Coming Attractions: October 8 through 24 — What Will Light Your Fire

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


GlobeDocs Film Festival
October 11 through 15
Various Venues

This five-day documentary festival takes place in theaters across Boston. It is hosted by Boston Globe journalists and features post-film conversations. The line-up includes two WGBH “first look” films: Bill Nye: Science Guy And Frontline: Putin’s Revenge. It closes Sunday with A Fine Line at the the Coolidge Corner Theatre — the film skillfully explores the many obstacles and challenges that women face in the male-dominated culinary world. Full schedule with descriptions here.

Environmental Film Festival “On Tour”
October 11 through 13
At Kendall Square Cinema, Cambridge, MA and Boston University

A  three-day showcase of important (but hard to find) films on the environment. The line-up-includes

October 11 at 7 p.m. – Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution with discussion Kendall Square
October 12 at 7 p.m. – Wasted! followed by a panel discussion Kendall Square Cinema
October 13 at 6 p.m. – Chasing Coral with panel discussion and reception

Descriptions and tickets.

Doctober Documentary Film Festival
October 13 through 19
Cape Anne Cinema, Gloucester, MA

The cool and funky Cape Anne Cinema presents its own wild collection of documentary wonders. Here are some selections — but see the complete schedule for plenty more!!

October 13 at 7:30 p.m. – California Typewriter opens the Festival. The screening is followed by a live performance by the Boston Typewriter Orchestra, which is featured in the film!

October 14 at 2:30 p.m. – When The Witches Came To Town. How, in the summer of 1986, Warner Bros. took over the town of Cohasset, Mass. to film the movie The Witches Of Eastwick. Director/producer David Fresina will present the film personally and host a Q&A.

October 14 at 5 p.m. – Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World. The story of how talented Native American musicians helped shape the soundtracks of our lives at The Gloucester Meetinghouse

October 16 at 7:30 p.m. – 24 X 36: A Movie About Movie Posters. This fascinating look at the birth, death, and resurrection of illustrated movie poster art uses interviews with a number of key art personalities from over the past four decades.

October 13 at 10 p.m. – 30 Years Of Garbage. The documentary explores the ghoulish, grossed-out fad generated by The Garbage Pail Kids collector’s cards. The parody of the Cabbage Patch Kids became a 1980s kiddie sensation.

October 17 at 7:30 p.m. – Chicken Hawk. Director Adi Sideman gets uncomfortably close to some members of NAMBLA, the North American Man-Boy Love Association, in this no-budget 1994 classic whammy.

October 13 at 10 p.m. – Just Desserts: The Making Of  ‘Creepshow.’ In 1982, author Stephen King and the late director George A. Romero collaborated on a feature-film tribute to the controversial EC comics of the 1950s. Now the tales behind the creation of this chilling masterpiece can be told. Followed by a screening of Creepshow.

October 14 at 10 p.m. – Teaserama. This plotless time capsule from 1955 features several burlesque acts, strippers, some stand-up comics (of the take-my-wife-please variety) and, most notably, cult favorite Bettie Page, who introduces the acts and frames the film by strutting her stuff.

October 15 at 4 p.m. – Titicut Follies. This 1967 hallmark documentary was banned for 24 years. Director Frederick Wiseman spent a month inside Bridgewater State Hospital (a human storehouse for the criminally insane) and received unprecedented access.

October 19 at 7:30 p.m. – Tab Hunter: Confidential closes out the festival. The tell-all biopic will be hosted by Hunter himself and producer Allan Glaser.

Strong Island
October 16 at 7 p.m.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA

This is the story of the Ford family: Barbara Dunmore, William Ford and their three children and how their lives were shaped by race in America. A deeply intimate and meditative film, Strong Island asks what one can do when the grief of loss is entwined with historical injustice. It also grapples with the complicity generated by silence,  a repression that can bind a family in an imitation of life and a nation to a false sense of justice. Director Yance Ford (who has his own fascinating history) will attend in person for a discussion. Trailer

Boston Asian American Film Festival
October 20 – 22
Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA
Emerson College (Paramount Center), Boston, MA

Four days and 25 films! BAAFF is a provocative and entertaining program of independent cinema that highlights recent, significant works by and/or about the Asian diaspora. The festival theme this year is “Liberty & Justice,” a showcase of inspiring narratives about self-empowerment and civic responsibility at the individual and community level.

The Jade Pendant opens the Festival. The centerpiece film is Resistance at Tule Lake (on Saturday, October 21 at 6:30 p.m.) about the long-suppressed story of 12,000 Japanese Americans who dared to resist the U.S. government’s program of mass incarceration during World War II. Director Konrad Aderer will be present. The fest closes with Gook, a narrative film about two Korean American brothers whose struggling shoe store is involved in the first day of the LA Riots. Producer James Yi will attend the screening and participate in a Q&A, Sunday, October 22nd at 5:30pm at the Paramount Center. Full schedule and descriptions.

