Listings, Dec. 5-11

fri., dec 5

THEATER | All’s Well That Ends Well

Opening night of the only Shakespeare play on campus this semester. A renowned physician’s daughter is determined to rid the French king of a strange illness, hoping that the favor will be returned with her choice of a husband. How will her chosen one react to being made a prize? Shakespeare’s gender-flipped tale is an under-performed gem. A collaboration of the Quincy House Drama Society and the HRDC. Through Dec. 13. 8:30 p.m. Tickets $8; $5 students. Quincy House, 58 Plympton St., Cambridge. (JM)

THEATER | A New Brain

Plagued by writer’s block, Gordon Schwinn goes face-down in a plate of ziti and is diagnosed with a potentially fatal blockage in his brain. As surgery approaches, Gordon revisits both funny and strange memories, trying to sort out his life and hoping to finish the elusive song that he can’t will his mind to finish. Presented by the HRDC. Through Dec. 6. 7:30 p.m. Free. Loeb Experimental Theater, 64 Brattle St., Cambridge. (JM)

DANCE | Da Sho’ – Expressions Fall Show

With hip hop soul coursing through the group’s choreographies, the Expressions Dance Company’s fall dance concert promises to deliver. The Caribbean Club Dance Troupe will also perform along with children from the CityStep program. 7:30 p.m. Tickets $7. Lowell Lecture Hall, 17 Kirkland St., Cambridge. (JM)

MUSIC | Kuumba Singers’ “Unspeakable Joy”

Always exploring the rich musical tradition of black culture, the Kuumba Singers gather up some holiday cheer for their 33rd annual Christmas concert, in honor of Dr. S. Allen Counter, director of the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations. 8 p.m. Free. Union United Methodist Church, 485 Columbus Ave., Boston. (JM)

sat., dec 6

DANCE | Action Potential: Winter Concert of Modern Dance

The longest-running student dance company on campus, the Harvard-Radcliffe Dance Company, twirls through the festive air with their winter presentation of modern dance choreographies. 8 p.m. Tickets $5. Rieman Center for the Performing Arts, Agassiz House, 10 Garden St., Cambridge. (JM)

FILM | Changing Faces: Tragedy and Triumph

The United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF) is an international documentary film festival that has garnered critical acclaim since its inception in 1998. Presented by the Kennedy School Alumni Association of New England, the festival will showcase films tackling global topics such as human rights, women’s issues, religion and war and peace. 12 p.m. Tickets $15; $10 students. Weiner Auditorium, Kenney School of Government, 79 JFK St., Cambridge. (JM)

THEATER | The Gondoliers

The Gilbert and Sullivan Players aim to delight audiences with their fall comic opera, The Gondoliers. Set in Venice, the opera tells the story of two jolly gondoliers who have recently chosen brides, unaware that one of the two lovelies is actually the King of Barataria. A sure flurry of laughs, confusion, music and dance. Through Dec. 13. 2 p.m.; 8 p.m. Tickets $4-10; $6-12. Agassiz Theater, 10 Garden St., Cambridge. (JM)

sun., dec 7

MUSIC | Noteables

The Noteables bring Broadway to Harvard in their annual Fall Concert. Presenting a musical program consisting of crowd-favorites ranging from musical theatre showtunes to cinematic theme-songs, the enthusiastic singers aim to please. 6 p.m. Tickets $5. Paine Hall (in the Music Building). (VMA)

mon., dec 8

MUSIC | Wynne Greenwood: Tracy & the Plastics

Innovatively mixing media and sound, Wynne Greenwood gives new meaning to the term “one man-band.” In a role-playing similar reminiscent of Eddie Murphy’s talented portrayal of multiple characters in a single scene in The Nutty Professor, Greenwood portrays her multiple bandmates in her band Tracy and the Plastics. Come see the magic that is being performed as a part of the Visual and Environmental Studies (VES) course, History of Video Art. 8 p.m. Tickets $10; $6 students; Cabot House Underground Theatre, 60 Linnaean St. (VMA)

