Coming Attractions: August 12 through 28 — What Will Light Your Fire

Arts Fuse critics select the best in film, dance, visual art, theater, music, and author events for the coming weeks.


Beautiful coral are a common site around Palmyra Atoll. A scene from “Hidden Pacific.” Photo: Tandem/GSF/USFWS.

Hidden Pacific
Through October
New England Aquarium IMAX Theater at 1 Central Wharf in Boston, MA

The film contains never-before-seen footage of the marine national monuments in the Pacific Ocean — the same national monuments that are at risk of being downsized by the doings of Trump and his administration. The film provides audiences with a glimpse of healthy ecosystems that are relatively untouched by humans and then the impacts generated by climate change and environmental degradation. We see the Pacific Ocean’s most pristine islands and atolls and specks of land bursting with diversity, jungles crawling with exotic animals before plunging beneath the ocean’s surface to see the abundance of marine life in the coral reefs. Learn the storied history of the islands and discover their current role as environmental research centers. Schedule of showtimes

Walking on Water
through August 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).

Back to the Future Part II
August 13 (Rain Date: Aug. 14)
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy in Boston, MA

Coolidge At The Greenway presents a free outdoor 35mm screening of a sequel that proved that lightning can strike twice. Picking up precisely where they left off, Marty and Doc (Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd) venture to the year 2015 to fine-tune the future, but inadvertently and disastrously disrupt the space-time continuum. After a stop-over in an alternate 1985, Doc and Marty find their only chance to fix the present is to time hop back to 1955 all over again—before it’s too late.

Norma Talmadge as a women beset in “The Woman Desputed,” screening at the Somerville Theater

The Woman Disputed
August 18 at 2 p.m.
Somerville Theater in Davis Square

In Norma Talmadge’s last silent film (though it was released with a synchronized musical score) she plays Mary Ann Wagner, a European orphan girl jointly (and unofficially) adopted by two young military officers: Paul Hartman (Gilbert Roland), an Austrian, and Nika Turgenov (Arnold Kent), a Russian. When her village is conquered by the Russians, Turgenov’s interest in Mary Ann shifts from paternal to carnal. She submits to his desires on the condition that he agree not to execute three of the town’s leading citizens, including the priest. Naturally, Hartman believes that Mary Ann has betrayed him and renounces her in public. But a deathbed confession by Turgenov reveals that the girl’s motives were purely patriotic.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi
August 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Regent Theater in Arlington, MA

The Boston Chapter of the User Experience Professionals’ Association presents a free public screening: admission as well as a small soda and small popcorn are gratis! The film is the acclaimed story of the proprietor of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant inauspiciously located in a Tokyo subway station. Despite its humble appearances, it is the first restaurant of its kind to be awarded a prestigious three-star Michelin Guide rating, and sushi lovers from around the globe make repeated pilgrimages, calling months in advance and shelling out top dollar for a coveted seat at Jiro’s sushi bar

Old Boyfriends
August 23 through 25.
The Harvard Film Archive in Cambridge, MA

The Harvard Film Archive is one of the few cinemas to host a limited theatrical release of screenwriter Joan Tewkesbury’s newly restored and deceptively radical film. The comedy-drama stars Talia Shire as a psychologist going through a severe depression after attempting suicide. She decides to pay a visit to her former boyfriends in order to get in touch with her past and map out her future. She turns the tables on her old high school sweetheart (John Belushi) over a past humiliation. She finds her college beau (Richard Jordan) now a filmmaker, and discovers that the first boy she fell in love with has died — only to find herself drifting into an unexpected romance with his older brother, Wayne Van Til (Keith Carradine). The supporting cast features John Houseman, Buck Henry, and P.J. Soles.

— Tim Jackson

Doris Day and Rock Hudson in “Pillow Talk,” screening at the Brattle Theatre this Sunday as part of its Doris Day Tribute.

