Greetings, Weekenders! Back for more I see. Good. Good. Because your training truly begins today.
For you see, the clocks have been set back, the cold is starting to sink its claws in, the night is long and full of terrors, and your (kids’) Halloween candy has been reduced to a small stash of Milk Duds, Dots, and Dum-Dums. We’re approaching the dark times, y’all, and you need to start resisting now. Rage, rage against the seasonal affective disorder. Defy the early nightfall and go out! Only by attacking these last few pre-holiday weekends can you make the colder ones to come seem like a relative breeze. And do I have a workout for you.
FRENCH FRAUD: This weekend at Kendall Square you can catch the winner of the top prize at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, director Nadav Lapid’s “antic, poetic, funny, and alarming” drama, “Synonyms.” “You won’t find an existential crisis more maddening and mesmerizing than the one Yoav (Tom Mercier) is having in ‘Synonyms,’” writes Globe film critic Ty Burr, who says the film “bristles with outrageous artistic confidence” in his 3½-star review. A young Israeli flees to Paris “to obliterate his nationality and the exhausting machismo that comes with it,” and Mercier’s performance conjures something like “the young Marlon Brando crossed with a startled deer.” Now screening.
SEEING REDRUM: A belated follow-up to “The Shining” presents a tricky challenge, notes Globe film contributor Tom Russo. Do you do a straight adaptation of Stephen King’s 2013 sequel, or do you follow the widescreen lead of Stanley Kubrick’s grand 1980 departure from King’s 1977 original? In his 2½-star review, Russo says director Mike Flanagan’s “Doctor Sleep” plays it safe and “splits the difference, dutifully attempting to honor both King’s writing and Kubrick’s film simultaneously” and “actually manages to pull it off for a time." (“Ultimately," he writes, “the movie takes it too far.”) Ewan McGregor checks in for the role of grown-up Danny Torrance, and Shelley Duvall (spoiler) is not in it (sorry). In the meantime, here’s a clip of her repeatedly introducing herself that’s always worth revisiting. Now screening.
MEET THE NEIGHBORS: At Citizens Bank Opera House this weekend (and through Nov. 17) you can catch Broadway in Boston’s presentation of the hit musical “Come From Away,” which “centers on the aftermath” of 9/11, particularly “the dramatic story that unfolded in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland,” as “thousands of hungry, tired, frustrated, and scared strangers,” diverted from their travels, arrived on the doorsteps of its residents. And while Globe theater critic Don Aucoin reports that it’s “hard not to be swept up” in this tale “of ordinary people giving of themselves unstintingly in a moment of need,” some more “in-depth characterizations and more conflict would have added complexity, grit, and depth to a show that is governed by the spirit of relentless uplift.” (Not to worry, Boston will be waiting for you just outside the theater.) Grab tickets here.
POWER PLAYER: There’s only so much I can fit in this blurb about Patricia Zárate-Pérez. She’s a teacher at Berklee, a music therapist, a math whiz, a mother, and a ferocious saxophonist. She’s also, according to Globe music contributor Bill Beuttler, “overseeing the Panama Jazz Festival, finishing up her work as a doctoral student in Global Inclusion and Social Development at UMass-Boston, and writing a book on the historical relationship between Panama and the United States through music.” And at 45, she’s releasing her debut album, "Violetas,” and celebrating it on Friday with a performance alongside an international cast of musicians including hubby, producer, and pianist Danilo Pérez at the Museum of Fine Arts. But can she write cute blurbs about things? Can she? Find tickets here.
YOUNG AT ART: For parents dead-set on warping their children’s minds nice and early, you can go ahead and drag those Kidz Bop albums to the trash. (Please. Do it.) Dinosaur Annex is a new music ensemble (celebrating 45 years) that specializes in opening up the oft-forbidding realm of contemporary music to new ears by redefining the terms of the concert itself. On Saturday at 11 a.m., the ensemble teams up with Rock & Roll Daycare for “Playdate" a family-friendly “informal daytime performance” that “encourages parents and children to discard typical concert etiquette by not worrying about ‘silence’ or sitting still” — and you gotta love the scare quotes around “silence” there. Gently freak out your little ones with an ambient soundtrack of sonically adventurous works by Pauline Oliveros, Jen Wang, Peter Maxwell Davies, Lou Bunk, Jean Ahn, and Loretta Notareschi. It’s a free performance, but reservations are requested; make those here.
