Coming Attractions: May 19 through June 4 — What Will Light Your Fire

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.


Between the Lines
through May 20
Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, MA

A new restoration of Joan Micklin Silver’s first film that takes place in Boston’s Back Bay among antiwar protests and corruption investigations. Features early performances by John Heard, Bruno Kirby, Jeff Goldblum, Jill Eikenberry, Joe Morton, Lindsay Crouse, and Michael J. Pollard. (Arts Fuse Commentary).

A scene from “Family Friend,” which is screening at West Newton Cinema.

Garden Store Trilogy
May 19-20
West Newton Cinema, 1296 Washington Street, West Newton, MA

Belmont World Film (BWF) features a trilogy of films from acclaimed Czech director Jan Hřebejk (Oscar nominee Divided We Fall). The screenings will be followed by discussions with the director. Each film can be appreciated on its own.

Family Friend on May 19 at 2 p.m.

Part I. Set in the 1940‘s during the German occupation, this film is a story of unrequited love.

Deserter on May 19 at 7:30 p.m.

Part II. Set in the 1940‘s, this installment revolves around the owner of an exclusive hair salon in the center of Prague who employs family members when they return home after Nazi imprisonment.

Suitor on May 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Part III. A romantic comedy about parents’ expectations for their children’s futures, this installment is set in late 1950’s Prague. An examination of how the war and Communist takeover undercut family relationships.

New Wave Now: Georgia’s Independent Voice
May 23 – 26
Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

The series contains recent work from some of the country’s distinctive cinematic voices. My Happy Family (June 23 at 7:30 p.m.), The Confession (May 24 at 7:30 p.m.), Khibula (May 25 at 12:30 p.m.),  Our Blood is Wine (May 25 at 3 p.m.), and The Chair (May 26 at 3 p.m.).

A Mighty Wind and The Commitments
May 23 at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Somerville Theater, Somerville, MA

The Reel Films/Fake Bands series presents two of its best rock films: A Mighty Wind is Christopher Guests hysterical right-on parody of the early folk scene.The Commitments features some terrific music in a story about a collection of working class Dubliners of varying degrees of talent who create a soul cover band.

The Silence of Others
June 1– 9
Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Produced by Pedro Almodóvar, this documentary explores the struggle to come to terms with Spain’s 40-year dictatorship under General Franco. Filmed over six years, the film follows victims and survivors as they fight for justice, organizing the groundbreaking “Argentine Lawsuit” in the face of considerable odds, including a state-imposed amnesia regarding ‘crimes against humanity’ in a country that’s still divided about its past after four decades of democracy.

Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter’s Bone.”

Winter’s Bone
June 1 at 7 p.m.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA

The Boston Society of Film Critics salute director Debra Granik, who will appear in person with a film that launched both her career and the career of Jennifer Lawrence. The director will be on hand for Q&A’s throughout the weekend.

— Tim Jackson


Anton Schwartz
May 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA

Bay Area saxophonist Anton Schwartz has a hard-bop affinity for blues, roots, and shapely tunefulness. He makes his first visit to Boston in several years, with trumpeter Billy Buss, pianist Matthew Fries, bassist Greg Ryan, and a young (Harvard undergrad) Julian Miltenberger on drums.

Trumpeter Dave Douglas. Photo: John Abbott.

Dave Douglas-Elan Mehler Sextet
May 23 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.

This extremely promising sextet joins master trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas with pianist-composer Elan Mehler (also impresario of the vinyl-only imprint Newville), the extraordinary singer Dominique Eade, reed and flute player John Gunther, bassist Simón Willson, and drummer Dayeon Seok.

Rage Thormbones
May 24 at 10:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.

Rage Thormbones is described as “an ongoing collaboration between trombonist/composers Matt Barbier and Weston Olencki. They explore the outer reaches of instrumental performance and brass technique, often combining hand-built instruments, extreme preparations, and geometric approaches toward harmony with analog/digital synthesis to create immersive environments of dense sonic forces.” What’s not to like? Two known quantities also recommend this show: trombonist Jeb Bishop and trumpeter Forbes Graham, who will also double on electronics. Barbier and Olencki are described as playing “trombones and other gear.”

Harold Mabern Trio
May 31 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.

