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
April 11 on 7 p.m.
Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA
Jem Cohen’s brilliant Museum Hours (2013) used a chance meeting between an art museum guard and a Canadian tourist to kick off a meditation on art history and ways of seeing, from Brueghel to the city’s busy scenes. Counting, Cohen’s non-narrative, poetic documentary “captures life around the world in all its simplicity and diversity, as the film bounces back and forth from New York City to Russia to Turkey, and locales in between. There’s little narration, little noise at all outside of the hum of traffic or the whine of a train or the rustle of leaves. Most people in frame are seen from behind, or via reflection, or from a distance. And there are cats. Everywhere. Cohen isn’t as interested in faces as he is in urban tableaux.” (Guardian) Director Cohen will attend via Skype for a post screening Q&A. Presented by The DocYard.
April 11 at 7:30 p.m.
West Newton Cinema, 1296 Washington Street, West Newton, MA
Belmont World Film Screenings presents the New England premiere of a film that centers on the struggles of an Orthodox Jewish woman who lives in a vast cemetery on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives and struggles with her husband’s lack of interest in her. First-time writer/director Yaelle Kayam weaves a complex portrait of a severely constrained life. Followed by a discussion with Silvia Barack Fishman, Professor of Contemporary Jewish Life at Brandeis University.
April 10 – 14
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
Set during a mysterious reunion among old friends where something is quite palpably not right, this well-acted, beautifully modulated exercise represents director Karyn Kusama’s strongest work in years, revealing an assurance of tone, craft and purpose that haven’t been in evidence since her Sundance prize-winning debut, 2000′s Girlfight. It’s in the slow-and-steady buildup where the film excels, as Kusama keeps the tension simmering away beneath the sounds of clinking silverware and polite, nervous laughter. Bobby Shore’s elegantly skulking camera familiarizes us with virtually every inch of the house in which the action is confined, bathing the interiors in a seductively moody, almost amber glow. Phillip Blackford’s sound design adds to the eerie vibe, ensuring that we register every slammed door, shattered glass, and cut-off scream with perfect clarity. (Variety)
April 13 at 7:30 PM
Somerville Theater, Screening Room, Davis Square, Somerville, MA
This week the Music & Movies Around The Corner series focuses on what it sees as a documentary about “the world of Thai musical expressions, from traditional music to labor songs and classical pop to urban indie music, spanning different locales and generations. As nine musicians display their musical expression, the rural or urban environments that influenced their sound are also explored. The hands that play traditional instruments amid the red dust clouds, the work songs being hummed in front of grains awaiting harvest, and the indie music born out of concrete basements create a melodious ecosystem.”
Cemetery of Splendour
The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, MA
In Apichatpong (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives) Weerasethakul’s new film, “soldiers with a mysterious sleeping sickness are transferred to a temporary clinic in a former school. The memory-filled space becomes a revelatory world for housewife and volunteer Jenjira, as she watches over Itt, a handsome soldier with no family visitors. Jen befriends young medium Keng who uses her psychic powers to help loved ones communicate with the comatose men. Doctors explore ways, including coloured light therapy, to ease the mens’ troubled dreams. Jen discovers Itt’s cryptic notebook of strange writings and blueprint sketches. There may be a connection between the soldiers’ enigmatic syndrome and the mythic ancient site that lies beneath the clinic. Magic, healing, romance and dreams are all part of Jen’s tender path to a deeper awareness of herself and the world around her.” (MFA)
Above And Below
April 14 at 7 p.m.
