Coming Attractions: July 16 Through August 1 — 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.
20 Days in Mariupol
July 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline
An AP team of Ukrainian journalists, trapped in the besieged city of Mariupol, struggle to continue their work documenting atrocities of the Russian invasion. As the only international reporters remaining in the city, they capture what will later become some of the defining images of the war: dying children, mass graves, the bombing of a maternity hospital, and more. There is a post-screening Q&A with filmmaker Mstyslav Chernov, Frontline‘s Raney Aronson-Rath, and Frontline producer/editor Michelle Mizner, moderated by Susan Goldberg, the President and CEO GBH.
Frankenstein’s Daughter with Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter
July 18 at 7 p.m.
Somerville Theatre in Davis Square
Attack Of The B-movies! Presentation. In the first of this schlock double feature fest, Dr. Frankenstein’s insane grandson attempts to create horrible monsters. Frankenstein’s Daughter brings a fresh twist to the creepy genre: it takes place in modern Los Angeles where, despite news reports of a female monster menacing the neighborhood, nothing stops the local sun-soaked teenagers from partying poolside. In the second feature, legendary outlaw of the Old West, Jesse James, on the run from the law, hides out in the castle of Baron Frankenstein’s granddaughter Maria, who proceeds to transform Jesse’s slow-witted pal Hank into a bald zombie, which she names Igor. What can go wrong?
Close to Vermeer
July 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Museum of Fine Arts in Boston
Go behind the scenes of the largest Vermeer exhibition ever mounted, now on view at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Capturing the imagination of the art world — with glowing reviews, global publicity, and tickets sold out through the entirety of its run — the Rijksmuseum’s Vermeer retrospective is nothing short of a historic event. Suzanne Raes’s film follows curators, conservators, collectors, and experts in their joint mission to shine a new light on the elusive enigmas posed by the Dutch Master.
Squaring The Circle
July 21 – 23
Brattle Theatre in Cambridge
Whether you’re a fan of Pink Floyd or not, chances are you know exactly what the album covers of The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here look like. But you might not be familiar the duo who created those iconic images: Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey “Po” Powell, aka the innovative design studio Hipgnosis. Their methods may have been unconventional and their budgets unreasonable, but they were fearless visionaries who artfully manipulated photographic images long before computer graphics became ubiquitous. Corbijn’s film is “a charming, witty, beautifully crafted tale of challenging friendships, passion, and vision, full of fascinating anecdotes and big music personalities.” (Sundance)
Maine Silent Film Festival
July 24 and 25 at 7 p.m.
Alamo Theater 85 Maine Street Bucksport Maine
Brought to you from the Harpodeon film library, the festival is pegged around two programs that focus on specific themes. The evening of July 24th will concentrate on railroad disasters; the presentation on the 25th will present LGBTQ+ silents. Maine’s Doug Prostik provides live musical accompaniment for both lineups. Each screening will include several shorts and one feature.
Woods Hole Film Festival
July 29 – August 5
The 32nd festival is back with a full roster of feature films, and the gathering will emphasize the work of emerging as well as New England filmmakers. There will be shorts, live performances, workshops, and master classes. The panel discussions include “Crowdfunding to Build Independence” on August 1 at 12 p.m. and, on August 2 at 2 p.m., “The Role of Film Critics in the Age of Artificial Intelligence and Streaming,” The speakers for the latter will feature Boston critics Tim Miller, Allyson Johnson, Sarah G. Vincent, The Art Fuse‘s Tim Jackson, and Tom Meek. (Editor’s Note: The Fuse‘s critical intelligence is all-natural.)
Pick of the Week
Another Year (2010)
YouTube, Amazon Video, Apple TV
A stellar cast, featuring Academy Award winner Jim Broadbent (Iris, Moulin Rouge) and Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread), elevate this ‘kitchen sink’ drama from the superb British director Mike Leigh. Multi-layered characters, nuanced performances, and keen insights into human psychology make this tale of good intentions gone wrong well worth revisiting. Among its many merits: this is a smart and human antidote to the slate of summer blockbusters. Note: This is one of Barbie director Greta Gerwig’s favorite films.
