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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

Listings, Oct. 24-30

By Crimson Staff

fri, oct 24

MUSIC | HRO

Kicking off Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra music director James Yannatos’ 40th year at Harvard is this spectacular concert featuring works by two legendary heavyweights of classical music, Dmitri Shostakovich and Ludwig von Beethoven. Yannatos conducts this majestic evening of top-notch music. Tickets $8-16, student $6-10. 8 p.m. Sanders Theatre. (SAW)

READINGS | Jhumpa Lahiri and Lan Samantha Chang

Jhumpa Lahiri is well known as the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for her debut short-story collection Interpreter of Maladies and her recent bestseller The Namesake. She sets her stories mainly in the Cambridge area and is one of literature’s most promising young talents. Her only competition might come from her co-reader Lan Samantha Chang, who has received lavish praise for her own debut work Hunger. 7 p.m. MIT, Rm. 10-250, 77 Mass. Ave., Cambridge. (SAW)

MISC | Apollo Night

To all the insomniacs who have enjoyed a little post-SNL “It’s Showtime at the Apollo,” this one’s for you. Based on the show originating in Harlem, N.Y., Apollo Night offers student performances that run the full entertainment gamut from song to dance to comedy. The talent show competition will be almost entirely judged by the audience, so remember your two-finger golf claps. The Black Students Association host and will donate all the proceeds to charity. Tickets $8, BSA members $5. 8 p.m. Lowell Lecture Hall. (SAW)

THEATER | Temptation

The Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club presents Temptation, a Faust-inspired, biting satire from Vaclav Havel, former president of the Czech Republic. Watch as tempted scientist Dr. Foustka exposes the evil in all of us. 7:30 p.m. Tickets $6, $4 students. Loeb Mainstage, 64 Brattle St. (MRR).

THEATRE | Six Degrees of Separation

Directed by Matt Weinstock ’05, this 1990 John Guarre play kicks of the regular fall season at the Loeb Experimental Theater. Featuring the first fully nude scene in recent undergraduate theater memory, the script treats on issues of identity and race in New York City’s upper social echelons. 7:30 p.m. Tickets free. Loeb Experimental Theater, 64 Brattle St. (BHC)

THEATRE | Gheri Dosti

Sponsored by the Harvard South Asian Association, this four week run brings together five short plays originally developed in New York City and exploring issues of same-sex relationships in South Asia. 8 p.m. Tickets $20, $7 students. Leverett Old Library Theater.

sat, oct 25th

COMEDY | Eddie Izzard

Cross-dressing comedian and actor Eddie Izzard’s show “Sexie” finishes its run in Boston tonight. Well-known for his witty and often surreal humor, he has been called the “funniest man in pretty much all of the known universe,” “a human search engine,” “a surrealist maestro of historical and scientific trivia,” and “a one-man Monty Python crew.” In between tours, Izzard has been earning rave reviews for his acting talent on the big screen and most recently on Broadway, where he is starring in “A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg,” for which he just received a Tony nomination for “Best Leading Actor in a Play.” 8 p.m. Tickets $40-$60, (800) 447-7400. The Schubert Theater at the Wang Center at 270 Tremont Street. (SAW)

FAIR | King Richard’s Faire

Who wouldn’t want to go back to an age of jousting matches and little personal hygiene? Although time machines haven’t yet been invented, there is King Richard’s Faire, which features magicians, musicians, jugglers, fire eaters, swordsmen, soothsayers, vittles, brew, crafts and more. Through Sun., Oct. 26. 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets $22. Faire Site, Rte. 58, South Carver. (SAW)

