As the age of Covid-19 more or less wanes, Arts Fuse critics supply a guide to film, dance, visual art, theater, author readings, and music. Please check with venues when uncertain whether the event is available by streaming or is in person. More offerings will be added as they come in.
Forgotten Filmmakers of the French New Wave
Harvard Film Archives
At the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, 25 Quincy Street, Cambridge, through June 19.
Writer-critic Jean-Michel Frodon’s selection of esoteric films from the early ’60s are “thematically and artistically, fully part of the rising New Wave.” Check the schedule and descriptions for some surprising good rarely seen films. This is what the Archives does best. Full Schedule
24th Provincetown International Film Festival
June 15 -19
This five-day festival showcases over 80 American and international independent narrative, documentary, and animated features and shorts as well as panel discussions and special events. A few highlights below.
The Opening Night film is Good Luck To You, Leo Grande: Nancy Stokes (Emma Thompson) is a retired schoolteacher yearning for some adventure, and some sex. She has a plan, which involves hiring a young sex worker named Leo Grande.
Waiting for Guffman: Free Pier Screening on MacMillian Pier, overlooking Cape Cod Bay, with former PIFF Excellence in Acting honoree Parker Posey in attendance.
My Old School: Scotland’s most notorious imposter is exposed in a documentary that is part mystery, part character study, part cultural relic, and thoroughly compelling. It deals with the questions raised about the identity of a teenager named Brandon Lee who enrolled at Bearsden Academy, a secondary school in a tony suburb of Glasgow in 1993. Filmmaker Jono McLeod is also a former student at Bearsden, and Lee was his classmate, which give this doc an intimate and nostalgic vibe. It stars PIFF 2007 Acting Award recipient, Alan Cumming. Arts Fuse review
Emily the Criminal: Starring 2017 inaugural Next Wave Honoree Aubrey Plaza, the film is a tense and compelling thriller whose plot is heartbreakingly tied to our current economic times.
Roxbury Film Festival
June 27 – July 2
Museum of Fine Arts, Emerson Paramount, Hibernian Hall in Roxbury
In addition to a full roster of films, there are script readings, panels, and workshops. Full schedule of screenings
A selection of the offerings will be available online for extended viewing — films online. The fest’s Opening Night film is Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story. There will be a free screening of Love Jones at the Museum of Fine Arts at 8 p.m. on June 28. Beyond the Festival is a list of films by RoxFilm alumni available online and on DVD.
ADVENTURE WEDNESDAYS AT REGENT THEATER IN ARLINGTON
The Race to Alaska
June 15 at 7:30 p.m.
The Regent’s Ocean Film Series continues with a documentary that follows the visceral experience of racers as they compete in one of the most difficult endurance challenges in the world.
Women’s Adventure Film Tour 2022
June 22 at 7:30 p.m.
A selection of seven unique films is carefully chosen to show women achieving their adventure goals. The two-hour program features women of all ages and abilities. Among the subjects: Australian Olympic champion Torah Bright; ultra trail-running champion Lucy Bartholomew, and women excelling in climbing, distance swimming, and mountain biking.
Big Wave Guardians
June 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Hawaii’s North Shore is the world’s most dangerous seven-mile stretch of beach, its massive swells the sites for life-and-death rescues. This documentary is the compelling story of Hawaii’s big wave guardians: as surfers push the limits and the crowds increase, a small group of heroes have reinvented water safety in the face of the rising dangers.
Hit the Road
June 25 – 30
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge
The Boston premiere of the debut film of Panah Panahi, son and collaborator of the great Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi and apprentice to Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami. A middle-aged couple and their two sons embark on a road trip across the Iranian countryside. Over the course of their journey, they bond over memories of the past, grapple with fears of the unknown, and fuss over their sick dog. Arts Fuse review
The Complete Federico Fellini
June 10 – August 15
Harvard Film Archives on Quincy Street in Cambridge
The HFA presents every Fellini film, from I vitelloni (1951) through Amarcord (1973). Here is a chance to see the work of one of the greatest and most influential of the postwar directors. Fellini won four Best Foreign Language film Oscars. The term “Felliniesque” was coined to describe his imaginative images, confessional stories, and the fantastical, circus-like worlds he created. Prepare for a collection of unforgettable characters; and then there are Nino Rota’s brilliant scores.
