Thursday, 9 p.m., T.T. the Bear’s Place, 10 Brookline St., Cambridge, $10, 18+, 866-777-8932, www.ticketweb.com
If we say this local band traffics in classic psychedelia, don’t think we mean to peg them as retro. Their lackadaisical, shoegazey sound belongs as much to the contemporary indie rock landscape as to the acid-soaked 60’s. But it also has a visionary quality, as if it were the ghostly reverberation of the choir music for some long-gone, blissed out hippie commune.
Saturday, 8 p.m., The Sinclair, 52 Church St., Cambridge, $18-$20, 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com
The anthemic sound of Virginia’s Carbon Leaf, now going on 21 years together as a band, is hard to sum up—they’ve jokingly called it “Brazilian polka metal” (not even close) and “ether-electrified porch music” (closer). There’s Celtic balladry, American folk and country music, even a little grunge in there, but it’s ultimately their own thing, and their uniqueness has served them well.
This Japanese instrumental group’s music can seem pretty ponderous and low-energy, as if made by someone with brutal depression or perhaps just a really bad case of, well, mono. But they never really wallow in it. They know the beauty in melancholy, and their songs, building into glorious, romantic crescendos, are aimed at catharsis, not despair.
These two local ensembles join forces for an evening of contemporary chamber music. Cloud Ludlum mixes improvisational techniques with the least improv of musical forms—classical. Canvas Sounds, as their name alludes to, produces music inspired by other art forms like paintings, video, photography, and poetry. Expect mind-expanding sounds and a fusion of familiar and strange.
Wednesday through November 24, The Castle at Park Plaza, 130 Columbus Ave., Boston, $75-$100, 617-542-6772, www.blo.org
The Boston Lyric Opera presents a new chamber rendering of Jack Beeson’s operatic telling of the life of Lizzie Borden, the infamous early 20th century suspect, accused of killing her father and stepmother with an axe in Fall River, Massachusetts. Some still believe she didn’t do it, but whatever history discovers, her name will be forever emblazoned in American urban legend.
Poetry in America: The Poetry of Early New England
Ever wanted to get a taste of a course at Harvard? Here’s a panel discussion led by Harvard English professor Elisa New on early American poets. Among the topics hashed out will be who or what poetry is written for. Not money, that’s for sure! RSVPs are required, but the evening will also stream online—check the website for more.
Saturday through December 15, Nave Gallery, 155 Powderhouse Blvd., Somerville, Free, email@example.com, www.navegallery.org
This multimedia, multi-artist exhibition’s theme is inspired by the reliquary, a container for the veneration of a holy object. The frame, for once, becomes the focus of attention, instead of the painting. How does it contribute to the holiness of the relic? How might it detract? Ideas of containment, sacredness and display are explored, but also their opposites—release, profanity, concealment.
Mitch Weiss: 'Sister Cities'
Through December 2, Gallery 360, Northeastern University, 360 Huntington Ave., Boston, Free, 617-373-7098, www.northeastern.edu/camd/cfa/
This photographic exhibition has a simple premise: comparing two pairs of so-called “sister cities” in Japan and the United States to explore the meaning and validity of their adopted sisterhood. Tokyo is compared to New York while Kyoto is compared to Boston. And, surprisingly, there really does seem to be a sort of family resemblance.
Now in its tenth year, this annual dance event culls together bhangra crews from across North America to go all-out in a battle for supremacy. For those not in the loop, bhangra is a form of music and dance with roots in Punjabi tradition and modern Western dance music. Its flamboyant costumes, elaborate routines, and intoxicating beats are quite the sight and sound.
Saturday and Sunday, Boston University Dance Theater, 915 Comm. Ave., Boston, $30-$50, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.juventasmusic.com
Juventas New Music Ensemble presents this ballet by Peter van Zandt Lane, with choreography by the People Movers’ Kate Ladenheim. It’s inspired the notoriously shadowy Internet-based collective Anonymous, but deals with broader questions about the Internet’s effect on public information distribution. Where’s the line between activism and treason, between civil disobedience and mere lawlessness? Or is there even a line?
Thursday through Sunday, Zack Box, Boston Conservatory, 8 The Fenway, $10, 617-912-9222, www.bostonconservatory.edu
One of Tennessee Williams’ lesser-known plays, “Vieux Carre” takes place in the perfect South Gothic setting: a shady boarding house in New Orleans. We glimpse the lives of its down-and-out inhabitants, all deliciously over-the-top visions of human decay and denial, through the eyes of Writer (an obvious stand-in for Williams), who’s both fascinated and repulsed by their wrecked lives.
Through November 24, Boston Playrights’ Theater, 949 Comm. Ave., Boston, $10-$30, 617-353-5443, www.bu.edu/bpt
This comedy by Stephen Barkhimer takes places in 1980’s New York City—a time when that fabled town was, in many spots, a much sketchier place than today. Our hero, a young man named Kenny, encounters said sketchiness first-hand, as well as some inimitable local color, on his unfortunate job at a fish market whose managers seem to have ulterior motives.
For this performance, the cast of ImprovBoston will make up an episode of the classic sci-fi series “Quantum Leap”. That show’s conceit—a man’s soul is randomly thrown into the bodies of others and must pretend to be them for a whole episode before being yanked out again—is already kinda like improv, adding a whole level of meta-humor to the proceedings.
This 2012 film by French director Nicholas Rey—who’ll be appearing in person at this screening—is inspired by a dystopian novel from the 30’s called “The Molussian Catacomb”, but it’s hardly a straight adaptation. Rather, passages from the book provide voiceover for Rey’s shots of dull suburban landscapes from around modern Paris. The film’s reels are randomized before each screening.
'The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology'
Friday through November 21, Brattle Theater, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge, $7-$8, 617-876-6837, www.brattlefilm.org
Slovenian intellectual icon Slavoj Zizek is your eccentric but deeply insightful guide through this tour of the curious soul of popular culture, via the movies. Zizek’s concern is what these films, intentionally or not, tell us about the way we think about everything from love to religion to government—and it’s often not the way we think we think.