Arts Fuse critics select the best in music, film, theater, visual arts, author readings, and dance that’s coming up this week.
By The Arts Fuse Staff
Show Down plus Special Guests with The Bang Group
You can’t get a man with a gun, but sometimes a man with a musical comedy idea hits the bulls-eye. David Parker’s witty condensation and gender-bending send up of Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun is presented along with newly commissioned cabaret-sized pieces by Boston area choreographers Lorraine Chapman, Kelli Edwards and Nicole Pierce.
We Create! Women of Color in the Arts presented by Danza Organica
Jamaica Plain, MA
Celebrating women artists in dance, visual arts, puppetry, music, and spoken word, Danza Organica offers a multicultural lineup followed by a participatory dance party featuring live music by members of Zili Misik.
Synchronocity & The Sacred Space
At Multicultural Arts Center
Choreographer Jody Weber and storyteller Jon Turk present the final performances of their widely-toured multimedia exploration of mystical experiences during a kayak ride through the Siberian wilderness. The piece is based on Turk’s memoir The Raven’s Gift.
Antonio Gades’ Carmen
Coolidge Corner Theatre
Antonio Gades, founder of the Spanish National Ballet, created this 1983 flamenco version of the classic Bizet opera portraying Carmen as a free woman who “doesn’t treat her feelings as private property.” Taped at Teatro Real in Madrid, the role of Carmen is danced by Vanesa Vento with Angel Gil as Don José.
— Debra Cash
March 28, 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
The former child prodigy alto saxophonist from Brookline, now 21, celebrates 10 years of performing — including gigs with Phil Woods and Lee Konitz — by playing a show at her home base, Scullers.
Juanito Pascual New Flamenco Trio
March 28, 8 p.m.
Sanders Theatre, Cambridge, MA.
Guitarist Juanito Pascual’s idea of flamenco has always been expansive, going well beyond the sound of the Gypsy Kings. His latest CD, New Flamenco Trio, incorporates a variety of traditional flamenco rhythms as well as a bit of Panama, American jazz, and George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” His trio — with bassist Brad Barrett and percussionist Tupac Mantilla — will be joined by flamenco dancer Auxi Fernández. (The show was rescheduled from the original snowed-upon February 15 date.)
Mary Lou Williams “Mass for Peace”
March 29, 7 p.m.
Union United Methodist Church, Boston, MA.
The great jazz pianist and composer spent much of the latter half of her career devoted to religious works. UnionARTS at the Union United Methodist Church presents the Euphonic Chorale in Williams’s “Mass for Peace.”
April 2, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
Just shy of his 79th birthday (April 20), the endlessly exploratory pianist, composer, and teacher offers a rare solo concert — exploring standards (from gospel and folk to American songbook), film noir soundtracks, and originals. (This is another show rescheduled from an earlier storm date.)
April 2, 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
Honduran-American Marissa Licata matches an effervescent stage presence with fearsome chops, born of classical training and gigs with pop acts like Jethro Tull. She’s best when she pushes her Gypsy-jazz world-music fusion to the edge.
April 2, 8 p.m.
Café 939, Boston, MA.
For the past several years, guitarist Matthew Stevens has been Christian Scott’s right-hand man in the trumpet star’s rock-edged jazz quintet. Now, in anticipation of his Concord Records debut as a leader, Stevens returns to alma mater Berklee for a gig at the school’s Café 939, with his own formidable quintet: pianist Gerald Clayton, bassist Vicente Archer, drummer Eric Doob, and percussionist Paulo Stagnaro. It’s part of “The Checkout” live broadcast series by Hoboken’s WBGO-FM and NPR.
Mehmet Ali Sanlikol Jazz Orchestra
April 3, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
The Turkish-born pianist and composer Mehmet Ali Sanlikol came to Boston 20 years ago and studied big-band composing and arranging with the likes of Herb Pomeroy and Bob Brookmeyer. Ironically, his study of American big-band jazz led him back to the court music of the Ottoman Empire. His orchestra compositions, at their best, are a provocative blend of varied traditions. He celebrates the release of his album whatsnext? with his orchestra at the Regattabar.
