Feb 262017

Arts Fuse critics select the best in theater, film, music, author events, and dance for the coming weeks.

By The Arts Fuse Staff


Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four
February 27 at 7 p.m.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA

The film excavates the nightmarish persecution of Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh, and Anna Vasquez — four Latina lesbians wrongfully convicted of gang-raping two little girls in San Antonio, Texas. The film begins its journey inside a Texas prison, after these women have spent nearly a decade behind bars. They were 19 and 20 years at the time that the allegations surfaced. The film unravels the interplay of mythology, homophobia, and prosecutorial fervor that led to their indictment. The San Antonio Four were exonerated in November and the film was cited among the factors that turned the tide in their favor. It was the winner of the Critic’s Choice Documentary Award for Best First Documentary. Co-presented by the DocYard and UMB Film Series. Director Deborah Esquenazi will attend in person for discussion.

The Women Who Built Hollywood Film Series
March 1 through 8
Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA

The Brattle Theater’s new series on women in film kicks off with  ”A Year of Women in Cinema, Part One.” It is a week of films a program of films “from the early days of Hollywood that were directed, written, edited, produced, or just plain willed into existence by women.” The line-up features work from directors Lois Weber and Dorothy Arzner, screenwriter Frances Marion, as well as contributions by Anita Loos, Mary Pickford, Mabel Normand, Jean Harlow, Loretta Young, and others. Full Schedule

God Knows Where I Am I - Salem Film Festival

“God Knows Where I Am” is one of many documentaries playing at Salem Film Fest.

Salem Film Fest
March 2 through 9
CinemaSalem, PEM Morse Auditorium, and the National Park Service Visitor Center, Salem, MA

The 10th annual Salem Film Fest has become one of the area’s largest documentary festivals with a diverse collection of the best cinematic work from all over the world. These are films screened here that you won’t find elsewhere. This year the gathering is especially strong; a visit is well worth the trip to scenic Salem. Full Schedule

The Battle of the Century  – Classic Comedies of Laurel & Hardy and Buster Keaton
March 7  at 7 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theater, Brookline, MA

The Sound of Silents presents the once-lost Laurel and Hardy classic, The Battle of the Century, the restored Buster Keaton comedy classics Cops and Electric House, plus The Dancing Pig from 1907. The evening will feature the live musical accompaniment of Donald Sosin and Joanna Seaton. The duo has brought their unique blend of keyboards, vocals and percussion to major film festivals across the world. The film also contains the greatest pie fight in cinema history, and there will be a pie throwing contest! (Should people bring ammunition?) Venture to Coolidge Corner for what promises to be an unforgettable evening of music and laughs.

Saturday Morning On Friday Night!
March 10 at 8 p.m.
The Somerville Theatre Micro Cinema, Somerville, MA

Channel Zero presents “An Unorthodox Review of Classic Saturday Morning Cartoons!” What do The Lone Ranger, Beanie & Cecil, Tom Sawyer, a superheroic rock band called The Impossibles & something called “Frankenstein Jr” all have in common? They and the stars of other cartoons ruled Saturday Morning TV  back in the 1960s! This was a responsibility-free zone. The result? All sorts of craziness — once thought to be healthy for young minds —  was called children’s entertainment! Head to the Somerville Theatre for a unique revival of a lost ritual —  a screening of a dozen or so classic cartoons from the Golden Age of KidVid!

– Tim Jackson


through March 5
At the Boston Opera House, Boston, MA

Utilizing spoken word, artful sets, and challenging choreography, famed choreographer William Forsythe’s Artifact will be performed by the dancers of Boston Ballet. Arts Fuse review


“INVISIBLE: Imprints of Racism” will be performed in Boston this week.

INVISIBLE: Imprints of Racism
March 3 & 4 at 8 p.m.
At Semel Theater, Boston, MA

Choreographer Anna Myer and playwright Jay Paris co-lead this hour-long production, which utilizes modern dance, hip hop, poetry, and music to dig into the ever-relevant issue of race in American cities.

March 3 & 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Boston University Dance Theater
Boston, MA

Commonwealth Ballet Company (CBC) presents EDGE, four works by choreographers Juliana Utz, Monica Levy, CBC Director Chip Morris, and Denise Pons. It sets out to be an evening that explores love, myth, and music through ballet.


BODYTRAFFIC’s “A Trick of the Light.” Photo: Guzman Rosado.

