Arts Fuse critics select the best in film, dance, visual art, theater, music, and author events for the coming weeks.
Arab Film Week
Museum of Fine Arts Boston, MA
MFA Film, along with The Boston Palestine Film Festival, presents a survey of contemporary films from the Arab region of North Africa and the Middle East. This year’s festival opens with the Lebanese film Capernaum, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. It also includes the touching drama Yomeddine, Egypt’s submission for Best Foreign Language at the Academy Awards. For newcomers to Arab cinema or devoted fans, this festival is well worth your time.
The Provincetown Film Festival
John Cameron Mitchell receives the Filmmaker on the Edge Award and Jillian Bell the Next Wave Award at the 21st Provincetown Film Festival, which means they will be in conversation with John Waters. The festival includes specially themed breakfast panels, guest appearances and a broadcast of ‘Modern Love Live’ presented by WBUR and The New York Times. The rise of gay-themed cinema means that this year will be filled with exceptional LGBTQ stories of love, struggle, and triumph. The Complete Schedule is here.
War and Peace
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
The Brattle presents all four parts in this quadruple 1966 feature version of War and Peace.
At the height of the Cold War, the Soviet film industry set out to prove it could outdo Hollywood with a production that would dazzle the world: a titanic, awe-inspiring adaptation of Tolstoy’s classic tome in which the fates of three souls – the blundering, good-hearted Pierre; the heroically tragic Prince Andrei; and the radiant, tempestuous Natasha – collide amid the tumult of the Napoleonic Wars. Employing a literal cast of thousands and an array of innovative camera techniques, director Sergei Bondarchuk conjures a sweeping vision of grand balls that glitter with rococo beauty and breathtaking battles that overwhelm with their expressionistic power setting a new standard for epic moviemaking.
Part 1 at 1 p.m. – Part 2 at 4 p.m. – Part 3 at 6 p.m. – Part 4 at 8 p.m.
Roxbury Film Festival
June 19 – 29
Museum of Fine Arts Boston and various venues
Dedicated to celebrating films by, for, and about people of color, this festival begins with a pre-screening celebration on June 19 with a free outdoor screening of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse on the MFA’s Huntington Avenue lawn. The festival continues through June 29 with a varied lineup of narrative, experimental, and documentary films, including Don’t Be Nice, a rousing documentary about a team of young New York City slam poets competing in the National Championship.
There are films from Boston Public School students, Lynn’s Raw Arts Program, and other student made films from around the country. RoxFilm also includes workshops, panel discussions, networking opportunities, receptions, parties, and Q&A sessions.
Etgar Keret: Based on a True Story
Jun 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Boston University, Tsai Performance Center, Boston, MA
Etgar Keret’s surrealist short stories are read and loved around the world. So, when two young Dutch filmmakers set out to make a film about Keret, they decided to emulate his surrealist style. Through animations of his stories, reenactments of his anecdotes, and interviews with family and friends. This unique documentary (presented by Boston Jewish Film) brings to light one of the most renowned Israeli writers of our time. Followed by a pre-recorded Q&A with director Stephane Kaas.
We Used To Know Each Other
June 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Somerville Theatre Microcinema
The Boston Underground Film Festival presents the second full-length feature from BUFF alum, Robert Putka. With the strain of long distance weighing on them, Hugo and Amanda make a last ditch attempt to save a relationship in free Fall. Willingly, if uncomfortably, jumping into domesticity, we watch as they awkwardly reunite and attempt to reconnect, and learn they might no longer be the people each fell in love with in the first place. All over the course of three days in the dried out-and-dead desert oasis of suburban Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Eyes of Orson Welles
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
June 21 through June 27
Visionary cinema historian Mark Cousins (The Story of Film: An Odyssey) charts the unknown territory of the imagination of one of the twentieth century’s most revolutionary artists. Granted unprecedented access to hundreds of sketches, drawings, and paintings by Orson Welles – tantalizing, never-before-seen glimpses into the filmmaker’s rich inner life – Cousins sheds new light on the experiences, dreams, desires, and obsessions that fueled his creativity and inspired his masterpieces – a one-of-a-kind work of visual archaeology.