DANCE | Peter DiMuro

Sexy, lithe dancer Peter DiMuro has been described by Dance Magazine as “a gifted dance maker out to conquer every mode of dance.” He has created performance and dance works for Dance/Umbrella Boston, for the “Something Different Series” at the Kennedy Center, for Bates Dance Festival and Boston Ballet II, and the Boston-based Peter DiMuro Performance Associates. He is well-known for being able to create a perfectly expressive and complex movement for any story or need, including your own. Free. 8 p.m. Sargent Dance Studio/Theatre, 1 University Road, Boston. (SAW)

sun, oct 26

MUSIC | Travis

The British pop group responsible for 1999’s irresistibly awful “Why Does It Always Rain On Me,” and, well, not much since, have returned to America with their fourth album and a national U.S. tour. Sort of bitter at this point about Coldplay’s dumb lucky adoption of the “important rock band sorta reminiscent of Bends-era Radiohead” niche, Travis seem to be taking their own stab at it with 12 Memories. They’re writing songs now about domestic abuse and 9/11 (these are huge- about time someone addressed the real issues), but wisely retain their light, Beatles-inspired sound. If you like charm and good melodies, and want to take a thirty some dollar shot at the Coldplay empire, Travis may well be your match tonight. 7:30 p.m. Tickets $31. Orpheum Theatre, 1 Hamilton Place. (LN)

MUSIC | U.K. Subs and Toxic Narcotic

The U.K. Subs have been in the game since 1976, when the original punk movement exploded and gave every British band with a certain look and the right four chords a chance at stardom. Although the Subs has largely abandoned the straight ahead punk sound that made them famous, retaining only a few of its original members, they persevere to this day, touring for their bread with young, vibrant bands and releasing greatest hits compilations every couple of years. Not quite as sad as the recent Buzzcocks studio reunion, if only because the Subs never let themselves get rusty, this show is still only worth attending for openers Toxic Narcotic, the grassroots crust punk band which has defined and ruled over the mysterious genre for the past ten years. Essentially a brand of hardcore, crust has found its home in church basements and tiny, specialized clubs. If any band among the scene has “made it” though, it’s Boston’s Toxic Narcotic, whose breakneck speed and grimy, dirty emphasis on politics has won them a comparatively large audience. 5 p.m. Tickets $12. Axis. 10 Landsdowne Street. (LN)

THEATRE | Hairspray

Adapted from John Waters’ 1988 musical Hairspray, this larger-than-life play tells the story of Tracy Turnblad, a poor, ambitious teenager who lands a featured spot dancing on the Corny Collins Show, a hugely popular after school television program in the tradition of American Bandstand. Dancing on the show was every girl’s dream at the unpopular but good-hearted Tracy’s high school, and when she is unexpectedly awarded the honor after a dance contest, a veritable class war between her and Amber von Tussle, the quintessential wealthy bitch, erupts in their hometown. Before long, Tracy finds herself fighting for racial equality on the Corny Collins Show, but despite this segment’s somewhat serious subject matter, the play remains lighthearted and hilarious. Carly Jibson and Bruce Vilanch star in the touring Broadway ensemble. Through November 7. 8 p.m. Tickets $30-97. Colonial Theatre, 106 Boylston St. (LN)

mon, oct 27

READING | The Best American Short Stories

The Best American Short Stories, the celebrated, annually published volume of great short fiction is edited by a different person each year, giving each edition something of a unique personality and character. Past editors have included Barbara Kingsolver, E.L. Doctorow, and Garrison Keiller. This year, Walter Mosley, an established author of mysteries and short fiction, was given the honor. The New York City resident, who currently serves on the board of directors of the Poetry Society of America and National Book Awards, will be reading from this year’s short story compilation at the American Repertory Theater alongside authors Will Lebow, Karen MacDonald, and Jacqui Parker as a benefit for PEN New England. 7:30 p.m. Tickets from $25-125 at the door. American Repertory Theater, 64 Brattle Street. (LN)

MUSIC | Puddle of Mudd

The most boring band in modern rock pays a visit to Boston, and if anything’s right in the world, no one will attend. Sure, going back and listening to old Nirvana records and realizing that Puddle of Mudd don’t sound that different, at least on the surface, can be painful and embarrassing, but the fact is Puddle of Mudd’s got no soul and no heart, no matter how similar their riffs sound to Nirvana’s. Or just put on some In Utero and stay home. 6 p.m. Tickets $15.25. Avalon, 15 Lansdowne St., Boston. (LN)

tue, oct 28

READING | Joseph Stiglitz

Joseph Stiglitz will read from his new book, The Roaring Nineties: A New History of the World’s Most Properous Decade, and shed some light on the collapse of one of the biggest economic explosions in history. The Nobel Prize winner appears as part of the Harvard Book Store Author Series. Free. 6 p.m. First Parish Church, 3 Church St., Cambridge. (MRR)