MUSIC | Eric Charry

The Department of Music hosts Eric Charry, whose study of Mande music has carried him to Senegal, Mali, Gambia and Guinea. Charry, a professor of music at Wesleyan University, will speak on Jazz and Africa. 5:30 p.m. Free and open to the public; Room 2 in the Music Building. (VMA)

tues., dec 9

FILM | Wings of Desire

Directed by Wim Wenders, Wings of Desire is the story of two angels who descend to earth to watch and listen in on the lives of lonely Berliners. The two angels seemingly float through Berlin streets, focusing for a few moments on a slew of ordinary people and their emotions: despairing, weary, optimistic and youthful, recording each moment for some heavenly record. However, the angels’ quiet, subdued mission is interrupted when one of the angels, Damiel, falls in love with a trapeze artist Marion. Shot by renowned cinematographer Henri Alekan, Wenders’s film captures the transcendent and tenuous moments of being alive with startling beauty. It won him a Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival and was the inspiration for the Hollywood remake City of Angels. German with English subtitles. 7 p.m. Tickets $8; $6 students. Harvard Film Archive. (MPL)

FILM | The Wedding Banquet

Part of Harvard Film Archive’s series “Screening Modern China,” The Wedding Banquet tells the story of Wai-Tung, a Taiwanese businessperson who wants to hide his relationship with his gay partner and thus decides to marry a woman from Shanghai in need of a green card. Wai-Tung’s parents, overjoyed by the news, immediately fly to New York. Cultural clash ensues, and Lee’s deft treatment of the comedy and madness in the situation drew him international attention. Mandarin/English with English subtitles. 9 p.m. Tickets $8; $6 students. Harvard Film Archive. (MPL)

MUSIC | The Houston Cassettes / A Wish for Fire

The Houston Cassettes is a duo playing catchy, pop-rock, a la early Pavement and Guided by Voices. They create guitar pop with breezy melodies and humorous lyrics and remind us that songwriting can still be fun. A Wish for Fire, a trio of musicians with eclectic influences, creates what the band likes to call “romantic pop,” with tinges of blues, Motown, and of course, psychedelic rock. The band’s minimalist approach to music bares the songwriting underneath. International Pen Pal and The Casual Lean also perform. 9 p.m. Tickets $5; 18+. T.T. the Bear’s Place, 10 Brookline St. (MPL)

MUSIC | The Modifiers, The Jumblies, Slater and JMC

A birthday bash for the head of Intelligent Records Shilo McDonald, the show will feature four acts on that label. The Modifiers is a trio that plays punk that you can hum along to and pop that demands attention, and they have played venues as diverse as Lollapalooza and CBGB’s in New York. The Jumblies, a quintet formed four years ago, have generated some buzz in the Boston music scene with their two EPs. They cite influences as diverse as The Smith, My Bloody Valentine, Lou Reed and dub reggae. Slater and JMC also perform, with JMC contributing a spoken word set. 9 p.m. Tickets $8; 18+. The Middle East Upstairs, 472 Mass. Ave. (MPL)

wed., dec 10

FILM | Blade Runner

A futuristic, nightmarish view of Los Angeles in 2019, humans have created clones called replicants that serve human colonies outside Earth. Harrison Ford, as Deckard, is a blade runner—a policeman who specializes in terminating replicants. Deckard is brought out of retirement when five replicants escape from their colony and comes back to Earth. The gray and rainy vision of Los Angeles is but one of the film’s astounding visuals. 7 p.m. Tickets $8; $6 students. Harvard Film Archive. (MPL)

FILM | Wintersleeprs

Directed by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run), this movie tells the story of four twenty-somethings—a film exhibitor, a nurse, a translator, and a ski instructor—are brought together in a small village in the Alps. Their lives interweave with two romantic relationships, and the birth and death of two children. The story is told against sweeping, gorgeous landscape panoramas of the snowy Alps, and Tykwer quotes from films like Hitchcock’s Spellbound and Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey to present his analysis of a confused, noncommittal generation. 9 p.m. Tickets $8; $6 students. Harvard Film Archives. (MPL)

MUSIC | Shawn McLaughlin & Smorgasbord / Cannibal Kings / Catapult CD Release

Shawn McLaughlin, a local musician who has worked with several bands, recently pulled together some twenty musicians to produce a CD of instrumental music that drew on the talents of individual contributors. McLaughlin leads his band Smorgasbord from behind the drum kit, and besides the traditional instruments, one can also expect horns, cellos, turntables, and even the odd guest vocalist. The music of the Cannibal Kings range from world beat to Latin, reggae to jazz funk, all centered around guitar rock and gritty lyrics. The Vancouver band Catapult will celebrate the release of their EP, and The Lingo also plays. 9 p.m. Tickets $5; 18+. T.T. the Bear’s Place, 10 Brookline St. (MPL)

MUSIC | Soul Position

Soul Position featuring RJD2 and Blueprint just released their CD 8,000,000 Stories on Rhymesayers, and the first single, “Jerry Springer Episode”, is a hilarious take on the misadventures of Blueprint with a temptress over a funky RJD2 track. DJ Przm and Illogical are supporting Soul Position on their tour, and will contribute sets of their own. 8 p.m. Tickets $12; 18+. The Middle East Downstairs, 472 Mass. Ave. (MPL)