— Tim Jackson
The Complete Howard Hawks at Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, MA, through Aug. 30.
Staple fare for programmers of Boston’s thriving repertory cinemas are films directed by Hollywood great Howard Hawks (1896-1977). He supplies the meat & potatoes and the dessert. The most frequently screened are Hawks’ teaming-in-heaven of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not and The Big Sleep; the screwball comedies Bringing Up Baby, Ball of Fire, His Girl Friday, and Twentieth Century; the Marilyn Monroe standout, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; and, in genre festivals, The Thing from Another World (horror/science fiction), Scarface (gangster), and Red River and Rio Bravo (Western).
But it’s been decades since these titles, and dozens of lesser known ones, have been united in a Hawks festival, a serious look at a body of work that wasn’t taken seriously (in the U.S.) for most of the man’s life. Yes, we can all fashion our own small-scale film festivals now, but a true hommage is to experience his stories on the big screen, with an audience. The long wait is over as Harvard Film Archive devotes its 2019 summer retrospective slot to The Complete Howard Hawks: that’s 38 features and a (hilarious) section of an anthology film (The Ransom of Red Chief in O. Henry’s Full House), from Fig Leaves (1926) to Rio Lobo (1970), most presented on 35mm film prints. Arts Fuse preview
— Betsy Sherman
June 20 at 8 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.
Tickets are $15 at the door
The endlessly exploratory saxophonist, composer, and bandleader Jeremy Udden built his latest album, Three in Paris, on pieces by his former teacher, Steve Lacy. Comparing Lacy to Lacy’s idol, Thelonious Monk, Udden writes in the album’s liner notes, “Lacy’s compositions seem to create a vast space into which musicians walk and play their best. It is somehow specific and open, difficult and freeing, all at the same time.” The album features Lacy’s former bandmate drummer John Betsch, and bassist Nicolas Moreaux. For this album release show, Udden is joined by drummer R.J. Miller and bassist Ross Gallagher.
Theo Bleckmann and Joseph Branciforte
June 22 at 8 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.
Tickets are $15
Week after week I’m surprised at the number of musicians of international stature who play at the tiny, invaluable, pay-as-you-go art gallery and performance space the Lilypad, but here we are. Tonight, singer Bleckmann — whose repertoire includes Charles Ives, Kate Bush, Meredith Monk, Weimer-era cabaret, multiple collaborations with the composer John Hollenbeck, and much more — celebrates the release of grayfade, with his partner on that project, electronic musician Joseph Branciforte. I guess Jordan Hall and the ICA weren’t available? In any case, at the Lily you can get up-close-and-personal, and that ain’t bad.
June 28 and 29 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA
Tickets are $40
The once ubiquitous session man (Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin, Steely Dan, on and on) and Chick Corea band member here fronts his own Steve Gadd Band in four shows over two nights. The band is trumpeter Walt Fowler, keyboardist Kevin Hays, guitarist Michael Landau, and bassist Jimmy Johnson.
June 30 at 7:15 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.
Tickets are $10
Describing her music as “inspired by the purity of Ella Fitzgerald, the versatility and emotional depth of Eva Cassidy, and the spirituality of Shlomo Carlebach,” Elana Rozenfeld (“cantor, performer, songwriter, and theatre artist”) here joins with Colombian guitarist Lautaro Mantilla, drummer Yair Amster, and bassist Max Ridley.
— Jon Garelick
Lyric Stage Theatre
Jean Appolon Expressions presents Vwayaj (“Travel” in Haitian Kreyol), its latest portrayal of the immigrant’s story. Appolon calls on his own experience and those of other immigrants to create this evening-length production of bold Haitian contemporary dance with electronic music by Haitian artist Val Jeanty.
Hot Water Over Raised Fists
June 22 at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m. and June 23 at 2 p.m.
