Coming Attractions: April 21 through May 6 — 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 Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.

Metropolis with Live Score
April 21 at 2 p.m.
Somerville Theatre in Davis Square

Manning his magical keyboard, Jeff Rapsis accompanies a screening of this 1927 silent German Expressionist masterpiece directed by Fritz Lang. It is one of the first (and remains one of the most memorable) cinematic visions of an urban dystopian future. Shot during the period of the Weimar Republic, the astounding sets are influenced by Bauhaus, Cubist, Futurist, and Gothic design styles.

Johnny Eager and Keeper Of The Flame
April 22 at 7:15 p.m.
Somerville Theatre in Davis Square

This double feature screened in 35 mm is part of the movie house’s nifty “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid” film noir series. Johnny Eager (1941) stars Lana Turner and Robert Taylor. Keeper of the Flame (1942) features Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.

Wild and Scenic Film Festival
April 27 at 6:30 p.m.
Atlantic Wharf, 280 Congress Street, Boston

This is an evening of documentaries that celebrate the beauty of our planet and the importance of environmental conservation. The proceedings kick off with I Am Nature, which details the poetic perspective on the environment of the Achuar peoples, who live in the Amazon rainforest. That film is followed by Abundance: The Farmlink Story. The plot: a small local effort motivates 600+ students to drop everything to feed millions of families. As food bank lines grow across the country and college finals approach, do the students have what it takes to create a long-term solution?

A scene from Ghostlight, which is opening this year’s IFFB Festival.

Independent Film Festival of Boston
May 1-8
Somerville Theatre, Brattle Theatre, Coolidge Corner Theatre

Now in its 21st year, the IFFB is offering another savvy selection of films chosen from Sundance, SXSW, and other fests around the country. Some of these films may be opening in theaters soon; for others, this may be an opportunity to see an under-the-radar film.

This year’s opening movie is Kelly O’Sullivan’s Ghostlight: when a construction worker unexpectedly joins a local theater’s production of Romeo and Juliet, the drama onstage starts to mirror his own life. “A beautifully woven tale on the constructive ways that life and art reflect, propel, and imitate each other” (Harper’s Bizarre). The festival closes with Thelma, which features June Squibb (Nebraska, About Schmidt) as a 93-year-old who, after being duped by a phone scammer pretending to be her grandson, sets out on a treacherous quest across the city to reclaim what was taken from her. The week will feature over 35 feature films, numerous shorts programs, and a student film showcase.  Full list of Films

Riddle of Fire
April 25 – 28
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge

On a quest to deliver a pie, three rascal children embark on a woodland odyssey to battle a witch, outwit a huntsman, befriend a fairy, and become best friends forever. “Riddle of Fire is the kind of cinematic bedtime story whose whimsical tone makes it easy to overlook its many keenly crafted intricacies … with an intoxicatingly assuredness that makes this fairy tale feel like a classic in the making.” ( This premiere screening in Cambridge will be shown in 35 mm.

Pick of the Week


Andrew Scott in Ripley. Photo: Netflix

This eight-part series written and directed by Steven Zaillian (The Night of, All the King’s Men, and A Civil Action) is as cinematic as anything to be found in the theaters. The story is remarkably faithful to the plot details and tone of Patricia Highsmith’s mordant novel The Talented Mr. Ripley. The architecture of city spaces and the lush apartment interiors are rendered in rich black and white by cinematography Robert Ellswit (There Will Be Blood, Michael Clayton). While Andrew Scott in the lead may be a bit older than the Ripley in the book, his icy portrait is terrific. Johnny Flynn as Dickie Greenleaf and Dakota Fanning as Marge Sherwood provide vibrant support. The most significant change from the novel is the characterization of Freddie, played by Sting’s son Eliot Sumner, who gives a delightfully smarmy performance. The cast of Italian actors in secondary roles perfectly catch the humor and creeping paranoia of Highsmith’s vision. See Arts Fuse review

— Tim Jackson

Classical Music

Roméo et Juliette
Presented by Boston Symphony Orchestra
May 2 at 7:30 p.m., 3 at 1:30 p.m., and 4 at 8 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston

The BSO closes their season with their first outing of Hector Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette symphony since 2011. Mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges, tenor Nicholas Phan, bass John Relyea, and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus join the orchestra. Andris Nelsons conducts.

Brandenburg Concertos
Presented by Handel & Haydn Society
May 2-4, 7:30 p.m.
Sanders Theatre, Cambridge (Thursday and Friday); Jordan Hall, Boston, Saturday

H&H continues their recent, near-annual tradition of presenting all six of J. S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos in concert. Aislinn Nosky and Ian Watson share leadership duties.

