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
May 8 and 9
Regent Underground (downstairs) Medford St, Arlington, MA
This entertaining documentary takes a look back at what it was like to make the original Star Wars 40 years ago. Ten actors/extras who worked on the film reminisce about their time on the set and how Star Wars affected their lives. Some were agreeably touched by the experience; others didn’t have such a satisfying experience.
May 8 and 9
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
The plot of this movie unfolds in five long scenes, each one a continuous take of about 20 minutes. All of it was shot on film. John Hawkes stars in this hard-boiled noir; he plays Mel Sampson, an emotionally wounded private investigator who is on a case to find a missing woman. He is pitted against a venomous crew of strip club owners, thugs, and dames. The narrative “lets nary a beat of celluloid flicker by without a slick ‘70s jukebox tune or rapid-fire dialogue exchange jolting into the mix.” (Indiewire)
May 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Studio Cinema, 376 Trapelo Road, Belmont, MA
Part of the Belmont World Film series: “Iremar works the vaquejadas, a traditional sport similar to rodeo from the rural northeast of Brazil and Brazil’s second highest grossing sport after soccer. He and his co-workers live in the truck used to transport the animals, forming a makeshift, but close-knit family. But the country and region are changing and the area’s booming clothing industry has Iremar dreaming of becoming a fashion designer. A wild and sexy ride of a film!” (BWF description) Winner at both the Venice Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival. (Contains several graphic sex scenes.) There will be a post-screening talk by Dario Borim, Professor of Portuguese at UMass-Dartmouth, who teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in Luso-Brazilian literature, cinema, theater, and music.
Kendall Square Cinema, Cambridge, MA
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi has directed several stunning films: The Past, About Elly, and A Separation. Here he presents the story of a betrothed woman working for a local housekeeping agency who accepts an assignment to clean the home of an affluent married couple who is about to leave on vacation. She is quickly sucked into a virulent nuptial conflict of deceit, treachery, and vitriol that challenges all of her presuppositions about the nature of married life. By cloaking the events of the household in ambiguity, and constantly shifting the central perspective of the film from one character to another, Farhadi adds depth and complexity to the work. he continually challenges viewers, forcing us to rewrite our presuppositions about the characters. It has received a 100% rating (from the critics) on Rotten Tomatoes.
Don’t Look Back
Monday, May 9
Coolidge Corner Theater, Brookline, MA
Big Screen Classics presents a seminal work of cinéma vérité filmmaking and a great music document. Bob Dylan is captured on-screen as he never would be again in this groundbreaking film from D. A. Pennebaker. During his 1965 tour, his last as an acoustic artist, Dylan is surrounded by teen fans, gets into heated philosophical jousts with journalists, and kicks back with fellow musicians Joan Baez, Donovan, and Alan Price. Featuring some of Dylan’s most memorable songs, including “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” and “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.”
The National Center for Jewish Film’s Annual Film Festival
Through May 22
Various theaters in the Boston area; here is a link to the daily schedule by venue.
The National Center for Jewish Film continues its month-long festival. A standout screening this week is the silent film Breaking Home Ties (on Thursday, May 12, 7:30 p.m. at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston). This 1922 film was long thought to be lost, but a print was discovered, rescued, and restored by The National Center for Jewish Film. The deliciously melodramatic plot: “Thinking he has killed his friend Paul in a jealous rage, David Bergmann flees pre-revolutionary Russia for New York, where he becomes a successful lawyer and woos smart, independent Rose. When the Bergmann parents move to New York, immigrant life takes its toll. Will David marry Rose? Will the Bergmanns be reunited? And what about Paul, the friend David thought he killed back in Russia?” Live music accompaniment by composer Donald Sosin & Mimi Rabson.
Casa Grande, directed by Fellipe Barbosa.
