Fuse Coming Attractions: October 2 through 11 — What Will Light Your Fire

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


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

GlobeDocs Film Festival
Screenings at various venues in Cambridge, Brookline, and Boston, MA, on October 2

The GlobeDocs Film Festival is a five-day documentary film festival designed to engage, promote, and celebrate film and production talent. The festival is specifically curated to include hosted post-film conversations with Boston Globe journalists. The aim is to turn screenings into an opportunity for the community to come together and have an open dialogue. List of films. Full Schedule.

A Face in the Crowd
October 3 at 7 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA

Elia Kazan’s masterful 1957 film is a portrait of a ‘good ole boy’ gone mad with fame. Andy Griffith gives an incendiary performance as the manipulative and corrupt country singer “Lonesome” Rhodes, who charms and snarls his way with Shakespearean hubris from a popular career in entertainment to politics. Written by Budd Schulberg (On the Waterfront), the movie was prescient regarding what was to come in American culture. Dr. Steven Schlozman, associate director of The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, will discuss the psychology of the character for the Coolidge’s Off the Couch Series. Click here for a classic moment from the film.

Where To Invade Next
October 6 at 6 p.m.
Bright Lights Screening Room at the Paramount Center, 559 Washington Street, Boston, MA

Michael Moore’s latest subversive comedy looks at the most pressing issues facing America today and finds solutions for them in countries around the world. The film is an edifying call to arms, a plea to recapture the American Dream. The screening will include an in-person Q&A with the documentary’s producers, Carl Deal & Tia Lessin. Free and open to all. Arts Fuse review

— Tim Jackson

Not Reconciled. The Cinema of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet
At the Harvard Film Archive, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, through November 28.

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.

— Bill Marx


October 7 & 8 at 8 p.m.
Boston University Dance Theater
Boston, MA

Pantos Project debuts its third annual revue, Stabilize, which explores athletically-driven movement to create works that appeal to the greater public. Pantos Project’s Summer Intensive students will open the performance with Shift, a piece by Kat Pantos and Carolyn Breton.

— Merli V. Guerra


Greg Maraio and Kris Sidberry in the SpeakEasy Stage production of "Significant Other." Photo: Justin Saglio.

Greg Maraio and Kris Sidberry in the SpeakEasy Stage production of “Significant Other.” Photo: Justin Saglio.

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. Arts Fuse review

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.”

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. Arts Fuse review

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. Arts Fuse review

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, 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.” Arts Fuse review

Lloyd Cooney (Lieut. Langon) and Liam Heslin (Capt. Brennan) in The Plough and the Stars by Sean O’Casey, directed by Sean Holme

Lloyd Cooney (Lieut. Langon) and Liam Heslin (Capt. Brennan) in the Abbey Theatre staging of “The Plough and the Stars.” Photo: courtesy of The Abbey Theatre.

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. Arts Fuse review

Dracula for Dummies adapted and directed by Tristan DiVincenzo. Staged by the Provincetown Theater, 238 Bradford St. Provincetown, MA, October 8 through 31.

This horror spoof pays homage to Bram Stoker’s gothic thriller Dracula. According to DiVincenzo, the satire “crams as many references to the plays, films, pop songs, comic books, cartoons and fan fiction novels that one director can pack into 90 minutes!” The “frightfully talented” acting ensemble is supported by The Harmonics, a gypsy band of musicians.

The Fall River Axe Murders by Angela Carter. Directed by Matthew Woods. Staged by imaginary beasts at the Plaza Black Box Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, through October 22.

Originally published in 1986 in the short story collection Black Venus, Angela Carter’s tale looks at the infamous ‘alleged’ axe murderer Lizzie Borden through a stylistically ambitious mix of history and fiction, violence and comedy. Here is our first glimpse of Lizzie:

On this morning, when, after breakfast and the performance of a few household duties, Lizzie Borden will murder her parents, she will, on rising, don a simple cotton frock—but, under that, went a long, starched cotton petticoat; another short, starched cotton petticoat; long drawers; woollen stockings; a chemise; and a whalebone corset that took her viscera in a stern hand and squeezed them very tightly.

I am an admirer of Carter’s so I am looking forward to this adaptation — it will be a challenge, to which this gutsy company will bring “an inventive blend of storytelling, movement, and puppetry arts.”

SCENES FROM COURT LIFE, or the whipping boy and his prince by Sarah Ruhl. Directed by Mark Wing-Davey. Staged by Yale Rep at University Theatre, 222 York Street, New Haven, CT., through October 22.

