Coming Attractions: October 31 through November 16 — What Will Light Your Fire

Compiled by Bill Marx

As the age of Covid-19 wanes (or waxes?), Arts Fuse critics supply a guide to film, dance, visual art, theater, and music. Please check with venues about whether the event is available by streaming or is in person. More offerings will be added as they come in.


Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Oct 31 at 2:30 pm

Frequent Brattle Theatre collaborator writer/curator Kier-la Janisse has directed her first documentary feature, a comprehensive survey of the history and legacy of folk horror cinema. At over 3 hours it is for fans of the genre – a journey filled with interviews and film clips, the latter stretching from the silent era to the emergence of the sub-genre in the late ’60s and its splendid present-day revival via films like The Witch and Midsommar.


Terra Femme
Streaming via the Brattle Theatre’s “Brattlite” virtual screening room from November 5 through 11.
Brattle Theater, Cambridge

While working on her own travel film, Courtney Stephens started researching amateur travelogues from women in the first half of the 20th century. Her research inspired this documentary on these efforts. The in-person screening of Terra Femme on November 1 will feature director Stephens performing the film’s voice-over live, followed by a Q&A. Arts Fuse review.

A scene from Wang Qiong’s All About My Sisters.

All About My Sisters
Brattle Theater
November 10 (in person);
November 12 through 18 (virtual)

This documentary about the director’s rebellious sister unspools before the camera’s gaze; it follows her everywhere over several years. Jin is now a mother herself, struggling with her heritage. Wang Qiong interviews their parents, who are wracked by feelings of guilt, and an uncle, who in the past  enforced the government’s draconian birth control policy. This intimate, highly personal document is both a loving, painfully honest portrait of a family and an attempt to expose a traumatic period in China. Through a confrontation with the past deep wounds may finally start to heal. An in-person Q&A, with the director on November 10

El Planeta
Brattle Theater
November 5 -11
5 & 7 p.m.

Premiere of the Spanish film written, directed, and featuring Amalia Ulman. As Leonor, a woman who is forced to return home after the death of her father and reluctantly reconnect with her eccentric mother (played by Ulman’s own mother). Mother and daughter quickly become a low-level con artist team, hustling to maintain the semblances of their middle-class lifestyle in the face of an impending eviction.

EL PLANETA is a dark comedy that explores contemporary poverty, female desire, and the always complicated relationships between mother and daughter: “recalls the scrappy, low-budget look and feel of the movies that marked the indie film explosion of the early ‘90s, but its dialogue and details are unmistakably personal.” (

A scene from The Spine of Night. Photo: Yellow Veil Pictures.

The Spine of Night
Brattle Theater
November 5 through 11
9:30 p.m.

Premier of this homage to the over-the-top, rotoscoped fantasy epics of the ’80s, like Fire & Ice and Heavy Metal. “A bloody and bawdy fantasy tale,  The Spine of Night is best when it releases itself into pure, silly, gory spectacle. It’s the imagery that sticks here, whether it’s a steampunk aircraft propelled by vengeful crow-people, or mighty bodies cleft viscerally in twain, guts and blood spilling to earth like the goopy contents of a cracked egg. It’s a gory labor of love for the filmmakers. “ (Variety)

Coolidge Corner Theater
November 14 at 1:30 p.m.

Initially, the film plays like a tale of young love. Then it shifts gear to become a fictionalized, carefully researched and partly improvised chronicle of the relationship between one of the 9/11 terrorists and his wife – specifically, aspects from the life of the United 93 hijacker, Lebanon-born Ziad Jarrah, renamed Saeed here. Technically impressive and anchored by two terrific performances, Copilot walks a fine line in its attempts to examine how extremism shapes humanity. Director Anne Zohra Berrached once again demonstrates her talent for exploring the private selves behind political actions, as well as her sensitivity with actors.

Moe Tucker, John Cale, Sterling Morrison and Lou Reed from the documentary The Velvet Underground. Photo: Nat Finkelstein Estate/Apple TV+.

The Velvet Underground
Now Playing Kendall Square Cinema & Apple TV

Todd Haynes’ documentary, one of the year’s best, weaves together substantial archival material to create something more than a history of the Velvet Underground. This fresh look at the New York art scene of the ’60’s profiles John Cale, Lou Reed, minimalist composer La Monte Young, Nico, and others. Haynes has done great research and presented it in a style that befits his subject. The doc uses split screens (a la Warhol’s Chelsea Girls), experimental film and art clips, Warhol’s famous screen tests, as well as interviews with Jonas Mekas, Mary Woronov, Jonathan Richman, and other of the period’s key. This should be watched on the big screen in order to appreciate the movie’s dense visuals and music. Arts Fuse review

— Tim Jackson


COVID PROTOCOLS: Check with specific theaters: requirements often include proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 rapid test. Also, companies are requiring masks at indoor performances.

The Alchemist by Ben Jonson. Adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher. Directed by Jesse Berger. Staged by Red Bull Theater at New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street, New York, New York, November 7 through 18.

Jonsonians rejoice! A chance to see (an adaptation) of the 1610 script, first performed by the King’s Men, that Samuel Taylor Coleridge considered to have one of the three most perfect plots in literature. Has anything changed? Bullies of all description still fleece each other during plague time. “When a wealthy gentleman flees to the country, his trusted servant opens his house to a pair of con artists who sets up an animated den of criminal capitalism. Claiming alchemical powers, the quick-witted trio fleece an onslaught of greedy sheep with their miraculous ability to improvise amidst increasingly frantic comings and goings. It’s comic gold with dupes, double-dupes, duels, disguises, and a lucky flea named ‘Lewis.'”

