Coming Attractions: September 25 through October 11 — What Will Light Your Fire
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. More offerings will be added as they come in.
Dinner in America
September 26 at 7 p.m.
Somerville Theatre in Davis Square
An on-the-lam punk rocker and a young woman obsessed with his band unexpectedly fall in love and go on an epic journey together through America’s decaying Midwestern suburbs. Dinner in America premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2020 and was released briefly earlier this year. One night only.
Cruising starred Al Pacino and was directed by William Friedkin (Exorcist). The film was initially accused of being homophobic, but opinions on the film have evolved over time with critics and historians citing its place in queer cinema history. Select filmmakers, including Quentin Tarantino, the Safdie brothers, and others, name it among their influences.
Windows is a 1980 thriller and the only film directed by the great cinematographer Gordon Willis. It stars Talia Shire as a woman who becomes the obsession of her next-door neighbor. Windows was protested–– also accused of being homophobic and resorting to hateful stereotypes of lesbians. Willis later called the film a mistake.
The theater’s statement: “We’re playing these films in the days before the new movie Bros opens, reflecting on how Hollywood perceives gay culture, both 40+ years ago, and now today.”
Manhattan Short Film Festival 2022
Regent Theatre in Arlington
September 27-October 2
The Regent Theatre once again brings this global festival to town for its 25th year. Screenings occur simultaneously throughout the world, ranging from Sydney, Mumbai, and Moscow to Vienna, Cape Town, and all 50 states. 100,000 film lovers in over 500 cities across six continents in cinemas, museums, libraries, and universities see the entries. Audiences are invited to select their favorites. Tickets
Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler
September 28 at 6 p.m.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge
Fritz Lang’s 1922 silent film masterpiece, based on the pulp novel by Norbert Jacques, follows the devious schemes of criminal mastermind Dr. Mabuse, who uses disguises and hypnosis, as well as an assortment of henchmen, to amass a fortune. Gambling and murder factor heavily into his plans. Though the villain is careful to cover his tracks, a resourceful police inspector is determined to put the diabolical Mabuse behind bars.
Buster Keaton’s Cops (and more)
September 29 at 8 p.m.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge
Silent Movie Day celebrates the 100th anniversary of Buster Keaton’s amazing Cops. In this two-reeler, Buster plays his usual hapless and innocent Everyman, though in this case the guy finds himself chased all over town by every cop on the force. Screening with other classic Keaton shorts The Electric House (1922), The Blacksmith (1922), and The Goat (1921).
Cinefest Latino Boston
September 29, 30, and October 2
Bright Family Screening and Coolidge Corner
Three films over three nights examine the complex issues affecting the Latinx community in the United States, as well as communities in Latin America and Spain.
Fly So Far Thursday: 9/2 at 7 p.m., followed by a conversation on abortion access. After serving 10 years behind bars for her miscarriage, considered by her government to be an act of aggravated murder, Teodora Vásquez becomes a spokesperson for the other 16 Salvadoran women then behind bars for the same “crime.” At the Bright Family Screening Room, The Paramount Center.
Utama 9/30 at 7 p.m.: In the Bolivian highlands, an elderly Quechua couple has been living the same daily life for years. During an uncommonly long drought, Virginio and his wife (Sisa) face a dilemma: resist or be defeated by the environment and time itself. Features the actual couple playing themselves. At the Bright Family Screening Room, The Paramount Center.
El Rey de Todo el Mundo (The King of All the World): 10/2 at 2 p.m. Written and directed by Carlos Saura, this musical drama was produced via a Spanish and Mexican collaboration. The 42nd Street–inspired plot: “Manuel, a famous stage director, is preparing his next show, a musical about making a musical show. He seeks the help of Sara, a renowned choreographer and ex-wife, to help him cast and direct. During the casting process, the young dancer Ines will appear as the new rising star. She will bring her father into the story, a dubious character who has dangerous dealings with the local mob.” At the Coolidge Corner Theatre.
Kendal Mountain Tour
October 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Regent Theatre in Arlington
Stories of travelers, athletes, activists, and creatives via some thought-provoking films.
2022 Lonely Seal International Film, Screenplay & Music Festival
Regent Theatre in Arlington
The festival showcases “stories aching to be told.” This year there will be a special focus on on female directors, as well as on LGBTQIA, minority, indigenous, and disabled filmmakers.
