Arts Fuse critics select the best in film, dance, visual arts, theater, music, and author events for the coming weeks.
By The Arts Fuse Staff
Israeli American Council Documentary Series
through July 6
Merkaz IAC 1320 Centre Street Newton, MA
The DOC.IL documentary movie series — from The Israeli House, The Boston Jewish Film Festival & IAC Boston — is an opportunity to watch thought-provoking Israeli documentaries that reveal different facets of Israeli society and their challenges. Each screening will be followed by a discussion. On June 6: The Green Prince ; June 24: The Queen Has No Crown; On July 6: Tinghir-Jerusalem.
The Complete Jean Renoir
June through August
Harvard Film Archives, Cambridge, MA
The HFA presents a retrospective on one the masters of cinema. Arts Fuse feature. It begins with two of his finest films.
The Rules of the Game, June 9 at 7 p.m.
“The Rules of the Game has become so influential that its title has taken on an extra layer of meaning: with this work, Jean Renoir put in place standards for modern cinema itself. Made in 1939, as the advent of World War II was becoming more and more a reality, it is an angry film, one that Renoir later said was about a “society dancing on a volcano.” That society is represented by a stately château, where elite members of the haute bourgeoisie have assembled for a shooting party.” (Criterion)
Nana, June 11 at 7 p.m.
“Nana‘s dramatic-visual technique reveals characteristics of Renoir’s sensibility and style which last throughout his career. The drama depends on a strong-as-possible establishment of characters. Each shot is a vignette in which background and lighting are used solely to express a character’s emotions and desires. Taken from Zola’s Naturalist novel, Nana shows people’s lives fatally ruled by simple drives.” (Harvard Crimson, 1969) Live musical accompaniment by Bertrand Lawrence.
The Second Annual Arab Film Weekend
The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston
The Boston Palestine Film Festival presents a sampling of the very best contemporary films being produced in the Arab region of North Africa and the Middle East. For an introduction to Arab cinema or for experienced fans, this mini-festival is not to be missed. Scheduled films:
The War Show
June 11, 1:30 p.m.
“In March 2011, radio host Obaidah Zytoon and friends join the street protests against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Believing that the Arab Spring will forever change their country, this group of young artists and activists begin surreptitiously, at great risk to themselves. A deeply personal road movie, The War Show captures the fate of Syria through the intimate lens of a small circle of friends and graphically depicts how the mood of the conflict changed from an inspirational revolutionary one to one where the camera itself became a player for sale to the highest bidders who were intent on manipulating events for their own nefarious purposes.”
June 11, 7 p.m.
“A young ballet dancer returns to Lebanon after years abroad to find that she feels like a foreigner in her own country. Her Arabic is rusty, making communication difficult, and she discovers that her family’s palatial home has been partially destroyed by bombings. She decides to move into the dilapidated mansion and becomes obsessed with solving a family mystery: the disappearance of her grandfather, who vanished during the civil war.”
June 11, 4:00 p.m.
“A young woman survives a sea crossing to enter France illegally in the aftermath of the Jasmine revolution in Tunisia. With no friends, no family, and no immigration papers, Samia must build a life for herself while avoiding the scrutiny of French authorities. This powerful and poignant drama draws back the curtain on the faceless ‘refugees’ who are flocking to the West and paints a moving portrait of a woman who is determined to survive at any cost.”
Seven Beauties: The Films of Lina Wertmüller
through June 15
Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA
A long overdue retrospective of one of the great iconoclasts of cinema. Highly recommended are Seven Beauties and Swept Away with the magnificent Giancarlo Giannini. Also screening is Behind the White Glasses, a documentary about the director. “Wertmüller’s established herself as one of the most talked-about figures in 1970s world cinema. Not only was she hailed by critics and successful at the box office, she also became an industry darling, and in 1977, her controversial World War II picaresque Seven Beauties earned her the distinction of being the first woman nominated for an Academy Award for best director. Decades later, her polemical farces—including other hits such as Swept Away, The Seduction of Mimi, and Love and Anarchy—continue to deliver a shock to the heart.” (Criterion)
Scout Film Festival
through June 11
This annual international festival celebrates short films by teen filmmakers 18 and under. There is an opening reception, an awards ceremony, and a networking brunch as well as a series of educational programs with industry partners that includes workshops and talks. Dozens of short films are screened in eleven different categories. Full schedule of films and workshops.
