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
The BPFF serves up a compelling and thought-provoking gathering of films, including documentaries, features, rare early works, video art pieces, and new films by emerging artists and youth. These provocative works from directors around the world offer refreshingly honest and independent views of Palestine and its history, culture, and geographically dispersed society. The opening film, 3000 Nights, concerns the aftermath of a Palestinian woman’s good deed, which leads to her arrest and imprisonment. The feature uses one character’s experience to explore the plight of political prisoners in Israel. Full Schedule
Theo Who Lived
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
In late fall of 2012, Theo Padnos, a struggling American journalist, slipped into Syria to report on the country’s civil war and was promptly kidnapped by Al Qaeda. Because he spoke fluent Arabic, his captors suspected he worked for the CIA and, for months, they brutally tortured him during interrogation sessions. But his linguistic fluency, coupled with his remarkable personal expansiveness, also led to him to engage with, and understand, his captors. By the time of his release, twenty-two months later, he had become a confidante of al-Qaeda’s top commander in Syria. In this film, Padnos returns to the Middle East and retraces the physical and emotional steps of his harrowing journey: he ‘performs’ his memories, recreating the mental escape provided by his fantasy world. Trailer
Somerville Theater, Somerville, MA
A great Boston Halloween horror marathon returns with a selection of films that will either scare you or make you laugh. Maybe even at the same time. Some of the selections his year include:
Thursday: Bad Blood: The Movie, The Master Cleanse, Found Footage 3D!
Sunday: Double Feature with House Of Usher (1960), a 35mm print of Tales Of Terror (1962), and The Unknown (1927), the latter with live music by Jeff Rapsis! Full schedule and tickets
(Editor’s Note: The Unknown, directed by Tod Browning and starring Lon Chaney, is one of the most macabre films ever to be released by a major Hollywood studio. Highly Recommended)
Audrie and Daisy
Monday, October 17, at 7 p.m.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
Like Kirby Dick’s recent The Invisible War and The Hunting Ground, Audrie & Daisy condemns a culture where sexual assault is tolerated and rife. Perpetrators all too often escape any legal or other punitive consequences. In this case, the milieu appears to be your average American high school. The film documents the horrific story of two teenage girls who attended some parties, drank alcohol, passed out, and were sexually assaulted by guys they thought were their friends. In the aftermath, both girls discovered that their sexual abuse wwas documented on cell phones, the resulting video and pictures were passed around and posted on the Web. Their lives were changed forever. Presented by the DocYard. Director Bonni Cohen will attend in person for Q&A. Trailer
Bright Light Screening Room 4th Floor Paramount Center, 559 Washington St. Boston, MA
One of the best films of 2015 takes place in New England in 1630, where panic and despair envelop a farmer, his wife, and four of their children. The infant son, Samuel, vanishes and the family blames Thomasin, the eldest daughter, who was watching the boy at the time of his disappearance. With suspicion and paranoia mounting, twin siblings Mercy and Jonas begin to suspect Thomasin of witchcraft, testing the clan’s faith, loyalty, and love for one another. Discussion with VMA Lecturer Jennifer Porst to follow. Free of Charge. Arts Fuse Review
On the Silver Globe
October 21 and 22
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
Space travel and pagan rituals converge with the ruins of modern warfare and the dawn of civilization in Zulawski’s ecstatic, image-drunk science-fiction fantasy, which he filmed in the mid-nineteen-seventies and completed in 1987. It’s among the most visually extravagant films ever made. The plot revolves around two astronauts falling in love on a distant planet, where they propitiate the natives with psychedelic drugs and get trapped in the middle of gory battles of warring tribes who deliver incantatory dialogue in prophetic howls.
Asian American Film Festival
October 20 -23
Brattle Theatre and The Paramount Center on Washington Street, Boston, MA
The festival theme is Call to Action: this will be a showcase of inspiring films about how Asian Americans have contributed to creating change in their communities – a gathering of compelling stories that spotlight Asian-American self-empowerment, change-makers, civic responsibility, activists, and advocates. A Q&A will follow most screenings: film talent will be attendance.
