Five things to do this weekend: April 27-29
Harvard Arts First Festival from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday in and around Harvard Yard. Mostly free.
Hundreds of performers and performances show the breadth of Harvard student and faculty creativity and talent in this annual showcase, starting with a Harvard Arts Medal ceremony to honor author Colson Whitehead (his latest, “The Underground Railroad,” won the Pulitzer Prize) and including music (Silkroad Ensemble members are seen above in a Max Whittaker photo), theater, dance and “Make Art” stations for the public. A 34-page guide and schedule to flip through (but for some insane reason not download) is here. A more traditional online approach is here. A map of filterable events is here.
“Manufacturing Mischief: A Puppet Play” from 6 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Building W79, also known as Simmons Hall, at 229 Vassar St., Area II. Advance tickets are sold out; some tickets will be available at the door (show up early). All attendees must present a valid ID. Update on April 27, 2018: Organizers say the event is completely sold out. Additional weekend events can be found below.
Puppet Noam Chomsky finds an antagonist in puppet Ayn Rand and meets other puppets with points of view (such as Elon Musk) in a play that uses comedy to address political discourse and the dilemmas that artificial intelligence and late capitalism pose in the Anthropocene Era – for kids, academics and nerds alike – courtesy of Pedro Reyes, the inaugural Dasha Zhukova Distinguished Artist in Residence at the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology. The work is directed by Meghan Finn and written by Paul Hufker. And, yes, Reyes created this with Chomsky himself. Information is here.
After 2.5 years appearing of festivals and split bills, Cambridge-based Ruckus makes its evening-length debut in a four-work show dealing with artifice, the end of the world, loneliness, physical prowess and honesty through “intentionally exhausting and perplexing dances” meant to “provoke conversation and bewilder the viewer, driving audiences to ask questions about the logic of what is happening before them” (with occasional nudity and loud noises). Directed by dance-maker and “anti-choreographer” Michael Figueroa. Information is here.
Annual Harvard Powwow from 1 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday on Lesley University’s Brattle Lawn, 99 Brattle St., West Cambridge near Harvard Square. Free.
Celebrate indigenous peoples at this Harvard-hosted annual powwow, led by a committee of Native American students from the college and graduate schools and featuring singers, artists and dancers from the Harvard community, Greater Boston and from tribes across the United States and Canada. The grand entry is at 1 p.m. Information is here.
“Franz & Johannes, Frog & Toad” music and storytelling from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Mystic Learning Center, 530 Mystic Ave., Somerville. Free.
The Romantic Era gets a reawakening from violinist Majorie Gere and pianist Dan Sedgwick, who interweave stories and images from Arnold Lobel’s “Frog and Toad” children’s books with the works of Antonín Dvořák (Ballada, Op. 15), Johannes Brahms (Sonata in G Major for Piano & Violin, Op. 78) and Franz Schubert (Rondo in b minor, D. 895). Afterward, plans are to wander outside for teatime, sunshine and lawn games led by Jen Capuano, the volunteer coordinator at the Somerville Public Schools. Information is here.
Student Boston Theatre Celebration with the Massachusetts Educational Theatre Guild from 10 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. Saturday at the CRLS Theater Arts Building, 159 Broadway, Mid-Cambridge. Free.
MIT Wind Ensemble’s “Waking Winds: Innovative Music from MIT” from 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Kresge Auditorium, 48 Massachusetts Ave., Area II. Tickets: $5.