I hope Hatcher didn’t get rid of one of Jonson’s great jokes. Lovewit, panicked member of the upper middle class, returns home to London once he believes it is safe, but he is wary. (He has kept his distance “While there dies one, a week, / O’the plague.” Some claimed that corrupted human breath could transmit the disease, which explains Lovewit’s nervous instructions to a servant (who insists he has not been ill) to “Breathe less, and further off.” Jonson knew that the audience members at the show, hearing that line, would look nervously at those seated around them. The plague was not entirely gone in 1610.

Witch by Jen Silverman. Directed by Rebecca Bradshaw. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont, Street, Boston, through November 14.

“As an unmarried woman who keeps to herself in a small village, Elizabeth Sawyer is branded a witch and an outcast by the locals, blamed for everything from bad harvests to sick cows and colicky babies. When an alluring devil named Scratch arrives in town, promising to make the residents’ darkest dreams come true in exchange for their souls, he expects Elizabeth to be an easy mark, but finds her intriguingly resistant to both his charms and his offer of sweet revenge.”

“Scratch has better luck, however, in seducing the souls in the neighboring castle of Sir Arthur Banks, the biggest landowner in town, where Sir Arthur’s somewhat sensitive son Cuddy and an ambitious peasant Frank Thorney vie for Sir Arthur’s affections and inheritance, while servant Winnifred makes plans of her own.”

Loosely based on the Jacobean play The Witch of Edmonton written by William Rowley, Thomas Dekker, and John Ford in 1621, Silverman’s Witch was commissioned by Writers Theatre in Chicago, where it premiered in 2018, and was subsequently produced at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles in 2019.” Arts Fuse review

BLKS by Aziza Barnes. Directed by Tonasia Jones. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage Company in the Roberts Studio Theatre in the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, through November 20.

The script by poet, performer, and playwright Jones “explores the lives of three twenty-something black women trying to find intimacy and purpose in a city that just doesn’t seem to care about them. The story begins when, in the wake of a serious health scare, Octavia recruits her besties June and Imani to join her for one last epic night on the town.” Wild adventures, which take an existential turn, ensue. CONTENT WARNING: Adult themes including drug use, sexual content, and strong language. Arts Fuse review

Steven Cuevas at the piano with Kira Helper, Charlie Thurston, Reggie D. White, and Whitney White in rehearsal for Macbeth in Stride. Photo: Lauren Miller.

Macbeth in Stride, Created and performed by Whitney White. Orchestrations: Steven Cuevas and White. Music Director: Cuevas. Choreography: Raja Feather Kelly. Directed by Tyler Dobrowsky and Taibi Magar. Presented by the American Repertory Theater at the Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, MA,  though November 14.

“The world premiere production of the first of Obie Award-winning artist Whitney White’s five-part series commissioned by A.R.T. excavating the women from Shakespeare’s canon. The production uses pop, rock, gospel, and R&B to trace the fatalistic arc of Lady Macbeth while lifting up contemporary Black female power, femininity, and desire.”

Lifted by Charlie Thurston. Directed by Josh Short. Staged by the Wilbury Theatre Group, outdoors at the WaterFire Arts Center, Providence Rhode Island, through November 20.

The script is “part absurdist family drama, part imaginative theatrical fantasia. In an environmentally ravaged near-future, birds have returned from their recent extinction to carry a teenage boy off into the sky. Is it an act of salvation or a declaration of war? As the avian abduction sends ripples through the city, then the country, then the world, his twin brother, father, and girlfriend have to turn to each other for meaning.”

Aline MacMahon and Wallace Beery in a scene from the 1935 film version of Ah, Wilderness!.

Ah, Wilderness! by Eugene O’Neill. Directed by Melia Bensussen. Staged by the Hartford Stage Company,50 Church Street, Hartford, CT, through November 7

Eugene O’Neill’s only comedy “is a play full of heart and wit that celebrates family and community. In 1906 Connecticut, a young man falls in love with poetry and a girl, and ends up with his heart broken. But with the help of others, he may yet find happiness.” Even the hard heart of one of theater’s toughest critics, George Jean Nathan, was softened by this script: “Turning from tragedy to comedy, the author has here achieved the tenderest and most amusing comedy of boyhood in the American drama.” Of course, it should be noted that O’Neill dedicated the play to Nathan.

The Last Five Years written and composed by Jason Robert Brown. Directed by Leigh Barrett. Musical Direction by Dan Rodriguez. Staged by the Lyric Stage Company at 140 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA, November 12 through December 12.

“There are always two sides to every story; the story depends on who is telling it. This is an emotionally powerful and intimate musical about two New Yorkers in their twenties who fall in and out of love over the course of five years. The show’s unconventional structure consists of Cathy telling her story backwards while Jamie tells his story chronologically.”

A scene from Ibsen House. Photo: Jan Versweyveld

Ibsen House, an adaptation of plays by Henrik Ibsen, written and directed by Simon Stone. Staged by the International Theater Amsterdam. The production will be livestreamed (with English subtitles) through ITALive on November 7.

For Ibsen lovers, an intriguing mash-up of some of his lesser-known plays by an Australian director who made international waves with his acclaimed adaptation of The Wild Duck, which was performed a few years ago at the Holland Festival. That adaptation was the starting point for Stone’s first and much-praised feature film The Daughter (2016).

