Culture Calendar: Eight Must-See Arts and Entertainment Events in May 2014

Boston Calling

For three days this month, City Hall Plaza will rock with big names and big sounds at Boston Calling. Photo by Mike Diskin.



Art Spiegelman is the godfather of modern comics and illustration, having edited such influential magazines as Raw, designed New Yorker covers, and earned the Pulitzer Prize for Maus, his epic telling of the Holocaust with Nazi cats and Jewish mice. Famously acerbic, his “lecture with images” on the history of his art form is called “What the %@&*! Happened to Comics?” and he’ll be delivering it at Sanders Theatre.

May 9, Sanders Theatre, 617-482-6661,



The Somerville Theatre opened on May 11, 1914, with some song-and-dance acts and a silent two-reeler called The Inventor’s Wife. Since then, it has shown just about every notable big-budget and indie film. After kicking off its centennial celebration this past January with a series of classics covering all of film history, the theater will blow out the candles on its birthday with a Wizard of Oz extravaganza, complete with vaudeville acts and a pit orchestra.

May 11, Somerville Theatre, 617-625-5700,



The Shubert Theatre welcomes a heady highbrow mash-up when the Mark Morris Dance Group stages its East Coast premiere of the opera Acis & Galatea. Based on a tale from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, it was composed by Handel and arranged by Mozart, and now it’ll be costumed by Isaac Mizrahi. The music comes courtesy of Boston’s own Handel and Haydn Society Period Orchestra and Chorus.

May 15 to May 18, Shubert Theatre, 866-348-9738,



Sci-fi aesthetes, rejoice! The Boston Pops is beaming Spock himself up to Symphony Hall to host two nights of space-themed orchestral hits. Yes, Leonard Nimoy will serve as the emcee, while guest conductor Sarah Hicks steers her Starfleet through soundtracks such as Star Trek (naturally) and E.T., as well as Holst’s The Planets, performed with NASA footage as a backdrop.

May 23 and May 24, Symphony Hall, 888-66-1200,



Boston Calling returns for its third festival at City Hall Plaza, with a lineup headed by superstar surfer-rocker Jack Johnson and indie-ish juggernauts the Decemberists, Death Cab for Cutie, and Modest Mouse. Keep an eye out for local talent further down the bill—Lynn’s grizzly gutbucket rockers Tigerman Woah! and Newton’s synth-rock quintet Magic Man will both be performing.

May 23 to May 25, City Hall Plaza,



Produced by Antiques Roadshow collectibles appraiser Gary Sohmers, the first-ever Pop Culture Expo is coming to Wilmington’s Shriners Auditorium. A celebration of all things costume and kitsch, it’ll host comic-book and movie-poster artists, video-game tournaments, create-a-new-superhero contests, and stars like original Beatles drummer Pete Best.

May 24 to May 25, Shriners Auditorium, 508-788-5474,



Like fellow Bostonians Robert B. Parker and Dennis Lehane, novelist Joseph Finder has topped bestseller lists—and attracted the attention of Hollywood—with his series of taut thrillers. His latest release, however, is a story separate from his previous books, and it tweaks a classic first-world problem. When a single dad named Danny Goodman can’t afford his daughter’s private-school tuition, he decides to borrow the cash from her classmate’s father— whereupon he gets a twist-filled education on why this is a singularly bad idea.

Out May 27, $28, Dutton,



Painting vast canvases of breathtaking physicality, J.M.W. Turner conveyed both the savagery and the serenity of the ocean with swirls and swaths of color and light. Now, with “Turner & the Sea,” the Peabody Essex Museum is showing an exhibit of more than 100 maritime works covering his half-century career. Featuring paintings from such marquee lenders as the Tate, the National Gallery of Art, and the Yale Center for British Art, the event is a rare opportunity to see these dramatic pieces in one place.

May 31 through September 1, Peabody Essex Museum, 866-745-1876,