Doris Day Tribute at the Brattle Theatre, August 24 & 25

Doris Day left us in May, at the age of 97. The Brattle Theatre devotes the weekend of August 24 & 25 to four of her films, covering a range of genres, showing that the actress-singer’s wholesomeness did not always translate into treacle. On Saturday, the emphasis is music, with Doris as a big band singer trying to retrieve trumpeter Kirk Douglas (at his most-est intense-est) from the clutches of unstable sophisticate Lauren Bacall in Michael Curtiz’s Young Man with a Horn (1950), and in the musical-comedy Calamity Jane (1953) as the Old West spitfire, singing “Secret Love” perhaps about Howard Keel as Wild Bill Hickok—or perhaps about her friend Katie (Allyn Ann McLerie). Sunday’s movies appear to contrast — first is the Gaslight-like drama Midnight Lace (1960), in which our Doris is an American in London who can’t get anyone to believe that a stalker is menacing her. But arguably it’s the next feature, the supposedly fluffy romantic comedy Pillow Talk (1959), that is really the roiling (and fascinating) psychodrama of the day. Doris’ frequent movie beau Rock Hudson inflicts on her character, an independent career woman, a series of head games that would flatten anyone of lesser fortitude. And still it all inevitably leads to a wedding ring. Truly a confection laced with hot sauce.

A scene featuring Gary Cooper and Barbra Stanwyck in Howard Hawks’ “Ball of Fire.”

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


Zamora and Pola
August 15 at 6:30 p.m.
Eustis Estate, Milton, MA

Mandorla Music presents its second “sunset concert” of the summer at the outdoor Eustis Estate, with pianist-composer Zahili Gonzalez Zamora and percussionist Zayra Pola. Cuban-born Zamora describes her work as a “fusion of bebop, funk, and soul,” as well as Afro-Cuban traditions. Pola brings her own Puerto Rican musical background to the mix. The two women met at Berklee College of Music.

Saxophonist and bassoonist Ben Wendel in action. He performs with his Seasons Band in Rockport this week.

Ben Wendel
August 16 at 8 p.m.
Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport, MA.

Saxophonist and bassoonist Ben Wendel is perhaps best known as a founding member of jazz subversives Kneebody, but his resume includes gigs with everyone from Antonio Sanchez and Gerald Clayton to Snoop Dogg and Prince.  He comes to Rockport with his Seasons Band. The original project, inspired by Tchaikovsky’s “The Seasons,” involved the release of recordings of 12 duo performances (with different partners) over the course of 12 months. The duos included people like Taylor Eigsti, Joshua Redman, Mark Turner, and Luciana Souza. No word on who will be along for the ride this time.

Rob Brown Trio
August 17 at 8 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.

The formidable New York free-jazz alto saxophonist Rob Brown doesn’t get up to the Boston area often enough. He’s joined by fellow veteran explorers Chris Lightcap on bass and drummer Chad Taylor.

Eric Ostling Quartet
August 18 at 2 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.

Pianist and composer Eric Ostling is an MIT grad with a varied background in classical and jazz (studies with John Harbison, Herb Pomeroy, and Charlie Banacos). His featured co-leader is guitarist Peter Seckel, with bassist Max Ridley and drummer Lee Fish

August 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA

The music of composer and guitarist Michael Joseph Harris is inspired by traditional Balkan and all strains of Roma “gypsy jazz,” French musette, funk, blues, bebop, and Western swing. He’s become a favorite at gypsy jazz festivals. His trio here is joined by violin virtuoso Jason Anick, of the Rhythm Future Quartet.

International String Trio comes to the Regattarbar on August 23rd.

International String Trio
August 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

Like Ultrafaux (see August 21) — and as their name would imply —  the International String Trio draw their inspiration from sources hither and yon: “jazz, folk, popular, classical, film, and other sources.” Russian-born guitarist Slava Tolstoy is the leader, joined by Chicago-born violinist and singer Rob Flax, and Boston bassist Max Ridley. For this show they’re joined by mandolinist Ethan Setiawan and saxophonist Tucker Antell.  Inventive, tuneful virtuosity seems to be their thing.

