Coming Attractions: March 12 Through 28 — 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.


Park Ji-Min in Return to Seoul. Photo: Thomas Favel/Aurora Films/Sony Pictures Classics

Return to Seoul
Screening at Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline

Freddie, raised in France, returns to Korea, her country of origin, to meet her birth parents. Newcomer Ji-Min Park plays the reserved — and not always sympathetic — protagonist with minimal affect. The story takes place over many years as Freddie grows older but not always wiser. The film accumulates power through its patient cultivation of a network of themes, motifs, interrelationships, and behaviors. This is a complex coming-of-age story with insights into a Korea we don’t often see. Winner of Best Film of 2022 from the Boston Society of Film Critics. Arts Fuse review

March 17-21
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge

Albert Serra (The Death of Louis XIV) has returned with a political thriller. On the French Polynesian island of Tahiti, the High Commissioner of the Republic is a calculating man who coolly navigates both the “establishment” and the local underground. He persists as rumors circulate about the sighting of a submarine whose presence might signal the return of nuclear testing. The film is 2 hours and 25 minutes, edited down from 540 hours of film. About the immersive quality of the narrative, Serra says, “The film is full of these tiny behavioral details. The methodology — the three cameras, the editing — precisely allows me to put many of details under a microscope. In real time, maybe you can lose some of these nice things that fill the film, but if you pay attention, you can really discover a lot. Gestures, details.” In French, English, Polynesian, and Portuguese with English subtitles.

Willem Dafoe as the art thief with no way out in Inside.

Opening on March 16 at Kendall Square Cinema and select AMC Theaters

Willem Dafoe gives a tour-de-force solo performance as an unnamed art thief who has gained entrance to a penthouse apartment while the owner is overseas. Via a walkie-talkie, he is tasked with stealing four Egon Schiele paintings, including a $3 million dollar self-portrait. When Dafoe enters an incorrect code on the apartment’s high tech alarm system, it sets off a screeching alarm, shutting off gas, water, and all access to the outside. Abandoned by by his accomplice, he is trapped, isolated from the world. A security camera and a plasma screen allow him to see people coming and going in the halls and in the lobby but the alarm system has drawn no attention. No one can hear his screams or his pounding on the door.

The thief proves that he has “fucked up his whole life” as he proceeds to demolish tradition, along with everything else, in this moneyed art collector’s apartment. Inside is more than a survival thriller: it is an allegory about the art of self-destruction. The gaps in logic and credibility should be put aside. This is a comic tragedy, a dark satire. The thief’s suffering becomes his path to transcendence. Arts Fuse review

Talking About the Weather
March 19 at 11 a.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre

Presented by the Goethe-Institut of Boston, this film, written and directed by Annika Pinske, centers on Lara, 39, who is studying for a PhD in philosophy in Berlin. When she visits provincial Mecklenburg-Vorpommern for her mother’s birthday party, the young woman realizes just how far she has moved away from her roots in her search for a self-determined life.

A scene from the silent film South.

Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance Expedition
March 19, 3 p.m. Doors 2 p.m.
Crystal Ballroom at Somerville Theatre

Psychedelic Cinema Orchestra performs their live accompaniment to the 1919 silent film South, which documents the heroic Antarctic expedition led by Ernest Shackleton. The ship Endurance became stuck in the ice and sank. The crew members took to the ice and, through a remarkable feat of human endurance, survived a two-year ordeal.

Psychedelic Cinema Orchestra is a three-member ensemble blending composed music and improvisation. PCO is: Ken Winokur (Alloy Orchestra), Russ Gershon (Either Orchestra), and Jonathan LaMaster (Cup de Sac).

Some Problems of Domestication: Short Films by Alison Folland
March 19 at 2 p.m.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge

Actress, performer, filmmaker, and native of Somerville Alison Folland will screen her short hybrid films, which engage questions of affect and truth-value. Her pieces are directly informed by her work as an actor in the commercial film industry. Presented by Revolutions per Minute Festival (RPM Fest), which is dedicated to short-form poetic, personal, experimental film, essay film, animation, documentary, video, and audiovisual performance.

The Boston Israeli Film Festival
March 19-23
Coolidge Corner, West Newton, and the MFA.

Thoughtful documentaries and moving narratives on the richness of the Jewish experience, aided and abetted by discussions with filmmakers and special guests. This year’s festival begins at the MFA and runs (March 19-23) in person at the West Newton Cinema and the Coolidge Corner Theatre, and virtually March 26-29. There are 12 films. Check the Complete Schedule and  FAQ Page.

Salem Film Fest
March 23-April 2

Now the largest international documentary film festival in Massachusetts, SFF presents features, shorts, and special events. This hybrid 16th edition will be both in-person and virtual, with filmmaker Q&As as well as parties and other special events. Schedule of all films

The Boston Turkish Film Festival
March 24–26
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

This year’s festival includes six films and takes place online and in person. BTFF was awarded a special commendation by the Boston Society of Film Critics for “bringing work by emerging and established filmmakers of the Turkish cinema to Boston.”