May 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Studio Cinema, 376 Trapelo Road, Belmont, MA
The final film in the Belmont World Film series is Fellipe Barbosa’s first narrative feature. The film looks at issues of race and class privilege among Rio de Janeiro’s decadent elite; a teenage boy struggles to escape his overprotective parents as they covertly spiral into bankruptcy. Ana Paula Hirano, a doctoral student in Harvard’s Department of Romance Languages and Literatures will conduct a discussion. The screening is preceded by a reception at the theater from 6 to 7 p.m. (separate $22 admission) with Brazilian food and beverages courtesy of the Consulate General of Brazil in Boston. Arts Fuse review
Paths To Paradise
May 15 at 2 p.m.
Somerville Theatre, Davis Square, Somerville, MA
A silent film from 1925 presented in 35mm with Jeff Rapsis at the organ. The film stars Raymond Griffith as a polished con man (a worldly, shrewd, and quick-thinking gentleman, usually dressed in a top hat and a cape) who competes with a feisty female jewel thief to steal a heavily guarded diamond necklace. The film, which costars Betty Compson, finishes with a wild, apparently high speed car chase through the California desert. Unfortunately, all existing prints of Paths to Paradise are missing the final 10 minutes, but the film ends at a point that completes the plot and provides a satisfying finish.
– Tim Jackson
Chimes at Midnight, directed by Orson Welles.
Coolidge Corner Theater, Brookline, MA
An opportunity to see one of the finest cinematic treatments of Shakespeare. Welles’ focus on Falstaff, drawn from a number of the Bard’s plays, runs the gamut, from nostalgia for Merrie Olde England to realism in a gaunt battle scene in the rain. Of course, the predominate impression is that this is yet another exhilarating dramatization of Welles’ view of himself, a scallywag of genius, this time played in the key of poetic black comedy.
– Bill Marx
Malpaso Dance Company
May 14 at 8 p.m. & May 15 at 3 p.m.
Citi Shubert Theatre
The Celebrity Series of Boston presents Cuban-based Malpaso Dance Company, which is making its Boston debut. The program features works by choreographers Osnel Delgado and Trey McIntyre, with live music performed by Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble. A free artist talk follows the May 15 performance; Peter DiMuro moderates a discussion that will include Delgado, O’Farrill, and company founder Fernando Saéz Carvajal.
This is Treatment
May 14 at 8 p.m. & May 15 at 7 p.m.
The Dance Complex
This is Treatment is a new musical whose storyline revolves around a women’s rehabilitation facility for substance abuse. Working together, these women fight to get beyond their internal struggles.
MayFair in Harvard Square
Sunday, May 15 from 12:30-5:30 p.m.
Mount Auburn Street
The rain may have initially postponed this colorful annual event, but don’t forget to venture out this Sunday on its rescheduled date! Deborah Mason has curated an exciting lineup of dance for the outdoor stage, featuring more than 20 performance groups amidst the festival of 150 artisans and 40 food vendors. The event is free and open to all ages.
And further afield…
Rodin: Transforming Sculpture with BoSoma Dance Company
May 14-September 5 from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Peabody Essex Museum
Head to the Peabody Essex Museum to see the BoSoma Dance Company as it collaborates with the museum during its Auguste Rodin exhibition. There will be interactive presentations, the dancers performing amid the sculpture. The action kicks off Saturday, May 14, with additional performances every day of the Rodin show run.
– Merli V. Guerra
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.”
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.”
Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights by Gertrude Stein. Directed by Tristan DiVincenzo. Staged by Provincetown Theater, 238 Bradford Street, Provincetown, MA, 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, 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.
Laura, adapted for the stage by George Sklar and Vera Caspary. Directed by Sarah Gazdowicz. At the Stoneham Theatre, 395 Main Street, Stoneham, MA, through May 22.
A stage version of Otto Preminger’s terrific 1944 film noir: “Everyone is a suspect in the murder of Laura Hunt, an irresistibly attractive business woman trying to make her way in the world of advertising. A hardboiled detective on the case becomes infatuated with her portrait after reading her memoirs and her closest friends don’t trust him.” I have my doubts that any actor come close to Clifton Webb’s consummate Waldo Lydecker?
