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What’s happening in the arts world

Chris Stapleton (pictured at the CMT Music Awards in June) performs July 28-30 at Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion.Erika Goldring/Getty Images/file


Pop & Rock

SQUIRREL FLOWER Singer-songwriter Ella Williams’s latest album as Squirrel Flower, “Planet (i),” approaches the idea of disaster from multiple angles, with her tender voice, whether it’s shrouded in guitar fuzz or accompanied by a lone guitar, serving as a bulwark against the apocalypse. July 23, 5 p.m. (doors). Institute of Contemporary Art, 25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston. 617-478-3100,

NICE, A FEST Local music comes roaring back with this all-day festival put on by ONCE Somerville, which is booking concerts at Somerville’s new Boynton Yards complex all summer. The bill includes irresistibly hooky synthpop act Bowling Shoes, emo-jazz squallers Really From, rumbling alt-rockers Pet Fox, and mood-music specialists Lady Pills. July 24, 1 p.m. Boynton Yards, 101 South St., Somerville.


CHRIS STAPLETON The troubadour headlines a three-night stand in support of his 2020 album “Starting Over,” which continues his elegant knotting together of modern country and classic rock. It includes a cover of John Fogerty ‘s “Joy of My Life” and features contributions from Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell of the late Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers. July 28-30, 7 p.m. Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion, 72 Meadowbrook Lane, Gilford, N.H. 603-293-4700,


Folk & World

SIERRA FERRELL Expect to hear Ms. Ferrell, an up-and-comer with a magnificent voice who describes herself as having “a country heart but a jazz mind,” preview her upcoming Rounder full-length release, “Long Time Coming,” at this Friday afternoon show. July 23, 4 p.m. (outside show). $20. The Word Barn, 66 Newfields Road, Exeter, N.H.

STU KIMBALL, SAL BAGLIO, JAMIE WALKER, AND ALLEN ESTES Four veteran musicians — longtime Dylan guitarist Kimball, Stompers member Baglio, the Swinging Steaks’ Walker, and country and folk practitioner Estes — come together for what they’ve billed as “An Evening of Music from the American Songbook.” They’ll play songs from the likes of Ray Charles, John Prine, Gram Parsons, Tom Waits, Leadbelly, and Hank Williams. July 24, 10 p.m. $20. The Porch Southern, 175 Rivers Edge Drive, Medford. 781-874-9357,


DOM FLEMONS Flemons goes by the tag “the American Songster,” which points to what he draws upon — about a century of early American popular and roots music. The musical anachronist is also adept at a variety of suitably ancient instruments such as the fife and quills, and he’s even issued a single on wax cylinder. Take that, cassette hipsters! July 29, 8 p.m. $15-$20. City Winery, 80 Beverly St., Boston. 617-933-8047,


Jazz & Blues

SUGAR RAY & THE BLUETONES Veteran harmonica wizard and vocal ace Sugar Ray Norcia and his masterful, house-rocking Bluetones celebrate the release of their recent album, “Too Far From the Bar,” featuring the late, lamented guitar great Little Charlie Batty. July 23, 8 p.m. $20-$25. Chan’s Fine Oriental Dining, 267 Main St., Woonsocket, R.I. 401-765-1900,

THE JOY REO TRIO Parish Center for the Arts presents an outdoor concert with jazz vocalist Reo, saxophonist Diane Heffner, and pianist Molly Flannery performing their deft and delightful versions of classic songs from the 1920s to the 21st century. July 25, 4 p.m.-6 p.m. $10-$15, families $40. Westford Town Common, Westford.