(Note: The Festival will continue online, as well as with a special music program, featuring concerts by distinguished musicians, at the Goethe-Institut Boston, April 1-29. Schedule here ).

A scene from Kerr.

March 24: Kerr – Tayfun Pirselimoğlu’s entry for Best International Feature at the 2023 Academy Awards and Best Foreign Language Film at the 2023 Golden Globe Awards.

March 25: Patrida and Maffy’s Jazz:  The Arts Fuse‘s Peter Keough moderates a panel discussion with the directors following the double-feature screening of these 50-minute films.

March 26: Burning Days – Emin Alper’s film is one of the most acclaimed Turkish films of 2022.

A Man
March 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Apple Cinema at Fresh Pond, Cambridge

Belmont World Film International Film returns for its 21st year with another excellent program of films that will screen Mondays at 7:30 through May 15th. The series begins with A Man by Kei Ishikawa. After divorcing, Rie has found happiness with her second husband Daisuke and formed a new family. But when Daisuke dies in a tragic accident, she discovers her new husband was not the man she thought he was. Rie calls on the attorney Kido to help her find the truth about the identity of the man she loved. It is a quest that will open up larger questions about the nature of identity itself, and what makes a person “real.” Schedule, tickets, virtual information here.

Pick of the Week
The Secret of Roan Inish (1994)
Amazon, Apple TV, and Criterion

A scene from The Secret of Roan Inish.

If you enjoyed the Academy Award nominated film The Banshees of Inisherin, Martin McDonagh’s dark comic folktale, you might want to look back at this more mystical folktale, directed by John Sayles. Adapted from the Scottish book Secret of the Ron Mor Skerry and transposed to Ireland, the film features a cast of colorful Irish actors, with cinematography by the great Haskell Wexler (Days of Heaven).

Unlike the Banshees of Inisherin, Sayles’s film is about family and reconnection. Roan Inish in Gaelic means “island of the seals.” Fiona (Jeni Courtney) is a young Irish girl with an unusual family history, including a long-missing baby brother. When she goes to live with her grandparents on the west coast of Ireland, Fiona hears stories about her ancestors, tales that involve mythical creatures called selkies who can shift from seal to human form. After Fiona ends up on the small island of Roan Inish, her family’s ancestral home, she believes she may have found her little brother living by the sea.

John Sayles will be reading (along with Lauren Acampora, and Lizje) on March 21 at the Burren Earful Series. Also appearing will be Sayles’s go-to composer Mason Daring (with Jeannie Stahl).

— Tim Jackson


Yours for Always
March 19 at 5 p.m.
The Dance Complex

Karen Klein and Sean Murphy present Yours for always, a poetry/dance performance examining aging. This work draws from a variety of sources, including Klein’s poems, historical letters from BBC/Ulster, biblical text, and emotionally evocative contemporary songs. Murphy’s choreography experiments with the struggle between self, social mores, and prejudices. A reception with light refreshment follows the performance.

Deborah Abel Dance Company performs an excerpt of The Wild Divine. Photo: Liz Linder

The Wild Divine
March 21 at 12:30 p.m.
Chelsea High School
Chelsea, MA

Deborah Abel Dance Company performs an excerpt of its celebrated production The Wild Divine at an all-day event celebrating women on March 21. This performance and event are sponsored by the Massachusetts Trial Court’s Women’s History Month Planning Committee. Interested in attending? Click the link above to fill out a form to attend!

March 25 at 8 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center

Global Arts Live presents Malevo, an exhilarating all-male percussive dance group from Argentina. Malevo specializes in Malambo, a traditional Argentine folk dance, and merges it with urban percussion and other dance styles. Named an official Cultural Ambassador to the National Identity of Argentina, the group has appeared with Latin pop star Ricky Martin, Cirque du Soleil, and on the hit TV show America’s Got Talent.

And further afield…

March 16-18, 24 & 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Keats Theatre
Barrington, RI

Newport Contemporary Ballet presents Elements, an evening of dance ranging from neoclassical ballet to powerful contemporary. Elements includes world premieres by choreographers Caleb Mitchell, Juan Rodriguez, and Yoshito Sakuraba. The bill also features a pas-de-deux from Gerald Arpino’s seminal work Light Rain, and the first performance of artistic director Danielle Genest’s Skeleton Crew (originally made for livestream) in front of a live audience.

— 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.

Karina Beleno Carney and Luz Lopez in Central Square Theater’s production of Alma. Photo: Nile Scott Studios

Alma by Benjamin Benne. Directed by Elena Velasco. Presented by Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, through March 26.

