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
Palestine Film Festival
through October 29
Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Boston, MA
Cambridge Public Library, Cambridge, MA
The Festival’s website describes the festival as one of “compelling and thought-provoking films, including documentaries, features, rare early works, video art pieces, and new films by emerging artists and youth. Directors around the world offer refreshingly honest, self-described, and independent views of Palestine and its history, culture, and geographically dispersed society.” The majority of the 27 films in this vital festival screen at the MFA. Check the schedule to make your individual picks. Full schedule and descriptions.
The Dazzling Light of Sunset
October 23 at 7 p.m.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
This Docyard presentation is a “beautifully shot and strangely comic, documentary that follows an ultra-low-budget local news team in rural Georgia. Whether it’s elections, death announcements, a rare owl, or an oddly stressful fashion show for prepubescent and teenage girls, the pair approach each story without ego and with absolute professionalism, managing every aspect of reporting and production themselves. Through subtle editing choices, director Salomé Jashi’s suggests that nothing truly changes in this former Soviet satellite—but allows her subjects to have one last acerbic word on the matter of representation.” – Art of the Real / Film Society of Lincoln Center. Skype Q&A with Director Salomé Jashi.
Independent Film Festival of Boston Fall Screenings
October 24 – 26
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
The IFFBoston presents a special Fall Focus round-up:
Tuesday Oct. 24
Last Flag Flying at 7 p.m.
In the Fade at 9:30 p.m.
Wednesday Oct. 15
Thoroughbreds at 7 p.m.
Thelma at 9 p.m.
Thursday Oct. 16
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri at 7:30 p.m.
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
Bright Lights Screening Room, Emerson College, Boston
A sequel to An Inconvenient Truth, this follow-up documentary addresses the progress made to tackle the problem of climate change, focusing on Al Gore’s global efforts to persuade governmental leaders to invest in renewable energy. The film culminates in the landmark signing of 2016’s Paris Climate Agreement. Live video Q&A with Al Gore to precede the film at 6:45 p.m. and a panel discussion with professor Helena Feder and ReVenture CEO Joshua May to follow.
Arlington Film Festival
October 26 – 29
Capitol Theater, Arlington, MA
AIFF will be screening narrative and documentary features and shorts plus a special category of short submissions by local and international high school students. There will be conversations with filmmakers/producers, academics, and the business community after special Festival screenings.
October 27 at 7 p.m.
Boston University Cinemathèque, Boston University
Filmmakers and actors Arielle Cimino and Jeff Ryan will be in attendance for this Cinemathèque screening. The film is a mockumentary that follows an attention seeking youth pastor and his small group of Christian teens at a Bible camp. (The narrative is based on the real life experience of the moviemakers.) The result is a sweet and sour look at a quirky segment of Christian culture. Open to all and free.
October 31 at 7:30 p.m.
Bright Lights Screening Room, Emerson College, Boston
The Boston Underground Film Festival is sponsoring a screening of Prevenge, a pitch black, wryly British comedy that follows a pregnant woman on a killing spree that turns out to be as funny as it is vicious. It turns out that our anti-heroine’s misanthropic unborn baby is dictating actions. The kid holds society responsible for the absence of a father. The child speaks from the womb, coaching his mother how to lure and ultimately kill her unsuspecting victims. A film that gives us a woman struggling with her conscience, loneliness, and a strange strain of pre-partum madness. Discussion led by Boston Underground Film Festival artistic director Kevin Monahan follows.
Boston International Kids Film Festival
November 2 – 5
Arlington Capitol Theatre, Arlington, MA
The Somerville Theatre, Somerville, MA
These are films from around the world, all made either for or by kids, plus hands-on workshops on stop-motion animation, special effects, and GoPro movie-making. Presented by Filmmakers Collaborative. Complete Schedule
November 6 at 7 p.m.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
Filmed with a dedication to vérité intimacy for over a decade, QUEST is the moving portrait of a family living in North Philadelphia. Christopher “Quest” Rainey, along with his wife Christine, aka “Ma Quest,” have opened their door to musicians via a home music studio, which serves as a creative sanctuary from the strife that grips their neighborhood. An in-person filmmaker Q&A follows the screening.
— Tim Jackson
Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive
October 30, Premiere Broadcast date on PBS’s American Masters (check local listings) It will be available to stream the following day, Halloween, via pbs.org/americanmasters and PBS OTT apps.