— Tim Jackson
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.
The Knights play Copland
Presented by Newport Classical
July 23, 8 p.m.
The Breakers, Newport
This program celebrates musicians of The Knights – with Colin Jacobsen, Alex Gonzalez, and Alex Sopp as featured soloists – and marks the orchestra’s first performance at Newport’s Breakers Mansion. The program for the finale of the Newport Classical’s season will include Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring – as well as pieces by Vivaldi, Bartók, Anna Clyne, and Colin Jacobsen.
Presented by Tanglewood Music Center
July 28, 8 p.m.
Koussevitzky Shed, Lenox
The BSO reprises one of last season’s most important premieres, Julia Wolfe’s women’s rights cantata Her Story (featuring the exceptional Lorelei Ensemble). Giancarlo Guerrero also conducts Mahler’s Symphony No. 1.
— Jonathan Blumhofer
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
“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, 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.
Fences by August Wilson. Directed by Christopher V. Edwards. Staged by Shakespeare & Company at the Tina Packer Playhouse, Lenox, July 22 through August 27.
One of August Wilson’s most produced plays. Set in the ’50s, the Arthur Miller-ish script is “the story of Troy Maxson – a working-class Black man struggling to provide for his family. His past includes the low of a prison sentence and the high of a promising career with the Negro Baseball League, but it’s Troy’s unrealized dream to play for Major League Baseball that fills his days with resentment and regret.” In 1987, the play won both the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play.
Love, Loss, & What I Wore by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron. Based on the book by Ilene Beckerman. Directed by Paula Plum. Staged by the Hub Theatre Company of Boston at Club Cafe, 209 Columbus Ave, Boston, July 22 through August 5.
This comedy “attempts to answer the age-old question: how do I have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear? With odes to first bras, overstuffed purses, tyrannical dressing rooms and outfits that made our mothers cringe, Love, Loss & What I Wore is a love letter to the outfits that got us through life’s ups, downs and everything in between. Come reminisce with us and take a stroll down your own closet’s memory lane. Five of Boston’s best dressed actresses — Nettie Chickering, Barbara Douglas, Lauren Elias, Evelyn Holley and June Kfoury — will bring these funny memoirs and intimate musings to the stage.”
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.”
The Light by Loy A. Webb. Directed by Christina Franklin. Staged by the Chester Theatre Company at 15 Middlefield Road, Chester, July 27 through August 6
“Rashad and Genesis have just gotten engaged. To celebrate, he wants to take her to a show by a local Chicago musician who’s made it big. When she refuses, revealing that the rapper assaulted a friend in college, the celebration is cut short. As their discussion grows into an argument, more secrets are exposed, and the past threatens to overshadow their future.”
Liv at Sea written and directed by Robert Knopf. Staged by Harbor Stage Company at 15 Kendrick Ave, Wellfleet, through August 5.
A world premiere production: “Liv’s doing just fine — a steady job, a solid partner, a typical life in the city. But when sparks fly during a chance encounter with a stranger, she’s left wondering how to feed a flame without burning everything else to the ground. A love story about open hearts, broken promises, and the choice of a lifetime.”
The 10th Annual Providence Fringe Festival® Featuring In-Person & Virtual Performances. Presented by The Wilbury Theatre Group in venues throughout the Valley neighborhood of Providence, including: WaterFire Arts Center, the Steel Yard, ALCO, Farm Fresh RI, Lost Valley Pizza + Revival Brewing, Binch Press / queer.archive.work, and new venues at the new homes of LitArts RI and Teatro ECAS, July 16 through 29.
More proof — for the doubters — that Boston theater is moribund. A vibrant summer festival of local theaters — in Rhode Island. 45 different shows spread over 10 performance spaces. We have nothing like it. And the kicker: the Boston Globe is one of the event’s corporate sponsors! Go to the site for a run down of the presentations. And the festival is expanding …”introducing the FringePVDEncore Series in Westerly, RI, at the United Theatre, August 10 through 12.”
