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Mar 062016
 

[Updated.] 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

Film

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

Democrats
March 7 at 7 p.m.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA

“Long the subject of international uproar but comparatively little analysis, the quasi-Kafkaesque administration holding Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe’s corrupt dictatorship in place finally gets the first-hand scrutiny it merits in Camilla Nielsson’s riveting documentary. Tracing the tortuous process of cross-party negotiation behind the country’s 2013 constitution, Nielsson’s film lays bare one country’s specifically soured dreams of democracy while imparting more universal insight into the art and craft of political diplomacy. It was filmed over three years.” (Variety) Presented by The DocYard. Editor Jeppe Bødskov will attend from Copenhagen via Skype for a post-screening discussion with Alice Apley.

Theory of Obscurity: A Film about The Residents
March 9 at 6 p.m.
March 10 at 3 p.m.
Museum of Fine Arts Boston, MA

Last two screenings of a document about The Residents, a renegade sound and video collective that perform wearing costumes that conceal their identities. Director Don Hardy and his team traveled across the US and Europe with the group during their 40th-anniversary tour, shooting more than 20 elaborate performances and capturing rare behind-the-scenes footage. Don’s team also interviewed bands inspired by The Residents: Devo, Primus, Ween, Talking Heads, and Pinback, along with adoring fans, music critics, and industry insiders. For an introduction to The Residents or for long-time fans, this is not to be missed.

Eye in the Sky
March 10
Kendall Square Cinema, Cambridge, MA

The Independent Film Festival presents another in its great series of free previews. The film looks at the ethics of modern mechanized and anonymous warfare. “Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) corners a crucial target in Kenya with the help of a drone camera concealed in a fake flying insect. They discover that the subjects, all internationally most wanted are preparing an imminent suicide bombings and the intended capture turns into a mission to kill. In Las Vegas, the man guiding the drone (Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad) prepares to launch a powerful Hellfire missile when he suddenly spots a nine-year-old girl selling bread in the kill zone.” Is one child’s life is worth the almost certain death of hundreds of others? A knuckle biting thriller ensues. Please arrive early because seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Admission is free but an RSVP is required.

Irish Film Festival
March 10 – 13
Somerville Theatre, Davis Square

Along with St. Patrick’s comes the Annual Irish festival. This year features these winners: Best Breakthrough Feature with You’re Ugly Too; Most Inspiring Short, More Than God; Director’s Choice Feature, Older Than Ireland; Director’s Choice Short, City Of Roses and The Global Vision Documentary, Unbreakable: The Mark Pollock Story. Full Schedule here.

A Tale of Love and Darkness
March 10 at 7:15 p.m.
West Newton Cinema in West Newton, MA

Natalie Portman makes her directorial debut in her extraordinary adaptation of author Amos Oz’s best-selling memoir. The film takes us to pre- and early-state Israel, where new immigrants are still shaking off the horrors of the Holocaust while working to build a new homeland.

Lillian Gish in "The Wind."

Lillian Gish in “The Wind.”

The Wind
March 14 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, MA

A classic of silent cinema is well described in the HFA’s program: “Sweetwater is lonely outpost in the American West where the wind never stops blowing soil upon the perennially chaste Lillian Gish, whose virginal Letty from Virginia finds herself sexually vexed by the thoughts these filthy gales occasion. Once in a while, a cyclone arrives to interrupt the routine of the constant blasts, and a romance for terrified Letty is brutally etched out of the frank landscape, where settlers are put up to mating in much the same fashion as livestock, and where the housewives of Sweetwater handle the organ meats of their beef carcasses with grim, workaday dispatch. Sjöström’s visuals are, by turns, pitch-perfect gothic and stunningly, even hilariously, hyperbolic.”

– Tim Jackson


Theater

A scene from the

Deniz Khateri (foreground) with Quentin James and Becca A. Lewis in a scene from the Apollinaire Theatre Company production of “Sonic Life of a Giant Tortoise.” Photo: courtesy of the company.

Sonic Life of a Giant Tortoise: youth is not the only thing that’s sonic by Toshiki Okada. Translated from Japanese by Aya Ogawa. Directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques. Presented by Apollinaire Theatre Company at Chelsea Theatre Works, Chelsea, MA., through March 13.

