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
Dance for World Community Film Program
June 4 –June 6
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
Three days of special screening of dance films presented by José Mateo Ballet Theatre. The line-up includes
Monday June 4
The Men Who Danced: The Story of Ted Shawn’s Male Dancers 1933–1940 at 5 p.m.
Rebels on Pointe/Trockadero at 7 p.m.
Tuesday June 5
Ladies and Gentlemen Over 65 at 5 p.m.
Dances of Ecstasy at 7 p.m.
Wednesday June 6
Alive and Kicking at 5 p.m.
Queen of Thursdays at 7 p.m.
The Man Who Laughs
June 11 at 7 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA
The Berklee Silent Film Orchestra performs the premiere of their new, original score under the direction of Sheldon Mirowitz. The Man Who Laughs, based on Victor Hugo’s novel L’Homme Qui Rit, stars Conrad Veidt. The melodrama focuses on Gwynplaine, a boy forced to watch the execution of his father, a 17th-century Scottish nobleman. The boy is spared, but as punishment his face is carved into a permanent rictus. He becomes “The Man Who Laughs,” a popular clown. An example of German Expressionist filmmaking at its finest and a truly frightening film.
Through June 14
Somerville Theatre, Davis Square, Somerville, MA
In honor of its 50th anniversary, Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 sci-fi masterpiece will be screened in a brand new 70mm print struck from a newly made internegative using the original photochemical method. This is one of only five in existence. Audiences who originally came to 2001 expecting a sci-fi movie got, instead, an essay on time and existence. If you have never seen the film, this is the only way to really watch this stunningly beautiful and enigmatic masterpiece of visionary filmmaking. Complete Schedule and Tickets
Arab Film Weekend 2018
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
For the third consecutive year, a roundup of films from Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, and Palestine. This year’s lineup highlights female directors and protagonists.
Beauty and the Dogs (Tunisia) Friday, June 15 at 3:30 p.m. & Saturday, June 16 at 6:30 p.m.
When Mariam, a young Tunisian woman, is raped by police officers after leaving a party, she is propelled into a harrowing night in which she must fight for her rights even though justice lies on the side of her tormentors.
Solitaire (Lebanon) Friday, June 15 at 6 p.m. & Saturday, June 16 at 12 p.m.
This comedy follows Thérèse, the mayor’s wife in a Lebanese village, as she cheerfully prepares for a first visit from her daughter’s new fiancé and his parents and is shocked to discover they are Syrian.
Sheikh Jackson (Egypt) Friday, June 15 at 8 p.m. & Sunday, June 17 at 1 p.m.
Egypt’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film for the 90th Academy Awards follows Khaled, an Egyptian Islamic cleric, who was nicknamed “Jackson” during his school days because of his love for the King of Pop. The superstar’s death sparks a crisis of faith and a flood of emotions for Khaled, who is transported back to his MTV-saturated youth.
17 (Jordan) Documentary Saturday, June 16 at 2 p.m. & Sunday, June 17 at 11 a.m.
The Jordanian under-17 women’s soccer team prepares for the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan 2016. Coming from different backgrounds, each of the girls has faced a different set of challenges as a national team player. The film is a social exploration of the lives of young women who are passionate about playing a sport they have been told was only for men.
Until the Birds Return (Algeria) Saturday, June 16 at 4 p.m. & Sunday, June 17 at 3 p.m.
Writer-director Karim Moussaoui first feature explores the damaged emotional landscape of his homeland, Algeria.
Provincetown International Film Festival
June 13 – 17
PIFF is one of New England’s friendliest and most scenic film festivals. Regarding this year’s gathering, artistic director Lisa Viola says, “For our 20th anniversary festival, we are absolutely thrilled to present a lineup featuring new work and are especially proud that all five of our Spotlight Films are directed by women.”
The Miseducation Of Cameron Post, directed by Desiree Akhavan, on Thursday June 14
Breathe Normally, by Ísold Ugadóttir, on Friday, June 15
Leave No Trace, directed by Debra Granik, on Saturday, June 16
Wild Nights With Emily, by Madeleine Olnek, will be the opening night film
Mapplethorpe, starring Matt Smith, will be the closing night film.
This year Sean Baker (The Florida Project) will receive the festival’s Filmmaker on the Edge Award, and Chloë Grace Moretz will receive the Next Wave Award. They will be in conversation with the inimitable John Waters on Saturday.
Complete Schedule Link
— Tim Jackson
through June 10
Boston Opera House
Boston Ballet’s 2017-18 season culminates with a program showcasing Danish choreographer August Bournonville’s romantic and sorrowful tale of La Sylphide, paired with the Bournonville Divertissements, a rarely-performed series of excerpts from his classic repertory. Arts Fuse review
Dance for World Community Festival
Saturday, June 9 from 12-6 p.m.
Harvard Square (near the Sanctuary Theater)
José Mateo Ballet Theatre once again fills the streets of Harvard Square with a full day of free dance classes and performances in its 10th Dance for World Community Festival. Perfect for all ages, this annual festival showcases the diversity of the Greater Boston dance community, while promoting “the power of dance to better our world.”