Somerville Theatre in Davis Square, Somerville, MA
UMB Film Series presents “a mesmerizing plunge into the damaged psyches of five characters floating by on the margins of American society, from a couple scraping by in a Las Vegas drainage tunnel to the young woman determined to be among the first crew to colonize Mars. A perfect companion piece to the wave of post-apocalyptic stories flooding television and megaplexes, Steiner’s docu concentrates on five individuals who simply don’t fit into the modern world as we know it — a festival treasure that treats its subjects with a dignity that transcends judgment and a poetic sensibility that ranks it among the year’s most remarkable cinematic discoveries.” (Variety)
Leave Behind a Groove in the Earth: The Sam Black Church Story
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
This is the premiere of a film by Boston rocker/performer/photographer Duncan Wilder Johnson on the band Sam Black Church, which was known for its energetic live performances playing a frenetic blend of hardcore, metal, and thrash. The film showcases archival footage of the band in its element. Interviews help tell the story of a group of kids, originally from West Virginia and Washington D.C. who moved to Boston to go to college. “Influenced by everything from The Circle Jerks to Judas Priest, they created a sound, a style, and a live presence never experienced before, which soon became classic.” (Brattle )
April 17 at 10 a.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA
The Goethe-Institut German Film series presents a documentary from Iraqi filmmaker Samir that traces the emigrations of his family over more than half a century. “For American audiences, conditioned to view Iraq through the lens of contemporary wartime journalism as a primitive fractious land of Shiites, Sunnis and other sects in continual conflict, the documentary will be a revelation. Not so long ago Iraq was much more westernized than it is today, and scenes of Iraqis in Western garb, living comfortable middle-class lives in happier times, puts a lump in your throat.” (NY Times)
– Tim Jackson
April 15 & 16 at 8 p.m.
The Dance Complex
Dance Shorts features the work of seven female choreographers, with an emphasis on the careful editing of ideas within strict time limitations. Special guest choreographer Heidi Henderson presents the final work, which will feature these seven choreographers as performers.
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
Citi Shubert Theatre
The Celebrity Series of Boston brings Hubbard Street Dance Chicago to Boston for the fifth time since 1985. The group is renowned for its innovation and the engagement that it encourages between performers and audience.
Saturday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m.
First Church in Cambridge, Congregational U.C.C.
This intriguing new performance by V5 Dance makes use of audience-immersive choreography. The show emphasizes playful competition: viewers are encouraged to pick sides in a contest by voting on their phones. The results directly influence the choreography onstage in real time.
And further afield…
Debra Cash on “Enchanting Ballet”
Wednesday, April 13 at 7 p.m.
New Bedford, MA
Boston Dance Alliance Executive Director (and occasional Arts Fuse contributor) Debra Cash speaks on the topic of fairy tales and their influence on ballet choreography past and present. The talk will also incorporate video clips of different production of Cinderella, including a preview of the upcoming Moscow Festival Ballet’s version debuting on May 6.
– Merli V. Guerra
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 15.
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.” Arts Fuse review
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 10.
“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.”
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 … Arts Fuse review
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.”
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, through April 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, 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, through April 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.”
Threesome by Yussef El Guindi. Directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques. Staged by Apollinaire Theatre Company at Chelsea Theatre Works, 189 Winnisimmet St., Chelsea, MA, 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.”
Dog Act by Liz Duffy Adams. Directed by Diego Arciniegas. Music Direction by Eric Hamel. Staged by Theatre on Fire at the Charlestown Working Theater, Charlestown, MA, through April 23.
Another script in the “post-apocalyptic vaudeville” genre. And it comes with five original songs: “Follow the adventures of Zetta Stone, a traveling performer, and her companion Dog (a young man undergoing voluntary species demotion) as they wander through the former northeastern United States. Zetta, Dog and their little troupe are on their way to a gig in China, assuming they can find it…and survive the journey.”
Oh God by Anat Gov. Directed by Guy Ben-Aharon. Staged by Israeli Stage at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown, MA, April 14 through 30.
The script “explores the meaning of God in a secular society – the clash between the Biblical quest for answers from a higher power and the modern day quest for self-analysis with our new deity, the therapist.” The set-up: “a psychotherapist named Ella, single mother of an autistic child, gets a visit from a new, desperate patient, God.” Oh God has had a long history with Israeli Stage; the company presented the piece as a Staged Reading in September 2013 and have since then toured it to over 25 locations in 6 states.
Hear Word! Naija Women Talk True. Directed by Ifeoma Fafunwa. Presented by the American Repertory Theater, Division of Social Science, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Dance Center, Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, Mahindra Humanities Center, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and Theater, Dance & Media Concentration at Harvard University at the Harvard Dance Center, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA, April 15 through 17.