"Ambulance" is one of many films screening as part of the Palestine Film Festival.

“Ambulance” is one of many films screening as part of the Palestine Film Festival.

Palestine Film Festival
October 19 – 29
Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Boston, MA
Cambridge Public Library, Cambridge, MA

The Festival’s website describes the festival as one of “compelling and thought-provoking films, including documentaries, features, rare early works, video art pieces, and new films by emerging artists and youth. Directors around the world offer refreshingly honest, self-described, and independent views of Palestine and its history, culture, and geographically dispersed society.” The majority of the 27 films in this vital festival screen at the MFA. Check the schedule to make your individual picks. Full schedule and descriptions.

GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling
October 20th at 8 p.m. (sharp!)
The Somerville Theatre (Micro Cinema), Somerville, MA

Channel Zero presents this documentary about the world’s first all-female TV wrestling franchise, which was a syndicated ratings bonanza back in the late 1980s. The series was abruptly canceled under mysterious circumstances. This documentary tracks down the original “GLOW Girls” and tells their story — “the heels, the heroines, the pain & the fame!”

The Dazzling Light of Sunset
October 23 at 7 p.m.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA

This Docyard presentation is a “beautifully shot and strangely comic, documentary that follows an ultra-low-budget local news team in rural Georgia. Whether it’s elections, death announcements, a rare owl, or an oddly stressful fashion show for prepubescent and teenage girls, the pair approach each story without ego and with absolute professionalism, managing every aspect of reporting and production themselves. Through subtle editing choices, director Salomé Jashi’s suggests that nothing truly changes in this former Soviet satellite—but allows her subjects to have one last acerbic word on the matter of representation.” – Art of the Real / Film Society of Lincoln Center

— Tim Jackson


mage: Sarah Mae Gibbons and Michael Figueroa perform in Tiny & Short. Photo: Lindsey LaPointe.

mage: Sarah Mae Gibbons and Michael Figueroa perform in Tiny & Short. Photo: Lindsey LaPointe.

Tiny & Short: A Drop in the Bucket
October 13 & 14 at 8 p.m., and 15 at 7 p.m.
The Dance Complex
Cambridge, MA

Ten Tiny Dances® was created by Mike Barber in Portland, Oregon in 2002, and continues to be produced with his permission, this time at The Dance Complex. The first Act of Tiny & Short showcases these “tiny dances,” placed within the confines of a 4-foot-by-4-foot stage; Act II presents works limited by time, 3 minutes and under.

Emerge Dancing
October 14 at 8 p.m., and 15 at 6 p.m.
Green Street Studios
Cambridge, MA

SELMADANSE Joanie Block and Dancers presents an evening-length production of dance and music that celebrates the richness of Jewish and Muslim cultures. Emerge Dancing features five works, incorporates text from the Torah and Quran, and it performed by artists from Jordan, Israel, Morocco, Syria, and the U.S.

"Project I.I.I." debuts at Walnut Hill School this month.

“Project I.I.I.” debuts at Walnut Hill School this month.

Project I.I.I.
October 19-21 at 8 p.m.
Delbridge Family Center for the Arts, Walnut Hill School
Natick, MA

Prometheus Dance and the ParkeHarrisons have collaborated to create a new work that examines a variety of behavioral, cultural, and historical influences — from crowd psychology to curiosity, bravery, and addiction. Claiming to resemble a Samuel Beckett play, Project I.I.I. ventures into the macabre and existential.

Racines Black Dance Festival
October 21 & 22
Festival will be held at The Dance Complex.
The performance on 21 (at 8 p.m.) will be held at the Cambridge Ringe & Latin Fitzgerald Theatre, Cambridge, MA

A new festival comes to Cambridge this month: The Racines Black Dance Festival. Dancers are invited to partake in two full days of classes in African and African-rooted dance styles, while the public is encouraged to attend a performance of the festival’s teaching artists on Saturday evening.

— Merli V. Guerra

Visual Arts

Karim Ben Khelifa – The Enemy
October 5 through December 31
MIT Museum, 265 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA

Developed with MIT Professor D. Fox Harrell, Karim Ben Khelifa’s groundbreaking interactive Virtual Reality exhibition immerses participants in dramas made up of 360-degree imaging enhanced by recordings of combatants on opposite sides of  hot button international conflicts in Isreal and Palestine, the Congo, and El Salvador. “We are proud to present The Enemy, an exhibition that arises out of award-winning photojournalism combined with Virtual Reality technology. This exhibition stretches our senses as well as our emotional and moral imaginations, and we hope that it will help foster understanding in one of the places where it is most needed, namely in situations of human conflict,” comments John Durant, Director of the MIT Museum. Call ahead to reserve times for this hour long presentation.

