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Happening

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MUSIC | ROW-A-PALOOZA

Enjoy afternoon music on the bridge with Baby Strange, Aberdeen City, Buck 65, Johnny Freeman and Skye Moore. Weeks Footbridge, Memorial Dr., Cambridge. 12:30 p.m Free. (617) 868-6200. (JSG)

READING | Why Read?

Mark Edmundson will discuss his controversial new book, in which the University of Virginia professor charges that modern universities focus on professional training above personal enrichment in their treatment of college reading. The book extends the theory Edmundson outlined in a prominent Harper’s Magazine article, “On the Uses of the Liberal Arts.” Harvard Book Store. 1256 Mass. Ave. Free. 3 p.m. (MAB)

MUSIC | Michel Camilo Trio

Feel the Latin beat behind the music of Best Latin Jazz Album Grammy-winner pianist Michel Camilo. Hailed by the Boston Globe, Camilo blends jazz and Caribbean rhythms. The trio also features bassist Charles Flores and drummer Cliff Almond. Celebrated flamenco guitarist Juanito Pascual will perform as a special guest. Tickets $22.50, 27.50. Harvard Box Office (617) 496-2222. 8 p.m. Sanders Theater. (EGC)

Saturday, Oct. 23

MUSIC | Paula Kelly Orchestra

In a “Farewell to Boston” gala, Paula Kelley is going off in style before she heads to Los Angeles to record her next album. This pop orchestra crooner is a sure hit for the romantic at heart. Garvy J, The Rudds and Vitamin-D open. Tickets $8. 9 p.m. T.T. the Bear’s Place, 10 Brookline Street, Cambridge. (EGC)

FESTIVAL | Pumpkin Festival

Relive the sweetness of childhood Halloweens with the “Life is Good” Pumpkin Festival. Live music, pumpkin carving, hayrides, pies and jack-o-lanterns will warm up the chilly October Sunday and the proceeds that go to Camp Sunshine, a retreat for children with terminal illnesses, will warm your heart. 11am-9pm. Boston Common. (KMM)

DANCE | Boston Ballet

Mikko Nissinen’s juxtaposition of great choreographers comes to fruition as the Boston Ballet performs George Balanchine’s “Rubies,” Peter Martins’s “Distant Light,” and Balanchine’s “Divertimento.” See what all the lecturing was about. Tickets $18-$98. The Wang Theatre, 270 Tremont St., Boston. 2 and 8 p.m. (800) 447-7400. Also Sunday. (JSG)

Sunday, Oct. 24

MUSIC | Masters of Chinese Music and Snow Stringed Instruments

Come hear Miss Song Fei, China’s preeminent erhu player, if only to find out exactly what this two-stringed fiddle sounds like in person. The program, straight out of Beijing, includes guest vocalists and ensembles in what promises to be the most sublime traditional Chinese music presentation you’ll see at Harvard. Tickets $40, $30 and $27 with a $5 discount for Harvard staff and students; $10 rush tickets may be available after 6 p.m. the day of the concert. Harvard Box Office (617) 496-2222. 7 p.m. Sanders Theatre. (MAB)

MUSIC | Biggs Memorial Organ Recital

This presentation of the Harvard Organ Society along with the Memorial Church and the Harvard University Art Museums features Paul Jacobs, the chair of Juillard’s organ department. If you like Bach, mark your calendar, because this program is dedicated solely to the works of the great composer. Adolphus Busch Hall. $10. 7:30 p.m. (MAB)

MUSIC | Boston Secession

In the spirit of the election season Boston Secession presents a concert dedicated to the music of war—- “Weapons of Musical Destruction.” The group features Lassus’s “Tragico tecti syrmate,” Billings’s “Chester,” Haydn’s “Lord Nelson Mass,” Vaughan Williams’s “Dona Nobis Pacem,” and works by Handel, John Adams, Kurt Weill, and Pete Seeger. Tickets $25-$35. First Congregational Church, 11 Garden St., Cambridge, 8 p.m. (617) 499-4860. (JSG)

Monday, Oct. 25

MUSIC | etown

Come sit in the audience of NPR’s weekly radio program, etown, as they host a live taping. Hosted by Nick and Helen Forster, etown will feature the Cowboy Junkies and Madeleine Peyroux in this mix of musical performance and interview. Tickets $22, 26. Harvard Box Office (617) 496-2222. 8 p.m. Sanders Theater. (EGC)