This American premiere is billed as a “powerful piece of performance art that combines artistry, social commentary, and true-life stories of inequality and transformation, delivered by some of Nigeria’s most talented actresses. The stories are based on real issues affecting the lives of women across Nigeria and examine the factors that limit their potential for independence, leadership, and meaningful contribution.” The production stars Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, Joke Silva, Bimbo Akintola, Omonor, Elvina Ibru, Ufuoma McDermott, Zara Udofia-Ejoh, Odenike, Rita Edward, and Debbie Ohiri. It features some adapted monologues made available by the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND). A.R.T. of Human Rights will presents a discussion with Ifeoma Fafunwa and Timothy P. McCarthy, Adjunct Lecturer on Public Policy, Program Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy on Monday April 11 @ 7:30 p.m. in Tsai Auditorium, 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA.
The School for Scandal by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. Adaptation by Steven Barkhimer. Directed by Paula Plum. Staged by the Actors’ Shakespeare Project at the Multicultural Arts Center, 41 2nd Street, Cambridge, MA, April 13 through May 8.
A terrific 18th century comedy that still holds up quite nicely, and the ASP is fielding a first-rate cast of performers who know how to generate laughter, including Richard Snee, Bobbie Steinbach, and Sarah Newhouse.
Murder Ballad by Julia Jordan and Juliana Nash. Directed by Wendy Overly. Music by Courtney Swain. Staged by Wilbury Theatre Group, 393 Broad Street, Providence, Rhode Island, April 14 through 30.
Another variation on the “love triangle gone wrong,” the musical “centers on Sara, an Upper West Sider who seems to have it all, but whose downtown past lingers enticingly and dangerously in front of her. Direct from a sold-out run in New York (and receiving its New England premiere, this sexy, explosive, new rock musical explores the complications of love, the compromises we make, and the betrayals that can ultimately undo us.”
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, 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. Arts Fuse review
– Bill Marx
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.
Presented by the Boston Symphony Orchestra
April 14-16 and 19, 8 p.m. (1:30 p.m. on Friday)
Symphony Hall, Boston
Andris Nelsons conducts Mahler’s valedictory Ninth Symphony for the first time with the BSO since his last-minute debut with the orchestra (as a substitute for James Levine at Carnegie Hall) in 2011.
Presented by the Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms Society Orchestra
April 17, 3 p.m.
Faneuil Hall, Boston
Benjamin Pasternak joins the BBBSO in an all-Beethoven program as soloist in the Piano Concerto no. 5. Steven Lipsitt conducts the Coriolan Overture as well as the exuberant Symphony no. 7.
– Jonathan Blumhofer
My Spirit Sang All Day; Music of the English Songbook
April 16 at 4 p.m.
At the Hancock Church, 1912 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington, MA
April 30 at 8 p.m.
At the First Church Cambridge, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA
The Jameson Singers perform “celebrations and lamentations from the British Isles … a memorable musical journey to the land of Byrd, Weelkes, Pearsall, Vaughn Williams, Britten and other masters from the English songbook.”
The Night’s Tale, A Tournament of Love
April 16 at 8 p.m.
April 17 at 7 p.m.
Pickman Hall/Longy School of Music, 27 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA
A music-theater production from Boston Camerata: “Based on an authentic, colorful narrative of festivity, tournaments, and love games in a medieval French castle, our performance captures the day’s celebrations through song and gesture. Daylight is the domain of men, who joust and fight in ritual encounters, as the women shout encouragement; when night falls, the women converse in music and dance, far from the masculine violence of the daytime. Mutual longing aroused during the day culminates in the evening’s rites, as the sexes come together in courtship, both playful and passionate. Camerata’s musicians are joined by graduate students from the Longy School of Music of Bard College in this beautiful and intense evocation of medieval desire.”
Chameleon Up Close
April 17 at 4 p.m.
At the Goethe-Institut, 170 Beacon Street, Boston, MA
Violinist Kristin Lee and pianist Gloria Chien of the Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston present a program that includes: Claude Debussy’s Sonata in g minor; Gyorgy Kurtag’s Tre Pezzi, Op. 14e, Béla Bartók’s Sonata No. 2, Sz. 76, BB 84, and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47 Kreutzer.
