Massachusetts Independent Film Festival
From tales of art theft, Africa and Alzheimer’s to a parallel words fantasy, a tense emergency thriller and a mind-bending story of mass psychology, the picks for this year’s Massachusetts Independent Film Festival seem united by a taste for the unexpected, exploring the demands that life’s plan-ruining tendencies put on individuals to rise to the occasion and venture into the unknowable future.
Brattle Theater, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge
Salvation Army Community Food Festival
Your admission fee for the Salvation Army’s 15th annual food festival, featuring offerings from establishments across Cambridge and Somerville, benefits the Army’s Bridging the Gap program, offering life skills education for at-risk youth. As of this writing, there’s no word on which restaurants will be donating, but we’re confident it’ll be worth your lunch break. The Biogen Blues Band provides live music.
August 26, noon to 2 p.m.
University Park, 23 Sydney St., Cambridge
Like Yellowcard, the charismatic local band Nemes is a punk-pop band with a violinist, but their folk-inflected songwriting chops are much stronger than that boilerplate Floridian mallpunk act, and we’re pretty sure violinist, Josh Knowles could shred circles around his Yellowcard counterpart. With nearly a decade passed since their first release, they grow ever closer to perfecting their distinctive voice.
August 26, 8 p.m.
Thunder Road, 379 Somerville Ave., Somerville
Della Robbia: Sculpting with Color in Renaissance Florence
When we think of Renaissance sculpture, we probably think first of Michelangelo’s marble-hewn masterpieces, but the terra cotta work of the Della Robbia family would have been much more visible at the time. The groundbreaking glazing technique of patriarch Lucca, faithfully passed down by his descendents, is now lost, making these gloriously colored pieces all the more mystifying and exceptional.
Through December 4
Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston
It’s easy, and probably wise, to assume politicians will break their campaign promises, but what about us? Do we keep our promises in the socio-political sphere? Do we even have the courage to make any? This interactive art project, conceived by Paul Ramirez Jonas, gives you the chance to write out your own personal promise to society.
August 27 through September 17
Various locations, Boston area
Notes from Doing Time in Education
Anna Deavere Smith wrote and performs this one-woman show, in which she argues that the problem of mass incarceration in the United States—which boasts the most prisoners per capita of any nation—begins with the problems in our educational system. Smith gives voice to the various players in this real-life drama before inviting the audience into the conversation.
Through September 17
Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St., Cambridge
Mad Dash: A Theatrical Endeavor in 24 Hours
In this annual event, hosted by Fresh Ink Theater, folks from all around the Boston theater community gather to create eight original productions, entirely from scratch, within a 24 hour period. On Saturday you can see the results, and anyone who’s written a college essay at the last minute knows that sometimes those results can be surprisingly good.
August 27, 8 p.m.
BCA Plaza Theater, 539 Tremont St., Boston
Pirate Ship Harbor Cruise
There are any number of boat rides you could take in Boston Harbor, but this is the only one that takes place on a replica pirate ship. You’ll learn what life was and wasn’t like in the so-called “Golden Age of Piracy,” as sails are hoisted and cannons fired, all while taking in beautiful views of a thankfully pirate-free modern Boston Harbor.
Ongoing through October 30
Massachusetts Bay Lines, 60 Rowes Wharf, Boston
The Gas presents this emerging Boston-born talent, who’s performed nationally, opened for Maria Bamford and been a comic-in-residence at the Comedy Studio. While the stale old “fat chick” jokes of male comics annoy her, she often mines her plus-sized body type for material. She prefers the term “thick”— she says in one bit, because it makes her sound “like an expensive steak.”
August 26, 7:00 p.m.
Great Scott, 1222 Comm. Ave., Allston
$5, 18+, http://bit.ly/2btbMAl
Alex Gettlin got his start on “TMZ”, but his standup is a lot more creative than the low-hanging fruit of celebrity gossip. Even with the well-worn subjects of dating and sexual difference, he’s an original thinker. He’s skilled at dealing with a hostile audience as well—you can see him on YouTube shutting down hecklers, and twisting a mediocre reaction into a big laugh.
August 29, 8:30 p.m.
Cityside Bar, 1960 Beacon St., Boston
When DJ Jace Clayton’s 2001 mix “Gold Teeth Thief” became a viral hit through entirely organic word-of-mouth means, he found himself smack dab at the crossroads of the music industry’s angst-filled transition into a post-Internet economy. At this event he’ll discuss his new book “Uproot” containing his reflections on the rise of digital media distribution in a global society.
August 31, 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, 1256 Mass Ave., Cambridge
Exactly how you want to spend your weekend