“2016. Alma and her daughter, Angel, made wishes long ago, among them good health, carne asada, and perfect SAT scores to earn a spot at UC Davis. However, Angel, now 17 and on the eve of that important test, has a different vision of the future.” The question at the center of this conflict: “Who does the American Dream belong to?” Benjamin Benne’s script won the National Latinx Playwriting Award. Arts Fuse review

The Great Leap by Lauren Yee. Directed by Michael Hisamoto. Staged by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 40 Clarendon Street, 2nd Floor, Boston, through March 19.

“It’s 1989 San Francisco and Manford Lum, a gifted, fast-talking teenager, dominates the high school basketball courts. Facing an uncertain future, he convinces Saul, a cynical and crusty coach, to let him travel to Beijing for a ‘friendship’ game in China. Waiting there is a Chinese national coach with unfinished business, both with Saul and with Manford. On the eve of historic demonstrations, all three men are challenged to define their pasts and their futures.” The cast includes Barlow Adamson, Jihan Haddad, and Gary Thomas Ng.

Marcus Adolphy, Clare Perkins, George Eggay, Andrew Frame, and the company of The Wife of Willesden. Photo: Marc Brenner

The Wife of Willesden, adapted by Zadie Smith from Chaucer’s “The Wife of Bath” from The Canterbury Tales. Directed by Indhu Rubasingham. Staged by the Kiln Theatre and presented in association with BAM by the American Repertory Theater at the Loeb Drama Center, Harvard Square, Cambridge, February 25 through March 18. Following its North American premiere at the Loeb Drama Center, the production will receive its New York premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) April 1-17.

The Wife of Willesden follows Alvita, a Jamaican-born British woman in her mid-50s, as she tells her life story to a band of strangers in a small pub on the Kilburn High Road. Wearing fake gold chains, dressed in knock-off designer clothes, and speaking in a mixture of London slang and patois, Alvita recalls her five marriages in outrageous, bawdy detail, rewrites her mistakes as triumphs, and shares her beliefs on femininity, sexuality, and misogyny with anyone willing to listen.” Arts Fuse review

Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles by Luis Alfaro. Directed by Laurie Woolery. Staged by Yale Rep at 222 York Street, New Haven, through April 1.

“Medea, a Mexican seamstress of extraordinary skill, barely survived the perilous border crossing into the United States and lives uneasily in a borrowed Los Angeles house with her husband Hason and their young son Acan: the tension between their traditional values and assimilation is a matter of life and death.”

The Inferior Sex by Jacqueline E. Lawton. Directed by Tatyana-Marie Carlo. Staged by Trinity Repertory Company at the Dowling Theater, Providence, 201 Washington Street, March 16 through April 16.

A world premiere: “It’s the summer of 1972. The battle to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment is ramping up across the nation. Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm is campaigning for president. And in midtown Manhattan, a group of women have created a magazine ‘for feminists who love fashion.’ As the war in Vietnam intensifies, and the Watergate scandal erupts, the charged political and social climate challenges friendships and the future of the magazine itself.”

A scene in the Portland Stage’s production of How I Learned What I Learned.

How I Learned What I Learned by August Wilson. Co-conceived by Todd Kreidler. Directed by Jade King Carroll. Staged by Portland Stage at 25A Forest Avenue, Portland, ME, through March 19.

“This one-man play tells the story of August Wilson’s journey from a young, struggling poet in the Hill District of Pittsburgh to becoming one of the most celebrated and respected playwrights of our time.” Originally, this script was performed by Wilson himself. For this production, Lance E. Nichols steps into the role.

Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon. Directed by Tony Estrella. At the Gamm Theatre at 1245 Jefferson Blvd., Warwick, RI, through March 26.

Joshua Harmon’s award-winning play is billed as “a deliciously savage comedy about family, faith, and the complications of identity. The plot: “a beloved grandfather and Holocaust survivor has died, leaving a treasured heirloom with religious significance up for grabs. But who among a group of brawling cousins should get it?”

A glimpse of Cointelshow: A Patriot Act, a virtual event presented by Arts Emerson.

Cointelshow: A Patriot Act by L.M. Bogad. Directed by Nick Slie and Dan Pruksarnukul, performed by Bruce J. Bowling. A Mondo Bizzrro Production presented by Arts Emerson as a Virtual Event, through March 12.

A political satire about COINTELPRO, “the FBI’s counterintelligence program with which they sabotaged, disrupted, and repressed domestic groups like the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, the American Indian Movement, along with individuals like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Fred Hampton. Over the course of an hour, this interactive virtual experience takes audiences under the redaction marks of actual heavily-censored COINTELPRO documents into an underworld haunted by its victims.”

K-I-S-S-I-N-G by Lenelle Moïse. Directed by Dawn M. Simmons. Staged by Front Porch Arts Collective and The Huntington at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, with digital access to the filmed performance available until April 16.

