumann
Presented by the Boston Symphony Orchestra
November 5–10 at 8 p.m. (1:30 p.m. on Friday)
Symphony Hall, Boston
BSO assistant conductor Ken-David Masur leads the American premiere of Unsuk Chin’s Mannequin, plus Schumann’s soaring Rhenish Symphony. Louis Lortie also joins the orchestra for Liszt’s Dies irae variations, Totentanz.
Tribute to Sergei Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes
Presented by the Lexington Symphony
November 7 at 8 p.m.
Cary Hall, Lexington, MA
The LSO returns to the newly-renovated Cary Hall with a program of early 20th-century blockbusters: Stravinsky’s Petrushka and The Rite of Spring (in Jonathan McPhee’s arrangement), and Erik Satie’s Parade.
Haldan Martinson plays Dvořák
Presented by the New Philharmonia Orchestra
November 7 and 8 at 8 p.m. (3 p.m. on Sunday)
First Baptist Church, Newton Center, MA
The NPO opens its 21st season with violinist Martinson performing Dvořák’s fiery Violin Concerto. Arvo Pärt’s Cantus (in Memory of Benjamin Britten) and Sibelius’ Symphony no. 2 fill out the evening.
First Monday at Jordan Hall
November 2 at 7:30 p.m.
New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
On the program: Schubert’s Quartet for Flute, Guitar, Viola, and Cello in G major, D 96;
Nielsen’s Quintet for Winds, Op. 43; Schumann’s Quartet for Piano and Strings in E flat major, Op. 47.
Pianist Max Levinson
November 3 at 8 p.m.
Seully Hall, Boston Conservatory, The Fenway, Boston, MA
An all-Chopin program: 24 Preludes; Polonaise-Fantasie; Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise, Scherzo no. 2, and Berceuse.
Walden Chamber Players
November 6 at 7 p.m.
Wilson Chapel/Andover Newton Theological School, 210 Herrick Road, Newton Centre, Newton, MA
On the program: Debussy’s Sonata for flute, viola, and harp; Isang Yun’s Duo for cello and harp; Arnold Bax’s Elegiac trio for flute, viola, and harp; TBD work featuring the winner of the 2015 Young Artist Competition.
Songs of the Oracle
November 6 at 8 p.m.
MIT Chapel, 48 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA
November 8 at 3:30 p.m.
Church of the Advent, 30 Brimmer Street, Boston, MA
“Tramontana’s third season kicks off with an exciting program of prophecy and mysticism. ‘Songs of the Oracle’ is a creatively woven exploration of secular, mystical, and sacred beliefs about the coming of Christ.”
Chorus pro Musica
November 7 at 8 p.m.
First Church in Cambridge, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA
On the program: J.S. Bach’s Komm, Jesu, komm, BWV 229; Max Bruch’s Op. 71, No.3. An die Musik; Abbie Betinis’s From Behind the Caravan: Songs of Hâfez; J. McDonald’s Stafford Diptych; Eriks Ešenvalds’s The Earthly Rose; John Tavener’s Svyati; Dan Forrest’s “The Nightingale”; Ted Koehler/ Harold Arlen’s “I’ve Got the World on a String.”
Atwood’s Tavern, Cambridge, MA
Peter Case is beloved by fans of classic power pop for his late ’70s work with The Nerves and 80s band The Plimsouls, the latter of which was responsible for the classic “A Million Miles Away.” In the late 80s, however, Case reinvented himself as a consummate acoustic folkie, or as he called himself on a 1989 album, The Man with the Blue Post Modern Fragmented Neo-Traditionalist Guitar. Proof of the success of his transformation is the 2006 three-disc tribute album A Case for Case, which features versions of 48 Peter Case songs by—among MANY others—Chuck Prophet, Amy Rigby, James McMurtry, and John Prine. (But I am still waiting for the singer whose first name is Neko to release an album of covers called Case by Case.)
O’Brien’s Pub, Allston, MA
Bar Harbor’s most famous “bubblegum space goth funk” band floats into Allston on Wednesday. Coke Weed released its first LP in 2011, and has tirelessly toured New England, the East Coast, and bits of the South ever since. The quintet is now promoting the 12-track Mary Weaver, its fourth album, which the band’s website describes as “a panorama that encompasses [Marc] Bolan’s boogie, the kraut/R&B hybrids of Bowie’s Station to Station, and the desperate romanticism of Roxy Music and Iggy Pop.” Hey, if the name fits, drop it.
