Arts Fuse critics select the best in music, film, theater, visual arts, author readings, and dance that’s coming up in the next week.
By The Arts Fuse Staff
Boston Conservatory Dance Division in Limitless
Boston Conservatory Theater
Mark Morris’s wry Canonic ¾ Studies and a new piece by Dwight Rhoden, artistic director of Complexions Dance, called Fits of Hissy, headline BoCo’s spring performance, which includes the reprise of Karole Armitage’s outrageously costumed Rave, the vogue spectacle presented at the ICA alongside Armitage’s own dancers earlier this season, and The Past is a Foreign Country by Prometheus Dance’s Tommy Neblett.
Jessie Jeanne & Dancers and Reject Dance Theatre
Mills Gallery, Boston Center for the Arts
Brooklyn-based Jessie Jeanne & Dancers present cross-disciplinary work inspired by the life and art of Henri Matisse, and Reject Dance Theatre, founded by Smith College alums, explores the edge between animal and human kinetics in their site-adaptive The Territory Suites. There are free showings at 7 and 8 p.m.
Mariah Steele/Quicksilver Dance On the Threshold of Beginning
Simmons Hall at MIT
Quicksilver presents a series of new dances that explore memory and the circle of life with new music by local composer Ryan Edwards, plus a live collaboration with videographer Sarah Outhwaite. Free, but reservations are suggested.
New Bedford, MA
Visiting from England on a U.S. tour, Motionhouse’s Scattered—half aerial, half danced across a huge curved floor—is intercut with film projections by Logela Multimedia to explore the crisis of water: its health, its equitable distribution, its future in the face of climate change. Get to the theatre early to check out the preshow exhibit “MOTION MEETS THE OCEAN: Water Stewards of The Southcoast,” which displays material about the water-based initiatives community partners have developed in this important regional seaport.
Test Kitchen – A Taste Of Experimental Performance Event
Cambridge YMCA Theater
A tasty combination of experienced movement improvisers and performance artists come together in a melange of unexpected flavors in sound and motion.
Triveni Ensemble in The Sacred and the Sensuous
Boston University Dance Theater
Neena Gulati and the Triveni Ensemble explore the stories of the milkmaids who loved and worshipped Lord Krishna in this classical Indian dance performance—spanning bharatanatyam, kuchipudi, and odissi styles—set to both traditional and contemporary Indian musical accompaniment.
And further afield…
The Makanda Project
The Dance Hall
New York jazz tap dancer Mickey Davidson is the featured artist with the 13-piece Makanda Project jazz ensemble, led by pianist John Kordalewski, a colleague of the late Boston-born multi-instrumentalist Makanda Ken McIntyre. This one is sure to be a swinging evening.
— Debra Cash
Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble (Semi-Final Rounds)
April 17 & 18
T.T. the Bear’s, Cambridge, MA
Both the men’s and women’s college basketball tournaments are now over and your brackets have no doubt been busted. But there’s still one tournament going on, and it’s really starting to heat up. This week, the 35th edition of Boston’s “battle of the bands,” the Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble, moves on to the semi-finals. Over two nights at T.T. the Bear’s, the field will be whittled down until only the finalists remain. Think that’s not a big deal? Tell that to past Rumble finalists including the Dresden Dolls, the Sheila Devine, Gang Green, ‘Til Tuesday, and others.
Upcoming and On Sale…
Rock and Roll Rumble: Finals (4/25/2014, TT the Bear’s Place); Lana Del Rey (5/6/2014, House of Blues); Haim (5/13/2014, House of Blues); Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (5/17-18/2014, Mohegan Sun Arena); Morrissey (6/7/2014, Boston Opera House); Parquet Courts (6/10/2014, TT the Bear’s Place); Eagulls (6/18/2014, Great Scott); Queen + Adam Lambert (7/19/2014, Mohegan Sun Arena); Queen + Adam Lambert (7/22/2014, TD Garden); Arcade Fire (8/19/2014, Comcast Center); Peter Hook & the Light (11/8/2014, Royale)
— Adam Ellsworth
April 11-12, 8 p.m. + 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
Eliane Elias started her career as a virtuoso pianist with strong roots in her native Brazil (she was touring with Toquinho and Vinicius de Moraes by the age of 17). These days she’s as likely to sing Jobim as play Bill Evans or one of her own impressive compositions (the exacting composer Bob Brookmeyer arranged an album of her material). She comes to Scullers with her longtime bassist, Marc Johnon (who also happens to be her husband and a former member of the Bill Evans Trio) and guitarist Graham Dechter.
