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
Manhattan Short Film Festival
Expanding from last week’s listing: filmgoers in Massachusetts will join audiences in over 250 cities spanning six continents to view and judge the work of the next generation of filmmakers from around the world. A tabulation of votes from audiences will determine the final winner. In addition to the Museum of Fine Arts, the 10 selected shorts are now also playing at the following theaters:
· The MFA Sunday 9/27 at 3:00 p.m.
· The Regent Theatre Arlington Thursday 10/1 at 7:30 p.m.
· The Amherst Cinema 9/25 – 10/1
· Martha’s Vineyard Film Center Thu 10/1 – Sunday 10/3
· The Nantucket Athenaeum Wed 9/30 & Fri 10/2
· The Whaling Museum in New Bedford Wed 9/30
· The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield Fri 9/26 to Mon 9/28
· The Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport Sat 9/26-Mon 9/28
· Cinema Salem in Salem Fri 9/25 – Thu 10/1
I Am Michael
Tuesday, September 29 at 7 p.m.
Bright Screening Room, Emerson College, 559 Washington Street
Justin Kelly’s film was inspired by the fascinating true-life story of Michael Glatze (James Franco), the charismatic and outspoken co-editor of the iconic XY Magazine. Following a traumatic health dilemma, a fearful Michael questions his beliefs and his sexual identity. He renounces his gay life and, after a period of spiritual exploration, eventually becomes the pastor of his own church. A discussion with writer and Emerson College faculty member Benoit Denizet-Lewis (on whose New York Times Magazine article “My Ex-Gay Friend” the film is based) and Kelly follows the screening. Co-sponsored by the Boston LGBT Film Festival
Breaking A Monster
October 1 at 7 p.m.
UMass Boston Campus Center, Ballroom “C”, 3rd Floor, Boston, MA
Luke Meyer’s film is a record of the breakout year for the band Unlocking The Truth, comprising 13-year-olds Alec Atkins, Malcolm Brickhouse, and Jarad Dawkins. The documentary looks at their effort to transcend childhood in an attempt to become the rock stars they always dreamed of being. It chronicles their first encounter with stardom and the music industry. A Q&A with director follows. The screening is free and open to all. Here is a clip of the band on The View with Whoopi Goldberg
Kurt Cobain: Montage Of Heck
October 1 at 7 p.m.
Bright Family Screening Room The Paramount Center
559 Washington Street, Boston, MA
The film explores “the indelible record of a life lived on the fine edge between madness and genius, painting a searing and unforgettable portrait of the iconic musician as it mirrors his quicksilver mind. Using Cobain’s own words and images, this intimate look at an elusive and conflicted artist marks the first documentary to be made with the cooperation of his family.” Brett Morgen directed. A discussion with associate professor Miranda Banks and associate professor Kristin Lieb follows.
Here Come the Videofreex
October 3 at 7 p.m.
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA
Videofreex was one of the pioneer production groups that formed when consumer video was first introduced in the late 1960s. Over its nine years as a collective, they produced several thousand videotapes, installations, and multimedia events, and trained hundreds of video-makers in the brand new video medium. Many of the core members of the Videofreex are active today as artists, journalists, and media makers. This film history is a Boston premiere. Q&A with filmmakers Jenny Raskin and Jon Nealon follows.
Solo Sunny (1979)
October 4 at 11 a.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA
The Goethe-Institut Boston presents the first movie in its new season of German film at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. Set in the late ’70s, the story revolves around Sunny, an aspiring singer who longs for fulfillment and to be recognized as someone special. She gets kicked out of her band and has to start over in the “underground” scene of East Berlin’s colorful Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood. Based on a true story, the movie addresses the longings and frustrations of East German youth when the country was controlled by the USSR. It is widely regarded as perhaps the best film to come out of East Germany during the late ’70s. “On its surface the film is a Socialist reinterpretation of the highly romanticized youth films that flooded America in the early ’70s . . . But it is at heart a devastating study in social determinism, in direct line with the realist Kammerspiele films of the late Weimar period.” (NY Times)
Best Of Enemies
October 5 at 7 p.m.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
In the summer of 1968, with the Vietnam War raging, two towering and diametrically opposed intellectuals, William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal, made TV history with a series of incendiary debates on ABC. It led to a jaw-dropping exchange of insults. This brilliant documentary is both entertaining and an essential piece of American intellectual and media history. The two remained enemies throughout their lives. Not to be missed. A Q&A with director Robert Gordon follows. Screens with the short film Maryland Public Television Interviews The Reagans (2014).