The world premiere production of a play by award-winning poet, playwright, screenwriter, and performer Lenelle Moïse, who thinks of the script as “a date-night for revolutionary thinkers.” The story “follows high school student Lala as she makes fine art on the back of pizza boxes. A sweet and sticky summer inspires her to romance Dani, a budding feminist – and Albert, his smooth-talking twin.”

Brian Simmons (as Warren Chipp) and Kenya Wilson (as interviewer Melody Wells) in the Theater for the New City production of The Conductor. Photo: Jonathan Slaff

The Conductor by Ishmael Reed. Directed by Carla Blank. At Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue, New York, through March 26. (Simultaneously available for both in-person and livestreamed audiences)

Productions of August Wilson scripts are omnipresent at the moment, so I wanted to point to the world premiere of a drama by another powerful Black writer, Ishmael Reed, who is now 85 and still slinging sharp satire, which makes him less palatable for mainstream audiences. He has published over 30 books of poetry, prose, essays, and plays, as well as penned hundreds of lyrics for musicians ranging from Taj Mahal to Macy Gray. His work is known for its acidic, ironic take on race and literary tradition, as well as its innovative, post-modern technique. My favorites among his novels are Mumbo Jumbo (1972), Flight to Canada (1976), and Reckless Eyeballing (1986). His most recent novel is The Terrible Fours (2021). To my knowledge, none of his plays have been professionally produced in Boston.

In this drama, Reed “attacks the race-baiting and divisiveness that were widely seen in the recent, widely-reported San Francisco School Board Recall.” Here are the opponents at ideological and racial loggerheads: “In San Francisco, former school board members Alison Collins and Gabriela López were objects of threats because they sought to replace a scandal-ridden test system with what they deemed a fairer Lottery system. The neoliberal corporate press joined extremists groups in their condemnation of the two. For some, the two are ultra-progressives. To others, they are the Rosa Parks and Dolores Huertas of the school reform movement.”

Wild Goose Dreams by Hansol Jung. Directed by Seonjae Kim. Staged by the SpeakEasy Stage Company at The Roberts Studio Theatre in the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street in Boston’s South End, March 17-April 8.

The plot of this New England premiere: “in an age where technology offers easy connection, Nanhee and Minsung are alone in Seoul, South Korea. Nanhee is a North Korean defector with no way to contact her family. Minsung is a gireogi appa or “goose father,” working in Seoul to send money to his family in Texas. But after a chance encounter on the internet, the pair strike up an unlikely romance within the noise of the 21st century.”

Clyde’s by Lynn Nottage. Directed by Taylor Reynolds. A Huntington Theatre co-production with Berkeley Repertory Theatre. At the The Huntington Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave., Boston, March 24-April 23.

“A truck stop sandwich shop offers its formerly incarcerated kitchen staff a shot at reclaiming their lives. Even as the shop’s callous owner tries to keep them under her thumb, the staff members are given purpose and permission to dream by the enigmatic, zen-like chef and his belief in the possibility of the perfect sandwich.”

— Bill Marx

Visual Arts

In 1958, just as the colonial era in Africa began to close, the United Nations commissioned the American documentary photographer Todd Webb (1905-2000) to record emerging industries and technologies in a wide swath of Central African nations in formation, including Ghana, Kenya, Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Somalia, Sudan, Togo, and Tanganyika and Zanzibar (both now Tanzania). Webb had a previous reputation for the photographs he made of everyday life all across the United States and in Paris. For reasons that are not entirely clear, these African images went largely unpublished and unused and disappeared from view until their recent rediscovery. Meanwhile, Webb and his wife moved from Greenwich Village to Santa Fe, to Provence, to Bath, England, before finally settling in Portland, Maine.

Todd Webb, Untitled (44UN-7930-609), Somaliland (Somalia), 1958, archival pigment print. Courtesy of the Todd Webb Archive

Outside the Frame: Todd Webb in Africa opens at the Portland Museum of Art on March 24. The photographs on view —  city street views, a pristine Texaco station, well-dressed young women walking on an empty and spotless beach, a busy harbor in Ghana, passengers climbing into an airplane, and other images mostly shot in bright sunlight and sparkling color — are surprisingly free of stereotypes and exoticism, yet they present what seem to be Western ideas of what postcolonial modern life should be like in the new African nations. An accompanying catalogue reproduces over 150 works from the United Nations assignment while a group of international scholars unpack the political, racial, and imperialist issues raised by Webb’s African work.

The Japanese woodblock print master Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) is popular and famous around the world for such universally known works as Red Fuji and The Great Wave, both from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (c. 1830). Over a career of more than 70 years, Hokusai printed, for a broad popular national market, famous Japanese landscape views, elegant studies of birds and flowers, portraits of beautiful women and swashbuckling heroes, and grotesque, menacing mythical monsters.

Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence, opening at the Museum of Fine Arts on March 26, is a fresh tack on the often-exhibited artist. The show includes more than 100 Hokusai prints, paintings, and illustrated books along with 200 works by his teachers, students, and rivals as well as by his many admirers who continue to work under his influence to this day, often far from his native land. Representative of Hokusai’s contemporaries in the show are his daughter Katsushika Oi, Utagawa Hiroshige, and Utagawa Kuniyoski. The 19th-century French Japonistes and modern and contemporary artists in Japan and the West, such as Lois Mailou Jones, John Cederquist, and Yoshitomo Nara, show how long and how far his legacy has continued.

Graciela Iturbide, Cemetario, Juchitan, Oaxaca, 1988, gelatin silver print. Photo: Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Opening at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art on March 16 is the exhibition Human Nature: Environmental Studies at 50. Organized mostly by current students to mark the half century since the college’s pioneering Environmental Studies Program was established in 1972, the show brings together works from Bowdoin’s Museum of Art and the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum. Chosen to represent the “Anthropocene,” the current geological age named for human dominance over climate and environment, works by such photographers as Richard Misrach, Graciela Iturbide, and Alfredo Jaar, and brush painter Yun-Fei Ji explore Anthropocene themes of race, consumption, technology, and migration.

The Griffin Museum of Photography’s downtown satellite gallery at the Lafayette City Center hosts Expanding the Pantheon: Women R Beautiful. Organized to mark Women’s History Month, the show features what many consider to be the magnum opus of photographer, curator, and architect Ruben Natal-San Miguel’s career. Natal-San Miguel’s portraits of women show his subjects as self-possessed, direct, and confident. Opens March 20.

On Boston’s Newbury Street, Childs Gallery looks at the blossoming of 20th-century modernism with Make It New: Modernist Paintings, 1930-1975. The show opens March 16.

— Peter Walsh


Jane Bunnett & Maqueque will play this week at Scullers Jazz Club. Photo: courtesy of the artist

Jane Bunnett & Maqueque
March 17 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston

Canadian soprano saxophonist, flutist, and composer Jane Bunnett has been traveling to Cuba for decades to enrich her musical vocabulary. For the past 10 years she’s been touring and recording with Maqueque, her hand-picked troupe of young female Cuban musicians. Their latest release is the aptly titled Playing with Fire — the shows can be incendiary.

Dave Bryant
March 16 at 8 p.m.
Harvard-Epworth Church, Cambridge

Keyboardist Dave Bryant’s “First Thursday” explorations of the harmolodic procedures of Ornette Coleman (always including a tune or two by the master) “come full circle,” with the band that initiated the series a year ago: Bryant with tenor saxophonist Tom Hall, guitarist Eric Hofbauer, bassist John Turner, and drummer Miki Matsuki.

Tenor saxophonist and poet Tim Hall and marimba player and artist Maria Finkelmeier will perform in Cambridge and Roxbury. Photo: Robert Torres

Maria Finkelmeier and Tim Hall
March 18 at 4 p.m.
Harvard-Epworth Church, Cambridge
March 19 at 3 p.m.
Black Nubian Market, Roxbury, MA

Tenor saxophonist and poet Tim Hall and marimba player and artist Maria Finkelmeier team up for “‘Finding HOME,’ a program of self-composed music and improvisations for saxophone and marimba, as well as other percussion, electronics, and poetry.” (A digital streaming version of the show will be available March 30.)

Cat Trio
March 18 at 8 p.m.
Hope Central Church, Jamaica Plain, MA

A wonderful trio by any measure, in a configuration I haven’t seen before: pianist Carmen Staaf (musical director for Dee Dee Bridgewater, regular bandmate of Allison Miller, among many, many other gigs), bassist Tony Scherr (Bill Frisell, Ani DiFranco, Lounge Lizards), and drummer Austin McMahon (in-demand Boston hero).

Bogotá-born pianist and composer Tatiana Castro Mejía has assembled an impressive program to celebrate Women’s History Month at the Lilypad. Photo: Luis Suarez

“Del Sur, la primavera”
March 21 at 8 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge

The extraordinary Bogotá-born pianist and composer Tatiana Castro Mejía (seen most recently at the Lilypad as part of her husband Tony Malaby’s “Firebath” event) has put together an ambitious program for Women’s History Month, focusing on the work of herself and two other South American women, the Uruguayan trumpeter Ale Gómez and the Argentine multi-instrumentalist Bianca Cabili, in different formats. First up will be the duo of Cabili (voice and bass) and singer Daniela Beck (voice and cello); then the trio of Gómez, pianist Estefanía Nuñez Villamandos, and singer-songwriter Esperanza Delgado; and, finally, a quintet of Castro Mejía, violinist  Zoe-Rose dePaz, trumpeter Miranda Agnew, and bassists Akiva Jacobs and Brittany Karlson.

