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My fellow Weekenders, I’m pleased to tell you that the state of the weekend is strong. (And so is the Szechuan sauce for these wings.)
It being a Super Bowl weekend, and it being a Patriots Super Bowl, there are likely a good many of you who are all set with plans and can just stop reading this newsletter right now NO WAIT KEEP READING. But there are just as many of you, if not more, who require something to balance (or block) out the compulsory Sunday carnage. (Personally, I don’t need to watch because my mother is a witch and can predict the winner of football games based on whose uniform she prefers once they take the field. You think I’m joking.)
So for anyone who needs some time to clear the mind before cleaning the living room, or for anyone who is just now finding out that the Super Bowl is this weekend (my people), enjoy this alternate game plan. (Sports reference!)
BEAT HAPPENING: Last week I told you to go check out Company One’s world premiere of Idris Goodwin’s “Hype Man: A Break Beat Play.” If you followed directions (good Weekender!) and are ready for more on the theatrical rap tip, on Friday and Saturday, you can catch the Celebrity Series of Boston production of “The Roots,” an evening-length work from French hip-hop choreographer Kader Attou and his Compagnie Accrorap. Blending street dance styles with contemporary movement and circus arts, Attou turns hip-hop (and the stage) into a place where borders dissolve into a dream state. That’s at the Boch Center Shubert Theatre; find tickets here.
GAY PARIS: Also incoming from France this week is “BPM (Beats per Minute),” Robin Campillo’s tenderly intense tale of the AIDS crisis of the early 1990s as it unfolded in Paris. Says Ty Burr in his 3½-star review, “The movie’s a social history, a love story, and a call to arms. It’s very sad and it’s very good.” Ably balancing the “buzzy, crowded feel of a recovered documentary” with the emotional heft of a “reportorial chamber drama,” “BPM,” which won the Grand Jury prize at Cannes, “is precisely about what it means to be human in a society predisposed to seeing only groups.” You can catch its area premiere through the weekend at the Brattle.
ANNETTE WIN: And continuing this hot streak of segues, another sad and fabulous film in the form of “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool,” which Burr calls “further proof that Annette Bening can do anything” in his 2½-star review. It follows Bening as Gloria Grahame, once a star of 1940s and ’50s Hollywood film noir, now in her late 50s and retreating to the family home of her young Liverpudlian lover “not so much to die,” as Burr puts it, “but to see if she could hide from death.” It’s not a perfect movie, but it does have a splash of Vanessa Redgrave (as Grahame’s mother), and “if it sends audiences back to explore the filmography of Gloria Grahame,” says Burr, “the movie will have truly provided a public service.”
VAMPIRE WEEKENDER: Fans of Vampire Weekend (or that super catchy spinoff act Discovery) are probably already fans of Rostam, whether they know it or not. The former Vampire has emerged into the daylight on his own with “Half Light,” an album that pulls from his Iranian heritage, his queer sensibilities, and the pop smarts he’s displayed in recent work with Charlie XCX, Solange, Frank Ocean, and Carly Rae Jepsen. (I mean just listen to this.) On Saturday he comes to the Museum of Fine Arts for a show with Philly five-piece Joy Again. Get tickets here.
EVERLASTING G. LOVE: Like most of the stuff in the door of your fridge, G. Love & Special Sauce may not be fresh, but never really goes bad. In fact, G. Love will tell you it only gets better. “In 20 or 30 years I’m going to be a legendary bluesman,” he told the Globe three years ago, which means we’re within a 17-year window of his pending legendariness. On Friday, he brings his reunited trio back to the House of Blues (where legendary bluesmen of the future play) for a soon-to-be-legendary performance — or so we’re told. Find tickets here.