LECTURE | The 2003 Boston Society of Architects Design Awards

Elizabeth Padjen, editor of Architecture Boston and consulting curator of architecture and design at the Peabody Essex Museum, will moderate a panel discussion on this year’s Boston Society of Architects Design Awards. Join a panel of leading Boston architects as they discuss recent award-winning buildings, what we choose to build, and why, revealing a great deal about our cultural and social values. 7 p.m. Tickets $13; $10 members. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. (MPL)

LECTURE | Art Encounters: An Invitation to Look and Think Aloud

This informal session, part of a continuing series, is devoted to presenting a sustained engagement with art, and will examine one or two pieces of art in the Fogg Museum’s collection. 12:15 p.m. Free. Fogg Art Museum. (MPL)

films

The Human Stain

In the midst of the 1998 Lewinsky sex scandal, Coleman Silk (Anthony Hopkins), a distinguished classics professor at a small Massachusetts liberal arts college, embroils himself in a microcosm of similar scandal and tragedy. One chance comment in class provokes an accusation of racism that culminates in his resignation and the death of his wife. Based on the novel by Philip Roth, The Human Stain follows Silk through four major stages of self-identification: anger, denial, acceptance and confession. A self-made man in every sense of the word, Silk’s success in life embodies a severely warped version of the American dream—a light-skinned black man passing himself off as a Jewish intellectual. Newcomer Wentworth Miller is startlingly good as the tormented young Silk, torn between the pulls of family and future. Hopkins is almost convincing as the tragic hero, and Nicole Kidman is less so as the battered Faunia, the cleaning woman who pulls Silk out of his shell. Much like Silk himself, the film is a prisoner of its own ambitions, falling victim to its literal devotion to Roth’s novel. The Human Stain is a story better left in print. (TIH)

Kill Bill: Volume I

Quentin Tarantino’s new film centers on a woman known only as The Bride (Uma Thurman), who awakens from a coma four years after she is nearly assassinated at her wedding party by the elite fighting force to which she once belonged. Once she’s up and about again, The Bride sets out on a mission of revenge against her former compatriots. On paper, Kill Bill: Volume I sounds dangerously close to Charlie’s Angels: There are many martial arts action sequences, all of the main characters are women and one of them is played by Lucy Liu. However, whereas Angels was mindless fun, Kill Bill is an intricate homage to classic themes and styles strung together for the most fun and exciting film of the year. Within the film, one can see hints of Tarantino’s influences and tastes—spaghetti westerns, Hong Kong kung fu, Japanese samurai, anime—all adapted to fit into his unique vision. (SNJ)

Lost in Translation

Fulfilling the boundless promise exhibited in her debut effort, The Virgin Suicides, director Sofia Coppola crafts a sublime love letter to Tokyo and transitory friendship with her newest film, Lost in Translation. Hollywood star Bob Harris (Bill Murray) has been shipped off to Japan to hawk Suntory whiskey to the natives. There he encounters Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), the beautiful wife of a photographer who spends much of her day staring out her window in hopes of somehow finding herself within the city’s skyline. The pair discover Tokyo culture and a profundity in their friendship that is lacking in their respective marriages. Johansson perfects the prolonged sulk, while Murray delivers his best performance yet, donning the hats of weary voyager, droll companion and cynical mentor with equal comfort. There are plenty of belly laughs to be had along the way, but what remains with the viewer is the significance of the fleeting connection that these two people share. (BYC)

Veronica Guerin

Director Joel Schumacher’s latest movie is based upon on the life of the Sunday Independent reporter of the same name. The film is the story of Guerin’s self-imposed mission to clear the streets of drugs and pushers, culminating in her brutal death at the hands of gang leaders fighting the momentum of her crusade. Most important, it is the story of Guerin herself: her character, her motivations, her fears and her doubts. Cate Blanchett’s resplendent performance as Guerin seethes with passion and intensity in every scene. It is her skillful work—as well as that of her supporting cast—that compensates for the film’s directorial inadequacies. (GPH)

—Happening was compiled by Jackeline Montalvo, Vinita M. Alexander, M. Patricia Li, Tiffany I. Hsieh, Steven N. Jacobs, Ben Y. Chung and Gary P. Ho.

To submit an event for inclusion in Happening, please e-mail details to happening@thecrimson.com. Listings must be received by the Monday prior to publication to be considered.