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.
The 34th Boston Jewish Film Festival
Coolidge Corner, Brattle, and West Newton Cinema
Virtually November 10 -13
Boston Jewish Film is an exploration of the richness of Jewish life, values, and culture through film and media that runs events throughout the year. This year’s festival features stories and subjects from 15 countries. Full Festival Schedule Film Descriptions
Gratitude Revealed: A reprise!
November 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Regent Theater, Arlington
Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg’s (Fantastic Fungi) latest effort is a transformational cinematic experience that presents intimate conversations with everyday people, thought leaders, and personalities. The thesis is that gratitude is a proven pathway back from the disconnection we might feel in our lives. And that alienation from ourselves is reflected in how we treat the planet and each other.
Meet Me in the Bathroom
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge
Premiere of Dylan Southern’s film, based on the book by Lizzy Goodman (Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011). The movie chronicles the New York music scene of the early 2000s, when the world was unaware of the seismic political, technological, and cultural shifts about to occur. Era-defining bands include The Strokes, LCD Soundsystem, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Interpol, TV on the Radio, and The Moldy Peaches. “Southern and Lovelace’s documentary appears to be held together by the same proverbial glue and paper clips that cohered the early sonic boom of this particular indie subset. And that’s largely part of its charm” (IndieWire).
Wicked Queer: Docs
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
This mini-festival celebrates documentary films by and about members of the queer community. It is dedicated to authentic representations of queer lives and the histories of the vibrant and diverse LGBTQ+ community. Films on offer will include Esther Newton Made Me Gay, Uýra: The Rising Forest, A Run for More, and Casa Susanna.
Brooke Adams, Radiance in Plain Sight
Harvard Film Archive
“Brooke Adams enchants audiences with characters that evince intelligence and self-possession while modestly revealing an undercurrent of self-doubt and vulnerability. Always playing characters to be taken seriously, Adams seems to drop so easily and fully into her parts that her nuanced restraint and her subtle, vast expressiveness may slip past entirely unnoticed” (HFA). Adams will be joining director Michael Roemer to discuss his rediscovered film Vengeance is Mine on the 19th at 7 p.m. and she will appear again for the screening of Days of Heaven on the 20th at 3 p.m. Other films in the series include Gas Food Lodging (1992) and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) on November 12, and The Dead Zone (1983) on November 14.
10th Boston International Kids Film Festival
Mosesian Center for the Arts, Watertown
Filmmakers Collaborative presents films for kids, by kids, and about kids. Featuring workshops, panel discussions, and nearly 80 movies from a dozen different countries. The festival will showcase many movies with local ties this year, including Lucia Small’s documentary Girl Talk (Arts Fuse review), which chronicles a debate team from Newton. The festival will also offer panel discussions for professional filmmakers, and acting and stop-motion animation filmmaking workshops for younger artists. Complete schedule & Tickets
Pick of the Week
Stars at Noon
Hulu, Amazon Prime (1.99), AppleTV and Redbox (2.99)
French director Claire Denis’s 15 features are character studies filled with ambiguities and uncertainties. This 2022 film, based on Denis Johnson’s 1996 novel, is told via the voice of a American female journalist in present day Nicaragua who finds herself trapped in a relationship with an Englishman whose motives are unclear. Denis retains the mystery and tension of Johnson’s narrative. Aided by fine performances, the focus remains on character rather than plot. Joe Alwyn is the Brit and Bennie Safdie appears as a very creepy operative of some sort. Margaret Qualley, who was brilliant in the miniseries Maid, gives one of the year’s richest performances as Trish Johnson, a journalist of questionable credentials. Given too short a theatrical run, it is now available to stream. (Arts Fuse review)
— Tim Jackson
Carol Kaye Project
November 11 & 12 at 8 p.m.
Boston Dance Theater (BTD) presents the first full program of the Carol Kaye Project, a collection of whimsical, short dance works that celebrate seminal bass guitarist Carol Kaye. Kaye, who played an estimated 10,000 recording sessions with artists including the Beach Boys and Marvin Gaye, remains relatively unknown. Join BTD dancers and guest choreographers Karole Armitage, Rena Butler, Rosie Herrera, and Jessie Jeanne Stinnett as they honor Kaye’s extensive musical repertoire.