“At the center of the play, there is the holiday home designed by renowned architect Cees Kerkman, where the various family members meet each other at crucial moments in their lives. We watch the family from 1964, when the house is being built, until 2016, when it finally goes up in flames. As is traditional with Ibsen, there are quite a few secrets and traumas that have a fatal influence on the lives of the different generations. An intriguing game of repression, lies and reckonings emerges, with the house as the only witness to the entire family tragedy.”

A scene from Zoo Motel.

Zoo Motel, created and performed by Thaddeus Phillips. Co-created and directed by Tatiana Mallarino. Magic by Steve Cuiffo. Live streaming via Arts Emerson from November 16 to 21.

“In this live digital performance, theater director, designer, and performer Thaddeus Phillips (Red-Eye to Havre de Grace, 17 Border Crossings) and artist Steven Dufala (HOME) transport viewers into a magical hotel room where time stops, objects come to life, and stories begin to emerge from across the globe that all illuminate themes of human existence.”

Gone Nowhere by Daniel D. Blanda. Directed by Noah Putterman. A BU New Play Initiative production, produced by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and the Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Theatre at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA, November 4 through 14.

“At an old house in rural Minnesota, something is lurking in the corn. After a troubling incident, seemingly straight-laced Reilly has left his wife and the big city in order to find peace visiting his old friend Hunter. However, Hunter, a force of nature, is not the same Hunter Reilly once knew. What starts as a reunion quickly turns into a reckoning of biblical proportions that neither man will be able to escape.” You’ve gotta love a play where something is “lurking in the corn.”

— Bill Marx

… (Iphigenia)

a jazz opera with music by Wayne Shorter and libretto by esperanza spalding, directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz
featuring esperanza spalding, Danilo Peréz, John Pattitucci, Brian Blade, Jeff “Tain” Watts, chorus, and the 28-member New England Conservatory orchestra, conducted by Clark Rundell
November 12 at 8 p.m.
November 13 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Cutler Majestic Theater, 219 Tremont Street, Boston, MA
Presented by ArtsEmerson and the New England Conservatory

Preceded by much buzz (one viewer of the North Adams MA preview shows in early November called it “really remarkable”), the spalding-Shorter work gets its official premiere with three staged performances in Boston, after which it goes on to the Kennedy Center in Washington DC and shows in Berkeley CA and Los Angeles. The libretto, primarily by spalding, was a collaborative effort with three other writers, including US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo. Shorter’s music was enriched by a cappella vocal arrangements for the chorus by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw. The work reimagines the myth of Agamemnon’s daughter, who was sacrificed (or almost sacrificed, in alternate tellings) to give the Greek ships favorable winds for their assault on Troy. spalding has chosen to split the title character into six parts, and she will sing one of the title roles. The other Iphigenias will be sung by Kelly Guerra, Joanna Lynn-Jacobs, Sharmay Musacchio, Nivi Ravi, and Alexandra Smither. Arnold Livingston Geis will sing Agamemnon and Brad Walker will sing Menelaos. The jazz ensemble will include three members of Wayne Shorter’s working quartet (Shorter himself will not perform) – pianist Danilo Peréz, bassist John Pattitucci, and drummer Brian Blade, plus second drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts. Sets were designed by Frank Gehry. The entire production will be directed by Obie Award-winner Lileana Blain-Cruz.

There will be a post-performance discussion at the Cutler Majestic on Monday, November 15 at 7 p.m., with spalding, musicologist Dr. Carolyn Abbate, Boston While Black Founder Sheena Collier, and Emerson assistant professor Dr. Dana Edell.

— Steve Elman


Contradictions + Casual Self Loathing
November 5 & 6 at 8 p.m.
Mother Brook Arts & Community Center
Dedham, MA

Merging dance, spoken text, installation art, and theatrical absurdity, Luminarium’s latest evening-length production keeps viewers entertained while providing an awkwardly comedic reflection on the female perspective. Created by Kim Holman, along with 50+ female contributors, the production opens with comedian Christine Cuddy. This show explores intense and personal subject matter and is most appropriate for teens and adults. This project is made possible, in part, by a Live Arts Boston grant from the Boston Foundation.

Motion State Dance Film Series
November 10 at 7 p.m.
Zeiterion Performing Arts Center
New Bedford, MA

Motion State Arts has partnered with the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center to provide audiences with a free, in-person film screening. With screendances hailing from Estonia, Canada, U.K., Israel, Korea, and the U.S., Playing Favorites features a compilation of highlights from Seasons 1-3 of the Motion State Dance Film Series. Be sure to join Motion State Arts’ Ali Kenner Brodsky and Andy Russ for a post-screening discussion.

Raphael Xavier. Photo: Brian Mengini.

Initiation– In Love Solidarity
November 13 at 4 p.m.
Virtual and in-person viewing options
In-person: Harvard Dance Center, Cambridge, MA

The Harvard Dance Center presents Initiation– In Love Solidarity, a new work by 2021 Artist-in-Residence Nailah Randall-Bellinger. The presentation includes live performance, screendance, and a conversation with Randall-Bellinger and cinematographer Christina Belinsky, moderated by Vincent Brown (Charles Warren Professor of History and Professor of African and African American Studies). Filmed at historic New England sites related to the transatlantic slave trade and emancipation, Initiation– In Love Solidarity is a choreographic narrative that explores the embodiment of the Middle Passage and female resilience.

