Coming Attractions: June 4 through 20 — 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 Enys Men. Photo: NEON

Enys Men
Through June 6
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge

Like a recently discovered tale of folk horror from the Cornish coastline, Mark Jenkin’s second film is an unholy creation to behold. “Drawing from the region’s deep vein of Celtic mythology, Jenkin summons the ghosts of lost fishermen and long-gone female mine workers, known as bal maidens, stoking an atmosphere thick with ancient anguish. As a mossy growth spreads from the flowers to the woman’s body, the film’s editing grows more jagged, its rough and rocky landscape …  increasingly alien and unnerving” (NY Times). Shot on 16mm, it will be screened in 35mm.  According to the Arts Fuse review, the movie is “a near-impenetrable pastoral nightmare … folk horror in its most primordial state, a tapestry of sights and sounds approximating a drug-induced hallucination.”

A scene from director Yasujirō Ozu’s 1933 silent gangster film Dragnet Girl.

Ozu 120: The Complete Ozu Yasujiro
June 9 – August 13
Harvard Film Archives, Cambridge

This landmark series spotlights the films of one of cinema’s greatest artists, Yasujirō Ozu. From “He broke every rule there was and did it the subtlest way possible. Ozu’s films exercised the most discreet rebellion against cinematic norm. Widely considered the most Japanese of all film directors, his films feature no heroes or villains. We simply witness life in motion. When we arrive at a significant moment, Ozu cuts to ‘pillow shots’ or perfectly composed shots of landscapes, street signs, or inanimate objects. The idea was to give viewers room to breathe or provide them with the time to contemplate what they had just seen. It’s little things like ‘pillow shots’ that have allowed Ozu to create his own unique cinematic language.” The HFA home page for the series offers an eloquent analysis of Ozu’s contributions to the history of film.

A scene from Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights.

Boogie Nights in 70mm
Opens on Friday, June 9
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline

Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights will be shown in 70mm, struck from the original 1997 camera negative. This wild and chaotic masterpiece on the pornographic film industry is hysterically funny until it’s not. A diverse cast features William H. Macy, Don Cheadle, Heather Graham, Luis Guzman, Philip Baker Hall, Ricky Jay, Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds, and Mark Wahlberg. The actors are playing characters with names like Amber Waves, Dirk Diggler, Jack Horner, Chest Rockwell, and Little Bill. Anderson called his film a “gearshift movie,” or a film that can change tones with the snap of the fingers: “I like to see that in movies because that’s what real life is like, and it’s also good storytelling. And second is that this relates to how I came to the story. The first version was a short film I made called The Dirk Diggler Story when I was 17.”

Provincetown International Film Festival
June 14 –18

Now in its 25th year, PIFF showcases new achievements in independent film, concentrating on the work of emerging and acclaimed directors, producers, and actors while serving communities with critical artistic voices that are often outside of the mainstream, in the margins, or otherwise neglected. Panel discussions this year include Filmmaker on the Edge, which features Canadian photographer, writer, filmmaker, and artist Bruce LaBruce in conversation with John Waters. The Excellence in Acting award goes to Billy Porter, who will be interviewed by  author and film scholar B. Ruby Rich. Link to list of films

Beach Girls & The Monster with Teenagers from Outer Space
June 10 and June 13
Somerville Theatre in Davis Square

A B-movie double feature. If you missed these films because you weren’t born yet, now is your chance. Beach Girls is actor/director Jon Hall’s film. Surfers are being murdered: is the culprit a sea monster or just one of the teens’ jealous parents?  It is being screened with Teenagers from Outer Space, which deals with a young alien and a teenage earthling who fall in love, along with a plot to stop the alien’s race from using Earth as a food-breeding ground for giant lobsters from their planet.

Down Laredo Way (1953)
June 16 at 8 p.m.
Somerville Theatre in Davis Square

Channel Zero presents this film by William Witney, whom Quentin Tarantino called “Golden Age Hollywood’s best action director.” In the late 1800s, two circus rodeo performers (real life rodeo star Rex Allen and his sidekick, Slim Pickens) investigate the death of a colleague. In the process, they uncover a ring of diamond smugglers. Tagline: For the western thrill of your life! Ride with Rex and Koko on Their Greatest Action Adventure!

