Things to Do

The Weekender: ‘Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood,’ a love letter to Houston, and a farewell to ‘Orange’

Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt in “Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood.”
Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt in “Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood.”Andrew Cooper

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Hey there Weekenders,

So I know I’m usually the loudest, cheeriest, most-highest-jumping cheerleader when it comes to getting you all out of the house for the weekend. But this week, I have to come clean, I’m just not so sure. I’m looking out there and seeing tornadoessharksfireballs, and toxic goo. I was already having nightmares about getting pelted by Faye Dunaway’s salad, and now this?

Well, despite this barrage of threats from land, sea, and sky, this newsletter is staying steadfast in the face of many, many dangers and doing quite literally the only thing it knows how to do: Tell you about all the great arts events at your disposal this weekend! We’re just also going to ask you to consider wearing a helmet until this whole Mercury retrograde thing shakes out (next Wednesday, we’re good).

Ready? Too bad. We’re going.


FALLING STARS: Globe film critic Ty Burr gave all of his stars (i.e. four) to Quentin Tarantino’s latest throwback, “Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood,” calling it “one of his best.” Set in 1969 and starring Leonardo DiCaprio as “a movie star who has seen better days,” Brad Pitt as his “longtime stuntman, gofer, therapist, and friend,” and Margot Robbie as “the story’s sacrificial lamb,” Sharon Tate, the film, writes Burr, is “explicitly about the stories that a massive 20th-century entertainment machine created in order to give us decades of happy endings” and “how all those happy endings and all that illusion still couldn’t keep chaos from erupting.” And for any of you who were around to witness the death of the studio era, it’ll be “a 2½-hour Proustian madeleine of entertainment culture, the kind of thing that puts you into a blissful nostalgia coma.” Milk Duds help, too. Now screening.


TO HOUSTON WITH LOVE: Slightly more diffuse, way more chill, and set in the humidity of Houston instead of the hills of Hollywood, Solange Knowles’s “When I Get Home” is a mesmerizing cinematic realization of her most recent album of the same name, made up of musical vignettes, angular choreography, and the artist immersing herself in a singular vision of her hometown — with all of its rodeos and Rothkos. On Sunday at 2 p.m., the Institute of Contemporary Art will screen a special 41-minute extended cut of the film, which includes new musical arrangements as well as new sculptural works by Knowles. The screening is free with museum admission, but tickets are required and will be available on a first-come first-served basis at the box office one hour prior to start.

BILL TO LAST: The Newport Folk Festival turns 60 this weekend, and in true boomer style, it completely sold out maaan. Just kidding, you know I love you guys. (Right?) Anyway, it’s a fittingly serious lineup for such a milestone, featuring big names like Hozier, Kacey Musgraves, Trey Anastasio, Jeff Tweedy, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and Warren Haynes, for starters. But keep an ear out for the festival’s “Outside Folk” performances, which pair veteran acts with up-and-comers (like Judy Collins with Ari Hest). And Globe contributor James Sullivan recommends clocking the secondary sites (the Quad, Harbor, and Museum stages) for this year’s particularly strong undercard — like British roots firebrand Yola. Newport runs FridaySaturday, and Sunday at Fort Adams State Park. See the full lineup and schedule here.


LOWELL HIGHS: And it wouldn’t be the Newport Folk Festival without the call-and-response of the Lowell Folk Festival happening two hours north. This enduringly solid free music festival makes for a lower-key, family-friendly alternative, with a stacked and wildly diverse lineup of acts from around the world. Catch the Saharan blues of guitar legend Vieux Farka Toure, Susan Watts and the Wonder Women of Klezmer, the Colombian joropo of Grupo Cimarron, Germán López and Antonio Toledo’s mastery of the timple (an instrument native to the Canary Islands), Iroquois social dance from Chris Thomas and his Smoke Dancers, throat singing and khomus twanging from Aidyn Byrtaan-ool and Yuliyana Krivoshapkina from the Sakha Republic — and, oh yes, some folk too. And rockabilly. And bluegrass. And jazz. (Plus food that’s just as all over the place.) It runs FridaySaturday, and Sunday in downtown Lowell. Full lineup and more info here.

WALL BANGERS: And because it’s bad luck not to give you three festivals to decide among, there’s also the third annual Beyond Walls Festival, a two-week arts and culture fest (with a focus on street art) running in downtown Lynn through Aug. 3. In addition to artists from around the world swooping in to create large-scale murals and mixed-media public art, the fest will host a dizzying array of events (that’s not just the paint fumes). On Friday at Patio parklet, you can hear the Traveling Accordion, bringing traditional sounds from Germany, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico. On Saturday, take a guided street-art tour at noon, and catch a graffiti battle that evening. And on Sunday, take in a friendly game of futbol between the artists. (And come back next Saturday for the closing block party.) Find a full lineup of artists and schedule of events here.


