Coming Attractions: August 14 Through 28 — 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


The Third Murder
through August 15
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge

Hirokazu Kore-eda (Still Walking, After the Storm) directs this measured and patient procedural murder mystery, and there are enough twists and turns in the plot to keep you guessing. Kore-eda grounds this variation on a Rashomon-type story in surprising revelations of character. And he garners excellent performances from Koji Yakusho (Tampopo, 13 Assassins) and Masaharu Fukuyama.

A scene from “Return to Oz” screening at Boston’s MFA.

Return To Oz
August 17 at 8 p.m. / August 18 at 1:30 p.m.
Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

This 1985 film is part of the MFA’s Heroic! series. Directed by Walter Murch (best known as a film editor), the movie stars as Dorothy a young Fairuza Balk (The Craft)  in her acting debut with Piper Laurie (Carrie) as Aunt Em. This effort is a dark departure from the sunny Oz of the original film. The talking rocks, disembodied heads, and costumes (courtesy of Raymond Hughes) — especially the Wheelers, who replace the winged monkeys — make this Oz feel as if it was taking place on another planet.

The Incredible Shrinking Man with Revenge of the Creature
August 21 (Rain Date: August 22) on 8 p.m.
The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, Boston, MA

The Coolidge Corner Theatre presents two B-movie classics from director Jack Arnold. 1957’s The Incredible Shrinking Man will be followed by Creature from the Black Lagoon sequel Revenge of the Creature from 1955. The former is better than your typical escapist fare, from its fabulous rear projection effects to its pantheist, existential monologue conclusion, which blew my 8 year old mind when I first saw it.

Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival
August 23 – 26
Town Hall, The Marquis Theater and Middlebury College
Middlebury, Vermont

The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival focuses on filmmakers early in their careers, with first or second movies under their belt. There will be about 90 features and shorts across all genres, as selected by Artistic Director Jay Craven. Many will be Vermont or New England premieres — including several World Premieres.

— Tim Jackson


Mika & Richard Stoltzman
August 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

Jazz marimba player Mika Stoltzman and her famed husband, classical and crossover recitalist Richard (clarinet) team up with the great jazz bassist Eddie Gomez, pianist Kazunori Maruyama, and drummer Kevin Hiromoto.

Vocalist Karin Allyson will perform at Scullers Jazz Club on August 17. Photo: Ingrid Hertfelder.

Karrin Allyson
August 17 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.

Singer Karrin Allyson is generally known for the incisive way she covers music by others, instrumental as well as vocal (from Rogers & Hammerstein and Brazilian standards to John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, and Miles Davis) and her ability to blend pop and jazz sensibilities. Her new Some of that Sunshine is her first collection of all-originals (with co-writer keyboardist/producer Chris Caswell), with guests like violinist Regina Carter and saxophonist Houston Pearson. The band at Scullers will be Allison playing piano and singing, the fine pianist Bruce Barth (also on Fender Rhodes), bassist Marty Jaffe, and drummer Mark Walker.

Cuban-born trumpet giant Arturo Sandoval comes to the Cabot Theater on August 17. Photo: Manny Iriarte.

Arturo Sandoval
August 17 at 8 p.m.
Cabot Theatre, Beverly, MA.

Cuban-born trumpet giant Arturo Sandoval released “Ultimate Duets” in May, the duo partners including Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams, Placido Domingo, Juan Luis Guerra, and a cast of thousands. Those folks won’t be with him in Beverly. But you can expect him to show up at the Cabot with a solid rhythm section and a Dizzy-ish take on the Afro-Cuban jazz tradition.

August 18 at 7 p.m.
ARTSpace, Mission Hill, Boston, MA.

Two polymath masters of the Boston jazz and world music scene, pianist (and, occasionally, bassist) John Funkhouser and tabla player/percussionist Jerry Leake join forces as Piandia to explore the ragas of North Indian classical music — which means plenty of spellbinding improvisation.

Charlie Kohlhase’s Explorers Club
August 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.

