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
Harold and Maude
September 21 at 7 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA
Science on Screen presents Hal Ashby’s film about an emotional and romantic bond between a death-obsessed young man from a wealthy family and a devil-may-care, bohemian octogenarian. It will be introduced by psychologist Joshua Hartshorne. The movie was written by Colin Higgins (Foul Play, Silver Streak) as his master’s thesis and grabbed up by Ashby, the director of Shampoo, The Detail, and Being There. During the ’70s it became a Boston cult classic when it ran for two years at the now defunct Allston Cinema.
The 10th Annual Independent Television and Film Festival
September 24 through 27
ITVFest, as it has called, has moved from Los Angeles to just north of Brattleboro, on the edge of the Green Mountains. It was the first public festival dedicated to presenting “the world’s best independent television pilots, web series, and short films.” Technologically savvy and forward thinking, ITVFest prides itself on being for and about the creators of quality content, regardless of industry status: “Our content creators range from new filmmakers to Emmy winners.”
2001: A Space Odyssey in 70mm
September 26 and 27 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Somerville Theater, Somerville, MA
According to the Guardian: “At its premiere there were 241 walkouts, including Rock Hudson, who asked: “Will someone tell me what the hell this is about?” Talk about ahead of its time! The production design of 2001 heavily influenced the look of space travel in sci-fi films and television for decades. Kubrick’s techniques for filming model spacecraft led to the computerized camera-control methods pioneered in Star Wars years later. The cut from a bone tumbling through the air to a shot of an orbiting spacecraft bridges 4 million years. This is an undeniable masterpiece and cannot be properly experienced on an iPad or cell phone. Now’s your chance. This is cinema as a great visual medium.
Manhattan Short Film Festival
September 27 at 3 p.m.
Museum of Fine Arts, Remis Auditorium, Boston, MA
This is an instantaneous celebration that occurs simultaneously across the globe: in Sydney, Mumbai, Moscow, Kathmandu, Vienna, and Cape Town, as well as in cinemas in all fifty states of the United States. Audiences judge the films — viewers are handed a voting card at each location and asked to select the one film they think should win. The full list of films here. The winners are announced on the MSFF site.
The Second Mother
Kendall Square Cinema, Cambridge, MA
Regina Casé as Val and Camila Mardila as Jessica won a Special Jury Prize for Acting at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival in Anna Muylaert’s film about a longtime live-in family maid in São Paulo who faithfully serves until, unexpectedly, her own daughter, whom she hasn’t seen in 10 years, comes to stay. This is a simple and well-told story of what it means to be a family.
— Tim Jackson
Cloud Gate Dance Theatre
September 23 at 7:30 p.m.
UMass Amherst’s Fine Arts Center Concert Hall
This Wednesday, UMass Amherst’s Fine Arts Center welcomes the acclaimed Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan to its stage for a full-length production of RICE — a work rife with cultural, historical, and environmental significance. Read the Arts Fuse feature here.
September 26 at 7 p.m.
Boston University Dance Theatre
Two companies come together for this one-night-only show. North Atlantic Dance Theatre presents an intriguing choreographic challenge — two choreographers create two new works to the same piece of music — while Lorraine Chapman The Company showcases three works, one nearly a decade old, others just recently minted.
Run of the Mills
September 26 at 8 p.m.
Mills Gallery, Boston Center for the Arts
Boston Center for the Arts introduces its new pop-up event series Run of the Mills. Join percussionist and composer Nate Tucker for an evening of live music, dancing, and video screenings in the gallery. The free CD release dance party begins at 8 p.m.; a special VIP event at 6 p.m. gives guests a chance to be included in Tucker’s next music video.
1 Minute Pieces: An Evening of Solo Movement
September 26 at 8 p.m.
Mobius Gallery presents an evening of one-minute solos curated by Jimena Bermejo-Black. 25 artists will perform their solos on rotation, as viewers enter and leave the gallery. The performance runs roughly 8 -9:30 p.m. with a reception to follow.
