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 25 at 7 p.m.
Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, MA
Called “eloquent and occasionally touching” by the New York Times, the film dives deep into the fantasy lives — as well as the real worlds — of American LARPers or live action role-playing gamers. The movie focuses on an epic war that’s raging through the fantasy realm, a confrontation complicated by the cultural disconnect generated by the real war then taking place in Iraq. This DocYard presentation will bring in Luke Meyer and Andrew Neel to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their cult documentary hit. The screening will be preceded by a performance of music from the film by its Boston-based composer Jonah Rapino.
Independent Film Festival of Boston
April 27th – May 4th
At the Somerville, Brattle, and Coolidge Corner Theatres
The areas’s most varied and robust film festival has some remarkable entries this year, including several Shorts Programs that includes Narrative and Documentary films. Plan ahead, peruse the schedule, buy a festival pass, and binge away the weekend! To help get you get started, here are are few of my picks to consider. Unless otherwise listed, the films will be screened at the Somerville Theatre, Screens 1 -5. Check listings for tickets and the full schedule of films.
April 27, Opening Night Film: The Hollars, directed by John Krasinski.
The story of a man who returns to his small hometown after learning that his mother has fallen ill and is about to undergo surgery.
April 28 & 30 at UMass Boston: IFFBoston / UMB Film Series Film Summit features a day of screenings, panels, and workshops that will spotlight and support local filmmakers. The highlight of the Summit will be the Second Annual Massachusetts Works-in-Progress Competition. This gathering will be followed by a screening of the film Life Animated, the real-life story of Owen Suskind, an autistic boy who couldn’t speak for years, but who memorized dozens of Disney movies and turned his versions of them into a language that could express love and loss, kinship, and brotherhood. His family was forced to become animated Disney characters, communicating with him through dialogue and song. The film won the U.S Documentary Directing Award at Sundance.
April 28 at 7 p.m. at the Brattle Theatre: The Peacemaker focuses on Padraig O’Malley, an international peacemaker who helps to make peace among warring faction in Northern Ireland, Iraq, and South Africa, but struggles to find it for himself.
April 29 at 7:30 p.m.: Morris of America was written and directed by acclaimed up-and-coming filmmaker Chad Hartigan (This Is Martin Bonner). The film won two prizes at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
April 30 at 2 p.m.: Best And Most Beautiful Things — living with her mother in rural Maine, Michelle Smith is legally blind and has been diagnosed with autism. But against all odds she is chasing some big dreams. Impressionistic visuals and soundscapes accompany an intimate portrait of self-discovery. Defying labels and redefining “normal,” Michelle’s empowering story celebrates outcasts everywhere.
April 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Brattle Theater: Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru gives us director Joe Berlinger (Whitey, Paradise Lost, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster) providing behind -the-scenes footage of Tony Robbins’ mega once-a-year motivational seminar.
May 1 at 2:15 p.m.: In The Guys Next Door local filmmakers Allie Humenuk and Amy Geller tell the story of Erik and Sandro, a gay couple with daughters birthed by their friend Rachel, who’s married with three teenagers of her own.
May 1 at 4:45 p.m.: Paper Lanterns — among the tens of thousands who lost their lives in the bombing of Hiroshima, twelve were American prisoners of war. The film profiles Shigeaki Mori and his lifelong calling to tell the story not only of the bomb’s many Japanese victims, but of the ten other US airmen who were caught in this hell on earth.
April 30 at 7:45 p.m.: Free In Deed. The plot: Abe returns to the altar as a minister and faith healer seeking salvation. Meanwhile, he has been trying to help Melva, a recent church convert and single mother whose mentally ill young child, Benny, is subject to terrifying fits of rage. Abe begins holding makeshift evening prayer services in an attempt to heal Benny spiritually, but his inability to transform the child tests both Melva’s faith and his own.
May 1 at 6 p.m. at the Brattle Theater: Hunt For The Wilderpeople. Sam Neill stars in a story that revolves around a national manhunt ordered for a rebellious kid and his foster uncle who have gone missing in the wild New Zealand bush.
