Arts Fuse critics select the best in film, dance, visual art, theater, music, and author events for the coming weeks.
By The Arts Fuse Staff
The Ancient Law
January 16 at 7:30 p.m.
At the Temple Israel of Boston, 477 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA
An intriguing restoration of the silent film that was the precursor to Hollywood’s The Jazz Singer. “With visually stunning depictions of shtetl life, The Ancient Law tells the story of Baruch, a rabbi’s son, who yearns to become an actor. Against his father’s wishes, he leaves his shtetl for the Vienna stage but success cannot quell Baruch’s guilt and longing for home.” This gem of German-Jewish cinema will be shown with an original score played live by violinist Alicia Svigals and pianist Donald Sosin.
Boston Festival of Films from Iran
January 17 – 27
Museum of Fine Arts in Boston
Aside from museum programming, examples of the excellent films from Iran would be hard to find. Fortunately, the MFA, in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution’s Freer/Sackler and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, is presenting a series of standout efforts. Among the films: 3 Faces by the Jafar Panahi. (The Circle, The Mirror, This is Not a Film). Complete Schedule.
The pairings in the Brattle’s collection of “(Some) of The Best of 2018” are particularly strong this year. The evenings featuring these two films are not officially part of the series — the movies require separate admissions. It is a most peculiar pairing: Hale County is a New England premier of a documentary that has been called one of the best of 2018. Director RaMell Ross immerses the viewer in the lives of protagonists Daniel and Quincy. Quotidian moments and the surrounding southern landscape are given equal importance, drawing poetic comparisons between historical symbols and everyday African American life. Arts Fuse review (“The genius of this film is that no preaching is necessary; it makes its political point in an apolitical way, an art film that is, incidentally, didactic.”) Mandy is a madhouse of surreal images featuring Nicholas Cage, who is more gonzo than ever. He plays a lumberjack who is driven to commit a rampage of bloody vengeance when his girlfriend, Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) is kidnapped by a nightmarish hippie cult.
Belmont World Film Family Film Festival
January 18 to 21
Screening at the Regent Theater, 7 Medford Street, Arlington, MA, the Studio Theater Cinema in Belmont, and the Brattle Theatre, Cambridge.
Magic & Music: The Films of George Méliès Cine-Concert
January 18 at 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.
George Méliès was one of cinema’s founding fathers and is responsible for inventing some of movie-making’s first special effects. Organist Jeff Rapsis, virtuoso guitarist Paul Bielatowicz, and Steve Hackett will provide music and narration for a selection of Méliès’s most famous silent short films, including A Trip to the Moon, Man with the Rubber Head, and The Human Fly.
Chuskit (January 20 at 1:30 p.m.)
Determined to chase her dream of going to school in her remote Himalayan village in India, a feisty girl, who lost use of her legs in an accident, locks horns with her tradition-bound grandfather. Based on a true story. (Age 8+)
The Witch Hunters (January 20 at 3:15 p.m.)
A 10-year-old boy with cerebral palsy retreats to the fantasy world he’s built where he imagines himself to be a superhero. His life changes when he befriends a new classmate and the adventure to hunt her ‘witch’ stepmother begins. (Age 8+)
Ballad from Tibet (January 20 at 5 p.m.)
Based on the true story of students from a school for the blind in the Tibetan Himalayas who walk from Gyangzê to Shenzen, China to fulfill their dream of singing on a famous reality TV show. (Age 8+)
January 21 at 3 p.m.
Regent Theater, 7 Medford Street, Arlington, MA
The 1924 silent film version of Barrie’s yarn, with a live, improvised score by renowned organist Peter Krasinski, who will be accompanied by live narration from actress Lindsay Crouse.
Who Will Write Our History?
January 27 at 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.
The Regent Underground Theatre, 7 Medford Street, Arlington, MA
“In November 1940, days after the Nazis sealed 450,000 Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, a secret band of journalists, scholars and community leaders decided to fight back. Led by historian Emanuel Ringelblum and known by the code name Oyneg Shabes, this clandestine group vowed to defeat Nazi lies and propaganda not with guns or fists but with pen and paper. Now, for the first time, their story is told.”
This is an International Holocaust Remembrance Day Global Screening Event: Across the world, on this day, there will be screenings of this film, along with post-screening discussions, including one at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.
— Tim Jackson
January 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA.