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, 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.”
In the Body of the World, written and Performed by Eve Ensler. Directed by Diane Paulus. Staged by the American Repertory Theatre at the Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA, May 10 through 29.
A “world-premiere adaptation of Ensler’s critically acclaimed 2013 memoir of the same name” In this solo piece, the activist and artist (The Vagina Monologues, Emotional Creature, The Good Body, O.P.C.) “celebrates the strength and joy that connect a single body to the planet.” “While working in the Congo, where war continues to inflict devastating violence on women, Ensler was diagnosed with stage III/IV uterine cancer. This diagnosis erased the boundaries between Ensler’s art, her work, and her own body. This production charts the connections between the personal and the public, inviting and challenging all of us to come back into our bodies, and thus the world.”
The Oldest Boy by Sarah Ruhl. Directed by Ronn Smith. At the Central Square Theatre, 450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA at 7 p.m. on May 9.
A staged reading of Ruhl’s most recent play, which revolves around “an American mother and a Tibetan father who have a three-year-old son believed to be the reincarnation of a Buddhist lama.” The presentation will feature Lee Mikeska Gardner, Artistic Director of The Nora Theatre Company. A reading of this script is being presented by leading regional theaters around the country to mark the one year anniversary of the Nepal earthquake. It as part of a national effort to raise relief funds for the victims of the disaster. The reading is free and open to the public. At the event, donations will be accepted with 100% of donations going to The Tibet Fund’s Emergency Earthquake Relief Fund.
Eyes Shut. Door Open. by Cassie M. Seinuk. Directed by Christopher Randolph. Staged by Wax Wings Productions at Warehouse XI, Union Square, Somerville, MA, May 12 through 26.
A revival of Seinuk’s intriguing drama; about the play’s earlier production (in August 2015), Arts Fuse critic Ian Thal thought that “weak production elements [obscured] a powerful performance of an intensely relentless script.”
Mud Blue Sky by Marisa Wegrzyn. Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary. Staged by Bridge Repertory Theater at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, May 15 through June 5.
The plot of this comedy: “three flight attendants approaching their retirement years find themselves on a typical layover, only to be joined in their hotel by Jonathan, the local teenage pot-dealer who has just left his hot date at the prom.” A sterling cast includes Deb Martin, Adrianne Krstansky, Leigh Barrett, and Kaya Simmons.
End of the World by Elizabeth DuPre. Directed by Drew Linehan Jacobs. Staged by Boston Actors Theater at the Rehearsal Hall A, Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, May 6 through 21.
A no doubt minimal fireworks alternative to the upcoming aliens-try-to-obliterate-Earth Independence Day: Resurgence: “Objects hurtle towards the Earth all the time, and the team at the Near Earth Object Project is there to protect humans from meeting the same fate as the dinosaurs. But, when their latest attempt to stop a massive asteroid fails, the team (along with the rest of the planet) finds themselves facing their mortality a little sooner than they expected.”
Freedom Project, written and performed by the Everett Company. Presented by the Trinity Repertory Company at the Dowling Theater, Providence, Rhode Island, May 13 and 14.
A doc-u-drama that is nothing if not relevant: it is “a multimedia physical theater piece that weaves gripping personal stories, evocative imagery, and athletic choreography in an examination of mass incarceration in America. With material drawn from extensive research, as well as personal experience, the Everett Company calls upon our common humanity to challenge the conditions that have transformed the ‘land of the free’ into the most incarcerating country in the world.”
Dogfight, based on the Warner Bros. film and screenplay by Bob Comfort. Music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Book by Peter Duchan. Directed by Paul Daigneaut. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage Company at the Boston Center for the Arts, through June 4.
