The Weekender: Clooney, kites, and the return of ‘Riverdance’
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Justin Bieber has left the building (and the park, and its trees), so you won’t step on his toes if you venture out around Boston this weekend. But there are plenty of other attractions, from the first Boston Bubble Festival on the Common this Saturday to a “Tiny Tall Ships Festival” in Somerville’s Union Square, dozens of performances plus street food at MayFair in Harvard Square on Sunday, and not one but two kite-flying extravaganzas, the Franklin Park Kite & Bike Festival on Saturday and the Revere Beach Kite Festival on Sunday. Come to think of it, seeing Bieber flying a kite on Revere Beach would not seem out of place right around now.
Taking stock: If you loved “The Big Short” and you’re thirsty for another cinematic cocktail about Wall Street depredations, “Money Monster” might just be your cup of outrage. The fast-paced suspense drama, directed by Jodie Foster, “is ‘Network’ and ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ and CNBC’s ‘Mad Money’ all wrapped up into a tight little ball of preposterousness,” says critic Ty Burr, who gives it 2½ stars. The tale of a high-rated financial cable news host taken hostage by a blue-collar fellow who bet his inheritance on a bad stock tip, it features juicy acting from George Clooney and Julia Roberts, and it’s fun to watch, even as its slickness rankles, says Burr. “You go along for the ride even as your “oh, come on” response increasingly kicks in.”
Fancy footwork: Ireland or Cuba? Dance lovers can sample the steps of both islands this weekend, as “Riverdance: 20 Years” brings rhythmic Irish-dance spectacle to the Citi Wang Theatre through Sunday, while Cuba’s Malpaso Dance Company — hailed for its “compelling, handsomely-trained dancers” — whirls into the Citi Shubert Theatre in its Boston debut Saturday and Sunday, with live music from Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble. Reviewer Karen Campbell says “Riverdance,” making its first visit to North America in four years, has plenty of thrills, including a show-stopping face-off between Irish dancers and American tappers: The Irish dancers “displayed blistering speed and impeccable control, while the tappers let loose with abandon,” she writes. And if you see Malpaso on Sunday, you can keep the Havana high going with a post-show chat with the company.
Stand and deliver: Comedian/writer/actor Norm Macdonald is best known for his years on “Saturday Night Live,” but his dry wit has also made him a favorite talk-show guest (his teary tribute to the departing “Late Show with David Letterman” host last year prompted a studio audience ovation), and his live comedy appearances are considered among the best around. Macdonald hits the Wilbur Theatre for two shows on Saturday.
Body language: Two Tony Award winners are teaming up right now at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, where artistic director Diane Paulus brings a world premiere by Eve Ensler (“The Vagina Monologues”) to the stage. “In the Body of the World,” adapted from Ensler’s 2013 memoir, explores how the writer/performer’s experience with cancer sparked a connection not only with her own body, but with the natural world. “This is the most personal thing I’ve ever done,” Ensler tells the Globe.
Walden and Wyeth: The writings of Henry David Thoreau have fascinated many, and the great illustrator N.C. Wyeth was no exception. Weary of commercial success, and longing for the kind of integrity he saw in Thoreau, Wyeth produced an illustrated book of Thoreau’s journal entries. Now, in what art critic Sebastian Smee praises as a “remarkable little show” at the Concord Museum, the 12 large paintings Wyeth created for the volume are on view in “N. C. Wyeth’s Men of Concord,” accompanied by eight related drawings by Wyeth’s son Andrew, then 19. Intimate images of the “Walden” author and pristine landscapes beckon.
Sonic convergence: Some of the biggest stars in electronic music and EDM are gathering for Together Boston, a booming festival that kicks off Sunday night at the Sinclair in Cambridge with the adventurous DJ/producer/composer Floating Points. Known for hypnotic dance tracks, he’s playing with a live band and plans to improvise. “I’m working with such amazing musicians,” he says. “I’m lucky in that I’m surrounded by players that always get it right.” The festival runs through May 22, and Steve Smith highlights five more great acts you can check out.
Or stay in! Nantucket native Meghan Trainor dishes up more self-esteem pop on her new album, “Thank You,” and though reviewer Marc Hirsh says many of the songs seem to borrow the styles of other Top 40 artists (everyone from Beyoncé to Adele), he can’t resist “No” (it’s “fantastically hooky”) and loves the sassy “Dance Like Yo Daddy” (it’s “ridiculous, funny and fun”). Ron Miscavige’s new tell-all “Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me’’ offers a unique perspective on the controversial group. And with the departure of “The Good Wife” leaving a void on Sunday nights, you might console yourself with Mike Judge’s “Silicon Valley” (Sunday at 10 p.m. on HBO), which has the bonus of starring “Good Wife” recurring guest Zach Woods (he played one of the NSA guys) as Jared. TV critic Matthew Gilbert loves the show and says Woods “simply gives us a perfectly ego-less fellow with a tender heart”: television’s most selfless character. Woods also appears on CBS’s “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” Friday night.
See you next week!