According to the Time Out review of the New York production of Toshiki Okada’s play, the dramatist (and his outstanding English translator, Aya Ogawa) have discovered a disturbing, naturalistic idiom that somehow slows down reality. In his airless worlds, banality drugs perception.” Arts Fuse review

The Hunchback of Seville by Charise Castro Smith. Directed by Taibi Magar. Staged by Trinity Rep at 201 Washington Street, Providence, Rhode Island, through March 6.

The script is billed as a “funny and madcap” take on Spanish history and colonialism: “At the turn of the 16th century, Christopher Columbus has just returned from the new world with gold in his pockets and blood on his hands. Maxima Terriblé Segunda, the brilliant adopted sister of dying HRH Queen Isabella, is living out her life locked away in a tower… until it is decided that the future of the country is in her nerdy, reclusive hands” The cast includes Phyllis Kay (as Maxima Terriblé Segunda) with Stephen Berenson, Janice Duclos, Anne Scurria, and Joe Wilson, Jr.

Tinker to Evers to Chance by Mat Smart. Directed by Sean Daniels. Staged by the Merrimack Repertory Theatre at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre, located at 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA, through March 6.

The regional premiere of a script about “mothers, daughters, and baseball. The story spans a century of Chicago Cubs fandom, and resonates with honest questions about love, heartbreak, and hope.” Director Daniels “notes that the play is perfect for the Greater Boston scene: Red Sox fans (especially those from who remember the pre-2004 days) will empathize with the hapless Cubs, who haven’t won a World Series since 1908.” Arts Fuse review

The cast of "1984." Photo: Ben Gibbs.

The cast of a new adaptation of George Orwell’s “1984.” Photo: Ben Gibbs.

1984 by George Orwell, a new adaptation created by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan. Presented by the American Repertory Theater (in association with Headlong, Almeida Theatre, and Nottingham Playhouse Theater) at the Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, MA, through March 6.

“The definitive book of the 20th century” (What in the world does that mean? Is this Big Brother speaking?) “is re-examined in a radical, award-winning adaptation exploring surveillance, identity and why Orwell’s vision of the future is as relevant now as ever.” Arts Fuse review

Searching for Signal, created by Elizabeth McGuire and Marissa Rae Roberts. Performed by ToUch Performance Art at Oberon, 11 Arrow Street, Cambridge, MA, through March 4.

“Infusing dialogue, dance, and video,” this is “a contemporary theater experience that captures a slice of life in this fast-changing digital world of missed connections as two dreamers struggle to separate their virtual identities from who they really are.”

Richard II by William Shakespeare. Directed by Allyn Burrows. At YMCA Central Square, Cambridge, MA, through March 13.

Written entirely in verse, this history play “is a compelling and provocative study of a king and his nation, caught in the upheaval of social change and political turmoil.” The impressive local cast includes Paula Plum, Robert Walsh, Doug Lockwood, Michael Forden Walker, and Marya Lowry.

Sasha Diamond and Alton Alburo in "The Wong Kids." Photo: Dan Norman.

Sasha Diamond and Alton Alburo in “The Wong Kids.” Photo: Dan Norman.

The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go!, written by Lloyd Suh. Directed by Directed by Ralph B. Peña. Presented by Ma-Yi Theater Company at ArtsEmerson’s Paramount MainStage, Boston, MA, through March 6.

“Using a mix of action-driven storytelling, puppetry, and visual magic,” this kid-friendly show “transports its audience into the far reaches of the galaxy. Violet and Bruce Wong just don’t fit in with the other Earth kids. Sure, they have superpowers, they’re just not very good ones.”

Sorry by Richard Nelson. Directed by Weylin Symes. Staged by Stoneham Theater, 395 Main Street, Stoneham, MA, through March 13.

In this script [the third of The Apple Family Plays], “Richard Nelson journeys deeper into the characters we’ve come to know and love in this emotional and pivotal point of his four-play series.” The first-rate cast includes Joel Colodner, Laura Latreille, Karen MacDonald, Bill Mootos, and Sarah Newhouse.

Boxer Shorts II: From Water to Dust / De Agua al Polvo. Directed by Talia Curtin and Kyler Taustin. Staged by Brown Box Theatre Project at Atlantic Wharf, Boston, MA, through March 6.

A rare evening of international drama in these parts. The evening’s line-up of short plays features Tape by José Rivera, Capricho by Nilo Cruz, Springtime by María Irene Fornés, and Bliss by Caridad Svich. “All four plays feature playwrights of Latin American descent and are tied together by common themes of memory, reflection, and repentance.”

Cakewalk by Colleen Curran. Directed by David J. Miller. Staged by the Zeitgeist Stage Company at the Plaza Black Box Theater at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, through March 19.