Influenced early on by fellow Memphis pianist Phineas Newborn Jr., and a cornerstone of that city’s fertile jazz scene (which has included the likes of Mulgrew Miller, James Williams, and Donald Brown), Harold Mabern, now 83, comes to Scullers with his longstanding trio mates, bassist John Webber and drummer Joe Farnsworth. Expect Mabern to match propulsive, bluesy rhythmic power with an equally sensitive touch and broad harmonic palette.

Duke Ellington’s Sacred Jazz
May 31 at 7:30 p.m.
Bethel A.M.E. Church

The massed forces of choirs from the People’s Baptist Church, Bethel A.M.E. Church, and Roxbury Presbyterian Church, along with the faculty of Boston City Singers, soloists, including tap dancer Shaina Schwartz, will assay music Duke Ellington wrote for three “Sacred Concerts,” which the master called “the most important work I have ever done.” The trio of pianist Paul White, bassist Kaela Kaumeheiwa, and percussionist Yoron Israel serve as musical “anchor.”

Rima Yamazaki and her trio will perform at the Third Life Studio.

Rina Yamazaki Trio
June 1 at 7:30 p.m.
Third Life Studio, Somerville, MA.

The young Brooklyn-based Japanese pianist Rina Yamazaki has won awards for writing as well as playing, made her debut recording with bassist Peter Washington, and Neal Smith, and sold out her last gig in Boston, at the Mission Hill pop-up ARTSpace.  Mandorla Music, the producers of that show, bring her back. She’s got great touch (can play slow), fingers (can play fast), and a sense of song (she’s smart!). Bass and drums TBA.

— Jon Garelick

Donald Harrison Jr. (as), w. Zaccai Curtis (p), John Benitez (b), Darryl Staves (dm) – on May 24 at 8 p.m. at Scullers. Harrison, a stellar virtuoso on alto, describes himself on his website as “The King of Nouveau Swing,” which is his name for a synthesis of jazz, R&B, and other traditions rooted in Harrison’s native New Orleans. Not that anyone would mistake what he does with an artificial hybrid music – this is music that most will hear as pure jazz, unlimited by arbitrary fences. It speaks its message loudly and proudly . . . and swings like a MF. The supporting players should provide a sympathetic foundation, especially Curtis, a veteran of Harrison’s groups who has an impressive resume on his own.

George Garzone (ts/ss), with players to be announced, on May 25 at the Mad Monkfish. Garzone is a double threat – a monstrous technician on his axes and a profoundly influential stylist. But hearing him in person is always an adventure, because he never stops challenging himself. He can have his pick of supporting players, so he brings the best along to his infrequent weekend gigs at the Monkfish – and sometimes a guest artist as well.

Jerry Bergonzi (ts), with Phil Grenadier (b), Luther Gray (dm), and guests (at 830 PM) and The Fringe [George Garzone (ts/ss), John Lockwood (b), Bob Gullotti (dm)] (at 1030 PM) – The Lilypad on May 27. Bergonzi, a saxophone giant, brings his long-standing trio and occasional guest artists to Inman Square’s intimate avant-garde storefront at 830 every Monday. Then The Fringe, one of the greatest free-jazz ensembles in the world, featuring fellow sax giant Garzone, come on at 10:30. Hearing both groups will clean out your ears and re-boot your brain.

Bassist Ben Allison. Worth a trip to New York to hear him play the music of Ornette Coleman. Photo: Twitter.

Ben Allison (b), playing the music of Ornette Coleman, with Tom Harrell (tp), Donny McCaslin (ts), Steve Smith (dm) at Birdland (315 West 44th Street, New York City), May 28 through Saturday June 1 at 8:30 p.m. Five nights of Ornette in Manhattan is eminently worthy of a road trip, and when the players are on this level, the gig rises to the level of must-see-if-you-can-get-there. In the past couple of years, Allison has been assembling small groups of top-notch artists to play music of the masters, and those bands have reverently and enthusiastically embraced the challenges. If only a Boston venue would bring one of Ben’s groups up here …

Carl Allen (dm), w. Vincent Herring (as / ss), Cyrus Chestnut (p), Yasushi Nakamura (b) – on May 30 at 8 p.m. at Scullers. Gotta love Carl Allen, a drummer whose more than 200 recordings and scores of illustrious companions speak volumes about his versatility and talent. (In something like a chronological order of innovators, those companions include James Moody, Freddie Hubbard, Jackie McLean, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Roy Hargrove, Christian McBride, Nicholas Payton . . .) And Allen’s quartet tonight is no pick-up band. The fiery-toned Vincent Herring has worked regularly with him (for example, on 1993’s Piccadilly Square), and his presence alone on the stand makes this gig a must-see. But that’s not all . . . Cyrus Chestnut, a pianist whose gifts are just as great as those of Allen and Harrison, will be anchoring the band harmonically, and Yasushi Nakamura, one of the Apple’s busiest bassists, will be providing the foundation.

