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Pop & Rock

BARTEES STRANGE This D.C. producer and songwriter’s 2020 debut, “Live Forever,” has the audacity of arena rock, the upfront lyrics of living-room folk, and bits from other genres, making a single-sitting listen a dazzling, dizzying experience. He opens for Lucy Dacus, whose latest album, “Home Video,” looks back at her youth on tracks like the stretched-out “VBS” and the gently lacerating “Brando.” Oct. 16, 7 p.m. House of Blues. 888-693-2583, houseofblues.com/boston

TWENTY ONE PILOTS The angst-ridden Ohio duo comes to town for a four-show residency celebrating their latest album, “Scaled and Icy.” Oct. 18, 7:30 p.m. at Paradise Rock Club; Oct. 19, 6:30 p.m. at House of Blues; Oct. 20, 8 p.m. at Agganis Arena; Oct. 23, 8 p.m. at TD Garden. twentyonepilots.com


PHONY PPL This Brooklyn-based collective offers a groove-heavy, generation-spanning take on R&B, peaking on funk gems like the vibed-out “Once You Say Hello.” and the glittering “Move Her Mind.” Oct. 20, 7 p.m. Brighton Music Hall. 617-779-0140, crossroadspresents.com


Folk, World & Country

SIDE PONY Side Pony is the collaborative effort of a pair of Nashvillians, Alice Wallace and Caitlin Cannon. Their debut, “Lucky Break,” evidences music that leans to the country side of Americana along with plenty of tongue-in-cheek, sass, and fine harmonizing from the two frontwomen. No side ponies in sight, though. Oct. 17, 7 p.m. $28. The Rockwell, 255 Elm St., Somerville. www.therockwell.org

SLAID CLEAVES It’s been a while — four years — since Slaid Cleaves gave us something new to listen to, so unless he previews forthcoming material, you’ll have to make do with listening to a singer-songwriter with one of the finest voices around revisit a repertoire of songs filled with a beautiful bleakness. Oct. 20, 8 p.m. $30. Club Passim, 47 Palmer St., Cambridge. 617-492-7679, www.passim.org


WILLIE WATSON Willie Watson is a folksinger, plain and simple — so much so that the one-time Old Crow Medicine Show member named both of the records he’s released “Folksinger,” with volume numbers appended to distinguish them. Both are filled with folk music of the old and standard variety, and that’s what you’ll hear Thursday night. Oct. 21, 7 p.m. $20-$25. Red Room at Café 939, 939 Boylston St. 857-337-6206, www.berklee.edu/cafe939


Jazz & Blues

JENNIFER TRUESDALE BAND The dynamic singer with the honey and whiskey voice makes her final 2021 appearance with full band, including horns and backup singers, performing their potent blend of blues, soul, and rock ‘n’ roll at a gig to be recorded live for future release. Oct. 16, 7 p.m. $20-$25. The Burren, 247 Elm St., Somerville. 617-776-6896, www.burren.com

JASON ROBINSON’S HARMONIC CONSTITUENT Mandorla Music presents adventurous Western Massachusetts composer, saxophonist, and flutist Robinson performing pieces from his 2020 recording “Harmonic Constituent” with the marvelous band that played on the record: pianist Joshua White, bassist Drew Gress, and drummer Ches Smith — musicians rarely heard hereabouts. Oct 16, 8 p.m. $20. Hope Central Church, 85 Seaverns Ave., Jamaica Plain. www.mandorlamusic.net

MIGUEL ZENÓN BERKLEE QUINTET Puerto Rican native, Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow, and Berklee alumnus Zenón is among his generation’s finest saxophonists. For this performance, he and a student group selected by Edmar Colón, assistant professor of woodwinds, will play Zenón compositions and more. Oct. 19, 8 p.m. $10-$12. The Red Room at Cafe 939, 939 Boylston St. www.berklee.edu/red-room-cafe-939




BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA This weekend at Symphony Hall, the letter of the day is “S” — as in Still (William Grant), Strauss (Richard) and Sibelius (Jean), with Lisa Batiashvili performing the latter’s epic Violin Concerto. Andris Nelsons conducts. (Oct. 17). Tuesday’s performance replaces the Sibelius concerto with Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra (Oct. 19). Next week holds an all-Russian program of Sofia Gubaidulina and Rachmaninoff (Oct. 21-23). Symphony Hall. www.bso.org

DU BOIS ORCHESTRA This Cambridge-based orchestra draws its membership from the local music schools and surrounding community, and its programs deliberately challenge the whiteness of the canon. This weekend’s performance features Florence Price’s “Ethiopia’s Shadow in America” alongside Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8, and special guest Xavier Foley performs Serge Koussevitzky’s Double Bass Concerto. Oct. 16, 8 p.m. Pickman Hall, Longy School of Music, Cambridge. Limited seating; livestream available. www.duboisorchestra.org

