Arts Fuse critics select the best in music, dance film, and theater that’s coming up this week.
By The Arts Fuse Staff
House of Blues, Boston, MA
After a mediocre performance at Paradise in September (I blamed the terrible audience), British wunderkind Jake Bugg returns to Boston. Despite that disappointing show in the fall, Bugg really is a talent and he’s touring a new album, Shangri La, which represents a step forward in his development as a songwriter.
Neutral Milk Hotel
January 16 and 17
Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA
The much-loved, recently reunited, indie band Neutral Milk Hotel will be playing two nights in Boston Led by Jeff Mangum, the group originally disbanded just months after the release of their seminal second album, 1998’s In An Aeroplane Over the Sea, but have been on the road since the fall. Whether this leads to new music remains to be seen, but at the very least, it’s good to have them back on the stage.
Upcoming and On Sale…
Neutral Milk Hotel (1/17/2014, Orpheum Theatre); Terry Kitchen (1/17/2004, Somerville Armory Café); Jay Z (1/18/2014, TD Garden); Pixies (1/18/2014, Orpheum Theatre); Arctic Monkeys (2/6/2014, Agganis Arena); Bob Weir & RatDog (2/24/2014, House of Blues); Bob Weir & RatDog (2/25/2014, House of Blues); Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks (2/25/2014, Paradise Rock Club); St. Vincent (2/27/2014, House of Blues); Paul Simon and Sting “On Stage Together” (3/3/2014, TD Garden); Broken Bells (3/5/2014, House of Blues); Lorde (3/14/2014, Orpheum Theatre); London Grammar (4/11/2014, Paradise Rock Club); Haim (5/13/2014, House of Blues); Primal Scream (5/14/2014, Royale); Arcade Fire (8/19/2014, Comcast Center)
– Adam Ellsworth
Osvaldo Golijov’s “La Pasión según San Marcos”
Presented by the Boston Symphony Orchestra
January 9-11, 8 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston
The BSO kicks off the new year with Golijov’s multi-cultural setting of St. Mark’s Passion narrative. Robert Spano, who led the U.S. premiere of the piece in 2001 (with these very forces at Symphony Hall), conducts, and is joined by soprano Jessica Rivera, the Orquesta La Pasión, and members of the Schola Cantorum de Venezuela, among others.
– Jonathan Blumhofer
Boston Symphony Chamber Players
Sunday, Jan. 12, 3 p.m.
At Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory, Boston, MA.
The Boston Symphony Chamber Players perform works of Copland (Vitebsk, Study on a Jewish Theme, for piano, violin and cello), Fine (Fantasia for String Trio (1957), Mozart (Quintet in E-flat for piano and winds, L. 452), and Brahms (Quartet No. 3 in C minor for piano and strings, Op. 60).
Boston Artists Ensemble
Sunday, Jan. 12, 3:30 p.m.
Trinity Church, Newton, MA
Boston Artists Ensemble plays Bartók’s Quartet No. 2 and Dvorák’s Quartet in C Major, Op. 61 and the annual “Mystery Piece.”
Cellist Natasha Brodsky
Monday, Jan. 13 at 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory, Boston, MA.
Cellist Natasha Brodsky performs a faculty recital with distinguished guest artsts and an unusually interesting program: Mendelssohn’s Sonata for cello and piano in D Major, P. 58; Matthias Pintscher’s Janusgesicht, for cello and viola (Roger Tapping); Philippe Hersant’s Choral, for cello and harp (with BSO harpist Jessica Zhou), and Johannes Brahms’s Piano Quartet in G Minor, Op. 25 (with Lucy Chapman, violin and Qing Jiang, piano). FREE
Pianist Stephen Drury
Thursday, Jan. 16, 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory, Boston, MA.
Pianist Stephen Drury performs a faculty recital with his typically unusual programming. Frederic Rzewski’s North Americal Ballad No. 1 (Dreadful Memories); Frederic Chopin’s Ballade No 1 in G Minor, John Zorn’s Carny, and Lee Hyla’s Basic Training. FREE
– Susan Miron
Screenings begin on January 10th
Coolidge Corner Theater, Brookline, MA.
We’re lucky that independent theaters and museums give audiences a chance to see new short film work. The Sundance Festival Program includes 5 Short Film Jury Award winners, presenting work in fiction, documentary, and animation. With no set rules, the short film serves as a proving ground for young filmmakers to make their mark and for established filmmakers to take risks in story and style: The films are The Date, Whiplash, Skinningrove, Until the Quiet Comes, Irish Folk Furniture, The Event, Jonah, and K.I.T.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA.
January 10 through 12
The screening of Evangelion 3.0 on Friday is bound to please old fans of the series while introducing a new generation to this amazing work. For fans and the uninitiated, the Brattle also presents all three parts of the Evangelion saga, one of the most popular and highly respected in the Japanese animated universe. The central premise of epic narrative that the Earth is under apocalyptic threat by monstrous creatures known as Angels. The Angels are combated by a shadowy organization named Nerv, which enlists certain special teenagers to pilot huge robots, known as Evangelions. The series’ complexity, depth, action, and emotional weight rises above most people’s expectations of the genre.