— Jon Garelick


GroundBeat: BAMS Fest on the Hatch Shell
August 19, 6 through 7:30 p.m.
Hatch Shell on the Esplanade
Boston, MA

Boston Art & Music Soul Festival (BAMS Fest) honors youth and women empowerment through this evening of high-energy  performance, featuring OrigiNation Cultural Arts Center and Bostons’ first all-female mariachi band, Veronica Robles Mariachi. Enjoy a free, outdoor evening of contemporary and traditional dance styles from the African diaspora, with access to food trucks and lawn games.

Dances of the Spirit
August 24 from 3-4 p.m.
Longfellow Park
Cambridge, MA

Dances by Isadora Boston presents Dances of the Spirit: The Works of Isadora Duncan. Drawing inspiration from the work of iconic New England artist Daniel Chester French (sculptor of the Longfellow Memorial in Cambridge, MA; the Minute-Man at the Old North Bridge in Concord, MA; and the Lincoln Memorial in D.C., to name a few), the company performs an original piece choreographed in response to French’s masterwork “Mourning Victory” alongside repertoire by Duncan (French’s friend and contemporary). The performance is followed by a workshop on Duncan’s technique, open to all ages.

And further afield…

Sara Mearns will perform at Jacob’s Pillow. Photo: Sara Silver.

Sara Mearns: Beyond Ballet
August 14-18
Doris Duke Theatre
Becket, MA

Bessie Award-winner and New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns challenges notions about what it means to be a versatile dancer in the 21st century in this Jacob’s Pillow-exclusive engagement. Mearns performs cross-genre collaborations that will include the Pillow-commissioned No. 1, a duet with Honji Wang under the direction of Sébastien Ramirez of the French hip-hop duo Company Wang Ramirez, and the world premiere of a duet with postmodern dance’s Jodi Melnick.

Island Grown Dance
August 22 & 24 at 7 p.m.
The Yard’s Nanon Theater
Chilmark, MA

Attend an evening of works by Martha’s Vineyard-based dance artists focused on community, collaboration, and creativity. Island Grown Dances is a part of The Yard’s A.R.T. on the VINE series (Artists Rising Together on the Vineyard). It has become an annual tradition. This year’s production features works by Abby Bender, DanceTheYard, Claire Page, and Tessa Parmar, as well as the 2019 Yard Interns.

— Merli V. Guerra

Visual Arts

Carrie Crane, Orbs and Orbits 3, 2018–2019, acrylic, graphite, Prismacolor, ink on paper, 10”x 10”, Courtesy of the artist.

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.

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.

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.

“Jacob Wrestles with the Angel.” Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Wrestling With Angels: Icons From The Prosopon School
The Museum of Russian Icons
203 Union Street
Clinton, MA
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.

Room to Grow
Minuteman Commuter Bikeway
Arlington, MA
Through September 29

As part of the PATHWAYS public art project, this interactive, site-specific installation and performance is situated in Arlington on the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway, New England’s busiest bike path. Freedom Baird’s “Room to Grow” invites passers-by to sit in a furnished outdoor “room” beside the bikeway that contains salvaged furnishings and natural foliage. The artist hopes to bring attention to the dilemma of balancing the urban needs of the community with environmental “stewardship” in which she personally engages in conversations with the public on environmental sustainability. Strategically located near the new Arlington’s Cultural District, this liminal space is placed to reflect on the entangled fates of the local natural environment and new urban development.

Radical Compositions: Henry Botkin, “Allusiln,” 1958. Photo: courtesy of the Childs Gallery.

Radical Compositions: AbEx Prints and Paintings
Childs Gallery
169 Newbury St. Boston, MA
August 22 through November 3.

The Childs Gallery presents groundbreaking work by first and second generation Abstract Expressionists. The show follows a timeline, from the emergence of the movement to its international recognition, with the center of the Western art world shifting from Paris to New York. The exhibit includes a wide range of styles, from action painting to color field, and features works by Lee Krasner, Alexander Calder, Robert Rauschenberg, Louise Nevelson, and many more.

Poetry Mobile
The Revolving Museum
Downtown Crossing, Boston, MA
August 19 and 20.

