Arts

The Weekender: Michael Che, Kyrie Irving, and kittens

Comedian Michael Che performs at the Wilbur Theater in Boston in 2017.
Ben Stas for The Boston Globe/file
Comedian Michael Che performs at the Wilbur Theater in Boston in 2017.

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As crystalline a forecast of impending leisure as the Weekender aspires to be, there’s really no way to tell what the next few days are going to look like in America. (Meaning at press time, the finale of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 10 had not yet aired. #teamaquaria)

Still — and perhaps especially — when faced with crippling uncertainty about tomorrow, the best course of action is to focus on the “tomorrow” part of that clause, and less the “uncertainty” bit. And I’ve got just short of a dozen ways to fill in the blank as to what will become of us — at least as far as the next few days are concerned. 

(And seriously, if it’s all just a little too much to handle right now, just throw your whole weekend into the New York Cat and Dog Film Festivals at the Regent Theatre in Arlington. I have no idea what’s showing and I’m giving it four paws up, just on principle.)

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GOOD NEWS: Remember when “Weekend Update” fake-news anchor Michael Che turned thousands of white ears slightly pink last year by reminding them that Boston’s kinda/super racist? (Like, “most racist city”-level racist?)  Well get ready, because it’s going to happen again. After popping in as a surprise guest at the first Dave Chappelle and Jon Stewart show at the Boch Center Wang Theatre a couple of weeks ago, Che is returning for a two-show Saturday night live (note the lowercases) appearance at the Wilbur. Expect burns that sting like a Flamin’ Hot Cheeto. Just don’t expect an apology; as Che told a gathering at Boston University last year, “I’m just trying to be more presidential.” Grab tickets here.

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WRIGHT ON: If, like many from our region, you appreciate deadpan oddball humor, the pan doesn’t get much deader nor the ball odder than the legendary Steven Wright, whom writer Nick A. Zaino III wrightly dubbed “one of the funniest human beings the Boston comedy scene has produced.”  You have two chances this weekend to immerse yourself in the Oscar-winning, Grammy-nominated comic’s bottomless pool of surrealist one-liners (e.g. “All those who believe in psychokinesis raise my hand”). He’s at the South Shore Music Circus on Friday night and the Cape Cod Melody Tent on Saturday. Find tickets here and here.

PARENT TRAP: The Globe’s Ty Burr got lost in the woods of the “quietly overpowering” new film from director (and Cambridge native) Debra Granik (“Winter’s Bone”). “Leave No Trace” follows a traumatized Iraq war vet and his teenage daughter as they move through the outskirts of society, following “the events from [their] capture by local authorities and absorption into the social-services system, an edifice of well-intentioned bureaucracy that paradoxically offers freedom to the daughter and a cage to her dad.” In his 3½-star review, Burr says the film “shines a gentle but insistent light on America’s underclass and walking wounded, the people in the cracks just getting by.” (If you go, keep your eyes and ears open for a cameo from outre-folk hero Michael Hurley!) Now showing.

HOLDING COURT: Way down the opposite end of the Hollywood mood swing is “Uncle Drew,” a gathering of legendary ex-ballers including Chris Webber, Nate Robinson, Reggie Miller, Lisa Leslie, and current Celtic star Kyrie Irving — serving some graybearded NBA-via-AARP realness. “Celtics fans likely want to know two things about ‘Uncle Drew,’ writes Mark Feeney in his two-star review. “In increasing order of urgency, they are: Is the movie any good, and does Irving embarrass himself? The answers are: sort of, and nowhere near.” Lil Rel Howery (“Get Out”) plays coach, and “manages to be both endearing and annoying in the role, playing an older and even less wise version of Mars Blackmon.” Now showing.

Hoop diving in Cirque du Soleil’s “Luzia: A Waking Dream of Mexico”
Matt Beard
Hoop diving in Cirque du Soleil’s “Luzia: A Waking Dream of Mexico”

MIST OPPORTUNITY: If you could stand some respite from the waking nightmare of the rest of the week, I recommend “Luzia: A Waking Dream of Mexico,” the new Cirque du Soleil production running at Suffolk Downs through Aug. 12 that, according to Terry Byrne, “integrates more than a dozen acts into a stage design that includes two turntables, a treadmill, elaborate puppets, and an onstage rainstorm.” A portmanteau of luz (light) and lluvia (rain), “Luzia” brings to life “an imaginary Mexico” through a “surrealistic series of grand visual surprises and breathtaking acrobatic performances” (which somehow doesn’t include you getting back to your seat with four things of nachos and a beer tray). Find tickets here.

