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
The Great Silence
through May 21
The Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
A restoration of this great 1968 revisionist Spaghetti Western. The Italians had no interest in heroism; their westerns flourished in an era seething with cynicism and contempt for government. Having supposedly already acted on his oath to take vengeance on the monsters that sacked his homestead and slaughtered his family, Silence (Jean-Louis Trintignant) roams the West seeking to right wrongs through further acts of violence. He’s a specter feared as much as the next hard case that storms into town on horseback. Klaus Kinski is the demon, a walking, talking nightmare draped in a woman’s shawl clamped to his noggin with a too-big cowboy hat. “This is not a sweeping epic. It’s a claustrophobic horror filled with anger at your audacity to purchase a movie ticket.” (Film School Rejects)
She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA
The Wide Lens discussion series presents a film that resurrects the buried history of the outrageous, often brilliant women who founded the modern women’s movement from 1966 to 1971. It is followed a panel discussion with Norma Swenson (co-author of Our Bodies, Ourselves) Sasha Goodfriend (co-president of Mass NOW) and Natalie Sanchez (board president of March Forward Massachusetts) moderated by Janice Page of the Boston Globe.
Boston Calling Film Festival
May 22 – May 24
The Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
Harvard graduate and actress Natalie Portman has curated a series of films that explore the female gaze. These smartly chosen films are directed by both men and women.
Tuesday, May 22:
Lolita – 1962 directed by Stanley Kubrick at 4:15 p.m.
The Holy Girl – 2004 directed by Lucretia Martel at 7:15 p.m.
Diary of a Teenage Girl – 2015 directed by Marielle Heller at 9:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 23:
Jeanne Dielman – 1975 directed by Chantal Akerman at 4:30 p.m.
Belle de Jour – 1967, directed by Luis Buñuel at 8:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 24:
I Am Not a Witch – 2017, directed by Rungano Nyoni at 7:30 p.m.
The Exorcist – 1973 director’s cut, directed by William Friedkin at 9:30 p.m.
Personal Problems (1980)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
This African-American “meta-soap opera” is the result of a collaboration between writer Ishmael Reed and filmmaker Bill Gunn, who wrote and directed the underground classic Ganja & Hess. It is a self-reflexive exploration of African-American life in Harlem has been carefully restored by Kino Lorber. “It’s as if the camera is negotiating with reality, trying to find a place at the characters’ tables. The viewer gets a wide window into African-American life in New York at this time; it’s intimate to the point of awkwardness . . . The movie shows the personal as political while never overtly insisting on the point.” (Glen Kenny) Co-presented with the Roxbury International Film Festival. Trailer
In the Intense Now
through May 31
Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA
This a one-of-a-kind experimental documentary by Brazillian director João Moreira Salles explores four sets of images: footage of the French students’ uprising in May of 1968; images captured by amateurs during the invasion of Czechoslovakia in August of the same year; shots of the funerals of students, workers, and police officers killed during the events of 1968 in the cities of Paris, Lyon, Prague, and Rio de Janeiro; and the scenes that a tourist—the director’s mother—filmed in China in 1966, the year of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. The footage not only dramatizes the emotions of those captured on film, but sets out to sheds light on the complex relationship between a document and its political context. Trailer.
June 1 at 7 p.m. and June 8 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Film Archives, Cambridge, MA
This is an entry in the series “The Complete Visconti, Architect of Neorealism.” The Leopard features a fine performance by Burt Lancaster with Claudia Cardinale and Alain Delon. The film recreates, with nostalgia, drama, and opulence, the tumultuous years of Italy’s Risorgimento—when the aristocracy lost its grip and the middle classes rose and formed a unified, democratic Italy. Link to the Complete Schedule.
June 1 – 14
Somerville Theatre, Davis Square, Somerville, MA
The 50th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 sci-fi masterpiece will be screened in a brand new 70mm print struck from a newly-made internegative using the original photochemical method. This is one of only five in existence. Audiences who originally came to 2001 expecting a sci-fi movie got, instead, an essay on time and existence. If you have never seen the film, this is the only way to really watch this stunningly beautiful and enigmatic masterpiece of visionary filmmaking. Complete Schedule and Tickets
— Tim Jackson
May 24-June 10
Boston Opera House
Boston Ballet’s 2017-18 season culminates with a program showcasing Danish choreographer August Bournonville’s romantic and sorrowful tale of La Sylphide, paired with the Bournonville Divertissements, a rarely-performed series of excerpts from his classic repertory.
The Journey 無盡旅程 (http://cfawboston.org)
Sunday, May 27 at 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Casey Theater at Regis College
Chinese Folk Art Workshop, Inc. presents its annual show, The Journey. Featuring the grace, beauty, and power of Chinese folk arts, The Journey promotes stories of perseverance and conquering obstacles that result in a life well-lived.
June 1 & 2 at 8 p.m.
