Coming Attractions: May 21 through June 6 — What Will Light Your Fire

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.


A scene from Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman.

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
through May 23
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge

Premiere of an animated film about how a lost cat, a voluble giant toad, and a tsunami help an unambitious salesman, his frustrated wife, and a schizophrenic accountant save Tokyo from an earthquake. During the adventure they find meaning in their lives. It is the first animated feature adaptation of a tale by Haruki Murakami, whose stories were the inspirations for the films Burning and Drive My Car. The film “makes the most of the medium in order to capture the author’s brand of magic realism, as gently psychedelic dream sequences are interwoven seamlessly with the naturalistic everyday action” as well as “an advanced 3D modelling technique to capture the smaller nuances of his actors’ live-action movements and gestures.” (Slate)

NY Yankee Yogi Berra in a scene from the documentary It Ain’t Over.

It Ain’t Over
Now playing
AMC Theaters and the Kendall Square Cinema

As a long-time catcher for the New York Yankees, Yogi Berra became one of the greatest baseball players of all time. In addition to being the catcher for Don Larsen’s perfect game in 1956, he is also known his memorable malapropisms and commercials for beer, Camel Cigarettes, Yoo Hoo, and more. His granddaughter Lindsay Berra is a sports journalist. She was the Executive Producer and serves as the narrator of this documentary, which takes a close look at Berra’s accomplishments and his overlooked legacy.

Eric Clapton Across 24 Nights
Now Playing
Capital Theater in Arlington

This concert film, edited from original footage and remastered in Dolby Surround Sound, features Eric Clapton at the Royal Albert Hall in 1990 and 1991. He performs with varying line-ups of top musicians. The tunes include 17 hits from across the repertoires of the musician’s many incarnations, from Derek and the Dominos through Cream and more. Performances by Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, Phil Collins, and the National Philharmonic Orchestra.

Somerville Theater Repertory Series
May 21 – June 1
Somerville Theater in Davis Square

The series presents a week of old and recent classic films. They include Casablanca as well as films made by William Wyler, early Steven Spielberg efforts, and four David Lynch classics. Several are billed as double features.  Schedule of films

A scene from Aftershock.

May 25 at 7 p.m.
Museum of Fine Arts Remis Auditorium

The United States is one of the most dangerous places, among other developed countries to give birth. The mortality rate for Black and brown births are at 3 to 4 times the rate of their white counterparts. In October 2019, 30-year-old Shamony Gibson tragically died 13 days after the birth of her son. Two months later, a film team began to document Shamony’s surviving mother, Shawnee Benton Gibson, and bereaved partner, Omari Maynard, as they began to process what had happened and to figure out their new normal. Q & A and conversation will follow the screening.  Presented with The Wellness Collaborative, Inc. as part of the Healing Arts Film Series.

Pick of the Week

Michael J. Fox in Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie.

Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie
Apple TV

Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, It Might Get Loud, and Waiting for “Superman”) brings his filmmaking expertise to a moving documentary on the actor’s rise to fame and his current diagnosis with Parkinson’s Disease. Fox narrates the film and discusses his condition in an honest and candid interview. He is seen coached through his voice over session due to his difficulties with speech and caringly attended to by his occupational therapist. Guggenheim smoothly blends Fox’s own words with clips from the his significant movie and television career along with short reenactments. Whether or not you are a Michael J. Fox fan, you will be drawn in by the actor’s natural charisma, humor and lack of self-pity. The result is an insightful look at fame, family, and the vicissitudes of fate.

— Tim Jackson


COVID PROTOCOLS: Check with specific theaters.

Nael Nacer and Eric Tucker in Angels in America, Part 1: Millennium Approaches. Photo: Nile Scott Studios

Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes (Part 1: Millennium Approaches) by Tony Kushner. Directed by Eric Tucker. Staged by Central Square Theatre, 450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, through May 28.

Bedlam artistic director Eric Tucker brings his “signature, pared-down approach” to the first part of Tony Kushner’s much-lauded comedy-drama epic. Some very fine local talent in the cast, including Debra Wise, Nael Nacer, and Maurice Emmanuel Parent. Tucker will tackle the role of Roy Cohn. Arts Fuse review

The Gaaga, a site specific phantasmagoria written by Sasha Denisova. Directed by Sasha Denisova, Co-Directed by Igor Golyak. Environmental Design by Irina Kruzhilinia. Staged at the Beat Brew Hall, 13 Brattle St., Harvard Square, Cambridge. Live, In-Person June 2-18. STREAMING WORLDWIDE: Live, Online June 8-18.

