Fuse Coming Attractions: What Will Light Your Fire This Week
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
Kahlil Joseph’s m.A.A.d
Through August 16th
Mass MOCA, North Adams, MA
Part of the museum’s “Kahlil Joseph: Double Conscience” series, m.A.A.d is a double screen projection made up of dreamlike sequences that alternate extended shots with frenetic, rapid fire looks at black life in America in contemporary Los Angeles. The camera sinuously glides through predominantly African American neighborhoods, pausing to capture quotidian moments — a car driving along, a marching band, a barbershop — that are filled with creativity, joy, and sadness. The split screen divides the viewer’s attention as it alludes to the history of auteur cinema, which sacrificed linear narrative for the sake of exploring different kinds of experimentation, including the formal and political possibilities of filmmaking. The installation extends this iconoclastic tradition by making use of music videos, amateur film footage, and moments of magical realism. The two-part projection may also slyly evoke philosopher W.E.B. Dubois’s early twentieth century concept of African-American “double consciousness.”
3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA
This is the winner of the 2015 Sundance U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Social Impact. It is Black Friday 2012; two cars are parked next to each other at a Florida gas station. A white middle-aged male and a black teenager exchange angry words over the volume of the music in the boy’s car. A gun enters the argument, and one of them is left dead. Michael Dunn fired 10 bullets at a car full of unarmed teenagers and then fled. Three of those bullets hit 17-year-old Jordan Davis, who died at the scene. Arrested the next day, Dunn claimed he shot in self-defense. Thus began the long process of unraveling the truth. The film follows that journey, reconstructing the night of the murder, revealing how hidden racial prejudice contributed to the tragedy. Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis, will be present on Sunday, July 26 at 2 p.m. for a Q&A.
July 25 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, MA
The Robert Altman Retrospective continues with this lesser-known but sharp political satire. The film ostensibly concerns the rivalry between two women — one an uptight octogenarian, the other an earnest campaigner against materialism and commercialism — for control over a health food empire. When he saw the film at the White House in 1982, Ronald Reagan described it in his diary as “the world’s worst movie.” Sounds like an excellent recommendation! Starring Carol Burnett, James Garner, Lauren Bacall, Glenda Jackson, Paul Dooley, Henry Gibson, and Dick Cavett as himself.
Woods Hole Film Festival
July 25 to Aug. 1
Venues around Woods Hole on Cape Cod
The 24th festival at Woods Hole runs for eight days beginning this coming Saturday. This year’s Filmmaker-in-Residence (and Cambridge resident) Maya Forbes opens the festivities with her film Infinitely Polar Bear. Other local filmmakers include Lindsey Copeland with Girls Night on July 27 at 7 p.m., a story that centers on five college friends reuniting for a concert in Boston. Also on hand are Diego Ongaro with Bob and the Trees (July 28 and Aug. 1 at 9 p.m.), Happy 40th, (July 30 at 7 p.m.), directed by and featuring Newton’s Madoka Raine. Local docs include Gerald Peary’s Archie’s Betty (July 27 at 5 p.m.) (Arts Fuse review) Sally Taylor’s Consensus (July 28 at 5 p.m.) and Cesar’s Last Fast (July 26 at 7 p.m.) by Richard Ray Perez. There are also panels by the duo known as The Kissinger Twins (Kasia Kifert and Dawid Marcinkowski), who mix classic film and photography with the latest in digital technologies. Their award-winning interactive works use modern technology to discover new ways of generating surprising and touching emotions from the audience.
— Tim Jackson
Reach: 25th Anniversary Performance
Wednesday, July 22 at 7 p.m. (Rain date: July 29)
Bishop Allen Drive Parking Lot #6 (behind Quest Diagnostics)
Boston University’s Summer Outreach Dance/Teen Apprenticeship Dance Program (or “Reach”) celebrates its 25th anniversary with a free outdoor performance in the heart of Cambridge’s Central Square. The performance aims to highlight not only the teens’ rigorous training, but their ethnic and social backgrounds as well.
And further afield…
FOLLIES: Women Dance the Comic, Week 3: Abby Bender & Cassie Tunick
July 24 at 8 p.m. and July 25 at 6:30 p.m.
Patricia N. Nanon Theater
Chillmark, MA (Martha’s Vineyard)
Take a day trip to Martha’s Vineyard to enjoy an out-of-the-box performance featuring performers/choreographers Abby Bender and Cassie Tunick at The Yard. The duo presents Totally Other, a work that honors the abandoned spaces near and dear to us while creating a plethora of richly entwined characters.
