Things to Do

The Weekender: A marathon pre-Marathon weekend

Joaquin Phoenix in “You Were Never Really Here.”
Amazon Studios
Joaquin Phoenix in “You Were Never Really Here.”

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Hey there Weekenders! If you’re anything like me you’re using this weekend to rest up, stretch, get in the right mental zone, and attack the big day in a way that makes all the sweat, pain, and tears worth something. Which reminds me, I still need to call H&R Block to set up an appointment. I’ll do that later. I hear some people are running the Marathon too! That is wild. Good luck!

Of course, if you’re nothing like me (and let’s all join hands and pray on that for a moment) you’re probably looking for things to do. And like an aunt with a purse full of hard candy, I’ve got like handfuls of them to tell you all about. On your mark, get set, go see the new Joaquin Phoenix mov–  aw, rats. False start.

PHOENIX RISING: Go see the new Joaquin Phoenix movie, “You Were Never Really Here” (really, really not to be confused with that other Joaquin Phoenix movie, “I’m Still Here”), says Ty Burr. He gives 3½ stars to this latest outing from Scottish writer-director Lynne Ramsay (“We Need to Talk About Kevin,” “Morvern Callar”). “It is violent, sad, tender, and alive, and it is as assured a piece of moviemaking as you’ll ever see,” he writes. The film won Ramsay the screenwriting award last year at Cannes (where it tied with “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”) as well as best actor honors for Phoenix. “Rarely has this mercurial actor seemed so simultaneously threatening and vulnerable, unstoppable and lost,” writes Burr. Now screening.


RUNNING TIME: Also on screen this week is “Boston: The Documentary,” a historical account of the Boston Marathon that’s getting a belated theatrical release through April 19 at the new Showplace ICON theater at the Seaport. “It doesn’t let 2013 define the other 121 years,” writes Burr of this “rejuvenating” documentary (directed by filmmaker and marathoner Jon Dunham and presented by John Hancock in association with the Boston Athletic Association), “and it reminds you that this local event is truly a celebration of global endeavor.”

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MIND TO MEND: Double down on the local documentaries with “The Peacemaker,” writer and director James Demo’s portrait of Dublin-born and Cambridge-based international conflict negotiator Padraig O’Malley (who also, as it happens, owns the Plough & Stars). Burr gives it 3½ stars and calls it “a sobering and altogether remarkable documentary” that reminds us “the saints who save us are not always those who represent our best but those who have seen, and maybe been, our worst.” Now screening at Coolidge Corner.

BEAR WITNESS: And finally in theaters this week, “Pandas” arrives as a perfectly timed riposte to the unexpected campaign of seedy panda-ganda from perpetually stubbed toe and Fox News anchor, Tucker Carlson. While Carlson — for deeply inexplicable reasons — is working hard to correct media lies and recast the endangered panda as “a secret stud with a taste for flesh and a fearsome bite,” MSM shill Burr ended his virtual visit to the Chengdu Research Base for Giant Panda Breeding (it’s in IMAX 3-D) with a different view (and a three-star review): “After watching David Douglas and Drew Fellman’s visually spectacular, technically amazing, and occasionally cutesy documentary . . . you’d think that IMAX 3-D was invented solely for close-ups of adorable panda cubs, their giant doleful, domino faces peering out with cuddly curiosity.” Exactly. THAT’S HOW THEY GET YOU DUDE. Now screening  at the New England Aquarium, Jordan’s Furniture IMAX in Natick and Reading, and Cinemagic Hooksett & IMAX.

Roy Wood Jr. plays the Wilbur Friday night.
Nicol Biesek, Comedy Central
Roy Wood Jr. plays the Wilbur Friday night.

LOL IRL: It’s a solid comedy weekend in town, with “Daily Show” correspondent Roy Wood Jr. — whose Comedy Central special “Father Figure” is worth an hour at your desk looking like you’re working — taking the stage at the Wilbur on Friday night. Will he demonstrate his prank calling prowess on stage? Probably not, so you’d better listen to them beforehand  on YouTube. Find tickets here. And on Saturday night down the block at the Boch Center Shubert Theatre, you can catch local comedy legend Tony V’s “Boston Comedy Come Up,” featuring a lineup of young yucksmiths including Bethany Van Delft, Will Noonan, Mike Whitman, Lamont Price, Dan Crohn, Orlando Baxter, and Graig Murphy. Grab tickets for that here.