New Hampshire Film Festival
October 6 – 9
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
The festival will present over 100 independent films from around the world as well as movies by New Hampshire filmmakers. Leading titles include Sundance Festival Selection Julian Higgins’s God’s Country, as well as Stephen Frears’s The Lost King, Charlotte Wells’s Aftersun, and Cristian Mungiu’s R.M.N. The festival is also delighted to showcase local filmmaker Mark Hevesh’s Lily Topples The World, Laina Barakat’s Light Attaching to a Girl, Iyabo Kwayama’s By Water, and Gordon LePage’s A Change of Song and Dragon Poets of Boston. In addition, there will be conversations with film industry experts, parties, and more. Film and Event Venues List of Films Schedule
Pick of the Week
Now Playing on Netflix
This Hindi film is being marketed as an actioner about “a fearless warrior on a perilous mission [who] comes face to face with a steely cop serving British forces in this epic saga set in pre-independent India.” That barely scratches the surface of this gonzo epic, which is set to a wild percussive orchestral soundtrack. The dazzling special effects propel a story line that’s inspired by Hindu mythology. Take it from me, the three-hour running time will fly by. Imaginative battle scenes filled with fire, wild animals, and outrageous athleticism alternate with moments of quiet drama. It is currently one of the top 10 most popular films in 62 countries. Get out your popcorn and settle back!
— 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.
Describe the Night by Rajiv Joseph. Directed by Tony Estrella. Staged at The Gamm Theatre, 1245 Jefferson Blvd., Warwick, RI, through October 9.
“In 1920, the Russian writer Isaac Babel wanders the countryside with the Red Cavalry. In 1989, a mysterious KGB agent and future Russian president spies on a woman in Dresden and falls in love. In 2010, an aircraft carrying most of the Polish government crashes in the Russian city of Smolensk. Spanning 90 years, this Obie award-winning script from the author of Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo traces the stories of eight men and women connected by history, myth, and conspiracy.”
All of Me by Laura Winters. Directed by Ashley Brooke Monroe. Staged by Barrington Stage Company at the Boyd-Quinson Stage, 30 Union Street, Pittsfield, MA, September 21 through October 9.
The plot of this world premiere production: “Boy meets girl. Boy uses wheelchair, girl uses scooter. Boy and girl use text-to-speech technology to connect to each other and the world around them. Love is holding them together even when the people in their lives want to pull them apart. It’s a romantic coming-of-age story that hasn’t been seen before.” Winner of the 2021 Burman New Play Award.
The Great Leap by Lauren Yee. Directed by Natsu Onoda Power. Staged by Portland Stage, Portland, ME, September 14 through October 2.
The plot: “Manford is 5’5″, Chinese American, and desperate to make it onto the USF basketball team. If he can run the court as well as he runs his mouth, he might have a shot. Against his better judgment, Saul Slezac, the man who brought basketball to China, brings Manford to Beijing for a friendship game in the summer of 1989.”
Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine by Lynn Nottage. Directed by Dawn M. Simmons. Staged by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston at 140 Clarendon Street, 2nd Floor, Boston, through October 9.
A satiric comedy from a Pulitzer prize-winning playwright: “Success. Love. Fabulous wardrobe. Undine has it all. Until her husband steals her hard-earned fortune, sending her tumbling down the social ladder. Pregnant and penniless, with life unraveling at every turn, Undine is forced to return home to Brooklyn and the family she left behind, in a complicated new reality.”
Heroes of the Fourth Turning by Will Arbery. Directed by Marianna Bassham. Staged by Speakeasy Stage at the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, in Boston’s South End, through October 8.
A Boston premiere: “One week after the Charlottesville riots in 2017, four friends gather in a Wyoming backyard to gossip and reminisce. They’ve assembled to honor Gina, their mentor and the newly inaugurated president of a far-right Catholic university, of which they are all alumni. But as their celebration continues deep into the night, the reunion explodes into vicious insults, political accusations, and stunning revelations.” Arts Fuse review
Ada and the Engine by Lauren Gunderson. Directed by Debra Wise. A Brit d’Arbeloff Women in Science Production and Catalyst Collaborative@MIT Production at the Central Square Theater, Cambridge, through October 23.