Calderwood Pavilion at Boston Center for the Arts
Jenny Oliver / Connections Dance Theater premieres Hot Water Over Raised Fists, culminating Oliver’s 2018-19 Boston Dancemakers Residency, a partnership between Boston Center for the Arts and Boston Dance Alliance. Created in collaboration with designer Aja Jackson, Hot Water Over Raised Fists addresses the Dakota Access Pipeline protests at Standing Rock and the lead-water crisis in Flint, MI, using movement, light, and sculptural elements. The production encourages audiences to join the fight through this immersive art-dance installation.
IGNITE: Performance and Birthday Bash
June 23 at 5 p.m.
Green Street Studios
Luminarium Dance Company invites you to its 2019 birthday celebration IGNITE—an evening-length dance performance with drinks, cake, finger foods, silent auction, and raffle celebrating nine years of innovation in Boston. View site-specific works throughout the building in addition to a full production featuring fresh new works by Luminarium’s Artistic Directors and 24-Hour ChoreoFest 2019 participants Colleen Cecchi, Nick M Daniels / The DANA Movement Ensemble, Alexander Davis, Emma Morris, and Kelsey Saulnier. The production is co-sponsored by Green Street Studios and Monkeyhouse.
For the Children
through June 23
Performance venues vary between Newton, Boston, and Cambridge, MA. Visit website for details.
Dance Currents and Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston present a collaborative performance as part of Pro Arte’s Salon Series. Inspired by the growing attention to immigrant families being separated at the American border, For the Children‘s six sections depict loss, love, and endurance, accompanied by six of Edvard Grieg’s Lyric Pieces played live by Pro Arte. Also on the program is Li-Ann Lim performing in “Limon Etude.” Please note: The performances at Brown Jr. High and The Dance Complex will not include the musicians.
And further afield…
Compañía Irene Rodríguez
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival
Compañía Irene Rodríguez returns to the Pillow for the first time since its sold-out 2017 debut, bringing with it a unique style of flamenco that is both Spanish and Cuban. Rodríguez—who was recently awarded the Order Isabel la Católica from the King of Spain and the Spanish government—presents past repertory along with a world premiere, all set to live music. The production also includes the Pillow-commissioned Pena Negra, based on poetry by Federico García Lorca.
— Merli V. Guerra
Ericka Beckman: Double Reverse
Through July 28
MIT List Gallery
20 Ames St, Cambridge, MA
Ericka Beckman’s work poses questions about gender, competition, power, and control. The signature energetic pacing and sound of her films reflect the characteristics of a game, as the artist forms connections between gambling, capitalism, and labor, as well as the “gamification” of our society through an obsession with scores, competitions, and rewards. This exhibit features four of Beckman’s films, a survey of her work from 1983 to 2016. This is the first time this work will be seen together in the U.S.
Map This: Sustainable Fashion
June 6 through August 30
29 Germania St. Jamaica Plain, MA
Exploring the future of design, artist-in-residence Nathalia JMag combines contemporary fashion with a sustainable approach. This exhibition features a collection of JMag’s latest designs. From upcycling old clothing to using all-natural dyes, these pieces demonstrate an alternative to factory-based production in favor of an eco-friendly fashion future.
Georgie Friedman: Fragments of Antarctica
Through September 16
Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA
After receiving a 2017 Traveling Fellowship from the SMFA at Tufts University, Georgie Friedman journeyed to the Antarctic Peninsula to sketch, film, and photograph its shrinking landscape in preparation for this exhibit. he documents (and in the process transforms) the desolate beauty of an increasingly fragile region of the world. From immersive video to kinetic sculpture hung high overhead, the show’s work will no doubt spark essential conversations about the earth’s endangered ecosystem, raising questions about the future of our natural existence.
Griffin Museum of Photography
67 Shore Road Winchester, MA
Through September 17
Photographer Jamie Collins carefully watches the small visitors in his backyard. His mission: to document the plethora of insect life swarming around his urban home. Spiders, flies, pillbugs and various other creepy critters are captured in stunning clarity by his micro-lens. These beautifully detailed shots give us a new perspective on the often hidden wor in our own backyard.