January 13, Monday, 7 p.m.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA.
The Docyard series begins with a film that explores the life of 43 year-old Chris Schoeck, a Queens, NY native who is training to become a professional Oldetime Strongman. The story follows Chris’ journey from his early days training in a small basement storage unit to his very first performance on the big stage at New York’s historic Coney Island. The film bears witness to the efforts of a determined middle-aged man who is finally coming out of his shell and shedding both the physical and social limitations that have held him back during entire life. There is a post screening with the subject, Chris Schoeck, as well as with filmmakers Dave Carroll and Ryan Scafuro.
– Tim Jackson
South African singer and songwriter Nicky Schrire (now living in New York) has an original approach to mixing jazz standards, contemporary pop, the township music of her homeland, and originals that split the difference between folk-song simplicity and musical-theater sophistication. Her second album Space and Time is a set of duets with pianists Fabian Almazan, Gerald Clayton, and Gil Goldstein. On it, she sings a wide variety of material, from “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You” and George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun” to British trip-hop group Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” and her own Sondheim-esque “A Song for a Simple Time.” She inhabits each with a true jazz musician’s sense of collaborative adventure and in-the-moment emotional warmth. She and Clayton visit Scullers.
Tim Ries and the East Gipsy Band
January 15, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge MA
I have not seen the East Gipsy Band, but they have my interest: a Budapest-based sextet that covers standard jazz swing and a mix of songs drawing from several central European traditions as well as Hungarian and Roma music. They’re joined by saxophonist Tim Ries, who has recorded with them, and leads his own Rolling Stones Project, a quite credible jazz take on the band he sometimes tours with.
The St. Petersburg-born, Berklee educated saxophonist Igor Butman made waves in the US beginning in the late ’80s and ’90s with his prodigious technique, improvisational derring-do, and passionate sound, working with a variety of heavyweights, from Gary Burton and Chick Corea to Pat Metheny and Wynton Marsalis. Now Butman returns to Boston with the Moscow Jazz Orchestra (which he directs) and guest singer Allan Harris.
The Portland, Oregon, quintet Blue Cranes apply jazz technique and instrumentation (alto and tenor sax on the front line) to indie-rock rhythms and songs (they’ve covered Elliott Smith, Blonde Redhead, and Sufjan Stevens), with keyboards and electronics occasionally throwing on dollops of distortion. Think of them as in a camp with the likes of Kneebody. This is what jazz-rock fusion looks like these days, kids. They’re joined at the Lily Pad by Turkey Vultures and electric-banjo player/guitarist Brandon Seabrook.
– Jon Garelick
Thursday, January 16
New England Conservatory’s Brown Hall
Using Bunraku-inspired tabletop puppets (for which the puppeteer is visible) NEC faculty member Patrick Keppel and NEC alum Bradley Kemp recount the story of the disastrous fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in 1911, a story that remains all too relevant in our days of exploited sweatshop labor. More than 100 years later, the doors are still locked.
and further afield…
Dance Family Day http://www.nrm.org/2013/12/norman-rockwell-museum-presents-dance-a-family-day/
Saturday, January 11
Norman Rockwell Museum
Join dancers from Berkshire Ballroom as they demonstrate their technique and teach basic ballroom steps during an afternoon of family fun that includes a guided tour by Eugenia Kim of the exhibition Dancing Princesses: The Fairy Tale Art of Ruth Sanderson.
– Debra Cash
Winter Panto, staged by Imaginary Beasts
January 10 through February 1
Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA
Imaginary Beast claims to be one of the few American theatre companies to present an annual Winter Panto. This Panto is “an original take on Rumpelstiltskin, or All That Glitters, written and directed by Matthew Woods.” The show “depicts the timeless struggle between good and evil through a hilarious vaudevillian lens, with cross-dressing heroes (the Dame is always a man and the Principal Boy played by a young woman), topical references, and pop music thrown in for fun.”
The Color Purple, staged by SpeakEasy Stage at the Boston Center for The Arts, Boston, MA, January 10 through February 8.
Another example of the burgeoning genre (and Broadway business plan) in which a best-selling book becomes a successful movie becomes a boffo musical. This tuneful adaptation of Alice Walker’s 1982 novel features a book by Marsha Norman and music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray. Paul Daigneault directs “a celebratory story of hope and a testament to the healing power of love. With a joyous score that includes jazz, ragtime, gospel, and blues, this sweeping saga tells the story of Celie, a young African American woman who overcomes tremendous odds to find her place in the world.” Be prepared to weep copiously.
We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915, written by Jackie Sibblies Drury and staged by Company One at the Jackie Liebergott Black Box in the Emerson/Paramount Center, Boston, MA, January 10 through February 1.
A co-production of Company One and Arts Emerson, this production tackles “the personal and political, humorous and harrowing” collisions in “this exhilaratingly irreverent play.” The plot sounds vaguely Marat/Sade-ish: “A rehearsal room descends from collaborative to absurd as a group of idealistic actors attempt to dramatize the little-known first genocide of the 20th century. But as the ensemble wrestles with this remote story, tensions mount, and their exploration hits much closer to home than anybody expected.”
– Bill Marx