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.
Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon
Brattle Theater in Cambridge
October 9 & 10
When a struggling single mother (Kate Hudson) befriends a mysterious mental institute escapee with supernatural powers (Jun Jong Seo), she sees a lucrative opportunity to make some fast cash. But when they draw the attention of a detective (Craig Robinson), their luck starts to run out as the cops close in on their crime spree. “This movie is like existentialist art, discovering its own meaning in the moment with each step its heroine takes” (LA Times). Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night).
Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth To Power
October 13 at 6:45 p.m.
Somerville Theater in Davis Square
Join congresswoman Ayanna Pressley for a special screening
Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power tells the complex story of Representative Barbara Lee, a steadfast voice for human rights, peace and equality in the US Congress for over two decades, who raised two sons as a single mother on food stamps and was the lone vote in opposition to the broad authorization of military force following the September 11th attacks. Sen. Cory Booker, Rep. John Lewis, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, commentator Van Jones, actor Danny Glover, and author Alice Walker all share insights about what makes Barbara Lee unique as a public servant and as a truth-telling African American woman.
Boston Palestine Film Festival
Museum of Fine Arts
BPFF returns with its 16th annual festival with a hybrid format — both live and streaming options. The festival opens with Farha, which is based on a true story that happened at the onset of the Palestinian Nakba in 1948.
The closing film is The Stranger, Palestine’s entry for the 94th Academy Awards. Both films will only be available via a one-time live screening.
Other features include Salma’s Home by Boston filmmaker Hanadi Elyan (in person Q&A) and the documentary Boycott by Julia Bacha (with Q&A)
Other offerings: Little Palestine, Diary of a Siege; Huda’s Salon; The Devil’s Drivers (Arts Fuse review)
GlobeDocs Film Festival
Brattle and Coolidge Theaters
GlobeDocs celebrates the true stories told in documentary films, and the artists and visionaries who bring them to life with both in-person and virtual film screenings. This year there are six feature-length documentary films, 10 documentary shorts (comprising two shorts programs), and lively post-film conversations hosted by Boston Globe journalists to bring the community together and foster an open dialogue. Complete Film List Virtual Tickets In Person Tickets
Boston Asian American Film Festival
Emerson Paramount Theatre & Brattle Theatre
BAAFF builds community and empowers Asian Americans through film by showcasing Asian American experiences and serving as a resource to filmmakers and Greater Boston. It will run with an extended streaming period for the virtual shorts programs October 21–31. All in person events will be held at the Emerson Paramount Center. Opening Night at the Brattle Theatre is Dealing with Dad on October 10 at 7 p.m. Film Listings Tickets
The Girl with the Golden Hands
October 23 at 11 a.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre
East Germany, in autumn 1999. Gudrun Pfaff is about to turn 60 when she finds out that the orphanage she grew up in is being sold to turn into a hotel, and she is willing to do anything to stop it. The townspeople, meanwhile, show nothing but contempt for her. They all want the new hotel. In the end, Lara and Gudrun’s husband Werner, and a final deed, are all that can help broken Gudrun. A Goethe Institute Sunday presentation.
Pick of the Week
There are many Limited Series on cable platforms whose extended story lines, production values, and performances are worth the binge. Black Bird, a six-episode drama, is based on the true story of Jimmy Keene, son of a police officer, who is given a 10-year sentence for dealing cocaine and harboring weapons. He is offered commutation if he can elicit a confession from suspected serial killer Larry Hall, who is incarcerated in a prison for inmates with mental illness. As Keene, Taron Egerton does a 180-degree turn from his role as Elton John in Rocketman. Paul Walter Hauser (Tanya, Richard Jewell) is the best reason to watch. His unsettling tour-de-force performance as Hall is one of the year’s best. It also stars the late Ray Liotta and Greg Kinnear.
— 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.
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.” Arts Fuse review
Silhouette of a Silhouette by Rose Weaver. Directed by Don Mays. Staged by the Wilbury Theatre Group at 475 Valley Street, Providence, 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, 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, through October 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, through October 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, through October 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.”
Macbeth by William Shakespeare. Adapted and originally directed by Lee Sunday Evans. Directed by Rosa Joshi. Original Music by Heather Christian. Staged by the Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Lowell, 50 East Merrimack Street, October 20 through November 6.
An adaptation this way comes. “In this brisk version of Macbeth, the three witches, or Weird Sisters or Weyward Sisters, play out the entire story of a man who becomes so possessed by power and ambition that he will destroy anyone who gets in his way. Are these witches ancient prophets or contemporary witnesses?”
