Arts Fuse critics select the best in film, dance, visual arts, theater, music, and author events for the coming weeks.
By The Arts Fuse Staff
Through September 29
Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Boston, MA
Director Joachim Lafosse confines his movies to menacing bourgeois homes and claustrophobic spaces. After Love is a meticulous portrait of a breakup; it never leaves a ground floor apartment in its exploration of a French couple’s bitter unraveling over the course of several months. Starring Berenice Bejo (The Artist) as a woman who tries to liberate herself from an increasingly unbearable situation. Schedule, Trailer.
Letters from Baghdad
Through September 29
Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Boston, MA
This is the astonishing story of Gertrude Bell (subject of Werner Herzog’s not-so successful 2015 film The Queen of the Desert with Nicole Kidman). Bell was an Oxford-educated upper class Brit. She was also a British spy, explorer, and political powerhouse who traveled widely in the Middle East before being recruited by British Military Intelligence to help draw the border of Iraq after World War I. The film chronicles Bell’s extraordinary journey with documents from the Iraq National Library and Archive and hundreds of the woman’s own letters. The story is told entirely through the words of Bell (read by Tilda Swinton) and her contemporaries. The story helps us understand the tangled history of Iraq — the revelation of a past that is eerily relevant today. Trailer, Schedule.
Second Annual 70mm and WideScreen Festival
Through October 1
Somerville Theater, Somerville, MA
All films are screened in 70mm. Not that many cities in America cities have the sense to do this kind of programming. Take advantage of the opportunity!
Lawrence of Arabia – 12 p.m.
The Dark Crystal – 1 p.m.
Hook – 3:30pm – 70mm
The Untouchables – 7 p.m.
Days of Thunder – 7:30 p.m.
Wonder Woman – 7:30 p.m.
Top Gun – 7:30 p.m. - 70mm
Blue Thunder – 9:45 p.m.
Cleopatra – 7 p.m.
Gettysburg – 7 p.m.
North by Northwest – 1 p.m. - 35mm
Vertigo – 4 p.m. - 35mm Vistavision
2001: A Space Odyssey – 7:30 p.m.
Boston Film Festival
AMC Loews Boston Common 19, Boston, MA
5 p.m. – The Bullish Farmer
Distraught over the loss of his best friend, John Ubaldo, a successful Wall Street investment banker traded in his high finance career for 185 acres of land on the Battenkill River in Cambridge, NY. He wanted to live a quiet life as a small farmer. He has now become a passionate and outspoken activist.
7:15 p.m. – Crash Pad
Stensland (Domhnall Gleeson), a sentimental slacker and misfit, believes that he has found true love with an older woman (Christina Applegate). Then he finds out the truth: she is only using him in order to have her revenge on her alpha male husband (Thomas Haden Church).
September 25 at 7 p.m.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
The Docyard presents a film set inside a single room in Folsom Prison. The narrative follows three men coming in from the outside as they participate in a four-day group therapy retreat with level-four convicts. Each man in the room takes his turn at delving deep into revelations of his past. The raw and revealing documentary offers a rare look past the walls, steel doors, and the dehumanizing tropes of incarceration. It reveals signs of change and redemption that challenge what we think of as rehabilitation. In person Q&A with Co-Director Jairus McLeary
Cemetery Cinema: The Seventh Seal/Harold and Maude
September 26 at 7 p.m.
Rain Date: September 27 at 7 p.m.
The Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, MA
This is a unique idea: an outdoor double feature at one of the most beautiful sites in Cambridge with two very different — but theme perfect — movies. Ingmar Bergman’s masterpiece The Seventh Seal stars Max von Sydow as a Knight returning from the Crusades who finds himself in a game of chess with ‘death’. The film is the first of Bergman’s spiritual quest films that ask why God seemed absent from the world. At the other end of the spectrum is the black comedy Harold and Maude, an anti-establishment satire starring Bud Cort as a young man comically obsessed with death and suicide who is in love with 80-year-old Ruth Gordon. The film bombed on first release, but became a cult classic in many cities, including Boston.
The Florida Project
September 27 at 8 p.m.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
The Independent Film Festival of Boston presents a free screening of the new Sean Baker (Tangerine) film. On a stretch of highway just outside Disney World, 6-year-old Moonee and her rebellious mother Halley are struggling to make it through the summer. The two live week-to-week at “The Magic Castle,” a budget motel managed by Bobby. Despite her unpromising surroundings, the precocious Moonee has no trouble making each day a celebration of life, her endless afternoons overflowing with mischief and grand adventure as she and her ragtag playmates fearlessly explore the utterly weird world into which they’ve been thrown. With Willem Dafoe and some adorable kids. A PASS is required. Members get priority seating. Trailer
The Boston Latino International Film Festival (BLIFF)
September 28 through October 1
The opening night reception will take place on Thursday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Emerson’s Media Arts Gallery, 25 Avery Street, Boston. The event is free and open to the public; sponsored by Jose’s Mexican Grill. This is the east coast’s largest and longest-running festival of Spanish-speaking cultures – now in its 14th year.
The Manhattan Short Film Festival
September 30 through October 7
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
What’s the Best Short Film of 2017? You are the judge at the 20th Annual Manhattan Short Film Festival of more than 250 cinemas on six continents. Ten amazing films have been selected from a record 1,615 entries from 75 countries. The Final 10 represent a wide variety of genres. They hail from the USA, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Switzerland, Syria, Georgia, and Latvia. Audiences around the world will cast a ballot for Best Film and Best Actor. Read about these distinctive screenings at this website.
October 2 at 8 p.m.
The Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
The documentary Motherland takes us into the heart of the planet’s busiest maternity hospital in one of the world’s poorest and most populous countries: the Philippines. The film is an absorbingly intimate story of three women—Lea, Aira and Lerma— who share their stories with other mothers, their families, doctors, and social workers. Each face daunting odds at home with optimism, honesty, and humor. Skype Q&A with director Ramona Diaz
At Emerson College’s Paramount Center, Boston, MA
The Bright Lights Series presents this highly acclaimed nonfiction account of the Ferguson uprising told by the people who lived it,. Whose Streets? is an unflinching look at how the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown inspired a community to fight back— an action that sparked a global movement.
– Tim Jackson
Kevork Mourad: Immortal City
Through January 21
At the Mildred S. Lee Gallery, Rose Art Museum, 415 South Street, Waltham, MA
“In times of conflict or crisis, artists can operate as our conscience,” explains Kristin Parker, deputy director of the Rose and the organizer of this exhibition. “Over 400,000 people have died in the Syrian conflict, and more than 6.5 million people have been displaced.” Syrian-Armenian artist, Kevork Mourad (b. Syria 1970) is best known for his process of spontaneous painting, applying his paint with sweeping gestures. This exhibition of new work, created almost entirely in black paint, proffers a defiant yet meditative display of creativity in the face of tragedy. The idea is to reveal “fragments of a rich culture destroyed – textiles, ancient fractured walls, Arabic calligraphy, and bodies crushed by war.”
Sweet Tooth: The Art of Dessert
Through February 18
At the Murphy Gallery, Shelburne Museum, 6000 Shelburne Road, Shelburne, VT
For those craving something sweet, this delectable exhibition of dessert-themed mixed media works is sure to please. Curated by Kory Rogers, these candy-coated images dramatize our culture’s insatiable appetite for sugar. On view: larger-than-life paintings of brilliant candy apples, interlaced stands of licorice, and decadent chocolates. Be warned: Chris Campbell’s “Teal and White Cake Heels” may pull you into a state of mouthwatering desire.
“Things of Beauty Growing”: British Studio Pottery
Through December 3
Yale Center for British Art, 1080 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT
The iconic moon jar, first developed in Korea during the Joseon dynasty, kicks off this notable exhibition, which chronicles the history of studio pottery in Britain, from the early twentieth century to the present. For decades, these ceramic artists have skillfully invoked and transformed the ancient language of the vessel. Included are a number of visually arresting contemporary works, such as Clare Twomey’s installation Made in China – eighty fiery red vases, each made from the same mold and kiln. Only one is decorated by the skilled artisans of Staffordshire in eighteen karat gold. The glittery ornamentation costs more than the decoration and production of all of the other vases in the installation combined.
Karim Ben Khelifa – The Enemy
October 5 through December 31
MIT Museum, 265 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
Developed with MIT Professor D. Fox Harrell, Karim Ben Khelifa’s groundbreaking interactive Virtual Reality exhibition immerses participants in dramas made up of 360-degree imaging enhanced by recordings of combatants on opposite sides of hot button international conflicts in Isreal and Palestine, the Congo, and El Salvador. “We are proud to present The Enemy, an exhibition that arises out of award-winning photojournalism combined with Virtual Reality technology. This exhibition stretches our senses as well as our emotional and moral imaginations, and we hope that it will help foster understanding in one of the places where it is most needed, namely in situations of human conflict,” comments John Durant, Director of the MIT Museum. Call ahead to reserve times for this hour long presentation.
We Dream: Beauty Beyond and Beneath
Through October 27
Suffolk University Gallery (6th floor), 8 Ashburton Place, Boston, MA
This show is curated by Deborah Davidson, the founder of Catalyst Conversations, which is an ongoing program dedicated to uniting art and science. The project’s inaugural exhibit in Suffolk University’s new art gallery space is a must-see. The work from this handpicked selection of talented artists adventures past the conventional, conjuring up dreamlike images of beauty, from the grotesque to the terrifying. Along with Emily Eveleth’s majestic oil paintings of dramatically staged oozing jelly donuts, there are Robert Lewis’s — baroque inspired — otherworldly sculptures. You can observe one for hours and never untangle all of its intricacies. Tucked behind a hinged wall, there is an interactive camera obscura that only works when the skies are clear.
Jeannie Motherwell – POUR. PUSH. LAYER.
Through October 22
Rafius Fane Gallery, 460C Harrison Ave, Boston, MA
Jeannie Motherwell is awed by the “images and mysteries of creations—like the oceans and skies in changing weather, Hubble-type images of the universe, and her own physicality during the painting process.” Drawing on the power of abstraction, she captures the three-dimensional energy of space, pushing her paint in unanticipated directions. The earth, sea, and sky-inspired notes of her palette are balanced with swathes of her favorite color — black. She learned her love of painting from her father, Robert Motherwell, and her stepmother, Helen Frankenthaler.
Mark Rothko – Reflections
Through July 1, 2018
Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA
“A painting is not a picture of an experience,” Mark Rothko (1903 -70) once remarked: “it is an experience.” The show: 11 masterpieces that span the artist’s celebrated five decade long career, works on loan from the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Curated by Elliot Bostwick Davis, the presentation ranges from Rothko’s lesser known, early surrealist compositions to the brilliant luminous canvases painted in his maturity and the foreboding, enigmatic black compositions he created late in his life.
