Coming Attractions: March 8 Through 24 — What Will Light Your Fire

Note: Because of the Covid-19 emergency, most (though not all, at least at this time) live performance/author events have been cancelled. Please call the venue or check the company’s website before heading out to any event. Take Care.

— Arts Fuse Editor Bill Marx

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


A scene from Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff.

Meek’s Cutoff
March 8 at 5 p.m.

The Harvard Film Archives is screening the movies of Kelly Reichardt in anticipation of her latest film, First Cow. Reichardt is a master of minimalist films that are driven by brilliant casting and extraordinary period detail. She has been called “poet laureate of the Pacific Northwest” because of her humanist stories of working-class struggle and survival.

Meek’s Cutoff sets its gaze not on a single outsider but many, a triplet of families led by narcissistic trail guide Stephen Meek (Bruce Greenwood), a charismatic but increasingly untrustworthy figure who may or may not have the slightest clue where he and the others are headed. A journey initially projected to last two weeks takes longer than a month, testing not only the settlers’ patience but their chances for survival.

Boston Open Screen
March 10 at 7 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline

Open Screen is Boston’s one and only open mic night for filmmakers! Share your film the way it was intended, projected in a dark room before a group of lively strangers. Whether you sold your home to finance your 35mm feature, or you made it last night in your parents’ basement — if your movie (or part thereof) is under 10 minutes, they will screen it. Signup begins at 7 p.m., the show starts at 7:30 p.m.

A scene from Come and See, screening at the Brattle Theatre.

Come and See
March 13 – 16
Brattle Theater in Cambridge

A new restoration of this devastating Russian film from 1985. The landscape of Byelorussia, devastated by the incursion of Nazi troops in 1943, as seen through the eyes of a teenage protagonist. The genocide perpetrated on the citizens of this region almost takes back seat to the rape of the region itself. Despite his disillusionment with humanity, Florya emerges from his experiences vowing to survive no matter what comes — and in so doing, personifies a spirit of resilience and dignity. Come and See was the winner of the Grand Prix at the 1985 Moscow Film Festival. The film’s title comes from the Book of Revelation: “And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, ‘Come and see.’ And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

Rin Tin Tin
March 15 at 2 p.m,
Somerville Theater in Davis Square

Two adventures starring everyone’s favorite silent-era canine star. There’s a reason Rin Tin Tin was among the most popular performers in silent film. First up is Clash of the Wolves (1925), a fast-paced adventure set out West in prospecting country. It’s followed by The Night Cry (1926), which is set in California’s ranching country. For background, I recommend Susan Orlean’s book Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend! Both films are being shown via 35mm prints supplied by the Library of Congress, and with live music by Jeff Rapsis.

A scene from A Tale of Three Sisters will be screening at the Boston Turkish Film Festival.

The Boston Turkish Film Festival
March 19–April 5
The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

In 2019, the Boston Turkish Film Festival was awarded a special commendation by the prestigious Boston Society of Film Critics for “bringing work by emerging and established filmmakers of the Turkish cinema to Boston audiences.” This year’s 19th program features guest appearances by directors as well as a number of films making their US premiere, notably director Emin Alper’s A Tale of Three Sisters, which which won the Sarajevo Film Festival Heart Award for Alper as Best Director. The Documentary & Short Film Competition on April 4 will be followed by a panel discussion. Complete Schedule

Irish Film Festival Boston
March 19 through 22
At Somerville Theatre in Davis Square.

The Festival’s 20th anniversary, featuring more than 30 Irish productions. Lots of the offerings look interesting, particularly those that focus on women: When Women Won, a documentary that tells “the emotional inside story of the Together for Yes campaign to repeal the 8th amendment and change Irish society forever” and the “breakthrough feature” A Bump Along the Way,  a pointed comedy about “a boozy 44-year-old single mother who becomes pregnant from a one-night-stand, much to the shame of her buttoned-up teen daughter.” The latter is a New England premiere directed by Shelly Love. Complete Schedule

Salem Film Fest
March 20-29
Various locations Salem, MA

This has become the largest International documentary film festival in Massachusetts. The event annually presents more than 80 features and shorts including a Five Minute Student Documentary Program. Complete Schedule

ReelAbilities Film Festival
March 22 – April 2
Various venues in the Boston vicinity

There are remarkable films sprinkled into what is the largest festival in the U.S. dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with different disabilities.  The films are presented in 10 different venues across the area, so check the screening schedule.

No Data Plan
March 23 at 7 p.m.
Brattle Theatre in Cambridge

“This unconventional Amtrak journey from Los Angeles to New York starts with director Miko Revereza describing how his undocumented mother has two phones: ‘Mama has two phone numbers. We do not talk about immigration on her Obama phone. For that we use the other number with no data plan.’ With this premise, Revereza builds mystery, combining his own journey with his discovery of his mother’s affair with a much younger man and memories of their lives and relatives back in the Philippines. His trip floats through dream states and into a fugitive state of mind, weaving together an ingenious mix of captions, subtitles, interviews with friends and family, and kinetic observational footage shot on and in between America’s crumbling train travel infrastructure.”