Rachel Cognata and Brooks Reeves in “Greater Good.”
Rachel Cognata and Brooks Reeves in “Greater Good.”Natasha Moustache

BACK TO SCHOOL: Don’t miss a chance to catch the world premiere staging of Kirsten Greenidge’s groundbreaking (and right on time) new play “Greater Good,” which takes seriously its opportunity to offer viewers an education on education. As described by Globe contributor Christopher Wallenberg, “In this immersive, site-specific work, audiences will tour the fictional Gleason Street school, guided through various classrooms in small groups as they watch various scenes unfurl — from rambling, at times contentious parent council meetings to private conversations between teachers in the faculty-room kitchen to clandestine encounters between the head of school and a member of the council.” It’s presented by Company One Theatre in conjunction with the American Repertory Theater and runs through Aug. 17 on site at the Commonwealth School in the Back Bay. Find tickets and more information here.

CENTRAL HEAT: Am I sending you to Shirley? You bet I’m sending you to Shirley. Why, you ask? For Davina & The Vagabonds at the Bull Run, that’s why! Davina Lozier — a woman wanted in multiple states for beating the ever-living hell out of innocent pianos, and whose growl-and-warble vocals swerve between Amy Winehouse and Bessie Smith — is making a name with her crack team of Vagabonds for scorching sets of old-timey jazz and blues that’ll have you dropping your drink. If she can make her home base of Minneapolis feel like New Orleans, Shirley’s really in trouble on Sunday. Grab tickets here.


DEEP THOUGHTS: I realize it’s muggy and gross out, but lately the water has offered us all several reasons to reconsider entering it, and I’m inclined to oblige those considerations and redirect my hot self to the more figurative immersion of “Water” at Gallery Kayafas. Wade unbitten through this “intimate, mostly light and refreshing” exhibition of works “by more than 60 artists . . . reflecting on people’s ordinary relationship to water.” As Globe contributor Cate McQuaid confirms, “It cools on a hot day, slakes thirst, and invites play.” Plus nothing in the gallery considers you brunch. It’s up through Aug. 2; find more info here.

SEA LEGS?: If it’s going to take more than a couple disappeared seals to scare you, hop on the ferry this Saturday to Provincetown, where the Cape Dance Festival comes to the Province Lands Visitor Center Amphitheater with performances from Cunningham Centennial Solos: Provincetown, Limón Dance Company, Cirio Collective, Eryc Taylor Dance, the Wondertwins, and Bill Young/Colleen Thomas & Co. Then on Sunday, the Wondertwins return for a free family matinee performance of “The Billy and Bobby Show” (RSVPs required) at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater. You can find program info and tickets here. And a cute hat for the boat here. (I’m just trying to help.)

RAINBOW CONNECTION: We all know that the Internet is what threw the world into chaos, but now and then, it’s also what helps us understand that world a little better. Case in point: Randy Rainbow, whose scathing satirical sendups of pundits and politicians set to today’s hottest pop hits somehow count for some of the most lucid commentary on YouTube. (I know that’s not saying much.) Mr. Rainbow touches down at the Wilbur for a (sold-out) Sunday evening of pure, unmitigated political shade. (You may need a small pot of gold for resales, but see what’s out there.) More info here.

FAIRYLESS TALE: And lastly from the outside world, there’s what music writer Zoë Madonna calls a “summer treat” in the form of Boston Midsummer Opera’s presentation of Rossini’s “La Cenerentola” running through Sunday at the Mosesian Center for the Arts in Watertown. “A Cinderella story” (just without the pumpkins and slippers) starring mezzo-soprano Allegra de Vita and tenor Theo Lebow, it also makes “a fine choice” for the first-time opera-goer in your life (big or small). Find info and tickets here.

Danielle Brooks and Taryn Manning in “Orange Is the New Black.”
Danielle Brooks and Taryn Manning in “Orange Is the New Black.”Netflix

OR STAY IN:  Starting Friday, assuming you have TV privileges, you can binge the seventh and final season of “Orange Is the New Black,” the show that Globe television critic Matthew Gilbert says “helped usher in the Netflix revolution” as well as “a new era in narrative structure on TV.”

Gilbert also recommends the HBO film “Share,” airing Saturday at 10 p.m. and telling the “too-familiar story of a high school girl who wakes up on her front lawn after blacking out and a cellphone video that murkily proves she was sexually assaulted.”

And if you’re suffering from superhero burnout, good news! There’s a new superhero show! Or, not quite. As Gilbert writes, “ ‘The Boys’ [which comes to  Amazon on Friday] poses a rich question, geared to our current era of social media and fame-a-holism. What if superheroes — ‘supes,’ as they’re called on the show — weren’t necessarily super people? What if, beneath their heroic exteriors and beyond their paranormal powers, they are more like reality TV stars hungry for clicks and likes, or corporate toadies who value bottom lines over morality?” Just think: You have all weekend to find out!

And that, astrologically disadvantaged Weekenders, is all I’ve got in the charts this week. Have fun whatever you do this weekend, and make it one you’ll miss come Monday.

See you next time!

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