BOOKS

Tom Perrotta
Thursday, 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store
1256 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
Free, 617-661-1515
www.harvard.com
This author, who contributed a forward to the new Penguin Classics edition of “The Scarlet Letter”, will discuss Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel, a record of a time when Boston wasn’t quite so progressive. The tale’s moral complexity and fascinating heroine continue to resonate with readers in a very changed world — Perrotta himself drew on it in his own novel-cum-HBO series, “The Leftovers”. 
 
COMEDY
 
Cut-Throat Comedy
Thursday, 8:30 p.m.
Good Life Bar
28 Kingston St., Boston
Free, 21+, 617-451-2622
www.facebook.com
Boston comedy crowds are sometimes regarded as “tough” by outsiders, and it’s no wonder when we do things like this: ten comedians will compete “Gong Show” style, giving the audience the ability to kick any of them off stage if they aren’t funny. Be merciless. Comedians Justin Hoff and last month’s “Gong Show” winner, Tooky Kavanagh, will warm up the crowd. 
 
"True Defective"
Saturday, 11 p.m.
ImprovBoston
40 Prospect St., Cambridge
$12, 617-576-1253
www.improvboston.com
Even fans of HBO’s “True Detective” have to admit the series’ sharply contrasted heroes and existentialist ruminations are ripe for parody, and along comes ImprovBoston to do just that. As with their other parody shows, they’ll invent an episode out of whole cloth, except a lot funnier—grisly murders notwithstanding, of course. This show also features live music.
 
CONVENTIONS
 
Lovesick
Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Artists for Humanity
100 W. 2nd St., Boston
$15-$20, 21+, lovesickexpo@gmail.com
www.lovesickexpo.com
If, like that couple on “Portlandia”, you’re looking to have a “cool wedding”, this traveling wedding expo has lots of ideas—and if your future spouse doesn’t want to go, it’ll be a chance to practice dragging them to things. Then again, considering they promise “booze, burlesque, giveaways and other fun surprises,” maybe you won’t have to drag them too hard. 
 
MOVIES
 
"Arabian Nights"
Thursday through January 23
Harvard Film Archive
24 Quincy St., Cambridge 
$7-$9, 617-495-4700
hcl.harvard.edu/hfa
Harvard Film Archive will screen the whole of this new three-part epic from Portuguese director more than once over the next two weekends. Gomes imagines his own folktales, pitched somewhere between social realism and magic realism, gathered from true stories of lives challenged by his country’s present financial crisis. Comedy and tragedy, pathos and absurdity join hands in the weirdness of human existence. 
 
"Woman in the Moon"
Sunday, 7 p.m.
Aeronaut Brewing Company
14 Tyler St., Somerville
$10, Christine@tbdbrew.com
www.eventbrite.com
Aeronaut Brewing will screen this 1929 German silent film with live, entirely improvised musical accompaniment from New Hampshire musician Jeff Rapsis. And, because this is a brewery, there will also be beer. A fascinating and oft-forgotten sci-fi classic, “Woman” depicts, with surprising (for the time) scientific accuracy, a team of scientists sent to the moon, and the love triangle that ensues between them.  
 
ART
 
"Pages"
Through January 31
UFORGE Gallery
767 Centre St., Jamaica Plain
Free, 617-553-4480
www.uforgegallery.com
The cover art on great books becomes as iconic as the books themselves, while the lurid covers of classic pulp novels are often much better works of art than the text they’re selling. Covers influence perceptions before we turn a single page. For this show, several local artists have been given the opportunity to design their own original covers for classic novels. 
 
"Building Stages"
Through February 18
Fort Point Arts Community Gallery
300 Summer St., Boston
Free, 617-423-4299
www.fortpointarts.com
This dual exhibition features the complementary architecturally themed mixed media works of Chelsea Revelle and Robert Maloney. Both use buildings as storehouses of memory—Maloney’s creations evoke the old industrial urban landscape in a state of both decay and re-appropriation, while Revelle takes a more domestic tack, working with broken-down dollhouses to explore a child’s homemaking fantasies. 
 
THEATER
"Violet"
Through February 6
Calderwood Pavilion
527 Tremont St., Boston
$25-$60, 617-933-8600
www.bostontheatrescene.com
This musical, an off-Broadway hit in the 90’s, follows the titular heroine, a young woman seeking a miracle cure for her facial scars, as she takes a trip from her North Carolina home to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to visit a preacher with supposed healing gifts. What she learns along the way, however, may prove more valuable than whatever awaits her. 
 
"The Housekeeper"
Friday through January 30
Boston Playwrights’ Theater
949 Comm. Ave., Boston
$20
www.freshinktheater.org
Fresh Ink Theater presents this new play by local playwright Ginger Lazarus, the tale of a young woman who takes a job as a housekeeper for a widower and his daughter, only to be drawn into complications she couldn’t have guessed. Isn’t that always the way in plays? Tip for the financially strapped: the matinee performances are pay-what-you-can at the door. 
 
MUSIC
 
13th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Concert
Monday, 7 p.m.
Jordan Hall
30 Gainsborough St., Boston
$25-$45, 617-778-2242
www.bostonchildrenschorus.org
Given the civil rights tragedies of the past year, it’s not hard to feel an added gravity in the annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. This year the Boston Children’s Chorus, with special guests Roomful of Teeth, focuses on the “Raw Truth” of King’s message, the unflinching honesty about the racial injustice that always anchored his elevated rhetoric. 
 
Low Steppa
Thursday, 8 p.m.
Middle East Upstairs
472 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
$13-$15, 18+, 866-777-8932
www.ticketweb.com
A radio host and head of Simma Black Records as well as a club performer, British DJ Low Steppa, real name Will Bailey, is a busy man. In an electronic music scene that seems to constantly spawn new, more subtly differentiated genres, he still identifies with good old house music, at least under the Low Steppa guise—by far his most successful.  
 
Parks
Friday, 10 p.m.
Great Scott
1222 Comm. Ave., Allston
$10, 21+, 800-745-3000
www.ticketmaster.com
Local act Parks, led by mastermind Brian E. King, crafts pitch-perfect indie pop with a style that, while strongly rooted in the 60’s, feels totally contemporary. King seems to have access to an endless well of pop inventiveness, packing each song with more interesting moments and catchy hooks than most bands manage in a whole album. 
 
Bulletproof Stockings
Saturday, 8 p.m.
Brighton Music Hall
158 Brighton Ave., Allston
$15, all ages, 800-745-3000
www.ticketmaster.com
The world of Hasidic Judaism can seem incredibly insular to outsiders, so some may be surprised that the New York-based Hasidic female rock band Bulletproof Stockings even exists. In keeping with the Hasidic law of “kol isha,” they perform only for women, so sorry, no boys allowed. Ladies, you’ll just have to tell your dude friends how hard they rocked.