Arts Fuse critics select the best in film, dance, visual art, theater, music, and author events for the coming weeks.
By The Arts Fuse Staff
Ibero-American Film Festival
Through October 29
Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston, MA
This Ibero-American Film Festival, which represents movies from Spanish and Portuguese speaking cultures, has been (unfortunately) under publicized. The festival screens award-winning movies that entertain, educate, empower, and create cross-cultural bridges with Boston’s Latino, Spanish, Portuguese, and New England communities. Schedule of Films.
Our New President
October 29 at 7 p.m.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
Donald Trump has become a beloved cult figure for many Russians. Our New President uses found footage, fake news, and state-controlled political programming to reveal the variety of ways Trump’s newfound Russian supporters express their love and devotion. Filmmaker Maxim Pozdorovkin (Pussy Riot: a Punk Prayer) will attend in person for discussion! A DocYard presentation. Trailer
8th Annual Arlington International Film Festival
November 1 to 4
Capital Theater in Arlington, MA
“Arlington International Film Festival (AIFF) is an award-winning organization with its mission being to foster appreciation for different cultures by exploring the lives of people around the globe through independent film.”
November 4 through 24
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
“Welcome to Monrovia, Indiana. With a dwindling population of 1,083, the small town, first founded in 1834 as one of many farming communities that served as the backbone of early America, is a compelling new subject for prolific documentarian Frederick Wiseman’s latest look inside the kind of places, people, and systems that make up the country.”(IMDB)
The Sound of Music in 70 mm
November 4 at 2 and 7 p.m.
Somerville Theater in Davis Square, Somerville, MA
The venerable musical will be screened in 70mm print, courtesy the 20th Century-Fox Archives. “A tuneful, heartwarming story, it is based on the real life story of the Von Trapp Family singers, one of the world’s best-known concert groups in the era immediately preceding World War II. Julie Andrews plays the role of Maria, the tomboyish postulant at an Austrian abbey who becomes a governess in the home of a widowed naval captain with seven children, and brings a new love of life and music into the home.” (Cynical Editor’s Note: I can’t resist quoting critic Pauline Kael: there are “families who want movies to be an innocuous inspiration, a good example for the children (The Sound of Music, The Singing Nun).”
— Tim Jackson
Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin
October 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
Swiss pianist Nik Bärtsch’s band Ronin celebrates its first new release in six years, Awase (martial arts term for “moving together”). The minimalist, spacious drift of the music doesn’t preclude drama and narrative tension — it’s rich in both. The band is rounded out by alto saxophonist/bass clarinetist Sha, bassist Thomy Jordi, and drummer Kaspar Rast.
As a singer, Nellie McKay’s broad range includes not only jazz standards (as on her new Sister Orchid) but oddball ’60s covers (2015’s My Weekly Reader), and a couple score of originals like those on her double-disc 2004 debut, Get Away from Me (pop and rap, written with Great American Songbook sophistication). Also in there have been an award-winning performance as Polly Peachum in The Threepenny Opera (in a production with Alan Cumming), and self-penned one-woman shows about transgender jazz musician Billy Tipton, convicted and executed murderer Barbara Graham and, of course, Joan Rivers. So you could hear anything from “My Romance” to the Cyrkle’s “Red Rubber Ball” and Frank Zappa’s “Hungry Freaks, Daddy.” In her club shows, McKay generally accompanies herself (quite well) on piano and ukulele.
November 2 and 3 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
Eddie Palmieri, now 81, invented his own kind of “salsa” in the early ’60s, modifying classic Afro-Cuban dance forms (Palmieri is a native New Yorker born of Puerto Rican parents) and instrumentation, with his own sense of jazz, including his capacious McCoy Tyner-influenced pianism. So, think McCoy with Latin dance rhythms. And try to sit still.
Pablo Ablanedo Octeto
November 3 at 4:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.
