Coming Attractions: March 24 through April 8 — What Will Light Your Fire

Our expert 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 the animated feature The Peasants. Photo: Malgorzata Kuznik

The Peasants
Through March 27
Brattle Theatre in Cambridge

From the animators of Loving Vincent, The Peasants tells the story of Jagna, a young woman determined to forge her own path within the confines of her home, a late 19th-century Polish village. “Bringing this 1,000-page novel to animated life in this way isn’t just an adaptation, it’s an illumination.” (IndieWire)

A scene from director Victor Sjöström’s magnificent study in masochism, He Who Gets Slapped.

He Who Gets Slapped & The Blood Ship
March 27 at 7 p.m.
Somerville Theatre in Davis Square

Based on a play by Russian playwright Leonid Andreyev, MGM’s He Who Gets Slapped stars Lon Chaney, Norma Shearer, and John Gilbert. In 1916 the drama was the basis for a Russian silent; the play was staged in 1922 at London’s Garrick Theatre. This was followed up by the Hollywood version in 1924, a masterpiece of surreal filmmaking that was the first movie produced entirely by the newly formed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Blood Ship, from 1927, is about a disgraced sea captain who signs on as a hand on a cargo ship, which turns out to be captained by the tyrannical man who ruined his reputation. This is part of the Somerville Theatre’s A Tale of Two Studios Double Feature Series with live accompaniment by the renowned organist Jeff Rapsis.

A Woman of Paris
March 28 at 6:30 p.m.; March 30 at 12 p.m.
Brattle Theatre in Cambridge

Charles Chaplin confounded audiences when he followed up his first successful comedy feature, The Kid, with a serious melodrama. A Woman of Paris centers around the title character (Edna Purviance), who is betrayed by her lover and then cast aside by her would-be fiancé (Adolf Menjou).

This is one of the movies from Cinema Ritrovato on Tour (3/28–30). “This storied film festival highlights some of the most amazing film restorations and rediscoveries available and brings in guests and cinephiles from all over the world.” The Brattle is teaming up with members of the Cinema Studies program at UMass Boston to screen some of the festival’s recent film restorations. Listing of Ritrovato Films

A scene from Edward Yang’s A Brighter Summer Day. Photo: Criterion Collection

A Brighter Summer Day (1991)
March 30 at 6 p.m.
Harvard Film Archives

This marvelous film is an entry in the Cinema of Edward Yang series. “It’s in his generous, objective use of long shots and spare but startling close-ups that we see once again the influence of Robert Altman in Yang’s aesthetic and the struggle of the Taiwanese people to accept their history. In essence, Yang uses his aesthetic to bring into the light that which is dark.” (Slant Magazine) Introduction by Sean Yang on March 30. The film will also screen on May 4 at 6 p.m.

The Movie Orgy
March 31 at 12 p.m.

A legendary five-hour triumph from director Joe Dante with the help of producer Jon Davison (Robocop), this 1966 compilation is possibly the world’s first found footage megamix: the wild assemblage includes commercials, news reels, clips from feature films, TV bloopers, and much more. Unavailable for decades and never available on home video, the film has been preserved from the original 16mm reels. Free on a first come, first served basis.

Wicked Queer: 40 Film Festival
April 5 through 14, with virtual encores April 15 through 30 on the Eventive channel.

The opening night features for Boston’s venerable LGBTQ Festival will be Febrero from director Hansel Porras Garcia at 6:30 p.m. and Nowhere from director Gregg Araki at 9 p.m. — both screening at the Brattle Theatre. The closing night selections, Transexuals from Space and The Devil Queen (A Rainha Diaba) will screen at the Brattle Theatre on November 20 at 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m., respectively. The full schedule is available at

Turkish Film Festival
April 5 through 7
At the Museum of Fine Arts Boston

This time around the series features three films: Hayat (4/5 at 6 p.m.), Suddenly (4/6 at 2 p.m.), and Neandra (4/7 at 1 p.m.)

Pick of the Week

Johnny Depp as William Blake in Dead Man.

Dead Man, Max, Criterion Collection

This gorgeous and strange 1995 black-and-white film comes from Jim Jarmusch. Critics have called it an “Acid Western.” In it, William Blake, a meek accountant who is on the run after murdering a man, has a chance encounter with enigmatic Native American spirit-guide “Nobody,” who believes the meek guy is the reincarnation of the visionary English poet William Blake. The film features an excellent performance by Johnny Depp, along with cameos by none other than Gary Farmer, Billy Bob Thornton, Iggy Pop, Crispin Glover, John Hurt, Lance Henriksen, and Gabriel Byrne. It was also one of Robert Mitchum’s final films. And it features a raw soundtrack composed by Neil Young (which can be sampled on YouTube).

