Welcome once again to HomeFront, where we’re getting used to the idea of history repeating. The last time temperatures were this low, we were learning what a stay-at-home advisory means and brushing up on the finer points of supply-chain management. Our recently acquired life skills will help us cope as the days keep getting shorter. Also helping us cope: arts and entertainment. It’s a big week for that — read on!
FALL ARTS GUIDE: In “From Here to the Holidays,” the Globe’s arts experts look ahead to an unprecedented season of creativity, ingenuity, and, dare we say, hope. Rescheduled blockbuster movies, socially distanced trick-or-treating, performances of every description delivered on numerous platforms, and all manner of indoor-outdoor fun are on tap. It’s not what anyone anticipated, but it might just be precisely what our pandemic-battered souls need. For planning purposes, the Globe’s experts offer their top picks.
Pop music fans have their pick of “new album releases by Boston-based and national artists, reissues, live-streamed shows, books, and documentaries” (is that all?), including a new Kylie Minogue album and the 20th anniversary re-release of Outkast’s “Stankonia.”
Classical performers are reaching audiences through both audio and video, plus innovations like a truck launched by Boston Lyric Opera. The Globe’s Zoë Madonna and Jeremy Eichler have the lowdown. And Madonna checks in with Skylark Vocal Ensemble, which is using music videos recorded during a summer Cape retreat to elevate its profile in the choral music world.
Serious cinema aficionados, awash in documentaries, are anticipating the arrival of prestigious film festival entries on streaming services. Meanwhile, movie buffs are counting down to the “Coming to America” sequel, “Coming 2 America.” Globe film critic Ty Burr is pondering the transformation of the blockbuster ecosystem and the other big-name projects that are still in the pipeline.
Overstuffed TV schedules continue to include more options than you can shake a remote at. Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert singles out 9 options in addition to the latest seasons of “This Is Us” and “The Crown.”
The dance community is embracing technology and reinvention. Boston Ballet accounts for three of Globe correspondent Karen Campbell’s top picks for the new season, including “The Nutcracker.”
Globe art critic Murray Whyte hits three states and finds everything from Rockwell to Remington. “Made it: The Women Who Revolutionized Fashion,” at the Peabody Essex, looks gorgeous.
Curious kids have their pick of family-friendly science, art, and nature events. Globe correspondent Grace Griffin rounds up happenings everywhere from cyberspace, where singer/songwriter Matt Heaton gets his groove on, to the “Street Car Art Tour” on streets of Lynn. In Fort Point, the Boston Children’s Museum “wants to celebrate Halloween in as safe a way as we know how,” event manager Josh Baker tells the Globe’s Malcolm Gay. The result, HallowEEK!, is spooky, not scary.
The theater community is overflowing with ingenious responses to public health precautions. Arlekin Players Theatre of Needham is riding the success of “State vs. Natasha Banina” to a higher profile and a new theater lab, reports Globe critic Don Aucoin. In his top picks, Aucoin name-checks stars such as Yo-Yo Ma and Janet McTeer (not together) as well as tons of promising up-and-comers.
FILM: Adapted from Jack London’s semiautobiographical novel, “‘Martin Eden’ is old-school cinematic soul food — a sweepingly stylish and smart Italian coming-of-age drama that feels as if it could have been made 60 years ago,” Globe film critic Ty Burr writes in a 3½-star review. The “wolfishly handsome Luca Marinelli” stars in the adaptation of the "simmering tale of a young man’s hopes and disenchantments. The yearning to transform oneself, it turns out, is universal.”
The talk of SXSW, writer-director Cooper Raiff’s college romcom “S#!%house” spins Gen Z alienation into a boy-meets-girl story that turns out to be “the rare youth movie to dispense with cynicism and wear its heart on its sleeve.” Raiff stars opposite Dylan Gelula in a “charmingly handmade” film that “has a beguiling faith in people” and earns three stars from Burr.
Remember the thrill of seeing Liam Neeson on the big screen for the first time? How delighted you would have been to learn he was starring in a film set in Boston? Cling to that feeling as you read the following in Burr’s two-star review of the “Taken” star’s latest generic shoot-‘em-up: “’Honest Thief’ is opening in theaters but it’s not worth the money or the risk.”
Former White House photographer Pete Souza steps into the spotlight in “The Way I See It,” and he isn’t pulling punches. “Whether you agreed with the politics or policies of Ronald Reagan or Barack Obama, both men were decent human beings who were dignified and respectful,” the New Bedford native tells Globe correspondent Lauren Daley. Dawn Porter’s documentary, which garnered 2½ stars from the Globe’s Mark Feeney, airs on MSNBC Friday.
TV: Spike Lee tackles the notoriously difficult job of filming a stage show and turns “David Byrne’s American Utopia” into “a pure pleasure,” writes Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert. “The show is a musical wonder,” blending performance and activism in the “deeply compassionate, self-aware, awed, and, at times, sweetly innocent” way we’ve come to expect from Byrne. “Wisely, Lee lets the material and the kinetic performances speak for themselves, with no gratuitous audience shots and only rare enhancements.”