Spark: Luminarium Dance Company’s Gala & Showcase
June 10 from 5-7:30 p.m.
Center for Arts at the Armory
Luminarium Dance Company celebrates its eighth year in the Boston arts community with an evening of food and performances at the Armory in Somerville. Enjoy dinner, silent auctions, cake, and a cash bar, all while being treated to sneak peeks from the company’s upcoming Feature Production and newly commissioned works.
Masterworks: A Midsummer Night’s Dance
June 16 at 8 p.m.
Kresge Auditorium at MIT
The Cambridge Symphony Orchestra presents its second collaboration with choreographer Gianni Di Marco, alongside the New England Conservatory Women’s Chorus, in a ballet performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s incidental music for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The performance includes nocturnes, dances, the famous Wedding March, and “melodramas” sung by guest soloists, as well as Ravel’s dynamic Suite No. 2 from Daphnis et Chloé, and a Fanfare by the British composer Philip Sawyers.
OnStage Dance Company’s Season 15 Performance
June 17 at 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Boston University Dance Theater
OnStage Dance Company’s 15th Season culminates with a lively performance featuring the full company. The performance proffers an eclectic array of works encompassing the genres of Hip Hop, Contemporary, Tap, Jazz, and Modern.
— Merli V. Guerra
The Art of Alexander Gassel
through January 6
Museum of Russian Icons, 230 Union Street, Clinton, MA
Drawing on a playfully colorful palette, these surrealist paintings energetically blend the new and the traditional. Contemporary Moscow-born painter Alexander Gassel offers a nuanced melding of ancient Russian iconography with contemporary subjects drawn from his own cultural heritage and experiences living in America. He takes inspiration from the banned artists of his childhood, work of painters he remembers seeing secretly stashed away in the storage areas of Soviet Museums, Marc Chagall, Wassily Kandinsky, and Kazimir Malevich among them.
History of the Future: A Group Exhibition of Art and Technology
through July 1
Boston Cyberarts, 9 Myrtle Street, Jamaica Plain, MA
This forward-thinking gallery sent out a call for provocative, visually engaging work that pairs art and technology. Strong submissions flooded in from an internationally diverse range of artists from Singapore to Switzerland, as well as some from local Bostonians. In fact, there were so many compelling submissions that a sequel to this show is planned for the Fall. The complex and playful works on display include video art, book art, immersive 360° virtual reality experiences, mechanized sound sculptures, digital holograms, iOS apps, and more. A personal favorite — Hye Yeon Nam’s “Invisible” — takes the form of a mechanized sculpture that prints out derogatory racial slurs and then uses its robotic hand to cut and discard them into a pile of offensive phrases for viewers to sift through on the ground.
Mizusashi: Japanese Water Jars from the Carol and Jeffrey Horvitz Collection
through December 14
Fairfield University Art Museum, 1073 North Benson Road, Fairfield, CT
A unique chance to take a step into another culture. This exhibition of sixteen mizusashi — sacred vessels used to store the water for replenishing the tea pot during Japanese chanoyu tea gatherings — is generously on loan from Carol and Jeffrey Horvitz. The Horvitz collection of Japanese ceramics is among the most impressive in the US. The show is made up of varying interpretations of the water jar crafted by 20th century as well as contemporary artists. Examples of the new-fangled and the traditional are present: there are shimmering glazes and coatings of expressive brush strokes, simple columnar and rounded forms as well as instances of the organic.
Her Story Is: performances and presentations, co-presented by Fort Point Theatre Channel (FPTC), The Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences (UMass Boston), the Odysseus Project, the Center for Arabic Culture, and partners in Iraq. June 15 – Seaport District, Boston, MA June 24 – Arts at the Armory, Somerville, MA
This project is the result of a yearlong collaboration between four Iraqis and four local Bostonian female artists. They are women whose lives have been somehow affected by the calamities of war. Most of the time the artists worked together through the use of skype, e-mails, and their blogs, except for one meeting, last December in Dubai, where they taught each other their different crafts and shared their stories amongst tears and laughter. The result: there will be two evenings filled with theater, poetry, and visual arts, as well as an exhibition at the Wharf from June 7 to June 22.
Allison Katz: Diary w/o Dates
through July 29
MIT List Visual Arts Center, 20 Ames Street, Cambridge, MA
A fascinating investigation into the relationship of painting and time. The show explores self-portraiture, warping the clock, and playing with ideas of memory and projection. This is the first solo exhibition in the US for Canadian-born, London-based contemporary artist Allison Katz. In her work “Katz sees a resemblance between the structured intervals of time and the physical constraints of a painting. She plays within the borders of each — the cells of the day, week, and months in a year and the four stretcher-bars that determine the limits of a painting — letting that which is beyond the grid encroach.”
