HomeFront: ‘We’re trying to bring people together.’

A trio of BSO musicians recorded a concert Thursday at the Linde Center.
A trio of BSO musicians recorded a concert Thursday at the Linde Center.Hilary Scott/Boston Symphony Orchestra

Welcome back to HomeFront, our no-longer-feeling-so-temporary takeover of The Weekender. The weather is warm, the ocean is warming, and the health indicators that are causing red alerts elsewhere are making New Englanders cautiously optimistic. This is a time not to let down your guard, but to use what we’ve learned over the past three months to make the next three, and beyond, more manageable. Those masked protesters had the right idea: do what you must, as safely as possible.

Then head home and check out the ever-evolving entertainment options available now and coming soon to screens of all descriptions.


MUSIC: With Tanglewood opening Wednesday — sort of — the Globe’s experts explore the reinvented music festival, a virtual experience the Boston Symphony Orchestra is approaching in glass-half-full mode.

“At the Tanglewood campus in Lenox, preparations for this summer look different from all others,” writes Zoë Madonna. The BSO was “holding out all hope” for a live component, says director of Tanglewood Anthony Fogg, but reality prevailed. In its new incarnation, Madonna reports, “the BSO will roll out two months’ worth of newly recorded performances, archived footage, and Tanglewood Learning Institute programs such as workshops, film screenings, and panel discussions.”

BSO music director Andris Nelsons will serve as host of some Tanglewood programming — from Europe, where he’s been since March. Music is “an absolute necessity in our lives, and we realize how hungry the inner being is to actually listen to music and to perform,” he tells Jeremy Eichler. “Instead of canceling Tanglewood absolutely, we’re trying to bring people together.”

Eichler and Madonna team up for a top 10 list of Tanglewood events. Among Eichler’s picks is an “unusual centennial tribute to a quintessential American performer who loomed large over the classical world for decades” — violinist Isaac Stern — and among Madonna’s is “an all-new program from Silkroad Ensemble, as a handful of master players of instruments from around the world (Celtic harp, Japanese flutes, and more) join forces to write music that plays to their unique strengths.”


Record stores are open or opening, and retailers and shoppers are rapidly adapting to a new normal that includes a much larger online component. “I feel like I’m carrying the torch,” John Damroth of Kenmore Square’s Planet Records tells Globe correspondent James Sullivan, who checks in with shops across New England. “It reinforces the feeling that I want to be doing this because people love it.”

THEATER: The Globe’s interview series on how the arts can recover from the pandemic, The Next Act, resumes with a panel discussion on Creating Anti-Racist Theater. Globe critic Don Aucoin talks with Michael J. Bobbitt of the New Repertory Theatre, playwright and BU professor Kirsten Greenidge, the Front Porch Arts Collective’s Maurice Emmanuel Parent, and Summer L. Williams of Company One Theatre. RSVP here for the webinar, which starts Friday at noon.

Jeraul Mackey’s performance art project “Boston, Boston, Black Like Me,” originally pointed toward next month’s since-canceled NAACP National Convention, is still in the works. The improv comic and Harvard PhD candidate tells Rachel Raczka: “If we can’t do in-person live stage performances, I have to think through what this could look like in an online space, or outside.”


Jon Stewart's political satire "Irresistible" opens this week.
Jon Stewart's political satire "Irresistible" opens this week. Daniel McFadden

FILM: This week’s highest-profile new release, Jon Stewart’s “Irresistible,” is a solid political satire, but the story of a veteran strategist inserting himself into a small-town mayoral campaign “seems slightly beside the point,” Globe film critic Ty Burr writes in a 2½-star review. Steve Carell and Rose Byrne lead a solid but underused cast, and the viewer “can feel Stewart resisting the urge to climb on a soapbox until the very end, when a plot twist comes along that realigns everything we’ve seen and allows the lectures to commence.”

Stewart climbs down for a wide-ranging chat with the Globe. “I love the idea of spending more time crafting a story than being handcuffed to that day-and-date schedule of ‘The Daily Show,’” Trevor Noah’s predecessor tells Don Aucoin, who also checks in with cast member Chris Cooper.