A DocYard presentation: filmmaker Revereza will be present via Skype for a post-screening Q&A with the DocYard’s Guest Curator, Abby Sun.

— Tim Jackson

A scene from Tiger Girl, the story of a woman who tames some big cats. Screening at the MFA on March 8.

Tiger Girl
March 8 at 2:30 p.m.
At the Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Released a year after Stalin died, this looks like an eyebrow-raising if colorful excursion into female empowerment, Socialist Realism variety. “In honor of International Women’s Day, MFA Film and the Ballets Russes Arts Initiative present the beloved Soviet comedy from 1954, Tiger Girl, about a young woman who steadfastly pursues her dream of becoming a tiger tamer. Co-directed by a woman, the film also marked the screen debut of legendary Soviet tiger tamer, Margarita Nazarova. The screening also continues the MFA’s ongoing series exploring the film scores of Russian/Polish-Jewish composer Mieczyslaw Weinberg.” Followed by a Q and A with David Patterson, professor of Music, UMass Boston; and Anna Winestein, executive director, Ballets Russes Arts Initiative.

Stanley Cavell at the University of East Anglia, July 2009.

A World Viewed. Celebrating Stanley Cavell’s Life in Film
March 13 through 28
Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, MA

Philosopher Stanley Cavell died in 2018, and the HFA is paying homage to how he used cinema as a way to contemplate life’s biggest questions. “Film,” he writes in 2004’s Cities of Words, “the latest of the great arts, shows philosophy to be the often invisible accompaniment of the ordinary lives that film is so apt to capture.” That volume links highbrow moral philosophy (Plato, Emerson, Kant, etc.) with classic film comedies and melodramas (The Lady Eve and The Awful Truth among them). Cities of Words is one of my favorites of Cavell’s meditations on film, though it is not among his best known, which would include The World Viewed: Reflections on the Ontology of Film, Pursuits of Happiness: The Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage, and Contesting Tears: The Hollywood Melodrama of the Unknown Woman.

There aren’t any of the author’s Hollywood faves in the HFA’s lineup of films (the closest we get is George Cukor’s final effort, Rich and Famous), which is intriguing. Honoring Cavell’s contributions, Harvard’s Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies and the HFA will co-host a symposium on March 27 and 28 featuring a series of distinguished speakers.

— Bill Marx


Miguel Zenón (as), Bastien Rieser (tp), Kento Tsubosaka (p), Gonn Shani (b), Roni Kaspi (dm) on March 11 at 8 p.m. at the Red Room at Café 939 (a Berklee venue), 939 Boylston Street. Here’s a great idea – select a group of outstanding student musicians by audition, rehearse them in a major artist’s repertoire, and then put the students and the major artist together to play the music.  That’s what Berklee assistant prof Edmar Colon has cooked up for this evening spotlighting the work of the great Miguel Zenón. You can expect the students to be playing at their peak and Zenón to be generous with his talent.

The Bad Plus will be performing at the Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport, MA.

The Bad Plus [Orrin Evans (p), Reid Anderson (b), Dave King (dm)] on March 22 at  5 p.m. at the Shalin Liu Performance Center, 37 Main Street, Rockport. Evans is now well established in the piano chair of this popular trio, and the revised personnel now boast two CDs together. The latest, Activate Infinity, was released in October, and this gig will surely include some of the tunes from that date. Note the early start time.

Anthony Coleman (p), Henry Fraser (b), Francisco Mela (dm) on March 26 at 7:30 p.m. at Jordan Hall, Boston. Coleman is one of the big thinkers in music, with an impressive body of compositions and a passionate dedication to exploring the work of other jazz composers. The repertoire for this recital has not yet been announced, but it should give you serious music with a lot of depth.

— Steve Elman

Roots and World Music

Syrian clarinet virtuoso Kinan Amzeh and his City Band will be performing on March 17, as part of Celebrity Series’ Stave Sessions,

Stave Sessions
March 17-20
160 Mass Ave, Boston, MA

The Celebrity Series’ annual aggressively adventurous week of concerts, in what is otherwise Berklee College of Music’s cafeteria, returns. This year’s gathering showcases the works of immigrant artists as a lead up to what was slated to be a March 21 concert by the Kronos Quartet called Music for Change: The Banned Countries. The Kronos concert is in flux because Harvard University has cancelled all outside rental events slated for Sanders Theater. But the Stave Sessions are still a go. Kicking off the proceedings is Syrian clarinet virtuoso Kinan Amzeh and his City Band. The following night Ethio-American singer, songwriter, and activist Meklit takes the stage. Channai-born, American-raised, and Berklee-educated Sid Sriram blends Tamal, South Indian, and R&B sounds on Thursday. Friday will feature  a collaboration between new music string ensemble Sybarite5 and Persian santoor master Ehsan Matoori.

