Arts Fuse critics select the best in film, dance, visual art, theater, music, and author events for the coming weeks.
Woods Hole Film Festival
through August 3 at various Venues
Woods Hole, Cape Cod, MA
The Woods Hole Festival brings films from all over the world, including the twenty selection in the “Bringing Science to the Screen” program and several films about refugees, including New Homeland by Barbara Kopple, who will speak after her screening and participate in a documentary filmmaker round table. There are a number of LGBTQ films, including Michael Barnett’s Changing The Game, in which three transgender high school athletes strive to be their true selves while dealing with bullying and harassment.
The fest also showcases the work of independent filmmakers who have a relationship to Cape Cod or are from the New England region. The festival features a full week of films, panels and workshops. In addition to the above diverse program, here some locally produced gems to consider:
Olympia – An intimate profile of Massachusetts native Olympia Dukakis (on July 28).
Path of The Daff – a documentary by Boston-based director Mike Piscitelli that traces one daffodil bulb’s adventure from the Netherlands to the finish line of the Boston Marathon. A celebration of the Boston Marathon Daffodils — a new tradition created in the wake of the 2013 bombings (on July 28)
The Last Beyond – Directed by Duxbury native Graham Dubose, this narrative feature is set in Depression-era Montana (on July 29).
It Started As A Joke – A record of the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival’s decade-long run, a homage to the Lexington-bred comic’s role in the alternative comedy movement (on July 30)
Ernie & Joe – Directed by Connecticut native Jenifer McShane, this documentary is about two San Antonio police officers in a mental health unit who are diverting people away from jail and into mental health treatment (on July 31).
Gutterbug – The feature debut by Boston filmmaker Andrew Gibson, which trails a young, down-and-out crust punk named Bug, trying to find his way home through the mean streets of Allston, MA (on August 1).
The Last American Colony – Bestor Cram and Mike Majoros’ profile of Harvard educated Juan Segarra, who embraces the movement in Puerto Rico to be free of the United States. He becomes a member of Los Macheteros, a group dedicated to achieving its goals through armed struggle (August 3).
Aug 2 through Aug 4
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
The film’s storyline is based on the relationship between 19-year-old Viktor Tsoi and 26-year-old Mike Naumenko and his wife, Natalia. The narrative also explores the formation of Kino, a Soviet rock band formed in Leningrad in 1982. Tsoi, who wrote most of the group’s music and lyrics (over 90 songs and seven studio albums), died in a car accident in 1990. Leto is shot in wide-screen black-and-white, with selected color inserts and accents, along with scratch-animation. The special effects endsup “visually overlaying the live-action musical numbers with rude and funny illustrations—haloes and rocket ships, lightning bolts, lyrics, arrows, crazy faces, and more. Each one of these hybrid animation sequences is a kickass gem, a set of music videos within the film.” (RogerEbert.com)
Walking on Water
August 2 through 31
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Walking on Water chronicles Christo’s magnificent 2016 project, “Floating Piers,” in which he laid out a three-kilometer-long, buoyant, fabric-wrapped path across Lake Iseo in northern Italy, designed to let people stroll across the gently undulating orange surface. (It is orange, or golden yellow, or “saffron,” as Christo insists.) In the film, we see the artist’s sometimes cantankerous, sometimes charming personality. do battle with technology, bureaucracy, corruption, and the elements, resulting in an installation that is spectacularly beautiful and a documentary that captures the chaos of creation. (Hollywood Isn’t) Schedule
Rhode Island International Film Festival
Aug 6 through Aug 11
The Rhode Island International Film Festival (Flickers), takes place in Providence as well as satellite locations. In addition to a week of films, the Festival has been able to expand its offerings and include a broad range of film-related programming such as KidsEye™; a highly respected international Screenwriting competition called ScriptBIz™; a Master Class on Filmmaking the Rhode Island Film Forum; and the late morning forums, “Between Takes” Complete Schedule
— Tim Jackson
The Complete Howard Hawks at Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, MA, through Aug. 30.
Staple fare for programmers of Boston’s thriving repertory cinemas are films directed by Hollywood great Howard Hawks (1896-1977). He supplies the meat & potatoes and the dessert. The most frequently screened are Hawks’ teaming-in-heaven of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not and The Big Sleep; the screwball comedies Bringing Up Baby, Ball of Fire, His Girl Friday, and Twentieth Century; the Marilyn Monroe standout, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; and, in genre festivals, The Thing from Another World (horror/science fiction), Scarface (gangster), and Red River and Rio Bravo (Western).
