Boston-area to do list

Photos by Joyce Linehan


Get animated

If you didn’t make it to Canada for the Ottawa International Animation Festival, not to worry. The Best of the Ottawa International Animation Festival is coming to you. The ICA presents the only Boston screening of highlights from the 2013 festival, the largest of its kind in North America. An 85-minute program shown in Beta SP features selections from Japan, Germany, Switzerland, France, Canada, Norway, and elsewhere. Titles include “Plug & Play,” “Wind,” “Bless You,” “Lonely Bones,” and “But Milk Is Important.” Jan. 9, 7 p.m. Jan. 18-19, 3 p.m. $10, $5 students and seniors. Screenings contain material not suitable for children. Institute for Contemporary Art, Barbara Lee Family Foundation Theater, 100 Northern Ave., Boston. 617-478-3103,


Return to her roots Folk singer Claudia Schmidt was a regular on “A Prarie Home Companion” in the early days of the show, and over four decades of performing has expanded her palette to include blues, jazz, and spoken word. Schmidt’s upcoming March release, “Bend in the River: Collected Songs,” is a retrospective of sorts, featuring 16 tracks from the artist’s five Red House recordings. Jan. 8, 8 p.m. $12. Johnny D’s, 17 Holland St., Somerville. 617-776-2004,


Rekindled ‘Passion’ Robert Spano conducts the Boston Symphony in Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov’s “La Pasión segun San Marcos,” a piece the orchestra premiered in 2001. Dance, folk music, batá drumming, capoeira martial arts, and other Latin American genres and traditions combine to tell the story of the Passion in Spanish, Latin, Galician, and Aramaic. Jan. 9-11, 8 p.m. $30-$130. Symphony Hall, 301 Mass. Ave., Boston. 617-266-1200,


Child of war In “A Long Way Gone,” Ishmael Beah wrote about his experiences as a child soldier in Sierra Leone’s civil war. He visits Boston for a reading from his first novel, “Radiance of Tomorrow,” about two friends trying to rebuild a life for themselves and others after the war. Jan. 9, 6 p.m. $5. Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge. 617-661-1515,

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Old time rock ’n’ roll Tulsa rocker Leon Russell has played with Joe Cocker, George Harrison, Edgar Winter, Willie Nelson, and Elton John, and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady of Hot Tuna cut their musical teeth playing in Jefferson Airplane. The rock ’n’ roll veterans share a bill at the Wilbur. Jan. 9, 7:30 p.m. $30-$50. Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont St., Boston.

New York voice Manhattan Transfer hits including “Operator,” “Birdland,” and “The Boy from NYC” feature the lead voice of Brooklyn-born Janis Siegel. The Grammy Award-winning singer enjoys an active solo career, too, working with artists including Fred Hersch and Bobby McFerrin. Her latest release is the 2013 “NightSongs.” Jan. 9, 8 p.m. $25. Scullers, DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel, 400 Soldiers Field Road, Boston. 617-562-4111,

Lost and found Marine aviator Ryan McCown is shot down over New Guinea in 1944, and years later Major George Eyster V sets out on a mission to bring fallen soldiers home. Bryan Bender talks about them in his new book, “You Are Not Forgotten: The Story of a Lost World War II Pilot and a Twenty-First-Century Soldier’s Mission to Bring Him Home.” Jan. 9, noon. Free. Boston Athenaeum, 10½ Beacon St., 617-227-0270,