The Provincetown International Film Festival (PIFF)
June 14 – 18.
PIFF is always full of surprises — including some remarkable films — and set in one of the friendliest towns in the Commonwealth. Check the full schedule for listings. Programming includes an awards presentation for Excellence In Acting to Chloë Sevigny (who also directed the featured short film, Kitty) and the Filmmaker On The Edge Award to Sofia Coppola. Aubrey Plaza, who stars in and produced the festival’s closing film, Ingrid Goes West, will receive the festival’s inaugural Next Wave Award.
— Tim Jackson
Alida Cervantes – Majas, cambujas, y virreinacas
through June 25
Mills gallery, Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont St, Boston, MA
Presented by the Boston Center for the Arts in conjunction with Wellesley College, and curated by rising talent Candice Ivy, this eye-opening exhibition explores the tensions of being a border artist. It compares the racial social power dynamics of Mexico’s colonial past with those of its present. Cervantes was the 2014 winner of the Alice Cole Fellowship, and this is her first solo show on the East Coast. Her imaginative yet perverse work depicts Colonial-era women encountering partially nude men and references 18th century ‘casta paintings’ — a genre that depict the interracial mixing of Mexico. Using found materials from the streets of her hometown, Tijuana (for example, panels from an abandoned “graffitied” door) her layered imaginative work explores various power dynamics. Looking at these issues from a female perspective, one finds a complex struggle in which sex, love, and emotions are expressed through rich gestural paintings.
Make Way for Ducklings – The Art of Robert McCloskey
through June 18
Edward and Nancy Roberts Family Gallery, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Celebrating the 75th anniversary of the well-loved children’s picture book, the Museum of Fine Arts presents an elaborate exhibition featuring over 50 illustrations from the two-time Caldecott Medal winning author, artist, and illustrator Robert McCloskey. This showcase of his skillfully rendered graphite and ink illustrations is the ideal opportunity to appreciate the now classic tale of a family of Mallard ducks waddling through a simpler time. Also, the visual context of McCloskey’s work is explored by way of the presence of paintings of Edward Hopper and Thomas Hart Benton, as well as a miniature of Nancy Schön’s glistening bronze statue in the Boston Public Garden.
John O’Reilly – A Studio Odyssey
through August 13
At the Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St, Worcester, MA
Little was known of Worcester-based artist John O’Reilly until the 1990s, when his mysterious intricately layered photomontages garnered attention after several were featured in the 1995 Whitney Biennial. His perplexing work explores the relationship of time to memory, as well as issues of homosexuality, along with his musings on subjectivity and isolation. Drawing inspiration from the French writer Jean Genet, novelist Henry James, and Greek poet Constantine Cavafy, his work mixes images of himself with tastefully appropriated artistic fragments. The exhibit presents a visual journey of his 50 year career, including collages that feature autobiographical Polaroid snap shots and found coloring books. Curated in collaboration with the artist, the expansive show features 85 works – 20 of which are relatively new.
Susan Jane Belton – Studio Eruption: Recent Paintings
through July 5
Miller Yerzerski Gallery, 460 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA
Boston artist Susan Jane Belton’s playful manipulations of the mundane can be seen as an invitation to indulge in serious/satiric contemplations of the iconography of capitalism and the junky talismans of contemporaneity. In the artist’s own words: “Sometimes it helps me to focus on what’s right in front of me, paint it, and try to understand what it means.”
Expanding Abstraction: New England Women Painters, 1950 to Now
through September 17
deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, 51 Sandy Pond Rd, Lincoln, MA
In the early 1970s, art dealer Richard Feigen asked Linda Nochlin: “Linda, I would love to show women artists, but I can’t find any good ones. Why are there no great women artists?” deCordova’s exhibition, a brilliant showcase of New England’s abstract women painters, proves just how wrong he was. From the ingenious work of such seminal artists as Helen Frankenthaler and Maud Morgan to the groundbreaking work of their contemporaries Sharon Friedman and Natalie Alper, the show expands our understanding of the genre, moving well beyond the familiar innovations of Jackson’s drip paintings and Rothko’s clouds of color.
Jenny Holzer – For North Adams
through June 25th, 2017
Wednesday – Sunday from dusk until 11 p.m.
MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA
In this temporary public installation, Jenny Holzer honors North Adams with a group of text projected on five sections of MASS MoCA’s North façade, visible from River Street. The raw and poignant prose of Anna Świrszczyńska (translation by Piotr Florczyk) depicts her experiences as she took part in the the anti-Nazi resistance in Poland. The work of several other writers is included as well. Without ornament, the installation’s carefully measured and weighted words were selected to describe life during wartime. The work also includes testimony from refugees and other displaced persons recorded by Save the Children and Human Rights Watch. The premiere of the North Adams projection coincides with the opening of MASS MoCA’s expansion, which includes an installation of Holzer’s works.
New England on Paper: Contemporary Art in the Boston Athenæum’s Prints & Photographs Collections
through September 3 at the Boston Athenaeum, Boston, MA
The Boston Athenæum is exhibiting their treasured contemporary collection of intimate paper works, which they began collecting in 2000 after receiving support from the Frances Hovey Howe Print Fund. The fund was established in order to support regional artists and to create a repository of artistic work that celebrates the unique culture of both urban and rural New England life, as well as the natural wonder of its scenic harbors and mountainous landscapes. Put together by Catharina Slautterback, the Curator of Prints and Photographs, these selective artistic responses are thoughtfully varied, juxtaposing the representational with the abstract, ranging from lithographs and white line wood cuts to hand-toned silver gelatin prints and digital photographs. The work can be viewed through an online virtual exhibition, though be warned — these delicate paper works should be experienced in person to be fully appreciated.
Fred Eversley: Black, White, and Gray
through June 11
Gerald S. and Sandra Fineburg Gallery, Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, 415 South Street, Waltham, MA
Aerospace engineer-turned-artist Fred Eversley’s series of monochrome sculptures are a ‘must see’ for those curious about the vibrant Light and Space movement that once dominated the West Coast art scene. In 1972, renowned Minimalist John McCracken gave Eversley a can of black pigment to experiment with. It transformed his work; he no longer focused on rich, saturated hues of amber, blue, and magenta, but concentrated on creating translucent sculptural work that investigated the beauty and nuances of black’s tonal range through an appreciation of curve and refracted light. After this initial success, Eversley’s achromatic investigation went on to embrace white and gray tones. Contemplating the expansion of stars — peering through lenses and reflecting in mirrors — viewers are challenged to ponder not just what they see, but how they see it.
Vibrations: A Sound Experience – With Work by MJ Caselden and Derek Hoffend
through July 2
Boston Cyberarts Gallery, 141 Green St, Jamaica Plain, MA
Boston Cyberarts continues to expand the arena of contemporary art with this interactive sound exhibition, which utilizes mantra-like vibrations and magnetism to generate fresh sensory and spiritual experiences. Collaborating with tech companies such as Intel, sound artist and inventor,MJ Caselden’s “Magnetic Sound” sculptures employ magnetic fields to create repetitive vibrations that lull participants into meditative listening experiences. Installation artist Derek Hoffend utilizes sonic, electronic, and physical media to create intersections of sound and form. He invites curious viewers to collaborate and play in a space of therapeutic discovery through somatosensory response.
— Aimee Cotnoir
Across The Ages Dance Project
June 11 at 6 p.m.
Green Street Studios
Across The Ages Dance Project presents its seventh annual performance, featuring works by Yo-el Cassell, William Evans, Adrienne Hawkins, Meghan McLyman, Lynn Modell, Jenny Oliver, and Erica Schwartz. Known for being inclusive of all ages, this year’s project has 40 participants that range from 7 years old to 81.
Dance Vision’s “35”
June 16 & 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Boston University Dance Theater
Dance Visions celebrates its 35th anniversary with an evening featuring repertory works and premieres. Contributors include choreographers Margot Parsons, Marin Orlosky Randow, and Christine McDowell; original musical scores from Robin Cho, Ai Isshiki and Steven Milton, and Abby Swidler; lighting design by Lynda Rieman.
through June 18
Loeb Drama Center
As a Boston dance critic and live music enthusiast, I can personally vouch for the impressive nature of the A.R.T.’s Arrabal. The show’s coming-of-age narrative integrates lust, history, and the search for one’s identity. The story is told through a succession of tangos, choreography by Julio Zurita and Sergio Trujillo.
— Merli V Guerra
Camelot, Book and Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner. Music by Frederick Loewe Original Production Directed & Staged by Moss Hart Based on The Once and Future King by T. H. White. Adapted by David Lee. New Orchestrations by Steve Orich. Directed by Spiro Veloudos. Music Director, Catherine Stornetta. Choreography by Rachel Bertone. Staged by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 140 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA, through June 25.