We Dream: Beauty Beyond and Beneath
Through October 27
Suffolk University Gallery (6th floor), 8 Ashburton Place, Boston, MA

This show is curated by Deborah Davidson, the founder of Catalyst Conversations, which is an ongoing program dedicated to uniting art and science. The project’s inaugural exhibit in Suffolk University’s new art gallery space is a must-see. The work from this handpicked selection of talented artists adventures past the conventional, conjuring up dreamlike images of beauty, from the grotesque to the terrifying. Along with Emily Eveleth’s majestic oil paintings of dramatically staged oozing jelly donuts, there are Robert Lewis’s — baroque inspired — otherworldly sculptures. You can observe one for hours and never untangle all of its intricacies. Tucked behind a hinged wall, there is an interactive camera obscura that only works when the skies are clear.

Mark Rothko – Reflections
Through July 1, 2018
Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA

“A painting is not a picture of an experience,” Mark Rothko (1903 -70) once remarked: “it is an experience.” The show: 11 masterpieces that span the artist’s celebrated five decade long career, works on loan from the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Curated by Elliot Bostwick Davis, the presentation ranges from Rothko’s lesser known, early surrealist compositions to the brilliant luminous canvases painted in his maturity and the foreboding, enigmatic black compositions he created late in his life.

Mark Dion: Misadventures of a 21st-Century Naturalist
Through December 31
West Gallery, Institute of Contemporary Art, 25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston, MA

Pioneering contemporary artist Mark Dion’s first US survey showcases his prolific career as an artist, collector, and environmental activist. His work explores and appropriates scientific methods.The show is organized by the three research methods he draws on in order to examine how we collect nature: fieldwork, cultivation, and excavation. Dion has traveled across the world — conducting archeological digs, gathering plant and animal specimens, and rummaging through long-forgotten closets. He transforms his findings into charismatic curiosity cabinets and mesmerizing sculptures.

Artists in Exile: Expressions of Loss and Hope
Through December 31
Yale University Art Gallery, 1111 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT

This unique exhibition is made up of work from artists displaced from their countries of birth for reasons that include discrimination, war, and genocide. Exile is explored as mental or physical state as well as a catalyst for creativity. In these works, the artist plays two roles — both the subject and the director. The voices heard from range from well recognized European artists, such as Gustave Courbet, Paul Gauguin, Josef Albers, and Marcel Duchamp, to those with a more global perspective, such as Arshile Gorky, Matta, Ana Mendieta, and Mu Xin. My favorite work is an untitled photograph from the series Rapture 1999, by the Iranian artist, Shirin Neshat – human figures, shrouded in black, descend upon a shoreline. At first glance, they could be mistaken for a displaced and scattered flock of crows casting their thin shadows across the sand.

Heidi Howard + Esteban Cabeza De Baca – Verano
Through November 26
Gaa Gallery, 230B Main Street, Wellfleet, MA

Whimsical artistry at its best – this two person exhibition of new work from painters Esteban Cabeza de Baca and Heidi Howard is a lavish, sensory meditation on the elliptical, lengthening days of summer. The works are inspired by the slow intimacy of lazy, warm summer days. The artists’ inspirations include their own fantastical reveries, the slow sparkle of light dancing across water, and the lushness of blue skies and green grass. The two artists met as Columbia University graduate students in the fall of 2012 and have been inseparable ever since.The work exhibited was created during their travel in 2017: New York, NY; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Truro, Massachusetts; Venice, Italy; and Seville, Spain.

Art of the Selfie
Through November 11
Helen Day Art Center, 90 Pond Street, Stowe, VT

In 2014, the influential art critic, Jerry Saltz, made the case that selfies weren’t art but a “new visual genre — a type of self-portraiture formally distinct from all others in history.” This exhibition proves otherwise, showcasing the work of emerging artists as well as that of those already bathed in fame, such as Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorpe, Marina Abramovic, and Carrie Mae Weems. This contemporary exhibition of photography and performance art is filled with faces: the pensive and the absurd, the seductive and the disgusting.

WOLE SOYINKA: Antiquities Through Times and Place
Through December 21
The Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African and African American Art, 102 Mount Auburn Street, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA

Curated by his former student, NYU professor, Awam Amkpa – this exhibition explores the collected treasures of fiery, Nobel award-winning, African playwright, poet, and social justice advocate Wole Soyinka. Amassed over 60 years, these are some of the ancient antiquities that inspired Soyinka’s writing; they are being shown in conversation with the work of contemporary Nigerian artists who were inspired by Soyinka’s words. Amkpa explains that “this exhibition presents relationships between the antiquities, and shows how these ancient pieces formed a founding vocabulary upon which Wole’s writing — and the contemporary artists’ works — are built.”

— Aimee Cotnoir


ael Nacer and Marianna Bassham in "Constellations" at Central Square Theater. (Courtesy of A.R. Sinclair/Central Square Theater)

Nael Nacer and Marianna Bassham in “Constellations” at Central Square Theater. Photo: A.R. Sinclair/Central Square Theater.

Constellations by Nick Payne. Directed by Scott Edmiston. A Catalyst Collaborative@MIT Production at the Central Square Theatre, Cambridge, MA, through October 8.