A US premiere: “Developed through first-person interviews with refugees and officials, and inspired by world events, The Gaaga is a darkly funny, haunting and fantastical trip through the consequences of war. Set in a bomb shelter, a Ukrainian girl dreams Vladimir Putin and his cronies into a trial for crimes of war.”

Pulling It All Into the Current, written and performed by Letta Neely. Directed by Greg Allen. Produced by A Revolution of Values Theatre Project, Co-Produced with Fort Point Theatre Channel at the Boston Playrights’s Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, May 25 through 28.

Neely is “a Black lesbian playwright, performer, poet, mother, teacher, and community activist involved in progressive, anti-racist, and queer liberation movements all her adult life. Her work focuses on the connections and intersections of queerness, Blackness, and awareness.”

“We see the same stars and tell different stories. A look through the eyes of ten characters as they navigate the minefields and playgrounds of life. From fifteen-year-old Rhonda to the Veteran Hutsey, these stand-alone stories of teenagers, veterans, elders, addicts, queers, teachers, and others mingle haphazardly alongside and within each of us as they are ‘pulled into the current’ landscape. What’s the aerial view of the terrain? What does the map look like when you turn it inside out?”

John Kuntz as Barry Glickman in the SpeakEasy Stage production of The Prom. Photo: Nile Scott Studios

The Prom. Book and lyrics by Chad Beguelin. Book by Bob Martin. Music by Matthew Sklar. Directed by Paul Daigneault, with help from music director Paul S. Katz and choreographer Taavon Gamble. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage at the Roberts Studio Theatre, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, through June 10.

This musical, which won the 2019 Drama Desk Award for Best Musical, “tells the story of Emma, an Indiana teen who makes headlines when she announces she wants to take her girlfriend Alyssa to their high school prom. But just when it seems like she might persuade the hesitant PTA to agree, four bumbling Broadway has-beens in search of a cause barge into town to put a spotlight on the issue — and themselves. As the worlds of Broadway and Main Street hilariously collide, the courage of one girl reminds us all how the power of love can bring people together.” This is a Boston premiere.

Rooted by Deborah Zoe Laufer. Directed by Courtney O’Connor. Staged by Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 140 Clarendon Street, 2nd Floor, Boston, June 2 through 25.

“In the claustrophobic town of Millerville, Emery Harris lives alone in a treehouse named Mabel surrounded by a dozen or so plants she researches, names, and talks to. Her overbearing sister Hazel is Emery’s only connection to reality, along with her YouTube channel where she documents her studies that have garnered several thousand followers. When her calm and quiet is disrupted by an entourage of devotees chanting and singing to her–their botanical, new-age messiah–she is forced to look down from the branches and face the outside world.” The production stars Lisa Tucker and Karen MacDonald.

Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight by Darcie Dennigan, with music by Niki Healy. Directed by Josh Short. Staged by the Wilbury Theatre Group, 40 Sonoma Court, Providence, RI, May 25 through June 11.

A brand-new musical about the life and work of Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi. Hailed by art historians the world over as one of the greatest artists of the Italian Baroque period, Artemisia is widely known not only for her work, but for the development of her work in response to being raped by a family friend at the age of 17 and the subsequent trial. Featuring new music by composer Niki Healy, inspired by girl groups from the 1960’s and punk music of today, this new musical explores the experience of women and the bloodthirsty desire for vengeance in the face of oppression.” Content Warning: ​This production contains references to ​rape, sexual assault, and torture.​

Evita, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and book and lyrics by Tim Rice. Directed by Sammi Cannold and choreographed by Emily Maltby and Valeria Solomonoff. Produced by the American Repertory Theater in association with the Shakespeare Theatre Company and by arrangement with The Really Useful Group at the Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, May 17 through July 16.

A revival of the Tony Award-winning rock opera. “Icon or human, villain or saint, aggressor or victim: Who was the woman inside the iconic ball gown?”

One of the no doubt spectacular acts in Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo. Photo: Maja Prgome.

