Things to Do

The Weekender: Hard bops, soft fruits, honeybees, and ‘The Donkey Show’

A scene from "Honeyland."
A scene from "Honeyland."Ljubo Stefanov

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Hello Weekenders! I hope your short week was as good as your long weekend. And would you look at this: Here we are again, perched on the edge of not just another weekend, but a whole season of events. Be sure to save some room on the brunch table this Sunday for our annual Fall Arts Preview, which rakes together a veritable giant heap of autumnal fun, just waiting for you to dive in. The lawyers want me to say “figuratively.”


Meanwhile, I don’t have my glasses, so I can’t really tell you anything about what’s happening beyond the weekend right in front of us.

And on that front, it’s a big one. Real quick, in the free-and-family-friendly department, there’s a Lantern Festival in Chinatown on Saturday (more info here); the Evolution of Hip-Hop showcase in Somerville’s Union Square, also on Saturday (info here); and the Boston Arts Festival, marking the launch of Open Studios season and bringing over 70 artists and 50,000 visitors to Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park on Saturday and Sunday (more info here).

I mean, you could stop there. But no wait don’t! I have a lot more stuff. Including bees.

BEE MOVIE: Yes, I’m giving you lots of bee warnings. Love, love, love their work, but they also need to stay away from me. Which is why I’ll be in the very back row near the door for “Honeyland,” a “funny and wrenching” — and dare I add buzzy? I do — new documentary about a Macedonian beekeeper that just scored four stars from Globe film critic Ty Burr. “Few movies capture the great wheel of nature turning with as much beauty and empathy as ‘Honeyland,’ and fewer still show how easily the wheel can slip its track and come crashing to pieces.” At once “depressing and full of wonders,” it’s a must-see for the weekend. Besides, have you ever tried honey on popcorn? (Not recommended at all.) Now screening.


JAZZ ODYSSEY: If you prefer your honey in the horn, Globe critic Mark Feeney recommends “Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes” to the tune of three stars. Sophie Huber’s “briskly reverential” documentary (that's right, two documentaries this week because this is the real world we’re living in) charts the storied jazz label’s 80-year rise to the “gold standard of recorded improvisational music,” from its boogie-woogie beginnings through its heights in bebop, hard-bop, and free jazz, and on into its “proudly hip-hop-inflected present.” Jazz heads will have their hair blown back by the film’s trove of archival studio footage (“much of it marvelous”) and artist interviews. It’s awaiting your idle moments at the Brattle through Sept. 12.

HORN OF PLENTY: Extend this riff on a theme over to Scullers, where on Friday night, the luminous Jazzmeia Horn — who may have grown up under an expectation of becoming a jazz star — comes to perform a single evening set. Globe jazz contributor Kevin Lowenthal calls Horn “the most acclaimed female jazz vocalist to emerge since Cécile McLorin Salvant,” having scored the Sara Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition in 2013 and the Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition in 2015. (Seriously, just watch her do “Moanin’.”) Grab tickets (while you can) here.


EYES & EARS: It’s a synaesthetic soiree of sorts at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on Sunday afternoon, when the Boston-based Phoenix orchestra (led by artistic director Matthew Szymanski) performs a special program of “Music for the Eye,” featuring image-inspired works by composers ranging from Richard Wagner to Julia Wolfe (as well as some Charles Ives, some Debussy, some Roberto Sierra, and the world premiere of a museum-commissioned work by Jonathan Bailey Holland). Grab tickets here.

DON’T LEAVE ME THIS WAY: For a slightly more Technicolor multisensory experience — which may include crying, because this is going to be emotional — consider taking the last dance with “The Donkey Show” which, after 10 years of squeezing into its tiniest shorts and tightest, most high-waisted pants, will extinguish its disco inferno for good on Saturday night with one final show at the ART’s faerie-friendly outpost, Oberon. As much as we love the nightlife, that’s the way of the world — and besides, it’s time to wake up from that midsummer night’s dream, already. It’s September! More info and tickets here.

