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
Wicked Queer: The Boston LGBT Film Festival
Through April 10
Various Local Venues
Rebranded “Wicked Queer,” the annual LGBT film festival comes to various theaters in Boston and Cambridge after a kick-off screening at the Institute of Contemporary Art. Some 120 films from over 20 countries will be shown.
Highlights of the Narrative Program:
The opening night attraction proffers Viva, a film set in contemporary Havana that deals with a gay hairdresser who wants to become a drag performer at the same time he is attempting to reconcile with his hostile dad. The next night’s film is That’s Not Us, a romantic comedy that follows three twenty-something couples as they travel to a beach house to enjoy the last days of summer. Their lives are not as serene as they seem to be. Spa Night is a Sundance hit about a young Asian-American man who discovers his sexuality and cultural identity at a LA spa. Paris 05:59 is a provocative French drama that revolves around what happens after two men hook up at a Paris sex club. S&M Sally, which is receiving its New England premiere, is a comedy about sex, love, and the most important question of all — who’s on top? Arianna from Italy explores a teenage girl’s quest to understand her sexual identity. Desire Will Set You Free is a freewheeling, nocturnal journey through Berlin’s underground and queer scene. I Promise You Anarchy from Mexico is a dark story that looks at the volatile relationship between two young skateboarders who become involved in a criminal scheme. First Girl I Loved is a Sundance success about a lesbian Latina high-schooler in Los Angeles who falls in love with a young woman who is even deeper in the closet than she is. Summertime from France looks to be a contemporary ‘period drama’ about a young lesbian in Paris who becomes active in feminist politics during the 1970s. Hunky Døry tells the story of a glam-rocker whose life is up-ended when he’s forced to take custody of his 11 year old son.
Documentary films include:
Major explores the life and campaigns of Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, a formerly incarcerated Black transgender elder and activist who has been fighting for the rights of trans women of color for over 40 years. In Uncle Howard, Aaron Brookner reclaims the legacy of his late uncle and discovers a memorable archive of New York cultural life in the process. Fursonas looks at the cultural phenomenon known as “Furries,” in which people dress in anthropomorphic full-body costumes and role-play – many of these scenerios turn out to be gay. Reel in the Closet is Stu Maddox’s latest documentary; in this film LGBTs reconnect with their cultural past through archival footage. Danny Says chronicles the life of rock music publicist Danny Fields and his crucial role in shaping the careers of such talents as The Doors, Cream, Lou Reed, Nico, Judy Collins and the Ramones. Full Schedule and Venue Link
– Tim Jackson
PLEASE NOTE: Due to technical issues, the previously scheduled Laugh, Clown, Laugh has been cancelled.The Blackbird will screen in its place at the Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, MA on April 3 at 5 p.m.
Not familiar with this silent film, which features the team of director Tod Browning and Lon Chaney, but the year after they made this yarn about a thief (The Blackbird) who falls for Mademoiselle Fifi, the duo released The Unknown, one of the most bizarre movies ever made by a mainstream studio, so this film should be well worth checking out. Still, I doubt it will be as good as Chaney’s Laugh, Clown, Laugh. Live musical accompaniment by Bertrand Laurence.
Intolerance, directed by D.W. Griffith.
April 3 at 2 p.m.
At the Somerville Theatre, Davis Square, Somerville, MA
An opportunity to see one of the most ambitious, eye-filling silent films ever made. Stung by criticism that Birth of a Nation was racist, Griffith trumpets his moral good intensions in a massive narrative that cuts across the centuries: the epic intercuts “four separate stories about man’s inhumanity to man. In Babylon, pacifist Prince Belshazzar is brought down by warring religious factions. In Judea, the last days of Christ (Howard Gaye) are depicted in the style of a Passion play. In France, Catherine de Medici presides over the slaughter of the Huguenots. And in California, a woman (Mae Marsh) pleads for the life of her husband (Robert Harron) when he is sentenced to hang for a murder he did not commit.” Live music by Jeff Rapsis — who will be getting quite a workout accompanying this epic installment in the Silents Please series.
