Coming Attractions: January 14 through 30 — 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


Iran Film Festival: Boston Festival of Films from Iran
through January 17
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Iran is producing some of the world’s most elegant films. Here is a chance to take in movies that haven’t received traditional distribution.

Off The Couch presents Phantom Thread
January 16 at 7 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Boston, MA

Paul Thomas Anderson’s film features Daniel Day Lewis in what he says will be his last film performance. The movie is a must see on the Coolidge Corner’s screen in 70mm. This particular showing is presented by the Boston Psychoanalytic Society & Institute and will be accompanied by a discussion with Randall Paulsen, MD.

"Sons of the Desert" -- one of the greatest Laurel and Hardy comedies -- will be screened at the MFA.

“Sons of the Desert” — one of the greatest Laurel and Hardy comedies — will be screened at the MFA.

UCLA Festival of Preservation
January 18 – January 31
Museum of Fine Arts Boston, MA

Produced by the UCLA Film and Television Archive, the series showcases films that have been rescued from extinction. This year’s festival includes newly restored gems from classic Hollywood, rare silents accompanied by live music, the films of Laurel and Hardy (the immortal Sons of the Desert!), 1960s television specials, timely independent features, documentaries, and more. The museum recommends Martin Gabel’s sumptuously gothic The Lost Moment (1947), Juleen Compton’s supernatural fairy tale The Plastic Dome of Norma Jean (1966), and Donna Deitch’s sweeping 1985 romance Desert Hearts. Full Schedule

Battleship Potemkin
January 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Boston Conservatory Theater, Boston, MA

The Berklee Silent Film Orchestra will host a special performance of their original score for the 1925 Sergei Eisenstein film Battleship Potemkin, the masterpiece based on the mutiny of Russian sailors against their tyrannical superiors aboard the battleship Potemkin during the Revolution of 1905. It features the famous Odessa Steps montage sequence. Also to be screened: never-before-seen restorations of short films from director Lois Weber — Suspense and The Rosary (both from 1913). Weber used split-screen technology, unconventional angles, and dynamic camerawork in service of films she wrote, directed, and acted in. Her work often highlights the lives of women and children.

High School and Hospital
January 19 at 7 and 9 p.m.
Harvard Film Archive in Cambridge, MA

These two marvelous Frederick Wiseman 16MM documentaries from 1968 and 1969 kick off a retrospective the director’s work. The director will deliver a Norton Lecture at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre on January 29 and February 5. Other screenings of his films include Primate, Boxing Gym, Titicut Follies, The Store, Near Death, Public Housing, and At Berkeley. Full Schedule

The Gleaners and I
January 26 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Film Archive, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

This Agnès Varda masterpiece is part of an impressive retrospective of the director’s work beginning this month. This screening is accompanied by a discussion with Steven Brown of First Church Shelter in Cambridge and Jack Leng of the Boston Area Gleaners. The series will culminate with a Norton Lecture presented by Varda on Monday, February 26 and Tuesday, February 27 at Sanders Theatre. Full Schedule

Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart: Lorraine Hansberry
January 29
At the Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA

The Spring Season of DocYard begins on with local filmmaker Tracy Heather Strain’s first-ever feature documentary on the life of award-winning playwright Lorraine Hansberry, author of A Raisin in the Sun. The film goes beyond the story of the play to shed light on the many unexplored aspects of Hansberry’s life, including her childhood in segregated Chicago, her activist work for racial justice and gay rights, her association with leading figures like James Baldwin and Nina Simone, her marriage and eventual separation from publisher Robert Nemiroff, and her closeted life as a lesbian, supported by her private writings and her publications for the lesbian journal The Ladder. Director Tracy Heather Strain will attend in person for Q&A after this 7 p.m. screening; she will be joined by many on her creative team.

— Tim Jackson

A scene from the documentary "Unrest."

A scene from the documentary “Unrest.”

42 Grams: The Evolution of a Chef and Unrest, both screening at the Somerville Theatre, Davis Square, Somerville, MA, 42 Grams on January 25 and Unrest on January 24.

Two intriguing documentaries making a fleeting appearance on the big screen. Jack C. Newell’s 42 Grams explores ambition and artistry in Chicago food scene. It chronicles Chef Jake Bickelhaupt’s evolution from running an illegal restaurant out of his home, to becoming a culinary celebrity in less than a year, and the toll it takes on his personal life. Unrest revolves around “twenty-eight year-old Jennifer Brea, [who] is working on her PhD at Harvard and months away from marrying the love of her life when she gets a mysterious fever that leaves her bedridden and looking for answers.”

— Bill Marx


Jan 17-21
Cutler Majestic Theatre
Boston, MA

BRODSKY / BARYSHNIKOV may technically fall under the category or “theatre” rather than “dance,” but with the world-famous dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov as the sole performer in this one-man show, the performance is sure to capture the attention of both theatre- and dance-goers alike. Speaking in Russian, Baryshnikov recites a selection of poems by his long-time friend (and Nobel laureate) Joseph Brodsky, while guiding viewers through Brodsky’s world with subtle physicality.

Heather Stewart
January 19 & 20 at 8 p.m.
Multicultural Arts Center
Cambridge, MA

Currently based in Boston, Canadian choreographer Heather Stewart presents two new contemporary dance works at the Multicultural Arts Center, pull | tirer and they have taken nothing. Her work has been performed internationally in festivals and theaters in Canada, The United States, the UK, Germany, and Spain.