Tsai Performance Center
Urbanity Dance highlights the works of six celebrated female choreographers in its season finale performance, featuring athletic and contemporary new works by well-known dance artists Camille A. Brown, Lorraine Chapman, Chantal Doucett, Betsi Graves, Jackie Nowicki, and Nailah Randall-Bellinger.
Cambridge River Arts Festival
Saturday, June 2 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
East Cambridge Waterfront (along the DCR Cambridge Parkway & Lechmere Canal Park)
Head to the Cambridge Arts River Festival for a full day of live music, dance, poetry, visual arts, and theater along the beautiful waterfront. This annual free and outdoor event provides its festival-goers with opportunities to participate in family oriented art-making activities, artist-led demonstrations, and innovative public artworks, while sampling an array of specialty and international foods.
— Merli V. Guerra
Sculptors on Paper
through August 19
Childs Gallery, 169 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
Offering a taste of the unexpected, this gallery exhibition presents lesser known, two-dimensional works from several respected artists who are have been recognized for their brilliance in sculpture. The works range from Alexander Calder’s whimsical compositions of playful shapes and color to Louise Nevelson’s dark monochromatic prints: it is fascinating to see how their ideas transfer onto paper.
May 9 through August 26
Fontene Demoulas Gallery, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA
This enthralling exhibition from New York based artist Kevin Beasley highlights an up-and-coming voice in the art scene. Created over the last five years, these diverse sculptures and installation works combine sound and clothing. This is a haunting exploration of personal memories and lived experiences that intersect with larger discussions of power and race in America. Various found materials — clothes pins, studio debris, musical equipment, do-rags, and shredded t-shirts and jerseys — are ingeniously incorporated into his dense, residually spiritual creations.
Carrie Crane: Becoming Truth
through May 26
ArtsWorcester, 660 Main Street, Worcester, MA
This local talent has turned her perplexing analytical practice in upon itself. For several years she has created fictional, enigmatic, two-dimensional works suggestive of factual maps, graphs, and diagrams. For this exhibition, she has taken her practice of fanciful analyzation a step further, bringing new complexity to the questions she asks about making. Her “ambiguous instruments of measure” are assembled from assorted found and acquired materials. After making these curious speculative objects in her studio, Carrie invited other creative thinkers (ranging from poets, artists, and curators, to chemists and engineers) to conjure up their own narratives around their use and function.
Jennifer Packer: Tenderheaded
through July 8
Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, 415 South Street, Waltham, MA
This must-see exhibition explores the space between figuration and abstraction, a popular area for examination in contemporary painting. The work, inspired by memory and improvisation, both reflects a rigorous study in art history as well as an investigation into how black bodies are represented in today’s political landscape. In her show, Packer juxtaposes paintings of funeral flowers with emotionally charged, gesturally rendered portraits of personal friends and acquaintances — several of which gaze directly at the viewer.
Maia Lynch: In Between
Through September 16
Eunice and Julian Cohen Galleria and the Lisbeth Tarlow and Stephen Kay Art Wall (Gallery 268), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Appropriately titled, this exhibition sits “In between past and present, fixed and unfixed.” It interrogates such fragile ideas as the center versus the periphery, the state of being unfixed, and the experience of belonging to multiple communities. Lynch’s formally complex and layered color field gouache paintings express a state of disembodiment that comes from “a sense of belonging to two different places that cannot be physically or psychologically reconciled.” She created the work after receiving a SMFA traveling fellowship from Tufts University and visiting her mother’s birthplace in the smallest of Japan’s islands, Shikoku.
The Art of Alexander Gassel
through January 6
Museum of Russian Icons, 230 Union Street, Clinton, MA
Drawing on a playfully colorful palette, these surrealist paintings energetically blend the new and the traditional. Contemporary Moscow-born painter Alexander Gassel offers a nuanced melding of ancient Russian iconography with contemporary subjects drawn from his own cultural heritage and experiences living in America. He takes inspiration from the banned artists of his childhood, work of painters he remembers seeing secretly stashed away in the storage areas of Soviet Museums, Marc Chagall, Wassily Kandinsky, and Kazimir Malevich among them.
History of the Future: A Group Exhibition of Art and Technology
May 26 to July 1
Boston Cyberarts, 9 Myrtle Street, Jamaica Plain, MA
This forward-thinking gallery sent out a call for provocative, visually engaging work that pairs art and technology. Strong submissions flooded in from an internationally diverse range of artists from Singapore to Switzerland, as well as some from local Bostonians. In fact, there were so many compelling submissions that a sequel to this show is planned for the Fall. The complex and playful works on display include video art, book art, immersive 360° virtual reality experiences, mechanized sound sculptures, digital holograms, iOS apps, and more. A personal favorite — Hye Yeon Nam’s “Invisible” — takes the form of a mechanized sculpture that prints out derogatory racial slurs and then uses its robotic hand to cut and discard them into a pile of offensive phrases for viewers to sift through on the ground.