Jaki Byard Symposium and concert
April 13, 3 p.m. (symposium) + 8 p.m. (concert)
Alden Memorial Hall, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA.
If you want to know where Jason Moran comes from (besides Houston), you’d do well to check out his late teacher, Jaki Byard. Byard (1922–1999) was one of jazz’s essential eclectics, who showed that a piano solo could encompass the whole history of the music (he can be best heard in his recordings with Charles Mingus’s band and his own solo discs). He also taught for a decade at New England Conservatory, and some of his former students and colleagues will gather for an afternoon symposium in the city of his birth. In the evening, the group Yard Byard—including former Byard students Jamie Baum (flute), Adam Kolker (tenor sax and clarinets), George Schuller (drums), and Jerome Harris (guitar), plus bassist Ugonna Okegwo, will play from their new recording of Byard pieces, Inch by Inch (GM Recording).
April 16, 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
I remember seeing Benny Green do a duo gig with guitarist Russell Malone on a side stage at the Newport Jazz Festival in 2005 that was absolutely nuts—there was invention in every bar, the music roared, and distinctions like “mainstream” and “avant-garde” disappeared. Green comes into Scullers with trio mates David Wong on bass and Rodney Green (no relation) on drums.
April 17-18, 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
Singer-songwriter José James’s Blue Note debut, No Beginning No End (2012), coupled contemporary hip-hop rhythmic flow with nods to vintage soul and old-school jazzman’s cool. The album was a hit. James followed up this week with While You Were Sleeping and spends two nights at Scullers. Pianist Kris Bowers opens.
Dave Douglas and Riverside
April 17, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
Douglas and reedman Chet Doxas formed Riverside as a way to investigate the music of the late Jimmy Giuffre, who went from penning “Four Brothers” for the Woody Herman big band to being one of jazz’s great experimenters—crossing written jazz and free improvisation, blending genres of jazz, folk, and country. His music is way deep and could probably keep Douglas and Doxas busy for years, if they had the time and opportunity. Riverside also includes Chet’s brother Jim on drums, and that essential wise man, Steve Swallow, a member of the original Jimmy Giuffre 3, on electric bass. There should be special interest in the Boston area—Giuffre (1921-2008) taught for many years at New England Conservatory.
The State of Jazz Composition Symposium and Concert Series
Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA.
Berklee may as well call this “The State of Jazz,” but who’s arguing? Performers and panelists include Geri Allen, Terence Blanchard, Vijay Iyer, Tania Léon, Rudresh Mahanthappa, and Maria Schneider, with a keynote address to be delivered by Blue Note Records president Don Was (April 24). All events are open to the public, including many free performances. (Registration and full schedule at here.)
April 23, 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
Kendrick Scott, 33, is one of a handful of drummers these days who has made hip-hop beats integral to jazz (see also Marcus Gilmore, Chris Dave, Mark Colenburg, Charles Haynes, et al.). He’s helped transform Terence Blanchard’s band over the past decade, and he also loaned his special zip to singer Gretchen Parlato. Now he comes to Scullers with his band Oracle, with saxophonist John Ellis, guitarist Mike Moreno, pianist Taylor Eigsti, and bassist Matt Penman.
— Jon Garelick
[Reservations (booking well in advance is recommended) are available now. Through October, tours are offered Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.; tickets are $20 or $19 for seniors, $16 for students, and $8 for children aged 7 to 17 (children under 7 are, alas, not permitted).]
Born in Wisconsin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s home turf centered on the booming industrial cities and suburbs of the American Midwest and, as his career progressed, further west to Japan, California, and Arizona. The prolific architect completed well over a hundred projects in Illinois alone. You can count Wright’s buildings in Old New England, all of them houses, on one hand. And only one of these is open to the public.
