Arts Fuse critics select the best in film, theater, music, dance, visual arts, and author events for the coming week.
By The Arts Fuse Staff
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
May at 8 p.m.
Brattle Theater Cambridge, MA
This preview features appearances by the director, cast, and screenwriter. Admission is free, but passes are required. Jesse Andrews’s screenplay is based on his book about a high school senior who is determined to protect his isolation, navigating the social minefield that is teenage life by opting out and avoiding deeper relationships. The film received the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.
Thursday, May 21
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA
The new Wine & Film series at the Coolidge opens with this a humorous and illuminating documentary that looks into the mysterious world of the Court of Master Sommeliers and their massively intimidating Master Sommelier Exam. Since its inception, fewer than 200 candidates have reached the exalted Master level. The exam covers literally every nuance of the world of wine. Those who have passed claim that in order to pull it off they had to put their sanity at risk. Shrouded in secrecy, access to the Court has always been strictly regulated; in the past cameras have never been allowed anywhere near the exam. Until Now.
May 22 through June 3
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s film, winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, returns to town; it was shown earlier this year as part of the Turkish Film Festival. Yes,the movie clocks in at 196 minutes, but it is a stunning look at the socioeconomic divides in Turkey — it also captures a part of the world we rarely see on film. Ceylan calls his hero Aydin “a very typical modern Turkish intellectual,” but there’s more than a little Russian lit (Chekhov and Dostoevsky) in this story, with some bits of King Lear worked in as well. As in his earlier films, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Climates, and Three Monkeys, the cinematography is exquisite: every image, with its detailed applications of shadow and light, is carefully constructed. The conversations are provocative and also emotionally devastating. The patient viewer will be rewarded, to the point of being overwhelmed. Our Arts Fuse critic disagrees with my assessment. See for yourself.
— Tim Jackson
Fiesta for the Arts
Tuesday, May 19 at 6 p.m.
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Join the Arsenal Center for the Arts for its annual celebration of founding member and arts activist Roberta Miller. This is a show that promises something for all ages; the event features a performance from the Flamenco Dance Project in the Charles Mosesian Theater, followed by an open-air reception, award ceremony, and local bakery delights.
The Good Parts of Being Alive
Thursday, May 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Make Shift Boston
The Good Parts of Being Alive—a dance film by choreographer Anna Reyes—premieres at Make Shift Boston. Join the performers and artistic team for this public screening followed by food and drink.
Thrill of Contact
May 21, 22, 23 at 7:30 p.m.; May 23 & 24 at 1 p.m.
The Opera House
It’s hard to go wrong with works by Balanchine, Robbins, and Forsythe. Add in choreography by Boston Ballet’s own principal dancer Jeffrey Cirio, and you have Thrill of Contact — a powerful combination of athleticism and artistic intention. Arts Fuse review.
inside, outside, and next to
May 22 & 23 at 8 p.m.
The Dance Complex
Hailing from New Mexico and North Carolina, AGA Collaborative brings its unique take on dance to town. The company focuses on producing works that give audience members reasons to reflect on their lives — a trio of performers use dance as a means to explore interpersonal connection.
— Merli V. Guerra
The Last Two People on Earth: An Apocalyptic Vaudeville. Direction and Choreography by Susan Stroman. Staged by The American Repertory Theatre at the Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA, through May 31.
Tony award-winner Mandy Patinkin and acclaimed actor/performance artist Taylor Mac star in the world premiere of a new musical that suggests we are well beyond singin’ in the rain: “It’s the end of the world, as we know it. A flood of biblical proportions leaves us with only two people on Earth who discover their common language is song and dance. Together they chronicle the rise and fall and hopeful rise again of humankind through music that runs the gamut from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Sondheim, and R.E.M. to Queen.”
after all the terrible things I do by A. Rey Pamatmat. Directed by Peter DuBois. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, May 22 through June 21.