Mark Dion: Misadventures of a 21st-Century Naturalist
October 4 through December 31
West Gallery, Institute of Contemporary Art, 25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston, MA
Pioneering contemporary artist Mark Dion’s first US survey showcases his prolific career as an artist, collector, and environmental activist. His work explores and appropriates scientific methods.The show is organized by the three research methods he draws on in order to examine how we collect nature: fieldwork, cultivation, and excavation. Dion has traveled across the world — conducting archeological digs, gathering plant and animal specimens, and rummaging through long-forgotten closets. He transforms his findings into charismatic curiosity cabinets and mesmerizing sculptures.
– Aimee Cotnoir
Presented by ArtsEmerson at the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston, MA
Hailed for its impressive integration of theater, dance, and acrobatics, 7 Fingers returns to Boston after it wowed the city last year with its production of Cuisine & Confessions. The company’s new work, Reversible, is “dedicated to past generations whose stories might hold the key to a better tomorrow.”
Open for Dancing
It’s time for Island Moving Co.’s biennial Open for Dancing festival, which offers five days of site-specific dances across Newport’s historic landscapes. The event features new work by choreographers Mary Scott, Thom Dancy, and Teresa Fellion, in addition to improvised performances by the Festival’s Phantom Limb.
September 28 at 8 p.m.
Tabula Rasa offers a less traditional performance this week with a multidisciplinary experiment. Watch as Escape‘s musicians and dancers make use of the art of improvisation to perform new works on the spot. Musicians and dancers are invited to participate in the second half of the performance.
October 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Boston Ballet Headquarters
For one night only, six Boston Ballet dancers will premiere their own works. The program features pieces by Principal Dancer Paulo Arrais; Soloists Isaac Akiba, Roddy Doble, and Florimond Lorieux; and Company Artists Reina Sawai and Matthew Slattery. The performance will be followed by an intimate Q&A with the choreographers, led by Boston Ballet’s Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen.
Lion’s Jaw Festival Performance
October 6 & 7 at 8 p.m.
Green Street Studios
Presented by New Movement Collaborative and Green Street Studios, Boston’s second annual Lion’s Jaw Festival kicks off Wednesday, October 4 through Monday, October 9. Dancers will have the opportunity to enjoy a rigorous 5-day intensive get-together made up of classes, labs, and body research. The public is encouraged to attend the festival’s performances, which features local and national up-and-comers as well as veterans.
Dance Like No One is Whale Watching
September 29-October 1
Dance Like No One is Whale Watching debuts at the IMAGINE Festival this week. The work showcases the use of technology in creating art, in this case a work inspired by Orca whales. This year’s inaugural festival features choreographic works, film screenings, and interactive installations. Co-presented by Earthdance and Dance Films Association.
– Merli V. Guerra
World Music and Roots
New England Shakeup
Sturbridge Host Hotel, Sturbridge, MA
New England has long been one of the country’s most vibrant rockabilly scenes, and now it has a festival to match. The Shakeup offers a car show, Hawaiian music by the pool, vintage clothing vendors and, of course, scores of ’50s inspired bands. Highlights include West Coast visitors Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys, the manic Lil’ Mo and the Unholy 4, and the Western swing of the Lucky Stars. Arts Fuse interview
Clarence Thompson Sr. and the New Spirits 40th Anniversary
William E Reed Auditorium, Dorchester, MA
One of Boston’s most beloved traditional gospel mainstays, Clarence Thompson Sr., celebrates a mighty big anniversary. Besides singing with his group, he’ll be bringing in special guests, including past Arts Fuse profile subject Spencer Taylor Jr. and the Highway QCs, the Hi-Lite Jrs. and local greats like Margaret Holmes and the Gospel Ts.
September 25 at 7:30 p.m
At Killian Hall, MIT, Cambridge, MA
One of the great Scottish ballad singers, Kennedy is also a noted traditional weaver. He’ll be exploring the past practices of folk in front of an MIT class — but the event is open to the public.
This blistering desert blues guitarist from Niger stars in the first ever Tuareg-language film Rain the Color of Blue with a Little Red in It. It’s an African remake of Prince’s Purple Rain told in a language that has no word for purple. Somewhat surprisingly, his New England debut is at this Providence-area underground indie venue. The latter explains that the (still reasonable) ticket price is being charged because the “dude is coming from Africa.”
There are far more ways to play a raga than with just a sitar and tabla. This edition of the “Journeys in Sound” series explores some of them. Ryan Lee Crosby and his band, who appeared at the Fuse Salon last spring, mix Indian sounds with African rhythms and Delta blues and yield mesmerizing results. Dynamic raga pianist Utsav Lal likewise draws on a range of influences.
Vayb and Harmonik
October 6 at 9 p.m.
Wonderland Ballroom, Revere
Two of Haiti’s top kompa bands team up for a double bill. Harmonik has more of a pop edge and a sex symbol lead singer in Mackendy Talon. Vayb is the new project from Mickael Guirand, who used to front the outfit Carimi.
Yiyo Sarante and Los Adolescentes
October 7 at 9 p.m.
Wonderland Ballroom, Revere
Two of the pioneers of the smooth sound of salsa romantica are on tap for this package show: Dominican-born Sarante and Venezuela’s long-running Los Adolescentes.
– Noah Schaffer
Constellations by Nick Payne. Directed by Scott Edmiston. A Catalyst Collaborative@MIT Production at the Central Square Theatre, Cambridge, MA, through October 8.
Dramatist Nick Payne’s oft-revived play “shows us that when it comes to love, the possibilities are Infinite.” Marianna Bassham and Nael Nacer star. Arts Fuse review of the Peterborough Players production of Constellations. Arts Fuse review
Flight of the Monarch by Jim Frangione. Directed by Jeff Zinn. At the Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA, through September 30.