March 10 & 11 at 8 p.m., March 12 at 3 p.m.
At the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA

BODYTRAFFIC—known for producing world-class contemporary dance—comes to the ICA (courtesy of World Music/CRASHarts) next week with Boston premieres of The New 45 (excerpts) by Richard Siegal, Private Games: Chapter One by Anton Lachky, Once again, before you go by Victor Quijada, and A Trick of the Light by Joshua L. Peugh. The performance aims “to ignite both mind and body.”

Further afield…

Mad World
March 11 at 7 p.m.
Endicott College, Beverly, MA

Head to the north shore next weekend for Aurora Borealis Dance Company’s spring production, which will include works by special guest artists BoSoma Dance Company and Luminarium Dance Company. Mad World covers a number of important subjects, ranging from gun control and social conformity to climate change.

– Merli V. Guerra


Bertold Brecht

Poet/Playwright Bertolt Brecht — “I don’t know what a man is. Only that every man has his price.”

Brecht on Brecht by Bertolt Brecht. Arranged by George Tabori from various translations. Directed by Jim Petosa. Staged by New Repertory Theatre in the Black Box Theater at the Mosesian Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA, through March 5.

This script “celebrates one of the 20th century’s greatest dramatists in a stunning revue of his life’s work. Featuring songs and scenes from Kurt Weill, Hanns Eisler, and Bertolt Brecht’s most famous collaborations, and first-hand accounts from Brecht himself, Brecht on Brecht explores the political and social issues he faced as an artist fleeing Nazism and his eventual exile in America.” Of course, aside from The Scottsboro Boys over at SpeakEasy Stage, productions of Brecht-influenced theater (let along his plays) are scarce. Why? Increasingly, our theater is about inspiration and entertainment, part of what William Davies calls “The Happiness Industry.” May this show at least remind audiences (and theater artists) that theater can be so much more.

Edward II by Christopher Marlowe. Directed by David R. Gammons. Staged by the Actors’ Shakespeare Project at the Charlestown Working Theater, Charlestown, MA, through March 19.

A rare outing in Boston for Marlowe’s prophetic exploration of the social consequences of homosexual desire: The playwright “uses the tumultuous history of 14th century England to share one man’s struggle between self identity and the demands of his court and kingdom, presented in a taut new version that pares the work to eight characters.”

Exit Strategy by Ike Holter. Directed David J. Miller. Staged by the Zeitgeist Stage Company at the Boston Center for the Arts, Plaza Theatre Boston, MA, through March 11.

Sounds like a very relevant script, given the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education under the Trump Administration. The play “examines the human implications of one school closing in a taut comedy/drama about the future of public education. A large city school is slated to permanently close at the end of the school year. The school’s staff reacts with different modes of self-survival, while a precocious student redirects the school’s website to an Indiegogo campaign to fund the school’s survival.” Arts Fuse review

Stage Kiss by Sarah Ruhl. Directed by Courtney O’Connor. Staged by the Lyric Stage Company at 140 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA, February 24 through March 26.

“Life imitates Art. Art imitates Life — and Love.” In this script, “two squabbling long-lost loves are cast as long-lost lovers, and quickly lose touch with reality in this comic, romantic, and revealing play-within-a-play.” Arts Fuse review

Rachel Cognata as Girlfriend in the Company One production of "Really." photo Jeremy Fraga.

Rachel Cognata as Girlfriend in the Company One production of “Really.” photo Jeremy Fraga.

Really by Jackie Sibblies Drury. Directed by Shawn LaCount. Staged by Company One in partnership with Matter & Light Fine Art, at Matter & Light Fine Art, 63 Thayer Street SOWA, Boston, MA, through March 4.

A New England premiere: “In a studio filled with photographs, two very different women work to process the disappearance of a charming, volatile artist. But which of them really knew him?” Arts Fuse review

Women in Jeopardy! by Wendy MacLeod. Directed by Sean Daniels. At the Merrimack Repertory Theatre at 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA, through March 12.

This “riotous” comedy ‘follows Mary and Jo, two middle-aged women who jump to the rescue when their best friend Liz falls for a creepy (and potentially murderous) dentist.” You have to love/hate the show’s marketing motto: “Screw the mid-life crisis; let’s solve some crimes!” Arts Fuse review

The Honey Trap by Leo McGann. Directed by Adam Kassim. A BU New Play Initiative production staged by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and the Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Theatre at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA, through February 26.