JOEY DEFRANCESCO The Rockport Jazz Festival kicks off with the artist widely credited for bringing the Hammond B3 organ back to the jazz table. Making his Rockport debut, multiple Grammy-nominee DeFrancesco brings that classic Hammond groove and grease to this idyllic seaside setting. July 29, 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. $49-$59 (virtual $20). Shalin Liu Performance Center, 37 Main St., Rockport. 978-546-7391,




Tanglewood honors Boston Pops laureate conductor and film music titan John Williams this weekend.Chad Batka/for The New York Times

TANGLEWOOD Tanglewood honors Boston Pops laureate conductor and film music titan John Williams this weekend, first with an all-Williams Boston Pops show (July 23) and then with the world premiere of his new violin concerto featuring Anne-Sophie Mutter, in a BSO evening that also includes music by Copland, Stravinsky, and Jessie Montgomery. On Sunday, Andris Nelsons concludes his Tanglewood stint with a matinee featuring pianist Yefim Bronfman playing Beethoven (July 25). In addition, the annual Festival of Contemporary Music takes place across three concerts, chamber and orchestral (July 25-26). Lenox. 617-266-1200,

BOSTON MIDSUMMER OPERA This summer institution celebrates a return to live performance not with a fully staged opera but an outdoor potpourri of scenes and arias featuring local performers including bass-baritone Jason Budd, tenor Jesse Darden, and soprano Dana Lynne Varga. July 22-25. Commander’s Mansion, 440 Talcott Ave., Watertown.

YELLOW BARN If ever there was a weekend to skip town and drive to Vermont for a few evenings in the Big Barn, make it this one. First up is a memorial tribute to pianist and pedagogue Leon Fleisher featuring his favorite tunes, everything from J.S. Bach to Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer (July 23). The next evening features a rare local performance of Oklahoma composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate’s “Standing Bear: A Ponca Indian Cantata in Eight Tableaux” as well as music by Tigran Mansurian, Earl Kim, and Dvorak (July 24). Vaccination required for entry. Putney, Vt.





7 ROOMS: MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH Using Edgar Allan Poe’s classic short story as a jumping-off point, Flat Earth Theatre Company has paired seven local playwrights with seven local directors to create seven short plays, each of which will unfold in a different one of the rooms mentioned in Poe’s story. To be united by a wrap-around narrative, “7 Rooms: Masque of the Red Death” can be experienced on Zoom. July 28-Aug. 15. Tickets are pay-what-you-can. Information at

THE TEMPEST After being canceled last summer due to the pandemic, the Free Shakespeare on the Common series will go forward with “The Tempest” in a streamlined, intermissionless form, starring John Douglas Thompson as Prospero, the deposed duke turned island sorcerer. Through Aug. 8. Commonwealth Shakespeare Company. Performances are free, but it is recommended that attendees register beforehand. Information at



FESTIVAL OF US, YOU, WE, & THEM Dance Complex celebrates the eclectic and dynamic diversity of its community with this eighth annual celebration of classes, conversations, and performances. Plans include activities inside the studios, outside on the sidewalks, at Starlight Square, and University Square Commons. All events welcome the general public, and some are free. Saturday night and Sunday afternoon performances feature a range of Dance Complex artists. July 23-25. Cambridge.


LIFE ENCOUNTERS: ARCHIE BURNETT In this Pillow exclusive world premiere production, the legendary club dancer and an illustrious slate of guest artists, including Ephrat Asherie, Abdiel Jacobsen, Princess Lockerooo, tour through Burnett’s trove of memories to trace the evolution of New York City’s verdant underground dance scene. July 28-Aug. 1. $45. Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival Leir Outdoor Stage, Becket.

REVOLVE DANCE PROJECT The fledgling collaborative troupe of up-and-coming choreographers and composers launches its inaugural season with two outdoor dance performances. Artistic Director Kirsten Evans, a dancer with Festival Ballet Providence for more than 10 years, founded the company to explore cross-disciplinary creativity, and the concerts feature original dance and musical scores performed live. July 24, 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets by donation. Roger Williams Park, Providence.