Grupo Corpo comes to Boston. A scene from "Suite Branca." Photo: Jose Luiz Pederneiras.

Grupo Corpo comes to Boston. A scene from “Suite Branca.” Photo: Jose Luiz Pederneiras.

Grupo Corpo
January 26-28
Boch Center Shubert Theatre
Boston, MA

Known for its impressive physicality and athleticism, Grupo Corpo comes to Boston with a performance that displays the “amazing diversity and rich color of Brazil.” Presented by the Celebrity Series of Boston, the production brings two exciting new works to the stage by Rodrigo Pederneiras — Suite Branca and Danca Sinfonica.

VII: Senior Dance Concert
January 26 & 27 at 8 p.m., and 28 at 2 p.m.
Boston Conservatory Theater
Boston, MA

Enjoy a free performance of original choreography by Boston Conservatory senior dance students Carly Cherone, Alyx Henigman, Christopher Kinsey, Alyssa Markowitz, Jenna Mitchell, and Christina Morrison.

— Merli V. Guerra

Visual Arts

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.

Nicholas Nixon: Persistence of Vision
Through April 22
Fotene Demoulas Gallery, Institute of Contemporary Art, 25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston, MA

“Maybe you remember a few years ago when a series of photos took the internet by storm: four sisters, rendered in black and white, aging incrementally…” Artist Nicholas Nixon has been taking pictures of people since 1976. The Brown Sisters is a series of 41 photographs of the artist’s wife and three sisters standing in the same order, taken every year with the same camera for 41 years. His groundbreaking work revels in the transformations of physicality and intimacy witnessed over the passing of time.

Laurie Anderson
Robert W. Wilson Building, MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA
Through 2018

“I believe it is possible that language is a virus, as William S. Burroughs claims. But to believe that language is a disease,” responded Laurie Anderson, “first you must believe that it is alive.” One of America’s premier multimedia artists, known for her ground breaking use of technologies, uses the new space at MASS MoCA to display several unforgettable installations that break the rules and generate creative thinking. In 2017’s The Chalkroom, a work co-created with Hsin-Chien Huang, visitors (wearing virtual reality goggles) walk through darkened rooms that are frenetically coated, floor to ceiling, with language and gestural drawings. The work received the award for best VR experience at the 74th Venice International Film Festival.

List Projects: Adam Pendleton
Bakalar Gallery, MIT List Visual Arts Center, 20 Ames Street, Cambridge, MA
Through February 11

Part of an ongoing filmic portrait series, Just Back from Los Angeles: A Portrait of Yvonne Rainer, 2016-17 depicts a meeting of two widely different creative minds talking over a shared meal in a small NYC diner. The conversation is sometimes scripted, sometimes not. The result is a powerfully layered discourse between a young conceptual artist, born in Virginia and working out of NYC, and the aging writer, filmmaker, and icon of the American experimental contemporary dance scene. The work stages “an inter-generational dialogue across lines of sexual and racial difference that provoke critical inquiry into the artists’ shared questions of poetics and politics.”

The Void Devouring, Mark Tovey

“The Void Devouring the Gadget Era,” 1942. Mark Tobey. Photo: Seattle Museum of Art, Artists Rights Society.

Mark Tobey: Threading Light
Addison Gallery of American Art, 180 Main Street, Andover, MA
Through March 11

Showcasing the continuous development of this vanguard figure, this expansive survey consists of over 70 paintings – a collection that reveals the artist’s widely unsung contribution to mid-century modernism. Emerging onto the scene in the 1940’s, Tobey’s delicately nuanced “white writing” delivers a quiet eerie beauty and anticipates Jackson Pollock’s famed drip paintings. The show is one that is well worth a snowy afternoon visit.

Dangerous Liaisons Revisited: Art and Music Inspired by the Chinese Tang Court
Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury Street, Worcester, MA
January 20 through April 22

This lavish exhibition is a thoughtfully orchestrated glimpse into a luminous Golden Age. The focus is on a tragic love story between an emperor and his consort that has inspired art and music for over a 1000 years. The display includes historical musical instruments, tomb sculptures, ink paintings, prints, and contemporary works; all revolving around an exquisitely rendered scroll from the 1300’s — “Ming Huang and Yang Guifei, Listening to Music.”

A Room of Her Own (Ballad of Ruth Coxe)
Florence Griswold Museum, 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT
Through January 28

This contemporary display of photographs and installation elements draws an unexpected portrait of a locally known icon in the setting of her “once grand” home. The work examines the soul of a complex and controversial woman whose unabashed views — on politics, religion, female identity, and motherhood — clashed with those around her. Ruth Coxe died at the age of 85 in 2015. Set against the idyllic picturesque backdrop of historic Old Lyme, the work celebrates a distinctive spirit: non-conforming, chaotic, and full of life.

Fenway Gallery, Isabelle Stewart Gardner Museum, 25 Evans Way, Boston, MA
Through September 10

“Heaven is a place where the inside is outside and the outside is inside – Where man becomes woman and woman becomes man.” The Isabelle Stewart’s 2013 artist-in-residence was vitalized by her visit to the institution, recharged by her encounter with its collection. Witty, thoughtful ponderings on gender, motherhood, anatomy, and the physiology of pregnancy, recorded in sketches and notebooks, reflect her states of revelation and wonderment.

