Robots, rhyming couplets and more events in Boston this week

By: - Monday, Apr 7, 2014 - 1:21pm

13219743183_fea9f6dd68_z(Nao the Robot. Photo credit: Stephen Chin/Creative Commons)

There’s a little something for everyone coming up this week in Boston: Sonnets for Shakespeare lovers, documentaries for dancers, and food for people who consume food. People who aren’t robots, that is. Just watch out for robots this week, OK?

* Hosted by Shakespeare Now! at the Boston Public Library, the annual Shakespeare Sonnet-thon is exactly what it sounds like: All 154 of the bard’s 14-line mini-masterpieces recited in order by actors and non-actors alike. Not hating on good old Billy Shakes but I’ve always been more of a Petrarchan sonnet guy, myself. 4.7. 5 p.m. FREE

* Local tech companies open their doors for hands-on demos and discussions to celebrate National Robotics Week, which happens to coincide with National Public Health Week. Weird timing since it’s pretty well understood that the best-case scenario here is robots make all of our jobs obsolete, and worst-case scenario is they kill us all. You can meet the Nao robot or learn about the future of drones in Massachusetts, but our favorite harbinger of the robocalypse is Tuesday’s ”Does Your House Know Too Much About You?” panel discussion on intelligent houses. 4.7 to 4.13. Various times and prices

* Much less scary than actual robots? People doing the robot! Oh, the good old days when we mocked and ridiculed robots without fear of being first against the wall when the revolution comes. The Somerville Subterranean Cinema series presents two screenings of “Flex is Kings,” a documentary about the flexing dance craze forged in East Brooklyn that follows a group of dancers for two years. 4.7 and 4.8. 7:30 p.m. $8

* The new Craft on Draft reading series at Trident Booksellers presents First Pages: Before & After. Local novelists Henriette Lazaridis Power, Lisa Borders, and Stephanie Gayle baring their souls about writing their own first pages, and one lucky audience member will have his or her first page of a novel or story read aloud and discussed by the authors. I would think the first page of a book is usually easy, it’s the back of that page that’s tough because you need all that library information and Dewey Decimal numbers and stuff. 4.8. 6:30 p.m. FREE

* Harvard’s JFK Jr. Forum welcomes a couple heavy hitters for its discussion on Israel, Iran and the Arab Revolution: General David Petraeus, former director of the CIA, and Meir Dagan, former director of Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. 4.8. 6 p.m. FREE

* Quick, what are your three favorite “M” things? Mimes, magic, and mechanical dolls, right? Opening Wednesday, ArtsEmerson’s new live-action silent film “Lebensraum (Habitat)” combines the slapstick of Buster Keaton with the long-abandoned dream of owning a robotic cleaning lady that wasn’t horrifying like Vicki from “Small Wonder.” Featuring live musical accompaniment from Dutch indie heroes Alamo Race Track. 4.9. 7 p.m. $25+

* Harvard Book Store welcomes “New Yorker” cartoon editor Ben Mankoff to discuss, “How About Never — Is Never Good for You?” which is the title of his new memoir but also something Mankoff once yelled at his editor, then he had to pretend to laugh and hope his editor laughed too, and he did, and they both laughed and that’s why he kept his job long enough to write a whole book about cartoons. If you’re lucky he might even divulge some secrets to winning the magazine’s famous caption contest. 4.9. 6 p.m. $5

* Sample dishes from nine of Somerville’s immigrant-run restaurants at YUM Somerville: A Taste of Immigrant City, benefiting The Welcome Project. Some of the cuisines available include Ethiopian, Portuguese, Turkish, Nepali and Indian, plus Mexican from Aguacate Verde, which I always thought translated to “Pregnant Avocado” because the avocado on the sign has a face and appears to be pregnant with its own pit. Turns out it’s “Green Avocado,” which makes sense because the avocado on the sign is green, in addition to being pregnant. 4.10. 7 p.m. $35