The exciting Boston-based Argentine composer Pablo Ablanedo fronts this stellar ensemble (technically: OCTETo) whose individual members would be worth catching in just about any context: flutist Yulia Musayelyan, trumpeters Greg Hopkins and Jerry Sabatini, reed players Daniel Ian Smith and Rick DiMuzio, guitarist Eric Hofbauer, bassist Fernando Huergo, drummer Bertram Lehmann, and Ablanedo on piano.
Aardvark Jazz Orchestra
November 3 at 8 p.m.
Killian Hall, MIT, Cambridge, MA.
Social activism has been a central thread of Aardvark’s music since the beginning — more that four decades ago. So it’s apropos that the progressive big band opens its 46th season with an “Election Day Special,” in anticipation of Tuesday’s vote, celebrating their latest CD, Democratic Vistas. The disc’s epic “Swamp-a-Rama Suite” includes sections titled “Fake News Blewz” and “Trumputin Tango,” and the show will also include “No Walls,” the band’s “anthem of hope and inclusivity.” The borderless nature of the music (all written by bandleader Mark Harvey) is an apt, portable metaphor (think: Charlie Haden and Carla Bley’s Liberation Music Orchestra, as well as Mingus, Sun Ra, and Ellington). The outstanding cast of Boston players includes singers Grace Hughes and Jerry Edwards.
— Jon Garelick
Jerry Bergonzi (ts), with other players to be announced (at 8:30 p.m.) and The Fringe [George Garzone (ts/ss), John Lockwood (b), Bob Gullotti (dm)] (at 10:30 p.m.) at The Lilypad, Cambridge, MA on October 29.
Bergonzi, a saxophone giant, and The Fringe, one of the greatest free-jazz ensembles in the world, featuring fellow giant Garzone, play regularly at The Lilypad, leaving most concertgoers slack-jawed in astonishment at the sheer virtuosity on display. Don’t take them for granted. You should see them at least once a year – why not this Monday? OK, then, go next Monday.
Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Andris Nelsons, playing the US premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s “Remembering: In Memoriam Evan Scofield” – Symphony Hall, Boston, MA, November 1, 8 p.m.; November 3 at 8 p.m.; November 6, 8 p.m.
Nelsons has professed an interest in jazz, and this program may be the first indication that he’s bringing that interest into his music direction. “Remembering: In Memoriam Evan Scofield” is a new piece, co-commissioned by the BSO, commemorating the son of guitarist John Scofield, with whom Turnage has a long friendship. Look for Sco in the hall on one of those nights.
Alexander Claffy (b), w. David Kikoski (p) and Kurt Rosenwinkel (g) – Scullers, Cambridge, MA, November 1 at 8 p.m..
Claffy is touring behind a new CD of standards featuring Kikoski and Rosenwinkel, each of whom is a first-rate stylist in his own right. The repertoire should be very agreeable, and the massive talent on the stand virtually guarantees a satisfying evening. No drummer has been announced, but Claffy will surely bring along someone who can cut it.
Bill Pierce (as / ts) with the Harvard Jazz Bands, directed by Yosvany Terry and Mark Olson – Lowell Hall at Harvard (17 Kirkland Street, Cambridge) at November 3 at 8 p.m.
This must be the season of honor for Bill Pierce, and it’s about time. After a guest spot with the Messenger Legacy Band at Scullers in October and a Berklee blowout in September with a clutch of his accomplished students who have become seasoned professionals, he’s featured tonight with some players who just might be stars of tomorrow.
Jason Palmer (tp), with other players to be announced – Church of the Holy Spirit, 525 River Street, Mattapan, MA, November 3 at 4 p.m.
Sponsored by Celebrity Series of Boston. Free. A young trumpeter with great technique and interesting ideas, who had the wisdom to record two recent live performance CDs at Wally’s, the great South End institution, the Godfather of Boston Jazz Venues.
— Steve Elman
November 2 at 8 p.m.; November 3 at 2 & 8 p.m.
Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA
Boston Moving Arts Productions presents WILD TYPE: Dances About Who We Are, a modern dance performance about “who we are now, and the balance we aim to strike in our lives.” The evening explores the physical and emotional spaces of work, power, and love, as well as the scientific chemistry behind what makes us each individual and how our environments shape us. WILD TYPE includes the premiere of Jenna Pollack’s Work, a new commission from BMAP, as well as choreography by Junichi Fukuda and Adam Barruch.
The City of Others
November 3 and 4 at 8 p.m.
Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theatre, New England Conservatory, Boston, MA
Hailing from Colombia — which boasts the second largest Afro-descent population found in Latin America — Sankofa Danzafro brings its riveting production The City of Others to the New England Conservatory, presented by the Celebrity Series of Boston. Showcasing powerful Afro-Colombian and Afro-contemporary dance with live drumming and singing, the production examines issues of wealth, gender, sexual orientation, and lack of opportunity affecting minority communities in Colombia.
William Forsythe: Choreographic Objects
On view October 31 through February 24, 2019
Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston , Boston, MA
Whether you’re a long-time fan of William Forsythe’s world-reknowned choreographic works or hearing his name for the first time, the ICA encourages you to step inside his choreographic world through this unique installation (the first of its kind in the U.S.). Spanning over two decades, this major exhibition includes room-size interactive sculptures, participatory objects, and video installations inviting viewers to confront and engage with the fundamental principles of choreography, which Forsythe calls “Choreographic Objects.” This exhibition was organized by Eva Respini, Barbara Lee Chief Curator, with Jeffrey De Blois, Assistant Curator.
— Merli V. Guerra
George Shaw: A Corner of a Foreign Field
Yale Center for British Art, 1080 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT
Through December 30
George Shaw, one of Britain’s foremost contemporary painters and Turner prize nominee, is receiving his first show in the United States. The occasion is not to be missed — this massive exhibition consists of nearly seventy of his paintings, over sixty drawings as well as numerous prints and sketchbook materials. Shaw’s often praised but sometimes controversial work offers an extraordinarily skillful yet obsessive meditation on the landscape, culture, and moody atmosphere of England’s Midlands anchored by the cities of Birmingham, Derby, and Coventry.
Larry Fink: Primal Empathy
Dewey Family Gallery, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, 51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln, MA
October 19 through March 10
This unprecedented exhibit of 40 black and white photographs documents renowned photographer Larry Fink’s lengthy and prolific career. The show includes work on loan from the artist’s studio, photos that document protests from the ’60’s as well as today. Themes include coming of age, demonstration, duality, and the transformation of desire. His pictures exude a critical compassion for the human condition, a sympathy that ignores social boundaries.
About his photographs, Fink insists that “empathy isn’t necessarily only about goodness or about, ‘Oh, I empathize with you’ as in sorrow, or something sentimental. Empathy, in my way of thinking about it, is more primal: it’s an animality informed by complex consciousness. It could involve any emotion.”
154 Years of Serendipity: Roger Kizik and Clara Wainwright
At Gallery Kayafas, 450 Harrison Avenue #37, Boston, MA, through December 1.
A fantastical pairing: a fiber artist inspired by poetry, NPR, Picasso, and Modigliani alongside an energetic gestural painter whose recent work explores museum objects, such as Matisse’s silver gilt Venetian baroque chair. These two talented local artists will fill this contemporary gallery with joyous and smart work — well worth the visit.
Lower Rose and Foster Galleries, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, 415 South Street, Waltham, MA, through December 9
Paintings, sculptures, and works on paper — this is a masterfully curated selection of over 60 essential 20th century works created by an international roster of well known artists. The show’s careful selections mark milestones and transitions in art history’s passage from early representation and figuration to the powerful advent of informality and abstraction. Notable artists on display include Marc Chagall, Judy Chicago, Marisol Escobar, Roberto Matta, Robert Motherwell, Louise Nevelson, Isamu Noguchi, Dorothy Norman, Pablo Picasso, Antonio Saura, Florine Stettheimer, and many more.
By Any Means Necessary: Boston Artist-Run Spaces through the Decades
October 24 at 6 p.m.