Society of Arts + Crafts (SA+C)
100 Pier 4 Blvd., Boston, MA
through June 30
On view through Pride Month 2019, over 30 artists across the country come together in this exhibition, examining their place in the world as well as within the LGBTQ community. Instead of highlighting the artists’ sexual identities, this selection of works seeks to challenge preconceived notions of “queer craft.” The exhibit looks critically at both viewers and craft aficionados who seek out this type of work, examining the sincerity of their intentions and acceptance of the LGBTQ artist.
Kat O’Connor: This Fluid Report of Motion
Through August 3
44 Portland Street, Worcester MA
This exhibit takes a look at feminine body language in the form of portraiture. What traditional expectations are imposed upon portraiture that detracts from the personality of the subject? Is it possible for the body to express the true self more eloquently than the face? Kat O’Connor asks these questions via her paintings, which depict each female subject floating in the water, combining realism with abstraction in a quest for strength, purpose, and individual expression.
Maya Watanabe: Liminal
Through August 25
The Rose at Brandeis
415 South Street, Waltham, MA
Maya Watanabe explores ambiguous forms of transitional states in relation to life, death, and perception. An investigation into the history and political climate of her Peruvian homeland, her most recent work, Liminal, consists of film footage from excavations of mass graves of victims created by the conflict between guerilla groups and military forces in Peru during the last two decades of the 20th century. This footage documents the remains of these graves before forensic identification, in the space between “missing” and “declared dead.”
–- Rebekah Bonner
Roots and World Music
Delaware gospel veteran Jay Caldwell has sung his classics, such Take Off Your Shoes, somewhere in Boston every Father’s Day for the past 52 years. This will be his final appearance: he is retiring from life on the gospel highway. Many of Boston’s finest, like the Spiritual Encouragers and Men of Sounds, will be singing as well.
Benefit Concert for Reproductive Justice
Distler Performance Hall, Tufts University, Medford, MA
Yet again artists are responding to a crisis, namely the recent multi-state assault on the reproductive health of women. The eclectic roster includes raga and jazz pianist Utsav Lal, folk duo Sophie et Adam (joined by accordionist and T Michael McLaughlin), piano legend Ran Blake, and gospel vocalist Nedelka Prescod.
Boston Art & Soul Music Festival
Franklin Park, Boston, MA
The number of free summertime music events in Boston has been rapidly shrinking, with the Beantown Jazz Fest the latest casualty. But, despite a rainy 2017 debut, BAMS is back with an even wider-ranging lineup exploring the spectrum of African-American music. Artists include doo-woppers the Tee-Tones, local hip-hop hero Cliff Notez, and neo-soul headliner Eric Roberson.
Before Chris Stapleton proved that a modern country singer could be both good and popular, there was Jamey Johnson. He managed to score both airplay and critical acclaim for songs like “Give It Away” and “The High Cost of Living.” In concert he keeps the chatter to a minimum, letting the music — and some spectacular guitar work — speak for itself.
Club Passim, Cambridge, MA
Detroit acoustic bluesman Todd Albright keeps alive the pre-war sound of Gus Cannon and Blind Willie McTell. Albright’s repertoire, 12-string guitar playing and gruff voice may remind listeners of Paul Geremia, the Rhode Island acoustic blues master who has been sadly sidelined by medical issues in recent years. Another acoustic blues-influenced artist, longtime Fuse favorite Ryan Lee Crosby, opens.
Paa Kow and his Afro-Fusion Orchestra
City Winery, Boston, MA
June 30, Noamesco Bar , Worcester, MA
Ghanaian drummer Paa Kow anchors this explosive Afro-funk and jazz outfit, which puts the sound of the talking drum front and center.
Asleep at the Wheel
City Winery, MA
Heading towards its 50th anniversary, Ray Benson and his Texas Western swing orchestra has some new members and new material thanks to its New Routes LP which included the rockabilly of “Seven Nights to Rock” and a heartfelt version of Guy Clark’s “Dublin Blues.”