Pick of the Week
Streaming on HBO
An essential film for our times. Defying the state legislature that outlawed abortion, the Catholic Church that condemned it, and the Chicago Mob that was profiting from it, members of the “Jane” organization risked their personal and professional lives to support women with unwanted pregnancies. The Janes chronicles how women formed and ran an underground network from 1968 to 1973, helping other women in Chicago safely obtain abortions in the pre-Roe era. “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” 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 Bomb-itty of Errors by Jordan Allen-Dutton, Jason Catalano, Gregory J. Qaiyum, Jeffrey Qaiyum & Erik Weiner. Directed by Christopher V. Edwards. Staged by Actors’ Shakespeare Project at the Charlestown Working Theatre, Charlestown, through June 26.
“Four actors playing multiple characters + a live DJ on stage = a musical, ad-rap-tation of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors. Quadruplets separated at birth are caught up in a comical identity crisis with a rhythmic spin.” Arts Fuse review
Buried Child by Sam Shepard. Directed by Robert Kropf. Staged by Harbor Stage at 15 Kendrick Avenue, Wellfleet, MA, June 16 through July 9.
Critic Richard Gilman on the drama of Sam Shepard in 1981: “What distinguished Shepard’s plays from most others in the American repertoire was their greater vivacity and elasticity, even more than their far greater impurity, the presence in them of so many energies and actions not previously thought to be properly dramatic. More than any other American playwright of the sixties, he broke down the fixed definitions of the dramatic.”
Natasha, Pierre, and The Great Comet of 1812. Music, Lyrics, and Book by Dave Malloy. Adapted from War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. Directed by Josh Short. Staged by the The Wilbury Theatre Group, 475 Valley Street, Providence, through June 26.
“An electropop opera based on a scandalous slice of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, from award-winning composer Dave Malloy.” “Natasha is a beautiful ingénue visiting Moscow while she waits for her beloved fiancé Andrey to return from the war. In a moment of indiscretion, she is seduced by the dashing (but already married) Anatole and her position in society is ruined. Her only hope lies with Pierre, the lonely outsider whose love and compassion for Natasha may be the key to her redemption … and to the renewal of his own soul.”
Pride@Prejudice, written and directed by Daniel Elihu Kramer. Staged by the Chester Theatre Company at the Town Hall Theatre, 15 Middlefield Road, Chester, June 23 to July 3.
“The Jane Austen classic reimagined with bloggers, chat rooms, Austen enthusiasts, and even Jane, herself! A hilarious and moving homage to the beloved novel, with thirty characters portrayed by five versatile, diverse actors.” Originally premiered at CTC in 2011. Here is the Arts Fuse‘s review.
Fairview by Jackie Sibbli
Jackie Sibblies Drury’s 2019 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama begins as a seemingly typical American family play. It’s Grandma’s birthday, and Beverly needs the party to be perfect. However, the Frasier family is either of no help or nonexistent. As the drama progresses, however, Beverly’s plight is put into “a whole new, bright white light.”
An Iliad by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare. Directed by Jeffrey Mousseau. Staged by Shakespeare & Company at the Tina Packer Playhouse, Lenox, MA, through July 3.
“Adapted from an acclaimed translation by Robert Fagles, An Iliad refreshes Homer’s world classic and transforms the epic poem into a riveting account of the Trojan War, told in the present time complete with nods to modern-day events.”
The Light by Loy A. Webb. Directed by Jacqui Parker. Staged by the Lyric Stage at 140 Clarendon Street, Boston, through June 26.
“On the night of their engagement, long-simmering discord bubbles to the surface for Genesis, a principal at a Chicago charter school, and Rashad, her firefighter boyfriend of two years. Long-buried secrets and painful revelations threaten to splinter the couple’s relationship when a gift of concert tickets is given. What should be one of the happiest days of their life begins to unravel, layers of truth and doubt are peeled away, and the power of love and reconciliation is tested.” Arts Fuse review
Gloria by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Directed by Bryn Boice. Staged by Gloucester Stage, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, through June 26
This Pulitzer Prize finalist play follows “an ambitious group of editorial assistants at one of New York’s most esteemed cultural magazines, each of whom hopes for a starry life of letters and a book deal before they turn 30. But when a seemingly ordinary day at the office becomes anything but, these aspiring journalists recognize an opportunity to seize a career-defining moment.”
Andy Warhol in Iran by Brent Askari. Directed by Skip Greer. At the St. Germain Stage at the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 36 Linden Street, Pittsfield, through June 25.