Foodies, this one may well be for you! The script “portrays the traditional cake baking competition in a small Vermont town during their July 4th festivities. The contestants include a nun, a driven Cub Scout leader, owner of the local organic café, the Mother-of-the-Bride, and the only male entry, an archeologist. While waiting for the competition to get underway, sparks fly and nerves are frayed, especially from the bride, who does not want her cake in competition.” Arts Fuse review

L to R: Alex Pollock and Nael Nacer in the BPT and Suffolk University production of "Rhinoceros." Photo: Stratton McCrady.

L to R: Alex Pollock and Nael Nacer in the BPT and Suffolk University production of “Rhinoceros.” Photo: Stratton McCrady.

Rhinoceros by Eugene Ionesco. Translated by Derek Prouse. Adapted and directed by Wesley Savick. A co-production of the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre with Suffolk University at the Modern Theater, 525 Washington Street Boston, MA, through March 13.

An update of the Cold War absurdist classic. “Sunny afternoon. Newbury Street. Meeting a friend for coffee. You’re borderline depressed…crappy job, too neurotic to make the first move with a “good pal” co-worker, wallowing in self-pity…and maybe just a little hung-over. Everything is normal. And all at once, everyone you know turns into a rhinoceros.” Sounds plausible to me … Arts Fuse review

Fast Company by Carla Ching. Directed M. Bevin O’Gara. Staged by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 140 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA, through March 27.

“Wait til you meet Blue and HER family … Blue’s mom, Mable Kwan, is a tough cookie and the best grifter who ever lived . . . and she raised her kids to be just like her. Son Francis is the top roper around and H is the number one fixer. But it’s Blue — the outcast of the family — who surprises everyone by putting together the score of the decade.” Billed as “a fast, funny, and dangerous theatrical crime caper that will keep you guessing about who’s on top and who’s getting conned.”

Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov. Directed Lev Dodin. Staged by the Maly Drama Theatre of St. Petersburg. Presented by ArtsEmerson at the Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston, MA, through March 6.

“One of Russia’s premiere theatre companies presents this luminous retelling of Chekhov’s masterpiece, which follows three sisters who are forced to leave Moscow for life in a provincial town.” Performed in Russian with English surtitles. Arts Fuse review

Sorry by Richard Nelson. Directed by Weylin Symes. Staged by Stoneham Theatre at 395 Main Street, Stoneham, MA, through March 13.

The third of Nelson’s The Apple Family Plays “journeys deeper into the characters we’ve come to know and love in this emotional and pivotal point of his four-play series. It’s Election Day 2012, and the close-knit Apple family gathers in Rhinebeck, NY once again in an act of solidarity to face putting their beloved elderly uncle into a nursing home.” The impressive cast includes Karen MacDonald as Barbara Apple, Bill Mootos as Richard Apple, Sarah Newhouse*as Marian Apple Platt, Laura Latreille as Jane Apple Halls, and Joel Colodner as the aging Uncle Benjamin Apple.

The Hypocrites’ H.M.S. Pinafore, adapted by Sean Graney from the operetta by Gilbert & Sullivan. Co-directed by Sean Graney and Thrisa Hodits. Presented by American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) and Oberon at 2 Arrow Street, Cambridge, MA, through March 20.

“The Chicago-based company The Hypocrites, whose previous visits to the A.R.T. include their reimaginings of The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance, Romeo Juliet, and 12 Nights, set their sights now on the 1878 operetta, infusing the absurdist comedy of W.S. Gilbert’s libretto with Monty Python clownishness, and bringing a folk/pop interpretation to Arthur Sullivan’s lovely, lilting melodies.” This is the third and final installment of the Gilbert & Sullivan trilogy. Note: This is a General Admission show. Please note that H.M.S Pinafore has no fixed seats. You can physically move around the space with the actors, where there are surfaces on the set you can rest, but you may be asked to move during the performance.

A Southern Victory — A Trilogy by Kevin Mullins. Directed by James Peter Soltis. Staged by Vagabond Theatre Group at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA, through March 26.

What promises to be a provocative drama that explores an alternative version of history. “The year is 1922. Slavery thrives in the Confederacy while prohibition occupies the United States. A tense stalemate between the two countries is quickly be eroded by the eruption of John Brown’s army, a cadre of militant prohibitionists detonating themselves in Southern cities in the name of freedom.” A Southern Victory has been named a finalist for a Princess Grace Award, and recognized as a finalist at the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and the PlayPenn New Play Development Conference.

