This Russian-born pianist will perform selections from Haydn, Schumann, Mussorgsky and the contemporary prodigy Timo Andres. His playing has a wonderful sense of dance to it, communicating not just notes and dynamics but a concrete human experience through time, so that the piece becomes not just something to be heard but someone to be listened to.
Led by bassist Jason Davis, this experimental jazz ensemble integrates recordings of nature into their performances. If that description brings to mind corny New Age relaxation music, perish the thought. Earthsound’s music is meditative, but not sedative—it’s challenging and progressive, reflecting nature not only in its tranquil aspects, but in all its untamed mystery and rough beauty.
Sons of the Sea is the solo band of Incubus’ Brandon Boyd. Incubus were known for their eclectic style, but Boyd’s own music explores a much wider range of contemporary pop/rock possibilities, each song taking off in a different direction. It’s all united by his strength as a performer—whatever he’s doing, he always sounds like himself, not just someone changing masks.
Panic! At the Disco shamelessly immersed themselves in the theatrical side of emo and became the scene’s resident chameleons, integrating seemingly every genre of pop from 60’s baroque psychedelia to electronic dance beats into their ever-morphing sound. Identity crisis? Maybe, but this apparent instability has allowed them to grow, while many of their peers have slowly painted themselves into a corner.
It’d be silly to name your band “Bass Drum of Death” if you didn’t mean business, but these Oxford, Mississippi based garage punks certainly do. They don’t have the snarling insanity of the late Jay Reatard, a fellow Southern boy, but they hit the same sweet spot between pop sensibility and down-and-dirty garage riffage that he did—and it pretty much kills.
Friday and Saturday Institute of Contemporary Art 100 Northern Ave., Boston $40, 617-876-4275 www.worldmusic.org
Led by choreographer Andrea Miller, Gallim Dance explores the idea of the self in dance—identity, embodiment and the quest for meaning. Here they’ll premiere a work called “Wonderland”, integrating images of war, sports and communication into a meditation on hive mentality, that destructive/constructive entity we’ve all been a part of at one time or another.
Belly dancer Bevin Victoria, sometimes known as Hybrid, teamed up with her frequent collaborators, the local Balkan and Klezmer ensemble Klezwoods, to create this performance, composed of several vignettes which unlock the narrative potential of belly dance. Each takes place in one of many different locales along the 30th meridian, including Turkey, Egypt, Israel and Russia.
Thursday through Sunday Cutler Majestic Theater 219 Tremont St., Boston $25-$65, 617-824-8400 www.artsemerson.org
Presented by the New York theater troupe The Builders Association, this production juxtaposes scenes from the Great Recession with scenes from the Great Depression, via “The Grapes of Wrath”. It concerns the breakdown not simply of the American Dream but of any sense of American identity in a crisis whose victims have been denied even the dignity of their own failure.
Presented by the Ohio based Mad River Theater Works, this play with songs recounts the events that forged the personality of Jackie Robinson, the first black player in Major League Baseball—a great symbolic victory, but in reality Robinson’s troubles only began once he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, and was forced to endure contempt and ridicule from fans and teammates alike.
Friday through February 18 Footlight Club 7A Eliot St., Jamaica Plain $16-$18, 617-524-3200 www.footlight.org
The Footlight Club presents this 1983 dark comedy by Crag Lucas. On Christmas Eve night, otherwise happy housewife Rachel Fitzsimmons discovers that her husband has taken out a hit on her—awkward! She escapes in her nightgown into a snowstorm and unwittingly embarks on a crazy 15-year adventure, during which her Candide-esque optimism is humorously whittled down to a world-weary wisdom.
This documentary, the kickoff screening for the week-long ReelAbilities Disabilities Film Festival, follows two men diagnosed with autism as they traverse the globe, from Japan to Sir Lanka to Finland, trying to spread awareness about their condition and dispel the myths—chief among them the idea that the disabled are defined by their conditions. For a full festival schedule, check the website above.
The story of Whitey Bulger is fascinating not so much because of Bulger’s crimes but because of its revelation of a law enforcement structure in which the line between compromise and corruption is disturbingly blurred. It’s this angle that director Joe Berlinger, who will appear at this screening for a Q and A, takes up in this documentary, fresh from Sundance.
Artists have a popular reputation as eccentric and even otherworldly—this alien stance, the myth goes, affords them their clarity of perspective. With this exhibition of paper works, Violet Byrd wanted to exploit this notion, presenting herself as the mystery behind these deceptively simple fantasy creatures, all of whom have awesome names—our favorite is “Hungry Ghost Eggplant Being”.
Doug Bosch: Catenaria
Through March 14 University Hall, Lesley University 1815 Mass. Ave., Cambridge Free, 617-585-6656 www.lesley.edu
This sculptural exhibition is inspired by the shape power lines make when strung between phone poles, known in geometry as a catenary. Its precise appearance in nature can be described by math beforehand, given certain variables, but its aesthetic effect can only be taken in spontaneously. Here, the relationship between art and science is at once a connection and a gap.
It may still be freezing outside, but at least your mouth will be warm if you try some of the chili on offer here, contributed by various Harvard Square eateries in an annual battle competition for chili glory. Whether you like it mild or insanely hot, vegan or meat-ridden, Texan (that’s no beans), or non-Texan (lots of beans), it’ll be here.