One of the best jazz CDs I heard in 2017 was pianist Frank Carlberg’s Large Ensemble recording, Monk Dreams, Hallucinations and Nightmares. Thanks to New England Conservatory, Carlberg is offering this solo piano free faculty recital at Jordan Hall. (NEC now asks that people reserve tickets for free concerts at the school’s website.)
January 19 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club Boston, MA
Pianist and composer Bruce Barth came to the fore with the bands of Stanley Turrentine and, even more extensively, with Terence Blanchard, before establishing his career as a leader. He comes to Scullers with bassist Nate Pence, drummer Montez Coleman, and special guest Jerry Bergonzi on tenor saxophone.
John Kordalewski Trio
January 19 at 8 p.m.
Third Life Studio, Somerville, MA.
Pianist and composer Kordalewski is perhaps best known around the Boston scene for helming the Makanda Project — a hefty ensemble dedicated to the music of the late Makanda Ken McIntyre. But he’s also a longtime trio leader. Here’s a chance to hear him stretch out in a broader context with a smaller group, with bassist Carlos Pino and drummer Royal Hartigan. Expect the music to have “an international dimension, drawing from Carlos’s Colombian background, Royal’s extensive experience exploring the rhythm traditions of West Africa, and John’s musical experiences in South Africa.”
Pocket Aces + Karayorgis/Smith/Rosenthal Trio
January 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA
Pocket Aces — guitarist Eric Hofbauer, bassist Aaron Darrell, and drummer Curt Newton — first got together as the rhythm section of Charlie Kohlhase’s Explorers Club, but have since spun off into a regularly working and recording trio, exploring the “freely improvised yet consciously compositional.” It makes for delicately textured music, full of expectancy, detail, and surprise. They’re followed by the trio of Rosenthal on drums, with pianist Pandelis Karayorgis and bassist Damon Smith.
Steve Lantner Quartet
January 22 at 8 p.m.
Outpost 186, Cambridge, MA.
Pianist Lantner fronts this hearty crew of learned improvisers: Allan Chase on saxophones, Joe Morris on bass (his preferred second, these days, to guitar), and Luther Gray on drums.
Lizz Wright and José James
January 25 at 8 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA
Lizz Wright’s Grace was another favorite album of 2017 — an exploration of the spellbinding singer’s Southern heritage through the lens of varied songwriters, from Ray Charles, Nina Simone, and Rosetta Tharpe, to Allen Toussaint and Bob Dylan. She shares this double bill with the singer-songwriter José James, touring with his Bill Withers tribute, Lean on Me.
— Jon Garelick
Tim Ray (p), with bassist and drummer to be announced – The Mad Monkfish, 524 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA, January 17 at 7 p.m.
Ray occasionally plays at this congenial venue (formerly Thelonious Monkfish), and every time he does, you have the chance to hear one of the most ingenious and gifted improvisers around. He always brings along the area’s best rhythm players, too.
Ran Blake (p) solo recital, entitled “Reflections of Time,” celebrating Jeanne Lee – Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theater at the New England Conservatory, 225 St. Botolph Street, Boston, MA, January 27 at 3 p.m.
Our town’s own Living Treasure, Blake has an international reputation as a song interpreter and a secure place in musical history as the piano master of silence and drama. His debut recording was a duet with singer Jeanne Lee (1939 – 2000) entitled The Newest Sound Around (RCA, 1962), and that session still represents a quintessential interplay of piano and voice. The two remained lifelong friends. The upcoming release of concert recordings by the duo from the middle 1960s (The Newest Sound You Never Heard [A-Side]) and the 80th anniversary of Lee’s birth provide the immediate occasions for this concert.
Because Blake is a relentless collaborator, he usually performs in our area with other musicians (like the incomparable Dominique Eade), or in concerts produced by NEC’s Contemporary Improvisation Department, so this solo outing is a particularly noteworthy concert. It also will provide a chance for you to hear the acoustic performance of NEC’s newest concert hall. Take note – that acoustic element will be particularly significant, because Blake has decided to do the performance in near-total darkness, for maximum meditative impact. Expect a late afternoon of undiluted introspection and pure emotion.
— Steve Elman
New Work for Goldberg Variations
January 15 at 7:30 p.m.
The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts
In this one-night performance, live music and dance combine to enrich Simone Dinnerstein’s rendition of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. The choreography is provided by Pam Tanowitz, who is renowned for work that is influenced by Merce Cunningham and classical ballet.
