Things to Do

The Weekender: Matthew McConaughey, Mexican photographs, and some Canadian dude

Matthew McConaughey stars in “Serenity.”
Matthew McConaughey stars in “Serenity.”(Graham Bartholomew/Aviron Pictures)

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Hey there, Weekenders!

I realize this weekend is half about emotional recovery after last weekend’s Pats-induced panic attacks and half about mental preparation in advance of next weekend’s big Maroon 5 concert, but I’ve been watching a lot of Marie Kondo lately and I’m thinking there are some other things we can do around here.

I took the liberty of putting every event I had for this weekend into one big pile, and what we’re gonna do is just go through them one by one and see which ones spark joy (which I’ve been told is like a nice version of heartburn). The KonMari Method usually takes like a month or two but I’m thinking we can knock this out in a few minutes. Read on!

WELCOME MATT: It’s always a toss-up with this one, but Globe film critic Ty Burr says the new Matthew McConaughey movie is (forgive me) all-right all-right all-right (i.e. 2½ stars). “ ‘Serenity’ is a guilty pleasure that’s guiltier than most,” he writes, “a southern-fried potboiler that seems to be settling in as a camp remake of ‘Body Heat’ before it turns itself inside out and becomes something else entirely.” A suspense-filled drama from writer-director Steven Knight ( “Locke”) and costarring Anne Hathaway, Jason Clarke, and Diane Lane, “Serenity” introduces itself with “almost binary simplicity” before “branch[ing] off into watery byways” and delivering “more trashy fun than you’ll want to admit while sober.” Now screening.


IRAN SCREEN: At the MFA, you can catch the last weekend of the museum’s Festival of Films From Iran, which Globe contributor Loren King calls “a highlight of every new year” and runs through Sunday. This weekend you can catch screenings of Mohammad Rasoulof’s “A Man of Integrity” (shot in secret “in rural northern Iran while an as-yet unexecuted prison sentence hung over his head”), Pourya Azarbayjani’s “Feast of Sorrow,” Mostafa Sayari’s “The Graveless,” and Milad Alami’s “The Charmer.” Full program info and tickets here.


TRAGIC TOUCH:Othello” might not be the most joy-sparking of Shakespeare’s plays, but if you’re going to see it, see it now at the A.R.T. “Because questions of race and gender sit squarely at the center of ‘Othello,’ ” writes Globe theater critic Don Aucoin, “watching it in 2019 offers a reminder of Shakespeare’s eternal relevance, that perpetually astonishing way his plays manage to seem torn from any era’s headlines as well as from the fathomless depths of the human soul.” He calls Oregon Shakespeare Festival artistic director Bill Rauch’s present-day staging a “sinewy and bracingly fast-moving production” with “masterly” and “expertly layered” performances. It’s on stage at the Loeb Drama Center through Feb. 9. Find tickets here.

WHAT CHEER?: What’s more Providence than a New York System hot wiener with a tall glass of coffee milk? Nothing, really. But Roomful of Blues must be pretty close. The tried-and-true boogie woogie jump-blues band has been howlin’ at the moon for a half-century (but who’s counting?) It’ll be a veritable soul-patch convention this Saturday night, when the band makes the trek north for a gig at City Winery. Grab tickets here.

CANADA DRY: Fans of “Letterkenny” may not even realize they are fans of “Letterkenny.” If you’ve found yourself sucked into seemingly free-floating (and reliably hysterical) YouTube clips of a foursome of aggressively stoic Canadians standing “King of the Hill” style behind someone’s house and debating topics like the proper techniques for cooking Wagyu beef, you’ve experienced the hit Web-series-turned-TV-show “Letterkenny” — which means you’ve already met “ ‘Squirrely’ Dan,” a.k.a. K. Trevor Wilson. On Friday and Saturday, you can catch one of three sets from this emergent “man mountain of comedy” at Laugh Boston — just don’t get him started on grill marks. Tickets here.


BEALE GENIUS: The (drag out the “L” sound here as long as you please) legendary actress and singer (and the best Little Edie there ever was) Christine Ebersole will take the stage twice this Saturday at the BCA’s Calderwood Pavilion for a sit-down chat with host Seth Rudetsky and a pair of back-to-back performances as part of the “Broadway @ The Huntington’’ series. She’ll sing favorite songs, tell crazy stories from her 45 years in the biz, and say whatever else she feels like saying because she’s Christine Ebersole and we’re just going to put our phones away and sit and listen, OK? (Sorry, I just really like her.) Tickets here!