Macbeth by William Shakespeare. Directed by Steven Maler. Staged by Commonwealth Shakespeare Company at the Parkman Bandstand, Boston Common, July 19 through August 6. Free.
“Amid intense civil strife and a decaying social fabric — an insurrection takes hold. In Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, an unexpected prophecy sends Macbeth (Faran Tahir) on a fervent and murderous quest to become the new King of Scotland.” W.H. Auden on Macbeth: Usually in a tragedy a good person is made to suffer through a flaw in his goodness. In Macbeth this pattern is reversed: it is a streak of goodness that causes pathos and suffering. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth attempt to be murderers without malice.”
— Bill Marx
Roots and World Music
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.
One of the most celebrated Irish button-accordionists of all time makes his Passim debut. He’ll be accompanied by Flynn Cohen and Liz Simmons.
The Timba Messengers
LoPresti Park, East Boston
The free Tito Puente Latin Music Series continues with a night of Afro-Cuban rhythms in East Boston featuring this excellent seven-piece band, which delivers the funky Afro-Cuban message of Timba.
Choro Das 3
These three sisters keep the lively Brazilian choro tradition alive through their skilled use of stringed instruments, accordion, and flute. The trio’s repertoire includes some classic choros — as well some “new” classics they’ve composed themselves.
Lowell Folk Festival
This writer’s pick for the most essential event of the summer, the Lowell Folk Festival, returned to a large and joyful response last year. As always there is an enticing mix of music from around America and around the world, ranging from the sacred steel gospel of Fran Grace to the traditional Ukrainian melodies of Cheres to jazz tap dancer Jason Samuels Smith. Haiti’s Lakou Mizik and the funk outfit led by James Brown’s bassist Fred Thomas are likely to be a few of the dance tent highlights. Also on tap are the Irish-American traditional supergroup Trian, Afghan singer Ahmad Fanoos, the great Boston Greek ensemble REVMA, and young Portuguese fado star Sara Correia. Besides playing their own sets, most of the acts will appear in multi-artist workshops. One especially promising entrym“From the Opry to Soul Train: Rockabilly and R&B Troubadours,” pairs Thomas with the wonderful honky tonker Chuck Mead.
Reggae on the Wharf
Tavern on the Wharf, Plymouth
This event has been rescheduled from its original rained-out date, July 16. On the one hand, this may simply have been 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.
— Noah Schaffer
The European Renaissance saw the birth of moveable type, an invention that changed the world, but it was an also age of invention and innovation in the printed image, from engraving to the chiaroscuro woodcut. Prints were much in demand and were often the way news of revolutionary artistic ideas spread from city to city. Printed Renaissance, opening July 29 at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, explores how printed images worked with art writing and printed books to create a new understanding of art history and visual culture in Italy between 1500 and 1800. More than thirty period prints from the Clark’s collection will be on view.
Down the road at the Williams College Art Museum, the next installment of the Construct Your Own Meaning series turns towards Euterpe, the muse “with a pleasant genius” who inspires lyric poetry and music. On July 20, starting at 5 p.m., a specially selected group of local and regional musicians of different backgrounds will present a concert of their specially composed 5-10 minute pieces, each inspired by an artwork on display in the museum’s exhibition Remixing the Hall. During the reception, which starts at 6 p.m., Taraka Johnson will perform a DJ set inspired by the show.
Since the late ’60s, the Museum of Fine Arts has been trying to overcome a yawning gap in its early 20th-century history when, along with most local collectors, it disdained modern art and collected very little of it. While New York, Baltimore, and Hartford bought Matisse, Picasso, and the surrealists, Boston focused on the Boston School, landscape painting, and John Singer Sargent. Tender Loving Care: Contemporary Art from the Collection, which opens on July 22, is a chance to review how far the museum has moved on from that conservative epoch. Taking as an organizing theme the idea that creating and looking at works of art are “acts of care,” the circa 100 contemporary works from the MFA’s collection are organized into five themes: threads, thresholds, rest, vibrant matter, and adoration. Artists featured in the show include Gisela Charfauros, Nick Cave, Sheila Hicks, Howardena Pindell, and Jane Sauer.