Daniil Simkin’s INTENSIO
July 22-25 at 8 p.m.; July 25 & 26 at 2 p.m.
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival
Compared by critics to Baryshnikov and Nureyev, Daniil Simkin debuts the world premiere of INTENSIO at New England’s own Jacob’s Pillow this summer, featuring a stellar cast of ballet stars hailing from American Ballet Theatre and Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal.
— Merli V. Guerra
The height of the summer on us: the best time to see art that lives outdoors in New England. Here are a few places in the region where you can look at sculpture, walk on grass, lie in the shade, listen to the birds, or even enjoy a picnic lunch. Who needs walls and ceilings when the weather is so fine and the art so at home?
deCordova Sculpture Garden and Museum, Lincoln, MA
When glass manufacturer Julien deCordova died in 1945, his neo-Gothic country estate came under the control of the town of Lincoln. The place was pretty much a tabula rasa, especially after the trustees disposed of deCordova’s collection of curios and Victorian bric-a-brac, deemed worthless by the taste of the time. The founders then took a radical leap of faith and, in staid suburban Boston, created a museum devoted to contemporary art, especially as created by New Englanders.
The estate’s rolling 30 acre grounds, picturesquely overlooking Sandy Pond, soon became the site for large-scale modern sculpture, especially attractive when seen during the greener months of the year. This side of the venture grew so popular that, in 2009, the museum reversed its name: from deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park to deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum.
Today, the Sculpture Park stretches from the hilltop, near the original deCordova mansion, over the slopes of the hillside and into the wooded groves beyond. The park’s Master Plan speaks of “a dynamic contemporary art gallery — with frequent change, site-specific works, and experimentation with artists and projects that enable visitors to see where sculpture is going, as opposed to where it has been.” Works typically on view include sculpture, commissions, loans, and installations by such international figures as Sol LeWitt, Jim Dine, Rona Pondick, and Kenneth Snelson, alongside New Englanders like George Greenamyer, Richard Rosenblum, and Robert Schelling. Museum-based exhibitions often spill out into the grounds as well. There is an admission fee to the grounds and museum, both of which are open daily during the summer months.
Established nearby on another Victorian suburban estate, Wellesley College occupies what is considered one of the nation’s most beautiful campuses, designed in the early 20th century by the sons and successors of Frederick Law Olmsted., Sr. Thanks to the school’s Jewett Art Center and Davis Museum, the elegantly laid-out grounds, the shores of Lake Waban, and the surrounding woods have long been used as a widely scattered outdoor gallery for modern and contemporary sculpture.
Though most of the installations, temporary loans, and installations have gone up with out much controversy, in February 2014 a furore about Tony Matelli’s Sleepwalker, installed outdoors as part of the artist’s retrospective at the Davis, made national news. The sculpture, a life-sized, “hyper-realistic” figure of a man dressed only in white under-pants, suggested sexual assault to some of the women’s college’s students. Several hundred people even signed an on-line petition to have it removed. Debates around the country questioned the work’s meaning, propriety, prominent location near a roadway, and the whole purpose and meaning of contemporary art, which, according to the exhibition’s curator, the work was partly meant to challenge.
Sleepwalker has finished its run at the college and gone home, no doubt to some much-needed rest, but other works remain to be seen, pondered, discussed and enjoyed, including recently-donated redonated sculpture by Kenneth Nelson and Clement Mead-more.
John Milton Hay has appeared in dozens if not hundreds of novels, biographies, plays, and movies thanks to his role, when barely old enough to vote, as President Lincoln’s private secretary and close advisor. After Lincoln’s death, Hay worked as a journalist and as an ambassador and, at the end of his career, served seven years as Secretary of State under Presidents McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.
In the 1880s, Hay assembled nearly 1000 acres of abandoned farmland in Newbury, New Hampshire, overlooking Lake Sunapee, into a country estate. His descendants enlarged the buildings and enhanced the grounds into a series of famous formal gardens, now managed by a private foundation. Every summer, the restored grounds are used to display sculpture by New England artists. This year’s selection, which ranges from the realistic to the whimsical, is on view for a modest admission charge through October 12.
Hidden away on a Berkshire hilltop in Sheffield, MA, the Butler Sculpture Park is one of a handful of outdoor displays devoted to a single artist. Some forty-five of Robert Butler’s large-scale, abstract steel pieces are displayed in specially designed settings amid forty acres of winding paths and meadows. A couple dozen additional, small pieces are on display in the artist’s working studio, along with works in progress. The park is oven seven days a week through October. Admission and parking are free
Set in a carefully preserved and protected, classically beautiful Hudson River landscape about an hour north of New York City, the Storm King Art Center is one of the world’s greatest sculpture parks. Its permanent collection includes work by many if not most of the great names of late 20th-century sculpture, from Barbara Hepworth and Louise Nevelson to Claes Oldenburg and large selection of David Smith, acquired from his estate. About 100 pieces have been carefully sited outdoors, taking special advantage of the spectacular surrounding views. The cumulative effect is breathtaking and well worth a special trip up the Hudson.