— Merli V Guerra
The New York Dozen: Highlights from the Fall Season
A quick survey of twelve shows opening in New York City this October and November, for art-loving New Englanders on the move this fall.
Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist
October 2 – January 17, 2016
Frank Stella: A Retrospective
October 30 – February 7, 2016
Whitney Museum of American Art
Historians have often described Archibald Motley (1891–1981) as a “major contributor” to the Harlem Renaissance, even though he was a native of Chicago and never actually lived in Harlem. Formally trained at the Art Institute of Chicago, Motley had a mixed race background and never fully identified with his African American heritage. Yet he is best known for the colorful, riotous images of black clubs of the Jazz Age in all their gritty glory, as featured in this Whitney survey of his career.
Like Picasso, American old master Frank Stella (b. 1936), a native of Malden, MA, has dramatically changed his painting style almost every decade, always reflecting changes in the American artistic Zeitgeist. The Whitney’s massive, 120-work, 18,000 square foot, retrospective should cover every bump and wrinkle in his career, from its start in the 1950s, when he was barely into his twenties, to the present day — a show that should not to be missed by anyone with a serious interest in postwar American art.
Impressionism and the Caribbean: Francisco Oller and His Transatlantic World
October 2 – January 3, 2016
Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Francisco Oller (1833 – 1917) was one of two Caribbean painters associated with the French Impressionists (the other was Camille Pissarro, born about the same time on St. Thomas). This retrospective looks at his career on both sides of the Atlantic, from his start in the tiny art world of San Juan to his later studies in Madrid and Paris, where he exhibited with artists like Renoir, Monet, and Sisley.
Jim Shaw: The End is Near
October 7 – January 10, 2016
The New Museum
Survivalists will love this one: West Coast icon Jim Shaw (b. 1952) builds his rambunctious imagery from the “cultural refuse” of modern American life, including comic books, album covers, conspiracy magazines, and the obscure iconography of rare religious cults. The result is a vivid portrait of the American subconscious: boundless optimism perched on the edge of imagined impending doom. This is Shaw’s first comprehensive museum show in New York.
Andrea del Sarto: The Renaissance Workshop in Action
October 7 – January 10, 2016
The Frick Collection
Son of a tailor (hence the nickname, del Sarto— “of the tailor”), Andrea d’Agnolo di Francesco di Luca di Paolo del Migliore (1486–1530) was proprietor of one of the most successful, influential, and productive ateliers in High Renaissance Florence. Eclipsed after his death by the incandescent fame of fellow Florentines like Leonardo and Michelangelo, Andrea’s reputation was revived in the 1960s by art historians Sydney Freedberg and John Shearman, both later influential teachers at Harvard. This monograph del Sarto exhibition, the first ever presented in the United States, aims to reveal the virtues of this classic Renaissance figure to a broader American audience.
Museum of Stones
October 7 – January 10, 2016
The Noguchi Museum
Sculpted naturally by water, wind, ice, and rain, stones may be the first artistic material, predating human artists by billions of years. This exhibition, at the Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi’s personal museum, garden, and studio in Long Island City, points out that stones have had a long and essential cultural relationship with humans, from the rock that David used to kill Goliath to Noguchi’s own exquisitely carved works in marble, obsidian, and granite. Inspired by a critique by the artist Jimmie Durham, Museum of Stones integrates some fifty works by about thirty contemporary artists, installed throughout the museum alongside Noguchi’s own creations. The show includes fifteen Chinese rock-related contemplative objects, borrowed from The Metropolitan Museum of Art for the duration.
Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting
October 9 – January 6, 2015
Trained as a doctor, Italian artist Alberto Burri served as a medic in World War II and spent some soul-testing time as a prisoner of war in an American camp. There he began to use whatever materials he could find to make paintings, converting the turmoil and violence of the war into art. In Rome in the ’50s, Burri became one of the leading figures of postwar Italian modernism. This Guggenheim show is a major retrospective, the most comprehensive of Burri’s work ever mounted, and documents his use of humble materials — stitched and torn remnants, burlap bags, blood red paint, Celotex, tar, and burnt plastic and wood — to painfully rebuild the idea of painting and sculpture.
