Nov 152015

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


Boston Area Film Schedules—What is Playing Today, Where, and When

November 16 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, MA

“House was a conscious attempt by Toho studios, the home of Godzilla and Mothra, to make a crazy horror movie. They succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Filmed using every trick in the pre-digital book, House looks like it takes place in a series of candy-colored dollhouses or, perhaps, the commercials for them. Animations, superimpositions, rainbows, artificial sunsets, faked home movies, see-through floors, and reverse action compete with a metronome-timed theme song in a spooky mansion where schoolgirls on vacation are attacked by items that may or may not represent the domestic futures they are supposed to desire. The girls, typed and named according to personality (Gorgeous, Sweet, Kung Fu), die in ways geared toward their characters in this cartoonishly sadistic Pee-wee’s Playhouse.” (HFA Website) Director Nobuhiko Obayashi will be present.

Toto And His Sisters
November 16 at 7 p.m.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA

Directed by Alexander Nanau, this film won the award for Best Documentary at the 2014 Zurich Film Festival. It is tells the story of 10-year old Toto, who lives with his two sisters, Ana (17) and Andreea (14), and their drug-abusive uncles. They are waiting for their mother to come back from prison after a four-year absence. Each one of the siblings tries to push through the hard times in his or her very own way. As Toto becomes passionate about dancing and learning how to read and write, his two sisters try to keep their family together in a world that has long forgotten what childhood is all about. Presented as part of the DocYard series, a filmmaker discussion via Skype from Europe follows the film. It screens along with the Frontline short film Life In Baghdad.

In Jackson Heights
November 18–29
MFA, Boston, MA

“This is the third of Frederick Wiseman’s community-based films. He plunges into the neighborhood in question, balancing a feel for streets and public spaces with a fascination for how inhabitants organize themselves along social and political lines. The appeal of Jackson Heights is obvious: 167 languages are spoken in what’s said to be one of the most diverse communities in the world, encompassing large groups of Hispanic immigrants alongside a sizable Asian population and longtime residents who themselves are likely to be children or grandchildren of immigrants. Major themes announce themselves fairly early on. There’s a significant gay presence, first encountered in a meeting of the gay seniors’ support group SAGE, convening in the Jewish Center. The borough also boasts the long-running Queens Pride parade. The Latino community has a strong presence, with recent arrivals struggling with the rules of citizenship, and small-business owners trying to protect themselves from the imminent arrival of big-brand stores.” (Variety)

Tocando La Luz
November 19 at 7 p.m.
UMass Boston Campus Center, Ballroom C, 3rd Floor, Boston, MA

Tocando la Luz (Touch the Light) weaves together three stories—all set in the blind community of Havana, Cuba—into a tale of personal independence. As Lis, Mily, and Margarita each face family problems and heartbreak, their dependence on others turns out to be a double-edged sword. From the music halls of Havana to a cinema club for the blind, their stories reveal both the pain and the joys of fighting for yourself. There is a Q&A with director and Oscar nominee Jennifer Redfearn (this is her feature film debut). The series is curated by filmmaker Chico Colvard and is always free and open to the public. No tickets or ID required.

Grrl Haus 2
November 19 at 9 p.m.
Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA

Grrl Haus Cinema is an ongoing program of short films, art, and music made by women. A mix of local, national, and international artists present work from a variety of disciplines: narrative, documentary, experimental, and conceptual with an emphasis on low budget and DIY.

7 Chinese Brothers
November 20 at 7 p.m.
Boston University at 640 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 101, Boston, MA

Gerald Peary’s on-going series presents An Evening With Bob Byington, the Austin-based independent filmmaker (Harmony and Me) who will show his 2015 slacker comedy. According to SXSW: “Born a decade or two too late to enjoy the famously laid-back Austin that was once so accommodating of slackers, 30-something Larry nevertheless refuses to sacrifice much to the world of work. Fired from one lousy gig after another, he spends most of his time in a soused, one-sided conversation with his tolerant pug or scoring pills from a buddy at his grandmother’s nursing home. His life might be a drag were it not brought to the screen with such dry charm by Jason Schwartzman, who smarms his way through the film.”