— 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
through October 30
The Sanctuary Theater
From a contemporary jazz rendition of Mozart to Philip Glass’s dramatic Symphony #2, Impelling Forces launches José Mateo Ballet Theatre’s 31st season with grace and strength.
Design and Chance
Friday, October 21 at 8 p.m.
Those who live in the Pioneer Valley should head to Hampshire College for the first ‘Five College Dance’ production of the 2016-17 season. The audience plays a key role in Design and Chance, creating an immersive “choose your own adventure” experience.
October 21 & 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Jamestown Art Center
Those who attended the captivating sneak peek of PARt in Westport, MA, earlier this year—as well as those new to the work—are encouraged to travel to Rhode Island for its full debut performance. The work features choreography by Ali Kenner Brodsky, music by Morgan Eve Swain, and graphics by Cyrus Highsmith.
— Merli V Guerra
Dracula for Dummies adapted and directed by Tristan DiVincenzo. Staged by the Provincetown Theater, 238 Bradford St. Provincetown, MA, through October 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.”
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
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.
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, through October 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.” Arts Fuse review
Hamlet by William Shakespeare. Directed by Doug Lockwood. Staged by Actors’ Shakespeare Project at the Church of the Covenant, Boston, MA, 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.
Uncanny Valley by Thomas Gibbons. Directed by Weylin Symes. Staged by the Stoneham Theatre, 395 Main Street, Stoneham, MA, through October 23.
One of no doubt a plethora of plays to come that will deal with ‘when is a robot human’ conundrum. This one is a New England premiere. “In the not too distant future, researchers have developed a means of extending the human lifespan through artificial intelligence (the “uncanny valley” refers to the discomfort people feel when confronted by objects that look and move almost, but not quite like real humans). Lewis D. Wheeler stars as Julian, the robotic product of a life extension laboratory. Nancy E. Carroll stars as Claire, the neuroscientist tasked with teaching him to be human.
Abigail/1702 by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Directed by Tlaloc Rivas. Staged by the Merrimack Repertory Theatre, 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA, through November 6.
October — the month crowded with things that go bump in the night. “Old demons and new beginnings. Ten years after the Salem witch trials, a notorious young accuser seeks salvation in Boston, only to find her new life haunted by terrors of the past. She’ll face pirates, the devil, and worse in this eerie and quintessentially New England tale from one of America’s master horror writers. For Abigail, forgiveness is everything-but it may come at an unthinkable price.”
The Gypsy Machine by Meghan Brown. Directed by Darren Evans. Staged by Theatre on Fire: “Each performance is in a unique location (in the Boston area), creating a once-in-a-lifetime live theatre experience for small audiences.” Through October 27. Information and Tickets
Host this Theatre on Fire “home invasion” and you will have an opportunity to be scared out of your own wits in your own home. “Molly’s sister Natalie disappeared and commited suicide one year ago…or did she? Seeking answers, Molly goes to her last known location — a creepy apartment filled with strangely realistic mannequins. Who lives there? Did Natalie really come there? What’s with all the mannequins? As the night wears on, Molly tries to answer these questions, but the answers only raise more doubts about who she can really trust and about the question that is consuming her: what happened to Natalie?”
Memorial by Livian Yeh. Directed by Kelly Galvin. Staged by Boston Playwrights Theatre at 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA, through October 23.
This script “is about the then 21-year-old artist and architect Maya Lin, whose ‘untraditional’ memorial was selected in 1981 to commemorate Vietnam veterans on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. An undergraduate at Yale at the time, Lin found herself defending her design for The Wall to veterans, the United States Congress, and even her own parents.” A BU New Play Initiative production, produced by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and the College of Fine Arts School of Theatre.
White Like Me: A Honky Dory Puppet Show created by Paul Zaloom and Lynn Jeffries. Presented by Puppet Showplace Theater at the Tower Auditorium, MassArt, 621 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA, October 21 and 22.
