Arts Fuse critics select the best in music, film, visual art, theater, author readings, and dance that’s coming up in the next week.
By The Arts Fuse Staff
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
This Buster Keaton comedy is a not-to-be-missed masterpiece of silent era. Tonight it is presented with live musical accompaniment from the Andrew Alden Ensemble, a local chamber music group that specializes in innovative mash-ups of rock and contemporary classical music. The instrumentation includes percussion, synthesizer, piano, violin, viola and electronic production.
Wander, Wonder, Wilderness
September 20 and 21
The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA
There will be two screenings of Wander, Wonder, Wilderness, a “film essay” that “explores the relationships among humans, community, and nature—and the ways that green spaces serve as an antidote to our de-natured lives. Participants are invited to visit Boston’s natural spaces, create content including text, images, and sound, and share it with future visitors via an interactive website and app.” Go here for details on how to participate.
The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
Paying sincere homage to the masters of classic Italian Giallo horror, this film is a highly original combination of suspense fantasia and erotic thriller. “Returning home from a business trip, Dan finds that his wife Edwige has disappeared. He begins to obsessively investigate the increasingly surreal art deco apartment building where the couple reside, in search of any clues to her whereabouts. Soon traditional narrative dissolves into a kaleidoscopic and vertiginous adventure in sound and image, sadism and eroticism, and the real and the imagined.” [New Directors/New Films]
Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA
Narrated by Dustin Hoffman, this documentary traces Jewish involvement in the history of baseball, from the early days of the game to the tumultuous war years and the controversies of today. The film explores how Jews shaped baseball and how baseball shaped them. It is a story of immigration, assimilation, bigotry, heroism, the passing on of traditions, and the shattering of stereotypes. Director Peter Miller will be on hand for a Q&A.
— Tim Jackson
“HEY!” and other dances Sept 18- 20 Center for Arts at the Armory
With a company of 18 dancers ranging in age from 20 to over 50, choreographer Daniel McCusker returns with a program of strongly crafted dances “in dialogue with dance history and contemporary ideas about making.”
Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Reiner’s “reveal”
September 19 Academic Quad, Wellesley College Wellesley, MA
This semester, former Merce Cunningham dancers Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Reiner are in residence at Wellesley. In this free late afternoon event featuring their regular collaborator Cori Kresge, they portray the ways the campus’ built environment, the natural world, and their own fantasies delineate a space for dancing. Rain location: Newhouse Center, Green Hall.
Continuum Dance Project/ Fernadina Chan in Evolution
September 19- 20 The Dance Complex Cambridge, MA
Fernadina Chan’s “choreographic laboratory” with alumni of the Boston Arts Academy, where she was the founding dean in 1998, presents a new dance program with choreography by Chan alongside works by Celine Berthaud, Adriane Brayton, Sharon Frometa-Sanchez, and Noelle Patten. There will also be a guest appearance by gifted Boston improviser Olivier Besson.
Paris Opera Ballet in Balanchine/Millepied
Sept 21 Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA
In France, they’ve always called George Balanchine’s Symphony in C by the title Palais de Cristal, since that’s what he named it in 1947 when he created the work for the Paris Opera Ballet. On this program’s HD video broadcast, the current company explores the piece’s architectural grandeurs, and presents a new version of Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé choreographed by Benjamin Millepied with strikingly geometric decor by Daniel Buren.
And further afield
LeeSaar The Company in Princess Crocodile
Sometimes we’re the princess, sometimes we’re the swamp creature, and sometimes we toss that golden ball right down the well. Israeli choreographers Saar Harari and Lee Sher bring the New England premiere of Princess Crocodile, a surrealist work about the transformations of female adolescence, to Wesleyan.
Hio Ridge Dance
The Dance Hall
The Hio Ridge Dance Collective is three dancers who “live together, cook together, make dances together, and can’t help but dream big.” They are coming to Kittery down from Denmark, Maine for a performance of Placeholders, a new work about the humble beauties of their rural home.