Byington is a quirky filmmaker and his Q&A sessions are just as odd. Free and open to the public.

The Toxic Avenger
November 21 at 11:59 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theater, Brookline, MA

The Coolidge After Midnite film series honors the notorious producer of Troma Films, Lloyd Kaufman, before a screening of his cult classic. Lloyd will be there in-person to receive the inaugural Coolidge After Midnite Award, and will stick around for a Q&A. The film itself concerns a scrawny, despised nerd who is thrown into a barrel of toxic waste and is transformed into The Toxic Avenger, a hideously deformed but incredibly strong mutant who seeks revenge against the wicked. It has spawned a cult following and several sequels.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

“The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” screens this week at the Somerville Theatre.

The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse
November 22 at 2 p.m.
Somerville Theater, Somerville, MA

A 1921 American silent epic war film produced by Metro Pictures Corporation and directed by Rex Ingram, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse turned then-little-known actor Rudolph Valentino into a superstar. Based on the Spanish novel of the same name by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, the film had a huge cultural impact, becoming the top-grossing film of 1921, beating out Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid, and going on to become the sixth-best-grossing silent film of all time. The film will be presented in 35mm, with live music by Jeff Rapsis.

— Tim Jackson


Symphony Nova
Friday, November 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Old South Church, Boston, MA

Enjoy an evening of chamber music by Symphony Nova Fellows alongside the swift dancers of Tony Williams Ballet; the program showcases  orchestral compositions by Hasenöhrl, Strauss, and Brahms. (A repeat performance will be held on Sunday, November 22 at 3 p.m. at the Center for Arts in Natick, MA.)

 The Symphony Nova Fellows and Tony Williams Ballet come together this weekend for a classical performance.

The Symphony Nova Fellows and Tony Williams Ballet come together this weekend for a classical performance.

Tufts University Fall Dance Concert
November 20 and 21 at 7 p.m.
Jackson Dance Lab, Tufts University, Medford, MA

This year’s Fall Dance Concert highlights movement research, guided by the “What if?” Students of Tufts Dance Ensemble and Dance Program Minors explore the question through their choreography, ranging from the how-to of tying one’s shoes to juxtaposing movement across an ever-changing musical array.

This is Tango Now
November 20–22
ICA, Boston, MA

World Music/CRASHarts presents Tony Award-winning artists Fernanda Ghi and Guillermo Merlo, along with musician Alfredo Minetti. They are the founders of This is Tango Now. The group presents its world premiere of CARMEN . . . de Buenos Aires, told through tango and flamenco.

The Festival of You & Us & We & Them
November 20–22
The Dance Complex, Cambridge, MA

The Dance Complex presents a weekend of all things dance: From classes to performances to discussions. Highlights include showings from the aMaSSiT Creative Lab and a dance dialogue with Allison Orr of Forklift Danceworks.

— Merli V. Guerra

Visual Arts

Love Andy: Highlights from the Andy Warhol Museum
November 19–February 7, 2016
Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury, CT

Established by the artist’s will, the Andy Warhol Museum opened in 1994 in a seven-story converted 1911 loft building in Pittsburgh, Warhol’s home town. With more than 17,000 works of art in multiple media and Warhol’s personal archive, the museum is one of the world’s most interesting and comprehensive institutions devoted to a single artist: an ever-changing monument to one of America’s most successful and disruptive creative citizens. The museum has organized Love Andy to share some of the highlights of its own collection with other museums in different cities. The Mattatuck and Waterbury are indeed lucky to be among them.

Native Fashion Show

The exhibition “Native Fashion Show” will be on view at the Peabody Essex Museum through March 6. Photo: pem.org.