Writer-director Shola Amoo’s second feature, “The Last Tree,” garners two stars from Burr, who calls it “a coming-of-age drama that is rapturously shot and dramatically trite.” The “terrifically charismatic” Samuel Adewunmi stars as Femi, like Amoo a Nigerian immigrant in England. It’s a promising effort, but “[i]n backing away from some clichés ... the movie backs right into others.”

You say, “music mockumentary,” I say, “This Is Spinal Tap.” Rob Reiner’s 1984 (!) classic is in no danger of being eclipsed by “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga,” which Burr finds “a bad dopey Will Ferrell comedy — overlong, underwritten, as strained as its title, and running on schtick and story lines that are practically rims.” Read the 1½-star review of this (good grief) 123-minute feature for the zingers.


TV: Based on the posthumously published bestseller by true-crime writer Michelle McNamara, “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” intertwines accounts of the Golden State Killer and the author with “a multitude of smaller stories as it builds to a climax, veering in and out of the lives of the victims and their families,” writes Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert. The “powerful” six-part HBO docu-series begins Sunday.

Rob "Problak" Gibbs is busy painting "Breathe Life 2" at his old high school in Roxbury.
Rob "Problak" Gibbs is busy painting "Breathe Life 2" at his old high school in Roxbury.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

VISUAL ART: Muralist Rob “Problak” Gibbs’s latest creation, “Breathe Life 2,” is in the works at Madison Park Vocational High School. Commissioned by the MFA for its “Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation” exhibition, it’s “my PSA without standing on a soapbox,” the Madison Park alumnus tells Globe correspondent Diti Kohli. “It’s a reminder to breathe life into a situation because it’s so easy to focus on the negative things.”

Globe art critic Murray Whyte closes a loop in Portland, Maine, where he was minding his own business on March 12 when the pandemic began shuttering the world of art and culture. At the just-reopened Portland Art Museum, “the last museum I’d see for longer than I could ever imagine,” a visit “felt like picking up a lost novel and flipping to the bookmark, then having to thumb back a few pages to remember the story. ”


Northeast of Portland in Lincolnville, Maine, Whyte’s latest Pilgrimage takes him in search of part-time resident Alex Katz, still painting at 92. “I long saw Katz as a guilty pleasure — hypnotizing prettiness, unburdened from critical references to mass and consumer culture of contemporaries like Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol,” Whyte writes. “But his work rewards looking longer.”

Whyte ranges as far as Tasmania in rounding up five virtual museum tours you can enjoy from home. A timely offering from the National Gallery of Art “looks at Black American artist Emma Amos’s long career of campaigning for racial justice. Amos didn’t live to see the international groundswell of the Black Lives Matter protests — she died May 20 — but her spirit is in them in full.”

COMEDY: Into the traditionally slow season for stand-up comes the People in Cars Getting Comedy series of shows at drive-in theaters and in parking lots. “Clearly in the summer of 2020, you need to adapt,” producer John Tobin tells Globe correspondent Nick A. Zaino III. Local legend Steve Sweeney, Kelly MacFarland, and Brian Glowacki headline the first show, Friday in Marlborough.

FOOD & DINING: Globe travel writer and columnist Christopher Muther aims high in his search for social-distancing-friendly outdoor dining and lands on three hotel rooftops in the Seaport and South Boston. “Sadly, rooftops are unlikely to alleviate the current dumpster fire of pandemic woes, but they are a pleasant distraction on a lovely summer evening, especially with a glass of rosé and a temperate breeze.”

MENTAL HEALTH: Love Letters columnist Meredith Goldstein’s Taking Care interview series resumes Tuesday. Goldstein discusses setting pandemic boundaries with experts from the Boston Public Health Commission’s Start Strong initiative, a peer leadership program designed for teens. Teen or no, setting limits is a hot topic as we venture back out into the germy world. RSVP here.

BUT REALLY: Pandemic-battered restaurants continue to fall like dominoes. If you don’t want to cook for yourself forever, consider patronizing some of the establishments that are still standing — with takeout or delivery if you can’t yet bring yourself to dine in (indoors or out). Spare a thought for health care workers in the South and West, who look as haunted as their counterparts in the Northeast did not so long ago. Cover your face and wash your hands!