Pick of the Week


Reality Winner (l) and Sydney Sweeney (r) — the protagonists of HBO’s Reality.

Reality is set entirely on the day that Reality Winner, after returning from grocery shopping, is arrested and accused of leaking classified information to the news site the Intercept, which revealed Russian interference in the 2016 election. She is cajoled, questioned, and interrogated by a good cop/tough cop pair of FBI agents (John Hamilton and Marchánt Davis). A phalanx of severe looking FBI men is called in to search every inch of her apartment. The dialogue, alternating between mundane and threatening, is taken directly from the transcripts of Winner’s arrest. Sydney Sweeney’s low key performance as Reality, a disciplined athlete with a military career who translated Farsi, Dari, and Pashto for the government, is brilliant. Blindsided by the events, her calm acquiescence can’t quell the palpable tension throughout the experience. She may have provided a public service as a whistleblower, but the government decided to make an example of her. It was the longest sentence ever imposed in federal court for unauthorized release of government information to the media. This is a riveting and important docudrama. Directed by Tina Satter from her play, This Is a Room.

— Tim Jackson


COVID PROTOCOLS: Check with specific theaters.

A scene from The Gaaga, a site-specific phantasmagoria. Photo: Irina Danilova

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 by Arlekin Players Theatre & (zero-G) Virtual Theater Lab at the Beat Brew Hall, 13 Brattle St., Harvard Square, Cambridge. Live, in-person through June 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.”

Rooted by Deborah Zoe Laufer. Directed by Courtney O’Connor. Staged by Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 140 Clarendon Street, 2nd Floor, Boston, through June 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, 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 1960s 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.​

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. Arts Fuse review

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, through July 30.

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, through June 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, through June 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.”

Steven Skybell, Firdous Bamji, and Joshua David Robinson in the HTC production of The Lehman Trilogy. Photo: Nile Hawver

The Lehman Trilogy by Stefano Massini, adapted to English by Ben Power. Directed by Carey Perloff. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at The Huntington Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave. Boston, June 13 through July 16.

Winner of the 2022 Tony Award for Best Play, “The Lehman Trilogy is an epic and timely story of family, ambition, and risk, sprawling across 163 years of history and shining a calculating spotlight on the spectacular rise and fall of the Lehman Brothers, a family and a company that changed the world. Performed entirely by three actors and one musician, the story follows the original three Lehman brothers, then their sons and grandsons, as they journey from rags to riches to ruin. In 1840s Alabama, a Bavarian immigrant dreams of a better life for his family. By the early 2000s, his descendants trigger unprecedented financial disaster.”

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, through June 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 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 wel'” — 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.

Revolution’s Edge by Patrick Gabridge. Directed by Alexandra Smith. Staged in partnership with Plays in Place at the Old North Church & Historic Site, 193 Salem Street, Boston, June 15 through September 19.

“For the first time in Old North Church’s 300-year history, the historic site will host an original play.” The drama is “set in Boston’s oldest surviving church on April 18, 1775, the day before the Battle of Lexington & Concord and mere hours before the famous ‘two if by sea’ lantern signals. The story centers on the interaction between three fathers, who share a faith but are politically divided, as Boston sits on the brink of war, searching for information and answers as to the best path forward for both their families and the colonies.”

Top of the world, Ma! Three floors with a helluva view. Photo: View Boston

View Boston, an observatory encompassing the top three floors of the Prudential Tower, Boston, opening on June 15.

This permanent attraction certainly classifies as a spectacular theatrical experience. I was up there, and can testify to the gob-smacking views of the city from just about all angles. The lit-up diorama of Boston is also impressive, as is a swooping film tour of the city. What’s more, the computer wizardry — you can select your own itinerary (from possibilities projected on large screens) and email it to yourself or others — will spur discoveries. This is a first-of-its kind tourist set-up, and it is well done, including a snug restaurant and bar. My major reservations: tickets are pricey (this is tailored for upscale families), the computer machinations will no doubt glitch, and it would be nice to see more art by local artists on display.

The Contention (Henry VI, Part II) by William Shakespeare. Directed by Tina Packer. Associate Directors, Kate Kohler Amory & Sheila Bandyopadhyay. Staged by Shakespeare and Company at the Tina Packer Playhouse, 70 Kemble Street, Lenox, June 17 through July 14.