Hartford-based artist Ellen Carey has, for some thirty years, created work that defies photographic conventions. Ellen Carey: Struck by Light, which opens on July 21 at the New Britain Museum of American Art, is a large and ambitious show that will span two floors of the museum, the largest retrospective of her career. The three-decade survey includes examples from her Photography Degree Zero series of Polaroid images, and from the Struck by Light series— camera-less photograms inspired by experiments from the earliest days of photography.
This time of year, thousands of kids flock to summer camps dotted around the state of Maine. If canoes and campfires are not your child’s thing, though, the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland is offering a Youth Summer Art Camp from July 24-27. Every day, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., artist Jen Peppe will mentor young creatives (ages 7-12) in both the studio and the museum’s galleries, including teaching such techniques as Shibori Indigo dying, as inspired by a Farnsworth summer exhibition. Tuition for the session: $260 for Farnsworth members, $275 for others.
Museum Reads, an art-themed book group for adults at the Newport Art Museum, focuses this month on Murder at Beacon Rock, a mystery by Alyssa Maxwell, who sets many of her stories in historic Newport. It’s July 1900 and reporter Emma Cross has discovered the body of a woman floating near a boat moored under Beacon Rock. Was it suicide or murder? Cross sorts through a who’s who of local sportsman, boat crews, and Gilded Age Newport elite to find out. The group will meet to review the results on July 20 from noon to 1 p.m., at the museum and virtually via zoom. Registration $5, free to museum members.
— Peter Walsh
The Newport Folk Festival has quite the act to follow given last year’s bombshell of surprise guests Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon. But the instantly sold-out bayside event has a good head start with the mercurial Lana Del Rey, My Morning Jacket, Jason Isbell, Noah Kahan, Maggie Rogers, Billy Strings, and Goose among those on tap to perform at Fort Adams State Park — and at least one open slot leaving fans guessing what icon may show up next. In turn, the Newport Jazz Festival sold out its last two days well in advance with a lineup that includes Herbie Hancock, Diana Krall, Charles Lloyd, Samara Joy, and Artistic Director Christian McBride’s all-star Jam Jawn. Tickets remain for Friday’s opening with Joe Russo’s Almost Dead and Kamasi Washington (separately and together!), Soulive and Dave Holland’s new quartet. And former late-night bandleader Jon Batiste will play both Newport festivals.
Tomoko Iwamoto and 440
July 20 at 6:30 p.m.
Eustis Estate, Milton, Mass.
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.
July 20 at 7 p.m.
Red Room at Café 939, Boston
The celebrated jazz harpist Brandee Younger hits Breklee’s Red Room at Café 939 in a free show for this installment in the “New Standards Boston Takeover,” presented by the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice. The show will feature singer Tatiana “Ladymay” Mayfield in selections from Younger’s recent Brand New Life.
And again, it’s FREE.
Dylan Jack/Tor Snyder/Eric Zinman
July 22 at 4:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, Mass.
Drummer-percussionist Dylan Jack, guitarist Tor Snyder, and pianist Eric Zinman are billing this as “an evening of improvised music.” I’d say, based on past experience and the collective resumes: expect detailed phrasing and articulation, transparent textures, delicate grooves, and maybe some free-form explosions.
Joe Baiza Trio
July 25 at 8 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, Mass.
The 71-year-old former SoCal punk (cohort of Minutemen, Black Flag) guitarist Joe Baiza, now a fully-fledged free-jazz guy, joins forces with bassist Damon Smith and drummer Matt Crane for “a night of exploratory post-punk improvisational jazz.”
