Coming Attractions: October 20 through November 3 — 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.
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
The Somerville Theatre, Davis Square, Somerville, MA
For the first time in its 22-year history, the Boston Underground Film Festival launches a midyear mini-fest. It is a selection of seasonally appropriate thrills and chills tailored for New England cinephiles! Complete Schedule Arts Fuse feature
Midnight in Paris
October 21 at 7 p.m.
Brattle Theater in Cambridge, MA
Midnight in Paris is an exuberant portrait of the soon-to-be graduates at Flint, Michigan’s Northern High School, centering on their expectations and experiences of the Senior Prom. The students’ humor, style, and expressions of love are seen in stark contrast to what the former automotive boomtown is tragically known for, at least beyond its city limits. Directors James Blagden and Roni Moore are expected to attend via Skype for Q&A
The B-Film. Low-Budget Hollywood Cinema 1935–1959
through November 25
The Harvard Film Archive in Cambridge, MA
This retrospective reconsiders the history and legacy of a singular mode of low-budget filmmaking that was invented within (or around) the Hollywood studio system. These inexpensive efforts served as an ideal, even an inspiration, for diverse filmmakers in the future by showing how much can be done with little. Link to series
The Boston Palestine Film Festival
through October 27
Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Brookline Library, Paramount Center, and Brattle Theatre
The festival features a lineup of compelling and politically challenging films, including documentaries, features, rare early works, video art pieces, and new films by emerging artists and youth. These works from directors around the world offer refreshingly honest, independent views of Palestine and its history, culture, and geographically dispersed society. Complete Schedule
All Killer No Filler Halloween Hullabaloo
October 24 – 30
Somerville Theater in Davis Square
Each film in this series was carefully chosen by guest programmer Julia Marchese, an actor, filmmaker, film programmer, and co-host of the weekly podcast Horror Movie Survival Guide.
The Elephant Queen
through October 24
Brattle Theater in Cambridge, MA
Athena is a mother elephant who will do everything in her power to protect her herd when they are forced to leave their waterhole. This epic journey, narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor, takes audiences across the African savannah and into the heart of an elephant family. A tale of love, loss, and coming home. Trailer
Bright Screening Room in the Paramount Center on Washington Street, Boston, MA
Hunted by mysterious forces, a young woman who has supernatural abilities must go on the run when her powers are discovered. With nowhere else to go, she flees back to her family and the farmhouse she abandoned long ago. There, while being pursued by the local sheriff, she begins to mend the broken relationships with her mother and daughter and learns that the power she needed was inside her all along. Discussion led by assistant professor Rae Shaw and professor Wendy Walters to follow. Free.
Independent Film Festival Boston Fall Focus Series
Brattle Theater in Cambridge, MA
IFFB presents its mini-festival of advance screenings of some of the best upcoming films. The series includes these promising movies: Sundance Grand Jury Prize winning Clemency, Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach), Wild Goose Lake, Waves, Honey Boy (Shia LaBeouf), The Kingmaker (Lauren Greenfield), The Two Popes, Portrait of A Lady On Fire (Céline Sciamma), and The Truth (Hirokazu Kore-eda). Complete schedule and descriptions
New Cinema from Brazil
Museum of Fine Arts Boston, MA
The most compelling and inspiring films from Brazil today (at least that is the claim). Selections will include: Karim Aïnouz’s The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão, Wagner Moura’s Marighella, Araby by directors Affonso Uchôa and João Dumans, and the Western adventure sci-fi effort Bacurau, a dark horse favorite from this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Complete Schedule
— Tim Jackson
Chick Corea Trilogy
October 20 at 7:00 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
Last year jazz piano god Chick Corea played four nights at Scullers Jazz Club with his Vigilette Trio (bassist Carlitos Del Puerto and drummer Marcus Gilmore). Now he’s returning for a show at Symphony Hall with his Trilogy trio — bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade — on the heels of a new album, released October 4.
Pedrito Martinez Group
October 20 at 7 p.m.
City Winery, Boston, MA.
The 46-year-old Havana-born singer and percussionist Pedrito Martinez has been a valued sideman with all manner of pop and jazz stars — Wynton Marsalis, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Sting — and has had fancy jazz soloists on his own albums (Marsalis, John Scofield). For this gig, he does his own thing with his quartet.
Kenny Werner & Nat Mugavero with Friends
October 22 at 10:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.
The esteemed pianist, composer, and teacher Kenny Werner (these days teaching Berklee kids how to chill) fronts a quintet with drummer Nat Mugavero that includes singer Vivienne Aerts, clarinetist Matt Stubbs, and bassist James Robbins.
October 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
Pianist and composer Jason Yeager has responded to our historical moment with New Songs of Resistance, an ambitious, multihued suite mixing traditional Latin American folk songs and probing originals. The formidable cast performing the new CD’s music at the Regattabar includes singers Aubrey Johnson and Farayi Malek, trumpeter Cosimo Boni, flugelhornist Milena Casado, cellist Catherine Bent, electric bassist Fernando Huergo, and drummer Mark Walker.
The Bad Plus
October 25-26 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
The band that transformed the idea of the jazz piano trio, with its unorthodox repertoire of “covers” (Black Sabbath and Nirvana to Ornette Coleman and Stravinsky) and alternately gnarly and shiny through-composed originals, returns to Scullers with “new” pianist Orrin Evans (since 2017) joining founding members Reid Anderson (bass) and David King (drums).
Dor Herskovits Quintet
October 27 at 7 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.
Israeli-born drummer Dor Herskovits is known around town as a superb accompanist, with a composer’s sense of dynamics and group interplay. His new Flying Elephants is as paradoxically buoyant as the title track. He celebrates its release with the fine saxophonist Hery Paz and bassist Max Ridley (both of whom Herskovits plays with in Bert Seager’s Tetraptych), guitarist Caio Afiune, and pianist Issac Wilson.
