By The Arts Fuse Staff
Arts Fuse critics select the best in film, dance, visual art, theater, music, and author events for the coming weeks.
The Somerville Theatre’s sprawling Jack Attack retrospective of the films of Jack Nicholson hits high gear this weekend. Nicholson’s 1970 starring breakthrough Five Easy Pieces, co-starring the wonderful Karen Black, written by Carole Eastman and directed by Bob Rafelson, plays on Friday, April 19 at 7:45. Yes, it’s a classic, but pray check out Nicholson and Rafelson’s weirder, riskier 1972 The King of Marvin Gardens as well. Jack tamps down his sex appeal to play an introspective radio monologist roped into the crazy schemes of his con-man brother, a magnetically manic Bruce Dern (is that redundant?). Ellen Burstyn co-stars in this high-strung drama set amidst the gone-to-seed glamour of pre-casino Atlantic City. King plays on Sunday, April 21 at 1:30 and 5:15. But wait—there’s more! Jack has a piquant supporting role in the fantastical A Safe Place, the 1971 debut of indie cinema’s pixie auteur Henry Jaglom. Tuesday Weld stars, along with Phil Proctor (of the Firesign Theater), and, as “The Magician,” Orson Welles. Enigmatic, indeed. Safe screens on Sunday, at 3:30 and 7:15.
— Betsy Sherman
Belmont World Film
Mondays at 7:30 p.m.
The Studio Cinema, 376 Trapelo Road, Belmont, MA
April 8: Jirga (Australia) East Coast premiere. A modern morality tale about a former Australian soldier who returns to Afghanistan to seek forgiveness from the family of a civilian he accidentally killed during the war. Australia’s Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language Film.
April 15: Asako (Japan) This comedy-drama is based on a 2010 novel about a woman who falls in love with two men who look the same but act completely differently. It was an official selection at the Cannes Film Festival. There is a post film discussion with Shuei Kozu, clinical social worker at Boston Children’s Hospital.
April 8 at 7 p.m.
Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, MA
In this documentary, director Khalik Allah takes us on a spiritual exploration of Jamaica. Soaking up the island’s bustling metropolises and tranquil countryside, Allah introduces us to a succession of vividly rendered souls who call this country home. Their candid testimonies create a polyphonic symphony. Immersed into the sacred, the profane, and everything in-between, Black Mother channels rebellion and reverence into a deeply personal ode that’s informed by Jamaica’s turbulent history but has plenty to say about its urgent present. The filmmaker will attend the screening and take part in a discussion.
Blade Runner: The Final Cut
April 8 at 7 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA
The Science on Screen series presents Ridley Scott’s adaptation of Phillip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The sci-fi noir classic from 1982 alleges to take place in 2019! There have been several cuts of the film and this is the “final” version. There will be a discussion of dystopian science fiction with Wade Roush, the producer and host of Soonish,, an independent podcast about the future.
Bright Lights Screenings
Emerson Paramount Center 559 Washington Street, Boston 4th Floor
The Bright Lights Series films are free to the public along with post-film discussions in a beautiful screening room.
Crime + Punishment on April 9 at 7 p.m.
Co-presented with the Roxbury International Film Festival and the Boston Asian American Film Festival, this powerful film chronicles the remarkable experiences of a group of black and Latino whistleblower cops and the young minorities they are pressured to arrest in New York City. A highly intimate and cinematic experience with unprecedented access. Discussion with director Stephen Maing to follow
The Truth About Killer Robots on April 11 at 7 p.m.
An eerie, eye-opening work of science nonfiction, The Truth About Killer Robots considers several automation cases, from a factory in Germany to a bomb-carrying police droid in Dallas, raising questions of accountability and morality. Exploring the provocative viewpoints of engineers, journalists and philosophers, the film goes beyond the sensational to examine the subtle but pervasive ways that robots will transform humanity. Discussion with director Maxim Pozdorovkin to follow.
Hub Student Film Festival
April 13 at 2 p.m. (Doors at 1:30)
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
Come see a showcase of work made by local undergraduate film students in Greater Boston and throughout New England. The Festival’s objective is to provide up-and-coming filmmakers an opportunity to escape the intimidating and expensive film festival circuit by eliminating every barriers of entry.