“What seems to be a typical night at a pub turns into something much darker for two off-duty British soldiers in 1979. Decades later, an oral history project reopens old wounds for one of the soldiers and sends him back to Ireland in search of answers and revenge.”

Ill Seen Ill Said ​& Not I by Samuel Beckett. Directed by Erik Ehn. Staged by Wilbury Theatre Group’s Studio W at 393 Broad Street, Providence, RI, through February 26.

A rare opportunity to see Ill Seen Ill Said, “a late work from Samuel Beckett that paints a haunting picture of an old woman alone in a cabin, who watches the evening and the morning star and ventures out chiefly to visit a grave.” Also on the existential bill: Not I.

Informed Consent by Deborah Zoe Laufer. Directed by Dale J. Young. Staged by Apollinaire Theatre Company at the Chelsea Theatre Works, 189 Winnisimmet St., Chelsea, MA, through March 12.

Sounds like a scientific/political problem play: “An ambitious geneticist is hired to help solve why a Native American tribe is being devastated by diabetes, but her research threatens to destroy their most sacred traditions.” Arts Fuse review

Jonah and the Whale Book by Tyler Mills. Music and Lyrics by David Darrow and Blake Thomas. Orchestrations by Robert Frost. Directed by Weylin Symes. At the Stoneham Theatre, 395 Main Street, Stoneham, MA, February 23 through March 12.

An East Coast premiere of a new musical that is an “epic musical journey that re-imagines one of the strangest and most familiar stories in the Old Testament.” It is “an unforgettable story of faith, loss, and survival against unbeatable odds” and “features a completely original pop/folk score.” I hope the whale gets to sing …

Marie Mullen as Mag Folan and Aisling O'Sullivan as Maureen Folan  in  Photo: Craig Schwartz

Marie Mullen as Mag Folan and Aisling O’Sullivan as Maureen Folan in the Druid Theatre Company production of “The Beauty Queen of Leeann.” Photo: Craig Schwartz.

The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh. Directed by Garry Hynes. The Druid Theatre Company staging is presented by ArtsEmerson at the Emerson/Paramount Center, Robert J. Orchard Stage, Boston, MA, through February 26.

A revival of “a subversive thriller that takes audiences through the twists and turns of the ultimate dysfunctional relationship, revealing what can happen when family ties go too far…way too far.” Twenty years ago, the Druid Theatre Company’s production of this deeply dark script was nominated for six Tony Awards, winning four. “Druid returns with Tony Award winning director, Garry Hynes’s remount of this spectacular production. Marie Mullen, who won the Tony for her performance as the daughter, returns this time in the role of the mother, while Aisling O’Sullivan takes the role of the daughter.”

The Night of the Iguana by Tennessee Williams. Directed by Michael Wilson. Presented by the American Repertory Theater at the Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, MA, through March 18.

“On the edge of the Mexican jungle, a group of troubled travelers seek shelter from a storm. Tennessee Williams’ feverishly poetic 1961 drama follows a hotel proprietress and the scandal-soaked Southern preacher who turns up on her veranda. A Nantucket portrait artist traveling with her ancient grandfather, a bus full of fuming Texan college administrators, and a party of vacationers collide in this drama about how far we travel to outrun the demons within.” The cast of for this revival is high-powered — it includes Dana Delany, Bill Heck, Amanda Plummer, Elizabeth Ashley, James Earl Jones, and Sussanah Perkins.”

Precious Little by Madeleine George. A Catalyst Collaborative@MIT Production at the Central Square Theater, Cambridge, MA, March 2 through 26.

“A research linguist, Brodie, receives genetic testing results: her unborn child may never be able to learn a language. Her girlfriend’s unsympathetic; her genetic counselor’s a rookie; her own uncompromising intellect betrays her. Her search for guidance takes her to unexpected places. Three actresses play multiple roles – including a gorilla – in this irreverent exploration of one of our most fundamental questions: when does too much knowledge get in the way of our basic instincts?”

Sister Anonymous by Catherine M. O’Neill. Staged by Second Act Productions at the Boston Center for the Arts’ Plaza Black Box, Boston, MA, March 2 through 17.

“A two act play (by a Dorchester native) dramatizing the lasting and revolutionary contributions made by a Sister of Charity of Saint Augustine to modern day worldwide society, it sheds light on the origins of the most successful self-help movement of the modern world, Alcoholics Anonymous.”