— Noah Schaffer

Visual Arts

Paul Flandrin, Portrait of a Woman, 1843.

The most revealing of all media, drawing has been the fundamental tool of great French artists, academic and avant-garde alike, since the 15th century. Lines from Life: French Drawings from the Diamond Collection, at the Clark Art Institute March 21 – August 23, features 30 works, representing the human body, created by some of the greatest of these French “artists of line,” including Ingres, Degas, Gérôme, and Redon. The show honors the ongoing gift of collectors Herbert and Carol Diamond, whose generosity will no doubt complement the Clark’s already strong collections of French painting. Some choice figure studies from the Clark collection will complement those from the Diamonds’ past and future gifts.

Anni Albers’s long and illustrious career as a designer, artist, teacher, and writer was founded on exclusion. Shut out of the workshops she wanted at Germany’s famous Bauhaus school, where she also met her future husband, painter Josef Albers, Anni settled for the only one readily open to women: weaving. With no experience in or passion for the medium, Albers soon found in it her life calling. “[C]ircumstances held me to threads,” she said, “and they won me over.” She went on to earn a reputation as the most important textile designer of the 20th century.

In Thread and On Paper: Anni Albers in Connecticut, on view at the New Britain Museum of American Art, March 9 – June 14, focuses on the last quarter century of Anni’s career, after she moved to Connecticut with her husband, who became a professor at Yale. Organized by Fritz Horstman of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, the works on view include textiles, wall hangings, commercial designs, and works on paper. A special installation, “Weaving Wall,” will allow visitors to contribute to a monumental weaving inspired by Anni’s distinctive colors, materials, and designs.

The Ruins of a Gallery of Statues in Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli by Giovanni Battista Piranesi.

For a thousand years after the political and economic collapse of the Western Roman Empire, a few thousand Romans, many of them officials of the Catholic Church, lived among the overwhelming ruins of an imperial capital designed for a million or more inhabitants. Starting with the Renaissance, as Rome regained its population, wealth, and power, the city once again became a major pilgrimage site and international tourist destination. Visitors marveled at the towering remains of such vast Roman monuments as the Coliseum, the Baths of Caracalla, and the Roman Forum. Many visitors wanted to take home images to remind them of the extraordinary sights they had seen. Roman artists were happy to oblige with their views of the Eternal City.

One of the most prolific of these artists was Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778), known as the “Rembrandt of the ruins,” who captured the romantic, unrestored ancient sights of the city in a long series of large-scale etchings, often enhancing reality with his own artistic imagination. Fantastic Ruins: Etchings by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, at the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts in Springfield, MA, March 17 – July 19, will remind visitors why so many people still find his impressive images fascinating.

Founded in 1972 as an effort to save a local train station, Vermont’s Brattleboro Museum & Art Center often mounts a slate of warm-weather exhibitions in the spring, when the city begins its informal seasonal role as the western gateway to northern New England. On March 14, the museum opens a total of seven shows, all running through June 14. One of them, Postcards to Brattleboro: 40 Years of Mail Art, documents decades of local artist Stuart Coplans’s exuberant art work, sent through the mail, festooned with real and created stamps and postmarks, poems, silhouettes, and unexpected materials. They are drawn from the artist’s archive of over 25,000 artifacts, sent or received through the Brattleboro mail.

One of Lucian Freud’s self-portraits. Photo: MFA Boston.

Lucian Freud (1922-2011), grandson of the famous Viennese psychoanalyst, moved to Britain with his family as a child. He grew up there to become a deeply private, even evasive artist known for his intense, brutally honest portraits of family and friends. These were often nude and in unheroic, middle-aged proportions, painted in a thick, almost monochromatic impasto — haunting, serious images that some said harked back to his grandfather’s attempts to lay bare the human psyche. As a young artist in the 1940s and early ’50s, Freud worked through German Expressionist and Surrealist-influenced phases. By the ’90s, he was among the most famous (and highest priced) of all European figurative artists, the focus of almost cult-like admiration.

The MFA’s Lucian Freud: The Self-Portraits (through May 25) promises to be one of the most important Boston exhibitions of the year. It focuses on one, sustained part of Freud’s career with 40 works — on canvas, paper, and etching plate, made from the ’40s to the early 21st century, depicting stages in Freud’s life and appearance from a young man in his 20s to an old one in his 80s. The decades-long engagement with his own image makes the show both a revealing exploration of the artist’s development as well as a chronicle of his gradual aging as a human being. Arts Fuse review

— Peter Walsh

Karen Lee Sobol’s “Sea Change.”

Making Waves at the Childs Gallery, 169 Newbury Street, Boston, MA, March 13 through May 10. This show presents “the work of three women artists, Resa Blatman, Joan Hall, and Karen Lee Sobol, who each use their art to address humankind’s relationship to the ocean. Through different media, including painting, printmaking, and mixed media installation, the artists advocate for greater awareness of the climate crisis.”