My Voice! An Evening with Carlos Uriona, an online performance by Carlos Uriona. Presented by Bunker Hill Community College. Hosted by Jorge Rubio, assistant professor, Theatre. Sponsored by the Performing Arts Department and the Mary L. Fifield Art Gallery. October 12 at 6 p.m.
Ensemble member and co-artistic director of Double Edge Theatre, Carlos Uriona, he discusses his lived experiences with the political turmoil and terrorism of Argentina, both historically and at present. The evening will include his performance excerpt The Mothers of the Plaza, or the Eruption of the Invisible from Double Edge’s Howling at the Moon.
Let the Right One In by Jack Thorne. Based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist. Presented in special arrangement with Concord Theatricals. Directed by Christopher V. Edwards. Presented by Actors’ Shakespeare Project in collaboration with the Boston University School of Theatre at the Booth Theatre, 820 Commonwealth Avenue, October 20 through November 6.
A collaboration and regional premiere opens the company’s 19th season. According to the production’s director, the script is “a coming-of-age love story that is reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet and other love stories from Shakespeare. It’s a modern/supernatural take on two young people trying to find comfort, support, and partnership in their lives. At face value it’s a vampire horror romance, but under that facade there is a story of people combating extreme loneliness, reaching out for acceptance, and overcoming hate. This play is important now because we are in a time of recovery from extreme loneliness after years of pandemic closures. People are reaching out for acceptance and community.”
Mummenschanz: 50 Years, at the Frederick C. Tillis Performance Hall, UMass Amherst, October 15 at 3 p.m.
I remember when this amusingly fantastical crew of mimes played downtown Boston. Reassuring to know that they are still up and at ’em. “For the company’s 50th-anniversary production, the legendary visual theater troupe invites audiences on a journey through their history and into their future. Filled with imagination and poetry, the production features such legendary characters as the Clay Masks, the Toilet Paper Faces, the air-filled Giants, and the Pipe Creature, along with an abundance of other bizarre objects and shapes that spring to life on stage. The production also includes sketches featuring surprising new forms and characters that capture the signature Mummenschanz spirit of infinite possibility and delight.”
English by Sanaz Toossi. Directed by Melory Miraschrafi. 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, October 21 through November 19.
Winner of the 2022 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, this comedy-drama “takes place in Karaj, Iran, in 2008, and centers on Marjan, an English teacher struggling to prepare her four students to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) The exam has life-changing implications for each classmate; but between the word games and the show-and-tell sessions, one student seems set on derailing the lesson plan.” The cast features Josephine Moshiri Elwood, Lily Gilan James, Deniz Khateri, Leyla Modirzadeh, and Zaven Ovian.
Joe Turner’s Come and Gone by August Wilson. Directed by Lili-Anne Brown. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston October 14 through November 27.
One of August Wilson’s finest dramas: “At a Pittsburgh boarding house in 1911, Herald Loomis arrives in search of his lost wife — but first he must regain a sense of his own heritage and identity.” This production serves as the inaugural production of the newly renovated Huntington Theatre.
— Bill Marx
Symbiosis, from the Greek words for “with” and “living,” is a biological term for the interaction of two organisms of different species that live in close embrace, usually, but not always, to the benefit of both. Symbionts: Contemporary Artists and the Biosphere, which opens at MIT’s List Visual Arts Center on October 21, broadens the scientific concept to bring together more than a dozen young artists from around the world “whose work prompts us to reexamine our human relationships to the planet’s biosphere.” These artists belong to an increasing number responding to the earth’s environmental and climate crisis through their art. The works on view range around the boundaries of art, science, politics, economics, and sociology, and include some “experiments” that use actual living organisms.
Frederick Law Olmsted began his career as a journalist calling attention to the evils of slavery and went on, as the designer of some of the world’s greatest urban parks and a founder of landscape architecture, to be a kind of early environmentalist, making nature and the appreciation of nature available to everyone. The Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford will mark the 200th anniversary of Olmsted’s birth his year with Frederick Law Olmsted: Bringing Nature to the City, a public lecture on October 13 at 6 p.m. Historian and filmmaker Laurence Cotton will explore the complex influences of design, aesthetics, and philosophy that helped form Olmsted’s park designs, from the informal English style gardens that mimicked nature while improving on it, to the Hudson River School painters, to the nature-based principles of Transcendentalism and the perceived essential contributions of parks to public health and civic well being. Cotton’s presentation will include a photographic tour of some of the great landscapes designed by Olmsted, his sons, and his successor firm, Olmsted Brothers. Tickets are $5 for members, $10 for nonmembers, and $8 for seniors. Museum admission and light refreshments are included.