A scene from the Flat Earth production of "Silent Sky."

A scene from the Flat Earth production of “Silent Sky.”

Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson. Directed by Dori A. Robinson. At the Mosesian Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA, March 10 through 25.

A “melodious period drama about the Hidden Figures-esq women who worked at Harvard Observatory in the early 1900′s.”

A Ride on the Irish Cream, written and Created by Erin Markey. Directed by Jordan Fein. Presented by the American Repertory Theater at OBERON, 2 Arrow St, Cambridge, MA, February 28 through March 2.

“In this fresh and surprising new musical, a live band and swath of carpet become the space for the thrills and terrors of a relationship between a vainglorious self-made girl and her family’s pontoon boat. They are in love, but when their relationship is tested by dust ruffles, sex for money, severe T-storms, and a secret cellar, the only way to stay together is to remember all the parts of themselves their bodies tried to forget.”

Grand Concourse by Heidi Schreck. Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage Company at the South End/ Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, March 3 through April 1.

First rate Boston actors Melinda Lopez and Thomas Derrah star in the New England premiere of a “compelling” story, set in a Bronx soup kitchen, which explores the mysteries of faith and forgiveness.

Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks. Directed by Billy Porter. Staged by the Huntington Theater Company at the Boston University Theater, Avenue of the Arts, Boston, MA, March 10 through April 9.

The script is “a darkly comic, deeply theatrical fable about family wounds and healing bonds. Lincoln and Booth are brothers: best friends and bitter rivals. Lincoln, a former 3-card monte hustler, works as a Lincoln impersonator in a shooting gallery; Booth is an aspiring grifter. He tempts his brother to get back in the game, but the consequences could be deadly. Suzan-Lori Parks made history as the first African American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2002 with Topdog/Underdog.”

A glimpse of the puppet elephants in "Circus 1903."

A glimpse of the puppet elephants in “Circus 1903.”

CIRCUS 1903 –The Golden Age of Circus, produced by Simon Painter, Tim Lawson and MagicSpace Entertainment. At the Boch Center Wang Theatre, Boston, MA, March 8 through 12.

“A world premiere event: the producers of the world’s biggest magic show, The Illusionists, have teamed up with the award-winning puppeteers from War Horse, to present a thrilling turn-of-the-century circus spectacular.” Giant elephant puppets! Sounds good to me.

temping by Wolf 359. Part of The Mini Series: Performance for Small Audiences, presented by the American Repertory Theater at Oberon, 2 Arrow Street, Cambridge, MA, March 7 through 19.

Theater meets technology. To be absorbed? In the future, all you will need is a virtual reality visor to become part of the show — the devices are being test marketed at this moment. “Sarah Jane Tully, a 53-year-old actuary, is taking her first vacation in years, and YOU have been hired to cover for her. temping, the strange and comic tale of an employee’s inner life, is performed for an audience of one by a Windows PC, a corporate phone, a laser printer, and the Microsoft Office Suite. Filling in at Sarah Jane’s cubicle, you’ll update client records, send emails, and eavesdrop on intra-office romance. Each performance is unique, depending on which tasks you accomplish and which of your co-workers you decide to trust.”

– Bill Marx


Michael Olatuja and Lagos Pepper Soup
February 27 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.

The virtuoso British-Nigerian bassist and composer Michael Olatuja plays an exuberant, crafty, ambitious fusion in a Metheny-esque vein.

Revolutionary Snake Ensemble
February 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

Boston’s venerable second-line influenced brass band, the RSE, coming off their latest release, I Want That Sound (Arts Fuse review), again celebrates Mardi Gras with saxophonist Charles Neville (of New Orleans legends the Neville Brothers), and one of his regular runnin’ partners, the fine vocalist Henri Smith.

Rebecca Cline/Rich Greenblatt
February 28 at 8:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.

Pianist Rebecca Cline, known for her mastery of Afro-Latin grooves in bands like Enclave, Obbini Tumbao, and Mango Blue, teams up with multi-directional vibist and composer Rich Greenblatt for a show they’re billing as “funky, groovy, in the pocket, and altogether unexpected.”