This summer’s featured special exhibitions include large scale works and fountains (“Water Sources”) by Lynda Benglis and an installation (“Outlooks”) by Luke Stettner. Both shows include additional work in the Center’s Museum Building. The Center is open, for an admission fee, Wednesday through Sunday through October with more limited hours in November. Enjoy before the snow files.
— Peter Walsh
Revolutionary Snake Ensemble
July 22, 7:30 p.m.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.
The venerable Boston band that specializes in pushing the limits of the New Orleans second-line tradition and African grooves hits the Calderwood Courtyard at the MFA with special guests Jason Palmer (trumpet) and Godwin Louis (alto saxophone). The core lineup comprises leader/alto saxophonist Ken Field, tenor saxophonist Tom Hall, trumpeter Jerry Sabatini, trombonist and tuba-man David Harris, bassist Blake Newman, and drummer Phil Neighbors.
July 23, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA
The concept and the players couldn’t be more promising: a reimagining of New York 1960s Puerto Rican boogaloo (or, in the band’s preferred historical term: bugalu), with non-traditional instrumentation and shades of contemporary funk. As for the players: bassist/leader Chris Maclachlan, of legendary Boston New Wave band Human Sexual Response; former Bim Skala Bim percussionist Rick Barry; trumpeter Scott Getchell (Agachiko, Lars Vegas); and, from the Either/Orchestra, percussionist/vocalist Vicente Lebron and saxophonist/flutist Russ Gershon.
Yuka Hunt Trio + One
July 25, 8 p.m.
The Green Room, Somerville, MA
Harmonica virtuoso Mike Turk joins pianist/singer/composer Yuka Hunt and her trio with the distinguished drummer Joe Hunt (Yuka’s husband) and bassist Mark Harrist. The program will include Yuka’s originals and her arrangements of pieces from the Great American Songbook as well as Brazilian samba and compositions by Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans.
Daniel Rosenthal Quintet
July 23, 8 p.m.
Outpost 186, Cambridge, MA.
The talented young trumpeter Daniel Rosenthal and composer (here also playing flugelhorn) is joined by alto saxophonist Rick Stone, multi-reedman Charlie Kohlhase, drummer Luther Gray, and a bassist TBA, for a mix of originals, some Monk, and probably a surprising standard or two.
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
July 24, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
Some folks will probably never forgive Big Bad Voodoo Daddy for getting picked up by alt-rock radio — back when there was such a thing as alt-rock radio. But their take-offs on the jump blues and jazz of the likes of Louis Jordan and Louis Prima match the exuberance and polish of many another more “scholarly” revival band. Maybe Scullers will even clear some space for the swing dancers.
July 25, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
The charismatic Jamaica-born pianist Monty Alexander, known for bringing his island’s music to jazz, these days is touring behind a Nat “King” Cole project, with guest singers Allan Harris and Caterina Zapponi complementing his own quite capable and charming vocals.
Harmonica virtuoso Mike Turk joins pianist/singer/composer Yuka Hunt and her trio with the distinguished drummer Joe Hunt (Yuka’s husband) and bassist Mike Harrist. The program will include Yuka’s originals and her arrangements of pieces from the Great American Songbook as well as Brazilian samba and compositions by Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans.
— Jon Garelick
Roots and World Music
The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
About a decade ago, elusive funk guitarist Otis’s 1974 LP Inspiration Information was reissued to much fanfare. At the time Otis squandered the critical momentum with what were described by many as horrendously unfocused performances. A 2013 comeback landed him at Scullers, where was far more successful. When it comes to Otis nothing is guaranteed, but for fans of his adventurous groove he’s likely worth the risk.
Two of Southwest Louisiana’s traditional masters join forces with local Cajun heroine Erica Weiss on their way to the Newport Folk Festival.
The heartbreaking news that Johnny D’s will be closing come this winter comes just as the club was in the midst of presenting some major heritage artists who would normally only show up in the suburbs or at larger venues. Case in point is this iconic British folk/rock band, whose infrequent U.S. tours normally bring it across the street to the Somerville Theater. Steeleye’s mix of ballads and bombast is very much a throwback to its late 60’s/early 70’s genesis, but the powerful voice of lead singer Maddy Prior is timeless.
