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
Hale County This Morning, This Evening
September 10 at 7 p.m.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
The DocYard Fall Series begins with a film the (late, lamented) Village Voice called “Magnificent.” Hale County follows some years in the lives of two African-American teenagers living in small-town Alabama, in the heart of the black Belt region of the U.S. The film foregrounds the beauty and transcendent moments in their lives, avoiding easy depictions of black poverty and despair. “Evening is not an issue film. Rather, like the best documentaries, it creates its own form from the material at hand and invites you to watch it in this new waym” says Tanner Tafelski of Hyperallergic. Director RaMell Ross will attend in person for a Q&A after the screening, followed by a discussion between Ross and local filmmaker Robb Moss. Arts Fuse review.
September 14 through 20
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
Director Josephine Decker tells the story of Madeline, a troubled young actress (newcomer Helena Howard) who is living in poverty with her single mother (Miranda July). The girl is part of an experimental theater troupe whose creative process includes many theater games, such as embodying animals and abstract movement work. Decker is out to explore a certain vision of theater: that it is a kind of possession. If you have ever taken an acting workshop, you will recognize the seeds of this film’s nightmare vision. Madeline’s Madeline is a scary trip down the slippery slope between what’s real and what’s imagined. (Arts Fuse review) The director will be present at the Saturday 7 p.m. screening.
September 17 at 7 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Cambridge, MA
Big Screen Classics presents Michelangelo Antonioni’s counterculture masterpiece with David Hemmings and Vanessa Redgrave — this is film that demands to be seen and heard large. Blow-Up is one of Antonioni’s most accessible films, a provocative existential drama about perception and voyeurism slotted into a murder mystery steeped in the fashion and trends of the post-modern ’60s. All that and a notable performance by the legendary British band, The Yardbirds.
September 17 at 7 p.m.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
First-time filmmaker Sandi Tan revisits the long-lost footage from her unfinished narrative feature, which was shot in the director’s native Singapore in 1992. That film was tentatively called Shirkers as well. In the process, she reckons with why the film was never finished, and how several relationships were forever changed in its wake. “By employing Tan’s reflective voiceover throughout, Shirkers lines up with the first-person filmmaking tradition, offering up a conversational, frequently self-deprecating perspective on her younger exploits and efforts. But there are also fascinating notes of measured evaluation.” (Film Comment) The screening will be followed by a discussion with Director Sandi Tan in person.
September 20 through 26
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
Robert Greene’s latest film explores the 1917 roundup and banishment of some 1,300 striking miners. Radically combining documentary and present day dramatizations, the narrative follows several members of the workers close-knit community as they collaborate with the filmmakers to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Bisbee Deportation, where 1200 immigrant miners were violently taken from their homes by a deputized force, shipped to the desert on cattle cars, and left to die. Spaces in town double as past and present; reenactors become ghosts in the haunted streets of the old copper camp. Enacted fantasies mingle with very real reckonings: it all builds towards a massive restaging of the Deportation itself on the exact day of its centennial anniversary.
70mm & Widescreen Festival
Somerville Theater in Davis Square, Somerville MA
One of the privileges of living in the Boston area is easy access to theaters that project celluloid film, particularly in the gorgeous, 70mm Widescreen format. This year’s Widescreen Festival offers some pretty interesting selections. Here’s the lineup. This week:
Starman on 9/20 – 7:30 p.m. in 70mm
Brainstorm on 9/21 at 7:30 p.m. in 70mm
Lifeforce on 9/21 at 10 p.m. in 70mm
Kong: Skull Island on 9/22 at 2 p.m. in 70mm
Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines on 9/22 at 7 p.m. in 70mm
El Cid on 9/23 at 2 p.m. in 35mm
Malcolm X on 9/23 at 7 p.m. in 70mm
— Tim Jackson
Rebecca Parris: A Celebration Of Her Life
September 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Regent Theatre, Arlington, MA
A bevy of fine singers come together for this free concert to celebrate their friend, the singer Rebecca Parris, Boston’s “first lady of jazz,” who died in June, at 66. Parris’s singular warmth is irreplaceable, but the generosity of this free event is in keeping with her spirit. The singers include Carol Sloane, Shawnn Monteiro, Suede, Steve Marvin, and Louise Van Aarsen. They’re backed by pianists Michael Renzi, Fred Harris, and Paul McWilliams; bassists Peter Kontrimas and Bruce Gertz; and drummer Jim Lattini. Ron Della Chiesa and Eric Jackson host. Doors open at 6:30.
