Arts

The Ticket: Music, Theater, Dance, Art, and more

“Chorus girl folding self in half” is part of “UH OH: Frances Stark 1991-2015” at the Museum of Fine Arts.”
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
“Chorus girl folding self in half” is part of “UH OH: Frances Stark 1991-2015” at the Museum of Fine Arts.”

MUSIC

Pop & Rock

LETTERS TO Cleo In October these Boston-born power-poppers released the EP “Back to Nebraska,” their first batch of new material since 1997. It’s full of sweetly sour confections that recall the Alternative Nation era, like “Can’t Say,” which undercuts its sunshine-bright chorus with a growling bridge, and the brooding title track, which showcases lead singer Kay Hanley’s pensive side. Nov. 20, 8 p.m. Tickets: $30. The Sinclair. www.boweryboston.com

JONATHAN RICHMAN The post-punk bard (accompanied by drummer Tommy Larkins) embarks on a four-night run in the Middle East’s cozier upstairs confines. Expect lots of openhearted wit, lots of warmth, and (perhaps) at least one run-through of “People Are Disgusting,” his just-released broadside at hotel-room visitors who leave their temporary homes in disarray. Nov. 23-26, 7 p.m. Tickets: $20. Middle East Upstairs. 617-864-EAST, mideastoffers.com

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DINOSAUR JR. When Dinosaur Jr. frontman J Mascis took to the Fenway Park stage to assist Pearl Jam with “Rockin’ In the Free World” this past August, it felt like a vindication for his fluid guitar heroics. His band’s latest album, “Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not,” is similarly triumphant, teetering on the boundary between psychedelic bliss and taut rock. Nov. 25, 7 p.m. Tickets: $29.50-$39.50. House of Blues. 888-693-BLUE, houseofblues.com/boston

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MAURA JOHNSTON

Folk & World

CHILDSPLAY The brainchild of Cambridge luthier Bob Childs, who not only plays in the group but makes the instruments used by its members, Childsplay has been exploring fiddle repertoire across Celtic, bluegrass, Appalachian, jazz, and other genres for thirty years. They celebrate that milestone with the help of renowned Irish vocalist Karan Casey. Nov. 20, 3 p.m., 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $30-$40. Somerville Theatre. 617-625-4088. www.somervilletheatre.com

RICHARD SHINDELL Consummate storyteller Shindell returns to Cambridge for a three-night stand on the heels of releasing “Careless,” which finds him giving more room to his electric guitar and adopting perspectives from the mundane to the transcendent: cows wander off (“Stray Cow Blues”), dogs go missing (“Abbie”), celestial objects orbit silently overhead (“Satellites”). Nov. 21-23, 8 p.m. Tickets: $40. Club Passim, Cambridge. 617-492-7679. www.passim.org

ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO Now 65 years old, the man who was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Americana Music Association a full decade ago just keeps on producing his brand of visceral, vital roots-rock, with its latest installment, the perfectly titled “Burn Something Beautiful,” just arriving. Nov. 25, 8 p.m. Tickets: $20. Brighton Music Hall. 800-745-3000. www.ticketmaster.com STUART MUNRO

Jazz & Blues

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JOSH ROSEN & RALPH ROSEN Brothers in music if not in blood, the two Rosens, Josh (piano) and Ralph (percussion/harmonica), both respected performer/composers on the Boston scene, celebrate the release of their kaleidoscopic new recording “Brothers,” which inventively incorporates elements of jazz, blues, folk rock, and more. With bassist Bob Nieske and guitarist Ben Knorr. Nov. 20, 7 p.m. Tickets: $10. Lily Pad, 1353 Cambridge St., Cambridge. www.lilypadinman.com

CLUB D’ELF Bassist/composer Mike Rivard’s improvisational avant-groove collective melds electric-era Miles Davis, Moroccan music, dub, electronica, and more for a psychedelic journey in sound for the body and mind. Nov. 25, 10 p.m. Tickets: $12-$15. Lizard Lounge, 1667 Mass. Ave., Cambridge. www.lizardloungeclub.com

ROOMFUL OF BLUES For almost half a century, this world-class, house-rocking, horn-powered New England octet, currently led by guitarist Chris Vachon and featuring powerhouse vocalist Phil Pemberton, has kept the jump blues music of the late 1940s and early ’50s alive and more than kicking. Nov. 25, 8 p.m. $27-$30. Narrows Center for the Arts, 16 Anawan St., Fall River. 508-324-1926, www.narrowscenter.org