April 30 at 5 p.m.: Lo And Behold: Reveries Of The Connected World — Never at a loss for words, veteran director Werner Herzog considers whether the technologies that seem to be uniting us might one day draw us apart. This is an alternately playful and unsettling 10-part essay on how the Internet is evolving, slowly but surely re-shaping society and consciousness.
May 2 at 7 p.m. at the Brattle Theatre: High On Crack Street: Lost Lives In Lowell — A special 20th Anniversary screening of a seminal documentary about 18 months in the lives of three crack addicts in Lowell, Massachusetts. A co-presentation with The DocYard.
May 2 at 7 p.m.: Wiener — Winner of the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary at Sundance. The film covers the various scandals of notorious New York politician Anthony Wiener.
May 3 at 9 p.m. at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. Mike Birbiglia’s Don’t Think Twice gives us an improv group called The Commune, which has reigned for 11 years as the big fish in the small pond of New York improv theater. Its six members invent comedy without a script and without a net. They’re ingenious, they’re fast, and they build on each other’s ideas like they are all best friends — because they are.
May 4, The Closing Night Film screens at the Coolidge Corner Theatre: The Intervention (directed by Clea DuVall) centers on a group of friends who gather in a lakeside cabin to try to convince a married couple to get a divorce.
May 2 at 7 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA
Varieté is the story of an aging trapeze artist who, after an accident, becomes a barker and manager of a cheap sideshow of dancing girls. A friend and a ship captain brings him a young female stowaway. The girl eventually becomes the center of attraction of the dancing troupe, and the trapeze artist becomes infatuated with her. He deserts his wife and child in order to take the female to Berlin to be a trapeze performer where they both find a position with a circus performing an act together. The Sounds of Silents presents Emil Jannings in this tale of love and lust, which is being shown in New England in its complete form for the first time. This new digital restoration will be screened with the 12-piece Berklee Silent Film Orchestra performing live-to-picture accompaniment. The ensemble will be conducted by six student composers under the direction of Professor Sheldon Mirowitz. It is the tenth original score commissioned for the program. This is an experience that should not to be missed.
Mountains May Depart
Studio Cinema in Belmont, MA
Belmont World Film’s Series presents a film by ‘Sixth Generation’ Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke (24 City, A Touch of Sin) followed by a discussion led by Catherine Yeh, professor of Chinese and Comparative Literature at Boston University. Mountains May Depart is an intimate drama that leaps from the recent past to the present and then a speculative near-future. It is a moving study of how China’s economic boom and the culture of materialism it has spawned has undercut the bonds of family, tradition, and love. It was an Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival.
– Tim Jackson
April 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Hopkinton Center for the Arts
Prometheus Dance journeys to the Hopkinton Center for the Arts this Friday, presenting a public performance featuring the company’s signature works.
Tufts Spring Dance Concert
April 29 at 7 p.m. & 9 p.m.
Jackson Dance Lab
Max Greenhouse — a student working toward a minor in Dance and a major in Drama and Film at Tufts University — presents his culminating production: An interdisciplinary performance merging his three disciplines.
April 29-May 26
Boston Opera House
Boston Ballet once again presents Mikko Nissinen’s production of Swan Lake. Audiences of all ages will enjoy this classic drama, featuring the Boston Ballet’s technically exquisite company.
April 30 at 8 P.M.
Boston University Dance Theater
Evolution celebrates Jo-Mé Dance’s 5th year in the Boston dance scene. The production proffers highlights from the past five seasons, alongside two new works.
– 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 dovetailings 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
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
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.”
Historia de Amor by Teatrocinema. Presented by ArtsEmerson at the Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston, MA, through April 24.
“With the grit and imagery of a graphic novel comes an overwhelming story that destroys the boundaries between domination and submission. Rising out of the aftermath of a generation’s ferocious domination by Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, and set against a dark and troubling story by the controversial French novelist Regis Jauffret, Historia de Amor is an unflinching journey inside the mind of man determined to possess a young woman he happens to meet on a subway. Chile’s renowned Teatrocinema combines live action with startling 2D and 3D animation to deliver a wallop on the subject of sexual predation and societal fragmentation.” Performed in Spanish with English surtitles. (Content Advisory: This production is rated MA for Mature Audiences. It contains graphic depictions of sexual violence, stalking, physical and verbal abuse. Resources for support are available at www.emerson.edu/vpr/support.) Arts Fuse review
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.” Arts Fuse review
Oh God by Anat Gov. Directed by Guy Ben-Aharon. Staged by Israeli Stage at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown, MA, through April 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.