The Boston premiere of a musical set in the Vietnam era: “It’s November 21, 1963; and on the eve of their deployment to a small but growing conflict in Southeast Asia, three young Marines set out for one final boys’ night of debauchery, partying, and maybe a little trouble. But when Corporal Eddie Birdlace meets Rose, an awkward and idealistic waitress he enlists to win a cruel bet with his fellow recruits, she rewrites the rules of the game and teaches him the power of love and compassion.”
A Picasso by Jeffery Hatcher. Staged by the Newton Nomadic Theater at various locations in the Newton, MA area (see website) through May 21.
Theater on the run. This new company jumps its stagings from location to location. This time around the troupe will be performing Hatcher’s “tango of sex, politics and power”: “each week A Picasso will move to a new and unique performance space. Like nomads the world over, we never settle in any place for long. Join us for A Picasso in an art studio, a restaurant, a living room, a rug store, a library, a glass works or a pub.” I vote for the pub.
I Call My Brothers by Jonas Hassen Khemiri. Translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles. Directed by Guy Ben-Aharon. Presented by Scandinavian Stage in partnership with the Center for Arabic Culture at the Scandinavian Cultural Center, 206 Waltham Street, Newton, MA, on May 11.
A staged reading of a script by 37 year old Tunisian-Swedish wunderkind Jonas Hassen Khemiri, an award-winning author of 3 novels and 6 plays, with works translated into more than 15 languages, and scripts performed by more than 40 international companies. This play, inspired by an act of terrorism, “asks you to examine detachment and violence, the blurred lines between who victim and criminal, and to consider where fantasy meets.”
“On a hallucinatory road trip from the Badlands to Graceland, the spirits of Elvis Presley and Theodore Roosevelt battle over the soul of the painfully shy meat processing plant worker, Ann, and over what kind of man or woman Ann should become. Set against the boundless blue skies of the Great Plains and endless American highway, RoosevElvis is a new work about gender, appetite, and the multitudes we contain.”
– Bill Marx
Presented by the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra
May 8, 3 p.m.
Sanders Theater, Cambridge, MA
The third and final BPYO concert of the year offers Benjamin Zander in his Mahlerian element plus violinist Hikaru Yonezaki and cellist Leland Ko performing Brahms’s stormy Concerto for Violin and Cello. Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun rounds out the program.
Mass in B minor
Presented by Masterworks Chorale
May 13, 8 p.m.
Sanders Theater, Cambridge, MA
Masterworks Chorale presents Bach’s repertoire cornerstone as its season finale. Teresa Wakim, Krista River, Pamela Dellal, Jason McStoots, and Thomas Jones are the soloists.
Presented by the New Philharmonia Orchestra
May 14 at 8 p.m. and 15 at 3 p.m.
First Baptist Church, Newton
Jonathan Biss and the New World Chorale join the New Philharmonia in Beethoven’s grand Choral Fantasy. Filling out the evening is the Pastoral Symphony and the much-less-familiar setting of Goethe’s Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage.
Music from the Movies
Presented by the Lexington Symphony
Cary Hall, Lexington, MA
May 14, 8 p.m.
A wide range of movie music – from Max Steiner to Alan Silvestri and John Williams – is the subject of the LSO’s final concert of the season. Preceding the concert (starting at 2 p.m.) comes the orchestra’s Community Music Festival, a new, free, family-friendly tradition celebrating music and community.
Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms
Presented by Back Bay Chorale
May 14 (at 7:30 p.m.) and 15 (at 3 p.m.)
Zeiterion Theater, New Bedford, MA (on Saturday) Sanders Theater, Cambridge, MA (on Sunday)
Bernstein’s fifty-one-year-young masterpiece shares the bill with, appropriately, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The New Bedford Symphony and soloists Karen Slack, Abigail Fischer, Yeghishe Manucharyan, and David Kravitz join the BBC, which is conducted by Scott Allen Jarrett.
– Jonathan Blumhofer
May 8 at 4 p.m.
