Boston-area to do list

John Mayer performs at the Comcast Center.
John Mayer performs at the Comcast Center.


The sky’s the limit

Were you a ceiling starer? John Mayer wasn’t: “I knew what I wanted to do when I was 13 and I had to go through four years of high school to get out. That’s a blessing, because I never had to lay on my bed staring up at the ceiling going, ‘What am I going to do with my life?’ ” Stare at the Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, and guitarist when he celebrates his studio album “Born and Raised.” 7:30 p.m. $30-$72. Comcast Center, 885 S. Main St., Mansfield.


Local and national news Of the 90 applicants hoping for a slot at the Boston Contemporary Dance Festival, 35 companies and choreographers made the cut. Boston’s Urbanity Dance hosts (and performs at) the Boston edition and National Showcase. Noon (Boston Edition), 3 and 7:30 p.m. (National Showcase). $20-$75. Paramount Center, 559 Washington St., Boston. 617-572-3727.

Take thee to the harbor Thanks to cofounder David Byrne, we all fell in love with the new wave, art punk Talking Heads and tunes including “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody),” “Road to Nowhere,” “Once in a Lifetime,” “Burning Down the House,” and “Take Me to the River.” Take thee to the MV Samuel Clemens for the “Start Making Sense Talking Heads Tribute” cruise with the Start Making Sense band. 8 p.m. (7:15 p.m. boarding). $25, $30 day of show. 21+. Mass Bay Lines, 60 Rowes Wharf, Boston.


Bowie bonanza With testimonials like these, Niki Luparelli & The Gold Diggers can’t go wrong: “If you run for mayor, if I’m still alive, I’ll campaign for you.” (former Providence mayor Buddy Cianci). “Wow, you smell really good.” (Davy Jones, the Monkees). At the female-fronted David Bowie tribute, Luparelli adds go-go dancing for an added punch. 10 p.m. $12. 21+. Johnny D’s, 17 Holland St., Somerville.

Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Beast-y boy The inspiration for most songs on Josh Ritter’s recent release, “Beast in its Tracks,” came from the singer-songwriter’s divorce from Dawn Landes and his new partner. Sounds like recovery won over remorse. Josh Ritter & the Royal City Band welcome special guests Kingsley Flood. 7:30 p.m. $29, $35 (at the gate). Boarding House Park, 40 French St., Lowell (rain location is Lowell High School Auditorium). 978-970-5200.


60 minutes A mere $149 is a deal for a university education. At “One Day University” you’ll learn from Columbia’s Richard Pious (“FDR: What We Know Now That We Didn’t Know Then”), Amherst College’s Catherine Sanderson (“Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness”), and Brown’s John J. Stein (“The New Frontier of the Brain and Learning”). The profs deliver one-hour versions of their best lectures. Aug. 18 from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. $149 (registration required). Heritage Museums & Gardens, 67 Grove St., Sandwich.

I scream, you scream, we all scream If this is the first time you’ll eat ice cream this summer, shame on you. If it isn’t, we’re proud of you. At the all-you-can-eat Ice Cream Takedown you’ll sample ice cream made by local folks and then vote for the winner. Aug. 18 2-4 p.m. $15. Center for Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave., Somerville. 617-718-2191.