Coming Attractions: July 2 Through 18 — 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.
Ozu 120: The Complete Ozu Yasujiro
through August 13
Harvard Film Archives, Cambridge
This landmark series spotlights the films of one of cinema’s greatest artists, Yasujirō Ozu. From RogeretEbert.com: “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.
Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline
Georgia Oakley’s directorial debut Blue Jean takes place in late ’80s England. Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government is about to pass a law stigmatizing gays and lesbians. Jean (Rosy McEwen) a gym teacher, is forced to live a double life. As pressure mounts from all sides, the arrival of a new student catalyzes a crisis that will challenge Jean to her core. The film won the Venice Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award, as well as four British Independent Film Awards. Arts Fuse review
The Boston French Film Festival
Museum of Fine Arts Boston
Be warned: opening night is already sold out. There are 11 entries this time around in this annual festival of new French films. The screenings will conclude with Albert (The Death of Louis the IV) Serra’s film Pacification (Arts Fuse review) and Luc & Jean-Pierre Dardenne’s urgent story of immigrant exploitation, Tori and Lokita, which was presented briefly at the Coolidge earlier this year. Full Schedule
Maine International Film Festival 2023
July 7 – 16
Railroad Square Cinema and the Waterville Opera House, Waterville, ME
The Maine International Film Festival (MIFF) is a project of the Maine Film Center. The 10 days of the festival showcase nearly 100 films, representing the best of American independent and international cinema. It also spotlighsts some of Maine and New England’s most exciting and innovative filmmakers. On closing night a $5,000 prize will be awarded to the best feature film and a $2,500 prize will be awarded to the best short film. Complete Schedule
July 7 -10
Brattle Theatre in Cambridge
The documentary Lynch/Oz will accompany the Brattle’s screenings of director David Lynch’s Wild at Heart (July 7 and 8) and Mullholland Drive (July 9 and 10). The film examines the influence Victor Fleming’s The Wizard of Oz (July 8 through 10) on Lynch’s own films. At the 2001 New York Film Festival, following a screening Mulholland Drive, Lynch said that “there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about The Wizard of Oz.” Lynch/Oz reevaluates the filmmaker’s extended oeuvre through this seminal cinematic influence.
Womanimation! 2023 Film Festival
July 8, from 1 to 8 p.m.
Womanimation! — presented by MergingArts Productions — gives animation aficionados the chance to sample some of the world’s best animated short films, culled from hundreds of submissions from women around the globe. It features a program of 12 short films from nine countries, all of which are US or international premieres. Screenings are at 1, 4 and 8 p.m. along with a reception at 6 p.m. Complete Listing of Films.
Opens on July 12
Brattle Theatre in Cambridge
On July 12 the Independent Film Festival of Boston previews the film that won director Savanah Leaf the John Schlesinger Narrative Award at this year’s Provincetown Film Festival. It was described there as “a beautifully accomplished first film — human resiliency combined with natural elements to tell the struggles of motherhood in today’s world.
Pick of the Week
This award-winning documentary is a tough, occasionally graphic look at the history of transsexuals who once roamed York City’s Meatpacking District. It is told by the transgender women of color who — unable to find employment — turned to prostitution for survival. “The Stroll” is where they lived, worked, loved, and died. This brave film uses interviews, archival footage, and animations to explore the abusive policing and endemic violence that transgender women were forced to put up with every day. After 9/11, mass gentrification took over the area. The film is directed by Zackary Drucker (a producer of Transparent) together with first-time director Kristen Lovell, who worked alongside the women for a decade. Their commitment to doing justice to the story is obvious: this is a film that needs to be seen in an era in which transgender people are being threatened by laws and organized intimidation. Arts Fuse review
— Tim Jackson
“For one night, the Museum of Science will be transformed by over 30 artists presenting media artworks for the free debut event of WaveForms. From five-story-tall video artwork to spatial sound mixtapes, the media arts community is producing an ambitious occurrence to fortify community through art, technology and multimedia creative activities.