Dramatist Nick Payne’s oft-revived play “shows us that when it comes to love, the possibilities are Infinite.” Marianna Bassham and Nael Nacer star. Arts Fuse review of the Peterborough Players production of Constellations. Arts Fuse review

Gypsy, Music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Arthur Laurents. Directed and choreographed by Rachel Bertone. Music direction by Dan Rodriguez. Staged by The Lyric Stage of Boston at 140 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA, through October 8.

A revival of one of the great American musicals, which is based on the real-life memoirs of burlesque mega-star, Gypsy Rose Lee, and her stage-mother behind the curtain, Mama Rose. Arts Fuse review

Some of the explorers in "Men on Boats." Veronika Duerr, Robin Javonne Smith, and Ally Dawson.   Photo: Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots.

Some of the explorers in the SpeakEasy Stage production of “Men on Boats.” Veronika Duerr, Robin Javonne Smith, and Ally Dawson. Photo: Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots.

Merrily We Roll Along, Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by George Firth. Directed by Maria Friedman. Music direction by Matthew Stern. Choreography by Tim Jackson, Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Boston University Theatre, Boston, MA, through October 15.

Maria Friedman has been brought to Boston to recreate here her “stunning London production of Merrily We Roll Along, which received universal rave reviews – the most five star reviews in West End history – and the Olivier Award for Best Musical.” “Traveling backwards in time over 30 years in the entertainment business, this legendary, cult favorite musical charts the relationships of close friends Franklin, Charley, and Mary, and features some of Sondheim’s most beautiful songs, including “Good Thing Going,” “Old Friends,” and “Not a Day Goes By.” Arts Fuse review

WARHOLCAPOTE, From the Words of Truman Capote and Andy Warhol. Adapted by Rob Roth. Directed by Michael Mayer. Staged by the American Repertory Theater at the Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, MA, through October 13.

“In the late 1970s, Truman Capote and Andy Warhol decided that they were destined to create a Broadway play together. Over the course of the next several months, they would sit down to record a series of intimate, wide-ranging conversations. The play never came to be, and the hours and hours of tape were lost to the ages. Until now.”

The Royale by Marco Ramirez. Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian. Staged by the Merrimack Repertory Theatre at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre located at 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA, through October 8.

The New England premiere of “a new power-packed drama inspired by the life of Jack Johnson, the first black man to fight for the title of World Heavyweight Champion.” Arts Fuse review

(L to R):  Aina Adler and Ashley Risteen in Zeitgeist Stage Company's production of “Faceless." Photo: Richard Hall/Silverline Images.

(L to R): Aina Adler and Ashley Risteen in Zeitgeist Stage Company’s production of “Faceless.” Photo: Richard Hall/Silverline Images.

Exit the King by Eugène Ionesco. Directed by Dmitry Troyanovsky. Staged by the Actors’ Shakespeare Project at the Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre at the Paramount Center, Boston, MA, through October 8.

Given how apolitical our theater companies have become, this is a welcome revival (an apt kickoff for ASP’s THE DOWNFALL OF DESPOTS season) of an absurdist study of gargantuan ineptness in high places: it is the tale of a “megalomaniacal ruler, King Berenger, whose incompetence has left his country in near ruin. Despite the efforts of his two queens and the other members of the court to convince the King he has only 90 minutes left to live, he refuses to relinquish any control.”

The Ghost Sonata by August Strindberg. Directed by Christine Noah. Staged by Fort Point Theatre Channel at the Cambridge YMCA Theatre, 820 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA, through October 14.

A rarely staged Modernist masterpiece: “A young student, fresh from an heroic act, encounters an old man in a wheelchair who offers to be his benefactor. He is introduced to a beautiful young lady and gains entree into her rarified world. Appearances are deceiving, however; behind the facade of the elegant house lurk shocking secrets. Note: “Noah’s new interpretation of the play incorporates the role of social media in contemporary life.”

Lost Tempo by Cliff Odle. Directed by Diego Arciniegas. At the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA, through October 22.

“Gifted jazz saxophonist Willie ‘Cool’ Jones is lured back from Paris by past-love Babs with the promise of ownership in Mitzy’s Jazz Kitchen, but Cool’s inner demons compete with his ambitions as he tries to make sense of his life. A jazz riff on the addictions from which we all suffer, musical and otherwise.”

An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen. Translation by Paul Walsh. Directed by James Bundy. Staged by Yale Repertory Theatre at 222 York Street, New Haven, CT, through October 28.

A perfect time for Ibsen’s Nietzschean political battering ram: an unappealing man, who proffers a scientific truth that is essential for the public’s health, is spurned by all — business, society, the Left and the Right.

A Bright Room Called Day by Tony Kushner. Directed by Dori Robinson. Stated by the Flat Earth Theater Company at the Mosesian Center for the Arts, Watertown, MA, through October 14.