ArtSpot Productions and Mondo Bizarro in Cry You One
September 20 –21
at The Broad Brook Grange
Guilford Center Road
Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005, and Hurricane Irene, which hammered Vermont in 2011 were salient examples of the environmental effects of climate change and its challenge to people across the nation to respond with creativity and resolve. Two Nola troupes, ArtSpot Productions and Mondo Bizarro, visit Vermont for a 2 1/2 hour outdoor performance that is described as part song, part story, and part procession for a lost land. The performance terrain is mildly rugged (dress in sturdy shoes and rain gear) and will happen rain or shine. Given the topic, rain would be apt.
Mass Dance Festival Gala
Bowker Auditorium U Mass Amherst
Although some of the tap, modern, experimental and improvisational dance troupes in this year’s Mass Dance Festival event at Amherst are technically from beyond the state’s borders (let’s annex Brooklyn!) this showcase offers a chance to get a look at the variety of work going on under the radar and possibly to be exposed to a few new favorites. Check out the entire list of ensembles here.
First Works Urban Carnevale
Downtown Providence, Rhode Island
The amazing aerialists of Australia’s Strange Fruit — rising out of giant illuminated globes — headline this free, family-friendly evening of music and dance inspired by the cultures of Italy, Morocco, and Mali. The performances are slated to take place throughout downtown Providence. The celebration starts at 5 p.m.
— Debra Cash
Jerry Bergonzi and the Fringe
September 15, 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA.
It’s worth noting that school is now in session, and that means that Jerry Bergonzi and the Fringe’s George Garzone are back from their various summer travels and holding court again at what has to be the best double-bill weekly residency in jazz (separate admissions). Bergonzi — in the midst of doing some of the best writing and playing of his career — is joined by trumpeter Phil Grenadier (expert at sight-reading whatever new stuff “the Chief” brings in that week) and drummer Luther Gray, with bassists drawn from the deep Boston talent pool (Will Slater, Bruno Råberg, et al) and occasionally, a pianist. The Fringe, as always, is Garzone, bassist John Lockwood, and drummer Bob Gullotti.
Mark Turner Quartet
September 16, 7:30 pm
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA
The phenomenal, vastly influential 48-year-old tenor saxophonist Mark Turner comes to the Regattabar with trumpeter Avishai Cohen, bassist Joe Martin, and drummer Justin Brown in the wake of the Turner quartet’s new ECM release, Lathe of Heaven.
Youn Sun Nah & Ulf Wakenius
September 17, 7:30 pm
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA
On her most recent CD, Lento (Act), the Korean-born singer Youn Sun Nah mixes originals with unusual covers like Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” and, in the title track, her own setting of Scriabin. On Lento, slow tempos and high drama are the order of the day. She’s joined by the album’s guitarist, Ulf Wakenius, for this duo show.
September 18, 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA
No one has more single-mindedly pursued his own thing than the English saxophonist Evan Parker, who emerged from the 1960s avant-garde to create a distinct language of improvisation. He’s joined at the Lily Pad for two sets (with separate admission) by like-minded adventurers Joe Morris on guitar and Nate Wooley on trumpet. He’ll also conduct a master class at New England Conservatory, open to the public, at 3 p.m. (Pierce Hall, 241 St. Botolph St.)
Ann Hampton Calloway
September 19, 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA
The jazz-cabaret singer, songwriter, and Broadway star’s latest project is From Sassy to Divine: The Sarah Vaughan Project (Shanachie). She brings it to Scullers.
Eric Harland & Voyager
September 23, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
Of late, the astute 35-year-old drummer Eric Harland has been working with the Charles Lloyd Quartet, Dave Holland’s Prism, and Joshua Redman. His band Voyager includes another regular collaborator, guitarist Julian Lage, along with saxophonist Walter Smith III and bassist Harish Raghavan.
