Arts Fuse critics select the best in music, film, visual arts, theater, author readings, and dance that’s coming up in the next week.
By The Arts Fuse Staff
Hearts and Minds
Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, MA
This is the 40th Anniversary of perhaps the most powerful documentary ever made about the Vietnam War. Unflinchingly, the film confronted our involvement in Vietnam at the height of the controversy. “Using a wealth of sources—from interviews to newsreels to footage of the conflict and the upheaval it occasioned on the home front—Davis constructs a powerfully affecting picture of the disastrous effects of war. Explosive, persuasive, and wrenching. What the war meant changes with your perspective: Was the war a crime (radicals)?, a mistake (liberals)?, a mistake not to win (conservatives)?, a crime not to win (hard right)? ” (Criterion) The screening comes with bonus: a panel discussion moderated by Homi Bhabha, Director of the Mahindra Humanities Center. The speakers include director Peter Davis as well as Robb Moss; Peter Galison, filmmaker and Joseph Pellegrino University Professor; and Hue-Tam Ho Tai, Harvard’s Professor of Sino-Vietnamese History.
Internet Cat Video Festival
Thursday, Oct 30 at 6:30 and 9:00 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center
136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA
Produced and curated by the Walker Art Center, the Internet Cat Video Festival is the first offline celebration of online cat videos. The festival gives feline fanatics an opportunity to gather and watch a curated collection of cat clips from six second Vine videos to short films and everything in between. (I refuse to use any cat puns.)
Captivated: the Trials of Pamela Smart
Thursday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m.
Ballroom “C”, 3rd Floor, UMass Boston Campus Center, Boston, MA.
Free — A Boston premiere
The court convicted Pamela Smart of conspiracy to commit murder, for being an accomplice to murder, and witness tampering. She is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole – a longer amount of time than the sentences the teenagers received who admitted to killing her husband. Smart had been having an affair with one of the boys when he was 15. “She fits into that trope. She is that Lady Macbeth.” (Buzzfeed) Unfolding with the suspense of a fiction film, Jeremiah Zagar’s documentary explores how the media created a skewed version of reality that the public now accepts as truth. “Fascinating, sexy, and cunningly brilliant, Captivated makes us question everything we’re told as the line between journalism and entertainment continues to blur.” (D.C. @ Sundance) The screening will be followed by a panel Discussion with filmmaker Zagar and editor Erin Trahan.
— Tim Jackson
Boston Ballet Swan Lake
October 30-November 16
Mikko Nissinen’s version of classical ballet’s 1895 standard-bearer, Swan Lake, features new costumes and sets by Robert Perdziola who so successfully refreshed the company’s version of The Nutcracker two years ago. Boston Ballet has also developed some fun downloadable activities to get the kids ready for their trip to the theatre, including a workbook that reveals there’s not a single feather on stage: it’s all done with ribbons.
Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal (BJM)
November 1 – 2
Cutler Majestic Theatre
Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal returns to Boston to unveil the world premiere of Rodrigo Pederneiras’s Rouge, an “ode to resilience” and tribute to the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Pederneiras, best known for his work with the Brazilian contemporary dance troupe Grupo Corpo, promises a dance performed “at full throttle.” Also on the program BJM presents Kosmos by Andonis Foniadakis, who danced with Ballet de l’Opera National in Lyon, inspired by “the movements of crowds, moments of agitation, and the hustle and bustle of the city,” and Closer, a sensuous duet choreographed by Benjamin Millepied and set to Philip Glass’s Mad Rush.
Jennifer Nugent and Paul Matteson with Peter DiMuro
Two brilliant (and Bessie-winning) former Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane dancers appear in a one-night only show titled Saints & Lies & Sinners & Truth: A Devised Performance. This tasty dance platter includes Matteson in a self-styled solo accompanied with a quartet of onstage violinists, Wendy Woodson’s poignant Companion Piece, and a new work created by the dancers in collaboration with Dance Complex ED Peter DiMuro. A special show in a small theatre, so reservations are highly recommended.
and further afield
Faustin Linyekula and Panaibra Gabriel Canda
October 31-November 1
Two major African dance artists, Faustin Linyekula of Congo and Panaibra Gabriel Canda of Mozambique present expressive, small-scale works in two different programs under the umbrella title Look Back, Dance Forward: Tales of Home that grapple with “the complex histories of their countries by re-igniting memories of and experiences with their fathers.”