Cellist Zlatomir Fung performing Robert Schumann’s Cello Concerto with the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. Photo: Hilary Scott

Schumann and Mahler
Presented by Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra
May 3, 8 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston

Cellist Zlatomir Fung joins the BPYO for their season finale, playing Schumann’s Cello Concerto. Also on the docket is Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. Benjamin Zander conducts. Arts Fuse preview

Mozart’s Requiem
Presented by Boston Cecilia and Lowell Chamber Orchestra
May 4, 7:30 p.m.
Academic Arts Center, Lowell

Boston Cecilia and the Lowell Chamber Orchestra team up for the first of two performances of Mozart’s Requiem. For this one in Lowell, the LCO’s conductor, Orlando Cela, directs.

Concert for the City
Presented by Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, and Tanglewood Festival Chorus
May 5, 2 p.m.
Symphony Hall

The BSO and Pops join forces for their annual, free Concert for the City. Andris Nelsons, Keith Lockhart, Thomas Wilkins, and James Burton split conducting duties.

— Jonathan Blumhofer

World Music and Roots

Simon Shaheen will perform in a concert in support of Humanitarian Aid to Gaza. Photo: courtesy of the artist

Simon Shaheen and Guest Artists – A Concert in Support of Anera’s Humanitarian Aid to Gaza
April 21
Mosesian Center for the Arts, Watertown

Oud player and composer Simon Shaheen is perhaps the most prominent Palestinian-American musician of the last few decades. He’ll be joined by 13 other Arabic music masters as they raise funds for Anera, a long-running organization devoted to delivering humanitarian aid to refugees in the Middle East. The evening will conclude with a Shaheen-arranged Palestinian Folkloric Suite.

Gaelic Roots featuring Cillian Vallel, David Doocey, and Alan Murray
April 25, 6:30 p.m.
Connolly House, Boston College

BC’s Gaelic Roots series features regular free concerts by a wide range of Irish music masters. This trio of piper Callel, fiddler Doocey, and vocalist and guitarist Murray is so new that there doesn’t yet seem to be a promo photo with all three musicians, But they’re all familiar names to Celtic music lovers.

Cambodian rock revivalists Dengue Fever will be performing in Lowell this week. Photo: Marc Walker

The Town and the City Festival
April 26-27
Lowell, MA

The wonderfully eclectic crawl of indoor Lowell music venues returns. As in the past, the lineup includes both international draws like psych-folk legend Robyn Hitchcock and indie favorites Clap Your Hands Say Yeah as well as Lowell’s finest, like D-Tension and the Secrets and Scott Pittman and The Deluxe Fiasco. Two events that really stand out: the pairing of true Bohemian legends David Amram and Willie Alexander, and the first Lowell appearance in quite a few years by Cambodian rock revivalists Dengue Fever, a most appropriate booking for the city with the second highest population of Cambodian Americans in the US.

Waterworks – A Festival of Experimental Sound
Chestnut Hill, Boston
April 26-27

If there was ever a case of the venue being integral to a music performance, it would be this annual weekend of sound programmed by Non-Event, which takes place in the Waterworks Museum in Chestnut Hill. A series of sound artists will interact with the three-story water pumps that are housed in the museum’s Great Engines Hall. Audience members will be encouraged to wander around and experiment with how changes in location change the listening experience. Artists include Neil Leonard playing the music of the recently departed pioneering composer Phill Niblock.

The Carnivals
April 27
The Cut, Gloucester

For many years Kevin Patey has been banging out rockabilly in Boston and around the world as Jittery Jack. Now he’s launched a new band, The Carnivals, who are rooted in greasy ’50s New Orleans R&B, played with Patey’s trademark spirit and wit. Speaking of grease, one of the many wonderful party songs on their new album, Fiesta Time, pays tribute to the “Greasy Pole” contest held every June at Gloucester’s St. Peter’s Fiesta. To make it a complete Gloucester night they’re joined at their release party by reggae purveyors Glostafarians.

Natalie and Brittany Haas
April 27, 5 and 8 p.m.
Club Passim

Cellist and Berklee teacher Natalie Haas is well known for her long-running duo with Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser. Now she’s finally made a duo record with a fiddler that she knows even better: her sister Brittany Haas, whose innumerable acoustic music accomplishments now include a membership in the Punch Brothers. Last year the sisters released their first duo record, HAAS. They’ve finally found some time in their schedules to mount a sibling tour.

Anthony Geraci and the Boston Blues All-Stars Release Concert
May 4, 8 p.m.
Bull Run Restaurant, Shirley, MA

The deep blues piano playing talents of Anthony Geraci are no longer a local secret. After all, he’s now won the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player trophy at the Blues Music Awards twice, and he tours with his Boston Blues All-Stars all over the world. He’s also got a new CD, Tears in My Eyes, to celebrate.