The plot of this historical drama: “1830. Britain’s Industrial Revolution has dawned. The fiery, brilliant Ada Byron Lovelace, is the author of the first computer program and daughter of Lord Byron (yes, that Lord Byron). At 17 she befriends Charles Babbage, salon host and inventor of the first mechanical computer. What follows is a tempestuous collaboration wherein they envision a future where a ‘thinking engine’ completes complex calculations.”
Silhouette of a Silhouette by Rose Weaver. Directed by Don Mays. Staged by the Wilbury Theatre Group at 475 Valley Street, Providence, September 30 through October 16.
The world premiere of a play based on acclaimed and award-winning Rhode Island actress Rose Weaver’s life, with threads of magical realism. “It is a story of redemption and hope inspired by loss, and told through music, song, and scenes — the story of a family struck by tragedy, and how to pick up the pieces up and move forward.”
Golden Leaf Ragtime Blues by Charles Smith. Directed by Raz Golden. Staged by Shakespeare & Company at the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, 70 Kemble Street, Lenox, MA, through October 30.
“The story of a young African American boy and an aging vaudevillian thrown together in circumstances beyond their control, Golden Leaf Ragtime Blues explores their unusual connection, as discovered through stories and music — illustrating how our basic needs and human emotions cut across the barriers of race, religion, and age.”
Seascape by Edward Albee. Directed by Eric Hill. Staged by the Berkshire Theatre Group at The Unicorn Theatre on the Larry Vaber Stage, Stockbridge, September 29 through October 23.
Albee’s wryly amusing and moving 1975 excursion into magic realism — a surrealistic burlesque of evolution: “Nancy and Charlie, a middle-aged couple, on a deserted stretch of beach, relaxing after a picnic lunch, talking idly about home, family and their life together. She sketches, he naps, and then, suddenly, they are joined by two lizards who have decided to leave the ocean depths and come ashore.”
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woof? by Edward Albee. Directed by James Bundy. Staged by Yale Rep at the Yale Chapel Theater, 1120 Chapel Street, New Haven, October 6 through 29.
Another terrific Albee play about couples and the breakdown of manners and morals.”It’s 2 a.m. and George and Martha are just getting started. The middle-aged married couple, a once-promising historian and his boss’s frustrated daughter, welcome a younger professor and his wife for a nightcap — only to ensnare them in increasingly dangerous rounds of fun and games. An unblinking portrait of two American marriages.”
Eat Your Young by J.C. Pankratz. Directed by Shamus. A BU New Play Initiative production, produced by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and the Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Theatre at 949 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, October 6 through 16.
The script “is about four mismatched teens enrolled together in a new-age wilderness therapy program. They quickly realize they must band together to survive — but is the enemy the natural world, the program itself … or something a little more sinister?”
Drumfolk staged and performed by Step Afrika! at the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre, October 5 through 16.
This “percussive celebration” of American history “is inspired by The Stono Rebellion of 1739, an uprising initiated by 20 enslaved Africans who used their drums to start a revolt in South Carolina. The rebellion was suppressed, and the Negro Act of 1740 took away the rights to assemble, read, and use drums from the African people. The production takes audiences on a journey from the then-colony of South Carolina in the 17th century to the present day, where the instrument has shaped new art forms like hip hop and African American social dance.”
— Bill Marx
The island of New Ireland, now part of Papua, New Guinea, has a history dating back more than 30,000 years, when people sailed there from nearby New Guinea. The New Ireland objects in Masks of Memories Art and Ceremony in Nineteenth-Century Oceania, which opens on October 6 at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, were donated to Bowdoin in 1898, when the island was part of Germany’s overseas colonial empire, by Harold Sewall, a native of Bath, Maine, who served as US Consul General to Samoa and minister to Hawaii in the late 19th century. The dramatic and elaborately decorated masks were made in the early to late 19th century for performances at funeral ceremonies on New Ireland. The show explores the cultural significance and ephemeral qualities of the masks and the colonial networks that brought them into European and American collections.