Corteo, written and performed by Cirque du Soleil. Presented at the Agganis Arena, 925 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, June 8 through 11.

“What is Corteo about? The clown Mauro envisions that his own burial will take place amid a carnival atmosphere and be attended by tender angels. The show contrasts the grand with the intimate, the silly with the tragic, and the beauty of perfection with the appeal of imperfection. It also emphasizes the strength and vulnerability of the clown as well as his knowledge and generosity to represent the aspect of humanity that exists in each of us. Corteo is guided through a timeless ceremony in which fantasy teases reality with music, which is both poetic and mischievous.”

Private Lives by Noël Coward. Directed by Diego Arciniegas. Staged by Gloucester Stage at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA, June 2 through 25.

We are promised a “fresh take” on this 1930 romantic comedy. Let’s hope the redo starts with one of the play’s most notorious lines: “Certain women should be struck regularly, like gongs.”

As You Like It by William Shakespeare. Directed by Harold Steward. Associate directed by Brooke Hardman. Staged by Actors’ Shakespeare Project, in partnership with The Theater Offensive, at Tufts University’s Balch Arena Theater, Medford, MA, June 2 through 25.

A snippet of W.H.Auden on As You Like It: Of all of Shakespeare’s plays, As You Like It is the greatest paean to civilization and to the nature of a civilized a civilized man and woman. It is dominated by Rosalind, the triumph of civilization, who, like the play itself, fully embodies man’s capacity, in Pascal’s words, “to deny, to believe, and to doubt well” — nier, croire, et douter bien. The play presents a balance of dialectical opposites: the country versus court, detachment versus love, honesty versus poetry, nature versus fortune, nature and fortune versus art.”

Please be aware that this production is intended for mature audiences and has depictions and language of: gender identity, and misogyny and physical violence. Appropriate for ages 10 and over.

— Bill Marx

Classical Music

Earl Lee conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall in 2023. Photo: Winslow Townson

Dancing Through the Centuries
Presented by Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra
May 21, 3 p.m.
Second Church in Newton

Boston Symphony assistant conductor Earl Lee leads Pro Arte in a set of dance-themed works by Bartók, Kenji Bunch, Heinrich Biber, Florence Price, and Francesco Geminiani.

Return of the Jedi
Presented by Boston Pops Orchestra
May 25-27, 8 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston

John Williams’ music has been very present in both Pops and BSO programming these last couple of years. This time around, the Pops celebrates its laureate conductor with a live performance of his score to Return of the Jedi accompanying a screening of the film.

Two Pianos: Who Could Ask for Anything More?
Presented by Boston Pops Orchestra
May 31, 8 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston

Pianists Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Michael Feinstein join the Keith Lockhart and the Pops for an evening celebrating the music of George Gershwin and the Great American Songbook.

— Jonathan Blumhofer

Visual Arts

The peak wedding season in the United States approaches. As pandemic restrictions fade into memory, 2023 promises a bumper crop of nuptials, squeezed into romantic venues all over, fueled by a large COVID backlog. Despite everything, the usual elements, from white silk gowns to gold rings and flowers, champagne and first dances, brides maid and slightly tipsy newly-minted in-laws will return in force. Traditional weddings — socially complicated, elaborate, tricky to organize, lavish, and frequently very expensive— remain very much in fashion, despite drastic changes in gender roles, sexual mores, and divorce rates. Why?

Woman’s wedding dress, designed by Arnold Scaasi, 1989. Silk satin weave, feathers, silk plain weave, metal, plastic, elastic. Arnold Scaasi Collection. Photo: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Something Old, Something New: Wedding Fashions and Traditions, opening at the Museum of Fine Arts on May  27, uses the museum’s fashion, jewelry, and photography collections to explore the endurance of a set of traditions and symbols that have remain constant in American society even as everything else has been transformed around them. Locally made items— gold wedding bands made by Paul Revere, wedding fashions by Quincy native Priscilla of Boston, owner of the famous celebrity wedding outfitter, Priscilla of Boston, mingle with celebrity wedding photographs by the likes of Cecil Beaton, Henri Cartier-Breslin, and Edward Weston, and anonymous snapshots. Are you or someone you love getting married this season? This show should put it all in its proper cultural context.