Eugene Lee in "How I Learned What I Learned." Photo: Josh Lamkin.

Eugene Lee in “How I Learned What I Learned.” Photo: Josh Lamkin.

How I Learned What I Learned, co-conceived and directed by Todd Kreidler. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Avenue of the Arts/Boston University Theatre, 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA, through April 12.

A one-man show featuring Eugene Lee in which the “late Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson shares stories about his first few jobs, a stint in jail, his lifelong friends, and his encounters with racism, music, and love as a young poet in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. This theatrical memoir charts one man’s journey of self-discovery through adversity, and what it means to be a black artist in America.”

The Launch Prize by MJ Halberstadt. Directed by Tiffany Nichole Greene. Staged by the Bridge Repertory Theater of Boston at Deane Hall, the 2nd floor of the Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts, through March 20.

Sounds like yet another attempt to shed light on debate about the arts, value, and identity politics. “In this fast-paced new play, the gloves come off when one of four visual arts students asserts that the winner of the prestigious Launch Prize has been chosen on the basis of racial and gender identity, rather than talent or merit alone… “​

Bootycandy by Robert O’Hara. Directed by Summer L. Williams. Staged by the SpeakEasy Stage Company at the Boston Center for the Arts, March 12 through April 9.

“Named one of the Top Ten Plays of 2014 by The New York Times, Bootycandy “is a shockingly funny and saucy spin on race, sex, and sexuality. Based on the author’s own experiences growing up black and gay, the play unfolds in a series of loosely linked vignettes that take no prisoners when confronting racial, sexual, and cultural stereotypes.”

Jay Connolly as Jason and Caroline Watson-Felt as Medea in the Salem Theatre production of "Medea."

Jay Connolly as Jason and Caroline Watson-Felt as Medea in the Salem Theatre Company production of “Medea.”

Medea by Euripides. An adaptation by Ben Power. Directed by Catherine Bertrand. Staged by the Salem Theatre Company, 35 Congress Street, 3rd Floor, Salem, MA, March 10 through 26.

If you want to break in a new theater space, this magnificent tragedy is a pretty good way to do it. Regarding the relevance of the play, director Bertrand says “It’s been two thousand years since Euripides first penned Medea and yet women are still stuck every day navigating a society optimized for men. The play grapples with tropes that resound across the centuries: domestic violence, subverting gender roles, and the decay of once-healthy communities.”

Tales of a Fourth Grade Lesbo by Gina Young. Directed by Mariagrazia LaFauci. Staged by Flat Earth Theatre at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown, MA, March 11 through 26.

“he East Coast premiere of a nostalgic examination of gender and sexuality. The play “explores what it means to grow up a queer woman in the ‘90s through the eyes of those who have lived it. There are rules in this universe: seventh graders always win dance competitions, lunch table divisions are absolute, and there is only one right way to wear a backpack. Through vignettes, dance, and original song parody, our three storytellers navigate the wilderness of leopard-print leotards and Jane Fonda workout videos as they relive the awkwardness of early sexual awakenings a humor- and nostalgia-filled pastiche of early ‘90s pop culture that thoughtfully captures the joy and torment of adolescence.”

– Bill Marx


Dance

 Kelley Donovan's "The Body Becomes the Messenger." Photo: Charles Daniels Photography.

Kelley Donovan’s “The Body Becomes the Messenger.” Photo: Charles Daniels Photography.

The Body Becomes the Messenger
March 11 and 12 at 8 p.m.
The Dance Complex
Cambridge, MA

Exploring trauma and transformation, Kelley Donovan’s new evening-length work uses dance as a means of exploring the connection between body and soul. The work is presented as part of an Integrated Artist Residency program at The Dance Complex.

“LITTLE GIFTS” {BRONNTANAS BEAG}
March 11 and 12 at 8 p.m.
Green Street Studios
Cambridge, MA

Kieran Jordan Dance, Green Street Studios’ company-in-residence, presents an evening that celebrates the simplicity and interconnectedness of Irish dance and music.

The Dream Project II: Luna Soul
March 12 at 8 p.m.
Multicultural Arts Center
Cambridge, MA

The Dream Project returns with its second evening performance Luna Soul. Inspired by the Eastern story of Xi Shi, yet personified through Western modern dance, the evening proffers Chinese traditional values as seen through the female perspective.

Sidra Bell brings her cutting-edge company to Newton this weekend.