The Colby College Museum of Art was founded only in 1959 but in recent decades it has grown to be one of the leading college art museums in the United States. Time and Tide Flow Wide: The Collection in Context, 1959-1973, explores the development of a fledgling but ambitious teaching institution from its creation to the opening of its first major expansion. The exhibition is the latest in a series mounted mostly by college and university museums that explore the development of art museums from social, economic, and political perspectives and reveal chapters of museum history usually unknown to the casual visitor. The title of the show, which opens on September 27, is taken from Moby-Dick and is meant to suggest the complex interplay of relationships and events that make up history, whose telling is “forever incomplete.”
The French word for woman, femme, has been variously used in American Lesbian communities since the ’40s, especially to represent Lesbian women who appear and behave in traditionally feminine ways. In “Femme Is Fierce: Femme Queer Gender Performance in Photography, opening at Dartmouth College’s Hood Museum on October 1, the term is expanded to explore how “femme” is about more than fragility or passivity. It is a performance that people across genders, queer orientations, races, ethnicities, and periods in history have used to take on feminine manners, costume, and imagery. Strength is not only found in the masculine. The photographs in the show include work by Laura Aguilar, Andy Warhol, Darryl DeAngelo Terrell, and others who work on this theme of femme identity.
Everyone knows that the delights and traumas of childhood form a major stream in literary history, from Huckleberry Finn to Alice in Wonderland, from David Copperfield to The Turn of the Screw and The Catcher in the Rye. But childhood is underexplored in art history, or so claim the organizers of To Begin Again: Artists and Childhood, which opens at the ICA Boston on October 6. The exhibition of more than 75 works features painting, sculpture, photography, video, and installation by 40 artists, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Paul Klee, Faith Ringgold, Jordan Casteel, and Sable Elyse Smith, as well as 20 works made by young people. The show is designed, its organizers say, to open up narratives about “modernism, innocence, and the institutional structures surrounding childhood.” Years in the making, To Begin Again promises an innovative installation incorporating different reading levels, lower hanging heights, interactive drawing and reading spaces, and special programming to help make the museum “an inter-generational gathering space.”
— Peter Walsh
Yoko Miwa Trio
September 30 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston
Pianist and composer Yoko Miwa has built an audience through various restaurant gigs in the Boston area over the past couple of decades, but it’s these club shows that her fans cherish: where all the attention is focused on the music. Miwa has earned that attention with her blend of lyricism and power, and her singular mix of standards, originals, and surprising arrangements of ’60s and ’70s folk and pop. Her “pandemic album,” Songs of Joy, was one of last year’s standouts, with a ferocious take on Richie Havens’s “Freedom.” (Arts Fuse review) The trio includes bassist Brad Barrett and drummer Scott Goulding. (Note: tickets are almost sold out; there may be a few at the door. Check with the club.)
Aardvark Jazz Orchestra
October 1 at 7:30
Kresge Auditorium, MIT, Cambridge
As has long been its practice, the magnificent Aardvark Jazz Orchestra opens its 50th season addressing “themes of social consciousness, spirituality, and Boston cultural history.” On the bill are Duke Ellington’s “It’s Freedom,” from the “Second Sacred Concert,” as well as Aardvark music director Mark Harvey’s “Faces of Soul,” inspired by the Civil War memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment on Boston Common, and “American Agonistes,” which channels the moods of our historical moment. The superb singer Grace Hughes handles vocals. Also expect a commemoration of Harvey’s retirement from MIT after 40 years on the music faculty. This presentation, by MIT Music & Theater Arts, is free.
Listen to This
October 1 at 7:30 p.m.
Picking their name from a tossed-off comment by Miles Davis, this group of musicians is exploring the music of the master from the time of In a Silent Way to On the Corner and Agartha (roughly 1969-75), arguably the most fertile years of his electric bands — as the band says, “heavy funk grooves, free jazz abandon, psychedelic rock electricity.” The band includes Jerome Deupree, Russ Gershon, Rick McLaughlin, J. Johnson, Bryan Murphy, Rick Barry, Dave Bryant, and Todd Brunel.
(Gershon also bring his “bugalú” outfit Lookie Lookie to The Dance Hall in Kittery, Maine on October 15. The style “fuses mambo, with elements of soul, rock, and pop.”)
