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
31st Annual Harvard Square Mayfair
Dance has always been a part of the lively festivities for Harvard Square’s Mayfair, along with chalk drawing (happy 75th birthday to Sidewalk Sam!), crafts, and lots of delicious things to eat. Stroll over to the dance stage on Mount Auburn Street to see youth and college-age dancers from across the region strut their stuff in a show that changes every fifteen minutes.
Boston Ballet in Pricked
May 8 – 18
Czech National Theatre artistic director Petr Zuska is a protege of choreographer Jiri Kylian, so it’s understandable that the Kylian-admiring Mikko Nissinen is introducing Zuska’s D.M.J 1953-1977 — the initials refer to Czech composers Dvorak, Martinu and Janacek — on Boston Ballet’s spring repertory program. Alexander Ekman’s humorous Cacti, also getting a U.S. premier, features the ensemble beating out time on oversized Scrabble tiles, while the beloved dance-studio exercises of classical ballet training are elegantly silhouetted in Harald Lander’s familiar Études.
Some Times Together: Faculty & Friends
The Dance Complex
Two different programs showcase the men and women who teach dance of all genres at Cambridge’s Dance Complex on programs that range from contact improvisation and classical ballet to Haitian traditions. Post-show, there’s a dance party complete with refreshments.
— Debra Cash
Saxophonist Seth Meicht is an interesting composer who has been migrating northeastward over the past decade. Originally rooted in Philadelphia and points west, Meicht moved to New York in 2006, and last year (apparently) relocated to Boston, where he has reconstituted his Big Sound Ensemble with a formidable contingent of some of this area’s top creative improvisers (trumpeters Phil Grenadier and Forbes Graham, trombonist Jeff Galindo, saxophonists Rick Stone and Charlie Kohlhase, bassist Jef Charland and drummer Luther Gray).
And as long as you’re at the Lily Pad, make an evening of it and stick around for Monday’s perennial best bets, the Jerry Bergonzi Quartet at 8:30 p.m. and the Fringe at 10:30 p.m.
New Zealand-born Berklee alum Alan Broadbent has enjoyed a long and diverse career as a pianist, a composer, and an arranger, including a memorable stint with Charlie Haden’s Quartet West. You can catch him in an intimate setting down on the Cape in a duo performance with bassist Frank Tate.
The chamber edition of vibraphonist Brian O’Neill’s pseudonymous melange of the exotic teams bassist Brad Barrett and special guest percussionist Jeremy Smith with Mr. Ho regulars Geni Skendo (flutes and shakuhachi) and Tev Stevig (resonator guitar, oud, and tanbur) for a program interpreting folk songs from Kyrgyzstan, ancient chants from Georgia (the one on the Black Sea), and selections from last year’s CD Where Here Meets There.
Singing For The Planet: World Voices Against Climate Change
Saturday, May 10, 7 p.m.
Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury Street
This year’s edition of the annual benefit concert for the Massachusetts branch of the environmental advocacy organization 350.org brings together a trio of vocalists representing the traditions of jazz (Gabrielle Agachiko), South Indian classical music (Deepti Navaratna) and folk songs of the Americas (Dean Stevens).
— J. R. Carroll
Contemporary Art/ South Africa
May 9 – September 14
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT
The exhibition includes around 30 works from the late ‘60s to the present, tracking South Africa’s turbulent modern history from its post-colonial Apartheid era to its edgy present as an “emerging national economy.” Organized by Yale students mentored by Kate Ezra, the gallery’s curator of education and academic affairs, the show features a core of South African works recently acquired by the gallery, supplemented with loans from private and public collections.
9 Artists at MIT
May 9 through July 13
MIT’s Hayden and Reference Galleries, Cambridge, MA
Where does art end and social activism begin? Assembled by Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center, long a champion of “art that makes a point,” 9 Artists brings together men and women of several generations and national backgrounds, all of whom work with complex, multi-media narratives about the relationship between contemporary art and globalized, modern life. The show tracks the trend in recent international art to blur the boundaries between art-making, identity politics, economic commentary, and philosophies of representation, power, oppression, and control.
