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
March 21 at 7 p.m.
Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, MA
The DocYard presents the first documentary to place filmmakers on the ground during an active FBI counterterrorism sting operation. Unfolding with the drama and intrigue of a spy novel, the film follows a 63-year-old Black revolutionary turned informant, as he takes on what he swears is his last job for the FBI. He invited filmmakers to document his covert efforts to befriend a suspected jihadist — without informing his superiors. Surprising revelations emerge, not only about Torres’ past, but also about the increasingly murky ethical grounds of his mission. (T)ERROR explores just how far we are going to prevent terror: What liberties we are sacrificing in order to be secure?
March 21 at 7 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA
Sounds of Silents presents The Pawnshop (1916) and Easy Street (1917) directed by Charlie Chaplin and Coney Island (1917) directed by ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle. Live musical accompaniment by Donald Sosin, Joanna Seaton, and their musical ensemble. There will also be an audience sing-a-long and a Charlie Chaplin look-a-like contest!
March 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA
Science on Screen presents Steven Soderbergh’s disaster thriller, which follows the rapid progress of a lethal airborne virus that kills within days. With Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lawrence Fishburne, and Jude Law. A conversation follows the screening with George Church, Professor at Harvard Medical School and Director of PersonalGenomes.org, which provides the world’s only open-access information on human Genomic, Environmental & Trait data (GET).
March 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Somerville Theatre Screening Room, Somerville, MA
Music & Movies Around The Corner is a new series screening on Wednesdays through March and April. Its first offering is a documentary from Ethiopia. The film chronicles a journey to record homegrown music across the mountains, deserts, and forests of the country — the mission is of invaluable importance for the transmission and preservation of the African heritage.
Boston Underground Film Festival
March 23 through 27
Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, MA
The 18th Annual BUFF features the quirky, horrific, and the bizarre. Opening night kicks off with The Lure, a gothic horror, new wave musical set in ’80s Warsaw about a pair of vampiric teen mermaid sisters who find themselves drawn into a world of love, lust, and punkrock glitz. Saturday’s Midnight show is Curtain, which focuses on the experiences of burnt-out nurse who moves into a New York apartment and discovers there’s mysterious interdimensional portal in a wall. The closing film is Trash Fire. Owen (Adrian Grenier from Entourage) suffers from alcoholism, bulimia, epilepsy, and PTSD, but his toxic personality is the real killer. His girlfriend has had enough; she learns how to dole out as good as she gets. A yarn about two souls trapped in a prison of co-dependency. Convinced yet? There is a shorts program, including a “Homegrown Horror” program, and plenty more treats to be had over the four-day festival. Schedule
March 24 at 7 p.m.
UMass Campus Center Ballroom, Boston, MA
The Invisibles accompanies four asylum seekers who are making their way through convoluted governmental/official proceedings: the film offers a rare insight into the black box of asylum law. Their dreams of a new start in Germany run into the hostile realities of the bureaucratic decision-making process. Free and open to the public. A Skype Q&A from Germany with director Benjamin Kahlmeyer follows the screening.
Harvard Film Archive, 24 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA
The DocYard presents a free screening of this unbelievable true story about the “father of African cinema,” a self-taught novelist and filmmaker who fought a 50-year-long battle, against enormous odds, to create African stories for Africans. There will be a panel discussion with director Jason Silverman, Visiting Harvard VES Professor Richard Peña, and Lindiwe Dovey, Senior Lecturer in African Film at SOAS.
Consul De Bordeaux
Bright Family Screening Room at the Emerson/Paramount Center, 559 Washington Street, Boston, MA
The North American premiere of a film that chronicles the story of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, who saved 30,000 lives during WWII. As the Portuguese General Consul stationed in Bordeaux, France, he issued 30,000 visas for safe passage to Portugal. In doing so he defied the direct orders of his government, exhibiting courage, moral rectitude, unselfishness, and self-sacrifice as he issued visas to all refugees, regardless of nationality, race, religion, or political opinions.