“A coalition of Boston-based media arts organizations have partnered to offer their curation, mentorship, and production expertise to both early-career and established artists in New England and around the world. Formed in early 2023 the partners include MASARY Studios, Illuminus, Boston Cyberarts, MIT Spatial Sound Lab, and AVFX.”
— Bill Marx
Così fan tutte
Presented by Tanglewood Music Center
July 15, 8 p.m.
Koussevitzky Shed, Lenox
The BSO presents a concert performance of Mozart’s most problematic collaboration with his great librettist, Lorenzo da Ponte. Nicole Cabell, Kate Lindsey, Amitai Pati, and Elliot Madore headline the cast. Andris Nelsons conducts.
Presented by Boston Landmarks Orchestra
July 19, 7 p.m.
Hatch Shell, Boston
Christopher Wilkins and BLO present a series of nature-themed works by Beethoven, Lili Boulanger, Copland, and others. Among the highlights is the premiere of Brian Raphael Nabors’ Upon Daybreak, a Landmarks commission.
— Jonathan Blumhofer
July 7 at 4 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center
Join Asian American Ballet Project for its inaugural performance, Beginnings. The company’s rookie playbill ranges from classical ballet (Sleeping Beauty) to contemporary ballet that explores gender and identity, as well as a work set to traditional Mongolian music.
Salsa by the Sea
July 11, from 6-8:30 p.m.
This summer, the City of Beverly will once again be hosting a “Salsa by the Sea” event in Lynch Park. New to Salsa? The 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!
July 13 & 14 at 7 p.m.
A performance duet, PLAYFIGHT examines the world of professional wrestling through two characters in constant relational flux. Drawing on text and partnered movement, PLAYFIGHT engages in moments of collaboration and tenderness at the intersection of care and violence.
Newport Dance Festival
Great Friends Meeting House
Newport Dance Festival (NDF) annually brings renowned choreographers, performers, and educators to Newport, RI, for a two-week residency and six evenings of exhilarating performances. This year’s NDF features host company Newport Contemporary Ballet alongside Amy Hall Garner (NYC), Boston Dance Theatre (MA), Breathing Art Company (Italy), Dark Circles Contemporary Dance (New Mexico), Tom Gold Dance (NYC), and Anniela Huidobro (Mexico & Chicago). Gates to the festival lawn open at 6:30, with pre-show musical performances starting at 7 p.m. and dance performances beginning at 7:30 p.m. Patrons are encouraged to arrive early and bring their own picnics, beverages, and blankets to enjoy world-class dance in a casual, outdoor social setting.
— Merli V. Guerra
COVID PROTOCOLS: Check with specific theaters.
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?” Arts Fuse review
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, 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.” Arts Fuse review
“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.”
The Hidden Territories of the Bacchae: A Response to Euripides’ The Bacchae Conceived, directed, and designed by Stacy Klein. Co-created and adapted with Milena Davova, Jennifer Johnson, Travis Coe, and Carlos Uriona. At the Double Edge Theatre, 948 Conway Road, Ashfield, MA, July 14 through August 6.
A revision of last season’s 40th Anniversary Summer Spectacle. It was my favorite show of 2022. Here is what I wrote: George Bernard Shaw once opined that the critic’s revenge on actors and directors who dismissed their reviews is that the journalist’s descriptions of stage productions are all that history would remember. Critics had the final say — at least in the days before the arrival of videotape and film. What GBS didn’t see is that in some cases it might be the lambasted theater artists — if their artistic vision grows and expands over time — who can make a fair claim to having “the last word.”
