Five things to do this weekend: March 18-20
Vericon science fiction convention from 5 p.m. Friday to 4 p.m. Sunday in and around Harvard Square. Tickets are $15 to $20 per day or $35 online (or $25 for students).
This is the 16th Harvard-based annual science fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction convention, featuring readings and book signings, gaming and LARPing, movie screenings and author panels addressing everything from “Fantasy Worlds that Feel Real” to how “Ideas are the Easy Part” (and there’s milk and cookies from 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday). Past guests have included George R.R. Martin, Brandon Sanderson and Tamora Pierce, and this year brings writers showing the range of fantastic fiction diversity, including Ann Leckie, John Chu, Wesley Chu, Pamela Dean, Seth Dickinson, Greer Gilman, Malka Older, Ada Palmer, Jo Walton and Fran Wilde. Events are at the Student Organization Center at Hilles, 59 Shepard St., up Garden Street northwest of Harvard Square; at the Lowell Lecture Hall, 17 Kirkland St.; and at Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Ave., Harvard Square. Event information is here.
“NOT ART (captured)” exhibition reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at Gallery 263, 263 Pearl St., Cambridgeport. Free.
This is the first solo exhibition of photographs taken by the anonymous street artist of his own “NOT ART” stencils. For this four-day show (up now and ending Saturday, with gallery hours of 2 to 6 p.m.), the artist and curator Maura McCaw have chosen 40 photographs from more than thousands taken over the past eight years in which the distinctive block letters have appeared on abandoned buildings, crumbling brick walls, paint-splattered sidewalks and other improbable places around Cambridge, Boston, Somerville and New York City. Gallery materials call the NOT ARTist “a master of observation [who] draws attention to the subtle beauty and serendipitous order of commonplace and transitory objects, and shares his vantage point with the public. The curious passer-by intrigued by the all-caps message might subsequently recognize and evaluate their context: noticing the texture of chipped paint or an arrangement of discarded trash. NOT ART opens up a conversation about art and where it can be found, seen and shared.” On the street, the text notes, the work is ephemeral, because “debris is collected, walls are repainted and the artists’ mark is erased.” But the photographs do “just what the title suggests: framing and formally sharing the NOT ARTist’s intention for the first time.” (Visitors are invited to discover chalked NOT ART stencils on Cambridge sidewalks near the gallery too.) Information is here.
The Cirque Us! troupe is holding its first fundraising circus show in hopes of touring this summer, offering an impressive display of aerialists, clowns, contortionists and tight-wire walkers as well as a raffle that can either get winners into future shows or into their own circus arts classes. Information is here.
Grand reopening of The Museum of Modern Renaissance from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Museum of Modern Renaissance, 115 College Ave., between Davis and Powder House squares, Somerville. An admission donation of $35 includes one book; a donation of $100 includes a includes front-row seat and two books. Donations will be collected onsite, but to reserve a seat send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The dazzling Museum of Modern Renaissance, a former Masonic Lodge transformed into a “Temple of Art” by some necessarily eccentric Russian expats is opening its doors again – a few years ago, its splendor hosted classical music events semi-regularly – in a quest for recognition as a National Historic Landmark. That means access to a manse referred to as The Modren, where nearly every inch has been painted in overwhelmingly whimsical frescos, an artists’ talk about transforming the space (in the parlance of the hosts, the “birthplace of [a] movement … impacting millions American lives today”), an art auction, refreshments and an introduction to the artists’ three new books, the typically modestly named “History of Creation,” “Colors of Wanderland” and “A Bit of Freedom.” Information is here.
Two monumental Russian composers are celebrated by the orchestra under the direction of Cynthia Woods, starting with Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3, considered one of the most challenging, virtuosic concertos in the piano repertoire – and on this day taken on by the acclaimed Alexander Korsantia. In the second half of the program, the CSO returns to the works of Dmitri Shostakovich with his Symphony No. 10, a fever-dream of tragedy, terror and triumph that premiered in 1953 in reaction to the death of Stalin. (Shostakovich had some troubles with the Communist regime.) The concert is part of a yearlong exploration of 20th century music leading up to a June collaboration on Stravinsky’s “The Firebird” with ballet choreography commissioned from the newly created NorthEast ArtSpace performing arts collaborative. Information is here.