Things to Do

The Weekender: Going Gaga, riding the rails, and cat tricks

Lady Gaga (pictured in Inglewood, Calif., Aug. 8) plays Fenway Park Friday and Saturday.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Lady Gaga (pictured in Inglewood, Calif., Aug. 8) plays Fenway Park Friday and Saturday.

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Labor Day presents an interesting challenge for the Weekender. Yes, it’s a weekend — a big one! — but it’s also a sacred space. Who is The Weekender, after all, to tell you what to do with your Labor Day? That would be like giving you parenting advice (which I do anyways) or unsolicited fashion tips (also something I do). Completely inappropriate.

Still, I have a job to do here, and you and I kind of have a regular thing going and it’s sort of nice. So while I fully respect your Labor Day space — which, wow, seems to be most of the living room, huh? — I’m just going to quietly slip this list of possible things you might consider maybe doing if you and you alone decide to under the door. No pressure. Just stuff to do. I will see myself out. Good day. (And good weekend!)

MONSTERS BALL: Little Monsters, prepare to meet the Green Monster this weekend when Lady Gaga — who, I’ve gotta say, I’m not all that familiar with aside from a brief cameo she made once on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (she seems nice) — brings her “Joanne” tour to Fenway Park Friday and Saturday nights. There’s not really a roof to jump from at Fenway, so we likely won’t see another death-defying leap from Gaga like the one she pulled off at the Super Bowl. But Gaga’s got nothing but tricks up her sleeve — and under that marvelous pink cowboy hat. Tickets here.


RECALL THE POLICE: Sting was here in town just a few months ago at the House of Blues, where he delivered a dare-we-say tantric exploration of his vast back catalog, both solo and with the why-doesn’t-anyone-ever-talk-about-how-good-they-were Police. Now 65, Sting is touring behind his latest album, “57th and 9th,” which the Globe’s Maura Johnston described as “his first album of straight-ahead pop songs after a nearly 15-year detour into higher art forms,” which I believe is a polite way of saying lute music. He’s at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion on Saturday. Find tickets here.

A scene from “In Transit, the last documentary from Albert Maysles.
A scene from “In Transit, the last documentary from Albert Maysles.
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RAIL LIFE: Made with co-directors Lynn True, David Usui, Nelson Walker III, and Benjamin Wu, “In Transit,” the last documentary from the masterful Albert Maysles (who, with his brother David, made such gripping docs as “Salesman,” “Gimme Shelter,” and “Grey Gardens”), is an “unhurried” journey on the Empire Builder, Amtrak’s busiest long-distance train, connecting Chicago to the Pacific Northwest. The Globe’s Mark Feeney calls “In Transit” a “hypnotic and deeply engaging” experience: “Lovely to look at, ‘In Transit’ is even better to listen to. The documentary tells us straightaway that what we hear matters just as much as what we see.” Opens Friday at The Brattle. Info and showtimes here.

CAPE FIERCE: If you fancy a trip out to the tip this weekend, you can catch Tony-winning Broadway star Jessie Mueller as she takes what counts as a beachside breather between gigs — in the form of a gig at Provincetown Town Hall. We last saw Mueller here at the American Repertory Theater in 2016 when she played the lead role of Jenna Hunterson in the premiere of Sara Bareilles’s musical “Waitress” (for which she also scored a Tony nomination). And next year, she’ll be remaking herself as Julie Jordan for a revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel.” On Sunday, she’ll be joined by host and pianist Seth Rudetsky for a laid-back performance of gems from shows like “Beautiful” and “Waitress,” plus whatever standards she feels like — though I, too, am pulling for “It Might as Well Be Spring.” (The Weekender queens out sometimes, OK?) Bonus: the Broadway @ Town Hall concert series raises funds for Broadway Care/Equity Fights AIDS, so you get some bravos, too. Get your tickets here.