40 years ago, in April 1982, I reviewed the Double Edge Theatre Company’s premiere production, Rites, a modernized version of Euripides’s The Bacchae. I panned it on WBUR, calling it a “shrill production [that] fulfills just about every nightmare or cliché anyone has ever had about bad feminist theater lusting for male blood.” I had a point: after all, a plastic boy doll was flushed down a toilet by a group of women crazed by their hatred of men. But time has proved that I reached for a tomahawk when a scalpel was called for. I was right and wrong about Rites. I missed what the Boston Globe stage critic John Engstrom saw in the production — that artistic director Stacy Klein, though confined to the claustrophobic environs of the ICA space, enlivened the proceedings with a nimble sense of ritual and choreography. And it turns out that, over the decades, Klein’s skillful manipulation of ceremony and movement, combined with music, visual iconography, and what could be described as spiritual chutzpah, has matured in impressive ways.
Ensconced in its current spacious home on a farm in Ashfield, the company went back to the future last summer and celebrated its 40th anniversary with a zesty production of a new version of The Bacchae. The staging was a marvelous bookend to the earlier production — it was a soulful act of aesthetic homage. Unlike Rites, which embraced revenge, madness, and destruction, this adaptation sent a cadre of vocalizing, acrobatic, and beneficent Bacchae scampering across green fields, doing acrobatics in the barn, and swimming in a pond. In terms of dramatic power, I wish the staging’s revisionism (see Euripides’s rip-roaring original) had not been so thorough — the tragedy’s murderous anarchy was pretty well banished. But the evening was a reminder that it has been a privilege to witness the birth of what turned out to be such an adventurous troupe, and to be in a position to appreciate just how far Klein and company have ventured, and not only artistically. They have become a vital part of the local community. Some artists show promise early on and never go beyond that. Dedicated to a vision of theater that embraces ecstasy and provocation — often via whizzbang spectacles whose resonances are simultaneously intellectual, political, and religious — Double Edge Theatre has persevered at premiering imaginative productions that create “a world elsewhere.” There is not much more you can ask. Here’s to 40 more years ….
View Boston, an observatory encompassing the top three floors of the Prudential Tower, Boston, just opened.
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, MA, 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.”
Morgan Bassichis: More Little Ditties at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Level 3, Sert Gallery, Harvard University, 24 Quincy Street, Cambridge, through September 3.
“The artist brings together performance, video, and text-based works — created both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic — that mark time, loss, desire, disappointment, and joy through playful musical gestures. The exhibition is co-organized with the Institute of Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, where it will be on view September 8 to January 7, 2024.
“Through deceptively simple and incantatory ‘little ditties,’ Bassichis approaches urgent questions with critical curiosity, poetry and — crucially — pleasure. Performing solo as well as working collaboratively in duets and groups, Bassichis’s practice offers intimate encounters with learning, collectivity, and lineages of queer and Jewish radicalism. As noted by the artist, these ‘songs fall somewhere between adult lullabies and practical spells, and will not include concrete policy recommendations but maybe they should?'”
tiny father by Mike Lew. Directed by Moritz Von Stuelpnagel. A co-production between Barrington Stage Company and the Chautauqua Theater Company at the St. Germain Stage in the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 36 Linden Street, Pittsfield, MA, through July 22.
A world premiere of a non-musical play! “Daniel’s friends-with-benefits relationship leads to unexpected results when he finds himself face-to-face with becoming the father of a micro-preemie in the NICU. He knows nothing about babies, and Caroline, the night nurse, is happy to point that out. Over the course of his tiny daughter’s hospital stay, he will need to take more than a few tiny steps to find his way into becoming a father.”
Guards at the Taj by Rajiv Joseph. Directed by Reena Dutt. Staged by the Chester Theatre Company at the Chester Town Hall, 15 Middlefield Road, Chester, MA, July 6 through 16.
“Two friends stand guard at the site of one of the most stunning buildings the world has ever seen, the Taj Mahal. They protect it with their lives, yet they are forbidden from looking upon its beauty. But there is an ugly side to nearly everything. Perfection comes at a price, and those in power decide who pays and at what cost.”
Fascinating Rhythm Created and performed by Kirsten Salpini & Jared Troil. Presented by 176 Keys and the Lyric Stage Company of Boston at 140 Clarendon St, 2nd floor, Boston, July 7 through 16.