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, 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. Arts Fuse review
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, through April 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.”
Home of the Brave by Lila Rose Kaplan. Directed by Sean Daniels. Staged by the Merrimack Repertory Theatre at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre, 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA, through May 15.
The world premiere of a farce “that follows senator Bernadette Spence (played by Boston favorite Karen MacDonald) as she desperately works to persuade her family to support her run for the Presidency. Loosely inspired by Moliere’s Tartuffe,” the script is an “old-fashioned comedy for new-fashioned times, wholeheartedly embracing sheer absurdity, shameless fun, and actors running/climbing/sliding all over the place.”
Sholem Aleichem: A Family Puppet Show performed by Caravan Puppets. Presented by Jewish Arts Collaborative (JArts) at the Riemer Goldstein Theater in the Leventhal Sidman JCC, Nahanton Street, Newton, MA, May 1 at 11 a.m.
“This May marks the 100th anniversary of the writer’s death, and JArts presents this fun and appealing show to celebrate the writer and his work, which has found new audiences with a recent Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof. Members of A Besere Velt, the Boston Workmen’s Circle Chorus, will join the festivities to provide music. Children should be prepared to laugh, participate, and learn a little Yiddish.”
We’re Gonna Die. Written by Young Jean Lee. Original Music by Young Jean Lee, Tim Simmonds, Mike Hanf, Nick Jenkins, and Benedict Kupstas. Directed by Shawn LaCount. A Company One production presented by Oberon, 2 Arrow Street, Cambridge, MA, April 20 through 29.
“It’s time to get real and rock out about the one thing we all have in common: We’re Gonna Die. Playwright Young Jean Lee (Straight White Men, The Shipment) blends storytelling, stand-up, music, and theater into a song cycle that lets us know we may be miserable anticipating our demise, but at least we won’t be alone.” “Through stories and pop songs,” this show “will break your heart and put it back together again.” So we can die another time? Thank God Oberon serves alcohol.
Daughter of a Cuban Revolutionary written and performed by Marissa Chibas. Presented by Arts Emerson at the Jackie Liebergott Black Box at the Emerson/Paramount Center, Boston, MA, April 27 through May 1.
A solo performance piece that focuses on three towering figures in the life of versatile performer Marissa Chibas.
Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights by Gertrude Stein. Directed by Tristan DiVincenzo. Staged by Provincetown Theater, 238 Bradford Street, Provincetown, MA, April 27 through May 12.
A rare production of a very eccentric text by one of the great American modernists. “Written in 1938, the play uses the invention of the electric light bulb as its central metaphor. Questions about technology and its gifts of god-like powers are brilliantly (and literally) explored in Stein’s play … Since her death “Faustus” has become a ‘Rite of Passage’ for many experimental companies.” The production explores “the sonics of the piece, manipulating both live audio and visual technology.”
Freud’s Last Session by Mark St. Germain. Directed by Jim Petosa. Staged by New Repertory Theatre at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in the Charles Mosesian Theater, Watertown, MA, April 30 through May 22.
“The imagined meeting of two of the 20th century’s greatest academics, Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis.” In the cast: Shelley Bolman and Joel Colodner.
A Great Wilderness by Samuel D. Hunter. Directed by David Miller. Staged by the Zeitgeist Stage in the Plaza Black Box Theater at the Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, April 29 through May 21.
The plot intrigues: “Walt has devoted his life to counseling teenage boys out of their homosexuality at his remote Idaho wilderness camp. Pressured to accept one last client, his carefully constructed life begins to unravel with the arrival of Daniel. When Daniel disappears in the wilderness during a forest fire, Walt is forced to ask for help.”
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
April 24 at 7 p.m.
Presented by Celebrity Series at the Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA.
