A week of events in Cambridge, Somerville: ‘Role Playing Game’ opera, scifi ’Thon, more
Bugs Bunny Film Festival at noon, 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. (and continuing through Feb. 23) at The Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle St., Harvard Square. The annual school vacation program of classic Warner Bros. cartoons is different from in years past – this time all the Looney Tunes characters share the screen instead of being broken up into different shows, though all are still projected in 35mm. Event information is here.
The 44th Boston Science Fiction Film Festival 24-Hour Marathon starting at noon Sunday at the Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, Somerville. Tickets are $90 (with fees, $93). The 11-day film festival culminates in the ’Thon, a 24-hour orgiastic motion picture endurance test featuring classic, new and schlock films. “Think of it as binge viewing with 750 close friends,” organizers have said. Announced movies in the marathon range from “Andromeda Strain” and “Annihilation” (pictured) to “Sunshine” and “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country,” with plenty in between. Information is here.
Massmouth Story Slam on “Friends with Benefits” from 7 to 9 p.m. at Club Passim, 47 Palmer St., Harvard Square. General admission is $12. Five-minute, true short stories about friends who have helped out – with cash, car rides or late-night rendezvous, for instance. Information is here.
Spiders Canvas/Arachnodrone from 9 to 10 p.m. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s 345 Vassar St., Area II. General admission is $10 (with fees, $12.24). The U.S. premiere of an immersive, synesthestic piece of performance and installation art that allows audience members to experience “life in the web” – one spun by a Cyrtophora citricola spider and scanned and reproduced as a virtual 3D analog with each strand “tuned” to a different note, producing an ever-changing musical experience as the web is traveled. We’re probably not explaining the work very well, so you’ll just have to see it for yourself. Information is here.
Jill Abramson reads from “Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts” from 7 to 8:15 p.m. at Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Ave., Harvard Square. Free. So the rollout hasn’t gone very smoothly, considering the charges of plagiarism and sloppiness that has greeted “Merchants of Truth,” but no one doubts that Abramson, late of The New York Times, knows where the bodies are buried. Information is here.
Singer-Songwriter Night X from 8:30 to 11:35 p.m. at ZuZu, 474 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Admission is $7, contributing to the artist payout at this 21-plus show. Four local acts perform 35-minute sets: Suzanne Friedman; Kate McDougall; Jake Perrone; and Chris Walton. Information is here.
Comedy Underbones at 9 p.m. at Redbones, 55 Chester St., Davis Square, Somerville. Admission is free to this 21-plus show. There’s barbecue and beer, and Emily Ruskowski; Peter Martin; John Paul Rivera; Reece Cotton; Zachary Brazão; Demetrius “Big D” Hullum; and host Matt Amabello provide the comedy. Information is here.
February Dispatches: Wiles from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square. Tickets are $11. It turns out February is Women In Horror Month, and the Boston Underground Film Festival celebrates with a collection of shorts from “New England’s most cerebral, genre-bending filmmakers,” including Marinah Janello’s “Entropia” (2018), Sophia Cacciola’s “Weekend Vampire” (2016, pictured) and six more. Information is here.
8 O’Clock at 730: Hold the Applause! from 8 to 10 p.m. at 730 Tavern, 730 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Free. Do whatever you want to indicate your delight – except clapping – as hosts Rob Crean and Liam McGurk bring to the stage Ashley Ray; the Court Stenographers of Comedy; Ethan Marsh; Aimee Rose Ranger; Carolyn Riley; Sean Rosa Donovan; and David Lamb. Information is here.
The Late Shift : Longy at The Lilypad from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Lilypad, 1353 Cambridge St., Inman Square. Free. The jazz and contemporary music department at the Longy School of Music begins a monthly residency, which means more cool late-night stuff for the city – but just a little, so take advantage: The next shift isn’t until March 12. Information is here.
Washington’s birthday tours from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Longfellow House, 105 Brattle St., West Cambridge. Free, but space is limited, so call (617)876-4491 or email [email protected] to reserve a spot. It’s the 287th birthday of general, president and, sigh, vindictive slaveholder George Washington, who spent nine months on Brattle Street as a newly appointed military commander. See his digs and hear what he learned. Information is here.
New At Noon: Viola and piano concert from noon to 2 p.m. at the Granoff Music Center at Tufts University, 20 Talbot Ave., Somerville. Free. New works by Tufts composers John McDonald, Julia Moss and more with guest artists Roselyn Hobbs on viola and Tae Kim on piano. Information is here.