Japanese Prints: The Psychedelic Seventies
through August 12
Museum of Fine Arts, Avenue of the Arts, 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA
Regardless of its being tucked into a corridor between the Islamic Gallery and Huntington Lobby, this small exhibition is attracting some notice and is well worth a visit by those curious about the Japanese printmaking roots in the ’70s movement of groovy psychedelia. The prints engross by way of their electric palette, their prominent sense of design, and their infusion of fashionable rebellion intermixed with Buddhist iconography.
#UNLOAD: Guns in the Hands of Artists
Walsh Gallery, Fairfield University Art Museum, 200 Barlow Road, Fairfield, CT
Through October 13
Presented in partnership with #UNLOAD and Guns in the Hands of Artists Foundation, this timely exhibition is powerful example of artistic creation as a means to evoke meaningful dialogue and, in doing so, encourage the potential for social change. Touring across North America, from Colorado and Miami’s Art Basel to Washington DC, the show originated in the mid-’90s in response to a spiking murder rate in New Orleans. The gut wrenching and memorable work in this exhibition was created by a group of internationally renowned poets, painters, glass artists, sculptors, photographers, and video artists. They made use of decommissioned guns taken off the city’s streets through a buyback program.
Rosana Antoli: Crossroads (Choreographies)
Faye G., Jo, and James Stone Gallery, Boston University, 855 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston
Through June 10
The first solo exhibition of Spanish artist Rosana Antoli in the United States investigates the intersections of art, politics and everyday life via a transfixing display of swirling black lines paused in midair. Her multimedia project choreographs the concept of movement through installation, sculpture, video, and drawings. She explains that her work “focuses on the rhythm of urban spaces and the geographical gestures of the human body.”
Gunnar Schonbeck: No Experience Required
Mass MoCA, 1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA
Through at least 2019
Unearthed from an attic space at Bennington College and restored by the school’s interns, this exhibition is made up of a passionate and eccentric teacher’s larger than life musical instruments. The piece are available, on occasion, for the public to play. This hands-on-approach was very much part of Schonbeck’s philosophy – anyone can make music, and from the most ordinary of things. The handmade ensemble includes a 9-ft banjo, 8-ft tall marimba, drums made from aircraft fuselages, welded steel harps, and countless steel drums, zithers, pan pipes, tubular chimes, and triangular cellos.
– Aimee Cotnoir
McMullen Museum of Art, Daley Family and Monan Galleries
through June 3
Boston College, 2101 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston MA
Jun is a Chinese painter from the Shandong Province (near the sacred Mount Tai), a place historically associated with such religious traditions as Taoism and Confucianism. Jun’s aesthetic approach is firmly rooted in traditional Chinese aesthetics, but it also takes considerable inspiration from the painters of the New York School, such as Jackson Pollock and Helen Frankenthaler. Jun’s painting isn’t just dedicated to depicting nature — it embodies it through the stroke of a brush or a swirl of color. As the Boston Globe put it in a rave review of the show, “His stance insists he be awake to nature twice: imbibing it, and expressing it.”
— Matt Hanson
Jagged Little Pill Music by Alanis Morissette & Glen Ballard. Lyrics by Alanis Morissette. Book by Diablo Cody. Music Supervision, Orchestrations, and Arrangements by Tom Kitt. Choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Directed by Diane Paulus. Staged by the American Repertory Theater at the Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA, through July 15.
This world premiere musical features “an original story inspired by the themes and emotions laid bare in Alanis Morissette’s Grammy Award-winning album that introduced beloved anthems, including “Ironic,” “You Oughta Know,” and “Hand In My Pocket.” The narrative follows a family grappling with uncomfortable truths about many of the urgent issues deeply affecting our communities and our world today.” Book by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno). Arts Fuse review
The Wiz, Book by William F. Brown. Music and Lyrics by Charlie Smalls. From the story “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum. Directed by Dawn M. Simmons. Music Director, Allyssa Jones. Choreography by Jean Appolon. Staged by Lyric Stage Company of Boston at 40 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA, through July 1.
“A soulful retelling of L. Frank Baum’s beloved The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” this musical (Winner of 7 Tony Awards, including Best Musical & Best Score) “combines fairy-tale glamour with street smarts to make a classic fantasy sparkle for today.”
The Chronic Single’s Handbook, written and performed by Randy Ross. In a Somerville, MA location (check the website) through September 22.
Novelist and fringe festival veteran Randy Ross was among the Bostonians selected by Airbnb to offer “high quality experiences” to visitors and residents of the Boston area. He is performing this piece in his living room — which gives a whole new meaning to ‘intimate’ theater. “The show: A chronically-single guy takes a trip around the world hoping to change his luck with love. An unflinching look at how men feel about sex, love, marriage, and massage parlors. Adult situations, adult language, and more adult situations including a visit to a body spa named ‘The Curious Finger.'”
Fall by Bernard Weintraub. Directed by Peter DuBois. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Huntington’s Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, through June 26.