September 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA
Combining accessible tunefulness with probing curiosity through more than a dozen albums as leader, co-leader, or solo pianist, Laszlo Gardony here returns with his longtime rhythm-mates, bassist John Lockwood and drummer Yoron Israel. They’re joined by saxophonist Don Braden, with whom Gardony recorded one of the finest albums of his career, Life in Real Time (which was also one of the best albums of 2015, by anyone).
September 14 and 15, at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA
One of the Big Three of his generation of jazz guitarists (with Pat Metheny and John Scofield), Bill Frisell here plays an unusual set of four shows of solo guitar. Frisell always subordinates flash to musicality as he investigates the borderland of jazz and Americana folk, country, and pop. The title of his 2018 solo-guitar CD of 15 original compositions will give you an idea of his unclassifiable approach: Music IS. And so will a sampling of its titles: “Winslow Homer,” “Ron Carter,” “Kentucky Derby.” Arts Fuse review of Music IS.
Chick Corea Trio
September 19-22 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.; September 23 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA
A throwback to the days when clubs booked acts for a week (or weeks) at a time, this five-night stand by iconic pianist and composer Chick Corea (with bassist Carlitos Del Puerto and drummer Marcus Gilmore), will give you a chance to check in with him multiple times (if your bank account will allow). It will also give you a chance to compare how next-level drummer Gilmore plays with Corea as opposed to his work with, say, the Vijay Iyer Trio. Ears and notebooks ready!
September 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
Concluding a week-long New England Conservatory “Grow Your Art” residency on the music business, the master trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas offers this free concert of his music, playing with several student ensembles. The pieces will include music from Douglas’s 1998 Charms of the Night Sky as well as his recent work with brass quartet the Westerlies. The week also includes a master class and discussions, all free and open to the public.
Ethan Iverson/Mark Turner
September 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA
Pianist Ethan Iverson’s resume includes his long run as a founding member of jazz renegades the Bad Plus as well as time in all manner of bands, including Paul Motian’s trios and the Billy Hart Quartet, the latter with tenor saxophonist Mark Turner. Turner, with his beautiful tone, especially in his mastery of the altissimo register, and chromatic approach, is considered, at 52, one of the most influential tenor saxophonists on the scene (see: Melissa Aldana). A new CD (out Sept. 7) on ECM, Temporary Kings, is Iverson and Turner’s debut recording as a duo. If you don’t know Turner and want to know where he’s coming from, check out Warne Marsh’s “Dixie’s Dilemma,” which is included on the CD.
Jazz Along the Charles
September 23 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Charles River Esplanade, Boston, MA.
The how’s and why’s of this “Walkable Concert” (as it’s billed) have yet to be investigated, but what a great thing for the Boston jazz scene: 25 Boston-based jazz bands play for free at 25 different locations along the banks of the Charles. The bands have been instructed to draw from a two-set list of Boston-related songs — everything from Duke Ellington’s “I Got It Bad” (which originally featured Cambridge’s own Johnny Hodges) to pieces by Chick Corea, Gary Burton, Mark Sandman (of Morphine), and, of course, the Standells’ “Dirty Water.” The bands and players include the Tim Ray Trio, the John Kordalewski Trio, the Kevin Harris Project, the Jason Palmer Quintet, Charlie Kohlhase’s Explorers Quintet, Krewe de Roux, Receita de Samba, and more.
— Jon Garelick
Debra Mann, CD release
September 16, 7 p.m.