January 18 & 19 at 8 p.m.
Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre
World Music/CRASHarts brings Dorrance Dance to town this week, performing Myelination and the Boston premieres of Jungle Blues and Three to One. Tap dancer and choreographer Michelle Dorrance has earned acclaim for honoring tap dance’s unique American tradition while, at the same time, pushing the form rhythmically, aesthetically, and conceptually. The performance boasts 12 dancers and a live band.
1 MINUTE SOLOS
January 19 at 8 p.m.
The Lilypad, Cambridge, MA
Expect the unexpected in this creative evening of one-minute solos, as multiple artists share their interpretations of movement via a solo performance piece that clocks in at exactly 60 seconds. Curated by Jimena Bermejo, a performance artist who strives to push the boundaries between audience and artist, this event promises to explore new definitions of movement and time.
CELEBRATE! WITH BENKADI DRUM AND DANCE
January 21 at 10:30 a.m.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, MA
The multicultural Benkadi Drum and Dance group immerses audiences in traditional West African rhythms and movements via its vivid costumes, interpretive dances, viewer participation, and artful use of folklore. Part of the “Celebrate! series” (dedicated to highlighting America’s rich cultural diversity), this performance is appropriate for families with children ages 5 and up. Please note that, while this event is free of charge, reservations are required. They can be made at jfklibrary.org/celebrate or by calling 617-514-1644.
Nederlands Dans Theater 2
January 26 at 8 p.m. and January 27 at 3 p.m.
Boch Center/Shubert Theatre, Boston, MA
The Celebrity Series of Boston presents the always-riveting Nederlands Dans Theater 2, last presented by the Series in 2009. Celebrated for its unique combination of skill, passion, and creativity, NDT2 features some of the best young classically trained dancers from around the world performing repertory by both established and up-and-coming
William Forsythe: Choreographic Objects
Through February 24, 2019
Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston , Boston, MA
Whether you’re a long-time fan of William Forsythe’s world-reknowned choreographic works or hearing his name for the first time, the ICA encourages you to step inside his choreographic world through this unique installation (the first of its kind in the U.S.). Spanning over two decades, this major exhibition includes room-size interactive sculptures, participatory objects, and video installations inviting viewers to confront and engage with the fundamental principles of choreography, which Forsythe calls “Choreographic Objects.” This exhibition was organized by Eva Respini, Barbara Lee Chief Curator, with Jeffrey De Blois, Assistant Curator. Arts Fuse review
— Merli V. Guerra
Working with Wood
Through February 5
Howard Yezerski Gallery, Boston, MA
Analog and digital practices meet and coalesce in Michael Mittleman’s new work, in which he uses digital tools to manipulate the analog medium of wood. These intricate, multi-dimensional works are result of an investigation of a number of virtual programs and prototyping tools. Despite being cut precisely with a digitally-programmed router, each piece is impossible to replicate, due to the unique characteristics of each piece of wood, a reminder of the persistence and resilience of the natural world.
Harry Dodge: Works of Love
Aidekman Arts Center/Tisch Family Gallery
January 17 through April 14
Since the early ’90s, interdisciplinary artist Harry Dodge has been pioneering practices involving the intersection of video, sculpture, performance, writing and collaboration. In this exhibit, which revolves around the idea of love, he toys with the perplexing characteristics of the human and the non-human. The often humorous presentation of minimalist formalism — overrun with a minimalist-negating slew of visual information — ponders concepts of human-like connection produced by non-human reasoning: i.e. a robot capable of love.
Ansel Adams In Our Time
MFA Boston, 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston MA
Through February 24
Renowned as the premier photographer of the U.S. national parks, Ansel Adams is a legend in American photographic history. His legacy is revisited in this exhibit, which juxtaposes his majestic landscapes with works by those who influenced him, as well as those who were influenced by him. This lens highlights and contrasts social and environmental observations of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.
The Peabody Essex Museum, Salem
Through Aug. 4
As technology continues draw on space-age designs which seem to increasingly reflect 1950s imaginings of the future, this exhibition focuses on technological innovation rooted in designs as old as time. Bio-inspired artwork suggest how nature-based solutions might solve human problems. Featured designs range from the simple hook-and-eye fastener to a cutting-edge personal robot, while others address concerns such as water collection and air purification.