Visual Arts

Artist Ekua Holmes at the MFA with "Golden," from 2009.Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

PAPER STORIES, LAYERED DREAMS: THE ART OF EKUA HOLMES While Holmes’s “Radiant Community” runs on the MFA’s east lawn, inside there’s a significant survey of her vibrant collage work. The Roxbury artist and activist has always been committed to Black imagery and narratives, and her illustrations for nearly 30 different books show it. Highlights include the recently released “Black Is a Rainbow Color” by Angela Joy. Through Jan. 23, Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave. 617-267-9300,

RAGNAR KJARTANSSON: THE VISITORS The ICA brought this piece, an old favorite from its permanent collection, out of storage last year as a sort of salve for our perpetually anxious times. This nine-channel video work, from 2012, situates a gang of friends playing mournful music together but apart in the various rooms of a tumbledown mansion (basically a socially-distant jam session via interconnected remote sound system). Anyone with an ounce of taste, or a soul, could see it was a great work from the start. That it presaged all we’ve just been through — a yearning for connection despite a world fractured into isolation — only amplifies its power, and its poignancy. Through Aug. 15. ICA Boston, 25 Harbor Shore Drive. 617-478-3100,


ANIMAL INSTINCTS Painter Anastasiya Tarasenko curates this menagerie of an exhibition, which considers the symbolic roles animals play in human consciousness and our fraught, changing relationship with the natural world. A spider, a pig or two, and snakes and horses aplenty carry viewers into a dream world filled with archetypes of industry, sloth, evil, and passion. Through Aug. 14. Steven Zevitas Gallery, 450 Harrison Ave. 617-778-5265,




THE COMEDY STUDIO SUMMER RESIDENCY AT VERA’S The Studio continues its showcase series at Vera’s this weekend. Friday, the show features Jaylene Tran, Alex Feldman, Rachel Dunbar, Jimmy Bowes, and Brian Longwell. Saturday, it has Val Kappa, Chris Post, Dan Boulger, Erin Maguire, and Valden Jones. July 23-24, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. $20. Vera’s, 70 Union Square, Somerville. 617-661-6507,

ALEX GIAMPAPA On his “The Actual News” podcast and YouTube show, Giampapa skewers current events like an underground “Daily Show,” and he released his first stand-up/satire album, “Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself,” in 2020. He headlines Nick’s with guests Carolyn Riley and Liam McGurk. July 24, 8 p.m. $20. Nick’s Comedy Stop, 200 Warrenton St., Boston.

THE BLACK COMEDY EXPLOSION Host Jonathon Gates’s Wednesday night show at Slade’s is a Boston institution. It’s back up, and this week features Freddie Ricks and Friends for two shows. July 28, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. $15-$90. Slade’s Bar & Grill, 958 Tremont St., Boston. 617-442-4600,



PATRIOT PLACE FIREWORKS The Patriots are kicking off training camp with fireworks — originally scheduled for July 2 — and live entertainment. Participants can consult the online map to find prime viewing spots to get the full view of the red, white, and blue spectacle. July 24, 9:15 p.m. Free. 2 Patriot Place, Foxborough.

LEARN TO MAKE DUMPLINGS Cooking is about more than just the food — it’s about gathering. Chef Patty Chan and Chef Marco will take you through a delicious night of dumpling making in a class for all ages. July 25, 1 p.m.-4 p.m. $79 per person. Dumpling Room, 85 Windsor St., Cambridge.

SUNSET AT THE STREET Enjoy the late daylight on The Green at The Street with a variety of summer activities, such as face painting, balloon animals, live music, and more. July 29. Free. 5 p.m.-7 p.m. The Street Chestnut Hill, 33 Boylston St., Suite 3000, Newton.

SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE SCREENING Jump into the multiverse with Miles Morales at a free screening of the film at Friendship Park (popcorn provided). Before the film, moviegoers can even spend some time at the bounce houses. The movie will start between 7:45 p.m. and 8 p.m., but the lot opens at 6 p.m. July 30, 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Free. Friendship Park, West Bridgewater.