“It’s the year 2040, and White Man discovers that he is now an American minority. Join political satirist and puppeteer Paul Zaloom on an outrageous mission to downgrade the status of Planet Caucazoid and blast White Privilege to the far reaches of the galaxy. The puppet cast is drawn from Zaloom’s enormous collection of weird junk, busted dolls, action figures, toy cars, random tchotchkes, and other charming debris.”
10,000 Things, written and directed by Erik Ehn. Staged by the Wilbury Theatre Group, 393 Broad Street, Providence, Rhode Island, through October 30.
The world premiere of a “multi-part experiment in process-driven theatre”: “An exploration of the limits of mercy and extent of distraction in a busy age. How do we care for the things that need tending? How do we wake up our eyes? At the center of the process: text + shadows… shadow puppetry, shadows as design elements, and – shadow as cultural erasure.”
Man in Snow, written and directed by Israel Horowitz. At Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main Street, through October 23.
The world premiere of a new play from the veteran playwright: “we follow the varied passions of a family seeking resolutions to the highs and lows of the mountains we climb in life.” Arts Fuse review
Tiger Style! by Mike Lew. Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagle. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, through November 13.
“A hilarious new comedy that examines race, parenting, and success with wit and sharp humor.” The sit-com set-up: “Squabbling siblings Albert and Jennifer Chen reached the pinnacle of academic achievement. But as adults, they’re epic failures: he’s just been passed up for promotion and she’s been dumped by her loser boyfriend.”
Warrior Class by Kenneth Lin. Directed by Dawn M. Simmons. Staged by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston at 140 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA, through November 13.
Playwright Kenneth Lin (TV’s House of Cards) script focuses on “a New York assemblyman who’s been dubbed ‘The Republican Obama.’ The son of Chinese immigrants and a decorated war veteran, he looks forward to a seemingly limitless political career. When someone from his past threatens to reveal a college transgression, he must decide how far he’ll go to keep the incident out of the public eye.”
The Scottsboro Boys, Music and Lyrics by John Kander & Fred Ebb. Book by David Thompson. Directed by Paul Daigneault. Music Direction by Matthew Stern. Choreography by Ilyse Robbins. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage Company at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, through November 19.
“In this, their final collaboration, legendary songwriting team John Kander and Fred Ebb (Cabaret, Chicago) bring to light one of the most infamous events in American history: the shocking true story of nine African American boys jailed in Alabama in 1931 for a crime they did not commit.”
When January Felt Like Summer by Cori Thomas. Directed by Benny Sato Ambush. Staged by the Nora Theatre Company at the Center Square Theatre, Cambridge, MA, through November 13.
“In Central Harlem during a mysteriously warm winter, the Hindu God Ganesh presides over the destinies of five people on paths of self-discovery and transformation as their disparate lives intersect. An urban romantic comedy humming with vibrancy and possibility of change and transcendence.”
Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. by Alice Birch. Directed by Summer L Williams. Staged by Company One at the Plaza Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts, through November 19.
The New England premiere of a play that the company claims “morphs language and explodes boundaries to explore the myriad ways women are styled, shaped, and confined to fit society’s expectations, asking us: What happens when we rebel?” Could be interesting — post-Trump sexist meltdown.
Wrathskeller Tales, written and performed by Boston BeauTease (formerly The Boston Babydolls) at The Wrathskellar, 288A Green St. (lower level), Cambridge, MA, through 31.
“Find yourself immersed in the nightmarish backstage of a supernatural tavern.”