Raphael Xavier
November 19 & 20 at 8 p.m.
Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston
Boston MA

Global Arts Live presents Raphael Xavier, a choreographer celebrated for his electrifying use of Breaking as social, physical, and mental “movement” for the past 20 years. Incorporating live jazz, XAVIER’S: The Musician & The Mover highlights freestyle and improvisation through both Breaking and jazz as it blends in poetry, movement, and music.

— Merli V. Guerra

Visual Arts

Deana Lawson, Hair Advertisement, 2005. Pigment print. Courtesy the artist; Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York; and David Kordansky, Los Angeles. © Deana Lawson.

The ICA’s exhibition Deana Lawson opens on November 4, the first museum survey of the work of the Rochester, NY-born photographer. The show will focus on the artist’s fifteen year exploration of a wide range of photographic styles, including the family album, formal studio portraiture, and staged tableaux, to challenge conventional representations of Black life. Using friends, family, acquaintances, and sometimes strangers she meets in the street, Lawson creates what she describes as “a mirror of everyday life, but also a projection of what I want to happen.”

The artist Helena Metaferia explores Black identity through an exploration of family and community across generations. Using women of color as her focus, Metaferia uses collage, video, and installation to look at generational issues of pride, identity, suffering, and trauma, as well as the desire and imagination for a better future and to explore how inherited memories and experiences are worked into lives.

Helena Metaferia: Generations opens at the Museum of Fine Arts opens on November 6. The show is part of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University’s 2021 Traveling Fellow exhibition program presented in collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts.

Zuni Polychrome jar, New Mexico, C. 1882. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Horton, 80.28

The Bruce Museum of Greenwich, CT, opens RESOLUTE: Native Nations Art in the Bruce Collection on November 7. The show focuses in particular, on two-intertwined stories behind the objects themselves: the stories of the objects’ creators and the stories of the explorers, military officials, scientists, missionaries, and collectors who traveled west, recognized the importance of the art of the Native Nations they encountered, and started the process of acquisition that ended with the objects entering the Bruce collections.

RESOLUTE incorporates recent research about the donors of these collections that has, in turn, uncovered the history of this second group. On-going collaborations with Native American tribes and additional research has helped in the process of discovering the meaning and social significance of the work and the names of many of the individual artists who created it. Included in the exhibition are works by the 19th-century Tlingit weaver Kaax’eidei at and Paiute doll maker Bessie Winnemucca Greene, the Haida painter Tom Price (1857-1927), the Navajo master silversmith Fred Pashlakai (1896-1974), and Hunkpapa Lakota artist and shaman Siyosapa (ca. 1840 – 1902), who made a drum on view in the show.

What Mrs. Gardner did with her Boston home New York arts patron and collector Joanna Fisher did in miniature. The result is featured in another exhibition, The Fisher Dollhouse: A Venetian Palace in Miniature, opening at the Bruce Museum on November 7.

Like many people immobilized by the COVID-19 lockdown in New York City, Fisher created a retreat of her own as a way of coping with anxiety and cabin fever. Her miniature Venetian palace, inspired by Venice’s own lavish Gritti Palace, even includes a grand multi-story courtyard like Mrs. Gardner’s Boston museum.

Also like Mrs. Gardner, Fisher brought in contemporary artists and designers to help her realize her vision. British set designer Holly Jp Beck built the house to order. Madrid glass artists Mario Ramos and Mariana Grande created a spectacular Murano-style glass chandelier. Barcelona-based miniaturist David Castillo contributed a painted bombe chest and a bust of Julius Caesar. Fred Cobbs, a miniature metalworker from Georgia, made a watering can, tools, a wine vat, and an espresso machine. Finally, ten prominent international artists created tiny works for the walls. Ten rooms in all were imagined, built, and lavishly outfitted.

The installation at the Bruce also includes a festival tent, a gallery tent, and a grotto tent also containing tiny artworks and amusing, small world details. Assembled during a period of isolation in her own home, Fisher’s palazzo brought together people from many places and now will be open for visitors from the public.

On November 6 at 2 p.m, the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown will present the opening lecture for its exhibition Competing Currents: 20th-Century Japanese Prints. Exhibition curator Oliver Ruhi will explore two currents in Japanese print-making during a period when Western modernism was reshaping ideas about art, even in Japan. The virtual program will be available to those who register in advance via a private Zoom link. The lecture will also be broadcast live via Facebook Live.

Educando | Educating, 1938 oil on canvas | private collection |  courtesy of | cortesía de Cernuda Arte. © Fundación Mariano Rodríguez

In conjunction with its current exhibition, Mariano: Variations on a Theme | Variaciones sobre un tema, Boston College’s McMullen Museum will present Museum Current: Museums of Art Respond to Latin American and Caribbean Migration: A Panel Discussion with Silvia Karman Cubina, Jill Deupi, and Jordana Pomeroy on Wednesday, November 10 at 6 p.m.. The program brings together a museum curator, a museum director, and a museum director/chief curator from South Florida to explore the effects of immigration in their region on their collections and audiences over the last seven decades. The virtual program is part of a series exploring current developments in museum studies and is open to the public free of charge.

— Peter Walsh


Pianist Pandelis Karyorgis. Photo: Wiki Common.

Pandelis Karyorgis Trio: “Hassan, Monk & Hope”
November 2 at 10:15 pm.
Lilypad, Cambridge

Pianist Pandelis Karayorgis, one of the more adventurous musicians on the Boston scene, here focuses on the music of fellow pianist-composers Hasaan Ibn Ali, Thelonious Monk, and Elmo Hope. The program will feature “familiar Monk and Hope pieces,” as well as  “rarely heard compositions from Hasaan’s 2021 release, Metaphysics. The other trio members are Nate McBride on bass and Luther Gray on drums.