Given that so much of our arts and culture is ignoring the climate crisis (too depressing? not escapist enough?), efforts such as this should be saluted. And it sounds as if this trio is moving in the right “deny no longer and act” direction: “With the threat of pollution and warming temperatures, our ocean levels are rising, coral reefs are dying, and invasive algae species are spreading worldwide. Blatman, Hall, and Sobol’s response is to create art that is beautifully alarming and cautionary, yet hopeful that their messages can engender ideas for change.”

— Bill Marx

From the Tree of Knowledge series, Hilma af Klint.

When Hilma af Klint‘s large, colorful, ethereal paintings were shown at the Guggenheim Museum in New York from October 2018 to April 2019, in an exhibition titled Paintings for the Future, her works were exposed to a wider audience than ever before. Though the Swedish painter’s work had been shown in a smaller exhibit at MoMA in 1989, she has recently attracted greater attention among art historians, critics, and aficionados. The recent documentary Beyond the Visible: Hilma af Klint offers a close, provocative look at her history and legacy, convincingly solidifying her status as the first abstract painter; she was a major influence on Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Piet Mondrian. A new exhibit, featuring paintings from her Tree of Knowledge series of paintings (1913-1915) and a 34-page botanical sketchbook will be on display in Hudson, NY at the Lightforms Art Center through June 29. Those who missed the Guggenheim exhibit should make every effort to attend and experience this visionary artist’s work up close.

— Peg Aloi


A scene from Merrimack Repertory Theater’s production of Nina Simone: Four Women.

Nina Simone: Four Women by Christina Ham. Directed by Kenneth L. Robertson. Staged by the Merrimack Repertory Theater (a co-production with Chicago’s Northlight Theatre) at 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA, through March 8.

“The show brings to life Nina Simone’s original song ‘Four Women,’ her tribute to the four little girls killed in the 1963 church bombing in Alabama. Fearing for their lives in a basement across the street from the church, the women – including Nina herself – represent four very different African-American perspectives. As she grapples with sorrow and rage, Nina slowly begins her transformation from jazz club chanteuse to the civil rights activist we revere today.” Arts Fuse review

The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish by Alexander Pushkin. Directed by Evgeny Ibragimov. Set & Puppet Design by Ksenya Litvak. Music by Nikolay Yakimov. Staged by the Arlekin Players Theatre at 368 Hillside Ave, Needham, MA, through April 12.

From the golden pen of Pushkin: “One day, a poor old fisherman casts his net into the ocean and catches an unusual and beautiful talking fish. The fish begs the old man to release him, which he does, refusing any payment for this act of kindness. What happens next is a tale about love and betrayal, temptation and redemption.” Note: this is a nonverbal performance suitable for ages 4 and up.

What Matters Most
March 8
At the Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA

Superb local singer Michael Ricca presents his latest one-man show, with pianist Ron Roy as his accompanist. It is billed as a “lively and poignant musical evening exploring the people, places, and ideas that matter most in life.” “This musical meditation on our values features an eclectic mix of songs by Michel Legrand, Stephen Sondheim, Cat Stevens, Elton John, Burt Bacharach, Duke Ellington, and many more.”

Citrus by Celeste Jennings. Directed by JaMeeka Holloway-Burrell. Staged by Northern Stage at the Barrette Center for the Arts, 74 Gates Street, White River Junction, VT, through March 15.

The world premiere of Celeste Jennings’s choreopoem, an assemblage of “music, dance, and spoken-word poetry that intricately weaves together stories of Black women throughout American history to create a portrait of resilience and humanity.” Jennings, winner of the 2018 Kennedy Center Hip Hop Theater Creator Award and a recent Dartmouth College graduate, “puts forth a candid look at the daily struggles and triumphs of Black women from the 1840s to modern day.” The work “captures the tragedy of common experiences and exalts the magnificent beauty of the mundane.” Arts Fuse preview

Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare. Directed by Igor Golyak. Staged by the Actors Shakespeare Project at the Plaza Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, through April 5.

Igor Golyak is one of the city most provocative directors, so this production, at a time of heightened anti-Semitism around the world, is bound to be of interest.

Paula Plum and Karen MacDonald in a scene from The Children. Photo: Maggie Hall Photography.

The Children by Lucy Kirkwood. Directed by Bryn Boice. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage Company at the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, through March 28.

This is “a taut and timely script (a 2018 Tony Award Nominee for Best Play) that questions the responsibility each generation has for the way it leaves the world. One summer evening, in an isolated cottage on the British coast, Hazel and Robin, a long-married pair of retired physicists, are surprised by a visit from Rose, a former colleague whom they haven’t seen in 38 years. As the friends reminisce, long-held secrets come to light, leading to the real reason for Rose’s return.” The highly impressive cast includes Tyrees Allen, Karen MacDonald, and Paula Plum. Arts Fuse review of the 2019 Shakespeare and Company production of The ChildrenArts Fuse review of SpeakEasy Stage production.