October 29 at 8 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.
The pianist Kris Davis has over the past couple of decades established herself as a fearless experimenter and ideal collaborator. Her latest CD, Diatom Rhythms, includes, in the supporting cast, J.D. Allen, Tony Malaby, Esperanza Spalding, Ches Smith, Marc Ribot, Nels Cline, and Terri Lyne Carrington. (With Carrington, she works in Berklee’s Institute for Jazz and Gender Studies.) This show will be solo piano.
Dee Dee Bridgewater
October 30 at 8 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA.
When last we saw reigning jazz diva Dee Dee Bridgwater, now 69, back at last summer’s Newport Jazz Festival, she was assaying music from her 2017 Memphis . . . I’m Ready, a call-back to the city of her birth and a jazzy take on Stax-era R&B. But she can — and does — sing anything, all with power, conviction, and regal authority.
Yoko Miwa Trio
November 1 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
The fine pianist Yoko Miwa’s latest album, Keep Talkin’, is one of her most exuberant, with the usual mix of artfully chosen covers, from Mingus’s “Boogie Stop Shuffle” to Irving Berlin, Joni Mitchell, the Beatles, and exploratory originals. She’s joined by her longtime rhythm-mates, bassist Will Slater and drummer Scott Goulding.
— Jon Garelick
Tucker Antell (ts), with supporting players and guest tenor saxophonists to be announced – October 23, at 8 p.m. at The Beehive, 541 Tremont St. South End. Antell is out of the Jerry Bergonzi – George Garzone school of tenor players, which is an impressive place to come from, and he has a notable resume of “played withs” (Esperanza Spalding, Hal Crook, Larry Goldings). He promises to bring some top tenor talent to tonight’s gig to join him on the stand.
Pete Kenagy (tp) & the Monkfish Jazz Orchestra [usually incl. Rich Greenblatt (vib), Kathy Olson (bari), Randy Pingrey (tb), Jarritt Sheel (tp), Andy Voelker (ts), Shane Dylan (pi), Greg Laughman (b), Ilya Blazh (dm)] – October 27 at 7 p.m., The Mad Monkfish (524 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge). A little big band in a small club? Will our local wonders never cease? The management at Monkfish asked Pete Kenagy of the Berklee faculty to put this nonet together, and they’ve been working at the Central Square venue on the last Sunday of the month since June. (Among the regular players is Adam Voelker, who leads 10 PM Friday jam sessions at the Monkfish.) Kenagy writes most of the material, and the instrumentation is tasty – three brass, two reeds, vibes, piano, bass and drums. There is something very in-your-face about a large ensemble in a small club – listeners can really see the interactions and the mechanics. Let’s hope their Sunday shows continue and their fan base grows. You could help by dropping by.
Bruce Bartlett (g), John Lockwood (b), Steve Langone (dm) – October 29 at 8 p.m. The Beehive, 541 Tremont St. South End. Bartlett is devoting this evening to rearrangements of Chick Corea’s music – working without a keyboard player almost guarantees that he’ll be concentrating on Corea’s melodic side. “Spain”? Probably. But what else? Intriguing.
George Russell, Jr. (p), Winston McCow (b), Sean Skeete (dm) – October 31 at 7 p.m. at The Mad Monkfish (524 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge). Who decided to put Boston’s most spiritual jazz musician on the stand on Halloween night? Russell is thoroughly steeped in the traditions of black religious music, and when he takes on a gospel tune, his performance is definitive. But he has a lot of other treats in his bag, too. You can expect a very good time if you decide to take your costume party to Central Square this year.
— Steve Elman
When Home Won’t Let You Stay: Migration through Contemporary Art
25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston MA 02210
Through January 26
Borrowing its name from Somali-British poet Warsan Shire’s poem “Home,” this exhibit presents work by twenty artists from a myriad of countries, on the subject of migration and displacement. Currently witnessing the global movement of peoples on an unparalleled historical scale, artists like Kader Attia, Tania Bruguera, and Reena Saini Kallat respond to this exodus with highly diverse artwork, from poetic meditations to detailed individual accounts.
Human Impact: Stories of the Opioid Epidemic
Fuller Craft Museum
455 Oak Street, Brockton, MA 02301
September 28 through May 3
This exhibit brings together 11 invited artists, who share perspectives on the opioid crisis from the viewpoint of those who are closest to the subject. Working in collaboration with families deeply affected by opiate use, these artists create works that communicate stories of pain, hope, and courage. Jodi Colella’s “Once Was (Remembrance)” is a towering, monolithic poppy field, a monument to the lives lost to this epidemic, while another piece, John Anderson’s “Sacrificial Lamb,” an altar of prescription pill bottles and cage-like wire, illustrates the chaos unleashed by the force of addiction. The Fuller Craft Museum presents this show in cooperation with the District Attorney’s office, Brockton Hospital, High Point Treatment Center, and Stonehill College, which advocate for the spread of awareness and information on this subject.
Yayoi Kusama: Love Is Calling
September 24 through February 7, 2021
ICA Boston, 25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston MA 02210
Premiering in Japan in 2013, and recently acquired as part of the ICA’s permanent collection, “Love Is Calling” is one of Kusama’s 20 infinity rooms. A darkened space, lined with mirrors and interspersed with repetitive, brightly colored sculptural forms, generates a kaleidoscopic effect that surrounds viewers as they traverse the visually crowded space. The experience is accompanied by a sound recording of the artist reciting her poem “Residing in a Castle of Shed Tears” in Japanese. This vibrant environment explores such themes as love, life, and death. It promises to be a remarkable experience.