Sidra Bell brings her cutting-edge company to Newton this weekend.

Shrines: Remembrance
March 12 at 8 p.m.
Reimer Goldstein Theater
Newton, MA

Sidra Bell Dance Company, this weekend’s Jewish Arts Collaborative Artist-In-Residence, explores themes of beauty, memory, and identity. Enjoy a night of cutting-edge dance with music composed by Dennis Bell and performed by the Boston Public Quartet.

The Nightingale
March 12 at 1 p.m. & 6 p.m.; March 13 at 1 p.m.
Casey Theatre, Regis College
Weston, MA

Commonwealth Ballet presents Hans Christian Andersen’s The Nightingale — a family-friendly performance, richly staged with original choreography by Chip Morris.


Classical Music

First Monday at Jordan Hall
March 7 at 7:30 p.m.
At Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory, 290 Huntington Avenue, Boston

The concert features a Hungarian program of Bartók and Kodály. “With the help of the Borromeo Quartet, and a trio of musicians who specialize in the genre, rtistic Director Laurence Lesser brings in both visual and musical examples to take us on a journey through the composers’ ethnic pasts and influences.” On the program: Kodály’s Serenade for 2 Violins and Viola, Op. 12; Traditional: Hungaria; Bartók’s Rhapsody for Violin and Piano no 1, Sz 86/BB 94 and Quartet for Strings no 4, Sz 91/BB 95.

Mandolinist Avi will perform in Boston this week, courtesy of the Celebrity Series. Photo: Celebrity Series.

Mandolinist Avi Avital will perform in Boston this week, courtesy of the Celebrity Series. Photo: Celebrity Series.

Between Worlds Tour
March 11 at 8 p.m.
Presented by Celebrity Series at Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory, 290 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA

“Mandolinist Avi Avital is one of a generation of performers redrawing the boundaries of traditional musical genres. His ambition is to revitalize the mandolin in both solo and chamber repertoire and inspire the creation of new music for an instrument that has been unjustly neglected within classical music. The program will explore the borders between folk and classical music and include works by Kreisler, J.S. Bach, Villa-Lobos, Bartók, and traditional Turkish and Israeli music.”

For the Young at Heart: Masterworks Chorale with Youth Pro Musica
March 11 at 8 p.m.
At Sanders Theatre at Harvard University, 45 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA

On the program: Fine’s Choral Settings from Alice in Wonderland and John Rutter’s Mass of the Children. This is a Horizons for Homeless Children / Awareness Through Music event.

Journeys: Chorus pro Musica
March 12 at 8 p.m.
At Sanders Theatre at Harvard University, 45 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA
Chorus pro Musica

“Andy Vores’s new composition, Spencer the Rover, features a British-style brass band that accompanies the chorus in the story of a man “much reduced, and in great confusion,” who wanders until loneliness and a revelation lead him back to his amazed family. Benjamin Britten’s popular Ballad of Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard tells a much grimmer tale of adultery and murder, thrillingly sung by men’s chorus. In Abbie Betinis’s From Behind the Caravan: Tales of Hâfez (which was performed in part last November) the women’s chorus sings in Persian, with cello, oud, and hand drums, of “traveling along love’s journey, from the borders of nothingness.” Also performed are Arvo Pärt’s Nunc dimittis, Felix Mendelssohn’s “Richte mich, Gott,” op. 78, no. 2, Sydney Guillaume’s Haitian Creole parable “Twa Tanbou,” and James Taylor’s meditative “That Lonesome Road.”

26th Annual Composer’s Celebration Concert
March 13, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory, 290 Huntington Avenue, Boston, NA

Tatyana Dudochkin, founder, artistic director and piano leads, her 26th annual celebratory concert in Jordan Hall. With host Ron Della Chiesa. On the program: Vivaldi’s Concerto for Flautino in C major, RV 444: Rimsky-Korsakov’s Snow Maiden/Aria; Villa-Lobos’s Bachianas Brasileiras no 4 for Orchestra, A 424; Mussorgsky’s Two songs; Sarasate’s Navarra, Op. 33; Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro for Harp, Flute, Clarinet and String Quartet; Chopin’s Trio for Piano and Strings in G minor, B 25/Op. 8;Piazzolla’s Oblivion; Bach’s Suite for Cello solo no 1 in G major, BWV 1007; Piazzolla’s Tango.

– Susan Miron

Red Hedgehog Trio
Third Life Studio in Union Square, Somerville, MA, March 11 at 8 p.m.

