Boston Calendar of Cultural Events 10/17/11 – 10/22/11

Films Dance and Opera This Week

Nélida Nassar  10.15.2011

Monday, October 17, 2011 7:30 PM 
Central Square Theatre: Women of Will 
The masterwork of Shakespeare & Company’s Founding Artistic Director, Tina Packer, is the culmination of her decades-long fascination with Shakespeare’s heroines. Through a combination of scenes, monologues, and sparkling commentary, Ms. Packer takes us on a journey, illuminating the evolution of the feminine in Shakespeare’s plays, and in so doing, showing us the ways in which Shakespeare believed we could build a better world. Women of Will features a special two-part schedule: For the first three weeks (October 13-30), we will present The Overview, featuring highlights of the five-part The Complete Journey, which will be presented in the final week (November 4-6).

Monday, October 17, 2011 7:00 PM 
Harvard Film Archives: Law and Order
Directed by Frederick Wiseman, US 1969, 16mm, b/w, 81 min
A series of vignettes focused on the day-to-day work of Kansas City, Missouri police covers the range of circumstances they encounter and the variety of social roles they are asked to play. More than simply chasing down criminals, the police appear to act as counselors, negotiators and arbitrators of civil injustices, minor altercations and petty crimes. Filmed at the height of an anti-authoritarian age, the policemen shown are more frequently reasonable, patient and fair than sadistic, inhumane or incompetent. When a policeman does step out of line, the fact that he knows he is being filmed is as revealing as the unguarded asides or unnecessary violence captured by the camera.

Tuesday October 19, 2001 1.15 PM – 2.25 PM
Museum of Fine Arts: Savage Memory
by Zachary Stuart and Kelly Thomson (2011, 75 min.).
In 1915, Bronislaw Malinowski set out to document the ‘exotic’ practices of a small group of islanders off the coast of Papua New Guinea. With extensive data on sex, magic, and spirits of the dead, his work set the stage for anthropologists for decades to come and brought him fame as one of the founding fathers of anthropology. Four generations and almost 100 years later, his great grandson travels to the Trobriand Islands in Papua New Guinea and looks at the very controversial legacy Malinowski left behind — within the field of anthropology, within his own family, and among the descendents of the people he studied.  A meditation on the ways in which history and legacy are fabricated, created, and preserved, Savage Memory asks viewers to question how we relate to our ancestors as a result of our cultural and personal experiences. Discussion with directors follows the Oct 13 screening.

Friday Oct. 21 – Nov. 19, 2011
The Divine Sister is an inspired homage to every Hollywood film ever made about nuns. Written by Charles Busch, the comic genius behind such classics as Die, Mommie, Die!; Psycho Beach Party; and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, this gleefully twisted tale tells the story of an indomitable Mother Superior trying to cope with a young postulant experiencing “visions,” a sensitive schoolboy in need of mentoring, a mysterious nun visiting from Berlin, and a former suitor intent on luring her away from her vows.

Friday October 21, 2011 6.30 AM – 8.30 PM
Museum of Fine Arts: The Time That Remains
by Elia Suleiman (UK/Italy/Belgium/France, 2009, 109 min.). Subtitled Chronicle of a Present Absentee, this humorous, heartbreaking film is shot in homes and places where Suleiman’s family, who are Palestinian citizens of Israel, once lived. Inspired by his father’s diaries, letters his mother sent to family members who fled the Israeli occupation, and the director’s own recollections, the film spans from 1948 until the present, recounting the saga of Suleiman’s family in four elegantly stylized episodes. Suleiman plays a silent, impassive observer through a series of surreal, blackly comic episodes from his family’s history in Nazareth that show how people learn to live in the face of death, dispossession, and destruction. Each generation found its own strategy of resistance.

Friday October 21, 2011 7.30 AM
Saturday October 22, 2011 8.00 AM
Institute of Contemporary Art: CRASHarts presents Gallim Dance
Set to a collage of music Andrea Miller’s visceral choreography investigates themes of intimacy, instability, and the desire of the heart and body to feel strongly. Founded in 2006 by choreographer Andrea Miller‹a former Batsheva Ensemble dancer Gallim Dance is a New York City­based company that has been called “gloriously quirky” by Dance Magazine and “Excellent, inventive, impressive” by The New York Times. The young company will perform Blush, an invigorating work dense with emotion and physical exertion. In this piece set to a collage of music ranging from Chopin to electro punk, Miller’s visceral choreography investigates themes of intimacy, instability, and the desire of the heart and body to feel strongly.