Lissa Rivera: Beautiful Boy
Library & Studio Gallery, Griswold House, Newport Art Museum, 76 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI
January 20 through May 20

“When taking the photos, I feel the same as when viewing a film where a director and actress share a deep connection to the fantasy captured. It is thrilling to see my partner transform into countless goddess-like forms. The project is a canvas to project our desires. At times the images even become self-portraits. The camera transposes our private experiences into public expression.” In this ongoing project, photos explore intimacy and beauty in male displays of femininity.

– Aimee Cotnoir


Photo: Ashley Garrett

A scene from Bedlam’s “Sense & Sensibility” at the Loeb Drama Center, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. Photo: Ashley Garrett

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, through January 14.

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. Review

Unveiled, written and performed by Rohina Malik. A co-presentation between New Repertory Theatre and the Greater Boston Stage Company in the blackbox theater at the Mosesian Center of the Arts, 321 Arsenal St, Watertown, MA, through January 28.

A one-woman show starring Rohina Malik: “Racism. Hate crimes. Love. Islam. Culture. Language. Life. Five Muslim women in a post-9/11 world serve tea and uncover what lies beneath the veil.”

Lost Girls by John Pollono. Directed by Melanie Garber. Staged by Take Your Pick Productions at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts (Deane Hall), Boston, MA, through January 21.

“Set in New Hampshire,” this script (receiving its New England premiere production), “is a darkly comedic drama about the strength of the women in a dysfunctional blue-collar New England family. When Erica, their sixteen-year-old daughter, goes missing during a winter storm, Maggie and Lou—former high school sweethearts, now divorced—are forced to confront the legacy of their past decisions.”

KNYUM, written and performed by Vichet Chum. Directed by KJ Sanchez. Staged by the Merrimack Repertory Theatre at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre located at 50 East Merrimack Street in Lowell, MA, through February 4.

The world premiere of a one-man show follows “the story of Guy, a hotel night clerk who spends the quiet hours of the night shift studying Khmer, the language of his family’s home of Cambodia, in preparation for his first visit to the country his parents fled from decades before. Guy stumbles awkwardly towards fluency to awaken to parts of his heritage, both beautiful and excruciating, which shine through in his wildly luminous dreams.” Arts Fuse review

Winter Panto, written and performed by Matthew Woods & The Ensemble. Directed by Woods. Staged by imaginary beasts at the Charlestown Working Theater, 442 Bunker Hill Street, Charlestown, MA, through February 4.

The group’s tongue-in-cheek take on Jules Verne’s classic work of science fiction 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A beloved tradition in the United Kingdom dating back to the Victorian Age, Pantomimes are produced yearly in every county in the UK around the holidays. imaginary beasts has been producing the form annually for nearly a decade in the Greater Boston Area and has become a new year tradition for Boston theatre-goers—especially those with children.


Jennifer Ellis and George Olesky in “Shakespeare in Love.” Photo: Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots.

Shakespeare in Love, Based on the screenplay by Marc Norman & Tom Stoppard. Adapted for the stage by Lee Hall. Directed by Scott Edmiston. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, through February 10.

“Based on the Academy Award-winning film, Shakespeare in Love tells the story of young Will Shakespeare, who is suffering a severe case of writer’s block as the deadline fast approaches to deliver his new play, “Romeo and Ethel, The Pirate’s Daughter.” Enter Viola, a headstrong noblewoman and admirer of Will’s, who disguises herself as a boy so she can skirt the law and appear (as a girl) in his play. But when the playwright and his muse fall in love, the plot undergoes some surprising rewrites. Mistaken identities, courtly intrigue, and backstage bickering are all part of the fun in this raucous romantic comedy of errors that reminds us that all the world’s a stage and love is unrehearsed.”

Mala, written and performed by Melinda Lopez. Directed by David Dower. The ArtsEmerson production presented by the Huntington Theatre Company the Calderwood Pavilion, South End, Boston, MA, through January 28.

Mala won the 2016 Elliot Norton Award for Best New Script. This HTC engagement brings the production back by popular demand. The play, runs the PR, “is funny, brutally honest, and ultimately cathartic.” The one-woman show “puts a sharp focus on what it means to put our loved ones first, right to the very end, and what happens when we strive to be good but don’t always succeed.”

Road Show, Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by John Weidman Directed by Spiro Veloudos.Co-directed and choreographed by Ilyse Robbins. Music direction by Jonathan Goldberg. Staged by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 140 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA, through February 11.

A revival of Stephen Sondheim’s latest work, “the true boom-and-bust story of two of the most colorful and outrageous fortune-seekers in American history. From the Alaskan Gold Rush to the Florida real estate boom in the 1930s, entrepreneur Addison Mizner and his fast-talking brother Wilson were proof positive that the road to the American Dream is often a seductive, treacherous tightrope walk.”

A glimpse of Ada/Ava. Photo:

A glimpse of “Ada/Ava.” Photo: Yi Zhao and Howard Ash.

Ada/Ava, written and performed by Manual Cinema. Directed by Drew Dir. Score and Sound Design by Kyle Vegter and Ben Kauffman. The Manual Cinema staging presented by Arts Emerson at Emerson Paramount Center’s Robert J. Orchard Stage, 559 Washington Street, Boston, MA, through January 14.