Parker String Quartet
April 17 at 3 p.m.
At Paine Hall/Harvard University, 3 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA
The program includes Webern’s Funf Satz Op. 5 and Béla Bartók’s Quartet No. 1.
– Susan Miron
With endorsements from Ran Blake, Fred Hersch, and Greg Osby (“an individualist with a high concept”), pianist and composer Jason Yeager hardly needs my accolades, but I do recall the Framingham, MA., native’s 2014 release Affirmation as particularly tasty, with assured writing as well as playing, and some nice vocal scores as well.
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.
Lantner/Fujiwara/Kohlhase/Rosenthal + Pandelis Karayorgis Quintet
April 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA.
Two ridiculously accomplished ensembles on one bill: pianist Steve Lantner, cellist Junko Fujiwara, saxophonist Charlie Kohlhase, and drummer Eric Rosenthal; plus, pianist Pandelis Karayorgis’s quintet with saxophonist Sam Meicht, trombonist Jeb Bishop, bassist Nate McBride, and drummer Curt Newton. Both bands value experimentation in writing and playing.
Matt Baker Trio/Joel Frahm
April 14 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
The young Australian pianist and composer Matt Baker makes his Boston debut with longtime Ahmad Jamal bassist Jim Cammack and up-and-coming drummer Darrian Douglas plus heavycat saxophonist Joel Frahm. From the bits we’ve heard, Baker hews to the verity of singing right-hand lines over hard-swinging grooves, seasoned with harmonic surprises.
Pianist Bill Charlap is a deep, deep explorer of the Great American Songbook. You might know the songs, but you won’t miss the singer. We’re expecting his trio on this outing to be his longtime cohort of bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington (no relation).
Pat Martino Trio
April 15 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
One of the gods of modern jazz guitar, Pat Martino, comes to Scullers with a trio comprising Pat Bianchi on Hammond B3 organ and Carmen Intorre Jr. on drums. His recovery after a 1980 aneurysm is the stuff of legend: complete memory loss, then a convalescence during which he relearned guitar — from his own records. Check his recent YouTube clips and you’ll see that recuperation was as complete as the loss — the monstrous articulation at all tempos, the spontaneous bursts of imagination, making every phrase, every note, speak.
Brad Mehldau Trio
April 15 at 8 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA.
This estimable trio — pianist/composer Mehldau, bassist Larry Grenadier, and drummer Jeff Ballard — has been together since 2005. As the saying goes: they breathe as one. Pieces alternate between flowing lyricism and Mehldau’s particular brand of obsessive tension.
Naftule’s Dream + Allos Musica
April 15 at 8 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA.
In the ’90s, recording with John Zorn, the Boston-born klezmer ensemble Naftule’s Dream helped create what Zorn started calling “Radical Jewish Culture.” They’re back with a new CD and a double CD-release party with the Arabic- and Balkan-influenced Allos Musica. Naftule is clarinetist Glenn Dickson, trumpeter Gary Bohan, accordionist Michael McLaughlin, tubist James Gray, guitarist Andrew Stern, and drummer Eric Rosenthal. Allos Musica is James Falzone on clarinet, launeddas, tin whistle, and shruti box; Jeremiah McLane on accordion; Ronnie Malley on oud, harmonium, and voice; and Tim Mulvenna on hand drums and percussion.
Larry Goldings/Peter Bernstein/Bill Stewart
April 16 at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
Organist Goldings, guitarist Bernstein, and drummer Stewart give the hoary concept of the organ trio a good shake. Their collective resumes are varied and extensive — but all three did a hefty stint in Maceo Parker’s band, and Stewart has been a regular with John Scofield, Joe Lovano, and Pat Metheny.
Kenny Werner/Joyce Moreno
April 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
These two distinguished artists have been collaborating since they met in 1989 and have produced two albums together. A ballad-CD project is on the way. Suffice to say that Werner is a wonderfully adept composer and pianist and Moreno is one of great trailblazers of Brazilian songwriting, with a string of credits and collaborations a mile long.
