PICK OF THE DAY
Frank talk During his long career, US Representative Barney Frank has been nothing if not outspoken. We imagine his impending exit from Washington won’t change that. See for yourself at Truth, Lies and Politics, a panel discussion featuring Frank, journalist Robert Kuttner, and Father J. Bryan Hehir. Author Leonard Fein moderates the program exploring the relationship (or lack thereof) between politicians and truth-telling. Jan. 3, 7:30 p.m. $15, $12 students and seniors. Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center, 333 Nahanton St., Newton. 617-965-5226, www.bostonjcc.org
Local treasures On Monday nights, two venerable jazz ensembles play in a hip little room in Cambridge. After revered tenor saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi performs with the Jerry Bergonzi Group, improvisation wizards The Fringe take the stage. Jan. 2, Bergonzi 7 p.m., Fringe 10:22 p.m. $10 per show. Lily Pad, 1353 Cambridge St., Cambridge. 617-395-1393, www.lily-pad.net
On the road again Folk fans, ever wonder what the life of a traveling singer-songwriter is like? “Troubador Blues’’ is Tom Weber’s documentary about artists carrying on the tradition of Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly. It features interviews and performances by Mary Gauthier, Chris Smither, Amy Speace, Slaid Cleaves, and other folkies. Brendan Hogan performs before the screening. Jan. 2, 8 p.m. $10. Club Passim, 47 Palmer St., Cambridge. 617-492-7679, www.clubpassim.org
Green man We read the book (thank you, William Steig). We saw the movie (thank you, Mike Myers). Now we can see our favorite ogre in “Shrek the Musical.’’ Songs, dance numbers, and inventive costumes combine in the theatrical version of the twisted fairy tale. Jan. 3-4, 7 p.m. Jan. 5-6, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 7, 2 and 8 p.m. Jan. 8, 1 and 6:30 p.m. $40-$67. Providence Performing Arts Center, 220 Weybosset St., Providence. 401-421-2787,www.ppacri.org
Help with your history Instead of swearing off cupcakes in the new year, how about resolving to research your roots? The workshop Census, Passenger Lists, & Naturalization Records is open to novice and experienced family historians. Arrive early for a tour, and stay after the genealogy event to dig into the resources. Jan. 3, tours 1:15 p.m., lecture 2 p.m. Free, call to register. National Archives, 380 Trapelo Road, Waltham. 866-406-2379.
Moments of truth We all have our family stories. To tell hers, author Amy Hoffman studied Ellis Island archives, interviewed relatives, and collected scattered familial records. The product is the forthcoming “Lies About My Family.’’ Hoffman appears with Ann Angel and Randall Kenan in the Solstice MFA Program’s Winter Reading Series. Jan. 3, 7:30 p.m. Series runs through Jan. 7. Free. Pine Manor College, Founder’s Room, 400 Heath St., Chestnut Hill. www.pmc.edu
Quick study During Take for $12, all you need is a dozen dollars to learn something new. More than 30 one-hour classes include sessions in cooking, guitar, computers, chess, tarot cards, yoga, salsa dancing, and blogging. Jan. 3-5, 6-8:30 p.m. $12, registration required. Boston Center for Adult Education, 122 Arlington St., Boston. 617-267-4430, www.bcae.org