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Things to Do

The Weekender: Boston Calling, ‘Aladdin’ flying, and waters rising

Boston Calling runs Friday through Sunday at Harvard Athletic Fields.Globe staff illustration

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Hello again Weekenders!

I imagine a good many of you will be spending the better part of this holiday weekend tonging and flipping all sorts of sizzling things on a flaming grill. That’s great! While you do that, I’m just going to hang out at a safe distance way the hell over here and talk about what else is happening this weekend. (I’m sure you’re a fantastic cook, but newspapers and grills . . . we have kind of a volatile relationship. Not worth getting into here.)


Should you be looking to spend two hours under the spell of a masterful director, we’ve got a little something for you. And should you be looking to turn three quiet days into three very loud ones, we’ve got a big something for you. Lots of stuff in between as well.

Before we get going here, this newsletter does not excel at silence, but this being Memorial Day weekend, make sure one thing you do is dedicate a moment or two of it to those who lost their lives serving our country. I’ll put one here: [             ]

Well done! (Speaking of which, is something burning?)

TENTH’S INTENSE: You made the potato salad, the three-bean salad, the egg salad, and (wow) the ambrosia salad for the weekend; the one thing you didn’t make was plans. Good news! Full passes are still available for the 10th installment of Boston Calling, the three-day festival of music, comedy, and people dressing like it’s warmer than it actually is. To help you get your bearings, we’ve pulled together a list of daily must-sees from Globe contributor Maura Johnston (plus recommendations from other artists on the lineup); and chats with festival booker Trevor Solomon, hip-hop star Denzel Curry, and Imogen Heap. We will also explain why you may see ballerinas in the beer line. That’s Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Harvard Athletic Fields. Grab tickets here. (And for a homegrown “cultural response” to Boston Calling — and Boston as a whole — “manifested into a show,” the hip-hop heavy Hipstory project Boston Answering takes place Saturday night at the Strand in Dorchester. Tickets here.) Please note: Large bags, cigarettes, pets, and well-intentioned salads are all prohibited.


FULL SLATE: Oh, speaking of Boston Calling, if you’re there, do yourself a favor and catch the multitalented, wildly busy, and chronically wonderful comic, actress, and author Jenny Slate, who lately has shown up in films like “The Sunlit Night” and “Venom,” and whose voice has lately animated Gidget the Pomeranian from “The Secret Life of Pets” (as well as Marcel the Shell With Shoes On). She’ll be performing a stand-up set at the festival, but if big crowds and big hats aren’t your bag, you can catch a more intimate gig on Saturday night at the Wilbur. Grab tickets here.

GENIE-OLOGY: Globe film critic Ty Burr gives “Aladdin” — a “film that has no earthly reason to exist given the continued existence of the 1992 animated original,” 2½ existence-justifying stars. “At its best, Aladdin” 2.0 re-creates the exhilaration of that initial magic carpet ride with all the pixels it can muster. At its worst it’s an ethno-cultural mosh-pit that never quite leaves the central plaza at Disney World.” The big question is: Will it lodge “A Whole New World” in your head for several weeks? I mean, it’s already stuck in your head right now, so sure, why not? A whole newwww wooooorrrrld! Now screening.

HOGG MILD: Back in January, Joanna Hogg’s latest feature, “The Souvenir,” was Burr’s “single favorite experience at Sundance 2019” — in part for her “elliptical and fragmented” style, in part for the “rewards [that] can be found in the film’s coolly passionate observations of young love growing out of itself.” And he’s sticking to his story these many months later, giving it 3½ stars and calling it “a very good movie about a bad boyfriend” that “demands to be seen,” from “a major filmmaker pointing herself in new directions.” And if all that weren’t enough, you also get two Swintons (heroine Honor Swinton Byrne and on-screen and real-life mama Tilda) for a single ticket price. Now screening.


“Now I Let You Go . . .,” a new exhibition of works by Annie Lennox, is on view starting Saturday at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.Eric Korenman

QUEEN OF THE HILL: Globe contributor Jeremy D. Goodwin recommends heading out to North Adams to catch “Now I Let You Go . . .” a new exhibition of works by diva extraordinaire Annie Lennox, on view starting Saturday at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. Lennox will perform a sold-out show that afternoon at the museum (as part of a daylong celebration of its 20th anniversary), but the massive earthen mound she’s constructed and studded with deeply personal items — “from an audio mixing console to three plaster casts of her teeth to her late mother’s eyeglasses” —  is on view for all to explore. “It’s ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)’ manifested in an earthen mound, which sounds so bizarre,” she told the Globe. (Who am I to disagree?) Tickets and more information here.

