Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Thursday through Sunday
Citi Wang Theater
270 Tremont St., Boston
If we ask you to think of a place associated with contemporary dance, you probably won’t think of anywhere in Texas, where legendary choreographer Alvin Ailey grew up. At this concert his celebrated troupe will perform his seminal 1960 work “Revelations,” which deals what he called his “blood memories,” set to a soundtrack of gospel, spirituals and blues.
Friday, 7 p.m.
559 Washington St., Boston
This documentary tells the story of the Senegalese novelist and filmmaker Ousmane Sembene, who came from humble roots to eventually be hailed as the father of African cinema, and a crucial spokesman for African identity in post-colonial era. The screening includes an intro and Q and A with director Dr. Samba Gadjigo and Emerson professor Dr. Claire Andrade-Watkins.
Friday and Saturday
425 Summer St., Boston
Colin Jost is the latest “Saturday Night Live” cast member to take the “Weekend Update” anchor chair, chosen as Seth Meyers’ replacement in 2014. Before that he was head writer, so he’d probably already made you laugh without your realizing it. Jost is no stranger to Boston — he attended Harvard, where he rose to president of the legendary Harvard Lampoon.
Saturday, 8:30 p.m.
160 Mass Ave.
160 Mass. Ave., Boston
So Percussion place no limits on the potential of a percussion ensemble, performing classic works by composers like John Cage and Iannis Xenakis as well as original pieces, both on traditional instruments such as marimba, and more exotic devices like the amplified cactus. They’ll be joined by Buke and Gase, a Brooklyn duo performing on modified guitars of their own invention.
Thursday, 8 p.m.
47 Palmer St., Cambridge
Local singer-songwriter Tim Mann releases his latest album, “Chasing Dreams” at this show. Fans of George Harrison and Tom Petty will find much to enjoy in his mellow but searching tunes. He often performs on ukulele, but he avoids the instrument’s temptations towards cuteness or novelty, emphasizing instead the sincerity and humility of its dulcet tones.
Friday, 8 p.m.
Middle East Upstairs
472 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
$12, 18+, 866-777-8932
This was billed as a farewell show for local psych-rockers the TeleVibes, who were planning on moving to Austin, Texas, but they’ve changed their minds since. So come out and celebrate that the scene has retained one more killer band. It’ll be their last show for a while — in the meantime, they’ll be working on a new record.
Saturday, 8 p.m.
52 Church St., Cambridge
$15, 18+, 800-745-3000
Boston’s standout soul singer-songwriter is Arlington native Jesse Dee, a nationally praised artist who’s opened for such legends as Etta James and Al Green. He’s a reverent student of the classics since childhood, but his original songs display a writer who’s found his own voice. With his enthusiastic tenor and ample charm, he’s a difficult performer to resist.
Monday, 8 p.m.
270 Tremont St., Boston
$23, all ages, 800-745-3000
20-year-old hip-hop MC/producer Yung Lean comes from Sweden, a country better known internationally for frothy commercial pop. He spits his English language lyrics at a leaned back pace over beats packed with spacey synths and gangster heaviness. No one would mistake him for a gangster in a million years, but he swaggers like a dude who’s makin’ it rain.
Radio Contact: Tuning in to Politics, Technology and Culture
Through December 9
Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard University
1 Oxford St., Cambridge
As we all ponder whether or not social media is turning us into mindless zombies, it’s pretty crazy to think that less than a century ago, radio was just going mainstream. This exhibition, containing a fascinating assembly of historic devices, explores the history of radio technology and its massive impact on culture, from early jazz broadcasts to the Internet radio revolution.
A Southern Victory
Through March 26
Boston Playwrights’ Theater
949 Comm. Ave., Boston
Vagabond Theater presents this thought-provoking vision of a world where the Confederacy won the Civil War. Set in an alternate 1920’s, it follows the moral crisis of a young Georgian tempted to join the abolitionists, some of whom have turned to John Brown-style terrorism to make their message clear. It’s presented in three separate parts; check the website above for full details.
Tales of a Fourth-Grade Lesbo
Through March 26
Arsenal Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal St., Watertown
But for the fact that its heroine awakens to a love of women instead of men, this light-hearted play, based on playwright Gina Young’s own early 90’s tween years, and presented here for the first time on the east coast by Flat Earth Theater, would be a typical teenage growing pains tale. Of course, that one fact makes it far less typical.
The Boston LGBTQIA Artist Alliance presents work from 20 different artists, all looking towards the future of sexual politics in an age of apparent acceptance and assimilation for non-straight folks. But who’s been left behind in the wake of these victories? What’s left to be done? And how are the myriad of different identities represented by the letters LGBTQIA evolving?
This exhibition explores the ways in which we psychologically imprint ourselves onto our homes and the objects they contain. The artists convey the idea by taking common household objects and making them uncanny somehow, suggestive of an owner. They also convey the emotional contradictions of home —for instance, as a place both of comfort inside and fear of the outside.
Friday, 5:30 p.m.
Boston University College of General Studies
871 Comm. Ave., Boston
Marie Howe is one of America’s premier contemporary poets. She’s best known for her 1998 book “What the Living Do”, which found her wrestling with her brother’s death from AIDS. While she shies away from the tag of “religious poet,” the themes of religion—the meaning of life and loss, time and eternity—play strongly into her deceptively simple, contemplative verse.