But it’s been decades since these titles, and dozens of lesser known ones, have been united in a Hawks festival, a serious look at a body of work that wasn’t taken seriously (in the U.S.) for most of the man’s life. Yes, we can all fashion our own small-scale film festivals now, but a true hommage is to experience his stories on the big screen, with an audience. The long wait is over as Harvard Film Archive devotes its 2019 summer retrospective slot to The Complete Howard Hawks: that’s 38 features and a (hilarious) section of an anthology film (The Ransom of Red Chief in O. Henry’s Full House), from Fig Leaves (1926) to Rio Lobo (1970), most presented on 35mm film prints. Arts Fuse preview
— Betsy Sherman
August 2 through 4
At the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
A marvelously sardonic adaptation of Swiss playwright Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s The Visit that takes the play’s dissection of the brutal relativity of justice and mixes in political criticism of colonialism as well condemnation of the perfidy of international corporations. Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambéty (1945-1998)’s second feature sticks close to the original’s plot: one of the richest women in the world returns to her home village and offers the inhabitants a vast sum in exchange for the murder of the local man who seduced and abandoned her when she was young. After her condemnation, she became a renowned prostitute and married an enormously rich man. Now she has returned to Senegal for vengeance: “The world made a whore out of me, now I will turn it into a whorehouse.”
Dürrenmatt stayed away from the didactic (he was far more pessimist than Brecht), but Mambéty embraces it: “I do not refuse the word didactic,” the director said. “My task was to identify the enemy of humankind: money, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank. I think my target is clear.” Hyenas lacks the tragic undercurrents of Dürrenmatt’s play, but this 2018 restoration is eye-filling, and its satiric attack on collective corruption (jackal-eat-jackal) remains powerful, with some added kick in the era of #MeToo.
— Bill Marx
August 2 at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA
The great unclassifiable (okay, jazz) guitarist Bill Frisell plays two solo guitar shows at the Regattabar — expect beguiling blends of jazz, pop, and Americana, delivered in Frisell’s sui generis style.
Newport Jazz Festival
Fort Adams State Park, International Tennis Hall of Fame, Newport Blues Café, Newport, R.I.
The annual massive summer conclave brings together all manner of jazz and jazz-related big deals, newcomers, and “emerging artists” of all ages — from Herbie Hancock to Tia Fuller, Kamasi Washington, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Matana Roberts, Jenny Scheinman and Alison Miller’s Parlour Game, Ravi Coltrane, Ralph Peterson, and on and on. That all takes place over three days on the jutting peninsula of Fort Adams State Park (with it’s crazy panorama of Newport Harbor, Narragansett Bay, and the Newport Bridge). Jon Batiste “and Friends” headline the glitzy big Friday night concert at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and Nate Smith and Kinfolk host an “Extended Family Jam Session” Saturday night at the Newport Blues Café. Various price points and packages available for multi-day, single-day, evening shows, students, etc.
Rockport Jazz Festival
Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport, MA.
Rockport Music mixes up their bookings all year, but this is the week where they concentrate on jazz. The calendar: John Scofield Trio (with Steve Swallow and Bill Stewart, August 4 at 5 p.m.); Etienne Charles and Creole Soul (August 7 at 8 p.m.); Kat Edmonson (August 8 at 8 p.m.); Aaron Diehl (August 9 at 8 p.m.); the Hot Sardines (August 10 at 8 p.m.); Ulysses Owens Jr. (August 11 at 2 p.m.); Jack DeJohnette-Ravi Coltrane-Matt Garrison Trio (August 11 at 8 p.m.).
Allan Chase Quartet: Primeira Impressão do Brasil
August 6 at 8:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.
Tirelessly curious and inventive multi-reed player and composer Allan Chase digs into Brazil with pianist Gilson Schachnik, bassist Fernando Huergo, and Gen Yoshimura on Brazilian percussion.
— Jon Garelick
Newport Jazz Festival
Aug. 2-4 at 11 a.m.
Fort Adams State Park, Newport, R.I.
Far from retirement in its 65th year, the Newport Jazz Festival keeps juggling the old with the new, the mainstream with hip-hop fusions. At first glance, the three-afternoon weekend on the harbor looks weighted to headline spots from piano great Herbie Hancock’s quintet (plus his second day in a virtuosic trio with Vinnie Colaiuta and festival artistic director Christian McBride) and rising sax colossus Kamasi Washington. But there’s a full spread, from big bands (Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society) to style-shakers (Tank and the Bangas, Ghost-Note), plus a particularly heavy slate of vocalists that include Cecile McLorin Salvant, Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Corinne Bailey Rae, who also joins late-night bandleader Jon Batiste’s Friday nightcap at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Fort Adams keeps it busy on four stages.
— Paul Robicheau
Beantown Tapfest Faculty Showcase
August 9 at 8 p.m.