Photo Revolution: Andy Warhol to Cindy Sherman
Worcester Art Museum
55 Salisbury Street, Worcester, MA
November 16 through February, 2020
In the 1950s, once consumerism, television, and image-sharing became commonplace, a new era of photographic experimentation commenced. Photo Revolution presents a wide range of works at the center of this transformation, featuring a wide range of mediums, from artists whose work centered on photography, such as Chris Burden, Nan Goldin, John Baldessari, and many more. These artists used photography and video to make social and political statements, turning what was seen as a practical, secondary medium into the inspiration for new movements in art. Easy access to photo and video production led to a diversification of format, which stirred artists to not only make work using photography, but to make work about photography.
Andy Goldsworthy: Watershed
DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln, MA 01773
Opening November 9, 2019
This permanent, site-specific structure is installed in a hillside near the museum and pays structural homage to the homogeneous architectural style of New England. The granite stone installation is the latest in Goldsworthy’s many works that explore the nature of water, weather, and related natural occurrences that affect a particular landscape. Bedause it emphasizes and utilizes the impact of groundwater run-off in the vicinity, visitors can see and hear the structure being activated and, over the years, altered by the water flowing through it when it rains.
Gordon Matta-Clark: Anarchitect
Through January 5
The Rose at Brandeis, 415 South Street, Waltham, MA
Gordon Matta-Clark coined the hybrid term “anarchitect” for his site-specific works erected in 1970s South Bronx. They have been celebrated as activist interventions within derelict urban communities. Trained as an architect, Matta-Clark critiqued the treatment of areas and people that capitalism had tragically failed. This exhibit focuses on the political content of these interventions, particularly his pioneering approach to social activism through art. Arts Fuse review
Jonathan Berger: An Introduction to Nameless Love
Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts
24 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA
October 17 through December 29.
Commissioned by the Carpenter Center and PARTICIPANT INC, this exhibit presents an archive of several extraordinary relationships, each of which bears the characteristics of “true love,” but rejects traditional romantic associations. Instead, each of the couplings is based on connections established by religion, friendship, or community. This body of work is the largest ever created by the artist, gathering together, via different mediums, various kinds of nonfiction and biographical narratives. Berger created, over a five-year correspondence with his subjects, large, intricate, text-based installations that honor the distinctive bonds formed by each relationship.
–- Rebekah Bonner
October 26 at 8 p.m. & October 27 at 3 p.m.
Boch Center Shubert Theatre
Celebrity Series of Boston presents Black Grace, a company who aristry draws on its founder Neil Ieremia’s Samoan and New Zealand roots. The production brings both repertory pieces and new works to Boston with live singing and traditional Cook Island Drumming, including excerpts from the company’s recent full-length works Crying Men (2018, USA premiere), a look at masculinity from a Pacific perspective; and As Night Falls (2016), which is set to the music of Vivaldi.
BJM/Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal
October 25 at 8 p.m.; October 26 at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre
Internationally acclaimed Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal returns to Boston with the premiere of Dance Me, honoring the work of Montréal-based poet, artist, and songwriter Leonard Cohen. Artistic director Louis Robitaille, dramaturg Eric Jean, and choreographers Andonis Foniadakis, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, and Ihsan Rustem ignite Cohen’s classic songs through movement.
From the Ground Up
October 31-November 3
Boston Conservatory Theater
Head to Boston Conservatory at Berklee’s fall dance concert, which will present six captivating world premieres commissioned for Boston Conservatory’s dance majors. Guest choreographers include Juel D. Lane, Micaela Taylor, Loni Landon, and Bradley Shelver, with additional works by faculty members Ruka White and Daniel Pelzig.
November 1 & 2 at 8 p.m.
The Dance Complex
Enjoy a drink, music, and dance in an intimate setting as Janelle Gilchrist Dance Troupe performs Vignettes—an evening of contemporary ballet and jazz. A former dancer with José Mateo Ballet Theatre, Gilchrist’s work is paired with pre-show performance of live jazz by The Chris Brown Trio.
— Merli V. Guerra
Roots and World Music
Oceanside Events Center, Revere, MA
Some time ago the center of the salsa world arguably shifted from Puerto Rico and New York to Colombia. And a lot of the credit goes to this ensemble, which continues to be a favorite of dancers long after the death of the group’s pioneering founder and composer, Jairo Varela.
Oceanside Events Center, Revere, MA
The General Glen A. Grant ‘Celebration of Light & Love of Life’
Oct. 26, Noon to 6 p.m.
Thunder Road, Somerville, MA
The local reggae scene suffered a big loss last month with the passing of drummer, bandleader, and teacher Glen Grant. The Trinidad-born Grant was an in-demand drummer for reggae, soca, jazz, and folk gigs when he wasn’t leading the Ghetto People Band every week at Bull McCabe’s. He will also be fondly remembered as a mentor to many of the area’s musicians. Just a few of the bands he played with or inspired will be playing and sharing their memories of the musician, including Kolors Soca Band, Kings Highway, Naya Rockers, and, of course, the Ghetto People Band, who will be continuing his legacy. Donations will be accepted.
In the late ’90s, if you were anywhere near a house or car occupied by a Dominican-American, you likely heard the smooth bachata sounds of Raulín Rodríguez blasting away. While Rodríguez may not have had the grit of the older bachata masters, he played a major role in making a decades-old folk form popular again. He is currently on tour celebrating the 30th anniversary of his career.
Greek Music Ensemble CD Release
Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA
The 15-piece ensemble celebrates its second CD. This one features the poetic compositions of two towering figures of 20th-century Greek music, Mikis Theodorakis and Manos Hadjidakis.
The Either/Orchestra with Teshome Mitiku
Tufts University, Medford, MA
Russ Gershon’s avant big-band is back in action, and they’re bringing a very special guest to this free concert: Teshome Mitiku, the dramatic vocalist who helped create the Ethiopian jazz sound of the ’60s.
Let’s Flat Get It!