Narrows Center for the Arts, Fall River, MA
Jazz singer and pianist Debra Mann has done tributes before, most notably her many shows honoring the Brazilian master composer Antonio Carlos Jobim. Her latest recording, Full Circle, pays homage to the great Joni Mitchell, whose 75th birthday in November is occasioning numerous celebrations this fall. For this concert of her jazzy takes on well-chosen Mitchell material, Mann will be accompanied by the stellar band that appears on the recording: Dino Govoni (sax), Jay Azzolina (guitar), Dave Zinno (bass), and Marty Richards (drums).
— Evelyn Rosenthal
Are You Buying?
September 12-15 at 6 p.m.
Downtown Crossing, Boston, MA
In this new theatrical dance performance, Somerville-based artist Catherine Siller embodies a storefront fashion mannequin come to life. Traveling back in time through fashion and beauty advertisements from the ’20s to today, Siller is initially thrilled to constantly reinvent herself, yet she ultimately realizes she’s caught in a vicious cycle of “desire and dissatisfaction, chasing an ever-shifting beauty ideal.”
Genius at Play
Through September 16
Boston Opera House, Boston, MA
Boston Ballet’ opens its new season with Genius at Play, celebrating the centennial of choreographer Jerome Robbins’ birth, his career, and his extensive contributions to dance. Enjoy a selection of Robbin’s works including Interplay, set to a jazz score by Morton Gould; Fancy Free, Robbins’ first of many collaborations with composer Leonard Bernstein, depicting sailors on shore leave in 1940s New York City; and the premiere of Glass Pieces, a tribute choreographed for 42 dancers and set to music by Philip Glass. Arts Fuse review.
September 21, 22, 28, 29 at 8 p.m.
Multicultural Arts Center, Cambridge MA
Hailed as one of “the most intelligent and innovative dance troupes in Boston,” Luminarium Dance Company returns after a two-year creation period with its newest feature production, HIVELAND. Submerge yourself inside the dreamlike world of HIVELAND’s athletic and weightless performers as they journey through a portal beyond the hive colony into the unknown, while composer Christos Zevos sets the pace with a driving electronic score.
BU Dance Showcase
September 21 & 22 at 8 p.m.
Boston University Dance Theater Boston, MA
The Dance Program at Boston University presents its 2018 Dance Showcase, featuring work by faculty and guests, including BBII courtesy of Boston Ballet. The concert includes both teen and professional performers in works by BU faculty choreographers Margot Parsons, DeAnna Pellecchia, Marin Orlosky Randow, and Liz Roncka; as well as excerpts from BBII’s repertory by Sam Kurkjian and Mikko Nissinen; and two pieces from BU’s summer teen apprenticeship program, Reach, by Wendy O’Byrne and Brian “Mirage” Washburn.
— Merli V. Guerra
Somerville Toy Camera Festival
Nave Gallery, 155 Powderhouse Boulevard, Somerville, MA
Brickbottom Gallery, 1 Fitchburg Street, Somerville, MA
Washington St. Gallery, 321 Washington Street, Somerville, MA
September 3 through October 13
Continuing a fun-filled artistic tradition, Somerville welcomes the fascinating, the curious, and the quirky with its 6th annual Toy Camera Festival. Shown at three different galleries, the experimental work exemplifies what happens when local, national, and international artists allow themselves to break free of their inhibitions and break some rules. The artists find new, unexpected, and playful ways to make high art.
Animal-Shaped Vessels from the Ancient World: Feasting with Gods, Heroes, and Kings
Through January 6
Special Exhibitions Gallery, Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA
60 ornate vessels of animal shape — real or imagined — have survived the ravages of time, and they provide us with a curious window into the symbolism, folklore, and traditions that were part of ancient communal practices. Drawn from around the globe, these objects were created with masterful artistry — sculpted from the rarest or most challenging of materials, such as gold, silver, bronze, glass, faience, and horn. The works in this show provide fascinating tangible evidence of how ancient cultures intermingled through tribute, trade, sacrificial offerings, and the spoils of war.
