5 things to do this weekend, including a Borromeo String Quartet performance and the Boston Comics in Color Festival

The Venice Biennale opens Saturday, and Boston’s own Institute of Contemporary Art has curated the US Pavilion. For the first time ever, a Black female artist, Simone Leigh, is representing the United States. Since a trip to Italy may not be in the cards for this weekend, consider all the other events happening just a T ride away. (And fret not: Simone Leigh’s monumental sculptures will make their way to the ICA for a major survey exhibition next year.)

Thursday, April 21

The renowned Borromeo String Quartet — so cool they have given their own NPR Tiny Desk concert — continues the Beethoven cycle they began before the start of the pandemic (back when quartets and orchestras around the world were celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birthday). Tonight, they present a free concert featuring two Beethoven quartets, preceded by a short discussion of the music on the theme of “irony and humor.” The members of the quartet are also faculty of the New England Conservatory, where the concert takes place. (The program will also be available via livestream.)

Borromeo Quartet. (Courtesy Borromeo Quartet/Richard Bowditch)

Friday, April 22

Guerilla Opera is letting audiences have a first listen to a new comedic opera based on the real-life inventors of the first computer, Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage. “The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage” is based on Sydney Padua’s graphic novel where the two inventors use their computer to fight crime in an alternate universe. With music by Elena Ruehr and libretto by Pulitzer-prize winner Royce Vavrek, the concert premiere will feature excerpts of music from the opera and a pre-concert discussion with all of the artists. The event will be held at the Mosesian Center for the Arts in Watertown. Tickets are pay-what-you-can.


Saturday, April 23

Billed as “New England’s first Comic Arts Festival focus on stories by and about people of color,” the one-day event at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Roxbury Crossing will feature panels and workshops on self-publishing, the radical history of comics, a conversation with artist Robb Armstrong (hosted by WBUR’s Arielle Gray), and more. There will also be ample opportunities to take in the arts with a screening hosted by the Roxbury International Film Festival, a live comics and graffiti mural experience, and a dance performance from OrigiNation’s NIA Dance Troupe. Tickets for the festival are free.


Thursday, April 21-Saturday, April 23

Choreographer Leonora Lee, who originally hails from San Francisco, premieres “Convergent Waves: Boston” at the Pao Arts Center in Chinatown this week. Together with five dancers, she has composed a multimedia performance that explores themes of belonging and resilience. The work tackles gentrification through the lens of individual stories, and tallies the toll of what’s lost on a neighborhood and culture. Music has been composed by Vijay Iyer and Francis Wong.


Saturday, April 23

The Peabody Essex Museum has planned a day full of raising awareness about climate change, centered around the new outdoor installation “Konstantin Dimopoulos: The Blue Trees.” In addition to taking in the sight of the blue-pigmented trees on the museum’s campus, visitors can check out a hands-on exploration of human behavior around food, transportation, energy and nature hosted by conservation organization Rare. You’ll also have the opportunity to create a collage inspired by the living world. And finally, to cap off the day, there will be spoken-word poetry, a preview of the PBS “Frontline” series “The Power of Big Oil,” and a panel discussion on climate action. These events are included with the price of admission to the museum.

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