Seven things that are happening this week.
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Shabazz Palaces at Columbus Theatre

What's Happening This Week

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Bajrangi Bhaijaan
Showcase Cinemas, Providence Place Mall
$9 / $11.25

Believe it or not, the year's two highest-grossing foreign language films have both been summer blockbusters from India. Filmed in both Telugu and Tamil, action epic Baahubali: The Beginning made close to seven million dollars in its first two weeks. Following close behind is the comedic family drama Bajrangi Bhaijaan, which lingers in Providence for a third weekend. The film stars hunky tabloid star Salman Khan (the Indian Schwarzenegger, more or less) as a ticklish ex-wrestler who suddenly finds himself in charge of a lost, mute Pakistani girl with no way of getting back to the border.

Tuesday - 7:00PM

Curt Columbus
Weaver Library
41 Grove Avenue, East Providence

HarperCollins sure spent a lot of energy on Go Set A Watchman, a "newly discovered novel" by To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee. The trouble is that Watchman is less a "new novel" than a "rejected first draft of that other novel." Beloved characters aren't so beloved in this one, a disappointing teaching moment for readers, and many have questioned whether the reclusive 89-year old author was bamboozled into allowing the manuscript's publication. ("One of the epic money grabs in the modern history of American publishing," said a recent New York Times editorial.) Public reaction has been so negative that one Michigan bookstore is offering free refunds to anyone who bought the book expecting a new novel. Nevertheless, Trinity Rep already decided to do a staged version of To Kill A Mockingbird next spring, and East Providence Public Library optimistically selected Watchman for its One Book One City summer reading program. So that's how it came to be that Trinity Rep artistic director Curt Columbus is leading a "talk and pie" discussion on the, uh, new book.

Wednesday - 7:00PM

Ciné-Québec: Shorts From La Belle Province
Museum of Work and Culture
42 South Main Street, Woonsocket

It's August, and that means it's time for the 19th annual Rhode Island International Film Festival. As usual, RIIFF skews heavily toward short films, since it's one of only thirty festivals nationwide that can qualify shorts for Oscar consideration. The best bet sounds like Ciné-Québec, six shorts from our Francophone neighbors to the north. The screening takes place in Woonsocket, which seems festive, and the night's slate includes the world premiere of Guillaume Collin's Everything Will Be Alight as well as the US debut of Cristina Martins' Dogs Don't Breed Cats.

Thursday - 7:00PM

Red Light Winter
Aurora, 276 Westminster Street

"It's not what you would call a well made play," observes Matt, the suicidal playwright at the center of Adam Rapp's grim and periodically meta Red Light Winter. He is... not wrong. I like that Burbage Theatre Company chose something vulgar with lots of sex and drugs for their downtown debut (the company previously performed out of Cranston's William Hall Library) but Red Light Winter just isn't a very good play. Set in that brief post-9/11 period when cigarettes in New York only cost seven dollars, the play centers around two jaded college friends and the kooky hooker who comes in between them. The trio of actors do all they can with the material, but there's a serious shortage of character development in the bizarre love triangle between the playwright, the hooker, and the Axe-spraying douchebag that they both mysteriously cling to.

Friday - 9:00PM

Shabazz Palaces
Columbus Theatre, 270 Broadway
$14 / $17

Sub Pop signees Shabazz Palaces blend Afrofuturist concepts with spacey, sometimes surreal lyrics and moody, uneasy beats that defy simple categorization. The eighteen tracks on last year's Lese Majesty are divided into seven suites, and nearly half the songs fall shy of the two-minute mark. (The tracks also have titles like "Colluding Oligarchs" and "...Down 155th in the MCM Snorkel.") Lese Majesty premiered with a laser show in a Seattle IMAX theater, so it'll be interesting to see them upstairs at the Columbus. Also, be warned: unlike most other hip-hop performers, these guys are renowned for being punctual with their start times.


Providence Anarchist Book Fair
AS220 Black Box, 95 Empire Street
$7 / $10 [Foo Fest entry]

The Providence Anarchist Book Fair has always been a daytime highlight of Foo Fest, the giant day-long arts and music festival on Empire Street. Sometimes it's hard to buy books and zines when you know you'll be stuck carrying them for the remainder of the evening, but it's worth stopping by even if only to browse. This year the fair expands to two days, with vendors on Saturday and free workshops on Sunday about anarchism in Puerto Rico as well as the race, class, and gender expectations that go into shaming fat people.

Sunday - 7:30PM

I Hate Hamlet
2nd Story Theatre
28 Market Street, Warren

I Hate Hamlet is an excellent surprise, a fluffy comedy about a TV actor cast against his will in Shakespeare In The Park. Andy's distraught, but his agent and his nerdy virgin girlfriend are thrilled, as is the clairvoyant real estate broker who rents Andy a Gothic apartment that once belonged to John Barrymore. Barrymore himself even shows up as a ghost. My expectations were really low, because how many jokey comedies about Hamlet does the world need? But the acting here is excellent (especially Isabel O'Donnell as the wacky broker). The costumes are excellent, too.
Copyright © 2015 matthew lawrence, All rights reserved.

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