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    The Weekender: Matisse, Mariah, and magic

    “Vase of Flowers” by Henri Matisse, part of “Matisse in the Studio,” which opens Sunday at the Museum of Fine Arts.
    Bequest of John T. Spaulding © 2011 Succession H. Matisse, Paris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts
    “Vase of Flowers” by Henri Matisse, part of “Matisse in the Studio,” which opens Sunday at the Museum of Fine Arts.

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    Hooray, Boston! Baseball is back! But boo, too: the Sox are out of town (at Detroit) all weekend long. By the looks of it, it’ll be far too springy outside to justify frittering each afternoon away in front of the tube. Roll like a real Sox fan/85-year-old dude and don a single headphone hooked to a crackly AM transistor (or your iPhone, your majesty) so you can go live your life in the outside world. (And try not to startle anybody with that overdramatic gasp thing you do. It’s startling.)

    On that note, my apologies in advance: I was only able to assemble a huge stack of completely awesome things to free you from the couch this weekend. Go do ’em.

    REGARDING HENRI: In pairing nearly 40 of Henri Matisse’s prized personal possessions (from French chocolate pots to African sculptures to that one Andalusian vase) with the paintings they inspired, the MFA’s new “Matisse in the Studio” exhibition “provides insight into the artist’s progression, showing not only how he returned to specific items throughout his career, but also how those pieces influenced him artistically, emboldening him to take liberties with color and form,” according to the Globe’s Malcolm Gay. Opens Sunday and runs through July 9. More information here.


    SENIOR MOMENT: According to Ty Burr’s 2½-star review, “Going in Style” (a remake of the 1979 bank robbery comedy starring George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasberg) is something like the cinematic equivalent of fiber, saying it “goes down extra easy and will please the broader (and older) audience that generally feels ill-served by modern movies.” Although, if we’re gonna get technical, you need fiber. This, not so much. Still, it’s not so bad spending these “forgivable” 90 minutes with Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Arkin. Expect competitive matinees. BONUS: Ann-Margret. Opens all over town on Friday.

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    MATH APPEAL:Gifted,” directed by Marc Webb (“The Amazing Spider-Man”) shows us a softer side of its stars Chris Evans and Jenny Slate — the former momentarily hanging up his superhero costume to play the guardian uncle of a young math whiz, the latter going more mainstream than ever to play the kindly teacher who encouragingly hovers over the budding genius. In his three-star review, Tom Russo calls it an “emotionally absorbing story of a grade-school math prodigy caught in a messy custody dispute” with a standout performance from the young Mckenna Grace (“Designated Survivor”), “whose appeal and flashes of terrific naturalism help lend the film just the sort of non-traditional-family chemistry it’s after.” Opens all over town on Friday.

    UH-OH, IT’S MAGIC: I’ve already registered my feelings about magic on the record in only slightly uncertain terms, and there’s no folding them up and unfolding them to reveal they’ve suddenly changed into different words. (Ugh, that would be so annoying.) Still, I’m going to recommend “The Illusionists,” the touring version of the Broadway eye-rubber that showcases seven different performers (OR DOES IT?!) each with their own particular skill — among them, the “forensic mind-reader” Colin Cloud, escapologist Andrew Basso, and “Anti-Conjurer” Dan Sperry, who can dazzle with nothing more than a chewed-up Life Saver and a string of floss. (Him: “You do know I got other stuff, right?” Me: [Marge Simpson noise]) The show, presented by Broadway in Boston, runs through Sunday at the Boston Opera House. Get tickets here.

    HEART AND SOUL: Speaking of magic, there’s gonna be a bunch of it happening all over the stage of TD Garden on Friday night, when Lionel Richie and Mariah Carey (please please please) tear up a duet of “Endless Love” together (maybe?), Mariah (please please please) does another remarkable run through George Michael’s “One More Try” (possibly?), and the audience (please please please) goes full-on Commodores in the fashion department (highly unlikely). From “Bye Bye” to “Hello,” it’ll be a night of chart-topping, heart-stopping hits. Oh, and probably some songs off of “Elusive Chanteuse.” (Shade!) Get tickets here.

    HOW I GOT INTO COLLEGE ROCK: Before rising with Polaris as the musical force of “The Adventures of Pete and Pete” and embarking on a luminous solo career, Mark Mulcahy fronted Miracle Legion, a formative jangle pop building block upon which an entire genre was founded. Catch them on a reunion lap Friday night in Fall River at the Narrows Center for the Arts (with openers the ’Mericans. — featuring former Purple Ivy Shadows singer-guitarist, Chris Daltry); and at a “special homecoming show” Saturday night in North Adams at Mass MoCA (with Lou Barlow of Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh).


    LAUGH TRACK: If you somehow skipped abs this week, there’s a heaping heap of comedy in town this weekend that will absolutely not make up for that fact. Boston native, former “Chelsea Lately” writer, “Fairly Normal” podcast host, and literal stand-up guy Josh Wolf does a two-night stand Friday and Saturday night at Laugh Boston. Then, Saturday night you can catch a very clearly labeled evening at the Boch Center’s Wang Theatre with comedy legend Carol Burnett: “An Evening of Laughter & Reflection Where the Audience Asks Questions” (tickets here); and down the block, the Lebanese-American sensation Nemr brings his comparably straightforward “No Politics No Religion One Love” tour to the Wilbur (tickets here).

    And if there’s just no way you’re leaving J.P. (boy have I been there), there’s the Boston Comedy Chicks showcase (this month hosted by Nonye Brown-West) at Doyle’s on Saturday night. (Details here.)

    DANCE DANCE EVOLUTION: Boston’s own Billy and Bobby McClain — a.k.a. The Wondertwins — bring their three-part homage to hip-hop (“To Hip-Hop With Love”) back for a return engagement at the Dance Complex in Cambridge, setting loose their skillful blend of vaudeville to Vegas, tap to trap, and Broadway to ballet to breakdancing. That’s Friday and Saturday night. (And it’s this week’s Thing I Insist You Do.) Tickets here.

    POWER PLAY: Actress Bobbie Steinbach gives a fiercely impassioned, multifaceted, and stirring performance as Israeli prime minister Golda Meir in the New Repertory Theatre’s presentation of William Gibson’s “Golda’s Balcony” (which first premiered in 2002 at Shakespeare and Company in Lenox). Globe theater critic Don Aucoin calls Steinbach’s Meir “a portrait in steel forged by fire, yet entirely human, too.” That’s on stage through April 16 at the Mainstage Theater, Mosesian Center for the Arts, Watertown. Find tickets here.

    OR STAY IN! Louis C.K.’s new stand-up special, “2017,” arrived earlier this week on Netflix (covering “religion, eternal love, giving dogs drugs, email fights, teachers and more”), and this weekend he hosts “Saturday Night Live” with musical guest The Chainsmokers. And while the long shots of “American Crime” may be a long shot ratings-wise, both Matthew Gilbert and I are smitten by this season of ABC’s undersung anthology series, “American Crime.” Sayeth Gilbert: “It’s too damn good for everyone” (Shade!)


    And with that, my friends, you should be all set for the weekend. However you spend your weekend (Go Sox!) make it one you’ll miss come Monday.

    See you next week!

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