Fuse Coming Attractions: December 6 through 15—What Will Light Your Fire This Week

Arts Fuse critics select the best in film, theater, dance, music, visual arts, and author events for the coming week.

By The Arts Fuse Staff


Boston Area Film Schedules—What is Playing Today, Where, and When

Out Of My Hand
December 6 at 2:30 p.m.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

This Liberian production, only the second foreign-production narrative feature film ever shot in Liberia, is about about a Liberian rubber plantation worker who risks everything to begin a new life as a cab driver in New York City. The film is realistic and honest and comes at a timely moment. Takeshi Fukunaga is working hard to get her film seen in America and discussed the film with The Huffington Post. The director will be present for a Q&A following the screening. Arts Fuse review

"The Blob" is screening this week at the Coolidge Corner Theatre.

“The Blob” is screening this week at the Coolidge Corner Theatre.

The Blob
December 7 at 7 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA

Well before there were Trump supporters, Steve McQueen warned: “It’s kind of like a mass that gets bigger and bigger.” In 1958, that was The Blob. Once you see the trailer you will understand the draw of this “indestructible, indescribable” oozing horror.

Ferris Jabr, a freelance science journalist based in New York, and contributing writer at Scientific American, will discuss the film’s ‘science.’  Presented by the Science on the Screen Series.

The Armor Of Light
December 10 at 7 p.m.
UMass Boston Campus Center, Ballroom C, 3rd Floor, Boston, MA

From the Tribeca Film festival comes this timely film by Abigail Disney. It follows the journey of an Evangelical minister trying to find the courage to preach about the growing toll of gun violence in America. An in-person Q&A with director follows the screening. Watch the trailer.

Too Much Johnson
December 11 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Film Archives, Cambridge, MA

The second part of the HFA’s Orson Welles retrospective begins with this film,  which he made before Citizen Kane and was rediscovered several years ago. It is filled with signature experiments of style; this is a rare opportunity to see the work in its entirety. An informative introduction to this experiment in cinema language is discussed in this brief clip courtesy of the Fandor website. The full Welles screening schedule is here.

— Tim Jackson


Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker
December 5–31
Boston Opera House, Boston, MA

One of Boston’s annual highlights, Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker, returns and as usual it features a  stellar cast from the Boston Ballet.

Catch WGBH’s “A Christmas Celtic Sojourn” across the state this week and next.

WGBH A Christmas Celtic Sojourn 
December 11–17
Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston, MA

Brian O’Donovan’s A Christmas Celtic Sojourn has evolved over the decades from radio to live performance. The production now features a celebratory array of music and dance, drawing on Celtic, Pagan, and Christian traditions of the season. Make sure to visit the website for info about additional performances happening throughout the coming weeks, as the production travels to Rockport, Worcester, and New Bedford.

Martha’s Artist Salon Series
December 15 from 5:30 p.m. to 8pm
Mills Gallery, Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA

Hosted by the BCA, this new series fosters a monthly dialogue within the Greater Boston dance community. This month’s salon will focus on discussing musicality across different eras and its corresponding dance forms.

—Merli V. Guerra


Stephanie DiMaggio as Myrna Minkoff and Nick Offerman as Ignatius J. Reilly in "A Confederacy of Dunces" at the Huntington Theatre Company. Photo: T. Charles Erickson.

Stephanie DiMaggio as Myrna Minkoff and Nick Offerman as Ignatius J. Reilly in “A Confederacy of Dunces” at the Huntington Theatre Company. Photo: T. Charles Erickson.

A Confederacy of Dunces, adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher from the novel by John Kennedy Toole. Directed by David Esbjornson. Staged by the Huntington Theater Company at the Boston University Theatre, Boston, MA, through December 20.

An exciting prospect—a stage version of Toole’s playfully Swiftian satire. “Nick Offerman (TV’s Parks and Recreation) stars as the larger-than-life character Ignatius J. Reilly: overweight, arrogant, eccentric, and still living with his mother in 1960s New Orleans. Called the Don Quixote of the French Quarter, Ignatius has a singular outlook on life. His farcical odyssey includes a riot in a department store and a raid on a strip club, and stints working at a pants factory and as a hot dog vendor.” Read the full reviews on The Arts Fuse here and here.