“Eric Stange’s documentary draws on the rich palette of E.A. Poe’s evocative imagery and sharply drawn plots to tell the real story of the notorious author.” Looking forward to this exploration of the much-misunderstood writer, particularly because I hear that it takes a look at his gloriously checkered career as a magazine editor and reviewer of books and theater. H.L. Mencken and Edmund Wilson rightly hailed Poe as the greatest American critic of the 19th century.
— Bill Marx
Racines Black Dance Festival
At The Dance Complex, Cambridge, MA
A new festival comes to Cambridge this month: The Racines Black Dance Festival. Dancers are invited to partake in two full days of classes in African and African-rooted dance styles, while the public is encouraged to attend a performance of the festival’s teaching artists on Saturday evening.
Boch Center Shubert Theatre
Let your imagination run wild and head to see Pilobolus this week (presented by the Celebrity Series of Boston). This theatrically- and physically-talented company has been seen on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Sesame Street, and The Academy Awards. The Boston program includes The Inconsistent Pedaler, an “absurd, acrobatic, and lyrical collaboration” between Pilobolus, fiction writer Etgar Keret, and filmmaker Shira Geffen.
November 2 at 7 p.m.
Calderwood Hall, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
In conjunction with the MFA’s Henry James and American Painting exhibition, the Gardner Museum presents an evening of dance centered on the idea of migration. Choreographers Ida Saki, Jean Appolon, Richard Move, and Yury Yanowsky bring their interpretations of the idea of migration to the stage, including a re-imagined take on Martha Graham’s lost work from 1928, Immigrant.
2125 Stanley Street
November 2 at 7 p.m. & November 3 at 8 p.m.
BU Arts Initiative presents 2125 Stanley Street—a performance installation that explores the concept of “home.” Choreographer and dancer Dahlia Nayar, working with collaborators Margaret Paek and Loren Kiyoshi Dempster, examines ta home as if it was an archaeological site. This installation encourages its audience members to take part in an immerse experience: the installation’s ‘household’ is gradually perceived through movement and sound.
Boston Opera House
Boston Ballet presents its first co-production with The Royal Ballet of London. Obsidian Tear, choreographed by Wayne McGregor, premiered in London in May 2016. The evening also features new work by resident choreographer Jorma Elo; music by acclaimed Finnish composers Esa-Pekka Salonen and Jean Sibelius. It opens with an orchestral performance of Sibelius’ Finlandia. Daniel Stewart, music director of the Santa Cruz Symphony, serves as guest conductor.
— Merli V. Guerra
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
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.
Art of the Selfie
Through November 11
Helen Day Art Center, 90 Pond Street, Stowe, VT
In 2014, the influential art critic Jerry Saltz, made the case that selfies weren’t art but a “new visual genre — a type of self-portraiture formally distinct from all others in history.” This exhibition proves otherwise, showcasing the work of emerging artists as well as that of those already bathed in fame, such as Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorpe, Marina Abramovic, and Carrie Mae Weems. This contemporary exhibition of photography and performance art is filled with faces: the pensive and the absurd, the seductive and the disgusting.
Aula Alayoubi – Fruit of Heaven
Through November 4th
Aurora Gallery, 660 Main Street, Worcester, MA
Syrian artist Aula Ayoubi, who has shown extensively abroad and has garnered awards and critical accolades, is starting anew in the States. Her unearthly, larger-than-life female figures are decadently painted with layers of nuanced texture and glaze. Holding vibrantly colored pomegranates, the symbolic fruit of Eden, with expressive rendered hands, these female figures provide a captivating viewing experience. This unique gallery is nestled in the historic Classic Revival Aurora Hotel.
Screens: Virtual Material
Through March 18
3rd Floor Galleries, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, 51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln, MA
One of three new shows, this one is thoughtfully curated by Associate Curator Sarah Montross. This exhibit explores the virtual screens that have come to dominate our daily lives. We are asked to put them away and engage with large scale works from six very talented contemporary artists. Upon first entering the show, you would expect to walk in upon a large projection; instead, you find a sinister, glittering fence-like sculpture – “Maximum Security” by Liza Lou. A comment on the conditions at Guantanamo Bay, this arresting screen-inspired work has been meticulously covered in tiny glass beads by a team of women (employed by the artist) in South Africa.
Through October 31
Panopticon Gallery, 502c Commonwealth Avenue, Boston
The oldest photography gallery in Boston reopens with its first show under the new ownership of Paul Sneyd and directorship of Kat Kiernan. Focusing on the beauty of surf and waves, this group show displays the work of several talented photographers, each bringing a distinctive perspective to the subject. Reinterpreting Moby Dick, Andrew Seguin’s cyanotypes mystify viewers — illustrations of the massive whale are reworked through the use of a antique blueprint process. Embracing touches of the handmade, Jefferson Hayman surrounds his simplistic serene seascapes with portals of exquisitely rendered wooden frames.