A.I.M by Kyle Abraham
November 18 & 19 at 8pm
Boch Center Shubert Theatre
Co-Commissioned by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Stanford Live, UMS, Celebrity Series of Boston, and Kampnagel Internationale Kulturfabrik GmbH (Hamburg, Germany), Kyle Abraham’s Requiem: Fire in the Air of the Earth powerfully rethinks death rituals and the journey of rebirth. In African diasporic traditions, death is considered a rite of passage to the supernatural. Through personal catharsis, choreographer and MacArthur Fellow Kyle Abraham delivers this “universal and urgent dance between the vulnerability of human life and the divine possibilities of the beyond,” set to a score by electronic musician, composer, and producer Jlin.
November 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Choreographer Ali Kenner Brodsky presents moments, a multifaceted performance piece of dance, music, and art that has been in development
for the past five years. This is an evening-length dance-theater work that dives into themes of memory, loss, and love, while evoking memories of past relationships, the longing for a closeness once felt, and the challenge of moving forward through grief.
November 25 from 10 a.m. -5:30 p.m.
Arts at the Armory
Head to the Armory in Somerville to enjoy a full day of new music, dance, and “other thangs.” Guests are invited to come and go as they please, as a myriad of performing artists fills the hall with movement and sound. This is a free public event.
— Merli V. Guerra
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.
Calle Allende, written and performed by Pinned & Sewtured at the Puppet Showplace Theater, 32 Station Street, Brookline, on November 5.
A Massachusetts premiere: “Anatar Marmol-Gagne, the founder and director of Pinned & Sewtured, was already drawing and painting extensively by the age of 8. She was always drawn to the intensely personal style of storytelling found in Kahlo’s paintings, so creating a work inspired by her story and distinctive artistic style was a natural progression. Calle Allende is based on the well-known diary entry called ‘The Two Fridas,’ in which Kahlo describes meeting another version of herself — the other Frida — in the form of an imaginary friend from her childhood.”
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, 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA, 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?”
Into The Breeches! by George Brant. Directed by Bryn Boice. Staged by the Hub Theatre Company of Boston at The Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont St., Boston, through November 20.
A Boston premiere: “It’s 1942 and there’s trouble brewing at Boston’s Oberon Play House! With the men overseas, it appears that the season must be cancelled. Until, that is, the women of the company see their chance to move from the sidelines to center stage and mount the first all-female production of Shakespeare’s Henry V. Will their show be a victory in the battle for equality or a target for tomatoes?”
Lightning, directed and devised by Jenny Louise Eaton and the Double Edge Theatre Company. Staged by Double Edge Theatre at the Farm, 948 Conway Road, Ashfield, MA, through November 6.
“Layering large puppetry, shadow, and song, Lightning takes place at the collision point between the worlds of our internal and external experiences. We look at our past and tell the birth story of the inner monsters we both need and deny. Before the show there will be a pre-performance musical offering by DE company Member Robert Carlton.”
Soul Tapes, by JaMario Stills and Will Johnson. Adapted from “The Soul Tapes of Black Folk” by Will Johnson. Directed by JaMario Stills. Presented by the Brown University/Trinity Repertory Company MFA Programs in Acting and Directing at the Pell Chafee Performance Center, 87 Empire Street, Providence, November 10 through 20.
“In 2105, soul musician Taji and filmmaker Siya bond over their shared love of vintage media: cassette tapes, film reels, and the public access television show Beautiful Black Brilliance, featuring a record store owner named Genesis Jones. But when Taji and Siya’s relationship is challenged by a tempting celestial force, Genesis, a sage and ancestor, guides them through a series of surprising revelations that help illuminate their path. Soul Tapes explores the challenges of when shared visions are tested by individual pursuits.”
The Chinese Lady by Lloyd Suh. Directed by Sarah Shin. Presented by the Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, November 10 through December 11.
“1834. A 14-year-old Afong Moy brought to New York Harbor from Guangdong Province. Immediately, she is put on display for the American public as ‘The Chinese Lady.’ For the next half century, believing herself an ambassador to life in her native China, she performs under the gaze of curious white people. Lloyd Suh’s poetic and subversively comedic tale offers a portrait of the United States, giving voice to our country’s hidden history.” Arts Fuse review of the 2018 Barrington Stage production.