Arabian Nights, an adaption of One Thousand and One Nights by Dominic Cooke. Staged by the Nora Theatre Company and the Underground Railway Theater Company at the Central Square Theater, Cambridge, MA, through January 3, 2016.

A revival of an award-winning production: a stage version of “a collection of folk tales from the Middle East and Asia.” The presentation “is rich with suspense, romance and hilarity—stories irresistible for all ages, and at its heart, the power of the imagination to heal, inspire, and transform.”

peerless by Jiehae Park. Directed by Margo Bordelon. Staged by Yale Rep at the Yale Repertory Theatre, 1120 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT, through December 19.

The world premiere of a new comedy that pits youth against academia: “In an ordinary Midwestern high school, twin sisters M and L are competitive with everyone—except each other. When the failsafe combination of perfect academics, killer extracurriculars, and calculated self-identification fails to impress The College’s early decision admissions board, they hatch a sinister Plan B to secure their future.”

One Child Born: The Music of Laura Nyro by Louis Greenstein and Kate Ferber. Directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt. Presented by the American Repertory Theater at Oberon, Cambridge, MA, through December 10.

This acclaimed one-woman show (starring Kate Ferber) “celebrates the music and creative force of the late singer-songwriter and rock and Roll Hall of Famer whose pop masterpieces—including “Eli’s Comin’,” “And When I Die,” “Save the Country,” and “Stoney End”—topped the charts in the ‘60s and ‘70s.”

The Snow Queen by Kirsten Brandt, Haddon Kime, and Rick Lombardo. Directed and choreographed by Lombardo. Staged by New Repertory Theatre in the Charles Mosesian Theater at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown, MA, through December 20.

A pop/rock musical “based on the same Hans Christian Andersen story as Disney’s Frozen.” The production features a cast of Boston favorites including Aimee Doherty, Maureen Keiller, Maurice Emmanuel Parent, and Nick Sulfaro. The production will mark the first time Rick Lombardo has returned to direct at New Rep since his departure in 2009.

The Shepards’ Singularity, a Come On Over Ensemble Theater collaboration loosely based on The Second Shepherds’ Play, a medieval comedy. Directed by Wanda Strukus. Staged by Come On Over Ensemble at the YMCA Theater, 820 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA, through December 13.

The world premiere of a show that appears to be taking holiday entertainment into the realm of science fiction: “Come On Over has incorporated this medieval legend into a futuristic play about the technological Singularity: the premise that artificial intelligence will surpass human intelligence by 2030, rendering human beings obsolete. Shepherds, technology experts, Bethlehem Pennsylvania, old-school computer games, angels, scorned wives, and sheep collide in this fantastic journey through time, space, and what it means to be human.”

Return of the Winemaker: An Irish Christmas Comedy by Bernard McMullan. Directed by Carmel O’Reilly. Staged by Tir Na Productions at the Davis Square Theatre, 255 Elm Street, Somerville, MA, through December 20.

Here’s the premise of what must be an evening of absolute whimsy. Or TV’s Fox News will condemn this show as an enemy of Xmas: “Instead of Bethlehem, Jesus was born in Ireland. Ballyhoura, County Galway, to be exact. He cured a few goats of liver fluke in his youth and there was talk of him being able walk across Walsh’s bog but nobody ever took him seriously until one day when he turned water into wine.” Besides the production’s expert director, there’s a strong cast: Nancy E. Carroll, Colin Hamell, Stephen Russell, and Derry Woodhouse.

Buyer & Cellar by Jonathan Tolins. Directed by Courtney O’Connor. Staged by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston at 140 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA, December 4 through January 3.

“When you’re an out-of-work L.A. actor, what better job could you imagine than being the sole employee of the ‘Great Mall of Malibu’—Barbra Streisand’s treasure-filled basement!” Stars Phil Tayler.

Johnny Lee Davenport as Beowulf in the Poets' Theater production. Photo: courtesy of the PT.

Johnny Lee Davenport as Beowulf in the Poets’ Theater production. Photo: courtesy of the PT.

Beowulf: A Feast of Story, translated by Seamus Heaney. Adapted for the stage by David Gullette. Directed by Benjamin Evett. Staged by the Poets’ Theatre at the Cambridge Arts Center, Cambridge, MA, December 10 through 20.