Terri-Lyne Carrington and Social Science. Photo: Delphine Diallo

Terri-Lyne Carrington + Social Science
March 24 at 8 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center, Boston

Drummer, composer, and bandleader Terri-Lyne Carrington’s band Social Science and her Grammy-winning New Standards, Vol. 1 overlap in various ways both projects directly address issues of gender equality and social justice, and they share some personnel, including guitarist and New Standards co-producer Matthew Stevens. The other Social Science band members are pianist Aaron Parks, DJ Kassa Overall, the phenomenal singer Debo Ray, and multi-instrumentalist Margan Guerin. Guest players are violinist Chelsey Green and rapper Toki Wright. Both projects have been producing inspired, vital music.

Jacques Schwartz-Bart
March 25 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston

The fascinating saxophonist and composer Jacques Schwarz-Bart (whose credits include gigs with Roy Hargrove, D’Angelo, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Danilo Pérez) celebrates the release of his 11th album as a leader, The Harlem Suite: “A harvest of tunes and arrangements that he wrote to celebrate each step into his perilous but rewarding journey, from his native island of Guadeloupe to the heart of modern Black music: Harlem, where he lived for 18 years.”

Kelly Bray
March 25 at 8 p.m.
Arts at the Armory, Somerville, MA

Three accomplished young improvisers whose common denominator is the progressive ferment of New England Conservatory come together for this Creative Music Series show at the Somerville Armory. The leader is trumpeter Kelly Bray (you can hear her arrangement of Sun Ra’s “Angels and Demons at Play” here). She’s joined by violinists Lucy Little and bassist Anna Abondolo.

Helen Gillet
March 26 at 7:30 p.m.
Swedenborg Chapel, Cambridge

The singer-songwriter-cellist Helen Gillet was born in Belgium, raised in Singapore, and has lived for the past few decades in New Orleans, where she developed a singular polyglot style. A classically trained cellist who was drawn to jazz and the avant-garde, she uses live looping, layering cello parts and vocal lines, mixing French chanson of the ’40s, Belgian folk tunes sung in Walloon, a mix of rock and punk from the likes of PJ Harvey and X-Ray Spex, and her own affecting originals. A favorite on the New Orleans scene, Gillet is with this show making her first official solo appearance in the Boston area. Tickets can be reserved at Masks are required in Swedenborg Chapel.

— Jon Garelick

Classical Music

Coro Allegro celebrates Ralph Vaughn Williams’s 150th birthday.

Presented by Coro Allegro
March 12, 3 p.m.
Church of the Covenant, Boston

Coro Allegro marks the centenary of composer Daniel Pinkham, as well as the 150th birthday of Ralph Vaughan Williams, with a program of works by those two composers. Also on tap is the local premiere of Shawn Crouch’s Paradise.

Her Story
Presented by Boston Symphony Orchestra
March 16 at 7:30 p.m., 17 at 1:30 p.m., and 18 at 8 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston

Julia Wolfe’s Her Story, a meditation on the centenary of the passage of the 19th amendment, makes its Boston debut featuring the exceptional Lorelei Ensemble. Also on the docket is Henryk Górecki’s haunting Symphony No. 3 (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs).

Chineke! Orchestra
Presented by Celebrity Series
March 22, 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston

The dynamic British ensemble makes its belated Boston debut (their planned March 2020 appearance fell victim to the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic). Pianist Stewart Goodyear is the featured soloist, performing his Callaloo: A Caribbean Suite for piano and orchestra. Andrew Grams conducts further works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Florence Price.

Mozart & Mendelssohn
Presented by Handel & Haydn Society
March 17 at 7:30 p.m. and 19 at 3 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston

David Stern leads H&H in performances of pieces by Pierre Berton, Mozart, and Mendelssohn. Principal flute Emi Ferguson is the soloist in Mozart’s Flute Concerto No. 1.

Dido and Aeneas
Presented by Boston Camerata
March 18, 8 p.m.
Pickman Hall, Cambridge

Boston Camerata presents Purcell’s landmark opera. Tahanee Aluwiahre and Luke Scott sing the ill-fated title couple; BC artistic director Anne Azéma directs.

Bluebeard’s Castle & Four Songs
Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
March 22-26, 7:30 p.m. (3 p.m. on Sunday)
Flynn Cruiseport, Boston

BLO returns to action with the peculiar pairing of Bartók’s harrowing masterpiece and four songs by Alma Mahler. Ryan McKinny and Naomi Louis O’Connell lead the cast, David Angus conducts.

Thomas Adès conducing pianist Kirill Gerstein and the Boston Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Adès’s Piano Concerto. Photo: Winslow Townson

Presented by Boston Symphony Orchestra
March 23 at 7:30 p.m., 24 at 1:30 p.m., and 25 at 8 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston

Thomas Adès returns to town to lead the BSO in two works from The Dante Project, his three-part ballet score. Also on deck is a rare outing of Stravinsky’s Perséphone.