Bert Seager: The Why Not
November 3 at 6:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, Mass.

Pianist and composer Bert Seager follows up last month’s standards-based piano trio performance with this “chamber-jazz quintet featuring piano, violin, vocals, upright bass, and two hand percussionists.” The group includes the astonishing polymath violinist and singer Eden MacAdam-Somer, bassist James Heazlewood-Dal, and percussionists Brian O’Neill and Dor Herskovits. Deploying multicultural dance rhythms, the music, writes Seager, “makes one wonder what Schubert would have sounded like had he lived in Peru and played odd meters, or if Ravel had lived in Ghana and had been able to improvise over chord changes.”

The Bad Plus
November 3 at 8 p.m.
City Winery, Boston

In this third iteration of the genre-busting former piano trio (with founding member Ethan Iverson for 17 years, and then pianist Orrin Evans), bassist Reid Anderson and drummer David King are now joined by reed player Chris Speed and guitarist Ben Monder. Piano-less for the first time!

Kris Davis + Stories with Friends
November 4 at 10:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, Mass.

The innovative pianist and composer Kris Davis — ever eager to experiment with sonics and form — has been involved in one compelling project after another in the past few years (besides her own work, she is an associate program director of Berklee’s Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice). She here joins saxophonist Jonathan Reisin, bassist Mark Abramovski, and drummer Lily Finnegan. Also on the bill is Stories with Friends, with bassist/vocalist Devon Gates and friends TBA.

Sheila Jordan in performance celebrating her 92nd birthday via a live show/livestream.

Sheila Jordan
November 5 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Mad Monkfish, Cambridge, Mass.

The great singer (and NEA Jazz Master) Sheila Jordan, who turns 93 on November 18, returns to Cambridge for what in recent years has become an annual birthday visit. She is, as usual, backed by the Yoko Miwa Trio with pianist Miwa, bassist Brad Barrett, and drummer Scott Goulding. There are separate admissions for the 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. shows, and there were only a few tickets remaining before “Coming Attractions” posted. Arts Fuse feature on the recent release of Jordan’s Comes Love, her first full recording session as a leader. It automatically becomes a collector’s item for those who love the legendary jazz singer’s work

Harold Lopez-Nussa
November 5 at 8 p.m
City Winery Boston

The exciting young Cuban pianist Harold López-Nussa comes to City Winery for this show (presented by Global Arts Live) with a formidable band that includes harmonica virtuoso Gregoire Maret, bassist Luques Curtis, and the pianist’s brother, Ruy Adrián López-Nussa, on drums. It’s in support of López-Nussa’s new album, Te Lo Dije (roughly “I told you so”).

Guitarist Pat Metheny Is coming to Boston, MA and Portland, ME.

Pat Metheny
November 5 at 8 p.m. (Portland) November 7 at 7 p.m. (Boston)
The State Theatre, Portland, Maine, and The Wilbur, Boston, Mass.

The peripatetic and protean guitarist, composer, bandleader, and conceptualizer Pat Metheny, now 67, hits New England with his latest trio project, Side-Eye, which he describes as “an ongoing platform to host a rotating cast of the newer generations of musicians who have particularly caught my interest along the way.” For this tour, the band features two players from the new Side-Eye recording, pianist/keyboardist James Francies and drummer Joe Dyson.

Joey DeFrancesco
November 12 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston

The Hammond-B3 organ virtuoso Joe DeFrancesco’s recent projects have included collaborations with Van Morrison and Pharoah Sanders, as well as his own credible trumpet playing. For the new More Music, he’s added tenor sax, another viable “double.” He’s joined by organist and guitarist Lucas Brown and drummer Michael Ode on 10 originals, and the imperatives are still blues and swing, with at least one very standard-quality waltz-time ballad.

Karrin Allyson will perform at Scullers Jazz Club on Nov 13.

Karrin Allyson
November 13 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, Mass.

The singer Karrin Allyson has established herself as a serious jazz singer since her debut release on Concord Jazz in 1993, exploring all manner of material (jazz standards, bossa nova, contemporary pop and folk, adapting the instrumental compositions of John Coltrane and Miles Davis for voice). Through it all, she has compelled attention with her masterful, lived-in attention to musical detail and vocal warmth that’s as much about emotional connection as chops.

Aaron Parks
November 13 at 8 p.m.
Hope Central Church, Jamaica Plain, Mass.

For many, the pianist Aaron Parks is most familiar as a sideman with the bands of Terence Blanchard (whose band he joined at 18), Kurt Rosenwinkel, Terri Lyne Carrington, and Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah. But beginning with his solo debut on Blue Note, Invisible Cinema (2008), Parks has moved through an unclassifiable range of projects generally categorized as “genre-bending.” This solo-piano show is being billed as, “a mix of complete improvisations, original compositions, and interpretations of off-the-beaten-path standards.”