MUSIC | Monster Jam 2003

Get your street cred at JAMN 94.5’s Monster Jam 2003, featuring rappers du jour 50 Cent, Ludacris, Chingy, Lil’ Jon, Da Band (P. Diddy’s answer to O-Town), Obie Trice and Fabolous. The night benefits Project Bread, a local organization dedicated to ending hunger in Massachusetts. Tickets $55-$94. 6 p.m. FleetCenter, Boston. (MRR)

MUSIC | Bryce Avary

Bryce Avary, performing as The Rocket Summer, writes all of his own lyrics, belts them out with a wonderfully unique voice, and plays all of the instruments any self-respecting band needs himself. Witness the multi-tasking (and take in stage-sharers Starla) for $8. 9 p.m. The Middle East, 472-480 Mass. Ave., Cambridge. (MRR)

weds, oct 29

MUSIC | Ted Leo and The Pharmacists

Let Ted Leo and The Pharmacists renew your faith in rock—not to mention frontmen who can pull off singing and guitar-playing at the same time—at a local stop on their nationwide tour with guests Weird War, Helms, and DJ Klaus. 7 p.m., $12; 18+. The Paradise Club, 967 Comm. Ave., Boston. (MRR)

MUSIC | VHS or Beta

Four-piece VHS or Beta plays all disco, all the time. With two guitars, drums and bass, these four young men from Louisville will put le funk back into your life. Also adding some boogie into your night are Your Enemies Friends and Moving Units. $9. 9 p.m. The Middle East, 472-480 Mass. Ave., Cambridge. (MRR)

COMEDY | Gene and Dean Ween

Frank Zappa’s long-lost sons come to us in the form of Gene and Dean Ween, collectively Ween, who practice eclecticism for the sake of eclecticism and make us all come back for more. You will laugh. Hard. Tickets $23 in advance, $25 at the door. 9 p.m., Avalon, 15 Lansdowne St., Boston. (MRR)

READING | Toni Morrison

Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison reads from her latest the day after it is released to the public as part of the Harvard Book Store Author Series. Love, which tells the story of the wealthy owner of Cosey’s Hotel and Resort and the many women whose lives he defines, is Morrison’s eighth novel. Free. 6 p.m., Fanueil Hall/Great Hall, Government Center, Boston. (MRR)

films

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 a thoughtful and beautiful homage to classic themes and styles while remaining the most fun and exciting film of the year. Within the film, one can see hints of all of Tarantino’s influences and tastes—blaxploitation, spaghetti westerns, Hong Kong kung fu, Japanese samurai, anime—but all are wonderfully adapted to fit into the unique Tarantino 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 both 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 are soon discovering 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. Coppola dreamily lingers on every scene, adorning each of them with the sensation of the aftermath of a first kiss. (BYC)

The Magdalene Sisters

Set in an unconventional nunnery in 1960s Ireland, The Magdalene Sisters is a film about hypocrisy, dogma and the horrible deeds committed as a result of religious hysteria. This fact-based story focuses on the lives of three women who, in one sense or another, are judged by the Catholic Church as having been “sinful” and, as a result, are essentially sentenced to a lifetime of hard labor and abuse at the hands of the Sisters of Mercy in what was known as a Magdalene Laundry. The sins of these women extend from the merely unthinkable—flirting with boys—to the purely satanic: bearing a child out of wedlock or being raped by one’s cousin. In reprisal for these transgressions, the nuns of the Laundry subject the women to humiliation, threats of eternal damnation, and pure outright sadism, which all but force the women—many of whom had been entirely sexually innocent prior to their arrival—to sell themselves for the slightest opportunity of escape. Not so much an attack on Catholicism as all religion, this film depicts the needless abuses inflicted upon women in the name of faith. (SNJ)