Drummer/composer John Hollenbeck has been pushing the bounds of small-group composition with the Claudia Quintet since 1997 — the players, the instrumentation, and Hollenbeck’s evocative scores make this group one of a kind. Expect them to play a bit of last year’s September (Cuneiform), a retrospective of pieces going back to 9/11, as well as other work new and old. The band includes vibist Matt Moran, bassist Drew Gress, accordionist Red Wierenga, and Chris Speed on clarinet and tenor sax.
September 24, 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston
The charismatic Nigerian-American singer-songwriter Offiong Bassey mixes jazz, gospel, folkloric Afropop, and contemporary R&B in an appealing blend.
— Jon Garelick
Susan Erony: Review
Through October 5
At the Trident Gallery, Main Street, Gloucester, MA
An opportunity to appreciate this talented artist’s “disciplined and forceful body of work from 1993 to the present,” which focuses on “themes of inhumanity and displacement, the solace and refuge of art, and the interplay of innocence, knowing, and not wanting to know.” According to Tamara Schillin in Big Red & Shiny, Erony’s artwork is “aesthetically engaging for its meticulous craftsmanship and texture” while it “gives a voice to the silenced and destroyed, shedding light on the hidden, exposing the dark shadows that lurk in the collective memory of our histories that demand our attention, consideration and time.”
— Bill Marx
In My Mind & In My Car
September 16 at 8 p.m.
At Killian Hall, MIT, Cambridge, MA
Evan Ziporyn, post-minimalist composer, Professor of Music at MIT, and director of the ensemble Gamelan Galak Tika, celebrates his “20,000th Day on Earth” with a 50-minute collaboration (for bass clarinet, electronics, and video) between himself and Christine Southworth. The piece recently premiered at the OFF Festival in Katowice, Poland. Also on the program, CAST Visiting Artist in Residence and MTA Visiting Lecturer Arnold Dreyblatt, who will perform his piece Nodal Excitation.
— Debra Cash
Presented by Callithumpian Consort
September 22, 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston
Callithumpian Consort presents a program that explores the boundaries between the avant-garde and rock/pop/jazz. Music by Hans Thomella, John Zorn, and Franco Donatoni is paired with the premiere of a new “punk rock piano concerto” by Roger Miller.
— Jonathan Blumhofer
Boston Conservatory String Masters Series
September 13 at 8 p.m.
Seully Hall at Boston Conservatory, Boston, MA
Cellist Colin Carr tackles three Bach cello suites (nos. 2, 4, and 6).
Juventas New Music Ensemble
September 19 at 8 p.m. and September 20 at 8 p.m.
First Church in Cambridge, 11 Garden St., Cambridge, MA
The adventurous troupe presents the latest in its chamber music series — EMERGE: New Music and Its Origins. The evening features three premieres along with renowned flutist Carol Wincenc and Andrew Arceci on Viola da Gamba. One of the world premieres on the program is Semper Dowland, semper dolens (for string orchestra), by Arts Fuse critic/composer Jonathan Blumhofer.
September 20 at 5 p.m.
At St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Brookline, MA. (Same program on Sunday in Andover, MA at the West Parish Church at 3 p.m.)
The group, led by flutist and artistic director Julie Scolnik, presents a concert entitled “Songs Without Words.” The lineup includes works by Mendelssohn (String Quintet in A and Songs Without Words), Prokofiev (“Five Melodies”), and Fauré (Piano Quartet in C minor).
The Borromeo Quartet
September 21 at 1:30 p.m.
At the Gardner Museum, 25 Evans Way, Boston MA
The esteemed group performs quartets of Shostakovich (No.3) and Tchaikovsky (No.1).
Boston Artists Ensemble
September 21 at 2:30 p.m.
Homer Church, Ward St. and Center St., Newton, MA
Violinist Sharan Leventhal, cellist Jonathan Miller, and pianist Randall Hodgkinson perform piano trios composed by Dvorak (“Dumky”), Shostakovich (Trio No. 2 in E minor), and Haydn (Trio in C major).
