Arts Fuse critics select the best in dance, music, theater, and film that’s coming up for the next two weeks.
By The Arts Fuse Staff
An Evening with Gregory Waller
November 22, 7:00 p.m.
B.U. Cinemateque, 640 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA
This free and open series curated by Gerald Peary presents Dr. Gregory Waller, the author of American Horrors: Essays on the Modern American Horror Film and The Living and the Undead: From Stoker’s Dracula to Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, who will theorize why zombie films are so popular, and show clips from their rich history.
Go For Sisters
Kendall Square Theater, Cambridge, MA
John Sayles has been an important figure in American Independent film for decades. His latest theatrical release features Edward James Olmos as disgraced ex-LAPD detective Freddy Suárez, who dives into the dim underbelly of Tijuana to help a woman find her missing son. The Arts Fuse interview with John Sayles is here. The director will be present for the screening on the 22nd.
Mantrap is a rare chance to see the beautiful and mesmerizing Clara Bow in a comedy directed by Victor Fleming (Gone With the Wind, Wizard of Oz). This series, from the UCLA Film & Television Archive, screens from November 20th through December 1st. It is filled with rare and valuable film nuggets. Check the link for a full schedule.
Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, MA
J. Hoberman, the renowned film critic long with the Village Voice, will discuss David Lynch’s most enigmatic film since Eraserhead. This complex and multi-level three-hour epic is tailor-made for Hoberman, whose latest book Film After Film: Or, What Became of 21st Century Cinema? (See Fuse review) investigates just such “revolutionary transformations” in contemporary film. This is a wonderful opportunity for fans of David Lynch, or contemporary filmmaking.
The Punk Syndrome
December 2, 7:30 p.m.
The Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA
Balagan and The DocYard series co-present this special film about Finnish punk-rock band called “Pertti Kurikka’s Name Day.” It is comprised of four developmentally disabled guys and follows their journey to cult success. “Loyal to true punk tradition, the band plays loud and harshly, and their lyrics are critical of the surrounding reality: Poverty, housing problems, intoxicants and the attitudes towards disabled are brutally slung to the listener’s face.” (SXSW) Director Jukka Kärkkäinen will do a Skype Q&A.
Mistaken for Strangers
December 5, 7:00 p.m.
UMass Boston Campus Center Ballroom, Boston, MA
Chico Colvard’s free and open documentary series presents the story of two brothers, Matt and Tom Berninger, touring with their popular band the National. “Toting along a video camera, Tom starts shooting a tour documentary as a follow-up to the two unreleased horror films he’s already made, but actually ends up with a finished product that’s much deeper than he ever anticipated – a unique portrait of the bond between siblings and of a man who’s only just beginning to figure out who he is outside of the looming shadow of his famous brother.” (Toronto Film Scene)
The director Tom Berninger will be present for a Q&A.
Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer
December 5, 7:00 p.m.
The Institute of Contemporary Art, 100 Northern Avenue, Boston, MA
This is one more chance to catch an important and controversial film about the feminist art collective Pussy Riot, who performed a satirical forty-second “punk prayer” inside a Moscow cathedral which led to the arrests of three members on charges of religious hatred. Their “crime’ culminated in a trial. The incident has reverberated around the world and challenged the restrictions of Russian society. Director Max Pozdorovkin will be present for an introduction, and a Q&A.
— Tim Jackson
Roots and World Music
Long the location for raucous salsa and Latin rock and ska nights, the Villa Victoria’s performance hall presents something quite different: Three violin-playing brothers from Veracruz, who offer an eclectic and stirring mix of jazz, classical and traditional Mexican music.
Toad, Cambridge, MA
This Asheville string band boasts two potent weapons: the gruff, soulful vocals of lead singer Paul Johnson, and the high lonesome wail of harmonica ace Gerry Segal.
Long one of the leading bluegrass songbirds, Lynch always entertains. Her band does more than just pick: renowned bassist Mark Schatz is sure to bring his wooden dance plank and his clogging shoes.
In related news, concert producer the Boston Bluegrass Union has announced some of the bands playing its always-anticipated Joe Val Bluegrass Festival in February.
1101 Blue Hill Ave. Hall, Mattapan, MA
Veteran Trinidadian performer Crazy’s repertoire includes both stinging political calypsos and uproarious risqué soca anthems. He’s also credited with being the first artist to mix soca rhythms with the traditional Spanish parangs sung in Trinidad at Christmas. Note that this is likely a track performance without a live band. If there is an actual name for the venue it was not mentioned on the pirate radio ads promoting the performance.
Touch Art Gallery, Cambridge, MA
This all-percussion jam brings together French jazz drummer Jean-marie Corrois and Indian table master Amol Khanapurkar.
