The Weekender: Cosplay, dirty dogs, and the return of Tracy Morgan
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The Red Sox are struggling, the presidential campaign is surreal, and Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh has declared a heat emergency stretching into Saturday. Head for the hills! If you’re looking for a destination, there’s the 134th Bolton Fair, an all-weekend classic of animal exhibits, a fiddler contest, a demolition derby, and something called “Hot Dog Pig Racing.” Or head for the waves: Sand artist Andres Amador and volunteers will create vast kaleidoscopic patterns — Amador calls them “Playa Paintings” — on Carson Beach, Savin Hill Beach, and Constitution Beach this weekend.
Plenty of other attractions beckon, all over town.
GET YOUR GEEK ON: When you see Kylo Ren and Harley Quinn walking down the street, that’s your signal: Boston Comic Con is here. The massive fan fest, expected to attract 45,000 science fiction, fantasy, horror, and comic-book aficionados, runs Friday through Sunday at the Seaport World Trade Center. It’s a cosplay fantasia, and big business, too. Celebrity guests will include Gillian Anderson (“The X-Files”) and William Shatner, celebrating the 50th anniversary of “Star Trek” by, among other things, throwing the first pitch at Fenway Park Friday night. Full details here.
BLOOD, SWEAT, AND TEXAS: They don’t make movies like they used to? Well, here comes the throwback crime drama “Hell or High Water” — “a lean little saga of two bank-robbing brothers and the aging hound dog of a lawman on their tail,” as film critic Ty Burr puts it. Starring Chris Pine and Ben Foster as siblings whose family farm is about to be seized by a bank, plus Jeff Bridges, “who wallows marvelously as West Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton,” it’s funny and tragic, collapsing time and history “without breaking a sweat,” Burr says. That rave comes with 3½ stars. Now showing.
HUMOR, HEALING, AND EXTRA CHEESE: Actor-comedian Tracy Morgan faced a difficult recovery after a nearly fatal 2014 car crash left him with a traumatic brain injury. When the former star of “30 Rock” and “Saturday Night Live” made his first post-accident TV appearance as “SNL” guest host last October, it was a triumph — one that earned him an Emmy nomination. Now Morgan has taken his stand-up act on tour, coming to the Cape Cod Melody Tent on Friday and South Shore Music Circus on Saturday. “I’m bringing truckloads of funny,” he told the Globe. “I just want to spread my love, that’s all. My love comes in the form of my sense of humor. Just spreading that love, that’s what God told me when I was in that coma: “Spread love, homey.” So I’m just spreading that love. . . . I love you with extra cheese on it.”
RENAISSANCE MASTERY: A new show of glazed terracotta sculptures at the Museum of Fine Arts is a must-see, says art critic Sebastian Smee. “Della Robbia: Sculpting With Color in Renaissance Florence” showcases the work of several generations of the della Robbia family. And that means one masterpiece after another, including “The Visitation,” a powerful sculpture that was divided into four pieces, then reassembled in Boston. “The exhibit was a revelation for me — not because I hadn’t encountered glazed terracotta sculptures before, but because I hadn’t really seen them,” says Smee. “This show has dispersed the fog of my ignorance. It’s as dazzling and joyous as sunlight.” Through Dec. 4.
POP GOES THE PARODY: She pouted, she squinted, she did a pretty impressive Slovenian accent: Laura Benanti’s recent sendup of Melania Trump’s Republican National Convention speech on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” went viral on YouTube, with more than 8 million views. Benanti loved the chance to share her sense of humor. “Some people really have this perception of me as a serious person,” she tells the Globe. “I’m just not.” Now the Tony-winning actress shares an entirely different talent with local audiences: her knockout voice. On Sunday, Benanti joins the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra for the “Pops By the Sea” concert on the Hyannis Village Green, singing numbers from her Broadway career.
A BOUNTY OF GOOD WILL: You probably know Annie Golden as the mute Norma on Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black.” Maybe you remember her as a flower child in Milos Forman’s 1979 film version of the musical “Hair.” But you may not realize Golden also has a cult following among musical-theater fans, having appeared in numerous Broadway productions, mostly in supporting roles. Now at age 64, she’s finally center stage. The world premiere musical “Broadway Bounty Hunter,” inspired by the blaxploitation and kung-fu movies of the 1970s, was written specifically for her. “It’s just great that people are devoted to you and dedicated to you and want you to be more well known than you are,” Golden tells the Globe. The show is at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield through Sept. 4.
FRANKLY SPEAKING: It’s like “Toy Story” with a dirty mind, set in a supermarket. Its computer-animated stars include a hot dog named Frank (Seth Rogen) and his girlfriend, Brenda Bun (Kristen Wiig), whose visual design “lands somewhere between the unseemly and the insulting,” according to Ty Burr. The R-rated comedy “Sausage Party,” says Burr, “is shameless. It is puerile. It traffics in retro notions of womanhood and base ethnic and social stereotypes.” And, he adds, “I have to admit I laughed my asparagus off.” He gives it three stars. How’s that for air-conditioned relief? Now showing .
OR STAY IN! More “event” television arrives Friday with “The Get Down,” Baz Luhrmann’s new Netflix series about the early days of hip-hop in the South Bronx. And that’s too bad, says TV critic Matthew Gilbert, who likens the show’s over-the-top first episode to “the most drawn-out, manic music video ever made.” But then miraculously, the series starts to cast its spell, with subsequent episodes unveiling a cogent, original tale and a breakthrough performance from Justice Smith as the aspiring rapper at the story’s core. Stick with the show, Gilbert says: “It’s lyrical, vital, upbeat, extreme, sprawling, hackneyed, flawed, and easy to forgive.”
See you next week!