– Jon Garelick
Revolution of the Eye: Modern Art and the Birth of American Television
Through July 31
Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA
During its early years network television’s presence and influence was so pervasive and dominant in American life that it seemed that if didn’t happen on TV, it just hadn’t happened. This large exhibition at the Addison, which includes more than 260 art works, cultural artifacts, and video clips, presents two variations on that theme: it shows how TV introduced millions to the latest in modern art, design, and fashion, and it explores how television, in turn, shaped the modernist sensibilities of contemporary American artists. Andy Warhol, Alexander Calder, Georgia O’Keefe, Allan Kaprow, and Roy Lichtenstein are among the artists represented. They share gallery space with bits and pieces of iconic TV shows of the ‘50s and ‘60s, including the likes of Batman, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Ernie Kovacs Show, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, and The Twilight Zone.
April 13- July 31
ICA Boston, MA
Vancouver-born Geoffrey Farmer is one of a number of contemporary artists who work across media to create large, all-encompassing works. His ICA show surveys recent “paper works” — room-sized installations made up of hundreds of tiny figures created out of fragments of book and magazine photographs, illustrations, fabric, sound, animation, and other materials, all intended to explore the cross-currents of historical and vernacular images in an image-saturated age.
Beautiful Monstrosities, Elegant Distortions: The Artifice of Sixteenth-Century Mannerism
April 12 – June 5
Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, ME
One of the great watershed moments in the study of art history is often the student’s first encounter with the strange, late-Renaissance art called “mannerist.” After the perfection of Leondardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael, where was art going to go? The answer was the strangely distorted, over-refined, ironic art of the 16th-century. Is this art that should be hated for its grotesqueries or loved for its visual sophistication? This show, organized by Bowdoin Associate Professor Susan Wagner and students from her “Mannerism” class, tackles the debate for a new generation.
– Peter Walsh
Rock, Pop, and Folk
Buddy Guy’s previous Boston-area gig was at Wilbur Theatre on November 5, 2015 (Arts Fuse review). Three months after that, he won the Best Blues Album award for Born to Play Guitar at the 58th annual Grammys ceremony. On April 14, he will retreat from the intersection of Tremont and Stuart in favor of the quaint but lively Cabot Street in Beverly.
Joining the legend will be the recently-turned-17 New Bedford native Quinn Sullivan, who may well be on the road to blues guitar immortality himself.
If you are heading into Beverly from out of town to see Buddy Guy on Thursday, why not check into a hotel and make a long weekend out of it? After all, the ever-fashionable ‘80s icon Belinda Carlisle will have the honor of following-up Buddy Guy at The Cabot on Friday. Just imagine all of the singing along that will be going on this night! Chelsea Berry, an Alaskan-turned North Shore local, will provide support.
Fun, laid-back, smart as a whip, and sharp as a tack, Parquet Courts has delivered some of the most consistently exciting and high-quality indie rock of the 2010s. Although it calls Brooklyn home, the quartet includes Boston native Sean Yeaton and its name is a reference to the floor on which the Celtics play. The new album Human Performance will be exactly one week old when the band arrives at the Paradise on Friday. (As musically and attitudinally with-the-times as Parquet Courts seems to be, their Facebook and Twitter pages are by all appearances fan-based rather than band-based.)
Praise for this female tribute band to you-can-guess-who dates back at least as far as writer Chuck Klosterman’s write-up for SPIN in 2005. On Friday and Saturday night, Lez Zeppelin will perform back-to-back recreations of shows by the band to whom it pays homage. The first will be of a 1975 concert at London’s Earl’s Court and the second will be the whole of a 1972 Long Beach gig. The selected dates presumably rule out performances of songs like “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” and “Fool In the Rain,” but who’s to say that they won’t do an off-script encore?
7Horse’s song “Meth Lab Zoso Sticker” received an enviable amount of exposure via its inclusion in the Martin Scorsese movie The Wolf of Wall Street. Made up of Joie Calio and Phil Leavitt of the ‘90s alt-rock band Dada, the duo will be releasing its new album Livin’ In a Bitch of a World on Friday. If you like what you hear or have so already, head into Union Square to experience it live next Sunday.