November 3 and 4
Downtown Crossing, Boston
Free and open to the public, Boston’s annual nighttime festival is where Boston’s artists, designers, performers, and creative technologists join forces to present an awe filled showcase of thoughtful, innovative, and imaginative works. This expansive show will light up several blocks with large scale projection mapping, interactive digital projects, immersive installations, and more.
— Aimee Cotnoir
Lost Tempo by Cliff Odle. Directed by Diego Arciniegas. At the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA, through October 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, through October 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. Arts Fuse review
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, 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.”
[or, the whale] by Juli Crockett. Directed by Matthew Woods. Staged by imaginary beasts at the Charlestown Working Theater, Charlestown, MA, October 13 through November 4.
“An unabashedly experimental play inspired by Herman Melville’s Moby Dick” staged by a quirky company with a welcome enthusiasm for the off-beat.
Alligator Road by Callie Kimball. Directed by Weylin Symes. Staged by the Greater Boston Stage Company at the Stoneham Theatre, 395 Main Street, Stoneham, MA, through October 29.
The inaugural play (and a world premiere production) of the Don Fulton New Play Project is a unconventional comedy: “Newly widowed Kathy hasn’t been herself lately… Not only did she yarn bomb the family hardware store, she also gave it away to a complete stranger – and her daughter wants it back. This brand-new play unravels notions of family, community and race in a humorous and heartfelt way.”
The Owl Answers by Adrienne Kennedy. Directed by David R. Gammons. Staged by the Theater, Dance & Media Concentration at Harvard University in Farkas Hall, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA, through October 21.
In Kennedy’s play “Clara Passmore, the illegitimate daughter of a white man and a black woman in the American South, struggles to define herself even as she is denied and ostracized by the European culture she idolizes. Unable to claim her father’s heritage and unwilling to accept her mother’s, Clara is caught between time and place; history and myth.”
The production features the work of a full complement of professional artists, including Set Design by Janie Howland, Costume Design by Rebecca Padula-Shufelt, Lighting Design by Jeff Adelberg, and Sound Design by David Wilson. The cast and several of the members of the crew and design assistants are current Harvard undergraduates.
Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson. Directed by Sean Daniels. Staged by the Merrimack Repertory Theatre at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre, 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA, through November 12.
Flat Earth Theatre’s production of this script earlier this year earned plenty of critical praise. (Arts Fuse review) At the center of the script: “Henrietta Leavitt, a passionate and inquisitive “computer” at the turn of the 20th Century. She trades the comforts of home for a job at the Harvard observatory, grinding through routine calculations for astronomy studies that fascinate her—though as a woman, she is not allowed to so much as touch a telescope. Staying long after hours to pursue her own science work she discovers a technique that makes it possible to measure the distance to stars by their pulsating light.”
Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins by Stephen Temperley. Directed by Spiro Veloudos. Staged by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 140 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA, through November 19.
“Spiro Veloudos remounts one of his favorite productions in celebration of his 20 years as Producing Artistic Director. Souvenir is an affectionate portrait of Florence Foster Jenkins, one of the finest coloratura sopranos in history — but, alas, only in her own mind!” Starring Leigh Barrett and Will McGarrahan.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Based on the novel by Mark Haddon. Adapted by Simon Stephens Directed by Paul Daigneault. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage Company at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street in Boston’s South End, through November 25.
The Boston premiere of a production of the “Tony and Olivier Award-winning stage adaptation of the best-selling novel that tells the story of Christoher Boone, a 15-year-old math savant whose efforts to solve the mysterious death of a neighborhood pet take him on an extraordinary journey.”
Tartuffe by Molière, translated by Ranjit Bolt. Directed by Peter DuBois. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company on the Avenue of the Arts at the Huntington Avenue Theatre, 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA, November 10 through December 10.
This revival of an always timely satire of religious hypocrisy features actor and comedian Brett Gelman as Tartuffe and Tony Award winner Frank Wood as Orgon.
The Revolutionists by Lauren Gunderson. Directed by Courtney O’Connor. Staged by The Nora Theatre Company at the Central Square Theater, Cambridge, MA, through November 12.
Eliza Rose Fichter, Lee Mikeska Gardner, Alexandria King, and Celeste Oliva are in the cast of this production of a historical drama that is billed as a “riotous play about legacy, art and activism, feminism, and how we actually go about changing the world.”