Joe Lovano/Dave Douglas Quintet
March 2 at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

The full name is Joe Lovano/Dave Douglas Quintet: Sound Prints, titled obliquely for the band’s inspiration, Wayne Shorter. There might be a Wayne tune or two in the show, even a piece the Master wrote specifically for the quintet. But mostly it’s what Joe and Dave think about when they think about Wayne. And it’s a superb band, with Lawrence Fields on piano, Linda Oh on bass, and Joey Baron on drums.

March 2 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.

The Columbus, Ohio-born Huntertones (now based in Brooklyn, natch) play brainy arrangements with secure funk and second-line New Orleans roots and plenty of freewheeling old-school NOLA counterpoint in the horns. They cite Jon Batiste & Stay Human as part of their cohort, and they share that band’s genial demeanor.

Kenny Barron Trio
March 3 and 4 at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

It’s not going too far out on a limb to call Kenny Barron one of the finest jazz pianists alive — uncommon grace, lyricism, and swing, and great fingers too. He’s joined by bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa and drummer Jonathan Blake. That’s four shows over two nights, but don’t sit on it.

Charlie Kohlhase Quintet
March 3 at 8 p.m.
Third Live Studio, Somerville, MA.

During the ’90s, the Charlie Kohlhase Quintet could be counted on to push an uncommon balance of sharp, good-humored writing with free-improv daring. They were long a weekly staple at the Willow Café in Somerville — until they were displaced for an event that became the name of an album, Dart Night. Kohlhase has continued to be a lynchpin of the Boston scene, in his own and other groups. Tonight the original CK5 reunite: Kohlhase on alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones; John Carlson on trumpet and flugelhorn; Matt Langley on tenor and soprano; John Turner on bass; and Matt Wilson, drums (yes, that Matt Wilson).

Gary Burton/Makoto Ozone
March 5 at 7:30 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA.

At 74, vibes master Gary Burton says he’s calling it quits — according to those in the know, because he wants to get out at the top of his game. A short farewell tour brings him to his alma mater as well as the place where he served as president and helped influence jazz education as much as anyone in America. As a bandleader he has mentored a stunning list of influential players: Pat Metheny, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Donny McCaslin, Julian Lage, and many more. With the help of bassist Steve Swallow he helped bring country and rock into jazz. He visits Berklee with another former protégé and a long time duo partner, Makoto Ozone.

Ethan Iverson Trio
March 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

Ethan Iverson is best known as the pianist in jazz troublemakers the Bad Plus, but, as that band would imply, his interests range broadly, including deep jazz (he was a regular in Paul Motian’s band during the last years of that legendary player’s life). Here he’s joined by bassist Ben Street and the great, veteran drummer Victor Lewis.

March 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.

For this edition of his .01 Percent series, drummer Eric Rosenthal pairs Nevertheless (Rosenthal, drummer Curt Newton, electronics guy Andrew Neuman) and Stereoscopic (pianist Pandelis Karayorgis, saxophonist Seth Meicht, trombonist Jeb Bishop, bassist Jeff Charland, and drummer Newton). Expect the proceedings among these adept players to lean the free way.

James Carter
March 9 at 6 p.m.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA.

The Gardner is calling this appearance by master reedman James Carter part of their “pop-up gallery performance series.” Carter, playing bass clarinet, will wander about for a few hours, responding spontaneously to the museum’s collection. And the audience is welcome to wander with him.

Anat Cohen Quartet
March 9 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.

The 37-year-old Tel Aviv-born, Berklee-educated clarinetist and saxophonist Anat Cohen has become something of a festival sensation, thanks to great chops, natural exuberance, and generosity as a performer as well as musical interests that run from trad swing and post-bop to Afro-Latin, with a special flair for Brazilian choro. Her clarinet-playing was encouraged by Berklee teacher Phil Wilson, and it’s paid off – a sound that can be liquid, floating, or earthy, sometimes in a single breath.

VI - Lena Adasheva

Vijay Iver will perform at Sanders Theatre in Cambridge on March 9th. Photo: Lena Adasheva.

Vijay Iyer Sextet
March 9 at 8 p.m.
Sanders Theatre, Cambridge, MA.

Pianist and composer Vijay Iyer — winner of too many awards and accolades to name — expands his celebrated trio with bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore to include trumpeter Graham Haynes, tenor saxophonist Mark Shim, and alto saxophonist Steve Lehman.