A world premiere: “In 1976 Andy Warhol, the portrait painter of the rich and famous, travels to Tehran commissioned to take Polaroids of the Shah’s wife. While there, Warhol encounters a young Iranian radical as unpredictable as Warhol himself. This fictionalized portrait of the artist’s famed visit to Iran leaves you asking ‘Who was the artist and who was the revolutionary?'”
Woody Sez: The Life and Music of Woody Guthrie. Devised by David M. Lutken with Nick Corley and Darcie Deaville, Helen Jean Russell and Andy Teirstein. Directed by Nick Corley. Staged by the Merrimack Repertory Theatre, 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, through June 26.
“Joyous, toe-tapping, and inspirational, Woody Sez brings to life the stories and songs of America’s great troubadour.” The four performers, playing more than 20 instruments, transport the audience through the riveting and often controversial life of Woody Guthrie. Musical numbers include “This Land Is Your Land,” “Pastures of Plenty,” “Bound for Glory,” “Hard Travelin’,” and “So Long, It’s Been Good To Know Yuh.”
Common Ground Revisited, An adaptation of J. Anthony Lukas’s Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families. Conceived by Melia Bensussen and Kirsten Greenidge. Adapted by Kirsten Greenidge. Directed by Melia Bensussen. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Calderwood at the Boston Center For the Arts, 527 Tremont St., Boston, through June 26. Digital performance through July 10.
“This riveting and intricately woven world premiere play brings Boston’s history to life in the 1960s and 70s, culminating in three families’ experiences in court-mandated busing. Diverse in both race and class, what can these families’ experiences tell us about our own time? Especially when Boston Public Schools are more segregated in 2021 than they were in 1974. Common Ground Revisited is inspired by Anthony Lukas’s landmark Pulitzer Prize–winning book.”
1776 Music and Lyrics by Sherman Edwards. Book by Peter Stone. Based on a Concept by Sherman Edwards. Directed by Jeffrey L. Page and Diane Paulus. A co-production of the American Repertory Theater and the Roundabout Theatre Company, at the Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, through July 24.
“They knew they would make history, but not what history would make of them. Fed up with living under the tyranny of British rule, John Adams attempts to persuade his fellow members of the Continental Congress to vote in favor of American Independence and sign the Declaration. But how much is he willing to compromise in the pursuit of freedom? And who does that freedom belong to? A.R.T. artistic director Diane Paulus and Jeffrey L. Page direct a new production of the Tony Award-winning musical, reexamining this pivotal moment in American history with a cast that reflects multiple representations of race, gender, and ethnicity.” Arts Fuse review
Thumbelina (a Pocket-Sized Adventure), a panto written and performed by imaginary beasts ensemble. Staged at the Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center and Wildlife Sanctuary, Mattapan, June 18 through 26.
“It’s a great big world out there — especially when you’re no bigger than a thumb! When little Thumbelina finds herself far away from home, she embarks on a grand adventure that will send her downriver, underground, and through the air, as she attempts to find her way back to her garden. What critters will she meet along the way, and will they help or hinder her? Audiences will follow Thumbelina on her epic journey — literally — in this out-of-doors promenade performance that moves from location to location on the beautiful grounds of the Boston Nature Center.
“Please note, this is a one-hour promenade style performance that will require light walking from station to station. Limited seating will be available at each performance location; however, we do encourage you to bring your own blankets or portable chairs for guaranteed seating.”
Screwball! Written by Preston Sturges and Beau Jest. Directed by Davis Robinson. Performed by Beau Jest Moving Theatre, featuring Jeff Blanchette, Jay Bragan, Lauren Hallal, Kathleen Lewis, Robin Smith, and Lisa Tucker. At the Boston Playwright’s Theater 949 Commonwealth Avenue Boston, June 22 through 25.
This production is “Beau Jest’s loving tribute to the screwball comedy genre; a live stage adaptation of Preston Sturges’s classic 1941 film Sullivan’s Travels. Comedy is a weapon that can respond to injustice by instilling hope and joy during dark times. We found an enormous reservoir of untapped, positive theatrical energy embedded in the farcical depression-era films that defined the screwball genre. Translating that vocal and physical energy to the stage was the challenge we set ourselves. And it is a love story with original Beau Jest plot twists that will satisfy and surprise fans of the original movie.”
“Films like It Happened One Night and Some Like It Hot endure in part because there are universal truths about human nature embedded under the snappy dialogue and farcical situations. We wanted to embrace the style of those classic films while also responding to the current social/political moment of a divided America”
— Bill Marx
There are almost 1300 works by Augusta Rodin in museums in the United States. Thanks to sculptures like The Thinker (1903), originally created as part of a much larger work, Rodin is one of the best-known and most popular sculptors in the US. But how did his reputation grow so large on this side of the Atlantic?
