Coming Attractions: August 25 through September 10 — 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).

Old Boyfriends
August 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.

A scene from “La Dolce Vita” featuring Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg.

La Dolce Vita
August 30 – September 2
Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA

The Brattle has a long tradition of educating Cambridge with revivals of World Cinema masterpieces and La Dolce Vita is no exception. Superbly photographed in black-and-white CinemaScope with a haunting music score by Fellini’s frequent collaborator Nino Rota, the film immediately became a commercial and critical sensation. It was condemned outright by the Catholic Church, which made the film all the more scandalously successful. La Dolce Vita’s deeply moral opening, with its now famous shot of a huge statue of Christ being ferried by helicopter to the Vatican (with Marcello Mastroianni and the paparazzi along for the ride) suggests that the hope of redemption exists, even if we seek to reject it in our search for ephemeral fame and pleasure. Coming as it did at the end of the ’50s, this film sums up the excesses and follies of that decade, and also gestures toward the onrushing ’60s, ending Fellini’s first great decade as a filmmaker. (adapted from Senses of Cinema) Also with the glorious Anita Ekberg.

Murder in the Front Row: The San Francisco Bay Area Thrash Metal Story
August 29 at 7:30 p.m,
Regent Theater, Arlington, MA

Director Adam Dubin set out to chronicle the ‘80s Bay Area thrash scene in this uncensored and boisterous documentary. It is a must-watch for hard rock fans;  the film contains fifty interviews with various metal stalwarts (including Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, Exodus, Testament, and Death Angel). The documentary tells its tall tales through a mix of first-person interviews, animation, and narration by comedian Brian Posehn. But, first and foremost, “these are just good stories, and they are very human stories,” says Dubin. “And anyone I’ve shown this to, even those who don’t really like the music, have really responded to it.”

An Elephant Standing Still
August 31 at 11 a.m.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Powerfully conveying a longing for escape from ordinary life, Hu Bo’s film is a strangely alluring, four-hour portrait of the disillusionment and hollow sense of emptiness experienced by those living in a society marked by violent individualism. Under the perpetually grey sky of a run-down industrial town in northern China, and set over the course of one day Hu Bo delicately weaves together the lives of those left to rot in a place where solitude and sadness prevail. We follow three characters, each struggling to navigate the violence and hate that permeates their lives. Slowly their paths entwine, with each of them dreaming about escaping to the city of Manzhouli, where they say there’s an elephant who simply sits and ignores the world.

Hu may paint a grim picture of a corrupt, soul-crushing society . . . but his vision, both as writer and director, is always sympathetic to their struggles. Sadly, the director took his own life shortly after completing the film; his work here seems to hint at the dark thoughts that consumed him. An Elephant Sitting Still may have been born out of one man’s suffering, but this is a tremendously personal work that should be seen.

— 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 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’s 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’s 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


Charlie Kohlhase and his Explorers Club venture forth at Lilypad this week.

Charlie Kohlhase’s Explorers Club
August 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA

Multi-sax man and composer Charlie Kohlhase returns with another promising edition of his Explorers Club: tenor saxophonist Seth Meicht: trumpeter and flugelhornist Daniel Rosenthal: bass trombonist Bill Lowe; tubist Josiah Reibstein: bassist Aaron Darrell, and drummer Curt Newton. The program is promising too: Ornette Coleman, Elmo Hope, Makanda Ken McIntyre, Roswell Rudd, John Thicai, and Kohlhase’s  own.

Trio Plex
September 6 at  8 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA

A New York-based trio of veteran improvisers, led by drummer Michael T.A. Thompson with pianist and multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore and bassist Ken Filiano hits the Lilypad for what is being billed as their debut performance.

Mike Stern/Bill Evans
September 6 and 7, at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

Guitarist Mike Stern and saxophonist Bill Evans were core members of the band Miles Davis created when he returned to performing after a five-year hiatus from the stage, in 1980. They’ve covered a lot of ground since then. Here they’re joined by bassist Tom Kennedy and drummer (and former Living Colour member) Will Calhoun. I’m not expecting ballads with brushes or straight-ahead swing.

Steve Turre manning the conch shell. He will perform at Scullers Jazz Club.

Steve Turre
September 7 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.

