Arts Fuse critics select the best in music, theater, dance, and film that’s coming up this week.
By The Arts Fuse Staff
Boston Ballet Night of Stars on the Common
Saturday, September 21 (raindate Sunday, September 22) Boston Common
As Boston Ballet turns 50, the company thanks the community with a free outdoor performance fearturing live music on a program that includes excerpts from Balanchine’s Serenade and Symphony in Three Movements and Jorma Elo’s Brake the Eyes.
And further afield
Mark Morris Dance Group
Mark Morris’ brilliant troupe returns to New England in a repertory program that juxtaposes the whimsical A Wooden Tree by oddball Scottish songwriter Ivor Cutler and the recent Festival Dance with two works dating back to 1999, The Argument set to Schumann and Silhouettes, set to Richard Cumming’s Silhouettes for Piano Solo. It’s just the ticket if you can’t wait until the pageantry of Morris’ Acis and Galatea is unveiled in Boston next May.
Palissimo in Endangered Pieces
Saturday, September 21
New England Youth Theater
The Vermont Performance Lab brings the Bessie-nominated work of Pavel Zuštiak to our attention, in a potentially disquieting work-in-progress showing of the Czech born, New York-based choreographer’s dreamscape.
— Debra Cash
Roots and World Music
Califone with Richard Buckner
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
There’s long been a strong cinematic quality to the stark electro-acoustic songs emanating from Califone lead man Tim Rutili and his rotating cast of cohorts. So it makes sense that they’ve embraced social media’s visual potential. The tumblr for the title track of their new LP Stitches lets the listener interact with curated images which are triggered by clicking on different lyric fragments.
The name is pretty goofy but the music of this all-star aggregation is serious 70’s-style dub reggae all the way. Besides the requisite reverb their new LP Skycatcher is drenched with horns, bubbling organ, and some of the most chilling falsetto vocals heard since Lee “Scratch” Perry took Junior Marvin into the studio. Fierce ska revolutionaries Destroy Babylon open while DJ Generoso of WMBR’s rarity-oriented Bovine Ska radio show spins between sets.
Silver Leaf Gospel Singers
September 21, 6 p.m.
Timothy Baptist Chuch, 35 Highland St, Roxbury
Since their formation in 1945, the Silver Leaf Gospel Singers have blessed New England with their timeless a capella harmonizing. Just last weekend the group sang in Dorchester and 91-year old lead singer Randy Green couldn’t be contained as he roamed around the church making sure everyone present was feeling the spirit.
The grace of Celtic balladry and the rough-and-tumble stories of cowboy music would seem to be an unlikely pairing. But soaring vocalist Dover has teamed up with cowboy laureate Gorman for a musically rich look at how the Celtic tradition was transformed when it reached the American West.
It’s another roots music odd couple: this time mandolinst Mike Marshall and bassist Edgar Meyer. Don’t worry about missing the middle range. The duo are two genre-hopping virtuosos who are equally adept playing classical, bluegrass or Brazilian music. And given their busy schedules – for instance, Meyer is a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Goat Rodeo Sessions – it could be years before they play together again around these parts.
If a better record than the soundtrack to The Harder They Come was ever released I’ve never heard it. Cliff, who starred in the groundbreaking film and sang many of its songs, never again scaled such creative heights, even though he’s always been a great live performer. After years of stunningly bad releases he finally got the rock-star-revives-legend treatment from Tim Armstrong, who produced last year’s credible “Rebirth.” Now he’s out with a youthful Jamaican band celebrating the film’s 40th anniversary.
Fulks is an irreverent philosopher king who has cracked the code of writing a country heartbreaker. His new LP Gone Away Backward finds him in a string band setting perfect for his unique hillbilly noir lyrics, and several of those pickers are along for the tour. The Steve Albini-recorded release is a follow-up to his unironic Michael Jackson tribute “Happy.”
— Noah Schaffer
Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA
FLAG are not Black Flag. The band is, however, made up of people who at one time or another were in Black Flag. And they play a set of Black Flag songs. And none of the band members are Henry Rollins. Yes, this is all confusing, but it also sounds like a lot of fun!