World premiere of a play about “two middle-aged siblings, Sheila and Thomas, born, raised and still living in a small fishing town on the New England coast. This darkly comic play explores how siblings’ lives are intertwined, what we owe to the people who know and love us best and, how family members’ needs and desires may push the boundaries of what we are expected to do for others.” Nancy E. Carroll and J. Tucker Smith star. Arts Fuse review
Gypsy, Music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Arthur Laurents. Directed and choreographed by Rachel Bertone. Music direction by Dan Rodriguez. Staged by The Lyric Stage of Boston at 140 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA, through October 8.
A revival of one of the great American musicals, which is based on the real-life memoirs of burlesque mega-star, Gypsy Rose Lee, and her stage-mother behind the curtain, Mama Rose. Arts Fuse review
Men on Boats by Jaclyn Backhaus. Directed by Dawn M. Simmons. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, through October 7
A “gender-flipping adventure tale, about an actual 1869 expedition to chart the Colorado River.” Arts Fuse review
Merrily We Roll Along, Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by George Firth. Directed by Maria Friedman. Music direction by Matthew Stern. Choreography by Tim Jackson, Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Boston University Theatre, Boston, MA, through October 15.
Maria Friedman has been brought to Boston to recreate here her “stunning London production of Merrily We Roll Along, which received universal rave reviews – the most five star reviews in West End history – and the Olivier Award for Best Musical.” “Traveling backwards in time over 30 years in the entertainment business, this legendary, cult favorite musical charts the relationships of close friends Franklin, Charley, and Mary, and features some of Sondheim’s most beautiful songs, including “Good Thing Going,” “Old Friends,” and “Not a Day Goes By.”
Ideation by Aaron Loeb. Directed by Jim Petosa. Staged by New Repertory Theatre (co-produced with Boston Center for American Performance) on the MainStage at the Mosesian Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA, through September 24.
The Boston area premiere of a “darkly comic psychological thriller, a group of top-tier consultants are tasked with a mysterious project for an unnamed client. The team must come up with a solution to a morally and ethically ambiguous hypothetical—one that threatens to tear the team apart.” Arts Fuse review
The Aliens by Annie Baker. Directed and designed by Darren Evans. Staged by Theatre on Fire at Charlestown Working Theater, Charlestown, MA, through October 7.
Baker has become a playwright in demand. Here is a production of her script about male bonding: “Kasper and KJ – two best friends, slackers, and would-be geniuses – spend their afternoons holding court on the dilapidated back patio of a New England coffee shop, discussing Bukowski, masking frustrations and drinking ‘shroom tea. When Evan, an awkward and perennially humiliated teenager who is spending his summer working at the shop, tries to evict them, they instead take him under their wing as an unlikely young protégé.” Note: “The Aliens will be performed outdoors on the patio behind the Charlestown Working Theater. The box office and bathrooms are still inside, however, so stop inside to get your tickets before heading out back. Because of the unique nature of this found outdoor space, seating is limited – we strongly recommend that you reserve in advance.”
WARHOLCAPOTE, From the Words of Truman Capote and Andy Warhol. Adapted by Rob Roth. Directed by Michael Mayer. Staged by the American Repertory Theater at the Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, MA, through October 13.
“In the late 1970s, Truman Capote and Andy Warhol decided that they were destined to create a Broadway play together. Over the course of the next several months, they would sit down to record a series of intimate, wide-ranging conversations. The play never came to be, and the hours and hours of tape were lost to the ages. Until now.”
The Royale by Marco Ramirez. Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian. Staged by the Merrimack Repertory Theatre at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre located at 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA, through October 8.
The New England premiere of “a new power-packed drama inspired by the life of Jack Johnson, the first black man to fight for the title of World Heavyweight Champion.” Arts Fuse review
The Caretaker by Harold Pinter. Directed by Steve Kidd. Staged by The Wilbury Group at 40 Sonoma Court, Providence, Rhode Island, through October 7.
An early play (1960) from Pinter that one of his early supporters, critic Harold Hobson, admired greatly: “Pinter possesses a gift which is valuable in even the most high-brow dramatist, but which too many avant-garde writers lack — his plays make the audience wonder what is going to happen next.”
Faceless by Selina Fillinge. Directed by David J. Miller. Staged by the Zeitgeist Stage Company at Plaza Black Box Theater at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, through October 7.
The New England premiere of a very relevant script: “Eighteen-year-old Susie Glenn is on trial for conspiring to commit acts of terrorism, and recent Harvard Law grad and practicing Muslim, Claire Fathi, has been brought on to prosecute. Though pitted against one another in the courtroom, these two young women are fighting a similar battle to defend their morals, motives and religious freedoms in this riveting and timely new drama.” Arts Fuse review
Exit the King by Eugène Ionesco. Directed by Dmitry Troyanovsky. Staged by the Actors’ Shakespeare Project at the Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre at the Paramount Center, Boston, MA, through October 8.
Given how apolitical our theater companies have become, this is a welcome revival (an apt kickoff for ASP’s THE DOWNFALL OF DESPOTS season) of an absurdist study of gargantuan ineptness in high places: it is the tale of a “megalomaniacal ruler, King Berenger, whose incompetence has left his country in near ruin. Despite the efforts of his two queens and the other members of the court to convince the King he has only 90 minutes left to live, he refuses to relinquish any control.”
The Ghost Sonata by August Strindberg. Directed by Christine Noah. Staged by Fort Point Theatre Channel at the Cambridge YMCA Theatre, 820 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA, October 6 through 14.
