Arts Fuse critics select the best in theater, visual arts, film, music, author events, and dance for the coming week.
By The Arts Fuse Staff
70mm and Widescreen Film Festival
September 16 – 25
Somerville Theatre, Davis Square, Somerville, MA
The festival has begun! We are fortunate in the Boston area to have theaters able and willing to screen ‘older’ film formats. This is a great series with a number of classic widescreen 70mm film features. Here is the Arts Fuse feature. Full Schedule.
September 18 at 2 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theater, Brookline, MA
Drawing on footage she has shot over the course of 25 years, documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson (Citizenfour, Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs Gravity, and The Wound and the Gift, and The Invisible War) contemplates how the act of filming impacts on thorny questions of permission, power, creative ambition, and the obligation to others. Johnson will attend in person. Presented in partnership with the Coolidge Corner Theatre and the UMass Boston Film Series
Directed by Spike Lee, this in a modern-day adaptation of Aristophanes’ comedy Lysistrata, set against the backdrop of gang violence in Chicago. The girlfriend of a Chicago gang leader persuades other frustrated women to abstain from sex until their men agree to end a senseless cycle of violence. This is full-blown Brechtian Lee –crazy, committed, and fascinating. Panel discussion led by Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies Assistant Professor Cara Moyer-Duncan to follow. The screening is free.
September 22 at 7 p.m.
Emerson College’s Bright Lights Screening Room at the Paramount Center 559 Washington St. Boston, MA
A film directed by Benjamin Brewer and Alex Brewer. “Waters and Stone are two nobody police officers working dull administrative jobs and making extra money selling stolen Civil Service Exams to other officers. Through diligent police work they follow a trail that leads directly to a custom bank-style vault built into the back room freezer of a small grocery store. They put a plan into motion to rob the vault and split whatever they find inside. But by the time they figure out what the vault contains, it’s already too late to turn back.” Starring Nicolas Cage and Elijah Wood: discussion with director Ben Brewer to follow via Skype.
Boston Film Festival
Various Venues in the Boston area
This year’s Festival offerings include American Wrestler: The Wizard (with Jon Voight ) and The First Girl I Loved — along with the U.S. premiere of the documentary Underfire and the East Coast premiere of Finding Oscar (produced by Steven Spielberg). Many of the films address timely and urgent concerns in contemporary society — themes of acceptance, tolerance, and bullying. The local venues will be the AMC Boston Common, Theatre One at the Revere Hotel, the Boston Public Library, and the Patriot Cinema in Hingham, MA. Full schedule
— Tim Jackson
Not Reconciled. The Cinema of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet
September 22 through November 28
At the Harvard Film Archive, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA,
A retrospective of films, often radically political (“Long live dynamite!”), by major European moviemakers Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet. “Compared early on to the work of Bresson, Dreyer and Brecht, their films are, nevertheless, truly singular. These are films that disorient and overwhelm. And through the moments of disorientation come brilliant moments of clarity. These films stare at, and listen intensely to, the world and its people, so that we may see what is always present but absent. Filmed by a camera Straub once described as an ‘accomplice,’ the characters energetically burst off the screen through carefully rehearsed performances that focus on the voice and minimal, but immense, gestures. We experience their struggles, their hopes, and their pain as though they were sitting right in front of us.” (HFA) Many of their films draw on literary sources: stories by Böll, Kafka, Duras, and Pavese; poems by Dante, Mallarmé, and Hölderlin; a long-forgotten Corneille play, an essay by Montaigne, a film by D.W. Griffith, a painting by Cézanne, an unfinished opera by Schoenberg. Standout entries for me, some because of their theater connections — Machorka-Muff and Not Reconciled, or Only Violence Helps Where Violence Rules, Antigone, Eyes Do Not Want to Close at All Times, or, Perhaps One Day Rome will Permit Herself to Choose in her Turn (Othon),The Death of Empedocles, Moses and Aaron, and These Encounters of Theirs.