Mambo Italiano

Mambo Italiano opens with promise: warm coloring, fluid camerawork and appealing Italian-themed scenes, with the family eating gelato. We are introduced to in-the-closet Angelo (Luke Kirby), a young Italian man from Montreal finally moving out after 27 years of what he calls “the trap,” living at home with his parents, who just want him to meet and fall in love with a nice Italian girl. After Angelo’s new apartment is robbed, he moves in with Nino, a childhood friend who, like Angelo, is gay. But tell their parents? Fugghedaboutit. Mambo Italiano is a mess. Where sexual orientation, ethnic and family issues should be addressed seriously, another joke is made to relieve the tension. The idea of a gay Italian-French-Canadian has a lot of comic potential; in the end, unfortunately, the director is too overwhelmed to stop making jokes and tell what could have been a winning story. (MRR)

School of Rock

Jack Black is not a particularly funny man. He can pull off a one-liner, and he brightly sustains the Chris Farley torch of manic physical clowning, but it’s clear that his comedic range is inversely related to his girth. Fortunately, the producers of School of Rock have forged an ideal vehicle for Black’s brand of mischief, and with a sturdy cast and script behind him, he manages to whip up some of the biggest laughs of the year. Black plays Dewey Finn, a guitarist thrown out of his band, rendering him even less capable of paying the rent that he owes his substitute teacher roommate. Posing as his roommate, he assumes the responsibility of educating a classroom of unusually well-behaved fifth graders, who he discovers to be, rather conveniently, excellent musicians. School of Rock echoes with comic and emotional resonance without getting mired in sentimentality, allowing Black to revel in a role in which he manages to hit all of his notes perfectly. (BJS)

Thirteen

Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) and Evie (Nikki Reed) have just become teenagers in Thirteen, the story of a nice dorky girl who befriends the most popular girl in junior high and is led into the seedy underbelly of teenage life: drugs, sex and petty crime. Co-written by Reed and based on her own experiences, Thirteen has a refreshingly true perspective: it doesn’t blame anyone for Reed’s interest in the cool clique, it just shows her desire to be a part of it. As Wood follows Reed deeper and deeper into the hole they create for themselves, the movie becomes more and more over the top, but the strong acting keeps it from becoming a cheap, cautionary after-school special. But the key is Holly Hunter, playing Wood’s divorced mother. She embodies a mother who is both easy to hate and rebel against and then, finally, to come back to in an ending that lets the audience forgive all her maternal mistakes in the aura of the true love she shares with her daughter. (ASW)

Under the Tuscan Sun

A bit of late-summer escapism unfolds on the other side of the pond, as a recent divorcee (Diane Lane) flees to Italy, purchases a villa and finds a mysterious foreign love interest. Adapted for the screen by Audrey Well—who also produced and directed—from author Frances Mayes’ bestselling memoir, with a number of departures from the book. In the past, Wells has been responsible for such mixed fare as George of the Jungle, The Truth About Cats and Dogs and The Kid; here she strives to transcend the cliches of the typical romantic romp. An array of complications and subplots flesh out the simple story of one woman falling in love with a countryside estate, a beautiful landscape and a new life. (SWVL)

—Happening was edited by Tiffany I. Hsieh and compiled by Nathan K. Burstein, Tina Rivers, Jordan Walker, M. Patricia Li, William S. Payne, Simon W. Vozick-Levinson, Scoop A. Wasserstein, Audrey J. Boguchwal, Marin J.D. Orlosky, Alexandra D. Hoffer, Jackeline Montalvo, Melissa R. Robillard, Leon Neyfakh and Steven N. Jacobs.

—To submit an event for inclusion in Happening, please e-mail complete listing information—including time, venue, pricing and a brief description—to listings@thecrimson.com. Event information must be received by the Monday prior to issue publication to be considered.

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