Superheroes in Gotham
October 9 – February 21, 2016
New York Historical Society
Like so much else, New York City is the historic home and birthplace of the American comic book and comic book superheroes. The city also appears in comic book pages, thinly disguised in fictional settings like “Metropolis” and “Gotham City.” Superheroes in Gotham at the New York Historical Society follows the superhero path from its humble origins in the economically depressed 1930s to the slick icons generated by Hollywood of today. “Comic books are a great American art form,” claims the Society, “a cultural phenomenon born in New York City that now extends around the globe.”
Wendell Castle Remastered
October 20 – February 26, 2016
Museum of Art and Design
Recognized as a master craftsman and the father of the art furniture movement, represented in dozens of museum and corporate collections, including, locally, the Addison Gallery and the Museum of Fine Arts, Wendell Castle, now in the sixth decade of his career, has lately combined traditional hand techniques with digital technologies, included computer-controlled milling (isn’t that a bit like Dylan going electric?). In this exhibition at the Museum of Art and Design, Castle will create new pieces using his new methods, but they will be based on classics from earlier in his career. Then, in a kind of crafts pas-de-deux, the old will dance with the new.
Jacob A. Riis: Revealing New York’s Other Half
October 14 – March 20, 2016
Museum of the City of New York
Jacob Riis (1849-1914) was a Danish-American New York newspaper reporter and one of those cranky, 19th-century social reformers who really believed they could change the world — and did. He is best remembered today, though, for his powerful photographs of New York’s impoverished classes, then packed into dangerous tenements in the city’s slums. A pioneer in the use of flash photography, Riis was able to photograph at night, and captured some of the most deplorable scenes of city life. His shocking images helped bring about the end of some of New York’s worst slum housing and its replacement with new parks. Riis never set out to be a classic art photographer, yet art and classic his work became — some of the most revered in the history of American photography. This show is his first major retrospective since the City Museum’s last one, in 1947.
Making Music Modern: Design for Ear and Eye
November 11, 2014 – January 17, 2016
Museum of Modern Art
Thanks to MoMA’s broad collecting policies, embracing everything modern including industrial design, architecture, and commercial graphics as well as fine art, the museum is able to mount this show entirely from its own resources. The exhibition explains how radical modern designers, including Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Jørn Utzon, and Daniel Libeskind, have helped shape new ways for music to be performed, heard, presented, promoted, and enjoyed.
Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style
November 19 – February 21, 1016
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Born in Paris and married to a wealthy and aristocratic lawyer, Countess Jacqueline de Ribes created a series of ready-to-wear fashion collections, known for their style and originality, that she successfully marketed to such celebrities as Joan Collins, Raquel Welch, Barbara Walters, Cher, and Olympia de Rothschild. This Met Costume Institute exhibition, drawn mostly from the designer’s personal archive, surveys her entire career as an international fashion icon, muse, and devotee. It features her haute couture as well as ready-made ensembles, from 1959 to the present. The show also touches on such de Ribes sidelines as theatrical impresario, television producer, interior designer, and organizer of high society charity events.
— Peter Walsh
Ron Carter Quartet
September 25-26, 8 p.m. + 10 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
One of the people who helped invent the sound of the modern jazz rhythm section (most notably with Herbie Hancock and Tony Williams in the Miles Davis Quintet and on a gazillion recordings both as leaders and sidemen on other projects), bassist Ron Carter comes to the Regattabar for two days with his quartet, featuring pianist Renee Rosnes, drummer Payton Crossley, and percussionist Rolando Morales-Matos.
September 25, 8 p.m.
Café 939 Red Room, Boston, MA.
Brilliant young New Orleans trumpeter and composer Christian Scott, aka Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, previews a new album with his hellacious young band in this multimedia performance at his alma mater, Berklee College of Music.
Beantown Jazz Festival
September 26, Noon-6 p.m.