Concurrent with the film retrospective, Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet: Three Works will be on exhibit on Levels 0 and 3 of Harvard University’s Carpenter Center through September 24. The installations feature video, stills, an annotated script, and other materials related to Every Revolution is a Throw of the Dice, Cézanne: Conversation with Joachim Gasquet, and A Visit to the Louvre. Also, Straub and Huillet’s publication Writings (2016, from Columbia U Press) will be available for purchase.
— Bill Marx
Shakes the Clown
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
The Brattle Theatre and the Independent Film Festival Boston are presenting a ‘special’ 25th anniversary screening of this film, the directorial debut of comedian Bobcat Goldthwait, who will be in attendance. “This thinly-veiled, darkly-comic excoriation of the stand-up comedy world features Bobcat as a depressed, alcoholic birthday party clown who finds himself framed for murder.” I penned the infamous blurb for this movie — “The Citizen Kane of alcoholic clown movies.”
— Betsy Sherman
Miss Julie by August Strindberg. Adapted and directed by Robert Knopf. Staged by the Harbor Stage at the Modern Theater at Suffolk University, Boston, MA, through September 25.
The Cape Cod theater’s “fiery new version of a volatile classic explores how passion and privilege ensnare the daughter of a wealthy aristocrat and his enigmatic hired hand.” “This unrelenting look at intimacy, status, and desire” comes to Boston after a critically acclaimed run this summer. The cast features Jonathan Fielding, Stacy Fischer, and Brenda Withers.
The Return to Morality by Jamie Pachino. Directed by Michelle M. Aguillon Staged by the Titanic Theatre Company at the Central Square Theatre, Cambridge, MA, through September 25.
“An uncannily timely satire on the power of speech in politics and how political attitudes can be radically altered by the media.” The script details “the comedic unraveling of a well-meaning liberal, who becomes caught in a media whirlwind when his satirical book on right-wing extremism is embraced by the very groups he’s lampooning.”
Lucky Stiff Book and Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. Based on “The Man Who Broke the Bank At Monte Carlo” by Michael Butterworth. Music by Stephen Flaherty. Staged by Stoneham Theatre, Stoneham, MA, through September 25.
A “musical murder mystery farce that will leave you dying of laughter!” Boy, how often have I heard that one. Here is the set-up for the alleged hilarity: “When mild-mannered Harry Witherspoon discovers he stands to inherit six million dollars from a recently deceased uncle he never met, there’s only one catch: he has to bring his embalmed uncle on a vacation to Monte Carlo.”
Significant Other by Joshua Harmon. Directed by Paul Daigneault. Staged by the SpeakEasy Stage Company in the Roberts Studio Theatre in the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, through October 8.
Slated to begin previews on Broadway in February, the script (which is receiving its New England premiere) tells “the story of Jordan Berman, a 29 year old single gay man whose life up until now has revolved around BFF’s Kiki, Laura, and Vanessa. But as singles nights suddenly turn into bachelorette parties, Jordan starts to worry about his romantic prospects, and sets out on a journey to find his own Mr. Right.” The cast includes Boston acting stalwarts Greg Maraio and Kathy St. George.
45 Plays for 45 Presidents by Andy Bayiates, Sean Benjamin, Genevra Gallo-Bayiates, Chloe Johnston, and Karen Weinberg. Directed by Sean Daniels. Staged by the Merrimack Repertory Theatre, 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA, through October 2.
“In just two hours, through nearly every theatrical device imaginable, we see the highs and lows our country has hit over decades and centuries. With each commander-in-chief in the spotlight for two minutes, we experience not only their lives, but the distinctive American eras in which they served. And ultimately, we appreciate that our nation’s story is one that we all have written—and continue to write—every time we vote.”
Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival — Beyond Success: Tennessee Williams and Eugene O’Neill. At various venues in and around Provincetown, MA, through September 25.
“2016 marks the centenary of the year Eugene O’Neill began writing ground-breaking plays in Provincetown, considered the birthplace of modern American theater. This year, the 11th Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival will offer new approaches to staging O’Neill from the perspective of Tennessee Williams’ genre-busting dramas.” Check out the site for all the intriguing theatrical opportunities, which include productions of O’Neill (The Hairy Ape, Desire under the Elms) and Williams (In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel, Small Craft Warnings). There’s also a master class from Brian Dennehy and a screening of a silent film version of Anna Christie.