Nick-a-Nee’s, Providence, RI
In the 1970’s and 80’s you would not have been able to find a rockabilly combo in every corner bar. But you would most likely be able to hear the big voice of Jack Smith and Rockabilly Planet pumping out rhythm and twang at New England honky tonks. Smith has been retired for 15 years, but he’s doing a (perhaps) final set as part of this marathon rockabilly bash and car show.
— Noah Schaffer
The Prince of Providence by George Brant. Based on the book The Prince of Providence by Mike Stanton. Directed by Taibi Magar. Staged by Trinity Rep, 201 Washington Street, Providence, Rhode Island, through October 27.
A new play about a notorious figure in Providence’s history. “The nation knows him from Crimetown and Operation Plunder Dome, but Providence has a deeper and more complicated relationship with Buddy Cianci. A charismatic visionary who was also a corrupt philanderer, the longtime mayor defied the odds time after time – from his very first election to winning again after being arrested on assault charges.” Arts Fuse interview with playwright George Brant. Arts Fuse feature
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard. Directed by Peter DuBois. Presented by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Avenue of the Arts / Huntington Avenue Theatre (264 Huntington Avenue), Boston, MA, through October 20.
A revival of one of Stoppard’s most popular mindbenders, now over 50 years old: “This modern-day classic tragicomedy imagines the lives of two minor characters from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. As the story unfolds, they voice their confusion about the play that’s being performed without them, untangling bigger questions about life and death, reality and art.” Arts Fuse review
Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee. Directed by Marti Lyons. Staged by the Merrimack Repertory Theatre, a coproduction with Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago and City Theatre in Pittsburgh, at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre, Lowell, MA, through November 16.
The East Coast premiere of Yee’s script. The plot: “In 1978, a father flees Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime. Thirty years later, his daughter attempts to piece together her family history, celebrating the resilient bond of family through hardship and sacrifice and the enduring power of ’70s music.” “The actors play their own instruments with powerful performances of 13 songs in Cambodia’s signature sound: a jubilant mix of melodic pop, 60s psychedelia, and California surf rock.”
King Lear by William Shakespeare. Directed by Doug Lockwood. Presented by Actors’ Shakespeare Project, at Chelsea Theatre Works, 189 Winnisimmet Street, Chelsea, MA, through October 27.
“ASP last produced King Lear in its second season in 2005. This production is dedicated to the memory of Alvin Epstein, a true inspiration and driving force in the early development of ASP. Alvin played Lear in the 2005 production, which transferred to La Mama in New York in 2006.” Robert Walsh plays the aging patriarch gone mad.
Trayf by Lindsay Joelle. Directed by Celine Rosenthal. Staged by the New Repertory Theatre in the MainStage Theater at the Mosesian Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA, through November 3.
A New England premiere: “Best friends Zalmy and Shmuel spend their days as the Rebbe’s loyal foot soldiers, driving their “Mitzvah Tank” through 1990s Manhattan, performing good deeds. The two young men soon find themselves at odds, as a newcomer wishing to learn more about their Chasidic ways creates discord between them.” The conflict juxtaposes “the secular and the sacred, the familiar and the unknown, the accepted and the forbidden.” Arts Fuse review
The Thanksgiving Play by Larissa FastHorse. Directed by Scott Edmiston. Staged by the Lyric Stage at 140 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA, through November 10.
“Thanksgiving, that most American of holidays: when families gather to celebrate the warmth of home, the bounty of the harvest – and a legacy of genocide and violent colonial expansion. Good intentions collide with absurd assumptions in this wickedly funny satire, as a troupe of terminally “woke” teaching artists scrambles to create a pageant that somehow manages to celebrate both Turkey Day and Native American Heritage Month.”
Coriolanus by William Shakespeare. Co-directed by Audrey Seraphin and Daniel Boudreau. Staged by Praxis Stage at Dorchester’s Little House, 275 E. Cottage St., Dorchester, MA, through November 3.
A very activist-oriented interpretation of the Bard’s study in heroic aristocracy thwarted: “In the stratified, famine-plagued, torn-up-and-on-the-brink society that is the Rome of our play, just as democracy seems about to expand to appease the demands of the riotous underclass, the trumpets of war blast. In this world of haves and have-nots, rulers and ruled, perpetual war maintains the status quo but threatens all who live within the ceaselessly warring nations depicted.” Of course, Shakespeare didn’t seem to have all that much sympathy for the “underclass.”
Girls, After The Bacchae by Euripides, by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Choreography by Raja Feather Kelly. Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz. Staged by Yale Rep at University Theatre, 222 York Street, New Haven, CT, through October 26.
Should Euripides be concerned with this world premiere production of an adaptation of one of his greatest hits by one of our leading playwrights? I suspect he would be delighted by the promised sensual/sound meltdown. “Exiled to boarding schools for his entire life, Deon returns to his birthplace with a vengeance –– luring the women of the town to the woods for a night of uninhibited partying. Meanwhile, a young reactionary with a big social media following condemns the debauchery and vows to restore order.” The script “is an electrifying contemporary spin on the classic Greek tragedy, The Bacchae, with a killer DJ, bumping dance music, and live-streaming video.” Note that the production “contains coarse language and violence, haze, fog, strobe lights, loud music, and gunfire (from a semi-automatic weapon and from pistols). Earplugs will be available.”
The Institute for The Opposite of Longing, written, directed, and starring Lindsay Beamish and Vanessa Peters. At Chelsea Theatre Works in their Black Box Theater, 189 Winnisimmet St. Chelsea, MA, through November 22
“This show is the inaugural performance of Apollinaire Theatre’s new Resident Artist Program, which was funded by a significant grant from the Boston Foundation’s Open Door Grants program, and is intended to bring new voices to the Boston theatre scene.” We could sure use new voices. Billed as the smash hit and critical darling of the 2019 Hollywood Fringe Festival, this two-person show “explores the condition of chronic yearning via a fictional “institute” where people come to have the thing they can’t let go of enacted with the Institute’s owners — who play the parts of the longed for. But the owners of the Institute are secretly harboring a loss of their own, and are trapped in an endless longing cycle in which that they can’t stop reenacting and replaying their last day with the son they once had.”
