Edited by Carly Carioli
The director of such films as Paris, Texas, Der Himmel über Berlin (a/k/a Wings of Desire), and Buena Vista Social Club goes still in "Wim Wenders: Photo," an exhibit of images he took during a sojourn in Australia. But thanks to his Japanese "Art Panorama" camera ("A medium-format camera of rather unusual dimensions and, above all, extreme weight," it was so heavy that his Aboriginal guides dubbed him "the madman with a camera"), his photographs have the widescreen feel of Panavision motion, like a desert epic stuck on freeze frame. The traveling exhibit is presented by the Goethe-Institut in conjunction with Harvard's Carpenter Center at 24 Quincy Street in Harvard Square through January 11; call (617) 495-4700.
So how, after all, did New Yorker (and former Phoenix) contributor Susan Orlean feel when her modest, amusing magazine-piece-turned-book, The Orchid Thief, became the oddball cinematic triumph Adaptation, in which Orlean herself is portrayed by Meryl Streep as a drug-snorting neurotic who sleeps with her interview subject? You can find out after the Harvard Film Archive screens Adaptation because Orlean will be there in person, subjecting herself to a Q&A moderated by Harvard professor J.D. Connor. That's at 8 p.m. in the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, 24 Quincy Street in Harvard Square. Tickets are $10; call (617) 496-6046.
For his latest holiday trifle, drag sensation Ryan Landry and his Gold Dust Orphan troupe have corralled a couple of locally esteemed actors who aren't normally seen in a dress. Larry Coen, a regular on the Lyric Stage, and Bill Mootos will join Landry for Who's Afraid of the Virgin Mary?, a Christmas pageant in which Joseph and Mary "struggle through their daily existence, drinking themselves into oblivion while taking out their frustrations on the world and each other." It opens tonight at 8 and runs Thursday through Saturday through December 27 at Machine, 1254 Boylston Street in the Fenway. Tickets are $20; call (617) 265-6222.
Comedian Brendan Small broke out of Boston's Comedy Studio two years ago with his wry, twisted Comedy Central animated series Home Movies, which also features the voices of Boston comics Eugene Mirman and Jon Benjamin. Tonight all three will be in the flesh upstairs at the Middle East for a blend of stand-up and sketch comedy, music, and short films. The band Tigers and Monkeys, who've toured with David Cross, will open. Tomorrow night they'll do it again at the Century Lounge in Providence. The Middle East is at 472 Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square, and the show is 18-plus; call (617) 864-EAST. The Century is at 15 Elbow Street, and the gig is all ages; call (401) 751-2255.
The nice thing about being an art school is that when you want to raise money for scholarships, you don't have to throw a bake sale. When you're the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, you can draw on some famous alumni - including Ellsworth Kelly, Gerry Bergstein, and Cora Roth - to pitch in a few pieces. And for the SMFA's annual December Sale, there'll also be works up for grabs by Jonathan Borovsky, Chuck Close, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, and Shellburne Thurber - not to mention thousands more prints, paintings, drawings, photographs, and jewelry by the school's talented faculty and students, some of whom will be the famous alumni of a few years hence. All proceeds benefit student financial aid. That's today from noon to 8 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. at 230 the Fenway; call (617) 267-6100.
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Bladed weapons figure prominently in The Last Samurai, Edward Zwick's Oscar-wanna-be epic in which Tom Cruise stars as an American Civil War vet and disillusioned Indian fighter who heads out East to Japan, where he's adopted by the native culture. (Hey, it worked for Dances with Wolves.) Blades figure also in Dans ma peau/In My Skin, in which a woman becomes obsessed with self-mutilation after an accident. Marina de Van wrote, directed, and stars in the psychodrama. Assault rifles are the weapon of choice in Zero Day (Coolidge Corner Theatre), Ben Coccio's no-frills - and no-holds-barred - look at a Columbine-like incident. A pistol suits the desperado in Felipe Lacerda & José Padilha's Ônibus 174/Bus 174, a documentary about a hostage standoff in Rio that'll be playing all week at the Brattle. But art and creativity prove the most potent weapons for change in Bille Woodruff's Honey, in which an aspiring dancer and choreographer finds fulfillment teaching neighborhood kids. Jessica Alba (Dark Angel), Lil' Romeo, and Mekhi Phifer star.
