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
Jean-Pierre Melville Centenary Retrospective
through December 9
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Jean-Pierre Melville was best known for his ultra-cool, noir-inspired gangster films as well as political thrillers about the French Resistance. To commemorate the centenary of his birth, cinemas around the world are screening his films. The Museum presents seven: Bob le flambeur (1956), Léon Morin, Priest (1961), Le Doulos (1963), Army of Shadows (1969), Le Cercle Rouge (1970), and his last film, the icy thriller Un Flic (1972), with Alain Delon and Catherine Deneuve. Complete Schedule
Nowhere to Hide
through December 16
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Nowhere to Hide follows medic Nori Sharif through five years of dramatic change after the American retreat from Iraq in 2011. While filming stories of survivors, Nori finds himself trapped between ISIS and Iraqi militias. In trying to save his own family, he is soon forced to turn the camera on himself. The film gives us unique insight into one of the world’s most dangerous and inaccessible areas—the “triangle of death” in central Iraq. We hear the stories of the people who live there: survivors of the “new war” that has become life as usual, where the enemy is invisible and there is nowhere to hide.
The Nude Vampire
December 8 at 10 p.m.
Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA
A surreal blend of horror, espionage, and erotica, the story follows the son of a wealthy businessman as he is lured into a secret cult that is conducting experiments on a mute vampire woman being held in captivity. With this visually vibrant and eerily seductive film, French filmmaker Jean Rollin sealed his reputation as a master of Euro horror/fantasy. Trailer
The Art of Vision
December 9 at 5 p.m.
Harvard Film Archives, Cambridge, MA
Stan Brakhage was the most “abstract” of the major experimental filmmakers. This is a rare opportunity to see The Art of Vision, “a film that can change our ideas about the relationship of seeing, perception, and emotion with the preoccupations of the mind and the subconscious. The immediate effect of viewing the film is to find oneself more sensitive to the meanings inherent in the perception of the physical qualities of everyday objects. How we perceive the physical structure of the world around us determines our view of that world. This is the principle on which all great films have been based. But it has never been clearer than in this film.” (Adapted from an essay by Fred Camper)
December 10 at 11 a.m.
Coolidge Corner Theater, Brookline, MA
The Goethe-Institut Boston presents this documentary about Joseph Beuys, in which we witness the artist’s peculiar approach to challenging and provoking the consciousness of society through his art and life. A thrilling look at the artist whose diverse body of work ranged from traditional media of drawing, painting, and sculpture, to process-oriented, or time-based “action” art. Beuys is especially famous for works incorporating animal fat and felt, two common materials – one organic, the other fabricated, or industrial – that had profound personal meaning to the artist. He believed that art and one’s “everyday life” were ultimately inseparable. A leading figure in the Fluxus movement, Beuys was well ahead of his time. Trailer
December 11 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
This film is part of an excellent series well worth exploring: In Our View: Films by African American Women. Director Dee Rees’ Pariah is a beautifully shot film about a Brooklyn teenager who juggles conflicting identities, risking friendship, heartbreak, and family in a desperate search for sexual expression. Dees also directed this year’s highly regarded Southern drama Mudbound.
December 14 at 7 p.m.
Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA
The final film from the In Our View: Scandal’s Kerry Washington plays a professional shoplifter – or ‘booster’ – who finds more fulfilment in a life of crime than dealing with her dysfunctional family. The film was shot mostly in Roxbury and on Newbury Street. Presented by the Roxbury International Film Festival and the Color of Film Collaborative
Now screening at various times
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA
89-year old Agnes Varda, one of the leading figures of the French New Wave, and acclaimed 33 year-old French photographer and muralist JR, teamed up to co-direct this enchanting documentary/road movie. Together they travel around the villages of France in JR’s photo truck meeting locals, learning their stories, and producing epic-size portraits of them. The photos are prominently displayed on houses, barns, storefronts, and trains: revelations of the humanity in their subjects and the artists. Faces Places documents these heart-warming encounters, as well as the unlikely, tender friendship they formed along the way. Playing exclusively in the Coolidge Corner Screening Room.