— Debra Cash
Language of Angels by Naomi Iizuka. Directed by Lizette M. Morris. Staged by the Happy Medium Theatre at The Factory Theatre, Boston, MA, through November 1.
The Factory Theatre, long the go-to stage for small theater companies, will be no more after this production. Language of Angels “is a haunting tale that begins in a cave on the edge of a rural North Carolina town, where a young girl once went missing. One of nine friends is responsible for her death, yet her ghostly, echoed cries will haunt each of them forever.” Go pay your respects — this is the final curtain for one of the most trustworthy homes for fringe theater productions in the area.
It Felt Empty When the Heart Went at First But it is Alright Now by Lucy Kirkwood. Directed by Maureen Shea. Staged by Theatre on Fire at the Charlestown Working Theatre, Charlestown, MA, through November 2.
Theatre on Fire kicks off its tenth season with the American premiere of a script from East-London born playwright Kirkwood, who has been a writer in residence with Clean Break, a company that for 30 years has been working with imprisoned women and ex-offenders. According to The Guardian, this script takes us inside the mind of a prostitute, “a the young Croatian trapped in an east London room with 22 used condoms (it’s been a quiet day) knows exactly what she’s worth. She was sold for 1,000 euros (the price of two and a half iPhones, she wryly informs us) and is now only one client away from making the £20,000 that she believes will win her freedom from her pimp, Babac.”
Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare. Directed by Joey Frangieh.
Staged by the Boston Theater Company at the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts (527 Tremont Street), Boston, MA, through November 2.
One of my great critical cronies, Arthur Friedman, held this elemental belief about theater — “Short is good and long is bad.” He would probably liked this 90-minute version of Shakespeare’s romance from the BTC, which has “the goal of restructuring classic plays for young and modern audiences.” Thus this staging will mix “tablets and Photoshop into Shakespeare’s play about trickery, honor and shame. The production explores the detriments and benefits of technology and its influence on how we communicate.” Arts Fuse review
Dear Elizabeth by Sarah Ruhl. Directed by A. Nora Long. Staged by the Lyric Stage, 140 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA, through November 9.
“Told through the extensive and imaginative correspondence between two of the 20th century’s most important and celebrated American poets — Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell — Dear Elizabeth is a different kind of love story, of artists and friends.” Ed Hoopman and Laura Latreille star. Arts Fuse review
Dusk Rings a Bell by Stephen Belber. Directed by Michael Bloom. At the Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Lowell, MA through November 16.
What’s in a kiss? Apparently quite a bit in this play: “Molly and Ray unexpectedly meet 25 years after their teenage romance. Though their kiss has had a lasting effect on both of them, the memory of their youthful fling is overshadowed by tragic revelations about what has happened in the intervening years.” Be warned: “Contains adult language.”
A Disappearing Number by Théâtre de Complicité. Directed by Elaine Vaan Hogue. Staged by Underground Railway/ Catalyst Collaborative@MIT 10th Anniversary Production at the Central Square Theater, Cambridge, MA, through November 16.
A local production of the award-winning British play that was inspired by the collaboration during the 1910s between two of the most remarkable pure mathematicians of the twentieth century, Srinivasa Ramanujan, a poor Brahmin from South India, and the Cambridge University don G.H. Hardy. “Drama, comedy, Indian dance and music weave an immersive experience the New York Times called ‘mesmerizing,’ a love-story that combines the clashes of culture, the sensuality of ideas, while illuminating the mystery of mathematics.” Arts Fuse review
In Darfur by Winter Miller. Directed by Kristen van Ginhoven. Staged by WMA Theatre at Shakespeare and Company’s Berry Family Studio at the Elayne P. Bernstein Center, Lenox, MA, October 30 through November 16.
Playwright Winter Miller was inspired to write this play after she served as columnist Nicholas Kristof’s researcher at the start of the Darfur genocide in 2004. This is a “powerful and provocative tale of three lives that intersect in the most challenging of circumstances: a camp for internally displaced persons. The story follows an aid worker’s mission to protect lives, a Darfuri woman’s quest for safety and a journalist’s pursuit to deliver a front page story to call world attention to a humanitarian crisis.” The play premiered at The Public Theater in Manhattan for a three-week sold-out run.
Chosen Child by Monica Bauer. Directed by Megan Schy Gleeson. At the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Boston, MA, October 30 though November 22.