“Celebrate the solstice with fun, frolic and ferocious adventure in a modern Medieval mead hall as we bring to life the immortal tale of Beowulf, who battles monsters (and their mothers!) to save the kingdom of the proud king Hrothgar. Feast on food, drink, music, dancing, juggling, viking combat, and most importantly the exuberant and intoxicating poetry of this magical story.”

Not About My Mother by Lizzie Milanovich. Directed by Cassie Lovering. Staged by Fresh Ink Theatre at the Plaza Black Box Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, through December 12.

The summary of the plot sounds like another contemporary variation on Arthur Miller’s The Price: “After their mother’s funeral, two half-sisters reunite in their family basement to begin clearing out the house. Unpacking pretty clothes and bitter memories, Midge and Nancy confront the aftershocks of a troubled childhood through the ghost of the Gold Dust Woman they called Mom.”

Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!) by Michael Carelton, Jim FitzGerald and John K. Alvarez. Original music by Will Knapp. Directed by Allison Benko. At Gloucester Stage, 267 Main Street, Gloucester, MA, through December 20.

I am always on the look out for sharp parodies/spoofs/send-ups of Christmas shows. (A symptom of spending decades sitting through uninspired productions of A Christmas Carol.) This sounds promising: “The Grinch, Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, Charlie Brown, and George Bailey—and just about every other holiday character—make an appearance in this hilarious comedy when three actors decide to retell every Christmas story ever told in only 90 minutes rather than perform yet another rendition of A Christmas Carol.” Let’s hope that Scrooge doesn’t make an appearance.

Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, a musical adaptation of an excerpt from Leo Tolstoy’s novel War and Peace by Dave Malloy. Directed by Rachel Chavkin. Choreographed by Sam Pinkleton. Staged by the American Repertory Theater at the Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, MA, through January 3.

“Natasha is young, Anatole is hot, and Andrey isn’t here…But what about Pierre?” What about Tolstoy? Hey, he didn’t write musicals, so he couldn’t see that War & Peace had a beat you could dance to. “This electropop opera is Tolstoy like you’ve never experienced him before. Step into a glamorous, romantic world of chandeliers, vodka and caviar in the salons and opera houses of 19th century Moscow, where passions ignite as Napoleon’s war rages outside the city.” Features “an immersive set designed by 2015 MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’ Winner, Mimi Lien.”

The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare. Directed by Melia Bensussen. Staged by the Actors’ Shakespeare Project in Wilet Hall at the United Parish, Brookline, MA, December 10 through January 3.

Steven Barkhimer, Marianna Bassham, Allyn Burrows, and Nigel Gore are in the cast for this staging of Shakespeare’s magical fable, where “forgiveness wins out over mistrust, keeping this sublime romance out of the clutches of tragedy!”

The Sailor Moon Shoujo Spectacular at Oberon, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA, on December 13.

“For the THIRD year in a row, the Sailor Moon Shoujo Spectacular is back at Oberon Theater, filling a whole geeky night with joyful, kawaii revelry. The line-up includes “burlesque and circus tributes by New York City’s Crimson Kitty and Boston’s own Fonda Feeling; music by queer Sailor Moon-themed synth pop band The Outer Lips; dance by Wisterious Pearl; drag by Complete Destruction and Fem Bones; fanfic, fanfic, so much fanfic; live drawing and Sailor portraits by Zombie Romance; a costume contest with fabulous prizes; and more!”

All at Once Upon a Time (or Variations on the Theme of Disappearing), conceived and directed by Giselle Ty. Staged by the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM)’s Present Tense Initiative in the Gardner-Pingree House, Salem, MA, December 11 through 13. Reservations by December 9; performance limited to 15 people.

The world premiere of what sounds like an intriguing “immersive and audience-driven theater experience takes place on three floors of the Gardner-Pingree House, a National Historic Landmark that is one of Salem architect Samuel McIntire’s finest and best-preserved Federal designs. Intimate and ephemeral, the performance offers a unique perspective into this architectural treasure, allowing participants to explore the elegant and storied home on foot, and come upon surprising and dreamlike happenings, while navigating an exploration into the way we see our environment, ourselves and each other.”

Exposed by Robert Brustein. Directed by Steven Bogart. Staged by the Boston Center for American Performance (BCAP) and Boston Playwrights’ Theatre (BPT) at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, Wimberly Theatre, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, December 10 through 18.