— Bill Marx
William Merritt Chase
through January 16, 2017
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
In describing this exhibition, the MFA calls William Merritt Chase (1849-1916) “an overlooked master.” In Chase’s heyday, though, in the midst of the American Gilded Age, he was anything but. Starting in midwestern boom towns like Indianapolis and St. Louis, only recently frontier outposts, Chase studied at home and in Europe and built a career in New York as a leading society painter and prominent teacher (Marsden Hartley, Charles Demuth, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Edward Hopper were among his many students), eventually becoming one of America’s best-known, most influential, and most respected artists. Though his own teachers were academics, Chase eventually adopted a looser style and is now known as a leading “American Impressionist.” His elegant, art-filled late Victorian interiors, society portraits, idyllic summer landscapes, fashionably dressed young women at leisure, and richly rendered still lives seem to spring from the pages of Edith Wharton novels. This MFA show is a major retrospective of Chase’s career, including some 80 oil paintings and pastels, the first exhibition of his work this scale in more than thirty years. Arts Fuse review
through November 4
Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA
The earth’s only natural satellite and constant companion from time-immemorial has played a key role in art, mythology, religion, and literature since humans climbed down from the trees. This PEM review of lunar fascination seems to date mostly post-1969-moon-landing: many works take an ironic or downright irreverent approach to moon mania. Artists on view include Michael Benson, Craig Dorety, Foster + Partners, Young Sook Park, Reel Water Productions, and Sputniko!
Picket Fence to Picket Line: Visions of American Citizenship
through February 5, 2017
Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA
The Worcester Art Museum became an official polling place for its neighborhood in 2014, an association it may come to regret by the close of this most unpredictable of election years. Still, the museum hopes this exhibition will “foster meaningful dialogue” about the presidential campaign by asking the question “what is citizenship?” Pulled from the museum’s own collections, the show will feature historic images by Walker Evans, Currier and Ives, Jacob Lawrence, Andy Warhol, and others, running the gamut from establishment complacency and patriotic celebration to outrage, and protest, especially in civic spaces.
If nothing else, the show should remind us that, when it comes to American politics, everything changes except what remains the same.
Nick Cave: Until
MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA
A field of metallic lawn ornaments, a crystal cloud, a garden with birds, flowers, and black-face lawn jockeys, a looming cliff made of millions of plastic pony beads — these are the elements of a football-field sized installation in MASS MoCA’s largest space by Chicago-based artist, Nick Cave. The latter is best known for wearable sculptures called “Soundsuits.” The massive environment called Until that Cave has created for MASS MoCA is his largest installation, a massive work intended, Cave says, to spark discussion about race. “I had been thinking about gun violence and racism colliding. And then I wondered: is there racism in heaven? That’s how this piece came about.”
Edgar Aceneaux: Written in Smoke and Fire
through January 8, 2017
List Center, MIT, Cambridge, MA
Born in Los Angeles, where he lives and works, Edgar Arceneaux is the co-founder of the Watts House Project, a nonprofit neighborhood development project in the Los Angeles inner-city neighborhood. Arceneaux works with an impressive range of sources, including America history, science-fiction, and movies, and in a swath of media, encompassing sculpture, video, drawing, photography, and installation. His solo exhibition at MIT presents three regent, interconnected projects from 2014-16, blending inspiration from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., post-industrial American cities, Jorge Luis Borges’ imaginary and impossible library, and President Ronald Reagan’s 1981 inaugural.
— Peter Walsh
Mozart, Previn, and Gershwin
Presented by the NEC Symphony
October 19, 7:30 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
David Loebel conducts a concert that ends with a symphonic arrangement of excerpts from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Before that come pieces by Smetana, Mozart’s glorious “Linz” Symphony, and Andre Previn’s Principals.
Ya-Fei Chuang plays Rachmaninoff
Presented by the Boston Philharmonic
October 20 (at 7:30 p.m.), 22, and 23 (at 3 p.m.)
Sanders Theater, Cambridge, MA (Thursday and Sunday) and Jordan Hall, Boston, MA (Saturday)
The BPO’s season opens with a pair of Russian favorites – Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini and Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique Symphony – plus the Boston premiere of Lera Auerbach’s Icarus. Benjamin Zander conducts.