BRYAN MCFARLANE: Like the Weather
May 31 through July 13
Gallery NAGA, 67 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
Boston resident and Jamaican-born artist Bryan McFarlane has put together an exhibition of his large scale paintings which should be a worthwhile stop. Methodically layered strokes of expressive impasto, made up of a unique palette of grays and muted neutrals, are interrupted by curious swathes of pastel. These transfixing expressionist paintings generate intimations of movement and turbulence, pointing to the tension prevalent in today’s changing climate.
Mizusashi: Japanese Water Jars from the Carol and Jeffrey Horvitz Collection
June 1 through December 14
Fairfield University Art Museum, 1073 North Benson Road, Fairfield, CT
A unique chance to take a step into another culture. This exhibition of sixteen mizusashi — sacred vessels used to store the water for replenishing the tea pot during Japanese chanoyu tea gatherings — is generously on loan from Carol and Jeffrey Horvitz. The Horvitz collection of Japanese ceramics is among the most impressive in the US. The show is made up of varying interpretations of the water jar crafted by 20th century as well as contemporary artists. Examples of the new-fangled and the traditional are present: there are shimmering glazes and coatings of expressive brush strokes, simple columnar and rounded forms as well as instances of the organic.
Allison Katz: Diary w/o Dates
through July 29
MIT List Visual Arts Center, 20 Ames Street, Cambridge, MA
A fascinating investigation into the relationship of painting and time. The show explores self-portraiture, warping the clock, and playing with ideas of memory and projection. This is the first solo exhibition in the US for Canadian-born, London-based contemporary artist Allison Katz. In her work “Katz sees a resemblance between the structured intervals of time and the physical constraints of a painting. She plays within the borders of each — the cells of the day, week, and months in a year and the four stretcher-bars that determine the limits of a painting — letting that which is beyond the grid encroach.”
– Aimee Cotnoir
McMullen Museum of Art, Daley Family and Monan Galleries
through June 3
Boston College, 2101 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston MA
Jun is a Chinese painter from the Shandong Province (near the sacred Mount Tai), a place historically associated with such religious traditions as Taoism and Confucianism. Jun’s aesthetic approach is firmly rooted in traditional Chinese aesthetics, but it also takes considerable inspiration from the painters of the New York School, such as Jackson Pollock and Helen Frankenthaler. Jun’s painting isn’t just dedicated to depicting nature — it embodies it through the stroke of a brush or a swirl of color. As the Boston Globe put it in a rave review of the show: “his stance insists he be awake to nature twice: imbibing it, and expressing it.”
— Matt Hanson
Top Girls by Caryl Churchill. Directed by Liesl Tommy. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Huntington Avenue Theatre, Boston, MA, through May 20.
Yet another revival of Churchill’s venerable 1982 play. It will be interested to see if the script holds up today. “Career-driven Marlene has just landed the top job at a London employment agency” in a play about “the sacrifices required to be a ‘top girl’ in a man’s world.” Arts Fuse review
The Women Who Mapped the Stars by Joyce Van Dyke. Directed by Jessica Ernst. Staged by the Nora Theatre Company (the inaugural production in The Brit d’Arbeloff Women in Science Production Series. A Catalyst Collaborative@MIT Production) at the Central Square Theatre, Cambridge, MA, through May 20.
The world premiere of a script (part of what seems to be a series of similar stage narratives) that tells “the untold story of brave women in science who paved the way for previously impossible advances in astronomy.” “Late 1800s, Harvard College Observatory. ‘Computers’ – women employed for half a man’s salary to analyze astronomic data — show us that the universe is larger than we ever dreamed. The thrilling story of five women who changed the way astronomers saw the universe – from scientist to scientist and generation to generation.” Arts Fuse review
Allegiance Book by Mark Acito, Jay Kuo & Lorenzo Thione. Music and Lyrics by Jay Kuo. Directed by Paul Daigneault. Music Direction by Matthew Stern. Choreography by Ilyse Robbins. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage Company at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, through June 2.
“Inspired by the true childhood experience of TV/film actor and social media icon George Takei (Mr. Sulu on Star Trek), this musical tells the story of the Kimura family, whose lives are upended when they and 120,000 other Japanese-Americans are forced to leave their homes following the events of Pearl Harbor.”
Two Jews Walk into a War… by Seth Rozin. Directed by Will LeBow. (Music consultation by Hankus Netsky, Klezmer Conservatory Band) Staged by the New Repertory Theatre in the Mainstage at the Mosesian Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA, through May 20.
“What do you do if you’re the last two Jews in Afghanistan? You re-write the Torah, of course! Ishaq and Zeblyan are on a mission to save Judaism in Kabul by rebuilding their synagogue and keeping the faith alive, but only if they don’t kill each other first.” A two-man show starring Jeremiah Kissel and Joel Colodner.
Jagged Little Pill Music by Alanis Morissette & Glen Ballard. Lyrics by Alanis Morissette. Book by Diablo Cody. Music Supervision, Orchestrations, and Arrangements by Tom Kitt. Choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Directed by Diane Paulus. Staged by the American Repertory Theater at the Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA, through July 15.