The founder of The Revolving Museum, Jerry Beck, created the Poetry Mobile as a vehicle for inspiring change in the community, believing that poetry can be a revolutionary medium for thought and action. One of several mobile art projects by The Revolving Museum, the colorful, 1952 Ford pickup truck and custom trailer displays work by both student and professional poets, as well as interactive art. The truck is currently traveling through New England from June to November 2019, making both random and scheduled stops at public spaces throughout the region.

During its time at Downtown Crossing, the Poetry Mobile will host a poetry-inspired fashion show, community workshops, performances, and more. The truck will be located at the corner of Summer and Washington streets, 10 a.m to 6 p.m. on both days.

–- Rebekah Bonner

Roots and World Music

Deke Dekerson and Bloodshot Bill with Jittery Jack and Miss Amy and DJ Easy Ed
August 14
ONCE, Somerville, MA

The king of guitar geeks is back in town for a night of deftly-picked rockabilly and honky tonk country. He’s on tour with his equally wild collaborator, Canadian madman Bloodshot Bill.

En Talla feat. Shelia del Bosque
August 15, 7 p.m.
LoPresti Park, 33 Sumner St, East Boston, MA

Berklee’s Tito Puente Concert Series wraps up its 2019 run with a night featuring the exciting young Cuban flautist del Bosque, a virtuoso equally comfortable in classical and Latin dance settings.

Issa and the Magic Tubor String Band
August 16
House concert, Newtonville, MA  (email for address/reservations)

Two artists who approach old music in a new way join forces for this house concert. Barcelona guitarist Issa puts his own spin on an American primitive sound, while the North Carolina-based Magic Tubor String Band bring a sense of fantasy — and even Indian ragas — to old-time string music.

Bobby Rush will perform in Boston on August 20. Photo: Rick Olivier

Bobby Rush
August 20
City Winery, Boston MA

When we last interviewed the King of the Chitlin’ Circuit Bobby Rush, he had just released his LP Porcupine Meat. It ended up netting the octogenarian a Grammy. He’s just put out the follow-up disc, Sitting On Top of the Blues. Co-produced by Rush and longtime guitarist and collaborator Vasti Jackson,  the recording is yet another gritty, sexy, and funny outing that draws on the singer’s storytelling talents by way of both polished and acoustic numbers.

Boston Carnival Village Steel Pan Documentaries & Face Mask Cruise
August 23

Caribbean Carnival weekend in Boston means a slew of related events. One long-running favorite is photographer/cultural activist Michael C. Smith’s Face Mask cruise: a boat party that celebrates the traditions of Trinidad and Tobago carnival, primarily the J’ouvert theme. Before the cruise leaves from Rowe’s Warth at around 10 p.m., Smith will present a pair of documentaries about the steel pan at Roxbury Community College starting at 4 p.m. Smith is also hoping to have copies of his just-released photo book Culture Lives Here available.

Boston Carnival
August 24

The loud and proud celebration of Caribbean-American culture returns for two sessions of food, music, dance, and stunning costumes on parade. The more traditional J’ouvert at 6 a.m. has no recorded music, while at noon comes the kickoff of the main parade, which will go for hours.

— Noah Schaffer


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.”

A scene from Company One/ART’s “Greater Good.” Raijene Murchison and Dev Blair. Photo: Natasha Moustache

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.” Arts Fuse review

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.

Tom Pecinka and Uma Thurman in the WTF production of “Ghosts.” Photo: Joseph O’Malley.

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, through August 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…”

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, through August 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.”

Ben Butler by Richard Strand. Directed by Joseph Discher. Staged by he Gloucester Stage Company at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA, through August 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.

A scene from Shakespeare & Company’s production of “The Children.” Photo: Zachary De Silva

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

Cherry Docs by David Gow. Directed by Evan Turissini
Aug 23 through September 1
At The Rockwell in Davis Square, Somerville, MA

“An unflinching look at the harsh reality of white nationalism and the responsibilities of the white community to reverse the radicalization of young white men.” CONTENT ADVISORY: This play deals with themes of racism and the modern white nationalism movement. As a result, some explicit language is used frequently throughout the play.