The United Nations Association's second annual film festival, "Changing Faces: Tragedy and Triumph," features two days' worth of documentaries about global issues, screening Friday from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. and Saturday from 1 to 6 p.m. On Friday, the highlights include Anne Macksoud and John Ankele discussing their The Global Banquet: The Politics of Food (2001); on Saturday, Gayle Ferraro discusses her documentary on the Southeast Asian sex trade, Anonymously Yours (2002). That's at the Kennedy School of Government's Taubman Building, at 79 Boylston Street in Harvard Square. Admission is $10 for a one-day pass or $15 for both; call (617) 496-2222.
Our distinguished veteran pop correspondent Brett Milano recently published the excellent book Vinyl Junkies: Adventures in Record Collecting, and that brought him into contact with some of the world's oddest recordings - not to mention that Mr. Milano already had a pretty good head start. Beginning tonight and continuing for the next three Fridays, Brett will be installed as the happy-hour DJ at Johnny D's, where he'll be spinning "some of the greatest, strangest, and rarest Christmas songs ever recorded," including quite possibly "a version of 'Silent Night' that is the greatest thing Tiny Tim ever recorded" and Bob Seger's "Sock It to Me, Santa," which "includes the heartwarming verse 'Come on Comet, come on Cupid/Don't just stand there looking stupid!' " That's Fridays from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Johnny D's, 17 Holland Street in Somerville; call (617) 776-2004.
In the aftermath of September 11, office shut-ins turned David Rees's "Get Your War On" strips - you remember them: clip-art images of white-collar drones waxing idiotic and outraged about the War on Terror - into an Internet phenomenon. He's subsequently become something of a media star, published by Rolling Stone and celebrated in Newsweek. But before September 11 thrust him into the spotlight, he was pumping out clip-art cartoons of badly drawn kung fu fighters trading a kind of surreal trash talk that'll be familiar to readers of "Get Your War On." He's collected these in a new volume, My Fighting Technique Is Unstoppable (Riverhead), and the former Allston resident will be on hand for a book-release party tonight at 8 p.m. at the 108 Gallery, where he'll discuss his work and performance artist Christine Tobin will direct a "cartoon-made-live" karate performance. That's at 108 Beacon Street in Somerville; call (617) 230-4284.
The wonderful clarinettist and composer Andy Biskin brings a sextet to the ICA to accompany his own animations in "Goldberg's Variations: Music Inspired by the Drawings of Rube Goldberg." (See Jon Garelick's "Giant Steps" column.) That's at 955 Boylston Street at 8 p.m. Tickets are $16, or $12 for students; call (617) 354-6898.
The term "Latin jazz" doesn't do justice to the Pablo Ablanedo Octet. Pianist/composer Ablanedo mixes the forms of his native Argentina (tango, zamba, chacarera) with the expansive visions of his countrymen Astor Piazzolla and Egberto Gismonti and applies an orchestral sense of color that recalls Gil Evans. The rest of the line-up comprises violinist Jenny Scienman, reed players Anat Cohen and Jerome Sabbagh, trumpeter Avishai Cohen, guitarist Ben Mounder, bassist Fernando Huergo, and percussionist Franco Pinna. They'll all be at the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center, 41 Second Street, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18, or $12 for students; call (617) 577-1400.
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Indians have made themselves at home in almost every country in the world, but the three young men from the US, Britain, and Australia who're traveling together in Kaizad Gustad's Bombay Boys (1999) wonder whether they'll ever adjust to life in the land of their forebears. One is looking for a role in a movie, another is looking for a lost brother, and a third is gay; each finds, if not what he's looking for, at least what he needs. This indie film gets a "special screening" tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education and star Tara Deshpande Tennebaum will be in attendance. A former VJ for Indian MTV, Tennebaum will also participate in a panel discussion on Bollywood films with "local experts in Indian pop culture," from 1 to 5:30 p.m. The CCAE is at 42 Brattle Street in Harvard Square, and tickets are $7 for the screening and $15 for the panel; call (617) 547-6789.