Another Broadway adaptation, of Heidi Schreck’s “What the Constitution Means to Me,” is “a play to scorch the conscience,” writes Globe theater critic Don Aucoin. The playwright-star “matches the wit and fire of her writing with a riveting performance that often does not feel like a performance at all, but rather a cri de coeur wrenched up from a deep place where the personal, the historical, and the universal have met and merged.”
Gilbert has a great take on the hit-or-miss nature of the humor on “Saturday Night Live”: “At this point, some 46 seasons on, the not-what-it-used-to-be concept is just part of its basic identity.” Building on his recent list of memorable “SNL” political impressions, the latest Ask Matthew tackles a question viewers have been asking since they deemed Episode 2 inferior to Episode 1.
BOOKS: A badly needed counterweight to the conventional wisdom about “an enigmatic American icon.” Les Payne’s “The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X” is a “work of historical excavation,” says Globe reviewer Yohuru Williams. The book creates “a lucid narrative, with each chapter unlocking yet another window into the remarkable life of one of the most feared and misunderstood political figures of the 20th century.”
“Who could have imagined that poets would need to come to the defense of scientists?” asks Jane Hirshfield. Her new collection, “Ledger,” lands at a time of overlapping crises and offers reasons for optimism. “Despair forecloses action, agency, choice,” she says in a Q&A with the Globe’s Jeremy Eichler. “What are we fighting for, if not the continuance of this world’s thriving?”
In “Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change,” poet Maggie Smith documents the fallout of her divorce and offers serendipitously timely affirmations. “This elegantly bound compendium of meditations and essays speaks so resonantly to the hardships of 2020 that it’s hard to believe it took shape before the pandemic,” says Globe correspondent Nicole Graev Lipson.
VISUAL ART: Work by a dozen artists, including Rammellzee, Futura, and Lady Pink, makes up “Writing the Future: Jean-Michel Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation,” the MFA’s big fall exhibition. “Every room is a revelation; it changes history by making it whole,” writes Globe art critic Murray Whyte. “The show is enigmatic, loud, a little scattered, and above all a lovingly faithful simulation of the joyful chaos of another time.”
“Writing the Future” co-curator Greg Tate chats with Whyte about the playlist he curated for the exhibition. “All these artists helped create a sound that would become the hip-hop generation,” says Tate. “So it wasn’t any one thing. It was a lot of things, coming together. Music was just so central to the scene.”
Being named a Disability Futures Fellow put architect Jeffrey Mansfield, who is deaf, in the spotlight. Now Mansfield, who lives in Lawrence, hopes to bring heightened attention to the intersection of design and disability. “I can identify patterns in spatial landscapes and see relationships between space and power,” he tells Globe correspondent Cate McQuaid. “How space shapes authority and how it can be a form of resistance to authority.”
PODCASTS: “Mr. 80 Percent,” which traces Globe reporter Mark Shanahan’s experience with prostate cancer, tells “a deeply personal, sometimes harrowing, often funny story about a disease that affects millions of men.” The podcast wraps up its six-episode run this week. (Is anyone else singing “Mr. 80 Percent” to the tune of the opening bars of “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”? Just me? OK.)
The theme of season 4 of the “Love Letters” podcast, hosted by the Globe’s Meredith Goldstein, is “At Any Age,” about the relationship lessons we learn at different stages of life, from 17 to 70. Episode 3, available in plenty of time for Halloween, is “No Ghosts Allowed.”
PARENTING: The Globe’s new In the Family Way project tackles your thorniest pandemic-era dilemmas. Through a weekly newsletter and column, it explores questions about children’s health, education, and welfare in uncertain times. With the scariest night of the year on the horizon, Globe correspondent Kara Baskin dives into “how to navigate Halloween without scaring yourself.” Learn more and sign up for the newsletter here.
FOOD & DINING: When a veteran food writer says a pastry is “one of the weirdest things I’ve ever eaten,” pay attention. The new Dunkin’ ghost pepper doughnut catches the eye of Globe correspondent Kara Baskin, who tracks down the “spicy strawberry doughnut” with “a vaguely peppery afterburn.” Spoiler: “Reader, I am still alive.”
A “cheap, nourishing, hearty meal for very little effort” is the unicorn of pandemic cuisine, and tender beans in tomato sauce beneath a crunchy, cheesy crust belong on your meal plan. Former Globe food editor Sheryl Julian has just the dish to celebrate the return of bean season.
MUSIC: Splashy celebrations (of just about everything) are on pause for now, but the 50th anniversary of Rounder Records is still cause for revelry. “We really believed we were creating the counterculture of the new world,” Marian Leighton Levy, who founded the iconic label with Ken Irwin and Bill Nowlin, tells Globe correspondent James Sullivan. Recalls Irwin: “We saw it as a continuation of what people were doing with music in the 1930s.”
BUT REALLY: As you may already know, Nov. 3 is Election Day. You have until Oct. 24 to register to vote in Massachusetts. If you’re already registered, do you have a plan to vote? I’ll be heading to City Hall next week — maybe I’ll see you there. Wear your mask and wash your hands!