Shadows and Traces: The Photography of John Reuter
Griffin Museum, 67 Shore Road, Winchester MA
Through March 3, 2019
John Reuter’s distorted, flattened photomontages generate a dissociative experience, raising doubts about photography as a medium of “truth.” Combining the grainy aesthetic of the photo-transfer with watercolor, digital editing, and various media retouching. Reuter transforms original images into his own hybrid creations, transporting the viewer into a surreal world of severed, composite images and altered perspectives.
Richard Serra: 1985-1996
Through February 9
Krakow Witkin Gallery, 10 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
Popularly known for his process videos and large steel sculptures, American minimalist Richard Serra also produced a series of color field prints — a subtler example of his fascination with repetition. The pieces in this exhibit (either etching or paintstik/silkscreen) investigate the formal elements of art and materials, exploring process, form, and association. The works focus on the relationship of the color black to perceived graphic design tropes, and examine the dialogue among medium, paper surface, and the viewer. The product of Serra’s 45 years of study into the techniques of printmaking, this fascinating show is not to be missed!
–- Rebekah Bonner
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, an original adaptation written and directed by Alexander Huh. Staged by the Arlekin Players at 368 Hillside Avenue, Needham, MA, through March 3.
“This unique production is presented in Russian and English simultaneously. The ability to love can either be a gift or a curse. What brings us together or prevents us from understanding each other? These are the challenging questions that our main character, a porcelain rabbit, will grapple with on his miraculous journey.” Arts Fuse review
A Doll’s House, Part 2 by Lucas Hnath. Directed by Les Waters. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company in a co-production with Berkeley Repertory Theatre at the Huntington Avenue Theatre, 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA, through February 3.
Do we really need a sequel to Ibsen’s once shocking play? Have we been wondering what happened to Nora once she slammed the door on her kids and her marriage? Apparently so, because this is “America’s most produced play of the season,” according to the Huntington Theatre Company press release. The script imagines Nora 15 years later as a successful writer and independent woman. She is urgently seeking to finalize her divorce, but first her estranged family has grievances to air.” Here is an Arts Fuse review of a production of the script at Barrington Stage last July. Arts Fuse review of the HTC production.
Small Mouth Sounds by Bess Wohl. Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage Company in the Roberts Studio Theatre in the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, through February 2.
The script “follows six strangers on a spiritual retreat for what they hope will be a life-changing week. In the overwhelming quiet of the woods, they struggle to abandon technology and embrace silence under the tutelage of an unseen guru, who is having her own challenges with inner peace. Though it employs little dialogue, there is definitely nothing quiet about” this play, which “asks how we address life’s biggest questions when words fail us.” Arts Fuse review
The Burn by Philip Dawkins. Directed by Logan Serabian. Presented in conversation with More Weight: A Derivative New Work inspired by Arthur Miller’s The Crucible by Serabian. Staged by the Wilbury Theatre Group at 40 Sonoma Court, Providence RI, through February 3.
Receiving its New England premiere, The Burn “is a thrilling blend of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and the online world that serves as modern telling of the way social media blurs the lines of truth and fiction and paves the way for a new kind of witch hunt in today’s world.” Written and conceived by Serabian, “More Weight is a minimalistic work inspired by Arthur Miller’s original text that at a breakneck pace re-tells the entire original Salem witch trials with just five actors.”
Miss You Like Hell. Book & lyrics by Quiara Alegría Hudes. Music & lyrics by Erin McKeown. Directed by Summer L. Williams. Staged by Company One Theatre, in collaboration with American Repertory Theater at OBERON, 2 Arrow Street, Cambridge, MA, through January 27.
The plot: “Sixteen-year-old Olivia hasn’t seen her mother Beatriz in years, but—surprise!—mom just showed up in the middle of the night, with a pickup truck, the promise of the open road . . . and an immigration hearing looming at journey’s end.” Arts Fuse review
Slow Food by Wendy MacLeod. Directed by Sean Daniels. Staged by the Merrimack Repertory Theater at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre at Liberty Hall, Lowell MA, through February 3.
The world premiere of a new comedy that takes aim at aging foodies and existential restaurant service: “A couple of empty nesters just want to have a nice meal out on their big anniversary in Palm Springs, but their highly neurotic waiter will have them examining everything from their menu choices to their very future together. In this scenario, there’s no escaping the world’s worst waiter.” Arts Fuse review
Othello by William Shakespeare. Directed by Bill Rauch. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival production presented by the American Repertory Theater at the Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, MA, through February 9.