Saltonstall Trials: The Salem Witch Trial’s Untold Story by Michael Cormier and Myriam Cyr. Directed by Cyr. Staged by Punctuate4 Productions at the Larcom Theatre, 13 Wallis Street, Beverly, MA, through October 27.
If The Crucible was not enough … The script “tells the true, courageous story of Nathaniel Saltonstall who was appointed to the panel of judges trying dozens of witchcraft cases as fear and hysteria gripped the region. During his first trial, Saltonstall questions the legitimacy of the proceedings, then suddenly he is forced to choose between integrity and self-preservation. The truth will put his loved ones at risk, and himself on trial.” Ben Evett stars.
RESCUE! Or, The Fish by Darcie Dennigan. Directed by Josh Short. A workshop production staged by the Wilbury Theatre Group’s Studio W at 40 Sonoma Court, Providence, R.I., October 30 through November 3.
Slowly but surely a challenging reality is beginning to creep into the New England theater scene. This spanking new script is billed as “a madcap commentary on the hypocrisies of a society on the precipice of irreversible climate disaster.” And think of it — the play didn’t have to be produced in New York first.
Admissions by Joshua Harmon. Directed by Paul Daigneault. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage Company at the South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA October 25 through November 30.
A New England premiere: “The plot centers on Sherri Rosen-Mason and her headmaster husband Bill, who have worked hard to expand the racial diversity of the student body at the small New England prep school where they work. But when their son’s Ivy League dreams are on the line, personal ambition and progressive values collide in this no-holds-barred look at privilege, power, and the perils of hypocrisy.” The cast includes Marianna Bassham, Michael Kaye, Maureen Keiller, Nathan Malin, and Cheryl McMahon.
Jordan by Brenda Withers. Directed by Jess Chayes. Staged by Northern Stage at the Barrette Center for the Arts, White River Junction, VT through November 3.
“The world premiere of a script that deals with a vital issue that is rarely tackled on stage: ‘Lara’s world is turned upside down when she discovers that a hacker has invaded her online life. The mysterious presence, however, doesn’t seem interested in her money or her data but something more elusive.'” The script “asks its audience to examine how much we give away online and what we risk in our age of technology.” According to the Identity Theft Resource Center — a nonprofit organization that helps victims of identity theft and educates the public about cybersecurity — there were 10,818 data breaches in 2018 exposing over a billion records. 1,612,530,601 to be exact.” Who knows? Perhaps Facebook will be targeted on stage next? Arts Fuse review
X by Alistair McDowall. Directed by Linday Eagle. Staged by Flat Earth Theatre at the Mosesian Center of the Arts in Watertown, MA, November 1 through 16
“On the dark, frigid wasteland of Pluto, a team of astronauts find themselves marooned and out of contact with Earth. With nothing to do but wait, the crew struggles to maintain their sanity as the very fabric of reality begins to unravel around them. Channeling sci-fi horror classics such as Alien, Event Horizon, and Sunshine, Alistair McDowall’s groundbreaking play poses the question: Can you solve for X?”
Pru Payne by Steven Drukman. Directed by Bryn Boyce. A staged reading by The Derrah Theatre Lab, the Boston Playwrights Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA, October 26.
The rookie production from a company dedicated to the memory of the late great actor Thomas Derrah. The cast includes John Kuntz, Will LeBow, Karen MacDonald, Greg Maraio, and Maurice Emmanuel Parent.
Artemisia’s Intent, written and directed by Melissa Moschitto. Staged by The Anthropologists in the Peabody Black Box, the Arcworks Community Art Center, 22 Foster St, Peabody, MA, October 25 at 8 p.m.
Winner of “Best Solo Drama” (at the FRIGID Festival 2018), this script unearths the life, work, and words of 17th-century painter Artemisia Gentileschi. “A painter of powerful females, during Artemisia’s lifetime women all over Europe were being accused of witchcraft. With eerie historical coincidence the play features testimony from a 1612 trial in Italy, in which Artemisia was tortured with finger screws, not long before the infamous Salem witch trials. Inspired by every proclamation of ‘Me, too,’ The Anthropologists craft a startling portrait of a woman caught at the intersection of power, assault, and art.” Mariah Freda stars.
TRIPTYCH (Eyes of One on Another) Directed by Kaneza Schaal. At the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre, 219 Tremont Street Boston, MA, October 30 through November 3.
“Thirty years after Robert Mapplethorpe’s death, the world still cannot turn away from the magnetism and emotional complexity of his influential photographs. With their startling union of erotic heat and cool classicism, his controversial works were images of a generation, shattering mainstream conceptions of conventional beauty.” This show “is the daring collaboration of a group of visionary artists working together for the first time, inspired by and featuring images from Mapplethorpe’s stunning body of work. The show features music composed by Bryce Dessner (guitarist for GRAMMY Award–winning band The National), a libretto by korde arrington tuttle and poetry by Essex Hemphill and Patti Smith, and is sung by the eight-person choral ensemble Roomful of Teeth with Alicia Hall Moran & Isaiah Robinson. TRIPTYCH was commissioned by ArtsEmerson.
The Ink Spot Festival presented by Fresh Ink Theatre at Deane Hall, Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, November 1 through 3.