“Considered to be the inspiration for Game of Thrones, Henry VI, Part II is commonly regarded as the strongest of the Henry VI trilogy, telling the story of the contention and power struggles between the two ancient families of Lancaster and York who wrestled for the fate of England.

Now, four centuries on and in tandem with the current King Charles III’s coronation, Shakespeare & Company presents The Contention – an exploration of themes that remain timeless: strategic marriages, political treachery, religious unrest, and a measure of comic sport.” The cast includes S&C stalwarts Jonathan Epstein, Tamara Hickey,Allyn Burrows, and Nigel Gore. W.H. Auden on this and the other plays in the trilogy: “It is difficult to image that a historical play as good as Henry IV will ever again be written.”

— Bill Marx


Enjoy a range of balletic works this weekend with City Ballet of Boston. Photo: Golden Lion Photography

Summer Waltz
June 9-11
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA

Enjoy a range of balletic works this weekend with City Ballet of Boston. The company presents an evening of dance that showcases a blend of classical and contemporary pieces performed by the troupe’s leading dancers as well as up-and-coming talents from its youth company.

Belonging and Othering
June 10-11
The Dance Complex
Cambridge, MA presents Belonging and Othering, a collaboration of nine dancers/choreographers, three poets, and two filmmakers. This multimedia performance will screen eight local storytellers who have experienced being “othered” — their narratives focus on racism, gender bias, immigration prejudice, and LGBTQ issues. Dancers perform live as each story is told, projected onto a large 20’x20’ screen.

Salsa by the Sea
June 20 & July 11, from 6-8:30pm
Lynch Park
Beverly, MA

This summer, the City of Beverly will once again be hosting two separate “Salsa by the Sea” events in Lynch Park. New to Salsa? Each evening begins with 45 minutes of instruction given by Franklin Condori (AKA DJ Condori). Participants are encouraged to attend solo or with a partner. No experience is necessary, and you are encouraged to bring your own water, non-alcoholic drinks, and picnic dinner. Dancing will take place both in the concert shell and on the lawn; enjoy!

And further afield…

Carol Kaye Project
June 9-10
Portland, ME

Boston Dance Theater (BTD) remounts its Carol Kaye Project in Maine this weekend. The program features 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.

— Merli V.Guerra

Classical Music

Violinist Ray Chen is part of Rockport Music’s Summer Gala. Photo: courtesy of the artist

Ray Chen plays Vivaldi
Presented by Rockport Music
June 4 at 8 p.m.
Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport, MA

Rockport Music’s Summer Gala this year features violinist Chen and the Festival Orchestra playing Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.

Presented by Boston Early Music Festival
June 4 at 3:30 p.m., June 7 and 9 at 7 p.m., and June 11 at 3:30 p.m.
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston

The Boston Early Music Festival opens with a staging of Henry Desmarest’s 1694 hit, Cercé. Karina Gauvin sings the title role, Aaron Sheehan is Ulisse, and Teresa Wakim stars as Astérie. Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs share musical directing duties.

Voices Appeared
Presented by Boston Early Music Festival
June 7 at 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston

Orlando Consort’s final performance (ever) promises to be memorable: the group provides a live soundtrack made up of music from the early 15th century that accompanies a screening of the 1928 silent film La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc.

From Heavenly Harmony
Presented by Boston Early Music Festival
June 8 at 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston

The BEMF Orchestra and Vox Luminis present two of the 18th century’s greatest choral works: Handel’s Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day and Bach’s Magnificat.

Stile Antico will perform in Boston this week, part of the Boston Early Music Festival. Photo: courtesy of the artists

Stile Antico
Presented by Boston Early Music Festival
June 9 at 8 p.m.
Emmanuel Church, Boston

The acclaimed vocal ensemble returns to town for a concert that celebrates the contributions of 16th-century women composers.

Dover Quartet & Friends
Presented by Rockport Music
June 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport

The Rockport Chamber Music Festival’s Opening Night sees the return of the Dover Quartet playing music by Haydn and George Walker. After intermission, they’re joined by a group of “friends” for a traversal of Mendelssohn’s brilliant Octet in E-flat.

Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki will perform pieces by Chopin at Rockport Music. Photo: courtesy of the artist

Jan Lisiecki plays Chopin
Presented by Rockport Music
June 10 at 5 p.m.
Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport

The Canadian keyboardist returns to Rockport for an evening of Chopin Etudes and Nocturnes.

The Three Sopranos
Presented by Boston Early Music Festival
June 10 at 10:30 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston

Sopranos Amanda Forsythe, Dorothee Mields, and Cecilia Duarte join forces with the BEMF Continuo Ensemble for a celebration of vocal trios by Luigi Rossi, Domenico Mazzocchi, and Marco Marazzoli.

Romeo & Juliet
Presented by Cambridge Symphony Orchestra
June 17 at 8 p.m.
Kresge Auditorium, MIT, Cambridge

The CSO closes its season with a semi-staged performance of Sergei Prokofiev’s great ballet.

Harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani will perform at Rockport Music with the Escher Quartet. Photo: courtesy of the artist

Mahan Esfahani & Escher Quartet
Presented by Rockport Music
June 18 at 5 p.m.
Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport

Harpsichordist Esfahani joins the excellent Escher Quartet for an evening of music by Bach (including selections from Mozart’s arrangement of movements from The Well-Tempered Clavier). Also on tap is the world premiere of Mark Applebaum’s Rockport Music-commissioned score for harpsichord and live electronics.

— Jonathan Blumhofer

Visual Arts

Edvard Munch, The Sun, 1912. Photo: courtesy of Clark Art Institute

The Norwegian painter and printmaker Edvard Munch is well known for his views of angst, death, longing, and the dark sides of relationships. His figural images like The Scream, once taken in, cannot be forgotten. But he painted haunting landscapes as well, full of vivid colors and swirling lines that approached the outer edges of abstraction and suggested opening space and the mysteries of light, forests, and the sea.

Edvard Munch: Trembling Earth opens June 10 at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown. The show includes some 75 objects, more than 30 of them from Oslo’s Munchmusset, focusing on Munich’s lesser known work in landscape along with three self-portraits, prints (in some ways Munch’s prints were even more innovative than his paintings), and drawings, including, of course, a lithograph of The Scream. The show has been organized by theme, showing Munch’s celebration of farming and garden cultivation, forests, and his use of landscape to suggest emotion and relationships.

Opening June 15 at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, “A singularly marine & fabulous produce”: The Cultures of Seaweed probes a subject that has been attracting attention again thanks to climate change and issues of aquaculture and sustainable food production. The more than 125 works assembled explore the human fascination with seaweed from about 1780 to the present, as a template for art and design, subject of scientific study and industry, basis for middle-class parlor entertainments and culinary experiments, and the preoccupation of collectors, and farmers. The title, taken from Henry David Thoreau, suggests the unexpected level of enthusiasm and creativity the marine vegetation has inspired.

For half a century, the Maine Media Workshops have drawn aspiring and established photographers to the special light, atmosphere, and the passionate community of artists that formed around them in the State of Maine. Founded in 1973 as the Maine Photographic Workshops, the center was one of only a few places in the United States entirely dedicated to photography. As photography grew in stature over five decades, this group of teachers and students, all drawn to Maine, continued to learn new ways to explore the medium and its capacities for expression. Drawn to the Light: 50 Years of Photography at Maine Media Workshops + College opens with some 100 works at the Portland Museum of Art on June 16, tracking the many important artists who passed through its programs and the wide influence the workshops have had throughout the discipline.

Andrew Wyeth, Alvaro on the Front Doorstep, 1942. Watercolor on paper. Photo: courtesy of the Farnsworth Art Museum

For some 30 years, 1938-1968, Andrew Wyeth spent working time with the Olson family at their saltwater farm in Cushing, Maine. The artist painted the family and their house (now a historic property of the Farnsworth Art Museum) many times during his summer residencies in coastal Maine, and returned particularly to the Olsons’ children, Alvaro and Christina, sometimes representing them directly, sometimes symbolically, through places or objects he associated with them. Alvaro’s World: Andrew Wyeth and the Olson House (the title is a play on Christina’s World, Wyeth’s most famous painting) opens at the Farnsworth in Rockland, Maine, on June 17. The show of watercolors focuses on the project through the perspective of Alvaro and his quiet heroism, caring for his sister, the farm, and the isolated house through rural poverty and the often challenging Maine environment

