The Weekender: Bourne, the Bard, and flying nannies
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After a month so hot and dry that more than a third of Massachusetts was officially in a severe drought, this weekend is supposed to bring cooler temperatures and maybe even a little rain. But you may still be looking to bathe in summer relief. There’s the figurative approach: Dive into the free delights of the Lowell Folk Festival, celebrating its 30th anniversary with a super diverse lineup all weekend. Or there’s the literal one: Jump into any of these state-owned public pools. Or go full Christmas in July: There’s public ice skating, with a DJ (!), on Friday nights at the Skating Club of Boston. Here’s what else is on our weekend agenda.
THE BOURNE IS BACK: He had an identity. He had a supremacy! Then he had an ultimatum, and a legacy. What now for Jason Bourne, handsome Bostonian amnesiac superspy? (OK, not Bostonian, but we will claim any character played by Matt Damon forever.) Well, just pure Bourneness. “Jason Bourne,” directed by Paul Greengrass, is as entertainingly functional as we’ve come to expect from this series, with all the action sequences, globe-hopping, and casino devastation you could desire, and a free side of Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones, and Julia Stiles. “It exists for no other reason than that people like Matt Damon, they like him as this character, and the producers know audiences are willing to see more of him,” Ty Burr points out, yet it still largely does the trick. Two and a half stars. Now showing.
JAZZ BY THE WATER: Sixty-two years after its beginnings, the Newport Jazz Festival is going strong, with a lineup that this year includes Norah Jones, Angelique Kidjo, Gregory Porter, Kamasi Washington, Nels Cline, and Chick Corea in an ensemble with Brian Blade and bassist Christian McBride, the festival’s incoming artistic director. Longtime festival impresario George Wein, 90 — who led the organization into nonprofit status in 2011, and whom I saw being hailed as a hero by crowds last year — is enjoying his final outing as executive director. He still loves finding new artists to feature, he told the Globe in a recent interview: “My mind is open to as much as it’s possible to absorb.” Friday through Sunday; full details here.
FREE SHAKESPEARE! The Bard, performed for the masses in outdoor public parks, is surely one of the great highbrow/lowbrow joys of summer in the city. For its 21st season, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company is offering “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” a linguistically dense, lesser-known early comedy, on the Common. And though the plot is skimpy, says theater critic Don Aucoin, director Steven Maler “tackles this challenge by augmenting the wordplay with horseplay. His strong cast is equal to both sides of that task.” Reserve ahead for a fee and get a chair all your own, or bring blankets and picnic for free. Through Aug. 7.
MAINE ATTRACTIONS: Our art critic, Sebastian Smee, proposes a jaunt to the beautiful seaside village of Rockland, which has a new claim to greatness: the recently opened Center for Maine Contemporary Art, which he calls “a coup for supporters of contemporary art in Maine.” Right now it’s presenting an “exquisite show of small paintings” by 89-year-old Alex Katz, he says, adding that, in the scale and simplicity of the work, “Katz is cool.” As a Katz (no relation), I can only concur. As Smee notes, the CMCA isn’t the only game in town, either: the Farnsworth Art Museum, with a great American collection and works by the Wyeths in particular, is practically across the street.
CLASSICS (AND MORE) AT TANGLEWOOD: Out in the beautiful Berkshires, Andris Nelsons leads his first Tanglewood concerts of the summer. Under his baton, the Boston Symphony Orchestra will play Mozart and Mahler on Friday, and Sibelius, Beethoven, and the American composer John Corigliano on Saturday; the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra will perform an all-Brahms program on Sunday. You can also visit in the morning that day for a set of John Cage works for prepared piano, and in the evening, for those missing them in Newport, the Chick Corea trio. Details and tickets for all of it here.
NO SPOONFUL OF SUGAR REQUIRED: It’s your last chance to see North Shore Music Theatre’s production of “Mary Poppins,’’ featuring the Banks family nanny who puts the family back on track with supercalifragilisticexpialidocious aplomb. The show closes Sunday. Keep an eye out for Jake Ryan Flynn, a young actor from Wenham playing Michael Banks, who has three previous shows at NSMT under his belt and has shot a commercial with Tom Brady. He starts fourth grade this fall.
YOUNG DANCERS UNITE: For Boston Ballet, the “First Look” program on Saturday is a chance for entering members of the school’s second company, Boston Ballet II, to perform together with returning members and select dancers from the summer program, “to better integrate the company before the 2016-17 season kicks off in October,” writes Sophie Haigney. For audiences, it’s a chance to catch a cadre of youthful performers in relatively unknown works by George Balanchine and Twyla Tharp, as well as pieces by Bournonville, Petipa, and Jorma Elo. You can find tickets here.
TODDLER RESCUE SERVICES: Ellen Page and Allison Janney, who played daughter and stepmom in Page’s breakout film “Juno,” are reunited in “Tallulah,” in which the two women end up battling and bonding over a borrowed (or kidnapped, depending on who you ask) toddler. It’s the debut of writer-director Sian Heder, a Cambridge native who has written and produced episodes of “Orange Is the New Black,” and features an appearance from OITNB’s Uzo Aduba as well. Ty Burr awards three stars to this “plotty but winning charmer” and says to go see it at West Newton, starting Friday: “The theater deserves your support and so do the film’s lead actresses.”
OR STAY IN! Netflix’s six-part documentary series “Last Chance U,” which peers into the lives of the football team at East Mississippi Community College, debuts Friday. “For those with a love of the game, this peek inside a premier small college program is a stimulating, singular all-access pass,” writes Isaac Feldberg. Atlanta rapper Gucci Mane has just dropped his first post-federal-prison release, “Everybody Looking,” and Julian Benbow reports that it’s an album of brooding beats, “less party and more perspective.” And in book news, you can relive your Harry Potter obsession years with the publication of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” which is sort of Book 8 in J.K. Rowling’s series but also kind of the script to a play by Jack Thorne, based on a new Rowling story. As in the olden days of the 2000s, it shall be released at midnight, with splashy Saturday night release parties planned at Brookline Booksmith, Harvard Book Store, Porter Square Books, and more.
See you next week!