“The festival showcases some of the most exciting voices in New England’s playwriting community through in-process staged readings and conversations, providing a platform for playwrights to hear their scripts out loud and with an audience – often for the very first time.” The line-up: Death Wings — Written by Bess Welden; Transactions: Fantasia on a Theme by Dan Price — Written by Keith Foster;¡MAMÁGUA! — Written by J. Sebastián Alberdi; The Last Ship to Proxima Centauri — Written by Greg Lam. Note: The Ink Spot festival is free, but Fresh Ink Theatre encourages audiences to donate to Fresh Ink. You can attend for free or offer a donation in any amount.
— Bill Marx
Pianist Sergey Schepkin
October 20 at 4 p.m.
At First and Second Church of Boston, 66 Marlborough Street, Boston, MA
Glissando Concert Series presents Beethoven Sonatas II: Sonata No. 2 in A, Op. 2 No. 2; Sonata No. 12 in A-flat, Op. 26 (“Funeral March”); Sonata No. 31 in A-flat, Op. 110; and Sonata No. 28 in A, Op. 101.
Emmanuel Music’s Bach Mass in B Minor
October 26 at 8 p.m.
At Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury Street, Boston, MA.
“One of his final compositions, the Mass in B minor reexamines and repurposes music from nearly 35 years of Bach’s compositional output. Ryan Turner, Artistic Director, equates it to Bach’s curriculum vitae, a compendium of every compositional technique he ever used, coupled with ‘enormous depth and musical exploration.'”
Musica Sacra’s Monteverdi Vespers of 1610
October 26 at 8 p.m.
At First Church Congregational Cambridge, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA.
“Considered by many to be the masterpiece that ushered in the Baroque style of composition, Claudio Monteverdi’s Vespers epitomizes the era’s ideal that music should express the full range of emotions inherent in the text.”
Skylark Ensemble’s Rachmaninoff Vespers
October 24 through October 27
At Falmouth, Newburyport, Chestnut Hill, and Cambridge. Check website for performance times and locations.
“Hear the most profound masterwork of a cappella music as it has never been heard before, as Skylark brings together three world-renowned basses for the first time ever.”
Blue Heron’s Si douce a oir: the sweet sound of medieval song
October 30 at 8 p.m.
At Brandeis University/Berlin Chapel, 415 South Street, Waltham, MA
Presented as part of the two-day workshop and residency at Brandeis: “Texture, Surface and Line: The Listener’s Experience of Late Medieval Music.”
Blue Heron’s Songs of Love & Death: Selections from I madrigali a cinque voci by Cipriano de Rore
November 1 at 7:30 p.m.
At District Hall, 75 Northern Avenue, Boston, MA
“An evening of madrigals from I madrigali a cinque voci by Cipriano de Rore, celebrating the release of Blue Heron’s world-premiere recording of the complete book. Cipriano’s 1542 publication, conceived as a poetic cycle and organized by mode, features sonnets by Petrarch set in a complex and breathtakingly beautiful web of polyphony.”
Chamber Series: Russian Giants
November 1 at 8 p.m.
At Seully Hall, 8 Fenway, Boston, MA
Boston Conservatory presents faculty members in a program of chamber music by three of the Russian ‘giants’ — Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich — in a collaboration that spans Boston Conservatory’s Woodwind, Piano, and String departments.” On the program: Rachmaninov’s Piano Trio Elegiaque No. 1;Prokofiev’s Overture on Hebrew Themes, op. 34; Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet, op. 57.
Blue Heron’s Flos florum / Flower of flowers
November 2 at 2 p.m.
At the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Voyage, 51 Seaport Boulevard, Boston, MA
“A program of 15th-century Franco-Flemish music mirroring the contents of a Book of Hours, featuring both sacred devotional music and secular chansons that were quoted allegorically in Marian works. Music by Guillaume Du Fay, Gilles Binchois, Johannes Ockeghem, Johannes Regis, Alexander Agricola, and Josquin Desprez.”
— Susan Miron
Susanna Mälkki conducts the BSO
Presented by Boston Symphony Orchestra
October 24-26, 8 p.m. (1:30 p.m. on Friday)
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
Mälkki returns to the BSO podium after nearly a decade with an enticing program of French and Swiss music. Andreas Haefliger is the soloist in the American premiere of Dieter Ammann’s The Piano Concerto (“Gran Toccata”); music by Gabriel Fauré, Olivier Messiaen, and Claude Debussy fill out the evening.
Mozart and Haydn
Presented by Boston Baroque
October 25 (at 7:30 p.m.) and 27 (at 3 p.m.)
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
Boston Baroque returns to action with soprano Amanda Forsythe singing arias by Mozart and Haydn. Music director Martin Pearlman also conducts a pair of symphonies by the late-Classical masters: the former’s no. 36 and the latter’s no. 102.
Roots & Wings
Presented by Juventas New Music Ensemble
October 26, 8 p.m.
First Church, Boston, MA
Juventas continues its 15th anniversary season with a program that pairs pieces old and new by four composers – Stephanie Ann Boyd, David Biedenbender, Oliver Caplan, and Heather Gilligan – who’ve worked with the ensemble over those years.
Presented by New England Philharmonic
October 25 at 8 p.m.
Tsai Performance Center, Boston, MA
The NEP’s season-opening concert is a typically-intrepid mix of classics (in this case, from the 20th century: Schoenberg’s Five Pieces for Orchestra and Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand) and music from the last decade: Hilary Purrington’s Above the last cloud, Gunther Schuller’s The Past is in the Present, and Hannah Lash’s God Music Bug Music.
Leipzig Week in Boston
Presented by Boston Symphony Orchestra & Celebrity Series of Boston
October 27 – November 2, times vary
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
The BSO’s long-awaited “Leipzig Week in Boston” arrives with a series of concerts and presentations that pair both of Andris Nelsons’ orchestras – the BSO and Gewandhausorchester Leipzig – in concerts of music closely associated with Leipzig. Its first two concerts feature the Gewandhausorchester alone playing canonic favorites by Brahms and Schubert (on October 27); and a mix of Mahler, Schumann, Wagner and Mendelssohn (on October 29). For the closing weekend (October 31-November 2), the Leipzigers and BSO forces combine for an enticing, grab-bag program consisting of Strauss’s Festive Prelude, Haydn’s B-flat major Sinfonia concertante, Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, and Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy.