— Tim Jackson
New Work for Goldberg Variations
December 8 and 9 at 8 p.m.; December 10 at 2 p.m.
Institute of Contemporary Arts
Classical pianist Simone Dinnerstein and choreographer Pam Tanowitz present New Work for Goldberg Variations, an evening-length piece for piano and seven dancers. Set to a live performance of Bach’s iconic “Goldberg Variations,” Pam Tanowitz Dance brings a nuanced understanding of this demanding score.
Saturday, December 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Ali Kenner Brodsky and Betsy Miller present A+B at MAGMA. The partnership employed New England area artists to create new contemporary dances. The evening includes two commissioned scores by Rhode Island musician Morgan Eve Swain, as well as a third joint venture between Miller and Kenner Brodsky, who presented the first A+B concert in 2013 at Providence College’s Bowab Theater.
At John Hancock Hall, Boston, MA
Tony Williams presents the 17th annual Urban Nutcracker–Boston’s hit alternative to the traditional Nutcracker. The work highlights quintessential Boston scenes, and 150 performers who cover the gamut from classical ballet to flamenco to hip hop.
— Merli V. Guerra
Heimo Zobernig: chess painting
Through December 31
MIT List Visual Arts Center, 20 Ames Street, Cambridge, MA
An Austrian born, Vienna-based mastermind has taken over the List’s two main galleries, transforming the space’s white cube architecture into a distinctive theatrical stage. Zobernig’s work is shaped by an acute self-awareness of the impact Modernism has had on art history. Through invented artistic gameplay, his checkered, faux fur-covered interactive installation work and large, overturned chess-like paintings bend, warp, and abstract the grid.
Coming Away: Winslow Homer and England
Through February 4
Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury Street, Worcester, MA
This special exhibition brings together a vast collection of Winslow Homer’s masterworks, such as “The Gale” (1883-93) which took him a decade to complete, and “Hark! The Lark” (1883) a painting that he claimed to be his very best. 50 of the iconic American artist’s works are on display – each inspired by his seminal eighteen month stay in the quaint fishing village of Cullercoats on the northeastern coast of England. Through vigorous brushwork, these paintings explore the dynamic struggle between humanity and the natural world.
Through January 20, 2018
Montserrat Gallery, Montserrat College of Art, 23 Essex Street, Beverly, MA
A must-see of vibrant reactions to rapidly shifting political and social divides – this energetic small group show pulses with the multidisciplinary work of three rising contemporary artists. Drawing from cinema, political cartoons, and pop culture iconography; the work interprets the transmutable nature of borders -be they those of geography, politics, ideas, or identities. Brooklyn-based street artist Esteban del Valle’s massive acrylic painting Build a Wall (2017) dominates the exhibit – in it, a cartoonish monochromatic fiery red man shoulders a massive two-by-four that slices across the warm blue backdrop of a day-to-day shopping scene in a home improvement store.
Screens: Virtual Material
Through March 18, 2018
3rd Floor Galleries, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, 51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln, MA
Thoughtfully curated by Associate Curator Sarah Montross, this exhibit explores the virtual screens that have come to dominate our daily lives. We are asked to put them away and engage with large scale works from six very talented contemporary artists. Upon first entering the show, you would expect to walk in upon a large projection; instead, you find a sinister, glittering fence-like sculpture – “Maximum Security” by Liza Lou. A comment on the conditions at Guantanamo Bay, this arresting screen-inspired work has been meticulously covered in tiny glass beads by a team of women (employed by the artist) in South Africa.
All the World Is Here: Harvard’s Peabody Museum and the Invention of American Anthropology
Through May 1 2020
Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, 11 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA
“A kaleidoscopic overview of human cultures, anthropology’s origins, and, the evolution, in real time, of both” exclaims Harvard Magazine. This astonishing exhibition celebrates the museum’s 150th anniversary and tells its engaging narrative through a display of over 600 objects from Asia, Oceania, and the Americas, many on view for the very first time. The round-up of curious treasures include exotic materials exchanged by 18th century Boston ship captains and archeological works of art unearthed from Ohio’s Turner Mounds.