The Juniper Tree
April 19 – 21
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
A haunting Icelandic supernatural fairy tale/witchcraft drama — still unusual 25 years after it first premiered. An unsung talent in her lifetime, Nietzchka Keene’s stark, stunning debut feature is loosely based on a Brothers Grimm fairy tale of the same name, and stars music and fashion icon Björk in her first on-screen performance. This new restoration highlights the stunning cinematography of Icelandic vistas as well as Björk’s already-honed onscreen naturalism.
Boston International Film Festival
April 12 – 16, 2019
Cambridge College Town Common, 500 Rutherford Avenue, Boston, MA
Not to be confused with IFFBoston at the end of April, this 5-day event is sponsored by Cambridge College. The festival strives to bring to Boston a hefty representation of movies from local, national, and international filmmakers. The films are programed in blocks beginning on Friday the 12rth at 3:30, with screenings that pair several shorts or one feature with a short film. Printable Schedule of films
— Tim Jackson
April 7 at 7:30 p.m
Sanders Theatre, Cambridge, MA.
Pianist and composer Jason Moran has assayed dance-music deconstructions of Fats Waller, a rearrangement of Thelonious Monk’s legendary 1959 Town Hall concert, multi-media installations, and singular original compositions. For this show he fronts his BANGS trio, with cornettist Ron Miles and guitarist Mary Halvorson.
Pools Trio + Porch Trio
April 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.
This month’s edition of drummer Eric Rosenthal’s .01 Percent series features the Pools Trio, with pianist Pandelis Karayorgis, bassist Nathan McBride, and drummer Luther Gray and the Porch Trio, with Rosenthal, McBride, and saxophonist and Lyricon player Jorrit Dijkstra. All these players are masters at navigating the spontaneous forms that emerge from a mix of written and “free” material.
April 10 at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
The gifted guitarist and composer Kurt Rosenwinkel turns from some of his more pop-oriented recent guitar/vocal material to what he calls the Standards Trio, with electric bassist Dario Deidda, and drummer Mark Whitfield Jr. Some of pieces played by versions of the Standards Trio (going back to 2009’s Reflections) have included pieces by Monk, Wayne Shorter, and Rosenwinkel.
Buster Williams Quartet
April 13 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
The great post-bop bassist Buster Williams leads a quartet with saxophonist Steve Wilson, pianist/keyboardist George Colligan, and drummer Lenny White.
Jason Palmer Quintet
April 14 at 3 p.m.
Hibernian Hall, Boston, MA.
This year — in addition to his many sideman gigs and weekends at Wally’s Café in Boston — Jason Palmer released the epic two-disc CD Rhyme & Reason (featuring Mark Turner and Kendrick Scott), combining his usual inventive daring and sweet composure. (Arts Fuse review) He plays this gig as part of the Neighborhood Arts Association series presented by the Celebrity Series of Boston. Proceeds go to the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative.
April 14 at 7 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA
This jazz supergroup boasts veteran drummer Jack DeJohnette and saxophonist Joe Lovano, with bassist Esperanza Spalding. The astonishing Leo Genovese is the pianist.
Sun of Goldfinger
April 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
Guitar master David Torn and saxophonist Tim Berne have collaborated to stunning effect in the past. Their current trio, Sun of Goldfinger, with a new ECM disc, has Torn on guitars and his usual intoxicating blend of electronics, Ches Smith on drums, electronics, and tanbou, and Berne’s alto.
— Jon Garelick
Third Annual CREATE Festival
At Firehouse 12, 45 Crown Street, New Haven, CT
A rare opportunity to spend some time with the work (and the person) of one of the leading innovators in jazz today, Wadada Leo Smith. His performances and compositions have been written about often by the Arts Fuse‘s Michael Ullman, whose most recent review is of Rosa Parks: Pure Love, parts of which will be performed at the festival. This “two-day celebration of Wadada’s inventive spirit will feature two World Premiere performances and classic works for a diverse range of artists and ensembles, along with an exhibition of Smith’s Ankhrasmation Symbolic Language Art-Scores.”
— Bill Marx
Boston Conservatory Theater
Enjoy an evening of masterwork reconstructions and world premieres, including Conservatory faculty member Kurt Douglas’s restaged version of José Limón’s A Choreographic Offering; world premieres by Itzik Galili, hip-hop artist Jennifer Archibald, and renowned choreographer and director Otis Sallid; and the Metallica Project, a Conservatory/College collaboration featuring Metallica’s songs arranged, recorded, and performed in four different styles as the driving force behind a new contemporary dance work.