The octet Paul Im and Remember Rockefeller work the progressive mainstream with a refreshing book of post-bop compositions (which they call "neo-classical") by Jonathan Price. They headline a show at the ICA Theatre with the vocal group Syncopation and the electronica jazz quartet Spectrums. That's at 955 Boylston Street at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10; call (617) 266-5152.
The exciting young Afro-Cuban-based jazz outfit Enclave comes to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Pianist Rebecca Cline and saxophonist-percussionist Hilary Noble have teamed up as composers to lead the group; they're joined by bassist Fernando Huergo and drummer Pablo Bencid. That's at 280 the Fenway at 1:30 p.m., and tickets are $20, or $10 for students; call (617) 278-5150.
The 2003 Charlestown Open Studios runs Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., centered on the artists' collective at 523 Medford Street, which includes the newly renovated StoveFactory Gallery and Studios. It's located near the MBTA Sullivan Square Orange Line stop; call (617) 241-0130.
UMass-Boston's WUMB brings a pride of area singer-songwriters under one roof this afternoon for "Bazaar of the Stars: A Music Sale and Signing Event" - imagine a DIY version of Nashville's Fan Fair, only for folkies. Among those who'll be hawking and signing are Kevin So, Don White, Deb Cowan, Kerri Powers, Scott Alarik, Terry Kitchen, and Michael Tarbox. That's from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the UMass-Boston campus, at Columbia Point in Dorchester; call (617) 287-6900 or visit www.wumb.org.
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After her triumph last month in the BSO's presentation of Pelléas et Mélisande, mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson returns for a recital with pianist Peter Serkin. The program includes songs by Brahms and Mozart, selections from Handel's Lucrezia and Debussy's Chansons de Bilitis (staged by director Drew Minter), and the Boston premiere of Rilke Songs, by Lorraine's husband, Peter Lieberson. They're at Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough Street, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $41 and $51; call (617) 482-6661.
The seasonal rock/classical hybrid Trans-Siberian Orchestra - assembled out of the ashes of the '80s prog-metal outfit Savatage - returns to the FleetCenter for a concept-driven suite of songs that draw on Broadway show tuneage, arena-rock bombast, and Pink Floydian theatrics to evoke the spirit of Christmas past. That's at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $30.50 to $51; call (617) 931-2000.
Chicago's Ken Vandermark, one of our favorite purveyors of old-school avant-garde jazz (riff-infused, spare saxophone-and-rhythm music that steps at will inside or outside the changes), comes to the Artists-at-Large Gallery with his latest trio, FME (Free Music Ensemble), which is rounded out by bassist Nate McBride and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love. That's at 8 p.m. at 37 Everett Street in Hyde Park; call (617) 276-3223.
Dominique Eade - a world-class vocalist who happens to live in town - challenges her own esteemed control with a special high-wire act: duets with the bassist John Lockwood. They're in the newly refurbished Durrell Hall theater at the Cambridge Family YMCA, 820 Massachusetts Avenue across from City Hall, at 7 p.m. The exciting young guitarist Eric Hofbauer (who's organizing the Y series with his CNM productions) opens. Admission is $10, or $6 for students; call (617) 661-9622.
Mark Kozelek is best known as the frontman for the pastoral, singed-roots indie outfit Red House Painters, but when he decided to begin putting records out under his own name, he chose to devote an entire album - 2001's What's Next to the Moon (Badman) - to the notably unpastoral and very dead singer-songwriter Bon Scott. In addition to his lovingly radical rearrangements of prime-era AC/DC, Kozelek has essayed John Denver with equal care; and though he recently released an album with his new band, Sun Kil Moon, he comes solo to the Middle East, 480 Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square, where we're hoping to hear "Love at First Feel" as perhaps only Nick Drake might've imagined it. Call (617) 864-EAST.