— Noah Schaffer
We Live in Cairo by Daniel Lazour and Patrick Lazour. Directed by Taibi Magar. Staged by the American Repertory Theater at the Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, MA, through June 23.
“Inspired by the young Egyptians who took to the streets in 2011 to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak, this new musical follows six revolutionary students armed with laptops and cameras, guitars and spray cans as they come of age in contemporary Cairo. Winner of the Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater,” the piece “moves from the hope of Tahrir Square through the tumultuous years that followed. As escalating division and violence lead to a military crackdown, the young revolutionaries must confront the question of how—or even whether—to keep their dreams of change alive.” A world premiere. Arts Fuse review
Pacific Overtures, Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by John Weidman. Directed by Spiro Veloudos. Music Director, Jonathan Goldberg. Choreography by Micheline Wu. Staged by Lyric Stage Company at 140 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA, through June 16.
The Sondheim project continues: “An unlikely friendship is forged between a samurai, Kayama, and an Americanized fisherman, Manjiro, during Commodore Matthew Perry’s 1853 mission to open trade relations with isolationist Japan. The two friends are caught in the inevitable winds of change and tell the story of Japan’s painful and harrowing Westernization. A highly original, inventive, powerful, and surprisingly humorous theatrical experience.” Arts Fuse review
This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing by Finegan Kruckmeyer, Directed by Marta Rainer. Staged by the Wellesley Repertory Theatre at the Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA, through June 30
The New England premiere of a critically admired script by a Tasmanian playwright. “After being abandoned by their father, triplet sisters are left to find their places in the world. One looks for purpose, another for adventure and the last stays where she is to create a home. Twenty years later, having circled the globe and fought Vikings, toppled lighthouses, fed whole towns with scrumptious pastries and overcome beastly obstacles to achieve greatness, the three meet again as women.” Billed as a charming fairy tale.
The Waverly Gallery by Kenneth Lonergan. Directed by Tina Packer. Staged by Shakespeare & Company in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, 70 Kemble St. in Lenox, MA, through July 14.
Shakespeare & Company kicks off its summer season. “Once a vibrant lawyer, Greenwich Village activist and family matriarch, Gladys Green has run a charming boutique art gallery on Waverly Place for decades, but now stands to lose its tenancy, as her world shrinks through loss of memory and hearing. Featuring Elizabeth Aspenlieder and Annette Miller. Arts Fuse review
The View Upstairs by Max Vernon (Book, Music, Lyrics). Directed by Paul Daigneault. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage Company in the Plaza Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, 537 Tremont Street, Boston, through June 22.
The New England premiere of a musical “inspired by a historical event, the firebombing of the UpStairs Lounge in New Orleans in 1973, which, up until the Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016, was the deadliest assault on a gay bar in US history.” Arts Fuse review
Yerma by Federico García Lorca, adapted and translated by Melinda Lopez. Directed by Melia Bensussen. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, through June 30.
“Yerma, a young wife, wants nothing more than to have a child and become a devoted mother. As she watches her friends start their families, she begins to question her own value as a woman. Her desperate desire turns into an all-consuming obsession with devastating consequences.” Arts Fuse review
Cloud 9 by Caryl Churchill. Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner. Staged by the Nora Theatre Company at the Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA, through June 30.
Interesting to see if this 1979 script holds up — a recent London revival of Churchill’s 1982 play, Top Girls, went over very well. “Victorian repression clashes with liberal expression. Cloud 9 follows a British family from colonial Africa to contemporary London. Unexpected trysts. Gender swaps. Role reversals. Power plays.” The company is fielding a strong cast: Aislinn Brophy, Joshua Wolf Coleman, Stephanie Clayman, Marge Dunn, Kody Grassett, Sophorl Ngin, and Alexander Platt. Arts Fuse review
King of Shadows by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Directed by Michael Hisamoto. Staged by the Flat Earth Theatre at the Mosesian Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA, through June 22.