Maria, Regina d’Inghilterra
Presented by Odyssey Opera
November 1 (at 7:30 p.m.) and 3 (at 2 p.m.)
Huntington Avenue Theater, Boston, MA
The second installment of Odyssey’s Tudor-themed season is Giovanni Pacini’s opera on the life of Mary I, given here in a rare, fully-staged performance. Amy Shoremount-Obra sings the title role and Gil Rose conducts.
Presented by A Far Cry
November 1, 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
The Criers present a gripping program of music by Franz Waxman, George Walker, Vivian Fine, Igor Stravinsky, Samuel Barber, Bernard Herrmann, and Erich Wolfgang Korngold that examines the theme of “optimism that arises in very dark times.”
— Jonathan Blumnhofer
Castle of Our Skins, with Seth Parker Woods (cel), playing Julius Eastman’s The Holy Presence of Joan d’Arc, for ten cellos, choreographed by Kyle Marshall; Florence Price’s String Quartet in A Minor; and works by Alvin Singleton and Coleridge Taylor-Perkinson. On October 27 at 1:30 p.m at the Calderwood Hall, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 25 Evans Way (The Fenway). This is part of the Gardner’s fall series of concerts featuring performers and/or composers of color, curated by George Steel. This Boston-based ensemble has been championing music by African-American composers, and this program features works by two of the first to be recognized in the classical world – Florence Price and Coleridge Taylor-Perkinson – and two younger composers, Alvin Singleton and the late Julius Eastman.
— Steve Elman
Fatima Farheen Mirza
A Place for Us: A Novel
October 21 at 7 p.m.
Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley MA
“A Place for Us tells the story of one family, but all family life is here. Rafiq and Layla must come to terms with the choices their children have made, while Hadia, Huda, and Amar must reconcile their present culture with their parents’ world, treading a path between old and new. And they must all learn how the smallest decisions can lead to the deepest betrayals. This is a novel for our times: a deeply moving examination of love, identity and belonging that turns our preconceptions over one by one. It announces Fatima Farheen Mirza as a major new literary talent.”
Addiction On Trial: Tragedy In Downeast Maine
October 22 at 7 p.m.
Newtonville Books, West Newton MA
“Steven Kassels MD has had the privilege of treating patients from all walks of life during his years of practice in both emergency medicine and addiction medicine. He believes that everyone deserves compassion and access to medical care regardless of the nature of the illness. He wrote Addiction on Trial to both entertain and educate, and to depict the struggles of addiction for an audience of avid readers who may expand their understanding of addiction on the basis of evidence. Dedicated to his work in addiction medicine, he is also passionate about tennis, back-country skiing, biking, music, and the Boston Red Sox. Kassels turns his addiction medicine and emergency medicine experiences into a journey of suspense while exploring love and loss, family dysfunction, and the what-ifs of life; the journey will continue in the next Shawn Marks Thriller, Lost to Addiction.”
Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators
October 24 at 7:30 (Doors open at 6:30)
Back Bay Events Center, Boston MA
Tickets are $38 with copy of book
“In 2017, a routine network television investigation led Ronan Farrow to a story only whispered about: one of Hollywood’s most powerful producers was a predator, protected by fear, wealth, and a conspiracy of silence. As Farrow drew closer to the truth, shadowy operatives, from high-priced lawyers to elite war-hardened spies, mounted a secret campaign of intimidation, threatening his career, following his every move, and weaponizing an account of abuse in his own family. This is the untold story of the exotic tactics of surveillance and intimidation deployed by wealthy and connected men to threaten journalists, evade accountability, and silence victims of abuse. And it’s the story of the women who risked everything to expose the truth and spark a global movement.”
Atlas Obscura, The Second Edition
October 29 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
“This revised and updated second edition includes 120 new entries and a fold-out road trip map (with a dream itinerary) to offer readers even more of the most unusual, curious, bizarre, and mysterious places on earth. Oversized, beautifully packaged, compellingly written, scrupulously researched, and filled with photographs, illustrations, maps, charts, and more, this is the book that inspires equal parts wonder and wanderlust.”
The Mind Has Cliffs of Fall—Poems at the Extremes of Feeling
October 29 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
“With seven illuminating chapters and succinct headnotes for each poem, Pinsky leads us through the book’s sweeping historical range. Each chapter, with contents chronologically presented from Shakespeare to Terrance Hayes, Dante to Patricia Lockwood, shows the persistence and variation in our states of mind. “The Sleep of Reason” explores sanity and the imagination, moving from William Cowper’s “Lines Written During a Time of Insanity” to Nicole Sealey’s “a violence.” “Grief” includes Walt Whitman’s “When Lilacs Last in the Door-yard Bloom’d” and Marie Howe’s “What the Living Do,” and “Manic Laughter” highlights both Lewis Carroll and Martin Espada. Each poem reveals something new about the vastness of human emotion; taken together they offer a sweeping ode to the power of poetry.”
The Road to San Donato: Fathers, Sons, and Cycling Across Italy
November 6 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner 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 64-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.”
— Matt Hanson
Rock, Pop, and Folk
The Brooklyn noise pop trio Vivian Girls broke up in 2014 after releasing three moderately- to very well-received albums between 2008 and 2011. Eight years after they were last heard from as a unit, Cassie Ramone, Katy Goodman, and Ali Koehler are back with Memory and the critics are being at least as kind as they ever were. If you missed them the first time around, climb on board now by devoting 33 minutes to these 12 new songs and catch up on the rest at ONCE on October 20.