Yo-Yo Ma plays Elgar
Presented by the Boston Symphony Orchestra
October 20-25, 8 p.m. (1:30 p.m. on Friday)
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
Ma plays Elgar’s noble, melancholy Cello Concerto with Charles Dutoit conducting. The all-British program also includes a rare outing (in these parts, at least) of William Walton’s sprightly Portsmouth Point Overture and Holst’s The Planets.
Elizabeth Rowe plays Bach
Presented by the Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms Society Orchestra
October 23, 3 p.m.
Faneuil Hall, Boston, MA
BSO principal flute Rowe is the soloist in Bach’s famous Orchestral Suite no. 2. Steven Lipsitt conducts additional works by Mozart (including the Jupiter Symphony) and his own transcription of Alberto Ginastera’s “Malambo” from Estancia.
— Jonathan Blumhofer
Violinist Liana Zaretsky and pianist Andrew Goodridge
October 16 at 4 p.m.
At Williams Hall/New England Conservatory, 290 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA
On the program: Beethoven’s Sonata for Violin and Piano no 4 in A minor, Op. 23; Prokofiev’s Sonata for Violin and Piano no 2 in D major, Op. 94a; Fauré’s Sonata for Violin and Piano no 1 in A major, Op. 13.
Boston Conservatory Chamber Series
October 20 at 8 p.m.
At Seully Hall/Boston Conservatory, 8 Fenway, Boston, MA
On the program: Fauré’s Piano Quartet in C Minor; a new work from Curtis Hughes.
October 23 at 8 p.m.
At the First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough Street, Boston, MA
The program is entitled “City of Fools: Medieval Songs of Rule and Misrule:” “Shortly before an important American election, this new program of songs and poems from the Middle Ages evokes the age-old themes of justice and corruption in the public sphere. Minstrel songs from medieval France, Provençe, and Germany, amazingly contemporary in their language, provide an amusing and sharply-etched perspective on our current travails. Includes pungent selections from the Play of Daniel, Carmina Burana, and Roman de Fauvel; works by gifted musican-poets Philippe le Chancelier, Bertran de Born, and Thibault de Champagne; and a very American ending.
Music for Food
October 23 at 7:30 p.m.
At Brown Hall/New England Conservatory, 290 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA
On the program: Bach’s Organ Sonata, 530 in C Major; Brahms’ Zwei Gesänge, Op. 91;
Berio’s Sequenza III; Mozart’s Serenade for Winds no. 12 in c, K. 388 (384a).
— Susan Miron
October 16 at 7 p.m.
Sanders Theatre, 45 Quincy St, Cambridge, MA
Pianist and composer Danilo Pérez fronts a band celebrating the 100th birthday of four jazz legends, including his mentor, Dizzy Gillespie, as well as Ella Fitzgerald, Mongo Santamaria, and Thelonious Monk. The rest of the group includes singer Lizz Wright, saxophonist Chris Potter, trumpeter Avishai Cohen, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, percussionist and vocalist Roman Diaz, bassist Ben Street, and drummer Adam Cruz.
The 24-year-old pianist and composer Matt Savage made a name for himself as a pre-teen prodigy. Since the beginning of his career he has distinguished himself in gigs with discerning colleagues like Gerry Bergonzi and Bobby Watson, wowing them with his writing skills as well as his playing. He celebrates a new solo-piano disc, Voyages, at the Regattabar, with alto saxophonist Erena Terakubo.
October 20 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, 400 Soldiers Field Rd, Boston, MA
Over the past decade, Catherine Russell, a former backup singer for David Bowie, has established uncommon authority in singing early jazz and blues — and she comes by it honestly: her father, Luis Russell, was Louis Armstrong’s longtime musical director, and her mother, Carline Ray, performed with the post-WWII International Sweethearts of Rhythm. The astute arrangements and conversationally direct singing on Russell’s latest, Harlem on My Mind, maintain the high bar she’s set for herself.