Rodin in the United States: Confronting the Modern, opens at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown on June 18, a stop on a national tour. The show explores Rodin’s legacy and fame in America, from 1893, when The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York acquired a Rodin, the first ever by an American museum (and the year of the sculptor’s controversial debut at the Chicago World’s Fair), to the present. It traces the vicissitudes of Rodin’s critical and popular reputation in America over more than a century, including a collecting frenzy in the early 20th century, promoted by female collectors and the American dancer Loie Fuller, among others. At that time museums exhibited his work often and an American Rodin Museum was established in Philadelphia. During the ’40s and ’50s, however, his work was considered dated and sentimental in the US, and his reputation went into a steep decline. His triumphant comeback came in the ’80s via a series of blockbuster exhibitions and scholarly reappraisals.
The 50 sculptures and 25 drawings in the Clark show range from plaster studies to finished bronzes (produced in editions long after Rodin’s death), marble works, graphite drawings, and watercolors. All in all, the show displays the large cast of characters that were needed to transform a great artist into a household name.
Skin color has probably never been a more contentious issue in America then it has been over the last few years. Now, for many, status has been reversed: whiteness is the symbol of a long legacy of European repression and exploration; color, once the mark of the exotic and the primitive, has reemerged as a new emblem of cultural and personal identity. Part of A Space for Dialogue, a series of student-organized exhibitions begun at Dartmouth’s Hood Museum in 2001, Coloring the Western Canon opens at the Hood on June 25. The show explores how notions of “whiteness,” traditionally a symbol of purity and refinement, have been shaped by the canon of Western art, in which people of color were often pushed aside or marginalized.
Since the State of Maine was created in 1820, part of a controversial political compromise over slavery that went against the wishes of nearly half of the people who lived there, the region has had a reputation as a remote, barely civilized, and sparsely populated region on the very right edge of the United States. Yet, for all that, Maine has been the part-time or temporary home or birthplace of a long list of important American artists. At First Light: Two Centuries of Artists in Maine, which opens at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art on June 25, celebrates the remarkable inspiration an out-of-the-way place has had on American art, featuring works by George Bellows, Marsden Hartley (born in nearby Lewiston), Charles Herbert Woodbury, William Zorach, and many others.
The Worcester Art Museum’s collection of Egyptian antiquities is often overshadowed by the extensive and monumental collections at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Jewels of the Nile: Ancient Egyptian Treasures from the Collection of the Worcester Art Museum, opening June 18, is designed to shift the spotlight a bit to Worcester while also celebrating the centennial of the rediscovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt’s celebrated Valley of the Kings.
Jewels of the Nile includes some 300 objects, from tiny beads to monumental sculptures, and also relates the story of how these objects came to Worcester. Many of them are drawn from a collection assembled by Kingsmill and Laura Marrs, who were friends of the British archaeologist Howard Carter, later famous for his Tutankhamun discovery. Carter advised them on buying antiquities, especially jewelry, which could still be legally exported. After her husband’s death, Mrs. Marrs donated the collection to the Worcester Art Museum.
Artist Katherine Bradford’s characters fly, float, swim, dive, and commune in a candy-colored cosmos inspired by her life and the lives of those who challenge society’s expectations of gender and identity. Her first solo exhibition, Flying Woman: The Paintings of Katherine Bradford, opens at the Portland Museum of Art on June 25. Organized from 1999 to the present, the show includes about 40 paintings that display Bradford’s brilliant colors, eccentric compositions, and unpredictable approach to narrative and figure painting.
Born in Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1954, fashion designer Patrick Kelly was based in Paris from 1979 until his death in 1990. But his work continually drew on his Black heritage in the American South as well as his days taking part in the New York and Paris club scenes. For all his preoccupation with Black empowerment and with pushing racial and cultural boundaries, Kelly’s brief fashion career always seemed to be about joy and love. Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love opens at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem on June 25. Originally presented by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2014 and reorganized by the de Young Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in 2021, the show includes more than 75 fully accessorized runway ensembles from 1984 to 1989.
The Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester opens Vantage Point | The View from Here on June 21. This large group show of more than 60 photographers centers on the idea of location, not just as points on a map, but as foci of remembering and identity.
— Peter Walsh
June 12 at 7 p.m.
