Thursday through Sunday Boston Opera House 539 Washington St., Boston $30-$125, 800-745-3000 www.ticketmaster.com
Though the album on which it’s based is nearly 10 years old, the big themes of “American Idiot” remain relevant. Like the boho scroungers of “Rent”, the musical’s disaffected punk heroes discover there’s no easy escape from the nightmares of a stultifying, conformist, consumer society. For them, hope lies only in a hard-nosed, realist acceptance of life in all its complications.
Experimental local theater company Liars and Believers, artists-in-residence at the American Repertory Theater, present a one-night show that, like all their works, defies easy description, integrating a bit of every art form into a mediation on communal trauma and resilience inspired primarily by Picasso’s epic painting “Guernica” and the music of Singer Mali, frontwoman of the eccentric local band Jaggery.
Fathers and Sons
Thursday through Sunday Paramount Theater 559 Washington St., Boston $15-$20, 617-824-3094 www.emerson.edu
This play by Brian Friel is based on the novel of the same name by Ivan Turgenev, published in 1862. Its young, fresh-out-of-college protagonists, Arkady and Bazarov, find their oh-so-hip nihilist convictions challenged by tradition and family loyalty on one side and love on the other, and we learn that sometimes it’s those who claim to not believe that believe the most.
This dance-off is similar to the Boston Bhangra Competition, but encompassing a different array of South Asian music/dance styles, including the eclectic Fusion genre and full-on narrative Bollywood dance numbers, complete with elaborate costumes. Teams come from colleges across North America, and even though only one will get first prize, don’t expect a dull moment from any of them.
This athletic French hip-hop dance ensemble will perform two recent works by leader/choreographer Mourad Merzouki, inspired by Merzouki’s witnessing dancers in the shantytowns of Brazil. “Correria” and “Agwa”, which translate to “Running” and “Water”, respectively, fuse hip-hop dance with elements of samba and capoeria. For “Agwa”, the stage is covered with rows of glasses of water, around which the crew nimbly negotiates.
Pianist Kathleen Supove performs a set of contemporary works integrating electronics, video and riffing on pop culture. Part of the New Gallery Concert Series, the performance will take place in a gallery surrounded by the unusual multimedia art of Alison Safford, whose admirably impossible goal is to “fix something that can’t be fixed, or contain something that can’t be held.”
Harvard’s Dunster House Opera Society presents Mozart’s comic opera, which they amusingly reimagine as a sex romp set in the 1960’s. For our money, this story, involving two friends who, in a weird test of the fidelity of their fiances, disguise themselves as other men and attempt to seduce them, would also make a pretty good reality TV show premise.
Cullen Washington, Jr. avoids the typical square, stretched canvas for his abstract paintings, instead hanging his unprimed canvasses flat, in unusual shapes, and integrating found objects and images. Looking at them calls to mind a city wall that’s been postered over and painted and grafittied so many times that it becomes an accidental piece of abstract art.
Tanja Softic: Migrant Universe
Through April 27 Tufts University Art Gallery 40R Talbot Ave., Medford Free, 617-627-3518 artgallery.tufts.edu
This series of multimedia works is intended by Virginia-based artist Tanja Softic to communicate the hybrid world of an immigrant. Abstraction and representation—the latter via appropriated images from a wide variety of print materials—combine to convey both the disorientation and fascination of culture shock. Images of migratory birds are prominent, as well as a juxtaposition of natural and man-made forms.
There’s no shortage of documentaries on Bob Marley, but this 2011 film by Esther Anderson focuses on the reggae icon before he became a superstar, including footage of the Wailers’ first-ever practice session in the mid-60’s, when they were still a pop group aiming to be the Jamaican Beatles/Stones—needless to say, they eventually changed directions.
Chinese New Year Celebration
Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Phillips Square Harrison Ave. and Essex St., Boston Free, 617-542-2574
This popular annual festival brings packed crowds to Chinatown for lion dances, martial arts demos, tasty treats, firecrackers and more. It derives from a Chinese celebration marking the beginning of spring. Unfortunately, in Boston at this time of year we have to settle for celebrating the beginning of the last third of winter, but it’s better than nothing, right?
This comedienne, the only woman ever to win on the show “Last Comic Standing”, has a sardonic, deadpan style of delivery that enhances the humor of her bluntly cynical take on female psychology. “Girls are bats**t crazy,” she says in one bit. “We stun our prey…We get pissed, and then we’re super nice, and it erases your mind.”
Blisteringly loud art-punks Mission of Burma were among the founding fathers of Boston alternative rock in the early 80’s, but tinnitus problems for guitarist Roger Miller led to a premature breakup. A reunion in 2002 saw them deservedly cash in on their distinguished legacy, and has led to four new albums so far. This special show is a benefit for Somerville Local First.
JD Samson and MEN
Saturday, 9 p.m. Great Scott 1222 Comm. Ave., Allston $12-$14, 21+, 800-745-3000 www.ticketmaster.com
JD Samson was the androgynous, mustachioed member of Le Tigre in their last three years, and in her post-Le Tigre band MEN (none of whose members are actually men), she pursues a similar mix of electronic sounds and punk spirit. MEN’s sexy beats, prominent hooks, and sense of humor make a fine soundtrack for the modern love affair between man and machine.
Saturday, 6 p.m. Brighton Music Hall 158 Brighton Ave., Allston $12, 18+, 800-745-3000 www.ticketmaster.com
This Minneapolis-based singer-songwriter has a geeky-hip look and a way around a melancholic pop tune that occasionally recalls the late, great Elliott Smith, but with considerably less of a chip on its shoulder. Messersmith has a more charming variety of dark streak, as evidenced by cute-gloomy titles like “Deathbed Salesman”, “A Girl, a Boy and a Graveyard” and “Organ Donor”.