We’ve certainly given Fusical Award-winner Charlie Kohlhase and his longstanding Explorers Club plenty of virtual ink in this space, but this is a particularly good lineup, with a particularly intriguing program. The players are tenor saxophonist Seth Meicht, trombonist Jeff Galindo, tubist Josiah Reibstein, guitarist Eric Hofbauer, bassist Aaron Darrell, drummer Curt Newton, and Kohlhase on alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones. The music will be by Kohlhase, Graham Connah, Elmo Hope, Makanda Ken McIntyre, Roswell Rudd, and John Tchicai. Aside from his authority in his own pieces, Kohlhase was a regular collaborator with Rudd and Tchicai, and is well studied in the rest.

Tickle Juice in action. Photo: courtesy of the artist.

James Merenda & Tickle Juice
August 24 at 8 p.m.
Outpost 186, Cambridge, MA.

Tickle Juice offers up this description: “improvisation meets liquid jazz, Bulgarian reggae, and Michael Jackson at a rock concert, shaken (not stirred) with your local orchestra and resident street musicians.” For us, it’s the post-bop and avant-jazz overview that contains these multitudes. The adept crew at this performance includes mainman James Merenda on alto sax, cornettist Tom Duprey, pianist Vanessa Morris, violinist Maria Gorkun, drummer Miki Matsuki, and either Paul Dilley or Scott Sandvik — or both — on guitar.

— Jon Garelick

Visual Arts

Laurent Hours, Untitled, from the series: “Architecture, Golden, (II).” Ink, acrylic gold leaf, and collage on handmade paper, 8 1/8 x 16 1/2 inches. Photo: courtesy of Childs Gallery.

Laurent Hours: History Imagined
At Childs Gallery, 169 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
August 23 – October 21

Seemingly ‘borrowed’ from a Renaissance collection in a history museum, the small scale works of Laurent Hours present whimsical interpretations of images of ancient cities, mysterious figures, and architectural wonders. Demanding that we suspend our disbelief, his work incorporates detailed drawings done in sepia ink, handwritten notes, handmade papers, and antique stamps.

Born in Paris in 1946, this internationally exhibited artist was steeped in a love of classical art from an early age and spent many hours at the Louvre, where his mother was a curator.

Eight Emerging Artists
At the Steven Zevitas Gallery, 450 Harrison Ave #47, Boston, MA
Through August 25

This small contemporary South End gallery continues to be interested in the cutting edge, this time around exhibiting the work of eight skilled emerging artists: Daniel B Dias, Nasim Hantehzadeh, Natalie Petrosky, SV Randall, Christian Rogers, Mike Shultis, Vaughn Spann, and Kurosh Yahyai.

Berthe Morisot, “The Sisters,” 1869, oil on canvas, Gift of Mrs. Charles S. Carstairs. Photo: The Clark.

Women Artists in Paris, 1850-1900
The Clark, 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA
Through September 3

Showcasing the groundbreaking late nineteenth century paintings of Mary Cassatt, Berthe Morisot, and Rosa Bonheur, among several others, this important exhibition explores the pivotal roles that resilient and determined women artists played in a highly turbulent period of change at a time that Paris’ museums and galleries sat at the center of the art world. These invaluable works reflect the early beginnings of Impressionism and Symbolism; they are also the products of the dismantling of the Salon system. The artists’ subjects varied, but included commentaries on modern day concerns that grew out of the difficulties of surviving as a female painter. Arts Fuse review

Layle Omeran, “Negotiation of Identity — Portraits,” 2017, Resistant Currents, Mills Gallery, Boston Center for the Arts. Photo: Melissa Blackall.

Resistant Currents
At the Mills Gallery, 551 Tremont Street, Boston, MA
Through October 14.

Curated by artist Jeannie Simms, this is a well-timed show featuring seven artists whose lives have embodied the themes of migration, community, and identity. The subjects in the exhibition are wide ranging, from deportation, ICE detention, and national migration policies to protest banners, a Queer electronic zine, and a Dominican barbershop. One particularly energizing work, “Trespassers,” consists of a LED wire installation by Parisian artist Daniel Assayag, who was born in Morocco of Arab and Berber-Jewish heritage. Placed in a darkened room, the installation glows green and red, the colors of the Moroccan flag.

Jenny Holzer: Truisms and Inflammatory Essays
Benjamin Ogilvy Projects, Pictures Efface Walls, 438 Somerville Ave., Somerville, MA
Hours: Saturdays, 12-6 p.m., through August 18.