Animals and human-animal gods played a central role in the Egyptian pantheon and in the ancient civilization’s sophisticated art. On October 16 at 2 p.m. at the Worcester Art Museum, Salina Ikram, Distinguished University Professor of Egyptology at The American University in Cairo, will share her research into the powerful animal symbolism in the Egypt of the Pharaohs. Her lecture, “Symbolism of Animals in Ancient Egypt,” is in conjunction with Worcester’s current exhibition Jewels of the Nile: Ancient Egyptian Treasures from the Worcester Art Museum, and will be delivered online via Zoom. Registration is required and may be made through the museum’s website.
With the increasing cancellation of what used to be called “Columbus Day,” October has become a time to celebrate Native American culture at art museums. This year, as in the past, the Museum of Fine Arts offers an Indigenous People’s Day on October 10, with free admission all day (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) and tours of galleries of indigenous art from the United States and Canada, music and dance, and a variety of family-friendly activities.
Over in Cambridge, at the Harvard Art Museums, the Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge Lecture on American Art will be Foregrounding Indigenous Voices and Perspectives at the Met, with Patricia Marroquin Norby (Purépecha), the inaugural associate curator of Native American Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, on October 20 at 5:30 p.m. The lecture is free but seating is limited, so reservations are required. They can be made starting October 10 after 10 a.m. on the museums’ website.
— Peter Walsh
Chucho Valdés, “La Creación”
October 14 at 8 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center, Boston
Pianist and composer Chucho Valdés is a towering figure in the history of Cuban music, founding Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna and the vastly influential Irakere, fusing traditional and popular Afro-Cuban dance forms and jazz. His new La Creación tells the story of creation through the Afro-Cuban religious practice of Santería. The evening-length, three-movement suite promises to be epic, deploying big band, percussionists, and vocalists.
October 14 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston
Saxophonist Myanna Pontoppidan has strong enough chops that she could get away with flogging the same vamp for 15 minutes, but on her new Divine Dysfunktion she enhances the grooves with crafty songwriting and a supporting cast of equally inventive improvisers (especially tasty are the Afro-Cuban “JP Mambo” and the title track, which has an appealing Steely Dan vibe). At Scullers she’ll be mixing it up by alternating players from the two bands on the album, including keyboardist Dave Limina, organist Ken Clark, guitarist Mike Mele, bassist Greg Holt, and drummers Steve Chaggaris and Eddie Scheer.
Kenny Werner Trio
October 15 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston
The Kenny Werner Trio draws on the collective experience of two decades as a working band as well as their multiple individual projects. Pianist and educator Werner (who prides himself on teaching Berklee students the benefits of allowing themselves to play badly) has painted on all manner of jazz canvases, from trios to large ensembles. (He scored his 2009 album No Beginning, No End for wind ensemble, choir, and string quartet.) In the trio, bassist Johannes Weidenmueller and drummer Ari Hoenig share his up-for-anything attitude and the skills to pull it off.
Jim Black Quartet
October 16 at 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Drummer Jim Black, who laid down roots in the Boston area during his years at Berklee with the band Human Feel (with Andrew D’Angelo, Chris Speed, and Kurt Rosenwinkel), has since gone on to work with Tim Berne, Dave Douglas, Uri Caine, Ben Monder, Laurie Anderson, and many others, as well as leading his own unclassifiable AlasNoAxis. Now based in Switzerland, he returns to lead this quartet featuring saxophonist George Garzone (the Fringe), and (from NYC) saxophonist Jules Garden and bassist Stefan Thorn in what Black is calling “fast swinging free jazz … ’80s style.” OK then.
October 21 and 22 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston
The São Paulo–born multi-Grammy-winning pianist, singer, and composer Eliane Elias makes her first post-pandemic stop at Scullers joined by guitarist Leandro Pellegrino, drummer Rafael Barata, and Elias’s husband and longtime musical partner, the fine bassist Marc Johnson. Naturally, Elias has a mortal lock on Brazilian samba and bossa nova, but her experience as a pianist, composer, arranger, and singer extends deep into classical, pop, and jazz. (Among her varied projects, she has written music for the operatic soprano Denyce Graves, and her “covers” include the Doors, Stevie Wonder, and jazz great Paul Desmond.) This trio-plus-guitar setting is an ideal way to hear her.
JazzBoston revives the Sunday jam sessions at ZuZu with this date led by saxophonist Ken Field (Revolutionary Snake Ensemble) joined by drummer Savannah Marshall (guitar and bass TBD). The format will include a set by the band and then an invitation for jammers to join in, with sheet music provided. Field and saxophonist Noah Preminger will alternate leading the sessions every other Sunday with the motto “Hang and play or hang and listen!” And it’s free.
Antonio Sánchez and Bad Hombre
October 23 at 8 p.m.
City Winery, Boston
Antonio Sánchez came to prominence anchoring Pat Metheny’s bands and, coincidentally, scoring the 2014 film Birdman (yes, that’s him playing drums in those many cutaways). Sánchez’s solo projects have grown increasingly adventurous and genre-defying, especially in his collaborations with his wife, vocalist and composer Thana Alexa. The latest disc from Sánchez’s Bad Hombre (SHIFT, Bad Hombre, Vol. II) features a large cast of characters that includes not only Alexander and Metheny but also Dave Matthews, Meshell Ndgeocello, and Trent Reznor. Drawing on rap, Mexican folk, jazz, and rock, it’s a visceral, exciting trip. Sánchez and Alexa are bringing Bad Hombre to City Winery with keyboardist Bigyuki and bassist Lex Sadler.
— Jon Garelick
Fernando Huergo Big Band
October 20 at 7:30 p.m.
David Friend Recital Hall, Berklee College of Music, Boston
The great Argentinian bassist Fernando Huergo, a mainstay of the Boston jazz and Latin music scenes and longtime Berklee professor, will present a concert with his excellent big band at the school’s David Friend Recital Hall. The show will include new compositions, as well as works from his most recent album, 2020’s The Possibility of Change, all featuring his signature modern approach to the big band sound. Admission is free.
— Evelyn Rosenthal
Dave Bryant, with Carnatic vocalist Srinivasan Raghuraman and saxophonist George Garzone
October 20, 8 p.m.
Harvard-Epworth Church, 1555 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge
Keyboardist/composer Bryant studied harmolodic theory with Ornette Coleman and worked in one of Coleman’s electric bands. This evening promises to be a cross-cultural musical adventure, with Mike Rivard and Jerry Leake (the rhythm section of the jazz – Indian fusion band Natraj).
— Steve Elman
West German-born guitarist Michael Schenker’s half-century career has comprised a two-album stint with the German hard rock/heavy metal band Scorpions (of which his brother, Rudolf, is a lifelong member) in the early 1970s, six consecutive LPs with the English heavy metal/prog rock quintet UFO in the mid-to-late 1970s, and a dozen as the leader of The Michael Schenker Group between their eponymous 1980 debut and this year’s Universal.
That’s not counting the output by McAuley Schenker Group between 1987 and 1991, as a solo artist in the early aughts, Schenker’s Temple of Rock from 2011-2015, and Michael Schenker Fest in 2018 and 2019.
And the dude’s still only 67 years old! His 50th Anniversary Tour show at The Cabot on Thursday will be a delectable treat for fans of hard rock in all of its forms.
Leo Kottke was famously uncharitable about the quality of his singing voice when he started out in the late ‘60s.
Unsurprisingly, therefore, his more than 50-year career is the result of his mesmerizing six- and 12-string acoustic guitar playing, and he wisely compiled highlights his first 13 years’ worth of revelatory material on two collections titled Instrumentals, one of which covered his 1970-1975 tenure at Capitol Records, the other his time at Chrysalis from 1976-1983.
Kottke remained productive – if not exactly prolific – throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, earning Grammy nominations in 1988 for Best Country Instrumental Performance and in 1991 for Best Album for Children thanks to his having composed and played the music on Jonathan Winters Reads Paul Bunyan.
However, the past 20 years have seen only one release under his own name, 2004’s Try and Stop Me. Thankfully, he has established a fruitful partnership with Phish bassist Mike Gordon. The somewhat unlikely pair has recorded three albums together: 2002’s Clone, 2005’s Sixty Six Steps, and 2020’s Noon.
The 77-year-old has two shows in Massachusetts this weekend: Friday at Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River and Sunday at Rockport’s Shalin Liu Performance Center.
— Blake Maddux
Roots and World Music
Ben Wetherbee and Eleni Moniodi
Club Passim, Cambridge
Passim’s monthly Discovery Series continues to offer a wide array of artists who are well worth learning about. This edition features young old-time music master Wetherbee and Mediterranean/Latin American music vocalist Moniodi.