— Jon Garelick
The Boston Underground Film Festival
March 28 – 30
Brattle Theater Cambridge, MA.
BUFF 2014 is a celebration of film and video that is bizarre, insane, and unflinching. Tasty nuggets of subversion on display that you might enjoy include Homegrown Horror on Friday at 5:15 p.m. – a special program that highlights the diverse horrors that New England offers. Friday at 9:45 p.m. will bring the Belgium film, The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears, where a man investigates his own murder while time repeats itself, creating multiple versions of the same event. On Saturday at 9:15 p.m. comes Starry Eyes: California dreaming begets a barrage of bloody nightmares as the desperate and determined Sarah Walker chases the just-out-of-reach Hollywood dream. Convinced? There’s plenty more. See schedule for full details.
Only When I Dance
Monday March 31, 7 p.m.
Studio Cinema, 376 Trapelo Road, Belmont, MA.
This week’s offering from the Belmont International Festival is a Brazilian film about two black teenagers who follow their dreams to become world-class dancers. They triumph despite prejudice, doubt and the challenges posted by their tough daily existence. Irlan Santos da Silva, one of the dancers featured in the film who is now a member of the Boston Ballet, will be interviewed by Jared Bowen, arts reporter for WGBH’s Greater Boston after the screening.
The Boston LGBT Festival
April 3 – 12
At the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston and other venues
The opening night of the 30th LBGT Festival at the ICA will be launched by To Be Takei by Jennifer M. Kroot and Bill Weber. The film focuses on the wonderful actor-turned-activist George Takei (Hikaru Sulu on TV’s Star Trek). At 76, nine years after formally coming out of the closet, Takei and his husband Brad have become the poster couple for marriage equality, attacking homophobia through television interviews and hilarious skits, many of which have gone viral and garnered widespread attention. Weber will be in attendance. More listings next week.
April 4, 7 p.m.
The BU Cinematheque, Room 101, 640 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA.
An evening with Alex Karpovsky: Art Fuse film critic and academic Gerald Peary’s free series continues with a talk with the director and actor (Girls (as Ray Ploshansky), Tiny Furniture, and Inside Llewyn Davis). Karpovsky will screen his self-starring 2013 feature comedy Red Flag, which chronicles his misadventures while traveling.
When Things Go Wrong: Robin Lane’s Story
April 4, 7 p.m.
Regent Theater Medford Street, Arlington, MA.
In the late ’70s Robin Lane and the Chartbusters made quite an impact on the Boston music scene. When Things Go Wrong — directed by this writer, who is also the Chartbusters’ drummer and a filmmaker — chronicles the trials and tribulations of Robin’s life and her five decades as a songwriter, an artist, and as a woman struggling for success in the music business. Fuse interview here. The screening will be followed by a Q&A and live music featuring Robin Lane and the Chartbusters, Barrence Whitfield, Tanya Donnelly (Throwing Muses), and others.
— Tim Jackson
World Music and Roots
Masters of Tradition
As a duo, Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill have come up with some of the most hypnotic and intense jams in Celtic music. Once a year they tour with an extended band that spends much of the night splitting into duos and trios. On this round they’re joined by Cathal Hayden on fiddle, Iarla Ó Lionáird on vocals, Seamie O’Dowd on guitar, Máirtín O’Connor on accordion, and David Power on uilleann pipes. Disclaimer: I will be a volunteer usher at this event.
If you’ve ever read the back of an alt-country LP you know the name Gurf Morlix, who’s served as able producer/guitarist/songwriter for Lucinda Williams, Patty Griffin, Robert Earl Kean, and Warren Zevon. After decades of playing behind others, Morlix has started putting out his own wonderfully gritty music. His most recent release, Gurf Morlix Finds the Present Tense, manages to be equally dark and funny. This rare New England show might be the folk sleeper gig of the spring. He’s also playing a house concert near Palmer, MA on Sunday.