This British and American folk celebration of carols and traditions is the perfect antidote to crass commercialized holiday Muzak. Among the promised treats is a reenactment of a Kentucky-style mummers play. If you’re not too familiar with such rescued classics as “The Old Hark Hark” and “Villagers All” worry not – a songsheet will be provided to those who want to sing along. And if you need even more old-time caroling, the Folk Song Society of Greater Boston will also hold a more informal pub carol sing the next afternoon at Doyle’s Pub in Jamaica Plain.
A Haitian institution celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, Tropicana is a glorious twenty-two-piece throwback to a by-gone era. Originally inspired by the Cuban big band scene – it’s named after a Havana nightclub – Tropicana keeps the dance floor filled all night while its members play lengthy solos over Kompas rhythms. Their Revere appearance is a post-Thanksgiving tradition that always brings out hundreds of well-dressed couples.
— Noah Schaffer
Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls
Calvin Theater, Northampton, MA
House of Blues, Boston, MA
British folk-punk rocker Frank Turner has been kicking around for a little while now, and with the release of his latest album, Tape Deck Heart, he’s even gotten some decent airplay on Boston rock radio. But for me, he’ll always be the guy who wrote the 2010 track “I Still Believe,” a.k.a. “One of the Songs I Want Played at My (Hopefully Distant) Funeral.” Don’t let that acoustic guitar fool you, Turner ain’t no Mumford clone. This man is hard and he comes to rock.
Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA
Yeah, MGMT’s self-titled third album was a bit of a misfire but they’re still one of the most innovative, and (dare I say) important bands working today. If you lost interest after the duo’s generation-defining debut, Oracular Spectacular, then this concert probably isn’t for you. Not that MGMT have disowned that album, because they haven’t; it’s just that they have no plans to repeat it, or even play too many songs from it live. If you’re in the mood for some sonic exploration though, then, as the Good Doctor would say, buy the ticket, take the ride.
Upcoming and On Sale…
Queens of the Stone Age (12/13/2013, Agganis Arena); Indie Rock Ranger’s Holiday Spectacular (12/14/2013, Middle East-Downstairs); Dinosaur Jr. (12/14/2013, The Sinclair); Dinosaur Jr. (12/15/2013, The Sinclair); The Breeders (12/18/2013, Paradise Rock Club); Jake Bugg (1/11/2014, House of Blues); Neutral Milk Hotel (1/16/2014, Orpheum Theatre); Neutral Milk Hotel (1/17/2014, Orpheum Theatre); Jay Z (1/18/2014, TD Garden); Pixies (1/18/2014, Orpheum Theatre); Arctic Monkeys (2/6/2014, Agganis Arena); Paul Simon and Sting “On Stage Together” (3/3/2014, TD Garden); Haim (5/13/2014, House of Blues); Arcade Fire (8/19/2014, Comcast Center)
— Adam Ellsworth
Weber, Bartók, and Brahms
Presented by the Boston Philharmonic
November 21-24, 7:30 p.m. (November 21), 8 p.m. (November 22-23), and 3 p.m. (November 24)
Sanders Theater, Cambridge (November 21 and 24); Mechanics Hall, Worcester (November 22); and Jordan Hall, Boston (November 23)
There’s no such thing as too much Bartók, especially when it comes to the violin concertos. Moldavian violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja makes her Boston debut with that composer’s Violin Concerto no. 2, perhaps the twentieth century’s greatest concerto. Benjamin Zander also conducts Carl Maria von Weber’s Overture to Der Freischütz and Brahms’s Symphony no. 4.
Adés, Rameau, and Beethoven
Presented by the Discovery Ensemble
November 24, 3:00 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony anchors the Discovery Ensemble’s second concert of the season, but, as with that composer’s Second Symphony (which the Ensemble played last year), it’s the context in which that very familiar cornerstone of Western music appears that makes this concert a not-miss. Music by Thomas Adés, an increasingly welcome presence in the Boston area, comes first (his Chamber Symphony), and then a suite from Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Les Boréades, both zany musical experiments separated by a quarter of a millennium that have more in common than you expect. After them, the Fifth should sound as radical as ever.
— Jonathan Blumhofer
November 23, 4:00 p.m.
St. John’s Church, 1 Roanoke Ave, Jamaica Plain, MA
J.P. Concerts presents Britten Centennial: five singers and pianist William Merrill perform a selection of Britten’s Folksong Settings from England, France, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales; Canticle II-Abraham and Isaac; and other songs.
Radius Ensemble: Fusion
November 23, 8:00 p.m.