The great trombonist and composer Steve Turre’s last joint was a ballads album, The Very Thought of You (2018), that included George Coleman and Russell Malone. Turre is compelling in any context, and made a serious case for the conch shell as a modern instrument (see his project Sanctified Shells). No word on who’s playing in his quintet at Scullers.

— Jon Garelick


Schonberg Fellows/Boston
August 31 at 7 p.m.
Patricia N. Nanon Theater
Chilmark, MA

Developed in collaboration with The Boston Foundation, Schonberg Fellows/Boston is a mentored residency initiative connecting The Yard to Boston’s professional dance community. This split-bill performance highlights experienced tap dance company Subject:Matter alongside dancer, choreographer, and educator Aysha Upchurch, whose approach to movement is inspired by the African diaspora.

Chinatown Presents an evening of cultural storytelling through dance.

When Body Becomes Voice – An Evening of Dance
September 6 at 7 p.m.
Pao Arts Center
Boston, MA

Pao Arts Center’s performing arts series, Chinatown Presents, launches its season with an evening of classical and contemporary dance that demonstrates different cultural approaches to storytelling through dance. When Body Becomes Voice features works by Chhandika (classical Kathak Indian dance), Prakriti Dance (classical Bharatanatyam Indian dance), Jennifer Lin (contemporary dance), and Yosi Karahashi (flamenco).

Cellista’s Transfigurations
September 8 at 7 p.m.
The Lily Pad
Cambridge, MA

Experimental cellist and multimedia artist Cellista performs material off of her new Transfigurations album while she celebrates the release of its accompanying book, A Listener’s Guide to Transfigurations, co-written with philosopher Frank Seeburger. Enjoy an evening of music, poetry, film, and dance featuring Mojo DeVille and Ransom Dance.

And further afield...

Urban Bush Women
Through August 25
Doris Duke Theatre
Becket, MA

Jacob’s Pillow ends its 2019 summer festival with the return of Urban Bush Women, who are celebrating its 35th anniversary. The performance pays homage to the “musical life and spiritual journey” of iconic composer and saxophonist John Coltrane. The company was founded by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, recipient of the 2017 Bessie Award for Lifetime Achievement.

— Merli V. Guerra

Visual Arts

Lili Almog, Muslim Girl #14, from “The Other Half of the Sky,” 2009. Archival pigment print. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum,  © Lili Almog.

Crossing Lines, Constructing Home: Displacement and Belonging in Contemporary Art
Special Exhibitions Gallery, Harvard Art Museums
32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA
September 6 through January 5

How do artists address the parallel concepts of borders and the spaces created by immigration? This exhibit features artists such as Do Ho Suh, Graciela Iturbide, Serena Chopra, and many more, whose work investigates the context of cultural and physical displacement through the lenses of history, identity, language, and belief. Curatorially framed to emphasize individual relationships along with geographic and historical specifics, the show explores spaces of displacement as traumatic and transformative experiences.

List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi
July 30 through October 20
The MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA

Farah Al Qasimi’s multimedia works manipulate cultural norms of interpreting 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 40-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.

Melissa Lynn, “American Mosaic.” Photo: courtesy of the artist and the Griffin Museum.

American Mosaic
Griffin Museum at WinCam
32 Swanton Street, Winchester, MA
September 19 through January 19

Melissa Lynn’s photographs address the multicultural heritage of the United States in the face of increasing intolerance. Discarding the phrase “melting pot” in favor of the more heterogeneous term “mosaic,” this series of portraits visualizes the artist’s dream of a country which preserves the unique traditions of its many peoples without becoming homogenized. Lynn visits diverse cultural heritage festivals: she requests to photograph individuals wearing traditional clothing, seeing this as a means to promote dialogue and understanding across cultures.

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. She 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 dramatizing 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.

–- Rebekah Bonner

Roots and World Music

Rhythm and Roots Festival at Ninigret
Aug 30 – Sept 1
Charlestown, Rhode Island

The region’s largest celebration of Cajun, zydeco, and American roots music returns to Charlestown, RI. One of the highlights will surely be bluegrass pioneer Peter Rowan’s collaboration with San Antonio’s Los Texmaniacs, who’ll add a Tex-Mex groove to Rowan’s Free Mexican Airforce material. Other notables from the Americana side include the Mavericks, Railroad Earth, and rockabilly/honky-tonk heroes The Lustre Kings. Louisiana greats like Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet, and Jeffrey Broussard and the Creole Cowboys will no doubt keep the dance tent full.

