Boston’s LGBT Past
This tour will take you around sites relevant to the LGBT underground in notoriously puritanical Boston, between 1840 and 1980, touching on figures like Henry David Thoreau, who’s widely believed to have been gay in sentiment if not practice, the gender-bending contralto singer-actress Charlotte Cushman and the innumerable forgotten names who created a thriving culture in bars, baths, coffee houses and private homes.
Sept. 16, 6 p.m.
Massachusetts State House, 24 Beacon St.
SpeakEasy Stage Company presents the latest play from Joshua Harmon (“Bad Jews”), prior to its New York debut. It’s about Jordan, a young gay man whose friends, to his increasing dismay, are getting married. Determined to find a partner himself, he sets off on a comically long and winding road to true love—or whatever approximation he might have to settle for.
Through October 8
Calderwood Pavilion, 527 Tremont St., Boston
Eight By Tenn
Zeitgeist Theater presents eight short plays by Southern gothic master Tennessee Williams, including “The Lady of Larkspur Lotion,” “Portrait of a Madonna,” “Auto-Da-Fe,” “This Property is Condemned,” “Something Unspoken,” “A Perfect Analysis Given by a Parrot,” “The Unsatisfactory Supper” and “Talk to Me Like the Rain.” SpeakEasy Stage did five Williams shorts in 2006, but all the choices here are completely different.
Through Oct. 8
Plaza Theater, 539 Tremont St.,
‘Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty’
Despite Irving Penn’s importance in American photography, this is the first major exhibition of his work in the Boston area. Most famous for his celebrity portraits, Penn was prolific for years in fashion, portrait and still life, often publishing his work in Vogue magazine. “I can get obsessed by anything if I look at it long enough,” he once said.
Through Nov. 19
Lunder Arts Center, Lesley University, 1801 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
Brothers Salim and Sulaiman Merchant are among India’s most prominent commercial composers, with over 120 soundtracks to their credit in film and TV, plus dozens of pop songs and ad jingles. Even though their work is often in the background, they’ve become celebrities in their own rights—Salim was even a judge on “Indian Idol.”
Sept. 16, 8 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center, 136 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
Evolution of Hip-Hop Festival
This festival celebrates hip-hop culture of yesterday and today. Hosted by Crystal Chandler and Shardai Sam-Clarke, it features a spoken-word piece on the history of hip-hop by Donnie Dixon, performances from Marquis Tashawn Taylor, Ben P. and others, an open mic, dance performances from The CONcept Artists, Present-Day Dance Theatre and Sinha’ Capoeira Boston and other activities.
September 17, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Union Square Plaza, 90 Union Sq., Somerville
Clint Smith, a celebrated educator with two TED Talks under his belt, and currently a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard, will read from his first published poetry collection, “Counting Descent.” His poems deal with the confusing experience of growing up in a community with great black pride, but within a wider society in which black lives are so often invisible.
Sept. 16, 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, 25 White St., Cambridge
70mm and Widescreen Film Festival
Double the size (and beauty) of standard celluloid, 70mm film is an insanely luxurious but rarely used and rarely screened medium, and that’s what makes this festival such a treat for cinema buffs. It features more than a dozen selections, including Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty,” “Laurence of Arabia,” “Ben-Hur,” “West Side Story,” “Tron," "2001: A Space Odyssey" and more.
September 16 through 25
Somerville Theater, 55 Davis Sq., Somerville