World Premiere production of a script “that tells the true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Arthur Miller’s secret son Daniel, his child with third wife, Inge Morath. Born with Down syndrome, Daniel was institutionalized, and his existence was never acknowledged by his parents.” The play “explores the fascinating dichotomy of Miller’s life with Morath (the couple also had a daughter, Rebecca) and the divide between their public personae and their private lives.” Arts Fuse preview and review.
Red Velvet by Lolita Chakrabarti. Directed by Bryn Boice. Staged by O.W.I. (Bureau of Theatre) at the Plaza Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts South End Campus, Boston, MA, May 30 through June 16.
A historical drama with a current racial issues in mind: “It’s like being at a crossroads – a point of absolute, unequivocal change. It makes the blood rush. Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, 1833. Edmund Kean, the greatest actor of his generation, has collapsed on stage whilst playing Othello. A young black American actor has been asked to take over the role. But as the public riot in the streets over the abolition of slavery, how will the cast, critics and audience react to the revolution taking place in the theatre?”
Calendar Girls, based on the Miramax Motion Picture by Juliette Towhidi and Tim Firth. Directed by Nancy E. Carroll. Staged by the Greater Boston Stage Company at 395 Main Street, Stoneham, MA, through June 17.
Billed as ” a delightful, heartfelt comedy based on the true story of eleven English Ladies Club members who posed nude for a calendar to raise money for the Leukemia Research Fund.” The cast features Boston luminaries Maureen Brennan, Sarah deLima, Mary Potts Dennis, Kerry A. Dowling, Jade Guerra, Michael Kaye, Karen MacDonald, Sean McGuirk, Cheryl McMahon, Nael Nacer, Kathy St. George, and Bobbie Steinbach.
After Grace by Cary Crim. Directed by Regge Life. Staged by Shakespeare & Company in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, 70 Kemble Street, Lenox, MA, through July 15.
The New England premiere of an “unconventional new comedy tackling love, loss, and second chances.”
Cold Blood by choreographer Michèle Anne De Mey and filmmaker Jaco Van Dormael. Staged by Astragales. Presented by ArtsEmerson at the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston, MA, through June 3.
“Is there life before death? That’s the big question posed by this completely unexpected, mesmerizing show from the troupe behind ArtsEmerson’s 2013 word-of-mouth phenomenon, Kiss & Cry . Utilizing that same theatrical magic — cinematic techniques, miniature sets, dancing hands and a poetic voice-over — Cold Blood cycles through a series of different lives (and deaths) in a hypnotic dream-like state. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry — you’ll never look at your hands the same way again. Join us for a celebration of life, the senses, love and the final moments of light.”
Typhoid Mary by Mark St. Germain. Directed by Matthew Penn. Staged by Barrington Stage at the St. Germain Stage at the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 36 Linden Street, Pittsfield, MA, through June 16.
Another historical drama, this time of a notorious villain: “the true story of Mary Mallon, known better as Typhoid Mary. As one of the most infamous women in America, she was incredibly stubborn, ambitious, and in fierce denial of any wrongdoing.” Arts Fuse review
Martha’s (b)Rainstorm: A Boston Fairytale by John J. King. Directed by Stephanie LeBolt. Staged by Fresh Ink Theatre in collaboration with the Boston Public Library Playwright-in-Residence program and part of the Push Project Residency at Boston Center for the Arts at Martin Hall, The Standford Calderwood Pavilion at Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, June 7 through 15.
“Once upon a time, in 2072, rising temps and sea levels threaten to turn Boston into New England’s own Venice. But some things in Boston never change: the population doubles in September, the Yankees suck, and nobody speaks to one another—they yell. City Communications Director Martha Morgan needs to chart a course that keeps Bostonians above water, but a Single-Minded Mayor, Arrogant Architect, and a history of segregation stand in her way.” Note: this is a workshop production.
Kafka and Son, Alon Nashman’s stage adaptation of Kafka’s text, which he also performs. Presented by the Rockport Chamber Music Festival, Shalin Liu Performance Center, 37 Main Street, Rockport, MA, on June 16.
An usual set-up of theater and music. “A one-man theatrical presentation adapted from a letter written by Franz Kafka,” the show bills itself as “a blistering, often hilarious, dissection of domestic authority, and a revelatory visit with one of the architects of the modern psyche.” The 1-hour play will be set to a recording of the music of Osvaldo Golijov. The program will open with a musical performance of Golijov’s Lullaby and Doina.
The Weir by Conor McPherson. Directed by Bob Knopf. Staged by Harbor Stage at 15 Kendrick Avenue, Wellfleet Harbor, Wellfleet, MA, June 14 through July 7.
“When a newcomer happens into a sleepy Irish pub, she and a band of local bachelors embark on an unexpectedly eerie evening.”
Welcome to La Misa, Baby, written and performed by Migguel Anggelo. Presented by the 4-Star Solo Show Festival at the Provincetown Theater, 238 Bradford Street, Provincetown, MA, on June 12 and 13.
