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Weekend Picks: Start The New Year With Arts05:36

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Graham Wright, host and founder of Opus Affair (a monthly arts salon), joins us to share his suggestions for how you can start the new year with a taste of the arts.

What: "Invisible Man"

When: Jan. 4 through Feb. 3

Where: Huntington Theatre Company

How much: $15-$95

What Graham says: "Invisible Man" was considered to be a masterpiece of 20th century literature for its powerful treatment of the social and intellectual issues around race in the 1920s and 30s, which are brought to life through a narration of fragmented memories in a well-lit basement hole.

Teagle F. Bougere originated the role in this stage adaptation and played it to critical acclaim in Chicago and D.C. Oren Jacoby, who wrote the stage adaptation, has said that Ralph Ellison, who wrote the novel, didn't want it to be adapted into a play during his lifetime because he had seen too many good books get turned into bad movies. But the stage version is supposed to be exquisite.

What: Paintings by Louis Risoli

When: Jan. 4 through Jan. 26 (opening reception Friday, Jan. 4 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.)

Where: Gallery NAGA in the Back Bay

What Graham says: This latest collection  from Louis Risoli dramatically departs from his past work, which can be seen at the Rose Art Museum or the DeCordova, by creating canvas shapes which can complement the somewhat organic shapes and patterns depicted in his oil painting. The new exhibition also includes prints by Yizhak Elyashiv.

What: "33 Variations"

When: Jan. 4 though Feb. 2

Where: Lyric Stage Company

How much: $27-$58

What Graham says: In 1819, a music publisher named Anton Diabelli sent a waltz he had composed to 50 composers, asking them to compose a variation. All gladly obliged except one: Ludwig van Beethoven, who had some rather disparaging comments to make about the quality of the waltz. Then Beethoven changed his mind and over the next four years he produced a full set of 33 variations, considered by many to be one of the greatest works of piano literature of all time.

There are conflicting accounts about his motivations for changing his mind and what his motivations were — and that's part of what the play "33 Variations" explores. Alternating between Beethoven's time and that of a modern musicologist — originally played by Jane Fonda on Broadway — the play explores the creative process, obsessions and coming to terms with major life obstacles through parallels drawn between these timeliness separated by nearly two centuries.

This segment aired on January 3, 2013.