Stone Gallery, Boston University College of Fine Arts, 855 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA
A panel discussion held by the organizers of Boston’s alternative art spaces. These crucial innovators share their challenges and achievements from over the decades. This dialogue is an important opportunity for the local arts community to learn about these lesser known (but influential) creative outliers and hear stories about their struggles to present vital work outside of the cultural mainstream.
Empresses of China’s Forbidden City
Peabody Essex Museum, East India Square, 161 Essex Street, Salem, MA
Through February 10
200 spectacular objects tell the untold stories of the Forbidden City’s hidden empresses and how they shaped China’s last dynasty — the Quing dynasty — from 1644 to 1912. This priceless collection of sumptuous treasures illuminates their contributions to the famed court’s politics, art, and religion.
– Aimee Cotnoir
The Prisoner, text and stage direction by Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne. Presented by Yale Repertory Theatre at Yale Repertory Theatre, 1120 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT, November 2 through 17.
One of the great living directors, Peter Brook is still making theater at the age of 93. Here is the America premiere of a show (created with longtime collaborator Marie-Hélène Estienne) that examines “the complexities of crime, justice, and compassion in a breathtaking new international production. A man sits outside a prison. Who is he, and what is he doing there? Is he free, or is he the prisoner?”
Equivocation by Bill Cain. Directed by Christopher V. Edwards. Staged by Actors’ Shakespeare Project at the United Parish in Brookline, 210 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA, through November 20.
“It is England,1605, and a terrorist plot to assassinate the King of England, James I, and blow up Parliament with barrels of gunpowder has been foiled. Prime Minister Robert Cecil commissions William Shakespeare to write a lasting history of the failed plot. King James wants a play and he wants witches. As Shakespeare wrestles with the dilemma of being a propagandist playwright in service to the Crown, his company of fellow actors at the Globe Theatre explore the new play and find the story might just be a political cover.”
Will Ben Jonson make an appearance in this play? He was personally involved in the events surrounding the Gunpowder Plot. The playwright was seen in the company of plotters in the month before the events of November 1605. Fans of Ben will be curious.
Fun Home Music by Jeanine Tesori, Book and Lyrics by Lisa Kron. Based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage Company at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street in Boston, MA, through November 24.
The show won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Featuring music by Jeanine Tesori, and a book and lyrics by Lisa Kron, this “is a landmark musical about seeing one’s parents through grown-up eyes. Based on Ms. Bechdel’s best-selling memoir of the same name, this groundbreaking musical introduces us to Alison at three different ages, revealing memories that celebrate the curiousity of childhood, the challenges of coming out, and the complexities of family.”
The Salonnières by Liz Duffy Adams. Directed by Weylin Symes. Staged by the Greater Boston Stage Company at 395 Main Street, Stoneham, MA, through November 11.
The world premiere production of a play “set in pre-Revolutionary Paris” — “it is an evening filled with fairytales, facades, and the feminist revolution.” “In pre-Revolutionary Paris, a young girl promised in marriage to a Duke to pay off her father’s debts flees to the literary salon of her late mother’s friends: aristocratic women who conceal radical politics within reinvented folk tales.” The cast includes Lisa Joyce, Laura Latreille, Elainy Mata, Bill Mootos, and Sarah Newhouse.
Peter and The Starcatcher, text by Rick Elice, music by Wayner Barker. Directed by Sarah Gazdowicz. Staged by Hub Theatre Company of Boston at the First Church Boston, 66 Marlborough Street, Boston, MA, through November 17.
Can you have too much about Peter Pan? I think so, but theatergoers are proving me very wrong. “Before Wendy, before Tinkerbell, and before The Lost Boys, there was a friendless boy, a determined girl, and a journey that would change them both forever. Filled with music, mermaids, mayhem, and magic, this Tony Award-winning prequel to Peter Pan tells the incredible story of how a lonely orphan became the boy who never grew up and a precocious young girl taught everyone to believe.”