At The Eliot Church, 474 Centre Street, Newton, MA
The world premiere of Patricia Van Ness’s Under the Shadow of Your Wing. The rest of the program features personal favorites of Van Ness by Renaissance composers Tomas Luis de Victoria, Thomas Weelkes, and Thomas Tallis; Russian Orthodox composers Sergei Rachmaninoff and Piotr I Tchaikovsky; and the ancient Greek composer known as Kassia.
New Gallery Concert Series
May 12 at 7 p.m.
Community Music Center of Boston, 34 Warren Avenue, Boston, MA
The featured visual artist is Deb Todd Wheeler. The program — entitled “Blend” — will feature world premieres by David Cucchiara, Marti Epstein, and David Rakowski with performances by Jessi Rosinski, flute; Nicole Cariglia, cello; Sarah Bob, piano; mezzo soprano Carrie Cheron; baritone Brian Church.
Serenade to Music: Settings of Shakespeare
May 13 at 8 p.m.
First Church Cambridge, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA.
Boston Choral Ensemble presents works by a selection of composers (Emma Lou Diemer, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Greg Brown, Jaakko Mäntyjävri, and Frank Martin) that set the Bard’s poetry to music.
May 13 and 14 at 8 p.m.
At the Ipswich Hall at Boston Conservatory, Boston, MA
Lorelei Ensemble and the Boston Percussion Group team up in a program that “explores relationships between popular and classical repertoire and styles, and blurs lines between theater and music, audience and performer. Featuring the world premiere of Reiko Yamada’s interactive concert work Mask Your Sonic Story for women’s voices and percussion.
Masterworks Chorale performs Bach’s Mass in B Minor
May 13 at 8 p.m.
Sanders Theater, Cambridge, MA
Never performed during the composer’s lifetime, Johann Sebastian Bach’s magnificent Mass in B Minor has become universally considered the ultimate example of artistic expression and achievement.” Masterworks Chorale last performed it in May 2007 during Steven Karidoyanes’ inaugural season as Chorale conductor. The singers for this performance include: Teresa Wakim, soprano; Krista River, mezzo-soprano; Pamela Dellal, mezzo-soprano; Jason McStoots, tenor; Thomas Jones, baritone.
– Susan Miron
World Music and Roots
If the Band and the Flying Burrito Brothers were the fathers of the Americana movement, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band were at the very least the uncles. Founded 50 years ago as a Southern California folk-rock outfit first hit its commercial country-rock stride in 1970 with covers of Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles” and Kenny Loggins’ “House at Pooh Corner.” But their greatest legacy is the 1972 LP Will the Circle Be Unbroken, which exposed bluegrass icons like Earl Scruggs, Mother Maybelle Carter, and Doc Watson to younger audiences. It’s no accident that nearly every track on the double-album has become a stable of the informal kitchen and festival campsite jams that are the heart of the bluegrass scene. The band stayed on the country charts in the ’80s thanks to amiable numbers like “Fishin’ in the Dark,” and has remained a festival attraction, although their last Boston show was so long ago we can’t find any trace of where or when it was. Jeff Hanna, Jimmie Fadden, and John McEuen were all members of the 1966 Dirty Band and are still with the band today. Arts Fuse interview with Jeff Hanna.
One of the best shows of 2015 featured Sandaraa, a 7-piece Pan-Eastern band (whose sound is distinctly mystical) co-led by Pakistani singer Zeb Bangash and klezmer hotshot Michael Winograd. They return to celebrate the release of a new CD.
Atwood’s, Cambridge, MA
Fans of Texas songwriters may just be discovering sexagenarian Sam Baker. Part of the reason is that he didn’t turn to music until after he was severely injured in a 1986 terrorist train bombing in Peru; his debut album didn’t come until 2004. The last two years have seen a surge in acclaim for his often dark and always spare and thoughtful compositions.