As if that wasn’t enough, O’Neill expert Robert M. Dowling (author of Eugene O’Neill: A Life in Four Acts) will be the special guest scholar at the Tennessee Williams Institute (TWI), the educational/performance arm of the Festival. (Now in its fifth year, TWI is an immersive University-level symposium for graduate and doctorate level students offered in conjunction with the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival. Students attend a wide array of performances from across the globe, participate in private seminars with scholars, and interact with theater professionals. Dowling will be joining well-known participating Williams’ scholars Thomas Keith and Tom Mitchell of University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana this year.)
Eight by Tenn by Tennessee Williams. Directed by David J. Miller. Staged by Zeitgeist Stage at the Boston Center for the Arts, through October 8.
An evening of eight short plays by a great American playwright: The Lady of Larkspur Lotion, Portrait of a Madonna, Auto-Da-Fe, This Property is Condemned, Something Unspoken, A Perfect Analysis Given by a Parrot, The Unsatisfactory Supper, and The One Exception.
Regular Singing by Richard Nelson. Directed by Weylin Symes. A New Repertory production in association with Stoneham Theatre at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, the Charles Mosesian Theater, Watertown, MA, through September 25.
“On the fiftieth anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, the Apple family gathers to celebrate the life of an ailing relative: talking, eating, laughing, and singing. This slice-of-life snapshot shows how our family histories can intersect with the history of our country. Featuring the same cast of Boston-area favorites that audiences have adored in the first three Apple Family plays, Regular Singing is the triumphant conclusion to Richard Nelson’s American epic.”
Sunday in the Park with George, Book and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by James Lapine. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Boston University Theater, Avenue of the Arts, Boston, MA, through October 16.
One of Stephen Sondheim’s most admired musicals — it won a Pulitzer Prize — centers on enigmatic painter Georges Seurat and his search for love, inspiration, and “the art of making art.” Huntington Theatre Company Artistic Director Peter DuBois is at the helm — as he was for the acclaimed production of A Little Night Music last season.
Company, Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by George Furth. Directed by Spiro Veloudos, Music Director, Catherine Stornetta, Choreography by Rachel Bertone. Staged by the Lyric Stage Company at 140 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA, through October 9.
A ground-breaking musical about contemporary romance when it premiered in 1970, this Sondheim musical is “a prescient, insightful, and often hilarious look at modern relationships. Directing the show for the first time, Spiro Veloudos brings the story of Bobby’s 35th birthday up to the present day, illuminating the vitality of this mature, intelligent, and wildly funny affirmation of marriage, relationships, and ‘being alive.’” Arts Fuse review
Marjorie Prime by Jordan Harrison. Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara. Staged by the Nora Theatre Company at the Central Square Theater, through October 9.
Sounds like a premise for a Twilight Zone episode — and I really liked the TV show. “In the not too distant future in the time of artificial intelligence, 85-year-old Marjorie, a woman whose memory is fading, is kept company by a handsome, younger version of her husband Walter, programmed to talk with her about her past. What would we choose to remember – or forget – about our life, if given the chance?” The cast includes Nora Theatre artistic director Lee Mikeska Gardner, Barlow Adamson, and Sarah deLima.
The Totalitarians by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb. Directed by Jeff Zinn. Produced by Gloucester Stage, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA, through September 24.
A New England premiere: “Gloucester Stage Managing Director Jeff Zinn makes his Gloucester Stage directing debut with this off-the-wall-satire of the zany world of politics. Peter Sinn Nachtrieb has written a not-so-tall-tale of an oligarchic takeover led by a Palinesque Manchurian candidate, and possibly thwarted by a hapless one-man commando squad…in Nebraska? This raucous dark comedy is about the state of modern political discourse, modern relationships, and how easy it is to believe truths without facts.” Strong language – mature audiences only.