Red Heroine, directed by Wen Yimin. At the Boston University Law School Alumni Auditorium, 767 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA, on April 7 at 7 p.m. (Free)
A real treat: a 1929 silent kung-fu film that was made at the height of Shanghai’s craze for martial arts. The plot has something to do with a maiden who is kidnapped by outlaws and takes revenge. Accompanied with a live musical score by the Devil Music Ensemble.
– Bill Marx
The Dream of Shahrazad
April 6 at 7:30 p.m.
At the Somerville Theater Screening Room, Davis Square, Somerville, MA
Music & movies Around The Corner is a series of new films about music from around the world. This entry is from Egypt and looks at recent political events in that country and in Turkey through the lens of the classic story collection known as The 1001 nights. A mix of observational documentary, concert film, and polemical essay, the movie uses the metaphor of Shahrazad (the princess who saves women’s lives by telling stories) to explore how creativity and dissent can be used to respond to oppression.
ReelAbilities Film Festival
April 4 through 14
The Boston Jewish film Festival presents 10 days of films by and about people with disabilities. Far from being depressing, these films are engaging and inspiring. They are just not mainstream films. It is well worth checking out the schedule for a list of showings and descriptions.
The Way He Looks on Monday, April 4 at 6:30 p.m. at Emerson College, Boston, MA
A romantic and gentle coming-of-age story, Leo, a blind teenager, is determined to leave Sao Paolo to study abroad. A discussion will follow the screening director Daniel Ribeiro. Free.
Mimi and Dona on Tuesday, April 5 at 6 o.m. at Cambridge Public Library, Cambridge, MA
This personal and touching film spotlights the challenges confronting aging caregivers of those with disabilities and details the ripple effects. Discussion follows. Free.
Breakfast at Ina’s on Wednesday, April 6 at 7 p.m. at West Newton Cinema, Newton, MA
Known around Chicago as the “Breakfast Queen,” Ina Pinkney is a local legend with an incredible life story to tell. A favorite at the 2015 Boston Jewish Film Festival. Discussion with the film’s subject, Ina Pinkney, follows the screening.
Autism In Love on Thursday, April 7 at 6:45 p.m. at the Leventhal-Sidman JCC, Newton, MA
A warm and stereotype shattering look at four people pursuing and managing romantic relationships. Free.
Reel Shorts: A Selection of Short Films on Thursday, April 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Springfield JCC, MA
Teach Me To Sea Friday on April 8 at 10 a.m. at the Cardinal Cushing Centers, Hanover, MA
This film follows students from the Perkins School for the Blind on an ambitious five-day senior class cruise to Mexico.
Gabriel on Sunday at April 10 at 12 noon at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Gabriel (Rory Culkin) longs for stability and happiness amidst an ongoing struggle with a mental illness and is convinced that reuniting with his ex-girlfriend is the key. Discussion follows screening. Free.
Do You Believe in Love? on Sunday, April 10 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Tova has had remarkable success as a matchmaker, specializing in finding matches for people with disabilities. Funny, heart-warming, and a favorite at the 2015 Boston Jewish Film Festival.
Becoming Bulletproof on April 10 at 3 p.m. at the Jericho in Holyoke, MA
A diverse group of people with disabilities from across the U.S. takes on leading roles in a magical, rip-roaring, costume-drama Western, filmed on vintage Hollywood locations. Discussion and reception follows the screening with one of the film’s subjects, Jeremy Vest. (Free, but reservations requested; call 413.538.7450.)
The Animated Cosmos of Karen Aqua
April 9 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, MA
The late Karen Aqua was the area’s best known and most tireless animation artist. Her husband, musician and artist Ken Field, will be on hand for a retrospective of her work: “Nonverbal, elemental and animalistic, her work delves into a mystical realm of symbol, ritual and ceremony that is both earthly and otherworldly. The flowing, androgynous everyhuman figures of her early films evolve into dancing tribal characters who often become one with their patterned, moving landscapes” (HFA).
— Tim Jackson
Museum of Fine Arts
The MFA is interweaving live dance into its exhibition The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris. The new seven-minute solo (choreographed by The National Ballet of Canada’s Robert Binet) will be performed two to three times per day, April 6-10, by Corps de Ballet member Spencer Hack alongside the artwork that inspired it.
