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What’s happening in the local arts world

Juliana Hatfield plays ONCE in Somerville on Feb. 12.Stacee Sledge


Pop & Rock

ALMA This Finnish powerhouse’s pugilistic attitude, festival-ready hooks, and acid-tinged voice have made her an in-demand writer and vocalist for pop heavy hitters like Miley Cyrus and Charli XCX; she releases her debut album, “Have U Seen Her?,” later this year. She opens for Swedish provocateur-auteur (and on-record collaborator) Tove Lo. Feb. 10, 7 p.m. $46 and up. House of Blues. 888-693-2583,

#HELLABLACK, VOLUME 3 Local MCs Oompa, Dutch ReBelle, Brandie Blaze, Red Shaydez, Cakeswagg, and Malia The Model perform at the latest installment of BCA’s event series celebrating Black artists; this go-round spotlights the women of Boston’s hip-hop scene. Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m. $25. Plaza Theatre at Boston Center for the Arts. 617-426-5000,


JULIANA HATFIELD The singer and guitarist has a homecoming show in the wake of her stellar 2019, during which she released two great albums — the acerbic, riff-heavy “Weird” and the triumphant covers collection “Juliana Hatfield Sings the Police.” Feb. 12, 7 p.m. $20. ONCE, Somerville. 617-285-0167,


Folk & World

JESSE DAYTON For his latest, the Texas high-test honky-tonker took a break from his own material to do an album of covers; “Mixtape Volume 1” is a wide-ranging tour of Dayton’s influences, from AC/DC to the Clash to Gordon Lightfoot to ZZ Top. Feb. 9, 6:30 p.m. $12. Atwood’s Tavern, Cambridge. 800-838-3006,

MICHIGAN RATTLERS According to their website bio, the Michigan Rattlers “play heavy-hearted folk-rock with an aching dose of Midwestern nice.” This listener would characterize what they do as alternative country that’s earnest, intense, and striking, and worth taking your Boston snark out to hear on a Sunday night. Feb. 9, 7:30 p.m. $15. Middle East Upstairs, Cambridge. 866-468-3399,

JOE VAL BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL What better way to say “Happy Valentine’s Day” than with banjos and chocolates? You can get plenty of at least the former next weekend at the annual Joe Val Bluegrass Festival. Main attractions this year include the Dan Tyminski Band, Country Gentlemen tribute band Redwood Hill, and the Special Consensus. Feb. 14, 6 p.m., Feb. 15-16, 10 a.m. $120 weekend pass, $45-$70 individual days. Sheraton Hotel, Framingham. 617-782-2251,



Jazz & Blues

STAN STRICKLAND & JOSH ROSEN QUARTET The quartet of saxophonist/vocalist Strickland and pianist Rosen, with bassist Bruno Råberg and drummer Dave Fox, is both playful and profound. For this program, the foursome will debut new compositions plus play pieces from their latest CD, “Seasons.” Feb. 9, 7 p.m. $10-$15. Lily Pad, 1353 Cambridge St., Cambridge.

ERIC HOFBAUER’S BOOK OF FIRE Adventurous guitarist and composer Eric Hofbauer and bassist Tony Leva celebrate the release of their new CD, a five-part soundscape for guitar, bass, turntables, and samples inspired by the writings and speeches of James Baldwin. Feb. 13, 7:30 p.m. $15. Peabody Hall, Parish of All Saints, 209 Ashmont St., Dorchester.

AMERICAN CLASSICS: DAYS OF WINE & ROSES Boston’s premier light music group, helmed by musican/scholars Benjamin Sears and Bradford Connor, continue their “Three Vices” season with a selection of bibulous ballads including “The Night They Invented Champagne,” “The Ladies Who Lunch,” “Drinking Again,” and more. Feb. 14, 7:30 p.m. First Parish Church, 75 Great Road, Bedford; Feb. 16, 3 p.m. Longy School of Music, 27 Garden St., Cambridge. $20-$25. 617-254-1125,




HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY H+H has featured the fine fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout as a soloist many times, but this weekend he’s doing double duty as soloist and — for the first time — director of the H+H orchestra. Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 is the centerpiece of a program that also includes music by C.P.E. Bach and Mozart. Feb. 14 and 16. Jordan Hall. 617-266-3605,