Jerry Bergonzi (ts), with Phil Grenadier (b), Luther Gray (dm), and guests (at 830 PM) and The Fringe [George Garzone (ts/ss), John Lockwood (b), Bob Gullotti (dm)] (at 10:30 p.m.) – at the Lilypad, June 3. Bergonzi, a saxophone giant, brings his long-standing trio and occasional guest artists to Inman Square’s intimate avant-garde storefront at 830 every Monday. Then The Fringe, one of the greatest free-jazz ensembles in the world, featuring fellow sax giant Garzone, come on at 10:30. Come hear what the regulars already know – this is the place to be on Monday nights.

— Steve Elman

Téka Penteriche comes to the Lilypad.

May 19 at 7 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA

Téka Penteriche, a native of Brazil who has been a mainstay of the West Coast Brazilian music scene for many years, returns to her old stomping grounds (she studied at Berklee College of Music) for a couple of appearances this week. A captivating singer who has played and recorded with Brazilian music giants Hermeto Pascoal, Gilberto Gil, and Flora Purim and Airto Moreira, Téka brings her rich, warm vocal tone and excellent guitar chops to her deep repertoire of bossa nova, samba, and Brazilian jazz. Joining her will be Boston-area Brazilian music experts Ebinho Cardoso, bass; Bertram Lehmann, drums; and David Rumpler, piano.

— Evelyn Rosenthal


The cast of “See You Yesterday.” Photo: Jacqueline Lessac

See You Yesterday
May 19
Emerson Paramount Center
Boston, MA

ArtsEmerson presents See You Yesterday, a moving performance by Global Arts Corps that revisits the painful history of the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia. Directed by Michael Lessac, the show features 19 Cambodian performers who combine acrobatics and circus arts to look back in order to shatter a legacy of silence. The show’s U.S. premiere in Boston closes ArtsEmerson’s 2018/19 Season. Arts Fuse review

through June 9
Citizens Bank Opera House
Boston, MA

Boston Ballet concludes its season with Rhapsody—a mixed-repertory program that includes George Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2; a trio of short works by Leonid Yakobson; and a world premiere by Boston Ballet Principal Dancer Paulo Arrais, set to a jazzy score by George Gershwin.

Matter of Spirit
May 25 at 7 p.m.
The Sanctuary Theater
Cambridge, MA

Experience first-hand the joyous rhythms and boundless energy of West African dance and drumming. Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre presents an evening of cultural vibrancy that encourages you to join the dance as well. Regular and VIP ticket options are available for this special event.

NATyA Dance Collective presents Samsara.

Samsara: Dancing the Everyday
May 31 & June 1 at 8 p.m.
The Dance Complex
Cambridge, MA

NATyA Dance Collective presents a riveting evening of Bharatanatyam (classical Indian dance) reflecting on human everyday experiences, including: “the rhythm of the drum, love and loss, searching without end, and the complexities of human relationships.” Enjoy an eclectic score and new music by Carnatic saxophonist and composer Prasant Radhakrishnan, alongside classic and contemporary pieces choreographed by NATyA dancers.

June 1 & 2
Boston University Dance Theater
Boston, MA

Across the Ages Dance Project presents new works by choreographers Joanie Block, Audra Carabetta, Alexander Davis and Joy Davis, Brian Feigenbaum, The Wondertwins – Billy and Bobby McClain, Meghan McLyman, and Liana Percoco in its 2019 production Lineage. With 40 performers ranging in age from seven to 83, this intergenerational performance beautifully integrates an array of dancers, from the technically trained to the contemporary pedestrian—highlighting each of their kinetic strengths.

— Merli V. Guerra

Visual Arts

“Piecework Denim.” Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Ericka Beckman: Double Reverse
Through July 28
MIT List Gallery
20 Ames St, Cambridge, MA

Ericka Beckman’s work poses questions about gender, competition, power, and control. The signature energetic pacing and sound of her films reflect the characteristics of a game, as the artist forms connections between gambling, capitalism, and labor, as well as the “gamification” of our society through an obsession with scores, competitions, and rewards. This exhibit features four of Beckman’s films, a survey of her work from 1983 to 2016. This is the first time this work will be seen together in the U.S.

