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Friday, Nov. 5

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 decide 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. Tickets $25 general; $15 undergraduates. Through Nov. 6. 7 & 9:30 p.m. Winthrop JCR, 966 Mill Street. (EGC)

MUSIC | Abendlied: An Evening Of German Sacred Music

Come listen to a night of German music sung by one of Harvard’s Holden Chapel Choirs, the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum, conducted by Kevin Leong. This mixed choir is joined by the Brattle Street Chamber Players, a thirteen person string orchestra. They will play selected works by Bach, Schütz, Rheinberger, and Herzongenberg. Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum. Tickets $18/14 general; $9/7 students/seniors. 8 p.m. Sanders Theater. (EGC)

THEATER | Before It Hits Home

Recounting the last few months in the life of Wendal Bailey, an African-American bisexual jazz musician in the 30s, “Before It Hits Home” explores the issues of AIDS, family relationships, and sexuality. Returning home to recover from AIDS, Bailey finds much needed support from whom he expected least, his homophobic father. “Before It Hits Home” is the recipient of the Helen Hayes Award for best new play. BlackCAST. Tickets $6 advance; $8 door. Harvard Box Office (617) 496-2222. 8 p.m., Sat. at 2:00 & 8:00pm. Adams House Pool Theatre. 13 Bow Street, Cambridge. (EGC)

THEATER | Peanut Butter & Juliet

The classic story of Romeo and Juliet takes on a new twist as the Montagues and Capulets are turned into feuding families of sandwich-selling truck stops, in the world premiere of the musical comedy, Peanut Butter & Juliet. Pappy Montague’s Peanut Butter Sammich Store and Clem Capulet’s Jelly Sammich Emporium are happily at odds until Juliet Capulet and Bubba Monague fall in love. Currier House Drama Society. Tickets $8 general; $5 student/senior; free if under age 8. 8 p.m., Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. at 4 p.m. Currier House Fishbowl. 64 Linnaean Street, Cambridge. (EGC)

MUSIC | Harvard Swing

Heels will be tapping along to swing music played by Harvard’s Sunday Jazz Band. Playing big band, the concert will follow the evolution of swing through the years. The program includes pieces by famed artists Joe Garland and Thad Jones. Harvard University Band. Tickets $5. Harvard Box Office (617) 496-2222. 8 p.m. Lowell Lecture Hall. 17 Kirkland Street. (EGC)

Saturday, Nov. 6

MUSIC | Jimmy Eat World

Pop-punk-cum-emo favorites Jimmy Eat World come to Boston hot on the heels of their new CD Futures, which hit stores in October. The band broke into the mainstream with the ubiquitous hit “The Middle” in 2001 and have bounced back with an album that focuses on more mature themes without ever failing to rock. Frontman Jim Adkins is going to be there baring his soul, are you going to be there to hear it? With Razorlight and Recover. Tickets $20.25. 6:30 p.m. Avalon Ballroom. (CAK)

MUSIC | Fallen Angels

While there are approximately 10,000 a capella groups within a 100-mile radius of Cambridge, the Fallen Angels are Harvard’s only all-female group with a modern repertoire. Come see their Fall Concert with the Columbia Kingsmen and the Gumboots Dance Troupe featuring songs by a wide range of artists from Marvin Gaye to Michelle Branch. Free. 7:00 p.m. Lowell Lecture Hall, 17 Kirkland Street. (MAB)

MUSIC | Mariachi Veritas Fall Concert

This Mexican folk music group, now in its third year and the first Mariachi group on the East Coast composed of college students, features no fewer than 15 guest performers in its fall production. The show includes a tremendous diversity of genres within Latin American traditional music, both vocal and instrumental. $5. 7:30 p.m. Adams Lower Common Room. (MAB)

MUSIC | Pitches and Din and Tonics

The Radcliffe Pitches and the Harvard Din and Tonics join forces to present a humorous, yet soulful fall concert. These two a cappella groups are among the oldest at Harvard; their old-school style of entertainment features jazz, rhythm, and unadulterated comedy. Students $8. Sanders Theatre. 8 p.m. (MAB)