Elemento Pea by Molly Smith Metzler. Directed by Shana Gozansky. At Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Avenue Boston, MA, November 2 through 19.
The Boston premiere of a script that “centers on Devon and Simone, working class sisters who reunite at the posh summer home of Simone’s wealthy employer on Martha’s Vineyard. Their end-of-summer sibs fest takes a turn when Simone’s boss Michaela unexpectedly returns home after a marital blowout.”
Skeleton Crew by Dominique Morisseau. Directed by Tiffany Nichole Greene. Staged by Trinity Repertory Company, 201 Washington Street, Providence, Rhode Island, through November 22.
An unusual entry in the “end of the American Dream” drama roll — a contemporary play about labor. “In Detroit, as the Great Recession begins, a makeshift family of four factory workers toil as their industry flirts with failure. With their future uncertain, Faye, Shanita, Dez, and foreman Reggie must decide how they will balance their own desires, their loyalty to one another, and their survival.”
Cirque of the Dead, written and performed by the Boston Circus Guild at Oberon, 2 Arrow Street, Cambridge, MA, through October 31.
“It’s all fun and games at this year’s Halloween circus extravaganza… if you can survive the night, that is! Demons, witches, monsters and creepy crawly creatures will fill the evening with never-seen-before acts of aerials, acrobatics, burlesque, sideshow, and more. This adults-only Halloween horror spectacular is not for the faint of heart, but is filled with as much humor as it is with gore.”
Kudiyattam, presented by the Napathya troupe from Kerala, India. At Agassiz Theater, Harvard University, November 9 at 7 p.m. No tickets are required; first come, first seated. For more information: email@example.com or call 617-495-2791
“Kudiyattam is the last living performance tradition of Sanskrit theater in the world. Recognized by Unesco as preserving ‘masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity,’ this remarkable, visually powerful tradition survived only in Kerala, in the far south-west of the Indian sub-continent, where for centuries it was performed primarily in the great temples.” The main texts are taken from Sanskrit plays composed in medieval Kerala and focused largely on narratives taken from the great Indian epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.
The State of Siege by Albert Camus. Directed by Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota and performed by the Théâtre de la Ville – Paris. Presented by Arts Emerson at the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston, MA, November 9 through 11.
“Written by Nobel Prize–winning author Albert Camus, staged by leading avant-garde French director Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota and produced by the celebrated Paris theatre company Théâtre de la Ville, The State of Siege is set to take the country by storm this fall on its first visit to the United States. The rarely staged work, penned in 1948, weaves a tale of paranoia, endurance and political struggle resulting in a dizzying modern metaphor.”
Complications from a Fall by Kate Hawley. Directed by Paul Mullins. At Portland Stage, Portland, ME, October 24 through November 12.
“When Helen goes to an academic conference, she reluctantly calls on her absent younger brother Teddy for help with their elderly mother. Over the weekend Teddy truly sees his mother, perhaps for the first time, and learns secrets from the past in this heartwarming drama about the memories we cherish, and those we try to forget.”
Our Better Angels, written and directed by Paul Dervis. Staged by Storm Warnings Repertory Theater, 117 Main Street, Kennebunk, ME, November 2 through 5. (All ticket sales will be donated to Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief: “Due to the on-going needs of the people of Puerto Rico, we want to do whatever we can to help.”
Paul Dervis’s latest theater script (yes, he also writes on film for The Arts Fuse) sounds like a hubba-hubba venture into romance: “George and Jill meet at an art opening … from steamy nights to missed flights, the two attempt to hold together a relationship that bounces from the euphoric to the lowest depths and back again.” Note: This play contains mature subject matter
New and Dangerous Ideas by Christopher Johnson. Directed by Johnson and Josh Short. Staged by The Wilbury Theatre Group at 40 Sonoma Court, Providence RI., November 2 through 18.
The world premiere of documentary theatre piece inspired by Roger Williams, Bill T. Jones, and Everett Stage and School. This is a multi media experience that aims to challenge our “ideas of criminalizing race and expatriating police while humanizing statistics by using personal stories of several members of different communities intersected with spoken word poetry, framed in music, dance and video.”
Robyn is Happy by Michael Elyanow. Directed by Kelly Smith. Staged by the Hub Theatre Company of Boston at the First Church Boston, 66 Marlborough Street, Boston, MA, October 28 through November 11.
