The Weekender: ‘Dory,’ rubber ducks, and classic-rock heaven
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When last we wrote, everything looked bright for the weekend ahead. By Sunday morning, the news of the massacre in Orlando had turned it somber, striking at just the kind of event — a Latin dance night at a gay club during Pride month — meant to create joy and bring people together.
Now the country is mourning 49 killed that night, and some are seeking policy measures that would help keep us safer. But sustaining the spirit that was threatened is critical for all of us, too. This Saturday and Sunday, we hope you find your way outdoors into the perfect summer weather forecast for the longest days of any weekend this year. (The solstice is Monday.) We hope you find art and music — if you’d like something free, you could stroll in Harvard Square on Saturday for Make Music Harvard Square/Fête de la Musique, a borrowing of a French tradition that invites hundreds of musicians out to perform for the public. Above all, we hope you reach out to one another — especially, on Father’s Day this Sunday, to the dads and the kids of dads who make our lives sweeter.
There’s much more that the weekend offers — all of it, we hope, in peace.
HUNKY DORY: Remember 2003? It’s so long since Pixar’s beloved “Finding Nemo” that much of its target audience has grown up and moved out in the time it took to make the sequel. Now the new film “Finding Dory” moves the spotlight to the extremely forgetful blue tang sidekick voiced by Ellen DeGeneres in a role she loved (“There’s not a negative fish bone in her little fish body,” she tells the Globe) and that powered her transformation from offbeat comedian to America’s daytime-TV BFF. This time, Dory’s looking for her parents. Reviewer Mark Feeney gives the movie 3½ stars and says it’s terrific, with voices including Ed O’Neill, as a helpful octopus desperate to get to Cleveland, plus Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Idris Elba, Dominic West, and a great Albert Brooks as Marlin, a clown fish who’s Nemo’s father. “As good as DeGeneres is at adorable good cheer, Brooks may be even better at barely checked vexation,” Feeney says. Opens Friday.
MATILDA FOR PRESIDENT! Who are you going to root for: a tiny, kind-hearted intellectual leading a fight for oppressed children, or the terrifying Miss Trunchbull, who rules over them with a hand of iron? The popular, Tony Award-winning adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s novel, “Matilda the Musical,” has arrived at the Boston Opera House, and for theater critic Don Aucoin, the choice was clear on opening night: “The remarkable Sarah McKinley Austin, who is just 9 years old . . . skillfully captures Matilda’s preternaturally calm self-possession, and she brings a beautiful poignancy to the world-silencing ballad ‘Quiet.’’’ While the touring show may not be as overwhelmingly transporting as the original Broadway production, he says, “the distinctive strengths of this rich, dark, and satisfyingly strange musical still come through.” Through June 26.
POP GOES AMERICA: The Kiss Concert 2016 offers a tour of our common-denominator pop hitmakers right now, for better and worse. This smorgasbord, hosted by Kiss 108, gives you Halsey (who burned up Boston Calling a year ago), Flo Rida, Nelly, Charlie Puth, the Chainsmokers, Iggy Azalea, and Melanie Martinez, among others. At the Xfinity Center in Mansfield on Saturday.
TOMORROW’S DUCK DRONE DESIGNERS: The two-day EurekaFest, which starts Friday at MIT, pits high school inventors and engineers against one another in fierce competition. On Saturday, everyone can head to the Museum of Science to observe the battle, culminating in the Duck ’n’ Hover Competition IV, an activity we’ll let the organizers describe: “High school students from across the country will design and build a wind-powered device capable of hovering three stories in the air — carrying rubber ducks as payload.” You’ve been warned.
DON’T RAIN ON HER PARADE: Would you take on a role linked indelibly to Barbra Streisand? Shoshana Bean does it in North Shore Music Theatre’s “Funny Girl,” with panache. “Bean’s performance can more than stand on its own, especially when she lets loose with the kind of screwball humor that amply fulfills the promise of the show’s title,” writes reviewer Don Aucoin. She even offers a fresh take on the chestnut “People.” But Bean’s achievement shouldn’t be surprising, after all: A decade ago, she replaced Tony-winner Idina Menzel as Elphaba in Broadway’s “Wicked.’’ Your last chance to see the show in Beverly is Sunday.
SIGHT AND SOUND: While the copyright trial continues in the lawsuit over Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” you can walk a few steps up to your own classic-rock heaven in “Music to Our Ears,” a show at the Panopticon Gallery, inside the Hotel Commonwealth. Featuring 49 photographs, three posters, and six guitars, the exhibit showcases images of everyone from Bob Dylan to John Lennon, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, David Bowie, and Stephen Stills (at Judy Collins’s piano), as well as such local rock luminaries as Letters to Cleo, Mark Sandman, and Amanda Palmer. Looking at it all, writes Mark Feeney, produces a sense of synesthesia: “a viewer can’t help but hear an awful lot of music.” Through Sept. 13.
BETWEEN THE ROCK AND A DUMB PLACE: OK, maybe the times call for a little simple fun? Fun in the giant form of Dwayne Johnson? In that case, head to “Central Intelligence,” a buddy comedy/action movie pairing him with Kevin Hart that is, according to film critic Ty Burr, mostly brainless. So why does he still recommend it, albeit in just a two-star review? It’s all about Johnson, who’s witty and graceful in the role of a onetime high-school nerd, now a beefcaked-up CIA agent, who turns into a worshipful puppy around his long-ago high school savior (Hart). “Who would have thought back in his pro wrestling days that The Rock would someday become one of our more likably nuanced comic actors?” marvels Burr. Opens Friday.
DRIVE, WE SAID: Two musical performances are well worth a voyage to the Berkshires this weekend. Led by Daniel Stepner, the Aston Magna Music Festival, America’s oldest early-music fest, opens with “Love and Lamentation,” a program title that seems especially timely considering recent events. Featuring music by such 17th-century Italian masters as Monteverdi, it takes place Saturday at Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington. Then for a more contemporary take on beautiful melancholy, Beach Boys visionary Brian Wilson celebrates the 50th anniversary of his group’s landmark “Pet Sounds” with the Boston Pops at Tanglewood this Sunday. Joined by Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin, he’ll play the album from beginning to end. Wouldn’t that be nice?
OR STAY IN! Sophia, Pennsatucky, Suzanne, Piper — fans of “Orange Is the New Black” have longed to learn how the inmates of Litchfield Penitentiary fare in their newly privatized prison. Now we know: A racist celebrity chef joins them behind bars, there’s a brutal new guard, and a serious culture clash is escalating in the new season, which starts streaming Friday. All told, this powerful, multilayered show is “better than ever in its dark, dauntless fourth chapter,” says reviewer Isaac Feldberg.
If you binge-watch “Orange,” you might just come up for air in time to catch “The Jim Gaffigan Show,” the popular stand-up comedian/actor’s semi-autobiographical sitcom, whose second season premieres Sunday on TV Land. Or you could try something completely different: a hands-on experience of the Iranian Revolution with a smart, deeply engaging new video game: “1979 Revolution: Black Friday.” “There’s often a superficial aspect to the ways video games present moral choices, but that isn’t true here,” writes video game columnist Jesse Singal. “There’s rarely a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ option, just a persistent, appropriate sense of menace that whatever choice you make will end up hurting you or someone you love.”
Then by all means, head outside and enjoy some sun.
See you next week!