Friday, July 27, 2012

FRI 7/27: Fun, Music, Dance, Comedy, Shakespeare, Opera, Film

I will try to have the weekend up stuff soon, since I'm going out of town. The CTB calendar can point you in directions for the next week. Let's cross our fingers for the outdoor events...

Update: There's also a bluegrass/folk show at the Massasoit Lodge near Central Square ($5).

I've been to many North End feasts, but I still like going for my favorite calamari every now and then. (Look for the old guy with old sailor's cap.) It's the St. Joseph’s Feast this weekend, and a variety of saints are feted through August by setting up vendor booths and carnival games.


FRI 7/27 (thru FRI 8/31)

Various Times
"Free Fun Fridays"
at N.E. Historic Genealogical Society, 99 Newbury St, Boston (Back Bay)
at New Repertory Theatre, Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown

at Children’s Museum in Easton
at Springfield Museums

One of the best free summer programs lets you choose from a different set of cool places around the Commonwealth for 10 Fridays in a row. If you've got visitors or you take a Friday off, you've got some to do -- if you're not going to the Cape (or wherever).

It's not exactly the most exciting Friday of the summer. The New England Historic Genealogical Society could get started looking around your family tree. You don't need to take youngsters to the 2pm or 5pm performances of "Tales of Poe" by the New Repertory Theater, there may be a bunch of them in the crowd.

Next week's destinations include the Museum of Fine Arts, Arnold Arboretum, Fuller Craft Museum, and the Norman Rockwell Museum (road trip).

FRI 7/27

Jazz Funeral for Passed WGBH Music Programs
at Copley Square, about 600 Boylston St, Boston (Back Bay)

You may or may not know that jazz programming has been significantly reduced on WGBH radio, and there was already one protest in front of the station earlier this month.

Prior to the kickoff of the "Globe/WGBH Summer Arts Weekend" (see below), a jazz funeral is planned to bring attention to GBH's short shrift to classical and folk music as well.

All musicians are welcome to join in on the tunes and are asked to show up 15 minutes early.

FRI 7/27 (to SUN 7/29)

Various Times
Annual Lowell Folk Festival
at Various Spots in Downtown Lowell

Friday -- 6:40pm to 9:15pm
Saturday -- Noon to 10pm
Sunday -- Noon to 6pm
While others may be heading to Newport this weekend to get one kind of folk music. The Lowell Folk Festival emphasizes folks playing music from around the country and all corners of the globe.

There are performance areas throughout downtown Lowell where dozens of groups serve up dozens of musical flavors as well as other street entertainment.

Every year there's at least one special guest, and the LFF doesn't disappoint with Magic Slim who moved to Chicago in the '50s to play the blues. He's not considered one of the pantheon of blues guitarists (like his mentor Magic Sam), but Slim has been an much-loved and award-winning bluesman ever since. He's playing tonight and tomorrow.

As usual, there will be loads of food vendors with a wide variety of ethnic goodies; take a stroll around the festival to see & smell what you’ll like.

FRI 7/27 (to SUN 7/29)

Various Times
"Summer Arts Weekend"
at Copley Square, about 600 Boylston St, Boston

7pm -- Sierra Hull & Highway 111
7:45pm -- Preservation Hall Jazz Band
8:30pm -- Del McCoury w/ Preservation Hall Jazz Band
9:15pm -- Irma Thomas
11am to 4pm -- Various kids' music performers
4:15pm -- The Low Anthem
5:45pm -- Poncho Sanchez
7:30pm -- Suzanne Vega
9:15pm -- Soul Rebels
1pm -- New England Conservatory: Contemporary Improv Showcase
2:15pm -- Anderson & Roe
3:30pm -- Igudesman and Joo
4:45pm -- Alison Balsom w/ Landmarks Orchestra
Despite WGBH co-sponsoring free concerts that bring nationally recognized acts in various genres including jazz, folk, and classical; some people will still point to the 362 other days of the year (see above).