“Delightfully gothic, beautiful and emotionally complex,” this show “utilizes special effect techniques from the early age of cinema — shadow puppetry, live-action silhouettes and overhead projection — to conjure a magic spell of multimedia storytelling, complete with a live musical score. We are told by ArtsEmerson that the Chicago-based Manual Cinema “is one of the hottest rising ensembles in America, with audiences marveling at their creations even as their methods are plainly revealed.” Arts Fuse review

Crossing Flight: a tale of the post-apocalypse by Erin Lerch. Directed by Rosalind Thomas-Clark. Staged by TC Squared Theatre Company at The Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA, January 18 to 21.

A world premiere production of a drama that appealed to the director because “in these challenging times we are facing, its themes of choice, hope, and freedom appealed to me.” The play is set around 2038, in a post-Trump world. Hey, it assumes there will be a world after Trump.

Field Guide created by Rude Mechs, inspired by the novel The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Text by Hannah Kenah. Directed by Shawn Sides. At Yale Repertory Theatre 1120 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT, January 26 through February 17.

A world premiere commissioned by Yale Rep: “Strap on your snow shoes and join Rude Mechs on a surreal hike through one of the greatest—and longest!—novels ever written: The Brothers Karamazov. A physical meditation on Dostoevsky’s masterpiece,” the show “enlists stand-up comedy, a dancing monk, and some old-school magic to explore faith, meaning, and morality.” (Rude Mechs is an Austin, Texas, based theatre collective that has created a genre-averse slate of about 30 new plays since 1996.)

In the Eruptive Mode: Six Women’s Voices on the Arab Spring. Written and directed by Sulayman Al-Bassam. Presented by ArtsEmerson at the Emerson Paramount Center’s Robert J. Orchard Stage, 559 Washington Street, Boston, MA, January 24 through 28.

The evening “presents six stories of ordinary citizens — all women — caught in the violence and chaos of the Arab Spring. Through visceral songs and spoken word,” the show “unveils unheard voices, each at their own point of no return.” (The American premiere is performed and subtitled in Arabic and English.)

Christopher Plummer and Nikki M. James in the Stratford Festival production of GBS's "Caesar and Cleopatra."

Christopher Plummer and Nikki M. James in the Stratford Festival production of GBS’s “Caesar and Cleopatra.”

Caesar and Cleopatra by George Bernard Shaw. The Stratford Festival stage production, screening at Emerson Paramount Center’s Bright Family Screening Room, 559 Washington Street, Boston, MA, January 19 through 21.

George Bernard Shaw hasn’t been produced very often in the Boston area of late, so Shavians should flock to one of the screenings featuring Canada’s Stratford Festival production of the master’s wonderfully mellow historical drama, which features the amazing Christopher Plummer as Caesar and Nikki M. James as Cleopatra.

Babette’s Feast, conceived and developed by Abigail Killeen. Directed by Karin Coonrod. Written by Rose Courtney. Adapted from the short story by Isak Dinesen. Staged by Portland Stage on its MainStage, 25 Forest Ave, Portland, ME, January 23 through February 18.

A stage dramatization of the Dinesen tale, which inspired a 1987 Danish film, which won the 1988 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. It is the “story of how a refugee transforms a closed religious community by sacrificing all she has to throw a lavish dinner party. Through her radical hospitality, this mysterious woman converts her guests’ deeply held notions of scarcity and judgment and opens them up to give and receive abundant grace.”

Letters from War: A Musical Tale of Love, Loss, and the Strength of Family. Written and directed by Nate Bertone. Original Music by Melissa Modifer. Lyrics by Bertone. Orchestrations and Music Direction by Conor Keelan. Staged by the Marblehead Little Theater, 12 School Street, Marblehead, MA, January 26 through February 3.

“Mae, a grandmother in advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, must move into a nursing home when her adult daughter, Lily, can no longer care for her. Mae’s granddaughter, Madison, uncovers a mysterious box of letters while cleaning out the home. As Mae and her family read these letters, Mae is thrust into a new reality with her long lost love, in fragmented, clouded memories and hallucinations.”

IRRESISTIBLE, performed by Liars and Believers. Directed by Jason Slavic. At Sonia at the Middle East, Central Square, 10 Brookline Street, Cambridge, MA on January 24.

The company’s latest experimental coLAB – “an immersive, multi-discipline, experience exploring the tumult of our current socio-political environment.” “In a time of turmoil, will resentment, anger, and fear tear us apart? Will our better selves triumph? Where will we and our nation end up? Deep inside, what irresistibly pulls us… and at what cost?” The company claims that it is “the purest expression of the experimentation and risk-taking at the heart of Liars & Believers. It’s also the fullest expression of the innovation here in Boston arts.”

The Skin of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder. Directed by Josh Short. Music direction by Matt Requintina. Staged by The Wilbury Theatre Group at 40 Sonoma Court, Olneyville, Rhode Island, January 18 through February 4.

Given that this is a time of high anxiety, a high-stepping (I hope) revival of Wilder’s look at mankind on the cusp of extinction seems in order. “Combining farce, burlesque, satire, and elements of the comic strip, Thornton Wilder depicts an Everyman Family as it narrowly escapes one end-of-the-world disaster after another, from the Ice Age to flood to war.”

Bad Dates by Theresa Rebeck. Directed by Jessica Stone. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Avenue of the Arts, Huntington Avenue Theatre, Boston, MA, January 26 through February 25.

