Doug Varone dancers

Doug Varone and dancers


Through Dec. 6
Tufts University Art Gallery
40 Talbot Ave., Medford
Free, 617-627-3518
There’s a lot going on in this exhibition by Shahzia Sikander, an artist from the United Arab Emirates. It centers on an immersive animation with sonic contributions from composer Du Yun, inspired by the topography and history of the UAE. Sikander expresses social tensions through clashing visual forms as hundreds of images flash before the viewer’s eye.

Ta-Nehisi Coates
Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Gasson Hall, Boston College
140 Comm. Ave., Chestnut Hill
Free, 617-552-2203
Ta-Nehisi Coates has emerged as one of the most powerful writers on race in our time. His article “The Case for Reparations” generated quite a bit of talk, and his latest book, “Between the World and Me,”takes the form of a letter his son on what it means to be black in America. Seating is first-come first-serve so show up early.

Friday, 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall
30 Gainsborough St., Boston
$20-$60, 617-553-4887
The maverick local orchestra A Far Cry welcomes Robert Pinsky, former US Poet Laureate and poetry professor at Boston University, who’ll lend his narration for Jean Francaix’s “The Inestimable Chronicles of the Good Giant Gargantua,” based on the bawdy early modern satire “Gargantua and Pantagruel” by Rabelais.

Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya
Sunday, 7:30 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center
136 Mass. Ave., Boston
$30-$48, 617-876-4275
A jazz hero in his native South Africa, where he and his band were the first black musicians to release an jazz album, pianist Abdullah Ibrahim mixes Monk and Ellington with gospel and the traditional songs he heard growing up in Cape Town, where he became a crucial figure in the develop of the local style known as cape jazz.


John Grant
Friday, 9 p.m.
The Sinclair
52 Church St., Cambridge
$20-$22, 800-745-3000

A member of Denver’s the Czars from 1994 to 2004, John Grant went solo in 2010, releasing the album “Queen of Denmark”, on which the singer-songwriter discussing frankly his struggles with sexuality and drugs. This year saw the release of “Grey Tickles, Black Pressure,” which finds his powerful voice and theatrical songcraft in fine form.

The Dear Hunter
Saturday, 6:30 p.m.
279 Tremont St., Boston
$20, 18+, 800-745-3000
Not to be confused with the indie rock band Deerhunter, this Providence band has a cinematic, orchestral sensibility expanding on the dramatic tendencies of post-hardcore, the scene from which frontman Casey Crescenzo emerged. Their highly ambitious, sonically diverse albums have traced a six-part story arc that still isn’t finished. Part Four, “Rebirth in Reprise,” appeared in September.

The Word
Saturday, 8 p.m.
The Paradise
967 Comm. Ave., Boston
$30, 18+, 800-745-3000

This gospel supergroup, formed in 2001, features pedal steel virtuoso Robert Randolph, keyboardist John Medeski and the North Mississippi Allstars. Inspired by a gospel movement dating back to the 1930’s called Sacred Steel, they came together to create their own entirely instrumental take on the sound — so if you don’t like religious lyrics, worry not, there aren’t any.

Spellbound Contemporary Ballet
Friday and Saturday
Citi Shubert Theater
265 Tremont St.
$60-$75, 617-482-9393
This Italian dance company will perform choreographer Mauro Astolfi’s take on Vivaldi’s classic piece “The Four Seasons,” which attempts to move beyond the tired old symbols of Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. In addition to Vivaldi, Astolfi has integrated “fragments of bird song, modal ancient melody, abstract electronic sound bites, the glass harmonica and bass flute” into his production.

Doug Varone and Dancers
Friday and Saturday
Institute of Contemporary Art
100 Northern Ave., Boston
$48, 617-876-4275
This New York based contemporary dance company will perform the Boston premiere of “ReComposed,” which takes inspiration from the pastel drawings of Joan Mitchell and is set to a new version of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” by Max Richter. Varone gives his dancers considerable room to interpret his ideas, making the company’s performances very much a collaborative effort.

Miss Penitentiary
Through Saturday
Boston Playwrights’ Theater
949 Comm. Ave., Boston
$25, 330-338-1966
Maiden Phoenix Theater Company presents this surreal feminist vision from Laura Neubauer, which sounds somewhere between Kafka and “Orange is the New Black.” Neubauer imagines a prison, the International Penitentiary for the Individually Incarcerated, whose inmates are all women. Their only crime: being women. The only way to escape? Win a beauty pageant. One inmate, however, has a different plan.

The Threepenny Opera
Thursday through Sunday
Boston Conservatory Theater
31 Hemenway St., Boston
$25-$30, 617-912-9222
Boston Conservatory students take on this classic musical play from Kurt Weill and Bertold Brecht, a merciless satire from Weimar Germany on contemporary morals (or rather the lack thereof) that only seems more relevant today, when revelations of corruption seem only a leak away. Our non-hero is Mack the Knife, a criminal who has friends in surprisingly high places.

Home Movie Day
Saturday, 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
New England Historical Genealogical Society
99-101 Newbury St., Boston
Free, 617-496-3211
People from across the area will contribute home movies for this viewing. You never know what you’ll see. It’s kind of like a video equivalent of Found Magazine. It might be funny, it might be poignant, it might make you nostalgic, it might just be totally freakin’ strange. If you’ve got an interesting home movie, submit it by 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.

Boston Palestine Film Festival
Friday through Oct. 25
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
465 Huntington Ave., Boston
$5-$124, 800-440-6975
This annual showcase of Palestinian cinema, a roughly even mix of fiction and documentary, returns to the Museum of Fine Arts, with a few screenings at other venues, including an LGBT pairing at the Cambridge Public Library. A series like this has the power to show the innumerable individual facets of a people’s collective experience, penetrating the anonymity of the headlines.

Sh*t-Faced Shakespeare
Through December 30
Laugh Boston
425 Summer St., Boston
$25, 617-725-2844
If you missed this show in Somerville this Summer, it’s only gone a bit south. The premise is simple enough. A few actors will perform a Shakespearean work, but one of them will be selected at random to get completely tanked, inevitably screwing up the play in totally unpredictable ways. Fans of “Drunk History” should check this out.

Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo
Saturday and Sunday
University Hall, Lesley University
1817 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
Free, 858-344-4357
Indie comics fans and/or artists won’t want to miss this weekend-long event, with creators from across the region setting up booths for their work, and lots of panels and workshops to expand your mind and your comics skills. Special guests include Gene Luen Yang, Ryan North, Lucy Knisley, Dustin Harbin and Jennifer Hayden, who join nearly 150 other exhibitors.

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