Roxbury Community College Media Arts Center
Julia On Tap presents the tenth annual Beantown Tapfest, which boasts an intensive week of master classes and performances. Rising young tap talent and esteemed veterans come together in an impressive faculty showcase that features Noa Barankin’s Drumatix, Ian Berg’s Subject:Matter, Ryan P. Casey’s Off Beat, Sean Fielder’s Boston Tap Company, and Shaina Schwartz’s Touché Taps.
Boston Contemporary Dance Festival
August 10 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Huntington Avenue Theatre
Urbanity Dance presents the 7th annual Boston Contemporary Dance Festival at the historic Huntington Avenue Theatre. This year’s festival features the award-winning choreographers and companies from across the country, including: Cirio Collective (Boston, MA), Vincent Thomas (VTDance; Baltimore, MD), Mark Caserta (Dallas, TX), Urbanity Dance (Boston, MA), Teddy Tedholm (tedted Performance Group; Brooklyn, NY), Emimotion (Toronto, Canada), and Bekah Joy Howard (NYC).
And further afield…
July 31 through August 4
Doris Duke Theatre, Becket, MA
Witness the convergence of three world-renowned artists in THE DAY, co-commissioned by Jacob’s Pillow. Cellist Maya Beiser, dancer Wendy Whelan, and choreographer Lucinda Childs explore memory, resilience, and the soul to music composed by Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lang.
Malpaso Dance Company
August 1 and 3
The Yard’s Nanon Theater
Experience the art of a renowned Cuban dance company with a growing international profile. Known for its collaborative creative process, Malpaso Dance Company is dedicated to working with top choreographers from around the world, while nurturing new voices in Cuban choreography.
— Merli V. Guerra
Carrie Crane: Beyond Measure
Through September 1,
Fitchburg Art Museum
185 Elm Street, Fitchburg, MA
In a world where data, analysis, and categorization is the accepted currency of validation, Carrie Crane attempts to analyze the unquantifiable. Her “instruments of measure” and graphic displays ‘extrapolate the data’ from such elusive concepts as memory, truth, and emotion. Made of a wide range of sculptures, sketches, and paintings — which are inspired by maps, diagrams, and scientific instruments — these works attempt to measure the intangible.
Re: Figuring the Body
Through August 11
450 Harrison Ave, No. 43, Boston, MA
This group exhibition showcases New England artists whose work protest the restriction and categorization of the human body. The work directly reflects on disturbing contemporary political events and laws that have restricted the rights of bodily autonomy. Through various media, the artists promote important conversations about civil rights, gender categorization, racism, and exploitation.
List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi
July 30 through October 20
The MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA
Farah Al Qasimi’s multi-media works manipulate cultural norms of interpretating images, including the perspectives of gender, race, and class. Referencing such diverse mediums as Renaissance paintings and documentary photography, Al Qasimi critiques the concept of national identity by exploring how it is formed, through references to historical context, colonialism, and religion. This exhibit features a forty-minute video, stylized as a television documentary, about a jinn reflecting on centuries of Western colonial interference in the current region of the United Arab Emirates. Along with a series of recent photographs, this video delves into the disruptive energies of consumerism and colonialism.
Dark Garden: Linda Huey
Society of Arts and Crafts
100 Pier 4, Suite 200, Boston, MA
Through July 21
While this large-scale installation features organic forms reminiscent of a traditional garden, these oversized flowers and foliage contain chemical formulas on their leaves. Iron nuts and bolts are cradled inside of clay petals, and rusted rebar stems support bulbs etched with graffiti. Take a close look and Linda Huey’s seemingly serene, sentry-like sculptures stand as a foreboding commentary on the current state of pollution because of environmental apathy. The closing date of this exhibit is fast approaching, so don’t miss the chance to see this work for yourself!
Georgie Friedman: Fragments of Antarctica
Through September 16
Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA
After receiving a 2017 Traveling Fellowship from the SMFA at Tufts University, Georgie Friedman journeyed to the Antarctic Peninsula to sketch, film, and photograph its shrinking landscape in preparation for this exhibit. he documents (and in the process transforms) the desolate beauty of an increasingly fragile region of the world. From immersive video to kinetic sculpture hung high overhead, the show’s work will no doubt spark essential conversations about the earth’s endangered ecosystem, raising questions about the future of our natural existence.
Maya Watanabe: Liminal
Through August 25
The Rose at Brandeis
415 South Street, Waltham, MA
Maya Watanabe explores ambiguous forms of transitional states in relation to life, death, and perception. An investigation into the history and political climate of her Peruvian homeland, her most recent work, Liminal, consists of film footage from excavations of mass graves of victims created by the conflict between guerilla groups and military forces in Peru during the last two decades of the 20th century. This footage documents the remains of these graves before forensic identification, in the space between “missing” and “declared dead.”