September 21 at 8 p.m.
At New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
The acclaimed violist is part of a faculty recital that includes harpist June Han and pianist Mihae Lee. On the program: Arnold Bax’s rarely played Fantasy Sonata, Schubert’s “Arpeggione” Sonata in A minor, Mendelssohn’s Sonata for Viola and Piano in C minor, and Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances, Sz. 56, BB 68.
— Susan Miron
The Literary Roast: Back to School Edition!
Staged by Weird Love Productions at Oberon, Cambridge, MA
“Did school assignments about Edgar Allan Poe make your midnights dreary? Do you wish you could em-dash Emily Dickinson? Have you always wanted to pop Ernest Hemingway in the jaw? Do you objectively despise Ayn Rand?” “Sexy School Master” Jade Sylvan hosts an evening dedicated to kicking big name writers around. I have no problem at all with roughing up the obnoxious Ayn Rand — but didn’t E.A. Poe suffer enough?
Bent by Martin Sherman. Directed by David J. Miller
September 19 through October 11
Staged by Zeitgeist Stage Company in the Plaza Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA
Well, now I feel old. According to the Zeitgeist Stage Company press release this acclaimed play about “the often-overlooked persecution of gays in Nazi Germany” has not been produced professionally in Boston in nearly 30 years. I saw that staging, and look forward to seeing if the script retains its power after three decades.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Book by Hugh Wheeler. Directed by Spiro Veloudos.
Through October 11
Staged by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, Boston, MA
I don’t remember ever seeing a production of this show that didn’t provide plenty of blood-curdling fun: “Stephen Sondheim’s Tony-Award winning Sweeney Todd, a macabre musical thriller, blends Sondheim’s characteristic wit with a sweeping and hauntingly beautiful score, grisly humor, and chilling drama.” Arts Fuse review
Emilie: La Marquise du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight by Lauren Gunderson. Directed by Judy Braha.
Through October 5.
Staged by the Nora Theater Company at the Central Square Theater, Cambridge, MA.
A wild and wooly script that promises to give us the French Enlightenment from the point of view of a feisty female: “Emilie du Châtelet, leading physicist (before there was such a word), card shark, and all-around bad ass during the Age of Enlightenment returns searching for answers: Love or Philosophy? Head or Heart?” The production marks the Boston acting debut of Lee Mikeska Gardner in the title role. She was recently appointed Artistic Director of The Nora Theatre Company.
Grounded by George Brandt. Directed by Judith Swift.
Through September 28.
Staged by the Gamm Theatre, Pawtucket, Rhode Island
I am generally suspicious of one-person plays, but this New England premiere sounds very intriguing. And it has relevance going for it. The critically acclaimed script deals with “a hot-rod fighter pilot whose unexpected pregnancy ends her career in the sky. Reassigned to fly remote-controlled drones in Afghanistan from a windowless, air-conditioned trailer near Vegas, “The Pilot” hunts terrorists by day and goes home to her family at night.” Liz Hayes stars in the kick off production of Gamm Theatre’s 30th anniversary season. Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler is next.
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner by Todd Kreidler. Directed by David Esbjornson.
Through October 5
Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Boston University Theatre, Boston, MA.
Malcolm-Jamal (The Cosby Show) Warner makes his Huntington Theatre Company debut with this stage version of the 1967 Hollywood movie about race relations and the superannuated that starred Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. “Joanna surprises her liberal, white parents when she brings home John, her African-American fiancé, to meet them. Both sets of parents must confront their own unexpected reactions and concerns for their children as their beliefs are put to the test.” Do we need a theatrical version of his old cinematic warhorse? Let’s see if this antique can be air-brushed into relevance. Arts Fuse review
Closer Than Ever — Music by David Shire, Lyrics by Richard Maltby. Directed by Leigh Barrett
Through September 28
Staged by the New Repertory Theatre in the Charles Mosesian Theater the Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown, MA
A strong cast, featuring Leigh Barrett (who is also at the helm), David Foley, Brian Richard Robinson, and Kathy St. George, tackles Richard Maltby Jr. and David Shire’s acclaimed musical about middle-aged people with the blues. Winner of the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical, the show serves up “twenty-four wise and witty ‘songs of experience'” that are based “largely on true stories” and “intertwine insightful tales about love, security, happiness, and self-definition in an ever-changing world.”