Map This: Sustainable Fashion
June 6 through August 30
Urbano Project
29 Germania St. Jamaica Plain, MA

Exploring the future of design, artist-in-residence Nathalia JMag combines contemporary fashion with a sustainable approach. This exhibition features a collection of JMag’s latest designs. From upcycling old clothing to using all-natural dyes, these pieces demonstrate an alternative to factory-based production in favor of an eco-friendly fashion future.

Prince Shōtoku: The Secrets Within
Through Aug 11
Harvard Art Museums
32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

The Harvard Art Museums presents Prince Shotoku at Age Two, the earliest known image of the founder of Buddhism in Japan. Viewers will have the opportunity to see this hollow wood sculpture “from the inside out,” accompanied by over 70 religious objects originally stored inside the sculpture for 700 years. This will be the first time Harvard has presented the entire collection of objects, along with the statue.

Body Mass
Boston CyberArts
141 Green Street, Jamaica Plain, Boston MA
Through June 23

An inquiry into the significance of the contemporary body, this exhibit wonders what happens when we upload our existence onto the ethereal spaces of the internet. How does the body stay relevant when the world is digital? Nine artists investigate how the modern body interacts with technology as our lives intertwine with all-consuming digital devices that alter our perception and recreate the world.

John Akomfrah: Purple
ICA Boston
25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston MA
May 25 through Sep 2, 2019

The ICA Watershed begins its second season with the U.S. premiere of an immersive, six-channel video installation by artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah. Integrating archival film with original footage, the installation documents disappearing landscapes all over the globe, probing the complexity and fragility of the current ecological balance. Backed by a symphonic soundtrack, the themes of this work are underlined by the significance of the Watershed’s industrial, harbor location.

Elizabeth Tubergen, “Elephant For Any Occasion,” 2013, plywood, fir, pine, screws, bolts, foam, fiberglass mesh, concrete, 19 × 25 × 12 feet. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

deCordova New England Biennial 2019
deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, 51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln, MA
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.

Larry Buller, Nancy Boi, 2016, Low-Fire Clay, Terra Sigillata, Low-Fire Glaze and Decals.

Society of Arts + Crafts (SA+C)
100 Pier 4 Blvd., Boston, MA
through June 30, 2019

On view through Pride Month 2019, over 30 artists across the country come together in this exhibition, examining their place in the world as well as within the LGBTQ community. Instead of highlighting the artists’ sexual identities, this selection of works seeks to challenge preconceived notions of “queer craft.” The exhibit looks critically at both viewers and craft aficionados who seek out this type of work, examining the sincerity of their intentions and acceptance of the LGBTQ artist.

–- Rebekah Bonner

Roots and World Music

Jahriffe MacKenzie will perform around town this week.

May 22, La Fábrica Central
May 29, Royale

A Boston artist with an international following, Jahriffe MacKenzie has been carrying the torch of the city’s roots reggae scene for the past 15 years. Recently he dropped a new single, Reflection, an examination of the responsibilities of manhood. The hard-touring singer and his Jah-N-I Roots Band almost always have area dates. This month, they’ll be performing at the La Fábrica Reggae Takeovah series before performing at a Sensi Magazine function a week later.

Ross Daly and Kelly Thoma
May 28
Club Passim, Cambridge, MA

Pretty much the best show I saw in both 2017 and 2018 was the pairing of Cretian music masters Ross Daly and Kelly Thoma with Boston’s Michael Harrist and Tev Stevig. Now comes another chance to hear four traditional music masters improvising at the highest level.

Back West with Tommy and Louise
May 29
The Burren, Somerville, MA

It’s a night of Galway-style jigs and reels as the Irish quartet Back West returns to the Burren. Opening the night will also feature the Burren’s proprietors, Tommy McCarthy and Louise Costello.

Eli “Paperboy” Reed
May 30
The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA

Although it may feature a cameo from Big Daddy Kane, Boston-raised Eli “Paperboy” Reed’s new LP 99 Cent Dreams marks a return to the deep soul sound of his first recordings, though sung from a more mature perspective.