“Spiro Veloudos closes the season with a fresh new adaptation of this beloved, classic musical. he romantic yet ultimately tragic tale of King Arthur, Guenevere, Lancelot, and the Knights of the Round Table is brought into sharper focus, bursting with some of greatest songs written for the musical stage, including “If Ever I Would Leave You”, “I Loved You Once in Silence”, and the title song “Camelot.””
Like Sheep to Water, or Fuente Ovejuna by Lope de Vega. Directed by Mark Valdez. Translated and adapted by Curt Columbus. Staged by Trinity Repertory Company at The Chace Theater, Providence, Rhode Island, through June 11.
“A modern, music-infused retelling of the classic Spanish story of tyranny overthrown. In 15th-century Spain, a menacing Commander terrorizes a small town’s citizens—especially the women. Pushed to their limit, the people of Fuente Ovejuna rise up against their oppressor in a fierce act of unity and bravery.” Lope de Vega’s masterpiece gets a contemporary facelift — sounds intriguing, if dangerous. Arts Fuse review
Arrabal Book by John Weidman. Music by Gustavo Santaolalla / Bajofondo. Choreographed by Julio Zurita. Directed and co-choreographed by Sergio Trujillo. Presented by the American Repertory Theater at the Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, MA, through June 17.
“A new tango-infused dance theater piece,” this musical “follows one woman’s quest to understand the violence that took her father and disrupted a nation. Told through dance and propulsive music, the show features an ensemble and band, Orquesta Bajofonderos, direct from Buenos Aires, Argentina.” Arts Fuse review
The Midvale High School Fiftieth Reunion by Alan Brody. Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner. Staged by The Nora Theatre Company at the Central Square Theater, Cambridge, MA, through July 2.
“Tonight, it’s Midvale High School’s class of 1954’s 50th reunion. Tom and Bettina – returning for the first time – are looking for second chances. As the evening revs up to the highly anticipated dance contest, they flash back to formative moments – but are those memories real?” The world premiere production of Brody’s script stars Emmy winning actor Gordon Clapp and Debra Wise.
4000 Miles by Amy Herzog. Directed by Nicole Ricciardi. Staged by Shakespeare and Company at the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, through July 16.
“This Pulitzer Prize finalist and Winner of the 2012 Obie Award for Best New Play explores growing up, growing old and the moments in between.” The cast includes Annette Miller and Gregory Bower. Arts Fuse review
Blood on the Snow by Patrick Gabridge. Directed by Courtney O’Connor. Staged by The Bostonian Society at the Old State House, 206 Washington Street, Boston MA, June 1 through August 20.
Historical drama with a kick. Gabridge’s play “dramatizes the events immediately following the infamous Boston Massacre and is staged in the Council Chamber of the Old State House, the very room where the discussion took place nearly 250 years ago. This site-specific play sold out its critically-acclaimed World Premiere in the spring of 2016.” This is an opportunity to catch an encore presentation.
Days of Atonement by Hanna Azoulay-Hasfari. Directed by Guy Ben-Aharon. Staged by Israeli Stage at Deane Hall in the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, through June 25.
An American premiere production of a play that promises to take us deep into the lives of a quartet of women. “Dynamic. Aggressive. Funny. Warm. The Ohana sisters force you into their world. With a deep sense of urgency, these four women gather to figure out where and why their mother is missing. Differences of religious beliefs, professions and class clash. And the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) approaches. Experience these four powerful women at their most vulnerable, struggling to reconnect, forgive and forget.”
Ripcord by David Lindsay-Abaire. Directed by Jessica Stone. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, through July 2.
“In this deliciously inappropriate new comedy, cantankerous Abby is forced to share her room in assisted living with endlessly chipper Marilyn. The two women make a seemingly harmless bet that quickly escalates into a dangerous and hilarious game of one-upmanship, revealing hidden truths that neither wants exposed.” The cast includes Nancy E. Carroll and Annie Golden. Arts Fuse review
Fat Pig by Neil LaBute. Directed by Juliet Bowler. Staged by Flat Earth Theatre at the Mosesian Center for the Arts (formerly known as the Arsenal Center for the Arts), 321 Arsenal Street in Watertown, MA, through June 24.
“Smart, sexy and fat, Helen lives in a world that judges her for her weight. Her new, conventionally thin, boyfriend Tom quickly becomes enamored with her despite the condemnation of his shallow, often convincing friends that threatens their relationship.” LaBute is adept at pushing hot buttons — so this may have some kick.