Friday October 21, 2011 7.00 AM
Harvard Film Archives: The Flower Thief
Directed by Ron Rice. With Taylor Mead, Barry Clark, Heinz EllsworthUS 1960, 16mm, b/w, 75min
In the old Hollywood days movie studios would keep a man on the set who, when all other sources of ideas failed (writers, directors) was called upon to ‘cook up’ something for filming. He was called The Wild Man. The Flower Thief has been put together in memory of all dead wild men who died unnoticed in the field of stunt.“Ron Rice” Inspired by the poetry of Allen Ginsberg and especially by Robert Frank and Alfred Leslie’s Pull My Daisy (1959), Ron Rice cast Mead as the protagonist of his own improvised, Beat-inspired vehicle: a picaresque ramble through San Francisco coffee houses, playgrounds and ramshackle seafront structures.

Friday October 21, 2011 to October 25, 20111
Cutler Majestic Opera Boston: Berlioz’ Béatrice et Bénédict

Based on Shakespeare¹s Much Ado About   Nothing, Berlioz¹ lovely, luminous Béatrice et Bénédict stars Julie   Boulianne, whose “truly lush lyric mezzo-soprano” (Opera News) is bringing her   wide acclaim, and Sean Panikkar, a ³dashing tenor with apt stage presence and a full-voiced, exceptional sound² (Opera News). Mezzo-soprano Kelley O¹Connor (last seen here as Federico García Lorca in Ainadamar) appears as Ursule and Heather Buck returns as Héro. Sung in French with English titles. All performances at the Cutler Majestic Theatre, 219 Tremont Street, Boston

Friday October 21, 2011 8.00 PM and 10.30 PM
Oberon: The Rocky Horror Show
Boston’s infamous Gold Dust Orphans bring this rock and roll happening to new levels, as the show explodes all around you.  Forget the Glee version, this show puts the glitter balls back in Rocky Horror! When clean cut Brad and Janet get stranded on the side of the road and seek help from the Frankenstein   Place, they super-naturally get a touch-a-touch more than they bargained for! Dr. Frank’n’Furter (Ryan Landry) and his nasty bunch of lust-loving lingerie junkies are in the midst of a MAN-iacal experiment and baby, there is NO escape! The show features all the classic songs you’ve come to love including “Sweet Transvestite”, “Damn it Janet”, and “The Time Warp,” but this version aims to turn your insides OUT, making you (and the rest of the world) Rocky virgins all over again!

Saturday October 22, 2011 2.00 AM – 3.30 PM
Museum of Fine Arts: Chronical of a Disappearance
by Elia Suleiman (Palestine/Israel/US/Germany/France, 1996, 88 min.). It is the precursor to Suleiman’s internationally acclaimed and award-winning Divine Intervention. It sees his silent character “E. S.” cameo in a playful and symbolic series of everyday scenarios. With characteristic dry wit and an eye for the absurd at the heart of the mundane, this film is a thoughtful, politically nuanced treatment of the routines, rituals, ceremonies, and accidents that punctuate the life of “E. S.” on his return home from abroad to Palestine. Suleiman leads us on a meditative search for what it means to be Palestinian.

Saturday October 22, 2011 10.00 AM
Coolidge Corner Theatre: Cosi fan Tutti
This great comedy with an edge brings a classic score by Mozart to a witty story of deception and trust tested to its limit. Can two apparently faithful couples have their affections altered by some apparently harmless deception? Jonathan Miller¹s ever-popular production updates the 18th-century to today ­ while fashions and technology may have changed since Mozart¹s time, human behaviour remains as fickle and manipulative as ever. Royal Opera favorite Thomas Allen returns in a strong cast of singers under acclaimed German conductor Thomas Hengelbrock. The title may suggest that it is the way of women to behave this way ­ “such is the way they are” ­ but then it seems to be true of the men too. In this most sophisticated of operas with the most sublime of scores, no-one escapes unscathed.

Saturday October 22, 2011 12.00 AM – 1.15 PM
Museum of Fine Arts: Palestine Remembered preceded by The Story of Milk and Honey, Yala to the Moon, and Wajeh

Palestine Remembered by Dominique Dubosc (France, 2004, 38 min.). In July 2002, French illustrator Daniel Maja is invited to Ramallah and Gaza to develop a project for art schools in Palestine, despite the fact that most West Bank cities are under curfew. In this experimental video essay, Dubosc (Palestine In Fragments) manages to convey both the horrors of the reality perceived, and the complexities and limitations of conveying what is perceived in the visual medium.
The Story of Milk and Honey by Basma Alsharif (Lebanon, 2011, 10 min.). The Story of Milk & Honey is a short experimental video belonging to a larger four-part project, including three series of prints, that reveal an unnamed individual’s failure to write a love story. Through voiceover narration that weaves together images, letters, and songs, the details of the story transpires into a journey that explores how we perceive information, understand facts, history, images, and sound and where the individual is to be found in the midst of the material.
Yala to the Moon by Suhel Nafar and Jacqueline Reem Salloum (2011, 9 min.). Peddling CDs on the streets of the West Bank, Aseel uses her imagination to remake the world around her.
Wajeh by Murad Nassar (Palestine, 2010, 16 min.). Wajeh the coffee-seller is a central figure in the lives of thousands of people who must pass through the checkpoint everyday, starting before dawn.