Claes Oldenburg: Shelf Life
Through December 2
Henry and Lois Foster Gallery, Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA
An engaging show that focuses on artistic process as a means to explore transformations generated by time and value. Exhibited alongside 17th century Dutch still life paintings, Claes Oldenburg’s Shelf Life (2017) features 15 mixed media works — intimate vignettes of seemingly random objects meticulously arranged on a set of custom-made wooden shelves. The exhibition is a playful compendium of objects and ideas that reflect the artist’s life and practice. It draws significant inspiration from Oldenburg’s iconic Pop art exhibition, The Store (1961). Approaching the latest period in his career, Oldenburg, now 89 years old, explains that this is “a time to decide what one keeps.”
South End Open Studios
September 15 & 16
The Studios and Galleries in Boston’s Historic South End
Not to be missed — this is an enticing annual attraction for local art enthusiasts that started up in 1986. Free and open to the public, this expansive open studio tradition has grown to include a dozen studio buildings showing the work and practice of over 250 Bostonian artists.
Fragmented Identities: The Gendered Roles of Women in Art Through the Ages
Through February 17
Mead Art Museum, 41 Quadrangle Drive, Amherst, MA
This compelling exhibition uses art to explore the varying (and complex) gender roles played by women throughout time. The show’s important work — drawn primarily from the Mead’s permanent collection — examines the fracturing of femininity into a number of socially constricted capacities, such as mother, object of desire, manual worker, and allegorical symbol.
A Critical Eye: James Gilray and the Art of Satire
September 20 through December 16
Davis Museum at Wellesley College, 106 Central Street, Wellesley, MA
This worthwhile (and timely) exhibition proudly showcases 15 hand-colored prints by the “father of political cartoons.” A famous 19th century British caricaturist and printmaker, James Gilray produced graphics that combined cutting edge parody and poignant humor. He drew on the conventions of history painting to critique contemporary political figures and social mores as well as the art market and the bourgeois. “His masterful prints set the standard for the fascinating tension between visual image and text that endures in political art,” states Meredith Fluke, former Kemper Curator of Academic Exhibitions and Affairs, and the curator of the exhibition.
– Aimee Cotnoir
The Black Clown Adapted from Langston Hughes poem by Davóne Tines and Michael Schachter. Music by Michael Schachter. Music Direction by Jaret Landon. Choreography by Chanel DaSilva. Directed by Zack Winokur. Staged by the American Repertory Theater at the Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, MA, through September 23.
“A world premiere music theater experience that fuses vaudeville, gospel, opera, jazz, and spirituals to bring Langston Hughes’ verse to life onstage and animate a Black man’s resilience against a legacy of oppression.” Note: “This production contains racial slurs and stylized representations of violence, particularly related to slavery, as well as haze and bright lights.” Arts Fuse review
The Niceties by Eleanor Burgess. Directed by Kimberly Senior. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, through October 6.
The Huntington Theatre Company PR: “a black student and a white professor – both brilliant, both liberal – meet to discuss a paper about slavery’s role in the American Revolution. A polite conversation becomes a powder keg of race, history, and power, and neither woman will ever be the same.” Explosive? Who knows? Here is the Arts Fuse review of the Portland Stage production of the script last season. Arts Fuse review of the HTC production.
Larry’s Show: Journey To The Center Of The Stage by Larry Coen, Directed by Davis Robinson. Staged by Beau Jest Moving Theatre at the Charlestown Working Theater, Charlestown, MA, through September 16.
An homage to the late, and much missed, performer, Larry Coen.”An immersive back-stage comedy that takes you behind the scenes of a theater to experience some of the gossip, humor, superstitions, joys and sorrows of being an actor. In ten short scenes, audiences travel on a journey throughout the theater. At its heart, the play is a love poem to all the dreamers and aspirers seeking that small moment of immortality that “theater people” chase after in their time on stage.”
The Agitators by Mat Smart. Directed by Jacqui Parker. Staged by Gloucester Stage at 267 E. Main St., Gloucester, MA, September 14 through October 7.
The New England premiere of a script that “tells of the enduring but tempestuous friendship of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. Great allies? Yes. And at times, great adversaries. Young abolitionists when they met in Rochester in the 1840s, they were full of hopes, dreams, and a common purpose. As they grew to become the cultural icons we know today, their movements collided, and their friendship was severely tested.”