READING | Granta

Granta, a well-respected literary magazine, is proud to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Editor Ian Jack will read works from this milestone issue, along with Pankaj Mishra and Gary Shteyngart. Free. 6:30 p.m. Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Ave. (EGC)

DANCE | Israeli Folk Dance Lessons

Get your folk on with Israeli Folk Dancing lessons and practice at Harvard-Radcliffe Hillel. Tickets $2, 8 p.m. Hillel, 45 Mt. Auburn Street. (617) 484-3267. (KMM)

FILM | Tootsie

Take a break from studying for your Science B-29 midterm with a trip to the Harvard Film Archive to see Dustin Hoffman’s gender-bending “Tootsie.” The 1982 film classic features Hoffman as a scheming out-of-work actor who becomes a soap star—as a woman. $8 Regular $6 Students, Faculty and Staff, Senior Citizens 7 p.m. Carpenter Center. (617) 495-4700. (KMM)

Tuesday, Oct. 26

READING | Dubravka Ugresic

Ukrainian author Dubravka Ugresic will read from and discuss her new essay compendium, Thank You for Not Reading: Essays on Literary Trivia. Her commentary on the increasingly commercial emphasis of literature as opposed to a culture of reading and writing built on the power of words and ideas is well worth the time. Free. Harvard Information Center, in the Holyoke Center. 6:00 PM. (MAB)

FILM | Everything’s Gonna Be Great

Have a passionate and unquenchable desire to see foreign film? Come to this Turkish comedy, a big hit in its native land and the story of two brothers, a warehouse full of medicine, and a robbery that turns disastrous. The director, Omer Vargi, has just produced a second feature, Under Construction. Turkish, in English subtitles. Free. Fong Auditorium, 110 Boylston Hall. 5:30 p.m. (MAB)

Thursday, Oct. 28

MUSIC | The World Goes Round

All that jazz. Harvard’s leading vocalists join in this musical revue featuring the works of Kander and Ebb. This celebrated songwriting team is most known for their music in Chicago, Cabaret, and Kiss of the Spiderwoman. Adams House Drama Society. Tickets $5; $4 Adams residents/seniors. Harvard Box Office (617) 496-2222. 8 p.m. Through Oct. 30. Adams House Pool Theatre, 13 Bow Street. (EGC)

THEATER | Matt & Ben

Acclaimed by the New York Times as “absolutely delightful and deliciously spiteful,” Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers’s Matt and Ben follows the lives of Hollywood icons Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, pre-Tinseltown. The two must decided whether to pass off the script for Good Will Hunting as their own, after it falls from the ceiling. This tongue-in-cheek play is a two-woman show and is not to miss. EarthHart Productions, Ltd. Tickets $25 general; $15 undergraduates. Through Nov. 6. Harvard Box Office (617) 496-2222. 8 p.m. Winthrop JCR, 966 Mill Street. (EGC)

MUSIC | Organ Recital

Jonathan B. Hall of New York gives a free lunch-time organ recital to the public. Bring a sandwich and listen to glorious organ music. Sponsored by the Harvard Organ Society, Harvard University Art Museums and Memorial Church. Free. Adolphus-Busch Hall,

12:15 p.m. (JSG)

Ongoing

THEATER | Balm in Gilead

Joe and Darlene are a young and idealistic pair who find themselves in the proverbial den of thieves—an assortion of thieves, shady characters and miscreants assembled in an all-night New York City coffee shop. Follow their story as the couple faces temptation and danger in their urban predicament. Presented by the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club, world-renowned Visiting Director Scott Zigler guides the production. Friday 8 p.m., Saturday 2 p.m., 8 p.m., Sunday 7:30 p.m., Wednesday

7:30 p.m., Thursday 7:30 p.m. $8 (groups of 10 or more $7 apiece). Through November 30. Loeb Main Stage (64 Brattle Street). (MAB)

THEATER | 2004: An Election Year Odyssey

Despite what the title may imply, this play’s primary inspiration is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with a political twist. The drama follows the story of a young, undecided voter as he visits the lighthearted past, sectarian present and grim future of voting in America. Only the Adams House Drama Society could give us something this original and unorthodox. Friday, Saturday 7 p.m., 9:30 p.m. $4 students, $3 Adams House residents. Adams House Pool Theatre (13 Bow Street). (MAB)

THEATER | A Gem of the Ocean

August Wilson’s play tells the story of the African-American experience through the eyes of 285 year-old Aunt Ester. Set in 1904, A Gem of the Ocean is not so far removed from the time of slavery, and Aunt Ester surely remembers. Friday 8 p.m., Saturday 2 p.m., 8 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 7:30 pm. Through Oct. 30. Tickets $14-$67, $5 student discount. The Huntington Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave. Boston. (617)266-0800. (JSG)