Fertile by Yakir Eliahu Vaknin. Translated by Natalie Fainstein. Directed by Guy Ben-Aharon. Staged by Israeli Stage at 170 Beacon Street, Boston, MA on September 18 at 7 p.m.
“How do you define being a woman? Israeli Stage presents a monodrama about a young woman born without a uterus. Based on a true story, this brave 26-year-old sets out to redefine femininity for herself and for those around her.” Ramona Alexander stars.
Cleanliness, Godliness, and Madness: A User’s Guide by Charlotte Meehan. Directed by Robbie McCauley. Staged by Sleeping Weasel at the Plaza Black Box Theatre in the Boston Center for the Arts 539 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, through September 24.
A “tragi-comic, multimedia production” that satirizes “far right Christian fundamentalism, The Tea Party, and the hypocrisy that lives just beneath the surface of a stringent belief system no one actually upholds.” The plot: “When two good Christian home makers create ‘The Movement to Restore Decency’ (an organization devoted to family values and supporting your local police) and suddenly find themselves engaging in sexual escapades with each other, it’s only the beginning of how far the devil will go to tempt perfectly decent citizens into a life of sin.” A pretty easy target to ridicule, but we are told to hold onto our seats, so maybe there will be some surprises.
American Son by Christopher Demos-Brown. Directed by Julianne Boyd. Staged by Barrington Stage at the Boyd-Quinson MainStage, 30 Union Street, Pittsfield, MA, through September 25.
Arts Fuse critic Helen Epstein (who saw a staged reading) tells me that is a very powerful script (now receiving its world premiere) that “examines our nation’s racial divide through the eyes of an estranged, interracial couple. Over the course of one evening, the couple’s disparate backgrounds collide as they confront an unexpected crisis involving their son, the police, and an abandoned car.”
Entangled by Leah Miles. Directed by Nate Bertone. Staged by the Salem Theatre Company, 35 Congress Street (Shetland Park), Salem, MA, September 21 through October 1.
The New England premiere of a psychological thriller set in New England. The plot sounds very American Gothic, winter version: “Two best friends, Ian and Scott along with Hillary, the woman Ian loves, find themselves trapped in an impossible predicament: un-knowing what they know. And so, on a stormy new year’s eve on the secluded Peaks Island in Maine, our characters find themselves trapped by the snow and the avalanche of horrible realities they’ve been trying to hide from one another over the years.”
Ui [oo-ey], adapted from The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui by Bertolt Brecht and Party Time & New World Order by Harold Pinter. Directed by Josh Short. Staged by the Wilbury Theatre Group in the Trinity Square Theater at the Southside Cultural Center, 393 Broad Street, Providence, Rhode Island, through October 1.
A mash-up — the combination of two or more plays in a single production — has been a popular technique in Europe for the past decade or so. Reactions have often been skeptical, at least from critics. Still, it is interesting to see a company try it here with Pinter and Brecht texts though, given the addition of Shakespeare and Goethe, there may be too many chefs tossed into this mixed-up dish. “Using a wide range of parody and pastiche – from Al Capone to Shakespeare’s Richard III and Goethe’s Faust – Ui creates a hilariously comic and darkly condemnatory tale of the persistence of fascism and the inevitable rise of those unlikely leaders who rise to power by preying on the fear of the masses.”
Machine De Cirque, directed, co-written, and conceived by Vincent Dubé (with co-writers, co-directors and artists Yohann Trépanier, Raphaël Dubé, Maxim Laurin, Ugo Dario, and Frédéric Lebrasseur). Presented by Arts Emerson at the Emerson/Paramount MainStage, 559 Washington, Street, Boston, MA, September 21 through October 2.
Another thrill-generating circus act comes to town, with the promise of some beefcake. “Five of the most appealing guys you’ll ever meet (from Quebec City) masterfully manipulate juggling clubs, drum kits, and even bath towels.”
The Plough and the Stars by Sean O’Casey. Directed by Sean Holmes. The American Repertory Theater presents the Abbey Theatre staging at the Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, MA, through October 9.