Lowell Folk Festival
The annual summer highlight for any musical omnivore, the free Lowell Folk Festival keeps ticking along. It’s 29th edition has the usual mix of performers and food from around the world. Among the many highlights are the first local appearance in ages by gospel pioneers the Fairfield Four, the Chinese melodies of the Ann Yao Trio, Chicano son jaracho revivalists Los Cambalache, and the all-female Original Pinettes Brass Band of New Orleans. Alicia Svigals’ Klezmer Fiddle Express will feature dance instructor Steve Weintraub, who can make even the shyest dancer feel comfortable and engaged with the music. A number of sessions bring together artists from very different backgrounds. One can’t-miss workshop pairs the outsider blues artist James “Super Chikan” Johnson with the Malian virtuoso Bassekou Kouyaté. Check out the Arts Fuse interview with another Lowell artist, Armenian oud master John Berberian. And we didn’t even mention the perogies or the Foodways demonstrations of pickling traditions from around the world.
My Caribbean, One World Expo
City Hall Plaza, Boston, MA
The current chart success of Omi’s song “Cheerleader” brings to mind earlier examples of when a Jamaican reggae artist made it into heavy top-40 rotation. One of those moments occurred in 2003 when the journeyman vocalist Wayne Wonder hit it big with “No Letting Go.” He’s the featured attraction at this event, which also features dancehall veteran Michael “Lickshot” Palmer and a range of Caribbean food, displays, and activities.
Boston Summer Arts Weekend
Copley Square, Boston, MA
Many local music fans still seethe at how the Boston Globe and WGBH stubbornly refuse to move their promotional blockbuster away from the weekend that includes Lowell and the sold-out Newport Folk Festival. But this year’s lineup has plenty of highlights, especially the Saturday night bill with still-vibrant soul great Bettye LaVette and the duo of Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris.
— Noah Schaffer
Henry V by William Shakespeare. Directed by Jenna Ware. Staged by Shakespeare & Company in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, Lenox, MA, through August 23.
Those hungry for more history plays by the Bard after Henry VI, Part 2 have an opportunity to continue the adventure with the prequel: “Henry V is rare among Shakespeare’s works because it contains explicit references to true events in England’s history. Following the death of his father, Prince Hal takes on the crown, rallies his exhausted troops and sets forth to repair his post-civil war nation.” Is the text pro-war? Anti-war? A little of both? It depends on where director Ware puts the emphasis.
Saving Kitty by Marisa Smith. Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner. Staged by the Nora Theatre Company at the Central Square Theater, Cambridge, MA, through August 2.
A political satire in which American ids and odds collide: “Kate and Huntley Hartley, atheist Manhattanites, anxiously await the arrival of their daughter, up-and-coming television news producer Kitty, and her new beau Paul, for dinner—and much, much more. When Paul turns out to be an Evangelical Christian educator—the liberal, cultured Kate’s worst nightmare—everything is turned upside down as Kate tries to scuttle the budding romance.” Jennifer Coolidge (American Pie, Best in Show, and TV’s 2 Broke Girls) makes her Boston debut as Kate.
Blood Wedding by Federico García Lorca. Directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques. Staged by Apolinaire Theatre Company in collaboration with Escena Latina Teatro at the PORT Park, 99 Marginal Street, the Chelsea Waterfront, Chelsea, MA, through July 26.
An unusual summer offering on several fronts. Lorca’s lyric tragedy about ill-fated love is not your standard summer fare. Escena Latina Teatro will be producing its own distinctive version of the Spanish original on Friday nights. And the location for this ambitious production (English and Spanish versions) will be at “Chelsea’s new PORT Park, which features an amphitheater inside what was a large oil storage tank. Audience members will also get to explore the park’s structures and playgrounds where some of Lorca’s more surrealistic scenes will be staged.” In case of rain, call (617) 887-2336 to check status.
Thoroughly Muslim Millie by Ryan Landry. Performed by The Gold Dust Orphans. At the Provincetown Theater, 238 Bradford Street, Provincetown, MA, through September 6.
Leave it to Landry to take musical parody where most American theaters fear to tread. Seen many plays about the Middle East lately? With music? The satiric set-up: “A young girl from a Canadian convent! Thrust across the border into the Middle East and straight into the arms of the Prince of Persia! And what do Dick and Lynne Cheney have to do with all this?” WARNING: This is an ADULT parody! DO NOT BRING YOUR CHILDREN!