A rarely staged Modernist masterpiece: “A young student, fresh from an heroic act, encounters an old man in a wheelchair who offers to be his benefactor. He is introduced to a beautiful young lady and gains entree into her rarified world. Appearances are deceiving, however; behind the facade of the elegant house lurk shocking secrets. Note: “Noah’s new interpretation of the play incorporates the role of social media in contemporary life.”
Lost Tempo by Cliff Odle. Directed by Diego Arciniegas. At the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA, October 5 through 22.
“Gifted jazz saxophonist Willie ‘Cool’ Jones is lured back from Paris by past-love Babs with the promise of ownership in Mitzy’s Jazz Kitchen, but Cool’s inner demons compete with his ambitions as he tries to make sense of his life. A jazz riff on the addictions from which we all suffer, musical and otherwise.”
An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen. Translation by Paul Walsh. Directed by James Bundy. Staged by Yale Repertory Theatre at 222 York Street, New Haven, CT, October 6 through 28.
A perfect time for Ibsen’s Nietzschean political battering ram: an unappealing man, who proffers a scientific truth that is essential for the public’s health, is spurned by all — business, society, the Left and the Right.
A Bright Room Called Day by Tony Kushner. Directed by Dori Robinson. Stated by the Flat Earth Theater Company at the Mosesian Center for the Arts, Watertown, MA, September 30 through October 14.
In this play, Kushner grapples with the ghost of Bertolt Brecht: “Berlin, 1932. A group of bohemian friends struggle to respond as Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party rise to power. Watching their world unravel around them from the uncertain safety of Agnes Eggling’s apartment, these artists, activists, and idealists grapple with the responsibility of making moral choices in a time of vanishing options.”
A Guide to the Homesick by Ken Urban. Directed by Colman Domingo. Staged by the Huntington Theater Company at the South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, October 6 through November 4.
The script “follows the story of two strangers – both from Boston – who meet by chance in a shabby Amsterdam hotel. Jeremy, a Harvard graduate and young aid worker originally from Newton, is returning from East Africa, and Teddy, a finance worker originally from Roxbury, is on an impromptu trip with a friend. The two men look for redemption as they reveal their pasts and confess their shared fear that they betrayed the people who needed them most.”
Home by Geoff Sobelle. Directed by Lee Sunday Evans. Presented by Arts Emerson at the Emerson Paramount Center’s Robert J. Orchard Stage, 559 Washington Street, Boston, MA, September 27 through October 1.
“A unique performance experience combining theatre, dance, and live music, that explores the meanings of both house and home.” “On an empty stage, a house is conjured from thin air. Residents move in, move out, clean up, burn down, sweep under, paint over, fence off and move on — and all the while, they live among the traces of residents present, past and future.”
HONK!: Festival of Activist Street Bands. A wide variety of musical / sociopolitical events planned in Somerville, Cambridge, & Boston, October 6 through 8.
You say you want a revolution? You’ve got to have the right music, and that is what Honk!, now in its 12th year, serves up aplenty. This is a free and exhilaratingly theatrical (as well as ear-filling) event: “HONK! is all about building community, celebrating participatory culture, and standing up for social justice. Boisterous music, energetic dancing, flamboyant costumes, and eye-catching visual art prove to be the perfect combo for raising awareness about sociopolitical issues, all while putting a broad smile on the faces of everyone who participates. HONK! empowers all to take positive action and do it with gusto … performances by dozens of HONK! bands all day in Davis Square; the venerable HONK! Parade down Massachusetts Avenue to “Reclaim the Streets for Horns, Bikes, and Feet,” followed by a full afternoon of HONK! performances at Oktoberfest in Harvard Square.
– Bill Marx
Leo Blanco “Music Aid 4 Venezuela”
September 26 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
The accomplished Boston-based Venezuelan pianist and composer Leo Blanco gathers some like-minded friends for a performance that will explore the traditions of “classical chamber ensembles, jazz bands, and Venezuelan traditional music.” All proceeds to directly to the NGO Ayuda Humanitaria para Venezuela.
Ran Blake and Christine Correa
September 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
Pianist and composer Ran Blake has collaborated with the singer Christine Correa on two CDs in tribute to Abbey Lincoln. This show is called “Regatta Noir,” so expect Blake’s usual mix of music from, or inspired by, film noir, idiosyncratic takes on well-loved standards, and plenty of Abbey.
Eric Hofbauer and the 5 Agents
September 27 at 9:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.
The inventive guitarist and composer Eric Hofbauer, one of the most original voices on the Boston scene, unveils his new project, the 5 Agents, and a new suite, The Book of Water. His terrific co-conspirators in the 5 Agents are trumpeter Jerry Sabatini, tenor saxophonist Seth Meicht, trombonist Jeb Bishop, bassist Nate McBride, and drummer Curt Newton.
Veteran pianist and arranger Cunliffe (Buddy Rich, Frank Sinatra, Joe Henderson, James Moody) has an effervescent take on the fusion of jazz and classical that Gunther Schuller called Third Stream. His big band will be playing his original mash-ups of Bach, Prokofiev, and de Falla, some pointed originals, and jazz standards. It’s a celebration of Cunliffe’s new CD, BACHanalia.
Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival
September 30 from noon to 6 p.m.