“Well-intentioned grad student Jessica unwittingly stumbles into a strange, sordid fantasy when she invites runaway teen Nihar into her home. The fanciful tale he weaves unveils a debauched realm of exploitation and terror that threatens to unravel Jessica’s privileged worldview, but is any of it true, or merely the delusions of a troubled young mind?” Playwright Aguirre-Sacasa is the creator of Netflix series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Riverdale.
Mahida’s Extra Key to Heaven by Russell Davis. Directed by Gus Kaikkonen. Staged by Peterborough Players at 55 Hadley Road, Peterborough, NH at 55 Hadley Road, through June 30.
An intriguing set-up: “A young American painter encounters a wary Iranian college student waiting for a ferry that will not come until the next day. He respectfully offers her shelter for the night at his mother’s house nearby. This simple offer triggers a chain of events and a confrontation which threatens to engulf them all.”
Tea at Five by Matthew Lombardo. Directed by John Tillinger. At the Avenue of the Arts / Huntington Avenue Theatre, Boston, MA, June 22 through July 14.
Academy Award winner Faye Dunaway portrays Katharine Hepburn in the Pre-Broadway premiere staging of this script. “Ensconced in her Fenwick home, a now retired Hepburn reﬂects on her turbulent childhood, her unlikely rise to stardom and her heart-breaking 27 year affair with Spencer Tracy.”
A Human Being, of a Sort by Jonathan Payne. Directed by Whitney White. Staged by the Williamstown Theatre Festival at the Nikos Stage, Williamstown, MA, June 26 through July 7.
A world premiere: “It’s 1906, and at the Bronx Zoological Park, an African-American convict named “Smokey” (André Braugher) is guarding the zoo’s most sensational exhibit: Ota Benga (Antonio Michael Woodard), a Congolese pygmy. As the public’s fascination intensifies and protestors call for Ota’s release, Smokey must grapple with the fact that his own freedom depends on another black man’s captivity.”
Corteo, Cirque du Soleil, at the Agganis Auditorium, Boston, MA, June 19 through 30.
Another no doubt eye-popping extravaganza from this heralded group: “Corteo, which means “cortege” in Italian, is a joyous procession, a festive parade imagined by a clown. The show brings together the passion of the actor with the grace and power of the acrobat to plunge the audience into a theatrical world of fun, comedy, and spontaneity situated in a mysterious space between heaven and earth.”
Masquerade, based on the verse drama by Mikhail Lermontov. Directed by Rimas Tuminas. Staged by the Vakhtangov State Academic Theatre of Russia at the Cutler Majestic Theatre, 219 Tremont St, Boston, MA, June 18 and 19.
A tragic farce from Russia? Sound pretty damned intriguing to me. And Lermontov’s A Hero of Our Time is a brilliant novel.”Brimming with decadent feasts, bright costumes, intrigue, flirtation, and a snow-covered stage on which alluring clowns shed slops of compassionate tears, the production also features music by legendary Soviet composer Aram Khachaturyan, originally written for the 1941 production of Masquerade at the Vakhtangov Theatre. Tuminas’ Masquerade is a tragic farce, a sad Commedia dell’Arte, and an exorcism of the heroes and hoaxes that enchant us away from our better selves. The production will be performed in Russian with English subtitles/translation available.”
America v. 2.1: The Sad Demise & Eventual Extinction of The American Negro by Stacey Rose. Directed by Logan Vaughn. Staged by Barrington Stage Company at the St. Germain Stage, Pittsfield, MA, through June 30.
A world premiere: “America v. 2.1 is a day in the life of a troupe of Black actors who are charged with re-enacting the revised history of the once-thriving American Negro. It quickly becomes a day of reckoning. A provocative, funny and dark look at Black Americans in post-apocalyptic America.”
Fun Home, Music by Jeanine Tesori. Book & Lyrics by Lisa Kron. Based on the Graphic Novel by Alison Bechdel. Directed By Paul Daigneault. Staged by the SpeakEasy Stage Company at South End in the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, through June 30.