A FAR CRY Jamaica Plain’s conductorless string orchestra performs its calling-card piece, Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings, on some of the finest string instruments ever made — Guarneris, Amatis, Stradivariuses — borrowed for the occasion from top-shelf violin dealer and workshop Reuning and Sons, a co-presenter of the concert. Feb. 15. 8 p.m. Jordan Hall. 617-553-4887,

PACIFICA QUARTET The chamber group commissioned Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Julia Wolfe to write a piece in response to Schubert’s swan song, the String Quintet in C Major, a.k.a. the Cello Quintet. Hear both at Calderwood Hall as the quartet performs with cellist Johannes Moser. Feb. 16. 1:30 p.m. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. 617-566-1401,




MEAN GIRLS Fans of the 2004 Tina Fey film likely won’t be disappointed by this musical adaptation, in significant part because Fey brings to the musical’s book her usual smarts, wit, bite, and out-of-left-field insights. As it follows a newcomer who loses her way and very nearly her self while navigating the social minefield of high school, “Mean Girls’’ manages to have it both ways, blending a feminist sensibility and a female-solidarity message with a rowdy dance-party atmosphere. Directed and choreographed with gusto by Casey Nicholaw. Lyrics by Nell Benjamin and music by Jeff Richmond. Through Feb. 9. Broadway In Boston. At Citizens Bank Opera House. 800-982-2787,


VANITY FAIR The gifted director-designer David R. Gammons presides over an exhilaratingly inventive, go-for-broke production of Kate Hamill’s freewheeling play. Adapted from William Makepeace Thackeray’s 1848 novel of manners, “Vanity Fair’’ chronicles the bumpy social journeys of guileful Becky Sharp (a superb Josephine Moshiri Elwood) and gentle, overly trusting Amelia Sedley (an elegant Malikah McHerrin-Cobb) through early-19th-century London. Through Feb. 23. Underground Railway Theater. At Central Square Theater, Cambridge. 617-576-9278, ext. 1,

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,

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,




rEVOLUTION Boston Ballet designed this meaty program to showcase the transformation of classical style in iconic works by three undisputed masters. The program features the dynamic Balanchine/Stravinsky collaboration “Agon,” Jerome Robbins’s powerful “Glass Pieces,” set to the music of Philip Glass, and William Forsythe’s landmark “In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated.” Feb. 27-March 8, $37-$179. Citizens Bank Opera House. 617-695-6955,

ICE DANCE INTERNATIONAL Torvill and Dean brought a whole new level to ice dancing in the 1984 Olympics. This Maine-based company aims to make it accessible as well. The upcoming multi-state tour of “In Flight” plays off the energy of the company’s unprecedented performance at Jacob’s Pillow last summer and two television specials on PBS rotation. The troupe, which includes championship dancers, stops in Boston with works choreographed by Edward Villella, Trey McIntyre, Benoit Richaud, and artistic director Douglas Webster. Feb. 29, $20. Skating Club of Boston. 207-703-2629,

SOUTH ASIAN SHOWDOWN 2020 This national competition is a raucous, colorful, high-energy smackdown of Bollywood/fusion dance styles, with teams from all over the country competing for top honors. Fun for the whole family, this event has sold out 10 years in a row, so get your tickets early. Feb. 29, $25-$100. John Hancock Hall. 617-687-9181,



SOL LEWITT: FORMS DERIVED FROM A CUBE IN TWO AND THREE DIMENSIONS, AND ONE WALL WORK Krakow Witkin Gallery goes all in on the progenitor of the notion that art is as much idea as object — an idea that can be communicated through written instructions. This show follows the minimalist through four decades of unpacking the cube. Through Feb. 29. Krakow Witkin Gallery, 10 Newbury St. 617-262-4490,

AGAINST A SHARP WHITE BACKGROUND Helina Metaferia applies Zora Neale Hurston’s quote, “I feel most colored when I am thrown against a sharp white background,” to the white cube gallery. In photography and video, she inserts her own Black body into conversation with the work of white, male giants of 20th-century art. In collages, she appears amid art world ephemera. Through April 5. Gallery 360, Curry Student Center, Northeastern University, 360 Huntington Ave. 617-373-3682,