This production “explores society’s polarizing struggles with difference. Consumed by their bigotry and xenophobia, those who praised the Moorish general Othello for his military successes now reject his marriage to Desdemona. The newlyweds are determined to overcome this resentment, but Othello’s assignment in Cyprus draws them into the web of his lieutenant Iago, whose jealousy knows no bounds.” Arts Fuse review.
The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe. Directed by A. Nora Long. Staged by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston at 140 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA through February 3.
“Left quad. Right quad. Lunge. A girls’ indoor soccer team warms up. From the safety of their suburban stretch circle, the team navigates big questions and wages tiny battles with all the vigor of a pack of adolescent warriors.” The playwright comments: “I wanted to see a portrait of teenage girls as human beings – as complicated, nuanced, very idiosyncratic people, athletes and daughters and students and scholars and people who are trying actively to figure out who they are in this changing world around them.” A finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Arts Fuse review of the New York production. Arts Fuse review
Heartland by Gabriel Jason Dean. Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Brady. A National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere staged by the New Repertory Theatre in its Black Box theater at the Mosesian Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA, through February 9.
“When Afghan refugee Nazrullah shows up on the doorstep of retired professor Dr. Harold Banks claiming to have known his adopted daughter Getee, the two become unlikely roommates and friends. Getee and Nazrullah’s relationship unfolds in a series of dramatized memories that reveal their uniquely human journey while stunning us with a new understanding of America’s tragic impact on Jihadism in the Middle East.” Arts Fuse review
The Night Watch by Sarah Waters, adapted by Hattie Naylor. Directed by Tony Estrella. Staged by the Gamm Theatre, 245 Jefferson Bouleveard, Warwick, RI, Jan 17 through Feb 10.
The American premiere of this script: “In the late 1940s, calm has returned to London and people are recovering from the chaos of war. In a quiet dating agency, a bombed-out church and a prison cell, the stories of three women and a young man unfold backward to the heart of the Blitz, revealing the secret desires and regrets that bind them together.”
What Rough Beast by Alice Abracen. Directed by Lelaina Vogel. Staged by the Underlings Theatre Company at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA, through January 19.
“Inspired by the Booth family and political debate on campus,” the script “asks the big question of 2019: how the hell do we convince people if we never talk?”
The End of TV, Screenplay by Kyle Vegter and Ben Kauffman. Direction and Storyboards, Julia Miller. Performed by Manuel Cinema at the Emerson Paramount Center, Robert J. Orchard Stage, 559 Washington Street, Boston, MA, January 16 through 27.
“Manual Cinema returns with another feat of innovative, cinematic storytelling. The End of TV depicts the promise and decline of the American rust belt through the stories of Flo and Louise, both former employees of a local auto plant. Flo is an elderly white woman succumbing to dementia as the memories of her life become tangled with television commercials and the “call now” demands of QVC. Louise, a young black woman, meets Flo when she takes a job as a Meals-on-Wheels driver. An unlikely relationship grows as Flo approaches the end of her life and Louise prepares for the invention of a new one.” Arts Fuse review
Winter Panto 2019: Paul Bunyan and the Winter of the Blue Snow (An American Tall Tale), story conceived by Matthew Woods and written by the imaginary beasts ensemble. Directed by Woods. Staged by imaginary beasts at the Charlestown Working Theater, 442 Bunker Hill Street, Charlestown, MA, January 19 through February 10.
“The icy King Zero (a.k.a. Old Man Winter), is determined to diminish Paul Bunyan’s legend and to do-away with the spring by turning our heroes’ adventure-of-a-lifetime into a catastrophe of epic proportions! Will our heroes foil the Demon King and his frosty fiends, or will we all be forced to endure an everlasting winter?”
— Bill Marx
ReSound in the Convent
January 19 at 8 p.m.
At the Emmanuel Church/Lindsey Chapel, 15 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
January 20 at 4 p.m.
At Eliot Church, 474 Centre Street, Newton, MA
“With the Clerici Quartet as its ‘baroque band,’ Capella Clausura revisits the unique and stunning repertoire by northern Italian nuns in the early baroque period.
January 25 at 8 p.m.
At Jordan Hall/New England Conservatory, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA
On the program: Arvo Pärt’s Te Deum; Béla Bartók’s Divertimento for Strings; James Primosch’s Matins.
