Olive’s Indie Sound Garden
Every time the electronic looping pedal wings back around and resets, some new element enters the songs played by Olive Tiger: maybe cello, or violin, or a hooky new techno beat. This inventive band, based in New Haven and Brooklyn, calls itself “folktronic indie rock,” which pretty much sums it up. The songs on the band’s debut album Until My Body Breaks, which came out in September, tap an orchestral expanse while still popping and crackling their way through slick, danceable tracks. Cellist and singer Olive strides confidently through St. Vincent and Fiona Apple territory, and her vocals chaperone our ears through the sonic funhouse.
Olive Tiger: Wednesday, Oct. 12 at 9 p.m. $5. The Arts Block, 289 Main St., Greenfield. (413) 774-0150, theartsblock.com.
What’s In A Face?
The Herter Art Gallery has 50 photographic portraits hanging on its walls: 25 by Chuck Close and 25 by Nafis Azad. The fun part: the two artists have each cherry-picked their favorites from the other’s body of work.
Azad, who currently works as a studio assistant to Close, takes photos that capture a striking, close-up intimacy with his subjects, just like his mentor does. But go deeper and enjoy all 50 selections, and the two men’s approach to portraiture’s enduring themes — psychology and power, vulnerability and self-preservation — each seem to shine in a distinct light.
Portrayals — Selected Works by Chuck Close and Nafis Azad: Through Oct. 14. UMass Fine Arts Center, 155 Presidents Dr., Amherst. (413) 545-0976, fac.umass.edu.
Whatever plane Benjamin Clementine ascends to in order to sing like he sings, we hope we get there someday. Once a homeless teen living in Paris, Clementine now lives and works in London as a singer, poet, pianist, and composer. He has won accolades at home — including the Mercury Prize in 2015 — but the fact that he’s touching down stateside gives us hope that his entrancing, deeply emotive voice will strike a chord across the globe. “With the urgency, strength, passion, and fury in his voice,” writes NPR Music, “it’s no surprise that Clementine continues to garner comparison to the likes of Nina Simone.” Clementine’s performance at MASS MoCA is organized by the artist and musician Nick Cave, who is currently opening an exhibition of his own.
Benjamin Clementine: Saturday, Oct. 15 at 8:30 p.m. $16-$33. The Hunter Center at MASS MoCA, 1040 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams. (413) 662-2111, massmoca.org.
Speaking Up, Speaking Out
What touchy topic can’t Andrea Gibson tackle? We’ll let you know if such a theme ever arises, but we kinda don’t want to hold our breath. Gibson — the first winner of the Women’s World Poetry Slam — is a welterweight wordsmith for the ages, climbing boldly to the forefront of the spoken word movement by drawing our attentions to the complexities of war, class, gender, bullying, white privilege, sexuality, love, and spirituality. Gibson’s readings have won admiration on television and online, but it’s in live spaces from coast to coast that the work really ignites, stoking and challenging our communal appetite for grief, love, and the search for solutions.
Andrea Gibson with Sarah Kay: Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m. $20-$25. Academy of Music Theatre, 274 Main St., Northampton. (413) 584-9032, aomtheatre.com.
No man is an island, but Mike Daisey’s pretty close. Booming furiously from behind a large table, visible only from the waist up, he seems less a man and more some sort of severe tectonic event: an angry mass borne from beneath the surface of things. Daisey, a professional monologist whose bug-eyed flights of fury evoke the best bits by comedian Lewis Black, landed himself in boiling water in 2012 when his one-man show The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs drew national attention to the welfare of Apple factory workers in China — then fell short of many of its more journalistic claims. But for a sedentary dude, his momentum is impressive. Daisey comes to the Berkshires later this month touring his new solo show Trump Card, which sets its angry sights on exactly the man you’d suspect. Come hungry for mincemeat, ground and plated by the American theater scene’s hilarious equivalent of your loud, ranting uncle at Thanksgiving dinner.
Mike Daisey — Trump Card: Thursday, Oct. 20 at 8 p.m. $29-$39. Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, 14 Castle St., Great Barrington. (413) 528-0100, mahaiwe.org.
John Waters’ sense of camp is as broad as his pencil mustache is narrow. The decades that our most gloriously grotesque writer and filmmaker spent on the weird streets of Baltimore making low-budget, crime-ridden, scatological melodramas changed American filmmaking forever. Now, finally, his second feature Multiple Maniacs — originally released in 1970, and lost to the public for decades — comes to theaters, and it’s just as out-there as you’d suspect. Recurring cast members David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, Mink Stole, Edith Massey, and Cookie Mueller — the gross-out equivalent of Warhol’s Superstars — paint the town black with bitter humor. But it is the larger-than-life performer Divine, playing the leader of a troupe of traveling misfits, who gives a performance so memorable that some of our older, more anarchic Valley neighbors will still grimace and laugh about it almost 50 years later.
Multiple Maniacs: Friday, Oct. 21 at 9:45 p.m. $5.50-$9.75. Amherst Cinema, 28 Amity St., Amherst. (413) 253-2547, amherstcinema.org.