Columbus Avenue, between Mass. Ave. and Burke Street, Boston
Berklee College of Music presents its annual free block party. The headliner this year is Lizz Wright, whose new CD, Grace, is a sublime mix of blues, gospel, standards, a bit of Dylan, Allen Toussaint, and k.d. lang. But there’s way more happening on the event’s three stages, a mix of hi-test faculty and students with a few ringers: bassist Oscar Stagnaro with his Peruvian Tinge band; composer Mehmet Ali Sanlikol and his Whatsnext? ensemble playing his riveting fusion of Turkish traditional music and modern jazz; singer/saxophonist Camille Thurman with the Darrell Green Trio; Cape Verdean-born singer Assol Garcia; drummer/composer Marko Djordjevic and his band Sveti; singer Emily Estefan (daughter of Gloria and Emilio); the charismatic singer Jazzmeia Horn (winner of the 2015 Thelonious Monk International Vocal Competition); and the Boston-based Afropop group Kina Zoré, as well as the fourth annual Blue Man Group Boston Drum-Off competition.
Andy Voelker’s Free Radical Trio
September 30 at 8 p.m.
Third Life Studio, Somerville, MA.
Saxophonist Andy Voelker convenes a couple of band mates from Clear Audience, bassist Jef Charland and drummer Luther Gray, along with pianist James Rohr, perhaps best known from the rock scene and bands like Township. Voelker is learned, skilled, and always looking to cover fresh territory.
The Corea/Gadd Band
October 1 at 7:30 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA
As a postlude to Saturday’s Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival, the college presents the Corea/Gadd band, reuniting pianist Chick Corea and the first drummer in his Return to Forever band, Steve Gadd. The rest of this powerhouse band includes guitarist Lionel Loueke, saxophonist and flutist Steve Wilson, bassist Carlitos del Puerto, and percussionist Luisito Quintero.
October 5 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
Mark Zaleski is best known in the Boston area for his saxophone playing, but recently he’s emerged as a formidable bassist. He does both on his new, second CD as a leader, Days, Months, Years. He’ll be celebrating the disc’s October 6 release on October 5 at Scullers. His longtime band includes his young brother, the talented pianist and composer Glenn Zaleski, as well as tenor saxophonist Jon Bean, guitarist Mark Cocheo, bassist Danny Weller, and drummer Oscar Suchenek. Zaleski’s inventive post-bop always tastes fresh on the palate.
John Coltrane Memorial Concert
October 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Blackman Auditorium, Northeastern University, Boston
The theme this year is “40 Years of Celebrating ’Trane,” marking the first of these events four decades ago, and also the 50th anniversary of John Coltrane’s death. Events are scheduled throughout the week (Oct. 1-7), including talks, panel discussions, and a screening of the 2016 documentary “Chasing Trane.” Tonight’s event is the annual signature concert, with the JCMC Ensemble, directed by Carl Atkins: reed players Leonard Brown, Stan Strickland, Bill Thompson and Robert Tynes; trumpeters Robert Gallegos, Charles Lewis, Doug Olsen and Mike Peipman; trombonists Jeff Galindo, Bill Lowe, Rick Stepton, and Gary Valente; drummers Yoron Israel and Ron Savage; keyboardists Rollins Ross, George W. Russell Jr., and Frank Wilkins; and bassists John Lockwood and Ron Mahdi. Discount ticket packages are available for this show and the JCMC’s Pharoah Sanders Quartet concert Saturday night.
Burton Greene Trio + Eric Zinman
October 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.
Legendary first-wave free-jazz pianist Burton Greene (Alber Ayler, Alan Silva, Bill Dixon, Marion Brown, et al.), spending a week at New England Conservatory, brings his trio with drummer Ra-Kalam Bob Moses and bassist Damon Smith to the Lily. Pianist Eric Zinman opens.
Pharoah Sanders Quartet
October 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Blackman Auditorium, Northeastern University, Boston, MA.
The John Coltrane Memorial Concert concludes its weeklong “40 Years Of Celebrating ’Trane” with this performance by one of John Coltrane’s most important collaborators. Saxophonist Sanders is joined by pianist William Henderson, bassist Nat Reeves, and drummer Johnathan Blake.
Aardvark Jazz Orchestra
October 7 at 9 p.m.
Killian Hall, MIT, Cambridge, MA.
The Aaarvark Jazz Orchestra kicks off its 45th anniversary season with a free recital at MIT and a variety of pieces by musical director Mark Harvey: an updated version of his “Swamp-a-Rama Suite,” first performed on April 29, 2017, day 100 of the Trump administration, including sections titled “Trumputin Tango,” “Fake News Blewz,” and “Perseverance Pavanne.” The program will also include Harvey’s “No Walls,” written in 2007, and a premiere. If you’re unfamiliar with the Aardvarks, it might help to know that among Harvey’s touchstones are Ellington, Mingus, and Sun Ra. The band includes some of the finest players in town: saxophonists Arni Cheatham, Peter Bloom, Phil Scarff, Chris Rakowski, and Dan Zupan; trumpeters KC Dunbar and Jeanne Snodgrass, trombonists Jay Keyser, Jeff Marsanskis, and Bill Lowe; guitarist Richard Nelson; bassist John Funkhouser; drummer Harry Wellott; and singers Grace Hughes and Jerry Edwards.
October 8 at 5 p.m.
Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport, MA.
In every project she undertakes, the virtuoso violinist Regina Carter combines passionate personal exploration with scholarly rigor. These days she’s pursuing her lifelong love of the music of Ella Fitzgerald, heard on her CD Ella: Accentuate the Positive.
October 8 at 7 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA.
I haven’t read all the interviews, but the music on the debut album by this jazz supergroup — guitarist John Scofield, keyboardist John Medeski, bassist Larry Grenadier, and drummer Jack DeJohnette — strikes me as a political statement. There are grooves, virtuosity, freedom, close listening, and beautifully rendered versions of songs associated with the area where the band members all live, including, of course, Woodstock. In addition to originals by the band are pieces by Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix, and the Band. The total effect is elegiac and honest, speaking to our current historical moment in its own way.
