Things to Do

The Weekender: Kittens, Cubans, and a midnight bookstore

Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key in “Keanu.”
Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key in “Keanu.”Steve Dietl

Guys. Sunday is May. We made it. Everything is turning bright green and about to burst into bloom, and Boston is offering you pretty much countless excuses to go outside. On Sunday, the New England Aquarium is throwing a family-friendly New England Right Whale Festival in honor of these huge, endangered creatures; scientists believe only 526 remain in the world, of whom nine were spotted off Cape Cod in February. Harvard Square offers up its annual Mayfair, with music, food, dancing, and crafts (rain date: May 15). Or get in a kayak or canoe and go look for seals in the Charles River. It got so (relatively) clean and full of fish that they can’t stay away.

Looking for indoor activities? We have tons of those for you as well.


Two men and a baby (cat): We really want to see Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, the comic geniuses behind Comedy’s Central late, great “Key & Peele” show, find big-screen glory. “Keanu,” in which two middle-class nerds must impersonate gangsters when someone makes off with their . . . kitten (seriously), may not be that movie, says Ty Burr; it’s more of a stretched-out sketch. Still, says Burr, who gives it two and half stars, “If you’re in the right mood and seeing it with the right crowd, ‘Keanu’ can put you close to a giggle coma.” Keanu, the feline MacGuffin, is played by seven hot Hollywood kittens.

White swan, black swan: Starting this weekend, Boston Ballet performs Mikko Nissinen’s version of the beloved classic “Swan Lake,” which the company says won’t be back again for several years afterward. The dual role of white swan Odette and her evil twin Odile will be danced by principal dancer Misa Kuranaga on Friday and Saturday, with New York City Ballet principal dancer Gonzalo Garcia guest-starring as Prince Siegfried. Through May 26.


Fresh bands, $10 or less: On Saturday night, $7 gets you in to see the sweet harmonic pop of the National Parks, a band that formed in Utah in 2013, at Thunder Road in Somerville. For $10, you can see Horse Lords, which Steve Smith says “mixes egghead notions (just intonation, minimalist repetitions) with gangly guitar, art-blurt sax, and West African grooves,” and three other bands at Out of the Blue Too in Cambridge.

Night at the bookstore: Happy Independent Bookstore Day! That’s Saturday, and some of our great local indies, including Trident Booksellers and Cafe, Brookline Booksmith, Porter Square Books, and Papercuts J.P., are celebrating with special events, sales, and readings. Best of all might be Harvard Book Store’s after-dark party at the store from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturday night. For $25, you get drinks, snacks, spooky readings by Samantha Hunt, and new Pulitzer finalist Kelly Link, and 20 percent discounted book shopping in the dark with your own take-home flashlight.

A scene from Marissa Chibas’s "Daughter of a Cuban Revolutionary.”
A scene from Marissa Chibas’s "Daughter of a Cuban Revolutionary.”Miranda Wright

A daughter of Cuba: Marissa Chibas’s one-woman show “Daughter of a Cuban Revolutionary” couldn’t be hitting Boston at a more extraordinary time, as Obama reopens diplomatic relations with Cuba and those descended from Cuban exiles, like Chibas, reexamine their relationships to the homeland. Critic Don Aucoin calls this show “engrossing and moving”: “speaking up and speaking out,” he writes, “is clearly a trait of the remarkable Chibas family.”


Amid the fireworks: In “Fireworks Wednesday,” a new-to-America 2006 film by Oscar-winning Iranian director Asghar Farhadi (“A Separation”), a spirited working-class housecleaner finds herself in the middle of a couple’s marital meltdown during Iran’s new year’s celebration. This is a “complex and magnificently acted melodrama,” writes Peter Keough, who gives it three and a half stars.

50 years of daring global architecture: The Boston Society of Architects Space gallery hosts a major retrospective of Moshe Safdie — at 77, “undoubtedly the most famous architect in the Boston area,” writes Robert Campbell. Bold, audacious, popularity-seeking, Safdie’s work can be seen not just at local institutions (the Peabody Essex Museum, Harvard Business School) but all over the world. “Whatever one thinks of Safdie, this is an astonishing body of work,” Campbell says. Through May 22.

Jazz piano to die for: Kenny Barron brings his trio (Kiyoshi Kitagawa on bass, Johnathan Blake on drums) to the Regattabar for four sets this weekend. For a Globe profile in 2010, Berklee’s Tom Riley told Siddhartha Mitter that Barron is “a triple threat of jazz: a graceful and sophisticated pianist, a deft composer, and an educator who shares the tradition.’’ You have tons of other jazz offerings to choose from this weekend, too: Check out the wide-ranging schedule for Boston’s Jazz Week, which ends Sunday.


Conductor Alex Joel during Boston Lyric Opera "Merry Widow" rehearsal.
Conductor Alex Joel during Boston Lyric Opera "Merry Widow" rehearsal.Suzanne Kreiter\Globe staff

Meet conductor man, brother of piano man: The Boston Lyric Opera’s production of Franz Lehár’s operetta “The Merry Widow” offers a few twists. It’s mostly in English, with a new book and some surtitled singing in German and French. Stage director Lillian Groag has moved the time frame from 1905 to a high-design 1913. And at the podium will be Alexander Joel, the younger London-born half-brother of Billy Joel, making his American conducting debut. Through May 8.

Dreams and reality in the Middle East: In “Colliding Dreams,” a new documentary about the history of Israel, filmmakers Joseph Dorman and Oren Rudavsky offer a thoughtful center-left look at an endlessly fraught territory. Ty Burr awards the movie three stars: “It’s knowledgeable and unhysterical, openhearted without seeming naïve. Those on the extremes will probably hate it,” he writes.

President Obama (right) with comedian Keegan-Michael Key at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in 2015.
President Obama (right) with comedian Keegan-Michael Key at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in 2015. YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty Images

Or stay in! As the bruising 2016 campaign wears on, politics often make us want to cry. On Saturday, we get a chance to laugh instead: The last White House Correspondents Dinner of the Obama era kicks off at 7:30 on C-SPAN, hosted by a post-“Daily Show” Larry Wilmore. The Donald says he’s skipping it, but “I’m betting he will be the subject of many, many punch lines,” says Matthew Gilbert.

See you next week!

Amanda Katz can be reached at amkatz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @katzish.