What to do and where to go this week

WEKB_Lungs_4C_0308
The couple in “Lungs” ponder big questions. Photo: Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures

THEATRE

Lungs
Through Sunday
Arsenal Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal St., Watertown
$17-$36, 617-923-8487
www.newrep.org

This very contemporary comedy by Duncan Macmillan, a Boston premiere from the New Repertory Theatre, revolves around a young, well-educated couple (known only as “W” and “M”, respectively) as they struggle with what it means to be a “good” person in today’s environmentally troubled, overpopulated world. What’s more important? Seeing your baby’s first footsteps, or lowering your carbon footprint?

Such Times
Through Saturday
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Comm. Ave., Boston
$10-$20, 617-888-0728
www.heartanddagger.org

One thing we know for sure: this erotically-themed show, described by Heart and Dagger Productions as a set “monologues, scenes, and dances based on sexual desires, situations, and dreams,” is definitely for adults only. Containing, as you’d expect, a fair share of nudity, these vignettes by local playwrights explore sex from all sorts of angles—some sexy, some perhaps not-so-sexy.

MUSIC

Boston Choral Ensemble: Déplorations
Friday, 8 p.m.
St. Paul Church
29 Mt. Auburn St., Cambridge
$9-$20, info@BostonChoral.org
www.bostonchoral.org

This concert’s highlight is Thomas Tallis’ “Spem in Alium”, a notoriously challenging motet for forty voices that has seen an unlikely resurgence recently thanks to a mention in “Fifty Shades of Grey”. The rest of the program includes works by Josquin, Tartini and others.  Note: a second performance takes place Saturday at a different address—check the website for details.

London Philharmonic Orchestra
Friday, 8 p.m.
Symphony Hall
301 Mass. Ave., Boston
$40-$125, 617-482-6661
www.celebrityseries.org

Conductor Vladimir Jurowski leads the London Philharmonic through Beethoven’s immortal Symphony No. 5 and Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1, featuring violinist Vadim Repin. It’s a great chance to see a world-class orchestra performing one of the seminal works in the classical canon—who, even if they can’t name the source, doesn’t recognize the opening salvo of Beethoven’s Fifth?

DANCE

Lucky Plush Productions
Friday and Saturday
Institute of Contemporary Art
100 Northern Ave., Boston
$40, 617-876-4275
www.icaboston.org

This Chicago-based dance troupe injects their work with a satirical edge uncommon in contemporary dance, fusing comedic theatre with choreography. They’ll be performing “The Better Half”, which takes the 1944 film noir “Gaslight” for inspiration, exploring the tension of domestic relationships with humor and pathos. Stick around Friday evening for a post-performance Q and A with the group.

Israel Folkdance Festival of Boston
Sunday, 3 p.m.
Kresge Auditorium, MIT
48 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
$5-$15, info@bostonfestival.org
www.bostonfestival.org

Hundreds of Israeli folk dancers, ranging from kids to students to seasoned vets, come together for this concert, filled with infectious beats and vibrant, energetic dancing and both traditional and contemporary music. It culminates in a finale that, in the words of the festival’s organizers, “weaves all the dancers into a mosaic of color and costume.”

MOVIES

Barton Fink
Friday and Sunday
Paramount Center
559 Washington St., Boston
$5-$10, 617-824-8400
www.artsemerson.org

This 1991 Cohen Brothers film follows a socially conscious New York playwright (John Tuturro) as he takes off to write for movies in 1940’s Hollywood, hoping to bring his proletarian message to the big screen. Sadly, it doesn’t quite work out like that. John Goodman appears, in one of his best roles, as Barton’s increasingly sketchy neighbor.

ART

Contemporary Folk
Through April 13th
Society of Arts and Crafts
175 Newbury St., Boston
Free, 617-266-1810
www.societyofcrafts.org

The six artists in this exhibition are often tagged as folk artists, visionaries or outsiders. But these terms, especially the last, are relative—outside of what? Folk art is often associated with amateurs, but half of these artists have formal educations. What really unites them isn’t a charming oddness or crudeness, but a direct, unfiltered, honest spirit radiating from their work.

Nick Cave
Saturday through May 27th
Peabody Essex Museum
161 Essex St., Salem
$11-$15, 866-745-1876
www.pem.org

If you’re thinking of the Australian musician, you’ve got the wrong Nick Cave—this Nick Cave is a dancer and performance artist from Missouri, famous for his “Soundsuits”, wildly colorful and chaotic wearable sculptures crafted from an eccentric assortment of found objects. Cave choreographs his performers’ movements to maximize a Soundsuit’s kinetic potential, creating a unique kind of artistic experience.

TALKS

From the Big Bang to Broadway: How Things Evolve
Tuesday, 6 p.m.
Harvard Museum of Natural History
26 Oxford St., Cambridge
Free, 617-495-3045
www.hmnh.harvard.edu

Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection is closely associated with biology, but did you know Darwin’s ideas are now being applied well outside the science that inspired them, producing fascinating insights into such subjects as geology, astronomy and linguistics? Robert Hazen, a research scientist at George Mason University, will give you the lowdown on modern evolutionary theory.

Rashid Khalidi
Wednesday, 8 p.m.
First Parish Church in Cambridge
3 Church St., Cambridge
Free, 617-495-2727
www.cambridgeforum.org

Cambridge Forum hosts this historian of the Middle East, who’ll discuss his lastest book, “Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East”, which analyzes the 1982 “Reagan Plan,” the negotiations leading to the 1993 Oslo Accords and the Obama administration’s recent policies as representative phases in the last three decades of U.S.-Middle East relations.

COMEDY

Jim Jefferies
Saturday, 7:45 and 9 p.m.
Wilbur Theatre
246 Tremont St., Boston
$28-$35, 800-745-3000
www.ticketmaster.com

This Australian comic’s on-stage persona sometimes feels like a wink and a nod to the popular Australian stereotype: guileless, crude, blunt, but somehow still charming. But his bro-like delivery belies a sharp wit. On the idea of heaven, he quips: “I don’t want to exist in a conscious state for eternity, constantly thinking—I don’t like thinking as it is!”


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