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What’s happening in the local arts world

Christopher Paul Stelling plays Great Scott Feb. 7.Chris Phelps


Pop & Rock

POPPY “I Disagree,” the latest album from this otherworldly singer, places her high, lithe voice amid dense sonic landscapes that whiplash between steamrolling nu-metal and hyper-orchestrated pop. Feb. 4-5, 7 p.m. $25, $22 advance. Brighton Music Hall. 617-779-0140,

RAPSODY The North Carolina MC’s latest album, “Eve,” is a salute to her personal heroes — among them R&B singer Aaliyah, Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, and the Egyptian queen Hatshepsut — that’s full of soul and precision-grade storytelling, its poetry laced with wit and a keen sense of history. Feb. 7, 8 p.m. $20 and up. The Sinclair, Cambridge. 617-547-5200,


HOT STOVE COOL MUSIC Local alt-pop heroes Letters to Cleo headline the 20th installment of the benefit show put on by Theo and Paul Epstein’s Foundation To Be Named Later, which will also feature sets by Belly members Tanya Donelly and Gail Greenwood, storied commentator Peter Gammons’s Hot Stove All-Stars, and Band of Our Own, as well as a jam session focused on the Rolling Stones’ “Exile on Main Street.” Feb. 8, 7 p.m. $50. Paradise Rock Club. 617-562-8800,


Folk & World

THE HAWTTHORNS KP and Johnny Hawthorn came across each other in the Los Angeles music scene, and the connection they made led to both marriage and pairing up in a group with more or less the same surname. They captured the hooky California country rock that’s resulted on their debut, “Morning Sun,” which they released last August. Feb. 3, 7:30 p.m. $12. City Winery lounge. 617-933-8047,

DANNY BARNES When a banjo player is praised by the likes of Tony Trischka, Robert Earl Keen, Bill Frisell, and Sam Bush, you’d best pay attention. If you’ve already been doing so, you’ll know that Barnes has been making delightfully unusual music since his days as one-half of a band with one of the best names ever, the Bad Livers. Twisted Pine also perform. Feb. 7, 7 p.m. $20. Club Passim, Cambridge. 617-492-7679,


CHRISTOPHER PAUL STELLING Stelling is touring behind his fifth album, which coheres around the double-edged title “Best of Luck”; the saying “can either be a blessing or a dismissal,” explains the folk singer/finger-style picker, “and that was exactly the point I was coming to with myself, my career as an artist, as a friend, and as a person.” Feb. 7, 10 p.m. $15. Great Scott, Allston. 888-929-7849,


Jazz & Blues

TERRI LYNE CARRINGTON, KRIS DAVIS, AND LINDA MAY HAN OH Renowned drummer Carrington — founder and creative director of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice — along with fellow composer/educators Davis (piano) and Oh (bass), will lead students in a performance including pieces featured in “New Standards,” the Institute’s forthcoming e-book of works by women composers, including Mary Lou Williams, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Esperanza Spalding, and more. Feb. 5, 8 p.m. $10. The Red Room at Cafe 939, 939 Boylston St., Boston

CÉCILE MCLORIN SALVANT AND AARON DIEHL A once-in-a-generation phenomenon, the miraculously gifted singer combines the vocal virtuosity of Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan with the actress-in-song directness of Billie Holiday and Abbey Lincoln. With marvelous pianist and frequent collaborator Diehl. Feb. 7, 8 p.m. $45-$65. Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory. 617-482-2595,


JOE LOUIS WALKER The great, gritty singer-guitarist, a four-time Blues Music Award winner, is immersed in both blues tradition and innovation: in his youth he performed with and was mentored by the likes of Lightnin’ Hopkins, Albert King, and Jimi Hendrix. Feb. 8, 8 p.m. $20-$25. Chan’s Fine Oriental Dining, 267 Main St., Woonsocket, R.I. 401-765-1900,



GLISSANDO Pianist Sergey Schepkin’s concert series enters the new decade with pianists Erin Lindsey and Ian Lindsey joining Schepkin for a Rachmaninoff extravaganza of pieces for two pianos and four hands. Feb. 2, 4 p.m. First Church in Boston.