A Little More Alive, by Nick Blaemire. Directed by Sheryl Kaller. Staged in the St. Germain Stage by the Barrington Stage Company, Pittsfield, MA, through August 8.
The East Coast premiere of Blaemire’s songfest: “in this heartfelt and original folk-pop musical, two estranged brothers reunite at their childhood home after their mother’s funeral. An unexpected revelation distorts every memory they have as they uncover secrets that had been hiding in plain sight their whole lives. Brothers Nate and Jeremy find that no one is exempt from the grey area between right and wrong.”
Your Body and You, written and performed by Rogue Burlesque. At Oberon, Cambridge, MA, July 26.
“Did you learn anything in health class besides fear, abstinence, and maybe how to roll a condom onto a banana? Well, attendance is mandatory at this striptease spectacular, a summer health assembly full of cautionary tales, celebratory moments and your daily recommended dosage of striptease!”
Warning: The show “may contain references to street drugs, sexually transmitted diseases, heavy metal, smoking and dental hygiene. There will be striptease, and the viewer will face between zero and 16 pasties on stage at any given moment. Please make sure your permission slips are signed.”
Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin. Lyrics & Music by Irving Berlin. Book by Hershey Felder. Directed by Trevor Hay. Presented by Arts Emerson at the Emerson/Culter Majestic Theatre, Boston, MA, through August 2.
The latest in Felder’s series of dramatic explorations of the music and lives of famous composers. According to the Los Angeles Times review, his take on Irving Berlin is “richly entertaining and ultimately touching, though not without some issues. Repetitions in tone and text could stand a few trims, and Berlin’s output affords Felder less options for concert fireworks at the keyboard than previous excursions.”
King Lear by William Shakespeare. Directed by Steven Maler. Staged by Commonwealth Shakespeare on the Boston Common, July 22 through August 9.
The 20th season production of CSC’s Free Shakespeare on the Common is a special treat — the company’s first try at producing one of the Bard’s most challenging tragedies — King Lear. Will Lyman stars as the “aging king, faced with his own mortality and mental decline, who tries to secure the legacy of his kingdom by dividing it amongst his three daughters. Only through loss — of status, of love, of loyalty — does King Lear learn what is truly resonant at the end of a life.”
The Unexpected Man by Yasmina Reza. Translated by Christopher Hampton. Directed by Seth Gordon. Staged by Shakespeare & Company at the Tina Packer Playhouse, Lenox, MA, July 18 through September 6.
The production stars Corinna May and, making his S&Co. debut, John Woodson in a story that “follows a middle-aged man and woman who sit opposite each other in the detached intimacy of a train compartment on a journey from Paris to Frankfurt. He is a world famous author; she, one of his biggest fans, carries his latest novel in her handbag and ponders the dilemma of reading it in front of him.”
The New Electric Ballroom by Edna Walsh. Directed by Robert Walsh. Staged by the Gloucester Stage at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA, July 23 through August 15.
A New England premiere: “A dark comedy about three sisters living in a small town on the coast of Ireland. The youngest, Ada, works at the local fish-packing plant, but Breda and Clara stay home and relive their teenage encounter with a 1950s rocker at the New Electric Ballroom. Their surreal routine is interrupted by Patsy, a fishmonger who ends up offering the sisters more than just the catch of the day.” The impressive cast includes Nancy E. Carroll, Adrianne Krstansky, and Marya Lowry.
Paradise Blue by Dominique Morisseau. Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Staged by Williamstown Theatre Festival, Main Stage, Williamstown, MA, July 22 through August 2.
The world premiere of a script that revolves around the world of jazz: “Blue (played by Blair Underwood), a gifted trumpeter, contemplates selling his once-vibrant jazz club in Detroit’s Blackbottom neighborhood to shake free the demons of his past and better his life. But where does that leave his devoted Pumpkin, who has dreams of her own?” The cast also features Tony Award-nominee De’Adre Aziza, as “a mysterious woman with a walk that drives men mad.”
Northside Hollow written and directed Jonathan Fielding and Brenda Withers. Directed by At the Harbor Stage Company, 15 Kendrick Avenue on Wellfleet Harbor, Wellfleet, MA, through August 8.
The world premiere production of a play expressly written for the HSC: “Trapped underground after a deadly collapse, a miner finds his salvation in the arrival of a scrappy first responder. An intimate portrait of mortality, memory, and redemption.”
I Saw My Neighbor On the Train and I Didn’t Even Smile by Suzanne Heathcote. Directed by Jackson Gay. Music by Ryan Kattner. Staged by the Berkshire Theatre Group and the New Neighborhood at the Unicorn Theatre, Stockbridge, MA, through August 15.