KEVIN LOWENTHAL

Classical

EMERSON STRING QUARTET Regular visitors to Boston, the storied quartet bring a program of music by Mozart, Shostakovich, and Ravel. Nov. 20, 3 p.m., Jordan Hall. 617-482-6661, www.celebrityseries.org

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BOSTON EARLY MUSIC FESTIVAL Versailles is the destination as the festival’s chamber opera series offers works by Charpentier and Lalande that celebrate the famous palace of Louis XIV. Nov. 26-27, Jordan Hall. 617-661-1812, www.bemf.org

HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY The society’s performances of Handel’s “Messiah,” the 163rd in its history, will be a sure sign that the holiday season is at hand. This year’s vocal soloists include soprano Joélle Harvey and countertenor Robin Blaze. Nov. 25-27, Symphony Hall. 617-262-1815, www.handelandhaydn.org

DAVID WEININGER

ARTS

Theater

MALA In the world premiere of her piercingly honest, exquisitely moving solo show, the gifted Boston playwright-actress Melinda Lopez navigates the wrenching terrain of what can amount to an emotional earthquake: the loss of a parent. Directed by David Dower. Through Nov. 20. ArtsEmerson. At Jackie Liebergott Black Box, Paramount Center, Boston. 617-824-8400, www.artsemerson.org

THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS Though it does not rank with Kander and Ebb’s finest work, their musical about an infamous episode of racial injustice exerts considerable emotional power in a New England premiere directed by Paul Daigneault. Actor De’Lon Grant makes a welcome return to a Boston stage after a four-year absence, and Brandon G. Green and Maurice Emmanuel Parent deliver characteristically vivid performances. Through Nov. 26. SpeakEasy Stage Company. At Roberts Studio Theatre, Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.speakeasystage.com

MURDER FOR TWO Directed by A. Nora Long, this two-person musical whodunit features the talented Jared Troilo (“My Fair Lady,’’ “Significant Other’’) as a detective trying to figure out who killed a novelist at his birthday party, and Kirsten Salpini (“The Donkey Show,’’ “The Snow Queen’’) as an array of suspects, including the deceased’s wife, the ballerina who was his mistress, a psychiatrist, and a member of a youth choir. Nov. 25-Dec. 24. Lyric Stage Company of Boston. 617-585-5678, www.lyricstage.com

DON AUCOIN

Dance

THE NUTCRACKER This weekend marks the beginning of “Nutcracker” madness, with performances throughout the area. But for dazzling spectacle and virtuosic dancing, top dog is Boston Ballet’s vivid production set to a live orchestral performance of Tchaikovsky’s memorable score. Nov. 25-Dec. 31. $35-$250. Boston Opera House. 617-695-6955, www.bostonballet.org

THE NUTCRACKER José Mateo Ballet Theatre’s streamlined narrative, intimate staging, and vibrant dancing make this a good introduction to the popular ballet, with lively, affordable performances at two locations. Nov. 25-Dec. 4, Cutler Majestic Theatre. Dec. 9-18, Strand Theatre, Dorchester. $20-$75. 617-354-7467,www.BalletTheatre.org

PETER DIMURO/PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF MOTION As part of the Institute of Contemporary Art’s day-long “Play Date: Reimagining Our World,” DiMuro and his crew offer a family-friendly interactive performance that includes excerpts from the choreographer’s lively “Everyday Cabaret.” Nov. 26, 1:30 p.m. Free for age 17 and under and for up to two adults accompanied by children under 12. Institute of Contemporary Art. 617-478-3100, www.icaboston.org

KAREN CAMPBELL

Galleries

TIMBER! Consider a tree’s growth, its decay, its rough textures and gnarly details. This group show (including works by Tory Fair and Sandra Allen) explores our connection to nature, starting from the traces a tree leaves behind. Through Dec. 9. Carole Calo Gallery, Stonehill College, 320 Washington St., Easton. 508-565-1897, www.stonehill.edu/news-media/news/details/timber-transforms-stonehills-carole-calo-gallery

KOICHIRO KURITA FREEDOM OF SPIRIT, HARMONY WITH NATURE Kurita’s photographic format — platinum palladium prints — and his compositional wizardry infuse his lush images with mystery and purpose. He takes his philosophical cue from Thoreau’s quest for harmony with the environment. Through Dec. 10. 555 Gallery, 555 East 2nd St., South Boston. 857-496-7234, www.555gallery.com

JUDY KENSLEY MCKIE: WORKS ON PAPER In paintings, prints, and drawings dating as far back as the 1980s, the noted studio furniture artist displays a bracing, direct graphic touch and an abiding engagement with animals that brim with personality. Through Dec. 17. Gallery NAGA, 67 Newbury St. 617-267-9060, www.gallerynaga.com