A HTC revival of a one-woman show it produced 15 years ago. This go-around stars Haneefah Wood. “Restaurant manager and shoe connoisseur Haley Walker is finally ready to re-enter the dating world in New York City. But add in the responsibility of raising her 13-year-old daughter, spats with her gang-affiliated co-workers, and Haley’s own superstitions, and it becomes clear that finding Mr. Right may not be so simple. From the privacy of her bedroom, Haley relates a series of hilarious tales while preparing for, and recovering from, one dreadful date after another. Does she have the luck and tenacity to find her perfect match?”

Hype Man: a break beat play by Idris Goodwin. Directed by Shawn LaCount. Staged by Company One at the Boston Center for the Arts Plaza Theatre, Boston MA, January 26 through February 24.

Yet another theatrical attempt to be relevant. “Frontman Pinnacle and his hype man Verb have been making Hip-Hop together since they were kids. Now that they’ve got top-notch beatmaker Peep One in the mix, the group is finally on the verge of making it big—until the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager shakes the trio to its core, and forces them to navigate issues of friendship, race, and privilege.”

Brodsky/Baryshnikov, at the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre, 219 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, January 17 through 21.

A one-man show based on the poems of the Nobel laureate Joseph Brodsky and performed by Mikhail Baryshnikov — “an emotional journey deep into the poet’s visceral and complex compositions.”

A scene from Photo: courtesy of the American Repertory Theater.

A scene from “HEAR WORD!” Photo: courtesy of the American Repertory Theater.

HEAR WORD! Naija Woman Talk True. Written and directed by Ifeoma Fafunwa. Staged by the American Repertory Theater at the Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA, January 26 through February 11.

“Combining song and dance with intimate portraits of resilience and resistance, HEAR WORD! grapples with the issues that affect the lives of women across Nigeria—the factors that limit their potential for independence, leadership, and meaningful contribution in society, and the ways they have moved beyond established barriers to achieve meaningful solutions. HEAR WORD! is recommended for audiences aged fourteen and up due to its themes and content.”

— Bill Marx


That's Charlie Kohlhase, the sax man at the center of this photo.

That’s Charlie Kohlhase at the center of this photo, which includes some of the members of the band he’ll be playing with at Outpost 186.

Charlie Kolhhase’s Explorers Club
January 18 at 8 p.m.
Outpost 186, Cambridge, MA.

Multi-reedman (and 2017 Arts Fuse Fuscial Award-winner) Kohlhase and his Explorers Club continue their ambitious mid-winter tear of shows with this gig at cozy Outpost 186. The band this time out includes Kohlhase on alto, tenor, and baritone saxes, tenor saxophonist Seth Meicht, trumpeter and flugelhornist Daniel Rosenthal, trombonist Jeb Bishop, guitarist Eric Hofbauer, bassist Aaron Darrell, and drummer Curt Newton.

Kavita Shah/François Moutin Duo
January 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

Singer Shah and bassist Moutin take their inspiration from the vocal/bass duos that the great Sheila Jordan — who joins them on their new, debut album— has made a specialty. New Yorker Shah is a former Harvard lit major who gave it all up for jazz studies at the Manhattan School of Music. Parisian Moutin has made his name as the longtime bassist for pianist Martial Solal and in different versions of Moutin quartets and quintets with his twin brother, drummer Louis.

Sullivan Fortner Trio
January 19 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA

Pianist Fortner has shined the past couple of times he’s been through town with duo-mate Cécile McLorin Salvant — with as broad a reach as McLorin Salvant’s “other” pianist, Aaron Diehl, but with his own sly humor and imagination. This time he’s with a trio that includes bassist Ameen Saleem and drummer Jeremy “Bean” Clemons.

Bria Skonberg
January 20 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.

Canadian trumpeter, singer, and songwriter Bria Skonberg has an impressive trad pedigree (studies with Warren Vache, gigs with Bucky Pizzarelli and Howard Alden, and a co-founding credit with the New York Hot Jazz Festival), but also a modern pop sheen. I don’t think Louis would object.

Igor Butman Quintet
January 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

St. Petersburg saxophonist Igor Butman was already a rising star by time he came to study at Berklee in 1987. A regular on the Boston and New York scenes, he returned to his native Russia in the late ‘90s, but still makes forays into the States. Hallmarks: big sound, virtuoso mastery, and a hefty dollop of Russian soul. He comes to the Regattabar with pianist/singer Oleg Akkuratov, guitarist Evgeny Pobozhiy, bassist Sergei Korchaga, and drummer Eduard Zizak.

Charles Overton Group and Factory Quartet
January 25 at 8 p.m.
Outpost 186, Cambridge, MA.

Two unusual, adventurous bands: The Charles Overton group features Overton on harp (no, not the one you blow through, and it doesn’t sound like Alice Coltrane), bassist Max Ridley, and drummer Peter Barnick. The Factory Quartet bassist Ridley, drummer Barnick, trumpeter Matt Hull, and tenor sax Neta Raanan.

Lee Kontiz
January 26 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

The legendary alto saxophonist Lee Konitz continues his 90th-birthday celebration (b: October 13, 1927) with this stop at the Regattabar. Konitz is a living wonder, and even though he does as much scat singing as saxophone playing these days, his improvised melodies are always a tonic. His backing band this time out will be pianist Frank Kimbrough, bassist Jeremy Stratton, and drummer George Schuller (a trio that would be worth catching even without the presence of the Master).

Bill Charlap Trio
January 27 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.

Bill Charlap brings deep poetry and swing to his interpretations of the Great American Songbook. He’s joined by longtime trio-mates Peter Washington on bass and Kenny Washington on drums.