The world premiere production of a script — with what sounds like political zip — by an oft-acclaimed American dramatist. “History, remixed. In 17th-century Great Britain, the Stuarts—Charles I and Charles II—defend their divine rights, with the help of a whipping boy. In our own time, Jeb and George W. Bush play hardball—both politics and tennis—battling for power, as siblings and statesmen. By turns intimate and epic, Ruhl’s new play reveals the cost of dynastic privilege.” Development and production support are provided by Yale’s Binger Center for New Theatre.

Here All Night, conceived and created Judy Hegarty Lovett, Paul Clark, Conor Lovett and Caoimhin O’Raghallaigh. Based on the Samuel Beckett texts “Watt,” “First Love,” and “The Unnamable.” Directed by Lovett. ArtsEmerson presentation of the Gare St Lazare Ireland staging at the Emerson/Paramount MainStage, Boston, MA, October 5 through 9.

“The prose and music of Samuel Beckett’s writing find new life, and a fresh resonance, in this stunning new theatrical work for soprano, actor and chamber orchestra. It arrives from Ireland as part of a year-long celebration of the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising. Arts Fuse feature

La Ronde, created by Projet in Situ. Presented in association with ArtSpace and the International Festival of Arts and Ideas at the New Haven Armory, 290 Goffe Street, New Haven, CT, October 8 through 16.

This piece, which caused waves at the Vermont Performance Lab in 2015 and MASS MoCA this past May, sounds very intriguing: “Projet In Situ, with the help of local volunteers and artists, will spend three weeks in New Haven to create La Ronde, a 90-minute experimental site-specific work that combines movement, technology, theatricality and sound with community involvement. La Ronde is an unconventional performance experience in which the audience “make the rounds” in a space rather than passively entering a theater. Using a smartphone, individual audience members are lead by audio and text prompts on a choreographed journey through the New Haven Armory. The experience is designed to encourage each participant to investigate the spaces with a unique perspective.”

Good by CP Taylor. Directed by Jim Petosa. Staged by New Repertory Theatre in the Charles Mosesian Theater at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown, MA, October 8 through 30.

“How does a good man turn toward the unthinkable? In 1930s Germany, Professor John Halder writes a novel about compassionate euthanasia, drawing the attention of the Nazi Party. Despite his own misgivings and the pleadings of his Jewish friend Maurice, John is tempted by the changing world around him. In this expressionistic play with music (first produced in 1981), CP Taylor poses questions that remain all too familiar in today’s political landscape.”

Hamlet by William Shakespeare. Directed by Doug Lockwood. Staged by Actors’ Shakespeare Project at the Church of the Covenant, Boston, MA, October 5 through November 6.

Omar Robinson tackles one of the seminal roles in the English theater. Other cast members include Marianna Bassham, Ross MacDonald, Poornima Kirby, and Richard Snee.

We’re Gonna Die: The Afterlife Remount by Young Jean Lee. Original music by Young Jean Lee, Tim Simmonds, Mike Hanf, Nick Jenkins, and Benedict Kupstas.Directed by Shawn LaCount. Music Direction by Steve Sarro. Company One Theatre’s staging, presented by The American Repertory Theater at Club Oberon, Cambridge, MA, October 4 through 8.

A revival of Company One Theatre’s song cycle, “a blend of storytelling, stand-up, music, and theater that lets us know we may be miserable anticipating our demise, but at least we won’t be alone.”


Adam Chanler-Berat and Jenni Barber in the HTC production of “Sunday in the Park with George.” Photo: Paul Marotta.

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. Arts Fuse review

— Bill Marx

Visual Arts

When in Rome: Prints & Photographs, 1550-1900
through December 30
Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA

By the later middle ages, Rome was reduced to a semi-rural town of a few thousand inhabitants, living in the plundered ruins of a great imperial capital built for millions. The city’s fortunes began to turn with the advent of the Renaissance, when once again Europe became fascinated with the Eternal City. This exhibition documents the rebirth of Rome, in the Western imagination and on the ground, as the city’s population revived, its squares and streets filled up with new palaces and churches, its ancient monuments were slowly cleared of centuries of dirt, trash, and shanty settlements, and as tourists, scholars, artists, and religious pilgrims began to crowd in from all over the world. Thematic sections explore changing images of the city, in print series, books, and, later on, photographs, and the people who collected them over several centuries.