Wrestling With Angels: Icons From The Prosopon School
The Museum of Russian Icons
203 Union Street
July 19 through October 27
The Prosopon School was founded in 2000 as one of the first American schools of Christian East iconography. It continues the art of traditional “icon-writing,” approaching the process through a series of ancient technical steps. Curated as if displayed in an Orthodox church, this exhibition of forty-six luminous contemporary icons from the Prosopon School explores the recent revival of this historic tradition. The show begins by dramatzing events and icons from Hebrew scripture, then moves onto traditional Christian Orthodox images, such as Jesus and Mary, concluding with principal religious feasts and symbols of the Second Coming of Christ.
–- Rebekah Bonner
Roots and World Music
Lowell Folk Festival
The secret of the free Lowell Folk Festival is that attendees have so much fun they don’t realize they’re learning something. The epic multicultural celebration of music from around America and the world (with food served almost exclusively by Lowell-area ethnic groups) is why many wouldn’t think about missing a year of this gathering. The typically eclectic 2019 lineup includes New Orleans funk legend Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Cuban timba bandleader Gerard Contino, bluegrass pioneer Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, the gospel brass band Magnus and Company. Also, there are few artists specializing in genres that may have never been heard before in New England: Germán López & Antonio Toledo form a duo in which López is a leading virtuoso of the timple, the ukulele-like primary folk instrument of the Canary Islands. Yuliyana Krivoshapkina from the Siberian Sakha Republic plays the jaw harp, known as the klomus. She’ll perform in a duo with Tuvan throat singer Aidyn Byrtaan-ool. Some local heroes are on the schedule as well: Haitian rara organization Rara Bel Poze, Watertown’s Himilayan Heritage Band, and Vasilis Kosta, a Greek-American musician whose great-grandfather settled in Lowell when he arrived in America. Boston clarinetist Irene Stahl and drummer Grant Smith will be part of Philadelphia trumpeter Susan Watts’s Women of Klezmer, a group that shines the spotlight on the female stars of the genre.
Full disclosure: I helped write some of the bios on the Lowell Folk Festival website and in the Lowell Sun supplement on behalf of Festival’s programming partner, the National Council for the Traditional Arts.
Club Passim, Cambridge, MA
Cuban-born musicians Elizabeth Rodriguez and Magdelys Savigne first came to notice when they brought their violin and percussion talents to jazz artist Jane Bunnett’s band. Now they have their own group which also features their sultry singing and powerful lyrics.
Club Passim, Cambridge, MA
New Mexico has one of the richest, but overlooked, regional music scenes in the nation. This lively duo, often supplemented by special guests, is committed to keeping Northern New Mexico conjunto string music alive through their tours and research. Member Jordan Wax will be familiar to local audiences by way of his tenure in his cousin David Wax’s group.
The Golden Wings
Aug. 4 at 4 p.m.
Russell Auditorium, 70 Talbot Ave., Dorchester, MA
Elvis was just starting the Las Vegas portion of his career when some of his fellow gospel-loving natives of Tupelo, Mississippi formed the Golden Wings in 1970. 49 years later they’re still on the gospel highway. The group’s hard-driving sound has made it a favorite in the quartet scene. They return to Boston for an afternoon of singing that also includes the Spiritual Encouragers and a pair of Springfield groups: the Prodigal Sons and Preacherman and the Singing Saints.
Museum of Fine Arts, MA
Massive stars at home, Niger’s Afro-rocking Tal National have begun to generate fans in the US. Their unique sound comes from having members who draw the Saharas’s disparate ethnic and musical traditions: the Songhai, Fulani, Huasa, and Tuareg people.
African Festival of Boston
Aug. 10, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Boston Common, Boston, MA
The annual free celebration of African and the diaspora returns with food, dance, and music — including groups from the Congo, Malawi, Haiti, Cameroon, and Honduras.
— Noah Schaffer
Steel Magnolias by Robert Harling. Directed by Paula Plum. Staged by the Hub Theatre Company of Boston at Club Cafe, 209 Columbus Ave, Boston, through August 3.
A stage production of the venerable three-hankie comedy directed by multiple Elliot Norton and IRNE Award winner Paula Plum. “Make an appointment at Truvy’s beauty salon where the ladies of Chinquapin meet to get their hair done and let their hair down! Through the clouds of hairspray and the buzz of blowdryers, six Southern spitfires swap gossip, wisecracks, and wisdom” in a script that “explores the bonds of friendship and the strength of women.” Arts Fuse review
Cymbeline by William Shakespeare. Directed by Fred Sullivan, Jr. Staged by the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company at the Parkman Bandstand, Boston Common, Boston, MA, through August 4. Free.