The Abbey Theatre’s acclaimed production of O’Casey’s classic comes to Boston during the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising. “As revolution sweeps Ireland, the residents of a Dublin tenement take shelter from the violence that sweeps through the city’s streets. Sean O’Casey — one of Ireland’s most renowned and controversial playwrights — captures a conflict between idealism and ordinary lives.” It will be interesting to see if Holmes can spruce up this warhorse.
— Bill Marx
Spreading Canvas: Eighteenth-Century British Marine Painting
through December 4
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT
It’s not easy for modern-day Americans to imagine the huge demand for Marine art in eighteenth-century Great Britain. Often made for merchants, retired naval officers, and others with a direct working relationship with Britain’s global marine empire, the marine line-up included every possible variation on ships and the sea: launches, famous maritime battles, fishing expeditions, fierce ocean storms, shipwrecks, and serene harbor views with ships at anchor. All these images were created with a sea captain’s attention to accurate detail. Yale’s Center for British Art and London’s National Maritime Museum are the logical partners to organize this, the first major exhibition survey of British marine painting traditions. The goal of the show is to underline the fundamental importance of the genre to British culture in an age when it became the world’s supreme power of the high seas.
Oh-Oh Francis Stark 1991-2015
through January 29, 2017
Christian Marclay: The Clock
September 27 – January 29, 2017
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Los Angeles-based Francis Stark is a poet, author, and multi-media artist perhaps most famous for works using the obsolete medium of carbon paper to trace words or phrases from writers ranging from Emily Dickinson and Goethe to Samuel Becket. Other pieces use video, digital slide shows, and even social media in works very much based in her own autobiography, opinions on topics from high culture to sex and domesticity, and the inner lives of writers and artists. This show is the most comprehensive survey to date of Stark’s twenty-five year career and features more than a hundred works. Also on view in the MFA’s contemporary galleries this month is Christian Marclay’s cinematic collage, The Clock (2010), which maps the current time against thousand of clips from television and movies related to clocks and time. Jointly acquired by the MFA and the National Gallery of Canada, The Clock was last shown in Boston in 2011.
Post Pop: Prints of Keith Haring
through December 11
Middlebury College Museum of Art, Middlebury, VT
Before he died of complications of AIDS in 1990, Keith Haring was, for about a decade, an icon of the so-called New York “graffiti artists” school, a group of fine arts who took inspiration from the 1970s street artists who covered the city with cryptic self-branded messages and images. Like many of his contemporaries, Haring was encouraged by Andy Warhol to help break down the distinction between fine art and popular culture. Besides dozens of public murals and posters, he launched a “Pop Shop” which sold inexpensive Haring-branded clothing, magnets, stickers, and coloring books. This exhibition focuses on Haring’s silk screens and lithographs along with a set of etched illustrations made for a work by underground writer William Burroughs, all loaned by the Haring Foundaton. Even a quarter century after his death, Haring’s, playful, brightly colored, at-the-moment images remain instantly recognizable.
Beyond Words: Italian Renaissance Books
September 22 – January 16, 2017
Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA
(also Houghton Library, Harvard University; McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College; Boston Public Library, and others)
This collaborative extravaganza is a city-wide call to “bring out your books.” especially these rarely-seen treasures made by some of Europe’s greatest artists. Printed and illuminated books created during the Italian Renaissance are among the most beautiful examples of the book arts ever designed. Boston institutions have been collecting prime examples since the 19th century but they are usually hidden away behind the scenes. This spectacular series of exhibitions will be a special opportunity to see magnificent volumes composed, illustrated, and bound by some for the private pleasure and devotion of princes, popes, and noble collectors throughout Italy The Gardner’s selection alone features many masterpieces collected by Mrs. Gardner herself, including a rare first Florentine edition of Dante’s Divine Comedy, illustrated by Sandro Botticelli, and the long-lost Prayer Book of Pope Julius III, recently rediscovered in the Gardner collection.