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The new-music ensemble in residence at Boston University, Alea III, will present a free concert dedicated to Boston University professor John Daverio, who died earlier this year. The concert, "Lament for John," will feature new works written in his memory by composers Lukas Foss, Martin Amlin, Richard Cornell, Marti Epstein, Marjorie Merryman, Alex Kalogeras, and Theodore Antoniou. That's at 8 p.m. at the Tsai Performance Center, 685 Commonwealth Avenue; call (617) 353-3340.
The "By Popular Request: Katharine Hepburn" series at the Boston Public Library continues with the timely Keeper of the Flame (1942). Kate plays the widow of a renowned national hero who doesn't appear to be mourning very much. Spencer Tracy's investigative reporter doggedly pursues the story and discovers not only that their marriage was not the happiest but that the great man had some sinister plans for his grateful country. Directed by George Cukor, it screens for free - as our nation is at the moment but don't bet the farm it will stay that way - at 6 p.m. The BPL is 700 Boylston Street in Copley Square; call (617) 536-5400.
It's not every day that electro-punk finds its way onto the syllabus at Harvard, but this week Olympia's Wynne Greenwood - better known as the lesbo-disco one-woman-band Tracy + the Plastics, who put out a fabulous disc called Muscler's Guide to Videonics a few years back on the dyke-punk indie label Chainsaw - is lecturing to a class on the history of video art at Harvard's Department of Visual and Environmental Studies. Shows by Tracy + the Plastics feature Greenwood in the flesh interacting with her "band" on video. (Imagine a cross between local comedian Evan O'Television and Le Tigre and you're almost there). Greenwood's been invited to bring the band to the 2004 Whitney Biennial, and after she's taken Harvard to school, she'll do a Tracy + the Plastics show at 8 p.m. at Harvard's Cabot House Underground Theatre, 60 Linnaean Street in Cambridge. Tickets are $10; call (617) 496-2222.
The Wang Center for the Performing Arts recently announced a play-reading series called "American Voices," and the first one to get heard is Edward Albee's. Actually, it's the voice of Albee's Martha, channeled through American Repertory Theatre actress Karen MacDonald as she tears into the immortal first line of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: "What a dump!" The Shubert Theatre is no dump, of course, but that's where the reading of Albee's excoriating 1962 drama takes place, at 7 p.m. Sharing the stage with MacDonald, in the all-night confrontation of a washed-up history professor, his profane Life Force of a wife, and the younger faculty couple the pair eat for a snack, are recent Tony Award winner (for his turn as gay accountant and newly converted baseball fanatic Mason Marzac in Richard Greenberg's Take Me Out) Denis O'Hare, Marguerite Stimpson, and Trey Burvant, under the ægis of Wang Center resident director (and Commonwealth Shakespeare Company artistic head) Steven Maler. The Shubert is at 265 Tremont Avenue in the Theater District, and tickets are $10; $5 for seniors and college students; call (800) 447-7400.
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Our sister station WFNX's "Alternativity" bash brings a cross-section of now sounds to the Paradise Rock Club and Lounge for an evening of eggnog-curdling rock and pop. On the bill: house-music hooligans Audio Bullys, adventurous local indie-pop sensations Apollo Sunshine, Danish garage-rock savants the Raveonettes, and DFA-produced Brooklyn disco-punk revelers Radio 4. The Paradise is at 967-969 Commonwealth Avenue; call (617) 423-NEXT. You can also catch members of Radio 4 spinning records - including, we hope, a remix from their new Dance to the Underground EP (Astralwerks) - Saturday night at the Enormous Room, 567 Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square; call (617) 491-5550.
Keith Lockhart tunes up the Boston Pops for its annual "Holiday at Pops" run; expect chestnuts from The Nutcracker up through selections from John Williams's score for Home Alone. "Holiday at Pops" opens tonight at 7:30 and runs through New Year's Eve at Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Avenue in Boston. The all-star edition with kid country star Billy Gilman and CBS anchor Charles Osgood takes place on December 11 and will be broadcast on PBS somewhere down the line; and an expanded Holiday Chorus joins in after Christmas. Tickets are $22 to $105, except for the New Year's Eve show, for which they're $75 to $158; call (617) 266-1200.
