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    The Weekender: Elle Fanning, fashionistas, fierceness, and family fun

    Elle Fanning and Alex Sharp in "How to Talk to Girls at Parties."
    Dean Rogers/A24
    Elle Fanning and Alex Sharp in "How to Talk to Girls at Parties."

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    Oh hey there Weekenders! If you’re wondering what that stuff is that appears to be bustin’ out all over, don’t call your physician just yet. It’s just June. What with the bright sun and summer-like heat, it can be terribly disorienting, but it’s completely harmless. 

    Slather on some sunscreen (and hold the funscreen; it’s not even a real thing) and follow me. We’re going out.

    ELLE TO PAY: It’s a double-Elle kind of weekend, as unparalleled Hollywood belle Elle Fanning rolls out two challenging yet fulfilling installments of droll-to-excellent celluloid. (OK, there’s no way I can keep that up for two blurbs, so I will now chill.) Fanning No. 1 is she of “Mary Shelley,” director Haifaa al-Mansour and writer Emma Jensen’s “swoony but tough-minded” biopic about the “Frankenstein” author, which Globe film critic Ty Burr gives three stars. “The stakes in ‘Mary Shelley,’ of a woman bringing forth her monstrous artistic vision in a society of unprepared and dismissive men, feel close at hand because, for many, they still are.” Now showing.


    ELLE ON EARTH: Elle-sewhere, Fanning stars in “How To Talk to Girls at Parties,” to which Burr gives 2½ stars and calls “a sweet, unholy mess, the kind that could only come from the unswept mind of John Cameron Mitchell, writer/star of ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’” — which it does. Based on a Neil Gaiman story, the film features Fanning playing an alien girl dating a guy from London, and I don’t know what happens, but dating guys from London seriously never goes well. It just doesn’t. Still, says Burr, “As punk-inflected alien love stories go, ‘How to Talk to Girls at Parties’ falls somewhere between ‘Earth Girls Are Easy’ (1988) and ‘Liquid Sky’ (1982) in coherence and commercial veneer.” And if that latter reference just flew over your futurist feathered haircut, please leave work right now and go watch “Liquid Sky.” It’s so delightfully weird. Now showing.

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     LEON ON ME: Also at the theah-tah (because I’m 100 percent certain that’s how he pronounces it) is “The Gospel According to André,” a new documentary from director Kate Novack trailing behind the legendary fashion editor André Leon Talley. In his three-star review, Peter Keough calls the film “slick and exhilarating” and “held together by the subject’s oversize (Talley is a hefty 6-foot-6), nattily attired presence, his irrepressible, insouciant wit, and his extraordinary life.” Now showing.

    SHORE THING: Oh hey, sailor. Symphony Hall this Friday you can catch a centennially-charged concert performance of Leonard Bernstein’s classic “On the Town” (complete with choreography by Kathleen Marshall) by the Boston Symphony Orchestra (they’re not the ones dancing). A cast of all-star Broadway talents includes Andy Karl (“Groundhog Day”), Brandon Victor Dixon (NBC’s “Jesus Christ Superstar Live,” “Hamilton”), Christian Dante White (“Hello, Dolly”), and Andrea Martin (“Pippin”), among others. Get tickets here, before it ships out to Tanglewood (on July 7).

    “Cold Blood” at ArtsEmerson.
    Julien Lambert
    “Cold Blood” at ArtsEmerson.

    HANDMADE TALE: The husband-and-wife team of Belgian film director Jaco Van Dormael and choreographer Michele Anne De May have more than a hand in the creation of “Cold Blood,” they have two. This “singular theater-dance-cinema hybrid” uses masterfully crafted sets, special effects, and hyperdextrous hand choreography to “tell hypnotic tales of seven deaths, from the blackly comic to the absurdly tragic,” according to writer Christopher Wallenberg. (Trigger warning: Macabre potato allergy content.) It’s presented by ArtsEmerson and up through Sunday at the Cutler Majestic Theatre. Find tickets here.

    COVER STORY: For the last 13 years, Boston folk staple Mark Erelli has been hosting annual installments of his “Under the Covers” series at Club Passim, rounding up local luminaries like Lori McKennaJake ArmerdingZachariah Hickman, and Rose Cousins to cover their favorite songs in the round. On Saturday, he celebrates the release of “Mixtape” — an album-length collection of favorite covers of artists including the Grateful Dead, Don Henley, and Neko Case — with two shows at Passim. Find tickets here; and no calls for “Free Bird,” please. 


    DIE LAUGHING: “Knock knock.” “Who’s there?” “Not my dad; he’s dead. That’s the first joke. Forty-four to go.” Since Laurie Kilmartin first introduced herself to many fans last year through her rattling exploration of death and loss, “45 Jokes About My Dead Dad,” the Emmy-winning writer and comedian has dug even deeper into the dirt of grief with “Dead People Suck: A Guide for Survivors of the Newly Departed.” She’ll be killing it (you know what I mean) at Laugh Boston on Friday and Saturday nights.

    HOT MYQ: Since decamping from Boston, comic Myq Kaplan has launched his own podcast, “Broccoli and Ice Cream,” which finds him sitting down with comics like Baratunde Thurston, Sasheer Zamata, Liz Glazer, and Michael Ian Black to talk about the labors of their lives (a.k.a. their broccoli) and the joys (a.k.a. their ice cream). He’s also taking a new show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year. But before that, he’ll make a stop at home for a gig at Great Scott’s longstanding comedy night, The Gas, on Friday. Get tickets here.

    GO WITH THE FLOW: And finally from the outside world, Saturday is the Cambridge Arts River Festival, which floods the banks of the Charles with live music, theater, dance, poetry, public art, geese (who were probably going to be there anyway), and whatever sculpture racing is. (Be sure to download the handy PDF of the full day’s schedule and map.) Find more info here, and please don’t try to pull a fast one on Chester the Ballon Jester. He’s not making you an eggplant. 

    Hailie Sahar (left) and Jason A. Rodriguez in “Pose.”
    JoJo Whilden/FX
    Hailie Sahar (left) and Jason A. Rodriguez in “Pose.”

    OR STAY IN! Sunday is a big ol’ TV night, with the debut of “Pose,” the new Ryan Murphy series for FX (his final offering for the network before he shifts over to a five-year deal with Netflix). Set behind the underground drag ball scene of downtown New York in the 1980s, “Pose” follows in the heels of “Paris Is Burning,” but Murphy gives it a fresh turn. “The FX show is about black, Latino, and LGBT people finding safety and identity by walking alternative runways,” writes Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert, “it’s about creating families of choice when your family of birth doesn’t accept you, it’s about the tragedy and ignorance of the early AIDS epidemic, and its about the moral bankruptcy of the masters of the universe.”

    That same night on HBO, you can catch the furrowed-brow family drama of “Succession ,”a new series directed by Adam McKay that dives into the rifts of a disintegrating dynasty. (Shades of Murdoch, likely intentional.)


    And lastly, Father John Misty has a new album out, “God’s Favorite Customer,” and reviewer Robert Steiner calls it “his most concise and — shockingly — sincere collection of songs to date.” Wows all around!

    And that, dear Weekenders, is all I’ve got on the grill for you this week (I even checked the May basket to see if something was stuck), but if you’re hungry for more, there’s also the Worcester Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival at City Hall Common Saturday from noon to 5 p.m., where I will beat you at cornhole, over and over again. 

    OK, for real, that’s it from me. However you spend your weekend, make it one you’ll miss come Monday. See you next week!

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