Man With a Movie Camera plus L’inhumaine
March 26 at 6 p.m.
Somerville Theatre, Davis Square, Somerville, MA
Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera (1929) is both a brilliant work of Communist propaganda and a landmark in the development of experimental cinema. It makes use of every possible cinematic trick and effect possible in its aim to chronicle an expansive “day-in-life” of a city. The Alloy Orchestra (presented here courtesy of WorldMusic/CRASHarts) performs its powerful soundtrack — the best score ever written for this film. Also to be screened: the French fantasy L’inhumaine (The Inhuman Woman) in a new pristine digital restoration. This astounding visual masterpiece garnered considerable controversy when it was released in 1924. The trio will accompany both films.
– Tim Jackson
If Not You, Who?
March 25 at 8 p.m.
Multicultural Arts Center
Monkeyhouse is making a valiant effort to support local venues and organization who have helped them most during its fifteen seasons. Join the company — along with many other impressive groups such as Luminarium, Calamity, and the Dream Project — this Friday for a fundraiser performance at an invaluable venue that has hosted many of Cambridge’s dance groups.
March 25 & 26 at 8 p.m.
Institute of Contemporary Art
The latest installment in Trajal Harrell’s provocative series Twenty Looks or Paris Is Burning at the Judson Church will be performed by five male dancers. The work is a mashup of vogueing and postmodernism. Free pre-performance talks with dance scholar and curator Noémie Solomon will take place 30 minutes prior to curtain in the ICA lobby.
March 25 through 31
Theatre Nohgaku ventures to Boston University’s campus for a 5-day residency offering a series of free lectures and demonstrations in the art of classical Japanese noh drama, music, and dance. All events are free, though attendance requires an RSVP.
– Merli V. Guerra
The Beckett Trilogy: Not I/Footfalls/Rockaby by Samuel Beckett. Directed by Walter Asmus. Presented by Arts Emerson at the Emerson/Paramount MainStage, 559 Washington Street, Boston, on March 20.
A much ballyhooed production of Beckett pieces performed by Lisa Dwan, “who drew ecstatic reviews for her performances at BAM, the Royal Court Theatre and in the West End.” If this evening comes close to its critical hosannas it will be something. If nothing else, it will be a welcome poetic counterweight to the current prosaic fad in Boston theater for inspirational entertainments, political pick-me-ups, and immersive circuses. 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, through March 27.
“Wait till 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.” Arts Fuse review
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, 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, 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.
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, 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.” Arts Fuse review
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, Boston, 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… “ Arts Fuse review
Bootycandy by Robert O’Hara. Directed by Summer L. Williams. Staged by the SpeakEasy Stage Company at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, 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.”
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, through March 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, through March 26.
“The 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 in a humor- and nostalgia-filled pastiche of early ’90s pop culture that thoughtfully captures the joy and torment of adolescence.”
Hanna Azoulay-Hasfari: In Residence at Israeli Stage. At various stages, through April 3.
“Hanna Azoulay-Hasfari is one of Israel’s leading playwrights and filmmakers and she is Israeli Stage’s first Sephardic (Moroccan-Israeli) playwright in residence.” The line-up of activities include “a workshop of a brand new play called Dina that will culminate in two World Premiere performances April 1 & 3 featuring Boston performers Maureen Keiller, Jeremiah Kissel, Dale Place and Pat Shea and Shanae Burch (Milk Like Sugar). While in residence, Azulay-Hasfari will be lecturing at Emerson College (March 29), Northeastern University, and Wellesley College, and will lead dialogue reflections at Brandeis University (April 1) and Boston University (April 3).”
The Realness: a break beat play by Idris Goodwin. Directed by Wendy Goldberg. Staged by the Merrimack Repertory Theatre, 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA, through April 12.