MUSIC | Mozart Society Orchestra Fall Concert

The Harvard-Radcliffe Mozart Society Orchestra presents its twentieth anniversary concert with Beethoven’s Overture to Egmont, Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin, and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8. The organization features distinguished conductor and music director Akiko Fujimoto in her second year at the helm. Students $6. 8 p.m. Paine Hall, 3 Kirkland Street. (MAB)

Sunday, Nov. 7

THEATER | Johnny Johnson

In the mood for a musical? Come see this rendition of Kurt Weill’s 1936 examination of the role of the United States in World War I. Part of the Celebrity Series of Boston, the production was commissioned for the 50th anniversary of Boston Camerata, a historically focused local music group. Tickets $33-$48. Sanders Theatre. 3 p.m. (MAB)

MUSIC | Gurdjieff/ de Hartmann

Take advantage of this rare opportunity to hear Emmy-winning pianist and Eastman School of Music graduate Laurence Rosenthal as he plays music by Composers Gurdjieff and Hartmann. Hartmann himself is personally interested in the composers’ works and even edited the first publication of Gurdjieff / de Hartmann music. His personal passion for the work is bound to shine through his playing. Tickets $10-20. 4 p.m. Paine Hall. (VMA)

THEATER | Richard the Third

The Actors Shakespeare Project proudly presents in its premiere production with Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, Richard the Third. Watch as this tale of historic political manipulation, about a physically-deformed Richard who will stop at nothing to gain the thrown, unravels before you. Through Nov. 7. Old South Meeting House, 310 Washington Street. Call (866) 811-4111 for ticket prices. (VMA)

THEATER | The Glider

Nationally-recognized “Haiku” author Kate Snodgrass returns to the stage with this play about the homecoming of three sisters. Here is a dark comedy about family secrets with which every audience member is sure to identify. 7:30 p.m. Through Nov. 14. Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Ave. Call (617) 358-7529. (VMA)

Monday, Nov. 8

MUSIC | Animal Collective

Most pop music a little too straight-forward to you? Animal Collective are the group responsible for one of 2004’s most critically praised releases to date, their mesmerizing Sung Tongs. Subverting traditional song structure in a blend called “campfire music on acid,” the Collective manage to be idiosyncratic while still incredibly melodic, and their live show will be enough to compel the most hardened disbeliever. With local psych-rockers Sunburned Hand of the Man. Tickets $10. 9 p.m. T.T. the Bear’s Place. (CAK)

FILM | Batman

The original is back. Michael Keaton is the Dark Knight detective in Tim Burton’s adaptation of the classic comic series versus his classic nemesis The Joker. It was the beginning of the current streak of giving art-house directors the key to studio franchises, that has led to project like Bryan Singer’s X-Men and Christopher Nolan’s new version of Batman. The key is Anton Furst’s remarkable production design; there is nothing quite like the Gotham City he designed with Burton. Anchoring the magic is Jack Nicholson’s astonishing performance as The Joker. He has truly “danced with the devil in the pale moonlight,” a sight that must be seen to be believed. 7 p.m. at the Harvard Film Archive (SAW)

FILM | Irma Vep

The title, an anagram for vampire is just the first surprise in this wonderfully idiosyncratic French classic. A neurotic imaginative director is trying to remake Louis Feuillade’s classic silent thriller serial Les Vampires, but the plans go awry as plans are wont to do. Hong Kong actress Maggie Cheung, as herself, comes to Paris to take the lead role, Irma Vep. Soon, however, she is waylaid by semi-psychotic journalists lecturing her on the future of cinema and strange, frightening dreams that seem to be connected to the project. This bizarre and amazing satire of modern French cinema and culture is a delightful romp with surprisingly deep performances. 9:15 p.m. at the Harvard Film Archive (SAW)

Tuesday, Nov. 9

VISUALS | Chip Hooper

The Robert Klein Gallery hosts this exhibition of startling and stark black and white seascape photographs taken by Chris Hooper. Hooper, whose work is continuously showcased nationally at galleries in New York and California, is a renowned landscape photographer who captures his love of the ocean his latest series. Through Nov. 13. Robert Klein Gallery, 38 Newbury Street. Call (617) 267-7997 for more information. (VMA)