Native Fashion Show
November 21–March 6, 2016
Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA

For most of us, our knowledge of modern Native American fashion probably doesn’t go much beyond what Tonto wore in The Lone Ranger. Thus this exhibition at the Peabody Essex, one of the first institutions to collect Native American design and costume, will be an event that opens eyes and minds. Nearly 100 works from the last 50 years show what Native fashion designers and others inspired by or borrowing from traditional Native work have been contributing to American fashion. Whatever you may think in advance about the theme, the selection will surely change it. The work of Patricia Michaels, designers from the reality tv series Project Runway, Jamie Okuma, Christian Louboutin, and others in mylar, vinyl, stainless steel, and classic street thread cotton are among the offerings.

Me, Mona, and Mao
November 20–February 21, 2016
Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME

Me, Mona, and Mao is pretty much exactly what it says: the show includes three works of art: Andy Warhol’s Mao, Aaron T. Stephan’s Girl With a Pearl Earring—Tangled in Process, and the museum’s once notorious copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s so-called showstopper, The Mona Lisa. The interactive juxtaposition of these celebrity images, all of them actually copies of other famous works, is part of the museum’s program, Your Museum, Reimagined, and is “designed to present the PMA collection in fresh ways to encourage discussion and new connections.” In the process of looking at how contemporary popular culture influences how historical art is looked at in the present, the show makes a case for the art museum as the place “where the original object has value and context.”

— Peter Walsh


Steven Barkhimer, Debra Wise, Robert Najarian, and Han Nah Son (piano). Photo: A.R. Sinclair Photography.

Steven Barkhimer, Debra Wise, Robert Najarian, and Han Nah Son (piano) in the Nora Theater Company production of “Copenhagen.” Photo: A.R. Sinclair Photography.

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.

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.” Read the full review on The Arts Fuse here.

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. Read the Arts Fuse review.

Abby Mueller (Carole King) in the national tour of “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.” Photo: Joan Marcus

Abby Mueller (Carole King) in the national tour of “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.” Photo: Joan Marcus.

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Book by Douglas McGrath. Words and music by Gerry Goffin & Carole King and Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil. Director, Mark Bruni. Presented by Broadway in Boston, Boston Opera House, 539 Washington Street, Boston, MA, through November 15.

This national touring production of the Broadway musical “is given everything it needs to soar: perfectly cast leads, and an ensemble of excellent singers who channel the original recording artists.” 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, through November 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.” Arts Fuse review

A Crack in the Blue Wall, written and directed by Jacqui Parker. At Hibernian Hall, 184 Dudley Street, Roxbury, MA, through November 22.

Parker’s vital play about a Boston policeman shooting a young African American man is a rarity: it explores grim problems that beset the black community by taking up contemporary issues directly rather than running back to nostalgic (and reassuring) replays of the past (e.g., To Kill a Mockingbird). Read an Arts Fuse interview with playwright Jacqui Parker.

Brenna Fitzgerald (Mika), Marc Pierre (Jake) in the Photo: courtesy of the theater.

Brenna Fitzgerald (Mika) and Marc Pierre (Jake) in the Brown Box Theatre Project production of “Lab Rats.” Photo: Courtesy of the theater.

Lab Rats by Patrick Gabridge. Directed by Kyler Taustin. Staged by Brown Box Theatre Project at the Atlantic Wharf, 290 Congress Street, Boston, MA, through November 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.”

Witchhunt: The Beast Within (a recreation of the Salem witch trials inspired by Jean-Paul Sartre) by Caleb Hammond. Directed by Hammond. Presented by MIT’s Dramashop at the Rinaldi Tile Building, 34 Carleton Street, Cambridge, MA, through November 21.

An interesting project: it sounds like a frisky stage version of Jean-Paul Sartre’s 1957 film adaptation of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. “A stark, harrowingly real recreation of the Salem witch trials inspired by Jean-Paul Sartre’s cinematic reaction to the chilling effects of both American McCarthyism and Soviet Stalinism.”

Johanna Day as Zippy and Raviv Ullman as Hunter in the Huntington Theatre Company production of "Choice." Photo: T. Charles Erickson.

Johanna Day as Zippy and Raviv Ullman as Hunter in the Huntington Theatre Company production of “Choice.” Photo: T. Charles Erickson.

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.