Columbus Ave. between Mass. Ave. and Burke Street, Boston
This 15th annual free block party, now presented by Berklee, has all manner of music to enjoy (especially if the weather holds) on multiple stages: festival music director Terri Lyne Carrington with her Mosaic Project; soul-jazz singer Ledisi; Boston saxophone hero George Garzone, of the Fringe, in a Coltrane tribute with a string quartet; salsa man Eguie Castrillo and his Palladium Nights Orchestra; the Omar Thomas Large Ensemble, with special guest vibes man Stefon Harris; guitarist David Gilmore and his Energies of Change band; We Four, with saxophonist Javon Jackson, pianist George Cables, drummer Jimmy Cobb, and bassist John Webber; plus, lots more.
Kurtis Rivers/Alain Pacowski/John Lockwood
September 26, 8 p.m.
Third Life Studio, Somerville, MA.
The esteemed Boston saxophonist Kurtis Rivers (Makanda Project, Either/Orchestra, Roxbury Blues Aesthetic) joins forces with guitarist Alain Pacowski, and bassist John Lockwood.
Former child prodigy pianist Matt Savage (he recorded his first CD at 7), a Sudbury native and Berklee graduate now studying at the Manhattan School of Music, has grown to become a formidable jazz composer and bandleader – a hard-bop soul and independent spirit, playing inventively with form and rhythm. (His arrangement of the “Game of Thrones” theme, with Jerry Bergonzi on saxophone, was a startlingly pleasant surprise at the Regattabar a couple of seasons ago. “He’s got to be kidding,” one thought. No, he wasn’t.) He comes to the Lily Pad with bassist Isaac Levien and drummer Patrick Simard, a curtain-raising set for the Lily’s big Monday night with Bergonzi’s band and the Fringe.
September 30, 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
The gifted baritone José James has played around with hip-hop and electronic grooves, strapped on an acoustic guitar to do the singer-songwriter thing and, lately, tackled Billie Holiday’s songbook. We’re expecting a lot of Billie in this set, but don’t be surprised to hear Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” or more contemporary folk-jazz fare.
— Jon Garelick
Roots and World Music
HONK! Fest is just a few weeks away, but there’s another brass band party happening this week. Algerian musician Samir Inal created the first incarnation of Fanfarai back in 2000 to pay tribute to the great North African brass bands. Those groups were staples of traditional community events; Fanfaraï, based in France, proffers an expanded palette that includes funk, jazz, and Afro-Cuban rhythms.
One of the more exciting developments on the local world music scene has been the appearance of Forró Zabumbeca, a quartet that specializes in performing the lively accordion and string music found in the northern Brazilian forests. They’re releasing a new CD, Forró in Stereo, and the show begins with forró dance lessons.
Boston Freedom Rally
Marijuana may have been decriminalized in some places around the country, but it hasn’t yet been legalized in Massachusetts. Thus the organizations behind this annual political event have invited Tosh1; his father, Peter, came up with the ultimate ganja anthem with his tune “Legalize It.” Also on the bill is the golden voice of Dion Knibb with Soulshot and hip-hop pioneer Ed O.G.
Johnny D’s, Somerville, MA
Melanie (Safka) spawned her own sub-genre — bubblegum folk — via her depiction of Woodstock in “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain).” Then she made the charts again with “Brand New Key.” She remains a powerful voice of the peace and love generation. She’ll be joined by her guitarist son Beau Jarred and the folk trio EVA.
— Noah Schaffer
My Fair Lady Book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner. Music by Frederick Loewe Adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s play and Gabriel Pascal’s motion picture Pygmalion. Directed by Scott Edmiston. Musical Director, Catherine Stornetta. Choreographer, David Connolly, Presented by the Lyric Stage at 140 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA, through October 11.
What looks to be a powerhouse production of the classic musical adaptation of GBS’s tragicomedy, featuring Jennifer Ellis as Eliza Doolittle and Christopher Chew as Henry Higgins. Arts Fuse review.
