Jeffrey Eugenides reads from “Fresh Complaint” from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at First Parish Cambridge Unitarian Universalist, 3 Church St./1446 Massachusetts Ave., Harvard Square. Tickets are $5 (or $6.27 with the online service fee) or $28 with a copy of the book (or $30.53 with the online service fee) for an accompanying book signing.
Jeffrey Eugenides! Author of the novels “The Virgin Suicides,” “Middlesex” and “The Marriage Plot” – stopping by to read from a collection of short stories from throughout his career, courtesy of the Harvard Book Store. (Included is “Baster,” which, like “Virgin Suicides” became a film: the 2010 Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston semi-rom-com “The Switch.”) “There isn’t a dud in this generally solid collection,” Heller McAlpin says on NPR Books, and when’s the last time you heard a Pulitzer Prize winner (above, in a photo by John L. Russell) read for $5? Information is here.
This is Boston’s “premier nu-contemporary art festival,” whatever that means – in practical terms, it means being able to check out the work of more than 40 artists while enjoying DJ’d music or the bands The Honey Sauce Band, Tiger Man Woah, Dirty Bangs, These Wild Plains, Abadabad, The Dazies and Esh. (The painting above is “Brooklyn Bridge 3,” by Adam O’Day.) Information is here.
Credit to the Fort Point Theater Channel for bringing the strange and difficult “Ghost Sonata” to the stage – this ain’t no “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” Dream logic powers this brutal, supernatural drama, in which a young hero is insinuated into the web of old man and his extended family of dying girls, vampires and mummies, all more or less abstrusely metaphorical as an ailing August Strindberg threw up on stage whatever horrors he was going through in his own life. There’s even another intriguing element in the mix of this powerful curiosity: Director Christine Noah has brought the 1907 play into modern day by letting the characters use social media. “Strindberg’s characters in ‘The Ghost Sonata’ thrive on deceit and hide behind false fronts. I wanted to explore how the characters, and people in general today, create an identity online that may not correspond to what is happening in real life,” Noah says. (That’s Sally Nutt as the Mummy, above, in a photo by Roberto Mighty.) Information is here.
Honk! Festival of Activist Street Bands throughout the weekend in Somerville, marching into Cambridge on Sunday. Free.
The grassroots, nonprofit festival (seen above in a photo by Peter Lee) has serious underpinnings in the fight against violence and oppression, but does it in a joyous way that includes free performances by 28 rousing activist street bands – based right in Somerville or as far away as Rio de Janeiro – mixing music inspired by New Orleans second line brass bands, European Klezmer, Balkan and Romani music, Brazilian Afro Bloc and Frevo traditions with a DIY attitude and, ideally, the passion and spirit of Mardi Gras and Carnival. (The Sunday parade is similarly diverse, with marchers from the World Naked Bike Ride to Veterans for Peace.)
Friday includes a 7 p.m. lantern parade leaving from Hodgkins-Curtin Park on Holland Street between Davis and Teele squares and 8:30 p.m. shows at Once Lounge + Ballroom, 156 Highland Ave. and Aeronaut Brewing, 14 Tyler St., near Union Square, Somerville. (Information is here.) Saturday brings noon to 9 p.m. performances by all bands at seven locations around Davis Square, starting with an opening ceremony in Seven Hills Park. (The Saturday schedule and locations are here.) Sunday from noon to 2 p.m. the bands march from Somerville’s Davis Square to Cambridge’s Harvard Square (Elm Street to Beech Street to Massachusetts Avenue) to play from 2 to 6 p.m. at the square’s annual Oktoberfest. (The Sunday schedule and locations are here.) Information is here.
39th Annual Oktoberfest from noon to 6 p.m. in Harvard Square. Free.
Some 200,000 revelers throng the streets of Harvard Square to shop at stalls with arts, crafts, vintage items and other gifts; eat international foods sold by dozens of vendors; be entertained by acts on six stages that include Honk! bands and a variety of other genres lending themselves to dancing in the streets; and drinking at six beer gardens. Information and a full schedule of bands is here.