Price Tag by Alma Weich. Directed by Guy Ben-Aharon. Staged by Israeli Stage at the Goethe-Institut Boston, 170 Beacon Street, Boston, MA, on November 15.

Israeli Stage celebrates its 5th birthday with the American premiere of a script that, according to director Ben-Aharon, “couldn’t be more timely with the growing political tension in the settlements in Israel and the Palestinian Territories.” The play is a tragedy “inspired by the Biblical story of Eli the High Priest of Shiloh and his corrupted sons.” The cast for this staged reading includes Phil Tayler, Jared Brown, Pat Shea, and Will Lyman.

A Confederacy of Dunces, adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher from the novel by John Kennedy Toole. Directed by David Esbjornson. Staged by the Huntington Theater Company at the Boston University Theatre, Boston, MA, through December 20.

An exciting prospect— a stage version of Toole’s playfully Swiftian satire. “Nick Offerman (TV’s Parks and Recreation) stars as the larger-than-life character Ignatius J. Reilly: overweight, arrogant, eccentric, and still living with his mother in 1960s New Orleans. Called the Don Quixote of the French Quarter, Ignatius has a singular outlook on life. His farcical odyssey includes a riot in a department store and a raid on a strip club, and stints working at a pants factory and as a hot dog vendor.”

A scene from the production of "A Mid

A scene from the Isango Ensemble’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” coming to Boston this week. Photo: Courtesy of the company.

uCarmen and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, versions of the Bizet opera and Shakespeare play adapted and performed by the South African company Isango Ensemble. Presented in repertory by Arts Emerson at Emerson’s Cutler/Majestic Theatre, through November 22.

uCarmen transports us to a modern South African township to follow the story of Carmen, a strong, independent woman who will not be tamed. Meanwhile, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is completely faithful to the spirit of the original work and must be counted as one of the most successful operatic adaptations ever of a Shakespeare play—a work with spellbinding atmosphere that inhibits a truly unique, dreamlike world.”

Body&Sold by Debora Fortson. Directed by Robbie McCauley. Presented by Sleeping Weazel, Tempest Productions, and the CWT Resident Lab at the Charlestown Working Theater, Charlestown, MA, on November 16.

A reading of Fortson’s award-winning documentary play, which is based on interviews she conducted with teenagers—in Boston, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia—who lived through the victimizing reality of life in the sex trade. The presentation will be followed by a talkback with representatives from youth organizations and representatives from the Boston Police Department. The reading is part of Tempest Productions’ The BODY & SOLD Project 2015–2016. “Over the 2015–2016 season, the project’s overall goal is to build a network of theater audiences and community groups to raise awareness about the problem and, ultimately, devise strategies for prevention.”

Who Would Be King, written and performed by Liars and Believers. Conceived and directed by Jason Slavick. Music and lyrics by Jay Mobley. Staged by Liars and Believers at Oberon, Cambridge, MA, through November 22.

This original music/theater piece is “based on a biblical story of King Saul, who rises from obscurity and falls disastrously.” The narrative “swings from absurd buffoonery to high tragedy, with kinetic physicality, silliness, swords, and live electronica music.”

A glimpse of "Half Life"

A glimpse of Cloud Eye Control’s “Half Life,” which will be staged in Providence, R.I. this week.

Half Life, written and performed by Cloud Eye Control. Presented by FirstWorks at the Columbus Theatre, 270 Broadway, Providence, Rhode Island, on November 21.

“Comprised of a multitalented group of artists, Cloud Eye Control’s reach spans from The Museum of Modern Art to the TED talk stage.” This is the East Coast premiere of the L.A. troupe’s ambitious multimedia piece, “a mix of projected animation, theater, and music that examines the psychological fallout of global disaster. This highly visual experience offers an imagistic, visceral work inspired by the nervous fear felt in the wake of natural or man-made disasters.”

The Oven, written and performed by Ilan Stavans. Directed by Matthew Glassman. At the Charlestown Working Theater, 442 Bunker Hill Street, Charlestown, MA, November 19 through 21.