Reggae crooner Martin hit paydirt with “Cheater’s Prayer” a wonderfully inane confection about a man praying that he will have the strength to not cheat on his girlfriend – or at least if he does he won’t get caught. His stage show tends to find him with his shirt unbuttoned singing Marvin Gaye covers. Note that this show has also been advertised for the nearby Champagne Function Hall, so calling the numbers on the flyer to confirm details may be a wise idea.
No practitioner of the mesmerizing Sufi devotional music known as Qawwali has generated the fame of the late Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, but the Pakistani tradition is alive and well through the performances of Ali Khan’s talented protégés, such as Asif Ali Khan.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA.
This NEC student quartet starts off exploring the 100-year old Brazilian choro string band tradition – which they then extend deep into John Cage as well as Jelly Roll Morton territory. They’ll be splitting the bill with a jazz ensemble called Great on Paper.
Jon Langford and Skull Orchard
Atwoods’ Tavern, Cambridge, MA.
The Wales-born, longtime Chicago resident – one of the founding members of the Mekons and a Waco Brother – continues to carry the torch for alt-country at its most sardonic.
Archie Fisher and Garnet Rodgers
YMCA Theater, Cambridge, MA.
For years, Billie Hockett was a beloved mainstay on the Boston Celtic and acoustic music scene. Her production company (Music for Robin) paid tribute to her daughter. Now some of her friends, including longtime Johnny D’s booker Dana Westover, have banded together to form Music for Billie. The series kicks off with this pairing of legendary Scottish balladeer Fisher and Canadian folk royalty Rodgers.
— Noah Schaffer
An Evening of Inspired Leadership
Monday March 31, 7 p.m.
Boston University Theatre, Boston, MA.
Suggested minimum donation of $25 for tickets
What do Governor Deval Patrick and former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky have in common, other than their eloquent way with words and their venerable reputations? They will both be among those reading poetry to help encourage Mass Poetry to expand literary youth programs and to bring poetry more fully into the public sphere. High school students are invited to attend for free, so you can bet the crowd will be a lively one.
Lowell Humanities Series and Fiction Days Present Zadie Smith
Tuesday April 1, 7 p.m.
Boston College, Gasson Hall
Zadie Smith, the author of the widely praised and essential White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty and many illuminating and incisive essays comes to Boston College. Smith has made quite a mark on the contemporary literary scene, and this is probably the bookish Bostonian’s best best to see her in the flesh before she writes another masterpiece. And it’s free!
Story Club Boston
Thursday April 3, 6:30 to 7:45 p.m.
Improv Boston, Cambridge, MA
$12/ $10 for students
Ever wanted to prove your mettle as a storyteller? Now’s your chance. Improv Boston will feature three performers from the literary/storytelling world and will select three audience members chosen at random from the audience to hold forth at an open mic. Featured readers will include professional storytellers and writers as well as other participants from every walk of life. If you can hold your own, the best open mic reader will be featured in the Story Club magazine. Bragging rights are entirely optional.
— Matt Hanson
Presented by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project
March 28, 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA.
BMOP’s season continues with a program that explores various Boston connections. Music by Steven Stucky (Concerto for Orchestra) and Donald Crockett (Blue Earth) shares billing with Lei Liang’s Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra and NEC doctoral candidate Binna Kim’s Accumulated Traces.
— Jonathan Blumhofer
La Donna Musicale
Friday, March 28, at 8 p.m.
First Church Congregational, 11 Garden St., Cambridge, MA.
RUMBARROCO, Boston’s Latin-Baroque Fusion Ensemble, and La Donna Musicale team up for a program entitled “Latinas: Music by Latin American Women Composers and Arrangers.”
Friday, March 28 at 8 p.m.
Phillips Recital Hall, 255 Grapevine Road, Wenham, MA
The Gordon College Music Department presents the superb early music ensemble performing Carlo Gesualdo’s Tenebrae for Good Friday for six singers and chamber organ.
Boston Artists Ensemble
Sunday, March 30, at 3 p.m
Trinity Church, Newton, MA (The same program will be performed on Friday, March 28 at 8 p.m. at Peabody Museum, Salem, MA.)