We are told that this is a provocative drama from an “emerging Filipino American playwright” that “examines how our prejudices impact those closest to us and what the cost of forgiveness and second chances actually looks like. Pamatmat explores the origins of bullying and its mental and psychological ramifications.” The Huntington’s production of after all the terrible things I do will run alongside Company One Theatre’s production of Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them
(directed by Shawn LaCount). Both productions will be produced in the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, the Huntington’s home for new plays. Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them will run from June 4 through 27 at in Deane Hall.
Henry VI, Part 2, by William Shakespeare. Directed by Tina Packer. Staged by the Actors’ Shakespeare Project in the Modern Theatre at Suffolk University, 525 Washington Street, Boston, MA, through June 7.
Why not start with Part 1 of this trilogy of early history plays? Perhaps because some critics think this script (believed to have been written in 1591) is the most accomplished of the three? Because it is the tale of weak (perhaps mentally challenged?) monarch who can’t control the forces around him? Interesting choice …
Letters From War, written, directed and designed by Nate Bertone. At the Salem Theatre, 90 Lafayette Street, Salem, MA, through May 23.
The world premiere of “a musical tale of love, loss, and the strength of family.” The script was written “in response to the affects of Alzheimer’s Disease on his [Bertone’s] grandmother and his family, utilizing images, memories, and stories from the past and present.”
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. Directed by Olivia D’Ambrosio. Staged by Bridge Repertory Theatre in Deane Hall at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, through May 30.
This young company “takes on Shakespeare’s great political drama with a fresh, stripped-down, actor-driven production.” We are told the approach will be “rife with West–Wing-meets-Homeland type dialogue and suspense.”
The Submission by Jeff Talbott. Directed by David J. Miller. Staged by the Zeitgeist Stage Company at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, through May 30.
The New England premiere of what is touted as a “fierce and hilarious” drama: “Shaleeha G’ntamobi has written a gritty ghetto drama about an alcoholic African-American and her cardsharp son in the projects, and it’s been accepted by the prestigious Humana Festival. The problem is that Shaleeha is actually a pseudonym for Danny, a young gay white playwright, created in the hopes of increasing the play’s chances for success. Danny hires Emilie, an African American actress, to impersonate his nome de plume.”
Light Up the Sky, by Moss Hart. Directed by Scott Edmiston. Staged by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston at 140 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA, through June 13.
Hart’s venerable backstage Broadway comedy in a production that features a dream cast of Boston actors — including Will LeBow, Will McGarrahan, Bob Mussett, Terrence O’Malley, Paula Plum, Alejandro Simones, Kathy St. George, Richard Snee, and Bobbie Steinbach.
Seminar by Theresa Rebeck. Directed by Christine Toy Johnson. On the Julie Harris Stage at the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, Wellfleet, MA, through June 13.
Alan Campbell stars in ” a provocative comedy from Pulitzer Prize nominee Theresa Rebeck.” The script follows the experiences of “four aspiring young novelists who sign up for private writing classes with Leonard, an international literary figure. Under his recklessly brilliant and unorthodox instruction, some thrive and others flounder, alliances are made and broken, sex is used as a weapon and hearts are unmoored.”
Mothers & Sons by Terrence McNally. Directed by Paul Daigneault. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage Company at the Boston Center for the Arts, through June 6.
“A 2014 Tony Nominee for Best Play, Mothers & Sons is a timely and touching new play that explores our evolving understanding of what it means to be a family.” The cast includes Nancy E. Carroll and Michael Kaye. Arts Fuse review.
Mr g, adapted and directed by Wesley Savick from the book by Alan Lightman. Staged by Underground Railway Theater at the Central Square Theatre through May 24.
This world premiere production is part of the 10th Anniversary of Catalyst Collaborative@MIT, a science-theatre collaboration between Central Square Theater and MIT. Here is the lowdown: “Mr g creates time, space, matter, a few basic laws of physics. These give birth to stars, planets… but intelligent life? The Creator’s plans go awry when a mysterious rival questions the nature of free will. Together, we experience the birth and fate of Mr g’s favorite universe: ours.”