What We May Be by Kathleen Clark. Directed by Gregg Edelman. Staged by the Berkshire Theatre Group at the Fitzpatrick Main Stage, 83 Main Street, Stockbridge, MA, through August 31.

In this world premiere, “a tight-knit group of actors, facing their final performance in their beloved and closing theatre, confront the reality of their relationships to the stage and to each other.”

Before the Meeting By Adam Bock. Directed by Trip Cullman. Staged by Williamstown Theatre Festival on the Nikos Stage, Williamstown, MA, through August 18.

A world premiere of a new drama: E”very day, Gail and the regular members of her early morning group set up for their meeting in the exact same way: Nicole makes the coffee, Gail arranges the chairs, and Ron complains. As they forge a path toward sobriety and well-being, they come to rely on the routine and each other. But when Gail’s estranged granddaughter reopens old wounds, Gail knows it will take more than coffee, chairs, and companionship to keep her life from falling apart.”

Six by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss. Directed by Moss and Jamie Armitage Presented by the American Repertory Theater at the Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, MA, August 21 through September 27.

“Everyone is “losing their head” over this original pop concert musical; DIVORCED, BEHEADED, DIED, DIVORCED, BEHEADED, SURVIVED, for many years the six wives of Henry VIII have been reduced to a single rhyme. Now they have picked up the microphone to retell their stories, remixing five hundred years of historical heartbreak into an 80-minute celebration of twenty-first century girl power.” The cast of Six comes to American Repertory Theater following a record-breaking run at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

— Bill Marx

Classical Music

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.

Eric Jacobsen and The Knights will perform at Tanglewood this week. Photo: WETA.

The Knights at Tanglewood
Presented by Tanglewood Music Festival
August 15, 8 p.m.
Seiji Ozawa Hall, Lenox, MA

Eric Jacobsen and The Knights return to Tanglewood with a Hungarian program in tow – music by Ligeti, Kurtág, and Kodály – as well as Brahms’s Violin Concerto (with Gil Shaham as soloist).

François-Xavier Roth conducts the Boston Symphony
Presented by Tanglewood Music Festival
August 17 (at 8 p.m.) and 18 (at 2:30 p.m.)
Koussevitzky Shed, Lenox, MA

Roth, one of the BSO’s most engaging guest conductors of late, leads the orchestra in its penultimate weekend this summer in Lenox. On Saturday, he’s joined by Kirill Gerstein in Brahms’s Piano Concerto no. 2. On Sunday, it’s Yo-Yo Ma playing Schumann’s Cello Concerto (and the BSO horn section scaling the heights of that composer’s extraordinary Konzertstück). You can’t go wrong with either.

Dance Night
Presented by Boston Landmarks Orchestra
August 21, 7 p.m.
Hatch Shell, Boston, MA

Landmarks Orchestra wraps up its summer season with dance music from all over: Brahms, Florence Price, Manuel de Falla, Franz Liszt, Amilcare Ponchielli (to name a few) – there’s something for just about everybody. The orchestra’s joined by several groups of friends, including Castle of Our Skins, the Conservatory Lab Charter School, and Boston Ballet II.

— Jonathan Blumhofer

Violinist Leonidas Kavakos will perform an evening of Beethoven at Tanglewood. Photo: Boston Symphony.

All-Beethoven Program
August 13 at 8 p.m.
Seiji Ozawa Hall, 297 West Street, Lenox, MA

Tanglewood presents violinist Leonidas Kavakos and pianist Emanuel Ax in a program that includes Beethoven;s Violin Sonata No. 4 in A minor, Op. 23; Violin Sonata No. 6 in A, Op. 30, No. 1; Violin Sonata No. 10 in G, Op. 96.