COLLEGE OPERA Boston Conservatory at Berklee presents Donizetti’s boisterous comedy “Don Pasquale,” directed by Johnathon Pape (Boston Conservatory Theater, Feb. 6-9). Across the river, Harvard College Opera’s all-undergraduate “The Magic Flute” hits its second and final weekend of shows (Agassiz Theatre at Harvard University, Feb. 7-9).,

HESPERION XXI / LA CAPELLA REIAL DE CATALUNYA In this concert presented by Boston Early Music Festival, viol king Jordi Savall enlists his vocal ensemble and instrumental consort for a feast of music from the Iberian Peninsula during the cultural flowering of the late Renaissance/early Baroque-era “Golden Century.” Feb. 7, 8 p.m. Sanders Theatre at Harvard University, Cambridge. 617-661-1812,




BRIGHT HALF LIFE Tanya Barfield’s fast-moving, impressionistic portrait of love and its complications reconstructs, in nonlinear fashion, a lesbian relationship as it unfolds over four decades. Lyndsay Allyn Cox and Kelly Chick deliver excellent performances, making us feel the intensity of that love and the pain of those complications. Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian. Through Feb. 16. Actors’ Shakespeare Project. At Plaza Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 866-811-4111,


PASS OVER A mash-up of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot’’ and the escape-from oppression story of Exodus, Antoinette Nwandu’s intense and engrossing drama tackles the issues of police brutality and gun violence while giving voice to urgent concerns about systemic racism that are playing out daily in the world beyond the theater walls. For all of the play’s wider resonance, however, the impact of “Pass Over’’ derives from the vivid specificity of two young black men, Moses (Kadahj Bennett) and Kitch (Hubens “Bobby’’ Cius), who dream of making it to the promised land of a better future. Then a stranger (played by Lewis D. Wheeler) enters their world. Directed by Monica White Ndounou. Through Feb. 2. SpeakEasy Stage Company and Front Porch Arts Collective. At Roberts Studio Theatre, Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600,

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,




PARSONS DANCE Known for its high-energy athleticism, David Parsons’s acclaimed 35-year-old repertory company returns to Boston as the finale of Global Arts Live’s Winter Dance Fest. In addition to Parsons’s unforgettable strobe-lit classic “Caught” (1982), the program includes Parsons’s “Round My World” (2012), “Kind of Blue” (2001), and “Nascimento” (1990), as well as the Boston premiere of “Eight Women” (2019) by Trey McIntyre. Feb. 8, $40-$65. Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre. 617-876-4275,

BEREISHIT DANCE COMPANY The Celebrity Series presents the Boston debut of this acclaimed Korean company, created in 2011 by Soon-ho Park. The troupe is internationally renowned for transforming Korean cultural elements with a contemporary spin. The program includes “Judo” and “Balance & Imbalance,” featuring live drumming. Feb. 8-9, $60. New England Conservatory’s Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theatre. 617-482-6661,

NATIONAL CHOREOGRAPHY MONTH BOSTON Also known as NACHMO, this eighth annual project explores the rich diversity of dance in Greater Boston by bringing together 40 choreographers for a special challenge: What can be created during 31 intensive days of dancing, mentoring, and community building? Three different back-to-back concerts showcase the fruits of those efforts. Feb. 7-9, $10-$15. Center for Arts at the Armory, Somerville. 802-318-3093,



WALLS TURNED SIDEWAYS: ARTISTS CONFRONT THE JUSTICE SYSTEM Activist Angela Davis said, “Walls turned sideways are bridges.” Artists including Chris Burden and Kapwani Kiwanga examine criminal justice from courtroom to prison. They contrast the prison to the museum: one highlights society’s treasures; the other houses its punished. Through April 19. Tufts University Art Galleries, 40 Talbot Ave., Medford. 617-627-3518,

ZANELE MUHOLI: SOMNYAMA NGONYAMA: HAIL THE DARK LIONESS The South African artist cuts to the quick of historic representations of Black people, upending tropes about race, sex, and gender in self-portraits with meaning-laden props, in which the color of Muholi’s already dark skin is intensified. Through June 1. Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art, Harvard University, 102 Mount Auburn St., Cambridge. 617-496-5777,

GERRY BERGSTEIN: BODY POLITIC New offerings from the Cambridge painter, whose work has always teetered between existential neurosis and wry humor, roil with gargantuan dark forms made by scratching through white paint to reveal blackness beneath. As ever, small figures sometimes appear, as if trying to make sense of the situation. Good luck to them; things look bleak. Through Feb. 29. Gallery NAGA, 67 Newbury St., 617-267-9060,