Albatross, based on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” Adaptation by Mathew Spangler and Benjamin Evett. Directed by Rick Lombardo. In the Charles Mosesian Theater at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA, May 21 through 24.
According to the Arts Fuse review of the premiere of this production earlier in the season, this one-man show, featuring a robust-to-the-max Benjamin Evett, is “terrific — a powerful script, vital performance, and imaginative stage design. The piece recently won two Elliot Norton Awards.
— Bill Marx
Jesse Aron Green: Ärztliche Zimmergymnastic
May 23 – August 9
Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA
Jesse Aron Green, who graduated from Harvard College in 2002 in the Visual and Environmental Studies Program and later earned an M.F.A. from U.C.L.A., returns to his alma mater this month with his most celebrated work, recently acquired by the Harvard Art Museums. Green’s 2008 video and installation piece, Ärztliche Zimmergymnastic (Medicalized Indoor Gymnastics) takes its inspiration and title from an influential 1858 book on physical exercise by German Physician Daniel Gottlob Moritz Schreber (1808–1861).
In video, sculpture, photographs, and drawings, Green’s piece presents 45 exercises that Dr. Schreber prescribed to urban youth for “the maintenance of health and vigor of body and mind” and the “healthy relief of excessive energy,” which Dr. Schreber saw as an antidote to masturbation. The installation has a hefty backstory: there are its connections with manic 19th-century German schemes for health, improvement, and the advancement of culture as well as the story of Schreber’s son, Daniel Paul, one of history’s most famous lunatics, whose memoir of his mental illness strongly influenced Sigmund Freud.
From Birds to Beasts: Audubon’s Last Great Adventure
May 23 – August 30
Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire
Born in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti) and raised mostly in Nantes in Brittany during the French Revolution, John James Audubon achieved enduring fame with his Birds of America, created after an immense effort, with its 435 hand-colored, mostly life-sized, scientifically accurate, and strikingly beautiful prints of nearly 500 bird species native to North America. Manchester’s Currier is presenting a later, less well known but no less monumental Audubon effort: his studies of American mammals in their natural habitats. The project is billed here as his “last great adventure.” The show is a collaboration between the Currier and New Hampshire Audubon, which has made their original 1845-48 Audubon portfolio available for display in the state for the first time.
May 23 –
MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA
Liz Deichendes might be called an anti-photographer. Her works use light sensitive, photographic materials, but in ways that challenge conventional photography: instead of representing an external reality, her images take on the textures, patterns, and gradual changes of the chemistry of ‘the photographer’s’ raw materials. This solo project at Mass MoCA features new work made for the show, metal-like surfaces in large shadow boxes, which, instead of hanging sedately on the walls, occupy and transform the space in which they are displayed.
Stickwork: Patrick Dougherty
May 23 – May 28, 2017
Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA
Woven of natural twigs and saplings, Patrick Dougherty’s work resembles giant, multi-storied nests as they would have been designed by the architect of St. Basil’s in Moscow. His well-named Stickwork is the first outdoor sculpture installation the Peabody Essex has ever commissioned, and it serves as a provocative counterpoint to the early 18th-century wood-frame Crowninshield-Bentley House located on the museum’s grounds.
— Peter Walsh
South American Gems
Presented by Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra
May 17, 8 p.m.
Sanders Theater, Cambridge
Pro Arte music director emerita Gisèle Ben-Dor returns to lead a program of music by Astor Piazzolla and Alberto Ginastera. There will also be a special performance by the Conservatory Lab Charter School Dudamel Orchestra.
Sir John in Love
Presented by Odyssey Opera
May 17, 20, and 23 at 7:30 p.m. (3 p.m. on May 17th)
Boston University Theater, Boston, MA
Odyssey Opera returns to action with the first of its four programs through June. The theme this year is “The British Invasion,” beginning with Ralph Vaughan Williams’ adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. The cast includes, among others, Oren Gradus as John Falstaff, Michael Chioldi as Ford, and Megan Pacchecano as Anne Page. Gil Rose conducts the Odyssey Orchestra and Chorus.
