PICK OF THE DAY
Look, it’s a sculpture, costume, video, dance, and public performance. Superman Nick Cave’s humanoid Soundsuit sculptures are created from beads, twigs, sequins, feathers, and other found objects. For “FreePort [No. 006]: Nick Cave,” the School of the Art Institute of Chicago professor has created his last three after a Soundsuit career of more than 500 since the early 1990s. Thursday hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (through May 27). $15, $13 seniors, $11 students, free under 17. Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex St., Salem. 866-745-1876. www.pem.org
There’s gold dust in them there heels Poor Mildred. The single mom just wants love from her obnoxious daughter, and yummy pies for her customers. Varla Jean Merman stars as “Mildred Fierce” in this riotous and raunchy musical by the Gold Dust Orphans featuring Ryan Landry, Penny Champayne, Olive Another, Liza Lott, and Delta Miles. Thurs-Sat at 8 p.m., Sun at 5 p.m. through March 17 (for mature audiences). $35, $45. Machine, 1254 Boylston St., Boston. 617-642-6921. www.brownpapertickets.com/event/308819
Branching out Trees are a popular subject for artists who use them as background, allegorical symbols, and mood capturers. Savor the styles used by the folks whose trees are on view at “The Magnificent Splendor of Trees: How Artists Interpret Trees.” Thurs hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (through March 24; check website for March 19 and 21 discussions). $8, $7 seniors, $6 students, free under 12. Cahoon Museum of American Art, 4676 Falmouth Road, Cotuit. 508-428-7581. www.cahoonmuseum.org
Cane and disabled Let’s hope our federal legislators don’t sink to the lowest level of 1856 when pro-slavery Congressman Preston S. Brooks of South Carolina entered the Senate chamber and beat Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner with a gold-topped walking cane. Historian Stephen Puleo will discuss the event chronicled in his book, “The Caning: The Assault That Drove America to Civil War.” 6 p.m. Free (registration requested). The National Archives and Records Administration, 380 Trapelo Road, Waltham. 866-406-2379. www.archives.gov/northeast/boston
The 10 action steps This new book sounds like a lifestyle version of Weight Watchers. “The Willing Way: Stepping Into the Life You’re Meant to Live” by Mariel Hemingway and Bobby Williams is about “reconnecting to nature one broad-minded step at a time to discover a more fulfilling life of simplicity, adventure, stillness, and laughter.” The authors will talk about and sign copies of their book that includes a point-earning system. This event has been canceled due to bad weather. The Harvard Coop, 1400 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. 617-499-2000. www.thecoop.com
Puppets in search of a story Even puppets are getting on the improv train, so bring your ideas to “Puppet Improv: The Puppet Showplace Slam” where puppeteers will carry out your suggestions through theatrical mini plays for adults. The evening wraps up with an adult shadow puppetry set by “Uncle Nappy,” AKA Jim Napolitano of Nappy’s Puppets. March 9 at 8 p.m. $15, $13 students. Puppet Showplace Theatre, 32 Station St., Brookline. 617-731-6400. www.puppetshowplace.org/slam
Correction: The Mariel Hemingway and Bobby Williams event at the Harvard Coop was canceled because of predicted bad weather, after the section had been printed.