What does it mean for a people to shape its own image? As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic, which opens at the Peabody Essex Museum on June 17, suggests some arresting answers. Drawn from a Black-owned private collection dedicated to artists of African descent and organized by Aperture, New York, the exhibition includes more than 100 Black artists from the African diaspora in Canada, the Caribbean, Great Britain, and South America, as well as from across Africa itself. Black subjects captured by Black photographers are, the exhibition claims, “presented as they wish to be seen, recognizing the complex strength, beauty, and vulnerability of Black life.”

The Baltimore-based artist Joyce Scott has built great pieces from very small things. Over three decades, she has explored the roots and expanded the possibilities of beadwork as a contemporary art form. Inspired by her African-American ancestry, her quilter mother, and Native American beading techniques, Scott’s jewelry, figurative sculpture, and wall hangings feature in Joyce J. Scott: Messages, opening at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton on June 24.

— Peter Walsh

Roots and World Music

June 6
The Sinclair, Cambridge

The rulers of Tuareg rock are back with a new album, Amatssou, in which veteran producer Daniel Lanois adds some of his fabled ambient touches. A post-lockdown Boston date sponsored by Global Arts Live was scheduled and canceled several times. The performance is finally happening — as of press time it is officially sold out.

Bahar Badieitabar
June 7, 6 p.m.
Boston Public Library, Copley Square

The BPL’s free and wide-ranging courtyard concert series is underway for the summer. Next up is an appearance by Badieitabar, a Berklee-trained oud player who can make her instrument sing in a variety of musical contexts.

Mary Gauthier
June 9, 7 & 9:30 p.m.
Club Passim, Cambridge

It’s been many years since a local songwriter named Mary Gauthier shuttered her Dixie Kitchen restaurant to focus on her music career. She’s since earned a Grammy nomination and become one of the most respected singer/songwriters in Music City. Tonight she’s back from Nashville to share songs in what will no doubt be a pair of career-spanning shows. As of press time the early performance is sold out but tickets remain for the late show.

Mandolinist Sam Bush will be performing newgrass in Worcester. Photo: courtesy of the artist

Sam Bush
June 9
Mechanics Hall, Worcester

Bush, the mandolinist who created the world of newgrass, can go years between recordings, so it’s always a treat when he has a new album out. A few months back he released Radio John: The Songs of John Hartford, a wonderful exploration of some of the lesser known songs of the late beloved singer, songwriter, fiddler, and steam boat captain. Music Worcester is kicking off its summer season with Bush and his band.

The Pointer Sisters with France Joli
June 9
Lynn Auditorium

Everyone knows that Donna Summer is from Boston, but in recent years Massachusetts has become the home of another crucial disco diva: Ruth Pointer, the sole surviving Pointer Sister. Ruth now leads her version of the Pointer Sisters with her daughter and granddaughter. Besides their uptempo smashes like “I’m So Excited,” the group were also pioneers linking R&B with country via tunes like “Fairytale” and “Slow Hand.” Fellow disco hitmaker Joli opens the night.

Riders in the Sky will perform in Somerville. Photo: courtesy of the artist

Riders in the Sky
June 16, 6 p.m.
Arts at the Armory, Somerville

Few have carried the musical torch for the cowboy way as long as Riders in the Sky. For the first time in ages, the beloved Western group is back in the saddle in the Boston area.

Jay Caldwell and the Gospel Ambassadors
June 18
Charles Street AME Church, Dorchester

For decades, Delaware gospel singer Caldwell sang his signature song “Take Off Your Shoes Moses” in Boston every Father’s Day. Although Caldwell retired from the road a few years back, he’s agreed to do one last program here. Full details on the event’s starting time and other groups will be added here later this week.

— Noah Schaffer


Bert Seager’s Heart of Hearing
June 7 at 6:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge

Pianist and composer Bert Seager reconvenes his “first Wednesday” residency at the Lily with saxophonist Rick DiMuzio, bassist Max Ridley, drummer Dor Herskovits, and singer Lili Shires.