The Bear and The Zoo
Presented by Odyssey Opera
May 22 at 7:30 p.m. and 24 at 3 p.m.
Boston University Theater, Boston
Odyssey’s “British Invasion” continues with a double-bill of William Walton’s The Bear and Arthur Sullivan’s The Zoo. The former, an adaptation of Chekov’s play, stars Stephen Salters, Janna Baty, and Simon Dyer; the later features Chelsea Beatty, Sadie Gregg, Colin Levy, Daniel Shirley, and, again, Mr. Dyer.
— Jonathan Blumhofer
Newton Festival of the Arts (Music for Food)
May 20 at 7 p.m. in Newton
In the Wilson Chapel at Andover Newton Theological School, 210 Herrick Road, Newton, MA
As part of Newton’s celebration of the arts, Music for Food will perform. On the program: Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Cello, with violinist Lynn Chang and cellist Mickey Katz; Bartok (Selected Duos), and Brahms’ Piano Quartet in G Minor, Op. 25 with violinist Malcolm Lowe, violist Kim Kashkashian, pianist Jonathan Bass, and cellist Micky Katz. All proceeds to benefit Newton’s four food pantries
May 22 at 8 p.m.
at Marsh Chapel, 735 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA
Same program to be performed on May 23 at 8 p.m.
In the Lowell Lecture Hall, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
The program is entitled “Shelter”: Shaw Pong Liú’s Peace is a Woman in a House (World Premiere) with Chinese calligrapher Mike Mei; Carson Cooman’s The Dawning Light (World Premiere), and selections from Las Huelgas Codex.
— Susan Miron
World and Roots Music
Insect Surfers with Tsunami of Sound
Cuisine en Locale, Somerville, MA
The decades between the ’60s heyday of the Ventures and Dick Dale and the Pulp Fiction-fueled revive of the ’90s were a bleak era for surf music. But the Insect Surfers were determined to keep the reverb alive, and now they’ve earned the title of the “longest running modern surf band.” Not surprisingly they’re in high demand on the West Coast, but this is their first East Coast tour in 34 years.
Alba’s Edge LP Release show
The Burren, Somerville, MA
The notion of “Scottish jazz” isn’t as far fetched as it might seem. The piano has always been a vital part of the Scottish fiddle tradition. Pianist Neil Pearlman grew up in the local Scottish music scene, which owes much of its vibrancy to the area’s connection to Cape Breton. He then went on to study jazz and Latin traditions, sounds that come together beautifully in the quartet Alba’s Edge. Their new LP Run to Fly is full of delightful surprises. They celebrate its release with host of other local luminaries, including Hanneke Cassel and Mike Block.
The Blues Magoos
Johnny D’s, Somerville, MA
Any short list of garage rock’s finest moments would include the Blues Magoos’ “We Ain’t Got Nothing Yet.” Unlike many of their ’60s peers, they still boast some original band members (three), including lead singer Peppy Castro. They’ve put out their first LP in decades, Psychedelic Resurrection, which leans in a somewhat slick, acid rock direction.
Sandaraa is a new band whose members hail from Lahore, Pakistan, and Brooklyn, New York. The group is fronted by vocalist Zeb Bangash (of the pop band Zeb and Haniya) and includes klezmer clarinet wiz Michael Winograd. Its music is made up of “a vast repertoire of South Asian musical traditions blended with the sounds and sensibilities of Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and New York.” The new incarnation of the Union Square club formerly known as Radio is hosting this fantastic Balkan double bill, which also features local Eastern European brass champs Raya.
There may be no Latin music star as old-school as Colombian bolero singer Alci Acosta. The 76-year-old belts out saloon poetry about heartbreak and jealousy backed by a just a piano and a small rhythm section. That’s enough to earn him millions of YouTube viewers, a permanent spot on Latin American TV, and a lengthy U.S. tour with the long-running Salvadoran orchestra Los Hermanos Flores.
— Noah Schaffer
James Merenda-Jon Dreyer-Joe Hunt
May 17, 8 p.m.