A world premiere production about the “utter loneliness of human existence”: “This is Rebecca’s life: she wakes up, eats a sensible breakfast, wraps herself in three layers, drives to the train station, commutes to her bookkeeping job in the city, watches the clock, goes home, cooks dinner for her domineering mother, watches TV, and falls asleep grieving for her dead dog. Every day is the same as the next until Rebecca’s underachieving brother begs her to take care of her troubled niece—and she does what she always does—she lets it happen. In an unforgivingly bitter month, three generations of women with nothing in common, except a deeply buried ache, try to keep the cold away.” Perfect summer theater counter-programming.
Kinship by Carey Perloff. Directed by Jo Bonney. At the Nikos Stage at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Williamstown, MA, through July 25.
Cynthia Nixon and Penny Fuller make their WTF debuts in the American premiere of this “gripping and sexy new drama. The tightly wound lives of a fiery newspaper editor, an upstart journalist, and his overly-protective mother unravel when a passionate entanglement turns into an intense power struggle.”
The How and the Why by Sarah Treem. Directed by Nicole Ricciardi. Staged by Shakespeare & Company in the Bernstein Theatre, Lenox, MA, through July 26.
Dramatist Sarah Treem once told an interviewer that for a good play, “you put people in a room who have very good reasons to be furious at each other and you don’t let them leave. The How and the Why is somewhat based on that principle.” Tod Randolph and Bridget Saracino star in this production of a clash between two highly intelligent female scientists. See the Arts Fuse feature on The How and the Why. And here is the Arts Fuse review.
— Bill Marx
Festival of Contemporary Music
Presented by the Boston Symphony Orchestra
through July 27, various times
Seiji Ozawa Hall, Lenox, MA
There’s much to be excited about with this year’s FCM, which offers a spate of premieres and some of the summer’s liveliest programming. It begins with Stefan Asbury and the TMCO performing pieces by Rautavaara, Pinto-Correia, Glanert, Zuidam, and Jacob Druckman and ends with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting the TMCO in Ives’s New England Holidays; Leonard Bernstein’s Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs; Lukas Foss’s Quintets; and Copland’s granitic Orchestral Variations. In between comes Oliver Knussen directing an evening of music by Bruno Maderna, Elliott Carter, George Perle, Gunther Schuller, and Charles Wuorinen; a John Harbison-led afternoon of pieces by James Primosch, Luigi Dallapiccola, Helen Grime, Shulamit Ran, and Gerald Levinson (plus a Harbison premiere); Dawn Upshaw singing Augusta Read Thomas, Steven Mackey, and Bright Sheng, plus pieces by Andy Vores, Marti Epstein, and Michael Gandolfi; and Asbury again leading the TMCO in pieces by Knussen, Perle, Anderson, Bettison, Hans Werner Henze, and Mark-Anthony Turnage.
Presented by Monadnock Music
July 24-26, 7:30 p.m. (3 p.m. on Sunday)
Various locations, Southern New Hampshire
The central weekend of Monadnock’s 50th-anniversary season brings a host of composers and performers long associated with the festival. On Friday, Christopher O’Reilly plays a program of Bach, Schubert, Scriabin, and Rachmaninoff at the Peterborough Town House. Saturday’s concert at the Nelson Congregational Church features a number of soloists from Monadnock’s first fifty years playing pieces by Milhaud, Carter, Mozart, Brahms, and others. And Sunday afternoon’s matinee at the Harrisville Community Church showcases the New Zealand String Quartet in music by Pathas, Brahms, Rachmaninoff, and Mozart.
Presented by Boston Landmarks Orchestra
July 22, 7 p.m.
Hatch Shell, Boston
An evening of Latin symphonic music, most of it dance-infused, makes up BLO’s second offering of the summer. Copland’s El Salón México is the only canonic score on the program; two New England premieres – Evencio Castellanos’ Santa Cruz de Pacairigua and Alice Gómez’s Mambo Concierto – one world premiere (Gonzalo Grau’s Andean Suite) and excerpts from Grau’s Viaje (Voyage) round it out. For the occasion, the BLO is joined by Alex Alvear & Salsa Band, the Dudamel Orchestra of the Conservatory Lab Charter School, and BAJUCOL Folkloric Ballet.
Michael Tilson Thomas conducts Mahler
Presented by the Boston Symphony Orchestra
July 25, 8:30 p.m.