Bereaved by Joshua Sobol. Directed by Guy Ben-Aharon. Staged by Israeli Stage at District Hall, the Seaport District, 75 Northern Avenue, Boston, MA., September 24.
“A one-night-only reading of Sobol’s latest play, a provocative and searing new drama in which invites us to see the world through the eyes of an Israeli couple and a Palestinian couple, both of whom have suffered the tragic loss of a child.” Interesting to see just how daring this script from the veteran Israeli playwright is — Sobol’s The Last Act, produced last season by Israeli Stage was distinctly underwhelming — and to whom it will be provocative.
Ben Butler by Richard Strand. Directed by Daniel Burson. Staged by Portland Stage, 25 Forest Ave, Portland, ME, September 24 through October 21.
“When a runaway slave demands sanctuary at a Union Army garrison, the General in charge is faced with a moral quandary: follow the letter of the law, or make a game-changing move that could alter the course of US history? Based on true occurrences that happened to General Benjamin Butler who graduated from Colby College in Maine in 1838, and was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1840. During part of the Civil War, he commanded Fort Monroe.”
Vicuña by Jon Robin Baitz. Directed by David J. Miller. Staged by Zeitgeist Stage at the Plaza Black Box Theate at the Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont Street, September 14 through October 6.
The New England premiere of a obviously pointed script: “A tailor to the wealthy, powerful, and famous struggles to serve a very unusual client: a blustering real estate tycoon and reality TV star who—to everyone’s surprise—becomes a major party’s nominee for President. As the election spins out of control, the tailor and his apprentice are forced to examine their roles as confidants and image-makers for the candidate … and whether the right suit has the power to clinch the presidency.”
Between Riverside and Crazy by Stephen Adly Guirgis. Directed by Tiffany Nichole Greene. Staged by Speakeasy Stage Company at the Boston Center for the Arts, Calderwood Pavilion, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, September 14 through October 13.
Winter of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Stephen Adly Guirgis’ “dark urban comedy explores, with both street-smart wit and disarming tenderness,the slippery nature of justice, and the grit it takes to move on.”
Being Earnest, a musical interpretation of Oscar Wilde’s classic The Importance of Being Earnest by Paul Gordon (Book, Lyrics and Music) and Jay Gruksa (Music). Directed and choreographed by Ilyse Robbins. Staged by the Greater Boston Stage Company at 395 Main Street, Stoneham, MA, September 13 through October 7.
Well, the East Coast premiere of an intriguing update of Wilde’s masterpiece: “London, 1965. The sounds. The colors. Skirts are getting shorter, hair is growing longer, and times are changing fast … ” The action takes place in “a Carnaby Street flat, where a wild comedy of romance and mistaken identities ensues.”
Hamnet by Bush Moukarzel, Ben Kidd, and William Shakespeare. Directed by Bush Moukarzel and Ben Kidd. Staged by Dead Centre and presented by Arts Emerson at the Emerson Paramount Center, Robert J. Orchard Stage, September 20 through October 7.
A multimedia theatre experience, this production brings Shakespeare’s only son, who died at age 11 without knowing his famous father, to the stage.
— Bill Marx
Edge of the World
Presented by A Far Cry
September 21, 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
Music about borders and boundaries – by John Corigliano, Jean-Phillippe Rameau, and Claude Vivier – preface the world premiere of Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol’s A Gentleman of Istanbul, a Crier commission for strings, percussion, piano, oud, ney, and tenor.
La reine de Saba
Presented by Odyssey Opera
September 22, 7:30 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
Odyssey’s sixth season kicks off with the U.S. premiere of Gounod’s biblical epic about the Queen of Sheba. Kara Shay Thomson sings the title role, Dominick Chenes is Adoniram, and Kevin Thompson portrays Solomon. Gil Rose conducts.
All Hail, St. Cecilia
Presented by Emmanuel Music
September 22, 8 p.m.