BLACK REFRACTIONS: HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STUDIO MUSEUM IN HARLEM The Studio Museum, an epicenter of Black American culture on 125th Street in New York, is in the midst of a three-year building project that will replace its jewel box of a building with something more fitting, scale-wise, to the huge imprint Black culture has put on American life. In the meantime, its collection is on the road, making a stop at Smith College in Northampton. Powerhouses like Norman Lewis, Kerry James Marshall, Faith Ringgold, Lorna Simpson, James VanDerZee, and Kehinde Wiley are just some of the names you’ll see here, all waiting patiently for their glorious new permanent home. Through April 12. Smith College Museum of Art, 20 Elm St. at Bedford Terrace, Northampton. 413-585-2760,

JACOB LAWRENCE: THE AMERICAN STRUGGLE Is Lawrence the most important Black artist in American history? You can definitely make a case for him, and his “Struggle: From the History of the American People (1954–56)” series only bolsters it. With this project, Lawrence chronicled a nascent democracy built on equality for some, not all, to chilling effect. Alongside the 30 paintings, Peabody Essex Museum (which also organized the show) will display works by contemporary artists Derrick Adams, Bethany Collins, and Hank Willis Thomas. Together they help capture a struggle still very much in progress. Through April 26. Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex St., Salem. 978-745-9500,

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 more than satisfy. Turner’s watercolors have a particular magic, and this show has 97 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,




THE WINE BOWL WITH LAMONT PRICE Watch the Super Bowl on a 16-by- 10-foot screen with one of Boston’s best headliners performing before the show, during halftime, and afterward. Price knows football, and this might be the best way to watch. Feb. 2, 5:30 p.m. $15. City Winery, 80 Beverly St. 617-933-8047,

JONATHAN KATZ AND FRIENDS Katz, who has multiple sclerosis, headlines this benefit for the National MS Society, with Carmen Lynch, Chloe Cunha, Tooky Kavanagh, Anthony Scibelli, and Dan Boulger. Feb. 5, 8 p.m. $25. The Comedy Studio, 1 Bow Market Way #23, Somerville. 617-661-6507,

CHRIS PENNIE The Boston comic doesn’t have much sympathy for a whale that beaches itself. “The Earth is 70 percent water,” he says. “That one hit land. It’s not the brain surgeon of the bunch, is it? I think if we’re gonna lose a whale, that’s the one we can do without.” Feb. 7-8, 8 p.m. $20. Nick’s Comedy Stop, 100 Warrenton St.



BOCH CENTER FREE TOUR Kick off a month of free tour admission for kids at the Boch Center by dropping in this week. The tours explore the venue’s robust history from its roots as a bougie hotel to its role today as hub for concerts and performances. Traipse the same stage as musical legends Elton John and Ella Fitzgerald while peeking at memorabilia of icons including Neil Young and Bob Dylan. Feb. 2, noon to 4 p.m., Free, Boch Center, 270 Tremont St.

EXPLORING NATURE WITH CITYSPROUTS Roll up your sleeves and let your fascination for worms flourish here. With a Fibonacci flower building station, a worm exploration table, and a plant felt board, kids can delve into the wonders of botany and gardening right in the middle of the city. Feb. 5, 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Free. Staples Cambridge, 186 Alewife Brook Pkwy., Cambridge.

A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD KIDS Arnold Lobel’s beloved book series “Frog and Toad” is coming to the big stage. See Frog, the problem solver, tangle with his grumpy yet lovable friend, Toad, under the spotlight. After being a hit on Broadway and being nominated for three Tony Awards, the cheerful show on the duo will grace Haverhill audiences for one weekend only. Feb. 7, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., $15. Chester Hawrylciw Theater, 100 Elliot St., Haverhill.



Feb. 26 Trixie Mattel at the Royale

Feb. 29 Easy Life at Great Scott

March 1 Dustin Lynch at House of Blues Boston

March 3 Silverstein at House of Blues Boston

March 5 Om at the Sinclair

March 10 Nathaniel Rateliff at Orpheum Theater

March 13 Wire at the Sinclair

March 15 Anti-Flag at Brighton Music Hall