Boston-area to do list

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Blues legacy

Big Bill Broonzy inspired Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, and Ray Davies. Bob Riesman interviewed them for his book “I Feel So Good: The Life and Times of Big Bill Broonzy.” Riesman, winner of the Blues Foundation’s 2013 Keeping the Blues Alive Award for Literature, appears in a tribute to the blues master. Joining him will be harmonica player Billy Boy Arnold. In his first Boston-area performance since the release of “Billy Boy Arnold Sings Big Bill Broonzy,” Arnold shares remembrances of Broonzy and Chicago blues during the 1940s and ’50s, and plays music accompanied by guitarist Eric Noden. Jan. 8, 8 p.m. $15.
Club Passim, 47 Palmer St., Cambridge. 617-492-7679,


Alternate universe In “Your Inner Fish,” science writer Neil Shubin compared human bodies with fish and worms. Now he looks at ways in which our anatomy is related to the evolution of the cosmos. He discusses “The Universe Within: Discovering the Common History of Rocks, Planets, and People” in Cambridge. Jan. 8, 7 p.m. Free. Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. 617-661-1515,

Spaceman He logged more than 734 hours in space, but if you think retired NASA astronaut Dan Barry looks familiar, it might be because of his earthly activities as a contestant on “Survivor.” He gives a talk in connection with the American Textile History Museum’s exhibition “Suited for Space.” Jan. 8, exhibition open 3:30-
6:30 p.m. Lecture at 6:30 p.m. Free, call to reserve. American Textile History Museum, 491 Dutton St.,
Lowell. 978-441-0400,


Made in the shades E.L. James beat J.K. Rowling when the former’s erotica novel “50 Shades of Grey” surpassed the latter’s Harry Potter opus as the fastest selling paperback of all time. We suppose that made things like “Spank: The 50 Shades of Grey Parody”
inevitable. The musical spoof is presented by Mills
Entertainment. Through Jan. 11, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 12,
7 and 10 p.m. $37.75-$55.45. Wilbur Theatre,
246 Tremont St., Boston.

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Bard bonanza To be or not to be the winner? Only one can advance, but you can hear all the contestants go for the gusto in a preliminary round of the English Speaking Union’s National Shakespeare Competition. High schoolers from the Salem Academy Charter School deliver their best Shakespearean monologues in hopes of going to the state level. Jan. 8, 7:30 p.m. $10, $5 students. Salem Theatre Company, 90 Lafayette St., Salem. 978-790-8546,


Parker horse The late Robert B. Parker wrote more than 70 books including the Spenser detective series and the Virgil Cole-Everett Hitch westerns. Author Robert Knott continues the latter series with the new novel “Robert B. Parker’s Ironhorse.” Knott appears with Joan Parker. Jan. 9, 7 p.m. Free. Porter Square Books,
25 White St., Cambridge. 617-491-2220, www.porter

The jury is in Last June, Nahid Khaki of Khaki Gallery served as judge for the Milton Art Museum’s 2012 Annual Juried Competition. See the results — mixed media art by Kevin Bierbaum and Courtney Hadden, and oils by Clifford Smith — in the Juried Competition Winter Group Show. Jan. 9-Feb. 28. Reception Jan. 9, 5:30-7 p.m. Massasoit Community College,
900 Randolph St., Canton. 781-821-2222, ext. 2124;