Perhaps not coincidentally, June is also Pride Month, the fifty plus year old counter-tradition that puts gender non-conformity out on American streets. This year, Newport Pride has organized Pride: In Retrospect, an exhibition opening at the Newport Art Museum on May 27. The photography show narrates the history of a liberation movement from the events leading up to the Stonewall Riots and the confrontational first Liberation March of 1970 through the not-quite-institutionalized LGBTQIA+ events of today.

Seventy-five years ago, the efforts of a wealthy, reclusive, unmarried old lady to preserve her brothers’ memory in their home town of Rockland, Maine, unexpectedly gave birth to the Farnsworth Art Museum, an institution dedicated from its creation to artists who have worked in Maine. In the decades since the Farnsworth first opened to the public, the museum has not only successfully preserved the Farnsworth name from oblivion but has been a major force in transforming the fading fishing port and industrial town of Rockland into a flourishing sea coast art center and tourist destination.

Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth: Rockland, Maine, opens at the Farnsworth on May 27. The show explores the role of the town in the creative careers of two major American artists, well before the Farnsworth opened. Organized in celebration of the museums 75th anniversary, the show brings together the separate explorations Hopper and Wyeth made of Rockland’s historic industries, lime quarrying and fishing in particular, long before the town’s current transformation, of which the exhibition forms a fascinating prequel.

Struggling with the apparent futility of creating when the planet is threatened with catastrophic global climate change, some socially-aware artists and writers have called for an “all hands on deck” response, directing all art media towards avoiding the impending disaster. Although by no means all artists have signed on, this is not an era particularly friendly towards “art for art’s” sake. Museums, artists, and scientists now frequently collaborate on efforts to raise public attention and involvement in environmental issues.

One such effort at the New Bedford Whaling Museum is Marine Heatwaves, a collaboration between visual artist Deb Ehrens and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution oceanographers Caroline Ummenhofer and Svenja Ryan. Over several months conversation about “marine heatwaves,” periods of abnormally warm ocean temperatures, recently discovered by scientists, which can severely impact both marine and shore communities, the trio found a common visual language. The resulting museum installation (slated to start on May 23) blends data gradients and historic weather logbooks, 19th-century natural history drawings, graphs, charts, scientific instruments, and satellite photographs to intrigue and draw viewers into the unfamiliar, unsettling, and highly relevant.

The Portland Museum of Art is billing the May 27 opening of its reinstalled permanent collection as Passages in American Art, a “major, collaborative, and community-driven reinstallation envisioned by museum curators, educators, and an Advisory Committee.” The show is an example of another major museum trend, one which reverses decades of a “we select and show it, you come and look” approach towards social relevance and attempts to weave multiple and even conflicting voices from outside into museum presentations and programs. Among other things, the new PMA installation “integrates Atlantic narratives and Indigenous perspectives” to create an installation “honoring multiple truths, complexities, and understandings.” An Advisory Committee brought together voices from a wide variety of community and cultural groups with commitments to Portland and the State of Maine. The effect is planned to be on-going.

Lindsay Pichaske, The Hare, 2014.

Rabbits and hares have a long history in art, literature, and culture from Asian zodiac signs to The Tale of Peter Rabbit. To mark the Chinese “Year of the Rabbit,” the Fuller Museum of Crafts has organized Lagomorphs: Rabbits and Hares in Contemporary Craft. Opening June 3, the show includes more than two dozen crafts artists who work with the shapes, symbolism, and anthropomorphic characters the lagomorph order has inspired.

The 192nd edition of the Matrix contemporary art series Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford opens June 2, titled Lisa Alvarado/Spinning Echo. Born in San Antonio, based in Chicago, Alvarado will create a “multisensory experience” in painting, sound, and sculptures, organized in her “vibrational aesthetic.” Mesoamerican weavings and other non-Western abstract visual traditions are among her artistic sources.

The Beacon Hill Art Walk returns June 4 after a long pandemic hiatus. The normally annual event takes over alleyways, courtyards, and private gardens across Boston’s most historic residential neighborhood with an informal al fresco exhibition of 100 artists. Tours will be serenaded by musicians from string quartets to Klezmer ensembles to Native American flute. Admission is free from noon to 6 pm. Tour starting points are at 135 1/2 Charles Street and the corner of Cambridge and West Cedar.