Vicky and the Vengents, Muck and the Mires, and the Electric Mess
June 1
Midway Cafe, Jamaica Plain

With her outsized voice, personality, and fake eyelashes, Vicky Tafoya is one of rockabilly’s most endearing personalities. It turns out she also has a punk side which she lets loose with the Vengents — although the combo’s music is equally inspired by doo-wop and girl groups. The Californians make a rare East Coast appearance as part of this fine garage night, courtesy of DJ Easy Ed’s Record Hop, which will be providing the music in between sets.

— Noah Schaffer


The cast of “See You Yesterday.” Photo: Jacqueline Lessac.

See You Yesterday by Global Arts Corps. Directed by Michael Lessac. Staged by Global Arts Corps in partnership with Phare Performing Social Enterprise and Phare Ponleu Selpak Association at the Emerson Paramount Center, Robert J. Orchard Stage, 559 Washington Street Boston, MA, through May 19.

The American premiere of a show that “explores the painful history of the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia. Nineteen Cambodian performers utilize their extraordinary physical skills, including acrobatics and circus arts, to travel back in time and shatter a legacy of silence.” Arts Fuse review

The Stone by Marius von Mayenburg. Directed by Igor Golyak. Staged by Arlekin Players Theatre at the Studio 368 at Hillside Avenue, Needham, MA, through June 9. (These performances are in Russian with audio-translation in English. The show will return September 13th – 22nd in English.)

“In 1935, a young couple purchases a house from a Jewish family in Dresden, Germany. The play follows the lives of the house’s residents, who must grapple with their own identity while experiencing the reverberations created by 60 years of German history. As the house is passed from owner to owner, and generation to generation, the secrets buried in the garden and within the walls reveal themselves.”

Vietgone by Qui Nguyen. Directed by Michelle Aguillon. Staged by Company One in partnership with Pao Arts Center at the BCA Plaza Theatre, Boston, MA through May 25.

“A kinda-true love story with a hip-hop heart,” this script claims to be “a hilarious ride from Netflix and Marvel Studios writer Qui Nguyen, who mixes music and memory to pin down his own origin story.”

black odyssey boston by Marcus Gardley. Directed by Benny Sato Ambush. A co-production by The Front Porch Arts Collective & Underground Railway Theater at the Central Square Theatre, Cambridge, MA, through May 19.

“Ulysses Lincoln, a Gulf War veteran lost at sea and presumed dead, fights to find his way back home to his wife and son. The meddlesome Gods, Great Grand Daddy Deus and Great Grand Paw Sidin have other plans in mind as they battle for control of Ulysses’ fate.” The script “melds together Greek mythology, African-American oral history and music in this visionary new take on Homer’s classic tale.” Arts Fuse review

Cry It Out by Molly Smith Metzler. Directed by Amanda Charlton. Staged by the Merrimack Repertory Theatre at 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA, through May 19.

“This new comedy throws two very different women into an unlikely, but fierce, friendship. On maternity leave for the first time, Jessie and Lina tiptoe to their shared backyard for a precious coffee and a chat during naptime. This play takes an honest look at the absurdities of being home with a baby, the dilemma of returning to work, and how class impacts parenthood and friendship.” Arts Fuse review

Lisa Gutkin and Elizabeth A. Davis in a scene from the Huntington Theatre Company production of “Indecent.” Photo: T Charles Erickson.

Indecent by Paula Vogel. Directed by Rebecca Taichman. A co-production between the Center Theatre Group and the Huntington Theatre Company at the Huntington Avenue Theatre, 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA, through May 25.

“Indecent is a deeply moving play inspired by the true events surround the controversial 1923 Broadway debut of Sholem Asch’s God of Vengeance – a play seen by some as a seminal work of Jewish culture, and by others as an act of traitorous libel. Indecent charts the history of an incendiary drama and the path of the artists who risked their careers and lives to perform it.” Arts Fuse review Another Arts Fuse review

Pacific Overtures, Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by John Weidman. Directed by Spiro Veloudos. Music Director, Jonathan Goldberg. Choreography by Micheline Wu. Staged by Lyric Stage Company at 140 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA, through June 16.

The Sondheim project continues: “An unlikely friendship is forged between a samurai, Kayama, and an Americanized fisherman, Manjiro, during Commodore Matthew Perry’s 1853 mission to open trade relations with isolationist Japan. The two friends are caught in the inevitable winds of change and tell the story of Japan’s painful and harrowing Westernization. A highly original, inventive, powerful, and surprisingly humorous theatrical experience.”