A “zany yet virtuosic show centered around the extraordinary music of George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein.”
— Bill Marx
Roots and World Music
Boston Jerk Festival featuring Luciano
July 8: Harvard Athletic Complex
My Caribbean Expo featuring Richie Stephens
July 8: Rose Kennedy Greenway
It’s rather unfortunate that two major Caribbean music and food festivals are happening in Boston on the same day — especially because they both have great headliners.
The ticketed Jerk Festival at the Harvard stadium will be capped by the first Boston appearance in many years by Luciano, who set the standard for quality roots reggae in the ’90s and led the way for the many reggae artists who have made their mark in the last decade. A now-resolved visa snafu kept Luciano off American soil for a while. When this writer saw him at a festival last month, Luciano and his band sounded as good as ever.
The free My Caribbean Expo includes Richie Stephens, another Jamaican artist who has been delivering his soulful brand of lover’s and roots reggae for many years. Both daylong events also feature many of Boston’s finest reggae and Caribbean outfits as well as food and cultural presentations.
July 13: Jimmy’s, Portsmouth NH
July 14: Narrows Center for the Arts, Fall River, MA
July 15: BombyX, Northampton, MA
Comeback efforts by ’60s R&B artists are usually one-off projects. The exception has been supreme song stylist Bettye LaVette, who is now entering the third decade of a renewed career that shows no signs of slowing down. She’s got a brand new record, LaVette!, a scorching journey by way of the pen of another long-underrated talent, Southern songwriter Randall Bramblett. Guests from percussionist Pedrito Martinez to Jon Baptiste abound but, as always, the real star is LaVette’s singing. This swing of New England dates is the first since she picked up a Boston band led by drummer Marco Giovino along with guitarist Johnny Trama, keyboardist Darby Wolf, and bassist Marc Hickox.
Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival
Oak Hill, NY
The biggest Northeast bluegrass fest still has a Boston-area following thanks to its origins in the Berkshires, although these days it takes places closer to the Catskills. Three things that haven’t changed: the star power (The Del McCoury Band, Sam Bush, Jake Blount and Dan Tyminski are a few of the 2023 headliners); the great storytelling of host Ron Thomason and the Dry Branch Fire Squad: and all the campside picking and jamming you could ever want. One addition is the artist-in-residence, which this year will be Jerry Douglas. He’ll play solo, with his band, in a workshop, and will pop up with many of the other artists as well.
Plaza Betances, South End
The best-curated Latin music festival in the area is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a day-long blowout at its home in the South End adjacent to the Villa Victoria, the housing project which stood in cultural opposition to ’60s urban development and is now an antidote to today’s gentrification. There will be a parade, food, and other activities. Host Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción has programmed a fantastic day of music ranging from young Boston cuatro master Juan R. Nieves to salsa legend José Alberto “El Canario.”
Reggae on the Wharf
Tavern on the Wharf, Plymouth
It may be simply intended as a fun-filled day of nice reggae vibes, but this lineup also offers an excellent overview of Boston’s reggae scene: roots songwriter and pan master Michael Gabriel, dynamic singer Dion Knibb, instrumental powerhouse Dub Apocalypse, and the well-crafted sounds of Toussaint the Liberator are all on hand, along with latter-day Wailer Josh David Barrett.
Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra
La Fabrica Central, Cambridge
At 86, the grand maestro of Latin jazz seems to be as busy as ever, with multiple working outfits. Palmieri’s salsa big band revisits the days when he was leading the great La Perfecta, and it will be playing for some serious salsa dancers when it performs at this Cambridge eatery/nightclub.
July 17, 7:30 p.m.
City Winery, Boston
A common complaint is that many of the still active ’70s R&B and funk outfits on the “grown ‘n sexy” circuit skip Boston. Thankfully, the Blackbyrds, a band of students mentored by Donald Byrd who made their mark with “Walking In Rhythm,” “Do It Fluid,” and “Rock Creek Park,” have included us on their 50th anniversary tour. These days original members drummer/singer Keith Killgo and bassist Joe Hall lead the octet, which is fittingly rounded out by younger musicians that they’ve mentored.