Green Room, Somerville, MA.
Saxophonist James Merenda and bassist Jon Dreyer are regular collaborators in the adventurous band TickleJuice. Here they come together, with Merenda on piano, joined by the esteemed drummer Joe Hunt.
Avishai Cohen & Triveni
May 20, 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
Israeli-born trumpeter Avishai Cohen (a younger sibling of Anat) has become one of the bright lights of the New York scene, mixing a love of the tradition with an undeniable urge to stretch. (Mingus is an important touchstone.) He comes to Boston with his fascinating, longstanding trio, Triveni, with bassist Linda Oh and drummer Nasheet Waits.
Eli & the Hot Six
May 21 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
Tubist Eli Newberger, founder of the venerable New Black Eagle Jazz Band, convenes his formidable Hot Six, with trumpeter Bo Winiker, reedman Ted Casher, pianist Bob Winter, trombonist Herb Gardner, banjoist/vocalist Jimmy Mazzy, drummer Jeff Guthery (which makes it seven, with Newberger, but who’s counting?). They’re joined by guest singer Rebecca Sullivan, celebrating the release of Contemporary Classic Jazz, with the requisite emphasis on pre-swing New Orleans and Chicago-style.
Plymouth Rock Assurance Jazz Festival
Spire Center for Performing Arts, Plymouth, MA.
Memorial Day weekend gets underway with the second installment of this annual event at Plymouth’s Spire Center. The lineup includes saxophonist Harry Allen’s quartet, Tony Bennett bassist Marshall Wood’s Quartet with singer Donna Byrne, trumpeter Johnny Souza’s quintet (May 22, 7 p.m.); Branford Marsalis pianist Joey Calderazzo’s trio, drummer Yoron Israel & High Standards, singer Cassandra McKinley with pianist Paul Broadnax’s trio (May 23, 7 p.m.); and a jazz jam hosted by Souza (May 24, 5 p.m.).
Satoko Fuji & Kaze
May 25, 6:30 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA
The Berklee and New England Conservatory-educated pianist-composer Satoko Fuji returns to the Lily Pad with the quartet Kaze, with its unusual two-trumpet front line. In a variety of contexts, including big band, Fuji has combined exploratory writing and free improvisation, informed by her own charismatic piano playing. Fuji is traveling from Japan for a short tour to celebrate the release of Kaze’s latest CD, Uminari (referring to “a sound rising from the sea, a low-frequency roar that portends coming storm or tsunami”).
May 27, 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
The latest prodigy to take the jazz world by storm is 11-year-old Balinese pianist Joey Alexander, whose advocates include Herbie Hancock and Wynton Marsalis. You can read Nate Chinen’s sober, cleared-eyed profile in The New York Times. Or hunt around on YouTube and catch his remarkably mature rendering of “My Favorite Things.” Or catch him live with a trio at Scullers.
— Jon Garelick
Royale, Boston, MA
There are many bands that have mixed dance music with rock, as Primal Scream did with their seminal 1991 album Screamadelica. But how many of those groups then turned around and released a straight-up rawk album, as the Primals did with their 1994 album Give Out But Don’t Give Up and its Stones-y single “Rocks?” Ever since, the Scottish legends have combined rock and dance; they released the classic XTRMNTR in 1999 and, more recently, the excellent More Light in 2013.
Great Scott, Boston, MA
No need to beat around the bush, I think Palma Violets are the greatest live band in the world. As I wrote two years ago, the English rockers’ 2013 set at Coachella was the best concert I’d ever seen, and no show I’ve attended in the past 24 months has caused me to reevaluate my opinion. In addition to their upcoming appearance at Great Scott, earlier this month the band released their sophomore album Danger in the Club, so if you’re a Palma Violets fanatic like me, there’s a lot to be excited about.
