The Weekender: ‘Star Trek,’ ’80s rock, and a dancing pilot
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You're not going to have long to recover between following the (wild) Republican National Convention and the (yet unknown) Democratic National Convention, which starts Monday. So for this weekend, we recommend a complete change of scene. One option: head to America's very first public beach for the Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival, and embrace the things that already make this country great (sand, sun, surf, happy crowds, a free view of incredible sand art, fireworks). It's all weekend. You can choose from plenty of other diversions as well.
TO BOLDLY GO, AGAIN: In "Star Trek Beyond," the highly anticipated third installment of the J.J. Abrams franchise reboot (he's still producing, but has handed the directorial reins to Justin Lin), the posse crash lands on an unknown planet. Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, and Simon Pegg (who co-wrote the script) are all along for the ride, along with Idris Elba and Anton Yelchin, the young actor who died suddenly last month. Ty Burr gives it three stars: "It's a fine summer B-movie, and it gives good Trek." Perhaps most of all, it works as comfort food, coming (as Ethan Gilsdorf recently noted) a full 50 years after the first launch of the Enterprise. Now playing.
FOLK-POP BY THE SEA: The Newport Folk Festival, which has brought in major pop acts in recent years, is sold out, on what looks to be a hot, beautiful weekend in its beautiful Rhode Island seaport home — but who knows, you may still be able to cadge a ticket from a fellow fan. The lineup is pretty sublime: Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, Alabama Shakes, Ryan Adams, Violent Femmes, Freakwater, up and comer Julien Baker, and tons more. Two highlights: Neko Case, k.d. lang, and Laura Veirs will play Friday in their new supergroup, case/lang/veirs. And on Saturday bluegrass legends Del McCoury and David Grisman play as Del & Dawg. Their set might feature gems from McCoury's recent hit album "Del and Woody," for which he drew on unused Woody Guthrie lyrics conferred on him by Woody's daughter Nora.
REMEMBER THE '80S: Do you love rock 'n' roll? Well, put another dime in the jukebox, baby, because Heart, Joan Jett and the Blackhawks, and Cheap Trick are playing a triple bill on Sunday. They're all inductees in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame — Cheap Trick just this year — and this triple bill is called "Rock Hall Three for All" to celebrate. Best known for their 1980s classics, these rockers are still making music, too: Heart and Cheap Trick have solid new records this year. At the Xfinity Center, Mansfield.
THE DORCHESTER IMPRESSIONIST: "American Impressionism will always seem a belated, secondhand, and mostly second-rate affair, for the simple reason that it is not French Impressionism," writes art critic Sebastian Smee in his review of "American Impressionist: Childe Hassam and the Isle of Shoals," at the Peabody Essex Museum. But Hassam, who was born right here in Dorchester, nevertheless emerges in this show as "a devoted and talented painter," and his images of these islands southeast of Portsmouth, N.H., are worth seeing: "Hassam's touch, his ability to suggest the transparency of water, the different textures of shrubs, surf, and rocks, and the majesty of the sun-bleached island as a whole, are all remarkable."
OPERA RARITIES IN WATERTOWN: Susan Davenny Wyner conducts a double bill of 19th-century one-act operas for Boston Midsummer Opera at Arsenal Center for the Arts: Donizetti's "Il Campanello," in which an old apothecary's wedding night is continually interrupted by a romantic rival, and Mascagni's "L'Amico Fritz." Music critic Jeremy Eichler reports that it's a highly capable cast, a lithe orchestra, and overall "an evening full of geniality and charm." Friday and Sunday; details here.
SHOWING HER MOVES: An 11-year-old tomboy in inner-city Cincinnati tries to fit in with a drill team of high school girls. At just 72 minutes long, the film may sound slight, says critic Ty Burr, but "The Fits," the feature fiction debut of Anna Rose Holmer, truly "seems to contain the entire world." Starring the remarkable young actress Royalty Hightower, the movie "is a nearly perfect thing, made with such assurance that every shot holds weight and widens your heart." Burr gives it four stars. Opens Friday at the Brattle Theatre.
DRAMATIC TRANSFORMATIONS: Gay bottlenose dolphins, a drag routine set to Aerosmith's "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)," and a little "Non-Binary Sex Education for Kids": They're all part of "The T Party,'' a freewheeling look at gender identity from Natsu Onoda Power ("Astro Boy and the God of Comics"). Now making its New England premiere, the show is "bracingly original," says theater critic Don Aucoin: "playful, idiosyncratic, and, though self-indulgent at times, often bursting with energy, heart, and ideas." Presented by Company One Theatre through Aug. 13.
FLYING HIGH: It's hard not to think of Icarus when you hear the story behind "Sunset, o639 Hours," which Philadelphia's BalletX is bringing to Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival. Company artistic director Matthew Neenan was inspired by the exploits of pilot Edwin Musick, who broke multiple flight records before an ill-fated inaugural trans-Pacific airmail flight in 1938 between New Zealand and Hawaii. Neenan's ballet, which features an onstage cabaret band, is inventive and beautifully performed, says reviewer Janine Parker: "The 10 superb dancers constantly morph into various creatures. At times they are Musick's crew members, at other times revelers in a nightclub, dancing the night away. They are now fish gently undulating, now twitchy, exotic birds. Sometimes they circle their arms, faster and faster, propellers come alive." Through Sunday.
OR STAY IN! John Oliver, we've missed you! The late-night Brit returns Sunday night with a new episode of HBO's "Last Week Tonight" after a monthlong hiatus, and we're guessing the man behind the popular "Make Donald Drumpf Again" campaign will have a few choice words to share about this week's Republican National Convention. Meanwhile, if you're ready to tune in to something other than political craziness, music critic Steve Smith shares his picks for 10 of the best albums of the year (so far). You won't be shocked to see Beyoncé and Bowie, but there's a surprise entry, too: Blood Orange's "Freetown Sound," among 2016's "most extraordinary creations," Smith says. "Global and personal politics mix and mingle, animated with gospel, funk, and hip-hop modes and moves. What results is an album to live with, and to live inside: engrossing and necessary."
See you next week!