Free Shakespeare on the Common takes up residence once again with Shakespeare’s lovely mystical dramedy. (It is also considered one of the Bard’s most confusing scripts — in 1937 George Bernard Shaw wrote an ‘improved’ final act, Cymbeline Refinished. His preface is a hoot: “I unhesitatingly recommend my version. The audience will not know the difference; and the few critics who have read Cymbeline will be too grateful for the shortening of the act to complain.”) “The play chronicles the fates of King Cymbeline and his family through a journey of deception, intrigue and separation. Join his daughter Imogen, one of Shakespeare’s most beloved heroines, as she is swept into a nearly mythic realm of mistaken identities, twists and turns, and the all-consuming quest for true love.”
I am the Baron, created by the Double Edge Ensemble and directed by Matthew Glassman and Jeremy Louise Eaton. Staged by the Double Edge Theatre, 948 Conway Rd, Ashfield, MA, through August 18.
Inspired by The Surprising Travels and Adventures of Baron Munchausen by Rudolf Erich Raspe, Double Edge Theatre’s annual Traveling Summer Spectacle (its seventeenth) is “a celebration of the power of stories and storytelling to transform the world. In this ode to joy, the audience is invited to join a journey of the imagination indoors, outdoors, to the stars and back.”
Greater Good by Kirsten Greenidge. Directed by Steven Bogart.Produced by Company One Theatre in collaboration with the A.R.T at the Commonwealth School, 151 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA, through August 17
“Welcome to Gleason Street—where the teachers are underpaid, the head of school is overwhelmed, and we do NOT talk about that thing that happened at the last parent council meeting (so don’t bother asking about it).
As the audience tours the struggling elementary school, each classroom explored and each encounter witnessed could upend our assumptions about the ways we educate, govern, and collectively strive toward the greater good.”
Note: Greater Good is an immersive performance in which the audience will be guided around a school building. The audience path includes three flights of stairs and may include periods of standing, though we are dedicated to providing accommodations to all audience members.
The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical, book by Joe Tracz, music and lyrics by Rob Rokicki. Directed by Stephen Brackett, Choreography by Patrick McCollum, The TheaterWorksUSA production presented by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Avenue of the Arts / Huntington Avenue Theatre, Boston, MA, through July 28.
A musical adaption of The New York Times best-selling novel written by Rick Riordan. “With more than 100 million copies of the book series sold worldwide, this global phenomenon has found a new home on the live stage.” Arts Fuse review
Dear Evan Hansen, book by Steven Levenson, score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Directed by Michael Greif. Presented by Broadway in Boston at the Citizens Bank Opera House, 539 Washington Street Boston, MA, through August 4.
The touring production of the Tony and Grammy Award-Winning Best Musical.”A letter that was never meant to be seen, a lie that was never meant to be told, a life he never dreamed he could have. Evan Hansen is about to get the one thing he’s always wanted: a chance to finally fit in. Dear Evan Hansen is the deeply personal and profoundly contemporary musical about life and the way we live it.” Arts Fuse review
Grand Horizons by Beth Wohl. Directed by Leigh Silverman. Staged by the Williamstown Theatre Festival on its Main Stage, Williamstown, MA, through July 28.
A world premiere of a script that “takes an intimate, funny, and painful look at the nature of love over time.” Cast includes Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Priscilla Lopez, Maulik Pancholy, Ashley Park, Thomas Sadoski, Jamey Sheridan, and JoBeth Williams.
The Children by Lucy Kirkwood. Directed by James Warwick. Staged by Shakespeare & Company in the Elayne P. Bernstein, Theatre, 70 Kemble St., Lenox, MA, through August 18.
“The play follows two retired physicists who have taken shelter in a borrowed cottage off The English coast, coping with the aftermath of a nuclear power plant accident. Quite suddenly, an unexpected visitor arrives from their past. The story unfolds with fascinating twists and humor amongst three long-time friends who share a guarded history and a passion for life in the face of glaring reminders of its fragility.” A rare but necessary script given the political limits of New England theater. According to the director: “Kirkwood’s play is a revelation and inspiration for those of us concerned with climate change.” Arts Fuse review
Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen. Translated from the Norwegian by Paul Walsh. Directed by Carey Perloff. Staged by the Williamstown Theatre Festival on its Main Stage, Williamstown, MA, July 31 through August 18.
Uma Thurman stars as the ‘woke’ to the point of meltdown Mrs. Alving in what promises to be a refreshed version of Ibsen’s 1881 masterpiece. In a video interview about his translation, Walsh suggests that instead of “Ghosts” the play might better be titled “Zombies.” Sounds about right to me. Walsh’s version of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People at Yale Rep in 2017 was quite good, so I am really looking forward to this production.
Fall Springs, music and lyrics by Niko Tsakalakos, book and lyrics by Peter Sinn Machtrieb. Directed by Stephen Brackett. Staged by Barrington Stage at the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage, Pittsfield, MA, August 9 through 31.