Longy School of Music, One Follen St., Cambridge, MA
Radius Ensemble presents a most unusual program of Bozza (Suite brève for reed trio, 1947), Amram (Blues and Variations for Monk for solo horn, 1982), Holland (world premiere) The Clarity of Cold Air for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion, and the Dvorak Piano Quintet No. 2 in A major, Op. 81.
Concord Chamber Music Society
November 24, 3:00 p.m.
Concord Academy Performing Arts Center, Concord, MA
The Society plays the rarely heard Suite in A Major for Violin, Viola, and Cello by Sibelius; Brahms String Quintet in F Major. Op. 88, and Dvorak String Quintet in E-Flat Janor, Op. 97. There will be a pre-concert lecture at 2:00 p.m.
Boston Artists Ensemble
November 24, 3:00 p.m.
Trinity Church, Newton, MA
The Boston Artists Ensemble plays Mozart Trio in E Flat, K. 563 and Mendelssohn Quartet in E Minor, Op. 44, No. 2.
Boston Chamber Music Society
November 24, 7:30 p.m.
Sanders Theatre, Cambridge, MA
Boston Chamber Music Society plays Mozart Duo for Violin and Viola in B-flat major, K. 424, Britten Cello Sonata in C Major, Op. 65; Brahms Piano Quartet in G minor, Op. 25.
November 25, 8:00 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
The celebrated trio plays a free concert at Jordan Hall. The program is to be announced.
Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Opera Series Gala
December 1, 3:00 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
Boston Early Music Festival presents a Gala Concert with selections from their operas the past five years with stellar singers and early music instrumentalists. Paul O’Dette and Steven Stubbs, music directors; Gilbert Blin, stage director.
First Monday at Jordan Hall
December 2, 8:00 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
A Haydn Trio (John Gibbons, harpsichord), Britten String Quartet No. 2 with the Borromeo String Quartet, and Shostakovich Trio in E minor, op. 67 with Yura Lee, violin, Laurence Lesser, cello, and Russell Sherman, piano.
December 3, 8:00 p.m.
Seully Hall, Boston, MA
Boston Conservatory Piano Masters Series presents Jung-Ja Kim performing works of Ravel (Sonatine, Valses Nobles et Sentimentales, and Miroirs) and Rachmaninoff (Selected Preludes).
— Susan Miron
Sheila Jordan with Steve Kuhn
November 22, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA
A little more than fifty years ago, singer Sheila Jordan made her recording debut on composer George Russell’s The Outer View, soon to be followed by her own Portrait of Sheila on Blue Note. She’s been inspiring other vocalists (as well as audiences) ever since with her combination of improvisational daring and emotional acuity. She comes to the Regattabar for a duo session with longtime collaborator, pianist Steve Kuhn, an accomplished artist in his own right. Oh, and Sheila’s celebrating her eighty-fifth birthday (November 18). Wish her a happy one.
Wayne Shorter 80th Birthday Celebration
November 24, 5:00 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
The great, vastly influential saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter turned eighty in August, which means this tour will probably be billed as such until he turns eighty-one. But the Boston show adds a few extra perks. Besides Shorter’s dynamic, unpredictable quartet (with pianist Danilo Pérez, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Brian Blade), the Celebrity Series line-up includes the Joe Lovano-Dave Douglas-led quintet Sound Prints, dedicated to the work of the Master, as well as the trio ACS, with pianist Geri Allen, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, and bassist Esperanza Spalding.
November 29, 10:00 p.m.
Lizard Lounge, Cambridge, MA
The revolving cast of characters in bassist and composer Mike Rivard’s trance-dub-Moroccan-jazz band is celebrating the release of a new digital-only CD, Fire in the Brain. But, in true d’Elf form, the line-up at tonight’s show is slightly different than that on the album: rock-and-improv guitar superman Reeves Gabrels (David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails, and, these days, the Cure), d’Elf’s regular (though not un-great) slide guitar man David Tronzo, keyboard dude Paul Schultheis, turntablist Mister Rourke, drummer Dean Johnston, and Rivard playing bass and Moroccan sintir.
November 29-30, 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.
Scullers, Boston, MA
The virtuoso Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval defected to the United States in 1990 while touring with his mentor, Dizzy Gillespie. Now Sandoval comes to Scullers as part of his “Dear Diz” tour, named for his 2012 Concord Records release. Expect bebop standards as well as Sandoval’s interpretations of the Afro-Cuban jazz fusions that Gillespie pioneered.
The Makanda Project with Ku-umba Frank Lacy
November 30, 7:00 p.m.
