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


Far from his Lowell hometown, James Abbott McNeill Whistler became our best-known 19th-century expat artist. In London, he produced many of his most evocative works, particularly his studies of the Thames and the neighborhoods near the Battersea Bridge. Phillips Academy’s Addison Gallery of American Art hosts “An American in London,” which covers this special period of his career. 2/1–4/13


Illustration by Steven Stankiewicz

World Music

In 1986, Paul Simon’s Graceland helped make the South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo global superstars. Since then, they’ve seen the end of apartheid and the death of Nelson Mandela, all while continuing to record and tour. You can hear their sublime harmonies in person this month at Sanders Theatre. 2/2


Not to be confused with the Aussie rocker of the same name, Nick Cave is a former Alvin Ailey dancer known for his Soundsuits, kaleidoscopic full-body costumes that make intriguing noises when worn. But the ICA’s new exhibit also includes his assemblage sculptures of ceramic flowers, old settees, and dog figurines. The exhibit kicks off with a members-only reception tonight, then runs until May 4. 2/4


Illustration by Steven Stankiewicz

Master Class

Silver-screen royalty comes to the Merrimack Valley when Meryl Streep takes center stage at UMass Lowell’s Tsongas Center. The 64-year-old actress will talk with novelist and faculty member Andre Dubus III about her life, her career, and her craft. The event is part of the Chancellor’s Speakers Series, which raised $100,000 in scholarship money with Stephen King’s appearance in 2012. 2/5


It’s been 51 years since the first Boskone, but the venerable science-fiction convention continues to bring out the best of the genre’s writers, artists, and filkers (like folk singers, but geekier). Definitely check out Saturday night’s performance of Reduced William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, starring acclaimed author Jane Yolen. 2/14–2/16


Brookline’s Puppet Showplace Theatre kicks off a six-week series called “Puppets Around the World” with the Tanglewood Marionettes’ production of An Arabian Adventure. Later shows will include shadow puppetry, a telling of Aesop’s Fables, and Hao Bang-Ya Horse by Chinese Theatre Works. 2/18–3/30


Illustration by Steven Stankiewicz


For three years, David Taylor traversed the 700 miles of U.S.–Mexico border between San Diego/Tijuana and El Paso/Juárez. His goal? To photograph all 276 obelisks built in the 1880s to mark the frontier. On display at Harvard’s David Rockefeller Center of Latin American Studies, the photos in “Working the Line” manage to be both serene and sinister, as the concrete sentinels stand impassive against remote desert mountain scapes, urban sprawl, and corrugated-metal walls. 2/26–5/18