Gospel Quartet Program
May 5, 3 p.m.
Boston Teachers Union, 180 Mount Vernon Street, Dorchester

It’s been a few months since Boston gospel fans have had an opportunity to gather for an afternoon of traditional quartet-style musical worship. The group Unlimited are coming from New York, and they’ll be joined by the best of Boston’s own: Clarence Thompson and the New Spirits, Bishop Harold Branch, the Lord’s Messengers, and Gospel Corinthians.

— Noah Schaffer

Popular Music

Waxahatchee with Good Morning
April 26 (doors at 7, show at 8)
Orpheum Theatre, Boston

Musician Katie Crutchfield kicked off the April-May portion of her tour in support of Tigers Blood (March 22) in her adopted hometown of Kansas City on April 18. (Crutchfield was born in Birmingham, AL, near the creek from which she took her stage name.) On April 26, she will bring songs from her latest album and the five that preceded it to the Orpheum Theatre. Tigers Blood is her first release on ANTI — and her third effort in a row with producer Brad Cook, whose other credits include Hurray for the Riff Raff, Snail Mail, Hiss Golden Messenger, and William Tyler.

Australian indie pop duo Good Morning — who released Good Morning Seven in March — is accompanying Crutchfield on her spring tour.

Belle and Sebastian with The Weather Station
April 27 (doors at 7, show at 8)
Orpheum Theatre, Boston

After allowing three to four years to pass between releases from 2006 onward, it was quite a pleasant surprise when beloved Scottish twee poppers Belle and Sebastian put out 2022’s A Bit of Previous and 2023’s Late Developers within eight months of one another. In addition to all of the listening pleasures one is reliably afforded by a B&S release, the tongue-in-cheek-titled latest effort includes “When the Cynics Stare Back From the Wall,” which the band’s lifelong label (Matador) describes as, “an unearthed 1994-era pre-Belle and Sebastian gem, with help from Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell.”

Highly acclaimed Canadian folk band The Weather Station — fronted by artistic polymath Tamara Lindeman (aka Tamara Hope) — will open Belle and Sebastian’s show at the Orpheum.

Teenage Fanclub with Euros Childs
April 30 (doors at 7/show at 8)
Paradise Rock Club, Boston

If you cannot make it to the B&S show or if it doesn’t quite provide the Scottish indie pop/rock fix you crave, then fear not! The more or less equally beloved — and somewhat more rocking — Teenage Fanclub will be at Paradise Rock Club three days later. Like their fellow Scots, TF’s efforts have been fewer and further between since the mid-aughts, but also of dependably high quality. Last September’s Nothing Lasts Forever was no exception, as evidenced by the effortless retro-contemporary alloys like “Foreign Land,” “Tired of Being Alone,” “It’s Alright,” and “Back to the Light.”

Warming up the Paradise crowd on April 30 will be Euros Childs, who became Teenage Fanclub’s official keyboardist in 2019 and first recorded with the band on 2021’s Endless Arcade.

The Decemberists with Ratboys
May 2 (doors at 7/show at 8)
Roadrunner, Boston

The 19-minute “Joan in the Garden” and the four-minute “Burial Ground” — the lead extractions from the forthcoming As It Ever Was, So It Will Be Again (June 14, Yabb Records) — represent, to borrow the name of the band’s sadly truncated 2007 tour, the long and the short of what has kept Colin Meloy and his Decemberists bandmates afloat for almost 25 years.

On the long side, there have been the wildly ambitious multipart prog pieces that appeared in 10-minute-plus song form on, for example, 2006’s The Crane Wife,  and as an entire album on 2009’s The Hazards of Love (or, in the case of 2004’s The Tain, a whole EP).

And for those who like a band’s remarkable scope and capability delivered in more digestible parcels, The Decemberists have sprinkled countless shorter-than-five-minute gems throughout everything from 2002’s Castaways and Cutouts to 2018’s I’ll Be Your Girl. (Perhaps it’s unsurprising that the album on which only one track exceeded the five-minute mark — 2011’s The King Is Dead — has been their lone chart-topper.)

As It Ever Was… appears to offer enough in the space of its double LP breadth to satisfy all who have stuck with them over the years.

Ratboys — who opened sold-out shows at numerous Boston venues over the years before securing headlining rights this year and late last year — will support The Decemberists at Roadrunner on May 2.