The rest of us can sit back and appreciate the big names. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band is living-breathing New Orleans history, and they're in Boston tonight before tomorrow's Newport Folk Fest gig. In addition to their own set, PHJB will back bluegrass legend Del McCoury before the "Soul Queen of New Orleans" hits the stage with songs like "It's Raining", "Wish Someone Would Care", "I Done Got Over It" and "Time Is on My Side" (made famous by The Stones).

During Saturday afternoon, there are a bunch of performers aimed towards kids (such as Dan Zanes). The second half features indie-folk from The Low Anthem and Suzanne Vega, the classic Latin jazz of Poncho Sanchez, and more New Orleans horn-power thanks to the Soul Rebels brass band.

Sunday's program leans in the classical direction, so it might be easier to find a spot on the lawn...

FRI 7/27

7pm to 10pm
Somerville Dance Fest
at Union Sq Plaza, Somerville (nexus of Somerville Ave, Washington St, Bow St)

It's the time of the season when you can walk around Union Square on the weekend and have a good chance that something cultural and/or peculiar is happening.

The Zoe Dance Company have organized about a dozen dance groups of different styles from around town as well as Philly, New York and Ireland. They will all use video projections to augment the choreography or improvisation, which should be pretty cool.

Rain date: SAT 7/28

FRI 7/27

7:30pm to 9:30pm
Anderson Comedy: "Philadelphia Comes to The Gas"
at Great Scott, 1222 Comm Ave, Allston
$5 / 18+

Feat: Alex Grubard, Alex Pearlman, John Nunn, Tim Vargulish, Nate Johnson

Anderson Comedy has The Gas every Friday, and I'm an advocate of the idea of early Friday fun so you can spend the rest of the night doing anything else.

Three funnymen of Philly will mix it up with some local guys. We'll see how much regional rivalry pops up.

The price is right for a bunch of laughs and a few beers. And there's nothing wrong with staying at Great Scott and dancing (or standing around) with "The Pill" at 10pm.

FRI 7/27 (and SAT 7/28)

"Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead"
at Mary O'Malley Park, Commandant’s Way, Chelsea Waterfront
Friday -- Spanish
Saturday -- English
The movie was rather funny in an absurd way, so I can imagine the source play should be even better.

The titular characters were two minor players in Shakespeare's "Hamlet" who do play an important part in serving the overall plot despite their short appearances. The premise of this play is "What were Rosencrantz and Guildenstern doing?"

Tomorrow is one more chance to see it performed in English. Si habla Espanol, press 2 and enjoy it tonight.

The #111 bus may be your best bet for an adventure in free theatre on the other side of the Tobin. (They recommend bringing lawn chairs or blankets -- I sat on the grass.)

FRI 7/27 (thru SUN 8/12)

Shakespeare on the Common: "Coriolanus"
at Parkman Bandstand, about 165 Tremont St, Boston (Boston Common / Tremont St Side)
Tuesdays to Saturdays -- 8pm
Sundays -- 7pm
In its 17th year, Shakespeare on the Common is perennially one of the best cheap thrills you'll find in Boston. Sure... New York has 'Shakespeare in the Park', but not every town has professional actors bringing the Bard to life outside where anyone can walk up and get cultured.

The story in "Coriolanus", a play set in Rome and written 400 years ago, might be familiar to the contemporary audience: People rioting in the street, because resources are being withheld from the masses. Those in power think they don't deserve it, and the main character has a special disdain for the common person although he's encouraged to run for office.

Although last year's film may have earned some accessibility for the play, it's long been said to be one the lesser works of Shakespeare. Like the movie, the costumes don't look like Roman garb; there will also be some fight scenes -- on a smaller scale.

Despite my indifference to the selection, I will still list the play every night, because 1) you might like it anyway and 2) this is an annual gift to the residents (and visitors).