April 12 & 13 at 8 p.m.
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
Boston native Will Rawls returns for a performance collaboration with poet and MacArthur Fellow Claudia Rankine and filmmaker John Lucas. What Remains delves into cultural violence and disappearance through movement, language, installation, and projection, inspired by Rankine’s texts on racial violence.
Elevate: A Triple Bill of Female Choreographers
The Dance Complex
Heather Bryce (Bryce Dance Company, NYC), Erin Carlisle Norton (The Moving Architects, NJ/NYC), and Shana Simmons (Shana Simmons Dance, PA) come together for a triple bill focused on the power of the female voice. The evening features both repertory and a new work, Elevate, collaboratively created by all three choreographers. The performance debuted in NYC, is now headed to Boston, and makes its final appearance in Pittsburgh May 4th.
April 12 & 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Bowker Auditorium, UMass Amherst
Alive With Dance, in collaboration with the UMass Dance Department, presents Decisive Authenticity, an evening of senior thesis performances. Thesis topics include: the power of the mind in relation to medical hardships, ideas of energy and release, and the seven aesthetics of Ingrid Fetell Lee’s book Joy.
— Merli V. Guerra
Huma Bhabha: They Live
At the ICA/Boston
Through December 3, 2019
Using styrofoam, bronze, bricks, wood, and various other found materials, Huma Bhabha transforms familiar materials into unsettling objects. Hybridity is a central theme in the artist’s work, exploring the many expressive capabilities of the figure via a plethora of intersex, multi-ethnic forms. Animal, alien, and hybrid bodies suggest a post-apocalyptic existence; the grotesque forms take up themes such as war, religion, and memory. This retrospective is Bhabha’s largest collection of work to date, occupying multiple rooms at the ICA and featuring nearly 50 works, including drawing, sculpture, and photography. Arts Fuse review
The Bauhaus and Harvard
Harvard Art Museums
32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA
Through July 28
Just in time for the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus school, this exhibit highlights significant connections between the school and Harvard University, which became the center for Bauhaus activity during the ’30s. The works are drawn primarily from the Busch-Reisinger Museum collection (the largest Bauhaus collection outside of Germany); the collection began as a collaborative effort between artist and museum to preserve the legacy of the school. Highlighting over 70 artists, such as Anni and Josef Albers and Paul Klee, the exhibit presents artworks across many different mediums. Viewers are encouraged to attend the many events organized by Harvard in celebration of the Bauhaus centennial. Arts Fuse review
Made Visible: Contemporary South African Fashion and Identity
MFA Boston, 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA
Through May 12
“Made Visible” celebrates South African groups who have historically been denied their rights. The focus is on how clothing signifies cultural identity across these communities. Twenty-five years after the end of apartheid, these works examine the painful effects of the past and illuminate how fashion signifies hopes for a brighter future.
Tom Kiefer: El Sueño Americano
Fuller Craft Museum, 455 Oak Street, Brockton, MA
Through July 28
This series of photographs features belongings that were confiscated from migrant families apprehended at the U.S. border. Hundreds of items that have been deemed not threatening or non-essential, such as combs, wallets, toys. and water bottles, have been discarded. Salvaged by Tom Kiefer during his time as a janitor at U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, these pieces have been organized and photographed as a testament to the struggle of refugees who come to the United States in search of a better life.
Fire and Light: Otto Piene in Groton, 1983–2014
Fitchburg Art Museum, 185 Elm Street Fitchburg, MA
Through June 2
As a founding member of Group ZERO in Germany in 1957, Otto Piene challenged the restrictions of painting and began to investigate visual perception through alternative media. He moved to Massachusetts in the 1980s and continued his exploration of perception and sensory experiences, eventually becoming the director at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies.
Throughout his career, Piene’s work centered on the perception-altering effects of light, fire, and sound on space and environment. The exhibit at the Fitchburg Art Museum presents Piene’s major works since the ’80s, including fire-painting, light and sound installations, Sky Events, and more. In honor of Piene’s keen interest in viewer participation, the museum is offering several interactive events and activities. Follow the link above for a schedule of these related events. Arts Fuse‘s 2014 remembrance of Otto Piene.