This world premiere musical features “an original story inspired by the themes and emotions laid bare in Alanis Morissette’s Grammy Award-winning album that introduced beloved anthems, including “Ironic,” “You Oughta Know,” and “Hand In My Pocket.” The narrative follows a family grappling with uncomfortable truths about many of the urgent issues deeply affecting our communities and our world today.” Book by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno).
The Last Act by Joshua Sobol. Directed by Guy Ben-Aharon. Staged by Israeli Stage at Martin Hall at the Calderwood Pavilion, 527 Tremont St, Boston, MA, through June 1.
“Theatre should be dangerous, or else it should not be!” snarls a character in this script by Israeli playwright Joshua Sobol. No argument here. “This fiery, sexy drama portrays the Palestinian-Israeli conflict with a play on Strindberg’s Miss Julie. Billed as an “intensely potent combination of Israeli culture, political firestorm, and human emotion.” The production features Marianna Bassham and Craig Mathers.
Madame Defarge by Wendy Kesselman. Directed by Ellie Heyman. Staged by the Gloucester Stage Company, 267 Main Street, Gloucester, MA, through June 2.
The world premiere of a musical that presents “a passionate re-imagining of Charles Dickens’ infamous Madame Defarge. Set against the turmoil of the French Revolution, two men similar in face but separate in fate weave a story of sacrifice and salvation all driven by Madame Thérèse Defarge battling oppression with longings for love, freedom, justice, and revenge.” Featuring Benjamin Evett and Jennifer Ellis.
The Plague, the novel by Albert Camus, adapted for the stage by Neil Bartlett. Directed by Daniel Boudreau. Staged by Praxis Stage at the Dorchester Art Project, 1486 Dorchester Ave, Boston, MA, May 11 through 20 and at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre 949 Commonwealth ave, Boston, MA, through May 27.
The Boston premiere of a British adaptation of Albert Camus’s novel. “Using just five actors, this frank stage version uses Camus’ original words to put chaos under a microscope and to find hope in the power of our common humanity.” This version had its world premiere at Arocla Theatre in London in 2017. Arts Fuse preview and review.
The Wiz, Book by William F. Brown. Music and Lyrics by Charlie Smalls. From the story “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum. Directed by Dawn M. Simmons. Music Director, Allyssa Jones. Choreography by Jean Appolon. Staged by Lyric Stage Company of Boston at 40 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA, through June 24.
“A soulful retelling of L. Frank Baum’s beloved The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” this musical (Winner of 7 Tony Awards, including Best Musical & Best Score) “combines fairy-tale glamour with street smarts to make a classic fantasy sparkle for today.”
Brokelahomo musical comedy by Ryan Landry. Staged by the Gold Dust Orphans, at MACHINE, 1254 Boylston Street, Boston, MA, through May 27.
Another wild and wacky parody from Landry and company:”Brokelahomo is a town in trouble. Overrun by dirty, outlaw gays, the few law abiding citizens left must spend their days dodging bullets, putting out church fires and fearing for their pets lives. That is until a heterosexual is sent for. Enter Dusty Rhodes, the unlikely hero of this far out fable set in the groovy 1880s!”
Sex and Other Disturbances by Marisa Smith. Directed by Nadia Tass. Staged by Portland Stage, 25A Forest Ave, Portland, ME, through May 20.
The world premiere of a script that promises to add a new twist to your standard comic sex romp: “Instead of a strong male gaze aimed at a female ingénue, we see Sarah, a woman in middle age, gazing at a younger man in her acting classes and dishing about it with her best friend Ruth. As Sarah contemplates an affair, she and Ruth must negotiate how this will affect their relationship. When your friendship has been through it all: school, boyfriends, husbands, children, the works— what happens when a little fling threatens to change everything?” Arts Fuse review
The Chronic Single’s Handbook, written and performed by Randy Ross. In a Somerville, MA location (check the website) through September 22.
Novelist and fringe festival veteran Randy Ross was among the Bostonians selected by Airbnb to offer “high quality experiences” to visitors and residents of the Boston area. He is performing this piece in his living room — which gives a whole new meaning to ‘intimate’ theater. “The show: A chronically-single guy takes a trip around the world hoping to change his luck with love. An unflinching look at how men feel about sex, love, marriage, and massage parlors. Adult situations, adult language, and more adult situations including a visit to a body spa named “The Curious Finger.””
Elephant by David Gow. Directed by Stephen McLaughlin and Elizabeth Freeman. Staged by Storm Warnings Repertory Theatre at Storm Warnings Theatre (Brick Store Museum Performing Arts Center), 117 Main Street, Kennebunk, Maine, through May 27.
“When Norma and Jonathan arrive at Sandra and Art’s New York City apartment for dinner with a bottle of truth serum wine, the four begin an evening that will change their lives. While these intellectuals and longtime friends are accustomed to an evening of good-natured verbal sparring, tonight the cat will be let out of the bag… The question is, what will they do about the elephant in the room?” Arts Fuse review
Fall by Bernard Weintraub. Directed by Peter DuBois. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Huntington’s Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, through June 26.