We Live in Cairo by Daniel Lazour and Patrick Lazour. Directed by Taibi Magar. Staged by the American Repertory Theater at the Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, MA, through June 23.

“Inspired by the young Egyptians who took to the streets in 2011 to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak, this new musical follows six revolutionary students armed with laptops and cameras, guitars and spray cans as they come of age in contemporary Cairo. Winner of the Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater,” the piece “moves from the hope of Tahrir Square through the tumultuous years that followed. As escalating division and violence lead to a military crackdown, the young revolutionaries must confront the question of how—or even whether—to keep their dreams of change alive.” A world premiere. Arts Fuse review

School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play by Jocelyn Bioh. Directed by Summer L. Williams. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage Company at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street in Boston’s South End, through May 25.

“The show takes place in 1986 in Ghana’s top boarding school where Paulina, the school’s reigning “queen bee,” has her sights set on representing her country in the Miss Global Universe Pageant. Things change quickly, however, with the arrival of Ericka, a new student from Ohio, who, with undeniable talent and beauty, captures the attention of both the pageant recruiter and Paulina’s hive-minded friends.” The script throws “unsparing light on questions of ambition, deceit, and the ultimate value of a fair-skinned complexion.” Arts Fuse review

The Ebonic Woman, A Comic Book Farce by Ryan Landry. Staged by the Gold Dust Orphans at the Ramrod Center for the Performing Arts (Machine Nightclub), 1254 Boylston Street, Boston, MA, through May 26.

The latest farce from Ryan Landry and the Gold Dust Orphans “is a blistering hot take on race in America and the walls we build around ourselves to keep the status quo. Using the form of superhero blockbusters as a jumping off point … this original musical comedy is a scathing satire in which no group is safe.

A scene from one of The Nature Plays — “Cerulean Blue.”

The Nature Plays by Patrick Gabridge. Directed by Courtney O’Connor. At Mount Auburn Cemetery, 580 Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA, June 1 through 9.

An intriguing experiment in environmental theater. “The first of two series of site-specific plays created by the Cemetery’s first Playwright Artist-in-Residence, Patrick Gabridge. His Mount Auburn Plays will be presented in two sets of 5 unique plays each. The Nature Plays highlight stories inspired by the rich natural environment of Mount Auburn with topics such as spotted salamanders in Consecration Dell, birders at Auburn Lake, and historic debates between naturalists who are buried at the Cemetery. Audiences will experience the performances at various spots across the grounds, surrounded by the sights and sounds of the natural world. Each performance will be followed by a discussion.” And bring your walking shoes and an umbrella (just in case): “Plays will run rain or shine, run time is approximately 75 minutes and will include walking within the Cemetery on paved and unpaved surfaces; total walking distance approx. 1 mile.”

I Hate Hamlet by Paul Rudnick. Directed by Fran Weinberg. Staged by Titanic Theatre at the BCA Plaza Black Box Theater, 539 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, May 30 through June 15.

A revival of a theater-drenched comedy that “tells the story of Andy Rally, a television actor whose career is in limbo. Offered the once-in-a-lifetime chance to play Hamlet, Andy has a serious problem: he hates Hamlet. Enter the ghost of John Barrymore, in full costume, offering advice, and challenging him to a duel of ideas.”

This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing by Finegan Kruckmeyer, Directed by Marta Rainer. Staged by the Wellesley Repertory Theatre at the Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA, June 5 through 30

The New England premiere of a critically admired script by a Tasmanian playwright. “After being abandoned by their father, triplet sisters are left to find their places in the world. One looks for purpose, another for adventure and the last stays where she is to create a home. Twenty years later, having circled the globe and fought Vikings, toppled lighthouses, fed whole towns with scrumptious pastries and overcome beastly obstacles to achieve greatness, the three meet again as women.” Billed as a charming fairy tale.

The Waverly Gallery by Kenneth Lonergan. Directed by Tina Packer. Staged by Shakespeare & Company in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, 70 Kemble St. in Lenox, MA, May 23 through July 14.

Shakespeare & Company kicks off its summer season. “Once a vibrant lawyer, Greenwich Village activist and family matriarch, Gladys Green has run a charming boutique art gallery on Waverly Place for decades, but now stands to lose its tenancy, as her world shrinks through loss of memory and hearing. Featuring Elizabeth Aspenlieder and Annette Miller.