Anni Albers: Connections
through December 18
Davis Museum, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA

Wellesley’s Davis Museum reopens this month after a major reinstallation of its permanent collection. The new gallery will more than double the number of works on display. Anni Albers: Connections is one of several special exhibitions featuring the “rediscovery” of the Davis and Wellesley’s art collections. The exhibition revolves around a recently-acquired portfolio (“Connections”) of nine silk screen prints, each of which evokes a different phase in the textile designer and printmaker’s epic career on two continents. The show includes other examples of Albers’ work from the Davis collection, including her designs for Knoll International, still in production today. Two other exhibitions complete the fall presentation at the Davis. Partners in Design: Alfred Barr, Jr., and Philip Johnson, documents the collaboration of Alfred Barr, legendary Wellesley professor and founding director of the Museum of Modern Art, and Philip Johnson, champion of modern architecture and design. Charlotte Brooks at LOOK, 1951-1971, explores the career of a leading American female photographer at LOOK magazine, during the heyday of magazine photo-journalism and the heart of the American Century.

de Cordova New England Biennial
October 7 – March 26, 2017
de Cordova Sculpture Part and Museum, Lincoln, MA

Since its establishment in the 1950s, the de Cordova has gradually focused its collecting and programs on the work of modern and contemporary artists based in New England. For almost twenty-years, it has organized a recurring “salon” of New England artists. This year’s edition is the fourth using a biennial format that features art works and site-specific installations by more than a dozen artists and collaboratives, hailing from Maine to Rhode Island.

Henri Matisse, (France, 1869 - 1954), Le Lanceur de Couteaux (The Knife Thrower) 15 of 20 in "Jazz" (detail), 1947, stencil, lithograph, pochoir on arches, 16 1/2 x 25 1/2 inches. Ex2.2016.16.

Henri Matisse, “Le Lanceur de Couteaux (The Knife Thrower)” in “Jazz” (detail), 1947.

The Art Books of Henri Matisse
October 6 – December 31
Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME

Starting in the 1930s, as his art grew increasingly abstract, Henri Matisse devoted much of his time to prints for book illustrations and what is now know as “artists’ books.” This exhibition features four artists books, including some of Matisse’s best-known images, which illustrate the artist’s complex relationship with both literature and the visual arts.

Gallery of the Louvre
October 8 – January 8, 2017
Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA

Long known as the father of the telegraph and the inventor of the now almost vanished “Morse Code,” Charlestown native Samuel F. B. Morse spent most of his career as a teacher, academician, and one of America’s leading portrait and history painters. In recent years, his long overshadowed achievements of an artist have once again taken center stage. One of Morse’s most ambitious works, “Gallery of the Louvre,” a six by nine foot imaginary assemblage of paintings and individuals in the Salon Carré of the Louvre Museum, painted between 1831 and 1833, is explored in this exhibition. The piece was intended to fix Morse’s reputation and enhance his income as a great American artist. It failed at the time, but is now recognized as a key moment in the history of American painting. PEM’s installation includes over sixty-five nineteenth- and twenty-century photographs which celebrate Morse’s third leading role in American culture: as the “father” of American photography.

Yosemite: Exploring the Incomparable Valley
October 7 – January 1, 2017
Yale Art Gallery, New Haven, CT

Located just east of the city of San Francisco, the Yosemite Valley has long been recognized as one of the most magnificent landscapes on earth. Now a much-loved National Part, Yosemite has inspired generations of painters, print-makers, poets, and photographers who are collectively honored in this exhibition. The installation begins with Albert Bierstadt’s “Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point Trail” (ca. 1873) from the Yale Collection and includes paintings, prints, photographs, and botanical and geological specimens all testifying to the awe and reverence the valley has inspired. The exhibition is presented in honor of the 150th anniversary of the founding of Yale’s historic Peabody Museum of Natural History.and the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Parks Service.

— Peter Walsh

Classical Music

Escamillo (Michael Mayes) and Don Jose (Roger Honeywell) compare notes on their rival love for Carmen in Boston Lyric Opera’s production of Georges Bizet’s “Carmen."

Escamillo (Michael Mayes) and Don Jose (Roger Honeywell) compare notes on their rival love for Carmen in Boston Lyric Opera’s production of Georges Bizet’s “Carmen.”