A Lecture with Márcio Borges
October 11, 2 p.m.
Colvin Recital Hall, Berklee College of Music
With all the live music happening these days we don’t usually use this space to recommend lectures. But this one from a legendary Brazilian songwriter is both special as well as timely, coming just two days after Milton Nascimento’s sold out farewell concert in Boston. Borges was along with Nascimento one of the founders of the Clube da Esquina, which was both an album and a movement, and he’ll be telling the Clube’s history as well as giving insights into the creative process.
Crystal Ballroom at the Somerville Theater
In the early ’70s, Zambia’s W.I.T.C.H. (We Intend to Cause Havoc) played hard psychedelic rock of the sort many might not associate with African music. Their ZamRock made them national heroes — and also targets of the authoritarian government. A half-century later the band is making a rather belated and welcome Boston debut with original lead singer Emanyeo “Jagari” Chanda fronting a combo of younger musicians.
Glenn Jones with Wednesday Knudsen & Willie Lane
The Vestry at Harvard-Epworth Church, Cambridge
Boston’s Glenn Jones continues to be one of the acoustic guitar’s most continually creative voices. He’s got a new album, the gorgeous Vade Mecum, recorded on Mount Desert Island in Maine, that also showcases his banjo innovations. Jones is performing as part of Journeys in Sound’s ongoing series at Harvard-Epworth.
Club Passim, Cambridge
Providence-based Blount first came to attention as part of the new generation of Black string band musicians. For his latest project, he’s plugged in his electric guitar and created an Afro-Futuristic concept record for Smithsonian Folkways, The New Faith, which explores the forms that Black worship might take in a post-climate change dystopia.
Back for their first post-shutdown US tour with a Global Arts Live concert, the Irish greats, led by founding fiddler and singer Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, continue their proud legacy.
OHMA (opening for FKJ)
Fans of Boston’s Either/Orchestra may remember that about a decade ago the jazz big band had an excellent alto saxophonist named Hailey Niswanger. These days she’s out in LA and part of an innovative duo with Mia Garcia called OHMA that combines both live instruments and nature field recordings to create its own sonic dimension. This is the kind of ambient music that rewards repeated careful listening. They’re on tour all fall with French electronic music star FKJ.
— Noah Schaffer
Bach’s B-minor Mass
Presented by Boston Baroque
October 14 at 8 p.m. and 16 at 3 p.m.
WGBH Calderwood Studio (Friday) and Jordan Hall (Sunday), Boston
Boston Baroque kicks off its 50th-anniversary season with J.S. Bach’s epic setting of the Roman rite. Amanda Forsythe, Sonja Tengblad, Tamara Mumford, Nicholas Phan, and Kevin Deas are the soloists; Martin Pearlman conducts.
Terezin Music Foundation Gala
Presented by Terezin Music Foundation
October 16, 4 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston
Pianist Jonathan Biss, members of the Arneis Quartet, and Coro Allegro join forces for the annual TMF Gala which, this year, features the world premiere of Jeremiah Klarman’s Sketch for Terezín/Does Grace alongside Alban Berg’s Sonata for Piano, Arnold Schönberg’s Six Little Piano Pieces, and Franz Schubert’s Piano Sonata in B-flat major.
Jonathan Biss plays Beethoven
Presented by Boston Philharmonic Orchestra
October 19, 8 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston
Biss joins the BPO for their first concert of the season, which pairs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2. Benjamin Zander, who’s marking half-a-century on the podium this fall, conducts.
Mahler’s Sixth Symphony
Presented by Boston Symphony Orchestra
October 20 at 7:30 p.m., 21 at 1:30 p.m., and 22 at 8 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston
Andris Nelsons leads Gustav Mahler’s mammoth Symphony No. 6 for just the second time since becoming the BSO’s music director in 2014.
The Prodigal Son
Presented by Enigma Chamber Opera
October 21 and 22, 7 p.m.
Cathedral Church of Saint Paul, Boston
ECO follows up last season’s haunting production of Benjamin Britten’s Curlew River with another topical “parable for church performance,” The Prodigal Son. Omar Najmi, Aaron Engebreth, David McFerrin, and Matthew DiBattista take the singing roles and Edward Elwyn Jones conducts.
Los Angeles Philharmonic
Presented by Celebrity Series
October 23, 5 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston
Gustavo Dudamel and the LAPO return to Boston for the first time since 2019 with a program that pairs Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 with the local premiere of Gabriela Ortiz’s Altar de cuerda (featuring violinist María Dueñas).