— Tim Jackson

Techne: Evidence in the Anthropocene
April 8 at 6 p.m.
Bartos Theater, MIT E15-070
Wiesner Building, 20 Ames Building, Cambridge

Daniel R. Small screens and then discusses Techne: Evidence in the Anthropocene, a film culled from “his episodic documentary series based on diverse sets of research from a wide range of experts in fields such as philosophy, zoology, astrophysics, planetary science, robotics, and Artificial Intelligence among other fields. The aim of the series locates these research groupings as being in direct conversation with the inquiries of contemporary artists and the ways that the term ‘artist’ has become a catch-all for generating ideas in fields such as philosophy, archaeology, cultural anthropology, law, biology, technology, and various other disciplines. Through analyzing case studies involving the evolution of humans, the natural world, and the amplification of technologies, Techne forms an epistemology of the present that models generative bodies of evidence.”

— Bill Marx

Classical Music

Music director David Hattner has been leading the Portland Youth Philharmonic since 2008. Photo: courtesy of Zachary Person/PYP

Portland Youth Philharmonic
Presented by Classical Movements
March 29, 7 p.m.
Mechanics Hall, Worcester

The PYP’s centennial-season East Coast tour with Imani Winds makes its way to Worcester. Their program consists of Jeff Scott’s Paradise Valley Serenade, Jessie Montgomery’s Strum, and Amy Beach’s Gaelic Symphony.

Quartet for the End of Time
Presented by Boston Symphony Orchestra
March 31, 3 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston

Pianist Garrick Ohlsson joins the Boston Symphony Chamber Players for an Easter Sunday matinee that includes Olivier Messiaen’s luminous Quartet for the End of Time.

Pianist Yefim Bronfman. Photo: BSO

Bronfman plays Scriabin
Presented by Boston Symphony Orchestra
April 4 at 7:30 p.m., 5 at 1:30 p.m., and 6 at 8 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston

Pianist Yefim Bronfman joins the BSO for a rare performance of Alexander Scriabin’s Technicolor (literally: one of its instruments is a “color organ” that projects different-colored lights that correspond to the music) Prometheus, Poem of Fire. Also on tap are works by Anna Clyne, Wagner, and Liszt. Andris Nelsons conducts.

Suzuki conducts Bach
Presented by Handel & Haydn Society
April 5 at 7:30 p.m. and 7 at 3 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston

Maasaki Suzuki returns to town to lead H&H in Bach’s B-minor Mass. Soprano Hana Blažíková, mezzo-soprano Olivia Vermeulen, countertenor Tim Mead, tenor Shimon Yoshida, and bass-baritone Timothy Edlin join him and the H&H Chorus.

Christian Tetzlaff & Kirill Gerstein in recital
Presented by Celebrity Series
April 7, 3 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston

Two of the most idiosyncratic artists on the scene today join forces for a recital that brings together music by Janàcěk, Brahms, Thomas Adès, György Kurtág, and Bartók.

Ma & Stott in recital
Presented by Celebrity Series
April 9, 8 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston

Yo-Yo Ma and his longtime accompanist Kathryn Stott join forces one last time – Stott’s retiring at the end of the year — for a recital at Symphony Hall. Their program includes works by Shostakovich, Arvo Pärt, and a transcription of Franck’s A-major Violin Sonata.

— Jonathan Blumhofer

Plastic Dream Fugue
Presented by Now Musique
March 29, 7:30 p.m. at First Church Boston, 66 Marlborough Street, Boston

Guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan will perform a solo program featuring masterpieces from the 18th and 21st centuries, including a mash-up violin-organ-lute fugue by J.S. Bach, arranged by Larget-Caplan. The concert will showcase music specially curated for Larget-Caplan’s New Lullaby Project by American composers Laurie Spiegel, John McDonald, and Ian Wiese, as well as Czech composer Štěpán Rak.

The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe
Presented by Odyssey Opera, in partnership with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project
April 5, 8 p.m. at the Huntington Theatre, 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston.

The New England premiere of Dominick Argento’s 1976 opera. According to Odyssey Opera’s website:”Grammy Award-winning conductor Gil Rose leads a formidable cast including tenor Peter Tantsits playing the lead role of Poe, the Odyssey Opera chorus, the acclaimed BMOP orchestra, and more. A world premiere studio recording will follow on BMOP/sound (TBR 2025).”

“Taking its point of departure from Poe’s bizarre and subsequent deadly sail at sea, Poe takes audiences on a hallucinatory voyage of discovery. In 1849, the ill and feverish Poe — his creativity and inspiration in the doldrums after his wife Virginia’s death two years prior — sailed from Richmond to Baltimore. Less than a week later, he died, dissolute and destitute, at the age of 40.”

— Bill Marx

Popular Music

Adam Ant with The English Beat
April 1 (doors at 7, show at 8)
The Wilbur, Boston

The advent of MTV in 1981 cut both ways for popular artists. On one hand, it required their images to mean at least a little bit more than they previously did, perhaps to the detriment of some. On the other, it afforded them the opportunity to better market themselves via video, and the more outrageous, the better. Adam Ant certainly benefited from the latter, cutting an indelible image and showing off his musical chops with killer tunes such as “Stand and Deliver,” “Goody Two Shoes,” “Antmusic,” and “Friend or Foe.”

When he performs at The Wilbur on April 1, he will be joined by The English Beat, whose unforgettable contributions to the ’80s musical landscape include “Mirror in the Bathroom,” “Twist and Crawl,” “Doors of Your Heart,” and “Save It for Later.”