Bizet’s Carmen
Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
through 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. Arts Fuse review

Jörg Widmann’s Trauermarsch
Presented by the Boston Symphony Orchestra
October 6-8, 8 p.m. (1:30 p.m. on Friday)
Symphony Hall, Boston

Here comes the first of the BSO’s nine world- or local premieres this season: this, a piano concerto written featuring the exceptional Yefim Bronfman as soloist. After intermission, Camilla Tilling and Thomas Hampson join the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and BSO in the Brahms German Requiem.

American Masters
Presented by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project
October 8, 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston

BMOP’s 21st season opens with a concert that celebrates the life of Steven Stucky. Stucky’s Chamber Concerto rounds out the evening, but, before then, comes music by Michael Colgrass, Gail Kubik, and Harold Shapero – an impressive cross-section of your not-so-typical American composers from the past century.

— Jonathan Blumhofer

Concert I: Apollo, Emmanuel Music
October 2 at 3 p.m.
At Pickman Hall, Longy School of Music of Bard College, 27 Garden St., Cambridge, MA

Apollo — god of music — inspires Handel and Mozart at the height of their youthful creativity. Also, Emmanuel Music performs a world premiere by the winner of its Handel Overture Competition, Edwin Sung. On the program: Handel’s Apollo e Dafne and Mozart’s Apollo et Hyacinthus. There will be a pre-concert talk with Teresa Neff one hour before each concert.

Lorelei Ensemble
October 2 at 4 p.m.
At Boston University/808 Gallery, 808 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA

On the program: music of Von Bingen, Du Fay, Berio, Soper, and Larsen.

Pianist Meng-Chieh Liu
October 2 at 8 p.m.
At New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, Boston, MA

NEC Piano faculty member Meng-Chieh Liu presents “A La Hongroise” —  a collection of works on Hungarian themes. On the program: Brahms’ Variations on a Hungarian Song, Op. 21 No. 2 and Hungarian Dances (10) for Piano; Bartók’s Hungarian Peasant Songs (15) for Piano, Sz 71/BB 79 and Improvisations (8) on Hungarian Peasant Songs, Op. 20/Sz 74; Schubert’s Hungarian melody for Piano in B minor, D 817; and Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies (19) for Piano, S 244.

First Mondays at Jordan Hall
October 3 at 7:30 p.m.

The program is entitled “National Voices,” a collection of works from four countries – France (Gabriel Fauré), Hungary {Zoltán Kodály), Russia (Sergei Prokofiev) and Czechoslovakia (Antonin Dvorák) – played by NEC faculty artists Donald and Vivian Weilerstein, Soovin Kim, Laurence Lesser, Lucy Chapman, and alumnus Yannick Rafalimanana.

Sam Levine. Photo: Simon Pauly

Sam Levine will perform “French Songs.” Photo: Simon Pauly.

French Art Songs
October 6 at 7 p.m.
At the Community Music Center of Boston/Allen Hall, 34 Warren Avenue, Boston, MA

Community Music Center of Boston alum Samuel Levine will present a musical exploration of four major French poets: Hugo, Baudelaire, Verlaine, and Apollinaire. Songs featured will be by Gounod, Fauré, Debussy, Duparc, Poulenc, Wagner (in French), Shostakovich, and others.

Renaissance Men
October 7 at 7:30 p.m.
At St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, MA
October 9 at 3 p.m.
Old South Church, Gordon Chapel, Boston, MA

This program “sets sail on a musical voyage to the British Isles with a highly diverse program honoring time-treasured traditions with a unique Sceitimíní only RenMen can evoke: from rarely heard hymn-lining using 15th century Scottish psalms to today’s rollicking Irish folk songs with the RenMen in-house band. Beloved English art songs by Vaughan Williams, Bairstow, and Bantock will precede Benjamin Britten’s The Ballad of Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard. They will also highlight contemporary Irish and Welsh composers, including Michael McGlynn, Paul Mealor, and Hilary Tann.”

Radius Ensemble
October 8 at 8 p.m.
At Pickman Hall/Longy School of Music, 27 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA

The program is called “Momento”: Ravel’s Piece en forme de habanera, arranged for oboe and harp, Bergsma’s Voice of the Coelacanth for horn, violin and piano, Fang Man’s Larkspur for flute, viola, and harp, Beethoven’s Trio in B-flat Op. 11. With harpist Ina Zdorovetchi.

— Susan Miron


Darrell Katz & OddSong
October 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA.