Allan Houser: A Centennial Exhibition
Through May 10, 2015
At the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, NH
This exhibition explores this Chiricahua Apache’s long and prolific artistic career, which moved easily from sculpture in carved wood, stone, and bronze to painting and drawing and from heroic realism to mystical abstraction. Born in 1914 on his family’s farm near Apache, Oklahoma, Houser grew up when most Americans saw Indian art as artifacts of a vanishing culture. Houser himself was the first in his family to be born outside government captivity since Geronimo’s 1886 surrender to U.S. forces. Houser’s career mixed influences from the Santa Fe Indian School to the Pasadena Art Center and the Depression Era muralist movement with a day job in the shipyards of Los Angeles and teaching at the Intermountain Indian School and at Santa Fe’s Institute of American Indian Arts. Many of his late bronzes monumentalized his Native American heritage and found homes at the United Nations, the Oklahoma State Capitol, the National Portrait Gallery, the Smithsonian, and the Washington residence of the U.S. Vice President.
— Peter Walsh
Lana Del Rey
House of Blues, Boston, MA
That we’re still talking about Lana Del Rey in 2014 is a something of a surprise. Thankfully, it’s a pleasant one. When her single “Video Games” was released in 2011, there was nothing else like it — a moody lament that defined life in the 21st century while sounding like it could have scored an old film noir. Her 2012 album, Born to Die, followed and while it was alright, the hype leading up to it was too much and it simply couldn’t match it. Throw in a disastrous appearance on Saturday Night Live (honestly it wasn’t that bad, but everyone said it was so that’s the narrative, whether we like it or not) and it seemed like the young woman born Elizabeth Grant was in for a short career. Here we are in 2014 though, and her new song “West Coast,” produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, mixes the best of Born to Die with a more modern sound. Looks like Lana just might have a long, healthy, career after all.
Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA
Here’s a dirty little secret: the 2012 Oscar-winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man is pretty overrated. Still, I’m glad it was made because it introduced the world (or at least the world outside of South Africa), and me, to the music of Sixto Rodriguez. I was lucky enough to catch Rodriguez play at Coachella in 2013 and it was a fantastic experience. That he’s touring and getting the recognition that eluded him for so long is heartening.
House of Blues, Boston, MA
Haim released one of 2013’s best albums in Days Are Gone and singles in “The Wire.” They are simply fantastic and they’re going to be really, really huge. I’m not exactly going out on a limb with this prediction, but it seems obvious to me that arenas like TD Garden are in the not too distant future for this trio of sisters, so if you like them (and you really should!), this might be one of your last chances to see them in a small(ish) room.
Upcoming and On Sale…
Barry Gibb (5/15/2014, TD Garden); Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (5/17-18/2014, Mohegan Sun Arena); Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls (5/25/2014, The Sinclair); Morrissey (6/7/2014, Boston Opera House); Damon Albarn (6/9/2014, Royale); Parquet Courts (6/10/2014, TT the Bear’s Place); Eagulls (6/18/2014, Great Scott); Beyonce and Jay Z (7/1/2014, Gillette Stadium); The Kills (7/8/2014, Paradise Rock Club); Queens of the Stone Age (7/14/2014, Providence Performing Arts Center); Queen + Adam Lambert (7/19/2014, Mohegan Sun Arena); Queen + Adam Lambert (7/22/2014, TD Garden); Nine Inch Nails & Soundgarden (7/29/2014, Xfinity Center); Arcade Fire (8/19/2014, Comcast Center); Boston Calling Music Festival feat. The National, Lorde, The Replacements (9/5-7/2014, City Hall Plaza); Bombino (9/5/2014, The Sinclair); Peter Hook & the Light (11/8/2014, Royale)
— Adam Ellsworth
Tuesday, May 6 7:00PM
Coolidge Corner Theater, Brookline, MA
The Coolidge NY Film Critics series presents Jon Favreau’s film about a chef who loses his restaurant job and starts up a food truck business in an effort to reclaim his creative promise while at the same time he pieces back together his estranged family. It features John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson, and Robert Downey Jr. The film will be followed by behind-the-scenes footage, and Q&A between the filmmakers and Peter Travers of Rolling Stone Magazine.