October 22 at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Regattabar, 1 Bennett St, Cambridge, MA
The pianist and composer Stanley Sagov leads his superb Remembering the Future Jazz Band — reed player and singer Stan Strickland, trumpeter Mike Peipman, bassist John Lockwood, drummer Bob Gullotti, and singer Wanetta Jackson — in exploratory post-bop standards and originals.
October 22 at 8 p.m.
Outpost 186, 1 Bennett St, Cambridge, MA
Unreconstructed New York avant-garde tenor saxophonist, flutist, and percussionist Ras Moshe convenes pianist Eric Zinman, cellist Glynis Loman, and drummer Syd Smart. Moshe, we’re told, “pays homage to Coltrane, Albert Ayler, John Gilmore, and his other favorites on a permanent basis.” Works for me. Moshe’s cohort has included Bill Cole, Warren Smith, William Hooker, William Parker, and Karl Berger.
Jacob William Quartet
October 22 at 8 p.m.
Third Life Studio, 33 Union Square, Somerville, MA
The accomplished bassist Jacob William fronts a quartet, with saxophonist and electronic music experimenter (and Amherst College professor) Jason Robinson, pianist Steve Lantner, and drummer Luther Gray.
Mili Bermejo/Dan Greenspan
October 23 at 3 p.m.
Lilypad, 1353 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA
The soulful Mexican-born singer and composer Mili Bermejo and her husband and musical partner, the bassist Dan Greenspan, have been working up a program over the past year or so in duo performances in the Lilypad. Tonight they celebrate the recorded document of that project, Arte del Dúo, a collection of “12 songs is inspired by everything from historic poetry, to the beauty all around them at their homestead in rural New Hampshire, to the compositions of friends such as Hafez Modirzadeh and Vardan Ovsepian.”
— Jon Garelick
Rock, Pop, and Folk
Those who saw three Yes veterans—Steve Howe, Alan White, and Geoff Downes— at Lynn Auditorium in August can see three others—Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, and Rick Wakeman—at Wang Theatre on October 19. While the Lynn show focused on in-their-entirety performances of the late 1970s albums Tales From Topographic Oceans and Drama, this one is sure to include more of the band’s ‘80s material, which was the first on which Rabin played and introduced Yes to the MTV audience and gave them their first and only US #1 single in the process.
Boston psych-prog quintet Ghosts of Jupiter will celebrate the release of its new album The Great Bright Horses at Lizard Lounge on October 21. Click here to contribute to the band’s Kickstarter campaign, which ends on October 17.
Given that I have recommended several of these acts in this very space and/or written about them elsewhere, my whole-hearted endorsement of this event is a foregone conclusion. If you are familiar with any or all of the featured artists, then you know what to expect. However, one who would like to familiarize him/herself with several of the top established and upcoming female musicians in Boston can do so in one fell swoop by swinging into Beverly on Saturday, October 22.
Time marches on, but some albums never get old. A fine example of this phenomenon is Amy Rigby’s 1996 solo debut Diary of a Mod Housewife. On Sunday, October 23, Rigby will commemorate this acclaimed record’s 20th birthday and first issuance on vinyl at Atwood’s Tavern. Joining her will be drummer Doug Wygal—who played on the original recording—and her husband and frequent musical partner-in-creation Wreckless Eric. With no cover charge, but instead a “suggested donation” of $10, this event that should make even the most committed sports fan not care about the day’s game. (Here is the interview that I did with Rigby and “Wreckless Eric” Goulden in 2013.)
Costello and his band will bring the “Imperial Bedroom and Other Chambers” tour to Boston on Tuesday, October 25. The focus of this endeavor is the 1982 album Imperial Bedroom and—in Costello’s words—“the songs that led in and out of that velvet-trimmed playhouse.” In other words, it sounds like it will be a fine combination of Costello’s willingness to give the people what they want but also do whatever the hell he wants.