Albert Bierstadt’s “Indians Near Fort Laramie” is part of “Collecting Stories: Native American Art” at the MFA.
Albert Bierstadt’s “Indians Near Fort Laramie” is part of “Collecting Stories: Native American Art” at the MFA. (© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

EXHIBIT A: This weekend you can catch two very necessary art shows in one spot. The MFA has “Collecting Stories: Native American Art,” described by Globe art critic Murray Whyte as “the first of three extended exhibitions in which the museum dives deeply into an under-explored trove of its Art of the Americas collections.” But the show also serves as “an explicit mea culpa” from the institution for its handling of Native art in the past. “Indigenous objects from the MFA collection are arrayed with pointed intent,” writes Whyte, and their presence alongside objects like a “cringe-inducing” silver-plated “Progress Vase” (tarnished by an irony that can’t be polished away) conjures a “strange symmetry”  that paints a bigger picture. It’s on view through March 10 and you can find more info here.


EXHIBIT B: Also at the MFA is “Graciela Iturbide’s Mexico,” an “extraordinary” photography show that, according to Globe critic Mark Feeney, “belongs in any atlas of the photographic imagination the way that Josef Sudek’s ‘Prague’ or Atget’s ‘Paris’ does.” Gathering nearly 140 works (including 37 recently acquired by the museum) as well as “a 15-minute video interview with Iturbide that’s well worth watching,” it’s a stunning look at the diversity of Iturbide’s vision and the unity of her style and sensibility.” It’s up through May 12 and you can find more information here.

TANG GANG: It may be hard to escape Shen Yun — the New York-based company preserving 5,000 years of Chinese culture specializes in spectacle, but also maintains a quiet promotional presence seemingly wherever you go. But once you actually see it perform, you’ll appreciate all the reminders. As Karen Campbell writes of its new touring production, “expect eye-popping pageantry, impressive multimedia effects, and elegant, sometimes virtuosic displays of physical skills.” Shen Yun rolls into the Boch Centre Wang Theatre and stays through Sunday. You can get tickets here.


MOVERS, SHAKERS: Elsewhere in a big weekend for dance, on Saturday and Sunday, you can catch the Celebrity Series presentation of Nederlands Dans Theater 2 (who first visited town in 2009). The celebrated company is known for classical chops and contemporary visions that push the limits of just about every edge. At the Boch Center Shubert Theatre the troupe will perform works by Marco Goecke, Edward Clug, and a collaboration between Sol León and Paul Lightfoot. Grab tickets here. Also this weekend, World Music/CRASHarts continues its effort to boost local dance with “Dance UP,” a spotlight on three companies over three days at the ICA: Danza Orgánica on Friday, Prometheus Dance on Saturday, and the Wondertwins on Sunday. Find more information on each company and tickets for each performance here.

Vanessa Hudgens (left) and Kiersey Clemons are in the cast of “Rent: Live.”
Vanessa Hudgens (left) and Kiersey Clemons are in the cast of “Rent: Live.”(Pamela Littky/FOX)

OR STAY IN! How did that go? Any joy sparks? Not really? It’s cold? You’re tired? Am I asking myself these questions so I can just stay in too? OK, that works, because “Rent: Live” is on Fox this Sunday at 8 p.m., and even if the production isn’t that great, gay Twitter is going to be on absolute fire. Wanna guess how many minutes there are before it’s on? (This is essentially our Super Bowl, guys.)

And in the “something we can both enjoy” department, there’s the return to TV of Gillian Anderson (!) via the new Netflix teen libido comedy, “Sex Education,” which Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert says “plays beautifully” and calls “one of the sweetest and wisest teen sex comedies going.” That’s available now.

And that, freshly tidied Weekenders, is everything I’ve got in the heap. Now that we’ve got your weekend organized we can move onto clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous), and sentimental obj--- hey, I see you going back to bed. Get back here!

And however you decide to spend your weekend, make it one you’ll miss come Monday. See you next time!

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