Boston-area to do list

Michael von Redlich


Hello, Varla Jean

She’s got a good-for-nothing ex-husband and other nuisance males to deal with, but her biggest problem is her evil daughter. Not to worry, because “Mildred Fierce” will handle it all in entertaining fashion. The takeoff on the film classic “Mildred Pierce” is the latest parody for adults from Ryan Landry and the Gold Dust Orphans. It’s a noir musical featuring Varla Jean Merman as Mildred, with Landry, Penny Champayne, Olive Another, Liza Lott, and Delta Miles joining the singing, tap dancing, and spectacularly costumed cast. Feb. 7-March 17. Thurs-Sat 8 p.m., Sun 5 p.m. $40-$50. Machine, 1254 Boylston St., Boston.


Poetry nation Graywolf Press has been publishing poetry since the mid-1970s. To celebrate the genre, it’s launching The Graywolf Press Poetry Tour. The Boston edition features authors Nick Flynn (“The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands”), Dobby Gibson (“It Becomes You”), and Mary Szybist (“Incarnadine”). Feb. 6, 7 p.m. Free. Harvard Book Store, 1256 Mass. Ave., Cambridge. 617-661-1515,

Sea dogs To find out what artist Joanna Doyle thinks of dogs, visit, where quotes about man’s best friend include this one from Franz Kafka: “All knowledge, the totality of all questions and answers, is contained in the dog.” Doyle’s oils, acrylics, and mixed-media pieces are on view in “Coastlines and Canines.” Feb. 6-March 3. Wed-Sun noon-5 p.m. Reception Feb. 9, 4-6 p.m. Firehouse Center for the Arts, Market Square, Newburyport. 978-462-7336,



Arachna musica Italian lore says the only way to get over a tarantula bite is to dance it off. That folk cure is the basis for the pizzica taranta, that crazy Italian dance music we hear at family weddings. Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino simultaneously embraces and modernizes the tradition on instruments including Italian bagpipes, violin, frame drums, harmonica, guitar, and a diatonic accordion. They’re touring in support of “Pizzica Indiavolata.” Feb. 7, 7:30 p.m. $28. Johnny D’s, 17 Holland St., Somerville. 617-876-4275,

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Love South Indian style Bharatanatyam dancer Mesma Belsare and Carnatic vocalist Deepti Navaratna look at carnal and spiritual facets of love as expressed in Indian music, dance, and poetry. An Evening of Classical Indian Music and Dance features repertoire from the eighth, 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Feb. 7, 7:30 p.m. $20, $15 students and seniors. Multicultural Arts Center, 41 Second St., Cambridge. 617-577-1400,

African beat Master balafon (that’s a xylophone) player Famoro Dioubate went into the family trade. He comes from a family of griots (musicians/storytellers) in Guinea. Hear Famoro Dioubate and Africa America with drummer Ra-Kalam Bob Moses, guitarist/vocalist Bouba Diabate, bassist Jason Davis, and percussionist/vocalist Kenny Kozol. Feb. 7, 10 p.m. $10. Lily Pad, 1353 Cambridge St., Cambridge. 617-395-1393,

Will power A crazy family deals with a relative just sprung from jail, a recent divorce, religious fanaticism, and complications of a missing will in “Legally Dead.” Boston Playwrights’ Theatre presents Dan Hunter’s play. Feb. 7, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8-9, 8 p.m. Feb. 10, 2 p.m. Through Feb. 24. $30, $25 seniors, $10 students. Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Comm. Ave., Boston. 866-811-4111,