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, Boston, 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.” Arts Fuse review
Something Else, written and performed by Tomantha Sylvester. Directed by Jennifer Johnson. Staged by Double Edge Theatre Company, a co-production with the Ohketeau Cultural Center and Anishinaabe Theater Exchange. At Double Edge Theatre at 948 Conway Road, Ashfield, November 11 and 12. Also a staged reading of How We Go Missing.
“We follow Lucy, an incarcerated Native American woman on death row, as she seeks connection in her final moments.”
“Following each performance, there will be a reading with members of the Anishinaabe Theater Exchange of their piece How We Go Missing. The phenomenon of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives has reached pandemic levels in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. The systemic wiping out of Indigenous lives in North and South America through colonial violence, state sanctioned terrorism, and even lateral violence is barely a blip on the radar screen of the average citizen. How We Go Missing examines the impact on those left behind, Indigenous sisterhood, and some of the ways in which Native women, in particular, go missing both physically and through erasure.” How We Go Missing was written by Carolyn Dunn and Tomantha Sylvester. Directed by Sarah D’ Angelo.
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, 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. Arts Fuse review
Journey to Oz. Presented by American Classics at Jewett Hall, First Church Congregational, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, November 18 at 7:30 p.m., and November 20 at 3 p.m at First Parish, 75 Great Road, Bedford.
The cast for this no doubt lively celebration of songs from over a hundred years of Oz musicals and films features Teresa Winner Blume, Bradford Conner, Sherée Dunwell, Christina English, Kaedon Gray, Davron Monroe, Carolyn Saxon, Benjamin Sears. JoAnne Dickinson, story teller, and Steve Sussman, piano.
The Play That Goes Wrong, by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, & Henry Shields. Directed by Fred Sullivan, Jr. Staged by the Lyric Stage at 140 Clarendon Street, 2nd Floor, Boston, November 11 through December 18.
This backstage comedy is billed as “Part Monty Python, part Sherlock Holmes, all mayhem.” “”Break a leg!’ takes on a whole new meaning for a woefully misguided troupe of players at the Cornley University Society’s opening night performance of The Murder at Haversham Manor. An unconscious leading lady, a corpse who can’t play dead, a ruffled detective, and a word-mangling butler (among others) must battle against technical gaffes, forgotten lines, and sabotaging scenery in a quest to arrive all in one piece at the final curtain call.”
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, 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. Arts Fuse review
The Orchard, conceived & directed by Igor Golyak. Based on The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov, translation by Carol Rocamora. Groundswell Theatricals, Inc in association with Cherry Orchard Festival & ShowOne Productions presents an Arlekin Players | (zero-G) Lab’s production. A hybrid presentation, this live production can be experienced in two ways: in person at the Robert J. Orchard Stage, Paramount Center, ArtsEmerson, Boston, through November 13 or The Orchard /an auction/ – online through a live virtual, interactive experience available worldwide.
“The Boston premiere of a fully staged live performance of The Cherry Orchard, including new material. The cast is helmed by Jessica Hecht as Lyubov Ranevskaya, and features Juliet Brett, Darya Denisova, Jeffrey Hayenga, Elise Kibler, Nael Nacer, and Gene Ravvin. Mikhail Baryshnikov plays Firs.”
— Bill Marx
In the 18th century, those familiar with art widely assumed that the masterpieces created since the start of the Renaissance would all disappear as they deteriorated and eventually crumbled away with age, even as the famous paintings of the ancient world had all vanished centuries before. But with the invention of art museums, that fate was averted — or at least delayed. A new profession of artcConservator, distinct from the old trade of art restorer, developed, aimed at understanding art materials and techniques from a scientific point of view and developing sound techniques to counteract the effects of time while keeping true to the original intent of the artist. All art will still eventually disappear, but the patient work of the art conservator and the special environment within the modern art museum will put off that day as long as possible.
Art conservation used to place behind the scenes, invisible to outsiders. Recently art museums have put some conservators, and the art works they treat and repair, on public view. The idea is to correct some myths and wrong assumptions about what conservators do and create a better appreciation of the important role conservation plays in preserving works of art for future generations.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has put together one of the more ambitious of these interfaces in its Conservation Center, a new, state-of-the-art space “dedicated to inquiry, learning, and dialogue between visitors and conservators.” Starting November 9, the MFA will hold a series of intensive programs that will bring visitors directly into the work conservators are doing at the museum. Art and Science: Conservation Center Open House, on November 9, from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m., is specifically recommended for K-12 educators and college faculty. Conservation Up Close, a daylong series of events from 11:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on November 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14, will bring visitors into the Center for “Introduction to Conservation” tours and tours about the conservators’ work with Degas, East Asian paintings, an Italian Renaissance altarpiece, Nubian art from Sudan, works on paper, technical imaging, science in the art museum, and other topics. All are free with general admission and no advanced registration or tickets are required, but tours are limited to 12 participants on a first come, first served basis. Meet at the Sharf Visitor Center.