Every year, the touring SFJazz Collective, an outgrowth of the San Francisco-based SFJazz organization, takes on a different composer to rearrange and interpret. This year, the subject is Michael Jackson, and the players are Miguel Zenón alto saxophone; David Sánchez, tenor saxophone; Sean Jones, trumpet; Robin Eubanks, trombone; Warren Wolf, vibraphone; Edward Simon, piano; Matt Penman, bass; and Obed Calvaire drums. The band will be playing Jackson as well as commissioned new original compositions.
April 26 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
Melissa Aldana created a stir in 2013 when she became the first woman to win the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition. The judges were Jane Ira Bloom, Branford Marsalis, Jimmy Heath, Wayne Shorter, and Bobby Watson — and yes, she’s that good. Apparently having internalized the entire history of the tenor saxophone, she shows a special affinity for the likes of Don Byas, Sonny Rollins, and Mark Turner, but her sound is her own: cultured, emotionally direct, purposeful. As a writer she likes broad-winged structures inspired by the likes of Kurt Rosenwinkel. She comes to the Regattabar in her preferred format, the trio, with the players from her latest album, Back Home — bassist Pablo Menares and drummer Jochen Ruekert.
April 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
One of the most distinguished singers in town, Patrice Williamson, presents “Celebrating Ella” in honor of you-know-who, with a terrific supporting cast: guitarist Jon Wheatley, pianist Mark Shilansky, bassist Keala Kaumeheiwa, and drummer Ron Savage.
April 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
The youngest of the “3 Cohens” (who also include saxophonist/clarinetist Anat and soprano saxophonist Yuval), trumpeter and composer Avishai Cohen is also perhaps the most broadly experimental, with strong ties as a writer to the bluesy brawn of Charles Mingus and the world music lyricism of Don Cherry. He comes to the Regattabar in support of his ECM debut, Into the Silence, with pianist Jason Lindner, bassist Tal Mashiach, and drummer Justin Brown.
Greg Abate and Richie Cole
April 28 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
Tenor saxophonist Abate and alto man Richie Cole pay a tribute to the late Phil Woods with this show, a CD-release event for the live album Abate recorded with Woods at Chan’s in Woonsocket, R.I., Kindred Spirits.
Kenny Barron Trio
April 29 and 30 at 7:30 and 10 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
Years ago, Stan Getz told Garry Giddins: “There are only three pianists left: Tommy, Hank, and Kenny.” Well, now that would be just Kenny. A consummate artist, whether digging into standards or his own exploratory compositions, or quoting a bit of Rachmaninoff in the middle of a bebop run, Barron fronts his trio, with bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa and drummer Johnathan Blake, for four shows at the Regattabar.
Presented by the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra
April 24, 3 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
Benjamin Zander and the BPO wrap up their season in style with a single performance of Verdi’s spectacular Requiem. Angela Meade headlines the soloists and the BPO is joined by Chorus Pro Musica.
BU at Symphony Hall
Presented by Boston University
April 26, 8 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
BSO assistant conductor Ken-David Masur leads the BUSO and Chorus in its annual spring concert at Symphony Hall. This year’s ends with Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9. Also on tap are Schoenberg’s Friede auf Erden and the American premiere of Beat Furrer’s Zwei Studien for orchestra.
NEC Philharmonia at Symphony Hall
Presented by New England Conservatory
April 27, 8 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
Alexi Kenney, who was just named a recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant, is the soloist in a rare Boston performance of John Adams’ powerhouse Violin Concerto. Hugh Wolff conducts additional works by Andrew Norman (Drip Blip Sparkle Spin Glint Glide Glow Float Flop Chop Pop Shatter Splash) and Stravinsky (The Firebird).
Sound Icon at the ICA
Presented by the Institute for Contemporary Art
April 28, 8 p.m.
ICA, Boston, MA
Sound Icon plays music by Pierre Boulez (Anthèmes II), Beat Furrer (Gaspra and Aria), and Tristan Murail (L’espirit des dunes), part of the culmination of a week-long residency at Boston University’s Center for New Music.
JACK Quartet at the ICA
Presented by the Institute for Contemporary Art
April 29, 8 p.m.
ICA, Boston, MA
The acclaimed JACK Quartet plays Chaya Czernowin’s Hidden and Jonathan Harvey’s String Quartet no. 4, also as the culmination of their week-long residency at BU with Sound Icon.