Developed over the last two years with grant support from the Maine Arts Commission and a new show incubation residency at the Celebration Barn Theater, this show is billed as an “original, multi-disciplinary performance piece” that “tells the story of a woman whose doctor-husband volunteers to treat Ebola patients in Liberia, and how she, her marriage, and her family transform in his absence. It is an intimate, lyrical, and achingly honest tale about partnership, motherhood, commitment, separation, spirituality, and the tension between public service and personal sacrifice.”
Penny Penniworth: A Story of Great Good Fortune by Chris Weikel. Directed by Sarah Gazdowicz. Staged by the Titanic Theatre Company at the Central Square Theater, Cambridge, MA, through June 25.
The New England premiere of “a tale of true love thwarted, fortunes lost, grieving recluses, cruel deception, and finally, love regained. Artfully poking fun at Dickens classics such as Great Expectations and Oliver Twist, four actors portray a dazzling array of characters in this fast-paced, comic romp.”
I loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti, adapted by Jacques Lamarre from the memoir by Giulia Melucci. Directed by Ilyse Robbins. Staged by the Stoneham Theatre, 395 Main Street, Stoneham, MA, through June 25.
A one-woman show starring Kerri Jill Garbis that is made to appeal to foodies and romance addicts: “For Giulia, an Italian New Yorker trying her best to navigate life as a single gal, a new date provides the perfect opportunity to show off her cooking skills. As she prepares a three-course dinner from scratch – utilizing real ingredients and an actual working kitchen to prepare a meal that will be served to eight members of the audience – she recounts stories of good Italian food and bad boyfriends.”
Sonia Flew by Melinda Lopez. Directed by Lois Roach. Staged by the Wellesley Repertory Theatre at the Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre, Alumnae Hall, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA, through June 25.
A revival of Lopez’s acclaimed family drama: “Sonia’s parents, fearful of the new government, sent their only daughter from Cuba to the United States in 1961. Set in Minneapolis and Havana, a story of family unfolds across the generations as Sonia—now raising two children with her Jewish husband—struggles to come to terms with her past, her lost parents, her own children, and her adopted country.”
— Bill Marx
June 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.
The avant-klezmer outfit Naftule’s Dream helped invent John Zorn’s “Radical Jewish Culture” concept back ’90s on Zorn’s Tzadik label. They’re still rocking those odd-metered Eastern European dance moves and minor-key melodies with freewheeling improvisation. The band is Glenn Dickson on clarinet, cornettist Gary Bohan, cornet, accordionist Michael McLaughlin, guitarist Andrew Stern, tubist Jim Gray, and drummer Eric Rosenthal.
Benny Green Trio
June 15 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
Green, now 54, earned his stripes, in the ’80s, in the pressure cooker environments of Betty Carter’s band and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. He can play fast, he can play slow, and he knows how to get inside a song. (His own deep, bluesy “Golden Flamingo” could be some great lost standard.)
Charlie Kohlhase’s Explorers Club
June 15 at 8 p.m.
Outpost 186, Cambridge, MA
The indefatigable multi-saxman and composer Charlie Kohlhase convenes his Explorers’ Club: tenor saxophonist Seth Meicht, trumpeter and flugelhornist Daniel Rosenthal, trombonist Jeb Bishop, guitarist Eric Hofbauer, bassist Aaron Darrell, and drummer Curt Newton. They’ play music by Kohlhase, Darrell, Graham Connah, Elmo Hope, Makanda Ken McIntyre, and John Tchicai.
June 16 and 17 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
Thirty-eight-year-old Japanese pianist Hiromi is a dynamo and a star and I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you she was coming to town (that’s four shows over two nights, folks!). These days she’s working as a duo with the equally dynamic 39-year-old Colombian harpist Edmar Castañeda. It would be interesting to see what these two come up with — especially if Castañeda can temper Hiromi’s extremes with his more folkloric bent. In any event, the “Wow!” factor should be in force.
June 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.
Clear Audience’s experiments are founded in a playful attention to form and groove. The band is guitarist Steve Fell (who also does most of the writing, and adds dabs of electronics), saxophonist Andy Voelker, bassist Jef Charland, and drummer Luther Gray.
— Jon Garelick
Lorelei Ensemble: Witness
June 11 at 4 p.m.