Angélique Kidjo
April 6 (show at 7:30)
Somerville Theatre, Somerville (Davis Sq.)

Benin native Angélique Kidjo is a five-time Grammy winner — most recently for 2022’s Mother Nature — and nine-time nominee in the category that has been called Best Global Music Album since 2020. In addition to her dozen-plus albums of her original material, she has also recently recorded her own interpretation of Talking Heads’ 1980 classic Remain In Light and paid homage to Celia Cruz, the Cuban-born “Queen of Salsa,” with Celia. For her tireless work on behalf of international organizations, Kidjo has been honored with the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award, Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award, and inclusion among Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. Davis Square will be her destination on April 6 when Somerville Theatre hosts the First Annual Gala for Global Arts Live.

Colin Hay
April 6 (show at 8)
Chevalier Theatre, Medford

As the lead singer of Men At Work in the earliest years of MTV, Colin Hay’s face and voice were ubiquitous when I was the age that my six-year-old twins are now. His band’s 1981 debut album, Business As Usual, broke the record set by The Monkees’ for most weeks (15) atop the Billboard 200, and “Who Can It Be Now?” and “Down Under” both reached #1 on Billboard’s respective singles chart. (For two weeks, Men At Work simultaneously topped both the albums and singles charts — a feat that put them in the elite company of The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, and Rod Stewart — and Business As Usual was still in the top 10 when its follow-up, Cargo, entered the top 5 in 1983.

Granted, that was 40 years ago. However, Hay has maintained a solo career that has — through its up and downs — kept him afloat such that his regular visits to Boston allow him to play venues like The Wilbur (click for my Arts Fuse review of his 2017 show there), The Cabot (click for the Word document version of the interview I did in advance of that one), and Chevalier Theatre, where he will arrive with his unmistakable voice and visage on April 6.

Ms. Ezra Furman
April 10 (doors at 6:30/show at 7:30)
The Rockwell, Somerville (Davis Sq.)

Ms. Ezra Furman’s early 2024 monthly residency at The Rockwell — at which the Somerville resident “does what she wants” — continues (concludes?) on April 10. This date promises “surprise support,” and since previous engagements have sold out, it’s probably smart to get your tickets in advance rather than take your chances at the door.

— Blake Maddux

World Music and Roots

Ballaké Sissoko & Derek Gripper

March 26 & 27
Crystal Ballroom at the Somerville Theatre

South African guitarist Derek Gripper has taken the world of Malian music and turned it into a vehicle for his acoustic guitar playing. For these special Global Arts Live concerts he’ll be part of a duo with Malian kora master Ballaké Sissoko. Wednesday is sold out, but a Tuesday night show has been added.

The Sadies
April 2
Arts at the Armory, Somerville

For decades Canada’s Sadies were darlings of the rootsy rock world, thanks to the dazzling songwriting, singing, and playing of brothers Dallas and Travis Good. Dallas died two years ago at just 48, but Travis and his bandmates have, happily, kept the band going so they can play live the music from Colder Streams, a brilliant psychedelic-leaning record made before Dallas’s death.

James Brown Saves Boston Tribute Concert
April 5
The Strand, Dorchester

One of the great nights in Boston music history was April 5, 1968, the day after the killing of Martin Luther King Jr. James Brown had been booked to play the Garden, and instead of canceling the show, Mayor Kevin White arranged for a telecast on WGBH-TV that was widely credited with keeping Boston’s streets peaceful. The night will be celebrated with a performance by “Young James Brown” Tony Wilson, along with appearances from Boston blues queen Toni Lynn Washington, soul great Leon Beal, and a man who remembers the night well, radio and record legend Skippy White.

— Noah Schaffer


COVID PROTOCOLS: Check with specific theaters.

Oedipus, by Sophocles. Directed by Robert Ickes. An Internationaal Theater Amsterdam production, streaming live, spoken in Dutch with English subtitles, on March 30 at 8:30 PM CET (3:30 p.m. ET).

Hans Kesting and Marieke Heebink in Oedipus. Photo: Jan Versweyveld

This production of the archetypal Greek tragedy (at least according to Aristotle) received some mighty impressive reviews in Europe. “British director Robert Icke is Ibsen Artist in Residence at ITA and he is known for his high-profile adaptations of classical pieces. With the ITA ensemble he made a modern version of Sophocles’ Oedipus, in which Oedipus is a politician in the 21st century who finds out the greatest secret of his life.”

King Hedley II by August Wilson. Directed by Summer L. Williams. Staged by the Actors’ Shakespeare Project at Hibernian Hall, Roxbury, through April 7.

Another installment in August Wilson’s American Century Cycle. The plot: “Fresh off of a seven-year stint in prison, King Hedley II (named after his father, who was played by Johnnie Mack in ASP’s critically acclaimed production of Seven Guitars) dreams of going straight. He’s going to open his own video store — even if he has to steal every refrigerator in Pittsburgh to make it happen. Returning home to the Hill District in 1985, King finds that his community is beset by violence, con men, and redlining. As King fights to keep his family afloat, the harsh realities of Reagan’s America threaten to drag him under.”