Broken Glass by Arthur Miller. Directed by Jim Petosa. Staged by New Repertory Theatre in the Charles Mosesian Theater at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown, MA, through September 27.
The Boston area premiere of Miller’s 1994 script about Jewish assimilation, self-hatred, and the rise of Nazism features an impressive cast that includes Benjamin Evett, Anne Gottlieb, Christine Hamel, Michael Kaye, and Jeremiah Kissel. The staging is part of a national celebration of the centennial of the birth of the playwright. Arts Fuse review
appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage Company at the Boston Center for the Arts, through October 10.
The Obie Award-winning play “offers his own subversive take on a classic American genre for a bold new look at race and identity.” Arts Fuse review
The Thing on the Door Step, a version of the H.P. Lovecraft short story. Directed and adapted by Isaiah Plovnick. At Salem Theatre, 90 Lafayette Street, Salem, MA, through October 4.
I must admit that I don’t get the appeal of horrormeister H.P. Lovecraft — few in the genre wrote more turgidly purple prose. But he has his avid defenders — and a volume in the august Library of America. Unlike Edgar A. Poe, there have been few stage adaptations of his work. (How can you get Lovecraft’s customary piles of flesh turned into goo onto the stage?) The plot: “Daniel Upton has shot his best friend six times through the head, yet claims that he is not a murderer. In this tale of dread adapted from the story by H.P. Lovecraft, the eldritch tendrils of cosmic horror creep closer to our civilized world than ever imagined. Is Edward Derby’s wife more than she appears? What secrets is he keeping from his best friend?”
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. Directed Tyler Dobrowsky. Staged by Trinity Repertory Company at the Dowling Theater, Providence, Rhode Island, through October 11.
“Driven and confident, Caesar (played in this production by resident company member Anne Scurria) has just returned from war a hero, only to find a group of close advisors want her dead. In a prescient exploration of the underbelly of political maneuvering, Julius Caesar is an explosion of jealousy, retribution, power and control.” Looks like an updated version that swaps togas for business suits.
The Draft by Peter Snoad. Directed by Diego Arciniegas. At Hibernian Hall, 184 Dudley Street Roxbury, MA, through September 20.
(After its Hibernian Hall run, The Draft will go on tour for three performances at Westfield State University in Westfield, MA (September 24); Trinity College in Hartford, CT (September 25); and The Academy of Music in Northampton, MA (September 27).
The premiere of a timely play that “gives voice to the compelling real-life stories of 10 young people (eight of them current residents of the Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts) who made starkly different choices in response to the military draft at that time.” Much of the source material for The Draft is drawn from the book Called to Serve: Stories of Men and Women Confronting the Vietnam War Draft by Tom Weiner, a long-time resident of Northampton, MA. 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the U.S. ground war in Vietnam, and the 40th anniversary of the end of the war.
A Little Night Music. Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by Hugh Wheeler. Directed by Peter DuBois. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Boston University Theater, 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA, through October 11.
“Lovers reunite, passions reignite, and new romances blossom around famous actress Desiree Armfeldt and an unforgettable cast of characters during an eventful weekend in the country. Stephen Sondheim’s most romantic and popular work features a gorgeous, sweeping score infused with humor, warmth, and the flavor of a waltz, including Sondheim’s best known song, “Send in the Clowns.” Arts Fuse review.
The Boys in the Band by Matt Crowley. Directed by David Miller. Staged by Zeitgeist Stage Company at the Plaza Black Box Theater at the Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont St in Boston’s South End, through October 3.
A revival of a once daring script that over the decades was seen by many critics as a theatrical dinosaur because of its gay stereotyping: now it is being rediscovered. David Mamet thinks it is a great American play! This production features Victor Shopov (Norton Award Winner for ZSC’s Bent) and Ryan Landry (Multiple Norton Award Winner for his work with the Gold Dust Orphans). This seminal work of the Off-Broadway movement premiered in 1968 and was a long-running hit onstage.
Academy Fight Song by Andrew Clarke. Directed by Joe Antoun. Presented by CentaStage at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA through September 26.