World Premiere production of a script “that tells the true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Arthur Miller’s secret son Daniel, his child with third wife, Inge Morath. Born with Down syndrome, Daniel was institutionalized, and his existence was never acknowledged by his parents.” The play “explores the fascinating dichotomy of Miller’s life with Morath (the couple also had a daughter, Rebecca) and the divide between their public personae and their private lives.” Arts Fuse preview
Heritage Hill Naturals by Francisca Da Silveira. Directed by Directed by Phaedra Michelle Scott. Staged by Fresh Ink Theatre at Deane Hall, The Standford Calderwood Pavilion at Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, through May 26.
A script about the dark side of doing the right thing. “In an effort to avoid confronting her declining mental health, recent college graduate Lucilia volunteers a month of free labor to an organic farm in rural Georgia. There, she encounters ignorance bordering on racism, religious fanaticism, and too healthy eating habits that force her to question whether escaping into a world of green living was really an escape at all.”
The Villains’ Supper Club by Lila Rose Kaplan. Directed by Sean Daniels. Staged by Merrimack Repertory Theatre at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre, 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA, through May 20.
The comic book inspired plot stars “Galactic Girl, the world’s last living superhero—who is on her first day back from maternity leave.” “Kapow! Galactic Girl fights off multiple dastardly villains, including their tiny vicious leader, The Boss. Woosh! She’s home in time to feed her baby and maybe even feed herself. When the last superhero on earth is also a new mom, there’s no time to lose! Can she save the planet and call back the pediatrician? Or will she fall victim to her arch rival’s nefarious schemes? In a twist, the first half of the play is told from a traditional male comic book perspective with high heels and suggestive clothing; in the second act, Galactic Girl takes control of her own story, choosing her no-nonsense pediatrician as the narrator.” Arts Fuse review
Red Velvet by Lolita Chakrabarti. Directed by Bryn Boice. Staged by O.W.I. (Bureau of Theatre) at the Plaza Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts South End Campus, Boston, MA, May 30 through June 16.
A historical drama with a current racial issues in mind: “It’s like being at a crossroads – a point of absolute, unequivocal change. It makes the blood rush. Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, 1833. Edmund Kean, the greatest actor of his generation, has collapsed on stage whilst playing Othello. A young black American actor has been asked to take over the role. But as the public riot in the streets over the abolition of slavery, how will the cast, critics and audience react to the revolution taking place in the theatre?”
Calendar Girls, based on the Miramax Motion Picture by Juliette Towhidi and Tim Firth. Directed by Nancy E. Carroll. Staged by the Greater Boston Stage Company at 395 Main Street, Stoneham, MA, May 31 through June 17.
Billed as ” a delightful, heartfelt comedy based on the true story of eleven English Ladies Club members who posed nude for a calendar to raise money for the Leukemia Research Fund.” The cast features Boston luminaries Maureen Brennan, Sarah deLima, Mary Potts Dennis, Kerry A. Dowling, Jade Guerra, Michael Kaye, Karen MacDonald, Sean McGuirk, Cheryl McMahon, Nael Nacer, Kathy St. George, and Bobbie Steinbach.
After Grace by Cary Crim. Directed by Regge Life. Staged by Shakespeare & Company in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, 70 Kemble Street, Lenox, MA, May 24 through July 15.
The New England premiere of an “unconventional new comedy tackling love, loss, and second chances.”
Cold Blood by choreographer Michèle Anne De Mey and filmmaker Jaco Van Dormael. Staged by Astragales. Presented by ArtsEmerson at the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston, MA, May 30 through June 3.
“Is there life before death? That’s the big question posed by this completely unexpected, mesmerizing show from the troupe behind ArtsEmerson’s 2013 word-of-mouth phenomenon, Kiss & Cry . Utilizing that same theatrical magic — cinematic techniques, miniature sets, dancing hands and a poetic voice-over — Cold Blood cycles through a series of different lives (and deaths) in a hypnotic dream-like state. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry — you’ll never look at your hands the same way again. Join us for a celebration of life, the senses, love and the final moments of light.”
Typhoid Mary by Mark St. Germain. Directed by Matthew Penn. Staged by Barrington Stage at the St. Germain Stage at the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 36 Linden Street, Pittsfield, MA, May 23 through June 16.
Another historical drama, this time of a notorious villain: “the true story of Mary Mallon, known better as Typhoid Mary. As one of the most infamous women in America, she was incredibly stubborn, ambitious, and in fierce denial of any wrongdoing.”
GAY SHORTS: We Are Family. Seven plays by various hands. Staged by Open Theatre Project at Club Cafe, Boston, MA, May 24 through June 2.