Violinist Angelo Xiang Yu and Pianist Feng Niu
August 19 at 7:30 p.m.
At Burnes Hall/New England Conservatory, 255 St. Botolph Street, Boston, MA

Foundation for the Chinese Performing Arts presents a program that includes Ludwig van Beethoven’s Sonata for violin and piano in D Major, Op.12, No.1; Benjamin Britten’s Suite for violin and piano, Op. 6; Cesar Franck’s Sonata for A Major for Violin and Piano, and
Maurice Ravel’s Tzigane Rhapsody.

Pianist Andrew Li
August 20 at 7:30 p.m.
At Burnes Hall/New England Conservatory, 255 St. Botolph Street, Boston, MA

Foundation for the Chinese Performing Arts presents a program that includes Franz Schubert’s Impromptu D. 935, Op. 142, No. 1 in F Minor; Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 27 in E Minor, Op. 90; Igor Stravinsky’s Three Movements from Petrushka; Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

— Susan Miron

Author Events

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.”

Ronald Rosbottom
Sudden Courage: Youth in France Confront the Germans 1940-1945
August 13 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA

“On June 14, 1940, German tanks rolled into Paris. Eight days later, France accepted a humiliating defeat and foreign occupation. Most citizens adapted and many even allied themselves with the new fascist leadership. Ronald Rosbottom tells the riveting story of how those brave and untested youth went from learning about literature to learning the art of sabotage, from figuring out how to solve an equation to how to stealthily avoid patrols, from passing notes to stealing secrets—and even learning how to kill. The standard challenges of adolescence were amplified and distorted. Sudden Courage brilliantly evokes this dark and uncertain period, from the beginning of the occupation until the last German left French soil.”

Except for Love: New England Poets Inspired by Donald Hall
August 16 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA

“Join Porter Square Books for a poetry reading to honor the late New England literary giant Donald Hall, (1928–2018), former Poet Laureate of New Hampshire and of the United States, one year after his death. Contributors to the new anthology Except for Love will read poems inspired by Hall and share reflections on Hall’s tremendous legacy. Except for Love: New England Poets Inspired by Donald Hall gathers thirty-five well-established New England poets (including Sherry Barker Abaldo, L.R. Berger, Patricia Gomes, Dawn Potter, Steven Ratiner, and Jane Yolen) in a 105-page anthology published to mark the one-year anniversary of Hall’s passing.”

Madeline Bilis
50 Hikes in Eastern Massachusetts
August 22 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA

“In this first-edition guide, Madeline Bilis shares her years of outdoors experience in the Boston area, providing 50 hikes for people of all skill and experience levels. While the Berkshires tend to get all recognition when it comes to hiking in Massachusetts, the eastern part of the state is packed with treasures for lovers of the outdoors. From the rocky ledges of the Blue Hills Reservation to the sandy stretches of the Cape Cod National Seashore, incredible trails and vistas abound in this varied region.”

Madeline Miller
Circe: A Novel
September 3 at 6 p.m. (Doors at 5:30)
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge MA
Tickets are $28.75 with book, $6 without

“In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.” As The Washington Post‘s Ron Charles enthuses: “One of the most amazing qualities of this novel [is]: We know how everything here turns out—we’ve known it for thousands of years—and yet in Miller’s lush reimagining, the story feels harrowing and unexpected. The feminist light she shines on these events never distorts their original shape; it only illuminates details we hadn’t noticed before.”

— Matt Hanson


EHot Tuna. Photo: Jay Blakesberg.

Electric Hot Tuna and Dave Mason
August 21
At the Wilbur Theatre, Boston, MA

Hot Tuna may have started as a side gig for guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and bass player Jack Casady when they were in Jefferson Airplane. But the pair’s palpable chemistry and beguiling craftsmanship when it comes to both playing and composing turned Hot Tuna into a bluesy psychedelic rock ‘n’ roll main attraction. Kaukonen and Casady celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hot Tuna’s founding this summer with a tour that brings them to Boston, where they will be perform with drummer Justin Guip as “electric Hot Tuna” (versus the duo “acoustic Hot Tuna” setting). Making the show an even hotter ticket is that addition of founding Traffic member and formidable solo artist Dave Mason on the bill. Arts Fuse preview

— Scott McLennan

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