A musical that tackles climate change? You knew it had to come. And, given how little attention Boston stages are paying to the issue, let’s hope the interest spreads our way from the Berkshires. This world premiere deals with the town of Fall Springs, which is crumbling because of fracking. “Boulders, buildings and the occasional bartender are being swallowed into the ground due to fracking. And that’s only the beginning…”
On the Exhale by Martín Zimmerman. Directed by Colette Robert. Staged by the Chester Theatre Company in Chester Town Hall, 15 Middlefield Road, Chester MA, through August 4.
“In the face of a senseless, unspeakable tragedy, a college professor copes with her loss in a most unexpected way.” The script “grapples with the uniquely American epidemic of mass shootings, and invites contemplation from all sides of the gun debate.”
Curve of Departure by Rachel Bonds. Directed by Keira Naughton.Staged by the Chester Theatre Company in Chester Town Hall, 15 Middlefield Road, Chester MA, August 8 through 18.
“A father, an ex-wife, a son, and the son’s partner gather in a New Mexico motel the night before the burial of the man to whom they are all connected, but to whom they feel little connection. As they prepare themselves for the funeral in the confines of the crowded room, they grapple with the family dynamics of the past, present and the future.”
She Loves Me, book by Joe Masteroff, music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. Directed by Gus Kaikkonen. Staged by Peterborough Players at 55 Hadley Road, Peterborough, New Hampshire, July 31 through August 11.
A popular musical “about finding love in a very old fashioned way. Georg and Amalia, sparring co-workers in a 1930s Budapest perfume shop, simply can’t see eye to eye. But using the ‘lonely hearts advertisements’ in the newspaper, each of them has found and fallen for the perfect secret admirer. MGM twice used the same source material, the Hungarian play Parfumerie by Miklós László for film versions.”
Ben Butler by Richard Strand. Directed by Joseph Discher. Staged by he Gloucester Stage Company at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA, August 2 through 25.
The play “takes place in the middle of the Civil War, 1861 at Virginia’s Union-held Fort Monroe under the command of General Benjamin Butler. When three escaped slaves show up at Fort Monroe seeking sanctuary, Union General Butler is faced with an impossible moral dilemma – follow the letter of the law and return the escapees back to Confederacy, or make a game-changing move that could alter the course of US history? ” Arts Fuse review of Portland Stage’s 2017 production.
— Bill Marx
Presented by Boston Landmarks Orchestra
July 31, 7 p.m.
Hatch Shell, Boston, MA
BLO turns a spotlight onto the rich legacy of African-American spirituals that culminates in a concert performance of Jerome Kern’s groundbreaking musical Showboat.
National Youth Orchestra of the United States
Presented by Tanglewood Music Festival
August 1, 8 p.m.
Seiji Ozawa Hall, Lenox, MA
Antonio Pappano brings the NYOUSA to Tanglewood for a one-night-only performance of music by Berlioz and Richard Strauss. The terrific Isabel Leonard is in tow to sing the former’s Les Nuits d’été.
Bronfman plays Rachmaninoff
Presented by Tanglewood Music Festival
August 4, 2:30 p.m.
Koussevitzky Shed, Lenox, MA
Yefim Bronfman joins the BSO for Rachmaninoff’s Herculean Piano Concerto no. 3. Dima Slobodeniouk also conducts Sibelius’ Symphony no. 1.
Amy Beach’s Gaelic Symphony
Presented by Boston Landmarks Orchestra
August 7, 7 p.m.
Hatch Shell, Boston, MA
Beach’s fantastic distillation of her Irish-American heritage and late-Romantic symphonic form gets a roundly-deserved hearing thanks to Mercury Orchestra and conductor Channing Yu. Also on the program is Charles Villiers Stanford’s “Irish Ballad,” Phaudrig Crohoore.
Adès conducts Beethoven & Ives
Presented by Tanglewood Music Festival
August 11, 2:30 p.m.
Koussevitzky Shed, Lenox, MA
Thomas Adès conducts a matinee of Beethoven favorites (the Piano Concerto no. 4 – with Inon Barnatan – and Symphony no. 6), plus Charles Ives’ iconic Three Places in New England.
Festival of Contemporary Music Finale
Presented by Tanglewood Music Festival
August 12, 8 p.m.
Seiji Ozawa Hall, Lenox, MA
The FCM finale includes a pair of American premieres – Gerald Barry’s Canada and Poul Ruders’ Symphony no. 5 – plus Oliver Knussen’s Whitman Settings and Thomas Adès’ sensational Asyla. Adès and some Tanglewood Music Center conducting fellows direct the proceedings.
— Jonathan Blumhofer
Pianist Paul Lewis
July 30 at 8 p.m.