Join the Red Hedgehog Trio for their first concert in their hometown of Somerville! An eclectic mix of music will be shared: Mozart’s Sonata for Piano and Violin, K. 526; Mario Davidovsky’s Synchronisms No. 9 for Violin and Electronics; an assortment of piano preludes by pianist Dan Sedgwick; Fauré’s Piano Trio, Op. 120 (cello part transcribed by Marina Krickler); and the world premiere of Burlesque for horn trio by Northampton-based composer Raphael Atlas. Everyone is welcome to stay for a reception at Third Life immediately following the concert. This program is supported in part by a grant from the Somerville Arts Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

– Tim Jackson


Rock, Pop, and Folk

Several Massachusetts-based bands have record release shows in the coming week. If you are not familiar with any of these artists, then what better and more memorable way to discover them than to be in a roomful of devoted fans amid the excitement of a new album? Get out and support local artists and venues! (And you don’t even have to miss The Who at TD Garden on March 7 or Beach House at the House of Blues on March 11.)

Bent Shapes (with SPORTS and Cuffs)
March 10 (Doors at 9 p.m.)
Great Scott, Allston, MA

Bent Shapes is a Cambridge-based quartet that describes itself on Facebook as “hyphy nrrrd pop for kids on the skids.” The band’s first album, 2013’s Feels Weird, squeezed 11 tracks into the space of barely 27 minutes. If you consider yourself to be one of those folks with all of the right tastes in late-70s/early 80’s post-punk and new wave—e.g., The Embarrassment, The Feelies, Television Personalities—then you need to be at Great Scott on Thursday, where and when Bent Shapes will celebrate the release of Wolves of Want, which will become available to the general public on the following day.

Air Traffic Controller (with Alexz Johnson & Bleu)
March 12 (Doors at 8 p.m./Show 9 p.m.)
The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA

Boston’s Air Traffic Controller gets the biggest venue of the bands on this list, namely, Harvard Square’s Sinclair. There, on Saturday, the indie-alternative-electronic Boston band will unveil songs from Black Box, an album that will by then have been officially out for one whole day.

Rick Berlin & the Nickel and Dime Band (with Willie “Loco” Alexander & the Fisheye Brothers and Elizabeth & Ben Anderson)
March 12 (Doors at 8:30 p.m./Show 9 p.m.)
Lizard Lounge, Cambridge, MA

Alas, there is a conflict between two shows on Saturday night. However, the venues of the similarly scheduled shows are within walking distance of each other if one wants to catch some of each. While Air Traffic Controller is at The Sinclair, Jamaica Plain’s The Nickel and Dime Band — an octet that includes a saxophonist and trombone player — will be introducing its new EP Badville at Lizard Lounge. (The first 20 people through the door get a free copy of the CD!)

The Winterpills relaxing in the snow. The group performs at [] this week.

The Winterpills relaxing. The group performs at Great Scott this week.

Winterpills (with Arc Iris)
March 13 (Doors at 9 p.m.)
Great Scott, Allston, MA

Winterpills has released four full-length albums of original material along with one EP and a covers album since 2005. In the process, the Northampton quintet has garnered praise from (among others) Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and MOJO. Help the band ring in the release of its new album Love Songs on Sunday at Great Scott. (Actual release date: March 18)

Other upcoming March shows include Those Darlins (March 15, Great Scott), Tal Wilkenfeld (March 18, Brighton Music Hall), The Rationales and Eddie Japan (March 19, Great Scott), Petty Morals (March 25, Once Ballroom), and Field Music (March 27, Great Scott).

– Blake Maddux


Jazz

Julian Lage
March 6 at 7 and 9:30 p.m.
Club Passim, Cambridge, MA.

The twenty-eight-year-old guitar virtuoso and composer Julian Lage has an exciting new trio album coming out on March 11, Arclight (Mack Avenue); he brings his heavy-duty trio-mates from that album, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Kenny Wollesen, to Club Passim for two shows.

With The Pat Metheny Group at the Royal Albert Hall in London

Antonio Sánchez with The Pat Metheny Group at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Courtesy of the artist.

Antonio Sánchez
March 8 at 8 p.m
Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA.

The great drummer Antonio Sánchez leads his band Migration, with saxophonist Seamus Blake, pianist John Escreet, bassist Matt Brewer, and singer Thana Alexa. Sanchez, as you’ll recall, has been Pat Metheny’s main man at the drum kit and won accolades (including a Grammy) for his score to Birdman. (Yes, he was THAT drummer.) Migration will play music from Sánchez’s Meridian Suite.