For the second year in a row OTP presents “an evening of short plays by, for, and with LGTBQ artists from all walks of life. These 7 short plays will explore the in’s and out’s of the LGTBQ family.” Dramatists include Rhea MacCallum, Nick Malakhow, Patrick Gabridge, Sam Lasman, Ingrid Oslund, Ken Preuss, Scott Mullen, and George Smart.
dadamobile, a series of guerrilla performances, presented by Mobius, featuring Day de Dada Art Nurses, June 5 through 9. Check the website for locations and times.
“Day de Dada Art Nurses provide their art health procedures to open-minded voluntary patients, ready for an unconventional experience at these farmers markets”:
Tuesday (6/5) : Copley Square: noon-2pm Dewey Square: 4-6pm.
Wednesday (6/6) : Davis Square: noon-2pm Score making workshop & meet and greet Midway Studios 6-9pm 15 Channel Center St
Thursday (6/7) : Dewey Square: noon-2pm.
Friday (6/8) : Copley Square: noon-2pm.
Saturday (6/9) : Union Square, Somerville : 11am-1pm
These performances will be accompanying by a 30-day (June 1-30) online blog, dadaglobe, modelled after Tristan Tzara’s DADAGLOBE.
Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Christopher Hampton, adapted from the 1782 novel of the same title by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner. Presented by the Nora Theatre at the Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA, May 31 through July 1.
Gardner helmed a production of the play in Washington DC with an all-male cast. She brings that concept to this revival: notions of gender politics are skewed when the sexual, amoral, manipulative games in this script are envisioned through new eyes. Content Warning: Full nudity. Sexual content. Suggested age: 18 and over.
— Bill Marx
Phillip Golub Presents . . . Early Jazz & Free Music
May 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.
Here’s the most intriguing billing of the week: “Two groups of (mostly) graduating NEC students play the music of Anthony Braxton, King Oliver, Albert Ayler, Jelly Roll Morton, and more.” Shouldn’t it always be like this? The ensembles have been coached by NEC master teachers Anthony Coleman and Joe Morris. The players include Eric Stilwell, Raef Sengupta, Alex Quinn, Andres Abenante, Laila Smith, Mario Fabrizio, Zachary Lavine, David Ling, and pianist/emcee Phillip Golub.
Wallace Roney Quintet
May 25 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
Roney was tapped early on as a protégé of Miles Davis, and he and his bands still burn with that vintage Miles fire. That latest edition includes tenor saxophonist Emilio Modeste, pianist Oscar Williams, bassist Curtis Lundy, and drummer Kojo Roney (son of saxophonist Antoine Roney and Wallace’s nephew).
Renee Rosnes Quartet
May 26 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
The superb pianist Renee Rosnes has her own fleet take on the post-bop tradition — bright and swinging, but with her own ruminative inflections. Her band in Boston will be vibist Steve Nelson, bassist Peter Washington, and drummer Carl Allen.
Yoko Miwa Trio
June 1 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
Pianist Yoko Miwa’s touch, warmth, and lyricism have made her a favorite on the Boston scene for the past decade. Miwa has earned a following through her recordings (2017’s Pathways was a standout) and her weekly brunch and dinner gigs around town, but her club dates are always special, giving her trio (with bassist Brad Barrett and Scott Goulding) a chance to stretch out — or as she likes to say, “Go for it!”
June 1 at 8 and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
J.D. Allen has long been one of the preeminent tenormen on the scene — brains, brawn, and sheer soul. His longtime trio has included Gregg August and the drummer Rudy Royston, with guitarist Liberty Ellman sometimes making for a quartet. Allen is releasing a new all-ballad album Love Stone, later this month. His band for this gig has Noah Jackson on bass and Royston on drums.
Rusty Scott Trio
June 1 at 8 p.m.
Third Life Studio, Somerville, MA
Scott is best known in these parts as a Hammond B-3 specialist with his own trio and with Roomful of Blues, but his CV ranges far and wide, and for this show he’ll focus on acoustic piano and his bebop lineage. Joining him are Keala Kaumeheiwa on bass and Dave Brophy on drums.
Tatsuya Nakatani Ensemble
June 4 at 8:30 p.m.
Outpost 186, Cambridge, MA.
The esteemed avant-garde Japanese percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani is joined by bassist Damon Smith, trombonist Jeb Bishop, trumpeter Forbes Graham, vibist Andria Nicodemou, and alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs.
Pianist and composer Bert Seager continues his ongoing exploration of the tension between form and freedom, informed by an international palette of rhythms and an equally varied band: Cuban-born tenor saxophonist Hery Paz, Boston bassist Max Ridley, and Israeli-American drummer For Herskovits.
— Jon Garelick
Los Van Van
May 20 at 7 p.m.
Somerville Theatre, Somerville, MA
Given the determination of the current occupant of the White House to reverse all the gains of the Obama administration, including its normalization of relations with Cuba, it is all the more remarkable that one of the island’s most influential musical ensembles will be making its first appearance in Boston since 2006. Founded in 1970 by the late bassist Juan Formell and now led by his drummer son Samuel, Los Van Van pioneered a fusion of traditional Cuban son with rock, r&b and funk that they called songo and that (with their contemporaries Irakere and a few others) led the way to the creative explosion that is timba. (Here they are performing in Santiago de Cuba earlier this year.) By all means, catch Los Van Van live while you can–who knows when they’ll be back this way again?