Visitors to the exhibition “Mural: Jackson Pollock | Katharina Grosse” at the Museum of Fine Arts.
Visitors to the exhibition “Mural: Jackson Pollock | Katharina Grosse” at the Museum of Fine Arts.Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

BIG PICTURES: Globe art critic Murray Whyte suggests a swing through the MFA to take in “Mural: Jackson Pollock | Katharina Grosse,” a pairing of the largest-ever painting created by the canonically dubbed daddy of Abstract Expressionism with “Untitled,” a similarly massive (if decibels louder) work commissioned by the MFA from the adventurous German painter Katharina Grosse. Whether the two paintings are in conversation or two competing monologues remains in question, but Whyte is certainly picking up on a dynamic at play: “ ‘Untitled’ can’t be avoided,” he writes, “to be in the space at all is to negotiate your path relative to its footprint. ‘Mural,’ by contrast, feels polite and deferential, available at your convenience.” (So who’s the daddy now, Jackson?) It’s up through Feb. 23.


ROT STARS: If the MFA’s Hyman Bloom show didn’t give you your fill of weirdly pretty death and decay, make your once-every-now-and-again visit to the Harvard Museum of Natural History, where the museum’s treasured collection of glass botanicals has been pruned down to a stunning little collection of “Fruits in Decay,” which gathers 20 or so of the collection’s figuratively sorrier specimens. “By focusing on decay, creepiness becomes, in a sense, the point,” writes Mark Feeney of the show. “It’s this very emphasis on perishability that lends the variously unhealthy pears, peaches, apricots, plums, and strawberries on display arresting, even moving, in a way that hothouse-perfect counterparts cannot be.” Best by March 1; more info here.

ROOM WITH A VIEW: Speaking of hothouses, if you make it out west this weekend, stop by the Emily Dickinson Museum (because it cannot stop for you) to spend some quiet time in her freshly restored conservatory, where once the Belle of Amherst “tended to heliotropes, jasmine, and other plants from around the world,” and where now hangs the room’s first site-specific installation, “In Suspension” (through Sept. 9). As Globe contributor Nora McGreevy notes, the work, created by artists Tereza Swanda, Ingrid Pichler, and Fletcher Boote, “includes painted rectangles of color, vinyl Plexiglass sheets on windows, and recorded vocals by Boote that resonate in the small space.”


P. BREAK: And lastly from the outside world this week, you can catch comic Christina Pazsitzky, a.k.a Christina P. — whom Globe comedy contributor Nick A. Zaino III describes as “the more scatologically inclined half of the husband-and-wife team behind the popular podcast ‘Your Mom’s House’ with fellow comedian Tom Segura” — as she brings her “Ride or Die” tour to the Wilbur for an early evening set on Saturday night. Be warned: Your dad jokes are no match for her mom jokes. Grab tickets here.

Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert marked the passing of Valerie Harper (right, with Mary Tyler Moore in the 2000 TV movie “Mary and Rhoda”) with a list of television’s best best friends.
Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert marked the passing of Valerie Harper (right, with Mary Tyler Moore in the 2000 TV movie “Mary and Rhoda”) with a list of television’s best best friends.1999 ABC, INC.

OR STAY IN: Your marriage might be fine (it’s probably fine; I’m sure it’s fine), but that doesn’t mean you can’t get all tied up in other people’s problems, which is why you might consider joining me and Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert, two of literally several people who will spend their Friday night tuned into Showtime for the 10 p.m. premiere of “Couples Therapy,” starring “world-class therapist” Dr. Orna Guralnik. Boy, am I glad that’s not us, you’ll say to yourself, because he’s still at “game night.”

And if you are officially In On Saturday Night, why not take that to its logical conclusion with a trusty Lifetime melodrama? This Saturday’s special (“Two, two, two Lifetime tropes in one,” writes Gilbert) is “Identity Theft of a Cheerleader,” which I am telling you right now looks completely amazing . Lifetime. Saturday. 8 p.m. Be there.

Of course, if you’re not quite past mourning the passing of the great Valerie Harper, Matthew Gilbert pays homage to the Rhoda in each of us with a list of television’s best best friends, from Ethel Mertz to Jane Lane.

And lastly, there’s a new album from the Highwomen — i.e. the country supergroup of Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires, Maren Morris, and Natalie Hemby, or as Globe music contributor Stuart Munro puts it, four women “making music that’s too country for country radio.”

And that, summer-weary Weekenders, is all I’ve got in the pile this week. Have fun out there, and however you spend your weekend, 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.