By Tim Jackson.
Participants of Ted Cutler’s Outside the Box Festival recognize there could have been more publicity about the event. Kicking off this Saturday for nine days, this sprawling arts and music festival will present Boston with a remarkably diverse selection of global talent representing all the arts. Some 200 performances will take place on stages across the Boston Common, with other events taking place elsewhere in the neighborhoods. Cutler, a musician and entrepreneur, has been at the center of a number of large-scale philanthropic projects in the city, including the beautiful renovations to the Cutler Majestic Theatre at Emerson College and The Greater Boston Food Bank. He would like this festival to be nothing short of a world-class event that rivals Scotland’s Edinburgh Festival as a summer location for artists of all kinds. Check out the schedule: this is an event not to be missed.
Here is a sampling of the wide range of entertainment being offered:
This Saturday’s performances include the Tex-Mex sounds of Alejandro Escovedo (formerly of the punk rock group The Nuns), Los Lonely Boys, and Los Lobos on the “The Beacon” stage. For theater, the “Spiegaltent at Tremont” stage presents Danny Bryck’s one-man documentary play, No Room For Wishing, which is compiled entirely of transcriptions of people involved in and/or affected by the Occupy movement during its occupation of Dewey Square in Boston during 2011. Other stages that day will proffer mask making, rhythm and drumming workshops and performances, a magic show, puppetry, The Boston Children’s Chorus, The Gay Men’s Chorus, and the ToUch Performance Art production of GAGA: The Musical.
The Opening Ceremony at 7 p.m. features the Rhythm of the Universe Orchestra, a 150-piece global ensemble. The group’s free opening night performance is an 80-minute multimedia extravaganza. The orchestra has performed at Symphony Hall and for the 2011 9/11 Memorial Concert at the Hatch Shell. Didgeridoo and beat box performer Max Jackson explains that the piece for the Out of the Box Festival has been “three years in the making and will be like a journey around the world, featuring musicians from 90 countries with native sounds from Asia, Europe, South America, Africa, Armenia and elsewhere. There’s even some great pop music.”
And those are just the Saturday highlights. For an idea of the variety of performances and activities being offered, here are some picks:
Strange Fruit, an Australia-based performing arts company that fuses theatre, dance, and circus.
The Floorlords, whose “The History of Hip Hop” is made up of dance styles ranging from African and merengue to salsa, tap, and jazz. Capoeira and martial art forms are tossed in along with the five elements of hip-hop (DJing, MCing, Graffitti, Beatboxing, and B Boying/B Girling).
Naza, Boston’s first professional Bollywood company will present an interactive experience featuring Bollywood and Bhangra dance styles.
Oberon, the American Repertory Theater’s laboratory for new work in a club environment, presents The Bacchae in a classical interpretation with modern conventions and audience participation.
Free Shakespeare on the Common and the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company perform The Two Gentlemen of Verona.
Other musical acts include Joe Robinson, Ricky Skaggs, The Jan and Dean show, The Velveteen Playboys, The Frontmen of Country Music, Lone Star, Buffalo Tom, The Lemonheads, local American Idol finalist Siobhan Magnus, and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.
Other events in locations away from the Common and which take place throughout the week include these:
Rhapsody in Green by the Boston Landmarks Orchestra at the Hatch Shell on 7/17
The Fork Lift Food Fest where restaurants and celebrity chefs will transform City Hall Plaza into “a garden of gastronomic delight.” This is a “festival within the festival” from the 18th through the 21st.
Convergence: The Boston Sculptors Gallery Exhibits on the Christian Science Plaza will hold discussions about the meaning of outdoor art and its materials on July 13, 14, and 20.
The Sons of Liberty Festival celebrates the 240th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party with music performed by local musicians and their friends. The musical shindig is made up of 27 concerts over the 10 days, in two churches, from July 12 to 21.
A magic performance will precede a screening of Magic Camp, which is part of the Boston Jewish Film Festival. On July 14 at 1:30 p.m. at the Paramount Center, Bright Screening Room. Reviewed in The Arts Fuse.
King of the Schnorrers at the Modern Theatre at Suffolk University. Theater veteran Robert Brustein and musician Hankus Netsky huzzah Yiddish theatre’s earthy comedy, melodies, yarns, and crazy wisdom. On July 20 at 8 p.m.