In this play, Kushner grapples with the ghost of Bertolt Brecht: “Berlin, 1932. A group of bohemian friends struggle to respond as Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party rise to power. Watching their world unravel around them from the uncertain safety of Agnes Eggling’s apartment, these artists, activists, and idealists grapple with the responsibility of making moral choices in a time of vanishing options.”

A Guide to the Homesick by Ken Urban. Directed by Colman Domingo. Staged by the Huntington Theater Company at the South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, through November 4.

The script “follows the story of two strangers – both from Boston – who meet by chance in a shabby Amsterdam hotel. Jeremy, a Harvard graduate and young aid worker originally from Newton, is returning from East Africa, and Teddy, a finance worker originally from Roxbury, is on an impromptu trip with a friend. The two men look for redemption as they reveal their pasts and confess their shared fear that they betrayed the people who needed them most.”

[or, the whale] by Juli Crockett. Directed by Matthew Woods. Staged by imaginary beasts at the Charlestown Working Theater, Charlestown, MA, October 13 through November 4.

“An unabashedly experimental play inspired by Herman Melville’s Moby Dick” staged by a quirky company with a welcome enthusiasm for the off-beat.

Alligator Road by Callie Kimball. Directed by Weylin Symes. Staged by the Greater Boston Stage Company at the Stoneham Theatre, 395 Main Street, Stoneham, MA, October 12 through 29.

The inaugural play (and a world premiere production) of the Don Fulton New Play Project is a unconventional comedy: “Newly widowed Kathy hasn’t been herself lately… Not only did she yarn bomb the family hardware store, she also gave it away to a complete stranger – and her daughter wants it back. This brand-new play unravels notions of family, community and race in a humorous and heartfelt way.”

The Owl Answers by Adrienne Kennedy. Directed by David R. Gammons. Staged by the Theater, Dance & Media Concentration at Harvard University in Farkas Hall, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA, October 13 through 21.

In Kennedy’s play “Clara Passmore, the illegitimate daughter of a white man and a black woman in the American South, struggles to define herself even as she is denied and ostracized by the European culture she idolizes. Unable to claim her father’s heritage and unwilling to accept her mother’s, Clara is caught between time and place; history and myth.”
The production features the work of a full complement of professional artists, including Set Design by Janie Howland, Costume Design by Rebecca Padula-Shufelt, Lighting Design by Jeff Adelberg, and Sound Design by David Wilson. The cast and several of the members of the crew and design assistants are current Harvard undergraduates.

Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson. Directed by Sean Daniels. Staged by the Merrimack Repertory Theatre at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre, 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA, October 18 through November 12.

Flat Earth Theatre’s production of this script earlier this year earned plenty of critical praise. (Arts Fuse review) At the center of the script: “Henrietta Leavitt, a passionate and inquisitive “computer” at the turn of the 20th Century. She trades the comforts of home for a job at the Harvard observatory, grinding through routine calculations for astronomy studies that fascinate her—though as a woman, she is not allowed to so much as touch a telescope. Staying long after hours to pursue her own science work she discovers a technique that makes it possible to measure the distance to stars by their pulsating light.”

Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins by Stephen Temperley. Directed by Spiro Veloudos. Staged by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 140 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA, October 20 through November 19.

“Spiro Veloudos remounts one of his favorite productions in celebration of his 20 years as Producing Artistic Director. Souvenir is an affectionate portrait of Florence Foster Jenkins, one of the finest coloratura sopranos in history — but, alas, only in her own mind!” Starring Leigh Barrett and Will McGarrahan.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Based on the novel by Mark Haddon. Adapted by Simon Stephens Directed by Paul Daigneault. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage Company at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street in Boston’s South End, October 20 through November 25.

The Boston premiere of a production of the “Tony and Olivier Award-winning stage adaptation of the best-selling novel that tells the story of Christoher Boone, a 15-year-old math savant whose efforts to solve the mysterious death of a neighborhood pet take him on an extraordinary journey. ”
— Bill Marx


Regina Carter
October 8 at 5 p.m.
Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport, MA.

In every project she undertakes, the virtuoso violinist Regina Carter combines passionate personal exploration with scholarly rigor. These days she’s pursuing her lifelong love of the music of Ella Fitzgerald, heard on her CD Ella: Accentuate the Positive.

The members of Hudson. Photo: Nick Suttle

The members of the jazz supergroup Hudson, which will be performing at Berklee Performance Center on October 8. Photo: Nick Suttle

October 8 at 7 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA.

I haven’t read all the interviews, but the music on the debut album by this jazz supergroup — guitarist John Scofield, keyboardist John Medeski, bassist Larry Grenadier, and drummer Jack DeJohnette — strikes me as a political statement. There are grooves, virtuosity, freedom, close listening, and beautifully rendered versions of songs associated with the area where the band members all live, including, of course, Woodstock. In addition to originals by the band are pieces by Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix, and the Band. The total effect is elegiac and honest, speaking to our current historical moment in its own way.

Freddie Bryant
October 12 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.