Tanglewood Music Shed, Lenox
Emmanuel Ax and MTT join up for Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 14 and Tilson Thomas then directs Mahler’s great Fifth Symphony. The TMC Prelude Concert features the incomparable Lucy Shelton singing the world premiere of Yehudi Wyner’s Sonnet: In the Arms of Sleep and also includes Brahms’s Second String Quintet.
A Night at the Ballet
Presented by Boston Landmarks Orchestra
July 29, 7 p.m.
Hatch Shell, Boston
The Longwood Symphony makes its annual appearance at the Hatch Shell, under the auspices of the BLO, playing a pair of ballets: Stravinsky’s complete Firebird and Offenbach’s whimsical Gaîté Parisienne. Ronald Feldman conducts.
Presented by Boston Midsummer Opera
July 29, 31, and August 2, 7:30 p.m. (3 p.m. on Sunday)
Tsai Performance Center, Boston, MA
BMO offers a rare performance (in English) of Friedrich von Flotow’s romantic comedy, Martha. The cast includes Jason Budd, Eric Barry, Joanna Mongiardo, Stephanie Kacoyanis, and David Cushing; Susan Davenny Wyner conducts.
— Jonathan Blumhofer
Old West Organ Society
July 21 at 8 p.m.
At the Old West Church, 131 Cambridge Street, Boston, MA
The program includes: Buxtehude’s Praeludium in F Major (BuxWV 145) J.S. Bach’s Allein Gott in der Höh’ sei Ehr’ (BWV 662); Allein Gott in der Höh’ sei Ehr’ (BWV 663); Sei gegrüsset, Jesu gütig (BWV 768).
The Public Concerts of London – England at 1700
July 21 at 8 p.m.
Presented by the Society for Historically Informed Performances at St. Peter’s Church, 320 Boston Post Road, Weston, MA. (Additional Performances: Wednesday, July 22 at The Chapel at West Parish, 129 Reservation Road, Andover, MA; Thursday 23 at Lindsey Chapel, Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury Street, Boston, MA)
The performance features Aldo Abreu & Duo Maresienne. “Public concerts unconnected to the royal court were a new feature of the London scene of the 1700s. This program is a sample of the music played in those concerts. Recorder sonatas were extremely popular in London at this time, and they featured prominently in these public concerts. Among the examples offered here are works preserved in a manuscript collected by French bassoonist and music copyist Charles Babel. This collection, Recueil de Pieces Choisies a Une et a Deux Flutes C. Babl is housed in Eastman’s Sibley Music Library.”
Borromeo String Quartet 25th Anniversary Series: Concert
July 26 at 1:30 p.m.
At the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, The Fenway, Boston, MA
On the program: Bach’s C-sharp Minor Fugue; Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 12; Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 14, Op. 131.
Neil Young + Promise of the Real
Xfinity Center, Mansfield, MA
Neil Young never stops. He recently released the concept album The Monsanto Years, his 36th solo-studio album. On this record — and the tour he’s bringing to Xfinity Center — Young teams up with the group Promise of the Real, which includes Willie Nelson’s sons Lukas and Micah. Expect new tunes mixed with classics from those other 35 albums.
Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, Boston, MA
Modest Mouse’s latest release, this year’s Strangers to Ourselves, marks the end of a near 10-year wait for new music from the group. It’s hard to imagine they’ll ever regain that brief moment when — thanks to the song “Float On” and the album Good News for People Who Love Bad News — the often offbeat band achieved massive mainstream success, but it’s nice to have them back anyway.
July 23 and 24
House of Blues, Boston, MA
In the early 21st century, New York City produced the Strokes, the National (by way of Ohio), and Interpol. All three had their own sound, with Interpol most closely associated with post-punk. The band’s bassist/keyboardist Carlos Dengler exited in 2010, but the group has soldiered on, releasing El Pintor in September 2014.
Atwood’s Tavern, Cambridge, MA
The singer-songwriter Greg Trooper is one of my favorite live acts. Alone with his acoustic guitar, Trooper never fails to make me laugh and cry all in the same show. His latest release is the live album Live at the Rock Room and while the set is light on such classics (I consider them classics, even if most people have never heard them) as “Little Sister,” “Muhammad Ali,” “Ireland,” “Everywhere,” and “So French,” it does feature one of Trooper’s most beautiful compositions, “Don’t Let It Go to Waste.”
The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
Ever since the 2013 release of his Dan Auerbach-produced album Nomad, the Tuareg guitarist Bombino (who has been called “The Hendrix of the Desert”) has been a regular on the concert scene and visited Boston as recently as last September. This is fitting considering it was local filmmaker Ron Wyman who introduced Bombino to many with his film Agadez, the Music and the Rebellion.