Stephen Berenson as Monsieur Defarge, Matt Clevy as ensemble, and Christopher Sadlers as the musician in the Trinity Rep production of A Tale of Two Cities. Photo: Mark Turek.

A Tale of Two Cities by Brian McEleney, based on the novel by Charles Dickens. Directed by Tyler Dobrowsky. Set design by Eugene Lee. Staged by Trinity Repertory Company at the Chace Theater, 201 Washington Street, Providence, RI, through March 22.

“Against the tumultuous backdrop of social and political upheaval emerges a passionate story of romance, sacrifice, and vengeance. This fresh new adaptation fuses the late 18th century with the contemporary, bringing the epic and universal face to face with the intensely intimate and personal. “The best of times and the worst of times” are brought to vivid and musical life on stage.” Arts Fuse review

Nosferatu, The Vampyr by M. Sloth Levine. Directed by Hannah Pryfogle. Original Music by Alissa Voth. Staged by Sparkhaven Theatre at the Chelsea Theatre Works 189 Winnisimmet St, Chelsea, MA, March 19 through 28.

Here is the description of this queer-centric adaptation: “A subversion of a tale known too well, delving into the queerness of horrors of then and now, told through drama, song, film, riddle, and lip-sync. This rendition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and F.W. Murnau’s film follows Harker and Will as they navigate love, plague, and sacrifice, all while the paranoia sets in.” How can this show miss?  The playwright “emerged from a meteor 24 years ago during a thunderstorm. They were raised by seven increasingly larger forest mammals, until at age 18 they were found stealing pitchforks from a barn by a farmer. When they write down elaborate lies in the form of dialogue, sometimes people will say those words on stage, like tonight.”

More or Less Right Here: an evening of live performances. Presented by The Mobius Artists Group at the Midway Production & Performance LAB Midway Studios, 15 Channel Center Street, Boston, MA, March 21. $10; students free.

An evening of what is sure to be thought-provoking performances. The line-up includes Olivier Besson (movement), a Boston-based improviser whose work has been presented in Japan, Russia, France, Taiwan, India, and throughout the US; Peter J. Evans (quasi-improvisational pseudo-acoustics), a theorist/composer as well as a performer/lecturer, with experience on many instruments within many media, including dry-erase on whiteboard; Forbes Graham (trumpet and computer-generated sound), a trumpet player, electronic musician, composer, and visual artist living and working in Boston; David P. Miller (spoken word), a member of the Mobius Artists Group of Boston for 25 years whose 2019 poetry collection Sprawled Asleep was published by Nixes Mate Books; Jane Wang (performance), a member of the Mobius Artists Group, who this evening is planning to perform a new never to be performed again piece which has a 91.0005% chance of failure entitled Planet. Death. Watch.

The Lowell Offering by Andy Bayiates and Genevra Gallo-Bayiates. Directed by Jess Hutchinson. Staged by the Merrimack Stage Company at 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA, March 18 through April 12.

The world premiere of a script about American working women speaking out, in print, in the 19th century. “In 1840 in Lowell, MA, a group of factory workers began publishing the world’s first magazine written solely by women; it was called The Lowell Offering. This is the story of the magazine’s editor, Harriet Farley, and a labor activist, Sarah Bagley – and the rise and fall of their friendship, the magazine, and Lowell’s “Mill Girl” culture.”

New York Values, written and performed by Penny Arcade. Presented by the American Repertory Theater as part of Afterglow @ OBERON, co-presented with the Afterglow Festival at Oberon, 2 Arrow Street Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA, March 19.

“Warhol Factory superstar Penny Arcade’s homage to the iconoclast, the outsider, the immigrant, the poor, the put-down, the visionary, the failed, the bohemian — those who live at the margins of what is an increasingly entrenched, fortified, and well-financed “mainstream” society. This emotional, informative, and interactive theater piece mediates through improvisational performance, storytelling, monologues, music, rants, and dance to elicit a sense of freedom and individuality in the audience itself. Told in the fragmented, disjointed vocabulary of today’s post-gentrified landscape, music and movement intersect with crackling observations on the commoditization of rebellion, the nobility of failure, and the complex tapestry of art, criminality, rebellion, and iconoclasm that the great tradition of the ‘underground’ is woven from. Miss Arcade will be joined by longtime collaborator Steve Zehentner, who creates a live sound score that will have you jumping in your seat.”

Pipeline by Dominique Morisseau. Directed by Dawn M. Simmons  Produced by The Nora Theatre Company & WAM Theatre at Central Square Theatre,  450 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA, through March 29.

“Nya, an inner-city public school teacher, strives to give her only son Omari the opportunities her own students will never have. When he is threatened with expulsion from his upstate private school, she must confront his rage and her own parenting choices.”

Long Day’s Journey Into Night by Eugene O’Neill. Directed by Amy S West. Presented by WaltersWest Project and Fort Point Theatre Channel at Hibernian Hall, 184 Dudley Street, Roxbury, MA, March 17 through April 4.