Freddie Bryant is a fine post-bop guitarist, with a vocabulary that extends into the Afro-Cuban and Brazilian traditions and a versatile approach that includes electric, 12-string, and acoustic nylon-string guitars and occasional looping electronics. He comes to Scullers with master drummer Tommy Campbell, Brazilian pianist Helio Alves, and bassist Greg Ryan.

“The Death of Simone Weil”
October 12 at 8 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA.

The Jazz Composers Alliance Orchestra begins its 32nd season with Darrell Katz’s The Death of Simone Weil, his “epic improvisational song cycle” about the Jewish-French philosopher and mystic (1909-1943), from a narrative poem by Katz’s late wife, Paula Tatarunis. With the adept vocalist Rebecca Shrimpton reciting and singing in English and French, the work, with its broad vocabulary of jazz and post-modern technique, is swinging, rueful, rich in musical and emotional detail. Think of it as a jazz “Das Lied von der Erde,” with all the similarities and differences that implies. (Gustav never jammed with Duke, as far as I know.) This is the first full-length performance of the hour-plus work since its debut in 2001 and a follow-up recording on Innova.

Tom Harrell
October 13 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.

Trumpeter and flugelhornist Tom Harrell is renowned not just for his beautifully lyrical playing, but for his deeply detailed, translucent writing. He makes a rare local stop at Scullers, with his quartet: keyboardist Danny Grissett, bassist Ugonna Okegwo, and drummer Adam Cruz.

Alain Pacowski/Henry Cook Quartet
October 13 at 8 p.m.
Third Life Studio, Somerville MA

Henry Cook- a valued former Boston bandleader and sideman (Either/Orchestra, Salim Washington’s Roxbury Blues Aesthetic), now living in Italy- is back in town for a visit and will be joining guitarist Alain Pacowski, bassist Carlos Pino, and drummer Sebastian Garzon. Cook is a fine baritone saxophonist and multi-reed and flute man. (Note: A previous version of this note listed Kurtis Rivers as the horn man in the quartet. Rivers has since had to cancel due to a death in his family.)

Chico Freeman and his comes to town this week.

Saxophonist Chico Freeman and his Plus+tet comes to town this week.

Chico Freeman Plus+tet
October 14 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.

Saxophonist Freeman, who came to the fore in the ’80s out of the Chicago scene, spent a decade in Europe before recently returning to New York. He comes to Scullers with an exceptional band: pianist Anthony Wonsey, bassist Kenny Davis, and drummer Rudy Royston.

Matana Roberts
October 18 at 8 p.m.
Brown Hall, New England Conservatory, Boston, MA.

The extraordinary saxophonist, composer, and conceptualist Matana Roberts has been exploring “themes of history, memory, and ancestry” in her radically conceived ongoing multichapter, multimedia “Coin Coin.” In a sense, it’s a history of African-American life. It stopped the show at the 2016 Newport Jazz Festival, where Roberts invoked the name of Sandra Bland. Roberts is returning to NEC, where she received her master’s degree, for a weeklong residency and this free concert, with NEC students.

Laszlo Gardony
October 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

Laszlo Gardony’s performances with his trio have over the years become an essential component of the Boston jazz scene. The pianist and composer’s latest CD is a solo set, Serious Play, recorded spontaneously in one session (Arts Fuse review), much like his 2013 release, Clarity. The pieces include “Georgia On My Mind,” “Naima,” “Over The Rainbow,” and several spontaneously composed originals. Like the earlier recording, this one was an attempt to grapple with emotional turmoil – in that case, the death of the artist’s parents, in this one the ongoing social turmoil of our times. Gardony’s musical grace is a welcome gift. The Regattabar set will also be a solo recital.

Monk’s Dream: Thelonious Monk At 100
October 19 at 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA.

New England Conservatory marks the centenary of the iconic composer and pianist with NEC faculty and alumni, including Ran Blake, Frank Carlberg, Anthony Coleman, Fred Hersch, Nedelka Prescod, Matana Roberts (see October 18), and Dominique Eade. Ken Schaphorst leads the NEC Jazz Orchestra in compositions by Monk and the participants. Monk biographer Robin D.G. Kelley will also be on hand to provide commentary.

Gregoire Maret
October 19 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.

Jazz harmonica player Gregoire Maret has proved himself a charismatic soloist with Pat Metheny, Luciana Souza, and many more. He comes to Scullers fronting his own group.

Kevin Harris Project
October 21 at 8 p.m.
Third Life Studio, Somerville, MA.

Kevin Harris is a pianist and composer of uncommon warmth and versatility. At this show, he’ll be celebrating the centenary of Thelonious Monk (born October 10), with bassist John Lockwood and drummer Bob Gullotti of the Fringe.

— Jon Garelick

Roots and World Music

Sam Bush
October 11
Natick Center for the Arts, Natick, MA

The maverick mandolinist (with a long-running solo career) was Newgrass Revival. He brings his bluegrass-rock band in for a rare non-festival appearance.