The wonderful veteran jazz singer Meredith D’Ambrosio celebrates the release of her latest CD, Some Time Ago, a collection of standards and newer pieces, with the pianist Chris Taylor.
Kris Davis Emergence Quartet
June 12 at 4:30 p.m.
The unclassifiable pianist, composer, and label boss (Pyroclastic) Kris Davis — she’s associate program director of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice, and her Diatom Ribbons, to name one of many varied projects and collaborations, was one of the best albums of 2019 — is fronting something she calls the Emergence Quartet, with trumpeter Milena Casado, bassist Anna Abondolo, and drummer Ivanna Questa.
Porch Trio and Cutout
June 14 at 7:30 p.m.
If you missed the epic Driff Festival last week, here’s a chance to catch some of the key players from that essential Cambridge experimental jazz-improv label. First up is the Porch Trio, with Jorrit Dijkstra on lyricon and saxophones, Nathan McBride on bass and electric bass, and Eric Rosenthal on drums and percussion. They’re followed by the long-running Cutout, with Dijkstra, McBride, pianist Pandelis Karayorgis, trombonist Jeb Bishop, and drummer Luther Gray.
June 16 at 8 p.m.
Harvard-Epworth United Methodist Church, Cambridge
Keyboardist Dave Bryant, a veteran of Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time band, digs into Coleman’s sui generis language with this “harmolodic third Thursdays” series at the Harvard-Epworth Church. He’s joined for this show by saxophonist Tsuyoshi Honjo, violinist Gabriel Solomon, bassist John Turner, and drummer Curt Newton. As Bryant describes this band: “Tsuyoshi and Gabriel were students in my ensemble at the Longy School of Music. Both accomplished players in the European classical tradition, they are also very creative and adventurous improvisers. John and Curt are colleagues going back decades, wonderful musicians and good friends.” As a longtime Boston jazz fan, I vouch for Turner and Newton’s authority — and Bryant’s as well, though with Ornette’s endorsement he hardly needs mine.
Bruce Gertz Quintet
June 17 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston
The distinguished bassist and longtime Berklee prof Bruce Gertz heads up a superb quintet for this show at Scullers: saxophonist Walter Smith III, guitarist Sheryl Bailey, pianist Bruce Barth, and drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith.
June 18 at 8 p.m.
Hope Central Church, Jamaica Plain
Guitarist Mary Halvorson — whose latest CDs (two simultaneously released discs on Nonesuch) have been endorsed by no less an authority than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — tonight collaborates in a project calling itself Illegal Crowns, with frequent running partners Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet) and Tomas Fujiwara (drums), joined by the extraordinary French pianist Benoît Delbecq. Despite my foregrounding of Halvorson, this looks to be a collective endeavor of four highly complementary player/composers
Alto saxophonist Sam Spear’s “Boston Uncommon” is described as “a Musical History of Our City.” Not sure what that will entail, but it’s a provocative title. Spear is joined by guitarist Amanda Monaco and the excellent veteran rhythm team of bassist Bruno Råberg and drummer George Schuller.
Danilo Pérez and Global Messengers
June 25 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston
The visionary Panamanian pianist, composer, and educator Danilo Pérez, perhaps inspired by his early work with Dizzy Gillespie’s United Nation Jazz Orchestra, has taken an internationalist approach to jazz — founding the Panama Jazz Festival in 2003 and the Berklee Global Jazz Institute in 2009. Now, Pérez and graduates of the institute, as the Global Messengers, are celebrating the release of Crisálida. The musicians — from the United States, Palestine, Greece, Jordan, and Panama — are Pérez, singer Farayi Malek, laouto player Vasilis Kostas, violinist Layth Sidiq, cellist Naseem Alatrash, and percussionist Tareq Rantisi.
For Boston’s venerable avant-second-line brass band the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, it’s always “A Night in New Orleans,” but they wanted to make that explicit this time around. The superb players include alto saxophonist, composer, and RSE leader Ken Field, tenor sax Tom Hall, trumpeter Jerry Sabatini, trombonist Dave Harris, bassist Blake Newman, and drummer Phil Neighbors. It’s all part of the Sunday night Jazz All Ways series at Zuzu.
June 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, Mass.
Three of the most highly valued sidemen in the Boston area (all distinctive player-composers and leaders in their own right) have teamed up for this collective trio: bassist Max Ridley, pianist Kevin Harris, and drummer Tyson Jackson.