At Marsh Chapel at Boston University, 735 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA
“Lorelei commissions three new works for women’s voices by three composers: James Kallembach, Shawn Kirchner, and Mary Montgomery Koppel. Modern spirituals by Koppel, Kirchner, Josh Shank, Adam Jacob Simon, and Moira Smiley serve as responses to Kallembach’s The Death of Antigone, which parallels ancient martyrdom with 20th century activism. An extension of Lorelei’s ongoing “New Americana” initiative (funded by New Music USA in 2014), Witness shifts its glance outward toward modern global crises, and offers four re-imaginings of a truly American genre as a vehicle toward global empathy and action.”
Boston Early Music Festival: Campra’s Le Carnaval de Venise
June 11 and June 18 at 3:30 p.m.
June 14 and June 16 at 7 p.m.
At the Cutler Majestic Theatre/Emerson College, 219 Tremont Street, Boston, MA
“Boston Early Music Festival presents a vibrant spectacle of music and dance with the fully-staged, North American premire of Le Carnaval de Venise, André Campra’s captivating 1699 operatic masterpiece.”
The King’s Singers –Worlds Colliding: Renaissance Heavyweights
June 12 at 8 p.m.
At Jordan Hall/New England Conservatory, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA
The Boston Early Music Festival presents the acclaimed vocal group.
An Evening of Brahms with Pianist Andrew Rangell & Friends
June 15 at 8 p.m.
At the Shalin Liu Performing Arts Center, 37 Main Street, Rockport, MA
On the all-Brahms program: “A Rose Breaks into Bloom” (Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen), Op.122, No.8 (1896); Intermezzo, Op.76, No.4; String Quintet, Op.111, Un poco allegretto (arr. for piano by Rangell); Intermezzi, Op. 116 No.5 in E minor & Op. 119 No. 2 in E minor; Piano Trio in A major, Op. Posthumous; Piano Quintet in F minor, Op.34
Mozart Sonatas for Fortepiano and Violin
June 16 at 8 p.m.
At the Jordan Hall/New England Conservatory, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA
Kristian Bezuidenhout, fortepiano and Rachel Podger, violin, are featured on this Boston Early Music Festival presentation.
Chameleon Arts Ensemble — All B’s!
June 18 at 5 p.m.
At the Shalin Liu Performing Arts Center, 37 Main Street, Rockport, MA
Beethoven’s Variations for cello and piano on Ein Madchen oder Weibchen, Op. 66; Bartók’s Contrasts for clarinet, violin and piano, Sz. 111; Berio’s Folk Songs for soprano, flute, clarinet, viola, cello, harp and percussion; Bloch’s Quintet No.1 for piano and strings
— Susan Miron
Rock, Pop, and Folk
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s The Echo of Pleasure hits stores on July 14. Founding member Kip Berman is clearly eager for people to sample it, as the group’s tour includes a stop at The Sinclair exactly one month before this date. This night’s superb triple bill is rounded out by Frankie Rose, who was a member of Vivian Girls, Crystal Stilts, and The Dum Dum Girls before going solo, and Ablebody, which includes Christoph Hochheim, who is a former member of the headlining act.
Singer, songwriter, producer, and Berklee professor Susan Cattaneo (click for my Arts Fuse interview) will be performing songs from the several CDs that she has already has to her credit and previewing selections from her upcoming double album at Thunder Road on June 15. Joining her at the Union Square venue will be the Telecaster-slinging singer-songwriter Bill Kirchen, who played with Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen in the 60s and 70s, was nominated for a Grammy in 2001, and released his most recent album (Transatlanticana) last year.
The first two weeks of Boston’s June concert calendar are filled to the brim. When Chuck Prophet begins his set at Lizard Lounge on June 15, that cup that had runneth over will burst at its seams. The prolific San Francisco-based artist is currently on the road in support of this year’s Bobby Fuller Died for Your Sins, the title track of which is one of my favorite songs of 2017 so far. A string quartet that includes two violins, a cello, and a viola will back Prophet at this gig.
Opening a show for the British folk-rock colossus Richard Thompson (click for a 2015 Arts Fuse review) is a trial by fire. Doing so exposes one to some very high-minded music fans, but also requires him or her to stand between them and the performance of several of the finest songs that anyone has composed in the past five decades. When Joan Shelley played for a room crammed with of Richard Thompson enthusiasts at Sanders Theatre on April 16, she fully rose to the occasion. The headliner even invited the Kentucky-born singer-songwriter on stage for an encore of three songs that he had originally recorded with his then-wife Linda Thompson. If Shelley could handle that, then she should have crowd in the palm of her hand at Brighton Music Hall on June 17.