WAR PATHS: You still have a chance to catch Company One’s presentation (in partnership with the Chinatown-based Pao Arts Center) of Qui Nguyen’s “Vietgone,” a play that offers “a welcome shift in perspective” by centering on a family of Vietnamese refugees resettling in the United States after the war. Globe theater critic Don Aucoin calls Nguyen a playwright “whose powers of invention seldom flag, and [whose] distinctive voice starts to yield more dividends as ‘Vietgone’ proceeds, especially because director [Michelle] Aguillon is clearly on his wavelength.” It’s up through Saturday at the BCA’s Plaza Theatre. Tickets here.


TIDAL FIGHT: Across the harbor from the Institute of Contemporary Art at the museum’s Watershed outpost in East Boston, you can experience a new work from Ghana-born, London-based artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah (a founding member of the influential Black Audio Film Collective and Smoking Dogs Films). His immersive, six-channel video installation “Purple” pairs (or sextuples) footage of “various disappearing ecological landscapes” around the world with an ominous score that elevates your awareness of climate change the way a rising waterline might make you more aware of your pants. (Don’t be surprised if the ferry ride back feels a little creepy.) It’s on view Sunday through Sept. 2, assuming we have that long. Tickets and info here.

GIDDENS GOOD: If you caught singer, violinist, banjo player, and versatile virtuoso Rhiannon Giddens at last year’s Fourth of July concert with the Boston Pops, you know the fireworks got kind of blown out of the water (like, figuratively this time). The MacArthur genius grant recipient, part-time Carolina Chocolate Drop, and tireless advocate for black string-band music is taking up a four-day residency with the Boston Pops titled “Redefining American Music,” and it culminates this weekend with an evening of music by black composers including Billy Strayhorn and Florence Price, featuring singer Darius de Haas and pianist Lara Downes. More information and tickets here.


STEPHEN [IS] KING: And lastly from the outside world this week, at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, you can catch one of the more challenging works from Stephen Sondheim’s catalog, “Pacific Overtures,” as envisioned by producing artistic director Spiro Veloudos. “You have to tip your cap to [Veloudos] for taking a chance by ending Lyric Stage’s current season with it,” writes Aucoin, “because this austere historical musical about the impact of Western cultural imperialism on insular, tradition-bound 19th-century Japan is the furthest thing from a surefire crowd-pleaser.” But “intricate” choreography from Micheline Wu and a “simple but elegant” stage design by Janie E. Howland help make it “a worthy capstone to the cycle of 10 Sondheim musicals Veloudos has presented since the 1998-99 season.” It’s up through June 16. Find tickets here.

Viewers seeking one more look at “GoT” can catch the HBO documentary “Game of Thrones: The Last Watch.”Helen Sloan/HBO

OR STAY IN! Did you notice how I didn’t say a single thing about “Game of Thrones” this whole time? You did/didn’t? That was on purpose. I, for one, am a little tired of talking about “Game of Thrones” and what I/you/mom/some dude/everyone thought about the ending. I actually need Drogon to swing back thru and melt it all to molten goo.

But, for those of you who are not done yet — a restless army of the undead, indeed — try temporarily slaking your ceaseless thirst for anticlimax with “Game of Thrones: The Last Watch,” a feature-length HBO documentary about the feature-length finale that unleashed a feature-length groan from millions of watchers. That’s on at 9 p.m. on Sunday. (SPOILER: No one dies.)

And on Friday, Netflix drops season one of “What/If,” a “neo-noir” anthology series of morality tales from Mike Kelley of “Revenge” and “Swingtown.” Soon-to-be Judy Renée Zellweger stars in one installment as a woman who makes an indecent proposal to newlyweds seeking money to launch a start-up — which honestly sounds like a bad idea right now, Renée or no. (Other episodes star Jane Levy, Blake Jenner, Samantha Ware, Gabriel Mann, and Dave Annable.)

And that, leisure-bound Weekenders, is all I’ve got cooking for you this week. However you go about spending your weekend, make sure those patties are cooked through, and make it one you’ll miss come Monday.

See you next week!

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