DeCordova New England Biennial 2019
deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, 51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln, MA
April 5 through September 15
Artwork and new installations by 23 New England artists will be showcased in the deCordova New England Biennial 2019. Scouring dozens of artist’s studios, exhibitions, and galleries, the curatorial team has selected work — in many different mediums — from “some of the most dynamic, experimental and distinguished artists in our area.” This biennial strives to renew awareness of New England as a key region for the production of innovative contemporary art.
The biennial also includes tours, workshops, artist talks, and other family-inclusive activities. Follow the link for a peek at the work of the amazing artists present in the biennial.
Dimensionism: Modern Art in the Age of Einstein
Mead Art Museum, Amherst College
20 South Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA
Through July 28, 2019
Investigating how modern art was influenced by breakthroughs in science, this touring exhibition is inspired by the 1936 “Dimensionist Manifesto,” which articulated an artist’s duty to react to the scientific advancements of their time. Illuminating visions of modernity via the international exchange of information and innovation, this inquiry probes new narratives that deal with mid-20th-century creative thought and the subsequent progression of contemporary art.
World Memory: The Art of Data Visualization
Boston Cyberarts Gallery
141 Green Street, Jamaica Plain, MA
Through May 5
Curated by W. Benjamin Bray and George Fifield, this exhibit presents examinations of the earth’s natural and man-made structures through the use of data visualization. From Dietmar Offenhuber’s “dust.zone,” an elegant, city-wide public work that illustrates the effect of airborne particulate pollution on the city, to Catherine D’Ignacio’s “12 Inches of Weather,” which maps “weather” fluctuations on the human body, the show combines visual art and Big Data to illustrate the complex relationship we have with our planet.
–- Rebekah Bonner
Roots and World Music
Rodney Crowell, Brandy Clark and the North Mississippi All-Stars
Shubert Theater, Boston, MA
This trio of Americana stars perform in a revue backed by a band led by Duke Levine.
Kris Kristofferson and the Strangers
Chevalier Theater, Medford, MA
Kristofferson is on anyone’s short list for greatest songwriter of the 20th century, thanks to the likes of “Me and Bobby McGee” and “Sunday Morning Coming Down.” He’s now touring with his late friend Merle Haggard’s band the Strangers.
Durand Jones and the Indications
Brighton Music Hall, Brighton, MA
Jones, drummer/falsetto singer Aaron Frazier and the rest of the Indications realize that there’s more to classic soul than just the funky side. Their lush ballads bring back the heyday of sweet soul on their new American Love Call LP, a sophomore effort that’s a major artistic step forward for the group.
— Noah Schaffer
Cardboard Piano by Hansol Jung. Directed by Benny Sato Ambush. Staged by New Repertory Theatre at the mainstage at the Mosesian Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA, through April 14.
The New England premiere of “a riveting new drama that reveals a love story between two young women set amidst an escalating civil war in Uganda. Exploring the roots of hatred, the potent power of forgiveness, and how spirituality and identity intersect.” Arts Fuse review
Photograph 51 by Anna Ziegler. Directed by Rebecca Bradshaw. Staged by the Nora Theatre Company (part of The Brit d’Arbeloff Women in Science Production Series. A Catalyst Collaborative@MIT Production) at the Central Square Theater, 450 Mass Avenue, Cambridge, MA, through April 14.
This anniversary year (30 years for The Nora Theatre Company, 40 years for Underground Railway, ten as a cultural anchor in Central Square) is being celebrated by the revival of a play that was first staged by the Nora Theatre in 2012. Its themes “have become sharper with time: not only are conversations about sexism and bias happening in popular culture but they are happening in the laboratory and science classrooms around the country and world — and it’s more intense than ever. ” Arts Fuse review
The Song of Summer by Lauren Yee. Directed by Taibi Magar. Stated by Trinity Rep at 201 Washington Street, Providence, R.I., through April 14.
A world premiere production: “That song on every radio and wedding DJ’s playlist — that catchy earworm that’s inescapable for an entire summer — the “song of the summer” …there’s more to it than everyone knows. There’s more to know about its singer, too — like why he snuck away from a concert and traveled hundreds of miles to visit the home of his childhood piano teacher. What – and who – he finds there could change his career and his life.