Sarah Sze: Timekeeper
Through December 11
Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
This exhibition is one of four exhibitions of contemporary artists from the Anglophone world at the Rose. Boston-born and New England educated, Sze lives in New York City, where she makes ephemeral sculptures of mostly disposable, everyday objects (light bulbs and tea bags, for example), along with wires and flower petals. The Rose exhibition features Timekeeper, Sze’s latest installation, which clicks, flickers, and whirls in a sculptural metaphor that contrasts mechanical, industrial time with the organic, internal time we use to measure our lives.
— Peter Walsh
Loose, Wet, Perforated
Presented by Guerilla Opera
September 21-24, 8 p.m.
Zack Box Theater, Boston, MA
Guerilla Opera’s tenth season kicks off with a revival of Nicholas Vines’ 2011 operatic adaptation of medieval morality plays that unfold on a game show set in a parallel future. Aliana de la Guardia, Brian Church, and Douglas Dodson sing the respective title roles, and Thea Lobo takes on the character Various.
Presented by Longy School of Music
September 23 & 24
Pickman Hall, Cambridge, MA
Longy’s annual kickoff opens on the 23rd with Musik und Politik, a celebration of Weimar-era cabaret. The following afternoon comes The Times They Are a-Changin’, a program of early- to mid-20th-century American folk music, and an orchestral concert that evening closes the festival with music from Leonard Bernstein’s 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and John Adams’ Nixon in China (among others).
Presented by the Handel & Haydn Society
September 23 at 7:30 p.m. and September 25 at 3 p.m.
Jordan Hall (Friday) and Symphony Hall (Sunday)
Harry Christophers conducts H&H’s season-opener, an almost-all-Bach affair that culminates in the great D-major Magnificat. Other highlights include the Concerto for Three Violins (with soloists Aisslinn Nosky, Christina Day Martinson, and Susanna Ogata), a pair of cantatas (BWV 50 and 149), and Schütz’s Herr, nun lassest du deiner Diener in Friede fahren.
Lang Lang plays Prokofiev
Presented by the Boston Symphony Orchestra
September 24, 6 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
Superstar pianist Lang Lang joins the BSO for opening night this year, playing Prokofiev’s Third Concerto. Andris Nelsons conducts Shostakovich’s Festive Overture and Ravel’s (BSO-commissioned) orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.
Memories Without a Master
Presented by Boston Musica Viva
September 24, 8 p.m.
Tsai Performance Center, Boston, MA
Pierre Boulez’s Le marteau sans maître (The Hammer Without a Master) is the centerpiece of BMV’s forty-eighth season-opener, a concert that memorializes both Boulez (who died in January) and Steven Stucky (who died in February). Stucky is represented by his Cantus, a BMV co-commission that got its East Coast premiere just last year. Also on tap are the world premiere of David Rakowski’s Arabesques I Have Known and Yu-Hui Chang’s Binge Delirium.
Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
September 23-October 2, 7:30 p.m. (3 p.m. on Sundays)
Boston Opera House, Boston, MA
BLO opens its fortieth season with the East Coast premiere of Calixto Bieito’s new production of Carmen, one that transports Bizet’s heroine to 1970s Spanish North Africa. Jennifer Johnson Cano sings the title role and Roger Honeywell portrays Don Jose. David Angus conducts.
— Jonathan Blumhofer
J. S. Bach, Sonatas & Partitas for Solo Violin, performed by Miriam Fried
September 18 at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m.
At Jordan Hall/New England Conservatory, 290 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA
Presented by Music for Food, all the benefits of this concert will go to Women’s Lunch Place. Master violinist Miriam Fried celebrates her 70th birthday by performing all of the Bach unaccompanied sonatas and partitas. Three of them will be performed in an afternoon concert starting at 4:30 p.m. and the other three performed the same day in a 7:30 concert. Fried spent her sabbatical leave from teaching at the New England Conservatory researching, rethinking, practicing, and writing about the Bach partitas and sonatas for solo violin.
September 18 at 7 p.m.
St. Paul Church Brookline, 15 St. Paul Street, Brookline, MA
On the program: Franz Joseph Haydn’s Quartet in G Major, Op. 1, No. 4, Lev Mamuya’s loosely turing: Quintet for Oboe, Violin, Viola, and Two Cellos (Boston Premiere), Lev Mamuya’s high-wire: Song for the Spirit, and Johannes Brahms’s Piano Quartet in G minor, Op. 25.