Landmarks Orchestra feat. Terri Lyne Carrington
July 26 at 7 p.m.
Hatch Memorial Shell, Boston
Here is a “symphonic” program of interest to jazz lovers, “Seen/Unseen: The Symphonic Legacy of Black American Women.” Curated by Terri Lyne Carrington, founder and artistic director of Berklee’s Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice, the program includes J. Rosamund Johnson’s “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” Florence Price’s “Dances in the Canebrakes” (orchestrated by William Grant Still), excerpts from Mary Lou Williams’s “Zodiac Suite,” and Carrington’s “Seen/Unseen,” as well as pieces by Shirley Graham, Undine Smith Moore, Nkeiru Okoye, and Jessie Montgomery. Performers include Carrington, soprano Louise Toppin, and tenor Robert Mack. Damali Willingham is the conductor.
Mary Halvorson-Tomas Fujiwara Duo
July 27 at 7 p.m.
Stephen D. Paine Gallery, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston
Guitarist-composer Mary Halvorson performs with her longtime collaborator drummer Tomas Fujiwara. This is another free show organized by Berklee’s Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice in the “New Standards Takeover” of Boston, as part of the “New Standards” exhibition and performance series celebrating Black female jazz musicians.
Brain Coat 3
July 27 at 7:30 p.m
Lilypad, Cambridge, Mass.
“. . . [P]repared and unprepared compositions, whirled music, Free Jazz, electronics.” This accomplished, veteran crew of improvisers comprises leader Eric Dahlman (trumpet, “overtone singing, game calls,” bells, and electronics); Jim Warshauer (saxophones and flutes); and Keiichi Hashimoto (reeds, trombone, flute, flugelhorn, “broken trumpets”).
Cambridge Jazz Festival
July 29-30, 12 p.m.-6 p.m.
Danehy Park, Cambridge, Mass.
The eighth annual Cambridge Jazz Festival is offering two afternoons of free jazz. Saturday features Albino Mbie (12:30); Yulia Musayelyan (2 p.m.), Gaby Cotter and the Timba Messengers (3:30 p.m.), and the Eguie Castrillo Orchestra (5 p.m.). Sunday’s line-up:the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice Ensemble, directed by Kris Davis with special guest Marquis Hill (12:30 p.m.); Global Jazz Womxn, led by Patricia Zarate Pérez (2 p.m.); Sound of Soul, with Bill Pierce, Bobby Broom, Consuelo Candelaria, Ron Mahdi, and Ron Savage (3:30 p.m.), and Danilo Pérez’s Global Messengers (5 p.m.)
Russ Gershon Trio
July 30 at 4 p.m.
Mad Monkfish, Cambridge
For this recently instituted Sunday matinee series at the Mad Monkfish, saxophonist and composer Russ Gershon (Either/Orchestra, Lookie Lookie) scales back for a trio with bassist Rick McLaughlin and drummer Brooke Sofferman. The program will include “originals and music by Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Duke Ellington, Clifford Jordan, Richard Thompson, the Monkees (!), Arthur Blythe and more.”
Rich Greenblatt-Mark Shilansky Band
July 30 at 7:30 p.m
City Winery, Boston
If you caught vibraphonist Rich Greenblatt and pianist Mark Shilansky with their band (bassist Greg Toro and drummer Mike Connors) at Scullers back in February, celebrating the release of their excellent Green Sky, then you’re aware of what superb writers and players they are — in the post-bop mode, from Horace Silver’s “Opus de Funk” to their own “Stuck on Storrow” and “Boss Her Nove Her” (yes, humor is a premium in this band). The two long-time Berklee profs and their rhythm mates are joined by their colleague, the fine jazz violinist Jason Anick
— Jon Garelick
Gish Jen and David Damrosch at Menschel Lecture Hall, Harvard Art Museum, Cambridge, on July 17 at 3:30 p.m.