An unusual and nervy take on O’Neill’s masterpiece — it will feature a cast of color and “a woman-powered production team.” We are promised “a unique and relevant perspective on the play, holding this American classic under the pressure of contemporary scrutiny, providing new insights, and exploring the play’s continued relevance within larger questions of what it means to be alive, to be human, to be a family and to thrive, not just survive.”

A scene from TEATROCINEMA’s Plata Quemada. Photo: courtesy of Arts Emerson.

Plata Quemada , written and performed by TEATROCINEMA. Presented by Arts Emerson at Emerson Paramount Center, Robert J. Orchard Stage, 559 Washington Street, Boston, MA, March 11 through 15.

This American premiere of a work from the Chilean company TEATROCINEMA “pulls out all the stops to deliver a heart-pounding noir tale of bandits, betrayals and blowouts. Their groundbreaking storytelling intertwines live-action performances with eye-popping illustration and animation, creating a hyper-stylized graphic novel that comes to life right in front of audiences’ eyes.”

I am hoping for the best. I raised moral objections to 2016’s Historia de Amor, which was presented by Arts Emerson: “Beneath TEATROCINEMA’s visual sophistication is a disturbingly misogynistic vision. Attempts to explain away the show’s anti-female barbarity by suggesting that it is some sort of political/feminist allegory (protesting the Chilean dictatorship and its abuse of women) won’t fly. These facile excuses can’t cover up the narrative’s elemental inhumanity, its depiction of a rape fantasy in which the victim apparently becomes complicit in (perhaps responsible for?) her degradation.”

Our Daughters, Like Pillars by Kirsten Greenidge. Directed by Kimberly Senior. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, March 20 through April 19.

The soap-opera-sounding plot: “It’s a surprise to everyone when Lavinia invites her sisters and their mother to a gorgeous summer house in New Hampshire for a vacation that she hopes will last forever. But when the sisters’ stepmother Missy — the woman who inherited their dad’s everything — shows up unannounced, long-simmering feuds flare up and family bonds are called into question. Where is this family heading? Can they be happy with what they’ve been given? And who invited Missy?”

–Bill Marx


Lia Cirio and Paulo Arrais in George Balanchine’s Agon. Photo: Liza Voll, courtesy of Boston Ballet.

March 8
Boston Opera House
Boston, MA

Boston Ballet presents rEVOLUTION, a trio of works by renowned choreographers George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and William Forsythe. Revel in Balanchine’s powerful collaboration with Igor Stravinsky in Agon; Broadway and ballet legend Robbins’s masterwork Glass Pieces; and Forsythe’s globally applauded In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated. Arts Fuse review

Camille A. Brown returns to Boston.

Camille A. Brown & Dancers
March 8 at 3 p.m.
Boch Center Shubert Theatre
Boston, MA

If you’ve never seen Camille A. Brown & Dancers live, I personally recommend making the time to do so while they are in Boston! A master tapper, Brown bridges past and present while calling attention to the rhythms and stories of the African Diaspora. This dynamic performer and choreographer is being presented by the Celebrity Series of Boston.

Abilities Dance Boston presents its fourth annual performance.

March 13 and 14
Multicultural Arts Center
Cambridge, MA

Abilities Dance Boston’s fourth annual performance, Cultivate, promotes the work of its disabled choreographers Louisa Mann, Toby Macnutt, Leslie Taub, and Ellice Patterson in collaboration with disabled and non-disabled composers/musicians Andrew Choe, Robert Gross, and David Nabb. Audio descriptions are available, and a sensory-sensitive matinee will be presented on March 14 with community partner Our Space Our Place (an after-school program for blind/low-vision youth in the Boston Public Schools).

The Choreographers Collaborative
March 13 and 14 at 8 p.m.
Jamaica Plain, MA

This new collaborative showcases the work of classically trained choreographers Olivia Evans, Janelle Gilchrist, Kathy Hassinger, David Sun, and Junichi Fukuda.

through March 22
Boston Opera House
Boston, MA

Dive into an evening of powerful and dangerous women in this fiery lineup of contemporary ballet works. Boston Ballet presents Jorma Elo’s “Carmen”; George Balanchine’s “Serenade”; Helen Pickett’s “Tsukiyo”; and the Boston premiere of “Pickett’s Petal.”

Canal District Kendall Choreographers Showcase
March 21 at 8 p.m.
Cambridge Community Center for the Arts
Cambridge, MA

Head to the inaugural Canal District Kendall Choreographers Showcase hosted by Kelley Donovan & Dancers, featuring new works by local artists Colleen Roddy, Kelley Donovan, Anagha Sundararajan, Luminarium Dance Company, Elizabeth Epsen, Sharanya School of Odissi, Seyyide Sultan, Mitradheya, Johara, & The CONcept ARTists.