Presented by the Handel & Haydn Society
April 29 at 7:30 p.m. and May 1 at 3 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston
H&H wraps up their 2015-16 season its first-ever performances of Handel’s Saul. Jonathan Best sings the title role, Iestyn Davies is David; Harry Christophers conducts the Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus.
– Jonathan Blumhofer
Boston Symphony Chamber Players
April 24 at 3 p.m.
NEC’s Jordan Hall, Boston, MA.
“The Boston Symphony Chamber Players close the season with a program including Jean Françaix’s Divertissement for oboe, clarinet, and bassoon; Hannah Lash’s Three Shades Without Angles, for flute, viola, and harp, which the ensemble premiered in 2014; Beethoven’s early String Trio in D, Op. 9, No. 2; and the 1813 Nonet by Beethoven’s younger contemporary and colleague Louis Spohr.
Boston Early Music Festival presents Les Arts Florissants
April 24 at 7:30 p.m.
At Sanders Theater, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
The program is entitled ‘Serious Airs and Drinking Songs’: After fourteen years, William Christie and Les Arts Florissants are back, via BEMF, and they bring “boundless wit and virtuosic theatricality to an incomparable evening exploring the air de cour, a genre of secular vocal music that delighted and entertained the elegant salons of 17th-century France. The singers and instrumentalists of this magnificent ensemble offer passionate and refined performances of wistful laments and courtly songs of pleasure by Charpentier, Lambert, and others.”
Music for Food
April 25 at 7 p.m.
At New England Conservatory’s Brown Hall, 290 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA
The program (entitled Fugue & Fantasy No 3) includes: Reinecke’s Trio for piano, horn & oboe, Op. 188; Mozart’s Duo in B-flat, K. 292, arranged for viola & horn, and Mozart’s String Quintet No. 5 in D Major, K. 593.
April 29 at 8 p.m.
Presented by Celebrity Series at Jordan Hall/New England Conservatory, 290 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA
“Dubbed ‘America’s favorite mezzo’ by Gramophone magazine, Graham rose to the highest echelon of international artists within just a few years of her professional debut.” On the program: works by Schumann, Grieg, Strauss, Fauré, Mahler, Ravel, Poulenc, and Granados.
May 1 at 3 p.m.
At New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
The renowned Ax plays an All-Beethoven program: Sonata in C minor, “Pathétique”; Six Variations on a Theme in F Major, Op. 34; Sonata in G Major, Op. 31, no. 1; Polonaise in C Major, Op. 89; and the Sonata in F minor, “Appassionata.”
– Susan Miron
World and Roots Music
Abbey Lounge Reunion
Sally O’Brien’s, Somerville, MA
From 1999 until 2008 Inman Square’s Abbey Lounge was ground zero for the grittier, garage-leaning side of the Boston music scene. The no-frills venue was both a nurturing home for young and veteran bands and, in retrospect, one of the last pre-gentrification dive bars in the area. It even had its own anthem thanks to Kenne Highland’s “Not too Shabby at the Abbey.” No fewer than 27 bands, including innumerable reunions, are scheduled in this 3-day Abbey tribute: proceeds will go to the Eva Lipton Fund. Tickets are only being sold at the door, so an early arrival is essential.
Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA
Wailer’s place in reggae history may have been cemented when he joined Peter Tosh and Bob Marley in the Wailers vocal trio. But his artistic pinnacle come with 1976′s “Blackheart Man” LP featuring Dreamland, his haunting adaptation of an old doo-wop tune. Trivia buffs may also know that he penned Marcia Griffith’s original recording of “Electric Slide.” Today, at 69, he continues to lead one of the last full-sized reggae bands with a full horn section, and his ska classics are always on the set list. Wailer last came to town in 1999, so it’s hard to believe that tickets for what is easily the reggae event of the year won’t sell out in advance.
Presented by World Music/CRASHarts at Sanders Theater, Cambridge, MA
Calling Concha Buika the “Afro-Spanish Nina Simone” does both artists a disservice, though the two share commanding voices and passionate followings. Her new LP, Vivir sin miedo, adds some English lyrics and layers of guitairs to Buika’s always unpredictable, but haunting, interpretations.