– Jon Garelick
Presented by New England Conservatory
September 27, 7:30 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
Leonard Slatkin leads the NEC Philharmonia in an all-American program featuring music by
Leonard Bernstein, Walter Piston, and Slatkin, himself. Topping it all off is a rare performance of William Schuman’s magnificent Symphony no. 3.
Nelsons conducts Shostakovich and Beethoven
Presented by the Boston Symphony Orchestra
September 28-30 and October 3, 8 p.m. (1:30 p.m. on Friday)
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
The BSO’s Shostakovich series continues apace with the epic, cinematic Symphony no. 11, The Year 1905. Before that, Paul Lewis plays Beethoven’s Piano Concerto no. 4.
– Jonathan Blumhofer
From Russia with Love
September 24 at 3 p.m.
At St. Paul’s Church, 15 St. Paul Street, Brookline, MA
Boston Artists Ensemble presents a program that includes Schnittke’s String Trio (1985), Shostakovich’s Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Opus 110, and Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence, Opus 70.
Appalachian Spring: Creating an American Sound
September 24 at 4 p.m.
At the First and Second Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough Street, Boston, MA
Chameleon Arts Ensemble presents a program that includes Charles Ives’s Songs for soprano & piano, Amy Beach’s Piano Quintet in f sharp minor, Op. 67 (1908), Arthur Berger’s Quartet for Winds in C Major, John Harbison’s North & South II for soprano & English horn, clarinet, bassoon & strings, and Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring, Suite for 13 players.
Classical Faculty Concert: Gone with the Winds
September 24 at 7 p.m.
At the Jewett Art Center Auditorium, 106 Central Street, Wellesley, MA
On the program: Beethoven’s Septet, Martinu’s Trio for Flute, Violin and Piano, and Walter Piston’s Three Pieces for Flute, Clarinet and Bassoon.
Boston University College of Fine Arts presents:
Gila Goldstein, Piano
September 28 at 8 p.m.
Boston University Concert Hall
855 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA
Goldstein has performed around the world, specializing in 20th Century composers and Israeli classical music. London’s Pianist magazine raves the the versatile pianist “has a technique as fierce and fiery as the color of her hair.”
Boston Conservatory presents:
Rhonda Rider, Cello
September 29 at 8 p.m.
Seully Hall/Boston Conservatory, Boston, MA
Boston’s own Rhonda Rider will play a selection of Gabriel Faure’s sonata for cello and piano.
New England Conservatory presents:
Victor Rosenbaum’s Beethoven
October 1 at 8 p.m.
At Jordan Hall/New England Conservatory, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA
Victor Rosenbaum has been teaching at New England Conservatory for fifty years, and will perform an all-Beethoven program. He will alternate his performance of the 27th sonata with his peer Russell Sherman, offering two different versions of the piece.
Boston Early Music Festival presents:
Steffani: Duets of Love and Passion
October 6 at 8 p.m.
At Jordan Hall/New England Conservatory, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA
Influential composer Steffani will have some of his duets concerning love and passion performed as part of the Boston Early Music Festival.
Boston Conservatory Chamber Series
October 6 at 7 p.m.
Seully Hall/Boston Conservatory, Boston, MA
The Chamber series will open its fifth season with guest violin and cello accompanying the conservatory faculty members. The program will include the world premiere of Vores’ “Aubade,” which is inspired by the genre of poetry that celebrates the departure of lovers at daybreak. Also to be performed: Brahms’ Piano Quintet 0p.34 and Bartók’s Contrasts Sz. 111
Music for Food presents:
Schubert’s Vienna / Our Boston
October 8 at 7:30 p.m.
At Brown Hall/New England Conservatory, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA
Music for Food fights hunger by raising awareness and crowd sourcing through concerts with a suggested donation. All money raised goes to support local food pantries. On the program: J.S. Bach’s Cantata 38, “Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir” Chorale; John Harbison’s Chorale Cantata, and Franz Schubert’s Octet in F Major, D.803.
– Susan Miron
Rock, Pop, and Folk
Belfast’s proudest graduates of punk’s class of ‘77 have settled into a comfortable late career groove as a
live attraction following a fruitful decade-and-a-half long second act with The Jam’s Bruce Foxton on
bass. Jake Burns continues to belt out lead vocals for Stiff Little Fingers, which named itself after a
Vibrators’ song from an album on which another song was probably the source of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’
moniker. Burns, original SLF bassist Ali McMordie, and stalwarts Ian McCallum (guitar) and Steve
Grantley (drums) will ignite their inflammable material at Brighton Music Hall on Thursday.
Carter Alan’s Beverly Blues Series continues at 9 Wallis this Friday with Chicago-born and bred guitarist
Nick Moss and his eponymous band. Moss has released a dozen live and studio recordings on his own
Blue Bella label since his 1998 debut, garnering 16 Blues Music Awards nominations in the process.
Attendees can also meet and greet the WZLX music director host, who will presumably be selling and
signing copies of his new book. The Arts Fuse has written about Moss already: check out Jason Rubin’s review and one I wrote here.
Three full years have passed since the release of its splash-making debut, but Toronto quartet Alvvays have clearly dodged the dreaded sophomore slump with Antisocialites, a second collection of hooky indie pop that lasts for a total of slightly more than half an hour. The band’s show at the Paradise is sold out, but as I always (wink) say, do let that stop you from trying to get in to it.