Various Locations, Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville, MA
The “activist street-band” festival, born in Somerville, invades Boston/Camberville for this 17th annual event, with 20-plus bands from all over the world, including Banda Rim Bam Bum, from Santiago, Chile (showcased October 6, 6:30 p.m., at the Cambridge Public Library Main Branch), the NOLA-based Young Fellaz Brass Band, and plenty of locals, including HONK! originators the Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band. Events include a Friday evening Lantern Parade though Davis Square, a parade from Davis Square to Harvard Square (for Oktoberfest) on Sunday, and continuous performances in Davis Square and Harvard Square on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, respectively.
Maria Schneider Orchestra
October 7 at 8 p.m.
Sanders Theatre, Cambridge
Maria Schneider’s double-CD recording of Data Lords swept multiple awards, including a Grammy for large ensemble jazz, when it was released in 2020. The drama enacted by the piece is the relationship between our pervasive digital environment and the natural world, performed by a cast of superb players who at this point know Schneider as well as she knows them. Orchestral jazz doesn’t get any better than this.
October 8 at 8 p.m.
Cary Memorial Hall, Lexington
Singer, songwriter, and alto saxophonist Grace Kelly seems to be pushing her pop chops with “We Will Rise,” the first single from her forthcoming All That I Need (scheduled for November release), but her jazz bona fides as a jazz saxophonist remain impeccable. It seems her tenure with Jon Batiste’s Stay Human has served her well. Here’s a chance to catch up with her if you missed her recent barnstorming shows at City Winery or Rockport Music.
Adam O’Farrill & Stranger Days
October 9 at 8 p.m.
Hope Central Church, Jamaica Plain, MA
The phenomenal 28-year-old trumpeter and composer Adam O’Farrill has been making waves as a sideman with Rudresh Mahanthappa and Mary Halvorson and with his own band, Stranger Days. That band’s latest, Visions of Your Other, was one of the best jazz releases of 2021 — a combination of tight scripting and ecstatic freedom informed by virtuoso playing on all sides. (Arts Fuse review) The band also includes tenor saxophonist Xavier Del Castillo, bassist Walter Stinson, and drummer Zack O’Farrill (the trumpeter’s older brother).
— Jon Garelick
Roots and World Music
Thee Sacred Souls
Once the home of the late beloved Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley, the Daptone label has been taking a deep dive into the vibrant Southern California Chicano soul scene with its Primrose imprint. One of the best of those bands is Thee Sacred Souls, a young crew who deliver dreamy soul ballads of the sort that have been lowrider favorites for decades.
In the ’90s an exciting crop of young country stars turned back the clock 30 years to the great honky tonk sounds of the ’60s. So it makes sense that today’s country traditionalists are going back 30 years — to the ’90s. That sound is at the center of Nashville honky tonk mainstay Hedley’s new album Neon Blue, which will please any fan of Alan Jackson or of George Strait’s finest moments.
The Great Northeast Jug Band Festival
Arlington Center for the Arts, Arlington, MA
It’s been a century since artists like Gus Cannon first popularized the jug band, the generally upbeat early jazz/blues outfits that featured an instrumentalist blowing into a jug, along with other homemade instruments. Boston was the center of the ’60s jug band revival thanks to Jim Kweskin’s outfit, and the tradition is still going strong, as proven by this free afternoon of four local and visiting jug outfits, including Boston’s Busted Jug Band.
The Electric Heaters
Bone Up, Everett, MA
Matt Heaton might be best known as half of the Celtic duo he has established with his wife Shannon. But he’s also a gnarly surf guitarist, and his Electric Heaters are celebrating their first studio album, From the Film of the Same Name, a collection of instrumentals that originally appeared in long-forgotten B-films.
Berklee Performance Center, Boston
One of the all-time legends of Brazilian music, Nascimento is on what he claims will be his farewell tour. Not surprisingly, only a handful of tickets for this Global Arts Live concert are still available.
— Noah Schaffer
Muse Stew at the ACA: An Evening of Brazilian Music
September 30, 8 p.m.
Arlington Center for the Arts, Arlington, MA
“Muse Stew will be joined by special guest vocalist (Arts Fuse writer/editor) Evelyn Rosenthal to present an evening of Brazilian music. The performance will include compositions by Ivan Lins, A.C. Jobim, Sérgio Mendes, Baden Powell, Mauricio Einhorn/Durval Ferreira, Vinícius & Toquinho, and Wayne Shorter.