— Tim Jackson
Tramp, Tramp, Tramp
October 4 at 2 p.m.
Somerville Theatre, Somerville, MA
Harry Langdon — perennial man/child — is one of the most inscrutable of the second-rung of silent film comedians. I haven’t seen this 1926 entry. One mark against it is that it was not directed by Frank Capra, who worked best with Langdon. But so what? The love interest is Joan Crawford. Live music by Jeff Rapsis.
— Bill Marx
Paul Taylor: Creative Domain
September 27 at 11 a.m.; September 30 at 7:30 p.m.; October 1 at 3 p.m.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Kate Geis’s Paul Taylor: Creative Domain is a fascinating documentary in which you get both a Paul Taylor dance and the making of the dance. Arts Fuse review.
October 2 & 3 at 8 p.m.
Boston University Dance Theater
Join Boston University for its Dance Showcase, featuring new works by BU faculty choreographers Margot Parsons, DeAnna Pellecchia, Marin Orlosky-Randow, and Liz Roncka, alongside a special showing by Boston Ballet’s BBII, and a new work recently created through BU’s teen apprenticeship program, REACH. The program ranges from ballet and aerial silk to contemporary.
Waking the Monster
October 3 & 4 from 6:30 p.m.-midnight
Lansdowne Street, Boston, MA
“A cohort of New England-based musicians, composers, and visual artists will transform Boston’s iconic “Green Monster” into a giant percussion instrument. This live, interactive concert will feature 15 percussionists strapped, tethered, and suspended as high as three stories while “playing” and climbing on Fenway Park’s steel girders. The six original works will exploit the unique acoustic tones that this famous structure provides. Every percussive strike will activate sound-reactive lighting and visual projection, sonically and visually enlivening the landmark.”
And further afield…
Florence Rice Hitchcock and the Theory of the Soft Earth
October 2 & 3 at 8 p.m.
Travel to the Berkshires for an unusual evening of dance, film, and creative sound, as solo performer Candice Salyers conjures up a vision of a 19th-century geologist dreaming of 20th-century science. The work is created by Sara Smith, with lighting by Kathy Couch.
— Merli V. Guerra
Drawing Redefined: Roni Horn, Ester Kläs, Joëlle Tuerlincks, Richard Tuttle, and Jorinde Voigt
October 3 – March 20, 2016
DeCordova Sculpture Garden and Museum, Lincoln
In this show, based on the work of five contemporary artists, the DeCordova takes an updated look at the most intimate of art forms: drawing. Closely connected to the creator’s hand, drawing traditionally comes directly from the artist’s own creative DNA. The contemporary artists in this show, who tend to be comparatively introverted or are known as “artist’s artists,” extend the connection to the entire body, often through large-scale works, which, the museum explains, transform drawing “into an exploration of time and space.”
Josiah McElheny: Two Walking Mirrors for the Carpenter Center
October 1 – 25
Kerry Tribe: Critical Mass
October 3 – 25
Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Cambridge, MA
Harvard’s Carpenter Center features two short-term installations combined with performances in October, both by Boston-born artists. Josiah McElheny’s wood-framed “walking mirrors” are meant to be worn as a kind of space-altering fashion accessory. Harvard dance students will model them in a series of performances (times listed on the Carpenter website). In her Critical Mass, Kerry Tribe plays a role not unlike Borges’s fictional Pierre Menard, who recreated Cervantes’ Don Quixote word for word. In her case, Tribe has revisited an influential reel from 1971, also titled Critical Mass, by experimental filmmaker Hollis Frampton. Her actors perform the footage, scene by scene, entirely from their memories of the original. Tribe’s actors, Emelie O’Hara and Nicholas Huff, also perform live on October 3 at the Center.
The Artist in the Connecticut Landscape
October 2 – January 31, 2016
Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme, CT
Inspired by a recently updated collaborative digital library of over 15,000 historical images of Connecticut, this exhibition brings together landscape images of Connecticut from institutions around the state. The goal is to take a look at how digital database “keyword” searches have changed the art history of landscape painting and how Connecticut artists have contributed to American traditions of landscape-based art.
