A week of events in Cambridge, Somerville: ‘Who Is Eartha Mae?,’ Errol Morris and chili
Mark Leibovich on political culture and the NFL from 6 to 7:15 p.m. at the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, 79 JFK St., Harvard Square. Leibovich, chief national correspondent with The New York Times Magazine and author of “Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times” sits down in the heat of the NFL playoffs to discuss national politics, the state of the NFL and what happens when those worlds collide. Information is here.
Joseph Smeall Villarroel at Story Space from 6:45 to 9 p.m. at Havurat Shalom, 113 College Ave., Powder House Square, Somerville. There is a $5 requested donation. After open story-telling at 7 p.m., Villarroel shares the shocking true story of his old Catholic high school’s most spectacular senior prank and the webs of intrigue and institutional dysfunction concealed within. Here’s the official line: It’s not to be missed by anybody who enjoys a good mystery. Information is here.
“Othello” from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. (and playing through Feb. 9) at the Loeb Mainstage, 64 Brattle St., Harvard Square. Tickets are $25 or $55. This tale of fatal bigotry and xenophobia from Shakespeare, via an imported (and acclaimed) production by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and director Bill Rauch. It’s been playing for a while and continues for a while – but most performances already have either limited seating or are already sold out. Today’s performance is considered more open than most by the box office, but that’s not saying much. Information is here.
8 O’Clock at 730 Vol 60: Series Finale from 8 to 10 p.m. at 730 Tavern, 730 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. The weekly series launched by Rob Crean and Liam McGuirk brings in the podcast “Series Finale,” in which three Boston comedians discuss the final episode of a show they have never even seen – tonight, “Kyle XY,” an ABC Family sci-fi show that ran from 2006-09. We didn’t remember it either. Information is here.
Choose Your Own Adventure Karaoke at 8 p.m. at Once Lounge + Ballroom, 156 Highland Ave., Somerville. Free. You can just do karaoke as usual at Once, or submit a slip to a host with the name of an artist you’d like perform – who will give two options to choose from. You must choose one. Information is here.
Annual Davos Debrief from 11:45 to 1 p.m. at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, 79 JFK St., Harvard Square. Grab free lunch while Harvard affiliates talk about what they learned attending the year’s annual World Economic Forum. Panelists include former presidential adviser David Gergen; Jane Nelson, director of the Corporate Responsibility Initiative; Meghan O’Sullivan, a Practice of International Affairs professor; and Mark Wu, of Harvard Law. Information is here.
“Who Is Eartha Mae?” one-woman play from 7:30 to 9 p.m. (and through Feb. 23) at the Multicultural Arts Center, 41 Second St., East Cambridge. Tickets range from $14 to $120. Creator and performer Jade Wheeler becomes Eartha Kitt, star of screen and stage, in a world premiere show backed by Bridge Repertory Theater and director Cailin Doran. Go on Kitt’s journey from the Jim Crow South to London, around the world and back again. Information is here.
The Studio Jazz Session from 10:15 to 11:30 p.m. at The Comedy Studio, 1 Bow Market Way, Union Square, Somerville. Free. The studio and its Variety Bar re-spark the racy, long-term relationship between jazz and comedy with a late-night hang after Thursday comedy shows! Brett Walberg and Miguel Landestoy play; Rick Jenkins does standup between jazz sets. Information is here.
EHChocolatier grand opening from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 145 Huron Ave., Observatory Hill. Free. Lauded by Food & Wine Magazine, The New York Times, Boston Magazine and The Food Network, EHChocolatier finally has a bricks-and-mortar location. Its opening day offers samples of its award-winning chocolates, a firsthand look at the chocolate-making process and a crack at some special offerings, including Red Hot Crunch Bars and a Lush Valentine’s Bonbons collection. Information is here.
Lawrence Lessig reads from “America, Compromised” from 3 to 4:15 p.m. at the Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Ave., Harvard Square. Free. Harvard Law professor Lessig’s latest knows where to place the blame for how “we have allowed core institutions of America’s economic, social, and political life to become corrupted. Not by evil souls, but by good souls. Not through crime, but through compromise.” Information is here.
The 41st Annual Sci-Fi Marathon from 6:45 p.m. to 3 a.m. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Building 26-100, also known as the Compton Laboratories, at 60 Vassar St. Free. “Ready Player One,” “Galaxy Quest,” “Spaceballs” and a surprise in the middle. Information is here.
“American Dharma” with Errol Morris in person from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Harvard Film Archive at The Carpenter Center, 24 Quincy St., Harvard Square. Tickets are $12, available starting at 6:15 p.m. outside the screening room. Morris has won an Academy Award (“The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara”), and his seminal film “The Thin Blue Line” (1988) got a man out of jail. The Cambridge-based documentarian has turned his camera on pet cemeteries (“Gates of Heaven”), physicist Stephen Hawking (“A Brief History of Time”) and topiaries (“Fast, Cheap & Out of Control”); for his latest, Morris aim his lens at former Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon. “Bannon asked me why I wanted to make ‘American Dharma.’ I told him I didn’t understand him or why he was doing what he was doing. But I thought if making a film could help me, and others, understand any of this, then it would be a good thing,” said Morris, who will be in attendance to do a Q&A. Interestingly, given Morris’ chops, the film has yet to find distribution. Information is here. (Contributed by Tom Meek.)