During the intense bombing raids in the “Blitz” in World War II London, two artists — the British artist Henry Moore, best known as a sculptor, and the German-born photographer Bill Brandt — descended into the London Underground to record images of people sheltering from the German attacks. Moore’s drawings and Brandt’s photographs were widely reproduced and printed in magazines and have become some of the best-known art works depicting the Second World War. The exhibition Bill Brandt|Henry Moore, on view at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven starting November 17, “examines the parallel and intersecting paths of the artists through the postwar period.” Themes include war, industry, coal mining (Moore’s father was a manager in a Yorkshire coal mine), urban spaces and living conditions, family life, nature, landscape, and the human body.
Starting in 1980, the American cartoonist Art Spiegelman produced, in what is now called a “graphic novel,” a series of books he called Maus. A mixture of history and fiction, memoir and biography, the series depicts Spiegelman interviewing his father about his experiences as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor in a cartoon narrative in which Jews are depicted as mice and the Nazis as cats. Both a popular and critical success, Spiegelman’s work became the first and only graphic novel to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize. It has also been controversial; it was recently banned from the English language-arts curriculum by the McMinn County, Tennessee, school board.
In conjunction with its current exhibition, American Alternative Comics, 1980-2000: “Raw,” “Weirdo,” and Beyond, the McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College will present “Publication Highlight: Maus Now: Selected Writing with Professor and Editor Hillary Chute.” Chute, professor of English and art + design at Northeastern University and editor of Maus Now, will discuss the Maus phenomenon and its role in recent American culture and culture wars on November 17 at 6:00 pm. The virtual event is free of charge.
Artists and their audiences have always been aware of the atmosphere and its changes, but in the 19th century many were also aware of startling scientific advances in studying it, including the discovery of oxygen in 1774 and of ozone in 1840. On the Horizon: Art and Atmosphere in the Nineteenth Century, which opens at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown on November 19, features artists who were particularly attracted to atmospheric effects — especially spectacular and fleeting ones — as a mode of artistic expression and virtuosity. The artists on view include J.M.W. Turner, John Constable, Honoré Daumier, Charles Meryon, and James McNeill Whistler.
Food — its creation, distribution, price, its effects on world politics and climate change — has never seemed more complicated. Food Justice: Growing a Healthier Community through Art, on view at the Fuller Museum of Craft in Brockton from November 12, seeks to use art and craft to explore the many issues involved in the world’s food supply, especially food security, and to feature ways art can help influence positive change.
SMFA at Tufts: Archive and Autobiography, which opens at the Museum of Fine Arts on November 19, features the unconventional personal archives of five graduate and undergraduate artists at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. Using video, photolithographic collage, painting, and fiber arts, the artists on view weave together histories of Black American and Chinese identifies, Haitian and Roman Catholic iconography, and childhood trauma into evocative autobiographical expressions.
— Peter Walsh
November 6 at 5 p.m.
Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport, Mass.
Jussi Reijonen was born in a small Finnish town on the Arctic Circle, but he also grew up in Jordan, Tanzania, Oman, Lebanon, and the United States — eventually studying and teaching at Berklee College of Music and new England Conservatory, where a multinational collection of fellow students and colleagues gave him insight to his own pan-cultural identity. You could say that the new Three Seconds | Kolme Toista is the ultimate fruit of Reijonen’s many travels — a five-part suite encompassing varied rhythms and forms played by an international cast of musicians. The nine-piece ensemble playing the piece in Rockport includes Reijonen on guitars and oud, trumpeter Herman Merhardi, trombonist Robin Eubanks, drummer Vancil Cooper, bassist Kyle Miles, pianist Utar Artun, violinist Layth Sidiq, cellist Naseem Alatrash, and percussionist Keita Ogawa.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
November 9 at 8 p.m.
Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport, Mass.
This year’s tour by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band celebrates its birth 60 years ago in its tiny namesake space (still in operation) on Bourbon Street. Most of those orirginal players are long gone, but the band continues assaying the New Orleans trad-jazz style, with relevant inclusions of related music (most recently with the album A Tuba to Cuba). Ben Jaffe (bass, tuba, percussion) directs the band, founded by his father, Alan, joined by saxophonist Clint Maedgen, trombonist Revon Andrews, trumpeter Branden Lewis, pianist/keyboardist Kyle Roussel, and drummer Walter Harris.
November 11 at 7 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston
Pianist Adam Birnbaum would be worth seeing on his own — constantly inventive straight-ahead swing and inviting virtuosity. But an extra pull here: he’ll be joined by his sometime boss, the great drummer Al Foster. (You can see Birnbaum and Foster working together on the above link.)
Pushing the Limits
November 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston
Born as Third Stream under the aegis of the man who coined the term, Gunther Schuller, the New England Conservatory department formerly led by pianist/composer Ran Blake eventually became Contemporary Improvisation and is now known as Contemporary Musical Arts. Suffice to say, this is a hard-to-define academic niche that encompasses everything, thus “Pushing the Limits.” This retrospective concert, directed by CMA co-chair Hankus Netsky — part of a weeklong celebration of the department’s 50th anniversary — showcases the ongoing legacy of CMA faculty and alumni, with music and arrangements by Carla Kihlstedt, Anthony Coleman, Peter Row, Magdalena Abrego, Hankus Netsky, Ted Reichman, Ran Blake, Dominique Eade, Joe Maneri, Linda Chase, and Lautaro Mantilla. The performers will include Blake, Coleman, Kihlstedt, Netsky, CMA co-chair Eden MacAdam-Somer, and NEC students. Go to the above link to see other concerts and events related to the anniversary celebration.
November 17 at 8 p.m.
Harvard-Epworth Church, Cambridge, Mass.
Former Ornette Coleman Prime Time keyboardist Dave Bryant continues his “Third Thursday” exploration of Coleman’s harmolodics at the Havard-Epworth Church. He describes this month’s edition as “a very special harmolodic deep dive with [bassist] Fred Williams, who was a member of the early and overlooked proto-Prime Time with James ‘Blood’ Ulmer and Ronald Shannon Jackson, as well as [drummer] James Kamal Jones, an under-documented Prime Time contributor in the ’80s, and Matt Lavelle [trumpet and bass clarinet], a longtime collaborator with [guitarist] Bern Nix and a student of Ornette’s.”
November 18 at 8 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, Mass.
Pianist and composer Lafayette Gilchrist (most widely familiar from his musical contributions to David Simon HBO productions The Wire, Treme, and The Deuce) came of age with Baltimore’s go-go scene, and he draws on a variety of influences, but in his solo piano you can hear the prominent stride and roll of New Orleans funk as well as tinges of classical romanticism. He plays a rare Boston-area solo piano set at the Lilypad.
November 18 at 7 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston
The gifted vibraphonist and composer Warren Wolf — a regular on the Boston scene for years, and a sparkplug in Christian McBride’s “Inside Straight” band — returns to town for this show. The band includes Wolf on vibes and vocoder, singer Imani-Grace Cooper, saxophonist Brent Birchhead, pianist Allyn Johnson, electric bassist Brandon Lane, and drummer Carroll “CV” Dashiell.
The Bill Frisell Trio
November 20 at 8 p.m.
Groton Hill Music Center, Groton, Mass.
The brand-spanking-new Groton Music Center is a lovely thing to behold — in photos at least (think: Shalin Liu Center in Rockport). And their eclectic fall music schedule includes some jazz heavyweights. Tonight’s show features jazz sage (and guitar god) Bill Frisell with trio-mates Thomas Morgan (bass) and Kenny Wollesen (drums).
Zuzu, Cambridge, Mass.
JazzBoston continues its alternating Sunday jam sessions at Zuzu, this week with saxophonist Noah Preminger leading a house band that includes guitarist Max Light, bassist Michael Feinberg, and drummer in Dor Herskovits. The band will play an opening set and then invite musicians in the audience to jam. And it’s free.