Through July 1, 2018
At the Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA
Adjacent to the new Rothko exhibit, the Linde Family contemporary wing hosts a new series of installations that invites a slow and contemplative passage across three galleries. The display includes a broad range of contemporary work placed next to material carefully selected from the museum’s rich collection, such as Chinese paintings and fake rocks. For over a 1000 years, Chinese thinkers have considered the mountains a place of meditation and self-improvement. Large rocks were brought into the cities that inspired artists, new and old. Other enticing works in this show include Hiroshi Sugimoto’s haunting imagery of empty movie theaters and the abstract cave inspired paintings of Indian painter and poet Gulam Rasool Santosh.
Paige Jiyoung Moon – Recent Paintings
Steven Zevitas Gallery
450 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA
Through January 13, 2018
These dreamlike, playful depictions of the everyday will resonate with viewers long after they have left the small and trendy South End gallery. The artist’s perspective is one of someone gently floating above their daily existence: a family feast of Korean fare served on a living room coffee table, a dutiful visit to the city laundromat, and the time spent patiently waiting at the airport. These experiences are colorfully rendered in fine detail by this up and coming Korean artist, born in Seoul now living in California.
Rose Video 11: John Akomfrah
Rose Video Gallery
Through January 21, 2018
At the Rose Art Museum, 415 South Street, Waltham, MA
The eleventh iteration of the museum’s video series features John Akomfrah’s “Auto Da Fé” (2016), which, in translation, means “Acts of Faith.” The poignant lyrical imagery contained in this two-channel video investigates eight historic migrations driven by religious persecution – Sephardic Jews from Catholic Brazil to Barbados in 1654 to present-day jihadist-driven migrations from Mosul, Iraq, and Hombori, Mali. This will be his first solo show in New England; Akromfrah, a highly revered Ghanaian artist based out of Britain, was the winner of the 2017 Artes Mundi, the UK’s most prestigious award for contemporary art.
A Dangerous Woman: The Art of Honoré Sharrer
Through January 7
At the Smith College Museum of Art, 20 Elm Street at Bedford Terrace, Northampton, MA
In 1949, the representational painter Honoré Sharrer (1920-2009) was declared “Woman Artist of the Year” by Mademoiselle and by the age of 31 was represented by a prestigious New York gallery. She garnered her fame quickly; her renown was overwhelmed by the powerful, male-driven whirlwind of abstraction that took over after World War II. Upholding marginalized progressive ideals, her surrealist poetic subversions wittily respond to an oppressive social and political climate. This timely exhibition is the first substantial showing of her life’s work, in which she uses equal parts of “wit, seduction, and bite.”
– Aimee Cotnoir
Tartuffe by Molière, translated by Ranjit Bolt. Directed by Peter DuBois. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company on the Avenue of the Arts at the Huntington Avenue Theatre, 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA, through December 10.
This revival of an always timely satire of religious hypocrisy features actor and comedian Brett Gelman as Tartuffe and Tony Award winner Frank Wood as Orgon.
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. Directed by Bryn Boice. Staged by Actors’ Shakespeare Project at Studio 210 at the Huntington Avenue Theatre, Boston, MA, through December 17.
So many stagings of this play nowadays? Wonder why? “An all-female cast explores the ebb and flow of power and the consequences of politically motivated assassination. Set in a futuristic parallel universe where women hold absolute power, the race to claim the empire spirals out of control!” Arts Fuse review
Native Son by Nambi E. Kelley. By Nambi E. Kelley. Adapted from the novel by Richard Wright. Directed by Seret Scott. Staged by Yale Repertory Theatre at 1120 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT, through December 16.
“Chicago’s South Side, the 1930s. Bigger Thomas struggles to find a place for himself in a world whose prejudice has shut him out. After taking a job in a wealthy white man’s house, he unwittingly unleashes a series of events that violently and irrevocably seal his fate.” We are told this will be “an unforgettable theatrical experience that captures the power of Richard Wright’s iconic novel about oppression, freedom, and justice.”
Moving On, compiled and performed by Michael Ricca. At the Central Square Theatre, Cambridge, MA, through December 9.