October 1 – January 3, 2016
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT
Mark Dion’s MATRIX installation takes a bemused look at “The Great Chain of Being,” a schema linking all living creatures from the simplest to the most sublime, first proposed by the Greek philosopher Aristotle and embedded in Western culture ever since. A series of 125 photographs of details from the Atheneum’s collection will encompass a great parade of invertebrates, arthropods, fish, reptiles, birds, dogs, and humans, monsters, and angels. Ultimately, God and the Devil preside over opposite ends of creation.
— Peter Walsh
Roots and World Music
Pioneering Latino rocker Chris Montez hit it big with “Let’s Dance” before becoming a lounge crooner with “Call Me.” These days he’s one of the most energetic and charming acts on the oldies circuit, which brings him for a run of twice-daily shows at the Big E Fair. Dave Davies of the Kinks follows on the same stage later in the week.
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.
The consummate ’60s folkie, Paxton penned “The Last Thing On My Mind,” “Bottle of Wine,” “The Marvelous Toy,” and “Ramblin’ Boy.” He has spent the intervening years writing funny, topical songs and fighting for justice. He is now looking forward to a well-earned retirement from the stage following this farewell tour.
If you were seeing roots music in Boston a decade or so ago you likely spent some fine nights with the Coachmen, the western swing trio made up of Roy Sludge, Jerry Miller, and Johnny Sciascia. In recent years Sludge has been fronting his own trio, while Miller and Sciascia have been touring the country with Eilen Jewell. But they’re getting back together for a night at one of Boston’s last dive bars.
The masters of pop psychedelia return with a new album, Still Got That Hunger and a performance of the complete Odyssey and Oracle LP. An interview with keyboardist and songwriter Rod Argent will be on the Arts Fuse later this week.
— 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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
Mr. Joy by Daniel Beaty. Directed by David Dower. Presented by Arts Emerson in the Jackie Liebergott Black Box, through October 18.
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.” Arts Fuse review.
Othello by William Shakespeare. Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary. At the Modern Theatre, Suffolk University, Boston, MA, through October 25.
The Bard’s tragedy about the “green-eyed monster” — the cast includes John Kuntz as Iago and Johnnie McQuarley as Othello.
Einstein’s Dreams. Alan Lightman’s novel adapted and directed by Wesley Savick. Staged by Underground Railway Theater at the Central Square Theater, Cambridge, MA, through October 24.
“Absurd, comic, and poetic,” this play “captures the poignancy of the human condition. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, Underground Railway Theater reunites the original 2007 world premiere cast, adapted by director Wesley Savick (Mr g, Car Talk: The Musical!!!). The cast includes Debra Wise, Steven Barkheimer, and Robert Najarian.
Copenhagen by Michael Frayn. Directed by Eric Tucker. Staged by the Nora Theater Company at the Central Square Theater, Cambridge, MA, October 1 through November 15.
A revival of Frayn’s challenging exploration of the mysterious connections between ideas and personalities. “Copenhagen, 1941: Two brilliant physicists – fast friends from enemy nations – famously confront each other at the height of WWII. This award-winning psychological mystery unravels what transpired on that fateful night. Werner Heisenberg and his mentor Niels Bohr meet again in the afterlife, goaded by Bohr’s wife, Margrethe. Who will remember the truth that changed the course of history?”
An Iliad, an adaptation of Homer’s epic poem (the Robert Fagles translation) by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare. Directed by Jonathan Epstein. Staged by Shakespeare and Company in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, Lenox, MA, October 3 through November 1.
“A modern-day retelling of Homer’s tale of gods and goddesses, undying love and endless battles, the narrative is told through the eyes of a single narrator (Michael F. Toomey), whose gripping monologue captures both the heroism and horror of war. Crafted around the stories of Achilles and Hector, this powerful piece vividly drives home the timelessness of mankind’s compulsion toward violence.” The OBIE-award winning play also features musician Gregory Boover.
Indecent by Paula Vogel. Directed by Rebecca Taichman. A Yale Repertory Theatre co-production with La Jolla Playhouse at the University Theatre, 222 York Street, New Haven, CT, October 3 through 24.