— Noah Schaffer
The soul-funk quintet Water Seed have been honing their “future funk” in New Orleans over the past decade. Their new Sounds of the Wasteland is marked by crafty songwriting and sharp ensemble vocals and, of course, deep grooves. They hit the Beehive in Boston’s South End for two Friday nights in July.
— Jon Garelick
You may not have made the connection between art and craft breweries yet, but the Williams College Museum of Art already has it in the keg. As part of the museum’s Construct Your Own Meaning summer series, it has invited brewers from three nearby regional breweries to create new beers inspired by objects in the museum’s permanent collection, on view in the exhibition Remixing the Hall. Artist and “seasoned beer industry participant” Eric Steen has been conducting virtual workshops with brewers from Bright Ideas (North Adams), Hot Plate Brewing (Pittsfield), and Rare Form (Troy). On July 6 at 5 p.m., Steen will give an artist’s talk and lead a conversation with the brewers about creating new brews, inspired by art. At 6 p.m., the public will be invited to sample the fresh results on draft (naturally, actual beer will only be served to those over 21 with proper ID). A heady experience is assured.
Nearby in Williamstown, the Clark Art Institute’s exhibition Humane Ecology: Eight Positions opens on July 15. Each of the artists on view thinks “in ecological terms” but from different places, approaches, or positions in the relationship between humans and their environments — cultivation, migration, exploitation, and the borders between species. Media include sculpture, video, sound installation, and living plants installed indoors and out at the Clark’s Conforti Pavilion and the Lunder Center at Stone Hill.
Bob Dilworth is a Providence-based artist and professor emeritus at the University of Rhode Island, where he taught painting and directed the Main Art Gallery and the program in Africana Studies. His exhibition Bob Dilworth: Backyard opens at the Newport Art Museum on July 15. The landscapes and portraits in many media on view draw on memories of life in Providence and Lawrenceville, Virginia. His art works, Dilworth says, “tackle issues of race, culture, ethnicity, family, myths, folktales, and religious belief.… My current work examines the identity of friends and family and explores notions of home, heritage, ancestry, and generational change.”
On July 16, from 2 to 3:30 p.m., Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art presents a “Healing Workshop” at its Watershed summer space. The workshop, organized in conjunction with the exhibition Guadalupe Maravilla: Mariposa Relampago (at the ICA Watershed through September 4) will feature Arteterapia, a collective of dancers from the Taborda family, and members of the East Boston Healing Center Project, and will introduce the health benefits of Latin American dance. Open to all experience and abilities, though the workshop is designed for adult participants; comfortable shoes and loose clothing recommended. Free with museum admission. The ICA Watershed is a 10-minute walk from Maverick Station or by water shuttle from Seaport, included with ICA admission.
Jocelyn Lee, a portrait artist for over 35 years, will give an Artist’s Talk at Maine’s Bowdoin College Museum of Art on July 5 from 12 to 1 p.m. Offered in conjunction with the current exhibition People Watching: Contemporary Photography Since 1965, it is open to the public free of charge.
On July 16, from 2 to 4 p.m., the RISD Museum in Providence will present the latest in its Open Studio workshops, each an artist-designed project that gives visitors of all ages the chance to play with materials and processes
— Peter Walsh
July 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Point01 Percent’s monthly residency at the Lily once again offers a fascinating cross-pollination of stellar Boston-area improvisers. At 7:30, it’s Electric Blankets & Chicken, with saxophonist Tony Malaby, pianist Tatiana Castro Mejía, bassists Nate McBride and Brittany Karlson, and drummer Eric Rosenthal. At 8:30, it’s the trio of guitarist Luke Rovinsky, bassist Caleb Duval, and drummer Michael Larocca.
July 14 at 8 p.m.
Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport, MA
Quiana Lynell, a winner of the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, combines natural charisma with operatic power, gospel seasoning, and virtuoso chops.
A Jacob William Project
July 14 at 8 p.m.
Not sure why the indefinite article for this edition, but it’s a fine group, under the leadership of bassist Jacob William, that hasn’t played together as a band in a while: trumpeter Forbes Graham, pianist Steve Lantner, and drummer Luther Gray, with special guest Jason Robinson on tenor and flute. “Experimentation as a tradition” is the calling card here. We expect free explorations but, as the man says, “swinging and deeply grooving.”
July 15 at 1 p.m.
John Eliot Square, Roxbury, Boston
The extraordinarily dedicated Makanda Project, founded by pianist John Kordalewski as a tribute to the late Boston musician Makanda Ken McIntyre, begins its 18th year of summer concerts at Roxbury’s John Eliot Square. The program will include pieces by McIntyre as well as by Chico Freeman (a frequent MP guest) and Ndikho Xaba. Poet Askia Toure will read at intermission. A cello section representing City Strings United joins the band’s 13 core members. In addition to Kordalewski, the band includes Kurtis Rivers on alto saxophone; Lee Odom, alto, soprano, and clarinet; Temidayo Balogun and Seth Meicht, tenor saxophones; Allan Chase, baritone sax; Jerry Sabatini and Haneef Nelson, trumpets; Alfred Patterson and Richard Harper, trombones; Bill Lowe, bass trombone; Avery Sharpe, bass; Warren Smith, drums; and cellists Daniel Chouinard. Bithyah Israel, Alexi Martinez, and Rhea Gibson.
Charles River Jazz Festival
July 16 from 1 to 9 p.m.
Herter Park Amphitheater, Soldiers Field Road, Boston
The third annual Charles River Jazz Festival happens at Herter Park on Soldiers Field Road with food trucks, crafts vendors, and other amusements. As for the music, there’s an excellent lineup of young talent with Boston ties: saxophonist Braxton Cook, singer Michael Mayo, pianist and keyboard player Anastassiya Petrova, singer and songwriter Farayi Malek, saxophonist Seba Molnar, and a bunch more. And it’s free.
Jesse Taitt & Brian Friedland
July 16 at 5 p.m.
Eliot School, Jamaica Plain, MA
As an old documentary film title said: Piano players rarely play together. But for this installment of the Eliot School’s Schoolyard Concerts, the excellent keyboardists Jesse Taitt and Brian Friedland will be mixing it up.
Allan Chase Septet
July 16 at 6:20 p.m.
Saxophonist and composer Allan Chase (popping up several times in this fortnight’s Coming Attractions) leads a typically stellar band at the Lily: himself on alto and baritone, Joel Springer on tenor, trumpeter Dan Rosenthal, trombonist Randy Pingrey, guitarist Sheryl Bailey, bassist Andrew Schiller, and drummer Austin McMahon. As Chase described the program by email, “The septet will be doing a few classic things — Benny Golson’s writing for Dizzy and the later Jazztet (with me adding a horn), Bill Evans’s ‘Time Remembered,’ but mostly my compositions and arrangements: a Sun Ra piece (‘Fate in a Pleasant Mood’) that’s new to us, something Prince Shell arranged for Sun Ra (‘Possession,’ from Sun Song).” Also, expect, “probably,” Ra’s “El Is the Sound of Joy.” Adds Chase, “I like to say it’s ‘featuring Sheryl Bailey-guitar’ because she is awesome and plays a big role.”
Tomoko Iwamoto and 440
July 20 at 6:30 p.m.
Eustis Estate, Milton, MA
Violinist Iwamoto and 440 “play jazz in the Manouche or ‘gypsy jazz’ style popularized by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli in 1930s Paris.” Expect swing-era staples by Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Benny Goodman, as well as originals by members of the band. The other members of 440 are clarinetist Mark Chenever, guitarist Jack Soref, and bassist Jim Guttmann.