Ozawa Hall, 297 West Street, Lenox, MA
Tanglewood presents the celebrated pianist in the following program: Haydn’s Sonata No. 34 in E minor, Hob. XVI:34; Brahms’s Three Intermezzos, Opus 117; Beethoven’s Seven Bagatelles, Opus 33; Haydn’s Sonata No. 52 in E-flat, Hob. XVI:52.
Baritone Thomas Hampson, pianist Lara Downes, and The Beyond Liberty Players
July 31 at 8 p.m.
Ozawa Hall, 297 West Street, Lenox, MA
Tanglewood presents the singers in the program “Song of America: Beyond Liberty.” An evening of song that will explore “the influential people and monumental events that helped create and define America.”
The Formosa Duo: Sam Ou, cello and Chi-Chen Wu, piano
August 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Burnes Hall/New England Conservatory, 255 St. Botolph Street, Boston, MA
The Foundation for the Chinese Performing Arts presents a program that includes Kurt Weill’s Sonata for Violincello & Piano; Reza Vali’s Persian Folk Songs, Set No 16 C; Arvo Part’s Sonata for VIolincello & Piano; Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Sonata in G Minor for Violincello & Piano, Op. 19.
Pianist Huang-Kuan Chen
August 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Brown Hall/New England Conservatory, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA
The Foundation for the Chinese Performing Arts presents a program that includes Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 13 in E-flat major, “Quasi una fantasia”, Op. 27, No. 1; Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 27 in E minor, Op. 90; Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101; Alexander Scriabin’s Piano Sonata No. 5, Op. 53; Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 36.
— Susan Miron
J Ryan Stradal
The Lager Queen of Minnesota: A Novel
July 29 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
“Join us to hear J. Ryan Stradal read from his newest book, The Lager Queen of Minnesota, and try sample pourings of Bow Market local brewery Remnant Brewing’s special rhubarb sour beer for the occasion! A novel of family, Midwestern values, hard work, fate and the secrets of making a world-class beer, from the bestselling author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest.”
Sam Bett presenting
Star by Yukio Mishima
July 29 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
Join award-winning translator Sam Bett for a discussion of his experience translating Yukio Mishima’s novel Star for an English-reading audience. He will be in conversation with musician and translator Daniel Joseph. “All eyes are on Rikio. And he likes it, mostly. His fans cheer, screaming and yelling to attract his attention―they would kill for a moment alone with him. Finally the director sets up the shot, the camera begins to roll, someone yells ‘action’; Rikio, for a moment, transforms into another being, a hardened young yakuza, but as soon as the shot is finished, he slumps back into his own anxieties and obsessions.”
Ganesh Sitaraman and Anne L Alstott
The Public Option: How to Expand Freedom, Increase Opportunity, and Promote Equality
August 5 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
“Ganesh Sitaraman and Anne Alstott challenge decades of received wisdom about the proper role of government and consider the vast improvements that could come from the expansion of public options. Far from illustrating the impossibility of effective government services, as their critics claim, public options hold the potential to transform American civic life, offering a wealth of solutions to seemingly intractable problems, from housing shortages to the escalating cost of health care. Imagine a low-cost, high-quality public option for child care. Or an extension of the excellent Thrift Savings Plan for federal employees to all Americans. Or every person having access to an account at the Federal Reserve Bank, with no fees and no minimums. From broadband internet to higher education, The Public Option reveals smart new ways to meet pressing public needs while spurring healthy competition. More effective than vouchers or tax credits, public options could offer us all fairer choices and greater security.”
Mostly Dead Things
August 9 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
“One morning, Jessa-Lynn Morton walks into the family taxidermy shop to find that her father has committed suicide, right there on one of the metal tables. Shocked and grieving, Jessa steps up to manage the failing business, while the rest of the Morton family crumbles. Her mother starts sneaking into the shop to make aggressively lewd art with the taxidermied animals. Her brother Milo withdraws, struggling to function. And Brynn, Milo’s wife–and the only person Jessa’s ever been in love with–walks out without a word. For the first time, Jessa has no choice but to learn who these people truly are, and ultimately how she fits alongside them.”
Kristen Case and Alexandra Manglis
21 | 19: Contemporary Poets in the Nineteenth-Century Archive
August 12 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
“As the twenty-first century unfolds in a United States characterized by deep divisions, diminished democracy, and dramatic transformation of identities, the co-editors of this singular book approached a dozen North American poets, asking them to engage with texts by their predecessors in a manner that avoids both aloofness from the past and too-easy elegy. The resulting essays dwell provocatively on the border between the lyrical and the scholarly, casting fresh critical light on the golden age of American literature and exploring a handful of texts not commonly included in its canon. A polyvocal collection that reflects the complexity of the cross-temporal encounter it enacts, 21 | 19 offers a re-reading of the “American Renaissance” and new possibilities for imaginative critical practice today.”