Cloud Nothings will play at Somerville’s Crystal Ballroom. Photo: Errick Easterday

Cloud Nothings with Hurry
May 6 (doors 7:30 pm/show at 8:30)
Crystal Ballroom, Somerville

Dylan Baldi and his bandmates released their eight LP, Final Summer, on April 19. (Arts Fuse review) In addition to having one fewer member, the Cleveland trio left Carpark Records – which released six of their LPs between 2011 and 2021 – for Pure Noise. Thankfully, Baldi’s compositional approach remains as individualistic as ever, and the best songs on Final Summer are sure to be heartily welcomed at Crystal Ballroom. And get to the gig quickly in order to catch the opening act, whose thoughtful, more straightforward power pop will provide a compelling yin to Cloud Nothings’ noisier yang.

— Blake Maddux


COVID PROTOCOLS: Check with specific theaters.

A scene from Lyric Stage Company’s production of The Drowsy Chaperone. Photo: Mark S. Howard

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, 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 showstopper after another, mix-ups, mayhem, and a wedding (or two).” Arts Fuse review

Mermaid Hour by David Valdes. Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary. Staged by Moonbox Productions at Arrow Street Arts, 2 Arrow Street, Cambridge, April 26 through May 19.

The New England premiere of a script that Moonbox Productions says is “a funny coming-of-age story in which the parents, not the teenagers, need to learn how to change. For Pilar and Bird, parenting a trans tween is all about guessing how to get it right when they’re not even sure what that means — and it doesn’t help that they’re not on the same page. Vi just wishes they would keep up: she’s busy navigating her first crush on super-cool Jacob, obsessing over her favorite YouTube vlogger, and just about ready to make herself an internet sensation.”

Patrick O’Konis as Joe in Apollinaire Theatre Company’s Touching the Void. Photo: Danielle Fauteux Jacques

Touching the Void adapted by David Greig. Directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques. Staged by Apollinaire Theatre Company at the Chelsea Theatre Works, 189 Winnisimmet St., Chelsea, through May 19.

According to Apollinaire Theatre Company, this script, based on Joe Simpson’s bestselling memoir turned BAFTA-winning film, “recounts Joe Simpson’s struggle for survival after an accident leaves him stranded with a shattered leg on Siula Grande mountain in the Peruvian Andes. His climbing partner, Simon Yates, attempts a near impossible rescue, but when Joe disappears over an ice cliff, Simon, battered by freezing winds and tethered to his injured partner, makes the heart-wrenching decision to cut the rope.”

Orpheus in the Overworld by Dante Gonzalez. Directed by Shira Helena Gitlin. Staged by Fresh Ink Theatre at the BCA Black Box Theatre, 539 Tremont St., Boston, April 27 through May 11.

This “romantic and queer reimagining of a classic” is, according to Fresh Ink Theatre director Shira Helena Gitlin, a “bright, glittery, moody, lovely amalgamation of queer and trans characters working to find their most authentic selves…. I’m so excited for people to watch this play and chip away at their own cognitive dissonance as we challenge binaries…. Centering and uplifting authentic trans stories is so incredibly important right now! We’re living in a very dangerous time for transgender and gender nonconforming people.”

A scene from the touring production of Hadestown. Photo: T Charles Erickson

Hadestown Music and lyrics by Anaïs Mitchell. Directed by Rachel Chavkin. Staged at the Wang Center, 270 Tremont Street, Boston, through April 28.

The national touring production of a show that “cleaned up during the 2018/19 awards season,” this “plucky folk opera garnered eight Tony Awards (including the coveted Tony for Best Musical), four Drama Desk Awards, six Outer Critics Circle Awards and a Drama League Award.” It is billed as “a vibrant retelling of a classic story and a sumptuous score that evokes smoky New Orleans jazz and bubbling Americana-tinged folk.” Written by indie singer-songwriter Anais Mitchell and directed by Rachel Chavkin (Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812). Arts Fuse review

Boston Theater Marathon XXVI Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, the Kate Snodgrass stage, 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, on May 5.

Another installment in what stands as a gloriously grueling theatrical experience: 50 10-minute plays written by 50 New England playwrights and presented by 50 New England theatre companies. “Net proceeds from the Boston Theater Marathon benefit the Theatre Community Benevolent Fund (TCBF), which provides financial relief in a confidential, respectful manner to individual theatre practitioners of Greater Boston and the surrounding areas. The organization makes it possible for theatre artists to offer support to one another and deepen the sense of community in Boston.”

A visual from the video for Thru Hike: Photo: Punctuate4 Productions

Thru Hike by Michael Cormier. Directed by Myriam Cyr. Staged by Punctuate4 Productions at the Larcom Theatre, 13 Wallis Street, Beverly, on April 22 at 7 p.m.