Contemporary provocateur Jenny Holzer has been using language to break artistic boundaries for over 40 years. This gallery space’s pristine white walls will host selections from her series “Inflammatory Essays.” Her textual compositions on brightly colored paper consisting of 100 words in 20 lines are inspired by the radical ideas of major political figures such as Emma Goldman, Mao Tse-Tung, and Vladimir Lenin. After she completed these works, sometime between 1979 and 1982, they were pasted on walls throughout heavily populated areas of NYC. Passersby were undoubtedly provoked by these loud and astringent words.

BSA Space, Boston Society of Architects/ AIA BSA Foundation, 290 Congress Street, Suite 200, Boston, MA
Through September 23

The creator of Reprogramming the City and the curator of this new, profound exhibition, Scott Burnham states “NatureStructure will present a new model for the relationship design and the built environment can have with nature.” Mankind’s structures and the wilds of the natural world are both vying for the same territory. This show presents designs for several groundbreaking international projects that attempt to find ways for these two forces to coexist. 3D printed reefs and seawalls are created to repopulate Sydney Harbor’s sea life, and a parking garage in Denmark elevates as its base absorbs rainwater overflow.

– Aimee Cotnoir


Roslyn Ruff (Berenice) and Tavi Gevinson (Frankie) in the Williamstown Theatre Festival production of “The Member of the Wedding.” Photo: Daniel Rader.

The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers. Directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch. Staged by Williamstown Theatre Festival on its MainStage, Williamstown, MA, through August 19.

A promising choice for revival: McCullers’ stage adaptation (at the urging of her friend Tennessee Williams) of her 1946 novel. The Broadway production premiered in 1950 and was directed by Harold Clurman; it ran for 500 performances. The New York cast, Brandon De Wilde, Julie Harris, and Ethel Waters, starred in Fred Zinnemann’s 1952 film version. The protagonist is tomboy Frankie Addams, a motherless adolescent neglected by her father and utterly bored with life in small-town Georgia until romantic longing is ignited by her older brother’s wedding. McCullers wrote that the play “is concerned with the weight of time, the hazard of human existence, bolts of chance.” 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.'”

Cato & Dolly by Patrick Gabridge. Presented by the Bostonian Society at the Old State House​, Boston, MA, through September 29.

This script, commissioned specifically for the Old State House’s Through the Keyhole exhibition, “reveals life behind the door of the Hancock House, Governor John Hancock’s 18th ​c​entury Beacon Hill home. In addition to viewing the historic door​ itself, on public view for the first time in decades, ​visitors to Through the Keyhole will experience ​the new 20-minute play which offers a glimpse of everyday life behind the Hancock door through the eyes of those who lived there: ​​Cato Hancock, an enslaved person in the Hancock household and ​Dolly Hancock, John Hancock’s wife and First Lady of Massachusetts​.”

Dark Room by George Brant. Directed by Olivia D’Ambrosio. Staged by Bridge Repertory at the Multicultural Arts Center, 41 Second Street, Cambridge, MA, through August 16.

A play based on the life and art (black and white photography) of Francesca Woodman, a prolific prodigy who died by suicide in 1981 at the age of 22.”This world premiere production will feature an epic cast of 24 women, and original movement devised by Doppelgänger Dance Collective.”

A scene from Double Edge Theatre’s “We The People” Photo: Bill Hughes.

We The People, Double Edge Theatre’s Summer Spectacle, written and performed by Double Edge Theatre, Ashland, MA, through August 19.

“Through this work, the artists of Double Edge examine how to define evolving communities, beyond what is dictated by the loud and often overpowering voices and forces of society. The audience will walk freely between intimate installations where characters from nature, history, and imagination create and inhabit lyrical, integrated worlds. We The People is a traveling rumination on finding freedom through creativity, a profound relationship with the land, and a curiosity and reverence for past generations.” Arts Fuse review

Leftovers by Josh Wilder. Directed by Summer L. Williams. Staged by Company One Theatre at the Strand Theatre, 543 Columbia Road, Boston, MA, through August 18.