— Matt Hanson
Rock, Pop, and Folk
Beach Road Weekend
August 9 to 11
Vineyard Haven, Martha’s Vineyard, MA
So the official 50th anniversary of Woodstock has collapsed, but the spirit of the legendary mother of American rock fests will be present at the inaugural Beach Road Weekend. Two survivors of the original 1969 Woodstock that went down on Max Yasgur’s farm will anchor Beach Road after the fest kicks off Friday with the Cape Symphony performing John Williams’ score for Jaws as the film is screened at the festival site in Veteran’s Memorial Park. On Saturday John Fogerty, who performed at Woodstock with Creedence Clearwater Revival, tops a bill that also includes Dispatch, Alejandro Escovedo, North Mississippi Allstars, Mason Jennings and others. On Sunday, Phil Lesh, who performed at Woodstock with the Grateful Dead, showcases a group that features Eric Krasno, Nicki Bluhm, and others. Rounding out the rest of Sunday’s main stage are Grace Potter, Galactic, Matisyahu, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, and The Original Wailers. Gates open at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday with the theory that day trippers can catch ferries back to the main land after the music.
— Scott McLennan
Cincinnati quintet Wussy had to cancel several live dates last year — including one at Sonia — when singer/guitarist Chuck Cleaver began experiencing back pain that caused what he described “debilitating numbness combined with periods of white hot pain.” Thankfully, Cleaver is roadworthy once again and he, fellow guitarist/singer Lisa Walker, and bassist Mark Messerly are currently on a short tour that stops in Jamaica Plain on Friday and winds up in the band’s hometown on August 10. The setlist will include material from Cleaver’s forthcoming solo album as well as those by Walker and Messerly, who record as The Magic Words and INERT, respectively. (Here is Jeff Melnick’s 2014 Arts Fuse interview with Walker and Cleaver.)
Albert Castiglia is a NYC-born, Miami-bred, Chicago-based blues vocalist/guitarist whose first major gig was as blues legend Junior Wells’s lead guitarist in the late ’90s. Following Wells’s 1998 death, Castiglia performed with fellow southern blues artists such as Sandra Hall and David Shelley before releasing Burn under his own name in 2004. Since then, he has recorded nine more solo albums. Each of these efforts, including this year’s Masterpiece, has showcased his singing, songwriting, and choice selection of covers as well as his axe work. Find out on Friday night at 9 Wallis why the Miami New Times proclaimed, “It may be a bit premature to crown Albert Castiglia America’s newest King of the Blues, but there’s little doubt that he at least deserves the title of heir apparent.”
Bad Larrys comprises three Danvers High School graduates and were recently the subject of this profile in the Danvers/Beverly Herald Citizen. Based in Salem, MA, the trio will unveil their full-length debut this Friday. It is titled Perfect Trim and includes newly written material and rerecorded versions of songs from the 2017 demos collection Good Boys. The band will celebrate at Gloucester’s Rhumb Line with Bad Larrys Present: Best in Show. The lineup will include not only several other fellow North Shore musicians, but folks of assorted other talents — e.g., ventriloquism, comedy, poetry — as well.
As the lead singer and songwriter for Roxy Music, Bryan Ferry more or less invented the ’80s via his influence on the new wave and new romantic artists that dominated the early years of MTV. Surely not coincidentally, Roxy Music experienced its first and only major commercial success in the US with 1982’s Avalon. Kicking off with the sublime “More Than This,” one critic (I forget who) colorfully described the band’s swan song as “like a warm bath.” On August 5, Ferry will perform the whole of Avalon — along with selected band and solo favorites — at the Opera House.
The Brooklyn-formed indie quartet Swearin’ released two well-received LPs in a short first act that ended with the band’s — and its founders’ — 2015 breakup. That same year, singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist Mike Krol put out his first record for Merge, Turkey (an EP and LP had appeared on a different label in 2011 and 2014). Swearin’, meanwhile, reunited in 2017 and released Fall Into the Sun on Merge in 2018. This year, Krol released Power Chords and got engaged to Swearin’s Allison Crutchfield. Somerville “dream punk band” Leopard Print Taser will open for the co-headlining labelmates at ONCE on August 5.
The HawtThorns is an LA quartet formed by the husband-and-wife duo KP and Johnny Hawthorn. Their latest single, “Shakin,'” emphasizes their folk and country leanings via the KP’s vocals while Johnny’s picking and strumming brings to mind nothing so much as the finest jangle pop. Early praise has come from Rolling Stone Country, Glide, The Alternate Root, and elsewhere. The HawtThorns will release their debut album, Morning Sun (Forty Below Records) on Friday and perform at Atwood’s the following afternoon.
— Blake Maddux