Saturday October 22, 2011 7.00 AM
Harvard Film Archives: Brand X
Directed by Wynn Chamberlain. With Taylor Mead, Sally Kirkland, Tally Brown, Frank CavestaniUS 1970, 16mm, color, 87 min
After a snowbound weekend in 1969 spent watching television, painter Wynn Chamberlain was inspired to make his first film, a series of skits spoofing the politics and mass media of the day and presented as a string of faux TV shows, complete with commercials. (His previous attempt at filmmaking was preempted when houseguest Andy Warhol commandeered Chamberlain’s cache of 16mm film to make Sleep.) The result is sketch comedy of, by and for the counterculture, starring a wondrous and eclectic array of famous personalities, including Ultra Violet, Abbie Hoffman, Sally Kirkland and Sam Shepard. Taylor Mead pops up frequently as a string of delightfully bizarre characters, including a fitness guru, a televangelist and the President of the United States. Aptly described by Jonas Mekas as “propaganda for the politics of joy and disorder,” this remarkably prescient satire was unavailable for years after its initial success, until the sole surviving print surfaced quite recently and was recovered by Chamberlain.

Sunday October 23, 2011 7.30 PM to 9.30 PM
Institute of Contemporary Art Music: Babaa Maal
Tales from the Sahel: An Evening with Babaa Maal In this intimate performance, Senegalese superstar Baaba Maal returns to Boston to perform his unique and thought-provoking Tales from the Sahel. The acoustic evening features ancient Fula stories from Senegal, a discussion about how such mythological tales have led to the inspiration that is modern Africa and performances of songs that have emerged from these two apparently divergent strands. Maal will play with multi-instrumentalist Jim Palmer and his longstanding percussionist Mamadou Sarr. In this special program, Baaba Maal returns to his roots reinforcing his role as a seminal artist in the in world music arena.

Sunday October 23, 2011 5.00 PM
Harvard Film Archives: The Queen of Sheba Meets the Atom Man
Directed by Ron Rice. With Taylor Mead, Winifred Bryan, Julian Beck US 1963/82, 16mm, b/w, 109 min

As the title characters, Winifred Bryan and Taylor Mead are a comic-strip Adam and Eve in a distinctly non-Edenic industrial wasteland. Made shortly before his death in 1964 at age 29, Ron Rice’s magnum opus also features an all-star supporting cast: Jack Smith, Jonas Mekas, Judith Malina, Julian Beck and many others, including Rice himself. Mead’s performance exhibits the charm and impish physicality of the great silent comedians. His Atom Man is no superhero but rather a Cold War-era everyman at play. Unfinished at the time of Rice’s death, Mead created the present version from available footage and added a soundtrack in the 1980s with the assistance of Anthology Film Archives.

Sunday October 23, 2011 7.00 PM
Harvard Film Archives: Tarzan and Jane Regained… Sort Of
Directed by Andy Warhol. With Taylor Mead, Naomi Levine, Gerard Malanga US 1970, 16mm, color, 87 min
Andy Warhol’s first partially scripted film grew out of a visit to Los Angeles with Taylor Mead, Wynn Chamberlain and Gerard Malanga in 1963. Mead takes credit for the idea ­ inspired by a highway sign indicating an exit for the town of Tarzana ­ and the editing. Accordingly, he was cast as the lead, with the swimming pool of the Beverly Hills Hotel serving as a jungle lagoon. Mead’s slender torso and less-than-macho demeanor make for an immediate contrast from the usual Hollywood Tarzans, instantly announcing the project’s ironic attitude towards the archetypal duo of the title and the culture industry that produced them. Tarzan and Jane proceeds as a series of episodic encounters shot at several locations around southern California, with the other members of the entourage as supporting players, while providing fascinating glimpses of the Los Angeles art world at the time, including appearances by Wallace Berman and Dennis Hopper, who shows up as Mead’s stunt double. After the Village Voice published a letter by a viewer complaining that Tarzan and Jane “focus[ed] on Taylor Mead’s ass for two hours,” Warhol made a film that was just that.

Sunday October 23, 2011 7.00 PM
Institute of Contemporary Art and 
RASHarts: Tales from the Sahel: An Evening with
Baaba Maal

Presents In this intimate performance, Senegalese superstar Baaba Maal returns to Boston to perform his unique and thought-provoking Tales from the Sahel. The acoustic evening features ancient Fula stories from Senegal, a discussion about how such mythological tales have led to the inspiration that is modern Africa and performances of songs that have emerged from these two apparently divergent strands. Maal will play with multi-instrumentalist Jim Palmer and his longstanding percussionist Mamadou Sarr. In this special program, Baaba Maal returns to his roots reinforcing his role as a seminal artist in the in world music arena.

Originally Published in Berkshire Fine Arts

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