– Noah Schaffer
EXPOSURE: The 20th Annual PRC Juried Exhibition
April 28 – June 26
Photographic Resource Center at Boston University, Boston, MA
This year is the 40th in the life of the Photographic Resource Center and the 20th in its celebrated annual juried show of emerging and mid-career photographers from around the country. EXPOSURE 2016 also coincides with the Flash Forward Festival in Boston (May 1 – 8), which will present a series of shows of New England and International photographers.
Year of the Monkey
April 30 – October 10
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Every culture, it seems, loves our cousins, the monkeys, but Japan may outdo all the rest. In Japanese lore, there are monkey kings, monkey superheroes, monkey pets, monkey dancers, and monkey-like kabuki actors. This exhibition at the MFA celebrates the Monkey Year, which runs until next January on the East Asian calendar cycle. On view here are 56 bits of artistic monkey business, including a famous cycle of illustrations to a Chinese classic and images of monkeys up to monkey tricks among humans and in the wild.
Renaissance Rivalries: Painting and Its Sister Arts
April 26 -
Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, ME
The high status of Renaissance painting is a bit misleading. During the multi-media festival that was the high culture of the Renaissance, wealthy European courts competed with each other to put on the the most spectacular displays. Court dances, elaborate feasts, pageants, processions, firework displays, recitations of poetry, concerts, jewel-encrusted costumes, and ostentatious architecture all shared the stage with painting. So, in their day, Renaissance painters faced stiff competition from the other arts, all striving to outshine them. This exhibition, drawn from the Bowdoin’s collections, explores paintings and sculpture made from 1350 and 1500, showing how these rivalries help transform painting.
Selections from the Permanent Collection: Spring 2016
April 30 – July 31
Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA
Don’t judge this one by its uninspiring title. This off-season exhibition at the Addison is bound to be worth seeing. Here, a collection show like this one is a great opportunity to visit choice works from the Addison’s spectacular American art holdings. Billed as a chance to see “some of the most well-known and loved paintings from the museum’s rich permanent collection” in a single gallery, the show will include such leading 19th- and 20th-century artists was Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, Jackson Pollock, John Singer Sargent, Charles Sheeler, and John Sloan. Enjoy it while you can.
Andrew Wyeth: The Dory
April 30 – November 20
Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, ME
In mid-coast Maine, wooden dories were basic transportation until highways finally penetrated the region. They were already an anachronism by the time Andrew Wyeth first encountered them as a child in the 1920s, when his family began to summer in the Rockland region. This exhibition tracks a particular dory from its role in Wyeth’s boyhood adventures through his career as one of America’s most famous artists. The result is a show rich with layers of nostalgia and memory.
– Peter Walsh
Rock, Pop, and Folk
Tuesday-Wednesday, April 26-27 (8 p.m.)
Citi Performing Arts Center (Wang Theatre), Boston, MA
Where does one start with Van the Man? Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, winner of multiple Grammy Awards, Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE). Composer of garage rock (with the mid-1960s band Them), immortal pop songs (“Brown-Eyed Girl”), mystical Celtic folk-rock (1968’s universally recognized masterpiece Astral Weeks), bouncy 1970s rock ‘n’ soul (Moondance, Tupelo Honey), etc, etc. His Tuesday show at Wang Theatre is sold out, so hopefully anyone who is just learning that he will be in town has Wednesday free.
Bob Mould recorded a song called “I Hate Alternative Rock” 20 years ago. However, that does not change the fact that—as a member of the immeasurably influential Hüsker Dü, the leader of Sugar, and a solo artist—he might rightly be called the godfather (Bobfather?) of the genre. His musical offspring are too many to list, but Ted Leo is surely among them. Together, the two will put on what will surely be one of the best two-for-one shows of 2016.
Her grandfather was the arranger and co-writer of “The Little Drummer Boy.” Her grandmother sang with The Benny Goodman Orchestra. Thus, while it was not inevitable, it is certainly not surprising that Laura Stevenson become a musician as well. Her tour in support of her latest album Cocksure stops at Great Scott on International Workers’ Day (May 1).
This veteran Britpop band would have been amply eccentric and eclectic even if it hadn’t released an album sung entirely in its native Welsh. Last year, that album (Mwng) was re-released in a 15th anniversary deluxe edition and the band played its first UK shows since 2009. This year, Super Furry Animals returns to the United States for a tour that includes a date at Cambridge’s Sinclair.