We're in favor of the last David Bowie record, Reality (Sony), for just two reasons: he used the opportunity to cover the Modern Lovers' classic "Pablo Picasso," and it's sparked his first monomaniac round-the-world tour since the mid '90s. Word is he'll be playing a greatest-hits set covering all phases of his canon when he comes to the FleetCenter at 7:30 p.m. with Macy Gray. Tickets are $38.50 to $76; call (617) 931-2000.
Postponed; ticket holders are urged to hang onto their tickets, which will be honored at a rescheduled date to be announced soon.
Amnesia is such a subgenre unto itself that amnesia-chronicling novelist Jonathan Lethem (Amnesia Moon, Motherless Brooklyn, The Fortress of Solitude) not long ago edited something called The Vintage Book of Amnesia: An Anthology of Writing on the Subject of Memory Loss, with selections from Donald Barthelme, Jorge Luis Borges, Vladimir Nabokov, Walker Percy, Oliver Sacks, and others. In Man Walks into a Room (Anchor), twentysomething novelist Nicole Krauss tells the story of a 36-year-old Columbia University English professor who's found wandering in the Nevada desert and can't recall anything that happened to him after the age of 12. Krauss, who began writing the book, her first fiction, at the age of 25 and finished it a year later, reminds us of other young female novelists of yore (in particular Jayne Anne Phillips) who match the hardboiled with the tender, dreams and longing with an unsentimental eye for the world as it is. Tonight she'll read at Newtonville Books, 296 Walnut Street in Newtonville, at 7:30 p.m.; call (617) 244-6619.
As someone who's spent more than 20 years teaching composition at Berklee, guitarist Jeff Friedman falls into that dreaded category: musician's musician. And he's got the résumé to prove it: gigs with Carla Bley, Randy Weston, Steve Lacy, Jack Bruce, Joe Lovano, Clark Terry, Max Roach, and on and on. His new Slo & Lo (Accurate) shows him melding styles and genres with authority and wit. He'll be celebrating its release at Ryles with keyboardist Joe Mulholland, bassist Michael Farquharson, drummer Andy Plaisted, and special guest Eric Mingus (yes, son of that Mingus) doing, we think, a spoken-word thing. That's at 212 Hampshire Street in Inman Square. Sets start at 8:30 p.m. and the cover is $7; call (617) 876-9330.
He may have worked for two decades at Harvard, but it's Boston University that's opening an exhibit devoted to American Repertory Theatre founding director Robert Brustein. Titled "Innovator On-Stage: The Life and Work of Robert Brustein," it's culled from producer, author, adapter, writer, critic, and actor Brustein's papers, which join the troves of theater greats from George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett to Bette Davis and Douglas Fairbanks in BU's Special Collections department. The Brustein exhibit includes "manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, awards, and other memorabilia" from his years as dean of the Yale School of Drama and artistic director of the Yale Repertory Theatre as well as from his years in the corner office at the Loeb Drama Center. We can't wait to shuffle through old issues of the New Republic in search of the cease-and-desist letter from Beckett objecting to JoAnne Akalaitis's ART production of Endgame, which was set in a burnt-out subway station in the wake of a nuclear war. The Brusteiniana will be on display on the main floor of BU's Mugar Memorial Library, 771 Commonwealth Avenue, through December 2004; call (617) 353-3696.
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The indie hip-hop producer RJD2 has become known as one of the underground's most deranged soundscapists, crafting shop-wrecking tracks that sound like the Star Wars 'droids being crushed to scrap metal in a trash compactor. He's teamed up with fellow Ohio native Blueprint in the duo Soul Position; they've got a new disc, 8,000,000 Stories (Rhymesayers/FatBeats), and they're at the Middle East, 480 Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square; call (617) 864-EAST.
Ina May Wool sounds a bit more deft than your average singer-songwriter, with sharp hooks and arrangements and a good feel for C&W roots - and, hey, even downtown NYC jazz hipster Marc Ribot (not one known to suffer fools - or folkies - gladly) appears on her Crack It Open (Bang Zoom). Wool comes into Club Passim, 47 Palmer Street in Harvard Square; call (617) 492-7679.
It's been years since the good old days when Congolese soukous musicians paraded through Boston stages on a regular basis. But one of the best, Kanda Bongo Man, makes a rare appearance tonight at Johnny D's. Kanda is bringing a top-notch, guitar-driven band: his take on the Congo sound is neither a throwback to its roots nor the hip-hop-tinged style that's been in vogue of late. Expect the best of the early-'90s sound, where the grooves pump, the vocals harmonize sweetly, and the guitars tangle with irresistible dance energy. That's at 17 Holland Street in Somerville's Davis Square. It's an 8:30 p.m. show, and tickets are $20; call (617) 776-2004.
The "Chicks Make Flicks" series at Massachusetts Institute of Technology resumes its showings of independent films by local woman filmmakers with Laurie Kahn-Leavitt's Tupperware! (2003), an engaging and entertaining look at the origins of the plastic-container phenomenon that provides insight into 1950s culture and the role of women in America. The director will be on hand for the screening, which starts at 7 p.m. in MIT's Building 4, Room 270, in Cambridge; call (617) 612-0091.
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Electroclash: dead? We see no hands; there appear to be no mourners. Certainly not the Detroit electro duo Adult., who were perfecting their own patented brand of paranoid robofunk back when their only peers were the ghetto-tech madmen across town. The band's singles collection Resuscitation remains a classic, and their most recent full-length, Anxiety Always (both on the band's own Ersatz Audio label), finds punk rock fuzzbombs heating up their suspicious minds. On their fab single "Glue Your Eyelids Together," frontwoman Nicola Kuperus's deadpan audioslave declarations skewer consumer culture's fear factory and give their musique plastique an air of static dread. A brief tour brings them to T.T. the Bear's Place, 10 Brookline Street in Central Square, with labelmates Electronicat; call (617) 492-BEAR.
Back in the day, guitarist James "Blood" Ulmer went through one of those frequent jazz-world rites of passage, caught up in the age-old debate: visionary or charlatan? The second coming of Jimi Hendrix or a no-chops bore? His splintered but blues-like phrasing and Ornette-inspired "harmolodic" concept of tonality offered no easy way in, though his bands always burned. Blood's profile subsided for a while; then he re-emerged dressed in some of the conventional trappings of electric blues, even singing a bit. When last we saw him - at the Newport Jazz Fest - he was still capable of unpredictable outbursts, the old phrasings as now familiar as they once were strange. Blood comes to Johnny D's, 17 Holland Street in Davis Square; call (617) 776-2004.
In 1956, the Kossoy Sisters, a pair of cute teenagers with a knack for æthereal close-harmony singing, cut an album of dark, brooding folk tunes and murder ballads that, thanks to the Coen Brothers film O Brother, Where Art Thou?, has seen a second light and brought Irene and Ellen - their voices and talent undiminished by the years - back to the stage. On the heels of their comeback album, Hop On Pretty Girls (Living Folk), they're playing a rare local show at 7:30 at the Charlestown Branch Library, 179 Main Street in Charlestown; call (617) 242-1248.
One of the few positive effects of decades of Soviet oppression was the ability to make really creepy movies. Or so it seems in the "Czech Horror and Fantasy on Film" series in the Museum of Fine Arts' Remis Auditorium. It opens at 2 p.m. with Jirí Barta's The Pied Piper (1986), a retelling of the old myth as a fable of failed materialism that employs a collage of animation, puppets, and live rats. Following at 3:30 p.m. is Václav Vorlícek's Who Killed Jessie? (1966), in which a scientist invents a potion that eliminates the unacceptable elements of her scientist husband's fantasy life. Unfortunately, the objectionable bits then become real. The MFA is at 465 Huntington Avenue; call (617) 369-3300.
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