VISUALS | X

Architect Alejandro Aravena presents “X,” his largest United States exhibition featuring 10 projects. The exhibition also presents the entries for the ELEMENTAL competition for the design of public housing projects in Chile. Gund Hall Gallery. (JSG)

VISUALS | Dependable Objects

The Busch-Reisinger Museum presents an exhibition of sculpture by artists who were ambivalent toward the media. “Dependable Objects” presents the works of German artists beginning in the 1960’s including works by Franz Erhard Walther, Hans Haacke, Charlotte Posenenske and Gerhard Richter. Through January 2. The Busch-Reisinger Museum. (JSG)

VISUALS | To Students of Art and Lovers of Beauty

The Winthrop collection has traveled around the world and is back at the Fogg in the exhibit “To Students of Art and Lovers of Beauty: Highlights from the Collection of Grenville L. Winthrop.” The exhibition features painting and sculpture by such artists as Blake, Degas, Gericault, Ingret, Monet, Pissaro and Renoir. Fogg Museum. (JSG)

Movies

Around the Bend

The redemption of a long-estranged parent is hardly a novel plot in contemporary cinema; it has congealed to the point where every hug, tear and clumsy montage seem carefully choreographed. Refreshingly, Around the Bend, reveals an organic push and pull that approaches the mostly shapeless narrative of real relationships that is only reinforced by the remarkably subtle performances of screen legends Christopher Walken and Sir Michael Caine. (WBP)

First Daughter

Some teen movies are so bad they are great. First Daughter is not one of these. It’s just bad. Katie Holmes stars as Samantha Mackenzie, the daughter of the President (Michael Keaton), who yearns for a normal life. She leaves for college, where she realizes quickly her dream will be hard to achieve, but luckily meets and falls for her hunky resident advisor, James (Mark Blucas). There are some phenomenal moments in the spirit of the great teen movies of yore, but sadly not enough to carry the audience through. Ultimately, First Daughter takes itself too seriously and is not compelling enough to be serious. (EMK)

The Forgotten

The Forgotten has the makings of an intelligent paranoid thriller, but I found nothing spectacular or terrifying in it, only government agents scrambling to hide a conspiracy and scrambled plot lines trying to hide a lack of creativity, despite the guarantee a seemingly competent cast should offer. Julianne Moore’s Telly Paretta is a likeable everywoman. Her therapist (Gary Sinise), is appropriately authoritarian, while her husband (ER’s Anthony Edwards) appears to be phoning in his support from another planet. They are too hampered by the product they’ve been asked to deliver to hope to redeem it. (ABS)

Friday Night Lights

The clichéd line is never uttered, but without listening very carefully, you can hear its echo throughout Friday Night Lights: In Odessa, football is a way of life. And, as is quickly shown, the only way of life for residents of this small Texas town, where state champions become legends and those who fall short become mere pariahs rejected even within their own families. Though American society worships successful professional athletes, the cult following earned by 17-year old high school seniors is for the most part less widespread. Director and co-writer Peter Berg rightly devotes more time to the Panthers’ trials in their daily lives—how they survive in the face of such intense scrutiny—than their gridiron exploits to underscore that this isn’t just a game but a profession. (TJM)

I Heart Huckabees

Albert is unhappy and he isn’t sure why. Sadly, we never care. The root of Albert’s malaise, I think, is that he has sold out. He has entered into a partnership with Huckabees, a chain of K-Mart-like stores, to throw some muscle behind his coalition to save a local wetland. Russell’s sly appropriation of American corporate-speak provide the best moments in the Huckabees script: therapy would be unbecoming for a corporate executive, so Brad rationalizes his sessions with “existential therapists” by insisting they are “pro-active and action-oriented.” While all of the characters in Huckabees seem primed to arc from ironic distance to grand, tragic catharsis, Jude Law alone provides the emotional proximity the film coaxes you into longing for and then so cruelly denies. (DBR)

Ladder 49

Ladder 49 headlines Joaquin Phoenix as firefighter Jack Morrison and John Travolta as Mike Kennedy, captain of Ladder 49 in the Baltimore Fire Department. Despite the hero worship of firefighters post-9/11, the film is in fact touching and sometimes gently funny, tracing one man’s trials and tribulations—as well as honors and accolades. Phoenix is fantastic, but Travolta has an airy nonchalance totally incongruous with the seriousness of some situations. Director Jay Russell creates a familial world of jovial camaraderie sweet and good-natured enough to overlook its implausibility. It may not be a movie about real fire fighters, but it is a movie about real people. (MH)