Boston Calling (featuring Beck, Pixies, My Morning Jacket)
City Hall Plaza, Boston, MA
Boston Calling has once again outdone itself. Alt-rock icon Beck, local legends the Pixies, and the once-again-critically-acclaimed My Morning Jacket headline, while the rest of the bill including Run the Jewels, Tove Lo, Gerard Way, Marina and the Diamonds, TV on the Radio, St. Vincent, Sharon Van Etten, Tenacious D, and Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals is just as strong. Oh, and Tame Impala is also playing, because apparently the lineup wasn’t incredible enough already.
Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT
Despite my (sort of) young age, I’ve been lucky enough to see some of the all-time greats of the ’60s in concert. All of them, from Paul McCartney to the Rolling Stones to Bob Dylan, are worth hearing, but if you really want to see a bunch of “old” guys bring it, no-one can top the ‘Oo. This is the band’s first of two stops in our area during their 50th anniversary tour (they play Boston in late October), and while they’re reportedly mostly sticking to the hits, they’ve also been pulling out the likes of “Pictures of Lily.” If that isn’t enough to entice you, you’re beyond my help.
Upcoming and On Sale…
Death (5/31/2015, Middle East-Downstairs); Conor Oberst (6/5/2015, House of Blues); Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (6/6/2015, Boston Opera House); Lana del Rey (6/9/2015, Xfinity Center); Florence + the Machine (6/10/2015, Blue Hills Bank Pavilion); Best Coast (6/12/2015, Paradise Rock Club); South Shore Indie Music Festival (6/13/2015, Fuller Craft Museum); Paul Weller (6/13/2015, Paradise Rock Club); Spoon (6/18/2015, House of Blues); Rush (6/23/2015, TD Garden); Morrissey (6/24/2015, Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts); Buffalo Tom (6/26 and 27/2015, The Sinclair); Huey Lewis and the News (6/27/2015, Indian Ranch); Melvins (6/27/2015, Paradise Rock Club); Brian Wilson (with Rodriguez) (7/2/2015, Blue Hills Bank Pavilion); U2 (7/10, 11, 14, 15/2015, TD Garden); Green River Fest (featuring Steve Earle, Punch Brothers, and tUnE-yArDs) (7/10-12/2015, Greenfield Community College); Mudhoney (7/11/2015, Brighton Music Hall); Billy Joel (7/16/2015, Fenway Park); Raekwon & Ghostface Killah (7/17/2015, Paradise Rock Club); Foo Fighters (7/18-19/2015, Fenway Park); Neil Young + Promise of the Real (7/22/2015, Xfinity Center); Modest Mouse (7/23/2015, Blue Hills Bank Pavilion); Interpool (7/23-24/2015, House of Blues); Bombino (7/27/2015, The Sinclair); X (7/30/2015, The Sinclair); Veruca Salt (7/30/2015, Paradise Rock Club); (the) Thurson MoOre Baand (8/2/2015, The Sinclair); Brandon Flowers (8/3/2015, House of Blues); Jamie XX (8/9/2015, The Sinclair); Dick Dale (8/15/2015, Middle East-Downstairs); Willie Nelson & Family (8/21/2015, Blue Hills Bank Pavilion); AC/DC (8/22/2015, Gillette Stadium); Counting Crows (8/23/2015, Blue Hills Bank Pavilion); Social Distortion (8/23/2015, House of Blues); Death Cab For Cutie (9/11/2015, Blue Hills Bank Pavilion); Albert Hammond Jr. (9/20/2015, The Sinclair); Bob Mould (9/23/2015, The Sinclair); Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls (9/25/2015, House of Blues); Kraftwerk (10/3/2015, Wang Theatre); Ride (10/3/2015, Paradise Rock Club); Mark Knopfler (10/9/2015, Orpheum Theatre); Ringo Starr and His All Star Band (10/23/2015, Citi Performing Arts Center); The Who (10/29/2015, TD Garden)
— Adam Ellsworth
Mark Z Danielewski
The Familiar, Volume 1: One Rainy Day in May
May 17 at 6 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
The author of the cryptic, innovative House of Leaves comes to Brookline to read from his latest tome, which kicks off a staggeringly ambitious 27-volume novel cycle that takes the reader on a surreal, dense, and heavily metafictional journey from Los Angeles to Mexico to Singapore and Texas.
