The Weekender: Great docs, cranky comics, jock gems, and Wonder Women

GlobeDocs Film Festival

“Anatomy of a Male Ballet Dancer” will screen during the GlobeDocs Film Festival.

By Michael Andor Brodeur  Globe Correspondent 

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Well, hello again! Are you ready to shut this thing you’re looking at down and maybe fling it in the sewer for the clowns to play with and get depressed by? Boy, I sure am. For all those ready to unplug and reacquaint themselves with the good folks on this planet, stock your schedule with some of the goodies below.

This right here is what we call a solid weekend!


DOC APPOINTMENTS: Heads up, it’s HUBweek — [cranks reverb] “a festival for the future” (!) founded by this here Boston Globe, Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital, and MIT and running through Sunday. This means all sorts of forward-looking (or glaring — this is Boston, after all) art, music, and assorted shindiggery, including a party with Pico Picante on Saturday and a freakin’ Robot Block Party on Sunday. Schedule here. (Oh! There will also be domes. Geodesic ones.) And tucked into HUBweek like a bag of Sun Chips smuggled into the Brattle (don’t do that) is the GlobeDocs Film Festival, which has nothing to do with us and stethoscopes and everything to do with bold new documentaries on “urgent topical issues” and thought-provoking panels hosted by the likes of Globe film critic Ty Burr, editors Janice Page and Rebecca Ostriker, and, granted, zero robots. Full schedule here.

CRANK IT UP: For many, laughter is the music of joy; for others, it’s the most effective way to momentarily stall the churning dread that resides restlessly and irrevocably in our guts. LOL. For that latter bunch, may we suggest a dose of two dyspeptic comedy showcases? Trusty Allston laff-mart The Gas hosts local comic and “lovable crank” Sean Sullivan on Friday as he and homies celebrate the release of “Song & Dance Man,” his debut and “much anticipated album of fat jokes, kid jokes, and long dissertations on the films ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’ and ‘Grease.’ ” For something a bit more rage-’n’-spittle-y, there’s repeat offender Lewis Black, who brings his “Rant, White & Blue Tour” (which he brought to the Shubert back in February) to the Hanover Theater in Worcester that same night. Tickets here.

ORLANDO BLOOM:The Florida Project” is the new film from Sean Baker (director of the 2015 breakthrough “Tangerine,” shot entirely on an iPhone), and in a four-star review, the Globe’s Ty Burr calls it “in nerve, guts, heart, and mind — one of the finest films of 2017.” It’s visually stunning, but says Burr, the view it offers of American childhood is more expansive than the frame: “Baker may be the only director working in America to portray the country’s hidden underclass — all the people our popular culture tells us don’t actually exist — with the decency, vibrancy, and concern they deserve. For that reason alone, his movies are necessary. The wonder is that they’re also good.” Opens Friday.


Dustin Hoffman and Ben Stiller in Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected).”

NOAH’S ARC: Elsewhere in strong movies with phoned-in titles, “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)” is the latest from Noah Baumbach (writer-director of such films as “Greenberg,” “Margot at the Wedding,” and “The Squid and the Whale”), whom Burr describes as “a rigorous student of human nature” who “occupies a niche exactly between Woody Allen and Wes Anderson.” It’s also one of Baumbach’s best, says Burr in his 3½-star review. Ben Stiller and Adam Sandler play Matthew and Danny, sons of varying success to a “full-blown narcissist” dad, Dustin Hoffman. Opens Friday.

NIGHT OWLS & EARLY BIRDS: That Stiller mention just reminded me of a completely unrelated night at the museum: On Friday, the very popular MFA Late Nites series returns with an advance look at the exciting new exhibition “Takashi Murakami: Lineage of Eccentrics” (including an appearance by the artist himself), as well as DJs, food showdowns (not near the art, please), an open-mike rap battle (please someone record this), dancing (ditto), and more. Goes till 2 a.m. — and while advance tickets are already sold out, limited night-of tickets will go on sale at 8 p.m. More information here.