The Forgetting Curve by Vanda. Directed by Kimberly Loren Eaton
Through September 27
Staged by the Bridge Repertory Theatre of Boston (n partnership with Theatrum Mundi Productions and Playhouse Creatures Theatre Company, NYC) at the Wimberly Theatre, Boston Center for The Arts, Boston, MA
A world premiere production: “Desperate to cure his epilepsy, a young man underwent an experimental neurosurgery in 1953 — shockingly, the procedure destroyed his brain’s ability to form new memories. Now known as Patient HM, he became widely studied, and his fascinating case serves as the inspiration for this play.”
Ivanov by Anton Chekhov. Translated from the Russian by Curt Columbus. Directed by Brian McEleney.
Through October 5.
Presented by Trinity Repertory Company in the Dowling Theater, Providence, Rhode Island.
The world premiere translation of one of Chekhov’s earliest seriocomic works — it is a tricky script to pull off, but if well staged this can be a powerful study of managing the fallout of failure. The script focuses on the lethargy that afflicts an idealistic man after his life goes sour.
Year Zero by Michael Golamco
Through October 5
At the Merrimack Repertory Theater, Lowell, MA
Well, not your typical youths-bonding-with-youths story: “All teenagers need someone to talk to. Vuthy has chosen a skull. He is a young Cambodian-American struggling to find his place – in a community that doesn’t truly accept him and in a family that seems to be disappearing.” MRT Artistic Director Charles Towers writes that “the specific ethnicity of this particular story makes it especially important to be produced in the city that has the second largest Cambodian-American population in the country.”
Far From Heaven: A New Musical — Book by Richard Greenburg, Music by Scott Frankel, Lyrics by Michael Korie. Based on the Focus Features/Vulcan Production Motion Picture written & directed by Todd Haynes. Directed by Scott Edmiston.
Through October 11.
Staged by SpeakEasy Stage Company, at the Roberts Studio Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA.
The out-of-control fad of adapting films into musicals continues with “a lush musical adaptation of Todd Haynes’ acclaimed romantic melodrama of private longings and social taboos. A 1950s Connecticut housewife’s perfect life is shattered when she discovers her husband’s shocking secret and then seeks comfort in a forbidden relationship that dramatically alters her view of herself and the world.”
— Bill Marx
Roots and World Music
September 16 at 8 p.m.
Presented by World Music/CRASHArts at The Sinclair, Cambridge, Ma
Earlier this year, Guardian critic Robin Denselow wrote that Salif Keita has “the finest, most distinctive male voice in Africa.” In what is billed as a special “acoustic” show, the singer will be accompanied by four musicians (guitar, kora, n’goni, and percussion) and two backing vocalists. The evening will support the Salif Keita Global Foundation, “a nonprofit organization founded in 2005 to assist persons with albinism on a global level.”
— Bill Marx
Fenway Park, Boston, MA
The always busy Jack White will be performing at Fenway Park this month, and seeing him should be a hell of a lot more entertaining than watching the 2014 Red Sox play there. In addition to renditions of tunes from his latest solo release, Lazaretto, expect White Stripes, Raconteurs, and Dead Weather songs in the setlist.