— Jonathan Blumhofer
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.”
Tufts Hebrew Program Presents Yelena Lembersky
Like a Drop of Ink in a Downpour: Memories of Soviet Russia
October 12 from 12-1 p.m.
Tufts Hillel, 220 Packard Avenue, Medford, MA
“Join us for an enlightening conversation with Yelena Lembersky on her new memoir Like a Drop of Ink in a Downpour: Memories of Soviet Russia. Yelena Lembersky is an author of two books, Like a Drop of Ink in a Downpour (2022), co-authored with her mother Galina, and Felix Lembersky: Paintings and Drawings (2009).
“Her writing has appeared in The Forward, World Literature Today, and Cardinal Points Literary Journal, and she was a repeated guest on National Public Radio. She grew up in Leningrad, now Saint Petersburg, Soviet Russia. After immigrating to the USA in 1987, she studied art and architecture at the University of Michigan and MIT and worked as an architect before turning to writing. Refreshments will be served!”
Arianna Warsaw-Fan Rauch with Lynn Chang – Porter Square Books
October 13 at 7 p.m.
“In Declassified, Warsaw-Fan Rauch blows through the cobwebs of elitism and exclusion and invites everyone to love and hate this music as much as she does.
“She offers a backstage tour of the industry and equips you for every listening scenario, covering: the 7 main compositional periods (even the soul-crushingly depressing Medieval period), a breakdown of the instruments and their associated personality types (apologies to violists and conductors), what it’s like to be a musician at the highest level (it’s hard), how to steal a Stradivarius (and make no money in the process), and when to clap during a live performance (also: when not to). Declassified cheekily demystifies the world of High Art while making the case that classical music matters, perhaps now more than ever.”
Virtual Event: Erika Hayasaki – Harvard Book Store
Somewhere Sisters: A Story of Adoption, Identity, and the Meaning of Family
October 18 at 6 p.m.
Tickets are free with $5 suggested donation
“The twins were born in Nha Trang, Vietnam, in 1998, where their mother struggled to care for them. Hà was taken in by their biological aunt, and grew up in a rural village, going to school, and playing outside with the neighbors. They had sporadic electricity and frequent monsoons. Hà’s twin sister, Loan, spent time in an orphanage before a wealthy, white American family adopted her and renamed her Isabella. Isabella grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, with a nonbiological sister, Olivia, also adopted from Vietnam. Isabella and Olivia attended a predominantly white Catholic school, played soccer, and prepared for college.
“But when Isabella’s adoptive mother learned of Isabella’s biological twin back in Vietnam, all of their lives changed forever. Award-winning journalist Erika Hayasaki spent years and hundreds of hours interviewing each of the birth and adoptive family members and tells the girls’ incredible story from their perspectives, challenging conceptions about adoption and what it means to give a child a good life. Hayasaki contextualizes the sisters’ experiences with the fascinating and often sinister history of twin studies, the nature versus nurture debate, and intercountry and transracial adoption, as well as the latest scholarship and conversation surrounding adoption today, especially among adoptees.”
Live at Brookline Booksmith — John Willis
October 19 at 7 p.m.
“The prisoners in Nagasaki were eyewitnesses to one of the most significant events in modern history but writing notes or diaries in a Japanese prison camp was dangerous. To avoid detection, one Allied prisoner buried his notes in the grave of a fellow POW to be reclaimed after the war, another wrote his diary in Irish. Now, using unpublished and rarely seen notes, interviews, and memoirs, this unique book weaves together a powerful chorus of voices to paint a vivid picture of defeat, endurance, and survival against astonishing odds.”
WBUR CitySpace: Chelsea Manning – brookline booksmith
October 24 at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets are $25- $5
“Chelsea Manning is alternately celebrated for transparency and at the same time is a polarizing figure for disclosing more than 700,000 classified military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks in 2011. Manning, who was a US Army intelligence analyst in Iraq at the time, was convicted by court-martial for her whistleblowing and sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013, the longest sentence ever handed down in an American leak case.
“Join Here & Now co-host Scott Tong in a conversation with Manning where she’ll discuss her much anticipated memoir, README.txt, and recount her early life as a computer savvy kid, what drew her to the military, her gender transition while at Fort Leavenworth prison, and her life now as an activist and also DJ. Copies of README will be available for purchase from our bookstore partner Brookline Booksmith.”
— Matt Hanson