Emmanuel Church, Boston, MA
Emmanuel Music opens its season with a pair of choral gems by Handel (Ode for Saint Cecilia’s Day) and Britten (Hymn to St. Cecilia). The latter’s short Fanfare for St. Edmundsbury opens the evening.
— Jonathan Blumhofer
The Poets Speak with Pamela Dellal and the Endicott Players
September 15 at 8 p.m.
At Seully Hall, 8 Fenway, Boston, MA
“The Endicott Players explore the musical eloquence and ineffability of Robert and Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms with a program featuring two song cycles, a cycle of miniatures for piano, and a chamber work.”
Pianist Hung-Kuan Chen
September 15 at 8 p.m.
At Jordan Hall/New England Conservatory, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA
Foundation for the Chinese Performing Arts presents a performance of Franz Schubert’s last three piano sonatas.
Bach and Debussy
September 23 at 4 p.m.
At the First Church of Boston, 66 Marlborough Street, Boston, MA
The Glissando Concert Series commences. It’s “inaugural concert includes Bach’s Musical Offering — his recondite and moving late masterpiece — and several transcendental chamber works of Debussy.”
— Susan Miron
Rock, Pop, and Folk
Rolling Blackouts C.F., as they are sometimes called, is a Melbourne-based quintet that draws inspiration from fellow Australians The Go-Betweens and American indie/alternative pioneers The Feelies and R.E.M. That surely sounds like a lot to live up for newcomers. However, one listen to their 2018 Sub Pop debut LP, Hope Downs, should be sufficient to convince skeptics that RBCF are worthy torchbearers of the jangle pop tradition. Chicago quartet Deeper, whose full-length debut also came out this year, will open the band’s show at The Sinclair on Thursday.
Singer, songwriter, and guitarist John Brodeur has released a handful of solo albums since 2000. He was also a member of the bands The Suggestions and Maggie Mayday. Last month saw his first release under the name Bird Streets (named after an exceedingly exclusive LA neighborhood), which was recorded with the help of fellow musical journeyman and former Jellyfish bassist Jason Falker. The Albany native delivers his brand of indie pop with a crystal clear voice and the 11 songs frequently include not just a few but several highly memorable lyrics. The 2018 NPR Music Slingshot Artist will perform at Atwood’s Tavern on Wednesday, September 19.
Speaking of R.E.M., the guitarist for Athens, GA’s favorite sons has a new project with veteran singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur. Buck has never shied away from lending his cred to collaborations that in no way guarantee the large-scale success of his former band. Arthur Buck is no exception, neither for this reason nor for the fact every project that Buck has participated in has proved to be worth hearing. The duo’s tour in support of their eponymous album, which came out in June, stops at Brighton Music Hall on September 19.
Peter and Vicke Van Ness of Gimme Live were recently awarded the Boston Blues Society’s 2018 Keeping the Blues Alive Award. The couple will continue to prove themselves worthy of such an honor when they bring Blues Music Awards nominee (Best New Artist Debut, 1998) Chris Beard to 9 Wallis. Chris’s father, Joe, was himself a blues guitarist who sat in with the likes of John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters, was a friend of Son House, and opened for Bobby “Blue” Bland and Albert King. Thus, it is for good reason that they younger Beard is nicknamed “Prince of the Blues.”
Gospel, soul, and elements from across the punk gamut commingle to create the unique sound of the Atlanta-formed quartet Algiers, and highly literate lyrics indicate the band’s political commitment. This combination has won them notice and praise from –among others — NPR Music, The New York Times, Salon, Newsweek, and The Onion’s A.V. Club. Algiers’s latest release is 2017’s The Underside of Power, which is the follow-up to their 2015 self-titled debut. (Both were released by Matador Records.) The band headlines the “semi-monthly, all ages, all gender, all genre liberation dance party” Break the Chains on September 22.