The View Upstairs by Max Vernon (Book, Music, Lyrics). Directed by Paul Daigneault. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage Company in the Plaza Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, 537 Tremont Street, Boston, May 31 through June 22.

The New England premiere of a musical “inspired by a historical event, the firebombing of the UpStairs Lounge in New Orleans in 1973, which, up until the Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016, was the deadliest assault on a gay bar in US history.”

— Bill Marx

Classical Music

Skylark Ensemble
May 24 to May 27
At various MA locations: Newburyport, Cambridge, Chatham & Falmouth

The program is entitled “Remembrance”: it begins with gritty revolutionary hymns of William Billings moves onto popular folk tunes and bluegrass music of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Chorus pro Musica
May 31 at 8 p.m.
Distler Hall/Tufts University, 20 Talbot Avenue, Medford, MA

The program entitled “Eternity” “considers the intersection between the timeless and the actual, with music that seems to suspend time. It centers on the one of the 20th century’s greatest a cappella choral works, Frank Martin’s Mass for Double Choir, which is rooted in Renaissance polyphony but expressed in Martin’s unique modern voice.” Also on the musical docket: Max Reger’s romantic partsong “Morgengesang” celebrates the light of God in all things; and J.S. Bach’s “Lobet den Herrn.”

Concord Chorus
June 1 at 8 p.m.
Cary Hall, 1605 Massachusetts Ave, Lexington, MA

The concert will feature the Fauré Requiem: this “sublimely beautiful and undoubtedly best known of his sacred works will be performed in its rarely heard version for symphony orchestra. The program will also include Felix Mendelssohn’s powerful setting of Psalm 42 and stirring cantata ‘Vom Himmel hoch.’ The concert features two superb Boston-based soloists: soprano Deborah Selig and baritone Sumner Thompson.”

— Susan Miron

Bach’s B-minor Mass
Presented by Back Bay Chorale
May 19, 3 p.m.
Sanders Theater, Cambridge, MA

Scott Allen Jarrett leads BBC in Bach’s towering masterpiece. Sarah Yanovitch, Sonja Tengblad, Clara Osowski, Patrick Muehleise, and Edmund Milly are the soloists.

Redefining American Music
Presented by Boston Pops
May 24 and 25, 8 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA

Rhiannon Giddens, Lara Downes, and Darius de Haas join Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops in a celebration of black composers of symphonic music, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Billy Strayhorn, Eubie Blake, Florence Price, and Hazel Scott, among them.

— Jonathan Blumhofer

Author Events

John Waters
Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder
May 20 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA

“No one knows more about everything―especially everything rude, clever, and offensively compelling―than John Waters. The man in the pencil-thin mustache, auteur of the transgressive movie classics Pink Flamingos, Polyester, the original Hairspray, Cry-Baby, and A Dirty Shame, is one of the world’s great sophisticates, and in Mr. Know-It-All he serves it up raw: how to fail upward in Hollywood; how to develop musical taste from Nervous Norvus to Maria Callas; how to build a home so ugly and trendy that no one but you would dare live in it; more important, how to tell someone you love them without emotional risk; and yes, how to cheat death itself. Through it all, Waters swears by one undeniable truth: ‘Whatever you might have heard, there is absolutely no downside to being famous. None at all.'”

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee, by Casey Cep

Casey Cep
Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee
May 22 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA

“Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell’s murderer was acquitted—thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the Reverend. Sitting in the audience during the vigilante’s trial was Harper Lee, who had traveled from New York City to her native Alabama with the idea of writing her own In Cold Blood, the true-crime classic she had helped her friend Truman Capote research seventeen years earlier. Lee spent a year in town reporting, and many more years working on her own version of the case.”

Ben Mezrich
Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption
May 28 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA

“From Ben Mezrich, the New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental Billionaires and Bringing Down the House, comes Bitcoin Billionaires–the fascinating story of brothers Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss’s big bet on crypto-currency and its dazzling pay-off. From the Silk Road to the halls of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Bitcoin Billionaires will take us on a wild and surprising ride while illuminating a tantalizing economic future.”