The original mid-60′s house band at the Rathskeller, the Remains called it a day after touring with the Beatles in 1966. Lead Barry Tashian became a Nashville a-lister thanks to stints with Emmylou Harris and the Flying Burrito Brothers. The garage band revival has been very good to the Remains, who’ve notched a documentary film, a comeback LP, and myriad festival slots over the past 20 years. Their spirited reunion shows mix their classics like “Why Do I Cry” and “Don’t Look Back” with the covers that helped them fill four sets a night in their Kenmore Square heyday. Boston garage favorites the Lyres, Muck and the Mires and the Cal Cali Band are also on the bill (with the Remains going on third).
Reggie Lewis Track Center, Roxbury, MA
2016 marks the 50th anniversary of Barbados independence, so it is fitting that Boston Caribbean radio host David Martin is featuring a Bajan headliner for his annual Mother’s Day celebration. Grynner first started placing in calypso contests in 1968, and he’s been offering quality lyrics and astute social observations ever since. Backing band duties are handled by another Bajan, Jack Lee, who was part of the legendary Escorts spouge band and now leads the North Shore-based Diversity Band.
Skippy White’s Gospel Train 55th Radio Anniversary
Charles St. AME Church, 551 Warren Street, Dorchester, MA
While best known for his string of record stores, Skippy White has also been supporting Boston’s gospel community for decades via his radio show, which presently airs Sunday mornings at 7 on WRCA (1330). Atlanta’s excellent Walt Beasley and his Gospel Explosions return for their third straight appearance at this annual program, which also features many of Boston’s finest traditional gospel practitioners like the acapella Spirit Gospel Singers, the Spiritual Encouragers, and fellow WRCA radio host Bishop Harold Branch.
– Noah Schaffer
Modernism and Memory: Rhoda Pritzker and the Art of Collecting
May 11 – August 21
Art in Focus: Relics of Old London
May 11 – August 14
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT
One of the 20th century’s great architects, Louis I. Kahn was known more as an academic (he taught at Yale, MIT, the University of Pennsylvania, and Princeton) until the last, triumphant third of his career. The Yale Center for British Art, completed the year of his death, 1974, belongs to Kahn’s very late blooming as an international star, when his designing powers were at their peak and he was finally receiving the sorts of commission he deserved. The Yale Center, donated by collector Paul Mellon (Yale 1929) to house his world-ranking collection of British art, was lavishly praised at the time for its warm natural lighting and its elegantly proportioned sequence of spaces. It closed forty years later, in January 2015, for “convervation,” reinstallation, and a thorough updating of systems.
May 11 marks the Yale Center’s grand public reopening. Two special exhibitions mark the occasion. “Relics of Old London” displays selections from a group of Victorian photographs commissioned to document London’s old, cramped, crowded, and quaint streets and well-worn landmarks before they were swept away by urban redevelopment. “Modernism and Memory” focuses on 20th-century British works collected by Rhoda Pritzker (English by birth, Chicagoan by marriage) and now in the Center’s collection. Many leading figures in the show — L.S. Lowry, Alan Lowndes, Prunella Clough, Ivon Hitchens, among others — are not especially well known on this side of the Atlantic. But the selection also includes sculpture by more familiar names, such as Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, and Anthony Caro.
The centerpiece of it all will undoubtedly be the building itself, one of the great designs of its time, and the permanent collection it was created to house. The building, claims museum director Amy Meyers, has been returned to “its original gorgeous glow” and 500 works in the collection, most of them donated by Mr. Mellon, will be reinstalled as “Britain in the World,” an ethnographic re-focusing and updating of Mellon’s original anglophilic perspective (which was bit dated from the get go). The new installation will explore the development of British art from the Protestant Reformation to the present as “seen within a wider global context,” that is, not as the provincial, insular center of art Britain has sometimes seemed to be in the past, but as part of an international exchange of tastes and ideas spreading far beyond its island shores.
Rodin: Transforming Sculpture
May 14 – September 5
Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA
Unlike many of his contemporaries, Auguste Rodin became a radical almost despite his own intentions. Though he saw himself as inside the French academic tradition, Rodin’s sculptures were so radical, so unable to conform to conventional expectations, so relentless in exploring accident, fragmentation, and the deepest recesses of the human soul, that he found himself, again and again, embroiled in controversy over his work.
In essence, Rpdom took apart the language of European sculpture and altered its grammar and vocabulary to suit his own inclinations. Yet his fame and reputation only grew and grew with each new cultural uproar, until, by the time of his death in 1917, he was not only recognized as the father of modern sculpture but as the leading sculptor of the entire previous century. Rodin remains one of the half-dozen most famous sculptors of all time: his most iconic works are instantly recognizable by tens of millions.
“Rodin: Transforming Sculpture” is the latest in a series of major international monographic exhibitions that the Peabody Essex has brought to New England. Organized jointly by the Musée de Beaux Arts in Montreal and the Musée Rodin in Paris, home to an unparalleled collection from the artist’s estate, the show is likely to be the region’s leading exhibition of the season.
Community Arts Initiative: Second Hands
May 14 – October 16
Summer, when out of towers flock to its famed permanent galleries, is traditionally an off-season for the MFA’s special exhibition program (surveys of William Merritt Chase and Luca della Robbia are planned for fall). This year, “Second Hands” turns back to the Boston community for with its display of a collaborative art work, created in the past school year, by 141 Boston schoolchildren working with artist Maria Molteni.
The students were enrolled in the Museum’s ten Community Arts Initiative partners, which range across Boston’s city neighborhoods and nearby ex-urbs, including the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, the Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester, United South End Settlements, and groups based in Chelsea, Charlesdown, South Boston, and Roxbury. Participants selected clothing from second-stores in the area, checked the tags for their countries of origin, and explored works from the MFA collection from the same places. Then they created works inspired by what they found. The result, says the MFA, “expands the role of the students as artists, observers, and members of a diverse community of Bostonians and citizens of the world.”
May 14 – September 5
Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT
Paris won its epithet, “City of Light,” for its seminal role in the Enlightenment, the 18th-century intellectual and cultural movement that finally freed Europe from its medieval prejudices. But the gaslights, electric illumination, and plate glass window displays of modern Paris gave the name new significance. This exhibition shows how French artists and others living in the city transformed the Parisian evening glow into art. Artists on view include Edgar Degas, Mary Cassatt, Pierre Bonnard, Édouard Vuillard, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, James Tissot, and Childe Hassam, among others.
– Peter Walsh
Eric Rosenthal Quartet + Pandelis Karayorgis Quintet
May 11 at 7:30 (Rosenthal) and 8:45 (Karayorgis)
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA.
An outstanding double-bill of modern-composition/free improv adepts. Drummer Rosenthal is joined by pianist Eliot Cardinaux, cellist Junko Fujiwara, and bassist Bruno Raberg. Keyboardist Karayorgis convenes saxophonist Seth Meicht,
trombonist Jeb Bishop, bassist Nate McBride, and drummer Curt Newton, drums.
Noah Preminger Quartet
May 12 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
The imaginative young tenor saxophonist Noah Preminger has deeply schooled technique and endless ambition and curiosity, with a broad vocabulary, influenced by everyone and beholden to no one — oh, and a big, deep-pile sound that can also whisper sweet, well-turned nothings. His last album, Pivot: Live at the 55 Bar, was one of the best of 2015. His latest, Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground, digs deep into the blues, with covers of Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and Bukka White. He’s joined by the band from the album: trumpeter Jason Palmer, bassist Kim Cass, and drummer Ian Froman.
May 13 at 7 p.m.
Dudley Branch Library, Boston, MA.
