Fuse Coming Attractions: What Will Light Your Fire This Week

Arts Fuse critics select the best in music, film, theater, and dance coming up this week.

By The Arts Fuse Staff

Josh Homme and Queens of the Stone Age ring in the holiday season with a show at Agganis Arena this week.

Josh Homme and Queens of the Stone Age ring in the holiday season with a show at Agganis Arena this week.


Queens of the Stone Age
December 13
Agganis Arena, Boston, MA

Nothing says “Christmas” like a Queens of the Stone Age concert in December. Don’t believe me? Then how do you respond to this Queens of the Stone Age holiday sweater?  It seems impossible the Josh Homme-fronted band has been around since the mid-‘90s, but sure enough, the Queens really are in their third decade. If their latest release …Like Clockwork is any indication, they won’t be stopping anytime soon.

Indie Rock Ranger’s Holiday Spectacular
December 14
Middle East-Downstairs, Cambridge, MA

When I asked local promoter Richard Bouchard to sum up the thought process that went into putting together this year’s “Indie Rock Ranger Holiday Spectacular,” he answered succinctly, “I wanted to do a big show in a big room with bands that are from here.” (Read the full Arts Fuse preview of the show here.) The night features an eclectic line-up of five of Boston’s best bands—Freezepop, Sidewalk Driver, Parks, Animal Talk, and Harris Hawk—playing in one of the area’s most iconic venues. WZLX’s Anngelle Wood will also be there, holding a toy drive to benefit the Department of Children and Families.

Dinosaur Jr.
December 14 and 15
The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA

Dinosaur Jr., the pride of western Massachusetts, will play not one, but two nights at the Sinclair this week. This is the original lineup of J Mascis, Lou Barrow, and Murph, we’re talking about here, which is more than you can say about a lot of bands that are still touring nearly thirty years after their formation. If you’re desperately holding on to the last shreds of your hearing, you should probably consider wearing ear plugs during these shows. Don’t worry, even if you do, you’ll still hear everything (very) loud and clear.

The Breeders
December 18
Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA

It’s possible that Kim Deal will always be best known as the (now former) bass player in the Pixies. Still, her “other” band ain’t too shabby. It’s been twenty years now since the group’s debut, Last Splash, was released. And of course, that means it’s been twenty years since the all-time classic “Cannonball” rolled into our lives.

Upcoming and On Sale…

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); Broken Bells (3/5/2014, House of Blues); Haim (5/13/2014, House of Blues); Primal Scream (5/14/2014, Royale); Arcade Fire (8/19/2014, Comcast Center)

— Adam Ellsworth


The Savory Concerts: Creole Roots Plus
December 17, 7:00 p.m.
The Loft, Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA

Violinist Matt Glaser, artistic director of Berklee’s American Roots Program, has gathered some fellow player-historians and Berklee students to recreate some of the music from the Savory Collection — the 1930s radio broadcasts recorded by audio engineer William Savory. (The collection — of nearly one thousand discs — is now housed in the National Jazz Museum in Harlem.) The program will include selections from Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Fats Waller, Benny Goodman, Django Reinhardt, and others. Joining the Berklee crew will be Trindiad-born trumpeter Etienne Charles (from the Michigan State University College of Music) and saxophonist Loren Schoenberg, artistic director of the National Jazz Museum.

— Jon Garelick


Presented by Boston Baroque
December 13 and 14, 7:30 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA

Boston Baroque’s fortieth anniversary season continues with their annual Messiah performances. Of particular note in these concerts are the Boston Baroque debuts of soloists Kiera Duffy, Kate Linsey, Jesse Blumberg, and the extraordinary tenor Nicholas Phan.

Photo by Julian Bullitt

Boston Baroque continues their fortieth season this week with their annual performance of “Messiah.” Photo by Julian Bullitt.

Bach Christmas
Presented by the Handel and Haydn Society
December 19 (at 8:00 p.m.) and 22 (at 3:00 p.m.)
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA

Blue Heron music director Scott Metcalf makes his H&H debut with a program of (mostly) seventeenth century German music, including works by Michael Praetorius, Samuel Scheidt, and Martin Luther. Bach’s Nun kömmt der Heiden Heiland anchors the program.

