Sarah Schulman, co-director of the ACT UP Oral History Project, will give a talk entitled “United in Anger: A History of ACT UP.” The novelist, playwright and professor at the City University of New York is the latest in the Creative Writing Center’s series of literary speakers. After her speech, Schulman will read one of her own fictional pieces. Her accolades vary from two American Library Association Book Awards to a Stonewall Award for Improving the Lives of Lesbians and Gays in the United States. (Speech: Thurs., 4:30 p.m., Pruyne Auditorium, Fayerweather Hall. Reading: Thurs., 7 p.m., Studio 3, Webster Hall. No admission charge.)
For a theater fix, go see “How I Learned to Drive,” Paula Vogel’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play about Li’l Bit and her licentious uncle who teaches her more than she needs to know about driving. Directed by Peter Lobdell, the play is Olivia D’Ambrosio’s senior project. (Thurs. to Sat., 8 p.m., Holden Theater. No admission charge.)
For those who prefer musical theater, the UMass Theater Guild will be presenting “The Who’s Tommy.” This classic show tells the story of a deaf and blind boy who ultimately becomes a “Pinball Wizard,” the namesake of the rock opera’s hit song. (Thurs. to Sat., 8 p.m., Stockbridge Hall, UMass. $5 for students.)
Music enthusiasts can also check out the Jupiter Quartet as part of the “2005-06 Music at Amherst Series.” The acclaimed Quartet will perform various selections from Haydn, Beethoven and Dutilleux. (Fri., 8 p.m., Buckley Recital Hall. $5 for students.)
Editors’ DVD Pick of the Week
In Woody Allen’s latest film, “Melinda and Melinda,” Radha Mitchell stars as Melinda who recounts her experiences at a recent dinner party. Sy (Wallace Shawn) espouses the question of whether life is tragic or comic, leading to two opposing versions of Melinda’s story. Although the tragic half is absurdly overdone, that is exactly the point. The comedic half shines with the pitiable, yet amusing, Hobie (Will Ferrell). The upbeat port of the film also contains dramatic elements, such as Susan’s (Amanda Peet) adultery, which blurs the lines between tragedy and comedy. “Melinda and Melinda” is creative, original and underrated.