Arts Fuse critics select the best in film, dance, theater, music, and author events for the coming weeks.
By The Arts Fuse Staff
Israeli American Council Documentary Series
Through July 6
Merkaz IAC 1320 Centre Street Newton, MA, 8 p.m.
The DOC.IL documentary movie series — from The Israeli House, The Boston Jewish Film Festival & IAC Boston — is an opportunity to watch thought-provoking Israeli documentaries that reveal different facets of Israeli society and their challenges. Each screening will be followed by a discussion. On June 6: The Green Prince ; June 24: The Queen Has No Crown; On July 6: Tinghir-Jerusalem.
Frederick Wiseman: For The Record
Through June 4
Museum of Fine Art Boston, MA
The next week is are your last chance to see these marvelous documentaries. Wiseman immerses the viewer into a specific world; he is a patience explorer with a keen eye and a steely gift for getting at the heart of each subject. The films coming up in the series include Domestic Violence,, At Berkeley, and National Gallery. Note: Many of these films are quite long, so plan accordingly.
Wednesday, May 31 6:00 pm
Sunday, May 28 1:00 pm
In Jackson Heights
Thursday, June 1 4:00 pm
Saturday, June 3 2:00 pm
The Last Letter
Thursday, June 1 8:00 pm
Friday, June 2 3:30 pm
Friday, June 2 5:00 pm
Sunday, June 4 11:00 am
Saturday, June 3,10:30 am
Sunday, June 4 2:00 pm
– Tim Jackson
June 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Tsai Performance Center
Urbanity closes its 2016-17 season with its Spring Revue — which showcases an array of works by celebrated contemporary choreographers.
And further afield…
June 1 through 4
Downtown Providence, 1 Kennedy Plaza
Make a trip down to Providence, RI, for the third year of PVDFest, presented by the City of Providence and FirstWorks. This four-day event features an exhilarating barrage of art installations, live music, dance, and culinary creations. Special on Saturday June 3: enjoy a day of aerial dancers, a parade, a global food village, world music stars, and local talent.
– Merli V. Guerra
Silke Schoener – New Landscapes
Through May 28
Gold Gallery, 460C Harrison Ave, Boston, MA
Celebrating its fifth anniversary, this new contemporary art space showcases the paintings of German artist Silk Schoener, whose work challenges the limits of the landscape genre. Schoener’s painted landscapes are pleasing to the eye yet eerie in their simplicity. Impressionistically rendered landscape fragments — surrounded by undefined white spaces — challenge viewers to project their own understanding upon the rest of the canvas.
Artists for Humanity: Makers, Disrupters, Innovators
through June 11
Opening reception – Friday, May 26 at 5 through 8 p.m.
Abigail Ogilvy Gallery, 460 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA
In collaboration with leading Boston arts nonprofit, Artists for Humanity- working to give under privileged youth job opportunities in art and design- this youth and alumni group show has on view a vast range of talent and innovation. Spanning from the abstract to the figurative, this exhibit showcases the unique visions of the highly skilled emerging artists in the next generation.
The Augmented Landscape
through Nov 20
Opening – Saturday, May 27 from 6 to 8 pm
Presented by Boston Cyberarts in the Salem Maritime Historic Site, 160 Derby St, Salem, MA
Exhibition is free and open to the public
Boston Cyberarts Director George Fifield has commissioned four internationally acclaimed artists — John Craig Freeman, Kristin Lucas, Will Pappenheimer and Tamiko Thiel — to create 10 Augmented Reality (AR) sculptures for this groundbreaking outdoor exhibition located on the historic waterfront in Salem. Digitally created sound, video, and graphics will be positioned by GPS onto either the land or in the harbor and can be viewed using the free augmented reality smartphone app Layar. The National Park will provide guests with printed maps and further information on the work exhibited.
An Inventory of Shimmers: Objects of Intimacy in Contemporary Art
Through July 16
Exhibition Tour – Intimacy: 12 Affects, 12 Artists
Sunday, June 4
MIT List Visual Arts Center, Hayden and Reference Galleries
All programs are free and open to the public
Curated by Henriette Huldisch, Curator at the MIT List Visual Arts Center, this new group exhibition showcases the work of 12 internationally renowned artists investigating the 12 affects which compromise intimacy: absence, closeness, desire, empathy, jealously, loss, love, reciprocity, seduction, shame, and trust. From video to moving installation work, prepare to investigate the contemporary art world’s recent inquiry into our entangled, intimate relations with and through objects. The title of the show borrows from the philosopher Roland Barthes’s The Neutral – “the inventory of shimmers is of nuances, of states, of changes…”
From the Vault: Icons of Ethiopia
Through August 13
Museum of Russian Icons, 203 Union Street, Clinton, MA
This pop up exhibition explores the ancient storytelling of Ethiopian culture through its intricate and uniquely stylized sacred paintings, which make use of a bright but limited color palette. Orthodox Christianity was spread to Ethopia through the Coptic Church of Eygpt, and so we have been left with these immaculately well preserved, richly storied depictions of the kingdom of the Queen of Sheba and the fabled Land of Punt.