Andy Erazo
Aug. 30, 10 p.m.
La Famila Restaurant, 18 Beacham St, Everett, MA

The lines between Mexican and Central American music are continually blurring. Take Salvadoran heartthrob Andy Erazo, whose music and dress would seem to be like classic Mariachi fare, complete with soaring, emotional vocals. He is finishing up some local backing track promotional dates with this free appearance.

Sept. 6
North Shore Events Center (Wonderland Ballroom), Revere, MA

On record,  Vershon is an autotune-loving hitmaker with a laid-back vibe, but the video evidence suggests that the dance hall reggae performer is a far more intense performer when he’s on stage. (Note that the flyer for this show makes no mention of a live band.)

Julian Loida, one of Boston most valuable musical players, will perform in Cambridge. Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Julian Loida
Sept. 7
Club Passim, Cambridge, MA

Percussionist, composer, and programmer Loida is easily one of the Boston music scene’s most valuable players. But while he’s usually to be found helping others sound good, tonight he’ll be presenting music from his new LP, Wallflower, a mesmerizing collection of original compositions for solo vibraphone.

Sept. 8, 4 p.m.
Burren Backroom, Somerville, MA

The rarely heard traditional dance music of Northwestern Europe is the specialty of this powerful Vermont/Quebec trio, which focuses on the sounds of Brittany, France, and Sweden. The group includes masters of the accordion, whistle, English border pipes, and the Swedish nykelharpa.

Sept. 8, 7 p.m.
North Shore Events Center (Wonderland Ballroom), Revere, MA

Versatile Nigerian singer Tekno has become a megastar in the world of Afrobeats, as proven by his hundreds of millions of YouTube views. Lots of his past recordings have been sexy dance anthems, but his new single finds him supplying a socially conscious vibe with “Better (Hope For Africa).”

— Noah Schaffer


The cast of “Fall Springs.” Photo: Daniel Rader.

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…” Arts Fuse review

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.

Cherry Docs by David Gow. Directed by Evan Turissini. Staged by the Acropolis Stage Company at The Rockwell, Davis Square, Somerville, MA, through September 1.

“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.”

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, through September 29.

“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.

The Gloucester Stage Company production of “The Lifespan of a Fact.” Foreground: Derek Speedy (Jim); Background: L to R: Mickey Solis (John); Lindsay Crouse (Emily). Photo: Julia Lorello.

The Lifespan of a Fact by Jeremy Kareken, David Murrell, and Gordon Farrell, based on the book by John D’Agata and Jim Fingal. Directed by Sam Weisman. Staged by the Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA, August 30 through September 22.

A regional premiere of a Broadway hit. The plot — “the ultimate showdown between truth and fiction. A determined young fact checker is about to stir up trouble. His demanding editor has given him a big new assignment: a groundbreaking piece by an unorthodox author. Together, they take on the high-stakes world of publishing.” The cast features GSC veterans Mickey Solis as John, the author, Lindsay Crouse as Emily, his editor, and GSC newcomer Derek Speedy as Jim, the fact checker.

The Donkey Show, presented by the American Repertory Theater at Oberon, 2 Arrow Street, Cambridge, MA, closes on September 7 after a decade.

Ten years ago I endured the premiere of this inane “ultimate disco experience — a crazy circus of mirror balls and feathered divas, of roller-skaters and hustle queens inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” I (and no doubt the ghost of the Bard) are happy to bid this crappy “disco fever fantasy” adieu — don’t trip over the disco ball as you hoof your way out of the door. The show was revelatory in one way: it made the commercial agenda of American Repertory Theater entrepreneur Diane Paulus ear-shatteringly clear.

The Purists by Dan McCabe. Directed by Billy Porter. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, August 30 through October 6.

The world premiere of a new play: “A former rapper, a DJ, and a showtunes-loving telesales director have become an unlikely group who hang out and spar about music on a stoop in Queens. But, when an impromptu rap battle erupts between two younger female emcees, everything gets questioned.”

Taylor Mac. Photo: Little Fang.