Built in 1950 for a pair of doctors who were also serious amateur musicians, the Zimmerman House is one of two Wright houses constructed in a comfortable, conventional neighborhood of Manchester, New Hampshire. The Zimmermans’ home remains a textbook example of the principles of Wright’s later houses: natural materials, orientation away from the street and towards the outdoors, large areas of glass, flowing space on a single story with an open kitchen, carefully manipulated details to make the house feel larger than it really is, built-in furniture, heating embedded in the painted concrete floor.
The Zimmermans, who became friends with the architect, always claimed the house changed their lives forever. Except for their music stands, they got rid of all their old furniture as redundant when they moved in. They lost friends, Mrs. Zimmerman said, because of the tiny windows that faced their street, so suspiciously unlike the picture windows of their neighbors. After decades in this work of art, the house, along with the architecture students and professors who came to visit, became very much the center of their later years. The Zimmerman’s left their house to the Currier in 1988, along with the personal collections of paintings, sculpture, and ceramics that it contained. It is one of the few Wright buildings to belong to a museum.
— Peter Walsh
Lorin Maazel conducting Mozart and Mahler
Presented by the Boston Symphony Orchestra
April 17 and 18, 8 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
In May, Maazel takes the BSO on a ten-day tour to China but Boston audiences get to hear the three programs going with them first. The initial one is this, two symphonies from opposite ends of the German symphonic tradition: Mozart’s no. 38 (“Prague”) and Mahler’s tremendous Fifth.
— Jonathan Blumhofer
Musicians from Marlboro
Sunday, April 13 at 1:30 p.m.
At the Gardner Museum, Boston, MA.
On the program: works of Reger, Dvorak, and Schubert (Octet in F Major).
Marc-André Hamelin and Emanuel Ax
Sunday, April 13 at 3 p.m.
Presented by Celebrity Series at Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
The pair of pianists play the music of Brahms: Piano Sonata No. 3 in F minor and Sonata for 2 Pianos in F minor.
The musicians perform works of Schubert (Sonatina in A minor, D. 385 and Fantasy in C major), Kirchner, and Franck. A pre-Concert Talk with Dr. Elizabeth Seitz at 2 p.m..
West Stockbridge Chamber Players
At the Lutheran Church of the Newtons, Newton, MA.
Sunday, April 13 at 4 p.m.
The concert benefits Massachusetts General Hospital’s Herscot Center for TSC. The program includes Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time and Haydn’s Piano Trio No. 39 in G Major.
Boston Chamber Music Society
Sunday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m.
At Sanders Theater, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
Works of Beethoven (Piano Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 16), Tsontakis (Portraits by El Greco (Book I): Quintet for Clarinet, Violin, Viola, Cello, and Piano (BCMS Commission), and Glazunov (String Quintet in A major).
Boston College Music Department presents Stephen Drury, piano.
Tuesday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Gasson Hall at Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA.
The Artistic Director of the Callithumpian Consort presents a lecture/performance entitled “John Zorn and the Maturity of the American Experimental Tradition.”
Tenor Nicholas Phan and pianist Myra Huang
Thursday, April 17 at 3 p.m.
Presented by the Celebrity Series at the Longy School of Music, Pickman Hall, 27 Garden St., Cambridge, MA.
The acclaimed singer makes his Boston recital debut with a program that includes works by Schubert and Britten.
Boston Early Music Festival
Friday, April 18 at 8 p.m
New England Conservatory, Jordan Hall, Boston, MA.
The BEMF Chamber and Vocal Ensemble performs the St. Matthew Passion by German Baroque composer Johann Sebastiani. BEMF Artistic Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs at the helm. James Taylor sings the role of The Evangelist.
Violinist Xiang Yu and pianist Dina Vainshtein
Sunday, April 20 at 1:30 p.m.
At the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA
The musicians perform works of Vitali, Frank, Debussy, and Szymanowski.
— Susan Miron
The Wholehearted, written and directed by Deborah Stein. Performed and directed by Suli Holum.
April 17 through 27
Presented by ArtsEmerson at the Jackie Liebergott Black Box in the Emerson/Paramount Center, Boston, MA.
This ambitious performance piece sounds like an intriguingly different sports story. It “draws on Appalachian murder ballads and dubstep for a story of a proud but unreliable former champion who relives her glory days in a rundown boxing gym, dreaming of a comeback.”