The world premiere production of what could be a slice-and-dice satire of politics in the Ivory Tower: “A college professor in need of job security agrees to a request from his department chair to appear at an academic conference with a former student, a literary phenom who is currently living with the professor’s ex-wife. The appearance goes catastrophically wrong and the promise of security proves to be nothing more than wind.” The cast includes Richard Snee, Tyler Catanella, Craig Mathers, and Tracey Oliverio. Arts Fuse review
Ernest Shackleton Loves Me. Music by Brendan Milburn and Lyrics by Valerie Vigoda. Book by Joe DiPietro. Directed by Lisa Peterson with Musical Direction by Ryan O’Connell. Presented by Arts Emerson at the Emerson/Paramount MainStage, Boston, MA, through October 4.
Prepare to be Inspired: “Complete with quirky original songs and a dazzling multimedia set,” this show “is a new, geeky, high-tech musical adventure about how a little strength and determination can help us overcome any odds.”
An Opening in Time by Christopher Shinn. Directed by Oliver Butler. At Hartford Stage, Hartford, CT, through October 11.
A play from the talented Shinn, a Pulitzer finalist for Dying City, that is set in Connecticut. (The playwright was born in Hartford.) The script, which the dramatist insists is not autobiographical, deals with “finding connections in a shifting world.”
Salomé by Oscar Wilde. Directed by Olivia D’Ambrosia. Staged by Bridge Repertory Theater at the First Church in Boston, Boston, MA, September 24 through October 18.
According to director D’Ambrosia, Wilde’s version of the Biblical story is “sexy, terrifying, hilarious, and, above all, epic.” And if that is not enough upheaval: she “radicalizes the legend and Oscar Wilde’s play by setting this specific production in the year 1970.” Shura Baryshnikov is cast in the title role.
Year Tenn. The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival are various venues, Provincetown, MA, September 24 through 27.
“This year’s festival celebrates what happened to Tennessee Williams in Provincetown during the last ten years. We’ve rethought his classics, and rethought the plays he wrote that had been ignored or dismissed. The mantra that Williams had lost his mojo was replaced with cheers at the world premieres in P’town of The Remarkable Rooming-House of Madame LeMonde (TW Fest 2009) and The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore (TW Fest 2013). So we’re bringing those two productions back for our audiences to cheer in 2015, along with eight other hits and variations.” This year will see the world premiere of Williams’ one-act play Aimez -Vous Ionesco?
Mr. Joy by Daniel Beaty. Directed by David Dower. Presented by Arts Emerson in the Jackie Liebergott Black Box, September 22 through October 15.
Thou Shalt Be Empowered: “What happened to Mr. Joy? A Harlem community is shaken when Mr. Joy, a Chinese immigrant whose shoe repair shop has been a neighborhood pillar for decades, is the victim of an attack. Playwright and ArtsEmerson Artist-in-Residence Daniel Beaty (Breath & Imagination, Emergency) returns with another moving reflection on transforming pain into power, this time through the virtuosic performance by acclaimed actress Tangela Large.”
Othello by William Shakespeare. Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary. At the Modern Theatre, Suffolk University, Boston, MA, September 23 through October 25.
The Bard’s tragedy about the “green-eyed monster” — the cast includes John Kuntz as Iago and Johnnie McQuarley as Othello.
— Bill Marx
Presented by the Boston Conservatory
September 23, 8 p.m.
Seully Hall, Boston
Gyorgy Kurtag’s seminal masterpiece receives a complete local performance courtesy of Boston Conservatory artist-in-residence Tony Arnold. Violinist Movses Pogossian joins her.
Steven Stucky and European Friends
Presented by Boston Musica Viva
September 26, 8 p.m.
Tsai Performance Center, Boston
BMV’s 47th season begins with the East Coast premiere of Stucky’s Cantus and ends with a reprise of a cycle of Rilke songs by Martin Brody, Peter Child, Shirish Korde, and Joseph Schwantner. In between comes Lutoslawski’s Grave, Brett Dean’s Sextet, and Magnus Lindberg’s Steamboat Bill, Jr.
