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What’s happening in the local arts world

Galway-based quartet We Banjo 3 will perform Jan. 25 at Somerville Theatre.handout


Pop & Rock

METHOD MAN AND REDMAN The New York-area hip-hop legends — on record and on screen, both on their own and as a duo — tear through their two-plus decades of solo and collaborative work, the latter of which includes tracks from their “Blackout!” albums and the “How High” soundtrack. Jan. 19, 9 p.m. $39.50. Big Night Live. 617-896-5222,

ELLE VARNER Last year this singer-songwriter released “Ellevation,” a nine-track collection of smart, sinewy R&B that shows off her buoyant voice and scholarship of soul. Jan. 21, 8 p.m. $32 and up. City Winery. 617-933-8047,


SUMO CYCO Fronted by former teenpopper Skye Sweetnam, this Toronto foursome plays squealing, speedy razor-edged rock, with Sweetnam’s pouty voice adding just the right touch of “TRL”-era insouciance. Jan. 25, 7 p.m. $25. Brighton Music Hall. 617-779-0140,


Folk & World

LLOYD COLE The literate singer-songwriter plays solo and continues the live catalog explorations he’s offered in recent years. The title of the tour — From Rattlesnakes to Guesswork 2020 — tells you the field of play, and it’s as wide as can be: from his 1984 debut with the Commotions to his 2019 release. Jan. 22-23, 8 p.m. $24-$32. City Winery. 617-933-8047,

TAARKA “What does Taarka mean?” That question is posed on the band’s website, but rather than giving a single definition of the word, it offers an entire, globe-spanning list of meaning and usages. The Americana-based music they play is also multifarious, with ample incorporations of dawg music and gypsy jazz. Jan. 23, 8 p.m. $18. Club Passim, Cambridge. 617-492-7679,

WE BANJO 3 Don’t be scared off by the name, because it’s not just banjos; this Galway group also uses fiddles, mandolins, and guitars to create a superior blend of Celtic, Americana, and bluegrass that they’ve label “Celtgrass.” They come to town on their Rise & Shine tour. Jan. 25, 8 p.m. $39. Somerville Theatre, Somerville. 617-876-4275,



Jazz & Blues

HARVEY DIAMOND QUINTET Pianist Diamond, among the last students of the legendary Lennie Tristano, improvises with beguiling intelligence and heart. His band includes heavyweight tenor saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi and top-flight trumpeter Phil Grenadier, propelled by bassist Jon Dreyer and drummer Bertram Lehmann. Jan. 19, 7 p.m. $20. New School of Music, 25 Lowell St., Cambridge.

RUSS GERSHON QUARTET WITH DAVE MATTACKS Tenor saxophonist, composer, and bandleader Gershon (Either/Orchestra) is joined by British drum great Mattacks, who gained notice as Fairport Convention’s percussionist and who’s played with everyone from Nick Drake to George Harrison, though he began as a jazz fan. Jan 22, 8 p.m. No cover. Chianti Restaurant, 285 Cabot St., Beverly. 978-921-2233,

DARRELL NULISCH The soulful singer and savvy harmonica player first came to notice performing with Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters. Later, he was drafted to sing for legendary blues harpist James Cotton’s band after its leader lost his voice, until Cotton’s death in 2016. He remains a blues force. Jan. 25, 7:30 p.m. $20-$25. Scullers. 866-777-8932,



BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Music director Andris Nelsons returns to the podium with music by Barber, Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony, and Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony, which is an arrangement of the storied Eighth Quartet (Jan. 23-25, Symphony Hall, Then Nelsons heads over to Northeastern’s Fenway Center for a conversation on conducting Shostakovich with Russian music specialist Harlow Robinson and BSO artistic administrator Tony Fogg (Jan 29, 6 p.m., Free,


EARLY MUSIC Handel and Haydn Society artistic director Harry Christophers also returns to town for a program featuring Mozart’s Lord Nelson Mass, Haydn’s Symphony No. 100, and Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4 with Aisslinn Nosky as concertmaster (Jan. 24 and 26, Symphony Hall, And Boston Camerata offers its modern staging of the “Play of Daniel,” a mystery play dating back to the French Middle Ages, with the participation of Boston City Singers and Longy students, and directed by Anne Azéma (Jan. 25, First Church in Cambridge,