Dances at Noon
April 8 at 12 p.m.
Jackson Dance Lab, Tufts University
The Tufts Department of Drama and Dance presents an hour-long informal choreography showing, featuring local artists Jody Weber, Olivier Besson, James Morrow, and Peter DiMuro. Guests are invited to stay for a post-performance discussion with the choreographers. This is a free event.
We Create! Celebrating Women in the Arts
April 8 & 9 at 7 p.m.
Marsha Parrilla/Danza Orgánica debuts its third annual We Create! Celebrating Women in the Arts this weekend, highlighting new work by female Massachusetts artist. The theme of this year’s presentation is “acculturation.”
April 8 & 9 at 8 p.m.
Institute of Contemporary Art
Yanira Castro’s Court/Garden promises to deconstruct the “fourth wall” between audience and performer, while deriving inspiration from imperial ballets, spectatorship, and video feeds.
– Merli V. Guerra
April 3 at 5 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA.
San Diego pianist and composer Danny Green has a really nice feeling for blues-swing on his new Altered Narratives, and it informs the relaxed virtuosity of everything he does, including Brazilian and classical. He celebrates the new CD as part of a 10-city tour with his fine trio comprising bassist Justin Grinnell and drummer Julien Cantelm.
April 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA.
The endlessly inventive quartet Clear Audience — saxophonist Andy Voelker, guitarist Steve Fell, bassist Jef Charland, and drummer Luther Gray — released one of the noteworthy albums of 2015, Medicine Ball, mixing Fell’s compositions with free group improvisations.
Mili Bermejo/Dan Greenspan
April 5 at 7 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA.
The husband-wife duo of singer-composer Mili Bermejo and bassist Dan Greenspan return to the Lily Pad with their blend of original and cover tunes, exploring a broad range of jazz and pan-American song.
Alfredo Rodriguez Trio
April 5 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
Cuban expat Alfredo Rodriguez has a broad-ranging style — a jazz pianist with a soulful flair for son and other rootsy vocal song forms. He joined by bassist Peter Slavov and drummer Henry Cole.
Rudresh Mahanthappa/Neil Leonard
April 7 at 7 p.m.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA.
Saxophonist/composers Rudresh Mahanthappa and Neil Leonard have been working on “Reverberations” since 2011 — “an extended work that bridges ancient and modern perspectives on sound. Leonard and Mahanthappa perform on saxophones and computer” with visual projections by the renown Cuban-born artist Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons. “The work engages a dialog between art, sound, and music by artists who have long maintained a transdisciplinary practice.”
Wadada Leo Smith
April 7 and 8 at 7:30 and 9 p.m.
John Knowles Paine Concert Hall, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
The vastly influential trumpeter, composer, sound experimenter, and teacher Wadada Leo Smith is officially the Eileen Southern Distinguished Visitor at Harvard this week (last year’s Visitors were Tania Maria and Angelique Kidjo). And he’s something of the guest of honor at Harvard prof Vijay Iyer’s “Creative Music Convergence” mini-festival — which should be two evenings of extraordinary music. Thursday’s 7:30 show features Smith and Iyer, (their new ECM disc is A cosmic rhythm with every stroke, which garnered an admiring Arts Fuse review) and flutist Nicole Mitchell with cellist Tomeka Reid and drummer Mike Reed. The 9 p.m. show includes cellist Okkyung Lee and the saxophonist Steve Lehman’s octet. Friday’s 7:30 show is pianist Craig Taborn as well as Smith with composer, drummer, and laptop percussionist Ikue Mori. At 9 p.m. it’s pianist Courtney Bryan and drummer Tyshawn Sorey’s Double Trio.
Ryan Dugre/Jonah Parzen-Johnson/Dave Miller
April 9 at 8 p.m.
Third Life Studio, Somerville, MA.
Third Life Studio and the Mandorla Music Series present three experimental solo artists: guitarist Ryan Dugre, baritone saxophonist and analog synth player Jonah Parzen-Johnson, and guitarist Dave Miller.
April 12 at 7:30 p.m.
Shubert Theater, Boston, MA.