“Joined by acclaimed accompanist, Ron Roy, singer Michael Ricca’s one-man show looks at the many ways we navigate life’s transitions and includes an eclectic mix of songs – from Simon to Sondheim and many more.”
Hold These Truths by Jeanne Sakata. Directed by Benny Sato Ambush. Choreography by Jubilith Moore. Staged by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 140 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA, through December 31.
The play “is the true story of Gordon Hirabayashi, the American son of Japanese immigrants, who resisted internment during World War II, a policy which continues to be cited and debated today.” “Theatrical magic will be created by the use of three kurogos, ‘invisible’ stage manipulators/dancers in the Kabuki theatrical tradition.”
Nurse Play by James Wilkinson. Directed by Joe Juknievich. Staged by Exiled Theater at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA through December 17.
A black comedy that seems to really mean it: “Tucked away in a boarding house at the edge of the world, Nurse sits in a dark room caring for her patient, Joe. Her eyes were gouged out years ago, but she won’t let a little thing like that slow her down. Joe has been diagnosed with a degenerative disease that keeps him bed bound, out of the light and doped up. He also appears to be missing a limb or two.” Please note: this production contains graphic depictions of violence and audience discretion is advised.
Accidental Death of an Anarchist by Dario Fo. Directed by James Peter Sotis. Staged by Praxis Stage at the First Church Boston, 66 Marlborough Street, Boston, MA, through December 17.
The time has come back for this political comedy, which was staged often back in the late’70s and early ’80s. The script, by a Nobel Prize-winning author, is a “hilarious farce about deadly serious topics. The play’s action depicts a “maniac” infiltrating a police department during an internal investigation/cover-up into why a suspect was thrown from a fourth story window.”
She Loves Me Book by Joe Masteroff. Music by Jerry Bock. Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. Based on a play by Miklos Laszio (the basis of films The Shop Around the Corner and You’ve Got Mail). Directed and Choreographed by Ilyse Robbins. Staged by the Greater Boston Stage Company at the Stoneham Theatre, 395 Main Street, Stoneham, MA, through December 23.
A fabled musical based on the classic film Little Shop Around the Corner. “Direct from a hugely successful Broadway revival, this delightful, romantic Tony-Award winning Broadway musical tells the story of Amalia and Georg, co-workers in a department store, who fall in love without knowing it through anonymous lonely heart letters.”
Moving On, performed by Michael Micca. At the Central Square Theater, Cambridge, MA, December 5 through 9.
“A musical one-man show, this is an evening of songs about letting go, making change, and finding our way forward. It features an eclectic mix of songs – from Simon to Sondheim and many more. Singer Michael Ricca is accompanied by Ron Roy on the piano.
Bedlam’s Sense and Sensibility By Kate Hamill. Based on the novel by Jane Austen. Directed by Eric Tucker. Presented by The American Repertory Theater at the Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, MA, December 10 through January 14, 2018.
This no doubt wild staging of Jane Austen’s classic novel follows the adventures (and misadventures) of the Dashwood sisters—sensible Elinor and hypersensitive Marianne—after their sudden loss of fortune.
Bangsokol: A Requiem for Cambodia, presented by ArtsEmerson at the Emerson Paramount Center, Robert J. Orchard Stage, Boston MA, on December 19 and 20.
A collaboration by Rithy Panh and Him Sophy, survivors of the Khmer Rouge, that fuses music, film, voice and movement to address the traumas that occurred in Cambodia. Part of Cambodian Art, Culture, and History, a month-long series of events in Boston and Lowell celebrating Cambodian culture including film, workshops, conversations, and more.
— Bill Marx
Jeb Bishop Quintet
December 5 at 10:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.
Raleigh, N.C., native and Chicago transplant (Ken Vandermark, et al.) Jeb Bishop has been a sparkplug in the Boston scene the past couple of years, working with a number of other like-minded improvisers. Tonight he steps out as a leader, fronting a band with pianist Pandelis Karayorgis, vibes player Andria Nicodemou, bassist Damon Smith, and “a surprise guest from Europe,” also on trombone.
