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What’s happening in the arts world

Ashley McBryde performs Aug. 20 at the House of Blues.Catherine Powell


Pop & Rock

ASHLEY MCBRYDE “Never Will,” the latest album from this country-rock spitfire, is full of bravado and heart, with her stellar songwriting and spirited vocal shining on honky-tonk-ready cuts like the wah-wah-tinged “Styrofoam” and the supportively anthemic “Hang In There Girl.” Aug. 20, 6:30 p.m. $29.50-$33.50. House of Blues. 888-693-2583,

LIDO PIMIENTA The Toronto-based singer, songwriter, producer, and performance artist, who won Canada’s Polaris Prize in 2017 for her stellar full-length “La Papessa,” brings her storming live show to North Adams in support of her new album, the cumbia-electro-bullerengue-punk thrill ride “Miss Colombia.” Aug. 20, 8 p.m. $25. Mass MoCA, North Adams. 413-662-2111,


SOMERGLOOM This daylong showcase of dark-cloud-covered music has a varied bill including murk-gazers Seed, noise-grind duo Body Void, heavy atmospherists Glacier, and wailing experimentalist Kira McSpice. Aug. 21, 2:30 p.m. $20. ONCE x Boynton Yards, Somerville.


Folk & World

WARD HAYDEN Friday’s show celebrates “Free Country,” the new release from Ward Hayden and the Outliers. The album offers a collection of songs in tune with both the tenor of the times and the band’s breakneck freight-train beat. And they’re giving the album away (“free country, anyone?”), asking only that the recipient share it with someone else. Aug. 20, 8 p.m. $20. TCAN, 14 Summer St., Natick. 508-647-0097,

VALLEY MAKER Austin Crane, who performs as Valley Maker (a moniker he took from a song by Smog, a band he greatly admires), offers a stately, horn- and-string-flecked species of folk music that also includes more electric interpolations, as evidenced by the marvelous “When the Day Leaves,” released in early 2021. Aug. 21, 9 p.m. $20. O’Brien’s Pub, 3 Harvard Ave., Allston. 617-782-6245,

ROCKPORT CELTIC FESTIVAL Artistic directors Brian O’Donovan and Maeve Gilchrist get back to exploring Celtic roots and branches live with this now-annual festival. In addition to the musical offerings, the proceedings include exploratory sessions, a “words and music” program, and this year’s capstone, “Songs and Stories of the Sea,” which will focus on the history of Cape Ann. Aug. 20-22, various start times each day. $15, $55-$69 (ticketed per individual concert). Shalin Liu Performance Center, 37 Main St., Rockport. 978-546-7391,



Jazz & Blues

DUDLEY JAZZ FEST This year’s Dudley Jazz Fest, in its fifth annual iteration, will feature drummer Tyson Jackson’s Trio, renowned saxophonist Bill Pierce’s Quartet, and guitarist and festival organizer Fred Woodard’s Collective. Aug. 21, noon-4:30 p.m. Free. Dudley Miller Park, 483 Dudley St., Roxbury. 617-631-9809,

THE ARNI CHEATHAM PROJECT Mandorla Music and the Mission Hill Arts Festival present a concert celebrating Mandorla’s marvelous first CD release, “The Sound of Dreams: The Arni Cheatham Project,” a well-deserved tribute to the compositions and career of the saxophonist and beloved Boston jazz mainstay. With pianist-arranger Kevin Harris, trumpeter Akili Bradley, saxophonists Gregory Groover and Andy Voelker, trombonist Bill Lowe, bassist Max Ridley, and drummer Lee Fish. Aug. 21, 6 p.m. $20. The Yard at the Tobin Community Center, 1481 Tremont St., Roxbury.

THE RAMPAGE TRIO & ALBERT CASTIGLIA Rhythm Room Afternoons presents another outdoor blues doubleheader, this time featuring dynamic blues-rocking Rampage Trio and galvanic guitarist and singer Castiglia. Aug. 22, 1-6 p.m. $25-$100. John Alden’s Sportsman’s Club, 26 Minuteman Lane, Plymouth.