The Institute for World Literature originated at Harvard University and is returning to Harvard to celebrate both its 20th year anniversary and the retirement of its founder, “comp lit prof extraordinaire” David Damrosch. Writer Gish Jen has been invited to read and then chat with Damrosch.
— Bill Marx
Sarafina El-Badry Nance with Sasha Sagan — brookline booksmith
Starstruck: A Memoir of Astrophysics and Finding Light in the Dark
July 17 at 7 p.m.
“In Starstruck, Sarafina invites us to consider the cosmos through fascinating science lessons to open each chapter. But she also traces more earthbound obstacles—of misogyny and racism, abuse and intergenerational trauma, anxiety and self-doubt, cancer diagnoses and recovery — she faced along the way. As her career and passion for space brought her from UT Austin to UC Berkeley, and even to a Mars astronaut simulation in Hawai’i, Sarafina learned how to survive — and ultimately thrive — in a space that was seldom welcoming to women, and especially not to women of color.
Honest and empowering, Starstruck sits at the intersection of the study of our cosmos — itself constantly changing — and the transformative experience of embracing resilience to pursue one’s passion.”
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.”
Rachel Cantor in conversation with Dawn Tripp – Porter Square Books
Half-Life of a Stolen Sister
July 19 at 7 p.m.
“How did sisters Emily, Charlotte, and Anne write literary landmarks Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Agnes Grey? What in their lives and circumstances, in the choices they made, and in their close but complex relationships with one another made such greatness possible? In her new novel, Rachel Cantor melds biographical fact with unruly invention to illuminate the siblings’ genius, their bonds of love and duty, periods of furious creativity, and the ongoing tolls of illness, isolation, and loss.
As it tells the story of the Brontës, Half-Life of a Stolen Sister itself perpetually transforms and renews its own style and methods, sometimes hewing close to the facts of the Brontë lives as we know them (or think we know them), and at others radically reimagining the siblings, moving them into new time periods and possibilities.”
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.”
“Debora Kuan is the author of three poetry collections XING, Lunch Portraits, and the forthcoming Women on the Moon. She has been awarded a U.S. Fulbright creative writing fellowship (Taiwan), as well as residencies at Yaddo, Macdowell, and the Santa Fe Art Institute. Adam Scheffler grew up in California, received his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and his Ph.D. in English from Harvard. His first book of poems – A Dog’s Life – won the 2016 Jacar Press book contest. Keith Jones teaches in the Africana Studies Department at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and is the Poet-in-Residence at the New England Conservatory. Will Schutt is the author of Westerly, winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize, and translator of My Life, I Lapped It Up: Selected Poems of Edoardo Sanguineti, among other works from Italian.”
Azzedine T. Downes at the Harvard Book Store
The Couscous Chronicles: Stories of Food, Love, and Donkeys from a Life between Cultures
July 26 at 7 p.m.
“A labyrinth of tales as complex as its namesake dish, The Couscous Chronicles is for anyone who believes that the only real failure is to remain unchanged and in place, that true love is always a blind leap, and that a good story over a cup of tea holds the power to change one’s destiny.”
Virtual Event: Andrew Pontzen – Harvard Book Store
The Universe in a Box: Simulations and the Quest to Code the Cosmos
July 28 at noon
Free with $5 suggested donation
“In The Universe in a Box, cosmologist Andrew Pontzen explains how physicists model the universe’s most exotic phenomena, from black holes and colliding galaxies to dark matter and quantum entanglement, enabling them to study the evolution of virtual worlds and to shed new light on our reality.
But simulations don’t just allow experimentation with the cosmos; they are also essential to myriad disciplines like weather forecasting, epidemiology, neuroscience, financial planning, airplane design, and special effects for summer blockbusters. Crafting these simulations involves tough compromises and expert knowledge. Simulation is itself a whole new branch of science, one that we are only just beginning to appreciate and understand. The story of simulations is the thrilling history of how we arrived at our current knowledge of the world around us, and it provides a sneak peek at what we may discover next.”
— Matt Hanson