Presented by Boston Baroque
March 25 at 8 p.m. and 26 at 3 p.m.
GBH Calderwood Hall (on Saturday) and Jordan Hall, Boston (on Sunday)

Boston Baroque presents two of Mozart’s finest scores: the Jupiter Symphony and Sinfonia concertante in E-flat for violin and viola. The latter boasts violinist Christina Day Martinson and violist Jason Fisher.

— Jonathan Blumhofer

Popular Music

Lizz Wright at the Stockholm Jazz Festival in 2009. Photo: Wiki Common

Lizz Wright
March 19 at 7 p.m.
City Winery, Boston

The charismatic singer and songwriter Lizz Wright — with her distinctive blend of gospel, blues, folk-rock, and jazz, and capacious sound — hits Boston for the first time in a while in support of her new live album Holding Space.

— Jon Garelick

Roots and World Music


Sliabh Notes
March 14
Gasson Hall, Boston College

Local pubs are overflowing with Irish sounds this March, but you can also hear great traditional music in a more sedate setting thanks to this excellent BC Irish Studies concert series, which continues with this highly respected accordion/fiddle/guitar trio.

Jomion and the Uklos
March 15 & 18
Brandeis University

Brandeis has an invaluable program each semester called MusicUnitesUs, which brings important global music artists to the campus for a week of classes and residencies. This spring they’re featuring Jomion and the Uklos, a group that mixes the Vòdún tradition of their Benin homeland with the reggae and salsa they soak up in their current home in Brooklyn. The band plays an informal free lunchtime event on Wednesday as well as a full ticketed concert on Saturday.

A Celtic Sojourn Live
March 15-19

For many years, GBH host Brian O’Donovan has curated this St. Patrick’s Day showcase of local and international Celtic music greats. Despite being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, he has selected the musical talent to perform, and he’ll host as many of the shows as his health allows. The tour plays the Cabot in Beverly, Sanders Theatre in Cambridge, the Shalin Liu in Rockport and the Groton Hill Music Center. There will also be a virtual stream.

Everton Blender
Kay’s Oasis Function Hall, Dorchester, MA
March 18

One of the great consciously roots reggae artists who made their mark in the ’90, Everton Blender may be underrated by the public at large, but he’s beloved by the genre’s connoisseurs. It’s been quite a while since he played Boston. A lot of great songs are promised, but the flyer seems to indicate that Blender will be backed by a sound system rather than a live band.

Concert in Solidarity with Afghan Musicians
March 20
First Church, Cambridge

Because their music is banned by the Taliban, Afghan musicians in the diaspora have taken it upon themselves to keep the tradition alive. Longy School of Music of Bard College student Arson Fahim is presenting an evening of contemporary and traditional Afghan music with a variety of ensembles. Admission is free but RSVPs are accepted.

Mandolinist Ethan Setiawan — he has a phenomenal new recording coming out at the end of this month. Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Ethan Setiawan
March 24
Club Passim, Cambridge

Mandolinist Ethan Setiawan’s hot chops got him a full ride at Berklee and made him a valued part of what he describes as the Boston “alt-bluegrass” scene. Now based in Maine, he’s got a phenomenal new recording, entitled Gambit (set for release on March 31) that shows he’s also an impressive composer who has added some fine new compositions to the newgrass canon. The disc was produced by fiddle legend Darol Anger, who will be part of Setiawan’s acoustic quartet at Passim.

Sweet Honey in the Rock
March 25
Arts at the Armory, Somerville

Living treasures of Black music heritage, Sweet Honey in the Rock draw on everything from Negro spirituals to their own socially conscious compositions. The group is celebrating its 50th anniversary of music and activism this year.

— Noah Schaffer

Author Events

Rebecca Mahoney in conversation with Nicole Lesperance
At Porter Square Books: Boston Edition, 50 Liberty Dr.
The Memory Eater
March 14 at 7 p.m.

“A teenage girl must save her town from a memory-devouring monster in this piercing exploration of grief, trauma, and memory, from the author of The Valley and the Flood.

“For generations, a monster called the Memory Eater has lived in the caves of Whistler Beach, Maine, surviving off the unhappy memories of those who want to forget. And for generations, the Harlows have been in charge of keeping her locked up — and keeping her fed.

“After her grandmother dies, 17-year-old Alana Harlow inherits the family business. But there’s something Alana doesn’t know: the strange gaps in her memory aren’t from an accident. Her memories have been taken — eaten. And with them, she’s lost the knowledge of how to keep the monster contained.”

Gesine Bullock-Prado at Harvard Book Store
My Vermont Table: Recipes for All (Six) Seasons
March 16 at 7 p.m.

“When Gesine Bullock-Prado left her Hollywood life in 2004 and moved to Vermont, she fell in love with the Green Mountain State’s flavors and six unique seasons. Spring, summer, fall, and winter all claim their place at this table, but a true Vermonter holds extra space for maple-forward mud season―that time of year before spring when thawing ice makes way for mucky roads―and stick season, a notable period of bare trees and gourds galore prior to winter.