Reverie: Christopher Wilmarth, Before and After Mallarmé
Through August 13
University Study Gallery, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA
In 1978, the sculptor, Christopher Wilmarth was approached by the poet, Frederick Morgan, to illustrate his translation of seven poems by the French symbolist, Stéphane Mallarmé. The series on display, Breath, consists of charcoal and pastel drawings, etchings, and glass wall sculptures — each titled after the first line of a Mallarmé poem. Referencing his work, Wilmarth wrote: “Breath is the first vehicle for a poem; blown glass is breath made physical.” Curated by Sarah Kianovsky, Curator of the Collection in the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art, and Laura Kenner, Ph.D. candidate in Harvard’s Department of History of Art and Architecture, the exhibit explores the diversity of mediums that the critically acclaimed and minimalism inspired, sculptor used in his creative process.
Derrick Zellmann: Facing the Fire
June 6 at 7 p.m.
All Saints Parrish, 1173 Beacon St, Brookline, MA
After the ceremony for the Boston Camera Club’s end of the year photography awards, there will be a special presentation of the portraiture of the award-winning photographer and former firefighter, Derrick Zellmann. Published nationally and internationally, his series of portraits captures the bravado of the city’s heroic firefighters. Statuesque depictions, inspired by sculptures of Greek and Roman warriors — with strong highlights and deep shadows — present Boston’s protectors with both valor and character.
– Aimee Cotnoir
A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. Directed by Patrick Swanson. Staged by the Actors’ Shakespeare Project at the Multicultural Arts Centers, Cambridge, MA, through June 4.
Another serving of Bottom’s dream coming up — this one with a strong local cast that includes Steven Barkhimer, Paula Plum, and Sarah Newhouse. Arts Fuse review
Peerless by Jiehae Park. Directed by Steven Bogart. Staged by Company One in collaboration with the Boston Public Library at the Rabb Hall, Central Library in Copley Square, 700 Boylston St., Boston, MA, through May 27.
The Boston premiere of Park’s acclaimed black comedy: “Twin high school seniors L and M are dead-set on attending not just an Ivy League school, but the Ivy League school. With their perfect SAT scores, perfect hair, and “perfect” minority status, they think acceptance should be guaranteed. When a rival student emerges with a personal tragedy to make an admissions officer weep, however, the twins will do anything to knock out the competition.” Arts Fuse review of the 2016 Barrington Stage production of the script.
The Bridges of Madison County by Marsha Norman (book) and Jason Robert Brown (music & lyrics). Based on the novel by Robert James Waller. Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage Company in the Roberts Studio Theatre in the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street in Boston’s South End, through June 3.
Was this musical really necessary? Somebody thinks so. Winner of two 2014 Tony Awards including Best Original Score, the show “tells the story of Francesca Johnson, a beautiful Italian woman who married an American soldier to escape the war, and now leads a simple but dispassionate life on an Iowa farm. On the day her family departs for a trip to the 1965 State Fair, she is surprised by Robert Kincaid, a ruggedly handsome National Geographic photographer who randomly pulls into her driveway seeking directions. A quick ride to photograph one of the famed covered bridges of Madison County sparks a soul-stirring affair for the couple, whose lives are forever altered by this chance meeting.” Arts Fuse review
Camelot, Book and Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner. Music by Frederick Loewe Original Production Directed & Staged by Moss Hart Based on The Once and Future King by T. H. White. Adapted by David Lee. New Orchestrations by Steve Orich. Directed by Spiro Veloudos. Music Director, Catherine Stornetta. Choreography by Rachel Bertone. Staged by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 140 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA, through June 25.
“Spiro Veloudos closes the season with a fresh new adaptation of this beloved, classic musical. he romantic yet ultimately tragic tale of King Arthur, Guenevere, Lancelot, and the Knights of the Round Table is brought into sharper focus, bursting with some of greatest songs written for the musical stage, including “If Ever I Would Leave You”, “I Loved You Once in Silence”, and the title song “Camelot.””