Steve Almond
William Stoner and the Battle for the Inner Life
June 6 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA

“In his entry in the Bookmarked series, author Steve Almond writes about why John Williams’ sad and beautiful novel, rediscovered since its publication in 1965 Stoner, has endured and the manner in which it speaks to the impoverishment of the inner life in America. Almond will also use the book as a launching pad for an investigation of America’s soul, in the process, writing about his own struggles as a student of writing, as a father and husband, and as a man grappling with his own mortality.”

— Matt Hanson

Rock, Pop, and Folk

Superorganism will be one of the highlights of Boston Calling. Photo: Jordan Hughes.

May 25
Red Stage, Harvard Athletic Complex, Allston, MA

There’s a lot of heaping plates of music to choose from at the 2019 Boston Calling festival. But one particular act you must not miss – Superorganism. If only because they embody how different bands are these days from the four pals in the same high school of the old times.

Thoroughly international with members from different countries, at home online even while composing, Superorganism are even shy about giving out their names. The star, nevertheless, is singer Orono Noguchi, the key to the group’s masterpiece number, “Everybody Wants To Be Famous.” In the course of the song, Noguchi electronically morphs into at least a half-dozen voices, pointing out that whether famous or not, you can now become everybody. Group probably deserves extra credit for naming a track “SPRORGNSM.”

— Milo Miles

Slayer. L to R: Paul Bostaph, Tom Araya, Gary Holt, and Kerry King.

May 25
Xfinity Center, Mansfield, MA

With so many memorable Massachusetts shows delivered during its nearly 40-year history, Slayer was surely bound to bring its exhaustive final tour, launched last spring, to the Bay State. Well, wait no longer, as the band that grew from pioneers to standard bearers of extreme music is making it arrival here. Slayer is still brutal, still intense and still in the canny position of being outsiders who are close enough to make the insiders take notice (a Grammy here, a Tonight Show appearance there…). The first leg of the long goodbye was in parts of New England last year, and prompted this Arts Fuse tribute. But we are ready to take it all in again, one last time. Slayer’s heir apparent Lamb of God is also part of the show, along with additional opening sets by Amon Amarth and Cannibal Corpse.

— Scott McLennan

American Football with Pure Bathing Culture
May 22 (doors at 8, show at 9)
Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA

This Illinois emo quartet returned in March with its third — that’s right, THIRD — LP in 20 years, the appropriately titled [LP3]. Three releases in two decades isn’t exactly fecund but, to their credit, it is their second since 2016. It’s probably fair to expect [LP4] to appear late in the next presidential administration. Portland, OR duo Pure Bathing Culture who, as of April 26, have released three albums in six years, will open.

Filthy Friends with Dressy Bessy
May 23 (doors at 7, show at 8)
The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA

Filthy Friends is an alternative/indie rock supergroup comprising Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kenney), Peter Buck (R.E.M.), Scott McCaughey (The Young Fresh Fellows, The Minus 5), Kurt Bloch (Fastbacks), and Linda Pitmon (Steve Wynn & The Miracle Three; The Baseball Project, which also includes Buck and McCaughey). This month’s Emerald Valley is the follow-up to the band’s 2017 debut, Invitation. The presence on this bill of fellow alt/indie veterans Dressy Bessy, who will release Fast Faster Disaster in June, makes it well worth being at The Sinclair by showtime.

Cold Engines with Honey Talk
May 24 (doors at 7, show at 8)
9 Wallis, Beverly, MA

Exeter, NH’s Cold Engines were the 2016 New England Music Awards winner for Best Rock Band and were nominated in 2017 for Best Rock Song. Having released one album per year from 2014 to 2017, the band will celebrate the arrival of Kiss My Heart on May 24 at 9 Wallis. In June, the band will commence a summer tour that includes dates in MA, NH, and ME. Boston roots-rock quartet Honey Talk will kick things off on Friday.

Mark Erelli with Miss Tess
May 31 (doors at 7, show at 8)
Club Passim, Cambridge, MA

Reading native and Melrose resident Mark Erelli’s date at Club Passim comes exactly two weeks after he opened for Richard Thompson at The Cabot. That was a well-paired bill, as Erelli included his own version of Thompson’s “I Feel So Good” on his 2018 covers album, Mixtape. 2008 Boston Music Awards winner for Outstanding Folk Artist — and two-time BMA Jazz Artist of the Year nominee — Miss Tess (who currently resides in Nashville) is sure to more than amply warm up the sold-out crowd.

— Blake Maddux

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