Pat Metheny
June 7, 8, and 9
Various Locations

Pat Metheny barnstorms New England with the latest edition of his rotating, talent-hunting Side-Eye trio (this time with pianist Chris Fishman and drummer Joe Dyson): June 7 at the Lebanon Opera House in Lebanon, NH; June 8 at The Cabot Performing Arts Center in Beverly, MA; and June 9 back in New Hampshire at the Nashua Center for the Arts.

The Hot 8 Brass Band performs in Somerville this week. Photo: courtesy of the artist

Hot 8 Brass Band
June 8 at 7 p.m.
Crystal Ballroom, Somerville, MA

The Hot 8 Brass Band makes no claims to jazz, but with a New Orleans pedigree that they trace all the way back to 1880s, we’ll claim it for them. The second-line brass band tradition these days has accommodated R&B, funk, bounce, and all manner of pop, and is an endless source of great NOLA brass players. The current “Bossman Tour” is in honor of Bennie Pete, the sousaphone player and bandleader who founded the Hot 8 in 1995 and died in 2021.

Maggie Scott
June 9 at 7 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club

The ageless singer-pianist Maggie Scott (dislodged from her longtime home base at the Top of the Hub with the demise of that venue a couple of years ago) hits Scullers with “And Friends” trumpeter/flugelhornist Greg Hopkins, drummer Les Harris Jr. and longtime Scott bandmate Marty Ballou on drums.

Joan Watson-Jones
June 10 at 4:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge

The veteran singer and composer Joan Watson-Jones brings an excellent band to the Lily: her core trio of pianist Frank Wilkins, bassist David Zox, and drummer Alvin Terry, plus saxophonist Bobby Tynes.

Bill Pierce
June 10 at 6 p.m.
The Yard, 1481 Tremont St., Boston

Tenor saxophonist Bill Pierce has been a singularly eloquent player since his early days as a student at Berklee before moving to prominence as musical director of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. He’s the featured musical attraction at today’s edition of the Mission Hill Arts Festival (a summer-long weekend event, now in its third season). The open-air event is free, and lawn chairs are welcome, but there are also ticketed reserved seats.

Pianist, composer, and arranger Steven Feifki. Photo: courtesy of the artist

Steven Feifke
June 10 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston

Pianist, composer, and arranger Steven Feifke is best known for his inventive arrangements for large ensemble. He won a 2023 Grammy for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album for Generation Gap Jazz Orchestra, with trumpeter Bijon Watson. A new big band album, Catalyst, comes out June 16. In the meantime, you can hear Feifke’s writing distilled for a trio, with bassist Raviv Markowitz and drummer Mark Whitfield Jr.

Ran Blake and Dominique Eade. Photo: Ingrid Monson

Ran Blake & Dominique Eade
June 11 at 4 p.m.
The Mad Monkfish, Cambridge

A couple of Fuses ago we sang the praises of long-time collaborators Ran Blake and Dominique Eade regarding an upcoming performance in Springfield, MA. Now the Boston-area audience will be happy to have them closer to home, when they inaugurate a Sunday matinee series at the Mad Monkfish. For this “Afternoon Noir,” pianist/composer Blake, now 88, and singer Eade promise “all new repertoire for an upcoming recording session.”

Point01 Percent
June 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge

Another strong edition of the Point01 Percent residency at the Lily. At 7:30, its the Porch Trio — Jorrit Dijkstra on sax and lyricon, Nathan McBride on basses, and Eric Rosenthal on drums. At 8:30: pianist Pandelis Karayorgis with bassist Jef Charland and drummer Curt Newton.