“Jalil and Kwamaine just want their family to be “Cosby Show Happy,” but that kind of life doesn’t seem to be in the cards—until an enormous dandelion sprouts in front of their South Philly home and wishes start falling from the sky. Seizing the possibility of no longer feeling like the city’s leftovers, the brothers begin to dream their way out of the cycle of poverty that has governed their lives, and find themselves on an adventure they never could have imagined.”

The Aliens by Annie Baker. Directed by Daniel Elihu Kramer. Staged by the Chester Theatre Company at the Town Hall Theatre, 15 Middlefield Road, Chester, MA, through August 19.

In this play by Baker, an Amherst native, MacArthur Fellow, and Pulitzer Prize winner, “Jasper and KJ have created their own universe behind a local coffee shop. What could these two drop-outs possibly teach 17-year-old Evan about life?”

Humphery Bogart, Bette Davis, and Leslie Howard in the 1936 film version of “The Petrified Forest.”

The Petrified Forest by Robert E. Sherwood. Directed by David Auburn. Staged by the Berkshire Theatre Group at the Fitzpatrick Main Stage, BTG’s Stockbridge Campus, 83 East Main Street, Stockbridge, MA, through August 25.

I am intrigued by this revival of an American play very much of its era. Why now? “A waitress named Gabby Maple, longing for poetry and romance; disillusioned writer Alan Squier; and fugitive killer Duke Mantee sweat out a manhunt with a handful of colorful characters in an Arizona diner.” Humphrey Bogart’s stint as Mantee on the successful Broadway run made him a star. Critic George Jean Nathan was not impressed by the script: It is “a very smart box office show,” its “combination of remarkable intelligence with the most vigorous boom-boom properties of old-time blood and thunder melodrama was irresistible.” But Nathan suspects Sherwood thought he was penning “something pretty tony in the way of a symbolical-philosophical exhibit, even though it did contain four gangsters, three machine guns and two bottles of whiskey.”

The Man of Destiny by George Bernard Shaw. Directed by Gus Kaikkonen. Staged by the Peterborough Players, Peterborough, New Hampshire, August 15 through 26.

Shavians must head to this production — a chance to see a rarely performed play that august critic Eric Bentley believes was written by GBS “as a theatrical exercise for virtuosi.”  The plot: “galvanized by victory over the Austrians, the young Napoleon believes he is invincible. At an Italian inn he meets his match, a mysterious young woman, determined to interrupt his rise to power.” Part of the point, according to Bentley: “… indicating what has not changed. Seeing and hearing people like ourselves (or better) the audience learns that no progress has been made during historical time.” Arts Fuse review

A scene from Off the Grid’s production of “Our Dead Dead Drug Lord.” Photo: courtesy of Off the Grid.

Our Dear Dead Drug Lord by Alexis Scheer. Directed by Rebecca Bradshaw. Staged by Off the Grid Theatre at the Calderwood Pavilion in the Boston Center for the Arts, Roberts Studio Theatre, Boston, MA, August 17 through September 1.

“In this rebellious and cheeky play, a gang of girls engage in normal teenage things: falling in love, experimenting with drugs, worshipping Pablo Escobar…okay, maybe not so normal. Suspended high above reality in a treehouse in Florida, the girls try to resurrect the spirit of Pablo. But are they just messing with each other, or could they actually be messing with a higher spirit?” Note: This play contains strong language and graphic content and is intended for mature audiences. This production includes the smoking of herbal cigarettes and the use of special effects blood. Ages 14+.

This Place/Displaced by Anneke Reich. Staged by Artists’ Theater of Boston at the Charlestown Working Theater, 442 Bunker Hill Street, Charlestown, MA, August 17 through 25.

An evening made up of a collection of new plays on the horrors of gentrification and eviction. What is distinctive that this production is that it is truly rooted our community. (Not an outing for one of the regional theater industry’s ‘flavor of the month’ scripts.) The production pairs local dramatists — Kirsten Greenidge, MJ Halberstadt, and David Valdes Greenwood among them — with Bostonians who have been displaced. The goal: to create scripts based on their experiences.

— Bill Marx

Addie Morales and Will Branner in the Barrington Stage Company production of “West Side Story.” Photo: Daniel Rader.