CATE McQUAID

Museums

UH OH: FRANCES STARK 1991-2015 A career survey of the agile, humorous, philosophically inclined artist, who makes collages, digital slideshows, video installations, and works involving social media. (Pictured: “Chorus girl folding self in half.”) Through Jan. 29. Museum of Fine Arts. 617-267-9300. www.mfa.org

MOUNT WASHINGTON: THE CROWN OF NEW ENGLAND The first exhibition devoted exclusively to depictions of Mt Washington. Includes prints, photographs, illustrated guidebooks, and paintings by such artists as Thomas Cole, Albert Bierstadt, John Frederick Kensett, Winslow Homer, and George Inness. Through Jan. 16. Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, N.H. 603-669-6144, www.currier.org

NICK CAVE: UNTIL A massive installation — the largest yet by the artist previously celebrated for his “Soundsuits” — made up of thousands of found objects and beads. The installation, in Mass MoCA’s largest gallery, will be in place for one year; it will be used as a performance space during that period. Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams. 413-662-2111, www.massmoca.org

SEBASTIAN SMEE

EVENTS

Comedy

WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE? DEBATING HUMANITY It’s been a rough year on a lot of levels, and if you want to get back to basic questions like “Can I brush my teeth at work?” and “What if I don’t like babies?” you can do that at this show with debaters Kelly MacFarland, Sean Sullivan, and Wes Hazard. Nov. 22, 8 p.m. $10. The Rockwell, 255 Elm St., Somerville. 617-684-5335, www.therockwell.org

THE GAS: GOOD BY GARY Gary Petersen plays one last show in Boston with Ron Crean at The Gas before leaving for Los Angeles. They’ll try out some stranger sketch and standup ideas they’ve been thinking about but have never performed. Nov. 25, 7 p.m. $5. Great Scott, 1222 Commonwealth Ave., Allston. 617-566-9014, www.greatscottboston.com

MIKE EPPS Standup comedy is something Epps always returns to, but he’s got an interesting film career too. He’ll costar with hip-hop artist TI in a comedy called “The Trap” and has just signed on to play a supporting role in Eli Roth’s remake of the Charles Bronson vehicle “Death Wish,” with Bruce Willis in the lead. Nov. 25 at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. $45. Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont St., Boston. 617-248-9700, www.thewilbur.com

NICK A. ZAINO III

Family

HISTORIC THANKSGIVING AT THE OLD MANSE Kick off the holiday week with a tour of this historic mansion, the site of many Transcendentalist conversations back in the 19th century. After perusing the kitchen and parlors, you’ll have the chance to try desserts inspired by menus of the past. Don’t Thoreau this opportunity away! Nov. 20, noon, 1 p.m., 3 p.m. $5-10. The Old Manse, 269 Monument St., Concord. 978-369-3909. www.thetrustees.org

NEW ENGLAND PHILHARMONIC STRING SECTION It’s never too early to introduce your children to classical music — some even listen to Mozart in the womb. The Boston Children’s Museum will host a number of New England Philharmonic musicians and their wonderful stringed instruments for an afternoon of interactive performances. Nov. 20, 2:30 p.m. $16. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St. 617-426-6500. www.bostonchildrensmuseum.org

FRIDAY AFTER THANKSGIVING CHAIN REACTION Why spend Black Friday waiting in lines when you can witness the magic of a Rube Goldberg machine? The MIT Museum hosts this engineering celebration each year, and this time the theme is symmetry. It’s a two-in-one deal, as admission to the museum is included with the event ticket. Nov. 25, 1-4 p.m. $5-13. MIT Zesiger Athletic Complex’s Rockwell Cage, 106 Vassar St., Cambridge. mitmuseum.mit.edu

SONIA RAO

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Nov. 28 Andra Day and Chloe x Halle at Royale Boston www.ticketmaster.com

Nov. 29 Michael Kiwanuka at Royale Boston www.ticketmaster.com

Dec. 7 Twin Peaks at The Sinclair www.axs.com

Dec. 8 Melissa Etheridge at Lynn Auditorium www1.ticketmaster.com

Dec. 8 Boston Music Awards at House of Blues concerts.livenation.com

Dec. 9 “Into the Woods” at Oberon americanrepertorytheater.org

Dec. 10 Norah Jones at Orpheum Theatre www1.ticketmaster.com

Dec. 17 Andrea Bocelli at TD Garden www1.ticketmaster.com

Dec. 17 The Oh Hellos at Paradise Rock Club www1.ticketmaster.com SONIA RAO