OWING MUSES: If you prefer a more private entry into the world of comics than the average multi-million-dollar blockbuster, consider “Professor Marston and the Wonder Women,” a biopic (wait! keep reading!) from writer-director Angela Robinson exploring the actual origin story of “Wonder Woman” — that is, the creation of kinky Harvard professor William Moulton Marston, based on his wife Elizabeth, and their long-term third Olive. (Cue gasping!) Ty calls it “both a breakthrough and fairly stodgy” in his two-star review. Pretty sure there’s no poorly rendered CGI. Also pretty sure there’s lots of rope. Opens Friday.

HOW TO SURMISE A PLAGUE: Onstage through Saturday at the Mosesian Center for the Arts Black Box Theater in Watertown is Flat Earth Theatre’s production of Tony Kushner’s pre-“Angels in America’’ parable “A Bright Room Called Day,” a play described by the Globe’s Don Aucoin as “an uneven and unwieldy but nonetheless absorbing work” in which “pretentiousness and insight constantly vie for the upper hand.” Still, the Flat Earth crew — an “audacious and ambitious fringe theater troupe” — breathe new life into the lines, and an “all-out passion to the proceedings.” Find tickets here.

GAME ON: Let’s say, for some reason, you aren’t watching football right now. Who knows why? Maybe you just aren’t. Not important. Not prying. But let’s say despite this new TV diet of yours, you miss it a little. (You do, don’t you. I can tell.) Well, lucky you, because the Museum of Science has just kicked off (I did it! Sports reference!) its “Gridiron Glory” exhibition, collecting more than 200 artifacts from the Pro Football Hall of Fame, covering over 125 years of history, only 21 of which (fun fact) had Febreze. At this museum, it’ll be sort of like watching football, but instead of police brutality you can learn all about climate change. Score! More info here.

ARIA EXPERIENCED: Boston Lyric Opera opens its season on Friday with a fresh Crystal Manich-directed production of Puccini’s classic “Tosca,” with the title role played by Russian soprano Elena Stikhina. It runs through Oct. 22, but any plus-size ladies singing aside, it’s over when the tickets sell out, so don’t wait. (Pre-performance talks on Friday and Sunday.) More information and tickets here.

OR STAY IN!: Some really decent TV-watchin’ options are out there this weekend if the incoming briskness has you bristling. On Friday, Netflix offers the new serial-killer drama from “House of Cards” producer David Fincher. The Globe’s Matthew Gilbert calls “Mindhunter” (based on a 1995 book by Mark Olshaker and John Douglas) a “fascinating drama” that takes on “not only the most twisted sides of human nature but the glacial pace at which institutions like the FBI change and grow.” Might as well get on board now, as it’s already been renewed for a second season. 

On the less-killy side of Friday night (but really Saturday morning), the former Boston comic (and newly minted “SNL” writerSam Jay has her debut stand-up special airing on Comedy Central at 12:30 a.m. See her bit on the problem with white people here.


And speaking of “SNL” and problems with white people, ex-“SNL” star Jay Pharoah’s new show for Showtime, “White Famous,” premieres Sunday at 10:30 p.m. Based on the experiences of executive producer Jamie Foxx, it’s less of an “intimate look at the many facets of racial identity in present-day America” (a la “Insecure,” “Atlanta,” and “Master of None”), and more of a “comedy about the cynicism, spinelessness, and racism so rampant in Hollywood and the personal growth of an immature black man thrown into the middle of it all,” says Gilbert.

St. Vincent

Finally, for your headspace, a pair of new albums worth hearing. (Separately. Play one at a time for best results.) St. Vincent returns with the all-caps meditation “MASSEDUCTION” — a bona fide masterpiece according to reviewer Isaac Feldberg, “built to both entice and unsettle.” And Beck drops his new “Colors,” what Terence Cawley calls a “relentlessly upbeat” and “intentionally lightweight, enjoyable mid-career effort with one eye on the dance floor and one on radio playlists.”


Is that enough? I think that might be enough. If it’s not enough let me know and I can find some other stuff, but fair warning, they will mainly be my own chores and I’m pretty sure you are not going to want them, either. I’m wrong often, so let me know. 

However you go about your weekends, be safe, be kind, and make it one you’ll miss come Monday. We’ll see you next week!

Michael Andor Brodeur can be reached at
Follow him on Twitter: @MBrodeur.