“The love story at the center of The Realness lets us view the seismic events of the mid-90’s hip-hop scene insightfully, through a compassionate human lens. Audiences will see this world through the eyes of T.O., who immerses himself in the hip-hop culture he’s only observed from the safety of the suburbs, and falls hard for a captivating MC.”
Mistero Buffo by Dario Fo. A new American translation by Bob Scanlan and Walter Valeri. Directed by Scanlan. Produced in partnership with Suffolk University with support from Italy in US & Back Deck, staged by the Poets’ Theatre at the Modern Theatre at Suffolk University, 525 Washington Street, Boston, through March 26.
This production is part of a Festival celebrating the 90th birthday of Italian Nobel Laureate Dario Fo. The play “revives the Medieval Mystery Play, with side-splitting modern interpretations of stories from the Gospels. But these ‘mysteries’ turn these familiar tales upside down.” The high-powered cast includes Remo Airaldi, Benjamin Evett, and Debra Wise. The staging promises to be a satiric treat with all the blasphemous trimmings.
Blues for Mister Charlie by James Baldwin. Directed by Brian McEleney. Staged by the Trinity Repertory Company at The Chace Theater, Providence, RI, through April 1.
I refuse to highlight the Trinity Repertory Company’s current production of the weary warhorse To Kill a Mockingbird. I wrote a column about the absurdity of producing an adaptation of the Harper Lee novel, especially in a season supposedly dedicated to “Rebels, Renegades, and Pioneers.” Perhaps embarrassed by the choice once it was publicly announced, the theater decided to schedule a production of the Baldwin play as a “companion piece.” It is receiving a limited run (3 performances), but it is good to have another perspective in an age of Black Lives Matter.
Can You Forgive Her? by Gina Gionfriddo. Directed by Peter DuBois. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, March 25 through April 24.
This dark comedy by Gionfriddo, a two-time Pulitzer finalist, “takes place on Halloween night, and its central character Miranda is desperate for a way out. She’s up to her neck in debt, she might be falling for the man who pays her bills, and now her date has threatened to kill her. A charismatic stranger offers shelter and a drink; where will the night take them?” A play inspired by one of the issues driving the campaign of Bernie Sanders? The script “riffs on ideas from personal security to student debt and income inequality, striking a balance between character-driven drama and larger social issues.” Must we be oh-so-careful about maintaining that conventional balance between the personal and the political? Just asking …
Cymbeline by William Shakespeare. Directed by Evan Yionoulis. Staged by the Yale Rep at the University Theatre, 222 York Street, New Haven, CT, March 25 through April 16.
OBIE Award-winning director Yionoulis “brings Shakespeare’s dizzying romance to Yale Rep for the first time.” “Dizzying” is the right word for this magnificent but shelter-skelter play, one of the Bard’s wilder excursions in genre-busting. George Bernard Shaw found the complicated ending so confusing he wrote his own ‘improvement.’
Blackberry Winter by Steve Yockey. Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary. Staged by New Rep at the Charles Mosesian Theater, the Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown, MA, March 26 through April 17.
A National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere: “Success, meticulous planning, and an eye for detail have in no way prepared Vivienne for the news inside that little white envelope. Even with the aid of a creation myth of her own imagination and her insomnia-driven baking, apprehension takes hold as she grapples with the frightening thought of her mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis.” The impressive cast includes Adrianne Krstansky, Paula Langton, and Ken Cheeseman.
My Life as a Man, created and performed by Geddy Aniksdal. At the Charlestown Working Theater, Charlestown, MA, on March 25 and 26. Mr. Fumblebody, created and performed by Lars Vik at the Charlestown Working Theater on March 26 at 2 p.m. (for all ages).
Both shows from Norway’s Grenland Friteater will be performed in English: My Life as a Man “is an autobiographical excursion into the story of Geddy Aniksdal’s Norwegian working class origin. A story of finding a room of one’s own.” (Lars Vik’s lecture/demonstration The Noble Art of Falling immediately follows the performance.) Mr. Fumblebody “is an hilarious show for all ages that combines slapstick, vivid audience participation, and improvisation.” Always heartening to see homage paid to the masters, Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin.