The Drowsy Chaperone Music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison and book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar. Directed by Larry Sousa. Staged by the Lyric Stage at 140 Clarendon Street, 2nd Floor, Boston, April 5 through May 17.

According to the Lyric Stage press release, this revival will be an escapist treat: “A comfortable chair with an old record crackling away is the perfect cure for the ‘blues’ for a charming but lonely ‘Man in Chair,’ our guide into the world of the show-within-a-show, The Drowsy Chaperone. His favorite cast album from the Jazz Age comes to fizzy life complete with a self-admiring showgirl, her gin-soaked chaperone, a saucy Latin lover, a bumbling best man, a clueless soon-to-be groom, and a cornucopia of characters, from a befuddled producer to a dippy hostess and gangsters posing as pastry chefs. This bubbly love letter to musical theater sparkles with one show-stopper after another, mix-ups, mayhem, and a wedding (or two).”

(l to r) Mary Lou Rosato, Sandra Shipley, Rita Wolf, and LaTonya Borsay in the Yale Rep production of Escaped Alone. Photo: Joan Marcus

Escaped Alone by Caryl Churchill. Directed by Liz Diamond. Staged by Yale Rep at 1120 Chapel Street, New Haven, through March 30.

According to a Guardian review of the 2016 London production of this script by one of the English-speaking world’s finest living playwrights: “A light-on-its-feet, elliptical view of apocalypse. It runs for less than an hour. It foresees that when we are poisoned by chemical leaks, private patients will be able to buy gas masks in assorted colours. That when a wind developed by property developers starts turning heads inside out, the army will fire nets to catch flying cars. That the obese will sell slices of themselves. This is fantasy intricately wired into current politics. It is intimate and vast. Domestic and wild.” All that and the cast includes the legendary Sandra Shipley.

Beyond Words by Laura Maria Censabella. Inspired by the life story of Irene Pepperberg and Alex. Directed by Cassie Chapados. Originally commissioned and developed by The Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science & Technology Project. A Catalyst Collaborative@MIT Production staged at Central Square Theatre, Cambridge, through April 14.

A world premiere of a drama about the relationship between us and animals. From the Central Square Theatre website: “Meet Alex and his friend, Dr. Irene Pepperberg. Alex is an African Grey parrot. Irene is a researcher at Harvard University. Over the protests of her male colleagues, Irene teaches Alex to meaningfully communicate and solve problems at the level of a five-year-old child. This highly theatrical new work tracks their 30-year research experiment turned love story and asks: in a world where we are rapidly destroying animal habitats, just who exactly are we sharing our planet with?”

Editor’s Note: “Global warming is projected to commit over one-third of the Earth’s animal and plant species to extinction by 2050 if current greenhouse gas emissions trajectories continue — a catastrophic loss that would irreversibly reduce biodiversity and alter both ecosystems and human societies across the globe.” Source: Center for Biological Diversity.

A scene from Indian Ink Theatre’s production of Mrs. Krishnan’s Party. Photo: Nimmy Santhosh

Mrs. Krishnan’s Party by Jacob Rajan. Directed by Justin Lewis. The Indian Ink Theatre Company production presented by ArtsEmerson at the Paramount Center’s Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre, 559 Washington Street, Boston, March 27 through April 7.

On the ArtsEmerson website: “Mrs. Krishnan is renting an apartment to larger-than-life DJ, James. James has invited a few friends into the back room of Mrs. Krishnan’s corner shop as a special surprise to celebrate Onam — an ancient Hindu festival of Kerala that celebrates rice harvest — and the return home of her son. But when dozens and dozens of strangers turn up (you, the audience), Mrs. K has no choice but to throw the party of her life! This is an immersive experience like no other; join the party with music, dancing, and more. Watch as the cast juggles cooking, music, and welcoming guests in an unfolding drama where no two performances are ever the same. Performers Kalyani Nagarajan and Justin Rogers have reviewers and audiences singing their praises and leaping to their feet in appreciation at the end of the party where the entire audience is invited to sample some delicious dahl!”

Cost of Living by Martyna Majok. Directed by Alex Lonati. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage Company at the Roberts Studio Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, through March 30.

The Boston premiere of the 2018 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. According to the SpeakEasy Stage Company’s website: the script “interweaves the stories of four lonely souls to examine the forces that bring people together and the ways we all need each other. Eddie, an unemployed truck driver, and his estranged ex-wife, Ani, find themselves unexpectedly reunited after she suffers a devastating accident. And John, a brilliant PhD student with cerebral palsy, hires Jess, a first-generation Princeton graduate who has fallen on desperate times, as his new aide.” Arts Fuse review

Burn This by Lanford Wilson. Directed by Daniel Bourque. Staged by the Hub Theatre Company of Boston at the Boston Center for the Arts Black Box Theatre, 539 Tremont Street, Boston, April 6 through 21.