TOX MASK: Oh! That reminds me: “Love Never Dies” — Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel to “The Phantom of the Opera” — opens this week at the Opera House (and runs through Feb. 11). Boy, that would be one way to really even out the weekend with your other half, huh? Whatever drama is brewing between the Patriots and the Eagles has nothing on the simmering sexual tension between Christine Daaé (now an international opera star trapped in a strained marriage) and ol’ Phantoface (now living with circus freaks in Coney Island, presumably chilling). Reviewer Joel Brown says “Love Never Dies” “sometimes seems like the tragic story of a talented woman caught between two controlling jerks, one of whom happens to be into masks.” So . . . that sounds . . . uh . . . What say we move on and see what else is happening? (Tickets here.)
CHORUS VS. CHORUS: Well, I certainly walked right into this one. [clears throat] I see we meet again, a cappella community. Now look: I don’t like you and you don’t like me, but we’re gonna get through this blurb together, because why? Because, different as we may be — and we are vastly, almost unknowably different — we are professionals here. So, with that out of the way, let it be known that on Saturday, 10 regional a cappella groups will converge on Berklee Performance Center for night one of the ICCA Northeast Quarterfinal (night two is next Saturday). There, they will compete before moving on to the semifinals at Symphony Hall on March 4. Come for the punny a cappella group names (“Pitch, Please,” “Duly Noted”), stay for the . . . I can’t do this. Tickets here!
CROOKED STAIRS: No longer do you need to stare deep into your coffee mug to marvel at the impossible tesselations of M.C. Escher, for the Museum of Fine Arts is now presenting the first exhibition of original prints from the mind-bending Dutch artist. “M.C. Escher: Infinite Dimensions” assembles 50 original prints, including the impressive 13-foot-long woodcut “Metamorphosis II.” It’s a show that can send your perspective spinning, so maybe take advantage of the handrail on your way back down those stairs. That’s up through May 28; more info here.
FRENCH (CANADIAN) KICKS: On Friday and Saturday, World Music/CRASHarts presents an appearance from Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal (BJM, if you’re nasty) that will include the world premiere of Israeli choreographer Itzak Galili’s “Casualties of Memory” (as well as the Boston premiere of his “O Balcão de Amor”) as well as Boston premieres of three pieces choreographed by Andonis Foniadakis and Ihsan Rustem, inspired by the music and poetry of Leonard Cohen. That’s at the Cutler Majestic Theatre; find tickets here.
DARK MATTER: And finally from the outside world, the Boston Symphony Orchestra continues its journey through the symphonic cycle of Dmitri Shostakovich, arriving this weekend, much to Jeremy Eichler’s anticipation, at a turning point late in the composer’s life, the Fourteenth Symphony. “From its raised promontory,” writes Eichler of this “music of ultimate things,” “the music seems to peer forward into the approaching darkness, backward over the course of a country’s tragic century, and outward into the world that made it so.” (Warning: Experience may expose Super Bowl as ineffectual mortal distraction from the certain advance of death.) That’s Friday and Saturday at Symphony Hall. Tickets here.
OR STAY IN! Did I mention the Super Bowl is happening? And did I mention that Justin Timberlake is performing? If so, that covers everything I can capably discuss concerning the game. I can also tell you that our Terence Cawley says there’s a “fog of aimlessness hanging over the entire project” of JT’s new album. I’m sure his Super Bowl show will be better as long as he can keep the wardrobe malfunctions to a minimum. (NEVER FORGET.)
And finally, if you’ll be upstairs on the other TV, we got you: “Altered Carbon,” based on the 2002 cyberpunk novel by Richard K. Morgan, is coming to Netflix on Friday. It stars James Purefoy and Joel Kinnaman in a world where consciousness can be digitized (like it hasn’t already). “As our own life spans elongate here in the early 21st century,” writes the Globe’s Matthew Gilbert, “the show’s thought experiment about the end of death in the future is particularly intriguing.”
And that, Super Bowler Weekenders, is all I’ve got on the buffet for you this week. I know I can’t please everybody here — I’m not Tom Brady — so should you still be hungry, a whole bonus banquet awaits in the form of the Globe’s annual Winter Arts Guide.
Until next week, GO PATS! (That’s correct, right?) And here’s to Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. (If those don’t work, there’s always Monday.) See you next time!Michael Andor Brodeur can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MBrodeur.