FOGHORNS & LOCKHORNS: While you’re there, get the Brussels sprouts at Canteen (I’m not joking) and stroll or [makes sign of the cross] bike down to the Provincetown Art Association and Museum for “Edward and Josephine Hopper From the Permanent Collection.” A massive donation has found the museum’s Hopper holdings upgraded from a single painting to a major acquisition of 96 drawings by Edward, 69 drawings and watercolors by his wife, Josephine, and 22 diaries (ranging from 1933-56) that detail the couple’s life on Cape Cod (and likely their famously stormy relationship, which has since inspired its own share of drama). It’s up through Oct. 15. Find more info here.

The Acro-Cats will perform through the weekend at the Regent Theatre in Arlington.
The Acro-Cats will perform through the weekend at the Regent Theatre in Arlington.

AMEOWZING: For the sake of accuracy, you should just imagine me bouncing up and down really excited-like in my desk chair and helplessly giggling throughout the next, say, five or six sentences. So there’s this cat performance troupe. (I know.) They’re called The Acro-Cats. And they’re rescues. Are you dead yet? Well get ready, because they’re coming. And, according to Christopher Muther, their skills include — I’m taking a breath here to maintain control — “balancing on a ball, riding a skateboard, pushing a shopping cart, jumping through sparkly hoops, and spinning a pinwheel.” All 16 of them come to Regent Theatre in Arlington for five performances through the weekend and into Labor Day. Did you know you could spend Labor Day watching cats do amazing things but not on the Internet? I bet you didn’t. This is why we’re so good together. Info and tickets here.


RECIPE FOR DISASTER: Comic Matthew Flynn’s two-fold comedy show “Thought Bomb” invites comedians to tell true stories about themselves onstage and follow it up with a live-band karaoke performance — so embarrassment is pretty much guaranteed to collide with failure, and that, my children, is how a baby laugh gets made. Marin Franklin headlines both dates this weekend, with Kenice Mobley joining her on Friday, and Joyce Brabner and Nora Panahi on deck on Saturday. Get tickets here.

WED BLANKET: Though the Globe’s Peter Keough found Lake Bell’s 2013 film “In a World. . .” to be a “smart, unconventional debut,” her ellipsis-sharing follow-up, “I Do. . . Until I Don’t,” is “disappointingly ordinary” (and tosses it 2½ stars). Ed Helms and Bell take on an exploration of the very dull marriage of Noah and Alice, who seem to exist exactly between the poles of misery and freedom set by their equally dull married friends. So that sounds fun! (Maybe you just need a place to nap. That’s fine too.) Opens Friday.

OCCULT CLASSIC: Globe theater critic Don Aucoin was fully taken by the greatness of Nigel Gore, who “rages” as the “(nearly) unappeasable Prospero, the deposed duke of Milan” in Shakespeare & Company’s new production of “The Tempest,” “directed with boldness and flair by Allyn Burrows.” Sleep not, the show is only up at the Roman Garden Theatre in Lenox through Sept. 3. Thought is free, but the show is not: Find tickets here.

A scene from Audience network's “Mr. Mercedes.”
A scene from Audience network's “Mr. Mercedes.”

OR STAY IN! Who are we kidding here? I know you were waiting for this one. If “Stranger Things” and “It” and “The Mist” and “The Dark Tower” have you stuck in a Stephen King zone, stay right there for a few more hours and check out Audience network’s “Mr. Mercedes,” based on King’s series of novels. (Fun fact: Four of the 10 episodes of this first season were penned by Dennis Lehane. Is that fun? I actually have no idea if that’s fun.) You can catch up on episodes here.

You can also do like I do and just spend hours frittering your weekend away watching the human (and sometimes literal) fishtank of “Big Brother.” Why? Oh, reader, I wish I knew. There’s a new episode Sunday at 8 p.m. on CBS.


And finally, because Labor Day is about beers and friends and jams, you might as well soundtrack it with the new LCD Soundsystem album, “American Dream,” which reviewer Terence Cawley says is “full of irresistible grooves, quotable lyrics, and moments of spine-tingling beauty.”

And that, my friends, concludes this installment of me trying to boss you around when all you really want to do is put your feet up for a minute. Right there with you dudes.

Until next time, however you decide to spend your holiday weekend, make it one you’ll miss come Tuesday. Enjoy!

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