West Side Story, conception by Jerome Robbins, book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Directed by Julianne Boyd. Musical Direction by Darren R. Cohen. Choreographed by Robert La Fosse. Presented by Barrington Stage Company at the Boyd-Quinson MainStage, Pittsfield, MA, through September 1.

Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins would have celebrated their 100th birthdays this year and Barrington Stage’s production of West Side Story celebrates their genius. For those of us who grew up on the West Side of Manhattan in the 1950s, the musical is a piece of history, commemorating a decade before the construction of Lincoln Center gentrified the neighborhood. At that time gangs fought with switchblades rather than automatic weapons, battling under the West Side Highway rather than in intersections of busy streets. Women and girls wore skirts and stood by their men. The new immigrants in town were Puerto Rican, while previous groups (Irish, Italian, Polish) had not yet fully integrated into American society. Arts Fuse review

— Helen Epstein


Shringara Triveni Dance Theater
August 19 at 3 p.m.
Performing Arts Center, Littleton High School
Littleton, MA

Enjoy an Indian art exhibit, followed by a theatrical experience with Jothi Raghavan & Nrityanjali Dance Company. The evening features traditional Bhartha Natyam dance, regional dances, Indian classical music, and traditional Indian art by the Kalakruti Artists and Color of India.

Summer in the City
August 21 at 7 p.m.
Lechmere Canal Park
Cambridge, MA

The Cambridge Arts Council presents a free outdoor performance in Lechmere Canal Park. Senegal-born, US-based artistic director Papa Sy presents his original style of West African contemporary dance. This creative, hybrid performance combines dance, song, acting, and poetry — there are also suggestions of ’80s French opera in the mix. A free movie screening follows the show, along with an opportunity for audience members to join the company on stage and explore, first hand, the differences between traditional and contemporary West African dance.

Symphonic Dances at the Hatch Shell
August 22 at 8 p.m.
DCR Hatch Memorial Shell
Boston, MA

Landmarks Orchestra celebrates the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein with a night of music and dance. Fun Fact: the celebrated composer made his professional debut as a conductor at the Hatch Memorial Shell. Boston Ballet II and Peter DiMuro’s Public Displays of Motion (along with dancers from throughout the Boston community) plan to rev up the Shell with live dance works that will most likely encourage audience members to get up and move. Bring your dancing shoes.

Paul Taylor 2 Dance Company will perform “Runes” in Rockport, MA on August 24 and 25.

Paul Taylor 2 Dance Company
August 24 & 25 at 8 p.m.
Windhover Performing Arts Center
Rockport, MA

Head to the North Shore to take in Paul Taylor 2 Dance Company, which will be performing four works by the renowned modern choreographer. On the program: Party Mix, 3 Epitaphs, Runes, and Aureole on Windhover’s beautiful outdoor stage — or indoors, in case of bad weather.

— Merli V Guerra

Classical Music

Sounds of the Sea
Presented by Boston Landmarks Orchestra
August 15, 7 p.m.
Hatch Shell, Boston, MA

Music by Ravel, Bernard Hermann, and Debussy’s La mer frame the premiere of Stella Sung’s Oceana. BLO director Christopher Wilkins conducts.

All-Bernstein, All Night
Presented by Tanglewood Music Festival
August 18, 8 p.m.
Koussevitzky Shed, Lenox, MA

Andris Nelsons leads the Boston Symphony in an all-Bernstein concert that begins with a fully-staged performance of Fancy Free (a collaboration with Boston Ballet), continues with the BSO-commissioned Divertimento, and concludes with Baiba Skride playing the Serenade. A prelude concert at 6 includes Bernstein’s last work, Dance Suite.

Leonard Bernstein Memorial Concert
Presented by Tanglewood Music Festival
August 19, 2:30 p.m.
Koussevitzky Shed, Lenox, MA

Yo-Yo Ma joins Andris Nelsons and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra for the annual Bernstein Memorial Concert — this year falling on the actual date of Bernstein’s last-ever concert in 1990 — to play the “Three Meditations” from Mass plus a new piece (for cello, harp, and orchestra) by John Williams. Nelsons conducts further works by Copland and Bartók.

