The Guide: Harp, Heavy Metal, and more
Once again, this week provides some previews of the days ahead as the arts are an evermoving river:
WGBH + BSO = Anne Hobson Pilot: While the town was in a tizzy over James Levine’s departure from the Boston Symphony Orchestra last season, another loss to the venerable institution was already more bittersweet to longtime fans. Anne Hobson Pilot had been the harpist for the orchestra since Arthur Fiedler tapped her in 1969, a tremendous feat for any musician, but particularly for an African American at that time — she became the first black principal player in any major symphony orchestra.
Fortunately, things have changed (sort of, somewhat) since that time. Hobson deserves her props for that — not to mention her versatility playing modernist pieces by Elliott Carter to dreamy Debussy in the same night — but also for the fact that she was a mainstay at Symphony Hall for almost 40 years, retiring in 2009. Not for nothing did John Williams compose a concerto, On Willows and Birches, in her honor, and that concert is the climax of a new WGBH-produced documentary about her life story: A Harpist’s Legacy – Ann Hobson Pilot and the Sound of Change. Any music fan or newbie should watch it to learn about one of our town’s artistic heroes. It premieres tonight at 10pm on WGBH.
Orfeo Around Town: For those unaware, it’s time to learn a little bit about the Orfeo Group, the local theater company that made waves two summers ago with its outdoor performances of the humorous The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). Now they’re putting on a play called Love Song, by John Kolvenbach, a comedy about a recluse who falls in love with the woman burglarizing his apartment.
On stage at the Charlestown Working Theater from Aug. 4 to Aug. 27, it should be a fun play, but even better is how the Orfeo Group wants the audience to make a night out of it. They’re offering free shows on Thursday (normally, tix are $20), and every night, there will be musicians or poets or the like in an “Upstairs at the Firehouse” series before and after each show. This is the kind of user-friendly, ground-up artistic fermentation and cross-pollination we need to support here in Boston. If you don’t check stuff like this out, then you can’t grouse about how other cities have it better.
Anvil! Live!: There’s nothing like a documentary to help make the truth become true. Case in point: Anvil! The Story of Anvil, perhaps one of the great rock movies ever made. It’s the saga of a Canadian metal band from the early ’80s that never quite made it — but not without the band members living through some of rock’s true-life cliches and the poignant belief that, in the end, they will truly rock the world.
That doc was a big indie hit, a lot of hipsters became semi-ironic fans, and, now, Anvil has been hitting the club circuit ever since. In all sincerity, this is an inspiring story, and they’re coming to the Middle East on Sunday, joined by a pair of local metal bands, Riff Cannon and Razormaze. For film buffs not into metal or for others who are curious but have no idea what I’m writing about, definitely watch the movie before you head over to Central Square.