A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (Abridged), performed by Taylor Mac. Presented by Brown Arts Initiative (BAI) at Brown University and FirstWorks at The Vets, 1 Avenue of the Arts, Providence, Rhode Island, September 14 at 8 p.m.

A reduced version of Taylor Mac’s epic entertainment. Here is how the NYTimes assessed the uncut version: “246 songs spanning 240 years for 24 straight hours, including small breaks for him to eat, hydrate and use the loo, and starting in 1776 with a great-big band and ending with Mr. Mac, alone in 2016, doing original songs on piano and ukulele. He remembered all the lyrics and most of Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself.” And he sang them — in every imaginable style, at every tempo, with every possible facial expression and every register of his handsome, protean voice.”

No doubt the Pulitzer Prize for Drama finalist and Tony-nominated theater artist will still be impressive with a whittled down version of an amazing feat.  “He chronicles an unseen history of America through a hand-picked selection from his earlier music odyssey, ranging from murder ballads to disco and everything in between … the audience is central to the experience as Mac chronicles the ways in which communities build themselves because they are being torn apart. Bedecked in gloriously irreverent regalia designed by long time collaborator Machine Dazzle, Mac is joined on stage by Music Director Matt Ray and an incomparable band.”

— Bill Marx

Classical Music

The Semiosis Quartet will perform this week in Boston and Cambridge.

An American Century
August 29 at 7:30 p.m. at the New School of Music, 25 Lowell Street, Cambridge, MA
August 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Emmanuel Church/Lindsey Chapel, 15 Newbury Street, Boston, MA

An interesting all-female-composer program from the Semiosis Quartet: Shelley Washington’s Say (2017); Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s String Quartet No. 2 (1998); Florence Price’s String Quartet in G Major (1929); Caroline Shaw’s Valencia (2012); Ruth Crawford Seeger’s String Quartet (1931).

Rockport Chamber Music Festival presents cellist David Fincke & pianist Wu Han
August 31 at 7 p.m.
At the Shalin Liu Perfomance Center, 37 Main Street, Rockport, MA

This ambitious program includes Bach’s Adagio (from the Toccata in C Major for Organ) for cello and piano; Schumann’s Adagio and Allegro for Cello and Piano, Op. 70; Grieg’s Sonata for in A minor for cello and piano, Op. 36; Mendelssohn’s Song Without Words; Chopin’s Sonata in G minor for Cello and Piano, Op. 65.

— Susan Miron


Robert Cocuzzo
The Road to San Donato: Fathers, Sons, and Cycling Across Italy
September 3 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA

The Road to San Donato is an adventurous travel memoir of an American father and son tracing their Italian heritage by bicycle. With only the bare essentials on their backs, author Robert Cocuzzo and his sixty-four-year-old father, Stephen, embark on a torturous 425-mile ride from Florence, Italy, to San Donato Val di Comino, an ancient village hidden in the Apennine mountains from which their family emigrated a hundred years earlier. After getting lost, beaten down, and very nearly stranded, when they finally reach the village the Cocuzzos discover so much more than their own family story.”

Diana Altman
We Never Told: A Novel
September 4 at 7 p.m.
Newtonville Books, West Newton MA

“A page-turning novel about a glamorous family in the golden age of Hollywood. Set in suburban New York, it follows Sonya Adler’s life from growing up in a “broken home,” to the hippie sixties and into the present with a shocking twist at the end. The story outlines a time when unmarried women were shamed into putting their newborns up for adoption and the consequences which have touched thousands of people like her. This fast-paced story is not just about sisters keeping a secret – but is a heart wrenching and funny tale about a not often talked-about part of American history: children finding their birth families fifty years later.”

Dissent Magazine 2019 Summer Issue
September 8 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Bookstore, Cambridge MA

“Harvard Book Store welcomes senior editor Nick Serpe, guest editor Quinn Slobodian, and contributors Alyssa Battistoni and Adom Getachew for a panel discussion of Dissent Magazine‘s most recent issue, “What Is the Nation Good For?” Dissent is a quarterly magazine of politics and ideas. Founded by Irving Howe and Lewis Coser in 1954, it quickly established itself as one of America’s leading intellectual journals and a mainstay of the democratic left. Dissent has published articles by Hannah Arendt, Richard Wright, Norman Mailer, A. Philip Randolph, Michael Harrington, Dorothy Day, Bayard Rustin, Czesław Miłosz, Barbara Ehrenreich, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Chinua Achebe, Ellen Willis, Octavio Paz, Martha Nussbaum, Roxane Gay, and many others.”

