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The Weekender: Giant leaps, political laughs, and Oscars drama

Boston Ballet in “Artifact” at the Boston Opera House.
Boston Ballet in “Artifact” at the Boston Opera House. John Blanding / Globe Staff

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Whoa, what’s up, early spring? While this undue balminess sets us up for the inevitable smackdown with a Memorial Day blizzard or some such nonsense, let us play dumb and take full advantage of this sure-to-be-fleeting front of pleasantness.

Cruel weather tricks aside, there are plenty of reasons to pry yourself from the house this weekend. Here’s a handful:

Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams in “Get Out.”
Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams in “Get Out.” Justin Lubin/Universal Pictures

MEET THE PARENTS: The directorial debut from “Key & Peele” co-creator and star Jordan Peele casts the horrors of racism in a deeply creepy (yet intriguingly literal) new light. “Get Out” takes cues from all over the canon of classic horror films, but fuses them into something as unsettling for its newness as for its exhausting familiarity. “It is not only the best horror film since ‘Under the Skin,’” writes Peter Keough in his 3½-star review, “but a subversive and often hilarious commentary on race as well.” Opens Friday.

GIANT LEAPS: This weekend kicks off what the Boston Ballet expects to be a fruitful five-year partnership with the award-winning choreographer William Forsythe, as the company performs his masterpiece “Artifact,” a 1984 work that serves as a “vivid, immersive primer on the choreographer’s cutting-edge sensibility,” according to Karen Campbell. “He is a revolutionary choreographer and a great man of theater, making art that is relevant to today’s people,” Boston Ballet artistic director Mikko Nissinen told the Globe. “Like Balanchine, he moved the dial. For me, he is the brightest of stars.” Performances run all weekend and through March 5. Find tickets here.


Comedian Judah Friedlander.
Comedian Judah Friedlander. Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images/Getty

JUDAH MAN! If your favorite part of watching “30 Rock” was keeping track of whatever happened to be emblazoned on Judah Friedlander’s trucker cap that week, you probably missed a lot of good jokes. But at least you were tuned into Friedlander, who has since honed himself into one of the country’s finer, slightly scuzzier political comics (who also makes comics). On Friday and Saturday nights, he’ll likely deliver some choice bits from his forthcoming special, “America Is the Greatest Country in the United States,” as the guest of Great Scott’s comedy night, The Gas. You can find tickets here.


UNLEASHED MELODY:Rock Dog” (based on the graphic novel “Tibetan Rock Dog” by Zheng Jun) may seem like another spotty mutt in a litter of “Kung Fu Panda,” “Zootopia,” and “Hop” knockoffs, but reviewer Tom Russo was pleasantly surprised by this indie toon’s new tricks, giving it three stars: “Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard, director Ash Brannon (‘Surf’s Up’), and crew combine these ingredients into something that’s uniquely likable, and even unique-looking at times.” Keep an ear out for Lewis Black and Kenan Thompson — especially if you’re on sheep duty. Opens Friday.

Carlo Dolci’s “Saint John the Evangelist Writing the Book of Revelation.”
Carlo Dolci’s “Saint John the Evangelist Writing the Book of Revelation.” The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.

FAITHFUL PORTRAITS: The divisive Italian baroque painter Carlo Dolci is at the center of the new exhibition “The Medici’s Painter: Carlo Dolci and 17th-Century Florence,” the first US retrospective of the artist, on view at Wellesley College’s Davis Museum through July 9. “This was not a strategic or cunning artist,” writes Cate McQuaid of Dolci, represented here by over 50 stunning (and “declaratively religious”) paintings and drawings. “Everything he made sprang from tenderness.” More information here.