Muir String Quartet
September 21 at 8 p.m.
At the Boston University/Tsai Performance Center, 685 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA
The Muir Quartet has been in residence at Boston University’s College of Fine Arts since 1983, and gives annual summer workshops at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI).
Rodney Lister Faculty Recital: Music of Virgil Thomson
September 22 at 8 p.m.
Tsai Performance Center, 685 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA
School of Music faculty member Rodney Lister performs works by Virgil Thompson with guests Lynn Eustis, James Demler, Julia Cavallaro, and Charles Blandy.
Boston Artists Ensemble
September 23 at 8 p.m.
At Hamilton Hall, 9 Chestnut Street, Salem, MA
September 25 at 3 p.m.
At St. Paul Church Brookline, 15 St. Paul Street, Brookline, MA
On the program: Beethoven’s Piano Trio Opus 1, No. 3 in C minor, Judith Weir’s “Three Chorales” for cello and piano (World Premiere), Schumann’s Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Opus 63.
Swan Song with Pamela Dellal and the Endicott Players
September 24 at 8 p.m.
At Boston Conservatory/Seully Hall, 8 The Fenway, Boston, MA
Pamela Dellal (mezzo-soprano) and the Endicott Players explore late Schubert. The program features some of the composer’s greatest works: Piano Sonata in C Minor, selections from his last set of published songs, Schwanengesang (Swan Song), and the Arpeggione Sonata arranged for recorder and piano.
— Susan Miron
September 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA.
With characteristic wit, master guitarist Scofield calls his latest project and album Country for Old Men. That would be the likes of George Jones, Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Bob Wills, Patti Page, and . . . Shania Twain. The album is out today, and the band from that disc will be here to play it: Scofield with keyboardist Larry Goldings, bassist Steve Swallow, and drummer Bill Stewart.
The skilled, generous composer and performer Kevin Harris has a lot of tools in his kit, but this line-up suggests that the pianist will be leaning the Afro-Cuban way for this show: trumpeter Jason Palmer, saxophonist Hery Paz, bassist Fernando Huergo, and drummer Steve Langone.
Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival
September 24, Noon to 6 p.m.
South End, Boston, MA.
Pray for sunshine for this longtime annual block party, now produced by Berklee. This year the theme for the event, curated by bandleader and Berklee prof Terri Lyne Carrington, is “Jazz: A Peace Supreme.” The artists, playing on three stages, include singer Al Jarreau; drummer Billy Hart’s trio with pianist Ethan Iverson (of the Bad Plus) and bassist Ben Street; a cappella group Pitch Slapped, pop-jazz ensemble Behind These Eyes (music by Berklee icon Hal Crook, sung by Débo Ray); the Mili Bermejo Sextet, the Laszlo Gardony Sextet, the Mark Zaleski Band, the Ricardo Monzón Orchestra, Mark Shilansky’s Fugue Mill, and more. That’s on Columbus Ave. between Mass. Ave. and Burke Street, and it’s free.
Francisco Mela Quartet
September 25 at 5:30 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA.
For the past few years, Cuban drummer Francisco Mela has been providing the essential jazz pulse in a variety of settings — with Melissa Aldana, Joe Lovano, John Scofield, Kenny Barron — and in his own bands. This afternoon he fronts a quartet, with saxophonists George Garzone and Hery Paz and bassist John Lockwood.
September 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
The São Paulo singer and songwriter Luísa Maita has all the requisite samba and bossa nova flair — delicate swing, dancing melodic hooks, and an agile, vibrato-less delivery that gives even the happiest party songs a tinge of the particularly Portuguese kind of elegiac sadness called “saudade.”
Steve Lantner Quintet
September 27 at 8 p.m.
Outpost 186, Cambridge, MA
Pianist Steve Lantner convenes like-minded out-there adventurers Forbes Graham on trumpet, Allan Chase on saxophones, Joe Morris on bass (which he’s played more and more in recent years instead of his usual guitar), and drummer Luther Gray.
