The week ahead: music, theater, art, and more

Mr. Lif plays the Middle East May 5.
Mr. Lif plays the Middle East May 5.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff/file

MUSICPop & Rock

MR. LIF Storming back from a lengthy, unplanned hiatus, Boston MC and Def Jux survivor Mr. Lif celebrates the release of “Don’t Look Down,” his first solo album in seven years and a compelling testament to his artistic resilience. May 5, 10:30 p.m. $15, advance $13.

Middle East Upstairs, Cambridge. 617-864-3278, www.mideastclub.com

PROTOMARTYR An unflinching observer of society’s sad, fraying edges, Joe Casey taps into the same kind of plainspoken rant-sing that’s made Pere Ubu and the Fall compelling for decades; on “The Agent Intellect,” issued last October, Casey’s bandmates provide unfailingly apt settings, whether cool and snappy or jagged and tart. May 8, 9 p.m. $12. Great Scott. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com


CHELSEA WOLFE Doom-metal viscosity, gothic vapors, and industrial clangor are among the base elements this LA singer-songwriter alchemizes on her latest album, “Abyss,” producing a mix of ethereal vocals and stygian din that eerily evoke David Lynch’s squalid urban hellscapes. A Dead Forest Index, a compatibly skeletal New Zealand duo, initiates the ceremony. May 10, 7 p.m. $20. Royale Boston. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com STEVE SMITH

Folk & World

ROBBIE FULKS The changes that age hath wrought: Once known for raucous, electric country and in-your-face snark and polemic, Fulks offers an acoustic, almost old-timey sound on his new one, “Upland Stories,” with ruminations that draw on his own past while also trying on the shoes James Agee wore to travel the Depression-era South. May 5, 8 p.m. Club Passim, Cambridge. 617-492-7679. www.passim.org

EASY ED’S VARIETY HOUR 10TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY John Fuller (a.k.a. DJ Easy Ed) marks a decade of spinning classic rockabilly, hillbilly, and R&B on local station WMFO with a celebration that starts early and goes late, featuring music from the Cranktones, the Barley Hoppers, a Johnny Carevale reunion, and more. May 7, 4 p.m. $12. Midway Café, Jamaica Plain. 617-524-9038. www.midwaycafe.com


SAM BAKER AND CARRIE ELKIN Baker’s music inspires wonder: not only in its own right, but also that something of such grace and spare beauty has emerged only because of the terrorist’s bomb that tore through his body on a Peruvian train. Elkin, who accompanies him Wednesday, adds to the music’s beauty. May 11, 9:30 p.m. $15. Atwood’s Tavern, Cambridge. 800-838-3006. www.brownpapertickets.com


Jazz & Blues

JOHN TCHICAI MEMORIAL CONCERT Mandorla Music hosts saxophonist Charlie Kohlhase’s tribute to his late comrade, the Afro-Danish saxophonist-composer Tchicai, who would have turned 80 this week. With trumpeter Daniel Rosenthal, saxophonist-flutist Jason Robinson, guitarists John Ehlis and Eric Hofbauer, bassist Aaron Darrell, and drummer Curt Newton playing pieces from Tchicai’s lengthy career. May 7, 8 p.m. $20. Third Life Studio, 33 Union Square, Somerville. www.thirdlifestudio.com

1032K Nonprofit youth music organization ZUMIX kicks off its 2016 Jazz at the Firehouse series with this combustible trio, named for the Planck temperature at which conventional physics breaks down. Featuring Frank Lacy’s extravagant trombone, Kevin Ray’s sinewy bass, and Andrew Drury’s panoply of percussion. ZUMIX Latin Ensemble opens. May 8, 5 p.m. $15. ZUMIX Firehouse, 260 Sumner St., East Boston. 617-568-9777, www.zumix.org

JULIA & THE ZEROUNIAN ENSEMBLE Armenian vocalist and actress Julia Zerounian is a one-woman international cabaret, interpreting songs in English, French, Persian, Portuguese, Spanish, and even Yiddish. Her husband, pianist Sarkis Zerounian, accompanies her with his multi-national sextet including violin, saxophone, and accordion. May 10, 7:30 p.m. $23. Regattabar. 617-395-7757, www.regattabarjazz.com