Dudley Branch Library, Boston, MA
The Boston band dedicated to the music of the late Makanda Ken McIntyre, with arrangements by pianist John Kordalewski, pulls in the exciting trombonist Ku-umba Frank Lacy, long a mainstay of the Mingus Big Band. Along with Kordalewski and Lacy, the band will include singer Diane Richardson, trombonist Sarah Politz, bass trombonist and tuba player Bill Lowe, singer Diane Richardson, bassist John Lockwood, and drummer Yoron Israel.
The Sultans of String
December 4, 8:00 p.m.
Scullers, Boston, MA
The Toronto band, fronted by violinist Chris McKhool, combines flamenco, Arabic, Cuban, and French-style gypsy jazz, with a core group of fiddles, guitars, bass, and percussion, making enlightening cross-cultural references along the way, exposing Moorish-Arabic strain in what we now think of as Afro-Latin jazz.
Eddie Gomez Quintet
December 5, 9:15 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge MA
There should be line around the block at the tiny Lily Pad for this one: the esteemed bassist Eddie Gomez – who broke out as a member of the Bill Evans Trio and has since played with, well, everyone — convenes a quintet with saxophonist Marco Pignataro, flutist Matt Marvuglio, pianist Tony Germain, and drummer Ron Savage.
— Jon Garelick
Boston Center for the Arts Calderwood Pavilion, Boston, MA
As part of her company’s BCA residency, Jody Weber and her dancers invite onlookers to “plug into the process” as they discuss and develop their clean-lined modern dance repertory in work that “explores the tension between natural cycles and the artifice of the workplace.” Bet that means the windows don’t open…
Boston Center for the Arts Cyclorama, Boston, MA
When it began on December 1, 1992, it was called “A Day Without Art” and marked the scourge of AIDS and memorialized its victims. Michael Dowling’s remarkable Medicine Wheel installation remains an inspiring twenty-four hour art vigil where Boston’s artists and anyone touched by loss can gather in ritual, prayer and a renewed sense of community. This year’s focus on the element of air speaks to the power of art to heal and transform.
And if you’re in the mood for some holiday dance…
Boston Ballet Nutcracker
November 29-December 29
Opera House, Boston, MA
The highest profile Nutcracker in Boston, Mikko Nissinen’s beautifully refurbished production with live orchestra makes both narrative and dance sense, and offers the company’s less familiar dancers a chance to show their talents. Decide beforehand if you’re going to splurge at the lobby gift shop or your kids may hold you hostage for a tiara.
Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre Nutcracker
November 29-December 1
The Duxbury Performing Arts Center, Duxbury, MA
The Sanctuary Theatre, Cambridge, MA
The Strand Theatre, Dorchester, MA
Whether in the close-up setting of its Cambridge Sanctuary Theatre home and on a regional tour to Duxbury and the Strand in Dorchester, Mateo’s chamber-sized ballet makes a big impression. This is a traditional staging of the classic with a recorded version of Tchaikovsky’s memorable score. Mateo’s production is a strong, and less expensive, option for a first time Nutcracker experience or holiday themed date night.
Newport Nutcracker at Rosecliff
November 29-December 6
Rosecliff Mansion, Newport, RI
The heroine of the Nutcracker, Clara (or to some, Marie) Stahlbaum, lives in a grand mansion where her aristocratic parents throw a grand Christmas soiree. That house was in Germany, but for a dozen years choreographer Miki Ohlsen and Island Moving Company have transported the spectacle to a Stanford White “cottage” on the eastern seaboard. Talk about a holiday treat!
— Debra Cash
Becky’s New Car, by Steven Dietz. Directed by Larry Coen. Presented by the Lyric Stage, Boston, MA, November 29 through December 22.
Dietz’s comedy (“a satisfying modern comedy of manners”) sounds like another installment in the “I am woman, hear me roar” genre. The screwball-sounding plot: “Becky’s life isn’t exactly unhappy — but from her desk at a car dealership she can’t help but wonder what else is out there. And then she finds out. When a wealthy suitor presumes she is a widow, she finds herself leading a double life that quickly accelerates out of her control.”
Mies Julie, staged by the Baxter Theatre Centre (South Africa). Written and Directed by Yael Farber. Based on Miss Julie by August Strindberg. Presented by Arts Emerson at the Paramount Center Mainstage, Boston, MA, November 30 through December 8.
I am usually wary of re-writing works of brilliance, but this update/ racial renovation of Strindberg sounds too steamy and political to pass up: “South African-born and internationally acclaimed director Yael Farber sets her explosive new adaptation of Strindberg’s classic Miss Julie in the smoldering kitchen of a remote estate 18 years after the end of apartheid.”
— Bill Marx