A partial reading and video presentation of a new play with original music in celebration of Earth Day. According to the website: “Ever dreamed of hiking the Appalachian Trail? Join Erin Burke-Moran, formerly of the band Caspian, and his wife Adrienne as they share their journey to get closer to nature and, in the process, rediscover themselves. Through songs and stories, Erin and Adrienne will narrate their transformative experience on the trail, brought to life in a new play with original music based on this life changing journey created by Punctuate4 artist-in-residence Michael Cormier.”

Water’s Rising: Festival of New Climate Action Plays. A gathering of staged readings curated and staged by Gloucester Stage at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, April 26 through 28 at 7 p.m.

“Timed to coincide with Earth Day, this inaugural festival will showcase staged readings of three new plays that delve into the multifaceted themes of climate change…. For this festival, submissions were invited for full-length plays tackling climate action, with a specific emphasis on coastal climate change. However, all environmental advocacy themes were considered. The Theater’s Literary Team carefully selected three plays from over 240 submissions for the performance weekend, each matched with a local director who resonated deeply with the work.” Arts Fuse interview with GSC Artistic Director Rebecca Bradshaw about the festival.

Morning, Noon, and Night by Kirsten Greenidge. Directed by Summer L. Williams. Staged by Company One at the Boston Center for the Arts, Plaza Theatre, 539 Tremont Street, Boston, through May 25.

The plot of this new play by an acclaimed local playwright: “Mia just wants her daughter to listen without talking back. Dailyn just wants her mom to quit being so judgmental. And they both just want everything to be perfect for when older sister Alex comes home for her birthday. But when a mysterious visitor from a digital dimension arrives on Mia’s doorstep, the very concepts of home and perfection are challenged.”

A scene from the Praxis Stage production of Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party. Photo: Nile Scott Studios

The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter. Directed by James Wilkinson. Staged by Praxis Stage at Chelsea Theatre Works, Chelsea, through April 28.

Harold Pinter’s 1957 absurdist tale about unknown forces taking people away — in light of our times. According to Praxis Stage: “Our thinking on what to do for our first post-pandemic show could not help but be informed by that pandemic and the quarantine experience, which so fundamentally altered many people’s realities and understanding of self. The lingering disaster of the COVID 19 pandemic exacerbated a trend of social breakdown in our society at large and brought that sense of breakdown more directly into people’s homes and consciousness. Finding a play that reflected and commented on all that seemed important to us. We were most interested in doing a piece that explored the frailty of human connection in hostile times and within hostile environments.”

The Far Country by Lloyd Suh. Directed by Ralph B. Peña. Staged by Yale Rep at the Yale Repertory Theatre, 1120 Chapel Street, New Haven, April 26 through May 18.

“In the wake of the Chinese Exclusion Act,” says Yale Rep, “an unlikely family carries invented biographies and poems of longing on an arduous journey from rural Taishan to Angel Island Detention Center, in hopes of landing in San Francisco. Intimate and epic, the script (a finalist for the 2023 Pulitzer Prize in Drama) weighs the true cost of selling the past for the hope of a brighter future.”

A Strange Loop Book, music, and lyrics by Michael R. Jackson. Directed by Maurice Emmanuel Parent. Music directed by David Freeman Coleman. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage Company and Front Porch Arts Collective in the Wimberly Theatre in the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, in Boston’s South End, April 26 through May 25.

This Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning musical exposes the heart and soul of Usher, a young artist grappling with desires, identity, and instincts he loves and loathes in equal measure. While tolerating a grinding job guiding families in and out of theater performances, the Black, queer writer’s inner thoughts turn to an artistic endeavor: writing a musical about a Black, queer writer writing a musical about a Black, queer writer.  Hobbled by negative self-talk and hell-bent on breaking free from it, Usher wrestles with his thoughts (portrayed by a cast of talented actors) in an attempt to move past this ‘strange loop.'”

— Bill Marx

Visual Arts 

Rendering of Jennifer Cecere, Doily Installation, on the exterior of the Addison Gallery of American Art.

The prestigious and venerable single-sex prep schools Abbot Academy (girls) and Phillips Andover Academy (boys), both located in Andover, Massachusetts, became a single institution 50 years ago this year. In conjunction with the anniversary, Jennifer Cecere (Abbot Academy class of 1969) is creating two installations that incorporate her transformations of the handmade, classic domestic doily, an obsession meant to reflect on the overlooked contributions of women artists. An “oversized and reflective” doily will adorn the facade of the Addison Gallery of American Art on the Andover campus and one of her “signature” doily benches will adorn Abbot circle, further suggesting the “often underappreciated yet lasting impact of Abbot Academy on the culture and traditions of Phillips Academy.”