PERSONA The Gardner’s exploratory Stir series offers Keeril Makan’s new opera “Persona,” with a libretto by Jay Scheib adapted from the classic Ingmar Bergman film. Evan Ziporyn conducts Either/Or ensemble, with soprano Amanda Crider and actress Lacey Dorn. May 5, 7 p.m., Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. 617-278-5156, www.gardnermuseum.org


RADIUS ENSEMBLE These eloquent chamber players perform the premiere of John Harbison’s “Nine Rasas” for clarinet, viola, and piano, on a program that also includes a work by Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin and Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet. May 7, 8 p.m., Pickman Hall, Longy School of Music. 617-792-7234, www.radiusensemble.org

MUSICIANS FROM MARLBORO A brief foretaste of the Vermont summer chamber season via works by Haydn, Schumann, and Kaija Saariaho. May 8, 1:30 p.m., Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. 617-278-5156, www.gardnermuseum.org




MR. BURNS, A POST-ELECTRIC PLAY Anne Washburn’s fascinating, multilayered vision of a post-apocalyptic future in which an episode of “The Simpsons’’ looms increasingly large as a cultural totem. Dynamically directed by A. Nora Long, “Mr. Burns” is about what we remember, how much we need to tell ourselves stories to survive, and the way that stories change their shape and their meaning over time. Through May 7. Lyric Stage Company of Boston. 617-585-5678, www.lyricstage.com

LAURA A detective, portrayed by Alexander Cook, is assigned to investigate the murder of Laura Hunt, a glamorous advertising executive played by Jasmine Rush, and becomes obsessed with her. This stage adaptation of the 1944 film noir is directed by Sarah Gazdowicz. May 5-22. Stoneham Theatre, Stoneham. 781-279-2200, www.stonehamtheatre.org


DOGFIGHT Three Marines about to be deployed to Vietnam enter into a cruel contest: Who can bring the ugliest date to a party? But one of them learns an eye-opening lesson in this musical, which features a score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and a book by Peter Duchan. Directed by Paul Daigneault. May 7-June 4. SpeakEasy Stage Company. Roberts Studio Theatre, Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.speakeasystage.com



MIRRORS This program by Boston Ballet is designed to reflect the wide diversity of contemporary ballet, from Norbert Vesak’s lyrical duet “Belong” and José Martinez’s sleek “Resonance” to two edgy world premieres. Yury Yanowsky’s “Smoke and Mirrors” uses special corsets to extend partnering capabilities, and “punk ballerina” Karole Armitage mines Miles Davis’s edgy “Bitches Brew.” May 6-28. $35-$159. Boston Opera House. 617-695-6955, www.bostonballet.org

LIGHT TO DARK José Mateo Ballet Theatre caps its 30th season with a program featuring the world premiere of a turbulent new ballet by Mateo set to British-born composer Anna Clyne’s “Night Ferry,” as well as two earlier pieces: “Dark Profiles,” set to Beethoven, and the lyrical “Back to Bach.” May 6-13. $42. Sanctuary Theatre, Cambridge. 617-354-7467, www.ballettheatre.org

CINDERELLA Moscow Festival Ballet, led by former Bolshoi Ballet dancer Sergei Radchenko, offers its colorful version of the popular fairy-tale ballet for one night only. Featuring dancers from across Russia, the production hearkens back to the 1945 Bolshoi version choreographed by Rostislav Zakharov to Prokofiev’s luminous score. May 6. $27-$47. Zeiterion Performing Arts Center, New Bedford. 508-994-2900, www.zeiterion.org




QUEER THREADS: CRAFTING IDENTITY AND COMMUNITY This show jumps into the juicy intersection of fiber art (loaded with associations to social history and gender) and LGBT themes. It originated at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art. Pictured: “Locker Room’’ by Nathan Vincent. Through July 10. Mills Gallery, Boston Center for the Arts, 551 Tremont St. 617-426-5000, www.bcaonline.org

MATIKA WILBUR: SEEDS OF CULTURE: THE PORTRAITS AND STORIES OF NATIVE AMERICAN WOMEN The photographer visited more than 500 Native American sovereign territories in the US to explore the hopes and identities of Native women. Through May 28. Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, 8 Garden St., Cambridge. 617-496-1153, www.radcliffe.harvard.edu