Like Sheep to Water, or Fuente Ovejuna by Lope de Vega. Directed by Mark Valdez. Translated and adapted by Curt Columbus. Staged by Trinity Repertory Company at The Chace Theater, Providence, Rhode Island, through June 11.
“A modern, music-infused retelling of the classic Spanish story of tyranny overthrown. In 15th-century Spain, a menacing Commander terrorizes a small town’s citizens—especially the women. Pushed to their limit, the people of Fuente Ovejuna rise up against their oppressor in a fierce act of unity and bravery.” Lope de Vega’s masterpiece gets a contemporary facelift — sounds intriguing, if dangerous. Arts Fuse review
Dead Man’s Diary: A Theatrical Novel by Mikhail Bulgakov. Directed by Igor Golyak. Staged by Arlekin Players Theatre at 368 Hillside Avenue, Needham, MA, through June 4.
The script is based on “Bulgakov’s own experiences at the famous Moscow Art Theatre of the 1920s and 30s, and reaches its comic height in a merciless lampooning of Konstantin Stanislavsky’s fashionable stage techniques. Full of affectionately drawn characters, it is a brilliant, absurdist tale of the exhilaration and black desperation wrought on one man by his turbulent love affair with the theatre.” Arts Fuse review
Arrabal Book by John Weidman. Music by Gustavo Santaolalla / Bajofondo. Choreographed by Julio Zurita. Directed and co-choreographed by Sergio Trujillo. Presented by the American Repertory Theater at the Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, MA, through June 17.
“A new tango-infused dance theater piece,” this musical “follows one woman’s quest to understand the violence that took her father and disrupted a nation. Told through dance and propulsive music, the show features an ensemble and band, Orquesta Bajofonderos, direct from Buenos Aires, Argentina.” Arts Fuse review
The Midvale High School Fiftieth Reunion by Alan Brody. Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner. Staged by The Nora Theatre Company at the Central Square Theater, Cambridge, MA, June 1 through July 2.
“Tonight, it’s Midvale High School’s class of 1954’s 50th reunion. Tom and Bettina – returning for the first time – are looking for second chances. As the evening revs up to the highly anticipated dance contest, they flash back to formative moments – but are those memories real?” The world premiere production of Brody’s script stars Emmy winning actor Gordon Clapp and Debra Wise.
Greece: A High School Musical By Ryan Landry. Directed by Larry Coen. Staged by the Gold Dust Orphans at MACHINE, 1254 Boylston Street in Boston, MA, through June 4.
Another lampoon, this one sending-up ancient doings, from Ryan Landry: “Swiping plot lines from every sword and sandal epic ever filmed, (and then throwing in a “Sock Hop” for good measure) Greece is sure to get your gyro spinning, your toga twirling and your sides aching!”
Kunstler by Jeffrey Sweet. Directed by Meagen May. Staged by Barrington Stage in the St. Germain Stage, 30 Union Street, Pittsfield, MA, through June 10.
This production stars BSC veteran Jeff McCarthy as the self-described ‘radical lawyer’ and civil rights activist William Kunstler. Arts Fuse review
4000 Miles by Amy Herzog. Directed by Nicole Ricciardi. Staged by Shakespeare and Company at the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, through July 16.
“This Pulitzer Prize finalist and Winner of the 2012 Obie Award for Best New Play explores growing up, growing old and the moments in between.” The cast includes Annette Miller and Gregory Bower.
Blood on the Snow by Patrick Gabridge. Directed by Courtney O’Connor. Staged by The Bostonian Society at the Old State House, 206 Washington Street, Boston MA, June 1 through August 20.
Historical drama with a kick. Gabridge’s play “dramatizes the events immediately following the infamous Boston Massacre and is staged in the Council Chamber of the Old State House, the very room where the discussion took place nearly 250 years ago. This site-specific play sold out its critically-acclaimed World Premiere in the spring of 2016.” This is an opportunity to catch an encore presentation.
Days of Atonement by Hanna Azoulay-Hasfari. Directed by Guy Ben-Aharon. Staged by Israeli Stage at Deane Hall in the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, June 1 through 25.
An American premiere production of a play that promises to take us deep into the lives of a quartet of women. “Dynamic. Aggressive. Funny. Warm. The Ohana sisters force you into their world. With a deep sense of urgency, these four women gather to figure out where and why their mother is missing. Differences of religious beliefs, professions and class clash. And the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) approaches. Experience these four powerful women at their most vulnerable, struggling to reconnect, forgive and forget.”
Ripcord by David Lindsay-Abaire. Directed by Jessica Stone. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, through June 25.