Symphonic Dances
Presented by Boston Landmarks Orchestra
August 22, 7 p.m.
Hatch Shell, Boston, MA

Members from Boston Ballet II and Displays of Motion join BLO for a dance-themed concert of works by Tchaikovsky, Amy Beach, Newcastle, and Leonard Bernstein.

Presented by Tanglewood Music Festival
August 22 and 23, 8 p.m.
Seiji Ozawa Hall, Lenox, MA

Bernstein’s effervescent (if troubled) 1956 show comes to Tanglewood for two fully-staged performances courtesy of The Knights. Miles Mykkanen sings the title role, Sharleen Joynt is Cunegonde; Eric Jacobsen conducts.

Presented by Berkshire Opera Festival
August 25, 28, and 31, 7:30 p.m. (1 p.m. on the 25th)
Colonial Theater, Pittsfield, MA

BOF presents Verdi’s tragedy. Sebastian Catana sings Rigoletto; Maria Valdes is his doomed daughter, Gilda. Brian Garman conducts.

Mahler Three
Presented by Tanglewood Music Festival
August 24, 8 p.m.
Koussevitzky Shed, Lenox, MA

Andris Nelsons leads the Boston Symphony, Susan Graham, and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus in Mahler’s epic Symphony no. 3.

Tanglewood pulls out all the stops to celebrate Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday.

Bernstein Centennial Gala
Presented by Tanglewood Music Festival
August 25, 8 p.m.
Koussevitzky Shed, Lenox, MA

Tanglewood marks LB’s 100th birthday (on the day) in style, with a concert that pulls out every stop, celebrating Bernstein as composer, conductor, teacher, advocate — you name it. There will be music by Bernstein, Copland, Mahler, a new work from John Williams, plus a roster of soloists and orchestra members drawn from far and wide

— Jonathan Blumhofer

Pianist Igor Levit will perform at Tanglewood with the JACK Quartet on August 15. Photo: BSO.

Igor Levit and the JACK Quartet
August 15 at 8 p.m.
Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall, 297 West Street, Lenox MA

On the program: Beethoven’s Variations and Fugue in E-flat, Op. 35, Eroica; Schoenberg’s Ode to Napoleon, Op. 41; Frederic Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated!. “Pianist Igor Levit joins forces with the JACK Quartet — an innovative string quartet dedicated to championing contemporary music — for a program of music with extramusical, sociopolitical connections … concluding the performance is contemporary American composer Frederic Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated!, a 1975 set of piano variations on a protest song from the struggle against Chile’s oppressive Pinochet regime.”

Skyride Quartet
August 16 at 8 p.m.
Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall, 297 West Street, Lenox MA

The program includes: Mahler’s Piano Quartet in A minor; Mozart’s Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, K.47; Brahms’ Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25. “The Skride Quartet visits Tanglewood for a program that begins with Mahler’s rarely heard Piano Quartet in A minor — in actuality a single movement of a piano quartet that was never finished, and the only surviving chamber music by the composer.”

Leonard Bernstein Gala
August 19 at 7 p.m.
The Center for the Arts in Natick
14 Summer Street, Natick MA

Opera del West presents “a centennial celebration of the music of Leonard Bernstein. Featuring songs from Mass, On the Town, Wonderful Town, Peter Pan, The Skin of Our Teeth, West Side Story, Trouble in Tahiti, and featuring a preview of the company’s upcoming production of Candide, which will take place on August 24 and August 25 (Bernstein’s 100th birthday!) at the Boston Center for the Arts.”

Transfigured Night
featuring musicians from A Far Cry
August 25 at 8 p.m.
At the Ellingwood Chapel, 195 Nahant Road, Nahant, MA

The Nahant Historical Society presents a program that features a performance of Arnold Schoenberg’s “masterpiece sextet Verklärte Nacht or Transfigured Night.”

— Susan Miron

Rock, Pop, and Folk

Guitarist Eric Gales will perform on August 16 in Beverly, MA. Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Eric Gales with Seth Rosenbloom
August 16 (doors at 7, show at 8)
9 Wallis, Beverly, MA

In just over one year in business at its eponymous location, Beverly’s 9 Wallis has quickly established a pattern of attracting and re-attracting choice talent. The blues might be the genre in which owners Peter and Vickie Van Ness have been most successful in this regard. Venerable axeman Eric Gales sold-out the venue last July, and the smart money says that he will do so again on Thursday. Waltham native and fellow bluesman Seth Rosenbloom will open the show.