When it comes to being a member of a major rock artist’s band, any guitarist would relish the opportunity to be in either Crazy Horse or The E Street Band. Amazingly, Nils Lofgren was part of the line-ups that backed Neil Young in the early 1970s and the one that intermittently toured and recorded with Bruce Springsteen from the mid-80s onward. (He was also in the first version of Ringo’s All-Starr Band.) The Chicago native didn’t get those gigs by luck or accident. He had been the leader of the great but underappreciated band Grin (also in the early 70s) and released the first of more than a dozen solo albums in 1975. On September 22, he and singer MaryBeth Lineham Maes will take the stage together at Beverly’s Cabot Theatre. A rockin’ good time is guaranteed to be had by all.
— Blake Maddux
Roots and World Music
Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis at the Haymarket Lounge in the City Winery, September 21
Ideal updates of vintage popular music styles are not precise reproductions – they are modern translations of the sounds, stories and even emotions of the sources. It helps to have a veteran of the original scene on board if they are not frozen in the past. Wild! Wild! Wild! By Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis on the Bloodshot label is a surprise ideal update – in no way a mere copy of the dynamite duet records Lewis made with her bother Jerry Lee. In keeping with crazy-fun theme of the title, the graphics are several shots of Fulks and Lew hollering like wild, wild, wild. Lewis does the piano parts and like her brother, knows no boundaries, turning out country, rockabilly, blues, weeper ballads and excursions into jazzy land. Fulks writes much of the material and excels at highways and honky-tonks, backroads and bedrooms that never sound antique.
The two singers duet just often enough, especially effective on the bickering oldie “Your Red Wagon.” Elsewhere, Fulks wallows in moral torment with “That’s Why They Call It Temptation” and Lewis does morbid-funny murder on “Til Death.” She also end the album with one of its top numbers, her original “Hardluck, Louisiana” about coming to terms with tough times in a tiny town. “The Killah” Jerry Lee is invoked the exactly right number of times – once. A night with these revelers is almost a commandment: Fulks and Lewis will be accompanied by drummer Alex Hall, bassist Beau Sample and guitarist Redd Volkaert (Merle Haggard sideman).
— Milo Miles
15th annual Revels RiverSing
September 22 at 5 p.m.
At Herter Park Amphitheater, Allston, MA
A free “Family Celebration of the Autumnal Equinox.” Your host is Megan Henderson, Revels Music Director. “Lift your voice in song as Revels waves goodbye to summer and welcomes in the fall at the 15th annual Revels RiverSing, now in a new home: the Herter Park Amphitheater in Allston!” After this furious summer, let’s encourage the arrival of the cool weather of autumn in style. Note: This is a rain or shine event.
— Bill Marx
September 14 and 15
Boch Center, Boston, MA
The regal queen of folk is on her farewell tour, and she’s going out after releasing one of her better recent albums, Whistle Down the Wind. Her fighting spirit remains as strong as ever, even if her voice isn’t.
From his days in the Gladiators to his long-running solo career, Fearon has been one of reggae’s most poignant and powerful singers and songwriters. This special evening finds him performing both solo acoustic as well as with the Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad. That band will play its own set, as will the Movement.
Global is Local/Local is Global
HI Boston Hostel, Boston, MA
World Music/CrashArts brings internationally touring artists to town all year long. Now they’re showcasing some of Boston’s own world music greats in an informal, interactive setting. The evening features Bahrain-born singer/songwriter and self-proclaimed “barefoot enthusiast” Steve Chandy, Puerto Rican quatro virtuoso Fabiola Méndez Quiñones, and African-inspired poet/activist Dzidzor. Let’s hope this is just the first installment.
Çeşni Trio+Peter Jaques
Arts Place, Mission Hill, Boston, MA
Athens-based clarinet, trumpet and ney master Jaques has spent years mastering the styles of the Eastern Mediterranean. He’ll be joined on this rare US appearance by his kindred spirits in the Boston-based Çeşni Trio for this concert sponsored by the Mandorla Music Series.
— Noah Schaffer
Flat: Reclaiming My Body from Breast Cancer
September 7 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
“Flat is Guthrie’s story of how two bouts of breast cancer shook her faith in her body, her relationship, and medicine. Along the way, she challenges the view that breasts are essential to femininity and paramount to a woman’s happiness. Ultimately, she traces an intimate portrayal of how cancer reshapes her relationship with Mary, her partner, revealing–in the midst of crisis–a love story. Filled with candor, vulnerability, and resilience, Guthrie upends the “pink ribbon” narrative in unconventional ways and offers up a unique perspective on womanhood, what it means to be “whole,” and the importance of women advocating for their desires. Flat is a story of how she lost, and then found, the courage to listen to her body.”