— J. R. Carroll
Revels and Perkins School for the Blind’s 18th annual presentation:
A Celebration of Spring. Directed by Patrick Swanson. Music Direction by Megan Henderson. At the Perkins School for the Blind, 175 North Beacon Street, Watertown, MA, May 31 at 7:30 p.m. Free
Hooray for Spring! Bring the season in with style via a “special one-hour program featuring Perkins’ talented singers with Revels’ adult and children’s choruses, a children’s morris team, and a great band of musicians. Enjoy music and songs from South Africa, Croatia, England, and America, plus a wild visit from that ancient harbinger of spring, the Padstow ‘obby ‘oss, all the way from Cornwall, England!” As you can see by the last item, Revels spares no expense.
— Bill Marx
Roots and World Music
Oak Ridge Boys
Cabot Theater, Beverly, MA
Just as Ray Charles took black gospel into the secular pop charts, these Country Music Hall of Famers turned white country gospel into the solid gold of “Elvira.” An Arts Fuse interview with Oak Ridge bass singer Richard Sterban.
Most of Boston’s museums seem to look at music programming as more of a frill than as a vital part of their mission. Not this funky Waltham museum which, despite its small size, runs three concurrent concert series. The Boiler Room Jazz Series wraps up its spring season with this first-time pairing of Boston-based (but internationally renowned) trumpeter Jason Palmer and Moroccan musician Boujemaa Razgui.
Kayhan Kalhor and Erdal Erzincan
Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA
Some of the finest concerts in World Music/CRASHArts’ long history have been ensembles that featured kamancheh (Persian spiked fiddle) master Kayhan Kalhor, a master of poetic improvisation. Tonight he’ll appear in a duo with the Turkish singer and bağlama (long-necked lute) virtuoso Erdal Erzincan.
Ross Daly and Kelly Thoma
Swedenborg Chapel, Cambridge, MA
These two masters of music from Crete were absolutely astounding when they appeared here last year, return for an encore with an ensemble rounded out by local treasures Tev Stevig and Michael K. Harrist of Çeni Trio. You may have noticed that May 20 is an impossibly busy night in town (and we haven’t even mentioned Cuba’s Los Van Van, which is listed in the jazz picks), so it’s worth noting that earlier in the week Daly and Thoma will also be in Western MA, Vermont, and New Hampshire.
Brighton Music Hall, Brighton, MA
This veteran rough-voiced Louisiana soul and blues man was almost totally unknown until his recent discovery by Dan Auerbach — and he was the only highlight in Auerbach’s otherwise dull show earlier this year at the House of Blues. Now he returns with his own band.
Rodney Crowell Trio
City Winery, Boston, MA
One of the undisputed godfathers of Americana, Texas songwriter Crowell’s writing is as good as it’s ever been. And please note that his mesmerizing live shows don’t happen around these parts very often.
Skippy White’s Gospel Anniversary
Charles AME Church
The legendary Boston record store owner and DJ (recently profiled in an audio documentary co-produced by this writer) celebrates another year of admirable service with an afternoon of gospel. The Singing Pastors of New Jersey are making the journey up and they’ll be joined by many of Boston’s own groups, including the Spiritual Encouragers and Testamony.
Arts at the Armory Cafe, Somerville, MA
What exactly guitarist Joynes means by calling his music “Anglo-Naive” isn’t particularly clear, but there’s no uncertainty that he is an excellent picker who can navigate between folk, blues, African, and experimental styles. This night is a tribute to his fellow British guitarist, the late Davey Graham.
Playing for the Planet
Community Church of Boston, Boston, MA
This series of world music concerts to benefit the environmental advocacy group 350ma.org celebrates its seventeenth edition with one of Boston’s great treasures, the Armenian and Turkish music duo Mal Barsamian and Charles Dermenjian. The eclectic lineup also features Gus LaCasse’s Acadian & Cape Breton fiddling, and a Hindustani performance by vocalist Ramchandra Joshi.
Bishop Harold Branch Anniversary
Global Ministries Christian Church, 670 Washington Street, Dorchester, MA
In 2016 the Arts Fuse profiled Bishop Harold Branch, who has been singing and DJing gospel in Boston since the 1950’s. He’s once again celebrating his anniversary with an afternoon of local gospel groups like Testamony and the Spiritual Encouragers plus the Great Wind Sounds of Trumpets of New Britain, CT.
— Noah Schaffer
Trouble in Tahiti/Arias & Barcarolles
Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
May 20 at 3 p.m.
DCR Steriti Memorial Rink, Boston, MA
BLO joins in the worldwide Bernstein centenary celebration with an enticing double-bill of the one-act satirical opera Trouble in Tahiti and the 1988 song cycle Arias and Barcarolles presented in, of all places, a former ice skating rink in the North End. Marcus Deloach and Heather Johnson play the troubled couple, Sam and Dinah, in Tahiti; BLO music director David Angus conducts.