Aaron Goldberg Trio
March 10 at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

Aaron Goldberg came to the fore in the bands of Kurt Rosenwinkel and Joshua Redman, but he’s always been worth a listen on his own – not only for lyricism and flow, but for his playful relationship with song form. He’s joined by bassist Yasushi and the brilliant percussionist Leon Parker.

Tania Stavreva
March 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA.

Bulgarian-born pianist Tania Stavreva plays a bravura style that mixes her eclectic originals with arrangements of Mompou, Satie, and Ginastera, as well as other 20th and 21st-century composers. She’s making her first Cambridge appearance in support of her Rhythmic Movement CD, which has made the Billboard classical charts. But, yes, there is some improv going on here.

John Funkhouser Quartet
March 11 at 8 p.m.
Third Life Studio, Somerville, MA.

Pianist and composer John Funkhouser is known for his deep-pocket versatility (he often hires out as a bassist to, among others, the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra and piano phenom Matt Savage) and hungry ears. In this case, he’s joined by the group that released the impressive, genre-blurring 2013 album Still: guitarist Phil Sargent, drummer Mike Connors, and bassist Greg Loughman.

Metta Music
March 14 at 8 p.m.
Outpost 186, Cambridge, MA.

Multi-woodwind player Peter Kuhn and baritone saxophonist Dave Sewelson have an association that goes back 40 years. Here they join bassist Damon Smith and drummer Ra Kalam Bob Moses for an evening that will lean toward free playing informed by Buddhist practices.

– Jon Garelick

Classical Music

McGegan and Mozart
Presented by the Handel and Haydn Society
March 3 at 7:30 p.m. and 5 at 3 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA

Nicholas McGegan conducts H&H in music by Gluck, Juan Crisostomo Arriaga, and Mozart’s Linz Symphony.

Cellist Maya Besser Photo: MIT Arts

Cellist Maya Besser will perform Evan Ziporyn’s cello-and-orchestra arrangement of David Bowie’s “Blackstar.” Photo: MIT Arts

Ambient Orchestra plays David Bowie
Presented by MIT Music Department
March 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Kresge Auditorium, Cambridge, MA

Cellist Maya Beiser returns to New England to perform Evan Ziporyn’s cello-and-orchestra arrangement of David Bowie’s Blackstar. Also on the program are arrangements of music by Eric Satie and Ziporyn’s Frog’s Eye.

Presented by Radius Ensemble
March 4, 8 p.m.
Pickman Hall, Cambridge, MA

Three contemporary scores – Kenji Bunch’s Shout Chorus, an oboe-and-strings arrangement of Philip Glass’s “Facades” (from Glassworks), and three piano preludes by David Rakowski – preface Brahms’s op. 18 string sextet.

Bernstein, Bruch, and Tchaikovsky
Presented by Boston Civic Symphony
March 5, 2 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA

David Feltner conducts Tchaikovsky’s Symphony no. 4 and Charles Dimmick is the soloist in Bruch’s Violin Concerto no. 1. Leonard Bernstein’s effervescent Overture to Candide opens the program.

Spring String Spectacular
Presented by Bach, Beethoven, & Brahms Society
March 5, 3 p.m.
Faneuil Hall, Boston, MA

Kim Kashkashian gives the world premiere of Howard Frazin’s Viola Concerto. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto no. 3 and Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings fill out the afternoon.

Resisting Fate
Presented by the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra
March 5, 4 p.m.
Kresge Auditorium, Cambridge, MA

The CSO plays Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony alongside the Symphonic Suite from Leonard Bernstein’s score to On the Waterfront and Ravel’s obsessive Bolero.

Gerstein plays Busoni
Presented by the Boston Symphony Orchestra
March 10 at 1:30 p.m. and 11 at 8 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA

Kirill Gerstein returns to Symphony Hall as the soloist in Ferrucio Busoni’s mammoth (and rarely-heard) Piano Concerto. Sakari Oramo also conducts Sibelius’s strange (and somewhat-neglected) Symphony no. 3.

Serkin plays Bach
Presented by Longwood Symphony Orchestra
March 11, 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA

Peter Serkin joins the LSO for a pair of duo-harpsichord concertos (with Anna Polonsky). Also on tap are Handel’s Concerto grosso op. 6, no. 7 and the Suite from Stravinsky’s The Firebird.