IRA WITHDRAWAL: If you prefer humor to comedy, and light meta-narratives to jokes, first of all, that’s a very fetching New Yorker tote bag you’ve got there, and secondly, you probably already know this but your favorite reason to shush your family, Ira Glass, is going to be at Symphony Hall on Sunday night performing his show “Seven Things I’ve Learned: An Evening With Ira Glass,” which will find him telling stories about telling stories for 22 years as the host of the long-running public radio show “This American Life.” How will you feel when it’s over? Charmed, I’m sure. You can find tickets for this Celebrity Series presentation here.


CALLING GLORIAAAA: If I had a bit more multimedia room to move than [gestures at surrounding block of text] this, you’d have a much more exciting blurb to experience regarding “On Your Feet,” the new musical based on the lives of Gloria and Emilio Estefan. There’d be a supercharged medley of “Conga” and “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” blasting in the background, a team of backup dancers with big headdresses streaming in from the margins, possibly some sort of big rotating floral float in the center with the pertinent info printed on it (it doesn’t open at the Opera House ’til Tuesday, but you can find tickets here) and a big explosion of confetti at the end — but, here we are. Unfortunately, until those critical funds and resources come through, the hit Broadway spectacular will have to suffice. 

SMOOTH OPERATORS: On Friday night, you have your choice between two of the planet’s most treasured voices. At the Opera House, the one and only Tony Bennett brings his 91 accumulated years of weapons-grade suave to the stage (no Gaga included). Tickets here. And over at Symphony Hall, the extraordinary six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald — also this year’s recipient of MIT’s Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts — comes to Symphony Hall for a performance presented by Celebrity Series. Find tickets here. (And do not whistle along, Edward. It’s like you don’t even know you’re doing it. Infuriating.)

RICK ’N’ ROLL: Elsewhere in unmistakable voices, the Internet’s favorite ambassador of anodyne ’90s dance-pop, the indefatigable Rick Astley, comes to House of Blues on Sunday. I see absolutely no reason to drag this out any longer than we need to, so here is an exclusive link to some secret footage of Mayor Marty Walsh firing kittens out of a T-shirt cannon. Tickets here!

ART/HISTORY: And finally from the outside world this week, a pair of (sorta related) art exhibits. At the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, N.H., you can take in “The Sculpture of Augustus Saint-Gaudensthrough May 20. The Globe’s Cate McQuaid calls the fin-de-siecle sculptor (a “passionate admirer of Abraham Lincoln” perhaps best known for his Shaw Memorial in Boston Common) a “master of realism,” and this show brings his virtuosity to life (well, to the extent it can). Meanwhile, and through the rest of the year at the Museum of African American History is “Picturing Frederick Douglass: The Most Photographed American in the Nineteenth Century,” a stunningly visual exploration of the abolitionist’s life, curated by John Stauffer and Zoe Todd, assisted by the MAAH’s L’Merchie Frazier, Chandra Harrington, and Cara Liasson. More information here.

The Cars (from left: Elliot Easton, Greg Hawkes, Ric Ocasek, David Robinson, and Benjamin Orr, in an undated photo) will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this weekend.
Jeff Albertson
The Cars (from left: Elliot Easton, Greg Hawkes, Ric Ocasek, David Robinson, and Benjamin Orr, in an undated photo) will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this weekend.

OR STAY IN! That linguine isn’t going to eat itself. And while thoughts of running 26.2 miles may be weighing down your brain, this playlist of Cars hits assembled by Steve Morse in anticipation of the Boston synth-pop pioneers’ induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this weekend could be just what you need(ed).


And for your headphones, check out rising Globe favorite Tinashe’s hotly anticipated new album, “Joyride.” 

And that, faithful Weekenders, is all I’ve got for you this time around. For all of you running the big race on Monday, a huge heap of luck and love from all of us here at the Globe. (We don’t even like running downstairs for lunch.) Start steady, finish strong, and let us know if you’re feeling sick and we’ll pull over. Just not in the car. Thank you.

Until next time, make this weekend one you’ll miss come Monday. See you next time!

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