“In My Vermont Table, Bullock-Prado takes readers on a sweet and savory journey through each of these special seasons. Recipes like Blackberry Cornmeal Cake, Vermont Cheddar Soup, Shaved Asparagus Toasts, and Maple Pulled Pork Sliders utilize local produce, dairy, wine, and flour. And quintessential Vermont flavors are updated with ingredients and spices from Bullock-Prado’s own backyard. With stunning photography, Vermonters and visitors alike will revel in a seat at this table.”

WBUR CitySpace: Adam Gopnik
The Real Work: On The Mystery of Mastery 
March 20 at 6:30 p.m.

“Join former WBUR Morning Edition host Bob Oakes for a conversation with New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik about his new book, The Real Work: On the Mystery of Mastery, where he investigates a foundational human question: how do we learn — and master — a new skill? The pair will discuss why people seek to better themselves in the first place and how true mastery, in any field, requires mastering other people’s minds.”

Harlan Coben in conversation with Edwin Hill
I Will Find You
At Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline
March 20 at 6 p.m.

“Five years ago, an innocent man began a life sentence for murdering his own son. Today he found out his son is still alive. David Burroughs was once a devoted father to his three-year-old son Matthew, living a dream life just a short drive away from the working-class suburb where he and his wife, Cheryl, first fell in love — until one fateful night when David woke suddenly to discover Matthew had been murdered while David was asleep just down the hall.”

David Delmar Sentíes at Harvard Book Store
What We Build with Power: The Fight for Economic Justice in Tech
March 21 at 7 p.m.

“Delmar Sentíes uses his firsthand experience as the founder of Resilient Coders — a free and stipended nonprofit coding bootcamp that trains people of color from low income communities for careers as software engineers — to highlight how we must identify and dismantle the intentional systemic barriers in tech that are precluding nonwhite people from participating in their cities’ prosperity. He shows how diversity and inclusion initiatives fail, reveals how philanthropic efforts often exacerbate racial inequalities, and argues for a total overhaul of tech culture.”

Virtual Event –The Border Has To Be Crossed: Alie Ataee and Atiq Rahimi
March 24 at 12 p.m.

“Aliyeh Ataei is an Iranian-Afghan author and screenwriter whose books have won major literary awards, including Mehregan-e-Adab for Best Novel. Ataei was born in 1981 and grew up in Darmian, a border region between South Khorasan Province of Iran and Farah Province of Afghanistan. Growing up in Iran as a female minority, she experienced a lot of discrimination and difficulties which led her to work as a women’s rights activist. Her works are deeply influenced by her observations and experiences as a child. Atiq Rahimi is a French-Afghanistani writer and filmmaker. In 1984, Rahimi’s family went into exile, and after studying at the Franco-Afghanistani lycée, he joined his father in Bombay. In 1979, he returned to Afghanistan to read literature at the University of Kabul, and worked as a cinema critic. In 1984, he relocated to Pakistan for a brief period, before seeking political asylum in France. He completed his PhD in audio-visual communications at the Sorbonne, and began writing Earth and Ashes in 1996.”

Tracy Kidder in conversation with Dr. Jim O’Connell
Rough Sleepers
At Porter Square Books: Boston Edition, 50 Liberty Dr.
March 24 at 7 p.m.

“When Jim O’Connell graduated from Harvard Medical School and was nearing the end of his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, the chief of medicine made a proposal: Would he defer a prestigious fellowship and spend a year helping to create an organization to bring health care to homeless citizens? Jim took the job because he felt he couldn’t refuse. But that year turned into his life’s calling. Tracy Kidder spent five years following Dr. O’Connell and his colleagues as they served their thousands of homeless patients. In this illuminating book we travel with O’Connell as he navigates the city, offering medical care, socks, soup, empathy, humor, and friendship to some of the city’s most endangered citizens. He emphasizes a style of medicine in which patients come first, joined with their providers in what he calls ‘a system of friends.'”

Christine Kenneally at Harvard Book Store
Ghosts of the Orphanage: A Story of Mysterious Deaths, a Conspiracy of Silence, and a Search for Justice
March 28 at 7 p.m.

“For much of the 20th century, a series of terrible events — abuse, both physical and psychological, and even deaths — took place inside orphanages. The survivors have been trying to tell their astonishing stories for a long time, but disbelief, secrecy, and trauma have kept them from breaking through. For 10 years, Christine Kenneally has been on a quest to uncover the harrowing truth.

“Centering her story on St. Joseph’s, a Catholic orphanage in Vermont, Kenneally has written a stunning account of a series of crimes and abuses. But her work is not confined to one place. Following clues that take her into the darkened corners of several institutions across the globe, she finds a trail of terrifying stories and a courageous group of survivors who are seeking justice. Ghosts of the Orphanage is an incredible true crime story and a reckoning with a past that has stayed buried for too long, with tragic consequences.”

— Matt Hanson

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts