Since its founding, four years ago, the tiny South End press called Pressed Wafer has issued two magazines of poetry, prose, and art and 15 chapbooks, plus broadsides, postcards, and the full books A February Sheaf by poet Gerrit Lansing and the collection The Blind See Only This World: Poems for Jon Wieners.
Now comes Rub Out, "a trilogy of experimental verse novels" by poet and MIT writing teacher Ed Barrett. Pressed Wafer’s promise of a "suitably lurid cover" has been fulfilled with an old pulp-fiction image of a damsel in distress. The three pieces within include the title poem, "a meditation on Whitey Bulger and other Boston mobsters, Concord transcendentalists, and the disappearance of a young woman; Breezy Point, a lament set in New York City’s seaside community of that name; and Tell on You, a prose poem sequence focusing on boxing, Las Vegas comics, and a corpse that washes ashore in Brooklyn."
Barrett digs beneath the New England soil, finding dead bodies, old Indian arrowheads, the Big Dig itself, Ralph "The Rifleman" Emerson, and other conflations of literary ancestors, true crime headlines, Irish guilt, William Cowper, Sir Walter Raleigh, "Jantzen swimwear," Pope John Paul II, and primordial myth. His sentences dive deep too. Rub Out, and the rest of the Pressed Wafer series, which is directed by poet, critic, and Phoenix contributor William Corbett, along with poets Daniel Bouchard and Joe Torra, is available from 9 Columbus Square, Boston 02116.
Jazz in June
In case you didn’t know, June is "Jazz in June" month, at least in these parts. To celebrate, the Coolidge Corner Theatre, WGBH 89.7 FM, and the New England Conservatory are joining forces to present film and music. At the Coolidge every Monday in June, live performances will precede screenings of jazz flicks. On June 2, the Gabe Johnson Trio with the phenomenal young tenor-saxophonist Tony Malaby will open for Satchmo: Louis Armstrong. On June 9, Phoenix/FNX Best Music Poll winners Dead Cat Bounce introduce Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker. On June 16, Link, NEC’s honors contemporary improv quartet, introduces The World According to John Coltrane. On June 23 the band FourMinusOne open for Charles Mingus: Triumph of the Underdog. And on June 30, hotshot young NEC vocalist David Devoe and his quartet are the lead-in for Lady Day: The Many Faces of Billie Holiday. Shows start at 7:30 p.m., with a ’GBH jazz host introducing each performance. The Coolidge is at 290 Harvard Street in Brookline, and tickets are $10; call (617) 734-2501.
. . . and Jazz in July and August, too
The Equinox Music Festival, which has grown into a multi-directional year-round program (with concerts, educational outreach, and other projects), is inaugurating its relationship with Dorchester’s Strand Theatre, and its summer programming, in grand style. On June 14, the organization will present the first Equinox Music Festival Lifetime Achievement Award to the great Brooklyn-born pianist, composer, and bandleader Randy Weston. Weston’s strong rhythmic conception owes as much to his studies in Africa as to the likes of Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk, and Weston pieces like "Hi-Fly" and "Little Niles" have become jazz standards.
At the Strand, Weston will play a solo set, preceded by the Boston Jazz Repertory Orchestra, the Equinox’s performing unit. The Strand has now become the official home of Equinox (which is run by organizer J.T. Duffy and Northeastern University music profs Leonard Brown and Bill Lowe) and of the Boston Jazz Repertory Orchestra (directed by Carl Atkins). The concert will benefit both the Strand’s renovation project and Equinox’s educational-outreach program.
The summer series, called Keys of the City, will continue with performances by Yasko Kubota and the PowerJazz Trio (June 25), the Rollins Ross Trio (July 9), the Laszlo Gardony Trio (July 23), the Frank Wilkins Trio (August 6), and the George W. Russell Trio (August 20). All concerts start at 8 p.m.; a 6 p.m. reception will precede the Weston event. The Strand is at 543 Columbia Road in Uphams Corner; call (617) 282-8000.
Boston Cecilia 2003-2004
The Boston Cecilia has announced its 128th season, which will begin with a performance of Mozart’s Requiem on Saturday October 18 at 8 p.m. at Emmanuel Church. Soloists will be soprano Jessica Cooper, tenor Steven Mello, and baritone Robert Honeysucker, and there’ll be a free pre-concert lecture at 7. Then on Friday December 5 at 8 p.m. at the Church of the Advent and again on Sunday December 7 at 3 p.m. at All Saints Church in Brookline, "Sing We Nowell!" will range from the 12th century to the 21st, with "examples of early polyphony, festive 16th-century motets, 20th-century classics by English composers Benjamin Britten and Ralph Vaughan Williams, and the Boston concert premiere of two brand new Christmas carols by Englishman John Turner."