Leonora & Alejandro: La Maga y el Maestro, Conceived and directed by Stacy Klein. Staged By Double Edge Theatre at Double Edge Theatre, 948 Conway Road, Ashfield MA, through April 14.
“The kick-off event of DE’s 25th Anniversary Celebration of the founding of its Farm Center in Ashfield, MA. Drawn from the art and life of British-born Mexican artist Leonora Carrington and her mentorship of the Chilean Jewish filmmaker and writer Alejandro Jodorowsky, this surreal performance is steeped in magic and reveals not only the alchemical melding between great seers, but also their spiritual tug of war.”
The Clearing by Helen Edmundson. Directed by Daniel Bourque. Staged by the Hub Theatre Company at the First Church Boston, 66 Marlborough Street, Boston, MA, through April 20.
In this script, “Edmundson uses a dark page from history to address the compelling moral issue of ethnic persecution within the context of an intricate and intimate narrative.”
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare. Directed by Paula Plum. A co-production of the Lyric Stage Company of Boston & Actors’ Shakespeare Project at The Lyric Stage, 140 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA, through April 28.
One of the Bard’s most popular plays. This production will give us “a tale of unrequited love – hilarious and heartbreaking.”
Billed as “the funniest play you will ever see about bone-cancer.” The drama revolves around “Myra, a middle-aged mom with bone cancer who faces the final act of her life with the kind of organizational aplomb she never applied to running her household …Her controlling obsession with planning her own funeral brings her family together on a roller-coaster ride of hilarity and emotion. Busted boilers, biodegradable coffins, and fierce family bonding” all play a part in the script’s journey through a loved one’s final chapter.
The Haunted Life by Sean Daniels. Based on the book by Jack Kerouac. Directed by Sean Daniels and christopher oscar peña. Staged by the Merrimack Repertory Theatre (produced in collaboration with Jim Sampas and The Estate of Jack Kerouac) at 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA, through April 14.
A world premiere production: “In honor of the theatre’s 40th Anniversary Season in Lowell, MRT brings a new adaptation of a ‘lost’ novel set in Lowell by Jack Kerouac, who was born and raised here.” This “deeply-felt family drama follows the coming of age story of college student Peter Martin and his relationship with his conservative father. Taking place during America’s last golden summer before it entered WWII, it chronicles the cost of war on a small town.” Arts Fuse review
Macbeth by William Shakespeare. Directed by Daniel Thomas Blackwell. Staged by the Underlings Theatre Company at the Mosesian Center for the Arts Blackbox, Watertown, MA, through April 13.
Well, you know it had to come (wicked or otherwise) — this is “a found footage horror take on Shakespeare’s classic work.”
Trigger Warning by Jacques Lamarre. Directed by David J.Miller. Staged by the Zeitgeist Stage Company at the Boston Center for the Arts, April 12 through May 4.
Zeitgeist Stage Company’s final production is a commissioned script that “explores how a mass shooting impacts one family — that of the shooter. Were there warning signs that were ignored? Could they have done anything to stop this senseless act? Can the family face a community that once was home and now reviles them? Is there anything this devastated family can offer an angry nation other than thoughts and prayers.”
God of Vengeance: A Staged Reading. Directed by Barbara Grossman. Presented by The Jewish Arts Collaborative at the Lyric Stage, 140 Clarendon St., Boston, MA, April 8 at 7 p.m. Free
A staged reading of Sholem Asch’s 1906 milestone play God of Vengeance, done as a complement to Indecent, the Tony award-winning play being presented in Boston this Spring. Seen by some as a seminal work of Jewish theatre, and by others as an act of traitorous libel, God of Vengeance inspired Indecent. In Asch’s play, a Jewish brothel owner attempts to become respectable by commissioning a Torah scroll and marrying off his daughter to a yeshiva student. The performance is in English. Talk back with Asch’s great-grandson David Mazower, Yiddish Book Center Bibliographer and Editorial Director, to follow the reading.
American Moor written and Performed by Keith Hamilton Cobb. Directed by Kim Weild. Presented by Arts Emerson at the Emerson Paramount Center, Robert J. Orchard Stage, 559 Washington Street, Boston, MA, April 10 through 21.