Mark Zaleski Band
March 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

Zaleski and his band have been together in one form or another for the past 10 years, since the saxophonist was 20; he’s also been a regular with the Either/Orchestra for the past four years and has played with all manner of other ensembles (including with his brother, pianist Glenn Zaleski). The MZB crosses swing and rock beats, and they have a dandy arrangement of Thelonious Monk’s “Epistrophy.” The players include the leader on soprano, alto, and tenor; tenor saxophonist Jon Bean; pianist Jeff D’Antona, guitarist Mark Cocheo; bassist Danny Weller; and drummer Ryan Sands.

Eric Rosenthal/Curt Newton + Taylor Ho Bynum/Jeb Bishop
March 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA.

Billed simply as “Two Duos,” this show, from presenters .01%, matches percussionists Eric Rosenthal and Curt Newton followed by cornettist Taylor Ho Bynum and Chicago trombonist Jeb Bishop.

Rudresh Mahanthappa
March 9 at 7:30 p.m.
ICA, Boston, MA.

This World Music/CRASHarts presentation of saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa’s “Bird Calls” project — with trumpeter Adam O’Farrill (who plays Dizzy to Mahanthappa’s Bird), pianist Matt Mitchell, bassist Thomas Kneeland, and drummer Jordan Perlson — is officially sold out. But you’ll find a way.

Nando Michelin
March 9 at 9 p.m.
Ryles Jazz Club, Cambridge, MA.

The accomplished Uruguayan-born pianist and composer Nando Michelin celebrates the release of his latest CD, Música de ida y vuelta — “Flamenco and Arabic influenced South American jazz.” Joining Michelin are harmonica player Roni Eytan, violinist Layth Sidiq, cellist Marta Roma, bassist Fernando Huergo, and drummer Tiago Michelin.

Rhythm Future Quartet
March 10, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

Rhythm Future — who draw their name from one of Django Reinhardt’s most atypical compositions — base their instrumentation on the “Gypsy jazz” of the old Hot Club of France but like to push it into contemporary realms with original compositions. Boston-based violin wizard Jason Anick and lightning-fast young Finnish guitar virtuoso Olli Soikkeli play the lines, with rhythm guitarist Max O’Rourke providing the requisite “pomp” chords, and bassist Greg Loughman dancing with the beat. They’re supporting Travels, a new CD of mostly original compositions (as well as the Beatles’ “Come Together”).

Fred Hersch

Pianist Fred Hersch performs with his trio in Boston this week.

Fred Hersch Trio
March 11 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.

The preeminent pianist/composer Fred Hersch communes with long-time trio-mates, bassist John Hébert and drummer Eric McPherson for two shows at Scullers. It doesn’t get any better.

Bob Nieske
March 13 at 3 p.m.
Pierce Hall, New England Conservatory, Boston, MA.

The distinguished bassist and composer Bob Nieske joins forces with trumpeter Phil Grenadier, guitarist Dave Tronzo, and percussionist John Hazilla for this NEC faculty recital of “original compositions, jazz standards, and structured improvisations, reflecting on the musical path of Nieske’s teacher and bandmate Jimmy Giuffre.” And it’s free.

Eden MacAdam-Somer
March 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA.

The astonishing musical polymath and NEC professor (Contemporary Improvisation department associate chair) offers a free faculty recital of “folk and contemporary music on voice, violin, viola, fiddle, and percussive dance,” dedicated to the memory of Greg Harbar, “the crazy Houston-area accordion player who introduced her to the world of Eastern European folk music, improvisation, and the wild joy of life.” The program will weave “traditional folk songs and Romany swing in between works by Charles Ives, Pozzi Escot, Max Roach, Woodie Guthrie, and Abbey Lincoln.” Sounds like the ultimate CI hoedown. MacAdam-Somer will be joined by pianist Ran Blake, multi-instrumentalist Hankus Netsky, pianist Sarah Bob, and members of NEC’s CI Chamber Music Ensemble.

– Jon Garelick


Author Events

Helen Oyeyemi
What Is Yours Is Not Yours
March 9 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
Free

The esteemed author of Boy, Snow, Bird and Mr. Fox comes to Harvard to read from her latest book of short stories. Her collection is organized around the idea of keys, metaphorically and literally. Keys to the heart, keys to the riddle, keys to a house- Oyeyemi’s prose mines every possible meaning to make her imagery come alive.