Violinist Paul Huang and pianist Helen Huang
January 26 at 8 p.m.
Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts at Jordan Hall/New England Conservatory, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA
On the program: Dvorak’s Sonatina, Opus 100; Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 1 in F Minor, Opus 80; Ysaye’s Reve d’enfant; Franck’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Major.
— Susan Miron
Blomstedt conducts Brahms
Presented by Boston Symphony Orchestra
January 17-19 and 22, 8 p.m. (1:30 p.m. on Friday)
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
Herbert Blomstedt, whose Mozart and Haydn performances last year were electrifying, returns to the BSO podium with a canonical program you just shouldn’t miss: Brahms’s Symphony no. 1 and Haydn’s Cello Concerto no. 1 (Truls Mørk is the soloist).
Haroun and the Sea of Stories
Presented by Boston Modern Orchestra Project
January 19, 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
Gil Rose and BMOP present Charles Wuorinen’s adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s novel. Heather Buck, who created the title role nearly twenty years ago, takes it on again. The cast also includes Stephen Bryant, Brian Giebler, and David Salisbury Fry.
Storgårds conducts Saariaho and Sibelius
Presented by Boston Symphony Orchestra
January 24-26 and 29, 8 p.m. (1:30 p.m. on Friday)
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
John Storgårds makes his BSO subscription debut with a healthy dose of Finnish music – Kaija Saariaho’s Ciel d’hiver and Sibelius’s Sixth and Seventh Symphonies – framing Mozart’s E-Flat Major Piano Concerto (no. 22). Martin Helmchen is the soloist in the latter.
Nosky plays Mozart
Presented by Handel & Haydn Society
January 25 at 7:30 p.m. and 27 at 3 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
Concertmaster Aisslinn Nosky continues her survey of Mozart violin concertos, playing the Fifth (“Turkish”). H&H artistic director Harry Christophers also directs Haydn’s Symphony no. 99 and the great Harmoniemesse.
Richard Sebring plays Haydn
Presented by the Concord Orchestra
January 25 and 26, 8 p.m.
51 Walden, Concord, MA
The Boston Symphony’s associate principal horn joins Richard Pittman and the Concord Orchestra in Haydn’s Horn Concerto no. 1. Further rarities by Harold Shapero (Nine-Minute Overture) and Paul Dukas (Villanelle) plus Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony round out the program.
— Jonathan Blumhofer
Roots and World Music
Here’s some promising news: The excellent West African band SambaLolo has launched a weekly African music night at Sally O’s. Special guest bands are expected to join in (and no doubt energize) the guitar and percussion-driven dance grooves.
Boston Celtic Music Festival
January 17 through 20
Club Passim and other Harvard Square Venues
Boston has one of the most vibrant Celtic music scenes of any city in the world. This sixth edition of this sprawling indoor festival is the first time a few non-locals have been invited, and they’re worthy exceptions: Chicago fiddler Liz Carrol and Scottish fiddler Kevin Henderson. They’ll join scores with their Boston peers for a weekend of concerts, workshops, dances, and a Saturday night bash at the Sinclair.
Jeff Berlin Fundraiser
January 20, 3 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
The Burren Backroom, Somerville, MA
What started four years ago as a benefit for local musician Jeff Berlin after a health scare has turned into an annual all-star bash for ourspacerocks.org which helps children and teens with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Given the evening’s avalanche of talent it’s unlikely tickets will be available at the door: The Royer Family Band Hybrasil, Club d’Elf w/ Duke Levine & Dana Colley, Abbie Barrett, Bow Thayer w/ Jeremy Curtis & Jeff Berlin, Andrea Gillis, The Silks, and Ali McGuirk are all slated to play sets.
Berger used to be a rocker gigging at CBGB’s until he heard the call of the American West. Now his well-crafted songs chronicle the roar of trains and life in empty places. He’ll be joined by the crack local rhythm section of Marty Ballou on bass and Ariel Bernstein on drums.
— Noah Schaffer
Rock, Pop, and Folk
Boston’s PowerSlut has been delivering self-assured, hard-driving rock ‘n’ roll since releasing their first EP in 2013. Two LPs and another EP (2017’s subtly titled Go Fuck Myself) have followed. Led from its conception by guitarists and vocalists Linnea Herzog and John Bragg, the quartet will headline a triple bill that includes fellow Beantown rockers Stars Like Ours and Dark Wheels at ONCE Lounge on Friday.