Presented by A Far Cry
September 26 at 4 p.m. and 27 at 1:30 p.m.
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Jamaica Plain (Saturday) and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston (Sunday)
A Far Cry begins its promising new season with a survey of music from across the Americas. Philip Glass’s Symphony no. 3 represents the North, while scores by Villa-Lobos, Ginastera, and Gabriela Lena Frank evoke the Southern half.
Presented by the Boston Classical Orchestra
September 27, 3 p.m.
Faneuil Hall, Boston
Violinist Mo Yang is the soloist in the first concert of BCO’s 2015-16 season, which is dedicated entirely to the music of Beethoven. In addition to the Violin Concerto, the Symphony no. 4 and “Congratulations” Minuet are on the program.
— Jonathan Blumhofer
Boston Harp Festival
September 25 through 27
Seully Hall at Boston Conservatory
8 Fenway, Boston, MA
An all-star round-up of harpists perform.
September 26 at 8 p.m.
At Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA
The Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts presents a performance featuring Yazhi Guo on suona and Lin Lin on piano.
Julliard String Quartet
September 27 at 3 p.m.
At Concord Academy, 166 Main Street, Concord, MA
On the program: Franz Schubert’s String Quartet No. 12 in C Minor, D. 703; Elliott Carter’s String Quartet No. 1; Claude Debussy’s String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 10. The concert will be preceded at 2 p.m. by a pre-concert lecture presented by musicologist Steven Ledbetter.
Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters
Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, Boston, MA
Rock fans have been clamoring for a Led Zeppelin reunion ever since the group split in 1980, following the death of drummer John Bonham. There have been a few one-off shows over the past 35 years; most notably a 2007 show (with Bonham’s son Jason on drums) released on CD and DVD/Blu-ray in 2012. But a full-blown comeback has been scuttled by one man: singer Robert Plant. It’s easy to get mad at him for this, but it’s not like he hasn’t had a successful solo career in recent years. His fantastic collaboration album with Alison Krauss won the Grammy for Album of the Year in 2008, and his releases Band of Joy and Lullaby and the Ceaseless Roar have been almost as strong. So if we can’t have a LZ tour, we can at least enjoy Plant and his band the Sensational Space Shifters.
Albert Hammond Jr.
The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
Albert Hammond Jr. is best known as guitarist for 21st-century legends the Strokes, but he’s released almost as many solo albums (3) as he has as a member of his main band (5). His latest, Momentary Masters, was released in July.
September 23, 2015
The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
Singer and guitarist Bob Mould is best known for his work as a member of indie icons Hüsker Dü, but he’s also had an impressive solo career. Every few years this century he’s put out a new record, his most recent being 2014’s Beauty & Ruin.
Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls
September 25 and 26
House of Blues, Boston, MA
The English folk-rocker Frank Turner is becoming a regular here in the Hub. Last month, he released Positive Songs for Negative People, and in addition to his two nights at the House of Blues, he’ll be making an instore appearance at the Cambridge Newbury Comics in Harvard Square.
Boston Calling (featuring Avett Brothers, Alt-J, and Alabama Shakes)
City Hall Plaza, Boston, MA
Truth be told, I’d be hard pressed to think of three bands I’d like to see less than the headliners of this edition of Boston Calling. Oh well. There are still groups on the undercard worth checking out, including Chvrches and Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks.
House of Blues, Boston, MA
I saw the Swedish band Ghost when I went to Coachella in 2013. The group is led by a face-painted singer who calls himself Papas Emeritus II and wears a black mitre and matching papal robes. He’s backed by a bunch of musicians in masks that all go by “Nameless Ghoul.” Based on their appearance, I was legitimately frightened of the group when I first saw them. Then they started their set. Imagine Journey, if Journey incorporated Gregorian chants into their songs, and that’s pretty much what you get with Ghost. I can’t honestly recommend their music, but I will say that Papas Emeritus II is entertaining as hell. My favorite part of the group’s Coachella set came when the singer looked out at his audience and theatrically said, “Good evening Cal-i-fornia.” Never mind that he was bathed in sunlight, surrounded by palm trees, and it was 1:30 in the afternoon…he was committed to the role.