Matt Glaser Quartet
January 27 at 8 p.m.
Third Life Studio, Somerville, MA.

Matt Glaser, you’ll recall, was one of the talking heads in Ken Burns’s “Jazz” and played that distinctive fiddle on the soundtrack to Burns’s The Civil War. A longtime Berklee faculty member, he’s now running their roots music program (which he developed), allowing him to work his broad genre-crossing interests. The band tonight is Brittany Karlson on bass and vocals, Jon Wheatley on guitar, and Sonny Barbato on accordion, playing “swing, jazz, country, and folk, all played with a chamber music sensibility.”

Dave Bryant Quartet
January 28 at 8 p.m.
Outpost 186, Cambridge, MA.

Keyboardist, composer, and former Ornette Coleman Prime Time member Dave Bryant brings in a particularly good band (hey, none of them are bad) for one of his regular gigs at Outpost 186: trumpeter Phil Grenadier, guitarist Eric Hofbauer, bassist John Turner, and drummer Miki Matsuki.

Ra Kalam Bob Moses
January 28 at 8:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.

It’s billed as “Earth Transcended: Ra Kalam’s 70th birthday celebration,” and the heavycats joining the distinguished drummer Ra Kalam Bob Moses (Charles Mingus, Gary Burton, Pat Metheny, Dave Liebman, and his own fine albums as bandleader and composer) for this gig are pianist John Medeski, bassists John Lockwood and Don Pate, second drummer Tony Falco, and headlining special guest, guitarist Tisziji Muñoz.

Nancy Shallman

Nancy Shallman will sing at Lilypad in Cambridge at the end of the month.

Nancy Shallman
January 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Boston, MA.

Singer Nancy Shallman’s early career was informed by blues, rock, funk, and prog-rock (with her band the River) before her discovery of jazz and the music of Ornette Coleman. That led to study at the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, N.Y., and then New England Conservatory, and a period of early acclaim. Having long since moved to New York to raise a family, teach, and work on her music (singing standards and originals), Shallman returns to Boston with a fine backing band, including saxophonist Allan Chase, whom she met in those CMS days. The rest of the band: pianist David Rumpler, guitarist Mark Michaels, bassist Dave Clark – and drummer Bob Christman.

— Jon Garelick

Roots and World Music

Juan de Marcos and the Afro-Cuban All Stars. Photo: Luiz C. Ribeiro Photography

Juan de Marcos and the Afro-Cuban All Stars. Photo: Luiz C. Ribeiro Photography.

Juan De Marcos & the Afro-Cuban All-Stars
January 14
Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA

World Music/CRASHArts has a particularly strong spring 2018 lineup, starting off with this exciting Cuban big band.

Huun Huur Tu Workshop
January 17 at 6 p.m.
Brown Hall, New England Conservatory, Boston, MA

Both nights of the Tuvan throat singers’ performance at the Rockwell are sold out, but you can still learn about their astounding vocal technique at this free workshop, one of several community engagement projects being presented this spring by World Music/CRASHArts.

January 17
City Winery, Boston, MA

Bluegrass fans know Dan Tyminski as the “Man of Constant Sorrow” in Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? and for his longtime membership in Alison Krauss and Union Station. But his 2013 collaboration with pop/EDM star Avicii has been watched 1.5 billion times. His new LP Southern Gothic bridges his two musical worlds, so the only thing guaranteed at this show is that you will hear one of the finest Appalachian voices around.

Isley Brothers
January 18
The Wilbur, Boston, MA

No other outfit in R&B, or maybe even all of popular music has had as many lives as the Isleys, who have stayed on the charts all the way from “Twist and Shout” to their recent R. Kelly collaborations. The group now features lead singer Ron and guitar master Ernie, whose Arts Fuse interview will be online later this week.

Boston Celtic Music Festival
January 18-21
Cambridge, MA

It’s a testament to the region’s Celtic music scene that this long-running indoor festival fills up days of Ceilidh dances, concerts, and workshops with a round-up of exclusively local musicians. Club Passim remains the home base, but this year a Sunday night show has been added at the Sinclair.

Mambo Mania with Eguie Castrillo
January 19
Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, Boston, MA

Recent Fusical Awardee the Villa Victoria Center for the Arts kicks off its winter season with percussionist supreme Castrillo and his instrumental juggernaut in a tribute to the golden era of big band mambo.

Umalali and the Garifuna Collective
January 20
Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, Boston, MA

Anyone who was lucky enough to see the late Andy Palacio when he played Boston will know how vibrant the Afro-Latino Garifuna music and dance traditions are. This female-led ensemble will play a nighttime concert Saturday and also do a free workshop January 21 at 4 p.m. at NEC’s Brown Hall.

Steepe Sounds: Julian Kytasty & the Ukrainian Bandura
January 26
David Friend Recital Hall, Berklee, MA

One of my picks for the best shows of 2017 was Ukranian bandura master Kytasty’s appearance in Somerville. He’s back for another solo showcase of his zither/lute hybrid at Berklee.

— Noah Schaffer

Classical Music

Susan Graham. Photo: BSO

Mezzo-soprano Susan Graham will perform with the BSO this week. Photo: BSO.

Mahler 3
Presented by Boston Symphony Orchestra
January 18-21, 8 p.m. (1:30 p.m. on Friday)
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA

Andris Nelsons returns to the BSO podium to lead Mahler’s sprawling Symphony no. 3. Susan Graham is the mezzo-soprano soloist and a newly-formed BSO Children’s Chorus joins the TFC for the Symphony’s joyful fifth movement.