— Jon Garelick

… (Iphigenia)
a jazz opera with music by Wayne Shorter and libretto by esperanza spalding, directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz
featuring esperanza spalding, Danilo Peréz, John Pattitucci, Brian Blade, Jeff “Tain” Watts, chorus, and the 28-member New England Conservatory orchestra, conducted by Clark Rundell
November 12 at 8 p.m.,  13 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Cutler Majestic Theater, 219 Tremont Street, Boston, MA
Presented by ArtsEmerson and the New England Conservatory

Preceded by much buzz (one viewer of the North Adams MA preview shows in early November called it “really remarkable”), the spalding-Shorter work gets its official premiere with three staged performances in Boston, after which it goes on to the Kennedy Center in Washington DC and shows in Berkeley CA and Los Angeles. The libretto, primarily by spalding, was a collaborative effort with three other writers, including US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo. Shorter’s music was enriched by a cappella vocal arrangements for the chorus by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw. The work reimagines the myth of Agamemnon’s daughter, who was sacrificed (or almost sacrificed, in alternate tellings) to give the Greek ships favorable winds for their assault on Troy. spalding has chosen to split the title character into six parts, and she will sing one of the title roles. The other Iphigenias will be sung by Kelly Guerra, Joanna Lynn-Jacobs, Sharmay Musacchio, Nivi Ravi, and Alexandra Smither. Arnold Livingston Geis will sing Agamemnon and Brad Walker will sing Menelaos. The jazz ensemble will include three members of Wayne Shorter’s working quartet (Shorter himself will not perform) – pianist Danilo Peréz, bassist John Pattitucci, and drummer Brian Blade, plus second drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts. Sets were designed by Frank Gehry. The entire production will be directed by Obie Award-winner Lileana Blain-Cruz.

There will be a post-performance discussion at the Cutler Majestic on Monday, November 15 at 7 p.m., with spalding, musicologist Dr. Carolyn Abbate, Boston While Black Founder Sheena Collier, and Emerson assistant professor Dr. Dana Edell.

— Steve Elman

Roots and World Music

Boiler House Jazz ONLINE: Amit Kavthekar (tabla) & Suhail Yusuf Khan (sarangi) 
November 5

The Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation continues its online streams of duets with a jazz celebration of Diwali. Tabla player Kavthekar began as a child prodigy studying with Ustad Allarakha. Also a student of Ustad Zakir Hussain, Kavthekar applies his talent to both traditional Indian music as well as fusion groups like the beloved Sawaari. Khan is a master of the bowed sarangi and has played in a wide variety of contexts. After the two duet they’ll be interviewed by Natraj saxophonist Phil Scarff, who has pioneered the use of the saxophone as a North Indian classical music instrument.

Paul Anka
November 12
Lynn Auditorium

The recent passing of Don Everly (Arts Fuse remembrance) highlighted the fact that nearly every major star of the early rock era has passed. Yet some of the crooners from that era are still on the road. Johnny Mathis has a local date in May, and Paul Anka, who first recorded in 1956, is still going at 80. While pop entertainers usually travel with a rhythm section and use local horns, Anka leads one of the last fully self-contained big bands in the business. This show, “Sinatra My Way,” pays tribute to the singer who recorded Anka’s best known composition.

El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico is coming to Revere — get ready to hit the dance floor.

El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico
November 13
Oceanside Events Center, Revere

Since their 1962 formation, El Gran Combo has become Puerto Rico’s number one salsa orquestra. Not surprisingly, members have come and gone over the years, but no matter what changes, this institution’s ability to keep the dance floor full has never faltered.

— Noah Schaffer

Classical Music

Pianist Beatrice Rana makes her BSO debut this week at Symphony Hall. Photo: Simon Fowler

Rana plays Tchaikovsky
Presented by Boston Symphony Orchestra
November 4-6, 8 p.m. (1:30 p.m. on Friday)
Symphony Hall, Boston

Van Cliburn Competition finalist Beatrice Rana makes her BSO debut playing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto no. 1. Dima Slobodeniouk conducts. Also on the program is Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony no. 7.

Equilbey conducts Farrenc
Presented by Handel & Haydn Society
November 5 at 7:30 p.m. and 7 and 3 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston

Conductor Laurence Equilbey makes her H&H debut conducting Louise Farrenc’s Symphony no. 3 and Beethoven’s Pastorale Symphony.

Presented by A Far Cry
November 5, 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston

The Criers’ season continues with a program of pieces by Lei Liang, Benjamin Britten and Leos Janacek.

Violnist Stephen Jackiw performs with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra on November 10. Photo: Sophie Zhai.

Jackiw plays Prokofiev
Presented by Boston Philharmonic Orchestra
November 10, 8 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston

Violinist Stefan Jackiw joins the BPO and conductor Benjamin Zander in Prokofiev’s darkly luminous Violin Concerto no. 2. Also on the docket is Mendelssohn’s evocative Hebrides Overture and Brahms’s surging, autumnal Symphony no. 4.

Roderick Cox conducts Mendelssohn
Presented by Boston Symphony Orchestra
November 11-13, 8 p.m. (1:30 p.m. Friday)
Symphony Hall, Boston

Conductor Roderick Cox makes his BSO debut conducting Mendlessohn’s “Scottish” Symphony. On the concert’s first half, BSO principal clarinetist William Hudgins appears as soloist in Mozart’s A-major Concerto.

Merz Trio in concert
Presented by Music Worcester
November 12, 8 p.m.
Mechanics Hall, Worcester

The Merz Trio makes is Music Worcester debut with a program that ranges from Haynd and Tchaikovsky to Richard Strauss and Edith Piaf.

Brooklyn Rider, presented by the Celebrity Series, will be joined by tenor Nicholas Phan in a November 12 performance.

Nicholas Phan & Brooklyn Rider
Presented by Celebrity Series
November 12, 8 p.m.
GBH Calderwood Studio, Boston

Brooklyn Rider continues its season-long Celebrity Series residency, joined this time by tenor Nicholas Phan. Their program includes a pair of Boston premieres from, respectively, Rufus Wainwright and Nico Muhly, plus Schubert’s Death and the Maiden Quartet.