“As an experienced, African-American actor auditions for Othello he is met with prejudice, racism and privilege while negotiating with a young, white director who presumes to understand Shakespeare’s Moorish prince far better than the performer standing before him. By combining an audition from Hell and a cutting, laugh-out-loud internal monologue, the script challenges the capacity of theater to make all people fully visible and embraced.” Arts Fuse review of 2017 production.
Dead House by Beirut Balutis. Directed by Adam Kassim. A BU New Play Initiative, produced by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Theatre at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA, April 18 through 28.
Centered on the emotional fallout following the death of a local high school football star in the fictitious town of Bone Flat, the script is set in the Appalachian region of Pennsylvania where dramatist Balutis grew up.
— Bill Marx
Chameleon Arts Ensemble: upon one note
April 7 at 4 p.m.
At the First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough Street, Boston, MA
On the program: Franz Joseph Haydn’s Piano Trio No. 43 in C Major, Hob. XV:27; Francis Poulenc’s Sextet in C Major for piano & winds, FP 100; Oliver Knussen’s …upon one note – Fantasia after Purcell for clarinet, violin, cello & piano; Franz Schubert’s Cello Quintet in C Major, D. 956, Op. posth. 163.
April 12 at 8 p.m.
At Hamilton Hall, 9 Chestnut Street, Salem, MA
April 14 at 3 p.m.
At St. Paul’s Church Brookline, 15 St. Paul Street, Brookline, MA
A Boston Artists Ensemble concert. On the program: Boccherini’s String Quintet No. 75 in D, G 313; Mendelssohn’s String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Opus 13; Arensky’s String Quartet No. 2 for Violin, Viola and two Cellos, Opus 35.
Boston Symphony Chamber Players
April 14 at 3 p.m.
At Jordan Hall/New England Conservatory, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA
On the program: Mozart’s Quartet in F for oboe and strings, K.370; Françaix’s Dixtuor, for winds and strings, and Beethoven’s Septet in E-flat for strings and winds, Op. 20.
From Baroque to Jazz
April 14 at 6 p.m.
At Congregation Kehillath Israel, 384 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA
Ballets Russes Arts Initiative presents a program featuring clarinetist Julian Milkis and pianist Sima Kustanovich.
Boston Chamber Music Society
April 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Sanders Theatre/Harvard University, 45 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA
On the program: Arnold Bax’s Fantasy Sonata for Viola and Harp, GP 284; John Harbison’s String Trio (2013);
Johannes Brahms’s String Quintet No. 1 in F major, Op. 88.
— Susan Miron
April 9 at 7 p.m.
Newtonville Books, West Newton MA
“Talk show host Matthew Miller has made his fame by shining a spotlight on the most unlikely and bizarre secrets of society, exposing them on live television in front of millions of gawking viewers. However, the man behind The Mattie M Show remains a mystery—both to his enormous audience and to those who work alongside him every day. But when the high school students responsible for a mass shooting are found to be devoted fans, Mattie is thrust into the glare of public scrutiny, seen as the wry, detached herald of a culture going downhill and going way too far. Soon, the secrets of Mattie’s past as a brilliant young politician in a crime-ridden New York City begin to push their way to the surface.”
John Levin and Earl Silbar
You Say You Want A Revolution: SDS, PL, and Adventures in Building a Worker-Student Alliance
April 9 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
“Today, Students for a Democratic Society is often portrayed as the drama of the good early 1960s SDS turning into Weatherman, the small faction whose story ended in bombed-out New York townhouse.The reality was quite different. SDS at its apex in 1968/69 numbered 100,000 students whose political views reflected a rainbow of ideologies exploring what a new American left could be with a willingness to risk everything to stop the war in Vietnam and achieve social justice. When SDS splintered in June 1969, a majority of the delegates supported the program of its Worker-Student Alliance caucus: building a strategic alliance between students and the working class to achieve the movement’s goals.”
Losing Earth: A Recent History
April 10 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
“By 1979, we knew nearly everything we understand today about climate change―including how to stop it. Over the next decade, a handful of scientists, politicians, and strategists, led by two unlikely heroes, risked their careers in a desperate, escalating campaign to convince the world to act before it was too late. Losing Earth is their story, and ours.