MASSOPERA An immersive site-specific production of “La Traviata” takes over the parlors and porticos of a historic mansion. Get those tickets soon; this one’s going fast, and capacity is limited. Oct. 17-24. Eustis Estate, Milton. www.massopera.org




MAMMA MIA! Yes, it’s been around forever, and there’s a movie version you can watch anytime you want. But when it’s done well live, this ABBA jukebox musical allows you to turn off your brain and embrace its larky spirit of fun for fun’s sake. And might that not be just the ticket for our pandemic-weary souls? Featuring Lexie Dorsett Sharp as Donna, Tiffani Barbour as Rosie, and Merrill Peiffer as Tanya. Directed and choreographed by Kevin P. Hill. Through Oct. 17. North Shore Music Theatre, Beverly. 978-232-7200, www.nsmt.org


RENT It has somehow been a quarter-century since Jonathan Larson’s rock musical exploded onto Broadway, where it proceeded to run for a dozen years, picking up a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for best musical along the way. Loosely based on Puccini’s “La Boheme,” “Rent” focuses on artists and activists in New York’s East Village during the height of the AIDS epidemic. Staged by Evan Ensign, based on Michael Greif’s original direction. Through Oct. 17. At the Boch Center Shubert Theatre. 866-348-9738, www.bochcenter.org

QUEENS GIRL IN THE WORLD A coming-of-age solo play by Caleen Sinnette Jennings that stars Jasmine M. Rush as Jacqueline Marie Butler, a Black teenager living in Queens in the 1960s. Against the backdrop of the civil rights movement, Jacqueline attends a progressive school in Greenwich Village where she is one of only a handful of Black students. Rush portrays more than a dozen characters. Directed by Dawn M. Simmons. Through Oct. 31. The Nora@Central Square Theater, the Front Porch Arts Collective, and the Hangar Theatre. At Central Square Theater, Cambridge. 617-576-9278, www.CentralSquareTheater.org

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE If you can get past some self-indulgent and labored stretches, you’ll find this an intriguing “Merchant.” Director Igor Golyak inventively mashes together elements of slapstick, bits of other Shakespeare plays, the ersatz combat of pro wrestling, game shows, puppetry, cabaret — and “Cabaret,” with an ending that connects Shakespeare’s play directly with the horrors of the Holocaust. Nael Nacer brings a mesmerizing intensity to his portrayal of Shylock. Through Oct. 17. Actors’ Shakespeare Project. At Plaza Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-241-2200, www.actorsshakespeareproject.org




MIGRATIONS Wendy Jehlen calls her latest work for her company Anikaya “a flight toward healing,” for which she has navigated all manner of vaccine access, travel restrictions, and visa documentation to assemble dancers from Egypt, Turkey, and Indonesia. The full cast includes 15 local adult dancers, plus a cohort of young dancers from schools around the area, and five percussionists. A companion piece to her powerful “Conference of the Birds,” the new work is inspired by the extraordinary flocking behavior of murmurations. Oct. 17, 3 p.m. Free. Long Wharf Park. https://anikaya.org/

Boston Conservatory at Berklee’s annual student dance concert, "From the Ground Up," includes five world premieres.
Boston Conservatory at Berklee’s annual student dance concert, "From the Ground Up," includes five world premieres.Jim Coleman

FROM THE GROUND UP Boston Conservatory at Berklee’s annual student dance concert is a wide-ranging program of five world premieres. New works showcase the creative artistry of acclaimed San Francisco choreographer Robert Moses, 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship recipient Gabrielle Lamb, Atlanta-based interdisciplinary maverick T. Lang, Conservatory dance professor Daniel Pelzig, and associate professor Jim Viera. In addition to in-person performances, the Friday and Saturday shows will be livestreamed. Oct. 21-24, $5-$20 (free with Berklee ID). https://bostonconservatory.berklee.edu/events/series/center-stage

WORLD BALLET DAY 2021 Hosted by the Australian Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet, and the Royal Ballet, this roughly 24 hours of free livestream access offers viewers a glimpse into the studios of nearly 50 dance companies spread across six continents. Content includes rehearsals, interviews, sneak peeks at upcoming performances, and company classes. The action starts at 10 p.m. Oct. 18. https://worldballetday.com/


Visual Arts

MONET AND BOSTON: LEGACY ILLUMINATED Last call for part two of the MFA’s yearlong Monet extravaganza drawn almost entirely from its own collection. Part one brought about an expected logjam last fall when it opened “Monet and Boston: Lasting Impression” as the pandemic deepened, meaning, with attendance limited, demand would grossly outstrip supply. Several of the Impressionist master’s iconic works have moved on to other shows around the globe, but the museum’s deep holdings of his work means they were able to rejig another entire exhibition to help appease those who couldn’t get tickets the first time around. Of special note: a gallery exploring the influence of Jean-François Millet, Monet’s immediate artistic forebear. Through Oct. 17. Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave. 617-267-9300, www.mfa.org.