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, Lyres, Cali Cali Band, Muck & the Mires (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); Echo & The Bunnymen (September 8, House of Blues); The Specials (September 12, House of Blues)
– Blake Maddux
World and Roots Music
With his predilection for whimsy, improv guitar titan Ribot has carved out a nice second career accompanying silent films. On Wednesday, besides playing a solo set, he’ll play to a 2005 Jennifer Reeves film called Shadows Choose Their Horrors.
Ran Blake & Aaron Hartley’s Film Noir Concert
NEC’s Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
It’s like Halloween in April — a dark mix of music and film this way comes. This annual tradition of NEC’s Contemporary Improvisation department features a rich cast of faculty and student talent performing to scene from Charles Laughton’s brilliant Night of the Hunter.”
Bay Area mandolinist David Grisman has spawned generations of progressive acoustic musicians inspired by his Dawg sound. He’s recorded with innumerable collaborators, from Jerry Garcia to Andy Statman — but the heart of his identity is his long-running Brazilian-and-jazz-tinged sextet.
Doo Wop 12
Zeiterion Theater, New Bedford, MA
Let’s face reality: the oldies circuit is a dubious place, full of phony groups, cover-heavy set lists, and inept pickup bands. One annual exception to that depressing situation is the night historian and broadcaster Todd Baptisa curates at the Zeiterion. This year he’s got girl-group darlings The Chiffons, “Lion Sleeps Tonight” singer Jay Siegel with his Tokens and the no-longer-adolescent doo-wopper Kid Kyle. But perhaps the biggest draw of the evening an exceedingly rare New England spot reserved for former Drifter Bobby Hendricks, who on his own cut the immortal “Itchy Twitchy Feeling.”
Presented by World Music/CRASharts at the Somerville Theatre, Davis Square, Somerville, MA
Over the past 25 years World Music/CRASHArts has routinely presented this revue made up of West African greats performing in a stripped-down setting. The current edition pairs Mali’s Habib Koité with South Africa’s Vusi Mahlasela, both of whom are always highly energetic, even when they play acoustic.
– Noah Schaffer
Suzanne Berne & Christopher Boucher
The Dogs of Littlefield & Golden Delicious
April 12 at 5 p.m.
Stokes Hall, Boston College, Boston MA
Two novelists come to read from their latest work, both of which investigate the surreal side of well-heeled suburbia. Booklist calls Boucher’s The Dogs of Littlefield “as wacky as it is recognizable, a capricious world filled with delightful wordplay that is strikingly vivid, funny, and moving.”
Michelle Hoover & Christopher Castellani
Bottomland & The Art of Perspective: Who Tells the Story
April 12 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
Two different writers come to Brookline to discuss matters of fictional perspective. Castellani will discuss his latest book about the role of narrative in fiction, specifically what form the narrator should take. Hoover’s novel fits in well with questions of narrative, since it’s a saga of a German-American family after WW1 and unfolds through the perspectives of multiple characters.
The Penny Poet of Portsmouth: A Memoir of Place, Solitude, and Friendship
April 13 at 7 p.m.
The Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley MA
For many years, Katherine Towler was a close friend of the reclusive poet Robert Dunn, who spent most of his life off the grid. He lived in isolation in Portsmouth, NH without a car, phone, television, or computer. Towler tells the story of her brilliant, eccentric Thoreau-like friend and the role of the meaning of simplification in this media-saturated environment.
Lust & Wonder: A Memoir
April 14 at 6 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Coolidge Corner MA
Tickets are $6.27- 29.48
The wildly popular author of Running With Scissors comes to Brookline to read and sign copies of his latest memoir. His new volume explores the world of modern dating, watching relationships grow and fade, based on his recent time spent living in New York City.
In an event co-sponsored by Cambridge’s Venerable Grolier Poetry Book Shop & PEN New England, two poets come to read from their co-authored text. Gallagher, a well-renowned poet as well as Raymond Carver’s widow, began emailing Matsuda about shared experiences, world events, and the state of global politics.
Viet Thanh Nguyen
Nothing Ever Dies & The Sympathizer
April 18 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
Nguyen follows The Sympathizer, one of last year’s most widely-praised novels, with his new nonfiction account detailing how memory and collective traumas are still very much present in the fifty-year wake of what the Vietnamese refer to as “The American War.”
– Matt Hanson