The Mexican-American writer and scholar performs the world premiere of his one-man show in which he “shares his real life experience taking a detour from a State Department trip in Columbia to participate in a religious ceremony in the Amazon.” Described as a “part lecture / part monologue reminiscent of Spalding Gray,” the monologue “describes a journey that becomes at once a vivid and visceral exploration of the dualities of the human self.”

Trans Scripts by Paul Lucas. Directed by Jo Bonney. Presented by the American Repertory Theater at Oberon, Cambridge, MA, on November 23.

A staged reading of “a verbatim play that centers on the lives of six trans women. Their true stories, told in their own words, are honest, funny, moving, insightful, and inspiring. But most of all, they are human, shedding light not on our differences, but on what all people share, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, or physical sex.” The reading will be followed by an A.R.T. of Human Rights panel discussion led by Timothy Patrick McCarthy.

— Bill Marx

Roots and World Music

Music of Greece: Epirus
November 16 at 4 p.m.
Williams Hall, New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, MA

One of Greek music’s greatest improvisers, clarinetist Petroloukas Halkias appears at this free afternoon concert with an all-star local band: Beth Bahia Cohen (violin), Vasilis Kostas (laouto), and Fabio PIrozzolo (percussion).

Joe Ely
November 17
Club Passim, Cambridge, MA

The swaggering Texas songwriter has appeared here a number of times with the Flatlanders, but his solo shows are far less frequent — which might explain why as of press time there were three tickets left.

Ry Cooder, Ricky Skaggs, and Sharon White
November 17
Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA

While bluegrass-turned-country-turned bluegrass star Ricky Skaggs isn’t shy about promoting his Evangelical beliefs or Republican leanings, he’s been equally adamant about collaborating with musicians from very different musical and cultural backgrounds. The latest example is this lengthy tour with Skaggs, his angelic-voiced wife Sharon White, and Bay Area guitar slide great Ry Cooder, who hasn’t performed in Boston in decades.

Loving Jeffrey Berlin
November 22
The Burren, Somerville, MA

Drummer Jeffrey Berlin is one of the most valuable players in the Boston roots and rock scene. He’s recovering from a series of strokes, and many of the area’s finest are getting together to raise funds and spirits for his recovery. The evening includes sets from Club d’Elf, Jimmy Ryan and Hayride, Vapors of Morphine, Hybrasil and the Curtis Mayflower. Guitarist Duke Levine will be doing at least triple duty as he joins Hayride, d’Elf and Hybrasil.

– Noah Schaffer

Classical Music

Alwyn Mellor sings Wagner
Presented by the Boston Philharmonic
November 18 (at 7:30 p.m.), 21 (at 8 p.m.), and 22 (at 3 p.m.)
Sanders Theater, Cambridge, MA (on the 18th and 22nd); Jordan Hall, Boston, MA (on the 21st)

Benjamin Zander leads the BPO in excerpts from three Wagner operas: Die Meistersinger, Tristan und Isolde, and Götterdämmerung. Soprano Mellor joins the ensemble in excerpts from the last two, including the Immolation Scene from Götterdämmerung and the Liebestod from Tristan.

Gunther Schuller: A Musical Celebration
Presented by New England Conservatory
November 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA

Originally intended as a celebration of Schuller’s 90th birthday, NEC instead memorializes its former director with a program devoted (mostly) to his music. Ran Blake’s Gunther is that exception; Schuller’s Jumpin’ in the Future, the Quartet for Four Double Basses, and the Grand Concerto for Percussion and Keyboards are among several other highlights.

Isabelle Faust plays Berg
Presented by the Boston Symphony Orchestra
November 19–21 at 8 p.m. (11 a.m. on Friday)
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA

Violinist Faust, who made a scorching recording of Berg’s Violin Concerto with Claudio Abbado and the Orchestra Mozart a couple years back, brings it to Boston for her first collaboration here with Andris Nelsons. That should be enticement enough. If, somehow, it’s not, there’s also music by Bach and Shostakovich (the Fifth Symphony) on the docket, the latter being recorded for the BSO’s continuing Shostakovich series for DG.