Pianist and composer Bert Seager’s tastes for lyrical melody, varied forms and grooves, and spontaneous interaction informs this adept ensemble, with tenor saxophonist Hery Paz, bassist Max Ridley, and drummer Dor Herskovits.
Manteca: Dizzy Gillespie and the Birth of Latin Jazz
December 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston MA.
Latin jazz was arguably invented by Dizzy Gillespie in his collaborations with Cuban trumpeter and bandleader Mario Bauzá and Cuban percussionist Chano Pozo. The NEC Jazz Orchestra, featuring trombonist/alumnus Chris Washburne and alto saxophonist/faculty member Miguel Zenón will revisit some of the seminal works from this early period of the music (late ’40s) as part of a celebration of Gillespie’s centennial, including “Manteca” and “Cubano Be, Cubano Bop.” The latter, by the late composer and NEC prof George Russell, is considered the first modal jazz composition, “a piece so ahead of its time that many reviewers at its Carnegie Hall premiere compared it to Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring.’ ” (“Many reviewers” — those were the days.) Also on the bill are two originals by Zenón, “Second Generation Lullaby” and “Oyelo.” Admission is free.
Virtuoso violinist Jason Anick fronts this forward-looking “gypsy-jazz” quartet (named for a Django Reinhardt composition) with the startlingly gifted Finnish guitarist Olli Soikkeli, rhythm guitarist Max O’Rourke, and bassist Greg Loughman.
Nina Ott’s Astronomico
December 8 at 8 p.m.
At Third Life Studio, Somerville, MA.
Keyboardist Nina Ott’s resume includes study with Boston jazz gods Charlie Banacos and Jerry Bergonzi, a stint with the White Heat Swing Orchestra, and years in Chicago that included a house band gig at the Green Mill. These days she’s digging into the Afro-Caribbean tradition. In Astronomico, where she doubles on organ, she’s joined by her husband, Chris Lopes, on bass and percussion, Steve Fell on guitar, and Jared Seabrook on drums. She calls it “free funk with a Latin tinge.” The show precedes a planned recording.
Aardvark Jazz Orchestra
December 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Emmanuel Church, Boston, MA.
The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra played their first gig on December 23, 1973. They celebrate their 45th annual Christmas concert with jazz arrangements of carols like “Silent Night” and “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” plus originals by music director Mark Harvey, including “The Prophet” (inspired by legendary Boston social activist Kip Tiernan), “Blue Butterfly,” for the late, great storyteller Brother Blue, and “No Walls,” a tribute to Doctors Without Borders, premiered 2004. Aside from the great ensemble of instrumentalists, expect to hear some choice vocalizing by singers Jerry Edwards and Grace Hughes. Proceeds go to the Poor Peoples United Fund (created by Tiernan).
The always reliable Charlie Kohlhase (winner this year of a Fusical award from the Arts Fuse for his contributions to the Boston scene) reconvenes his Saxophone Support Group (which originally roamed the Boston area from 2003 to 2006), a band whose aggregate talent is off the charts: Sean Berry, Dan Blake, Matt Langley, Jared Sims, Josh Sinton, and Andy Voelker, plus special guest Jason Robinson. They’ll be playing works by Julius Hemphill, Steve Lacy, and John Tchicai as well as Kohlhase originals.
Cécile McLorin Salvant
December 15 and 16 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
The extraordinary young singer Cécile McLorin Salvant — with her great pipes, revelatory gift for lyric interpretation, and far-reaching, unpredictable repertoire — returns to Scullers for four shows with pianist Sullivan Fortner, reprising their knockout appearance last April.
Dave Bryant Quartet
December 18 at 8 p.m.
Outpost 186, Cambridge, MA
Veteran of Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time, keyboardist Dave Bryant returns to Outpost 186 with guitarist Eric Hofbauer, bassist Jacob William, and drummer Miki Matsuki .
— Jon Garelick
Roots and World Music
Navidad en la Villa
Veronica Robles Cultural Center, East Boston, MA
The Unitas Ensemble presents a pan-Latin American holiday celebration with both Spanish and English seasonal favorites at the East Boston center run by local mariachi icon Veronica Robles.
