Culture Calendar: Seven Must-See Arts and Entertainment Events in July 2014

wyeth portrait

Photograph courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Phyllis and Jamie Wyeth collection © Jamie Wyeth

1.
BOOKS

Italy has inspired many a writer over the centuries, and so it is with two local scribes—albeit in very different ways. At the start of the month, novelist and longtime Globe columnist James Carroll releases Warburg in Rome, a literary thriller that takes place post–World War II. Three weeks later comes Michelangelo: A Life in Six Masterpieces, in which former Art New England managing editor Miles Unger examines one of the world’s most revered artists through some of his greatest works, including his Pietà, David, and the Sistine Chapel.

Warburg in Rome, out July 1; Michelangelo, out July 22;$28, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; $30, Simon & Schuster.

2.
THE FRENCH

Our friends across the pond love the month of July for the same reason we do: Bastille Day gives them an excuse to rage hard in the name of celebrating independence from foul tyranny. Here in Boston, such gloire manifests itself in a party held by the French Cultural Center on July 11, during which Marlborough Street will be shut down to make way for Chadian soul band H’Sao and Guinean-American Afrobeat/hip-hop duo Sekou Kouyate and Joe Driscoll.

July 11, French Cultural Center, 617-912-0400, frenchculturalcenter.org.

3.
HARD ROCK

The enduring Hub heroes of Aerosmith play Mansfield’s Xfinity Center, with former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash opening for them. The last time they all toured together was in 1988, when there was infamous friction between the newly sober, pop-charting Bad Boys from Boston and the much-badder Gunners. Now, by all reports, all is harmonious and professional, allowing us to finally revel in a true master class of muscular riffs from the past 40 years.

July 16, Xfinity center, 508-339-2331, aerosmith.com.

4.
THEATER

It makes sense that the theater that brought Boston Shakespeare paired with ’70s disco (The Donkey Show) is now showing a production called Sexyback: Or What You Will at Oberon. Presented by the local troupe Touch Performance Art, the A.R.T. show matches up the Bard’s Twelfth Night with, yes, ’90s/aughts boy-band hits. There will be a cash bar and dancing galore, so catch the party version here and then hit up the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s production of the original play on the Common the following weekend.

July 16 to July 18, Oberon, 617-496-8004, americanrepertorytheater.org/oberon.

5.
PAINTING

Jamie Wyeth—son of Andrew—may be the youngest in America’s greatest fine-art dynasty, but he has become a star in his own right, and now he’s having his first major retrospective at the MFA. Featuring some 100 works, the exhibition will show off Wyeth’s versatility, from his landscapes of midcoast Maine to his portraits of dogs, birds, and JFK. Even better, Wyeth himself will speak about his career at the exhibit on July 16.

July 16 to December 28, Museum of Fine Arts, 617-267-9300, mfa.org.

6.
CLASSICAL MUSIC

Barely a fortnight after the rockets’ red glare on the Charles, the Boston Landmarks Orchestra begins its season of free music at the Hatch Shell every Wednesday evening. They’ll open with some fireworks of their own on the 16th, with Carl Orff’s thunderous Carmina Burana. Later shows include a night of Latino classical music, a session with the Boston Lyric Opera, spirituals with Boston’s One City Youth Choir, and a celebration of the 200th birthday of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Wednesdays, July 16 to August 27, Hatch shell, Charles River Esplanade, landmarksorchestra.org.

7.
HARDBALL ROCK

Great Scott caps off the month with the Baseball Project, a horsehide-themed supergroup that includes Scott McCaughey, of the Minus 5; Mike Mills, of R.E.M.; and Steve Wynn, of the Dream Syndicate. Their new album, 3rd, features their usual potent roots rock coupled with titles like “A Boy Named Cy,” “To the Veterans Committee,” and “The Babe.” They also have local baseball cred, thanks to one particular member: Fenway Park organist Josh Kantor, who will also be playing in the opening band, Split Squad, with Blondie drummer Clem Burke.

July 30, Great Scott, 617-566-9014, greatscottboston.com.

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