“A ribald satire on financial corruption and religious extremism,” this play by former A.R.T. Artistic Director Robert Brustein “is a penetrating glimpse into the broken American political system. Loosely based on Molière’s Tartuffe and written partly in verse, the play follows evangelical hypocrite Dick Cockburn and rich power broker Seymour Sackeroff, who—with the help of his mother Hortense—tries to pave the televangelist’s path to the White House.”

A program drawn by Edouard Vuillard for an 1893 production of "Rosmersholm."

A program drawn by Edouard Vuillard for an 1893 production of “Rosmersholm.”

Rosmersholm by Henrik Ibsen. Translation by Rolf Fjelde. Directed by Bryn Boice. Staged by the Boston University College of Fine Arts at the Boston University Theater, Lane-Comley Studio 210, Boston, MA, December 9 through 13.

An opportunity to see a production of a play by the great Ibsen should never be passed up. Even better, this Boston University CFA production takes on one of his later (and rarely staged) masterpieces.

The Christmas Revels: A Welsh Celebration of the Winter Solstice. Directed by Patrick Swanson. Music directed by George Emlen. At Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre, Cambridge, MA, December 11 through 27.

The venerable seasonal entertainment, “a joyous theatrical celebration filled with music, dance, comedy and carols,” celebrates its 45th year. This time around, the show takes on “an exhilarating journey to the ancient Celtic nation of Wales.” It is set in “a village not too different from the one described in Dylan Thomas’s A Child’s Christmas in Wales in order to “access the world of Celtic legend and song.”

—Bill Marx

Visual Arts

Harvey Stein Workshop Exhibit
December 10 through 23
Winter Solstice Exhibit
December 10 through 30
Griffin Museum of Photograph, Winchester, MA

For a museum, the Griffin is unusually open to supporting and exhibiting the work of new artists. Harvey Stien Workshop Exhibit features work created in a three-day workshop last June, conducted by photographer and educator Harvey Stein. The action took place on the streets of Boston and focused on giving its students experience photographing people in different settings, including their own environment. The Griffin’s Winter Solstice Exhibit is a Salon of Griffin Museums members, who were able to submit their work without a fee. Both shows are of fairly short duration so don’t deal your visit. You might just see someone you know.

Hiro Photographs
December 12 – August 14, 2016
Kenneth Paul Block Illustrations
December 12 – August 14, 2016
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

The latest in a long-running series of exhibitions featuring photographers who work both in the fashion industry and as fine artists, Hiro Photographs features the work of the photographer born Yasuhiro Wakabayashi in Shanghai in 1930 to Japanese expatriates. He has lived in the United States since 1954. Once an assistant and protege of the celebrity photographer Richard Alvedon, Hiro has since worked with such fashion luminaries as Halston, Pierre Cardin, Harry Winston, and Elsa Peretti. This is his first exhibition in a major American museum.

Many in the fashion industry consider Kenneth Paul Block (1925-2009) to be the greatest fashion illustrator of all time. His elegant, yet informal work, capturing such fashion icons as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and perfectly suited to the high styles of the 1950s and 60s, is instantly recognizable and has been much imitated ever since. This survey of 30 works, drawn from the MFA’s Block archive, spans his career from the post-War period to the 1990s.

— Peter Walsh

Classical Music

Family Concert
Concord Orchestra
December 6 at 2 p.m.
51 Walden Street, Concord, MA

Richard Pittman leads the CO in a holiday-themed concert that includes Robert Kapilow’s adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg’s The Polar Express (with David Kravitz), as well as pieces by Johann Strauss, Silvestre Revueltas, Elgar, and Samuel Adler.

NEC Philharmonia plays Bartók
Presented by New England Conservatory
December 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA

Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra closes the final NECP concert of the year. Also on the program is Brahms’s Piano Concerto no. 1 and Bright Sheng’s Tibetan Swing.

will perform in Boston this week.

The Chicago-based Ensemble dal Niente will perform in Boston this week.

Ensemble dal Niente
Presented by Boston University School of Music
December 9 at 8 p.m.
Tsai Performance Center, Boston, MA

The Chicago-based ensemble’s Neue Musik tour comes to Boston with a heavy-duty survey of music by active German contemporary composers including Enno Poppe, Helmut Lachenmann, and Matthias Spahlinger.