The Unbleached American, by Michael Aman. Directed by Weylin Symes
Through April 27.
Staged by Stoneham Theatre, Stoneham, MA.
Two fine actors—Johnny Lee Davenport and Laura Latreille—are cast in the world premiere of a drama that explores the paradoxical career of Ernest Hogan, the “father of ragtime.” Hogan was the first African American to perform on Broadway; he also composed “coon songs” that were designed to appeal to racial stereotyping.
And further afield…
The House Will Not Stand, by Marcus Gardley. Directed by Patricia McGregor.
April 18 through May 10
Staged by the Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven, CT.
Poet-playwright Marcus Gardley’s new historical drama deals with “Beartrice Albans, a free woman of color in New Orleans in 1836, who imposes a six-month period of mourning on herself and her three daughters after the death of her white lover.”
Somewhere by Matthew Lopez. Directed by Giovanna Sardelli.
Choreographed by Greg Graham.
Through May 4.
Staged at Hartford Stage, Hartford, CT.
Another dream-of-making-it in show biz story: “It’s 1959, West Side Story is storming Broadway, and a movie version is on the way. It fuels the show-business dreams of Inez Candelaria, who works as a theatre usher but hopes that her children will succeed on the other side of the footlights as dancers.”
— Bill Marx
Reading and Q & A
Charles Beard Room, Little Building at Emerson College
Wednesday April 16 at 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Alice McDermott’s books have either won or been nominated for seemingly every major literary prize there is. Her 1998 novel Charming Billy took home a pair of awards and her other novels have kept up the trend. She has been nominated three times for the Pulitzer, the National Book Award, the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, PEN/Faulkner. She will be reading from 2013’s Someone and following up with a Q & A at Emerson.
Barbara Ehrenreich in conversation with John Summers
Living with a Wild God
Cambridge Public Library
Thursday April 17 at 6:30 p.m.
Barbara Ehrenreich is probably best known for writing about the experience of working-class people in her bestselling books Nickle and Dimed and Bait and Switch. For her new book, Living with a Wild God, she unearths her teenage diaries and reexamines the spiritual struggles and questioning of her adolescence which eventually led her to the study of science and humanism. She also revisits some of her epiphanic moments of insight and mysticism along the way to her more skeptical perspective as a mature adult. Porter Square Books and Cambridge Public Library bring Ehrenreich into conversation with John Summers, probably putting whatever might be in your old high school diaries to shame.
Breakwater Reading Series
Friday April 18 at 7 p.m.
MFA students from Emerson, BU, and UMass-Boston gather at the Brookline Booksmith to read from their original poetry, fiction, and essays. Come and show some love and encouragement to some of the new talent coming up in the Boston literary scene. Giant foam index fingers are entirely optional.
Capital in the Twenty-First Century
Harvard Book Store
Friday April 18 at 3 p.m.
How does capital work, how does it accumulate, what influences its growth? How are people affected by the distribution of wealth? Are there ways to figure out what’s wrong and to fix it? These questions might sound too abstract to be interesting, but remember that ultimately the answers to these questions end up in your wallet, not to mention your mortgage. French economist Thomas Piketty comes to the Harvard Book Store for a discussion of his new book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, and addresses these questions. Piketty will be discussing the ways in which we can fundamentally rethink the deep structures of capital and wealth inequality for the future. The event is free, too, so that’s a good start.
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
Tuesday April 22 at 7 p.m.
If you’ve ever been a bookseller or know someone who is, Gabrielle Zevin has written a novel particularly worth reading. The titular Fikry is a bookshop owner with a curmudgeonly outlook and plenty of literary references at hand. He’s lost a bit of his purchase on existence, you see—he’s mourning the loss of his wife and his first edition of Edgar Allan Poe, and the bookstore business isn’t quite what it used to be. His fortunes take a turn when a two-year-old toddler is left abandoned at his shop. Zevin’s novel is a good example of Don DeLillo’s aphorism that “the nice thing about life is that it’s full of second chances.”
Shakespeare’s Montaigne: The Florio Translation of the Essays, A Selection
Harvard Book Store
Wednesday April 23 at 7 p.m.