A revival of SpeakEasy Stage Company’s hit production of a multiple award-winner: “a heartbreaking and fiercely funny new show about seeing one’s parents through grown-up eyes. Based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling memoir, this groundbreaking musical introduces us to Alison at three different ages, revealing memories that celebrate the curiosity of childhood, the challenges of coming out, and the complexities of family.” Arts Fuse review of the 2018 production.
— Bill Marx
Rockport Chamber Music Festival
June 22 at 7:30 p.m.
At Shalin Liu Performance Center, 37 Main Street, Rockport, MA
The musicians: Pieter Wispelwey, cello; Pei-Shan Lee, piano; Benjamin Bowman, violin. On the program: Brahms’s Sonata, Op. 120, No. 2 and Sonata Op. 38, Debussy’s Sonata for cello and piano, and Ravel’s Sonata for violin and cello.
June 26 at 8 p.m.
At Jordan Hall/New England Conservatory, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA
Robert Levin, piano, in recital — he will perform works by Bach and Mozart and do a spontaneous improvisation on a theme by John Dowland.
June 29 at 8 p.m.
At Jordan Hall/New England Conservatory, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA
Eliot Fisk and friends in Recital: the program will include Schubert “Arpeggione” Sonate and Rochberg Caprice. Variations
— Susan Miron
Jenna Brayton, Eleanor Celeste, and Molly Dillon
Yes She Can: 10 Stories of Hope & Change from Young Female Staffers of the Obama White House
June 18 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
“Here are ten inspiring, never-before-told stories from diverse young women who got. Stuff. Done. They recall— fondly, with humor and a dose of humility— what it was like to literally help run the world. Yes She Can is an intimate look at Obama’s presidency through the eyes of some of the most successful, and completely relatable, young women who were there. Full of wisdom they wish they could impart to their younger selves and a message about the need for more girls in government, these recollections are about stepping out into the spotlight and up to the challenge—something every girl can do. This event is co-sponsored by Mass Humanities.”
A Primer for Forgetting: Getting Past the Past
June 19 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
“We live in a culture that prizes memory―how much we can store, the quality of what’s preserved, how we might better document and retain the moments of our life while fighting off the nightmare of losing all that we have experienced. But what if forgetfulness were seen not as something to fear―be it in the form of illness or simple absentmindedness―but rather as a blessing, a balm, a path to peace and rebirth? A Primer for Forgetting is a remarkable experiment in scholarship, autobiography, and social criticism by the author of the classics The Gift and Trickster Makes This World. It forges a new vision of forgetfulness by assembling fragments of art and writing from the ancient world to the modern, weighing the potential boons forgetfulness might offer the present moment as a creative and political force.”
My Parents: An Introduction/This Does Not Belong to You
June 20 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
“Two books in one in a flip dos-à-dos format: The story of Aleksandar Hemon’s parents’ immigration from Sarajevo to Canada and a book of short memories of the author’s family, friends, and childhood in Sarajevo. In the words of Colum McCann, “Aleksandar Hemon is, quite frankly, the greatest writer of our generation.” Hemon has never been better than here in these pages. And the moment has never been more ready for his voice, nor has the world ever been more in need of it.” Hemon will be interviewed by novelist Claire Messud, author of The Woman Upstairs.
The Stationary Shop
June 27 at 7 p.m.
Newtonville Books, Newton Centre MA
“Roya is a dreamy, idealistic teenager living in 1953 Tehran who, amidst the political upheaval of the time, finds a literary oasis in kindly Mr. Fakhri’s neighborhood book and stationery shop. She always feels safe in his dusty store, overflowing with fountain pens, shiny ink bottles, and thick pads of soft writing paper. When Mr. Fakhri, with a keen instinct for a budding romance, introduces Roya to his other favorite customer—handsome Bahman, who has a burning passion for justice and a love for Rumi’s poetry—she loses her heart at once. And, as their romance blossoms, the modest little stationery shop remains their favorite place in all of Tehran.”
Grown Up Book Fair: Summer Reading 2019
June 30 from 2-6 p.m.