Bill Kirchen featuring Commander Cody
Bull Run, Shirley, MA
Telecaster monster Kirchen comes to the Bull Run every year with his Honky Tonk Holiday show. This time he’s got a very special guest: Commander Cody, who was Kirchen’s boss in the ’70s heyday of oddball country freak group the Lost Planet Airmen.
Playing for the Planet
Community Church of Boston, MA
This night is part of an ongoing series of musical performances to benefit the climate change activism group 360.org. It features sets from violinist Rob Flax, the Baroque revivalists The Hurdy-Gurdy Band, and sitar player Jawaad Noor.
— Noah Schaffer
Bernstein Centennial: A Private Audience
Presented by Longy School of Music
December 7, 7:30 p.m.
Pickman Hall, Cambridge, MA
Longy’s two-concert winter celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s centenary opens with an intimate, family affair: Bernstein’s oldest daughter, Jaime, will be on hand to offer insights into some of her father’s “most treasured relationships.” On top of that, Spencer Myer will play excerpts from Bernstein’s twenty-plus piano Anniversaries and the first of a couple notable local performances of the late song cycle Arias and Barcarolles will be heard (this one featuring Sandra Piques Eddy and David Kravitz).
Bernstein Centennial: This Will Be Our Reply
Presented by Longy School of Music
December 8, 7:30 p.m.
Pickman Hall, Cambridge, MA
Longy’s short Bernstein series concludes with a performance of the Symphony no. 2 (“The Age of Anxiety”) plus excerpts from Mass and West Side Story. Members of Longy’s Sistema Side by Side Chorus and Orchestra join pianist Myer and the Longy Conservatory Orchestra.
The Usual Orchestral Suspects
Presented by New England Philharmonic
December 10, 3 p.m.
Tsai Performance Center, Boston, MA
The NEP’s annual Family Concert features a variety of American pieces – by John Adams, Aaron Copland, and Nathaniel Stookey (the latter’s The Composer is Dead features special guest and former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis as the narrator) – plus Young Artist Competition winner Keila Wakao playing Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen.
Presented by Handel & Haydn Society
December 14 (at 7:30 p.m.) and 17 (3 p.m.)
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
Scott Allen Jarrett leads H&H in a mostly-Bach program that features music by a pair of Johann’s (the familiar Sebastian and his slightly older second cousin Ludwig) plus one of Biber’s “Mystery” Sonatas and a piece by Martin Roth. The Vocal Arts Program Concert Choir also sings an excerpt from the famous the cantata, “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme.”
Presented by Emmanuel Music
December 16, 7:30 p.m.
Emmanuel Church, Boston, MA
Ryan Turner conducts the Chorus and Orchestra of Emmanuel Music in Bach’s full Christmas Oratorio. Soloists include Kendra Colton, Kristen Watson, Pamela Dellal, Charles Blandly, and Dana Whiteside.
— Jonathan Blumhofer
Boston Early Music Festival presents:
December 8 at 8 p.m.
At St. Paul’s Church, Cambridge, MA
“Celebrate the season in high style with one of Early Music’s truly essential ensembles, The Tallis Scholars with director Peter Phillips. These extraordinary singers return to BEMF for their 29th consecutive year in a sublime program showcasing masterworks by the influential and prolific Renaissance composer Heinrich Isaac, alongside music by his brilliant contemporary Josquin des Prez. Marvel at these peerless performances of Isaac’s opulent motet, Optime divino, the transcendent beauty of Josquin’s setting of the Stabat Mater, and much more, including works by fellow contemporaries Browne and Gombert.”
Jameson Singers present:
Musicke Most Rare
December 8 at 8 p.m.
At the First Church Congregational, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA
“The Jameson Singers launches their 8th season with a performance of masterworks by Heinrich Schütz and Claudio Monteverdi. Profoundly innovative, these composers created new musical genres by seamlessly weaving Renaissance polyphony and choral chant with the vocal virtuosity of the early Baroque. Our musical feast includes psalms, motets, madrigals and selections from Monteverdi’s ravishing Vespers of 1610. The 70-voice chorus will be joined by professional soloists and a chamber ensemble featuring sackbuts and cornetti from the acclaimed Dark Horse Consort.”
