Saturday, July 28, 2012

SAT 7/28: Skills, Art, Music, Shakespeare, Opera

Since the internet connection may be spotty in the hinterlands of Maine, I was hoping to have all of the next week prepared. Alas, we're touch and go this week. Good luck to you and me both.


SAT 7/28

11am to 6:30pm
Boston Skillshare 2012
at Spontaneous Celebrations, 45 Danforth St, Jamaica Plain
$3 to $10 sliding scale donation

Isn't it nice that people with knowledge are willing to share with you? The donation is probably going to cover costs of putting on the event, so no one is getting rich telling you how to 'forage for edible wild plants.' It's a sliding scale on what you can afford, and you don't have to pay anything.

Besides foraging tips, some of the 30 or so topics include: "Canning & Pickling", "Bikes 101: mechanics and urban skills", "Diagrams that Get to the Roots of Complex Systems", "Meeting Facilitation Trouble Shooting", "Traditional Chinese Medicine", and "The no gun guide to home tattooing". Yikes!

Most skillshares are scheduled for an hour; some are 30 minutes and some are 90 minutes.

SAT 7/28 (and SUN 7/29)

Various Times
FIGMENT Boston 2012
at Kennedy Greenway, Boston (from South Station to Faneuil Hall)

Saturday -- 11am to 11pm
Sunday -- 11am to 6pm
If you're in town this weekend, walk around Downtown Boston! With professional concerts in Copley Square and Shakespeare in the Common, you wouldn't think there could be a giant experimental arts festival on the Greenway.

All sorts of installations and performances will be strewn about to gawk as well as to interact. Some of the things that caught my eye include a 20 foot tall dome, "Blindfolded Musical Chairs", a fiberglass moose as blank canvas, a 4 foot kaleidoscope, two giant-sized battleship game boards, "Twisted Twister", and spray paint stencils for whatever clothes you bring. There's plenty of music and dance along the way.

The whole thing could probably be considered a large-scale art piece. I saw some photos from last year, but it may be completely different.

SAT 7/28

Noon to 9pm
Starlab Fest 2012
at Starlab, 32 Prospect St, Somerville (Union Sq)
$10 Suggested Donation


Main Stage: Movers & Shakers, Creaturos, Skaters, The Proselyte, Coyote Kolb, Dan Webb & the Spiders, The New Highway Hymnal, Courters

Acoustic Stage: Larcenist, Jeff Rowe, Civil Warblers, Tony the Bookie, Amelia Emmet, Man Alive!, Cask Mouse

Add this as one of the cool things that happen in the Union Square area. The first Starlab Fest in 2010 was a benefit to to offset flood damage repair costs, and they've kept doing it.

If I wasn't leaving town, I'd be at Starlab for a long friggin' day of kickass bands. Go anytime, and you won't be disappointed with 2 stages. I suspect the most excellent Movers & Shakers will take the last slot of the day. Sadly it's their final gig. (Maybe we'll get a couple new bands out of it. Perhaps 'movers' in one group and 'shakers' in the other?)

When I've been before, the hipsters often give me that "what are you doing here" look -- screw them as long they make this a public event. Don't be bashful about grabbing some of the complimentary food. I don't recall a formal cash bar in my previous visit, but it doesn't hurt to get a little organized. (Psst, I think there will be a special on Narragansetts.)

SAT 7/28 (and 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.

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.

SAT 7/28

The FUs, Antibodies, Brunt Of It, The Stretchers, More Beer Please
at The Midway Cafe, 3496 Washington St, Jamaica Plain
$10 / All Ages

3:15pm -- More Beer Please
4pm -- The Stretchers
4:50pm -- Brunt Of It
5:45pm -- AntiBodies
6:40pm -- The F.U.'s
I saw this gig listed on Facebook as the Midway Cafe's 25th anniversary show. Maybe it isn't, but it's completely plausible the Midway would neglect to provide this kind of information.

To give credit where it's due, the expanded club was a great idea. And they still hold killer punk matinees with the likes of classic Boston hardcore band The FU's.

SAT 7/28 (and SUN 7/29)

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

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
It's been a while since I've noticed big concerts like these on the lawn in front of Trinity Church. It gives me the urge to buy a newspaper or renew my public radio subscription to keep them coming.

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...

SAT 7/28

The Pomegranates (7:45pm), River City Extension (6:45pm), Kitten (6pm)
at TT the Bear's Place, 10 Brookline St, Cambridge (Central Sq)
$10 / 18+

It's a weird time for a show, but I've enjoyed The Pomegranates' textured, catchy pop from the first time I heard them and every subsequent swing through Boston. If that ain't enough, River City Extension is a big, amped-up folk-rock behemoth from New Jersey.

SAT 7/28

Happy Lives (10:45pm), Ceschi (9:45pm), Lord Jeff (8:45pm), Sun Sister (7:50pm), Bacharachattack! (7pm)
at UnchARTed Gallery, 66 Merrimack St, Lowell
FREE / Donations Gladly Accepted

If you're going to be in Lowell for the folk festival, you might as well check out the opening of the UnchARTed Gallery. It's open throughout the day for art before the music starts -- and no band on the bill is folky.

The folks that run the gallery play in a Burt Bacharach tribute band that seems to be popular in Lowell. Then it's mainly weird, noisy, synthy pop thereafter.

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.)

For the record, this is the 'nice part' of Chelsea.

SAT 7/28 (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.

SAT 7/28 (and 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.

SAT 7/28

Milo Greene, Family of the Year
at Middle East - Upstairs, 472 Mass Ave, Cambridge (Central Sq)
$10 / 18+

If you like lush indie/folk-rock from Los Angeles with waves and waves of boy-girl harmonies, then be prepared for tingling sensation to last for a couple hours.

SAT 7/28

Andrea Gillis Band
at Atwoods Tavern, 877 Cambridge St, Cambridge (near Inman & Kendall Sq)
$5 / 21+

I experienced bar-band Nirvana on a Friday night at the Plough & Stars when the Andrea Gillis Band were mowing through songs like a locomotive with Andrea's voice like a soulful horn leading the charge that's barely staying on the tracks. Then she sang while strutting on top of the bar.

That isn't as feasible tonight, but it should be a pretty awesome Saturday night soundtrack. Think of it as a preview of tomorrow's Boston Rock and Soul Festival without having to get on a boat for several hours.

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