Amanda Forsythe sings Handel
Presented by Apollo’s Fire
November 20 at 8 p.m.
First Church, Cambridge, MA

Soprano Forsythe and the superb Cleveland-based ensemble Apollo’s Fire come to Cambridge with a program drawn from their spectacular new recording of Handel arias. Don’t miss it.

Stephanie Chase plays Sarasate
Presented by the Boston Classical Orchestra
November 22 at 3 p.m.
Faneuil Hall, Boston, MA

Steven Lipsitt and the BCO present a wide-ranging concert featuring violinist Chase in a pair of pieces by Sarasate, plus music by Bach and Vivaldi. The Third Suite from Respighi’s Ancient Airs & Dances rounds out the program.

Bronfman plays Bartók
Presented by the Boston Symphony Orchestra
November 24, 27, and 28 at 8 p.m. (1:30 p.m. on Friday)
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA

For the BSO’s last performances of 2015, Yefim Bronfman returns to Symphony Hall as the soloist in one of his specialties, Bartók’s terrific Piano Concerto no. 2. And Andris Nelsons conducts two rarely-played (by the BSO, at least) symphonies: Haydn’s no. 30 (last played in 1977) and Tchaikovsky’s vastly underrated no. 1 (last performed in 1997).

— Jonathan Blumhofer

Tre Voci
November 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory, Boston, MA

The Trio Tre Voci has been performing together since 2010 across the United States and in Mexico. The trio includes three artists who bring a unique voice to their instruments, violist Kim Kashkashian, flautist Marina Piccinini, and harpist Sivan Magen.

DUNYA - Istanbul on the Charles
Friday, November 20 at 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall/New England Conservatory, Boston, MA

Istanbul on the Charles features a large group of DUNYA collaborators, with highlights from past programs and CDs making up a program that includes traditional Turkish music, early European music, Greek and Jewish music from the Ottoman period, Sufi music, Turkish pop music, and more.

Spectrum Singers
November 21 at 8 p.m.
First Church, Cambridge, MA

The Spectrum Singers present the New England premiere of Different Ways to Pray by Mohammed Fairouz, plus Lukas Foss’ Behold I Build an House, Charles Ives’ Psalm 90 and Sixty-Seventh Psalm, Eric Whitacre’s Lux Aurumque, and Ralph Vaughn Williams’s Lord, Thou Hast Been Our Refuge.

Gunther Schuller Memorial Concert
November 22 at 3 p.m.
Jordan Hall/New England Conservatory, Boston, MA

The Boston Modern Symphony Project, in collaboration with Odyssey Opera and the New England Conservatory, presents the Gunther Schuller Memorial Concert. Gil Rose conducts.

— Susan Miron


The English Beat
November 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Brighton Music Hall, Allston, MA

Eight years before Morrissey sang of the kind people’s wonderful dream of “Margaret on the Guillotine” and nine prior to Elvis Costello’s yearning to “Tramp the Dirt Down” on Ms. Thatcher’s grave, the ska revival band The English Beat implored, in comparatively measured and modest tones, “Stand Down Margaret.” Best known for “Mirror in the Bathroom,” “Twist and Crawl,” and “Save It for Later,” the band more than justified its status as headliners of the Newburyport Riverfront Music Festival this past September. Lead by original member Dave Wakeling, who also scored a hit with “Tenderness” in 1984 as the leader of General Public. .

Steve Hackett performs this week at the Lynn Auditorium.

Steve Hackett performs this week at the Lynn Auditorium.

Steve Hackett
November 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Lynn Auditorium, Lynn, MA

Steve Hackett’s musical career took off in 1971, when he replaced the original guitarist of Genesis, which was then a progressive rock band with Peter Gabriel on vocals. Hackett released his first solo effort in 1975 and stayed on for two more albums with Genesis after Phil Collins replaced Gabriel. Although massive mainstream pop success in America was still a few years away, the band was enjoying increasing popularity as a live act when Hackett left in 1977. After a well-received show on the same day at the same venue last year, Hackett returns.