The plot of this well-received 1987 script by a Pulitzer prize-winning dramatist: “Anna, a gifted dancer, is grappling with the artistic and personal void left by the untimely death of her roommate and creative partner Robbie. Enter Pale, Robbie’s fiery older brother, whose unexpected intrusion ignites an unanticipated explosive dance of love, laughter, and longing between two seemingly incompatible strangers.” The accomplished Hub Theatre Co cast includes Steve Auger, Tim Hoover,  Kiki Samko, and Victor Shopov.

The Porch on Windy Hill Written by Sherry Stregack Lutken, Lisa Helmi Johanson, Morgan Morse, and David M. Lutken. Conceived and directed by Sherry Stregack Lutken. Presented by the Merrimack Repertory Theatre, 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, April 3 through 21.

From the MRT website: “A bi-racial Korean classical violinist, Mira, and her music history grad-student boyfriend, Beck, escape months of Covid-isolation to the mountains of North Carolina. Their journey takes a surprising turn when they meet Edgar, and Mira faces a flood of memory, pain, hope, and discovery that follows. A moving, modern American play about family — with enough music for a real ‘hoot ‘n’ holler’ as the cast — Lisa Helmi Johanson, Morgan Morse, and David Lutken — perform a dozen traditional and bluegrass gems.”

A scene from the Wilbury Theatre Group production of Wolf Play.

Wolf Play by Hansol Jun. Directed by Marcel A. Mascaró. Staged by the Wilbury Theatre Group, 475 Valley Street, Providence, through April 7.

According to the Wilbury Theatre Group publicity handout: “When an online adoption process goes sideways, the young boy caught in the middle launches himself into a lone wolf’s journey to find a pack he can call his own … [the play] employs puppetry, boxing, and crackling dialogue to tell the affecting story of trust, love, identity, and the families we choose and unchoose.”

— Bill Marx

Visual Arts

The definition of American Art has changed dramatically since the Addison Gallery of American Art opened its doors in 1931, on the campus of Phillips Academy in Andover. Established with gifts from Andover alumnus, trustee, and benefactor Thomas Cochran, who had assembled a “founding collection” with the help of leading experts, the Addison was created when American art was still very much in the shadow of Europe.

Cochran’s Terms of Trust defined American art, with some exceptions, as “limited to works of art or craftsmanship produced by native-born or naturalized citizens of the United States.” Since then, the Addison has grown with the art of the United States to become one of the most distinguished museums of American art in the nation. Today, though, when art-making has become globalized and regionalized as never before and artistic careers can easily spill across national borders and bridge continents without regard to citizenship, definitions are no longer so clear-cut or legalistic.

George Inness, The Coming Storm, c. 1879, oil on canvas. Photo: courtesy of Addison Gallery of American Art

On April 7, the Addison will take on the implications of these changes itself with a major symposium, “Defining American Art Then, Now, Next,” starting at 12:30 pm. Organized in conjunction with the current exhibition, Laying the Foundation: Exploring the Nucleus of the Addison’s Collection, the symposium features a series of panelists including historians, curators, an artist, and experts in the museum presentation of American art. The symposium is free but registration, through the museum website, is requested.

The complex, layered colonialism of the Caribbean is the basic source of the Dominican artist Firelei Baez’s work. Baez blends anthropology, geology, folklore, and science fiction with race, gender, and nationality in her exuberantly unsettling paintings, drawings, and installations. Firelei Baez, an exhibition opening at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, on April 4, is the first museum survey of the artist, who says her art is “meant to create alternative history and potential futures.”

The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield, Connecticut, opens Layo Bright: Dawn and Dusk, the artist’s first museum solo exhibition, on April 7. The show features glass and pottery works made between 2020 and 2024, including portraits in blown glass and pottery of important women in Bright’s life. The strikingly naturalistic cast metal heads unexpectedly unearthed in the 1930s in the city of Ife in Nigeria, West African textiles, and contemporary artists like Kara Walker and Alison Saar are all sources for her work, which often leaps between naturalism and abstraction.

Layo Bright, Bloom in Spring Green & Purple, 2023. Kiln formed glass. Photo: courtesy of the artist

Also opening on April 7 at the Aldrich is Elizabeth Englander: Eminem Buddhism, Volume 3. The artist’s work began with a serious study of Buddhist iconography from its early Indian origins. The three-dimensional objects in the show are a kind of punk version of Buddhism (the title comes from a childhood story by the artist’s brother in which rapper Eminem is converted under the Buddha’s own guidance). Englander builds sculptures of deities and saints from Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism out of the wooden debris of consumer culture: old toys, outgrown children’s furniture, nutcrackers, and other objects charged with nostalgia but of little intrinsic value. The show will be Englander’s first museum solo exhibition.

The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford will hold a demonstration, “Hair Braiding with Lorie Deka Wise,” on April 7 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.  The demonstration will take place in Styling Identities: Hair’s Tangled Histories, a current exhibition that, according to its curators, “aims to tell a story about what hair means to us — to our individual staff, to our museum, and to our Hartford communities.… this exhibition is about us as much as it is about hair. Hair is community. Hair is power. Hair is us.” Free with museum admission.