Carol Anderson in conversation with Paris Alston
One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying our Democracy
September 13 at 6:30 p.m.
Brookline Public Library, Brookline Village location
“In her New York Times bestseller White Rage, Carol Anderson laid bare an insidious history of policies that have systematically impeded black progress in America, from 1865 to our combustible present. With One Person, No Vote, she chronicles a related history: the rollbacks to African American participation in the vote since the 2013 Supreme Court decision that eviscerated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Known as the Shelby ruling, this decision effectively allowed districts with a demonstrated history of racial discrimination to change voting requirements without approval from the Department of Justice. Focusing on the aftermath of Shelby, Anderson follows the astonishing story of government-dictated racial discrimination unfolding before our very eyes as more and more states adopt voter suppression laws.”
Doris Kearns Goodwin
Leadership: In Turbulent Times
September 21 at 8 p.m. (Doors open at 7:30)
Memorial Church, Cambridge MA
Tickets are $32 with book, $8 for GA
Goodwin has been bestselling and highly respected popular historian who wrote extensively about Lincoln’s cabinet in Team of Rivals. This time she focuses on the traits of leadership through the four presidents she’s studied the deepest: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D Roosevelt, and Lyndon B Johnson. Although vastly different in terms of background, temperament, these people men are celebrated for their ability to surmount uncommon hardships as as means to learn how to lead.
September 24 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
“Since women earned the right to vote a little under one hundred years ago, our progress hasn’t been the Olympic sprint toward gender equality first wave feminists hoped for, but more of a slow, elderly mall walk (with frequent stops to Cinnabon) over the four hundred million hurdles we still face. Some of these obstacles are obvious —unequal pay, under-representation in government, reproductive restrictions, lack of floor-length mirrors in hotel rooms. But a lot of them are harder to identify. They’re the white noise of oppression that we’ve accepted as lady business as usual, and the patriarchy wants to keep it that way.”
These Truths: A History of the United States
September 24 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30)
First Parish Church, Cambridge MA
Tickets are $42.50 with book, $8 for GA
“Written in elegiac prose, acclaimed historian Jill Lepore’s groundbreaking investigation places truth itself―a devotion to facts, proof, and evidence―at the center of the nation’s history. The American experiment rests on three ideas―”these truths,” Jefferson called them―political equality, natural rights, and the sovereignty of the people. And it rests, too, on a fearless dedication to inquiry, Lepore argues, because self-government depends on it. But has the nation, and democracy itself, delivered on that promise?”
September 25 from 6-8 p.m.
Bill Bordy Theater, 216 Tremont St, Boston MA
“Amy Hempel is the author of four collections of stories. Her Collected Stories was named one of the NYTimes’ Ten Best Books of the Year, won the Ambassador Award, and the Harold Vursell Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, an inaugural United States Artists Foundation Fellowship, the PEN/Malamud Award, and many others.”
— Matt Hanson
Dubravka Ugrešić, in conversation with translator Ellen Elias-Bursać (an Arts Fuse contributor)
September 18 at 7 p.m.
Part of the Transnational Literature Series at the Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA
Ugrešić “is a novelist, essayist, and literary scholar; she is the author of seven works of fiction and six collections of essays. She has won, or been shorlisted for, more than a dozen prizes, including the NIN Award, Austrian State Prize for European Literature, Heinrich Mann Prize, Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, Man Booker International Prize, and the James Tiptoe Jr. Award. In 2016, she received the Neustadt International Prize for Literature (the “American Nobel”) for her body of work.”
I have read several books by Ugrešić and am an admirer; she is a sharp, intelligent, and witty commentator on all things culturally decadent and morally questionable. Her latest books in English, the novel Fox and her revision of an early collection of essays, American Fictionary, are available from Open Letter.
— Bill Marx