The freakishly talented bassist, composer, and singer Esperanza Spalding is these days presenting her unique jazz-pop hybrid in the guise of a braided and large-bespectacled alter-ego, Emily D, in the wake of her album Emily’s D+ Evolution.
– Jon Garelick
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
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.”
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.” Arts Fuse review.
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, 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 …
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, 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.
Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass adapted by Andre Gregory. Directed by Matthew Wood. Staged by imaginary beasts at the Plaza Black Box Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont Street, Boston MA, through April 23.
“Originally created by The Manhattan Project under the direction of André Gregory, this is an Alice for an anxious age – where unsettling shadows linger around every bend, and madness waits at the end of every path. Carroll’s Alice novels are combined into a delightful yet startling tale that brings Alice face-to-face with the likes of the temperamental Red Queen, the eccentric Humpty Dumpty, the enigmatic White Knight, and a host of other unusual characters.”
Cymbeline by William Shakespeare. Directed by Evan Yionoulis. Staged by the Yale Rep at the University Theatre, 222 York Street, New Haven, CT, 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.’
Speech and Debate by Stephen Karam. Directed by Rebecca Bradshaw. Staged by Bad Habit Productions at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, Boston, MA, through April 10.
Kids to the rescue: “Three teenage misfits in Salem, Oregon, discover they are linked by a sex scandal that’s rocked their town. When one of them sets out to expose the truth, secrets become currency, the stakes get higher, and the trio’s connection grows deeper in this searching, fiercely funny dark comedy with music.”
Body & Sold by Deborah Lake Fortson. Directed by Judy Braha. At Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA on April 3 at 2 p.m. ($10 Suggested Donation).
This production of Fortson’s award-winning play, based on interviews with young survivors of sex trafficking in Boston and four other American cities, will be directed by Judy Braha, Head of the MFA Directing Program at Boston University’s School of Theatre. The staging features Boston University students. This performance is part of the yearlong city-wide initiative THE BODY & SOLD PROJECT, which aims to raise awareness of the sex trafficking epidemic by presenting readings of the play around town. Arts Fuse interview with Fortson.
That Time the House Burned Down by MJ Halberstadt. Directed by Stephanie LeBolt. Staged by Fresh Ink Theatre at the Boston Playwrights Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA, April 8 through 23.
A “dark new comedy” where spirits of dead family pet and toys come to the rescue of a dysfunctional family. May be more effective than a visit from TV’s Dr. Phil. The plot: “Mommy and Daddy Patterson keep careful control of their home, sheltering Sonny and Daughtery from the questions and complications of the outside world. But when Daughtery’s search for answers forces her parents to confront some hard truths, the perpetually-recycled soul of the family pets teams up with a rejected American Girl doll to help save the Pattersons from themselves.”
Arnie Louis and Bob by Katie Pearl. Directed by Melissa Kievman. Staged by the Trinity Repertory Company at the Dowling Theater, Providence, Rhode Island, April 7 through May 8.
The world premiere of what is probably a sentimental version Mark Twain’s The Mysterious Stranger (“Maybe this world is another planet’s hell.”): “Welcome to the home of three older men — two brothers and their cousin — who are trying to find meaning in their lives in their golden years. Arnie uses meditation. Bob loves pop culture. But Louis, no matter how hard he tries, can’t seem to find anything that works — not online dating, not anti-depressants, not moving back to his childhood home. He thinks all is lost… until he’s visited by a fantastical stranger.”
Small Infinities by Alan Brody. Directed by Wes Savick. Staged by MIT Music and Theater Arts at MIT’s Kresge Little Theater, 48 Mass Ave, Boston, MA, April 7 through 16.
Brody’s historical drama traces Sir Isaac Newton’s “obsession with finding the unity of God’s design through science, alchemy, the Bible – and the human relationships he destroys in his quest. In the end he believes he has become the assassin of God and a failure.”
Arcadia by Tom Stoppard. Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner. Produced by The Nora Theatre Company/ a Catalyst Collaborative@MIT Production at the Central Square Theater, Cambridge, MA, through May 1.
A revival of one of Stoppard’s most effective dovetailing of intellect and emotion, a time-tripping historical drama that is “a romantic and funny exploration of the heart, the sciences, and how history is miscreated.”