Boston Cecilia presents:
A Rose has Sprung: Music for Christmas
December 8 at 8 p.m.
Church of the Advent, 30 Brimmer Street, Boston, MA
December 10 at 3 p.m.
At the All Saints Parish, 1773 Beacon Steet, Brookline, MA
“The sixty-member chorus sings with a smooth vocal blend and crisp, percussive diction.” – Boston Classical Review
Cantata Singers present:
Noël: Music for the Season
December 9 at 8 p.m.
First Congregational Church, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA
December 10 at 3 p.m.
At Powers Hall, 1471 Highland Avenue, Needham, MA
“Celebrate the holiday season with Cantata Singers! Join us for a concert of radiant seasonal music for chamber chorus and ensemble. The beloved voices of Schütz, Harbison, Holst and Vaughan Williams surround this program’s heart—unusual, and unusually gorgeous, music by Bax and Chadwick. There will be two performances of this special program, the first at First Church, Cambridge, and the second, a Cantata Singers’ debut, at Powers Hall, Needham. Following the performances, all are welcome at free post-concert receptions.”
Musicians of the Old Post Road present:
Follow the Star
December 15 at 8 p.m.
Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
December 16 at 7:30 p.m.
At the Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church, 10 Church Street, Gloucester
December 17 at 4 p.m.
At the First Unitarian Church, 90 Main Street, Worcester, MA
“Showcases music written for Epiphany and shine a light on the Magi’s journey toward Bethlehem as we approach the holidays. This festive program includes selections by Telemann, Geist, and a modern day revival of a cantata by Graupner.”
Musica Sacra presents:
Mother for the World: Songs of Mary
December 16 at 7 p.m.
First Church Congregational, 11 Garden Steet, Cambridge, MA
“Join us for music that elevates the earthly mother of Jesus, and celebrates the power of maternal love. We explore this devotion with music old and new featuring works by Tavener, Clemens, Britten, Verdi, Morales, Rachmaninoff, and others.”
Music for Food presents:
Schubert’s Vienna / Our Boston
Kathryn Salfelder, (composition for 4 trombones)
Elena Ruehr, Lucy
Franz Schubert, “Trout” Quintet in A Major, D.667
December 17 at 7:30 p.m.
At Northeastern University/Fenway Center, Boston, MA
“Poor Franz Schubert. Writing some of the greatest compositions of all time, the poverty-laden composer died shockingly young, leaving behind a repertoire that rivals the likes of what Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart had written by his age. Music For Food, a nationwide charity that fights hunger through performances, will donate all proceeds of this Schubert recital to The Women’s Lunch Place of Boston. ”
— Susan Miron
Rock, Pop, & Folk
Songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Todd Rundgren has five full decades of solo hits (e.g., “Hello It’s Me,” “I Saw the Light,” “Bang on the Drum All Day,” etc.), material from bands (Nazz, Utopia), and a new album (White Knight) to compile setlists from. He could also perform songs from albums by artists whom he has produced, including Badfinger, New York Dolls, Grand Funk Railroad, Patti Smith, The Psychedelic Furs, and XTC. Whatever he chooses to do at The Cabot on Thursday, he will surely end up including something for everyone. (Here is the interview that I recently did with him for the Beverly Citizen.)
James Murphy must have known damn well that his April 2, 2011, show at Madison Square Garden was not going to be his farewell performance. Billing it as such, therefore, was just a way to guarantee a massive influx of cash and press. However cynical it might be to assume that, one could easily be forgiving for doing so. LCD Soundsystem was simply too beloved by fans to go out on top. Sure enough, Murphy resurfaced on September 1 with American Dream and is set to embark on a string of sold-out East Coast dates that includes a stop at Agganis Arena on Friday night.
As the leader of the Boston trio The Push Stars, Chris Trapper experienced several layers of success: a self-released EP, the inclusion of a song (“Everything Shines”) on the soundtrack of a major motion picture (There’s Something About Mary), and an opening spot on tour with one of the most popular bands in America, Matchbox Twenty. Since beginning his solo career in 2005, Trapper has released several albums of original material, placed numerous songs on television shows and in movies, and toured tirelessly. On Sunday, December 10, he will likely draw from his album It’s Christmas Time (2007) when he performs a holiday show at The Burren in Davis Square.