— Blake Maddux
World Music and Roots
Doo-Wopp Hall of Fame of America
At the North Shore Music Theater, 62 Dunham Rd, Beverly, MA
For his annual induction ceremony, local oldies promoter Harvey Robbins is bringing to town two artists rarely seen anywhere: Money singer and I Heard It Through the Grapevine co-writer Barrett Strong, and Hal Miller, whose Rays scored a classic with Silhouettes. Also along for the ride are the Tune Weavers, Jackie Wilson guitarist Billy Davis, and the Super Girls Group, whose members sang with the Exciters, Jaynettes, and Cookies.
Lampedusa Benefit Concert
At the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA
If you haven’t gotten a ticket for this refugee benefit with Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, and Buddy Miller you might want to snap up one — if there are any left. They’ll go fast now that Robert Plant has been added to the bill.
Instead of choirs and organs, the music heard inside the churches of the Keith Dominion features the wailing, other-worldly sound of the steel guitar. In the past decade, the music has caught on with secular audiences as well, in large part thanks to popular jam band musician Robert Randolph. Now several of the greatest practitioners of “sacred steel,” including Chuck Campbell and Calvin Cooke — have joined forces as the Slide Brothers. This last-minute booking is their first local appearance since a scorching 2013 show at Johnny D’s.
— Noah Schaffer
Feel the Horn: The Orange Rhino Rally
October 22 and 29
Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA
A street-music take on Eugene Ionesco’s Rhinoceros for the Donald Trump era. “Ionesco’s prophecy is now coming true on a national level in the United States of America—in 2016! Eric Zinman and Ian MacKinnon are advance rhino-men getting Cambridge, Massachusetts, one of the last rhino-free zones in the country, to ‘grow a tusk and feel the horn’ as the nation prepares to switch to Rhino rule after the Rhinos’ amazing comeback from near-extinction.
“If you’re ready to go rhino, wear a lot of orange; we’ll provide the tusks. Dancers should be skilled in bluster, puffery, mugging, smirks, and threat display. Dances will employ iconic Trump gestures.” To perform or assist at these two rallies, contact Ian MacKinnon at email@example.com
— Bill Marx
In Conversation with Meredith Goldstein
October 17 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
Single and in her thirties, writer Emily Witt envisioned her dating life “eventually reaching a terminus, like a monorail gliding to a stop at Epcot Center.” Luckily, she discovered that her experiences were more interesting and fulfilling than this and decided to record her observations on different aspects of romantic experience, such as polyamory, to see what the future might hold.
A Gambler’s Anatomy
October 20 at 6:30 p.m.
Cambridge Public Library, Cambridge MA
The best selling, innovative, and erudite novelist comes to read from his tenth novel. It concerns an internationally famous backgammon master who hustles on the side via his suspect powers of telepathy. He also has a mysterious ailment that makes his globe-trotting life more difficult, aside from the number of people who are out to get him.
Against Everything: Essays
October 21 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmth, Coolidge Corner MA
One of the founders of the influential magazine N+1 who has been referred to as the intellectual heir to Susan Sontag and James Wood comes to read from his latest collection of social and political criticism, including critiques of the social phenomena of exercise, food culture, reality TV, and Youtube.
Flying Couch: A Graphic Memoir
October 27 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
Graphic novels have rightly received quite a bit of critical attention in recent years, especially in the memoir genre. Kurweil’s story examines the complex lives of women in her past – her grandmother, who survived the Warsaw Ghetto, her mother’s practice of psychology — and looks at her own coming of age as a woman and an artist.
Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair
Hynes Convention Center, Boston MA
$20 tickets for Friday, Free Sat- Sun
In case you haven’t slaked your thirst for top-quality fiction at the book fair, worry not- the fortieth anniversary of the antiquarian book fair is right around the corner. You can browse limited edition copies of rare, signed, and out of print books by everyone from James Baldwin to Sylvia Plath to Harry Houdini. While you’re at it, check out some classic movie posters from Psycho and The Exorcist and local poets writing spontaneous verse on ancient typewriters as you browse.
— Matt Hanson