The Provincetown Art Association and Museum will open up a slew of summer exhibitions in the next few weeks. The first of these, opening May 3, is Rosalind Pace: Poiesis, Five Decades of Collage. Pace, probably better known as a poet and writer and teacher/mentor who has taught for 30 years in the Poets-in-the-School program, has also been creating colorful, mostly abstract collages for some five decades. “Poiesis,” derived from the Greek word for “to make,” and from the same root as poetry, has become a popular term in modern philosophy for bringing forth something that did not previously exist — perhaps suggesting a link between Pace’s poetry and her artistic creations.

Wendy Red Star, Yakima or Yakama—Not For Me To Say, published by Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts, 2015–16. Three-color lithograph with archival pigment print chine collé. © Wendy Red Star.

The exhibition Ancestors and Place: Indigenous North American Prints opens at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts on April 27. The words “ancestors,” “place,” and “indigenous” all have specific and powerful meanings in this age of identity. In the context of this exhibition they suggest the dislocations caused by colonialism on Native American societies where ancestors — both human and nonhuman — and the places they inhabited mark anchors of the whole social and cultural construct. The more than 30 works in this show were mostly created in residencies at print ateliers, like the Tamarind Institute, with long histories of working with artists who had not previously worked professionally in print media. The prints show artists using their new experiences to move in new directions and experiment with subjects important to them and their communities.

The Boston-born performance artist Chris Burden, who died in 2015, began his career with edgy works that suggested danger, violence, and the closeness of peril (in one of his most famous pieces, he had a friend shoot him in the arm). His later, less unsettling installation works included Light of Reason, commissioned by Brandeis University in 2014. The piece includes two dozen recycled Victorian lampposts, arranged in three rows outside the Rose Art Museum, and has become a beloved campus landmark. On May 2, the Rose will present Sunset Yoga at Light of Reason, starting at 7 p.m. Led by Brandeis Fitness Coordinator Kat Page, the event is free and open to people of all fitness levels.

Sarah Hulsey, Diagraphia, woodcut, letterpress, 2013-15. Photo: Sharon Lacey

On April 25 at 6 p.m., the List Visual Arts Center at MIT will present Catalyst Conversations: Picturing Language. Artist Sarah Hulsey, who says her work “is concerned with the architecture that underpins language, which we use effortlessly but with little awareness of its beauty and complexity,” and MIT linguist Athulya Aravind “will explore the the important underlying aspect of language that compels them in their respective practices.” The public lecture is free but registration is required through the List website.

The Davis Museum at Wellesley College will hold Family Day at the Davis on April 20. inspired by the museum’s current exhibition Lorraine O’Grady: Both/And, the daylong event starts at 11 a.m. and will take place throughout the museum, inviting “visitors of all ages to explore themes of identity and power.” All of it is open to the public, free of charge.

— Peter Walsh


Club d’Elf
April 23 at 8 p.m.
Spire Center for Performing Arts, Plymouth

Mike Rivard’s 25-year-old unclassifiable Moroccan gnawa-dub-jazz hybrid Club d’Elf — which has long used Cambridge’s Lizard Lounge as a home base — ventures to Plymouth’s Spire Center for this show, with Rivard as usual on bass and Moroccan sintir; Lyle Brewer, guitar; Paul Schultheis, keyboards; DJ Mister Rourke, turntables; and Dean Johnston, drums. The show will include a tribute to core bandmember Brahim Fribgane, who died in March.

Pianist Michel Camilo will perform at the Regattabar. Photo: courtesy of the artist

Michel Camilo
April 26 and 27 at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge

Dominican hurricane Michel Camilo plays four solo-piano shows at the Regattabar, probably showing his more reflective side as well as his undeniable virtuoso fire.

Joey Alexander
April 27 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston

Pianist Joey Alexander, who became an “overnight sensation” when he appeared with Jazz at Lincoln Center at the age of 10, is now 20 and still turning heads. He comes to Scullers with bassist Kris Funn, and drummer Jonathan Barber.

Kevin Harris Project
May 3 at 7 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston

The always inventive pianist and composer Kevin Harris draws on a deep well of experience in the Black church from his hometown of Lexington, Kentucky, giving a strong foundation in all manner of compositions. (A recent project was “Roots, Water and Sunlight: A Contemporary Octet Expedition through the Expressions of James Baldwin.” The now Boston-based artist comes to Scullers with an excellent band: trumpeter Jason Palmer (see May 4), bassist Max Ridley, and drummer Ivanna Cuesta.