RACHEL ALLEN (NEZ PERCE): AIRPLAY Allen uses the notion of air as a metaphor for societal ideology; we are so immersed in it, we have little awareness of it. She invites viewers to reconsider their belief systems and connect with those of her native Nez Perce culture, using inflatables they can move by pushing buttons that unsettle the air. Through March 14. Urbano Project, 29 Germania St., Jamaica Plain. 617-983-1007,



TSCHABALALA SELF: OUT OF BODY A young artist — just 29 — with a skyrocketing profile, Self barely had time to establish her practice before becoming a hot market commodity. The ICA, with her largest museum show to date, slows things down and gives her lush, sensual works around Black identity room to breathe, and a chance to grow. Through July 5. Institute of Contemporary Art, 25 Harbor Shore Drive. 617-478-3100,

GOING VIRAL: PHOTOGRAPHY, PERFORMANCE, AND THE EVERYDAY This collection of anonymous snapshots from the early part of the 20th century predates now-omnipresent selfie culture, but makes clear that the impulse to mask and mug for a camera is by no means a phenomenon exclusive to the smartphone era. Through June 7. The Davis Museum at Wellesley College, 106 Central St., Wellesley. 781-283-2051,

WALLS TURN SIDEWAYS: ARTISTS CONFRONT THE JUSTICE SYSTEM For decades, social justice has been a pervasive force in art of all kinds, but this show opens a vein of inquiry as ugly as it is particular. Surprising, to me, was the list of names in the show for whom incarceration has been a preoccupation: superstars such as Chris Burden, Andrea Fraser, Kapwani Kiwanga, and Dread Scott, just to name a few. Through April 19. Tufts University Art Galleries, 40 Talbot Ave., Medford. 617-627-3518,




KRISTINA KUZMIC The Internet star mines her experiences as a parent for humor. In her new book, “Hold On, But Don’t Hold Still,” out Feb. 11, she writes, “Tackling life without it is like trying to eat soup with a fork.” She kicks off her book tour with a night of storytelling at the Wilbur Theatre. Feb. 12, 7:30 p.m. $42. The Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont St. 866-448-7849,

LOVE’S A JOKE Boston native Vicky Kuperman presents four stand-up comedian couples — including herself and Max Cohen, Tom Cotter and Kerri Louise, Al Ducharme and Bernadette Pauley, and Nicky Sunshine and Jamie Roberts — in this show about the trials of love and relationships. Feb. 13 at 8 p.m., Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m., and Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. $20-$25. Laugh Boston, 425 Summer St. 617-725-2844,

AN EVENING OF LOVE AND LAUGHTER WITH TONY V & KELLY MACFARLAND Expect a fun, loose night of comedy with two of Boston’s finest stand-up comedians on this Valentine’s Day-themed show. Those who watched the Super Bowl this year will recognize Tony V as the guy amazed by a certain self-parking car in a commercial with a bunch of superstars. Feb. 14, 8 p.m. $25-$35. Wiggin Auditorium Peabody, 24 Lowell St., Peabody.



BOSTON ROYAL PRINCESS BALL Join your favorite princesses for storytime, sing-alongs, games, and dancing with some royal guests. The event will be interactive and geared toward children ages 3 to 7. Attendees can purchase tickets for a few-hour session during the day. Feb. 9, 9 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. Tickets $32-$57. Boston Marriott Burlington, 1 Burlington Mall Road, Burlington.

TOY STORY BRUNCH Young fans of the “Toy Story” movie franchise can meet some of the characters and enjoy a brunch prepared especially for them. There will be waffle and pancake stations, pastries, and lunch specials like chicken fingers. For attending adults, a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar will also be open throughout the event. Feb. 9, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets up to $23.95. Breakaway, 221 Newbury St., Danvers.

FREE SKATE In partnership with Capital One Cafe and Fjällräven, The Winter Village in Seaport will offer complimentary skating and skate rentals. The rink is open to all ages. Feb. 15, noon to 2 p.m. Free. 65 Northern Ave., Boston.



Feb. 25 American Authors at Paradise Rock Club

March 1 Dustin Lynch at House of Blues Boston

March 3 Silverstein at House of Blues Boston

March 5 La Roux at House of Blues Boston

March 5 Om at the Sinclair

March 10 Nathaniel Rateliff at Orpheum Theater

March 13 Wire at the Sinclair