Listen to This
July 20 at 8 p.m.
Harvard-Epworth Church, Cambridge
Former Ornette Coleman bandmate Dave Bryant gives over his Third Thursdays residency to the Listen to This ensemble, which focuses on the music of Miles Davis “from his early electric period 1968-1975,” with project founder Jerome Deupree on drums, Russ Gershon on woodwinds and organ, Rick Barry on percussion, Bryant on keyboards, Todd Brunel on bass clarinet (yes, the Bennie Maupin chair!), J. Johnson on guitar, Rick McLaughlin on bass, and Bryan Murphy on trumpet.
— Jon Garelick
Jackson Holbert in conversation with Henri Cole at Porter Square Books
July 7 at 7 p.m.
“Winner of the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize, Jackson Holbert’s Winter Stranger is a solemn record of addiction and the divided affections we hold for the landscapes that shape us.In the cold, seminal countryside of eastern Washington, a boy puts a bullet through his skull in a high school parking lot.
“An uncle crushes oxycodone into ‘a thousand red granules.’ Hawks wheel above a dark, indifferent river. ‘I left that town / forever,’ Holbert writes, but its bruises appear everywhere, in dreams of violent men and small stars, the ghosts of friends and pills. These poems incite a complex emotional discourse on what it means to leave–if it’s ever actually possible, or if our roots only grow longer to accommodate the distance.”
Anupam B. Jena and Christopher M. Worsham at Harvard Book Store
Random Acts of Medicine: The Hidden Forces That Sway Doctors, Impact Patients, and Shape Our Health
July 10 at 7 p.m.
“As a University of Chicago–trained economist and Harvard medical school professor and doctor, Anupam Jena is uniquely equipped to answer these questions. And as a critical care doctor at Massachusetts General who researches health care policy, Christopher Worsham confronts their impact on the hospital’s sickest patients. In this singular work of science and medicine, Jena and Worsham show us how medicine really works, and its effect on all of us.
“Relying on ingeniously devised natural experiments — random events that unknowingly turn us into experimental subjects — Jena and Worsham do more than offer readers colorful stories. They help us see the way our health is shaped by forces invisible to the untrained eye. Is there ever a good time to have a heart attack? Do you choose the veteran doctor or the rookie? Do you really need the surgery your doctor recommends? These questions are rife with significance; their impact can be life changing. Addressing them in a style that’s both animated and enlightening, Random Acts of Medicine empowers you to see past the white coat and find out what really makes medicine work — and how it could work better.”
Judy Rakowsky with Carey Goldberg – presented by brookline booksmith
Jews in the Garden
July 14 at 6 p.m.
At Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA
“Jews in the Garden is a globe-trotting detective story that turns investigative eyes and ears toward the hidden events in Poland during the Holocaust. Judy and Sam, the unlikeliest of sleuthing duos, knock on doors, petition court documents, seek clandestine meetings, and ultimately discover what really happened to the ‘Jews in the garden next door.'”
Ann Beattie at Harvard Book Store
July 18 at 7 p.m.
“Onlookers is an astute new story collection about people living in the same Southern town whose lives intersect in surprising ways. Peaceful Charlottesville, Virginia, drew national attention when white nationalists held a rally there in 2017, a horrific event whose repercussions are still felt today. Confederate monuments such as General Robert E. Lee atop his horse were then still standing. The statues are a constant presence and a metaphoric refrain throughout this collection, though they represent different things to different characters. Some landmarks may have faded from consciousness but provoke fresh outrage when viewed through newly opened eyes.”
Colson Whitehead at Memorial Church, presented by Harvard Book Store
Crook Manifesto: A Novel
July 19 at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $40 with copy of book
“Crook Manifesto is a darkly funny tale of a city under siege, but also a sneakily searching portrait of the meaning of family. Colson Whitehead’s kaleidoscopic portrait of Harlem is sure to stand as one of the all-time great evocations of a place and a time.”
— Matt Hanson