MUSIC | Clinic

Art-rockers Clinic are a band consisting of four Liverpudlian doctors, hence the name. Their angular and icy take on indie rock has caused a splash in the underground with each of their three releases on Domino Records. Their most recent, Winchester Cathedral, shows a diverse array of influences from surf-rock to klezmer music and never fails to innovate or entertain. Tickets $15. 18+. 8 p.m. Paradise Rock Club. (CAK)

Wednesday, Nov. 10

THEATER | Ears on a Beatle

This intriguing tale manages to unite the tension of Nixon administration with a passion for the music of Beatle John Lennon in one play. At the center of it all are two FBI agents. Through Nov. 20. 7:30 p.m. Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 140 Clarendon Street. Call (617) 437-7172 for more information. (VMA)

FILM | The Magician

The Brattle’s Ingmar Bergman festival continues with the story of a 19th century conjurer-hypnotist, played by Bergman repertory player and Exorcist priest Max Von Sydow, traveling throughout shadowy Sweden along with his troupe of repertory performers. After falling into the hands of a grand inquisitor, a doctor decides it his professional responsibility to expose Sydow as a charlatan and the two sides clash in a brilliantly evocative philosophical duel between art and science, rationality and irrationality, believer and non believer. It all climaxes in a beautifully destructive sequence that reduces the once proud doctor to his bare parts. At The Brattle Theater at 7:45 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. (SAW)

Thursday, Nov. 11

MUSIC | Quincy Coffeehouse

Harvard’s own Liz Carlisle ’06, along with Dan Gonzales, host this informal showcase of both student and professional talent. Josiah Pertz and Claudia Garcia are among the students who will take the stage. 7:30pm. Free. Quincy House Junior Common Room. (VMA)



Here digital technology and art converge as multi-disciplinary artists exhibit their work that is cutting-edge in more ways than one. Through Dec. 11. Massachusetts College of Art, 621 Huntington Ave. Call 617-879-7333 for more information. (VMA)

FILM | Lions of the Kalahari

Escape to the deserts of Botswana and—for a moment—enter into the jungle world of the Kalahari lion. Brought to you very realistically thanks to the 180-degree domed film screen at the Museum of Science. Daily through Feb. 17. Science Park. Call 617.589.0250. (VMA)

THEATER | The Rocky Horror Show

In case you just can’t do the “Time Warp” at the Saturday night performances at the Harvard Square Loew’s, try The Footlight Club’s live version of The Rocky Horror Show. Leave your water pistols and rice at home, the producers want to keep the historical Eliot Hall in good condition. Call (617) 524-3200 for more info. Tickets $21. 8 p.m. Running through Nov. 13. Eliot Hall, 7A Eliot Street, Jamaica Plain. (KMM)


Architect Alejandro Aravena presents X, his largest United States exhibition featuring ten 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 | Dependent Objects

The Busch-Reisinger Museum presents an exhibition of sculpture by artists who were ambivalent toward the media. “Dependent 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 Jan. 2. The Busch-Reisinger Museum inside the Fogg. (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)


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 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)

The Grudge

The camera stumbles upon a door, it bursts open, the hand of the dying woman drops, a guttural boom blasts from the sub, and that four-dollar bucket of flat Diet Coke resting patiently at your side becomes fizzy and fresh on your lap as you jump—hard. It’s these moments—when some random horrific element comes from nowhere—that make the first act of The Grudge, Hollywood’s latest attempt at remaking a foreign blockbuster, extremely enjoyable. Yet tension gives way to torpor as the first act crawls to a close: the slow reserved pace that initially generates bloodcurdling moments soon begins to retard the motion of the film. Even the supposed surprise ending becomes an “Oh, okay” moment instead of a “Wow, no way, that’s his father?” one. The movie, then, becomes a woeful drudge of cinematic excess: it’s cool for the sake of cool. (BJ)

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-Sept. 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 an 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. Here, Che 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, 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)


There is something like ashy molasses in Ray Charles’ voice: dripping syrupy sweet with southern charm yet charged with gritty, unhewn candor, it resonates with a sense of immediacy and emotional clarity that is nothing short of divine. And yet somehow, even after seventeen tedious years of development, Ray, based on Charles’ life, does not muster any semblance of the splendor within his music. The film lacks emotional attachment on any level and fails in every way as a meaningful addition to his life and legacy. With a mix of deceitful, manipulative Hollywood story telling techniques masquerading as artistic strokes and tacky, unfocused, pop-filmmaking, director Taylor Hackford, manages to turn an amazing story of sheer will triumphing over adversity into a two-and-a-half hour mess that will damage Charles’ memory, even with Jamie Foxx’s almost perfect portrayal of Ray Charles. (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)