“Low brass” specialist Bill Lowe in action. Photo: Craig Bailey/Perspective

Bill Lowe
June 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Peabody Hall, Parish of All Saints, Dorchester, MA

“Low brass” specialist Bill Lowe (bass trombone and tuba) has been a jewel of the Boston scene for decades, but his experience ranges far and wide: Frank Foster, Clark Terry, George Russell, Cecil Taylor, Muhal Richard Abrams, Bill Dixon, Bill Barron, Makanda Ken McIntyre, James “Jabbo” Ware, Thad Jones, Jaki Byard, Henry Threadgill, and many more, including Boston’s own Aarvark Jazz Orchestra. When Lowe is present, you know the bottom end will be covered in regal fashion. At this show, he’ll celebrate the release of Sweet Cane — which joyfully celebrates the tradition of Black music from second-line rhythms to funk, hard bop, and free jazz (as well as tunes by Barron and McIntyre) with his Signifyin’ Natives Ensemble: Taylor Ho Bynum, cornet and flugelhorn; Hafez Modirzadeh, reeds; Naledi Masilo, voice; Jesse Taitt, piano; Ken Filiano, bass; and Luther Gray, drums.

Dave Bryant
June 15 at 8 p.m.
Harvard-Epworth Church, Cambridge

For this month’s residency, keyboardist Dave Bryant convenes his meeting of Ornette Coleman enthusiasts with “old friends” John Turner (bass) and Eric Rosenthal (drums) and “new friend” Tony Malaby (saxophone).

Saxophonist Gregory Groover Jr. Photo: courtesy of the artist

Gregory Groover Jr.
June 17 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston

The 20-something saxophonist Gregory Groover Jr. assays his crafty latter-day hard-bop with a terrific young band including guitarist Matthew Stevens (Christian Scott, Terri Lyne Carrington’s Social Science), pianist Jesse Taitt, and drummer Tyson Jackson.

June 18 at 5 p.m.
Eliot School, Boston

The Eliot School of Fine & Applied Arts has continued the open-air Schoolyard Concert Series that began in October 2020 as a response to musicians looking for safe places to play during the pandemic. This year’s series has added a beer garden. For this show, composer and pianist Brian Friedland leads his long-running (b. 2007) collective-improv group Rhombus: singer Aubrey Johnson, saxophonist Sean Berry, guitarist Phil Sargent, bassist Greg Loughman, and drummer Mike Connors.

Rhombus describes itself as fusing “intricate compositions with bold collective improvisations. Influences combine the sonorities of modern jazz, the rhythmic complexities of Balkan music, the energy of rock, the experimentation of avant-garde improvisation, and the thematic development of classical music.” They add: “To celebrate Fathers Day and Juneteenth, FoMu is providing free ice cream.” And, you know, there’s beer.

Pianist and composer Kevin Harris. Courtesy of the artist.

Kevin Harris
June 18 at 7 p.m.
Groton Hill Music Center, Groton, MA

Pianist and composer Kevin Harris, originally from Lexington, Kentucky, has become a regular on the Boston scene since arriving to attend the New England Conservatory in 1998. He’s not only a valued sideman, but an ambitious composer and bandleader, whose work has grown in breadth and authority in a variety of ensembles. Groton Hill is presenting his “Roots, Water, and Sunlight: A Contemporary Octet Expedition through the Expressions of James Baldwin.” That’s a mouthful, but the snippets of the work available online are rich in bluesy, propulsive lines in stirring harmonies and counterpoint. The three-movement piece deploys spoken-word samples from Baldwin embedded in music for wind octet plus rhythm section and electronics.

— Jon Garelick

Author Events

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 Stein 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 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!

Tamiko Beyer & Joan Naviyuk Kane – brookline booksmith
Poetry as Spellcasting
June 8 at 7 p.m.

“Written for poets, spellcasters, and social justice witches, Poetry as Spellcasting reveals the ways poetry and ritual can, together, move us toward justice and transformation. It asks: If ritualized violence upholds white supremacy, what ritualized acts of liberation can be activated to subvert and reclaim power?”

Co-editor Tamiko Beyer talks to poet Joan Kaviyuk Kane about the volume, which is made up of “essays from a diverse group of contributing poets, organizers, and ritual artists helps readers explore, play, and deepen their creativity and intuition as integral tools for self- and communal healing and social change”

E Kerr at Harvard Book Store
trans [re]incarnation
June 9 at 7 p.m.

“Evoking the pain and exploration of identity expressed by transgender poets such as Torrin A. Greathouse, the poems of trans [re]incarnation aim to [re]write the narrative of the body its speaker finds themselves trapped in. The poems emerge from the “embodied” trauma and lived experiences of transgender poet E Kerr. The poems use experimental and reimagined traditional received forms. They reflect an experience of betrayal by one’s own god, body, and family, while searching for the promise of what still can be.”