Threesome by Yussef El Guindi. Directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques. Staged by Apollinaire Theatre Company at Chelsea Theatre Works, 189 Winnisimmet St., Chelsea, MA, April 8 through May 7.
This polemical/melodramatic whirligig of this script “begins as a bawdy bedroom comedy whose main characters, a heterosexual Egyptian-American couple, invite a white American man into their bed. Over two acts it transforms into something darker, as all three grapple with the fallout of sexual assault, infidelity, war and the pain of lost hope, both political and personal.”
Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play by Anne Washburn. Score by Michael Friedman. Lyrics by Washburn. Directed by A. Nora Long. Music Director, Allyssa Jones. Choreographer, Yo-El Cassell. Produced by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston at 40 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA, April 8 through May 7.
This “funny, dark, frightening, theatrical, and a completely immersive experience takes place after an unknown global disaster and follows the evolution of a beloved story, from campfire retelling to high art. The story the survivors tell? The “Cape Feare” episode of The Simpsons!” Note: Due to the immersive experience of Mr. Burns, there will be no late seating.
– Bill Marx
Roots and World Music
While his credits inevitably mention his 1967-69 stint in Fairport Convention, Iain Matthews has had a prolific if low-key career in the intervening years. The first incarnation of Plainsong, his harmony-oriented folk combo, debuted in 1972. Matthews and fellow original member Andy Roberts are behind the revival. Their latest LP, Reinventing Richard, pays homage to Richard Fariña, the poet and songwriter who, along with his wife Mimi, was a mainstay of the Cambridge folk scene until he died in a motorcycle accident 50 years ago.
Lily Honigberg presents Nordic Noir
St. Botolph Bldg, room G01, New England Conservatory, Boston, MA
NEC student Honigberg cut her teeth playing violin with some prestigious classical ensembles, but her interests are wide-ranging, as proven by tonight’s program: Irish, klezmer, & roma music, followed by a film noir improvisation.
Music for a Celebratory Occasion
April 9, 4 to 8 p.m.
Arts at the Armory Cafe, Somerville, MA
Journeys in Sound curator John Bechard just celebrated that series’ 50th show with Glenn Jones’ sold-out LP release party, and now he’s celebrating his own 60th birthday. Many of the artists who have graced his past programs will reappear for short sets — consider it a sampler of some of Boston’s most innovative musicians. At press time the roster was Elinor Speirs, Olivia Pérez Collellmir, the Thiago Gomes/Gustavo D’Amico Duo, Priya Carlberg with Shane Simpson, and Elly Hoyt with Drew Wesely.
Super MegaFest ComicCon
Royal Plaza Hotel, Marlborough, MA
OK, it’s easy to snicker at an autograph convention where adult fanboys can take photos with Burt Reynolds, wrestling ace Mick Foley, and ex-Beatle Pete Best. But hold the easy sarcasm: the convention’s Saturday night Come Together concert includes the intriguing duo of Susan Cowsill and Mark Lindsay. They’ll do classics from the Cowsills and Paul Revere and the Raiders as well as cuts from their new debut CD, Love Is Strange. Also on hand are Joey Molland of Badfinger and Gary DeCarlo — he may not be a household name, but his voice will live for eternity thanks to his lead vocals on studio band Steam’s “Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye.”
– Noah Schaffer
Chen, Copland, and Ives
Presented by New England Conservatory
April 6, 7:30 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
Hugh Wolff conducts the NEC Symphony in two landmark American scores – Copland’s Appalachian Spring and Ives’ Symphony no. 2 – and David Yi directs the premiere of Yi Yiing Chen’s It Ripples.
Mozart and Bruckner
Presented by the Boston Symphony Orchestra
April 7-9 and 12, 8 p.m. (1:30 p.m. on Friday)
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
BSO concertmaster Malcolm Lowe and principal viola Steve Ansell are the soloists in Mozart’s marvelous Sinfonia concertante in E-flat major and Andris Nelsons conducts Bruckner’s rarely-heard but magnificent, Wagner-inspired Symphony no. 3.
Piston, Prokofiev, Kernis, etc.
Presented by Symphony Nova
April 8, 7:30 p.m.