The Roommate by Jen Silverman. Directed by Spiro Veloudos. Staged by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 140 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA, through November 18.
“Sharon, a sheltered divorcee from Iowa takes in a roommate: Robyn, a free-spirited, mysterious, lesbian slam poet from the Bronx who is looking to completely change her life. As Sharon begins to uncover Robyn’s secrets, while sharing music, books, and an occasional toke, she discovers a deep-seated desire to transform her own life.” Featuring two of Boston’s finest actors, Adrianne Krstansky & Paula Plum.
We Will Not Be Silent by David Meyers. Directed by Jim Petosa. Staged by New Repertory Theatre at the Mosesian Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA, through November 4.
No doubt a timely lesson in resistance — and sacrifice. “Risking everything to stand up for social justice, German college student Sophie Scholl courageously led a major act of civil disobedience against Hitler and his fascist regime. Scholl’s moral strength is tested while being interrogated for her crimes, leading her to question whether to save her own life or continue her righteous crusade.”
Mother Butterfly: A Daughter’s Memoir, written and directed by Paul Dervis. Staged by Storm Warnings Repertory Theater at the Brick Store Museum Performing Arts Center, Kennebunk, ME, November 2 through November 17.
A new play that revolves around a female stand-up comedian remembering life with her dysfunctional family; she had to deal with a mother battling depression and a father unable to show emotion.
— Bill Marx
Nelsons conducts Einfelde and Mahler
Presented by Boston Symphony Orchestra
October 25-27 and 30, 8 p.m. (1:30 p.m. on Friday)
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
Andris Nelsons starts off his month-plus-long fall residency with Mahler’s epic Symphony no. 2. As an introduction, Tanglewood Festival Chorus conductor James Burton leads Maija Einfelde’s Lux aeterna. Arts Fuse review
— Jonathan Blumhofer
Bach and Harbison
November 3 at 8 p.m.
NEC’s Jordan Hallm 30 Gainsborough St, Boston, MA
“Cantata Singers’ 55th season opens with music by J.S. Bach and John Harbison. Bach’s exquisite Cantata BWV 140—Sleepers, awake—prepares the way for the first complete performance of John Harbison’s Sacred Trilogy, which Cantata Singers presents in honor of the composer’s 80th birthday. The three cantatas that form his Trilogy—The Flight Into Egypt (1986), But Mary Stood (2006), and The Supper at Emmaus (co-commission with Emmanuel Music, 2014)—are all works commissioned by, and composed for, Cantata Singers, but, until now, they have never been heard together in one concert.”
The Lure of Paris
November 3 at 7:30 p.m.
At St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 166 High Street, Newburyport, MA
November 4 at 7 p.m.
At Pickman Hall/Longy School of Music, 27 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA
Ballets Russes Arts Initiative presents acclaimed pianist Roustem Saïtkoulov. “The program features two Eastern European composers, the polish Chopin and the Russian Stravinsky, who spent much of their creative life in Paris, as well as a French composer, born near Paris, who was significantly influenced by Eastern European composers including Chopin, Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky. This is Saïtkoulov’s second appearance in Massachusetts, after a standing room only concert at Boston’s French Cultural Center a year ago.”
— Susan Miron
Roots and World Music
The Burren, Somerville, MA
The great Burren Backroom series curated by WGBH’s Brian O’Donovan continues with what will apparently be a solo evening with rising Irish fiddler O’Connor.
ONCE Ballroom, Somerville, MA
One of the more unlikely ’60s comeback heroes is surely Roky Erickson, whose 13th Floor Elevators defined the Texas psychedelic sound, electric jug included. Erickson never stopped making disturbingly memorable music but he descended into severe mental illness. But he has resurfaced in recent decades. Although his live shows can vary — based on who happens to be in his backing band — he remains a living treasure of American music history.
L’ Orchestre Septentrional and Disip
Oceanside Events Center, Revere, MA
Whether it’s called the Wonderland Ballroom, Club Lido or its new moniker the Oceanside Events Center, the complex near the Wonderland T stop will likely remain home to many of the top Haitian, Brazilian, and Latin shows. The classic Haitian big band Septentrional is celebrating its 70th anniversary. On this night the venerable outfit will be paired with kompa stars Disip.