House of Blues, Boston, MA
The Darkness is a quartet from Norfolk, England, that combines all of the energy and bombast of its ’70s glam/hard-rock and ’80s hair metal influences in an admirable attempt to make any given one of them look like amateurs. After establishing a respectably high profile in the early aughts, the band practically vanished before reemerging in 2012 with its first album in seven years. Never ones to rush, they released Last of Our Kind this past June. If you walk into this show a tabula rasa, you will surely emerge from it as one of The Darkness’s new fans.
Presented by Celebrity Series of Boston at the Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA
No introduction necessary, I presume. From singing with her family as a youngster to being propositioned by Bob Dylan in 1969 to recording with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, Mavis has been a (dare I say?) staple of the pop culture diet for more than five full decades. She will be live in all her majesty at the Berklee Performance Center on Saturday, November 7.
Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA
30 years after forming in Athens, Georgia, the duo of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers (acquaintances since elementary school) are back with One Lost Day, their 16th studio album. I last saw them in 2006 (I think) at the Orpheum Theatre. It is refreshing, but not surprising, that they have maintained their fans such that they are able to return there on November 7.
Upcoming and on sale:
Jonathan Richman (Somerville Theatre, 11/10); Art Garfunkel (The Wilbur, 11/15); Fuzz (11/16, The Sinclair); Colin Hay (The Wilbur, 11/21); My Morning Jacket (11/20–21/2015, Orpheum Theatre); Okkervil River (11/24, The Sinclair); The Flamin’ Groovies (11/25/2015, Brighton Music Hall); Jill Scott (Orpheum, 12/1), Joanna Newsom (Orpheum, 12/6)
Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped
November 1 at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30)
First Parish Church, Cambridge MA
World-renowned chess master, activist, and chairman of the Human Rights Foundation will read and discuss his exploration of how Russia turned into a dictatorship. Kasparov’s Putin is a figure who has turned from a KGB agent into a tyrant and now an international threat. The time demands dissenting views.
In Conversation with Steve Yarbrough
November 2 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner, Brookline, MA
Gardner’s only novel, first released in 1969, has gone on to tremendous acclaim and a cult following. (As well as inspiring a terrific film by John Huston.) The book has been newly reprinted in a lovely edition by the NYRB that features an introduction by Denis Johnson. Gardner sits down with a fellow scribe to discuss his tale of boxing, survival, determination, and life in the ring.
Last Night’s Reading: Illustrated Encounters with Extraordinary Authors
November 2 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
If you’ve ever attended an author reading, you know how ephemeral the experience can be: deathless prose is read aloud, a few questions are asked, and then everyone goes home. Kate Gavino has sought to solve the problem by memorializing readings from a cornucopia of contemporary writing talent, including Junot Diaz, Zadie Smith, and many others. She draws sketches of the authors and records for posterity their insights as well as the comments of the audience.
Legends and Haunts of New England
November 5 at 7–8:30 p.m.
Tewksbury Public Library, Tewksbury MA
New England has more than its share of ghosts and haunted folklore, and this is the perfect time of year to delve a little deeper into the mysteries of Massachusetts. The co-founder of the New England Paranormal United Research Society shares his expertise on matters of the historical macabre.
November 5 at 7 p.m.
The Concord Bookshop, Concord MA
Boston’s own Shapiro is the author of several novels, including the award-winning The Art Forger. Her latest novel is the story of a female American painter who works for the W.P.A. The artist’s patron is Eleanor Roosevelt; her peers are Rothko, Pollock, and Lee Krasner. The woman suddenly drops out of sight in New York City. An art student investigates a series of her paintings in an effort to unlock clues to her disappearance.
In Conversation with David Gergen
The Court and The World: American Law and the New Global Realities
November 6 at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30)
First Parish Church, Cambridge MA
The Supreme Court has been very much in the news these days, with contentious decisions and unrelenting political pressure coming in from all sides. Long serving Justice Breyer comes to Cambridge to sign and discuss with CNN’s David Gergen his latest work, which puts The Supremes in context within the ever-changing legal landscape of the 21st century.