Hip Hop and the Old Masters
Stopping by art lectures may not be your thing, but think twice before passing up the chance to hear from, and talk with, Kehinde Wiley. A graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute and the Yale School of Art, Wiley has become one of modern art’s most successful painters by melding vivid, heroic images of today’s African-American men and women with the conventions of traditional European portraiture. An hour-long artwork viewing and public reception is followed by a multimedia talk by Wiley, who will discuss race, gender, and the politics of representation, and his work to date — including Portrait of Toks Adewetan (The King of Glory), pictured here, which the museum has just acquired.
An Evening with Kehinde Wiley: Wednesday, Nov. 9, 5-8 p.m. Free. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, 600 Main St., Hartford. (860) 278-2670, thewadsworth.org.
Tribute to Two “Full-On Bad-Ass” Women
This November, Gateway City Arts in Holyoke is hosting a tribute to the iconic blues and jazz artists Nina Simone and Etta James. The artists’ songs will be performed by local jazz singers Samirah Evans and Evelyn Harris. Said Harris: “For mashing politics with music, Nina Simone has no equal and I heard her passion in every note. Etta James was a full-on bad-ass and I felt her passion in every note. Those passionate songstresses influence me to this very day.”
Samirah Evans and Evelyn Harris — A Tribute to Nina Simone and Etta James: Saturday, Nov. 12, 8 p.m. $15-$25. Gateway City Arts, 92-114 Race St., Holyoke. (413) 650-2670, gatewaycityarts.com.
Alternative Folk Punk, Feminist Style
Put on your super comfy shoes, the coat that actually keeps you warm, and your favorite nose ring, because it’s time to get down to the feminist folk powerhouse that is Ani DiFranco. The alternative folk-punk singer who first made it big in the ’90s will be taking the stage at the Calvin in Northampton this November. Over the years, DiFranco has mellowed a bit, moving from folk punk to folk-funky-jazz, but her pipes are still fired up and her lyrics still cut to the bone. The warm up act is Chastity Brown, a Southern blues singer with deep roots.
Ani DiFranco: Thursday, Nov. 17, 8 p.m. $25-$45. The Calvin Theatre, 19 King St., Northampton.(413) 586-8686, iheg.com.
Welcome Back, Potter
It’s a Wonderful Life is one of those polarizing holiday movies — either you leap into your wool socks and cozy up to the TV each year to watch it, or you cram that tedious old tape at the back of the linen closet where your nog-sozzled aunt and uncle can’t find it. Thankfully, there’s a middle road: Shakespeare & Company stages the well-worn story as a fast-moving radio show onstage, with live sound effects and quick-fire character changes. The antics preserve the nostalgia of the story while giving you something more interesting to watch than Jimmy Stewart’s dopey mug wandering through town in grayscale. The show is adapted by Joe Landry from the original screenplay.
It’s a Wonderful Life — A Live Radio Play: Dec. 15-18. $24.50-$64.50. Elayne Bernstein Theatre at Shakespeare & Company, 70 Kemble St., Lenox. (413) 637-3353, shakespeare.org.
Symphonic Metal Sleigh Ride
A few things are immediately apparent about Trans-Siberian Orchestra, one of the top 10 ticket-selling music acts of the past 20 years. They’ve got prog rock guitar chops. They have a thing for flying trusses, video screens, pyrotechnics, fog machines, and lasers. And they really, really love Christmas. Producer and composer Paul O’Neill started TSO in 1996 as an experimental blend of classical and rock music — with spirited doses of Queen, Yes, The Who, and Pink Floyd — and planned six rock operas plus a trilogy about Christmas, inspired by the brutal beauty of rural Siberia. And they’ve pulled it off, thanks to a huge and gifted crew: the performers listed online as touring members of the band over the years number more than 100. That’s enough magic, we dare say, to fly us around the world in a single night.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Sunday, Dec. 18, 3 p.m. XL Center, 1 Civic Center Plaza, Hartford. (877) 522-8499, xlcenter.com.
Top 20 Horror Movies on Netflix
Valley Advocate horror snob, Jennifer Levesque here to share my top 20 favorite horror movies you can view now on Netflix. From gory to psychological, from alien abduction to ghostly encounters, there is definitely something for everyone on this list, in chronological order:
The Fly (1958) NR
The Exorcist (1973) R
Jaws (1975) PG
Children of the Corn (1984) R
Re-Animator (1985) NR
Fire In The Sky (1993) PG-13
Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994) R
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) R
Event Horizon (1997) R
Dreamcatcher (2003) R
The Human Centipede 1-3 (2009-2015) NR
The Snowtown Murders (2011) NR
Contracted (2013) NR
Would You Rather (2013) NR
Starry Eyes (2014) NR
Honeymoon (2014) R
Creep (2014) R
Extraterrestrial (2014) NR
For even more horror, check out our Scary Movie Club review of the new Blair Witch.
— Jennifer Levesque