House of Blues, Boston, MA
As the new millennium dawned, Coldplay, Starsailor, and Travis were accused of being Radiohead-lite, their sounds nothing more than watered-down versions of what that Oxford band accomplished on The Bends. Starsailor have since gone on hiatus (fun fact: they named themselves after a Tim Buckley song/album), Coldplay have gone on to be one of the biggest bands in the world, and Travis…well, they’re stuck somewhere in the middle. There was a brief window, from about 2000 to 2002, when Travis really had a shot at making the leap into the big time. They made that leap, for an admittedly short period of time, in their native U.K. (they’re Scottish), and they came closer than you probably remember to making that leap in the States, but it was not to be. They’ve never gone away though, and they’ve recently released their seventh album, Where You Stand. It’s not as strong as their best-loved releases, The Man Who and The Invisible Band, but if you’re a fan, the album offers a nice slice of what you remember from those days when it seemed possible that Travis was really going to explode.
Flaming Lips (9/30/2013, Agganis Arena); Foxygen (10/3/2013, Brighton Music Hall); X (10/5/2013, House of Blues); Nine Inch Nails (10/11/2013, TD Garden); The Meat Puppets (10/13/2013, Brighton Music Hall); Pearl Jam (10/15/2013, DCU Center); Savages (10/15/2013, Paradise Rock Club); Pearl Jam (10/16/2013, DCU Center); Pearl Jam (10/25/2013, XL Center); My Bloody Valentine (11/7/2013, House of Blues); Kanye West (11/17/2013, TD Garden); Jay Z (1/18/2014, TD Garden)
For the official end of summer, the heat will linger in Acton, starting at 7 p.m. with the lively nonet who call themselves the Itchy Feet Band. Then, at 9 p.m., help saxophonist George Garzone–who doesn’t get out to Acton often–celebrate his birthday along with bassist Sean Farias and drummer Miki Matsuki. I don’t know if there will be cake, but I guarantee there’ll be some great music.
With ongoing weekly residencies by the Jerry Bergonzi Quartet and the Fringe, Monday evening at the Lily Pad is already a prime destination for jazz on what is often the slowest night of the week. This coming Monday provides an even stronger incentive to drop by as the Lily Pad brings back Boston-born saxophonist/vocalist Bob Mover to open the evening’s proceedings, this time in the company of guitarist/trumpeter Joe Cohn—yes, the son of Al. (Mover and Cohn will also present a clinic earlier in the day at Berklee.) If you like your bebop strong and unadulterated, Mover is your guy—don’t miss him.
The brainchild of guitarist Norm Zocher, the Electric Strings Quartet brings violinist Mimi Rabson, bassist Bruno Råberg, and drummer Dave Jamrog together with Zocher, who, in addition to electric guitar, will also play pedal steel and a new invention of his, the “guitcellin”. The quartet will be performing excerpts from Zocher’s Rock Ethic (originally commissioned and premiered by Rabson) and other original compositions. The concert will also include Zocher’s orchestral work, “Slow and Heavy,” which was played by the Berklee World Strings under Rabson’s baton. (Check out the video above.)
Fresh off the release of his new CD Oye!!! Live in Puerto Rico, alto saxophonist Zenón and his all-borinqueño Rhythm Collective (bassist Aldemar Valentín, drummer Tony Escapa, and percussionist Reinaldo de Jesus) will provide us with a welcome opportunity to hear them live in Cambridge as well.
Mahanthappa and Iyer have been regular collaborators for years, but this evening is a bit unusual in that it’s just the two of them bouncing their highly original ideas off one another. The intimacy of UMass—Amherst’s Bezanson Recital Hall should be an ideal setting for this duo.
— J.R. Carroll
The Cantata Singers
Sept 20 at 8 p.m.
New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
This group, under the direction of David Hoose, is always worth hearing. The program features three Bach cantatas: the guest baritone is the marvelous James Maddelana.
This annual event is made up of what should be a fascinating program- compositions by conductors Esa-Pekka Salonen and Wilhelm Furtwangler and pianists Artur Schnable and Glenn Gould.
A Far Cry Chamber Orchestra
Sept. 21 at 4 P.M.
St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1 Roanoke Ave., Jamaica Plain, MA. This program will be repeated at the Gardner Museum, Boston on Sept. 22 at 1:30 p.m.