Bola de Nieve
Oct 11 and 18
Dona Havana, Boston, MA

A multimedia cabaret tribute by Josean Ortiz to Ignacio Villa Fernández, better known as “Bola de Nieve” (Snowball), an openly gay Cuban pianist, singer, and entertainer. The event is presented by the Villa Victoria Center for the Arts and takes place at a nearby Cuban eatery.

Evie Sands
Oct 15
ONCE, Somerville

One of the golden voices of ’60s pop and blue eyed-soul, Sands may not have gotten her due, but she’s also never gone away, continuing to write, produce, play left-handed guitar and even engineer her recordings. You can read an ArtsFuse interview with her here.

Pipe Pelaez
Oct 20
Wonderland Ballroom, Revere, MA

An unusually versatile artist, Colombian singer/guitarist Felipe “Pipe” Peláez has scored with salsa, bachata, tropical and vallenato hits.

— Noah Schaffer

Classical Music

Hahn plays Dvorak
Presented by Boston Symphony Orchestra
October 12-14, 8 p.m. (1:30 p.m. on Friday)
Symphony Hall, Boston

The extraordinary Hilary Hahn returns to Symphony Hall as the soloist in Dvorak’s exuberant Violin Concerto. It’s framed by Gyorgy Ligeti’s Concert Romanesc and Schumann’s Symphony no. 1. Gustavo Gimeno conducts.

Mr. Harrison’s Gamelans
Presented by MIT
October 12, 8 p.m.
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

MIT’s Gamelan Galak Tika, violinist Johnny Gandelsman, and pianist Sarah Bob mark the hundredth birthday of the iconic American composer Lou Harrison. Several Harrison pieces share the program with the world premiere of By the Numbers, a Harrison homage by MIT’s own Evan Ziporyn.

Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
October 13-21, 7:30 p.m. (3:00 p.m. on Sundays)
Cutler Majestic Theater, Boston

BLO’s 41st season opens with Puccini’s beloved tragedy in a new production directed by Crystal Manich. Elena Stikhiva sings the title role, Jonathan Burton is Cavaradossi, and Daniel Sutin portrays Scarpia. David Angus conducts.

Brahms, Wagner, and Chadwick
Presented by New England Conservatory
October 18, 7:30 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston

NEC welcome tribute to its former president, George Whitefield Chadwick, with the NEC Symphony giving a rare performance of his magnificent Symphony no. 2. The Academic Festival Overture and the Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde round out the evening.

Stravinsky’s Petrushka
Presented by Boston Philharmonic Orchestra
October 19 (at 7:30 p.m.), 21 (at 8 p.m.), and 22 (at 3 p.m.)
Sanders Theater, Cambridge (Thursday and Sunday); Jordan Hall, Boston (Saturday)

Benjamin Zander leads the BPO in Stravinsky’s groundbreaking ballet to close out its first concert of the season. Before Petrushka comes pianist Kevin Cole playing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and John Harbison’s Symphony no. 3.

Presented by Boston Baroque
October 20 (at 7:30 p.m.) and 22 (at 3 p.m.)
Jordan Hall, Boston

Boston Baroque opens its season with a pair of late-Mozart works (the Symphony no. 40 and Requiem) plus the early Exultate jubilate. The exceptional soprano Amanda Forsythe is the soloist in the latter.

Orchestre dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Presented by Celebrity Series
October 22, 5 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston

Sir Antonio Pappano brings the Santa Cecilia Orchestra to Boston with a mostly-Italian program of Verdi and Respighi on tap. Best of all, the brilliant, enigmatic Martha Argerich is slated to play Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto no. 3.

— Jonathan Blumhofer

Music for Food presents:
Schubert’s Vienna / Our Boston
October 8 at 7:30 p.m.
At Brown Hall/New England Conservatory, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA

Music for Food fights hunger by raising awareness and crowd sourcing through concerts with a suggested donation. All money raised goes to support local food pantries. On the program: J.S. Bach’s Cantata 38, “Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir” Chorale; John Harbison’s Chorale Cantata, and Franz Schubert’s Octet in F Major, D.803.

Ma maistresse: Songs, masses & a motet for My Lady (Ockeghem@600, Concert 6)
October 14 at 8 p.m.
First Church in Cambridge Congregational
11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA
(A workshop/recital on October 11 at 5 p.m.
At Brown Hall/New England Conservatory
30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA)
October 12 at 8 p.m.
At St. Mary’s Hall Chapel/Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill, MA

Felix Mendelssohn and Hugo Wolf
October 15 at 4 p.m.
Emmanuel Church/Parish Hall
15 Newbury Street, Boston, MA

On program: Mendelssohn’s Concert Piece for Clarinet, Basset Horn & Piano in f minor, op. 113; Mendelssohn’s Cello Sonata No. 2 in D Major, op. 58; Wolf’s Eichendorff Lieder; Wolf’s Lieder ohne Worte, Book 6, op. 67.