— Peter Walsh

Roots and World Music

Neo Soul Man Musiq Soulchild will perform at City Winery for three nights. Photo: courtesy of the artist

Musiq Soulchild
May 26-28
City Winery

Philadelphian Musiq Soulchild helped set the stage for the neo-soul movement and he’s been a major player in contemporary R&B ever since. His City Winery run finds him playing six shows over three nights.

Los Hermanos Flores and Orquestra San Vincente
May 26
Oceanside Ballroom

These two long-running Salvadoran big bands are institutions, and they’re adept at keeping the dance floor full.

Tom Kenny performing with the Hi-Seas. Photo: Facebook

Tom Kenny and the Hi-Seas
May 28
Middle East Downstairs

In recent years Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants, has popped into Boston to appear at benefit concerts or host events. Now he’s bringing his entire R&B revue to town for a night of high-jinks under the esteemed musical direction of Boston-bred producer Andy Paley.

Gigantic Gospel Explosion
June 4 at 3 p.m.
Charles Street AME Church, 551 Warren Street, Dorchester

It’s been a long time since Boston had a gospel quartet program like this. Promoter Jeannette Farrell is bringing in Lil David and the Bells of Joy from Baltimore, Tyrese Hall and the Golden Stars from New Haven, and a pair of Florida groups: The Zeigler Family Gospel Singers and The New C Lord C’s. But some of the best groups on the bill are Boston’s own: The Spiritual Encouragers, Test-A-Mony, The Lord’s Messengers, and the Lincoln Men of Witness. The MC will be Pastor James Ruffin, who knows how to spread the Good Word as he keeps a program running on time.

— Noah Schaffer


Arthur Brooks Ensemble V in action. Photo: Erica Miller of the Daily Gazette (Schenectady, NY)

Arthur Brooks Ensemble V
May 27 at 8 p.m.
Goethe-Institut, Boston

Brass player Arthur Brooks was for many years on the Bennington College faculty, where he was a regular collaborator with Bill Dixon. Brooks also worked with Sonny Sharrock, Alan Silva, Cecil Taylor, and Frank Wright, among others.

Brooks’s 1978 Nightcaller LP, with his Ensemble V, is identified on Bandcamp as “the only officially-released recording documenting the Black Music Division at Bennington College.” Nightcaller is a new-music beauty, as shimmering and delicate as it is forthright. Brooks, on trumpet and flugelhorn, leads the latest edition of Ensemble V for this Non-Event presentation with Bill Heminway (also on trumpet and flugelhorn), cellist Polly Vanderputten, bassist Jeremy Harlos, percussionist Matthew Weston, and Anthony Santor on bass, Tibetan bowls. and Chinese gong.

Tony Malaby’s “Firebath”
May 28 at 3:30
Lilypad, Cambridge, Mass.

Two sets from the indefatigable saxophonist, bandleader, composer, and ad-hoc impresario Tony Malaby. First up is a small group with Malaby on saxes, bassist John Lockwood, and special guest trumpeter Dave Ballou. The second set will be another incarnation of Malaby’s glorious free-ish large ensemble Firebath, with Malaby and Ballou as well as violinist Ángela Varo Moreno, flutist Sheila Del Bosque, trumpeter Miranda Agnew, trombonist Liam Elion, guitarist Jude Poorten, pianist and poet Tatiana Castro Mejía, bassists David MacChione and Louis Stringer, and drummer John Dalton.

Guitarist Bill Frisell. Photo: courtesy of the artist

Bill Frisell
May 28 at 7 p.m.
Arts at the Armory, Somerville, Mass.

The visionary guitarist and composer Bill Frisell is always worth checking out live, and here he’ll be working with a band that long ago passed the “nice-to-meet-you-stage”: bassist Tony Scherr and drummer Rudy Royston. This is part of the recently inaugurated Spotlight Series at Arts at the Armory which, happily, is including jazz in its varied programing

Nicholas Brust Quintet
Thursday, June 1, 6:30 p.m.
Eustis Estate, 1424 Canton Avenue, Milton, Mass.

On Daybreak (December 2022), the young alto saxophonist Nicholas Brust matches technical fire with emotional warmth and unhurried reflection. Is the season opener for Mandorla Music’s summer series at the bucolic Eustis Estate, Brust’s band will include other young talents on the Boston scene: guitarist Caio Afiune, pianist Ana Petrova, bassist Greg Toro, and drummer Charlie Weller.