– Bill Marx
Leap of Faith Orchestra
March 22 at 8 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA.
It’s being billed as “Probabalistic Analogues: A Night of Pure Improvisation.” Okay then. The program breaks down into various subgroups and then a grand finale with everyone. The players are PEK on clarinets, saxophones, and double reeds; Glynis Lomon on cello, “aquasonic,” and voice; Steve Norton on clarinets and saxophones; Yuri Zbitnov and Keviny Dacey on “drums and metal”; Andria Nicodemou on vibes; trumpeter Bob Moores; trombonist Sara Honeywell; and bassist Tony Leva.
March 24 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
The title of the show is “Vinicius Cantuaria Plays Jobim,” which is almost all you have to know. The singer-songwriter-guitarist is plugged into the heart of the bossa nova tradition. He’s played and recorded with Brad Mehldau and Bill Frisell, among many others. This duo show, with pianist Vitor Goncalves, should be special indeed.
March 24 at 8 p.m.
Red Room at Café 939, Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA
The unpredictability and unaffected assurance of Minneapolis-born trumpeter John Raymond’s flexible lines have made him one of the most compelling new talents to come along in a while. A confirmed modernist, on his most recent disc, Real Feels, he digs into roots — his and others’ — with singular takes on Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” Simon and Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair,” and traditional numbers like “Amazing Grace” and “I’ll Fly Away.” His joined at Café 939 by his trio-mates on that album, guitarist Gilad Hekselman and drummer Colin Stranahan.
March 25 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
Guitarist Stanley Jordon has been a star from his signing to Blue Note in 1985 — the first new artist on the revived label — when his buoyant two-hand tapping technique became a crossover sensation.
March 26 at 7 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA.
Saxophonist and lyricon player Jorrit Dijkstra and keyboardist Pandelis Karayorgis founded the Whammies in 2012 to explore the music of the late, great soprano saxophonist and composer Steve Lacy, whom Dijkstra had studied with at New England Conservatory. Three CDs later, the lineup has changed a bit, and for this show this internationally focused band is bringing in Dutch “vocal acrobat and sound poetry expert” Jaap Blonk. Tonight’s crew also includes trombonist Jeb Bishop, bassist Nate McBride, and drummer Curt Newton.
Gerry Beaudoin Trio
March 26 at 8 p.m.
Third Life Studio, Somerville MA.
Gerry Beaudoin unwavering focus on traditional blues and jazz guitar has made him a local hero of sorts, someone who can throw down with the likes of Duke Robillard and J. Geils, or lead a quietly intense swinging jazz trio. He’s joined by his son, Gerard Beaudoin III, on vibes and the distinguished bassist Bob Nieske.
– Jon Garelick
Woman Artists and Female Subjects: From the Boston School to Cindy Sherman, a lecture by Susan Erony. At the Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Library, Gloucester, MA, on March 22.
Artist and curator Erony will talk, no doubt with insight, about the various images of the feminine by female artists.
– Bill Marx
Roots and World Music
Chiquito Team Band
At the Malayas Night Club, Lawrence, MA
This Dominican combo have become one of the biggest salsa sensations in years, thanks in no small part to its hit “La Llamada de Mi Ex.”
Cabot Theater, Beverly, MA
The godfather of the British blues scene, 82-year old multi-instrumentalist Mayall secured his place in the history books when he hired the likes of Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood, and Mick Taylor for various editions of his Bluesbreakers. His band has remained a training ground for blues hotshots, and the versatile Mayall delivers both blues-rock and traditional shuffles with the creativity that has been his calling card. Now an LA resident, his Boston-area shows have become increasingly rare.
– Noah Schaffer
Academy of St.-Martin-in-the-Fields
Presented by the Celebrity Series
March 20, 3 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
Due to a minor injury, Pamela Frank has been forced to withdraw from her appearances with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Joshua Bell will still be performing on a program that features a mix of German and Russian favorites that includes Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony, and Beethoven’s post-Classical Symphony no. 8.