The plot sounds like a soap opera on steroids: “Three generations of mothers and memories combine to change the fate of a schizophrenic man at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, as he waits for a sister he hardly knows, to fulfill an agreement that was never made. Adoption, desertion, and forgiveness – all this makes up a family.” But the cast is first-rate — Margaret Ann Brady, Lee Mikeska Gardner, Melissa Jesser, Lewis D. Wheeler, and Debra Wise.
Ether Dome by Elizabeth Egloff. Directed by Michael Wilson. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company (produced in association with Alley Theatre, Hartford Stage, and La Jolla Playhouse) in the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, through November 23.
Director Michael Wilson suggests that this script is anything but a dry historical study about “America’s greatest medical discovery — anesthesia.” For him, the play – set in Boston’s own Massachusetts General Hospital in 1846 – “holds an unflinching mirror up to our ambitious American character and the ways in which class, greed, and prejudice form a twisted path to innovation.” Arts Fuse review
Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon. Directed by Rebecca Bradshaw. Staged by the SpeakEasy Stage Company at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, through November 29.
The New England premiere of a comedy in which Jews behave badly. The plot sounds like a variation on Arthur Miller’s The Price: “two cousins wage war over a coveted family heirloom after the death of their beloved grandfather.”
Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen. Adapted and directed by Tony Estrella. Staged by the Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre, Pawtucket, Rhode Island, October 23 through November 30.
We had Ibsen lite with the recent production of Arthur Miller’s sledgehammer-the-message-home adaptation of An Enemy of the People at the Barrington Stage. Let’s hope the Feinstein-Gamm production gives us the real complicated thing. From what I have seen, Marianna Bassham has what it takes to play Hedda, a volatile combination of steel, self-destruction, and idealism.
— Bill Marx
Revolutionary Snake Ensemble
October 31, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
For more than two decades, the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble has been Boston’s resident avatar of New Orleans second-line brass band music, with plentiful heapings of African and Afro-Latin groove. Their annual Halloween show (costumes optional) will feature special guest Jon Bernhardt on Theremin, providing the spooky special effects.
Aardvark Jazz Orchestra
November 1, 8 p.m.
MIT Killian Hall, Cambridge, MA.
There’s no way the always socially-conscious Aardvark Jazz Orchestra would miss a chance to weigh in on mid-term elections 2014. Expect to hear selections from their new Impressions (Leo Records), including “DeEvolution Blues,” “Through the Looking Glass Blues, “ and “Keepin’ On.” The spirit of Mingus, Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra, an Archie Shepp’s Attica Blues lives on. The show is free.
The Music of John Zorn: A 35-Year Retrospective
November 4, 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA.
The “Masada Marathon” at this past summer’s Newport Jazz Festival offered a slice of this protean composer’s work. Now the forces of New England Conservatory — with the help of Zorn as curator — will look at an even broader swath: Naked City, game pieces, chamber music, madrigals, etc. Zorn will take part in a pre-concert Q&A with NEC’s Anthony Coleman at 7 p.m. And it’s all free.
Berklee alumnus Uri Gurvich returns to his alma mater for a live broadcast of “The Checkout — Live at Berklee” (on Newark’s WBGO). The alto saxophonist and composer has been recording provocative albums on John Zorn’s Tzadik label, combining Israeli, Yemenite, Eastern European, and North African influences. At Berklee he’ll be joined by pianist Asen Doykin, bassist Peter Slavov, and drummer Ronen Itzik.
— Jon Garelick
Reconstructed: the New Americana
Presented by the Lorelei Ensemble
October 31 (at 8 p.m.) and November 2 (at 3 p.m.)
Marsh Chapel, Boston, MA
Four world premieres – by Joshua Bornfield, Josh Shank, Scott Ordway, and Mary Montgomery Koppel – share a program with music by William Billings and contemporaries. Shaw Pong Liú (who’s got an upcoming premiere with the group in May) and Orlando Cela are the featured guest artists.
— Jonathan Blumhofer
October 29 at 8 p.m.
At the Goethe Institut, 170 Beacon Street, Boston, MA
Primary Source presents this excellent quartet, which is made up of Gabriela Diaz, Gabriel Boyers, Stephanie Fong, and Rafael Popper-Keizer. On the program: Mozart’s Duos for Violin and Viola, his String Quartet in B-flat major , and Haydn’s String Quartet in D major, Op. 76/5.