“What happens when what you want for your friends isn’t what they want for themselves? Lifelong pals Robyn, Trudy and Hannah’s friendship is put to the ultimate test when Robyn falls in love with an unlikely suitor. Hannah and Trudy are convinced that Robyn has made a horrible choice that could ruin her life, and as friends since grade school, they decide it’s their duty to intervene. What could possibly go wrong?” This is billed as a “savagely funny new comedy [that] is a little bit Sex and the City and a little bit Titus Andronicus.”
Fun Home, based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic-novel memoir. Book and lyrics by Lisa Kron. Music by Jeanine Tesori. Directed by Sam Gold. Presented by Broadway in Boston at the Boston Opera House, Boston, MA, through October 29.
A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Fun Home is “a refreshingly honest, wholly original musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes. The show made history by becoming the first Broadway musical written by women to win the Best Musical Tony, and the first Tony-winning musical to have a lesbian as its main character. Tesori and Kron also won the Tony Award for Best Original Score. It won five Tony Awards in all, including Best Book (Kron) and Best Direction (Gold).”
— Bill Marx
October 25 at 8 p.m.
Outpost 186, Cambridge, MA.
It’s not often you catch all these gifted avant-ish improvisers in the same room at the same time, so make the most of it: saxophonists Tony Malaby and Jorrit Dijkstra, trombonist Jeb Bishop, cellists Junko Fujiwara and Daniel Levin, and drummer Randy Peterson.
Yoko Miwa Trio
October 26 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
Pianist Yoko Miwa is in the midst of celebrating Pathways, her seventh album as a leader — an inventive mix of jazz standards, pop covers, and compelling originals, from Lennon and McCartney’s “Dear Prudence” to a deep exploration of Joni Mitchell’s “Court and Spark,” to Miwa’s playful Rollins-esque “Lickety Split,” and “Lantern Light,” with her signature contrasting of light and dark moods. Each tune is its own special trip. Miwa is joined by Scott Goulding on drums and Will Slater on bass.
October 27 at 8 p.m.
Cabot Theatre, Beverly, MA.
If you think of tap as jazz (and you should) then you’ll want to check out Maurice Hines. The dancer and choreographer was a phenomenon with his late brother, Gregory, and, before that, as a child, in Hines, Hines, and Dad. Expect some fine footwork and plenty of reminiscin’ in tempo in this show, called “Tappin’ Thru Life.” Hines is joined by protégés the Manzeri Brothers (John and Leo) and backed by drummer Sherrie Maricle’s Diva Jazz Orchestra.
October 28 at 8 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA.
The deeply schooled and skilled young Cuban pianist Harold Lopez-Nussa returns to Boston his equally talented younger brother, Ruy Adrián López Nussa, on percussion, and Gaston Joya on bass. Expect fireworks.
Pablo Ablanedo Octet(o)
October 29 at 6:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.
The Buenos Aires-born pianist and composer draws on his varied background to create multi-faceted narratives, rich in varied grooves, detailed counterpoint, and evocative melodies and harmonies. His Octet(o) is . . . bigger than an octet. In this case, the cast of excellent players joining Ablanedo includes: flutist Fernando Brandão, trumpeters Greg Hopkins and Jerry Sabatini, reed players Daniel Ian Smith and Rick DiMuzio, guitarists Caio Afiune and Rick Peckham, bassist Fernando Huergo, and drummer Juan Chiavassa.
October 29 at 7 p.m.
Sanders Theatre, Cambridge, MA.
Call Christian McBride mainstream if you must, but I defy you not to enjoy what the critic Ben Ratliff once described as the “constant sleek fun” of a McBride trio. McBride, one of jazz’s most satisfying virtuoso, is still working with the equally compelling pianist Christian Sands, as well as relative newcomer Jerome Jennings, on drums.
The Berklee/Jazz Messenger Big Band
November 2 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
Ralph Peterson — a drummer who has always matched power with finesse — fronts a crew of students, with special guest alto saxophonist Donald Harrison, digging into the hefty book from Harrison’s former boss, Art Blakey.
November 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
The South African-born pianist, composer, and family physician Dr. Stanley Sagov returns to the Regattabar with his ebullient Remembering the Future Band: singer Wanetta Jackson, trumpeter Mike Peipman, reed player and flutist Stan Strickland, bassist Wes Wirth, and drummer Bob Gullotti.
November 4 at 8 p.m.
Berklee Peformance Center, Boston, MA.