Aeronaut Brewing, 14 Tyler St, Somerville MA
“Remember getting the book fair flyers at school? Seeing if the next book in your favorite series was coming out, comparing lists with your friends, checking off the books you want, and planning how you’ll totally convince your parents that yes, in fact, you definitely need all those books because don’t they want you to get into a good college or whatever? And then the thrill when the books arrive and you see a pencil set you absolutely need and stickers for your trapper keeper and one of those friendship necklaces? Think you would never get to experience that rush again? Join us on Sunday, June 30th from 2-6PM at Aeronaut Brewing for our Summer Reading Grown Up Book Fair. The Grown Up Book Fair will have everything you love about school book fairs (including the pencil sets) plus beer! We’ll have light reads for “Summer Vacation,” nonfiction books for “Summer School,” artistic and literary books if you’re planning on a “Summer Stretch,” and, of course, romance books for “Summer Love.” All books and gift items (pins! the aforementioned pencil sets!) specifically selected for the fair by your PSB libromancers. Orders are due by June 3.”
— Matt Hanson
Rock, Pop, and Folk
Boston-based one-woman-band Audrey Ryan hasn’t released a new recording since 2014, but becoming the mother of two children and working as a mental health counselor does tend to cut into one’s songwriting time. On Thursday, Club Passim will host the album release show for her first collection of new material in five years, Buggy Spell.
Last year, Throwing Muses’ Kristin Hersh followed up 2016’s 24-track, 2-disc Wyatt at the Coyote Palace with the less-than-half-as-long Possible Dust Clouds. Although Hersh handled almost all of the playing and recording duties herself, she did get some help from former Throwing Muses and Belly bassist Fred Abong. This Thursday, Abong will be a one-third of Hersh’s Electric Trio, which also includes Rob Ahlers of Hersh’s other band, 50 Foot Wave. (Here is the Arts Fuse interview that I did with her in 2016.)
Howe Gelb has almost 20 albums to his credit as the leader of the now-disbanded Giant Sand and nearly a dozen as a solo artist. The most recent of his solo efforts is Gathered, which was recorded in several different countries, features numerous guests, and includes covers of “Moon River” (sung by Gelb’s teenage daughter, Talula) and Leonard Cohen’s “A Thousand Kisses Deep” (on which he duets with M. Ward). Boston singer-songwriter Matt Charette will open for Gelb at ONCE on Saturday.
The last album by Drive-By Truckers came out in 2016 (click for Milo Miles’s Arts Fuse review) and the next one isn’t due until January 2020. But that in no reason in their minds for them to not tour in 2019. After all, they played between 70 and 100 dates per year from 2014-2018 despite having released new material in only two of those years. The Athens, GA quintet will play The Cabot for the first time on June 25.
Daddy Long Legs is based in New York City, but lead singer Brian Hurd’s bluesy growl and harmonica playing is plenty enough to convince you that he’d been born and raised in one of nation’s blues capitals. (And you’d be right, as he is from St. Louis.) Hurd, guitarist Murat Aktürk, and drummer Josh Styles, will showcase their recently released third album, Lowdown Ways, at City Winery’s Haymarket Lounge on June 28.
— Blake Maddux
Maya Watanabe: Liminal
Through August 25, 2019
The Rose at Brandeis
415 South Street, Waltham, MA 02453
Maya Watanabe explores ambiguous forms of transitional states in relation to life, death and perception. Investigating the history and political climate of her Peruvian homeland, her most recent work “Liminal” consists of film footage from excavations of mass graves for victims of the conflict between guerilla groups and military forces in Peru during the last two decades of the 20th century. This footage documents the remains of these graves before forensic identification, in the space between “missing” and “declared dead”.
Kat O’Connor: This Fluid Report of Motion
Through August 3, 2019
44 Portland Street, Worcester MA
This exhibit takes a look at feminine body language in the form of portraiture. What traditional expectations are imposed upon portraiture that detracts from the personality of the subject? Is it possible for the body to express the true self more eloquently than the face? Kat O’Connor asks these questions as her paintings depict each female subject floating in the water, combining realism with abstraction in a quest for strength, purpose and individual expression.
— Rebekah Bonner