— Jonathan Blumhofer
West Stockbridge Chamber Players
May 21 at 7 p.m.
At the Lutheran Church of the Newtons, 1310 Centre Street, Newton, MA
Boston Symphony members William Hudgins, clarinet, Sheila Fiekowsky, violin, Daniel Getz, viola, and Oliver Aldort, cello, will join Catherine Hudgins, clarinet, and John Holland, violin, to perform the following program: Crusell’s Rondo for Two Clarinets and Strings; Mozart’s Adagio & Fugue in C Minor K. 546; Bach’s Cello Suite #3 in C Major, BWV 1009; Scriabin’s Romance for Horn and Piano (arranged for clarinet and string quartet); Verdi’s String Quartet E minor.
Lieder and Lovesongs
May 25 through 28
Various cities and times (check the website)
Skylark’s charming program pairs melodies from romantic masters Brahms, Schubert, Debussy, and Saint-Saëns with American songwriters Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael and Irving Berlin.
— Susan Miron
The Guide to Walden Pond: An Exploration of the History, Nature, Landscape, and Literature of One of America’s Most Iconic Places
May 21 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
Spring is finally upon us, which means it’s time to finally get out of the house and maybe take some trips to see some of the places you’ve been reading about all winter. Thoreau’s cabin in Walden Pond is a perfect place to engage with — a location that was immortally described in 1854. Thorson has written the first comprehensive account of the place, complete with illustrations and maps to help make your visit efficient and enjoyable.
Earfull: Celeste Ng and Richard Russo
Little Fires Everywhere and The Destiny Thief
May 22 at 7 p.m.
Mosesian Center for the Arts, Watertown MA
Tickets are $27
Celebrate the coming of spring at the Mosesian Center for the Arts with a series of readings and musical performances. This evening is the first in a series that will last for several weeks; among those featured will be bestselling authors Ng and Russo reading from their latest work along with beloved rock band Vapors of Morphine and alt-chamber music vocalist/harpist/composer Audrey Harrer.
She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity
May 30 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
Investigating genealogy has become quite a trend these days. Between 23 and Me, PBS’s hit series Finding Your Roots, and the popularity of Ancestry.com, people are more interested than ever in the secrets tucked away in their genes. Award-winning science writer Zimmer examines a new way of thinking about our genetic inheritance: “Each of us carries an amalgam of fragments of DNA, stitched together from some of our many ancestors. Each piece has its own ancestry, traveling a different path back through human history. A particular fragment may sometimes be cause for worry, but most of our DNA influences who we are—our appearance, our height, our penchants—in inconceivably subtle ways.”
Alexandra Marzano- Lesnevich
The Fact of a Body: A Murder and A Memoir
May 30 at 7 p.m.
Newtonville Books, West Newton MA
“Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes―the moment she hears him speak of his crimes — she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case. Despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar.”
A Girl Stands at the Door: The Generation of Young Women Who Desegregated America’s Schools
May 31 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
“The struggle to desegregate America’s schools was a grassroots movement, and young women were its vanguard. In the late 1940s, parents began to file desegregation lawsuits with their daughters, forcing Thurgood Marshall and other civil rights lawyers to take up the issue and bring it to the Supreme Court. After the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, girls far outnumbered boys in volunteering to desegregate formerly all-white schools. In A Girl Stands at the Door, historian Rachel Devlin tells the remarkable stories of these desegregation pioneers. She also explains why black girls were seen, and saw themselves, as responsible for the difficult work of reaching across the color line in public schools. Highlighting the extraordinary bravery of young black women, this bold revisionist account illuminates today’s ongoing struggles for equality.”
June 1 at 6:30
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
“Adler shows how LGBT equal rights discourse drives legal advocates toward a narrow array of reform objectives—namely, same-sex marriage, antidiscrimination protections, and hate crimes statutes. This approach means that many legal issues that greatly impact the lives of the LGBT community’s most marginalized members—especially those who are transgender, homeless, underage, or nonwhite—often go unnoticed.”
Michael Eric Dyson
What Truth Sounds Like: Robert F Kennedy, James Baldwin, and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America
June 6 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30)
First Parish Church, Cambridge MA
Tickets are $26.25 with copy of book, $5 without
Professor Dyson is one of America’s most eloquent and insightful commenters on racial matters, and he comes to Cambridge to discuss his latest book, which tells the story of the 1963 meeting between then AG Bobby Kennedy and James Baldwin and the writer’s activist friends to discuss the racial question. The talk was contentious, heated, but ultimately productive — after hearing the impassioned descriptions of racial struggle from Baldwin and his crew, Bobby went from being relatively clueless about race to beginning his journey towards getting woke. Dyson explains this story in the context of America’s still-unsettled conversation about race and its complications.
— Matt Hanson