International Tchaikovsky Competition gold medalist Zlatomir Fung in action on the cello.

Zlatomir Fung plays Elgar
Presented by Symphony Pro Musica
November 13 at 7:30 p.m. and 14 at 4 p.m.
Hudson High School, Hudson (on Saturday) and Mechanics Hall, Worcester (on Sunday)

International Tchaikovsky Competition gold medalist Fung joins Symphony Pro Musica and music director Mark Churchill in Elgar’s beloved Cello Concerto. Walton’s Crown Imperial and a rare performance of William Dawson’s Negro Folk Symphony complete the program.

— Jonathan Blumhofer


Chris Pierce & Jon Butcher
November 3 (show at 9:30)
The Porch, Medford

In the past 20 years, Chris Pierce has recorded several albums and sung songs that have appeared in commercials and on TV shows such as This Is UsA Million Little Pieces, and True Blood, on which his wife, Tara Buck, had a recurring and eventually starring role. In February, Pierce released American Silence, a collection of 10 new songs that elicited praise from — to name a few — NPR, Rolling StoneNo Depression, and Americana UK.

When I interviewed the LA-born, bred, and based musician Chris Pierce in 2017, he said of longtime Gloucester resident Jon Butcher, with whom he was set to perform at the now-sadly closed 9 Wallis, “We’ve played together everywhere from LA to Moscow, traveled together, written together, produced records together. He’s one of my best friends in the world.

The odds might seem to have been against such a personal and professional relationship happening at all, let alone enduring. 19 years separate them in age, their bases of operation are 3,000 miles apart, and their musical styles aren’t exactly the same, although both are guitarists. However, Pierce recalled becoming “a huge fan” of Butcher as a kid and thinking, “this guy is one of the best artists ever to lay his hands on the instrument.” Pierce, who studied jazz on a scholarship at USC, attended the Boston luminary’s concerts frequently enough to eventually get himself invited onstage with the artist whom he so admired.

Thus, their performance together at The Porch on November 3 will be not the first, but simply the most recent of such occurrences. And both will have new material to draw from, as Butcher delivered a new album called Special Day in June.

Barrence WhitfieldNervous Eaters and Crunchtime
November 11 (Doors at 6, show at 7:30)
Breakaway, Danvers, MA

Once is hardly enough for a bill that includes both Barrence Whitfield and Nervous Eaters. Therefore, the Boston fixtures are following up their September 30 Paradise Rock Club show with a date at Route 1 hot spot Breakaway which — like all small local music venues — faced an uncertain future for much of 2020 and 2021. Although Whitfield and the Eaters have long since endeared themselves to music lovers in and beyond New England, they certainly aren’t resting on their laurels. In 2021, Whitfield lent his voice to Los Lobos’ version of War’s “The World Is a Ghetto” and sang “Ice Cream Man” on an Tom Waits tribute album to which Jeff Tweedy, Andrew Bird, Howe Gelb, and Robbie Fulks also contributed. Nervous Eaters, meanwhile, released a new album in 2019 and will be performing their first NYC show in 16 years on November 20. Crunchtime, whose four members are themselves veterans of area haunts, will kick off what is sure to be a memorable evening for all involved parties.

— Blake Maddux

Author Events

Virtual Event: Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz – Harvard Book Store
Not “A Nation of Immigrants:” Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy, and a History of Erasure and Exclusion
November 2 at 7 p.m.
Tickets are Free with $5 contribution

“Whether in political debates or discussions about immigration around the kitchen table, many Americans, regardless of party affiliation, will say proudly that we are a nation of immigrants. In this bold new book, historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz asserts this ideology is harmful and dishonest because it serves to mask and diminish the US’s history of settler colonialism, genocide, white supremacy, slavery, and structural inequality, all of which we still grapple with today.

She explains that the idea that we are living in a land of opportunity—founded and built by immigrants—was a convenient response by the ruling class and its brain trust to the 1960s demands for decolonization, justice, reparations, and social equality. Moreover, Dunbar-Ortiz charges that this feel-good—but inaccurate—story promotes a benign narrative of progress, obscuring that the country was founded in violence as a settler state, and imperialist since its inception.”

Virtual Event: Dorie Greenspan – Harvard Book Store
Baking with Dorie: Sweet, Salty & Simple
November 3 at 7 p.m.
Free with $5 suggested donation

“Say “Dorie Greenspan” and think baking. The renowned author of thirteen cookbooks and winner of five James Beard and two IACP awards offers a collection that celebrates the sweet, the savory, and the simple. Every recipe is signature Dorie: easy—beginners can ace every technique in this book—and accessible, made with everyday ingredients.

Are there surprises? Of course! The chapters are classic: Breakfast Stuff • Cakes • Cookies • Pies, Tarts, Cobblers and Crisps • Two Perfect Little Pastries • Salty Side Up. The recipes are unexpected. And there are “Sweethearts” throughout, mini collections of Dorie’s all-time favorites. Don’t miss the meringue Little Marvels or the Double-Decker Caramel Cake. Like all of Dorie’s recipes, they lend themselves to being remade, refashioned, and riffed on.”