Don’t blame Eddie Palmieri for playing that same old New York salsa — after all, with his band La Perfecta in the ’60s, he helped invent it. Palmieri’s piano, meanwhile, is an ecstatic blend of son-montuno and McCoy Tyner. For this “Eddie at 80” tour, he’s fronting something called the Eddie Palmieri Latin Jazz Orchestra. You’re herby challenged not to dance.
— Jon Garelick
Roots and World Music
Rising Saskatchewan singer/songwriter Cotter Wall comes to town with a classic country baritone, some rugged tunes, and enough buzz that advance tickets for both of his Atwood’s appearances were sold out weeks ago. But a few tix will be sold at the door.
Cultural Constructions: Diverse Voices of Islam
Tufts University, Somerville, MA
Four master musicians from four different cultures come together to show what they have in common, musically. The global combo presents music from Turkey (Burcu Güleç); Indonesia (Darsono Hadiraharjo); Morocco (Boujemaa Razgui); and Mali (Balla Kouyate).
October 28 from 2 to 8 p.m.
Midway Café, Jamaica Plain MA
Surf music may forever be associated with California, but the master of the form, Dick Dale, was born in Boston — and local bands have kept the reverb up ever since. This daylong event features just about all of the region’s top surf combos, including the Fathoms, SPF4, and 9th Wave.
— Noah Schaffer
Presented by Boston Philharmonic Orchestra
October 22 (at 3 p.m.)
Sanders Theater, Cambridge (Thursday and Sunday); Jordan Hall, Boston (Saturday)
Benjamin Zander leads the BPO in Stravinsky’s groundbreaking ballet to close out its first concert of the season. Before Petrushka comes pianist Kevin Cole playing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and John Harbison’s Symphony no. 3.
Presented by Boston Baroque
October 22 (at 3 p.m.)
Jordan Hall, Boston
Boston Baroque opens its season with a pair of late-Mozart works (the Symphony no. 40 and Requiem) plus the early Exultate jubilate. The exceptional soprano Amanda Forsythe is the soloist in the latter.
Orchestre dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Presented by Celebrity Series
October 22, 5 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston
Sir Antonio Pappano brings the Santa Cecilia Orchestra to Boston with a mostly-Italian program of Verdi and Respighi on tap. Best of all, the brilliant, enigmatic Martha Argerich is slated to play Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto no. 3. Arts Fuse review of Santa Cecilia Orchestra’s latest CD.
Donizetti’s L’assedio di Calais
Presented by Odyssey Opera
October 26 and 28, 7:30 p.m.
Huntington Avenue Theatre, Boston
Odyssey Opera’s season-long survey of operas related to the life of Joan of Arc continues with a rare staging of Donizetti’s The Siege of Calais. James Westman, Magna Gartner, and Lucia Cesaroni headline the cast; Gil Rose conducts.
La Damnation de Faust
Presented by Boston Symphony Orchestra
October 26-28, 8 p.m. (1:30 p.m. on Friday)
Symphony Hall, Boston
Charles Dutoit conducts the BSO in Berlioz’s masterpiece. An all-star cast is headed by Paul Groves in the title role, Susan Graham singing Marguerite, and John Relyea as Mephistopheles.
Presented by New England Philharmonic
October 28, 8 p.m.
Tsai Performance Center, Boston
The NEP’s 41 st season opens with a Halloween-themed program of pieces by Andrew Norman,
Joseph Schwantner, Peter Child, and Stravinsky. Soprano Sarah Pelletier is the soloist in
Schwantner’s Magabunda “Four Poems of Agueda Pizzaro.” Richard Pittman conducts.
Presented by Back Bay Chorale
October 28, 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston
Scott Allan Jarrett and the BBC open their season with a pair of “unfinished” favorites – Schubert’s B-minor Symphony and Mozart’s Reqiuem – plus a less-familiar one: Mendelssohn’s Christus.
— Jonathan Blumhofer
Felix Mendelssohn and Hugo Wolf
October 22 at 4 p.m.
Emmanuel Church/Parish Hall, 15 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
On the program: Hensel’s Eichendorff Lieder, Wolf’s Eichendorff Lieder, and Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 2 in C Minor, op. 66.
Pianist Jerome Lowenthal
October 24 at 8 p.m.
Boston Conservatory/Seully Hall
8 Fenway, Boston
The Boston Conservatory presents a legendary figure in the Boston classical music scene; “Lowenthal plays with youthful intensity and eloquence built from a wide range of life experiences.”
Organist James David Christie
October 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Wellesley College/Houghton Chapel
106 Central Street, Wellesley, MA
Wellesley College presents Christie, a musician who has played all over the world; he is the organist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra as well as distinguished artist-in-residence at Holy Cross
Shade and Light: Musical Expressions of Grief and Joy
October 28 at 8 p.m.