Writer-director Alexander Payne and co-writer Jim Taylor seemed on a winning streak with Election and About Schmidt: both were inventive and quirky, two qualities their newest collaboration, Sideways, unfortunately lacks. The film follows Miles (Paul Giamatti), a burned-out teacher and struggling novelist, and his best friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church) on a road trip through California’s wine country organized to make the most of Jack’s last days of bachelorhood. The trip in Miles’ mind is about tasting great wines and in Jack’s is about getting laid as much as possible before marriage shuts him down. Despite their somewhat incredible friendship—they have completely opposing interests, outlooks and goals—the acting is exceptional and Giamatti and Church exude a chemistry that makes their friendship believable and oddly charming. But sadly, the movie is ultimately worthwhile only for its fine performances. Sideways’s structure is painfully episodic, never allowing audiences to become fully engrossed in its obnoxious characters.

Stage Beauty

The film suffers from a haphazard and disorganized structure; the shaky cinematography is positively migraine-inducing; and the “mood” lighting simply worked to obscure any attempt to discern what was happening. Stage Beauty opens with Maria (Claire Danes) standing wistfully in the wings while watching a performance of Othello’s Desdemona by her employer, London’s “leading lady” Ned Kynston (Billy Crudup). She mouths his lines with practised passion, for despite a ban on female actresses in public theater, Maria—surprise, surprise—harbors ardent aspirations for thespian glory of her own. The filmmakers missed a golden opportunity to exploit the subtle human side of a fascinating historical moment, instead creating an unconvincing hodgepodge of hackneyed aphorisms. (JHR)

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)

Vera Drake

An intimate film about the lives of a small cast of characters, this simple masterpiece by director Mike Leigh manages to be at once philosophically expansive and physically claustrophobic. Personalities too large for their surroundings compound the effect of poverty on spaciousness—there is merely too little room to accommodate everyone, their needs for privacy and their individual desires. Imelda Staunton gives a tight performance as the title character, a mid-century London mother who tests light bulbs in a factory and keeps house for the wealthy to provide for her children and aged mother. Somehow, she still finds the time to invite neighbors over to her apartment for tea and a matchmaking session. In her “spare” time, she performs simple abortions to “help out young girls,” as she conceives of it, in a British cultural climate in which doing so is almost unthinkably wrong. The pendulous arm of justice, too, presses down on Vera Drake. By the end of the film, it is not just women as a social category who must live without freedom but Vera herself, forced to exchange liberty for captivity and the ultimate sort of crowdedness—that of a prison. (ABM)

Woman, Thou Art Loosed

Woman Thou Art Loosed is a misnomer. Titling this film Movie Thou Art Disturbing, Depressing, Not Very Uplifting Nor Powerful At All! would be far more appropriate. The main character, Michelle, played by Kimberly Elise, is raped by her mother’s boyfriend at the age of twelve, and cannot reconcile her painful past with her spiritual quest for God. To Elise’s credit, she does as much as much as possible with such a weak script. On her time in jail: “I was getting raped in the shower and a woman was pulling my leg, just like I’m pulling yours.” This movie should not be released in theatres. It should be overnight Fed-Ex’ed to Lifetime, where they can show it over and over again in their next “Girl Has a Troubled Childhood, and Her Life Is Filled with Rape, Drugs, Prostitution and Murder Movie Marathon.” (TBB)

—Happening was compiled by Vinita M. Alexander, Mary Augusta Brazelton, Theodore B. Bressman, Emily Ga Wei Chau, May Habib, Nathan J. Heller, Steven N. Jacobs, Bryant Jones, Emily M. Kaplan, Christopher A. Kukstis, Timothy J. McGinn, Kristina M. Moore, Will B. Payne, Geneva Robertson-Dworet, David B. Rochelson, J. Hale Russell, Zachary M. Seward and Scoop A. Wasserstein.

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