Virtual Event: Shea Serrano: Hip-Hop (And Other Things) — brookline booksmith
Hip Hop (And Other Things)
November 4 at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $37

Hip-Hop (And Other Things) … is about, as it were, rap, but also some other things. It’s a smart, fun, funny, insightful book that spends the entirety of its time celebrating what has become the most dominant form of music these past two and a half decades. Tupac is in there. Jay Z is in there. Missy Elliott is in there. Drake is in there. Pretty much all of the big names are in there, as are a bunch of the smaller names, too. There’s art from acclaimed illustrator Arturo Torres, there are infographics and footnotes; there’s all kinds of stuff in there. Some of the chapters are serious, and some of the chapters are silly, and some of the chapters are a combination of both things. All of them, though, are treated with the care and respect that they deserve.”

Live at Brookline Booksmith! Gary Shteyngart with Steve Almond
Our Country Friends
November 6 at 3 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
Tickets are $38 with book, Free without

“March 2020 and a calamity is unfolding. A group of friends and friends-of-friends gathers in a country house to wait out the pandemic. Over the next six months, new friendships and romances will take hold, while old betrayals will emerge, forcing each character to reevaluate whom they love and what matters most.

The unlikely cast of characters includes a Russian-born novelist; his Russian-born psychiatrist wife; their precocious child obsessed with K-pop; a struggling Indian American writer; a wildly successful Korean American app developer; a global dandy with three passports; a Southern flamethrower of an essayist; and a movie star, the Actor, whose arrival upsets the equilibrium of this chosen family. Both elegiac and very, very funny, Our Country Friends is the most ambitious book yet by the author of the beloved bestseller Super Sad True Love Story.”

Virtual Event: Ravi Shankar — Harvard Book Store
Correctional: A Memoir
November 5 at 7 p.m.
Free with $5 suggested contribution

“The first time Ravi Shankar was arrested, he spoke out against racist policing on National Public Radio and successfully sued the city of New York. The second time, he was incarcerated when his promotion to full professor was finalized. During his 90-day pretrial confinement at the Hartford Correctional Center — a level 4, high-security urban jail in Connecticut — he met men who shared harrowing and heartfelt stories. The experience taught him about the persistence of structural racism, the limitations of mass media, and the pervasive traumas of 21st-century daily life.”

Virtual Event: Kate McIntyre with Roxane Gay – brookline booksmith
Mad Prairie
November 10 at 7 p.m.

“In this scary, funny, and slyly political short story collection, Kate McIntyre conjures a fever dream of contemporary Kansas. Boundaries between fantasy and reality blur, and grotesque acts birth strange progeny. A mother must choose between her children and her personal safety when her husband steadily excavates a moat around their country home, his very own little border wall.

A Kansas politician grapples with international notoriety after an accident traps salt miners hundreds of feet underground–in the same salt mine where his brother was murdered. A bigot’s newly transplanted liver gives him a taste for upbeat 1980s dance tracks while nudging him toward darker plans.”

Virtual Event: Isabel Fargo Cole with Hari Kunzru and Dustin Illingworth — brookline booksmith
The Interim
November 6 at 2 p.m.

“C. is a wretched grump, an anguished patron of bars, brothels, and train stations. He is also an acclaimed East German writer. Dogged by writer’s block, remorse, and national guilt in the years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, he leaves the monochromatic existence of the GDR for the neon excess of the West. There at least the novelty of his origins grant him easy money and minor celebrity, if also a deflating sense of complacency. With his visa expired and several relationships hanging in the balance, C. travels back and forth, mentally and physically, between two Germanys, contemplating diverging visions of the world and what they mean for people like him: alienated and aimless witnesses to history.”

“This monumental novel from one of the greatest chroniclers of postwar Germany, masterfully translated by Isabel Fargo Cole, interrogates with bitter wit and singular brilliance the detritus of 20th-century life: addiction, consumerism, God, pay-per-view pornography, selfishness, and statelessness.”

Virtual Event: Louise Erdrich with Ann Patchett [TICKETED] — Porter Square Books
The Sentence
November 9 at 8 p.m.

“Louise Erdrich’s latest novel, The Sentence, asks what we owe to the living, the dead, to the reader and to the book. A small independent bookstore in Minneapolis is haunted from November 2019 to November 2020 by the store’s most annoying customer. Flora dies on All Souls’ Day, but she simply won’t leave the store. Tookie, who has landed a job selling books after years of incarceration that she survived by reading “with murderous attention,” must solve the mystery of this haunting while at the same time trying to understand all that occurs in Minneapolis during a year of grief, astonishment, isolation, and furious reckoning. The Sentence begins on All Souls’ Day 2019 and ends on All Souls’ Day 2020. Its mystery and proliferating ghost stories during this one year propel a narrative as rich, emotional, and profound as anything Louise Erdrich has written.”

Virtual Event: Mackenzi Lee with Christian Coulson – Porter Square Books
The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks 
November 16 at 7 p.m.

“Adrian Montague has a bright future. The sole heir to his father’s estate, he is an up and coming political writer and engaged to an activist who challenges and inspires him. But most young Lords aren’t battling the debilitating anxiety Adrian secretly lives with, or the growing fear that it might consume him and all he hopes to accomplish. In the wake of his mother’s unexpected death, Adrian is also concerned people will find out that he has the mental illness she struggled with for years.

When a newly found keepsake of hers—a piece of a broken spyglass—comes into Adrian’s possession, he’s thrust into the past and finds himself face to face with an older brother he never knew he had. Henry “Monty” Montague has been living quietly in London for years, and his sudden appearance sends Adrian on a quest to unravel family secrets that only the spyglass can answer.”

— Matt Hanson

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