Berlioz’s Grand symphonie funèbre et triomphale
Presented by Boston Conservatory
December 11 at 8 p.m.
Fenway Center, Boston, MA

Eric Hewitt leads the Boston Conservatory Wind Ensemble in a performance of Berlioz’s magnificent, wacky Grand symphonie and Richard Strauss’s sunny Symphony for Winds (“The Happy Workshop”).

Holiday Concert
Presented by the New England Philharmonic
December 13, 3 p.m.
Tsai Performance Center, Boston, MA

The program includes John Harbison’s Remembering Gatsby; George Antheil’s Tom Sawyer Overture, and
Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1.

—Jonathan Blumhofer

First Monday
December 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Jordan Hall/New England Conservatory, Boston, MA

On the program: Mozart’s Sonata for 2 Pianos in D major, K 448 (375a); Wyner’s West of the Moon; Schubert’s Der Winterabend, D 938; Berg’s Se solen sjunker; Schubert’s Trio for Piano and Strings no 2 in E flat major, D 929/Op. 100.

The Boston Conservatory Choruses: Conversations with the Divine Self
December 9 at 8 p.m.
Old South Church, Boston, MA

“The combined choral ensembles of The Boston Conservatory and The Boston Conservatory Orchestra, featuring Joe Turbessi (piano), present this concert of twentieth century masterworks. Each piece is a conversation between the composer and his inner self. Set to immortal texts by Dylan Thomas, Walt Whitman, Pablo Neruda, and James Agee, these pieces challenge us to look inwards to find the beauty in the world and those around us.”

Jameson Singers, Illuminare
December 11 at 8 p.m.
First Congregational Church Cambridge, Cambridge, MA

“A heavenly program of motets and carols through the ages, from the Renaissance to today. On the program: “a cappella masterworks from Palestrina, Britten, Ockeghem, Vaughan Williams, Bruckner, and Sweelinck, along with traditional Christmas carols.”

Exsultemus, A Spanish Christmas
December 13 at 3 p.m.
First Lutheran Church of Boston, Boston, MA

“Exsultemus is joined by the energetic instrumentalists of Newton Baroque for a joyous celebration of the holiday season featuring works by Spaniards Diego Durón, Francisco Hernández Plá, and others, culminating in a magnificent villancico for double choir, strings, brass, and woodwinds by the Italian master Francisco Corselli, written for the court of Felipe V.”

—Susan Miron


Mili Bermejo/Dan Greenspan
December 8 at 7 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA

The distinguished Mexican-born singer and songwriter Mili Bermejo concludes her residency at the Lily Pad with her husband, bassist Dan Greenspan, before they go into the studio to record.

Brian Levy Group
December 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA

Tenor saxophonist Brian Levy’s 2012 PhD Brandeis dissertation explored “the harmonic and rhythmic interaction in John Coltrane’s Classic Quartet,” and his website features an arrangement that combines Wayne Shorter’s “Infant Eyes” and Arnold Schoenberg’s “Transfigured Night” as a duet for tenor and organ. Now teaching at New England Conservatory he’s assembled a fine group for this show: pianist Isaac Wilson, bassist Dave Santoro, and drummer Joe Hunt.

Ned Rothenberg’s Inner Diaspora
December 10 at 8:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA

The adventurous composer and reed player Ned Rothenberg (alto sax, clarinet, bass clarinet), longtime fellow traveler of John Zorn and others of the downtown New York scene, brings his Inner Diaspora ensemble, a ridiculously accomplished crew, who explore cross pollinations of jazz, folk, and classical. The murderers’ row of veteran top-rank players includes Jerome Harris on acoustic bass guitar and acoustic guitar, Satoshi Takeishi on percussion, violinist Mark Feldman, and cellist Erik Friedlander. Get there early if you want a seat—no advance sales posted.

Robert Glasper Trio

The Robert Glasper Trio will perform this week at Scullers Jazz Club.

Robert Glasper Trio
December 11 and 12 at 8 p.m. & 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA
The pianist and composer grabbed a share of the pop audience with 2012’s Black Radio (Blue Note) and its follow-up. He’s back with the original acoustic trio with whom he began recording for Blue Note, bassist Vincente Archer and drummer Damion Reid. The trio’s new disc, Covered, explores a variety of pop and R&B (Radiohead, Joni Mitchell, Bilal) as well as a couple of originals and standards.