The Motorcycle Diaries

The Guevara characterized in Walter Salles’ seductive new film The Motorcycle Diaries is a far cry from the iconic figure, sporting beard and beret, found in so many dorm rooms and poetry lounges. This is Ernesto Guevara de la Serna (Gael García Bernal) in his mid-twenties, before he was Che. The film picks up Guevara’s life in 1951 as he embarks with his compatriot, Alberto Granado (Rodrigo de la Serna) on his travels—powered, initially, by the namesake motorcycle, of course—bound for the southern tip of South America. He is a far more accessible figure, and his journey radiates a certain lost-soul aura to which even a hardened capitalist could relate. (ZMS)

Primer

Primer, the directorial debut of Shane Carruth, lacks any narrative thread, but essentially is a story about four broke, thirtysomething engineers who create a mysterious box in their garage that defies scientific rationality and seems to give them inexplicable control over life. Two members of the group, Aaron (Shane Carruth) and Abe (David Sullivan), decide to probe what potential their creation might have: They explore the commercial possibilities of time-travel for a few hours each day, encounter dreadful mishaps in a Scooby Doo-esque fashion and finally, things end quite badly, with the audience, plot and characters in a state of sheer confusion. If Carruth proves anything with his film, it is that sci-fi movies dealing with the tenuous nature of the time-continuum need Christopher Lloyd. (KMM)

Raise Your Voice

Yes, you will sit amongst 8 to 12 year-old girls and painfully awkward older men who, surprisingly, come alone. Yes, her group of friends includes a sassy black girl, a goofy white guy and an ambiguously ethnic love interest. But Hilary Duff, star of Raise Your Voice, surprisingly sheds her Teen Disney roots, giving an uneven yet charming performance as Terri Fletcher, small-town girl whisked away from commonplace and complacency when she lands admission to the prestigious Bristol Hill School of Music in L.A. You’ve undoubtedly seen Raise Your Voice before: this film is formula-driven, from start to finish. But no matter how many times Duff clips her lines or awkwardly overacts her most intense scenes, the film somehow recovers. Despite its reliance on ham-fisted elements to a garner a reaction, Raise Your Voice pulls off moments where palpable, genuine emotion pumps from the screen. (BJ)

Shall We Dance?

Director Peter Chelsom’s new movie, Shall We Dance?, has a dance card full of big-name actors but leaves its audience with little except bruised toes. A remake of Japanese director Masayuki Suo’s 1996 film of the same title—from which it imports most scenes and some dialogue—the movie ultimately seems as bungling on its feet as many of the characters it portrays. John Clark (Richard Gere) wants to ballroom dance. In Suo’s Japanese film this is understandably mortifying because, as a voiceover tells us at the outset, “In a country where married couples don’t go out arm in arm…the idea that a husband and wife should embrace and dance in front of others is beyond embarrassing.” Chelsom never explains what makes ballroom dance equally taboo in 21st-century Chicago. He tries to plug this plot hole subliminally instead by making Miss Mitzi’s look a lot like a brothel, but it’s hard to salvage a bungled plot with neon lighting and sweaty-palmed patrons. (NJH)

Team America: World Police

The new Trey Parker and Matt Stone production Team America: World Police is a delirious send-up of the international save-the-world action genre spoofing every movie from the Star Wars trilogy to Knightrider to The Matrix and unsympathetically mocks every public figure from Michael Moore to Kim Jong-Il to, curiously enough, Matt Damon. And they do it with puppets. Unlike most politically-motivated comedies these days, there’s no clear slant towards either the left or the right. Team America is a throwback to the kind of movie that casts the establishment as the good guy and everyone who goes against them are either evil or woefully misinformed. While, to many, such a theme may seem ironic, what makes this movie so pertinent and vital is the fact that this unthinking good-vs.-evil mentality may be more widespread than we’d like to believe. On the other hand, this movie also tells me that beating the hell out of puppets is funny. (SNJ)

—Happening was compiled by M.A. Brazelton, Emily G. Chau, Julie S. Greenberg, May Habib, Nathan J. Heller, Steven N. Jacobs, Bryant Jones, Marrianne F. Kaletzky, Emily M. Kaplan, Timothy J. McGinn, Kristina M. Moore, Will B. Payne, David B. Rochelson, Zachary M. Seward

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