Inspired by the tragic shootings at the Pulse Nightclub, this show features gay actor, performer, and activist Migguel Anggelo “as he swirls through a complicated array of personalities, depicting the sacred role that nightclubs and discos such as the Pulse nightclub plays in the LGBTQ community. He also explores issues of heritage, family, immigration, and queer and Latino identity.”
The Nether by Jennifer Haley. Directed by Sarah Gazdowicz. Staged by Flat Earth Theatre in the Black Box Theatre at the Mosesian Center for the Arts, Watertown, MA, June 8 through 23.
“An immersive online wonderland where anything is possible. The mysterious “Papa” holds court in his virtual garden, a sensory utopia where patrons may indulge their darkest fantasies under digital anonymity and without real-world consequences. But when Detective Morris investigates Papa’s dealings, she uncovers a series of darkly unsettling acts which throw morality, the law, and human nature itself into question.” The production contains adult themes, language, and imagery. Parental discretion advised. Arts Fuse review of Mad Horse Theatre’s 2017 production of the script.
dadamobile, a series of guerrilla performances, presented by Mobius, featuring Day de Dada Art Nurses, June 5 through 9. Check the website for locations and times.
“Day de Dada Art Nurses provide their art health procedures to open-minded voluntary patients, ready for an unconventional experience at these farmers markets”:
Tuesday (6/5) : Copley Square: noon-2pm Dewey Square: 4-6pm.
Wednesday (6/6) : Davis Square: noon-2pm Score making workshop & meet and greet Midway Studios 6-9pm 15 Channel Center St
Thursday (6/7) : Dewey Square: noon-2pm.
Friday (6/8) : Copley Square: noon-2pm.
Saturday (6/9) : Union Square, Somerville : 11am-1pm
These performances will be accompanying by a 30-day (June 1-30) online blog, dadaglobe, modelled after Tristan Tzara’s DADAGLOBE.
Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Christopher Hampton, adapted from the 1782 novel of the same title by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner. Presented by the Nora Theatre at the Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA, through July 1.
Gardner helmed a production of the play in Washington DC with an all-male cast. She brings that concept to this revival: notions of gender politics are skewed when the sexual, amoral, manipulative games in this script are envisioned through new eyes. Content Warning: Full nudity. Sexual content. Suggested age: 18 and over.
— Bill Marx
Tatsuya Nakatani Ensemble
June 4 at 8:30 p.m.
Outpost 186, Cambridge, MA.
The esteemed avant-garde Japanese percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani is joined by bassist Damon Smith, trombonist Jeb Bishop, trumpeter Forbes Graham, vibist Andria Nicodemou, and alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs.
Allan Chase Quartet
June 5 at 8:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.
It’s enough that Allan Chase is a superb player and composer in his own right, but you can’t beat his programming — whether he’s featuring original compositions by members of the band, small-group interpretations of early Sun Ra, or in this case, “The Music of 1965-70 Revisited.” On the program will be “rarely played jazz compositions . . . including music by Herbie Hancock, Pharoah Sanders, Charles Lloyd, Joe Henderson, and Johnny Alf.” Chase will be playing alto and soprano saxophones, with pianist Jason Yeager, bassist Zack Lober, and drummer Luther Gray.
Pianist and composer Bert Seager continues his ongoing exploration of the tension between form and freedom, informed by an international palette of rhythms and an equally varied band: Cuban-born tenor saxophonist Hery Paz, Boston bassist Max Ridley, and Israeli-American drummer For Herskovits.
Terence Blanchard and the E-Collective
June 7 at 8 p.m. and June 8 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA
Trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard’s hip-hop inflected E-Collective has become synonymous with Black Lives Matter (their first CD, Breathless, was dedicated to Eric Garner). Blanchard has a knack for finding younger musicians who push his music into new territory. In this case that would be guitarist Charles Altura, pianist Fabian Almazan, bassist David “DJ” Ginyard Jr., and drummer Oscar Seaton.
Greg Hopkins Jazz Orchestra
June 7 at 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Ryles Jazz Club, Cambridge, MA
Greg Hopkins — one of the finest writers for big band on the Boston scene — brings his 16-piece orchestra to play a program called “Requiem for Ryles,” in honor of the storied club, which is scheduled to close its doors at the end of this month. The band will premiere a new Hopkins piece, “The Dream Catcher” — “in honor of this sad occasion.” The full line-up for the band: Scott deOgburn, trumpet; Jeff Galindo, trombone; Ilona Kudina, flute; Christian Marrero, trumpet; Max Acree, trombone; Allan Chase, alto saxophone; Don Gorder, trumpet; Jeff Hoyer, trombone; Lihi Haruvi, alto saxophone; Dan Rosenthal, trumpet; Peter Cirelli, bass trombone; Rick DiMuzio, tenor saxophone; Greg Hopkins, leader, trumpet; Bob Patton, tenor saxophone; Ben Whiting, baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Doug Johnson, piano; John Lockwood, bass; Bob Tamagni, drums; and special guest, Tim Miller, guitar.