— Jon Garelick
Summer Music Festivals
The Green River Festival
Franklin County Fairgrounds, Greenfield, Mass.
Northlands Music & Arts Festival
Cheshire Fairgrounds, Swanzey, N.H.
Summer festivals hit second gear on the last weekend of June – complete with camping options. The Green River Festival used to be about both music and hot-air balloons achieving liftoff from the fields of Greenfield Community College. The balloons are long gone as Green River celebrates 35 years – and its second at the nearby Franklin County Fairgrounds, which offer more space and infrastructure. The music still shines of course, this year led by Guster, Galactic and Molly Tuttle on Friday, Lake Street Dive, Ripe and Rayland Baxter on Saturday, and Father John Misty (solo), Waxahatchee and the sublime Allison Russell on Sunday.
If jambands are more your scene, the rustic place to hit the same weekend is the Northlands Music & Arts Festival, an outgrowth of the drive-in and pod shows first staged on the sloped grass within the Cheshire Fairgrounds in Swanzey, N.H. Joe Russo’s Almost Dead tops a Friday bill with its peerless Grateful improvisations, joined by Lotus, Lettuce and Dopapod, while Saturday branches out with Twiddle, Yonder Mountain String Band, Pink Talking Fish and the Melvin Seals Grateful Revue.
— Paul Robicheau
Roots and World Music
Anastassiya Petrova – Letter to Mom, An Homage
Swedenborg Chapel, Cambridge
The highly creative pianist and organist Petrova pays tribute to her mother, who died unexpectedly this winter, with a series of duets.
Bonnie Raitt with Lucinda Williams
Leader Bank Pavilion, Boston
Raitt spent much of her career championing the elders of blues and early R&B, and now she can enjoy slipping into that role herself. Of special note is that her band now features Boston’s great guitarist Duke Levine.
John Doe Folk Trio
June 18, 7 & 9:30 p.m. shows
Club Passim, Cambridge
Truth be told, X’s creative spark disappeared years ago, but the band’s co-frontman John Doe has never ceased to be a compelling artist when he’s recording or performing on his own. Case is point is his fine new album Fables in a Foreign Land and his series of livestreams with his Folk Trio, which has now hit the road for in-person shows, including a pair at Passim.
The endlessly fun Mavericks have long had a heavy Latin tinge to their sound, yet they recently released their first all-Spanish album, appropriately titled En Español. It’s a mix of the classic songs frontman Raul Malo grew up with in a Cuban-American family in Miami, along with several originals. The band is mixing their “En Español” tracks with old favorites on this tour, which makes a pair of area stops.
The Boston Synagogue
After curating a full year of the Boston Festival of New Jewish Music, the gifted clarinetist Seelen takes the stage to premiere “The Wedding | Di Khassene,” a multi-media song cycle inspired by the voices of area seniors who were confined to their facilities during the pandemic.
Molly Tuttle & The Golden Highway
The Sinclair, Cambridge
As my Fuse colleague Scott McLennan recently wrote, guitarist Tuttle’s newest release combines her bluegrass chops with some especially strong songwriting. Considering the following her longtime collaborator Billy Strings now has, it’s possible that this will be the last time she appears in such a relatively intimate venue.
Nick Lowe with Los Straitjackets
Narrows Center, Fall River
The combination of cool, calm songwriter supreme Lowe with masked surf showmen Los Straitjackets has been a dynamite live attraction for the past seven or so years, and in 2020 they put out a fine split album, Walkabout, with both some Lowe songs and some Los Straitjackets instrumentals. Finally able to tour behind the record, they’re making up for lost time, with this headline date, a June 26 show with the Mavericks at Tanglewood, and an August 15 date opening for Elvis Costello at the Leader Bank Pavilion.
Don Randi and Quest: Good Jazzy Vibrations
June 25, 1 p.m.
Bridge Street Live, Collinsville, CT
Road trip alert: 85-year old Wrecking Crew keyboardist (and contemporary jazz pioneer) Randi is making an ultra-rare New England appearance, where he’ll recreate his parts on the hits he recorded with the Beach Boys, Righteous Brothers, Nancy Sinatra, and many more. The day after this Hartford-area show he’ll be at New Haven’s Cafe Nine for another matinee.