The world premiere of a “play with music …inspired by the true events surrounding the controversial 1923 Broadway debut of Sholem Asch’s The God of Vengeance—a play seen by some as a seminal work of Jewish culture, and by others as an act of traitorous libel.” I have been intrigued by Asch’s play since I reviewed Donald Margulies’s version of the melodrama at the Williamstown Theater Festival in 2002. The script touches on prostitution and lesbianism, and the New York production was greeted by charges of anti-Semitism. The company was arrested and fined. Not sure who finds The God of Vengeance to be a “seminal work of Jewish culture,” but it certainly made a splash.
— Bill Marx
Former child prodigy pianist Matt Savage (he recorded his first CD at seven), 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.
October 2, 7:30 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA.
Love the front line in this band: saxophonists Allan Chase, Joel Springer, and Rick Stone. And they’ll all be doubling, so expect provocative voicings and yummy sonorities. And, oh yeah, the rhythm team is also tops: bassist Fernando Huergo and drummer Austin McMahon.
Cécile McLorin Salvant
October 2, 8 p.m. + 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
The phenomenal 26-year-old singer Cécile McLorin Salvant covers everything from Bert Williams and Blanche Calloway to Burt Bacharach and Leonard Bernstein. And on her new For One To Love (Mack Avenue) she’s adding more of her estimable originals. She’s backed by the super-simpatico Aaron Diehl Trio.
October 7, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
Splitting the difference between world music and jazz, the quartet Grand Fatilla plays a stunning, authoritative mix of Italian folk, North African-Arabic, Argentine tango, Turkish Sufi music, and other international styles. The deeply schooled and skilled players are bassist Mike Rivard, electric mandolinist Matt Glover, accordionist Roberto Cassan and percussionist/singer Fabio Pirozzolo. Their debut CD, 2014’s Global Shuffle, was one of the most flat-out enjoyable discs of that year in any genre.
Latin-Brazilian Jazz Jam
October 7, 9 p.m.
Ryles Jazz Club, Cambridge, MA.
This has the makings of a good scene: house band Samba de Três — with pianist Alexei Tsiganov, bassist Ebinho Cardoso, and drummer Renato Malavasi — host a monthly jam. These guys, and series producer Anita Coelho, are deeply plugged into the local Brazilian scene, so expect a few ringers to stop by.
October 8, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
The 10-piece Either/Orchestra’s original arrangements and compositions have earned them a Grammy nomination (“Bennie Moten’s Weird Nightmare,” mashing up Moten and Mingus), taken them to Ethiopia for deep explorations of the “Ethio-jazz” of Mulatu Astatke, and won them a loyal following at home. And, oh yeah, they have a nice book of original Afro-Latin stuff too, anchored by the great conguero Vicente Lebron.
The outstanding progressive big band the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra opens its 43rd season focusing on the release of Deep River, a new CD featuring the compositions of its longtime guitarist, Richard Nelson. Also on the bill are bandleader Mark Harvey’s “NOLA” and Duke Ellington’s “Second Line,” from The New Orleans Suite, both commemorating the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. And as a lagniappe, Harvey’s arrangement of “Chelsea Bridge,” a centennial birthday tribute to Billy Strayhorn.
— Jon Garelick
Schuller and Mahler
Presented by NEC
September 30, 7:30 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston
The first orchestral performance of NEC’s series this year begins with a memorial to Gunther Schuller, who died in June. His brilliant, mercurial Dreamscape – last heard played by the BSO in April – shares a program with Mahler’s titanic Symphony no. 5. Hugh Wolff conducts
Pianist Gabriel Chodos
September 29 at 7:30 p.m.
At Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA
An all-Beethoven program that includes: Sonata for Piano no 23 in F minor, Op. 57 “Appassionata”; Sonata for Piano no 28 in A major, Op. 101, and the Andante for Piano in F major, WoO 57 “Andante Favori.”
Master Peter’s Puppet Show
October 2 at 7:30 p.m.
At Sanders Theatre, 45 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA
An intriguing performance by the Boston University College of Fine Arts: “A puppet-opera composed by Manuel de Falla to a Spanish libretto based on chapter 26 of the second part of Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. In the opera, Don Quixote is watching a puppet play: A medieval story of love and quarrels between Moors and Christians, in which Don Gayferos, a knight at Charlemagne’s court, frees his wife Melisendra, who was held captive by the Moors. The opera will be sung in Spanish with supertitles in English.”
October 3 at 8 p.m.