Upcoming and on sale:
Born Ruffians (May 5, Middle East Downstairs); Robby Krieger (May 7, The Cabot); Fruit Bats (May 7, Once Ballroom); Protomartyr (May 8, Great Scott); Peter Wolf (May 12, Somerville Theatre); Barry & The Remains, Lyres, Cali Cali Band, Muck & the Mires (May 13, Once Ballroom); Art Garfunkel (May 15, Larcom Theatre); Eagles of Death Metal (June 1, House of Blues); 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); Pere Ubu (June 27, Sinclair); Guided By Voices (July 11, Paradise Rock Club); Joe Jackson (July 12, Wilbur Theatre); Wussy (July 13, Middle East Upstairs); Rhett Miller (July 16, ONCE Ballroom); Paul McCartney (July 17, Fenway Park); Bryan Ferry (July 31, Blue Hills Bank Pavilion); Yes (August 4, Lynn Auditorium); Ani DiFranco (September 1 and 2, Shalin Liu Performance Center); Little Feat (September 8, Wilbur Theatre); Echo & The Bunnymen (September 8, House of Blues); The Specials (September 12, House of Blues)
Noam Chomsky & Robert C Berwick
Why Only Us: Language and Evolution
April 25 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30)
First Parish Church, Cambridge, MA
Two renowned linguists will come to Cambridge to discuss the biological origins of language. At this point in his long career, Chomsky needs no introduction. Berwick is professor of Computational Linguistics and Computer Science at MIT. They will talk about how the evolutionary process creates language and what separates humans from animals.
The Last Bookaneer
April 26 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner, Brookline, MA
The author of the bestselling The Dante Club reads from his latest novel, a yarn about a Victorian-era English book thief whose black-market chicanery finds him on the island of Samoa, where Robert Louis Stevenson is writing a new manuscript.
Then Come Back: The Lost Neruda
April 28 from 7- 830 p.m.
The Lexington Depot, Lexington MA
It’s probably safe to say that Pablo Neruda is the premier Latin American poet of the 20th Century. The fact that previously lost work has now been translated and published is cause for celebration. Forrest Gander, a poet and professor at Brown University, will read from the translation in a can’t-miss event for lovers of Neruda’s sensual, surreal verse.
Most Blessed of the Patriarchs: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination
April 29 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
The Pulitzer prize-winning historian will read and discuss her latest work on the complex and enigmatic life of Thomas Jefferson. Her book investigates how the founding father saw himself within the context of his times, including his role in the American Revolution, and his reaction to Christianity, slavery, and the birth of the republic.
Independent Bookstore Day 2016
April 30 beginning at 9 a.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
Who says the days of brick-and-mortar bookstores are over? Harvard Book Store is going big this year as participants in a nation-wide celebration of the bookstore. There are celebratory features aplenty: blind dates with books linked to your taste, booksellers are posting their life stories in books, and cookies and treats will be on hand. 1369 Coffeehouse, Mr Bartley’s Burgers and the Grafton Street Pub are all getting in on the bookish action with literary cocktails and burger lunches.
After Hours at the Bookstore
Samantha Hunt & Kelly Link
April 30 from 11 p.m.- 1 a.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
After the day-long celebration of all things literary, two acclaimed authors will read from their latest work as midnight approaches. Hunt will read from her marvelously creepy new novel Mr Splitfoot and Link will read from her story collection Get In Trouble, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. After the reading wine beer and snacks will be served, and late-night browsing by flashlight will commence, with 20% off all selections.
– Matt Hanson
The Lamentations of Zeno
April 26 at 6 p.m.
Boston University Castle, 225 Bay State Road, Boston, MA
“The acclaimed German writer makes his debut at Boston University with the new English translation of his novel The Lamentations of Zeno (Verso Books, 2016, translated by Philip Boehm.) Zeno is a literary fiction about climate disaster and a scientist imploding on a journey to the Antarctic. Trojanow will read and discuss the main themes of his book: Climate Change, the Antarctic, Globalization, and Violence.”
– Bill Marx