The Weekender: Frightening ‘Us,’ funny ballet, Phish-y music
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Hi Weekenders! Feel that? Spring sprung.
Is that a five I see at the front of that Fahrenheit reading? Oh yes it is. You can’t see me right now, but I’m changing into shorts. Too much information? I haven’t even gotten started.
But before I do, let me just say I hate being wrong, except when I get away with it — then it’s amazing. But when I get caught? Oh man. That’s the worst. So, last week, when for some reason I referred to Thelonious Monk as “the original giant stepper” despite that clearly being a designation for John Coltrane, my coffeeless subconscious thought it had pulled a fast one.
Alas, no; for you Weekenders are up far earlier than the actual Weekender. Thank you, reader Charles McDermott, for pointing out my flub! I have no excuse. A love supreme; a memory subprime. As punishment I’ll be performing my own tribute to Monk on the public piano at the airport this afternoon. (I didn’t say it was punishment for me.)
And now, on with the show(s)!
DUNN DEAL: While we’re talking giant steppers, at the Citizens Bank Opera House (gotta get used to saying that, will practice in mirror) you can catch Boston Ballet’s newly promoted principal dancer Derek Dunn “leaping into the major role of Frantz” in George Balanchine’s version/vision of “Coppélia,” up through March 31. “It’s a happy, funny story,” Dunn told Globe writer Karen Campbell. “And I love that the music [by Léo Delibes] really matches the story perfectly, and the way Balanchine phrases and uses mime is done really well and accentuates the humor.” Find tickets here.
CLONE WARS: Fans of Jordan Peele’s breakthrough first foray into horror, “Get Out,” who keep telling their black friends they’d have seen it 10 times, if only they could have, need to 1.) really stop and think about what you’re doing there, and 2.) maybe express your ardor instead by going to see Peele’s equally breakthrough second foray into horror, “Us.” This “intensely unnerving” Lupita Nyong’o-led “doppelganger shriek-a-thon” about a family and their bizarro selves scores 3½ stars from Globe film critic Ty Burr, who says “ ‘Us’ is, in many ways, even more get-under-your-skin-and-into-your-nightmares creepy/funny/scary than ‘Get Out.’ ” Now screening.
BASS MASTER: Now that presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is officially in the cultural conversation (in a PBS sort of way), so too, inevitably, will be Phish, of whom Mayor Pete is allegedly a Phan. Does that mean he’ll lead the country out of a jam, or waaaay deeper into one, maaan? Those are questions for another newsletter. What’s important here is that Phish bassist Mike Gordon has mistaken the Sinclair for an Airbnb and will camp out with his eponymous band Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. They’re all technically sold out, but if Mayor Pete can make it into the debates, you can pop a Mentos and sort this out. Resales maybe?
INNER VOICE: When he was recently crowned the winner of the first season of “The Masked Singer” (skip this blurb now if you still don’t know who it is) T-Pain removed the furry cyclops head and revealed the tender-hearted artist within: “Suck it everybody who told me I couldn't sing! I just won a singing competition!” Probably not the best example there, but it was really actually very sweet. In any case, he just released “1UP,” which is all about . . . well it’s pretty much him telling more people to suck it. Look, the point is T-Pain is coming to Royale on Saturday and he won’t be dressed as an under-bed monster. He will, however, still sound like a sexy robot. Tickets here.
THE SCENE IS NOW: Along with bands like Count Zero, the Dresden Dolls, and Jaggery, Boston’s Beat Circus was among those theatrically tilted acts operating out of Allston’s long-gone art space Pan 9. After a decade of silence, the multifarious band is back with an adaptation of Herbert Asbury’s “The Barbary Coast: An Informal History of the San Francisco Underworld” that came about after leader Brian Carpenter and the band did a residency at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre in California. The result is a new album, a new tour, and what feels like a new Beat Circus. They’re at Once Ballroom on Saturday with Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band, Count Zero, Jaggery, and Kee Avil. Tickets here.
COMIC STRIP: In comedy this weekend, you can catch Boston’s own Brett Johnson, whose one-man-show (wait come back!) “Poly-Theist” traces his path from an evangelical childhood to a polyamorous marriage (and then a divorce, but focus, people, focus). That’s at the Rozzi Square Theater Saturday (and Nick’s Bar and Restaurant in Worcester on March 29). Tickets for this weekend’s date here. Also, on Friday and Saturday at Laugh Boston you can catch “clever, sometimes cutting” comic Sam Morril, whose stance on gun control involves forced wigs and I don’t need to hear the rest of the joke because I already agree. Tickets for that here.
JACK IS BACK: If you’re going to adapt a Kerouac novel for the stage, don’t do “On the Road.” For one thing: the fumes. For another, we all know that one. Do like Sean Daniels — the soon-to-be-outgoing (in the good way) artistic director of Merrimack Repertory Theatre — and find one of the prolific Lowell native’s lesser (or even better) lost works, like “The Haunted Life,” an unfinished novel in pencil found in the closet of a Columbia dorm room and auctioned back into existence. The new play premieres at Merrimack Repertory Theatre in Lowell through April 14. You are respectfully asked to leave your typewriter at home or in the car. Tickets here.
MASSIVE ATTACK: Yes, yes, I’m very excited to experience and more than likely bump into the walls of the forthcoming Kusama installation, but starting Saturday at the Institute of Contemporary Art (and through May 29) you can take in the newly-opened “Huma Bhabha: They Live,” an exhibition from the Pakistani artist who makes often-monumental artworks that “draw on horror movies, science fiction, ancient artifacts, religious reliquary, and modernist sculpture.” More information here.
DUKE’S UP: And finally from the outside world this weekend comes an opportunity to celebrate composers of color, as the Boston Symphony Orchestra takes on works by Florence Price and Adolphus Hailstork (for the first time) as well as works by Roberto Sierra and Duke Ellington. It’s also a subscription series debut from Thomas Wilkins, the BSO’s youth and family concerts conductor. This is a one-night-only affair on Saturday evening; grab tickets here.
OR STAY IN! Now available is the latest Netflix special from Amy Schumer. “Growing” goes through the lighter details of Schumer’s recent marriage and pregnancy, like a vomiting condition called hyperemesis (“There’s no research on it because men don’t get it.”) Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert picked it as one to watch — along with Patricia Arquette’s new Hulu series, “The Act.”
For something quieter, you could couch up with “Nobody’s Fool,” comic artist Bill Griffith’s “heartfelt, meticulously researched graphic-novel biography of the inspiration for Zippy: the real Schlitzie Surtees from the movie ‘Freaks.’ ” And check out Ty’s chat with him here.
And for something far louder, you can jam out to “It’s Real,” the new album from Ex Hex, led by erstwhile Helium mastermind and shredditor in chief Mary Timony. “So blast it loud and blast it proud,” write Globe reviewer Zoë Madonna. “If it’s not summer when you’re listening, these songs create their own summer of the mind.” (I’m still working on a spring of the mind, but I’ll get there.)
And that, vernally activated Weekenders, is it for all of my favorite things this weekend (and yes, that was a corrective Coltrane reference). However you go about your weekend, make it one you’ll miss come Monday.
See you next time!