Dave Mason and Steve Cropper
August 16 (doors at 7, show at 8)
The Cabot, Beverly, MA

Beverly, MA might seem like an unlikely place for an embarrassment of live-entertainment riches. However, with 9 Wallis and The Cabot within a few blocks of each other, it is happening fairly often. This Thursday, recent Cabot regular Dave Mason will be joined by legendary guitarist Steve Cropper (click for my interview in the current issue of the Beverly Citizen). Mason is renowned for his work with Traffic in the ’60s, his solo work in the ’70s, and his session work throughout his career. Cropper was a member of Booker T & the MG’s, who played on the countless soul classics that emerged from Stax Records in the ’60s. (The lyric “Play it, Steve!” in Sam & Dave’s “Soul Man” refers to Mr. Cropper.) He, too, has an impressive history of playing on other major artists’ records. Between their respective catalogs, there should be nary a reason for any of the audience members to leave their seats.

Alejandro-Escovedo will be coming to town, no doubt to play songs from his forthcoming album, “The Crossing.” Photo: Nancy-Rankin-Escovedo.

Alejandro Escovedo and Joy Ely
August 19 (doors at 5, show at 7)
City Winery, Boston, MA

Consummate singer-songwriter/guitarist Alejandro Escovedo returns to City Winery on August 19, seven months after he last played the venue. This time he is sure to focus on material from The Crossing, his forthcoming album, which is set for release on September 14. The San Antonio native will be joined by fellow Texan and perhaps even more revered guitarist Joe Ely.

Beach House, a dream pop duo, comes to Boston. Photo: Shawn Blackball.

Beach House with Papercuts
August 24 (doors at 7, show at 8)
House of Blues, Boston, MA

Baltimore dream pop duo Beach House took off quickly and have come a long way since I saw them open for The Clientele at the Museum of Fine Arts in — I think — 2007. However, their indie cred and critical acclaim hasn’t waned one iota as the sizes of the audiences for which they perform have grown. Their tour in support of 7, the latest entry in their 12-year recording career, comes to Lansdowne Street on August 24.

— Blake Maddux

Roots and World Music

Singer Ruby Rose Fox will perform at the Museum of Science Planetarium this week. Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Ruby Rose Fox
August 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Museum of Science Planetarium, Boston MA

Boston’s strong and mighty Fox is always moving forward. Her new LP Salt was recorded with AMSR microphones which create a highly intense experience for listeners with headphones. She’ll be playing material from the album with original visuals projected on the Planetarium.

Petite Feet & Factory Quartet
Aug. 17 from 8-10 p.m.
Arts at the Armory Café, Somerville MA

Petite Feet may specialize in Scott Joplin-style ragtime, but its edgy brand of comedy and performance is anything but retro. The group splits the bill with the trio version of Factory Quartet, a forward thinking jazz combo whose EP title Wynton Was Right is almost surely facetious.

Caribbean Carnival Week
Aug. 23 through 25
Boston, MA

The annual explosion of music, food and color is back as the local Caribbean-American community celebrates its Carnival. The big parade is on Saturday afternoon along Blue Hill Avenue and concludes in Franklin Park. On early Thursday morning the kick-off performance of the wonderful Jouvert will take place, which features only traditional costumes and music. There are always a slew of other events in the days leading up to the official Carnival, including events like the Kiddie Carnival on August 19 and the King and Queen Contest on August 23. Longtime community activist Michael C. Smith’s annual Face Mask Cruise sets sail on Friday night. Pirate radio stations have been advertising a Friday night concert with Trinidadian musical giant David Rudder at the Hiberian Hall — no online info is yet available.

The venerable Toots and the Maytals come to Worcester this week. Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Cranking and Skanking Fest
August 25, starting at 2 p.m.
The Palladium, Worchester MA

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones are headlining a full day of ska in an outdoor festival outside Worcester’s Palladium. Their guests include the man who helped originate the sound, Toots and the Maytals, as well as perhaps the most creative ska band ever, Fishbone. Look for an interview with Toots later this week on the Arts Fuse.