“The show is dedicated to the memory of David Rumpler, with whom we shared a passion for Brazilian music and jazz in general — as a performer and a teacher. Most recently, he had taught Brazilian music at Morningside Studios in Arlington. He died in May.”
— Bill Marx
Motion State Dance Film Series
Season 5 Launch!
September 30 at 7:30 p.m.
The Courtyard at The Plant
Head to Rhode Island for the fifth season of the Motion State Dance Film Series. This year’s festival features contemporary dance films from Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the USA. Marketed as the only year-long, traveling short film festival in New England devoted to showcasing choreography for the camera, Motion State Dance Film Series presents its Season 5 launch event outdoors for free (you’re encouraged to bring lawn chairs!).
October 1 at 1 p.m. (Rain date: October 2 at 1 p.m.
Kendall Square’s Canal District
Newly formed arts collective The Click launches its first project: an immersive, augmented reality dance experience titled Emotive Land. This new performance employs dance, music, film, and technology in an AR experience that investigates a growing need for harmony among art, culture, innovation, and nature while animating the natural and built environments of the tech-focused neighborhood. A one-hour free live performance — during which live dancers will move and engage with digital content at sites along the water — celebrates the app launch.
Ohke Kah Nippi Mehquontamūonk / Earth and Water Memory
October 6 at 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.; Artist Talk: 7 p.m.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Head to the Gardner for film screenings of Ohke Kah Nippi Mehquontamuonk / Earth and Water Memory, a new film produced and directed by local artist Mar Parrilla, featuring performances and choreography by Parilla, Jenny Oliver, and Andre Strongbearheart Gaines Jr., and cinematography by Daniel Callahan and Aric Crow Peña. Indigenous artist collaborators talk about their relationship to earth, water, and memory, and how they explored these elements in making their film during a 7 p.m. talkback with director Mar Parrilla, artist Andre Strongbearheart Gaines Jr., and cinematographer Daniel Callahan.
October 7 & 8 at 8 p.m.
Boston Center for the Arts
Jump into a three-ring exploration of the mundane at Common Circus, in which common tasks and notions are examined through a lens of performance and spectacle. In this spectacle, Luminarium Dance Company questions what it would be like to throw such rote tasks as frying an egg into the three-ring environment. This project is made possible due to the Boston Dancemakers Residency, a joint venture of the Boston Dance Alliance and Boston Center for the Arts. A talkback with the cast and creative team follows the Friday night performance.
— Merli V. Guerra
Wang plays Shostakovich
Presented by Boston Symphony Orchestra
September 29 (at 7:30 p.m.), 30 (at 1:30 p.m.), and October 1 (at 8 p.m.)
Symphony Hall, Boston
Pianist Yuja Wangjoins the BSO for both of Dmitri Shostakovich’s piano concertos, which are being recorded as part of the ensemble’s ongoing survey of that composer’s major works. Also on tap are Haydn’s Symphony No. 100 and a new commission from Iman Habibi.
— Jonathan Blumhofer
Elizabeth Strout at the Brattle Theatre – Harvard Book Store
Lucy by the Sea: A Novel
September 26 at 6 p.m.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge
Tickets are $29.75 with book, $6 without
“As a panicked world goes into lockdown, Lucy Barton is uprooted from her life in Manhattan and bundled away to a small town in Maine by her ex-husband and on-again, off-again friend, William. For the next several months, it’s just Lucy, William, and their complex past together in a little house nestled against the moody, swirling sea.”
Andrew Sean Greer – brookline booksmith
Less Is Lost
September 26 at 6 p.m.
Tickets are$ 38 with book, $10 without
“In the ‘wildly, painfully, funny’ (David Sedaris) follow-up to the best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning Less: A Novel, the awkward and lovable Arthur Less returns on an unforgettable road trip across America. ‘Go get lost somewhere, it always does you good.’
“For Arthur Less, life is going surprisingly well: he is a moderately accomplished novelist in a steady relationship with his partner, Freddy Pelu. But nothing lasts: the death of an old lover and a sudden financial crisis has Less running away from his problems yet again as he accepts a series of literary gigs that send him on a zigzagging adventure across the US.”