Peter Childs’ Lamantations
Presented by Cantata Singers
January 20, 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA

Cantata Singers premieres a new commission from Childs, a setting of a contemporary, poetic translation of the biblical book of Lamentations. Two Bach cantatas – nos. 2 and 21 – share the evening’s bill.

Gisèle Ben-Dor conducting Pro Arte
Presented by Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra
January 21, 3 p.m.
All Saints Parish, Brookline, MA

Pro Arte’s 40th-anniversary season continues with conductor Gisèle Ben-Dor leading the ensemble in music by Eric Ewazen (his Concerto for Trumpet and Strings, with former Pro Arte member Jeffrey Work as soloist), Gounod, and Beethoven.

Hadelich plays Ligeti
Presented by Boston Symphony Orchestra
January 25-27, 8 p.m. (1:30 p.m. on Friday)
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA

BSO Artistic Partner Thomas Adès makes his first local appearance of the year leading a typically-creative program built around Gyrogy Ligeti’s manic Violin Concerto (with Augustin Hadelich). Also on tap is Beethoven’s Symphony no. 8, the “Divertimento” from Stravinsky’s The Fairy’s Kiss, and Adès’ own Suite from the opera Powder Her Face.

Mozart and Haydn
Presented by Handel and Haydn Society
January 26 (at 7:30 p.m.) and 28 (at 3 p.m.)
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA

Harry Christophers leads H&H in music by two familiar contemporaries: the Symphonies nos. 49 and 87 of Haydn, and the E-flat major Sinfonia concertante of Mozart. Aisslinn Nosky and Max Mandel are the soloists in the latter.

Garrick Ohlsson in Recital
Presented by Music Worcester
January 27, 8 p.m.
Mechanics Hall, Worcester, MA

Music Worcester brings Ohlsson to Central Massachusetts for a recital of some of the pianist’s core repertoire: Beethoven

— Jonathan Blumhofer

Boston Cello Quartet
January 22 at 7:30 p.m.
At the New Conservatory at the Jordan Hall/New England Conservatory, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA

The Boston Cello Quartet presents their NEC Prep faculty recital. The program will feature world premieres by Paul Wiancko and Mike Block, as well as other selections

Harpist Franziska Huhn
January 22 on 8 p.m.
Presented by the Boston University School of Music at the Boston University Concert Hall, 855 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA

An evening of chamber music with Christina English, Daniel Dona, and Vanessa Holroyd. Works performed by Godefroid, CPE Bach, Debussy, Takemitsu, and Wallace. This event is free and open to the public.

The Complete Ives Violin Sonatas
January 26 at 8 p.m.
Presented by Celebrity Series at Jordan Hall/New England Conservatory 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA

“A thought-provoking, multi-faceted, and compelling artist, pianist Jeremy Denk joins with Stefan Jackiw, one of his generation’s most significant violinists, to play Charles Ives’ complete sonatas for violin and piano in a fresh, re-imagined format.”

Pianist Pi-Hsien Chen
January 27 at 8 p.m.
Presented by the Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts at Jordan Hall/New England Conservatory, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA

On the program: W. A. Mozart’s Fantasie c-Minor KV 475 and Sonata c-Minor KV 457;
Arnold Schoenberg’s Five pieces, Op. 23; Pierre Boulez’s Third Sonata (1962); Lei Liang’s My Windows; Franz Schubert’s Sonata E-flat Major D 568.

ReSoundings IV: Sit inside the music!
January 27 at 8 p.m.
At the Emmanuel Church/Lindsey Chapel, 15 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
January 28 4 p.m.
At Eliot Church, 474 Centre Street, Newton, MA

Cappella Clausura presents a “dance-theater experience disguised as a concert.” The musicians will “chant, sing, and move around you with a parade of music from the 12th to the 21st centuries by Hildegard von Bingen, Vittoria/Raffaella Aleotti, Arvo Pärt, Francisco Guerrero, Ambrosian and Florentine chant, and more.”

— Susan Miron

Around Hear presents Die Winterreise
January 22 at 5:30 pm
Mystic Learning Center, 530 Mystic Ave. Somerville, MA

This performance of Franz Schubert’s 1827 song cycle (words by poet Wilhelm Müller) features mezzo soprano Jazimina MacNeil and an all-Somervillian string quartet: Marji Gere & Shadwa Mussad, violin; Lila Brown, viola; and Patrick McGuire, cello. Originally scored for piano and high voice, Around here is using an imaginative strings-plus-low voice arrangement by Richard Krug, cellist of the Copenhagen String Quartet. Translations of Müller’s German poetry into English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Haitian Creole will be available. Hot cocoa and tea served pre-concert; there will be a free pizza dinner, post-concert!

— Tim Jackson

Rock, Pop, & Folk

Lloyd Cole
January 1​8​ (doors at 6, show at 8)​
City Winery, Boston, MA

Buxton, England native and longtime Easthampton, MA resident Lloyd Cole built his reputation as a unique singer-songwriter when he fronted The Commotions in the mid- to late-1980s. Since 1990, he has released a dozen solo albums that reflect his interest in everything from alternative to folk to electronica.