BERKSHIRE OPERA FESTIVAL Tanglewood may be done, but the Berkshires aren’t going dark; the Berkshire Opera Festival’s mainstage production of Verdi’s final opera, the Shakespearean comedy “Falstaff,” goes up this weekend with Sebastian Catana in the title role and Tamara Wilson as Mrs. Alice Ford. Proof of vaccination or negative test result required to attend, and masks must be worn at all times in the theater. Aug. 21, 24, and 27. Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington.

BOSTON LANDMARKS ORCHESTRA The Landmarks Orchestra wind section bands together for English and American music including Sousa marches, Frank Ticheli’s “Amazing Grace,” Ralph Vaughan Williams’s “Folk Song Suite,” and Omar Thomas’s “Come Sunday.” Note: the Arthur Fiedler Footbridge is closed for the season; plan to use the Dartmouth St. Footbridge or the Francis Appleton Footbridge across from the Charles/MGH T stop to get to the Hatch Shell. Aug. 25, 7 p.m. Rain date Aug. 26.




THE ARBORETUM EXPERIENCE A “self-guided journey” through the Arnold Arboretum that features audio plays, pop-up performances, and guided, interactive movement maps. Created by a team that includes director Summer L. Williams, choreographer Jill Johnson, playwright Kirsten Greenidge, and musician Tim Hall. Open-ended run begins Aug. 21. American Repertory Theater and the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. Free and unticketed. Information at 617-547-8300,

ROMEO AND JULIET Shakespeare’s tragedy of the star-crossed lovers will be staged throughout Chelsea’s downtown in an outdoors, site-specific, bilingual adaptation, directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques. Aug. 21 and Aug. 28. A collaboration by Apollinaire Theatre Company and Teatro Chelsea, in partnership with the city of Chelsea. No tickets required, but information or updates in case of rain at 617-887-2336 or


NINA SIMONE: FOUR WOMEN Christina Ham’s play imagines a conversation-with-music between the great singer-songwriter and civil rights activist Nina Simone and three Black women. Simone will be portrayed by Felicia Curry. Also in the cast: Darlesia Cearcy, Najah Hetsberger, and Sasha Hutchings. Directed by Gerry McIntyre. Through Sept. 5. Berkshire Theatre Group. Performances are indoors on the Larry Vaber Stage in the Unicorn Theatre, Stockbridge. 413-997-4444,

DINDIN The always inventive playwright-actress Brenda Withers joins Jonathan Fielding, Stacy Fischer, and Robert Kropf in the cast for the premiere of her drama, which is described as “a meditation on predators, prey, and the insatiable appetite of a killer instinct,” revealed at a dinner among an affluent couple and a pair of single friends where tensions escalate. Through Sept. 5. Harbor Stage Company, Wellfleet. 508-514-1763,



DrumatiX will perform outdoors in Salem's Charlotte Totten Park, Aug. 21-22 and Aug. 28-29.Whitney Browne

DRUMATIX The spirited Boston-based company celebrates the waning days of summer with free outdoor performances called “Rhythm Delivered.” The shows feature tap dance, body percussion, and drumming on everything from buckets and barrels to pipes and tin cans. Right after each show, the company offers a 15-minute public workshop to get you flashing some new moves and cranking out your own rhythms. Aug. 21-22 and 28-29, 2-3 p.m. Free. Charlotte Forten Park, Salem.


BALLET COAST TO COAST Ballet is back live and in person, as Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival offers a fabulous opportunity to see leading artists from three major companies share the stage. Boston Ballet’s Lia Cirio, Paul Craig, and My’Kal Stromile will perform Helen Pickett’s “Home Studies: Parlor Floor Life” on a contemporary program that also features performances by dancers from Pacific Northwest Ballet and Houston Ballet. For the finale, all perform together in Alejandro Cerrudo’s “Second to Last,” with music by Arvo Pärt. Aug. 25-29, $45. Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival Leir Outdoor Stage, Becket.

TO FEEL THE EARTH AND TOUCH THE SKY, LIVING THE LEGACY OF AMERICAN MODERN DANCE Written and directed by Dance Currents artistic director Kathy Hassinger, this new documentary highlights some of the legendary figures of American modern dance, from Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham to Mark Morris and Robert Battle. The creators are offering free on-demand streaming for one week, with a special Q&A Aug. 29 with filmmakers, board members, and experts from the film. Aug. 23-29, Free.