On April 7 at 7 p.m. the Boston Center for the Arts will hold “#HellaBlack Live Mixtape Vol 6: Sacred.” Part of the ICA’s “commitment to move toward race equity,” HellaBlack, now in its sixth year, “is an interdisciplinary performance event curated by and for Black artists and their communities” and is “meant to create a safe space for the Black community to celebrate intersections of Blackness through dance, art, spoken word, and music.” Tickets, at $35, are available on the Center’s website.

Jim Dine, Mark Hampton, Two Years Before He Died, 1997, charcoal and pastel on folded brown paper. Photo: courtesy of Bowdoin College Museum of Art

At the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick, Maine, on April 2 at 12 p.m., museum co-director Anne Collins Goodyear will present a talk on the current exhibition Jim Dine: Last Year’s Forgotten Harvest, the first to focus on Dine’s portraits of family and friends. Dine, who is much better known for his images of uninhabited objects like bathrobes, heart shapes, hammers, and other pieces of hardware, donated to the museum the more than 50 works in the show, which date from 1957 to the present. Free and open to the public.

— Peter Walsh


Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin is coming to town. Photo: Jonas Holthaus

Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin
March 25 at 7:30 p.m.
City Winery, Boston

Swiss pianist-composer Nik Bärtsch, with his Ronin ensemble, is perhaps best known for his more than half-dozen pristinely produced ECM discs. Live clips show the band breaking from minimalist trance into driving funk grooves capped by roiling crescendos. Presenters GlobalArts Live quote Bärtsch: “Our music is somewhere between jazz and modern composition, progressive pop, ritual music, groove music in general.” The ensemble includes drummer Kaspar Rast, bassist Jeremias Keller, and the monomial Sha on bass and contrabass clarinets.

Ben Wendel Group
March 29 at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge

Saxophonist and composer Ben Wendel came to the fore in the nervy quartet Kneebody, but his expertise ranges far and wide in numerous sideman and leadership roles, most notably in his Grammy-nominated All One (2023), his arrangement of “duets” with his overdubbed horns and a variety of duet partners, from Cécile McLorin Salvant and José James to Bill Frisell and Terence Blanchard, mixing standards with originals. Wendel’s band for this show is choice: pianist Taylor Eigsti, bassist Harish Raghavan, and drummer Obed Calvaire.

Daniel Ian Smith (left) and Felipe Salles, of the New World Jazz Composers Octet. Photo: Cary Mulcahy, courtesy of Daniel Ian Smith

New World Jazz Composers Octet
March 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge

Since its birth as part of the “Jazz in the Sanctuary” series at the Church of Our Saviour in Brookline, circa 2004, the New World Jazz Composers Octet has issued four CDs, each a showcase for talented composer/arrangers from Berklee, greater New England, and beyond. The latest, The Next Stage, was issued on the cusp of the pandemic, but a proper celebration has been deferred until now. Each of its 10 tracks is a jewel-like setting for a talented crew of improvisers, buoyed by lithe grooves (funk, Latin, jazz-swing), rich harmonies, and plenty of contrapuntal conversation. Especially fine are Ted Pease’s worthy tributes to the great player/composer/educators Jimmy Giuffre and George Russell and his elegy for departed colleague and NWJCO contributor Jeff Friedman. The band will include NWJCO founder Daniel Ian Smith and Felipe Salles on saxes and flutes; Billy Buss and Daniel Rosenthal, trumpets and flugelhorn; Tim Ray, piano; Fernando Huergo, electric bass; Mark Walker, drums; and Ernesto Diaz, percussion. Featured composers will be Pease, Friedman, Matthew Nicholl, and others.

Greg Hopkins Jazz Orchestra
April 1 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge

The esteemed Boston composer and arranger Greg Hopkins comes to the Regattabar for the club’s monthly Big Band Monday, joined by the pianist, composer, arranger, and singer Renese King, director of the New England Gospel Choir.

Multi-instrumentalist and pianist Cooper-Moore & drummer Francisco Mela will perform at Cambridge’s Lilypad.

Cooper-Moore and Francisco Mela
April 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge

Long a special presence in New York’s free-jazz scene, where he worked frequently with bassist William Parker and the late David S. Ware, the pianist and multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore makes a rare Boston appearance in this duo show with drummer Francisco Mela. Cooper-Moore’s singular spiritualism comes through, whether he’s ranging freely over the keyboard or plucking a homemade digeridoo.

Matt Wilson’s Honey & Salt
April 4 at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge

Matt Wilson has been a musician to watch going back to his days with Boston’s Either/Orchestra and up through his long association with Dewey Redman. An exceptional career as a leader has followed. He comes to town with his band Honey & Salt, named for a 2017 Wilson album inspired by the poetry of Carl Sandburg. It was one of the best albums of the year, so here’s hoping they hit some of that repertoire. Or maybe Wilson has added to his Sandburg book? The band includes Wilson on drums, guitarist and vocalist Dawn Thomson, reedman Jeff Lederer, and bassist Martin Wood. Featured guest artist will be trumpeter Nadje Noordhuis.