My Morning Straight Jacket

My Morning Straight Jacket is performing this week at the Orpheum Theatre.

My Morning Jacket
November 20–21 at 7:30 p.m.
Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA

In the early aughts, I made a conscious attempt to update my musical tastes by reading reviews of CDs by newer bands and poring over year-end best of lists. In 2003, it was impossible to miss the critical acclaim heaped upon It Still Moves, the third full-length release by Kentucky’s My Morning Jacket. I tried to like it, but did not end up actually doing so. That said, there were a couple of tracks on it that were a perfect indication of how genuinely great the band sounded at its best. Besides, plenty of people whose opinions I unquestionably respect love MMJ to this day, having been enraptured by them from the start, much like Stan Smith was on an episode of the animated series American Dad! (“My Morning Straitjacket,” season 6, episode 7).

Colin Hay
November 21 at 8 p.m.
Wilbur Theatre, Boston, MA

​Men at Work recorded some of the catchiest and most memorable pop music of the early 1980s. Ubiquitous on MTV when I was a lad of six and seven, their videos contain images that are now indelible to the kid in me. These Australians were so popular, in fact, that their 1982 debut album Business As Usual not only topped the Billboard album chart for 15 weeks, but was still in the Top 10 when its follow-up Cargo appeared there the following year. (Even their 1985 album, which I will give you $100 if you know the title of, earned a gold disc for more than half a million sales.) Lead singer Colin Hay embarked on a fecund solo career in 1987, and his latest solo album—Next Year People—was released early this year.

Aimee Mann
November 21 at 8 p.m.
Sanders Theater, Cambridge, M A

Aimee Mann—A. Mann for all seasons, as I like to call her—entered the pop music spotlight in 1985 as the singer for the Boston-based band ‘Til Tuesday. She began releasing material under her own name in 1993, and has made nary a misstep since. If you’re not already going to My Morning Jacket’s second show or taking in Colin Hay, then head to Harvard University’s august Sanders Theater  to see Mann in conversation with former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins.

— Blake Maddux

Author Events

Author James Baldwin. His is in the documentary "The Price of a Ticket."

Author James Baldwin. His life and writings are examined in the documentary “James Baldwin: The Price of a Ticket,” which is screening this week.

Karen Thorsen and Douglas Demsey
James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket
November 16 at 6 p.m.
Amherst Regional High School Auditorium, Amherst MA

After the recent wave of police brutality, the need to reevaluate America’s racial tensions has come to the forefront of the public mind. It’s high time, then, to listen and learn from the life and work of James Baldwin, one of the great American social critics of the 20th Century. The Price of the Ticket is a documentary that combines archival footage with intimate interviews with the people who knew him best. The directors will be on hand for a post-screening Q & A.

Garth Risk Hallberg
City on Fire
November 16 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA

In case you’ve missed it, the literary world is abuzz over Hallberg’s highly publicized debut of the fall. Clocking in at over 900 pages and set during the creative chaos of New York City in the 1970s, this novel is clearly epic in both form and ambition, which makes the opportunity to see him reading from it in person all the more interesting. Read the full review on The Arts Fuse here.

Claire Messud, Askold Melnyczuk, Alice Rothchild, Ramola D, Adam Stumacher
Extraordinary Rendition
November 16 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA

A distinguished series of writers comes to Brookline to read and discuss their contributions to an anthology examining the culpability of America in the denial of Palestinian rights. The authors discuss the essays that challenge the accepted narratives about the Palestinians that have become commonplace in the United States.

Discussion with Ha Jin and readings by Fanny Howe, Richard Hoffman, and Lloyd Schwartz
Liberation: New Works on Freedom from Internationally Renowned Poets
November 17 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi camps, a fact which prompted Mark Ludwig, the director of the Terezin Music Foundation, to invite a series of poets to write on the theme of freedom. A few of the Boston-based poets whose poems contributed to the anthology will read and discuss their work.