The Jesus and Mary Chain
House of Blues, Boston, MA
Pitchfork’s recently published list of the 200 Best Songs of the 1980s has been causing all kinds of commotion these past few weeks. Despite the furor over which songs were left off and which were allowed on, at least the Jesus and Mary Chain classic “Just Like Honey” made the cut, coming in at #46. The tune opens the seminal Psychocandy, which turned 30 this year, and the milestone is being celebrated with a tour by its Scottish creators. If you plan to see the alt-legends, be warned: I caught the band at Paradise in 2012 and their set was easily the loudest thing I’ve ever heard.
Upcoming and On Sale…
Kurt Vile and the Violators (10/2/2015, Paradise Rock Club); FFS (Franz Ferdinand and Sparks) (10/2/2015, Orpheum Theatre); Kraftwerk (10/3/2015, Wang Theatre); Ride (10/3/2015, Paradise Rock Club); Terry Kitchen (10/3/2015, Somerville Armory Café); 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 (POSTPONED, new date TBD, TD Garden); My Morning Jacket (11/20-21/2015, Orpheum Theatre); The Flamin’ Groovies (11/25/2015, Brighton Music Hall); Parquet Courts (12/5/2015, Middle East-Downstairs); Deerhunter (12/10/2015, Royale)
— Adam Ellsworth
Imperium: A Fiction of the South Seas
September 21 at 7 p.m.
Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston MA
As part of its European Voices series, the Goethe Institute brings the Swiss novelist who will read and discuss his internationally bestselling new novel telling the story of August Engelhardt, an early 20th Century radical vegetarian and nudist who set sail to the Pacific Islands to attempt to make utopian history. The evening’s discussion will be moderated by Sanjay Krishnan, Associate Professor of English at BU. Arts Fuse review of Imperium
Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights
September 21 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30)
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
Tickets are $28.75, including a copy of the book
What else needs to be said about Sir Salman Rushdie? The legendary writer will read and sign copies of his latest novel, a reimagining of Scheherazade’s storytelling using Rushdie’s trademark magical realism involving supernatural beings, irreverent wordplay, and uncompromising social criticism.
The Pentagon’s Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America’s Top-Secret Military Research Agency
September 23 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
Annie Jacobsen is a journalist who has delved into such occluded and controversial topics as Area 51 and Project Paperclip. Her latest book is very much in the same muckraking vein, only this time she has written the definitive book on DARPA, the defense department’s top secret, most powerful, and most controversial department, which blends science and militarism in new and frightening ways.
The Point of Vanishing: A Memoir of Two Years in Solitude
September 24 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner, Brookline MA
After being permanently blinded in one eye, Howard Axelrod decided to reorient himself by living alone for two years in a cabin in the Vermont woods, with no access to television or a computer and largely without human contact. Co-sponsored by Grub Street, Axelrod will share his experience of finding meaning away from the babble of civilization.
This Monstrous Thing
September 25 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
The story of the Faustian Dr Frankenstein and his monstrous creation has been one of the most influential of all time. It’s only natural that it should inspire a Gothic fantasy retelling. Lee is a Boston-based author and bookseller whose take on the Frankenstein mythology involves two brothers whose scientific experimentation pushes the limits of humanity.
Edwidge Danticat: A Public Conversation
September 30 at 4:30 p.m.
Devlin Hall, Room 101, Boston College
Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat is seen by many critics as one of the most eloquent voices in contemporary literature. A recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” grant, her work has appeared in a variety of publications. Her books include The Farming of Bones, Brother I’m Dying, and Claire of the Sea Light. She will participate in a public conversation about the meaning of identity in a global world, moderated by Regine Jean-Charles, Associate Professor of Romance Languages and African-American Diaspora at Boston College.
— Matt Hanson