Mark Tompkins
The Last Days of Magic
March 10 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
Free

Tompkins’s novel draws on mythologies from all human history: Greek, Roman, Biblical, legend, fairy tales. The narrative draws us into a world of pure imagination, where humans and magical beings co-exist, as they have for centuries, and gives answers to questions that have inspired these tales since the beginning of time.

A. O. Scott

A. O. Scott
Better Living Through Criticism: How To Think About Art, Beauty, Pleasure, and Truth
March 11 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30)
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge MA
$5 Tickets

Formerly of The Boston Globe, A.O. Scott has written a new book about the meaning of criticism. The acclaimed critic discusses how to tell gold from dross in the art one consumes from a lifetime of professional experience, including a range of references from Horace and Wilde to a Twitter war with Samuel L Jackson.

Occupy by Michael Gould-Wartofsky

Michael Gould-Wartofsky
The Occupiers: The Making of the 99 Percent Movement
March 15 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
Free

The Occupy Movement burst onto the national stage in 2011, first with hundreds and then thousands of people expressing their outrage at the culprits of the recent economic downturn until they were forcibly evicted. Gould-Wartofksy takes us inside the movement, from its base in New York City’s Zuccotti Park to the rest of the country, using material gathered from two years of boots-on-the-ground journalism to explain a political phenomenon whose populist reverberations are still being felt.

– Matt Hanson


Roots and World Music

Drummer Lloyd Knibb

Drummer Lloyd Knibb

Lloyd Knibb Birthday Bash featuring Void Union
March 11
Devlin’s Restaurant, Brighton, MA

Lloyd Knibb of the Skatalites was one of the most important yet under-recognized drummers of the 20th century. He helped create the rhythms that fueled ska, reggae, and rocksteady. He lived for a considerable period in the Boston area until his 2011 death, mentoring several generations of local ska bands. Knibb will be remembered with a night hosted by Boston ska champs Void Union with a guest line-up including his son, stellar vocalist Dion Knibb, and Skatalites keyboardist Ken Stewart.

Duke Levine's The Fade Out

Duke Levine Band CD Release Party
March 12
Atwood’s Tavern, Cambridge, MA

Boston’s reigning guitar champ makes everyone from Dennis Brennan to the J. Geils Band sound good. Every few years he steps out on his own and releases a disc of tasteful, twangy instrumentals. His latest CD is called The Fade Out and he’ll be celebrating the album with two shows at Atwood’s.

Dry Branch Fire Squad

Dry Branch Fire Squad

Dry Branch Fire Squad
March 12, National Heritage Museum, Lexington, MA
March 13, Original Congregational Church, Wrentham, MA

These traditional bluegrass favorites led by Ron Thomason excel when it comes to harmonies and song selection. But what really sets them apart is the stage patter of storyteller non-peril Thomason.

– Noah Schaffer


Visual Arts

2016 PRC Student Exhibition
March 10–April 17
Photographic Resource Center at Boston University, Boston, MA

With so many colleges and universities offering hands-on training and serious exhibition programs at nearby museums and galleries, Boston has become a mecca for students of photography. The Photographic Resource Center’s 2016 Student Exhibition includes work from some fifteen local schools, including BU’s College of Communications and College of Fine Arts, Emerson, Emmanuel, MIT, Mass College of Art and Design, Northeastern, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and two campuses of the University of Massachusetts. With such a range of talent to draw on, there are almost certainly a few future stars in the mix.

Atelier 23
March 10–April 3
Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester, MA

Winchester’s Griffin Museum of Photography offers a program of both classes and exhibitions devoted to photography. The Griffin’s Atelier class is for intermediate and advanced students and “Atelier 23” presents work from the latest crop of graduates along with their instructors. Some nineteen budding shutter bugs will be featured.

The Manus River Gorge: Photographs by William Abramowitz
March 12–June 5
Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT

The thousand-acre Manus River Gorge lies in suburban Westchester and Fairfield Counties, Connecticut, just forty miles from Manhattan. Protected since 1953 by a nonprofit conservation organization, the reserve is a rare survivor of the ancient forests of the American east coast and the first registered Natural Landmark in the United States. In 2013, to celebrate its sixtieth anniversary, the Manus River Gorge organization gave photographer William Abramowitz unrestricted access to its primeval landscape for an entire year. This exhibition and an accompanying book present the results of this exploration of eastern America as it once was.

– Peter Walsh

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