— Merli V. Guerra

Classical Music

Cantata Singers
March 13 at 8 p.m.
At the First Church Cambridge, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA

On the program: “Gabriel Fauré’s stunning Requiem in D minor alongside C. Hubert H. Parry’s Songs of Farewell. Set to a shortened version of the Catholic Mass for the Dead in Latin, Fauré masterfully presents the solemn subject with subtly, grace, and poignant intimacy. Parry’s Songs of Farewell, a set of motets for unaccompanied chorus, were among some of the last compositions by the British composer. Written during the First World War, they are based on texts by British poets that all reflect on the transitory nature of life.”

The Spectrum Singers celebrate their 40th season on March 14.

Spectrum Singers at 40!
March 14 at 8 p.m.
At the First Church Cambridge, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA

Come celebrate the anniversary! On the program: music by Bach, Haydn, Stravinsky, and others.

Celebrate This Festival!
March 21 at 7:30 p.m.
At the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, 138 Tremont Street, Boston, MA

The Henry Purcell Society of Boston presents celebratory odes from two occasions: The birthday of Purcell’s favorite monarch, Queen Mary, and the patron saint of music, Cecilia. On the program: music by Purcell and a contemporary setting of “Ode to St. Cecilia” by composer Adam Jacob Simon.

Blissed Out Baroque: Choral Meditations from the Baroque Era
March 21 at 8 p.m.
At the First Church Cambridge, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA

Among the pieces on Musica Sacra’s program: “Heinrich Schütz’s Musikalische Exequien and Gregorio Allegri’s Miserere. The former served as a model for Brahms in its use of comforting texts for the living to honor the dead, while the latter looks back at an earlier and simpler choral style more akin to that of the Renaissance.”

— Susan Miron

Evan Ziporyn conducts the MITSO, 2019. Photo: Caroline Alden.

Mitso Movies Machover
March 13 at 8 at p.m.
At the Kresge Auditorium
Pre-show composer talk at 7 p.m.
At the Kresge Little Theater
MIT Building W16​,  ​48 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA

MIT is presenting a concert by the MIT Symphony Orchestra that will feature the US premiere of Harry Manfredini’s “Friday the 13th Suite” and other film music by a variety of composers. ​​Prior to the concert, a composer’s forum will take place featuring Manfredini, Don Byron, and Tod Machover, moderated by MIT Music and Theater Arts Senior Lecturer and specialist in film music, Marty Marks. On the program: John Williams’s “Devil’s Dance” from Witches of Eastwick; Don Byron’s “Three Pieces from the Saul Bass Project”; Angelo Badalamenti’s themes to David Lynch films (Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive,Twin Peaks) (a world premiere performed live with film); Harry Manfredini’s “Friday the 13th Suite”; Tod Machover’s “A Toronto Symphony” (an American premiere).

— Tim Jackson

Author Events

Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker
A Very Stable Genius: Donald Trump’s Testing Of America
March 10 at 7 p.m.
First Parish Church, Cambridge MA
Tickets are $10 against the price of the book

“This peerless and gripping narrative reveals President Trump at his most unvarnished and exposes how decision making in his administration has been driven by a reflexive logic of self-preservation and self-aggrandizement — but a logic nonetheless. This is the story of how an unparalleled president has scrambled to survive and tested the strength of America’s democracy and its common heart as a nation.”

Anne Enright
Actress: A Novel
March 12 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA

“Katherine O’Dell is an Irish theater legend. As her daughter, Norah, retraces her mother’s celebrated career and bohemian life, she delves into long-kept secrets, both her mother’s and her own. Katherine began her career on Ireland’s bus-and-truck circuit before making it to London’s West End, Broadway, and finally Hollywood. Every moment of her life is a performance, with young Norah standing in the wings. But the mother-daughter romance cannot survive Katherine’s past or the world’s damage. With age, alcohol, and dimming stardom, Katherine’s grip on reality grows fitful. Fueled by a proud and long-simmering rage, she commits a bizarre crime.” Enright will be in conversation with critic James Wood.

Helen Epstein
Franci’s War: A Woman’s Story of Survival
March 16 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA

“The engrossing memoir of a spirited and glamorous young fashion designer who survived World War ll, with an afterword by her daughter, Helen Epstein (and Arts Fuse contributor) who joins us for this event. Franci’s War is the powerful testimony of one incredibly strong young woman who endured the horrors of the Holocaust and survived.”

Hilary Mantel
The Mirror & the Light
March 20 at 7 p.m.
Back Bay Events Center, 180 Berkeley St, Boston MA
Tickets are $35, including a copy of the book

“With The Mirror & the Light, Hilary Mantel brings to a triumphant close the trilogy she began with Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. She traces the final years of Thomas Cromwell, the boy from nowhere who climbs to the heights of power, offering a defining portrait of predator and prey, of a ferocious contest between present and past, between royal will and a common man’s vision: of a modern nation making itself through conflict, passion, and courage. England, May 1536. Anne Boleyn is dead, decapitated in the space of a heartbeat by a hired French executioner. As her remains are bundled into oblivion, Thomas Cromwell breakfasts with the victors. The blacksmith’s son from Putney emerges from the spring’s bloodbath to continue his climb to power and wealth, while his formidable master, Henry VIII, settles to short-lived happiness with his third queen before Jane dies giving birth to the male heir he most craves.”