JEFFREY GIBSON: INFINITE INDIGENOUS QUEER LOVE Gibson’s career survey at the Brooklyn Museum in 2020 fell victim to on-again, off-again pandemic closures, so this admittedly much-smaller show, opening Friday, is nonetheless a welcome second chance. Gibson, whose work blends the aesthetics and motifs of his Choctaw-Cherokee heritage with his identity as a queer man, champions resistance on both fronts, making space for his twice-marginalized self with provocative, often-spectacular pieces that span traditional fabric and textiles, sculpture, and video. Through March 13, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, 51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln. 781-259-8355, thetrustees.org/place/decordova

JOANA VASCONCELOS: VALKYRIE MUMBET MassArt’s brand-new museum opened in late February 2020 and shut down days later with the pandemic rumbling ever closer. So, for practical purposes, its reopening this month feels very much like a first try, with everything from its grand opening kept in mothballs all that time. Certainly the most imposing is Vasconcelos’s colossal soft sculpture, several stories high, that feels like a plush version of a multi-limbed, interdimensional invader. Honoring Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman, an enslaved woman who in 1781 won a court battle for her freedom that helped make slavery illegal in Massachusetts, the piece is monumental, glittering liberation. It’s been waiting for you for a long time — the least you can do is show up. Through Dec. 31. MassArt Art Museum, 621 Huntington Ave. 617-879-7333, maam.massart.edu


REMEMBERING TOGETHER: MARKING LIVES COVID-19 Last year, grappling with the sheer multitude of losses to COVID, Concord painter Elizabeth Awalt invited artists to make and post on social media (www.instagram.com/markinglivescovid19/) an artwork with at least 1,000 marks. More than 130 of those works are now on view in a benefit exhibition for Boston Food Bank’s COVID relief efforts for food insecurity. By appointment only. Through Nov. 19. Broad Institute at MIT and Harvard, 415 Main St., Cambridge, www.broadinstitute.org/community/art-and-science-connection-broad#markinglives


Elizabeth Awalt, “Covid II,” ink on paper, 2020
Elizabeth Awalt, “Covid II,” ink on paper, 2020Courtesy of the artist



THE COMEDY STUDIO The Studio continues to host showcases at Vera’s. Friday’s shows feature Mike O’Brien, Matt Shore, Jaylene Tran, Jimmy Bowes, and Jason Kantor. Saturday, Sean Sullivan, Janet McNamara, Brian Longwell, Peter Liu, James Huessy, and Dan Boulger perform. Oct. 15-16, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. $10. Vera’s, 70 Union Square, Somerville. www.thecomedystudio.com

AMANDA SEALES PRESENTS: SMART, FUNNY & BLACK Seales, who reprises her role as Tiffany on the final season of HBO’s “Insecure” later this month, describes her variety/game show “Smart, Funny & Black” as a “combination homecoming, barbecue, and revival,” centered on Black culture and history. Contestants for this edition are Danielle Johnson of Spark FM and state Representative Liz Miranda. Oct. 16, 7 p.m. $36-$76. The Wilbur, 246 Tremont St. 617-248-9700, www.thewilbur.com

MIKE BIRBIGLIA This is a homecoming for Birbiglia and a preview of the material he is working on for his new show, “The Old Man and the Pool,” with a theme of death and mortality. Oct. 17-21, 7 p.m. $34-$61. The Wilbur, 246 Tremont St. 617-248-9700, www.thewilbur.com



ANNA’S PAL’S AMAZING RACE Join Anna’s Pals in their first ever Amazing Race, hosted in support of Anna Jerome, who died of cancer after a bone marrow transplant at 15 years old. Solve riddles, find clues, and compete against other teams for a great cause. After the race, celebrate with music, raffles, and beverages. Oct. 16, 7 p.m. Suggested donation of $40 per contestant, $160 per team. Monsignor Donahue Hall, St. Theresa’s School, 40 Saint Theresa Ave., West Roxbury. annaspals.org/events

FUDDRUCKER’S TRUNK OR TREAT Trick or treat — or trunk or treat? Don your spookiest costume and bring your candy bag to gather sweet treats from cool, decked-out cars. Participants must register for the event by e-mailing fudsscruisenights@gmail.com. Oct. 17, 4-7 p.m. Free. 900 Broadway, Saugus. facebook.com

KIDS CLUB ON THE TERRACE: GHOSTS! All the ghosts are friendly here. The library will read “Gustavo the Shy Ghost” to children and make ghost and monster finger puppets for ghoulish fun. Space is limited to 15 children, and the event is recommended for children ages 4 and up. Oct. 20, 4 p.m. Free. Jamaica Plain Branch of the Boston Public Library, 30 South St., Jamaica Plain. facebook.com

FAMILY PAINT PARTY Whip out those paintbrushes and take notes from a local artist in this holiday event. Participants will put their art skills to the test and paint some pumpkins ahead of Halloween festivities. Oct. 21, 6-8 p.m. $30. Aloft Boston Seaport District, 401-403 D St. eventbrite.com