Laszlo Gardony in action. Photo: courtesy of the artist

Laszlo Gardony Quartet
June 1 at 8 p.m.
Spire Center for the Performing Arts, Plymouth, Mass.

It’s a pleasure to hear pianist and composer Laszlo Gardony in any context, but here he’s joined not only by his veteran trio mates — bassist John Lockwood and drummer Yoron Israel — but also the fine saxophonist Don Braden (featured on Gardony’s excellent 2015 release, Life in Real Time.)

John Pizzarelli Trio
June 2 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston

Guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli is celebrating the 40th anniversary of his first album as a leader with Stage & Screen, a collection of well-chosen standards (and a few surprises) that suits Piazzarelli’s fleet fingerwork and accompanying vocals to a T. He’ll be joined by his trio mates from the album, bassist Mike Karn and pianist Isaiah J. Thompson.

Jonathan Karrant
June 3 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston

Singer Jonathan Karrant typically lavishes his romantic baritone on an unusual set of jazz and pop standards. He’s here joined by a band that includes veteran tenor saxophonist Houston Person (now 88!) and pianist Joe Alterman.

Saxophonist Dave Rempis will performing in Cambridge’s Lilypad on June 3. Photo: Ricardo Adame

Earth Lander feat. Dave Rempis
June 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, Mass.

Saxophonist Dave Rempis is perhaps best known as a key player in the Chicago scene (especially for his work in Ken Vandermark’s bands), but he’s actually a Boston native, and he returns to the area for one of his regular gigs under the banner of Earth Lander, with trumpeter Forbes Graham, pianist Pandelis Karayorgis, bassist Nate McBride, drummer Luther Gray, and, for this outing, second bassist Caleb Duval.

— Jon Garelick

Popular Music

Boston Calling
Harvard Athletic Complex, Allston
May 26-28

Paramore. Photo: courtesy of Boston Calling

Like most music events, Boston Calling had a few rough years with the pandemic. Even its 2022 return staged a shuffled lineup due to cancelling headliners and last-minute Covid cases. But Allston’s big music festival on Harvard’s athletic fields is clear to rock this Memorial Day weekend with the Foo Fighters (who had a sure reason to cancel last year after the sudden death of drummer Taylor Hawkins), the folkier Lumineers and returning alt-rockers Paramore as headliners, plus a diverse undercard including Alanis Morrisette, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Queens of the Stone Age, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard (one of those Covid makeups), the National, the Flaming Lips, Maren Morris, the reunited Walkmen, Joy Oladokun and the Linda Lindas. And of the more than 50 acts, 20 have local ties, including GA-20, Couch, Ali McGuirk, Mint Green, Coral Moons, Alisa Amador and Brandie Blaze. You can see them rock either the main stages or a newly devoted fourth stage.

— Paul Robicheau

Author Events

Abraham Verghese – brookline booksmith
The Covenant of Water
May 24 at 6 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline
$35 with book, $8 without

The Covenant of Water is the long-awaited new novel by Abraham Verghese, the author of the major word-of-mouth bestseller Cutting for Stone, which has sold over 1.5 million copies in the United States alone and remained on the New York Times bestseller list for over two years. Spanning the years 1900 to 1977, The Covenant of Water is set in Kerala, on South India’s Malabar Coast, and follows three generations of a family that suffers a peculiar affliction: in every generation, at least one person dies by drowning — and in Kerala, water is everywhere.”

R.F. Kuang at First Parish Church – Harvard Book Store
Yellowface: A Novel
May 23 at 6 p.m.
Tickets are $35 with copy of book

“With its totally immersive first-person voice, Yellowface grapples with questions of diversity, racism, and cultural appropriation, as well as the terrifying alienation of social media. R.F. Kuang’s novel is timely, razor-sharp, and eminently readable.”

Virtual Event: Stephen Vladeck – Harvard Book Store
The Shadow Docket: How the Supreme Court Uses Stealth Rulings to Amass Power and Undermine the Republic
May 30 at 6 p.m.
Free with $5 suggested contribution

“The Supreme Court has always had the authority to issue emergency rulings in exceptional circumstances. But since 2017, the Court has dramatically expanded its use of the behind-the-scenes “shadow docket,” regularly making decisions that affect millions of Americans without public hearings and without explanation, through cryptic late-night rulings that leave lawyers—and citizens—scrambling.