— Jon Garelick
Roots and World Music
Habib Koité & Bamada
Crystal Ballroom at the Somerville Theater
A beloved staple of the world music circuit, Malian guitarist Koité and his band have played many memorable Boston shows. Seeing them in the intimate Crystal Ballroom should be an upbeat treat.
Club Passim, Cambridge
One of the likely sleeper shows of the fall is this Flemish quintet, which plays centuries-old folk songs with a very modern twist on the baritone saxophone, accordion, guitar, fiddle, and bagpipes.
Ryan Lee Crosby Acoustic Quartet
November 20, 7:30 p.m.
Longtime Arts Fuse favorite Crosby has a new LP, Winter Hill Blues, in which he dives further into the rich Delta blues tradition. He’ll be joined by a top-tier band that includes blues violinist Ilana Katz Katz, harmonica player Jay Scheffler, and percussionist Grant Smith.
— Noah Schaffer
Natasha Rogoff at Harvard Book Store – Harvard Book Store
Muppets in Moscow: The Unexpected Crazy True Story of Making Sesame Street in Russia
November 7 at 7 p.m.
“In Muppets in Moscow: The Unexpected Crazy True Story of Making Sesame Street in Russia, Natasha Lance Rogoff brings this gripping tale to life. Amidst bombings, assassinations, and a military takeover of the production office, Lance Rogoff and the talented Moscow team of artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers, and puppeteers remained determined to bring laughter, learning, and a new way of seeing the world to children in Russia, Ukraine, and across the former Soviet empire.
“With a sharp wit and compassion for her colleagues, Lance Rogoff observes how cultural clashes colored nearly every aspect of the production — from the show’s educational framework to writing comedy to the new Russian Muppets themselves — despite the team’s common goal.”
Kwan Kew Lai with E.B. Bartels – Porter Square Books
The Girl Who Taught Herself to Fly
November 10 at 7 p.m.
“In The Girl Who Taught Herself to Fly, the author weaves in her family’s story of joy, sorrow, loss, love, and endless struggles with poverty and hunger. This poignant memoir, with universal and timeless themes, will leave you in awe.”
Steve Martin and Harry Bliss – brookline booksmith
Number One Is Walking: My Life in the Movies and other Diversions
November 16 at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $40 with mailed book, $30 pickup
“Steve Martin has never written about his career in the movies before. In Number One Is Walking, he shares anecdotes from the sets of his beloved films — Father of the Bride, Roxanne, The Jerk, Three Amigos, and many more — bringing readers directly into his world. He shares charming tales of antics, moments of inspiration, and exploits with the likes of Paul McCartney, Diane Keaton, Robin Williams, and Chevy Chase. Martin details his 40 years in the movie biz, as well as his stand-up comedy, banjo playing, writing, and cartooning, all with his unparalleled wit.
“With gorgeously illustrated cartoons and single-panel ‘diversions’ in Steve and Harry’s signature style, Number One Is Walking is full of the everyday moments that make up a movie star’s life, capturing Steve Martin’s singular humor and acclaimed career in film. The perfect gift from the team who brought you the #1 New York Times bestseller A Wealth of Pigeons.”
Virtual Event: James Fleming – Harvard Book Store
Constructing Basic Liberties: A Defense of Substantive Due Process
November 18 at 12 p.m.
Free with $5 suggested donation
“Against recurring charges that the practice of substantive due process is dangerously indeterminate and irredeemably undemocratic, Constructing Basic Liberties reveals the underlying coherence and structure of substantive due process and defends it as integral to our constitutional democracy. Reviewing the development of the doctrine over the last half-century, James E. Fleming rebuts popular arguments against substantive due process and shows that the Supreme Court has constructed basic liberties through common law constitutional interpretation: reasoning by analogy from one case to the next and making complex normative judgments about what basic liberties are significant for personal self-government.”
WBUR CitySpace: Bill McKibben – brookline booksmith
The Flag, The Cross, The Station Wagon
November 21 at 6 p.m.
“In this revelatory cri de coeur, McKibben digs deep into our history (and his own well-meaning but not all-seeing past) and into the latest scholarship on race and inequality in America, on the rise of the religious right, and on our environmental crisis to explain how we got to this point. He finds that he is not without hope. And he wonders if any of that trinity of his youth — The Flag, the Cross, and The Station Wagon — could, or should, be reclaimed in the fight for a fairer future.” Arts Fuse review
— Matt Hanson