John Kaag at Harvard Book Store
Henry at Work: Thoreau on Making a Living
June 13 at 7 p.m.

Henry at Work invites readers to rethink how we work today by exploring an aspect of Henry David Thoreau that has often been overlooked: Thoreau the worker. Authors John Kaag and Jonathan van Belle overturn the popular misconception of Thoreau as a navel-gazing recluse who was scornful of work and other mundanities. In fact, Thoreau worked hard ― surveying land, running his family’s pencil-making business, writing, lecturing, and building his cabin at Walden Pond ― and thought intensely about work in its many dimensions. And his ideas about work have much to teach us in an age of remote work and automation, when many people are reconsidering what kind of working lives they want to have.”

Greg Marshall with Lucas Schaefer – brookline booksmith
June 14 at 7 p.m.
Free, $38 with reserved copy of book

“Greg Marshall’s Leg is an extraordinarily funny and insightful memoir from a daring new voice. Packed with outrageous stories of a singular childhood, it is also a unique examination of what it means to transform when there are parts of yourself you can’t change, a moving portrait of a family in crisis, and a tale of resilience of spirit. In Marshall’s deft hands, we see a story both personal and universal — of being young and wanting the world, even when the world doesn’t feel like yours to want.”

Chuck Collins in conversation with Cathy Hoffman – Porter Square Books
Altar to an Erupting Sun
June 15 at 7 p.m.

Collins is the co-founder of and he will be in conversation with local peace and justice activist Cathy Hoffman. He is the author of 20121’s trenchant Wealth Horders: How Billionaires Pay Millions to Hide Trillions. Collins’s novel, in the words of Kim Stanley Robinson, “is a very provocative book, dangerous in the way it makes us think hard about what we might need to do to save Earth’s biosphere, our only home, from a mass extinction event that is being caused not by all of us, but by some of us in positions of power. ”

The storyline: “Rae Kelliher is a veteran environmental activist and pioneer in the death-with-dignity movement. Her husband Reggie calls her ‘party in a box’ and ‘a weaver of people and movements.’ Facing a diagnosis of terminal illness, Rae engages in a shocking suicide-murder, taking the life of an oil company CEO for his complicity in delaying responses to climate catastrophe. Seven years later, Rae’s friends and family gather at her Vermont farm to try to understand her violent exit and the rapid social transformations triggered by her desperate act.”

David Sedaris – Porter Square Books
June 18 at 6 p.m.
Tickets are $18.99 with book, or free post-reading standing room only tickets

“David Sedaris, the ‘champion storyteller,’ (Los Angeles Times) returns with his first new collection of personal essays since the bestselling Calypso! Back when restaurant menus were still printed on paper, and wearing a mask — or not — was a decision made mostly on Halloween, David Sedaris spent his time doing normal things. As Happy-Go-Lucky opens, he is learning to shoot guns with his sister, visiting muddy flea markets in Serbia, buying gummy worms to feed to ants, and telling his nonagenarian father wheelchair jokes.

“But then the pandemic hits, and like so many others, he’s stuck in lockdown, unable to tour and read for audiences, the part of his work he loves most. To cope, he walks for miles through a nearly deserted city, smelling only his own breath. He vacuums his apartment twice a day, fails to hoard anything, and contemplates how sex workers and acupuncturists might be getting by during quarantine.”

Nash Jenkins. Photo: courtesy of the artist

Nash Jenkins in conversation with The Short Fuse’s Elizabeth Howard at the Harvard Book Store
Foster Dade Explores the Cosmos
June 22 at 7 p.m.

The Arts Fuse‘s podcast The Short Fuse is presenting a conversation between host Elizabeth Howard and Nash Jenkins, whose debut novel was named by the Boston Globe as one of the best new books for summer:  “A New England boarding school whodunit set in the early aughts, Foster Dade unfolds in an unlikely way.” Nash has said his narrative “seeks to capture what it felt like to be alive and adolescent at the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century. We are arguably the first generation to properly grow up alongside the internet; its fitful approach toward maturity still feels inseparable from our own.”

— Matt Hanson

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