Yes featuring Jon Andersen, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman
October 4 (Doors open at 6:30, show at 7:30)
Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA
2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honorees Yes have officially split. However, this does not mean that you cannot see many of the band’s long-serving members perform classic material live together. You will just have to go to two concerts in order to do so. You see, guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, and keyboardist Geoff Downes are touring in one version of Yes (Yes (official) on Facebook), while lead singer Jon Anderson, keyboard player Rick Wakeman, and guitarist Trevor Rabin tour as Yes featuring Anderson, Rabin, and Wakeman (aka, Yes featuring ARW). The latter will be at the Orpheum on October
4. Given the presence of Rabin, the setlist is sure to include ‘80s material that is likely completely absent from the other line-up’s performances.
Other upcoming shows include The Lemon Twigs with Cut Worms at The Sinclair (September 28), The Blasters with Flat Duo Jets at ONCE Ballroom (September 30), and Tops with J. Ellise Barbara’s Blank Space at Great Scott (September 30).
The indefatigable Ani DiFranco’s 19th studio album, Binary, came out in June on Righteous Babe Records, a label that DiFranco started while still a teenager. The 11-track collection includes appearances by Ivan of the Neville Brothers, saxophone journeyman Maceo Parker, and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. The multihyphenate will perform selections from her 27-year recording career in Davis Square on Thursday.
The arrival of a new album by The National has been an eagerly anticipated event since at least 2005. The September 8 release of Sleep Well Beast was certainly no exception, as it debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart. The Cincinnati-formed quintet’s show this Friday has probably had ticketholders marking off the days on their calendars for the past several weeks.
Paul Weller could easily make bank on an annual basis by performing the material that he wrote and recorded with The Jam- my personal favorite band- between 1977 and 1982. However, standing still has never been the M.O. of the guy who has released songs such as “My Ever Changing Moods” and “The Changingman.” The Modfather’s latest release (his twelfth as a solo artist) is this year’s A Kind Revolution, which features a duet with Boy George and a guest spot by the legendary English eccentric Robert Wyatt. Brett Milano’s Arts Fuse review of Weller’s 2015 show at the Paradise should be a clue of what to expect at the House of Blues on Saturday. But with Weller, one never knows.
The full name of this show, presented by Lysten Boston, is “Petty Moral’s Ballroom Blitz! with rockin’ flea market and art show).” The primary motivation for the event is to celebrate the release of the new Petty Morals EP F*ck You Let’s Party but any reason to bring together four local acts on the Sunday afternoon of a three-day weekend is a good one. Furthermore, the $10 that you part with for an advance ticket- or the $13 at the door- is sure to be the smartest money that you spend on live entertainment all year. (Here is the interview I did with Petty Morals drummer Lauren Recchia last year.)
Other upcoming shows include: Sun Kil Moon at the Sinclair (October 7), Broken Social Scene at the House of Blues (October 7), Gary Hoey at 9 Wallis (October 7), and Strand of Oaks at The Sinclair (October 8).
– Blake Maddux
What Is It All but Luminous:
Notes from an Underground Man
In conversation with Jared Bowen
September 27 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30)
First Parish Church, Cambridge MA
Tickets are $28.75, including a copy of the book
The taller half of the legendary folk duo, Garfunkel’s post- S & G career is less musically inclined than Paul Simon’s, but it is no less interesting. Garfunkel has acted in several underrated films, crossed two continents by foot, and been a voracious reader since the sixties, even posting the entire list of every book he has read since June 1968 — it is an impressive line-up that climbs into four digits. He will read, discuss, and sign his new memoir, which chronicles his life in pop music and beyond.
Devotion (Why I Write)
September 28 at 7:30 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30)
Back Bay Events Center, 180 Berkeley St, Boston MA
Tickets are $30, including copy of the book
If Iggy Pop is the godfather of punk, then it stands to reason that Patti Smith is its fairy godmother. Her vision of ecstatic rock and roll always had a deeply literary bent, owing much to the bohemian rebelliousness of the likes of Rimbaud and Brecht. Her charismatic memoir Just Kids, which told the tale of her early years in ’70s New York, became a surprise bestseller and was highly acclaimed. Devotion, which tracks Patti’s peregrinations from one auspicious artistic landmark after another, is her third book and the introductory volume of Yale University Press’s new series Why I Write. Tickets are going fast, so best to get yours asap.
True Gentlemen: The Broken Pledge of America’s Fraternities
October 3 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
Once dismissed as harmless boy’s clubs, given the rowdy film treatment by movies like Animal House, fraternities have lately come under intense scrutiny. The problem? Bizarre and disturbing hazing rituals as well as sticky issues revolving around sexual consent and gender roles. Hechinger’s book explains why the funky frats of yesteryear have become a thing of the past.
The Future Is History:
How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia
In conversation with Alexandra Vacroux
October 4 at 6 p.m. (Doors open at 5:30)
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge MA
Tickets are $28.75 w book, $5 without
Given the worldwide lurch towards autocracy, Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen has become a go-to voice when it comes to explaining the ways of one-party states. Her biography of Putin analyzed what she called “the man without a face.” She has become an important resource on Russian affairs. Her latest volume is an examination of how Russia turned into a Putin-run autocratic state within a generation, offering a warning about the tenuousness of norms and institutions we often take for granted.
The Burning Girl
October 10 at 7 p.m.
Newtonville Books, Newton Centre MA
Messud is the author of The Emperor’s Children and The Woman Upstairs, both of which received plenty of critical attention. Messud makes use of her gimlet eye for the subtle peril of female friendship in her new novel, which focuses on two girls ,growing up in small town New England, whose lifelong friendship is put to the test when one of the girls’ craving for adventure goes too far.
– Matt Hanson