The Weekender: Country stars, diva fever, and Patriot(s) games
Hello again, Weekenders!
Regular readers of this guide should be painfully aware by now that I am not much help in the sports department (unless there happens to be leftover pizza in the sports department). Spicy Asian wing recipes, I got; patriotic anticipation for Gladys Knight’s anthem, I got; catty things to say about Maroon 5, oh you bet I got. But for everything else Super Bowl related, I’m gonna be about as useful as a small metal skewer that fits into a pump valve leaving enough room for air to escape — which is to say, not at all!
For those of you looking to keep clear of the gridiron, or even those looking to balance out a sports-heavy Sunday on the couch, read on! It’s a weekend full of things to do that have absolutely nothing to do with Maroon 5. (You have my word.)
CHURCH ON TIME: As the Pats gear up to sextuple down on their Super Bowl wins, Eric Church brings his “Double Down” tour to town. The perpetually Ray-Ban’d country antihero sounds more in the moment than ever on his latest album, “Desperate Man,” which Globe contributor Maura Johnston says “cements his refusal to fit in any particular box, infusing his meat-and-three sound with funk and soul.” He’ll be treating TD Garden like his hometown honky-tonk with two distinct (and far-reaching) sets on Friday and Saturday nights; grab tickets here.
GROAN MAN: With all of this football and outlaw country, your manifestations-of-male-angst bases should be well covered; but just in case, there’s also this new Errol Morris documentary on Steve Bannon. (Pause for groaning.) “American Dharma” is more of an “essay movie” than a political doc, according to Morris, who shot his lengthy interviews with Bannon in Allston in a custom-built replica of the Quonset hut from Bannon’s favorite movie, “Twelve O’Clock High.” (Additional groaning.) “Does shedding light on Bannon give him more attention?” Morris asks in his program notes, “Maybe. But I worry more about indifference, silence, avoidance, a lack of thoughtful analysis.” To that end, a conversation between Morris and Ann Marie Lipinski, head of Harvard’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism, will follow Friday night’s 7 p.m. screening at the Harvard Film Archive. A second screening takes place Sunday at 3 p.m. More info and tickets here.
QUEEN KING: I don’t know what it’s called in football when you abruptly reverse course and run in the opposite direction, and I think you’re not supposed to do that, but we’re doing that now because this weekend offers not one, but two staged biographical explorations of the lives of legendary divas, and I am feeling it. For one, over at the Boston Opera House you can catch Broadway in Boston’s presentation of “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.” When the show was here in 2015, Globe theater critic Don Aucoin cheered that it “sets out to showcase pop-music craftsmanship of the 1960s and 1970s, and at that it succeeds, well, beautifully.” It’s onstage through Feb. 10, so grab tickets before it’s too late. (Baby.)
EARTHA ANGEL: And across the river at the Multicultural Arts Center in Cambridge, Bridge Repertory Theatre presents “Who Is Eartha Mae,” the world premiere production of Jade Wheeler’s one-woman cabaret, here directed by Cailin Doran and featuring choreography by Jenna Pollack and the music direction of Seulah Noh. Wheeler’s channeling of the legendary performer Eartha Kitt goes beyond a convincing Catwoman “reoooow,” following Kitt’s path “from Jim Crow-era South, to Europe, around the world, and back home again.” It’s onstage through Feb. 23, and you can purr-chase tickets here. (Sorry.)
SKELETON CREW: The aggressively understaffed casts of Bedlam Theatre Company’s renditions of classic plays make for gripping theater — witness the Aucoinal glee inspired by past productions of “Saint Joan” and “Hamlet,” performed over one afternoon by the same four actors. Their take on the George Bernard Shaw classic (and “My Fair Lady” antecedent) “Pygmalion” may seem like lighter fare, but with just six actors, Doolittle actually means doing a lot. Directed by Eric Tucker (who stars as Professor Higgins) and featuring Vaishnavi Sharma as Eliza, the show is up at Central Square Theatre through March 3. Get tickets here.
SOFT FOCUS: If the only colors on the field you care about are “the most quaint and fussiest of paints, made brooding, moody, bleached-out,” you’ll be all about what’s on view at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford. “American Moderns in Watercolor: Edward Hopper and His Contemporaries” is an impressive wash of work from artists you may not immediately associate with “the Sunday painter’s weapon of choice” — Hopper, writes Globe art critic Murray Whyte, is “one among many enlisted [by curator Erin Monroe] to recover the medium itself from its twee reputation.” Featuring works from Hopper, Stuart Davis, Charles Burchfield, John Marin, and more, it’s on view through March 17. Find more info here.
DEEP CUTS: And lastly from the outside world, if you’re feeling especially low this weekend, the Celebrity Series of Boston presentation of “No Tenors Allowed” may resonate with you. A celebration of baritonal pride (and songs for low voice from various operas, operettas, and Broadway shows), this 95-minute program brings together baritone Thomas Hampson, bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni, and pianist Kevin Murphy, whose range will presumably remain a mystery. They’ll perform works by Mozart, Bellini, Cole Porter, and conspicuously nothing by Isaac Hayes. (And while tenors are technically allowed, they are asked to please not make this about you this once.) That’s at Jordan Hall on Friday night, and you can find tickets here.
OR STAY IN! Who am I kidding here? You’ve already got your Pats snuggie on. Let’s do this. Natasha Lyonne co-created and stars in a new Netflix series called “Russian Doll,” which finds Lyonne’s Nadia leaving a party only to become trapped in an endless life-and-death feedback loop. “The elements in ‘Russian Doll’ may sound somewhat familiar, particularly the ‘Groundhog Day’ repetitions,” writes Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert, “but they are all recombined to form something that is both fresh and revelatory.” Eight episodes will be ready for bingeing Friday on Netflix.
Also streaming on Friday is Amazon’s new Agatha Christie adaptation, “The ABC Murders.” “It should probably just be called ‘John Malkovich as Hercule Poirot,’ ” writes Gilbert. “Set in 1933, the miniseries is about a killer with the alias ABC, who writes to the aging Poirot and who leaves an ABC Railway Guide at the scene of each murder.”
Oh, also, there’s a new “RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars” Friday night on VH-1, and I don’t know, gurl, I just feel like Naomi Smalls is gonna need those legs to walk on out the door, henny, because “Club 96” is officially closed, and she’s gonna need a new gig, okurrrrr? [mouth pop]
And then the Super Bowl is on Sunday. Go Pats!
And that, Weekenders, brings us to the bottom of this week’s 11-layer dip. Hope there’s something in there that you like. Enjoy the game! And I’m serious about this wing recipe. It’s really good. (HMU.) Whatever you get into this weekend, make it one you’ll miss come Monday. See you next week!