PALAVER STRINGS This forward-thinking string orchestra, based in Portland, Maine, is also a resident ensemble at Rockport Music, where it returns on Thursday with a program reflecting on winter themes through works by Vivaldi (“Winter” from the Four Seasons, with Nicholas Kitchen as soloist) and Max Richter (“On the Nature of Daylight”). Also on the bill: Mendelssohn’s joy-filled Octet, which, in this billing, “encapsulates the promise of spring.” Jan. 23, 7 p.m., Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport. 978-546-7391,




THE CAKE Karen MacDonald demonstrates again that she has few peers in Boston theater when it comes to handling tonal shifts from comedy to drama. In Bekah Brunstetter’s funny and poignant if sometimes facile play, MacDonald plays Della, a conservative Christian baker whose religious beliefs collide with her personal ties when Jen (Chelsea Diehl), the daughter of her deceased best friend, asks her to bake a cake for Jen’s same-sex wedding. Directed by Courtney O’Connor. Through Feb. 9. Lyric Stage Company of Boston. 617-585-5678,


BRIGHT HALF LIFE A two-hander by Tanya Barfield about a lesbian couple, portrayed by Kelly Chick and Lyndsay Allyn Cox, that chronicles the complexities of their four-decades-plus relationship in non-linear fashion. Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian. Jan. 23-Feb. 16. Actors’ Shakespeare Project. At Plaza Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 866-811-4111,

WE ALL FALL DOWN The world premiere of a comedy by Boston-area playwright Lila Rose Kaplan, directed by Melia Bensussen. Complications ensue when a long-married Westchester couple, Linda and Saul Stein (Eleanor Reissa and Stephen Schnetzer), host their family’s inaugural seder in the wake of Saul’s surprise retirement. Through Feb. 15. Huntington Theatre Company. At Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-266-0800,



RUBBERBAND Global Arts Live opens its first Winter Dance Fest with Victor Quijada’s dynamite Montreal-based troupe, which blends the raw energy of hip hop with the rigor and clarity of ballet and the angular edge of modern dance. The company brings the Boston premiere of the evening-length “Ever So Slightly,” exploring how we make peace with contemporary angst. With live original music by Jasper Gahunia. Jan. 25, $40-$65. Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre. 617-876-4275,

ITMRW Billed as a sci-fi ballet, this new production combines Danielle Davidson’s choreography and performance by the Providence-based collaborative HDC Dance Ensemble with live music by Arc Iris. Set in 2080, the post-apocalyptic satire follows the love story of Robert and his android partner Jenny, unfolding in a visual world where pop culture meets futurism. Presented by American Repertory Theater. Jan. 25-26, $20-$25. Oberon, Cambridge. 617-547-8300,


ONSTAGE DANCE COMPANY Executive Director Jennifer Kuhnberg created this intrepid troupe to offer an affordable and supportive environment for dancers in the Boston area to choreograph and perform. The company’s lively showcases traditionally feature a variety of dancers and dance styles, from contemporary and jazz to tap and hip-hop. Jan. 25, 2 and 7 p.m., $20-$25. Boston University Dance Theater. 800-838-3006.



KATE COSTELLO: THE TIP OF THE TONGUE The Los Angeles artist and SMFA alum explores the tricky territory of translation, finding connections between oral and visual languages. In drawings, sculpture, and photography, she plays with archetypes and tropes, questioning stories rooted in commonly held beliefs, and devising new ones. Through April 4. School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, 230 Fenway. 617-627-3518,

JOHN COPLANS: SELF-PORTRAIT POLAROIDS (1984-02) Coplans (1920-2003), who had a career as a curator, writer, and museum director, was in his 60s when he broke out as a fine art photographer, shooting portions of his aging body. These works — some arrayed in groups, to further fracture the flesh — are at once abstract in their framing and undeniably human. Through Feb. 18. Howard Yezerski Gallery, 460 Harrison Ave. 617-262-0550,