The Court’s conservative majority has used the shadow docket to green-light restrictive voting laws and bans on abortion, and to curtail immigration and COVID vaccine mandates. But Americans of all political stripes should be worried about what the shadow docket portends for the rule of law, argues Supreme Court expert Stephen Vladeck. In this rigorous yet accessible book, he issues an urgent call to bring the Court back into the light.”

Tegan & Sara: Junior High with Tillie Walden – brookline booksmith
May 31 at 6 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theater, Brookline MA
Tickets are $20- 25

“Before Tegan and Sara took the music world by storm, the Quins were just two identical twins trying to find their place in a new home and new school. From first crushes to the perils of puberty, surviving junior high is something the sisters plan to face side by side, just like they’ve always faced things. But growing up also means growing apart, as Tegan and Sara make different friends and take separate paths to understanding their queerness. For the first time ever, they ask who one sister is without the other.

Set in the present day, this inspiring graphic novel memoir, with artwork from Eisner Award-winner Tillie Walden, offers a glimpse at two sisters before they became icons, exploring their shifting relationship, their own experiences coming out, and the first steps of their musical journey.

A prequel of sorts to the authors’ bestselling adult memoir High School, now an 8-episode Freevee television series!”

Jamie Loftus presents: A Very Boston ‘Raw Dog’ Book Release Show – brookline booksmith
Raw Dog: The Naked Truth About Hot Dogs
June 3 at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $35 with copy of book

“Jamie Loftus is an Emmy-nominated writer, stand-up comic and animator who is currently a Co-Producer for the Paramount+ adult animated series, Star Trek: Lower Depths. Jamie has worked on animated shows such as Robot Chicken, Human Kind Of, Teenage Euthanasia, and Magical Girl Friendship Squad. Jamie is also a regular contributor to publications such as Vice, Paste, The New Yorker, and Playboy.”

Virtual Event: Isabel Allende with Arianna Davis — brookline booksmith
The Wind Knows My Name
June 5 at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $29.75 with in store pickup

“Vienna, 1938. Samuel Adler is five years old when his father disappears during Kristallnacht—the night his family loses everything. As her child’s safety becomes ever harder to guarantee, Samuel’s mother secures a spot for him on a Kindertransport train out of Nazi-occupied Austria to England. He boards alone, carrying nothing but a change of clothes and his violin.

Arizona, 2019. Eight decades later, Anita Díaz and her mother board another train, fleeing looming danger in El Salvador and seeking refuge in the United States. But their arrival coincides with the new family separation policy, and seven-year-old Anita finds herself alone at a camp in Nogales. She escapes her tenuous reality through her trips to Azabahar, a magical world of the imagination. Meanwhile, Selena Durán, a young social worker, enlists the help of a successful lawyer in hopes of tracking down Anita’s mother.

Intertwining past and present, The Wind Knows My Name tells the tale of these two unforgettable characters, both in search of family and home. It is both a testament to the sacrifices that parents make and a love letter to the children who survive the most unfathomable dangers—and never stop dreaming.”

Stephanie Crease at Harvard Book Store – Harvard Book Store
Rhythm Man: Chick Webb and the Beat that Changed America
June 5 at 7 p.m.

“In this first comprehensive biography of Webb, author Stephanie Stein Crease traces his story in full, showing how his skills and innovations as a bandleader helped catalyze the music of the Swing Era and the growing big band industry, allowing Webb to become one of the most influential musicians in jazz history. Crease explores Webb’s personal and professional struggles as he rose to the top of the increasingly competitive world of big band jazz.”

Tom Piazza in conversation with Steve Yarbrough – Porter Square Books
The Auburn Conference
June 6 at 7 p.m.

Tom Piazza, acclaimed author of novels like City of Refuge and as well as a Grammy-winning writer on music and the author of the post-Katrina tribute Why New Orleans Matters will read from his first novel in eight years, which puts essential American writers like Twain, Whitman, Melville, Douglas, and HB Stowe together in an 1883 literary conference with the purpose of discussing the role of the writer in society and the meaning of being an American. I’ve seen Piazza read a few times, and he’s reliably witty, insightful, and thought-provoking. Don’t miss this reading!

— Matt Hanson

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