The Makanda Project, the pianist and arranger John Kordalewski’s ongoing tribute to Boston-born saxophonist/composer Makanda Ken McIntyre, welcomes the great alto saxophonist and composer Oliver Lake to this FREE concert at the Dudley Branch Library. They’ll be joined for one piece on the program by the Boston Citywide String Orchestra. The rest of the killer cast of Boston ringers are: reed players Kurtis Rivers, Arni Cheatham, Sean Berry, and Charlie Kohlhase, trumpeters Jerry Sabatini and Sean Jones, trombonists Bill Lowe and Sarah Politz, singer Nedelka Prescod, bassist John Lockwood, and drummer Yoron Israel.
– Jon Garelick
Rock, Pop, and Folk
Upcoming and on sale:
Foundations of Funk (May 17, Paradise Rock Club); Ruby Rose Fox (June 3, Middle East Downstairs); Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy (June 7, Regent Theatre); Diiv (June 7, The Sinclair); Modern English (June 7, Middle East Downstairs); Cherie Currie (June 11, Brighton Music Hall); Buffalo Tom (June 11, Paradise Rock Club); The Jayhawks (June 13, Royale); John Doe (June 13, Atwood’s Tavern); Dungen (June 16, The Sinclair); Deerhoof (June 24, Brighton Music Hall); Dead Kennedys (June 25, Paradise Rock Club); Pere Ubu (June 27, Sinclair); Guided By Voices (July 11, Paradise Rock Club); Sonny & The Sunsets (July 12, ONCE Ballroom); Wussy (July 13, Middle East Upstairs); Rhett Miller (July 16, ONCE Ballroom); Paul McCartney (July 17, Fenway Park); Super Furry Animals (July 24, The Sinclair); Bryan Ferry (July 31, Blue Hills Bank Pavilion); Yes (August 4, Lynn Auditorium); Belly (August 9, Royale); X (August 15, Brighton Music Hall); 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)
– Blake Maddux
Heat and Light
May 10 at 7 p.m.
The Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley MA
The PEN/Hemingway award-winning author’s novels has been called “an expert natural storyteller with an acute sense of the character’s humanity” by The New York Times. Her latest novel continues a story cycle that veers in and out of the 20th and 21st centuries.
The Statesman and The Storyteller: John Hay, Mark Twain, and the Rise of American Imperialism
May 12 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
With America on the cusp of becoming a world power, Mark Twain and the statesmen John Hay corresponded for a decade at the end of both of their long lives. Zwonitzer shows how each man interpreted their age: Twain was anti-imperialist to his wizened bones, while Hay took an insider’s interest in the possibilities of American global influence.
Massacre on the Merrimack
May 12 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
In 1697, a band of Abnaki Indians, sick of the encroachment of the English settlers in the so-called New World and in service of the French, raided the frontier village of Haverhill. They killed twenty-seven people and took captives, one of them was thirty-nine year old Hannah Duston and her week-old daughter. Acclaimed New England author Jay Atkinson tells the story of how Duston fought back. Arts Fuse review.
A Self-Made Man: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln, 1809- 1849
May 13 at 6 p.m. (Doors open at 5:30)
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
An installment in a Mass Humanities series: Blumenthal, a longtime advisor to the Clintons, comes to Cambridge to read and discuss his latest book, which tells the story of Lincoln’s early life, including his time as a “newsboy” and his literary inspirations, which ranged from Thomas Paine and Shakespeare to the Bible. There is also a look at his intimate life, including Lincoln’s early depressions and awkwardness with the opposite sex.
Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution
May 15 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30)
First Parish Church, Cambridge, MA
It’s safe to say that George Washington’s reputation is rock-solid, but what about the much more morally dubious case of the traitorous Benedict Arnold, his talented (and resentful) general? The esteemed historian discusses the relationship between these two men and how their rift altered the fight for American independence.
Smedley’s Secret Guide to World Literature
May 18 at 7 p.m.
Newtonville Books, Newton Centre, MA
Jonathan is a precocious sixteen year old high school student who cuts class and is forced by his father to write a history of English literature for the Twitter generation. George Scialabba says that the kid’s subsequent misadventures are told via “astonishingly vivid, funny, soulful, and inventive prose.”
– Matt Hanson