The New York Times Magazine devoted an entire issue to Nathaniel Rich’s groundbreaking chronicle of that decade, which became an instant journalistic phenomenon―the subject of news coverage, editorials, and conversations all over the world. In its emphasis on the lives of the people who grappled with the great existential threat of our age, it made vivid the moral dimensions of our shared plight.”
The Made-Up Man: A Novel
April 12 at 7 p.m.
Newtonville Books, West Newton MA
Existential noir meets absurd comedy when a young man reluctantly enlists as source material for an art project. Immediately and wholly immersive, Joseph Scapellato’s debut novel, The Made-Up Man, is a hilarious examination of art’s role in self-knowledge, a sinister send-up of self-deception, and a big-hearted investigation into the cast of characters necessary to help us finally meet ourselves.
Henry Louis Gates Jr
Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow
April 15 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
“The abolition of slavery in the aftermath of the Civil War is a familiar story, as is the civil rights revolution that transformed the nation after World War II. But the century in between remains a mystery: if emancipation sparked “a new birth of freedom” in Lincoln’s America, why was it necessary to march in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s America? In this new book, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., one of our leading chroniclers of the African-American experience, seeks to answer that question in a history that moves from the Reconstruction Era to the “nadir” of the African-American experience under Jim Crow, through to World War I and the Harlem Renaissance. Through his close reading of the visual culture of this tragic era, Gates reveals the many faces of Jim Crow and how, together, they reinforced a stark color line between white and black Americans.”
Independent Book Store Day
April 27 all day
Independent Book Stores Near You
We are always hearing these laments about the loss of paper books to digital media. Why should we readers take this nonsense lying down? Get to your nearest available bookstore and get to shopping. There are fun, quirky, coordinated events happening all over the city- a place that is luckily for us, replete with places to buy great new and used books- it’s page against the machine, here, people! Get out there and commence to browsing! The ghosts of the Gutenbergs salute you!
— Matt Hanson
Rock, Pop, and Folk
As unlikely of a pairing as it may appear to be, British jack of all genres/master of a few Nick Lowe and Nashville surf rock instrumentalists Los Straitjackets have proved to be quite the compatable collaborators for the past five years. Los Straitjackets have backed Lowe on his Quality Revue shows and recordings (which have often consisted largely of holiday music) and recorded an album of all instrumental versions of 13 Nick Lowe songs. In 2018, Lowe and the band also recorded an EP together called Tokyo Bay. Now the gang is back on the road for another round of Quality Revue performances, one of which will happen at The Wilbur on Thursday.
Three-and-a-half years after his well-received new wave/synth pop excursion Ad Infinitum, Michael Benjamin Lerner — the one man of the band Telekinesis — returned in February with Effluxion. Lerner has a gift for crafting ebullient, even-keeled power pop that utilize piquant retroisms while steadfastly looking forward. For examples, check out Effluxion‘s “Cut the Quick,” “Set a Course,” “Suburban Streetlight Drunk,” “Feel It in Your Bones,” “A Place in the Sun”… ah hell, the whole damn album. (Then go see Lerner at Great Scott on Saturday.)
The all-female trio The Coathangers are garnering some of the best reviews of their 12-year recording career with this year’s The Devil You Know. Since their aggression (“F the NRA“) and melodicism (“Bimbo”) are as potent as ever, this praise comes as no surprise. The record’s extra punch likely stems from the fact that it’s 11 tracks take up only 31 minutes, making The Devil You Know the most compact Coathangers release since 2011’s Larceny & Old Lace. Seattle’s Big Bite and Boston’s The Downhauls will open the Atlantans’ show at Great Scott on April 15.
After a decade on independent labels, the Los Angeles quartet Rival Sons made the leap to the majors with Feral Roots, which came out in January. While such a move has been known to spell disaster for an artist’s well-honed sound or artistic integrity, Rival Sons are thankfully none the worse for it. While Greta Van Fleet catches hell for their Zeppelin-isms, these guys neutralize such criticism with the help of producer Dave Cobb, whose recent credits include folk and country artists such as Brandi Carlisle, Jason Isbell, Lori McKenna, John Prine, and Sturgill Simpson. Those who love their neo-classic rock loud, bluesy, and a bit Southern-fried are likely to remember Rival Sons’ April 18 show with The Sheepdogs at Royale as one of the best of 2019.
— Blake Maddux