Shostakovich’s Symphony no. 8
Presented by the Boston Symphony Orchestra
March 24-26 and 29, 8 p.m. (1:30 p.m. on Friday)
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
Andris Nelsons continues his Shostakovich cycle with the Eighth Symphony, possibly, the greatest and most heartbreaking “war symphony” anyone’s yet penned. Nikolai Lugansky joins the orchestra for Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Giya Kancheli’s Dixi receives its U.S. premiere.
Presented by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project
March 25, 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
Gil Rose and BMOP conclude their 20th-anniversary season with a free performance of David Del Tredici’s rarely-heard late-20th-century masterpiece. Courtenay Budd, a leading Del Tredici interpreter, takes on the demanding vocal part.
– Jonathan Blumhofer
Muir String Quartet
March 21 at 8 p.m.
At Boston University’s Tsai Performance Center. 685 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA
The Muir Quartet has been in residence at Boston University’s College of Fine Arts since 1983, and gives annual summer workshops at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI).
The Boston Conservatory Chamber Series
March 25 at 8 p.m.
At the Boston Conservatory/Seully Hall, 8 The Fenway, Boston, MA
The evening’s performers will include Boston Conservatory faculty members Michael Hanley, Judith Eissenberg, Markus Placci, Rictor Noren, Andrew Mark, Ya-Fei Chuang, Lila Brown, and Rhonda Rider. The program consists of Barber’s Dover Beach, op. 3; Piston’s Duo for viola and cello; Brahms’ Piano Quartet No. 1 in g minor.
March 26 at 8 p.m.
At Jordan Hall/New England Conservatory, 290 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA
The celebrated quartet, presented by the Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts, will perform an all-Beethoven evening: Quartet in E-Flat Major, Op. 127 and Quartet in F Major, Op. 59, No. 1.
– Susan Miron
When God Isn’t Green: A World-Wise Journey to Places Where Religious Practice and Environmentalism Collide
March 21 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
The humorist travels around the world — observing absurd religious traditions from Santeria to Bombay, fasting on whale blubber and plucking dead eagles — in order to understand the ways in which modern religious practices can coexist with nature.
Dinner with Emerson: Poems
March 21 at 7 p.m.
Newtonville Books, Newton Centre MA
When it comes to the proverbial list of best dinner companions in literary history, the amiable Sage of Concord would be high on anyone’s list. Mnookin’s poetry mines the minutiae of the everyday for the sake of her poetics, and in this collection she expresses emotion while keeping sentimentality at bay.
Forbidden City: Poems
March 22 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
Mazur is the distinguished artist-in-residence at Emerson College and founded the Blacksmith House Poetry Reading series in Cambridge. She comes to Porter Square to read from her latest collection, which delves into the tangled relationship between mortality and art.
Shylock Is My Name:
Stephen Greenblatt and Howard Jacobson In Conversation
March 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Congregation Kehillath Israel, Brookline MA
Two literary heavyweights sit down to discuss the legacy of Shylock, the infamous Jewish moneylender in The Merchant of Venice. Shakespeare scholar Greenblatt is Harvard Professor of the Humanities and the Pulitzer and National Book Award-winning author of The Swerve: How The World Became Modern. Jacobson, the author of the Man Booker Prize winning novel The Finkler Question, has penned a forthcoming modern-day retelling of The Merchant of Venice from Shylock’s point of view.
The Beats Abroad: A Global Guide to the Beat Generation
March 23 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
The Beat writers are, understandably, thought of as principally American artists, but their peripatetic lifestyles made it possible for them to experience bohemian kicks on almost every continent. Morgan, a biographer of Alan Ginsberg, follows the bohemians’ global quest for experience, from Paul Bowles and the hash houses of Tangiers to Gary Snyder and Zen meditations on the mountains of Japan.
Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
In Conversation with Bret Antony Johnston
March 23 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
As part of the ongoing New Voices in Fiction series, Sweeney will read from and discuss her debut novel, in which four drastically different siblings fight over a family inheritance. The Plumb clan fit squarely into the spectacularly dysfunctional tradition of the family novel.
Reflections of A Love Supreme: Motown Through The Eyes of Fans
March 26 at 1 p.m.
Tatnuck Bookseller, Westborough MA
Surprising as it may be, in their heyday The Supremes were the biggest band of all time. As were countless Motown-affiliated bands, with immortal songwriting and instant-hit songs. Ingrassia takes us into the heart of the Motown phenomenon by examining the label’s still passionate worldwide fan base.
– Matt Hanson
Rock, Pop, and Folk
Take a midweek break to celebrate the meteoric rise of this Boston quartet from small local venues to the House of Blues. The Boston gig is one of several sold-out East Coast dates that the band plays before heading across the pond for a three-week tour of Europe.
One of the Boston area’s hottest new venues hosts a quadruple bill of local acts that qualify as up-and-coming, well-established and rising, and full-on legendary. One could show up at almost any time after 8 p.m. and easily get his or her money’s worth, but why miss a single second of a line-up like this?
The virtuoso guitarist who was the teacher of future virtuoso guitarists Steve Vai and Kirk Hammett swings into Boston this Saturday. If you are walking on Tremont Street late this night, be prepared to see scores of dropped jaws coming from the direction of 1 Hamilton Place.
Field Music is an English band led by brothers Peter and David Brewis. Its unique pop music is taut and funky, with a sound that recalls the polished perfection of Steely Dan, the tense urgency of XTC and Wire, and the sophistication of Joe Jackson. Further clues of its influences can be found on a 2012 covers EP that includes songs by Syd Barrett, the Pet Shop Boys, Leonard Cohen, John Cale, and The Beatles via Ringo Starr. The band’s tour in support of its new album Commontime stops at Great Scott on Sunday.
Upcoming and on sale:
The Life Electronic (Great Scott, March 25); Bonnie Raitt (Orpheum Theatre, March 29); Eli “Paperboy” Reed (March 30, Brighton Music Hall); Young Fathers (April 1, Great Scott); The Smithereens (April 2, Larcom Theatre); Yuck (April 11, The Sinclair); Iggy Pop (April 11, Orpheum Theatre); Buddy Guy (April 14, The Cabot); Belinda Carlisle (April 15, The Cabot); Parquet Courts (April 15, Paradise Rock Club); Loudon Wainwright III (April 22, Me & Thee Coffeehouse); Bob Mould with Ted Leo (May 1, Paradise Rock Club); Super Furry Animals (The Sinclair, May 3); The Brian Jonestown Massacre (May 7, Paradise Rock Club); Peter Wolf (May 12, Somerville Theatre); Barry & The Remains (May 13, Once Ballroom); The Sonics, The Woggles, Barrence Whitfield & The Savages (June 3, Brighton Music Hall); Nada Surf (June 4, Paradise Rock Club); Diiv (June 7, The Sinclair); Modern English (June 7, Middle East Downstairs); Dungen (June 16, The Sinclair); Bob Dylan and Mavis Staples (July 14, Blue Hills Bank Pavilion); Bryan Ferry (July 31, Blue Hills Bank Pavilion)
– Blake Maddux
Wild Reading: Animals in Children’s Book Art
March 26 – July 3
Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT
From “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” to Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book stories to Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, animals have been a wildly popular feature of tales intended for children. Their illustrations have become part of the ground plan of childhood. This exhibition will include over thirty children’s book illustrations paired with specimens from the Bruce Museum’s old school natural history collections. The result will undoubtedly be a project that can go off in a dozen fascinating directions, from zoology and taxidermy to art, reading and fantasy, and the startling images and narratives that underpin our earliest understanding of the world.
– Peter Walsh