What Shakespeare might have had on his bookshelf is a topic that never loses its appeal. Much interpretive hay has been made over what the Bard might have read and when he might have read it, and Michel de Montaigne’s essays have been no exception. Reworkings of Montaigne’s phrases and aphorisms appear in several of his plays, and Shakespeare’s London was full of Montaigne discussion. The eminent scholar Stephen Greenblatt comes to the Harvard Book Store to read from and discuss his new edition of John Florio’s vibrantly Elizabethan translation of Montaigne’s essays.
— Matt Hanson
Kendall Square Cinema, Cambridge, MA.
This marvelous documentary featuring the cult director of El Topo and The Holy Mountain explores the genesis of one of cinema’s greatest epics that never was: the director’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic Dune, whose cast would have included such icons as Salvador Dali, Orson Welles, and Mick Jagger. In 1975, Alejandro Jodorowsky secured the rights to the book and began work on what was gearing up to be a cinematic game-changer, a sci-fi epic unlike anything the world had ever seen. The man is a terrific storyteller and the film is a riveting study of obsession and determination. Highly recommended.
Monday, April 14 7:00 p.m.
Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA.
The DocYard series presents filmmakers Sierra Pettengill and Jamila Wignot for a Q&A and a screening of their new film, which casts an unflinching eye at Katy and John, two Tea Party activists from the battleground state of Pennsylvania who believe America’s salvation lies in a return to true conservative values. In Katy, we see a political novice rocketed to media stardom after a sensational confrontation at a town hall meeting with her senator. John is a retired former businessman and lifelong Republican living in one of the poorest cities in the country in an America he knows is slipping away.
A Birder’s Guide to Everything
Wednesday, April 16 at 7 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theater, Brookline, MA
Science on the Screen presents director and Newton native Rob Meyer and his film about fifteen-year-old David Portnoy who, on the eve of his widower father’s second wedding, spots what may just be the extinct Labrador duck. He and the two other stalwart members of the local Young Birders Society, joined by their headstrong photographer classmate Ellen, take off on a rollicking interstate road trip in search of a rare bird and elusive answers to teenage questions large and small. The series presents the director along with Kenn Kaufman, widely regarded as one of the world’s leading experts on wild birds.
Wednesday April 16th at 7 p.m.
Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA
Director Jay Craven produced this film in a partnership between his nonprofit Kingdom County Productions and Marlboro College, where he teaches film, and 20 young professionals who worked with 34 students from 15 colleges. The picture was made during a semester-long film intensive called Movies from Marlboro.
Starring Bruce Dern, Geneviève Bujold, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, and Jessica Hecht, it’s about ten year-old Austen Kittredge, who is sent by his father to live on his grandparents’ Vermont farm, “where he experiences wild adventures and uncovers long-festering family secrets. It’s 1956 and Austen experiences the farm as a place full of eccentric people, especially his stubborn grandparents whose thorny marriage is known as the Forty Years War. The screenplay is based on the novel by Howard Frank Mosher. Craven will be there to discuss the film and for an advance reception at 6 p.m.
Bastards (Les saluds)
April 18th at 7:00 p.m.
Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, MA
The latest work from Claire Denis is among her darkest, angriest, and tautest to date, a disquieting film noir partially inspired by William Faulkner and the malevolent figure of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Pitched in shades of darkest night (painted by master cinematographer Agnes Godard), Bastards “transforms Paris into a rain-slicked, stygian shadow world whose unsettling mysteries are laconically revealed with masterful restraint, only gradually revealing its harrowing fable of incestuous sexual abuse, with power as the most pathological, vicious form of aphrodisiac.” The film has received mixed reviews, but this is a rare opportunity to see her new work.
Beneath the Harvest Sky
April 23rd at 7:30 p.m.
Somerville Theater, Somerville, MA
Opening night of the Independent Film Festival of Boston features a film by married Maine filmmakers Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly. In 2013 they were among Variety‘s “Directors to Watch.” This film represents their transition from documentary and TV news, drawing in their nonfiction background to bring detailed local texture to familiar narrative terrain. The story is set against the hardscrabble backdrop of northern Maine potato country. Variety says: “If life were fair, a major studio would release this treasure.” Actor Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones, The Wire) will be in attendance. More on the festival next week.
— Tim Jackson