November 1 at 8 p.m.
At New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
Celebrity Series presents the acclaimed pianist performing works of Beethoven: The Last Word, Sonatas No. 30, 31, and 32 and Selections from Bagatelles, Op. 119.
Boston Choral Ensemble
November 1 at 8 p.m.
Marsh Chapel, Boston University, Boston, MA
November 2 at 4 p.m.
Holy Cross Cathedral, Boston, MA
The program “Dark, Dark Night” features a piece for All Saints by Carlo Gesualdo, the Requiem by Maurice Duruflé, and Funeral Ikos by John Tavener.
November 1 at 8 p.m.
Emmanuel Church, Boston, MA
Same program on Nov. 2 at 4 p.m. at Eliot Church, Newton Corner, Newton, MA
This wonderful group, under the direction of Amelia LeClair, presents two masterpiees of the early baroque period: Dietrich Muxtehude’s “Membra jesu Nostri” and Chiara Cozzolani’s “Vespers”
— Susan Miron
Great Scott, Boston, MA
Drowners are a New York band fronted by a Welsh singer. They have a bit of a Strokes vibe, which makes sense because the Strokes are a New York band that nobody loves more than the Brits. I saw Drowners open for Arctic Monkeys in September ’13 and wrote “Keep an ear out for them. They’re one song away.” A little over a year later that still seems right — they are on the verge.
Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA
Ohio-born Chrissie Hynde has been at this rock and roll thing for a long time now. She started out writing for British rock Bible NME and then worked at SEX, the shop owned by Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren. By the end of the ‘70s, she had formed the Pretenders and had a hit on both sides of the Atlantic with “Brass in Pocket.” Since, she’s continued to record with the band and be involved in side projects but it’s only with the June 2014 release of Stockholm that she’s ever had a solo record out, and it’s in support of that album that Hynde comes to the Orpheum.
Upcoming and On Sale…
Chrissie Hynde (11/1/2014, Orpheum Theatre); Peter Hook & the Light (11/8/2014, Royale); Stevie Wonder (11/11/2014, TD Garden); Bob Dylan (11/14/2014, Orpheum Theatre); Bob Dylan (11/15/2014, Providence Performing Arts Center); Johnny Marr (11/16/2014, Paradise Rock Club); London Grammar (11/17/2014, House of Blues); 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); Future Islands (1/7/2015, Royale); The Who (5/24/2015, Mohegan Sun Arena); The Who (10/29/2015, TD Garden)
— Adam Ellsworth
The New England Kitchen: Fresh Takes on Seasonal Recipes
October 27 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
Boston chef Sewall comes to Cambridge to discuss contemporary versions of classic New England fare, such as Maple-Brined Pork Rack with Apple, Creamy Oyster Stew with Fennel and Sweetcorn, and Bacon and Crab Chowder. Sewall will also discuss the best ways to shuck oysters and cook and eat lobster.
At Home in Exile: Why Diaspora is Good for the Jews
October 28 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
The Boston College political science professor and public intellectual will discuss his latest book about how diaspora is actually an opportunity for Jews to live vibrant, successful and secure lives in states where they are the minority. Drawing on scholarship from Maimonides to Philip Roth and Hannah Arendt, Wolfe argues that the whole world can benefit from Jews’ passion for justice and human rights.
Theories of International Politics and Zombies: Revived Edition
October 30 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
How would a zombie apocalypse effect international relations? Think of the implications- treaties, imports and exports, and the long-term feasibility of the undead devouring the brains of the living. Tufts professor Drezner comes to Cambridge to celebrate Halloween in proper Cambridge fashion, by examining the implications of zombiedom in the context of international relations.
Anne Rice’s multivolume vampire saga continues with the latest installment of the adventures of Lestat. Rice comes to Cambridge to sign copies of her new novel. The signing will begin at noon: she will sign up to two copies of her books and one can buy no more than four tickets at one time.
The Happiest People in the World
November 5 at 7 p.m.
Newtonville Books, Newton Centre MA
Imagine a spy thriller (set in in upstate New York) mixed with real-life incidents involving international terrorism, told with dry, dark humor and touches of absurdity. What you have is Brock Clarke’s newest novel. The release party will be at Newtonville Books, so lucky readers in the Boston area will get the first look at what promises to be a book that speaks to the concerns of the moment.
— Matt Hanson