David Coucheron, Julianne Lee (violins), Kathryn Lockwood (viola), Jonathan Miller (cello), Randall Hodgkinson (piano) and Thomas Martin (clarinet) perform the Dvorak’s Piano Quintet, Brahms’ Clarinet Trio,and Kurtag’s In Memoriam Pauline Mara
Christian Tetzlaff (violin) and Lars Vogt (piano)
Sunday, March 30 at 3 p.m.
New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, Boston, MA.
Celebrity Series presents these critically claimed musicians performing Mozart’s Sonata in B flat Major, Bartok’s Sonata No. 1, Webern’s Four Pieces, Op. 7, and Beethoven’s Sonata No. 7 in C minor.
Chamber Music of Beethoven
Sunday, March 30 at 4 p.m.
In the Intimate Parish Hall at Emmanuel Church, Boston, MA.
Emmanuel Music presents Russell Sherman (piano), Gabriel Diaz (violin), and Rafael Popper-Keizer (cello) performing the Violin Sonata No 10 (“The Cockcrow”), the Cello Sonata No 3 in A Major, and the Piano Trio No. 7, (“Archduke”).
Tuesday, April 1 at 8 p.m.
Tsai Performance Center, 685 Comomonwealth Ave, Boston, MA.
FREE, no tickets required
The Boston University School of Music presents music by Brahms, Dvorak’s “Dumky” Trio, and Schumann’s Fantasy Pieces.
— Susan Miron
Quilts and Color
April 6 – July 27
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.
In long-wintered New England and other parts of the Northeast, quilts have been a living tradition since colonial days. When fabric was mostly imported and very expensive, every scrap found a use and a reuse. Most families kept a large collection of salvaged fabric patches and many of these ended up as quilts. Often collective creations, quilts united family, memory, social history, community symbols, and a series of striking geometric and abstract designs recreated in endless variations. Almost entirely the creation of women and groups of women, quilts were an acceptable means of expression when opportunities to make art were otherwise severely limited.
Around the mid twentieth-century, when American abstraction dominated world art, aesthetically broad-minded collectors began to notice strong connections between these long-established quilt traditions and the new work of artists like Joseph Albers, Victor Vasarely, Sol Lewitt, and Frank Stella. Two such collectors were designer Gerald Roy, now a resident of New Hampshire, and the late Paul Pilgrim. Quilts and Color: The Pilgrim/Roy Collection is a selection of fifty-eight highlights from their collection of more than 1,200 from around the United States.
Organized into eight themes, the MFA show seems bent on overlaying this powerful folk tradition with a massive theoretical framework, making connections, in particular, to Albers’ color theories, which influenced Roy and Pilgrim in their early collecting. Yet, even if they are hanging on a museum gallery wall and not on your Sunday morning bed, these quilts can delight for the pure joy of creation from humble sources that are their chief reason for being. The MFA has organized numerous programs around the show, including a vacation week program for children April 22-25.
— Peter Walsh
Staged by Whistler in the Dark Theatre at the Charlestown Working Theater, Charlestown, MA.
A sad occasion: the farewell production from one of the most dependably provocative small theater companies in the Boston-area. Among its many merits — no one else here tackled the works of Howard Barker, one of the edgiest playwrights around. “Permeated with paranoia and fear,” Caryl Churchill’s Far Away “shows us a funhouse mirror reflection of our world, a dystopian society where unspeakable horrors take place just offstage and the moral compass is shattered.” Meg Taintor directs.
Reel to Reel: Krapp’s Last Tape and The Archives
Through April 12
Staged by the Fort Point Theatre Channel in the South End at The Factory Theatre, 791 Tremont Street, Boston, MA.
In this intriguing double bill of one-acts, Marc S. Miller directs Steven Barkheimer in Samuel Beckett’s sour fantasia on aging, a “play for one actor and a tape recorder.” Tasia A. Jones is at the helm of companion piece, The Archives, which “explores an encounter with Krapp’s tapes many years later.” Local dramatist Skylar Fox “has crafted a play about human memory, digital memory, memorable regrets, and how we try to fit pieces of our hearts into things that will live after we die.”
— Bill Marx