AMY ARCHAMBAULT:IMAGINATE Archambault applies to her 3-D works the DIY sensibility and domestic aesthetic she has been immersed in during a home renovation. She likens all the mixing and matching, the building and improvising, to child’s play. Through June 5.Boston Sculptors Gallery, 486 Harrison Ave., 617-482-7781. www.bostonsculptors.com CATE McQUAID


GEOFFREY FARMER Farmer, who has been selected to represent Canada at the 2017 Venice Biennale, presents a room-size installation of hundreds of his small-scale, puppet-like sculptures made of photographic cutouts and fabric, as well as a projection of random photographs from a clippings library, and an installation of cutout photographs of sculpture. Through July 17. Institute of Contemporary Art. 617-478-3100, www.icaboston.org

MEGACITIES ASIA Sculptures, installations, and other large-scale work grounded in an aesthetic of accumulation, by artists based in Asian cities of 10 million people or more (Mumbai, Beijing, Shanghai, Delhi, Seoul). Includes installations and sculptures by Ai Weiwei, Song Dong, Hema Upadhyay, Subodh Gupta, Asim Waqif, Yin Xiuzhen, Hu Xiangcheng, the collective flyingCity, and Aaditi Joshi. Through July 17. Museum of Fine Arts. 617-267-9300, www.mfa.org

N.C. WYETH’S MEN OF CONCORD The 12 panels N.C. Wyeth painted for the book “Men of Concord and Some Others, as Portrayed in the Journal of Henry David Thoreau” (1936), have been reunited for the first time in almost 80 years. They will be accompanied by drawings, sketches, and studies. Through Sept. 18. Concord Museum, Concord. 978-369-9763, www.concordmuseum.org




THE GONG SHOW Every audience judges whether they think a comedian is funny, but at this show, some will act as judge and executioner in deciding which of 10 comedians is funny enough to win the competition. What could go wrong? May 5 at 8 p.m. $10. Laugh Boston, 425 Summer St., Boston. 617-725-2844, www.laughboston.com

WAYNE BRADY The actor, improviser, comic, and TV host just finished up a run on Broadway playing the drag queen Lola in “Kinky Boots,” but he’ll still have plenty to do hosting “Let’s Make a Deal” and touring. May 6, 7:30 p.m. $45-$65. Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont St., Boston. 617-248-9700, www.thewilbur.com

THE COMEDY STUDIO Rick Canavan hosts on Friday with comic-in-residence Etrane Martinez, and Rick Jenkins hosts Saturday with Martinez, Erin Judge, Dan Boulger, Will Smalley, Thom Crowley, and John Paul Rivera. May 6-7, 8 p.m. $15. The Comedy Studio, 1238 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. 617-661-6507, www.thecomedystudio.com



Artful Cards for Mom The greeting card industry makes tens of billions of dollars every year. the handmade card industry, on the other hand, is priceless. Invest in your fortune and find tasty Mother’s Day gifts while you’re at it. May 7, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Free. Boston Public Market, 100 Hanover St. 617-973-4909. www.artweekboston.org/event/artful-cards-for-mom

Idea Hub — Kinetic Sculptures At the crossroads of art and mechanics is, well, whatever your imagination puts there. Engineer a work of art using pulleys, gears, and more! May 7, noon-4 p.m. $10. MIT Museum, 265 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. 617-253-5927. www.artweekboston.org/event/idea-hub-kinetic-sculptures

Duckling Day Robert McCloskey’s iconic picture book turns 75 this year. Join the waterfowl festivities, including the parade through Boston Common and the Public Garden, and grab a goodie bag while you’re at it. (Registration is available online or on site.) May 8, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. $35-$40. Parkman Bandstand, Boston Common. 617-723-8144. www.friends ofthepublicgarden.org/duckling-day

Joe Incollingo


May 15 and 19 The Kills at Paradise Rock Club www.ticketmaster.com

May 20-29 Peter and the Starcatcher at Lyric Stage Company www.goldstar.com

May 21 Puppets Take the Pops at Symphony Hall www.goldstar.com

May 22 Caravan Palace at House of Blues concerts.livenation.com

May 27-29 Boston Calling Music Festival at City Hall Plaza www.eventbrite.com

May 28 Selena Gomez at TD Garden www.ticketmaster.com

June 2 Bloc Party at House of Blues concerts.livenation.com

June 3 and 4 CHVRCHES at House of Blues www.livenation.com Joe Incollingo