The Wright Brothers
May 18 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30)
First Parish Church, Cambridge MA
The two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and biographer comes to Cambridge to read, discuss, and sign his latest classic American story. This time around his subject is Wilbur and Orville Wright, whose technical innovations and determination were matched only by their courage as they constantly braved death in their new-fangled flying machines.
Liam Callanan and Andrea Cohen
Four Way Books Publishing House reading
May 20 from 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Aurora Providence, Providence RI
Two authors from Four Way Books will read in Providence. Callanan is a Edgar-award nominated novelist and frequent public radio essayist. Cohen’s poems have appeared in Atlantic Monthly and The New Republic. She is the director of Cambridge’s Blacksmith House Poetry Series and The Writer’s House at Merrimack College.
Dr Theresa Strouth Gaul
Cherokee Sister: The Life and Letters of Catherine Brown
May 21 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Congregational Library & Archive, Boston MA
Native Americans have often been written out of canonical versions of American history. Luckily, the writings of a woman from a Cherokee tribe have been recovered. Her letters provide fascinating insight into Cherokee politics, leading up to the Trail of Tears.
Frank: A Life in Politics from The Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage
May 21 at 6 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline MA
$5 tickets or free with the purchase of the book
In case you missed him the first time around, the legendarily witty former Congressman from Massachusetts will read, sign, and discuss his new memoir. During his lengthy and colorful tenure in Washington, Frank experienced a number of watershed events: he lived through the AIDS crisis years of the ’80s, weighed in on the ’90s debates about big government in the Clinton era, and helped pass the controversial and wide-ranging Dodd-Frank bill in 2010. In his book, Frank explains how a feisty, eloquent, and (initially) closeted kid from New Jersey became a respected and influential public figure.
Jon Fine and Clint Conley
Your Band Sucks: What I Saw at Indie Rock’s Failed Revolution (But Can No Longer Hear)
May 21 at 8 p.m.
LilyPad, Cambridge MA
Free, but RSVP for guaranteed seat
Jon Fine, the executive editor of Inc magazine, sits down with a member of the ’80s-era legendary Boston band Mission of Burma to discuss thirty years of the indie rock scene. Be ready for a conversation about the people who played a vital part in a lively, innovative, and fiercely uncompromising musical subculture.
Women of Will: Following the Feminine in Shakespeare’s Plays
May 22 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
Shakespeare’s known for his dashing, charismatic male protagonists – your Hamlets, your Lears, etc. But what about the women? Tina Packer, the founding artistic director of the Berkshires’ own Shakespeare and Company and currently directing the Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s production of Henry VI Part Two, comes to Porter Square to talk about how the Bard’s appreciation (and depiction) of strong women evolved over the course of his career. Packer argues that the turning point in Shakespeare’s characterization of women is Juliet.
Daniel Bouchard and Joseph Torra
The Filaments and After the Chinese
May 23 at 5 p.m.
Gloucester Writer’s Center, Gloucester MA
Two prominent local poets will read in the hometown of Charles Olson. Bouchard’s poetry has appeared in The Nation and BOMB magazine. His collections include The Filaments and Some Mountains Removed. Torra teaches poetry and fiction at UMass-Boston and is the author of many collections of poetry and fiction. He currently edits the literary journal Let The Bucket Down.
Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers
May 29 at 7 p.m.
The Wilbur Theatre, Boston MA
Tickets are $35 and include the price of the book
Best known as Parks and Recreation‘s Ron Swanson, Pawnee’s resident cynic with a heart of gold, the performer has also written the bestselling humorous memoir Paddle Your Own Canoe. The dryly witty comedian will come to Boston to read and discuss his latest book, which details twenty-one notable Americans whose rebel spirit have helped make America what it is today. Tickets are likely to go as fast, so fans are advised to act with gumption if they want to get a good seat.
— Matt Hanson