Bill’s Bar, Boston
It’s hard to think of another song that has had the second life of Sister Nancy’s modest ’80s reggae hit “What a Bam Bam.” The tune is now in constant demand for samples, covers, commercials, and sporting event soundtracks. And it has deservedly raised the profile of Sister Nancy, a true pioneer of the male-dominated dancehall space. Her first Boston appearance in quite some time comes courtesy of The Reggae Takeova, which is now programming Sundays at Bill’s Bar. Another female reggae pioneer, Boston’s Lady Lee, opens the night, which will have the always crucial Naya Rockers as backing band.
Lovers of Brazilian music will be delighted to hear that the City Winery has a trio of shows by noteworthy Brazilian acts, starting with Amarante, and continuing with Céu (July 5) and Bebel Gilberto (July 11). Amarante was once a modern rock star with the band Los Hermanos before relocating to Los Angeles, where his introspective solo work has made him an indie folk darling.
— Noah Schaffer
June 16 at 6 p.m.
34 Rev. Richard A Burke St., South Boston
KAIROS Dance Theater performs to live accompaniment by violinist Ilana Zaks, The Sunset Kings, and saxophonist Charles Murrell III at this celebratory event sponsored by SPOKE, which plans to transform a former maintenance building in South Boston’s Anne M. Lynch Homes at Old Colony into a community cultural hub for major art exhibitions, community programs, and cultural action. This event takes place in the now raw space, pretransformation. Enjoy art and performance, food and drink, and a brief speaking program and award presentation, followed by sweets and coffee to go.
¡Bordes! Borders! ¡Bordes!
June 17 & 18 at 8 p.m.
Dance Complex @ Canal, Cambridge
Head to the Dance Complex @ Canal in Kendall Square’s Canal District for a culmination of a yearlong creative experiment between local dancers and artists in Puerto Rico. Having worked together this past year via zoom only, the performers now come together in person for the first time. Puerto Rican composer Guarionex Morales Matos provides sound/music for this performance.
Eight Feet Tall & Jenna Moynihan
June 22 at 7:30 p.m.
First Church Cambridge
Featuring instrumentalists Dan Accardi (the Ivy Leaf) and Armand Aromin (the Ivy Leaf, the Vox Hunters) and dancers Rebecca McGowan and Jackie O’Riley (co-creators of From the Floor), Eight Feet Tall approaches Irish step dancing with an intense respect for tradition as well as contemporary rhythmic flair. Instruments, shoes, voices, and whole bodies will enter into “conversation” in this dynamic performance. A split bill, the second half of this production features freestyle fiddler Jenna Moynihan.
America(na) to Me
Ted Shawn Theatre, Becket, MA
Jacob’s Pillow presented its very first concert in the Ted Shawn Theatre in 1942, a showcase of American Folk Dances curated by Shawn that inaugurated the first theater in the United States designed for dance. America(na) to Me strives to encapsulate the artistic vibrancy of Jacob’s Pillow’s 90th Anniversary Season. This world premiere event features an expansive array of artists, including Warwick Gombey Troupe, Jasmine Hearn, Nélida Tirado, Sara Mearns & Joshua Bergasse, Alexandra Tatarsky, and Pillow commissions performed by Dormeshia & Guests and Mythili Prakash. Many of the works will also include live music, including Mythili Prakash’s accompaniment by Sushma Somasekharan, Rajna Krishnan Swaminathan, Kasi Aysola, and Ganavya Doraiswamy. Note to viewers: The program may contain moments of strong language and mature content.
Ongoing, online viewing
Engage in a cinematic opera experience with Svadba, the story of a bride-to-be on the eve of her wedding surrounded by friends and family helping her prepare for the big event. Sung completely a cappella, Svadba’s entrancing music by Serbian composer Ana Sokolović merges with dance-led visuals from film director Shura Baryshnikov and screenwriter Hannah Shepard. Slovenia-born Daniela Candillari conducts.
The Time Traveler’s Lens
Ongoing, online viewing
Hailed as “groundbreaking” (MidJersey News) and a “unique interdisciplinary work” (Town Topics), The Time Traveler’s Lens combines dance, film, technology, and history to engage viewers in a 360-degree virtual reality performance that is amazingly intimate — the viewer is placed in the center of the action. Experience five virtual reality works unfolding spherically around you on your own mobile device. You are the time traveler, you control the lens — Luminarium Dance Company provides five worlds of illusion.
— Merli V. Guerra
Steve Adelman with Bethany Van Delft – brookline booksmith<
Nocturnal Admissions: Behind the Scenes at Tunnel, Limelight, Avalon, and Other Legendary Nightclubs
June 17 at 6 p.m.