Visual Arts

NEW LIGHT: ENCOUNTERS AND CONNECTIONS A museum-wide intervention, “New Light” pairs 21 historical artworks from the MFA collection, some millennia old, with contemporary pieces by Boston-area artists including Lavaughn Jenkins, Alison Croney Moses, Eben Haines, Stephen Hamilton, and Tomashi Jackson, to name a few. Through Feb. 6, 2022. Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave. 617-267-9300,

SONYA CLARK: HEAVENLY BOUND; MONUMENTAL CLOTH, THE FLAG WE SHOULD KNOW In 1865, the Confederate army’s ceremonial surrender to the Unionists took the form of a plain white dish rag with two slim red stripes on each end (the only thing on hand, apparently). It became known as the Confederate Flag of Truce, but it has been all but lost to the ages, with the more defiant (and ultimately racist) symbol of the Confederate battle flag stealing the symbolic stage. Clark, who works in textiles bound in history, presents a pair of exhibitions that examines the power of that symbolic schism in the evolution of a country tangled up in its slave-trading past and still very much at war with itself. Through Sept. 12. The deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, 51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln. 781-259-8355,

VIRGIL ABLOH: FIGURES OF SPEECH The first-ever museum exhibition dedicated to the American artist and designer intersects with the close but often parallel worlds of art, music, design, architecture, and fashion. The show captures this polymath, currently the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear lines, at mid-career. Through Sept. 26. Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. 617-478-3100,


THE NURSE PROJECT Painter Vanessa Michalak, known for Cape Ann landscapes, is a nurse. She solicited selfies from other nurses, along with written descriptions of their pandemic experiences. The large-scale portraits in this show are based on the selfies, and the text is blown up to poster-size — giving nurses the monumental spotlight they deserve. Through Sept. 5. Sargent House Museum, 49 Middle St., Gloucester. 978-281-2432,




EMMA WILLMANN A regular at The Comedy Cellar in New York City and on the podcast scene (she cohosts “Inside the Closet” with Matteo Lane and recently wrapped up “Emma’s Bunker”), Willmann returns to Boston, where she spent her formative years in stand-up, to play Hideout Comedy at the White Bull. Aug. 20-21, 7:30 p.m. $20. The White Bull Tavern, 1 Union St. 617-681-4600,

DAVID A. ARNOLD On his recent Netflix special, “Fat Ballerina,” Arnold talks about some life-changing advice he heard his mother give his sister when he was 11, to never date a man who doesn’t wear a watch. “That means he don’t care what time it is, which means he ain’t got [stuff] to do,” he remembers her saying. “I went out and bought a Spider-Man watch that day.” Aug. 20-21, 7:30 p.m., 9:45 p.m. $25. Laugh Boston, 425 Summer St. 617-725-2844,

ZACH BRAZAO Brazao’s dad once asked him what it was like to work in an office. “Look, Pops, all we do is just Google whatever pops into our head,” he answered. “That’s it. I start at Roman aqueducts, I end at adobo seasoning, I black out in between. Last week I got so bored I Googled ‘fun things to Google.’” Aug. 21, 8 p.m. $20. Nick’s Comedy Stop, 200 Warrenton St.



WATERSHED FAMILY DAY Take a short shuttle ride with your kids to experience Firelei Báez’s exhibition and Stephen Hamilton’s project this weekend. Other activities include live music and ICA kids tote bags by illustrator Alice Caldwell. Aug. 21, noon-4 p.m. Free. 25 Harbor Shore Drive.

MERMAID BASH Though not exactly under the sea, children and families can still make a splash at this mermaid party. Children are encouraged to dress up in costume and will sit in on storytime with a mermaid to learn all about the ocean among other fun activities. Spots are limited. Aug. 22, 11 a.m-1 p.m. $25 per child. 306 Boston Road, Billerica.

CONES ‘N CARS Get the scoop on the latest ice cream flavors and oldest cars at this 1950s-themed car show. Ice cream vendors include Cabot’s, Volante Farms, J.P. Licks and the RCN Ice Cream Truck. Aug. 25 5-7:30 p.m. Free. NewTV, 23 Needham St., Newton.