“In this deliciously inappropriate new comedy, cantankerous Abby is forced to share her room in assisted living with endlessly chipper Marilyn. The two women make a seemingly harmless bet that quickly escalates into a dangerous and hilarious game of one-upmanship, revealing hidden truths that neither wants exposed.” The cast includes Nancy E. Carroll and Annie Golden.
– Bill Marx
This Los Angeles-born quintet is the project of alto saxophonist Jasper Dutz and tenor player Jacob Shulman, joined by trombonist Kalia Vandever, plus bassist Daryl Johns and drummer Robin Baytas. The vibe and affinities are right: Mehldau, Tristano, Konitz, Marsh, Robert Glasper, Ambrose Akinmusire, among others. And so are the graceful bits of them available online. They’re hitting the Lilypad and Outpost 186 on successive nights.
Chicago-born blues-jazz-RB singer Francine Reed bills herself as a “foreground singer” with Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, and Delbert McClinton. The Lily isn’t the usual venue for someone of her background and experience, but we’ll take it.
Joey DeFrancesco/Grace Kelly
June 3 at 8 p.m.
The Cabot, Beverly, MA.
Hammond-B3 monster Joey DeFrancesco (who also plays a bit of trumpet these days) hits the Cabot in Beverly with his band the People: drummer Jason Brown, guitarist Dan Wilson, and saxophonist Troy Roberts. DeFrancesco and this band are pushing beyond Jimmy Smith and Jimmy McGriff into Larry Young territory on their latest album, Project Freedom, with titles like “Karma” and “Peace Bridge” (as well as covers of John Lennon and Sam Cooke). This is a double-bill with saxophonist, singer, and songwriter Grace Kelly. On her latest album, Trying To Figure It Out, the 25-year-old former wunderkind shows increasing authority as a mature singer (formerly her weak suit), a clever songwriter, and still an impressive player. This is the kick-off of impresario Fred Taylor’s Jazz & Heritage series at the Cabot, and Taylor is promising a Kelly/DeFrancesco finale.
Allan Chase Composers’ Collective
June 6 at 8:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.
Multi-sax man Chase convenes some of the finest player/composers in town for this long-running project: trumpeter Dan Rosenthal, trombonist Randy Pingrey – flutist and saxophonist Jason Robinson, guitarist Eric Hofbauer, bassist Bruno Råberg, and drummer Austin McMahon.
– Jon Garelick
10th Anniversary Celebration
Presented by Guerilla Opera
May 31, 6 p.m.
Oberon, Cambridge, MA
Guerilla Opera marks its tenth birthday with an evening of favorites by Rudolf Rojahn, Curtis Hughes, Ken Ueno, and Hannah Lash plus a new piece by Andy Vores.
– Jonathan Blumhofer
Cellist Jonathan Miller and pianist Diane Walsh: Cello and Piano Through the Centuries
May 28 at 3 p.m.
Presented by the Rockport Chamber Music Festival at Shalin Liu Performance Center
37 Main Street, Rockport, MA
On the program: J.S. Bach’s Sonata in G minor; Beethoven’s Cello Sonata No. 1 in F, Opus 5, No. 1; Janáček’s Pohadka, “A Tale”; Fauré’s Papillons, Opus 77, Berceuse, Opus 16, Sérénede, Opus 98; Judith Weir’s Three Chorales for Cello and Piano (2016).
An Evening of World Premiere Song Cycles
June 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Presented by the Nahant Music Festival at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, 248 Nahant Road, Nahant, MA
On the program: Nahant Calling by Francine Trester and Audubon’s Birds by Yi Yiing Chen, Kathy Wonson Eddy, Frank Pesci, Eric Sawyer, Louis Spratlin, Allen Torres, and Francine Trester.
David Deveau & Friends
June 3 at 8 p.m.
Presented by the Rockport Chamber Music Festival at Shalin Liu Performance Center
37 Main Street, Rockport, MA
An inspired foursome of seasoned chamber players (current and former members of the acclaimed Muir String Quartet as well as the Festival’s own David Deveau) converge for a special concert featuring the world premiere of Charles Shadle’s Dogtown Common (piano quartet).
– Susan Miron
Rock, Pop, and Folk
The three-day late-spring/early-fall music festival returns for the fourth consecutive year this weekend. This time around, however, it will be at Allston’s Harvard Athletic Complex rather than Boston’s City Hall Plaza. From this 41-year-old’s perspective, Sunday, May 28, is the day to go, as the line-up includes Tool, Weezer, Run the Jewels, Wolf Parade, Frightened Rabbit, Buffalo Tom, Mitski, and Hiss Golden Messenger. Friday, however, gets Chance the Rapper, Sigur Ros, Solange, Car Seat Headrest, and Deerhoof, while Saturday features Mumford & Sons, The xx, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Tegan & Sara, Brandi Carlile, and Strand of Oaks.