— Noah Schaffer

Julie Schumacher
The Shakespeare Requirement: A Novel
August 14 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA

“The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune keep hitting beleaguered English professor Jason Fitger right between the eyes in this hilarious and eagerly awaited sequel to the cult classic of anhedonic academe, the Thurber Prize–winning Dear Committee Members. Once more into the breach…Now is the fall of his discontent, as Jason Fitger, newly appointed chair of the English Department of Payne University, takes arms against a sea of troubles, personal and institutional.”

Roy Scranton
We’re Doomed, Now What?: Essays on War and Climate Change
August 15 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA

We’re Doomed. Now What? addresses the crisis that is our time through a series of brilliant, moving, and original essays on climate change, war, literature, and loss.” And this is not your usual alarmist fare: Scranton “is one of the most provocative and iconoclastic minds of his generation. Whether writing about sailing through the melting Arctic, preparing for Houston’s next big storm, watching Star Wars, or going back to the streets of Baghdad he once patrolled as a soldier, the essayist handles his subjects with the same electric, philosophical, demotic touch that he brought to his groundbreaking book, Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene.”

Michelle Blair Wilker
Chain Linked
August 17 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA

“A summer trip to Montauk. A night out at a salty dive bar. Emptying the fridge, packing up the old condo, dreaming of pizza in Rome. Chain Linked chronicles life’s joys and discontents in vivid detail and gives us a window into our souls.”

Pamela Lowell & Joan Berglund
The Resistance Cookbook: Nasty Women and Bad Hombres in the Kitchen
August 17 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA

“Served with a generous helping of humor and seasoned with personal anecdotes, The Resistance Cookbook: Nasty Women and Bad Hombres in the Kitchen gives readers a chance to reflect on the political and cultural changes of the past year, while enjoying such dishes as Comey Testimony Minestrone, Conspiracy Cake with Indictment Icing, and Impeach Mint Mojitos.”

Edited by Joan Berglund and Pamela Lowell, the volume “features 100 recipes contributed by members of Action Together Massachusetts (ATMA), the state-wide social and political action organization born out of the results of the 2016 Presidential election.”

Hala Alyan
Salt Houses: A Novel
August 21 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA

“On the eve of her daughter Alia’s wedding, Salma reads the girl’s future in a cup of coffee dregs. She sees an unsettled life for Alia and her children; she also sees travel and luck. While she chooses to keep her predictions to herself that day, they will all soon come to pass when the family is uprooted in the wake of the Six-Day War of 1967. The Palestinian-American poet and clinical psychologist was born in Carbondale, Illinois, and grew up in Kuwait, Oklahoma, Texas, Maine, and Lebanon. She is the author of three poetry collections and has been awarded a Lannan Foundation fellowship. Salt Houses is her first novel.”

Gary Shteyngart
Lake Success: A Novel
September 7 at 7 (Doors open at 6:30)
First Parish Church, Cambridge MA
Tickets are $29.75, book included

“Narcissistic, hilariously self-deluded, and divorced from the real world as most of us know it, hedge-fund manager Barry Cohen oversees $2.4 billion in assets. Deeply stressed by an SEC investigation and by his three-year-old son’s diagnosis of autism, he flees New York on a Greyhound bus in search of a simpler, more romantic life with his old college sweetheart. Meanwhile, his super-smart wife, Seema — a driven first-generation American who craved the picture-perfect life that comes with wealth — has her own demons to face. How these two flawed characters navigate the Shteyngartian chaos of their own making is at the heart of this piercing exploration of the 0.1 Percent, a poignant tale of familial longing and an unsentimental ode to what really makes America great.” Shteyngart is known for being a witty and affable reader, as well as among our most popular contemporary writers — so better get your tickets asap.

— Matt Hanson


  1. Joan Lancourt, Ph.D. on August 23, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    Why don’t you have an Email button? I don’t do any of the links above, but frequently would like to save or email a review to my network.

    • Bill Marx on August 23, 2018 at 5:33 pm


      I hear you. And haven’t forgotten the request. Right now our webmaster is trying to iron out some problem before we can do an e-mail button. But I tend to have one … soon, I hope.

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