Cyril Jordan, whom I interviewed for The Arts Fuse in 2015, is the only member of the current Flamin’ Groovies lineup who will be familiar to most fans. Original bassist George Alexander was booted from the band a few years ago, longtime singer/guitarist Chris Wilson (whom I interviewed in 2013) is probably still an official member but is not currently touring, and the drum throne has been occupied by several different people since the band resumed regular activity earlier this decade. Joining Jordan this time around are the popular veteran Bay Area power pop artist Chris von Sneidern (guitar), bassist Atom Ellis (who toured with The New Cars in the mid-aughts and played on Richard Thompson’s 1999 album Mock Tudor), and drummer Tony T. Sales, whose grandfather was Soupy and whose father and uncle recorded with Iggy Pop, Todd Rundgren, and David Bowie’s Tin Machine. If the presence of these un- or only slightly familiar names aren’t enough to get you to ONCE on Thursday, then the the bill’s inclusion of former Television guitarist Richard Lloyd and the all-female Portland, ME quartet Tiger Bomb should unburden you of any doubts.
GA-20 with Big Jon Short
October 25 (show at 10)
Atwood’s Tavern, Cambridge, MAGA-20 is a Boston blues trio who released its debut album, Lonely Soul, on October 18. The band will celebrate the occasion at Atwood’s on Friday before heading off on an 18-date trek that includes stops in several New England states, the Midwest, NYC, and Philly. Co-founded by an 11-year veteran of blues harp titan Charlie Musselwhite‘s touring band, GA-20 are the real deal. Worcester’s one-man country/blues-band Big Jon Short will open.
Having released their first EP in 1980 and their first LP two years later, The Fleshtones have been at it for nearly 40 years with nary a noticeable gap in their recording and touring résumé. The sound that they’ve honed over that time can be described by almost every adjective in the alternative rock dictionary, including garage, punk, new wave, indie, and jangle. “Warm up” is way too tame a description of what local faves GLiDER, Muck & The Mires, and Baabes will do at The Fleshtones’ Somerville gig on Saturday night.
Soggy Po’ Boys were formed on Mardi Gras in 2012 and say that their sound is “New Orleans Jazz, served messy.” This combination might make the fact that they call Dover, NH home seem a bit odd. But as the band also says, “The beauty of New Orleans music is that it’s celebrated and appreciated everywhere.” One need look no further for proof than this septet that includes clarinet, trumpet, tenor and sopranos sax, piano, guitar, stand-up bass, and drums. SPB will preview the October 29 release of All In Favor, their fourth full-length recording in five years, at Union Square’s Thunder Road this Saturday. Self-described “vintage rock ‘n’ roll” New England quintet Say Darling and Boston folk (in the broadest sense of the term) singer-songwriter/guitarist Rachel Sumner will give the attendees their time and money’s worth before the headliners even take the stage.
In the ’00s, Auckland musician Jonathan Bree cofounded a band called The Brunettes (who released four albums — including one on Sub Pop — between 2002 and 2010) and the indie pop label Lil’ Chief. Since 2013, Bree has recorded three solo albums, the most recent of which is last year’s Sleepwalking. Musically, Bree sings in a voice that is various parts Nick Cave, Jonathan Richman, and Leonard Cohen over a sound that is a confounding mishmash of chamber pop and minimalism. Visually, he and his band (and pair of choreographed dancers) cut eldritch, Twilight Zone-like figures via opaque masks and Ed Sullivan-appearance Beatles wigs. (See what I mean by adding to the more than 13.5 million views of the video for “You’re So Cool,” which Time Out New York ranked the #1 Best Music Video of 2017.) Thus, Bree’s performance at Great Scott on Friday will engage the visual, aural, and mental faculties in equal measure.
The spirit and sound of classic rock is alive and well no matter how much old fogies might grudgingly admit that it is the former while obstinately denying that it is the latter. Such incorrigibility might stem from the fact that several of the recent batch of revivalists fall more into the ’70/’80s overlap of the genre than the ’60s/’70s one. Included in this batch is Louisville, KY’s White Reaper. Having recorded a debut — yes, a debut — called White Reaper Does It Again and a brazenly named — though not necessarily self-referential — follow-up The World’s Greatest American Band on the indie label Polyvinyl, they signed to Elektra for the recently released You Deserve Love. (Perhaps this is what the quintet imagined the legendary major label was thinking when they signed them.) Thankfully, White Reaper’s aesthetic has remained intact, leading AllMusic critic Tim Sendra to write, “Tony Esposito sings with all the passion of someone auditioning for the lead singer slot in Survivor.” The Nude Party and fellow Louisvillians Wombo will open the band’s November 2 show at The Sinclair.
— Blake Maddox
Steely Dan – October 25 at 7:30 p.m. (playing Aja and more), October 26 at 7: 30 p.m. (playing The Nightfly and more), October 29 at 7:30 p.m. (playing Gaucho and more), October 30 at 7:30 p.m. (playing The Royal Scam and more), and November 1 at 7:30 p.m. (“Greatest Hits” show). All at the Orpheum in Boston. Some people deride the Dan as Muzak for oldsters, or too-cool jazz-rock, or hopelessly passé. Too bad for them. Donald Fagen, the late Walter Becker’s founding partner, lead singer, and keyboard anchor, remains one of the smartest popular musicians in the world. He never fails to tour with the very best supporting players, most of whom have serious jazz cred. And he pays the price for an outstanding live sound crew, to ensure that sonic value of the music heard INSIDE his venues is as close as possible to that achieved in the studio. This is the first Dan tour without Becker. It also offers a full week’s residency in Boston, with five concerts, and is the first tour in which the band will do a full evening devoted to one of Fagen’s own solo albums (which will happen in Boston on October 26).
— Steve Elman