— Jon Garelick
Cafe Raqs 4th Anniversary Showcase
September 18 at 7p.m.
Arts at the Armory Cafe
Cafe Raqs celebrates its 4th year with a performance of drumming and belly dance—both novice and experienced. Enjoy drinks and food during the show.
Gallim Dance Lecture/Demonstration
Thursday, September 22 at 7 p.m.
Sorenson Center for the Arts, Babson College
Sponsored by First Republic Bank, this lecture/demonstration event with Gallim Dance gives audience members a first-hand look into running a professional Brooklyn-based dance company, alongside performances of selected works.
Saturday, September 24 at 8 p.m.
Stop by Mobius Inc.’s gallery (from 8 to 10 p.m.) for a rotating presentation of solos, each exactly one-minute long. 22 artists and choreographers have been selected for this month’s performance. Audience members need only pay “what you think it’s worth.”
— Merli V. Guerra
Rock, Pop, and Folk
Singer-songwriter Angel Olsen has followed up 2014 critical breakthrough Burn Your Fire for No Witness with the at least equally acclaimed My Woman, which came out on September 2. Both of her upcoming Sinclair shows are sold out, but as with the Car Set Headrest show, that should not stop the determined or merely curious from finding a way in.
— Blake Maddux
World Music and Roots
Jamaican producer Lee Perry’s status as one of the most revered musical figures of the 20th century is well deserved, thanks to his groundbreaking work at his Black Ark studio in the mid-’70 with Bob Marley and the Wailers, the Congos, and Max Romeo. Whether that makes the 80 year old ‘Upsetter’ worth seeing live is more debatable. Some are entranced by his mischievous wordplay, while others might find his chatter to be nonsense delivered over middling dub reggae band vamps.
In just four short years the Haitian band Klass have become one of the reigning kompa outfits, thanks to a style which blends the horns of classic Haitian big bands with a clean modern groove. This is a band that stretches out while the dance floor fills up.
— Noah Schaffer
Loner: A Novel
In Conversation with Molly Antopol
September 19 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA
The highly anticipated novel from one of American fiction’s rising stars approaches the campus novel from a fresh perspective, taking on institutions of higher learning and their approaches to class, gender, and diminished social expectations.
Nutshell: A Novel
In Conversation with Steven Pinker
September 21 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30)
First Parish Church, Cambridge, MA
$26.25 tickets, include copy of the book
One of England’s most acclaimed and consistently intriguing novelists comes to Cambridge to discuss his new novel with academic superstar Steven Pinker, an especially interesting choice considering that the story is narrated by a fetus from a womb.
You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams: My Life In Stories and Pictures
In Conversation with Jared Bowen
September 25 at 6 p.m. (Doors open at 5:30)
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA
$30.50 tickets, include a copy of the book
Named one of the most fun people in show business, the versatile Scottish actor tells his life story through the scrapbook-like record of his whimsical, debauched, and dramatic adventures, including a morale-boosting conversation with Oprah and an awkward encounter with Elizabeth Taylor.
God Is Not A Boy’s Name
September 27 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA
Brakeman was the first woman to enter the ordination process in the Episcopal Church, after the 1976 vote to allow women to become priests. Brakeman faced a host of challenges upon beginning the process and managed to stay the course by reassuring herself that the nature of divinity is gender-free.
— Matt Hanson
Crossing the Sea: With Syrians on the Exodus to Europe
At the Goethe-Institut 170 Beacon St., Boston, MA
The importance of this conversation is obvious. “Award-winning journalist and Die Zeit reporter Wolfgang Bauer accompanied Syrian refugees: in their hideouts in Egypt, on the boats across the Mediterranean, on the streets of Europe. In his book Crossing the Sea: With Syrians on the Exodus to Europe, he describes the fates concealed behind the abstract figures, and the dramatic circumstances of flight. It is an exceptionally authentic document and a passionate appeal for a more humanitarian refugee policy.”
— Bill Marx