On Saturday February 14 at 8 p.m. at All Saints Church in Brookline, there’ll be a "Valentine Cabaret Benefit," with soprano Jessica Cooper in an evening of "delightful music, delectable chocolates, delicious desserts, and a bit of bubbly"; this one’s a benefit for the Cecilia. And for the season finale, Sunday March 28 at 3 p.m. at Jordan Hall, artistic director Donald Teeters will turn the baton over to Coro Allegro’s David Hodgkins as the two organizations collaborate in "Gloria! Masterpieces of the 20th Century" — said masterpieces being Francis Poulenc’s Gloria, William Grant Still’s A Psalm for the Living, and Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. There’ll be a free pre-concert lecture for that event at 2 p.m.
For subscriptions and single-event tickets, call the Cecilia box office at (617) 232-4540. For information about the Cecilia, visit www.bostoncecilia.org; for information about Coro Allegro, call (617) 236-4011 or visit www.coroallegro.org.
Boston Baroque 2003-2004
Boston Baroque hasn’t been around quite as long as the Boston Cecilia — next season will be only its 30th — but it’s just returned from acclaimed Holy Week performances of Handel’s Messiah in Kraków and Warsaw (having gone to Poland at the invitation of Elzbieta Penderecki, wife of the composer Krzysztof), and in June of next year it will perform Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers at the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s new Frank Gehry–designed hall. In Boston, meanwhile, under artistic director Martin Pearlman, it will kick off the 2003-2004 season with the first Boston performances of Handel’s opera Alcina, October 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. in Jordan Hall ("opera introduction" at 6:30 each evening). Messiah, with soprano Sharon Baker, countertenor David Walker, and tenor Don Frazure, will follow December 12 and 13 at 8 p.m. at Jordan Hall. On December 31 at 8 p.m. and January 1 at 3 p.m. in Harvard’s Sanders Theatre, we’ll get "Celebratory Bach": Orchestral Suites Nos. 2 and 3 and the Coffee Cantata (which Albert Schweitzer, we’re reminded, called "more Offenbach than Bach!").
Back at Jordan Hall on March 5 and 6 at 8 p.m. (introduction at 7), former Boston Symphony Orchestra principal Jacques Zoon will be featured in "Music of Mozart," performing the Flute Concertos in G (K.313) and D (K.314) on a period instrument. Symphony No. 41, the Jupiter, will round out the program. The season will conclude with the aforementioned Monteverdi Vespers, which Boston Baroque will perform May 7 and 8 at 8 p.m. at Jordan Hall before taking the piece to LA. For subscription plans, call (617) 484-9200 or visit www.bostonbaroque.org; for single tickets, call (617) 484-9200.
Harvey, the six-foot leporine title character of Mary Chase’s celebrated play, is never easy to see at the best of times, but he’ll be completely invisible in Boston this fall. Josiah Spaulding Jr., president and CEO of the Wang Center for the Performing Arts, has announced, with regret, that the new production directed by Charles Nelson Reilly and starring Dick Cavett and Charles Durning will not play at the Shubert Theatre September 9-21, as scheduled, but instead will go straight from its Laguna Playhouse summer run to Broadway. "Unfortunately," Spaulding said, "after playing in California, the producers must take the show directly to New York to ensure that they are able to secure the theater they wish to play in." We’ll let you know what theater that is when it’s announced. Meanwhile, Harvey ticketholders can get a refund from point of purchase, but the Wang Center folks will also be happy to exchange those tickets for The Sound of Music (September 16-21), Miss Saigon (September 23-28), Thoroughly Modern Millie (October 7-12), Chicago (November 4-9), Oliver (March 2-7), or Starlight Express (April 27–May 2) at the Wang Theatre or Hair (January 20–February 1) or Nunsense (February 10-15) at the Shubert. Questions? Visit the Wang Center on-line at www.wangcenter.org or call Telecharge at (800) 447-7400.
This year’s Tonys
Who knows, perhaps Harvey will show up at next year’s Tony ceremonies. This year’s event is set for June 8 at Radio City music Hall (it’ll be broadcast on CBS), and here are some of the nominees:
Say Goodnight Gracie
Take Me Out
Vincent in Brixton
A Year with Frog and Toad
Best Revival of a Play
A Day in the Death of Joe Egg
Dinner at Eight
Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune
Long Day’s Journey into Night
Best Revival of a Musical
Man of La Mancha
Nine the Musical
Best Actor in a Play
Brian Bedford, Tartuffe
Brian Dennehy, Long Day’s Journey into Night
Eddie Izzard, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg
Paul Newman, Our Town
Stanley Tucci, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune
Best Actress in a Play
Jayne Atkinson, Enchanted April
Victoria Hamilton, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg
Clare Higgins, Vincent in Brixton
Vanessa Redgrave, Long Day’s Journey into Night
Fiona Shaw, Medea
Best Actor in a Musical
Antonio Banderas, Nine the Musical
Harvey Fierstein, Hairspray
Malcolm Gets, Amour
Brian Stokes Mitchell, Man of La Mancha
John Selva, Movin’ Out
Best Actress in a Musical
Melissa Errico, Amour
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Man of La Mancha
Elizabeth Parkinson, Movin’ Out
Bernadette Peters, Gypsy
Marissa Jaret Winokur, Hairspray
Our Theater editor, Carolyn Clay, has reviewed the nominated productions of Take Me Out, Vincent in Brixton, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, and Long Day’s Journey into Night.