The adventurous composer Darrell Katz, best known for his work as a founding member of the Jazz Composers Alliance, has put together the ensemble OddSong to play both new compositions and reimagined arrangements of older material. They celebrate their new release, “Jailhouse Doc with Holes in Her Socks.” The band includes saxophonists Jim Hobbs, Rick Stone, Phil Scarff, and Melanie Howell Brooks (baritone and bass clarinet); violinist Helen Sherrah Davies; marimba player Vessela Stoyanova, and singer Rebecca Shrimpton.

Ran Blake
October 5 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

The musical insights of pianist and composer Ran Blake are often revelatory. The longtime New England Conservatory professor, now 81, has titled this program “Opus à la Vengeance & the American Songbook,” combining material from, and inspired by, film noir (“la Vengeance”), as well as American songbook standards and show tunes that were favorites of his friend Sandi Peaslee, a beloved Lexington High School music teacher, who died in March. Joining Blake for this solo show as a guest is flugelhornist (and NEC jazz department chair) Ken Schaphorst.

Harold López-Nussa Trio
October 5 at 7:30 p.m.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

The dazzling 33-year-old Cuban pianist and composer Harold López-Nussa is joined by his brother, Ruy, on drums and Luques Curtis on bass. Harold’s broad palette includes deep folkloric Cuban dance grooves as well as jazz and pop.

Photo: James Matthew Daniel, courtesy of BAM.org/150

James Darcy Argue’s Secret Society will performing this week at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Photo: James Matthew Daniel, courtesy of BAM.org/150.

Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society
October 7 at 7:30 p.m.
At the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

Leave it to the phenomenally ambitious and talented 41-year-old composer Darcy James Argue to fashion an evening-length work from “the social history of paranoia in the United States since World War I.” The piece, “Real Enemies,” inspired by Karthryn S. Olmsted’s book of the same name as well as the seminal essay on the topic by American historian Richard Hofstadter, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.” The 13 “chapters” of the piece cover conspiracies real and imagined, from Iran-Contra to the “faked” moon landing, with spoken-word snippets from the likes of JFK, George H.W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Jimmy Carter, and others. And the music? A beguiling mix of propulsive rock and Afro-Latin grooves, jazz swing, and 12-tone paranoia, all delivered by Argue’s crack 18-piece orchestra.

Mehmet Ali Sanlikol & Whatsnext?
October 9 at 5 p.m.
Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport, MA.

The Turkish Cypriot composer and bandleader Mehmet Ali Sanlikol came to his roots late, having come to Berklee, in 1993, to immerse himself in jazz. He’s since developed a personal language that combines both the broad colors and harmonies of modern orchestral jazz and rollicking odd-metered, microtonal Ottoman folk. The results can be explosive. He and his Whatsnext? band celebrate the release of their second album, Resolution, with a couple of special guests from the recording, saxophonist Dave Liebman and trumpeter Tiger Okoshi.

— Jon Garelick

Rock, Pop, and Folk

Built to Spill with Hop Along and Alex G
October 3 and 4 (doors at 7, shows at 8)
Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA

While many alternative and indie bands prefer to cram 12 or 14 songs into the space of 30-some minutes, the Boise, ID, veterans Built to Spill have never shied away from including two or three songs of six to eight minutes in length on their 10 or 11-song albums. Despite not having released a surfeit of new material (only three releases since 2006), singer-guitarist Doug Martsch and his bandmates tour regularly, preferring multiple nights at smaller venues to one at a larger space. BTS continues that tradition with back-to-back performances at the Paradise on October 3 and 4.

Titus Andronicus
October 4 (doors at 6, show at 7)
Brighton Music Hall, Allston, MA

Having amply demonstrated its up-for-anything ambition on its first three albums, New Jersey’s Titus Andronicus pulled out all the stops with 2015’s 29-track double album The Most Lamentable Tragedy. Be prepared for what couldn’t possibly be anything less than an epic display of musical prowess at Allston’s Brighton Music Hall on October 4.

Violent Femmes with Marcia Mello
October 7 (7:30)
Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA

Although I was aware of their most famous songs, I wasn’t cool enough in high school to be a fan of Violent Femmes. This became abundantly clear to me on the day when at least half of the students in each of my classes were wearing T-shirts indicating that they had been at the band’s show in nearby Columbus, OH, the night before. Perhaps I will make up for having missed them more than 20 years ago by hitting up the Orpheum on October 7.