At the Longy School of Music/Pickman Hall, 27 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA
In the first of Emmanuel Music’s evening concerts this season, the group’s musicians “show how Bach himself, Stravinsky, and the Swingle Singers took off on Bach’s works.”
October 4 at 7 p.m.
At St. Paul’s Church, 15 St. Paul Street, Brookline, MA
On the program: Boccherini’s Quintet in d minor, No. 31 Op. 25 No. 1; Heiss’s Microcosms (world premiere, oboe version); Schumann’s Piano Trio No. 2 in F major, op. 80; Henderson’s Song for the Spirit: With Grace We Meet Our Trials.
— Susan Miron
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.
Kurt Vile and the Violators
Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA
The release of b’lieve i’m goin down… in late September finds the shaggy rocker back on the road. For a taste of what to expect, check out the wonderful Pretty Pimpin.
Wang Theatre, Boston, MA
Simply one of the most influential bands in history. That Kraftwerk weren’t inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year (but fucking Green Day were) is a crime. Thankfully, everyone knows the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is irrelevant.
Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA
For a brief moment, Ride looked like they were going to be the UK’s next big thing. In the end it didn’t quite work out that way, but their mix of pop and shoegaze has persevered. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the release of their debut album Nowhere (released on the immortal Creation Records) and this reunion tour celebrates the milestone.
Somerville Armory Café, Somerville, MA
Local singer/songwriter Terry Kitchen recently released his new album The Post-American Century, and will be joined by Boston-area musicians Jim Infantino and Barbara Kessler at the Somerville Armory Café. Each will play their own set, and then they’ll come together for a round robin song swap.
Upcoming and On Sale…
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
In Conversation with Claire Messud
The Suicide of Claire Bishop
September 28 at 7 p.m.
Newtonville Books, Newton Centre MA
This debut novel concerns an artist’s ’50s-era rendering of the titular main character in an eerie manner that seems to have more to do with Bishop’s hidden spiritual destiny than her physical form. Decades later, a schizophrenic young man becomes obsessed with a painting in a gallery that may lead to the truth about them both. Banafsky will sit down with the eminent novelist Claire Messud and discuss the book, which has already garnered praise from the likes of Colum McCann.
X.J. Kennedy, Jack Rochester, Katie Li, and Peter Shapiro
September 28 from 7- 8:30 p.m.
First Parish Church, Lexington MA
Four local writers will break out of the confines of genre to read from their latest work. Kennedy is a novelist and poet, Li will read from an adult romance novel, Rochester from a murder-mystery thriller involving a bike trip from New Hampshire to Taiwan, and Shapiro tells the story of an oil painting stolen from a museum long ago and reclaimed at a rummage sale in Vermont.
Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dimitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad
September 29 at 6:30 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
Boston’s own M.T. Anderson is a National Book Award winner whose brilliant YA novels Feed and the Octavian Nothing series have gained cult status in the literary community. His latest work tells the epic tragedy of the three-year siege of Leningrad by Hitler’s Wehrmacht. Among the devastated but defiant citizens of the starving city included the great composer Shostakovich, whose Leningrad Symphony served to mourn the victims of the siege and galvanize the survivors.
Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads
September 29 at 6 p.m. (Doors open at 5:30)
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge MA
The renowned travel writer sets his sights on the Deep South, a place with rich musical and literary culture and some of the nation’s poorest schools, housing, and unemployment rates. Theroux talks to the locals and the experts to get to the bottom of the enigma of life well below the Mason-Dixon line.
The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century
September 29 6-8 p.m.
Bill Bordy Theatre, Boston MA
Pinker is a renowned linguist and psychologist and the author of the bestselling The Language Instinct. His latest book examines contemporary forms of writing and why it falls short, asking if texting and social media are ruining our capacity for clear thinking and writing and what can be done to fix it.
In conversation with Hank Phillippi Ryan and Hallie Ephron
Women Crime Writers: Eight Suspense Novels of the 1940s & 1950s
October 1 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
When it comes to hard-boiled mystery writing, Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler are deservedly given posthumous raves and reprints. But what about women noir writers like Patricia Highsmith, Vera Caspary, and Dorothy B. Hughes? Editor Sarah Weinman comes to Brookline to discuss her two-volume set of postwar crime fiction with two of Boston’s best crime fiction writers. Interestingly, many of these texts were the blueprint for classic film noir, from Laura to In A Lonely Place.
— Matt Hanson