Boston-based saxophonist Gregory Groover Jr. Photo: Regattabar

Gregory Groover Jr.
May 3 at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge

The exciting young Boston-based saxophonist Gregory Groover Jr. celebrates the release of a new album, Lovabye, with a superb band: Joel Ross, vibes; Matthew Stevens, guitar; Kris Davis, piano; Harish Raghavan, double bass; and Jeremy Dutton, drums

Jason Palmer
May 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Gilman Chapel, Cedar Grove Cemetery, Dorchester

Mandorla Music tries a new venue, the Gilman Chapel at Cedar Grove Cemetery, in Dorchester, with the highly esteemed trumpeter Jason Palmer (one of the most valuable players on the Boston scene; see May 3). Palmer’s quartet will include tenor saxophonist Gregory Groover Jr. (see May 3), bassist Ridley, and drummer Lee Fish.

L-R: Chucho Valdés, Dianne Reeves, and Joe Lovano. Photo: Celebrity Series

Dianne Reeves, Chucho Valdés, Joe Lovano
May 4 at 8 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center, Boston

Singer Reeves, pianist Valdés, and saxophonist Lovano mix and match in an evening that presenter Celebrity Series is simply calling “Duets.”

—  Jon Garelick

Author Events

Marie-Helene Bertino at Harvard Book Store
Beautyland: A Novel
April 23 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge

“At the moment when Voyager 1 is launched into space carrying its famous golden record, a baby of unusual perception is born to a single mother in Philadelphia. Adina Giorno is tiny and jaundiced, but reaches for warmth and light. As a child, she recognizes that she is different; she also possesses knowledge of a faraway planet. The arrival of a fax machine enables her to contact her extraterrestrial relatives, beings who have sent her to report on the oddities of earthlings.

“For years, as she moves through the world and makes a life for herself among humans, she dispatches transmissions on the terrors and surprising joys of their existence. But at a precarious moment, a beloved friend urges Adina to share her messages with the world. Is there a chance she is not alone? A blazing novel of startling originality about the fragility and resilience of life in our universe, Marie-Helene Bertino’s Beautyland is a remarkable evocation of feeling in exile at home and introduces a gentle, unforgettable alien for our times.”

Millicent E. Brown at Harvard Book Store 
Another Sojourner Looking for Truth: My Journey from Civil Rights to Black Power and Beyond
April 24 at 7 p.m.

“In this revealing memoir, Brown writes about her fears and doubts, as well as the challenges of being a teenager expected to ‘represent the race’ to combat negative stereotypes of African Americans. Readers also gain perspective on the interpersonal aspects of white backlash to civil rights progress and strategic machinations within the movement. Overall, Brown’s words will inform, inspire, and challenge everyone to better understand the civil rights struggle and confront its ongoing challenges.”

Dana Mattioli at Harvard Book Store 
The Everything War: Amazon’s Ruthless Quest to Own the World and Remake Corporate Power
April 26 at 7 p.m.

“In 2017, Lina Khan published a paper that accused Amazon of being a monopoly, having grown so large, and embedded in so many industries, it was akin to a modern-day Standard Oil. Unlike Rockefeller’s empire, however, Bezos’s company had grown voraciously without much scrutiny. In fact, for over twenty years, Amazon had emerged as a Wall Street darling and its ‘customer obsession’ approach made it indelibly attractive to consumers across the globe. But the company was not benevolent; it operated in ways that ensured it stayed on top. Lina Khan’s paper would light a fire in Washington, and in a matter of years, she would become the head of the FTC. In 2023, the FTC filed a monopoly lawsuit against Amazon in what may become one of the largest antitrust cases in the 21st century.

“With unparalleled access, and having interviewed hundreds of people — from Amazon executives to competitors to small businesses who rely on its marketplace to survive — Mattioli exposes how Amazon was driven by a competitive edge to dominate every industry it entered, bulldozed all who stood in its way, reshaped the retail landscape, transformed how Wall Street evaluates companies, and altered the very nature of the global economy. It has come to control most of online retail, and uses its own sellers’ data to compete with them through Amazon’s own private label brands.

“Millions of companies and governmental agencies use AWS, paying hefty fees for the service. And, the company has purposefully avoided collecting taxes for years, exploited partners, and even copied competitors — leveraging its power to extract whatever it can, at any cost. It has continued to gain market share in disparate areas, from media to logistics and beyond. Most companies dominate one or two industries; Amazon now leads in several. And all of this was by design.”