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TRICK AS TREAT: Oh, look. My favorite. Magic. Not really. (That was a trick!) As I wrote last year, “Unless we’re talking ‘The Craft,’ I don’t like magic.” But I do like to use these moments as proof-positive that the Weekender is not just telling you about stuff that the Weekender itself wants to do — because what kind of newsletter would that make me? A sneaky, tricky one; and we’ve covered how I feel about that. In any case, this blurb is about illusionist David Blaine, who comes to the Wang on Sunday (or does he?!) to fool a bunch of people into believing things are happening that are not actually happening, which sure sounds like something we have plenty of already. He may also freeze/bury/suspend/submerge/sew himself shut, if you’re into that sort of thing. Find tickets here (I’m reaching behind your ear).

ROCK OUT: This weekend in live music, you can catch a serious triple-shot of actual-countrified country in the form of Chris Stapleton, Marty Stuart, and Brent Cobb, who roll up on Friday to the Xfinity Center (presumably in a barely functional pickup truck being chased down a dirt road by a sheriff’s deputy). (Tickets yonder.) Alternatively, you can thicken up those recent fantasies of life in Canada on Sunday at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, where that nation’s chief cultural export the Barenaked Ladies will make a spirited run through all of your favorite hits from before we detoured onto the dark timeline. (Tickets here.) And tickets remain for the Sunday night installment of Frank Turner’s six-night stay at Royale, which is worth an early arrival for openers The Hotelier and War on Women. (Tickets here.) 

SEA WORTHY: For some quality time with your bay, consider the 37th Annual Boston Harborfest, which runs through the weekend and features miles of historical tours, excursions to the Harbor islands, live entertainment, all kinds of food, and more fifes, bonnets, and three-corner hats than you can shake a musket at. (Please do not shake muskets.) Saturday night’s main event is a brilliant fireworks display above the harbor, so pack a Thundershirt if your dog’s not at the film festival. Full schedule of events here.

BLANKET STATEMENT: No jokes here folks, just craftsmanship that tells a story more of us need to hear (and feel between our fingers). “Beyond the Border Wall: The Migrant Quilt Project” is up through July 18 at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, and it memorializes people who perished trying to come to America by gathering quilts stitched together from textiles (blue jeans, bandanas, work shirts, et al) left behind on migration trails through the Arizona desert. Like the nation these people sought to reach, the quilts on view are delicate patchworks of hope and struggle. Go see this. More info here.

GO WEST: And finally, if you’re making for the hills (ideally the Berkshires), you can catch the world premiere of “The Royal Family of Broadway” at Barrington Stage Company — a musical loosely based on the Barrymores from the team of Rachel Sheinkin and William Finn (and here directed by John Rando and choreographed by Joshua Bergasse). Globe theater critic Don Aucoin calls it “a witty and breezily enjoyable excursion into showbiz lunacy.” It’s running through July 7; find tickets here. And at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, you can catch another world premiere from the pioneering Ephrat Asherie Dance company. “Odeon” is a fierce mix of breakdancing, hip-hop, house, and voguing, set to live music from Brazilian composer Ernesto Nazareth. It’s running through Sunday; find info and tickets here.

Hugh Grant stars in “A Very English Scandal.”
BBC/Blueprint Television Ltd
Hugh Grant stars in “A Very English Scandal.”
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OR STAY IN! Hiding: Also fine. Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert offers a fresh list of good (and not-so-good) Netflix recommendations to stream you all the way to Monday morning. And he also recommends the new Amazon miniseries “A Very English Scandal,” which stars Hugh Grant as Liberal Party head Jeremy Thorpe, whose political career ended when he was outed. Gilbert calls it “superb.” 

I’m thinking I may just find a dark corner of the house no one else knows about and curl up with the new album from Charles Lloyd & the Marvels + Lucinda Williams. The Globe’s Jon Garelick calls “Vanished Gardens” a “fortuitous” encounter between the jazzman and the singer-songwriter, rich with “cleansing power that transcends despair.” Spot, prepare to be hit. 

And that, resilient Weekenders, is all I’ve got under my replica “America’s Next Drag Superstar” crown this week for you.

ALTHOUGH: It may be a good idea to take a sentimental journey to Ryles, the Inman Square mainstay — mainly because it’s not staying. This weekend marks the legendary jazz club’s last weekend in the listings after four decades on the corner. Sad stuff, but so many sweet memories. The tunes may change, but the beat goes on. (It will, right?)

However you spend your weekend, keep your head up! And make it one you’ll miss come Monday. (And happy Independence Day in advance!) See you next week!

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