Upcoming and On Sale…
X (7/30/2015, The Sinclair); Veruca Salt (7/30/2015, Paradise Rock Club); (the) Thurston 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); J. Geils Band (8/27/2015, Blue Hills Bank Pavilion); The Vaccines (8/30/2015, The Sinclair); Speedy Ortiz (8/30/2015, Rock and Blues Concert Cruise); Death Cab For Cutie (9/11/2015, Blue Hills Bank Pavilion); Rancid (9/15/2015, House of Blues); Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters (9/20/2015, 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); Boston Calling (featuring Avett Brothers, Alt-J, and Alabama Shakes) (9/25-27/2015, City Hall Plaza); Ghost (9/28/2015, House of Blues); The Jesus and Mary Chain (9/29/2015, House of Blues); Kurt Vile and the Violators (10/2/2015, Paradise Rock Club); Kraftwerk (10/3/2015, Wang Theatre); Ride (10/3/2015, Paradise Rock Club); Mark Knopfler (10/9/2015, Orpheum Theatre); Catfish and the Bottlemen (10/16/2015, Royale); Garbage (10/21/2015, Orpheum Theatre); Ringo Starr and His All Star Band (10/23/2015, Citi Performing Arts Center); The Who (10/29/2015, TD Garden); My Morning Jacket (11/20-21/2015, Orpheum Theatre)
— Adam Ellsworth
The Theft of Memory
July 20 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
Kozol is a National Book Award-winning author and education activist who has worked on behalf of the nation’s poorest and most neglected students. In his most personal work yet, Kozol tells the story of his psychiatric clinician father’s gradual slide into Alzheimer’s. Boston’s own Dr Harry Kozol worked with the likes of Eugene O’Neill, Patty Hearst, and Albert DeSalvo over a long career; in this volume, Kozol talks about his experiences of dealing with his beloved father when the latter’s articulation and verbal skills were inexorably slipping away.
Amy Hempel and Jill Ciment as A.J. Rich
The Hand That Feeds You
July 21 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA
Everyone knows that some writers use pseudonyms, but usually it’s one person at a time. Amy Hempel and A.J. Rich are highly regarded short story writers who have taken the pen name game a step further, collaborating on a novel under a shared fictitious nom de plume. The book is a psychologically complex thriller about a woman whose husband may actually be an impostor.
In conversation with Celeste Ng
In The Country: Stories
July 22 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
In an event co-sponsored by Mass Humanities, Mia Alvar will read and discuss her highly anticipated debut story collection. Alvar tells tales about the often overlooked lives of the Filipino diaspora; her narratives are filled with exiles, emigrants, and uprooted families escaping the political turmoil of the ’70s and ’80s, searching for family and community across the world.
July 23 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
Widely considered to be one of the best starting pitchers in baseball history, Pedro Martinez was also for many seasons the pride and joy of Red Sox nation. On the eve of his Hall of Fame inauguration, the co-author of his autobiography will discuss the remarkable story of the kid from the Dominican Republic who went on to achieve baseball glory.
Kevin Weeks and Phyllis Karas
Hunted Down: The FBI’s Pursuit and Capture of Whitey Bulger
July 23 at 7 p.m.
Andover Bookstore, Andover MA
Even though Whitey Bulger has finally been put behind bars, his gruesome legend is alive and well. At least Hollywood thinks so: there’s a new biopic set for release this year starring Johnny Depp, which is the first time Bulger’s story has been dramatised on screen (other than indirectly in The Departed, or even more indirectly in The Friends of Eddie Coyle). Kevin Weeks, in contrast, actually was a top lieutenant of Bulger’s and can better tell the complicated story of his former boss’s relationship to the FBI and his subsequent apprehension.
Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food
July 24 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
In 2012, Megan Kimble decided to re-examine her approach to food entirely, by choosing to eat only unprocessed foods for an entire year. Along the way she milled wheat, extracted salt from the sea, milked goats, all while earning an income far below the poverty line. This choice made her rethink the meaning of many other aspects of her life as well, from dating to commerce, production and consumption, work and play.
New England Authors Book Expo
July 29 from 4 p.m.- 9 p.m.
Danvers Port Yacht Club, Danvers MA
Sponsored by Boston magazine, Pear Tree Publishing, and New Hampshire magazine, this year the annual convocation of local authors brings over two hundred scribes with new books to sell to the snazzy environs of the Danvers Port Yacht Club. Last year sold out the Harborview Ballroom, so this time around it will be held in two rooms divided by genre: one will hold everything from poetry and non-fiction to publishers and illustrators, while the other will host a mini-comic convention.
— Matt Hanson