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The Big To-Do: Anthony Bourdain, Broadway musical fun, plus readers’ favorite ice cream

Anthony Bourdain (right) with restaurateur David Chang, in "Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain."
Anthony Bourdain (right) with restaurateur David Chang, in "Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain."Focus Features

Welcome back to The Big To-Do. Maybe you’ve noticed that the weather has been, um, mercurial, and maybe you’ve also noticed that only the most inhospitable conditions are able to keep New Englanders indoors in the summer. The Globe’s experts really flood the zone this week, delivering so many entertainment options that you won’t need to resort to jigsaw puzzles unless you really love doing them. (I do, too!)

FILM: Morgan Neville’s “Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain” brings the celebrity chef and TV personality “eerily and empathetically back to life,” Globe film critic Ty Burr writes in a 3-star review. But the “resolutely genuine“ figure who traded privacy for fame never quite comes into sharp focus. “The paradox seems entirely relevant to the depression that ultimately led to his suicide ... yet Neville and his interviewees only tenuously grapple with it.”


“Tony was a seeker. He was somebody who was always looking for the next thing, to go to the next place, to have the next experience,” Academy Award-winning documentarian Morgan Neville says in a Q&A with Globe correspondent Kyung Mi Lee. “The interviews [in the film] are deeply therapeutic. I was as much a grief counselor as an interviewer, which was really tough.”

The “spoken-word musical” “Summertime,” written by director Carlos López Estrada and his young stars, is “by turns hilarious, hopeful, and blunt,” writes Burr, who gives 3 stars to the LA-set day-in-the-life “verbal relay.” “There’s not much character development or conflict unless you count 25 ferocious young talents talking back to a world that is ready to marginalize them.”

“Pig” stars “Nicolas Cage as a reclusive truffle hunter who descends into the criminal underworld of Portland, Ore., on the trail of his stolen pig,” writes Burr. Yes, it “ducks into alleys of preposterousness on a regular basis, but it rights itself time and again.” The “brooding character study with a powerfully subdued lead performance and some fine, taut filmmaking from Michael Sarnoski,” who co-wrote the script, earns 3 stars.


The docu-series “Heist” tells the stories of “three high-scoring, sometimes comically botched inside jobs,” writes Globe correspondent Peter Keough — armored car and airport robberies and a high-profile incident of “purloined Pappy Van Winkle whiskey.” In all three tales, told by different filmmakers, “desperadoes saw opportunities to make a killing and acted on them with an ineptitude matched only by the fecklessness of those in authority.”

The opening weekend box office haul for “Black Widow” topped $215 million, notable not just as a pandemic-era record but also because “it broke the unwritten rule that video-on-demand companies don’t release viewer statistics,” writes Burr. “Coming from the most dominant player in Hollywood, the Disney announcement forces a number of hands”: of other streaming companies, theater owners, and maybe even the industry at large.

The recent deaths of directors Richard Donner and Robert Downey Sr. got Burr thinking about the wildly divergent figures: “Donner was Mr. Inside, Downey an eternal Mr. Outside. The first made films the culture remembers, the second made movies it needs.” Find your “to watch” list — it’s about to get longer.

Stuck indoors but in the mood for a cinematic escape? From “A Summer Place” to “Jaws” to “What About Bob?” to “Moonrise Kingdom,” Globe correspondent Dana Gerber rounds up a dozen films,all set and/or filmed in glorious New England.”


TV: “Schmigadoon!” celebrates Broadway musicals even as it delivers “a valentine with qualifications regarding the denial, the moral suffocation, the racism, and the absurd idealism of that old-school world,” writes Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert. The six-episode series “goofs on the conventions of the genre, but it’s an affectionate goof ... simultaneously delivering top-notch and well-shot choreography and plenty of catchy schmaltz.”

There are a bunch of words and phrases that are fairly exhausted in TV criticism, and, reader, I have often succumbed,” Gilbert confesses. He runs down an assortment of “words that seemed reserved for literary criticism,” more “stock critical phrases,” and “certain constructions,” building up to a “Seinfeld”-level final sentence that unites an impressive selection of critical clichés.

If you found the list of Emmy Award nominees lacking in some very specific ways (no Ethan Hawke, really?), Gilbert is right there with you. He runs down a bunch of “snubs and odd choices,” observing, “That’s part of the pleasure of these races — complaining.”

The flip side of high-profile nominations is cancellations, and Gilbert’s list of canceled (and renewed) broadcast shows includes some gems. He singles out “The Unicorn,” starring Walton Goggins, “which had a great ensemble feel to it.” I’d add “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,” which featured Lynn native Alex Newell in a scene-stealing turn as the title character’s neighbor and friend.


Boston Festival Orchestra conductor and cofounder Alyssa Wang rehearsed the group at Calderwood Pavilion this week.
Boston Festival Orchestra conductor and cofounder Alyssa Wang rehearsed the group at Calderwood Pavilion this week.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

CLASSICAL MUSIC: Boston Festival Orchestra makes its in-person debut this weekend, a year later than originally planned and with months of online performances under its belt. “People are extremely hungry for live concerts,” cofounder Alyssa Wang tells the Globe’s A.Z. Madonna. Cofounder Nicholas Brown added that they hope to become “a cornerstone of summers in Boston.”