First Church Congregational
11 Garden Street, Cambridge MA
Musica Sacra presents a dynamic pairing emphasizing the contrast between light and shade. On the program: the haunting Requiem Mass by little-known Portuguese composer Manuel Cardoso will be played alongside the exuberant Bach piece Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied, or “Sing A New Song to the Lord.”
Liberty Tree: Early Music for the American Soul
Sunday, October 29 at 4 p.m.
Harvard Memorial Church
One Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA
The Boston Camerata promises a fist-waving time: “Partsongs, marches, anthems, jigs, and ballads from the young Republic, when citizens sang their rejection of tyranny! Rousing works by citizen-composers such as Boston tanner William Billings and Vermont tavern-keeper Jeremiah Ingalls still ring true today.”
Skylark Vocal Ensemble presents “All Hallow’s Eve”
October 29 at 4:30 p.m.
Unitarian Universalist Society
309 Washington Street, Wellesley, MA
The ensemble is celebrated “vocal ensemble of leading American vocal soloists, chamber musicians, and music educators.”
Boston Conservatory Chamber Series
November 3 at 8 p.m.
Boston Conservatory/Seully Hall
8 Fenway, Boston
A concert of chamber works presented by Boston Conservatory: the program is performed by Sharan Leventhal (violin), Katie Lansdale (violin), Lila Brown (viola), Rhonda Rider (cello), and students of the Honors Chamber Ensemble. The pieces that will be performed include a premiere of a student composer’s work (TBA) and Schumann’s Piano Quartet, op. 44.
Cantata Singers present Mozart, Haydn, and Zelenka
November 3 at 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall/New England Conservatory
30 Gainsborough Street, Boston
Cantata Singers’ 54th season opens with Mozart’s Misericordias Domini, Haydn’s Symphony No. 80, and the United States premiere of the Missa Divi Xaverii by Czech Baroque composer Jan Dismas Zelenka. William Cutter, Director of Choral Programs at MIT, will give a pre-concert talk, free to all ticketholders, at 7 p.m. in Williams Hall Following the performance, all are invited to attend a post-concert soirée, held in honor of David Hoose’s 35th anniversary as Music Director of the Cantata Singers.
— Susan Miron
Rock, Pop, and Folk
As a child, James McMurtry’s father—novelist Larry McMurtry—gave him a guitar that
his mother—an English professor—taught him how to play. With such literate and
encouraging parents, it is unsurprising that James McMurtry is one of the most widely
admired singer-songwriters in not only Americana and alt-country specifically but
popular music generally. Also unsurprising is that his admirers include both fellow
musicians and authors such as Stephen King. McMurtry does not have a new album to
promote at the moment, but fans will surely delight in whatever he chooses to sing at
Brighton Music Hall on Wednesday.
Cold Specks is the stage name of musician Ladan Hussein, who was born in Toronto to
refugees from Somalia. Hussein delved deeply into her family’s heritage while working
on her new album, Fool’s Paradise, which includes passages that are sung and spoken
in Somali. The first U.S. date of her current world tour is at Somerville’s ONCE
Ballroom on November 2. (Here is the Arts Fuse interview that I conducted with her in
2014, when she was identifying herself by the name Al Spx.)
It is highly likely that many people learned of the band Badfinger for the first time
when “Baby Blue,” one of their most famous songs, played over the closing scene of
Breaking Bad. That song—along with another one of the band’s biggest hits, “Day
After Day,”—originally appeared on the band’s third album, Straight Up. Although
that album came out in the U.S. on December 13, 1971, it did not hit stores in the band’s native United Kingdom until the following February. Therefore, lone surviving Badfinger member Joey Molland is at least partially correct to currently be celebrating its 45 th anniversary by playing it live in its entirety, which he will do on November 3 at Regent Theatre in Arlington. (Here is my review of Molland’s show at Beverly’s Larcom Theatre two years ago.)
Other upcoming shows : Air Traffic Controller at ONCE Ballroom (October 27),
Ariel Pink at Brighton Music Hall (November 1), and The Rural Albert Advantage at The
Sinclair (November 2).
The beloved late 70’s-early 80’s Boston septet Human Sexual Response will play another of its every-so-often reunion shows this Friday at House of Blues. In a bit of unfortunate scheduling, this is the same night that de facto hometown band The Breeders- whose founding members were in The Pixies and Throwing Muses- play The Sinclair. The latter show, however, is sold out, thereby making an otherwise agonizing decision slightly easier.