It’s not jazz, but it is a saxophone quartet, and it is new music (by a wide range of contemporary living composers (e.g., Jennifer Higdon’s “BOP.” That’s a jazz reference, right?) The players are Jennifer Bill, Emily Cox, Amy McGlothlin, and Zach Schwartz. This show is billed as a special “Pride Weekend recital, featuring some well-loved tunes and deeper cuts.”
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
June 10 at 6 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston
The 30-year-old institution, and the man who created it, changed the face of jazz back in the day, through writing, recording, performing, and delivering polemical verbal broadside (he recently caused a stir by reviving his attack on rap). But when he tours with this band, tireless provocateur Wynton Marsalis tends to sit quietly in the trumpet section let the music do the talking. This is an all-Ellington bill. Pieces that have been announced in advance are: “East St. Louis Toodle-Oo,” “The Mooche,” “It Don’t Mean A Thing,” “Lady Of The Lavender Mist,”“Braggin’ In Brass,” “Moon Over Cuba,” “Jack The Bear,” “Harlem Airshaft,” “New Orleans Suite: Mvt. Iii, Portrait Of Louis Armstrong,” “Far East Suite: Amad,” “Concerto For Cootie,” “Far East Suite: Ad Lib On Nippon,” “Big Fat Alice’s Blues,” “Afro-Eurasian Eclipse Suite: Part I, Chinoiserie,” “Take The A Train,” and “Mood Indigo.”
Dave Bryant Quintet
June 11 at 8:30 p.m.
Outpost 186, Cambridge MA
Former Ornette Coleman Prime Time keyboardist Dave Bryant convenes another interesting group of primo players for one of his regular Outpost gigs: tenor saxophonist Tom Hall, guitarist Eric Hofbauer, bassist Jacob William, and drummer Miki Matsuki.
“Celebrating the Trumpet Kings”
June 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
Trumpeter/vocalist Bob Merrill fronts this revue covering everyone from Louis, Bix, and Dizzy to Bunny Berigan, Harry James, Chet Baker, Miles Davis, Chuck Mangione, Herb Alpert, and more. Helping out are fellow trumpeters Billy Buss and Tree Palmedo with pianist Jon Davis, bassist Dave Clark, and drummer Steve Johns.
Cécile McLorin Salvant
June 15 and 16 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
Speaking of provocations, no one delivers such exquisite unease as the 28-year-old singer and songwriter Cécile McLorin Salvant, whether in her extraordinary voice and interpretations or her choice of material (“The Savage in Me,” “Wives and Lovers”) or well-turned originals. Her last couple of stops at Scullers with pianist Sullivan Fortner (her equal both in facility and depth) have been standouts.
Danny Green Trio
June 16 at 7 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA
On his last CD, Altered Narratives (2016), San Diego pianist and composer Danny Green added string quartet on a few tracks and liked the results, so the new One Day It Will features string quartet throughout, with Green’s trio, including bassist Justin Grinnell and drummer Julien Cantelm. The trio (sans string quartet, alas) celebrate the new CD at the Lilypad. But the strength of Green’s lyrical writing and the adept interplay of the trio should carry the day.
June 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
Brazilian guitarist and singer Vinicius Cantuaria has distinguished himself with a broad range that extends from bossa nova and rock to jazz and “downtown” New York (he’s collaborated with Brian Eno, Laurie Anderson, Brad Mehldau, and Bill Frisell, among many others.) The band tonight includes bassist Paul Socolow, pianist Vitor Gonsalves, and drummer Adriano Des Santos.
— Jon Garelick
Roots and World Music
The Mali Project
Lizard Lounge, Cambridge, MA
Banning Eyre and Nathaniel Braddock are two guitarists who have spent decades studying and playing the wide-ranging music of Mali. They’re recording a new project and will be joined at this one-time show by an all-star rhythm section: bassist Mike Rivard and percussionists Bertram Lehmann and Idriss Kone.
Downtown Providence, Rhode Island
Although great concerts come our way during the during the winter, Boston has had no free large-scale world music-oriented summer gathering since the demise earlier this decade of the Summer Arts Weekend and Outside the Box festivals. It was welcome news when BU recently announced the debut of its Global Music Festival, but if you can’t wait until October there’s this envy-worthy gathering of performing artists in Providence. Headliners include Afro-flamenco diva Buika, the Carolina Gullah sounds of Ranky Tanky, and plenty of local and international music, dance, spoken word, and theater.
Grupo Melao el El Salvador with Banda Blanca
Wonderland Ballroom, Revere, MA
Pick up some pupusas at any Salvadoran eatery in East Somerville or East Boston and you’ll see flyers for this bash, which pairs two large Salvadoran musical juggernauts. Grupo Melao features four male singers, while Banda Blanca features dancing girls. Both have huge horn sections and play plenty of cumbias.