Since 2013, Alexis P. Suter has received Blues Music Awards nominations in the categories of Best Soul/Blues Female Vocalist, The Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female Artist), and Best Contemporary Female Vocalist. She and her eponymous band have recorded five studio albums since 2005 and opened for The Levon Helm Band, Etta James, B.B. King, Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello, and others. Hat Trick: The Essential Recordings becomes available this Friday and will surely be on the merch table when she plays at 9 Wallis in Beverly on December 16.
After eight years–four under the name Girlfriends–and two LPs, Boston quartet Bent Shapes has decided to call it quits. This announcement was reported in not only local publications, but nationally read ones such as Pitchfork and Stereogum. The band will say goodbye with a final show at Great Scott on December 16. But who knows? Maybe, like LCD Soundsystem, they will reform in a few years for a triumphant reunion tour of some of their favorite old haunts.
If you cannot make it to 9 Wallis to get your blues fix, or if you want a second helping, head into Harvard Square on December 17 for Samantha Fish’s show at The Sinclair. Three years winning the Best Artist Debut honor at the 2012 Blues Music Awards ceremony, Fish topped Billboard Top Blues Albums chart with her third album, Wild At Heart. Belle of the West, which came out last month, is the 28-year-old Kansas City, MO native’s second LP of 2017.
– Blake Maddux
Release Party for Why Comics?: From Underground to Everywhere by Hillary Chute
December 5 at 7 p.m.
Newtonville Books, West Newton, MA
There’s no doubt at this point that comics have come into their own as legitimate literature. A Professor of English at Northeastern University, Chute is a comics scholar who fills in the blanks of the history of comic books, commix (a distinct category), and graphic novels. She tells the fascinating story of the artists driven to create comics and how over the decades have handled some of the heaviest and most pressing themes of history: using the medium to respond vibrantly to devastation, disaster, and historical turbulence.
Poetry Event- Reading and Discussion
Steph Burt Advice from the Lights and Matthew Zapruder Why Poetry
December 6 at 7 p.m.
Newtonville Books, West Newton, MA
Poetry often gets a bad rap in terms of public interest. For too long, poetry has, at least in the popular imagination, seemed to be the purview of pretentious intellectuals, overly dramatic teenagers, or sullen bohemians. This is a real shame, because poetry has so much to offer in terms of real life nourishment and inspiration. Two poets come to Newton to read and discuss their work. Burt is a poet and professor at Harvard and Zapruder’s new book explains how poetry can indeed be read and appreciated by all.
Carmen Maria Machado
Her Body and Other Parties: Stories
In conversation with Kelly Link
December 6 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA
Machado’s collection of stories was a finalist for this year’s National Book Award. Her fiction gleefully transgresses the borders of genre, gender, and the body. The Rumpus calls it “at once luminous and dingy, sexy and terrifying, queer and mundane.”
Bunk:The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News
December 7 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA
One of the finest poets writing today, Young has just been named the poetry editor of The New Yorker and last year saw the publication of his massive, career-defining volume of selected poems Blue Laws. He’s also a superb essayist; his The Grey Album is essential reading about music and culture. His latest book takes on the history of American preoccupation with hoaxes of all kinds, examining why they keep perpetuating themselves in our culture and why so many people quite willingly fall for them.
The Vanity Fair Diaries: 1983–1992
December 11 at 6 p.m. (Doors open at 5:30)
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
Tickets are $32.25 with book, $5 without
After graduating from Oxford, Brown found herself in the midst of the heady swirl of New York literati as the editor of the venerable but teetering publication Vanity Fair. The first woman to edit the magazine, she turned it around and made it a literary and cultural force to be reckoned with, inviting many of the writers and photographers that made Vanity Fair stand out on the magazine rack. She had collected her diaries of her years as the head of the magazine, which not only to offer juicy behind-the-scenes gossip, but also to chronicle 90’s-era New York from the inside out.
— Matt Hanson