It wouldn’t be mid-January at the Middle East without David Lowery’s bands Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker taking the stage. This show has taken place on one of the days between January 11 and January 20 for most of the past 15 years. In 2019, it will be January 17. Bets are being taken now as to the date of next year’s arrival of these indie-alternative favorites from Redlands, CA.
This esteemed singer, songwriter, and guitarist will perform at City Winery for the third time in the space of 366 days on January 22. However, this will be his first visit to town since the September 14, 2018, release of The Crossing, which includes guest spots by members of MC5, The Stooges, and The Only Ones. Escovedo composed all but one of The Crossing‘s 17 songs with Antonio Gramentiere, the lead singer of Don Antonio, who is joining Escovedo throughout his current tour.
Tufts-educated and Nashville-based musician Amelia White will unveil her seventh album, Rhythm of the Rain, on January 25. Boston-area folks can get a preview of it — and maybe even an actual copy — when she nestles into the cozy confines of Club Passim on the 23rd. This will be the second date of a wide-ranging trek that will take her to Canada, Great Britain, and the Netherlands. Texas native, former Cape Cod resident (hence the name of her album, Washashore Cowgirl), and current Nashville resident Monica Rizzio will open the show.
January 30 (Two sets: 7 and 9:30)
Club Passim, Cambridge, MA
Amelia White and Liz Longley were both educated in Boston — although neither is from New England — and now reside in Nashville. Moreover, both have upcoming gigs at Club Passim. On January 30, Berklee alum Liz Longley will play two sets of material drawn from her five albums and more than likely something from her in-the-works sixth one. She will also be at Tupelo Music Hall in Derry, NH on January 27 and Fall River’s Narrows Center for the Arts on the 31st if the Cambridge dates don’t fit into your schedule.
— Blake Maddux
Katya Apekina & Kirsten Allio
The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish & Buddhism for Western Children
January 16 at 7 p.m.
Newtonville Books, West Newton MA
Two singular styles of narrative will be on display at Newtonville Books. Apekina’s book moves through “a selection of first-person accounts and written with a sinister sense of humor, The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish powerfully captures the quiet torment of two sisters craving the attention of a parent they can’t, and shouldn’t, have to themselves. In this captivating debut, Katya Apekina disquietingly crooks the lines between fact and fantasy, between escape and freedom, and between love and obsession.” Allio’s book is “set on the coast of Maine and in the high desert of New Mexico in the late 1970s through the early ’80s, Buddhism for Western Children is a universal and timeless story of a boy who must escape subjugation, tell his story, and reclaim his soul. In search of community and transcendence, ten-year-old Daniel’s family is swept into the thrall of a potent and manipulative guru.”
Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love
January 23 at 7 p.m.
“Inheritance is a book about secrets–secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman’s urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years–years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in–a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.”
Going Up the Country: When the Hippies, Dreamers, Freaks, and Radicals Moved to Vermont
January 24 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
“Going Up the Country is part oral history, part nostalgia-tinged narrative, and part clear-eyed analysis of the multifaceted phenomena collectively referred to as the counterculture movement in Vermont. This is the story of how young migrants, largely from the cities and suburbs of New York and Massachusetts, turned their backs on the establishment of the 1950s and moved to the backwoods of rural Vermont, spawning a revolution in lifestyle, politics, sexuality, and business practices that would have a profound impact on both the state and the nation.”
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power
January 25 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
“We are at a critical juncture in the confrontation between the vast power of giant high-tech companies and government, the hidden economic logic of surveillance capitalism, and the propaganda of machine supremacy that threaten to shape and control human life. Will the brazen new methods of social engineering and behavior modification threaten individual autonomy and democratic rights and introduce extreme new forms of social inequality? Or will the promise of the digital age be one of individual empowerment and democratization?”
The Schoolhouse Gate: Public Education, the Supreme Court, and the Battle for the American Mind
January 29 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
“Justin Driver maintains that since the 1970s the Supreme Court has regularly abdicated its responsibility for protecting students’ constitutional rights and risked transforming public schools into Constitution-free zones.The Schoolhouse Gate gives a fresh, lucid, and provocative account of the historic legal battles waged over education and illuminates contemporary disputes that continue to fracture the nation.”
— Matt Hanson