Aardvark Jazz Orchestra
December 12 at 7:30 p.m.
Emmanuel Church, Boston, MA.

The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, a treasure of the Boston scene, presents its 43rd annual Christmas concert, this year focusing on Duke Ellington’s sacred music — “Come Sunday,” “Tell Me It’s the Truth,” “Almighty God Has Those Angels,” “The Shepherd Who Watches Over the Night Flock,” “It’s Freedom,” “A Song for Christmas” (by Billy Strayhorn), and Ellington’s portrait of the Three Wise Men in a movement from his Three Black Kings suite. The concert will feature the orchestra with its singers, Jerry Edwards and Grace Hughes, plus the debut of the Aardvark Chorale. Proceeds benefit Community Works, a coalition of Boston-area social justice organizations.

Jeff Cox/Ran Blake
December 12 at 7 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA

At 80, master pianist and composer Ran Blake doesn’t step out for just anybody, so we’re curious to hear what he hears in young trumpeter Jeff Cox, who is due to enter Blake’s stomping ground, New England Conservatory, next year. It’s a program of duets, with maybe a few special guests thrown in.

—Jon Garelick


Legendary Brazilian singer Joyce Moreno will perform at the Berklee Performance Center this week.

Joyce Moreno Meets Berklee
December 10 at 8 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA

The great Brazilian singer, composer, and guitarist Joyce Moreno comes to Berklee College of Music this week for a residency culminating in a concert on Thursday. Moreno, who went by her first name alone until a few years ago, broke boundaries in Brazil as a singer-songwriter whose lyrics spoke from the female first-person point of view. In a career spanning some 40 years, she has written hundreds of songs, many recorded by Brazilian musical stars such as Milton Nascimento and Elis Regina, and has released dozens of albums featuring her distinctive, jazzy vocals and arrangements. She will be joined on Thursday by students in a program of her compositions directed by Berklee faculty, including Brazilian flutist Fernando Brandão, guitarist John Stein, and pianist Matthew Nicholl.

—Evelyn Rosenthal

Rock, Pop, and Folk

Vanessa Carlton
December 7, doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. (opening act: Joshua Hyslop)
Brighton Music Hall, Allston, MA

Vanessa Carlton got her first taste of fame and (presumably) fortune in 2002 with her debut album Be Not Nobody, a set of 11 original compositions and a cover of “Paint It Black.” “A Thousand Miles,” a single from the album, became one of the most often-played songs of the year and earned her three Grammy nominations. Since then, Carlton has focused on developing as a piano-based singer-songwriter, thereby escaping the threat of being remembered only as a fleeting pop star. Her fifth album, called Liberman in honor of her grandfather, was released in October. Her Monday night show at Brighton Music Hall is listed as sold out, but that is probably only by the “at the box office” definition of the term.

The Northampton quartet Speedy Ortiz will perform at the Royale in Boston this week.

The Northampton quartet Speedy Ortiz will perform at the Royale in Boston this week.

Speedy Ortiz
December 9, doors at 8 p.m. (opening acts: Downtown Boys and Ursula)
Middle East Downstairs, Cambridge, MA

This Northampton quartet consists of one gal backed by three guys and is one of the Bay State’s most buzzed-about homegrown musical products of the past few years. With a sound that unmistakably recalls ‘90s indie bands such as Slint and Pavement, Speedy Ortiz’s latest album Foil Deer is a solid batch of a dozen songs by lead singer Sadie Dupuis that maintains the group’s impressive momentum. Having expeditiously worked its way up the small, independent venue ladder, Dupuis and company arrive at the Middle East Downstairs on Wednesday.

Evan Dando
December 10, doors at 7 p.m., show 8:30 p.m. (opening act: These Wild Plains)
Sinclair, Cambridge, MA

One couldn’t describe Evan Dando as prolific, but he doesn’t need to be given the catalog of the beloved Boston band The Lemonheads to keep him afloat. Dando plays the second night of the Boston Music Awards at Sinclair on Thursday, when he will become a member of the BMA Hall of Fame.

December 10, doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m. (opening act: Atlas Sound)
Royale, Boston, MA

I have fallen pretty much completely out of the loop when it comes to Deerhunter. This is a shame, because I am not oblivious to the fact that this Atlanta foursome is as creatively unpredictable as it is dependably satisfying. Perhaps I will take in a bit of a crash course when Bradford Cox and his bandmates gallop into Royale on December 10. You will know me by my inability to sing along to any of the songs.

Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook are members of the British new wave band Squeeze. They will be performing in Boston this week at the Wilbur Theatre.

Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook are members of the British new wave band Squeeze. They will be performing in Boston this week at the Wilbur Theatre.

The At Odds Couple: An Evening of Acoustic Squeeze
December 10 at 8 p.m.
Wilbur Theatre, Boston, MA

Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook—or Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford are the powerhouse songwriting duo of the British new wave band Squeeze. (I am pretty sure that they keep track of who gets mentioned first most often.) Best known for the irresistible classic “Tempted,” on which neither one of them sings lead, the band was responsible for dozens of catchy and intelligent pop songs in the late ’70s and early ’80s, including “Up the Junction,” “Another Nail in My Heart,” and “Pulling Mussels (From the Shell).” (1987’s “Hourglass” was no slouch, either.) The two reunited in 2007 primarily to tour, and finally released an album of new material—Cradle to the Grave—this past October. This show is also on Thursday, but, fortunately, I don’t think that there is a huge amount of overlap among the audiences of Evan Dando, Deerhunter, and Squeeze. Nonetheless, I would happy be at all three if I could.

Darlene Love

Darlene Love will perform this week at the Cabot in Beverly, MA.

Rock the Holidays with Darlene Love
December 13, doors at 5 p.m., show at 6 p.m.
The Cabot, Beverly, MA

Sometimes I like to save myself some work by including an artist for whom the mere mention of her or his name is sufficient.

Other noteworthy shows this week: Joanna Newsom at Orpheum Theatre (Sunday, 12/6); The Susan Cattaneo Band at Lizard Lounge (Tuesday, 12/8); and Aimee Mann & Ted Leo—aka, The Both—Christmas Show with Liz Phair, Jonathan Coulton, John Roderick, and “very special guests” at Wilbur Theatre (Wednesday, 12/9).

One more thing: tickets for Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band at TD Garden go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m.

—Blake Maddux

Author Events


Ryan Britt
Luke Skywalker Can’t Read: And Other Geeky Truths
December 7 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA

In an event perfectly suited to all manner of pop culture geeks (and who isn’t, these days?) “one of nerd culture’s most brilliant and essential commentators” reads from his new collection of essays discussing the intricacies of Star Wars, the merits of Barbarella, and the strange functional illiteracy of the Star Wars characters. A trivia contest promising super-difficult questions will follow.

Molly Crabapple
Drawing Blood
December 8 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA

Crabapple is a provocative artist and journalist who has been intriguingly referred to as “this generation’s Bukowski.” She will read from her riotous memoir, which uncompromisingly addresses topics like sex, drugs, politics, and surviving our times, from burlesque dancing to reporting on Syrian rebels and Guantanamo Bay.

An Evening of Poetry with Boston Review
Mary Jo Bang, Lucie Brock-Broido, Stephen Burt, Major Jackson
December 9 at 7 p.m. (doors at 6:30 p.m.)
Cambridge Public Library, Cambridge, MA

Several of the leading voices in contemporary poetry come to Cambridge to read from their latest work. Each of these poets is highly regarded, and have published widely. Each will be introduced by Boston Review poetry editors Timothy Donnelly, Stefania Heim, and Barbara Fischer.


Luc Sante
The Other Paris
December 11 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA

The City of Light has had more than a few shadows pass over it in recent memory, which makes it an excellent time to celebrate it with one of its most astute literary chroniclers. Sante’s focus is on the city’s underside, the tradition of Balzac and Hugo, compiling the stories and histories of urchins, boulevardiers, rabble-rousers, and bohemians, shining a literary light on the sides of Paris obscured by the glitz and glamour.

Ruth Lepson
Theater Piece No.1×50: Poets in Ekphrasis
Reading related to Leap Before You Look; Black Mountain College Exhibit
December 13, from 3 to 4 p.m.
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA

The acclaimed local poet, currently poet-in-residence at the New England Conservatory of Music, comes to the ICA to read from her work. Her poetry is interdisciplinary, which is fitting since she is reading in tribute to the wildly influential Black Mountain College, home of groundbreaking poets like Charles Olson and Robert Creeley. Read The Arts Fuse review of the exhibition here.

—Matt Hanson

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