— Jonathan Blumhofer

“Taste for Taneyev”
Presented by Boston Chamber Music Society
December 13, 7:30 p.m.
Kresge Auditorium, MIT, Cambridge, MA

This performance will include Brahms’s Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115 and Tanayev’s Piano Quintet in G minor, Op; 30. The performers will be Romie de Guise-Langlois, clarinet; Yura Lee, violin; Ida Levin, violin; Marcus Thompson, viola; Ronald Thomas, cello; and Mihae Lee, piano.

Simrock Quartet
December 13, 8:00 p.m.
Goethe Institut, Boston, MA

The quartet plays quartets by Luigi Boccherini, Giacomo Puccini, and Hugo Wolf.

You'll have two chances to catch "A Very Britten Christmas" this week.

You’ll have two chances to catch “A Very Britten Christmas” this week.

A Very Britten Christmas
Presented by Opera Brittenica
December 13, 8:00 p.m.
Unitarian Universalist Church of Wellesley, Wellesley Hills, MA
December 14, 8:00 p.m.
All Saints Parish, Brookline, MA

Opera Brittenica presents Benjamin Britten’s beautiful Ceremony of Carols and other of his choral works. Tyler Turner conducts. (Disclosure: the writer of these picks is the harpist for the group.)

“Gladness of Heart”
Presented by Jameson Singers
December 13, 8:00 p.m.
First Church in Cambridge, Cambridge, MA

Jameson Singers in “Gladness of Heart,” a program that features works of Britten, Mendelssohn, Byrd, Brahms, Thompson, and traditional carols. Guest conductor Kevin Leong is at the helm.

The Tallis Scholars
Presented by Boston Early Music Festival
December 14, 8:00 p.m.
St. Paul Church, Cambridge, MA

Boston Early Music Festival presents the Tallis Scholars in “Renaissance Music for the Holiday Season” with selections from Victoria, Verdelot, Bruckner, and Guerrero.

“Feliz Navidad: A Spanish Christmas”
Presented by Musica Sacra
December 14, 7:00 p.m.
First Church Congregational, Cambridge, MA

Musica Sacra presents Conrad Susa’s Carols and Lullabies: Christmas in the Southwest, plus villancicos, carols, and motets from the New World and the Old.

“Noel Noel: A French Christmas”
Presented by Boston Camerata
December 19, 8 p.m.
First Church Congregational, Cambridge, MA

Hundreds of years worth of French music is explored, from the thirteenth century on up.

— Susan Miron


Third Life Studio Choreographer Series
December 13
33 Union Square, Somerville, MA

In the up-close-and-personal setting of this tiny Union Square space, emerging choreographers and seasoned pros take risks and try out new ideas. This installment of Kelley Donovan’s open-hearted series is “headlined” by duets by Sarah Slifer Swift and by great improvisers Olivier Besson with Chandra Cantor.

Mariah Steele/Quicksilver Dance
December 14
Simmons Hall, MIT, Cambridge, MA

Mariah Steele is “taking time” — with her new dance on film and new repertory program — by inviting audiences to give feedback after her free informal showing at MIT.

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
December 5-15
The Sanctuary Theatre, Cambridge, MA
December 20-22
The Strand Theatre, Dorchester, MA

Whether in the close-up setting of its Cambridge Sanctuary Theatre home or on a regional tour to 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.

Urban Nutcracker
December 6-22
John Hancock Hall, Boston, MA

Tony Williams’ continually updated and always delightful reworking of the classic this season features Williams’ lively mix of classical ballet, modern, tap and jazz. This season’s show is headlined by So You Think You Can Dance krumping star Russell Ferguson and members of the 1950s doo wop group, the G-Clefs.


“12 Dancers Dancing” at the Dance Complex in Cambridge this week.

12 Dancers Dancing…A Christmas in Cambridge
December 13-15
The Dance Complex, Cambridge, MA

Experience the holiday season as an all-you-can-watch dance banquet with presenter Honey Blonder’s annual gathering of small Boston dance troupes across genres: Rainbow Tribe, Bside, Intimations Dance, Boston Community Dance Project, Derrick Davis, Sydni Lockeby, Disco Brats, Brookline Academy of Dance, Contemporarily Out of Order, Dance’n Feet, Impact Dance Company, Embrace, Cambridge Dance Company and Steffani Bennett.