Old South Church, Boston, MA
Symphony Nova offers a widely-varied program of scores by Mozart, Walter Piston (the Sinfonietta), Prokofiev (the Classical Symphony), Aaron Jay Kernis, and Schumann. Lawrence Isaacson conducts.
For the Violin
Presented by ALEA III
April 8, 8 p.m.
Tsai Performance Center, Boston, MA
Violinists from the studios of Yuri and Dana Mazurkevich perform a mix of pieces for one to several violins by familiar and not-so-familiar names, including Mozart, Ysaye, Vivaldi, and Khachaturian.
A Salute to the BSO
Presented by the Boston Civic Symphony
April 10, 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
Max Hobart leads the BCO in a concert of several works that are staples in the repertoire of the BSO, including pieces by John Williams and Brahms. BSO cellist Mickey Katz is soloist in Ernst Bloch’s Schelomo.
– Jonathan Blumhofer
First Monday at Jordan Hall
April 4 at 7:30 p.m.
At Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory, 290 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA
On the program: Beethoven’s Trio for Piano, Clarinet and Cello no 4 in B flat major, Op. 11; Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsen, D 965/Op. 129 (The Shepherd on the Rock); Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune; Fauré’s Quartet for Piano and Strings no 1 in C minor, Op. 15.
Bonjour mon cœur: Franco-Flemish chansons of love and lust
April 8 at 8 p.m.
At Church of the Advent, 30 Brimmer Street, Boston, MA
April 10 at 4 p.m.
At UForge Gallery, 767 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, MA
Tramontona’s latest vocal adventure is “a romp through the world of Franco-Flemish chansons! From the passionate longing of a distant love and risqué tales of exploits and desires to the beautiful music of Sermisey, Janequin, Crecquillon, and Lassus.”
The Tenor’s Suite
An opera by Joseph Summer
April 9 at 8 p.m.
At Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory, 290 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA
Shakespeare Concerts’ latest presentation gives us “Sumner Thompson as the tenor; David Salsbery Fry as the composer; Kathryn Guthrie as an idolator of the tenor; Neal Ferreira as the tenor’s student and paramour; James Dargan as the hotellier; and pianists SangYoung Kim and Victor Cayres. Music direction by Tim Ribchester.”
April 9, 7:30 p.m.
At Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
Urbanity Dance joins Emmanuel Music for the final program in Emmanuel’s Bach Reimagined series. The program features Bach’s The Contest Between Phoebus and Pan and Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins, the latter in an English translation by W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman. Lynn Torgove, Krista River, Dana Whiteside, and David Kravitz are among the several fine vocal soloists.
– Susan Miron
Rock, Pop, and Folk
The interminably freaky Japanese band returns to its reliable Allston stomping ground this Monday.
Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett have been playing together since they both appeared on the classic 1973 Little Feat album Dixie Chicken. Outside of Little Feat, the two have toured and recorded live albums as the Paul & Fred Acoustic Duo. Last April, they put on a sizzling show with the equally formidable New Orleans Suspects at Beverly’s Larcom Theatre (my review). This week the double bill will appear at the same town’s Cabot Street Cinema Theatre.
The spectacularly talented multi-instrumentalist is touring in support of his new album Are Your Serious, which is the typically prolific artist’s first full-length album of original material since 2012 (not that he’s been doing nothing since then). Joining him on the trek is the Brazilian psychedelic band Boogarins.
Yuck’s latest release Stranger Things is the first album that I have heard by the band. I happen to like it quite a bit, so I was somewhat surprised to read that the critical consensus is less than stellar. While I may lack the frame of reference necessary to know how Stranger Things compares to the London quartet’s first two albums, I can say that it is good enough to make me want to listen to both its predecessors, and maybe even show up at The Sinclair for a crash course next Monday.
Iggy Pop can currently be heard on Audi commercials singing the 1973 song “Search and Destroy” by his former band The Stooges. This is surely an odd and arguably unfortunate way for such a defiant icon to gain exposure, but the oft-called “Godfather of Punk” has got nothing to prove after nearly five decades as one of the most influential artists in rock. Pop’s phenomenal new album Post Pop Depression, which Queen of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme produced, will (presumably) be the focus of the Monday stop at the Orpheum.