New Swing Sextet
Ryles, Cambridge, MA
While most frequently associated with jazz, the soon-closing Ryles has also been a key spot for the local Latin dance community for the past few decades. Salsa Sundays are going out with a bang by bringing in the legendary boogaloo sounds of New York’s New Swing Sextet. The band revolutionized Nuyorican music with a series of late ’60s, vibraphone-led LPs like The Explosive New Swing Sextet and A Taste of Spanish Harlem. This is the event of the year for any fan of Latin soul-jazz.
Fufu Party w/ Kotoko Brass & Karikatura
Accurate Records, Somerville
This African-style house party features the West African brass sounds of Kotoko and the globe-spanning soul of New York’s upbeat Karikatura. The food will reflect the theme — the delicacies with include the starchy root vegetable fufu.
— Noah Schaffer
June 7 at 8 p.m.
The Wilbur Theatre, Boston, MA
Ry Cooder’s new album, The Prodigal Son (Fantasy) is one of those works that tempt you to say it was inevitable because it’s so apt and timely. This is always an illusion – concept and execution have to fuse into a set that’s perfect for the moment and the future. Cooder’s basic insight was that traditional gospel songs often have potent morality, righteousness and even anger. They do mean to lift you higher. The Prodigal Son combines fairly well-remembered numbers like Blind Willie Johnson’s “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” with more-faded tunes like Blind Roosevelt Graves’s “I’ll Be Rested When the Roll Is Called.” Best of all, Cooder modifies Alfred Reed’s “You Must Unload” so it chastises the faux-pious wealthy of our time and he enriches the program with acid observations on “Gentrification” (written with his son and the album’s drummer, Joachim). “Jesus and Woody” is even narrated by Christ himself. Can’t deny it – seeing this show will earn you a blessing.
— Milo Miles
Rockport Music Chamber Music Festival’s Festival Opening Night
June 15 at 8 p.m.
At the Shalin Liu Performance Center, 37 Main Street, Rockport, MA
Barry Shiffman leads an 11 member ensemble in a program of Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence and Golijov’s Ayre, featuring soprano Miriam Khalil.
Rockport Music Chamber Music Festival’s Snow in June
June 17 at 5 p.m.
At the Shalin Liu Performance Center, 37 Main Street, Rockport, MA
Pianist Frederic Chiu makes his Rockport debut with the powerful “war” sonata No. 7 of Prokofiev. The program continues with cellist Andres Diaz in Tan Dun’s Elegy: Snow in June, based on a 13th century Chinese drama, about a woman executed for crimes, despite her innocence. Even nature cried out for her innocence with a heavy snowfall in June. The concert concludes with selected movements from Messiaen’s Quartet from the End of Time, written while a prisoner in a World War II camp.
— Susan Miron
Rock, Pop, and Folk
Whether your thing is classic rock or modern blues, guitarist Bobby Messano has got you covered. For fans of the former, Messano was a member of more-influential-than-commercially-successful pop-metal band Starz in the late 1970s. In the 1980s, he toured and/or recorded with Peter Criss (Kiss), Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow, Deep Purple, etc.), Clarence Clemons (The E Street Band), Lou Gramm (Foreigner), and Steve Winwood. For blues lovers, Messano has won consistent widespread recognition for his numerous recordings in that genre since 2012. He and his band, Broken Toys, will be playing in support of their latest release, 2017’s Bad Movie, at 9 Wallis on June 15.
No one could have convinced me that Ted Leo’s “Me & Mia” was anything other than the best rock song of the year when it came out in 2004. But I was kind of late to the party, as Leo and his band The Pharmacists were already critical and fan favorites thanks to 2001’s The Tyranny of Distance and its follow-up, Heart of Oaks. Leo will be celebrating the 15th anniversary of the latter by playing it in its entirety at Brighton Music Hall on June 15. The following night will be a career retrospective and most likely feature material from 2017’s The Hanged Man, which includes a song called “William Weld in the 21st Century.” (In keeping with the former-chief-state-executive theme, maybe he’ll also play “Abner Louima V. Gov. Pete Wilson.”)
Singer-songwriter-guitarist Will Dailey is a frequent winner (and even more frequent nominee) at the Boston and New England Music Awards. His brand new album, Golden Walker, is sure to keep that trend going. Dailey’s songs have appeared in episodes of 90210, CSI: Miami AND NY, NCIS, Numb3rs, and many more. He has also produced music by fellow local artists such as Audrey Ryan and Ruby Rose Fox and been a regular participant in Hot Stove Cool Music and Farm Aid. I could go on, but all of this should suffice to convince you that Dailey’s show at ONCE on June 16 is worth checking out.
I first saw Okkervil River at the Middle East Downstairs in 2007. As with Ted Leo, though, I was unfashionably late in getting into them. I fell out of the Okkervil River loop around 2013, but was fully back on board when I recently heard “Famous Tracheotomies,” the opening track their new album, In the Rainbow’s Rain. Let’s just say that it is the best Jens Lekman song that the Swedish master didn’t write and will add a new layer to one’s appreciation of the three minutes and 15 seconds of magic that close The Kinks’ 1967 masterpiece, Something Else. Interestingly, the band chose “Pulled Up the Ribbon” as the first single, but you’ll hear no complaints from me about that. Meriden, NH, native Will Sheff brings his band to Royale on June 16.