Remembering Gatsby
October 15 at 7 p.m.
At St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 15 St. Paul Street, Brookline, MA

“The first concert of Winsor Music’s exciting 21st season features a new arrangement of swinging foxtrot music from John Harbison’s Great Gatsby, the Boston premiere of James Primosch’s romantic and expressive oboe quintet, and music of Bach, Bartók and Dvořák.”

On This Island (Boston Revival)
October 21 at 5 p.m.
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 258 Concord Street, Newton, MA

Felix Mendelssohn and Hugo Wolf
October 22 at 4 p.m.
Emmanuel Church/Parish Hall, 15 Newbury Street, Boston, MA

On the program: Hensel’s Eichendorff Lieder, Wolf’s Eichendorff Lieder, and Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 2 in C Minor, op. 66.

— Susan Miron

Rock, Pop, and Folk

Beach Fossils with Snail Mail and Raener
October 12 (Doors at 7, show at 8)
The Sinclair, Cambridge MA

This millennium has witnessed an odd trend in which a given word appears in the name of several bands that sometimes arrive in clusters. Musical herds have included Deerhoof, Deerhunter, and Deer Tick. Among the lupine-inspired sobriquets are Wolf Parade, Wolfmother, and Wolf People. Finally, there are Beach House, Beach Slang, and Beach Fossils, the last of which will perform on Church Street in Harvard Square this week. Beach Fossils’ latest album is Somersault, on which some of the best songs are fine examples of jangle pop in the tradition of the genres’ most important practitioners. (BTW, Beach Slang comes to The Sinclair on November 30.)

The Feelies
October 14 (Doors at 8, show at 9)
The Sinclair, Cambridge MA

Speaking of the most important practitioners of jangle pop, any show by The Feelies is one that I insist on rather than merely recommend. The Jersey quintet’s upcoming appearance at The Sinclair is no exception, even though I do not consider the band’s 2017 album- In Between- to be quite as astonishing as its other ones. (Here is the Arts Fuse interview that I did with singer-songwriters-guitarists Glenn Mercer and Bill Million last year.)

Other upcoming shows include Against Me! at Paradise Rock Club (Oct 11), Peter Case at Atwood’s Tavern (October 15), and Rickie Lee Jones at City Winery (October 21).

— Blake Maddux

Author Events


Claire Messud
The Burning Girl
October 10 at 7 p.m.
Newtonville Books, Newton Centre MA

Messud is the author of The Emperor’s Children and The Woman Upstairs, both of which received plenty of critical attention. Messud makes use of her gimlet eye for the subtle peril of female friendship in her new novel, which focuses on two girls ,growing up in small town New England, whose lifelong friendship is put to the test when one of the girls’ craving for adventure goes too far.

Charity Tillemann- Dick
The Encore: A Memoir in Three Acts
October 13 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA

The acclaimed opera singer tells her inspiring story of having a double lung transplant, which made it difficult for her to even draw breath. Eventually, she was singing at world-famous venues.

Sarah Schmidt
See What I Have Done
October 16 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA

The infamous story of Lizzie Borden, a 19th Century Fall River teenager who killed her parents with an axe, is fairly well-known. What is still debated over is her motivation for the act. In her “eerie, compelling” debut novel, Schmidt portrays a picture of a claustrophobic family life without a hint of affection or love.

KL Pereira and Minna Zallman Proctor
A Dream Between Two Rivers: Stories of Liminality and Landslide: True Stories
October 18 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA

Pereira’s subversive magical realist prose continues a long tradition which stretches from Borges to Angela Carter. Her stories willfully undermine mainstream standards of gender, race, sexuality, and power. Proctor’s interlinked essays revolve around the story of her mother’s death, her feelings of being “Jewish but not quite Jewish”, and the ephemeral nature of memory, which comes in “flashes, the transparent stills that hang in my mind, made of smell, the way the light casts, the wind on skin.”

Black Lives Have Always Mattered
Edited by Abiodun Oyewole
October 24 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA

Embracing, but reaching beyond the political urgency of Black Lives Matter, this anthology includes essays, personal narratives, poetry and prose that affirms the fact that, despite Jim Crow, institutional racism, and inequality, black lives still matter. The book proclaims that “these 79 contributors provide a call-to-action that challenges readers to confront long-held values and beliefs about black lives, as well as white privilege and fragility, as it surveys the historical and contemporary ravages of racism and its persistence of structural inequality.”


Matt Taibbi
I Can’t Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street
October 25 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30)
First Parish Church, Cambridge MA
Tickets are $28.75 w book, $5 without

Taibbi has brought his scathing, gonzo journalistic approach when covering the past several political campaigns for Rolling Stone and other publications. In this volume he brings his incisive wit to the complex and troubled life story of Eric Garner, the African-American man whose death by chokehold was seen worldwide and whose anguished last words — “I Can’t Breathe” — became a rallying cry for protesting police brutality.

— Matt Hanson

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