BACH TO WORK: Five years ago Canadian conductor Bernard Labadie was battling stage 4 lymphoma, and “was suspended in a monthlong induced coma” as part of his extensive and grueling treatment. But this weekend, he joins the Handel and Haydn Society to lead its period instrument orchestra in a program including Mozart (Symphony No. 41, “Jupiter”), and C.P.E. Bach (Cello Concerto in A major, featuring principal cellist Guy Fishman). “Anyone who goes through a process like that will tell you that your whole life is changed after that,” Labadie told Globe classical correspondent Zoë Madonna. “I’ve literally seen my mortality up close, a few inches away from my face, so that’s an encounter that changes you. It makes every moment count in your life.” He’ll be at Symphony Hall on Friday and Sunday; find tickets at handelandhaydn.org.
BEST MEDICINE: Old dogs seldom take to new tricks, but at least once a year, they do manage to come up with some new jokes. You can see for yourself at “Comics Come Home." This year marks the 25th anniversary installment of Denis Leary’s all-star benefit for the Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care, celebrating over two decades of Boston comics cracking each other up and, now and then, ticking everyone off. This year’s lineup includes Leary, Bill Burr, Lenny Clarke, Robert Kelly, Pete Holmes, first-time homecomer Kelly MacFarland, John Mulaney, Steven Wright, and Joe Yannetty. “There’s no television cameras,” says Leary, “so no one’s worried about what their set’s gonna play like on TV. Everyone feels free.” And no, that does not mean you should storm the stage to do your Cardi B impression, which, to be honest, just makes everyone extremely uncomfortable. That’s Saturday night at TD Garden; find tickets here.
SHOT TO THE SYSTEM: And lastly from the quickly darkening outside world this week, Globe art critic Murray Whyte calls the “Sanford Biggers” exhibition at Tufts University Art Galleries an “unnervingly visceral” experience. For the centerpiece series “BAM,” writes Whyte, “Biggers took his idols — each representing an African-American shot by police in recent years (which, depressingly, gives the artist no end of material) — to be used as targets at a shooting range, where he recorded their injuries in excruciating slow-motion detail. Then, he cast their broken bodies in bronze, reborn as stoic monuments to their own trauma.” In doing so, he “affords the pieces a kind of immortality, honoring their suffering with the stolid permanence of bronze.” It’s on view through Dec. 15; find more information here.
OR STAY IN: Or forget all of this outside nonsense and succumb to the call of the couch. Matthew Gilbert highly recommends Showtime’s new British import, “Back to Life," especially so if you’re a fan of “Fleabag." “ ‘Back to Life’ has a very different, more suburban rhythm from ‘Fleabag,’ ” he writes, “and the tone is a bit more somber overall, but it shares the same kind of lovely and simultaneously painful intimacy toward its lead and her struggles. Both shows — which share some executive producers — truck in black humor, quiet heartbreak, the import of life’s mundane moments, and emotional authenticity in service of delivering their heroine’s journey out of woe. Please note: No word on how many hot priests it has. Daisy Haggard stars and co-writes the show, which airs Sunday at 10 p.m.
And on Saturday at 7 p.m. on HBO, Joseph Gordon-Levitt will host a star- (and Muppet-) studded tribute to everyone’s favorite imaginary neighborhood with “Sesame Street’s 50th Anniversary Celebration” — but who’s counting? (I mean besides The Count.)
Or for a quick weekend-size read, you might check out Mary Gaitskill’s slim-but-substantial novella, “This Is Pleasure," which Globe reviewer Priscilla Gilman calls a “risky endeavor” that ultimately (and sometimes uncomfortably) brings a level of “nuance, subtlety, and a capacious humanity" to its #metoo-inspired tale, and "that grants mercy even as it never excuses.”
And that, seasonally affected Weekenders, is all I’ve got in my steadily shrinking daybook for you. Don’t be afraid of the dark, and whatever you get into this weekend, make it one you’ll miss come Monday. See you next time!