Alejandro Escovedo with Chris Stamey
January 21​ (doors at 6, show at 8)​​
City Winery, Boston, MA

San Antonio native Alejandro Escovedo spent the 70s performing in Los Angeles, San Francisco (where his band opened for the Sex Pistols), and New York. In the early 80s, he left NYC with the band Rank and File for Austin, where he and his brother Javier formed the True Believers in 1983. Six years after after his 1992 debut, the roots rock publication No Depression named Escovedo Artist of the Decade. Despite a couple of health scares, the current millennium has seen the release of some of his most critically acclaimed albums, including 2016’s Burn Something Beautiful. Escovedo’s City Winery show will include a opening set by his Yep Roc lablemate Chris Stamey, a founder of the power pop legends Sneakers and the dB’s who also has an impressive resume as a solo artist and producer.

Tennis with Overcoats
January 21 (doors at 7, show at 8)
Royale, Boston, MA​

Tennis is a husband-and-wife duo from Denver whose sound and style are as unapologetically retro as their website menu. Of their 2017 album, Yours Conditionally, Tim Sendra of AllMusic wrote, “It makes for an album that’s punchy and sharp, still influenced by classic pop/rock song structures and recognizable to fans of Buddy Holly or the Shirelles … They also dish out a couple impressive takes on Carole King-style swooning soft rock balladry….” (Tennis also released an EP last year called We Can Die Happy, the contents of which Sendra described as “ultra poppy, chiming and bubbling like sunshine on a crappy day.”)

Destroyer​ with Mega Bog
January 24​ (​doors at 8, show at 9)​
The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA

Prolific singer-songwriter Dan Bejar has been appearing on albums on a more-or-less annual basis for more than twenty years. As a member of The New Pornographers, he wrote three songs on six of the band’s seven albums. As leader of Destroyer, he has written and sung everything on their 12 LPs, invariably drawing comparisons to David Bowie and Robyn Hitchcock. Destroyer is currently touring in support of their latest album, last October’s ken.

The Posies with Reindeer
January 26​ ​(doors at 6, show at 8)​​
City Winery, Boston, MA

Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow recorded some of the better power pop of the early 1990s as the songwriters for The Posies. The duo’s bona fides were further solidified when they later joined Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens in a reunited version of the exalted 1970s band Big Star. Although new releases have been few and far between, The Posies have remained active in the new millennium, having released Solid States in 2016. Join Auer and Stringfellow at the City Winery on January 26 to sing along to familiar songs and be pleasantly surprised by what you might hear for the first time.

– Blake Maddux

Author Events

Art Levine
Mental Health, Inc
January 16 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA

“A no-holds-barred call to action for America’s broken mental health system, by a prize-winning investigative journalist. This is a comprehensive look at mental health abuses and dangerous, ineffective practices, pointing toward a system for effective and compassionate care.”

Megan Mitchell
Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast
January 17 at 7 p.m.
Newtonville Books, Newton Centre MA

Elizabeth Bishop only published about a hundred poems in her lifetime, but she is revered among American versifiers. Marshall won the Pulitzer Prize for biography for her biography of Margaret Fuller, so she is skilled at understanding underrated literary women. She will read from her acclaimed account of the life of a poet whose requested epitaph was “the loneliest person who ever lived.”


Celebrating the Denis Johnson’s The Largesse of the Sea Maiden
Readings by Mona Awad, Jeff Parker, Stuart Nadler, and Heidi Pitlor.
January 19 at 7 p.m.
Newtonville Books, Newton Centre MA

Hosted by Christopher Boucher, Newtonville Books celebrates the posthumous publication of the legendary author Denis Johnson’s final novel, The Largesse of the Sea Maiden. Several local novelists will gather to take turns reading from his intriguing final manuscript.

Denise DuBois
Self-Made Woman: A Memoir
January 22 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA

Denise’s memoir was born a boy in working-class Milwaukee family, and dreamed of transitioning into a boy, but had no encouragement or social support to help her get there. Her life hit a long patch of bumpy road that stretched across the world that led her to becoming an actress, businesswoman, and environmentalist happily living in Portland, Oregon.

Henry Rollins
Travel Slideshow
January 24 at 8 (Doors open at 7:30)
The Wilbur, Boston MA
Tickets range from $25 to $160 for V.I.P.

Rollins wears many hats — he’s a bona fide punk pioneer, a poet, an actor, and activist. It should come as no surprise that he’s also a passionate traveler. He’s adventured through over a hundred countries and over all seven continents. The Arts Fuse recently caught up with him while he was on the road — in just over a week he’ll be in Boston, talking about his personal collection of snapshots from his journeys abroad.

Ken Stern
Republican Like Me: How I Left the Liberal Bubble and Learned to Love the Right
January 25 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA

Stern is the former CEO of NPR and watched the political polarization of America with growing concern. Realizing that not only did he live in a liberal district but that he literally didn’t know any conservatives, he decided to take a year to travel to red state America and get to know people on the right. He shot hogs, went to church, participated in a NASCAR race, and read up on conservative ideology. He found that he appreciated the conservative philosophy more than he expected to. Stern he will read from the chronicle in Cambridge — which will no doubt appreciate hearing about conservatism.

Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
How Democracies Die
January 31 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA

After the election of Donald Trump, lots of people have started to wonder about democracy’s ability to survive — is it in peril? Two Harvard professors of government say yes. They have done decades of research on authoritarian governments, and see  the slow erosion of institutions and the disregard for political norms as real danger signs.

— Matt Hanson

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