Jacuzzi Boys with Way Out and Today Junior
October 8 (doors at 7)
Middle East Upstairs, Cambridge, MA

With vibrant and invigorating songs that bring to mind bands as diverse as Devo, Hüsker Dü, The Stone Roses, Grandaddy, and–more contemporaneously–Ty Segall, Jacuzzi Boys’ soon-to-be-released Ping Pong is sure to consolidate the group’s enthusiastic fan base and win over new listeners in the process. The Miami trio is currently on a nationwide tour in support of this fourth album, which the band will release via its own label Mag Mag on October 21. Head on up to the Middle East’s second floor on Saturday to see what all the buzz is about.

— Blake Maddux

World Music and Roots

Nordic Fiddlers Bloc
October 5
The Burren, Somerville, MA,

Many serious Celtic music fans are also enthralled by the intense beauty of Nordic fiddling. This all-star combo features Olav Luksengård Mjelva (Norway), Anders Hall (Sweden), and Kevin Henderson (Shetland Islands).

The Joy Boyz

The Joy Boyz, the self-proclaimed “smallest men in gospel” will perform in Dorchester, MA.

Blue Hill Gospel MCs Anniversary
Oct. 9
Global Ministries Christian Church, 670 Washington Street, Dorchester, MA

Promoter Jeannette Farrell pulls out all the stops for her annual program celebrating local gospel traditionalists, the Blue Hill MCs. Among the many acts at the day-long program are former Tommy Ellison cohorts The Singing Stars, the can’t miss Little Sammy and the New Flying Clouds from Philadelphia, and a Nashville duo who wisely changed their name from the Gospel Midgets to the Joy Boyz. (They’ve retained their title of “The Smallest Men in Gospel.”)

— Noah Schaffer

A glimpse of HONK! at full throttle. Photo:

A glimpse of HONK! at full throttle. Photo: Jesse Edsell-Vetter.

HONK! Festival of Activist Street Bands
October 7 through 9
“A wide variety of musical/socio-political events planned” in Somerville, Cambridge, & Boston, MA
Free and open to all

A brassy celebration, a rad political gathering, an urban hootenanny — HONK! is all those things and more. It just keeps better better and better. Now in its 11th year, “the energy surrounding the HONK! Festival has been positively infectious, so much so that HONK!, which originated in Somerville, has spawned related festivals in Providence, New York City, Seattle, Eugene, Austin, Pittsburgh, and Detroit, not to mention Wollongong, Australia, and Rio de Janeiro. Participants, including the audience, have reported peak musical moments and life-changing experiences. There is even a Somerville-based School of HONK that carries on the spirit of the Festival all year round.”

This year over two dozen bands will be performing. “Some will be the usual suspects, from all over the US and Canada, who may be familiar, but who always sound fresh. In addition, HONK! has made arrangements to present two new bands from France, La Fanfare Invisible from Paris and Le Pompier Poney Club from Marseille. And as part of HONK!’s continuing commitment to pay tribute to the music and culture of New Orleans, HONK! has invited back by popular demand the The Original Pinettes Brass Band.”

— Bill Marx

Author Events


Arlie Russell Hochschild
Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning On the American Right
October 4 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA

There’s a lot of media consternation about the anger and confusion in middle America these days, but what there isn’t a lot of is in-depth explanation for why it exists and how it feels to the people living it. Hochschild is a Berkley sociology professor who climbed down from her ivory tower to listen to and befriend the Trump constituency across the nation in order to see why the very people who need what government can provide hate it so much.

Bill Ayers
Demand the Impossible!: A Radical Manifesto
October 5 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA

“For Bill Ayers, it is the freedom of our collective imagination that links the contemporary world—ensconced as it is in pervasive militarism, racist violence, and environmental devastation—to the flourishing of our planet. This is a manifesto that should be read by everyone who wants to believe that ‘another world is possible.’” — Angela Y. Davis

Gillian Thomas
Because of Sex: One Law, Ten Cases, and Fifty Years that Changed American Women’s Lives at Work
October 6 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA

Most people remember the racial implications of the Civil Rights Act, but it made a considerable impact women’s rights as well: the language of the bill made it illegal to discriminate because of sex. Thomas, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU, tells the stories of the women effected by this moment in history.

Patti Smith
M Train
October 11 at 7 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center, Boston MA
Tickets are $25, including a copy of the book

In case you missed it the first time, the Godmother of Punk will come to read from her new book and perform new material live at Berklee. M Train is the anticipated sequel to her beloved and bestselling memoir Just Kids and tells of her world travels in search of artistic inspiration. The event is co-sponsored by Brookline Booksmith and WBUR, and hosted by Boston’s own Michael Patrick MacDonald, author of the Southie memoir All Souls.

— Matt Hanson

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