The wonderful chamber ensemble without conductor performs a program entitled “Once Upon a Time.” The composers involved include Jean Français, Edvard Grieg (Holberg Suite), Arcangelo Corelli, Paul Hindemith, and Gioacchino Rossini.
Sept. 22 at 5 p.m.
Boston Conservatory, Seully Hall, Boston, MA.
The violist plays music of Clara and Robert Schumann, Bela Bartok, August Read Thomas and Bohuslav Martinu.
Music for Food
New England Conservatory, Brown Hall, Boston, MA.
Music for Food is the brainchild of the stellar violist Kim Kashkashian. This concert series is among Boston’s very best. The group opens its fourth season with a fabulous program, “The Sounds of South America.” “New and Classic Tangos” features ten truly outstanding musicians. Suggested donation is $20 for adults and $10 for students. All the proceeds go to feed Boston’s hungry.
— Susan Miron
Christoph von Dohnányi conducts Brahms
Presented by the Boston Symphony Orchestra
September 21 and 24, 8 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
The BSO kicks off its 2013-14 season with a canonical, but substantive, program featuring favorites by Johannes Brahms. Violinist Augustin Hadelich makes his BSO subscription debut and joins cellist Alban Gerhardt in the Double Concerto, and Dohnányi conducts the sunny Symphony no. 2.
Tan Dun’s Concerto for Orchestra
Presented by New England Conservatory
September 25, 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
Hugh Wolff leads the NEC Philharmonia in the first orchestral program of NEC’s yearlong Music: Truth to Power series, which seeks to prove “just how vital music is to human struggle, and what revolution in artistic expression sounds like.” First up is the North American premiere of Dun’s Concerto for Orchestra; the program concludes with Brahms’s Symphony no. 1.
— Jonathan Blumhofer
Boston University Cinematheque
640 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA
This week Gerald Peary’s free series brings in Bobcat Goldthwait, the comedian known for his abrasive performances in the Police Academy movie series. He is also a fresh and uncompromising director. In this writer’s opinion, this is his best film, a mockumentary about a young couple’s search to find the real-life Bigfoot. It is entertaining, frightening, and hysterical. Goldthwait also gives the most entertaining and interesting Q&A’s of any director. Highly recommended!
Life is No Piece of Cake (Das Leben ist nichts für Feiglinge)
Sunday, September 22 at 11 a.m.
Coolidge Corner Theater
The popular German Film Series returns with this American premier of a tragi-comedy about a family coming to terms with bereavement. After his wife dies in an accident, Markus Färber is left alone with his Goth teenage daughter Kim. When the girl runs away, he goes in search for her with Grandma Gerlinde and her lively caretaker, Paula. The search turns into an opportunity for self-discovery.
The Last Command
Monday, September 23 at 7 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theater, Brookline, MA
The Sound of Silents Series begins a new season with this 1928 epic by Josef von Sternberg and score performed live by the Alloy Orchestra. The story focuses on a bit player hired to play a Russian Czar (a tour de force by Emile Jennings) in Hollywood film being shot about the Russian Revolution. Unbeknownst to the production, the actor is an actual former Russian General. In a further irony, the director cast Germany’s biggest star to play the slowly unhinging bit player. It’s a gorgeous looking film about the thin line between reality and fiction, performance and life.
— Tim Wallace
How May I Connect You? (Or, Scenes in the Key of D:\), created by Project: Project. Directed by Jeffrey Mosser and Vicki Schairer. Staged by Project: Project in the Carol G. Deane Hall at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, September 26 through 29.
This sounds like a playful docudrama, an intriguing exercise made out of “a series of interviews with individuals, focusing on the way in which relationships to electronic devices have (or haven’t) changed as technology advances. Inspired by the interviews, HMICY? combines movement, dance, sound and spoken word to explore everything from receiving texts that end in “Love, Mom” to how we communicate to our loved ones during a tragedy.”
Burning by Ginger Lazarus. Directed by Steven Bogart. Staged by Boston Playwrights’ Theater, Boston, MA, September 26 through October 20.
A gender-bending variation on Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, Burning “follows lesbian ex-Army officer Cy who uses a young male soldier as a mouthpiece to profess her true feelings to the woman they both love. Fresh from the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military, Cy builds her own world of secrets and lies even as she battles a former adversary with far-ranging and tragic results.”
— Bill Marx