Sera Cahoone was 12 years old when she started playing drums in her hometown of Littleton, CO. She later relocated to Seattle, where she joined the band Carissa’s Wierd (sic). Following that band’s 2003 split, members Mat Brooke and Ben Bridwell joined Band of Horses. Cahoone drummed on that group’s Everything All the Time in 2006 and contributed vocals to 2016’s Why Are You OK. Other credits include work with Patrick Park and Grand Archives, but she has been most productive as a solo artist, having released three highly acclaimed albums following her eponymous 2006 debut. Cahoone comes to Somerville on June 18 to promote From Where I Started, a new 11-track collection on which each song is as stunningly beautiful as any other. Patrick Coman, a Tulsa native-turned-local boy/organizer of the New England Americana Festival/For the Sake of Song host, will open the show.
— Blake Maddux
Roots and World Music
Strawberry Park Cajun Festival
through June 12
When Johnny D’s was in its heyday the club brought Cajun and zydeco acts to Boston on a regular basis. These days, dancers have to travel pretty far to hear the sounds of the Louisiana bayou. This long-running festival features scores of bands like Steve Riley, Geno Delafose, and the Pine Leaf Boys.
Lynn Auditorium, Lynn, MA
One of the last of the mighty classic R&B ensembles — today the Isleys consist of lead singer Ron and guitar blaster Ernie. They’ll do “Twist & Shout” but the bulk of the show will draw on their ’70s output such as “Atlantis” and their improbably soulful cover of “Summer Breeze.” Regarding the audience: expect a grown up folk crowd dressed to the nines.
Jay Caldwell & the Gospel Ambassadors
Charles St. AME Church, 551 Warren Street, Dorchester, MA
The Delaware-based gospel singer known for his signature song “Take Off Your Shoes” comes to Boston every Father’s Day. This year he’s celebrating his 50th anniversary. Local gospel luminaries Test-a-mony, Bishop Harold Branch, the Spiritual Encouragers and the Spirit Gospel Singers will also sing.
— Noah Schaffer
Storied Bars of New York: Where Literary Luminaries Go to Drink
June 13 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
Ever wonder where your favorite writers went to drink? New York City has literary history on pretty much every block, and its bars are no different. Cabe is a New Yorker who has researched the watering holes of the great writers, as well as how to make their libations of choice: think Jack Kerouac’s wine, O Henry’s whisky, or Truman Capote’s dry martini.
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body
June 14 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30)
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
Tickets are $27.25, including a copy of the book
Undoubtedly one of the literary world’s leading feminists, Gay’s exploratory writing takes a fresh, honest, and generously intelligent look at gender and its discontents. Her new memoir is mandatory summer reading for the socially conscious set.
Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.
June 19 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30)
First Parish Church, Cambridge MA
Tickets $34.75 with book, $5 without
Neal Stephenson is celebrated for his experimental, ideas-driven novels such as Snow Crash and the Cryptonomicon cycle, which means this collaboration with an acclaimed historical fiction novelist on a book about a time travel machine that radically reimagines the foundations of the modern world makes perfect sense. The eponymous D.O.D.O. uses the translation of ancient documents to prove that magic is not only real but has been consciously manipulated by adepts for centuries.
The Ideas Industry: How Pessimists, Partisans, and Plutocrats are Transforming the Marketplace of Ideas
June 20 at 7 p.m.
Newtonville Books, West Newton MA
The tradition of the public intellectual is long and noble, but lately it has fallen into terminal (?) disrepair. A new kind of socially-appointed thinker has taken over that turf: the “thought leader.” Focusing their energies on pushing one big idea — usually pertaining to management or “innovation” — they are usually found orating at a TED talk or at an ideas conference. The catch is that these so-called public ‘thinkers’ are funded by private interests who have the bottom line in mind, not a free exchange of ideas.
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness: A Novel
June 20 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6)
Old South Church, Cambridge MA
Tickets are $29.75 w book, $5 without
After winning the Booker Prize with her well-loved novel The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy went into relative obscurity, mostly devoting her time to activism. Twenty years later, Roy is back with a new novel that examines her native India, applying her strident leftism with a light touch.
— Matt Hanson