What the Dickens by Cambridge Youth Dance Program
December 12-15
Boston University Dance Theater, Boston, MA

Nutcrackered out? Give your holiday outing a hip hop flavor. Deborah Mason’s production with Corinne Mason as a gender-reversed Ebeneeza Scrooge features Carl Alleyne’s BeanTown Lockers and the too-rarely featured WonderTwins who earned their stripes choreographing for New Kids on the Block and as backing dancers for the likes of Queen Latifa.

— Debra Cash



Silent film comedy “Safety Last!” will screen at Coolidge Corner Theater.

Safety Last!
December 16, 7:00 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theater, Brookline, MA

The Berklee Silent Film Orchestra (BSFO), under the direction of Berklee Music Professor Sheldon Mirowitz, presents an original live score of the classic comedy. Another wonderful Sound of the Silents event. Get your tickets in advance.

The comic genius of silent star Harold Lloyd is distinctive. Chaplin was the sweet innocent, Keaton the stoic outsider, but Lloyd—the modern guy striving for success—is one of us. And with its torrent of perfectly executed gags and astonishing stunts, Safety Last! is the perfect introduction to his slapstick world. Lloyd plays a small-town bumpkin trying to make it in the big city. He finds employment as a lowly department store clerk. When he comes up with a wild publicity stunt to draw attention to the store, the result is an incredible feat of derring-do that gives him a head start on the climb to success. “Laugh-out-loud funny and jawdropping in equal measure, Safety Last! is an unforgettable movie experience from a genuine legend.” (Janus Films)

Chris Marker Short Films
December 16, 7:00 p.m.
Harvard Film Archives, Cambridge, MA

Chris Marker, the French filmmaker, was also a writer, photographer, and multimedia artist who pioneered the hybrid form known as the essay film. His movie La Jetee, which is about a man haunted by a childhood memory, was the basis of the 1995 Hollywood film 12 Monkeys. His late classic San Soleil was a “free associative mix of ethnography, philosophy and poetry.” This program is a rare chance to see three of his short films in one sitting. The lineup: Junktopia, The Case of the Grinning Cat, Remembrance of Things to Come.

Chris Marker

A rare chance to see three of Chris Marker’s short films this week at Harvard Film Archives.

The British Arrows
December 19, 7:00 p.m.
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA

This collection is always full of unexpected and remarkable films that explore the territory where commerce meets art. The ICA presents its annual screening of the British Arrows, a showcase of the year’s best television, online, outdoor, and cinema commercials made by British advertising agencies and production companies.

— Tim Jackson


The Heart of Robin Hood, written by David Farr
Directed by Gisli Örn Gardarsson
Through January 19, 2014
American Repertory Theater at the Loeb Drama Center
Cambridge, MA

A revival of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s critically hailed revision of the legend of Robin Hood. In this version, the hero and his “band of outlaws steal from the rich, but they do not share their spoils with the poor and are unloved by the people, who must also pay unfair taxes to the evil Prince John as he plots to steal his brother’s crown. In this time of chaos and fear, it is down to Marion to boldly protect the poor and convince Robin that he must listen to his heart if they are to save the country.” I can’t resist quoting this hard sell blurb from the Guardian newspaper about the RSC production — “It is staged with such verve and invention that it is impossible not to surrender to it.” You cannot escape …

A scene from  Photo: Photo credit: Michael Guy.

A scene from “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” in the Trinity Repertory Company production. Photo: Michael Guy.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang
Directed by Curt Columbus
Through December 22
Trinity Repertory Company, Providence, Rhode Island

The winner of the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play receives its New England premiere. Christopher Durang’s wacky sensibility explores the trials and tribulations “of siblings Vanya and Sonia, who are living in a haze of Chekhovian regret in their Bucks County farmhouse when their sister, Masha, a glamorous actress a bit past her prime, arrives unexpectedly with Spike, her handsome new boy toy.” The cast includes veteran Trinity Rep acting company members Janice Duclos, Phyllis Kay, and Brian McEleney.

— Bill Marx

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts