Through May 18 Paramount Center 559 Washington St., Boston $25-$89, 617-824-8400 www.artsmerson.org
Actress Moe Angelos is the writer and performing this biographical play on famed public intellectual Susan Sontag, adapted directly from Sontag’s own journals, which, by her own admission, were crucially connected to her published writings. Covering a wide swath of her life from her teenage years to her peak years, it captures the mix of insecurity and ambition that drove her work.
Kudos to SpeakEasy Stage Company for doing “Carrie” in the spring. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, love is in the air—it’s the perfect time for blood, hysteria and supernatural terror! Based on the Stephen King book, “Carrie” tells the tale of teenage social pariah who discovers she has serious psychic powers, after which things basically get pretty bonkers.
Why should runners have all the fun? This annual benefit for the Theatre Community Benevolent Fund, which works to help starving artists a starve a bit less, burns over the course of ten hours through 53 ten-minute plays by 55 different New England-based playwrights. Who knows—in the age of Twitter and Vine, this might just be the future of theater.
Led by vibraphonist Brian O’Neil, this jazz/world music quintet performs a wide-ranging exotica style, drawing on traditional sounds, as well as instruments, from across the globe—we can’t think of another band with both a Middle Eastern oud and a Japanese shakuhachi. Their music hits that perfect exotica sweet spot, somewhere between irresistible martini camp and mysterious noir cool.
The Back Bay Chorale presents Handel’s setting of the tragic Old Testament story of Saul, David’s predecessor and the first king of Israel. David’s early history is just as central, from his defeat of Goliath to his famous bromance with Jonathan, Saul’s son, who finds himself torn between his father and David. It’s a work rivaled in epicness only by his “Messiah”.
Though not exactly a household name, sculptor Arline Fisch, a pioneer of the use of textile techniques with metal, has won four Fullbright scholarships and been declared a “living treasure” by the State of California. The uncanny, beautifully colored creations in this show resemble undersea creatures like jellyfish and coral so well that you half-expect to see one of them slither away.
French painter Philippe Charles Jacquet gives us flat, wide open spaces punctuated by a tiny human, boat or house, and like these solitary little figures we are swallowed up by the vastness of the natural world, enormous and yet empty of significance apart from human eyes. There’s a surrealism, but it’s the surrealism of reality itself, the dreamlike moments already in waking life.
This year’s Women in Comedy Festival is the biggest yet, spread across several venues, with dozens of talented ladies from across the country—and, as before, a few stowaway men—performing sketch, improv, music, stand-up, and even a little puppetry. Headliners include Maria Bamford, Amy Sedaris, Wendy Liebman, Judy Gold, Erin Jackson, Jackice Kashian, Lauren Ash, Leslie Seiler and Kelly MacFarland.
Boston Ballet's Next Generation 2014
Wednesday, 7 p.m. Boston Opera House 539 Washington St., Boston $25-$100, 617-695-6955 www.bostonballet.org
Witness the best in young local dance talent at this show, featuring members of the Boston Ballet’s Pre-Professional Program, Boston Ballet II and the New England Conservatory's Youth Philharmonic Orchestra. The program includes George Balanchine’s setting of Mendelssohn’s third symphony, known as the “Scotch Symphony”, as well as an original work by Yury Yanowsky, the Boston Ballet’s principal dancer.
This Seattle-based poet will read from her latest collection, “Cloud Pharmacy”, partially inspired by the work of Hannah Maynard, an early experimental photographer fond of duplicating images of herself in the same shot, as if to show the several sides of her personality. Rich accomplishes a similar effect in her poems, conveying the unique person beneath the everyday waverings of mind.
Joe Papp in Five Acts
Friday, 5:30 p.m. Museum of Fine Arts 465 Huntington Ave., Boston $10-$12, 781-736-8600 www.jewishfilm.org
This documentary tells the story of Joe Papp, founder of Manhattan’s Public Theater, an early champion of racially integrated productions, popularizer of the now-ubiquitous “Shakespeare in the Park” concept, and mentor to countless stars of stage and screen, many of whom appear here singing his praises. It screens again at the Modern Theater on Saturday—check the site above for more info.
Detroit native Sixto Rodriguez put out a couple of great folk rock albums in the 70’s to little fanfare, but years later he discovered, much to his surprise, that he’d become an anti-establishment cult hero south of the equator. The release of an Oscar-winning 2012 documentary, “Searching for Sugar Man”, finally won him the notoriety at home that had eluded him for decades.
Saturday, 9 p.m. Great Scott 1222 Comm. Ave., Allston $12-$14, 21+, 800-745-3000 www.ticketmaster.com
EMA are the initials of industrial pop diva Erika M. Anderson. Though it’s always been cool in indie music sing without a trace of emotion, Anderson’s vocals, sometimes the only truly melodic presence in the monstrous machine landscape of her music, have the drama turned up to 11—it’s the sound of humanity drowning ecstatically in its own technological fever dream. Awesome.
Card-carrying members of the original mid 1970’s CBGB scene, Television, with their wiry but densely melodic guitar lines and weird, detached emotionality, signaled a total withdrawl from the pentatonic doldrums of blues-based rock, while their sparse, stripped-down aesthetic charted the course for a new kind of inward-looking progressive sound, helping to spawn entire genres of alternative rock in the process.
Art Spiegelman: What the %@&*! Happened to Comics?
Graphic novelist Art Spiegelman, of all people, ought to know the answer to the question he poses in the title of this talk on the history of comics. Best known for “Maus”, his complex, profound exploration of the Holocaust in history and memory, he has been a crucial figure in establishing the potential of comics as a literary art form.