November Culture Calendar: Seven Must-See Arts Events in Boston


Illustration by Steven Stankiewicz


Brookline-bred comedian John Hodgman has appeared to us in many guises, from Daily Show correspondent to Areas of My Expertise author to “PC” in those Apple ads. Now he’s performing as “Famous American Humorist John Hodgman” in “John Hodgman Lives!” at the Wilbur, where he’s promising to deliver new material featuring his trademark arcane, surreal take on current events and faux intelligentsia. Showing 11/2.


Fans of The Simpsons love to pick apart each episode’s many pop-culture references. But a new book, The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets, argues that the show’s writers have also deliberately folded in enough number theory to fill a college course. Harvard’s math department cohosts author Simon Singh at the Science Center, where he’ll lecture on Mersenne primes and Euler’s equations revealed through Bart and Homer. Out 11/4.


Queen has had a worldwide, decade-long Mamma Mia! moment with We Will Rock You, the hit musical set to 24 of the band’s biggest songs, but the show hasn’t toured North America until now. At the Boston Opera House, tunes like “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” will frame the story of rockers battling a futuristic corporate state where all music is banned. It’s gaudy, it’s operatic, and it’s totally Freddie Mercury. Showing 11/5–11/10.


Glovebox is a local nonprofit that stages art exhibits around town, and puts on a marathon Short-Film-And-Animation Festival each year. Featuring artists from the Boston area and around the world, some 50 films will be screened at Arlington’s Regent Theatre. The event—which kicks off at 2 p.m. with five family-friendly movies and closes just before midnight with a quintet of zombie apocalypses—offers everything from documentaries to narrative dramas. The merely curious can pay $6 to view films in a specific category, while the hard-core can go whole hog on a $30 day pass. Showing 11/9.

Illustration by Steven Stankiewicz


It’s the most famous ax murder in American history: In 1892 in Fall River, Lizzie Borden was arrested for hacking her father and stepmother to death. Though acquitted, Borden has been infamous ever since, even inspiring a 1965 opera by Jack Beeson. In an effort to make its art form more accessible to the general public, the Boston Lyric Opera is staging Lizzie Borden not at its usual Schubert Theatre home, but in the intimate Castle at Park Plaza. Showing 11/20, 11/22–24.

Fine Arts

Abstract stainless steel forms that spin at the touch of a hand; a machine that eerily moves the limbs of a baby doll; an electric-powered loom of wood and steel, rippling like a wheat field in the wind. MIT Museum’s “5000 Moving Parts” exhibit pays tribute to some of the leaders in kinetic sculpture, including North Chelmsford’s Arthur Ganson and Somerville’s Anne Lilly. Opens 11/21.

Illustration by Steven Stankiewicz


The Russian Boston Rock Club has been importing rock bands and singers from former Soviet Union republics for years now, and this month brings the Muscovite metal band Aria to the Middle East. Formed in 1985, Aria’s leaders are mostly the same ones who headbanged under Gorbachev. Cultural exchange doesn’t get any louder. Showing 11/30.