The Rake’s Progress
Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
March 12, 15, 17, and 19 at 3 p.m. (on Sundays) and 7:30 p.m. (weekdays)
Cutler Majestic Theater, Boston, MA

Stravinsky’s collaboration with W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman comes to Boston courtesy of BLO. Anya Matanovic sings Anne Truelove, Ben Bliss is Tom Rakewell, and Jane Eaglen takes a turn as Mother Goose. David Angus conducts.

Family Concert
Presented by Boston Musica Viva
March 12, 3 p.m.
Tsai Performance Center, Boston, MA

BMV’s annual Family Concert features the world premiere of Peter Childs’ The Tale of Peter Rabbit plus Camille Saint-Saens’ popular Carnival of the Animals.

– Jonathan Blumhofer

J.S. Bach’s B Minor Mass
February 26 at 3 p.m.
At Cary Hall, 1605 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington, MA

Cantata Singers returns to a piece that continues to be a touchstone for the organization: Bach’s great Mass in B minor.

Boston Cello Quartet
February 26 at 3 p.m.
At Temple Emanuel. 385 Ward Street, Newton, MA

Hammond Residential Real Estate Performing Arts Series presents the Boston Cello Quartet, which is comprised of Boston Symphony Orchestra cellists Blaise Dejardin, Adam Esbensen, Mihail Jojatu, and Alexandre Lecarme. “Their exciting program will feature works from international composers including Germany’s Wilhelm Fitzenhagen, Argentina’s Astor Piazzolla, the United States’ John Williams and Chick Corea, Italy’s Tomaso Albinoni and more.”

Johannes Brahms: Piano Quartets in A Major and G Minor
March 2 at 8 p.m.
At the Boston University/Tsai Performance Center, 685 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA

The performers: Rhonda Rider, Pavel Nersessian, Bayla Keyes, and Michelle LaCourse.

Pianist Sergey Schepkin
March 3 at 7:30 p.m.
At the New School of Music, 25 Lowell Street, Cambridge, MA

Schepkin performs as part of the 40th Anniversary Concert Series.

First Monday at Jordan Hall
March 6 at 7:30 p.m.
At Jordan Hall/New England Conservatory, 290 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA

On the program: Schumann’s Spanische Liebeslieder (10), Op. 138; Crumb’s Vox Balaenae (Voice of the Whale); Dvorak’s Trio for Piano and Strings no 3 in F minor, Op. 65/B 130.

Cambridge Society for Early Music: Gut Reaction
March 9 through 13
At various locations (check the website for details).

This performance “brings together five brilliant performers to explore the best of baroque on period instruments. The four string players are members of the critically-acclaimed Boston ensemble A Far Cry.”

Handel’s Israel in Egypt
March 11 at 7 p.m.
At the First Church Congregational, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA

“Join Musica Sacra, its distinguished orchestra, and acclaimed soloists for a performance of Handel’s dramatic setting of the Exodus.”

Baritone David Kravitz and pianist Esther Ning Yau
March 12 at 2:30 p.m.
At the Brookline Library/Hunneman Hall, 361 Washington Street, Brookline, MA

– Susan Miron

Rock, Pop, and Folk

Anvil with Black Mass, Graveshadow, and Night Demon
March 2 (doors at 9)
Great Scott, Allston, MA

Other than Rush, no band from Toronto has had as much influence on the past three or four decades of heavy metal as Anvil. The band’s steadfastness in the face of its lack of commercial success led to it being the subject of the 2008 documentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil. The now-trio has ridden the wave of the subsequent rise in its profile ever since, and will headline at Great Scott on March 2. What better way to spend a Thursday evening than with them and three opening acts whose names sound like horror movies?

Robyn Hitchcock with Emma Swift
March 3 (doors at 8, show at 9)
ONCE Ballroom, Somerville, MA

A Robyn Hitchcock show is all the reason one needs to clear his or her schedule for a given evening. Somerville has been lucky enough in recent years to host the addictively eccentric singer-songwriter: at Somerville Theatre, Arts at the Armory, and—this Friday—ONCE Ballroom, where Hitchcock will play to a sold-out crowd along with his personal and professional partner Emma Swift.