In Celebration of Rumi
Friends Meetinghouse, Cambridge, MA
13th century Sufi mystic Rumi is feted in an afternoon of music by the Ottoman-centered Orkestra Marhaba along with whirling dervish dancing and readings of the poet’s words.
Presented by World Music/CRASHarts at City Winery, 80 Beverly St. at One Canal, Boston, MA
Kelly was a mainstay of the Malian desert blues band led by Ali Farke Toure. Expect some entrancing African guitar grooves.
— Noah Schaffer
Rock, Pop, and Folk
Texas’s 13th Floor Elevators released two seminal psychedelic rock albums in the late 1960s and had a minor hit in 1966 with the now-classic “You’re Gonna Miss Me.” However, drug use and mental illness led to a decades-long existence that would result in lead singer Roky Erickson’s being described as America’s answer to Syd Barrett. After recording a handful of albums in the ’80s and ’90s, Erickson began to slowly reemerge in early 2000s. His 2010 “comeback” album, True Love Cast Out All Evil, was recorded with Okkervil River and produced by that band’s lead singer. He has played at least one live tour each year since 2006, and his current tour includes a November 2 stop at ONCE Somerville.
In a career that has lasted four-and-a-half decades, the Indianapolis-born John Hiatt has been a classic case of a singer/songwriter whose income is largely thanks to colleagues who have covered his material. Among these admirers are Bob Dylan, Buddy Guy, Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King, Iggy Pop, Chaka Khan, Jeff Healey, Paula Abdul, Willie Nelson, Nick Lowe, and Jewel. Despite the unwavering praise of musicians and critics alike, Hiatt’s commercial success as a solo artist has been modest at best. Still, he continues to release new albums every few years. The Eclipse Sessions, which came out on October 12, is his first since 2014 and will be the focus of his performance at Beverly’s Cabot Theatre on November 2.
Ian Sweet is the name of the trio fronted by Berklee graduate Jilian Medford. Crush Crusher–the follow-up to their 2016 debut, Shapeshifter–will have been out for all of eight days when the band headlines Great Scott on November 3.
— Blake Maddux
Movers and Shakers: Women Making Waves in Spirits, Beer, and Wine
October 30 at 7 p.m. (Free)
Newtonville Books, Newton Centre, Newton, MA
“A veteran bartender, Ewing had grown impatient with the surprisingly outdated perceptions of women in the alcohol industry. Entrepreneurial and ambitious, often the first in their fields, the women she knew in the business were leaders, mentors, and trailblazers. In Movers and Shakers, Ewing seeks them out, to share their stories as well as valuable business advice and insight into a constantly evolving industry.”
Slouching Towards Utopia: Essays & Reviews
November 2 at 7 p.m. (Free)
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
“Slouching Toward Utopia features trenchant commentary on contemporary politics and culture, couched in graceful and limpid prose. In addition to reviews of Samuel Huntington, Ivan Illich, Alexander Cockburn, and Mark Lilla, along with a dozen others, there is a symposium contribution on identity politics, two long interviews about intellectuals and American politics, and the title essay, a lecture offering an original meditation on how to get past the conventional wisdom about political morality and begin to at least stumble toward utopia.”
The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success
November 6 at 6:30 p.m. (Free)
Brookline Village Library, 361 Washington St, Brookline MA
“Too often, accomplishment does not equate to success. We did the work but didn’t get the promotion; we played hard but weren’t recognized; we had the idea but didn’t get the credit. We’ve always been told that talent and a strong work ethic are the key to getting ahead, but in today’s world these efforts rarely translate into tangible results. Recognizing this disconnect, Laszlo Barabási, one of the world’s leading experts on the science of networks, uncovers what success really is: a collective phenomenon based on the thoughts and praise of those around you.”
— Matt Hanson