One Hot Night
May 5th 9:30 p.m.
Brattle Theater Cambridge, MA
An evening of shorts by emerging filmmakers from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Works include documentary video and film, celluloid experiments and narrative essays. This screening is the culmination of a year’s worth of work in the Advanced Film Class at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, taught by Jeff Silva whose Balagan Series is a long running tradition in Boston.
New England Animation Film Festival
May 10 at 7:00 p.m. May 11, 25, 26, at 3:00 p.m.
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA
Larger than ever this year, the 2014 New England Animation Film Festival showcases nineteen renowned and emerging artists whose work employs a variety of animation techniques. The work is often remarkable. This year the themes are childhood memory, sexual identity, interpersonal relationships, and more. A Q & A with filmmakers will follow the screening on May 10, hosted by Amy Kravitz, Professor of Animation at RISD.
The Legend of Johnny Thunders
Sunday, May 11th at 7:30 p.m.
The Regent Theater 7 Medford Street, Arlington, MA.
Directed by Danny Garcia (The Rise and Fall of The Clash), Looking For Johnny is the definitive documentary on New York legendary guitar player Johnny Thunders, a founding member of the highly influential New York Dolls. He died in New Orleans, “under mysterious circumstances,” in 1991. Partial Proceeds will benefit “Right Turn — A Creative Place For Recovery.” The evening will also include a reunion performance by Boston punk band The Daughters, “who often opened for Johnny Thunders and played with him.”
— Tim Jackson
Roots and World Music
Skippy White’s Gospel Train 53rd Anniversary
Sun. May 4
Charles St. AME Church, 551 Warren St., Dorchester, MA.
Despite his pale skin longtime record store and label owner and radio host Skippy White was recognized as a part of Boston’s “living black history” by Tabitha Ministries earlier this year. And yet Skippy seems like a newcomer compared to one of the groups that appears on this program, the a cappella Silver Leaf Gospel Singers led by nonagenarian Deacon Randy Green. Headlining the afternoon is Atlanta’s Walt Beasley and the Gospel Explosions.
Although his 2013 collaboration with Emmylou Harris gave Rodney Crowell a high profile, his own compelling sense of storytelling was somewhat buried in the resulting tour. That’ll be rectified as Crowell performs songs from his first new solo album in six years, Tarpaper Sky.
The rich alto of the former Knots & Crosses singer is rarely heard in Boston these days, as she devotes most of her time to bringing other acoustic stars to her Stone Mountain Arts Center in Maine.
Arguably the biggest non-Anglophone rocker of all time, Hallyday has been recording in French since 1960, and routinely fills stadiums at home. Expect plenty of bombast and spectacle from the “French Elvis.”
Caribbean Connection Mother’s Day Affair with Shirley Stewart and Lord Nelson
Reggie Lewis Center, 1350 Tremont St., Boston, MA.
One of the great buried treasures of Caribbean music is spouge, a Latin-tinged mix of rocksteady, soul and calypso that exploded out of Barbados in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Among the genre’s stars were the Escorts, who did bawdy anthems like Sixpense and R&B scorchers like Never Ending Love. Member Shirley Stewart then went on to co-write and record the iconic Caribbean soul ballad “Walk Away from Love” and even did a stint singing with a Boston rock band called Duncan Idaho. He’ll be returning for a career retrospective along with 84-year old calypso legend Lord Nelson.
— Noah Schaffer
The Temporary Gentleman
Harvard Square Books
Monday May 5 at 7 p.m.