New York Philharmonic principal clarinetist Anthony McGill, who’s on the summer festival circuit, found some positives in pandemic virtual performances. “When you’re in a situation where it feels like there may be no hope, you see that actually, people still want to listen,” he tells Globe correspondent David Weininger. “Knowing that there are people that want to hear you play, even if they can’t be in the same room as you, is really powerful.”

LOVE LETTERS: Ready for a fresh start? Aren’t we all? The theme of Season 5 of the Love Letters podcast, hosted by the Globe’s Meredith Goldstein, is “New Beginnings.” The episodes tell stories about love that’s new, revived, reinvented, and full of hope. The latest installment tackles the question of creating romantic expectations — and what happens when we let them go. Listen here.

POP MUSIC: After five-plus decades, Randy Newman’s body of work “is one of the essential columns that buttress the American songwriting tradition,” writes Globe correspondent James Sullivan. Ahead of the Newport Folk Festival, the 77-year-old says, “I’ll be nervous as always. I mean, if you’re paying attention, you’re going to be nervous about doing something this weird for a living. But I am looking forward to it.”


Claire Cottrill, who performs as Clairo, made her name as “one of bedroom pop’s brightest stars.” For her second album, “Sling,” she “hunkered down with uber producer Jack Antonoff ... and threw back to the early ’70s,” writes Globe reviewer Maura Johnston. “Even though these songs are compact, their intricacy and curiosity hint at what Cottrill can do when she’s unconstrained by the expectations tied into writing a pop song.”

Indie rocker Thalia Zedek is releasing and rereleasing music as well as performing in person after a year-plus of “trying to keep occupied, because I knew eventually things were going to start up again.” Getting back onstage “felt a little strange, because it’s still pretty new to walk into a place and not wear a mask,“ the Allston resident says in a Q&A with Globe correspondent Linda Laban. “It’s a strange time but I’m enjoying it.”

Asleep at the Wheel is bringing its pandemic-delayed celebration of a half-century of western swing to the Boston area. “It’s about the instrumentation,” frontman Ray Benson tells Globe correspondent Stuart Munro. “You can play any song, anything you want as long as it’s fiddles, steel guitar, a few horns, piano, bass, drums, and singers. That’s what a western swing band is.”

An elderly woman in a chair, dated 1890s. The image is from a glass plate negative, part of the "Somebody Photographed This" collection.
An elderly woman in a chair, dated 1890s. The image is from a glass plate negative, part of the "Somebody Photographed This" collection.TS Cappucci Archives

VISUAL ART: Among the thousands of antique glass negatives that fell into Terri Sevene Cappucci’s hands last year were images she calls “absolutely stunning.” “The curator in me popped out and thought ‘This is an exhibit,’” the photographer tells the Globe’s Christopher Muther. “These are parts of the past that we don’t get to see.” Images from the project in progress, “Somebody Photographed This,” can be viewed online.

Painter Susan Jane Belton “is a wry observer of life,” and during the pandemic she turned her attention to “traffic cones, stanchions, and hydrants.” In her new show, “Playing in Traffic,” she demonstrates how “[u]nder COVID restrictions, we were stuck in place,” writes Globe correspondent Cate McQuaid, “and the mad scramble we underwent to adapt to a new reality.” At Howard Yezerski Gallery in the South End.

THEATER: Veteran character actor Christopher Lloyd tackles the title role in Shakespeare & Company’s production of “King Lear,” and “there’s no question that Lloyd deserves admiration for shouldering this enormous challenge at 82,” writes Globe theater critic Don Aucoin. “But on balance his performance does not add up to a haunting portrait of a mighty, if wayward, spirit brought crushingly low.”

PARENTING: The Globe’s In the Family Way project tackles your thorniest pandemic-era dilemmas, including life with the not-yet-vaccine-eligible under-12 set. Through a weekly newsletter and column, it explores questions about children’s health, education, and welfare in uncertain times. Sign up for the newsletter here.

BOOKS: In her new novel, “Count the Ways,” Joyce Maynard mines her own life for material — a pattern even before she dropped out of Yale to move in with J.D. Salinger — and finds a measure of peace. “There are big chunks of me in this character, and chunks of my marriage and my divorce,” she tells Globe correspondent Lauren Daley. “But it came from a different place: looking at it through the lens of now.”

DANCE: Fifty-one years after its founding, Ballet Hispánico is celebrating its golden anniversary at Jacob’s Pillow, performing Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s “Tiburones,” “Batucada Fantástica,” by Vicente Nebrada, and “18+1” by Gustavo Ramírez Sansano. “With this spirited cadre of terrific dancers performing this fun triple bill, better late than never,” writes Globe correspondent Janine Parker.

LOOK AGAIN: Every day is a good day to weigh in on lists of the best ice cream in Massachusetts. Food & Wine magazine recently crowned Toscanini’s and Christina’s Homemade Ice Cream, Globe commenters had a lot of thoughts, and, in a delightful Russian-doll-style development, Globe correspondent Kyung Mi Lee’s story about readers’ suggestions in the comments ... has its own comments. Ready, set, opine!