Han Tol and Boreas Quartett Bremen concert from 8 to 10 p.m. at First Church in Cambridge, 11 Garden St., Harvard Square. Tickets are $15 to $70. The music of Christopher Tye, Joseph Bodin de Boismortier, Johann Sebastian Bach and others is performed by recorder virtuoso Han Tol and former students, whose quartet has been performing across Europe and Asia. Information is here.
“Reefer Madness!” from 8 to 10:30 p.m. (and with five more performances through Feb. 9) in La Sala De Puerto Rico at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Stratton Student Center, 84 Massachusetts Ave. General admission is $20. This musical comedy inspired by the 1936 film and performed by the MIT Musical Theatre Guild shows the results of clean-cut kids falling prey to marijuana: a downward spiral filled with jazz music, sex and violence. A timely warning about the chaos and doom that awaits us all when recreational marijuana sales begin here. Information is here.
The Red Room “Twin Peaks” tribute at 8 p.m. at Once Lounge + Ballroom, 156 Highland Ave., Somerville. The lounge turns into the dreamlike Red Room for a night inspired by David Lynch’s cult series, with bands providing the perfect sonic soundscape amid “Twin Peaks” decor, a menu of appropriate refreshments and an audience encouraged to come in attire inspired by the show’s singular characters. Information is here.
The 11th annual “Some Like it Hot” Chili Cook-off from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday on Brattle Plaza, Harvard Square. Free. This Super Bowl precursor offers free samples of chili from restaurants including El Jefe’s Taqueria, Grendel’s Den, J.P. Licks, The Sinclair, Whole Heart Provisions and more, with the winner of the most samplers’ votes getting the Harvard Square Chili Pot for the year. There will be live music from Grooversity, which combines the Brazilian sounds of samba and axe with funk, rock, jazz and hip-hop. Information is here.
Bonaparte the Magician from 1:30 to 2:15 p.m. at the Aidekman Arts Center at Tufts University, 40 Talbot Ave., Somerville. Tickets are $9 in advance, or $10 at the door. Illusions, age-appropriate comedy and audience participation to entertain adults as well as children, with visits from Snow the dove and Fluffy the bunny. Information is here.
“Mirai” from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the Harvard Film Archive at The Carpenter Center, 24 Quincy St., Harvard Square. Tickets are $5, or free with a current Cambridge Public Library card, and are available starting at 2:15 p.m. outside the screening room. This 2018 anime directed by Mamoru Hosoda uses science fiction as a meditation on the passage of time and the foundations of family. Recommended for ages 8 and onward, this matinee film has an audience score of 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Information is here.
“Countess Maritza” operetta from 7 to 9 p.m. (and repeating Sunday) at the Longy School of Music, 27 Garden St., Harvard Square. Free, with a requested $10 or $20 donation. This comedy of mistaken identity by Emmerich Kálmán, set between the two world wars, marries Viennese light opera with Hungarian dance music – contrasting the characters’ comic search for identity and unification with the dramatic search for national identity taking place after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Directed by Carol Mastrodomenico with musical direction by Libor Dudas and the Longy Opera Chorus and Longy Conservatory Orchestra conducted by Ryan Turner. Information is here.
“Reefer Madness!” from 8 to 10:30 p.m. (and with four more performances through Feb. 9) in La Sala De Puerto Rico at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Stratton Student Center, 84 Massachusetts Ave. General admission is $20. Information is here.
“Elizabethan” from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at Lilypad, 1353 Cambridge St., Inman Square. Admission is $10 cash at the door. David William Hughes brings a fresh perspective to Renaissance music in this musical comedy based on 400-year-old songs, bringing long-dead personalities back to life in what The 730 Review called an “impressive, accomplished musicality and … genuinely funny character comedy” that also happens to be surely the only show this year with genuine, authentic, 16th century song about a sex toy. Information is here.
“Somerville Night Live” Episode 4 from 9 to 10:30 p.m. at Mess + Finesse, 21 Hawkins St., Union Square, Somerville. Free, but donations are welcome. In a format that may sound familiar, a dozen comedians write and produce an hour of original high-energy, basement sketch comedy in five days. Information is here.
14th Annual Great Chili Cook-Off from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday at Olde Magoun’s Tavern, 518 Medford St., Magoun Square, Somerville). Free. Some 30 kinds of chili will be served up, with prizes for the best. Information is here.
“Reefer Madness!” from 2 to 4:30 p.m. (and with three more performances next weekend, ending Feb. 9) in La Sala De Puerto Rico at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Stratton Student Center, 84 Massachusetts Ave. General admission is $20. The 1936 film was made in earnest – paid for by a church group to alert parents to the scourge of cannabis and called “Tell Your Children.” Information is here.
Tufts Sunday Concert Series: Work and Life from 3 to 5 p.m. at Granoff Music Center at Tufts University, 20 Talbot Ave., Somerville. Free. Discover pieces by Julia Cavallaro, John McDonald, Francis Poulenc, Joaquín Nin, Franz Schubert and Adam Simon about office work, the lives of painters, common fears, the work proteins do to keep you alive and more with Julia Cavallaro, mezzo soprano; Philipp Stäudlin, saxophone; and John McDonald, piano. Information is here.