Like Ted Leo and Okkervil River, Spoon became an indie rock force with which to be reckoned in the 2000s. However, Spoon was the first to release its debut album when Telephono came out in 1996. Some of the most acclaimed albums of their respective years followed in the aughts, and the Austin, TX, quartet has maintained its high standards in this decade with offerings such as 2017’s Hot Thoughts. Although I have (amazingly) never seen Spoon live, I cannot imagine them putting on a bad show. They surely won’t do so at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion on June 18.
Other upcoming shows include: Love Love with Russell Chudnofsky at ONCE Lounge (June 7), Ry Cooder at The Wilbur (June 7), The Posies with Scarlet Sails at ONCE Ballroom (June 15), and Matthew Sweet (click for my 2017 Arts Fuse interview) with The Elwins at Brighton Music Hall (June 17)
— Blake Maddux
James Hatch and Christian D’Andrea
Touching the Dragon and Other Techniques for Surviving Life’s Wars
June 5 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Coop, Cambridge MA
“From former special ops Navy SEAL senior chief; master naval parachutist (four Bronze Stars with Valor, Navy and Marine Corps Medal recipient, etc.); fighter in 150 missions (Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Africa); expert military dog trainer and handler whose SEAL dogs were partners and medal winners–a fierce, moving tale of a return from hell, being badly wounded on a special ops mission that ended his two-decades-long military career, his searing recovery, and the struggle to live life off the speeding train of war.”
Michael Eric Dyson
What Truth Sounds Like: Robert F Kennedy, James Baldwin, and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America
June 6 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30)
First Parish Church, Cambridge MA
Tickets are $26.25 with copy of book, $5 without
Professor Dyson is one of America’s most eloquent and insightful commenters on racial matters, and he comes to Cambridge to discuss his latest book, which tells the story of the 1963 meeting between then AG Bobby Kennedy and James Baldwin and the writer’s activist friends to discuss the racial question. The talk was contentious, heated, but ultimately productive — after hearing the impassioned descriptions of racial struggle from Baldwin and his crew, Bobby went from being relatively clueless about race to beginning his journey towards getting woke. Dyson explains this story in the context of America’s still-unsettled conversation about race and its complications.
Brian D Hoefling
Distilled Knowledge: The Science Behind Drinking’s Greatest Myths, Legends, and Unanswered Questions
June 6 at 5 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
Summer’s right around the corner, which means it’s time for some creative drinking. So it is time to attend to an old boozer’s tales about which drinks are made with whatever contents, and how to distill any number of ingredients to make a new and fresh cocktail. Hoefling is a Boston-based cocktail historian who will provide an in-store demonstration of how to make and enjoy a variety of healthy libations, including kombucha.
J Stuart Ablon
Changeable: How Collaborative Problem Solving Changes Lives at Home, at School, and at Work
June 8 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
“Why is it so hard to change problem behavior—in our kids, our colleagues, and even ourselves? Conventional methods often backfire, creating a downward spiral of resentment and frustration, and a missed opportunity for growth. Our society has an entrenched way of thinking about behavior. We almost always assume it derives from a person’s will—that people behave consciously and purposefully. What if the thinking behind these old methods is wrong? What if people don’t misbehave because they want to, but because they lack the skills to do better? Or as renowned psychologist J. Stuart Ablon asks, what if changing problem behavior is a matter of skill-building and support, instead of blame and punishment?
Brothers of the Gun: A Memoir of the Syrian War
June 12 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
“In 2011, Marwan Hisham and his two friends—fellow working-class college students Nael and Tareq—joined the first protests of the Arab Spring in Syria, in response to a recent massacre. Arm-in-arm they marched, poured Coca-Cola into one another’s eyes to blunt the effects of tear gas, ran from the security forces, and cursed the country’s president, Bashar al-Assad. It was ecstasy. A long-bottled revolution was finally erupting, and freedom from a brutal dictator seemed, at last, imminent. Five years later, the three young friends were scattered: one now an Islamist revolutionary, another dead at the hands of government soldiers, and the last, Marwan, now a journalist in Turkish exile, trying to find a way back to a homeland reduced to rubble.”
Blanche McCrary Boyd
Tomb of the Unknown Racist: A Novel
June 14 at 7 p.m.
Newtonville Books, West Newton MA
In her new novel, her first in twenty years, and which Kirkus calls “discombobulated, in a good way” Boyd tells the continuing story of Ellen Burns, who is coming off of decades of lefty activism to discover that her brother, a novelist with a disturbing cult following, has a legacy that has been unexpectedly embraced by white supremacists. Ellen travels to find her niece in an effort to unravel the mystery of her brother’s enigmatic and troubling legacy.
— Matt Hanson