“Steve Adelman’s humorous and engaging memoir reflects on his years as the director and owner of some of the world’s most popular nightclubs, including the Roxy, Limelight, Tunnel, and Palladium in the heyday of clubs in New York City during the 1980s and 1990s, followed by Avalon (Boston, Hollywood, NYC, and Singapore locations), and the New Daisy Theatre in Memphis. Nocturnal Admissions is a timely, unconventional look at one of pop culture’s most outwardly glamorous, yet misunderstood industries, bringing the reader backstage into the world of nightlife at its highest level.”
David Duchovny at the Brattle Theatre – Harvard Book Store
The Reservoir: A Novel
June 13 at 6 p.m. (Doors open at 5:30)
Tickets are $27.75, including book
“The Reservoir follows an unexceptional man in an exceptional time. We see our present-day pandemic world and New York City through the eyes of a former Wall Street veteran, Ridley, as he looks back upon his life in his enforced quarantine solitude, wondering what it all means and who he really is.”
Ada Calhoun with Alysia Abbott, Also A Poet – Porter Square Books
June 15 at 7 p.m.
“When Ada Calhoun stumbled upon old cassette tapes of interviews her father, celebrated art critic Peter Schjeldahl, had conducted for his never-completed biography of poet Frank O’Hara, she set out to finish the book her father had started forty years earlier.
As a lifelong O’Hara fan who grew up amid his bohemian cohort in the East Village, Calhoun thought the project would be easy, even fun, but the deeper she dove, the more she had to face not just O’Hara’s past, but also her father’s, and her own.”
Jack Parlett at Harvard Book Store – Harvard Book Store
Fire Island: A Century in the Life of an American Paradise
June 15 at 7 p.m.
“Poet and scholar Jack Parlett tells the story of this iconic destination—its history, its meaning and its cultural significance—told through the lens of the artists and creators who sought refuge on its shores. Together, figures as divergent as Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde, James Baldwin, Carson McCullers, Frank O’Hara, Patricia Highsmith and Jeremy O. Harris tell the story of a queer space in constant evolution. Transporting, impeccably researched and gorgeously written, Fire Island is the definitive book on an iconic American destination and an essential contribution to queer history.”
Kitty Beer — Porter Square Books
Marriages and Other Dilemmas
June 17 at 7 p.m.
“Kitty Beer balances 16 short stories with a 50 page memoir. With heroines of every age, the stories are dynamic, dark, sexy, and humorous, and the frank and open memoir adds insight to the experience. In the stories, she explores consequential events in the lives of ordinary people, revealing her love for life and the idiosyncrasies that make life profoundly interesting.
Crisp writing and a jaunty tone take the reader on a journey to the outer edges of desire, love and revenge. In her memoir, Beer takes an honest and insightful look back on her life, filled with “mistakes, thrills, fears, bliss, and delusion,” overcoming the grief of misfortune with good nature and resoluteness. While Beer’s trio of thriller novels reflect on her passion for the environment, Marriages and Other Dilemmas skillfully reflects on her personal life and observations of the world around her.”
AGNI’s 50 Years: Editor-at-Large Julia Brown with Sara Majka – brookline booksmith
June 20 at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $5
“Throughout 2022, AGNI and Brookline Booksmith are celebrating AGNI’s 50th with a series of six intimate virtual conversations, all on Mondays at 8 PM ET. Each will pair one of the journal’s editors with a contributor whose work defines, for them, the ever-evolving AGNI aesthetic. On June 20th, editor-at-large Julia Brown engages story-writer Sara Majka, a stylist with a penchant for moving nonchalantly into bouts of surprise.
Ottessa Moshfegh at the Brattle Theatre – Harvard Book Store
Lapvona: A Novel
June 24 at 6 p.m. (Doors open at 5:30)
Tickets are $28.75 with book, $6 without
“No one is quite who he first seems in the latest wicked tale from macabre master Moshfegh . . . Sculpting an eerily canny fabular world of contrasts and evil, cartoonish cruelty, in her signature way, Moshfegh conjures a grotesque, disturbing story of gross inequality and senseless strife.” —Booklist
Dr. Ibram X. Kendi – brookline booksmith
How to Raise an Antiracist
June 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $35
“Following the accessible genre of his internationally bestselling How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi combines a century of scientific research with a vulnerable and compelling personal narrative of his own journey as a parent and as a child in school. The chapters follow the stages of child development from pregnancy to toddler to schoolkid to teenager. It is never too early or late to start raising young people to be antiracist.”
— Matt Hanson