PHYLLIS BERMAN PAINTINGS AND DRAWINGS: 1996-2006 Phyllis Bermans mid-career retrospective at Wheaton College plots an extraordinary course; she arrives at the elusive and ephemeral by walking through the solid and perfectly balanced. Most of Bermans deft paintings detail a shallow space of floor meeting wall, a table or chair, a still life assemblage, and an image tacked to the wall. Theyre strong but mysterious and have the sheer economy of haiku. In the most recent work, Berman cuts loose. A series of multi-panel pieces features balsa-wood model monoplanes casting hushed shadows. The nuanced play of light and dark against the wall is exquisite.
Beard Gallery and Weil Gallery at Wheaton College, 26 E. Main St., Norton. 508-286-3644. wheatoncollege.edu/Acad/Art/Gallery
COKIE ROBERTS, NINA TOTENBERG, LINDA WERTHEIMER When it came to deciding on this years recipient of the Louis P. and Evelyn Smith First Amendment Award, the folks at Ford Hall Forum couldnt pick just one. Instead, they chose three National Public Radio correspondents. Senior news analyst Roberts also works for ABC News, where she used to co-anchor This Week with Sam Donaldson. Legal affairs correspondent Totenberg is a regular panelist on Inside Washington. Senior national correspondent Wertheimer has worked for NPR for more than three decades, including a stint as host of All Things Considered. The trios collective work includes reporting on Watergate, the Samuel Alito hearings, and the Iraq war. These ladies will accept their honor and talk about their work at the Old South Meeting House ceremony. Callie Crossley, another award-winning journalist, will moderate.
Old South Meeting House, 310 Washington St., Boston. 617-373-5800. 6:30 p.m. Free.
THE LOVELY FEATHERS The last time the Lovely Feathers visited the Boston area, for a June show at T.T. the Bears Place, the rock quintet was shelved near the bottom of a lineup that included up-and-comers Dr. Dog and the Spinto Band. Frontman Richard Yanofsky made the most of his 40 minutes onstage watching his spastic wrestling match with the mike was enough to induce nausea but the men of the Feathers play best when theyre given the time to spread their wings. So tonights P.A.s Lounge gig is cause for serious celebration: the most underrated band on the much-vaunted Canadian indie scene, at the top of the bill, in Somervilles coziest rock n roll bar. And nary a time limit in sight.
P.A.s Lounge, 345 Somerville Ave., Somerville. 617-776-1557. 8:30 p.m. $7 for 21+, $10 for ages 18-20.
ANGELIKA KIRCHSCHLAGER It was to have been a duo recital with Barbara Bonney, but the renowned soprano had to cancel her season for personal reasons, so Angelika Kirchschlager is taking it on her own, making her Celebrity Series debut. The Vienna-based Kirchschlager has emerged as one of the worlds most highly sought young mezzos, drawing kudos in both recital work and opera. She also has a pretty impressive discography, showing a stylistic range from Bach to contemporary music. Her Boston program includes songs by Haydn, Grieg, Brahms, Schubert, and Liszt.
NECs Jordan Hall, 290 Huntington Ave., Boston. 617-482-6661. 8 p.m. $45-$65. celebrityseries.org
SIDNEYS PRIX FIXE Got game? Move quickly in order to catch the hunting season prix fixe dinner at Sidneys Grille (inside the Hotel @ MIT). Executive chef Ryan Cyr has assembled a scrumptious game menu, but its only available for two more weekends, Fridays through Sundays, until Dec. 10. For a rather enticing $36 per person, choose from grilled quail with a roasted sugar pumpkin and cranberry chutney; or dry-rubbed pheasant with rosemary roasted sweet potatoes and a port-laced cranberry compote; or a triptych of duck confit, seared, and sausage served with pear risotto. Dont miss pastry chef Shawn Dressers delectable pumpkin crème caramel, served with tangy pomegranate syrup and brandy snaps.
Sidneys Grille, 20 Sidney St., Cambridge. 617-494-0011. sidneysgrille.com
TOYS FOR TOTS Tis the season to be merry, but its also the season for giving. Can there be anything sweeter than knocking back yummy cocktails while giving toys to kids? We think not. On Tuesday, for the third year running, Back Bay haunt Vox Populi is combining its annual customer appreciation holiday party with a Toys for Tots fund-raiser. The whole place will be turned into party central with specialty cocktails and passed complimentary hors doeuvres. The event starts at 7:30 p.m. and goes through to closing time. To get in, bring a $10 donation or an unwrapped new toy we say go crazy and do both and youll need to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vox Populi, 755 Boylston St., Boston. 617-262-7798.voxboston.com
CITY OF BOSTON OFFICIAL HOLIDAY TREE LIGHTING Whats 50 years old and 42 feet tall? The white spruce that Nova Scotia is giving to Boston for Christmas, thats what. In 1917, residents of our fair city were among the first to send help to Halifax after a serious accident in the Canadian provinces harbor. This is the 35th year Nova Scotia is saying thank you with the donation of a tree. The festivities include entertainment by Irish tenor Ronan Tynan, the Boston Childrens Chorus, and a quartet of teenage performers from Cape Breton who will sing, step-dance, and play traditional music. The main attraction occurs when Mayor Menino and Santa Claus flick the switch on the official Christmas tree, simultaneously illuminating a plethora of holiday decorations around the Common and setting off a stunning display of pyrotechnics. O Tannenbaum, indeed.
Boston Common. 617-635-4505. 6-8 p.m. Free.
PAGE FRANCE This Maryland band is telling a fib on its MySpace page. It describes itself as a marching band, which would make marching bands a whole lot cooler than the ones weve heard. Jaunty songs such as Junkyard and Ladder Man cue the xylophone and sweet boy-girl harmonies root Page France firmly in the campfire indie-pop world. Not that thats a bad thing. Monday at the Middle East, Page France shares a bill with aspiring Michigan rock stars Anathallo and indie-folk singer-songwriter Denison Witmer. Bring your tambourine.
Middle East Upstairs, 472 Mass. Ave., Cambridge. 617-864-3278. 9 p.m. $10, $8 advance. pagefrance.net
RONALD K. BROWN/EVIDENCE Ronald K. Brown is one of the hottest choreographers on the modern-dance scene, with work that is visually eye-popping while packing a kinetic and emotional wallop. His movement blends an African-based aesthetic with ballet, modern dance, hip-hop, and jazz, but more impressive are the integrity and spirit that fuel the dance. Brown believes dance should not only entertain, but educate and enlighten. The guy has heart. This weekends World Music presentation features the popular Grace, created for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, and the brand-new Order My Steps, which examines the questions provoked by Psalm 119. The other Boston premiere is Browns acclaimed Walking out the Dark, Part 1, with music by Philip Hamilton, Sweet Honey and the Rock, and MBemba Bangoura, among others.
Cutler Majestic Theatre, 219 Tremont St., Boston. 617-876-4275. 7:30. $35. Repeats Sat at 8 p.m. crasharts.org
A FEW DAYS LATER ... The camera remains riveted by the face of Niki Karimi throughout this psychologically intense character study. This may have something to do with the fact that Karimi also directed this story of an Iranian designers discreet meltdown, but no matter, both actress and auteur warrant our undivided attention. With an ailing son, an estranged lover, and a manipulative boss on board, this portrait could have easily veered into camp territory. Instead, this entry in the 13th Boston Festival of Films and Music From Iran is an unsettling statement about the oppression of women, artists, and human beings in a morally bankrupt society.
Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston. 617-369-3306. 7:30 p.m. $15, $12 for MFA members, seniors, and students. mfa.org/film