Upcoming and on sale:
Aoife O’Donovan (April 13, The Sinclair); 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); Fruit Bats (May 7, Once Ballroom); Peter Wolf (May 12, Somerville Theatre); Barry & The Remains (May 13, Once Ballroom); Eagles of Death Metal (June 1, House of Blues); The Sonics, The Woggles, Barrence Whitfield & The Savages (June 3, Brighton Music Hall); Nada Surf (June 4, Paradise Rock Club); Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy (June 7, Regent Theatre); Diiv (June 7, The Sinclair); Modern English (June 7, Middle East Downstairs); Dungen (June 16, The Sinclair); Joe Jackson (July 12, Wilbur Theatre; Bryan Ferry (July 31, Blue Hills Bank Pavilion); Ani DiFranco (Shalin Liu Performance Center, September 1 and 2); An Evening with Little Feat (September 8, Wilbur Theatre); The Specials (September 12, House of Blues)
– Blake Maddux
April 4 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:15)
Memorial Church, Cambridge, MA
Marilynne Robinson is one of the most well-regarded and highly-influential writers working today: her invitation to sit down with President Obama took up two long parts in the New York Review of Books. She will give the 2016 Noble Lecture at Harvard University, with an introduction by Matthew Potts, Assistant Professor of Ministry Studies, Harvard Divinity School.
Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars
April 5 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
A look at history with a feminist/scientific lesson to teach. After WWII, the futuristically named Jet Propulsion Laboratory was in need of top-notch mathematicians to calculate velocities and to help plan the future of technology. They hired “an elite group of young women who, with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design, helped bring about the first American satellites, and made the exploration of the solar system possible.”
The Whole Harmonium: The Life of Wallace Stevens
April 6 at 7 p.m.
The Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley MA
It is generally agreed that the poet and insurance executive Wallace Stevens lived a fairly uneventful life. But he is now considered to be one of the major American poets of the 20th century; his ethereal, philosophical, and enigmatic poetry remains as mysteriously beautiful as ever. Mariani, acclaimed biographer of Robert Lowell, John Berryman, and W.C. Williams, will read and discuss the poet’s work and life.
The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Tell Us About the Good Life
In Conversation with Gish Jen
April 6 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
Puett teaches a course at Harvard University on ancient Chinese Philosophy, and it is one of the most popular classes at the school. Why are these thinkers attracting so much interest today? Puett explains how the wisdom and “radical openness” of ancient Chinese philosophers, from Confucius to Mencius, show us ways to live richer, more fulfilling lives.
Boston National Poetry Month Festival
At the Boston Public Library (Copley Square), and Northeastern University, Boston, MA
An ambitious presentation of all things poetical, from competition slams, readings, seminars on craft, and a “poetry set to music and dance” event. Participants for the 16th edition of the festival include major prize-winning poets, international musicians, plus college and high school students. Highlights include the premiere (with musical accompaniment) of “The Middle East,” a poem written for the world-renowned Middle East Restaurant & Nightclub in Cambridge’s Central Square. A few of the notable poets taking part in the shindig include: Rep. Denise Provost; Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Lloyd Schwartz; Richard Hoffman (Sr. Writer-In-Residence at Emerson College); and January O’Neil of Salem State University.
Listen, Liberal: Or, Whatever Happened to the Party of the People?
April 8 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30)
First Parish Church, Cambridge MA
The author of the indispensable What’s The Matter with Kansas? is back with a brand new examination of the way we live now. This time his analytical rigor and pyrotechnic wit is not targeted at the fraudulence of the GOP but at the Democratic party, who he argues has abandoned its traditional working-class base in favor of rule by market-oriented, “innovation” crazed technocrats.
A Night with Ty Burr
April 14 from 6:30- 8:30 p.m.
Boston Center for Adult Education, Boston MA
$50 tickets/ $43 for members
For one night only, the Boston Globe movie critic and author of four books, including Gods Like Us: On Movie Stardom and Movie Fame comes to Boston’s Center for Adult Education to talk about his passion for movie culture and his trials and tribulations as a film critic, culled from his decades of experience writing about film.
– Matt Hanson