Spring Frequent Buyer Sale — Harvard Book Store
April 28

“All day on April 28, 2024 Frequent Buyers receive 20% off all purchases of new, used, and remaindered books, as well as on non-book items throughout the store and purchases online at

Brad Balukjian with Jon Mael – brookline booksmith
The Six Pack
May 1 at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $30 with book, free without

“In 2005, Brad Balukjian left his position as a magazine fact-checker to pursue a dream job: partner with his childhood hero, The Iron Sheik (whose real name was Khosrow Vaziri), to write his biography. Things quickly went south, culminating in the Sheik threatening Balukjian’s life. Now seventeen years later, Balukjian returns to the road in search of not only a reunion with the Sheik, but something much bigger: truth in a world built on illusion.

“Balukjian seeks out six of the Sheik’s contemporaries, fellow witnesses to the World Wrestling Federation’s (WWF) explosion in the mid-‘80s, to unearth their true identities. As Balukjian drives 12,525 miles around the country, we revisit the heady days when these avatars of strength, villainy, and heroism first found fame and see where their journeys took them. From working out with Tony Atlas (Tony White) to visiting Hulk Hogan’s (Terry Bollea) karaoke bar, we see where these men are now and how they have navigated the cliffs of fame.”

Virtual Event — An Evening with American Precariat – brookline booksmith
May 2 at 8 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner
Tickets are $30 with book, free without

“‘This is a volume edited by the imprisoned, because the history of class has always been written by the powerful.’ This groundbreaking anthology of essays, American Precariat: Parables of Exclusion, edited by incarcerated writers, takes a sharp look at the complexity and fluidity of class and caste systems in the United States. Featuring accounts that include gig work as a delivery driver, homelessness among trans youth, and life with immense student loan debt, in addition to transcripts of insightful discussions between the editors, American Precariat demonstrates how various and often invisible extreme instability can be. With the understanding that widespread recognition of collective precarity is an urgent concern, the anthology situates each individual portrait within societal structures of exclusion, scarcity, and criminality.

“These essays write through the silence around class to enumerate the risks that our material conditions leave us no choice but to take. A rendering of the present moment told from below, American Precariat shares stories of the unseen and the unspoken and articulates the lines of our division. In doing so, it offers healing for some of the world’s fractures.”

Amy Tan at First Parish Church – Harvard Book Store
The Backyard Bird Chronicles
May 3 at 7 p.m.
First Parish Church, Cambridge
Tickets are $42 with book, $12 without

“In 2016, Amy Tan grew overwhelmed by the state of the world: Hatred and misinformation became a daily presence on social media, and the country felt more divisive than ever. In search of peace, Tan turned toward the natural world just beyond her window and, specifically, the birds visiting her yard. But what began as an attempt to find solace turned into something far greater — an opportunity to savor quiet moments during a volatile time, connect to nature in a meaningful way, and imagine the intricate lives of the birds she admired.”

Picture + Panel at Aeronaut Brewing: Mental Health with Cara Bean + Jonell Joshua – Porter Square Books
May 6 at 7 p.m.
Free with $15 suggested donation

“Porter Square Books is excited to collaborate with the Boston Comic Arts Foundation (BCAF) and Aeronaut Brewing to present the series Picture + Panel. This month, Picture + Panel opens up a profound and compassionate conversation about mental health between Cara Bean and Jonell Joshua. Graphic Medicine advocate Matthew Noe will moderate.

“Picture + Panel is a monthly conversation series that brings fantastic graphic novel creators to the Greater Boston area. Discover terrific authors and fascinating stories that combine text and art through conversational confabulation. Produced in partnership by Aeronaut Brewing, Porter Square Books, and the Boston Comic Arts Foundation, Picture + Panel provides thought-provoking discussions for adults about this unique form of expression.”

— Matt Hanson

Somerville Poets Reading Their Own Poems and Poems They Love at the Somerville Arts Armory, 191 Somerville Ave, Somerville, April 28 at 5:30 p.m.

A community reading featuring the “largest array of Somerville poets ever assembled” will include Jennifer Badot, Simeon Berry, David Blair, Zack Bond, Elizabeth Callahan, Parama Chattopadhyay, Jennifer Clarvoe, Linda Conte, Linda Haviland Conte, Donna Donna, Gary Duehr, Kirk Etherton, Michael Franco, Bridget Seley Galway, Seth Garcia, Doug Holder, Katherine Hollander, Lucy Holstedt, Gloria Mindock, Tam Lin Neville, Pat Peterson, Denise Provost, Andrea Read, Hilary Sallick, Lloyd Schwartz, Michael Steffen, Janaka Stucky, Patrick Sylvain, Gilmore Tamny, Christie Towers, Anna Warrock, and Dan Wuenschel.

The event was organized by Somerville Poet Laureate Lloyd Schwartz and the Somerville Arts Council and supported by Arts at the Armory’s POPs space rental program.

— Bill Marx

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