Sebastian Barry comes to the Harvard Book Store to read from his highly anticipated new novel The Temporary Gentleman. It features the world-weary protagonist Jack McNulty, formerly in Her Majesty’s service, stationed in Ghana in 1957 and writing his memoirs. He’s been out and about over the past few decades- a solider in WW2, engineer, UN observer, among other things. What he remembers best, of course, is a woman named Mai Kirwan, the beauty of Sligo and his tempestuous ex-wife. I happen to have it on good authority that Barry is also a pretty fine singer Irish songs, as well, so if someone asks him nicely he might make his reading an immersive experience, as well.
Why Science Disproves God
Harvard Square Books
Wednesday May 7 at 7 p.m.
Tired of the same-old secular humanist jibjab about how religion is evil, poisons everything and ruins Christmas for everybody? Me neither, but still — who doesn’t love a good debate about the nature of human reason in relation to the cosmos? Science journalist Amir Aczel comes to the Harvard Book Store to read and discuss his new book refuting Dawkins, Hitchens, Sam Harris, et al and using quantum mechanics, parallel universes, anthropic theory to not only refute atheism but also suggest the strong likelihood of a Creator.
American Spring: Lexington, Concord and the Road to Revolution
The Harvard Coop
Wednesday May 7 at 7 p.m.
Ever wanted to re-live the American Revolution and not have to leave your armchair? Leave the re-enactments and parades to the tourists and pay a visit to the Harvard Coop to hear Walter Borneman read from American Spring, his riveting account of the early days of the American Revolution. Borneman describes how the early days of the revolution were much more tenuous and arduous than we usually assume. He recounts the beginning of the war from Paul Revere and Lexington Green into the catastrophe at Bunker Hill, up until George Washington took command of the colonial forces. Extra points if you stand in front of the Coop before the reading and ring a bell and shout “The Borneman is coming!”
The Snow Queen
The Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA.
Thursday May 8 at 7 pm
$5 — tickets on sale now
Michael Cunningham, author of the Pulitzer-winning Virginia Woolf seance The Hours, comes to the Brattle Theater to read from The Snow Queen, his latest novel. It begins with a vision seen by Barrett Meeks, walking alone in Central Park, of a bright white light shining down on him in a godlike way. Meeks isn’t one of the faithful, but he can’t discredit what he’s seen. Meanwhile, across the city, his brother is trying to write a song for his dying fiancee. Cunningham comes to the Brattle Theater to read from his latest opus as a featured speaker in the Chuck Pacheco Memorial Lectures, where a portion of the proceeds go to benefit cancer research.
In Conversation with Barbara Lynch
The Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA.
Friday May 9 at 6 pm
$28 tickets are available, including admission and copy of the book
Ruth Reichel is as deliciously well known for her restaurant reviews as she is for her memoirs about growing up around the family table and in the kitchen. This Friday, she comes to the Brattle to read from and discuss her debut novel with the esteemed chef Barbara Lynch, who is head chef of Beacon Hill’s Park no.9. Reichel will serve up her distinctive brand of eloquence and culinary authority while discussing the finer points of the culinary life. Tickets are going fast— $28 gets you admission and a copy of Delicious! Hungry yet?
— Matt Hanson
Bach, Zelenka, and Harbison
Presented by the Cantata Singers
May 9, 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
The Cantata Singers close their 50th-anniversary season with a pair of Bach scores (music director David Hoose’s orchestration of the chorale prelude “Ach, bleib bei uns” and the cantata BWV 6) and two by Jan Dismas Zelenka (his Miserere in C minor and motets from Responsoria pro Hebdomata Sancta). In the middle comes the premiere of John Harbison’s Supper at Emmaus.
Light, Wind, and Sound
May 10, 8 p.m.
Pickman Hall at the Longy School of Music, Cambridge, MA
Boston Musica Viva rounds out its 2013-14 season with a widely varied program that features two old BMV commissions (Julie Rohwein’s Born on the Wind and Brian Robinson’s Field Guide to North American Car Alarms) plus a premiere by William Kraft. Sean Shepherd’s Lumens and Theo Lovendie’s Six Turkish Folk Poems round things out.
— Jonathan Blumhofer
Immovable Objects, Irresistible Forces: Songs of Human and Natural Wonders
May 4, 4 p.m.