BERTOLT YOU SO: Globe theatre critic Don Aucoin calls the new co-production of “Brecht on Brecht” from the New Repertory Theatre and the Boston Center for American Performance “a smart and trenchant collage of excerpts from writings by German playwright-poet Bertolt Brecht and songs he cowrote with composers Kurt Weill and Hanns Eisler.” First arranged and staged in the early ’60s by the late Hungarian-born playwright George Tabori, this sweeping assembly of Brechtian scenes has been tweaked by director Jim Petosa to sound some distinct Trumpian notes. “What connects the disparate pieces are the specters of injustice, hypocrisy, and the brutal abuse of power, sometimes abetted by intellectual cowardice.” That’s at the Black Box Theater, Mosesian Center for the Arts, Watertown, through March 5. Get tickets here.

DANCING FEAT: On a slightly more uplifting note: It’s Billy Elliot! The Musical! Or for the sake of my copy editors, “Billy Elliot: The Musical.” The Wheelock Family Theater’s new production of this beloved tale of a brave British boy who chooses toe shoes over work boots and pliés over pickaxes stars Seth Judice (a real ringer) in the title role, and features Shane Boucher of New London, N.H., playing his buddy Michael. The show closes Sunday, so get to steppin’.


PRECIOUS JAMS: “Our job is to make the dopest music we possibly can, have a lot of fun, impress the [expletive] out of each other in the booth, and give that back to the world,” rapper and activist Killer Mike/Mike Render tells the Globe’s Isaac Feldberg. But as one half of Run the Jewels, he and cohort El-P are doing much more than that. Three albums deep, the duo has not only become one of the hottest rap tag-teams in history, but a force of grass-roots political fire with sights fixed firmly on the future. “My pride comes from the fact that people who are listening to us are going out and doing amazing things in the world,” he says. Arrgh. Love this dude! If you can find resale tickets (or have time to dig a tunnel) they’re at House of Blues on Friday night.

Joni Mitchell.
Joni Mitchell.Henry Diltz

PSYCH EXAM: Those of you who were around may have a (*cough cough*) fuzzy memory of the Laurel Canyon scene of the late ’60s and early ’70s. But at Berklee College of Music’s “Tribute to Laurel Canyon” on Sunday (the latest installment of its Great American Songbook series), you can experience a little flashback (the good kind) of this golden era of psych-folk. Photographer Henry Diltz leads a musical, visual, and narrative romp down not-quite-memory lane with a slideshow of photos and a playlist of groovy tunes by the Mamas and the Papas, Carole King, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell, and others. Get tickets here, maaan.


FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE: On Friday and Saturday, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, led by Andris Nelsons, gives the world premiere (and BSO co-commission) of a concerto for violin, cello, and bayan (a kind of accordion) by the great Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina. The program is rounded out by a rare performance of Shostakovich’s “Leningrad” Symphony (first performed in the US at Tanglewood in 1942). Find tickets and more information here.

The Oscars ceremony takes place on Sunday.
The Oscars ceremony takes place on Sunday.PHOTO ILLUSTRATION RYAN HUDDLE / GLOBE STAFF

OR STAY IN! Award season isn’t done with you yet. Oh, not by a long shot. The big one — the Oscars — goes down on Sunday night. We’ve already forecast who will win, preemptively sighed over who should have, and lamented those cruelly snubbed. (We’ve even zoomed in on some locals hoping for trophies.) But to capture all of the red-carpet crime scenes, onstage antics, and outrageous injustices in real time, the foursome of Ty Burr (tenor sax, film criticism), Matthew Gilbert (bass, TV takes), Hayley Kaufman (trombone, fashion), and I (drums, tweets) will be hard at work watching and whatnot (so, really, you don’t have to). Follow along here.

And if it’s just you and the sofa this week, maybe settle in and watch “Patriot,” the new “warped new comedy-drama-thriller-farce” from Amazon concerning an exhausted spy, a pipe factory, and a character who I have to keep telling myself is not John Locke even though it is . That’s available starting Friday. There’s also “I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore,” the comedy crime-thriller (and Macon Blair’s directorial debut) that made a big splash at Sundance this year, available on Netflix on Friday.

And that oughta do it! Be safe out there — all this nice weather means more deceptively deep puddles — and however you end up spending your weekend, make it one you’ll miss come Monday. See you next week!

Michael Andor Brodeur can be reached at mbrodeur@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MBrodeur.