George Scialabba
How To Be Depressed
March 23 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA

“George Scialabba is a prolific critic and essayist known for his incisive, wide-ranging commentary on literature, philosophy, religion, and politics. He is also, like millions of others, a lifelong sufferer from clinical depression. In How to Be Depressed, Scialabba presents an edited selection of his mental health records spanning decades of treatment, framed by an introduction and an interview with renowned podcaster Christopher Lydon. The book also includes a wry and ruminative collection of ‘tips for the depressed,’ organized into something like a glossary of terms—among which are the names of numerous medications he has tried or researched over the years. Together, these texts form an unusual, searching, and poignant hybrid of essay and memoir, inviting readers into the hospital and the therapy office as Scialabba and his caregivers try to make sense of this baffling disease.”

John Kaag
Sick Souls, Healthy Minds: How William James Can Save Your Life
March 26 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA

“In 1895, William James, the father of American philosophy, delivered a lecture entitled ‘Is Life Worth Living?’ It was no theoretical question for James, who had contemplated suicide during an existential crisis as a young man a quarter century earlier. Indeed, as John Kaag writes, ‘James’s entire philosophy, from beginning to end, was geared to save a life, his life’—and that’s why it just might be able to save yours, too. Sick Souls, Healthy Minds is a compelling introduction to James’s life and thought that shows why the founder of pragmatism and empirical psychology—and an inspiration for Alcoholics Anonymous—can still speak so directly and profoundly to anyone struggling to make a life worth living.”

Lucy Knisley
Go To Sleep (I Miss You)
March 28 at 3 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
“Lucy Knisley is one of the great memoirists of the graphic novel format. Following the completion of her pregnancy memoir Kid Gloves (and the birth of her baby), Lucy embarked on a new project: documenting new motherhood in short, spontaneous little cartoons, which she posted on her Instagram, and which quickly gained her a huge cult following among other moms. The best of those wildly popular little cartoons are collected in this adorable gift book, Go to Sleep (I Miss You), a perfect read for expecting parents, new parents, and anyone who loves funny, relatable comics storytelling.”

— Matt Hanson

Rock, Pop, and Folk

Archers of Loaf with Savak
March 14 (doors at 6, show at 7)
Royale, Boston, MA

Chapel Hill’s Archers of Loaf created a portfolio that included the back-to-back classics Icky Mettle (1994) and Vee Vee (1995) during its 1991-1998 existence. This catalog of songs was all it needed to justify reuniting in 2011 for touring if not recording purposes. Fans were happy to hear all that made the quartet one of the most beloved indie groups of the ’90s live for the first time in more than a decade. However, they also certainly not complaining about the fact that the band dropped a new single, “Raleigh Days,” in February. This bodes well for the possibility of a whole album of new stuff. In the meantime, you can relive the glory days as if they weren’t more than 20 years old at Royale on Saturday.

Chris Maxwell with guest Dana Colley
March 15 (show at 6:30)
Atwood’s Tavern, Cambridge, MA

Little Rock native turned Woodstock, NY denizen Chris Maxwell released New Store No. 2 on his hometown-based label Max Recordings in February. This second solo album is the most recent in a long line of accomplishments that span three decades. In addition to his membership in the bands Gunbunnies and Skeleton Key, he has worked in various capacities (producer, engineer, musician, etc.) on albums by Bob Childers, Shivaree, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, They Might Be Giants, and Yoko Ono. His work has reached its widest audience in the form of his musical contributions to the long-running animated Fox series Bob’s Burgers. Former Morphine/currently Vapors of Morphine sax player (and Somerville resident) Dan Colley will join Maxwell onstage at Atwood’s on March 15.

March 21 (doors at 8, show at 9)
House of Blues, Boston, MA

Born Stephen Bruner, the nimble-fingered six-string bassist Thundercat has appeared on four albums by Flying Lotus, three by Kendrick Lamar, four by the late Mac Miller, and even one by hardcore punk band Suicidal Tendencies. His talent has not, however, been limited to these and the several other artists with whom he has recorded. On April 3, he will release his fourth album, It Is What It Is, via Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder label. Get a aural taste of what’s to come and what has been at House of Blues on March 21.

March 24 (doors at 7)
Sonia, Cambridge, MA

“The aim is not to suck. And we’ve accomplished that so far.” Those words are as true now as they were when Wussy’s Chuck Cleaver said them to The Arts Fuse’s Jeff Melnick in 2014. All the proof that one needs of this statement’s veracity are the two albums (Forever Sounds and What Heaven Is Like) that the never-say-die Cincinnati quintet has since Cleaver said it. Wussy’s non-sucking will be on full display at Sonia on March 24.

— Blake Maddux

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