Willie Nelson and Family
Indian Ranch, Webster, MA
It’s not every day that I refer readers to a publication other than The Arts Fuse, but I really have to recommend Rolling Stone’s Willie Nelson cover story from a few weeks ago. It’s incredibly informative and well written, and of course the subject himself isn’t so bad either. In addition to delving deep into Nelson’s biography, money troubles, and “recreational activities,” the profile also shines a light on the country icon’s life on the road. So give that article a read, and then see the legend for yourself at Indian Ranch.
The Black Keys
TD Garden, Boston, MA
I’m still not crazy about the Black Keys’ most recent release, Turn Blue, but having seen the band at TD Garden in 2012, I can say that they really do put on a great arena rock show. If this performance is anything like that one, the duo will have their sound augmented by additional musicians on a few tracks, and then for others it will be just the two of them. Also, they will most likely dip into their back catalogue and pull out a few songs that predate their reign as World’s Biggest (Non-Legacy Act) Rock Band.
Upcoming and On Sale…
Kasabian (9/26/2014, Paradise Rock Club); Jeff Tweedy (9/26/2014, Berklee Performance Center); Neil Young (10/5-6/2014, Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theater); The Orwells (10/9/2014, Brighton Music Hall); Foxygen (10/11/2014, Paradise Rock Club); J Mascis (10/18/2014, The Sinclair); The Thurston Moore Band (10/22/2014, The Sinclair); Temples (10/24/2014, Paradise Rock Club); Drowners (10/29/2014, Great Scott); Chrissie Hynde (11/1/2014, Orpheum Theatre); Peter Hook & the Light (11/8/2014, Royale); Bob Dylan (11/14/2014, Orpheum Theatre); Bob Dylan (11/15/2014, Providence Performing Arts Center); Johnny Marr (11/16/2014, Paradise Rock Club); Randy Newman (11/19/2014, Wilbur Theatre); Film Screening: “Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets” (11/19/2014, Brattle Theatre); Daniel Lanois (11/22/2014, Brighton Music Hall); Greg Trooper (11/23/2014, Atwood’s Tavern); Julian Casablancas + The Voidz (11/26/2014, House of Blues)
— Adam Ellsworth
The Copernicus Complex: Our Cosmic Significance in a Universe of Planets and Possibilities
September 17 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA
Astrophysicist Scharf comes to the Harvard Book Store to read and sign copies of his latest book, which offers a new way to approach the role human beings play in the cosmos. The writer takes the reader on a provocative scientific adventure, picking apart the evolution of the universe in order to revaluate humanity’s place in the scheme of things.
Sarah Waters in conversation with Emily M. Danforth
The Paying Guests
September 18 at 6 p.m., doors open at 5:30
Presented by the Harvard Book Store at the Brattle Theatre, Cambridge MA.
Tickets are $5
The bestselling and three-time Booker Prize nominated Welsh novelist will read and sign copies of her latest novel, which examines the human cost of social and political unrest in the London of the 1920s. A mother and her spinster daughter take in a pair of boarders who change their lives in unexpected ways. Waters will discuss her work with author Emily M. Danforth.
Against Football: One Fan’s Reluctant Manifesto
September 18 at 6 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline MA
Tickets are $5 or free with purchase of the book from Brookline Booksmith
Now that football season has started up (this time accompanied with controversial issues of domestic abuse among the players), it’s a good time to have Almond explain to us what’s so very wrong with the sport. The author examines the game’s hazards, including brain injuries, the psychological toll it takes on the players, and the cultural implications of turning a childhood pastime into a billion dollar industry.
Epilogue: A Memoir
September 18 at 7 p.m.
Newtonville Books, Newton Center MA
When he was barely out of his teens, Boast had to deal with losing his entire family after his father succumbed to alcoholism. What he learned next compounded the loss and shock – his father had established an entirely different family before Will’s. Boast’s much-praised new memoir tells the story of family mysteries lost and found.
Breakwater Reading Series
September 19 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
MFA candidates in poetry, fiction, and creative essays from Emerson, BU, and UMass Boston come to Brookline to read from their work.
— Matt Hanson