Guitarist Charlie Ballantine. Photo: Tony Zambito

Charlie Ballantine
April 5 at 7 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston

A skilled, imaginative guitarist who draws from an open field (previous albums include Life Is Brief: The Music of Bob Dyan), Charlie Ballantine comes to town in anticipation of the June release of Love Letters & Graffiti. He’s joined by pianist Luis Perdomo (perhaps best known for his fruitful longtime association with Miguel Zénon), bassist Peter Brendler, and drummer Dan Weiss.

Luciana Souza and Trio Corrente
April 6 at 7: 30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge

The São Paulo-born singer and composer Luciana Souza is consistently one of the most rewarding artists on the scene, performing a broad range of jazz and Brazilian music that encompasses everything from a trio of brilliant voice-guitar duo albums exploring Brazilian bossa nova, samba, and MPB (música popular brasileira), to adding her voice to Herbie Hancock’s Grammy-winning Joni Mitchell tribute album, to her own settings of poetry by Elizabeth Bishop, Pablo Neruda, Leonard Cohen, and others. She recorded last year’s Grammy-nominated Cometa in São Paulo with the esteemed Trio Corrente — pianist Fabio Torres, bassist Paulo Paulelli, and drummer Edu Ribeiro, whose chair at the Regattabar will be filled by another excellent Brazilian drummer, Mauricio Zottarelli. Tonight’s shows should feature work from that album: sambas by Dorival Caymmi, Ary Barroso, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Paulinho da Viola, and Djavan, and originals by all the band members.

— Jon Garelick

Special guest at the Arlington Jazz Festival: Espirales from Cuba, who is on their first U.S. tour. Espirales has already been a featured act in Havana, at both the International Jazz Plaza Festival and the Habana Clásica Music Festival. Photo: courtesy of the artist

Arlington Jazz Festival
Presented by Arlington Jazz, April 4 through 7, at various locations in Arlington. (Check website for venues and times.)

This first-class festival, now 13, keeps generating more buzz with each passing year. Festival headliner Christian McBride and his new quintet sold out well over a month ago, long before the rest of the festival schedule had been revealed this past weekend. But there are still plenty of other musical highlights, including Billy Novick and Guy Van Duser, Lydia Harrell, Rafael Barata, and the Cuban group Espirales.

— Bill Marx

Author Events

Nancy A. Nichols in conversation with Alexis Rizzuto – Porter Square Books
Women Behind the Wheel
March 25 at 7 p.m.

“From the adolescent thrill of getting a driver’s license to the dreaded commutes of adulthood, from vintage muscle cars to electric vehicles, this groundbreaking book reveals the outsized impact the car has had — and will continue to have — on the lives of women. Since their inception cars have defined American culture, but until quite recently car histories were largely written by and about men — with little attention given to the fascinating story of women and cars.

“In this engaging non-fiction narrative, Nancy A. Nichols, the daughter of a used car salesman, uses the cars her father sold and the ones her family drove to tell a larger story about how the car helped to define modern womanhood. From her sister’s classic Mustang to her mother’s Chevy Convertible to her own Honda minivan, Nichols tells a personal story in order to shed light on a universal one.”

Michael Kimmage at The Cambridge Public Library – Harvard Book Store
Collisions: The Origins of the War in Ukraine and the New Global Instability
March 25 at 6 p.m.
Tickets are free or $31.86 with book

“In Collisions, Michael Kimmage, a historian and former State Department official who focused on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, offers a wide-angle, historically informed account of the origins of the current Russia-Ukraine war. Tracing the development of Ukraine and Russia’s fractious relationship back to the end of the Cold War, Kimmage takes readers through the central events that led to Vladimir Putin seizing a large portion of Ukraine — the Crimea — in 2014 and, eight years later, initiating arguably the most intensive military conflict of the entire post-World War II era.

“From the halls of power in Washington, Kyiv, and Moscow to the battlefields of Ukraine, Kimmage chronicles Putin’s ascendency to the Russian presidency, delves into multiple American presidencies and their dealings with Russia and Europe, and recounts Europe’s efforts to bring Ukraine closer to the European Union. He tells the story of how Ukraine went from an embattled country on the edge of Europe to a formidable military power capable of pushing back the Russian military. Just as importantly, Kimmage captures how the current war has transformed multiple centers of power — from China to the United States — and dramatically altered the path of globalization itself.”

Candida Moss at Harvard Book Store
God’s Ghostwriters: Enslaved Christians and the Making of the Bible 
March 26 at 7 p.m.

“For the past two thousand years, Christian tradition, scholarship, and pop culture have credited the authorship of the New Testament to a select group of men: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Paul. But hidden behind these named and sainted individuals are a cluster of enslaved coauthors and collaborators. Although they almost all go unnamed and uncredited, these essential workers were responsible for producing the earliest manuscripts of the New Testament: making the parchment and papyri on which Christian texts were written, taking dictation, and polishing and refining the words of the apostles.

“When the Christian message began to move independently from the first apostles, it was enslaved missionaries who undertook the dangerous and arduous journeys across the Mediterranean and along dusty Roman roads to move Christianity from Jerusalem and the Levant to Rome, Spain, North Africa, and Egypt — and into the pages of history. The influence of these enslaved contributors on the spread of Christianity, the development of foundational Christian concepts, and the making of the Bible was enormous, yet their role has been almost entirely overlooked until now.”