The Flaming Lips with clipping.
March 3 (doors at 7, show at 8)
House of Blues, Boston, MA

If you didn’t manage to score a ticket to Robyn Hitchcock but still want to start of your weekend in a deliriously off-kilter fashion, check out The Flaming Lips when they heat up House of Blues in support of their latest album, the Polishly titled Oczy Mlody.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah with Steady Holiday
March 5 (doors at 7:30, show at 8:30)
ONCE Ballroom, Somerville, MA

NPR’s “All Songs Considered” host Bob Boilen included the eponymous debut by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah among his 50 Most Important recordings of the Decade in 2009. A dozen years after that album’s release, only lead singer Alec Ounsworth remains of the original line-up. He released The Tourist—which local boy TW Walsh mastered—under the CYHSY moniker in February, and will be performing at ONCE on Sunday, March 5.

Adrian Belew Power Trio with Saul Zonana
March 5 (doors at 8, show at 9)
The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA

In the late 70s and early 80s, Kentucky-born guitar virtuoso Adrian Belew performed and recorded with Frank Zappa, David Bowie, and Talking Heads. In 1981, he began a nearly three-decade long tenure as a member of King Crimson. As a session musician, Belew worked on recordings by Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Herbie Hancock, Crash Test Dummies, Nine Inch Nails (Trent Renzor described him as “the most awesome musician in the world”), William Shatner, and enough other artists to pretty much guarantee that he appears on at least one album in everyone’s collection. He and the brother-sister rhythm section of Julie and Eric Slick will mesmerize a Sinclair audience on Sunday.

– Blake Maddux

Roots and World Music

Nikki Lane's

Nikki Lane is coming to Cambridge, MA.

Nikki Lane
March 3
Sinclair, Cambridge, MA

One of alt-country’s sharper voices comes to town on the heels of her new album.

Tamar Ilana & Ventanas
March 5
The Rockwell, Somerville, MA

Singer Tamar Ilana and her eclectic combo combine Sephardic Jewish, Balkan, Middle Eastern and North African sounds in a high-energy show, here courtesy of World Music/CRASHArts.

Miles Okazaki and RAJAS
March 9
MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA

Improvisational guitarist Okazaki appears on a bill with RAJAS, a New York collective which mixes togther jazz and Indian classical music.

Mbongwana Star
March 10
The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA

Two of the founders of the beloved experimental Congolese street band Staff Benda Bilili bring their new band (courtesy of World Music/CRASHArts) to town for the first time.

– Noah Schaffer

Author Events


Gish Jen
The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap
February 28 at 7 p.m.

It’s no secret that the world is more interconnected, but the cultural differences of east and west becoming more and more pronounced. Drawing on a lifetime of experience living within both spaces, second generation Chinese-American Gish Jen explores — through personal anecdotes and research in cultural psychology — our cultural interdependence.

Joseph Luzzi
From Twain to Toni Morrison- A Literary Journey through America
March 2 at 6 p.m.
Rabb Hall, Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St, Boston, MA

As part of the Lowell Lecture series, an acclaimed Dante scholar and translator (and professor of Italian at Bard) will give an hour-long lecture on literary expression of a split in the American spirit, following the line begun by Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and into the writing of Faulkner, Toni Morrison, Philip Roth, and Joseph Heller.

Jim Shepard
The World to Come: Stories
March 2 at 7 p.m.
Newtonville Books, Newton Centre MA

The acclaimed master of the short story has long been praised for his ability to chronicle life from a variety of different perspectives. He will read from his latest collection, which includes the voices of Arctic explorers, eighteenth century French balloonists, and two frontier wives making contact despite their isolation.

Mohsin Hamid
Exit West: A Novel
March 8 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA

The bestselling and influential British/Pakistani author of The Accidental Fundamentalist reads from his new novel, which tells the story of two lovers in a country teetering on the brink of civil war. Time magazine writes that it “powerfully evokes the violence and anxiety of lives lived under the drone-crossed sky.”

Kay Redfield Jamison
Robert Lowell, Setting the River on Fire: A Study of Genius, Mania, and Character
March 9 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA

Boston’s own Robert “Cal” Lowell was one of the greatest American poets of his generation. He was also deeply manic-depressive. How did these two parts of his psyche meet and how did they inform one another? Kay Jamison is a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins who has written extensively on the relationship between illness and art. She comes to share her insights on Lowell’s turbulent life. She had unprecedented access to his archive, and was the first scholar to interview Lowell’s daughter, Harriet.

Lisa Feldman Barrett
How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain
March 9 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA

A psychologist and neuroscientist explains the science behind our mysterious emotions, exploring their relationship to rational thought, how we develop control over our urges, and the ways emotions influence consciousness.

– Matt Hanson


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