THE ANIMATION SHOW OF SHOWS: TWENTY YEARS AND COUNTING Ron Diamond, founder of ACME Filmworks, has been curating this showcase of animated shorts since 1998. Montserrat presents the 19th collection, featuring 16 films by an international roster of artists, from hand-drawn and stop-motion to computer-generated animations. Through Feb. 15. Montserrat Gallery, Montserrat College of Art, 23 Essex St. 978-867-9604,



FIVE PROPOSITIONS The Museum of Fine Arts’ collection of Modern and contemporary art was always thin, so there’s nothing to lose in displaying that collection as a counter-narrative to the canon from which it notably self-excluded some decades ago. That’s exactly what the museum has done with this show, making a sly but strong point: There is no one story of art, no matter what convention has told us. Through May 4. Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave. 617-267-9300,

PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS AN INDIAN/PORTRAIT OF THE INDIAN AS AN ARTIST Opened with the Hood’s wholesale redux — the museum was closed for three years — this exhibition reestablishes and strengthens the institution’s commitment to Native American art, with a contemporary-historical mash-up that questions indigenous representation, from viewer to viewed. Through Feb. 23. Hood Museum, Dartmouth College, 6 East Wheelock St., Hanover, N.H. 603-646-2808,

J.M.W. TURNER: WATERCOLORS FROM TATE If you’re one of those who can’t get enough J.M.W. Turner, this show will help keep you sated. Turner’s watercolors have a particular magic, and this show has 92 of them, hand-picked by the Tate’s Turner curator himself. Through Feb. 23. Mystic Seaport Museum, 75 Greenmanville Ave., Mystic, Conn. 860-572-0711,




LESS BITTER, MORE GLITTER Boston native Kendra Cunningham and Philly native Katina Corrao, both now based in New York City, celebrate the release of their split stand-up album, “Less Bitter, More Glitter,” with special guest Kelly MacFarland. Jan. 19, 8 p.m. $25. Laugh Boston, 425 Summer St. 617-725-2844,

ANDREW MAYER ALBUM RECORDING Mayer’s first album, “Nonsense,” was a hilarious and endearing walk through his anxiety and oddball logic. He records his follow-up with two shows at the Studio. Jan. 19, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. $10. The Comedy Studio, 1 Bow Market Way #23, Somerville. 617-661-6507,

DAN SODER In his HBO special, “Son of a Gary,” released in December, Soder says he loves dogs, perhaps a bit too much. “I always get excited to see a dog,” he says. “Always. Even when I have weed on me at the airport.” Jan. 23 at 8 p.m., Jan. 24-25 at 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. $25-$29. Laugh Boston, 425 Summer St. 617-725-2844,



JAPANESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATION If you’ve fallen off your New Year’s resolution, this Oshogatsu new year celebration is offering another chance to start anew. Munch on Japanese sticky rice while crafting wearable origami and playing with Koma spinning tops. Families can call in the new year with a bit of luck — courtesy of the museum’s silk house that will be decorated to usher in good omens for 2020. Jan. 19, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. $18. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston.

FRANKLIN PARK ZOO FREE DAY What better way to spend Martin Luther King Jr. Day than by spreading messages of hope and peace? On the day of reflection, visitors at the Franklin Park Zoo can write positive, personalized tidbits on the murals among the animals. Plus, with free admission they can learn about the zoo’s thriving wildlife — tigers, monkeys, and more — in the process. Jan. 20, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free. Franklin Park Zoo, 1 Franklin Park Road.

LIGHT UP NIGHT SLEDDING If the city is graced with snow, it’s time to grab the sled from the garage for an evening of sledding. Look out for the lights that will illuminate the sled-ready hills at the farm. And be ready — the town’s biggest drops will be prepped for those craving an adrenaline rush. Jan. 25, dusk to 8 p.m. Free. Chestnut Hill Farmstand, 5 Chestnut Hill Road, Southborough.



Feb. 10 Tove Lo at House of Blues Boston

Feb. 17 Hayley Kiyoko at House of Blues Boston

Feb. 18 Trippie Redd at House of Blues Boston

Feb. 20 Anna of the North at Brighton Music Hall

Feb. 22 While She Sleeps at ONCE Ballroom

Feb. 26 Trixie Mattel at the Royale

Feb. 29 Easy Life at Great Scott

March 1 Dustin Lynch at House of Blues Boston