First Parish Arlington, 630 Mass. Ave., Arlington, MA
Cantilena presents a program dedicated to “Songs for women’s voices from Romantic to Modern.” The evening will feature works by Franz Schubert, Emma Lou Diemer, and Ron Jeffers.
Found: Music in the Age of Exploration
May 4, 7 p.m.
St. Paul’s Spiscocpal Church, 15 St. Paul’s St., Brookline, MA
Convivium Musicum presents a concert of choral works by Victoria, Guerrero, Franco, and Padilla.
First Monday at Jordan Hall
May 5, 8 p.m.
At New England Conservatory, Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
This program will feature the NEC Chamber Singers performing Tchaikovsky’s When Jesus Christ was yet a child from Songs for Children, Op. 54, No. 5 and the composer’s Souvenir of Florence with James Buswell, Valerie Vilker Kuchment, violins, Kim Kashkashiam and Paul Laria, violas, Natasha Brofsky, Carol Ou, cellos. Also on the program: Anton Arensky’s Quartet.
Early Music Thursdays
May 8, 12:15 p.m.
At the First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough St., Boston, MA
Harpsichordist Charles Sherman plays 6 Sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti (K. 69, 469, 84, 296, 44, 56).
The Course of True Love Never Did Run Smooth: Choral Music on Love and Marriage
May 10, 8 p.m.
First Church Congregational, Cambridge, MA
Musica Sacra performs works by Barber, Britten, Ravel, Fauré, Schumann, Dallapiccola, and others.
May 10, 8 p.m.
NEC’s Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
The renowned pianist Russell Sherman performs works of Schoenberg, Debussy, Scriabin, and Chopin.
May 10, 7:30 p.m.
Emmanuel Church of Boston
Sanders Theatre, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Back Bay Chorale presents Handel’s oratorio Saul, which features some of the composer’s most dramatic writing.
A Far Cry with A Roomful of Teeth
May ll, 1:30 p.m.
The Isabel Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA
The acclaimed chamber orchestra teams up with Roomful of Teeth to perform Josquin Des Prez (arr. Shaw)’s La déploration sur la mort de Jehan Ockeghem, Carolin Shaw’s New Work (a world premiere), Schubert’s String Quartet D. 810, Death and the Maiden, arr. Mahler.
— Susan Miron
Into the Woods. Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Book by James Lapine. Directed by Spiro Veloudos.
May 9 through June 15
Staged by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston
At 140 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA
Sondheim rewrites fairy tales with an accent on their psychological/social resonances. The Lyric Stage Company cast includes Will McGarrahan, Erica Spyres, Maureen Keiller, and Lisa Yuen.
Carrie The Musical, Directed by Paul Melone.
Staged by the SpeakEasy Stage Company
May 10 though June 7
At the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA
It could be a creepy scenario dreamed up by horror-meister Stephen King — endless musicals based on best-selling books that were made into hit movies. This campy, tuneful version of the King novel comes with plenty of buzz.
The Tempest by William Shakespeare. Adapted by Aaron Posner and Teller. Songs by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan.
May 11 through June 15.
Staged by the American Repertory Theater, Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, MA.
Shakespeare goes the way of New Vaudeville: “Experience Prospero’s wizardry as never before in this startling production, featuring magic created by Teller (of the legendary duo Penn & Teller).”
The Literary Roast: An Evening of Irreverence
Staged by Weird Love Productions
Oberon, Cambridge, MA
You always satirize the ones you love. In this case, classic writers from Edgar Allan Poe and Walt Whitman to James Joyce and Charles Dickens. Lesser lights also get a drubbing, including Ayn Rand, Chuck Palahniuk, and Neil Gaiman. Jade Sylvan, author of Kissing Oscar Wilde (Write Bloody 2013), is the master of ceremonies: “Renowned writers, burlesque artists, musicians, and comics join forces to pull literary heroes down from godlike high with mighty fists of sarcasm!”
— Bill Marx