"May not be appropriate for all ages. Parental discretion is advised."

Show up early between 8/3 and 8/12 for live music performances.

FRI 7/27 (to SUN 7/29)

Various Times
"Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld"
at Strand Theatre, 543 Columbia Road, Dorchester (Upham's Corner)
Friday & Saturday -- 8pm
Sunday -- 3pm
Based on the Greek myth where a great musician goes to Hell to retrieve his wife, Offenbach created a parody that also tweaks an opera that was written about 100 years earlier. "Orpheus in the Underworld" may be best known for the excerpt that's known as the can-can, which is kinda cool.

I assume the production will be sung in French with the English projected above the stage.

FRI 7/27

Jabe (8pm), Three Day Threshold (10pm)
at Toad, 1912 Mass Ave, Cambridge (Porter Sq)

Although he's moved to Nashville, Jabe returns to the area every now and then. Whether solo or with Southern compatriots, I'd wager that some of his rootsy friends/ex-bandmates may get onstage for a rockin' good time. It looks like he'll be at Atwoods on WED 8/1 too.

Three Day Threshold kicks the alt-country/Americana party up a few notches because Harvard Square audio store Sound Lion will be handing out 'shwag' and will buy 15 drinks at some point during TDT's set.

FRI 7/27

Movies by Moonlight: "Jaws"
at Boston Harbor Hotel, 70 Rowes Wharf, Boston (Waterfront)

In case you're wondering, I did find the retro Narragansett cans. You can buy them in 6-pack, they don't taste better than the usual cans, and they are NOT made of tin like the 1975 version. You probably won't find any at the screening.

Quint will drink it, and he will crush that can in his hand. There will be a killer shark threatening the tourists on a New England island, and that shark will build the suspense and show up at the very end!

There is space to sit and see the screen at the BHH even if you're not dining/drinking, and it's kinda cool to sit on the waterfront. Then there are the family films at the Hatch Shell on Fridays.

FRI 7/27

Aloud (Midnight), Sidewalk Driver (11pm), Dirty Wings (10pm), Parlour Bells (9pm)
at TT the Bear's Place, 10 Brookline St, Cambridge (Central Sq)


If you want to see a great rock show, this is my pick of the night for the quality and variety. After a decade of rocking with great songs and passion, Aloud is still kicking ass and continue getting better that should be in arenas and stadiums. Sidewalk Driver is an awesome 21st-century glam-rock band with an amazing singer who also signs on to the flamboyant look. To even things out, Parlour Bells make moody, classy, dramatic pop and NYC's Dirty Wings are a punky bunch of heartland rockers.

FRI 7/27

Sweatshop (Midnight), The Nickel & Dime Band (11pm), Epileptic Disco (10pm), The Tom Appleman Band (9pm)
at Church, 69 Kilmarnock St, Boston (Fenway)
$10 / 21+


Are you ready for a rap-rock-funk party?

I haven't really given it much thought lately. Epileptic Disco spent a big chunk of the '90s making bro's dance around in funny ways. They had a 10-year reunion a couple years ago, and tonight they're joining funky-rap whippersnappers Sweatshop.

Of course some of the Epileptic Disco guys currently play in The Nickel & Dime Band including Tom Appleman who will have a night with his own band's set.

FRI 7/27

By the Throat (Midnight), Mung (11pm), White Dynomite (10pm), The Black Cheers (9pm)
at PA's Lounge, 345 Somerville Ave, Somerville (Union Sq)
$10 / 21+

Are you ready for a punk party?

Unlike rap-rock groups (exception for Epileptic Disco), hardcore punk bands never die -- they keep popping back up as long as some of the guys are still alive. Whenever Mung emerges from hibernation, the claws and fangs will likely be out. If there's a name that says 'hardcore', it's By the Throat. The Black Cheers bring it on loud and fast. We'll have to keep the faith about the 'punk-soul explosion' that is White Dynomite, because I haven't heard them.

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