Margaret A. Burnham at the Brattle Theatre – Harvard Book Store
By Hands Now Known: Jim Crow’s Legal Executioners
September 27 at 6 p.m. (Doors at 5:30)
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge
Tickets are $32 with book, $6 without
“In By Hands Now Known, Margaret A. Burnham, director of Northeastern University’s Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project, challenges our understanding of the Jim Crow era by exploring the relationship between formal law and background legal norms in a series of harrowing cases from 1920 to 1960. From rendition, the legal process by which states make claims to other states for the return of their citizens, to battles over state and federal jurisdiction and the outsize role of local sheriffs in enforcing racial hierarchy, Burnham maps the criminal legal system in the mid-20th-century South, and traces the unremitting line from slavery to the legal structures of this period and through to today.
“Drawing on an extensive database, collected over more than a decade and exceeding 1,000 cases of racial violence, she reveals the true legal system of Jim Crow, and captures the memories of those whose stories have not yet been heard.”
Laura Warrell w/ Steve Almond – Porter Square Books
Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm
September 30 at 7 p.m.
“It’s 2013, and Circus Palmer, a 40-year-old Boston-based trumpet player and old-school ladies’ man, lives for his music and refuses to be tied down. Before a gig in Miami, he learns that the woman who is secretly closest to his heart, the free-spirited drummer Maggie, is pregnant by him.
Instead of facing the necessary conversation, Circus flees, setting off a chain of interlocking revelations from the various women in his life. Most notable among them is his teenage daughter, Koko, who idolizes him and is awakening to her own sexuality even as her mentally fragile mother struggles to overcome her long-failed marriage and rejection by Circus.”
Terry Brooks with R. A. Salvatore – Porter Square Books
Daughter of Darkness
October 3 at 7 p.m.
“The thrilling second novel of an all-new fantasy series from the legendary author behind the Shannara saga, about a human girl adapting to her place in a magical world she’s only recently discovered
It’s been two years since Auris escaped from the sinister Goblin prison and learned of her heritage as one of the Fae. She is now happily partnered with her Fae lover, Harrow, and deeply bonded with her new family. All seems to be going perfectly — until, surprisingly, the Goblin attacks begin again. Someone, it seems, has not forgotten that Auris exists and seems determined to retrieve her … but who? And why?”
Kieran Setiya with John Kaag – brookline booksmith
Life Is Hard: How Philosophy Can Help Us Find Our Way
October 7 at 7 p.m.
“In this profound and personal book, Setiya shows how the tools of philosophy can help us find our way. Drawing on ancient and modern philosophy as well as fiction, history, memoir, film, comedy, social science, and stories from Setiya’s own experience, Life Is Hard is a book for this moment — a work of solace and compassion.
“Warm, accessible, and good-humored, this book is about making the best of a bad lot. It offers guidance for coping with pain and making new friends, for grieving the lost and failing with grace, for confronting injustice and searching for meaning in life. Countering pop psychologists and online influencers who admonish us to ‘find our bliss’ and ‘live our best lives,’ Setiya acknowledges that the best is often out of reach. Instead, he asks how we can weather life’s adversities, finding hope and living well when life is hard.”
Robert Pinsky at Harvard Book Store – Harvard Book Store
Jersey Breaks: Becoming An American Poet
October 11 at 7 p.m.
“Pinsky traces the roots of his poetry, with its wide and fearless range, back to the voices of his neighborhood, to music and a distinctly American tradition of improvisation, with influences including Mark Twain and Ray Charles, Marianne Moore and Mel Brooks, Emily Dickinson and Sid Caesar, Dante Alighieri and the Orthodox Jewish liturgy. He reflects on how writing poetry helped him make sense of life’s challenges, such as his mother’s traumatic brain injury, and on his notable public presence, including an unprecedented three terms as United States poet laureate. Candid, engaging, and wry, Jersey Breaks offers an intimate self-portrait and a unique poetic understanding of American culture.”
WBUR CitySpace: Maggie Haberman – brookline booksmith
Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America
October 12 at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets are $47 with book, $15 without
“Journalist Maggie Haberman’s reporting on Donald Trump’s presidency captivated countless readers during his four tumultuous years. She and a team at the New York Times were also awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for their reporting on the investigations into Trump and his advisers’ connections to Russia. But Haberman chronicled Trump for years before his White House run and may be one of just a few journalists to understand him, his motivations, and perhaps what makes the 45th President tick.”
— Matt Hanson