Carlos Andres Gomez
Hijito: Poems
September 9 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Bookstore, Cambridge MA

“Striking, searching, and serious. Carlos Andrés Gómez poems often leap landscapes beyond the West and ask us to consider the history we have been taught, how we speak it and carry it in our bodies. There is an earned depth and urgency to Gómez as a poet.” — Raymond Antrobus, Rathbones Folio Prize winner

— Matt Hanson

Pop, Rock, and Folk

Flying Lotus
August 27 (doors at 7, show at 8)
House of Blues, Boston, MA

Born Steven Ellison in 1983, Flying Lotus is the grandson of Motown songwriter and producer Marilyn McLeod and grandnephew of Alice and John Coltrane. This year’s Flamagra is his long-awaited follow-up to 2014’s You’re Dead!, which included the Best Dance Recording Grammy nominee “Never Catch Me.” (Ellison also produced a song on Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy-nominated 2014 album To Pimp a Butterfly.) The 27-track Dance/Electronic Albums chart-topper includes guest appearances by George Clinton, Denzel Curry, Anderson .Paak, Solange, Toro y Moi, Thundercat, and (ahem) David Lynch. The Flying Lotus In 3D tour stops at the House of Blues on Tuesday.

Lonely Leesa and & The Lost Cowboys will perform this week in Salem, MA.

Lonely Leesa & The Lost Cowboys with Magen Tracey & The Missed Connections and Future Carnivores
August 29 (show at 9)
Opus Underground, Salem, MA

On Thursday, Opus Underground will host a triple bill of local acts from that presently locate themselves in Boston, Somerville, and Cambridge (respectively from the top to the bottom of the bill). None of these band is afraid to its make its influences known for newcomers who want to know what their in for. The complex Venn Diagram of those who inspired Lonely Leesa & The Lost Cowboys and Magen Tracey & The Missed Connections would overlap in the section labelled “Lucinda Williams.” But while the former mixes in “Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac, Big Star, and Exile on Main St.-era Rollings Stones,” the latter describes its alchemy as “like if Tori Amos and Lucinda Williams made out.” Future Carnivores, meanwhile, advises potential listeners to “imagine Pulp and Suede battling it out with Sebadoh or Dinosaur Jr.” Needless to say, those in attendance will surely not be wanting for variety.

GZA with Rite Hook and Heddshotts
September 4 (doors at 7)
Middle East Downstairs, Cambridge, MA

GZA has been in the Boston area quite a bit in recent months, having performed with Wu-Tang Clan at the House of Blues in June and done back-to-back May gigs at Sonia and The Middle East Downstairs. On September 4, he will return to the latter venue for an encore performance of his 1995 masterpiece Liquid Swords in its entirety. Genre-blending Bostonian Rite Hook and South Shore/Connecticut hip hop quartet Heddshotts will open the show.

— Blake Maddux

The Mavericks perform in Lowell, MA this Friday.

The Mavericks
August 30
Lowell Summer Music Series
Boarding House Park, Lowell MA

As if The Mavericks really needed a reason to party, since its mere presence on stage is usually all it takes to spark a cross-cultural, cross-genre musical celebration. But the band is using the occasion of its 30th anniversary to power a lengthy tour that comes to Boarding House Park in Lowell this Friday night (the Mavericks are also part of a package with Squeeze and KT Tunstall that plays Thursday at Tanglewood in Lenox and at the Rhythm and Roots Festival in Charlestown, R.I., on Saturday). The Mavs promise an expansive show that covers the band’s earliest days in Miami playing country music in that city’s punk scene, its hit-making era of the ’90s and its wildly welcomed comeback era kicked off in 2012 after a lengthy hiatus. Powerhouse singer Raul Malo, guitar whiz Eddie Perez, whirlwind keyboard player Jerry Dale McFadden, and rock solid drummer Paul Deakin fuel The Mavs’ expansive, intoxicating sound.

— Scott McLennan

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