The Sherlocks are an English quartet comprised of two sets of brothers whose ages make the older ones just old enough to buy drinks for the younger ones. Several U.K. magazines- The Guardian, Manchester Evening News, and The Scottish Sun– have gone bonkers over the band’s sold-out concerts and its debut album, Live for the Moment, which went to the British chart at number six. On Saturday night, Central Square’s Sonia will host the band’s first-ever gig in the States. Odds are good that it will be a memorable, “I-was-there” experience for those who attend.
Eight years had passed since their last full-length album, but the London trio The Clientele returned in September with Music for the Age of Miracles. The band’s dedication to writing the soundtrack of autumn days in all their overcast and colorful glory hasn’t wavered, as lyrics such as “When it’s late November and you’re lost in the leaves” indicate. (That same song, “Lunar Days”, also declares “This is the year the monster will come” making one wonder when lead singer Alasdair MacLean wrote the song and if he had a particular country’s President in mind.)
Other upcoming shows include: Ariel Pink at Brighton Music Hall (Nov 1), The Rural Albert Advantage at The Sinclair (November 2), and Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett at the Orpheum Theatre.
– Blake Maddux
Black Lives Have Always Mattered
Edited by Abiodun Oyewole
October 24 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
Embracing, but reaching beyond the political urgency of Black Lives Matter, this anthology includes essays, personal narratives, poetry and prose that affirms the fact that the ned of Jim Crow did not do away with institutional racism and economic inequality. The book proclaims that “these 79 contributors provide a call-to-action that challenges readers to confront long-held values and beliefs about black lives, as well as white privilege and fragility, as it surveys the historical and contemporary ravages of racism and its persistence of structural inequality.”
I Can’t Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street
October 25 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30)
First Parish Church, Cambridge MA
Tickets are $28.75 w book, $5 without
Taibbi has covered several political campaigns for Rolling Stone (and other publications) by way of his scathing, gonzo journalistic approach. In this volume he brings his incisive wit to the complex and troubled life story of Eric Garner, the African-American man whose death by chokehold was seen worldwide and whose anguished last words — “I Can’t Breathe” — became a rallying cry for those protesting police brutality.
2017 Boston Book Festival
October 26- 28
Copley Square, Boston MA
It’s time for the annual Boston Book Fest, a bibliophile version of Woodstock. Boston’s bookish will be treated to a smorgasbord of literary events, such as author readings (featuring readings from some local heavy hitters like Dennis Lehane, Claire Messud, and Tom Perrotta), lively discussion panels (covering topics as wide-ranging as The Beatles, Adam and Eve, True Crime, and Geopolitics) and trivia galore. This year will also feature live performances of The Collected Works of James Joyce in 44 Minutes, a chance to pick the brains behind the darkly irreverent podcast Welcome to Night Vale, a taste of Boston Food Writing, and much more.
What I Found in a Thousand Towns: A Traveling Musician’s Guide to Rebuilding America’s Communities
October 29 at 4 p.m.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge MA
Tickets are $28 with book, $5 without
In an event co-sponsored by Club Passim, beloved singer-songwriter Dar Williams will drop by the Brattle to talk about her experiences traveling through small towns across the country. Williams has been touring steadily for years, playing in tiny venues and soaking up the local color. In addition to being a musician, Williams is also a historian and uses her experiences on the road as inspiration for a deeper musing on small town life, why it’s crumbling, and how it can rebuild and survive.
Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches
November 1 at 6 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline MA
Tickets are $30, include copy of book
Boston’s own Hodgman is a comedian, bestselling author, and Daily Show commentator who has made a career out of purveying hilariously false facts, imaginatively made-up historical events, and impossibly fake news. His brand of deadpan absurdity has proved rather prophetic, with our sense of reality having skewed more surreal than ever. He will read and discuss his latest foray into the autobiographical, which may prove to be the most surreal story of them all.
The Big Push: Exposing and Challenging the Persistence of Patriarchy
November 7 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
Given the recent revelations about Harvey Weinstein’s flagrant and years-long sexual harassment and our current President’s penchant for pussy-grabbing, the poison of patriarchy is very much with us. But there is still the potential for it to be defeated, now that more and more people are paying attention. Enloe is a social scientist whose globe-spanning work exposes the workaday relevance of patriarchy, drawing on everything from Syrian women being excluded from international peace organizations to sexual harassment in news organizations. She will discuss her findings and how they can be useful for empowerment in everyday life.
— Matt Hanson