Beverly’s recently opened venue 9 Wallis is off to a spectacular start and has plenty more to offer in coming months. On June 3, for example, Grammy nominee, Gloucester resident, and veteran Boston-area bandleader Jon Butcher will celebrate the release of his latest CD, 2 Roads East. The show is, unsurprisingly, sold out.
This triple bill at Great Scott on June 5 is sure to slate one’s thirst for local music. Headliners Bent Knee will be preview Land Animal, which on June 23 will become the sextet’s third album since 2014. Longtime faves The Shills will delight old fans and surely win over new ones. Relative newcomers Body English—who list “Queen, Hall and Oates, [and] Tchaikovsky” on their Facebook page as artists they like—will lead things off. A fine way to shake off the back-to-work blues if every there were one.
– Blake Maddux
Roots and World Music
The Suitcase Junket
The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
A one-man band with a full supply of found objects that double as percussion contraptions, Matt Lorenz is always be a thrill to watch live. But his songwriting is strong enough to transfer over to record, as proven by his new Signature Sound LP Pile Driver. The Arts Fuse is offering its readers the chance to win a pair of tickets by e-mailing email@example.com with “Junket” in the subject line. The deadline for entries — May 29 at noon.
Downtown Providence, Rhode Island
Barring some last-minute surprises, Boston will most likely have a record-low number of free music events this summer. Somehow our neighbors to the south have figured out how to make these kinds of gatherings work. The third edition of Providence’s PVDFest boasts an expansive range of music, street art, and other creative endeavors. Headliners include deep soul queen Bettye Lavette, the surf-inspired Garifuna sounds of Honduras’ Aurelio Martinez, and Caribbean jazz trumpeter Etienne Charles.
Yes, THAT Lulu of To Sir With Love fame. Somehow the Scottish blue-eyed soul dynamo has never done a full US tour until now. She’ll be drawing from her large and (in many cases) underappreciated catalog, like the above, a burning cover of Traffic’s “Feelin’ Allright.”
Bishop Harold Branch Anniversary Celebration
June 4 at 4:30 p.m.
At the Global Ministries Christian Church, 670 Washington St, Dorchester, MA
Last year The Arts Fuse profiled longtime Boston gospel guitarist, singer and radio host Bishop Harold Branch. Since then his longtime radio home WRCA has gone off the air, so Branch is now heard daily at 6 a.m. and Monday through Saturdays at midnight on WBPG-LP (102.9FM) which also posts his shows to YouTube.
Branch celebrations his anniversary with several of Boston’s best traditional gospel groups including Test-a-Mony and the Spiritual Encouragers, both of whom delivered inspiring performances last weekend at Skippy White’s anniversary. Headlining are the Golden Stars of New Haven.
– Noah Schaffer
Joe Gould’s Teeth
May 31 at 6 p.m. (Doors open at 5:30)
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge MA
Tickets are $5 or 18.50 with copy of the book
Joe Gould (aka Professor Seagull) was one of Greenwich Village’s legendary eccentrics, a friend of writers like E.E. Cummings and Ezra Pound, who claimed to have written the monumental opus An Oral History of the Contemporary World. Or did he? The matter has been investigated and debated over the years, and was the subject of the movie Joe Gould’s Secret. New Yorker writer Jill Lepore has written a new book about the enigmatic man and his mysterious opus, claiming to have unearthed new evidence about the famously elusive manuscript.
Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002
June 4 at 6:30 p.m. (Doors open at 5:30)
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
Tickets $29.75, book included
There’s no doubt that David Sedaris is one of the most widely-read authors of our time. His stories and essays are engagingly personal, and winningly absurdist, but his new book takes us deeper into the inner workings of his delightfully distinctive mind via decades’ worth of diaries. Sedaris readings are usually very popular and he won’t leave until the last book is signed — so better get your tickets while you can.
Alexandria Marzano Lesnevich
The Fact of A Body: A Murder and A Memoir
June 6 at 7 p.m.
Newtonville Books, Newton Centre MA
Blending true crime and memoir, Lesnevich tells the gripping story of how she interned in a Louisiana law office one summer and had her staunch anti-capital punishment ideals tested. She was shaken after hearing convicted murderer Rick Langley speak on TV about his crimes. Surprised by her furious reaction, she dug deeper into his case and discovered that his life story wasn’t that far removed from her own. Confronting long-buried secrets of her own ended up changing her perception of the case.
– Matt Hanson