FiLmprov from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at Killian Hall in the Hayden Library Building at 160 Memorial Drive at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Free. The films of animator and artist Kate Matson get a live soundtrack from the FiLmprov Ensemble: Peter Bloom, Phil Scarff and Dan Zupan on woodwinds; Mark Harvey, music director, on trumpet; Bill Lowe on trombone; John Funkhouser on piano and bass; and Harry Wellott on drums. Information is here.
“Role Playing Game: A New Opera” from 7:30 to 10 p.m. (and repeating Saturday) at The Center for Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave., Somerville. Tickets are $18 in advance, or $20 at the door. After three years of development, composer and librettist Jacob Shulman is premiering his opera about love and identity online – set in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, when Ishkhan, a young Armenian, discovers a new side of himself through an online game community – with a cast of four and a supporting ensemble of 12 playing a score blending Armenian folk music and Japanese video game music into the opera style. (Synthesizer, Armenian duduk, Nintendo GameBoy and digitally processed voice supplement a chamber ensemble of strings, clarinets and piano.) It’s “an accessible and entertaining” 90 minutes, sung in English, Shulman notes. Information is here.
“Surveys the Prairie of Your Room” dance from 8 to 9 p.m. (and repeating Saturday) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s W97 Theater, 345 Vassar St., Area II. Free. Original music by Heather Christian and text by Kate Scelsa is the backdrop for a performance by Dan Safer and Ae Andreas for the Witness Relocation company. It’s called “a duet about when things could go in any number of directions and you’re not quite sure which one is right. Things that happen in liminal spaces. ASMR recordings. Trying to be happy when everything has gone to hell. Dancing. (Also, the title is a Bowie lyric.)” Information is here.
College Comedy Festival standup from 11 p.m. to midnight (and repeating Saturday and Sunday) at ImprovBoston, 40 Prospect St., Central Square. Tickets are $10. A half-dozen or so top comics from Harvard, Boston University, Central Connecticut State University, Clark University, Emerson College and Worcester Polytechnic Institute perform on each of the first two nights, then compete Sunday. Hosted by Nate Shu. Information is here.
“The Story of Babar the Little Elephant” children’s concert from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Granoff Music Center at Tufts University, 20 Talbot Ave., Somerville. Free. The classic children’s story is decorated with a colorful piano score by Francis Poulenc. Pianist Andrew Rangell will narrate and perform, adding extemporaneous drawings. Information is here.
“J.T.” film from 3 to 4 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 Peabody Award-winning special – about a lonely African-American youth (played by Kevin Hooks) and a sickly, stray cat – appeared on CBS in 1969, written by Jane Wagner (“The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe”) and shot on location in Harlem with a neorealist eye by Robert M. Young. Information is here.
“Songs from the Forest” from 3 to 5 p.m. at the New School of Music, 25 Lowell St., West Cambridge. Free. School co-founder and pianist Trudi Van Slyck presents a recital featuring Schumann’s “Forest Scenes, op. 82,” joined by executive director and soprano Lauren A. Cook singing the works of Vaughan Williams, Walton and Barber. The Iris Winds trio plays as well. Information is here.
Off-Mic comedy night from 8 to 10 p.m. Friday at Gallery 263, 263 Pearl St., Cambridgeport. There is a suggested donation of $10 at the door, benefiting Habitat for Humanity. This neighborhood art gallery is so intimate that amplification is often unnecessary – and without a microphone, a barrier between performer and audience is knocked down, helping give audience members a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process of performing. Comics coming to the stage include Mike Lemme; John Baglio; Mairéad Dickinson; Shaun Connolly; Janet McNamara; and Vinnie Pagano. Beer and wine will be available. Information is here.
“Role Playing Game: A New Opera” from 7:30 to 10 p.m. (and repeating Saturday) at The Center for Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave., Somerville. Tickets are $18 in advance, or $20 at the door. Information is here.
Chamber music concert from 4 to 6 p.m. at Harvard Memorial Church, 1 Harvard Yard, Harvard Square. Free. Works by Johann Sebastian Bach, François Couperin, Guillermo M. Tomas, Georg Muffat and more, performed by the Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra, winner of the Erwin Bodky Award for excellence in early music. Information is here.