Penny Guisinger in conversation with Charles Coe – Porter Square Books
March 29 at 7 p.m.

Shift examines sexual and romantic fluidity while wrestling with the ways past and present mingle rather than staying in linear narratives. Under scrutiny, Guisinger’s sense of her own identity becomes like a Mobius strip or Penrose triangle — an optical illusion that challenges the dimensions and possibilities of the world.”

Holly Jackson with Rory Power – brookline booksmith
The Reappearance of Rachel Price
April 2 at 6 p.m.

“Eighteen-year-old Bel has lived her whole life in the shadow of her mom’s mysterious disappearance. Sixteen years ago, Rachel Price vanished and young Bel was the only witness, but she has no memory of it. Rachel is gone, long presumed dead, and Bel wishes everyone would just move on.

But the case is dredged up from the past when the Price family agrees to a true crime documentary. Bel can’t wait for filming to end, for life to go back to normal. And then the impossible happens. Rachel Price reappears, and life will never be normal again.”

Becca Rothfeld at Harvard Book Store
All Things Are Too Small: Essays in Praise of Excess
April 3 at 7 p.m.

All Things Are Too Small is brilliant cultural and literary critic Becca Rothfeld’s plea for derangement: imbalance, obsession, gluttony, and ravishment in all domains of life, from literature to romance. In a healthy culture, Rothfeld argues, economic security allows for wild aesthetic experimentation and excess, yet in our contemporary world, we’ve got it flipped. The gap between rich and poor yawns hideously wide, while we compensate with misguided attempts to effect equality in love and art, where it does not belong.

“Rothfeld shows how our culture’s embrace of minimalism has left us spiritually impoverished: how decluttering has reduced our living spaces to vacant non-places; how the mindfulness trend has emptied our minds of the musings, thoughts, and obsessions that make us who we are; how the regularization of sex has drained it of unpredictability and therefore true eroticism; and how our craze for balance has yielded fictions with protagonists who aspire, stylistically and substantively, to excise their appetites.”

An Evening of Poetry: Monique Adelle, Cintia Santana, & Sarah Levine – brookline booksmith
April 4 at 7 p.m.

“Monique Adelle is an associate professor and chair of the English, Writing, and Communication department at Emmanuel College where she teaches courses in literature and poetry writing. She holds a BA in English and Africana Studies from Wellesley College and a PhD in Comparative Literature from Harvard. Her first collection — Anonymous (Jacar Press, 2018) — won the New Voices Award and her second collection, Rupture, was a finalist for the Perugia Press Prize and Four Way Books Levis Prize in Poetry.

“Cintia Santana is a poet, translator, and interdisciplinary artist. Santana’s poems have appeared in Best New Poets 2016 and 2020, the 2023 Best of the Net Anthology,, Poetry Daily, Split This Rock, Rewilding: Poems for the Environment, as well as numerous journals. Her debut poetry collection, The Disordered Alphabet (Four Way Books, 2023) was short-listed for the California Independent Booksellers Alliance 2023 Golden Poppy Award in Poetry and received the North American Book Award’s Silver Medal in Poetry.

“Sarah Levine is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee and author of two chapbooks, Take Me Home, a finalist for the New Women’s Voices Chapbook Competition (Finishing Line Press, 2020) and Her Man (New Megaphone Press, 2014). Her work has appeared and will be featured in a variety of places including: Poets & Writers, Passages North, Best New Poets anthology, and Green Mountains Review.”

Anna Funder at Harvard Book Store
Wifedom: Mrs. Orwell’s Invisible Life
April 5 at 7 p.m.

“‘I’ve always loved Orwell,’ Funder writes, ‘his self-deprecating humour, his laser vision about how power works, and who it works on.’ So after rereading and savoring books Orwell had written, she devoured six major biographies tracing his life and work. But then she read about his forgotten wife, and it was a revelation.

“Eileen O’Shaughnessy married Orwell in 1936. O’Shaughnessy was a writer herself, and her literary brilliance not only shaped Orwell’s work, but her practical common sense saved his life. But why and how, Funder wondered, was she written out of their story? Using newly discovered letters from Eileen to her best friend, Funder re-creates the Orwells’ marriage, through the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War in London. As she peeks behind the curtain of Orwell’s private life she is led to question what it takes to be a writer — and what it is to be a wife.”

— Matt Hanson

Tongo Eisen-Martin
March 28, 5 p.m.
At the Heritage Room, Maxwell Library, Harvard University, Cambridge

“The Bridgewater State University Visiting Authors Series is proud to present poet and activist Tongo Eisen-Martin. Mr. Eisen-Martin is the author most recently of Blood on the Fog (City Lights, 2021), as well as Heaven Is All Goodbyes (City Lights, 2017), which received a 2018 American Book Award, a 2018 California Book Award, was named a 2018 National California Booksellers Association Poetry Book of the Year, and was shortlisted for the 2018 Griffin International Poetry Prize. He is the poet laureate of San Fransisco.

— Bill Marx

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