Sven Birkerts
Changing the Subject
November 18 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA

The author of the classic essay/polemic The Gutenberg Elegies will read and discuss his latest essay collection, which continues the themes of his earlier work: parsing out what is lost in the era of digitization, and how to keep the humanistic flame of creativity alive amid the loss of agency, concentration, and permanence brought on by changes in the way we consume and produce media.

Barney Frank
A Life in Politics: From the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage
November 19 from 7 to 8 p.m.
New England Mobile Book Fair, Newton Highlands MA

The witty, engaging, and widely esteemed former Congressman will read and discuss his memoir, which tells the story of his decades in Washington. His career spans a tremendous amount of social and political upheaval, and his autobiography explains it as only Barney Frank could.

Hanya Yanagihara
A Little Life
In Conversation with Christopher Castellani
November 30 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30)
Cambridge Public Library, Cambridge MA

One of the clear candidates in the year-end tally of the year’s best books: the novel has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Award. Yanagihara’s novel revolves around four friends from Massachusetts who are making their way in New York City. The responses from readers that I’ve seen have varied from incredibly moved to annoyed at the story’s pathos, which makes the opportunity to see her read from the book in person all the more intriguing.

– Matt Hanson


Invisible Resonance: The Music of Garrison Fewell
November 15, 4–6 p.m.
Killian Hall, MIT, Cambridge, MA

The guitarist, composer, and Berklee professor Garrison, who died last July of cancer at the age of 61, established his career with detailed, lyrical music more or less in the straigthahead Jim Hall mode and then, late in life, embraced free jazz, with playing and compositions that were no less lyrical and transparent. A group of Fewell friends and colleagues—including guitarist Eric Hofbauer, saxophonists Charlie Kohlhase and Jim Hobbs, and drummer Luther Gray—will attempt to encompass the entire Fewell legacy at MIT’s Killian Hall. Read a remembrance of Fewell on The Arts Fuse here.

Kris Adams Quintet
November 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Arsenal Center for the Arts, Waltham, MA

The accomplished singer Kris Adams comes to the nicely appointed Arsenal Center with a fine band: tenor saxophonist Rick DiMuzio, pianist Tim Ray, bassist Paul Del Nero, and drummer Bob Tamagni. Adams likes challenging arrangements and broad repertoire (Joni Mitchell, Norma Winstone, Abbey Lincoln, and her own setting of Steve Swallow’s “Wrong Together”), and she can really sing. What’s not to like?

—Jon Garelick

The 3rd Annual Regattabar Klezmer Music Festival
November 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA

From bhangra to bluegrass to choro, traditional musical styles have gone through a Big Bang of expansion over the past two decades. Klezmer has been right in the thick of this activity, as will be readily evident in this festive double bill of Klezwoods and Bessarabian Breakdown

Yoko Miwa
November 19 at 8 p.m.
Scullers, Boston, MA

A familiar and welcome presence on the Boston jazz scene, pianist Yoko Miwa recorded a well-received live CD at Scullers back in 2010. She and her trio will bring the magic back there again this Thursday.

Luciana Souza

Luciana Souza, Speaking in Tongues. Photo by Kim Fox.

Luciana Souza
November 20 at 7:30 & 10 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA

The audience in Sanders Theatre back in January of 2014 was justifiably blown away by the first Boston appearance of vocalist/composer Luciana Souza’s “Speaking in Tongues” project. This past spring Souza went into the studio with guitarist Lionel Loueke, harmonica player Gregoire Maret, bassist Massimo Biolcati, and drummer Kendrick Scott, and the multinational quintet are now touring in support of the spectacular CD that resulted. Prepare to be blown away all over again.

Clear Audience
November 21 at 8 p.m.
Third Life Studio, Somerville, MA

Led by guitarist Steve Fell, this imaginative quartet (with saxophonist Andy Voelker, bassist Jef Charland, and drummer Luther Gray) heads to Union Square for an evening of fresh sounds at the intimate Third Life Studio. Expect to hear some compositions from their 2014 CD, Medicine Ball (see Jon Garelick’s review here).

—J. R. Carroll


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